News Roundup 05/01/19

1. Failed coup in Venezuela

On Tuesday morning, Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed “interim president” of Venezuela, and Leopoldo López, the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, along with a handful of military officials attempted to carry out a military coup d’etat against Nicolás Maduro’s government. Defecting agents from Venezuela’s Bolivarian Intelligence Service freed López from house arrest, which violated his sentence, while other defected military officials blocked a highway in east Caracas. Hundreds of opposition members marched towards the Miraflores Palace, but they were stopped by police and confronted by counter-protestors in support of the country’s socialist path. López, Guiadó, and other soldiers called for an uprising on social media, vowing this uprising to be the “final phase” in the ousting of the left-wing Chavista government. However, the majority of the military has pledged loyalty to the Venezuelan constitution and government, making the coup d’etat unsuccessful.

Source: Mintpress News

2. Israel reduces Gaza’s permitted fishing boundaries

On April 30, Israel announced it had reduced the permitted fishing areas on Gaza’s coast from 15 nautical miles to 6 nautical miles. This comes not even a month after a ceasefire agreement was made, which increased the size of the permitted fishing areas, the first time such a move has been made since the Oslo Accords. The reduction was in response to a rocket fired from Gaza towards Israel that fell into the sea. The human rights group Gisha stated, “Israel shrinks and expands Gaza’s fishing zone regularly, often as a punitive measure, causing great uncertainty and insecurity.” The Israeli Defense Forces regularly fire live ammunition at fishers in Gaza to enforce the fishing restrictions.

Source: The Electronic Intifada

3. Oil tensions between Iran and the US

In the Hormuz Strait, the Persian Gulf’s primary trade route, tensions are escalating between the United States Central Command and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. This comes amidst Trump’s recent declaration of his goal to bring Iran’s oil exports to “zero”. Ever since the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Deal in the summer of 2018, the US has applied even more sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Tomorrow, the temporary waivers that allow countries like India, Turkey, and China, to import Iranian oil, reach their expiration date, and if other countries buy oil from Iran, the US will penalize them economically.

Source: The Atlantic

4. France’s “yellow vests” mass mobilize for Workers’ Day

On May Day, the "yellow vest" movement organized over 150,000 people in Paris to participate in demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s government and in support of workers’ rights. French police clashed with protesters, who were sometimes met with tear gas and riot shields. Last week, Macron announced concessions with the four-month-old movement, like lower taxes and higher pensions, but the yellow vest" movement dismissed these measures. In preparation for the Paris protests, the police temporarily closed 600 shops, and the businesses that were open were told to conduct identity checks and bag searches. Other parts of Paris were blocked off entirely to demonstrators. Since then, more than 250 people have been arrested in the French capital and dozens have been injured.

Source: Al-Jazeera English

5. Wikileaks' founder sentenced to 50 weeks in jail

Yesterday, Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, was detained by British police and sentenced to 50 weeks jail time for skipping bail. Earlier in April, Ecuador surrendered Assange to the British government, after he hid in the Ecuadorian embassy in London and was granted political asylum for almost seven years, in response to rape accusations made by two Swedish women, which were dropped in 2017. Wikileaks is a website dedicated to the publishing of classified information; Assange’s invention served as a platform for the leaking of information that exposed US war crimes in the Middle East and the emails of important politicians and corporations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among many other countries. news leak sight, which leaked the Panama papers. More British legal proceedings are set to follow for Assange, including a hearing tomorrow in a London court apart of the US’s case to extradite Assange.

Source: Reuters