PHN Rewind (14-20 March)

On this week’s rewind, Russian airstrikes get closer to the NATO borders, Prime Ministers of Poland, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic meet Zelensky face to face, death of three American journalists in Ukraine, revival of Iran nuclear deal, and other stories.

Ukraine War

Slovenian, Polish and Czech Prime Ministers Visit Zelensky in Kyev

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša visited President Zelensky on March 15th in Kyiv to discuss the EU’s support for Ukraine after its invasion by Russia. The visit was regarded as “a great, right, courageous and friendly step” by the Ukrainian leader. The president believes that the support of these “beautiful independent European countries” will lead to positive results.

Janez Janša posted on his Twitter: “We want to bring a message to Ukraine. Ukraine is a European country. Every path in Ukraine is a European path. Soon, it will be an #EU path, too.”

Russia Excluded From the Council of Europe

The International Court of Justice, one of the major organs of the UN, has called for the immediate suspension of the military operations that Russia had started on 24 February. After a meeting on Wednesday 16 March, the Committee of Ministers decided to exclude Russia from the Council of Europe whose membership dates back to 1996. Before being expelled, Russia departed from the Council after pressure rose and notified Secretary-General Marija Pejcinovic Buric of its decision.

The exclusion of Russia from the Council of Europe means that the country’s citizens will no longer be able to send applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

President Volodymyr Zelensky Addresses US Congress

In a virtual speech that lasted around 15 minutes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the US Congress with an emotional speech, asking for further support from the lawmakers. He brought up several major events in the history of the US while pleading for aid, including Pearl Harbor in 1941 and September 11th, 2001. He also used Marin Luther King Jr.’s statement “I have a dream” to ask for more aircraft to defend Ukraine.

Zelensky described the Russian aggression since 2014 and its invasion as an attack against the Ukrainian people’s human rights and values. He suggests the union of countries to create an association in order to help solve conflicts and provide military and humanitarian assistance when needed.

Russian Attacks Closer to NATO Borders

The Russian troops have been increasingly moving towards NATO borders, namely Polish borders. The closest Russian airstrike to Poland took place in a military training base around 17 km away from the border with Poland. The base had been used by Western troops to train Ukrainian forces a couple of weeks prior to the attack. Although NATO troops had been stationed at the borders of Poland, concern over the expansion of the attacks over neighboring countries has grown, which might lead to a larger European clash.

Death of Three Journalists in Ukraine War

Three journalists were killed last week while covering the news on the Ukrainian war. These include producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova, filmmaker Brent Renaud and Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski. Kuvyshynova and Zakrzewski were both killed in shelling in Gorenka following the death of Brent Renaud who was shooting a documentary on the global refugee crisis.

The news has devastated people across the world. “May Brent’s life, service, and sacrifice inspire generations of people all around the world to stand up and fight for the forces of light against forces of darkness,” wrote President Zelensky in a letter addressed to the journalist’s family.


Amazon Closes $8.5bn Acquisition of Film Studio MGM

The multinational technology company Amazon announced on Thursday that it has taken over film studio Metro Glodwyn Mayer with an $8.5 billion deal. This is the biggest acquisition since the takeover of Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion. With the acquisition of MGM, Amazon aims at expanding its streaming content.

The company had acquired small startups that were regarded as a threat such as Zappos. It also took over Twitch, a popular gaming platform in 2014. The online retailer has been under fire from numerous critics because of the potential danger its dominance could have over other competitors.


Former Peru President, Alberto Fujimori, Released

Alberto Fujimori aged 83, who had been sentenced to serve until 2032, was released last week after the authorization of the Peruvian Court.

Fujimori was Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000 before being jailed for human rights violations in 2009. During his governance, women were forcibly sterilized for the sake of a population control program. This is not the first time that the ex-President was pardoned. In 2017, he was released for a few months before returning to jail when his pardon was overturned.

Thousands of people from left-wing groups criticized this decision and are willing to protest against it.

Optimistic Views on Iranian Nuclear Deal

Talks have taken place within the last eleven months on reviving the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 which limits Iran’s stockpile of uranium by 98%, keeping the level of enrichment at 3.67% in order to control the country’s nuclear activity. In return, the US, under the Obama government, promised to gradually lift economic sanctions against Iran.

The deal was almost closed before President Vladimir Putin decided to back down from the deal following the multiple economic sanctions that the West had imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.


FDA to Authorize Second Booster for Pfizer

The American multinational biotechnology corporation Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a second booster shot for adults over 65 who had already received an initial booster. Pfizer saw the effectiveness of the first booster on elderly people in boosting immunity against the Omicron variant, preventing severe cases of Covid-19.

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