Six In The Morning Wednesday December 16

UN decries Palestinian attacks, ‘excessive’ Israeli response


The UN voiced deep concern Tuesday over an “unacceptable” wave of Palestinians attacking Israelis, but also slammed Israeli authorities’ reported “excessive use of force” in response to the attacks.

“We continue to be gravely concerned at the unrelenting violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Israel,” Cecile Pouilly, spokeswoman for the UN human rights office, told reporters.

“We call on both Israeli and Palestinian leaders to act decisively to de-escalate the situation,” she added.

Since October 1, almost daily attacks by Palestinians and clashes with Israeli soldiers have killed 117 on the Palestinian side, 21 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean, and thousands more have been injured, she pointed out.

China’s Xi Jinping says internet users must be free to speak their minds

Even as prominent free speech advocate is put on trial for online posts, president says governments must respect citizens’ right to exchange ideas

Chinese citizens should have the right to speak their minds on the internet, president Xi Jinping has claimed, just two days after a prominent free speech advocate was put on trial for sending seven tweets.

Speaking at the start of a major Beijing-organised conference on the internet, Xi said it was crucial his nation’s 670 million internet users enjoyed online “freedom”, despite widespread censorship and the blocking of many foreign internet services including Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia and Instagram.

“As in the real world, freedom and order are both necessary in cyberspace,” Xi told the opening of the so-called world internet conference, taking place over three days in Wuzhen, a town in eastern China.

European states ‘complicit’ in deportation of Syrian refugees

Amnesty International said those fleeing war were being rounded up

European nations may be “complicit” in the illegal deportation of thousands to Syria and Iraq after striking a deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees, a report warns today, ahead of the latest talks on the crisis.

As EU leaders prepare to meet for fresh talks on the refugee crisis in Brussels tomorrow, Amnesty International said that those fleeing war were being rounded up, detained and in some cases forced to return to the countries they escaped. Turkey is the world’s largest host of refugees, with 2.2 million Syrians and 230,000 asylum-seekers from elsewhere. The country has spent almost £6bn supporting them.

According to Amnesty International, however, a policy shift was apparently triggered by talks between Turkey and the EU, which is desperate to reduce the numbers of people reaching its shores.

A sustainable heaven in the Peruvian jungle

Anne de Thélin

What would it be like to give everything up and move to Peru? This is exactly what a young Frenchwoman did when she set up a lodge and eco-tourism destination in the middle of the Amazon. She now offers guests the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with local populations on environmental projects.

The Inti Eco Lodge is an hour’s drive from Iquitos, a city in northern Peru considered the gateway to the Peruvian part of the Amazon rainforest. Twenty-nine-year-old Anne de Thélin, a Frenchwoman, founded the lodge with several friends a little over a year ago, in November 2014. Their aim was to do something different to other programmes for tourists visiting Peru, which can sometimes amount to nothing short of human safaris.

Ultimately, De Thelin and her fellow founders want the lodge to be totally self-sufficient. It’s not a luxurious place to stay– it’s built to be durable and to exist in harmony with the local environment. It has eco-toilets (which don’t use water) and the cabins all have solar panels. The eco-lodge project has also brought together more than 100 volunteers, including both local Peruvians and tourists from around the world.

Top court rules 6-month remarriage ban for women unconstitutional

(Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s top court ruled Wednesday that a legal provision prohibiting women from remarrying for six months following divorce violates the Constitution, adding pressure on the state to revise the controversial Civil Code article that has existed for over 100 years.

The judgment was reached on a lawsuit filed by a woman who divorced her previous husband due to domestic violence. She argued that Article 733 of the Civil Code imposes excessive restrictions on women and violates the constitutional provision ensuring equality for all.

The article prohibits women from remarrying until six months have passed after a divorce to prevent confusion over the paternity of children conceived shortly before or after the divorce.

Iran’s October missile test violated UN sanctions, experts say

United Nations experts said in a new report on Tuesday the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a June 2010 resolution.

Iran’s firing of a medium-range ballistic missile in October violated U.N. sanctions banning the Islamic Republic from launches capable of delivering nuclear weapons, U.N. experts said in a new report.

The report submitted to the U.N. Security Council and seen by the Associated Press on Tuesday said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned under a June 2010 resolution.

The Oct. 10 launch was the first test of a ballistic surface-to-surface missile after Iran and six world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal on July 14. The Security Council endorsed the deal in a resolution on July 20 that also called on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.