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Myanmar’s Deposed Civilian Leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, Faces Two Years In Jail 

Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is currently facing two years in jail after her original sentence was halved by the country’s military this week. 

Previously, Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of incitement and breaking Covid-19 rules. This marks the first verdict against the Nobel Peace Prize winner since the military seized power back in February. 

Suu Kyi, 76, was Myanmar’s state counselor and de facto leader of the country before she was ousted and detained by the military ten months ago and slammed with almost a dozen charges that when combined added up to a maximum sentence of 100 years. 

According to media reports, several of the charges involved corruption, which each carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, violating Covid-19 pandemic restrictions during the 2020 election campaign, incitement, illegally importing and possessing walkie talkies, and breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act — which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.”

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Suu Kyi has rejected all allegations and her supporters are claiming that the charges against her are political. The Zabuthiri Court in Naypyidaw initially sentences Suu Kyi to two years in prison after they found her guilty of incitement, and two years after being found guilty of violating section 25 of Disaster Management Law. The military later cut down both sentences to one year. 

Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said in a statement, “the farcical and corrupt decision is part of a devastating pattern of arbitrary punishment.”

“The harsh sentences handed down to Aung San Suu Kyi on these bogus charges are the latest example of the military’s determination to eliminate all opposition and suffocate freedoms in Myanmar.”

“There are many detainees without the profile of Aung San Suu Kyi who currently face the terrifying prospect of years behind bars simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. They must not be forgotten and left to their fate,” Yu Hah expressed. 

More than 1,300 people have been killed by Myanmar security forces since the initial coup, and more than 10,000 individuals have been arrested according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. 

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The United Nations Security Council called for an immediate cessation of violence across Myanmar as troops continued to increase tension and hostility towards civilian militias. Nationwide protests against the junta troops have been occurring since the coup, and all have been met with brutal crackdowns and media suppression. 

“As violence escalates, displacing tens of thousands of people and setting up a humanitarian crisis in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, the situation in Myanmar today is alarming in the extreme. Without a decisive, unified and swift international response this can and will get worse.”

The verdict came one day after security forces entered into a protest in the city of Yangon. At least five people were killed due to a vehicle plowing through anti-junta protesters. One reporter who witnessed the incident told media outlets that it was a military vehicle that rammed through demonstrators. 

According to a statement from Myanmar’s military, eleven protesters were arrested, including two men and one woman who were injured. The statement from the military did not acknowledge the reported deaths or vehicle attack. 

The UN in Myanmar condemned the incident slamming the “reported attack on a number of unarmed civilians in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon, in which a vehicle belonging to security forces rammed into protesters who were then fired upon with live ammunition leading to deaths and injuries to numerous people.”

U.S. Warns Russia Of “Serious Consequences” If Troops Initiate Conflict At Ukraine Border

On the Ukraine border, a storm is brewing in the form of Kremlin fighters, rifles, and tanks. Around 100,000 troops have gathered at the border, and while this is happened before — Russia gathered and eventually pulled back forces in April — many experts believe this movement is more serious, and could drag Europe and the U.S. into a military conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Stockholm that if “Russia decides to pursue confrontation, there will be serious consequences.” Blinken added that diplomacy is the best way to avoid any pending conflicts, and called for Russia to pull back its troops.

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While the meeting between Blinken and Lavrov did not produce any solutions, the two have agreed to continue diplomatic conversations, according to State Department officials. Blinken also stated that the two will relay their talks to Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, and the two Presidents could “speak directly in the near future.”

Moscow has continued to deny any plans for an invasion, and accused Ukraine and its allies of making up claims in order to cover up their own aggressive actions and military build-ups. Russia also stated on Thursday that it arrested three suspected Ukrainian security service agents.

Speaking to NBC News, former U.S. ambassador and Atlantic Council senior director John Herbst explained that if the Kremlin wanted to quickly conduct an invasion, nothing would hold them back from doing just that.

“Moscow is so positioned that they can move with very little warning. They’re certainly threatening. And they’re in a position that if they want to, they can do it.”

Prior to the OSCE meeting, Blinken explained that they were deeply concerned by evidence that Russia had made plans for “significant aggressive” moves, and that they don’t know what Putin has decided in regards to an invasion.

In a speech, Lavrov claimed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was refusing to consider proposals that would help to deescalate the situation, and warned NATO against turning countries neighboring Russia into “bridgeheads of confrontation.”

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Russia has also been accused of playing a hand in the continuing Belarus-Poland border crisis, which Euronews reports Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said is “absolutely connected” to the Kremlin’s military build-up.

These [are] all absolutely connected factors which lead to the aggression from Russia side, which lead to the using of energy [supplies] against Europe and against Ukraine’s European inspirations.”

Russia and Belarus held a week-long open Zapad (“West”) military exercise on NATO’s border in September. The exercise consisted of 200,000 troops and came after an effort to integrate the two countries while creating a “single defense space.”

Ukraine and Russia have a long history of tensions since Ukraine broke away following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2014, Russia seized control of the Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula where citizens are ethnically Russian. Russia proceeded to hold a referendum and annexed Crimea.

Putin published a paper in July, arguing that Ukraine is part of historical Russia. Putin also claimed that the two countries’ spiritual unity has been attacked, and that Russia has never been — and will never be — “anti-Ukraine.”

Experts Warn Omicron Covid Variant Is A ‘Reason To Be Worried’

The Omicron Covid-19 variant was first detected in South Africa, and has now spread to 14 countries, with some experts claiming the variant has already reached the US. Scientists are working to figure out how much more dangerous and contagious the new variant is when compared to other variants, especially as international governments race to ease travel restrictions. 

The US has been imposing travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa since Monday, as well as other countries around the region. The variant has already been confirmed in Canada, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, discussed the variant on the news recently. 

“The new variant is likely already in the United States, but the government is better positioned to detect cases of the new strain than it was a year ago.”

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As of this week, most travelers from southern Africa are barred from entering the United States, and restrictions have been renewed for all travel from southern Africa to most European countries. Within 36 hours of discovering the new strain, scientists in South Africa alerted the world and began testing current vaccines against the strain immediately. Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed the increased risk for unvaccinated Americans when it comes to any variant. 

“The US certainly has the potential to go into a fifth wave of high infections if enough people don’t come forward for vaccination and booster shots.”

South Africa’s government and president, however, are worried that the region is being unjustly blamed for the new variant, when the reality is these variants only have the opportunity to develop due to uneven distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines throughout the world. 

“We want all travel bans to be reversed, as they have no basis in science. These restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country,” South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said. 

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“I think there’s good reason to be worried. I don’t think that means that we’re powerless, answers are coming. We need to collect data. We need to investigate and understand this variant,” said Professor Anne Van Gottberg of South Africa’s Institute for Communicable Diseases.

“We should be doing the things that we know work when you’re dealing with a pandemic virus. It’s not the time to panic. We should be concerned, and our concern should spur us to do the things that we know work,” Dr. Fauci said.

Fauci explained that “the concern over the new variant comes from the number and type of mutations found around the spike protein, the part of the virus molecule that allows it to attach itself to human cells. The high number of mutations and where they were found suggests that this would be more transmissible, and also suggests that it might evade some of the immune parameters that we have, such as antibody and plasma treatments, and the current vaccines.”

“It appears to be spreading very readily and has a transmission advantage. One of the key things we don’t know right now is whether the new variant causes more severe COVID-19 symptoms than previous strains.”

Omicron currently accounts for more than 2,000 new daily cases in South Africa. One expert in the nation is worried that the daily infection rate could triple within the next week alone. 

“I am expecting we will top over 10,000 cases by the end of the week per day,” Dr Salim Abdool Karim said during an online press briefing by the Health Ministry.

Migrants And Troops Gather At Poland-Belarus Border, Heightening Tensions

At the Poland-Belarus border, tensions are escalating by the minute. The stranded group of 3,000-4,000 migrants at the border have made a number of attempts, including three “large scale” endeavors, to breach the frontier over the past week, but were driven back by the force of 15,000 soldiers and border guards Poland mobilized.

Videos released by Polish authorities show migrants, who are forced to endure freezing temperatures that reach below zero throughout the night at their camps, using shovels and wire cutters in order to break through fencing while being fended off with tear gas.

Authorities say several migrants have been found dead at the border, likely due to the weather conditions and lack of food, water, and medical supplies. The crisis is expected to only grow worse over the coming days.

While saying the situation is difficult, Polish Border Guard head Ewelina Szczepańska expressed confidence in Poland’s security to CNN. Poland’s Ministry of Defense noted that the migrants are camped out in the Kuznica region and are being guarded by Belarusian services.

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The Belarus State Border Committee has said that the migrants do not pose any kind of security threat or behave aggressively, and instead wish to enter the country as refugees. According to a Polish Guard spokesman, Belarusian services are responsible for moving large groups of migrants to the border.

Lithuania, which shares a border with Poland and Belarus, has announced its intentions to redeploy troops as well, while also being prepared for “all possible scenarios.”

The European Union (EU), the United States, and NATO have accused Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko of “manufacturing” a migrant crisis on the EU eastern frontier by directing Middle Eastern migrants to Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia in an act of revenge for sanctions over human right abuses. Lukashenko and his regime have denied all accusations, instead blaming the West for their migrant conduct.

These sanctions, along with visa restrictions, were announced by the U.S. Department of State back in August, which not only stated were in regards to the “increased repression and deteriorating human rights situation” that was unfolding in Belarus, but also acknowledged the anniversary of the fraudulent Belarus election that allowed Lukashenko to continue his reign, which started back in 1994.

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According to Reuters, more sanctions are on the way for Belarus. The EU’s 27 ambassadors met Wednesday, agreeing that the massing of migrants on the Poland-Belarus border amounts to “hybrid warfare” and provides a basis for additional sanctions.

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has accused Vladimir Putin and Russia of being the “masterminds” behind the ongoing crisis, due to its strong support for Lukashenko and Belarus. The Kremlin denied those claims while also flying two nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bombers over the border Wednesday as a show of strength.

After German police reported an uptick in migrants illegally entering Germany, Poland announced its plans to spend 1.6 billion zlotys ($4.4 million) on building a wall, which would include motion sensors and cameras, on the Belarus border. Poland had previously been building barbed-wire fencing.

Many have criticized Poland of violating the international right for asylum, to which the country replied that their actions are legal. Poland saw 13.3 million immigrants enter the country in 2020, down from 16.6 million in 2019 – which was the highest total the country had dealt with in the past two decades.

Israel’s NSO Group, Creator Of Pegasus Spyware, Put On U.S. Blacklist

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced that Israeli software company NSO Group, along with three other companies, was put on the U.S. Entity List, a list that enforces importing and exporting trade restrictions.

NSO, along with fellow Israeli company Candiru, were blacklisted “based on evidence that these entities developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments that used these tools to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businesspeople, activists, academics, and embassy workers,” according to the USDOC.

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NSO is the creator of Pegasus, a program that — thanks to its stealth — allows authorities such as police and intelligence agencies to access a phone’s passwords, photos, messages and record calls all without ever being detected by the user.

According to The Guardian, the earliest version of Pegasus was found by researchers back in 2016. That version was able to infiltrate phones through spam emails and texts, a process known as “spear-phising.” Since that time, NSO’s product has become more advanced, even reaching “zero-click” infiltration, which means no user interactions need to be had in order for the spyware to access the device.

Several foreign countries used Pegasus on journalists, emissaries, and diplomats. The ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, was found to have used the spyware hacked the phones of his ex-wife, Princess Haya bint Hussein, and her associates.

Meanwhile, French president Emmanuel Macron’s phone – along with the phones of other French officials — was hacked, and ended up causing a “diplomatic rift” between France and Israel.

An Hungarian official acknowledged that the government used Pegasus to target journalists, businesspeople, and fellow politicians while saying that Hungary’s Interior Ministry was the purchaser. However, Hungary officials claim they used the surveillance technology legally.

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The spyware has been heavily criticized for years now due to its dangerous array of surveillance tactics and breaches. Whatsapp claimed the spyware was responsible for nearly 1,400 users being breached by governments in 2019, which led CEO Will Cathcart to sue NSO.

Following this development, the U.S. Department of Justice began an investigation into NSO Group, which denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

As The New York Times notes, the U.S.’ announcement also came at the surprise of the Israeli defense ministry, which approves the sales of Pegasus to foreign government – the spyware is classified as a “defense technology,” and NSO maintains that its used for fighting crimes like terrorism.

In 2019, Israeli defense export deals totaled $7.2 billion and involved 120 defense companies. That year, Israeli said 17 percent of all deals involved radars and electronic warfare, the highest percentage of any contract.

NSO Group released a statement in response to the blacklisting, where they expressed a desire for the decision to be overturned while stating their surprise.

“NSO Group is dismayed by the decision given that our technologies support US national security interests and policies by preventing terrorism and crime, and thus we will advocate for this decision to be reversed.”

NSO also explained how they possess “the world’s most rigorous compliance and human rights programs,” and claim they have severed contracts in the past with government agencies that misused their products.

NSO has undergone numerous changes in the past couple days, with CEO and founder Shalev Hulio stepping down from the role, instead becoming the “global president.”

Pope Silhouette

Joe Biden Meets With Pope Francis At Start Of European Tour

Ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, President Joe Biden started off his five-day European trip by having a prestigious meeting with the most influential religious leader in the world – Pope Francis. As ABC News notes, this is the first time in more than half a century a Roman Catholic U.S. leader has met with the Pope.

Due to the role Biden’s personal faith plays in his daily life, the White House said prior that the meeting would be both “personal and formal,” and it showed – there was reportedly a “clear rapport” between the two world leaders.

The White House also provided a readout of the meeting, stating that Biden applauded Francis for his leadership in the fights against climate change and the pandemic, while thanking the Catholic Church head for his advocacy of the world’s less fortunate and “those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution.”

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The Associated Press reported that the meeting ran about 75 minutes, which is more than double the time an audience normally spends with the Pontiff. The two also participated in the typical gift exchange. Biden presented the Pope with a 1930 woven chasuble, along with a challenge coin. Meanwhile, Francis gave Biden a ceramic tile depicting pilgrim iconography.

Additionally, a note left for the Pope by Biden says that The White House will donate more clothes to charities on World Day for the Poor – a Catholic observance that occurs on Nov. 14.

As to what their closed-doors meeting consisted of, the White House said the two planned to discuss
“climate change, ending the COVID-19 pandemic, and caring for the poor.” However, the AP reported that the meeting may be overshadowed by criticisms from conservative U.S. bishops over Biden’s LGBTQ and abortion stance – which is pro-choice. The bishops believe that position should disqualify Biden from receiving communion.

Biden — whose wife, Jill, was among his visiting group — said that the Pope did not give him communion during their meeting. When asked about whether Francis and him discussed the bishops, Biden said that was a “private conversation.”

Biden, who’s the second Catholic to ever be a U.S. President (John F. Kennedy being the first), has met with the Pope three other times, with their last visit coming in 2015 during the Pope’s trip to the eastern United States. He is also the 14th President to meet with the Pope at the Vatican.

It appears the Vatican and the U.S. are once again heading towards good terms. During President Donald Trump’s original campaigning in 2016, there was harsh shade thrown on both sides. Francis criticized Trump for his border and immigration policies, calling out his pro-life hypocrisy.

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In response, Trump said it was “disgraceful” for the Pope to question his faith, and called him a pawn of the Mexican government. When Trump and his family visited the Vatican in 2017, the meeting went viral due to Francis’ somber facial expressions during photo ops.

To the disappointment of many, the planned live broadcast of Biden and Frances’ meeting was cancelled. Instead, the only live footage was of Biden’s motorcade arriving in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki spoke on the subject of the limited press access, and expressed the administration’s efforts to get the media more coverage.

“We believe in the value of the free press. We believe in the value of ensuring you have access to the president’s trips and his visits overseas.”

According to a Vatican spokesman, this reflected “normal procedure” that was established during the pandemic. The Vatican said it would provide edited footage of the meeting afterwards to accredited media members.

As Yahoo News explains, the Vatican had previously done live coverage of past meetings with various world leaders, such as Trump, and also had planned coverage for South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The live footage was even more important considering the Vatican no longer allows independent photographers and journalists into the papal audiences due to the pandemic.

United Nations Reports Record High Greenhouse Gas Levels Throughout World 

The United Nations announced this week that greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere hit record levels in 2020, and the world is “way off track on capping rising temperatures.”

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report that showed carbon dioxide levels surged to 413.2 parts per million in 2020, which shows an exponential rise in the rate of emissions last year when compared to the rest of the decade. There was, however, a temporary decline in emissions during the initial phase of Covid-19 lockdowns. 

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said “the current rate of increase in heat-trapping gases would result in temperature rises far in excess of the 2015 Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average this century.

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“We are way off track. We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life. We need a dramatic increase in commitments from our world’s nations.”

Glasgow, Scotland hosted the climate talks where the UN met to discuss capping the global warming rates on Earth at the 1.5-2 degrees Celsius upper limit originally set out in the Paris Agreement. 

“It is going to be very, very tough this summit. I am very worried because it might go wrong and we might not get the agreements that we need and it is touch and go, it is very, very difficult, but I think it can be done,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a news conference.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia claimed that the nation will be aiming to reach net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2060, adding that they also plan on doubling emission cuts within the next decade alone. 

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The nation of Ottawa offered an official plan where they would have developed nations donate up to $100 billion a year to poorer countries to tackle climate change by 2023. This plan calls on more developed nations to put in more effort when it comes to helping poorer nations. 

According to a poll performed by Reuters, economists found that hitting the Paris Agreement goal of net-zero carbon emissions will require more investments from richer countries. If the world continues on as it is, the average global temperature will increase by “1.6C, 2.4C and 4.4C by 2030, 2050 and 2100 respectively, which would also result in 2.4% lost output by 2030, 10% by 2050 and 18% by 2100,” according to the median replies to the poll.

In London, climate activists are taking action into their own hands by blockading major roads and disrupting traffic in the city’s financial district; similar protests are occuring all throughout Europe as well. 

“Greenhouse gas emissions are provoking climate catastrophes all over the planet. We don’t have time. It’s already late and if we don’t join the action against what’s happening, we won’t have time to save what is still left,” said Alberto, 27, a sociologist who took part in a sit-in protest in Madrid which blocked off one of the largest shopping streets in the city.

Olympics

Rights Activists Urge Boycotting of Beijing Winter Olympic Games As Protests Continue

Human rights activists are calling for broadcasters, sponsors, participants, and governments worldwide to boycott the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games due to China’s treatment of over two million Uyghur, Uzbek, and Kazakh Muslims, its crackdown on protests, and the “geopolitical bullying” towards Tibet and Taiwan.

Protests are already unfolding before the world’s eyes, with activists having waved a Tibet flag and banner stating “No Genocide Games” from inside the temple of Hera during the flame lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece on Monday. The two activists, who are part of the group ‘Students for a Free Tibet,’ were arrested and have since been released.

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Groups such as ‘Students for a Free Tibet’ are a part of the ‘No Beijing 2022’ campaign that’s fighting to stop the allowance of Beijing’s games, which consists of Chinese, Hong Kong, Uyghur, Tibet, South Mongolian, and Taiwanese activists.

During his speech at the ceremony, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach commented that the Olympics must remain “politically neutral ground.” Bach also stated that while the games cannot fix ongoing worldwide problems, they can “set an example for a world where everyone respects the same rules and one another.”

Bach’s sentiments have already been previously echoed by other members of the IOC. According to the South China Morning Post, IOC Vice President John Coates told reporters that the IOC’s remit only concerns the “Olympic movement.”

“We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do. All we can do is to award the Olympics to a country, under conditions set out in a host contract … and then ensure they are followed.”

Coates was also asked why the IOC would assist in helping Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, but not interfere in this situation. Coates said that the 100 members the IOC helped to leave the country were part of the “Olympic community.”

In a statement, International Tibet Network’s executive director Mandie McKeown called out the hypocrisy of the IOC and stated how wrong it is for the Committee to be handing the torch to a country whose “ideals are so far removed” from that of the Olympics.

In April, USA Today reported that the U.S. formally accused China of committing genocides and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur people. A State Department report found China engaged in “mass detention” of the Uyghurs in prison and camps, along with evidence of sterilized rape, torture, and forced labor.

In response, China claimed the genocide was fabrication of western researchers and biased media outlets while also condemning the U.S. for meddling in international affairs. China has also stated their actions toward Uyghurs is considered to be “re-educating” due to extremists in the group, and that the camps are “vocational centers.”

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Despite the U.S. having issued previous sanctions against Chinese officials while threatening to ban Chinese imports that were made from Uyghur forced labor, there have been no indications that the country, or any others, plan to exit or boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Numerous geopolitical issues have worked their way into the Olympic games throughout history. In 1980, dozens of countries, led by the U.S., boycotted the Moscow Olympics due to Soviet Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Boycotts by various countries also occurred in 1976, 1972, and 1968.

This also isn’t the first time China specifically has been called out by activists during the world games. CNN noted that human rights protests also occurred during the lighting ceremony back in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Winter Olympics will be held from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 in China’s capitol. It will be the first time a city has hosted both the summer and winter games. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only Chinese residents will be allowed to spectate the events.

Man Kills Five People In Norway With Bow And Arrows In Act Of Terrorism

A Danish man, who had a number of past run-ins with authorities, killed five people and injured two others with a bow and arrows in Kongsberg, Norway on Wednesday night. The two injured, one of which was an off-duty police officer, are currently in intensive care with their conditions unknown.

According to the Associated Press, the man, 37, was arrested around 30 minutes after his spree. The suspect was then taken into questioning, and admitted to the killings in detail. Authorities said that all the victims — four women and one man — were between the ages of 50 and 70.

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Southeast police district prosecutor Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen told NBC News that the killing spree, which occurred around 6 p.m. CEST (12 p.m. ET) began in a super market, but dead were found in other places, some of which were inside nearby buildings.

Svane Mathiassen said that the man is currently being held on preliminary charges of murder and will appear before a judge on Friday. Svane Mathiassen also noted that they’ve “never had anything like this before.”

The Norwegian Police Security Service, or PST, stated on Thursday that the attacks “currently appear to be an act of terrorism” due to their nature.

“PST considers that the most probable scenario of an extremely Islamist terrorist attack in Norway is an attack carried out by one or a few perpetrators with simple weapon types, against targets with few or no security measures.”

PST also said that attacks on random people in public places are a “recurring modus operandi (a usual way of doing something)” among radical Islamic terrorists. As of right now, it appears the man acted alone in his terrorist attack, though there is still an ongoing investigation.

The security service stated they are investigating to see whether this act could inspire others to commit killings in the forms of follow-up or revenge actions.

PST mentioned that the suspect was previously known to the service, but it couldn’t provide any more details. Before the attacks, the man had been flagged by police for possible radicalism, with authorities saying he was a Muslim convert.

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The threat of radicalism wasn’t the only prior red flag the suspect showed leading up to the attacks. The man had also been convicted of burglary and possession of drugs, and had a restraining order enforced against him by his parents after he threatened to kill one of them.

Svane Mathiassen told NBC News that since the town of Kongsberg is so small, many people know each other – which means the injured, dead, and suspect had relationships with others in the community, creating even more tragedy.

One resident speaking to the AP related to Svane Mathiassen’s feelings, saying that “people are sad and shocked,” while describing the somber, quiet atmosphere that has suddenly taken ahold of the town, which is around 50 miles southwest of Norway’s capitol of Oslo and has a population of 26,000.

BBC News stated this was the deadliest Norway terrorist attack since 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people — many of them being young teenagers at a summer camp — in a bombing and gun assault.

Incoming Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the incident a “cruel and brutal act” while also expressing his deepest sympathies. Gahr Stoere also pledged the newly-installed cabinet’s full attention to the terrorist attack.

According to police, there are “no concrete indications that there is a change in the threat level in the country.” The threat level in Norway is currently at moderate. The country is known for its low crime rates, which have decreased in the past number of years. In 2019, Norway had a 0.5 murder cases per 100,000 population.

Climate Activists Call For Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro To Face Punishments For ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

A group of climate lawyers are calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for his reported attacks on the Amazon, which they refer to as “crimes against humanity.”

According to CNN, AllRise, an Austrian non – profit organization, filed a landmark complaint that consisted of 286 pages in court in The Hauge, Netherlands, stating that Bolsonaro’s attacks on the Amazon and its supporters resulted in “persecution, murder, and inhumane suffering” in not just Brazil, but on a global scale.

CNN included some of the filing’s statements, which says that Bolsonaro should be held responsible for the future consequences that could derive from his Amazon policies, which have been highly criticized in the past.

“Climate science demonstrates that consequent fatalities, devastation and insecurity will occur on a far greater scale regionally and globally, long into the future, through the attributable links between the rapid acceleration in deforestation, its contribution to climate change, and the frequency and intensification of extreme weather events.”

Climate Observatory, which is composed of dozens of Brazilian civil society groups, is standing with AllRise and told CNN that Bolsonaro “promotes environmental destruction” and that he is an obstacle in the way of efforts to prevent global warming.

AllRise founder Johannes Wesemann spoke to Agence France-Presse (AFP), saying that “what’s happening in Brazil — mass deforestation — we want to understand the causal link to the global climate.” As AFP notes, this would be the first case seeking to connect deforestation to the loss of life.

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Wesemann also stated the goal of the complaint was to show the impact of deforestation, rather than speak on behalf of any person.

According to a statement release by Climate Observatory, deforestation rates have grown for two consecutive years by almost 56% since Bolsonaro took office in January of 2019. Those rates are expected to remain at a level of 10,000km, which would increase Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions.

AllRise estimates that the emission caused from the increased deforestation could cause over 180,000 heat-related deaths.

Meanwhile, Climate Observatory states the destruction of wildlife has worsened under Bolsonaro due to a lack of punishments for environmental violations, while the fund dedicated to preserving the rainforest has staggered.

“Under Bolsonaro, fines imposed by Ibama [Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources] have dropped to the lowest level in two decades, field operations have dwindled and the Amazon Fund, with nearly R$3 billion earmarked for forest protection, has been paralyzed since 2019.”

Illegal activities and mining have also increased in towns that support the President. It’s not too hard to guess why thousands have called for Bolsonaro’s impeachment.

However, there’s also a possibility this filing stops in its tracks. According to the AFP, the ICC has no obligation to consider complaints from individuals or groups, and cannot comment on matters until a prosecutor announces a preliminary examination into a matter.

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As Vox explains, the U.S. has been among the countries that have previously pushed Brazil to better defend its precious rainforests. However, during Bolsonaro and Donald Trump’s overlapping tenures, protection efforts decreased by up to 20%.

Since Joe Biden has taken office, Bolsonaro sings a much different tune, advocating his concern for defense of the rainforest while also asking for money in order to progress environmental efforts. The two leaders were unable to reach a rainforest protection agreement during April’s climate summit.

Deforestation isn’t the only action Bolsonaro has been under a barrage of fire for in the past couple days. In a press conference, Bolsonaro said he didn’t want to be “bored” with questions about Brazil’s coronavirus death toll. Brazil currently has 601,266 total COVID deaths, the second-most of any country and right behind the U.S.