South Korea News | Dissidents

Police turn water cannons and tear gas on protesters as Seoul demonstration turns violent
  • More than 60,000 turned out for a protest in Seoul against President Park Geunt-hye’s policies, which ended abruptly when police clashed with participants attempting to move through barricades.
  • Around 10 protesters were injured and some 50 were arrested in the largest street protest of President Park’s term.
  • The protesters–including 53 labor, agriculture, and other civic groups–were demonstrating against President Park’s labor reforms reducing employee job security and textbook reforms perceived as whitewashing Korea’s authoritarian history.

Read more:
Police detain 49 protesters” (The Korea Times)
South Korea vows no tolerance after violent protest in Seoul” (Reuters)
S Korea protesters clash with police in Seoul” (BBC)

(Image Credit: Choi Won-suk/The Korea Times)

Egypt News | Sudanese Refugees

More than a dozen Sudanese refugees killed by Egyptian security forces
  • At least 15 Sudanese refugees were killed and eight wounded attempting to enter Israel from the Sinai peninsula.
  • Egyptian officials first said the refugees were shot attempting to reach the southern border of Israel, but later revised their account to say they were caught in the crossfire between security forces and smugglers.
  • The incident is one of the most violent involving Sudanese refugees since 2005 and comes as the refugees face crackdowns by Egyptian police, exploitation and abuse by smugglers, and detention and deportation in Israel.

Read more:
Sudanese refugees shot dead on Egypt-Israel border” (Al Jazeera)
15 Sudanese Asylum Seekers Shot to Death by Egyptian Police While Trying to Cross to Israel” (AP via Haaretz)

Colombia News | LGBT

Colombian high court legalizes adoption for same-sex couples
  • Colombia’s constitutional court ruled 6-2 in favor of opening adoption up to same-sex couples, drawing on both constitutional and international law as justification.
  • The Court struck down the prohibition against adoption by same-sex couples by affirming the rights of children to a family, arguing that parental gender and sexual diversity has no negative impact on a child.
  • The country joins regional neighbors Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay in allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

Read more:
Corte Constitucional da vía libre a adopción gay en Colombia” (El Tiempo, in Spanish)
Colombia joins growing group of countries that allow adoption by same sex couples” (Fusion)
Colombia Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Adoption” (teleSUR English)

(Image Credit: El Tiempo)

China News | Dissidents

Four Hong Kong booksellers featuring work critical of Communist Party go missing
  • The four men are believed to have been detained in China after having traveled from Hong Kong to Thailand and Mainland China, though they have been unable to report their location.
  • The men work for Sage Communications, a company that has published titles critical of the Chinese president and Communist elite.
  • The detention comes as Beijing continues encroaching upon free press in Hong Kong, having bought up a major publishing house in the city earlier in the year.

Read more:
Independent Hong Kong Book-Sellers Missing, Believed Detained” (Radio Free Asia)
Four Hong Kong publishers known for books critical of Chinese regime missing” (The Guardian)
Hong Kong Bookstores Display Beijing’s Clout” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Sage Communications, via Radio Free Asia)

Jordan News | Foreigners

Three foreigners, two Jordanians killed in attack on training facility near Amman
  • Two Americans and one South African were killed along with three Jordanians at a U.S.-funded police training facility on the outskirts of Amman, Jordan.
  • The Americans and South African were security contractors, while one Jordanian was reportedly a translator.
  • The shooting comes as Jordan commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 Amman bombings, coordinated hotel attacks that left 60 dead.

Read more:
Jordan says death toll rises to six in training facility attack” (Reuters)
Jordanian officer fatally shoots two Americans, South African at security training site” (Reuters)
What we know so far about the Jordanian police shooting” (Al Bawaba)

Taiwan Feature | LGBT

Proud in Taiwan

Taiwan celebrated Pride with its 13th-annual Pride parade, Asia’s largest. Tens of thousands descended upon the streets of Taipei from around the world to celebrate LGBT individuals and culture on an island notable for its LGBT acceptance.

View the Wall Street Journal video on YouTube.

Ukraine News | Black

Ukraine football team faces sanctions, assailants face charges after black fans attacked at Ukraine football match
  • At least four black individuals were attacked during an Oct. 27 Champions League match between Dynamo Kyiv and Chelsea.
  • The individuals–along with at least three white fans who came to their aid–were attacked in the stadium section of Dynamo’s Rodychi fan group.
  • While the assailants face charges of hooliganism, UEFA has initiated disciplinary action against the team for racist behavior by fans.

Read more:
Dynamo Kiev consider calls to segregate black fans to prevent racism inside stadium” (The Telegraph)
Dynamo Kyiv charged with racist behaviour of fans during Chelsea draw” (The Guardian)
Attacks on Black Fans Show Tide of Fan Racism in Ukraine” (AP via ABC News)

Canada News | Transgender

Ontario proposes changes to expand gender reassignment referral capacity
  • Ontario’s health minister announced proposals that will allow local healthcare providers to provide referral services for transgender individuals seeking gender reassignment surgery.
  • Currently, those seeking the surgery must be referred through the Gender Identity Clinic program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental health (CAMH) in Toronto, facing up to a two-year wait if referred.
  • Ontario still lacks in-province gender reassignment surgery capabilities, but the health minister indicated that the absence is currently under review.

Read more:
Ontario expands referrals for gender reassignment surgery” (CBC News)
Ontario to expand medical referrals for sex-reassignment surgery” (The Globe and Mail)
Improving Access to Sex Reassignment Surgery” (Government of Ontario)

Canada News | Women & Minorities

PM Trudeau forms most diverse government in Canadian history
  • Fulfilling a campaign promise, Trudeau has created a gender-equal 30-member cabinet “because it’s 2015,” as he bluntly stated at a press conference unveiling his new government.
  • The cabinet also includes the country’s first Muslim minister, two indigenous ministers, three Sikhs, and two ministers with disabilities.
  • Trudeau’s cabinet is also relatively youthful, with most ministers under the age of 50, reflecting Trudeau’s commitment to generational change.

Read more:
A Canadian Cabinet for 2015” (The Atlantic)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils diverse cabinet in touching ceremony” (The Star)
Trudeau gives Canada first cabinet with equal number of men and women” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Chris Wattle/Reuters, via the Atlantic)

Turkey News | Atheists

Turkish group lobbies for equal treatment and protection for atheists
  • The Turkish Atheism Association has created a petition calling for the end of automatic registration of Turkish newborns as Muslim, the removal of religion from Turkey’s ID cards, and the inclusion of the association in official meetings with non-Muslim groups.
  • Although a 2010 poll found only 1% of Turkish people identify as atheist, the group hopes the 5,000 signatures it hopes to attain will bring attention to their marginalization in Turkey’s nominally secular society.
  • The association was founded in 2014 in Istanbul, but a court blocked access to its website in March on the grounds of “provoking the people.”

Read more:
Turkish Atheism Association starts petition calling for ‘equal treatment’” (Middle East Eye)
Turkey’s Atheism Association starts petition for ‘equal treatment’ before law and in society” (Hurriyet News Daily)
Atheists raising their voice in Turkey amid polarized reactions” (Hurriyet News Daily)

(Image Credit: via Hurriyet News Daily)

U.S. News | Racial & Ethnic Minorities

Students lobby Portland school board for ethnic studies class
  • The Asian Pacific Islander Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY) have lobbied the Portland Public Schools Board of Education for the creation of at least one ethnic studies class in all 10 of the public high schools in Oregon’s largest city.
  • Asking that the class count towards the social studies graduation requirement, the group has called for a course that covers the contributions of Asian, Pacific Islander, African, Latino, Arab, and Native Americans and LBTQ Americans of color to American history and culture.
  • Students supported their curriculum-based arguments with data indicating increased academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates for students who have taken similar courses in other schools.

Read more:
Students Call For Ethnic Studies in Portland High Schools” (NBC News)
Textbooks don’t tell the history of minorities, students say. Teenagers want to change that” (The Oregonian)

(Image Credit: Casey Parks/The Oregonian)

Myanmar News | Ethnic Minorities

Myanmar’s ethnic minorities organize as landmark elections near
  • Groups of ethnic minorities across Myanmar have worried as Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, favored to lead in the Nov. 8 elections, have run candidates in ethnic strongholds favored by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD).
  • Ethnic parties seek to establish a presence in the Burmese parliament to counteract longstanding persecution of minorities in the country, particularly in the border state of Shan.
  • The NLD has prioritized defeating the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), while ethnic parties hope to use to their advantage the winning party’s need for their support to form a government.

Read more:
Burma’s Ethnic Minorities Seek Equality and Greater Autonomy in Landmark Elections” (TIME)
Myanmar’s Ethnic Parliamentarians May Be 2016’s ‘Kingmakers’” (The Diplomat)
Myanmar’s ethnic minorities pin hopes on election to end decades of bloodshed” (AP via Fox News)

(Image Credit: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters)

France News | Gay Men

France opens blood donation to gay men with qualifications
  • Fulfilling a campaign promise of President François Hollande, the French health ministry announced it will relax the 1983 law banning gay men from donating blood.
  • Men who have abstained from sex with other men for at least 12 months will be allowed to donate blood, while men who have not had sex with men or have had sex in the context of a monogamous relationship for four months can donate plasma.
  • Rights groups cautiously praised the development, acknowledging the continued profiling of gay men through the ongoing restrictions, which will be reviewed in 2017.

Read more:
Ouverture progressive du don de sang aux homosexuels à partir de 2016” (Le Monde)
France to lift ban on gay men giving blood” (AFP via Yahoo! News)
France to Lift Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood” (The New York Times)

(Image Credit: Noah Seelam/AFP)