Six In The Morning Sunday 24 September 2023

Nagorno-Karabakh: Ethnic Armenians leave amid cleansing fear

The first groups of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh have arrived in Armenia, days after the enclave was seized by Azerbaijan.

They entered shortly after local officials announced plans to move those made homeless by the fighting.

Azerbaijan captured the area inhabited by some 120,000 ethnic Armenians early this week and says it wants to re-integrate them as “equal citizens”.

But Armenia has warned they may face ethnic cleansing.

Around 400 people were part of the first groups to leave. Armenia says it will help anyone who does so but has repeatedly said a mass exodus would be the fault of the Azerbaijani authorities.

Chinese authorities reportedly sentence Uyghur professor to life in prison

Human rights group says Rahile Dawut lost appeal after being convicted in 2018 on charges of promoting ‘splittism’

A leading Uyghur professor who disappeared six years ago is reported to have sentenced to life in prison by Chinese authorities for “endangering state security”.

Rahile Dawut, 57, who specialises in the study of Uyghur folklore and traditions and is considered an expert in her field, lost an appeal over her sentence after being convicted in 2018 on charges of promoting “splittism”, according to the US-based Dui Hua Foundation human rights group.

The group has spent years trying to locate Dawut. In a statement, it said it had received the information from a Chinese official and that it was seeking more information about Dawut from the government, including where she was, the state of her health and her right to have contact with family members.

The Iran Protests One Year LaterRoya Piraei’s Photo Made Her an Icon

Hundreds of protesters have likely been killed since the most recent wave of demonstrations began one year ago. The daughter of one victim cut off her hair, and the image went viral. She immediately had to leave Iran and now lives in exile in Britain.

By Susanne Koelbl in London

The seventh night after her mother was killed by Iranian security forces, university student Roya Piraei posted a photo. In it, she is standing at her mother’s grave dressed in black with no headscarf, her hair closely cropped. Staring directly into the camera, she is holding a bushel of hair in her left hand. She looks like a punk.

The photo was taken in fall 2022 and it immediately went viral. Women around the world, inspired by Piraei, then 24, cut off their hair to show solidarity with the protests in Iran – with the country’s Generation Z as it fought desperately for its future only to be continually beat down. It is a photo that continues to inspire artists and authors today. In 2022, the BBC included Piraei on its 100 list of inspiring and influential women.

Sorry, video content is not available in your country.

Almost one year later, Roya Piraei is sitting in the yard of a London suburban home at a table covered with an Oriental-patterned tablecloth, a whitewashed wall behind her. She is a delicate woman with light-colored, freckled skin, her dark hair – now grown back – falling gently to her chin.

Masked gunmen attack Kosovo police and kill one officer, raising tensions with Serbia

Kosovo’s prime minister on Sunday said one police officer was killed and another wounded in an attack he blamed on support from neighboring Serbia, increasing tensions between the two former war foes at a delicate moment in their European Union-facilitated dialogue to normalize ties.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti said “masked professionals armed with heavy weapons” opened fire on a police patrol in the village of Banjska, in Leposavic municipality, 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital Pristina at 3 a.m. (01:00 GMT).

Kosovo police said two trucks without license plates blocked a bridge at the entrance to the village. Three police units were sent to unblock it but came under fire from different positions with various weapons, including hand grenades and bombs.

Police managed to push back the attack and take two injured police officers to the hospital in southern Mitrovica.

One of them was dead on arrival, doctors said. The condition of the other is not life-threatening.

Mali won’t ‘stand idly by’ if ECOWAS intervenes in Niger

The foreign minister of Mali told the UN General Assembly that any military intervention in Niger would threaten Mali’s security. The juntas in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso signed a mutual defense pact last week.

Mali’s top diplomat has warned that his country “will not stand idly by” if foreign powers intervene in neighboring Niger.

“Mali remains strongly opposed to any military intervention by ECOWAS,” Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said on Saturday while representing Mali’s military junta at the UN General Assembly.

“Any invasion of this country constitutes a direct threat to the peace and security of Mali, but also to the peace and security of the region, and will necessarily have serious consequences.”

What’s the situation in Niger?

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to stage a military intervention in Niger after democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown in a coup in July.

Philippines condemns ‘floating barrier’ in South China Sea

Images posted on social media show buoys placed by China that block Philippine fishing boats from entering an area within Manila’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The Philippines has accused China’s coastguard of installing a “floating barrier” in a disputed area of the South China Sea, which it said prevents Filipinos from fishing within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The coastguard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources “strongly condemn” China’s installation of the barrier in part of the Scarborough Shoal, “which prevents Filipino fishing boats from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities”, spokesperson Jay Tarriela posted on Sunday on X, formerly Twitter.

Photos showed multiple buoys lined up and guarded by Chinese boats in the area, known in the Philippines as Bajo de Masinloc. The barrier is about 300 metres (985 feet) long and was discovered during a “routine maritime patrol” on Friday, said Tarriela.