Indonesia News | Nationals & Visitors

Jakarta Biennale looks to bring Indonesian artists, curators, and histories to world stage
  • With the theme “Learning from the Present: Act Now,” the global art exhibition will open in November under the direction of British art curator and writer Charles Esche.
  • Indonesian artists will make up two-thirds of the 60 artists whose work will be included, with six emerging Indonesian curators shaping the works’ presentation.
  • Esche hopes to combine the unique location of Jakarta and the history of Indonesia with a political perspective on global issues such as wealth inequity, women’s rights, and environmental degradation.
“There is a mural artist who has painted all that had happened in Aceh from the 1980s but the work is still unrecognized. I hope this year’s Biennale could be the right moment to talk about our history.”
Read the full story at the Jakarta Post.

(Image Credit: via the Jakarta Post)

U.A.E. News | Visitors

UAE hoteliers advise hotel guests to align themselves with local sartorial standards during Ramadan
  • At their hotels’ iftars, the fast-breaking dinners held at sunset, hotel managers have said that they will turn away inappropriately dressed patrons, including those in beachwear and tight-fitting clothing.
  • Managers and security organizations encourage guests to dress modestly, covering shoulders and legs as they move through communal spaces.

“Ramadan is a time of devoutness, modesty and moderation. … Refrain from wearing revealing clothing out of respect to those observing Ramadan. This is particularly important when visiting malls, hotels and restaurants or iftar tents in the evening. As a general rule, clothing that is sheer, too short, low-cut or tightfitting should be avoided, particularly shorts, miniskirts and sleeveless tops.”

Read the full story at The National.

(Image Credit: Delores Johnson/The National)

New York mayor adds Lunar New Year as school holiday, to the relief of Asian-American families
  • The addition had been a campaign promise from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and its passage comes just ahead of the State Legislature’s consideration of an identical measure.
  • Mayor de Blasio also added two Muslim holidays–Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha–to the calendar three months ago.
  • Asian-American students comprise almost 15% of the city’s public school population, and other cities with similarly large populations such as San Francisco have added the holiday before.

“Finally, students of Asian descent will not be forced to choose between observing the most important holiday of the year and missing important academic work. … Lunar New Year is a deeply important cultural observance for nearly 15 percent of public school students, and this designation gives Lunar New Year the respect and recognition it has long deserved.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: Ángel Franco/The New York Times)

Across U.S. Southern states, Charleston massacre gives fresh momentum to calls for removal of Confederate imagery from public sites and symbols
  • South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has called for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds.
  • After a 2001 referendum that saw resounding support for retaining the design of the flag, Mississippi legislators are again pushing for the removal of the “stars and bars” portion of the state’s flag.
  • In Austin, a push to remove a statue of the President of the Confederacy from the University of Texas campus continues, while in Baltimore, city officials hope to rename Robert E. Lee Park.

“We should have been having this conversation a long time ago in the South … because now with every instance of violence you keep seeing the same symbol — the symbol on our state flag.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed.

(Image Credit: Rogelio V. Solis/AP, via BuzzFeed)

Tensions increase between West African pastoralists and the nations they migrate through as conflict alters movement routes
  • As threats from Boko Haram alter their routes from the Sahel to coastal countries, nomadic Fulani and Tuareg herders find their practices in conflict with farmers and environmentalists in Ghana.
  • The pastoralists contribute to deforestation and other forms of land disruption as they clear areas for their livestock to graze, disrupting agricultural economic activity and increasing farmer insecurity.
  • Environmental officials propose designating land for herders and educating them in sustainable land-management practices and economic diversification will be necessary to prevent long-term environmental destruction and secure long-term livelihoods for the nomadic communities.

“They move because their environment is not good for them and their animals. What do you do if you have hundreds of cattle and have nothing to feed them?”

Read the full story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(Image Credit: Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters)

Everyday discrimination and persecution blight on progress for Britain’s rural LGBT individuals
  • Permeation and permanence of bullying and other acts of intimidation in daily life leads to fear and alienation for LGBT people in rural areas, according to a hate crime researcher.
  • This fear leads to the under-reporting of hate crimes, with discrepancies between police reports and surveys of hate incidents indicating as many as 35,000 cases going unreported.
  • Lack of community, fear of being outed, communities’ intolerance of difference, and age all contribute to individuals’ vulnerability in rural areas, leading to social disengagement.

“We are a country with proud traditions of tolerance and respect but we must not let important progress in areas such as same-sex marriage mask the acute and continuing challenges that still remain. Researchers in today’s report were told of victims’ fear of not being taken seriously, how they were scared of being ‘outed’ and suspicion and distrust of the authorities. We must all redouble our efforts, and work together to give LGBT communities a stronger voice and put an end to the hatred that is a blight on modern society.”

Read the full story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: Jose Jacome/EPA, via the Guardian)

Turkish Jewish community hosts 700 for fast-breaking dinner during Ramadan
  • The iftar was held in appreciation for community support in the rebuilding and restoration of the historic Edirne synagogue, which reopened in late March.
  • Originally built in 1907 following a fire that wiped out 13 of the city’s synagogues, the Great Synagogue has become one of Europe’s landmark synagogues.
  • There had been controversy surrounding the reopening following the provincial governor’s announcement that it would be turned into a museum following a military raid on an Israeli mosque, but he later retracted those remarks.

“We thought that the most convenient way to thank people in Edirne was to share an iftar meal with them. We thank them all very much. We returned to Edirne and found a more beautiful home than our own.”

Read the full story at the Hurriyet Daily News.

(Image Credit: via the Hurriyet Daily News)

Israel News | Ethiopian Israelis & Immigrants

Ethiopian Israelis in Tel Aviv protest Israel Attorney General’s closure of criminal case against police officer who assaulted Ethiopian IDF soldier
  • Hundreds took to the streets in demonstration, with road blockages and clashes with the police leading to at least 19 arrests.
  • Joining the protests were keses, spiritual leaders in the Ethiopian Jewish community who say they lack official rights and recognition in their roles.
  • Ethiopian Israeli soldiers organized an online protest despite law forbidding soldiers from engaging in protest still on the books.

“We are not enthusiasts of protests, but we are unwilling to remain silent. The attorney general closed the case against the policeman, and we will continue protesting until that case is opened.”

Read the full story at Haaretz.

(Image Credit: Reuters, via Haaretz)

Palestinian man kills one Israeli man and wounds another in attack near Jewish settlement in the West Bank
  • Waving the Israelis down, the gunman asked for directions to the nearby spring before pulling out a pistol and shooting them.
  • The deceased was 25-year-old Danny Gonen, a student from Lod.
  • Hamas praised the act, but authorities have yet to determine whether the gunman acted as a part of a larger organization.

“We will not accept a situation in which a young hiker has his life taken from him in the land of Israel because he is Jewish. … The murderous attack that occurred today is another step in the quiet and serious escalation in acts of terrorism we have witnessed in recent months.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq, tries to bring hope to displaced youth through education
  • Led by Father Douglas al-Bazi in the neighborhood of Ankawa, the Mar Elia camp provides youth with a library, music lessons, games, organized trips, and English courses in addition to the standard education curriculum, funded by private donations.
  • The camp opened in Iraqi Kurdistan last year, initially taking in 500 displaced Christians.
  • With larger populations and few to no private resources, neighboring camps struggle to provide basic services like basic education and medical services, making a spot in Mar Elia a prized commodity in the region.

“When the kids arrived here, they were completely lost for the first two weeks, angry and selfish. I remember the first time we offered them toys; within five minutes they destroyed them all. … Our kids, if they don’t have education, if they don’t have someone to look after them, do you think they are going to work for NASA? I don’t think so. It’s easy for IS to thrive among abandoned people.”

Read the full story at Al-Monitor.

(Image Credit: Sebastien Chatelier, via Al-Monitor)