Tuesday 8th September 2020
Updated: Sep 8
In Belarus, protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was kidnapped yesterday by masked men. This happened hours after security forces arrested 633 protesters, following a large anti-government protest on Sunday. Police have denied taking her. Ms Kolesnikova was one of three women who joined forces to challenge Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the August elections. Protests began after his re-election, as people believed the votes were rigged.
Luxembourg became the first European government to sell a "sustainability" bond yesterday, raising 1.5 billion euros. A sustainability bond is a blend of "green" bonds and “social” bonds. “Green” bonds finance environmentally friendly projects while "social" bonds target spending with socially beneficial outcomes. Luxembourg will divide the money equally between green and social projects.
In Somalia, at least 20 people - including Somali soldiers and US troops - were killed in a car bombing attack outside a military base yesterday. Al-Shabab, which is an al-Qaeda-linked armed group, said it was behind the attack. The attack was a suicide car bomb that exploded outside the special forces base. Al-Shabab has been fighting for control for years. Somalia's government is supported by the US military, which launches regular air raids against the group.
In Uganda, a court has charged Deputy Minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana, with attempted murder, following an alleged shooting incident over the weekend. Rukutana has been in police custody since Saturday. He has been accused of shooting and injuring an opponent's supporter, after he lost in an election. Mr Rukutana was also charged with assault, threatening violence, and causing damage to property.
Authorities in Sudan have declared a national state of emergency for three months and designated the country a natural disaster zone after flooding that has killed dozens of people. Sudan's minister of labour and social development, said in addition to the 99 deaths, floods this year have caused damage to more than half a million people, and caused the falling of more than 100,000 homes.
The US trial for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continued yesterday at London's Old Bailey court. US authorities accused Assange of hacking government computers and releasing confidential information on WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011. Assange’s lawyers argue against the extradition, saying that the Australian would not receive a fair trial in the United States. Several dozen supporters, including fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, gathered outside the court before the hearing yesterday. Rebecca Vincent, from reporters without boarders, made a public announcement that a petition to help Assange will be handed to the British government.
This morning we attempted to deliver a petition with over 80,000 signatures. So we will make sure that this poll gets across to our government in other ways because they cannot ignore more than 80,000 people calling on our government not to expedite Julian Assange.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro is under criticism over the wildfires in the country's Amazon rainforest. Rights groups say the fires have reached an "alarming" level so far this year. A group of environmental NGOs have launched a website called Defund Bolsonaro this week, urging potential investors in Brazil to insist on firm government commitments to protect the Amazon.
In India, five civilians were allegedly kidnapped by the Chinese border last week. The Indian military has asked the Chinese government if the men were in their custody, but China has said it has no details to release yet. China and India have been feuding since June, when 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the disputed boarder area.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is facing criticism from rights groups after pardoning a US marine convicted of killing a transgender woman. The president issued the pardon yesterday to Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who has been in prison since 2014 for the murder of Jennifer Laude.
It's my decision to pardon. Correct me if i'm wrong, I am not favouring anybody. Neither Pemberton nor the family.
Pemberton has served just over half of the 10-year sentence, and is being released on good behaviour. The marine testified in court that he had attacked Laude after he realised she was transgender. Philippine human rights activist Chel Diokno called the pardon a big step backwards for justice in the case and in the Philippines.
And finally, In Austria, a man has broken a world record, by standing in a box filled with ice for over two-and-a-half hours. Josef Koeberl beat the previous record by over 25 minutes.