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What is really happening to the Rohingya?

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What is really happening to the Rohingya?

September 21, 2017
We meet the Al Jazeera journalists covering the story to hear reports from the ground.

A Rohingya boy cradles his unconscious younger sister. Their father was killed and they became separated from their mother as they fled Myanmar. (SHOWKAT SHAFI/ AL JAZEERA)

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On Thursday, September 21 at 19:30 GMT:

There has been an international chorus of condemnation at the United Nations General Assembly of the violence being carried out against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Earlier this week, the United Nations’ top human rights official called what was happening, "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

On Tuesday, Myanmar State Counselor Aung Sung Suu Kyi – a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize – broke a long silence with an internationally-televised address. She referred to the flight of about 400,0000 Rohingya as an “exodus” and but did not condemn her government’s military operations. Amnesty International described her speech as “victim-blaming” and mix of “untruths.

This most recent flare-up came after security forces and allied militias retaliated to a series of attacks by a small Muslim armed group by burning down thousands of Rohingya homes in the predominantly Buddhist nation. Since then Rohingya have streamed across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Al Jazeera has closely covered all the latest developments in this story. We’ll speak to reporters on the beat and hear the latest.

Read more:

They look at us with hope, but we can only document their despair – Al Jazeera
Rohingya crisis explained in maps – Al Jazeera

What questions do you have for journalists covering the Rohingya crisis? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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What does an African superhero look like?

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What does an African superhero look like?

September 20, 2017
Move over Marvel: Africa’s booming comic book scene

"Umzingeli The Bounty Huntress" by Eugene Ramirez Mapondera

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On Wednesday, September 20 at 19:30GMT: 

This month, Marvel debuts its first ever Nigerian superhero, Ngozi. The 8-page comic, called "Blessing in Disguise", is written by award-wining science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor. And while this may be the first of its kind for the comic powerhouse, it’s certainly not the first in Africa. For the past few years, African artists have been creating comics inspired by the world around them.

"In general, the villains that inspire Western comics are based on Western history. If you look at a villain like Kingpin in Spiderman, it’s inspired by early organized crime and historic figures like Al Capone," says South African comic creator Loyiso Mkize. "In Africa, that’s extremely unrelatable. We’ve never had crime syndicates like that or organizations like the FBI. Instead, we’ve had to identify villains like dictators, warlords, Somali pirates."

It’s a sentiment shared by Jide Martin, founder of Comic Republic in Nigeria. "I come from a country where corruption was a thing. I thought about what were the things that made me do the right thing," says Martin.

"I remember, when I had a tough decision, I thought, What would Superman or Batman do? Why not create characters that look like me and I could write some kind of moral lesson."

And that’s exactly what Martin, Mkize and others are doing. So what powers do African superheroes hold? Find out on this episode of The Stream.

Read more:

These are the superheroes Africans have created for themselves – BuzzFeed
A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes – Quartz 

Must Watch:

Zimbabwe’s comic books tackle corruption – Al Jazeera 

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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German elections: Who are the AfD?

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German elections: Who are the AfD?

September 19, 2017
A far-right party is set to enter parliament for the first time since World War II.

Supporters of the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party shout slogans during an election campaign rally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (REUTERS/REINHARD KRAUSE)

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On Tuesday, September 19 at 19:30 GMT:

For the first time since World War II, a right-wing nationalist party is poised to enter the German parliament after elections on September 24, with polls predicting the party may win up to 60 seats in the Bundestag.

The Alternative for Germany, or AfD, originally campaigned as an anti-European Union – or Eurosceptic – party, attracting members that were dissatisfied with Germany’s other main political parties.

Since its foundation in 2013, the party has moved to the far-right and become an unexpected force in German politics, with seats in 13 state parliaments. Though Chancellor Angela Merkel winning a fourth term is all but a certainty, the lingering question is which parties she will form a coalition with. She, along with every other party in parliament, has ruled out any deal with the AfD and several politicians say they will refuse to even sit beside them.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s foreign minister has compared the AfD to the Nazis, and the party has stirred up plenty of controversy in this year’s campaign. AfD candidate Alexander Gauland recently said Germans should take pride in what their soldiers achieved in the world wars. Its leaders have said repeatedly that Islam has no place in Germany. They have campaigned on closing the country’s borders, not allowing refugees already there to bring their families to Germany, and putting a quota in place for deportations.

We’ll look at the rise of the AfD and ask how it will influence German politics.   

Read more:

Polls suggest jump in German far-right party’s support – Al Jazeera English 
Germany’s far right will soon join Parliament, and Parliament is angry – Washington Post 

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comment below.

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What can be done to help Caribbean nations recover from Irma?

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What can be done to help Caribbean nations recover from Irma?

September 18, 2017
Residents begin relief efforts after Category 5 storm devastates communities across the region.
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On Monday, September 18 at 19:30 GMT:

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc from Puerto Rico to Antigua, turning lush landscapes into barren land and upending the lives of thousands. Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister described Barbuda’s terrain as “total carnage”, adding that approximately half its population is “literally homeless” and recovery would take “an enormous amount of financial resources”. Traumatised by the wrath of a Category 5 storm, residents now wonder how they’ll pick up the pieces – and if they’ll be left alone to foot the bill.

Most of the Caribbean falls under the territorial jurisdictions of either the UK, France, the Netherlands, or the US, relying on them to provide assistance when disaster strikes. Others, like St. Lucia and Barbuda, are dependent on their own economies or funds they request from the international community. Writing for The Guardian, former Anguilla Attorney General Rupert Jones questioned the UK’s financial commitment to overseas territories, saying its relief package is “a drop in the Caribbean Sea”.

So, what does the Caribbean need to recover from Hurricane Irma? In this episode, The Stream speaks with people affected by the storm to learn how they’re working to rebuild their homes, communities, and lives.

Read more:

In the Caribbean, rebuilding nations — and the tourism industry – The New York Times
The rubble and recovery of US Virgin Islands: ‘Will we survive the aftermath?’ – NPR
‘They don’t have food or water’: Caribbean islands need supplies after Hurricane Irma – Miami Herald

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts below.

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The Stream on: The #Rohingya

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The Stream on: The #Rohingya

September 10, 2017
We’ve been covering the plight of the Rohingya since 2012. Use this list to learn more about one of the world’s most persecuted peoples.

(REUTERS/DARREN WHITESIDE)

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Since violence erupted in late August, more than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar. Seeking refuge from violence, they have poured into neighbouring Bangladesh, sparking accusations of ethnic cleansing. There are about 1.1 million Rohingya in the Southeast Asian country. Denied citizenship since 1982 and subject to frequenty military crackdowns and discrimination, they are often referred to as "the world’s most persecuted minority."

 

To learn more about this ongoing story, take a look back at our years of coverage below:

Who will save the Rohingya? – September 7, 2017 

As the humanitarian crisis intensified, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Myanmar’s army. The Stream discussed whose responsibility it was to step in and stop the killing. We also looked at the silence of Nobel Peace Prize winner – and Mynamar’s de-facto leader – Aung San Suu Kyi.

 

What’s next for the Rohingya? – January 16, 2017

After yet another military crackdown in October 2016, an estimated 65,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. The Stream discussed reports of government killings, rapes, and the razing of Rohingya villages.

 

Unwanted: Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims – May 25, 2015

Thousands of Rohingya took to the Andaman Sea in 2015 looking for refuge from persecution. After spending weeks at sea, Malaysia and Indonesia committed to providing humanitarian aid and shelter for one year. The Stream discussed how regional governments and the international community responded.

 

#Rohingya: tweeting in the dark? – March 25, 2013

In this web exclusive the following year, The Stream looked at how activists were using to social media to raise awareness.

(AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD)

 

The plight of the Rohingya – August 1, 2012

Back in 2012, 80,000 Rohingya fled violence were refused entry into Bangladesh. Myanmar’s then president Thein Sein had even suggested the Muslim minority should leave the country.

 

Read more about the Rohingya on aljazeera.com: 

Who are the Rohingya Muslims? – Al Jazeera English

Rohingya crisis explained in maps – Al Jazeera English

My name is Jashim, I am Rohingya – Al Jazeera English

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Should Catalonia be independent from Spain?

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Should Catalonia be independent from Spain?

September 14, 2017
Catalan politicians push for a referendum as the central government stands in their way.

A man carries a sign that reads "Spain for sale" next to a huge banner reading "Independence Now" during a rally on Catalonia’s national day in Barcelona, Spain on September 11, 2017. (REUTERS/SUSANA VERA)

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On Thursday, September 14 at 19:30 GMT:

In the latest twist in a high stakes confrontation between Spain’s central government and its prosperous Catalonia region, the government has summoned more than 700 Catalan mayors it says are supporting an attempt to hold an independence referendum. Authorities are seizing ballot boxes and searching print shops accused of producing political material.  

Catalonia’s regional government passed a law on September 6th paving the way for an independence vote on October 1st. Spain’s constitutional court, though, swiftly struck it down and called it illegal. Catalan leaders say they they will go ahead anyway.

Spain has been here before. In 2014, another planned referendum was scuttled by Madrid, although a symbolic vote went ahead. Though more than 80 percent voted for secession, turnout was low, and opinion polls show Catalans almost equally divided on the question.

Afterwards, politicians involved in planning that poll were charged, fined and barred from holding public office.  

On Wednesday, we meet with Catalans to hear both sides of the debate. 

Read more:

The case against Catalan secession – Al Jazeera
Why Catalonia should be given a say on its future – Al Jazeera
Pro-independence march in Barcelona marks Catalonia national day – Al Jazeera

Should Catalonia be able to vote on independence from Spain? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Can you spot a news hoax?

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Can you spot a news hoax?

September 13, 2017
With the rise of fake news, what can be done to stop the spread of misinformation?

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On Wednesday, September 13 at 19:30 GMT:

No, a shark didn’t swim down a Houston freeway after Hurricane Harvey. But nevertheless, an image of a fearsome fish popped up on social media during the natural disaster and the story quickly spread. Now that Hurricane Irma has whipped through the United States people are once again inundated with fake stories.

Big weather events aren’t the only breeding ground of nonsense news. Misinformation and false news stories have popped up during the Rohingya refugee crisis and the aftermath of several violent attacks.

So why do hoaxes go viral? And how can you tell the really incredible from the incredibly false? We’ll learn together when Claire Wardle from First Draft News and Alastair Reid from Press Association join The Stream for a master class in spotting fake news.

Read more:

Fake news. It’s complicated. – First Draft News
Fact-checking won’t save us from fake news – FiveThirtyEight

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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