1) PHILIPPINE MINISTER SAYS NO ACCESS FOR UN DRUGS WAR PROBE
Philippines foreign minister today said it will not allow visits by the United Nations to investigate its bloody war on drugs.
The United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution in July to compile a comprehensive report on President Rodrigo Duterte’s three-year crackdown.
At least 6,700 people have been killed during that period in what police say were shootouts with dealers who resisted arrest.
Human rights groups accuse police of systematic cover-ups and summary executions of anyone associated with drugs, which police reject.
Asked in a television interview if U.N. investigators would be allowed to work in the Philippines, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said: “No. Because they have already prejudged.”
President Duterte, however, has yet to say he would agree to an independent probe on Philippines soil, should a request be made.
2) HONG KONG PROTESTERS HIT PAUSE BUTTON TO MARK 9/11
Hong Kong activists today called off protests in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and denounced a Chinese state newspaper report that they were planning “massive terror” in the city.
The Hong Kong edition of the China Daily said on its Facebook page, that anti-government fanatics are planning massive terror attacks, including blowing up gas pipes, in Hong Kong on September 11.
Referring to the China Daily post, one protester said they don’t even need to do a fact check to know that this is fake news.
In a statement, the protesters all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sept. 11 in solidarity against terrorism, apart from potential singing and chanting.
3) THOUSANDS PRAY FOR RAIN IN INDONESIA AS FORESTS GO UP IN SMOKE
Thousands of Indonesians today prayed for rain in haze-hit towns on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, as forest fires raged at the height of the dry season.
Fires have burnt through parts of Sumatra and Borneo island for more than a month and the government has sent 9,000 military, police and disaster agency personnel to fight the flames.
State Antara news agency stated thousands of people in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau province in Sumatra, held Islamic prayers for rain outside the governor’s office. Many of those taking part wore face masks to protect themselves from the smoke.
Similar prayers were held in towns in Kalimantan, where air quality has been at unhealthy levels and schools have been forced to close.
According to Bernama, mosques in Malaysia have also been encouraged to hold prayers for rain.