themcglynn.com

14 Apr

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

For a change from the same old news stories from the same old news networks, here are links to English-edition online newspapers from other parts of the world. Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Asia. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Some of the available newspapers:

Asia & CIS

www.newscentralasia.com/

China

english.peopledaily.com.cn/home.html

China & Hong Kong

www.scmp.com/news

France

www.france24.com/en/france/

Israel

www.haaretz.com/

Norway

www.newsinenglish.no/category/news/

Palestine

english.pnn.ps/

Russia

english.pravda.ru/

Ukraine

www.ukrainianjournal.com/

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Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn

British Overseas Territories

The report singled out British overseas territories such as Bermuda for their popularity with US firms seeking to slash their tax bill by ‘profit-shifting’. Photograph: Alamy

US corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4tn (£980bn) in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.

The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secretive network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam.

The charity’s analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest US corporations comes amid intense scrutiny of tax havens following the leak of the Panama Papers.

And the charity said its report, entitled Broken at the Top was a further illustration of “massive systematic abuse” of the global tax system.

Technology giant Apple, the world’s second biggest company, topped Oxfam’s league table, with some $181bn held offshore in three subsidiaries.

Boston-based conglomerate General Electric, which Oxfam said has received $28bn in taxpayer backing, was second with $119bn stored in 118 tax haven subsidiaries.

Computing firm Microsoft was third with $108bn, in a top 10 that also included pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, Google’s parent company Alphabet and Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company not owned by an oil-producing state………….

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San Francisco police chief addresses public over fatal shooting of Luis Gongora but fails to placate anger as thousands call for prosecution of officers

A man holds up a picture of Luis Gongora during a town hall meeting to provide an update on the investigation.

A man holds up a picture of Luis Gongora during a town hall meeting to provide an update on the investigation. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr told a crowd of angry community members that the officers who shot and killed a homeless man last week told investigators they feared he “was going to kill one of them or harm them with the weapon” prior to opening fire.

San Francisco police department (SFPD) policy allows officers to use lethal force if they have “reasonable cause to believe” that they or other people are in “imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury”.

Suhr’s statement at a “town hall” meeting is the latest attempt by the embattled police chief to explain how Luis Gongora, a 45-year-old man who lived in a tent on the street where he was killed, ended up fatally wounded within 30 seconds of three police officers arriving at the encampment………………

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In the last year, students at Harvard Law School and 70 other schools have been successful in making symbolic changes, but institutional shifts remain elusive

Harvard Law school race issues

Even if students see the Harvard Law victory as incomplete, other universities have seen even less change. Photograph: Alamy

For 80 years the family crest of the brutal slaveholder Isaac Royall Jr served as the official seal of the prestigious Harvard Law School.

Royall, whose endowment founded HLS in 1817, once instructed that 77 enslaved Africans be burned alive at the stake for an insurrection on his family’s Antigua sugar plantation.

In March, student protesters at Harvard notched a decisive victory in their fight to “decolonize” their campus, when administrators announced they would retire the Royall family seal, citing “the prospect that its imagery might evoke associations with slavery”.

Two months later, many of the students who pushed for the change say the decision is bittersweet. The removal of the seal sends a message, they say, but it doesn’t do enough to address the currents of racism on campus………….

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The Liberals’ claim they could not have cancelled the deal has been hotly disputed

Headshot of Canada's Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion

Foreign minister Stéphane Dion signed export permits last Friday. Photograph: Chris Wattie/Reuters

Canada’s Liberal government has refused to back down in the face of growing criticism for having approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia that could help it wage war in Yemen.

A previous Conservative administration announced the US$12bn sale of light armoured vehicles in February 2014.

However, the Conservatives are now raising the alarm over the arms sale – believed to be the largest in Canadian history – while the New Democratic Party (NDP) accused the Liberals of misleading Canadians.

The Liberals have refused to cancel the sale since coming to power in November, saying it was a “done deal” that could not be broken off without possibly incurring significant penalties and job losses.

But documents released this week by the justice department in response to a lawsuit seeking to block the deal showed foreign minister Stéphane Dion signed crucial export permits only last Friday………….

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The former Beatles drummer has joined Bruce Springsteen in refusing to perform in the state, which recently passed a bill many see as discriminatory

Ringo Starr: ‘How sad that they feel this group of people cannot be defended.’

Ringo Starr: ‘How sad that they feel this group of people cannot be defended.’ Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Ringo Starr has followed Bruce Springsteen in canceling a forthcoming concert in North Carolina in protest over the state’s newly minted anti-LGBT law.

The former Beatles drummer said in a statement: “I’m sorry to disappoint my fans in the area, but we need to take a stand against this hatred. Spread peace and love.”

The law, known as HB2, prevents transgender people from using the public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity, decreeing that all public institutions must post signs saying that bathrooms and locker rooms are to be used only based on biological sex. It also prevents municipal governments from passing anti-discrimination laws.

Describing the law as bigotry, Starr said of the legislators: “How sad that they feel this group of people cannot be defended.”

He concluded his statement quoting the titles of two songs: Canned Heat’s Let’s Work Together and the Beatles’ All You Need is Love………

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City council agrees to payment just as taskforce issues blistering report recommending complete overhaul of many of the city’s police operations

Chicago police board

Lori Lightfoot, chair of the Chicago police board, addresses community leaders and members of the news media about the taskforce’s findings. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago agreed on Wednesday to pay millions of dollars to the families of two men who died after interactions with police, as a blistering report on police-community relations said racism contributed to decades of mistrust between communities of color and the department.

A police accountability taskforce released the report one day after it was leaked to the Chicago Tribune, recommending a complete overhaul of many aspects of the Chicago police department’s operations. The taskforce was launched by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after video footage of the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald was released in November.

“We arrived at this point in part because of racism,” the report stated. “The linkage between racism and CPD did not just bubble up in the aftermath of the release of the McDonald video. Racism and maltreatment at the hands of the police have been consistent complaints from communities of color for decades.”…………….

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Peabody Energy’s decision seen as sign that fossil fuel is threatened by tightening environmental regulation

Peabody Energy

Traders work at the post where Peabody Energy is traded on the floor of the New York stock exchange. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal producer, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US following a collapse in commodity prices.

The move was blamed by financial analysts partly on a mistimed and debt-fuelled expansion into Australia, but others saw it as a sign that the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel was threatened by tightening environmental regulation.

Coal is increasingly being replaced as a fuel for generating electricity by gas-fired plants or wind farms in some countries. Britain has promised to phase out such coal use by 2025 although China and India continue to build new plants.

The price of key types of coal has plunged by 75% since a peak in 2011 and Peabody’s filing to the US bankruptcy court in St Louis, Missouri, is one of the largest corporate failures in the wider commodity sector.

“This was a difficult decision, but it is the right path forward for Peabody,” said the company’s chief executive, Glenn Kellow, who hopes that the company will eventually be able to re-emerge as a going concern……………

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US politics

Election 2016

Bernie Sanders at New York rally: ‘I think we’ve got a surprise for the establishment’

Bernie Sanders campaigns before a crowd in New York’s Washington Square on Wednesday, less than a week before the state’s pivotal presidential primary. Sanders acknowledges the tough race he has ahead of him but thinks he still has a chance. The Vermont senator drew thousands of supporters – an estimated 27,000 people – in a show of force for his self-proclaimed revolution

Opinion

Homan Square is Chicago’s new ‘House of Screams’

In the 1970s and 80s, torture at one Chicago police station earned it a sinister nickname. Is history repeating itself?

homan

The brutality at Homan Square is all too familiar for Chicagoans. Photograph: The Guardian

When your local police station is nicknamed the “House of Screams”, you know you’ve got a problem. That’s what a Chicago police station in the south side was known as several decades ago, when police detectives, working with the now notorious Jon Burge, routinely took young African-American men into custody there. Now, a new House of Screams exists in Chicago. It’s called Homan Square.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, men were often kept sequestered from their family and lawyers for hours and days while Burge and his colleagues interrogated them, using tactics that included electric shock, suffocation, brutal beatings with batons and other instruments, “Russian Roulette” with a handgun and death threats.

The station had numerous interrogation rooms on the second floor, with old-fashioned steam radiators that would burn the skin, a garage with dingy holding cells and a dark, foreboding basement. Men were tortured in all of these locations, as well as at a remote torture site. Confessions were obtained, false police reports were filed, perjured testimony was routinely offered, and scores of men, many of them innocent, were sent to prison – some to death row – as a result. At least one man, Jessie Winston, died under questionable circumstances.

Prosecutors, judges and a politically powerful mayor joined in promoting a broad-based cover-up, repeatedly denying that there was anything untoward happening. The torturers were commended and promoted, while a complicit police disciplinary agency exonerated the torturers in each and every investigation.

An investigative journalist wrote extensive exposés setting forth the mounting evidence uncovered by the torture victims’ lawyers, evidence which established that the torture was systemic. Activists demonstrated, but the local mainstream media, for the most part, ignored the scandal, and the cover-up continued for another 20 years.

Sound familiar? This past year, in the shadow of the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal, investigative reporters from the Guardian and their lawyers have exposed, in numerous articles, that Chicago’s history of torture and cover-up is repeating itself, this time at Homan Square.

As the Guardian has documented, Homan Square, named after a notorious Chicago slumlord Samuel Homan, was, until recently, a secret site where thousands of people of color have been – and apparently still are – held and interrogated for hours, “off the books”, often without being under arrest………….

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