Southern Cone
BsAs

Econo-protests sweep Argentina

Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina’s independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the “Argentinazo,” the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt. The country avoided defaulting on an IMF loan in March, postponing scheduled payments in exchange for pledges of belt-tightening measures. These include a slash in energy subsidies that have helped keep utility bills low—imposing further hardship on the poor amid the spiralling inflation. (Photo: PagĂ­na12)

South Asia
colombo

Fascist pseudo-anti-fascism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s newly appointed acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe unleashed police and army troops against remnant protesters at an encampment site in the capital, Colombo. More than 50 were injured in the raid and several arrested. Military personnel also reportedly detained a group of protesters for several hours and severely beat them before they were released. Just hours earlier, protest leaders had agreed to disband the encampment the following day, in response to a court order. The site had been occupied by protesters since March, when an uprising began in response to near-total economic collapse in the country. Wickremesinghe, implicated in past atrocities during a counterinsurgency campaign against leftist rebels, has repeatedly derided the protesters as “fascists.” (Photo via Twitter)

Syria
syria refugees

Syria aid access resolution expires amid UN standoff

A Security Council resolution that allowed the UN to deliver humanitarian aid across Turkey’s border into northwest Syria without President Bashar al-Assad’s permission expired  as diplomats failed to come to a deal in the face of a Russian veto. Russia, which has long opposed the cross-border aid operation as an affront to Syrian sovereignty, used its veto to stop a one-year renewal. Its own proposal for turning aid deliveries over to the Assad regime after six months was voted down by the US, UK, and France. The Assad regime is accused of denying aid to besieged rebel-held enclaves. Aid workers in the region are warning of imminent “famine” in northern Syria in the wake of the resolution expiration, which coincided with the Eid al-Adha holiday. (Photo: UNICEF via UN News)

Planet Watch
#ariseghana

Ghana to Peru: more ripples from Ukraine storm

Governments around the world are scrambling to shore up economies hard hit by rising oil and wheat prices as a resut of the Ukraine war. Ghana has opened talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency relief after angry protesters flooded the streets of the capital Accra, clashing with police. Protests were called under the slogan “Arise Ghana” to pressure President Nana Akufo-Ad to address a dramatic spike in the cost of food and fuel. Meanwhile, the Central Reserve Bank of Peru is to raise its key interest rate in a bid to quell inflation, after freight shipping was briefly paralyzed across the country. The truckers’ union, the National Council of Terrestrial Transport, announced an “indefinite” strike, although it was suspended following a pledge by the government of President Pedro Castillo to bring soaring fuel prices under control. (Image via Twitter)

Iran
#iranprotests

Iran: protest, repression as food prices soar

Angry protests have swept through several provinces of Iran amid an economic crisis exacerbated by subsidy cuts that have seen the price of basic goods soar as much as 300%. According to reports on social media, at least six people have been killed as security forces have been deployed across the country to quell unrest. The protests have turned political in many areas, with crowds calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. The government has cut off the internet to a number of areas that have witnessed protests, including traditionally restive Khuzestan province. (Image: Hajar Morad via Twitter)

Greater Middle East
Manjorah

Middle East: ‘peak wheat’ fears amid deep drought

Facing long lines and bread shortages, Lebanon’s government has been forced to give private importers $15 million to bring more wheat into the country. But it’s a short-term fix for a government that is broke and waiting for the IMF to approve a bailout deal. And nations across the Middle East may be looking for similar solutions as they struggle with the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—both countries are key wheat producers, and exports are effectively cut off by the war. The food crisis is deepened by a decades-worst regional drought impacting Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and especially Iran. A new assessment on Iran from the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) documents water shortages, disappearing wetlands and emptying villages, making the impacts “impossible to ignore.” (Photo of IDP camp in Yemen: Moayed Al Shaibani/Oxfam)

Planet Watch
motin

Sri Lanka to Lima: ripples from Ukraine storm

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a nationwide state of emergency as angry protests over fuel shortages and power cuts erupted in the capital Colombo. When police repression failed to quell the protests, Rajapaksa sought to appease demands for his resignation with a purge of his cabinet. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo meanwhile imposed a curfew in Lima and its port of Callao in response to an eruption of protests over dramatic fuel price hikes. As street clashes broke out in the cities, farmers outraged at a jump in fertilizer costs blocked highways at several points around the country—including Ica, where a toll-booth was set on fire. The world has seen an oil price surge to $100 a barrel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: Twitter via La Tercera)

Africa

South Sudan headed ‘back to war’

South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar warned that the country is heading “back to war” following attacks on his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) by government forces under President Salva Kiir. The warring parties signed a 2018 peace agreement that led to a unity government two years later. But key parts of the deal have not been implemented, and violence has flared in the countryside. Machar’s party has suspended its participation in peace deal monitoring mechanisms after claiming that his house had been surrounded by government forces. As tensions build, humanitarian needs are deepening: more than 70% of South Sudan’s population are expected to face extreme hunger this year, while funding constraints and attacks on aid convoys continue to complicate relief efforts. (Photo: Sam Mednick/TNH)

Greater Middle East
yemen

‘Disappointing’ aid for hunger-stricken Yemen

As the country heads into an eighth year of war, Yemen is considered one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises: debilitated basic services, a collapsed economy, an estimated 20.7 million people (more than two thirds of the population) in need—all amid escalating conflict involving numerous different actors. Yet in the UN’s emergency appeal for $4.3 billion in aid for Yemen, donor states coughed up less than a third of that request, with pledges amounting to $1.3 billion. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia—top donors to Yemen in previous years—pledged nothing, while Kuwait pledged a surprisingly low $10 million. The UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, called the result “a disappointment.” The outcome is in stark contrast to Ukraine’s pledging conference just two weeks prior, considered the “fastest and most generous” response ever to a flash appeal. As the world’s attention is fixated on Ukraine, aid workers worry that it could draw resources away from other crises, such as Yemen. (Photo: OCHA)

Africa
mali-hunger-displacement

Mali: crisis deepens as foreign forces withdraw

France and allied European countries are withdrawing their military forces from Mali after diplomatic relations broke down with the ruling junta that came to power in last year’s coup d’etat. The junta has meanwhile reportedly welcomed in hundreds of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group. The diplomatic crisis has overshadowed a worsening humanitarian emergency that has seen severe hunger hit the highest level since 2013, when the seizure of large parts of the country by jihadist rebels prompted the French intervention. Over 350,000 people have now fled violence linked to jihadist groups aligned to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State—a nearly 70% increase from early 2020. (Photo of Mali displaced persons camp: The New Humanitarian)

The Amazon
Ato Pela Terra

Brazil: bill to open indigenous reserves to mining

Under the slogan “Ato Pela Terra” (Stand for the Earth), thousands of protesters, including some 150 indigenous leaders from eight ethnic groups, gathered for the biggest environmentalist demonstration ever held in Brazil’s capital, protesting a series of bills dubbed the “death package” by critics. The package being pushed by President Jair Bolsonaro would open indigenous reserves to a wide range of economic activities, including mineral exploitation. This measure, assailed as unconstitutional, is actually opposed by the Brazilian Mining Institute (IBRAM), which issued a statement calling it “inappropriate” and warning that it would give legal cover to informal “garimpo” mining in the Amazon rainforest. But Bolsonaro maintains the measure is mandated by the Ukraine war, which has threatened supplies of strategic minerals, including the key fertilizer ingredient potassium. Brazil, the world’s top soy producer, imports 80% of its fertilizer—20% from Russia, its biggest supplier. (Photo via Twitter)

Greater Middle East

UN warns of ‘catastrophic’ crisis in Yemen

UN agency chiefs stated that war-torn Yemen’s hunger crisis is “teetering on the edge of outright catastrophe,” with more than 17.4 million Yemenis facing food insecurity and an additional 1.6 million expected to fall into emergency levels of hunger in the coming months. The number experiencing “catastrophic” levels of hunger is projected to increase five times from the current 31,000 to a staggering 161,000, taking the number of those with emergency needs to 7.3 million by the end of 2022. “These harrowing figures confirm that we are on a countdown to catastrophe in Yemen and we are almost out of time to avoid it. Unless we receive substantial new funding immediately, mass starvation and famine will follow. But if we act now, there is still a chance to avert imminent disaster and save millions,” World Food Programme executive director David Beasley said. (Photo: Fahd Sadi/WikiMedia)