President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko used a fighter jet to force a plane to land after faking a bomb threat to take control of the plane. The plane was carrying 25-year-old journalist and political dissident Roman Protasevich and his Russian girlfriend Sofia Sapega, both of whom have been detained by Belarus government authorities. This forced landing has been the first of many happening in the last few days in order to detain other political oppositionists to the 27-year-president Lukashenko. Many citizens of other countries, including U.S. citizens, have been stranded in Belarus and Russia as more planes are being forced to land or not allowed to take off. It is not clear if this action was sanctioned by President Vladmir Putin of Russia but wide speculation has arisen across Belarus, Russia and the United Nations that Putin would benefit from the detention of the Lukashenko opposition, though this cannot be directly confirmed and Putin will not comment on the incident at this time.
Israeli and Palesinian forces have negotiated a tense and unstable cease fire in the wake of the two-week-long bombardment that left hundreds dead, including civilians and children, and thousands more with devastating injuries. The cease fire has not however stopped violence on the ground. During dawn prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque near the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers stormed the compound and attacked civilians praying with tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades. Hundreds of people were wounded with injuries concentrating on the upper body, face and eyes. After the dawn attack, the Israeli regional police issued a statement in collaboration with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in part, “The use of these measures are used according to the occurring event, and situation analysis. We will continue to act decisively against violence and violation of order of all sorts, all for the safety and security of the public.” No dawn worshipers were known to be armed or causing any disturbance.
Since the Myanmar military ousted the democratically elected government in a coup-d’etat eight weeks ago, the junta has killed more than 800 unarmed civilians in the hope of keeping the elected leader of the Myanmar people Aung San Suu Kyi out of power. An anonymous human rights group, along with the Associated Press, have documented this violence to report back to the UN but that has not stopped the bloodshed. In videos too horrific for American television, the human rights group documented shootings, public beatings, the use of dead bodies of protesters to terrorize citizens and executions and various forms of cruel and unusual punishment outlawed by the third Geneva convention. These atrocities are performed by the junta on their citizens in broad daylight on citizens as well as foreign journalists and documentarians.
New investigations are being launched into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Wuhan China. The theory of transference of the disease from animals to humans is being questioned as reports of three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology becoming sick enough in November 2019 to go to the hospital. The international research team being assembled wishes to go further than the first CDC team went with their investigation and is demanding more transparency from the Chinese government. The theory of the virus escaping from a lab would have accountability implications to the responsible parties as well as any agencies that helped in discouraging that information making it to the international community in a timely fashion.
A devastating second wave of SARS-CoV-2 in India has left hundreds of thousands of children orphaned throughout the country. This sudden orphaning has led to a spike in child labor violations, child trafficking and child sex crimes in India and surrounding countries. Human rights groups are giving their best efforts to rehome the children before they disappear into crime rings or die from the elements but the aid is nowhere near enough. The most vulnerable children have lost both parents to SARS-CoV-2 and locating extended family to care for the children in a severe pandemic crisis is almost impossible as few of the poor citizens of India have phone or internet services. UNICEF has just recently moved in to help sort the situation but after so much time, the fate of thousands of children remains dangerously unknown.