teleSUR English ES Thu, 2 Jul 2020 16:26:48 -04:00 teleSUR English <![CDATA[Mexicans Receive Swiss Support to Develop Drug Against COVID-19]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 16:26:46 -04:00 Mexico’s National Network of State Science and Technology Councils and Organizations (Rednacecyt) reported that Switzerland’s Paul Scherrer Institute will support Mexican researchers who are looking for a drug against COVID-19.


Mexico: AMLO Would Meet Trump to Celebrate Tripartite Agreement

"This project focuses on developing an antiviral using a mixture of disciplines. It will be a nanohybrid that may attack the virus," Rednacecyt's President Alonso Huerta said.

At a virtual press conference, he explained that the project works on the conjunction of nanoparticles and bio-particles to isolate and inhibit the reproduction of the coronavirus.

This investigation results from a call that the Hidalgo State Government and the Paul Scherrer Institute issued on March 23 and closed on May 9, in which 20 projects were registered.

The Pachuca Polytechnic University project is conceptualized in two stages. The first, to investigate how a nanoparticle would interact with the compounds that are projected to be used in the medicine. And the second stage is knowing how it would act with the virus.

Huerta explained that, if everything goes well, the concept will be validated next year and, perhaps, it would be ready to be commercialized in two years.

"If we look at it over the two-year horizon, it's a very short time regarding how drug development occurs, and the time is reduced because the experience is being used for other viruses," Huerta said.

]]> <![CDATA[US Seeks to Seize Iranian Gasoline en Route to Venezuela]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 16:01:52 -04:00 U.S. Federal prosecutors Wednesday filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four Iranian tankers en route to Venezuela, in another apparent attempt by the White House to thwart the two nations’ economic collaboration, the Wall Street Journal has first reported Thursday. 


Fortune Tanker Shows Peace Diplomacy Can Upset US Geopolitics

According to the lawsuit, the prosecutors are aiming to stop the delivery of gasoline aboard the Liberia-flagged Bella and the Bering, and the Pandi and the Luna to also deter future deliveries.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also seeks to halt revenues from petroleum sales to Iran, which Washington has been illegal sanctioning for decades. 

Gasoline shortages in Venezuela, like Iran a member of OPEC, have been increasing due to the U.S. unilateral and illegal sanctions. 

Yet, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has held on, proving people in the South American country are independent and much more resilient than what thought by the West. 

U.S. President Donald Trump’s failure to unseat the president of Venezuela has been a source of frustration for him, according to U.S. officials speaking privately.

The illegal sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Venezuela and Iran have so far proved ineffective. In late May, the Islamic Republic’s fuel shipments to the South American country was hailed as a victory of peace diplomacy in the face of Washington’s geopolitics.

]]> <![CDATA[Barbados Pays Tribute to Venezuela's Independence Anniversary]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 15:38:19 -04:00 Diplomats, activists, artists, and cultural figures from Barbados sent messages of solidarity and congratulations to Venezuela's government and people on the 209th anniversary of the nation's Independence Day, on July 5.


US Seizes Ventilators Destined for Barbados 

On the occasion of Independence Day, the figures joined their voices to demand the end of the U.S. sanctions against Venezuela.

"Latin America must be a zone of peace. The U.S. has to stop its interference in the region," Barbados Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) David Commissiong said. 

Cuba and China's ambassadors in Barbados, Sergio Pastrana and Yan Xiusheng respectively, also highlighted the brotherhood of their nations with Venezuela.

"Together, let us follow the path of unity traced by Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti," Pastrana said.

Regarding Cuba and Venezuela, the artists acknowledged that these are the region's only two truly independent nations. 

"Cuba gained its independence in 1959 with Fidel Castro, and Venezuela since Hugo Chavez' power assumption," the Caribbean Against Apartheid in Palestine's Secretary-General Lalu Hanuman said. 

Barbadian artists Winston Farrell and Sonny Meraki performed for Venezuela the poem "The Bus Driver" and the Bob Marley's Redemption Song.

"I cannot forget to mention the close bond between Venezuela and Barbados through the Indigenous peoples," Barbados' National Cultural Foundation director Andrea Wells said. 

Venezuela's business manager in Barbados Alvaro Sanchez thanked this friendly gesture on the name of Venezuela's government and people.

]]> <![CDATA[Trump Hopes COVID-19 Is 'Going to Sort of Just Disappear’]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 14:10:49 -04:00 U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday in an interview with news channel Fox Business that he hopes the coronavirus will "sort of just disappear" on its own.


President Trump Claims His Border Wall Stopped Coronavirus

As several states, including Texas and California, reversed some of their reopenings steps due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, Trump praised May's record retail sales and insisted that "we're headed back in a very strong fashion."

"I think we're gonna be very good with the coronavirus," he said. "I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope."

Trump’s remarks came on the same day that new infections passed 50,000 for the first time since the outbreak in the U.S.

Exactly 52,982 new Covid-19 cases were reported Wednesday, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project. Over 2.7 million people have been infected in the U.S. while at least 128,000 have died.

Democratic Senator of Washington and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Patty Murray, condemned  Trump’s comments.

"These reckless statements are false, and coming from the president, they are dangerous," she said. 

In his testimony Tuesday before the Senate HELP Committee, Anthony Fauci -who is currently leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force- rejected the notion that the pandemic will vanish any time soon and said he "would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 [new cases] a day if this does not turn around."

"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurts if that does not stop," Fauci warned, urging everyone to wear face coverings in public settings and backing a proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders to distribute masks for free in the U.S.

"I am not satisfied with what's going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we've really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly," Fauci said.

]]> <![CDATA[US Unemployment Rate Remains at 11% Despite Economic Reopening]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 13:22:58 -04:00 The U.S. Department of Labor Thursday announced that the national unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in June as the economy added 4.8 million jobs.


Trump Temporarily Suspends Immigration to US 

The institution's also reported that 1.4 million people filed for unemployment last week. This occurred because many businesses that opened in June were forced to close once again due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Only one-third of the 22 million people who lost their jobs in March and April have returned to work so far, although many businesses were desperate to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The economy has not recovered yet for many U.S. citizens, something that U.S. President Donald Trump does not recognize.

"Our economy is roaring again, it's getting stronger," Trump celebrated after the Department of Labor's figures release.

Nevertheless, the unemployment rate remains one of the highest the United States has experienced in decades.

Hair salons, bars, hotels, medical services are some of the industries most affected by unemployment over the last two weeks because of new closures.

]]> <![CDATA[Over 120 Deaths as Myanmar Jade Mine Collapse Buries Miners ]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 12:43:29 -04:00 At least 126 people have died Thursday in northern Myanmar with more feared dead after a heap of mining waste collapsed into a lake and buried dozens under mud and water.


Myanmar Submits Report on Rohingya to Int'l Court of Justice

By late Thursday afternoon, search and rescue workers had recovered 126 bodies, the country’s fire service department said in a Facebook post, but more were missing it added.

“Other bodies are in the mud,” Tar Lin Maung, an Information Ministry official, told Reuters. “The numbers are going to rise.”

In a statement posted on social media, the Armed Forces Commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing, said military officers would continue the rescue efforts.

The miners were collecting stones in the jade-rich Hpakantarea of Kachin state when a "muddy wave" caused by heavy rain buried them, according to the fire service.

Fatal landslides and other deadly accidents are common in the poorly regulated mines of Hpakant where the victims are often workers from impoverished communities looking for scraps left behind by big firms. 

About 100 people were killed in a 2015 collapse which strengthened calls to regulate the industry. Another 50 died in 2019.

The government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi pledged to clean up the industry when it took power in 2016, but activists say little has changed.

International NGO Global Witness estimated that the industry was worth some US$ 31 billion in 2014, although very little reached state coffers.

]]> <![CDATA[Saudi-Led Forces Launch New Offensive Against Yemen's Houthis]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 12:28:34 -04:00 A Saudi-led coalition started a military operation against Yemen’s Houthis after the latter used ballistic missiles and drones in recent weeks to target Saudi Arabia's most populous areas, Saudi state television reported Wednesday.


Yemen's Gov't and Separatist Forces Clash Despite Truce

Houthi-run Al Masirah TV reported airstrikes on the capital Sanaa, and the provinces of Marib, al-Jouf, al-Bayda, Hajjah, and Saada throughout Wednesday and into the night.

Residents in the Yemeni capital described the air raids as violent while Al Masirah reported late Wednesday several injuries.

The new push comes as Houthi fighters fired missiles last week that reached the Saudi capital Riyadh in the first such assault since a six-week ceasefire prompted by the coronavirus pandemic ended in late May. 

The coalition announced earlier that there would be a news conference on the operation that aims to neutralize the Houthis military capabilities, Al-Ekhbariya channel and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV said.

The Saudi-led coalition involved in Yemen in support of the government has launched over 130 airstrikes in the past two days on the capital, Sanaa, and areas in the north and center of the country controlled by Shiite Houthi rebels.

Yemen’s devastating war started in late 2014 after the Houthi rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, driving the UN’s supported government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

The Western-backed coalition with Saudi Arabia and UAE as the main partners intervened the following year to restore Hadi's rule, engaging Yemen in a violent war that has settled into a stalemate.

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than three million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population relying on food assistance for survival.

]]> <![CDATA[Dominican Republic to Hold Elections Amid Coronavirus Pandemic]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 11:42:38 -04:00 The Dominican Republic will hold a presidential election on July 5 in which 7.5 million people are expected to take part, becoming the first Latin American country to hold a general election amid the pandemic.


The Dominican Republic to Welcome Tourists in July: Ministry

The presidential candidates are Luis Abinader from the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), Gonzalo Castillo representing the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Guillermo Moreno of the Country Alliance (ALPAÍS), and Leonel Antonio Fernandez from the People's Force (FP).

The new president will be elected by the two-days election system. The second round would be necessary if during the first ballot no candidate receives over 50 percent of the votes. 

The two candidates who receive the most votes next Sunday will go to the second round to be held on July 26.

In this elections, people will also elect the vice president, 32 senators, 190 deputies, and 20 seats in the Central American Parliament.

"We are focusing on the event's preparations, and on ensuring the health protection of the millions of Dominicans who will attend the polls," The Central Electoral Board (CEB) stated.

As of Thursday morning, the Dominican Republic had reported 33,387 cases and 754 deaths.

The elections were scheduled for May 17, but the CEB was forced to postpone the event due to COVID-19.

]]> <![CDATA[Vatican Summons US, Israeli Envoys Over Israeli Annexation Plan]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 10:40:19 -04:00 A Vatican statement released Wednesday said the Vatican's top diplomat Cardinal Pietro Parolin met with the United States Ambassador Callista Gingrich and Israeli Ambassador Oren David over the annexation of Palestinian land.


Letter by AOC, Tlaib, Others Pledge to Cut Aid to Israel

Parolin summoned both envoys to express the Holy See's concern about Israel's expressed intention to annex parts of the illegally occupied West Bank.

The Vatican's secretary of state expressed "the concern of the Holy See regarding possible unilateral actions that may further jeopardize the search for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the delicate situation in the Middle East," the statement read, reiterating Vatican’s position in support of a two-state solution.

"Israel and the State of Palestine have the right to exist and to live in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders,” the statement read.

The Vatican urged Israelis and Palestinians to do everything possible to reopen the process of direct negotiations on the basis of United Nations resolutions.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting July 1st as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The plan consents to Israel's annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. 

It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation, illegal.

Yet, with no agreement on the modalities of the move, and with talks with Washington still underway, no cabinet session was scheduled Wednesday.

While the U.S. has offered support for immediate annexation, most of the international community is vocally opposed to the project. 

]]> <![CDATA[The U.K. Denies Venezuela Access to Gold for Food and Medicines]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 09:52:14 -04:00 The United Kingdom's High Court Thursday decided that opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido can access 31 tons of Venezuelan gold held in the Bank of England, which prevents President Nicolas Maduro's administration from using those resources to fight the pandemic.


 Bank of England Infringes Human Rights: Venezuelan Central Bank

The ruling about this monetary reserve valued at over US $ 1 billion occurs after months of disputes between Venezuela and the Bank of England, which denied the constitutionally constituted government access to its own resources

On May 14, the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) sued the Bank of England to obtain and sell the Venezuelan gold bars.

The South American country intends to sell the resources to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and so gain food and medicine needed amid pandemic. 

The Bank of England justified its attitude by claiming that they would first clarify who Venezuela's legitimate representative is and then debate the resources' release.

U.K. justice's decision opens the gates for Guaido to appropriate the resources held in that European country and other international banks.

"Every minute a person can die in Venezuela because of COVID-19. We need our resources to mitigate its impact on our people," Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez insisted. 

The announcement comes days after President Donald Trump's former advisor John Bolton said in a memoir that Guaido is perceived as weak, against a strong and smart Maduro.

]]> <![CDATA[Cuban President Welcomes Doctors on Their Return From Andorra]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 12:15:06 -04:00 Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel Wednesday welcomed to the Henry Reeve physicians who came back to their country after fighting COVID-19 in Andorra over the last three months.


Humanitarian Flight Repatriates 66 Students, 42 Cuban Doctors

Besides ratifying the Cuban people's admiration for its doctors, he expressed his appreciation for the solidarity work they have been carrying out.

"The results and example they have set, as well as their altruism and integrity, confront neoliberal selfishness. Such caring behavior is one of the best ways we are crushing the Empire's evil intentions to discredit the solidarity and exemplary work of medical brigades" the president of the Caribbean island said.

Diaz-Canel also invited the group to a meeting to exchange experiences on the Cuban program in the fight against Covid-19, after they have completed the quarantine period.

The Henry Reeve physicians, who are specialized in the management of natural disasters and epidemics, were received at the Jose Marti Airport by representatives of the Health Ministry and other authorities.

On March 28, the Principality of Andorra received a team of Cuban doctors, one of the 38 health teams that Cuba has sent to at least 30 countries worldwide.

So far, Henry Reeve physicians have carried out 54,680 treatments for 8,223 patients.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Sao Paulo Expects up to 8,000 Deaths in July]]> Thu, 2 Jul 2020 15:46:25 -04:00 In its latest report on the pandemic's possible evolution, the Sao Paulo state government warns that between 355,000 and 470,000 new cases could be verified until July 31. If this happens, between 3,000 and 8,000 patients could die and the cumulative death toll could be between 18,000 and 23,000.


Covid: Brazil Needs To Do More Testing, PAHO Says

As of Thursday morning, Sao Paulo had 302,179 people infected since 12,244 new cases were detected in the last 24 hours, as local Health Secretary Jose Germann reported. 

Referring to the indicators of "excess deaths" published by the Financial Times, the University of Sao Paulo virologist Paulo Latufo stressed that the total number of natural deaths in the city grew by 35 percent during the pandemic.

"Mortality is due to both people with chronic diseases and those who cannot receive health care," Latufo explained, adding that the 77 percent of excess deaths were due to COVID-19.

The Coronavirus Contingency Center Secretary Joao Gabbardo noted that epidemiological projections are undermining some previously unfounded claims.

"Regardless of what the death certificates say, the number of people who died is much greater than the number from previous years. This nullifies the malicious claim that doctors would be inflating the numbers and defrauding the system by placing a diagnosis of COVID -19 where it did not exist,” Gabbardo said.

As of Thursday morning, Brazil had reported 1,476,884 COVID-19 cases and 61,314 deaths. These figures are surpassed only by the U.S., which has reported 2,810,646 COVID-19 cases and 131,172 deaths so far.

]]> <![CDATA[UN Security Council Calls For A Ceasefire Amidst COVID]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 22:56:44 -04:00 United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the midst of the New Coronavirus pandemic.


Arab League Urges Ceasefire in Libya, as Battle for Sirte Looms

Resolution 2532 seeks for halting conflicts in order to "enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance, provisions of related services by impartial humanitarian actors, and medical evacuations."

To this effect, UNSC urged member countries to pause for at least 90 days all conflicts in which they are involved, as part of a humanitarian pause aimed to help those countries most severely affected by the pandemic to gain ground over the disease.

So far, world contagion toll is 10,802,849 positives cases with 518,921 deceases, and 5,938,954 people recovered

Nevertheless, UNSC stressed that military operations against the Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaida and Al-Nusra Front, along with other individuals,  terrorist groups, undertakings and entities associated with those organizations are excluded from the pause.

UN secretary-general was also requested to make sure the measure gets underway, speeding up those UN system's relevant parts to accelerate their response to the pandemic to make better use of the pause.

On this regard the Council urged " UN secretary-general and member states to take all appropriate steps to protect the safety, security and health of all UN personnel in UN peace operations, while maintaining the continuity of operations."

]]> <![CDATA[Covid: Brazil Needs To Do More Testing, PAHO Says]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 22:15:50 -04:00 Brazil needs to expand testing for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) to more efficiently combat the virus, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) alerted on Wednesday.


Brazil: Nation Lives in Fear Due To COVID, Survey Reveals

The South American nation is one of the pandemic hotspots. The Brazilian Health Ministry announced it intends to test 24 percent of the population, equivalent to some 50 million people. At the moment, the government said it has already distributed 11.3 million tests.

"PAHO is constantly calling on Brazil to increase the number of COVID tests," Head of PAHO Communicable Diseases Department Marcos Espinal stressed.

Also, he demanded the government to be more incisive with the messages to the people to be aware of the danger, for "the governors have the possibility of implementing measures and they are doing it, but there is no message. Without this, the population gets confused."


"The battle is tough, but it's far from being lost. There is still much to be done, and our region has the willpower, solidarity, and tools to lower the #COVID19 curve and keep it down."

PAHO revealed that projections forecast Brazil's epidemic peak to be next August. So far, the country's contagion toll is 1,453,369, with 60,713 deaths and 826,866 patients recovered.

"The most important thing is that Brazil has an army of dedicated workers, academics, doctors, nurses, and social workers who help people," Espinal said.

"It is necessary to continue to increase testing. The message must be consistent. Even if reopened, Brazil needs to continue with the suggested measures."


]]> <![CDATA[Majority Of Russians Approve The Constitutional Reform]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 22:54:58 -04:00 A majority of 78.03 percent of Russians backed a constitutional reform after 99.01 percent of election protocols were processed, according to the first results, Wednesday reported the Central Election Commission (CEC).


Russia's COVID-19 Vaccine to Provide Long-Term Protection

On 15 January 2020, President Vladimir Putin proposed the referendum on constitutional reform to the National Assembly.

The 206 amendments include changes to a total of 14 articles. Some changes aim to guarantee that the minimum wage cannot be lower than the subsistence minimum 12,130 rubles ($195.5); the protection of  Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, prohibiting any attempts or calls to alienate part of its territory.

Other reforms propose regular indexation of pensions as well as the removal of the "in a row" clause from the article regulating the maximum number of presidential terms, discounting previous presidential terms before the amendment enters into force, which means that the current president could be able to run for another term

The voting took place from June 25 to July 1 as almost 65 percent of Russian citizens went to the 800 polling stations in 25 jurisdictions, as the head of the CEC Ella Pamfilova said during a press conference.

Russia´s constitution backs to 1993 and it relly heavily on a presidential-centered mandate, introduced by former President Boris Yeltsin. 

On the opposite, the amendments approved today redistribute the political power as both Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament will have the opportunity to propose and approve governments officials such as Prime Minister's candidacy; Deputy Prime Ministers and Federal Ministers while the president will not be able to refuse their appointment although occasionally could remove them from office.


]]> <![CDATA[Uruguay: Chancellor Resigns Over Discrepancies With Lacalle Pou]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 20:09:48 -04:00 Uruguay's Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi Wednesday issued a letter to President Luis Lacalle Pou announcing his resignation.


Uruguay: Wiretapping Scandal Hangs Over Government

On June 11 he let glimpse his desire to dedicate more time to his political party Ciudadanos, one of five in Uruguay's governing coalition, a decision that implied his potential resignation from ministerial duties.

"As I stated at the time, my intention was to remain at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until the end of the year during Uruguay's Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur," he wrote, regarding the initial possibility to stay in duty to preside over the country's rotating presidency.

"(This) in order to conclude the Mercosur-European Union and Mercosur-EFTA agreements for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has worked intensely, and to resume negotiations with Canada, Singapore, and Korea."

"Minutes ago, Uruguay's Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi resigned. Great differences with Luis Lacalle Pou determined his accelerated departure from the ministry. His replacement is Francisco Bustillo, director of the chancellery and current ambassador to Spain."

 Allegedly, Talvi's decision came after several discrepancies with Lacalle Pou, over the appointment of certain diplomatic posts.

"I understand, however, that the timings in the cabinet are set by the President of the Republic. I hereby tender my resignation."

Talvi earned great recognition after handling a repatriate operation that involved passengers and crew of the Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer.

"It has been a privilege to serve in this time of extremely complex challenge," he wrote.

As reported, Talvi will be replaced by Francisco Bustillo, currently the ambassador to Spain.

]]> <![CDATA[Ethiopia: 81 Killed In Protests Following Singer´s Death]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 22:09:13 -04:00 At least 81 people have been killed in Oromia amidst protests over the assassination of singer Hachalu Hundessa, on Wednesday, said the region's chief police Ararsa Merdasa in a televised press conference.


Egypt Accuses Ethiopia of Hindering Nile Dam Talks

Hundessa, a singer and political activist known for political songs advocating for the rights of the Oromo people, was shot dead late on Monday night.

The police said that although the reasons behind the assassination remain unclear, they have arrested two people related to the killing so far.

The homicide of the artist sparked a two-day wave of demonstrations against repression as the Oromo, Ethiopia's largest ethnic group, have long complained of being marginalized.

Hachalu Hundessa's songs, which championed the rights of the Oromo people, became a symbol of uprisings back in 2018 that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne.


"I express my condolences to his family, friends, and the whole country, expressing my sincere condolences for the artist's death."

The military has been deployed in the capital, Addis Ababa, and the Internet was shut down in some parts of the country as more uprisings are expected ahead of the funeral on Thursday.

The police also said that 35 people were arrested, including the media mogul and politician Jawar Mohammed, after he and his followers tried to stop the transfer of Hachalu's body to his native town of Ambo, west of Addis Ababa, and attempted to take it back to the capital instead.

The Oromo people have primarily claimed the historical exclusion of the country's political landscape. After the demonstrations of 2018, Abiy Ahmed Ali was confirmed as prime minister and head of the coalition party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. Then, he became the first Oromo leader to head the coalition in 27 years.

During a statement read in the national broadcaster Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp. Prime Minister Abiy remarked that "no one is above the law" and urged the nation to be united.


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: 118 Force Members Implicated In Sexual Abuse of Minors]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 19:17:25 -04:00 About 118 members of the military are under investigation for sexual abuse against minors Wednesday informed Colombia's National Army Chief Commander Eduardo Zapateiro.


Colombia: Night March Against Army Abuse and Gov't Inaction

During an online news conference broadcasted trough the army's Facebook account, Zapatero said that out of the 118 soldiers and army officials, 45 were fired while the remaining 73 are facing criminal and disciplinary investigations by the attorney general and procurator's offices.

The revelations come amid accusations of sexual violence against young women by members of the army, which sparked after June 27, 2020, when seven Colombian soldiers confessed after being arrested for charges of sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl from the Embera Katio Indigenous group.


"Women's organizations suffer a sit-in in front of the Pichincha military battalion in Cali, Colombia, rejecting the violation by a group of members of the army of an indigenous minor and demanding the full weight of the law for the military involved."

Today's figures are the results of an investigation that started back in 2016, as the army chief said that the institution would apply a "zero tolerance" policy regarding sexual abuse of minors.

"I will not tolerate any type of conduct distant from ethical principles, moral values, and good customs," Zapateiro said. "There are no second chances, and all the people involved will be fired immediately", he added as the army soldiers and officials will face the correspondent legal procedures.

Such procedures will be "different in each case" and the investigation will extend to events dating 2010 and "as further as we (the army) can go."

The army chief also denied that his institution had made a systemic effort to protect army members related to sexual violence against minors, yet did not discuss allegations of sexual harassment made by female soldiers in recent months.



]]> <![CDATA[Covid-19: June Holds 60% Of Total Positive Cases, WHO Reveals]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 18:46:28 -04:00 June Covid-19's contagion toll has been the highest so far since the pandemic outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.


COVID-19 Pandemic is Far From Over, WHO Warns

According to Adhanom, the pandemic is accelerating, marked by high rates of infestation in countries such as India, Russia, Brazil, and the U.S.

On this line, confirmed cases in June represent 60 percent of the total recorded since the pandemic outbreak early this year.

"By last week, the number of new cases exceeded 160,000 a day," Adhanom revealed, stressing about the importance of following the so-called "Comprehensive Approach" to deal with the virus.


The  "Comprehensive Approach" consists of several steps: finding, isolating, testing and treating positive cases, and dealing with all of their contacts, putting them in quarantine. Also, gearing up and training health workers and empowering communities to protect themselves and others.

He explained that the countries that have employed this strategy had achieved excellent results against the pandemic, while others who have not done so now face very complex scenarios.

"Not just doing the diagnostic tests. Not just social distancing. Not just the tracking of contacts. Not just the face masks. Do it all."

Adhanom announced as well that this Wednesday and Thursday, WHO will host a scientific exchange event in which more than 1,000 international experts will compare their experiences in confronting the Covid-19, and draw up regional strategies to deal with the pandemic globally.


]]> <![CDATA[The Chinese Communist Party Celebrates 99 Years of Existence]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 16:10:49 -04:00 The Communist Party of China (CPC) Wednesday celebrated its 99th anniversary as the country reaches its goal in building a "moderately prosperous society, amid the pandemics.


China: Beijing's Coronavirus Rebound Declared Under Control

China, with the guidance of the CPC, plans to build a prosperous society for 1.4 billion Chinese people, a transformation unprecedented in the world. 

"The CPC remains firm in its first commitment to achieve this goal, even though we have had to deal with misunderstanding and mistrust," the Party assured in an official statement.

After seven decades of government, the Party has made possible the transition from an isolated agricultural society to the world's second-largest open economy.

"Although the new pandemic has brought uncertainty, the ideas and practices of China's government are relevant and inspirational for the international community," CPC stated.

With the formula "Socialism with Chinese characteristics", the Asian nation continues to push its economy forward. 

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, in 2019 China was considered the country with the highest people's satisfaction in terms of government management.

Over 86 percent of the Chinese people surveyed expressed satisfaction, well above the world's average of 47 percent.

]]> <![CDATA[Mexico: AMLO Would Meet Trump to Celebrate Tripartite Agreement]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 15:36:44 -04:00 Mexico’s President Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador (AMLO) will meet U.S. President Donald Trump to celebrate the implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).


Ayotzinapa Case: Attorney Orders Capture of 46 Public Officials

“We have received an invitation from the U.S. government for an official working visit,” Mexico's Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard tweeted.

Both presidents would discuss a bilateral agenda on July 8 and, a day later, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would join them.

“I don't have a conscience problem because I will go to the U.S.  I always affirmed that Mexico is a free, independent, and sovereign country. I am not a traitor,” AMLO stated.

Mexico’s president qualified the CUSMA as the most relevant regional trade agreement and acknowledged the effort of their ministers to make the deal viable.

"The accord will be a force for action to meet the economic challenges posed by the Covid-19," Economy Minister Graciela Marquez stated. 

The CUSMA replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed by the three countries in 1994.

This would be the first occasion for the Mexican president to make a state visit since he took office on Dec. 1, 2018.

]]> <![CDATA[Protests After Deutsche Welle Fires Bolsonaro Critic]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 14:48:57 -04:00 Germany's state-funded Deutsche Welle has been called out for its decision to fire journalist Joao Paulo Cuenca following his tweet criticizing Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro.


Hundreds Mobilize in More Than 20 Countries Against Bolsonaro

The journalist wrote that Brazilians will only be free “when the last of the Bolsonaros has been hung on the intestines of pastor Igreja Universal,” a phrase which is based on a saying of the 18th-century philosopher Jean Meslier.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, quickly responded to the tweet arguing that Cuenca lacked any respect for the President, which prompted a wave of death threats against the Journalists. Cuenca has already left Brazil in 2019 due to similar threats.

On Twitter, Deutsche Welle announced to no longer publish the columns of Cuenca as his message to Bolsonaro contradicts their values.

The move by Deutsche Welle did not go unnoticed and led to protests within the journalistic community in Brazil, which have criticized the channel for giving in to pressure by far-right forces in the country. 

The Brazilian community in Germany, as well as German Journalists, have also pushed back against the decision and have signed a protest letter with 107 signatories. Critics demand an end to censorship and asked the channel to publish the columns. 

Cuenca explained his statement was a response to an announcement by the Bolsonaro administration to provide US$5.6 million to evangelical radio and tv channels and not meant as hate-commentary. 

The author also explained that he is unsure about the Deutsche Welle’s motivation, explaining that "either they have given in to pressure from the government's cabinet of hatred in Brazil, or the government's tentacles have spread to Germany."

]]> <![CDATA[US: Biden Not to Hold Campaign Rallies Due to Pandemic]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 14:53:31 -04:00 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Tuesday announced that he will not hold rallies during his electoral campaign due to the pandemic.


Biden Says He Would Restore Relations With Cuba If Elected

This is an unprecedented statement that contrasts with the stance of the U.S. President Donald Trump who has already held large campaign meetings.

"I will follow the orders of health authorities, not only for myself but for the country," Biden explained, although he did not say whether he would change his mind if pandemics abate.

"Trump has failed the country by his pandemic's mishandling. I will not expose the people to the health crisis that he has failed to control," he added.

If Biden does not hold meetings until November, this would be unusual move for a modern U.S. presidential candidate. So far, a candidate's success is measured by the strength of his public messages and his enthusiasm.

"This is the most unusual campaign in modern history," Biden acknowledged at the first press conference he offered over the last four weeks.

Biden's announcement comes amid growing alarm about the Trump administration's inability to contain the health crisis.

As of Wednesday morning, the United States had reported 2,751,571 COVID-19 cases and 130,390 deaths.

]]> <![CDATA[Ayotzinapa Case: Attorney Orders Capture of 46 Public Officials]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 14:02:48 -04:00 Mexico's Attorney General Alejandro Gertz issued 46 arrest warrants against municipal officials for their participation in the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, the State of Guerrero, on September 26, 2014.


Mexico Digs Remains of 43 Students 5 Years After Disappearance

"The Attorney General's Office imputes to 46 officials from various Guerrero municipalities the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime," local outlet La Jornada reported and explained that the Office of the Attorney General had neither investigated nor prosecuted certain events when this case's proceedings were carried out between 2014 and 2018.

Gertz also ordered the capture of the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), Tomas Zeron, who was in charge of this case during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration (2012-2018).

According to local outlets, however, he reportedly fled to Canada in March, escaping accusations of torture, disappearance of people, and obstruction of justice against him.

Zeron "already has an arrest warrant and an Interpol red card, for his international location and his extradition," Gertz said.

Federal authorities are also seeking Carlos Arrieta, Michoacan's former Security undersecretary, and Julio Contreras, a former member of the Ministerial Police.

During the Peña Nieto administration, Mexican authorities claimed that the criminal group Guerreros Unidos murdered the 43 missing students and cremated them in a garbage dump.

This version of events was known as “the historical truth”, a phrase that the former Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam used to describe the investigations’ conclusion.


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Night March Against Army Abuse and Gov't Inaction]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 12:22:00 -04:00 Colombia’s human rights defenders, workers, and students Tuesday performed a peaceful torchlight march in Bogota against police brutality and the killing of social leaders.


Colombia: Community Release Military Involved in Farmer's Murder

"We denounce the rape of the Embera girl! We denounce the rapist army, we demand women's rights!" protesters shouted.

Citizens claimed justice for a 12-years-old Indigenous girl who was sexually abused by seven soldiers in the Risalda department. Strikers also rejected President Ivan Duque’s inaction to cease social leaders’ assassinations.

Since Duque took office in 2018, 721 popular leaders and 214 former combatants of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been murdered.

"We raise our voice against state terrorism and the repressive, rapist, and murderous forces,” social organization People Congress tweeted.

Tourism and transportation workers' unions, students, and anti-racism groups joined the walkers in Bogota’s North Highway, to reject massive layoffs and government resources mismanagement during the pandemic.

Demonstrators, however, breached COVID -19 precautionary measures such as masks use and physical distancing.

]]> <![CDATA[Israel Delays Its Plan to Annex Palestinian Territories]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 14:04:57 -04:00 Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday admitted that the plan to annex 30 percent of the West Bank's Palestinian territory will postpone because U.S. President Donald Trump has not yet given the green light.


UN, EU Warn New Israeli Gov't Against West Bank Annexation

"The government's dialogue with the U.S. will continue in the coming days. The West Bank annexation scheduled for Wednesday is not imminent," Netanyahu acknowledged.

The White House is afraid to give the go-ahead to the operation because of the international repudiation that Israel has received. 

In the region, it is not only the Palestinians who are against it. So are Jordan, Egypt, and the Persian Gulf monarchies. 

The United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) have also rejected the plan. Experts say Trump is not concerned about that but neither is he motivated to give the go-ahead.

The U.S. "Deal of the Century" allows Israel's annexation of Palestine's lands illegally occupied. In exchange, Palestine can rule over the rest of its territory permanently. 

"We will not negotiate while the U.S.-Israel's plan is on the table. It is not a peace deal, but an annexation," Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee's Secretary General Saeb Erekat said. 

]]> <![CDATA[Haiti: Gov't Resume International Fligths Amidst the Pandemic]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 11:08:05 -04:00 Despite the pandemic, President Jovenel Moise’s administration Tuesday reopened borders and resumed international airports’ activities in Haiti.


Haiti: Police Demonstrate for Better Working Conditions

From July 1, Toussaint Louverture and Cape Haitien international airports will resume flights to Canada, the U.S., and other regional destinations. Borderline traffic would also restart, although Dominican Republic authorities have not granted access.

According to health authorities, the scarcity of tests and international passengers’ entrance could lead to a more severe virus outbreak in Haiti. Despite the forecasts, they also consider governmental funds and efforts should focus on the lockdown lifting but the pandemic.

“If we test everyone who leaves or returns to the country, epidemiological surveillance would be threatened,” the Multisectoral Commission for the Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic co-chair William Pape said.

On June 29, President Moise called Haitian people to adapt and coexist with the virus and comply with the precautionary measures as part of the post-pandemic situation. He also encouraged youngsters to protect the elderly by supporting the economy's resume.

“From the beginning, I was against closing factories because there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and health. Haitians are looking for a job to feed themselves. The COVID-19 issue comes later,” Pape affirmed.

As of Wednesday morning, Haiti had reported 5,975 COVID-19 cases, 105 deaths, and 931 recoveries from the virus.

]]> <![CDATA[Humanitarian Flight Repatriates 66 Students, 42 Cuban Doctors]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 10:20:01 -04:00 A humanitarian flight coordinated by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America - People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) Tuesday allowed the return of a group of students with scholarships in Cuba to their homelands, and the arrival of a Cuban medical brigade on the Caribbean island.


ALBA-TCP Ratified Integration of Latin American and Caribbean Peoples

The flight transported 66 students and 41 Cuban doctors and connected Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts & Nevis, and Cuba.

The return of doctors and students was possible thanks to Venezuela's Conviasa airline and the sponsorship of the ALBA Bank, as air connectivity is suspended in the region.

"In this operation, Venezuela's support was essential, as it provided its airline for this humanitarian flight," Venezuela's Foreign Affairs Ministry assured in a statement.

"Petrocaribe and the ALBA Bank are considered an important part of the Bolivarian Alliance to confront the COVID-19's pandemic," Venezuela's Economy Minister Tareck El Aissami said.

ALBA-TCP cooperation has also allowed the medical solidarity missions' transfer and the diagnostic tests' move during the region's fight against COVID-19.

ALBA-TCP is an international organization founded in 2004 by Latin American and Caribbean countries to fight poverty and social exclusion.

]]> <![CDATA[Thousands of Palestinians Protest Against Israeli Annexation]]> Wed, 1 Jul 2020 09:45:17 -04:00 At least 30,000 Palestinians are protesting in Gaza against Israel's plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank territory, a decision that can be implemented as of this first of July.


South Africa Rejects Israel's Annexation of Palestinian Lands

The protest was attended by leaders of the main Palestinian political groups, including the Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who said that the Palestinian resistance will frustrate both the Israeli annexation plan and President Donald Trump's so-called "Deal of the Century", a U.S. initiative that supposedly seeks to promote peace in the Middle East.

The protesters did not head to the dividing fence with Israel, where the 2018 protests known as "The March of Return" took place. On that occasion, the Israeli army killed over 273 Palestinians and wounded some 16,000 people.

Men and women waved Palestinian flags and sang against Israel, the United States, and the White House regional peace proposal.

Israel "will not enjoy calm for long," Sadi Aabed, a spokesman for Palestinian groups said, adding that his people will surprise the world with "a new wave of struggle that no one expected."

As of Thursday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration had not officially announced whether the Israeli annexation plan started as previously stated.

Besides violating international law, the Israeli proposal has been widely rejected by the international community because of the violent consequences that it could generate.

"The plan by Trump's staunchly pro-Israel administration proposes that Israel stake permanent claims to around one-third of the West Bank - including settlements which are illegal under international law - while offering the Palestinian Authority limited sovereignty over disjointed patches of land," the local outlet Middle East Eye recalled.

]]> <![CDATA[Chile Reach Historic Unemployment Rate]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 23:50:26 -04:00 Chile's unemployment rate hit an unprecedented 11,2 percent from May to March 2020, amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 94 036 people.


Chile: Workers Request Mining Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19

The Statistics National Institute (INE) revealed that the number is the highest the country has had in a decade. At the same time,  the population outside the workforce increased 27.4 percent, influenced by people who were not mostly looking for a job, but were available to work, forming the so-called potential workforce.

The report explains that this transition to inactivity would be due to the mobility restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


" NOW: INE reports that the national unemployment rate during the March-May 2020 quarter was 11.2%, increasing 4.0 percentage points (pp.) Compared to the same period of the previous year."

Particularly total employed persons had a decrease of 16.5%, while by occupational category, the most significant reductions were observed in self-employed workers -29.5 percent and formal employees -8.4 percent.

The survey also highlights that the Metropolitan region stands out since the unemployment rate for the March-May 2020 quarter was 11.9 percent. However, the institution remarks that in this area, the unemployed increased by 43.6%.

Commerce, accommodation, food services, and construction were the most affected sectors in the economic crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, women have been impacted by unemployment more than men showing figures of 11,5 percent and 11 percent, respectively.
On June 17, the Central Bank forecasted the worst economic crisis for the country in 35 years.  


]]> <![CDATA[Probe Into Autistic Palestinian Man Killing Hampered: Report]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 23:47:38 -04:00 An Israeli investigation into the execution of an autistic Palestinian man by Israeli soldiers near his school in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on May 30, is being impeded by an alleged lack of video evidence, Haaretz has reported Tuesday.


PA Political Circus: Why Abbas Must Hand the Keys Over to PLO

Iyad al-Halak, 32, had been chased by Israeli border police officers, who then claimed that they thought he was carrying a weapon.

According to a source familiar with the investigation speaking to Haaretz, security cameras in the area did not document the killing.

Yet, reporters from the news outlet said they found at least ten cameras between the Old City's Lions' Gate, where the chase began, and the garbage room where Halak was killed, a distance representing around 150 meters.

Halak was diagnosed with low-functioning autism as a child and had trouble communicating with people. According to his father, Khairy Halak, his son had the mental capacity of an eight-year-old - and no concept of the dangerous reality of life under occupation around him.

Halak was given proper documentation by his special needs school, which he had attended for the past six years, that explained his disability so he could prove his condition to Israeli forces, as he was unable to do so himself.

Many have drawn a parallel between his fatal encounter with police and the murder in the United States of George Floyd, the black man who died after a police officer in Minneapolis pressed a knee into his neck, a few days before Halak's killing.

Palestinians, along with Halak's family, said earlier this month they have little hope that an investigation will result in any accountability.

Over the last decade, Israeli security forces have killed 3,408 Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories and within Israel, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem. But of these cases, only five Israeli security personnel, including military and police, were convicted.

]]> <![CDATA[PA Political Circus: Why Abbas Must Hand the Keys Over to PLO]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 22:31:12 -04:00 The painful truth is that the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas has already ceased to exist as a political body that holds much sway or relevance, either to the Palestinian people or to Abbas’ former benefactors, namely the Israeli and the American governments. 


What's Next for Palestinian Popular Resistance in Gaza?

So, when the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced on June 9, that the Palestinian leadership had submitted a ‘counter-proposal’ to the U.S.’ Middle East peace plan, also known as the ‘Deal of the Century’, few seemed to care.

We know little about this ‘counter-proposal’, aside from the fact that it envisages a demilitarized Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders. We also know that the Palestinian leadership is willing to accept land swaps and border adjustments, a provision that has surely been inserted to cater for Israel’s demographic and security needs

It is almost certain that nothing will come out of Shtayyeh’s counter-proposal and no independent Palestinian state is expected to result from the seemingly historical offer. So, why did Ramallah opt for such a strategy only days before the July 1 deadline, when the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to launch its process of illegal annexation in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley?

The main reason behind Shtayyeh’s announcement is that the Palestinian leadership is often accused by Israel, the U.S. and their allies of supposedly rejecting previous ‘peace’ overtures. 

Rightly, the Palestinian Authority rejected the ‘Deal of the Century’, because the latter represents the most jarring violation of international law yet. The ‘Deal’ denies Palestine’s territorial rights in occupied East Jerusalem, dismisses the right of return for Palestinian refugees altogether, and gives carte blanche to the Israeli government to colonize more Palestinian land.

In principle, Netanyahu also rejected the American proposal, though without pronouncing his rejection publicly. Indeed, the Israeli leader has already dismissed any prospects of Palestinian statehood and has decided to move forward with the unilateral annexation of nearly 30 percent of the West Bank without paying any heed to the fact that even Trump’s unfair ‘peace’ initiative called for mutual dialogue before any annexation takes place.

As soon as Washington’s plan was announced in January, followed by Israel’s insistence that annexation of Palestinian territories was imminent, the Palestinian Authority spun into a strange political mode, far more unpredictable and bizarre than ever before.

One after another, Palestinian Authority officials began making all sorts of contradictory remarks and declarations, notable amongst them Abbas’ decision on May 19 to cancel all agreements signed between Palestinians and Israel. 

This was followed by another announcement, on June 8, this time by Hussein Al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian Authority official and Abbas’ confidante, that if annexation takes place the Authority would cut off civil services to Palestinians so that Israel may assume its legal role as an Occupying Power as per international norms.

A third announcement was made the following day by Shtayyeh himself, who threatened that, if Israel claims sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, the Authority would retaliate by declaring statehood within the pre-1967 borders.

The Palestinian counter-proposal was declared soon after this hotchpotch of announcements, most likely to offset the state of confusion that is marring the Palestinian body politic. It is the Palestinian leadership’s way of appearing pro-active, positive, and stately.

The Palestinian initiative also aims at sending a message to European countries that, despite Abbas’ cancellation of agreements with Israel, the Palestinian Authority is still committed to the political parameters set by the Oslo Accords as early as September 1993.

What Abbas and Shtayyeh are ultimately hoping to achieve is a repeat of an earlier episode that followed the admission of Palestine as a non-state member of the United Nations General Assembly in 2011. Salam Fayyad, who served as the Authority Prime Minister at the time, also waved the card of the unilateral declaration of statehood to force Israel to freeze the construction of illegal Jewish settlements.

Eventually, the Palestinian Authority was co-opted by then-U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, to return to another round of useless negotiations with Israel, which won the Authority another ten years, during which time it received generous international funds while selling Palestinians false hope for an imaginary state.

Sadly, this is the current strategy of the Palestinian leadership: a combination of threats, counter-proposals and such, in the hope that Washington and Tel Aviv will agree to return to a by-gone era. 

Of course, the Palestinian people, occupied, besieged, and oppressed are the least relevant factor in the Palestinian Authority’s calculations, but this should come as no surprise. The Palestinian leadership has operated for many years without a semblance of democracy, and the Palestinian people neither respect their government nor their so-called President. They have made their feelings known, repeatedly, in many opinion polls in the past. 

In the last few months, the Authority has used every trick in the book to demonstrate its relevance and its seriousness in the face of the dual-threat of Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ and Netanyahu’s annexation of Palestinian lands. Yet, the most significant and absolutely pressing step, that of uniting all Palestinians, people and factions, behind a single political body and a single political document, is yet to be taken.

Considering all of this, it is no exaggeration to argue that Abbas’ Authority is gasping its last breath, especially if its traditional European allies fail to extend a desperately needed lifeline. The guarded positions adopted by EU countries have, thus far, signaled that no European country is capable or even willing to fill the gap left open by Washington’s betrayal of the Palestinian Authority and of the ‘peace process’. 

Until the Authority hands over the keys to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) so that the more democratically representative Palestinian body can start a process of national reconciliation, Netanyahu will, tragically, remain the only relevant party, determining the fate of Palestine and her people.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is


]]> <![CDATA[Hundreds Tortured, Killed in Yemen's Unofficial Prisons: Report ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 22:06:12 -04:00 All warring sides in Yemen’s civil war arbitrary detained, tortured, and killed hundreds of Yemenis since the conflict started more than four years ago, according to a Yemeni human rights group.

RELATED: Yemen's UN-Backed Gov’t and Separatists Agree to a Ceasefire

The Mwatana Organization published Tuesday its research where it documented more than 1,600 cases of arbitrary detentions, 770 cases of forced disappearances, 344 cases of torture, and at least 66 deaths in unofficial prisons since April 2016, shedding light on the scale of abuse suffered by victims.

In an 87-page document, the group reports at least 11 secret detention centers across Yemen where “torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are particularly prevalent.”

“The scale and severity of abuse ... has had a significant societal impact,” the organization said. Many of the secret sites held people for long periods, with the detainees’ families not knowing where their relatives were held until after their release or transfer to another detention, the report’s authors said.

The report, titled, “In the darkness: abusive detention, disappearance, and torture in Yemen’s unofficial prisons” was based on 2,566 interviews with former detainees, witnesses, relatives of detainees, activists, and lawyers, along with medical reports and photographic evidence, according to the group.

Yemen’s devastating war started in late 2014 after the Houthi rebels overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north, driving the U.N.’s supported government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.

A Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to restore Hadi's rule, engaging Yemen in a violent war that has settled into a stalemate.

The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with more than three million people internally displaced and two-thirds of the population relying on food assistance for survival.

]]> <![CDATA[US Designates China’s Huawei, ZTE as National Security Threats]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 20:17:38 -04:00 The United States Federal Communications Commission designated Tuesday Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, cutting them off from around US$8.3 billion in federal broadband subsidies.

Huawei Sues US Verizon Wireless Co. for Patent Infringement

"We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement despite both companies having repeatedly denied that they are threats to U.S. national security.

Back in November 2019, the agency voted unanimously banning telecommunications manufacturers it deemed to be threats from receiving money meant to expand internet access to underserved areas, including the rural parts of the U.S. Yet the final order went into effect Tuesday. 

Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

As a new chapter in the trade war with China starts, on Monday, the U.S. also blocked the export of high-tech products to Hong Kong a day before the Chinese government signed off on a new national security law.

While the FCC has taken an increasingly hard line against Chinese firms. In April, the agency said it may shut down U.S. operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecommunications companies. 

In May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. 

And by the end of June, Huawei became the main target of Trump's trade war against China after Washington blacklisted the firm, prohibiting it from selling its equipment to U.S. firms. This unilateral economic sanction was executed because the Chinese company and its 5G technology supposedly represent threats to U.S. national security.

]]> <![CDATA[EU, UN, Int. Donors Pledge US$7.7b in Humanitarian Aid to Syria]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 20:20:19 -04:00 International donors have pledged Tuesday US$7.7 billion to face the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighboring countries hosting Syrian refugees, as the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis are intensifying the situation in the war-torn country.


Iran to Reinforce Economic Ties With Syria Despite US Sanctions

European Union Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic announced the pledge at the end of a virtual conference organized by the EU and the United Nations.

“We have today expressed solidarity with the Syrian people, not only with words but with concrete pledges of support that will make a difference for millions of people,” Lenarcic said as pledges came from countries including Germany, which offered 1.58 billion euros (US$1.78bn), and Qatar, which promised US$100m.

The money will be used to finance food, medical aid, and schooling for the millions of displaced or forced into exile Syrians.

Yet, NGO Oxfam said the amount fell short of what is actually needed.

“The pledges made by donor governments are simply not enough to address the Syrian crisis with 1 million people at risk of starvation inside the country, and Covid-19 and an economic downturn hitting refugees and host communities in neighboring countries hard," said Oxfam's Middle East and North Africa regional director Marta Lorenzo.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock has said about US$10 billion was needed and that raising $5.5 billion “would not be a bad outcome.”

"We recognize that the circumstances are very unusual, it is a difficult moment in every country to find the resources necessary to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people," Lowcock said after the conference. 

The war in Syria has killed more than 400,000 people and led to a refugee crisis that has destabilized neighboring countries. 

Around 11 million people are in need of humanitarian aid, some nine million don’t have enough to eat, and more than half of the population is unemployed.

Adding to the hardship, an economic crisis and COVID-19 lockdown have pushed food prices more than 200 percent higher in less than a year, according to the World Food Programme. 

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Nation Lives in Fear Due To COVID, Survey Reveals]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:21:10 -04:00 Datafolha Institute revealed on Tuesday that the majority of Brazilians live in fear of getting infected with COVID-19.


Brazil: Over 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths Reported in 24 Hours

As shown by a survey published on the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, 74 percent of Brazilians are afraid of getting sick, which means about three-quarters of the total dwelling in fear.

Also, 51 percent of those who took the survey admitted that they avoid leaving home unless it is strictly necessary, while another 12 percent confessed that they don't go outside their homes at all.

Some measures taken by the government to fight the pandemic are accepted; for example, 92% agree with the suspension of classes, 94% approve the ban on international travel, and 91% support the decision to stop the Brazilian football league.


Also, 82% of surveyed endorses the suspension of religious celebrations while trade closing is more divisive, 46% accept it, and 33% are against.

"Virtually all respondents (99%) say they know about the virus and the disease, with 72% considering themselves well informed," Datafolha unveiled.

Brazil is living a challenging situation as only U.S numbers show a worse caseload. Currently, the nation has the world's second-highest contagion toll, with 1,408,485 positives cases and 59,656 deaths. On Tuesday, it was the only country surpassing 1,000 newly deceased (1,271).


]]> <![CDATA[Letter by AOC, Tlaib, Others Pledge to Cut Aid to Israel]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:29:58 -04:00 At least 13 United States lawmakers addressed Tuesday a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledging to "pursue legislation that conditions" military support to Israel" if it goes ahead with its planned annexation of areas of the illegally occupied West Bank.


'Annexation Is Illegal. Period': UN Rights Chief

"Members of Congress should not be expected to support an undemocratic system in which Israel would permanently rule over a Palestinian people denied self-determination or equal rights," the letter said.

Referring to racial justice protests following the killing of George Floyd, the statement added that "at a time when the American people are taking to the streets to demand justice for all in our own country, there is no question but that such an action would alienate many U.S. lawmakers and citizens."

The letter was spearheaded by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and signed by Senator Bernie Sanders and House members Rashida Tlaib; Ilhan Omar; Pramila Jayapal; Andre Carson; Betty McCollum; Chuy Garcia; Danny Davis; Ayanna Pressley; Raul Grijalva; Bobby Rush; and Nydia Velazquez.

More than 20 advocacy groups endorsed it, including the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Arab American Institute (AAI), CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and IfNotNow.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting Wednesday as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by United States President Donald Trump.

The plan consents to Israel's annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. 

It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation, illegal.

"Annexation is specifically prohibited because it incites armed conflict, political and economic instability, systematic human rights abuses, and, most importantly, legitimizes the erasure of identity," the letter said.

"There is no question that the acre by acre de facto annexation since 1967 for the purpose of new Israeli settlements is a blatant attempt to suppress Palestinian identity and nationhood."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) rejected the letter even before it was officially released.

"A strong US-Israel relationship helps keep us safe, protect our troops, create American jobs, and address 21st-century challenges," the group said Monday on Twitter. "America's security assistance to Israel is an investment that serves our national interests—including promoting peace and deterring war."

Israel receives US$3.8bn in U.S. military aid per year.

]]> <![CDATA[Sudan Demonstrators Back to the Streets Over Political Reforms]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 20:23:41 -04:00 Thousands of Sudanese protestors Tuesday took back the streets in several cities to demand justice for the people killed by security forces during last year’s demonstrations and further political reforms following 2019 uprising against former ruler Omar al-Bashir.


Justice Yet to Be Delivered in Sudan One Year After Massacre

As police used tear gas to disperse those marching on a road leading to the airport in the capital, Khartoum, some local media outlets reports that the demonstrations were peaceful.

The so-called “million-man march” was convened by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, and the Resistance Committees, organizations that played a major role during last year's rebellion.

After almost 30 years in power, former President Omar al-Bashir was deposed in the aftermath of street protests throughout Sudan, which started in 2018 and peaked on April 11, 2019, when al-Bashir was arrested by the military.

During his term, the country which remained under siege by the U.S. suffered an economic collapse that tried to tackle by imposing emergency austerity measures and a sharp currency devaluation that sparked uprisings all over the country over living standards.

After Omar al-Bashir´s ruling ended, an agreement was reached by which a transitional government called Sovereignty Council of Sudan would lead the country until Nov. 22 general elections. The council appointed Abdalla Hamdok as Prime Minister during the transitional period.

Tuesday's protests demand justice over the killings during 2019 as well as handed over major files to the military, which under the deal, were meant to oversee security issues and not other aspects such as the economy.

Demonstrators also called for swift, public trials for al-Bashir and top officials in his government as well as the appointment of civilian governors for Sudan's provinces which were disintegrated by al-Bashir.

During a speech on Monday, Prime Minister Hamdok said such demands are “legitimate” and “necessary to correct the revolution’s track.”


]]> <![CDATA[NYPD's Budget Will Be Slashed By 1 Billion, Major Says]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:05:24 -04:00 New York Police Department's 2021 municipal budget will be reduced by 1 billion dollars after City Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to it on Tuesday.


US University Students Demand Defunding of Campus Police

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence derived from Geroge Floyd's death, police budget will suffer a reduction that will be invested in youth and social services.

“To say the least, this has been the toughest budget that we’ve had to do as an administration here at City Hall,” de Blasio said. “We are in a whole different situation in New York City that we have ever faced in our history, a healthcare crisis, a disparity crisis, a budget crisis, all wrapped into one.”

In this regard, Major has been facing demonstrators and social activists who call to defund police departments.

“It’s time to do the work of reform, to think deeply about where our police have to be in the future (...)The NYPD’s $6 billion operating budget will be cut through overtime reductions, the cancellation of the July class of more than 1,000 recruits, and the transfer of some responsibilities out of the NYPD.”

Nevertheless, some left-wing lawmakers had spoken their minds about this measure, which they consider insufficient. A coalition of 200 community groups called Communities United for Police Reform (CUPR) complained that “(they) are using funny math and budget tricks to try to mislead New Yorkers.”

]]> <![CDATA[Virus Discovered in Chinese Pigs Has Pandemic Potential: Study]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 19:22:56 -04:00 Chinese scientists warned Monday about a new flu virus in pigs that might lead to the "emergence of the next pandemic influenza" after a study conducted for seven years.


WHO Experts Will go to China to Determinate Origin of COVID-19

The report, published on Monday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), explains the virus named G4, is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009.

The researchers performed active surveillance and collected a total of 29,918 nasal swab samples from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 provinces with high-density pig populations as well as samples from over 1,016 from pigs showing respiratory symptoms.

After the analysis, scientists discovered that a new chain of G4 EA H1N1 "possesses all of the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus" as the general population "lacked antibodies against G4 virus" and has demonstrated adaptability in humans.

Moreover, the study warns that "swine workers show elevated seroprevalence for G4 virus," as several have tested positive to the new disease, which comes as the coronavirus continues to spread across the world devastating communities and economies. 

Results point out that the G4 virus poses a serious threat to human life as it has become predominant in swine populations since 2016.

The figures revealed that 35 out of 338 swine farmers were positive for the G4 EA H1N1 virus, especially for participants between 18 years to 35 years old "indicating that the predominant G4 EA H1N1 virus has acquired increased human infectivity."

This infectivity, the study alerts, greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses.

Although the virus has been proved to pass from animals to humans, it has no been demonstrated yet that it can be transmitted from human to human.

"Controlling the prevailing G4 EA H1N1 viruses in pigs and close monitoring in human populations, especially the workers in the swine industry, should be urgently implemented", the authors urged.

China is the world's biggest pork consumer and it is estimated that in 2019 produced 42.55 million tonnes of the meat.

]]> <![CDATA[Belgium: King Leopold Apologizes For Congo Colonization]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 18:45:12 -04:00 The King of Belgium Philip Leopold sent a letter to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo on Tuesday to apologize for the violent events which occurred while it colonized the region.


‘Belgium Should Apologize for Its Colonial Past,’ Kompany Says

For over a century, Belgium turned the Congo into a slave state governed by Leopold II. From 1885 to 1908, a period known as Congo Free State, acts of violence and cruelty were committed, something Leopold pleaded forgiveness for. According to historians estimates, nearly 10 million people died then.

"(Those acts) still, weigh heavily on our collective memory. The colonial period that followed also caused suffering and humiliation"

DRC's independence is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2020. King Leopold's letter answers all the anti-racism voices that have been demanding Belgium to address its colonial past

"This anniversary is an opportunity to renew our feelings of deep friendship and to rejoice in the intense cooperation that exists between our two countries in so many fields, and especially in the medical field, which mobilizes us during this pandemic period," the letter says.

"I will continue to fight against all forms of racism. I encourage the reflection initiated by our parliament so that our memory will finally be pacified."

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador: Unions to Demonstrate Against Government Measures]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 15:40:47 -04:00 Ecuador Workers Union Front (FUT) Monday convoked a national demonstration on July 16 against the Humanitarian Law and the government pandemic-management bill. 


Ecuador: Public Institutions in Quito Resume Regular Workday

“We invite all the Ecuadorian people to the great day of mobilization on Thursday, July 16 of 2020, for employment, education, health, against corruption, and in defense of the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) and Ecuadorian Bank of Social Security (BIESS),” FUT tweeted.

Ecuador's government approved the Humanitarian Law on June 22. The bill regulates labor relations and allows employers to reduce working hours according to their necessities, which harms workers' income. FUT leaders argued the measures are unconstitutional.

"The dismissals in Ecuador continue to be worse, more than ever, and with aggressiveness after what they approved in this whole process of the badly named Solidarity Law," briefed FUT president Mesias Tatamuez.

FUT criticized President Lenin Moreno’s pandemic management and assured Ecuador’s Health Ministry is unable to face the virus impact.

“On Thursday, July 2, we will present our respective demands for the unconstitutionality of the Humanitarian Law. From the beginning of the debate on this law, we put forward different proposals and alternatives that were not accepted,” FUT also announced.

FUT representatives assured the mobilization that the participants would respect all the precautionary measures, including hygiene, mask use, and social distancing. They pledged that the goal of the demonstrations is to defend social security, not to promote contagion.

“I call on the Ecuadorian people to continue to be united and in the struggle, because this insolent government what it has done is to punish the people and favor the businesspersons," Tatamuez stated.

As of Tuesday morning, Ecuador health authorities reported 55,665 COVID-19 cases, 4,502 deaths, and 27,430 recoveries from the virus.

]]> <![CDATA[Beijing Rejects Ban on Over 50 Chinese Applications in India]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 15:20:59 -04:00 China on Tuesday condemned India's ban on 59 mobile applications, mostly Chinese, and said it would investigate the decision, made amid heightened tensions between the two neighbours.


China Becomes Independent From the US-Controlled GPS Technology

"China's government demands New Delhi to fulfil its responsibility to protect the rights of Chinese companies with India's business," Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian said.

India yesterday announced the suspension of applications like Tik Tok, WeChat, UCBrowser and QQ, among 56 others.

India justified its decision on the grounds that they are involved in activities detrimental to its sovereignty, integrity, defence, state security and public order.

India's new measure is unprecedented, striking a blow at investment and access to high technology developed in China.

The ban on applications increases current friction between the two Asian powers over border issues.

China and India's armies and foreign ministries have been looking for weeks for a peaceful solution to the tensions on the border of the Himalayas.

India has also banned other products made in China, following the strong military confrontation last June 15 that left casualties on both sides.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador Confirms 677 New COVID-19 Cases Over the Last 24 Hours]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 15:39:46 -04:00 Over the last 24 hours, Ecuador registered 677 new COVID-19 cases and 37 deaths, increasing the number of confirmed infections to 56,342 and the number of deaths to 7,598.


Ecuador: Public Institutions in Quito Resume Regular Workday

At least 30 percent of the officially accepted infections (17,244) occurred in the last 30 days, which shows that the pandemic continues to maintain an upward trend.

On June 29, however, President Lenin Moreno's administration partially resumed face-to-face activities in the public sector.

Ecuador's highest hospital occupation occurred in June "with a daily average of between 700 and 800 people hospitalized," local outlet Pichincha Communications reported and recalled that the highest peak of hospitalized patients (856) occurred on June 27.

"From March 12 to June 28, the accumulated deaths reached 43,530 in Ecuador. According to experts, there would be 20,000 cases representing an "excess of deaths" with respect to the historical average of these three months."

On June 29, the Pichincha province's local authorities asked the government to extend the curfew and prohibit the sale of alcohol to prevent further contagion in this territory.

The Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, however, ruled out the establishment of more restrictive measures in Pichincha and the capital city.

"There is no new restriction for Quito. We have not talked about new restrictions ... What we agreed on is intensive work to increase the capacities of the health sector and improve controls on existing restrictions," Romo said, as reported by outlet El Universo.

]]> <![CDATA[US: Supreme Court Voted Down Louisiana Anti-Abortion Law ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:11:15 -04:00 U.S. Supreme Court Monday voted down a Louisiana anti-abortion law intended to limit access to maternity planning clinics.


South Africa Rejects Israel's Annexation of Palestinian Lands

Supreme Court decision leads to a more progressive statutory body, after voting against Trump’s ban on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on June 18. The bill protects young and undocumented immigrants.

Chief Justice John Roberts argued legal precedent bases for the case, June Medical Services v Russo.  He referenced a similar Texas legal project in 2016, which the Court considered unconstitutional.

“The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents,” Roberts explained.

During his electoral campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to establish an anti-abortion legal corpus, as part of his conservative discourse. Supreme Court judges voted 5-4 against the law, showing a more liberal approach. 

Supreme Court decreed women's right to obtain an abortion as constitutional in 1973.  Conservative groups tried to overturn the legal disposition by limiting abortion services in the U.S.

June Medical Services v Russo required doctors to have “admitting privileges” to perform abortions, which limits a doctor's service if they do not have an agreement with local hospitals to transfer patients.

The bill was intended to restrict all three Louisiana abortion-providing clinics. Women with undesired pregnancies would have to travel out of state, a situation that could severely affect low-income females.

According to Guttmacher Institute's statistics, about 75 percent of U.S. abortion patients are poor or low income, 62 percent are religious-affiliated, and 59 percent already have a child. Over 25 percent of them are black. 

]]> <![CDATA[Chile: Workers Request Mining Temporary Closure Due to COVID-19]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:26:56 -04:00 The leftist party Green Social Regional Federation (FREVS) Tuesday demanded Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera to take immediate measures to protect the health of mining workers in the face of the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Chile Surpasses Italy in Coronavirus Infections

"The surge in COVID-19 cases in mining municipalities shows that charter flights, bus transfers, and the movement of workers to and from operations sites have exacerbated the infections," the FREVS said.

"We demand that, for the next two weeks at least, all activities in large public and private mining companies be suspended... The business logic of maintaining operations at any cost is irresponsible and short-sighted."

This claim occurs a day after the state company Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, announced that it will stop using Calama’s airport to avoid further contagion in this mining city.

"Indeed, we have seen an increase in the number of cases in the Antofagasta region... Particularly, we have verified the highest number of cases in Calama," Health Minister Undersecretary Paula Daza acknowledged.

Due to the complex situation in the Antofagasta Region and Calama city caused by the COVID-19 emergency, Chuquicamata decided to stop activities at the smelter and refinery management. The meme reads, "Chuquicamata decides to stop smelting as a measure against COVID-19. The refinery will also operate at a third of its capacity and will decrease its staff to ensure sanitary measures."

The Copper Workers' Federation president Patricio Elgueta demanded greater protection for workers in mining companies, where at least 2,000 workers are already infected.

In addition, he requested that the infected workers' jobs be preserved and that PCR test be carried out on the miners and their families.

As of Tuesday morning, Chile had reported 279,393 COVID-19 cases and 5,688 deaths.

]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Pandemic is Far From Over, WHO Warns]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:38:06 -04:00 The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday warned that while measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic have been effective, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is far from over.

WHO on COVID-19: No Time to Take Foot Off the Pedal

The organization issued this warning six months after the first COVID-19 outbreak.

"Several countries have begun to reopen activities and have suffered major outbreaks of the disease," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

One million new cases were reported in the last five days alone, mostly in India, the United States and Brazil.

"Although we all want the pandemic to end, the virus still has plenty of room to move. This new reality is not even close to over," Adhanom warned.

There are more than 10,000,000 reported cases of VIDOC-19 and 500,000 deaths worldwide.

"The figures show that the pandemic is accelerating, even though many countries have significant progress," he added.

WHO this week will evaluate the research's progress  to combat the coronavirus pandemic at a virtual meeting.

]]> <![CDATA[South Africa Rejects Israel's Annexation of Palestinian Lands]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 11:51:22 -04:00 President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration Tuesday strongly condemned the Israeli plan for the annexation of areas of Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Jordan Valley from July.


Palestinians Fear Exclusion With Israel's Annexation Plan

"Israel’s annexation plans represent a unilateral negation of the two-state solution and are opposed by most countries,” Foreign Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said through a statement.

“Annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law, undercut the possibilities of a renewal of negotiations, intensify tensions and further hamper efforts to advance regional peace and to maintain international peace and security,” he added.

The South African government stressed that the new Israeli plan would confine Palestinians to a "bantustan," a term used during the apartheid era to designate semi-autonomous rural territories in which the white minority secluded the black population.

“Palestinians would be left with nothing more than a 'Bantustan,' ending all hopes for an independent, viable, and contiguous Palestinian state." 

The African nation reiterated its solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of Israeli belligerence and aggression and called on the international community to do the same.

The Ramaphosa administration also called for continued work to launch a credible, multilateral, and time-bound political process to resolve the Palestinian question.

Starting July 1, Israel will claim sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and some areas of the West Bank, which has remained occupied since 1967.

Currently, this arbitrary claim for territorial expansion is only supported by the United States.

]]> <![CDATA[Poland to Hold Second Round of Elections]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:42:12 -04:00 Despite the fact Polish Presient Andrzej Duda won the recent presidential elections with 43.50 percent of the valid votes, while his closest rival, Warsaw's Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, won 30.46 percent, there will be a second round. 


Poland Goes to Election, Right-Wing Party Heads to a 2nd Term

Although the polls closed on Sunday with record turnout since 1995, there will be a second round of elections next July 12.

The two contenders will face each other once again as neither of them had the 50 percent of votes needed to win in the first round.

At the closing of the polling stations, Duda attended a public event with his wife and other government officials, where he was received with cheers and applause by the crowd.

It is estimated that if Duda is re-elected, the reforms approved by Parliament will be deepened, including a controversial law that eliminates judges from public debate.

Many voters define Mayor Trzaskowski as a solid option to curb the Law and Justice Party, according to polls published by the local press.

The rivals are 48 years old and former MEPs, although their political positions are very different.

The current leader is committed to ultra-nationalism, while the other maintains a more centrist position.

Around 30 million Poles will be able to attend polling stations on 12 July.

]]> <![CDATA[Germany to Purge Its Special Forces From Far-Right Members]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:45:12 -04:00 Germany’s Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Tuesday announced a plan to combat right-wing extremism in the Army Special Forces (KSK) by dissolving one of its two companies.


Germany: Far-Right Encourages Radical Anti-Confinement Protests

She warned that the other company will undergo drastic reform and be closely watched until the end of the year. If KSK members still do not act in compliance with constitutional values, the Minister "reserves other measures," as the local outlet Frankfurter Allgemeine reported.

In recent years, these elite forces, which number approximately 1,400 troops, have been implicated in several scandals related to the alleged incorporation of far-right people.

One of them, "Hannibal", was at the head of a network largely made up of the military and police, who gathered ammunition and weapons supposedly to prepare for a future civil war.

There are also indications that some of these neo-nazi cells plotted terrorist attacks against political officials and other public figures.

In May, a KSK agent was arrested for possessing explosives, weapons, and ammunition stolen from the Army. This material was hidden in his house' where he also kept Nazi paraphernalia.

After this case was publicly disclosed, the KSK Commander Markus Kreitmayr published an open letter in which he promised to follow a "zero tolerance" line and warned that his organization is facing "the most difficult phase in its history."

“The wall of silence breaks… the question of reorganizing the KSK will inevitably arise,” the Defense Minister said, as reported by En24 news.

]]> <![CDATA[WHO Experts Will go to China to Determinate Origin of COVID-19]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:35:11 -04:00 The World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Monday announced his office would send a team to China to determine COVID-19 origins.


China Enacts National Security Law for Hong Kong

“We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that, and we hope that that will lead to understanding how the virus started,” Ghebreyesus stated.

COVID-19 origins are still not clear, after six months of studies and tests. Experts assume the virus led to a zoonosis.  As they speculated, the first outbreak may have occurred in an exotic animal market in Wuhan. 

“Knowing the source of the virus is very, very important. We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” the WHO director-general assured.

Ghebreyesus did not specify the expert composition or research methodology. He also urged governments to adopt pandemic control strategies based on five premises: communities’ empowerment, transmission suppression, lives saving, research acceleration, and political leadership.

“The worst is yet to come. I am sorry to say that, but in this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst. We have to bring our acts together and fight this dangerous virus, together,” Ghebreyesus warned.

The WHO general director called nations for resilience, patience, humility and generosity, and hope. 

“It is also a time for all countries to renew their commitment to universal health coverage as the cornerstone of social and economic development – and to building the safer, fairer, greener, more inclusive world we all want,” he concluded.

As of Tuesday morning, 10,436,954  COVID-19 cases were reported worldwide, as well as 508,876 deaths, and 5,695,572 recoveries from the virus.

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: Hospitals Collapse Due to Rise in COVID-19 Cases ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:16:19 -04:00 Bolivia’s Health Workers Union leader Fernando Romero Monday said that about 20 of Bolivia's 34 hospitals collapsed due to COVID-19 admissions and personnel infections.


Bolivia: General Elections Will Have International Observers

"Over 300 colleagues have been infected with coronavirus, and there is no choice but to do high-level disinfection and close for a couple of days, in addition to replacing colleagues with other colleagues, so there is a need for more contracts and supplies", Romero stated.

Several hospitals in La Paz ceased admissions due to a lack of personnel and biosecurity equipment. The Thorax Hospital ceased consultations after seven doctors, and a nurse tested positive for the virus. The Pediatric and Clinic installations also stopped admissions and reinforced Emergencies Units given beds occupancy.

About 36 health care workers tested positive for the virus in the Bolivian-Dutch Hospital, in El Alto. Furthermore, 90 healthcare workers were isolated in Viedma Hospital in Cochabamba, after assisting asymptomatic patients who tested negative in the first PCR exam.

Other healthcare facilities are on the verge of collapse, like San Juan de Dios Hospital in Tarija, San Pedro Claver in Montero, and Hernan Messuti Hospital in Cobija. 

"There was a planning error: the government thought that only the Covid-19 hospitals would take care of the patients, but that was not the case; they were overtaken and the population had no choice but to go to the other hospitals," Romero said. 

As of Tuesday morning, Bolivian health authorities reported 32,125 COVID-19 cases, 1,071 deaths, and 8,928 recoveries from the virus.

]]> <![CDATA[China Enacts National Security Law for Hong Kong]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 10:08:52 -04:00 China Wednesday ratified the national security law for Hong Kong, which was unanimously approved by over 160 National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee members and will come into effect late Tuesday.


China: Beijing's Coronavirus Rebound Declared Under Control

China's President Xi Jinping confirmed the approval of the law a day before this Wednesday, July 1, when the territory's commemorates its return from United Kingdom to China's sovereignty in 1997.

Although the final text is not public, the Standing Committee has already voted to include it in Annex III of the Basic Law, the mini-Constitution of Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong's government will establish a national security committee, chaired by the city’s chief executive, as soon as possible, the statement said.


The Hong Kong Police Force and the semi-autonomous city’s Department of Justice will be responsible for implementing the relevant legal provisions in the National Security Law.

The text permits Beijing to include national laws in the semi-autonomous city.

"The new legislation will protect national security and constitutional order and the rule of law in Hong Kong," Standing Committee Chairman Li Zhanshu said.

The regulations could include sentences of up to life imprisonment for acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Prosecutor Orders Operation Against 'the Crime Office']]> Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:39:07 -04:00 Under orders from the Rio de Janeiro Prosecutor's Office, the Police carried out an operation against "The Crime Office," a group of far-right hitmen suspected of having murdered the Socialist councilor Marielle Franco in 2018.


Brazil: Marielle Franco’s Murder Suspects to Trial

On Monday, authorities detained two members of this criminal organization, which has links to the militias formed by ex-police or corrupt policemen who control some areas of Rio.

One of those arrested is Leonardo Gouvea da Silva who was in charge of negotiating, planning, and coordinating crimes. His brother, Leandro Gouvea da Silva, acted as the group's driver and collected information on the victims.

"The organization has an orderly structure and focused, above all, on planning and executing commissioned homicides," the prosecution said.

In February, the police shot and killed Adriano da Nobrega, who was under investigation for the murder of Franco who was well-known for investigating extrajudicial police killings in Rio.

"Nobrega was a former captain and had ties to the Bolsonaro family," local outlet Congresso in Foco highlighted and recalled that the hitman was mentioned in the corruption case against President Jair Bolsonaro's son, Favio, who is being investigated regarding the management of his employees' wages when he was a state lawmaker.

"The killer of Marielle lived in three houses away from Bolsonaro's. The Crime Office head was in a place that belonged to a councilor of Bolsonaro's party. Queiroz was at the house of Bolsonaro's lawyer. Quite a coincidence, right?

Nobrega's sister and mother worked in Favio Bolsonaro's office in the Rio de Janeiro Legislative Assembly.

"Even after being charged with crimes, Adriano was honored by Flavio and President Jair Bolsonaro," Congresso in Foco added.

Until now, former police officers Elcio Queiroz and Ronnie Lessa have been detained as material authors of Franco's murder. The masterminds, however, have not yet been detected.


]]> <![CDATA[Venezuelan Electoral Body Calls Parties for 2020 Elections]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:59:09 -04:00 Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) starting Monday called for all national, regional, and Indigenous parties to register their organizations for the upcoming legislative elections. 

Venezuela: Supreme Court Designates New Electoral Authorities

This comes as the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of Venezuela, before declaring the unconstitutional omission of the National Assembly (AN), named the new members of the CNE on June 12. About 38 organizations have been invited to participate in this process. 

Under constitutional rights, CSJ President Magistrate Maikel Moreno designated Indira Maira Alfonzo Izaguirre to be the new head of CNE, in replacement of Tibisay Lucena. This can clear the way for this year's elections. 

Legislative elections must be held in December, something that could put an end to the institutional crisis created following opposition lawmaker Juan Guaido's self-declared as president in 2019. Guaido is now under a legal obligation to participate or he could even lose his status as a lawmaker.

The aim of the 2020 parliamentary elections is to renew the current National Assembly, elected in 2015, and in contempt since 2017.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Expels EU Ambassador After Sanctions Imposed]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:41:45 -04:00 The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, within the framework of the presentation of the National Journalism Prize, denounced the interventionist actions of Spain and the European Union (EU) against the South American country. 

 ALBA Members To Relaunch Food Plan Amid COVID-19: Venezuela FM

"I have decided to give the European Union Ambassador in Caracas 72 hours to leave our country. Enough of European colonialism against Venezuela, that's enough!" explained Maduro. 

The measure comes after the European bloc issued sanctions against leaders who are part of the powers of the State. "Today the European Union issued a resolution sanctioning Venezuelans who, being part of state institutions, respect the Constitution, sanctioning the National Assembly leadership because it has refused to carry out orders from the EU Embassy in Caracas, "added the head of State.

"Prepare yourselves, colonialist, supremacist and racist gentlemen, because in Venezuela there are going to be free and transparent parliamentary elections with the participation of thousands of candidates," said President Maduro.

The Venezuelan leader pointed out that Juan Guaidó and his small group continue to violate the Constitution systematically, "they do not represent even a particle of what is the democratic diversity of a country that wants a future, and that is going to conquer it," he said.

"Every day, the American empire and the remnants of the former European empire hit us, but here we are fresh and victorious. They have not been able to and will not be able to deal with us!" denounced the Venezuelan president.

]]> <![CDATA[South Africa: President Warns Against Stigma of Covid-19]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:47:19 -04:00 South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa Monday called his nation to avoid the stigmatization of people who tests positive to COVID-19.


UK Solidarity Campaign Calls for Nobel Peace Price for Cuban Doctors

During his weekly presidential address, Ramanposa recalled that "as a society, we have a collective responsibility to stamp out the stigmatization of people infected with the coronavirus".

"Just as we came together to promote acceptance of people living with HIV and stood firm against victimization, we must show understanding, tolerance, kindness, empathy, and compassion for those who are infected with this virus and for their families", the president added.

The World Health Organization has warned about social stigma threatening COVID-19 response as possible cases remain silent over their symptoms, fearing to be rejected or expelled from their communities.


A short report by the international organization Save the Children conducted in April revealed that in Africa, over 3000 people find stigmatization of COVID-19 risks hindering efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Particularly in Subsaharan Africa, prejudice against those affected by the virus, including frontline health workers and diaspora communities and their families, is contributing to stigmatization.

However, as South Africa prepares for another epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region of Gauteng, the president warned that "it may be that things have gotten worse, but we are certain that they will get better."

The country reports 144,264 cases; 2,529 deaths and 70,614 recovered so far.



]]> <![CDATA[India's Capital to Create Plasma Bank for COVID-19 Treatment ]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:45:53 -04:00 The local government in Indian capital city Delhi announced Monday the creation of a plasma bank for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


India Bans Chinese Apps Over Security Concerns

The announcement was made by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who urged people who have recovered from the COVID-19 infection to come forward and donate plasma to help other patients.

"The plasma bank will start operation in the next two days. I appeal to COVID-19 recovered patients to donate their plasma," Kejriwal in a video address said.

The plasma bank will be established at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Science in the city. According to Kejriwal anyone who needs plasma will need a recommendation from a doctor.

Plasma therapy is one of the most discussed methods of treatment for COVID-19 and involves the transfusion of plasma from a convalescent coronavirus patient to a critical patient. The blood of a recovering patient is rich in antibodies produced by the body to fight the virus, and to help the critical patient recover, Kejriwal said.

Clinical trials in plasma therapy started in Delhi in April.

India's top health research body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) last month said there was no robust evidence to support plasma therapy as coronavirus treatment.

Delhi has the second-highest number of infections in India with 83,077 COVID-19 cases and 2,623 deaths to date.

India's health ministry said Monday that 380 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides 19,459 more positive cases, were reported across the country, taking the number of deaths to 16,475 and total cases to 548,318.

]]> <![CDATA[US: Ex-cop Confesses To Being The "Golden State Killer"]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:17:29 -04:00 A 74 years old former police officer Monday confessed to being the "Golden State Killer," a murderer who terrorized California back to the 1970s.


Indian Police Arrest Rape Victim of Minister for 'Extortion'

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr pledged guilty as part of a plea agreement to avoid the death penalty. According to his confession, his inner personality named "Jerry" forced him to kill more than a dozen people until the moment he was captured in 1986.

"I didn't have the strength to push him out. He made me. He went with me. It was, like, in my head, I mean, he's a part of me. I didn't want to do those things. I pushed Jerry out and had a happy life. I did all those things. I destroyed all their lives. So now, I've got to pay the price," DeAngelo Jr said to police after his arrest two years ago.


The killer, who was captured using DNA evidence, also used to bind the men and rape their girlfriends and wives, before stealing whatever he could find in the houses.

DeAngelo was able to evade investigators for years, as his status as a Vietnam veteran and family man managed to keep him off police radars.

In his trial, he plead guilty to 13 counts of murder and dozens of rapes, while relatives of the victims suffered a conviction process that went on for hours. In August, they will be able to face him in court.


]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Record-Breaking Figures Show Preference For Democracy]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:07:12 -04:00 The support of Brazilians for democracy reached an unprecedented 75 percent amid the political crisis unleashed by Jair Bolsonaro´s government, as revealed by a survey from the research institute Datafolha on Monday.


Hundreds Mobilize in More Than 20 Countries Against Bolsonaro

The preference for democracy as the best form of government increased by 13 percent compared to the last survey in December 2019, becoming the highest index since  1989, when the institute began to collect such data.

On May 3, 2020, during a rally attended by Bolsonaro, demonstrators called for the closing of the Supreme Court and Congress. As they asked for the suppression of democratic branches of the government, they also appealed for authoritarian measures used during Brazil’s 1964 to 1985 military regime.

In this context, the survey, conducted in June, after these events, showed that adult Brazilians are divided over the chances of the country becoming a dictatorship again since, for 46 percent, there is some chance. Among those, 21% think there is a lot of chance and 25 percent a little chance. On the opposite side, 49 percent of the surveyed believe there is no chance at all.


" The majority of Brazilians considers Bolsonaro unintelligent, points out Datafolha"

Notably, three out of four Brazilians disagree that the government should have the right to close Congress, a total of 78 percent of the population polled. In contrast, 24 percent of Bolsonaro supporters agree to some extent.

The survey inquired from Brazilians aged 16 and over and conducted 2,016 telephone interviews from all over the country. As the margin of error has narrowed to 2 percentage points, Datafolha calculates the poll has 95 percent accuracy.

The institute highlights that in general, the rate of Brazilians who reject authoritarian measures has increased in comparison with the previous poll from December last year.

At the same time, 81 percent, a proportion of eight out of ten adults, disagree that the government should have the right to prohibit strikes, which also marks a record in the historical series of polls by Datafolha.

Another poll from June 26, 2020, revealed that for 54 percent of Brazilians, the president is seen as unintelligent, 64 percent consider him authoritarian, and 58 percent believe that Bolsonaro is a defender of the richest.



]]> <![CDATA[Auction House Refuses to Cancel Sale of 'Stolen' Nigerian Art]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:11:40 -04:00 Auction house Christie's rejected Monday a Nigerian request to suspend a sale in Paris of "museum quality" statues, which Nigerian officials say were illegally acquired during the Biafra war (1967-1970).


Mexico Denounces 'Illegal' Auction of Precolumbian Art in Paris

Nigeria's museums' commission Director Mallam Abdu Aliyu, said the commission had written a protest letter to Christie's after they learned about the auction. 

"We believe that the statues were acquired illegally during the civil war," Abdu Aliyu explained.

"For years, we have clamored for the repatriation of these works to no avail. We have been negotiating through dialogue and diplomacy to have these works brought back to their original owners," he told AFP.

The head of the National Museum in Nigeria's Benin City, Theophilus Umogbai, also protested against "the sale of our stolen works." 

"Christie's and other auction houses (...) have to repatriate such works and pay compensation to us in the interest of natural justice," he said. 

In a statement to the Associated Press, the auction house responded that "These objects are being lawfully sold having been publicly exhibited and previously sold over the last decades prior to Christie's involvement."

At the heart of the controversy is a pair of Igbo statues, estimated between 250,000 and 350,000 euros, and ultimately sold 212,500 euros (US$239,000). 

The objects were part of the private art collection of late French President Jacques Chirac's advisor and art dealer, Jacques Kerchache, until he died in 2001. Among the other objects is also an Urhobo statue valued at 900,000 euros (US$1m), which did not find a buyer.

According to Christie's, public sales are a tool for transparency and against traffic. It said there was "verifiable documented provenance" that the objects were taken out of Nigeria before 2000, as the law required.

The auction house said local agents most likely traded the objects before being sold to Kerchache.  

"We believe that this type of statue would not have been sold without the agreement of local chiefs/leaders."

But Abdu Aliyu said Nigeria's museum officials were convinced the objects were stolen.

The controversy revives the debate on the restitution of African and Asian artworks found in European public and private collections. 

The repatriation of these objects looted by Europe's colonial powers has become a hot issue, with several nations demanding the return of their treasures.  

]]> <![CDATA[Bolivia: General Elections Will Have International Observers]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 23:42:50 -04:00 With Bolivia's general elections on the horizon, three international organizations ratified Monday their interest in sending electoral observation missions, the Supreme Electoral Court's (TSE) President Salvador Romero said.


Bolivia's General Elections Set For Sep 6: TSE

On June 2, the TSE stressed about the importance of safeguard the people's health first, in a moment where Latin America has become the pandemic hotspot, but also to provide that people "an electoral process that gives a firm footing to democracy, peaceful social coexistence, and political stability."

The epidemiological situation in the country forced the authorities to delay the elections, which were scheduled to take place before Aug. 3.

The date was then settled in a bill and submitted by TSE to the Plurinational Legislative Assembly, organism which declared that it would be held on Sept. 6.

"Video: TSE approves electoral calendar resumption in Bolivia."

"The European Union (EU), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Association of Latin American Electoral Bodies, along with other organizations, ratified their willingness to accompany the Bolivian electoral process and deploy observers",  Romero said.

The elections will make it possible to choose those who will hold office in the Legislative Assembly and the Presidency, after the coup held against former President Evo Morales in November 2019. Since then, Jeanine Añez serves as interim president.

" All these organizations have ratified their interest and their willingness to be present in the electoral observation and this is an element, without any doubt, very important for the Electoral Body and also for the citizens."

]]> <![CDATA[French Former PM Sentenced to Jail Over Fake Job for Wife]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 21:06:59 -04:00 Convicted of embezzling public funds in a fake job for his wife, former French prime minister Francois Fillon was sentenced to five years in prison, three of them suspended, a Paris court ruled Monday.


French Catholic Priests Sexually Abused at Least 3,000 People

His wife, Penelope Fillon, who was found guilty of conspiracy, was given a suspended three-year sentence. Both were fined 375,000 euros (US$ 423,000). 

Fillon was also given ten years ineligibility and his wife two, the terms matching the prosecutor's sentence requests.

The couple's lawyers declared they would appeal the ruling after the court read it.

A conservative right-wing politician, Fillon served as French prime minister from 2007-2012. In January 2017, as he was campaigning for the presidential election, French newspaper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that Penelope, as Fillon's parliamentary aide, was paid up to 10,000 euros (US$ 10,800) a month for little to no work.

Investigators found that between 1998 and 2013, she received an income of some US$ 1.3m through contracts known only to very close allies of Fillon. Still, there was little documentary evidence of her actual work at the National Assembly, where she was supposed to be employed.

"The payment was disproportionate to the work done. Mrs. Fillon was hired for a position that was without use," the judge said Monday when delivering the decision.

The 66-year-old insisted that his wife had been his most valuable employee and did real work for him in his rural constituency of Sarthe. He denounced what he called a campaign of dirty tricks and denied having done anything illegal, but admitted that he might have made mistakes.

The scandal dubbed "PenelopeGate" plummeted Fillon's presidential bid.

Centrist Emmanuel Macron eventually won the 2017 election against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

]]> <![CDATA[ALBA Members To Relaunch Food Plan Amid COVID-19: Venezuela FM]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 21:15:30 -04:00 In order to meet the needs of food and supplies for the region in the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic, Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) members will reactivate the 'ALBA Alimentos' (ALBA Food) program,  Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza announced Monday.


The ALBA-TCP Alliance to Analyze the Economy After the Pandemic

During a meeting with the Alba Economic Council in Caracas, the Venezuelan minister explained that the reactivation plan will be implemented to face the difficult situation the continent is facing, in a moment when Latin America has become the COVID-19 epicenter.

"We will reactivate ALBA-Food (a program) that goes from seed to fertilizers, to food, food distribution, and prices," Arreaza said on this program, launched on June 29, 2005.

"Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza  statement on the ALBA-TCP Ministerial Council meeting."

He also explained that strategies have been designed in order to reactivate agriculture in all member countries, in an effort to assist the hardest-hit nations. This includes the Caribbean countries, which depend on tourism activity, an issue that has been slowed down by the spread of the virus.

The decision was taken as the XX Political Council and the X Economic Council of the ALBA-Peoples' Trade Agreement (ALBA-TCP) virtual joint meeting is taking place.

Political and economic ministerial councils analyze the proposals pitched by the member countries and those invited to the conference, aiming to evaluate ways to implement the initiatives.

]]> <![CDATA['Annexation Is Illegal. Period': UN Rights Chief]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 20:34:04 -04:00 The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called Monday on Israel to call off its plans of annexing large areas of illegally occupied Palestinian land, warning against the "disastrous" effect such a move could have on Palestinians and the region.


UK Black Lives Matter ‘Proudly’ Stands With Palestinians

“Annexation is illegal. Period,” Bachelet said in a statement. 

“Any annexation. Whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank, or 5 percent. I urge Israel to listen to its own former senior officials and generals, as well as to the multitude of voices around the world, warning it not to proceed along this dangerous path.”

“The precise consequences of annexation cannot be predicted,” Bachelet said. “But they are likely to be disastrous for the Palestinians, for Israel itself, and for the wider region. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has called on the Israeli Government to abandon its annexation plans, and I back that call one hundred percent.”

The UN rights chief said that annexing Palestinian territories will ruin efforts to bring peace in the region.

"It is likely to entrench, perpetuate, and further heighten serious human rights violations that have characterized the conflict for decades," she noted.

"Palestinians living within the annexed zone would experience greater difficulty accessing essential services like education and health, and humanitarian access may also be hindered," she added, as Palestinian population centers would become enclaves further restricting the right of freedom of movement of those living there.

"Settlements – already a clear violation of international law – will almost certainly expand, increasing the existing friction between the two communities," said Bachelet.

"I am deeply concerned that even the most minimalist form of annexation would lead to increased violence and loss of life, as walls are erected, security forces deployed and the two populations brought into closer proximity."

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting Wednesday, as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by United States President Donald Trump.

The plan consents to Israel’s annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. 

It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is considered occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation, illegal.

]]> <![CDATA[India Bans Chinese Apps Over Security Concerns]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 20:50:54 -04:00 The right-wing Government of India Monday announced that it is banning 59 Chinese apps that it considers "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity" of the country, as well as the damaging to the "security of the state and the public order."


China Wants No More Clashes With India at the Border

Although the press release does not say the particular reason for the ban is the Chinese government nor any of its tech companies, the prohibition includes Chinese owned apps such as the video platform TikTok, the browser UC Browser,  file sharing app ShareIt as well as social media platforms Helo and Likee.

Some local media outlets claim that these apps, alongside the video chat app Bigo Live are among the most popular, as many of them have Indian creators for whom this is their only source of income. Particularly Tik Tok is estimated to have over 10 million active users in the country.

Besides, India is Tik Tok's most significant international market, accounting for 30 percent of the app's downloads.

The decision comes as a further escalation amid the tensions over the Galwan Valley clashes at the border on June 15, which killed 20 Indian soldiers.


The treasurer of the Indian National Congress Ahmed Patel, following the announcement, published on its Twitter account that he "welcomes the decision to ban Chinese apps" and added that "in light of the grave intrusion of our territory and the unprovoked attack on our armed forces by the Chinese army, we expect our  government to take more substantial and effective measures."

Despite this, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has said that "both sides agree to resolve this matter through dialogue and consultation and make efforts to ease the situation" Indian authorities, in the aftermath of the clashes, ordered state-run telecoms companies as well as other private enterprises, to ban all the Chinese deals and equipment.

"The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users'' data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India," explains the press release published by the government.


]]> <![CDATA[Iran Requests Interpol Arrest Trump Over Soleimani's Murder]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 18:52:29 -04:00 Teheran issued a warrant Monday requesting the arrest of U.S President Donald Trump for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iran's General Attorney Ali Alqasimehr stated.


Iran Condemns CIA Agent Involved in Soleimani's Murder

In this regard, authorities have asked for Interpol's help in arresting Trump, along with another 36 who may have been involved in Soleimani's death on charges of "murder and terrorism."

For this purpose, Interpol was requested to issue a "Red Alert," a classification used to mark some requested arrests as "high-level priority." The international organization, nevertheless, stated that they would not consider the request.

Attorney General Alqasimehr's accusations came after Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement between Teheran and several World powers, and although President Trump may not face any jail time, charges highlight the tensions between Iran and the U.S.

Qassem Soleimani was killed during a missile attack on January 3 in Baghdad, Iraq's capital. At the time, Trump said that the Iranian general was responsible for the death of hundreds of U.S soldiers and that he was planning imminent attacks.

Also, on June 9, Teheran's judicial authorities announced that Iranian citizen Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd was slated for execution for providing information to U.S. and Israeli intelligence services on Soleimani's location.


]]> <![CDATA[Small Island States To Suffer 'Major Shock' Due to COVID-19: UN]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 21:03:36 -04:00 The United Nation's World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Monday warned that the COVID-19 crisis risks devastating the economies of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).


COVID-19 Adds to Haiti's, Latin America's Challenges: Report

Since tourism accounts for over 30 percent of total exports in the majority of SIDS, and reach 80 percent in some of them, the organization qualifies the economic impact in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as "a major shock" that "translates into a massive loss of jobs, a sharp decline in foreign exchange and tax revenues which curbs public spending capacity and ability to deploy the measures necessary to support livelihoods through the crisis."

The U.N. agency recalled that in 2019, SIDS received 44 million international tourist arrivals, about three percent of the world’s total. Likewise, exports from international tourism reached US$55 billion.

However, the forecast for the upcoming months of 2020 shows a possible decline in international arrivals by 58 percent to 78 percent.

The Caribbean represents 43 percent of those destinations while Singapore, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba amount 60 percent of the total international tourist arrivals in SIDS.

Besides, the report highlights that the weight of tourism is much larger in the Caribbean, where 34 percent of all exports are generated by international visitor spending.

As the U.N. estimates that SIDS economies could shrink by 4.7 percent in 2020 as compared to three percentfor the overall economy, UNWTO warns that women and informal workers are at high stake and due massive job losses these groups could fall into poverty.

Data from small island states published today reveals that female workers employed in the accommodation and food services reach more than 70 percent in Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago, and more than 50 percent of the total workforce in 21 out of the 38 states that SIDS comprise.

On the other hand, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is heavily striking these countries already as UNWTO reports that arrivals in SIDS countries are estimated to have dropped by 47 percent in the period January–April 2020 which represents a loss of 7.5 million visitors.

Particularly, the Caribbean suffered a fall by 43 percent during the firsts four months of this year.

To mitigate the impact of the crisis Caribbean islands such as Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Dominican Republic will open to international tourism from July 1 while Puerto Rico will receive foreign visitors from July 15; Turks and Caicos from July 22, and Cuba is expected to allow the first visitors in late August.


]]> <![CDATA[Guatemala: President Extends Curfew Amid Rise in COVID-19 Cases]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 15:18:28 -04:00 Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei Sunday announced a 15-day extension of the curfew in four departments, as COVID 19 cases increase in the Central American nation. 


US Deportations to Guatemala Resume After a Month Hiatus

“The presidential provisions would maintain for another 15 days, the restriction of interdepartmental mobility and by plates will apply to Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, Escuintla, and Sacatepequez,” Giammattei tweeted.

Guatemala’s government imposed a curfew from 6 pm to 5 am in most of the departments with a high contagious rate, to avoid the virus spreading. The measures mirror prior Giammattei dispositions. 

The department of El Progreso was excepted from these measures as its cases decreased, while El Progreso goes under the regulations.

]]> <![CDATA[Ecuador: Public Institutions in Quito Resume Regular Workday]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 14:37:44 -04:00 Quito's public institutions on Monday resumed the workday with 25 percent of their workers, as part of the discreet de-escalation approved in Ecuador in response to the COVID-19's health emergency.


Ecuador's Indigenous Peoples Denounce Oil Spill in the Amazon 

Near 31,500 of the 126,000 employees registered in the country's capital will be incorporated to work.

Ecuador's Ministry of Labor indicated that only those public servants will return to their posts who, due to the nature of their activity, are not eligible for teleworking.

Workers belonging to the so-called priority or vulnerable groups will continue operating from their homes.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, the elderly, people with special medical conditions or a disability must continue with teleworking.

The attention to the public will be done in the usual schedule that each institution had before the health crisis.

The work must be carried out in accordance with the shifts, capacity and provisions established for face-to-face work in the public sector. 

Work's resumption occurs a few days after Quito's Mayor Jorge Yunda warned about the city's hospitals situation, which are almost at the limit of their capacity.

Ecuador's capital reports a total of 6,261 COVID-19's infections from the beginning of the health emergency.

]]> <![CDATA[New Zealand Quarantine Facilities in ‘Extreme Stress’: Minister ]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 13:23:19 -04:00 New Zealand's Housing Minister Megan Woods Sunday informed quarantine facilities are under extreme stress as more nationals return homeland.


Northern Ireland: Gov’t Enforces Mask Use as Lockdown Lifts

“While the system was manageable under level-4 (restrictions), when there were only small numbers of New Zealanders returning home, it is now a system under stress, with arrivals increasing by 73 percent last week, compared to the beginning of April,” Woods stated.

The review commission found government resources intended for quarantine facilities support are not sufficient as returnees increase. This situation affects staff work and wellbeing.

“The team found that the system, whilst not broken, is under extreme stress and is not readily able to respond to the increasing demands being placed upon it,” the review briefs.

]]> <![CDATA[Julian Assange's Extradition Trial to Resume in September]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 12:22:53 -04:00 United Kingdom Justice's authorities announced Friday that the second part of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition trial will take place at the Central Criminal Court, London's famous Old Bailey, on September 7, barring any last minute contingencies.


US Announces 17 New Charges Against Julian Assange

The founder of WikiLeaks was absent, for "medical reasons", from the last administrative hearing in the case, which took place on Monday, June 29.

The Australian journalist followed the hearings by video conference from his cell. Three months ago, Assange stopped appearing before the Westminster magistrate because of the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The next preliminary hearing was set for July 27.

The U.S. Department of Justice last week strengthened the charges without increasing them.

Although the new charges do not represent any additional charges to the 18 already filed against Assange, Summers believes that, "they could readjust the date set for the resumption of the extradition trial.

Julian Assange's father John Shipton on Monday called "fraud in the English court, in the legal system, procedural abuse and embarrassment" the process being followed in London against his son from the request for extradition to the United States.

Assange faces 175 years in prison if he is tried in the U.S. for alleged crimes of computer intrusion, access and dissemination of confidential information.

]]> <![CDATA[Northern Ireland: Gov’t Enforces Mask Use as Lockdown Lifts]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 11:49:32 -04:00 U.K. Northern Ireland’s Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon Sunday announced mandatory mask use in public transportations as her administration lifts quarantine and other precautionary measures.


EU Announces Countries with Entry Permission to Schengen Area

“With England, Scotland, and the south all making the move to mandatory face coverings on public transport, there is growing evidence of its wider benefits. With clear exemptions, face coverings help keep other passengers safe especially as we reopen more of our economy and society,” Mallon tweeted.

Police would fine those who violate the measure, especially in buses and trains.

From Monday, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and gyms are reopening. Dinners must keep two meters as part of protective social distancing, and a meter in smaller facilities where they cannot comply with separation.

]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Community Release Military Involved in Farmer's Murder ]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:15:15 -04:00 Colombia’s Caño Totumo community Sunday handed over the military involved in the murder of agricultural leader Salvador Jaime Duran to officials from the Prosecutor's Office in North Santander.


Rape of Indigenous Girl by 7 Soldiers Shocks Colombia

“Today the six uniformed members of the National Army who were involved in the alleged extrajudicial execution of Salvador Jaimes Duran, murdered yesterday morning in Caño Totumo in the village of Filoguamo, Teorama, were handed over,” the Catatumbo Farmers Association (ASCAMCAT) tweeted.

Colombian Army soldiers shot Jaime Duran to death in Caño Totumo vicinity, in the Filoguamo trail on Saturday. According to community witnesses, locals made a citizen arrest after hearing the gunshots. Duran was 22-years-old and was a Communal Action Council member. 

Colombia’s Ombudsman Office representatives escorted the handing over, alongside Public Prosecutor’s Office, senator Alberto Castilla, and  Teorama’s Mayor Robinson Salazar.  The citizen arrest is legal and civil capacity, as index 2 of Article 301 of Bill 906/04 regulates it.

“An officer denied that the soldiers that tried to flee the scene of the alleged execution were from the Colombian Army but his version is contradictory because hours later he accepts that the uniforms were part of the platoon,” ASCAMCAT stated.

]]> <![CDATA[EU Announces Countries with Entry Permission to Schengen Area]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 10:38:30 -04:00 The European Union on Monday announced the epidemiological criteria to be met by countries world wide to be allow to enter the region from this Wednesday, July 1, when the bloc begins to open its borders in a limited  way.


European Commission Calls for Tougher Actions on Air Pollution

The region will open to 15 countries the external border that was closed in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The list of countries whose nationals will be the first to enter the EU includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Georgia and China.

Not only the United States, Russia, Brazil and Argentina are not included in the first phase. 

Other with similar infection levels to the EU, such as Cuba, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua or Venezuela, are also not included.

In order to put together the list of countries, the capitals of each Member State were consulted to submit comments or reservations to the list. 

Not all Member States have responded within the deadline, so some further consultations will be necessary.

This is an initial list of countries, which will be reviewed periodically, probably every two weeks, to adapt it to the health situation at any given time. 

Although border control is a competence of the Member States, the decision in this case must be taken by a majority.

]]> <![CDATA[Venezuela Applies Strict Quarantine in 12 States Over COVID-19]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:10:01 -04:00 Due to the growth of COVID-19's active cases in Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro's' government decided that the radical quarantine will be maintained this Monday in various territories in 12 states, affected by community transmission's events.

Brazil: Over 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths Reported in 24 Hours

As part of the flexibility scheme implemented by the authorities, a large number of economic sectors will resume work on Monday.

However, "de-escalation will only begin in those states and municipalities that do not have radical and strict quarantine measures," Maduro tweets.

All the districts of the Libertador municipality of Caracas (Capital District), as well as most of Miranda and Zulia, will continue under strict measures of social distancing.

"I invite you to maintain the maximum care to protect everyone's health," Maduro said.

Localities in Aragua, Carabobo, the border municipalities of Tachira, Apure, Bolivar, Lara, Trujillo, Merida and Sucre will continue to be radically quarantined.

In these municipalities will be implemented special plans for health care, security and food distribution.

This Sunday the South American country reported 167 new infections of COVID-19. The number of infected people in the country increased to 5,297.

Health authorities detected 39 cases of community transmission, located in Caracas, Táchira, Miranda, Trujillo, and Monagas.

]]> <![CDATA[Hundreds Mobilize in More Than 20 Countries Against Bolsonaro ]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 23:39:44 -04:00 Brazilians residing abroad called Sunday on people to protest both in the streets and virtually in 60 cities and 23 countries against Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, his "fascism," and to defend democracy.


Brazil: Over 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths Reported in 24 Hours

The event called #StopBolsonaroMundial (World Stop Bolsonaro) featured demonstrations in cities such as Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt (Germany), Barcelona and Madrid (Spain), Paris (France), Rome (Italy), Zurich and Geneva ( Switzerland) and Dublin (Ireland).

In Brazil, 13 cities including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Belem, Porto Alegre and Campinas confirmed their participation.

“This Sunday, the entire world will demonstrate against fascism in Brazil and the psychopathic President Jair Bolsonaro. It is the world #StopBolsonaro day,” the Central Workers' Union secretary of international relations, Antonio Lisboa, said in a video released on social media to promote the event.

“I count on all to demonstrate so that we can overthrow this fascist government and guarantee the democracy of our country,” he added.

The organizers say the alarming numbers of coronavirus cases in the South American giant will be denounced, along with the “underreporting, the situation of hospitals with excess capacity, the victims of medical care, the more than 57,000 lost lives, the more than 1,3 million confirmed cases, while the government is not taking serious action.”

The "fight against fascism, neoliberalism, racism, machismo, LGBTphobia, the genocide of indigenous people, and the destruction of the environment" is also called for.

Organizers recall that since Bolsonaro assumed power last year, the deforestation, the murder of Indigenous people, blacks, women, homosexuals, and popular leaders; the systematic attack on culture, education, the increase in job insecurity, and the stagnation of the economy, all soared.

Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus with more than 1,300,000 infected and at least 57,000 deaths, according to government figures.

]]> <![CDATA[UK Black Lives Matter ‘Proudly’ Stands With Palestinians]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 23:37:17 -04:00 The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) in the United Kingdom (UK) said Sunday that it "loudly and clearly" supports Palestinians and rejects Israel's project to annex large parts of the West Bank.


Concerns Over Israeli Annexation Plans Overblown: Trump Aide

In a series of tweets on its official account, BLM UK also criticized British politics for being "gagged of the right to critique Zionism and Israel's settler-colonial pursuits.".

The tweets sparked outrage among senior British Jewish figures with the Board of Deputies president, Marie van der Zyl, accusing BLM of propagating an "antisemitic trope".

“It is beyond disappointing that a supposedly anti-racist organization has leaned into the antisemitic trope that British politics is “gagged” in terms of debating Israel, a claim particularly preposterous because Israel is one of the most-discussed foreign policy issues in this country,” Zyl told the Jewish News. 

BLM UK reiterated its support to Palestinians following criticism and shared a quote from academic and former Black Panther Angela Davis, who is a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.

"One more time for those at the back," the group wrote on Twitter.

"From the British Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter, solidarity and learning from Palestinians in the fight against systematic racism has always been part of our shared struggle and shared strength."

The row comes only days after the UK Labour Party sacked its shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey for alleged antisemitism.

Long-Bailey shared an article that suggested that the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd had received training from Israeli forces.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has planned to begin its annexation process starting Wednesday, as part of a so-called "peace plan" presented in January by United States President Donald Trump.

The plan consents to Israel’s annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank, including illegal settlements and the Jordan Valley. 

It grants Palestinians a disjointed and demilitarised entity with a capital on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the disputed city would remain fully under Israeli sovereignty.

The West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, making all Jewish settlements there, as well as the planned annexation,  illegal.

]]> <![CDATA[UK NGO Calls for Nobel Peace Price for Cuban Doctors]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 21:29:52 -04:00 The Cuba Solidarity Campaign in the United Kingdom called Sunday for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to the Cuban international medical brigades that are fighting the coronavirus pandemic in many countries across the world.

Italy Recommends Cuban Medical Brigade for Nobel Peace Prize

The campaign’s National Secretary Bernard Regan affirmed to local media that the request is “fair and legitimate,” and also urged the international community to recognize the professional work of Cuba to face the pandemic. The CSC’s call joins others made by Italy’s authorities and NGO’s, as well as France.

The Henry Reeve International Contingents, specialized in disaster situations and epidemics, are made up of doctors, nurses, and specialists that, since the outbreak began, have been at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Cuba has sent doctors and nurses to 21 nations across the world including South Africa, Italy, Honduras, Cape Verde, Suriname, and across the Caribbean. The medical staff assists the local healthcare system by providing their services to COVID-19 infected patients. 

“It has been inspiring to see Cuba’s amazing response to the pandemic at home and abroad. The Nobel Peace prize should definitely be awarded to Cuba’s international medical brigades. It would be a timely and just recognition for their brave work around the world,” Regan said back in May.

For her part, the Cuban ambassador to the U.K. Barbara Montalvo pointed out that the island’s strategy to confront the virus is based on the accumulated experience for disease prevention and disaster management.

Yet the island’s response to the global emergency is not new and is part of a long history of Cuban humanitarianism. 

In the last 56 years 400,000 Cuban health workers have responded to natural disasters and helped build health services in 164 nations. This includes sending medical brigades to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Kashmiri earthquake (2005), to Haiti to assist with the devastating cholera outbreak following the earthquake (2010), and to West Africa in the region’s fight against Ebola (2015).

]]> <![CDATA[US: Four Men Charged For Attempting to Take Down Jackson Statue]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 20:29:08 -04:00 The United States has charged four men with destruction of federal property in connection with the attempt on Monday to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park near the White House, the U.S. Attorney for Washington, DC and other law enforcement officials announced Saturday.

US: National History Museum to Remove Roosevelt Statue

The charged men are Lee Michael Cantrell, 47, of Virginia, Connor Matthew Judd, 20, of Washington, DC, Ryan Lane, 37, of Maryland, and Graham Lloyd, 37, of Maine, who can be seen attempting to take down the statue in many videos circulating on social media. 

"The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia will not stand idly by and allow our national monuments to be vandalized and destroyed,” acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said in a statement.

This comes as a wave of protests against racism and the toppling of statues has engulfed the U.S. and Europe, which were sparked by George Floyd's killing on May 25.

Among those contentious figures is Jackson who was the seventh president of the U.S. and a slave owner. In 1830, he signed into law the Indian Removal Act, leading to the deadly expulsion of Native Americans from territory east of the Mississippi River. 

The forced relocation of some 60,000 Native Americans, a process in which about 4,000 people died, has become known as the "trail of tears."

]]> <![CDATA[Polish President Duda, Rival Trzaskowski to Face Run-Off ]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 20:43:37 -04:00 Polish incumbent Andrzej Duda won Sunday the first round of Poland’s presidential election but he will have to face the centrist mayor of Warsaw in a run-off on July 12, as the crucial race is closely watched by the European Union (EU).


Poland: Record Fine to Volkswagen Over "Dieselgate" Scandal

An exit poll showed Sunday Duda winning 41.8 percent of ballots, against 30.4 percent for Rafal Trzaskowski from the Civic Platform party. Final results could differ slightly but any changes are not expected to affect who will compete in the second round.

The re-election of Duda, an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS), is crucial if the party is to implement further its socially conservative agenda, including judiciary reforms the EU says contravene democratic standards.

PiS has cast Duda as the guardian of its welfare programs, which have helped it win national elections in 2015 and 2019, and of its pledge to protect traditional family values in predominantly Catholic Poland.

A devout believer himself, Duda had campaigned on a promise to ban classes about gay rights in schools, saying LGBT “ideology” was worse than communist doctrine.

But his long-held lead crumbled in the weeks ahead of the election, after a late entry by Trzaskowski who appears to have galvanized many voters keen to end Poland’s isolation within the EU or angry over Duda’s allegiance to PiS.

If he wins the election in July, Trzaskowski will have limited scope to direct policy but will be able to veto legislation proposed by the government.

This could give him a chance to block efforts by the government of prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki to deepen court reforms, which the EU has said politicize the judiciary, or refuse appointments of new judges.

Observers say a win by Trzaskowski could undermine the fragile majority PiS has in parliament, and force Morawiecki to govern as a minority cabinet or even face an early national election.

Poles voted in an election that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and was taking place amid deep cultural and political divisions.

The turnout at 5:00 pm local time was 47.89 percent, which the State Electoral Commission said was the highest for that time in the country's past 30 years. 


]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Adds to Haiti's, Latin America's Challenges: Report]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 20:39:18 -04:00 The coronavirus outbreak is spreading in Haiti's slums, suggesting the number of cases is far higher than that registered and reported by the Caribbean island authorities, according to a report published Sunday by Reuters. 


COVID: Latin America Has A Deadly Road To October, Study Warns

In the island country of 11 million, many do not want to be tested because of the stigma linked to coronavirus and their distrust of authorities. Some say the government is lying about the virus to collect international aid funds and fear bad treatment if they enter the hospital, Reuters reported.

This reluctance to seek treatment leads many to believe that the toll from COVID-19 is far higher than the 100 deaths officially registered to date. A funeral home company director in Port-au-Prince, who asked for anonymity, said deaths had doubled since mid-May, though only some of the excess had certificates confirming the cause as coronavirus.

The plight of those living in Haiti’s slums is shared by millions across the Caribbean and Latin America, the most unequal region in the world, according to the United Nations.

From Argentina to Mexico, nearly one in five of Latin America’s urban population lives in crowded slums.

In these poor, densely-packed neighborhoods, with little or no access to running water, sanitation, and health facilities, residents struggle to follow even the basic hygiene guidelines that experts recommend to prevent contagion.

And, given a large informal labor sector and insufficient or inexistent government welfare, many cannot afford to quarantine.

The number of cases in the region has more than tripled from 690,000 one month ago to around 2.5 million.

An infectious disease expert with Emory University, Carlos del Rio, said that - given very low levels of testing across the region - the most worrying aspect was not the number of confirmed cases but the levels of mortality.

“Latin America has just 8 percent of the world’s population but it currently accounts for 45 percent of daily deaths,” he told Reuters. 

Haiti and the broader region has, however, one strong suit: a younger population compared to some other parts of the world, as older people appear to be more vulnerable to the serious effects of COVID-19.

Less than nine percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean - and just 4.5 percent in Haiti - is aged 65 and above. That compares with 20 percent in the European Union and 16 percent in North America.

]]> <![CDATA[Iranian President to Mandate Wearing Face Masks Until July 5]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 13:42:50 -04:00 Amid increasing infections and fatalities over COVID-19 pandemic, after partial removal of lockdown, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday said that wearing face masks in public areas will become mandatory from next week.


The US Imposes New Illegal Sanctions on Iranian Metal Companies

"From July 5, wearing masks in all public areas will be compulsory for two weeks," Rouhani said at a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus.

If necessary, the new decision will remain in force for the next month, he was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

He also said those who fail to observe the health measures and regulation will be penalized.

According to Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, the use of mask and respect to social distancing are "a must" in the provinces which are in high-risk condition.

Disrespect to social distancing and disregard of health protocols are the main reasons for the resurgence of the pandemic in some of the cities in the country, Harirchi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Also, services will not be given to those without masks in areas such as government organizations and shopping malls, he said.

Rouhani said on Sunday that the health ministry has provided a list of spaces and gatherings which are regarded as high-risk areas.

The use of masks and protective gears has been optional in most areas in Iran.

Iranian officials have hinted that they may reimpose restrictive measures.

Rouhani also said on Sunday that the current year is the hard year for Iran as the country is grappled with economic pressures, due to the U.S. sanctions, as well as the outburst and endurance of novel coronavirus disease.

But, the Islamic republic will hopefully overcome this tough situation in unity, he stressed.

Iran reported its first COVID-19 cases on Feb. 19. It imposed restrictions late in the month and started to gradually ease the restrictions from April.

Iran's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 222,669 on Sunday after an overnight registration of 2,489 new infections, IRNA reported.

Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said at her daily briefing that out of the new cases in the past 24 hours, 1,406 have been hospitalized.

The pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 10,508 Iranians, up by 144 in the past 24 hours.

Besides, 183,310 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 2,946 remain in critical condition.

According to Lari, 1,610,869 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran as of Sunday.

The Iranian health official said that five provinces are still in high-risk condition.

Iran and China have offered mutual help in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-February, at the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Iran lit up the Tehran Azadi (Liberty) Tower to show its solidarity with China, and donated 3 million masks to China.

In return, China has delivered several shipments of medical supplies to Iran. On Feb. 29, a five-member Chinese medical team visited Iran for a month-long mission to help Iran fight the pandemic.

]]> <![CDATA[teleSUR wins the Anibal Nazoa National Journalism Award]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 11:26:35 -04:00 The multiplatform of communication teleSUR won the Aníbal Nazoa 2020 National Journalism Award, in the Television category, announced the Necessary Journalism Movement (MPN), which each year awards the prizes in different areas of journalistic work.


Telesur's Program Wins National Journalism Prize

In its eleventh edition of the award, teleSUR was awarded in the television medium category because, upon reaching its fifteenth anniversary, the signal "has remained attached to the quality of information that originated the strategic need of its foundation: to reflect the sociocultural reality of the southern towns. " 

"Its news coverage has accompanied all the processes of political transformation in the southern hemisphere that have contributed to a new communicational order," the MPN said in a statement. 

The entity specified that the work to review the applications was carried out by the member group of the MPN, virtually, thanks to the new Information and Communication Technologies, due to the extraordinary situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Respecting the radical quarantine decreed by the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, under the State of Alarm, the MPN, represented on this occasion by: 

"Luisana Colomine, Helena Salcedo, Cristina González, Ana María Hernández, Armando Carías, Yoaní Sánchez, Ilbania García and Diana Ovalles, who carried out the respective deliberations to grant the recognitions."

The Aníbal Nazoa National Journalism Award values ​​the performance of journalists, popular communicators and reporters, as well as content production teams in 23 categories, explained the MPN

The agency specified that it values ​​those works that exalt quality, ethics, accurate, timely information, and commitment to the truth and the Venezuelan people, as enshrined in the National Constitution in its article 58. 

In the same way, the qualifying jury considered it appropriate to make four special recognitions, and due to the pandemic, the winner of the traditional Antipremio is revealed.

In the Professional Career category it was for Walter Martínez, who has been “on the air” since our beloved, contaminated and only spacecraft.

Regarding Martínez, the MPN highlighted that "for the quality of content in the treatment, analysis and presentation of international news, for its perseverance, sobriety, coherence and loyalty, essential attributes in times of Revolution and that should be an example for young professionals of journalism. "


]]> <![CDATA[Brazil: Over 1,000 COVID-19 Deaths Reported in 24 Hours]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 09:43:46 -04:00 Brazil on Saturday reported at least 1,109 daily deaths of COVID-19, raising its death toll to 57,070, which is one of the highest death tolls in the world. 


Brazilians Call for a World Day to 'Stop Bolsonaro' on Sunday

In the last 24 hours, 38,693 new cases were reported, bringing the national count to 1,313,667, the Brazilian Health Ministry said in its daily report.

The state of Sao Paulo, the most populous in the country, has been the most heavily affected by the disease, with 14,263 deaths and 265,581 cases, followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 9,789 deaths and 108,803 cases.

Meanwhile, west of Brazil, the Chilean Ministry of Health raised on Saturday the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus to 267,766, with 5,347 deaths.

Of the number of new cases, 3,481 presented symptoms and 426 were asymptomatic, while the situation of the other 499 cases is still unknown.

The report from the health ministry showed that the northern region of Antofagasta is leading the country in the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by the Santiago Metropolitan Region.

Chile is currently under a state of emergency and a curfew. The borders remain closed, classes have been suspended, and non-essential trade has been prohibited.

The Peruvian Health Ministry reported Saturday 3,625 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 275,989 with a total of 9,135 deaths.

A total of 10,762 people are still hospitalized, including 1,169 in intensive care units, according to the ministry.

The government announced on Friday that restrictive sanitary measures in Peru will be lifted on June 30, but Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said that the measures will remain in effect in seven regions where outbreaks have been registered.

Health Minister Victor Zamora said although the number of cases in the country is still high, there has been a decrease in infections in recent weeks.

Peru imposed a compulsory quarantine and a curfew on March 16, which included the suspension of economic activities.

]]> <![CDATA[Rape of Indigenous Girl by 7 Soldiers Shocks Colombia]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 13:02:37 -04:00 The rape of a 13-year-old Indigenous girl in Colombia by at least seven military soldiers has shocked several sectors of the country and mobilized human rights organizations, who called for justice.

Colombia: Displaced Minor Killed During Eviction by Riot Police

The incident happened last Sunday, less than a week after Colombia’s Congress approved a controversial bill allowing life imprisonment for child rapists.

The soldiers plead guilty to raping the girl on Thursday amid broadly felt horror over the incident in Pueblo Rico, a town in the Risaralda province.

The heartbreaking event provoked tensions between the military and native Colombians, who demanded the soldiers be surrendered to Indigenous authorities and tried under indigenous law before being tried under common criminal law.

"The regrettable fact that what is in the news today constitutes a serious violation of the rights of the minor, and collectively victimizes her family, the Embera Katío people and the indigenous peoples of the country, and adds to a long list of atrocious acts on the part of the military that, by action or omission, constitutes a risk factor instead of a guarantee of security for the Indigenous peoples and nations," said in a statement the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC).

"It’s no exception. That’s the reality of many of the Indigenous girls," Armando Valbuena, ONIC spokesman, told to the BBC.

Valbuena said that children from communities such as the Embera, Wayúu and Afro-Colombian communities in rural areas of the country suffer not only from harassment by soldiers, but also by irregular armed groups and "paramilitary groups, which continue to grow."

The ONIC also denounced that the rape of the girl child occurs “in the context of the genocide we find ourselves in, constitutes a strategy of intimidation and division at the community level with which they seek to undermine our autonomy.”

For its part, the National Army refused to cooperate with the Indigenous authorities and jailed the soldiers at a military compound on Thursday after closing a plea deal with the Prosecutor General’s Office in record time.

The military and Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa have denied that the security forces, unlike guerrilla and paramilitary groups, used sexual violence systematically.

However, for different human rights defenders, the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Colombian armed conflict is an appalling reality that power groups and the state have always tried to hide. 

"The sexual abuse of the minor from the Embera Chami community was aberrant and unacceptable," Martha Lucia Ramirez, vice president of the Council for Women’s Equity in Colombia, said.

"We request the Prosecutor’s Office to expedite the investigative process so that justice may be done. This is a case that deserves social condemnation; we must act swiftly and consistently to defend the rights of children, adolescents and women. It’s time for life imprisonment," she asked.

Meanwhile, this fact, which has shocked the entire country, adds to the massive spying on journalists and human rights defenders as well as the unstoppable murder of Indigenous leaders.


]]> <![CDATA[L'Oreal to Remove Words Like 'Whitening' From Skincare Products]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 11:00:12 -04:00 French cosmetic giant L'Oreal has announced Saturday that it will remove words like “whitening” from its products, as global anti-racism protests continue around the world.

UN Chief Calls for Reparations to Amend Slavery's Legacy

The world's largest cosmetic company said in a statement that it “has decided to remove the words ‘white/whitening,’ ‘fair/fairness,’ ‘light/lightening’ from all its skin evening products.”

Paris-based L'Oreal made the decision in the wake of global protests against racism, which were sparked after the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. last month, and exposed the reality of structural racism in all areas of the society.

The announcement also follows the decision on Thursday by the Indian and Bangladeshi arms of Unilever to rename their locally marketed “Fair and Lovely” skin-lightening cream for the same reason.

Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever –which reportedly earned $500 million from the product in India last year– said it would stop using the word “fair” in the name as the brand was “committed to celebrating all skin tones.”

Earlier in June, L’Oreal faced criticism after tweeting that it “stands in solidarity with the Black community and against injustice of any kind. Speaking out is worth it.”

The social media post drew a negative response from people who claimed the company’s business model and advertising has long focused on white consumers.

For her part, Munroe Bergdof, who was L’Oreal UK’s first openly transgender model, accused the company of hypocrisy for having fired her in 2017 for decrying “the racial violence of white people.”

"As an activist, part of my work is to encourage big businesses to understand their responsibility with regards to diversity and inclusion," Bergdorf said in a statement.

After the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, large companies in the beauty industry have been accused of promoting, for a long time, "whitening" through their products, thus fueling the idea of a totally white beauty model.

So that, several U.S. companies were literally forced to speak out, even change their visual identity, such as Mars, which says it plans to develop its Uncle Ben’s brand, which uses a caricature of an African American man as its logo.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson said last week it would also stop selling some Neutrogena and Clean & Clear products, advertised as dark-spot reducers in Asia and the Middle East.

]]> <![CDATA[2020 LGBT+ Pride Events Focus on Racial Injustice ]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2020 08:11:10 -04:00 Several demonstrations and events were held in support of Pride globally this weekend while one of this year's slogans is racial justice and the end of racism, a reality that also hits the LGBT+ community hard.

Over 120 Trans People Murdered in Brazil in 2019: Study

Pride events to celebrate LGBT+ rights are held globally throughout June – although most were cancelled or moved online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Racial inequalities around the world have come under the microscope following the death of George Floyd, 46, in police custody in the United States on May 25, and the LGBT+ community has not been indifferent to this issue.

Many LGBT+ groups released statements in support of protests after Floyd’s death, pointing out the origins of the LGBT+ rights movement at the Stonewall Inn in New York 51 years ago that emerged to fight police brutality.

“As a queer person myself, I face racism from the queer community – and it’s time we stamped it out,” the director Patrick King said as he marched along one of central London’s main thoroughfares with car horns blaring. London’s Black Trans Lives Matter march was one of several events planned this weekend to support Black Lives Matter in light also of Pride Month.

On Sunday, thousands of people are expected to attend New York’s Queer Liberation March, an event moved online due to the COVID-19 outbreak but then back to the streets after the protests against police brutality and racism after Floyd’s death.

“There needs to be the element of people in the streets and popular revolt and outrage,” said Natalie James, co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is hosting the march. 

“There’s not really a substitute for it,” she added.

Studies show that LGBT+ people of colour are more prone to violence and poverty. And a 2018 Stonewall/YouGov survey also found more than half of Black, Asian and other minority LGBT+ Britons had experienced discrimination from members of their own community.

“It’s still definitely pretty prevalent,” said Kwamina Theo Amihyia, joining a Black Trans Lives Matter march in London.

“As far as we’ve come, a lot of the strides made have been for white members of the (LGBT+) community and we’re still seen almost as second-class citizens,” he said.

“[Racism] remains an issue within the LGBT+ community,” Ted Brown, a veteran of Britain’s Gay Liberation Front (GLF) marching in London said.

“If you look around here, for example, I’m one of the few black people here … The LGBT+ community needs to look at themselves and find out how they can become more diverse,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, police estimated that around 3,500 people marched in temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted a message of support to the Global Pride event: "Be proud of yourself! No matter who you love, no matter where you live."

In Vienna, around 200 cars and motorbikes decked out in rainbow flags and inflatable unicorns paraded down the city's famous Ringstrasse on Saturday afternoon.

On the other hand,online events are also planned to close Pride month through one of the world's largest events, Global Pride, a 24-hour online event broadcast live online.

Global Pride, put together by the organisers of several of the major Gay Pride events around the world aims to attract hundreds of millions of viewers around the world. This year the slogan is "Exist, Persist, Resist."

]]> <![CDATA[58 Percent of US Voters Disapprove of How Trumps Does His Job]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2020 15:26:07 -04:00 The Marist Institute for Public Opinion (MIPO) Friday published the results of an investigation according to which 58 percent of voters disapprove of the U.S. President Donald Trump and the 49 percent of them strongly disapprove of his job performance.


President Trump Claims His Border Wall Stopped Coronavirus

This disapproval percentage "is a record never seen before for this president or anyone else," National Public Radio (NPR) commented.

Conducted to 1,640 adults between June 22 and June 24, this poll also showed that Trump’s voting intention is below that of former Vice President Joe Biden's one.

"Biden (52 percent) leads Trump (44 percent) by 8 percentage points among registered voters nationally including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate," MIPO stated.

"With partisan allegiances holding strong, support among independents divides. Biden receives 47 percent to 44 percent for Trump. At the beginning of June, Biden (50 percent) had a 7-point edge over Trump (43 percent) among registered voters," it added.

According to the MIPO study, 51 percent of the men surveyed expressed their intention to vote for Trump, and 60 percent of the women said they would vote for Biden.

When the answers are correlated according to ethnic groups and educational levels, it is observed that 60 percent of white people without a college degree would vote for Trump and only 38 percent of white voters with a college degree would do the same.

Meanwhile, Biden has 91 percent of Black people's intention to vote and 59 percent of Latino support. The survey also revealed that 59 percent of people under the age of 45 are willing to vote for Biden. Instead, 61 percent of rural voters would vote for Trump.

]]> <![CDATA[Argentinian Journalist Remains a Political Prisoner in Bolivia]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2020 13:57:03 -04:00 Argentine photojournalist Facundo Molares was arbitrarily detained on Nov. 29, 2019, when Bolivia’s coup-born government led by Jeanine Añez was trying to establish itself in power through censorship of independent media.


Bolivia: Political Persecution Continues, 3 MAS Leaders Arrested

His father sent a letter to Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez requesting him to act in favor of the political prisoner's repatriation.

"I respectfully ask you to initiate some action to repatriate my son, unjustly imprisoned in an arbitrary cause, which is politically motivated and has no evidence against him," Hugo Molares said.

Facundo was in Bolivia working for a magazine when the U.S.-backed coup against President Evo Morales was unleashed. Currently, his health is not good and his family fears for his life.

"30,000 comrades present! Never again coups in Latam! Judgment and punishments for all those responsible and complicit in the oppression of the peoples. Freedom for Facundo Morales and all those who are imprisoned for fighting!"

"The photojournalist came to Santa Cruz to cover the elections in Oct. 2019. Due to kidney failure, he was admitted to a hospital on Nov. 11," Argentina's outlet Pagina 12 reported.

A day later, his father traveled to Bolivia to verify his son's health. After doing so, however, Facundo's father was detained for 24 hours by the Añez regime.

"I had to endure the interrogation of an officer who told me that Macri was my country's president and that I should not expect any help from him," Molares' father said.

“My cell was near the entrance. Through a small window, I could hear everything they said. In the early morning, three police teams left and returned with three corpses later.”

Hugo Molares explained that the Bolivian authorities submitted his son to a parody of a judicial hearing in 2019. The interim government's prosecutors accused Facundo of a case in which he was not even mentioned and that had started fifteen days before his arrest.

On Dec. 6, the photojournalist was taken to the Chonchocoro prison, which he is still in "preventive detention" for his alleged participation in the blocking of a bridge.

"They told me that it was convenient for me to leave Bolivia because if we stayed we would be massacred," Facundo's father recalled.

]]> <![CDATA[Brazilians Call for a World Day to 'Stop Bolsonaro' on Sunday]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2020 12:21:40 -04:00 Brazilian ex-pats and social organizations called for "Stop Bolsonaro" demonstrations to stop the advance of neoliberal fascism in this South American country.


Bolsonaro Forced To Wear A Mask In Public, Judge Rules

On Sunday, rallies against the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro will be carried out in over 50 cities, among which are Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt (Germany); Barcelona and Madrid (Spain); Zurich and Geneva (Switzerland); Lisbon, Porto, and Coimbra (Portugal); Paris (France), Rome (Italy), and Dublin (Ireland).

Among the movements summoning to this international protest are the Star of Democracy, the International Front of Brazilians Against the Coup (FIBRA) and the United Women against Bolsonaro, which confirmed that activists from Canada, the United States, Chile, Costa Rica, and Mexico will also join the #StopBolsonaro mobilizations.

The conveners explained that this collective action is directed against neoliberal fascism that disrespects the Brazilians' cultural and ethnic diversity.

Since the far-right tricky won the 2018 elections, “they have increased deforestation in the Amazon and the murder of indigenous people, blacks, women, gays, and popular leaders. They have systematically attacked culture and education. They have worsened working conditions and stagnated the economy," the Stop Bolsonaro Movement (SBM) recalled.

"The truculence of the President's supporters has increased and deploys greedy and violent militias, the military, and the police to support a dictatorship," it added.

In Brazil, the SBM confirmed rallies in 13 major cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Belem, Porto Alegre, and Campinas.

"This Sunday, everybody will demonstrate against fascism and the psychopathic president... we want to guarantee democracy in our country," the Unified Workers' Central (CUT) leader Antonio Lisboa said.

This global action against the far-right former Capitan occurs when Brazil has become the second country most affected by the pandemic. As of Saturday morning, this South American country had reported 1,280,335 COVID-19 cases and 56,121 deaths.

All this happens as part of a health crisis generated by Bolsonaro, who describes this disease as "the small flu" and encourages disrespect for the quarantine.

“The Bolsonarist ideology's recipe aggravated the Brazilian political crisis. If it is not stopped in time, the country will live in chaos," the SBM warned and swear that it will continue to be active until "we recover all our social, human, environmental, labor, and economic rights."

]]> <![CDATA[Woman Is Returned to Libya After Giving Birth in a Dinghy]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2020 10:34:27 -04:00 The Italian NGO Mediterranea denounced that Libyan coast guards intercepted a dinghy with migrants and sent their occupants back to the Maghreb country.


Mediterranean Sea: Countries Fail to Help Migrants in Distress

The rubber dinghy, which was 52 miles north of the Libyan coastal city of Misurata, was carrying 95 migrants and about six bodies.

On Friday, a woman gave birth to a baby, confirmed the International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman Safa Msehli.

The humanitarian vessel Mare Jonio received a mayday message mentioning a dinghy in distress and headed to rescue its occupants. The Libyan Coast Guard, however, arrived early.

The NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans regretted the return of the woman and her newborn son to Libya, a country that has lived in violence since the overthrow of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

"No one should be returned to Libya. Let alone one who suffers the cruel fate of being born in despair in the middle of the sea," the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.

Humanitarian organizations criticize the 2017 agreement between Italy and Libya to contain the migratory flow through the central Mediterranean.

After a short trip to Tripoli this week, however, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio indicated that the agreement will be changed to guarantee the safeguarding of human rights.

Meanwhile, humanitarian NGOs continue to protect lives in distress. Currently, the SOS Meditarrenee’s ship Ocean Viking has 118 rescued people on board and the Sea Eye’s vessel Alan Kurdi sailed again after having been blocked by authorities in Palermo since May 5.


]]> <![CDATA[Colombia: Displaced Minor Killed During Eviction by Riot Police]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2020 09:16:43 -04:00 In the municipality of Soacha, department of Cundinamarca, Colombia’s Mobile Riot Squad (ESMAD) murdered a minor while trying to evict unarmed displaced persons and migrants who had settled in private vacant lots.


COVID-19 Quarantine Unleashes Gender Violence in Colombia

"ESMAD murders a child in Soacha. It is the war against the poor,” former presidential candidate Gustavo Petro said, adding that meanwhile President Ivan Duque “delivers public money to the owners of banks, big companies, and large estates.”

Witnesses reported that 15-years-old Duvan Aldana was shot in the neck while participating in protests against the eviction procedures on June 25.

"With shots! They are thus intimidating displaced and migrant people in Soacha. Apparently one of the shots hit a child."

Human rights defenders, social leaders, and lawyers uploaded videos to social networks in which the community is observed trying to help the injured student.

Although it is not seen who fired the shots, the allegations point to "police brutality", the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (FECODE) president Nelson Alarcon said.

"The public force completes a terrible week after the bombing in Caqueta where 4 children were killed, the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Risaralda by seven soldiers, and now the death of Duvan," local outlet Las 2 Orillas commented.

]]> <![CDATA[South Korea Farming System Declared World Agricultural Heritage]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 23:19:38 -04:00 The Republic of Korea's traditional bamboo-based farming system in Damyang Friday was recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System by the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).


North Korea Warns Seoul of Tough Acts Against Provocations

"The site has been regarded as an impressive example of sustainable agriculture approach linking nature and traditional farming practices while respecting the environment", FAO said in a press release.

The farming system consists of a bamboo-based multilayered organization of production where tea trees and mushrooms are inter-cropped with bamboo. Landscape management also includes farmlands, vegetable gardens, rice fields, and water reservoirs.

The program to declare Agricultural Heritage Sites already has 66 distinctions in 22 countries as it was created by FAO to highlights unique ways that rural communities have over generations forged to foster food security, viable livelihoods, resilient ecosystems and high levels of biodiversity, all while contributing to the formation of remarkable landscapes.

The thousand-year-old farming structure also allows protecting the residents of the communities, since bamboo fields form a colony also protecting the villages from the cold winds in winter and the sweltering heat in summer.

The system has also become an identity to the region. Bamboo farmers have systemized their traditional management know-how by establishing traditional ecological knowledge for optimum temperature, rainfall, wind direction, soil type, and depth.

FAO remarks that the Damyang bamboo cultivation plays an important role in preserving the landscape from soil erosion and violent temperature variations.

]]> <![CDATA[Nicaragua Under Alert Over Volcano Activity]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:31:48 -04:00 The Nicaraguan Seismic Network is monitoring the Apoyeque volcano after three slight movements were registered Wednesday night, near the capital Managua.


Why the West Hates Sandinista Nicaragua

Apoyeque is considered the second most active volcano globally. It forms the broad Chiltepe Peninsula in western Nicaragua and extends into south-central Lake Managua. 

The volcano is part of a more massive volcanic complex and consists of a low 500 m high shield cut by a 2.8 km wide and 400 deep lake-filled calderas and a 2.5 x 3 km wide explosion crater, the lake-filled Xiloá (Jiloá).


The telluric movements recorded had an intensity of 1.8; 1.6 and 2.4 degrees on the Ritcher scale with a 5 to 7 range of depth.

Nicaragua's vice president Rosario Murillo said that the Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (INETER) is also in surveillance over the volcano activity as it represents "a point to always keep studying it to protect families and our country", added.

Volcanologists from the University of Manchester ranked the Apoyeque the second most active in the world, following Iwo Jima volcano in Japan.

According to their study, a possible eruption of the Apoyeque not only would affect the capital Managua but since its eruption might be underwater, it would provoke a tsunami.



]]> <![CDATA[Argentina: People Concerned About Economy As Quarantine Extends]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:50:03 -04:00 Buenos Aires extended and tightened its lockdown in the midst of a surge in its outbreak, Argentina's President Alberto Fernández Friday said.


Argentinians Will Receive Again Gov't Aid Amid COVID-19

Even when Argentina is not one of the most affected countries in South America, such as Brazil, Chile and Peru, which are currently the hotspots, the capital and surrounding Buenos Aires province has shown a worrisome upturn in recent weeks.

"We need to gain time to guarantee that our health system is ready and can serve everyone(...), the quarantine is a remedy for the pandemic, the only one we know of," Fernandez said, stressing that lockdown measures will last until next July 17.

"I value freedom very much. But freedom is lost when you die. To be free you have to live.  Let's take care of life. That's what we must do now."

"The economy is deteriorating, but the economy will recover. What unfortunately we are not going to recover are those thousand Argentines who have left us," he said, prompting the people to stay calm and respectful as tempers have heated up among the Argentine population due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The nation's economy is expected to shrink by 10 percent this year.

"We know perfectly well that these decisions have an economic consequence," he added. "I am not a fool. I listen fully to the problems of those who have a business, as well as independent and autonomous workers."

]]> <![CDATA[Covid May Have Been Present In Spain Since March 2019: Experts]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:26:14 -04:00 Traces of COVID-19 have been allegedly found in a sample of wastewater in Spain, Spanish Society for Public Health and Sanitary Administration member Dr. Joan Ramon Villalbi announced on Friday.


Spain: Gov’t Decrees Mask Use as Mandatory

The sample, collected in Barcelona, now ignites controversy over the possibility that the virus was present in Spain nine months before it was identified in Wuhan, China.

Also, Sewage samples taken in Italy indicate the possibility that the virus may have been there in December, the same as in France.

"It is a single sample, however, and more would be needed to confirm the result," Villalbi added, pointing that some other test would be run to discard a false positive.


"Data on #COVID19 in Spain, from the first initial case to date."

To dispel the doubts about the sample that was found by a team from the University of Barcelona, it has been submitted for a more thorough analysis.

"When it's just one result, you always want more data, more studies, more samples to confirm it, and rule out a laboratory error or a methodological problem."

Spain was one of the hardest hit by the virus, with more than 28,000 deaths. Currently, the nation has started to ease measures due to the contagion toll, which has drastically dropped.

So far, Spain COVID figures show 294,985 cases diagnosed positive since the outbreak, with 28,338 deaths. Presently, the country has 69,689 infected patients, of which 617 are in serious or critical condition.


]]> <![CDATA[Pope Donates Two Respirators to Bolivia to Fight COVID-19]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 22:21:03 -04:00 Pope Francis joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and donated 35 respirators to several countries around the world. Two are destined for Bolivia, the Vatican News portal reported Thursday.

Bolivia: Hospitals and Laboratory Close Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The news was communicated by the Vatican and aimed to mitigate the effects of the health emergency that afflicts several countries facing a collapsed health system.

The Vatican News portal details that of the 35 respirators, four will be in Haiti; 2 in the Dominican Republic; 2 in Bolivia; 4 in Brazil; 3 in Colombia; 2 in Ecuador; 3 in Honduras; 3 in Mexico; 4 in Venezuela; 2 in Cameroon; 2 in Zimbabwe; 2 in Bangladesh; and 2 in Ukraine. 

"The Holy Father Francis follows closely the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in all parts of the world and shows his special closeness to the most needy, through solidarity gestures and donations in order to help combat the coronavirus," reads part of the document.

In Bolivia, a difficult situation arose in the public health system due to the lack of respirators, mainly to serve critically ill patients due to the virus.

On Thursday, the leading hospitals in the country, as well as the main laboratory to conduct the tests, closed their doors and declared themselves in an emergency.

The health crisis occurred amid allegations of overpricing in the purchase of 170 Spanish respirators that led to the arrest of several people, including former Health Minister Marcelo Navajas.

The Andean country is also facing a political crisis due to the uncertainty that the elections of Sept. 6 still represent due to the blockages that the de-facto government has been putting in the way.

Meanwhile, until Thursday at least 28,503 positive cases and 913 deaths from COVID-19 were recorded. Santa Cruz is the department hardest hit by the pandemic.

]]> <![CDATA[Honk Kong Government Rejects New US Legislation]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 19:57:28 -04:00 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Friday rejected U.S. legislation that would sanction companies or individuals that endorses the "one country, two systems" principle.


China Calls on US to End Interference in Internal Affairs

Although the so-called  "Hong Kong Autonomy Act" was passed to the Senate, to become law, it must also pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by U.S President Donald Trump.

The spokesman called the Act as "totally unacceptable," and that it will harm relations between the U.S and Hong Kong, putting in risk future development of common interests matters. Also, added that many of the terms used in it are "seriously misleading and unfounded."

"We (...) urge the US side to act responsibly by refraining from taking measures that may potentially affect the normal operations of financial institutions and the vast number of customers they serve."

A government spokesman stressed that anything regarding China and Honk Kong its entirely their internal affairs, and no external part should be interfering in any way possible.

"The people of Hong Kong enjoy extensive rights and freedoms which are enshrined in the Basic Law," the spokesman said, denying the allegations of political motivations in some protester's prosecutions.

"(...)Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation."

Despite U.S. threats and international criticism, China's National People's Congress approved on May 28 a new national security law for HKSAR, which seeks to sanction secessionist and subversive activities, as well as foreign interference and terrorism.

A day after, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to revoke the special treatment of Hong Kong after considering that "it is no longer autonomous enough."

]]> <![CDATA[COVID-19 Pandemic Could Up Narcotic Use, UN Warned]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2020 19:37:05 -04:00 In its 2020 World Drug Report, the UNODC said Friday the COVID-19 crisis could lead to an overall increase in drug use with a shift towards cheaper products and injecting, both of which could mean greater danger for users.

Millions of Migrant Workers Face Uncertainty Amid COVID-19: ILO

"Vulnerable and marginalized groups, youth, women, and the poor pay the price for the world drug problem. The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still when our health and social systems have been brought to the brink, and our societies are struggling to cope," UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said in a statement. 

The UNODC warned that drug consumption has already been rising at an "alarming" rate over the last decade, and now with the pandemic, it is crucial to pay attention.

It also warned that countries were more likely to reduce drug-related budgets further and to give less priority to anti-trafficking operations and international cooperation in the wake of the pandemic,  which could have serious consequences.

On the pandemic impact on unemployment, something that several international organizations have been warning about, according to the report, could also disproportionately affect the poorest, making them more vulnerable to drug use and even to drug trafficking and cultivation to earn money.

"The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when our health and social systems have been brought to the brink, and our societies are struggling to cope," UNODC Executive Director said in a statement accompanying the report.

"We need all governments to show greater solidarity and provide support to developing countries most of all, to tackle illicit drug trafficking and offer evidence-based services for drug use disorders and related disease," she said.

Meanwhile, the pandemic comes on the back of a trend of already rising drug use, especially in developing countries, with UNODC finding 269 million people in 2018 had used drugs at least once, up 30 percent from a decade earlier.

"This is a very alarming increase. Not just the increase in the amount of people using drugs, but there are more youths, adolescents, children using drugs," Waly told AFP on Thursday.

The report, which mostly examined data up to early 2019, said the use of cocaine and methamphetamine was rising, with growing methamphetamine markets in Afghanistan and Iraq.