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Pardee Perspective: April 30th, 2019

AFRICA

Nigeria – The Hague District Court in the Netherlands is allowing a damages suit brought by four Nigerian widows of activist against Royal Dutch Shell to move forward. The women argue that Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in their husbands killings. Shell has been accused of instigating human right violations perpetrated by the Nigeria government as they cracked down on protests surrounding Shell’s pollution in Ogoniland, Nigeria. Amnesty International has extensively documented Shell’s role in executions, rape, and torture within Nigeria. While Shell denies all allegations, it acknowledges that is was aware of the actions taken by the Nigeria military in an effort to protect Shell’s infrastructure.

ASIA

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Twitter early Wednesday – the sixth round between American and Taliban officials – had begun in Doha, the Qatari capital, aiming at securing a lasting peace agreement that would include Taliban guarantees regarding terrorism and a phased withdrawal of American troops. The Taliban have refused to meet with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, calling it illegitimate. If an agreement on terrorism and troop withdrawal can be reached, American negotiators hope to bring the Afghan government and the Taliban together to begin negotiations on a postwar Afghanistan.

EUROPE

UK: Wikileaks co-founder, Julian Assange has been handed down a 50-week jail sentence by a court in Sweden following his apprehension at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where his asylum privileges were revoked. He was facing sexual assault charges. In court, Assange read a letter apologising for to all who ‘consider I’ve disrespected them.’ However, he maintained that, it was best for him to seek asylum in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden. Meanwhile, it is still unclear if the Australian-born Assange will be handed over to US authorities to face conspiracy charges in relation to US classified information which his outfit leaked. If convicted, Assange could face up to five years in prison.

AMERICAS

Venezuela: Mass protest in Venezuela following Juan Guaido’s call for his supporters to hit the streets on May Day. Since declaring himself the the new leader of the country after the country’s presidential elections, Guaido has received support from y more than fifty countries, including the US while China and Russia, who has been accused of interference alongside Cuba stand by Nicolas Maduro. Pro government and opposition supporters clashed in the capital Caracas. In an address to his supporters, he told them “there us no turning back” but Maduro has accused the protesters of ‘serious crimes’ that will ‘not go unpunished.’ Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said, through the US prefers peaceful transition of power, military action in Venezuela as also a possibility. The UN and EU are both calling for calm.

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