Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Jun 25, 2018, 06:25 AM
Pages: 1 ... 291 292 [293] 294 295   Go Down
0 Members and 8 Guests are viewing this topic.
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4380 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:05 AM »

This autistic boy’s classmates had never heard him speak. At graduation, he took the mic

Tara Bahrampour
June 222108

5:50..'Do the unexpected': Typically nonverbal student uses voice for moving graduation message: <iframe width='480' height='290' scrolling='no' src='https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/5cf2b3b2-7004-11e8-b4d8-eaf78d4c544c' frameborder='0' webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

Sef Scott, who is autistic and typically nonverbal, received a standing ovation after speaking at his graduation ceremony at Plano Senior High in Texas June 9. (Plano Independent School District/Facebook)

People who know Sef Scott know he doesn’t normally speak. The 17-year-old from Plano, Tex., has autism, and other than quoting lines from favorite movies, he is mostly nonverbal.

So the members of the Plano Senior High School Class of 2018 — along with Sef’s relatives and even his father — were stunned June 9 when he took the mic and addressed his fellow graduates.

“I would imagine that to the seniors that know who I am that it is entirely unexpected that I would be standing here giving a speech,” he said. “Just by my being here speaking to all of you — me — that alone is unexpected.” Explaining that his mother and his brother Sim, a brain tumor survivor, helped him write the text, he added, “Knowing that I want to be heard — I imagine that is unexpected.”

While many students had seen Sef in the halls, he was largely in special-needs classes and most didn’t know him, his mother, Vicki Scott, said. She doesn’t know quite why, but when she saw a notice inviting seniors to audition a speech for graduation, she had an inkling that he’d want to do it.

She ran the idea by him, and “he jumped up out of his bed with a full-body shiver and giggle, and he said, ‘Yes!’ ”

His response took even his mother by surprise. “He’s not a demonstrative individual at all, and to have him shaking with excitement, with a huge smile, making eye contact, looking at me straight in the eye and firmly saying yes, it was great.”

The speech took seven weeks of writing and editing, helped by Sim, 15, who has given many speeches about having had a brain tumor. “He was excited to do what his brother does,” Scott said. “He knows that Sim does it for the benefit of others and he knows that people come away happy after hearing him talk.”

When Sef started elementary school, his parents worried he’d be a target for bullying. Instead, they saw his classmates holding his hand and leading him to where he needed to go. They decided that they could never move away from the place where other kids knew him and cared for him.

But to get onto the graduation-day podium, Sef had to audition the speech before a panel of judges who did not know him. His mother and brother did not tell anyone else about the plan, and even after he was selected, his father and other relatives had no idea it was coming.

As they sat in the audience, Sef stepped up to the podium.

“Unexpected,” he began. “This is what I want you to remember. Unexpected.”

The speech wasn’t just about Sef. The burly, affable teenager also had advice for the other graduates: to follow their own hopes and goals and not just blindly tread a path that doesn’t feel true to them.

“Don’t follow someone else’s dreams. Don’t waste time on something you never wanted. Do the unexpected. It’s your life that you are living, not anyone else’s, so do what fulfills you. Don’t fear the future, don’t fear the unknown. Will it be unexpected? Yes. Yes it will. But that does not make it wrong.”

He read the speech through, pausing a few times but never stopping. At a couple of points, the audience burst into applause. Then Scott began hearing sniffling around her. Then she started sniffling.

Sef got a standing ovation. Afterward he was surrounded by people offering congratulations.

Luke Traina, 16, a rising junior who was Sef’s buddy in an “angel” baseball league for students with special needs, learned shortly before the ceremony that Sef was going to speak. He went there to hear him, with knots in his stomach.

“I was really nervous, I was saying prayers the whole entire time,” Luke said. “But as soon as I heard him start I knew he had it. … When he started speaking it was like all of a sudden the boy trapped inside him all those years got to have his voice heard.”

Brittney Love, a paraprofessional at the school who worked one-on-one with Sef this year, said she had seen him build up confidence and maturity over the past year. For him to give a speech like that felt like opening doors for other kids with special needs.

“I feel like people have no idea what it’s like for kids like him,” she said. “They’re overshadowed. But there’s a lot of very smart kids in special needs.”

[The Cuban Revolution cut short his college career at Georgetown. Six decades later, he finally graduated]

The theme of his speech applied to everyone in the room, special needs or not, Love said. “Do what’s best for you — I think that’s just perfect,” she said.

Sef’s mother thinks his willingness to speak was driven by a realization that this was the last opportunity he would have to be with the schoolmates he’d grown up with, and he wanted them to know him.

And while he generally prefers to be alone rather than with other people, being on the podium seemed to infuse him with a greater sense of connection to the world.

“Maybe giving the speech in front of the whole room brought an awareness of those around him that maybe doesn’t normally enter his autistic world,” Scott said. “It makes me think that in recent years, maybe he wanted to all along.”

* Capture.JPG (79.66 KB, 1014x598 - viewed 6 times.)

* Sef Scott, 17, with his mother, Vicki, on prom night..jpg (54.2 KB, 480x640 - viewed 6 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4381 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:08 AM »

'That's 4.2 million godparents': New Zealand basks in 'first baby' glow

Nation marks ‘very fine and wonderful occasion’ with joy, poetry and a hint of pink

Charles Anderson in Auckland and Aimie Cronin
Fri 22 Jun 2018 06.32 BST

New Zealand is basking in a nationwide new baby glow after prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced the birth of her first child on Thursday.

The arrival of the as-yet-unnamed baby girl, dubbed the “first pēpi”, made it onto every major newspaper front page on Friday. The Press in Christchurch went with a pink banner. The New Zealand Herald had a special celebratory wrap-around. The Bay of Plenty Times splashed with “It’s a girl!”.

The “very fine and wonderful occasion” was also marked with a specially-commissioned poem by the poet laureate titled Jacinda and Clarke and Baby and Us.

“The baby’s here, the baby’s here! Aotearoa, New Zealand, what a year!” it began.

On Friday, Ardern posted a picture from Auckland Hospital of herself, the baby and her midwife. “One of the many special people we have been so grateful for over these past few months, our wonderful midwife Libby,” she wrote.

“Not only is she incredible at what she does, this morning she made me macaroni and cheese because she heard me mention a wee craving yesterday. Thank you so much for everything Libby!”

The prime minister is expected to spend a second night in hospital with her baby, who was reportedly described by nurses as “alert and very hungry”.

Meanwhile, columnist Michelle Duff suggested that all New Zealanders were now the child’s godparents.

“Let’s just take a moment to appreciate that we, as a nation, have pushed the boundaries and created an environment where this can happen. That’s 4.2 million godparents for you, little pēpi.”

Commentator Morgan Godfrey lauded the baby’s understated arrival.

“Jacinda Ardern arrived at hospital in her own car, with Clarke driving,” he wrote on Twitter. “No Crown limo or special ambulance. Her baby was delivered in a public hospital alongside everyone else’s. No private hospital. No extra special attention. New Zealand, remain your understated self.”

Ardern’s father Ross told Radio New Zealand that the grandparents were “very proud”.

“We’re a family that are fairly well grounded and to see this on the international media is absolutely different - I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.”

* 2268.jpg (30.33 KB, 620x372 - viewed 6 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4382 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:11 AM »

Sara Netanyahu charged with fraud over catering allegations

Israeli PM’s wife accused of misusing public funds to buy in food from restaurants

Peter Beaumont
22 Jun 2018 14.52 BST

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel’s prime minister, has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly using public funds to pay for restaurant meals to be delivered to the couple’s official residence.

The long-anticipated charges were announced by Israel’s justice ministry on Thursday. Benjamin Netanyahu is also under investigation.

According to the indictment, Sara Netanyahu spent tens of thousands of dollars on meals from expensive restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in alleged violation of rules barring the residence from ordering in meals during periods when there was a cook on its staff.

Prosecutors claim that Sara Netanyahu conspired with a senior official at the residence to hide the fact that the meals were not eligible for reimbursement.

The indictment said she acted to “fraudulently obtain state funding for various expenses for the accused and her family that were not supposed to be financed in this manner”.

She is accused of directing staff at the residence, including a former housekeeper, Meni Naftali – who later sued the Netanyahu family and the Israeli state for damages over his treatment by Sara Netanyahu – and another employee, to hide the fact that cooks were employed in the residence “so that this won’t be found out by the treasury and the office manager”.

If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars, though this is unlikely.

Lawyers for Sara Netanyahu’s hit back, however, denouncing the charges as “false and delusional.”

“Not only is the indictment based on false claims and distorted and mistaken data, it is based entirely on an illegitimate and illegal regulation imposed specifically for Prime Minister Netanyahu,” the lawyers claimed.

The charges are the culmination of years of investigation into Sara Netanyahu’s official expenses.

In September 2017, Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, announced he was minded to file an indictment subject to a pre-indictment hearing, which took place in January.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the charges come after the failure of a plea bargain that could have seen Sara Netanyahu return some of the money and acknowledge responsibility in exchange for no criminal conviction.

The case against Sara Netanyahu, a child psychologist, has long been used by critics of the Netanyahu family as evidence of their taste for freeloading.

Benjamin Netanyahu has called the allegations against his wife absurd and unfounded. The Israeli prime minister is himself embroiled in a series of corruption investigations but has protested his innocence and vowed to remain in power, saying he is the victim of a witch-hunt.

In one case, he and family members are suspected of receiving 1m shekels (£210,000) worth of luxury cigars, champagne and jewellery from wealthy people in exchange for financial or personal favours.

In another, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth, a top Israeli newspaper, for more favourable coverage.

Despite his troubles, opinion polls suggest Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party would remain the largest in parliament if elections scheduled for November 2019 were held now.

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has inspired a series of negative headlines over what her family says is an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

* 5730.jpg (21.77 KB, 620x372 - viewed 6 times.)

* n.jpg (20.61 KB, 460x311 - viewed 7 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4383 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:15 AM »

Brexit: EU is getting ready for no-deal, says Jean-Claude Juncker

European commission president says bloc must prepare for worst outcome

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Fri 22 Jun 2018 07.48 BST

The EU needs to be realistic about the dangerous state of the Brexit negotiations and is preparing to deploy its trillion-pound budget to cushion the bloc from the prospect of a no-deal scenario, the European commission president has warned.

With the two sides still far apart on the “hardest issues”, just days from a crunch leaders’ summit in Brussels, Jean-Claude Juncker told the Irish parliament on Thursday he was stepping up preparations for a breakdown in talks, and even drafting plans aimed at keeping the peace in Northern Ireland.

The problem of avoiding a hard border with the Republic – said by the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to be akin to a “riddle wrapped in an enigma” – is threatening to thwart all attempts to make progress on a wider deal.

With Theresa May refusing to countenance what Juncker described as the bloc’s “bespoke and workable solution”, of the Northern Ireland effectively staying in the customs union and single market, it was crucial for the 27 EU member states to prepare for the worst outcome, the commission president said.

Juncker told Irish MPs and senators in a joint session of parliament in Dublin: “With pragmatism comes realism. As the clock to Brexit ticks down, we must prepare for every eventuality, including no deal. This is neither a desired nor a likely outcome. But it is not an impossible one. And we are getting ready just in case.

“We will use all the tools at our disposal, which could have a cushioning impact. The new long-term budget for our union from 2021 onwards has an in-built flexibility that could allow us to redirect funds if the situation arose.

“We will also earmark €120m (£105m) for a new peace programme which has done so much in breaking down barriers between communities in Northern Ireland and the border counties.”

Juncker has put Martin Selmayr, the commission president’s former chief of staff, who is now the European commission’s secretary-general, in charge of preparations for a no-deal scenario.

Selmayr has drawn up a series of legislative changes that would be needed in the event of the UK crashing out. He has even raised the unlikely prospect of requiring UK citizens to apply for a visa to visit EU member states.

A senior UK government source warned that a no-deal outcome would only suit the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. “If we were, God forbid, to get into the situation where you had a sour divorce and an acrimonious future relationship, I don’t think that does any good for anybody,” the source said. “That’s a complete lose-lose situation.

“The only people who’d have a smile on their faces are people in the Kremlin and elsewhere who wish European democracies ill.”

To avoid a border both on the island of Ireland and in the Irish sea, the British government has so far proposed that the UK as a whole effectively stays in the customs union for a limited period after Brexit, until a technological solution to the border issue emerges.

It is expected to further propose after next week’s summit of leaders in Brussels that the UK remains in regulatory alignment with the EU on goods, to ensure all border checks are unnecessary.

Juncker, however, told the Irish parliament the EU would not allow the UK to use the Irish issue to gain single market access without freedom of movement and membership of the full ecosystem of the bloc’s institutions, including the European court of justice.

He said: “Our backstop is a bespoke and workable solution. It is designed for Northern Ireland and upholds its constitutional status.

“But this tailored solution for Northern Ireland cannot fit the whole United Kingdom. It covers all necessary customs and regulatory controls to avoid a hard border. And it does not prejudice the future relationship between the UK and the European Union.

“With less than 10 months to Brexit, we need more answers and fewer new questions. We will continue – my friend Michel Barnier, myself and others – to take a pragmatic approach to finding solutions. But I also want to be clear: Ireland will come first.

“There are those who think that the other 26 countries will abandon Ireland at the last minute for a sectoral deal that suits them. Those people have not understood what being part of our union means. Ireland’s border is Europe’s border – and it is our union’s priority.”

A senior UK cabinet source claimed the EU’s proposal failed to address the concerns of nationalist and unionist communities. “There have been some serious questions about what we have put on the table but it has not been rejected,” the source said.

“What is absolutely essential is that the approach that is agreed is demonstrably balanced and fair to both communities in Northern Ireland. No solution is going to ensure if it is going to be rejected by one community or the other.”

“Our objection to the commission text is that it was unbalanced,” the source added. “It is a mistake to think this is just about the DUP [Democratic Unionist party]. I know no member of the cabinet who would be prepared sign up to the commission text.”

Varadkar, at a press conference with Juncker, said he believed there was an “urgent need to intensify efforts” in order to achieve a withdrawal agreement.

* 2169.jpg (21.69 KB, 620x372 - viewed 6 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4384 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:17 AM »

Leader of Romania's ruling party sentenced for corruption

Liviu Dragnea, of the Social Democratic party, expected to appeal after being handed three-and-a-half-year sentence

Andrew MacDowall
22 Jun 2018 21.11 BST

The powerful leader of Romania’s ruling party has been sentenced to prison in a blow to a government that has showered praise on Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric, and threatened to create the EU’s latest populist headache.

Liviu Dragnea, head of the Social Democratic party (PSD) and regarded as the most powerful man in the country, was convicted of abuse of power and handed a three-and-a-half-year sentence in an initial verdict after a corruption trial. Dragnea is expected to appeal.

Prosecutors had said that Dragnea, at the time a government official, intervened from 2008 to 2010 to keep two women on the payroll of a family welfare agency, even though they were employed by his party. The women have admitted working for the party although they received their salaries from the welfare agency.

The news was greeted with delight by flag-waving crowds in Bucharest, where pro- and anti-government demonstrations have brought tens of thousands of protestors to the streets in recent weeks.

But the conviction may lead to further political tensions in Romania, where the PSD has prepared moves to impeach opposition-backed President Klaus Iohannis and sack the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), an official body that has convicted hundreds of politicians and officials in recent years.

Iohannis has backed the DNA, and stalled on a recent constitutional court ruling that he could not overrule the government’s decision to sack its chief prosecutor. The court has also issued a ruling that would effectively increase the PSD government’s control over the judiciary. Dragnea’s conviction adds further to a complex political crisis.

“I expect harsh words from both the PSD and the president following the Dragnea decision,” said Radu Delicote, a consultant at Bucharest-based communications agency Smartlink. “It’s hot out there. There’s an institutional conflict, and it’s possible that the president will be suspended.”

The PSD and its allies won a landslide election victory in December 2016, and though Dragnea was barred from becoming prime minister by a previous conviction for vote-rigging, he is seen as effectively leading the government.

The new administration soon launched emergency legislation designed to limit anti-corruption prosecutions, leading to Romania’s biggest street protests since the fall of communism in 1989. It also moved judicial reforms that critics say are targeted at lifting the ban on Dragnea becoming premier, and easing penalties on corruption.

“The legal process shows that Romania is still a believer in European values, and that institutions around the judiciary are strong, despite the ambitions of a clique with self-interest at heart,” said Manuel Costescu, a former minister and until recently an opposition MP. “They were trying to decriminalise criminality.”

The PSD argues that it is working to tackle a sinister “deep state” network of security agents, judges, and prosecutors that are undermining the work of an elected government that is still riding high in the polls.

Dragnea has accused the EU and Nato of backing “this odious system”, and PSD figures have praised Trump’s efforts to “drain the swamp”.

Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4385 on: Jun 22, 2018, 05:38 AM »

Morning Joe drops truth bomb on ‘openly racist’ Trump: ‘If you support him — you are’ racist

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
22 Jun 2018 at 07:14 ET                  

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski tore into “openly racist” President Donald Trump and his supporters over his intentionally cruel family separation policy.

The “Morning Joe” co-hosts said the president was trying to back away from a disaster of his own making, and Scarborough said Trump’s intentions were perfectly clear — and morally indefensible.

“You’ve got Charlottesville, where Donald Trump of course defended white supremacists with moral equivalency,” Scarborough said. “Even this year, Donald Trump calling Hispanics ‘breeders.’ Just last week, saying that immigrants coming across the border were quote ‘infesting America,’ and no, he wasn’t talking about gang members.”

“You can talk again about him denying any knowledge of David Duke or the Ku Klux Klan,” he continued. “(Trump supporters) cannot say, ‘Oh, I’m just supporting him because he’s giving them hell in Washington, D.C. No, he’s been openly racist just like we said back in December of 2015, openly racist. If you support him, then you’re supporting that, and you are that. It’s that simple. That’s what we’ve come to now.”

Brzezinski shamed the president, his daughter and everyone close to the White House for ripping apart immigrant families for cynical purposes.

“He will be forever remembered as the president who traumatized little children — that’s his brand now,” she said. “He’s the president who purposefully traumatized babies and children, and he traumatized them for his political gain or to look strong or to look like Kim Jong-un.”

She said the policy stained everyone around the president.

“You see in this White House, a sinking ship, you see every man for himself,” Brzezinski said. “You see the attorney general now lying, trying to back-flip on his own lies, when he put out this policy. You see the first lady, trying her best to separate herself from this, because she, too, could have been one of those children. She doesn’t look like them but she knows this is bad, so she rushes to the border, and who cares what she’s wearing, she probably was talking to her husband.”

“But her husband tried to take that and make it a PR twist as well, which is deranged and sick,” she continued. “You have his daughter, the counselor for the president, who is forever revealed as a complete fake on these issues. There’s no turning back from it for Ivanka Trump. You have (defense secretary Jim) Mattis sitting next to him and (secretary of state Mike) Pompeo sitting next to him trying so hard to keep it together, even though the president has traumatized small children, many whose families were seeking asylum.”

“This is not one of those things where maybe or maybe not he’s gone too far,” Brzezinski added. “He knows he’s gone too far, and you know what this president is thinking. He’s pulling back because this is a massive PR failure and whether Ivanka said, ‘Daddy, this doesn’t look good,’ or Trump said that Ivanka said, ‘Daddy, this doesn’t look good.’ That reporting is fascinating. You know why? Because that’s all they care about — what it looks like. It’s deranged, it’s abusive, it’s cruel, it’s evil and the entire world is watching. it is now the time that he has gone too far.

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXnFMWopopw


MSNBC panel calls out Mike and Karen Pence’s silence on Trump’s ‘naked white supremacism’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
22 Jun 2018 at 08:02 ET                   

The hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” called on the vice president and his wife to step out of the shadows and challenge President Donald Trump’s blatant racism.

Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, are known for their conservative Christian beliefs, which Joe Scarborough said should compel them to speak out against the president’s intentionally cruel family separation policy.

“How does Mike Pence, how (does) Karen Pence, how do any of these people continue being associated with a man who is now openly bigoted against everybody who is not white and rich?” Scarborough said.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson shamed Pence for trying to stay above the fray as the president inflicts cruelty against babies and children for perceived political gain.

“Mike Pence stands there and he puts on a frown and he nods sagely at the most sort of racist vile comments and sentiments coming out of the mouth of the president that he serves so loyally and unquestioningly,” Robinson said. “I certainly hope people remember. This should leave an indelible stain on Mike Pence and his career and on the others around him.”

“This is the most naked sort of white supremacism,” Robinson added. “That is Donald Trump’s core philosophy, that America is a white country and that brown people and black people and people of color who come here don’t belong here. They don’t belong in the MAGA America that he’s trying to, in his mind, re-recreate. It’s an America never really existed, but it’s the America in his head.”

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4f6-gSGOog


Paul Krugman draws devastating parallel between Trump’s anti-immigrant bigotry and anti-semitism: ‘There is no immigration crisis’

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet
22 Jun 2018 at 07:05 ET                  

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued Thursday evening that President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies toward immigrants mirror some of the darkest elements of historical anti-Semitism.

“What’s almost equally remarkable about this plunge into barbarism is that it’s not a response to any actual problem,” he writes in a column titled “Return of the Blood Libel.” “The mass influx of murderers and rapists that Trump talks about, the wave of crime committed by immigrants here (and, in his mind, refugees in Germany), are things that simply aren’t happening. They’re just sick fantasies being used to justify real atrocities.”

He continued: “And you know what this reminds me of? The history of anti-Semitism, a tale of prejudice fueled by myths and hoaxes that ended in genocide.”

Krugman goes on to note that while there are some minor debates about the effects of immigration on segments of the labor markets, there’s no credible argument that immigration is anything like the scourge that Trump envisions it to be — in fact, it’s believed to be broadly beneficial. Crime remains near record lows in the United States, and the places that have the most immigrants have less crime.

Meanwhile, most of the anti-immigrant animus in the country comes from the corners with the fewest immigrants.

In this way, there are disturbing similarities to the patterns of anti-Semitism.

“The thing about anti-Semitism is that it was never about anything Jews actually did,” Krugman writes. “It was always about lurid myths, often based on deliberate fabrications, that were systematically spread to engender hatred.”

Bizarrely, one of the most persistent anti-Semitic myths of a Zionist plan for world domination, Krugman notes, may have been concocted by — who else? — Russian secret police.

He concludes:

    In any case, the important thing to understand is that the atrocities our nation is now committing at the border don’t represent an overreaction or poorly implemented response to some actual problem that needs solving. There is no immigration crisis; there is no crisis of immigrant crime.

    No, the real crisis is an upsurge in hatred — unreasoning hatred that bears no relationship to anything the victims have done. And anyone making excuses for that hatred — who tries, for example, to turn it into a “both sides” story — is, in effect, an apologist for crimes against humanity.

It’s worth reading the whole column. Some have pushed back against the comparisons between Nazis and the cruel actions of the Trump administration, but Krugman shows how the analogy can be drawn clearly and responsibly.

No, the camps that the Trump administration are housing immigrants children in are nowhere near as bad as German concentration camps. But Krugman demonstrates how our times may be analogous to events and historical patterns that led up to the atrocities of the Nazi-era, as well as other atrocities. And there’s nothing wrong with warning that social trends may be heading in an authoritarian, dictatorial, or genocidal direction — that may be the best way to prevent the worst outcomes from ever recurring.


Trump has made a complete mess of immigrants’ lives — and his administration has no idea how to fix it

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet
22 Jun 2018 at 06:57 ET                  

More than 2,300 immigrant kids have been taken from their parents and scattered across the country by the federal government, and President Donald Trump seems to have no coherent plan about how to reunite these families.

Even worse, it’s not clear whether the administration has actually stopped carrying out these separations, as Trump has said, or if it the number of children ripped from their parents will only grow.

Trump announced Wednesday that a new executive order would stop the separations from taking place. He said the order would make a lot of people happy and that he hated seeing families torn apart.

But it was not immediately clear if Trump’s proposed alternative to the separations — detaining families together — is either legally feasible or logistically practical.

And then, on Thursday, Trump said many families will still be separated.

“I signed a very good executive order yesterday, but that’s only limited, no matter how you cut it,” he said Thursday. “It leads to separation, ultimately.”

After the order was signed on Wednesday, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said that the children who have already been separated would not be returned to their parents. The department later tried to take that claim back, asserting that the spokesperson had misspoken.

But a Washington Post correspondent noted Thursday that, in practice, reconnecting the families is proving to be incredibly burdensome.

“It is shockingly difficult for immigration attorneys to locate children separated from their parents at the border. Today I spoke to lawyers who represent more than 400 parents,” said Kevin Sieff. “They’ve located two children.”

Meanwhile, there’s no clarity about what’s happening with the Justice Department’s “zero-tolerance” policy, which is the root of all these problems. Once DOJ decided to aggressively prosecute every unauthorized border crossing agents discovered, instead of applying prosecutorial discretion or allowing some to await their court dates outside of federal custody, the family separations were triggered.

The White House and DOJ haven’t officially backed away from the zero-tolerance approach. But the Washington Post reported that border control officials on the ground have stopped referring some cases for prosecutions, creating yet even more confusion.

“The Washington Post never reached out to the Department. Their story is not accurate,” a DOJ spokesperson told Politico. “There has been no change to the Department’s zero-tolerance policy to prosecute adults who cross our border illegally instead of claiming asylum at any port of entry at the border.”

However, the official cited in the Post report was a Homeland Security official, so it’s not clear if the DOJ’s statement can actually speak for that employee’s actions.

At the same time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now saying that the intention of the policy was never to separate families — even though, when he announced the policy, he made clear that the separations were intentional.

So Trump has created a crisis involving three separate federal departments while clashing with the two other branches of government. The administration hasn’t even been able to keep its communications staffers and agency heads on the same page, so there’s likely to be even more misinterpretations up and down the chain of command than those we’re seeing play out in the press.

In short, it’s not clear there is any concerted effort to clean up the disaster that has already occurred, and there’s no consensus within the government about how to keep the disaster from getting worse.


Republican shreds Melania Trump for ‘I really don’t care’ jacket when visiting migrant children: ‘An unforgivable moment’

Martin Cizmar
Raw Story
22 Jun 2018 at 00:06 ET                  

Melania Trump’s decision to wear a green army-style jacket with the saying “I really don’t care” painted across it as she went to visit some of the 2,000 children her husband ordered to be taken from their parents and locked in cages has led to a lot of speculation.

What does she not care about and who is she asking whether they care? Her husband has said it was a message aimed at the media, while her spokesperson said there was no message. People were generally too bewildered by the taunt to get angry.

David Jolly, a Republican former congressman from Florida, was irate about the jacket.

He said it’s time for the media and others to stop treating Melania Trump with kid gloves.

“This was an unforgivable moment for the first lady and the first family,” he said. “Not just because of what happened in the initial moment where, ‘Wow, did she wear this?’ There was intrigue. And, frankly, I was one who dismissed it the first time we saw it, as she was departing.”

Then Melania Trump wore it upon her return—despite sweltering heat.

“To wear it on her affirm that this was a political message, This was not a fashion statement. This was a political message where she said ‘I don’t care.'” he said. “She was going to the border, where her husband had ripped families apart and wearing a jacket that said ‘I don’t care.’ …she does not deserve latitude on this because she doubled-down after questions were asked.”

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUwhpI7bVzE


Where are the beds? Questions surround Trump’s plan to hold families in detention

22 Jun 2018 at 06:30 ET                  

One child stopped eating and fell into a depression. Another who could previously walk on his own now asks his mother to carry him everywhere. A third child started biting other children.

These are the experiences of children who have spent just three weeks at a temporary family immigration detention at the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, attorneys and volunteers who work at the center told Reuters.

The Dilley site is one of only three in the United States designed to hold parents and children together in immigration detention. Some of those who have visited the center say such cases illustrate the emotional problems that can arise from holding families in detention.

“No child or family unit with a child should ever be in detention,” said Alan Shapiro, co-founder of Terra Firma, which promotes immigrant children’s health. He said he has seen children at several facilities show developmental delays and become anxious and withdrawn.

The Dilley facility has playrooms, indoor gym equipment, toys, books and other amenities to provide “a safe and appropriate environment” for immigrant mothers and children, said Amanda Gilchrist, a spokeswoman for private prison company CoreCivic.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which provides medical and mental health care at Dilley, said they take “very seriously the health, safety and welfare of those in our care.”

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday aimed at ending his controversial policy of separating children from parents caught entering the country illegally. Under the order, which is likely to be challenged in court, families will now be detained together for the duration of their criminal and immigration proceedings. The latter can take months or even years to complete.

Holding families indefinitely could create a new logistical headache for the Trump administration. Immigrant families are currently housed in facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas that have a total capacity of about 3,300 beds, according to ICE. Those are now at 79 percent capacity, ICE said.

Given the numbers of families crossing the border illegally, the government will quickly run out of beds at those facilities, the only ones in the country set up to house families. Last month, U.S. Border Patrol arrested more than 9,400 family members crossing the southern border illegally.

Wednesday’s order directs the Pentagon to “take all legally available measures” to provide facilities available to house immigrant families, including constructing new facilities if necessary.

The Department of Health and Human Services has already completed assessments of three facilities in Texas – Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force base, and Dyess Air Force base – as potential areas to house migrants. It was due to carry out a formal assessment of Little Rock Air Force base in Jacksonville, Arkansas on Thursday, said Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.


Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission, a New York based advocacy group, said that while the Texas and Pennsylvania facilities are not currently full, “if they do start sending everybody there, they will fill up.”

She said temporary facilities could be set up at military bases “fairly quickly” but noted that a previous attempt by the Obama administration to rush the construction of a family detention center had resulted in a facility that was “not even close to being compliant” with child standards.

It could take up to three months for the government or its private sector contractors to build proper facilities that are safe, healthy and provide necessary services to detained families, said Daniel Stageman, a scholar on immigration detention at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

A spokeswoman for GEO Group, which operates the Karnes family detention center in Texas, said their company works to “provide a safe and humane environment for those in our care.”

The executive director of the Berks County Residential Center, the family detention center in Pennsylvania, did not respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys and medical professionals who have spent time at such facilities say even short-term detention can traumatize vulnerable children.

A 2016 report by a Department of Homeland Security advisory committee strongly recommended the government discontinue the “general use” of family detention, citing insufficient access to legal counsel, medical and mental health care.

A June 2017 DHS inspector general’s report, however, found that the family detention facilities were “clean, well-organized, and efficiently run,” based on unannounced spot inspections in July 2016.

Attorney Katy Murdza, an attorney who volunteers five days a week at Dilley, said the mental strains of detention were already apparent among families who had been detained at the facility for the past three weeks.

“We see 2-year olds picking up phones from the wall and saying, ‘Dad? Dad?’ They see a male guard and ask where their dad is,” she said.

Reporting by Reade Levinson in New York, Yeganeh Torbati in Washington, and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco. Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington.; Editing by Ross Colvin


Despite Trump order, border child separations could go on: legal experts

21 Jun 2018 at 17:32 ET    

The much-vilified U.S. policy of separating children from parents who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border could continue under certain circumstances because of ambiguous language in President Donald Trump’s order meant to end the practice, legal experts said.

“The first thing that hit me when I read the order was the tremendous amount of wiggle room built into it,” said John Banzhaf, a professor or public interest law at George Washington University.

The order signed by Trump on Wednesday calls for those families to be detained together but it permits separation if deemed that detention with a parent “would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.” Family unity is the policy “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources,” the order said.

Legal experts said this language could be exploited by the government to separate families on various grounds and be challenged in court, potentially adding to the welter of litigation against Trump’s hardline immigration policy.

Despite Trump’s order, the American Civil Liberties Union said it would press on with a lawsuit arguing the family separation policy violated the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which holds no person can be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.

A family separated on the basis of a loophole in Trump’s executive order could potentially bring a similar due process challenge.

In April, the administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy that all immigrants apprehended while crossing the border illegally should be prosecuted under the country’s criminal entry statute.

It led to separations of parents and children because when border agents refer apprehended migrants to court, parents are held in federal jail to await trial by a judge while the children either remain in border patrol custody or are moved into facilities managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Trump’s executive order could allow the government to argue separation was necessary on the grounds that detention facilities were too crowded, for instance, said Greg Siskind, a Memphis immigration lawyer.

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment.


On Thursday, the Justice Department asked a court to ease curbs on the detention of children who enter the country illegally with their parents, the most immediate issue facing the executive order.

Indefinite detentions run afoul of the so-called Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement that has been interpreted by courts as requiring children not be detained for more than 20 days.

The administration argued in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that circumstances had changed.

The surge in the number of illegal border crossings by families had created a “destabilizing migratory crisis” that puts those families at risk and threatens public safety, the Justice Department said.

“Under current law and legal rulings,” the Justice Department said, “it is not possible for the U.S. government to detain families together during the pendency of their immigration proceedings. It cannot be done.”

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles, who oversees the Flores settlement, rejected a similar argument by President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015 to extend detentions of families. Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat Obama both increased prosecutions at the border, but this did not lead to family separations because border officials used discretion and did not refer parents for prosecution.

Gee, appointed by Obama and the daughter of Chinese immigrants, said at the time the government had presented no competent evidence its proposed modification would address the problem of increased immigration.

Gee’s ruling would be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which last year rejected the Trump administration’s travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries, part of the crackdown that Republican Trump promised on the 2016 election campaign trail and carried into the White House. Trump also wants to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but he has failed to secure funding.

Lindsay Harris, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia, said the administration could be eyeing a longer-term win at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has the power to reverse the 9th Circuit and allow for modification of the Flores settlement.

Congress could also supersede Flores at any time by passing a bill that lays out a legal framework for immigrant families crossing the border, Harris said. She said such a law would probably face a swift challenge under the Fifth Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held the Fifth Amendment applies to non-U.S. citizens and covers family unity. But the government can point to cases saying separation of families by the criminal justice system is not unconstitutional, legal experts said.

“I predict a lot more litigation on this issue because the executive order does not settle anything once and for all,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a law professor at Cornell University.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Anthony Lin and Grant McCool


Immigrant moms still have no idea how to find their kids after Trump ripped them away

Noor Al-Sibai
Raw Story
21 Jun 2018 at 13:21 ET                  

In spite of Donald Trump’s executive order ending the separation of families at the US-Mexico border, there remain mothers separated from their children who have no idea where their kids are.

In interviews with The New Yorker, women detained Otero County Prison — a privately-run detention center housing migrants in New Mexico — said that after their children were taken away following their arrests at the border, they have had difficulty finding any information about where they are.

On May 26, Honduran asylum-seeker Esmeralda Pérez and her nine-year-old son Jefferson were arrested in El Paso, Texas after crossing the border. She was allowed to spend a single night with her son, who she says has health issues that require regular attention from her. He was then taken away from her by Border Patrol after she was told she needed to pay a penalty and go to jail — and she hasn’t seen or heard from Jefferson since.

Though one of Pérez’s relatives conveyed to her that her son may be at a facility run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Michigan, she said she has almost no way of finding out herself while both of them are detained. According the report, “contacting the office is nearly impossible from inside detention.”

Wesliane Souza, an Otero inmate from Brazil that was separated from her 13-year-old son, told the New Yorker that of the 50 mothers in her wing who’d been separated from their children, “few of them know where their kids are.” After fleeing to the United States to escape an abusive partner, Souza and her son were arrested in El Paso on June 1, and after two days together a Border Patrol agent informed her that she had five minutes to say goodbye to her child.

“I didn’t know what to say to my son because I didn’t know where he was going,” the woman said. “There were other mothers and children all around us, and everyone was crying.”

Souza noted that many of the women at Otero were likely to leave with psychological issues, and reporter Jonathan Blitzer pointed out that she appeared to exhibit some herself — rocking back and forth while speaking, muttering to herself and an occasional “vacant look” on her face.


‘This is just gross’: CNN panel blasts Ivanka tweeting praise for her dad as he tries to clean up his immigrant debacle

Sarah K. Burris
Raw Story
21 Jun 2018 at 17:53 ET                  

During a Thursday panel discussion on CNN about the White House response to the migrant crisis on the border, political analysts all agreed that first daughter Ivanka Trump’s supportive tweet on Thursday seemed completely clueless.

The first lady went down to the border to visit children and learn more about the crisis, she then left Texas while wearing a jacket saying “I really don’t care. Do U?”

Ivanka Trump then tweeted, “Now that an EO has been signed ending family separation at the border, it is time to focus on swiftly and safely reuniting the families that have been separated.”

    Now that an EO has been signed ending family separation at the border, it is time to focus on swiftly and safely reuniting the families that have been separated.

    — Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) June 21, 2018

“Is that a message to Ivanka Trump herself?” asked CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson. “Ivanka Trump works in the White House and can do something, right? I don’t know why she is tweeting about it.”

Host Jake Tapper agreed, saying that she could say that she’s taking over the supervision of this project or reuniting families.

“I mean, this happened six weeks ago,” Henderson continued. “I think it might be her first or second tweet on it. I mean, she’s not been out front on this in any way, shape or form and works at the White House.”

Neera Tanden, who serves as the President of the Center for American Progress, had a more cynical reason for Ivanka tweeting about the situation now.

“It’s like she tweets just as they think that there’s a slight shift in policy,” Tanden said. “Trump said something, Donald Trump said something. We have no idea, they have no idea how to unite these parents. This is — but these tweets are really just a PR stunt for how the country will see her as the softer side of this horrendous policy. She’s willing to tweet about it now but the most important question is, where was she a week ago or two weeks ago or a month ago?”

Tapper pointed out the “weird detachment” that makes it seem like she’s not one of the most powerful people in the administration.

Washington Examiner columnist Kristen Soltis Anderson explained that it is probably more about Ivanka Trump wanting to be a powerful player in politics in the future.

“I think she’s seeing the same polls we are seeing which is that this is a policy that was deeply unpopular,” she continued. “Outside of her father’s very ardent base.”

“I mean, I’m sorry, this is just gross. Can I just say it’s gross?” Tanden said.

Anderson also noted that the White House can’t stop getting in it’s own way.

“I just — this White House has an incredible ability to take something good that has happened and convert it into something that is a bad story for them,” said Anderson. “Whether it’s last week a really good news cycle for them coming out of the summit in North Korea, president’s numbers looking good, economy is looking good and suddenly you decide to implement this policy that’s going to take children away from their parents and create a nightmare.”

She said the story with Melania Trump is similar. After the first lady went to the border to show compassion to children, “and then you have this jacket. Why did no one say, ‘Maybe pick one of your other beautiful coats, Melania?’ I don’t understand.”

Watch the full panel discussion: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6mfrg7

* image.png (155.39 KB, 300x225 - viewed 5 times.)

* TIME-cover-on-migrant-crisis.jpg (28.27 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)

* JollyMelania-800x430.png (372.74 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)

* Trump-Nazi1.jpg (23.63 KB, 650x391 - viewed 6 times.)
« Last Edit: Jun 22, 2018, 06:33 AM by Darja » Logged
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 6000

« Reply #4386 on: Jun 22, 2018, 06:19 AM »

MSNBC’s Mika damns Ivanka Trump: ‘Traumatizing children — that is how you will be remembered’

Brad Reed
Raw Story
22 Jun 2018 at 07:50 ET                  

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski on Friday sent a stark message to first daughter Ivanka Trump about her complicity in President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

Writing on Twitter, Brzezinski tried to appeal to the president’s eldest daughter in terms that the Trump family knows all too well: Through the lens of business.

“Ivanka Trump, your brand is this: Separating babies from their mothers,” she wrote. “Traumatizing children. That is how you will be remembered. Forever.”

    /@realDonaldTrump @IvankaTrump your brand is this: Separating babies from their mothers. Traumatizing children. That is how you will be remembered. Forever.

    — Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) June 22, 2018

Brzezinski’s tweet echoes statements she made on “Morning Joe” Friday morning when she delivered a blistering condemnation of the president and his staff.

“He will be forever remembered as the president who traumatized little children — that’s his brand now,” she said. “He’s the president who purposefully traumatized babies and children, and he traumatized them for his political gain or to look strong or to look like Kim Jong-un.”

She also called out the Trumps for only caring that the family separation scandal “looks bad” instead of realizing that it actually is a bad policy.

“He’s pulling back because this is a massive PR failure and whether Ivanka said, ‘Daddy, this doesn’t look good,’ or Trump said that Ivanka said, ‘Daddy, this doesn’t look good,'” she said. “That reporting is fascinating. You know why? Because that’s all they care about — what it looks like.”


The most damning element of this tragic American tale

by Joe Scarborough
June 22 2018
WA Post

There was a time when conservatives supported limited government, balanced budgets and less debt. Not so long ago, conservatives also championed free trade, lower tariffs and the spread of democratic institutions across Europe and the world. And yes, conservatives spent the past generation championing an American exceptionalism with values casting our great country as a city shining brightly on a hill for all the world to see.

Onetime Fox News president Roger Ailes was fond of saying, “America has fed and freed more people than any country in the history of the world.” Ronald Reagan launched his historic 1980 presidential campaign with the Statue of Liberty as his backdrop . He framed America’s relationship with immigration in 1981 this way: “Our nation is a nation of immigrants. More than any other country, our strength comes from our immigrant heritage and our capacity to welcome those from other lands.”

Reagan took a position on immigration that most Republicans today would consider heresy, yet voters rewarded him with a decisive victory and a landslide reelection a few years later. Far less popular has been President Trump’s politically toxic policy of ripping children from their mothers’ arms. That depraved stance, adopted as a bargaining chip to use against Democrats, garnered support from only 17 percent of Americans . But it did earn him the antipathy of our closest allies, Pope Francis and every living former first lady .

Rosalynn Carter said in a statement, “The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents’ care is disgraceful and a shame to our country.”

Laura Bush wrote in The Post, “Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children. . . . These images are eerily reminiscent of the internment camps for U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent . . . now considered to be one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.” Michelle Obama seconded Bush’s sentiments, saying that “sometimes truth transcends party.”

When asked about the United States’ simmering border crisis, Pope Francis told Reuters, “Creating psychosis is not the cure. . . . Populism does not resolve things. What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament, “The pictures of children being held in what appears to be cages are deeply disturbing. This is wrong.”

With the incarceration of more than 2,300 infants, toddlers and children unresolved, Trump’s policy of breaking up families remains an open wound on America’s character and a political crisis for the few Republicans who still believe they can salvage November’s midterm elections.

A conservative former intelligence operative grimly recounted to me on Thursday how much the handling of these displaced children reminded him of the CIA facilities where terrorists were secretly held and interrogated after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: “This reminds me of our black sites, except we were holding 100 or so adult terrorists for the killing of American citizens. Now 2,300 kids are held in unknown locations with unknown individuals inside and absolutely no outside observation.”

Trump’s obsession with wall-building and zero-tolerance has led Americans to this grim political spectacle. His personal cruelty and political ignorance have created a crisis that will kill conservative immigration reform and lead to future Democratic majorities. More troubling is the harsh reality now staring Americans in the face: Their president is a brutish political boss who has cheapened conservatism, sullied the office of the presidency and called into question the very character of a country once seen as the envy of the world. That so many Republicans still support this depraved man and his malignant movement could be the most damning element of this tragic American tale.


Melania Trump wears the heart of her husband’s administration on her sleeve

by Karen Attiah
June 21 2018
WA Post

First lady Melania Trump wore a jacket that caused a stir on social media as she boarded a plane to Texas on June 21 for a border visit. (The Washington Post)

First lady Melania Trump wears the heart of her husband’s administration on her sleeve.

On a surprise trip to the Texas border to visit immigrant kids, the first lady wore what appeared to be a $39 Zara green jacket with lettering on the back that read “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”  In confirming the news, her spokeswoman said, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”

Too late. Let’s focus on her wardrobe.

First of all, as a native Texan, I wonder, what is it about Texas’s airspace that causes the first lady to make such poor fashion choices? Some of us still haven’t gotten over her decision to wear stilettos to visit areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. High waters call for higher heels, as the Texas saying goes. Just kidding, that’s not a saying. We don’t play such nonsense in the Lone Star State.

With Jacketgate, the first lady is Category 5 trolling us. Trump is a former model and no stranger to being in the public  eye. She and her team know full well the power of clothes to convey a message — particularly when it’s the first lady wearing them. Michelle Obama conveyed relatability by wearing an affordable brand such as J. Crew. What did Trump convey with her clothing choice on Thursday — besides relatability to the 55 percent of Republicans who supported Trump’s policy of separating families?

For one of the most visible women in the world, with perhaps nearly unlimited access to clothing, to choose a jacket with such a message speaks of either complete tone-deafness or cruel, calculated apathy in the face of suffering children. Trump’s jacket is a reinforcement of what we knew about the Trump administration’s attitudes toward people of color: They don’t give a damn, and they’ve never tried to hide it. They don’t care about sending Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to lie about the fact that it was President Trump’s decision to implement the child separation policy in the first place. Trump doesn’t care about lying that “illegal immigrants” want to “infest our country.” He doesn’t care about scores of American citizens dying in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria, or about Flint still not having clean water.

And in her own basic yet unintentional way, Melania Trump is telling another story with her Zara jacket: She’s the walking embodiment of the exploitation of children in the name of big business. The Spanish-owned brand has been accused of using child labor in South America. The company was forced to apologize and pay fines after immigrant workers in Brazil claimed they were forced to work 12-hour shifts every day, for between $156 and $290 a month. It’s fitting that Trump would wear a jacket from a brand that has apologized for mistreating immigrant workers. Here at home, there was outrage over the separate but related issue of the United States losing track of unaccompanied children from Central America, some of whom have ended up in the hands of traffickers once reaching the United States.

Maybe we should be grateful that Melania Trump didn’t take a cue from the commander in chief and throw Starbursts or paper towels at the children. But next time Texas has a crisis on its hands, she should just stay home. Compassion for the suffering doesn’t seem to suit her or her husband.

Click to watch: <iframe width='480' height='290' scrolling='no' src='https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/8694fe56-7599-11e8-bda1-18e53a448a14' frameborder='0' webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>


MSNBC reporter shocked by Trump’s child jails: ‘One of the most despicable moments in modern American history’

Travis Gettys
Raw Story
22 Jun 2018 at 09:53 ET                   

MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff is one of the only reporters given access to the child detention camps operated by the U.S. government, and he was horrified by what he saw there.

The reporter appeared Friday on “Morning Joe” to process the experience, which he said was the most unnerving in his life.

“I witnessed one of the most despicable moments in modern American history,” Soboroff said. “I saw kids locked in cages, sitting on floors, supervised by security guard contractors in a watch tower in McAllen, Texas.”

“I will never forget it,” he added. “I don’t think the American people should forget what happened because this should never, ever happen again. It’s the worst thing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

Trump apologists have downplayed the conditions the children are forced to endure without their parents, and Fox News broadcaster Laura Ingraham compared the facilities to summer camps.

“It’s just wildly inaccurate,” Soboroff said. “The first place I went is a former Walmart where kids are inside 22 hours a day, they get outside two hours a day. That was luxurious compared to what I saw (Thursday) in McAllen.”

“I just wish the first lady, when she was there, would have been able to go and actually see that facility,” he continued, “not the New Hope shelter, where kids are well taken care of. HHS takes care of the kids. They are social service providers, that’s what they do.”

“The border patrol, where we saw the cages, it is horrifying,” Soboroff added. “It’s 55,000 square feet on one side of parents and unaccompanied minors, and a huge number of those unaccompanied minors were taken from their parents and sitting there by themselves. What happened to those kids? Where are they now? Some of can kids that I saw there, we literally don’t know where they are. The 500 that have been reunited, there’s still 2,000 of them.”

* 66afeefdcc853c453e9cb787a2fb1a22.jpg (77.13 KB, 720x720 - viewed 5 times.)

* 911c5121fe459cf473d14e2392e37f41.jpg (127.75 KB, 843x843 - viewed 7 times.)

* ivanka-childhood-3.jpg (75.44 KB, 800x549 - viewed 5 times.)

* thpp.jpg (10.21 KB, 308x173 - viewed 5 times.)
« Last Edit: Jun 22, 2018, 09:34 AM by Rad » Logged
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4387 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:06 AM »

Ancient Greek sounds transfix audience in Athens

22 Jun 2018 at 07:28 ET                   

Hymns sung to the Greek gods thousands of years ago resonated from ancient musical instruments in Athens on Thursday, transporting a transfixed audience to antiquity.

The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos – string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos – echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum as part of World Music Day celebrations.

A family of musicians, Lyravlos have recreated exact replicas of the ancient instruments from natural materials including animal shells, bones, hides and horns.

Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events. Today only some 60 written scores of ancient Greek music have survived, said Lyravlos member Michael Stefos.
Stefos said they interpret them as best they can, relying on the accuracy of their recreated instruments.

“Joking aside, ancient CDs have never been found,” he said.

Their performance included a hymn to the god Apollo, pieces played at the musical festival of the ancient Pythian Games in Delphi and during wine-laden rituals to the god Dionysus.

Michael’s father Panayiotis Stefos, who heads the group, travels to museums at home and abroad studying ancient Greek antiquities and texts in order to recreate the instruments.

“Usually each instrument has a different sound. It is not something you can make on a computer, it will not be a carbon copy,” said Stefos.

The difference with modern day instruments?

“If someone holds it in their arms and starts playing, after a few minutes they don’t want to let it go, because it vibrates and pulsates with your body,” he said.

French tourist Helene Piaget, who watched the performance, said it was “inspiring”.

“One sees them on statues, on reliefs, and you can’t imagine what they might sound like,” she said.

World Music Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the summer solstice.

Editing by Alison Williams

* Greek-Musicians-800x430.jpg (37.31 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4388 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:09 AM »

The water crisis the Trump administration didn’t want you to know about

23 Jun 2018 at 10:13 ET                   

The government just released a huge study about chemicals. Mazel tov! You made it through the most boring part of this article. Now for the fun stuff: The Trump administration didn’t want you to see the results of this study.

As you go about your daily business, you’re surrounded by compounds called perfluoroalkyls, or PFAS. They’re used in carpeting, food packaging, clothing, pots and pans, and the foam firefighters use to douse flames, to name a few. That’s because PFAS are resistant to heat, water, and oil. They’re incredibly helpful! They’re also toxic.

According to a major study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, the EPA has seriously underestimated how much of this stuff human beings can safely be exposed to. The major takeaway? PFAS have thoroughly contaminated many of the nation’s water sources, and they are associated with cancer, liver damage, fertility issues, and more — even in small doses. The study is the most fleshed-out assessment of information on PFAS to date, and it found that the EPA’s exposure limits should be 10 times lower than they are now.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the study’s findings, here’s the story behind why EPA chief Scott Pruitt and the White House wanted to block its publication in the first place.

White House emails from earlier this year show that the Trump administration was worried the study would cause a “public relations nightmare,” and Pruitt’s aides intervened to block the report. An unnamed White House aide also said, “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful,” according to a report in Politico last month.

In other words, the Trump administration headed off a study that highlighted a major public health crisis because officials didn’t want to deal with the fallout. When members of Congress got vocal about releasing the report, Pruitt decided to hold a summit at EPA headquarters about PFAS in drinking water systems at the end of May.

The saga, already pretty dramatic, started to resemble an episode of House of Cards when an AP reporter was forcibly removed from that summit. The reporter, along with journalists from CNN, Politico, and E&E News, were barred from entering the summit because of limited space, but reporters who were allowed to sit in on the meeting tweeted out pictures of empty chairs in the room.

It seems like Pruitt should have learned by now that doing something like, oh, I don’t know, forcibly ejecting a reporter from a summit, only serves to attract attention to the very thing he’s trying to downplay. Luckily for us, he’s a slow learner. It’s worth highlighting two more notable revelations from the newly published 852-page CDC report.

    In studies of rats and mice, researchers found regular exposure to PFAS affected development, body weight, and brain activity. If you’re thinking, “Well, those are just rats!”, keep in mind that the CDC assumes humans are more sensitive to this stuff than other animals when it goes about setting exposure limits.
    The CDC only looked at 14 PFAS compounds in its study. There are more than 4,000 kinds of PFAS chemicals out there in the world, and the chemical industry regularly switches between types. So there’s a lot to learn about these pesky and incredibly harmful little compounds.

It’s no wonder the Trump administration wanted to keep this one quiet. A Harvard study from 2016 that analyzed PFAS contamination in drinking water showed that 6 million Americans were drinking water that exceeded the EPA’s limits — and that was using the agency’s old standards. This new study indicates a lot more people are at risk than previously thought.

There’s another reason why White House officials may have hoped this report would fly under the radar. Earlier this year, the Department of Defense reported to Congress that 126 water systems at or nearby military bases in the U.S. were contaminated with PFAS. More than 600 additional sites are at risk of serious contamination, which means the federal government will have to foot a hefty cleanup bill. But if there’s one thing we know about Scott Pruitt, it’s that he hates spending money on the environment.

By Zoya Teirstein, Grist

* shutterstock_295406354.jpg (52.51 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4389 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:11 AM »

Supermarkets must help end ‘brutal conditions’ for farmers: Oxfam

Agence France-Presse
23 Jun 2018 at 08:11 ET                   

Supermarkets in the West are using their purchasing power to force suppliers to cut their prices, contributing to exploitation and even forced labour of millions of farmers worldwide, a global charity said Thursday.

“Millions of women and men who produce our food are trapped in poverty and face brutal working conditions, despite billion-dollar profits in the food industry,” Oxfam International said as it released a report titled “Ripe for Change”.

“From forced labour aboard fishing vessels in southeast Asia, to poverty wages on Indian tea plantations and hunger faced by workers on South African grape farms, human and labour rights abuses are all too common in food supply chains,” the report said.

In surveys conducted in five countries last year, Oxfam said it documented what it called “unfair trading practices” by supermarket giants such as setting prices below the cost of sustainable production.

They were also unwilling to raise prices in order to take into account increases in the minimum wage, it said.

Such practices left the workers at the bottom of the supply chain to pay the heaviest price.

In Thailand, more than 90 percent of workers at seafood processing plants said they had gone without enough food the previous month, Oxfam said.

Around 80 percent of those workers were women, it added.

In Italy, where many farm workers are migrants, 75 percent of women working on fruit and vegetable farms said they or a family member had to miss meals because they could not afford to buy enough food.

– ‘Cruel paradox’ –

“It is one of the cruellest paradoxes of our time that the people producing our food and their families are often going without enough to eat themselves,” Oxfam said.

The charity criticised major European and US supermarkets for failing to ensure that food producers were treated with dignity.

Part of the reason inequalities were increasing, Oxfam said, was because of supermarket chains’ drive to deliver year-round choice at a low cost.

The main beneficiaries from this drive, according to the report, are supermarkets themselves — with little thought given to the working conditions of people who produce the food.

“The eight largest publicly owned supermarkets in the world generated some $1 trillion from sales in 2016 and nearly $22 billion in profit,” Oxfam said.

It plans to launch a campaign to urge supermarkets to “crack down on inhumane working conditions”.

“Supermarkets can afford to pay producers a fair price without burdening shoppers,” said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director.

“In many cases, giving back just one or two percent of the retail price -— a few cents — would be life-changing for the women and men who produce the food on their shelves,” she said.

* Indian-Tea-Farmers-1-800x430.jpg (105.17 KB, 800x430 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4390 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:14 AM »

Energy Efficiency and Technology Squeeze the Carbon Bubble


The carbon bubble will burst with or without government action, according to a new study. That will hurt people who invest in fossil fuels.

As energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies improve and prices drop, global demand for fossil fuels will decline, "stranding" new fossil fuel ventures—likely before 2035, according to the study in Nature Climate Change, "Macroeconomic impact of stranded fossil fuel assets."

Researchers from Cambridge University and elsewhere found technological advances will strand fossil fuel assets regardless of "whether or not new climate policies are adopted," but that "the loss would be amplified if new climate policies to reach the 2°C target of the Paris Agreement are adopted and/or if low-cost producers (some OPEC countries) maintain their level of production ('sell out') despite declining demand."

That could "amount to a discounted global wealth loss of US$1–4 trillion," and Russia, the U.S. and Canada could see their fossil fuel industries nearly shut down, the report says.

The best way to limit these negative impacts is to divest from fossil fuels and speed up the transition to a diversified, energy-efficient, clean-energy economy. Investing tax dollars to expand fossil fuel development and infrastructure, including pipelines, is irresponsible and incompatible with Canada's Paris agreement commitments, putting everyone at economic risk, and leaving us with polluted air, water and land, and increasing climate impacts and health-care bills.

Lead author Jean-François Mercure told The Guardian, "With more policies from governments, this would happen faster. But without strong [climate] policies, it is already happening. To some degree at least you can't stop it. But if people stop putting funds now in fossil fuels, they may at least limit their losses."

Co-author Jorge Viñuales said, "Individual nations cannot avoid the situation by ignoring the Paris agreement or burying their heads in coal and tar sands."

Researchers found that while the shift from fossil fuels to conservation and clean energy is moving quickly enough to strand fossil fuel assets, it's not happening fast enough to keep global average temperature from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. That will require concerted action from governments worldwide to meet and exceed Paris agreement commitments.

One often overlooked factor is efficiency. A study in Nature Energy found energy efficiency improvements could limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels—the aspirational Paris agreement target. Many experts have suggested limiting warming to that degree would require large-scale bioenergy deployment (burning forest and plant products for energy) and negative emissions technologies (removing CO2 from the air and storing it on land, underground or in the oceans). But many of those technologies haven't been tested on a commercial scale, and burning biomass creates pollution and affects land use, habitat and food production—and the new report says warming could be limited without them.

According to a Carbon Brief article, researchers used integrated assessment models to determine how improving energy efficiency in the global north and south could help limit warming to 1.5°C while fulfilling international sustainable development goals, including "zero hunger," "good health and wellbeing" and "affordable and clean energy" for all.

Technological and social innovation at the consumer and industrial level, including "the spread of digital services in the global south and the rise of vehicle-sharing in the global north" would fuel most improvements. Measures like getting people to reduce or eliminate meat from their diets would also be necessary, as far more energy and land are required to raise and produce meat than fruits and vegetables.

Although the report offers hope, our best bet for avoiding the worst effects of a warming planet is to do everything we can at all levels of society and government: conserve energy, shift to clean energy, protect and restore green spaces, reduce meat consumption, improve women's rights and family planning to stabilize population growth, increase infrastructure for transportation alternatives to the private automobile, divest from fossil fuels and hold politicians to account for credible climate policies.

The world is changing in response to serious energy challenges. We can take advantage of the growing economic opportunities and benefits to human health, ecosystems and the climate or we can keep extracting, selling and burning fossil fuels while the world warms. The choice is obvious.

* Capture.JPG (52.46 KB, 832x387 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4391 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:18 AM »

Pamplona court to release sexual abuse gang on bail

Protests as men who abused teen at bull running festival to be freed during appeal

Sam Jones in Madrid
23 Jun 2018 18.22 BST

The five men jailed for sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman at the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona two years ago are to be released on bail of €6,000, according to reports.

The case, known as the “wolf pack” trial because of the name the men used in their WhatsApp group, caused a national outcry after the defendants were sentenced to nine years in prison for sexual abuse, but acquitted of rape.

The verdict, delivered at the end of April, led to protests across Spain and prompted the then government to announce a review of sexual offences legislation to establish whether such crimes were adequately defined and categorised.

José Ángel Prenda, Alfonso Cabezuelo, Antonio Manuel Guerrero, Jesús Escudero and Ángel Boza were sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment, five years’ probation and ordered to pay €10,000 each to the woman. Guerrero, a Guardia Civil police officer, was fined €900 for stealing her phone after the attack.

On Thursday the Spanish news agency Europa Press reported that the provincial court in Pamplona had ruled that the men, who have been in custody since July 2016, could be released on bail while a higher court studied the original sentence.

It apparently ordered them to surrender their passports and report to court three times a week, and banned them from entering the Madrid region, where the victim lives, and from attempting to contact her.

Both prosecutors and defence lawyers are protesting against the nine-year sentences. Under Spanish law, those convicted of a crime cannot usually be held for more than two years if a final sentence has not been handed down.

The men were found guilty of the “continuous sexual abuse” of the woman in the lobby of a building in the early hours of 7 July 2016. Under Spanish law, sexual abuse differs from rape in that it does not involve violence or intimidation. One of the judges argued that the men should have been cleared of all charges except the phone theft.

The case was widely seen as a cross-examination of the 18-year-old woman rather than the men who attacked her. The proceedings were criticised after the judges accepted into evidence a report compiled by a private detective hired by some of the defendants. The detective had followed the woman over several days and produced photographs of her smiling with friends.

This was used to suggest she had not suffered any lasting trauma, prompting hundreds of women to demonstrate outside court holding signs reading: “We believe you, sister.”

Defence lawyers claimed the woman had consented and had let one of the men kiss her. They also said that 96 seconds of video footage from the men’s phones – showing the woman immobile and with her eyes shut during the attack – constituted proof of consent.

The prosecution said the victim had been too terrified to move.

“The defendants want us to believe that on that night they met an 18-year-old girl, living a normal life, who, after 20 minutes of conversation with people she didn’t know, agreed to group sex involving every type of penetration, sometimes simultaneously, without using a condom,” the prosecutor Elena Sarasate said.

The verdict was criticised by many senior politicians, including Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s socialist party who recently became the prime minister.

“She said NO,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “We believe you and we’ll keep believing you. If what the ‘wolfpack’ did wasn’t group violence against a defenceless woman, then what do we understand by rape?”

News of the men’s release prompted women’s groups to call protests in cities including Pamplona, Madrid, Zaragoza, San Sebastián and Barcelona on Thursday and Friday.

Laura Berro, the equality and LGBTI councillor at Pamplona’s city council, said the court’s latest verdict was proof of the patriarchal nature of justice.

“It’s shocking,” she tweeted. “But we will not shut up or be paralysed.”

Reuters contributed to this report

* 5472.jpg (50.27 KB, 620x372 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4392 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:33 AM »

Greece 'turning a page' as eurozone agrees deal to end financial crisis

Athens hails agreement to give country access to markets in August after final bailout

Jon Henley, Daniel Boffey in Brussels and Helena Smith in Athens
23 Jun 2018 21.24 BST

Greece’s government has said the country is “turning a page” after eurozone member states reached an agreement on the final elements of a plan to make its massive debt pile more manageable, ending an eight-year bailout programme.

“I have to say the Greek government is happy with this deal,” the finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, said on Friday. “But at the same time, this government will not forget what the Greek people went through in the past eight years.”

The government spokesman, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, hailed “a historic decision” that meant “the Greek people can smile again”. Financial markets rallied, with the country’s benchmark 10-year bond easing 0.2 points and the main stock index up 1.6%.

The plan allows Greece to extend and defer repayments on part of its debt for another 10 years and gives Athens another €15bn (£13.2bn) in new credit. Tsakalotos said it marked “the end of the Greek crisis … I think Greece is turning a page.”

He added that the government “has to make sure the Greek people quickly see concrete results ... They need to feel the change in their own pockets.”

The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, told a meeting of MPs: “Greece is once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence.”

For the first time since he took office in January 2015, Tsipras donned a tie – fulfilling a promise made soon after he was election that he would only wear one when Greece had settled its debt problems.

But the main opposition party New Democracy reacted to the deal with scepticism, saying it left much to be desired. Asked whether he thought the €22bn (£19bn) buffer Greece had been given would suffice, the party’s Kostis Hatzidakis said it reflected the lack of faith international creditors had in Athens’ ability to successfully return to capital markets.

With Greece subject to enhanced surveillance for the next decade, reaction on the ground was similarly muted, with most saying they did not think the deal would make any noticeable difference to their lives.

    Greece has really made the job – they have fulfilled their commitments
    Bruno Le Maire, French finance minister

The finance ministers of the 19 eurozone countries need to finalise a deal between Greece and its international creditors that would allow it to safely emerge from its third and final bailout on 20 August and face the markets again.

Greece had received €275bn in financial support from its international creditors over the past eight years and twice came perilously close to being kicked out of the eurozone group, the EU commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, said, adding: “There have been enormous sacrifices. But at last Greece will be capable of moving on its own two feet.”

But it means the left-led government in Athens will have to stick to austerity measures and reforms, including high budget surpluses, for more than 40 years. Adherence will be monitored quarterly.
Eurozone braces for row with Greece over bailout exit terms
Read more

Greece has been surviving primarily on loans from the eurozone since 2010, when it lost market access to funds because of a ballooning budget deficit, huge public debt and an underperforming economy, matched with an expansive welfare system.

As fears mounted that it would crash out of the euro, the country was plunged into an unprecedented recession from which it is only now starting to recover, posting economic growth of 1.9% this year after its economy shrank by more than 26% since 2010.

The crisis toppled four governments, obliging the current prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, to force through tough changes to balance the books. Wages have fallen by nearly 20% since 2010, with pensions and other welfare payments cut by 70% in the same period. The size of the public sector has been reduced by 26%.

Unemployment has dropped slightly but remains very high at 20%, with youth unemployment at an alarming 43%, sending thousands of young Greeks abroad.

At almost 180% of GDP, Greece is burdened with the highest debt load in Europe. The €320bn debt mountain is widely recognised as the single biggest obstacle to economic recovery.

The International Monetary Fund had resolutely refused to sign up to the country’s latest bailout unless eurozone creditors agreed to a restructuring that would ultimately make the debt sustainable.

Investors have been encouraged by the government’s austerity measures, however, with Greece’s borrowing costs standing at about 4%, compared with 24% at the peak of the crisis.

* 3000.jpg (45.77 KB, 620x372 - viewed 5 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4393 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:35 AM »

'Xenophobic and racist': Elena Ferrante warns of danger to Italy from Matteo Salvini

In her Guardian column, author of the bestselling Neapolitan novels makes rare intervention in politics to voice fears of interior minister’s ‘racist fists’

    Ferrante’s column: ‘Matteo Salvini seems persuasive – until he bangs his racist fists’

Alison Flood
23 Jun 2018 16.23 BST

The Italian novelist Elena Ferrante has made a rare foray into the political arena, warning of the dangers of underestimating the “xenophobic and racist” new interior minister Matteo Salvini who heads up Italy’s far-right League party.

Writing in her column for the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, the reclusive Ferrante, who has kept her identity hidden, said she had never been politically active, and while she has “feared for the fate of democracy” in Italy, she has more often “thought our worries have been deliberately exaggerated”.

While she has never voted for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, she has seen it as an “important receptacle for the mass discontent generated by the inadequate, often disastrous way” European governments have dealt with the economic crisis, she said.

But the author of the bestselling Neapolitan series said she now fears that the war against Five Star has hidden the real danger: Salvini’s League, now in coalition with Five Star, and Salvini himself, a former talk radio host who is fronting Italy’s hardline approach to refugees.

Last week, Salvini refused to allow a boat carrying more than 600 refugees and migrants to dock in the country. This week, he pledged to conduct a census of Italy’s Roma community and expel those living in the country illegally, a policy that critics say is reminiscent of the country’s fascist past.

Describing Salvini as “in line with the worst of the Italian political traditions”, Ferrante said the politician was widely underestimated and “used by television producers to enliven debates and generate publicity”.

“He has become increasingly persuasive, giving the appearance of a good-natured common man who thoroughly understands the problems of the common people and at the right moment bangs his xenophobic and racist fists on the table,” she argued. “Sometimes I imagine, anxiously, that the consensus around the bad feelings Salvini embodies (and stimulates) may spread beyond his intentions and slide into the mass brutality that in times of crisis is always lying in wait.”

Ferrante also predicted that Salvini would eventually turn on Five Star. “Today they seem to be sitting on the benches of parliament – prime minister Giuseppe Conte at their head – in order to assume all the blame that normally goes to the politicians in power,” she wrote, in the column translated by Ann Goldstein. “Their first accuser, in due course, will be Salvini.”

* evil.jpg (25.9 KB, 620x372 - viewed 3 times.)
Most Active Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 27900

« Reply #4394 on: Jun 23, 2018, 05:40 AM »

Gang raped and set on fire: ICC pushes to investigate Myanmar Rohingya atrocities

Exclusive: Evidence of horrific treatment emerges as the Hague gives Myanmar deadline to respond to claims

Thaslima Begum and Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Sat 23 Jun 2018 00.30 BST

Harrowing accounts of Rohingya women tied to trees and raped for days by Myanmar’s military and men being pushed into mass graves, doused with petrol and set alight have been sent to the international criminal court.

The evidence has been sent by a coalition of Bangladesh organisations to ICC prosecutors who are pushing to investigate allegations of forced deportation from a country where it has no jurisdiction.

ICC judges met behind closed doors at the Hague this week to begin their discussions and documents seen exclusively by the Guardian will form part of the case for an investigation.

The legal argument for an ICC investigation is being led by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and it is the first time such a case has been considered by the court. While Bangladesh is a member state, which gives the ICC power to investigate crimes committed there, Myanmar is not, and denies any ethic cleansing was carried out against the Rohingya.

Bensouda argues the cross-border nature of the forced deportation of the Rohingya into Bangladesh means it could legally fall within the ICC’s remit.

Myanmar has until 27 July to respond to the allegations and demonstrate that the ICC does not have jurisdiction over the Rohingya case.

The request is unlikely to be welcomed by the Myanmar government. On Wednesday, a social media account run by the office of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi quoted her berating “hate narratives from outside the country” which have fuelled tensions between Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine communities.

More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017 following a campaign of violence carried out by the military, which saw villages razed, women and children raped and abused and tens of thousands killed. The mass killings have been described as both ethnic cleansing and as “having all the hallmarks of genocide” by the UN.

Gang raped, then left for dead

A document submitted to the ICC by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) and its partner Odhikar, seen by the Guardian, included the story of Marwa, 10, whose family was shot dead before she, along with a group of other young girls from her village, were taken to nearby school where they were repeatedly gang raped.

Also in the submission was the account of Khurshida, 20, who described how she was held captive with several other Rohingya women, before being stripped, tied to trees and raped for days. Khurshida eventually lost consciousness and was dumped outside the camp by soldiers who assumed she was dead.

    The ICC must be brave and accept it has jurisdiction.
    Sir Geoffrey Nice, prosecutor

They also document the case of Sakila, 25, who hid as her family were locked inside a house that was set alight by soldiers, and Nur Jahan, 31, was raped violently and repeatedly in front of her seven-year-old daughter.

Other Bangladesh organisations have argued that the sexual and gender-based nature of much of the violence committed against the Rohingya is fundamental to the case and that ICC action should be taken to put the perpetrators on trial.

The ICC has been accused of racism in the past for focusing most of its efforts on African nations, and many believe the court is looking to create more balance by turning its attention to atrocities in Asia.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, who led the prosecution of Serbian president Slobodan Milošević at the Hague, believes the prosecutor’s application will inevitably succeed.

“The ICC must be brave and accept it has jurisdiction and ensure these crimes are properly investigated” he said. “Anything otherwise would be a huge setback for justice and undermine the court’s very authority. This is the only clear route available for the Rohingya. We all have a collective responsibility to ensure the perpetuators are held to account.”

Human rights lawyer Wayne Jordash QC said the decision of the ICC judges would have crucial implications for the Rohingya people, who have no other legal recourse under current circumstances. “Will the court live up to its mandate to put end to impunity for such crimes against humanity?” he said.

* 3225.jpg (31.17 KB, 620x372 - viewed 1 times.)

* Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed ‘hate narratives’ outside the country for the tensions.jpg (20.06 KB, 380x228 - viewed 1 times.)
Pages: 1 ... 291 292 [293] 294 295   Go Up
Jump to: