Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence arrive with turkey to serve to troops at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. The visit is Pence’s first to Iraq and comes nearly one year since President Donald Trump’s surprise visit to the country. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
5 international stories of the week
Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
The U.S. Vice President’s visit to Iraq, the World Wide Web inventor’s “Contract for the Web,” mass detention camps in China, the pro-democracy vote in Hong Kong and the extinction of Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia make up this week’s five international stories.
Vice President Mike Pence worked to reassure the United States’ Kurdish allies in an unannounced trip to Iraq Saturday, two months after President Donald Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. forces in Syria. The visit was meant to hearten United States’ regional partners in the fight against the Islamic State group after the U.S. pulled troops from northern Syria, leaving America’s Kurdish allies there to face a bloody cross-border Turkish assault last month.
Read more: Syria
World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee released an ambitious rule book for online governance — a bill of rights and obligations for the internet — designed to counteract the growing prevalence of misinformation, mass surveillance and censorship. The “Contract for the Web” seeks commitments from governments and industry to make and keep knowledge freely available — a digital policy agenda true to the design vision of the 30-year-old web.
Read more: Data privacy
Voluntary job training is the reason the Chinese government has given for detaining more than a million ethnic minorities, most of them Muslims. But leaked classified documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities, even before they commit a crime, to rewire their thoughts and the language they speak. The papers also show how Beijing is pioneering a new form of social control using data and artificial intelligence.
Read more: China Cables
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition won a stunning landslide victory in weekend local elections in a clear rebuke to city leader Carrie Lam over her handling of violent protests that have divided the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The result could force China’s central government to rethink how to handle the unrest, which is now in its sixth month. District councils have little power, but the vote became a referendum on public support for the protests.
Read more: Hong Kong
The Sumatran rhino has become extinct in Malaysia after the last of the species in the country succumbed to cancer. The WWF conservation group estimates there are about 80 Sumatran rhinos left, mostly living in the wild in Indonesia. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature states about 24,500 rhinos survive in the wild with another 1,250 in captivity worldwide. Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are used in traditional medicines in parts of Asia.
Read more: Wildlife