China: Release Workers, Student Activists

(HRW) – The Chinese government should immediately release workers and students arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared during a nationwide crackdown since mid-2018, Human Rights Watch said today. Those held include factory workers, labor activists, college students, trade union officials, and a lawyer. “It’s ironic that a self-proclaimed socialist government is cracking down on young Marxists,” said Yaqiu Wang, China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The persecution of student labor activists only exposes the absurdity of the Chinese government’s claim to champion workers’ rights.” In July, police in Guangdong province detained…

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Indonesia Launches ‘Snitch’ App Targeting Religious Minorities

(HRW) – Following your own religious beliefs shouldn’t be a crime, but in Indonesia, new technologies are helping authorities identify and potentially prosecute religious minorities who follow “deviant teachings.” On November 22, Bakor Pakem, a body charged with religious oversight in the Indonesia Attorney General’s office, launched an app that allows mobile device users to report individuals suspected of “religious heresy.” The app, Smart Pakem, available in the Google Play store, is an extension of an official website and hotline service. They were all set up by Bakor Pakem ostensibly…

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Former US President George H.W. Bush Dead at Age 94

(Sputnik) – Former US President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94, a statement issued by a family spokesman read. “George Herbert Walker Bush, World War II naval aviator, Texas oil pioneer, and 41st President of the United States of America, died on November 30, 2018. He was 94… Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as is practical,” the statement, published on Twitter by family spokesman Jim McGrath, read. He is survived by sons George W. Bush (the 43rd president of the United States) and Jeb Bush (ex-governor of Florida). His son George W. Bush, said in a statement, also…

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In the House, Everything New is Old Again

(Garrison) – In late November, Democratic members of the US House of Representatives met to begin choosing their leadership for the 116th Congress, which convenes on January 3. The party’s endorsed candidate — although not a shoo-in — for Speaker of the House is former House Speaker (until her party lost the chamber in 2010) and current Minority Leader (since then), 78-year-old Nancy Pelosi of California, in Congress since 1987. The incoming Majority Leader is  former Majority Leader (until his party lost the chamber in 2010) and current Minority Whip…

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Four Officers Arrested for Assaulting Undercover Cop at Protest

(Sputnik) – The indictment follows an investigation conducted by the FBI. The slain 24-year-old, Anthony Lamar Smith, was shot five times by Stockley. Police recovered a gun from Smith’s car, but found only Stockley’s DNA on it, leading many to believe that the firearm was planted. One hundred and forty people were mass arrested on October 3, 2017, after Stockley was found not guilty on charges of first-degree murder. The group included protesters, reporters and an undercover police officer. Protests were held in the city for days surrounding the verdict. The officer, named in the indictment as “L.H.,” had been in the department for 22…

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It’s Never ‘Just the Immigrants’

(FPIF) – The Republican pre-election strategy of exploiting “the caravan” was irredeemably ugly. It’s hard to say what was worse: the shameless and farcical framing of a helpless stream of people as a national security threat, or the president’s off-hand suggestion that these people might actually be funded by the prime villain of most anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: George Soros. Few commentators have failed to point out the obvious effects of this gutter-politics playbook: the debasement of public discourse on immigration policy; the wink-and-nudge of encouragement offered to the most sinister…

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A special International Joint Summons Aims to get more answers from Mark Zuckerberg

World (TFC) – For a few weeks earlier this year, the news was abuzz with the story of the large scale data misuse scandal between Facebook, and UK based political consultancy group Cambridge Analytica. You may remember it. Since that time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has tried to dodge any summons by the UK Parliament to answer questions regarding data policies, internal governance practices, and Facebook’s agenda for ridding it’s website of disinformation, or “fake news.” In an unprecedented move by the Parliaments of both the UK and Canada an…

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Migrant Money Could be Keeping Nicaragua’s Uprising Alive

Nicaragua (Conversation) – Protesting is now illegal in Nicaragua, according to President Daniel Ortega. The Central American country has been embroiled in deadly political turmoil for months. Demonstrations that began in April against an unpopular social security reform quickly transformed into a broader movement aimed at ousting Ortega, Nicaragua’s authoritarian president. Up to 450 people have since been killed, including a 16-year-old boy caught in the crossfire between government forces and demonstrators on Sept. 23. The growing number of protesters arrested and charged with terrorism led the Inter-American Commission on…

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Challenge Populism: Re-inventing the World Togethere

World Wide (Conversation) – Democracies in the world are being rocked by a new wave of populism. Many scholars correctly analyse the flaws in populist discourse and practices. Populist politicians stoke fears and hate, exacerbate divisions and stereotypes, and distort facts to serve their warped vision of reality. Proclaiming the goal of giving the power back to the people, they actually undermine the mechanisms of political deliberation and representation, while curbing judicial and media independence. In a nutshell, under the illusion or pretence of embodying “the people”, they capture power…

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Brett Kavanaugh is the Swamp

(Garrison) – On September 28, Brett Kavanaugh squeaked through the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s vetting process on an 11-10 vote to recommend his confirmation as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court. The committee’s deciding voter, US Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), conditioned his final confirmation vote on the findings of a one-week FBI investigation into allegations that Kavanaugh committed one or more acts of sexual battery in his high school and college years. I don’t want to minimize the relevance of those allegations. Obviously no one wants a rapist…

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