International News

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s annual State of the Nation (SONA) address on July 24 reflected his government’s increasing trajectory towards dictatorship. Outside, protest marches converged on the parliamentary complex at Batasan, reflecting the growing grassroots opposition to the worsening dictatorial trend.

Israel’s “security measures”, including installing metal detectors at Haram Al Sharif — which contains the Al Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites — were finally rescinded on July 27 amid growing protests. But Palestinians continue to face unprecedented levels of surveillance and harassment.

On the night of July 27, Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians who returned to the site to pray for the first time in nearly two weeks since Israel shut down the mosque.

Venezuelans are set to vote for a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) on July 30. Proposed by the government as a way to find a peaceful and democratic solution to months of political turmoil in the country, the ANC has been rejected by the opposition, who have pledged to stop the vote going ahead.

The opposition is instead calling for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro and the formation of a transition government under its control. They took the first steps in this direction on July 19, releasing plans for a new “unity government”.

THE STORY is, by now, a familiar one: An unarmed person is gunned down by police officers who shoot first and ask questions later.

But Justine Damond, who was killed by cops in Minneapolis on July 15, was white. Her murder has led to multiracial calls for justice for her and all victims of police brutality--and raised another dimension to the epidemic of police violence that is leading people on the left to consider new questions.

Veterans For Peace condemns President Trump’s effort to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. Veterans For Peace affirms the rights, humanity and identity of trans people and calls on President Trump to reverse his bigoted decision to bar trans people from exercising their right as full citizens to serve in the United States military.

Images of the Bolivarian National Police firing tear gas at protestors in Venezuela cannot be provided to us in large enough quantities by the mainstream media.

Members states of the Organization of American States (OAS) have once again failed to reach consensus to “take action on Venezuela,” which Caracas regards as interference in its internal affairs. 

At a July 26 meeting of the OAS Permanent Council in Washington, 13 countries read a declaration calling on the Venezuelan government to abandon the July 30 Constituent Assembly elections.

That was two fewer member states than supported a similar resolution at the OAS foreign ministers' meeting on June 19, and five short of the number needed to pass a resolution.

When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists.

I liked them. One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter.

“Arabs", they said, “nomads”. The words were almost spat out.

On July 30, 545 delegates will be elected by the Venezuelan people to a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) proposed by President Nicolas Maduro.

The ANC will discuss proposals to reform the constitution, though any official amendments will have to be put to a referendum.

1. Venezuela’s housing mission has built 1.5 million homes for Venezuelan families since 2011. By the end of this year, the government aims to have completed a further 540,000 new homes and repaired 550,000 existing homes under the Barrio Nuevo, Barrio Tricolor mission.

While the media reported the results announced by the right-wing opposition for its July 16 national consultation as fact, even its own “observers” have raised doubts as to its democratic credentials.

The media likes to blame government repression for the recent deaths in Venezuela, but the actual figures tell a different story.

Worryingly, they reveal a right-wing terror campaign involving political assassinations and public lynchings of government supporters, providing a frightening insight into what the opposition would do in power.

Venezuela is heading towards an increasingly dangerous situation, in which open civil war could become a real possibility.

Civil war becomes more likely as long as the media obscure who is responsible for the violence and the international left fails to show solidarity with Venezuela’s Bolivarian socialist movement.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has challenged Prime Minister Theresa May to allow people to self-identify as transgender without having to go through medical checks, The Guardian said on July 19.

The socialist politician pledged that Labour would support any government attempt to change the law.

Disabled people faced off with armed police at Parliament on July 19 as they were told their T-shirts exposing the savage nature of Tory cuts were off-limits, Morning Star Online said the next day.

The campaigners were there to lobby MPs over the horrendous toll the Conservatives’ austerity and blitz on essential benefits has had on disabled people. The rally was part of a week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts to flag up the brutal nature of the attacks.

Disparaged and smeared by the Labour Party machine and corporate media for almost two years, Momentum — a grassroots group of Labour members committed to the socialist politics of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — came out fighting during the campaign for the June 8 general elections.

Spurred on by a sense of idealism, this campaign came close to sweeping Labour into government on the most transformative manifesto for a generation.

The United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on July 19 that an airstrike carried out by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed 20 civilians — including women and children — who were fleeing violence in their home province.

The agency said in statement: “Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family.”

US exports to China totalled US$116 billion last year, while its imports reached $463 billion. The $347 billion deficit accounts for almost 70% of the US’s total trade deficit.

US President Donald Trump’s most influential senior advisers, Peter Navarro, who heads the National Trade Council, and US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross, call China “the biggest trade cheater in the world”.

A new wave of neo-fascist sentiment has been emerging in recent years in Europe, endangering the basis of Western democracy.

Just think of the Ukraine, where the Communist Party has been banned, or Hungary, where the President Viktor Orban built an anti-migrant wall along the Serbian border (and is about to build a new one). Or Poland, where the parliament recently approved an illiberal law designed to limit the autonomy of the judiciary, subordinating it to the diktats of the justice minister.

Venezuela’s government and opposition both claimed millions voted in rival symbolic elections on July 16.

Meanwhile, the US has responded to the opposition vote, with President Donald Trump describing the unofficial referendum as an example of “democracy, freedom, and rule of law” in a White House statement on July 17.

The rise to power of India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has been built on a paradigm of development and anti-corruption that has enabled him to develop sustained electoral support among the Indian middle classes and rehabilitate his image as a statesman on the international stage.

But the neoliberal model of development that Modi represents is one that comes at great cost in terms of economic inequality and basic civil rights.

The article below is based on a talk by Felipe Stuart Courneyeur to the Canada-wide convention of the Canadian Network on Cuba, in Toronto in June.

Courneyeur has dual Nicaraguan-Canadian nationality; he divides his time between the two countries. He is an active member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). The article is abridged from johnriddell.wordpress.com.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has rejected the United States economic blockade imposed on Cuba, as well as President Donald Trump’s decision to backtrack on the normalisation of diplomatic relations with Havana.

In a public letter sent to his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, Morales repeated his nation’s “unconditional support and solidarity” with the Cuban Revolution and the “most heroic people of the continent”.

The first-ever major report looking into the secretive workings of the Big Four accountancy firms that assist individuals and companies to evade taxes has been released by members of European Parliament from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) who sit on the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry committee.

The study analyses the size, scope and location of the activities of the Big Four accounting firms. Its findings include that these firms are heavily over-represented in tax havens when compared with the population size and GDP, where they make exceptional profits.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has responded to the latest threats to Venezuela's sovereignty from US President Donald Trump, in which the US leader promised "swift and strong actions" if Venezuela decides to proceed with the July 30 elections for a National Constituent Assembly.

Maduro called Trump's threats "vulgar", TeleSUR English reported. He said: "The process of the constituent assembly is already in the hands of the people who will exercise their right to vote. This is my response, the constituent assembly does not belong to me.

"Social justice isn't copyrighted," British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told Naomi Klein in an interview published at The Intercept on Thursday.

Argentine police violently evicted a group of laid-off workers from a PepsiCo factory in the capital city of Buenos Aires on July 12, after more than three weeks of occupying the plant.

Since June 20, a group of workers and labour rights activists occupied the plant to defend the 691 people who lost their jobs after an announcement made by the company confirmed that they would no longer operate.

The report below was compiled by the Free West Papua Campaign on July 8.

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We have received urgent reports from West Papua that between June 30 and July 6, about 150 West Papuan people were arrested, and many of them tortured, by the Indonesian police for peaceful actions in the Papuan province of Nabire.

As the battle for the right of Catalonia to vote on independence rages between the Spanish government in Madrid and the independence-oriented Catalan parliament in Barcelona, major developments have taken place in one of the most famous struggles for independence on the Iberian Peninsula — the Basque Country.

World leaders broke with the United States on climate change and reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate agreement at the Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, which brings together representatives from some of the world’s largest economies. 

However, a new report has exposed the strong support for large fossil fuel corporations from G20 governments as a whole.  

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating hate crimes committed at bonfires in unionist (supporters of British rule over Northern Ireland’s six counties) areas on the nights of July 11, An Phoblacht said the next day. Bonfires, which are set alight each July 11 by the members of the unionist community, were strewn with election posters for Irish republican party Sinn Fein and other non-unionist groups, as well as Irish flags and various expressions of sectarianism and bigotry.

It was in the autumn of 2014, only months after Islamic State (ISIS) achieved huge territorial gains inside Syria and Iraq, committing genocidal and femicidal massacres, that a revolutionary silver lining arose from the little-known town of Kobane in Syria’s north.

Having overrun Mosul, Tel Afar and Sinjar in Iraq, as well as a vast expanse of territory inside Syria, ISIS prepared to launch an attack on the north of Syria, known by Kurds as Rojava.

What ISIS did not anticipate in Kobane was that it would encounter an enemy of a different kind – an organised, political community that was ready to defend itself courageously by all means necessary, and with a worldview that turns ISIS’s death ideology on its head.

Arab women have announced the foundation of “Martyr Amara Arab Women’s Battalion” under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), ANF News said on July 12.

Formed in 2015, the SDF is an alliance of progressive armed groups — the largest of which are the Kurdish-based People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ), although including a growing number of other groups  — that is subordinate to the grassroots structures of the Democratic Federation of North Syria.

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the Turkish city of Istanbul after a 280-mile Justice March against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The demonstration was in response to the widespread jailings and dismissals authorised by the Turkish government after last year’s failed coup attempt.

In regard to the charges about US President Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia to throw the election his way, it is worth mentioning that going through the list of all the nations that Washington has meddled in is far too long for one article. The US is, without any doubt, the world’s meddler in chief.

Even the list of countries where the US conspired to overthrow elected governments when electoral meddling failed is lengthy.

But one angle to the Russian controversy that is underreported is this: scratch the Russian connection and US-German relations pop up.

An informal summit of interior ministers from all European Union member states was held on July 7 in Tallinn, Estonia. The first issue on the agenda was migrants.

A fire broke out at a migrant camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on July 10, following a protest at the site demanding better living conditions.

Local authorities told the Xinhua News Agency that the fire at the Moria camp had been extinguished and that at least five container units and three tents were destroyed. No injuries were reported.

Venezuelans were taken by surprise with the announcement that opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez would serve out his jail term under house arrest. The move is an unprecedented concession that seeks to calm the waters in the lead up to the July 30 Constituent Assembly elections. 

But the conflict in the country is showing it has multiple faces. On July 10, a day after the official election campaign began, a candidate was assassinated in the middle of a campaign event.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was sentenced on July 12 to nine years and six months jail over corruption charges in the Operation Car Wash investigations. The ruling came a day after the Brazilian Senate's approval of President Michel Temer's unamended labour reform bill, which has been heavily criticised by trade unions and social movements.

Thousands of landless workers marched on July 12 through the streets of the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, to demand the cancellation of debts contracted with the national bank.

The demonstrators have been blocking the centre of the capital since July 10, setting up their camp in front of the National Congress.

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