British Foreign Secretary & First Secretary of State Dominic Raab speaks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

NEWS AT 9 PM: From UK to Hong Kong, here's your evening round-up of the most important political stories you need to know this Friday, June 4, 2021. 

1. The United Nations Security Council has reported that a group closely related to the Taliban and Al Qaeda are a big threat to the government present in Afghanistan currently. The UN reported that this Taliban organization, “responsible for the great majority of targeted assassinations that have become a feature of the violence in Afghanistan and that appear to be undertaken with the objective of weakening the capacity of the Government and intimidating civil society.” They are also, “seeking to shape future military operations when levels of departing foreign troops are no longer able to effectively respond.” This threat of power can be a huge problem for the Biden presidency, as the President promised to have all US troops to be removed from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021 – the 20th anniversary of 9/11. This will be a potential problem because of his vows to the nation surrounding our involvement in the Middle East, specifically Afghanistan. The reason for our intervention was the possibility of Islamic terrorists present in the governments and societies in the nation. However, Biden previously said our work was finished and the troops could come home. This puts a complication on his plans to get the troops home due to the possibility that their work is not yet finished, and more extremists are still threatening the safety and security of the government of Afghanistan. 

2. Many Hong Kong residents went to Tiananmen Square in Beijing to mourn and honor the deaths of those in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, despite restrictions and retaliation from the Chinese government. While there is no exact number, the amount of deaths is estimated in the hundreds of thousands during this student-led protest for greater democracy in China. Hongkongers visited the area the night of June 4th despite the deployment of 7,000 police officers to the square by the government. The 1989 protests were of an anti-government nature, so any commemoration of the deaths and the event, in general, was heavily retaliated against by the Chinese government. The government used the pandemic as an excuse to barricade the area and line up officers to prevent any entrance to the square. This is the second year in a row they have done this, but the first where they insisted it was an emergency of national security and imposed a strict law to prevent any activity. 

3. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has stated his concern and disbelief of the confession of arrested journalist Roman Protasevich by the Belarus government. A video of Protasevich was released in which he confessed to organizing anti-government protests, but many people have come forward to state that this confession was forced. He appeared in obvious distress, with tears in his eyes and marks on his wrist. Experts are saying he was tortured into confessing. Dominic Raab’s tweet stated the UK is “alarmed” by this fact and is “coordinating with our allies,” stating these actions will have “serious implications.” The journalist was arrested by Belarus on a flight in which they used a false bomb threat to force it to land in Minsk, detaining the journalist for his involvement in the pro-democracy movement. He has been heavily wanted for years, after the Belarus authorities put him on a terrorism watch list and even opened a criminal case against him, claiming his participation in organizing mass disorder and inciting hatred towards the government. Many are against the arrest and charges of Protasevich, claiming he did nothing wrong. Now that the UK government has gotten involved, it is easy to say this will become an international issue with serious consequences for the government of Belarus. 

Anoosha Murtaza

Anoosha Murtaza is a Gen Z Voice at the Pavlovic Today and a rising third-year student at the University of Virginia. Anoosha has a passion for good journalism, strong political views, and social justice.