Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Tuesday, September 8, 2020, 2:30 PM

Two Myanmar soldiers confessed to atrocities committed as part of what UN officials have concluded was a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, reports the New York Times. The video testimony is the first confession of human rights abuses by members of Myanmar’s military and could prove to be a significant step forward in the International Criminal Court’s case against Myanmar military leaders. “These men could be the first perpetrators from Myanmar tried at the I.C.C., and the first insider witnesses in the custody of the court,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive at Fortify Rights, a human rights watchdog organization.

Over the weekend, fresh protests against police misconduct and racial inequality erupted in the U.S. after bodycam footage emerged showing a fatal encounter between law enforcement and Daniel Prude, a Black man who was suffering from a mental health crisis in Rochester, N.Y., writes the Washington Post. Prude died of asphyxiation after police pinned him to the pavement on March 23. Rochester’s mayor pledged extensive policing reforms on Sunday evening.

Poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is no longer in a medically induced coma, according to the Associated Press. Medical experts in Germany, where Navalny is currently being treated, say that the high-profile critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in critical condition since August 20, when he was poisoned with a nerve agent.

Maria Kolesnikova, a prominent opposition leader in Belarus, was detained by Belarusian authorities at the border with Ukraine, writes Reuters. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko continues to face protests sparked by a disputed presidential election on August 9. Lukashenko recently told Russian reporters that he is not opposed to holding new elections, but will reject dialogue with political opponents.

China’s foreign minister today announced a Chinese initiative to set global standards on data security, according to the Journal. The move comes in response to U.S. efforts to exclude Chinese telecommunications firms, apps and other technologies from internet infrastructure used by the U.S. and other countries.

The Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific, has invited the Pentagon to establish a U.S. military presence on its territory, reports the Wall Street Journal. Defense Secretary Mark Esper traveled to Palau under the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s objective to counter Beijing’s maritime expansion and influence in Asia.

Wildfires in California continue to rage throughout the state, according to the Times. Over the weekend, the El Dorado fire in San Bernardino was ignited by a “pyrotechnic device,” which a family used to announce the gender of their new baby. That fire has since burned over 7,300 acres and remains minimally contained.

Iran’s nuclear chief has announced a new production hall near its Natanz nuclear site to make advanced centrifuges, writes Reuters. The construction aims to replace a production hall that caught fire in July, a fire Tehran has said to be the result of sabotage.

As college students have returned for the academic year, university campuses are becoming coronavirus hotspots, writes the Times. Since late July, the Times has counted over 45,000 new COVID-19 cases at colleges across the country.

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Paul Rosenzweig and Vishnu Kannan presented options for policy reform to restore the rule of law in a Post-Trump era.

Eric Rosand and Stevan Weine argued that in order to counter violent extremism in the United States, it is time to move beyond full reliance on the Department of Homeland Security and commit to new prevention models that offer a better fit with community-based work.

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