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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
November 26, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Crackdown on Hong Kong Protest Site

Editor's Note: There will be no Daily Brief on Thursday, November 27 or Friday, November 28. The DB will resume on Monday, December 1.

Clashes continued (WSJ) as police cleared the Mong Kok protest site for a second day; Mong Kok is one of the most densely populated areas of Hong Kong. Police arrested 116 protesters on Wednesday, including several student leaders, and said that twenty officers had been injured in the operation. Protesters have vowed to remain on the streets (SCMP). Meanwhile, seven Hong Kong police officers were arrested (BBC) on Wednesday for allegedly beating a protesting lawmaker in October.


"Hong Kong's protest movement, it seems, is starting to divide, as different groups pursue their own strategies. Ironically, that is exactly the spirit of democracy that the protesters are pursuing." writes Ellie Ng in Foreign Policy.

"We are at a pivotal moment for democracy in Hong Kong. If there is one thing history has shown us, it is this: Authoritarian rule has a limited life span. No matter how hard the CCP may try to quash dissent, outlaw religious belief, control the outcome of so-called elections, manipulate economic prosperity, or control the words and thoughts of its citizens, it is on the wrong side of history," said CFR's Mark P. Lagon in his testimony before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

"For Hong Kong to emerge stronger and better following the Occupy movement, we need leaders who are liberal-minded, willing to listen to others with different views, who have the courage to stand up against pressure and are willing to give and take," writes Susan Chan, the secretary general of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong, in the South China Morning Post



Myanmar Parliament Calls for High-Level Talks

Myanmar's parliament adopted a motion calling for leaders of the country's top six political parties, including President Thein Sein, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the military chief to hold urgent talks (Radio Free Asia) to amend the constitution.

Admitting that Myanmar’s democratization process has huge flaws would be admitting that the Obama administration might not have won the victory in Myanmar that it claims, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick. 



SAARC Summit Opens in Kathmandu

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit opened on Wednesday in Nepal. Despite pledges for increased cooperation, the regional members were unable to reach agreement on (Mint) plans for road and rail connectivity and a regional power grid.

PAKISTAN: Gunmen fatally shot (Express Tribune) four polio workers and injured another three in Balochistan on Wednesday. The workers were carrying out an emergency vaccination campaign in the area, which had been polio free for almost two years until July. At least ten cases have been reported since then.



Syrian Government Strikes ISIS Stronghold

The Syrian government launched heavy air strikes (AP) on Tuesday in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, killing at least ninety-five; many of the dead were civilians, according to London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. ISIS took control of Raqqa in March 2013 and declared the city its capital. Meanwhile, a monitor group said that ISIS stoned (AFP) two men to death in Syria, claiming they were gay; these deaths mark ISIS's first killings for alleged homosexuality.

This CFR Backgrounder chronicles the rise of ISIS.

YEMEN: Armed tribesmen attacked (Deutsche Welle) Yemen's principal oil pipeline on Wednesday, stopping the flow of oil to an export terminal, according to the defense ministry. Yemen's economy is dependent on oil and gas exports. 



Zimbabwe VP Blocked From Central Committee

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party blocked (Herald) Vice President Joyce Mujuru from taking a seat on the party's central decision-making committee on Tuesday. The move suggests Mujuru would not succeed ninety-year-old President Robert Mugabe.

BURKINA FASO: A minister in Burkina Faso's newly appointed transitional government resigned (Reuters) on Tuesday following two days of protests over his ties to former President Blaise Compaore's administration. Compaore resigned in October following mass protests over his attempt to amend the constitution to extend his twenty-seven year rule. 



Juncker Unveils EU Investment Plan

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unveiled a highly anticipated investment plan (FT) aimed at boosting the EU economy on Tuesday. Few details of the new European Fund for Strategic Investment have been revealed, but Juncker said that the $26 billion fund could generate as much as $390 billion.

EU: The European Council extended its suspension of sanctions (EU Observer) against Iran until the new June 2015 deadline for nuclear talks. The European Parliament also postponed its vote (EU Observer) to recognize Palestine as a state until mid-December. 



Ferguson Protests Spread

Protests erupted (CNN) across the United States in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, MO. Freeways on the west coast and bridges and tunnels in New York City were blocked by thousands of protesters. Missouri authorities tripled (WaPo) the National Guard presence on Tuesday to curb unrest. 

COLOMBIA: FARC militants released (LAHT) two soldiers who were captured on November 9 to the Red Cross on Tuesday, in a move to resume peace talks. Colombian President Jose Manuel Santos suspended negotiations after members of the group kidnapped an army general on November 16; the general remains in captivity, but the group has said he would be released soon.



OPEC to Discuss World Oil Prices

The twelve members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna (NYT) to discuss oil prices on Thursday. Oil prices have dropped nearly 25 percent since June, to $80 a barrel. 

This CFR Backgrounder looks at U.S. energy exports.



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