Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Monday, March 22, 2021, 3:31 PM

This morning, the Supreme Court announced that it will review a U.S. appellate court decision to overturn the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, reports the New York Times. The 2013 attack killed three people and injured 260. Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld Tsarnaev’s convictions for his role in the bombings, but ruled that his death sentence should be thrown out due to concerns about a fair trial.

U.S. officials are racing to construct emergency housing facilities for a record-high number of unaccompanied minors in custody at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CBS News. Over the past 21 days, government data shows that an average of more than 500 migrant children have arrived at the southern border each day. The records also indicate that unaccompanied minors are spending an average of 136 hours in Customs and Border Patrol custody—far past the limit of 72 hours dictated by U.S. law. Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas put out a statement on the crisis, in which he acknowledged that the U.S. is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”

The EU and U.S. have imposed additional sanctions on several individuals and groups in connection with last month’s military coup in Myanmar, reports Reuters. Since the coup, a surge of pro-democracy protests have swept the country as citizens have turned out to demonstrate against the ousting and detention of the country’s former leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. But over the past few weeks, the unrest has been met with a violent military crackdown—so far, Myanmar security forces have killed at least 250 people protesting in towns and cities across the country. The EU announced today that it will impose “sanctions against 11 persons involved in the coup and the repression of the demonstrators,” and stronger measures are expected to come soon as U.S. and European diplomats plan to next take aim at military-owned businesses in Myanmar.

The U.S., Canada, Britain and the European Union announced today that each country will impose coordinated sanctions on several Chinese officials who are alleged to be involved in a campaign of genocidal repression against China’s population of Uighur Muslims, writes Politico. The U.S. sanctions specifically target Wang Junzheng, the secretary of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Chen Mingguo, director of the Xijiang Public Security Bureau.

Despite heightened tensions, the chief climate envoys for the U.S. and China will meet to engage in formal discussions on climate action this week, according to the Wall Street Journal. The conference, known as the Ministerial on Climate Action, will begin tomorrow—marking the first formal engagement between Washington and Beijing to tackle climate issues since the Biden administration took office. Last week, top U.S. and Chinese officials hurtled accusations towards the other side during a heated high-level meeting between the two countries in Anchorage, Alaska.

Saudia Arabia has proposed a ceasefire in Yemen, but the Houthi opposition claim that the initiative falls short of their demands, writes Reuters. The Saudi’s new initiative would include a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen as well as the reopening of Sanaa airport. It would also allow fuel and food imports through the Hodeidah port and a restart to intra-Yemen political negotiations. But Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam told Reuters that the offer was not enough: “We expected that Saudi Arabia would announce an end to the blockade of ports and airports and an initiative to allow in 24 ships that are held by the coalition,” he stated.

In a recently released study by a cybersecurity research group at the University of Toronto, researchers found no evidence that TikTok’s computer code poses a national security threat to the U.S., reports the Journal. The group said that after a technical analysis of the Chinese-owned app, there were no “immediate security issues with TikTok,” though they also warned that Beijing could use “unconventional ways” to force the company to turn over app data through the country’s national security laws.

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