21 Oct

United States Wars, News and Casualties

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Afghan refugee Gul Bibi Shamra, 3, poses for a picture, while playing with other children in a slum on the outskirts of Islamabad,

Photos by Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen

Robina Haseeb, age 5. Photo taken near Islamabad

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GUARD: Iraqi city of Kirkuk attacked by Isis militants

Witnesses report multiple explosions and fighting even as major offensive continues against the Isis-held city of Mosul

Islamic State militants have launched a commando raid on the Iraqi city of Kirkuk in an apparent attempt to distract Iraqi and Kurdish forces converging on the group’s stronghold of Mosul.

The attack was repelled by local security forces, who said six of the militants had been killed in the operation.

Isis claimed responsibility for the assault on its news agency service, Aamaq.

“Security forces, the peshmerga and the counter-terrorism forces have established complete control over the security situation in Kirkuk,” Najmeddine Karim, the city’s governor, said. “Daesh [Isis] sleeper cells carried out attacks against security sites and headquarters this morning in Kirkuk.”

Kirkuk, 146 miles (236km) north of Baghdad, is an oil-rich town that has emerged as a potential source of tension in a post-Isis Iraq.

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GUARD: EU leaders fail to agree on threatening Russia with sanctions over Aleppo

Push by Britain, France and Germany to address Syrian bombing campaign lacks unanimous support of leaders at Brussels summit

The EU has pulled back from threatening Russia with immediate sanctions over the bombing of Aleppo as a UK-backed plan ran into opposition from Italy.

At a summit of EU leaders on Thursday, Britain, France and Germany made a last-ditch push to issue a sanctions warning to Russia if “current atrocities” in Aleppo continue.

Despite vocal support from Theresa May and her French counterpart, François Hollande, the plan failed to win the necessary unanimity to pass.

The EU’s three biggest countries had wanted to warn Russia that individuals and organisations linked to the bombing of Aleppo could face asset freezes and travel bans if the violence continues.

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REU: U.N. rights boss denounces air strikes on Aleppo as war crimes

The top United Nations human rights official said on Friday that the siege and bombing of eastern Aleppo in Syria constituted “crimes of historic proportions” that have caused heavy civilian casualties amounting to war crimes.

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein did not specifically name Russia, whose war planes have carried out weeks of air strikes on the rebel-held part of Aleppo along with the Syrian air force, but his reference was clear.

“Armed opposition groups continue to fire mortars and other projectiles into civilian neighborhoods of western Aleppo, but indiscriminate air strikes across the eastern part of the city by Government forces and their allies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties,” Zeid said in a speech by video to a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

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REU: Islamic State retaliates as Iraqi forces push on Mosul

Islamic State launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk on Friday as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq.

Islamic State’s assault on Kirkuk, which lies in an oil- producing region, killed six members of the security forces and two Iranians who were part of a team carrying out maintenance at a power station outside the city, a hospital source said.

Crude oil production facilities were not targeted and the power supply continued uninterrupted in the city. Kirkuk is located east of Hawija, a pocket still under control Islamic State that lies between Baghdad and Mosul.

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GUARD: Funding crisis threatens Mosul aid, warn relief workers

UNHCR and NGOs say millions needed to help those fleeing Isis stronghold in Iraq, amid fears that failure to support refugees could fuel conflict

Humanitarian workers in Iraq are warning that the response to the battle of Mosul is being hampered by lack of funding and the pressure of supporting the millions already displaced by conflict across the country.

As Iraqi, US and Kurdish coalition troops approach Mosul for military action that could take place any time in the next couple of weeks, the UN Refugee Agency’s Iraq country director Bruno Geddo told the Guardian that there is not enough money to prepare adequately for the huge numbers that could flee the city, with the Mosul budget only 48 per cent funded.

“We are preparing for a million people, we have to prepare for the worst,” said Geddo. “We have shelter for 130,000 people but in terms of camp space we only have space for 60,000 people. The timeline to set up additional camps is extremely tight, finding suitable land is fraught with problems, and the funding is still insufficient.

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AOP: UN warns of worsening displacement crisis in Afghanistan

The United Nations has warned that escalated fighting across Afghanistan could displace many more people, lamenting that international support is not enough to handle the unfolding crisis.

United Nations special rapporteur Chaloka Beyani said on Thursday that UN agencies had registered more than 323,000 Afghans as internally displaced people (IDPs) since the start of this year, in a continuation of an upward trend over the past four years.“Warnings by humanitarian partners suggest that many more IDPs could be displaced by the end of the year, yet attention and resources allocated to their needs seem to be waning rather than increasing,” Beyani said during a briefing in Kabul, adding, “The displacement picture in Afghanistan is changing as the conflict evolves and intensifies.”

The UN official said more and more Afghans have been forced not to return to their homes as the Taliban-led insurgency continues to further undermine the country’s fragile security.casualties, exclusive of Civilians

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Iraq Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


Recent Casualties

The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Warrant Officer Travis R. Tamayo, 32, of Brownsville, Texas, died Sept. 16 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a non-combat-related incident. The incident is under investigation. Tamayo was assigned to the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Gordon, Georgia.

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

Afghanistan Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians


Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of one soldier and one Department of Army civilian employee who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview, Illinois, and Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died Oct. 20 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces.

Riney was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Sauro was assigned to the Defense Ammunition Center, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Oklahoma.

Staff Sgt. Adam S. Thomas, 31, of Takoma Park, Maryland, died Oct. 4 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device that exploded during dismounted operations. The incident is under investigation.

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

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PTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and Families

19 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


At least three students taken to hospital after vehicle drives into activists who had begun attacking it with batons at anti-US rally

A Philippine police van rams into protesters at an anti-US rally outside the American embassy in Manila on Wednesday. Demonstrators were demanding an end to the presence of US troops in the country. The protest leader, Renato Reyes, says at least three student activists were taken to hospital

A police van has rammed into protesters as an anti-US rally outside the American embassy in the Philippines capital, Manila, turned violent.

At least three student activists were taken to hospital after they were run over by the van driven by a police officer, the protest leader Renato Reyes said.

Television footage showed the van repeatedly ramming the protesters as it drove wildly back and forth after protesters had surrounded and started hitting the van with wooden batons they had seized from the police.

In front of horrified crowds, the van suddenly drove backwards then forwards twice over a space of about 20 metres, scattering protesters.

Some demonstrators screamed in surprise, while others hurled stones at the van. One protester called the police “puppies of imperialists” using a loudspeaker.

“There was absolutely no justification for it,” Reyes said of the police tactics. “Even as the president vowed an independent foreign policy, Philippine police forces still act as running dogs of the US.”

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Officials confirm government cut off internet access for Julian Assange following a raft of leaked emails targeting Democrats

Julian Assange’s internet access was cut off on Monday following a raft of leaked emails published by WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange’s internet access was cut off on Monday following a raft of leaked emails published by WikiLeaks. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Ecuador has confirmed that it has temporarily cut off internet access in its embassy in London to Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, over fears that he was using it to interfere in the US presidential election.

The move followed the publication of leaked emails by WikiLeaks, including some from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) released just before the party’s convention in July, and more recently a cache of emails from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta.

On Tuesday, officials released a statement saying that the government of Ecuador “respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states” and had cut off the internet access available to Assange because “in recent weeks, WikiLeaks has published a wealth of documents, impacting on the US election campaign”.

The statement also reaffirmed the asylum granted to Assange and reiterated its intention “to safeguard his life and physical integrity until he reaches a safe place”.

Assange’s internet access was cut off on Monday morning. It was not immediately clear who was responsible, though a tweet from the site’s official account claimed it had been “intentionally severed” by a “state party”.

It is not known who perpetrated the hacks that brought the emails to WikiLeaks. Assange’s organization styles itself a whistleblowing outfit and claims not to do or encourage any hacking itself.

Yet cybersecurity experts have linked the hack of the DNC emails to hackers tied to the Russian government, leading many – including Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook – to allege that Russia is using both hackers and Assange as tools to help rig the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

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The supreme court will review the long-running battle over line-drawing, but many fear that voters’ voices may be washed out in the presidential race first

Two years ago, more than half of the state’s voters cast Democratic ballots, yet Republicans secured the vast majority of congressional seats.

Two years ago, more than half of the state’s voters cast Democratic ballots, yet Republicans secured the vast majority of congressional seats. Photograph: Jan Diehm

On the outskirts of Charlotte, it’s the last day of early voting for the congressional race in North Carolina’s 12th district at the Mountain Island library, and there are no lines for the polling stations.

Instead, volunteers outnumbered the voters. It was early voting time, but not for a race nearly as high-profile as the presidential election. Only 266 people turned out in June to the polls to pick the district’s next member of Congress. After the election, once all the votes were tallied, only 7% of more than 500,000 registered voters cast ballots.

“Turnout was very, very low,” said Carol Johnson, a poll worker and an employee for the city of Charlotte. “Maybe people didn’t know. Maybe they weren’t interested.”

Or maybe people have grown disenfranchised after living in what has long been considered the most gerrymandered district in the United States. Twenty-five years ago, North Carolina lawmakers drew the 12th district, creating the second majority-minority district in a state with a dark history of denying black residents their voting rights.

That line-drawing is what is known as gerrymandering, or manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to favor a particular result.

The district’s borders were long and narrow – so stretched out that it took a two-hour drive from Charlotte, passing through Winston-Salem and Greensboro, before ending in Durham. Naturally, it became known as the I-85 district because, as state representative Mickey Michaux, a Democrat from Durham, once put it: “If you drove down the interstate with both car doors open, you’d kill most of the people in the district.”

What gerrymandering can kill is the impact of a person’s vote. North Carolina is a prime example of why President Barack Obama and former US attorney general Eric Holder recently announced plans to launch a long-term redistricting reform effort. And after Donald Trump escalated his warnings that this year’s presidential election is rigged, several commentators and even the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah argued that gerrymandering along with voter suppression laws are the real rigging.

The state’s past two presidential races were determined by a margin of two percentage points, yet the simple act of map-drawing distorted electoral outcomes on the ballot. Two years ago, more than half of the state’s voters cast Democratic ballots, yet Republicans secured the vast majority of congressional seats. For proof of gerrymandering’s chilling effects, look no further than the way that the 12th – which over the years has been described as a serpentine, political pornography and nothing “natural on this planet” – has undercut the power of a single vote.

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While we rake over Clinton’s emails and Trump’s late-night tweets, climate has been the elephant in the room, leaving scientists and campaigners asking why there hasn’t been a single direct question about the crisis

A car in flooded Gonzales, Louisiana during the Aegust floods

Despite recent extreme weather events, such as Louisiana floods, Hurricane Matthew and California’s drought, climate change has failed to feature in the debates. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change has been the elephant in the room during the past two US presidential debates. Ignoring this issue would be more understandable if this metaphorical pachyderm wasn’t about to rampage the lives of Americans, causing upheaval on a scale not seen since the start of human civilization.

“I’ve been shocked at the lack of questions on climate change, it really is fiddling while the world burns,” said Kerry Emanuel, a leading climate scientist. “This is the great issue of our time and we are skirting around it. I’m just baffled by it.”

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have yet to face a moderator question on climate change during two debates in which time was found to grill Clinton repeatedly over her use of emails and to ask Trump about a series of late-night tweets he sent about a former Miss Universe’s sex tape. Lester Holt, the moderator of the first debate, was reportedly set to ask a climate question but ran out of time.

Wednesday’s final debate is set to retread the same ground, with debate referee Chris Wallace of Fox News planning to prod the candidates on immigration, the economy and “fitness to be president”.

Wallace has also decided to ask about “foreign hot spots”, but it appears unlikely that it will segue into talking about the diabolical heat suffered in Kuwait and India this year.

“It’s like a sort of collective cowardice,” said Emanuel of the omission. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, added: “One has to wonder if television networks are compromised by the millions of advertising dollars they take from fossil fuel interests.”

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America’s most segregated city: the young black voters of Milwaukee – video

Milwaukee is one of the most politically polarized and racially segregated cities in America. Paul Lewis and Tom Silverstone discover a mix of alienation and hope in the city’s African American community

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The rights of activists and journalists are under threat wherever communities challenge Big Oil – in North Dakota and beyond

Amy Goodman speaks with supporters

‘The trampling of our rights as activists, or as journalists, isn’t just a problem in North Dakota.’ Photograph: Mike McCleary/AP

For far too long, the world had been ignoring the North Dakota anti-pipelines protests. Then the Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman captured private security forces (employed by a fossil fuel company) sicking dogs on Native Americans during a peaceful demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which encroaches on their sacred lands and waters. For that, she nearly went to jail.

The video made Goodman a target of North Dakota authorities, who brought charges of trespassing and rioting against her and the native leaders on the ground during the dog attack. Yes, a journalist was threatened with punishment for reporting on the horrific attack on indigenous people.

Authorities said Goodman didn’t deserve press protections because her opinions made her an “activist” instead of a journalist. Are we to punish every journalist who calls out state violence as he or she sees it? How could you not have an opinion in the face of such brutality? Should Walter Cronkite have gone to prison for his words about Vietnam?

Clearly not. Organizations defending freedom of the press decried the charges against Goodman. Activists like ourselves rallied behind her cause online because we understand the importance of a free press to social change. And on Monday, a North Dakota judge dropped the charges due to lack of probable cause.

It’s a win for freedom of the press, but intimidation by the fossil fuel industry and its government allies is far from over. Native leaders at the Standing Rock camps know this all too well, as they continue to face arrests by North Dakota police and pressure by Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline.

There’s no question that Goodman’s fearless reporting helped make this act of brutality a turning point in the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Soon after her broadcast, the Obama administration stepped in and paused the project until there could be “further consultation” of indigenous peoples. Suddenly, TV news and the mainstream media took up the story in a serious way for the first time. Thousands of more people headed out to the camp.

The trampling of our rights as activists, or as journalists, isn’t just a problem in North Dakota. It’s also a fight that’s playing out around the world wherever communities stand up to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests destroying our communities and climate.

We see it in the murder of activists like Berta Cáceres in Honduras. We see it in the Philippines, where anti-mining activists are being murdered by paramilitary groups. According to a report by Global Witness, 185 environmental activists in 16 countries were killed last year and the number is just going up.

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17 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


John Kerry meets Boris Johnson and Saudi foreign minister in London and stresses urgency of ending violence in Yemen

Diplomatic editor

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson and US secretary of State John Kerry call for a ceasefire in Yemen within the coming days. It comes amid outrage of the death of 140 people in a Saudi airstrike. The Yemeni government has been in conflict with Iranian-backed Houthis for more than 18 months. They are joined by the UN special envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed who would announce when the ceasefire can take effect.

Britain and the US have called for a ceasefire in Yemen “within hours” as they tried to seize on outrage caused by the killing of 140 people in a Saudi airstrike.

Fighting between Iranian-backed Houthis and the Yemeni government, which is supported by Gulf states, has lasted more than 18 months, far longer than the Gulf states expected.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said if Yemen’s opposing sides accepted and moved forward on a ceasefire then the UN special envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, would work through the details and announce when and how it would take effect.

“This is the time to implement a ceasefire unconditionally and then move to the negotiating table,” Kerry said after a brief meeting with the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and other officials in London. “We cannot emphasise enough today the urgency of ending the violence in Yemen.”

Kerry said he, Johnson and Cheikh Ahmed were calling for the implementation of a ceasefire “as rapidly as possible, meaning Monday, Tuesday”. Kerry and Johnson also met the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

On 8 October a Saudi air raid on a funeral killed 140 people and wounded 525 others, drawing severe criticism of the Arab coalition.

Cheikh Ahmed said the attack took place “amid significant progress in the long peace negotiations, and at a time when we were negotiating a durable accord”.

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‘With the policeman and the M16, it’s one burst, brrrr, and [he] hits 1,000 people there,’ explains Philippines president

Paramedics attend the scene of an extrajudicial killing in Manila in September

Paramedics attend the scene of an extrajudicial killing in Manila in September. Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has vowed no let-up in his war on crime. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, has referred to innocent people and children as “collateral damage” in his war on drugs because police use automatic weapons when confronting criminals.

Asked in an interview with al-Jazeera about minors caught up in the violence, Duterte said those cases would be investigated but added that police can kill hundreds of civilians without criminal liability.

He gave a hypothetical example of an officer using an M16 rifle when dealing with a “gangster” who wields a pistol. “When they meet, they exchange fire. With the policeman and the M16, it’s one burst, brrr, and [he] hits 1,000 people there and they die.

“It could not be negligence because you have to save your life. It could not be recklessness because you have to defend yourself,” he said.

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Turnout estimated at between 6,500 and 8,500 – far less than the 20,000 who joined the anniversary rally a year ago

Pegida supporters in Dresden

Pegida supporters in Dresden. Photograph: Oliver Killig/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of protesters have gathered in the eastern German city of Dresden to mark the second anniversary of the anti-immigration and Islamophobic movement Pegida.

Some in the crowd carried flags bearing slogans such as “Refugees not welcome” and chanted “Merkel must go” as they railed against the arrival of almost 900,000 asylum seekers in Germany last year.

An independent research group, Durchgezählt, estimated the turnout at between 6,500 and 8,500 people – far less than the 20,000 who joined the anniversary rally a year ago.

Pegida held its anniversary gathering on a Sunday this year rather than Monday, when it usually holds its rallies, because two public events aimed at countering the group had already reserved the space in Dresden’s old town.

City authorities will hold a festival for residents, and an anti-Pegida group has called a rally at the same time to “send a sign against the hate” spouted by Pegida.

Pegida, an acronym of Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident, was born in October 2014. At its peak in January last year the group attracted 25,000 to its protests, before numbers waned after its founder Lutz Bachmann was caught making overtly racist comments and as pictures of him sporting a Hitler-style moustache and hairstyle surfaced.

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A building in Orange County, North Carolina, was struck with a flammable material thrown through a front window of the building, local authorities said

Melted campaign signs are seen at the fire-damaged Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Melted campaign signs are seen at the fire-damaged Orange County Republican Headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina. Photograph: Jonathan Drew/AP

A local Republican Party office in North Carolina was damaged by fire and someone spray-painted an anti-GOP slogan referring to “Nazi Republicans” on a nearby wall, authorities said on Sunday.

A news release from the town of Hillsborough said someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight. The substance ignited and damaged furniture and the interior before burning out.

The news release said an adjacent building was spray-painted with the words: “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

State GOP director Dallas Woodhouse said no one was injured, but a security alert was being sent to party offices around the state.

On Sunday afternoon, the walls of the multi-room office were covered in black char, and a couch against one wall had been burned down to its springs. Shattered glass covered the floor and melted campaign yard signs showed warped lettering. The graffiti had been covered in paint by late afternoon.

Another business owner discovered the damage on Sunday morning. Local police are investigating alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Woodhouse said people sometimes work after hours, and he felt lucky that no one was there at the time.

“They are working around the clock. It is a

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After five years of failed negotiations, conservations are hopeful Russia is prepared to make a deal to protect the Ross Sea and East Antarctica

Adelie penguin

Antartica is home to most of the world’s penguins and whales. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which has been meeting annually since 2011, on Monday commenced two weeks of talks to discuss creating marine reserves in the Antarctic. Photograph: Reuters

An international agreement to protect some of Antarctica’s unique and pristine marine ecosystems could be reached within a fortnight, with scientists and conversationists hopeful of a breakthrough after five years of failed negotiations.

Delegates from 24 nations and the European Union gathered in Hobart on Monday to commence two weeks of talks at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

The commission has been working since 2011 towards protecting a range of areas in the Southern Ocean.

If an agreement is reached, it would represent the first time a marine protected area was established in international waters by consensus. Russia has consistently blocked the agreement, with China also scuppering the deal each year until 2015.

This year there are signs Russia, which is chairing the meeting for the second year in a row, is prepared to make a deal to protect the Ross Sea and possibly East Antarctica.

“There has been a lot of movement within Russia for more environmental awareness – coming from high up in the Putin government,” said Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean work at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In the past year, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s former chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, has been appointed special presidential representative for environmental protection, ecology and transport, and Ivanov has increased protection to waters around the Arctic.

In January Putin declared 2017 the Year of Ecology in Russia. In September, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, said he had been in discussions with Putin, and revealed Russia had conducted an “interagency assessment” of the Antarctic proposals.

“I don’t know what the results of that assessment will be, but we obviously all remain hopeful that Russia will step up and join us in this endeavour,” Kerry said.

Scientists have estimated the Southern Ocean produces about three quarters of the nutrients that sustain life in the rest of the world’s oceans. The region is also home to most of the world’s penguins and whales.

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16 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Netanyahu blasts B’Tselem, Peace Now for speaking out against occupation


PNN/ Jerusalem/

The Israeli prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu blasted two Israeli rights groups for speaking against illegal Israeli settlements and occupation at a UN Security Council meeting.

B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now, affilliated to the Israeli Peace Now movement, on Friday joined an informal UN Security Council session on Tel Aviv’s continued construction of illegal settlements on the occupied territories, PressTV said.

At the meeting, B’Tselem had said that the Israeli occupation “flew right in the face of its claim to be exercising “democracy” and reminded that occupation was affecting even the smallest aspects of Palestinian lives and had to end,” PressTV added.

“The UN Security Council must act and the time is now,” B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad had said at the meeting, which later denounced Israel for building “illegal settlements,” paving the way for a Security Council resolution against Tel Aviv.

The speeches angered Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, who took to Facebook on Saturday and said the two organizations that joined the “chorus of mudslinging” against Israel and had recycled the calls that Israel “occupation and the settlements are the reason for the conflict” with Palestinians.

He also vowed he would bar Israelis from doing volunteer work at B’Tselem as means of doing their military service.

In response, B’Tselem said in a statement in response that it would not be intimidated by Netanyahu.

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Palestinian shot, wounded among dozens in Israeli raid on Jalazon camp


Fares Ziad al-Bayed, 16, shot, wounded by IOF

PNN/ Ramallah/

A Palestinian child suffered a serious gunshot wound to his head after shot by Israeli Forces during their incursion in Al-Jalazon refugee camp near Ramallah, Saturday evening.

At least twenty Palestinians have been injured during the raid: Medical sources said two Palestinians were shot with live army fire; one of them is a 16-year-old child, who was shot directly in the head, while the other is a young man who was shot in his back.

IMEMC reported that the child, identified as Fares Ziad al-Bayed, 16, is currently in a very serious condition at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

At least 18 Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, three of them suffered moderate wounds that required hospitalization, while the rest received the needed treatment by local medics.

An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the use of live fire by the soldiers, and claimed she was “aware of reports of injuries, but unable to confirm them.”

She added that Palestinian protesters hurled Molotov cocktails and firebombs at the soldiers, near the entrance of the refugee camp, and the “the army responded with live fire.”

The Palestinians in the camp were commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Ahmad Sharaka, 13, who was shot by an Israeli army bullet in the neck on October 11, 2015.

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France International News 24/7

Pope to raise ‘gaucho priest’ and six others to sainthood

© AFP / by Ella IDE | Tapestries on the facade of St Peter’s basilica show portraits of Jose Gabriel Brochero (L) and Lodovico Pavoni (R) during a canonization mass led by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016 in the Vatican


Pope Francis was due Sunday to proclaim seven new saints, including Argentina’s “gaucho priest” who served as an inspiration for the pontiff, and two people who died for their faith.

Jose Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, born 1849 in the province of Cordoba, spent his days ministering to the poor and the sick, travelling the region on the back of a mule, and building church schools.

Francis has praised the 19th century Argentine as having had the “smell of his sheep” on him, a phrase he has used in the past to describe the best pastors, those who mingle with their flock and share their troubles.

Brochero cared for the sick during a cholera epidemic in 1867 and would go on to contract leprosy, reportedly after sharing with a sufferer a gourd of the herbal tea mate — a drink Francis often sips when offered to him by pilgrims in the crowds.

The youngest of the new saints will be Jose Sanchez del Río, a 14-year-old who was killed in 1928 in Mexico after refusing to renounce his faith during the “Cristero” struggle between Catholics and the anti-clerical Mexican government.

A handwritten note to his mother which was found on his body read “I promise that in heaven I will prepare a place for all of you. Your Jose dies defending the Catholic faith for the love of Christ the King and Our Lady of Guadalupe”, according to Vatican Radio.

Salomone Leclercq also died defending his faith. Born in 1745 in France to a family of merchants, he entered the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools — known as the “De La Salle Brothers” — where he served as a teacher and novices master.

He was run through with a sword during the French Revolution after refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the new French government, and his murder, along with that of dozens of other religious figures, was seen as driven by a “hatred of the faith”.

– ‘1,000 times a priest’ –

France’s second new saint will be the mystic Elizabeth of the Trinity, who died aged just 26 of Addison’s disease in 1906.

A gifted pianist, Elizabeth reportedly refused several offers of marriage to join the Barefoot Carmelites near her house and undertake a life of contemplation where she dedicated herself to prayer and spiritual writings.

She will be joined by Italian Alfonso Maria Fusco, a priest from the southern city of Salerno, who was born to a farmer in 1839 and went on to found the “Congregation of the Sisters of St. John the Baptist”, known as Baptistine Sisters.

While the sisters educated the young and spread the

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Local authorities mobilise army and police to rescue trapped residents in central Vietnam following torrential rain

Floods surround houses in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province

Floods surround houses in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province after torrential rain submerged tens of thousands of houses. Photograph: STR/EPA

At least 11 people have died and several more are missing in heavy flooding in central Vietnam, state media said on Saturday, with tens of thousands of homes completely submerged by water.

The communist government has ordered local authorities to mobilise the army and police to rescue trapped residents following heavy downpours, state-run Vietnam television reported.

The channel said at least 11 had died in the flooding with some 27,000 homes under water in the region.

Local official Nguyen Huu Hoai said the death toll was seven in Quang Binh province, but added that conditions were improving.

Flooding in central Vietnamese province of Quang Binh.

Submerged homes are seen in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Binh. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

“We can reach areas which were isolated by flooding,” the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said.

Though rainfall is expected to ease, officials warned the region could be hammered again if typhoon Sarika in the South China Sea reaches Vietnam.

Meteorologists say that the 2016 Asian monsoon is one of the strongest in many years, and has been intensified by the El Niño natural phenomenon which sees Pacific water temperatures rise and leads to droughts and severe weather worldwide.

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US officials predict this year’s harvest will be down 14% from last year as trees reel from disease and hurricanes – and orange prices surge

‘Farmers are giving up’ on oranges, says a commodities researcher. Photograph: Alamy

Florida might need to consider redesigning its license plates. The state’s plates feature a pair of ripe oranges above the famous “Sunshine State” slogan, but the region is in the midst of the worst orange harvest crisis since records began in 1913 – and prices are soaring.

The state’s orange trees, which are mostly used to produce juice, have been devastated by disease and hurricanes, causing harvest totals to fall for five successive seasons. The US Department of Agriculture this week predicted that the 2016 harvest would amount to just 70m boxes of oranges, a 14% drop on last year and a huge decline from bountiful days at the turn of this century when more than 23m boxes, each containing 90lb of fruit, were produced each year.

The steep drop in production has led orange juice futures prices to nearly double in 13 months, pushing producers to reduce the size of cartons and make more drinks that blend orange with other juices, in order to avoid shocking consumers with too big a price increase at the checkout. Orange juice futures traded on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) rose from $1.03 a pound in September 2015 to $2.05 last week. Some analysts predict that the price could reach $2.20 by the end of the year.

The orange crop devastation began in 2005 when a bacterium that causes huanglongbing – better known as citrus greening or HLB disease – was found in southern Florida. Since then, the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny flying insect which transmits the disease, has been blown across Florida by various hurricanes, which also brought down orange trees.

Farmers have spent more than $100m on research into ways to combat the disease, but so far scientists are stumped.

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We need answers from the candidates on how they would deal with a deadly conflict in one of the Middle East’s poorest countries. We’re not getting them

Fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, 14 October, 2016.

Fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on Friday. Photograph: Hani Mohammed/AP

What if the United States went to war and nobody here even noticed? The question is absurd, isn’t it? And yet, this almost perfectly describes what actually happened this past week.

While many Americans, myself included, were all hypnotized by the bizarre spectacle of the Republican nominee for president, a US navy destroyer fired a barrage of cruise missiles at three radar sites controlled by the rebel Houthi movement in Yemen. This attack marked the first time the US has fought the rebels directly in Yemen’s devastating civil war.

The Trump show has managed to bump all serious and necessary policy debates not just off the table but out of the room

The cruise missile salvo ramps up the already significant US military involvement in deeply divided and desperately poor Yemen. While it’s true that the US has launched drone strikes on al-Qaida targets in Yemen for years, sometimes killing civilians and even US citizens, this particular military engagement has the potential to drag the US straight into a protracted and escalating conflict. And, as everyone knows, America has an uncanny ability to enter protracted and escalating military conflicts.

Yet we’ve heard absolutely nothing about this from our presidential candidates.

If we investigated, we would find that the Pentagon justified this attack as retaliation. Last week, missiles were fired on two separate occasions at another navy destroyer off of Yemen’s southern coast. Those missiles fell harmlessly into the water, but they were enough of a provocation that the navy responded with its own bombardment.

But we would also find that immediately prior to those incidents, on Saturday 8 October, a 500lb laser-guided US-made bomb was dropped on a funeral procession by the US-sponsored Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels who, the Saudis say, are backed by Iran. This bomb killed more than 140 people, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 525 people. Human Rights Watch called the incident “an apparent war crime”.

That heinous attack led to a strong rebuke from the US, which has sold the Saudis $110bn worth of arms since President Obama assumed office, and recently approved the sale of $1.15bn more. The US also supplies the Saudis with necessary intelligence and logistics to prosecute its war. According to Reuters, the US government is also deeply concerned that it may be implicated in future war crimes prosecutions as a result of its support for the Saudi-led coalition.

This worry might explain why National Security Council spokesman Ned Price stated that “in light of this and other recent incidents, we … are prepared to adjust our support so as to better align [the Saudi-led coalition] with US principles, values and interests, including achieving an immediate and durable end to Yemen’s tragic conflict”. Sounds good. Then again, the US bombed Houthi positions days later.

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