More Indonesians to Study in Europe

Juni Martoyo says she has no interest in sending her third child to study in the United States, although her two other children are at universities in Virginia and New Hampshire.
One of her main concerns is security, as mass shootings in public places, including schools or universities, have become more frequent.
“Secondly, English language is not interesting anymore,” Martoyo from Blitar, East Java, said in a phone interview with VOA. “However, safety is the main reason. Mandarin language is now more attractive.”
Like many parents in Indonesia, Martoyo said she is looking for universities for her child in countries other than the United States.
Security and safety reasons contribute to the overall declining number of foreign students in the United States. Other reasons include the bureaucracy in obtaining permits, a decrease in scholarships because of budget cuts, and inconveniences caused by trade war and immigration limitations.
According to the Open Doors report released Nov. 18 by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. State Department, the numbers of new student enrollments from South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Iran, England and Turkey showed decreases from 0.3% to 16.5%.
The number of Indonesian students enrolling in colleges or universities in the United States decreased by 3.4%, the IIE reported.
Where are those students headed?
Anondho Wijanarko, secretary of Directorate General Resources and Higher Education with the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, told VOA that the Overseas Postgraduate Scholarship (BPPLN) awarded by the Indonesian government to its students is more likely to be distributed at colleges and universities in Europe. It is easier to get an acceptance letter to those universities, which gets the visa process started, than U.S. schools.
However, Wijanarko did not have an exact number comparing Indonesian college students studying in Europe with students studying in other countries.
Offsetting the declining number of some international students at American universities were increases to U.S. schools in the number of students from Taiwan, China (up 1.7%), India (up 2.9%) and Brazil (up 9.8%), the IIE report showed. Students from China (369,548) and India (202,014) to the U.S. comprise more than half of the more than 1 million international students in the United States.
However, the overall growth in the number of international students in American universities during the 2018-2019 year is only 0.05%, which is the lowest growth in 10 years.
 

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Turkey’s Erdogan Threatens to Close 2 US Military Bases

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday threatened to close two strategic military bases used by the United States in Turkey, after Washington warned of sanctions over Ankara buying Russian arms.
“If necessary, we can close Incirlik and we can close Kurecik,” Erdogan on the pro-government A Haber television channel. The two bases sit on Turkey’s southwest coast, near the border with Syria.
Erdogan has regularly raised this possibility in the past, at times of tension between the two countries.
The U.S. Air Force uses the airbase at Incirlik for raids on positions held by the  so-called Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurecik base houses a major NATO radar station.

FILE – U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets (foreground) are pictured at Incirlik Air Base, near Adana, Turkey, Dec. 11, 2015.Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu raised the issue of the bases last week. Responding to the U.S. threat of fresh sanctions, he warned that their closure could be “put on the table”.
Turkey faces U.S. sanctions over its decision to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system, despite warnings from Washington.
And on Friday, Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador after the U.S. Senate followed the lower house and voted to recognize the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide. The bill has yet to be signed by President Donald Trump.
Armenia claims 1.5 million died in the killings. Turkey says the number of deaths was far lower and Turks also died, blaming the killings on the World War I.
 

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Fighting Stalls After ‘Final Assault’ on Tripoli Fails to End War

Libya has two governments. They are at war with each other and both have TV news channels.
On a channel supporting the Libyan National Army, which controls Libya’s east, a presenter in military fatigues on Sunday sat in front of pictures of soldiers, weapons, and a view the Libyan capital. “We are getting inside Tripoli,” he said.
On a channel supporting the Government of National Accord, which holds the west, including the capital Tripoli, a spokesperson proclaimed the assault had failed, and eastern forces remained in the suburbs. “They were not able to enter,” he said.

A soldier near Tripoli, Libya, runs as a mortar hits a nearby berm, Dec. 2019 (Courtesy – GNA soldiers)Tripoli residents say besides the dangers, ongoing battles have kept Libya in a state of financial crisis and stymied attempts to develop new businesses or attract investors.
On a break from the frontlines to celebrate a wedding in Tripoli, Mohammad Bashir, a soldier with the GNA, said the fighting had subsided by Sunday morning, but nine months of war have already had a lasting impact on his life.
“This war has kidnapped my youth,” he said.
International supporters
The LNA is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia, but it is still not strong enough to capture Tripoli, Akl, the analyst, said.
The GNA is recognized by the United Nations and the European Union, and is supported by Turkey, Qatar and Italy. Still, it is unable to fully repel the LNA, he added.

Mohammad Bashir, a GNA fighter is seen near a burning tank in Tripoli, Libya, July 7, 2019. (Heather Murdock/VOA)With the exception of Turkey, all of the international supporters deny providing direct military support to either side, but weapons from several countries have been observed in the field.
On Saturday, the Turkish parliament met to solidify plans to send troops to Libya if requested by the GNA, which has not officially responded to the offer.
Locals said the Turkish offer alone may have prompted Haftar to announce the assault. It was one of many speeches since April in which he declared his forces were poised to swiftly capture the city. In the speech, he called the coming days, the “zero hour” for GNA forces.
GNA soldiers fortified their lines around the city in anticipation of the attack, but Mustafa El-Majee, spokesman for the GNA operations, later reported gaining ground after the battles.
“We think he (Haftar) is playing all of his cards,” Majee said in an interview Sunday evening. “We hope this is his ‘zero hour.’”
 

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Protests in New Delhi Against New India Citizenship Law Turn Violent

Protests in New Delhi against a controversial citizenship law turned violent Sunday when police entered a university campus and used tear gas against students demonstrating.
Students at Jamia Millia Islamia University reported police firing tear gas in their library and beating up students with batons before sealing all campus gates. At least two dozen students are currently being treated in a Delhi hospital.
Student organizers blamed outsiders for the violence, saying in a statement that they only endorsed peaceful, non-violent protests.
Earlier in the day, three buses in New Delhi were set on fire. Police said six officers were injured in the melee.
At least fifteen metro stations in Delhi were closed on Sunday as a result of violent protests. Activists on Twitter have called for protests outside the police station, spreading information on how to travel despite the closures. As many as a thousand protesters were said to be in the streets Sunday evening.

Yogendra Yadav, prominent activist and leader of Swaraj India, said 125 injured people had been brought to two hospitals near Jamia and 44 students have been detained at two nearby police stations.#JamiaProtest LIVE: https://t.co/aLz74785Lf
— scroll.in (@scroll_in) December 15, 2019
The protests in the capital come as India’s northeastern state of Assam also continues to protest the law in fear that it will grant citizenship to tens of thousands of Hindu migrants living illegally in their region.
The passing of the bill last Wednesday marks the first time the country has introduced religion as a criterion for citizenship. It makes six religious groups – Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists – who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before 2015, eligible to become Indian nationals.
Questioning why the bill has excluded Muslims, opposition parties, human rights groups and many intellectuals called it a ploy by Modi’s government to push a Hindu nationalist agenda, marginalize Muslims and weaken the country’s secular foundations.   
 

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China Pulls Football Game After Player’s Pro-Muslim Comments

Chinese state television pulled the scheduled live broadcast of a football (soccer) game following one of the players’ comments online criticizing the government’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority.
China’s CCTV was scheduled to broadcast the football game between Arsenal and Manchester United, but instead decided to show a taped game between Tottenham Hotspur and the Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil posted on Twitter Friday comments condemning China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the Western region, while also criticizing other Muslim countries for not speaking up against abuses.
“Korans are being burnt… Mosques are being shut down… Muslim schools are being banned… Religious scholars are being killed one by one… Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil wrote in Turkish on his Twitter account Friday.

#HayırlıCumalarDoğuTürkistan pic.twitter.com/dJgeK4KSIk
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) December 13, 2019
The U.S., the United Nations and various human rights groups have accused China of detaining an estimated one million ethnic Muslims in so-called “re-education camps” in the remote Western province of Xinjiang in an attempt to force them to renounce their religion and heritage.
Chia’s state-run Global Times said on its Twitter account Sunday that CCTV made the decision to pull the game after Ozil’s comments had “disappointed fans and football governing authorities”.
Arsenal posted on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, that the the content Ozil shared was “entirely Ozil’s personal opinion”. The team has not posted a response on Twitter or released and official statement.
 
 

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US Democrats Squabble Over Lessons of UK Election

Hours before the official result was complete for Britain’s general election, U.S. Democrats on the other side of the Atlantic were taking to social-media sites to draw quick conclusions on what Labour’s catastrophic defeat might mean for them and the electoral challenge they face with the 2020 White House contest.
Forewarned by an exit poll, which suggested Britain’s storied Labour Party was heading for its worst election rebuff since 1935, one of the first Democrats to hit the send button was Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security advisor to Barack Obama.
He tweeted: “There are a lot of factors that went into this massive defeat, but progressives have to learn from them to do better on both sides of the Atlantic.”
But that begs the crucial question: what lessons?

Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is seen near his home in London, Britain, December 14, 2019. REUTERS/Toby MelvilleOn the British side of the Atlantic, Labour politicians can’t agree about what went wrong for them in what’s likely to be seen as the most consequential British election for a quarter-of-a-century, with some, including defeated party leader Jeremy Corbyn, insisting that the radical socialist policies he advocated, including the nationalization of a swathe of the British economy, were individually popular and that the blame should go on Brexit.
A key Corbyn ally, Len McCluskey, the leader of the powerful Unite trade union, said the policies in the party’s manifesto were “very popular,” but “we very evidently didn’t win the argument over Brexit” and the party’s policy of holding a second referendum on European Union membership. McCluskey said the party’s “biggest mistake” was “perhaps underestimating the desire for people who had voted Leave to leave the European Union.”
But many Labour moderates believe Brexit-favoring working-class voters who deserted the party in droves would have overlooked the issue of Europe, if Labour had had a more popular and centrist leader and a manifesto shorn of leftwing dogma. In a post-election opinion poll, only 17 percent of Labour defectors cited Brexit as the reason for their switch to the Conservatives.
“Jeremy Corbyn was destined to lead the Labour Party to a catastrophic defeat,” according to Jason Cowley, the editor of the New Statesman magazine, Britain’s leading leftwing weekly. “If he believed that the British would vote for the most radical socialist manifesto in our history, he was sadly deluded. The party has learned nothing from past defeats: the more it moves to the left, the more people are alienated,” he added in a post-mortem assessment for Britain’s The Times newspaper.
Cowley says Labour has lost touch with Britain’s working-class and the party’s defeat Thursday is a parable of what can go wrong when a party rejects pragmatism for “ideological purity.”
Some Democrats in the U.S.  worry that might be the case with their own party and say the British election should be seen as window on the 2020 presidential race.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in Nashua, N.H., Dec. 8, 2019.Former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, the current front-runner to win the Democratic nomination to take on Trump, has said that the British election should be taken as a warning against Democrats moving too far to the radical left ahead of the 2020 White House race.
Speaking to supporters in San Francisco, Biden argued that the radicalism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ultimately contributed to Boris Johnson’s landslide victory last week.
Others on the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, too, fear that Labour’s defeat may foreshadow trouble for their bid to vanquish Trump, especially if the Democrats pick a progressive nominee like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as their champion in the 2020 presidential election.
Political trends on one side of the Atlantic have often presaged trends on the other, although often with time lags because of misaligned elections. Both countries were moderately conservative in the 1950s and Republican and Conservative governments accepted the welfare systems established by their predecessors in office and ideological rivals, Franklin Roosevelt and Britain’s Clement Attlee.
In the 1960s both countries trended left, although were divided over the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, free-market conservatives — Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan — reshaped their nations’ politics.

FILE – Tony Blair and Bill Clinton hold hands during an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 10, 2018.And in the 1990s “Third Way” Democrats, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, marched almost in lockstep to refashion their parties as market-friendly, seeking to blend center-right economics with center-left social policies. The 2016 Brexit referendum was seen by many, including Donald Trump’s then strategist Steve Bannon and Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief of staff, as foreshadowing Trump’s upset a few months later of Hillary Clinton, who saw her candidacy rebuffed in the fading towns of the “rust belt” states much like Corbyn was rejected in the post-industrial north of England.
Nationalist conservatives rule the roost now in Washington and London, prioritizing the nation state over multilateralism and favoring tough immigration restrictions. The skirmishing by Democrats over the British election result is enmeshing with the fight over who should get the party’s presidential nomination.
Democrats favoring a progressive candidate maintain there are no real lessons to draw from Johnson’s election win, echoing Corbyn supporters on the other side of the Atlantic by arguing Labour lost the election because of Brexit. “This UK election was ultimately an election about Brexit, and Brexit won. There’s no clean analogue to that in the U.S,” says Kate Aronoff, a senior fellow at Data for Progress, a progressive U.S. think tank.
“The UK election was undeniably bad for Labour, but it doesn’t at all vindicate centrists saying the U.S. should make one of them the Democratic nominee. Left policies are popular,” she tweeted.
Aronoff, like other U.S. progressives maintain that the kind of centrist politics espoused by establishment Democrats also got rebuffed by British voters in an election that dashed the hopes of Britain’s centrist Liberal Democrats, who presented themselves as a respectable alternative between the Conservatives and Labour. Their leader Jo Swinson even failed to get reelected as a lawmaker.

People stand behind a banner supporting the results of the general election, in London, Britain, Dec. 13, 2019.Some commentators who’ve chronicled the rise of populist nationalism say neither moderates nor progressives have the grasped the full scale of the realignment of Western politics that’s underway. The UK vote wasn’t just any election, says Matthew Goodwin, an academic at Britain’s Kent University and co-author of the book “National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy.” “The old left versus right economic divide continues to make way for a new cultural divide.”
He says Brexit was just one factor prompting working-class voters to trade left for right, with other driving issues coming down to promises of immigration reform and prioritizing national independence. Conservative nationalists have hit on a winning formula by leaning left on economics, with promises of increased government spending, and right on culture when it comes to identity politics and pledges to get tough on crime.
Goodwin believes it is easier for the right to move left on economics than it is for the left to move right on questions of national identity which are worrying socially conservative working-class voters.
 
 

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