La Señal Informativa de América Latina <![CDATA[Brazil: Haddad to Join Bernie Sanders’ International Progressive Front Against The Far-Right]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:53:00 -0400 Brazil’s Fernando Haddad, the former 2018 presidential candidate of the Workers’ Party, has been invited to join an international progressive movement fronted by United States Left-leaning politician Bernie Sanders, and former Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Corbyn Calls for Global Movement Against Inequality, Offers Support to Latin America's Left

Local media reports said Wednesday that Haddad confirmed his participation in the upcoming meeting planned for December to launch the initiative. The initiative, announced in October, is set to combat the rise of an “authoritarian axis” and “The Movement,” a far-right nationalist front with an international reach.

“All around the world, in Europe, in Russia, in the Middle East, in Asia and elsewhere we are seeing movements led by demagogues who exploit people’s fears, prejudices and grievances to achieve and hold on to power,” Sanders said in an article for The Guardian.

"Fernando Haddad, candidate of the @ptbrasil last presidential election, will participate in an international progressive front devised by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Greek minister Varoufakis. The launch will be Dec. 1 in New York."

The far-right threat the “The Movement” has been gaining publicity since Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist for the Trump administration, joined ranks.

Progressives International’s aim is to challenge the hostile ideals within the rise of far-right politics that are gaining prominence across the globe.

Sanders says the far-right regimes, like those of United States President Donald Trump and others supported by "The Movement", share distinct characteristics such as a “hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and a belief that government should benefit their own selfish financial interest.”

It was formed in 2017 by Belgian right-wing politician, Mischael Modrikamen. Bannon and Modrikamen announced a plan to launch the organization with an inaugural summit in Bruxelles, January 2019.

Sanders and Varoufakis’s counter-initiative is set to launch Dec. 1, 2018 in New York. “Our task is not unprecedented,” Varoufakis writes.

“Fascists did not come to power in the mid-war period by promising violence, war or concentration camps. They came to power by addressing good people...looked at them in the eye and promised to restore their pride… gave them a sense that they belonged to a larger ideal, while inventing a threat of a lurking ‘alien’ who threatened their revived hope,” he says.

The Us-versus-Them tactic Varoufakis cites can be seen in the United States President Donald Trump’s rhetoric around immigrants from Central America and in Brazil’s President-elect’s treatment of Afro-latinos.

“Our era will be remembered for the triumphant march of a globally unifying rightwing – a Nationalist International – that sprang out of the cesspool of financialised capitalism,” Varoufakis writes in his blog. “Whether it will also be remembered for a successful humanist challenge to this menace depends on the willingness of progressives.”


<![CDATA[Israel to Demolish Palestinian Shops in Occupied East Jerusalem]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:42:00 -0400 Israeli occupation forces entered the Shu'fat refugee camp with bulldozers Wednesday. The besieged camp, surrounded by Israel's illegal "separation" barrier, is in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.


Netanyahu: ‘Khan al-Ahmar Will Be Demolished Very Soon’

On Tuesday night Israeli forces delivered demolition notices to over 20 Palestinian shop owner, Thaer Fasfous, the spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem said. The demolition notices gave Palestinians a 12 hours deadline to evacuate the premises. The shops were allegedly built without an Israeli permit, a common excuse used to demolish Palestinian structures throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank. 

Fasfous told Ma’an News Agency that the shops were built in 2007 and are a means of livelihood for many Palestinian families in the area.

Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents after the notices were delivered, leading to the firing of tear-gas and sound bomb by occupying forces.

According to Stephon Barbour, a source on the ground who spoke to teleSUR, Israeli bulldozers already arrived Wednesday and started demolishing 27 businesses. An anonymous Palestinian refugee living in Shu'fat told Barbour that the Israeli army had been patrolling the area for few weeks and taking notes. Suddenly, on Tuesday they handed out demolition notices.

Israeli forces patrolling Shu'fat refugee camp ahead of demolition. | Source: Stephon Barbour

Israeli forces are using the same justification, lack of building permits, to demolish the Palestinian Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, in the occupied West Bank.

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Israeli authorities demolished 780 houses in East Jerusalem between 2004 and 2018, leaving 2,766 Palestinians homeless. As a result, some Palestinians choose to leave Jerusalem. 

Additionally, 132 non-residential structures including businesses, one mosque, and storerooms were demolished by Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem from between 2016 and Sept. 2018.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement published on Nov. 16, “since the start of 2018, OCHA has documented 217 incidents attributed to Israeli settlers that have resulted in Palestinian casualties (60 incidents) or in damage to Palestinian property (157 incidents).”

According to OCHA, “this is the highest level of incidents recorded since 2014 and represents a 57 and 175 percent increase compared with 2017 and 2016 respectively.”

Palestinian activists claim the ongoing destruction of Palestinian structures in occupied Palestine is a key element of a general policy of ethnic cleansing, pushing Palestinians from their territories while expanding Jewish-Israeli settlements. 

<![CDATA[Haiti Remains Paralyzed for Third Consecutive Day]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 11:43:00 -0400 Wednesday marks the third consecutive day of a national strike in Haiti and fourth day of anti-corruption protests, which began Sunday. Demonstrators are demanding accountability on the mismanagement of PetroCaribe funds.

Protests in Haiti Leave 6 Dead, Scores Injured

According to organizers at least 11 people have been killed as armed civilians confronted state forces and anyone who wanted to cross the barricades set up across the capital city of Port-au-Prince.  

Around 75 people have been arrested.

General strikes have paralyzed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince for days. Thousands have marched in various parts of the country demanding better living conditions, access to health, education, accountability from authorities, and an end to government corruption.

Members of the political opposition are demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise for failing to investigate corruption allegations against previous governments related to the management of PetroCaribe, a regional integration initiative created 13 years ago by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The energy cooperation agreement between Venezuela and other Caribbean countries is a political initiative to facilitate Caribbean access to hydrocarbons skipping intermediation, market prices, and speculation.

After clashes with police Sunday, opposition groups, such as the Democratic and Popular Sector coalition, called for a complete shutdown of work and institutions.

Opposition leader, Andre Michel, said Tuesday that "Jovenel Moise has to leave power" because he has lost "control of the country."

"We can not allow more deaths, more instability, the PetroCaribe trial is not possible with Jovenel Moise as president, he is an obstacle to the process, the president has to accept that the people do not want him to remain in power," Michel added.

President Moise met Monday with two other heads of State, saying in a Tweet that the meeting was "held as part of the ongoing dialogue, (and) was an opportunity to assess the current socio-political situation in order to provide concerted responses."


"I met with the other two powers of the state. This meeting, held as part of the ongoing dialogue, was an opportunity for us to assess the current socio-political situation with a view to providing concerted responses," the president tweeted.

In recent months, Haiti, where more than half of the 10 million inhabitants survive on less than US$2 per day, has been the scene of demonstrations. Protests began in July after an increase in fuel prices.

Since last August there have been more protests to demand that the government look into the allegedly fraudulent handling of PetroCaribe funds and prosecute those who are responsible.

The PetroCaribe corruption scandal has added to Haiti’s economic crisis and to government distrust.

Moise’s government has repeatedly expressed a commitment to investigate the alleged irregularities in the management of PetroCaribe funds.

<![CDATA[Bolivia's Largest Union Federation Endorses Evo Morales for President, VP García Línera to Rerun]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 11:25:00 -0400 Vice President Álvaro García Línera, who has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of seeking re-election, finally announced today that he will run again for the post after the Bolivian Workers Center (COB) proclaimed him as the running mate of President Evo Morales in the 2019 elections.

Garcia Linera and Monedero: The Left Against 'Zombie' Neoliberalism

"Together with the President, we are here very moved and very excited because the only Bolivian workers' organization (...) has taken this decision, first of all, to support its affiliate Evo Morales (...) and, secondly, to take me into account" as his running mate, Línera said at an event organized by the COB Tuesday night.

“I receive it [the descion] with gratitude, with humility, and with commitment, knowing that next to Evo, we will never betray, or disappoint."

This afternoon the COB, who had previously had reservations on the government of Morales, abandoned its position of picking a worker for the vice presidency and at the suggestion of Morales choose Garcia Linera.

"To consolidate the candidacy of our companion Evo Morales, we also accept the suggestion for the candidacy for the vice presidency of Álvaro García Linera", read the second article of the resolution the COB.

The country’s top workers confederation said that Morales is its undisputed candidate for the presidential elections. "Nobody will stain or deviate from the leadership of our brother Evo Morales who not only represents our identity and dignity but the historic struggle for the construction of socialism."

Until yesterday, sectors of the COB had been asking its parent entity to propose a worker for the Vice Presidency, but the confederation opted to stick to Garcia Linera.

Morales celebrated the decision of the COB and described as "historic" and a show of the "organic maturity" of the organization of the workers.

The former leadership of the COB, under general secretary Guido Mitma, disaffiliated from the ruling the party, MAS-IPSP. Guido Mitma condemned Evo Morales and joined forces with right-wing protest movements against his candidacy at the upcoming elections.

However, a rank and file rebellion from the miners union forced Guido Mitma out and elected a new leadership that announced their support for Evo Morales. Current leader Juan Carlos Guarachi said "this is a government of the workers, of the social movements."

<![CDATA[Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sued for War Crimes in Yemen]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 10:37:00 -0400 The International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms (AIDL), a rights group based in France, filed a lawsuit against Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his visit to France Wednesday, accusing him of war crimes, complicity in torture, and inhumane treatment in Yemen.


Yemen: Coalition Attacks Trap 1000s of Civilians in Hodeidah

According to AIDL, Prince bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is also Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces and a close ally of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is responsible for attacks that targeted Yemeni civilians.

"It's in this capacity that he has ordered bombings on Yemeni territory," the complaint filed on behalf of the AIDL argued.

The complaint, filed in a Paris court, comes as pressure grows on French President Emmanuel Macron to curb arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which lead an international coalition waging war against the Houthi rebels who control most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa.

A number of Yemenis have joined the legal action, AIDL lawyer Joseph Breham said.

French prosecutors are already studying a similar complaint filed in April against the Saudi crown prince.


'Grim Irony': Saudi Strikes Uses British Intel to Destroy UK Aid Facilities in Yemen

The complaint against Abu Dhabi's crown prince, who is due to have lunch with Macron Wednesday, cites a report by United Nations experts that said coalition attacks may have constituted war crimes and that torture was carried out in two centers controlled by UAE forces.

According to a recent study, over 55,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war as a result of strikes and bombing. The estimate excludes the victims of the man-made famine caused by Saudi Arabia’s inhumane blockade of Yemen's ports. Furthermore, over three million (i.e. over 10 percent of the population) have been forced out of their homes.

Save the Children, a human rights organization, said Wednesday that according to a conservative estimate based on U.N. data, approximately 84,700 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition may have died between April 2015 and October 2018 in the war-torn country.  

“We are horrified that some 85,000 children in Yemen may have died because of the consequences of extreme hunger since the war began. For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are dying from hunger and disease and it’s entirely preventable,” the organization said in a statement.

Western countries are pressing for a ceasefire and renewed peace efforts to end the conflict. U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in Sanaa Wednesday to meet with Houthi leaders to discuss convening peace talks in Sweden next month to agree on a framework for peace under a transitional government.

<![CDATA[Chile: Top Official of La Araucania Resigns Over Mapuche Murder]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 09:55:00 -0400 Luis Mayol, the regional representative of the Ministry of Interior in La Araucania and a member of conservative President Sebastian Piñera’s ruling coalition announced his resignation during a press conference Tuesday.


Chile: Mapuches Reject Piñera's Araucania Development Plan

Mayol was appointed directly by President Piñera. 

His resignation came after protests broke out following the murder of Camilo Catrillanca by members of Chile's Jungle Command on Nov. 14, during a raid in the Ercilla commune.

“A few moments ago I presented my resignation to President Sebastian Piñera. I have made this decision because my main priority is, and always has been, the interest that this government does well and above all that it does well in the Araucania Region,” he said.

Hours before Mayol’s resignation, Christian Democrat legislators had announced that they would present a constitutional accusation (impeachment procedure) against him for his comments regarding Catrillanca's murder.

Mayol had falsely stated that Catrillanca had a criminal record promoting a racist mentality that has led to the criminalization and repression of Mapuche people in Chile. Depicting Indigenous communities as criminals also served as justification for the creation of the Jungle Command in Mapuche territories.

According to Mayol, his resignation was a result of the “pettiness and political narrowness" of the opposition," refusing to recognize any responsibility for the state murder of a young Mapuche man. "I leave my post knowing that I did nothing wrong,” Mayol said Tuesday.

On Monday, scores of Chileans demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, who oversaw the creation of the Jungle Command earlier this year to "fight terrorism."

Currently, the Public Ministry is carrying out investigations on Catrillanca’s murder. So far it is known that carabineros (police) present during the fatal shooting lied about not carrying surveillance camera. Four carabineros were dismissed for lying about this and then destroying the memory card which captured the whole incident.

The government also accepted the resignations of General Mauro Victoriano, head of Order and Security of La Araucania, and Ivan Contreras, who leads the Araucania forces.

<![CDATA[Brazil's Military Police 'Invades' MST Camp to Expel 150 Landless Families]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 09:47:00 -0400 Brazil's military police violently entered a camp ran by the Campesino Landless Workers' Movement (MST) Wednesday to expel 150 families that have lived in the territory Ze Maria do Tome, in the municipality of Limoeiro, state of Ceara, for four years. 

Brazil: Bolsonaro's Son to Legislate Against Opposition Groups

This is the fourth attempt in 10 days to expel them.   

"On Wednesday morning, the families of the Ze Maria do Tome camp in Limoeiro (CE), resist and negotiate with the military police to prevent compliance with a judicial eviction order,"  the MST twitter through their official account. 

The Campesino families have created a barricade and vowed to resist the forcible eviction.

"At this moment, the military police invades the Chapada do Apodi camp," the MST warned Wednesday morning. 

Campesinos in Brazil, one of the most unequal countries in terms of land distribution where one percent of farms cover 45 percent of the total arable land in Brazil, have long demanded a land reform.   

In April 2016, A Brazilian court ordered the government of Dilma Rousseff (Workers' Party) to suspend its agrarian reform program, which according to the MST is needed to address the 4.6 million landless families living in conditions of extreme poverty and distress.

Attacks on the MST have been increasingly registered. One violent incident was reported on the eve of Brazil’s presidential elections, which far-right Jair Bolsonaro of the Social Liberal Party won.

According to the MST, a camp in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (southern Brazil) was burned down by a group of Bolsonaro supporters.

President-elect Bolsonaro is an open supporter of Brazil’s former military dictatorship (1964 - 1985), which persecuted and tortured dissenters. He has also endorsed torture, promised to further militarize Brazil’s impoverished favelas, and referred to the MST as a terrorist group vowing to defend private property.

Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo, recently said in an interview: “What’s going on now is that groups such as the Landless Workers' Movement sometimes use their criminal power in order to invade lands, set tractors on fire in order to force the ranchers to sell their lands below market price... They impose terror in order to obtain benefits."

<![CDATA[US Paying Undercover Informants to Spy on Migrants]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 09:27:00 -0400 Paid undercover informants are gathering information on the migrant caravan through Whatsapp group messages for the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), NBC News reported Tuesday.

US District Court Blocks Trump From Asylum Ban

The migrants, currently in the Mexican border town of Tijuana, have been using WhatsApp group messages to coordinate their journey. According to the report, DHS officials have joined the messaging groups as a way to monitor the caravan’s size and activity.

The practice of monitoring non-U.S. citizens’ communication is not illegal. However, former acting undersecretary of intelligence for DHS, John Cohen, told NBC that it raises concerns about how resources are being allocated.

"Those resources have to come from someplace. They are not being devoted to thwarting terrorist threats, mass shootings, mailed fentanyl coming into the country or cyberattacks," said Cohen.

An exodus of around 4,000 migrants from Central America, the majority of which are asylum seekers, have been traveling from Honduras to the border between the U.S. and Mexico since mid-October.

The journey has been dangerous as they crossed zones controlled by drug-trafficking cartels, slept rough at night, faced harsher weather conditions in the north of Mexico and encountered precarious security conditions along their way. "I find it hard to believe that the highest risk facing this nation comes from this caravan," Cohen said.

They have been fleeing poverty and violence at home, the result of decades of U.S. foreign policy and unstable political climates in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala

“Three countries that have been under harsh U.S. domination,” Noam Chomsky told Democracy Now. “People are fleeing from the misery and horrors for which we are responsible... from severe oppression, violence, terror, [and] extreme poverty.”

The amount of funding the DHS is using to perform their information gathering scheme inside the caravan is unknown.

DHS Spokeswoman Katie Waldman said the U.S. has an obligation “to ensure we know who is crossing our borders to protect against threats to the Homeland.”

"While not commenting on sources or methods, it would be malpractice for the United States to be ignorant about the migrants — including many criminals — attempting to enter our country,” Waldman said in a statement.

Despite Waldman's claims of "many criminals," there have been no reports of violence occurring from the group.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a proclamation Nov. 9 declaring anyone crossing the southern border ineligible for asylum.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denounces U.S. federal judge's decision to block Trump's asylum ban in a press conference. | Efe

However, a federal judge temporarily shut down the presidential decree and ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they enter the United States.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen criticized the judge's decision saying that the migrants "will not succeed in skipping the line in violation of the laws."

In the run-up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections, nearly 6,000 U.S. troops were sent to the southern border to allegedly “protect” the region and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents stationed along the frontier.

Some 2,000 National Guard members have been patrolling the border since the most recent exodus last April.

<![CDATA[US Troops at the Border: From Bodyguards to Medical Assistants?]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 08:12:00 -0400 President Donald Trump's administration is considering giving United States troops on the border with Mexico the authority to carry out medical screening of migrants, U.S. officials told Reuters Tuesday.

US District Court Blocks Trump From Asylum Ban

The proposal, which is still in draft form and circulating within the administration, would involve the military in screenings for things like illness and injury only if U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency personnel were overwhelmed and unable to do so on their own, the officials said.

The proposal would expand the mission for the Pentagon, which said previously it did not expect its forces to directly interact with migrants, despite calls by policy experts and retired military personnel to send the troops back home. On Monday, retired Maj. Gen. Peter S. Cooke called the domestic deployment “extremely unwise” and an unnecessary burden on soldiers which “does affect our national security” while Ned Price, director of policy and communications at National Security Action and former advisor to President Barack Obama criticized the deployment of troop calling it "nothing more than what I would call a political stunt." 

The Pentagon declined to comment on internal deliberations.

U.S. military duties on the border, including stringing up barbed wire and building temporary housing, have been aimed at supporting CBP personnel.

One U.S. official said that under the latest proposal, U.S. troops would carry out medical screenings only if other officials, such as from state and local governments or the National Guard, were not available or overwhelmed.

Migrant Caravan: Trump Suggests Possible Use of Lethal Force

On Monday, Reuters reported that Trump was likely to give U.S. troops authority to protect immigration agents stationed along the U.S. border with Mexico if they come under threat from migrants seeking to cross into the U.S., a role he had hinted at on various occasions, including during an earlier press conference in which he said (hypothetical) stones thrown by migrants would be regarded as bullets. Later, Trump had to backtrack on that comment. 

The U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters did so on condition of anonymity because Trump has not yet signed off on the idea.

The number of deployed troops are at around 5,800. Trump's critics have criticized his decision to deploy troops as a response to the humanitarian crisis that has forced thousands to flee Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. On several occasions, the U.S. president has used dehumanizing language to refer to entire families looking for asylum as they flee violence and poverty. 

About 6,000 Central Americans have reached the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, according to local officials. More Central American migrants are making their way toward Tijuana. And a last group of migrants is making their way to Mexico. According to teleSUR correspondents at least 20 members of the last caravan made it into Mexico Tuesday. 

<![CDATA[EU: Workers Could Bear The Pain of Italy Austerity Measures]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 07:05:00 -0400 On Wednesday, the European Commission will begin to take steps toward enforcing alleged “disciplinary” measures on Italy regarding its draft 2019 budget.


IMF-Backed Budget Passes Argentine Senate Amid Protests

“It would be a big mistake for the European Commission to try to deal with Italy the same way they dealt with Greece, imposing a very tough constraint on the budget, a strong austerity policy because Italy is not Greece,”  Spanish Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell, a socialist politician, said.

According to Reuters, the commission will have to state in their report that Italy is in breach of its 60 percent debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio. Italy’s debt is currently 131 percent of its GDP.

But according to Italy’s economy minister, Giovanni Tria, France had been given greater flexibility to handle its budget, in recent years.

Italy’s response to the commission has so far been one of speeding up privatizations as a means to decrease debt. The country's conservative and far-right alliance government is pushing to boost spending to “kickstart the economy.”

The commission’s role is to check the draft budgets to ensure they comply with the EU limitations on deficit and debt before they go to vote, in Italy’s parliament. If the commission evaluates that there is an excessive deficit it has the power of imposing fines equal to 0.2 percent of the country’s GDP, a move that would require the support of the EU’s deputy finance ministers.

Italy has, so far, skirted the EU’s austerity measures because of the implementation of a so-called Stability Growth Pact, but the government switched tracks and is now looking for means to expand its budget, a move which will likely generate rejection by the commission.

According to Dean Baker, from the progressive Washington D.C.-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, the adjustment measures suggested by the EU Commission will have the greatest impact on workers. “Clearly the intention of the EU Commission is to impose the pain of adjustment on Italy’s workers." 

Yet, Baker believes the effect can be attenuated.

“But the logic of adjustment does not require that workers bear the pain, or least not that they bear the pain alone. Italy must reduce its domestic price level relative to the price level in Germany. The Eurozone authorities would see lower prices come about from lower real wages, but reductions in other costs can also help to lower prices in Italy.”

<![CDATA[Canadian Province Drops Offensive Lake Name to Honor Cree Women]]> The new name commemorates Cree women who lost their lives in the 19th century.]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 06:31:00 -0400 Canada’s Saskatchewan province has changed the name of a group of lakes, from Killsquaw Lake to a name which honors Indigenous women - Kikiskitotawânawak Iskêwak, which is Cree for “we honor the women.”   

Roger Waters Arrives in Ecuador to Visit Indigenous Communities in Amazon Affected by Chevron

"This change will recognize and honor the Cree women who lost their lives in this area in the 19th century with a name that better reflects the language and culture of those being commemorated," Parks Minister Gene Makowsky said.

The new name commemorates Cree women who lost their lives in the 19th century.

"It's an event today that I think we can be proud of in hopes of reclaiming our territories and our place names as Indigenous people," Sheldon Wuttunee, former chief of Red Pheasant First Nation, who assisted with the renaming project said Tuesday.

Sheldon theorized that there was likely a miscommunication between the word iskwew, which means woman in Cree, and squaw, a derogatory term for Indigenous women. "The word squaw is a word that our women and our people find offensive and derogatory," Sheldon said.

A lawyer from Red Pheasant First Nation, Kellie Wuttunee, added in a release that "words are powerful. Names are powerful. They inform our identity,” lauding the government’s decision to change the name of the lakes. 

"With actions like this, we are reminding each other and telling the world that we can learn from our mistakes and move forward together."

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron said: “Changing the name of this lake today shows a great respect and step forward towards healing the racial divide in this province while honoring the First Nations women we've lost, our lands and waters and our Cree language."

Over a year ago, Kellie petitioned the Saskatchewan Government for a name-change, explaining that the former name undermined the pride and self-esteem of Indigenous peoples.

A formal naming ceremony is scheduled for spring 2019.

<![CDATA[Mexico: President-Elect's Party Submits Bill For National Guard]]> The National Regeneration Movement proposes that national guard members receive human rights training and are tried by civil courts.

Wed, 21 Nov 2018 06:05:00 -0400 Lawmakers from the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) submitted a bill Tuesday for the creation of a National Guard that aims to replace the armed forces in the fight against organized crime.

AMLO: Proposed National Guard Will Be Trained By The Military

Former President Felipe Calderon sent in the armed forces to fight drug cartels in 2006. The deployment of the armed forces, however, was only intended to be temporary.

Although successive Mexican governments have made changes to police and security forces, gang violence has since claimed more than 170,000 lives.

"More than 90 percent of crimes end up going unpunished, and the country is still seriously suffering from not having a professional police force," said MORENA congresswoman Maria Alvarado as she set out the grounds for the initiative.

On Nov. 14, Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) presented his 2018-2024 National Peace And Security Plan to the media. On that occasion, he stated that his policy proposal includes the creation of a 50,000-member National Guard.

MORENA aims precisely to do that. The bill contemplates changes to Mexican constitution that would mean that national guard members receive human rights training, are tried by civil courts, and will not be able to move detainees to military institutions.

The bill proposes that the National Guard exist as the crisis of violence and insecurity in the country persists. However, it also anticipates that the Executive and the Legislative must evaluate the new security policy three years after its implementation.

According to data reported by Informador, the coordinator of the bench of MORENA in the Chamber of Deputies, Mario Delgado, said that both powers may analyze whether the National Guard endures or disappears.

He also indicated that this new security institution will begin with 46,000 members but will include 150,000 from the Naval, Military and Federal Police in 2021.


<![CDATA[LGBTQ Record 57 Percent Success During Midterms]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 05:47:00 -0400 The LGBTQ Victory Fund released a detailed report Monday that found 57 percent of all LGBTQ candidates won their elections.


UN Women Lauds Newly-elected Women in US Midterm Elections

The fund, which tracks, and promotes LGBTQ candidates, celebrated the results but insisted more work needed to be done until the LGBTQ community were equally represented.

Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Fund, told NBC that, “It is vital we recruit and train more LGBTQ people of color, women and trans candidates because America needs their voices in the halls of power.”

Of the 225 candidates endorsed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, 72 percent were victorious.  

The incumbents were made-up of 135 of the 432 LGBTQ candidates on the ballot, with 79 percent of LGBTQ winning their race.

Approximately 57 percent of cisgender (non-transgender) men emerged victorious, while more than 63 percent of cisgender won their races. For trans men and trans women, the rates were 38 and 32 percent, respectively.

Gay men (48 percent) and lesbians (32 percent) made up the majority of the LGBTQ candidates.

There will be an increase in the number of LGBTQ elected officials in both the House and Senate, with two LGBTQ members in the Senate, and eight in the House.

In sticking with the overall trend of the midterm elections, female candidates outperformed male candidates.

Meanwhile, African-American and Asian-American candidates had the highest rate of success, 68 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

<![CDATA[Media Watchdog: Increased Persecution of African Journalists ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 04:56:00 -0400 On Wednesday, the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) reported that journalists in Cameroon, Sudan, Egypt and Tanzania are facing increased persecution.

Israeli Forces Tear-Gassed Journalists in Occupied Palestine

In a statement released Tuesday, AMI said that in Cameroon alone, four journalists have been “intimidated, arrested or tried before military courts across the country over allegations of 'propagating false information' or undermining of the state under the anti-terror law,” according to the Nation Online.

Egypt recently enacted a law which requires online newspapers to pay fees of up to US$30,000 to register websites and “up to five times that amount for non-compliance,” according to the Sierra Leone Telegraph.

In Sudan, a specialized Press Court in the capital of Khartoum sentenced Zine El Abeen Al-A’Jab, the former editor of a newspaper to a one-and-a-half month prison sentence or a fine of US$104 for alleged “dissemination of false information.”

The situation for journalists in Tanzania is under a microscope as rights groups and media advocates have recently expressed concerns about the freedom of expression in the country. Since the election three years ago, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli's government cracked down on independent media and close down critical newspapers, according to the National.

The AMI called on African governments to create an environment more favorable for journalism, demanded the release of detained journalists, the cessation of intimidation, internet cuts, media closure, censorships and trials of journalists before military tribunals, among other issues.

<![CDATA[Colombia: Five Political Hunger Strikers in Serious Condition]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 04:00:00 -0400 Since Nov. 11, a group of female political prisoners, who remain imprisoned in El Buen Pastor Prison in Bogotá, Colombia, have been on hunger strike to protest against unconstitutional measures taken by the Ministry of Justice.

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According to information published by Radio 360, nineteen female political prisoners have completed 10 days of hunger strike. So far, five of them have been hospitalized due to their health conditions.

Their protest began when the prisoners knew that their pavilion will be transformed into maternity facilities.

If this project is accomplished, political prisoners would be transferred to facilities in which they should remain locked in small cells, which implies a deterioration in their living conditions.

Currently, the 19 hunger strikers are confined in a relatively large space, in which they have access to a dining room, a court, and a machine room.

Through an open letter signed on Nov. 17, the political prisoners held that the Ministry's decision "besides putting our lives at risk, our physical, mental and emotional integrity is a blow to our dignity and ignorance of our status as political prisoners."

They also highlighted that their transfer will hinder the processing of their requests before the Special Jurisdiction of Peace.

Until Tuesday it was known that four of the strikers were already hospitalized. However, the Ministry of Justice has not ruled on her petitions and the prison authorities have placed obstacles to an adequate medical follow-up, according to the strikers' public letter.

The prisoners affirmed that they will continue their hunger strike until the Ministry of Justice retracts their transfer to other facilities.

<![CDATA[Russian Loses Interpol Presidency After US Pushes Opposing Vote]]> The election had been hotly contested, with anti-Russian sentiment projected by the United States and Europe.]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 03:42:00 -0400 Russian interior ministry’s Alexander Prokopchuk loses an election, held in Dubai, for Interpol's new president. The favored candidate was best by South Korean Kim Jong-yang after heavyweight opposition.

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Last week, The Times had reported that Prokopchuk, who currently serves as one of Interpol's vice-presidents, was the "favorite" to lead the organization. However, the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) 194 member states, in a shock decision, chose Kim following several terse exchanges which prompted Moscow to state that critics were running a "campaign aimed at discrediting" Prokopchuk.  

The election had been hotly contested, garnering anti-Russian sentiment projected by the United States and Europe. Several U.S. senators openly urged voting nations to oppose the Russian candidate, while other countries threatened to disrupt Interpol membership structure if Prokopchuk was elected.




Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov retorted to the constant pushback, stating that the U.S. senators' action was an “intervention in the voting process.” 

Additionally, during his stint as Interpol's Moscow bureau chief, Prokopchuk was accused, but not prosecuted or charged, of allegedly using international arrest warrants to target critics of the Kremlin.

"Our world is now facing unprecedented changes which present huge challenges to public security and safety. To overcome them, we need a clear vision: we need to build a bridge to the future," Kim said.

<![CDATA[Facebook Sued For Censorship by Russian News Agency]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 02:28:00 -0400 The Federal Agency of News (FAN), whose shareholder is Evgeniy Zubarev, filed a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California, seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Facebook from blocking its account.


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According to Facebook, FAN was linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian site which was indicted for interfering in the U.S. Presidential Election of 2016. 

On Feb.16, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted IRA alleging that this website was a Kremlin-linked troll engaged in information warfare.

Two months later, Facebook deleted the account of FAN during a purge of more than 270 Russian language accounts linked to IRA.

In his complaint, Zubarev said that FAN was improperly swept up in the purge. He holds that "FAN is an independent, authentic, and legitimate news agency".

In 2016, his company shared the same office building as IRA and employed Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, a Russian accountant who has been recently charged by U.S. prosecutors for attempting to meddle in the 2018 congressional elections. 

But the plaintiffs said Khusyaynova's role at FAN has been limited to overseeing day-to-day bookkeeping. FAN also holds that she was not an officer and had no discretion over its editorial content.

“The only similarity between FAN and any similar accounts Facebook contends to be ‘inauthentic’ and controlled by the IRA is their national origin and that of their members,” FAN´s complaint affirms. 

They added, that “Facebook, while claiming to protect the public from ‘fake news’ is actually engaging in censorship and denying FAN subscribers of access to a legitimate news organization.” 




<![CDATA[Imran Khan: US Needs to Set Record Straight on Pakistan ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 02:07:00 -0400 The United States Government suspended a total of US$1.66 billion in security assistance to Pakistan prompting a response from the country's Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan.

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Khan commented that President Donald Trump should refrain from scapegoating Pakistan — in response to the U.S. president’s remark that Pakistan did not do “a damn thing” — in regard to insurgencies in Afghanistan as well as to Col. Rob Manning, a spokesperson of the Department of Defence, who stated that the “US$1.66 billion of security assistance to Pakistan is suspended.” 

The actions of the Taliban has not significantly assuaged the U.S. Government’s concerns, "...we still see the Taliban moving weapons, fighters and money through Pakistan. We still see Taliban commanders taking refuge in Pakistan," according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Afghanistan David Sedney.

PM Khan, in a post on his personal Twitter account, responded to Trump's statement saying the U.S. head of state needed to "set the record straight on Pakistan."



In September, the Pentagon took action and suspended US$300 million in aid to Islamabad, after accusing the government of allegedly failing to combat insurgencies, such as the Taliban, who Washington accuses of conducting cross-border attacks from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan.

Previously, in January, Washington also announced a suspension of US$900 million in security aid to Pakistan, stipulating that the country should implement measures against the Taliban in Afghanistan. 

But, according to Sedney, the security forces of Pakistan have improved efforts to curtail the influence of insurgencies based in its territories, in recent years.

During the last 17 years, which is the period of time that the so-called U.S.-led “War on Terror” has lasted, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

By mid-October 2018, the United Nations warned that, because of a drought and the conflict lasting over 17 years, at least three million Afghans have faced famine.

<![CDATA[US: Sanctions on Russia, Iran to Curb Oil Shipments to Syria]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 00:49:00 -0400 The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said on Tuesday that the U.S. is targeting Russian and Iranian companies and citizens that would be collaborating with Iran through sending oil to Syria.

“We are issuing an Advisory today identifying the grave risks to the maritime community if they participate in shipping oil to the Government of Syria," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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According to the OFAC, the companies that allegedly are dedicated to sending oil to Syria are Global Vision Group, Promsyrioimport, and EMEBE Bank, which are Russian; and Tadbír Kish Medical and Pharmaceutical Co., which are Iranian.

The Treasury's accusation against those companies cuts them off from the global financial system by blocking any of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction and in effect warning non-U.S. institutions against dealing with them.

Earlier this month, the Donald Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil, banking, and transport sectors. In this context, the OFAC's decision escalates the economic campaign against the Persian country.

"The United States is committed to interrupting illicit and other financial support to the Syrian Government, [including] the transportation of oil to ports controlled and operated by the State, regardless of the location or nationality of those providing such support," affirmed the OFAC.

<![CDATA[French Rugby to Support Gareth Thomas Over Homophobic Attack]]> Tue, 20 Nov 2018 23:16:00 -0400 France players will wear rainbow laces during their match against Fiji in support of Gareth Thomas, the French Rugby Federation's vice president Serge Simon said on Tuesday, after the former Wales captain was a victim of a homophobic assault last Friday in Cardiff.

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"Dear Gareth Thomas, all of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic molestation you've been victim of," Simon tweeted. "To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoelace during the France – Fidji game on Saturday night. We're all in with you in this matter."

Thomas posted Sunday a video on social media, sporting cuts and bruises to his face, saying he had chosen to ask for an apology rather than criminal charges after being attacked in his hometown for being gay.

Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009 and retired in 2011, said he was attacked for his sexuality but he decided to opt for “restorative justice” with a 16-year-old boy involved, which meant he could address his attacker rather than press charges.

Thomas, 44, said he wanted his social media post to spread a “positive message” which comes as figures show hate crimes against the LGBT+ community are on the rise in Britain.

“Last night I was a victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality,” Thomas said in the video.

“I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people that did this because I thought they could learn more that way.

“And also to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me because there’s a lot of people out there who want to hurt us. But, unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more who want to help us heal. So this, I hope, will be a positive message.”

A 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named, has since apologized, according to local police.

Since coming out as gay, Thomas has campaigned on gay rights issues.

Government data shows that reports of hate crimes against people on the basis of their sexuality jumped 27 percent last year, with almost 12,000 incidents lodged with the police.

The British government in October announced plans to enhance training for police handling hate crime, which includes offenses motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and trans identity.