Six In The Morning Wednesday 20 September 2023


Nagorno-Karabakh: ceasefire agreed after dozens killed in military offensive

Deal includes provisions for local Armenian government to disband its local military in apparent capitulation

A ceasefire agreement has been reached a day after Azerbaijan launched a new military offensive against the local Armenian government in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh,potentially averting a wider war but threatening the long-term existence of the ethnic Armenian enclave there.

The agreement was due to take effect at 1pm local time and includes provisions for the local Armenian government to disband its local military, in what appears to be a capitulation to Azerbaijan.

The numbers of people killed and wounded in Nagorno-Karabakh jumped overnight. A former head of the local government said close to 100 people had been killed and hundreds more injured after Azerbaijan launched what it described as an “anti-terrorist operation” in the disputed South Caucasus region on Tuesday.

Libya flood: Protester anger could lead to crackdown

Despite public calls for accountability after the deadly flood in Derna, observers have little hope that the military-backed government will do anything more than secure its power.

Libyans in the devastated city of Derna have started taking to the streets. On Monday afternoon, thousands started calling for accountability and expressed their fury over what they deem poor handling by regional authorities after a flood killed thousands on September 11.

For hours, the demonstrators chanted “Aguila we don’t want you! All Libyans are brothers!” at the central Sahaba Square in Derna, singling out Aguila Saleh, the speaker of Libya’s eastern-based parliament.

The protesters demanded compensation and that international groups oversee the reconstruction of the devastated city.

“There is a lot of anger toward the [eastern] parliament as it took them four days to meet and then, the speaker actually harangued Libyans for daring to blame politicians and to dare question why this happened,” Tarek Megerisi, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told DW.

Venezuela civic space crackdown ‘intensifying’: UN probe

Venezuela’s government has been intensifying efforts to reduce civic and democratic space, UN experts said Wednesday, voicing alarm at the situation in the run-up to elections next year.

A team tasked with probing alleged violations in Venezuela said that while it had received fewer allegations of gross human rights violations than previously, it saw indications of more “targeted” and increasingly intense attacks by authorities.

“Serious human rights violations are being committed to this day in Venezuela,” Marta Valinas, chair of the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, told reporters in Geneva.

“These violations are not isolated acts, but continue to reflect a policy to suppress dissent and opposition to the government,” she said.

Sex abuse-tainted Johnny’s discussing talent agency name change

Scandal-hit male talent agency Johnny & Associates Inc has discussed changing its name to distance itself from its late namesake founder, the company said Tuesday, as it attempts to repair the reputational damage caused by decades of sexual abuse of aspiring teen pop singers by Johnny Kitagawa.

After acknowledging Kitagawa’s sexual abuse, his niece Julie Keiko Fujishima stepped down as president on Sept 5, but the agency’s initial decision to keep its name has brought criticism from not just victims but also companies using the agency’s performers in advertising campaigns.

An increasing number of major Japanese companies have already moved to review contracts with Johnny’s after the abuse came to light, including ending or suspending the use of the agency’s performers.

Nationalist, populist, far-right parties eye rising support across Europe

A backlash against immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion and support for Ukraine is unfolding across the continent.

Riding waves of fear and anger emanating from Russia’s war in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, nationalist, populist and far-right parties are eyeing rising support across Europe.

Polls have suggested that a backlash against immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion and support for Ukraine is unfolding across the continent.

That has political forces branding themselves “conservative” and “patriotic” eyeing next year’s EU elections as a prime test.

But before that, upcoming votes in Poland and Slovakia could elevate fringe groups into government alongside nationalist populist partners, threatening to refresh strain on fragile democratic standards and erode EU unity on Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

I am not the President’s lawyer, says US attorney general

‘What-aboutism’ is now a favourite strategy

Anthony Zurcher

At the House Judiciary Committee hearing

Democrats frequently condemned “what-aboutism” – pointing to alleged incidents and infractions by individuals of the opposite party as evidence of political hypocrisy – when Republicans used it to defend Donald Trump from his critics.

More than an hour into this Judiciary Committee hearing, it is a Democrat that employs the strategy in defence of his party’s president.

Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia points out that Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, made billions of dollars from business dealings with Saudi Arabia – and suggests that h


  1. Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, is appearing before the House Judiciary Committee in what is already a fiery hearing
  2. You can watch live by pressing on the play button above
  3. Opening the hearing, Republican chairman Jim Jordan launched on a wide-ranging attack on the Biden administration and the Justice Department
  4. Countering, Democrat Jerry Nadler said Republicans were desperate to distract from Trump’s legal challenges
  5. He said Republicans were wasting “countless taxpayer dollars” investigating President Biden and urged voters “to see through this sham”
  6. Garland says he is “not the President’s lawyer” and that he is “just doing his job”
  7. He will “not back down from defending our democracy”, he says, adding he “will not be intimidated”