Archive for March, 2020

Coronavirus Causes Concerns With Voter Legitimacy

The current pandemic has caused primaries to be postponed in several states. With Georgia moving back its primary and Ohio cancelling in-person voting, polling stations have been closed in several states. With the transition to mail ballots dominating voting methods, some democratic primaries have switched to an absentee system.

According to the Guardian, the Brennan Center has estimated that 2 billion dollars would need to be invested to ensure the safety of our democracy. Many U.S citizens would lack access to voting options, and in this vulnerable period, voting rights activists fear that our election is susceptible to corruption. With only 400 million being allocated towards election assistance within the House’s stimulus package, the status of our democracy could potentially be in danger.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/30/us-election-coronavirus-primaries-voting-by-mail

-Mitch

Trump Using Coronavirus as a Cover for War with Iran?

Last week there was an article in the New York Times stating that the Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq. The United States’ commander in Iraq stated that this campaign would be bloody and counterproductive and it also risks war with Iran. This would also require thousands more U.S. troops to be deployed into the region and divert resources from what has been the primary American military mission there: training Iraqi troops to combat the Islamic State.

A conflict with Iran or any country at this moment would be very bad for everyone involved. Not only would civilians and troops die during military action and battle, the war would put every country involved in even more danger due to the coronavirus pandemic currently going on. The death toll of this conflict would be insanely high because people the deaths would be related to battle and and infection from the virus. It could double or triple the death toll if a conflict were to occur today. The Trump Administration should not be focusing on anything war related. It should only be focusing on containing the spread of this very contagious virus within the United States. This war conflict can wait for another time in history. -Kevin Bach

https://theintercept.com/2020/03/30/trump-iran-war-coronavirus/

DRC armed forces rescue 38 hostages from rebels

I know a lot of the posts recently have been very doom and gloom because of the outbreaks that are ravaging the DRC. However, today the world has received some good news concerning the DRC. On the morning of March 31st the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo rescued 38 people that were recently taken hostage by the ADF rebels. In an interview with Lieutenant Anthony Mualushayi, a spokesman for the army in the Sokola area, he stated that “While the ADF rebels attempted to cross national road number 4 in Kisiki village, they fell into our ambush. We overpowered them, and they fled in disarray. We rescued a total of 38 hostages taken recently by ADF rebels from the Oicha region in North Kivu province.” This successful rescue serves as a significant win for the DRC in its conflict with the ADF rebel group.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/drc-armed-forces-rescue-38-hostages-from-rebels/1785786

Al Qaeda Sympathizer Goes Home

Uzair Paracha was sentenced to 30 years in prison when he was convicted in 2005 in Manhattan of trying to help a terrorist enter the US. Now, nearly 17 years after he was arrested, Paracha has been released and flown to Pakistan with all charged against him dropped. His release followed months of secret negotiations between the government and his lawyers and comes 2 years after a judge ordered a new trial for him due to newly discovered evidence. The government indicated that they did not believe that the evidence should exonerate Paracha and they still say that he is “an avowed Al Qaeda supporter” and that he is a threat to the public.

I don’t like anything like this. Personally I believe that we should never negotiate with terrorists no matter what. Even if they’ve had or we believe they’ve had a change in heart. I’d be curious to know what exactly the negotiations were between Paracha and the government. I just hope we didn’t just let go a terrorist and now a terrorist with vengeance.

–Alexis B.

https://internewscast.com/once-accused-al-qaeda-sympathizer-goes-home/

ISIS Members Escape Syrian Prison

Yesterday, Sunday, March 29th, ISIS prisoners started a riot in Ghweran prison, which is run by the Kurdish Syrian Democratic forces. During the riot, several doors and walls in the prison were damaged, and several prisoners managed to escape. The Syrian Democratic Forces are looking for the escaped prisoners, but it is currently unclear how many escaped and who is missing.

The Trump Administration should have some of the US troops who are already in Syria go to the prison to help reinforce security while the Syrian Democratic Forces fix the damage caused by the riot. The Trump Administration should also send supplies to help quickly fix the prison, and send surveillance equipment such as drones to help locate the escaped prisoners.

 

Yeung, Jessie, and Ryan Browne. “ISIS Members Riot and Break out of Syrian Prison.” CNN, Cable News Network, 30 Mar. 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/03/30/middleeast/isis-prison-escape-syria-intl-hnk/index.html.

Post by Katherine

US COVID-19 Cases Top China and Italy

On March 27 there were 85,991 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 37,802 of them in New York State alone. With this number, the United States has more cases than anywhere else in the world. Patchwork guidelines have been enacted at the state level in attempts to slow the spread of the virus, and new guidelines are going up worldwide as well. China is issuing near-blanket restrictions on international travel to prevent the reintroduction of the virus after a slowing in domestically-transmitted new cases. However, the numbers could be higher than we know, as testing for the coronavirus has not been uniform either in the US or overseas.

Part of the reason the the US has been hit so hard is that some people, particularly young people who have been repeatedly told they are at a low risk of contracting the virus, are flouting isolation guidelines. In New York, the center of the pandemic in the US, there was a coronavirus party. Additional reasons people may flout isolation guidelines include thinking individually, being lonely, thinking it is not their problem, being under-responders on the opposite end of the spectrum of the bulk-buying over-responders, attempting to regain control, and being desensitized to just how bad this is because it’s all they see and hear in their news feed, social media, and conversations.

In essence, this is rough, but obeying the guidelines set out by the state and local governments is the best thing you can do. Use the technology available to keep in contact with people but don’t go out unless you have to, because it’s not just you you’re protecting.

-Morgan

https://www.wsj.com/articles/governments-clamp-down-as-coronavirus-infections-surge-11585218656

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/24/health/social-distancing-wellness-trnd/index.html

And then, there were 30

North Macedonia has just joined NATO as its 30th member. While the Chinese Coronavirus blankets the earth causing death and confusion, the NATO mission continues. Formerly a part of Yugoslavia, North Macedonia declared its independence in 1991. It is a region that has been conquered and/or occupied by nearly every empire in Europe’s history. Once it secured its independence, it joined the EU and, now, NATO. The efforts of its people to be recognized as its own country should be honored and accepted as another strength added to the alliance.   Jim

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_174648.htm

Kashmir Region Feeling Virus Effects

https://apple.news/AecJsvpm6TAuZspPW7LkiTA

 

While the Corona virus has shut down most of the world, the tensions over the Kashmir region are beginning to simmer again. This week the Pakistani government called for a release of prisoners and a cease on the restrictions of phone and internet in the India-administered region. The Pakistani government cited concerns on the health of prisoners and the lack of education being offered in the Jammu and Kashmir region because of the internet blackout and the closing of schools for health concerns. Tensions between India and Pakistan have been present since 1947 and there is international concern that this might be a new ignition point between these two countries. The United States can not do much, but urge the Indian government to end the internet and phone blackout in Jammu and Kashmir region. -Olivia 

Ease in Sanctions on Venezuela?

11 Democratic senators have signed a letter to President Trump calling for a temporary lifting of sanctions on Venezuela. The senators argue that this measure is necessary to aid in Venezuela’s struggle against the coronavirus. The letter also calls for unconditional aid to the South American country. This letter was sent just a day after the Trump administration announced the US would be indicting Maduro and other officials on drug trafficking and money laundering charges (HuffPost link). While Venezuela is likely to need any help it can get amidst the impending pandemic, it is unlikely that any US aid will actually get to the people for which it is intended. Maduro has been sure to keep aid from getting to his people thus far so it is not likely he will have a change of heart now. It would also be a mistake to ease sanctions even in these extraordinary circumstances. Unfortunately, even if there was a temporary lift on sanctions, it would be to the regimes benefit not the people who so desperately need change.

Dillon S.

The hopes of peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban were high, however, it might just be a pipe dream. it has been over a month since the failed peace deal between the Taliban and the United States and the Attacks on civilian and Afghanistan cities have not stopped. The Peace Minister of Afghanistan has been trying to work with the Taliban but it is no surprise that the Taliban will not come to the table to talk peace. The Taliban’s only leverage against Afghanistan is violence so why should there be cease-fire? when there is a full cease-fire the Taliban lose everything they worked for. Hopefully, the Taliban will come to the table to talk however it is very unlikely, and even more unlikely that if a peace deal were to be made, that they would follow through with it.

Harold Phillips

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/28/taliban-refuses-to-talk-to-afghan-governments-negotiating-team

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