Tag: Global Voices

Malaysians Can Have Their Cake and Eat It Too Inside McDonald’s — But Only If It’s Halal

The decision of the Malaysian office of fast food giant McDonald’s to ban non-halal cakes inside its premises has been criticized for allegedly promoting an intolerant and extreme version of Islam.

Malaysia has a predominantly Malay Muslim population, although the state advocates the unity of diverse races and ethnic groups.

Halal certification in Malaysia means that a food product has been endorsed by an accredited religious authority as meeting Islamic standards.

Serbian Government Backtracks on Russia-Inspired Anti-Abortion Council

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Serbian government officials are claiming that uproar over alleged plans to establish a state body to persuade women to avoid abortions is all a misunderstanding.

Slavica Đukić Dejanović, a minister without portfolio responsible for demography and population policy, reportedly told pro-government tabloid Informer confirming that the state would “form a body that would raise awareness of all women about the harmful side effects of abortions.” Several other media outlets then picked up on the statement. According to news portal Alo.rs, the council would provide counseling on pregnancy and its termination, and “would include the civil sector, priests and various experts that would be able to help.”

Albanians From Macedonia Cross Ethnic Lines to Vote Against Ruling Parties

A very un-Balkan thing happened during the Macedonian election. Instead of voting for ‘their’ ethnic parties, many ethnic Albanians decided to vote for the opposition Social Democrats (SDSM), who recently re-branded themselves as more multi-ethnic.

Currently, Macedonia is going through the tumultuous process of forming a new government after parliamentary elections on 11 December. The initial election results are controversial — and contested — so it’s uncertain which party will have more members of parliament in the end. Nevertheless, even though the ruling parties seem to have a slight lead, it is evident that their support has dropped dramatically in comparison to previous elections.

Mexico Reportedly Moves Ahead With Controversial Pipeline, Despite Moratorium

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A new pipeline under construction in northern Mexico has become a major controversy involving the local Yaqui indigenous community, which is less that pleased about the Agua Prieta tube’s route (straight through Yaqui territory).

Things went from bad to worse on Oct. 21, when the pipeline’s supporters attacked a group of protesters, killing one, wounding eight, and causing no small amount of property damage.

The Yaqui tribe, which has endured a long history of repression, also has a history of mounting various resistance movements. Like other indigenous communities in Mexico, members of the Yaqui tribe have lost their lives fighting against invasive private companies and non-indigenous authorities. Just two years ago, before the conflict over the Agua Prieta pipeline, the Yaquis protested against a large-scale aqueduct that would have diverted what was left of their sacred river to the city of Hermosillo.

Ghanaians Call Out CNN for Misrepresenting Their Country in Post-Election Coverage

Following a successful and peaceful election on December 7, Twitter was awash on Sunday, December 11 with messages from Ghanaians saying that they had attended to church to give thanks to God for the smooth outcome or to celebrate with the winning party.

However, a tweet from Ghanaian sports journalist Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) struck a much different note. Gary had published a screenshot of part of an article written by American broadcaster CNN about Ghana’s election in which the country was characterized as suffering food shortages. In his tweet to his over 166,000 followers, using the hashtag #CNNGetItRight he said:

Native American Pipeline Resistance at Standing Rock Resonates Around the Globe

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The protest at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, US has mobilized hundreds of Native American tribes as well as solidarity across the world. The protests are against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would transport almost half a million barrels of oil per day across the northern US. The pipeline could contaminate the Missouri River, a key water source for the region. It would also cross through a prominent Sioux burial site.

Although the US government stated last week that it would not grant the easement–the right to cross or use someone’s land–under Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, the struggle is not over. The announcement cited that further examination was needed, and that an Environmental Impact Statement will be initiated. Demonstrators have said they plan to remain in the camps surrounding the northern edge of the reservation.

There Are Many Organizations in Caracas Trying to Change Things for the Better

On the travel and lifestyle site Matador Network, journalist Adriana Herrera has gathered examples of the work that organizations in Caracas are doing to offer up some optimism in the midst of the economic and political crisis that is clouding the outlook of many Venezuelans.

Some organizations encourage residents to go out and participate in events around the city — a rather significant act in itself, given the high levels of crime in Caracas — while others find ways to awaken their artistic creativity. This is a clear illustration of how everyday actions, done collectively and with common goals, can provide a counterbalance to adversity.

After Missing Woman Is Found Dead, Trinbagonians Say, ‘Enough is Enough’

Three days after 20-year-old bank employee Shannon Banfield went missing, her body was found in the warehouse of a variety store in Port of Spain, Trinidad, bringing to a gut-wrenching end any hope her family had of finding her alive.

On Monday December 5, 2016, Banfield told her family that she would take a taxi home after she ran a few errands in the capital city, one of them to the store in which her body was found. Shannon was widely known to be active in her church and a family-oriented, God-fearing person. On learning of her death, a member of her church said in a public Facebook post:

Activist Arrested on Royal Insult Charges for Sharing BBC Article About Thailand’s New King

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The government of Thailand is currently investigating the Thai team of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing an ‘erroneous’ profile of the country’s new king.

Thailand enforces a strict lese majeste (royal insult) law which forbids the public from criticizing the monarchy. A simple notice to authorities about a lese majeste violation is sufficient to compel the police to launch an investigation. Those found guilty of disrespecting the monarchy can face a prison term of up to 15 years.

Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej died last October after seven decades on the throne. His son became King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X last December 1.

The Thin Line Between Political Censorship and Fighting Fake News in Iran

The Iranian government is reportedly taking steps to expand regulations on large public news channels on the instant messenger Telegram. The move would apparently affect groups with more than 5,000 subscribers.

It remains unclear, however, if state officials seek dramatic changes to controls on these online communities (ostensibly in the battle against “fake news”), or if the government merely plans to extend and continue existing Internet controls.

Australians Ask: Have We Lost the War on Drugs?

Many Australians agreed with Greens party leader Richard Di Natale recently when he called for an end to the war on drugs. The Greens is a minority party that supports conservation, responsible environmental management such as climate change action, and social justice. It also advocates a more independent foreign policy for Australia.

The country’s politicians, policy makers and health professionals have been arguing for years over recreational drug strategies — ‘Just say no’ versus ‘harm minimisation’, and tough law enforcement versus decriminalisation are well trodden warpaths.

Mexican Governors on the Run From Embezzlement Scandals

Recent news headlines in Mexico have been dominated by corruption scandals involving governors and ex-governors — or góbers as they are popularly called — from various political parties who looted government coffers.

Over the past few months, Global Voices has covered corruption in Mexico and the efforts to confront it. The most well-known case is that of Javier Duarte from Veracruz, a former member of Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Duarte was suspended from office and subsequently expelled from the party.

In May 2016, the website Animal Político published an investigation revealing how the Duarte administration laundered millions in public funds through the use of fake companies. Months later in October, Duarte appeared on the country’s highest-rated morning newscast and announced that he would step down and face the charges against him, then he fled — using a government helicopter according to some sources.

Yet Another Report on Extrajudicial Killings Backs Up Jamaican Human Rights Defenders’ Calls for Police Reform

It’s really nothing new. Extrajudicial killings by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have been a persistent human rights concern over decades, highlighted in numerous local and international reports, including the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report.

Now, add Amnesty International to that list. At a press conference in Kingston on November 23, 2016, Amnesty International unveiled its latest report on Jamaica: “Waiting in Vain: Unlawful Police Killings and Relatives’ Long Struggle for Justice”. Amnesty’s Americas Director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, noted in a press release:

If authorities in Jamaica are serious about tackling the country’s shocking levels of police killings and violence they must urgently promote a deep police and justice reform to address not only the number of police murders but the root causes of the problem.