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The murder of Haiti’s president could lead to a crisis beyond Africa | Ticker VIEWS

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As the political crisis in Haiti reaches breaking point, the US will need to do more than investigate the President’s assassination

As a team of American officials investigate the assassination of Haiti’s president, the country falls into political chaos. With the US’ ties to Haiti, this emerging crisis could have impact that reach far beyond Africa.

Although the White House is still reviewing Haiti’s plea for troops to help secure the country, additional military support looks unlikely.

“I don’t know that we’re at a point now where we can say definitively that our national security is being put at risk by what’s happening there,” US secretary of Defence John Kirby said. “But clearly we value our Haitian partners. We value stability and security in that country.”

Now, the world is watching to see if the US lives up to that claim.

Three suspects in President Moïse’s murder have ties to the US

The mercenaries who murdered Jovenel Moïse entered the president’s house dressed like US Drug Enforcement agents. Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph says they were “well-trained professionals”. The assasins also attacked Haiti’s first lady, who is now recovering in a Florida hospital.

Although the majority of suspects ties to the case are former Colombian soldiers, the investigators have also arrested three suspects with ties to the US. They also recently arrested a Florida-based doctor for his involvement in the assassination, alongside two Americans arrested earlier this week.

The two Americans both say they worked only as translators, and were not in the room when the mercenaries killed the president. They say their goal was to bring the president to the national palace, not kill him.

Suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse included the American citizens James Solages, left, and Joseph Vincent, second left. Credit: Business insider.

Haiti grapples for control amid leadership grab

Moïse’s murder has thrown the country into a mad scramble for leadership. Interim prime minister Claude Joseph has since made a grab for the top spot. This is despite the former president sacking him a week before his murder.

“Let’s search for harmony to advance together, so the country doesn’t fall into chaos,” warned Joseph.

Despite Joseph’s attempts to garner support from the US, eight of Haiti’s ten remaining senators have challenged Joseph’s legitimacy to rule. The group signed a resolution calling for a new government to replace the intern prime minister with Senate president, Joseph Lambert.

On Saturday, Lambert also said the Senate had postponed a swearing-in ceremony so that all senators could participate. “There is an urgent need to rebuild hope in our country,” he said on Twitter.

As violence escalates, democracy in Haiti falters

Amid the assassination and subsequent leadership scramble, Haiti’s September elections are looking unlikely. Many civil society groups have raised concerns that holding the elections would exacerbate the political crisis.

President Moïse’s assassination is only the latest in a string of the country’s misfortunes, as it struggles to recover from a massive earthquake that struck the nation over ten years ago. Human rights groups estimate gangs control about 60 per cent of the country’s territory.

Haiti also faces food and water insecurity, which have come under greater strain following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Any hope for stability rests on the country solving this latest political crisis. But the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, who might be expected to help during the upheaval, died recently of COVID-19.

Author

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Global Politics

Melbourne enters sixth lockdown as new cases emerge

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Melbourne has entered a snap- lockdown for the sixth time amid three new cases of community transmission

Melbourne entered lockdown number six as authorities continue to scramble to contact trace three new cases of community transmission.

Authorities are considering a three-day snap lockdown to throw a ring around Victoria’s latest Covid outbreak.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley says he expects more than 10,000 primary close contacts linked to new outbreak.

The government and health authorities are locked in discussions about whether a lockdown is required in Melbourne.

This comes less than two weeks since Melbourne’s last lockdown came to an end

There are seven people with Covid-19 in Victorian hospitals. This includes two people in intensive care, who are both on ventilators.

Victorian Covid-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar says authorities have identified two more cases linked to a Hobsons Bay couple in Melbourne’s west.

This brings the state’s daily total to seven cases.

Al-Taqwa College cluster

Health officials are concerned that a teacher at Al-Taqwa College may have infected several people in the community.

The teacher, a woman in her 20s, lives in the Hobsons Bay local government area.

Authorities believe was was infectious in the community for three days last week.

One of her household contacts has also tested positive.

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Authors

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Global Politics

Researchers reveal China’s huge network of fake social media profiles

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A new study has revealed that China is using a network of fake social media profiles to push pro-China rhetoric and discredit opponents

Researchers have uncovered a sprawling network of over 350 fake social media profiles China’s using to push a pro-China rhetoric.

According to the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR) report, the network’s goal is to delegitimise the West and improve China’s international perception.

Fake users in the network shared large amounts of content about issues like gun laws and race politics. The fake users also used the accounts to criticise opponents to the regime.

The study found a network of fake profiles circulating political cartoons

The cartoons negatively depict critics such as exiled Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui, whistleblower scientist Li-Meng Yang, and Steve Bannon, former political strategist for Donald Trump.

China has accused all of them for spreading disinformation including incorrect information about Covid-19.

The network also used the accounts to highlight human rights concerns in the US. Some of the posts cited the murder of George Floyd and hate crimes against Asians.

Cartoon depicting Steve Bannon as a demon, 'Yan Limeng' with a forked tongue and Guo Wengui with a tail and holding an American flag.

China’s multi-platform fake social network

The accounts are across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

Some of the accounts use entirely fake AI-generated profile pictures, whereas bots appear to have hijacked some other accounts.

There’s not concrete evidence that links the network to the Chinese government other than speculation from experts. The CIR says the network resembles other networks Twitter and Facebook have taken down previously.

Who are the fake users?

The researchers found most of the fake profiles use AI-generated faces. A reverse image source cannot search for these images.

The CIR says fake profile pictures in disinformation campaigns are becoming more common. It was able to identify fake images by lining up the position of their eyes.

They say that fake images always tend to put eyes in the same location of an image. Other signs of a synthetic image include blurred hair edges, strangely-angled teeth, and blurred objects around the face.

China responds with campaign against misinformation

This comes as China launches a campaign against fake news to ‘cleanse the cyberspace’ of ‘fake or harmful’ information and unlicensed citizen journalists.

The campaign is a joint effort with ten regulatory agencies, which plan on hitting Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Douyin.

Some of the accounts denied human right abuses in Xinjiang

Some of the fake profiles also denied any human rights abuses against Muslim people in the Xinjiang region. One post called the allegations, “lies fabricated by the United States and the West”.

Many of the Facebook accounts appear to have Turkish names. The researchers believe these accounts once belonged to real people before being hijacked or sold.

The network also appears to have hijacked some dormant accounts on Youtube which previously posted in English or German. After being dormant for years, these accounts suddenly started posting Chinese content from official state broadcasters.

Author

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Global Politics

Why does the WHO think we shouldn’t be getting Covid-19 booster shots?

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The World Health Organisation has called for a suspension on COVID-19 booster shots until at least the end of September

The World Health Organisation has called for an end of Covid-19 vaccine booster shots. It is advising that all countries pause the rollout of booster shots until at least September. This would allow for at least 10 percent every country’s population to get a jab.

“We cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

This follows some countries announcing plans to administer a third dose. Both Israel and Germany have announced such plans amid growing concerns about the Delta variant.

The WHO believes poorer nations are falling behind

However, Dr Tedros believes poorer nations are falling behind. Many countries are struggling to administer their populations a first dose, while wealthier nations are able to dispense booster shots.

“We need an urgent reversal, from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low-income countries,” he said.

This comes amid the release of new data showing that low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to a lack of supply.

The “sprint to September”

This comes as the WHO calls for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September.

In some countries like Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo, none of the population has received two doses of any vaccine.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has only fully vaccinated 7.9 percent of its population. This comes as the Delta variant continues to run rampant across the nation.

Author

  • Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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