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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

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic

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The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations

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Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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