Weekly News Round-Up (13/11/2015)

13 November 2015


  • A hunger strike by a group of students and supporters in protest of the continued incarceration of political prisoners in Burma is beginning to take its toll on the participants health, with one student admitted to Rangoon General Hospital on Wednesday.
  • US President Barack Obama commends Thein Sein for successful conduct of Burma’s historic Nov. 8 poll via phone.
  • Despite the elections receiving worldwide acclaim, on polling day Amnesty UK protested outside the Burmese Embassy in London in the name of Burmese political prisoners, many of whom were detained for peacefully marching in the country.
  • The Minister for State at the FCO Hugo Swire was asked by both Conservative and Labour MPs whether he would support the establishment of an international, independent investigation by the UN into claims of genocide against the Rohingya. Mr Swire suggested that a UN investigation would require “high level international support for which, we assess, there is little prospect of agreement at this stage”.




  • Prime Minister Modi’s BJP party has been trounced in the Bihar state elections, which were seen as a mini-referendum on his government’s performance. Commentators have blamed this defeat partly upon the campaign focus of the BJP on divisive social topics, projecting an intolerant image.
  • Modi is facing a challenge to his authority by senior member of his party. On 11th November, four veteran leaders published an open letter criticising the PM’s ‘disastrous’ handling of the Bihar elections.
  • Modi’s visit to the UK to strengthen economic partnership has been tempered by widespread protests around London against a perceived growth in restriction of freedom of expression and belief in India.
  • There are signs that the Diwali festival celebrations have thawed relations between forces on the India-Pakistan border. Small gestures of goodwill between troops from both sides is seen as a significant development in the wake of strained bilateral relations.





South Sudan


  • Uganda is short of disaster relief funds as the El Nino rains begin take a significant toll on the country. The peak of El Nino’s expected effect is expected in early December.
  • Uganda’s economy has received a boost from hosting refugees, the number of which reached half a million this year. The country’s progressive 2006 Refugee Act allows them to work, travel and access public services, including education.
  • Although the government and donor community are investing in education in Uganda, almost half of Ugandan children remain malnourished, according to Global Nutrition Report. This negatively impacts upon the country’s vision for a ‘prosperous and modern society’; hunger and malnutrition cause poverty, ‘as hungry people cannot be productive’.
  • The Global Partnership for education is funding a $100 million program to improve the education system, focusing on teachers and school effectiveness.


  • The co-chairs of the OSCE Mink Group claim that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has lasted too long and the sides should undertake all measures necessary to expedite a peaceful settlement.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says that Russia is not doing anything that could harm Armenia or Azerbaijan on the issue of settlement of the conflict.


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