The Guardian • Issue #2066

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2066
Global briefs

YEMEN: Five United Nations officials who were kidnapped in the country 18 months ago have walked free, the UN said last week. In a brief statement, Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, said all “available information suggests that all five colleagues are in good health. The secretary-general reiterates that kidnapping is an inhumane and unjustifiable crime, and calls for the perpetrators to be held accountable,” Haq said. The identity of the kidnappers was not revealed.

NORWAY: Authorities were on standby to evacuate more people in the south-east, where huge amounts of water, littered with broken trees, debris and trash, were thundering down the usually serene rivers after days of torrential rain. The level of water in swollen rivers and lakes continued to grow despite two days of dry but overcast weather, with houses abandoned in flooded areas, floating hay bales wrapped in white plastic, cars coated in mud and camping sites swamped. “This has been like a disaster movie,” said Aal mayor Solveig Vestenfor.

HAWAII: Emergency management records show no indication that warning sirens sounded before people ran for their lives from wildfires on Maui that killed at least 55 people. Instead, officials sent alerts to mobile phones, televisions, and radio stations – but widespread power and cellular outages may have limited their reach. Many survivors have said that they didn’t hear any sirens or receive a warning that gave them enough time to prepare and only realised they were in danger when they saw flames or heard explosions nearby.

MIDDLE EAST: The Barbie film went on general release in much of the region today but was banned in Kuwait and Lebanon. Kuwait said the movie promotes “ideas and beliefs that are alien to Kuwaiti society and public order,” while Lebanese Culture Minister Mohammed Mortada said it would be banned for “promoting homosexuality and sexual transformation.” The film does not depict sexual behaviour and the homophobic objections may only relate to some of the actors.

SCOTLAND: is the zero-hours capital of the UK, according to campaigning group Zero Hours Justice. Zero-hours contracts require workers to be available with no pay and no guarantee of work. Of the 1.18 million UK workers on zero-hours contracts, 109,000 are in Scotland. Zero Hours Justice has called Zero-hours contracts “a stain on the economy.”

MALAYSIA: The government intensified a crackdown on allegedly gay accessories today, announcing that anyone found with a product of the Swatch watch company with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer associations could face up to three years in jail. Malaysia raided Swatch stores in May, confiscating watches from its Pride collection with features such as rainbow straps.

MYANMAR: At least 17 people are dead and 30 are missing after a boat carrying Rohingya refugees out of the country capsized. They were trying to reach Malaysia, but the boat sank off the coast near Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Eight survivors were taken away by state security. Nearly a million Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following an ethnic cleansing operation in 2017. Myanmar denies them citizenship, claiming that they are illegal immigrants.

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