Burning Churches, Violent Minority Unleashes More Suffering for Chileans on Protest Anniversary
Marking a year since protests and riots broke out in the Chilean capital of Santiago, rioters on Sun..
Marking a year since protests and riots broke out in the Chilean capital of Santiago, rioters on Sunday set fire to two of the city’s churches and damaged other areas of the city, while tens of thousands of peaceful protesters marched to a central Santiago square to protest growing economic inequality in the country.
Mass protests and riots were sparked on Oct. 18 last year when commuters reacted to an increase in train fares, which the government quickly reversed. But the protests, estimated to be attended by around a million people, then expanded into wider calls to address low wages, income disparity, and increasing living costs facing many Chileans that some analysts say are the result of the country’s aggressive climate policies adopted under former Socialist Party President Michelle Bachelet, which raised energy and transport costs, and reduced household disposable income, impacting low-income households the most.
Leftist groups also started demanding the resignation of conservative President Sebastián Piñera, as well as changes to the country’s constitution, which was approved in a 1980 plebiscite during the military dictatorship of anti-communist President Augusto Pinochet. A referendum on whether to replace the constitution is scheduled for next week.
NUEVO VIDEO 2ª Alarma de #Incendio, en Av. Vicuña Mackenna y Barón Pierre de Coubertin, #Santiago; B2, B13, Q7, B1, B3, Q8, BM13, B5, BT3, Z2, Z22, RH1, RX8, S1, H4, K3, X3, K1, MX13, M5 y M8. pic.twitter.com/eWwkcEwafO
— 13 Compañía CBS (@13Providencia) October 18, 2020
Over 30 people were killed and thousands wounded in the month of October 2019 alone as rioters set ablaze dozens of metro stations, and smashed and looted pharmacies, supermarkets, and gasoline pumps, disrupting the supply of essential goods.
Thousands of police and riot police resorted to tear gas and water cannons to disperse the riots.
The chaos cost Chilean businesses around $1.4 billion in losses, and the city’s metro public transport suffered nearly $400 million in damages. Police made at least 7,000 arrests.
The only democratically elected conservative president since 1958, Piñera said following the riots last year that “violent activists” were behind the violence and destruction. “They are at war against all Chileans of good will who want to live in a democracy with freedom and in peace,” he said.
He also said he understood the hardships compelling peaceful protesters to the streets, adding: “I commit the best effort of our government as we have been doing these years to put children ‘first in line,’ to improve pensions, to lower the price of medicines, to ensure that all Chileans have the opportunity of a fuller and happier life.”
In scenes mirroring far-left riots in the United States, Chile on Sunday saw further widespread incidents of violence, looting, and vandalism in the afternoon after a morning of peaceful and spirited protests by people singing, dancing, and wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 in Santiago’s Plaza Italia.
Afternoon and evening demonstrations saw a different groups of protesters emerge, who burned the churches, vandalized a statue in Plaza Italia with red paint, and attacked police stations and shops.
Police estimated around 25,000 attended the daytime protests before 6 p.m.—far less than the Oct. 18 protest of 2019.
Local media reported that five people were arrested in relation to the burning and looting of San Francisco de Borja Church (the Church of Saint Francis of Borgia)—a historic building erected in 1876 that has been dedicated to the Chilean national police force for the last 40 years—which has been the target of constant attacks, particularly since October last year.
Fortunately, firefighters managed to get that blaze under control.
But the Parroquia de la Asunción (Church of the Assumption or “artists’ parish”) was totally burned and destroyed by groups of hooded men, according to further local media reports. The church’s burning spire fell to the ground around 8 p.m.
The archbishop of Santiago, Celestino Aós, said of the new round of riots that the poor would again be “most affected” by the destruction.
“Violent actions and vandalism we suffer again today,” he said. “We mourn the destruction of our temples and other public property. But above all, we feel the pain of so many Chilean people of peace and generosity.
“Those images not only impact and hurt in Chile, but also impact and hurt in other countries and other peoples of the world, especially Christian brothers,” he said of the church burnings.
Around 300 rioters also organized an attack on the 20th Police Station in the commune of Puente Alto around 6:15 p.m., throwing Molotov cocktails and other objects at the station, according to local outlet Atentos Chile. Similar attacks were reported at other police stations. One officer was reported to have been shot and at least 22 police have been admitted to hospital after sustaining injuries, La Tercera <a href="https://www.latercera<a href=https//www.theepochtimes.com/burning-churches-violent-minority-unleashes-more-suffering-for-chileans-on-protest-anniversary_3543887.html>Read More – Source</a></p>_
The Epoch Times
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Pakistan floods: Desperation and displacement in Sindh province
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has said the “magnitude of the calamity” is bigger than expected, after visiting flood-hit areas.
Shehbaz Sharif was speaking from Sindh province – which has had nearly eight times its average August rainfall.
The floods have killed nearly 1,000 people across Pakistan since June, while thousands have been displaced – and millions more affected.
As the BBC drove through Sindh, there were displaced people in every village.
The full scale of the devastation in the province is yet to be fully understood – but the people described it as the worst disaster they’ve survived.
Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan, but people here said these rains were different – more than anything that’s ever been seen. One local official called them “floods of biblical proportions”.
Near the city of Larkana, thousands of mud homes have sunk under water. For miles all that’s visible is treetops. Where the water level is slightly lower, thatched roofs creep out from underneath the water.
In one village, the people are desperate for food. In another, many children have developed waterborne diseases.
When a mobile truck pulled over, scores of people immediately ran towards it. Children carrying other children made their way to the long queue.
One 12-year-old girl said she and her baby sister had not eaten for a day.
“No food has come here, but my sister is sick, she has been vomiting,” the girl said. “I hope they can help.”
The desperation was evident in every community. People ran towards car windows to ask for help – anything.
On one of the main streets out of the city of Sukkur, hundreds of people have settled.
Many of them walked from remote villages, and were told that help is easier to get in the urban areas. But there’s not much difference here.
On Friday, PM Sharif said 33 million people had been hit by the floods – about 15% of the country’s population.
He said the losses caused by floods this season were comparable to those during the floods of 2010-11, said to be the worst on record. The country has appealed for more international aid.
In Sindh, it’s not that local authorities are not trying, but they admit that they are out of their depth.
The provincial government says this is a “climate change catastrophe” and that the people of Pakistan, especially in the poorer communities, have been the worst affected.
The solutions will not be quick – acres of land are waterlogged and the water is not receding fast enough for any rebuilding to take place here.
There’s not much to do for the people but to wait – wait for the rains to stop, wait for the water to go down, wait for more resources to be allocated to these kinds of communities.
In the meantime, life continues to be difficult.
Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62699886
Burkina Faso military says it has seized power
The military in Burkina Faso says it has seized power and overthrown President Roch Kaboré.
The announcement was made on state television by an army officer, who cited the deteriorating security situation for the military takeover.
Mr Kaboré had faced growing discontent over his failure to stem an Islamist insurgency.
His whereabouts are unclear, but the officer said that all those detained were in a secure location.
The coup comes a day after troops seized barracks, and gunshots were heard in the capital, Ouagadougou.
Earlier, the ruling People’s Movement for Progress (PMP) party said that both Mr Kaboré and a government minister had survived an assassination attempt.
On Sunday, mutinying troops demanded the sacking of military chiefs and more resources to fight militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda.
The army statement said Mr Kaboré had failed to unite the nation and to deal effectively with the security crisis which “threatens the very foundations of our nation”.
The statement was issued in the name of a group not heard of previously, the Patriotic Movement for Safeguard and Restoration or MPSR, its French acronym.
Although read out by another officer, the statement was signed by Lt-Col Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who is believed to be the coup leader and a senior commander with years of experience fighting the Islamist militants.
The statement said that parliament and the government had been dissolved, and the constitution suspended, but promised a “return to constitutional order” within a “reasonable time”.
The military also announced the closure of Burkina Faso’s borders.
UN chief António Guterres condemned the coup and called on the military to “ensure the protection and the physical integrity” of Mr Kaboré.
The African Union and regional bloc, Ecowas, have also condemned the forceful takeover of power, with Ecowas saying it holds the soldiers responsible for the deposed president’s well-being.
Earlier, the news of his detention was received with cheers and celebrations in Ouagadougou, reports the BBC’s senior Africa correspondent Anne Soy.
Earlier video footage from the capital appeared to show armoured vehicles – reportedly used by the presidency – peppered with bullet holes and abandoned in the street.
Mobile internet services have been disrupted, though fixed-line internet and domestic wi-fi are working.
Mr Kaboré has not been seen in public since the crisis began, but two posts appeared on his Twitter account before the officer announced he had been toppled.
The later one called on those who had taken up arms to lay them down “in the higher interest of the nation”. Earlier, Mr Kaboré congratulated the national football team on their win in an Africa Cup of Nations match.
It is unclear who posted the tweets.
Some security sources say the president and other government ministers are being held at the Sangoulé Lamizana barracks in the capital.
On Sunday, hundreds of people came out in support of the soldiers and some of them set fire to the ruling party’s headquarters.
The coup comes a week after 11 soldiers were arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow Mr Kaboré.
But discontent has been growing in Burkina Faso over the government’s failure to defeat an Islamist insurgency in the country since 2015.
That escalated in November, when 53 people, mainly members of the security forces, were killed by suspected jihadists. And on Saturday, a banned rally to protest against the government’s perceived failure led to dozens of arrests.
Mutinying soldiers made several demands, including: the removal of the army’s chief of staff and the head of the intelligence service; more troops to be deployed to the front line; and better conditions for the wounded and soldiers’ families.
Similar troubles in neighbouring Mali led to a military coup in May 2021 – one that was broadly welcomed by the public.
Burkina Faso is now the third West African country to witness a military takeover in recent years. Guinea and Mali have had sanctions imposed on them by Ecowas to press them to return to constitutional order.
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