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A History of Philippine Political Protest

KONFRONTASI-2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. During those momentous four days of February 1986, millions of Filipinos, along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) in Metro Manila, and in cities all over the country, showed exemplary courage and stood against, and peacefully overthrew, the dictatorial regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

150 missing after shipwreck in eastern Congo

KONFRONTASI-About 150 people are missing after a boat sunk on a lake in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tshisekedi said on Tuesday.

“I am very saddened by the shipwreck of a pirogue on (Monday) April 15 on Lake Kivu. The provisional toll is 150 people missing,” Tshisekedi said on his office’s Twitter account.

North Korea leader Kim to meet Russia's Putin this month

KONFRONTASI-North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will travel to Russia in the second half of this month and meet President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

The announcement of the upcoming summit comes as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing for a deal with Kim that would bring an end to nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Two earlier summits between Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement on a denuclearisation deal. Trump administration officials have floated the possibility of a third summit.

Indonesian challenger says evidence of widespread cheating in election

KONFRONTASI-Indonesia’s presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto said on Thursday that cheating had occurred across the country during this week’s election, which unofficial results showed incumbent President Joko Widodo had won.

“We have declared (victory) because we got evidence of widespread cheating at the village, sub-district and district levels across Indonesia,” Prabowo told reporters, minutes after Widodo declared victory at a separate news conference.

Erdogan says to keep up election challenge but Turkey must move on

KONFRONTASI-President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday his AK Party would keep up its challenge to the Istanbul election results after the main opposition candidate became mayor, but Turkey needed to end debate on the issue and focus on issues like the economy.

After 17 days of objections and recounts, the secularist opposition Republican People’s Party new mayor Ekrem Imamoglu took office on Wednesday, despite a pending request by the AKP to annul and repeat mayoral elections in Istanbul.

Bells of French cathedrals ring in solemn tribute to Notre Dame

KONFRONTASI-As soon as clocks struck 6:50pm on Friday, more than 100 cathedrals across France rang their bells to mark the exact moment that Notre Dame, one of the country's most iconic buildings, erupted in flames.

Heard in the Sacre Coeur of Paris and Sainte-Marie-Majeure of Marseilles, it was a solemn but defiant tribute to a loss that brought temporary unity to a country struggling to reconcile its many political and social divisions.

But the panic that sent thousands of Parisians and visitors rushing to the banks of the River Seine on Wednesday to watch the landmark burn, some bursting into tears or singing songs to keep spirits high, has gradually subsided.

Even as the fire consumed the centuries-old cathedral's roof and spire, many were grateful that its stone structure stood firm and the loss was not much greater.

Rebuilding efforts

Authorities said the building was only minutes away from complete destruction, but the daring response of 400 firefighters made a vital difference, saving the cathedral's famous bell towers, its ornate stained-glass rose windows and many irreplaceable artistic and religious treasures.

Since then, hundreds of millions of euros in pledges have flooded in from France's wealthiest families and industrialists to finance the rebuilding efforts, while the government has said that returning the cathedral to its former glory will be a national priority.

However, the remarkable speed of the fundraising effort has left some questioning whether French society values stone and cement more than its vulnerable.

"Of course it's a tragedy, it's a wonderful cathedral and very old, but all this money that's been given towards the rebuilding, would it not be better spent on people who are homeless?" Jacques, an enthusiastic supporter of France's anti-establishment yellow-vest movement, asked Al Jazeera.

"I think this money might be better spent, as a Catholic, helping people who need it. If all the cathedrals burn, I'll still be able to practise my religion."

On the south bank of the Seine, hordes of tourists on Friday vied for space to take photos of the Gothic masterpiece, prevented by a police cordon from getting any closer. The city's most popular destination for foreign visitors, drawing more than 12 million per year, has clearly not lost its charm.

"We took a hop-on, hop-off bus and so we could see it, just the day before," said Ressa, a visitor from Ravensburg in Germany. "No we didn't [go inside], that's a big pity."Gazing from the Pont Saint-Michel at the cathedral's almost untouched facade with its bell towers gleaming in the spring sunshine, Marina Ressa said she regrets missing the opportunity to visit Notre Dame before disaster struck.

"I was shocked. I couldn't really believe that it was happening at first," said Grace Ryan, whose hopes to visit Notre Dame were dashed as she watched the conflagration on TV shortly before flying from Chicago to Paris.

"It was crazy to see the fire falling into the building and just being worried the whole time that the whole thing was going to fall down."

North Korea conducts tests for 'tactical guided weapon': report

KONFRONTASI-North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has supervised the test-firing of a new type of "tactical guided weapon" in a move that could be an attempt to register the country's displeasure with currently deadlocked nuclear talks with the United States.

The country's state media, KCNA, reported on Thursday that the "advantages" of the weapon were "the peculiar mode of guiding flight and the load of a powerful warhead".

Nicaraguan opposition says dozens arrested in banned protests

KONFRONTASI-Hundreds of Nicaraguans opposed to President Daniel Ortega took to the streets on Wednesday in protests deemed illegal by the government and several dozen were arrested, according to an opposition group, although police denied anyone was detained.

A large number of police could be seen in riot gear surrounding the site of the main protest in the capital, Managua, where they impeded some 200 Nicaraguans as the peaceful, flag-waving protesters shouted pro-democracy slogans.

At least five killed as deadly flooding hits Afghanistan

KONFRONTASI-Afghan officials say that at least five people have been killed and 17 more are still missing after a new wave of heavy rain and flooding swept across the country.

Worst hit has been the western province of Herat. Hamid Mubarez, the director of disaster and humanitarian affairs in Herat, says the 17 people who were missing were last heard of while travelling in a van in a district of Obey.

The country's disaster ministry says heavy rain has hit 16 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in the past 24 hours.

Russian court jails Norwegian for 14 years for espionage

KONFRONTASI-A Russian court convicted a Norwegian man on Tuesday of gathering espionage about nuclear submarines and jailed him for 14 years, a verdict that could strain relations between Moscow and its NATO-member neighbor.

Frode Berg, a 63-year-old retired former guard on the Norwegian-Russian border, was detained in Moscow in December 2017 and tried behind closed doors this month. He pleaded not guilty to charges of espionage on behalf of Norway.

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