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The Latest: Myanmar Border Clash, Israel Accused Of 'Apartheid,' Bad Beavers

Watching the first “supermoon” (the name given to a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth) of 2021 in Sieversdorf, Germany
Watching the first “supermoon” (the name given to a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to the Earth) of 2021 in Sieversdorf, Germany

Welcome to Tuesday, where clashes erupt on the Myanmar-Thailand border, Israel is accused of "apartheid" and mischievous beavers cause internet mayhem in Canada. We also go to Hong Kong where the wave of emigration caused by China's clamping down on freedoms has a troubling side effect on dogs and cats.

• Clashes at Myanmar's Thai border: Ethnic minority Karen insurgents attacked Myanmar army outpost near the Thai border in one of the most intense fighting since the February 1 military coup. Meanwhile, young protesters are training to fight the junta.

• First aids arrive in India:Vital medical supplies have arrived in India as the death toll nears 200,000. The UK has provided ventilators and oxygen equipment while France is sending oxygen generators and China tries to get medical supplies to its neighbor, despite border conflicts.

• Eyes on AstraZeneca: The U.S. will share up to 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries in the coming months, while the European Union launches legal action against the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company over breach of contract concerning delivery of its vaccine.

• HRW condemns Israel for apartheid: A new Human Rights Watch report accuses Israel of committing crimes of apartheid and racial persecution against Palestinians. Israel's foreign ministry has dismissed the report, accusing the NGO of being biased against the country.

• Chad protests: Violent protests have erupted in Chad's capital of N'Djamena as demonstrators ask for a return to civilian rule after a military council seized power following former President Idriss Deby's death last week.

• Fleet for a "Global Britain": UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced on Monday that Britain will send an important naval force through the Pacific in a move to "shape the international system of the 21st century" and "protect its influence."

• Beavers sabotage internet: Beavers are being blamed for causing a 12 hour-internet blackout in a town of Canadian province of British Columbia. Parts of the underground cabling were found in the beavers' home.

Portuguese daily Jornal I reports on coronavirus cases among young people between 10 and 19 years old, which have increased by 60% this past week in Portugal, as citizens over 60 are being vaccinated.


Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a nationwide "tecrit" (Turkish for "lockdown") starting on Thursday and lasting until May 17, in bid to halt COVID surge. Schools will be shut and moved online, national travels will be monitored and a strict capacity limit will be imposed for users of public transport. The country has the world's fourth highest number of cases, with 37,312 new COVID-19 infections and 353 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Abandoned pets crisis amid Hong Kong's emigration wave

As a growing number of people pack up and leave the former British colony, the question arises: What to do about the family dog? While some pay thousands of HK dollars to specialized agencies to deal with pet-immigration procedures, plenty of people leave their animals behind, writes Lin Kexin in Hong-Kong based digital mediaThe Initium.

In the past six months, the Lifelong Animal Protection charity (LAP) in Hong Kong has received many requests from people looking for somewhere to leave their pets. And by at least one count, the number of pets abandoned in 2020 has increased by 15% compared to previous years. Since last year, the number of abandoned reptiles and amphibians has also soared from fewer than 10 cases a year to more than 10 per month, the Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation (HKHerp) reports.

The emigration wave is keeping Chen Juntao busy. He runs a pet migration business, and says that in the past year alone, he's helped send off more than 500 cats and dogs, about half the number he handled in the previous four years combined. For a dog or cat destined for the United Kingdom, Mr Chen's services provide for the animal's quarantine, flight and custom clearance, and the cost can range between 30,000 to 100,000 HK dollars ($3,800-$12,800), depending on the size of the animal.

But some cannot afford such expenses. Aunt Qi is the owner of nine pet huts, called the "Comfortable Nest," which house abandoned dogs and also provide temporary respite care for dogs as well as cats. Since the end of last year, more and more people have called up Aunt Qi to ask whether or not she'll take over the pets they no longer want to keep. Meanwhile, the number of pet owners who entrusted her with the temporary care of their dogs, but who vanished after a few months, has also soared.

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Black women face higher risks of having a miscarriage with rates over 40% compared with white women, a study from The Lanceton 4.6 million pregnancies in seven countries suggests. The higher rate is partly explained by the fact that black women are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, two conditions that increase the risk of miscarriage.

I felt hurt and left alone: As a woman and as a European.

— European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shared her feelings during a speech yesterday to the European Parliament, about the "sofagate" incident that took place in Ankara, Turkey on April 6. Ursula von der Leyen had been left without a chair during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as EU Council President Charles Michel had taken the only seat available next to Erdogan. "Would this have happened if I had worn a suit and a tie?," she asked, suggesting sexism was at the root of the incident.

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Turkey: The Blind Spot Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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