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Mon, 28 Nov 2022
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Yemen passes emergency laws to quell protests

MPs back president's move to suspend constitution, ban street protests and give security agencies greater powers of arrest
Yemeni MPs vote
© Mohammad Huwais/AFP/Getty Images
Yemeni MPs raise their hands as they vote in favour of a state of emergency declared by the president.

Yemen's parliament has approved a sweeping set of emergency laws giving broader powers of arrest and censorship to the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, despite growing calls from opponents demanding he quit to make way for a military-backed democratic transition.

The emergency law, last evoked during Yemen's 1994 civil war, suspends the constitution, allows for greater media censorship, bans street protests and gives security agencies arbitrary powers to arrest and detain suspects without judicial process.

The approval of the emergency laws came as talks between oil giant Saudi Arabia and Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a top Yemeni commander who abandoned the president on Monday, failed to yield a clear transition of power.

Gear

Stalinizing in the US: Maine Governor Orders Mural Depicting Labor History Removed From Labor Department

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© Lepage 2010
Governor Paul LePage
It's Diego Rivera Redux in Maine, as Governor Paul LePage is taking down a mural in the state Department of Labor building depicting the history of the labor movement and changing the names of conference rooms that he deems too pro-labor.

The 11-panel installation depicted such figures as Rosie the Riveter and FDR-era Labor Secretary Frances Perkins as well as events like a 1937 shoe mill strike and 1986 paper mill workers' strike. Several rooms are named after historic labor figures including Perkins and Cesar Chavez.

A spokesman for LePage told the Lewiston Sun Journal that business had complained about the piece and "The message from state agencies needs to be balanced." He added that the rooms could instead be named "after mountains, counties or something."

Progressive and labor groups are upset about the change and the artist who painted it, Judy Taylor, told the paper that the mural's message was already fair.

Monkey Wrench

Cracks Widen in Biotech Industry Myths

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© Current.com
Governments are being forced to protect farmers and citizens from genetically modified crops (GM crops) to combat biotech corporations' stranglehold over farmers, and health scares from escalating pesticide use, according to a new report by Friends of the Earth International. [1]

On the eve of the release of industry-sponsored figures on the adoption of GM crops globally, the research highlights how even pro-GM governments in South America and the United States have been forced to take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of GM crops on farmers, citizens and the environment. [2]

Read the report here.

Heart - Black

Koch And Native-American Reservation Oil Theft

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© New Yorker
David H. Koch in 1996. He and his brother Charles are lifelong libertarians and have quietly given more than a hundred million dollars to right-wing causes.

Just what is this Koch Industries? Should it be called a "company?" If so we need to re-think the idea of what a company and a business is supposed to be. Even the brother of Koch Industries owners David and Charles Koch called the company an "organized crime" operation.

Koch money is a key driver of the conservative movement. Almost every [1] conservative-movement rock [2] you turn over [3] has Koch money [4] crawling around [5] under it. As the movement becomes more and more of a pay-to-play operation, conservatives of every stripe do more and more to protect and enrich the Koch operation. This has included blocking, disrupting and avoiding official investigations of accusations. It also includes funding front groups to advance the political and financial interests of the company and its owners.

Ambulance

Explosion at Jerusalem bus stop kills 1, wounds 25

Jerusalem - A bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop Wednesday in central Jerusalem, killing one woman and wounding at least 25 in what appeared to be the first militant attack in the city in several years.

The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of two crowded buses. There was no claim of responsibility, but Israeli police blamed Palestinian militants, calling the bombing a "terrorist" attack.

A woman died of wounds from the explosion, Israel Radio reported. Israel's national rescue service said 25 people were wounded, including 15 seriously and several critically. Rescuers were seen removing bloodied people from the area on stretchers.

Yitzhak Aharonovich, Israel's minister of public security, said militants planted a 2-pound device in a bag on the sidewalk. An Israeli Embassy official in Washington told NBC News that it appeared the bomb was placed in a phone booth next to the bus stop. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also believed it to be a terrorist attack.


Comment:

And the cycle continues.


Attention

Cuba's Castro: I Quit as Party Chief 5 years Ago

Fidel Castro
© The Associated Press/Javier Galeano
In this Sept. 28, 2010, file photo, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro delivers a speech during the 50th anniversary of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, CDR, in Havana, Cuba. Castro said Tuesday, March 22, 2011, he resigned five years ago from all his official positions, including head of Cuba's Communist Party, a position he was thought to still hold.
Fidel Castro's surprise announcement that he stepped down as head of the Communist Party five years ago - despite widespread belief he remained in charge - marks the bizarre end of an era for a nation, and a man, whose fates have been intertwined for more than half a century.

The 84-year-old revolutionary icon made the revelation Tuesday - with word of the resignation thrown in as an aside halfway through an opinion piece that otherwise focused on President Barack Obama.

The declaration raises fundamental questions about just how much power Fidel has been wielding behind the scenes since his 2006 illness, and to what extent his 79-year-old brother has had freedom to make his own decisions as he pushed the country to enact sweeping economic reforms.

It also gives the Castros an opportunity to tap a possible future successor with their naming of a new party No. 2 - one without their famous last name.

They might select from a cadre of younger leaders who could carry the fiscal changes forward, and perhaps even reboot relations with the United States. Alternatively, the brothers could look to the past by promoting a loyal-but-weathered veteran of the revolution that brought them to power in 1959.

The answer will likely become apparent through a high-level game of musical chairs that Fidel's departure will engender in the upper reaches of the Communist Party hierarchy during a crucial Communist Party Congress next month.

Heart - Black

For the sins of his father: Gaddafi's son 'killed in kamikaze pilot attack on barracks'

Khamis Gaddafi
© unknown
Khamis Gaddafi: Libyan officials have denied that the 27-year-old has been killed by a kamikaze Libyan pilot at a barracks
  • Claims sixth son Khamis, leader of crack loyalist unit, died of burn wounds
  • Gaddafi's whereabouts remain unknown after attack on his compound
  • Dictator promises coalition forces a 'long war'
  • Rebels say Gaddafi's men have been using civilians as human shields
  • RAF Tornado turned back when it was realised residents were in danger
  • President Obama: Gaddafi is murdering his own people and must step down
  • William Hague refuses to say if Gaddafi was a target of aerial bombardments
  • US Defence Secretary Robert Gates says getting rid of Gaddafi is 'unwise'
  • UN Secretary-General clarifies support for air attacks but not ground troops
  • Cameron tells Commons air strikes stopped assault on Benghazi
Colonel Gaddafi suffered a massive personal setback today when one of his sons was allegedly killed in a suicide air mission on his barracks.

Khamis, 27, who runs the feared Khamis Brigade that has been prominent in its role of attacking rebel-held areas, is said to have died on Saturday night.

A Libyan air force pilot crashed his jet into the Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli in a kamikaze attack, Algerian TV reported following an unsubstantiated claim by an anti-Gaddafi media organisation.

Khamis is alleged to have died of burns in hospital. The regime denied the reports.

It was claimed he died in the same compound hit by RAF cruise missiles hit by coalition forces last night.

Loyalists have been photographed with shrapnel from the missile that struck the building and throughout the day there has been no information on Gaddafi's whereabouts.

Libyan state TV has claimed that 64 people were killed in the weekend attacks, causing friction between the west and the Arab world but the Ministry of Defence said it wasn't aware of civilian casualties.

But it exposed fractures between the U.S. and British positions, with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates saying getting rid of Gaddafi would be unwise while the UK refuses to rule out any course of action.

Bomb

Opposition to Libya Assault Grows as Allies Battle to Protect United Front

Libyan rebel
© AFP/Getty
A Libyan rebel stands over Gaddafi forces' vehicles which were destroyed by French air strikes
Serious fractures emerged in the international community yesterday over the military intervention in Libya, with some nations asking such basic questions as what the end-game is and how long it will take.

Just days after forsaking its chance to veto the United Nations resolution that authorised the air strikes, Russia offered the most jarring commentary, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin saying: "The resolution is flawed. It allows everything and is reminiscent of a medieval call for a crusade. In fact, it allows intervention in a sovereign state."

Germany, which like Russia abstained at last week's UN Security Council meeting, also repeated its misgivings about the operation. And via a state newspaper, the Chinese government condemned what it called "armed action against a sovereign country" and expressed its regret that "the West will not give up their jurisdiction over justice and injustice".

Even Britain, France and the US, which together have conducted the raids aimed at destroying much of Libya's air-defence capability and neutralising Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's military advantages, manoeuvred to manage diplomatic and domestic political fall-out from the still nascent operation.

Rising quickly to the top of a long list of concerns was the chance that, with most of the heavy bombardment over, the coalition may find itself drifting into a prolonged stalemate in Libya with no real change in the balance between the rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces. Asked when operations would be over, a senior French military adviser replied that it might be "a while".

Vader

Obama: 'President Does Not Have Power Under Constitution to Unilaterally Authorize a Military Attack'

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© Foreign Policy
As a presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) emphatically stated that the Constitution does not give the president the authority to unilaterally authorize a military attack unless it is needed to stop an actual or imminent attack on the United States.

Obama made the assertion in a Dec. 20, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe when reporter Charlie Savage asked him under what circumstances the president would have the constitutional authority to bomb Iran without first seeking authorization from Congress.

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," Obama responded.

USA

Obama: Drill, Brazil, Drill!

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© unknown
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff are mobbed by primary school children as they arrive for a meeting at Planalto Palace in Brasilia March 19, 2011. Obama is on the first leg of a three-country tour of Latin America.
Energy Policy: While leaving U.S. oil and jobs in the ground, our itinerant president tells a South American neighbor that we'll help it develop its offshore resources so we can one day import its oil. WHAT?!?

With Japan staggered by a natural disaster and a nuclear crisis, cruise missiles launched against Libya in our third Middle East conflict and a majority of U.S. senators complaining about a lack of leadership on the budget, President Obama decided it would be a good time to schmooze with Brazilians.

His "What, me worry?" presidency has given both Americans and our allies plenty to worry about. But in the process of making nice with Brazil, Obama made a mind-boggling announcement that should make even his most loyal supporter cringe:

We will help Brazil develop its offshore oil so we can one day import it.

We have noted this double standard before, particularly when - at a time when the president was railing against tax incentives for U.S. oil companies - we supported the U.S. Export-Import Bank's plan to lend $2 billion to Brazil's state-run Petrobras with the promise of more to follow.

Now, with a seven-year offshore drilling ban in effect off of both coasts, on Alaska's continental shelf and in much of the Gulf of Mexico - and a de facto moratorium covering the rest - Obama tells the Brazilians:

"We want to help you with the technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely. And when you're ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers."