18 November 2019


Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters rally for Catalan independence

KONFRONTASI-Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters, some waving Catalan flags and banners urging “a fight for freedom together”, rallied in support of a separate Catalonia on Thursday, broaching an issue that is anathema to Hong Kong’s rulers in Beijing.

In Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations, millions have taken to the streets in sometimes violent clashes over what they see as China’s tightening grip. Most protesters in the former British colony want greater democracy, among other demands, although a small minority is calling for independence.

Ethiopian activist calls for calm after 16 die in clashes

KONFRONTASI-Ethiopian activist Jawar Mohammed called for calm on Thursday a day after 16 people were killed during clashes between his supporters and police in the capital and other cities.

Addressing hundreds of his supporters at his house in Addis Ababa, Jawar said: "Open the blocked roads, clean the towns of barricades, treat those who have been injured during the protests and reconcile with those you have quarrelled with."

Police fired gunshots and tear gas on Wednesday to break up demonstrations against Jawar's treatment by the government.

India set to hold local elections in Kashmir amid boycott

KONFRONTASI-India is set to hold local body elections on Thursday in Indian-administered Kashmir amid a boycott by most political parties, which have termed it "undemocratic".

Hundreds of leaders of pro-India parties, including three former chief ministers, remain in detention since New Delhi stripped the disputed region's autonomy on August 5.

Residents and political parties have criticised the timing of the "forced elections" as the state remains under a security lockdown and a near-complete communication blackout.

Shehla Rashid, a young Kashmiri politician, quit electoral politics earlier this month saying she did not want to "legitimise" New Delhi's actions in Kashmir by participating in "sham electoral exercise".

In total 26,629 village council heads will vote to elect 310 out of 316 blocks, which comprise of a group of villages, in the Muslim-majority region of seven million.

The region's main parties such as National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party and Peoples Conference and other small parties have not put up candidates, as they are opposed to the abrogation of Article 370 that granted the region special rights.

Around 60 percent village council seats remain vacant due to the boycott by the regional parties.

Most of the 1,065 candidates in the fray have been accommodated in highly guarded hotels in the main city of Srinagar hundreds of kilometres away from the villages from where they are contesting making the opposition parties to criticise the "whole process".

On Wednesday, many of these candidates went to their villages for the first time to campaign in the closed-door meetings.

"This is really worth seeing how the democracy of India lives in hotels in Kashmir," said 30-year-old, Dilshad Ahmad. "This is a forced election, we don't know what they plan to do here."

Many village heads have moved to the government-provided accommodations and hotels with their families due to fear from armed rebels. A Peoples Democratic Party activist in Anantnag was shot at on Sunday.

Asiya, 34, is staying at a hotel in old Srinagar's Khanyar with her three children. Her husband, Abdul Rasheed, is a sarpanch (village head) from Khag village in Budgam and the family has been living in the hotel, 60km away from their home.

"There is a lot of fear. Today, he has gone to his village for the first time after August 5 and I am worried about him," she told Al Jazeera sitting in her hotel room.

In another hotel on the banks of Dal Lake in the main city of Srinagar, there are 18 village heads from Shopian and Anantnag and other villages from south Kashmir are staying for the last 20 days.

Ghulam Hasan Khan, who is contesting from Ichgam in central Kashmir, said his village lacks development.

"I want to make the local hospital run 24/7 and help build better roads," Khan said.

When asked about the current situation in Kashmir, he declined to comment.

Thirty-nine bodies found in truck near London, driver arrested

KONFRONTASI-British police found the bodies of 39 people inside a truck at an industrial estate near London on Wednesday and said they had arrested the driver on suspicion of murder.

The discovery of the bodies - 38 adults and one teenager - was made in the early hours after emergency services were alerted to people in a truck container on an industrial site in Grays, about 20 miles (32 km) east of central London.

Climate change has finally caught up to this Alaska village

By: Craig Welch



Taxing the Rich to Fund Welfare Is the Nobel Winner’s Growth Mantra

KONFRONTASI-How do you spur demand in an economy? By raising taxes, not cutting them, says this year’s winner of the Nobel prize for economics.

Reducing taxes to boost investment is a myth spread by businesses, says Abhijit Banerjee, who won the prize along with Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer of Harvard University for their approach to alleviating global poverty. “You are giving incentives to the rich who are already sitting on tons of cash.”

Tornado slams Dallas: 4 killed in Arkansas, Oklahoma

KONFRONTASI-A tornado tossed trees into homes, tore off storefronts and downed power lines but killed no one in a densely-populated area of Dallas, leaving Mayor Eric Johnson to declare the city "very fortunate" to be assessing only property damage.

The late-night storms spawned tornadoes in several states, killing at least four people in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

A meteorologist said on Monday that people took shelter thanks to early alerts and that it was fortunate the tornado struck on Sunday evening when many people were home.

US bars China officials over Uighur crackdown in Xinjiang

KONFRONTASI -  The United States on Tuesday said it would restrict visas for Chinese officials until Beijing ended its "repression" of Uighurs and other Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang, a day after blacklisting companies it said were linked to the crackdown.

The State Department said it would not issue visas to the Chinese government and Communist Party officials believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, mass detentions and abuses in western Xinjiang.

China accused of genocide over forced abortions of Uighur Muslim women as escapees reveal widespread sexual torture

KONFRONTASI -  The women have found refuge from Chinese authorities across the border in Kazakhstan, their ancestral homeland. But they remain haunted by the stories of abuse they carry with them.

China continues to deny Tiananmen, but we won’t let the world forget

By:  Rowena Xiaoqing He


He was just a kid, but he cried like an old man in despair.” Liane was trying hard to steady her emotions when she described to me how she had attempted to hold back a young boy whose unarmed brother had been shot by soldiers during the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.