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21 Jan

SISTER MARCHES – women’s rights, racism, equality, LGBT rights etc.

SISTER MARCHES

Sister Marches are solidarity events inspired by the Women’s March on Washington, and organized by volunteers around the world. If you can’t make it to Washington, D.C. on January 21, join or host a Sister March near you.

Click here for the Sister March press room

Click here for a stream of photos and videos from Sister Marches around the world

NUMBER OF MARCHES: 673

SISTER MARCHERS (EST): 2,226,540

Women’s March

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Rolling coverage of events in the US and around the world as more than 20 countries host solidarity marches in wake of Trump inauguration

Protesters take part in a rally in Melbourne, Australia, to protest against the Trump Inauguration.

Protesters take part in a rally in Melbourne, Australia, to protest against the Trump Inauguration. Photograph: Wayne Taylor/Getty Images

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21 Jan

United States Wars, News and Casualties

 

Iraqi Crisis: Support Child Refugees of Iraq | UNICEF USA

The conflict across Iraq has caused an estimated 1.8 million Iraqis, half of them children, to flee from their homes across the country.

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Third Estate Sunday Review

Children of Iraq

See also: Iraq – A Peoples Photo Journal

War News

IRAQ BODY COUNT>>

Total Cost of War>>

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Cost of Military Action Against ISIS>>

Cost of Pentagon Slush Fund>>

REU: Losing in Iraq, Islamic State seeks to shore up Syria presence

Islamic State is fighting hard to reinforce its presence in Syria as it loses ground in Iraq, deploying fighters to seize full control of a government-held city in the east while at the same time battling enemies on three other fronts.

It underlines the residual strength of Islamic State even after its loss of a cluster of cities in Iraq and half of Mosul, and points up the challenges facing U.S. President Donald Trump in the war he has vowed to wage against the group.

The jihadists have opened their most ferocious assault yet to capture the last Syrian government-controlled area in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, a pocket of Deir al-Zor city that is surrounded by Islamic State territory.

The assault has raised fears for tens of thousands of people living under government authority in the city. Their only supply route has been cut off since Islamic State severed the road to the nearby air base earlier this week.

Read full story »

REU: Syrian rebels bitterly divided before new peace talks

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents appear more divided than ever as they prepare for peace talks next week, demoralized by their defeat in Aleppo and unable to unite into a single force to defend their remaining territory.

    The new diplomacy led by Assad’s Russian allies has exposed yet more splits in a rebellion that has never had a clear chief, with rebel factions long fractured by regional rivalries, their ties to foreign states, and an ideological battle over whether to pursue Syrian national or Sunni jihadist goals.

Several leaders have became prominent only to be killed in the nearly six-year-old conflict and numerous military and political coalitions have come and gone. After the rebels’ defeat in Aleppo last month, the latest effort to unify the jihadist and moderate wings of the insurgency collapsed.

By contrast Assad is as strong as at any time since the fighting began, his Russian and Iranian backers committed to his survival while the differing agendas of foreign states backing the rebels have added to their divisions.

    The delegation of rebels that will attend the talks with the Syrian government starting on Monday in the Kazakh capital Astana represents only part of the moderate opposition that has fought Assad in a loose alliance known as the Free Syrian Army.

Read full story »

BBC: Islamic State and the crisis in Iraq and Syria in maps

The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has lost almost a quarter of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria over the past year, according to new analysis.

IS militants were in control of about 60,400 sq km (23,300 sq miles) in December 2016, compared with about 78,000 square km (30,100 sq miles) at the start of the year, the report by IHS Conflict Monitor says. This compares to a loss of about 14% over 2015.

IS came to the world’s attention in June 2014, when it overran Iraq’s second city of Mosul and then moved southwards towards the capital Baghdad, routing the Iraqi army and threatening to eradicate the country’s many ethnic and religious minorities.

At its peak, some 10 million people were living in territory under IS control. However, a report by IHS Conflict Monitor in October 2016 suggested the figure was nearer six million.

The current focus of the battle against IS has been for control of Mosul, the jihadist group’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

Read full story »

TH: Obama’s legacy in Iraq

When Barack Obama leaves the White House on Jan. 20, he will have both ended and launched a war in Iraq. Critics of his Iraq policy have blamed the country’s slide toward political repression and internecine war after 2011 on the headlong rush to withdraw combat troops from Iraq beginning in 2009, while ignoring the ramifications of such action on Iraq’s fragile democracy. Yet, this narrative glosses over the president’s deeper legacy in Iraq: a story of domestic political pressure, obstinate partners in Baghdad, and missed opportunities to exert influence through non-military means.

In a speech at Camp Lejeune in early 2009, President Obama outlined how he planned to end the U.S. military commitment to Iraq – stressing his administration would “not let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals.” After December 2011, he predicted, it would be up to the Iraqis to secure their own future. His message resonated with the majority of Americans weary of continued troop commitment after six years of occupation and high U.S. casualties. When Obama took office, over 49 percent of Americans wanted to end the U.S. military presence there as soon as possible. By October 2011, two months before the last soldier would depart Iraq, three quarters of Americans approved of Obama’s withdrawal plan.

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DOA: NATO Stresses Need for its Presence in Afghanistan

KABUL – Heads of NATO member countries have said their presence in Afghanistan is needed and that they will continue their cooperation with the country.
They also asked all regional players to help with the Afghan security situation.
“In terms of NATO’s response to counter terrorism, I believe that NATO is already doing a lot to support counter terrorism efforts. First being present and active in Afghanistan, then supporting a number of activities in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and we have to understand that counter terrorism isn’t just a physical fight against terrorism; counter terrorism has a number of levels and facades and NATO is contributing to many of them and will contribute even more,” said General Petr Pavel Chairman of NATO Military Committee.
He said: “We are working on bringing these efforts more closely together, to give them more coherence and thus more effectiveness. NATO will continue supporting activities especially in training, in preparation of specialists of the countries mostly affected by terrorism and give them more local capabilities to be effective in this endeavor.”

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DOA: Ghani Seeks Haq’s Support for Peace Negotiations

KABUL – President Ashraf Ghani has asked a top Pakistani cleric to help convince the Taliban into resuming peace parleys with his administration.
Ghani made the request in a telephone call to Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-S) who is widely branded as the father of Taliban.
Afghan Ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal, who met Haq at his residence in Akora Khattak, arranged the phone conversation that lasted 36 minutes.
JUI-S spokesperson Maulana Yousaf Shah quoted Ghani as saying that many Taliban leaders, who had studied at the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak, respected Haq as their teacher.
The president urged the cleric to use his clout with the Taliban and persuade them to resume the long-stalled peace dialogue. He hoped the JUI-S leader would work for ending the bloodshed in Afghanistan.

Read full story »

Taliban’s magnetic bomb expert arrested in Jalalabad city

A key Taliban fighter expert in making magnetic bombs was arrested by the Afghan intelligence operatives in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of Nangarhar province. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the detained militant has been identified as Baryalai son of Mohammad Jalat Khan. The statement further added that Baryalai was

Read full story »

3 foreign ISIS militants killed in East of Afghanistan

At least three foreign insurgents affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group loyalists were killed in an airstrike in East of Afghanistan. According to a statement released by the provincial police commandment, the militants were killed in an airstrike carried out by the US forces in Achin district. The statement

Read full story »

Abdullah welcomes Trump commitment to troops in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah welcomed Donald Trump’s commitment made to the US forces based in Afghanistan. Abdullah pointed towards Trump’s telephone conversation with the US forces in Bagram and pledging support to their presence and fight against terrorism. He said the commitment by President Trump was made considering the bilateral relations between Kabul and

Read full story »

Iraq Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

Iraq Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

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Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

None

Afghanistan Occupation Confirmed U.S Casualties – Since June 1, 2009

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

PTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and Families

See Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.

Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.

If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.

DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.org

Military OneSource

Call 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.

Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care, Benefits, or Claims.

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20 Jan

Protests worldwide against the inauguration of Donald Trump


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20 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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Today, January 20, 2017, a day which will live in infamy.

The McGlynn

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US politics >>

Hundreds of demonstrators gather to wave placards and shout slogans at the National Press Club where pro-Trump event was held

in Washington

 

Protesters gather outside the National Press Club in Washington, the venue for the pro-Trump ‘DeploraBall’ event. The name of the event on Thursday was inspired by a remark made by Hillary Clinton, who referred to some of Trump’s supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables’

Donald Trump inauguration: the world holds its breath – live coverage

Chaos erupted outside the DeploraBall on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as protesters clashed with supporters of the president-elect.

“Nazi scum!” a masked man yelled through a police barricade at a woman in a sequined gown as she defiantly waved her ticket for the event. A woman held a sign that read “Look, Ma. It’s a racist misogynist” with an arrow pointed toward the guest line. In response a man flipped open his suit jacket to show her his shirt, which read: “Deplorable lives matter.”

Hundreds of protesters filled the street in front of the National Press Club, the chosen venue for the DeploraBall, a name inspired by a remark made by Hillary Clinton, who referred to some of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables”. Law enforcement blocked off the street to cars for the protest on Thursday night. Two rows of police in riot gear guarded the entrance to the club and much of the sidewalk.

A number of the ball’s attendees were thought to be associated with the “alt-right”, a far-right movement in the US that has praised the Republican president-elect. The event has also revealed friction within the movement, as the DeploraBall’s organizers distanced themselves from the extreme elements of the group.

The movement has come under intense scrutiny following a conference in December 2016 when Richard Spencer, the white supremacist who coined the term “alt-right”, declared “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” and some in the audience gave Nazi-style salutes.

The event attracted 1,000 of the president-elect’s most fervent supporters in an evening dedicated to celebrating “Trumpism” in the city he railed against. The dress code, according to the event’s website was “black tie optional – aka ‘fun formal’ – aka no rules”.

From behind the police line protesters flashed middle fingers and shouted obscenities and insults, calling the guests “fascists” and “racists”. “The red hats are better than white sheets,” one man said. “Watch your pussies, ladies” a woman shouted at female attendees.

The taunts occasionally turned to the police. “Who are you protecting?” the crowd chanted after the police cleared the sidewalk.

An inflatable white elephant emblazoned with a banner that said “racism” loomed over the crowd. Protesters in hoods and masks set fire to a pile of placards in the middle of the street. Another group beamed floodlights at the top of the building to project the messages: “Impeach the Predatory President.”

Read Full Article>>

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Death strikes First Nations community, once a leader in suicide prevention

Wapekeka First Nation used to be a shining example amid Canada’s suicide crisis, but residents link the dismantling of a key program to new deaths

Charlie Angus, the member of parliament who represents the Wapekeka First Nation, said of government funding denied to the program: ‘If these were white kids ... people would be fired.’

Charlie Angus, the member of parliament who represents the Wapekeka First Nation, said of government funding denied to the program: ‘If these were white kids … people would be fired.’ Photograph: Nathan Denette/AP

Wapekeka First Nation was a shining example of a community that was managing to keep at bay the wave of suicides that has swept through so many of Canada’s indigenous communities.

But two years after funding cuts forced them to dismantle a pioneering suicide-prevention program, the deadly epidemic has again struck the remote, northern Ontario community.

Two 12-year-old girls have taken their own lives in recent weeks and another four girls in this 430-person community have been flown out and placed on 24-hour suicide watch.

Another 26 students are considered high risk for suicide, with leaders expecting this number to grow in the coming days. “Our community is in crisis,” said Joshua Frogg, the spokesperson for Wapekeka First Nation. For many across Canada, the two girls who died – Jolynn Winter and his niece, Chantel Fox – are nothing more than names, said Frogg. “For those of us that live in the community, those are our children. They are our future, they are our legacy.”

It’s a bitter turn of events for a community that was once a leader in suicide prevention. In the 1990s the community – at the time reeling from more than a dozen suicides of its members over the span of a decade – developed the Survivors of Suicide program and began hosting an annual conference on the issue.

The program offered healing to a community that had been shattered by the legacy of residential schools, where 150,000 indigenous children were taken to forcibly integrate into Canadian society and were often subjected to systematic abuse.

The community had also been among those most affected by Ralph Rowe, a man described by one crown prosecutor as “likely one of the most prolific pedophiles this country has ever seen”.

In the 1970s and 80s, Rowe, an Anglican priest, pilot and Boy Scout leader would regularly fly into remote First Nations communities and take young boys camping. He was eventually convicted of more than 50 counts of indecent assault against young boys. A 2015 documentary estimates that Rowe may have abused as many as 500 indigenous boys.

The community’s suicide-prevention program helped heal lingering scars of the past. But First Nations youth are still five to six times more likely to die by suicide than their non-indigenous counterparts.

Chief Bruce Shisheesh is calling for long term commitment from the Canadian federal government to overcome the crisis. Since last September, more than 100 Attawapiskat people have attempted suicide

  • In Canada, 24-hour suicide prevention centres can be found across the country through the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.

And in recent years, the federal government began whittling away at the program’s funding. “Twenty-two years we ran it,” said Frogg. “Until it drove us into a deficit. We couldn’t do it anymore.”

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From incessant rains to flooded rice fields, the economic impact of global warming has been keenly felt in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar

Women work at a dry fish yard in the Bangladeshi coastal resort of Cox’s Bazar

Women work at a dry fish yard in the Bangladeshi coastal resort of Cox’s Bazar. Changing weather conditions have hit the business hard. Photograph: Noor Alam/Majority World for the Guardian

Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones. At the dry fish yards, close to the airport at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, women are busy sorting fish to dry in the sun. They say the process, which begins in October, can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.

But Aman Ullah Shawdagor, a dry fish businessman who employs 70 people, says high tides and seasonal changes have hit his business hard. Last year there were four cyclones, more than ever before. In 2015, there was only one.

“My business is not doing so well because of the changing weather conditions,” says Shawdagor. “This is a dry season business. But for the last couple of years, the rain has become more frequent. It rains not only in the rainy season but also in the winter. There have also been more signals [storm warnings] with the rise in high tides. When the high tide comes, it frequently covers the whole of the land here. It is very bad for the dry fish.”

Nurul Hashem, a schoolteacher from Kutubdia Para, a nearby shanty town where many of the dry fish workers live, has also noted the trend. “We believe the water level is getting higher here,” he says. “Last year, my home was under water three or four times.”

Scientists predict that, by 2050, as many as 25 million people in Bangladesh will be affected by the rising sea level. Hashem and Shawdagor believe that they are already seeing the effects of a changing climate, however.

Kutubdia

Along the coast lies Kutubdia, an island in the Bay of Bengal where lush green rice fields give way to acres and acres of flat fields. Consisting of small rectangles of varying hues of brown, they are salt fields. The encroachment of saline water from rising tides has made rice farming impossible.

Abdus Shukur, 50, a former agricultural farmer, says he learned to farm salt 10 years ago, when sea water flooded the land he rents. It took him six months to learn the craft and he finds it back-breaking work.

“I was an agricultural farmer before,” says Shukur. “But the embankment broke down and saline water came on to the land. We had no choice but to adapt.”

Salt farming, he says, brings in more money that crops. But it is harder.

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