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Weekly Round-Up

1. International community stands in solidarity with Guyana in Venezuela dispute

Venezuela has laid claim to almost two thirds of Guyana’s territory, re-igniting a centuries old border dispute, in order to claim Guyana's newfound oil wealth. Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, went as far as to say he would “reconquer” the Essequibo region in question. In response to this predatory move, the international community is firmly supporting Guyana. The Caribbean Community said in a statement “CARICOM reiterates in the strongest possible terms its firm and unswerving support for the maintenance and preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Guyana”. At the same time the United States has signed a defence acquisition and cross-servicing agreement with Guyana, highlighting their continued support for the nation in this dispute. The Commonwealth has always supported its member states' territorial integrity, and will no doubt do so again in face of Venezuela's desperate and egregious behaviour.

2. Kenyan Defence Forces targeted with I. E. Ds by Al Shabaab

Kenyan soldiers serving in Somalia were targeted with makeshift explosive devices by Al Shabaab Islamists, the latest in a series of attacks highlighting the fractious security situation in East Africa. Two vehicles were targeted in Lower Jubba, where the Kenyan Defence Force has several forward operating bases. The number of casualties is currently unknown. Kenya has been a major security contributor in partnership with the Federal Government of Somaliland, but an ongoing diplomatic dispute is complicating defence co-operation and empowering nefarious actors in the region.

3. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh pledge to boost security ties

In a meeting between the newly appointed High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka, Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the two nations agreed to foster maritime security co-operation. Citing opportunities in the Indian Ocean, and both nations commitment to the security and development of the region the two noted that a partnership would help maintain stability and prosperity in their shared back yard. Other areas of co-operation were also discussed. Agriculture, tourism, education and trade were named by President Rajapaksa as areas in which relations could be expanded. This is a welcome example of international cooperation in a region where strategic competition dominates the headlines.

4. New Zealand’s Central Bank has been the target of a cyber-attack

New Zealand’s Central Bank has said that one of its key information stores was hacked, potentially exposing sensitive personal and commercial data. In a statement, the Reserve Bank said that a third-party file sharing service was accessed illegally, by an as yet unknown party. Whilst the bank’s governor, Adrian Orr, has assured that the attack was contained, it poses serious questions over the readiness of the bank’s cybersecurity provisions. This comes just months after the New Zealand Stock Exchange was shut down for four days by a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. International cooperation is key in thwarting these kinds of attacks, cyber space has no borders and neither do cyber criminals. The bank noted that they were working closely with international partners to understand the nature of this attack and aid prevention in the future.

5. Presence of typhoid in wake of Cyclone Yasa causes concern to Fijian health authorities

At least twenty cases of typhoid have been confirmed in Fiji, with ten in the Northern Division, eight in Macuata and two in Savusavu. Three of those suffering with the disease are in hospital. Health officials are concerned that this outbreak could grow as a result of Cyclone Yasa, which has seen many people forced to live in unsanitary conditions without access to clean water. Health teams are carrying out contact tracing and collecting water samples from affected areas. In some of these areas, movement has also been restricted.


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