1. After a tumultuous election process, Guyana’s new government are sworn in.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Guyana Elections Commision declared opposition candidate Irfaan Ali the winner of the 2nd of March election in which he was originally believed to have lost to the incumbent, David Granger. After a highly disputed election process, Irfaan Ali was sworn in as Guyana’s new President on Sunday the 2nd of August with the rest of his cabinet following suit on Wednesday 5th.
Guyana's new President has promised that his cabinet “will be results-oriented” and “will work in an efficient and transparent manner”. Hopes abound that Guyana can put the disagreements caused by their difficult election period behind them and the new government can manage the country’s significant newfound oil wealth efficiently and for the good of its people. Mr Granger, however, has promised that he will take his allegations of fraud on the part of the new government to the country’s high court.
2. Canada to use Ugandan airfield as a base for assisting with peacekeeping operations in Africa.
Canada will provide military transport planes, operating out of an airbase in Uganda, to support UN peacekeeping initiatives in countries such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has confirmed that Canada will be supplying CC-130 Hercules aircraft to play “an important role in transporting critical supplies and personnel to support the UN in the region” and are doing so because “we understand the importance of Canada working with our international allies and partners”.
3. Microsoft has invested R40m into improving food security in South Africa.
Microsoft South Africa have announced plans to invest R40m in South Africa’s agricultural sector to implement greater use of technology to tackle the challenges of food production in the country. It is hoped that advanced technologies like the Internet of Things, remote sensing technologies and unmanned aerial vehicles can transform the agricultural sector and help to address South Africa’s precarious food security as well as creating jobs and reducing inequalities. The use of tools such as drones and other sensors can help identify the best places to plant crops as well as early signs of crop failure helping small-hold and large industrial farmers alike to increase their crop outputs. By investing in this technology, Microsoft are helping to pioneer a more secure future for South Africa’s farming sector.
4. India deploys troops and tanks in Ladakh to counter Chinese military build up.
After China placed more than 17,000 troops and armoured vehicles opposite Daulat Beg Oldi and Depsang plains in Ladakh, India has responded by placing around 15,000 troops and several tanks in the area to deter further Chinese build up. Government sources noted that the deployment is large enough that “the Chinese would find it difficult to operate there in the event of any misadventure”. It is thought that the People’s Liberation Army is trying to build roads in this region to increase the connectivity of their forces along the Sino-Indian border. Political and military leaders from both countries remain in dialogue in pursuit of a diplomatic outcome to the present tensions.
5. Border closures see increase of hard drug production in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s strict border enforcement in light of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced criminals to rethink their supply lines. Previously, a majority of New Zealand’s hard drugs were sourced from outside of the country, but criminals have had to start producing drugs internally as a result of the lockdown rules. In the six months leading up to June, border authorities seized only one sixth of the amount of methamphetamines compared to the same period in the previous year. Simultaneously, almost double the amount of methamphetamine labs have been discovered by police when compared with the previous year. Experts have noted that whilst New Zealand’s drug trade had previously been heavily internationalised, the pandemic has caused it to become more insular.