The Guardian • Issue #2100


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2100
Global briefs

FRANCE: France is looking for some kind of foreign involvement in the continuing clashes in New Caledonia. First it blamed Azerbaijan, then a French radio station claimed that Türkiye is suspected of stirring unrest in New Caledonia. “Both Azerbaijan and Türkiye are exploiting the Caledonian separatists,” Europe 1 reported. “It is no longer a secret for the DGSI [French intelligence], which sees the hand of Baku or Ankara behind the Caledonian separatists.” While Azerbaijan officially rejected the accusations, Türkiye has met the claims with a great degree of amusement. “Türkiye is a big country. It’s funny to think that Ankara has an intention to stir unrest somewhere thousands of kilometres away.” The fact is that France tried to infringe upon the Kanak people’s right to self-determination by expanding the electorate in such a way that the indigenous population stays in minority.

GEORGIA: The US, EU, and NATO have criticised the just-passed foreign agents bill in Georgia. The US Assistant Secretary of State Jim O’Brien even threatened Georgia with sanctions for “undermining democracy.” According to the bill, Georgian media and NGOs are to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive over 20 per cent of their funding from overseas. Georgian legislation is very similar to the US’ Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) which requires individuals acting on behalf of foreign governments, organisations or persons foreign to the US to register with the Department of Justice (DoJ) and to disclose their relationship, activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of their activities. Under the US law, such individuals are described as “foreign agents” while the FARA Unit of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) is responsible for the Act’s enforcement. Similar laws exist in Australia, Canada, and across the EU.

RUSSIA: “Russia-Islamic World: Kazan Forum” took place in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan region. The Forum’s business program covered 12 themes, including international cooperation, economy, tourism, business, science, and technology, Islamic finance and investment, sports, and the halal industry. The program included 125 sessions involving prominent experts from Russia, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states, and other countries. The forum hosted an international conference of the Russia-Islamic World strategic vision group addressing a joint multi-polar world order and safe and sustainable development.

UK: Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the two-child benefit cap which limits tax credit and welfare credits to the first two children in most households. The widely-condemned benefit cap seems aimed at discouraging low income families from having children. Welby described the cap as “cruel,” and “neither moral nor necessary” as he urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to commit to scrapping it. Sunak has committed to keeping the cap if the Tories remain in power after the next election, while Starmer has said he’s “not changing that policy.”

VATICAN: “The Pope talks about rights, but here we are just commodities,” the staff of the Vatican museums wrote in their first ever collective complaint. They demanded better working conditions and threatened to go to court if their demands were not met. The employees, including curators, a conservation officer, and a bookshop worker have signed the statement denouncing the Vatican City governor’s office for impairment of their rights. The complaint states that workers are systematically required to work overtime for less than normal pay, and there are no benefits for forced downtime.

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