World

UK Police: Eight Arrests Over Westminster Attack

Prime minister says suspect was born in Britain, as police arrest eight in probe into deadly attack near UK parliament. The suspect of a deadly attack outside the UK parliament in London was British-born, Prime Minister Theresa May has said, as police arrested eight people after several overnight raids across the country. In a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, May said the attacker was once investigated by intelligence officers over concerns of “violent extremism”. “He was a peripheral figure,” she said. “The case is historic, he was not part of the current intelligence picture.” Earlier on Thursday, police said eight people had been arrested after raids on six homes in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country in their probe into the attack, in which a man ploughed into pedestrians in a car and then went on a stabbing spree before being shot dead. Mark Rowley, acting deputy...

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North Korea ‘Fails’ in New Missile Test: South

South Korean and US officials say they have detected a failed missile launch attempt by North Korea. A new North Korean missile test appeared to have ended in failure, according to South Korean and US officials. The reported failed launch on Wednesday came during large-scale annual military drills involving US and South Korean forces that the North has called a rehearsal for an invasion. Seoul’s defence ministry said in a statement that Pyongyang fired one missile from an air base in the eastern port of Wonsan but the launch was believed to had failed. “We are in the process of analysing what type of missile it was,” it added. The statement came after Japan’s Kyodo news service, citing an unidentified government source, said the North might have launched several missiles and that they were a failure. A US military spokesman also said they had detected a failed North Korean missile launch attempt, with...

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Europe’s Extreme Right is Losing Elections but Still Reshaping Politics

by Justin Salhani – Experts say Geert Wilders’ ideas are now mainstream in the Netherlands. European politicians emitted a collective sigh of relief Wednesday, as nativist right-winger Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party succumbed in the polls to center-right incumbent Mark Rutte in Dutch elections. With two more crucial European elections later this year in France and Germany, Wilders’ loss has placated fears of a right-wing populist surge. Cas Mudde  ✔@CasMudde Pro Tip: French presidential elections are even less representative of “European trend” than Dutch parliamentary elections. –> 10:37 AM – 16 Mar 2017 Wilders’ electoral loss will be cited as a crucial victory (much like the defeat of his party’s namesake in Austria) against a strain of right-wing and nativist populism that gifted the world a Donald Trump presidency and the UK’s decision to depart from the European Union. But proclamations of greater trends are typically flawed. While populists may not have...

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UN Report: Israel has Established an ‘Apartheid Regime’

by Ben White – Report breaks new ground on the UN’s examination of the situation in occupied Palestine by using the word ‘apartheid’. A new United Nations report accuses Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. The publication comes amid renewed debate about whether, through its settlement policy and rejection of Palestinian self-determination, the Israeli government is creating – or even has already created – a de facto “one-state”, which critics warn would constitute a form of apartheid. It urged governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives”. The report – Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid – was commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and launched in Beirut. John Reynolds, a lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland,...

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If Scotland Leaves, England Will Lose the Brexit Game

by Alastair Sloan – Should Scotland and N Ireland leave the UK after Brexit, the term ‘Little England’ will really come into its own. The union that binds together the four countries within the United Kingdom has never been more at risk. What nobody in the English political and media class seems to have realised is how badly England will fare if Scotland, which is more than likely, and Northern Ireland, which is plausible though by no means certain, split off. It will be the end of England – the dominant power of the UK, when the term “Little England” will really come into its own. Almost exactly two and a half years ago, the Scottish electorate decided against leaving the UK. They were told by pro-union campaigners that if they did vote to leave Britain, they would lose their membership of the European Union. At the time this was probably...

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Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to Walk Free in Coming Days

Public prosecutor orders release of former president as early as tomorrow following court acquittal. Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown as president of Egypt in an uprising in 2011, will be released from detention in a military hospital after a six-year legal battle over accusations of involvement in the killing protesters. “He will go to his home in Heliopolis,” Mubarak’s lawyer Farid el-Deeb said, adding the ageing former president would likely be released Tuesday or soon after, but would be barred from leaving the country pending an ongoing corruption investigation. The prosecutor’s decision came on Monday, days after an appeals court acquitted Mubarak on March 2 of involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising that ousted him. Egypt’s court acquits former president Hosni Mubarak His acquittal, which is final, has angered relatives of those killed in 2011. “Our son’s blood was spilled for nothing,” said Mostafa Morsi,...

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South Korean President, Park Geun-hye, Fired as Court Upholds Impeachment

Constitutional Court unanimously rules to formally remove impeached President Park Geun-hye from office. South Korea’s top court has ruled to formally end impeached President Park Geun-hye’s rule. Eight judges from the Constitutional Court assembled on Friday to issue a verdict to remove Park from office over a corruption scandal. The ruling sparked protests from hundreds of her supporters, two of whom were killed in clashes with police outside the court. It marks the first time a South Korean president has been ousted before the end of their term since democracy replaced dictatorship in the late 1980s. South Korea: Rival rallies held over President Park scandal Park’s action had “seriously impaired the spirit of … democracy and the rule of law,” said constitutional court chief justice Lee Jung-Mi. “President Park Geun-hye … has been dismissed.” Election law now requires a snap poll to be held within 60 days. In anticipation...

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Dutch Election Could Set Stage for Europe’s Far Right

by Justin Salhani – The anti-immigrant, anti-EU parties have grown, but upcoming elections could still reject them. The Dutch elections, scheduled to take place on March 15, have been described as Europe’s bellwether for a reason. The results could predict how successful right wing populist parties will be in other upcoming European elections. The Freedom Party’s Geert Wilders, noted for his rabidly anti-Muslim and anti-immigration policies, led polls since summer 2015, according to the Guardian; but support for Wilders has dropped substantially in recent weeks, possibly down to a drop in public appearances allowing other parties to make up ground. Wilders has lived under police protection for 10 years and stopped appearing in public after an alleged security leak late last month. Incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who heads up a liberal-led government, has spoken optimistically regarding his chances of remaining in power. However, Bloomberg reported five parties are in contention to...

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Hosni Mubarak Acquitted Over 2011 Protester Killings

Former president acquitted of complicity in killings of hundreds of protesters during 2011 uprising that ended his rule. Six years after the uprising that ended his rule, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been acquitted over his alleged involvement in the killings of hundreds of protesters in 2011. The Court of Cassation’s final ruling on Thursday could see Mubarak walk free. The Cairo-based court rejected demands by lawyers of the victims to reopen civil suits, leaving no remaining option for appeal or retrial. Mubarak was accused of inciting the deaths of nearly 900 protesters in an 18-day uprising that ended when he stepped down on February 11, 2011. He had been sentenced to life in 2012 but an appeals court ordered a retrial, which dismissed the charges two years later. Mubarak, 88, has spent most of his time in a military hospital since his arrest in 2011. He arrived...

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Germany: ’10 attacks a day’ Against Refugees, Shelters in 2016

Hate crimes last year injured more than 500 asylum seekers, including 43 children, interior ministry says. More than 2,500 refugees in Germany were attacked last year, according to a report by the interior ministry, raising fears over the safety of those who have fled war and persecution. In a statement on Sunday, the interior minister citing police figures said that Germany recorded more than 3,500 attacks in total against refugees, migrants and their shelters last year, amounting to nearly 10 acts of anti-migrant violence a day. The attacks left at least 560 people injured, including 43 children. “People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter,” the interior ministry said, according to the AFP news agency. In one case, a German neo-Nazi was sentenced to eight years in jail in February for burning down a sports hall set to...

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French Police Search Marine Le Pen’s Party Headquarters (VIDEOS)

Raid is part of an investigation into allegations that far-right leader used EU funds to pay staff of her FN party. French police have searched the Paris-based headquarters of far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) party in relation to a probe into alleged misuse of EU funds, according to a party statement. The European Parliament (EP) says Le Pen, a member of the European institution since 2004, had paid FN party staff with EP funds. According to EU rules, parliamentary money should be used only to pay assistants working with the institution. Inside Story – Can Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election? The parliament says the breach happened during the 2011-12 legislature, after Le Pen assumed her role as FN leader in January 2011. The EP says 20 assistants presented as parliamentary aides back then continued to work for the FN elsewhere. Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler,...

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The Trump Resistance Plan: A Timeline – Russia and President Trump

by STEVEN HARPER – Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far). The last installment of the Trump Resistance Plan began with Thomas Paine’s 1776 observation in Common Sense, “Time makes more converts than reason.” Sometimes, it doesn’t take much time at all. Russia interfered with an American presidential election; Congressional Republicans unwilling to convert and seek the truth no longer have anywhere to hide. Putin’s 2016 Ticket Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far): — Trump’s efforts to develop business in Russia date to 1987. In 1996, he applied for his trademark in that country. Discussing ambitions for a Trump hotel in 2007, he declared, “We will be in Moscow at some point.” — October 15, 2007, Trump said: “Look at Putin – what...

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Saudis Plan $2 Trillion IPO to End Their ‘Dangerous’ Addiction to Oil

by Joe Romm – Saudi Aramco will go public to monetize its oil reserves before demand peaks and price collapses for good. What does a country do when in its entire economy is built around a natural resource that the world is starting to shift away from? In the case of Saudi Arabia, they plan their own shift off oil — financed by the world’s largest initial public offering (IPO) of stock, some 5 percent of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. Last year, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the plan to take Aramco, which the Saudis value at some $2 trillion, public. Last month, the Financial Times reported those plans are on track for an IPO next year, noting that Saudi advisers say a successful IPO “is essential to the deputy crown prince’s radical efforts to wean the kingdom off oil through his Vision 2030 programme.” Credit: Financial Times The...

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Half-Brother of Kim Jong-un ‘Killed’ in Malaysia

Kim Jong-nam reportedly poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport by female North Korean operatives, S Korean media says. The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been killed in Malaysia, South Korean media reported, with one TV station saying he was attacked at the country’s main airport with poisoned needles. Officials in South Korea and Malaysia on Tuesday could not confirm the death of Kim Jong-nam. Malaysian police said a North Korean had been taken sick at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and since died. A senior security source told Al Jazeera that Malaysian police “strongly” believe the deceased individual was Kim Jong-nam. In a statement, Malaysian police said the 46-year-old dead man was travelling on a passport under the name Kim Chol. “Kim Jong-nam has been known to travel using a fake name,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from the airport in Kuala Lumpur, said. She added that the body of...

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With ‘Echo of Trump,’ French Far-Right Leader Marine Le Pen Launches Presidential Bid

by Lauren McCauley – In manifesto, Marine Le Pen vows to clamp down on immigration and curb universal rights to French citizens only. Riding on the coattails of far-right victories in the U.S. and U.K., France’s Marine Le Pen officially launched her bid for president this past Sunday with a speech and manifesto full of populist talking points and anti-immigrant fervor. “The impossible has suddenly become possible…Other countries have shown us the way,” the head of the Front National (NF) party declared in Lyon, pointing to the surprise Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory. “The awakening of those nations is historic and marks the end of an era,” Le Pen proclaimed. “The winds of history have changed.” During her hour-long speech, the white nationalist figurehead lambasted the “twin evils” of immigration and globalization, as France 24 put it, which she blamed for destroying the nation’s identity and prosperity. “She warned...

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The Canadian Prime Minister’s Office Schools Fox News

by Laurel Raymond – “These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims.” It took over a day — and a direct complaint from the Canadian Prime Minister’s office — for Fox News to delete a tweet that incorrectly identified the attacker in the Quebec Mosque shooting as someone “of Moroccan origin.” “These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Director of Communications Kate Purchase wrote in an email to Fox. Purchase posted the entirety of her email to Twitter. The police had initially arrested two suspects in the attack, in which a gunman entered a mosque on Sunday and opened fire on worshipers from behind. The shooter killed six and wounded another nineteen. One of the suspects, Alexandre Bissonnette, is a 27-year-old French Canadian, the...

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UN Condemns Huge Israeli Settlement Plan (VIDEO)

UN joins EU in denouncing Israeli move, as Palestinians call on more support against illegal settlement activity. The United Nations has denounced recent Israeli initiatives to accelerate settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory, stressing that “unilateral actions” are an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution. “For the secretary-general there is no plan B for the two-states solution,” UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. “In this respect any unilateral decision that can be an obstacle to the two-state goal is of grave concern for the secretary-general.” Israel approved a plan to build 2,500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, two days after it accepted building permits for more than 500 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem. The biggest settlement plan announced since 2013, it comes close after the election of US President Donald Trump, who has not been critical of...

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Israel Approves Permits for 566 Settler Homes

Building plan in East Jerusalem approved by local council after being held up until Donald Trump took office in the US. Israeli authorities have approved building permits for 566 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local officials, a move that has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders. The approval of the building plan on Sunday came two days after the inauguration of Donald Trump in the United States, with Israeli official saying the permits had been held up until the end of Barack Obama’s administration, which had been critical of Israeli settlement activity. “The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump’s arrival as president,” Meir Turgeman, Jerusalem’s deputy mayor, told AFP news agency. “We no longer have our hands tied as in the time of Barack Obama. Now we can finally build.” Turgeman said that city officials approved the plans that had been previously postponed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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‘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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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‘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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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#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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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