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The Wednesday Politics Thread Takes the Wheel

Proud of myself for mustarding up the will to assemble this header after Tuesday’s J6 hearing had me in an all too familiar state of horrified amusement. Not that I don’t relish writing these, but having to play ketchup on world news after being distracted all day feels like having a fire lit under my buns.

dodges plate

Co-Founder of Fact-Checking Website Arrested in India

The arrest of Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of AltNews, a fact-checking news website, in New Delhi on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and inciting enmity is yet another instance of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government cracking down on critics and those speaking up against Hindutva violence.

While a tweet posted four years ago may have provided the government with a handy excuse to arrest Zubair, recent events are more likely to have triggered the police action.

The Diplomat [archive]

Tokyo June heatwave worst since 1875 as power supply creaks under strain

Japan baked under scorching temperatures for a fourth successive day on Tuesday, as the capital’s heat broke nearly 150-year-old records for June and authorities warned power supply remained tight enough to raise the spectre of cuts.

The reserve ratio for Tokyo during the evening (1630-1700) on Tuesday was expected to fall below 5% as of Monday evening, close to the minimum of 3% that ensures stable supply, in Tokyo and eight surrounding prefectures. Reserve capacity below 3% risks power shortages and blackouts.

Reuters [archive]

Africa’s dream of feeding China hits hard reality

Reuters spoke to nine officials and businesses across Africa who said Chinese red tape and a reluctance to strike broad trade deals were undermining Beijing’s plan to boost African imports.

Ramping up agricultural exports, however, is one of the few options many African countries have to rebalance their trade relationships with China and earn the hard currency they need to service mountains of debt, much of it owed to Beijing.

Reuters [archive]

South Africa Defends Plan to Send 178,000 Zimbabweans Back Home

The so-called Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, first granted in 2009, “were never meant to be permanent,” Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy at South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said Tuesday on his official Twitter account. They are scheduled to expire in December.

Bloomberg [archive]

Will a Nile Canal Project Dry Up Africa’s Largest Wetland?

South Sudan is moving ahead with plans for a 240-mile canal to divert water from the White Nile and send it to Egypt. But critics warn the megaproject would desiccate the world’s second largest wetland, impacting its rich wildlife and the rains on which the region depends.

Yale Environment 360 [archive]

Home Office to reopen ‘dangerous’ immigration removal centre as part of Rwanda plan

An immigration removal centre that was closed by the government four years ago amid mounting concern about conditions is set to re-open, in what critics have described as a “backward step”.

The Home Office has announced that Campsfield House, in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, will be redeveloped in order to create a 400-bed removal centre for men.

The centre closed in 2018 after years of being subject to fierce criticism over concerns about the length of time people were being locked up and the high proportion of detainees taken into detention and then subsequently released.

Independent [archive]

German Museums Announce a New Wave of Restitutions, With Plans to Return Objects to Namibia, Cameroon, and Possibly Tanzania

Twenty-three objects from the Ethnological Museum of the National Museums in Berlin will be permanently returned to Namibia. The artifacts, which include jewelry, clothing, and historic artifacts, first travelled back to the country in May as part of “Confronting Colonial Pasts, Envisioning Creative Futures,” a research project carried out in partnership with the Museums Association of Namibia (MAN).

A years-long negotiation with Cameroonian authorities has also concluded with the return of the so-called Ngonnso’, a female figure taken from the historical region of Nso’ (northwestern Cameroon) by colonial officer Curt von Pavel, who gave it to the Ethnological Museum in 1903.

Germany made headlines last year when it was the first country to hand back Benin bronzes that had been looted by British troops from Nigeria.

ArtNet [archive]

Happy Wednesday politicados — let the clams guide you, don’t trust just anyone offering to take your baby, and please don’t break the McSquirrel Rule (especially against me especially for the intro).