Thursday 21st of January 2021

news of the world: more protests about something...

real porkies

Thousands of students have taken to the streets in Indonesia to protest against a “disastrous” draft criminal code that would include outlawing extramarital sex and a controversial new law that could weaken the nation’s anti-corruption body.

On Tuesday, the second consecutive day of protests, thousands of students gathered outside the parliament building in Jakarta, calling for the government to suspend its plans to ratify the draft code. Police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.

If passed, the new laws would usher in sweeping changes that activists have described as a disaster for human rights and democratic freedoms.

Among a series of contentious articles are those that would outlaw adultery, unmarried couples living together, as well as make insulting the president a criminal offence that could carry a jail sentence.

Protesters also demanded the government repeal a law passed last week that is widely believed will curtail the investigative powers of Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency the Corruption Eradication Commission, known as the KPK.

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Indonesia's President Joko Widodo will face another week of fighting fires, both figurative and literal, as the world's third largest democracy faces its largest student protests in two decades.

Key points:
  • Many are angry over the weakening of the anti-corruption commission, and civil liberties
  • Jokowi has called for an investigation into the deaths of two student protesters
  • Several prominent activists have been arrested amid a social media crackdown

Hundreds of high school and university students gathered near the national Parliament in Jakarta on Monday. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters after sundown.

Thousands of students mobilised in cities across the archipelago last week, mostly with the support of their university administrators, in scenes reminiscent of the 1998 demonstrations, which brought down former dictator Suharto and paved the way for democratisation.

The deaths of two students amid clashes with police in Kendari in South Sulawesi on Thursday have sparked national outrage, leading Mr Widodo and parliamentarians to order an investigation.

While the President was re-elected by a convincing margin in April, and slated controversial changes to the criminal code have been delayed, it looks like his October inauguration will be overshadowed by widespread discontent.

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Hong Kong: School students staged a sit-in and hundreds of office workers stopped traffic marching through the city on Wednesday as Hong Kong reacted with shock to a police officer shooting a student in the chest during chaotic scenes a day earlier.

Multiple large rallies were held on Wednesday night at Tsuen Wan, where the student was shot, in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island, and a shopping mall in Sha Tin.

The injured student, Tsang Chi-kin, 18, was in a stable condition after surgery to remove the bullet in his lung.

He was arrested for assaulting a police officer, as Police Commissioner Stephen Lo said the officer who fired his gun had acted in self-defence.

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Massive political protests around the world with over half dozen major marches and protests today: Democracy, elections, and voting at Democracy Chronicles

Massive political protests around the world with half dozen major marches today

Here’s what people are protesting today (PHOTOS)


What gets people out on the streets differs from place to place. But whether it’s religion, politics or one’s right to work, it’s the sense of injustice that’s universal. | Democracy, elections, and voting at Democracy Chronicles

Here’s GlobalPost’s roundup of what people are protesting today:

  1. Thailand
  2. Pakistan
  3. Turkey
  4. Brazil
  5. Indonesia
  6. India
  7. China
  8. United States
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Protest for one...

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at congressional Democrats after they vowed to issue legal summonses to the White House this week.

Committees are demanding documents relating to the administration's dealings with Ukraine, which is now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.

Using a vulgarity, the Republican president accused Democratic leaders of dishonesty and even treason.

Democrats have defended the inquiry, promising a fair process.

Warning: this report contains strong language.What's the inquiry about?

The impeachment inquiry - which may seek to remove Mr Trump from office - stems from a whistleblower complaint about his 25 July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Unfortunately, Trump is correct:
The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306. Get a better candidate this time, you’ll need it!
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The only candidate that can rock Trump's world is Pete..., now that Sanders is out (temporarily)...

imaginings and opium wars...

The rise of China as a world power and potential peer of the United States is set to define geopolitics in the 21st century. This seismic change led the Obama administration to initiate its so-called pivot to Asia. It led Donald Trump to make American competition with China one of his main campaign themes and later caused him to launch a trade war.

American primacists fear the rise of China, worrying that the U.S. will find it more difficult to impose its will (or at least attempt to) across the globe and to meddle and interfere with a myriad of issues that have no real bearing on America’s national security. On the other side of the divide, there are non-interventionists who seem to believe that the only threat China poses to the U.S. is the possibility that Beijing’s actions might trigger American warmongering.

Primacists certainly shouldn’t fear a hard military threat from China. Thanks to our superior geostrategic positioning, the odds of Beijing ever projecting as much power as Washington is almost nil. At the same time, the non-interventionists are wrong to underestimate the threat that Chinese power poses to the American way of life. One needn’t be a hawk or a card-carrying member of “the blob” to see this threat.

A rose-colored view of Chinese economic power is dismissive of what this power is actually capable of. John Tamny, director of the Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks, argues that the Chinese love America and that our economic relationship is beneficial to both parties. According to Tamny, any American fear of China is merely the result of demonization by politicians. Similarly, economist Barry Brownstein has argued at the Foundation for Economic Education, one of America’s oldest classically liberal think tanks, that concerns about China can be overcome by both “love” and economic interdependence. To his credit, he acknowledges that economic interdependence failed to stop Imperial Germany and the UK from entering the First World War on opposite sides. But he brushes that aside by suggesting that we “make the economic interdependence between the U.S. and China so thick that war between the U.S. and China is no more imaginable than war between Ohio and Iowa.”


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Hong Kong, the Treaty of Nanjing Returns

by Manlio Dinucci

Clearly, some young people in Hong Kong have adopted British culture - after the handover to China of their special province. They do not know the history of their country and what they owe to the Peoples’ Republic of China. For their great grandparents, London had brought only misery and desolation, causing the collapse of the Middle Kingdom.

The "Opium Wars" represent the paradigm of British colonialism: London did not seek to dominate the Chinese population politically, but exclusively to exploit it economically. To impose drug use, Her Most Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, waged two wars that caused several million deaths.

Hundreds of young Chinese, in front of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, sing the God Save the Queen and shout "Great Britain Saves Hong Kong", a rally call in London by 130 parliamentarians who ask that British citizenship be given to residents of the former colony. In this way, Britain is emerging in world public opinion, particularly among young people, as a guarantor of legality and human rights. To do this, History is erased.

It is therefore necessary, before any other consideration, to know the historical episodes which, in the first half of the 19th century, brought the Chinese territory of Hong Kong under British rule.

To penetrate China, then ruled by the Qing dynasty, Britain resorted to the distribution of opium, which it shipped by sea from India where it held the monopoly. The drug market spread rapidly in the country, causing serious economic, physical, moral and social damage that provoked the reaction of the Chinese authorities. But when they confiscated stored opium in Canton and burned it, the British troops occupied this city and other coastal cities with the first Opium War, forcing China to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842.

In Article 3 it states: "As it is obviously necessary and desirable for British subjects to have ports for their ships and their stores, China will forever cede the island of Hong Kong to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. and her heirs ". In Article 6 the Treaty stipulates: "Since Her Britannic Majesty’s Government was obliged to send an expeditionary force to obtain compensation for the damage caused by the Chinese authorities’ violent and unjust procedure, China agrees to pay to Her British Majesty the sum of $ 12 million for expenses incurred.

The Nanking Treaty is the first of the unequal treaties by which the European powers (Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria and Italy), Tsarist Russia, Japan and the United States secured in China, by the force of arms, a series of privileges: the cession of Hong Kong to Great Britain in 1843, the sharp reduction of taxes on foreign goods (at a time when European governments were erecting customs barriers to protect their industries), the opening of the main ports to foreign vessels and the right to have urban areas under their own administration ("concessions") exempted from Chinese authority.

In 1898 Great Britain annexed the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong and the so-called News Territories, conceded by China to be "rented" for 99 years.

The widespread dissatisfaction with these impositions exploded towards the end of the 19th century in a popular revolt - that of the Boxers - against which intervened an international expeditionary force of 16,000 men under British command, in which Italy also participated (and France, NdT).

Landed in Tianjin (T’ien Tsin) in August 1900, the force sacked Beijing and other cities, destroying many villages and massacring the population. Later, Britain took control of Tibet in 1903, while Czarist Russia and Japan shared Manchuria in 1907.

In China, reduced to a colonial or semi-colonial state, Hong Kong became the main door of exchange based on the plunder of resources and slave labour exploitation of the population. A huge mass of Chinese are forced to emigrate mainly to the United States, Australia and South-East Asia, where they are subjected to similar conditions of exploitation and discrimination.

A question arises spontaneously: Which history books are young people who ask Britain to "save Hong Kong" studying?

Manlio Dinucci


Roger Lagassé



Il Manifesto (Italy)


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more protests: iraq...

A curfew is in effect in the Iraqi capital Baghdad after a second day of clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces.

The restrictions will remain in place until further notice. Curfews had already been declared in three other cities as protests over lack of jobs, poor services and corruption escalated.

The violence has left at least seven people dead and hundreds wounded.

Social media platforms and internet access have been blocked in some areas.

The nationwide protests, which appear to lack any organised leadership, are the largest since Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi took office a year ago.

Blaming unnamed "rioters" for the unrest, the government vowed to address protesters' concerns.

What are the curfew conditions?

In a statement, Mr Abdul Mahdi said "all vehicles and individuals are totally forbidden to move" in Baghdad from 05:00 (02:00 GMT) on Thursday.

Travellers to and from the city's airport, ambulances, government employees in hospitals, electricity, and water departments, and religious pilgrims were exempt from the curfew.

Restrictions had already been imposed in the southern cities of Nasiriya, Amara and Hilla.


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meanwhile in catalonia...

Thousands of people in Catalonia have rallied in support of the region's independence from Spain for a second day, leading to clashes with police.

Fires were started and protesters attempted to storm government offices in Barcelona, the regional capital.

It follows the sentencing on Monday of nine Catalan separatist leaders. 

A spokesperson for Catalonia's regional government, Meritxell Budó, said they sympathised and understood the anger of the protesters.

Meanwhile, Spanish authorities say they are investigating who is co-ordinating the disruption.

Protesters have reportedly been using an app known as Tsunami Democratic, which directs them to protest sites in Catalan cities. 

In Barcelona, riot police fired tear gas and charged a crowd of protesters who were trying to access government buildings. 

There were three arrests, and local media reported that nine people had been treated by medical services. 

Protests were also reported in the Catalan cities of Girona and Tarragona.

Pro-independence leaders - who control the Catalan regional government - say they will keep pushing for a new referendum on secession from Spain. 

Why are people protesting? 

The protests began after nine Catalan independence leaders were handed jail sentences of between nine and 13 years by Spain's Supreme Court on Monday. 

The separatists were convicted of sedition over their role in an independence referendum in 2017, which Spain said was illegal.


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democratic turmoils...

Protests and demonstrations have rocked every corner of the world in recent days, with tax hikes, corruption and supposed environmental injustice all raising public anger. But why have they spread?

Watching the news over the last week, one would be convinced that the world has devolved into a series of flashpoints, with corrupt governments across the political spectrum facing the wrath of their enraged citizens. To be fair, that’s not far from the truth.

Four continents have seen anti-government demonstrations over the last week, many of them sparked by seemingly innocuous taxes or changes to the law. In Lebanon, protesters have set Beirut ablaze in response to a proposed fee of 20 cents per day on internet voice calls, dubbed the “WhatsApp tax.”Chileans set metro stations on fire following a $1.17 increase in public transport fares, and the streets of Ecuador are filled with rubble after a planned removal of fuel subsidies triggered mass unrest.


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right, left and centre flareups...

Protests are roiling cities across the world as fed-up citizens take to the streets to vent their grievances — both peacefully and violently — about economic conditions, government corruption and crippling tax hikes. 

Hong Kong has been gripped by more than 20 weeks of violent clashes — while in Barcelona, old wounds have reopened as protesters once again demand Catalonia be recognized as a country separate from Spain.

Lebanon, meanwhile, appears to be on the brink of disastrous civil unrest again.

Here’s a look at some of the flareups.


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not a crappy edition for the crapper...

It’s the panic that keeps on giving.

#ToiletPaperEmergency or the great #ToiletPaperApocalypse, as it has been dubbed on Twitter, has already rolled out hundreds of memes, witty asides as well as documented the madness of people stockpiling the toilet essential.

In the real world it has led to Australian toilet paper manufacturers ramping up production to keep up with demand from people fearful of coronavirus.

One newspaper has gone one step further by printing extra pages in its editions to help out those who have been … caught short.

On Thursday the NT News, the Darwin-based newspaper with a national reputation for its headlines and antics, printed a special eight-page insert that can be cut into toilet paper.

Its editor, Matt Williams, told Guardian Australia the paper was selling well and was “certainly not a crappy edition”.

“We are a newspaper known around the world who understands the needs of our readers,” he said. “Territorians … are in great need of toilet paper right now so we had to deliver what they needed.”

The stunt comes after supermarkets including Coles and Woolworths have been besieged by shoppers clearing their shelves of loo paper and hand sanitiser.


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We've been ahead of the game for a long time... See toon at top (first published about ten years ago).