Protests in Thailand
Thousands of people protested in the Thai capital Bangkok, calling for reform of the political system. The protester’s anger is primarily focused on the country’s monarchy. According to the police, it was one of the largest protests in recent years, attended by at least 15,000 people (the participants themselves say it is closer to 50,000 people).
The rallies have been going on since July. The protests began with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who came to power in a coup in 2014. The last rallies are comparable in scale with 2014.
The country has a blanket ban on any criticism of the monarchs, violation of which is punishable by imprisonment.
Protests resumed in June when activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit went missing in Cambodia, where he was in exile after 2014.
His whereabouts remain unknown, and protesters accuse the Thai government of organizing his abduction, which the police and government deny.
Death of Ginsburg
US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Ginsburg died this week after a long illness. This may change the balance in the Supreme Court in favor of conservatives, experts say.
Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years has been the most senior member of the liberal wing of the court, consistently conducting progressive voting on the most controversial social issues of our time – from rights to abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBT issues, immigration, health care, and so on.
“She was an amazing woman if you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life,” Trump said.
His concurrent Joe Biden praised Ginsburg as a “giant in the legal profession” and a “beloved figure.”
The vacancy gives Trump the opportunity to further strengthen the conservative majority in court. The death of Ruth Ginsburg gave Donald Trump and the Republicans of the Senate an opportunity to establish a 6-3 conservative majority in the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, Mr. Trump published an updated list of more than 40 lawyers he will consider in the Supreme Court if a vacancy occurs. The list includes current federal judges, former Trump administration officials and Republican senators.
Among the candidates is Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic conservative who is considered the leading candidate to replace Ginsburg in the Supreme Court. In 2017, Mr. Trump appointed Judge Barrett to the US Court of Appeals for the seventh circuit.
Also among the applicants are Barbara Lagoa, Britt Grant, Amul Thapar and others.
This struggle could also define the contours of American society for 30-40 years, given the central role played by the court in lawmaking on cultural, social and political issues.
Political earthquakes may shake the presidential election as well, as Joe Biden seeks to benefit from the surge of enthusiasm among progressives anxious about the conservative seizure of the court.
Libya – oil contract
Libya National Army’s commander Khalifa Haftar announced the conditional lifting of the months-long blockade of oil fields and ports by his troops.
In January, Libyan tribes closed the country’s oil fields and terminals in an attempt to put pressure on the UN-recognized National Agreement Government (GNA) based in Tripoli. The blockade took place on the territories controlled by LNA.
On Friday, Haftar said his police would allow oil production to resume after an 8-month siege. Ahmed Maiteeq, the Vice-President of the Libyan Presidential Council, in turn, said a committee would be formed to ensure fair distribution of oil revenues.
Shortly after Haftar’s statement, his spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said an agreement had been reached with Maiteeq. In doing so, Maiteeq has demonstrated his competence in diplomacy – one of his most serious and constructive steps, proving his ability to negotiate with the various parties to the complex Libyan conflict.
The oil deal was reached on the background on serious changes in Western Libya controlled by GNA: the announcement of coming resignation by Prime-Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and the attempt to dismiss the Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha.
US President Donald Trump said he will approve a deal on the acquisition of TikTok by the US companies Oracle and Walmart from the Chinese company ByteDance.
“I have given the deal my blessing – if they get it done that’s great, if they don’t that’s okay too,” Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn before departing for North Carolina. “I approved the deal in concept.”
If TikTok operations in the US are not sold by November 12 to a US company, the service will be blocked in the United States on Trump’s order.