teleSUR English ES Thu, 23 Jan 2020 12:08:43 -04:00 teleSUR English <![CDATA[Colombia's Indigenous Demand Justice After 20 Leaders Killed]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 12:08:41 -04:00 Colombia's Indigenous people are outraged at the death of more than 20 social leaders inside South American country,  the counselor of the Indigenous Youth of Colombia , Eliel Castillo, said this week.


Protests Continue In Colombia Against Ivan Duque's Policies

Castillo, who participates in the World Encounter Against Imperialism, remarked that there is a systematic massacre occurring in his country. A massacre which has largely been ignored by the Colombian government, despite promises of safety. 

He said that social activists and Indigenous leaders who have been killed sought the transformation of a society in which they can have opportunities.

"The Indigenous peoples deserve a guarantee of life in this society, for the defense of the territory, of life, for our economic and social rights, that is why today the original peoples are present in this World Encounter against Imperialism," he said.

Castillo recalled that for 500 years, the Indigenous peoples seek balance and harmony, which was taken from them as native peoples.

“The situation in Colombia is quite strong, quite complicated, we want worldwide support in these struggles that we are leading because we have had governments that all they have wanted is for  our people to disappear. They are leading us to war, to death , to destruction, they take away our territories, invade them with any kind of projects that disrupt our lives and our being as original peoples,” he added.

]]> <![CDATA[Netanyahu, Pence Slam 'Anti-Semitic' Iran at Holocaust Memorial]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 11:08:01 -04:00 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence took turns denouncing Iran at the Holocaust memorial event on Wednesday, as both leaders accused the Islamic Republic of Anti-Semitism.


Israeli Opposition Leader Gantz Pledges to Annex Jordan Valley

Netanyahu, who has taken an aggressive approach towards Iran, called the Islamic Republic "the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet”, telling world leaders at a Holocaust memorial event that Israel would always defend itself against those seeking to destroy it.

“I am concerned that we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance against the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet - a regime that openly seeks to develop nuclear weapons and annihilate the one and only Jewish state,” Netanyahu said. “Israel salutes President (Donald) Trump and Vice President Pence for confronting the tyrants of Tehran,” he continued.

“At the core of Israel’s establishment is the command - there will not be another Holocaust. As prime minister of Israel, that is my greatest commitment,” Netanyahu said in his address to world leaders, who included Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Netanyahu's statement was followed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who did not shy away from denouncing the Iranian government. 

Pence took aim at Iran, saying it was the one country “that denies the Holocaust as a matter of state policy and threatens to wipe Israel off the map”.

The conference is being held against the backdrop of a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the United States and Europe.

In 2018, Washington abandoned the nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers in 2015. Under the accord, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for a lifting of international sanctions against it.


]]> <![CDATA[Migrant Caravan Arrives in Mexico by Crossing Suchiate River]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 11:57:15 -04:00 Hundreds of Central American migrants Thursday managed to enter Mexican territory after crossing the Suchiate River, which is the natural border between Mexico and Guatemala.


Mexico Guarantees Entry Conditions For The Migrant Caravan

A week ago, hundreds of Hondurans left their country to Guatemala intending to reach the southern border of the United States to apply for asylum.

On Monday, they tried to enter Mexico through its border with Guatemala where the National Guard was waiting to prevent them from passing.

According to Mexico's National Institute of Migration (INM), however, about 500 people managed to enter Mexican territory but the vast majority of them were arrested in the following hours.

In the early hours of Thursday, migrants gathered in Tecun Uman city to leave towards the Suchiate river where the Mexican National Guard does not maintain much presence.​​​​​​​

"Migration's toughest face. A Honduran boy brushes his teeth after spending the night on the Suchiate river's bank while awaiting the fate of the Migrant Caravan, which was stopped by the National Guard when it tried to cross into Mexico."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSD) issued a new warning to members of the migrant caravan who are trying to reach its country.

In case of reaching the US-Mexico border, "any member of the caravan will be prosecuted accordingly and will quickly be separated, returned or repatriated,​​​​​​" the HSD acting secretary Chad Wolf said.

“Being part of a large group, such as a caravan, does not provide any special treatment or benefits to those who participate,” he added.

So far, the Mexican government has deported 254 people, who entered into its territory with this new caravan, to Honduras, as local media reported.

]]> <![CDATA[China: Lockdown of Two Cities Near Wuhan to Contain Coronavirus]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 10:42:40 -04:00 In order to curb the spread of coronavirus 2019-nCoV, Chinese authorities have suspended public transport out of the city of Huanggang (6 million inhabitants) and the city of Ezhou (1million inhabitants). Citizens have been asked not to leave these places without "special reasons."


WHO Extends Emergency Talks Over Novel Coronavirus Outbreak

Both locations are near Wuhan, the center of the viral pneumonia outbreak that has left at least 17 people dead. In this city, all forms of transport were also suspended to contain the outbreak.

Other precautionary measures have been ordered to prevent the number of people infected within these cities from increasing.​​​​​​

"All cinemas, internet cafes, and meeting indoor places, as well as tourism and entertainment places, will be closed," the Huanggang Municipal Government said.​​​​​​​

These prohibitions occur at a time when the Chinese were preparing to celebrate the New Year on Saturday, a party in which millions of people travel to other cities to visit their families.​​​​​​​

According to the Chinese authorities' latest data, the number of confirmed cases of the so-called “Wuhan pneumonia” amounts to 631.​​​​​​​

Epidemiologists' latest findings show that this new class of pneumonia can be transmitted from person to person and the ​​​​​​​viral incubation period can last up to 14 days.

On Thursday, the World Heald Organization (WHO) is expected to decide whether to declare the 2019-nCoV outbreak a global health emergency.

If it does so, it will be the sixth international public health emergency to be declared in the last decade.

Outside China, eight cases of the Wuhan pneumonia have been reported up to Thursday morning. Thailand has confirmed four, while Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. have reported one each.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Extradition Hearing for Julian Assange Will be Split in Two]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 09:47:08 -04:00 The extradition hearings for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been split in two, with the second taking place in May, according to a ruling made by a judge on Thursday, January  23rd.


'Assange Cannot Be Extradited to the US', Lawyer Holds at Court

The judge ruled that the first extradition hearing for Assange will be scheduled for the week of February 23rd, while the remaining three weeks will be held on May 18.

This move comes after Assange's defense team argued that there was not enough time to receive and cosnider witness statements and that the WikiLeaks founder had difficulty accessing the case materials.

“We simply can’t get in as we require to see Mr Assange and take instructions ... we need time to deal with that,” his lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said.

The first part of the full hearing in February at Woolwich Crown Court will cover arguments that the extradition is politically motivated and an abuse of process.

Clair Dobbin, the lawyer representing the U.S. authorities, said they would oppose allowing Assange to call anonymous witnesses as his legal team intends. The hearing will also hear psychiatric evidence about his mental state.

In April 2019, Assange's asylum status was revoked by the Ecuadorean authorities after he spent the past the seven years inside their embassy in Britain. He was immediately arrested by the British authorities after his asylum status was revoked.

In May, the US Department of Justice indicted Assange on 17 additional charges under the Espionage Age and demanded his extradition.

Assange, 48, is facing serious charges, including espionage, that could result in his imprisonment for up to 175 years. 

]]> <![CDATA[Puerto Rico: Citizens Demand Resignation of Governor Vasquez]]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 09:28:39 -04:00 Puerto Rico's singer Resident (Rene Perez) and baseball player Yadier Molina called on citizens to join a march to demand the resignation of Governor Wanda Vazquez and Senate President Thomas Rivera for their mismanagement of the crisis generated by the earthquakes that hit that island from Dec. 28.


Earthquake of Magnitude 6 Shakes Puerto Rico Again

“They have to understand that people have the power. The corrupt government, which has not been able to deliver, has to understand that we decide," Resident said and invited Puerto Ricans to join the march that will depart from San Juan's Capitol at 17:00 local time on Thursday.

Ricky Martin also announced that he will travel to Puerto Rico to participate in this new massive rally against corruption.

"In times of greatest need for our people, those who supposedly should lead us have failed us again. They have once again transgressed the most basic rights of human beings: water, roof, education, security. They did it with evil. There is no other explanation, "Martin said.

"I'm on my way to Puerto Rico... I'll accompany you in this new claim for respect, justice, and peace." 

Puerto Ricans are accusing Vazquez and Rivera of mismanagement, for they knew about the existence of humanitarian supplies that were not distributed among the victims.

Early this week, food provided by international humanitarian aid was discovered stored in a warehouse in the city of Ponce, which caused outrage among citizens because those resources were never used to help some 4,000 victims.​​​​​​​​​​​​

Resident recalled that last summer's demonstrations caused the resignation of Ricardo Rossello as governor, so he now asks for a similar effort.​​​​​​​ Protesters also demand to advance the elections and replace officials who should already be out of the government.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Sanders Calls on Global Movement to Tackle 'Billionaires' Greed']]> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 00:02:12 -04:00 In a response to a new Oxfam International report on inequality, Sen. Bernie Sanders called Tuesday for a global movement to pursue economic justice.


500M People Worldwide Struggle to Find Adequate Work: Study

"We live in a world where a tiny handful of billionaires have extraordinary control over the economic and political life of the global community," Sanders said.

"According to a new report from Oxfam, the top 1percent own more than twice as much wealth than the rest of humanity combined," the Vermont senator noted in a statement. 

"Meanwhile, nearly half of the global population is trying to survive on less than US$5.50 a day and 820 million are going hungry."

"Now, more than ever, our job is to bring people around the world together to develop an international movement that takes on the greed of the billionaire class and leads us to a world of economic, social, political, and environmental justice." 

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has vowed to tackle the "outrageous level of inequality that exists in America today," and proposed a "tax on extreme wealth" that he revealed in September 2019on his campaign website.

The plan would consist of the creation of a one percent tax on wealth between US$32 and US$50 million, with the rate progressively increasing on richer citizens in the United States.

The report published earlier this week by Oxfam shocked more than a few people as it showed that the world’s billionaires, representing 2,153 people, had more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019 and that the 22 richest men in the world had more wealth than all the women in Africa.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuba Ratifies Solidarity With Venezuela]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:51:41 -04:00 The member of the secretariat of the Communist Party of Cuba, Victor Gaute, today ratified the firm and unchanging solidarity of the island with the Bolivarian Revolution and President Nicolás Maduro.

Network for Defence of Humanity Voices Support for teleSUR

During the inauguration of the World Anti-Imperialist Meeting held in Caracas, Gaute expressed that the Caribbean nation brings to this event a message of unity, cooperation and solidarity with Venezuela and all the just causes of world.

In his speech, the Cuban representative called on the peoples' to defend peace and to stay nests above the political and ideological differences to stop a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will damage the independence and sovereignty of the peoples from the Rio Grande to Patagonia.

"Cuba and Venezuela are not responsible for the anger of the peoples who rebel against the neo-liberalism that they intend to impose on blood and fire," he emphasized as well as that the Cuban Revolution will always be next to Venezuela, at any circumstance.

Everything, he said, that everything is happening in the region today is a consequence of the crisis of the political systems, lack of democracy, discrediting conservative parties traditional, historical corruption typical of military dictatorships and the governments of right.

Furthermore, Gaute called on the people to unite and defend Venezuela, because, he stressed, in this nation decides today the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Survival of the norms of International Law and the Letter of Nations United.

“Fighting for Venezuela is fighting for the integration of the region, for respect for the sovereignty and independence of Our America”, reiterated the party leader Cuban.

After analyzing the political and economic situation that the island is experiencing, and highlighting the achievements reached by the revolutionary process, said that “no matter how hard the aggressions, threats and blackmail, there won't be a single concession.”

Like this South American country, “nothing and nobody intimidates us and freedom once conquered, we will defend it at the price that is necessary,” he said.

]]> <![CDATA[Plurinational State of Bolivia: Revolution and Indigenous Resistance ]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:05:37 -04:00 The Day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia is celebrated on Jan. 22. Eleven years have passed since 2009, when the country’s so-called “re-foundation” was carried out, led by the first Indigenous president, Evo Morales. That day marked the beginning of a new political, social and economic horizon for the Andean nation.

Evo Morales Celebrates 14th Anniversary of Cultural Revolution

The process of transition to a new state was approved in a constitutional referendum on Jan. 25, 2009, with 61.43 percent of the votes and a historical turnout of 90.26 percent, and was promulgated on Feb. 7 of the same year.

However, in 2010, Morales officially declares Jan. 22 as the official day of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

This day, the South American country celebrates the approval of a New Political Constitution in which the state leaves behind its traditional model of Republic, and the legacy of Spanish colonization, to give way to the Plurinational State that is ruled by the principles of unity, community, and respect for the plurinational law, according to the new document.

A "free, independent, sovereign, democratic, intercultural, decentralized and autonomous" State that harbors new political figures in the structures of power as well as in the leadership of the State: the Indigenous and Campesino peoples.

The New Constitution, debated since 2006, establishes: "We left the colonial, republican and neoliberal state in the past. We assumed the historical challenge to collectively build a Social Unitary State of Plurinational Communitarian Law, which integrates and articulates the purposes of advancing toward a Bolivia that is democratic, productive, carrier, and inspirer of peace, committed to integral development and with the free determination of its people.”

In that sense, the main transformation with the “re-foundation” of Bolivia was precisely based on the recognition, inclusion and participation of Indigenous and Campesino peoples in decision-making and representation —never seen before — in the State’s organizational chart.

"Before, in the Republic, Indigenous people did not exist or were almost a decorative element because of their cultures and clothes. They are now people with civil rights and faculties to exercise their own autonomy,” Victor Borda, a member of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party told a local media outlet in 2018.

Then-President, Morales, during the promulgation of the Constitution (2009), at an event also attended by the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Guatemalan Indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchu, said that the New Constitution was inspired by the "permanent struggle of liberation" that, since the times of the Spanish colony, the Indigenous peoples, the social movements and the Bolivian patriots undertook in defense of life, justice, and sovereignty.

Morales, with a speech full of historical references, stressed that, although the new law "protects all Bolivians equally," it mainly enshrine "the deepest aspirations of the most abandoned sectors" in the country, referring to Indigenous peoples and the working class.

Changing the political, social, economic and cultural course in Bolivia meant something unprecedented in its history, after a cycle of governments founded under highly oligarchic and exclusionary processes that, as a result of colonialism very embedded in the social fabric, fostered a pattern of exclusion and subordination of a majority: Indigenous populations, Campesino and also Afro-Bolivians.

"The pre-existence of Indigenous nations and peoples is the 'plurality' on which the Plurinational State is built. It is a rupture with the Nation-State, that is, a State whose mission is to homogenize the social fabric, the basis for legal monism, for the modern construction of rational institutions, for example a single official language, a single valid right or a single way of understanding development. The 2009 Constitution breaks with this way of conceiving the State and recognizes the previous existence, and with it, the self-determination of indigenous nations and peoples," Bolivian lawyer, Farit Rojas Tudela, told La Razon, a local media outlet.

From the critical side that questions the process of re-foundation of the Bolivian state, many debates have taken place around the meaning of the "plurinational" as something attributed to Indigenous peoples in an exclusive way, which is reduced to the imaginary of a "Indigenous State" and could exclude the rest, those who are not "Indigenous."

However, in the face of these criticisms, analysts have affirmed that in the Bolivian case, these positions end up losing the starting point in the historical framework and the broken social structure that not only had a debt to the Indigenous peoples but beyond that,  the significance of the plurinational is rooted not only in the recognition of the Indigenous peoples but also in the recognition of the "Indigenous" in the whole social fabric, that is to say everywhere, in each of the Bolivians, something that had not previously been so radically questioned.

According to Lucila Julia Choque, from the Observatory of Democratic Parity in Bolivia, more than 52% of the population have maintained their own characteristics (physical identity as well as ancestral practices and customs) and have stressed that, before the constitutional change, these populations did not participate in public and political life. "It does not mean that they were not part of politics but they were not in key decision-making spaces within the State," she said.

"My grandfather used to say when I was little, ‘one day someone like us, like me, will be president of Bolivia,’ and I was telling myself, but who like us could be president? That is impossible, I said. I grew up with that mentality, and I was surprised that my grandfather’s words were fulfilled, an Indigenous had been elected president of Bolivia," Nancy Flores Barco, Bolivian former member of the assembly said in a TeleSUR documentary in 2017.

Analysts agree that while the government of the first Indigenous president was not spared from criticism, one thing that cannot be denied is the level of social inclusion that has been achieved in the nearly 14 years of Morales’ administration, something unprecedented in the republican history of Bolivia since 1825.

"The assimilation (since the foundation of the Republic, after the colonization) was precisely the shame, the discomfort (of being Indigenous). However, that came to an end when Evo Morales was elected president. From this moment there was a collective recovery of Indigenous pride, we regain collective self-esteem, pride for what we are," said the Bolivian historian Carlos Mamani in a TeleSUR documentary back in 2017.

According to the last National Census in 2012, 40.6 percent of the Bolivian population identified as a member of an Indigenous people or nation,  and the projections of the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of 2017 indicated the probability of an increase to 48 percent. The main Indigenous peoples in the country are the Aymaras and Quechuas (in La Paz, Cochabamba, Potosi, Chuquisaca) and the Guaranies (mainly in Santa Cruz and Tarija).

2020 marks 10 years since the Day of Plurinational State was declared. It will be the first year without Morales, who was forced to resign on Nov.10, 2019 after a coup d'état perpetrated by the traditional right-wing, the revolts led by the civic committees, but above all, by the pressure exerted by the military forces.

From this moment, Bolivia was immersed in a scenario of intense mobilizations against the de-facto government, which also expressed racist actions against symbols such as the wiphala (flag of the Indigenous peoples), that led to the uprising of the Indigenous population. The de-facto government responded with militarization that resulted in more than 36 deaths that so far haven’t been processed by justice.

Today, the Andean nation seems to be in the midst of uncertainty, not only about who will be the next president of Bolivia, but it also seems to be navigating at the crossroads of two projects: the return to the traditional Republic or the support of the Plurinational State that, this year and after the violent repressions, reaffirmed its founding sense.



]]> <![CDATA[Evo Morales: Without Capitalism People Welfare Can Be Achieved]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:30:53 -04:00 The former president of Bolivia and leader of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales, celebrated on Tuesday the ninth anniversary of the Plurinational State before millions of people in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he resides as a result of the illegal coup in his against last November.


Evo Morales Celebrates 14th Anniversary of Cultural Revolution

Morales stressed that young people are an indispensable engine for the conservation of the planet, without it there is no life, "the way of living in harmony with the Earth is one, without neoliberalism (...) we must not allow students to be stolen from us by the school of the Americas," he stressed.

"If it is not with neoliberalism, it is with militarism to impose its plundering model ... outside Bolivia, they prepare for divide us and submit to steal our natural resources. We must strengthen the communal movement," said the former president.

He also recalled that the Plurinational State was convened through a Constituent, with the purpose of building a more just and equitable nation. "Our government program is based on strengthening the economy and nationalization of our resources," he added.

#LIVE | Cultural act of celebration for the multinational day of #Bolivia @evoespueblo "Brothers and sisters, # Bolivia and #Argentina have a long struggle, which has a long historical background"

Referring to the illegal coup d'état, Morales said that there are 35 dead at the moment: "I could not understand that some deceived and naive young people went out to burn the homes of our ministers and militants, the young people must be supportive," he added.

"Capitalism does not forgive that social movements can demonstrate that without the participation of external agents, we can free ourselves. We have shown that without capitalism and without the IMF, we can have a prosperous Bolivia," the former president said.

Morales reiterated that despite the illegal coup d'etat, he will continue to fight to free the Andean Nation from the dictatorship imposed last November, "never giving up before the enemy, capitalism is humanity's worst enemy (...) a thing is private property and another the excessive accumulation of resources."

The coup d'etat is a blow to the indigenous, it is a coup of the American empire, it is a coup of the wealthy against the humble, it is a coup for lithium. They did not support that social movement with patriotic professionals show that a dignified and sovereign Bolivia is possible.

"Brothers we have freed them economically, for capitalism education, health and housing are services, for us they are rights and they have to be guaranteed," Evo highlighted.

The former president of Bolivia and leader of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), Evo Morales, celebrated on Tuesday the ninth anniversary of the Plurinational State before millions of people in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where resides as a result of the illegal coup in his against last November.

Morales stressed that young people are an indispensable engine for the conservation of the planet, without it there is no life, "the way of living in harmony with the Earth is one, without neoliberalism (...) we must not allow students to steal from us the school of the Americas," he stressed.

"If it is not with neoliberalism, it is with militarism to impose its plundering model ... outside Bolivia they prepare for diviners and submit to steal our natural resources. We must strengthen the communal movement," said the former president.

He also recalled that the Plurinational State was convened through a Constituent, with the purpose of building a more just and equitable nation. "Our government program is based on strengthening the economy and nationalization of our resources," he added.

Referring to the illegal coup d'état, Morales said that there are 35 dead at the moment: "I could not understand that some deceived and naive young people went out to burn the homes of our ministers and militants, the young people must be supportive," he added.

We must first think of our country. We will win next May 3, the social movements will continue to show that we can govern. Long live Bolivia! Long live the Great Motherland!

"Capitalism does not forgive that social movements can demonstrate that without the participation of external agents, we can free ourselves. We have shown that without capitalism and without the IMF, we can have a prosperous Bolivia," the former president said.

Morales reiterated that despite the illegal coup d'etat, he will continue to fight to free the Andean Nation from the dictatorship imposed last November, "never giving up before the enemy, capitalism is humanity's worst enemy (...) a thing is private property and another the excessive accumulation of resources."


]]> <![CDATA[Scientists Discover Protein to Fight Brain Diseases ]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 23:06:18 -04:00 A team of Spanish scientists has discovered a protein (tau), the main suspect in causing Alzheimer's, that has a protective effect capable of slowing the development of brain cancer or glioma, Spanish Newspaper El Pais reports.


Brazil Fines Facebook US$1.6m in Cambridge Analytica Case

This discovery could clarify a process that is barely known and which determines whether a person with brain cancer will survive or not; because it’s still a mystery why and how a glioma of low aggressiveness is transformed into another of high lethality.

"In gliomas the tau protein has a protective factor, the more protein, the less tumor proliferation," Jesús Ávila, a researcher at the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Center (CBMSO-CSIC) and co-author of the study, explains.

The experts support the thesis that the tumor's ability to generate new aberrant blood vessels to obtain nutrients is essential for glioma to become more aggressive. Researchers have shown that tau protein is present in less aggressive gliomas. When the amount of this protein decreases, tumors tend to throw more blood vessels and become more aggressive.

The study opens a new way to seek a new treatment, although years of research will still be needed, but in the short term, it provides important basic knowledge. However, investigators have clarified that tau protein strengthens the microtubules, which are part of the skeleton of the cells. One of the first things cancer does to proliferate is to weaken that skeleton, which in turn makes it easier for a cell to start generating replicas through a process of division called mitosis.

"We believe that tau is a key between Alzheimer's and cancer," Ricardo Gargini, CBMSO and Carlos III Health Institute researcher and lead author of the work, summarize.

One of the goals of science now is to understand if that key also works in reverse and can offer hope in this neurodegenerative disease.

According to the World Health Organization, around 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia and other neurodegenerative deceases, of which about 60% live in low and middle-income countries. Each year about 10 million new cases are registered.

The total number of people with dementia is expected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 million in 2050. Much of that increase can be attributed to the fact that in the low and middle-income countries the number of people with dementia will tend to increase.

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Admits He Will Seek to Cut Social Programs If Reelected]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 22:08:20 -04:00 While in the resort village of Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum's summit along with the world’s leaders and businessmen, United States President Donald Trump said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC that he would consider cutting key social programs if re-elected to a second term.


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The comments were not reported by the news outlet in the initial write up of the exchange but were found in the interview’s transcript

To a question by journalist Joe Kernen about “the entitlements” Trump’s answer suggests that he is prepared to revamp entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

The President says that he “will look at that,” and adds that tackling the social programs “is actually the easiest of all things.”

Then, he goes on explaining that higher economic growth would permit and simplify the cutting of those social spendings.

Reactions from the advocates of these programs, which benefit to nearly 65 million people in the U.S., were not long in coming.

"After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in a statement. 

"The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated."

"While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do," added Fiesta. 

"Social Security and Medicare are vital for a secure retirement. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. This burden and affording other basic necessities make it harder for retirees to make ends meet. Cutting Social Security and Medicare would be a cruel disaster."

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, a position that distinguished him from the rest of the Republican Party candidates.

However, His budget proposals as president, have called for reductions in Medicare and big changes to Medicaid spending, while he is also seeking curbs to Social Security programs.

]]> <![CDATA[Canada: One-Third of Prison Population is Indigenous]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 19:46:54 -04:00 Though Indigenous people account for only five percent of the general Canadian population, they represent more than 30 percent of the detainees in the country's prisons, a report released Tuesday by a federal watchdog revealed.


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The correctional investigator of Canada Ivan Zinger described what he called “the Indigenization of Canada’s prison population” as “nothing short of a national travesty.”

In the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, the figures are the highest as Indigenous people make up 54 percent of the population in prisons. In Quebec too the group is still overrepresented with 15 percent of the inmates being Indigenous, though the province has the lowest rate.

The imbalance in convictions is due to various factors including poverty and racism in policing.

But the disproportion doesn’t end there. Once in detention, Indigenous people face other injustices. They are more likely to be sent in maximum-security facilities and are disproportionately subject to harm, whether it is self-induced or due to incidents involving “use of force”. They also face a much bigger probability to be placed in solitary confinement.

The report also found that the proportion of the incarcerated indigenous population has been steadily increasing over the past decade, reaching new historic highs.

Since April 2010, the rate of Indigenous individuals in jails rose by nearly 44 percent, while the number of non-Indigenous incarcerated people has declined over the same period by 13.7 percent.

The Correctional Investigator referred to these trends as “disturbing and entrenched imbalances,” adding that the numbers are even more troubling for Indigenous women, who now account for 42% of the women inmate population in Canada. 

“In failing to close the outcomes gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous offenders, the federal correctional system makes its own unique and measurable contribution to the problem of overrepresentation,” Zinger said. “[The system] needs to accept its share of responsibility, recognizing that tweaks around the edges of the system simply won’t cut it.”

Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a pledge to curb the countless injustices Indigenous peoples face in the North American country, the number of inmates has been steadily growing under his administration.

“It is not acceptable that Indigenous people in this country experience incarceration rates that are six to seven times higher than the national average. Bold and urgent action is required to address one of Canada’s most persistent and pressing human rights issues,” Zinger concluded.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Investigates Saudi Arabia 'Hacking' Jeff Bezos's Phone]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 19:14:28 -04:00 United Nations experts have announced that they have information that proves the "possible participation" of prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, in the 'hacking' of the phone of Jeff Bezos, founder and executive director of Amazon, in 2018.


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In a joint statement, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, UN representatives in charge of extrajudicial killings and for freedom of expression, respectively, demanded "an immediate investigation by the United States and other relevant authorities."

The Newspaper The Guardian reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that Bezos's cell phone was hacked two years ago, after he received an encrypted WhatsApp message with a malicious video file that apparently, it had been sent from Bin Salman's personal account.

However, the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington through its Twitter account called an “absurd” the British media comments and requested an investigation into these statements “so that we can have all the facts.”

The UN special rapporteurs reviewed a 2019 digital forensic analysis of the Bezos iPhone. They noted that records showed that within a few hours of receiving a video of the WhatsApp account of the crown prince, there was "an anomalous and extreme change in phone behavior" with huge amounts of phone data transmitted during the following months.

While Riyadh was allegedly investigating the murder of the Saudi royal family critic and columnist for The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, and prosecuting those he held responsible, he was also "clandestinely undertaking a massive online campaign against Bezos and Amazon, which was attacking him. mainly as the owner of The Washington Post, "experts said in his statement.

Last March, an investigation pointed to Saudi Arabia as responsible for 'hacking' the mobile phone of the owner of Amazon to access his private information in an act of alleged revenge for the coverage that The Washington Post, which belongs to Bezos, made about the murder of his Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

If the hacking is confirmed, Bezos would be the victim of the highest-profile of the cyber-surveillance efforts that Saudi Arabia has carried out in recent years. Independent experts have concluded that several activists living outside the kingdom have also been targeted by espionage.

According to the UN analysts, the alleged hacking was probably carried out with an espionage product such as the Pegasus-3 of the Israeli company NSO. The Bezos mobile forensic report also cites the possibility of using the Galileo program of the Italian Hacking Team.

The statement from Callamard and Kaye calls for "more rigorous control" of digital surveillance media to protect against abuse. "The urgent need for a moratorium on the sale and global transfer of private surveillance technology is evident," the experts conclude.

]]> <![CDATA[WHO Extends Emergency Talks Over Novel Coronavirus Outbreak]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 16:52:39 -04:00 GENEVA, Jan. 22 - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday night postponed determining whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) to Thursday.

“The decision is one I take extremely seriously and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“This is an evolving and complex situation,” he added. “Our team in China is working with local experts and officials to investigate the outbreak.”

He was speaking after the WHO held a day-long meeting of an independent panel of experts in Geneva on Wednesday.

Deaths from China’s new coronavirus virus rose to 17 on Wednesday with more than 540 cases confirmed, increasing fears of contagion from an infection suspected to originate from illegally traded wildlife.

The WHO’s head of emergencies program, Mike Ryan, said the priority now was to find the roots of how the virus is passing between people.

“We are in agreement with Chinese authorities who have been clear and transparent that there is evidence of human-to-human transmission,” he said. “The primary issue is to limit (that) human-to-human transmission.”

The previously unknown coronavirus strain is believed to have emerged from an animal market in the central city of Wuhan, with cases now detected as far away as the United States.

Wuhan is closing its transport networks and advising citizens not to leave the city, state media reported on Thursday.


]]> <![CDATA[United Kingdom: Parliament Approves Johnson's Brexit Agreement]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 16:01:13 -04:00 The British Parliament Wednesday finally approved the Brexit agreement, which opens the door to the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) within nine days.


Political Parties Gear up for Upcoming Election in Ireland

The final text, which was negotiated by conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the EU authorities, must now be promulgated by Queen Elizabeth II.

In early January, the House of Commons, where the conservative leader has an overwhelming majority, gave the green light to the Brexit, scheduled for January 31, before sending it to the House of Lords.

This chamber adopted five amendments to the text, inflicting separate setbacks on the government, especially concerning the rights of EU citizens residing in the U.K.

These amendments were rejected by lawmakers when the bill returned to the House of Commons on Wednesday. Finally, however, in a second vote, the members of the Upper House accepted the text.

Johnson's Conservatives won a large majority in the House of Commons in a general election last month, enabling the government to bring an end to more than three years of wrangling in parliament over Britain's departure from the European Union.

As of February 1, an eleven-month transition period will begin. Until Dec. 31, the United Kingdom will continue to be linked to the EU structures and comply with its rules.

In that period, London and Brussels must negotiate the terms of their future bilateral relationship, which are not detailed in the Brexit agreement.

"We are very interested, on both sides, to reach a magnificent free trade agreement with zero fees and zero quotas," Johnson said and added that he has "absolute confidence that we can achieve it."

In recent weeks, however, the EU authorities have warned that the 11-months transition period is too short a time to reach a full trade agreement with the United Kingdom.

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Downplays US Casualties from Iranian Attack ]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:46:31 -04:00 Dozens of U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq this week after 11 soldiers were wounded during the Iranian attack on two bases, a U.S. official told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.


Iraqi President Meets With Trump to Discuss US Withdrawal

According to the official that spoke to Reuters on Wednesday, the soldiers were transported from Iraq to the U.S. military bases in Germany. 

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters during the World Economic Forum (WEF) that he did not consider the injuries suffered by from the Iranian attack to be significant. 

“I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say and I can report it is not very serious,” Trump told a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. “I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries I have seen,” Trump said. “I’ve seen people with no legs and no arms.”

Asked whether he considered traumatic brain injury to be serious, Trump said: “They told me about it numerous days later. You’d have to ask the Department of Defense.”

In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said that more troops had been flown out of Iraq to Germany for medical evaluations following Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on the base where U.S. forces were stationed after announcing the 11 injuries last week. Further injuries may be identified in the future, it added, without giving further details.

Trump and other top officials initially said Iran’s attack had not killed or injured any U.S. service members before the Pentagon reversed course on Thursday, saying 11 U.S. troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq.

The U.S. has had an active military presence in Iraq since their invasion in 2003 to oust former president Saddam Hussein from power. 

]]> <![CDATA[Greece: Islanders Stage General Strike in Support of Refugees]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:26:53 -04:00 Authorities and residents of the Greek islands of Samos, Lesbos, and Chios Wednesday held a general strike demanding Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to implement real solutions to the overcrowding in refugee camps.


Greece: 1,200 More Guards To 'Shut The Door' On Migrants

"There should be no more deposits of suffering souls in northern Aegean," regional governor Costas Moutzouris said.

Protesters demand that migrants be transferred to the mainland and that refugees be allowed to leave the country.

"Our islands can no longer be prisons. We also live imprisoned together with migrants and refugees," citizen Stratis Ververis said and added that "the migration problem must be addressed immediately."

Since 2015, Greece has become the main gateway to the European Union for more than one million migrants.

In 2019, about 80 percent of 59,726 immigrants and refugees who arrived on Greek coasts remain in Lesbos, Chios or Samos.

At least 36,000 people are crowded into camps with poor sanitary conditions. For example, at the Moria camp, which can house 3,000 people, over 15,000 migrants remain locked up. 

"The situation is really bad. There is no water, no electricity, the weather is really cold. We cannot sleep in the tent to brave the cold​​​​​​​," said an unidentified migrant.

In July 2019, the Mitsotakis administration announced that it would replace refugee camps with detention centers.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Evo Morales Celebrates 14th Anniversary of Cultural Revolution]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:45:19 -04:00 The democratically elected president of Bolivia Evo Morales celebrated on Wednesday the 14th anniversary of the "Democratic and Cultural Revolution, and the Plurinational State Day," as social movements prepare several mobilizations in Bolivian territory to request the restoration of democracy.


Bolivia: MAS Presidential Candidate Becomes Target of Lawfare

"We are the unstoppable force of a people that has decided never to go back. We have shown that another Bolivia is possible, a dignified and sovereign homeland," Morales said on Wednesday.

The declaration of "Plurinational State Day" corresponds to a decree that Morales issued in 2010 and coincides with the date on which he began the first presidential term, on January 22, 2006, after having won the December elections of the previous year.

The new holiday recognizes the inclusion and recognition of Indigenous peoples in the state life of the country, as well as the declaration of the 36 cultural nationalities indicated in the constitutional text.

It is also the date on which Evo Morales, the first Indigenous president, assumed the role as head of government in Bolivia, which ceased to be a republic in order to become a Plurinational State that has recognized its multiple cultures.

During his tenure as head of the government of Bolivia, the Indigenous leader took advantage of the date to render his annual report of activities in the National Assembly.

On this occasion, and after the coup d'etat against him last November, the Bolivian leader, asylum seeker in Argentina, will present in Buenos Aires, what will be his last government report, according to the constitutional mandate.

]]> <![CDATA[Death Toll Rises in China as Flu-Like Virus Global Panic]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 11:17:38 -04:00 The death toll for a flu-like virus that hit China's Hubei province has risen to 17, Chinese state televeision stated on Wednesday, citing a report from the provincial government.


Officials Confirm First U.S. Case Of Coronavirus From China

According to Chinese state television, the provincial government in Hubei has confirmed that the total cases of the coronavirus has risen to 444. The virus itself first emerged on Tuesday at 8 P.M. local time, as  it hit the provincial capital, Wuhan. 

The provincial government of Hubei has quarantined the affected areas, but cases of the coronavirus are now showing up in different parts of the world. Officials believe the origin to be a market where wildlife is traded illegally.

“The rise in the mobility of the public has objectively increased the risk of the epidemic spreading,” National Health Commission vice-minister Li Bin acknowledged.

In response to the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) began an emergency meeting to rule if the outbreak was a global health emergency.

Amid official exhortations to stay calm, many Chinese were cancelling trips, buying face masks, avoiding public places like cinemas and shopping centers, and even turning to an online plague simulation game or watching disaster movie “The Flu” as a way to cope.

“The best way to conquer fear is to confront fear,” said one commentator on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

The virus has spread from Wuhan around China to major population centers including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau and Hong Kong, with 473 cases confirmed in the country. Abroad, Thailand has confirmed four cases, while the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan have each reported one.

President Donald Trump said the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a good containment plan. “We think it is going to be handled very well,” he said at Davos in Switzerland.

]]> <![CDATA[US Style Democracy: Chronology of Bolivia's 'Slow Motion' Coup]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 12:37:10 -04:00 On Sunday, November 10, 2019, Bolivia's Armed Forces Commander Williams Kaliman “recommended" President Evo Morales to present his resignation.


Bolivia: MAS Presidential Candidate Becomes Target of Lawfare

This was one of the last crucial moments in a coup d'etat that began long ago with the backing of the United States government and with the active participation of the Organization of American States (OAS). On that day, the Bolivian extreme right opened the door for its return to power.

Unlike the coups carried out in Latin America in the twentieth century, on this occasion, the rupture of the constitutional order proceeded in phases and distributed its violence for 24 days. This allowed the coup plotters to present their actions as if they were the result of a spontaneous citizen protest.

October 20

Bolivians went to the polls to elect their president. Evo Morales, the first indigenous president in the history of this South American country, who had been in power since 2006, was seeking re-election.

According to the count of more than 95 percent of the votes, the winner of the first electoral round was Evo Morales. The next day, however, the losing presidential candidate Carlos Mesa, who was president of Bolivia between 2003 and 2005, summoned his supporters to demand a second electoral round.​​​​​​

October 21

Groups opposed to the reelection of Morales burned the offices of the Supreme Electoral Court in Potosi, Sucre, and Cobija.

Six federations of workers declared themselves in a state of emergency and called for a great mobilization "in defense of the indigenous, rural and socialist vote."

Meanwhile, media networks positioned the idea that the Morales administration had performed an electoral fraud. The OAS Observation Mission makes statements questioning the results.

October 22

In Cochabamba, groups of Indigenous peoples, farmers, workers, and students summon to defend their vote.

Foreign Minister Diego Pary announces that the Bolivian government requested the Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary Luis Almagro to audit the voting minutes. On the same day, however, the U.S. State Department accuses the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of "subverting democracy."

The dome of the Bolivian Catholic Church joins the plot while its Amazon bishops denounce electoral fraud. The organization bringing together the political forces against Evo Morales, the National Committee for the Defense of Democracy in Bolivia (Conade), calls for an indefinite strike.

Presidential candidate Mesa meets with ambassadors from Italy, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Denmark.

Supporters of opposition politicians attack the headquarters of the Tropic Federation of Cochabamba. Clashes among citizen groups begin to generalize. In La Paz, irregular groups attack supporters of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

The Bartolina Sisa Federation of Indigenous Women denounces Carlos Mesa as the intellectual author of these clashes and declares itself in an emergency to defend the people's vote.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal President Maria Eugenia Choque expresses her outrage over accusations of fraud and recalls that the election results passed an OAS audit.

October 23

During a press conference, Evo Morales confirms that he won the elections and denounces that a coup d'etat is in progress. Miners support his statements and call to defend democracy.

Opposition groups burn public buildings in Santa Cruz. The OAS summons its Permanent Council to an extraordinary session to address the crisis in Bolivia.​​​​​​​

The OAS Mission presents a preliminary report in which it recommends making a second round if the final difference in votes is "negligible" between Morales and Mesa.

As part of its “civic strike”, right-wing opposition generates disturbances in Santa Cruz, Oruro, Tarija, Sucre, Cochabamba, and La Paz.

October 24

Evo Morales challenges the opposition to demonstrate the electoral fraud and criticizes the role played by the OAS Mission.

The European Union joins the OAS position and argues that the best option to resolve the crisis is to hold the second round of elections.

At the OAS Permanent Council session, Almagro says that the results of the Bolivian elections should not be considered legitimate until the end of the audit.​​​​​​​

The so-called “Democracy Coordinator” does not want to wait for the OAS audit and demands a second round of elections.

Once 99.99 percent of the votes were officially counted, the Supreme Electoral Court confirms that Evo Morales won with a difference of more than 10 percent of the votes to Mesa.

In Cochabamba, there are new clashes between groups supporting the MAS and right-wing groups.

October 25

Evo Morales is officially declared the winner of the 2019 presidential elections with 47.08 percent of the votes. Carlos Mesa only obtained 36.51 percent of the votes.

Business groups, right-wing politicians, the European Union, the United States, the OAS, Colombia, and Argentina demand that a second electoral round be held.

October 31

The OAS begins an audit of the electoral count data. The audit was requested by the Morales government. The opposition rejects the audit.​​​​​​​

November 2

The conservative businessman and religious fundamentalist Luis Fernando Camacho becomes the opposition's most radical public figure. Besides requesting the resignation of Evo Morales, Camacho summons the Army and the Police to revolt.​​​​​​​

For his part, President Morales calls the Armed Forces to "serve the Bolivian people" by staying close to his government.

November 4

Carlos Mesa changes his strategy. Instead of requesting a second electoral round, he rejects the entire electoral process and requests a new election.

November 6

The political opposition performs violent clashes and protests in Cochabamba and other cities. The selective attack on Socialist politicians and militants becomes evident.

In the city of Vinto, right-wing groups set the town hall on fire and force the mayor, a socialist woman, to walk barefoot through the town, covered in red paint, under insults and threats.

November 8

The Police join the coup in Cochabamba, Sucre, Santa Cruz, and La Paz. Its mutiny sharpens the crisis.

Once again, Morales denounces a coup d'etat in progress. However, the Bolivian president rules out ordering actions to suppress mutinous officials.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

November 10

OAS Secretary Almagro announced that a report entitled "Preliminary Findings" will be made available to citizens.

The OAS initially said that there were alleged irregularities in the Preliminary Electoral Results Transmission System (TREP), an electronic device whose results are not binding.​​​​​​​

Then it was said that there were irregular results in one electoral precinct where 78 electoral records were deposited, which represented the 0.2 percent of the total existing electoral records in the country, namely 34,555 electoral records.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the doubts that Almagro raised about the electoral process were enough to question the transparency of the elections.

In light of that excuse, a group of generals demanded the resignation of the constitutional president Morales. The coup then acquired sharper nuances and more repressive tones.

Through a message broadcast on television, Evo Morales announces his resignation to end violence and achieve social peace.

"As president of all Bolivians and as an Indigenous person, my responsibility is to prevent the coup leaders from continuing to persecute my brother union leaders and mistreating and kidnapping their relatives," Morales said.

November 11

While right-wing groups plunder Evo Morales' residence, the Police and the Army begin to systematically search and repress MAS militants and supporters.

From the Department of Beni, Senator Jeanine Añez summons the Senate to formally accept Morales' resignation. Initially, she also proposes calling for new elections.

After arriving at El Alto airport near La Paz, Añez is escorted by the military to the nearby Air Force base and then to the Bolivian Senate.

November 12

In an irregular session of the Senate, which did not have the quorum required by law, Añez declared herself president of the Senate and acting president of Bolivia.

This happened without the Senate officially knowing the resignation of Evo Morales, who travels to Mexico and applies for political asylum.

]]> <![CDATA[Iraqi President Meets With Trump to Discuss US Withdrawal]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 09:06:48 -04:00 The Iraqi President, Barham Salih, met with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, in Davos on Wednesday to discuss a number of topics, including the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq.


At Least 10 Killed in Two Days of Violence Across Iraq

According to the Iraqi President's office, Salih called on Trump to respect the demands of the Iraqi people and begin withdrawing the U.S. Armed Forces from his country. 

“During the meeting, reducing foreign troops and the importance of respecting the demands of Iraqi people to preserve the country’s sovereignty were discussed,” the statement said.

The two presidents met on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, marking the first time that Trump has sat down with Salih since the latter ordered the assassination of the Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, and several Iraqi paramilitary officials, including the Deputy Head of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandis, near the Baghdad Airport. 

“We’re talking about a lot of different things,” Trump said after the meeting. “They like what we’re doing, and we like them.” Trump did not go into detail, nor did he comment on the request to withdraw the U.S. forces from Iraq. 

Previously, Trump warned Iraq that they could face sanctions if they force the U.S. military to withdraw from their country; however, this has not deterred Baghdad, as they have repeated their call for all foreign troops to leave. 

The U.S. military has had a military presence inside of Iraq since the 2003 invasion that led to the overthrow of then President Saddam Hussein and his government. While former President Barack Obama did end the Iraq War in 2010, the U.S. forces still remained inside the country.

]]> <![CDATA[Protests Continue In Colombia Against Ivan Duque's Policies]]> Wed, 22 Jan 2020 00:13:33 -04:00 Several clashes between demonstrators and the police took place during rallies in Bogotá and several regions of the country, in the context of a day of protest in Colombia, where isolated cases of repression were reported.


One More Social Leader Killed In Colombia, 21 So Far in 2020

The most serious incident happened in Bogota, when a group of demonstrators confronted the police at the Suba pass, after the authorities tried to lift a barricade intalled on the road by the protesters.

In addition, the organization, Campaign to Defend Freedom, denounced repression by police officers against the protesters in different clash points .

"A young man was injured by the ESMAD on the pedestrian bridge of the Mandalay Transmillenium Station", they said

With multiple traumas he was taken to a medical center. The public forces cannot directly target demonstrators," they added.

#Colombia The march of #Strike21Jan towards Plaza de Bolívar advances in #Bogota #21JanStrikeContinues is sung in the streets "stop to advance, long live the national strike" and "this is not a government, it's the paracos in power"

The organization also denounced another incident in Medellín as "ESMAD intervened in an unjustified and disproportionate manner.

So far there are three people detained and several injured", they added.

Workers, students, indigenous people and activists took the streets of Colombia to carry out a protest against the assassination of social leaders, the abuses of the police and the social policies of the government, among other demands.

This is the first protest of the year, after the massive demonstrations in November and December against the social and economic measures of President Ivan Duque's government.

The president of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores, Diógenes Orjuela, stated that the demonstrations were a statement against the assassination of social leaders, the scandals of alleged ilegal followings and the repression of the Esmad (Police).

In addition, the leader said that the real agenda of the mobilization will come out of a meeting they will have on January 30th and 31st with social organizations and unions.

Orjuela said that, in this meeting, the negotiations that have not been initiated with the government will be refined and a public declaration will be made to show the vision they have for the country.

]]> <![CDATA[A Teenage Boy Is the Latest Victim of Libya's Migrants' Centers]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:51:25 -04:00 A 16-year-old is the latest person to die in one of Libya’s detention centers where refugees and migrants are jailed indefinitely after they are sent back to the war-ravaged country by the European Union-funded coastguard, The Guardian reported.


Almost 1,000 Migrants Returned to Libya This Year Already: IOM

Adal Debretsion, an Eritrean teenager had reportedly been locked up for more than a year, according to other detainees in Sabaa detention center, Tripoli. They said the young boy died on 12 January after he has been sleeping constantly for two weeks without any medical care.

“We really feel sad and we are scared,” said another Eritrean, one of some 400 people detained in the center. Friends said Adal left home three years ago at age 13 out of fear of mandatory, indefinite national service ​​​, which usually begins for all Eritreans when they finish school.

“These tragic incidents are a consequence of the increasingly dangerous conditions on the ground for all civilians trapped in areas of conflict, as well as aid workers who are sometimes unable to access certain areas due to security concerns,” said Safa Msehli, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration, which has worked in the center.

UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean Vincent Cochetel highlighted last week at a summit on Lybia in Berlin, Germany, ​​​​​​ the problems the agency has to access detention centers in the war-ravaged North African country. 

“The militiaman may decide to let you in or not let you in. Even if you have the right papers you may not be able to go there,” he said. “We [don’t] have access to everywhere in the detention center. Sometimes we plan to stay five or six hours and after 45 minutes we are told to leave … Once you go to a detention center you are not sure you will be able to go back the day after or the week after or the month after.”

Cochetel said there are “awful conditions, disgusting, unacceptable … There are considerable risks. Lots of ethical dilemmas.”

]]> <![CDATA[Argentine Executive Project Aims To Restore Debt Sustainability]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:50:14 -04:00 The bill to "restore the sustainability of Argentina's public foreign debt" sent to Parliament on Tuesday empowers Economy Minister Martín Guzmán to take a series of actions to restructure bonds issued under foreign legislation.


Lacalle Looks to Turn Uruguay Into Tax Haven Again

The initiative was announced on Tuesday morning by Guzmán himself in a press conference and finally entered Parliament in the late afternoon.

Sources in the Chamber of Deputies told Efe that the bill will be discussed next Tuesday, after that there will be a debate in the Lower House on Thursday.

Argentina needs to solve its deep public debt crisis to get back on its feet. That is why today we will send Congress a bill that will serve to restore the sustainability of the foreign public debt.

In his contact with the press, Guzmán had anticipated that the Executive would send this project to Congress to face negotiations with creditors in the midst of the "critical" situation of Argentina's foreign debt, which amounts to more than 270 billion dollars.

"Today it is our turn to restore debt sustainability, something that has been lost. The country cannot sustain the debt burden it faces today," explained the economy minister.

The bill authorizes the Ministry of Economy to issue new public securities in order to modify the profile of interest and capital amortization maturities.

It also gives Guzmán freedom to determine the times, terms, methods and procedures for issuing new public securities and to designate and contract financial institutions and advisors to act as coordinators of the process or as placement agents.

The Minister of Economy did not want to give details of the negotiation he faces with debt holders, something he said will become known after a process "that also feeds into the talks with the bondholders on the basis of good faith.

After the million-dollar debt restructuring in 2005, Argentina was the target of lawsuits in New York courts by investment funds that had not accepted the swap and that sought to seize accounts and other assets of the Argentine state to collect the claimed debt.

]]> <![CDATA[Israeli Opposition Leader Gantz Pledges to Annex Jordan Valley]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:45:54 -04:00 Israel’s Blue and White opposition leader Benny Gantz vowed Tuesday to annex the Jordan Valley if the elected prime minister in the upcoming March 2 election, according to Israeli media.

RELATED: Abby Martin Banned From Speaking at US University For Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel Pledge

During a tour of the region, Gantz said the Jordan Valley - located in the eastern occupied West Bank - “is the State of Israel’s eastern defensive wall in any future scenario,” and added it was “an inseparable part of the State of Israel.”

“After the elections, we will work to apply [Israeli] sovereignty on the Jordan Valley. We will do this in a nationally agreed process and in coordination with the international community,” he continued.

Yet - with the exception of the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump - the vast majority of the international community considers Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip a breach of international law.

Gantz's comments come after Netanyahu said in December that he discussed with Trump about the possible annexation of the Jordan Valley and suggested that Washington was open to the move.

The candidate for the prime minister post also said he was hoping that Trump’s peace plan, colloquially known as the deal of the century, would be published before the election after he said weeks ago that such a plan would be a gift to incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu and an “outright intervention.”

Last year Netanyahu acclaimed the plan headed by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, saying it presented a "historic opportunity" to extend Israeli sovereignty. The plan has been delayed until the formation of a new government, 

The Jordan Valley covers around one-third of the West Bank, and Israeli right-wing politicians have long viewed the strategic area as a part of the territory they would never retreat from.

]]> <![CDATA[Vale Mining Charged for Murder After Tragedy Leaves 270 Dead]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:41:22 -04:00 The Brazilian Prosecutor's Office filed a complaint for homicide on Tuesday against the mining company Vale and the German firm TÜV SÜD for their responsibility in the collapse of a mineral dam that left at least 270 dead.


Brazil: Prosecutors Charge Journalist Greenwald With Hacking

In addition to the crime of intentional homicide, the Public Ministry of the state of Minas Gerais accused 16 executives, as well as both companies directly, of several environmental crimes, since the dumping of mineral residues affected rivers, forests and communities of the region.

The complaint was submitted to Justice just four days after the first anniversary of the tragedy caused by the breach of one of the dams where Vale stored waste from the Córrego do Feijao mine, located in a small municipality of Minas Gerais.

The avalanche of waste and mud caused a tragedy that counts 259 deaths already identified and 11 more bodies missing, most of them employees of the mining company itself.

The Prosecutor's Office decided to press charges of  homicide since the mining company hid information about the imminent collapse of the dam.

By doing so, "they made it difficult for the victims to defend themselves and made it impossible for hundreds of people to flee”.

According to the prosecutors, the mining company had various internal documents that stated that the situation of the dam was risky but "systematically hid this information from the public authorities and society.”

Among the accused were Fabio Schvartsman, who was president of La Vale when the tragedy occurred, and ten other executives of the mining giant.

The complaint also extends to five employees of TÜV SÜD, a German company based in Munich that is responsible for issuing safety certificates for industrial facilities.

]]> <![CDATA[At Least 10 Killed in Two Days of Violence Across Iraq]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 23:19:14 -04:00 At least 10 people were killed and 138 wounded over the past two days across Iraq as a result of violent clashes between protesters and security forces, the country's High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.


Why Doesn’t the US Move out Despite the Iraqi Parliament’s Decision?

By: Peter Koenig

Demonstrators were killed in the capital Baghdad, and in the cities of Diyala, Basra, and Karbala, the commission reported.

"The Commission teams have also documented the presence of some demonstrations who have blocked main roads connecting the governorates, burned tires, continued closure of official departments and educational institutions, and the disruption of many public facilities that provide services to citizens," the commission said in a statement.

Iraqi police and anti-government demonstrators violently fought on Tuesday, with the security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets and the mostly young protesters responding by throwing stones.

The people protesting in Iraq have been calling for an overhaul of a system they deem deeply corrupt and the removal of a ruling elite that has been controlling Iraq since the United States invaded the country in 2003. 

They are demanding early elections based on reformed voting law, a new prime minister to replace current caretaker Adel Abdel Mahdi and alleged corrupt officials to be judged.

"Our protest is peaceful. We call for the resignation of the government and an independent prime minister who does not belong to any party," said a hooded protester in Baghdad, who preferred not give his name.

The leaderless anti-government movement that started in October was re-ignited Sunday after weakening in recent weeks amid the ongoing geopolitical crisis between Iran and the U.S. following the assassination on Jan. 3 of top Iranian Major- General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. strike in Baghdad.

Tuesday's unrest followed Sunday and Monday’s violent gatherings where six Iraqis, including two police officers, were killed and scores wounded.

After PM Abdel Mahdi resigned last November, political parties have been unable to agree on a successor, while demonstrators have discarded all the names circulating as possible replacements.

The uprising is the largest and bloodiest that have taken place in Iraq in decades. Almost 460 people died and more than 25,000 were wounded since October.

]]> <![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Won't Help Bernie Sanders Win 2020 Election]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:11:21 -04:00 Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would not commit to back Sen. Bernie Sanders should he win the Democratic nomination this year and declared in a forthcoming documentary that "nobody likes" the Vermont senator.


Sanders 1st Democratic Candidate to Criticize Coup in Bolivia

Her comments were made in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday. Clinton confirmed that she would not endorse Sanders if he wins the nomination this year, harshly criticizing the senator who had endorsed her in 2016 following the primary.

"Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done," Clinton claims in the documentary, going on to call Sanders “a career politician.”

"It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it," she adds.

Asked by The Hollywood Reporter if her assessment still stands, Clinton said, "Yes, it does."

Clinton’s comments did not come as a surprise for progressives in the United States.

"Hillary Clinton didn't run for the presidency to benefit anyone but herself," tweeted writer Natalie Shure, "so it makes sense she'd prioritize personal score-settling over siding with Bernie against Trump."

Jewish Currents news editor David Klion said in a tweet that the interview was another indication of the lasting legacy of Clinton and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton. 

"Start to finish, one of the most selfish, petty, nihilistic, counterproductive careers in American political history," said Klion. "Every time they open their mouths it makes things worse. History will not remember the Clintons fondly," Klion tweeted.

“‘Nobody likes him,’ she doesn't mean voters in VT or nationwide. She means US senators, donors, political operatives, and media elites—the only people she ever interacts with,” he added.

Later Tuesday, the progressive group Justice Democrats said Clinton's comments were "unacceptable" and "dangerous," urging her to support "whoever the eventual Democratic nominee" is.

Clinton beat Sanders in a sharp 2016 primary, before losing the presidential election and delivering the command of the country to President Donald Trump.

Sanders is the most popular senator in the U.S. among his constituents and has an average national approval rating seven points higher than Clinton.

]]> <![CDATA[Officials Confirm First U.S. Case Of Coronavirus From China]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:08:36 -04:00 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday the first case of Coronavirus on American soil, diagnosing an American resident in Seattle who had recently returned from China.


Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump Begins

Recently discovered, the coronavirus has sickened more than 300 people and has killed at least 6 in China alone.

So far, the patient is responding well to treatment and was not seriously ill,  the CDC and Washington state health officials said.

CDC officials also said they are preparing for more U.S. cases of the coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The CDC has raised its travel alert for Wuhan to a level 2, calling for greater precautions.

Under that level of alert, travelers to Wuhan are advised to avoid contact with sick people, animals or animal markets.

"We know there will be more cases in the United States and around the world," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a CDC respiratory disease expert, said in a conference call with reporters.

CDC officials said they have begun tracking people who came into contact with the patient to see if they have symptoms.

Last week, the CDC began monitoring travelers from China at U.S. airports in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and on Tuesday the agency said it will expand the virus checking measures to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

In addition to the United States, cases outside China have been reported in South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

]]> <![CDATA[Network for Defence of Humanity Voices Support for teleSUR]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 18:08:41 -04:00 Our America, January 20,  2020

Compañera Patricia Villegas

President of TELESUR

Caracas, Venezuela

Dear Patricia,

It is difficult to gather together so many elements and of such weak credibility, as those used today by the empire’s lackeys with threats and attempts to silence Telesur. These efforts only reaffirm the certainty of the value of this station in the battle of the peoples for their right to truth.

How many times have we, as spectators, felt comforted to see that a Telesur team is in the place where transcendental events are happening for those who have been silenced, for those who have always been excluded, and it reports to us, from within, what is happening. We could not count in how many occasions this was the case, but we can transmit our deep gratitude and respect for such courageous and professional work carried out by the station. Only through Telesur have we been able to learn about the merciless and lethal action of capitalism, the strength of the resistance of leaders and popular movements and the events that have opened up real gaps in imperial domination that have marked the history of our peoples.

The arrogance of the powerful does not support the plurality of visions, of cultures, the transparency of information, or the respect for the spectator. They do not support an in-depth analysis of the facts and their causes, it does not support the denunciation of the transnationals and their dirty dealings, the criticism of the obscene manipulation of the media and networks related to the system. For them, it is essential to silence this platform, one of the great achievements for the decolonization of our America that Commander Hugo Chavez promoted.

It has been 16 years since that meeting in Venezuela in December 2004, where some 400 intellectuals from 52 countries met. It was at this meeting that the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity (REDH) was formalized and its final document, known as the “Caracas Call,” reads: “Support the establishment of a television station of the South and independent television and radio media at the service of the interests of our peoples.”

Immediately, President Chávez, with his strategic vision, assumed the commitment to create an audiovisual media associated with emancipation.  In this way, the stories of the Network and Telesur are intertwined in a deep and embryonic way; therefore, safeguarding Telesur, its philosophy, its ideals, and its work is not just a position, it is also our obligation.

Today we are facing a decadent empire, increasingly desperate to see its hegemony weakened in what José Martí rightly called Our America, something it needs to ensure its survival. Let us not underestimate these threats. Let us redouble our efforts and remain alert to prevent them from depriving the peoples of their right to truthful, plural and timely information, which, together with the right to work, health, education and culture, continue to be the most expensive aspirations of humanity today, twenty years into this new century.

Dear Patricia, you are actually being honored in a unique way by placing the successful work of the network and your own work as its president among one of the main targets of the Empire. TeleSur is a child of the battle of ideas and of the fathers of this new continental era; Commanders Fidel Castro Ruz and Hugo Chávez Frías. We will win, without a doubt. We assume its defense without hesitation or half-measures. It is an irreversible commitment of all the comrades who make up the Network in Defense of Humanity and many other similar movements.

As the Venezuelan poet Victor Valera Mora said: “The sun of the world we will make/ those who will live greet you”.

Let Telesur tell us what else you need from us, and we will be there!

A fraternal and solidarity filled embrace,

On behalf of the Network in Defense of Humanity, Executive Secretariat

Atilio A. Borón, Argentina

Paula Klachko, Argentina

Stella Calloni, Argentina

Marcos Teruggi, Argentina/Venezuela

Tim Anderson, Australia

Hugo Móldiz, Bolivia

María Nela Prada, Bolivia

Carlos Alberto (Beto) Almeida, Brazil

Marilia Guimaraes, Brazil

Nadia Bambirra, Brazil

Arnold August, Canadá

Florencia Lagos, Chile

Javiera Olivares, Chile

Pablo Sepúlveda Allende, Chile/Venezuela

Dario Salinas Figueredo, Chile/México

Ángel Guerra, Cuba/México

Ariana López, Cuba

Fernando León Jacomino, Cuba

Omar González, Cuba

Irene León, Ecuador

Orlando Pérez, Ecuador

Arantxa Tirado, Spain

Javier Couso, Spain

Alicia Jrapko, U.S.

Hernando Calvo Ospina, France

Camille Chalmers, Haití

Anarella Vélez, Honduras

Gilberto Ríos, Honduras

Luis Hernández Navarro, México

Nayar López, México

Fernando Buen Abad, México/Argentina

Katu Arkonada, Basque Country/México

Ricardo Flecha, Paraguay

Hildebrando Pérez Grande, Perú

Antonio Elías, Uruguay

Gabriela Cultelli, Uruguay

Carmen Bohórquez,   Venezuela

Pasqualina Curcio, Venezuela

Pedro Calzadilla, Venezuela

Sergio Arria, Venezuela/Argentina

]]> <![CDATA[Militants Kill 36 Civilians in Burkina Faso Market Attack]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:38:07 -04:00 Thirty-six civilians were killed in Burkina Faso on Monday in what the government called a terrorist attack on a market in Sanmatenga province.

Armed militants forced their way into the market of the village of Alamou and attacked people there before burning the structure to the ground, the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

The bloodshed is part of a surge in violence in the West African country that has killed hundreds, forced nearly a million from their homes and made much of the north ungovernable over the past two years.

“These repeated attacks on innocent civilians call for real cooperation between the defense and security forces,” the government said.

President Roch Marc Kabore called for two days of national mourning in response to the attack. It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Islamist groups with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State have carried out increasingly brazen attacks against civilian and military targets in Burkina Faso in recent months, including an attack on a mining convoy in November that killed nearly 40 people.

The country was once a pocket of relative calm in the Sahel region, but its homegrown insurgency has been amplified by a spillover of jihadist violence and criminality from its chaotic northern neighbor Mali.

]]> <![CDATA[Lebanon Forms New Government]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:17:30 -04:00 Lebanon formed a new government on Tuesday, the presidency announced after Shi’ite Hezbollah and its allies clinched a deal on a cabinet that must tackle the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

 Over 330 People Wounded in Lebanon After Clashes in Beirut

Heavily indebted Lebanon has been without an effective government since Saad al-Hariri resigned as premier in October under pressure from protests against state corruption and waste - root causes of the crisis.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab pledged on Tuesday that his new government would work to address protester demands and pull the country from its worst economic crisis in decades.

In a speech shortly after President Michel Aoun signed off on the new cabinet, Diab said his first visit abroad as premier would be to the Arab world and particularly to the Gulf.

He called the new government “a rescue team” and said it would be “fast but not hasty” in tackling the major economic and financial strains.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Prosecutors Charge Journalist Greenwald With Hacking]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:11:11 -04:00 Brazil's Public Ministry (MPF) Tuesday charged journalist Glenn Greenwald of being part of a group of cyber-criminals who intercepted phone calls of Justice Minister Sergio Moro when he was the judge handling Brazil's biggest-ever corruption case.


Car Wash Investigation in the Mud: A Dirty War against the Left

In Operation Spoofing, which is the name used by the MPF authorities to designate the actions against Greenwald, it is argued that this U.S. journalist and his colleagues made 126 call interceptions and 176 invasions to computer devices.

The Intercept Brasil published a note criticizing the Prosecutor's action and stressing that the accusation represents an attack on freedom of expression.

“In this action, we see an attempt to criminalize not only our work but all Brazilian journalism. There is no democracy without critical and free journalism. Brazilian society cannot accept abuses of power like this,” The Intercept Brasil warned.

In 2019, this independent virtual journal and its editor, Glenn Greenwald, leaked conversations in which Judge Moro advised Car Wash prosecutors in the case against former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the Workers' Party (PT) leader.

​​​​​​​Greenwald has said that the Car Wash investigators' conversations were leaked to The Intercept after they had been hacked.

Nevertheless, Brazilian prosecutors said that audio found on a seized laptop showed Greenwald advising a hacker to erase all messages linked to The Intercept.

Regarding the prosecutor’s accusations, the U.S. journalist indicated that those are just a form of intimidation against the critical voices of Brazil.

"We'll not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists," Greenwald said and added that far-right Jair Bolsonaro's administration does not respect basic press freedoms.​​​​​​​

"I did nothing more than doing my job as a journalist - ethically and within the law," said the Intercept Brasil's editor, who became known internationally for his role in the publication of Edward Snowden's documents leaked in 2013.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump Begins]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 14:23:15 -04:00 The Republican-controlled Senate rejected a Democratic bid to force the White House to produce more documents and evidence on Tuesday, in a sign the third impeachment trial in U.S. history could proceed along lines favorable to President Donald Trump.

As the impeachment trial began in earnest, senators voted 53-47 along party lines to block a motion from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena White House documents related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

In Impeachment Document, Democrats Say Trump Endangers US Security

On the first day of the trial, Trump’s chief legal defender attacked the case as baseless and a top Democratic lawmaker said there was “overwhelming” evidence of wrongdoing.

Democrats have called on the Republican-controlled Senate to remove Trump from office for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, and then impeding the inquiry into the matter.

Trump, who was impeached last month by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress, denies any wrongdoing and describes his impeachment as a partisan hoax to derail his 2020 re-election.

With the television cameras rolling, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts convened the proceedings and the two sides began squabbling over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed rules for the trial.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who is leading Trump’s defense, attacked the foundation of the charges against the Republican president and said Democrats had not come close to meeting the U.S. Constitution’s standard for impeachment.

“The only conclusion will be that the president has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Cipollone said as he argued in favor of McConnell’s proposal to decide on whether to allow further witnesses or documents later in the trial.

“There is absolutely no case,” he said.

Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, who helped spearhead the House impeachment inquiry, summarized the charges against Trump and said the Republican president had committed a “trifecta of constitutional misconduct justifying impeachment.”

Schiff said that although the evidence against Trump was “already overwhelming,” further witness testimony was necessary to show the full scope of the misconduct by the president and those around him.

Democrats want a number of current and former Trump administration officials, including Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, to testify.

“For all of the name-calling and fingerpointing from the president’s counsel, we did not hear a single argument on the merits about why there should not be the documents and witnesses we requested in this trial,” Schumer said.

McConnell unveiled a plan on Monday for what would be a potentially quick trial without new testimony or evidence. It would have given Democratic prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers 48 hours, evenly split, to present their arguments over four days.

That plan was changed to give each side three days of opening arguments over two 24-hour periods. The rules also will allow the House’s record of the impeachment probe admitted as evidence in the trial, as Democrats had demanded.

“We discussed it at lunch. It was pretty much a (Republican) conference consensus that made a lot more sense,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson said.

Democrats had accused McConnell of trying to rig a trial with proposed rules that they said would prevent witnesses from testifying and bar evidence gathered by investigators.

McConnell has repeatedly said the rules would mirror those the Senate used in the 1999 impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Republican senators have not ruled out the possibility of further witness testimony and evidence.


]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: MAS Presidential Candidate Becomes Target of Lawfare]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 13:34:05 -04:00 Bolivia's Office of the Prosecutor expanded an investigation against Evo Morales' former officials, among whom is Luis Arce, the Movement to Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate.


Bolivia: MAS Presents Official Presidential Ticket

The announcement was made by prosecutor Heidi Gil one day after the MAS unveiled that Arce would be its presidential candidate in the upcoming elections in May.

The judicial process is related to the alleged diversion of public resources from the Indigenous Development Fund (Fondioc), a case in which former Presidency's Minister Juan Ramon Quintana has also been mentioned.

"If the Prosecutor finds enough evidence during the extension of the investigation, they will be called to testify," Gil said referring to Arce and Quintana.

"We denounce before the international community that Bolivia's de facto government keeps the Consulate in Buenos Aires closed, preventing the registration of Bolivians for elections, undermining political rights of compatriots residing in Argentina."

The extension of the judicial investigation was requested by the current Fondioc director, Rafael Quispe, a well-known opponent of the Morales administration who was appointed to that position by the government of Jeanine Añez.

Since the coup d'etat consummated on November 10 in Bolivia, numerous MAS militants have been subject to judicial persecution.

In this regard, the MAS leader Evo Morales said that the current U.S.-backed de facto regime does not seek justice but "revenge and impunity."

Former Minister of Economy Luis Arce is one of the intellectuals who designed the economic model that allowed Bolivia to keep high growth rates for more than a decade.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Lebanon is 'Hours Away' from Forming New Government: PM]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:28:35 -04:00 The newly appointed Lebanese caretaker Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, announced on Tuesday that the formation of a new government was just "hours away", as the country suffers one of its worst economic crisis in decades.


Over 330 People Wounded in Lebanon After Clashes in Beirut

While Khalil did not go into details, the newly appointed Finance Minister appeared optimistic after several days of negotiations and discussions among rival political parties. 

Khalil, who was appointed because of excellent understanding of macro and micro economics, has been traying to rally together the March 8th and 14th political blocs to find a solution to end the ongoing crisis. 

The task has been difficult for Khalil, as he has faced heavy resistance from several political parties that are seeking a stronger role in the new government. 

The heavily indebted country has been without effective government since Saad al-Hariri quit as premier in October due to protests against state corruption and poor governance - the root causes of Lebanon’s worst crisis since a 1975-90 civil war.

Over the weekend, the Red Cross reported that at least 330 people were wounded during clashes between the Lebanese security forces and protesters. Sunday was considered one of the most violent days since the conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War in 1989. 

]]> <![CDATA[US Complains About Iran's Threat to Quit Nuclear Deal]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:06:07 -04:00 The U.S. decried on Tuesday Iran's threat to quit the global nuclear treaty if European countries refer the Islamic Republic to the U.N. Security Council after declaring it in violation of a 2015 pact would send a “very, very negative message”.


ran Warns of Quitting Global Nuclear Treaty If Case Goes to UN

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday, as reported by state-owned IRNA, that his country will not be bullied into remaining in the nuclear treaty, especially by European countries exhibiting "improper behavior."

“If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT," Zarif said.

This threat apparently alarmed the U.S. administration, as their disarmament ambassador complained about Iran's behavior and unwillingness to negotiate with Washington. 

Robert Wood, U.S. disarmament ambassador, noting talks set for April on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), told reporters in Geneva: “Here we are on the eve of a review conference that Iran is threatening to walk away from.

“We think that Iran needs to end its malign behavior and sit down with the United States and negotiate an agreement that deals not only with the nuclear issue but also with the other issues that concern us like the ballistic missile proliferation and development and the malign activities around the world,” he said.

Iran has become increasingly hostile towards the U.S. after the latter assassinated the Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3rd. 

This assassination of Soleimani resulted in fierce response by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as they fired 22 missiles at the U.S. forces in Iraq. 

]]> <![CDATA[Switzerland: World Economic Forum Kicks Off Amid Demonstrations]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:53:08 -04:00 Hundreds of environmental and social activists are performing a three-day protest march which departed from Landquart and heads to Davos, where businessmen and politicians attend the World Economic Forum that begins on Tuesday.


'You Have Not Seen Anything Yet,' Thunberg Warns Ahead of Davos

The "world’s leaders meet for 20 years... they always say they want to make the world better, but for me... They have not even done any progress," activist Theres Matter said and added that “the time is gone now, they have really to get in action now.”

Despite attempts by local authorities to avoid anti-WEF demonstrations, activists have managed to disrupt vehicular traffic to the high-level pro-corporate meeting site, which is highly protected by somewhat exaggerated security measures.

"Swiss authorities have taken tight security measures around Davos, inspecting roads and railways linking the town, and posting snipers on tall buildings and hills as helicopters buzz above," Anadolu Agency reported.

At this year's meeting, some 3,000 politicians, businessmen, and academics from 117 countries will discuss issues such as political polarization, climate crisis, shareholder capitalism, sustainable development, technology, and the fourth industrial revolution.

Among the people attending the WEF meeting are Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen, and the U.S. President Donald Trump.

Before the start of the 2020 meeting, the WEF published a report which acknowledged that the five main global risks are related to adverse environmental changes.

Despite this late recognition, many of the so-called world's leaders prefer to deny the effects of international problems such as income inequality and global warming.

Regarding the latter, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg previously promised a strong mobilization during the 2020 WEF event.

"To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the WEF in Davos next week," Thunberg said on Friday.

]]> <![CDATA[China Takes Steps to Curb Human-To-Human Transmitted Virus]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 10:17:45 -04:00 China's President Xi Jinping ordered health authorities at all levels to increase their efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has caused 217 confirmed cases of pneumonia and has left 6 people dead so far.


China Reports 136 New Cases of 'Sars-Type' Virus

"Party committees and governments at all levels should place people's safety and health as their top priority and take effective measures to stop the spread of the virus," President Xi said, as reported by China News.

Prevention and control prevention measures are particularly important at this time because the Chinese begin to prepare for the Spring Festival vacations.

This will involve the displacement of millions between the different regions of the country, which will increase the risk of contagion and spread of the epidemic.

On Monday, China’s National Health Commission confirmed that the new virus causing pneumonia has been passed from person-to-person and infected some medical staff.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert who is leading the health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong Province as due to human-to-human transmission.

The outbreak, which began in the central city of Wuhan, also sent shivers through financial markets as investors recalled the fallout from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which between 2002 and 2003 killed 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong.

"Taiwan detects its first patient with new pneumonia coming from central China."

Prime Minister Li Keqiang also instructed subnational governments to achieve better communication and coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with the health authorities of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

Outside of China, cases of 2019-nCOV pneumonia have been confirmed in Japan (1), Thailand (2), and Korea (1).

On Tuesday morning, Taiwan confirmed its first pneumonia case, a woman who was recently in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Currently, she has been placed under quarantine.

The WHO called a meeting for Wednesday to consider declaring a global health emergency.

]]> <![CDATA[Several Caribbean Nations Reject Pompeo's Visit to Jamaica ]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:23:54 -04:00 The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley recently announced that her country was not sending their Foreign Minister to Jamaica in order to attend a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.


Barbados Celebrates the 53rd Anniversary of Its Independence

Mottley, citing Barbados' commitment to remaining neutral and non-aggression towards other nations, said her government would not take part in the U.S.' attempts to divide the Caribbean region.

"I am conscious that when Errol Barrow stood and remarked that 'we shall be friends of all and satellites of none,' little did he know that that statement would be embraced by every single Prime Minister of government that succeeded him. It is as valid today, perhaps even more so than it was at the time of its initial delivery, Mottley said. 

"As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region," Mottley added. 

Barbados will not be alone, however, as two more Caribbean nations have joined them in boycotting the upcoming Pompeo meeting.

According to a new statement from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, their government support Barbados' position and will not send a representative to meet with Pompeo in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, said Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley has his country’s support.

“PM Mottley has the full support of the Government and the people of Trinidad and Tobago in outlining our principles and vision of Caribbean unity. In the expectation of Caribbean unity, the Prime Minister of Barbados speaks for Trinidad and Tobago,” said Prime Minister Rowley.

Also joining Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago is Grenada, who vowed to not attend this meeting that seeks to divide the Caribbean. 

The U.S. has used the Caribbean as a way to isolate countries like Venezuela and Cuba, as the shipping lanes to these two nations have been blockaded by them. 

]]> <![CDATA[French Workers Cut Power to World's Largest Food Market]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 09:11:40 -04:00 France’s General Confederation of Labour (CGT) Tuesday announced that the French energy workers protesting against President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform cut power to Rungis, the world's largest wholesale fresh food market located near Paris.


France: Macron Evacuated From Parisian Theater Due to Protests

"The power source to Rungis is cut this morning," the local CGT energy branch said, referring to a food market that covers 234 hectares and generates revenues of US$10 billion a year.

A spokeswoman for Rungis International Market said emergency power kicked in when the outage began at 5:30 (local time) and that there was no disruption to trade.

The power outage, which lasted 90 minutes, also halted services on the Orlyval rail shuttle serving Orly, the French capital's second busiest airport.

Today's action demonstrates the growing determination of French left-wing unions to defend workers' rights against Macron's intransigence.

"Dinan: the hospital's radiology department is on strike in Ouest, France."


Although the country is facing a wave of street strikes and protests, which has not stopped since the beginning of December, the French president does not back down in his pension system reform project, which distributes the burden of change unequally between employers and workers.

In turn, the reform of the pension system, which would be the biggest change to the system since World War II, is appreciated by the French government as the opportunity to introduce rules that generate greater "flexibility" of the labor force, which implies a deterioration of working conditions.

Besides opposing these claims, left-wing unions continue to denounce that workers will have to work longer to obtain a full pension.

]]> <![CDATA[Life and Legacy of Errol W. Barrow, Barbados' Freedom Fighter]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:19:13 -04:00 One of Barbados’ most important political figures, Errol W. Barrow is today remembered for his impressive record: first prime minister, father of the independence, a supporter of the regional unity, and designer of a modern system of public budgeting, among many other achievements.


Barbados Will Not Take Part in US 'Attempt to Divide Region'

Barrow was born in St. Lucy on Jan. 21, 1920 into a family of political and social activists. At the age of 20, in 1940, he joined Britain's Royal Air Force and served in World War II as a navigation officer.

At the end of the war, he went on to study law at the University of London and in 1949, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn - one of the world’s most prestigious bodies of judges and lawyers. 

After he returned home in 1950 as a practicing barrister-at-law, he became involved in politics and joined the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) in 1951.

He was elected to Parliament that same year but, as he cherished the desire to create a new political force, he managed in 1955 to launch the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) along with other politicians, including James Cameron Tudor and Frederick Smith.

Having brought an end to the long process of decolonization, Barrow will remain acclaimed in Barbados for leading his country to independence from Britain in 1966. 

Barrow’s leadership had a great impact on Barbados' social landscape and the quality of his administration led him to receive several awards while sitting as prime minister.

Among them were an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from Canada's McGill University in 1966 and the Lions International "Head of State Award" in 1967. 


Barbados Celebrates the 53rd Anniversary of Its Independence

A declared socialist, the former PM was particularly successful in securing many important social changes for Barbados over the 15-year period of his governance.

He fought against segregation in education, democratized its process, making it free and accessible to everyone.

He also introduced social security in the country, improved health services, accelerated the nation’s industrial development, and considerably expanded tourism.

After his election defeat in September 1976, Barrow spent a brief period as an academic lecturer in the U.S.; however, he never abandoned his seat in Parliament and eventually became a leader of the opposition.

In May 1986,  at the age of 66, he again led his party to power obtaining 24 of the 27 seats in parliament, the largest ever margin of seats in the nation’s history. But Barrow suddenly died one year later on June 1, 1987.

Regionally and internationally, the ex-premier was a staunch critic of the U.S. economic and military domination of the Caribbean.

He also opposed the U.S.’s 1983 invasion of Grenada,  in which Barbados’ then government and other Caribbean nations participated, leading to the assassination of revolutionary Maurice Bishop in October 1983.

Barrow then pledged to never allow the Barbadian territory to be used to launch attacks against brother countries

He was also renowned for his firm opposition to the South African apartheid and his emphasis on the Caribbean regional integration.

When the West Indies Federation collapsed in 1962, Barrow helped establish the Caribbean Free Trade Association, which evolved into today's Caribbean Community.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan Assembly to Investigate US Funding to Guaido]]> Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:05:44 -04:00 The president of the National Assembly (NA), Luis Parra, announced this Monday that the Parliament will name a special commission that will be in charge of investigating the use of the alleged humanitarian aid funds sent to sectors of the extreme right of Venezuela, by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Cuban President Condemns Guaido's Threats Against teleSUR

He also indicated that a request will be sent to the United States asking that country’s authorithies to investigate the resources given by USAID because "we don't know where that money went."

"We are saying that those scandals that have been widespread like the Cucutazo and the improper management of those resources should be investigated.

We are asking for the truth to be revealed to the country, in a matter that has been linked to the media and NGOs," he said.

He insisted that Parliament, as an autonomous power, will continue an investigation to determine the destination of the resources.

 "We are going to keep insisting on a transparent management," he said.

Earlier in the day, Parra stated through Twitter that USAID has provided 467 million dollars since 2017.

Of that amount, Congressman Juan Guaidó has received $180 million since January 2019, as reported by the Venezuelan news agency AVN on its website.

The self-proclaimed 'president' of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, seems to be having a hard time staying in the spotlight.

He now plans to create a "presidential commission" to restructure teleSUR in order to serve his interests and to provide a channel that helps him stay relevant.

Since he lacks the popular support needed to become the leader of Venezuela, Guaido continues to seek alternative methods to harm the Bolivarian Republic.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico Guarantees Entry Conditions For The Migrant Caravan]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 23:37:30 -04:00 The National Institute of Migration of Mexico (INM), announced this Monday that authorities will guarantee the entrance of Central American migrants to their country, obeying Mexican laws regarding the treatment of migrants.


Migrant Caravan Gathers on Guatemala Border To Enter Mexico

The INM explained that so far, "the authorities of the Mexican Government have acted in a responsible manner to the requests of Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras, who are asking to enter through the southern border of Mexico. 

The organization also urged citizens to quietly enter the nation avoiding any kind of disturbance to public order.

"They were invited to enter the country in an organized and quiet way based on our laws for migrant treatment, which gives priority to vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women, children, the elderly or people with disabilities".

The INM reiterates that in the event of possible acts of violence or the possible irregular entry of some citizens, they will be returned.

"Any person in an irregular situation will be presented to the migration authority, a legal procedure will be initiated and, if necessary, assistance will be provided for the return to their country of origin".

So far, "the authorities of the Mexican Government have acted in a responsible manner to the requests of Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras, who are asking to enter through the southern border of Mexico. 

A group of Central American migrants crossed into Mexico on Monday on the Suchiate River, after the closure of the border bridge crossing at Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas.

Some fought with the national guards on the river bank, while others slipped through the Mexican officials lines and reached a rural road in small groups. Immigration authorities caught more people there.

Most, however, stayed by the river's edge or stood in its muddy waters after being prevented from crossing the border bridge into Ciudad Hidalgo.

About 5,000 migrants remain on Mexico's southern border with the intention of continuing on to the United States.

]]> <![CDATA[Latam Expects Stable, Prosperous New Year After Turbulent 2019]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 21:10:31 -04:00 Via Xinhua:

The year of 2019 was a turbulent one for Latin America where there were protests, violent clashes and a fierce tug of war between conservative and progressive currents in countries long considered bastions of stability.

As the region staggers into 2020 with stagnant or even shrinking growth, hopes are that the first year of this new decade will be marked by greater political stability, economic prosperity and fruitful trade ties, though observers admit it may sometimes be an uphill battle.


With tensions in the region expected to ease in the new year, Chile and Bolivia, the two most roiled by political upheaval in 2019, have already set the wheels in motion towards recovering stability.

Chileans will get to vote in an April 26 plebiscite on whether to rewrite the Constitution to better address economic and social disparities.

The plebiscite was proposed after massive protests broke out in mid-October against a hike in subway fares in the capital Santiago, and quickly spread throughout the country, fueled by anger at Chile's inability to distribute the country's wealth, which is leading to growing inequality.

It remains to be seen whether the April poll will satisfy Chilean protesters, but one good sign is that the plebiscite addresses what many experts believe is Latin America's biggest concern -- inequality.

It's not enough to generate wealth, as events in Chile, which has emerged as a high-income country in recent years, have proven.

What is needed are policies that promote social and workplace inclusion to help eradicate poverty and strengthen the middle class, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) recommends.

"We have a highly vulnerable middle class, and that is where we have to offer the right answers, especially to the youth," Alicia Barcena, the ECLAC's executive secretary, has said.

Bolivia is set to hold general elections in May for the second time in eight months, after the outcome of October elections was not recognized by the conservative opposition, leading to protests, the resignation of the country's first indigenous president and the installation of an interim government.

Will new elections help pacify the polarized country? That all depends on the turnout, said Bolivian political scientist Marcelo Arequipa.

"Without a doubt, Bolivia's political-electoral horizon seems uncertain, especially since the right insists on a fragmented roster of potential presidential candidates," said Arequipa.

The problem that plagues the right, center-right and hard-right, he said, is the lack of consensus around a unifying candidate, which means those parties will be disputing 60 percent of the votes, while the remaining 40 percent will go to the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party.

To win, a candidate must garner more than 50 percent of the vote, or more than 40 percent with a 10-point lead over the runner-up, otherwise, a runoff will be held between the two leading candidates.


Economic deceleration was widespread and synchronized among Latin American countries and sectors, but several are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Brazil, the region's largest economy, has been showing signs of recovery since the second half of last year, with many economic indicators presenting positive results.

On that news, the Brazilian government upgraded its 2020 economic growth forecast in mid-January from 2.32 percent to 2.4 percent.

According to a report by the Brazilian Economy Ministry's Economic Policy Secretariat, economic indicators are coming in stronger than the market expected, especially in certain sectors, such as services, commerce and civil construction.

The region's number two economy, Mexico, breathed a sigh of relief with the approval by the U.S. Senate of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on free trade.

The deal still needs to be passed by Canada's parliament before it can take effect, but it is already helping to lift spirits and confidence in Mexico's economic outlook.

Affected mainly by global trade tensions and social turmoil at home, Chile's exports fell 7.4 percent in 2019. But the government is looking to revert those losses this year by expanding both its range of export products and export markets.

"We are looking to diversify our presence in leading markets we are already in, such as China and the United States, for example, by increasing our export of services," said Rodrigo Yanez, Chile's undersecretary for International Economic Relations, told reporters.

Protesters confront the police in Quito, Ecuador, on Oct. 9, 2019. (Str/Xinhua)

Ecuador, also rocked by protests towards the end of 2019, needs to rein in public spending and rising debt before it can see sustained growth.

Much of the discontent in Ecuador, and other Latin American countries, springs from the 1972-1982 oil boom, which resulted in high levels of corruption and rampant spending and burdened nations with huge debt and imbalanced economies to this day.

"The government has to make public finances sustainable again. That is going to help recover the country's competitiveness," economist Alberto Acosta Burneo told Xinhua.

Protests in Ecuador are sparked by the elimination of fuel subsidies, which resulted in a sudden spike of gasoline prices and was estimated to save the government 1.5 billion U.S. dollars a year to start getting its finances in order.

In a report issued in December, the ECLAC said fiscal policies in the region should be centered "on the reactivation of growth and on responding to growing social demands."


As an important trade and development partner for Latin America, China is playing a growing role in the region's development, and offers more chances for the region to make continued progress on different fronts, regional observers agreed.

With shared interests in development and highly complementary economies, cooperation between China and Latin American countries has enjoyed sound momentum of growth despite the region's instability and weak economy. 

Statistics of China's Ministry of Commerce showed that the two-way trade volume from January to November last year stood at 286.8 billion dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 1.8 percent.

Five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed building a China-Latin America community with a shared future, ushering in a new era in China-Latin America ties.

Boosted by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the two sides have made notable strides in strengthening comprehensive cooperation in many fields from high-level exchanges to trade liberalization.

In the eyes of Latin American experts, the initiative, with an aim to build networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa and beyond, is generating a lot of interest in a region that has traditionally lacked the infrastructure to promote development.

"China is expected to participate much more actively in the region's economic transformation," said Juan Angel Cordero, a Cuban expert in international relations, noting that China's cooperation with Latin American countries will be multidirectional.

Scholars also called on countries in Latin America to study China's experience in governance and national development.

According to Venezuelan geopolitical expert Luis Quintana, China has come up with a successful formula that has also been applied with positive results in Latin America -- a state that plays an active role in the economy and in promoting social rights, and a private sector that takes active part in the process of national development.

It "has required a progressive and sustained process of reforms and opening up, which have brought China formidable progress," said Quintana.


 The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of authors and don't necessarily reflect teleSUR's position


]]> <![CDATA[500M People Worldwide Struggle to Find Adequate Work: Study]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 20:39:50 -04:00 Almost half a billion people around the world are stuck in poverty as they struggle to find work or a job that is adequately paid, an International Labour Organization (ILO) report published Monday found.


2,000 World’s Richest Hold More Wealth Than 4.6B Poorest: Oxfam

“For millions of ordinary people, it’s increasingly difficult to build better lives through work,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. 

“Persisting and substantial work-related inequalities and exclusion are preventing them from finding decent work and better futures. That’s an extremely serious finding that has profound and worrying implications for social cohesion.”

The labor organization noted that more than 470 million people in the world are affected by insufficiently paid work, and lack the employment opportunities that would meet their needs

Out of a working-age population of 5.7 billion individuals around the world, as much as 165 million people are employed but unable to find work with an adequate amount of paid hours. 

The report also said a further 119 million had either abandoned actively searching for work or could not access to the jobs market because of their personal situations. 

In addition, the United Nations’ agency observed that unemployment is projected to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020. 

Global unemployment has been relatively stable over almost a decade, but weaker levels of economic growth mean that “as the global labor force increases, not enough new jobs are being generated to absorb new entrants to the labor market,” the researchers wrote.

ILO’s study was released as global political and business elites are heading to the Swiss ski resort of Davos where the World Economic Forum (WEF) will be held from Jan. 21 to 24.

]]> <![CDATA[Iran Warns of Quitting Global Nuclear Treaty If Case Goes to UN]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 19:17:09 -04:00 Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Monday that Iran could leave the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if Britain, France, and Germany pursue their “unjustifiable behavior” and send the country’s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council.


Moscow Hopes Iran Won't Quit Global Nuclear Pact

“If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” Iranian news agencies quoted Zarif saying.

The three European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal declared last week Iran in violation of the agreement and launched a “dispute mechanism” that could eventually see the reimposition of U.N. sanctions on the Persian country.

The 2015 pact, considered at the time of its signing a milestone achievement, has been in doubt since United States President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of it and reimposed draconian sanctions that devasted Iran’s economy. 

The Islamic Republic has since been applying a set of countermeasures in reaction to the U.S.’s withdrawal, but also in response to European countries’ refusal to guarantee its business interests under the nuclear deal.

On Jan. 5, two days after U.S. drone strikes assassinated senior Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, the situation further escalated and Iran announced it would no longer abide by any operational limitations on its nuclear industry.


Venezuelan FM Makes Official Visit to Iran to Boost Relations

However, Tehran has clearly specified that its retaliatory steps fit within the nuclear accord’s Paragraph 36, and are reversible if the other parties start following their obligations under the contract.

“Despite the ill will that we see from some European countries the door of negotiations with them has not been closed and the ball is in the court of these countries,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Monday.

The NPT entered in force in 1970 with the aim of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. It includes the 2015 deal Iran agreed to sign with world powers, curbing its atomic program, in exchange for access to global trade.

The 190-member NPT bans signatories other than the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France from acquiring nuclear weapons, allowing them to pursue peaceful nuclear programs for power generation, overseen by the U.N.

The only country ever to declare its withdrawal from the treaty was North Korea. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan never signed up, nor did Israel, which does not say if it has nuclear weapons but is widely presumed to have them.

The West has long accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear arms. Tehran denies accusations, saying its objective is to master the process of generating electricity from nuclear energy.

]]> <![CDATA[Three Rockets Land Near US Embassy in Baghdad]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:50:08 -04:00 Three Katyusha rockets fell on Tuesday inside Baghdad’s Green Zone which houses government buildings and foreign missions, according to Iraqui police sources.

The three rockets were launched from Zafaraniyah district outside Baghdad, the sources said, adding that two rockets landed near the U.S. embassy.


]]> <![CDATA[Moscow Hopes Iran Won't Quit Global Nuclear Pact]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:46:34 -04:00 Moscow hopes that Iran will not withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying Monday.

"We warn the Iranian side against reckless steps in terms of maintaining the obligations of the Islamic Republic under the NPT," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying.

 Venezuelan FM Makes Official Visit to Iran to Boost Relations

"We talk about this openly and consider this treaty to be key to global security, especially taking into account the alarming processes that are developing in general in the area of arms control and non-proliferation," Ryabkov said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that the Islamic republic will abandon the NPT Treaty if the nuclear case of the country is sent to the UN Security Council, which might lead to new sanctions against Iran.

Russia cautions "hotheads in Europe" that may have the illusion that moving the whole issue to the UN Security Council will help resolve the problem, Ryabkov said.

Such a step may have devastating consequences, he said, adding that "currently there is a crucial moment and everyone should be careful and balanced in their actions."

The NPT Treaty, regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, entered into force in 1968 and was extended by its parties indefinitely from 1995. A total of 191 countries have joined the treaty.


]]> <![CDATA[Thousands of Armed Gun-Rights Activists Protest in Virginia]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 15:10:30 -04:00 A large number of armed gun-rights activists descended on Virginia's capitol building on Monday to protest a package of gun-control legislation making its way through the newly Democratic-controlled state legislature.


55% of US Voting-Age Women Prefer Socialism, Over Capitalism

According to the Reuters News Agency, the Richmond rally was surrounded by heavy security after Virginian Governor Ralph Northam banned carrying weapons onto the capitol grounds.

The reason for the heavy security was due to fears of a potential replay of the violence at a 2017 demonstration by white nationalists in Charlottesville that killed a counter-protester.

The Charlottesville rally , also dubbed "Unite the Right", resulted in one person killed after a white nationalist drove his vehicle into one of the people protesting the march.

That order was sparked by fears that members of white nationalist and militia groups planned to attend the rally, which organizers the Virginia Citizens Defense League planned as a peaceful show of political power. The FBI earlier in the week arrested three alleged neo-Nazis who it said intended to use the event to spark a race war.

Activists at the rally argued that Virginia was trying to infringe on their right to bear arms, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“What’s going on here, if not stopped, will spread to other states,” said Teri Horne, who had traveled to Virginia from her home in Texas with her Smith & Wesson rifle and .40-caliber handgun. “They will come for our guns in other states if we don’t stop them in Virginia.”

Northam, a Democrat, has vowed to push through new gun control laws and is backing a package of eight bills, including universal background checks, a “red flag” law, a ban on assault-style rifles and a limit of one handgun-a-month purchase. It does not call for confiscating guns currently legally owned.

It is not his first attempt. He called a special legislative session last year after the massacre of 12 people in Virginia Beach, but the Republicans who then controlled the legislature ended that meeting without a vote.

State Democratic leaders and activists believe that move contributed to the November victories that gave them control of both chambers.

A group of 13 student activists from March For Our Lives, a gun-control group, slept inside the capitol building on Sunday night ahead of impromptu meetings with lawmakers to encourage them to pass the legislation.

“A lot of the protesters outside have a really extreme reading of the Second Amendment,” Eve Levenson, a 20-year-old political science student at George Washington University, said in a telephone interview, adding that some gun owners feared regulation of firearms amounted to confiscation. “What we’re fighting for is common-sense laws that are proven to work and are already effective in other states.”

]]> <![CDATA[Honduras Officially Designates Hezbollah a Terrorist Entity ]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:03:25 -04:00 The Honduran government has formally declared Lebanon's Hezbollah organization a "terrorist organization", as they attempt to mirror the U.S. government's foreign policy. 


Honduran Migrant Caravan Repressed On Guatemala Border Crossing

"We declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization and will include it in the registry of persons and institutions linked to acts of terrorism and its financing," said Luis Suazo, Honduras' deputy security minister.

Hezbollah, which has political and military wing, plays a major role in Lebanon's government, as they have several ministers in the parliament. 

The Lebanese organization is closely aligned with the Iranian government and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which are both sanctioned by the U.S. government, with the latter being designated a terrorist group by the U.S. Treasury. 

Honduras' decision to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization comes a week after Guatemala's new president, Alejandro Giammattei, said he would label the Lebanese group a terrorist entity and move his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. 

With recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the two Central American nations are signaling to the U.S. that they are in line with Washington's foreign policy. 

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan FM Makes Official Visit to Iran to Boost Relations]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:41:08 -04:00 Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza met on Monday with his counterpart from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javad Zarif, to discuss a number of topics, including the strengthening of bilateral relations. 


‘Latin America in Constant Siege from US’: Venezuela’s FM

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Arreaza, arrived in Tehran on Sunday night for a three-day visit. Arreaza's visit to Iran comes just a week after he made his first official visit to China. 

"The Minister of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, arrived in Tehran, capital of Iran, with the aim of strengthening the relations of brotherhood and cooperation between the two peoples," the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in its statement on Monday.

Arreaza's visit also comes weeks after the U.S. assassinated the Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, near the Baghdad International Airport. Venezuela has condemned this act and offered their condolences to the Islamic Republic. 

Last October, Zarif had met Arreaza in New York City on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly. The two diplomats shared a warm greeting and discussed ways both of their countries could boost their economic and political ties. 

For 18 years, Venezuela and Iran have been working to strengthen bilateral ties against the blockade and threats imposed by the United States. 

Similar to Venezuela, Iran has been under a long economic blockade that has sought to destabilize the Islamic Republic and remove their government. 

]]> <![CDATA[Brazilians March in Memory of 272 People Killed Last Year]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:02:27 -04:00 Hundreds of people are participating in a march on Monday that will begin in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte and end in the municipality of Brumadinho. This march is being conducted in memory of the 272 people that died as a result of the collapsed dam in Córrego do Feijao, on January 25, 2019.


Brazil's Peoples: Bolsonaro Means Genocide, Ethnocide, Ecocide

The march in honor of the victims of that tragedy will last six days, as the participants intend to arrive on Saturday, January 25th, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the tragedy. 

More than 350 residents affected by this tragedy will travel an estimated 300 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, in southeastern Brazil.

The activity will pass through the towns of Pompéu, Sao Joaquim de Bicas, Juatuba and Betim (Citrolândia). In these cities, there will be debates, seminars, public events and cultural activities.

On Friday, January 24, in Citrolândia, the protesters, grouped in the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), will hold a meeting in which the former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will participate.

On January 25, 2019, a mining dam with sewage from the Córrego de Feijao mine, owned by the Vale SA mine, collapsed, causing the largest environmental disaster in Brazil.

After the dam collapsed, tons of mud and mining waste razed everything in its path, leaving a balance of 272 dead and unquantifiable material damage.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan President Proposes Respectful Dialogue With US Gov't]]> Mon, 20 Jan 2020 13:47:45 -04:00 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed once again that he welcomes  dialogue with the United States as long as it is based on mutual respect between both governments.


‘Latin America in Constant Siege from US’: Venezuela’s FM

In an exclusive interview with The Washington Post, published this weekend, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed dialogue with the United States, which would establish a different relationship between both countries.

"If there is respect between governments, no matter how big the United States is, and if there is dialogue, an exchange of truthful information, then be sure we can create a new kind of relationship," the Venezuelan President said.

So far, the interventionist and opposing position of the U.S. government arbitrarily recognizes Juan Guaidó as head of the Venezuelan legislature.

However, the legitimate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro believes that "a relationship of respect and dialogue brings a win-win situation, while a confrontational relationship brings a lose-lose situation. That is his formula.

In this sense, the Venezuelan head of state expressed that if President Donald Trump lifts the sanctions against Venezuela, he would be reinitiating relations with the Bolivarian nation, and generating a path of goodwill that would benefit the U.S. oil companies.

President Maduro also made reference to the failed attempt by the Venezuelan opposition to expel him in the April 30th conspiracy, stressing that his enemies have underestimated the the value and strength of the fight for the Venezuelan sovereignty.

"One thing is the Venezuelan National Dialogue Table, sovereign with the political factors of internal opposition that has its rhythm, its agenda, and its agreements; and another thing is the bilateral relationship between the government of President Donald Trump and the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela," the leader stressed.

On the other hand, President Maduro reiterated, to The Washington Post, his promise to hold legislative elections this year.

]]> <![CDATA[2,000 World’s Richest Hold More Wealth Than 4.6B Poorest: Oxfam]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:53:42 -04:00 The world’s billionaires, representing 2,153 people, had more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019, a report conducted by Oxfam revealed Monday.


As Drivers Sleep in Cars, Uber Co-Founder Buys a $72.5M Mansion

The charity noted in its study titled “Time to Care” and released ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, that “this great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, while more than the billions of hours of the most essential work, the unpaid and underpaid care work, is done primarily by women and girls around the world.”

In its study, Oxfam calculated that unpaid care work done by women and girls added at least US$10.8 trillion a year in value to the world economy, three times more than the tech industry.

“Yet most of the financial benefits accrue to the richest, the majority of whom are men,” the researchers wrote, adding that “this unjust system exploits and marginalizes the poorest women and girls while increasing the wealth and power of a rich elite.” 

“It is important for us to underscore that the hidden engine of the economy that we see is really the unpaid care work of women. And that needs to change,” CEO of Oxfam India Amitabh Behar told Reuters.

To highlight the level of inequality in the global economy, Behar cited the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India.

Devi spends 16 to 17 hours a day doing work like fetching water after trekking three km, cooking, preparing her children for school and working in a poorly paid job.

“And on the one hand you see the billionaires who are all assembling at Davos with their personal planes, personal jets, super-rich lifestyles,” he said.

“This Buchu Devi is not one person. I in India encounter these women on a daily basis, and this is the story across the world. We need to change this, and certainly, end this billionaire boom.”

Behar said that to remedy this, governments should make sure above all that the rich pay their taxes, which should then be used to pay for amenities such as clean water, healthcare, and better quality schools.

“If you just look around the world, more than 30 countries are seeing protests. People are on the street and what are they saying? - That they are not to accept this inequality, they are not going to live with these kinds of conditions."

]]> <![CDATA[Migrant Caravan Gathers on Guatemala Border To Enter Mexico]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:34:54 -04:00 Thousands of Central Americans gathered Sunday at the border between Guatemala and Mexico, with the aim of crossing into Mexican territory on Monday.


Mexico's President Assures Continuation of Social Programs

The migrants gathered at the Tecun Uman camp in Guatemala have decided to regroup after small groups managed to cross the border into Ciudad Hidalgo in Mexico on Saturday.

According to Guatemala's National Institute of Migration, it is estimated that 821 Hondurans, 19 Salvadorans, three Nicaraguans, and 38 Guatemalans, making a total of 881 people, made it through the Mexican border on Saturday.

It was also revealed that last Saturday the border was crossed by the highest number of people registered to date since the migrant caravan began to increase last Wednesday.

The migrants still in Tecun Uman have decided to wait for more travelers to arrive with the hope of having a better chance of advancing in a caravan.

Thousands of migrants are gathered in this camp by UNHCR in front of the Casa del Migrante. It is estimated that 3,500 people could be part of the caravan that plans to cross the border to Mexico tomorrow to continue on to the United States.

"We have been getting organized," said Jose Luis Cruz, a 33-year-old Honduran autoworker who left behind his wife and two children in an attempt to reach the U.S.

Cruz said migrants waiting at Tecun Uman wanted to try to enter Mexico en masse around 5:00 am local time on Monday, hoping authorities would let them through to avoid a confrontation.

"If we cross alone, they will catch us and all the sacrifices we have made to get here will have been in vain," he added.

The Guatemalan government says at least 4,000 people have arrived from Honduras in less than a week, one of the biggest increases since three Central American governments signed agreements with the Trump administration regarding the treatment of migrants.

So far, Mexican authorities have controlled the border more successfully than at the end of 2018, offering migrants work in the south.

However, the Mexican Interior Ministry said, that those who do not accept to stay in the south will not receive safe-conduct passes to the U.S.

For his part, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to harm Mexico and Central American countries economically if they allow large numbers of people to reach the U.S. border.

]]> <![CDATA[55% of US Voting-Age Women Prefer Socialism, Over Capitalism]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:18:58 -04:00 A majority of voting-age women in the United States oppose capitalism and would rather live under an economic system resembling the democratic socialist structure in force in Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway, according to a reminder published Sunday by the news website Axios.


Trump Admin Economy Report Urges 'Protecting' US From Socialism

The Harris poll conducted for “Axios HBO” in June 2019 had shown that socialism gained popularity over the past years.

Four in 10 U.S. citizens, and 55 percent of women aged from 18 to 54, say they aspire to live in a socialist nation over a capitalist one like the U.S.

The rate of U.S. women supporting socialism surged from 40 percent to 55 percent, Axios' journalists Felix Salmon and Alexi McCammond observe in an analysis titled "Capitalism's discontents" and published Sunday.

"When Americans say they want to live in a socialist country, they don't mean they want to live in a Marxist command economy. Rather, they mean that they want universal health care, tuition-free education, and a decent day's wage for a decent day's work," Salmon and McCammond noted.

The two reporters add that a debate about the economic future of the country as well as the global economy could have a profound impact in this year's elections in the U.S.

"Capitalism has failed most Americans in recent decades. Instead, it has created an economy that feels, and is deeply unfair," they commented, adding that "tapping into that wellspring of resentment will be a major source of political support for all successful candidates in 2020."

Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democratic presidential candidate who presents himself as a democratic socialist, often arguing that the economic system prevalent in the Nordic countries is an interesting example to explore and follow.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico's President Assures Continuation of Social Programs]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:05:33 -04:00 Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday that his administration will continue to guarantee social programs that seek to improve the lives of all Mexicans.


Mexico Halts Migrant Caravan by Closing Border With Guatemala

During the inauguration of a new concrete road in the Mixe region in the state of Oaxaca, AMLO assured that programs such as "Sowing Life" and "Internet for All" would be completely developed throughout his term.

The president gave a short speech because the poor state of the roads would delay his trip to Santo Domingo Xagacia, and finally to Mexico City. "Here, there is no ambition to steal. The only ambition, if you can call it that, is to serve the people.”

"There are no longer any presidential planes or helicopters, and I don't want to miss my commercial flight. But we're going to keep meeting, we're going to keep talking," he added.

We inaugurated the Santos Reyes Yucuna road. According to the INEGI it is the poorest municipality in Mexico.

AMLO again pointed out that the services of the Institute of Health for Welfare shouldn’t be charged to the Mexican people.

"There will be no lack of doctors or medicines and there will be free health care. It's not going to be easy because there was a lot of corruption in everything, even the money for the medicines was stolen."

For his part, the Governor of Oaxaca Alejandro Murat Hinojosa insisted on supporting the institute.

"The Insabi," he added, "is the best way to provide health services in a different way "and it is what the people of Oaxaca want".

]]> <![CDATA[Protests Resume in Iraq Amid Outrage at Slow Pace of Reform]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 23:00:12 -04:00 Hundreds of angry protesters demonstrated Sunday across Iraq's south and its capital Baghdad, blocking the main roads with burning tires in outrage at the government's slow pace of reforms.


Iraqi Journalists Launch Campaign After Killing of Two Reporters

The leaderless anti-government protests that started in October were re-ignited after weakening in recent weeks amid the ongoing geopolitical crisis between Iran and the United States following the assassination earlier this month of top Iranian Major- General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. strike in Baghdad.

In the capital some protesters retook to the main protest camps in Tahrir and the Tayaran Squares​​​​, while others burned tires to block highways and bridges, turning back cars and prompting traffic jams.

"We want to send a message to the government: Stop procrastinating. The people know what you're doing," protester in Baghdad told AFP.

In the holy city of Najaf, people lit tires and began a sit-in on the main road leading to the capital.

Rallies also expanded to the southern cities of Diwaniyah, Kut, Amara, and Nasiriyah, where most public offices, schools, and universities have been shut down for months.

The mostly youth-led movement is demanding early elections based on reformed voting law, a new prime minister to replace current caretaker Adel Abdel Mahdi and alleged corrupt officials to be judged.

"We want rapid elections and an independent candidate who doesn't belong to the old parties," protester Jassim Abbas told Al Jazeera.

Police used tear gas to try to disperse the protesters who responded by throwing rocks. Clashes led to at least 10 people including police officers injured, a medical source told AFP. 

After PM’s Abdel Mahdi resignation last November, political parties have been unable to agree on a successor, while demonstrators have discarded all the names circulating as possible replacements.

The uprising is the largest and bloodiest that have taken place in Iraq in decades. Almost 460 people died and more than 25,000 were wounded since October. 

]]> <![CDATA[UK Universities Invested $600m in Israel Crimes: Report]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 21:47:20 -04:00 British universities have invested almost US$600 million in companies involved in Israeli violations of international law, year-long research from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), reported Sunday by the Middle East Eye, revealed.


NGOs Urge UN to Disclose Firms Involved in Israel's Settlements

At the end of 2019, the PSC made public a database listing 117, out of the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) 151 universities, with investments in firms implicated in Israeli crimes against Palestinians. 

“U.K. universities remain deeply complicit with Israel’s apartheid regime through their investment and institutional links,” the PSC writes on its website.

“Universities invest directly into companies which supply the Israeli military with arms, participate and profit from sustaining Israeli apartheid, assist in the building of illegal Israeli settlements and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population.”

The group adds that “these investments and collaborations exist despite the majority of U.K. universities holding strong policies that exist to prevent complicity with human rights abuses and war crimes.”

The findings, which sparked anger among students and pro-Palestinian activists, show that several universities invest in some of the largest arms manufacturers in the world, including Boeing, Airbus, and BAE Systems. All of these companies supply weapons and aircraft to the Israeli military.

While the University of Oxford is the greatest offender with some US$169,600 of “complicit investments,” the University College London even pushes the irony to have BAE Systems sponsoring their Center for Ethics and Law.

The University of Manchester for its part has US$954,354 in investments in Caterpillar, who supplies Israel’s military with the D9 bulldozers used to demolish homes, schools, and communities in Palestine.  

Other institutions such as Imperial College London have invested in military and high technology corporations like Cisco Systems, a firm that supplies the Israeli military information technology and that has developed surveillance infrastructure in the occupied West Bank.

The PSC resorted to the Freedom of Information to ask all 151 British universities for the values of their direct and indirect investments.

53 universities refused to deliver any information, 42 turned to the public interest exemption for the Freedom of Information Act and 11 did not respond.

To define the approximated amount of investments for universities that did not provide information, PSC used the data from universities that sent their details and calculated an average percentage of the stakes.

The campaign started when activist Huda Ammori introduced a branch of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the University of Manchester where she used to study.

At the time, she suspected many universities, as well as her own, were complicit in such practices, which encouraged her to start collecting information for the database. 

“For me, it was an outrage, like any student, especially as a Palestinian student, who has to pay tuition fees towards institutions that are investing in companies enabling these abuses,” Ammori told Middle East Eye.

]]> <![CDATA[One More Social Leader Killed In Colombia, 21 So Far in 2020]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:49:28 -04:00 The Cordobexia Social Foundation denounced Saturday the assassination of social leader Luis Dario Rodriguez, the second activist killed in the northwestern department of Cordoba this week and the 21st so far in Colombia this year.


17 Social Leaders Assassinated so Far This Year in Colombia

According to the statement released by the foundation, the social leader was murdered on Friday afternoon as he was returning home from a fishing trip in the municipality of Tierralta.

"He was shot by men on a motorcycle," denounced the Cordobexia Social Foundation, as well as calling on the national government to protect and guarantee the exercise of human rights in Colombia. 

Rodriguez was a member of the Association of Displaced and Vulnerable Families of Tierralta and of the human rights network of southern Cordoba. Also a father of three children and dedicated himself to fishing and agriculture.

His activism consisted of speeding up land claim processes after the flooding of the Alto Sinúu lands by the URRA 1 hydroelectric plant.

Less than a week ago, social leaders, Jorge Luis Betancourt and Tulio Sandoval were also murdered in their respective municipalities.

Betancourt also from Cordoba was killed in the municipality of Montelibanom and was a farmer's rights activist.

While, Sandoval,  who was participating in the crop substitution program, was killed by armed individuals who broke into his house, dragged him out and shot him repeatedly in front of his family.

In this context, Attorney General Fernando Carrillo recently called for an end to what he described as "the systematic murder of social leaders."

Since the peace agreement signing, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Peace in Colombia has counted more than 300 murders of human rights leaders.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: MAS Presents Official Presidential Ticket ]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:59:44 -04:00 Bolivia's Movement Towards Socialism, headed by exiled President Evo Morales, announced Sunday that former Minister of Economy Luis Arce and former Minister of Foreign Affairs David Choquehuanca will run for president and vice president, respectively, for the country's May 3 general elections. 

Bolivia's Movement to Socialism Party Forms Presidential Plan 

Arce, 57, was Morales' Minister of Economy from 2006 to 2017 and then from January 2019 until the coup, leading the country's economic wonder, which was even praised by the International Monetary Fund. The presidential candidate holds degrees in Economics from the Universidad Mayor de San Andres and the University of Warwick. In addition, he has an honorary doctorate from the University of Los Andes and Franz Tamayo University.

His running mate, Choquehuanca, 58, was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2017. The Indigenous diplomat was born in the Bolivian highlands and is a well-known campesino leader. 

"A running ticket to encompass Indigenous, social, and middle-class movements," commented teleSUR's correspondent Marco Teruggi, meaning Morales' party flipped the Morales-Garcia Linera formula, to now appeal to middle-classes first and Indigenous movements secondly. 

During the announcement, made by Morales, the candidates for senators for the main cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz were announced to be Eduardo Rodriguez, Andronico Rodriguez, and Adriana Salvatierra. 

"Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca are a combination of scientific knowledge and ancient millenary knowledge, the unity of the countryside and the city, the body, and the soul. We have a political liberation project that has shown that another Bolivia is possible," Morales tweeted Sunday. 

The candidates were all presented in Buenos Aires, where Morales also announced that the campaign for the presidential elections will officially start on Jan. 22. The Indigenous leader will lead an event that he hopes will attract more than 15,000 people.

]]> <![CDATA[China Reports 136 New Cases of 'Sars-Type' Virus]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:45:13 -04:00 Chinese authorities have confirmed 136 new cases diagnosed with a new form of viral pneumonia in central China that has already killed three people, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.


'Sars-Type' Virus Claims 2nd Victim in China, 41 Infected So Far

In total, 198 cases of the new coronavirus have been identified in the city of Wuhan, where the virus appears to have originated. At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three U.S. airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.

The cluster of the novel disease was initially reported on Dec. 31 last year at the Wuhan Seafood Wholesale Market, which has been temporarily closed to carry out environmental sanitation and disinfection.

The clinical signs and symptoms reported are mainly fever, with a few cases having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both lungs.

It has been identified as a coronavirus, which can cause illnesses ranging from common colds to the potentially deadly Sars that killed more than 700 people around the world in the 2002-03 outbreak. 

Some 763 people have been put under observation in Wuhan after coming in to close contact with known patients, health authorities said on Thursday. In China, three patients have already died due to the virus. 

The Daxing health commission in the capital Beijing said it had confirmed two cases of coronavirus, while the southern Guangdong province’s health commission confirmed one case in Shenzhen. They mark the first cases in China beyond the central city of Wuhan where the virus first emerged.

Yet the Director and Chief Physician of the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention Li Gang affirmed Sunday that "the infectivity of the new coronavirus is not strong" and that the “risk of continuous human-to-human transmission is low."

There are two cases already reported outside mainland China. The first case was detected in Thailand on Monday, a 61-year-old woman who is in stable condition now; and a Japanese man who had fallen ill after visiting the Chinese city and died Thursday. 

In Singapore, a third suspected case was reported on Thursday. The Ministry of Health said a 69-year-old man who traveled to Wuhan has been diagnosed with pneumonia.

While two Chinese tourists with fever symptoms from Wuhan were quarantined by Vietnam's Ministry of Health and are now under observation after in Hanoi on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization said Sunday that China had shared the genetic sequence of the virus, which is of great importance for developing specific diagnostic kits. The organization warned that a wider outbreak is possible.

]]> <![CDATA[UK, France Reiterate Commitment to Maintain Iran Nuclear Deal ]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:53:11 -04:00 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed Sunday their commitment to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and conceded a long-term framework was needed, Johnson’s office said.


Iran Welcomes "Constructive" Measures to Save Nuclear Deal

“On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and also acknowledged the need to define a long-term framework to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon,” a spokeswoman from the office of the British PM said in a statement after the two leaders met on the margins of the Berlin summit on Libya.

“They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions.”

The three European signatories, known as the E3 (U.K., France, and Germany) had announced Tuesday their activation of the “dispute mechanism” with the aim of forcing Iran back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA.

But Iran said its retraction from its practical commitments came as a response to the United States’ departure from the deal in May 2018 and the ensuing sanctions it re-imposed on the Persian country, devastating its economy. 

The Islamic Republic also explained its withdrawal as a reaction to Europe's lack of will in facilitating the country’s banking transactions and oil exports.

"Britain, France, and Germany, three parties to the Iranian deal, claim that Europe has kept its obligations under JCPOA, however, in reality, they have not imported Iran's oil and have not facilitated Iran's international banking actions," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Thursday.

After the killing of top Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike earlier this month, Tehran declared it would no longer abide by the agreement’s key provisions but insisted that it remained open to negotiating with European partners over its nuclear program, and said it won’t retreat from earlier promises to not seek a nuclear weapon.

US Pressed E3 Group to Force Iran to Follow Nuclear Agreement

The agreement, considered at the moment of its signing in 2015 a milestone achievement,  intended to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief and its reintegration into the international community. But U.S. President Donald Trump called it "the worst deal in history" and unilaterally withdrew from it. 

Right-wing Johnson proposed to create a new agreement and said last week he would be willing to work on a "Trump deal" to replace the JCPOA.

But his proposal clashes with the E3's position, as they expressed their "determination to work with all participants to preserve" the deal. They also said they were not joining the U.S. campaign to implement "maximum pressure" against Iran.

"Given recent events, it is all the more important that we do not add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region," they added.

]]> <![CDATA[Libya Summit Agree to Respect Arms Embargo, Push Ceasefire]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 17:00:17 -04:00 An agreement to respect the disregarded international arms embargo on Libya was the result of Sunday’s Germany-led peace summit, attended by countries with interests in the conflict and the two warring sides.

Turkey to Officially Send Troops to Libya: Erdogan

"We agreed on a comprehensive plan forward," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that they all “agree that we should respect the arms embargo and that the arms embargo should be controlled more strongly than it has been in the past."

Among those present were United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Leaders from the European Union, the African Union, and the Arab League also attended. As well as envoys from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Algeria, China and the Republic of Congo.

However, as German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it “today’s signatures aren’t enough.”

The warring sides earlier this month agreed to the ceasefire, yet the formalized agreement was never signed as Libya’s General Kalifa Haftar, who leads the Libyan National Army (LNA), left talks in Moscow on Jan. 12. 

It is, for this reason during the summit - the first of its kind since 2018-, Libya’s two main rival leaders U.N.-recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Haftar appointed members of a military committee that will represent them at talks on a more permanent ceasefire

Guterres said that the committee would be convened “in Geneva in the coming days,” underlining the urgency of that next step, saying all the participants committed to “put pressure on the parties for a full ceasefire to be reached.”


Libya: How Did We Get Here?

Currently, the rival sides have agreed on a very fragile truce, as Haftar’s forces are on their last push to take the capital, Tripoli, and thus the whole control of the North African nation. On Sunday, the major southwestern fields of El Sharara and El Feel were closed after forces loyal to Haftar shut a pipeline.

"Long experience makes us doubt the intentions, seriousness, and commitment of the other side, whom everyone knows seeks powers at any price," al-Sarraj told the German press agency DPA.

The temporary truce was proposed on Jan. 8 by Russia’s Putin and his Turkish counterpart, who back opposing sides in the Libyan conflict. 

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a nine-month-long offensive over Tripoli which is the last stronghold of al Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

The U.N. recognized government recently asked Turkey for military aid, and after validation by the parliament, Ankara started sending military personnel on Jan. 5; a move that Russia rejected.

Last month, the GNA warned Libya's neighbors of severe consequences if Haftar was to take Tripoli.

"If Tripoli falls, Tunis and Algiers will fall in turn. This is an attempt to sow chaos in the region and exercise control over North Africa," Fathi Bashagha, the GNA's interior minister, said.

According to the U.N., more than 280 civilians and about 2,000 fighters have been killed and 146,000 Libyans displaced since Haftar launched his assault to seize the capital.

]]> <![CDATA[Barbados Will Not Take Part in US 'Attempt to Divide Region']]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:50:22 -04:00 Barbados' Prime Minister, the Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, said on Saturday night that her country will not take part in any "attempt to divide this region." Mottley was referring to a high-profile Caribbean meeting in Jamacia that will be attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

During a gala of The Right Excellent Errol W. Barrow on Saturday night, Mottley vowed to remain "friends of all and satellites to none" in reference to skipping the upcoming meeting in the Jamaican capital of Kingston. 

"I am conscious that when Errol Barrow stood and remarked that 'we shall be friends of all and satellites of none,' little did he know that that statement would be embraced by every single Prime Minister of government that succeeded him. It is as valid today, perhaps even more so than it was at the time of its initial delivery, Mottley said. 

Mottley pointed out as the chairman of CARICOM, it would be unacceptable to attend a meeting in which some member states were not invited. 

"As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting with anyone to which members of CARICOM are not invited. If some are invited and not all, then it is an attempt to divide this region," Mottley asserted. 

The premier specified that Barbados' foreign minister would not attend the meeting with Pompeo, nor would they participate in any conference that would seek to split up the region. Mottley would conclude by promising to uphold Barrow's principles and put Barbados first. 


]]> <![CDATA[Jordan Passes Law Banning Israeli Gas Imports]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:04:50 -04:00 The Jordanian parliament passed a new law on Sunday that will ban Israeli gas imports to the Middle Eastern country. The parliament's decision comes just days after Jordan started a multibillion-dollar deal, which was struck in 2016 and opposed by much of the population.


Netanyahu, Trump Discuss ‘Opportunity’ to Seize Jordan Valley

According to Reuters, the law was passed unanimously by Jordan’s 130 lawmakers and will be referred to the cabinet to be made law, although legal hurdles may prevent it coming into force.

The Jordanian government previously tried to downplay the matter by informing the public that it was a deal between companies rather than a political matter. The $10 billion supply deal was originally struck between Jordan’s state-owned utility and a U.S. Israeli consortium led by Texas-based Noble Energy, to provide gas to the country’s power plants for electricity generation.

It was not referred to parliament for approval.

A Reuters source in the Israeli energy industry, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The gas agreement between Jordanian National Electric Power Company and American-based Noble Energy is being implemented from early January 2020, and no change is expected in that regard.”

Although U.S. ally Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel the deal, which supplies Jordan for 15 years, has faced much popular opposition, with lawmakers arguing it makes the kingdom dependent on its neighbour for energy.

Many Jordanians are also the descendants of Palestinians who moved to the country after the creation of Israel in 1948, and view Israel as an erstwhile enemy that expelled their ancestors from their homes.

The Jordanian government said after the agreement was signed in 2016 that securing stable energy prices for the next decade could achieve annual savings of at least $500 million and help reduce a chronic budget deficit.

The import of Israeli gas has become a major focus in Jordan and sparked protests and calls for both the deal and the peace treaty to be scrapped.

“The gas of the enemy is an occupation. Down with the gas deal,” placards carried by protesters said.

Jordan’s ties with Israel have come under increasing strain since the gas deal was struck as Israel has moved to the right and since Donald Trump replaced Barack Obama as U.S. president.

Jordan’s King Abdullah fears Israel’s rejection of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank could spark renewed violence and see a new generation of Palestinians relocating to Jordan.

]]> <![CDATA[Matteo Salvini Vows to Recognize Jerusalem as Israeli Capital]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:19:40 -04:00 Matteo Salvini recently conducted an interview with Israel's Ynet News to discuss Italian-Israeli relations and his bid for the premiership of the Mediterranean country.


Israel, Greece, Cyprus to Sign Pipeline Deal in Mediterranean

In his interview with Ynet, Salvini said he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite harming relations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank region.

“Yes, absolutely”, Salvini said, answering the reporter’s question. Salvini's move would follow several other right-wing leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, that have recongized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. 

Salvini, a prominent Eurosceptic and the leader of Italy’s League party, said that left-wing European parties were hypocritical in their stance towards Israel and said that the activity of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) should be banned in the European Union. The non-profit activist organisation promotes various forms of boycotts against Israel until the country meets its obligations under international law – ending what it calls the occupation of Palestinian lands and dismantling the West Bank barrier.

"I have defended my country's borders, security and dignity, and I am proud of it", says Slavini in a first exclusive interview with Israeli media outlets. "Unfortunately, when the left, in the US like Israel and Italy, loses elections, it seeks revenge in the courts. But they will not succeed”, Salvini said in an interview with the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom.

Salvini blamed the surge of anti-Semitism in Europe on the rise of Islamic extremism and said that it was being institutionalised by left-wing parties.

His statement comes a day after Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez promised to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, if Israel in turn opens an embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

The status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel came to the forefront of international politics when U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his country's embassy was moving from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Trump's brash move derailed Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and paved the way for his so-called "Deal of the Century", which was fully rejected by all Palestinian parties.  

]]> <![CDATA[Over 330 People Wounded in Lebanon After Clashes in Beirut]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:34:03 -04:00 More than 330 people were treated for injuries sustained during clashes between the Lebanese security forces and protesters in central Beirut on Saturday, the Red Cross reported.


At Least 220 Wounded in Protests Over the Crisis in Lebanon

The clashes, which lasted for several hours on Saturday, forced the closure of several streets in Beirut's central district, prompting the Lebanese security forces cordon off these areas in order to prevent the spread of violence inside the capital. 

The Lebanese Red Cross previously announced it had treated 220 people who were wounded on both sides on Saturday night, taking 80 of them to hospital. The Civil Defence said it had treated 114 others. The Internal Security Forces said 142 police were injured.

The total treated has since increased by more than 100 as many wounded people made their way to the local hospitals for treatment. 

Smoke enveloped a commercial district of the capital as police fired volleys of tear gas and unleashed water cannons. They chased after hundreds of men and women near Lebanon’s parliament late into the night.

Protesters yelling “revolution” hurled stones, steel barriers and flower pots. They chanted against Lebanon’s speaker and interior minister, trying to storm a heavily barricaded part of central Beirut that includes parliament.

Young men, with their faces covered, ripped branches off trees and signposts off the ground, charging at riot police.

Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister in October, said there was a way “to calm the popular storm”. The ex-PM said, "stop wasting time, form a government, open the door to political and economic solutions,” he tweeted.

In months of protests that have gripped the country and pushed Hariri to quit, politicians wrangling over cabinet seats have failed to agree a new government or a rescue plan.

Meanwhile, the crisis is biting: the Lebanese pound has lost nearly half its value, dollar shortages have driven up prices and confidence in the banking system has collapsed.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia's Movement to Socialism Party Forms Presidential Plan]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:44:26 -04:00 The Movement to Socialism ( MAS ) is choosing this Sunday its presidential formula for the elections, which will be held in Bolivia on May 3, with the "firm commitment" to remain united around single leadership, the democratically elected President Evo Morales said this weekend. 


Bolivia's Anti-Imperialist Army School Renamed After Che's Assassins

In a message released on his official Twitter account, Morales said that “the first day of meeting between national leaders of the MAS-IPSP and the Pact of Unity that arrived in Buenos Aires from all #Bolivia concluded with the firm commitment to keep our movement around a single leadership ”.

Morales, who is an asylum seeker in Argentina, as a result of the coup d'etat against him last November 10, said that this Sunday "we continue working" in regards to presenting their presidential plan. 

Last Friday, Morales and the presidential election candidates David Choquehuanca, Andrónico Rodríguez, Luis Arce and Diego Pary signed an agreement in Argentina for the MAS election plan.

In that pact, they promised to work for a unitary electoral proposal that puts the interests of the Bolivian people first.

The signed document underlined that the struggles of the Bolivian social movements are historical and that the natural resources and political, economic and social transformations achieved by the Morales government are in grave danger.

The text highlighted that the upcoming elections on May 3 will be fundamental for national reconciliation and the reunion between Bolivians.

It is emphasized that the political crisis began in the South American country, which was a product of the coup d'etat of November 10, has impacted not only Bolivia, but also several other nations in the continent. 

]]> <![CDATA[In Impeachment Document, Democrats Say Trump Endangers US Security]]> Sun, 19 Jan 2020 00:10:14 -04:00 Democratic U.S. lawmakers leading the impeachment case against Republican President Donald Trump said on Saturday the president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country’s system of government.

US House to Send Trump Impeachment Charges to Senate for Trial

In a 111-page document filed before Trump’s Senate trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president.

“The Senate should convict and remove President Trump to avoid serious and long term damage to our democratic values and the nation’s security,” the lawmakers said, for the first time formally calling for the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office.

“The case against the president of the United States is simple, the facts are indisputable, and the evidence is overwhelming,” they said.

The document was an appeal directly to the senators to be impartial. “History will judge each senator’s willingness to rise above partisan differences, view the facts honestly and defend the Constitution,” the managers said in a statement noting “the President is not a king.”

While, Trump’s legal team issued a resounding rejection of the impeachment charges, which were read out in the Senate earlier in the week during formalities setting the stage for the trial. They are expected to release a longer, separate response to the Democrats’ pretrial brief on Monday.

"This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election," Trump's lawyers argued in a response filed to the Senate.

"The Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid on their face," the six-page response read.

It was the first time Trump formally responded to the two articles of impeachment - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress - that the Democratic-led House approved late last year.

The trial is set to begin on Tuesday with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave the House until Saturday and the White House counsel until Monday to deliver trial briefs outlining their arguments, allowing a House deadline for rebuttal the following day.

]]> <![CDATA[At Least 220 Wounded in Protests Over the Crisis in Lebanon]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 21:41:31 -04:00 Clashes between police and Lebanese protesters wounded more than 220 people on both sides Saturday in the highest such tally in three months of anti-establishment demonstrations.

Lebanon Descends Further into Chaos as Economic Crisis Worsens

The sound of ambulance sirens rang out across Beirut as the Red Cross reported 80 wounded had been taken to hospital and 140 more were treated on site.

Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon, chasing protesters armed with tree branches and sign posts in a commercial district near Lebanon’s parliament.

Smoke billowed out of tear gas canisters encircling protesters as ambulances sped through the streets of the capital. Witnesses said security forces also fired rubber bullets.

The Internal Security Forces (ISF) said they were being “violently and directly” confronted on Saturday night. “Those who are rioting will be pursued, arrested and referred to the judiciary,” it said on Twitter.

For his part, the President Michel Aoun ordered the army and security commanders to restore calm.

While, Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as premier in October, said the violence threatened civil peace. “It is an insane, suspicious and rejected scene,” he tweeted.

After the unrest pushed Hariri to quit, feuding politicians have failed to agree on a new cabinet or rescue plan. The Lebanese pound has lost nearly half its value, dollar shortages have driven up prices and confidence in the banks has collapsed after preventing people from accessing their savings, which increased anger in the population.

Hundreds of people also had marched and chanted against the political class in other parts of the capital in the afternoon. A large banner at one of the rallies read: “If the people go hungry, they will eat their rulers.”

Crowds spilled on to the streets this week after a lull in largely peaceful protests which broke out in October. They are furious with the government that has steered the country towards its worst economic crisis in decades.

Police beatings and arrests in recent days also have alarmed human rights groups and sparked fears among activists of a move to crush the dissent.

Lebanon has witnessed three months of protests against the political elite who have ruled the country since the end of the 1975-90 civil war. The protesters blame politicians for widespread corruption and mismanagement in a country that has accumulated one of the largest debt ratios in the world.



]]> <![CDATA[Palestinians Benefit From China-Funded Desalination Plants]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 20:00:46 -04:00 Abdul-Rahim Abu Gouda, a Palestinian living in a small village in the Gaza Strip's southern border town of Rafah, breathed a sigh of relief after two China-funded water desalination plants opened this month in his impoverished al-Naser village.


Israel Breaches Law, Transfers 34 Palestinian Minors From Prisons

"This is a joyful day for my family and we can now get drinking water instantly and for free. We no longer need to wait for trucks selling filtered drinking water," said Abu Gouda, a father of 12, as he observed his kids filling a small water container from the new plant in front of his home.

The 50-year-old farmer said the residents of the village suffered for years from lack of access to clean water.

Mohammed al-Attar, 13, came with his playmate to the plant to fill their water tanks.

"We are happy to have potable water all the time, with no need to go too far to buy," he said, as he helped his playmate carry a heavy water tank.

Palestinian children fill buckets with drinking water from China-funded water desalination plants in al-Naser village in the Gaza Strip's southern border town of Rafah, on Jan. 8, 2020. Source: Xinhua/Rizek Abdeljawad

"Every single day, it took us at least two shekels (0.58 U.S. dollars) to buy the filtered water," said al-Attar, whose family is believed to be the poorest one in the village.

"We depend on the aid provided by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and we do not have enough money to buy water," he added.

Before the plants were built, the residents had to pay a large amount of money to buy potable water every year, according to Abu Gouda.

"The people in this area are extremely poor and do not have enough money to buy potable water, so they were forced to use salty, unclean tap water provided by the municipality," he said.

In June last year, Give Palestine Association, a local nongovernmental organization, and the council of al-Naser village, signed an agreement to build two China-funded water desalination plants to alleviate the shortage of potable water there.

The Gaza Strip suffers from an acute lack of water for human and agricultural use. Currently, 90 percent of its main water supply is unfit for drinking and even agricultural use. Its coastal aquifer is extremely saline and is drying up because of overuse.

A Palestinian man works at a China-funded water desalination plant in al-Naser village in the Gaza Strip's southern border town of Rafah, on Jan. 8, 2020. Source: Xinhua/Rizek Abdeljawad

The overpopulated coastal enclave needs up to 220 million cubic meters of water a year, and over 90 percent of the population rely on desalinated water.

"About 10,000 people, the majority of whom are unemployed and suffer from extreme poverty, have benefited from the two plants," said Emad al-Agha, secretary of Give Palestine Association.

The two plants "are among the generously funded projects by the Chinese government which hopes to implement sustainable development projects in a way that benefits people over many years," al-Agha added.

The NGO's official noted the Palestinian people need continuous Chinese support to build their institutions and achieve economic development.

"We are looking forward to implementing more China-funded sustainable projects that will benefit our people in the Gaza Strip," he said, as local people "need to have a real solution for the water and electricity shortages which have affected negatively their daily life in the Gaza Strip."

Mohammed Ashour, head of al-Naser village, told Xinhua that the two plants are very important because they are going to serve the residents in a marginalized area.

Palestinian man works at a China-funded water desalination plant in al-Naser village in the Gaza Strip's southern border town of Rafah, on Jan. 8, 2020. Source: Xinhua/Rizek Abdeljawad

Ashour thanked China for providing support for the people in the Gaza Strip, saying the Chinese government funded many sustainable development projects involving power generation and water desalination.

The Gaza Strip is facing a worsening water crisis that could render it unsuitable for living within a few years if the aid projects are not implemented, according to a recent UN report.

Israel has been imposing a tight blockade on Gaza since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave from the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

]]> <![CDATA[Why Doesn’t the US Move out Despite the Iraqi Parliament’s Decision?]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 18:09:48 -04:00 Why doesn’t the U.S. respect the decision made by the Iraqi Parliament and move out of Iraqi territory? – The short answer is, because the U.S. doesn’t respect anybody’s – any country’s – decision or sovereignty, as long as it doesn’t meet their objectives.

Why Killing Soleimani has Further Destabilized the Middle East

Now, the U.S. is steadfast and will not leave the region. Already President Assad has requested that the U.S. leave Syrian territory. They didn’t. The stakes are too immense for the US. It has all to do with their move towards world hegemony by territory and by finance – meaning by the US dollar.

The conflict with Iran is not over. By any means.

We are just experiencing a respite for regrouping – and subsequently continuing and escalating the conflict. U.S. bases in Iraq and military presence, at present more than 5,000 troops, are the most convenient means of force against Iran.

Other than controlling the rich and highly strategic territory of the Middle-East as an important step towards world hegemony, the U.S. continuous presence in the region also has to do with profits for the war industry and with the price and control of hydrocarbons, especially gas.

We have seen, soon after the cowardly murder of General Qassem Suleimani, the share values of the war industry jumped up, of course in anticipation of a hot war – and huge weapons sales. The war industry profits insanely from killing. Wars and conflicts are increasingly what drives the western economies. Already in the U.S. the war industry and related industries and services make up for about half of the country’s GDP. The U.S. economy without war is unthinkable. Therefore, the Middle-East is a perfect eternal battle ground – a sine qua non for the west. War is addictive. The western economy is already addicted to it. But most people haven’t realized that – yet. Revolving and renewed conflicts and wars is a must. Imagine, if the U.S. were to leave the Middle-East, PEACE might break out. This is not admissible. Soon, your job my depend on war – if you live in the west.

Then there is the Iranian gas. Daily 20% to 25% of all the energy consumed to drive the world’s economy – including wars – transits through the Golf of Hormuz which is controlled by Iran. Immediately after the heinous murder on General Suleimani, the oil and gas prices spiked by about 4%, later declining again. This, in anticipation of a major conflict which could have Iran reduce her gas production, or block the passage of Hormuz. In either case a collapse of the world economy could not be excluded.

As a parenthesis – it is so absolutely necessary that the world frees itself from this nefarious source of energy – hydrocarbons – and converts to other, cheaper, cleaner and FREER sources of power to drive our industries and activities. Like solar energy of which Mother Earth receives every day more than 10,000 time what it needs for all her industrial and creative activities on every Continent.

The U.S., with a flailing multi-trillion fracking industry which just failed the European market, due Russian gas via Nord Stream2, and just inaugurated Turkstream, would like to control the price of hydrocarbon, so as to revive the highly indebted fracking industry. What better way than to control Iran, and her enormous reserves of gas, shared with Qatar?

Then there is the close alliance between Iran and China – China being Iran’s largest customer of gas. China is perceived by Washington as a deadly competitor, and barring her from the energy that makes China’s economy thrive, is one of those devilish objectives of the United States. They are unable to compete on an even playing field. Cheating, lying and manipulating has become part of their, and the western life style. It is deeply ingrained in western history and culture.

Of, course there are other ways of supplying China with the hydrocarbons she needs. Russia with the world’s largest gas reserves, could easily increase her supplies.

In brief, the U.S. is unlikely to leave the Middle-East, although some generals – and even some high-ranking Pentagon brass – believe this would be the smartest thing to do – they see the light, and the light is not war, but PEACE.

How to Get the US out of Iraq

What could Iraq do to get the U.S. out of Iraq and eventually out of the Region? After all, the Iraqi Parliament has taken a majority decision to regain Iraq’s sovereignty and autonomy, without foreign troops. Most countries with troops stationed in Iraq respect that decision. Denmark, Australia, Poland and Germany are preparing to move their troops out of Iraq. Only the UK with her 800 military men and women decided for now to stay alongside the U.S.

Iraq may want to strengthen her alliance with Russia and China, hereby increasing the pressure on the U.S. to honor Iraq’s sovereign request for the U.S. to leave. How much that would take to materialize, if at all, is a difficult question to answer. Maybe ‘never’. Except, if the U.S.-dollar hegemony over western economies can be broken. And at the moment, a strong down-turn of the dollar’s role in the world economy is showing, as the western world is increasingly seeking ways to de-dollarize her economy and to associate with the East, led by China and Russia, where de-dollarization is advancing rapidly.

When that happens, chances are that the U.S. of A’s dictates over the nations of the world will be mute, will not be listened to anymore, and that Washington will have to rethink its future – and very likely a U.S. presence in the Middle-East will be history.


]]> <![CDATA[Brazil's Peoples: Bolsonaro Means Genocide, Ethnocide, Ecocide]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 16:06:11 -04:00 After a four-day meeting carried out in Piaracu village, at the Mato Grosso state, in Brazil, over 600 Indigenous leaders Friday issued a manifesto denouncing the "genocide, ethnocide, and ecocide" planned by the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.


Brazil to Go Through With Mining on Tribal Lands

"The white man is very greedy," chief Raoni Metuktire said and explained that the Brazilian government is threatening the survival of Indigenous peoples with plans to allow commercial projects on their protected lands.

"The current President is threatening our rights, our health, our territory," says the manifesto, about Bolsonaro's intentions to liberate mining, agribusiness, and land leasing in the Amazon basin.

International and national environmental activists also fear that the Brazilian presidency's plans will speed up the destruction of the Amazonian rainforests.

"Sonia Guajajara and Cacique Raoni against Bolsonaro's attacks on the environment and Indigenous peoples. Accompanied by Chico Mendes' daughter, Angela, the Indigenous people formalize an alliance to defend themselves against the current government's predatory policies."

"We do not accept mining, agribusiness, and the renting of our lands. Nor logging, illegal fishing, hydroelectric dams or other projects that will impact us directly and irreversibly," the Piaracu manifesto states.

This special meeting was called by Raoni Metuktire, the 90-year-old Kayapo chief who became an environmental campaigner in the 1980s with singer Sting at his side.

"We were convened by Chief Raoni to come together and denounce that the Brazilian government's political project is underway." ​​​​​​​

Indigenous peoples face not only the attacks of a neoliberal government, which is allied with transnational corporations, but also "the violence of a part of society that clearly expresses its racism," local outlet Politico commented and recalled that at least eight Indigenous leaders were killed in 2019, as publicly known.​​​​​​

In Brazil, one of the world's top meat and grains exporters, the agribusiness farm frontier has been moving rapidly towards the Amazon rainforests​​​​​​​ in recent years.

Invasions of Indigenous lands and protected areas by illegal loggers and miners have increased since the former Capitan Bolsonaro became president in January 2019.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Despite the daily violence that this process has unleashed, Indigenous peoples have not forgotten the importance of their struggle.

"If we stand together, we can resist. They have the power of the State. But we have the strength of our ancestral waters, flowers, and lands," said Angela, the daughter of Chico Mendes, a famous trade union leader and environmentalist assassinated in 1988.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico Halts Migrant Caravan by Closing Border With Guatemala]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 14:10:58 -04:00 In response to the arrival of the caravan of Central American migrants, Mexico temporarily closed its border crossings near the Guatemalan cities of El Ceibo and Tecun Uman on Saturday morning.


Mexico's President Offers 4,000 Jobs in Attempt to Stop Caravan

Previously, around 4,000 Hondurans had arrived in the country and were waiting on a bridge at Tecun Uman. Some of them began pushing and shoving before being driven back by Mexican security officials, who shut the border crossing.

Central American migrants who could not pass commented that they would try to cross the border through the Suchiate River; the Mexican authorities, however, had already sent members of the National Guard to protect that area.

While the National Migration Institute (INAMI) announced that Central American migrants may request shelter or temporary work in southern Mexico, the Home Affairs Secretariat reasserted its decision not to grant transit permits​​​​​​.

Mexico-Guatemala border this morning: only 35 of 1200 migrants were able to cross. The Mexican army closed the border. Migrants are forced to remain in Guatemala.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump's administration launched its first threat to the new migrant caravan.

Through its embassy in Honduras, the U.S. government indicated that controls on the southern border of its territory have been reinforced to prevent migrants from passing.

"We have strengthened our border so that illegal migrants cannot cross it and we will strictly enforce our immigration laws."

The U.S. embassy also warned that the decision to travel illegally to the North brings with it severe consequences.

"Do not invest your time and money on a risky journey that is destined to fail,” it said.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Three Months of Social Unrest Under Harsh Repression]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 12:58:50 -04:00 Chileans are still fighting on Saturday when they meet three months after the start of the protests against President Sebastian Piñera and the neoliberal state that the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) left as an inheritance​​​​​​.


Chile: Broad Front Sues Piñera For Crimes Against Humanity

On Friday, citizens gathered to protest at Dignity Square where the Military Police focused aggression on health professionals and first aid volunteers.

"The police would seem to have a new direct objective: to eliminate health posts," teleSUR correspondent Paola Dragnic reported.

On October 18, 2019, hundreds of Chilean students decided to perform a "mass fare evasion" on Santiago's metro in protest over raised prices.

Young people then became "the first line" of a collective odyssey that does not end until now.​​​​​

First Line: with the same unshakable spirit for a more human Chile. Until dignity becomes customary. Enough of such repression and unpunished murders. Chile woke up! For the students! For the workers! For our elders! The fight will be until the end!

Thousands of citizens began to support students not only in Santiago but also in dozens of small cities.​​​​​​​ What started as a 30-cent issue turned into a protest ​​​​​​​against a 30-year democracy that has failed to get rid of military guardianship.

On October 22, social networks leaked audio in which Piñera's wife described the social outbreak as "an alien invasion." 

She also accepted that wealthy classes should "give up some privileges.​​​​​​​​" The arrogant tone of the mainstream discourse, however, burned social indignation even more.

On October 25, at least 1.2 million people took to the streets in Santiago to reject neoliberal economic policies and demand the resignation of Piñera.​​​​​​​

Once the number of victims of state terrorism increased to magnitudes that could not be hidden, the Chilean political class approved a referendum to be held on April 26.

On Jan. 15, 2020, armored vehicle sweeping Renca Square. Police officers took ​​​​​​​their guns out and shoot at the protesters' bodies. Much repression.

​​​​​​​Citizens expect the new constitution to be able to incorporate social rights, among which are the rights to education, decent work, health care, and quality transportation.

That announcement, however, did not calm the population, for the elites want to manipulate the constitutional change process to preserve the "Chilean model".

So far the Military Police have left at least 27 dead, 3,649 injured, 405 people with irreparable eye injuries, 253 injured by tear gas, 191 cases of sexual violence, 412 cases of cruel treatment, and 842 cases of excessive force, as reported by the ​​​​​​​National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI).

On January 18, the political legitimacy of Piñera ​​​​​​​continues to plummet. A recent poll revealed that 47 percent of citizens believe that Chilean democracy works badly or very badly. Only 6 percent of the population approves what the Piñera administration does.​​​​​​​


]]> <![CDATA[France: Macron Evacuated From Parisian Theater Due to Protests]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 10:54:39 -04:00 French citizens tried to enter the Des Bouffes du Nord Theater in Paris to protest against President Emmanuel Macron who was attending the performance of "La Mouche" on Friday evening.


Operation 'Dead Ports' Makes Macron Feel the Workers' Strength

While secret service and police agents managed to prevent Yellow Vest activists from entering the theater, hundreds of protesters remained around the building chanting slogans against pension reform and shouting for Macron's resignation.

Fearing that the situation would get out of control, the French president had to leave the theater escorted by his security team.

Journalist Taha Bouhafs, who alerted citizens about Macron's presence in the theater, was arrested during the incidents. Near the end of the performance of La Mouche, however, the President and his wife returned to the theater.

The discontent of the French over Macron's pension reform has also been displayed in other similar incidents.

On Thursday, the boos of hundreds of protesters forced the Secretary for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa to leave a restaurant in which she was discussing with other politicians her candidacy for the 14th District of Paris municipal elections.

Dozens of outraged Parisians entered on Friday the headquarters of the French Confederation of Workers (CFDT), a union that has been severely criticized for supporting the Macron administration's pension reform proposal.


]]> <![CDATA[Lacalle Looks to Turn Uruguay Into Tax Haven Again]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 09:29:41 -04:00 Uruguay's President-elect Luis Lacalle announced that he will facilitate the residence of some 100,000 high-income Argentines if they invest capital in his country, a proposal that reactivates the discussion about turning Uruguay back into a tax haven.


Pepe Mujica Condemns OAS After Visiting Evo Morales

President Tabare Vazquez reacted by pointing out that "it would be much better for the country to have an internal market of six million inhabitants" because "it would be the engine that would boost the economy, mainly when business falls abroad."

Economy Minister Danilo Astori said that Lacalle "proposes to go back to the past because Uruguay signed international agreements for the exchange of information and the fight against money laundering."

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said that “Uruguay had a hard time removing its reputation of being a tax haven that it is not a good idea to fall back on that.”

Former President Jose Mujica also criticized Lacalle's ideas by pointing out that he should worry about creating incentives for Uruguayan capitals to return to the country.

“We have about US$24 billion scattered throughout the world. Why don't we try that money back to the country?" the leftist politician said.

Luis Lacalle, who is the leader of the right-wing National Party (PN), won the 2019 Uruguayan presidential election by 48.71 percent of the votes. His opponent, the Broad Front candidate Daniel Martinez obtained 47.51 percent of the vote.

The PN politician will assume the presidency of his country on March 1.

]]> <![CDATA[‘Latin America in Constant Siege from US’: Venezuela’s FM]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:32:06 -04:00 Venezuela’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza warned Friday that the United States maintains a permanent siege against Latin America and the Caribbean because it wants to seize its natural resources and implement governments that respond to its domination interests.

Venezuela, China Have Signed More Than 500 Bilateral Agreements

“The region is a constant target of attempted coups, destabilization, terrorism, communicational war, economic, commercial and banking blockade,” the diplomat told reporters. 

The comments were made during his meeting with his Asian counterpart Wang Yi, as the need to chart the route for the execution of the XVII China-Venezuela High-Level Joint Commission to be held this 2020 in Caracas was addressed.

Arreaza illustrated his position with happened in Bolivia and his own country since 2019 after the White House convinced several governments to recognize the lawmaker Juan Guaido and supported violent acts to depose constitutional President Nicolas Maduro.

Another attack, which the diplomat deplored, is the unilateral sanctions and coercive measures such as the economic and diplomatic blocked, which has prevented the imports of basic products and the development of the main economic sectors.

However, Venezuela already shows signs of gradual recovery as the government has been working on alternatives to boost its foreign trade with Russia, Turkey, and China.

‘We enjoy an unwavering alliance that will adapt to circumstances and aggressions. We are sure that with the support of China, Maduro will be able to boost productive sectors and recover the economy of the savage and criminal aggression to which it has been subject in recent years,'' he said.

Arreaza added that the comprehensive strategic alliance with the Asian giant will diversify economic cooperation and make efforts so that Chinese investments are immediately translated into housing, increased oil production, and social welfare.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia Anti-Imperialist Army School Renamed to Che's Assassins]]> Sat, 18 Jan 2020 00:03:05 -04:00 The anti-imperialist school that Evo Morales created in the Armed Forces of Bolivia in 2016 has been renamed Friday to Heroes of Ñancahuazu, after the Bolivian military unit that killed the revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara in 1967.


Bolivian Senate Approves Extending Coup Government Mandate

"Bolivians are not anti-anything," Bolivia’s Interim Defense Minister Luis Fernando Lopez declared to media in La Paz, while explaining that the anti-imperialist orientation with which Morales launched this academy in 2016 "did not fit with military doctrine."

"Under that anti-imperialist concept, foreign doctrines are generated," he added, something that "has nothing to do with the spirit of Bolivians."

The General Juan Jose Torres Anti-Imperialist Command School installed in the Bolivian city of Warnes did not provide "any type of function that will contribute to the Armed Forces," the official added.

The training center was integrated into the Military School of Engineering with the new name. Yet this is just another attempt form the de-facto government to erase the legacy of Evo Morales and the social and cultural progress made during his mandate; as in the case of the burning and dismissal of the Indigenous Wiphala flag. 

The de-facto President Jeanine Añez, after coming to power last November in a violent coup, said the government would replace "ideological educational instances" that in her opinion "did not pay any education" to the Bolivian military.

The statements of the Minister of Defense were made during the presentation of a military and police device to strengthen security for Jan. 22 when Bolivia celebrates Plurinational State Day.


]]> <![CDATA[Saudi Arabia Pays the US $500 Million to Host Their Troops]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:43:03 -04:00 Saudi Arabia paid Washington a sum of US$500 million last month to cover part of the cost of United States troops stationed in the kingdom as bilateral talks over defense expenses continue, a Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich told Middle East Eye Friday.


Trump Increases US Military Presence in Saudi Arabia

The official said that the payment was "the first contribution" in a burden-sharing partnership between both countries to support regional security.

"In response to elevated threats in the Middle East over the past eight months, the Department of Defense has deployed U.S. military forces to the region to enhance U.S. defenses and augment Saudi air and missile defense of critical military and civilian infrastructure," Rebarich explained.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News that Saudi Arabia had "already deposited US$1 billion in the bank," 

Yet these payments to "offset" military costs are not new. During the first Gulf War in the 1990s, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Gulf states paid Washington an estimate of US$36 billion. 

The U.S. also charged Saudi Arabia US$331 million for the cost of aerial refueling operations that the U.S. military provided to Saudi warplanes carrying out airstrikes in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is the biggest global buyer of U.S. weapons, with its total military spending far surpassing the amount spent by any other country in the region.

It is not clear how much Saudi Arabia will be expected to pay for the U.S.'s increased presence in the region, as tensions between Washington and Tehran leave the Gulf in a precarious situation.

Bilateral talks to determine that amount are ongoing, Rebarich said, adding that the aim is to formalize a mechanism that will determine the scope of future payments to cover some of the costs of U.S. troop build-up.

Since the assassination of Iran's Major-General Qassem Soleimani by the U.S., tensions in the region have only increased. Following his death, Washington sent another 3,000 soldiers to different locations in the Middle East. 

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela, China Have Signed More Than 500 Bilateral Agreements]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:19:13 -04:00 Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza highlighted Friday that to date Venezuela and China have signed more than 500 bilateral cooperation agreements, many of them converted into projects.


‘Protecting TeleSUR Is Protecting the Peoples' Voice’ Villegas

"We have come to reinforce this comprehensive strategic partnership, to check that it goes well, where we should strengthen, where it is necessary to rectify, accelerate or deepen," Arreaza expressed while explaining that everything has become effective in sixteen High-Level Binational Mixed Commissions.

The diplomat added that the "comprehensive strategic partnership with China is necessary to diversify the Venezuelan economy, making efforts to make investments effective in our town in terms of housing, food, and medicine."

The comments were made during his meeting with his Asian counterpart Wang Yi, as the need to chart the route for the execution of the XVII China-Venezuela High-Level Joint Commission to be held this 2020 in Caracas was addressed.


An honor to be received by the Vice President of the People's Republic of China, Wang Qishan. We convey the warm greeting of President Nicolas Maduro to President Xi Jinping and exchange on the geopolitics of peace and the progress of our strategic partnership

Arreaza also emphasized that both peoples have managed to build an integration process based on virtuous financing mechanisms. "It is an unwavering alliance that will adapt to the circumstances," he said.

The Venezuelan diplomat informed that one of the tasks for the year 2020 is to make the One Belt, One Road project feasible in his country and the Caribbean.

“The project is a great proposal of China, managing to reconstruct what was once the Silk route, but once again, the virtuous thing is that China's proposal is for development, shared profits, it is a proposal of peace...Latin America and the Caribbean must enter into that design, we have great potential and capabilities for processing and manufacturing."


]]> <![CDATA['You Have Not Seen Anything Yet,' Thunberg Warns Ahead of Davos]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 19:32:33 -04:00 Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne Friday warning the world’s top leaders and global elite that they “have not seen anything yet” before the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos next week.

The Maldives Seek Financing to Manage Climate Change Impacts

The 17-year-old, who launched the #FridaysforFuture movement that has sparked worldwide protests, denounced a lack of government action to cut heat-trapping emissions before it is too late.

“So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

Protesters held signs including “Wake up and Smell the Bushfires” and “It is late but it is not too late”.

Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.

Climate change and environmental destruction top the risks highlighted by global decision-makers in a survey ahead of the 2020 gathering of the global elite.

This year’s meeting of 3,000 includes United States President Donald Trump who once described climate change as a “hoax” and whose administration in November filed paperwork to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the pact to fight climate change.

The latest World Economic Forum annual meeting takes place against the backdrop of some of Australia’s worst-ever bushfires. While the government there has avoided making a link to climate change, the fires have deepened public concern about the heating of the planet.

Last year was the Earth’s second-hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like Australia’s fires, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.

“We alliance that is organizing next week in 20 countries to say ‘time is up’ to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Time is up,” a Kenyan activist, Njoki Njoroge Njehu, told the crowd in Lausanne.

“It is time to abolish billionaires. It is time to abolish billionaires because we cannot afford them, the planet cannot afford billionaires,” she said.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil’s Secretary of Culture Fired After Quoting Goebbels]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 19:09:53 -04:00 Brazil’s former Secretary of Culture Robert Alvim was fired Friday after he released a video in which he paraphrased a speech by former Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. 

Brazilian Army Pays Tribute to Former Nazi Commander

"The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and national. It will be endowed with a great capacity for emotional involvement and will be equally imperative, since it is deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing," Alvim said in the video.

But as soon as the video came out on Thursday many soon realized it was largely influenced by Nazi propaganda in its content, tone, and aesthetics. 

The first thing was the paraphrasing of a speech made by Goebbels on Oct. 8, 1933, to theater directors, in which the later Nazi minister said that “the German art of the next decade will be heroic, romantic, objective and free of sentimentality, national with great pathos and equally imperative and binding, or nothing." 

Another indication was the aesthetics and background music used in the video, as the official sits under the picture of far-right Jair Bolsonaro while Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin opera plays in the back. 

Wagner was promoted during the Nazi era as one of Adolf Hitler's favorite composers and became a symbol of the Third Reich. 

Yet this is not the first time Bolsonaron’s government has been accused and proven to be sympathizing with Nazism. 

On July 1, 2019, the Brazilian Army paid tribute to a World War II German Nazi commander who was killed in 1968 in the South American nation. 

Alumni of the Brazilian Army's Command and General Staff School Major Otto Maximilian von Westernhagen (1923-1968) was recognized for his achievements in WW II, army officials said.

The former Nazi soldier was killed in 1968 in Rio de Janeiro by an alleged left-wing armed group, who mistook him for Bolivian Captain Gary Prado. Prado participated in the U.S.-backed capture and murder of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Bolivia in 1967.

While on Oct. 8, 2019, two Nazi sympathizers were acquitted of charges of spreading Nazism in Santa Catarina, the Brazilian state where the first Nazi cell abroad was set up in 1928.

]]> <![CDATA[Patrice Lumumba: Revolution, Freedom, and Legacy in DR Congo]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 20:10:06 -04:00 On Jan. 17 1961, the African leader and first head of government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Patrice Lumumba was brutally murdered in a heinous crime that after almost 60 years remains unsolved; yet his legacy endures spreading across free peoples in Africa and the world. 

Child Soldiers Rampant in Africa as NGO Denounces The Unrest

Lumumba led the Democratic Republic of the Congo to independence on Jun. 30, 1960 after more than half a century that the country became "private property" of Belgium's King Leopold II since 1880 and then a Belgian colony since 1908.

The African leader wanted the decolonization of his country but even more, he wanted to totally eradicate the European colonialist power present in Africa, pushing out the abuse and plundering that the continent had suffered for centuries.

As a successful tactician, he had managed to organize the bases to rise up against the Belgian colonialist system and his ambitious aspirations for independence that transgressed the borders were inspired by pro-independence groups across Africa like the feeling of  'African socialist unity' coming from Ghana.

This ascension to become a leader in the region made him also an enemy for Europe and the United States, who, according to several analysts, were responsible for his death.

Belgian sociologist and writer, Ludo De Witte, known for having written an acclaimed book on the murder of Mulumba, described it as "the most important assassination of the 20th century," due to the historical importance connected to several factors, but above all the global context in which it took place, and its impact on Congolese politics that can be seen and felt until this day.

That misery and violence that has plagued the DRC, despite being one of the countries with the largest natural wealth in the world, can be traced to what Lumumba died fighting: the colonial past and its rooted mechanisms. 

DR Congo as a Belgian Colony

In 1880, King Leopold II of Belgium acquired the rights for the territory of Congo and made the territory his own property. Over several decades, Leopold exploited the local population to make profits from resources, particularly from rubber, ivory, and diamonds.

Under Leopold’s command, the DRC had one of the most traumatic colonial histories of Africa and the world. Millions were murdered and tortured living under as slaves in extreme conditions and subjected to the most inhuman abuse; characterized mainly by the cruelest torture methods to be used: hand amputations, chains, lashes, kidnappings, sexual abuse were common practices during his rule.

Leopold exploited the Congolese lands freely and with the support of the Belgian State, which, through loans, provided him with the necessary infrastructure for the exploitation of the colony’s wealth.

Children mutilated from their hands.
DRC children mutilated from their hands. Source: WikiCommons

"Of all the Europeans fighting for control of Africa in the late 19th century, it can be said that the Belgian King Leopold II left the greatest and most horrible legacy of all,"  Mark Dummet, former BBC correspondent said in 2004.

The denunciations and international pressure, who accused him of violating human rights in 1908, forced him to transfer his "property" in Africa to Belgium. Now, the Free State of the Congo became the Belgian Congo.

The colony became controlled by the Belgian government and, although there was a notable reduction in the levels of violence, slave labor continued strongly, now also in the copper, gold and tin mines. While privilege and concentration of wealth in the hands of Belgian interests prevented the social, political and economic demands of the working class or the native population from being heard and addressed.

In the backdrop of such a violent history, self-organized groups emerged with pro-independence feelings firm to demand a free and sovereign Congo. One of these groups was the Congolese National Movement (MNC), in which Lumumba was the best-known face. 

Lumumba: Revolution and Independence

In 1958, inspired by the independence movement of Africa after attending the All-African Peoples’ Conference in Ghana, Lumumba was determined to fight for the decolonization of the DRC, despite the limited possibilities of social action that allowed the Belgian colonial system.

Lumumba was in favor of creating an independent and secular state, whose unitary political structures would help to overcome tribal differences and feed the creation of national sentiment, a key feature to understand African societies and a way to capture Pan-Africanism.

After several protests for some years led by Lumumba and the Congolese National Movement, under the pressure, in 1960 a round-table conference was called in Brussels.

At this conference, the Congolese strongly rejected the guidelines drawn up by Belgium and demanded the immediate transition of government. Elections were called in May of that year and Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President. The country became officially independent on Jun. 30, 1960, later changing its name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Who will forget the rifle-fire from which so many of our brothers perished, or the gaols into which were brutally thrown those who did not want to submit to a regime of justice, oppression and exploitation which were the means the colonialists employed to dominate us?," Lumumba said during his speech at the ceremony to proclaim the Congo's independence in the presence of the Belgian King Baudouin.

However, independence came with problems, as Lumumba was unable to prevent the withdrawal of the Belgian army from giving way to conflicts with military pronouncements, attacks, and widespread disturbances, mainly in the provinces of Katanga and South Kasai, where there were attempts at separatism supported by the Belgian government.

The Katanga region was the heart of the country's mining wealth and where large-scale industrial mining started in the early 20th century, mainly through the system of colonial companies, closely aligned with the Belgian state.  The profits as expected were stripped of the Congolese people and increased the pockets of an industrial and political elite. Something that after independence, they were not willing to lose.

It was inevitable that the construction of a legacy based on colonialism of economic exploitation and political authoritarianism wouldn't vanish overnight. The uprisings and secession of Katanga became stronger with the mutiny of the military forces and already at this point, also with the support of the U.S.

As a strategic ally for Belgium,  for the U.S., it was important, according to some analysts, to maintain closeness in the DRC's affairs, given their interest in uranium, likely from Katanga's mines.

It is for Lumumba's determination on the interests of the nation and the search for Congo's natural resources to benefit the people, that he was perceived as a threat to Western interests, which led them to use all possible strategies to eliminate him, including negotiating with the U.N.

After the separatist revolts in Katanga supported by Belgium, Lumumba demanded before the U.N. the rights of sovereignty and inviolability of its territory and called the immediate expulsion of the Belgian troops. However, the U.N. ignored the request and Lumumba in Cold War-mentality sought the support of the Soviet Union (USSR), which for many was the defining point that led to his death.

Soon after a military coup was led by Joseph-Desire Mobutu was perpetrated in Sept. 1960, and the African leader Lumumba, "a martyr of the revolution" in the words of Che Guevara, was captured and killed. Although his body was dissolved with acid in an attempt to erase his legacy, his thoughts and the importance of his struggles for the liberation of the African peoples live on until this day. 

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Police Repress Protest Against Transport Price Increase]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:56:07 -04:00 Military police repressed protesters linked to the Free Pass Movement and arrested at least ten people Thursday during the third protest against the increase in public transport taxes in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Brazil: Bolsonaro Leads 2019 Record for Attacks on the Press

The citizen movement met in front of the Municipal Theater late in the afternoon and then headed towards the Republic Square, peacefully, always accompanied by the police, with the intention of reaching the city's main avenue.

During the march, flags of student movements, such as the National Union of Students and the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students were seen, as well as political groups among which were the Socialism and Freedom Party, the Unified Workers Socialist Party and the Party Revolutionary Communist.

Once in the square, while waiting for the end of the act, another group of military police blocked the demonstration and arrested two girls, who were dragged by the police to a car, without knowing the reasons.

"Since the beginning of the march, the intention of the João Doria military police was clear: to prevent students from complaining," teleSUR's correspondent in Brazil Nacho Lemus said. 

The São Paulo Military Police prevented students summoned by Passe Livre from demonstrating against the increase in the price of public transport. They repressed with rubber bullets, batons, and tear gas. 

In total, a dozen people were arrested and the rest of the protesters dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets, as Lemus reported, although the organizers said the protest route had been presented in advance to the authorities.

According to them, a group of about 500 people was prevented from following the planned route due to the fear of making traffic more difficult, which was already complicated due to the floods that left the heavy rains in the afternoon.

The action on Thursday was the third demonstration against the increase in the fare of the public transport ticket, after Mayor Bruno Covas and the Governor of Sao Paulo Joao Doria announced the increase of 4,30 to 4,40 reais (1.03 to 1.05 dollars).

"Another ten cents in the passage in a context where unemployment increases, poverty increases, the population is experiencing difficulties due to the cost of living, which only grows, increasing the passage again is a direct attack from the mayor and the governor to the poorer population, " Gabriela Dantas, a member of the Free Pass Movement said.

Last Thursday, the police also used non-lethal weapons to contain the protesters from the movement when they tried to enter the subway station. So far the demonstrations have taken place weekly and a new action is already scheduled.

]]> <![CDATA[11 US Troops Were Wounded in Iran Missile Attack in Iraq]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:53:03 -04:00 The United States Army confirmed Thursday that it treated 11 of its troops for symptoms of concussion after Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack targeted Ain al-Assad and Erbil airbases where U.S. forces were stationed.

Most Danish, Latvian Troops To Leave Iraq After Iranian Strikes

Despite initially saying no service members were hurt, Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement “while no US service members were killed in the Jan. 8 Iranian attacks on the al-Asad airbase, several were treated for concussion symptoms from the blast and are still being assessed.”

The Pentagon said on Friday there had been no effort to play down or delay the release of information on injured personnel.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched a surface-to-surface ballistic missile attack on the Iraqi Ain al-Assad and Erbil airbases as a response to the U.S. killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3 

After the strikes, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif explained that these were "proportionate and concluded measures in self-defense under Article 51 of U.N. Charter," adding that the country "does not seek escalation nor war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

Zarif also confirmed that his country notified Iraqi authorities of the attack on U.S. bases, resulting in no casualties on the Iraqi side.

"Iran has notified the Iraqi Government and the armed forces of the measures taken last night," the Foreign Minister statement said.

At the time of the attack, most of the 1,500 US soldiers at the base had bunkered down, after Iran had warned Iraqi officials, according to Iraq’s prime minister. 

]]> <![CDATA[Abby Martin Banned From Speaking at US University ]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:31:34 -04:00 Former teleSUR presenter and creator of The Empire Files Abby Martin was blocked from delivering a keynote speech at Georgia Southern University for refusing to "sign a contractual pledge to not boycott Israel" to comply with the anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanctions state law.

YouTube Censors Empire Files' Abby Martin on Israeli Militarism

"After I was scheduled to give a keynote speech at an upcoming Georgia Southern conference, organizers said I must comply with Georgia's anti-BDS law," Martin tweeted on Friday. 

Since 2014, 28 states, among those Georgia, have adopted anti-boycott laws, including five executive orders issued by governors.

"I refused and my talk was canceled. The event fell apart after colleagues supported me." Martin is an outspoken critic of Israel’s apartheid government and anti-Palestinian policies. 

As the nationwide crackdown on BDS continues, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Dec. 11 that will effectively allow the government to interpret Judaism as both a race or nationality and religion under federal law so that the Education Department can take direct action against what he views as “anti-Semitism on college campuses.”

Trump stated clearly that the decision targets the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) calling it an “anti-Semitic campaign against Israel.”

The order will trigger Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that requires educational institutions receiving federal funding to not discriminate based on national origin; meaning the government can now withhold federal funding from any college or educational program that is deemed to allow or endorse “anti-Semitism.”

BDS has gained notoriety in college campuses across the U.S. with more people understanding and backing the Palestinian struggle. 

The non-violent BDS movement, however, was founded in 2005 by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, and women organizations, among others, has gained such renown that it was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

Inspired by South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, BDS calls for non-violent pressure on Israel through boycotting any organization linked to the state of Israel, withdrawing investment from Israeli companies, and sanctioning the county until Israel recognizes the right of Palestinian refugees to return, ends the illegal military occupation of Palestine, and ends the apartheid regime by recognizing Palestinian's equal rights and stops human rights abuses.

]]> <![CDATA[Spain's Government Plans 2% Pay Raise for Civil Servants]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:03:32 -04:00 Spain’s coalition government announced Friday its plan to give civil servants a two percent pay raise with retroactive effect from Jan. 1.

Spain: New Coalition Government Takes Oath of Office

The pay hike, which unions had requested prior to the announcement of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet over the weekend, will be introduced as soon as possible, Spain’s Regional Policy Minister Carolina Darias told unions.

The measure will benefit 2.5 million public sector workers. 

On Dec. 30, PSOE and the left-wing Unidas Podemos party presented their joint governing deal, outlining the policies that will implement in their new coalition government. 

The governing plan includes tax rises for higher earners and large firms, an increase in the minimum wage and a partial overturn of regressive aspects of the conservative Popular Party’s labor reforms.

The plan includes an increase in social spending, especially in programs for the universalization of education; access to affordable housing; health programs, and support for small businesses. 

The parties will also ditch regulations that allow companies to fire workers who take official sick leave, as well as introducing measures to precarious and temporary jobs. The minimum wage could rise by as much as 60 percent, reaching almost US$1300. 

With regard to pensions, the progressive coalition will eliminate the formula that links pensions to life expectancy, as well as getting rid of the revaluation index, which sees pension rises subject to the performance of the Spanish economy. This, the document states, will “ensure the sustainability of the system in the medium and long term.”

]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Armed Incursion to Jamundi Leaves Five Civilians Dead]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:20:48 -04:00 Five young farmers were killed in the middle of a confrontation among illegal armed groups operating in the municipality of Jamundi, at the Cauca valley, in Colombia.


17 Social Leaders Assassinated so Far This Year in Colombia

According to local media, the victims were traveling in three cars when members of those armed groups threw explosives into the vehicles destroying them.

On Thursday night, there was a clash among criminal organizations, one of which was apparently the Gulf Clan, according to witnesses.

The mayor of Jamundi Andres Ramirez, however, believes that it was a confrontation between residual groups of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Given that there are about 1,000 hectares of illicit crops in the sector, Ramirez calls on the Colombian government "so that Jamundí is included in a strategic zone of integral intervention."​​​​​​​

"We regret to report that our partner Yordan Tovar, director of SINTCAFROMAYO, Fensuagro and Patriot March, was killed today in Puerto Asis, Putumayo. There are already 6 partners killed in 2020. Ivan Duque, And the guarantees?."

On Thursday, in a different area of the country,​​​​​​​ the Putumayo Border Peasant Workers Union leader, Yordan Tovar, was killed in the municipality of Puerto Guzman, in the Department of Putumayo.

He was in the Union's store when armed men arrived and shot him several times. With this new crime, 21 social leaders have been killed in Colombia so far this year.

Meanwhile, Colombia President Ivan Duque does not implement concrete and forceful mechanisms to prevent the killing of social leaders in this South American country.​​​​​​​

]]> <![CDATA[‘Protecting TeleSUR Is Protecting the Peoples' Voice’ Villegas]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 14:14:18 -04:00 The New Television of the South (teleSUR) president Patricia Villegas Thursday warned about the difficulties of doing progressive journalism in Latin America and stressed that "protecting teleSUR is protecting the voice of the peoples of the world".


Desperate Juan Guaido Vows Again to Plunder teleSUR's Signal

At teleSUR "we have been accustomed all this time to resist amid adversities," Villegas said and recalled that "we are a very powerful voice ... the vision of this Latin America and the Caribbean," Villegas said at the 'Round Table' TV show in Havana, Cuba.

Her statements occur a few days after threats against teleSUR were spilled by a U.S.-backed Venezuelan politician, Senator Juan Guaido, who has been struggling to stay relevant after several failed coup attempts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

Villegas also pointed out that "it is not the first attempt that the Latin American right-wingers make to stigmatize" the work of this alternative media.

"Torpedoing teleSUR is torpedoing the strong idea of the Latin American and Caribbean union, which allows us to face global challenges as if we were one," she explained.

​​​​​​Regarding Guaido's threat to seize the administration of teleSUR, Villegas said that his actions "have no validity", for he is "a force having no capacity at all".

"Such issue does not worry us or distract us from our task, our objectives and our mission: to move forward, grow, resist," the teleSUR president said.

During her interview on Cuban television, Villegas also thanked the solidarity steeming from thousands of teleSUR followers.​​​​​​​

On Friday, Leopoldo Castillo, a journalist to whom Guaido entrusted the task of "recovering" teleSUR, admitted tacitly that his attack is impotent.

The right-wing politician's messenger said that Telesur will be "replaced" by a Miami-based channel that will have a different name and different content.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico's President Offers 4,000 Jobs in Attempt to Stop Caravan]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 12:23:32 -04:00 Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) Friday reported that his government will not grant transit visas to migrants from the caravan trying to reach the United States but that there are about 4.000 jobs available.


'Mexico Won't Let the Caravan Pass' Guatemala's President Says

"Between 2,500 and 3,000 Honduran and Salvadoran migrants come in the caravan... there are about 4,000 jobs on the southern border available," AMLO said.

The Mexican Secretariat for Home Affairs (Segob) announced that it had met with other ministries to establish a task force to assist Honduran migrants.

"Mexico's government is committed and willing to assist migrants and ensure that their entry into our territory happens in a regular, orderly, safe manner and following international and national laws," Segob stated.

The Central American migrants intend to arrive by land in the U.S. to apply for asylum on the southern border of that country.

This caravan began with about 1,000 people who left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on Wednesday, fleeing violence, poverty and lack of employment in their homeland.

"The migrant caravan tests the U.S.-Mexico migration pact."

Unlike previous caravans, however, this group of pilgrims will probably face more difficult conditions in Mexico.

"The Mexican government told us that they won't let it pass," Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei revealed on Wednesday.

He also disclosed that Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told him that "they will do everything in their powers to stop it from passing."

In October 2018, thousands of Central American migrants began forming caravans to try to reach the United States.​​​​​​​

"Although they don't say it, the meeting's main issue was, of course, the migrant caravans. The meeting's date is no coincidence. If you don't believe me, just look at President Trump's upcoming campaign events. I bet he will show off Mexico's actions with the caravans." The Mexican Home Affairs Secretariat's meme reads, "Prosecutor William Barr's visit to Mexico concludes successfully."

In June 2019, after threatening to raise tariffs on Mexican products, President Donald Trump forced the AMLO administration to sign a deal to contain migrants.

Since then, Mexico has deployed thousands of National Guards to its borders, which has achieved a reduction in migration flows by almost 70 percent.

The Mexican government's current migration-related actions occur in the context of the recent approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which was approved by the U.S. Senate on Thursday and must be sent to Trump.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Bolsonaro Leads 2019 Record for Attacks on the Press]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 10:36:55 -04:00 Brazil’s National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) Thursday presented its "Report on Violence Against Journalists and Press Freedom", highlighting that 208 attacks on media outlets and journalists were reported in 2019, which means an increase of 54 percent over the previous year

RELATED: ​​​​​​

Brazil to Go Through With Mining on Tribal Lands

"The main threat to press freedom in Brazil was carried out through 114 cases of 'attempts to discredit' the press," the Fenaj said.

The 2019 report includes this new type of violence because "the Presidency has institutionalized unfounded and widespread criticism to the media and journalists."

The Brazilian federation also reported that the number of cases of physical aggression has decreased; however, 20 journalists were killed in 2019.

According to Fenaj, politicians were the main perpetrators of attacks. About 69 percent of the attacks were related to attempts to discredit the press.

"Bolsonaro's Culture Secretary paraphrases Nazi Joseph Goebbels' speech. His citation, which reverberated on social networks, occurred in a video that announced the National Arts Award."

The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was the author of 121 attacks in 2019, equivalent to 58 percent of the total number of reported cases in the year.

The latest example of the Brazilian presidency's style occurred on Friday when citizens criticized the Culture Minister Roberto Alvim, who had previously published a video with clear Nazi connotations.

Bolsonaro immediately posted his own video to defend his pupil through a threatening message.

“To that press looking at me: I am above your glasses. Begin to produce truths... I will not take any action to try to censor you but have shame on your faces. Leave our government alone,” Bolsonaro shouted, as reported by local outlet Forum, which commented that his video used Joseph Goebbels' tactics to intimidate.​​​​​​​

"Bolsonaro's rise significantly affected press freedom," Brasil de Fato recalled.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


]]> <![CDATA[The Maldives Seek Financing to Manage Climate Change Impacts]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2020 09:25:20 -04:00 The Republic of Maldives' Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulla Shahid Thursday indicated that his country, a small island nation located in the Indian Ocean, is struggling to find financing that will allow it to build infrastructure to mitigate the risks of sea-level rise.


Germany Agrees on Plan to Phase out Coal Power by 2038

“For the Maldives, and, for the world over, climate change can be best described as a security and human rights challenge,” said Shahid at the Raisina Dialogue 2020 held in New Delhi, India.

The Maldives archipelago comprises 1,190 islands that face risks related to flooding, winds, flooding, and other natural events that global climate change has intensified.

Currently, 199 of those islands are inhabited and exposed to natural hazards since the highest point of the Archipelago's land is about 6 feet above sea level.

In 2004, a tsunami ravaged the Maldives, causing financial losses of around 62 percent of its GDP and hitting its infrastructure.

Tourism and fishing industries are heavily dependent on coastal resources, and most settlements are concentrated along the coast.

While the Maldives spends US$10 million annually for coastal protection works, its government will need up to US$8.8 billion in total to shield all of its inhabited islands.

"In order to protect the islands, we need to start building sea walls," Shahid said.

"It's expensive, but we need it. We can't wait until all of them are being taken away."

The United Nations' Green Climate Fund has already approved nearly US$24 million in funding to the Maldives. Some individual nations, among which is Japan, have also offered help to build a sea wall around the Maldives' capital Male.

Environment Minister Hussain Rasheed Hassan said recently his country would have to turn to banks given inadequate funding elsewhere despite the fact small nations like his were paying the price for the developed world's pollution.

"We have to beg some of these (big) emitters to provide money for us. Is that fair?," The Maldives' Environment Minister said.

]]> <![CDATA[Who is Mikhail Mishustin Russia’s New PM?]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 23:44:15 -04:00 Russia's Duma (Parliament’s lower house) validated Thursday the nomination by President Vladimir Putin of Mikhail Mishustin as the country's new premier and formally appointed him.


Merkel and Putin: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Be Preserved by All Means

On Wednesday, Putin had proposed Mishustin, a little-known technocrat and chief of the Russian Federal Tax Service, for the position of Russia's PM.

The nomination came hours after the current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned along with the whole Cabinet following the president's proposals to amend the Constitution.

Mishustin, 53, is a trained engineer who also holds a Ph.D. in economics. He was the head in the 1990s of the board of the International Computer Club (ICC), a public non-profit organization which according to Russia’s news agency TASS, aimed to attract "advanced western information technologies to Russia."

In 1998, he joined the state service, working in several government agencies, before becoming in 2008 the president of the Russian investment company (UFG). 

In 2010, Mishustin was appointed director of the Russian Federal Tax Service. In this position, he declared war on "dirty data" and gained wide recognition as a result of his deep improvement and digitalization of the Tax Service, turning it into a modern and efficient institution. His management led to a drop in tax evasion and brought many small businesses into the formal economy.

Last year, Mishustin said in an interview that Russia needed to adopt artificial intelligence and digital technology, saying "if we don't understand how this world is developing and what its rules are, if we insist our country is part of the old order, this new world will make us its victim."

Over the years, Mishustin “has created a cutting-edge tax service from the ground up, using modern technologies and (means of) digital economy,” said the Speaker of Russia's Duma Vyacheslav Volodin.

Officials in the government and businessmen describe him as a professional and competent administrator who has a very good knowledge of the economy, which makes him a good fit for the Cabinet in a time when Russia's economy is not at its best.

The new premier doesn't belong to a political party and has always stayed away from politics. In his rare interviews, he prefers to talk about innovations in tax administration.

“The main tasks for the new prime minister will come from the necessity to modernize the economy," Abbas Gallyamov, a former Kremlin speechwriter turned independent political analyst, wrote in a Facebook post. "Mishustin has the reputation of a person who has this experience.”

Analyst Gleb Pavlovsky, a former Putin adviser, told media that Mishustin is "a splendid bureaucrat, in the best sense of the word."

But some voices were raised against this appointment. Nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center, Tatiana Stanovaya, said on social media that Mishustin was a "technocratic placeholder," saying that he has no political experience or popularity with the people.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivian Senate Approves Extending Coup Government Mandate]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 23:46:09 -04:00 The Chamber of Senators of Bolivia, approved on Thursday the draft Law on the Extension of the Constitutional Mandate of Elected Authorities, which allows the de facto government to remain in power until May 3 when new elections are held.


'No Time Extension to Coup-Born Regime' Bolivian Workers Warn

Two-thirds of the legislative body supported the controversial bill, adding to the Constitutional Court that gave the green light last Wednesday to the extension of all charges, including governorates, councilors, mayors and the parliamentary branch.

However, the aforementioned proposal must be discussed before the Chamber of Deputies and its president, Sergio Choque, expressed in an interview that it is unconstitutional that a period lasts more than five years, "in a mandate there are, constitutionally, five periods; the last of them it has an extension, if we go to the sixth period it would be unconstitutional because, in reality, it would correspond to a new mandate, ”he added.

House of Senators, with more than two thirds of support, approved the de facto government, legislative, mayors, governors, councilors ...

"No organ of the Plurinational State can extend the (legislative) mandate over the CPE (Political Constitution of the State)," Morales said last Friday.

]]> <![CDATA[Beitar Jerusalem’s Fans Carry Anti-Arab Banner Prior to Match]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 22:58:07 -04:00 Fans of the Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem were caught Thursday by security cameras writing an anti-Arab banner before burning it and allegedly attempting to set fire to a nearby corner shop ahead of a cup match against Al-Reineh’s football team.


BDS Movement Urges Uruguay, Argentina To Drop Football Match in Israel

The owner of the house and the commercial store in the town told Arab 48 that “he saw enormous fire burning in the street near our shops, and I saw four young men with their faces exposed and carrying a sign about three meters in length that read in Hebrew: "Death to the children of Reina, to hell."

Maccabi Bnei Raina, Reineh's football club which competes in Israel’s second division, is due to play an away match against Beitar Jerusalem on Thursday evening as part of the State Cup of Israel tournament.

Officially named Beitar Trump Jerusalem Football Club, the team was established in 1936 as part of a nationalistic Zionist strategy. Since then the team has become a Zionist symbol and hub for far-right sentiments and fans in Israel. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most prominent fans of the team. In 2018, after United States President Donald Trump illegally and unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the team officially added the head of states' name to its own. 

Its fans are internationally known for their racist chants and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric. They can usually  be heard singing at their matches “here we are, the most racist team in the country!” or their infamous trademark song “Death to Arabs.” 

In 2013, the club's offices were torched over the signing of two Muslim football players from Chechnya, Zaur Sadayev and Dzhabrail Kadiyev.

The most vocal supporters are part of the ultra-nationalist “La Familia” group. These fans are well known for their pride in the fact that Beitar is the only team in the Israeli Premier League that has never signed an Arab player.

]]> <![CDATA[Germany Agrees on Plan to Phase out Coal Power by 2038]]> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 21:49:47 -04:00 The German government, the country's coal-mining states and several major utilities agreed on Thursday on a shutdown plan for coal-fired power plants in Germany by 2038 at the latest.

 Merkel and Putin: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Be Preserved by All Means

"We are the first country to make a binding withdrawal from nuclear and coal," said German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Svenja Schulze during a press conference, adding "Coal phase-out begins now."

Schulze said that eight "very old and dirty" power plant units should be quickly taken off the grid, the first one already at the end of this year.

The German government said that operators of coal-fired power plants would receive compensation for the early shutdown of their plants. A total of 4.35 billion euros (4.85 billion U.S. dollars) is earmarked for this purpose.

The government announced last year its intention to phase out electricity generation from hard coal and lignite by 2038 at the latest. To support the affected areas, former coal-mining regions are to receive a total of 40 billion euros for the restructuring of their economies.

Despite the phase-out, a new hard coal power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia is still planned to start electricity production.

According to Minister for Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier, the government would not prevent the commissioning of the power plant due to the complex system of compensation payments, among other reasons.

Germany "is about to leave the fossil age with big steps," said Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz.

In the ensuing "restructuring process," said Scholz, the dismantling of old energy producers would need to be matched with the expansion of renewable energies in order to cover future demand