(Ben Green) #1




Prince retreats
over Epstein

Britain’s Prince Andrew
announced on Nov. 20
that he was stepping
back from royal duties
“for the foreseeable
future,” four days after
a BBC interview in
which he defended his
relationship with Jeffrey
Epstein. He said his
links to Epstein had
become “a major dis-
ruption” to the royals.

Syracuse reels
after racist

New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo said
Nov. 19 that Syracuse
University needs to
do more to address
a string of racist
incidents on campus,
including graffiti as
well as slurs yelled at
students. Two days
earlier, the school
announced that a
donor had provided
$50,000 in reward
money for information
on who is responsible.

Sweden drops
Assange rape

On Nov. 19, Swedish
prosecutors dropped
an investigation into
a rape allegation
from 2010 against
WikiLeaks founder
Julian Assange, citing
weakened evidence
over time. Assange, in
prison in London after
spending seven years in
the U.K.’s Ecuadorean
embassy until he
was evicted in April,
denies the charge.

on nov. 16, in a bid To quell rioTing
that broke out after Iran’s state oil company
announced fuel-price hikes, Iranian au-
thorities implemented a near total Internet
blackout. The shutdown makes it difficult
to gauge the scale of unrest, but Amnesty In-
ternational says at least 106 protesters have
been killed, and Iran’s semiofficial Fars News
Agency has reported that more than 1,
people have been arrested. Videos smuggled
out of the country show torched munici-
pal buildings and abandoned cars blocking
highways, as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei blames the riots on external forces
trying to “sabotage” Iran.

imposed since May 2017 have crippled Iran’s
economy, led to food shortages and fueled
anger at the country’s leadership. On Nov. 15,
the National Iranian Oil Co. raised gas prices
by 50% to 300%—an increase the authori-
ties say will raise $2.55 billion a year for di-
rect payments to citizens. Iran began rush-
ing out those payments on Nov. 18, the same
day the New York Times and the Intercept
published some 700 pages of leaked Iranian
intelligence- agency cables.

IRAN’S PLAYBOOK Blocking the Internet na-
tionwide may signal even greater fear about
the gas-price protests. During street protests
against economic hardship and corruption
in 2017–2018, Tehran disabled Internet ac-
cess from cell phones and blocked messaging
services to prevent protesters’ organizing.
Speaking after protests erupted elsewhere in
the region in October, Khamenei blamed U.S.
interference and praised the 2018 crackdown
in Iran, saying, “The armed forces were ready,
and that plot was neutralized.”

AXIS OF RESISTANCE The domestic turbu-
lence comes at a troubling time for Tehran.
Economic worries have prompted protests
in Lebanon and Iraq—both in Iran’s sphere
of influence—and forced Lebanon’s Prime
Minister to resign. Iran-linked militias have
also been involved in direct violence in Iraq,
and the leaked cables detail years of Iranian
interventions there, bolstering protesters
in Iran who say their leaders have spent bil-
lions on overseas proxies while neglecting
unemployment and corruption at home.
Cutting off the Internet will make it harder
for protesters to organize, but it won’t solve
those problems. —Joseph hincks


Iran goes dark as riots surge

over a gas-price hike

TRICK OF THE LIGHT Protesters shine green laser pointers during demonstrations over inequality
in Santiago, Chile, on Nov. 18. The tactic, which has been used around the world, is designed to
confuse police drones and helicopters monitoring the crowds. The protests, initially triggered by
a subway-fare hike in mid-October, have left at least 22 people dead and 2,300 injured. President
Sebastián Piñera said on Nov. 17 that police have used “excessive force” in their response.

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