Another journalist´s death in Mexico

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The recent attacks on journalists in Mexico, have taken Juan Carlos Hernandez Rios life, who was a contributor to La Bandera Noticias and who has been shot dead after he left his home in the state of Guanajuato.

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer has quit

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Anthony Scaramucci is the new head of Comunications at the White House

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned in protest at an organisational shake-up.

Apparently, Mr Spicer disagreed with President Donald Trump’s appointment of a new communications director.

Instead, the Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci has been the mediator in this context.

Mr Spicer’s press briefings were very brief and he withdrew from camera in recent weeks. This happens when the White House faces a difficult situation concerning the apparent Russian meddling in last year’s US presidential election and with Mr Trump’s campaign team conspiracy with Moscow.

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The Association of Cuban Residents in Venezuela denounces desecration of monument to José Martí

 

José Martí statue in Caracas
Located in Chacaito, in a pedestrian area from which it begins José Martí Avenue

Yesterday, the Association of Cuban Residents in Venezuela (Accreven) denounced the outrage against the statues of José y Martí and Luis Brión by opposition violent groups in Caracas.

Both statues were covered with hoods, such as those used by violent elements that generate chaos and disorder for more than 50 days.

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Is Trump leaking classified information?

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In the past few days U.S president Donald J. Trump has faced many accusations since his official meeting with Russian minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, last week in the Oval Office, out of view of the US media.  

After Trump´s criticism of the press and the limitations to the reporters role on the White House, there is a jumble in the journalistic guild and Trump-Lavrov reunion is the principal menu on international media.

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The assassination of the Mexican journalist Javier Valdez

Another journalist was murdered in Mexico Monday, marking the sixth assassination of a reporter so far this year in one of the deadliest countries in the world for media workers.

Javier Valdez, a correspondent covering the drug-related violence and crime beat in the state of Sinaloa for Mexico’s largest daily newspaper, La Jornada, was shot dead around midday in Sinaloa’s capital of Culiacan, home base for the notorious Sinaloa cartel previously run by jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Valdez had released a new book just last year titled, “Narco Journalism.” The reporter was shot in the street, the Red Cross reported, where his body was left after the fatal shooting. Continue reading “The assassination of the Mexican journalist Javier Valdez”

Temer: Coup Government to Make Drastic Cuts to Housing Program

temer-1The coup-imposed government of interim President Michel Temer announced it will make drastic cuts to one of the country’s flagship social programs that provides low-cost housing to Brazilians, O Globo newspaper reported Saturday.

The cuts are set to mostly impact Brazil’s poorest.

The housing program, together with the Bolsa Familia subsidy for low-income people, is crediting with lifting millions out of poverty and are considered the flagship social programs of the leftist Workers’ Party governments led by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

The program provides a subsidy to people depending on their level of income, with the lowest earners receiving housing virtually free-of-cost.

The cuts will affect these lowest earners the most. People in the second-lowest earning bracket will also face deep cuts.

The government will only honor existing contracts for social housing developments already underway.

The democratically elected government of suspended President Dilma Rousseff had made a commitment in February to build 2 million new units of social housing.

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In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers

Two of the five suspects arrested in connection with Berta Caceres’ murder are linked to DESA, the company behind the dam project she fought to stop.

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Washington’s complicity in human rights abuses and repression of social movements in Honduras has come to the fore once again as an investigation published in Counterpunch revealed that the private Honduran energy company that murdered Indigenous activist Berta Caceres long resisted has signed a funding deal with a USAID partner just months before her high-profile assassination.

 The company behind the controversial Agua Zarca hydroelectric project on Lenca land, Desarrollos Energeticos S.A., better known as DESA, signed a contract with USAID partner Fintrac in December 2015, less than three months before Caceres was murdered in her home on March 3.

According to Central America-based freelance journalist Gloria Jimenez, the funds were destined for a USAID agricultural assistance program in Western Honduras.

But Caceres’ Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Movements of Honduras, or COPINH, which has long fought against DESA’s Agua Zarca dam for its threats to the sacred Gualcarque River and lack of consent from local communities, has argued that despite the corporation’s promises, DESA takes much more than it gives back.

The Fintrac-DESA agreement was signed by Sergio Rodriguez, a DESA employee and suspect arrested in connection with Caceres’ murder along with four others.

In a statement released after the arrests, DESA confirmed that Rodriguez worked for the company as the manager of its social and environmental issues division. DESA did not confirm any relation to suspect Douglas Bustillo, who elsewhere has been identified as the firm’s head of security.

In a recent email to teleSUR, DESA declined an interview, saying it cannot comment on cases under investigation in Honduran courts. Continue reading “In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers”

Not Famous Enough? Navajo Nation Loses Urban Outfitters Case

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The Navajo Nation lost two counts in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Urban Outfitters because the tribe’s trademark is not “famous” enough, the court siding with the fashion giant’s argument that “Navajo” is a generic term for a style or design.

The Indigenous tribe—the largest in the United States—had to prove that the term “Navajo” is “widely recognized by the general consuming public of the United States” to move forward with the trademark dilution case, which few courts have been able to prove, said New Mexico’s District Judge Bruce Black on Friday.

The nation, which filed the lawsuit in 2011, is demanding either all profits generated from the retailer’s “Navajo” clothing and accessory line or US$1,000 per day per item. After a cease and desist letter, the chain pulled the Navajo name from its stores, but not from those of its subsidiaries or its catalogues.

Six other counts are pending against Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries, Anthropologie and Free People, including trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising. The acts that they cite, like the Indian Arts and Crafts Act that prohibits the sale of products that appear to be made by the tribe, could result in civil penalties or millions of dollars in fines.

The retailer lost a defense last month claiming that the Navajo had waited too long to file its lawsuit, since the Navajo line came out in 2001.

The Navajo Nation has ten registered trademarks on various products, according to The Fashion Law.

The largest tribe in the United States could not prove it was “famous” enough to win a trademark case against the hipster fashion giant.

 

Temer Orders Military to Surround Residence of Dilma Rousseff

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Senate-imposed Interim President Michel Temer has deployed military troops to cordon off the area surrounding the Palácio da Alvorada, residence of the suspended President Dilma Rousseff,  Brazilian Senate Vice President Jorge Vianna said on Thursday.

Vianna said there’s a checkpoint at the Palácio do Jaburu, where Temer currently resides, and which is very close to Rousseff’ residence in the capital of Brasilia.

“Anyone visiting President Dilma has to go through a checkpoint installed at Jaburu, with several heavily armed military (personnel)… I just made a visit to President Dilma. I was with the president of the National Congress. And we had to identify ourselves and wait a long time before getting the access,” Vianna said.

“This means that the elected president is under siege? What country is this? What provisional government is this?” the senator added.

Temer assumed the post of interim president last week following the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff, who is now facing a Senate impeachment trial.

Rousseff, along with millions of others across the country, regards the move as a coup waged by the right-wing opposition.

Despite formerly chairing the oil giant Petrobras — from which several former and current officials are linked to the corruption scandal dubbed “car wash” —  Rousseff has not been formally tied to the scandal and there are no formal charges against the socialist leader.

Freddie Gray and US judges

A Maryland state judge on Monday exonerated Baltimore police officer Edward Nero of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and one count of misconduct in office for the 2015 death of unarmed Black detainee Freddie Gray.

Judge Barry Williams, who heard the case in a bench trial, handed down the verdicts in Baltimore City Circuit Court. He was still reading the decision on the second misconduct charge against Nero.

Nero was the first of six officers to stand trial on charges after Gray, 25, suffered a fatal neck injury while being transported in a police van on April 12, 2015, and died a week later.

Nero’s attorneys had argued that Nero was not the one who made the arrest of Gray and asserted that it was the responsibility of the driver of the police van to properly secure Gray in the vehicle.

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