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“The world’s attention must remain on Myanmar” – Obama left ‘heartbroken’ by military coup scenes

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U.S. President Barack Obama talks to the media as he meets with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. September 14, 2016.

Former US President, Barack Obama has weighed in on the crisis that continues to unfold across Myanmar, stating he was “appalled by heartbreaking violence” it had used against civilians after retaking power in a coup.

Releasing a rare statement, Obama said he supported his President Joe Biden’s move to impose sanctions on the nation and impose costs on Myanmar’s generals.

“The military’s illegitimate and brutal effort to impose its will after a decade of greater freedoms will clearly never be accepted by the people and should not be accepted by the wider world”

Obama has called for those in Myanmar to continue to protest for their democracy.

What’s happening in Myanmar

Myanmar was taken over by the nation’s military in February, after detaining the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mass protests have been taking place across Myanmar since the military seized control on 1 February.

It comes as elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained, and so do other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Hundreds of people, including children, have been killed.

The military is now back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency. The armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud.

Global Impacts

Countries from across the globe have responded to the crisis in Myanmar, many imposing sanctions on the nation.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on 10 of Myanmar’s military leaders, as well as two giant military conglomerates.

The United States has also responded, imposing the following:

APRIL 21, 2021 Imposing Sanctions on Two Burmese State-Owned Enterprises

APRIL 21, 2021 Treasury Sanctions Key Timber and Pearl Enterprises in Burma 

APRIL 8, 2021 Imposing Sanctions on Burmese State-Owned Enterprise

APRIL 8, 2021 Treasury Sanctions Key Gems Enterprise in Burma 

MARCH 25, 2021 Sanctions on Two Burmese Entities in Connection with the Military Regime

MARCH 25, 2021 Treasury Sanctions Military Holding Companies in Burma 

MARCH 22, 2021 Designating Officials and Military Units in Response to Escalating Violence in Burma

MARCH 22, 2021 United States Targets Burmese Military Forces for Repression of Pro-Democracy Protests 

MARCH 10, 2021 Promoting Accountability and Responding to Violence against Protestors in Burma

MARCH 10, 2021 United States Targets Family Members Profiting from Connection to Burmese Coup Leader 

FEBRUARY 22, 2021 Promoting Accountability for Those Responsible for Violence Against Protestors in Burma

FEBRUARY 22, 2021 United States Targets Members of Burma’s State Administrative Council following Violence against Protestors 

FEBRUARY 11, 2021 Designating Officials and Entities in Connection with the Military Coup in Burma

FEBRUARY 11, 2021 United States Targets Leaders of Burma’s Military Coup Under New Executive Order Archive: Find releases prior to January 20, 2017

Experts are now urging that the agenda for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders Meeting in the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Saturday should be able to produce concrete actions to end violence in Myanmar.

Calls for Industries to cut ties with Myanmar

IndustriALL ExCo unanimously adopts a resolution on Myanmar, calling on companies to end commercial ties with the military; on all affiliates to pressure governments for economic sanctions; on governments to recognise the new National Unity Government of Myanmar.

Global Politics

Insider reveals death day of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper

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Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities froze the company’s assets under a national security law, an adviser to jailed owner Jimmy Lai says.

According to reports, Friday will be the last day for the 26-year-old newspaper.

Media advocacy groups say that the closure of Apple Daily would undermine the former British colony’s reputation as an open and free society and send a warning to other companies that could be accused of colluding with a foreign country.

The publisher’s head company Next Digital will hold a board meeting on Monday to
discuss how to move forward after its lines of credit were frozen.

“We must press on”: news raid sends “shockwaves” through Hong-Kong

Following raids on a Hong Kong newsroom last week, a journalist based in the city-state says it has sent “shockwaves” through the entire industry.

500 Hong Kong police offices raided Apple Daily to arrest a number of top executives and seize documents over allegations the publisher breached national security laws.

Elaine Yu from the Wall Street Journal says the incident “raises important new questions about how media outlets can report on topics that are now considered highly sensitive.”

Apple Daily says the company’s CEO, COO and three editors were all arrested during the raids.

The behaviour of the individuals is said to have breached legislation that prohibits sedition, secession and subversion against Beijing.

The assistant to Apple Daily’s chairman says operations at the newsroom are limited because Hong Kong authorities have seized many of the company’s accounts.

He also says “it’ll get harder for reporters to get people to talk to them because the police can now potentially seize reporter’s files and devices through a court warrant.”

Sold out news stands with “we must press on” printed on front page

“We must press on”… that was the message on the front page of Apple Daily, that people in hong kong queued up for.

Many Hong Kong locals have have queued up to buy copies of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily… a day after its newsroom was raided by police.

The paper typically prints about 80,000 copies but increased that to 500,000 to meet demand.. and some news stands sold out.

A total of five executives were arrested including the Editor-in-chief and chief executive officer.

Police made the arrests on suspicion of collusion with a “foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.

200 Hong Kong police officers arrested five senior executives. Image: Apple Daily.

Meanwhile, this is the second time that police have searched the building.

The company’s founder Jimmy Lai, was recently arrested for national security violations.

Mr Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence.

The raid follows arrests made at the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last month.

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Global Politics

Why Olympic spectators are likely despite widespread opposition

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Olympic Games organisers and government officials are meeting today and it’s expected that a final decision will be made – on how many – if any – domestic spectators will be able to attend events at the Summer Olympics, which commence in a month.


Concerns have been raised by medical experts that allowing spectators could worsen the spread of infections

Foreign spectators are banned from attending the games due to health concerns.

The Olympic Organising Comittee will update the general public today on exactly how many local fans will be allowed in the stands

Local media have reported that a 10,000 spectator cap will be set. 

On the weekend, in a move to reduce the risk of COVID spreading, Tokyo’s Governor announced six viewing sites have been scrapped

Members of the public would have been able to watch live broadcasts of events at these locations. 
That will no longer be happening with some instead set to serve as vaccination sites.

There is still considerable opposition in Japan for the Olympic Games going ahead. A new poll shows almost two-thirds of Japan’s public want the event postponed again or cancelled altogether. 

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Global Politics

Shock move for Australia’s Government

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Barnaby Joyce has reportedly taken over the National Party’s leadership from Michael McCormack

The Nationals whip Damian Drum has confirmed that Barnaby Joyce will be Australia’s new deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party.

The Nationals dumped current deputy PM Michael McCormack despite support from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Joyce had previously been leader of the Nationals until he resigned in 2018. He stepped down from politics amid a sexual harassment allegation, which was unable to come to any conclusion.

Sexual harassment allegations

This comes after Catherine Marriott lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against the former vice PM, which remains inconclusive.

The NSW Nationals issued a brief statement confirming the party had finalised the investigation, which would remain confidential.

“This outcome simply isn’t good enough,” says Mariott.

Joyce has continued to deny the claims,calling them “spurious and defamatory”.

Catherine Mariott is the Chief Executive Officer of Riverine Plains, an independent farming systems group

Tamil Asylum Seeker family

This comes after Barnaby Joyce slammed his own party over the treatment of the Tamil asylum seeker family, who have been detained in detention for over three years.

Three-year-old Tharnicaa Murugappan was medically evacuated to Perth to be treated for a blood infection last week.

‘Tharnicaa and Kopika were born in Australia,’ he said on Sunrise on Monday. 

‘Maybe if their names were Jane and Sally and they were playing the local netball side, we’d think twice about sending them back to another country which they’re not from.

What’s Barnaby Joyce’s stance on climate?

In 2019, Barnaby Joyce suggested ‘God is the solution to climate change‘, urging Australians to ‘respect God’s plan’.

Joyce was a leading campaigner against the former Labor government’s attempts to tax carbon as a way to bring down Australia’s emissions. He claimed claiming so would ‘send the cost of a Sunday roast to $100.’

“Now you don’t have to convince me that the climate’s not changing, it is changing and my problem’s always been whether you believe a new tax is going to change it back,” he said.

This position comes in contrast to former deputy PM Michael McCormack, who has previously said Australia must “absolutely” take more action on climate.

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