World

Report: 6 Federal Agencies Investigating Possible Kremlin Financial Support of Trump

by Aaron Rupar – But with Trump about to be sworn in, how long will they stay on the case? On Wednesday, the McClatchy Washington Bureau, citing multiple unnamed sources, broke news that “the FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.” According to McClatchy, the involved agencies are the FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and representatives of the Director of National Intelligence. The news is not altogether unexpected. During a hearing before a Senate panel last week, FBI director James Comey refused to answer questions about whether the bureau has investigated links between the Trump campaign and Russia. A day later, Trump himself dodged a reporter’s question about whether he or his campaign had any contact...

Read More...


Chinese State Media Is Literally Laughing At American Embarrassment Trump

by Stephen D Foster Jr – Donald Trump has turned America into an international laughingstock and he hasn’t even taken office yet. For weeks, Trump has been antagonizing China by speaking with the leader of Taiwan, which goes against decades of precedent, and has questioned the One-China policy. Both actions have put a strain on America’s relationship with the most populous nation on Earth. Clearly, Donald Trump intends to keep taking aim at our largest trading partner, imperiling both our foreign policy and the world economy at a time when Americans are prospering under the economic successes of President Obama. Well, China is now laughing at Trump for being a national embarrassment. CNN’s John Berman pointed out that an editorial by state-run Global Times of China mocked Trump. “Trump’s thinking about China is becoming increasingly clear: He wants China to make huge economic and trade concessions to the U.S. To achieve that,...

Read More...


The Assad Conundrum (VIDEO)

by John Bell – Some argued that without his rule, radical Islamists such as ISIL would take over Syria. It is safe to say that, until recently, the debate over Syria’s political future came down to one thing: the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. With his victory in Aleppo, and the firm support of Iran and Russia, it is also fairly safe to say that the Syrian president’s future is secure, for the time being. What is it about Assad that has made him such a key issue? Some argued that without his rule, radical Islamists (ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham etc) would take over Syria. This has not only presented a threat to Syria and its minorities, but it was a problem for Europe, Russia and beyond. As Russia, Iran and Assad have repeated: only Assad and his system can effectively keep them at bay. The counterargument has been that it...

Read More...


Netanyahu Calls for Pardon of Convicted Soldier Azaria (VIDEO)

Israeli prime minister calls for pardon after military court convicts soldier who shot dead a wounded Palestinian. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a pardon of Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier found guilty of manslaughter after he shot and killed a wounded Palestinian last year. “This is a difficult and painful day – first and foremost for Elor, his family, Israel’s soldiers, many citizens and parents of soldiers, among them me … I support granting a pardon to Elor Azaria,” Netanyahu said Wednesday on his Facebook page. The country’s president, Reuven Rivlin, who has the authority to issue pardons, said he will wait for the legal process to run its course before making a decision. “In the event that a pardon should be requested, it will be considered by the president in accordance with standard practices and after recommendations from the relevant authorities,” he said in presidential statement. The remarks were...

Read More...


Criminal Probe Reportedly Targets Netanyahu for Illegally Accepting Gifts

by Jack Jenkins – Similar problems could soon haunt President-elect Trump. In what possible preview of similar issues that stand to mar President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly dodging investigators who want to question him over allegations that he used his office for personal financial gain. According to Israeli paper Haaretz, Netanyahu has been dogged by controversy since July, when Israel Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced his office would begin examining various allegations against the Prime Minister—including reportedly receiving gifts from business tycoons. Mendelblit maintained for months that the probe was only an inquiry, but announced Wednesday that he is upgrading it to a full-fledged criminal investigation, saying police will now be allowed to question Netanyahu. For his part, Netanyahu has denied the alleged improprieties, which include reports that he took gifts while in office worth “hundreds of thousands of shekels (Israeli currency)” — including suits allegedly...

Read More...


Israel ‘Reducing Ties’ With Nations Over Settlements

Foreign ministry advises officials to limit visits to countries that voted against settlement expansion. Israel’s foreign ministry has said the country is “reducing” ties with nations that voted for last week’s UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to settlement building in Palestinian territory. Foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a message to journalists that Israel was “temporarily reducing” visits and work with embassies, without providing further details. eputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said on Tuesday she was concerned that Israel would miss opportunities to explain its position by cancelling visits, but that she supported making clear “you can’t take Israel for granted”. Israel has been on the defensive since the vote, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, denouncing the resolution as “shameful”. Planned visits by foreign dignitaries were cancelled in the wake of the decision, and ambassadors of countries that voted for...

Read More...


Berlin Truck Attack Suspect Amri Shot Dead in Milan

Suspect in Berlin Christmas market truck attack killed in shootout in a Milan suburb, Italian minister says. Anis Amri, the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market lorry attack, has been killed in a shootout in a suburb of the northern Italian city of Milan, the Italian authorities said. Interior minister Marco Minniti told a news conference in Rome that Amri had been fatally shot after firing at police who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3am (02:00 GMT). Identity checks had established “without a shadow of doubt” that the dead man was Amri, the minister said. The shootout took place in Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni neighbourhood. Minniti added that the suspect, a 24-year-old Tunisian, pulled out a gun from his backpack after being asked to show his identity papers. A police officer was injured in the shootout. The minister gave very few details of the...

Read More...


In Historic Decision, Canada Declares Internet Access a Fundamental Right for All

by Lauren McCauley – National telecom agency promises to connect all Canadians, from Quebec to Yukon, to high-speed broadband. In what is being described as a “historic” decision that will have a significant impact, particularly on the lives of those living in rural and First Nations communities, Canada’s telecom agency on Wednesday issued a new rule declaring high-speed internet a basic service “necessary to the quality of life” of all Canadians. “The future of our economy, our prosperity, and our society—indeed, the future of every citizen—requires us to set ambitious goals, and to get on with connecting all Canadians for the 21st century,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, chair of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), at a news conference. “These goals are ambitious. They will not be easy to achieve and they will cost money. But we have no choice.” Under the new broadband strategy, the CRTC aims to provide 100...

Read More...


Aleppo Evacuation Will be Complete ‘In Days’ (VIDEOS)

Russian and Turkish ministers expect operation to be complete by the week’s end as Syria agrees to sending UN observers. The evacuation of Aleppo should take no more than two days, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers say, following a rare breakthrough and show of unity by world powers over Syria that allows UN monitors to observe the operation. A total 37,500 evacuees have so far left the war-torn Syrian city and the goal is to complete all evacuations by Wednesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish foreign minister,   wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. The evacuation of of Aleppo would be complete in a maximum of two days, Sergey Lavrov,  Russia’s foreign minister,  said. UN passes resolution on monitors for Aleppo Lavrov said that Russia, Iran and Turkey had used their influence to make the evacuation happen and that the 19-member International Syria Support Group including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the US...

Read More...


What are President Putin’s Plans for Syria? (VIDEO)

With the evacuation of Aleppo under way, the Russian leader turns his attention to a political settlement. It has been a stop-go situation in east Aleppo as thousands of Syrians – both civilians and rebel fighters – are still waiting to get out. The chaotic process has already been halted several times. Activists say government forces opened fire on convoy trucks on Friday. But the government says it was the rebels who started shooting at the troops. Russia, Syria’s ally, is playing a major role in the operation. Its soldiers are in control of checkpoints along the route out of eastern Aleppo. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is trying to organise peace talks on Syria, possibly in Kazakhstan. Turkey would be involved but significantly, both the UN and the US would be excluded. What is Putin’s game and what does he hope to gain? Presenter: Dareen Abughaida Guests: Marwan Kabalan...

Read More...


Duterte’s Drug War: Death Toll Goes Past 6,000 (VIDEOS)

by Ted Regencia – More than 1,000 people have been killed every month during the first six months of Duterte’s term. Manila, Philippines – “Ma, tulong,” Jason Babierra, 32, cried out for his mother’s help as he dragged his bullet-ridden body on the concrete pavement in the Bernabe neighbourhood of Paranaque, a Manila suburb. Those were Jason’s last words before he died, according to a witness. This was two days before the Day of the Dead last November. Jason, a street seller, was cycling outside the house where he lived with his parents and siblings. Suddenly, shots rang out. People ducked for cover. Moments later, they heard a motorcycle speed away. The attacker disappeared into the night. Jason was dead. I was standing around the next corner, waiting for a taxi, when I saw the commotion. As I arrived at the scene, a police officer was still setting up the yellow tape....

Read More...


Far-Right MP Geert Wilders Found Guilty of Hate Speech (VIDEOS)

Dutch court convicts anti-Islam PVV party leader Geert Wilders of discrimination for leading a chant against Moroccans. A court in the Netherlands has found Geert Wilders, an anti-Islam politician, guilty of discrimination for leading a chant against Moroccans at a 2014 campaign rally. Wilders was convicted of discrimination but sentenced to no punishment on Friday for comments he made at a March 2014 local government election rally in The Hague. The Listening Post : Rise of the right – ‘Anarchist’ media in the Netherlands (9:53) When he asked supporters whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands”, the crowd shouted back “Fewer! Fewer!” and a smiling Wilders answered: “We’re going to organise that.” Wilders said his conviction was “insanity”, adding the three judges who handed down the ruling were “haters” of his far-right Freedom Party (PVV). “Three PVV-hating judges declare Moroccans a race and convict me and half...

Read More...


4 Factors Driving Anti-Establishment Sentiment in Europe

by RICHARD WIKE – The failure of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reform referendum has rattled the already shaky nerves of European political elites. On the heels of Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory, the Italian verdict highlights once more the depth of public anger with the political establishment in Western nations. And with elections approaching in the Netherlands, France and Germany, many worry that 2017 could be at least as politically disruptive as 2016 has been. Pew Research Center surveys have highlighted a variety of factors driving the anti-establishment sentiments spreading throughout much of Europe, including economic anxieties, security fears, cultural unease and a lack of confidence in political institutions. 1) Europeans are pessimistic about their long-term economic future. Many are unhappy with the current state of the economy in Europe: In five of the 10 European nations we polled earlier this year, majorities described the economic situation in the country...

Read More...


Anti-Euro Populists Emboldened by Italy Vote—But Should They Be?

by Deirdre Fulton – “Italy’s no vote does not fit quite so neatly into the narrative of a populist revolt against globalization and elites.” While far-right populist forces in Italy and beyond are claiming Sunday’s referendum outcome and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s subsequent resignation as a victory, others say that while the losers are clear, the winners of the vote on constitutional reform are far less obvious. The plebiscite asked Italians to vote on a package of changes to the country’s constitution, which would have afforded more power to Renzi and future prime ministers. A broad coalition of opponents included anti-establishment and right-wing parties—leading some to wonder if the vote “could ultimately lead to Italy’s exit from the E.U.” But “Italy’s no vote does not fit quite so neatly into the narrative of a populist revolt against globalization and elites,” wrote Luigi Scazzieri of the Center for European Reform on Monday, responding...

Read More...


Austria’s Far Right Norbert Hofer defeated in Presidential Race

Green Party’s Alexander Van der Bellen defeats right-wing candidate Hofer in a re-run of the presidential runoff in May. Austria’s far-right party has conceded defeat in a bitterly fought presidential race, after projections indicated its candidate was beaten by Green Party-backed independent Alexander Van der Bellen. The official result of the election is not expected before Monday, but the Freedom Party (FPOe) conceded defeat within minutes of the poll projections being released, shortly after voting ended on Sunday. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Van der Bellen,” FPOe’s chief strategist Herbert Kickl told Austrian media. The projections had put Van der Bellen on 53.6 percent ahead of the FPOe’s Norbert Hofer on 46.4 percent. “I am infinitely sad that it didn’t work out,” Hofer said in a posting on his Facebook page less than an hour after polls closed. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee, reporting from...

Read More...


Who is the Real Tony Blair?

by Alasdair Soussi – His government presided over economic growth, health and education reforms, but also faced controversy over Iraq war. He arrived like a political hurricane, but in the end, left a legacy of controversy that, in the eyes of many in his native Britain, has today reduced him to the status of pariah. Tony Blair’s landslide victory as UK Labour leader in the 1997 general election saw the Scots-born Oxford graduate become, at just 43, the youngest person to secure the British premiership since Lord Liverpool in 1812. It would lead to 10 years at the helm of the UK government as Blair’s rebranded New Labour party enjoyed three consecutive general election victories. WATCH:  The Iraq war: Did Tony Blair deceive us? ( 2:51) But when Sir John Chilcot, author of the long-awaited and explosive report into Britain’s role in the Iraq war, told the House of Commons liaison...

Read More...


The United Kingdom Authorizes Broad Mass Surveillance on Its Citizens

by Scott Shackford – A level of snooping every autocrat in the world will admire. The United Kingdom’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority is not part of an agency tasked with fighting terrorism. They are a licensing body monitoring labor rules in the U.K.’s agriculture industries. Nevertheless, under a new mass surveillance law, high-ranking officials of this agency will have as much access to the private Internet information of British citizens as agencies that actually are tasked with fighting terrorism. This will be the outcome of the passage of the Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the Snooper’s Charter. It has passed both houses of the British Parliament and will become law in 2017 if approved by the queen. The Investigatory Powers Act makes the surveillance authorized by America’s PATRIOT Act look remarkably tame in comparison. The law requires Internet Service Providers to keep all metadata and web browsing history of users...

Read More...


Fidel Castro in Context

by Belen Fernandez – The revolutionary’s achievements in the face of US meddling made him a powerful symbol of resistance against hegemony. As of the year 2006, Fidel Castro, Cuba’s revolutionary leader, who has died aged 90, had reportedly been the subject of no fewer than 638 assassination plots by the CIA. The Guardian newspaper notes that these had ranged from mundane bombing and shoot-’em-up schemes to more ludicrous proposals, such as one involving “a diving-suit to be prepared for him that would be infected with a fungus that would cause a chronic and debilitating skin disease”. At first glance, of course, it may seem odd and overreactive that a global superpower would engage in neurotic efforts for over half of a century to take out the leadership of an island nation smaller than the US state of Pennsylvania. But, has it really just been a simple case of neurosis-for-the-sake-of-neurosis? Following...

Read More...


Fidel Castro Dead at 90

by Meteor Blades – Tracey Eaton at Al Jazeera writes Fidel Castro, a titan of the Cold War who defied 11 American presidents and thrust Cuba onto the world stage, is dead at age 90. Cuban state-run television said the former long-time president died at 7pm local time on . Castro’s brother and current president, Raul Castro, confirmed the news. The US government spent more than $1bn trying to kill, undermine or otherwise force Castro from power, but he endured unscathed before old age and disease finally took him.   Rory Carroll at The Guardian: As in life, Castro was deeply divisive in death. The announcement of his death was greeted by thousands online with celebration and condemnation of the “cruel dictator” and his repressive regime. Others mourned the passing of “a fighter of US imperialism” and a “charismatic icon”. In Miami, home to the largest diaspora of expatriate Cubans, people took...

Read More...


Russia Pulls Out From International Criminal Court

Moscow’s decision follows UN report on Russian rights abuses and discrimination in Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to withdraw Russia from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which prosecutes war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Russia in 2000 signed the Rome treaty that established the Hague-based court but never ratified it. Putin’s decree, published on the Kremlin’s website on Wednesday, comes a day after the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee approved a resolution condemning Russia’s “temporary occupation of Crimea”, and blamed Moscow for rights abuses and discrimination against some Crimean residents, such as Tatars. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said the withdrawal is based on “national interests” and argued that since Russia never ratified the creation of the court, Wednesday’s decree was just a formality. Peskov also dismissed the ICC’s accusations of an “armed conflict” in Crimea, arguing that Crimea joined Russia after a legitimate popular vote....

Read More...


In Bleak Times, This City Is an Example for the World

by DAPHNE WYSHAM – Portland, Oregon could teach the world a thing or two about climate laws that count. A few days before Donald Trump’s stunning upset, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph glowed green in Paris. France was celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement, which came into force on November 4. It was a remarkable achievement. Less than a year after 196 countries signed the accords, over two-thirds of the world’s countries — including the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, the U.S. and China — ratified it, agreeing to an upper limit of 2 degrees Celsius in atmospheric warming. But with Donald Trump’s ascendancy, and his pledge to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the world is back to an uncertain climate future. While some mourn the possibility that the Paris Agreement will be undone, it’s important to remember that it was always aspirational. After all, the deal offers no timetable...

Read More...


In Blow to Enbridge, Canada to Ban Oil Tankers Off Northern B.C. Coast

by Nika Knight – Moratorium on oil tanker traffic off British Columbia’s North Coast could be last nail in coffin for Northern Gateway Pipeline. Canada Transportation Minister Marc Garneau made headlines this weekend when he announced that by the end of the year, a long-promised ban on oil tanker traffic will be put in place off the North Coast of British Columbia—weeks after the government was harshly criticized for its bungled response to a spill in that same region. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to institute such a moratorium before the Liberals won a majority of votes and put Trudeau in office in 2015, but as of a mere three weeks ago Trudeau appeared to be backtracking on that promise, after months of refusing to offer a timeline on the ban. Garneau’s words were thus a welcome surprise to many environmentalists: “That is a promise that we made....

Read More...


Brexit Process Getting More Complicated

by Ed Krayewski – High court rules government must get a vote from Parliament on a law before invoking Article 50. A ruling by England’s High Court has called into question whether the government of the United Kingdom will follow through on the results of the Brexit referendum and actually withdraw from the European Union. The High Court ruled that the British government could not invoke Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty, which governs separation from the EU, without a vote of approval in Parliament. Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who was in favor of the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union but says she is now committed to Brexit and making the UK a “fully independent, sovereign country” again, intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, established in 2005. May telephoned the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, and other EU leaders insisting...

Read More...


Malala Announced That She Plans To Become Prime Minister Of Pakistan

by Brianna Acuesta – Malala Yousufzai is a remarkable young woman who has made headlines and is known globally for the brave work she does in Pakistan, her home country. Her fight for the right for everyone to have a proper education, especially women, has put her life at risk many times and she even survived an assassination attempt where she was shot in the head. When she was just 17, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and her book, I Am Malala, is a national bestseller. Now, at the age of 19, she is still working harder than ever to improve education in both Pakistan and other countries worldwide. One of her most recent moves was opening a school for refugee girls aged 14-18 in Lebanon, on the border of Syria. At a conference this month in the United Arab Emirates, Malala announced that she intends to one day be the prime...

Read More...


Massive Uprising by Polish Women Just Forced Right-Wing Government to Drop Abortion Ban

by Nika Knight – Ruling far-right party surprised opponents by reversing position on draconian abortion ban Poland’s ruling far-right Law and Justice party has reversed its support for a draconian abortion ban after women across the country went on strike to protest the proposed legislation. Jarosław Gowin, the minister of science and higher education, “said on Wednesday that protests had ’caused us to think and taught us humility,'” the Guardian reported. “In one of the biggest policy climb-downs since winning power 11 months ago, Law and Justice lawmakers on Wednesday voted down the same measure they passed two weeks earlier,” Bloomberg reported, “sending it back to the lower house of parliament for a final vote.” “As part of ‘Black Monday,’ more than 100,000 protesters vowed to boycott work or school,” as Common Dreams reported, launching a massive mobilization against the legislation that would have criminalized abortion in nearly all...

Read More...


Canada Releases Plans for a Nationwide Carbon Tax

by Natasha Geiling – Provinces will have two years to create their own scheme. Canadian provinces will have two years to implement their own carbon pricing scheme, otherwise they will have to adopt a nationwide carbon tax, according to a government statement released Monday afternoon. The news came after the Ministers of the Environment met to discuss the country’s environmental and climate goals in advance of this year’s U.N. Conference on Climate Change, which will begin on November 7 in Morocco. Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna previously alluded to the idea that the national government might compel provinces to adopt some kind of uniform carbon price if the provinces themselves did not act to adopt one, but was vague on details. Four provinces — British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec — currently have some kind of price on carbon, representing 80 percent of Canada’s population. British Columbia’s carbon tax, which was...

Read More...


The Complicated Legacy of Shimon Peres

by Evelyn Anne Crunden – Shimon Peres, the ninth president of Israel, died on Wednesday in Tel Aviv at the age of 93, following a massive stroke. The passing of the Polish-born Peres, who also served as prime minister twice, has been met with mixed emotions around the world. Throughout his career, Peres worked for two seemingly opposite goals: growing Israel’s defense operations, while also playing an active part in peace-building efforts like the Oslo Accords, for which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize. The left-leaning Israeli publication Haaretz offered perhaps the best analysis of Peres, acknowledging his dueling roles: as military man and peace advocate, as settlement proponent and settlement naysayer, as an aging senior statesman but as a mistrusted opportunist. To say that these contradictions are not all true of Peres is to offer an unfinished account of his legacy. Acknowledging these discrepancies, however, is proving hard for American...

Read More...


Syria’s War: HNC Unveils Roadmap for Transition (VIDEOS)

Assad must go after six months of talks, HNC says, adding it will reject any US-Russia deal that strays from its terms Syria’s main opposition bloc has put forward a plan for a political transition and a ceasefire to end more than five years of civil war in the country. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said on Wednesday that the proposed process would start with six months of negotiations aimed at setting up a transitional administration made up of figures from the opposition, the government and civil society. Syrian government blamed for Aleppo chemical attack President Bashar al-Assad would be required to leave office at the end of those six months, the bloc, which represents Syria’s political and armed opposition factions, said at a meeting in London attended by foreign ministers from around the world. The transitional body would then run the country for 18 months, after which there would be elections....

Read More...


Completing Democratic Overthrow, Brazil’s Right-Wing Senate Ousts Rousseff

by Andrea Germanos – The suspended president, as well as many Brazilians and outside observers, had called that the process nothing less than a political coup d’état As expected, Brazil’s Senate on Wednesday voted to impeach suspended President Dilma Rousseff. The 61-20 vote to oust her from office means an end to 13 years of rule by the Workers’ Party and the completion of her term by conservative Interim President and former Vice President Michel Temer, who, as the Guardian reports, “was among the leaders of the conspiracy against his former running mate.” As ABC News reports, the nation’s first female president faced charges of “violating fiscal laws by using loans from public banks to cover budget shortfalls, which artificially enhanced the budget surplus.” Critics of the process, however, have repeatedly argued the legal grounds for those charges are essentially non-existent and evidence suggests the charges were largely, if not exclusively,...

Read More...


Justin Trudeau, The Tragically Hip Politician

by samsoneyes –   There is a fine line between showing empathy and exploiting tragedy. Our politicians dance over it with increasing clumsiness. We live in a less dignified age. Of that, there can be little doubt. Pass by a middle or high school in North America and you will witness something unimaginable twenty years before: people hugging. Not in grief or team joy or ardour, but as a way of saying hello. And goodbye. You could call it a public display of affection except, it’s not clear whether it’s always affectionate or simply, what one does. To say this is less dignified seems perjorative. Perhaps there is a different kind of dignity in all this embracing. Dignified or not, it is certainly less restrained, less formal and less remote. One barrier that existed among westerners has fallen. Whether it implies the collapse of other barriers, or is simply a new...

Read More...


Israel Imprisonment of Palestinian Children Decried (VIDEOS)

Israeli lawmakers approve jailing of Palestinian children as young as 12, if convicted of “terrorist offences”. Human rights groups have condemned Israel’s approval of a new law allowing the imprisonment of children as young as 12 for “terrorist offences”, and which is expected to apply mostly to Palestinian children in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police accused of child torture The “Youth Bill” allows authorities to imprison minors convicted of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder or manslaughter, even if he or she is under the age of 14, the Israeli government said in a statement on Wednesday. Attacks in recent months “demands a more aggressive approach, including toward minors”, the government said in the statement. Israeli rights group B’Tselem criticised the law and Israel’s treatment of Palestinian youth in general. “Rather than sending them to prison, Israel would be better off sending them to school where they could...

Read More...


Canada Launches Inquiry Into Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women

by RACHEL CAIN – On Wednesday, the Canadian government announced the details of the long-awaited The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which will examine the causes of the high rates of violence against indigenous women. The inquiry, which will be independent from the federal government, will begin this September and end December 2018. The five-person commission includes indigenous rights activists and First Nations law experts and will be led by British Columbia’s first female First Nations judge, Marion Buller. It has an estimated cost of $53.8 million — almost $14 million greater than previous projections. The government also pledged to spend a further $16.7 million over four years to develop family information liaison units and to increase funding for culturally appropriate victims’ services. The families’ and the survivors’ losses, pain, strength, and courage will inspire our work. “The spirits of the missing and murdered Indigenous...

Read More...


Purge in Turkey Intensifies with Tens of Thousands Teachers, Public Servants Fired

by Nadia Prupis – Licenses revoked for 21,000 educators as arrest toll hits 9,000 Turkey has revoked licenses for thousands of educators in the government’s latest crackdown following Friday’s failed military coup. “The licenses of 21,000 teachers working in privately-run institutions have been canceled. Tip-offs that these are mostly linked with terrorist activities have been taken into consideration,” the Turkish Ministry of Education said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday, although it did not elaborate. More than 15,000 employees at the ministry were also fired. Meanwhile, the High Education Board demanded the resignation of 1,577 deans at every university throughout the country. The mass firings came as the arrest toll from the uprising reached 9,000 people—many military officials, judges, religious figures, and others, including 85 generals and admirals—as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to weed out those he claims carried out the coup on the orders of U.S.-based...

Read More...


‘Divisive, Illiberal and Calculating’ Theresa May to be Crowned UK Prime Minister

by Nadia Prupis – “It is simply inconceivable that…May should be crowned prime minister without even having won an election in her own party, let alone the country” Conservative Party candidate Theresa May is set to be the new UK prime minister as her intra-party opponent, Andrea Leadsom, dropped out of the race on Monday in another post-Brexit political upheaval. May received 199 votes from other Members of Parliament versus Leadsom’s 84 votes. The home office secretary is now expected to be formally confirmed by the Conservative Party board and the chairman of the Tory 1922 committee, clearing the way for her to be appointed prime minister by Tory MPs, who also have a majority in the House of Commons. That means the Conservative Party will remain in power, without a popular vote, following last month’s shocking referendum to remove the UK from the European Union and current Prime Minister David...

Read More...


What the US Can Learn From Canada’s Experiment With Electoral Reform

by Kit O’Connell, Truthout | News Analysis – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected, in part, on a promise to change how the next government gets elected. Although Canada’s electoral reform is very much a work in progress, activists and politicians alike are working to eliminate a majority-rule system in favor of a different, still-to-be-determined, but hopefully more representational form of voting. “We want proportional representation,” said Kelly Carmichael, executive director of Fair Vote Canada, in an interview with Truthout, referring to one type of alternate voting system being considered. “We never want to be stuck in a situation again where one person can take over the governance of our country,” she added, referring to Stephen Harper, Trudeau’s predecessor. Although the US and Canada use very different systems, we can learn a great deal from this historic moment, particularly at a time when US voter turnout is plummeting and dissatisfaction...

Read More...


Israel Allows Lethal Force on Stone Throwers: Report

by Nigel Wilson – Regulations revealed by rights group allow police to use live fire as first resort against Palestinians throwing stones Israeli police have been authorised to use lethal force as a first resort against Palestinians throwing stones, firebombs or fireworks, according to documents revealed by human rights group Adalah. The latest open-fire regulations for Israeli police officers were approved and sent to officers in December, following two months of sporadic stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Jerusalem, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Stone throwers face 20 years in Israeli jail  The regulations include authorisation for officers to use live ammunition against Palestinians, including minors, suspected of throwing stones or firebombs, or those who appear likely to be about to commit such an offence. It also gives police officers authorisation to use lethal force as a first option in such cases. Previously, lethal force had...

Read More...


Victory in Canada as Court Strikes Down Northern Gateway Pipeline

by Nadia Prupis – Opponents “said ‘no’ to Enbridge 12 years ago when it first proposed the project. And now that ‘no’ has the backing of the courts.” Environmentalists and Indigenous rights advocates celebrated on Thursday after a judge struck down the Canadian government’s 2014 approval of a controversial pipeline project in a landmark ruling. The court found (pdf) that the government had not done enough to consult with First Nations communities that would be impacted by the building of the Northern Gateway pipeline, approved under then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The decision “confirms that the environmental assessment of major pipeline projects was badly eroded by the previous government’s dismantling of environmental laws,” said Barry Robinson, an attorney for the environmental law firm Ecojustice, which brought the case. Caitlyn Vernon, a spokesperson for the Sierra Club, told CBC, “Today is a good day for the B.C. coast, climate and salmon rivers. By overturning...

Read More...


Brexit: The Day We Entered the Eye of the Maelstrom

by Thomas Palley – In years to come, the Brexit referendum may come to be seen as the day we entered the eye of the maelstrom that now promises enormous destruction. The immediate consequence looks to be a possible financial crisis, but even if that is avoided the other costs of Brexit will not be. The European economy was already on the outer circle of the maelstrom. Brexit has swept it into the eye, accelerating the process whereby social alienation and bad economic outcomes produce bad political outcomes, and bad political outcomes produce worsened economic outcomes and further social alienation. Economic Implications The leading edge of events will be financial markets. Even if an immediate financial bloodbath is contained, the reasonable expectation is for significant downside turbulence over the coming months that will ripple into the real economy. Moreover, a bloodbath now would not be panic. Instead, it can be rationally...

Read More...


Europe’s Most Powerful Leader Is Trying To Hit The Brakes On Brexit

by JUSTIN SALHANI – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she sees no reason to speed up Britain’s departure from the European Union. Her comments are a departure from comments made yesterday by six EU foreign ministers, including Germany’s own foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Quite honestly, it should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time frame,” Merkel told a news conference, according to Reuters. “The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate. Britain will remain a close partner, with which we are linked economically.” Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU wanted Britain to trigger article 50 as soon as possible “so we don’t end up in an extended limbo period”. The process may take longer than the EU ministers would like, however, as David Cameron is set to step aside as Prime Minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked members...

Read More...


The U.K. Voted To Leave The European Union. What Happens Next?

by ADRIENNE MAHSA VARKIANI – The U.K. voted to leave the European Union by a vote of 51.9 percent on Thursday — making it the first time a member country has chosen to leave the union. Thursday’s vote is not legally binding, but while the vote could technically be blocked or overturned, U.K. politicians are still likely to move forward with leaving the E.U. Prime Minister David Cameron, who in 2013 promised an E.U. referendum if he was re-elected, has said he will formally resign and there will be a new prime minister before the Conservative Party conference in October. It’s not clear who will replace him, but it could be far-right pro-Leave Conservative MP Boris Johnson. Due to the lack of exit polls and the regulations prohibiting campaigning or any other action that might influence voters (including reporting), the decision to leave the E.U. came as a huge surprise....

Read More...


The Beautifully Lived Life of Jo Cox

by Martin Kirk – A tribute to my friend – who was driven by an unambiguous desire to make life better for those battered and beaten and punished by this world What use are words penned in moments of shocked grief? What insight can be found here that eludes us at other times? What useful honesty can I access when both my head and my heart are struggling to connect my friend, Jo Cox, with the story of this young mother and MP who has been brutally and violently murdered, and finding the two utterly incompatible? I’m chained to the news. There’s a lot that’s on repeat, now. All the facts that we can know so soon have been known for a couple of hours. Nothing new seems imminent. And so the same pictures are being shown on a loop, the presenters are repeating the same basic story.  The gallery of...

Read More...


Israel Approves New Homes in East Jerusalem Settlement

Israeli NGO announces approval of building permits for 82 new homes in illegal Jewish settlement near Shuafat area Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 82 new homes in the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo, a neighbourhood near Shuafat in occupied East Jerusalem, an Israeli NGO has said. “On Monday, June 6, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee approved two building permits for 82 housing units in Ramat Shlomo,” Ir Amim, a group that opposes settlement construction, said in a statement on Tuesday. The settlement, which already houses more than 15,000 Israeli Jews, lies in close proximity to the Palestinian neighbourhood of Shuafat. The 82 units in two buildings are part of a larger scheme for expansion announced in 2010 to build an additional 1,600 new settler homes in the neighbourhood. READ MORE: Israel pushes forth with settlement plans In October 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the construction of...

Read More...


UN Removes Saudi Arabia From Human Rights Blacklist After Just One Week, Faces Intense Backlash

by JUSTIN SALHANI – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon removed Saudi Arabia from a U.N.-blacklist of violators of children’s human rights, after initially placing their Yemen coalition on the list last Thursday. The decision resulted in a massive outcry from rights groups who lambasted Ki-moon’s “flip-flopping.” U.N. for a recent report that said the coalition it is leading in Yemen was resulting in over 60 percent of child deaths there. “Last week’s U.N. report said the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen in 2015, killing 510 and wounding 667,” Reuters reported. “It also said the coalition carried out half the attacks on schools and hospitals. The decision to remove Saudi Arabia from the blacklist has been met with criticism from many human rights organizations. “Political power and diplomatic clout have been allowed to trump the UN’s duty to expose those responsible...

Read More...


As Chilcot Inquiry Nears, Tony Blair Hints He May Fight Verdict

by Nadia Prupis – “I don’t think anyone can seriously dispute that I was making it very clear what my position was.” Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has hinted that he would refuse to accept the verdict of the highly anticipated Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq if it concludes that he privately signed the country up for war while publicly claiming a final decision had not yet been made. In an interview on the BBC‘s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Blair rejected the idea that the growth of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) was fueled by the Iraq War, stating, “I understand all the issues and we’ll debate them when we get to Chilcot, but this idea that all of this comes from the decision to remove Saddam , you’ve got to go back into this and look at the roots of it.” Marr then asked, “The...

Read More...


Former Israeli Prime Minister BLASTS Israeli Government, Says Israel Has Become A Fascist State

by Joe Fletcher – It appears that the curtain that hides the true nature of Israel is finally beginning to be pulled back. On Friday, former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak told reporters that Israel has been “infected by the seeds of fascism.” That may be one of the biggest understatements of the year, though it does show the beginnings of a new internal outcry against Israel’s government. Haaretz reports: Responding to the resignation of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon earlier in the day, Barak said that it “should be a red light for all of us regarding what’s going on in the government.” “Life-sustaining Zionism and the seeds of fascism cannot live together,” Barak told a Channel 10 interviewer. Ya’alon’s resignation is “the end of a chain that began with the case of the soldier who shot ,” Barak said. “Such incidents give...

Read More...


Voices from Turkey: Turkey at the Heart of the Storm

by E. Fuat Keyman – More than two decades ago, Zbigniew Brzezinski alerted the world to a “global turmoil” steadily eroding the West’s ability to respond to major global challenges. Since then, the West has been gripped by multiple crises of globalization, manifested in myriad security, economic, humanitarian, and environmental challenges. The most recent additions to this litany include the dire refugee problem and the brutality of the Islamic State, or IS. Both the refugee crisis and IS have emerged from failed states, particularly Syria and Iraq, and are exacerbated by geopolitical power games, a lack of hegemonic leadership in the region, sectarianism, and the absence of inclusive and rules-based institutions of good governance. Yet while the crises interact and have similar root causes, they are driven by different actors with different intentions. While the European Union has focused on addressing the symptoms of the refugee crisis, the war against...

Read More...


Sadiq Khan First Muslim To Be Elected Mayor Of London

by JUSTIN SALHANI – Londoners elected the city’s first Muslim mayor in a historic victory Friday, against the backdrop of rising xenophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment throughout Europe. The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, 45, an MP and son of working class Pakistani immigrants, defeated the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, who is the son of a billionaire. London’s 8.6 million overwhelmingly elected Khan, despite attacks that portrayed him as a “radical” and linked him to “extremist” figures. “Critics have suggested the core strategy of Mr Goldsmith’s campaign is to draw attention to Mr Khan’s faith,” the Independent reported last month. On Sunday, Goldsmith published an op-ed in the Mail with a picture of a bus destroyed in the 7/7 attacks, criticizing Khan and Labour by saying they are a party where “terrorists are its friends.” Current London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is a Conservative, tried to link Khan to former London mayor and...

Read More...


‘It’s as if the Arab Spring Never Happened’

by Megan O’Toole – Majority of people in Middle East and North Africa believe their government is failing to fight corruption, poll finds Five years after the Arab Spring, a majority of people throughout the Middle East and North Africa region believe that corruption is on the rise, according to a new survey. Results of the poll by Transparency International, released on Tuesday, revealed that 61 percent of people in a cross-section of MENA countries saw an increase in corruption over the past year, while nearly a third said they had paid a bribe in order to access basic services. The survey included close to 11,000 respondents from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen. Although corruption was one of the catalysts that drove people to the streets during the Arab Spring uprisings, the results indicate that governments “have not listened” to what their people want, Ghada Zughayar, director...

Read More...


Muqtada al-Sadr’s Supporters Storm Iraq’s Parliament

Authorities declare state of high alert after thousands break into Green Zone against backdrop of continued violence A state of high alert has been declared in the Iraqi capital Baghdad after protesters broke into the fortified Green Zone and stormed the parliament building, shortly after politicians again failed to approve new ministers. Saturday’s development was the climax of weeks of political turmoil in Iraq that has seen MPs hold a sit-in, clash in the parliament chamber and seek to dismiss the speaker, halting efforts by Haider al-Abadi, the prime minister, to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats. The unrest also coincided with a blast that targeted Shia pilgrims near Baghdad, killing at least 23 people. Muqtada al-Sadr’s role in Iraq The Green Zone is the most secure part of the Iraqi capital, housing the parliament, the prime minister’s office and embassies. “You are not staying here! This is your last...

Read More...


The World Is Terrified Of Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech, Here’s What They Had To Say

by Sarah – One thing has been made abundantly clear: Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to foreign policy and diplomatic leadership. And whoever is in his ear and/or writing his speeches clearly doesn’t either. After Trump made his “foreign policy” speech on Wednesday, not only did America react, but so did the rest of the world, with a number of foreign dignitaries speaking up and out against the real estate mogul’s ineptitude. Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: “I can only hope that the election campaign in the USA does not lack the perception of reality… The world’s security architecture has changed and it is no longer based on two pillars alone. It cannot be conducted unilaterally. No American president can get round this change in the international security architecture…. ‘America first’ is actually no answer to that.” Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt believes...

Read More...


Australian Politician Sets Methane-Laden River on Fire to Protest Fracking

by Nadia Prupis – ‘This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers.’ An Australian elected official set fire to a river in Queensland this weekend in an act of protest against the coal seam gas industry, stating that fracking causes methane to seep into the river. In a video posted to his official Facebook page, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham can be seen leaning over the side of an aluminum boat on the Condamine River, touching a barbecue lighter to the water and setting it instantly ablaze. Buckingham recoils. “A river on fire! Don’t let it burn the boat.” “This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers, who want to spread across all states and territories,” Buckingham says in the video, which subsequently went viral, hitting 3.3 million views by Monday morning. “The fracking just a kilometer away, methane...

Read More...


Meet The ‘Jewish Terrorist Network’ In The West Bank

by JACK JENKINS – Israeli police and security officials have announced the discovery of a right-wing network of “Jewish terrorists” in the occupied West Bank, saying they have arrested several accused of plotting and enacting attacks against Palestinians and their homes. On Wednesday, representatives of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet revealed they had apprehended several members of a “Jewish terrorist network” in the Palestinian territories over the past few weeks. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier who reportedly confessed to tossing a tear gas grenade into the home of a Palestinian family and throwing firebombs at another house in Mazraa al-Qabliyah. “ widespread terrorist activity,” Shin Bet said in a statement. “…Including attempted terrorist attacks on homes of Palestinians while the occupants were inside, attacking minorities, arson and vandal assaults on Palestinian vehicles, and stone throwing from a...

Read More...


Strengthening the Palestinian Economy to Keep a Two-State Solution Viable

by Hardin Lang and Rudy deLeon – It has been more than two decades since the signing of the first Oslo Accord, which set into motion a process that was designed to achieve a lasting peace based on a two-state solution. Subsequent rounds of diplomacy have failed to realize that vision. Growing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians have begun to question the “land for peace” bargain. Yet the strategic logic of a two-state solution, with an independent state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, remains strong. Without two states—both viable, thriving, secure, and free—Israel faces a difficult dilemma in reconciling its identity as a Jewish state with its tradition of democracy. The stalled peace negotiations have left Palestinians looking for other options to achieve greater control over their own affairs. Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has called for a long-term nation-building project independent of negotiations with Israel to...

Read More...


#ResignCameron: Thousands Call for Prime Minister to Step Down

by Nadia Prupis – In wake of Panama Papers, protesters gather in London Thousands of protesters converged in London on Saturday calling for British Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation in the wake of the Panama Papers release. As Cameron spoke to a group of Conservative ministers at a hotel in Covent Garden, where he admitted fault in his response this week to revelations that he had profited from offshore tax havens, up to 5,000 Londoners surrounded the hotel where the meeting was being held, chanting for him to step down. Many arrived wearing “offshore-themed” outfits like tropical shirts and Panama hats. Continuing protests are planned until Cameron steps down or closes tax loopholes, organizers said. One demonstrator told the Independent, “If resigned as a consequence of these protests, there would be huge momentum.” The action comes just days after similar protests in Iceland prompted that country’s prime minister to take...

Read More...


This Is What REAL Christians Do When Their Priest Preaches To Ban Abortion (VIDEO)

by Kerry-Anne – The members of a Roman Catholic church in Poland have demonstrated to the world how compassionate Christians can shut down priests when they preach politics, not religion, from the pulpit. The women were at a Roman Catholic church in Gdansk, which is spearheading the outlawing of abortion in the Eastern European country. The Priest began reading a letter to the congregation in favor of the ban, which triggered a large number of mostly female worshippers to stand, turn their back on the Priest, and leave the church. As The Journal reports : The message from Poland’s Catholic bishops, presented at churches nationwide, called on lawmakers to back the proposal being considered by Poland’s right-wing government.  The move would tighten what are already some of Europe’s most restrictive laws on pregnancy termination. Current legislation, dating from 1993, already bans all terminations except when pregnancy results from rape or incest, poses a health...

Read More...


Prime Minister Resigns After Thousands Of Icelanders Protest Over Panama Papers Scandal

by BRYAN DEWAN – UPDATE: Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned suddenly Tuesday, walking out of Parliament shortly after 3:00 pm local time — less than a day after publicly declaring he would not succumb to protesters’ demands that he leave office, and less than 12 hours after his attempt to dissolve Parliament was rebuffed. After leaks exposed the owners of a web of offshore shell companies this weekend, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson is facing large-scale protests, calls to resign, and airborne yogurt. Hours before a crowd of thousands rallied outside Parliament on Monday, one goateed man launched “a number of tubs of Iceland’s famous skyr at the walls and windows” of the building and was later arrested. While the protester’s choice of weapon might seem amusing, the controversy threatening to topple Iceland’s current administration is not. Documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca reveal that Gunnlaugsson...

Read More...


British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful That Businesses Want To Increase It

by ALEJANDRO DAVILA FRAGOSO – A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this six-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase. In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year. Since 2007 British Columbia has been setting greenhouse gas reduction targets based on findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most respected authority on the subject. Four years after introducing the first carbon tax in North America in 2008, British Columbia froze the tax rates at 2012...

Read More...


Countdown to Chaos: EU-Turkey Deal Will Send Refugees ‘From Hell to Hell’

by Deirdre Fulton – “If they make me go back to Turkey I’ll throw myself and my family into the sea.” Less than 24 hours before Greece deports the first wave of refugees and migrants to Turkey under the maligned deal that sees humans turned into bargaining chips, officials are predicting chaos and violence as the agreement takes effect. According to Agence France-Presse, the Turkish interior minister said the country is expecting take in up to 500 migrants from Greece on Monday. The Greek state news agency ANA said some 750 refugees and migrants are set to be sent back between Monday and Wednesday. But as France 24 points out, “so far details have been vague over how the transfer will be implemented.” So-called “readmission centers” are still being set up in Turkey, with a local newspaper reporting that as the Dikili center—in Izmir province on the Aegean Sea and facing the Greek island of Lesbos—was not finished, the first...

Read More...


5 Ways NOT To “Make America Great Again.” And One Way To Do It

by Paul Buchheit – Mahatma Gandhi said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” The visions of “greatness” coming from America’s political and business and military leaders are quite the opposite, with an emphasis on the ‘exceptional’ people who would prefer to have nothing to do with the weaker members of society. 1. Let Government and the Media Ignore 90% of Us Based on a study of 1,779 policy issues, Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Government doesn’t listen to us, and the mainstream media fails to inform us about matters that might offend their corporate bosses. As Bernie Sanders explained, “The corporate media does everything they can to keep us entertained without addressing the real issues… don’t even know that we...

Read More...


Ex-Serb Leader Karadzic Guilty of Srebrenica Genocide

UN judges rule Karadzic is guilty of genocide for the Srebrenica massacre and crimes against humanity in Bosnian war Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was found guilty of genocide on Thursday over the Srebrenica massacre and crimes against humanity committed during the 1990s war in the former Yugoslavia. UN judges at the international tribunal in The Hague said Karadzic was guilty of 10 of the 11 counts brought against him during the five-year trial, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Karadzic, 70, is the highest-ranking person to face a reckoning before the UN tribunal over a war two decades ago in which 100,000 people were killed as rival armies carved up Bosnia along ethnic lines. Presiding Judge O-Gon Kwon said Karadzic was criminally responsible for extermination, murder, attacking civilians, and terror for overseeing the deadly 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, during the 1992-95 war.  On Al...

Read More...


Hillary Clinton Deserves a Huge Amount of Credit For the U.S.-Cuba Breakthrough

by Scan – With so much distressing news at home and abroad these days, it sure is nice to see inspiring headlines like “Obama calls for change and freedom in Cuba” and “Obama: Time to bury ‘last remnants’ of Cold War in Americas“. I mean this with all sincerity: Thanks, Obama! Barack Obama will go down in history as the president who finally thawed relations with our close island neighbor after more than a half century, and he absolutely deserves credit for this continent-changing accomplishment. But a president never works alone, and there was someone working for him throughout his first term who was instrumental to bringing forth this tremendous achievement. It was his first Secretary of State, and she’s currently running to succeed him. In December 2014, just after the president announced that full diplomatic relations with Cuba would be restored, Bloomberg View published a fascinating behind-the-scenes account entitled “Hillary Clinton Secretly...

Read More...


First European Country Votes To Stop Selling Weapons To Saudi Arabia

by JUSTIN SALHANI – International pressure over Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations in Yemen increased on Tuesday as the Dutch parliament voted to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia. The vote makes the Netherlands the first European Union country to take action on an European Parliament motion calling for an embargo on selling weapons to the Saudis. The bill quoted U.N. statistics saying 6,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen by a Saudi-led airstrike campaign that is supported by the United States. Aggressive action in Yemen wasn’t the only motivation for the Netherlands to impose an arms-trade embargo, as the Dutch also cited Saudi Arabia’s execution record for 2016. The Gulf kingdom has already executed 70 people — 47 of them killed on January 2 for charges of terrorism. France and the UK are major arms suppliers to the Saudis but are yet to implement the embargo despite growing pressure. According...

Read More...


5 Reasons To Love The Canadian Prime Minister

by BEENISH AHMED – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his first official visit to the White House on Thursday, drawing comparisons both to President Obama and current Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump. While the U.S. is mired in an election season that has seen incredibly controversial and sharply conservative ideas gain traction, Trudeau stakes out some seriously progressive ground. He’s An Outspoken Feminist I believe that we need to have pay equity and gender equality right across the board. “It’s important to be here before you today to present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada,” Trudeau told reporters after unveiling the ministers he selected to form his cabinet of 15 men and 15 women last November. When asked why he opted for a cabinet with gender parity, he offered this perfectly glib response: “Because its 2015.” President Obama’s cabinet — although initially hailed for its diversity —...

Read More...


Resounding Reformist Wins In Iran Secures Obama’s Landmark Nuclear Deal Legacy

by Patience John – So official time out from the primaries, our currently sitting Democratic President Obama just got a legacy point and no one is noticing. In a turn out that would make our voting public blush, at least those who can vote, Iran recently held a national election that was a referendum about the nuclear deal and opening more dialogue with the West. The Reformist took every single seat in Tehran. All 30, the leading conservative is 31st with 90% of the votes in. The country-side surprised everyone and went conservative/moderate-conservative over ultra-conservative! Iran election: Reformists win all 30 Tehran seats www.bbc.com/… Allies of Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani have won a landslide victory in Tehran, in the first parliamentary vote since Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers. With 90% of the votes counted, the pro-Rouhani List of Hope is set to take all 30 parliamentary seats in the capital. ...

Read More...


Corporate Feeding Frenzy Begins As Canada Prepares to Legalize Marijuana

by Th0rn – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were recently elected in part on the promise to legalize marijuana — not just medical marijuana but marijuana for recreational use. As the day when they plan to introduce the relevant legislation draws near, both corporations and governments are smelling not just smoke in the air, but the sweet, sweet scent of huge amounts of money to be made: Canada’s biggest drugstore chain is exploring the possibility of getting into medical-marijuana sales in a move that would dramatically alter the landscape of the new industry, bringing one of the country’s best-known retailers into the business if the strategy went ahead. Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. has held multiple meetings and phone conversations with licensed medical-marijuana producers across Canada over the past year about carrying a variety of brands in their drugstores, according to people involved in those conversations. The chain, which has more...

Read More...


Israel: This Isn’t How You Defend Democracy

by Rachel Shabi – Netanyahu’s attempts to ban Palestinian politicians from the parliament can only harm Israel’s democracy Last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a party meeting, said that democracy had to “protect itself and defend itself”. To which you kind of want to reply that, these days, democracy all over the world needs to defend itself from governments more than anything else. Israel’s current, hard-right coalition government seems to be a case in point, as numerous Israeli human rights groups have been cautioning for some time. And this current cautionary tale is essentially over the question of what democracies do with views they don’t like. The Israeli parliament just suspended three of members of the Knesset (MKs) over what was described as “support for terrorism”. Such support was read in a trip taken by members of the Arab nationalist Balad party – part of the Joint Arab...

Read More...


All Pipelines In Canada Will Now Be Subject To A Climate Test

by KATIE VALENTINE – Oil and gas pipelines now have a new hurdle to clear before they’re approved in Canada. Pipelines and natural gas export terminals proposed in the country will now be subject to a climate test, which will seek to determine how the project will impact greenhouse gas emissions, Canadian officials announced. That test will take into account the “upstream” impacts of a project — meaning the emissions from the extraction of the oil or gas that the pipeline would carry or the gas the terminal would store — as well as the emissions created from building and maintaining the project. “The federal role is to put into place a process by which TransCanada and any other companies could demonstrate that their projects are in the public interest and could have public support,” Trudeau said Tuesday, ahead of the government’s official announcement. “What we are going to roll...

Read More...


French Minister Resigns Rather Than Stamp Draconian Anti-Terror Law

by Nadia Prupis – Draconian constitutional changes included stripping convicted terrorists of their French nationality French justice minister Christiane Taubira, seen by many as a rare voice of compassion for marginalized communities, resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday over President François Hollande’s controversial anti-terror proposals, saying, “Sometimes to resist means leaving.” “I left the government over a major political disagreement,” Taubira told the BBC.  “I am choosing to be true to myself, to my commitments, my battles and my relationships with other people.” Taubira, whose role in the cabinet included stamping the seal of France onto new laws and policies, was seen as a champion of civil rights, arguably best known for introducing the country’s same-sex marriage law in 2013. As France 24‘s Douglas Herbert wrote on Wednesday, her convictions raised her profile among an increasingly divided political sector, often making her a target of racial slurs from the country’s right-wing faction. But...

Read More...


Five Years After Tahrir Square, Egypt’s Police State Worse Than Ever

by Lauren McCauley – Intent on suppressing any protests marking Arab Spring anniversary, al-Sisi government oversaw widespread raids and disappearances Five years after mass popular uprisings ousted longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians are again under siege. In an attempt to thwart demonstrations honoring the 2011 Arab Spring, the government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has deployed troops, raided homes and cultural centers, and reportedly disappeared hundreds of activists in the lead-up to the anniversary on Monday, intensifying a widespread crackdown on dissent. Over the past two weeks, security forces interrogated residents and searched more than 5,000 homes in central Cairo as a “precautionary measure” against demonstrations, which officials claim “are aimed at polarizing society and mobilizing the masses against the government.” Meanwhile, activists estimate that between August and November more than 340 people “disappeared” into government custody. Sherif Mohie Eddin of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said the total number recently...

Read More...


Denmark Votes To Force Refugees Into Camps

by JUSTIN SALHANI – Denmark will vote on new laws this week that could expel refugees from cities and towns. In the past year, the Scandinavian country printed ads in Lebanese newspapers asking refugees to stay away and threatened to seize refugees’ jewelry upon entry. Now, the Danish parliament passed a resolution that will force the government to provide a plan for state-backed villages that will remove refugees from cities and towns, Reuters reported Thursday. “Denmark was one of the first champions of the Refugee Convention, but its government is now brazenly creating blocks to the well-being and safety of refugee families,” Amnesty’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik, told Reuters. Denmark once embraced foreigners with open arms but a recent political shift to the far-right reflects growing animosity toward Muslims and refugees in many continental European nations following incidents like November’s ISIS attack on Paris....

Read More...


Did Trump Try To Fake UK Petition in His Favor?

by Lib Dem FoP – As  a signatory to the “Trump out” petition, I was sent a link to the video of the debate and to the written (Hansard) official record of it. One thing stood out in the introduction by MP Paul Flynn who was proposing the motion that the Commons “has considered the petitions”: It is always a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I thank the Petitions Committee, which under its inspired Chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington North (Helen Jones), has allowed me to introduce the debate on these two petitions. This is a bit of an occasion, because the first petition has been signed by more people than any other in this Parliament. It has 573,971 signatures, and its title is “Block Donald J Trump from UK entry”. The second petition is titled “Don’t ban Trump from the United Kingdom”. That petition is...

Read More...


UK Judge: Putin Probably Approved Litvinenko Killing

Russia calls 300-page report into the London poisoning of former spy Alexander Litvinenko “biased” and “opaque” Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably” approved the assassination of ex-KGB agent turned dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, a British inquiry has found. In what many analysts saw as a sensational verdict, Judge Robert Owen said on Thursday that it was likely the Russian leader signed off the killing of the former spy in 2006 after a long-running feud. Owen’s 300-page report said Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun were probably acting under the direction of Moscow’s FSB intelligence service, successor of the KGB, when they poisoned the 43-year-old with radioactive polonium 210 at London’s Millennium Hotel. READ MORE: Why would the Kremlin want to erase a small-time former KGB man? Russia’s foreign ministry was swift to respond, dismissing the inquiry as “biased” and “opaque”, according to the official RIA news agency. “Moscow had no expectation that London’s report...

Read More...


Iran to Comply With Nuclear Deal “Within Days”

Implementation to come soon, US Secretary of State says, meaning Iran to reap lifting of economic sanctions Iran could comply with last summer’s nuclear deal as early as Friday or this weekend, officials said, requiring the United States and other nations to immediately suspend billions of dollars’ worth of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Secretary of State John Kerry predicted Wednesday the achievement “within the next coming days.” Just hours after welcoming Iran’s release of 10 US sailors it detained when their boats wandered on to an Iranian island in the Persian Gulf, Kerry said in a speech at the National Defense University that implementation of the nuclear agreement will take place soon, without specifying an exact date. Others in Washington and elsewhere said the announcement could come within two days. In Vienna, a senior diplomat from one of the six countries that cut the deal with Iran...

Read More...


Saudi Arabia Cuts Diplomatic Relations with Iran

by Al Jazeera Staff – Iranian diplomatic mission to be told to leave kingdom within 48 hours as Saudis evacuate embassy staff from Tehran Saudi Arabia has announced it is severing diplomatic ties with Iran following Saturday’s attack on its embassy in Tehran during protests. Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, made the announcement on Sunday while the foreign ministry announced that it would ask the Iranian diplomatic mission to leave the kingdom within 48 hours. The Saudi foreign ministry also announced that the staff of its diplomatic mission had been evacuated and were on their way back to the kingdom. Reports said the plane carrying the Saudi staff have landed in Dubai, United Arab Emirtes. READ MORE: The oil price, Iran and Saudi’s economy At a press conference in Riyadh, Jubeir said that during Saturday’s protests in Tehran, the Saudi diplomatic representative there asked for help from the Iranian foreign...

Read More...


Palestinians Defy Israel’s Jerusalem Ban

by Patrick Strickland – Banning Palestinians from East Jerusalem is part of Israeli crackdown on human rights activists, rights groups say Two Palestinians have taken refuge in an International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) office in Jerusalem in defiance of an Israeli order banning them from entering their home town for several months. Samer Abu Eisheh, a 28-year-old freelance journalist from occupied East Jerusalem, recently received orders from the Israeli military informing him that he was banned from Jerusalem for five months. Another Jerusalemite, 32-year-old Saleh Abu Sbeih, was handed a six-month ban.  Al Jazeera World – Jerusalem: Dividing al-Aqsa “I don’t know why they are giving me a military order,” Abu Eisheh said, speaking to Al Jazeera by telephone from inside the ICRC office. “I am a media man.” Abu Eisheh said he expected Israeli forces to arrest him nonetheless. Asked why he and Abu Sbeih chose the ICRC...

Read More...