Myanmar coup; Syria elections; Britain's crypto plans

In today’s episode, we will revisit the situation in Myanmar in light of the latest sanctions the EU imposed on the country’s military, discuss Syria’s political future as the country votes to elect a new president next month, and finally examine the possibility of Britain introducing its own virtual currency.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • As the Myanmar coup heads towards completing two months, the European Union imposed sanctions on 10 of Myanmar’s military leaders, this week. Two giant military conglomerates were also blacklisted by the 27 member bloc. The decision, in line with sanctions imposed by the USA, and the UK, will include asset freezes and visa bans and is likely to impact the Tatmadaw’s treasury. The country’s military has arrested several elected leaders including President Win Myint and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, calling the last election results fraudulent. 

  • Syria is preparing to hold its second presidential elections since a civil war broke out in the country in 2011. The previous election held in 2014 had seen president Bashar al-Assad win an overwhelming 92% of votes. However, the country’s opposition along with the USA and the EU had dismissed the elections as undemocratic and illegitimate. Since then, aided by Russian military interventions and declining western influence in the region, Mr Assad has been able to amass unparalleled power and is expected to win another term in May. 

  • The Bank of England and the Treasury has announced a task force to explore the possibility of a central bank digital currency. The announcement comes a day after British finance minister Rishi Sunak told the Bank to look at the case for a new 'Britcoin', aimed at tackling some of the challenges posed by cryptocurrencies. The task force would be jointly led by the Bank's deputy governor for financial stability, Sir Jon Cunliffe, and the Treasury's director general of financial services, Katharine Braddick. 

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