Six In The Morning Thursday 25 April 2019

‘Death by a thousand cuts’: vast expanse of rainforest lost in 2018

Pristine forests are vital for climate and wildlife but trend of losses is rising, data shows

Millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2018, according to satellite analysis, with beef, chocolate and palm oil among the main causes.

The forests store huge amounts of carbon and are teeming with wildlife, making their protection critical to stopping runaway climate change and halting a sixth mass extinction. But deforestation is still on an upward trend, the researchers said. Although 2018 losses were lower than in 2016 and 2017, when dry conditions led to large fires, last year was the next worst since 2002, when such records began.

Asia’s Christians face increased political violence

The persecution of Christians across the world is on the rise, just like the politicization of religion. But in the wake of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka, experts are warning against proclaiming a war between faiths.

The European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world from December 2016 has lost none of its topicality and dramatic nature ― on the contrary.

Politics, nationalism fuel persecution

A toxic mixture of state and societal persecution has intensified the worldwide persecution of Christians, especially in Asia. According to surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center polling institute in the United States, which examines the global religious landscape annually, Christians in 144 countries have their freedom of religion violated.

Macron to announce measures to allay Yellow Vest rage

Shaken by five months of often-violent “yellow vest” protests, Emmanuel Macron will announce a package of measures that could include lower taxes and the abolition of France’s elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration to quell the unrest.

The street rebellion erupted over planned diesel tax hikes but morphed into a broader backlash against inequality and a political elite perceived as having lost touch with the common person. Protesters clashed with police for a 23rd straight week on Saturday.

Macron‘s policy response is the result of a three-month long national debate, during which he rolled up his sleeves on a weekly basis to discuss issues from high taxes to local democracy and decaying shopping streets with local mayors, working parents, students and workers.

Fake news and public executions: Documents show a Russian company’s plan for quelling protests in Sudan

Updated 0541 GMT (1341 HKT) April 25, 2019


When anti-government protests erupted in Sudan at the end of last year, the response of President Omar al-Bashir came straight from the dictators’ playbook — a crackdown that led to scores of civilian deaths.

At the same time, a more insidious strategy was being developed — one that involved spreading misinformation on social media, blaming Israel for fomenting the unrest, and even carrying out public executions to make an example of “looters.”
The author of this strategy was not the Sudanese government. According to documents seen by CNN, it was drawn up by a Russian company tied to an oligarch favored by the Kremlin: Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Brazil: Native groups protest against ‘anti-indigenous’ Bolsonaro

Thousands from indigenous communities across Brazil gather for annual event to protest against attacks on native rights.

Thousands of indigenous people from across Brazil are gathering in the capital of Brasilia this week for the biggest indigenous protest in the country, the Free Land Camp.

More than 4,000 indigenous people from hundreds of tribes across the country are expected to camp out in front of government buildings for three days of native celebrations and protests against far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

On Wednesday, indigenous communities began assembling hundreds of coloured tents just metres away from the National Congress.

Sri Lanka spice tycoon suspected of helping sons in suicide attacks

Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT) April 25, 2019


Police are holding the father of two Sri Lanka suicide bombers on suspicion of aiding and abetting his sons, as an international investigation continues into the devastating terror attacks which left at least 359 people dead across the country.

Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim was arrested Sunday following attacks at hotels and churches. His adult sons, Imsath Ahmed Ibrahim and Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim, blew themselves up in Sunday’s attacks.
On Thursday, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told CNN that their father, Mohamed Yusuf Ibrahim, was is in custody on suspicion of aiding and abetting his sons. Gunasekera added that all other members of the Ibrahim family are believed to be in custody.