Aug 12 · 4 min read

A concise weekly digest of the top readings, content, ideas and discussions from our global bureaux and correspondents at ComplexGlobal.

SA allows women to travel independently

Women in Saudi Arabia can now travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission, royal decrees say. The new rule announced on Friday allows women over the age of 21 to apply for a passport without authorisation, putting them on an equal footing to men. Women are also being given the right to register births, marriage or divorce. The kingdom has recently eased other long-standing social restrictions on women, though campaigners say more remains to be done for women’s rights.

Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan fight over it

Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have fought two wars and a limited conflict over Kashmir. Kashmir is an ethnically diverse Himalayan region, covering around 86,000 sq miles (138 sq km), and famed for the beauty of its lakes, meadows and snow-capped mountains. Even before India and Pakistan won their independence from Britain in August 1947, the area was hotly contested. Under the partition plan provided by the Indian Independence Act, Kashmir was free to accede to either India or Pakistan. On 5 August, India revoked that seven-decade-long privileged status — as the governing party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had promised in its 2019 election manifesto. The Hindu nationalist BJP has long opposed Article 370 and had repeatedly called for its abolishment.

Protesters turned militant and more strategic

The past few weeks has seen a drastic escalation in violence on the streets of Hong Kong. On Tuesday night, a police officer aimed a shotgun at protesters who had gathered outside a police station, while a car launched fireworks into the crowd. Days earlier, the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters trying to reach the Chinese government’s office. And the week before, following a protest of 430,000 people, vigilante thugs, dressed in white and carrying bamboo sticks, beat up democracy protesters at a train station.

Hong Kong: The art of protest

Hong Kong’s protests have inspired an explosion of new work from our city’s talented graphic artists. Since the first marches started happening in June 2019, poster art has been one of the main channels of communication and creativity. Posters serve an immediate need for the protest movement. They announce and give the details of an increasingly busy schedule of gatherings, demonstrations, and strikes. But they are much more than just utilitarian. Like the best creative advertising, they tap into Hong Kong’s cultural conversation; distilling ideas, feelings, and the mood of the street into moving and iconic visual images. What’s amazing is that these powerful images are created quite literally on overnight deadline as artists respond instantly to changing situations and events.

Kyrgyzstan’s Former President Arrested

Kyrgyz police detained former President Almazbek Atambayev on Thursday after an earlier arrest attempt in which security forces were forced back by a hail of bullets from political supporters barricaded inside his rural home near the capital, Bishkek. In the first arrest operation, which began late Wednesday, gunfire from inside Atambayev’s residence in Koi-Tash, south of the capital, was directed at the elite security forces. At least one of the soldiers was killed and six others taken hostage, officials said. Dozens were wounded in the firefight, according to hospital officials who spoke to The Associated Press.

Fiji calls world leaders ‘selfish’

Fiji will introduce one of the world’s most ambitious legislative programs to tackle the climate crisis, and has labeled the global community’s decision to set aside the call for global heating to be capped at 1.5C “grossly irresponsible and selfish”. In a speech to the Fijian Parliament on Wednesday morning announcing the upcoming climate change act, Fiji’s attorney general and minister for economy and climate change, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, called global heating “a fight for our lives and our livelihoods”.

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