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Myanmar marks 100 days since military coup took hold of the nation

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The unfolding situation in Myanmar has now reached all-time highs as the nation marks 100 days since being taken over by the military

In the latest development, Myanmar security forces have fired shots and arrested about 30 people at an anti-coup rally in the country’s second-biggest city of Mandalay.

Protesters, continuing kept defying a months-long crackdown by a junta struggling to impose order.

Chaos erupted in Mandalay, a hotbed of anti-military sentiment when plainclothed police emerged from vehicles minutes into a protest, firing guns and beating demonstrators who fell as hundreds fled.

The nation is also known as Burma and remains in a political crisis all the while the nation’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained.

Democracy For Buma

The Democracy for Burma (#D4B) campaign started in Sydney Australia in late February 2021.

All five of the campaign founders have lived and worked in Burma over the last 20 years. Since the February 1st coup, they have all seen their family, friends and work colleagues in Burma suffer at the hands of the brutal Burmese military (the Tatmadaw).

Democracy in Burma is no more. Burmese Senior General Min Aung Hlaing seized control of power, detained many of the democratically elected leaders and embarked on a brutal and bloody crackdown

The D4B campaign comes in response to this injustice. 

The campaign actively supports pro-democracy activities, the civil disobedience movement (#CDM), the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (#CRPH), the newly formed National Unity Government (#NUG) and various networks that provide support and finance to people imperilled by the failed coup.

In Sydney, D4B will hold a Semiotics of Protest: A Burmese Inspired Protest Art Exhibition in association with The Art Syndicate gallery in 344 Bourke Street, Surry Hills. The exhibition will open on Sunday 16th May 2021. Funds raised will go to supply emergency medical supplies badly needed in Burma.

Running concurrently with the exhibition, D4B will host a series of weekly panel discussions, which will form the basis of a 4-part Podcast Series called the ‘D4B Debates’. Hosted by Shane Brady, D4B is lining up 3 expert panellists each week to discuss: The background to the Feb 1st coup, the National Unity Government & CRPH, Australia’s role in Burma and the Humanitarian Assistance to Burma. 

Learn more here: www.democracyforburma.com.au

Media Contact: Craig Hodges 0481006699

People stand on a barricade during a protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar March 27, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

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Global Politics

Biden, Putin arrive in Geneva for high-stakes summit

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Russian President Putin and US President Biden have arrived in Geneva.

Why the Biden and Putin summit could change the world | TICKER VIEWS

As the new US President prepares to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Geneva, foreign countries, from Europe, to the Baltic States and China, are left wondering what sort of decisions will be made, and how it will impact them. This is Joe Biden’s moment. And this summit could have major consequences for the world ahead.

It’s not the first time Joe Biden has met Vladimir Putin. But it’s tne first time as President of the United States. Earlier this week at the NATO summit, Joe Biden referred to Putin as a “worth adversary”.

So it’s no wonder they chose Switzerland as the location for their meeting. This is a meeting that will start, at least, in a neutral space.

We’re expecting a very different tone compared to the meeting between Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki. Back then, Trump decided to meet Putin without aides in Helsinki for a one on one meeting.

Joe Biden is far more hawkish towards Russia, and has been building support this week from leaders across Europe.

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will beat their chests
Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will beat their chests
https://twitter.com/tickerNEWSco/status/1405081910049529859?s=20

What’s on the agenda

It’s what we don’t know, but later find out, that is always intriguing for any watcher of global politics.

But what we do know is we can expect lots of talk about signals – issues like Russia’s treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his imprisonment in Russia.

Navalny flew back to Russia in January and was arrested at passport control.

Vladimir Putin has refused to give any guarantee that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny will get out of prison alive.

These sorts of issues become major news around the world, but really, there’s so much more going on behind the scenes that impacts the daily lives of millions of us who live outside of Moscow and Washington.

With respect to Navalny, issues like this are a smokescreen for far broader issues.

Alexei Navalny is still in prison
Alexei Navalny is still in prison

Cyber hacking

Not a week goes by without a major cyber attack somewhere in the world. And the finger is almost always pointed towards Russia. Either people working for the Russian government, or Russians no longer living in Russia.

The FBI is currently investigating a major hack against the world’s largest meat processing company, which forced the company to close its operations in the US and Australia. JBS ended up paying the ransom, believed to have been demanded by Russian hackers.

Ransomware attacks involve malware that encrypts files on a device or network causing the system to become inoperable. Criminals behind these types of cyberattacks typically demand a ransom in exchange for the release of data.

The Kremlin has denied claims that it has launched cyberattacks against the United States.

Russia has been blamed for hacking foreign governments and business.

Will there be a change in relations?

Experts can only hope, but know it’s highly unlikely. Vladimir Putin is a strongman, and the best outcome from this meeting would be a return to “mutual respect”. To get that, Joe Biden needs to go in tough, as tough as Putin.

For anyone watching over a long period of time, through the Cold War and even recent years, it’s as if the leaders of Russia and the United States both need each other.

For the US, Russia poses an omni-present threat. A reason to keep its bases around the world. A reason to do business with countries it might otherwise avoid due to public sentiment.

For Russia, well, the people love a strongman. It’s as if Russia has middle child syndrome. Always wanting to play with the big boys, but suffering from an economy which is smaller than Australia’s. With a heavy reliance on natural resources but unable to control the price, and therefore it’s future.

What will they agree on?

For all their disagreements, Russia and the United States have a lot in common. They both play in similar territories. They both have relationships with China, and Moscow is probably envious that it’s once smaller sibling is quickly outgrowing them in terms of regional power.

The US and Russia both have similar views on tackling climate change and controlling nuclear arms and the countries that might get hold of them. It’s these issues we might see some progress from this meeting.

But aside from “strategic stability”, whatever that means, there’s unlikely to be an end in sight to this sibling squabble. Siblings, with nuclear weapons.

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Global Politics

EU lifts travel ban on the US

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American’s will now be able to travel more freely Britain

European Union governments have officially agreed to add the United States to their list of countries from which they will allow non-essential travel.

Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 countries approved the addition of the United States and five other countries at a meeting on Wednesday.

The change to take effect in the coming days.

Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Taiwan will be added, while Chinese administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau will also be included.

EU nations have been recommended to gradually lift travel restrictions for the current eight countries on the list – Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

Individual EU countries can still opt to require a negative COVID-19 test or a period of the hotel or home quarantine.

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Global Politics

“Getting tense” – North Korea is about to run out of food

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned the nation could be about to run out of food.

According to state media, Kim Jong-Un said the country’s economy improved this year but called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s typhoons.

Mr. Kim chaired a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee this week to review progress on major policies and craft measures in the hope to resolve economic issues.

The committee set goals and tasks to achieve its new five-year economic plan outlined at its previous session in February, including increased food and metal production.

The supreme leader says the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with the total industrial output growing 25% from a year before.

Local media reported there was “a series of deviations” in the party’s efforts to implement the plans due to several obstacles, with Kim singling out tight food supplies.

“The people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfil its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year,”

Kim said.

The call for measures to boost agricultural production

Mr. Kim says the food situation in his country “is now getting tense.”

The party vowed to direct all efforts to the farming sector and discuss ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to KCNA, Kim Jon-Un stated the protracted pandemic crisis required the party to step up efforts to provide food, clothing and housing for the people.

No coronavirus cases have been officially confirmed in North Korea, although South Korean officials have questioned this claim.

North Korea has however imposed strict anti-virus measures including border closures and domestic travel restrictions.

COVAX, a global initiative for sharing COVID-19 vaccines with poor countries, has said it will provide nearly 2 million doses to North Korea but the shipment has been delayed amid protracted consultations.

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