News-In-Brief

European Union

On Aug. 30, open Internet supporters in the European Union celebrated the implementation of guidelines protecting net neutrality. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications published a draft of the guidelines after two years of negotiations between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament. BEREC began accepting public consultations from citizens and businesses on the matter June 6. Organizations like European Digital Rights campaigned to keep online traffic equal, fair and competitive. The EU guidelines follow other decisions safeguarding net neutrality around the world.

Kenya

Across Kenya, the International Livestock Research Institute is helping herders combat drought with insurance. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the ILRI uses satellite data to monitor the drought situation in the country. This information helps determine the amount paid to farmers to offset livestock losses and avoid poverty. In recent years, Kenyans have battled the effects of little precipitation. In July, the Kenya Food Security Steering Group estimated 1.2 million people are acutely food insecure and in need of immediate food assistance, up from about 700,000 in February.

Kyrgyzstan

A car bomb detonated inside the Chinese Embassy located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The blast, according to The New York Times, killed the driver and injured three Kyrgyz staff members. The attack and its motives are under investigation, though there are preliminary leads. The western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, which borders Kyrgyzstan, is the site of the East Turkestan independence movement. At the forefront of the separatist movement are the Uyghur, a Turkic ethnic group that practices Islam. Kyrgyzstan border guards killed 11 Uyghurs at a border crossing in 2014.

Palestine

Journalists and activists in the West Bank and Gaza face difficulties with Palestinian officials. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been violating individuals’ rights to free speech and due process according to Human Rights Watch. Ayman al-Aloul, a journalist in Gaza, said he was illegally arrested and interrogated after criticizing Hamas. In 2015, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms recorded 192 incidents where Palestinian officials violated press rights. A further 407 violations were committed by Israeli occupation forces.

United States

On June 2, Brock Turner was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to a six-month term in jail. Three months later, California law may change as a result. The California State Assembly voted 66-0 to send AB 2888 to Gov. Jerry Brown for approval. The bill amends the legal code to include mandatory prison sentencing for those convicted of sexual assault where the victim was unconscious or intoxicated. The Los Angeles Times reports opponents of the bill fear it will disproportionately affect people of color. Turner is scheduled to be released Sep. 2 for good behavior.

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