Week in Review
19 October, 2018
AN ATTACK ON THE THE FREEDOM OF PRESS GAINS INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION. Washington Post and Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, disappeared a few days ago after entering the Saudi embassy in Turkey. With overwhelming evidence, few doubt that Saudi Arabia was behind it, and what is now likely a murder and dismemberment of Mr. Khashoggi. Mr. Khashoggi was a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia and Prince Muhammad bin Salman and this autocratic attack on the freedom of press has become international news, creating a major diplomatic crisis. If it was any other president in the United States than Donald Trump, condemnation and sanctions would likely follow, but he has been mum on the topic. In fact, Trump has used his typical response to allegations against an ally of his: innocent until proven guilty. Yet, there is increasing pressure on him to condemn and punish Saudi Arabia since this story is clearly not going away anytime soon. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited Riyadh to speak with Saudi officials and it seems that he has forced them to reverse their denial, framing the murder as an accident during an investigation and reports suggest they may blame an intelligence officer. This incident speaks to the current state of Saudi Arabia, the United States, and their relations to human rights and fundamental principles of democracy.
ONE HUGE PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERIMENT. Canada officially legalized cannabis on Tuesday, creating the single largest market for cannabis in the world. With the current state of medical knowledge on cannabis, this will act largely as an experiment and will force the public to talk about the effects of cannabis on humans. Widely held as progress towards more reasonable laws on drugs and contributing to the current state of literature on cannabis research, Canada provides the environment for researchers to learn more about the drug as to properly suggest warnings and restrictions on its use. One of the core concerns is the link of cannabis to schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis in youth. Researchers are unsure about the casuations, with it likely being an inducing effect for people predisposed to the mental illness, but this public health experiment right or wrong, should give research a plethora of research to learn more. In financial news, this opens up a reportedly five billion dollar market for the production and consumption, which the government plans on capitalizing on. The legalization of drugs poses the opportunity for greater economic growth, additional sources of taxation, and freedoms for citizens.
VOCATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTES, NOT INTERNMENT. The Communist Party of China has released a broadcast defending the reported internment of hundreds of thousands Muslims in the province of Xinjiang. After a year of reporting on the derelict situation of a significant portion of the Muslim population, China’s has re-framed the situation to provide justifications for their actions. The 15-minute broadcast films life inside these ‘education institutes’, in one scene a detainee says, “My life was poor.” while another mentions that, “I can’t imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t come here.” The Party says these institutes have made life in Xinjiang safer and that the institutes are integrating Muslims into Chinese culture. These justifications are meant to provide assurance to the rest of the country that rampant human rights abuses are not taken place, but quite the opposite.