World

Death Toll Continues to Rise in Duterte’s War on Drugs (VIDEOS)

Police claim killing of 25 criminals in Manila’s week of bloodshed as President Duterte continues crackdown. Twenty-five criminals were killed, including 14 in anti-drug operations, overnight in the Philippine capital Manila in a second night of heavy bloodshed this week as President Duterte’s fierce war on drugs intensified. Thursday’s killings across Manila followed 32 deaths in near-simultaneous police operations on Monday night through to Tuesday in Bulacan province, marking the deadliest period of Duterte’s controversial crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos. Philippine police ‘dumping bodies’ of drug war victims Joel Napoleon Coronel, director of Manila Police District, told reporters the 14 were killed in sting operations and 11 other deaths were robbers who were also involved in narcotics. The identity of the killers of the 11 people were not known and the incidents were under investigation, police reports said. On Wednesday, President Duterte praised the operations, adding that he will order the...

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UN: Venezuela Uses ‘excessive force to crush dissent’

UN’s rights office says Venezuela’s security forces are responsible for at least 46 deaths in connection with protests. The United Nations has criticized Venezuela’s “widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detentions” against protesters, amid worsening tensions and fresh moves against the opposition. The UN’s human rights office based in Switzerland on Tuesday highlighted witness accounts of police and soldiers using “disproportionate force to instill fear, crush dissent, and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying and reaching public institutions to present petitions”. Maduro inaugurates contentious Venezuela assembly The team’s analysis found security forces were allegedly responsible for at least 46 deaths, and pro-government armed groups were allegedly responsible for 27 among 124 deaths being investigated in connection with demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro’s government. The protests have stemmed from anger over the installation of an all-powerful Constituent Assembly that they see as a power grab by Maduro. The dire economic situation also...

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Mueller Investigation Expands Focus to Probe Flynn’s Finances

by Julia Conley – The special counsel is examining whether former national security advisor Michael Flynn concealed payments from the Turkish government. Financial entanglements of former national security advisor became the focus of the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election on Friday night. Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly questioning witnesses about whether Flynn’s company, Flynn Intel Group, received secret payments from the Turkish government late in 2016. The alleged payments were reportedly made in exchange for a campaign discrediting a cleric accused of orchestrating the military coup that threatened to overtake Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. Investigators also want to determine whether Flynn paid a Turkish businessman to help conceal the source of the payments, which amounted to $530,000. Such payments and the attempt to hide the source of the money could lead to criminal charges for Flynn, including...

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Israel Moves to Close Al Jazeera, Ban its Journalists (VIDEOS)

Request made by Israel’s communication minister targets both the network’s Arabic and English channels. Israel is moving forward to revoke media credentials of Al Jazeera journalists and close the network’s office in Jerusalem, the country’s communication minister has announced. Ayoub Kara made the announcement on Sunday during a press conference, where Al Jazeera was barred from attending. “We have based our decision on the move by Sunni Arab states to close the Al Jazeera offices and prohibiting their work,” Kara said, adding that the channel is being used by groups to “incite” violence. Kara said he expects Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to consider his request in the next session. “I will go through the legislatory mechanism to create the authority in which I can act freely. We will try to end it as quickly as possible.” Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday, said that the request to...

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The UK High Court Is Wrong

by César Chelala – The decision by the UK High Court to block a bid by a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair for his responsibility over the Iraq War is misguided. It means, essentially, that one of the architects of a war that almost destroyed a country will continue to enjoy immunity for this dreadful act. General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat accuses Mr. Blair of having committed a “crime of aggression” by orchestrating with President George W. Bush the invasion of Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein. As is widely known, that invasion left hundreds of thousands of civilian victims, many of them children, destroyed the country’s infrastructure and public health system, and dangerously polluted the country’s environment. The Iraqi General’s lawyers had requested permission to seek judicial review from the Supreme Court. They want that highest court...

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Netanyahu’s Former Chief of Staff Turns State’s Evidence in Corruption Probe

by durrati – Wow, times are tough for for RWNJ heads of state out there, with Mueller impaneling a grand jury and now… Former Netanyhau Aide Ari Harow Reaches Deal to Become State’s Witness “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff Ari Harow has reached an agreement with the prosecution to turn state’s witness in two corruption cases against Netanyahu. Under the deal, Harow will be convicted of fraud and breach of trust in a separate case, but will avoid jail time. Instead, he will do community service as pay a 700,000-shekel ($193,000) fine. The Israel Police confirmed on Thursday that the prime minister is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu’s bureau rejected the allegations on Thursday, calling them “unfounded claims.” Harow served for two terms in key positions in the Prime Minister’s Office. In 2009 he was appointed bureau chief, but left after a year to pursue private business...

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Venezuelan Opposition Leaders Lopez and Ledezma Sent to Jail

Opposition figures critical of vote sent to jail as court says they were planning to flee, drawing criticism from UN. Two of Venezuela’s leading opposition figures, who were detained a day after a controversial constitutional vote, have been sent to jail on the orders of the country’s top court. The Supreme Court on Tuesday revoked house arrest measures granted to Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma and put them back in jail because the opposition leaders were planning to flee. Lopez, 46, and Ledezma, 62, both former mayors in the capital Caracas, were seized from their homes overnight on Tuesday, according to their relatives and supporters. International condemnation as Venezuelan president celebrates election The opposition, which boycotted the constituent assembly election held on Sunday, says President Nicolas Maduro wants to consolidate power through the new super-legislative body tasked to reform the country’s constitution. The Venezuelan president hailed the election victory, that according...

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Poland is Turning Authoritarian (VIDEOS)

by Claudia Ciobanu – Will the Polish people be able to stop it? Late Friday night, the Polish parliament completed the adoption of a set of laws that amount to the executive taking control of the judiciary. The Constitutional Tribunal, the highest appeals court, and the body responsible for appointing judges – all three – will be largely in the hands of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), when these laws come into effect. Technically, Polish President Andrzej Duda can still veto the laws. A few days ago, he asked that one of the laws be changed, calling for a larger parliamentary majority than that initially proposed by PiS to dictate changes to the body appointing judges. It’s unclear whether Duda’s gesture was part of a larger PiS calculation to appear compromising to the protesting crowds, or an attempt by the president to gain political capital by resisting unpopular...

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Is Nigeria on the Brink of Another Civil War? (VIDEOS)

by Fisayo Soyombo – On the 50th anniversary of its bloody civil war, Nigeria is struggling to prevent another. On August 1, 1966, after the collapse of last-ditch attempts by Nigeria’s power brokers to prevent the impending civil war, Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu said only one thing would make the rebels cease fire: “that the Republic of Nigeria be split into its component parts; and all southerners in the North be repatriated to the South and that Northerners resident in the South be repatriated to the North”. WATCH: Biafra: Young Nigerians renew calls for independence (2:52) On May 30, 1967, Oxford-educated Ojukwu declared Biafra an independent state in the southeast of the country. On July 6, 1967, civil war broke out in Nigeria, which claimed more than a million lives in just three years. Fast-forward to June 2017. Irked by renewed secessionist calls from the same Igbo ethnic group, a coalition of northern groups issued a notice,...

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Hundreds of Thousands Gather in Turkey to ‘Revolt Against Injustice’

by Julia Conley – Opposition declares massive rally in Istanbul the beginning of a pro-democracy movement. Turkey’s opposition leader declared a new beginning for the country and demanded reforms to the country’s current government at a huge pro-democracy rally in Istanbul on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Turkey’s first city following a peaceful 25-day March for Justice that began 250 miles away in the capital city of Ankara. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), organized the march with other politicians to protest President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government. Since rising to power as Turkey’s prime minister in 2002, Erdogan has exhibited an increasingly dictatorial style of leadership. His Justice and Development Party (AKP) has muzzled the press and removed judges from the country’s highest courts in an apparent effort to gain control over the judiciary. After a deadly coup attempt in the summer of 2016 by a...

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Russia: No Deal on De-escalation Zones in Syria Talks (VIDEOS)

Russia, Turkey and Iran fail to reach an agreement in Astana on how to run the de-escalation zones, Moscow’s envoy says. Russia, Turkey and Iran have failed to hammer out details on an agreement over the war in Syria, including the boundaries and policing of four safe zones previously agreed, according to Moscow’s chief negotiator. Russia’s Alexander Lavrentiev said on Wednesday that documents outlining how the four zones should work “need finalising” despite being “essentially agreed” between the three key powerbrokers, after two days of negotiations in Kazakhstan. He added that there had been no definitive agreement over the contentious issue of “which specific forces” would police the zones. However, the three sides have formed a working group to finalize an agreement on creating de-escalation zones in Syria, according to a joint statement. Syrians split over ‘de-escalation zones’ The countries previously said they would hold the next round of talks in...

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Theresa May ‘delaying report on funding of extremism’

Publication of report, which reportedly focuses on Saudi Arabia, has been delayed by the PM, British media says. British Prime Minister Theresa May is withholding a report on “foreign funding of extremism” which reportedly criticises Saudi Arabia, according to UK reports quoting statements by the Home Office and Downing Street. Both offices said that the prime minister is personally responsible for deciding whether to release the report, which had been commissioned by ex-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 and approved by May, who was home secretary at the time, The Guardian reported. In a written reply to a June 27 question by the Green Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, May said on Monday: “Ministers are considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to Parliament with an update in due course.” According to The Guardian, Sarah Newton, a parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Home Office, also responded to Lucas this week: “The...

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‘Victory’: Irish Lawmakers Ban Fracking

by Andrea Germanos – It’s “a day for #ClimatePride,” says Friends of the Earth Ireland after historic vote. Ireland is poised to ban onshore fracking after its Senate on Wednesday passed a bill outlawing the oil and gas extraction method. Anti-fracking campaigning group Love Leitrim celebrated the development as a “victory for people power.” Love Leitrim @love_leitrim Victory for people power today as bill passes through the irish Seanad. Now just needs our presidents signature. #irelandbansfracking 11:54 AM – 28 Jun 2017 · Dublin City, Ireland It now awaits the president’s signature to become law, as it already passed the lower house of parliament in May. The Irish Independent writes: “President Michael D Higgins is expected to sign it into law in the coming days with a date to be confirmed for the commencement of the ban.” The bill was brought forth by Sligo-Leitrim Dáil member Tony McLoughlin, who called its passage one of the “proudest moments” of his political career.  Tony McLoughlin TD @TonyMcLTD...

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The Swift, Shocking Collapse of Theresa May and the Tories

by m2c4  – It is hard to believe but it was just two months ago that Theresa May called a snap election in the UK. With polls showing around a 20 point lead for Conservatives, the expectation was that May would solidify her “strong” leadership position for the difficult Brexit negotiations ahead, the Tories would get a 75 to 100 seat majority in the House of Common, and the resulting Labour party losses would put them into minority status for a generation to come. It didn’t quite work out that way. The election resulted in a hung Parliament. May and the Conservatives actually lost their 17 seat working majority and were forced to join with the anti-abortion, climate change denying Northern Irish DUP party in order to try and actually form a government. May, who had run as a “strong leader” that the UK needed to move forward for the next...

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Grenfell Fire: Residents Demand Justice

by Shafik Mandhai – Pressure grows on local council and PM Theresa May to hold those responsible for safety failings to account. A member of Al Manaar mosque in West London opens up the doors to its prayer area in a vain attempt to cool the community hall where hundreds of people, including survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, have gathered. The temperature is 30C outside, but the inside of the hall offers little relief to those dabbing away sweat and trying to fan themselves cool with leaflets. Nevertheless, an unrelenting stream of locals, Muslim and not, continues to flow through the mosque’s entrance further cramming the room. They have come to listen to a group of local lawyers and social housing experts who have taken it upon themselves to advise those who have lost their homes on the best course of action. Those addressing the crowd urge a united front and...

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Iran Accuses Saudis of Supporting Terrorist Groups

Iran’s Zarif says Tehran has intelligence that Riyadh supports terrorist groups operating on the eastern side of Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorist groups inside Iran, days after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed attacks in Tehran. “We have intelligence that Saudi Arabia is actively engaged in promoting terrorist groups operating on the eastern side of Iran in Baluchestan,” Zarif said on Tuesday at a news conference on the sidelines of an annual peace mediation in Oslo. He said the armed groups were “using the territory of one of our neighbours against its will to launch attacks against Iran which only two months ago led to the murder of nine Iranian border guards,” refering to Pakistan. “On the Western side the same type of activity is being undertaken, again by using the diplomatic...

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Israel Plans Most Settlement Homes Since 1992 (VIDEO)

Defence minister says first half of 2017 has seen most illegal expansion since before “Oslo peace process” began. Israel has so far this year advanced its highest number of settlement projects since 1992, the defence minister said, despite warnings such plans make a two-state solution impossible. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the comments on Sunday as Israel’s government faced mounting pressure from leaders of the settlement movement, who wield heavy influence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition. Netanyahu has found himself seeking to balance the competing demands of the settlers and US President Donald Trump, who has asked him to hold back on such projects for now as he seeks a way to restart negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Lieberman told journalists and ministers at the start of a cabinet meeting that, so far this year, plans had been advanced for 8,345 homes in the occupied West Bank,...

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The Resurrection of Jeremy Corbyn: Truth Can Be an Effective Political Weapon

by Mark Weisbrot – The Labour Manifesto allowed voters to see that Corbyn stood for things they believed in. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, has made a remarkable comeback after his political obituary had been written and widely accepted as recently as seven weeks ago. Although the Tories, led by Theresa May, will still have the largest number of seats, they have lost their majority, after calling the election in the belief that they would increase it. Labour has picked up at least 29 seats. The result is a hung parliament, and it is not yet clear whether a coalition government will be formed or new elections will have to be held. Observers have pointed to various historical causes that have brought Corbyn to his leadership position and kept him there, such as the failure of the centrist, neoliberal project of “New Labour” to provide economic security or...

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A Gulf Crisis: How Did We Get Here? (VIDEOS)

by Sultan Barakat – Qatar is being punished for refusing to join Saudi Arabia’s war mongering. Qatar’s residents woke up on the morning of the June 5 to the news that the country is now subject to a siege-like isolation through land, air, and sea imposed by its erstwhile brethren of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt. This latest crisis is more serious than the diplomatic spat of 2014, which involved the withdrawal of ambassadors but not the closing of borders or expulsion of citizens. The message from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is that Qatar must concede to their demands or be prepared to face a blockade, similar to the one Israel has imposed on Gaza. This will have a real lasting legacy on the integrity of the Gulf, as families are split, employees lose their jobs and people are forcibly displaced. WATCH: Amnesty slams embargo on Qatar over rights violations (2:20) In effect, it is shocking to...

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‘Absolute Joke’: Despite Thrashing, May Forges Far-Right Coalition to Hold Power in UK

by Jon Queally – Though rebuked at polls and hopes for mandate terminated, Conservatives move fast to keep Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from taking over as prime minister. Despite failing to win an outright majority of seats in Parliament in Thursday’s snap-election, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative party looked determined to cling to power despite results that stripped them of the strong mandate they sought ahead of upcoming Brexit negotiations. Reports confirm that May has reached a deal with the right-wing Democratic Unionist party (DUP) in Northern Ireland in order to prevent the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from assembling his own minority coalition and becoming prime minister. According to a DUP source who spoke to the Guardian: “We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.” For street-level perspective from...

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