Christopher J. Fariss

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Filipino residents walk past an armored personnel carrier after President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Davao City, Mindanao Island, southern Philippines, on May 24. (Cerilo Ebrano/EPA)

On the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, 21 million people are living under martial law. President Rodrigo Duterte declared 60 days of martial law on May 23 after troops and police failed to apprehend Isnilon Hapilon, a terrorist leader who has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. The military is bombing Marawi City and sending soldiers street by street to ferret out those suspected of being part of Hapilon’s militant network. As of June 5, more than 180 people had been killed in clashes between security forces and terrorists, with more at risk every day.

A declaration of martial law under these conditions seems reasonable.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Belarus, Europe’s “last dictator” is actually allowing protest

In the past month, protests have swept across Belarus, a post-Soviet republic in Eastern Europe. Citizens are outraged by Presidential Decree #3, popularly known as the law against “social parasites”. This 2015 law penalizes part-time or unemployed workers, requiring them to pay an annual tax of approximately $250 — a penalty that helps make up the taxes they would have paid had they held a full-time job.

The protests have been smaller than earlier demonstrations against the regime. But they’re a substantial problem for the long-standing authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko — because many of the protesters come from groups and in live cities that typically support him.…  Seguir leyendo »