Everything Else - Global News Tracker
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12-11-2017, 01:10 AM (This post was last modified: 12-11-2017 02:18 AM by Kaneda.)
Video Everything Else - Global News Tracker
I thought the World News sub could use a News Feed, so to speak, to cover a wider breadth of stories. I figure we can keep up with the barrage of global events a little better if we churn out one story per post in here.

The idea is really just to bat out one news story after another. Not too much conversation, just an amalgam of stories that people here think are being overlooked, or that the Media might not be paying enough attention to. If something sticks, it can be brought into its own thread.

For the record, I frequently follow Naked Capitalism, this World News Ticker on Twitter, The Doomstead Diner Forum, and the Current Events Portal on Wikipedia, so you will probably see me post a lot of material from there.


Thank you to anyone who posts to the feed here. With enough volume and variety, this thread could get really interesting.
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12-11-2017, 01:23 AM
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11 trade ministers reach TPP deal without US

11 Nov 2017 at 10:29
[Image: c1_1358691_620x413.jpg]Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang on Friday. (AP photo)

DA NANG, Vietnam: Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries agreed on Saturday to push ahead with a free-trade deal whose destiny was uncertain after US President Donald Trump abandoned it.

The new pact, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has revised the original TPP text so that it can come into force 60 days after at least six signatories complete domestic procedures.

In coming to the agreement, the 11 countries reached a consensus on suspending 20 clauses in the original text if Washington stays out of the pact, including 11 related to intellectual property, a major concern of the United States.

"We have reached an agreement on a number of fundamental parts," Vietnamese Trade Minister Tran Tuan Anh told reporters in Da Nang, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum.

But more work must be done before leaders of the countries involved can endorse the revived TPP, said Anh and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi.

The 11 countries remaining in the trade pact rejected by Trump in January have been working to revise the deal to allow them to proceed without US involvement. That involved a difficult balance between maintaining high standards and pragmatism, Motegi said.

"Through a pragmatic response of the officials involved we could come to an agreement," Motegi said. He said it was clear there would be a need for further changes but that differences had been narrowed down.

"The substance is something all the TPP countries can agree on," said Motegi. "This will send a very strong message to the US and the other countries in the region."

The announcement of a basic agreement was delayed by last-minute discord when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not join other leaders who gathered Friday to endorse an agreement in principle.

Questions swirled over Trudeau’s absence. However, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Trudeau didn’t attend because another meeting ran late. There was "never an intention not to show up", he told reporters.

Despite enthusiasm for sticking with the plan following the US withdrawal, concerns over various issues persist. Detractors of the TPP say it favours corporate interests over labour and other rights. Trudeau said days before arriving in Da Nang that he would not be rushed into signing an agreement that did not suit Canada's interests.

Aspects of the trade pact have also raised hackles over a requirement that companies be allowed to sue governments for lack of enforcement of related laws.

The proposed basic agreement reached in Da Nang said that the ministers maintained "the high standards, overall balance and integrity of the TPP while ensuring the commercial and other interests of all participants and preserving our inherent right to regulate, including the flexibility of the parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities".

The US, the biggest TPP economy, had been one of its most assertive supporters before Trump took office. Trump has said he prefers country-to-country deals and is seeking to renegotiate several major trade agreements to, as he says, "put America first".

Trump reiterated his markedly different stance on trade before the 21-member Apec summit convened late Friday with a gala banquet.

"We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore," he told an Apec business conference. He lambasted the World Trade Organization and other trade forums as unfair to the United States and reiterated his preference for bilateral trade deals, saying "I am always going to put America first".

Trump said he would not enter into large trade agreements, alluding to US involvement in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the TPP.

In contrast, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the same group that nations need to stay committed to economic openness or risk being left behind.

Xi drew loud applause when he urged support for the "multilateral trading regime" and progress toward a free-trade zone in the Asia-Pacific. China is not part of the TPP.

The current TPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The Philippines and Thailand had expressed interest earlier in joining, but that was before the United States pulled out.

As a developing country with a fast-growing export sector, Vietnam has a strong interest in open trade and access for its exports to consumers in the West. It was seen as possibly the biggest winner under the original TPP, taking into account the prospects for greater access to the US market.

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12-11-2017, 01:25 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
The AGE, Melbourne, Australia, 23 October 17:

Funnel web spiders' "beautiful molecules" show promise for treating epilepsy, stroke.

Several new Australian-developed medicines showing promise treating childhood epilepsy, stroke and autoimmune diseases have emerged from an unusual source: the fangs of venomous creatures. Big pharmaceutical companies are excited by results showing these new venom-drugs are often superior to man-made drugs, and they are starting to pour money into research.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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12-11-2017, 11:15 AM (This post was last modified: 12-11-2017 11:27 AM by Kaneda.)
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
ZeroHedge Nov 11, 2017 9:20 PM

Libya: The Forgotten Reason North Korea Desperately Wants Nuclear Weapons

“The latest verbal prodding came from President Trump during his joint press conference with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Trump urged Pyongyang to “come to the negotiating table,” and asserted that it “makes sense for North Korea to do the right thing.” The “right thing” Trump and his predecessors have always maintained, is for North Korea to become nonnuclear.

It is unlikely that the DPRK will ever return to nuclear virginity. Pyongyang has multiple reasons for retaining its nukes. For a country with an economy roughly the size of Paraguay’s, a bizarre political system that has no external appeal, and an increasingly antiquated conventional military force, a nuclear-weapons capability is the sole factor that provides prestige and a seat at the table of international affairs. There is one other crucial reason for the DPRK’s truculence, though. North Korean leaders simply do not trust the United States to honor any agreement that might be reached.

Unfortunately, there are ample reasons for such distrust.

North Korean leaders have witnessed how the United States treats nonnuclear adversaries such as Serbia and Iraq. But it was the U.S.-led intervention in Libya in 2011 that underscored to Pyongyang why achieving and retaining a nuclear-weapons capability might be the only reliable way to prevent a regime-change war directed against the DPRK.

Partially in response to Washington’s war that ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the spring of 2003, ostensibly because of a threat posed by Baghdad’s “weapons of mass destruction,” Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi seemed to capitulate regarding such matters. He signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in December of that year and agreed to abandon his country’s embryonic nuclear program. In exchange, the United States and its allies lifted economic sanctions and pledged that they no longer sought to isolate Libya.

Qaddafi was welcomed back into the international community once he relinquished his nuclear ambitions.

That reconciliation lasted less than a decade. When one of the periodic domestic revolts against Qaddafi’s rule erupted again in 2011, Washington and its NATO partners argued that a humanitarian catastrophe was imminent (despite meager evidence of that scenario), and initiated a military intervention. It soon became apparent that the official justification to protect innocent civilians was a cynical pretext, and that another regime-change war was underway. The Western powers launched devastating air strikes and cruise-missile attacks against Libyan government forces. NATO also armed rebel units and assisted the insurgency in other ways.

Although all previous revolts had fizzled, extensive Western military involvement produced a very different result this time. The insurgents not only overthrew Qaddafi, they captured, tortured and executed him in an especially grisly fashion. Washington’s response was astonishingly flippant. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quipped: “We came, we saw, he died.”

The behavior of Washington and its allies in Libya certainly did not give any incentive to North Korea or other would-be nuclear powers to abandon such ambitions in exchange for U.S. paper promises for normal relations. Indeed, North Korea promptly cited the Libya episode as a reason why it needed a deterrent capability—a point that Pyongyang has reiterated several times in the years since Muammar el-Qaddafi ouster. There is little doubt that the West’s betrayal of Qaddafi has made an agreement with the DPRK to denuclearize even less attainable than it might have been otherwise. Even some U.S. officials concede that the Libya episode convinced North Korean leaders that nuclear weapons were necessary for regime survival.

The foundation for successful diplomacy is a country’s reputation for credibility and reliability. U.S. leaders fret that autocratic regimes—such as those in Iran and North Korea—might well violate agreements they sign. There are legitimate reasons for wariness, although in Iran’s case, the government appears to be complying with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that Tehran signed with the United States and other major powers in 2015—despite allegations from U.S. hawks about violations.

When it comes to problems with credibility, though, U.S. leaders also need to look in the mirror. Washington’s conduct in Libya was a case of brazen duplicity. It is hardly a surprise if North Korea (or other countries) now regard the United States as an untrustworthy negotiating partner. Because of Pyongyang’s other reasons for wanting a nuclear capability, a denuclearization accord was always a long shot. But U.S. actions in Libya reduced prospects to the vanishing point. American leaders have only themselves to blame for that situation."

Authored by Ted Galen Carpenter via The National Interest
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12-11-2017, 03:03 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Iraq begins fight for final IS-held town, Rawa

11 November 2017 | BBC News - Middle East
Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to recapture Rawa, the last town controlled by so-called Islamic State.

“The town, and a few small parcels of land, are all that remains under the militants' control in Iraq, after the larger town of al-Qaim fell last week.
The group's last urban stronghold in Syria, Albu Kamal, fell afterwards.
Retaking Rawa in the offensive, which began on Saturday, would leave the jihadist group on the verge of complete defeat in Iraq.

The group's last urban stronghold in Syria, Albu Kamal, fell afterwards.
Retaking Rawa in the offensive, which began on Saturday, would leave the jihadist group on the verge of complete defeat in Iraq.

The Joint Operations Command said in a statement that two Iraqi infantry divisions and Sunni tribal forces were being supported by "war planes".

Rawa was one of a number of towns on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border which IS had designated part of its "Euphrates Province", which it had used to transfer fighters, weapons and goods between the two countries.

The cross-border province was also a symbol of the jihadists' intention to eradicate all of the region's frontiers and lay to rest the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, an emblem of the colonial division of the area resented by many Arabs and Kurds.
Albu Kamal and al-Qaim also formed part of this self-styled province.

Is this the end for IS?

IS has now been driven out of about 95% of the land the group once held in Iraq and more than 4.4 million Iraqis have been freed from its rule, according to the US-led coalition.

The group has just "months [remaining] at most as a proto-state", the senior Royal Air Force (RAF) officer overseeing British air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria said last week.
But Commodore Johnny Stringer told journalists in London that IS would "almost certainly morph into an insurgent organisation" that would try to launch attacks in the two countries.“
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12-11-2017, 04:21 PM
Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Cold, angry, and surrounded by chicken.

For six months, reporter Saša Uhlová worked in the lowest-paid manual jobs in the Czech Republic, having a go at work ina hospital laundry room, a chicken processing plant, as a cashier in a supermarket, in a razorblade factory, and in a waste-sorting plant. All these jobs are indispensable, yet they are severely underpaid. How do people make ends meet on just a few hundred pounds a month?

Uhlová’s project, entitled The Heroes of Capitalist Labour, exposes the dark side of Czech Republic’s alleged post-communist economic success. In a country with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, wages remain low in comparison to Western neighbours. As Uhlová shows, those who earn minimum wage live on the edge or even below the poverty line and their small earnings get swallowed up by debt repayments. Published on A2larm.cz, the series of texts is also accompanied by the documentary film Limits of Work, which will premiere this October at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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12-11-2017, 08:15 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Nationalist Protesters Disrupt Poland Indepenence Day Events
By Matthew Day, for CNN
Updated 1:28 PM ET, Sun November 12, 2017

Warsaw, Poland (CNN) - Tens of thousands of nationalist protesters disrupted Poland's independence day events Saturday, waving flags and burning flares as they marched down the streets of Warsaw.

Demonstrators carried banners that read "White Europe, Europe must be white," and "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust."
Some wore masks and waved red and white Polish flags, chanting "Death to enemies of the homeland," and "Catholic Poland, not secular."

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration. While the vast majority were Poles, other protesters came from all over Europe.

One of the lead organizations behind the nationalists march is the National Radical Camp, which has previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration,gay rights, the EU and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.

While support for the group remains small, its critics argue that the Polish government, which has struck a nationalistic tone and linked immigrants to crime and disease, has fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia that has emboldened it.

Earlier on Saturday, the Polish capital had seen a far smaller demonstration by groups condemning the protesters' hijacking of Polish independence day, which falls on November 11.

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

But in the past few years, the holiday has been overshadowed by the far-right march and fears of violence.

Polish President Andrzej Duda led the formal celebrations of Polish independence day in central Warsaw. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.
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13-11-2017, 10:30 AM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker

Cora Currier, Danielle Marie Mackey
November 10 2017, 11:08a.m.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT announced Wednesday evening the abrupt cancellation of a program that gave youth fleeing violence in Central America the chance to apply for asylum and join their families in the United States. While the Trump administration had already narrowed the scope of the Obama-era initiative and indicated it would shut it down entirely, the program is being ended with barely a 24-hour notice. Families already in the process of applying had just until midnight last night to get their paperwork filed.

The short window to finish applications “amounts to a cruel willingness to interfere” with the process, said Hans Van de Weerd of the International Rescue Committee in a statement, calling it “sabotage.”

“It’s hard to see how canceling the program directly benefits any U.S. citizen other than the president himself,” said Noah Bullock, director of the Central American human rights organization Cristosal.

The Central American Minors program, or CAM, allowed children, who were fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador and had family members legally in the United States, to apply for asylum from within their home country. Applicants who didn’t meet the criteria for asylum were also eligible to receive a temporary humanitarian parole that granted them permission to stay in the United States for two years.

CAM was part of the Obama administration’s response to the 2014 arrival of tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children on the southern U.S. border. It was created in an attempt to discourage families from sending their children on the perilous journey north along a route on which migrants are often killed, kidnapped, or assaulted. Most of these children were fleeing threats from gangs, organized crime, and state security forces.
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13-11-2017, 02:46 PM
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
Tension mounts in Lebanon as Saudi Arabia escalates power struggle with Iran

Martin Chulov Beirut
Saturday 11 November 2017 11.28 EST in The Guardian

In Beirut’s southern suburbs, where buildings scarred with wars of old blend with posters of the latest dead, talk of another conflict has taken hold. A fight on a scale not seen before may be brewing, say locals like Hussein Khaireddine, a barber who says he and his family in the Shia suburb of Dahiyeh have grown used to tensions over decades.

“This one’s different,” he said. “It could lead to every valley and mountain top. And if it starts, it may not stop.”

The trepidation extends beyond the city’s predominantly Shia suburbs and south Lebanon, which bore the brunt of the 2006 war with Israel, to all corners of a country that has suddenly found itself at the centre of an extraordinary regional crisis. The turmoil had been brewing for years. But it was brought to a head on 3 November, at a lunch in Beirut being hosted by prime minister Saad Hariri. Midway through the meal with the visiting French cultural minister, Françoise Nyssen, Hariri received a call and his demeanour changed. He excused himself and left for the airport, without his aides.

Within hours Hariri, by then in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, had resigned his position, concluding his transition from Lebanese leader to Saudi envoy and Lebanon’s transformation from outpost to ground zero of a stunning regional escalation.

The aftermath of the hurried departure, and the heated week since, has swept across the region, linking apparently disparate events which, in reality, were symptoms of political undercurrents that had been coursing through the Middle East for generations, and which have now burst to the surface.
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13-11-2017, 10:11 PM (This post was last modified: 13-11-2017 11:23 PM by Kaneda.)
RE: Everything Else - Global News Tracker
The Super Wealthy Oxycontin Family Supports School Privatization With Tactics Similar to Those That Fueled the Opioid Epidemic
A fortune derived from the relentless marketing of painkillers is now being used to expand charter schools.

By Sarah Darer Littman / AlterNet
November 13, 2017, 2:21 PM GMT

The notoriously secretive Sackler family, also known as the OxyContin Clan, has been the subject of much scrutiny of late, including lengthy exposés in the New Yorker and Esquire shining a harsh light on the connection between the drug that made the Sacklers wealthy and their philanthropic giving. But there is another troubling beneficiary of Sackler largesse that has escaped public scrutiny: charter schools. OxyContin heir and Purdue Pharma director Jonathan Sackler is a major funder of charters and an extensive network of pro-charter advocacy groups.

Figuring out who is funding the latest charter school-promoting front group often feels like a game of whack-a-mole. That's why reading Patrick Radden Keefe’s recent New Yorker piece, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” made so much fall into place. Keefe writes, “Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies have long funded ostensibly neutral nonprofit groups that advocate for pain patients.”

The same influence techniques Purdue used to promote painkillers are now being used by Jonathan Sackler to expand charter schools.

Promotional power

The late Arthur Sackler, the eldest of three brothers who bought the company in 1952, was posthumously inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, and cited for his achievement in “bringing the full power of advertising and promotion to pharmaceutical marketing.” Yet Allen Frances, former chair of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, quoted in the New Yorker piece, highlighted the darker side of that power: “Most of the questionable practices that propelled the pharmaceutical industry into the scourge it is today can be attributed to Arthur Sackler.” As a copywriter at a medical advertising agency, Arthur Sackler devised strategies to promote drugs like Librium and Valium. Now, some of those same strategies are now being used with the aim of promoting charter schools.
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