Donald Trump Current Affairs - 2019

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EU calls for ceasefire in Afghanistan

The officials of European Union (EU) have called for a ceasefire in Afghanistan, stating that the breakdown in talks between United States and Taliban presented an opportunity to push anew for a truce (an agreement to end the fighting). In September 2019, citing a Taliban attack that killed a US soldier, US President Donald Trump declared talks with insurgents ‘dead’.

Key Highlights

A ceasefire called by EU would be a token, a guarantee of goodwill and good preparation for normalisation of these relationships. EU also believes that in coming months, Taliban might return to power in one form or another so the move would would entertain a truce to help normalise future relations with European bloc.

EU special envoy for Afghanistan, Roland Kobia, stated that the US-Taliban talks’ collapse provide a chance to push for a ceasefire and is the right moment and right opportunity to go one step ahead of a simple reduction in violence and explore ways in which ceasefire will take place.

European Union officials stated that US can reduce its force in Afghanistan to 8,600 without hurting counterterrorism fight against Al-Qaida and Islamic State group. US has nearly 4,000 American troops in Afghanistan as part of US-led coalition. Moreover, the aim is to still get a peace agreement at some point and any withdrawal would happen as part of a peace agreement with Taliban.

Russia President Putin signs “Sovereign Internet” law

Russian President Vladimir Putin on 2 May 2019  signed into law a “sovereign internet” bill which will allow Russian authorities to isolate the country’s internet. The move expands Government Control of Internet, is being publicly denounced by all rights groups in country.

Key Highlights

  • The text of the law was published on 1 May 2019 but it will not come into effect until November.
  • Russian lawmakers support the new law as deeming it necessary to ensure security of Russia’s online networks.
  • It includes measures such as to create technology to monitor internet routing, to steer Russian internet traffic away from foreign servers, allegedly to prevent a foreign country from shutting it down.
  • In March 2019, Putin signed another controversial law which allowed courts to fine and briefly jail people who showed disrespect towards authorities, and also block media for publishing “fake news”.
  • These laws are part of an ongoing Kremlin clampdown on media and internet freedoms in which people are jailed even for sharing humorous memes.
  • The move would also target largely Telegram (a popular messaging app) widely used by Russians.

Criticism

  • It is being criticized as a vaguely worded bill which gives new censorship powers to government monitors and is aimed at restricting information and communication online.
  • It will allow greater surveillance by Russian intelligence agencies, and increase ability of state authorities to control information.

Reason

The government defended the legislation as a defensive move in case the United States would cut Russia off from the global Internet. Also, Russia must ensure its networks security after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new American cybersecurity strategy in 2018 which accused Russia of carrying out cyber-attacks with impunity.