The Guardian

Why Buddhist ‘fangsheng’ mercy release rituals can be more cruel than kind

The case of two London Buddhists fined for releasing crustaceans into the sea has thrown the spotlight on a ritual that involves hundreds of millions of wild animals – and a huge industry built around their capture and supply

It was intended as a Buddhist act of mercy and compassion, but ended in a criminal conviction and significant environmental risk. The release of hundreds of alien lobsters and crabs into the sea off Brighton has highlighted the perils of a ritual that takes kindness to animals too far.

Two London Buddhists, Zhixiong Li, 30, and Ni Li, 33,

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AfD leader quits party caucus hours after German election breakthrough

Frauke Petry ‘drops bomb’ on rightwing nationalist party by announcing she will instead serve as independent MP

Germany’s rightwing nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland, in celebratory mode after coming third in elections, was delivered a bombshell by its co-leader when she announced she would not sit with the party in the Bundestag.


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‚Trump’s secret Yemen war‘: UK role in US counter-terrorism causes unease

As new figures point to doubling of covert US airstrikes in Yemen, MPs and human rights groups voice concerns over British involvement

Donald Trump has more than doubled the number of covert US airstrikes in Yemen compared with the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency, new estimates show.

The rise, combined with Trump’s rollback of Obama-era safeguards, has sparked renewed concern from MPs and human rights groups over the UK’s role in US counter-terrorism operations, in Yemen and other countries with which Britain is not at war.

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The world is moving on – with or without Trump’s crude bravado | Jeffrey Sachs

The renowned economist and UN sustainable development adviser says the time when the US was in charge is long gone and that the country has to change its mindset

President Trump’s

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Trump misreads North Korea’s sacred dynasty at his peril | Michael Brabazon

In the escalating war of insults, Trump is a ‘gangster fond of playing with fire’, Kim Jong-un a ‘madman’ who will be tested as never before. Yet such rhetoric can only add to Kim’s heaven-sent conviction that he alone can save humanity

Before trying to cow North Korea with military intervention, we need to understand what motivates Kim Jong-un. Dangerously for the US and its Asian allies, there is something missing from the west’s analysis of the “rogue state” and its ruling dynasty.


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Theresa May, anti-slavery crusader? Her craven quest for trade deals suggests not | Aidan McQuade

It is hard to see how the UK can take a lead on fighting slavery when Brexit has forced the prime minister to negotiate with economies driven by exploitation

Theresa May has used the 2017 UN general assembly to renew her campaign against slavery, and marked this with the publication of

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‚We are not safe‘: aid workers fearful after Red Cross shooting in Afghanistan

Murder of Red Cross physiotherapist Lorena Enebral Perez by wheelchair-bound patient offers new focal point for concern among aid workers

On the morning of 11 September, Lorena Enebral Perez met with a 21-year-old polio patient at a clinic in northern Afghanistan with a simple, gracious task: to help the wheelchair-bound man to walk.

When she approached him, the patient pulled out a pistol and shot her in the chest.

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No laughing matter: Cameroon students face 10 years in jail for Boko Haram joke

Rights groups demand release of three students whose jovial text message exchange turned sour when teacher confiscated phone and contacted police

Human rights groups are calling for the immediate release of three students given 10-year jail sentences in Cameroon for sharing a joke via text about Boko Haram.

An appeal hearing was due to begin on Thursday in the capital, Yaoundé, but has been postponed until 19 October. The students were found guilty of “non-denunciation of terrorism acts” by a military court on 2 November last year.

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No business, no boozing, no casual sex: when Togo turned off the internet | Mawuna Koutonin

When young people started mobilising online against Togo’s president, the state switched off the internet. In the week that followed, people talked more, worked harder and had less sex – all of which proved bad news for the government

On 5 September, at about 10am, the government of Togo cut off the internet. The plan was to limit the threat from a growing number of young people around the country who were mobilising online and talking of toppling the government.

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One in four kids in the developing world misses out on a bedtime story, says UN

Unicef study identifies reading, singing and drawing as ‘missing links between survival and school’ that hinder development of 25% of two- to four-year-olds

A quarter of young children in developing countries miss out on playing, reading and singing with their parents, according to research by Unicef.

The UN children’s agency has warned in a report that the cognitive development of millions of under-fives is being undermined because parents are receiving neither the right guidance nor basic support, such as maternity leave.

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