Asia

Japan executes six cult members

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Japan on July 26 executed six more members of the cult behind the deadly 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, weeks after the group’s leader was hanged. TOKYO – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa confirmed that the six Aum Shinrikyo cult members remaining on death row had been executed on July 26. “I ordered the executions after extremely careful consideration,” she said at a press conference. The executions come after authorities hanged “guru” Shoko Asahara and six of his one-time… ... Read More »

A guide to the longest full eclipse of the moon this century, and more

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On July 27th, 2018 most of the world will be treated to an extraordinary evening of activity in the sky. Daniel Cunnama The Conversation First, there will be a total lunar eclipse and although uncommon, this one is special because it’s going to last a lot longer than usual – in fact the longest this century. But that’s not all. Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years. Caroline Southey asked Dr Daniel Cunnama to explain the… There’s ... Read More »

Sexual Violence by the Burmese Military Against Ethnic Minorities

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Testimony of Skye Wheeler at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Co-Chairmen Representatives McGovern and Hultgren and members of the commission, thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing on human rights and the use of sexual violence by the Burmese military against ethnic minorities in Burma. HRW Human Rights Watch has conducted research on the human rights situation in Burma for more than 25 years, focusing on abuses against political dissidents and media, as well as laws-of-war ... Read More »

Patriotic songs and self-criticism: why China is ‘re-educating’ Muslims in mass detention camps

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China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence. But extensive reporting by international media and human rights groups indicates upwards of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — a… The Conversation By Michael Clarke ABC The camps are not only massive, with some exceeding 10,000 square metres, but have also been likened to prison-like compounds, with, “reinforced security doors and windows, surveillance systems… The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls it, “The largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the ... Read More »

Torture is ‘Systemic and Endemic’ in Azerbaijan

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Torture Prevention Body Publishes Damning Reports Torture in Azerbaijan by police and other law enforcement agencies is “systemic and endemic,” according to a report from the Council of Europe’s torture prevention body. Giorgi Gogia HRW The report by The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), based on six visits to Azerbaijan from 2004 through 2017, documented repeated cases of “severe physical ill-treatment” of… The cases appeared to follow a consistent pattern: mostly ... Read More »

Pakistan election: Bloodshed and accusations of foul play taint historic democratic vote

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More than 350,000 army personnel stationed across the country, as suicide bombing kills at least 32 Adam Withnall. Maija Liuhto  Mohammad Zubair Khan Independent Pakistan voted on Wednesday in a historic general election that was as bitter, heated and bloody as expected following weeks of acrimonious campaigning. In the city of Quetta near the Afghanistan border, a suicide bomber drove a motorbike into a crowd of people near a polling station. Witnesses told The Independent the target appeared to be a police van, and there ... Read More »

Swedish student prevents deportation of Afghan asylum seeker by refusing to sit down on flight

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Live stream of Elin Ersson’s dramatic protest shows how she stands her ground against flight crew and fellow passengers, before her efforts are finally applauded in emotional scenes Adam Withnall Independent A student activist in Sweden single-handedly prevented the deportation of an asylum seeker to Afghanistan, by refusing to sit down on the plane that was due to take him out of the country. Elin Ersson started live-streaming her dramatic protest after flight attendants demanded she sit down for departure and tried to take away ... Read More »

Rodrigo Duterte commits to war on illegal drugs in Philippines State of the Union address

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he will not be stopping the war on drugs that has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, saying while his critics’ “concern is human rights, mine is human lives”. ABC Speaking for his annual State of the Union address at a joint session of Congress, Mr Duterte reaffirmed his resolve to fight illegal drugs as he had during his first two years in power. He took a swipe at his critics who say his so ... Read More »

The shaky case for prosecuting Witness K and his lawyer in the Timor-Leste spying scandal

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Much of the media commentary on the government prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery has focused on government duplicity in suppressing the trial until it had its oil and gas treaty signed with Timor-Leste. John Braithwaite The Conversation But this focus on government hypocrisy has neglected the accountability of the director of public prosecutions, Sarah McNaughton. The prosecution policy of the Commonwealth says: The decision to prosecute must not be influenced by any political advantage or disadvantage ... Read More »

Turkey’s growing presence in Jerusalem ‘potential threat’: Israeli report

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The report describes what it says are the numerous ways Turkey has been active in East Jerusalem, remarking on the prevalence of the Turkish flag in every corner of the Old City. Yeni Şafak A report published by an Israeli think-tank referred to Turkish citizens visiting the Old City of Jerusalem as a “potential threat,” and remarked on the prevalence of the Turkish flag across East Jerusalem as a… The report, titled “Erdoğan’s Turkey Intensifies Involvement in Gaza and Jerusalem,” ... Read More »

Pakistan election: As the country heads to the polls, is it a democratic election or a soft coup?

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Pakistan is on edge as voters go to the polls today in national elections. If the vote goes smoothly, it’ll be only the second time since Pakistan became independent 70 years ago that power has been transferred peacefully from one government to another. By South Asia correspondent Siobhan Heanue ABC But there are fears of a creeping coup, amid accusations of military intervention. Who is vying for power? Two of the main players are the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party ... Read More »

Afghan teen who burnt to death came here as child bride on fake papers

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A young mother who died after being set alight in a still unexplained tragedy is believed to have entered Australia illegally as a child bride. Melissa Cunningham The Age Police initially believed Hazara woman Sadif Karimi was 22 when she died in The Alfred hospital in February after being severely burnt in a backyard in Melbourne’s south-east. Her family said she was just 17. And it can also be revealed that Sadif Karimi’s real name was Ziba Haji Zada. Ziba’s husband ... Read More »

Vietnam: Clean Up Abysmal Rights Record

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Past UN Member Recommendations Ignored © 2018 Reuters/Kham HRW (Geneva) – Vietnam’s government should release all political prisoners and uphold its pledges to respect basic civil and political rights, Human Rights Watch said in a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Vietnam will be appearing before the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2019. During its 2014 UPR review, Vietnam accepted 182 out of 227 recommendations it received from UN member countries. Since then, the Vietnamese government ... Read More »

I traced missile casings in Syria back to their original sellers, so it’s time for the west to reveal who they sell arms to

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I don’t think either Nato or the EU has the slightest interest in chasing the provenance of weapons in the hands of Islamist fighters in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East Robert Fisk Independent Readers, a small detective story. Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. And this number: STOCK NO 1410-01-300-0254. And this code: DAA A01 C-0292. I found all these numerals printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out ... Read More »

Why Vietnam is quitting Facebook

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Activists, dissidents and writers are gravitating to other social media platforms as Facebook appears to acquiesce to government censorship demands David Hutt Asia Times When logging onto Minds, an open-source social media platform, it is hard to miss the huge number of posts written in Vietnamese. Of the platform’s over one million users, about 10% hail from Vietnam, according to recent media reports. What’s more, roughly 100,000 of those Vietnamese users signed up in the period of just one week, ... Read More »

Trade war a reality, French finance minister warns

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A trade war is now a reality, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned as G20 ministers gather for a summit in Argentina. BBC The current US trade policy of imposing unilateral tariffs is based on “the law of the jungle”, he said. But US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended the tariffs and urged the EU and China to open their markets to allow free competition. Last week, US President Donald Trump described the EU as a “foe” on trade. ... Read More »