Hundreds of activists have repeatedly filled the streets of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Themed #Lawan (Fight), the movement is also demanding the resumption of parliamentary sessions and a moratorium on the repayment of all loans. Protesters accuse the Muhyiddin government of using the pandemic to suspend parliament in order to consolidate power, and relying on harsh emergency regulations to silence and intimidate critics. Protesters chant hidup rakyat (long live the people), and carry black flags and effigies of dead bodies wrapped in white cloth to signify the high daily COVID-19 death tally in the county. (Photo: Misi:Solidariti via Twitter)
Authorities in Malaysia have declared a state of emergency that suspends Parliament and puts on hold any new general elections at least through August. The order is ostensibly a measure to contain COVID-19, coming as Kuala Lumpur and other cities are being placed under near-total lockdown. But critics are portraying it as a ploy by embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to remain in power despite a corruption scandal engulfing his ruling party, the right-wing United Malays National Organization (UMNO). The accusations prompted Muhyiddin to go on national television after the declaration to insist the move is “not a military coup.” But the left-opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance issued a statement assailing Muhyiddin over the order: “Do not hide behind COVID-19 and burden the people with a declaration of emergency for the sake of saving yourself.” (Photo via CodeBlue)
At its annual convention in Denver, the National Congress of American Indians spoke strongly against the Trump administration’s decision to halt the restoration of ancestral lands to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts, invoking a return to the disastrous policies of the “termination era.” At issue are 321 acres where the Wampanoag sought to build a casino. The US Interior Department issued a decision in 2015 to take the lands into trust for the trib, and ground was broken on the casino the following year. But opponents challenged the land transfer in the courts. In April 2016, a federal judge found the Interior decision had bypassed the Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling in Carcieri v Salazar, concerning a land recovery effort by the Narragansett Indian Nation of Rhode Island. In the Carcieri case, the high court ruled that the federal government had no power to grant land in trust for tribes recognized after passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. In September of this year, the Interior decision was reversed by Tara Sweeney, the new assistant secretary for Indian Affairs. Sweeney determined that the Mashpee Wampanoag-—whose ancestors welcomed some of the first settlers to the Americas more than 300 years ago—could not have their homelands restored because they were only federally recognized in 2007. (Photo: Indianz.com)
Chilean activists protested in Santiago against the signing of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, now rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), or TPP-11. Protesters outside La Moneda Palace, headquarters of the Chilean government, held banners reading "No to modern slavery, no to the TPP-11" and "The TPP and TPP-11 are the same!" Lucía Sepúlveda, leader of the organization Chile Mejor Sin TPP, said the agreement would "deliver full guarantees to foreign investors" at the expense of "rights and national interests." (Photo: Chile Mejor Sin TPP)
China refuses to recognize a Hague tribunal ruling in favor of Philippine maritime claims—just one of several conflicts at play as tensions rise in the South China Sea.
Vietnam's paramount leader Nguyen Phu Trong meets with Obama at the White House, as the US and China play a dangerous game of chicken over disputed islands.
In "moderate" Malaysia, an opposition leader is sent to prison for "sodomy," and when a cartoonist lampooned the sentence, he was arrested for "sedition."
As Obama blames Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the Malaysian flight over Ukraine, Putin blames Kiev—and the people of eastern Ukraine are brutalized by both sides.
The presence of an acclaimed Uighur artist among those on the missing Malyasian airliner has fueled speculation about terrorism—prompting protests from the Uighur diaspora.
The Sultanate of Sulu claims that 10 members of the royal army were killed in an attack by Malaysian authorities on a village siezed by the Sulu partisans in Sabah state on Borneo.
Security forces in Malaysian Borneo are in a stand-off with some 100 men they say are insurgents from the Philippine island of Sulu raising an ancestral claim to the territory.
Beijing's move to set up a military garrison on disputed Yongxing Island—claimed by the Philippines as part of the Paracel chain—is escalating tension in the South China Sea.