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Daily Brief: As Outcry Grows, Security Council Calls Meeting Over Rohingya Crisis

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September 13, 2017

Daily News Brief

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As Outcry Grows, Security Council Calls Meeting Over Rohingya Crisis

The UN Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar (WaPo), where the top UN human rights official says security forces are carrying out a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

An estimated 370,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar in recent weeks (Al Jazeera) following a crackdown in response to militia attacks on police. State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi will not attend an upcoming session of the UN General Assembly (DW) to focus on "terrorist attacks" in Rakhine State, according to her office. U.S. Senator John McCain announced he will drop a plan to expand U.S. military cooperation (AP) with Myanmar in light of abuses against the Rohingya.


"There is little indication that Suu Kyi will or can restrain the military from a scorched earth policy in Rakhine," writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

"Since the emergence of armed Rohingya rebels, Suu Kyi's government has shifted its position, framing the issue as a matter of national security rather than a humanitarian crisis," Annie Gowen writes for the Washington Post.

"The scorn heaped on Aung San Suu Kyi seemed to mark a turning point for a woman who for decades enjoyed the admiration of the western world," John Reed writes for the Financial Times


Singaporean President Selected in Walkover Election

Halimah Yacob became Singapore's first woman president-elect in a Wednesday election in which authorities allowed only Malay candidates to run (Strait Times) and Yacob was the only contender. She will be the first president from the Muslim Malay minority (Al Jazeera) in nearly half a century.


Lahore Cricket Match Held Under Tight Security

Pakistan hosted its first high-level international cricket match since a 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka's national team (RFE/RL), after which Pakistan held its home matches in the United Arab Emirates. Thousands of police were deployed for the match (Dawn).

INDIA: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will inaugurate the start of construction for India's first bullet train (Reuters), which will run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Japan has provided the majority of funding for the project.


Israeli Court Rules Against Draft Exemptions for Ultra-Orthodox

The Supreme Court struck down a 2015 law that exempts Israeli youths (Haaretz) studying in ultra-orthodox seminaries from compulsory military service. Orthodox advocates have argued exemption is necessary to allow students to focus on preserving the Jewish faith (DW).

IRAQ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first head of state to express support for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state (Rudaw). The United States has opposed an upcoming independence referendum (Haaretz) in Iraqi Kurdistan.

CFR's Steven A. Cook writes in Salon that "Kurdexit" has the Middle East on the edge.


Opposition Boycotts Kenyan President in Parliament

Opposition lawmakers boycotted a speech by President Uhuru Kenyatta (BBC) to convene a new session of parliament, protesting his decision to do so before an October presidential election. The Supreme Court nullified an August 8 election in which Kenyatta was reelected.

CFR's John Campbell says the Kenyan election annulment is a victory for the rule of law.

SOUTH AFRICA: A court ruled Tuesday that a 2015 election that brought a faction loyal to President Jacob Zuma (Reuters) to power in his home province was invalid, highlighting rifts between Zuma and his ruling African National Congress.


Thousands Protest Labor Reform in France

Tens of thousands protested labor law reforms put forth by President Emmanuel Macron's government, which include a cap on payments for unfair dismissals and greater freedom for companies to hire and fire employees (France 24).

EU: The European Parliament voted in favor of creating eight thousand free Wi-Fi hotspots (DW) across the continent by 2020.


Brazilian Court Approves New Graft Probe of Temer

Brazil's top court authorized an additional graft probe into President Michel Temer (AP) over his signing in May of a decree to favor a company operating in the Port of Santos in exchange for bribes. Temer accused the judiciary of violating individual rights (BBC) in its anticorruption investigations.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at Brazil's corruption fallout.

HAITI: Anti-government demonstrators burned cars and blocked main intersections in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday in protest of tax hikes (Miami Herald) proposed by President Jovenel Moise.


Supreme Court Backs Refugee Ban

The Supreme Court backed the Trump administration's blocking of a federal appeals court decision (Reuters) that would have allowed up to twenty-four thousand additional refugees to enter the United States.

President Donald J. Trump said Tuesday that Malaysia plans to spend up to $20 billion on Boeing and General Electric jets and engines (WSJ) during an appearance with Prime Minister Najib Razak. Some of Najib's relatives and associates are under investigation by the Justice Department (VOA) for fraud.

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