27 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Photo: Archivo

“Dear people of Cuba:

It is with deep sorrow that I come before you to inform our people, and friends of Our America and the world, that today, November 25, at 10.29pm, Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz passed away. In accordance with his express wishes Compañero Fidel’s remains will be cremated. In the early hours of the morning of Saturday 26, the funeral organizing commission will provide our people with detailed information regarding the posthumous tributes which will be paid to the founder of the Cuban Revolution.

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!”


US politics >>

Clinton camp splits from White House on Jill Stein recount push

Hillary Clinton’s team will help with Jill Stein’s vote recount efforts, an attorney said.

Hillary Clinton’s team will help with Jill Stein’s vote recount efforts, an attorney said. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said on Saturday it would help with efforts to secure recounts in several states, even as the White House defended the declared results as “the will of the American people”.

The campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias, said in an online post that while it had found no evidence of sabotage, the campaign felt “an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton”.

“We certainly understand the heartbreak felt by so many who worked so hard to elect Hillary Clinton,” Elias wrote, “and it is a fundamental principle of our democracy to ensure that every vote is properly counted.”

In response, President-elect Donald Trump said in a statement: “The people have spoken and the election is over, and as Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating me, ‘We must accept this result and then look to the future.’”

Wisconsin began recount proceedings late on Friday after receiving a petition from Jill Stein, the Green party candidate. Stein claims there are irregularities in results reported by Wisconsin as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania, where she plans to request recounts next week, having raised millions of dollars from supporters.

Trump called Stein’s effort a “scam” and said it was “just a way … to fill her coffers with money, most of which she will never even spend on this ridiculous recount”.

“The results of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused,” he added, “which is exactly what Jill Stein is doing.”

A spokeswoman for Stein did not respond to a request for comment. Speaking to CNN, however, Stein said she had “no contact with the Clinton campaign” and added: “I have said consistently that if there are questions about the accuracy and security I would challenge it, no matter who was the winner.”

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‘A recipe for scandal’: Trump conflicts of interest point to constitutional crisis



The revolutionary will be buried alongside other famous Cubans as the country begins nine days of mourning

Citizens will have two days to pay homage to Castro in Havana, before his ashes are interred in Santiago de Cuba.

Citizens will have two days to pay homage to Castro in Havana, before his ashes are interred in Santiago de Cuba. Photograph: Jorge Cabrera/Reuters

Fidel Castro’s ashes will be interred at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery in Santiago de Cuba on 4 December, the Cuban government has announced.

As the country began nine days of mourning, huge rallies have been planned in the capital Havana and in the eastern city of Santiago to honor the revolutionary leader.

Alcohol sales were suspended, flags flew at half-mast and shows and concerts were cancelled after his younger brother and successor, Raul Castro, told the country late on Friday night that Fidel had died at 10:29pm.

Large groups took to the streets on Saturday waving flags and chanting “I am Fidel” to salute Castro, who dominated the island’s political life for generations. Newspapers were printed in black ink to mourn Castro, instead of the usual red of the official Communist Party daily Granma, and the blue of Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth), the paper of the Communist youth.

There will be no top level games of baseball – Castro’s passion after politics – for the nine-day period of mourning, the sport’s national federation declared.

Cubans will be able to pay homage to Castro at the José Martí memorial in Havana on 28 and 29 November, while a mass rally will be held in the capital on the evening of 29 November.

The next day Castro’s ashes will begin their journey across Cuba, along the route that commemorates his victory in 1959.

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Trump and Obama offer divergent responses to death>>

Reaction Justin Trudeau ridiculed over praise of ‘remarkable’ Castro>>

Profile Guerrilla leader, dictator – and unrepentant revolutionary>>

Close but no cigar How the US failed to kill Fidel Castro>>

Dakota access pipeline protest organizers say they will remain at Oceti Sakowin camp: ‘We are wardens of this land’

Protesters block Route 6 in Mandan on Thanksgiving day during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian reservation, in North Dakota.

Protesters block Route 6 in Mandan on Thanksgiving day during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian reservation, in North Dakota. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters will not follow a government directive to leave the federal land where hundreds have camped for months, organizers said on Saturday, despite state officials encouraging them to do so.

At a press conference, Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault and other protest organizers confidently explained that they would stay at the Oceti Sakowin camp and continue with nonviolent protests, a day after Archambault received a letter from the US army corps of engineers that said all federal lands north of the Cannonball river would be closed to public access 5 December over “safety concerns”.

The corps cited the coming winter and increasingly contentious clashes between protesters – who believe the pipeline could harm drinking water and Native American cultural sites – and police.

“We are wardens of this land. This is our land and they can’t remove us,” said Issac Weston, a protester and Oglala Sioux member from South Dakota. “We have every right to be here to protect our land and to protect our water.”

The vast majority of the several hundred people fighting against the four-state, $3.8bn pipeline have created a self-sustaining community at the sprawling camp, which is on corps land in southern North Dakota, and have put up semi-permanent structures or brought motor homes and trailers in advance of the harsh winter.

On the unseasonably warm Saturday, people were chopping wood and setting up tents at the encampment, which is more than a mile from a Missouri river reservoir where the final large segment of the pipeline is yet to be completed, due to the corps consulting with the tribe. Authorities had set up a staging area about a mile away on a hill overlooking the site.

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Dina Gold researched her family’s Berlin past – and uncovered a dark secret dating from the Nazi era

Dina Gold and her grandmother Nellie Wolff in August 1969.

Dina Gold and her grandmother Nellie Wolff in August 1969. Photograph: Courtesy of Family

When Dina Gold began searching for the Berlin property seized from her family by the Nazis in the 1930s, she had little idea she would unearth a dark secret – how the SS paid millions in premiums to insure a key part of Auschwitz and other death camps to what is still one of Germany’s top insurance companies.

Gold, a former BBC reporter now living in Washington, wrote earlier this year about her quest to find the massive Berlin building that had housed the headquarters of fur traders H Wolff, owned by her grandparents, which was taken over by the Nazis in 1937, four years after Adolf Hitler came to power.

Stolen Legacy related how her search was prompted by the stories her grandmother, Nellie Wolff, told of her family’s life in pre-Nazi Germany and how they had owned a huge building in the centre of Berlin, which served as the headquarters of their successful business. Nellie died in 1977, leaving nothing to help locate the property or prove its ownership. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Gold set out to find the truth.

Some in the family were sceptical, but Gold had listened to Nellie, who had enthused: “Dina, when the Wall comes down and we get back our building in Berlin, we’ll be rich.” She began a trawl of documents and identified the building – Krausenstrasse 17/18 – by unearthing a 1920 trade directory. Built by Gold’s great-grandfather in 1910, it was foreclosed upon by the Victoria Insurance Company in 1937 and transferred to the Deutsche Reichsbahn, Hitler’s railways that later transported millions of Jews to death camps.

After Gold’s book was published, an executive of Ergo, the company that now owns the insurer, allowed her to see the archive recording the activities of the firm during the Nazi era. They revealed that the SS, which ran factories in the camps at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Stutthof, close to what is now Gdansk, paid a consortium of firms, including the Victoria, premiums of 3.7m reichsmarks a year (£320,000 at 1939 exchange rates) to insure the factories.

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