Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play
A file photo shows staff members spray disinfectant at a theatre on in Yantai, a city in China's eastern Shandong province. (Photo: AFP)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities have banned a Kurdish-language play that was due to be shown on Tuesday in Istanbul’s municipal theater for the first time in its 106-year history, organizers told AFP.
The play “Beru” was included in the October program of the Istanbul Municipality City Theatre, which is funded by the opposition-run municipality, to much fanfare.
No reason was given for the last-minute ban, but the Turkish state has long had a troubled relationship with its Kurdish minority.
The municipal theater has 10 stages dotted round Istanbul and had decided to take on some work from independent theaters that are struggling in the coronavirus pandemic.
“Beru” was translated into Kurdish from “Trumpets and Raspberries,” a piece of work by Nobel Literature Prize winner Dario Fo, an Italian satirist and playwright.
It was due to be shown in the Gaziosmanpasa neighborhood at 1730 GMT, performed by Teatra Jiyana Nu (New Life Theatre), an independent theater group.
The decision to ban the play was made by the local administration in Gaziosmanpasa and the theater was only informed at 1300 GMT, one of the organizers told AFP.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP government took steps to improve cultural and linguistic rights as part of its Kurdish initiative announced in 2009 when he was prime minister.
These included allowing Kurdish-language institutions and media outlets, and kindergartens that teach children in Kurdish.
But with the resumption of violence in the Kurdish majority southeast between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after the collapse of a fragile truce 2015, the government has launched a crackdown on Kurdish media organizations and culture centers.
That has increased in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup.
The government has removed 48 elected mayors of Kurdish-run municipalities and replaced them with “trustees.” Dozens of pro-Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terrorism charges.

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19
Updated 18 min 2 sec ago

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19

Filipinos abroad cautioned on new strain of COVID-19
  • Manila brings home 400,000 overseas workers affected by the pandemic

MANILA: Philippines Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III reminded overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to remain vigilant against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and follow the health and safety protocols of their host countries, especially with the emergence of a new and more contagious strain.

More COVID-19 infections have been recorded among Filipinos abroad, with the highest number of cases reported in the Middle East.

“There is no room for complacency. We cannot let our guard down. Despite the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in your country of work, the virus remains an imminent threat to your health and safety,” Bello said in a statement on Monday.

Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), Bello said the Middle East remains the region with “highest recorded cases of infection among OFWs at 7,844 as of Jan. 13.”

The region also has the highest number of OFW deaths due to COVID-19, reaching 619 according to the report.

On Sunday, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that “Qatar reported the single biggest number of cases at 3,873, with 14 new COVID-19 infections among OFWs in the last 24 hours. Nineteen OFW casualties were recorded.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in a report on Monday, confirmed a total of 13,591 COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad as of Jan. 18. Of the total number, 3,968 are undergoing treatment; 8,682 have recovered, while 941 died.

Based on the DFA data, countries in Europe and the Americas have over 3,000 cases with 317 deaths, while there were 2,746 OFW infections in Asia and the Pacific, with 21 deaths.

More than 400,000 overseas Filipino workers affected by the pandemic have been brought home by the government, the DOLE reported during the weekend.

Latest figures from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) showed that 8,273 OFWs were transported to their respective provinces last week alone, up from 7,895 the previous week.

In a report to Bello, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said total repatriates who have undergone quarantine and been cleared of COVID-19 stood at 410,211 as of Jan. 16.

“After their ordeal in their country of origin, our dear OFWs were all provided accommodation, food, transportation and cash assistance by the government. Now, they are safely home with their families,” Bello said.

It is estimated that about 60,000 to 80,000 more OFWs will be repatriated this year. Those awaiting repatriation form part of the over 520,000 OFWs displaced by the pandemic.