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Musings From Abroad

Saudi Arabia beheads 81: Social media not happy with Boris Johnson, Joe Biden… here’s why

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Reactions from across the world have been trailing news that Saudi Arabia in what is the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in modern history executed 81 men over the past 24 hours.

News of the execution broke on Saturday with victims reported to be seven Yemenis, one Syrian national and the rest Saudi Arabians.

According to news agency Saudi Press Agency, the victims were executed on charges that include “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”.

Some observers on social media have viewed the development in contrast with the recent announcement by the United Kingdom to seize all assets of Chelsea Football Club owner – Roman Abramovich on the account of being one of seven oligarchs seen as allies of Vladimir Putin and in connection with the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Accusations of double standards are also levelled against the United Kingdom government on the ground of its past and recent relations with the Saudis despite age long report of human right violations but swift to ground Putin’s allies’ assets.

 

 

Another Twitter user argued that if Putin disqualifies Roman Abramovich from owning assets in the UK, the same standard should mean Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is also not qualified to own Newcastle Football Club.

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, 36-year-old Mohammed bin Salman is believed to be behind the Saudi Public Investment Fund who recently bought Newcastle Football Club.

Reports from the United Kingdom on Sunday says Prime Minister Boris Johnson is poised to travel to Saudi Arabia next week for talks on oil as he attempts to move the UK away from dependence on energy supplies from Russia.

The United States has also been called out amidst the development.

 

 

Musings From Abroad

Indonesia passes law that bans sex outside marriage, protest, others

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Sex outside marriage is now an offence with a punishment of up to one year in jail in Indonesia, according to new laws passed by the country’s parliament.

Indonesia’s parliament dared worries about scaring away tourists from its shores and harming investment as the legislature banned premarital sex in the Asian country.

The law applies to both locals and foreigners alike and also prohibits cohabitation between unmarried couples.

It also bans insulting the president or state institutions, spreading views counter to the state ideology and staging protests without notification.

Stakeholders in the tourism sector of the country have criticized the new law. Deputy chief of Indonesia’s tourism industry board, Maulana Yusran, remarked that the new code was “totally counter-productive” at a time when the economy and tourism were starting to recover from the pandemic.

“We deeply regret the government has closed its eyes. We have already expressed our concern to the ministry of tourism about how harmful this law is,” he said.

The new law has also drawn a reaction from United States Ambassador to Indonesia, Sung Kim who claimed that the development could result in less foreign investment, tourism, and travel to the Southeast Asian nation.

“Criminalising the personal decisions of individuals would loom large within the decision matrix of many companies determining whether to invest in Indonesia,” he said.

Despite its notable diplomatic ties with African countries, Indonesia has a poor history of human rights.

In 2021, Amnesty International reported that at least 158 physical assaults, digital attacks, threats, and other forms of attack against 367 human rights defenders were reported during the year.

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Musings From Abroad

US President, Joe Biden, signs legislation against planned rail workers’ strike

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The United States President, Joe Biden has signed legislation to block a national railroad strike that could have devastated the American economy.

Senate voted 80 to 15 on Thursday to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers, who could have gone on strike on December 9.

“It was tough for me but it was the right thing to do at the moment — save jobs, to protect millions of working families from harm and disruption, and to keep supply chains stable around the holidays,” Biden said, adding the deal avoided “an economic catastrophe.”

“That fight isn’t over,” Biden said of the push for sick leave.

Reacting to the president’s assent, American Association of Railroads CEO Ian Jefferies said “none of the parties achieved everything they advocated for” but added, “without a doubt, there is more to be done to further address our employees’ work-life balance concerns.”

The attempt to slash labour and other costs to bolster profits in recent years has been fiercely opposed to adding paid sick time that would require them to hire more staff.

The strike could have left millions stranded and frozen almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoked already surging inflation, and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion a day.

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