Six in The Morning Monday 29 July 2019


Hong Kong protests: China condemns ‘horrendous incidents’

China has condemned the recent anti-government protests in Hong Kong as “horrendous incidents” that have caused “serious damage to the rule of law”.

We hope that… people will stand firm in defence of the rule of law,” a spokesman for the government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said.

Hong Kong has seen eight consecutive weekends of anti-government and pro-democracy protests.

There were violent clashes over the weekend between police and protesters.

In a rare statement the spokesman condemned “the evil and criminal acts committed by the radical elements” in Hong Kong.

‘People are dying’: how the climate crisis has sparked an exodus to the US

As part of the Running Dry series, the Guardian looks at how drought and famine are forcing Guatemalan families to choose between starvation and migration

by  in Camotán

Mon 29 Jul 2019 

At sunrise, the misty fields around the village of Guior are already dotted with men, women and children sowing maize after an overnight rainstorm.

After several years of drought, the downpour brought some hope of relief to the subsistence farmers in this part of eastern Guatemala.

But as Esteban Gutiérrez, 30, takes a break from his work, he explains why he is still willing to incur crippling debts – and risk his life – to migrate to the United States.

Russia’s Alexei Navalny may have been poisoned: doctor

A Russian doctor has said the opposition leader’s symptoms suggest that he might have been targeted with a “toxic agent.” Alexei Navalny is serving a month-long jail sentence for urging an unauthorized protest.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s personal doctor, Anastasiya Vasilyeva, said Monday that an unidentified poison may have caused his illness.

“Some toxic agent may be the reason for Alexei Navalny’s ‘illness,'” said Vasilyeva.

Navalny was rushed to the hospital on Sunday for what authorities described as an “allergic reaction”while serving a 30-day jail sentence.

Vasilyeva complained that she wasn’t given access to Navalny to examine him, saying hospital workers behaved strangely when she approached them.

‘Brownface’ ad sparks anger in Singapore

An advertisement featuring an actor of Chinese origin with his skin darkened to portray different races has sparked anger in multi-ethnic Singapore, prompting an apology from the country’s state-owned broadcaster.

Race is a sensitive issue in Singapore, which is home to ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians and Muslim Malays, as well as a large number of expatriates from all over the world.

The ad, part of a government-initiated campaign for cashless transactions in the tech-savvy city-state, featured actor Dennis Chew from broadcaster Mediacorp as four characters.

Ethics report accuses UNRWA leadership of abuse of power

UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl rejects characterisation of senior team as UN investigates.

A confidential internal report from the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency’s ethics office has detailed alleged abuses of authority among the organisation’s senior management team.

With input from dozens of current and former staff, the 10-page document cites “credible and corroborated reports” that members of an “inner circle” at the top of UNRWA have engaged in “abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives”.

The report alleges that the “inner circle” is made up of Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, Deputy Commissioner-General Sandra Mitchell – who resigned from her post in late July – Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan – who left the agency in early July – and Senior Adviser to the Commissioner-General Maria Mohammedi.

S Korean cities suspend exchange programs with Japan

Several South Korean cities have canceled exchange programs with Japanese municipalities amid heightened tensions as Tokyo-Seoul ties have fallen to their lowest point in years due to disputes over wartime history and trade policy.

Busan, which is South Korea’s second-biggest city, said Sunday it will suspend administrative exchanges with Japan including its officials’ visits to the neighboring country until the bilateral relationship improves.

Although the port city has not disclosed all of the programs it will suspend, it cited as an example the signing of an accord with Nagasaki Prefecture on goodwill exchanges. Busan, connected to Fukuoka city in southwestern Japan by high-speed boats, is known for its active exchanges with Japan.