Wintershall, a German oil producer, has been accused by Libya’s National Oil Corporation of withholding $900 million, and possibly more, from the Libyan state. Also, Wintershall and Libya’s U.N.-backed government have been accused of conspiring to take over the sale of Libya’s oil contracts. Wintershall insists that it owes no money and that various contracts allow for them to legally produce what they are without owing so much to Libya. This conflict has caused Wintershall to decrease its oil production by 100,000 barrels per day. The accusations against and argument with Wintershall are part of a larger question as to whether promises made by the U.N. backed government in November, 2016, which stated that the oil business would be funded properly, are being upheld.
On Monday, April 15, well-known journalist Javier Valdez was pulled from his car and killed by a gunman. Valdez started and edited a weekly newspaper in Culiacán called Ríodoce. Ríodoce mostly focused on drug cartel activity, which is very prevalent in Sinaloa, the western state where Culiacán is located. In 2017 alone, six journalists have now been murdered, several who also covered drug cartel activity. No arrests have been made for any of these deaths, and many question whether the government has any inclination to protect journalists. In 2011 when he was given an International Press Freedom Award, Valdez stated that “in Culiacán … to do journalism is to tread an invisible line drawn by the bad guys, who are in both drug trafficking and the government.”
A red palm weevil infestation has spread throughout Tunisia and there is a threat that it will spread to the date-producing region in southern Tunisia. This would be devastating for Tunisia’s economy, since the country is the world leader in date exports. So far in the country 5.4 million trees have become infested with red weevils. Not all of these trees contribute to date production, but any transport of an infected tree could threaten to spread the infestation. The date producing region of Tunisia has the most marginalized populations in the country, so there is already a significant amount of unemployment, and a drop in date production would be devastating for the region.
On Wednesday, May 15, two men were sentenced by a sharia court in Aceh, Indonesia to be caned in public for having gay sex. The original punishment had originally been 85 lashes, but the judge changed his mind since the defendants were polite in court and cooperated with authorities. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that can officially have a sharia court, which was allowed as a concession to end fighting with separatists. The maximum sentence for morality offences, such as gay sex, is 100 lashes. Caning however is a common punishment for adultery, women who wear tight clothing, gambling, men who miss Friday prayers, and drinking alcohol. Last year, more than 300 people were caned.
On Friday, April 12, a cyber attack affected more than 150 countries, with more than 300,000 becoming infected by WannaCrypt. WannaCrypt infects computers with Microsoft Windows systems and encrypts their files, forcing the owners of these computers to pay ransom in order to get their files back. It is widely believed that WannaCrypt uses information which was stolen from the National Security Agency. The attack affected many different organizations around the world, some of which were the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, Russian banks, many Chinese companies and schools, and the German railroad company Deutsche Bahn. The worst of the cyber attack is over since a cybersecurity expert was able to slow the spread, but infection is still possible.
Compiled by Rikke Sponheim