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  • Ocasio-Cortez throws her support to Bernie Sanders

    Golocal247.com news

    At a rally Saturday in Queens, N.Y., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her endorsement of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president official.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 14:57:07 -0400
  • Turkey wants Syrian forces to leave border areas, aide says

    Golocal247.com news

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Syrian government forces to move out of areas near the Turkish border so he can resettle up to 2 million refugees there, his spokesman told The Associated Press on Saturday. The request will top Erdogan's talks next week with Syria's ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Arrangements along the Syrian-Turkish border were thrown into disarray after the U.S. pulled its troops out of the area, opening the door to Turkey's invasion aiming to drive out Kurdish-led fighters it considers terrorists.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:40:07 -0400
  • Black security guard fired after asking student not to use racial slur

    Golocal247.com news

    A black school security guard has been fired after asking a pupil not to call him the N-word.Marlon Anderson said the teenager, who is also African American, used the racial slur repeatedly to refer to him.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:25:14 -0400
  • How Catalan protest tactics are inspired by Hong Kong

    Golocal247.com news

    From blocking airports to using encrypted messaging apps, Catalan separatists demonstrating against the jailing of nine of their leaders are openly copying tactics devised by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. Shortly after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan leaders to prison terms of up to 13 years over their role in a failed 2017 independence bid, 240,000 users of Russian-designed messaging app Telegram received a message urging them to head to Barcelona's El Prat airport, Spain's second busiest. The goal according to the message -- sent by a new anonymous separatist organisation called Democratic Tsunami -- was to "paralyse" the airport, just as demonstrators did in Hong Kong in September.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 05:59:20 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-U.S. House Speaker Pelosi holds talks in Jordan with King Abdullah

    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior members of Congress held talks in Jordan on Saturday with King Abdullah II and other top Jordanian officials. The U.S. delegation included the heads of key House committees including Foreign Affairs committee chairman Eliot Engel, Homeland Security Committee chairman Bennie Thompson, Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff and Representative Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 23:02:07 -0400
  • Russia's Stealth Su-57 Is a Beast, But Can Russia Afford It?

    Golocal247.com news

    It's pretty expensive for Russia's flagging economy.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 04:00:00 -0400
  • Nestor heads into Georgia after tornados damage Florida

    Golocal247.com news

    Nestor raced across Georgia as a post-tropical cyclone late Saturday, hours after the former tropical storm spawned a tornado that damaged homes and a school in central Florida while sparing areas of the Florida Panhandle devastated one year earlier by Hurricane Michael. The storm made landfall Saturday on St. Vincent Island, a nature preserve off Florida's northern Gulf Coast in a lightly populated area of the state, the National Hurricane Center said. Nestor was expected to bring 1 to 3 inches of rain to drought-stricken inland areas on its march across a swath of the U.S. Southeast.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:21:44 -0400
  • Burmese fishermen 'faint' after mistaking $20 million of floating crystal meth for natural deodorant

    Golocal247.com news

    Sacks of crystal meth scooped from the sea by Burmese fishermen who mistook it for a deodorant substance had a street value of $20 million (£15.4m), an official said on Sunday, in a country believed to be the world's largest methamphetamine producer. The accidental drug haul off Burma's coastal Ayeyarwady region occurred when fishermen spotted a total of 23 sacks floating in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday. Each one contained plastic-wrapped bags labelled as Chinese green tea - packaging commonly used by Southeast Asian crime gangs to smuggle crystal meth to far-flung destinations including Japan, South Korea and Australia. Locals were mystified by the crystallised substance in the sacks, Zaw Win, a local official of the National League for Democracy party who assisted the fishermen and police, told AFP. At first, they assumed it was a natural deodorant chemical known as potassium alum, which is widely used in Burma. "So they burned it, and some of them almost fainted," he said. They informed the police, who on Thursday combed a beach and found an additional two sacks of the same substance - bringing the total to 691 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) which would be worth about $20.2 million (£15.6m), Zaw Win said. "In my entire life and my parents' lifetime, we have never seen drugs floating in the ocean before," he said. The massive haul was sent on Sunday to Pyapon district police, who declined to comment on it. Burma's multi-billion-dollar drug industry is centred in eastern Shan state, whose poppy-covered hills are ideal cover for illicit production labs. Made-in-Burma crystal meth - better known as ice - is smuggled out of the country to more lucrative markets using routes carved out by narco gangs through Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year - a conservative estimate, according to experts - thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. In March, Burma authorities seized more than 1,700 kilogrammes of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, which police said at the time was their biggest drug haul this year.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:57:48 -0400
  • Buttigieg blasts Trump on Syria, says he’d make ‘better' deals

    Golocal247.com news

    Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying he’d make “better” foreign policy deals if he won the White House. Trump has ordered the vast majority of U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw, a move that critics argue abandons Kurdish allies who have fought the Islamic State alongside U.S. forces. “Right now, what is happening is the future [in Syria] is being decided by everybody but the United States ... and we are nowhere because American leadership has been withdrawn,” said Buttigieg, who was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:38:17 -0400
  • Atomwaffen Division’s Washington State Cell Leader Stripped of Arsenal in U.S., Banned from Canada

    Golocal247.com news

    Police HandoutKaleb James Cole, the 24-year-old leader of Atomwaffen Division's Washington State Cell stripped of his firearms by a “red-flag law” late last month, was deported and banned for life from Canada earlier this year, according to court records, which also showed that he had been previously interrogated by American border agents about his extremist views.Cole, a National Socialist black metal enthusiast who goes by the alias “Khimaere,” was first identified as a member of Atomwaffen Division in a 2018 ProPublica investigation. He played a key role in organizing “hate camp” trainings for the group's members at an abandoned building known as “Devil's Tower” in Skagit, Washington, and in Nevada's Death Valley. Cole also helped craft the group’s eye-catching propaganda.Atomwaffen Division is an underground neo-Nazi guerrilla organization which had 23 chapters throughout the United States as of mid-2018. Since its inception in 2015, Atomwaffen members have been implicated in five homicides and several bomb plots, and are the subject of an intensifying national investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It makes common cause with other militant fascist groups like the Base and Sonnenkrieg Division in the United Kingdom, where authorities have charged a number of members with terrorism-related offenses.As The Daily Beast reported, the Seattle Police Department obtained an “Extreme Risk Protection Order” against Cole on September 26 to confiscate his concealed carry firearms permit and any firearms he owned for at least a year. That same day, SPD seized five rifles, a shotgun, three semiautomatic handguns and four lower receivers (the firing mechanism of a rifle that can be used to craft untraceable ‘ghost guns’) from Cole's father's house outside Arlington, in Washington State's Snohomish County.According to court records, none of the guns or the lower receivers seized from Cole were registered in Washington State's licensed firearms database.“Law enforcement officials are increasingly concerned about the respondent's access to firearms and his involvement in the Atomwaffen Division, a known terrorist group,” Seattle Police Sergeant Dorothy Kim wrote in a petition for an Extreme Risk Protection Order. As further evidence, Sgt. Kim cited Atomwaffen Division propaganda calling for “Race War Now,” and the group's adherence to “acceleration theory,” which urges actions that undermine the existing social order to “exacerbate the feeling of alienation among white supremacists and a greater impulse to engage in violence or destructive behavior.”Cole's “words, actions and behavior suggest he has taken additional steps towards a plan with his ideologically motivated violence. Specifically, the coordinated camps with firearms training, overseas travel with Atomwaffen paraphernalia-flags/skull masks, threats to kill (gas the Kikes) and the possession of firearms, suggest an imminent risk to public safety if Cole is permitted to continue to purchase or possess firearms,” Sergeant Kim wrote.The request to seize Cole's guns was reportedly made to Seattle Police by the FBI, which did not have enough information to file criminal charges but believed Cole posed a serious threat to public safety.Multiple law enforcement sources told The Daily Beast that Cole had been the target of an FBI investigation following his February 2018 identification by ProPublica. However, law enforcement made no contact with him until December 28, 2018, when Cole landed in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a flight from London. Customs and Border Protection pulled Cole aside for secondary screening. Records of that interview were included by the Seattle Police Department in their emergency risk petition last month.During the interview, Cole told CBP agents he had traveled to the Czech Republic, Poland and Ukraine with two friends from Washington State, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh and Edie Allison Moore. The trip, Cole said, was to “see the historic architecture and museums in Eastern European countries.” The three also attended a heavy metal festival while in Kyiv. The 2018 edition of Asgardsrei, a festival several National Socialist black metal bands have played in the past, was held in Kyiv from December 15-16 last year. Photographs from the concert posted to social media show an Atomwaffen Division flag brandished by individuals in the crowd. According to information obtained by The Daily Beast, Aidan Bruce-Umbaugh is a member of the Washington State cell of Atomwaffen Division, and goes by the moniker “Nythra.” The drummer for Kaleb Cole's old metal band, Operblut, is listed as “Nythra” on music websites. In the CBP interview, Cole told federal agents he and Bruce-Umbaugh had been friends since grade school.Border agents searched Cole's luggage, and found a skull mask balaclava and an Atomwaffen Division flag inside his bag. When questioned about press reports tying him to Atomwaffen Division, Cole admitted to his involvement with the group and stated that he “shares a Fascist ideology, 'strong dominate the weak'.” He also admitted he owned an AK-47 and multiple handguns “for his own protection.”Cole's phone was also searched by border agents, who downloaded several images from the device. Amongst them are a photograph of Cole and another man wearing skull mask balaclavas in front of the gates of Auschwitz, the death camp where the Nazis murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews. Images of him posing with other Atomwaffen members, firearms, and the group's flag were also recovered from Cole's phone.According to multiple sources close to law enforcement, Cole previously attracted the interest of Canadian authorities by frequently driving across the border to British Columbia, sometimes several times a week. In late May, Cole was detained by the Canadian Border Service Agency because of press reports linking him to Atomwaffen Division, as well as “his overseas travel to Ukraine,” where several right-wing extremists have traveled to fight with the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion against Russia-backed separatists.According to court records, he was held by Canadian authorities and placed into deportation proceedings due to his involvement in “an organization that may engage in terrorism,” per Section 34 [1][F] of the Canadian Immigration Code. According to records prepared by the Seattle Police Department, Cole was deported in July and “barred from Canada for life.”The Canadian Border Services Agency and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police both declined to comment on Cole's deportation, the Atomwaffen Division or its affiliated organizations in Canada, citing the restrictions of Canada’s Privacy Act. Earlier this year, Patrik Mathews, a master corporal in the Canadian Military Reserve went AWOL after being identified as a recruiter for the Base. Mathews—who reportedly came to the attention of multiple Canadian security agencies because racist material was previously found by the Canadian Border Services Agency in his car while crossing the border with the United States—is still at large.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:13:50 -0400
  • William Barr's speech on religious freedom alarms liberal Catholics

    Golocal247.com news

    Prominent liberal Catholics have warned that the U.S. attorney general’s devout Catholic faith threatens the separation of church and state, after William Barr delivered a speech on religious freedom in which he warned that “militant secularists” were behind a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.”

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:05:32 -0400
  • Let jihadists return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

    Golocal247.com news

    The refusal of the French government to take back Islamic State fighters from Syria could fuel a new jihadist recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP. David De Pas, coordinator of France's 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said that it would be "better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary" in France "than let them roam free". Turkey's offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 jihadists, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 07:39:02 -0400
  • Chile protests: At least eight people killed during riots in Santiago

    Golocal247.com news

    At least eight people have been killed in Chile during a second day of protests and rioting in the South American nation.Three people were left dead after a looted building was set ablaze, the governor of Santiago, the country’s capital, said.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 15:31:00 -0400
  • Egypt unveils biggest ancient coffin find in over a century

    Egypt on Saturday unveiled the details of 30 ancient wooden coffins with mummies inside discovered in the southern city of Luxor in the biggest find of its kind in more than a century. A team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered a "distinctive group of 30 coloured wooden coffins for men, women and children" in a cache at Al-Asasif cemetery on Luxor's west bank, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement on Saturday. "It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century," the Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 08:53:25 -0400
  • Could France and Germany Jointly Build an EU Aircraft Carrier?

    Golocal247.com news

    All in all, a European carrier will only come about in a world where Germany is willing and able to commit far more resources to defense than it currently does; and can arrive at a joint vision with France on how to use such an expensive vessel to project force abroad. That’s not the world we live in yet.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 23:00:00 -0400
  • Hondurans call for president to step down after drug verdict

    Golocal247.com news

    Opposition groups called Saturday for more protests to demand that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández be removed from office after his younger brother was convicted of drug trafficking in a New York court. President Hernández insisted via Twitter that the verdict is not against the state of Honduras, saying his government has fought drug trafficking. On Saturday he attended a parade to honor the country's armed forces and posted pictures of himself on Twitter smiling alongside the U.S. chargé d'affaires to Honduras, Colleen Hoey.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:04:52 -0400
  • 7 Things To Do With Your Old Smartphone

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • 'Totally gross': Susan Rice hits back at Trump after he criticizes her Syria policy

    Golocal247.com news

    Former Obama administration official Susan Rice hit back at Trump after he criticized her on Twitter.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:47:44 -0400
  • Lebanon rocked by vast protests demanding resignation of Hariri government

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    Lebanon was shaken on Sunday by its largest protests in years as young and old turned out en masse to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his coalition government. It marked the fourth day of protests following a proposal for new taxes, which ignited widespread anger over austerity measures and corruption in a deeply unequal society.  The plan - to tax WhatsApp calls and other third-party applications that have long afforded cash-strapped Lebanese a chance to chat for free - was quickly dropped. But the protests have morphed into demands for an overhaul of the entire political system in the crisis-ravaged country. After on Friday laying out a 72-hour deadline for parties to agree to a framework for economic reforms, Mr Hariri held round-the-clock meetings with Lebanon’s various political blocs to discuss proposals for the 2020 budget.  Late on Sunday Mr Hariri appeared to have bought himself some time with the announcement of a package of reforms including a 50 percent reduction in the salaries of current and former officials.  The reforms also include $3.3 billion in contributions from banks to reduce the deficit in the heavily indebted country, and plans to overhaul the crippled electricity sector. But they will not be confirmed until approved by the cabinet on Monday, and it is unclear whether they will go far enough. On Saturday night, the resignation of four ministers from the Christian Lebanese Forces, a party allied with Mr Hariri, underscored the chaos in government.  By Sunday evening, with just 24 hours to go before Mr Hariri’s deadline, the country’s streets were awash in flags and furious Lebanese taking aim at all corners. “Neither Saudi nor Iran will be able to take this protest down,” chanted demonstrators in downtown Beirut Sunday night, referencing the regional arch-rivals that have long jostled for control of the tiny Mediterranean country. In the predominantly Shia city of Tyre, in the country’s south, there were chants accusing parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, himself Shia, of corruption. There has also been vocal opposition to Hizbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah. “All of them means all of them. Nasrallah is one of them,” was heard throughout the protests.  While demonstrators called for the government’s departure, its actual collapse would likely herald even greater instability and economic disaster – something MPs seem anxious to avoid. Mr Hariri has hinted at resignation if his demands are not met. But there are few obvious alternatives to the current PM. Not only is the post limited to Sunnis by the country’s power-sharing system, but it is also unclear who would be willing to take over in such a disastrous economic situation. Mr Hariri formed the current government of national unity in February after nine months of wrangling. He is currently in his third term as leader.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 14:57:07 -0400
  • The coming end of Christian America

    America is still a "Christian nation," if the term simply means a majority of the population will claim the label when a pollster calls. But, as a new Pew Research report unsparingly explains, the decline of Christianity in the United States "continues at a rapid pace." A bare 65 percent of Americans now say they're Christians, down from 78 percent as recently as 2007. The deconverted are mostly moving away from religion altogether, and the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated -- the "nones" -- have swelled from 16 to 26 percent over the same period. If this rate of change continues, the U.S. will be majority non-Christian by about 2035, with the nones representing well over one third of the population.Smaller details from the study are equally striking. Protestantism lost its narrow claim to an outright majority of Americans' souls around 2012. While older generations remain at least two-thirds Christian, millennials have an even 49-49 split of Christians vs. nones (40 percent) and those of other faiths (9 percent). Religious service attendance rates haven't dramatically declined in the last decade, but they will soon if generational trends hold.As even the strictest practitioners of laicite must concede, major religious shifts like this will have equally major political effects -- but we are in somewhat uncharted territory as to what those effects may be. In broad strokes, this decline keeps the U.S. trailing Western Europe's religious and political evolution: the end of Christianity as a default faith and a move toward left/right politics that can be roughly characterized as socialism against nationalist populism. Yet Europe can hardly provide a clear window to our future, not least because many European states have both multi-party parliamentary systems and state churches.So what, then, should we expect of an increasingly post-Christian American politics? I have a few ideas.For ChristiansIn what remains of the American church, reactions to this decline will vary. Some will see it as a positive apocalypse, which is to say a revealing of what was always true. America was never really a Christian nation. Our government and society have long made choices and embraced values that are difficult, if not impossible, to square with Christianity, so an end of any association between the two is welcome. Likewise, the proportion of Americans who actually practiced Christian faith in any meaningful, life-altering sense was always substantially lower than the proportion who would identify as Christian in a poll. What we're seeing is less mass deconversion than a belated honesty which may be an opportunity for new faithfulness, repentance, or even revival.Other Christians, especially on the political right, will respond to this shift with sadness, alarm, or outright fear. And this is not mere selfishness, mere worry over loss of political or cultural power -- though certainly that is a factor for some. But if you believe, as people of faith generally do, that your religion communicates a necessary truth about God, the universe, humanity, the purpose of life and how we should live it -- well, then a precipitous decline in that religion is an inherently horrible thing with eternal implications for millions.Still other Christians (and I count myself among them) will land somewhere in between these two views. Yet all across this spectrum of responses, I suspect, we'll see an increasing concern for religious liberty as an ever-smaller portion of the broader public has a personal stake in its preservation as a special right distinct from freedoms of speech, association, and so on.Dumping fuel on this fire are proposals from the post-religious left -- Pew's data shows religion is especially on decline among white Democrats -- like Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke's plan to revoke tax exemptions for religious institutions that don't affirm gay marriage. As O'Rourke's fellow candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg commented, "I'm not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying." That includes the panic the idea induces among traditionally religious people who are already feeling isolated, caricatured, misunderstood by their country's cultural mainstream. (For more on that panic, see this helpful explainer from Vox's Jane Coaston.)For nonesFor religiously unaffiliated Americans, the political consequences of declining Christianity feel more difficult to predict, because this group is legitimately a new phenomenon. That is not to say there has never been a mass movement away from religion in a relatively modern, Western, democratic context -- see revolutionary France, for example, or, again, most of Western Europe. But there has never been anything like this in America, and you don't have to take a big swig of the American exceptionalism Kool-Aid to concede our country is in many ways unique. Moreover, there is a substantial difference between the humdrum religious apathy or vague spirituality of a none as compared to the murderous anti-Catholicism of a French revolutionary. In fact, that lack of specific opposition is key here: Many nones aren't consciously deconverting out of atheistic fervor. They're not rebelling against Christendom but growing up entirely in its aftermath. That is what makes this situation unprecedented.This caveat aside, I'd suggest the lack of a state church (which persists in nations as irreligious as Iceland, Sweden, Scotland, and the like) in America means religious efforts to obtain or keep political power will strike the unaffiliated rather differently here. No established religion means religious political action feels less like a tiresome anachronism -- outdated and unnecessary, but nice for Grandma -- and more like a threat of theocracy. In Europe, the state church already has a certain territory staked out as part of an ancient status quo. Here, every bit of territory is up for grabs, so the fight is always on.Yet as contradictory as it may seem, I'll also suggest left-wing nones may come to find they miss the religious right when grappling with its successor. The New York Times' Ross Douthat has argued the post-religious right of which President Trump has given us a glimpse will be an ugly beast indeed. Polling shows the "churchgoers who ultimately voted for Trump over Clinton still tend to hold different views than his more secular supporters," he wrote last year, including being "less authoritarian and tribal on race and identity. ...The trend was consistent: The more often a Trump voter attended church, the less white-identitarian they appeared, the more they expressed favorable views of racial minorities, and the less they agreed with populist arguments on trade and immigration." In other words, on the right, the decline of Christianity looks to mean the rise of racism, as the communal life of active faith is replaced by darker impulses.For allFinally, for Americans of any religious affiliation or none at all, the decline of Christianity will make political communication more difficult. For centuries the Christian faith has indelibly shaped the English vocabulary -- it is no exaggeration to say the King James Bible specifically is unparalleled in its cultural influence. That's especially so with politics, which beside religion is the most common context in which we discuss the world as it is and as it should be.The ways of thinking and turns of phrase that Christendom once made normative in America will become newly strange as Christianity declines. Those of us who remain religious will have to thoroughly rethink our assumptions about other Americans' frames of reference. I am regularly reminded of this by revealing expressions of religious ignorance by my fellow journalists, the archetypal example of which is an Associated Press headline which announced, after the famous cathedral burned, that "Tourist mecca Notre Dame [is] also revered as [a] place of worship." (For the AP writers, if no one else, "mecca" is a metaphor from Islam, and Notre Dame was a place of worship for centuries before the concept of tourism emerged. I read this headline to religious friends to peals of rueful laughter.)Perhaps, whether you are among the nones or not, you think moving toward a more secular shared vocabulary is a good thing. But even if you're right, the transition will be no less challenging. In an era of social fracture, loss of common language patterns can only exacerbate our disintegration. We have always talked against each other in politics; now we are talking past each other, too. As the decline of Christianity in the United States "continues at a rapid pace," it will influence every level of our fractious project of self-governance, down to our very words.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:35:01 -0400
  • Thousands protest against Haiti's president

    Golocal247.com news

    "Jovenel is incapable and incompetent, he must pack his bags because Haiti must live," said one of the protesters, Jean Ronald. Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:44:32 -0400
  • Boris Johnson Furious as Parliament Refuses to Be Bounced Into Brexit Deal

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    REUTERSLONDON—Boris Johnson was left raging on Saturday as lawmakers forced the prime minister to seek yet another Brexit delay from the European Union. The extremely rare parliamentary vote taken on a Saturday did not reject Johnson’s compromise deal with the EU outright, it merely demanded more time for the deal to be examined and inserted an additional failsafe to stop Britain from slipping out of the EU without an agreed deal on Halloween.No. 10 was furious because Johnson has repeatedly promised to leave the EU by October 31, and that will now become more difficult. Brexit campaign insiders lamented the destruction of Johnson’s “head of steam,” and an end to the momentum created by his unlikely success in securing a deal from Europe. After another vote that went against Johnson last month, the prime minister is now legally mandated to write to the EU asking for an extension to January 31. The government formally asked for the extension Saturday night, but also sent a letter from Johnson arguing against the delay.EU Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet that he had received the request. “I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react,” he said.Johnson is expected to bring the withdrawal legislation to the floor of the House of Commons early next week, so he may only have to wait a few days to secure victory but Labour opponents—and nervous No. 10 insiders—believe that potential support for the deal may ebb away once lawmakers get the chance to fully examine the fineprint.Just two days after Johnson was back-slapping European counterparts and clasping hands with fellow leaders, his precarious grip on power was underlined once again in a vote that went against him by 322 to 306.In response, Johnson stood up and said he would refuse to “negotiate” a further extension with the EU. He stopped short of saying he would refuse to comply with the law and send the extension letter, although he reiterated his hopes that the EU would not immediately grant an extension. “I don't think they'll be attracted by delay,” he said.As lawmakers continued to debate the result, Johnson sat slumped on the frontbench shaking his head. It was a sharp contrast to his mood two days earlier. Tickled pink with the deal he had unexpectedly secured from the EU, Johnson had sought to rush back to Westminster and bounce parliament into agreeing. One of his own long-term colleagues, Sir Oliver Letwin, had other ideas. Letwin is a veteran Conservative right-winger who has been in the heart of Conservative thinking for decades. He was a member of Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit in the 1980s and entrusted by David Cameron to write the Tory manifesto in 2010.He was kicked out of the party last month by Johnson after voting to ensure there wouldn’t be a No Deal Brexit. He exacted his revenge on Saturday by wrecking Johnson’s chance for a victorious homecoming. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:07:52 -0400
  • U.S. Proposed to Help North Korea Build Tourist Area: Report

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. officials proposed a long-term plan to help North Korea construct a tourist area in return for denuclearization during recent working-level talks in Stockholm, Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported.U.S. negotiators prepared plans on the development of the Kalma tourist area, the paper said, citing an unidentified senior South Korean diplomat familiar with the talks in Stockholm. The paper didn’t say how North Korea reacted to the proposal.North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been pushing to complete a resort construction in the Wonsan-Kalma coastal area. In August, Pak Pong Ju, a key member of the ruling party’s politburo, visited the region to encourage workers to make the area “a scenic spot” on the east coast.The talks in Stockholm earlier in October were the first in about eight months between the U.S. and North Korea, but ended with little agreement about what was even on the table. North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Myong Gil said the U.S. arrived “empty-handed” to the meeting, a point disputed by State Department officials.To contact the reporter on this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at kkong50@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Jasmine NgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 05:17:06 -0400
  • School apologizes after photo showing students with cardboard boxes over their heads during exam goes viral

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    An school in India has issued an apology after a bizarre image of students wearing cardboard boxes on their heads went viral. The images were taken during a chemistry exam at Bhagat Pre-University College in the town of Haveri.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:41:03 -0400
  • Why Did 3 U.S. Navy Submarines Surface In The Pacific In 2010? China.

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    Submarines are useful for signaling intent.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:00:00 -0400
  • Detroit-area men who sent millions to Yemen spared prison

    Golocal247.com news

    A group of Detroit-area men opened bank accounts to move millions of dollars to Yemen, their war-torn native country. One by one, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn declined to send them to prison, despite guidelines that call for a few years or more behind bars. The Detroit area is believed to have the highest U.S. population of Yemenis, a demographic that has risen amid war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions more with food and health care shortages.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 11:22:54 -0400
  • Mitt Romney said everyone in the Senate is 'really nice' except for Bernie Sanders, who 'just kind of scowls'

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    Romney has emerged as one of the few Republican senators willing to take a stand against Trump, but he says most people are really nice.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 20:53:18 -0400
  • Russia's Putin revokes Geneva convention protocol on war crimes victims

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has revoked an additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions related to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts, a Russian parliamentary website cites a letter from him as saying. The Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention was ratified by the Soviet Union's Supreme Council, or parliament, in 1989. Putin's letter, dated Oct. 16 and addressed to the speaker of lower house of parliament on the "recall of the statement made at the ratification", said an international commission, set up in order to investigate war crimes against civilians, "has effectively failed to carry out its functions since 1991".

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 10:46:55 -0400
  • The Chicago teachers' strike shows how to go on offense against neoliberalism

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    Chicago teachers led the battle against destructive reforms seven years ago – now they’re showing all working people left behind by cuts how to fight‘Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population.’ Photograph: Xinhua/Barcroft MediaIn 2012, when Chicago teachers walked off the job in their first strike in 25 years, the cards were stacked against them, nationally and locally. Today, they’re on strike again – and on the offense against austerity.Seven years ago, Rahm Emanuel had just been elected mayor and was looking to deal the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who he saw as a barrier to privatizing the city’s education system, a crushing defeat. That agenda was shared by both Republicans and Democrats across the country, with a barrage of attacks on teachers’ unions, devastating budget cuts to schools and charter school networks – intended to undercut public schools and do an end run around their unions – rapidly multiplying.Yet after electing a new militant leadership in 2010 that pledged to fight not just for bread-and-butter issues like higher pay but a broad agenda of “educational justice” and opposition to austerity, Chicago teachers won that strike, inspiring educators and workers of all kinds across the country – and planting the seeds of future unrest in schools across West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Oakland, Denver and elsewhere, in the teachers’ strike wave that kicked off last year.Chicago teachers are again on strike, now against the recently elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot. As in 2012, their demands are focused on burning issues in their schools and the city as a whole rather than simply wages and benefits (a strategy that has been called “bargaining for the common good”). And they’re waging that fight alongside another striking union, SEIU Local 73, which represents bus aides, janitors, classroom assistants and other school staff – many of whom earn below-poverty wages.CTU’s staffing demands are straightforward: a nurse, counselor, librarian and social worker in every school. The current ratio of students to counselors, nurses and social workers in Chicago public schools (CPS) far exceeds professional association recommendations. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends one psychologist for every 700 students; last year, each CPS psychologist served 1,760. For nurses, the ratio is four times what is recommended; for social workers, nearly five times. The union is also demanding enforceable caps so that classes aren’t overcrowded, which CTU says is the case in nearly a quarter of all Chicago classrooms.The union is also connecting its bargaining to the city’s affordable housing crisis, demanding housing assistance for both its members and its students, nearly 16,000 of whom experience homelessness. The op-ed pages of the city’s newspapers have upbraided this proposal, but CTU argues that “to fully support our public schools, we must address the lack of sustainable, affordable housing in our city” – a problem faced by cities throughout the country.CTU is breaking new ground, both in the kinds of broad working-class demands it is putting forward and by striking alongside SEIU Local 73. Together, the coordinated strikes have put more than 30,000 workers on the picket lines – more than 1% of the city’s population. Yesterday, a sea of CTU red and SEIU purple swarmed the city’s downtown in the afternoon, with thousands on the streets for a mass march after morning school pickets.The union is up against Lightfoot, a political newcomer who won office earlier this year by campaigning as a progressive and running on an education agenda that borrowed heavily from CTU’s: an elected school board rather than one appointed by the mayor, a freeze on charter expansion and major investments in public schools. But Lightfoot’s progressive posturing is now running up against tens of thousands striking Chicago teachers and staff who want more than progressive rhetoric – they want hard commitments, put in writing and legally enforceable through their contract.If she continues to balk at union demands at the bargaining table, Lightfoot will probably see the goodwill she has maintained from average Chicagoans since taking office disappear. The signs don’t look good for her: a Chicago Sun-Times poll conducted just before the strike shows that the public is backing the CTU over the mayor and school board. The same was true for Rahm Emanuel in 2012.Critics on the school board and in mainstream media have responded with the common refrain that Chicago is broke and can’t afford such demands. But Chicago is awash in wealth – enough for Lightfoot to approve the giveaway of $1.3bn in public money to luxury real estate firm Sterling Bay for the mega-development project Lincoln Yards. CTU has long argued that the way to pay for their demands is clear: end these corporate giveaways and tax the rich.The nationwide neoliberal education reform movement was on the march when CTU struck in 2012. But after numerous corruption scandals, growing charter school unionization and strikes, and teacher walk-offs in states throughout the country, that movement is on its heels. Just as the Democratic party has been forced to at least feint left on issues like Medicare for All and free public college tuition because of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaigns, the party has been forced to back off of its most fervent support for corporate education reform.Chicago teachers led the way in the fight against these destructive reforms seven years ago. Today, they’re showing educators around the country how to fight not only for themselves, but for all working people who have been left behind by budget cuts and the dismantling of the public sector.The education policy scholar Pauline Lipman once described Chicago as “the incubator, test case and model for the neoliberal urban education agenda”. This week, teachers are working to make sure Chicago is where that agenda ends. * Miles Kampf-Lassin is an editor at In These Times. * Micah Uetricht is the managing editor of Jacobin and host of its podcast The Vast Majority. He is the author of Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity and coauthor of the forthcoming Bigger Than Bernie: How We Go From the Sanders Campaign to Political Revolution in Our Lifetimes

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 06:00:22 -0400
  • Ousted Communist leader Zhao Ziyang is buried: family

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    A former Chinese Communist Party leader ousted after he opposed the use of force to quell 1989 democracy protests was buried over a decade after he died, his family said, in a service ignored by state media. Zhao Ziyang, who is a revered figure among Chinese human rights defenders, is still a sensitive topic in the country, where commemorations of his death are held under tight surveillance or prevented altogether. There was no mention of his burial ceremony Friday on state media, and searching for his name on social media returned no results.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:13 -0400
  • Lost hiker rescued in Oregon snowstorm: 'I wouldn’t have survived another night'

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    Lost in a fierce snowstorm on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon, hiker Robb Campbell made a desperate call for help.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 21:27:44 -0400
  • Priscilla to unleash flooding rainfall across southwest Mexico early this week

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    A new tropical system will bring a heightened risk of flash flooding and mudslides to southwestern Mexico through Monday.The new tropical threat formed about 105 miles (169 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico, early Sunday morning, and was upgraded to a tropical storm just a few hours later.As of 4 p.m. CDT Sunday, Priscilla had made landfall east of Manzanillo, Mexico, and had weakened into a tropical depression. The system was moving north at 9 mph (15 km/h) with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h). This satellite image shows newly formed Tropical Depression 19 off the southwestern coast of Mexico early Sunday morning. (NOAA/GOES-EAST) The storm will dissipate over the next 24-36 hours while tracking inland over southwestern Mexico."The system will quickly weaken and dissipate Sunday night," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.No matter the status of Priscilla, heavy rainfall is expected to be the main impact from the system. AccuWeather meteorologists expect widespread rainfall totals of 3-6 inches (76-152 mm), with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 10 inches (254 mm).Portions of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima and Michoacan are expected to bear the brunt of this rainfall."This rain will lead to the risk for dangerous flooding and mudslides across the region," Miller said.The area's steep terrain will heighten the risk of fast-moving, potentially life-threatening debris flows.This system is designated a less than 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes. The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes ranges from values of less than 1 to 5.Elsewhere in the East Pacific basin, there are no other immediate tropical threats this week. Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest forecast and advisories for your region. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 06:18:21 -0400
  • Boeing Pilot Complained of 'Egregious' Issue With 737 Max in 2016

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    For months, Boeing has said it had no idea that a new automated system in the 737 Max jet, which played a role in two fatal crashes, was unsafe.But on Friday, the company gave lawmakers a transcript revealing that a top pilot working on the plane had raised concerns about the system in messages to a colleague in 2016, more than two years before the Max was grounded because of the accidents, which left 346 people dead.In the messages, the pilot, Mark Forkner, who played a central role in the development of the plane, complained that the system, known as MCAS, was acting unpredictably in a flight simulator: "It's running rampant."The messages are from November 2016, months before the Max was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. "Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious," he said sardonically to a colleague, according to a transcript of the exchange reviewed Friday by The New York Times.The Max crisis has consumed Boeing, and the revelation of the messages from Forkner come at a particularly sensitive time. The company's chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, is scheduled to testify before two congressional committees, on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, the first time a Boeing executive has appeared at a hearing related to the crashes. Boeing's stock lost 7% of its value Friday, adding to the financial fallout.The existence of the messages strike at Boeing's defense that it had done nothing wrong regarding the Max because regulators had cleared the plane to fly, and potentially increases the company's legal exposure as it faces civil and criminal investigations and multiple lawsuits related to both crashes. Facing competition from Airbus, Boeing worked to produce the Max as quickly as possible, striving to minimize costly training for pilots. Last week, a task force of 10 international regulators released a report that found that Boeing had not fully explained MCAS to the FAA."This is more evidence that Boeing misled pilots, government regulators and other aviation experts about the safety of the 737 Max," Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said in a statement Friday.Boeing has maintained that the Max was certified in accordance with all appropriate regulations, suggesting that there was no sign that MCAS was unsafe.That contention was central to the company's rationale in not grounding the Max after the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last October, and in waiting days to recommend grounding the plane after the second crash, of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March.It was only after data suggested that MCAS played a role in the second crash that Boeing and the FAA decided to ground the Max.Forkner was the chief technical pilot for the Max and was in charge of communicating with the FAA group that determined how pilots would be trained before flying it. He helped Boeing convince international regulators that the Max was safe to fly.In the messages, he said that during tests in 2016, the simulator showed the plane making unexpected movements through a process called trimming."The plane is trimming itself like craxy," he wrote to Patrik Gustavsson, a fellow 737 technical pilot at Boeing. "I'm like WHAT?"Forkner went on to say that he had lied to the FAA."I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly)," Forkner says in the messages, although it was not clear what he was specifically referring to.Lawmakers, regulators and pilots responded with swift condemnation Friday."This is the smoking gun," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said in an interview. "This is no longer just a regulatory failure and a culture failure. It's starting to look like criminal misconduct."Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he expected answers from Boeing's chief executive and board of directors."They must be held accountable if Boeing was deceptive or misleading in failing to report safety concerns," Blumenthal said in an interview. "What these reports indicate is that Boeing's own employees lied and concealed the truth."The FAA administrator, Stephen Dickson, sent Muilenburg a letter Friday morning demanding that the company account for why it had not provided the messages to the agency earlier."I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing's delay in disclosing the document to its safety regulator," Dickson wrote.A Boeing spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said the company was "voluntarily cooperating" with the congressional investigation and provided the messages to lawmakers as part of that process. He noted that the company gave the messages to the Department of Justice, which is conducting a criminal investigation into Boeing, earlier this year.A Boeing spokesman said the company did not give the messages to the FAA earlier because of the ongoing criminal investigation.The Max has been grounded for more than seven months, and airlines do not expect to fly it again this year. The FAA and Boeing have repeatedly pushed back the expected date of the plane's return to service as regulators and the company uncover new problems with the plane.The crisis has already cost Boeing more than $8 billion. It has disrupted expansion plans for airlines around the world, which have had to cancel thousands of flights and lost hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.The Times, which was the first to disclose Forkner's involvement in the plane, previously reported that he had failed to tell the FAA that the original version of MCAS was being overhauled, leaving regulators with the impression that the system was relatively benign and would be used only in rare cases.Eight months before the messages were exchanged, Forkner had asked the FAA if it would be OK to remove mention of MCAS from the pilot's manual. The FAA, which at the time believed the system would activate only in rare cases and wasn't dangerous, approved Forkner's request.Another exchange, in a batch of emails among Forkner, Boeing colleagues and FAA officials, was also reviewed by The Times on Friday. In one email from November 2016, Forkner wrote that he was "jedi-mind tricking regulators into accepting the training that I got accepted by FAA."A lawyer for Forkner downplayed the importance of the messages, suggesting Forkner was talking about issues with the simulator."If you read the whole chat, it is obvious that there was no 'lie' and the simulator program was not operating properly," the lawyer, David Gerger, said in a statement. "Based on what he was told, Mark thought the plane was safe, and the simulator would be fixed."Flight simulators replicate real cockpits and are used to test planes during development. They can sometimes behave unpredictably, depending on their configuration.Forkner, who is now a pilot for Southwest Airlines, and Gustavsson did not respond to requests for comment.Boeing provided the transcript to lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Friday morning, in advance of the hearings this month at which Muilenburg will testify about the crashes for the first time. Reuters was first to report on the existence of the transcript.DeFazio, who as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is overseeing the investigation into the crashes, said he had reviewed other internal Boeing documents and emails that suggested employees were under pressure to produce planes as fast as possible and avoid additional pilot training."Boeing cannot say this is about one person," DeFazio said. "This is about a cultural failure at Boeing under pressure from Wall Street to just get this thing out there and make sure that you don't open the door to further pilot training."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 04:30:14 -0400
  • FACT: Cuba Hosted Russian Spy Planes to Use Against America

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    A forgotten tale of the cold war.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 15:00:00 -0400
  • Report: Synagogue massacre led to string of attack plots

    At least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue nearly one year ago, a Jewish civil rights group reported Sunday. The Anti-Defamation League also counted at least 50 incidents in which white supremacists are accused of targeting Jewish institutions' property since a gunman killed 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018. The ADL said its nationwide count of anti-Semitic incidents remains near record levels.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 19:35:35 -0400
  • Mick Mulvaney Melts Down Under Brutal Grilling By Fox’s Chris Wallace

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    Days after his disastrous White House press briefing in which he admitted President Donald Trump was seeking out a quid pro quo with Ukraine before saying never mind, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney struggled to walk back his comments under the intense and relentless grilling of Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.Almost immediately during the Sunday morning broadcast, Wallace pressed Mulvaney on his remarks, asking why he said during the press conference that military aid to Ukraine depended on investigating the actions of Democrats during the 2016 election, prompting Mulvaney to assert that he never actually said that.“Again, that’s not what I said, that's what people said I said,” he replied before saying there were “two reasons” why the United States would have held up aid: corruption and whether other European nations were helping with aid.Mick Mulvaney Has Conservatives Asking: WTF Are You Doing?Wallace, meanwhile, didn’t let Mulvaney’s spin go unchecked, telling the chief of staff that anyone listening to the briefing could “come to only one conclusion” before playing clips Mulvaney confirming that Trump withheld aid unless the Ukrainians investigated the Democrats.Mulvaney continued to insist that he had been misinterpreted and that aid was only contingent on corruption and additional European assistance, causing the Fox News anchor to fire back.“I hate to go through this but you said what you said,” Wallace stated. “And the fact is, after that exchange with [ABC News correspondent] Jonathan Karl, you were asked another time why the aid was held up. What was the condition for the aid? And you didn’t mention two conditions, you mentioned three conditions.”Wallace, once again, threw Mulvaney’s own remarks back in his face, playing yet another clip from the press briefing of Mulvaney claiming military aid to Ukraine was contingent upon them cooperating with the Trump administration and investigating the Democrats.The Trump aide, however, attempted to brush off his previous remarks by saying he didn’t actually use the words “quid pro quo,” prompting Wallace to point out that when Karl pressed him on whether or not there was a quid pro quo, Mulvaney said that “happens all the time.”Fox News Host Ed Henry: Not ‘Media’s Fault’ Mick Mulvaney Admitted Quid Pro QuoThe two would go back and forth over this issue for a few more minutes, with Wallace repeatedly cornering Mulvaney over his previous comments and the chief of staff flailing away and struggling to present even a laughable defense.At one point, Wallace asked Mulvaney whether he had offered his resignation to Trump in the wake of the blowback and criticism he received over the press briefing. Mulvaney said the topic was “absolutely not” discussed with the president, adding that he is “very happy working there.”CNN, meanwhile, reported Sunday that prior to the impeachment crisis that Trump finds himself currently embroiled in, there were internal efforts to push Mulvaney out as acting chief of staff. Those efforts subsided, however, when the push for impeachment heated up in the wake of the Ukraine scandal late last month.Besides the issues surrounding the Ukraine scandal and impeachment, Wallace also grilled Mulvaney on the president’s sudden reversal on next year’s G7 summit, which Mulvaney announced last week would be held at Trump’s personal property. Asked by Wallace why the president “caved” to the bipartisan backlash, Mulvaney said Trump was “honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” adding that the president “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”Wallace seized on the “hospitality business” comment and pressed Mulvaney if the president understood why it “looked lousy.” The acting chief of staff's retort: “I think he thinks people think it looks lousy.”Sean Hannity Goes Off on Mick Mulvaney: ‘I Just Think He’s Dumb’Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 12:58:47 -0400
  • Deadly protests in Guinea as Russia calls for change of rules to keep despot in power

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    When police shot dead nine pro-democracy protesters in Guinea this week, Western embassies quietly shared their misgivings with the country’s president, Alpha Conde. International human rights groups were more unequivocal. François Patuel of Amnesty International denounced “a shameful attempt by Guinean authorities to stifle dissent by any means necessary”. But one major power seemed unperturbed. Mr Conde’s ruthless response to protests against his apparent efforts to cling to power not only suited Russia, it seems probable that they were tacitly endorsed by the Kremlin. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, will host leaders from 35 African states at a summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as he seeks to consolidate Moscow’s growing influence in the world’s poorest continent. Russia may lack the heft of its rivals, able neither to match the West in aid nor China in terms of infrastructure financing, but it does have other resources with which to woo African leaders, particularly those of a more authoritarian bent. Vladimir Putin is looking to expand Russian influence Not only has Russia sold arms to 18 African states over the past decade, its mercenaries have fanned out across the continent to offer protection and other services to receptive governments.  “Political technologists” have also allegedly mounted disinformation campaigns in several recent African elections. In return, Russia has won concessions to mine minerals and secured backing from African delegates at the United Nations. Russia’s blossoming relationship with Mr Conde is an example of just how successful its muscular Africa policy can be. Guineans are meant to elect a new president next year. Having served two five-year terms, Mr Conde is constitutionally barred from standing again, but has made it increasingly clear that he is not yet ready to surrender the presidency. At least four people have been killed in Guinea's capital after police fired tear gas and bullets Monday to disperse thousands of opposition supporters Credit: AP To do so, Guinea will need an entirely new constitution, plans for which have already been advanced by Mr Conde’s ruling party.  The opposition has accused the president of seeking to ease its path by stacking the constitutional court, taming the electoral commission and delaying parliamentary elections by more than a year to protect his narrow legislative majority. Russia has openly given its cover to Mr Conde’s efforts. In an extraordinary intervention, brazen even by the Kremlin’s standards, Russia’s ambassador, made a televised address on New Year’s Eve backing a constitutional change. Alexander Bregadze told Guineans they would be mad to allow the "legendary" Mr Conde to step down, saying: “Do you know many countries in Africa that do better? Do you know many presidents in Africa who do better?” “It’s constitutions that adapt to reality, not reality that adapts to constitutions.” Such naked campaigning from a diplomat is unusual. But Russia has a vital relationship to nurture.  Guinea holds the world’s largest reserves of bauxite, the ore that is refined and smelted to produce aluminium. The Russian firm Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer outside Russia, sources more than a quarter of its bauxite from Guinea. Guinea’s importance to Russia grew immeasurably last year after the United States imposed sanctions on Rusal and its co-owner, the oligarch and close Putin ally Oleg Deripaska. Sanctions have since been lifted on Rusal but not on Mr Deripaska. Young people block the road as they protest against a possible third term of President Alpha Conde on October 16, 2019, in Conakry Credit: AFP The significance of the relationship was underscored when Mr Bregadze stepped down as ambassador in May to head Rusal’s operations in Guinea. Other Russian firms also have mineral interests in Guinea. Tellingly, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a shadowy Kremlin associate linked to mercenary and mining outfits in Africa, is understood to have set up operations in Guinea. Mr Putin has wooed President Conde, too, twice inviting him to Moscow for talks. Guinea’s opposition has denounced what it says is Russian interference. Protesters last week made their feelings clear by blockading a Rusal-owned railway line used to transport bauxite. Their anger is likely to achieve little. Emboldened by Russian backing, Mr Conde has only cracked down harder. Last week, nine senior opposition figures were charged with insurrection. They face five years in prison. Given everything it has invested in Mr Conde, Russia cannot risk the opposition coming to power. When Mr Putin meets his guest in Sochi, he is likely to encourage him to persist with repression.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 10:54:27 -0400
  • Worst Baku Clashes in Years Followed by Claims of Critic's Abuse

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    (Bloomberg) -- The political fallout of rare anti-government demonstrations is spreading in Azerbaijan, with the European Union issuing a warning and an opposition leader saying he was beaten up by riot police following his arrest on Saturday.An unathorized rally by hundreds of protesters demanding freedom of assembly, which has effectively been denied since the start of 2019, ended in the worst violence the Azeri capital has seen in years. Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan Party, was detained with scores of his supporters as they defied a ban to demonstrate in central Baku.“Six to seven police officers handcuffed me, throwing me onto the floor and kicking me,” Karimli said in a video statement on his Facebook page. With bruises visible on his head, face and neck, Karimli said he was beaten so severely that at some point he lost consciousness.While Azerbaijan ranks among the world’s most corrupt and repressive governments, arrests or torture of leaders of opposition parties are rare in the energy-rich former Soviet republic.With parliamentary elections looming next year, demonstrators gathered on Saturday despite a heavy security presence, demanding the resignation of the country’s longtime President Ilham Aliyev. Karimli and other leaders of the secular opposition are using social media to galvanize public support for a peaceful shift to democracy.Authorities had offered demonstrators a remote location on the outskirts of the city to conduct the rally.Europe’s WarningThe EU’s executive arm called for an investigation into reports of excessive and unprovoked force, urging the Azeri government to release the detained opposition protesters.“Freedom of assembly is a fundamental human right and we expect Azerbaijan to ensure that it can be fully exercised, in line with the country’s international obligations,” European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a statement.After being detained and dragged into a police car, Karimli was eventually taken to hospital where he received stitches to his forehead and his body was screened for injuries. He was later released home.The Interior Ministry’s press service didn’t answer calls for comment. Sahlab Bagirov, commander of the riot police, on Saturday rejected claims police used excessive force.In a statement late Saturday, the Interior Ministry said 60 people were detained for attending the demonstration. Of those, 42 were “warned” and released. The remaining 18 will stand trial.To contact the editors responsible for this story: Torrey Clark at tclark8@bloomberg.net, Paul Abelsky, Angela CullenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:26:54 -0400
  • One year on, migrant caravan leaves unexpected legacy

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    A year ago, thousands of Central American men, women and children chasing the American dream arrived in Mexico in a massive caravan that has left a lasting legacy -- just not the one people generally thought it would. Fleeing chronic poverty and brutal gang violence at home, they banded together in hopes of finding safety in numbers against the dangers of the journey, including criminal gangs that regularly extort, kidnap and kill migrants. The images made an impact around the world: carrying their meager belongings on their backs, many migrants pressed small children to their chests or held them by the hand.

    Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:25:40 -0400
  • UPDATE 1-Bangladesh to move Rohingya to flood-prone island next month

    Bangladesh will start relocating Rohingya Muslims to a flood-prone island off its coast next month as several thousand refugees have agreed to move, a government official said on Sunday. Dhaka wants to move 100,000 refugees to Bhasan Char – a Bay of Bengal island hours by boat from the mainland – to ease overcrowding in its camps at Cox’s Bazar, home to more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who have fled neighbouring Myanmar. "We want to start relocation by early next month," Mahbub Alam Talukder, the Relief and Repatriation Commission chief based in Cox’s Bazar, told Reuters, adding that "the refugees will be shifted in phases".

    Sun, 20 Oct 2019 09:08:33 -0400
  • Legionnaires' outbreak linked to hot tub display at North Carolina fair claims fourth fatality

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    The epicenter of the deadly Legionnaires' outbreak was the Mountain State Fair, held at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in September.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:43:43 -0400
  • The U.S. Army And Marines Have a Plan To Take On China and Russia's Navies

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    Dispersed attacks from land and sea.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 09:00:00 -0400
  • Trump calls Mexico's president to express 'solidarity'

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    Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said on Saturday that President Trump called him to express his "solidarity" following an attempt to arrest a drug kingpin's son that prompted a wave of violence in the city of Culiacan.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 16:42:58 -0400
  • Hong Kong says murder suspect wants to surrender to Taiwan

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    Hong Kong's leader said Saturday the murder suspect whose case inadvertently helped ignite the city's protest movement wants to surrender to authorities in Taiwan. Carrie Lam told reporters that Hong Kong's government would "actively follow up on" a letter she received from Chan Tong-kai requesting help to give himself up. Chan is wanted by Taiwan authorities for allegedly killing his girlfriend during a trip to the self-ruled island last year.

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 02:59:40 -0400
  • As Inquiry Widens, McConnell Sees Impeachment Trial as Inevitable

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    WASHINGTON -- It was only a few weeks ago that the top Senate Republican was hinting that his chamber would make short work of impeachment.But this week, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, sat his colleagues down over lunch in the Capitol and warned them to prepare for an extended impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.According to people who were there, he came equipped with a PowerPoint presentation, complete with quotes from the Constitution, as he schooled fellow senators on the intricacies of a process he portrayed as all but inevitable.Few Republicans are inclined to convict Trump on charges that he abused his power to enlist Ukraine in an effort to smear his political rivals. Instead, McConnell, R-Ky., sees the proceedings as necessary to protect a half-dozen moderates in states like Maine, Colorado and North Carolina who face reelection next year and must show voters they are giving the House impeachment charges a serious review.It's people like Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who will be under immense political pressure as they decide the president's fate."To overturn an election, to decide whether or not to convict a president is about as serious as it gets," Collins said.McConnell is walking a careful line of his own in managing the fast-moving impeachment process. On Friday, the senator wrote a scathing op-ed criticizing the president's decision to pull back troops from northern Syria, calling it a "grave strategic mistake," without naming Trump. But McConnell, who is known for his ruthless partisan maneuvering, also views it as his role to protect a president of his own party from impeachment, and in a recent fundraising video, he vowed to stop it.The mood among Republicans on Capitol Hill has shifted from indignant to anxious as a parade of administration witnesses has submitted to closed-door questioning by impeachment investigators and corroborated central elements of the whistleblower complaint that sparked the inquiry.They grew more worried still Thursday, after Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, undercut the president's defense by saying that Trump had indeed withheld security aid from Ukraine in order to spur an investigation of his political rivals. Mulvaney later backtracked, but the damage was done."I couldn't believe it -- I was very surprised that he said that," said Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., who mocked Mulvaney's attempts to take back comments, that had been broadcast live from the White House briefing room."It's not an Etch-A-Sketch," Rooney said, miming the tipping movement that erases the toy drawing board. "There were a lot of Republicans looking at that headline yesterday when it came up, I certainly was."Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is seen as potentially open to removing Trump from office -- told reporters that a president should never engage in the kinds of actions that Mulvaney appeared to acknowledge."You don't hold up foreign aid that we had previously appropriated for a political initiative," she said. "Period."Still, Republicans said they did not detect a significant shift that would pose a serious threat to the president in the Senate. It would require 20 Republicans to side with Democrats in convicting Trump, and few observers believe that will happen.McConnell, his allies said, regards the impeachment fight in much the same way as he did the struggle last year to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, in which he was primarily concerned with protecting his Senate majority by insulating vulnerable incumbents. Then, as now, they said, McConnell is focused on keeping Republicans as united as possible, while allowing those with reservations about Trump's conduct and their own political considerations to justify their decision to their constituents."I think he will play it straight," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a close McConnell ally, who noted his party's narrow voting margin. "I don't think he has any alternative. When you are operating with 53 you have thin margins and you can't jam anybody or you end up with undesirable consequences."McConnell has told colleagues he expects the House to impeach Trump quickly, possibly by Thanksgiving, an educated hunch based on the pace of the inquiry so far and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to keep the inquiry narrowly focused on Trump's dealings with Ukraine. He plans to move swiftly too, he told colleagues, using the approach of Christmas to force the Senate to complete its work before the beginning of 2020.Yet an impeachment trial is a spectacle that is by its nature unpredictable, and most of the senators who will act as jurors were not around for the last one, of Bill Clinton in 1999. McConnell reminded senators that Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and would have wide latitude in handling motions that might be made, including any motion to dismiss the charges that Republicans might try to put forward to short circuit the process.McConnell's declaration that the Senate would move forward was in part designed to show he had no choice, an effort to deflect criticism from conservatives outraged that the Senate would even consider impeachment.On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed for Senate Republicans to write a letter to Pelosi declaring that they would not remove the president. But some senators raised objections, worrying that some of their colleagues would not want to sign on, a result that would expose disunity among Republicans. Graham's colleagues said they believe they staved off the letter, which they viewed as a mistake.McConnell has made it clear that he plans to sit down with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, to see if they can find a mutually acceptable way to move forward as Democrats and Republicans did in 1999 when they unanimously agreed on the framework for the impeachment trial. The Senate is much more polarized now, though Schumer this week held out hope."We have to do this trial in a fair and bipartisan way and I hope that Leader McConnell would obey those strictures," Schumer said. In the battle for Senate control, Democrats have their own political risks to consider since impeachment could prompt a backlash against some of their candidates if enough voters conclude that the president was pursued unfairly.Just 15 senators remain in office from the time Clinton was put on trial. McConnell warned them of the weight of the trial, where they can be required to be on the floor all afternoon six days a week without speaking -- a major challenge for senators who relish their chances to be heard."It will mean day after day sitting in chamber, listening to the two sides, writing questions for them to answer that go through the chief justice," said Collins, one of the Republicans who voted to acquit Clinton 20 years ago. "Members who have not been through this before will find it is a great deal of work."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company

    Sat, 19 Oct 2019 17:57:28 -0400
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