2017-04-02

World Today: 2017-04-02 Sunday

Russia:  Navalny-inspired protests more widespread than expected.  Economist:
And yet on March 26th, 17 years to the day after Mr Putin was first elected, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in nearly 100 cities to demonstrate against corruption, in the largest protests since 2012.The protests began in Vladivostok and rolled across the country to Moscow and St Petersburg, which saw the largest crowds. Riot police arrested more than 1,000 people in Moscow alone. ... The marches came in response to a call from Aleksei Navalny, an opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner who wants to run for president next year. Despite the government’s crackdown on activism, Mr Navalny has doggedly continued publishing exposés of corruption on social networks and YouTube, and expanding his volunteer organisation. His latest target is Dmitry Medvedev, the prime minister.
Stratfor

There will be more demonstrations this weekend in Russia, following protests last week that were the largest in five years. As details emerge about the demonstrations and their organizers, a new picture of Russian discontent is materializing. Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin is choosing to respond with crackdowns rather than by addressing the underlying issues causing the dissent.  Last weekend's protests were organized by opposition heavyweight Alexei Navalny, who traveled through half a dozen Russian cities to promote his anti-corruption campaigns against Kremlin elites....

Both articles cite the broader geographic range of this year's protests as compared to previous years, the focus on corruption and economic issues, the role of social media, and the youth of the participants.

Africa / USA:  Security issues likely to dominate Africa relations under Trump.   Reed Kramer at AllAfrica:  'On 30 March, the Pentagon announced President Donald Trump's approval of revised combat rules for U.S. forces fighting the Al Queada-affiliated Al Shabaab in Somalia, reducing protections for civilians as the U.S. military launches an intensified assault in east Africa. Earlier this month, the White House announced a budget blueprint that includes a $54 billion rise in overall military spending, alongside deep cuts for the State Department and international assistance.'  Kramer also notes that White House National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster has chosen Rudolph Atallah to be the National Security Council's Senior Director for Africa.

Germany:  Government probes suspected Turkish spy network.  Patrick Poole at PJM reports that investigations into the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB) reveal Turkish intelligence activities through Turkish-controlled mosques in Germany.  German authorities have raided the homes of DTIB officials.

History:  US enters the Great War.  One hundred years ago, President Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany.

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