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Eugene

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Hometown: Boston, MA
Member since: Wed May 12, 2004, 05:41 PM
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Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

Source: The Guardian

Videos appear to show armed militia detaining migrants at US-Mexico border

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling the actions a ‘kidnapping’ and a flagrant violation of the law

Sam Levin in San Francisco
Fri 19 Apr 2019 00.14 BST Last modified on Fri 19 Apr 2019 01.03 BST

Armed rightwing militia members detained a large group of migrants at the US-Mexico border and coordinated with US border patrol agents to have them arrested, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, in a series of actions the civil liberties organization called a “kidnapping” and a flagrant violation of the law.

Several videos taken at the border in New Mexico this week appeared to show men belonging to a group that calls itself the United Constitutional Patriots approaching migrant families and children, ordering them to sit down, calling federal agents on them, and at one point potentially misrepresenting themselves by saying “border patrol” as they approached.

“The Trump administration’s vile racism has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law,” the ACLU of New Mexico said in a letter to the state’s governor and attorney general, urging them to “immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct”.

The ACLU described the group as “an armed fascist militia organization” made up of “vigilantes” working to “kidnap and detain people seeking asylum” and accused the group of directly making illegal arrests.

The group has repeatedly appeared in local news stories in recent weeks, expressing support for Donald Trump’s proposed border wall and presenting themselves as “volunteers” aiding border patrol efforts.

-snip-


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/18/new-mexico-migrants-armed-militia-detained

Dispute flares among U.S. officials over Trump administration Iran arms control report

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS APRIL 17, 2019 / 8:00 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO

Exclusive: Dispute flares among U.S. officials over Trump administration Iran arms control report

Jonathan Landay, Arshad Mohammed
7 MIN READ

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new Trump administration report on international compliance with arms control accords provoked a dispute with U.S. intelligence agencies and some State Department officials concerned that the document politicizes and slants assessments about Iran, five sources with knowledge of the matter said.

U.S. President Donald Trump is intensifying a drive to contain Iran’s power in the Middle East, which has raised fears that his administration wants to topple the Tehran government or lay the groundwork to justify military action.

The administration says it is trying to halt Iranian “malign behavior” in its support for Islamist militants in the region and denies seeking the overthrow of the Islamic republic’s government.

The clash among U.S. officials emerged on Tuesday when the State Department posted on its website, and then removed, an unclassified version of an annual report to Congress assessing compliance with arms control agreements that the sources saw as skewed Iran.

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Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-arms-armscontrol-exclusive/exclusive-dispute-flares-among-u-s-officials-over-trump-administration-iran-arms-control-report-idUSKCN1RT2R2

Hong Kong pro-democracy 'Occupy' activists defiant after guilty verdicts

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS APRIL 8, 2019 / 9:27 PM / UPDATED 16 MINUTES AGO

Hong Kong pro-democracy 'Occupy' activists defiant after guilty verdicts

James Pomfret, Jessie Pang
5 MIN READ

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong court on Tuesday found nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy “Occupy” movement guilty of public nuisance during the mass protests, in a landmark verdict as freedoms in the city ruled by mainland China come under strain.

Scores of supporters applauded the defendants, who included a law professor, two legislators and former student activists, after a trial that critics said highlighted the decline of political freedoms in the former British colony.

Law professor Benny Tai, 54, retired sociologist Chan Kin-man, 60, and retired pastor Chu Yiu-ming, 75 were found guilty of conspiracy to commit public nuisance over their leading role in planning and mobilizing supporters during the 79-day protest.

The trio had pleaded not guilty to all charges, which carry a maximum jail term of seven years each. The judge did not immediately hand down sentences, and the defendants have not said if they planned to appeal.

-snip-


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-politics/hong-kong-pro-democracy-occupy-activists-defiant-after-guilty-verdicts-idUSKCN1RL04V

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Source: BBC

Hong Kong 'Umbrella' protesters found guilty of public nuisance

9 April 2019

Nine pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have been found guilty of public nuisance charges for their role in a civil disobedience movement that called for free elections in the city.

Among them are three prominent activists, seen as figureheads of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

They could be jailed for up to seven years for their part in the "Umbrella Movement" protests of 2014.

Thousands marched demanding the right for Hong Kong to choose its own leader.

Those convicted include the so-called "Occupy trio" - sociology professor Chan Kin-man, 60, law professor Benny Tai, 54, and Baptist minister Chu Yiu-ming, 75.

-snip-


Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-47863061

Suspected rhino poacher killed by elephant, eaten by lions in South Africa: authorities

Source: Global News

Suspected rhino poacher killed by elephant, eaten by lions in South Africa: authorities

By Rahul Kalvapalle
National Online Journalist Global News

South African authorities say they have recovered the remains of a suspected rhinoceros poacher who was believed to have been killed by an elephant before his body was devoured by lions.

The victim’s family say they were informed of his death by fellow members of a poaching gang that entered Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa on Tuesday, South African National Parks said in a release.

South African authorities say they have recovered the remains of a suspected rhinoceros poacher who was believed to have been killed by an elephant before his body was devoured by lions.

The victim’s family say they were informed of his death by fellow members of a poaching gang that entered Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa on Tuesday, South African National Parks said in a release.

-snip-

Read more: https://globalnews.ca/news/5137424/rhino-poacher-killed-by-elephant-kruger/

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Related: Media Release: Kruger National Park rangers help family closure by recovering remains of a suspected poacher killed by an Elephant (South African National Parks)

Trump is spouting nonsense at a greater rate

Source: CNN

Trump is spouting nonsense at a greater rate

By Michael D'Antonio
Updated 1906 GMT (0306 HKT) April 5, 2019

(CNN) — It's not just that President Donald Trump has been spouting nonsense at a greater rate, although he is. What's new is that his false statements are becoming more bizarre. He said this week, for example, that his Bronx-native father was born in Germany. And they are accompanied by other displays of apparent cognitive distress. Among the glaring examples:

•Last month, the President of the United States looked at Apple executive Tim Cook, one of the most important business leaders in the world, and called him Tim Apple.
•A few days earlier at a conservative conference where he literally hugged a flag, Trump ditched his script and rambled for two mostly incoherent hours. He mixed mockery, profanity and grandiosity in a style more suited to a barstool than a podium decorated with the presidential seal.
•In an Oval Office encounter with reporters this week, he repeatedly used the word "oranges" instead of "origins" to demand an investigation into the beginnings of the independent counsel's probe of Russian influence in the 2016 election.
•Bizarrely, he told a GOP fundraiser audience that "they say" the sound created by energy-producing windmills "causes cancer."

In any family, a 72-year-old man who spoke this way would be the subject of urgent discussions. Trump's trouble accessing words, summoning long-term memories, and naming a famous man in front of him could indicate mental deterioration. Add the crazy talk about windmills and cancer, coming from the leader of the free world, and you get a situation that ought to alarm everyone.

This situation is complicated by Trump's long and deep record of lying to suit his purpose. For decades, he made excessive claims about his wealth and abilities and the ratings for his reality TV show. Fantastic claims became his self-serving stock in trade. As a politician, Trump transferred this deceptive method into the political landscape -- call it his lie-scape -- and picked up the pace of the falsehoods.

-snip-

Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/05/opinions/trump-is-spouting-nonsense-at-a-greater-rate-dantonio/index.html

Ben Carson questioned on HUD's lack of LGBTQ nondiscrimination guidance

Source: NBC News

Ben Carson questioned on HUD's lack of LGBTQ nondiscrimination guidance

“We are all now more stupid than we were when we came in the room today,” Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said after a heated exchange with the HUD secretary.

April 4, 2019, 12:09 PM EDT
By Eileen Street

WASHINGTON — Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in a hearing Wednesday that a Democratic congressman “might not like” and “probably wouldn’t agree with” the department’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination guidance, if the agency were to provide it.

During the House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., said he was “very disappointed” with HUD's decision not to replace the LGBTQ nondiscrimination guidance that the department removed from its website soon after Carson was appointed by President Donald Trump over two years ago. The guidance, provided in 2009 by the Obama administration, was intended to help HUD housing providers and shelters interpret the agency’s rules so as not to discriminate against LGBTQ service recipients.

“So, how will these grantees comply with the regs without this guidance, sir?” Quigley asked Carson.

Carson responded that the guidance “was pretty much obliterated” by rules HUD issued in 2012 and 2016. The secretary added that HUD “concluded that putting that sub-regulatory guidance" regarding anti-LGBTQ discrimination "actually confused the issue." He said his agency — which is responsible for national policy and programs that address America’s housing needs and enforces fair housing laws — was trying to “simplify things” and said the rules still stand and have not been changed.

Quigley, who serves as vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, pressed on, saying “HUD grantees need guidance to avoid the discrimination and to make clear to them what the rules are.” Quigley also stated that HUD missed a deadline “by almost six months” to review the guidance in question that the agency took down in 2017. Carson responded by saying the agreement had been that the guidelines would be reviewed, not that they would be put back up on HUD's website.

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Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/ben-carson-questioned-hud-s-lack-lgbtq-nondiscrimination-guidance-n990821

Tempers fray in Mexico as new controls frustrate U.S.-bound migrant caravan

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS APRIL 3, 2019 / 6:47 PM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO

Tempers fray in Mexico as new controls frustrate U.S.-bound migrant caravan

Jose Cortez
4 MIN READ

MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) - Tempers frayed among hundreds of mostly Central American migrants gathered on Wednesday in southern Mexico, delayed as Mexican officials sought to slow down the U.S.-bound flow that President Donald Trump is determined to turn back.

Since last week Trump has repeatedly threatened to close down the U.S.-Mexico border if Mexican officials do not do more to thwart the migrants, potentially harming tens of billions of dollars in trade, but has also praised Mexican efforts following his outbursts.

The Mexican government has vehemently denied changing policy in response to threats, but has appeared to slam the brakes on its practice of awarding so-called humanitarian visas that allow migrants from other countries to pass freely within its borders.

Without such papers, they are vulnerable to harassment and deportation from officials.

As many as 1,500 men, women and children traveling in a large group or caravan from Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba were gathered in the town of Mapastepec in Chiapas state, unable to obtain the temporary visas.

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Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-mexico-caravan/tempers-fray-in-mexico-as-new-controls-frustrate-u-s-bound-migrant-caravan-idUSKCN1RF2U1

Nuclear regulators were unaware of transfer of sensitive technical information to Saudi Arabia

Source: Washington Post

Nuclear regulators were unaware of transfer of sensitive technical information to Saudi Arabia

By Steven Mufson April 2 at 7:54 PM

When the Trump administration on seven occasions authorized companies to share sensitive nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia, it was supposed to consult with several agencies, including the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But NRC Chairman Kristine L. Svinicki testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday that she did not know whether the agency had been consulted, and if so whether it had raised any concerns.

At one point Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked four questions in a row about the agency’s participation, pausing after each one, and Svinicki and her four fellow commissioners remained silent.

“I know you don’t have sign-off authority, but none of you at this table know whether the NRC raised any concerns about entering in these 810 authorizations?” he asked.

“I do not,” Svinicki replied.

-snip-

The exchange between Van Hollen and Svinicki illustrates growing concern in Congress over the Energy Department’s authorization of Part 810 information — nonclassified but sensitive details about nuclear energy reactors U.S. companies are trying to sell to Saudi Arabia.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nuclear-regulators-were-unaware-of-transfer-of-sensitive-technical-information-to-saudi-arabia/2019/04/02/2bf7e9ee-5587-11e9-9136-f8e636f1f6df_story.html

The Islamic State's refugees are facing a humanitarian calamity

Source: Washington Post

The Islamic State’s refugees are facing a humanitarian calamity

By Erin Cunningham and Kamiran Sadoun April 2 at 6:45 PM

AL-HOL, Syria — A humanitarian crisis is erupting in northeastern Syria as tens of thousands of people who fled intense fighting in last month’s decisive battle against the Islamic State are flooding into a desperately overcrowded tent camp atop a rocky hill here.

More than 73,000 people, mostly women and children, are now packed into the sprawling al-Hol camp, under the control of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. The camp, which opened in 1991 to host Iraqi refugees from the Persian Gulf War, was originally designed to hold barely half that number.

Amid a sea of white tents, thousands sleep in communal spaces, and children defecate outside. The war wounded are often left untreated. Thousands more are malnourished. There are just three mobile clinics at the camp, and local hospitals are swollen with patients critically wounded in the war. Those with non-life-threatening injuries often are given painkillers or antibiotics and sent on their way.

Last week, 31 people died on the way to the camp or shortly after arriving because of traumatic injuries and malnutrition, according to the International Rescue Committee, bringing the total number of such deaths to 217.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-islamic-states-refugees-are-facing-a-humanitarian-calamity/2019/04/02/e5e1ca42-54aa-11e9-aa83-504f086bf5d6_story.html

Saudi women activists back in court as West watches

Source: Reuters

WORLD NEWS APRIL 3, 2019 / 5:07 AM / UPDATED 7 HOURS AGO

Saudi women activists back in court as West watches

Stephen Kalin
3 MIN READ

RIYADH (Reuters) - Nearly a dozen prominent Saudi women activists returned to court on Wednesday to face charges related to human rights work and contacts with foreign journalists and diplomats, in a case that has intensified Western criticism of a major Mideast ally.

Three of the women - blogger Eman al-Nafjan, academic Aziza al-Yousef and conservative preacher Ruqayya al-Mohareb - were temporarily released last week on condition they attend future sessions.

They were seen entering the courthouse on Wednesday.

Riyadh’s criminal court had been expected to rule on requests for temporary releases for the others, but sources familiar with the proceedings said no decision was announced.

Instead, the public prosecutor replied to the women’s defences, the people said without providing details. Few of the charges have been made public in the highly scrutinised case.

-snip-


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-arrests/saudi-women-activists-back-in-court-temporary-release-ruling-expected-idUSKCN1RF0W6
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