Pro-democracy voices silenced
Beijing cracks down on Hong Kong legislators prompting mass resignations
HONG KONG: China forcibly ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers from the Legislative Council under allegations of endangering national security, prompting the 15 remaining pro-democracy members to resign Wednesday. The mass departures leave only pro-Beijing lawmakers in the legislature, giving them the capacity to pass bills without opposition—a move that could sound the “death knell” for democracy in Hong Kong, said one lawmaker.
MOZAMBIQUE: Militants linked to Islamic State turned a soccer pitch into an execution ground in Cabo Delgado province, where they beheaded more than 50 people. The latest attack is part of a militant campaign that has forced more than 400,000 people in the gas-rich area to flee.
PERU: Lawmakers impeached President Martín Vizcarra on Monday over bribery charges. On Wednesday, his supporters clashed with police in the streets of Lima. Vizcarra was elected with an anti-corruption agenda, and the independent leader has faced other attempts at his ouster by members of the opposition in Congress. He denies the bribery allegations.
ARMENIA: An agreement to end fighting in the Armenian-majority Nagorno-Karabakh region may be holding, but the conflict has forced out most residents. Armenian Christians fear Turkish and Russian power brokers are orchestrating the religious and ethnic cleansing of a region once under Armenian control.
ETHIOPIA: Fighting in the Tigray region between government troops and Tigray forces is escalating, threatening national stability and a humanitarian catastrophe at the already restive Ethiopian-Eritrean border. UN officials report 70,000 Tigray residents have fled to Sudan, and 96,000 Eritreans living in refugee camps are at risk, with severe shortages of food and fuel supplies.
PHILIPPINES: Filipino residents are evacuating ahead of Typhoon Vamco, the country’s fifth major storm in three weeks, while still recovering from Typhoon Goni, which hit Nov. 1 and displaced some 130,000 people.
BRITAIN: Numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Europe are surpassing April peaks. “I am afraid the virus is doubling faster than we could ever conceivably add capacity,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons on Monday. Health officials also tempered hopes of an early vaccine, following reports a joint U.S.-German trial showed more than 90 percent efficacy. There’s “no shortcut to the future that you and I both aspire to,” said U.K. deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam.
DENMARK: The government took back its order to kill the nation’s entire mink population because of the coronavirus, but farmers had already slaughtered about 10 million of the country’s estimated 17 million mink. The coronavirus had mutated and transferred to the animals before mutating a second time to be transmissible back to humans. The decision hamstrings a leading Danish industry and underscores scientists’ worries that COVID-19 could mutate in transmission to become more dangerous to humans.
UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump has continued to fire senior officers at the Pentagon in a dramatic shakeup as his campaign legal team contests votes in battleground states. Georgia will conduct a hand recount of all ballots cast, but former Vice President Joe Biden appears to have won enough electoral votes without Georgia to become president.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised a “smooth transition” once ballots have been certified after earlier drawing criticism for saying he pledged a smooth transition “to a second Trump administration.”
Ireland, the ancestral home of Biden, was the first country to congratulate him with celebrations in the home of his great-great-great-grandfather. A host of world leaders also has offered congratulations.
MAN KNOWS NOT HIS TIME: Prince Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, head of government for Bahrain for nearly 50 years, has died at the Mayo Clinic at age 74. He was the world’s longest-serving prime minister.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, a towering intellectual, former chief rabbi of Britain, and author of the new book Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times, died Saturday of cancer at age 72. Sacks spoke out against the rise of Islamic extremism, see here and here that remain seminal.
Saeb Erekat, the longtime Palestinian leader who guided talks toward a two-state solution and was an author of the Oslo Accords, died at a Jerusalem hospital after contracting COVID-19. He was 65.
NOTE: Tomorrow I will participate in this post-election panel discussion. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, I’ll moderate a helpful prerecorded panel with two leading experts at the National Immigration Forum on the topic, “Global Migration in the Age of COVID-19.” This year’s event is online next week—and free—and always insightful on this key topic. Go in peace, and Happy Veterans Day.
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