02 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


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snowden prize

Snowden, speaking by video from Moscow, said: ‘All the prices we’ve paid, all the sacrifices we made, I believe we would do again – I know I would.’

Edward Snowden wins Swedish human rights award for NSA revelations

Whistleblower receives several standing ovations in Swedish parliament as he wins Right Livelihood award

Whistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance.

Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow. In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.

His father, Lon, who was in the chamber for what was an emotional ceremony, said: “I am thankful for the support of the Right Livelihood award and the Swedish parliament. The award will remain here in expectation that some time – sooner or later – he will come to Stockholm to accept the award.”

Snowden is wanted by the US on charges under the Espionage Act. His chances of a deal with the US justice department that would allow him to return home are slim and he may end up spending the rest of his days in Russia……………………..



A man give address in mosque

A man said to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq. Lebanese officials have declined to give the name of the woman they arrested. Photograph: Reuters TV

Wife and child of Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi arrested in Lebanon

Woman said to have been travelling with fake passport as she crossed from Syria is being questioned at defence ministry

The Lebanese army have detained a wife and child of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State (Isis), as they crossed from Syria, security officials have said.

The officials declined to reveal the name or nationality of the woman, whom they described as one of his wives.

The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported that the army had detained the woman in coordination with “foreign intelligence apparatus”.

The arrest is a blow to Baghdadi and could be used as a bargaining chip against his group………………….



Syrian refugees eating at a refugee camp in Marj

A photo from June 2014 of Syrian refugees breaking their fast outside their tent at a refugee camp in the town of Marj in Lebanon. Photograph: Bilal Hussein/AP

1.7m Syrian refugees face food crisis as UN funds dry up

World Food Programme forced to suspend food voucher scheme to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt

More than 1.7 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are facing a disastrous and hungry winter after a funding crisis forced the UN’s World Food Programme to suspend food vouchers to hundreds of thousands forced into exile by the conflict.

Since the war began in March 2011, the WFP has brought food to millions of Syrians inside the country, and has used the voucher programme – which allows refugees to buy food in local shops – to inject about $800m (£500m) into the economies of those countries hosting them……………………..



An employee changes figures on a board showing currency exchange rates in Moscow

An employee changes figures on a board showing currency exchange rates in Moscow. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Russia intervenes as crumbling rouble echoes 1998 debt crisis

Collapse in Russian currency, which has been badly buffeted by a plunge of almost 40% in oil prices, prompts central bank action

Russia’s central bank was forced to step in to defend the rouble on the foreign exchanges on Monday after fears over the economy’s vulnerability to a weak oil price sent the currency to a record low against the dollar.

Moscow was forced to abandon its hands-off policy towards the rouble amid heavy selling, unmatched since the Russian debt default of 1998……………….


Other News


darren wilson photo

The challenge, right now, is to refuse to accept the retirement of Darren Wilson, to insist that we keep talking about him. Photograph: AP

Why Darren Wilson is driving you mad

Do not accept the Ferguson police officer’s retirement. Just keep talking about his phantasmagorical fear of the black body – or else

It would be easy enough to call Darren Wilson a liar, as so many pundits have done,  after reading the now-former Ferguson police officer’s testimony in the case of the killing of the 18-year-old Michael Brown. We could imagine this paragon of whiteness, soft-spoken and soft around the middle, as a rational actor, spending months after the shooting to carefully prepare for his grand-jury testimony, to repeat his performance in front of George Stephanopoulos for a television interview. Calling him a liar establishes his sanity.

It could be easier still to forget Darren Wilson, now that he has ostensibly retired – “for obvious reasons, he says, gesturing to security risks that he “cannot allow”. Representing his retreat from police work as noble self-sacrifice, Wilson refuses to be defined as racist, despite his central role in a killing that is difficult to understand without race. These days, we have “racism without racists”, as the sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva puts it, which means that we have more and more black victims – indeed, a veritable wall of names and faces – and fewer and fewer convictions of their killers, who are allowed to fade away. Like Darren Wilson, if we forget him.

We need to keep Darren Wilson around for a little bit longer. Because the problem at hand is bigger than one policeman. Darren Wilson, after all, is an instrument. In the moment of the encounter, he did exactly what he was built to do. What we, collectively, have built him to do. This looming representative of our civilization, in which the “New Jim Crow” is a seemingly permanent fixture, has something to tell us about our world: his actions tell us that we’ve gone mad.

The difficult work now is making sense of how Darren Wilson understands the phantasmagorical qualities of the black body – how all of our Darren Wilsons do. In the transfixing grand-jury transcript, Wilson suggests that Brown was “bulking up” with the impact of each bullet, as if “Big Mike” were gaining in size and strength, not weakening and, inevitably, slowly dying. Wilson felt, in the moment of struggle over the gun, as if he was a five-year-old battling Hulk Hogan, who would theatrically erupt into a berserker’s rage, and become physically unstoppable, in the late minutes of every wrestling match. Wilson described Brown as a “demon” – as an “it” – as a monstrous creature, stomping and huffing, and building up momentum for a final assault, like the Incredible Hulk – all comic-book id and no superego. This is the familiar grammar of racial sight, through which a wallet becomes a gun or a Harvard professor becomes a burglar……………………………



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