The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Kremlin nemesis Navalny arrested at Moscow rally:  Shortly after joining anti-Putin demonstrators at a Moscow protest, Russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was detained along with several hundred other marchers.  Six Navalny allies were also detained during the police crackdown.

According to organizers, the demonstrations were designed to encourage Russian voters to boycott the upcoming Russian presidential election.

Arrested just blocks from the Kremlin, Navalny’s detainment followed police raiding his campaign offices.  A live stream from Navalny’s Progress Party offices captured the raid.  Police said they were responding to an alleged bomb threat.

A frequent critic of President Vladimir Putin and government corruption, Navalny has been barred from Russia’s March 18 presidential election.

Terror attacks rock Kabul:  Days after over 40 were killed in a terror attack at one of Kabul’s most luxurious hotels, the Intercontinental, insurgents driving ambulances, one packed with explosives, killed more than 100 in central Kabul on Saturday.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.

Map of Kabul showing area hit by ambulance bomb on 27 January 2018

According to Afghani authorities, the driver bluffed his way past a police checkpoint and detonated the device at a second police post.  Known as “Chicken Street,” the target area rests in a quarter of Kabul recognized for shopping and housing government offices.

Venezuela court bars opposition leaders from seeking office:  In a shock ruling Tuesday, the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice ordered the country’s election authorities to ban opposition parties from participating in April snap elections.

Under the court’s ruling, Venezuela’s main opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable, and its leaders are effectively barred from seeking office in April elections.

Ahead of the court’s decision, President Nicolás Maduro and his United Socialist Party had scheduled elections for the end of April.

Ex-Brazilian president loses appeal:  In a unanimous decision Wednesday, a Brazilian appeals court upheld corruption charges against former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula ruled Brazil from 2003–2010, and was charged with accepting in excess of $1 million in bribes in the ongoing Petrobras corruption scandal.  He was sentenced to nine and a half years behind bars in July 2017.

Despite his conviction, Lula had been expected to win the 2018 race, but the ruling has prohibited him from seeking office.

U.S. military aid flows despite sex abuse charges:  Afghan Security Forces continue to engage in sexual abuse of Afghani civilians, including minors, according to a report released by the inspector general of the U.S. agency charged with oversight in Afghanistan.

According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the U.S. showed little interest in addressing such incidents and methods to combat occurrences outside of congressional action, withholding funding, were murky.

First reaching the public consciousness in 2015, Congress passed the Leahy Law, named after Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), which prohibits funding to Afghani military formations known for involvement in human rights abuses.

Bypassed by a technical clause, characterized by national security, funding has continued despite the number of abuse cases remaining consistent.  SIGAR has recommended an end to this exception under Leahy.


[Moscow Times] [Reuters via MSN] [The Telegraph] [NPR] [Al Jazeera] [ABC News]