Protests over Cristiano Ronaldo statue in former Portuguese colony of Goa

Local politician says statue is meant to inspire young people, but critics say it is inappropriate

He is idolised as one of the greatest footballers on earth, with his number seven shirt treasured by millions of youngsters dreaming of superstardom. But Cristiano Ronaldo’s astonishing success has not been matched by those seeking to immortalise his image.

A statue of Ronaldo in action unveiled this week in Goa has triggered protests by some locals who say Indian players should be honoured ahead of one from the country that was Goa’s colonial ruler until 60 years ago.

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‘Atmosphere of fear’: Hong Kong students lament loss of Tiananmen statues

Staff and students say the recent destruction of massacre monuments is a manifestation of a new and uneasy culture on campus

Sophie Mak, a recent graduate of law and literature, had walked past the fiery orange monument between classes for five years. A month after her graduation ceremony at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), two nights before Christmas, workers erected barricades around the statue. Under the cover of darkness, they cut it down.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that HKU removed the Pillar of Shame so callously and so furtively,” Mak says.

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China bans footballers in national teams from getting tattoos

Authorities also tell inked players to remove or cover up their designs to set ‘a good example for society’

Chinese authorities have banned footballers from getting tattoos and instructed national team players who have been inked to remove them or cover them up to set a “good example for society”.

A growing number of high-profile Chinese players have tattoos, including the international defender Zhang Linpeng, who has previously been told to cover up while appearing for the national team and his club Guangzhou FC.

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Ex-Afghan president gives first interview since fleeing Kabul – video

The former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani gave his first interview since fleeing Kabul when it fell to the Taliban in August. Ghani told the BBC he was pressured into fleeing Kabul by helicopter by his 'terrified' national security adviser and the commander of the collapsing presidential security detail.

'They said the PPS [presidential protection service] has collapsed, [and] if I take a stand they will all be killed,' Ghani said. 'He did not give me more than two minutes'

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Ashraf Ghani blames international allies over Afghanistan’s fall to Taliban

In first interview since fleeing Kabul in August, former president says US ‘erased’ Afghans in years of peace talks with militants

The former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has broken his silence with his first interview since fleeing Kabul four months ago, in effect blaming the international community and in particular the Americans for the fall of the republic.

Ghani told the BBC he was rushed into fleeing Kabul on a helicopter by his “terrified” national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, and the commander of the collapsing presidential security detail.

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Burmese court jails celebrities who backed anti-coup protests

Actor couple Pyay Ti Oo and Eaindra Kyaw Zin and actor-director Lu Min given three years with hard labour

A court in military-ruled Myanmar has jailed three prominent showbusiness figures for three years each for their part in protests against February’s coup, media reported.

The military overthrew the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February. In the early days of the protests that ensued, huge crowds gathered in cities and towns, and many actors and singers used social media to voice their support, with some speaking at rallies.

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South Korea presidential contender vows to seek nuclear-powered submarines, months after Australia’s Aukus deal

Lee Jae-myung aims to counter North Korea threats and pledges to restart stalled talks between Pyongyang and Washington

South Korea’s ruling party presidential candidate said he will seek US support to build nuclear-powered submarines to better counter threats from North Korea and proactively seek to reopen stalled denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

In an interview with Reuters and two other media outlets, Lee Jae-myung also pledged to put aside “strategic ambiguity” in the face of intensifying Sino-US rivalry, vowing pragmatic diplomacy would avoid South Korea being forced to choose between the two countries.

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‘On the brink’: drought and politics leave Afghans fighting famine

Aid collapse after Taliban took control means just 2% of people have enough to eat, UN says

In his seven decades, Mehrajuddin has been a police commander, a fighter for the mujahideen, a district governor and a prosecutor, and even briefly worked in Europe. Until this year, he has never struggled to feed his family.

Now they have just one meal a day, hard discs of stale bread soaked in water until they soften to mush. “All the family are starving,” he says bluntly as he waits at a food distribution centre in Kabul for a handout of lentils, rice, flour and oil. “I even worry about dying, because if it happens tomorrow, how will my family pay for my funeral?”

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Hong Kong court denies bail to ex-editors after raid on news outlet

It comes as US secretary of state calls for release of Stand News editors, saying ‘journalism is not sedition’

A Hong Kong court has denied bail to two former senior editors charged with conspiring to publish seditious materials, a day after police raided Stand News, a pro-democracy media outlet, prompting its closure.

About 200 officers raided the office of the online publication on Wednesday, froze its assets and arrested seven current and former senior editors and former board members, in the latest crackdown on the city’s press.

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Indonesia relents on plan to push back boat carrying 100 Rohingya refugees after outcry

Indonesia will now take in the refugees adrift on a stricken boat, instead of towing it into Malaysian waters

Indonesia on Wednesday said it will let dozens of Rohingya refugees come ashore after protests from local residents and the international community over its plan to push them into Malaysian waters.

At least 100 people, mostly women and children, aboard a stricken wooden vessel off Aceh province were denied refuge in Indonesia, where authorities said on Tuesday they planned to push them into Malaysian waters after fixing their boat.

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Chinese police parade suspected Covid rule-breakers through streets

Four people are named and shamed – a banned practice – in city of Jingxi; WHO warns of ‘trade-off’ as countries cut back on isolation periods

Armed police in Jingxi, in southern China, have paraded four alleged violators of Covid rules through the streets, state media reported, a practice that was banned but which has resurfaced in the struggle to enforce a zero-Covid policy.

The four men were accused of smuggling people across China’s closed borders, and on Tuesday they were led through the streets wearing hazmat suits and bearing placards showing their name and photos. The state-run Guangxi daily reported the action was designed to deter “border-related crimes”.

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