Ugandan Opposition Leader Arrested — Again
For the fourth time in eight days, Ugandan police arrested the Kizza Besigye, the main opposition leader and runner-up in Uganda’s recent elections. His party’s officer were also raided, reports The Wall Street Journal.
In last week’s elections, Yoweri Museveni was re-elected, but both the United States and European Union have criticized the integrity of voting and many view it as fraudulent.
Deputy State Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner praised Ugandans for holding elections with limited violence, but added the U.S. must recognize there were “numerous reports of irregularities and official conduct that are deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.”
Toner also stated the administration’s concern over the continued house arrest of opposition presidential candidate Besigye and called for his immediate release.
There were numerous reports of delays on social media on the day of the vote. Museveni, who seized power in 1986 and has regularly been re-elected since, won with 61 percent of the national vote compared to 35 percent for Besigye, a former prime minister.
Former Defense Secretary Warns Of Nuclear Threat
In remarks made at Stanford University, former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry warned that as a result of multiple geopolitical flashpoints, the world is facing a greatly increased threat of a nuclear disaster.
“My bottom line is that the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War,” Perry said.
The former Clinton administration official expressed the most concern about how the dissolution of U.S.-Russian relations has spurred a reconstitution of the Russian nuclear capacity.
“They’re well advanced in rebuilding their Cold War nuclear arsenal, and it is Putin’s stated first priority. And they have dropped their former policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, and replaced it with a policy that says nuclear weapons will be their weapon of choice if they are threatened,” said Perry.
He did not assert Russian president Vladimir Putin was seeking to use nuclear weapons, but said the instability in the region boosted the possibility that a strategic miscalculation could lead to unforeseen events.
In January, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board, of which Perry is a member, released a statement saying the recent Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate change talks “constitute only small bright spots in a darker world situation full of potential for catastrophe,” therefore the Doomsday Clock would remain at three minutes to midnight.
U.S., North Korea Discussed Peace Talks Before Latest Nuke Test
Days before North Korea’s latest nuclear-bomb test, it has been learned the Obama administration may have secretly agreed to talks to try to formally end the Korean War, dropping a longstanding condition that Pyongyang first take steps to curtail its nuclear arsenal.
The Obama administration acknowledged the engagement with Pyongyang, but insisted the U.S. rejected the talks.
“To be clear, it was the North Koreans who proposed discussing a peace treaty. We carefully considered their proposal, and made clear that denuclearization had to be part of any such discussion,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.
The Korea Times reported last week that a proposal by China to start peace talks in conjunction with denuclearization talks had been turned down by the United States.
The offer was made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during meetings with his Australian counterpart.