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Weekly Round-Up

1. Venezuelan fighter jets allegedly violate Guyanese airspace.

The Guyanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released a statement this week condemning Venezuela for violating the country’s airspace. Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs, alleged that on “Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at approximately 13:20 hrs., two Venezuelan Sukhoi SU 30 fighter jets, flew over the community of Eteringbang and the airstrip at a very low altitude.” The Minister went on to state that “such an action is a clear violation of Guyana’s territorial space as well as International Law and Convention.”

2. Authorities break up “fake vaccine network” in South Africa.

Police in South Africa have seized numerous doses of a fake Coronavirus vaccine. Three Chinese nationals and one Zambian were arrested at a factory in Gauteng and are believed to have been in possession of 2,400 units of the counterfeit vaccine. At the same time, dozens of individuals have been arrested at a facility in China, where the fake vaccine is believed to have originated, according to Interpol. The vaccines appear to have been being sold online to unwitting buyers.

3. New information suggests that China shut off power to Indian cities during.

Since the summer of 2020, tensions along India and China’s disputed border have run high. In June, a skirmish broke out in the Galwan Valley region, marking the first instance of violence along the border since the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Four months later, during another period of heightened tension, Mumbai, a city of 20 million, completely lost power, shutting down public transport and forcing hospitals to rely on back-up generators. New reports suggest that this shutdown was caused by a flow of malware into the control systems that manage energy supplies across India. This malware is alleged to originate from a Chinese hacking group known as Red Echo, which some believe to be state sponsored. Whilst Indian officials are reported to have confirmed this, no official statement has been made.

4. Rioting and looting in Papua New Guinea following ex-PM’s death.

Security Services in Papua New Guinea have called for calm after a spate of rioting and looting in the wake of the death of a beloved former Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, who died of natural causes aged 84. Several buildings and shops were attacked in Port Moresby and Lae and many Asian-owned businesses appear to have been specifically targeted. Police Commissioner David Manning condemned the unrest, saying officers "throughout the country will be out in full force to ensure that opportunists do not take this sad day in our history to create fear and panic".

5. Australia is suspending its defence agreement with Myanmar.

In light of concerns surrounding the recent coup in Myanmar, Australia is ending the defence pact that it currently has with Myanmar. Since, 2013 Australia has held a limited bilateral Defence Cooperation Programme with Myanmar focused on humanitarian and disaster resilience training, language learning and other non-combat activities. This will now be suspended, with the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne citing “grave concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the escalating violence and rising death toll”. Australia’s development activities in the country will now be redirected towards supporting the persecuted Rohingya minority as well as other vulnerable sections of society.


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