Six In The Morning Thursday 13 June 2019


Hong Kong extradition protests leave city in shock

Authorities have shut some government offices in Hong Kong’s financial district after the worst violence the city has seen in decades.

By Thursday morning the crowds had largely dispersed around government headquarters – where police and protesters had pitched battles on Wednesday.

The protesters are angry about plans to allow extradition to mainland China.

Despite the widespread opposition, the government has not backed down.

However, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) delayed a second reading of the controversial extradition bill and it is unclear when it will take place.

State projects leave tens of thousands of lives in the balance in Ethiopia – study

Giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations mean people in lower Omo valley face starvation and conflict, says US thinktank

A giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations are “wreaking havoc” in southern Ethiopia and threaten to wipe out tens of thousands of indigenous peoples , a US-based thinktank has claimed.

The Oakland Institute says that while the Ethiopian government has made considerable progress on human rights under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, it has yet to address the impact of state development plans on indigenous populations in the lower Omo valley, where people face loss of livelihoods, starvation, and violent conflict .

Acute hunger is now widespread, the organisation said in a report, due to blockage of the Omo River by Gibe III, Africa’s tallest dam. Since late 2015, the dam has stopped the river’s annual flood, a natural event that the valley’s inhabitants have relied upon for centuries for farming. As a result, entire communities have been tipped into destitution.

Iran defends execution of gay people

The US and Germany have condemned Iran after its foreign minister defended the policy of execution for homosexuality. The issue erupted after a pointed question from a German reporter.

The US on Wednesday accused Iran of violating fundamental human rights after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Sarif endorsed the execution of gay people.

Sarif defended his country’s draconian policies at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran on Monday.

A reporter from German tabloid Bild asked: “Why are homosexuals executed in Iran because of their sexual orientation?”

He responded: “Our society has moral principles. And we live according to these principles. These are moral principles concerning the behavior of people in general. And that means that the law is respected and the law is obeyed,” after railing against human rights violations by the US and Israel.

US Navy assists two tankers in Gulf of Oman after distress calls

British Navy’s Maritime Trade Operations arm urges ‘extreme caution’ amid report of explosion involving oil tankers.

The US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is assisting two tankers in the Gulf of Oman after receiving distress calls from the vessels amid a “reported attack”.

“US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12am local time and a second one at 7:00am,” the fleet said in a statement issued on Thursday. “US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

The statement came after the UK’s Maritime Trade Operations, which is run by the British navy, put out an alert earlier on Thursday claiming an unspecified incident had taken place in the area. It did not elaborate further but said it was investigating the incident and urged “extreme caution” amid heightened United States-Iran tensions.

Hundreds protest across Japan over acquittals of men in sex crimes


Hundreds of people took to the streets across Japan on Tuesday to protest a recent series of court acquittals of men in sex crime cases, including a man found not guilty over having sex with his underage daughter.

Holding flowers as a symbol of empathy for victims, participants gathered in Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka and Kagoshima, as the “Flower Demo” movement spread to nine locations.

The campaign started in April when hundreds demonstrated in Tokyo and Osaka against rulings including the March 26 decision by the Nagoya District Court’s Okazaki Branch in the incest case, which sparked public outcry and criticism by some legal experts.

The fight over the 2020 census citizenship question, explained

The battle over a simple question involves both Congress and the Supreme Court. And the stakes are high.


The latest face-off between House Democrats and President Donald Trump is over the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 census.

The House Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to recommend holding Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas in the committee’s investigation into how and why the question was added.

Trump invoked executive privilege earlier in the day, refusing to share documents that House Democrats want for their investigation.