The Deciport Weekly Recap: 23 August 2020
A summary of Key Events from this week's Daily Quick-Looks. Click on the headings or pictures below to be taken to the Quick-Look for that particular day. All Quick-Looks can also be found on the Intelligence Stream.
17 August 2020: Thailand's Largest Pro-Democracy Protest In Years
Security, Political // BLUF: More than 10,000 people turned out in the Thai capital of Bangkok to protest against the government on Sunday.
The protests began nearly a month ago and have been held almost everyday since.
Among the demands are: a revision of the constitution, the end to harassment of anti-government critics; and reforms within the monarchy. The protesters have also called for the Prime Minister, who took power in a military coup in 2014, to resign.
Anti-government protests have been rife in both the eastern and western hemispheres of the world in the last 24 months, with Hong Kong being particularly prominent.
18 August 2020: Belarus Protests And Strikes Twisting Arm Of Leader
Security, Political // BLUF: Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, has said that he would be ready to hold new elections and hand over power in a constitutional referendum, in an attempt to calm the huge protests over alleged vote rigging.
Lukashenko, a former Soviet collective farm manager, was heckled by workers who yelled chants for him to step down, while delivering a speech at one of Belarus' large state-run factories; forming part of his Soviet-style economic model.
Large-scale strikes and protests have seen the leader soften his position, while the European Union weighs in over alleged government abuse against protesters; and Moscow offers military assistance.
19 August 2020: Sudan Expresses Interest In Peace With Israel
Security, Political // BLUF: Sudan has expressed interest over peace with Israel, following the historic peace deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, brokered with the help of the Trump Administration.
Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, was the birth place of the Arab League's 'Three Nos' resolution (The Khartoum Resolution) following the Six-Day War in 1967: No Peace with Israel, No Recognition of Israel and No Negotiations with Israel.
Sudan's interest comes as Bahrain and Oman also seek to normalise ties with Israel, in what could be a new era of peace and cooperation in the region.
20 August 2020: Qantas Not Expecting International Travel Before July 2021
Security (Health), Economic // BLUF: Australian airline Qantas has said that it is unlikely to restart its international travel network before July 2021.
The airline has lost $4 billion in revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated that the second half of the financial year was the toughest in the airline's 100-year history.
21 August 2020: Biden Accepts Democratic US Presidential Nomination
Political // BLUF: Democrat Joe Biden has formally accepted the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidential Election later this year.
In his acceptance speech, Biden stated, “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division,” Biden said. “Here and now, I give you my word: if you entrust me with the presidency, I’ll draw on the best of us, not the worst.”
Biden hasn't been without controversy recently, with accusations of corruption based around his son's business dealings in China and Ukraine; the resurfacing of videos on social media of Biden groping and sniffing children; and questions surrounding his mental health.
US President Donald Trump tweeted in response to Biden's speech, “In 47 years, Joe did none of the things of which he now speaks. He will never change, just words!”
Security (Health) // BLUF: After 102 days without community transmission of COVID-19, New Zealand now has 1321 confirmed cases as of today.
Internationally lauded for its strict 6-week lockdown of the entire country, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern touted a 'go hard, go early' approach, the new outbreak is a devastating blow to the country of nearly 5 million people.
With the city of Auckland in 'Level 3' lockdown (Level 4 being the highest) and the rest of the country at 'Level 2' (see level descriptions here: https://bit.ly/2YquGiS), a decision will be made on Monday regarding restrictions.
The outbreak has attracted attention from all corners of the globe, with questions being raised regarding the effectiveness of the hard lockdown versus the 'herd immunity' approach, such as that of Sweden (see Point 3 below), along with US President Donald Trump questioning the outbreak; much to the ire of New Zealanders.
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