May 07 2019

Six In The Morning Tuesday 7 May 2019

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo: Reuters journalists freed in Myanmar

Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis have been freed.

Wa Lone, 33 and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29 were released after a presidential amnesty. They spent more than 500 days in prison on the outskirts of Yangon.

They had been convicted under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in jail last September.

Their jailing was seen as an assault on press freedom and raised questions about Myanmar’s democracy.

Revealed: new evidence of China’s mission to raze the mosques of Xinjiang

Guardian and Bellingcat investigation finds more than two dozen Islamic religious sites partly or completely demolished since 2016

Around this time of the year, the edge of the Taklamakan desert in far western China should be overflowing with people. For decades, every spring thousands of Uighur Muslims would converge on the Imam Asim shrine, a group of buildings and fences surrounding a small mud tomb believed to contain the remains of a holy warrior from the eighth century.

Pilgrims from across the Hotan oasis would come seeking healing, fertility, and absolution, trekking through the sand in the footsteps of those ahead of them. It was one of the largest shrine festivals in the region. People left offerings and tied pieces of cloth to branches, markers of their prayers.

Istanbul mayoral vote to be held again, election officials rule

President Erdogan had argued that the margin of votes was too small for the opposition party win to be valid. The man who won the vote said the electoral body had made a “treacherous decision.”

Turkey’s electoral authority has ordered that the vote for mayor of Istanbul be rerun, state media reported on Monday, after the March 31 vote was narrowly won by the opposition CHP party.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party had filed a motion with the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) on April 16 to nullify the election, alleging “irregularities.” The objection also claimed that a margin of only 15,000 votes in a city as large as Istanbul was too close to be fair.

France faces legal challenge for refusing to allow jihadists’ children to return

The grandparents of two children stranded with their French jihadist mother at a camp in Kurdish-held Syria filed a lawsuit at Europe’s top rights court Monday over France’s refusal to allow them home, lawyers said.

It was the latest challenge to the French government’s opposition to returning the children of suspected jihadists in Syria or Iraq.

The four-year-old boy and three-year-old girl, who were born in Syria, are among an estimated 500 children of French citizens who joined the Islamic State’s so-called “caliphate” before the jihadists’ last Syrian redoubt was overrun in March.

‘Psychological warfare’: Iran dismisses US naval deployment

Official says US announcement on sending carrier strike group to Middle East is ‘clumsy use of an out-of-date event’.

Iran labelled the US announcement that it was deploying a naval strike group to the Middle East to deliver the Islamic Republic a message as “psychological warfare”.

The dismissal on Monday came a day after John Bolton, US national security adviser, said Washington was sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force as a “clear and unmistakable message” that it will retaliate against any attack on its interests or its allies by Iran.

Drone flights reported again near Imperial Palace, other locations in Tokyo

Police are investigating witness reports of a drone being flown Monday evening near the Imperial Palace and other downtown Tokyo areas, after a number of similar sightings were noted last week following the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito.

The flying of drones is banned in central Tokyo. Riot police observed what they thought was a drone flying over the Kitanomaru Garden located just north of the palace at around 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Further reports were made later saying a drone had been spotted flying over Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, where the country’s parliament and the prime minister’s office are located, as well as in the Yotsuya and Roppongi areas of the city, according to the police.