Friday News Roundup - International
This week, the Indian government moved to change the status of the disputed territory of Kashmir, intensifying tensions in a long-volatile area.
In response, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that the move could cause “ethnic cleansing” and war in the primarily Muslim territory, according to NPR’s Diaa Hadid.
The area is divided between India and Pakistan. Separatist conflict there has claimed about 45,000 lives since the 1980s.
Pakistan is helping the United States negotiate with the Afghan Taliban over the safety of American troops and a schedule for their withdrawal from Afghanistan. Although talks are ongoing, the violence hasn’t stopped. A suicide bombing at a Kabul police station killed 14 people and injured 145 others on Wednesday.
The New York Times reported on the bombing’s aftermath, saying “even heavily populated urban centers like Kabul feel like battlegrounds in a war that lost clear front lines long ago.”
Outside the police station, a man asked an officer about his son, who he said had been locked up inside. The officer told him to go look among the wounded or dead at hospitals.
As a crowd gathered, the father said he had searched the hospitals first.
As if numbed by the frequency of such violence, the officer tried to shrug it off, telling the man that perhaps his son was bad, and that whatever his fate had been in the explosion was his punishment. The crowd laughed. The distressed father, crying, rushed to look for his son elsewhere.
In Hong Kong protests have reached their 10th consecutive week. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have taken to the streets. Sparked by an anti-extradition bill that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam walked back, the demonstrations have evolved into expressions of anger toward Beijing. There have also been sporadic pro-government protests.
Meanwhile, the United States designated China a currency manipulator, signaling a new front in an ongoing trade war. Bloomberg’s Shawn Donnan told us this week that the president’s views on trade with China haven’t changed since the 1980s. He’s willing to use tariffs, whereas other presidents have not been willing to impose them. And the Brookings Institution’s David Dollar says “market forces are pushing China’s currency down,” not currency manipulation by Beijing.
And at least seven Mexican citizens were among the dead at a shooting at a Walmart, in El Paso, Texas. Countries around the globe warned their citizens about the danger of mass shootings in the United States, and the Mexican government is considering legal action against the U.S.
We consider this an act of terrorism against the Mexican-American community and Mexican nationals in the United States,” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Sunday at a press conference. “Mexico is outraged. But we aren’t proposing to meet hate with hate. We will act with reason and according to the law and with firmness.”
Mexico has said it will increase protections for its citizens in the United States and has also threatened to take legal action — including potentially filing a lawsuit against the seller of the assault weapon used in the attack and possibly seeking the extradition of the 21-year-old suspected shooter on terrorism charges.
Experts I spoke to say it’s unlikely Mexico would triumph if it chose to pursue extradition.
But as mounting evidence suggests this was a racially motivated attack, the Mexican government may have reason to at least attempt it and put even a little pressure on the United States.
We wrap up all that news and more on the global edition of the Roundup.
Paul Danahar, Washington bureau chief of the BBC; author of “The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring”; @pdanahar
Jennifer Williams, Foreign editor, Vox; co-host of Vox’s foreign affairs podcast, “Worldly”; @jenn_ruth
Ishaan Tharoor, Foreign affairs writer, The Washington Post;
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