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Standing up to those in power, and 6 other global stories

Standing up to those in power, and 6 other global stories


Indonesian antinarcotic police officers escort a suspected drug smuggler during a raid in July 2017. (EPA/STR)

In this occasional series, The Washington Post brings you up to speed on some of the biggest stories of the week. First up: What it takes to stand up to powerful political leaders.

The biggest story: Putting courage in perspective

Around the globe, activists and citizens fight against perceived injustices every day. Here are two examples.

The Philippine police chief who told his officers, ‘Don’t kill.’

Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, police have waged a spectacularly brutal and lawless campaign against anyone they suspect of using or selling drugs. Yet, of the thousands of Filipinos shot dead in Duterte’s self-proclaimed war, not a single man, woman or child has fallen on police chief Byron Allatog’s watch, according to the local government. “I just told my officers, ‘Don’t kill’,” he said. If other rank-and-file officers oppose what is happening, few say so publicly, writes Emily Rauhala. 

Police are capitalizing on the chaos of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, turning the anti-drug push into an opportunity to extort cash from distressed families. (Emily Rauhala,Jason Aldag/Alyx Ayn Arumpac for The Washington Post)

The notorious Kremlin-linked ‘troll farm’ and the Russians trying to take it down

In Russia, Lyudmila Savchuk is one of a disparate handful of journalists, activists and legal experts who have tried to shed light on the shadowy operation that has become a focal point of U.S. investigations into Kremlin meddling in the 2016 presidential election. For them, this task entails significant risks and little chance of success.

“I wanted to take down this factory of lies, and I still do. But it takes a toll, and it isn’t easy,” Savchuk told The Post’s David Filipov.

Six other important stories

1. Latvia’s cellphones stopped working. Russia’s war games may be to blame.

Russia’s attempts to stir confusion in the West extend far beyond “troll farms.” Latvia’s intelligence services are examining a partial disruption of the nation’s cellular network and emergency-services hotline that may have been a fresh example of Russia’s ­electronic-warfare capabilities, as Michael Birnbaum writes


Servicemen take part in the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises on September 20. (Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images)

As Russia demonstrates its military power, it may be increasingly open to expanding ties to a NATO member state that is on collision course with Europe and the United States: Turkey.

2. As a dispute between Turkey and the U.S. escalates …

This weekend, the United States and Turkey engaged in a tit-for-tat imposition of travel restrictions on each other’s citizens. It was yet another sign of the increasingly strained relationship between Washington and Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may want to flirt with abandoning the West, but following through on that rhetoric would probably hurt his own country more than others, writes Adam Taylor.

Still, Erdogan has recently tightened links with Iran and Russia, write Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim. 

3. … a confrontation between Europe and the U.S. may be looming over Iran

European officials and business executives are mobilizing to counter a U.S. effort to rebuff the Iran nuclear accord. “The nuclear deal is working and delivering, and the world would be less stable without it,” Helga Schmid, the secretary general of the European foreign policy service, said in a speech that amounted to a warning shot that Washington may once again find itself isolated from key Western allies, writes Erin Cunningham in Zurich.

4. Austria’s new anti-burqa law isn’t quite working as intended

Protests against a face-veil ban in Vienna, Oct. 9. (Alex Halada/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Austria recently prohibited everyone in the country from covering their face, passing a law widely perceived as a “burqa ban” despite efforts by officials to forestall such shorthand. The targeting of face coverings worn by some Muslim women without labeling the ban as such has led to some strange situations in Austria. Officers have stopped bicyclists who were wearing scarves. One man was fined for wearing a shark costume.

Read the full story

5. Trudeau vowed to legalize marijuana across Canada by July. It hasn’t been that easy.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has tried to push through a bill that could easily go awry, too.

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Hannah Yoon/The Canadian Press via AP)

It is pressing ahead with legislation to legalize cannabis, a move that a majority of Canadians support. But a rush to legalization could encourage consumption among young people and increase the incidence of impaired driving, writes Alan Freeman.

6. The troubling case of the young Japanese employee who worked herself to death

Japan’s work culture stands in a strong contrast to the laid-back lifestyle sometimes associated with frequent cannabis use.

One young journalist recently died at the age of 31 from heart failure after a single month with 159 hours of overtime and just two days off, writes Eli Rosenberg. 

Miwa Sado’s death has brought renewed scrutiny to the working culture in Japan, where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are believed to work themselves to death every year.

You can find The Washington Post’s international coverage on our website, and on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Snapchat.


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