India’s government has revoked disputed Kashmir’s special status with a presidential order as thousands of newly deployed troops arrived and internet and phone services were cut in the restive Himalayan region where most people oppose Indian rule. Indian Home Minister Amit Shah announced the revocation on August 5, 2019 amid an uproar in India’s Parliament and while Kashmir was under a security lockdown that kept thousands of people inside their homes. The order revokes Article 370 of India’s Constitution, which gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defense, communications and foreign affairs. The article also forbids Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing educational scholarships. Critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has shared new data from the World Meteorological Organization and Copernicus Climate Change Programme, including that July at least equaled, if not surpassed, the hottest month in recorded history. According to the very latest data from the World Meteorological Organization and its climate centre—the month of July at least equaled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history. “This follows the hottest June ever,” said the Secretary-General. He said these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg if they do not take action on climate change now, according to the UN office in Dhaka. The latest announcement comes in advance of the upcoming 2019 Climate Action Summit. The Secretary-General has called upon leaders from government, business, and civil society to come to the Summit with concrete plans—clear steps to enhance nationally determined contributions by 2020—and strategies for carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Nobel Prize-winning US author Toni Morrison has died at the age of 88. The Morrison family confirmed “with profound sadness” that Morrison had died “following a short illness”. The author of 11 novels, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, having published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970. Her book Beloved told the story of a female African-American slave and was made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey in 1998. Morrison once said: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” The Morrison family statement said the “extremely devoted mother, grandmother, and aunt” had “passed away peacefully last night [5 August] surrounded by family and friends”.
China has issued a strong warning to Hong Kong’s protesters, saying their attempts “to play with fire will only backfire”. A spokesman for China’s top policy office on Hong Kong told protesters not to “underestimate the firm resolve [of] the central government”. Hong Kong has seen nine consecutive weeks of anti-government protests. On Monday, a call for a general strike caused severe disruption, and more than 200 flights were cancelled. Protesters want an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, the complete withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, and the resignation of Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam. The demonstrations have frequently ended in violent clashes with police. They are seen as a challenge to Beijing’s authority in the territory - and a reflection of how many Hong Kongers fear that their freedoms are being eroded. The former British colony is part of China but enjoys unique freedoms not seen on the mainland.