International News

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Kyler Prescott grew up in San Diego. He was an avid piano player, an animal lover and a talented writer. According to his mother, Katharine Prescott, he was, most of all, a deeply compassionate young man.

Kyler was also transgender and dealt with bullying in school, online harassment and constant misgendering. Like many transgender teens, he struggled with depression and suicide. When he was 13, he wrote a poem about the heartache of a boy forced into a gender he never identified with:

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon says she plans to trigger another independence referendum. The Scottish National Party leader said the new poll should be in 2018 or 2019, Irish Republican News reported on March 13.

“Right now, Scotland stands at a hugely important crossroads,” Sturgeon said, referring to the “Brexit” vote that will take all of Britain out of the European Union, despite a majority in Scotland voting to remain.

A hundred years ago, on March 12, socialists in Petrograd distributed the following appeal for an insurrectional general strike to bring down tsarism. That day – the culmination of the Russian February revolution – witnessed the crumbling of tsarist power.

At 11.22am on March 10, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Lee Jeingmi announced the court had unanimously decided to dismiss President Park Geun-hye. With that, after a 92-day trial, Park’s presidency was over.

The disarray among politicians of both major parties on display in last year’s election campaign has intensified in the first two months of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Charges and counter-charges are hurled between the Democrats and the Trump administration, prompting Congressional investigations that may bring in the FBI, CIA and other spy agencies.

The containment of Islamophobe Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (PVV) in the March 15 Dutch general election was greeted with relief by the mainstream European media.

Nonetheless, the election result primarily reflected a conservative and safety-seeking consolidation of the right and centre parties. It will result in a more right-wing cabinet than the previous “red-blue” coalition of the VVD and Labour Party (PdvA), and throw up big challenges for progressive politics in the Netherlands.

Much has been made of US President Donald Trump’s potential impact on Mexico, but one critical story has been largely ignored in the Western media.

Coverage of Mexico in the Trump era has been dominated by speculation over the fate of the stumbling Mexican peso, the possibility of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) collapsing and, of course, the wall.

Meanwhile, a seismic shift is quietly taking place in Mexican politics: the right wing is the weakest it has been in generations, while the left is seeing a historic resurgence.

Mining companies have benefitted over the past few years from rising global demand and prices, but workers have seen little to no benefit from the boom.

Now mine workers are flexing their muscle to demand their share of the spoils.

Hiroji Yamashiro was arrested for cutting a wire fence at a protest against a US military base in Okinawa in October. He has been detained ever since.

Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Centre, has been a fixture of the non-violent opposition to US military base expansion on the island.

WikiLeaks has published what it says is the largest leak of secret CIA documents in history. The thousands of documents published on March 6, dubbed “Vault 7”, describe CIA programs and tools that are capable of hacking into Apple and Android mobile phones.

By hacking into entire phones, the CIA is then reportedly able to bypass encrypted messenger programs such as Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. However, contrary to many news reports, the documents do not show the CIA has developed tools to hack these encrypted services themselves.

“We were taken from Mosul to Syria. There were thousands of young girls and ISIS members in the ISIS centre we were taken to. Young girls were being raped here. Young girls were forcibly brought and savagely raped, then were made to marry [ISIS members]. Those who didn’t agree were tortured and beaten up.

“We were forced to pray and read the Quran. They wanted us to wear black clothing and cover up our hands with gloves. They would sell the women who didn’t agree to this.”

President Donald Trump has signed a new executive order temporarily banning all refugees, as well as people from six majority-Muslim countries, from entering the United States, Democracy Now! said on March 7.

In contrast to the fanfare that accompanied Trump’s rollout of January’s ill-fated travel ban, the March 6 signing was a decidedly low-key event. Trump signed the executive order out of public view.

“Water is life!” was the cry heard throughout Washington, DC on March 10 as thousands of people marched for Indigenous rights and the sovereignty of native nations, Common Dreams said that day.

On March 8, women around the world gave themselves a day off — from the system.

Morocco’s return to the African Union is an affront not only to the people of Western Sahara but to African people

Workers in El Salvador won a big rise in the minimum wage on January 1 — in some cases doubling their pay.

But before they had time to celebrate, the multinational companies who thrive on the country’s still-low wages counterattacked with mass layoffs, judicial manoeuvres and a bid to undermine the eight-hour day.

El Salvador’s ruling Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) warned the US Embassy in San Salvador on February 27 to stop supporting the country’s right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party. FMLN leaders accused the US of meddling in the country’s affairs by supporting ARENA youth working to destabilise the government.

For the first time since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 as part of a treaty to end Ireland’s War of Independence, supporters of Northern Ireland’s “union” with the British state no longer hold a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, explains why his union continues to support socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the veteran left-winger faces fresh calls to resign over his alleged “unelectability”.

Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest pesticide and seed corporations and leading developer of genetically modified crop varieties, had a stock market value of US$66 billion in 2014. It has gained this position by a combination of deceit, threat, litigation, destruction of evidence, falsified data, bribery, takeovers and cultivation of regulatory bodies.

Ecuador will return to the polls on April 2 after a first round presidential vote failed to deliver a decisive victory for Lenin Moreno, the candidate seeking to continue outgoing President Rafael Correa’s pro-poor “Citizens’ Revolution”.  

Moreno now faces the challenge of ensuring Ecuador does not join the list of countries in the region where the left has recently lost at the ballot box.  

Quito-based research institute, the International Centre for Advanced Studies in Communications for Latin America (CIESPAL), has decided against renewing its contract with the British security company G4S after meeting with BDS activists who informed it about G4S’s complicity with Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. 

Letter sent by Julian Assange to the XV Encounter of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Movements in Defence of Humanity, held in Caracas, Venezuela over March 6-7, 2017.

Protest in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Women were striking, protesting, and rallying for their rights across the United States and around the world on March 8 in honor of International Women's Day.

Calls to stop a government crackdown on trade unionists and garment workers in Bangladesh have paid off as the 35 activists who were arrested in a series of December raids have been released.

However, major problems remain in the country’s garment industry as the government neglects to fully comply with its labour and human rights commitments.

Preventable blindness has declined significantly in Latin America and the Caribbean through the Miracle Mission program initiated by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004.

The project was created by former Cuban president Fidel Castro and backed by former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Under the program, Venezuela flies those needing eye surgery to Cuba, where they are operated on for free.

Ecuador’s National Institute of Statistics and Censuses reported in January that the country's multidimensional poverty rate dropped 16.5% between 2009 and 2015, translating into 1.9 million Ecuadorians who no longer live in poverty.

“Socioeconomic poverty will be fundamentally solved through changes in the relations of power … through political processes,” Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said.

With Ecuador’s presidential elections heading into a second round on April 2, the Coordination of Social Movements, Communities and Nationalities, made up of about 1200 groups nationwide, will support leftist candidate Lenin Moreno, Ecuador's state media outlet El Telegrafo reported.

Moreno fell just short of the 40% and 10 point lead needed for an outright win in the first round on February 19, winning 39.36% of the vote of more than 13 million voters. Right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso came in second place with 28.09%.

The killing of Honduran environmental activist Berta Caceres on March 3 last year closely resembles a planned extrajudicial killing by Honduran military forces with links to US-trained special forces, according to newly leaked court documents.

Caceres was a co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH).

The Kurdish-led left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which won 13.2% of the vote in 2015 national elections to become the third largest parliamentary group, has faced growing repression as the Turkish regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has turned increasingly dictatorial. Last year, all of the HDP’s 59 MPs were hit with arrest warrants, amid mass arrests of voices critical of the government.

Under President Donald Trump’s new guidelines, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are stepping up raids, roundups and deportations of undocumented immigrants.

Fulfilling his promise to “take the shackles off” ICE and Border Patrol Agents, the thugs in uniform have been given the green light.

A February 26 New York Times front page article was headlined: “Agents Discover a New Freedom on Deportations, Emboldened by Trump.”

A subhead read: “Quick Shift as Officers Expand Targets and Start Roundups.”

After Turkish forces took the previously ISIS-held town of al-Bab on February 23, clashes have intensified in northern Syria between Turkish forces and local proxies occupying an enclave in northern Syria, on one hand, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the other.

The SDF is an alliance of progressive armed groups — the largest of which are Kurdish-based Peoples Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) — that is subordinate to the grassroots democratic structures of the Democratic Federation of North Syria.

As women around the world prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 and continue the struggle against entrenched sexism, misogyny and gender-based violence, Palestinian women are doing all that with the added burden of living under Israeli occupation.

Late Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez, who died in office on March 5, 2013, is the most popular head of state in the country’s history, according to a new poll conducted by the independent think tank Hinterlaces.

Dr Marcelo Jose Alfonzo Rosas, who passed away on February 22 aged 66, was a committed revolutionary and supporter of Venezuela’s late socialist president Hugo Chavez. He had been an active socialist since his student days at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), where he studied medicine and biology.

Women's March against Trump in Denver, Colarado on February 21.

March 8 is International Women's Day, a day initiated by socialist women in 1909 to commemorate a strike by US women garment workers. In 1917, demonstrations by women workers on IWD in Russia sparked the revolution that brought down the Tsar.

IWD is marked globally, but in recent years the politics has often become depoliticised. However, this year a range of attacks on women around the world has led to the call for a International Women’s Strike to mark the day.

A funeral procession snaked its way through downtown Toronto on February 21, Now Toronto said the next day. The mourners were paying their respects to the hundreds who have died from drug overdoses in Canada this year as part of a National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis.

About 2500 workers have been on strike since February 9 at the Escondida mine in Chile’s north.

Owned by two Anglo-Australian mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Escondida is the largest producer of “red gold” in the world. The mine extracts about 900,000 tonnes a year. This represents 20% of copper production in Chile, the country with the largest copper reserves in the world.

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