With whole nations under lockdown, sweeping powers are being assumed by governments across the world in the name of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Hungary’s parliament voted to allow Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree. The Russian parliament has approved an “anti-virus” package that includes up to seven years imprisonment for serious violations of quarantine rules. Israel has joined South Korea in authorizing use of personal cellphone data to track the virus. Chilean President Sebastian Piñera has declared a “state of catastrophe,” sending the military to public squares recently occupied by protesters. Military patrols are also enforcing the lockdown in Peru, Italy, Romania and South Africa. “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close on the heels of a health epidemic,” said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights. (Photo: Peruvian army demonstration video, via YouTube)
The company operating Libya's biggest oilfield, Sharara, announced that it had been shut down after a citizen closed the pipeline that pumps the field's oil. The field is run by a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corporation and several multinationals. The individual claimed the pipeline caused environmental damage to his lands, and had also closed the pipeline last year to press his demands for a clean-up. With this latest closure, Libya's oil output dropped to a six-month low of 750,000 barrels per day. National Oil Corporation chairman Mustafa Sanallah described those who shut down oil-fields as "terrorists." (Photo: Libya Observer)
The UN reports a “notable trend of spontaneous returns” of displaced Syrians as regime gains bring a modicum of peace to some areas—but mass killings by regime forces continue.
Overlooked by the world media, Ahwazi Arabs filled the streets of Iran's southern oil heartland to protest air and water pollution, and the lack of basic services.
With Cossacks joining the Klan in celebrating Trump's victory, stateside activists are demanding a recount in swing states, citing fears the vote was hacked by Russian agents.
The UN adopted a resolution—hailed by disarmament campaigners as an important landmark—to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.
Far-right anti-immigration protesters in Berlin were confronted by anti-fascist counter-protesters, as Italian anarchists clashed with police at the Austrian border.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, building a wall along the Serbian border and herding migrants into detainment camps, warned Syrian refugees to stay in Turkey.
What appeared to be a clumsy effort to catch US secret leaker Edward Snowden seems to have backfired: three Latin American countries have now offered Snowden asylum.
Swiss prosecutors announced that Erwin Sperisen, former commander of Guatemala's National Police, was arrested in Geneva and will stand trial for extrajudicial killings.