Newscoop Footnotes:
July 23, 2018

Welcome to Newscoop Footnotes —

the weekly review of important news no one’s talking about.


Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.

* First, an interesting development in international law. On July 16th, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Twitter that Iran has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to “hold [the] US accountable for its unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions.” This was after Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, and unilaterally imposed sanctions on Iran, despite Iran having complied with all obligations within the agreement to reduce its nuclear arsenal. Zarif’s tweet spoke of “US contempt for diplomacy & legal obligations.”

Despite Trump’s actions, all other signatories to the agreement — the UK, France, Germany, Russia, China and the EU — remain committed to the JCPOA, and are taking all possible steps to preserve the agreement.

* And there are many others around the world who are not pleased with Trump’s actions and divisive policies. During each step of his trip to the UK mid-month, he was greeted by protestors, in some cases tens of thousands of them. Notably, a 20 foot tall blimp with the moniker “Trump baby” accompanied those protests, in a humorous display of disapproval and disrespect.

American activists then decided the UK Trump Baby deserved more than a one-off. So they began a crowdfunding campaign to replicate the blimp in the US. The result was overwhelming, allowing them to create multiple blimps according to the original UK patterns and mold. The baby blimps will soon take to the air, coast to coast in the US.

* Next, to what seems a big development in Israel. The Israeli Knesset has finally passed the so-called nation-state bill that had been debated there for the last 6 years. It declares Israel to be the historic homeland of the Jewish people, and that the right to national self-determination in the country belongs only to the Jewish people. It also promises to encourage and promote Jewish settlements.

The new law has been condemned by liberal Jews the world over. It heightens what is widely seen as an already inherent tension between Israel as a democracy and Israel as a Jewish state.

* And on July 13th, the popular former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, accompanied by his daughter Maryam, returned to Lahore to fight corruption charges and a 10-year prison sentence. Sharif was ousted from office in July 2017 and indicted the following October on charges flowing from information released in the infamous Panama Papers. He maintains that the charges are part of a conspiracy by political opponents and the powerful Pakistani military.

In advance of the coming elections on July 25th, Pakistan has been racked by protests, arrests, bombings and intimidation. Since the country was founded in 1947, no Pakistani prime minister has served a full term.

* Lastly, to the protests in Nicaragua. As reported by Al Jazeera:  “It’s a revolution against the man who led the revolution in Nicaragua.”  

In 1979, Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista rebels launched a revolution to depose the dictator President Anastasio Somoza. Now, after 39 years of President Ortega and his unpopular vice president wife, the complaint against him is the same: his rule is authoritarian and repressive. Protests against him have been raging for four months — with hundreds killed by live ammunition from government forces, and thousands injured and tortured. Activists have organized nationwide strikes, and the pressure from other governments and international organizations continues to mount for Ortega to step down.

This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – important events getting too little attention. Tune in next week for more.

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