The Sunday Subject — September 4, 2022

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, died Tuesday in Moscow at the age of 91.

After enacting historic liberal reforms and presiding over the collapse of the Soviet empire, many in the West and liberal Russians hailed him as a hero. Vladimir Putin did not attend his funeral, having blamed him for the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” According to experts, Putin is dismantling Gorbachev’s legacy by erasing the freedoms gained by the Russian people during Gorbachev’s tenure.

The UN said China’s detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang may “constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”

The findings came after a long-delayed report by the outgoing UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet. Citing counter-terrorism necessities, China has detained more than one million Uyghurs, a Muslim minority primarily located in the northwest of the country.

Chileans will vote today on whether or not to approve a new constitution.

If adopted, it would replace the current charter written in 1980 under a military dictatorship. The new draft constitution was written by a convention of 155 representatives after mass protests against inequality erupted across the country in 2019. If adopted, it would be one of the world’s longest charters and include the most extensive rights enshrined in any constitution — including rights to housing, work, health care, education, sports, abortion, and autonomous territories for indigenous peoples.

Sri Lanka has reached a preliminary agreement with the IMF for a loan of $2.9bn to help relieve the country’s severe economic crisis.

The deal is contingent on Sri Lanka implementing a series of economic reforms designed to boost government revenue.

Clashes between Shia militants in Basra, Iraq, have left four people dead.

The recent wave of violence in Iraq comes after Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shia cleric, announced he was withdrawing from politics. Iraq has been in political deadlock since the general election last year, in which Sadr’s party won the most seats; it has not been able to form a government for almost a year. Supporters of Sadr have been fighting with rival factions.