11/04/2017 — Famine in Africa and Middle East & Protests in Venezuela

Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen (Famine): A spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reminds the public that “an avoidable humanitarian crisis in the region, possibly worse than that of 2011, is fast becoming an inevitability”. Even though the UN refugee agency and its partners have been scaling up their efforts for getting funds, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen operations have been funded only between 3 and 11 per cent. Iraq might suffer the same fate said yesterday the United Nations emergency food relief agency. Related opinion: Why Food Insecurity ‘Over There’ Matters Right Here (Real Clear World).

Children carrying jars of cooking oil at an IDP camp on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq (WFP/Mohammed Al Bahbahani).

Lybia (War/Human Rights): West African migrants are being traded in open slave markets in Libya according to the U.N.’s International Organization of Migration.

South Sudan: At least 16 civilians were killed yesterday in the city of Wau, according to the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in the country (UNMISS), with witnesses reporting that government-aligned militia were targeting residents based on their ethnic group.

Chechenya (Human Rights): Reports indicate the existence of detention centers for LGBT citizens where gay men have been killed or tortured before being made to leave the republic. Amnesty International has launched a petition for the Chechen government to “Stop abducting and killing gay men in Chechnya”. In response to the allegations, a Chechen official denied LGBT people exist in the region.

USA (Terrorism): 2 adults and 1 student were killed, apparently in a murder-suicide, in an elementary school classroom in San Bernardino, Calif.

Philippines (Territorial Disputes): 9 people reported dead in battle between Philippine forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf militants on a central resort island, far from the extremists’ southern jungle bases.

Cambodia (War/Human Rights): After 10 years investigating the crimes of the Khmer Rouge, the United Nations-backed tribunal prosecuting them have convicted only 3 men. The tribunal paired Cambodian and foreign judges, a formula to preserve the Cambodian sense of sovereignty while attempting to hold the court to legal standards advocated by the United Nations.

France (Human Rights): A large fire razed a migrant camp outside the city of Dunkirk and injured ten people. The camp, which had grown since last year’s closure of the Calais camp twenty-five miles away, housed some 1,500 migrants.

Follow ups:

Peru (Floods): Caused an estimated 645$ million in agriculture losses.

Sweden (Terrorism): The main suspect in the truck attack in Stockholm that killed four and injured 15 has admitted committing a terrorist crime.

United Nations (Journal of the day)

UN refugee agency urges EU States to suspend transfers of asylum-seekers to Hungary concerned about the country’s new policy of detaining migrants at the border or expelling those not holding the proper papers.

European Union (News of the day)

The EU will send €47 million to African countries as humanitarian assistance: €32 will go Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, while €15 million will go to the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, including Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NATO releases statement by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on US strikes in Syria claiming that “the Syrian regime bears the full responsibility for this development”. Related Opinion: NATO’s top mission: Preparing for Trump (Politico).

Martin Schulz, the centre-left contender to become Germany’s next chancellor, said he would not pursue policies to achieve an increase of defence spending, referring to the 2014 agreement in Wales that, by 2024, each NATO member would have to spend 2% of its GDP on defence.

G7 Meeting in Italy

G7 nations have failed to agree on a proposal by Britain for sanctions against Russia. Italian Finance Minister says that Russia must not be “pushed into a corner” over Syria. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has moved on from the G7 meeting in Italy and has arrived in Moscow for talks. At a press conference, Putin says that “Intel shows more attacks planned in Syria to blame Assad”:

Shell has admitted for the first time it dealt with a convicted money-launderer when negotiating access to a vast oil field in Nigeria.

United Airlines tumbles after social-media storm goes global. People in china are calling for a boycott of the company over what they consider to be a racist issue.

Wells Fargo spent years opening millions of bogus accounts and credit cards without customers’ permission in order to meet ambitious sales goals. The company was fined $185 million and former CEO John Stumpf was fired. Yesterday the company’s board released the results of its own investigation, where they pin a lot of the blame on a former sales executive, saying she misled the board about how widespread the cheating was.

Gambia: Justice Minister, Abubacar Tambedou, joined scores of protesters who took to the streets yesterday demanding justice for atrocities committed during the reign of former President Yahya Jammeh.

Tanzania: President John Magufuli yesterday named a second team of experts to join an ongoing investigation into the mineral content in hundreds of tonnes of copper concentrate withheld in different parts of the country.

Kenya: Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) in conjunction with Amisom troops on killed 15 Al Shabaab militants yesterday in Somalia.

French Guiana: Activists who were behind a general strike in protest of underinvestment there called for a total shutdown to pressure mainland France to increase aid to the South American territory. Demonstrators occupied Guiana’s space center, which the French and European space agencies use, and delayed a rocket launch.

Venezuela: Today is the 6th day of protests in Caracas demanding new elections. Pressure rose on President Nicolas Maduro last week after two Supreme Court rulings that stripped the legislature’s power. The court later reversed the rulings amid an outcry. However, the crisis deepened on Friday when authorities banned senior opposition figure Henrique Capriles from holding public office for 15 years, blocking him from running against Maduro in next year’s election. The Organisation of American States seized the opportunity to call again for elections. Speaking at a meeting in Cuba, Maduro said Sunday that he was “eager” for the elections to go ahead so he could “hand a defeat to those people… so that they will stop the rioting and violence”:

Maduro warns of ‘extremist currents’ in US following ‘assault’ on Venezuela

North Korea: A spokesman declared it’s prepared for “any mode of war desired by the US,” in response to the US sending warships toward the Korean peninsula. China ordered ships laden with North Korean coal, North Korea’s most important export, to return home full this month after promising in February to suspend imports of the fuel for the rest of the year.

India: Foreign Minister said the country will go “out of its way” to defend an accused Indian spy from facing a death sentence in Pakistan, warning that Pakistan should “consider the consequences.” Pakistan alleges the naval officer ran a clandestine terror network there.

Bangladesh: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Indian companies at a business forum that she will dedicate at least three special economic zones to Indian investment, inviting them to take advantage of her country’s “high demographic dividend and cheap labor costs”.

Myanmar: Authorities begin shuttering three Rakhine camps but no clues on where its inhabitants would go.

Spain: After four decades of armed conflict, the Basque separatist group Eta, unilaterally disarmed last week, marking the historic end of Europe’s last armed insurgency.

UK: ClientEarth, a team of environmental lawyers, has given the Government 21 days to explain why it has failed to produce a plan setting out how the UK will fight climate change as required by law.

‘Dollars and euros’: How a Malaysian firm helped fund North Korea’s leadership

By James Pearson, Tom Allard and Rozanna Latiff for Reuters

Over the past two decades, North Korean-born Han Hun Il, the founding chief executive of a Malaysian conglomerate, funneled money to the leadership in Pyongyang. (…) Once a year, Lee said, high-ranking Pyongyang officials traveled to Kuala Lumpur to meet Han and instruct him to wire money to North Korea via banks in Malaysia. “It was all dollars and euros,” said Lee.

These Burmese palm oil workers say they’re trapped on plantations

by Wudan Yan for PRI

Supowin isn’t the only palm oil company in Myanmar with a history of withholding wages. Other plantations, such as those owned by Dagon Timber and Yuzana, one of Myanmar’s largest real estate, construction and agriculture companies, have done the same. (…) Workers receive free housing but lack access to electricity and running water. (…) And then there’s the cost of injuries from repetitive strain and accidents.

Welcome to ‘the world’s largest death row’

by Asad Hashim to Al Jazeera

In total, 1,032 executions were recorded in 2016, down by 37 percent, but death sentences were at the highest level since Amnesty began compiling statistics, with 3,117 people sentenced to death worldwide. Of those, more than 360 people were sentenced in Pakistan, and are currently living on the world’s largest recorded death row, home to more than 6,000 prisoners.

A Multi-Level Analysis of the US Cruise Missile Attack on Syria and Its Consequences

by The Saker for The Unz Review

Trump did get what he apparently wanted, though: the very same corporate media which he claimed to despise is now praising him. And nobody is calling him a “Putin agent” any more. None of which will prevent the Neocons from impeaching him, by the way. He chose a quickfix solution which will stop acting in just days. How totally stupid of him.

The Dangerous Academic is an Extinct Species

by Yasmin Nair for Current Affairs

The corporatized university serves nobody and nothing except its own infinite growth. Students are indebted, professors lose job security, surrounding communities are surveilled and displaced. That is something dangerous. Left professors almost certainly sense this. They see themselves disappearing, the campus becoming a steadily more stifling environment.
The 2017 Pulitzer Prize announcement
Artwork generated through Artificial Neural Networks

and these super-detailed visualizations of the complex structure of the human brain.

An 86 year old woman was arrested for spraying anti-war graffiti on Swiss National Bank — and they say the anti-war movement is dead.

Adidas is moving production from China back to Germany… to be made by robots.

A majority of the most-engaged partisan Facebook pages are left-leaning or affiliated with Trump resistance movements, according to a social analytics measurement company.

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