Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Emily Dai
Monday, December 6, 2021, 2:32 PM

The Washington Post obtained an unclassified intelligence document that found that Russia is planning a multifront offensive into Ukraine, involving up to 175,000 troops, as early as next year. The document reports that the extensive movement of 100 Russian battalion tactical groups to and from the Ukrainian border is aimed “to obfuscate intentions and create uncertainty.” The Russian government has also fueled a disinformation campaign describing NATO and Ukraine as threats to Russia that harbor “[a] hatred for the ‘Russian world,’” potentially to lay the groundwork for military escalation in Ukraine.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader of Myanmar who was ousted in a military coup in February, was found guilty of icing dissent and breaking coronavirus rules Monday and handed a four-year sentence that was swiftly reduced to two years by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, says BBC. Her co-defendant Win Myint, former president and member of the National League for Democracy party, was also jailed Monday for the same charges. The charges against Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to bring democracy to Myanmar, was widely criticized as the "latest example of the military's determination to eliminate all opposition and suffocate freedoms in Myanmar” by the human rights group Amnesty International.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar on Monday filed lawsuits against Facebook for the platform’s failure to take down anti-Rohingya hate speech, writes the Hill. The lawsuit alleges this failure  facilitated the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. The complaint also makes reference to statements made by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified before a Senate committee in October that Facebook was “fanning ethnic violence” in countries outside the United States.

President Biden and Russian President Vladamir Putin are scheduled to speak on a video call on Tuesday as concerns rise over Russia’s troop buildup on the Ukrainian border, according to the Hill. Approximately 90,000 Russian troops have massed near the border of Ukraine, signaling that Russia may be preparing to invade the country. In addition to the Ukraine situation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the two leaders are slated to discuss strategic stability, cyber and regional issues as well.

A former D.C. National Guard official accused two generals of lying to Congress and attempting to cover up their lack of response to the insurrection on Jan. 6 in a 36-page memo, reports Politico. Col. Earl Matthews alleged that the Pentagon inspector general’s report last month on the military response to the violence was “replete with factual inaccuracies” and that the Army had created a revisionist document that’s “worthy of the best Stalinist or North Korea propagandist.” Matthews, who was serving at the time as a top attorney to then-D.C. Guard commander Maj. Gen. William Walker, called Gen. Charles Flynn and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt “absolute and unmitigated liars” for their characterization of the events of Jan. 6. One central focus of Matthews’ criticism was a conference call in which he alleges Flynn and Piatt opposed deployment of the National Guard after rioters breached the building’s perimeter in fear of the bad optics the move would create.

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s border guard denied accusations from Belarus on Saturday alleging that a Ukrainian military helicopter had flown one kilometer into its territory, writes Reuters. Since last year, relations between Ukraine and Belarus have become contentious after Russia sided with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during mass street protests, and Lukashenko offered more vocal support for Russia against Ukraine.

A top commander of the now-demobilized guerilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia was killed in an ambush in Venezuela, says Reuters. According to Colombian media, Hernan Dario Velasquez, known as El Paisa, was killed by mercenaries wanting to cash in on reward money for his capture. Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government has accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for protecting members of the guerilla group, which Maduro has repeatedly denied.

The Biden administration announced late Sunday that there would be a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in a stand against China’s human rights abuses, such as its policies in regards to Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan and Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, reports NBC News. Since Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai disappeared from public view for three weeks, calls for a boycott have been intensified. The U.K, Canada and Australia are considering similar action.

All private companies in New York City will have to require their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, imposing what Mayor Bill de Blasio called the first-in-the nation vaccine mandate for the private sector, according to CBS New York. The mandate will take effect Dec. 27.

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