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International News

Thousands in Asia marvel at "ring of fire" solar eclipse


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A tattoo at a time, Afghan woman takes on society’s taboos


From The Asian Reporter, V30, #01 (January 6, 2020), page 2.

Indonesia nabs suspected smugglers of leopard, lion cubs

PEKANBARU, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police have arrested two men suspected of being part of a ring that poaches and trades in endangered animals and seized from them several lion and leopard cubs and dozens of turtles. One of the suspects, identified only as Yatno, was arrested in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau province, after picking up suspicious boxes from a speedboat at a port in Dumai district, said Andri Sudarmadi, Riau police’s chief detective. Police found several boxes containing four lion cubs, a leopard cub, and 58 turtles in his van. The turtles and the leopard cub are listed as critically endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, while the lion cubs are listed as endangered. Yatno’s arrest led police to capture another suspect who was planning to sell the smuggled wildlife to a trader on Java island, Sudarmadi said at a news conference. The second suspect was identified only by his initials, IS. Sudarmadi said the two men were allegedly part of an international trafficking syndicate and that they bought the haul from a smuggler in Malaysia. They told police each cub is valued at $32,000 on the black market, while the turtles fetch $1,200 apiece, Sudarmadi said. The two suspects, if found guilty, face up to five years in jail and $7,000 in fines for attempting to smuggle wildlife.

Guam judge rejects effort to nullify cockfighting ban

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A judge in the U.S. territory of Guam has ruled against a local businessman’s attempt to continue cockfighting despite a new American law banning it. U.S. District Court of Guam magistrate judge Joaquin Manibusan Jr. denied Sefrey Linsangan’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the new prohibition, the Pacific Daily News reported. Linsangan, described in court papers as a business owner involved in "gamefowl raising and competition" for 40 years, argued the ban was unconstitutional. "It is not only part of his culture, custom, and tradition but also a hobby, pastime, exercise, and sport," the lawsuit said. President Donald Trump last year signed a law banning all animal fighting in U.S. territories. The law took effect in mid-December. Prior to the law, cockfighting had been illegal in the 50 states but not U.S. territories. The judge wrote that Linsangan failed to show how the federal ban deprives him of "life, liberty, or property without due process of law." He said Linsangan didn’t show that enacting the cockfighting ban discriminated against him or any person on account of his race, language, or religion. Manibusan said the law applies uniformly throughout the 50 states and territories. He said he sympathized with the argument that the people of Guam have been disenfranchised because the territory’s residents aren’t allowed to vote for president, nor are they allowed to elect voting members of congress. "The remedy for such disenfranchisement lies within the political, not judicial, process," he wrote. Governor Wanda Vázquez of Puerto Rico, another U.S. territory, signed a bill authorizing cockfighting in defiance of the federal ban. The measure says it is legal for Puerto Rico to host cockfights as long as people don’t export or import cocks or any goods or services related to cockfighting.

Seniors join Indian citizenship law protests

GAUHATI, India (AP) — Senior citizens in India’s northeastern Assam state have protested against a new citizenship law passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that excludes Muslims. About 1,500 senior citizens held a protest in the state capital, Gauhati. Protests in the state against the law have spread across the country, claiming at least 23 lives. "Until our last drop of blood, we will not allow them to implement it," said Gajendra Nath Pathak, 81, who joined the senior citizens’ protest. Bina Bora, 70, said she couldn’t sit at home while other people were protesting the law. "Why is the government forcefully implementing such a law, which will destroy unity," she asked. The new Citizenship Amendment Act allows Hindus, Christians, and other religious minorities who are in India illegally to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted because of their religion in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It does not apply to Muslims. Thousands of people have protested in Assam recently, setting up blockades and disrupting traffic and business. At least five people were killed in the state when police fired to quell the demonstrations. Assam was the site of an earlier government program to create an official list of citizens to weed out foreigners living in the state illegally. About 2 million people were excluded from the list, about half Hindu and half Muslim, and have been asked to prove their citizenship or else be considered foreign. Opposition parties say the Citizenship Amendment Act could provide a fast track to naturalization for many of the Hindus left off Assam’s citizenship list, while explicitly leaving out Muslims.

Nepal detains 122 Chinese on suspicion of financial crimes

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Police in Nepal have detained 122 Chinese nationals who are suspected of being involved in financial crimes. Police official Shailesh Thapa said the suspects were detained in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital. Details of the cases were not released because the investigation was still open, but the suspects are likely to be presented before a judge to determine how long they can be held for investigation. Among them were 116 men and eight women. They were held at different detention centers in Kathmandu. Police were also investigating if they had violated immigration laws by overstaying their visas. "As far as I know, these citizens are suspected of engaging in cross-border online fraud activities, and the cases are currently under investigation," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. "It is an important operation carried out by the police of China and Nepal. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with Nepal in various fields, including law enforcement, to jointly combat cross-border crimes and promote friendly exchanges between the two countries."

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