TIME indonesia

Indonesia Reaches Racial Milestone With Chinese Governor of Jakarta

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, with his wife Veronica Tan, poses prior to taking the oath of office to become the governor of Indonesia's capital Jakarta on Nov. 19, 2014 Tatan Syuflana—AP

For the first time in 50 years, a non-Muslim will be calling the shots in Indonesia's capital city

Sixteen years after anti-Chinese riots wreaked havoc in the Indonesian capital, newly installed President Joko Widodo has inaugurated an ethnic Chinese politician as Jakarta’s new governor.

Joko held the position until he became President. The appointment of his onetime deputy Basuki Tjahaja Purnama as successor is seen as a significant shift in Indonesian politics. The Christian politician, whose brash and combative style of leadership has earned him many supporters as well as detractors, is the first ethnic Chinese to fill the role.

In interviews, Basuki, popularly known by his Hakka nickname Ahok, recalled how during the disturbances of 1998 he and his family joined neighbors in the predominantly Chinese district of Pluit to defend their lives and property, using sticks, Molotov cocktails and machetes.

But his political rise marks a watershed in ethnic and religious tolerance in Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population. The last time Jakarta was led by a minority governor was from 1964 to ’65, when then President Sukarno appointed a Christian artist, Henk Ngantung, to the job.

Religion and ethnicity can still be hot topics in Indonesian politics. During the presidential election earlier this year, Joko’s popularity was hit by smear campaigns that falsely accused him of being both a Christian and of ethnic Chinese descent.

The hard-line Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, has also staged violent protests opposing Basuki, saying Muslims should only be led by Muslims.

However, the mainstream Muslim population appears to be indifferent toward Basuki’s religious background. Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia’s largest Islamic mass organization, is giving support to him. “As long as he is just and siding with the people, he is our governor,” said NU chairman Saiq Aqil Siradj last week. Leaders should be judged based on their honesty and dedication, he added, “not religion.”

Basuki, 48, became known nationwide after YouTube videos of him berating incompetent city officials went viral. Similar clips of other local leaders admonishing their subordinates have surfaced and been shared widely since then. But the new governor faces a mounting challenge in administering a city that is plagued by traffic gridlock and massive flooding problems.

TIME United Nations

U.N. Push Against North Korea on Rights Moves Ahead

(UNITED NATIONS) — The world’s boldest effort yet to hold North Korea and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity moved forward Tuesday at the United Nations, where a Pyongyang envoy threatened further nuclear tests.

The U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution that urges the Security Council to refer the country’s harsh human rights situation to the International Criminal Court. The non-binding resolution now goes to the General Assembly for a vote in the coming weeks. China and Russia, which hold veto power on the council, voted against it.

The resolution was inspired by a groundbreaking U.N. commission of inquiry report early this year that declared North Korea’s human rights situation “exceeds all others in duration, intensity and horror.”

The U.N committee has adopted similar resolutions on the North’s abysmal human rights conditions in the past. But the fact that this year’s resolution includes the new idea that their absolute leader could be targeted by prosecutors has pushed the communist country to make a more furious response as that would pose a setback to its recent efforts to improve ties with the outside world to lure foreign investment and aid and revive the country’s troubled economy. North Korean officials would also view the resolution as a potential embarrassment to their young leader who took power after the death of his dictator father Kim Jong Il in late 2011.

North Korea sent a sharp warning in comments before the vote. Trying to punish it over human rights “is compelling us not to refrain any further from conducting nuclear tests,” said Choe Myong Nam, a foreign ministry adviser for U.N. and human rights issues. His colleagues gave no details on that threat.

Choe also accused the European Union and Japan, the resolution’s co-sponsors, of “subservience and sycophancy” to the United States, and he promised “unpredictable and serious consequences” if the resolution went forward.

The European Union quickly issued a statement welcoming the support of 111 countries in the vote. Nineteen countries voted against, and 55 abstained.

“It is admirable that the member states of the United Nations are acting to protect the people of North Korea when their own government fails to do so,” the head of the commission of inquiry, retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, said in an email, adding that he is confident the Security Council will “act responsibly.”

Human rights groups turned their attention to China and Russia, which could block any Security Council move. “No Security Council country, including China, can deny the horror endured by so many NorthKoreans,” Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement just after the vote. “The time has come for justice.”

North Korea and its allies have argued that a resolution that targets a single country would set a dangerous precedent and that other developing countries could be singled out, too.

The resolution says the commission of inquiry report found grounds to believe that crimes againsthumanity have been committed under policies “established at the highest level of the State for decades.” It calls for targeted sanctions against the people who appear to be most responsible. The commission of inquiry earlier warned Kim Jong Un that could include him.

Cuba proposed an amendment that would have stripped out the tough language on the ICC, but the committee’s member countries voted that down earlier Tuesday.

The mere possibility that its leader could be targeted by prosecutors has put North Korean officials, once dismissive of human rights issues, on edge. In recent weeks, it dangled the possibility of a visit by the U.N. human rights chief, among other attempts at outreach.

“The North Koreans are strongly responding to the U.N. resolution because they think it’s shaking the young leader who’s been trying to consolidate his power since inheriting power only a few years ago,” said Lim Eul Chul, a North Korea expert at South Korea’s Kyungnam University. “They would think their international image has been seriously hit.”

But the North is unlikely to make good on its threat to conduct a nuclear test because the country knows such an action would invite further international condemnation. Also, there is little chance that Russia and China will let the Security Council refer the North’s human rights situation to the ICC in The Hague, analysts said.

“North Korea’s reaction will mostly be verbal. They may threaten nuclear and missile tests, but they probably won’t carry them out,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

In the chamber Tuesday, a North Korean foreign ministry adviser, Kim Ju Song, was witnessed trying to get a U.N. official to eject Shin Dong-Hyuk, a young man who fled North Korea and has since spoken out against the Pyongyang regime.

The commission of inquiry report was based on interviews with dozens of people like Shin who had fled and detailed abuses including starvation and a system of harsh prison camps containing up to 120,000 people.

North Korea has accused people who cooperated with the commission of inquiry of lying, and it produced a video showing Shin’s father in North Korea condemning him.

But Shin, who bowed to Japan’s ambassador in thanks after the vote, said North Korea’s attempt to intimidate him and others backfired. “This was an overwhelming defeat,” he said.

TIME Ukraine

Russia Wants a ’100% Guarantee’ That Ukraine Won’t Join NATO

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the All-Russia Popular Front in Moscow on Nov. 18, 2014 Alexei Druzhinin—AP

Comment's come as NATO's secretary-general accuses Kremlin of "destabilizing" Ukraine

A top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that the Kremlin wants “a 100% guarantee” that Ukraine will be prevented from joining NATO.

Dmitri Peskov told the BBC that NATO’s eastward expansion continued to make Russia “nervous.” His comments echoed similar tough talk coming from President Putin, who promised a crowd attending a forum in Moscow on Tuesday that Russia would never be subdued by Washington.

“Throughout history no one has ever managed to do so toward Russia — and no one ever will,” RT quoted Putin as saying.

Putin’s remarks came as NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg accused the Russian leadership of “destabilizing” Ukraine and breaking a two-month-old truce by continuing to support separatist forces fighting in the country’s southeast.

“We see the movement of troops, of equipment, of tanks, of artillery, of advance air-defense systems, and this is in violation of the cease-fire agreements,” said Stoltenberg, after arriving at the European Union headquarters in Brussels. “We call on Russia to pull back its forces from eastern Ukraine and to respect the Minsk Agreements.”

The alliance, along with independent monitors, has issued numerous reports during the past two weeks claiming that the Russian military is moving armored columns across the border into Ukraine, where rebel militias have been shelling strategic locations in the war-torn Donbass region on a daily basis.

In Moscow on Tuesday, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned during a press conference that there was no end in sight to the conflict in Ukraine unless all parties to the Minsk accord stuck to the cease-fire.

“There are no grounds for optimism in the current situation,” Steinmeier told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel struck an even harsher tone — labeling Russia’s incursions into Ukraine as “dangerous and irresponsible.”

“The violations of sovereignty and international law that the Russians have perpetuated continue to require responses,” said Hagel, adding that the U.S. has begun working with NATO “in shifting our entire rotational rapid deployment focus.”

But as politicians verbally spar over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, the humanitarian disaster inside the country continues unabated. Last week, the U.N.’s refugee agency, UNHCR, warned that Europe was facing its largest displacement crisis in more than two decades as winter arrives.

“By October, UNHCR estimated that more than 800,000 people have been displaced, representing the largest displacement of people in Europe since the Balkan wars,” read a statement released by the U.N. “It is the latest refugee crisis in a year that has seen several, and is stretching resources thin.”

Read next: Putin’s Loss of German Trust Seals the West’s Isolation of Russia

TIME Libya

Report: ISIS Takes Control of a Libyan City

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna, drive along a road in Derna, eastern Libya
An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna's Islamic Youth Council, consisting of former members of militias from the town of Derna, drive along a road in Derna, eastern Libya on October 3, 2014. Reuters

Derna is just hours from Tobruk, where what's left of the central government is based

Militants loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) are now in control of a Libyan city of near the Egyptian border, according to a new report.

CNN, citing unnamed Libyan sources, reports that militants control Derna, a city only a few hours from Tobruk, where the remnants of Libya’s central government fled to after being forced out of the capital this summer. Approximately 300 of the 800-strong force in control of Derna are reportedly hard-line Libyan jihadists who fought with ISIS in Iraq an Syria.

The report is the latest sign of ISIS looking to expand its footprint across the Middle East despite U.S.-led air strikes against it in Iraq and Syria. Libya has been in turmoil since the fall of former strongman Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011

Read more at CNN

Read next: Terrorism-Related Deaths Up 60% Last Year, Study Says

TIME Middle East

Jerusalem’s Fragile Peace Splintered by Bloody Attacks

Israeli security personnel run next to a synagogue, where a suspected Palestinian attack took place, in Jerusalem, Nov. 18, 2014.
Israeli security personnel run next to a synagogue, where a suspected Palestinian attack took place, in Jerusalem on Nov. 18, 2014. Ronen Zvulun—Reuters

The killings of 5 people by 2 Palestinians in Jerusalem has driven a wedge between Arabs and Jews in the uneasily divided city

David Ehrlich, an Israeli writer, has been running a popular literary café and restaurant in downtown Jerusalem for the last 20 years. Popular, that is, except for times like these, when the city is so on edge that people tend to rush home from work and huddle with their families around the television.

“There are hardly any tourists, people from the Tel Aviv area will not come to Jerusalem, and the Jerusalemites just don’t feel like it,” says Ehrlich, whose latest short story collection is entitled Who Will Die Last: Stories of Life in Israel. He has employed Palestinians in the café almost since he founded it, making his eatery, Tmol Shilshom, one of countless examples in the holy city of Jews and Arabs working side by side.

“We’ve had Jews and Arabs work together for many years, and I’ve always been proud of it. I feel it’s the right thing in Jerusalem, because we are a mixed city. I don’t believe in segregation anywhere, and definitely not in my city,” Erlich tells TIME. “It doesn’t make sense to me that we’ll live so close by and pretend that the other doesn’t exist.”

But this de facto, often friendly coexistence can mask how very differently Israelis and Palestinians perceive reality. On Monday, the day before five people were killed in a bloody attack on a West Jerusalem synagogue by two Palestinians from East Jerusalem, two of Ehrlich’s employees showed him some cell phone images of the body of Yousef al-Ramouni, a Palestinian bus driver whose death is a subject of controversy. To Ehrlich, the mark across the man’s neck made it seem believable that he had hung himself, as Israeli forensic officials ruled. But in the eyes of Ehrlich’s workers, it clearly looked like a murder.

“When horrible things happen, they feel empathy for me and I feel it for them,” Ehrlich explains. “On the other hand, they listen to their news and I listen to mine, and their understanding and reading of events is very, very different.”

The synagogue massacre—the latest in a series of attacks linked to the feud over the Temple Mount, or Noble Sanctuary — has already been dubbed by some in the Israeli and Palestinian media the “Jerusalem Intifada” and by others, the “Jerusalem War.” Some added that it seemed to be taking inspiration from the Islamic State, given the use of knives and an ax in Tuesday’s attack. Many though not all of the Palestinian attacks on Israelis over the last month have been in Jerusalem, and the perpetrators have all come from Jerusalem.

That stands in stark contrast to the Second Intifada, or uprising, from 2000 to 2004, which largely involved suicide bombers from the West Bank. Now, Israelis are finding that they are facing violence that comes from within Jerusalem’s self-declared municipal boundaries – not from beyond the wall or separation barrier built to stop the aforementioned suicide bombers from entering Israel.

This is having a chilling effect on this ordinarily open city. Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian expert in national security at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, says that tens of thousands of Palestinians who work, shop and get various services in West Jerusalem are finding that the city is developing invisible boundaries that are becoming dangerous to cross.

“There is more of a gap now between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem,” he says. “The Arabs who work in West Jerusalem will come under a lot of suspicion, and I can foresee how the response to their presence there will be more negative than ever. There’s no confidence in each other, no trust, and it’s leading us to a more serious conflict.”

The groundswell of terror has been exacerbated by the absence of Palestinian leaders in East Jerusalem, Al Qaq says. Although the 1993 Oslo Accords stipulated that East Jerusalemites could vote in elections for the Palestinian Authority, Israel later deemed PA offices or those connected to its ruling political party, the Fatah faction of the PLO, as an infringement on Israeli sovereignty in the city. Orient House, an East Jerusalem building that served as a PLO headquarters through the 1980s and 90s, was shuttered by Israel’s then-premier Ariel Sharon in 2001 following a suicide bombing which killed 15 people.

“We don’t have leaders we can call on in East Jerusalem to try to calm the situation down, and the leaders in Ramallah have no influence on the Palestinians in East Jerusalem,” Al Qaq says. “What we’re seeing is young people doing it themselves, and not taking orders from anyone.”

Officials in Jerusalem have cautioned Israelis to treat their Palestinian neighbors with suspicion. Maj.-Gen. (Ret.) Dan Ronen, the former head of Israeli Police Operations Division during the Second Intifada, suggested Tuesday that the best way to foil potential attacks was to be cautious of “Arab employees and other people who come from East Jerusalem,” adding, “You never know when and how they can do something.” He also suggested that Israel would train those citizens who are armed to be better equipped to use their weapons in an attack. Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, said Tuesday he was encouraging Jerusalemites to join a civilian guard, reviving volunteer patrol units that were important in the state’s early days.

Given this situation, its perhaps not surprising that Taha, a cab driver from East Jerusalem, has been avoiding West Jerusalem in the last few days. “We are afraid to send our kids to school tomorrow, because we hear that settlers want to do marches and revenge attacks. I’m 53 years old, it’s the first time I’m really worried,” said Taha, who asked that his name be withheld due to security concerns. “In the last week, four people got to my taxi and got out as soon as they saw my name is an Arab name. They say things like, oh, I think I made a mistake, this is not the taxi I ordered, and they jump out. When it happens I cannot talk, because I feel very sad.”

Sara Kalker, a mother of two young children, is also unsure of whether to take her kids to school on Wednesday. Their pre-schools are on the edge of the Armon Hanetsiv neighborhood, which is over the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 borders) and abuts the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabel Mukabar, where the two young Palestinian cousins responsible for Tuesday’s synagogue attack were from.

“Everyone is concerned that something could happen anywhere, but we really feel it here. There are border police all over our neighborhood now. It’s hard to concentrate at work,” says Kalker. She moved here from New York State, where she grew up, weeks before the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000. “I got through that, but it’s definitely different being a mother and having to worry now about someone’s security other than my own.” She pauses. “I just want to feel safe. But I don’t really have faith in the ability of the country to solve these problems.”

TIME TIME POY

Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year in 2014?

Cast your vote now

From Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Elizabeth II and Barack Obama to The Computer, The Whistleblowers, The American Soldier and The Protester, TIME has named a Person of the Year for the past nine decades. The title is bestowed to those who have, for good or for ill, most influenced the news and our lives in the past year.

The choice is made by TIME’s editors, but we’re always interested to hear who our readers think should take the title. This year, in partnership with audience response company Pinnion, readers will be able to vote on Facebook, Twitter and TIME.com.

Ready to cast your vote? Comment on any TIME Facebook post that includes #TIMEPOY, tweet your vote using #TIMEPOY or head over to TIME.com’s Person of the Year voting hub, where Pinnion’s technology is recording, visualizing and analyzing results as they are received. Votes from Twitter, Facebook and TIME.com’s voting hub are pooled together to create the totals displayed on the site.

The reader’s choice poll ends Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m., and the poll’s winner will be announced on Dec. 8.

The announcement of the TIME Person of the Year will be made by TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs on NBC’s Today Show on Dec. 10, coinciding with the news being shared on TIME’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Don’t forget to cast your vote.

Vote Now: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

Face-Off: Who Should Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

TIME Germany

This Hitler Watercolor Painting Could Sell for Over $60,000

Hitler Watercolor Auction
An employee puts away a watercolour of the old registry office in Munich by former German dictator Adolf Hitler at Weidler auction house in Nuremberg November 18, 2014. Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters

Hitler was a struggling painter when he was in his late teens and early 20s

A watercolor painted by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler will likely auction off for over $60,000 due to high demand, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The 1914 painting of an old registry office, to go on auction Saturday, is one of many works Hitler created during his young adulthood, according to Kathrin Weidler, an auctioneer at her Weidler Auction House in Nuremberg, Germany. Nuremberg was the site of several Nazi party rallies in the 1930s.

Buyers interested in the artwork hail from all around the world, but mostly come from outside Europe, Weidler said.

“The interest has been high from America, Japan and across Asia,” Weidler told Reuters. “I don’t know if all these bidders will actually come to the showroom in person. It’s possible, but the last time we had a painting from this artist, that didn’t happen.”

The auctioning of the painting, considered more of a historical document than a work of art, has been called “tasteless” by critics, Weidler said. But she requested that complaints be addressed to either the unidentified pair of German sisters selling the painting or to the city of Nuremberg.

Five of Hilter’s paintings have been auctioned off previously at the Weidler Auction House for values between about $6,000 and $100,000.

[Reuters]

TIME Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Netanyahu Slams Hamas, Palestinian Leadership After Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

Four rabbis were killed early Tuesday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Palestinian Authority and militant group Hamas for spreading “hatred and incitement” against Jews in a news conference Tuesday, hours after assailants burst into a Jerusalem synagogue and killed four people.

Authorities said two Palestinian men armed with a gun, knives and axes entered a synagogue in West Jerusalem early on Tuesday and committed the most serious attack yet after weeks of clashes around the Temple Mount, also known as the Noble Sanctuary. The four victims were Rabbis; three were dual U.S. citizens and the fourth was British. Eight others were wounded.

Netanyahu singled out Hamas for blame, accusing the group’s leaders of inflaming tensions by libeling Israel “every hour, constantly, through the schools, in the media, in the mosques.”

He also condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who had earlier spoken out against Tuesday’s attack, for proceeding to “connect it to all sorts of imaginary events that ostensibly Israel performs at the Temple Mount which does not take place.” The perpetrators’ homes, Netanyahu vowed, would be demolished.

MORE: Fears of Religious Conflict After Synagogue Killings

TIME The Brief

#TheBrief: How Ebola and Fungus May Speed Up the Chocolate Shortage

China's growing demand for chocolate may also be contributing

A recent chocolate shortage has seen cocoa farmers unable to keep up with the public’s insatiable appetite for the treat–and the world’s largest chocolate producers, drought, Ebola and a fungal disease may all be to blame.

Meanwhile, China’s demand for chocolatey goodness has more than doubled in the past ten years, and the country is the fastest growing sector for confectionery products in the world.

Watch #TheBrief to find out what’s being done to save chocolate and what the consequences of this shortage might be for you.

TIME Colombia

Colombian Military Hunts for Kidnapped General

COLOMBIA-ARMY-FARC-KIDNNAPING-ALZATE
Colombian Army General Rubén Darío Alzate Colombian Army Press Office/AFP/Getty Images

The kidnapping has led to a suspension in peace talks

The Colombian military has mobilized across the country’s forests in pursuit of a general abducted by kidnappers thought to be leftist rebels.

The kidnapping of General Rubén Darío Alzate, along with two others, has led to a suspension in peace talks between the Colombian government and the Farc rebels that have been fighting the country’s regime for decades, the Guardian reports.

“It is time for them [the Farc] to show their commitment to the process,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. “I demand that the Farc show their will for peace through actions and not just through words.”

Alzate was with another military official and a lawyer in a remote city in the country’s northwestern region when the three were taken.

[Guardian]

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