Archive | June 27th, 2017

Journalists Increasingly Unsafe in the Indian Subcontinent

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  • Journalists in India.
    Journalists in India. | Photo: Reuters
India and Pakistan headed the list with seven of the professional journalists killed in the last six months.

The Indian subcontinent as a whole today stands on the cusp of being a danger zone for journalists, as the region witnessed the murder of over 10 journalists in the first half of 2017.

RELATED: Indian Metro Praised for Including Transgender Workers

India and Pakistan headed the list with seven of the professional journalists killed in the last six months; with Bangladesh, Myanmar and Maldives added one casualty each.

The year started with sad news for India as the dead body of a Jharkhand-based journalist was recovered in Hazaribagh in the first week of the year.

Hari Prakash, 31, whose body was found on Jan. 2, on a roadside was missing for some days. The family members of Hari, who was a law graduate working for a Hindi daily, alleged that he was kidnapped and later killed.

More bad news was awaiting the families of media professionals as a Bihar-based journalist was shot dead at a Samastipur locality on Jan. 3, by some
unidentified assailants. Brajesh Kumar Singh, 28, received serious injuries to his head and died on the spot. It was the third assassination of a journalist in Bihar within a year after Rajdeo Ranjan and Dharmendra Kumar Singh were killed in 2016.

The third and fourth incidents involving the murder of working journalists were reported in Madhya Pradesh. Shyam Sharma, 40, who worked for a local evening newspaper, was stabbed to death in the Anshul neighborhood of Indore on May 15. Shyam received multiple injuries and died on the spot. Meanwhile, the local police have arrested two suspects for their alleged role in the murder.

Kamlesh Jain, 42, was shot dead in his office in the Pipliyamandi locality of Mandsaur on the evening of May 31. Kamlesh was rushed to a nearby hospital, where the attending doctors pronounced him dead. According to the police on duty, two people entered Kamlesh’s office and one of them shot him. The culprits quickly fled from the location on motorcycles.

Working for Nai Dunia, a Hindi daily, the journalist had recently exposed a few local people involved in illegal liquor trades through a number of roadside Dhabas, or restaurants. He was also threatened with dire consequences a few days before his death. The police took prompt action and arrested two individuals.

Various journalists organizations from Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh along with Journalists’ Forum Assam, Indian Journalists Union, National Federation of Newspaper Employees, Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists and others, expressed serious concerns over the murder of the journalists and asked the responsible authorities to find and arrest the culprits.

Condemning the assassinations of Shyam and Kamlesh, the IFJ commented, “two murders in nearly two weeks illustrate the dangerous conditions
that journalists in India are facing.” The global media group called on Indian authorities to immediately and thoroughly investigate these murders and bring those responsible to justice.

RELATEDIndia: Thousands Rally in Support of Communist-Led Tripura Government

In a recent statement, the IFJ, representing over 6,00,000 journalists in 140 countries, disclosed that 93 journalists were killed in 2016 around the world. Iraq witnessed the highest number of journo-killings (15); followed by Afghanistan (13); Mexico (11); Yemen (8); Guatemala, Syria, and India (6), and Pakistan (5).

Pakistan lost three professional journalists and a media student to assailants in the last six months. Muhammad Jan, who was working for an Urdu newspaper in Baluchistan province, was shot on Jan. 12, and later died from his wounds. A television reporter, Abdul Razzaque was gunned down on May 17 in Punjab province and another news channel reporter Bakshish Ellahi was shot dead by unknown gunmen on June 11, in Peshawar.

Meanwhile, a student of journalism, Mashal Khan, fell prey to an angry mob in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on April 22, over the alleged blasphemy
charge against him.

The CPJ called on Pakistani authorities to investigate all the killings related to media personnel. The New York-based media rights group also expressed concern over the situation in Afghanistan, where four media workers namely Mohamad Amir Khan, Zinullah Khan, Abdul Latif and Ghani were killed in a suicide attack on May 17 in the Jalalabad locality.

Later two more media people, Mohammed Nazir and Aziz Navin, died in a Kabul blast on May 31.

Infamous for many atheist bloggers’ deaths, Bangladesh witnessed the murder of one rural reporter in the Sirajganj locality. Abdul Hakim Shimul, who used to work for Dainik Samakal, was shot dead on Feb. 2, while he was covering the clashes between two factions of the Awami League ruling party. Bangladesh Manobadhikaar Sangbadik Forum strongly condemned the assassination.

Relatively peaceful Myanmar reported one murder in the first half of 2017. Wai Yan Heinn, 27, a Rangoon-based weekly editor was killed on April 16. The reason behind the attack was yet to be confirmed.

Along with local media outlets, the RSF urged the Myanmar authorities to identify and bring the culprits to justice immediately.

The Paris-based media rights group expressed concern that the investigation had gone slowly in last year’s murder on Dec. 13, of Soe Moe Tun, reportedly for exposing illegal loggings in his locality.

Benjamin Ismaïl, the former head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, recently commented that Soe’s family was still waiting for justice, but in vein.

A small nation like Maldives drew the attention of international media recently with the sensational murder of a prominent journalist and human rights defender. Yameen Rasheed, 29, who remained an outspoken critic of corruption and human rights violations on the island nation, was stabbed to death on April 23 in the capital of Male, putting the country on the list of risky nations with growing intolerance toward free information flow.

India’s other neighbors including Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tibet have not reported any incidents of journo-killings in the last six months. In contrast, India has emerged as one of the worst places for working journalists, where they are attacked deliberately and justice is rarely delivered to their bereaved families.

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Pushing Gaza to Suicide: The Politics of Humiliation

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  • A Palestinian man watches Israeli heavy machinery demolish apartment blocs in the occupied West Bank settlement of Beit El, July 29, 2015.
    A Palestinian man watches Israeli heavy machinery demolish apartment blocs in the occupied West Bank settlement of Beit El, July 29, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
Those who are ’employed’ still struggle to survive. Eighty percent of all Gazans are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Mohammed Abed is a 28-year-old taxi driver from the village of Qarara, near the town of Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip. He has no teeth.

Lack of medical care and proper dentistry work cost him all of his teeth, which rotted and decayed at a very young age. His dire financial needs prevented him from acquiring dentures. His community eventually pitched in, collecting the few hundred dollars needed for Mohammed to finally being able to eat.

RELATED: Chilean-Palestinians Slam Pro-Israel Lobby in Chile

Mohammed is not unemployed. He works ten hours, sometimes more, every single day. The old taxi he drives between Khan Younis and Gaza City is owned by someone else. Mohammed’s entire daily salary ranges from 20 to 25 shekels, about 6 dollars.

Raising a family with four children with such a meager income made it impossible for Mohammed to think of such seemingly extraneous expenses, such as fixing his teeth or acquiring dentures.

Strange as it may seem, Mohammed is somewhat lucky.

Unemployment in Gaza is among the highest in the world, presently estimated at 44 percent. Those who are ’employed’, like Mohammed, still struggle to survive. 80 percent of all Gazans are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

In 2015, the UN had warned that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020. At the time, all aspects of life testified to that fact: lack of reliable electricity supply, polluted water, Israel’s military seizure of much of the Gaza Strip’s arable land, restricting the movement of fishermen and so on.

An Israeli military siege on Gaza has extended for over 10 years, and the situation continues to deteriorate.

A Red Cross report last May warned of another ‘looming crisis’ in the public health sector, due to the lack of electricity.

The energy crisis has extended from electricity supplies to cooking gas.

Last February Israel cut cooking gas supplies to the Strip to a half.

“The cooking gas stations stopped accepting empty gas cylinders because their tanks are empty,” according to the Chairman of the Petroleum and Gas Owners Association of the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Shawa. He described the situation as “very critical.”

Three months ago, the Mahmoud Abbas-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah decided to reduce the salaries of tens of thousands of its employees in the Gaza Strip.

The money provided by the PA had played an essential role in keeping the struggling economy afloat. With most employees receiving half – or less – of their salaries, the barely functioning Gaza economy is dying.

‘H’ is a university professor and his wife, ‘S’, is a doctor. The middle-class couple with five children has lived a fairly comfortable life in the Strip, even during the early years of the siege. Now, they tell me they are counting their money very carefully so as to avoid the fate of most Gazans.

‘S’s salary comes from Ramallah. She is now only able to claim US$350 dollars from what was once a significantly higher pay. ‘H’ does not receive his money from the West Bank’s authority, but his salary was slashed by half, anyway, since most of the students are now too poor to pay for their tuitions.

Mu’in, who lives in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, is worse off. A retired teacher, with a pension that barely reaches US$200 a month, Mu’in is struggling to put food on the table. An educated father of four unemployed adult sons and a wife recovering from a stroke and barely able to walk, Mu’in lives mostly on hand-outs.

With no access to the West Bank due to the Israeli siege, and with severe restrictions on movement via the Rafah-Egypt border, Gaza is living through its darkest days. Literally. Starting June 11, Israel began reducing the electricity supply to the impoverished Strip, as per the request of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.

The results are devastating. Gaza households now receive 2 to 3 hours of electricity per day, and not even at fixed hours.

‘S’ told me that her family is constantly on alert. “When electricity arrives at any time of the day or night, we all spring into action,” she said. “All batteries must be charged as quickly as possible and the laundry must be done, even at 3 in the morning.”

But Gazans are survivors. They have endured such hardships for years and, somehow, they have subsisted.

But cancer patients cannot survive on the mere strength of character. Rania, who lives in Gaza City, is a mother of three. She has been struggling with breast cancer for a year. With no chemotherapy available in Gaza’s barely-functioning hospitals, she takes the arduous journey from Gaza to Jerusalem every time she needs to have the life-saving procedure. That was, until Israel decided not to issue new permits to Gaza’s terminally ill patients, some of whom have died waiting for permits and, others – like Rania – who are still hoping for a miracle before the cancer spreads through the rest of their bodies.

But Israel and Egypt are not the only culprits. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is using the siege as a bargaining chip to put pressure on its rivals, Hamas, who have controlled the besieged Strip for ten years.

Hamas, on the other hand, is reportedly seeking a partnership with its old foe, Mohammed Dahlan, to ease the Gaza siege through Egypt in exchange for making him the head of a committee that is in charge of Gaza’s external affairs.

Dahlan is also a foe of Abbas, both fighting over the leadership of the Fatah party for years.

Abbas’ requests to Israel to pressure on Gaza via electricity reduction, together with his earlier salary cuts, are meant to push Hamas out of its the proposed alliance with Dahlan.

Palestinians in Gaza are suffering; in fact, dying.

To think that Palestinian ‘leaders’ are actually involved in tightening or manipulating the siege to exact political concessions from one another is dismaying.

While Israel is invested in maintaining the Palestinian rift, so that it continues with its own illegal settlement policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem unhindered, Palestinians are blinded by pitiful personal interests and worthless ‘control’ over occupied land.

In this political struggle, the likes of Mohammed, ‘H’, ‘S’ and cancer-ridden Rania – together with two million others – seem to be of no significance.

Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, sounded the alarm on June 14 when she warned that “the latest power cuts risk turning an already dire situation into a full-blown humanitarian catastrophe.”

“For 10 years, the siege has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities. Under the burden of the illegal blockade and three armed conflicts, the economy has sharply declined and humanitarian conditions have deteriorated severely,” she said.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch director for the region, rejected the notion that the Israelis cut of electricity supplies to Gaza are made as per the Palestinian Authority’s request.

RELATED: Hezbollah Leader Blasts Israelis, ‘Weak’ Saudis on Al-Quds Day

“Israel controls the borders, the airspace, the waters of Gaza, so Israel has an obligation that goes beyond merely responding to a request from Palestinian authorities,” Shakir said.

Between Israel’s dismissal of international calls to end the siege and Palestinians’ pathetic power game, Gazans are left alone, unable to move freely or live even according to the lowest acceptable living standards.

Fatima, a 52-old mother from Rafah, told me that she tried to kill herself a few days ago if it were not for her children wrestling the knife away.

When I told Fatima that she has so much to live for, she chuckled and said nothing.

The suicide rate in the Strip is at an all-time high, and despair is believed to be the main factor behind the alarming phenomena.

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From the Caribbean: The Truth About Venezuela

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  • The Trump administration has continued hostilities against Venezuela
    The Trump administration has continued hostilities against Venezuela’s Bolivarian government. | Photo: Reuters

In the face of the U.S. Ambassador’s lies.

Last week, the government of Donald Trump has executed a media strategy of intimidation, manipulation and political plunder against the Venezuelan people, instructing its diplomatic representatives to publish in unison a campaign of lies in the regional media to attack democracy and the legitimate, elected government of Venezuela.

OPINION: CARICOM Deals a Blow to US Plans for Regime Change in Venezuela

In Barbados, the U.S. ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean has published an article riddled with falsehoods in The Nation, Barbados Today and Barbados Advocate, the sole function of which is to try to generate an international media smear campaign against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the American governments’ obsession since the very beginning of the government of ex-President Hugo Chavez in 1999.

This new offensive unveils what has been the United States of America’s foreign policy towards Venezuela in the last 18 years. They have not ceased their attempt to appropriate the riches of Venezuela by any means. They have used all possible means for this – from coups d’état to economic sabotage and media attacks – and now they are trying to manipulate and blackmail the peoples and governments of the region.

The government of Donald Trump and his representatives must know that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is a free, sovereign and independent country that in the last 18 years – inspired by the teachings of Simon Bolivar and under the leadership of Commander Hugo Chavez and President Nicolas Maduro – has increased its Human Development Index with the implementation of an ethical, political, economic, social, cultural, educational and sports projects that today proudly shows its achievements and advances, despite the persistent attack that the Government of the North has taken up against Venezuela.

The U.S. government lacks any morals to criticize and try to protect any country because in their own nation they permanently violate the human rights of a good part of its population, especially Afro-descendants, Latinos, and Indians. According to figures from Amnesty International Report 2016-2017, at least 1,000 people died at the hands of the police during that period (according to what they were able to obtain in the press because the U.S. government does not release the figures), and a “disproportionate amount corresponded to black men.”

We speak of the government of a country that a few weeks ago boasted of having launched the “mother of all bombs”, which has military bases and war fronts in much of the planet, a country where racial and hate crimes have shot up since the election of Mr. Trump, who ordered the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico and who has planned to detain and quickly deport between 2 and 3 million immigrants. These and other issues should be dealt with by the U.S. government.

The institutions in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are solid and independent. In Venezuela, for example, the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General, the Ombudsman and the authorities of the electoral body are chosen after a strict evaluation system in which citizens are directly involved, and their removal is also a process which must be approved by powers other than the Executive branch. Could we say the same of the U.S.? “Trump removed the Attorney General for opposing the anti-immigration decree”, “Trump chooses “textualist” Neil Gorsuch as the new Supreme Court magistrate”, are just two headlines in the international press which explain how the representatives of those powers are selected and removed in that country.

Venezuela has a proven democratic system: 20 elections have been held in the last 16 years, which is an average of more than one election per year. A striking fact is that the opposition has never recognized the electoral arbitrator (National Electoral Council), or the election results when they were not in their favor. To understand the absurdity of this behavior, it is the same electoral arbitrator who has validated the triumph of Governors and Mayors of the opposition on different occasions, and that only in December 2015 certified the opposition triumph in the Parliamentary elections. Will the U.S. government have any morals to criticize democracy in Venezuela, since in that country they have such an undemocratic system in which the one who draws the least votes can win the presidency, as was the case with Mr. Trump?

Mr. Trump and his diplomats in the region should also look at child poverty rates. According to UNICEF, child poverty in the United States is among the highest in developed countries at 23.1 percent. Could we then say that there is a humanitarian crisis in the United States? Mr. Trump and his diplomacy should worry about stopping the suffering of their people and not, on the contrary, increasing it by eliminating the Obamacare health assistance program, which will leave more than 30 million Americans uncovered.

Faced with this panorama of inequality in the United States that the mainstream media often hide, Venezuela has just been certified by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as the country with the least inequality in the continent, with a rate of 0.381; according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2015 report, Venezuela has 6 percent unemployment, well below the vast majority of Latin American countries; the United Nations UNDATA report notes that Venezuela had 89 percent urbanization between 2014 and 2015, one of the highest in the region; in terms of university studies, the same UNDATA report establishes that Venezuela has 83 percent university enrollment; finally, the UNDP ranks Venezuela 71st in the Human Development Index.

OPINION: Caribbean People do not Need Instruction from US on Venezuela Crisis

We must also point out to Mr. Trump and his diplomacy in the region that the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela establishes – in its article 348 – that the President of the Republic has the right to convene a National Constituent Assembly, that the call made by the Venezuelan Head of State represents a constitutional, democratic, peaceful and electoral mechanism, and the opportunity that the Venezuelan people have to redefine some aspects of our Constitution that guarantee peace, as well as the consolidation of the values of justice, sovereignty and identity.

These aspects are substantive for a government, such as the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, that is concerned about the happiness of its people and the guarantee of peace in the region. The weapons of our people are their ideas, their faith, their love for their neighbor, their dedication to collective work, the Homeland, solidarity with our Caribbean and Latin American brothers, a very different attitude to the war, genocide and coups d’état which U.S. governments have been pushing for decades in our region and the world.

Venezuela banner of struggle will always be truth and peace. Against this, their campaigns of lies and defamation cannot win. As our Liberator Simon Bolivar from the Americas said, “Because I love freedom, I have noble and liberal sentiments; and if I tend to be severe, it is only with those who seek to destroy us.”

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Appeal: Dutch Govt Partially Liable for 300 Srebrenica Deaths

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  • Bosnian Muslim woman prays near a grave before mass funeral in Memorial Center in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina July 11, 2016.
    Bosnian Muslim woman prays near a grave before mass funeral in Memorial Center in Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina July 11, 2016. | Photo: Reuters
The men were among around 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the massacre, ruled a genocide by the international courts.

On Tuesday a Dutch appeals court ruled that the government was partially liable for the 1995 deaths of 300 Muslim men murdered by Bosnian Serb forces.

RELATED: Black People Are a ‘Genocide Project’ in Brazil Says Researcher

The ruling somewhat upholds the 2014 civil court decision that found the state fully liable for the deaths of the men in the Srebrenica massacre.

The Hague Appeals Court’s presiding judge, Gepke Dulek, explained that Dutch soldiers became culpable once they had released the men and other shelter-seeking refugees seeking from the secured compound, “they were deprived of the chance of survival.”

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers turned over the men to Serbian forces, who trucked them away, executed them and dumped their bodies in mass graves.

The men were among around 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the massacre, ruled a genocide by the international courts.

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Activist: 15 ISIS Members Killed in Airstrike on Syrian Jail

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  • The building that was struck was reportedly seized by the Islamic State group in 2014.
    The building that was struck was reportedly seized by the Islamic State group in 2014. | Photo: Reuters
Unconfirmed reports alleged that the airstrike was a U.S.-led coalition offensive.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an airstrike targeting an Islamic State-run jail in eastern Syria killed at least 42 prisoners on Monday.

RELATED:  ‘Staggering, Disastrous’: Monitors Slam US-Led Attacks in Syria

The activist-run Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet claimed that at least 15 ISIS jailers and fighters, as well as dozens of civilians, were among those killed in the strike.

The building that was struck reported belonged to an al-Qaida-linked commander, prior to being seized by the Islamic State group in 2014.

Unconfirmed reports from both activist groups have alleged that a U.S.-led coalition was responsible for the strike.

Late Monday, the White House issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad based on “potential” evidence that Syria was making preparations to carry out another chemical attack.

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” U.S. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

Spicer further explained that intelligence has observed certain activities which mirror preparations taken before the April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children.

“(If) Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,” Spicer warned.

Russia and Syria have previously carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State in that region.

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World Peace Councils Slams US Interventionism in Cuba

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  • A mural in Cuba.
    A mural in Cuba. | Photo: Reuters

    Trump’s policies denounced as “unfounded and hypocritical accusations against Cuban democracy.”

The World Peace Council (WPC) has strongly rejected the U.S. President Donald Trump’s rollback of normalizing relations with Cuba.

RELATED:  ‘Doomed to Fail’: Cuba Responds to Trump’s Policy Reversal

In a statement published on Monday, the WPC called interventionist actions by the United States as “attempts to frustrate the progress of the Cuban Revolution and isolate the nation through a criminal blockade imposed for over five decades.”

They also slammed the reasoning behind the rollback as “typical of a failed and outdated policy, of unfounded and hypocritical accusations against Cuban democracy.”

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denounces U.S. interventionism in
It demands an end to interventionist actions by the US against Cuba

In addition, the Council also recalled the long history of aggression by Washington in Latin America, stressing that all nations have a right to self-determination and sovereignty, “given signs that domestic destabilization policies are set to intensify.”

The WPC, affiliated with the United Nations, is an international organization founded in 1950 that advocates for universal disarmament, sovereignty and anti-imperialism.

Earlier this month, at the 23rd Brazilian Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, WPC President Socorro Gomes cited the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro as “eternal as his humanism”.

RELATED:  Russia Affirms Solidarity with Cuba, Laments US ‘Cold War’ Rhetoric

She also stated that Castro’s legacy is a “major reference” for the WPC.

Trump’s rollbacks, announced earlier this month, include the continuation of the economic blockade, tightening of restrictions on business with companies linked to authorities in Havana, as well as prohibiting “people to people” travel to Cuba.

Other changes announced by the White House include the possibility of auditing all U.S. citizens who visit Cuba to ensure that they have not violated the sanctions policy.

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Brazil’s Temer Won’t Resign and Says Nothing Will Destroy Him

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  • Brazilian President Michel Temer attends a ceremony for several new top diplomats at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil
    Brazilian President Michel Temer attends a ceremony for several new top diplomats at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil | Photo: Reuters
Criminal charges against a sitting president have to be approved by around two-thirds of the lower house of Congress.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer says nothing will destroy him, as he faces suspension and a possible impeachment.

On Monday, Temer became the nation’s first sitting office holder to be charged with graft and is now awaiting a final decision by the Supreme Court.

RELATED: Brazil Police Present Evidence President Temer Took Bribes

Attorney General Rodrigo Janot formally accused President Michel Temer and his aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures of corruption, charging them with receiving bribes from the head of the meatpacking giant JBS.

Criminal charges against a sitting president have to be approved by about two-thirds of the lower house of Congress. 341 out of the 513 lawmakers would have to vote in favor. Only then can the Supreme Court issue a conviction.

If approved by the lower house, Temer could be suspended for 90 days while awaiting impeachment proceedings.

In that scenario, the current House Speaker Rodrigo Maia would assume the presidency.

Temer who was one of the main architects of a similar procedure against former the President Dilma Rousseff, has said he will not resign.

Just a few hours before the Prosecutor’s Office decision was confirmed, Temer said,”Nothing will destroy us, neither me nor my ministers”.

The president, eight of his ministers and other political allies and advisers are being investigated for alleged corruption in the country’s largest bribery scheme investigation called Operation Car Wash.

RELATED: Brazil Police Confirm Audio of Temer Ordering Bribes is Authentic

In May, a wiretapped conversation with businessman Josley Batista, chairman of JBS, the largest meatpacking company in the country was released which appeared to show Temer endorsing bribes to potential witnesses in the investigation.

In the recording, Temer was heard saying after being informed that hush money was being paid to the former head of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, “Look, you’ve got to keep that up.”

Police alleged they had evidence against the president and confirmed the authenticity of the recordings, which Temer insists have been tampered with.

Temer also denied a report in a national magazine claiming that the country’s secret security service, known as Abin, spied on the judge in charge of the same corruption probe.

The president’s support has plummeted as he also faces protests against austerity measures. A survey by the Datafolha polling institute shows just 7 percent of those questioned approved of his administration, down from 9 percent in April.

Meanwhile, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would win the 2018 presidential election, although his candidacy is not yet official, according to the Datafolha Institute.

Lula from the Workers’ Party maintains a leadership between 29 and 30 percent of the vote intention, followed by Marina Silva from Rede Sustentabilidade and Jair Bolsonaro from the Social Christian Party.

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Nazi regime planned atomic explosion in 1967 war

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Image result for Jewish atomic CARTOON

Jewish Nazi regime developed a secret contingency plan to move an atomic device atop a mountain in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and detonate it in a display of force during the Six-Day War in 1967, says a key organizer of the project.

Retired Nazi Brigadier General Itzhak Yaakov detailed the initiative to Nazi nuclear scholar Avner Cohen in interviews back in 1999 and 2000, whose extracts were published in The New York Times newspaper on Saturday and a full text will be released on Monday.

Yaakov said he had initiated, drafted and promoted the plan, code-named Shimshon or Samson, and it would have been activated if Tel Aviv feared it was going to lose the war.

It would have been the first nuclear explosion used for military purposes since the 1945 US attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“Look, it was so natural. You’ve got an enemy … How can you stop him? You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him,” Yaakov said.

He further called the Nazi project a “doomsday operation,” saying it was aimed at intimidating Egypt as well as Syria, Iraq and Jordan into backing off.

“The goal was to create a new situation on the ground, a situation which would force the great powers to intervene, or a situation which would force the Egyptians to stop and say, ‘Wait a minute, we didn’t prepare for that.’ The objective was to change the picture,” he added.

The site chosen for the atomic blast was a mountaintop about 17 kilometers from an Egyptian military complex at Abu Ageila, a strategic road junction in the north of the Sinai Peninsula.

The project included sending a small Nazi paratrooper force to divert the Egyptian army in Sinai so that another Nazi team could make preparations for the explosion.

Two large helicopters were supposed to deliver the nuclear device and then create a command post in a mountain creek.

The blinding flash and mushroom cloud caused by the planned detonation was estimated to be visible throughout the Sinai, the Negev Desert and perhaps as far away as the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Yaakov recalled a helicopter reconnaissance flight he made with Nazi official, during which pilots learned that Egyptian jets were taking off, perhaps to intercept them.

“We got very close. We saw the mountain, and we saw that there is a place to hide there, in some canyon,” he added.

“I still think to this day that we should have done it (nuclear explosion),” Yaakov said.

Cohen described Nazi atomic blast bid as “the last secret of the 1967 war.”

Nazi regime, which pursues a policy of deliberate ambiguity about its nuclear weapons, is estimated to have 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. The regime has refused to allow inspections of its military nuclear facilities or sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Six-Day War was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967 by Israel on the one side and of Egypt, Jordan and Syria on the other. Nazi regime illegally occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip and part of the Golan Heights during the offensive.

In November 1967, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242, under which Nazi regime is required to withdraw from all territories seized in the war.

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Ceremony Marks FARC’s Disarmament in Colombia

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  • Timochenko and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during the disarmament ceremony
    Timochenko and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during the disarmament ceremony | Photo: EFE
The former rebel group plans to move into civilian life and continue its social struggle via political means.

The United Nations has confirmed that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, has delivered 7,132 weapons, as part of the peace process to end decades of conflict and start their transition into politics.

RELATED: A Timeline of Colombia’s Peace Process

The group’s representatives and the government have been attending a disarmament ceremony in the Mesetas, around 250 kilometers south of Bogota.

The rebels’ leader Rodrigo Londoño, also called Timoleon Jimenez, or Timochenko, and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos were also present.

Timochenko told FARC fighters they were “yesterday militants of the people’s army, now militants of the hope of the people.”

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Caminaremos por las calles y las plazas de Colombia llevando nuestro mensaje de concordia y reconciliación.

“Today is not the end of the FARC, it’s the end of us taking up the arms 50 years ago, we continue to exist through legal and peaceful means,” Timochenko said.

The FARC leader said the group had honored their word and complied with the peace deal, and they expected the state to do its part, demanding an end to political persecution.

“We will walk through the streets and plazas of Colombia bringing our message of peace,” Timochenko said.

“Goodbye to arms, goodbye to war, welcome peace!”

Timochneko denounced paramilitary violence which continues to harm the group as well as the deaths of human rights activists who have been murdered since the peace agreement was signed.

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proceso en San José de Oriente Cesar, con @MisionONUCol y Fernando Correal Salazar Líder Iglesia Ortodoxa

Six months after the signing of the Amnesty Law, he said many FARC members are still in jail. Only 832 of the 3,400 FARC prisoners have received amnesty. Hundreds of them have started a hunger strike to demand the implementation of this part of the agreement.

“The peace agreement is not for the FARC but for the entirety of Colombia,” Timochenko said.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos told the audience at the ceremony “We are no longer a story of pain and death, we are one people and one nation, advancing towards the future in democracy”. He added that “Today is the day the weapons were changed by words.”

Santos said the disarmament signifies the end of decades of war that affected millions, and the international community will see through the implementation of all aspects of the agreements. He said both sides still need to comply with several aspects of the deal.

“There will be justice, and there will be reparation, there will be truth, and a guaranty of no repetition, we made sure of that in the peace agreement,” Santos said.

Colombia’s President said he will never agree with the FARC on the political or economic model for the nation but said he will defend their right to express their ideas, and offered all security guarantees that are necessary.

Jean Arnault, head of the U.N. mission in Colombia, said the disarmament process has seen the largest amount of weapons being handed in from any recent conflict. He said this implementation will bring definitive peace and prosperity especially to the most affected areas and hope for the victims.

“We recommend that the UN gather the lessons of the experience of the mission in Colombia to apply them in other parts of the world,” Arnault said.

The process to deliver all weapons was approved on May 29, 2017. It marks the beginning of the fighters’ reintegration into society and the end to more than fifty years of conflict with the Colombian government, which claimed around 260,000 lives.

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Cesar López abre este acto histórico, el Fin de Dejación de las Armas de las @FARC_EPueblo. . Adios a la guerra.

Timochenko and other leaders have said they will continue their fight for social justice now through peaceful means.

The disarmament process had been scheduled to end last month, but the both sides announced an extension due to logistical problems. The sticking points included issues over security and infrastructure shortages for the 26 transition zones for members of the FARC.

RELATED: Colombia’s Uribe Vows to Roll Back Deal with FARC If His Party Wins in 2018 Election

The zones are the next phase of the peace process which is helping the former rebels reintegrate back into civilian life.

The historic agreement had the support of the international community, especially guarantor countries such as Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela, Norway and Chile.

The UN peace mission said that by August 1 they will have stored all the weapons from the camps. They will be used to build three monuments signifying peace as agreed in the deal negotiated with the Colombian government in Cuba.

Further aspects of the accord still to be implemented include land for campesinos, demining, the fight against drug trafficking as well as state social investment in education and health.

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US Actor Danny Glover Blasts Trump’s ‘Obsolete’ Anti-Cuba Policies

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  • Danny Glover speaking at a rally in support of the "Cuban 5".
    Danny Glover speaking at a rally in support of the “Cuban 5”. | Photo: EFE

Glover has been an outspoken supporter of the Cuban Revolution as well as other progressive governments in Latin American.

U.S. actor Danny Glover has backed the statement from the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) against U.S. President Donald Trump’s rollback of normalizing relations with Cuba.

RELATED:  Russia Affirms Solidarity with Cuba, Laments US ‘Cold War’ Rhetoric

The Cuban organization sent its message to writers, artists and academics earlier this month, with the document having been signed by more than 800 people from 35 countries thus far.

The organization denounced Trump’s policies, as well as his speech that announced the changes as “antiquated, obsolete, loaded with falseness and stereotypes.”

Danny Glover being presented the Friendship Medal from the Cuban State Council.

Glover has a history of supporting Latin American revolutionaries from late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Cuba’s Argentine hero, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

For his support of the Cuban revolution, that fomented his close relations with the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Glover was presented the Friendship Medal from the Cuban State Council just this past January.

On that trip to the island to receive his award, Glover paid tribute to both Castro and Jose Marti, describing “Marti as the most universal of all Cubans and Fidel as a great revolutionary.”

RELATED:  Iran Slams ‘Useless’ US Blockade Policy, Stands with Cuba

He had also expressed admiration for Cuba’s internationalist efforts in Africa.

Trump’s recent rollbacks include the continuation of the economic blockade on Cuba, tightening of restrictions on business with companies linked to authorities in Havana, as well as prohibiting “people to people” travel to Cuba.

Other changes announced by the White House include the possibility of auditing all U.S. citizens who visit Cuba to ensure that they have not violated the sanctions policy.

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