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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Arrested for fact-checking: Kazakh court fines Ukrainian journalist after police break up media workshop

(GV) – A media fact-checking workshop in northwestern Kazakhstan came to an abrupt conclusion on September 15 when police barged in, broke up the event and arrested one of the workshop leaders, Aleksandr Gorokhovsky. The workshop’s organiser, Lukpan Akhmedyarov, is the editor of independent regional newspaper Uralskaya Nedelya, that has long been the target of state harassment. A respected journalist and media trainer from Kyiv, Gorokhovsky was slapped with a fine of roughly USD $110 after a Kazakh court found him guilty of violating Kazakhstan’s migration legislation. The public prosecutor…

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Volunteers Needed – Report From Hurricane Florence Relief Efforts

North Carolina (TFC) – A slow and weakening hurricane that made landfall early Friday morning near Wrightsville Beach, NC has devastated the area with heavy rainfall and massive flooding. TFC Sources from the ground there reported having “to rescue firefighters” being bogged down by the immense flooding. If you are on the fence about traveling to help out any way you might be able? Now’s the time to pull the trigger and jump in, as the volunteers and first responders there could definitely use supplies and help.  An imgur post…

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Support Grows for Killer Robots Ban

(HRW) – Opposition to the creation of so-called “killer robots” – weapons systems that could select and attack targets without any human intervention – is growing. The issue has been hotly debated since 2013, when the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots began calling for a preemptive ban on the development, production, and use of such technology. The group has repeatedly warned that these weapons could have devastating consequences for civilian populations around the world. The only way to stop the development of fully autonomous weapons is through national laws and…

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Guatemala: President Sabotages Fight for Justice

(HRW) – President Jimmy Morales’s decision to end the mandate of a UN-backed investigative body is a major blow to efforts to fight corruption, abuse, and impunity in Guatemala, Human Rights Watch said today. On August 31, 2018, Morales announced that he would not request an extension of the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which expires in September 2019. CICIG is investigating allegations that Morales’s presidential campaign received illegal funding and is participating in the prosecution of his son and brother on fraud charges. Morales…

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Libya: Civilians Killed in Tripoli Clashes

(HRW) – Rival armed groups have killed at least 18 civilians, including four children, since clashes broke out in the southern suburbs of Tripoli on August 26, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. Armed groups should urgently allow the hundreds of civilians trapped to leave and allow safe passage of humanitarian and medical aid and take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize harm to civilians. The Ministry of Health (MOH) under the Government of National Accord (GNA) stated on August 31 that 39 people had been killed and 119…

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Democrats Move Back Toward Trusting the People

(Garrison) – “[A] political party which wishes to lead,” reads the preamble to the Democratic Party’s charter, “must listen to those it would lead, a party which asks for the people’s trust must prove that it trusts the people …” On August 25, the Democratic National Committee took that passage to heart by limiting the power of “superdelegates” in choosing the party’s presidential nominee. Good move, and long overdue. Proximate inspiration: The disastrous 2016 presidential cycle, in which superdelegates played a key role in assuring the nomination of Hillary Clinton (and the…

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