Hong Kong institutes anti-protest measures, riots continue

Though the infamous extradition bill that ignited the Hong Kong protests is no longer on the table for implementation, actions taken by the city’s government have again provoked protests. The semi-autonomous state’s face mask ban went into effect on Friday. That measure, an attempt to make the identification of protesters an easier task for the Hong Kong government, coincides with the closure of two major train systems that protesters had made use of in the past.

Protesters responded to the mask ban by carrying umbrellas en masse, making it arguably just as hard for the government to identify them. The number of protesters this weekend was lower than in the past when tens of thousands filled the streets, but the Hong Kong government seems determined to quell any kind of unrest before it grows into something larger.

Former Israeli PM Netanyahu fails to form government, challenger Benny Nantz given the chance

Following a turbulent second round of elections in Israel, controversial figure Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a governing coalition in the Israeli government. This same issue surfaced following the first election back in April. Rather than brokering a government composed of a smattering of smaller interests, Netanyahu instead sought a second election in an attempt to solidify a stronger majority. The outcome of the new elections was remarkably similar, leading to a period of uncertainty in the Israeli Parliament.

Following this failure, Israel’s Blue and White party, headed by Benny Nantz, will now be given an opportunity to form a governing majority. Should they succeed, this would end nearly a decade of Netanyahu’s power in Israel. However, if Nantz is also unsuccessful, it could potentially spur yet another round of elections.

Trump-Ukraine communications related to Russian presence in Crimea

Ukrainian President Zelensky has claimed that President Donald Trump has pledged the support of the United States to help Ukraine take back the Crimean peninsula. Crimea was a Ukrainian territory that was annexed by Russia in 2014 in the aftermath of the Ukrainian revolution, and its ownership has become a massive point of contention in the international community.

This revelation is following increased scrutiny between the two presidents, given the allegations of inappropriate quid pro quo and underhanded deals passed between their governments. The prospect of American support in taking back Crimea would act as an even more potent bargaining chip for the Trump administration, as well as an issue that could potentially cause friction with the Russian government.