Monday Briefing | April 20, 2015
Stories to Follow
As the weather (but not the political climate) improves, the Mediterranean is transforming into a dangerous passage to Europe for those brave or desperate enough to attempt it. Hundreds of African and Middle Eastern migrants cross the sea in small vessels weekly, paying outstanding sums to human traffickers in an often-fatal effort to reach Italy.
On April 18th, a boat capsized on its way from Libya to Italy. Preliminary reports indicate that ship carried 700 migrants, many of whom have likely perished. The tragedy, which could be the deadliest single maritime incident in the Mediterranean since WWII, sparked a call for an emergency European summit by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy.
Read More: CNN, Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Economist
“Tracking the Islamic State”
The self-proclaimed Islamic State appears to have reached Afghanistan. A bomb attack on a bank in Jalalabad this past Saturday left 34 dead and 120 injured. While there is no definite proof that the Islamic State is responsible for the bombing, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said that the terrorist organization had claimed responsibility for the attack. Additionally, a video surfaced of ISIL militants executing 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. If confirmed this video would indicate the link for operational coordination between the core group in Syria-Iraq, and its Libyan branch.
Read More: The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, TIME
“Elections in Cuba”
After the historic move to normalize relations between the U. S. and Cuba, which took another step forward with the removal of the island from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, Cuba held historic municipal elections. In an unexpected but welcome twist, two of the 27,000 candidates belong to the opposition. While municipal elections are a minor process with little fanfare, this was the first time since the end of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 that dissidents have had the option of participating as candidates in elections.
Some events you might want to leave the library for this week:
NYU IRPA’s Africa Panel: African Economic Outlook: The role of Communication and Information Technologies. On 22 April 2015, 6:30 pm at NYU Africa House (14A Washington Mews). RSVP here.
The Asia Society’s Myanmar’s Moment: New Democracy at a Crossroads? On 21 April 2015 from 6:30pm – 8:00pm at 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY. Tickets and information are available here.
And here are some events you do not need to leave the library for:
CFR’s Perspectives on the Rebalance live on Monday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. EST and The Future of the U.S. Alliance System on April 21 at 11:00 a.m. EST.
The Carnegie Council’s Blueprint for Revolution or, “How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World.” Runs online on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 07:30 PM EST (please register online on the hyperlink).
In Your Spare Time
Conversations about race are different all over the world, but often share many similar features. if you are interested, take a look at how it matters in one of the most racially diverse regions in the world: Latin America, in “Does Race Matter in Latin America?” by Deborah J. Yashar in Foreign Affairs.
Every week The Economist online delivers the Week Ahead podcast. This week’s topics are the European economy, democracy in Kazakhstan and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
What would U.S.-Cuban relations look like today if the CIA’s disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion plan had been exposed before it even took place? Read The Miami Herald’s account of how a bunch of teenage pranksters, concerned law enforcement agents, and one determined reporter almost derailed the whole clandestine enterprise.