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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 17 May 2020

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Police clash with protesters demanding an end to economic restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, May 16, 2020. (Czarek Sokolowski / AP)

Protests Erupt In Europe Over COVID-19 Restrictions.

The UK, Germany, Poland and Spain all saw protest activity during the weekend over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, citing government limiting of civil liberties, the destruction of economies; and also other elements such as anti-vaccination and conspiracies.

Germany's protests saw thousands turn out, with arrests made in all countries; as 'social distancing' rules were broken. Poland's protests saw tear gas deployed. These protests follow recent protests in Australia, albeit with much smaller numbers; although arrests still occurred there citing breaches of social distancing. (See Point 2 Below)

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The Daily Quick-Look for 17 May 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours and why they matter. Each headline contains the link to its source report. *BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

1. UNITED STATES – Political: Trump Administration Considers Restoring Partial Funding To WHO

BLUF: US President Donald Trump has commented that his administration is considering options to restore partial funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), with one of the options reportedly being to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions. Trump posted to Twitter that a final decision was yet to be made. (JP/Reuters. See Link) Why It Matters: Trump had ceased the US funding of the WHO amidst criticism of the WHO’s position on China during the COVID-19 outbreak, with Trump viewing the WHO as covering for China’s perceived negligence over the handling of COVID-19.

2. UK/SPAIN/GERMANY/POLAND – Political: Protests Break Out In The UK, Spain, Germany And Poland

BLUF: Protests over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have broken out in the UK, Germany, Poland (see main link above) and Spain (see: https://bit.ly/3bDusJ9). German protests occurred on Saturday with what was reported to be thousands of protesters gathered in major cities around the country. Primary grievances being limitation on civic freedom and crippling of the economy. 5000 protesters were reported in Stuttgart, with 1500 in Frankfurt and 1000 in Munich; while 200 arrests were made in Berlin. Protests in the UK had a similar theme, with arrests being made in Hyde Park. Protests in Warsaw, Poland saw tear gas deployed and dozens, including a senator, arrested. Protests in Spain broke out as the left-wing government announced a one-month extension of its emergency powers. (TRT/SWI. See Link) Why It Matters: Anti-lockdown protests are becoming more prevalent around the world, primarily in western countries; including Australia recently. Themes of the abuse of government power and restrictions on civil liberties have been intermixed by other protesters with themes of anti-vaccination and global conspiracies. The New Zealand government had recently rushed through a new bill that extended government and police powers past a national emergency, that allows police to enter private property without a warrant to ensure social distancing is occurring and non-sworn officers to enter premises and shut businesses. The bill was met with widespread public backlash.

3. GERMANY – Security/Economic: Germany Calls On Poland, Czech Republic To Open Borders Soon

BLUF: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called on Poland and the Czech Republic to fully open their borders to enable free flow of people and goods. Mass said, “We’ll stop border controls for Denmark in the next few days, and from June 15th there will be no more checks at the borders with France, Austria and Switzerland,” and, “I’m hoping that the border controls that the Polish and Czech friends currently do will also be lifted in the foreseeable future,” during a meeting in Luxembourg. (Reuters. See Link) Why It Matters: The comments follow the ‘Travel Bubble’ between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia that opened recently that had made it Europe’s first such arrangement.

4. KENYA – Security: Kenya Closes Border With Tanzania And Somalia Due To COVID-19

BLUF: Kenya has shut its borders with Tanzania and Somalia as the country seeks to contain outbreaks of COVID-19, with Kenya’s government citing cross-border cases entering the country. The closure does not affect supply movements. (AllAfrica. See Link) Why It Matters: While European countries are struggling to reopen borders to refloat their economies, the move by Kenya indicates a need to continue to maintain relatively low numbers (830 confirmed, 50 deaths) for a large population (47 million).

5. IRAN – Security: Iran Threatens US Through State Media Over Interference With Iran Oil Shipment To Venezuela

BLUF: Iran’s Nour news agency said, “If the United States, just like pirates, intends to create insecurity on international waterways, it would be taking a dangerous risk and that will certainly not go without repercussion,” referring to an Iranian oil tanker carrying a shipment to Venezuela. (Reuters. See Link) Why It Matters: Venezuela is experiencing significant issues with its deteriorating oil-producing infrastructure and collapsed economy under the democratic socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro. Iran recently had a ‘blue-on-blue’ incident during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman, when a missile cruiser struck a friendly support ship; killing 19 sailors. US President Trump had recently instructed the US Navy to fire on any Iranian ship posing as a threat.

6. THAILAND – Security: Thailand Extends Incoming International Travel Ban Until End Of June

BLUF: Thailand has extended its ban on international travelers entering the country until the end of June, according to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority. The travel ban was first introduced in April in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19. (Reuters. See Link). Why It Matters: Thailand is currently rolling back its restrictions, with a curfew being shortened by an hour (to 2300 to 0400, from 2200 to 0400) and malls and department stores reopening.

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The reporting period for this Daily Quick-Look is the previous 24 hours (unless stated otherwise). This Daily Quick-Look is comprised of reports from agencies around the world, and are referenced where possible. Deciport LLC is in no way associated with any agency listed. This Daily Quick-Look is for information purposes only. This Daily Quick-Look is not intended for planning purposes. The comments that comprise the 'Why It Matters' do not represent the opinions, viewpoints or assessment of the agency from which the linked source report originated, and is intended to add context for the reader as part of a summary.

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