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The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 22 May 2020

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2.4 million people and more than half a million livestock were brought to shelters in Bangladesh [Abu Sufian Jewel/AP Photo]

With Three New COVID-19 Cases At The World’s Largest Refugee Camp And A Cyclone, Is Total Devastation Around The Corner For Bangladesh?

Cyclone Amphan continues its destruction on the west of India and Bangladesh, killing dozens. Amongst this devastation, the world's largest refugee camp, Cox's Bazar Camp, has recorded three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 13.

Cox's Bazar Camp is home to 850,000 Rohingya refugees, and has been considered during the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a powder-keg situation.

That fuse has well and truly been lit, against the back drop of a devastating cyclone.

(See Point 6 Below)

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The Daily Quick-Look for 22 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 – Security: US Withdraws From ‘Open Skies’ Treaty

BLUF: The United States announced its intention on Thursday to withdraw from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries, the Trump administration’s latest move to pull the country out of a major global treaty. The administration said Russia has repeatedly violated the pact’s terms. Senior officials said the pullout will formally take place in six months, based on the treaty’s withdrawal terms. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The US cited a years-long effort by Russia to restrict US flights over Georgia and Kaliningrad military enclave, as well as Russia using flights over the US and Europe to collect information on key US infrastructure to be used offensively in a time of war.

2. NIGERIA – Security (Health): Doctors End Their Stay-At-Home Strike Following Affirmation Of Exemption From Curfew

BLUF: Following the affirmation by the police that health workers are exempted from the 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), on Thursday, reversed the sit-at-home strike which it earlier embarked upon at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The sit-at-home directive was a response to the arrest of health workers by officers of the Lagos State police command for defying the curfew, despite their exemption from the curfew as essential workers. The police in Lagos Tuesday night arrested several essential workers, including medical doctors, journalists, bankers and others, stating that they were not exempted from the curfew. This infuriated the doctors’ union which called for the sit-at-home protest on Wednesday. (Premium Times. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Reports of heavy-handed tactics during the pandemic by police in African nations such as Nigeria and South Africa (recently officers suspended for death of civilian) are becoming frequent, as police are possibly either: struggling to disseminate their orders to lower ranks; the law they are operating in is not clear (unclear direction from a legislative level); there is ill discipline within the ranks; police are operating outside their authority; or, a mix or all of the above.

3. SOUTH SUDAN – Security: More Than 200 Killed In Inter-Communal Violence

BLUF: More than 200 people were killed and at least 300 others wounded in inter-communal clashes last weekend in South Sudan’s Jonglei State, according to local leaders. Local officials say armed youth suspected of being from the Greater Pibor Administrative Area carried out attacks in four villages on Saturday and Sunday. Young men reported to be wearing military uniforms raided several villages and burned two Uror County villages - Pieri and Pamai - to the ground, according to Pal Mai, former deputy secretary general of the now defunct Bieh State. (AllAfrica. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: South Sudan has suffered significant instability since its independence from Sudan in 2011. In 2013 a civil war erupted when the President Salva Kiir accused his rivals of a coup d'état, with the conflict ending in a peace deal on 22 February 2020.

4. LEBANON – Security (Health): Lebanon At Risk Of Major Food Crisis According To Prime Minister

BLUF: Lebanon’s financial meltdown could tip the country into a full-blown food crisis, as people hit by soaring prices and the fallout of COVID-19 become unable to afford even basics like bread, the prime minister warned. Lebanon has been paralysed by an economic crisis that has seen dollars dry up, banks impose tight capital controls, unemployment surge, and a sovereign debt default in March - all before the compounding blow of the coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the pandemic could trigger a global food security emergency that would put vulnerable countries like Lebanon at particular risk. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The Lebanese Prime Minister Diab had called on the US and Europe to set up an emergency fund to aid the Middle East to avoid humanitarian disaster (see above link).

5. INDIA – Security: India And China Continue Friction On India’s Disputed Northern Border

BLUF: India said on Thursday that Chinese troops had stood in the way of regular Indian patrols along their disputed border in flare-ups at two locations this month and called for stability on the front line. The two countries have in recent years taken steps to build confidence between their militaries while expanding commercial ties. But the border remains an unresolved issue over which they went to war in 1962 and tensions erupt sometimes. (Reuters. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Indian and Chinese border patrols had recently been involved in what was reported as a ‘skirmish’, leaving several people on both sides with minor injuries. It was claimed by Chinese state media however that Indian troops had trespassed into Chinese territory.

6. INDIA/BANGLADESH – Security: 88 Killed In As Cyclone Amphan Ravages Western India And Bangladesh

BLUF: Amphan, the most powerful cyclone to strike eastern India and Bangladesh in 20 years, has killed at least 88 people, officials said, as rescue teams scoured devastated coastal villages, hampered by torn down power lines and flooding over large tracts of land. In the Indian state of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Thursday that at least 72 people had perished - most of them either electrocuted or killed by trees uprooted by winds that gusted up to 185km per hour (115 miles/h). In neighbouring Bangladesh, the official toll was put at 16. (Al-Jazeera. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: The cyclone has struck at a time when Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, with three new cases confirmed at the Cox’s Bazar Refugee Camp (https://bit.ly/2Zxmxui), the world’s largest camp; housing 850,000 Rohingya refugees.

7. HONG KONG – Political: Beijing To Discuss Enacting National Security Law In Hong Kong Following Months Of Protest

BLUF: Beijing is to discuss introducing national security legislation in Hong Kong following almost 12 months of protest and unrest. The move comes 17 years after such plans were scrapped following city-wide demonstrations. State media announced on Thursday that the National People’s Congress (NPC) is to discuss drafting a decision on “Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for Hong Kong to Safeguard National Security” at a plenary session on Friday. (HKFP. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: It is highly likely that this measure by Beijing will result in significant protest activity, which will again draw international attention; particularly from the US and likely the UK (which had a 99-year lease on Hong Kong, transferring rule of Hong Kong back to the China on 01 July 1997). Beijing’s continuing and overt ambition to further erode the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ rule using pro-Beijing Hong Kong officials will see the next six months be a precarious time for the people of Hong Kong.

8. JAPAN – Security (Health): Japan Ends State Of Emergency In Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo; May Lift Tokyo On Monday

BLUF: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday lifted the state of emergency in the western prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, as the spread of the novel coronavirus has slowed enough to justify the gradual easing of curbs on economic activity. The Tokyo metropolitan area and Hokkaido will remain under the state of emergency but Abe said they may see it lifted as early as Monday after a review by health experts. (Japan Today. See Link In Heading) Why It Matters: Japan had held off on employing restrictive measures as it attempted to prove that the Tokyo Olympics could still be held, with life continuing as normal for Tokyo while many nations were heading into lockdown. Tokyo saw a spike in cases after the Olympics had been postponed.

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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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