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    CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities on Thursday released a prominent political activist serving a four-year-sentence on terror charges that rights advocate have deemed baseless. Hossam Monis’ freeing came on the heels of the release of several high-profile detainees, days before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is typically a time of amnesty. It followed a pardon by President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday. Following the news, images of Monis hugging friends and family outside the prison walls flooded social media. Prominent film director Khaled Youssef posted a photograph of himself and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi with Monis as soon as he walked free. Opposition leader Khaled Dawoud wrote on his Facebook page that Monis got into a car with his mother and headed home after his release. Monis was arrested in June 2019, along with seven other people, including Zyad el-Elaimy, a former lawmaker, and key secular activists in the country’s 2011 uprising. Their arrests came shortly after they had met with political parties and opposition lawmakers to try and hash out...
    CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Sunday released more than 40 prisoners, a week before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that is typically a time of amnesty, a political party and state-run media said. Other political activists and family members confirmed the release of several high-profile detainees. The Reform and Development Party said those released had been political prisoners being held in pre-trial detention. The English edition of state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported a total of 41 prisoners were released. The government’s human rights body said in a statement that there had been a release of individuals held in pre-trial detention, without offering any details. The decision on Sunday comes a week before the Eid holiday that marks the end of the month-long Ramadan fast. It is typically a time when prisoners are released on presidential pardons. Thousands of political prisoners however are estimated to remain inside Egypt’s jails, many without trial. Among the released was political activist Waleed Shawky, his wife Heba Anees said in a post on social media. She posted a picture of the...
    Not quite as bad as it looks, but we can make it better. You don’t have to go looking for articles or videos about the emotional and mental fatigue engendered by the 2020s. Anyone who doesn’t have a friend or family member afflicted by one or both is rare. Count yourself lucky if you don’t have some symptoms yourself. COVID-19 may not yet be endemic, but 10 kinds of misery from two years of facing the pandemic and all its societal collateral damage certainly is.  More than 6 million deaths worldwide, a million of them here in the U.S., have filled our capacity for grief to overflowing. The coronavirus stopped being “novel” a long time ago. It’s upended life as we know it. Forever. Our livelihoods, our educations, where we work and for whom, even our family interactions are all undergoing permanent changes with outcomes that are profoundly unclear. The impacts of the virus exposed in higher resolution than usual the many inequities about the way and for whom things are run, and about how people are treated. Addressing those inequities is tough, often very emotionally draining work. In a nation in crisis that ought to...
    OSLO, Norway (AP) — Western diplomats are meeting with Afghan women’s rights activists and human rights defenders in Oslo ahead of the first official talks with the Taliban in Europe since they took over control of Afghanistan in August. The closed-door meeting was a chance to hear from civil society in Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora about their demands and assessment of the current situation on the ground. The meeting was taking place at a hotel in the snow-capped mountains above the Norwegian capital and was attended by representatives of the EU, the U.S., Britain, France, Italy and hosts Norway. The three-day talks opened on Sunday with direct meetings between the Taliban and civil society representatives. A joint statement tweeted overnight by Zabihullah Mujahid, the Afghan deputy culture and information minister, following the talks reads that “participants of the meeting recognized that understanding and joint cooperation are the only solutions to all the problems of Afghanistan,” and emphasized that “all Afghans need to work together for better political, economic and security outcomes in the country.” Later on Monday,...
    (CNN)Nicole Love Hendrickson made Georgia history last year, becoming the first Black woman elected chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.But under a bill that a Republican legislator has pledged to advance in the Georgia General Assembly early next year, Hendrickson would be stripped of most of her voting powers and the board reconfigured after Democrats of color occupied all five seats this year in a county that had once been a Republican stronghold."The optics are just very obvious," Hendrickson told CNN. "It's a perception that there's a loss of control for Republicans, and we have people of color who are assuming leadership roles and now you are trying to take that power away."The expected legislative battle over the future of Gwinnett's county board is just one of the fights flaring up at the local level as officials redraw electoral maps and work at cementing political power, following the 2020 Census. Voting rights activists are sounding alarms about what they say is a broad effort to dilute the voting strength of people of color and sideline the Black elected...
    Let’s dig right in! Paul Krugman of The New York Times says that Republicans are “actively working to make the country ungovernable.” To some extent it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage. Sure enough, Republicans who fought all efforts to contain the coronavirus are now attacking the Biden administration for failing to end the pandemic. But trying to shut down the government to block vaccinations seems like overreach, even for hardened cynics. It’s notable that Mitch McConnell, whom nobody could accuse of being a do-gooder, isn’t part of the anti-vaccine caucus. What seems to be happening instead goes beyond cold calculation. As I’ve pointed out in the past, Republican politicians now act like apparatchiks in an authoritarian regime, competing to take ever more extreme positions as a way to demonstrate their loyalty to the cause — and to The Leader. Catering to anti-vaccine hysteria, doing all they can to keep the pandemic going, has...
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian appeals court on Friday ordered the early release of five activists, including a prominent labor leader who has been a longtime critic of the government. The Phnom Penh Court of Appeals said it had ordered the release later in the day of Rong Chhun and four others, but gave no immediate details about its decision. Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, has been in custody since July 2020 after the government claimed he spread false information about Cambodia’s border with Vietnam — a sensitive issue with political significance in the country. He was convicted in August and sentenced to two years in prison for inciting social unrest. His attorney, Sam Sokong, said the court cut short that sentence to 15 months and 11 days, including time served. Also ordered released were two co-defendants, Ton Nimol and Sar Kanika, who were found guilty of incitement to commit a felony. They were each arrested in August 2020 while demonstrating for the release of Rong Chhun, and each was sentenced to...
    For immigrants who fled to the United States to escape the political turmoil they left behind in their native countries, the violence and unrest of 2020 was truly unsettling — including the violence that rocked Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, when teenage vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse used an AR-15-style weapon to shoot three protesters (two of them fatally). Rittenhouse, now on trial for homicide and attempted homicide and insisting he acted in self-defense, has been exalted as a hero by extremists on the far right. And liberal MSNBC host Chris Hayes, during a biting commentary on November 10, laid out some reasons why this far-right support for Rittenhouse is so disturbing. Hayes said of Rittenhouse, who was 17 in August 2020 and is now 18, "He heard warnings about the boogeymen of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, and he took this illegally acquired assault weapon…. and he throws himself in the fray in Kenosha. And he kills two people." With an image of Fox News' Tucker Carlson, a Rittenhouse defender, appearing on the screen, Hayes added, "The boy who killed people...
    Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, told "The Brian Kilmeade Show" that the Biden administration’s response to the border crisis has been too reliant on advice from "activists and political appointees" instead of the men and women patrolling the border. Cuellar urged the administration to listen to the concerns of Texas border residents, law enforcement and career officials at the Department of Homeland Security.   BIDEN ADMINISTRATION DEBATES PAYING 'HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS' TO FAMILIES SEPARATED AT THE BORDER HENRY CUELLAR: The bottom line is I supported Joe Biden for president. He was the most centrist candidate running but the problem, in my opinion, is that he has surrounded himself, at least on the immigration issue, with people that have backgrounds in – I would call them immigration activists -- and they're giving their perspective and the problem is that's only one perspective. What about the perspective of the border communities?  What about the landowners? I got a call from this landowner two days ago. He was so frustrated. He texts me later saying 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you know, letting out my...
    (CNN)An LGBTQ rights activist who was murdered in St. Petersburg had received death threats and was named on a website urging vigilante violence, campaigners have said.Yelena Grigoryeva was confirmed dead by friends and fellow activists, who paid tribute to her on Tuesday.Russia's Investigative Committee, a state body that handles major crimes, reported that a woman born in 1979 was found dead in with multiple knife wounds on Sunday evening. Grigoryeva was a prominent campaigner on many issues, including LGBTQ rights and freedom for political prisoners. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but homophobia and discrimination are still common.Read MoreGrigoryeva also protested against Russia's backing of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea, Olga Smirnova, a friend and fellow activist, told CNN.Campaigners told CNN that Grigoryeva had received numerous death threats.Deaths and detentions in new wave of persecution in Chechnya, say LGBT activistsA spokeswoman for the Russian LGBT Network told CNN that Grigoryeva's name was included on a Russian website that identified LGBT activists and called for vigilante action against them. "We don't know who is behind...
    Rolling Stones fans were shocked when the band announced last week that they were dropping one of their biggest hits, Brown Sugar, from their world tour. Now, I can disclose extraordinary details of how an organised group of woke activists systematically targeted hundreds of thousands of devotees around the world by infiltrating their online fan club. The group of campaigners posed as hardcore Stones superfans to get access to the online subscription fan club IORR (named after their song It's Only Rock 'n' Roll) before relentlessly hammering fans and discussion threads with angry political trolling posts slamming the song's reference to slavery.  Rolling Stones fans were shocked when the band announced last week that they were dropping one of their biggest hits, Brown Sugar (band pictured last week during their first performance since dropping the song) The aggressive assault on the 40-year-old club caused such a wave of hysteria among the fanbase and management that the band members felt compelled to make an announcement that the track would no longer be performed. Guitarist Keith Richards, 77, seemed utterly dumbfounded by the...
    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders refused to sign a joint statement condemning protesters who confronted Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema in a bathroom last week, a report revealed late Wednesday. Sanders wanted the letter to include a line criticizing Sinema's moderate stance amid tense inter-party negotiations over how to get President Joe Biden's agenda passed. Last week, left-wing activists launched a protest against Sinema outside a classroom at Arizona State University over her opposition to Democrats' $3.5 trillion social reform bill. They filmed themselves following her into a bathroom, chanting 'Build back better, back the bill!' In an email exchange obtained by Axios, an aide for Senator Cory Booker said the New Jersey lawmaker volunteered to write a statement on behalf of Democratic leadership to 'resolutely condemn' the incident. The draft calls protesters actions' 'plainly inappropriate' and 'crosses a clear line.' Sanders' communications director Mike Casca replied asking if the statement could also take a jab at Sinema's position over the same issue she was confronted about. 'While we hope Senator Sinema will change her position on prescription drug reform and support...
    CAIRO (AP) — A global human rights group Thursday accused Egypt’s main domestic security agency of harassing and intimidating rights advocates and activists to silence them. The Amnesty International report was the latest rebuke to Egypt’s government, which faces increasing pressure from the U.S. to improve its human rights record. A government media officer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. The rights group said the National Security Agency was “increasingly using a well-honed pattern of unlawful summons, (and) coercive questioning” of activists in practices amounting to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The London-based group said it documented how the agency, which handles terror-related and political cases, used such measures to “control the lives” of at least 26 people, including seven women, between 2020 and 2021. The report is titled: “This will only end when you die,” in reference to what one activist was told of her regular summons to the agency. Amnesty did not disclose the names of those activists. The NSA is overseen by the Interior Ministry....
    Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove joined "Fox News Primetime" Thursday to discuss the left's politicization of COVID vaccine outreach, saying it is being done to further political power. Rove: I'm in favor of outreach efforts. We've got to be able to take these lifesaving vaccines across the country, but it ought to be done entirely outside of politics, done by doctors and nurses and health education, people drawn from health education programs at colleges and the scouts and service groups at churches and local leaders. It shouldn't be politics. Action North Carolina is an intensely left-wing, very ideological and very active political group. Go to their website. It starts with a gigantic call on the readers of the website to demand that Senators Tillis and Burr, both Republicans, support the president, expand government, spend more money.  In fact, in their description of their mission, they say their mission is to grow political power, and yet they are somehow involved and it's shady. Are we using taxpayer dollars?.. We're using taxpayer dollars to pay for the vaccines...
    More On: myanmar Freed US editor says he was tortured in Myanmar Rights group: Facebook amplified Myanmar military propaganda US seeks freedom for 2 American journalists in Myanmar Boycott and bombings mar Myanmar’s new school year BANGKOK — Myanmar’s government began releasing about 2,300 prisoners on Wednesday, including activists who were detained for protesting against the military’s seizure of power in February and journalists who reported on the protests, officials said. Buses took prisoners out of Yangon’s Insein Prison, where friends and families of detainees had waited since morning for the announced releases. It is standard practice to take freed prisoners to the police stations where they were originally booked to complete the processing for their freedom. Zaw Zaw, head of the Yangon Region’s Prison Department, confirmed that more than 720 people were released from the prison, which for decades has been the main facility for political prisoners. According to official announcements on state media, most if not all of the freed detainees faced charges related to the protests, including Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s penal code, which makes it...
    Activists expected President Joe Biden to take immediate action against the death penalty as the first sitting president to openly oppose capital punishment, but he has been silent on the issue, the Associated Press reported. Biden previously said he wanted to see the death penalty eliminated, in stark contrast to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump who executed 13 inmates from July 2020 to January 2021 before he left office. The executions began after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the Trump administration’s move to restart executions of inmates on death row. Since 1973, over 160 individuals in this country have been sentenced to death and were later exonerated. Because we can’t ensure that we get these cases right every time, we must eliminate the death penalty. https://t.co/o9LQHWwmt7 — Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 25, 2019 Activists and lawmakers have pressured Biden to take a stance against capital punishment for the nearly 50 federal inmates currently sitting on death row, according to the Associated Press. But Biden has not taken a stance on new legislation to abolish the federal...
    Job Creators Network president and CEO Alfredo Ortiz sounded off on Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia’s new voter laws. The Job Creators Network estimates the move will “cost upwards of $100 million of economic damages” to the state,” including many minority-owned businesses. Ahead of his small business group’s lawsuit against the league, Ortiz slammed “political activists” and “woke culture” for pressuring MLB to have the game moved so swiftly. He told Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” that his organization is calling for the game to get moved back to Atlanta or have a relief fund for the small businesses affected by the decision. “Political activists, Maria, definitely pressured Major League Baseball, and in conjunction, again, with the players’ association, they made the decision to move it,” Ortiz lamented. “But look, it was literally this woke culture, this cancel culture, that really [Rob] Manfred bowed to and gave in to, and I’m not even sure if he necessarily even read the full law and the context of it because in four...
    (CNN)Dontaye Carter pauses to think what he would want George Floyd to know. He takes a long breath before growing emotional as he lists what he wishes he could apologize for: that Floyd's life wasn't valued, that an officer didn't think enough to "take that knee off your neck." And then there is the deep pain as Carter speaks of Floyd's daughter, and his three-year-old daughter Kyleigh. "He's not going to be here for his little girl," Carter says, with tears rolling down his face. "That's the part that hit me the hardest." Carter was one of many activists protesting in the wake of Floyd's murder in Minneapolis at the hands of police. And now a year later, Floyd's death is a big part of the reason why many activists are running for local office across the country. Read MoreDontaye Carter believes he can help be a voice reflective of his community.Carter decided to run for mayor in Sandy Springs, Georgia, after he said he grew emotionally exhausted from attending what felt like unending protests for Black people killed during...
    Totally nuts - Fauci pandemic emails made public; NM holding COVID vaccine lottery: Latest COVID updates Massive sinkhole threatens house in central Mexico Oregon has no limits on how much money one person can spend on its elections. Voters and state lawmakers agree that needs to change. © Provided by Washington Examiner Last fall, Oregonians voted to allow state lawmakers to pass statewide campaign finance reform. To date, political campaigns in the state report contributions and expenditures to the Secretary of State. Historically, spending limits have been up to local officials to decide. Load Error Cities like Portland passed campaign finance limits of their own in 2018, limiting individual and political action committee (PAC) donations to $508. In Portland, unions and business groups are banned from throwing money into candidate races, but small donor committees have free rein. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was sued for breaking those rules last fall after he allegedly donated $150,000 to his own 2020 reelection campaign. Councilwoman Jo Ann Hardesty says the sudden increase in board diversity, a gay man,...
    Grant Atkinson, The Western Journal April 21, 2021 0 Comments While boycotts of companies over certain political views have been a controversial subject for a while now, they have at least been mostly used against companies for something they say or do. Now it appears that simply taking no stand at all is reason enough for the left to boycott companies. According to The New York Times, The Home Depot has not issued a statement condemning the new voting laws in Georgia. This is in contrast to the woke thought leaders over at Delta and Coca-Cola, who succumbed to the leftist mob and decried the new laws. Instead of following their lead, The Home Depot simply stated earlier this month that “the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our belief that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure.” This seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to say, especially since The Home Depot sells tools and construction products and is not an expert on election laws. However, the left has decided that the...
    A coalition of Latin American anti-communist activists, including Cuban dissidents who suffer regular repression on the island, organized a multi-continental set of peaceful assemblies Thursday calling for the freedom of 47 pro-democracy activists arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly violating an illegal “national security” law. Pro-democracy voices in Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, the United States, Uruguay, and Mexico have vowed to join the campaign, which organizers have branded #Free47 in honor of those imprisoned. The Chinese Communist Party, through its National People’s Congress, passed a law in May 2020 requiring minimum prison sentences of ten years in prison for individuals in Hong Kong found guilty of four crimes: “secession,” “terrorism,” “incitement of foreign interference,” and “subversion of state power.” Under the “One Country, Two Systems” policy that legally governs Hong Kong, Beijing’s laws do not apply in the formally autonomous region, but Hong Kong police have enforced the national security law, anyway. The 47 arrested are facing charges of subversion for participating in a primary election organized by pro-democracy parties seeking candidates to run for positions in Hong Kong’s...
    A police union leader has slammed Brooklyn Center's mayor for 'letting political activists run the show' after a white female cop shot dead a black man in the city.  Brian Peters, the head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, told WCCO-AM radio: 'If I were the mayor, I would not allow the political activists [to] run the show.' Peters claims Mike Elliott - mayor since January 2019 - is in 'way over his head'.  He also suggested Daunte Wright 'should have complied' during the arrest which lead to his death Sunday, adding: 'This is going to be an unpopular statement. 'Daunte Wright, if he would have just complied – he was told he was under arrest, they were arresting him on a warrant for weapons – he set off a chain of events that unfortunately led to his death. 'I'm not excusing it. But we're seeing in policing these days is that non-compliance by the public.' Former cop Kim Potter, 48, was on Wednesday charged with second-degree manslaughter - which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison...
    Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Mayor Mike Elliott, has been bowing to pressure from "political activists," following Sunday’s police shooting death of Daunte Wright, a police union official claimed Wednesday. Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, made the remarks during an interview on Minneapolis radio station WCCO-AM. Peters previously served as police commander in Brooklyn Center, the Twin Cities suburb where police said Wright, 20, was fatally shot by police Officer Kim Potter on Sunday. "If you watch that press conference, you can see the community activists ran that press conference," Peters said, referring to one of the mayor’s appearances before reporters this week. BROOKLYN CENTER MAYOR DEFENDS MEDIA PRESENCE FOLLOWING DAUNTE WRIGHT SHOOTING, ONGOING RIOTS "If I were the mayor, I would not allow the political activists [to] run the show," he added. "If I were the mayor, I would not allow the political activists [to] run the show."— Brian Peters, executive director, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers AssociationPeters asserted that departed City Manager Curt Boganey, who was fired this week, and police Chief Tim...
    SCHOOLS have been hurled into the centre of a vicious “culture war”, a senior MP has warned. Activists are dragging innocent children into highly political disputes by staging protests that spill into the playground, he claims. 2Pimlico Academy was the scene of protests over the Union Flag and other school policiesCredit: PA Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons education committee, complained: “Schools are places of learning and not political re-education camps.” Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire was forced to close after protesters gathered at the gates two days in a row. They demanded the sacking of a teacher who showed a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed to pupils. A headteacher also caved in to protesters and took down the Union Flag outside Pimlico Academy in central London. Members of far-right political group Britain First descended on the school to make a propaganda video outside by filming staff turning up for work. It follows disputes between the Government and the militant National Education Union, which opposed restarting lessons for much of the pandemic. 2Batley Grammar school closed due to community...
    Miami : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Saturday for an end to the “persecution of independent voices” in Russia, following the arrest of some 200 participants in an opposition political forum. While Russian police routinely break up opposition protests, the mass arrests of municipal councilors at a conference in Moscow are unprecedented. “We call for an end to the persecution of independent voices,” the head of US diplomacy wrote in a tweet, amid the Russian government’s crackdown campaign launched before the parliamentary elections. He noted that “the Russian government detained nearly 200 (opposition) leaders, including political activists Vladimir Kara-Murza and Yuliya Galyamina, for dubious reasons.” Participants from more than 50 regions of Russia had gathered to discuss the September parliamentary and local elections at a forum organized by a project backed by prominent Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Several of the detained activists said Saturday night that they had been released but were ordered to appear in court at a later stage.
    Europe Ania Nowak Correspondent in Minsk Subscribers Published on 02-24-21 at 10:04 am – Updated 02-24-21 at 10:04 am © . Large cages. This is the place in Belarusian courts where the accused attend their trial. In the press and on social networks, photos of opponents waiting behind bars have multiplied in recent weeks, as the country is going through a new phase of repression – this time judicial. Monday, in Homiel (South-East), Mikita Zalatarou, 16, was sentenced to five years in prison under article 364 of the Criminal Code, for “using violence against the police”. Epileptic, the teenager, who claims he has been repeatedly beaten by the police, says he is deprived of his treatment in detention.
    KYIV – Belarusian security forces searched the homes of journalists and human rights activists in several cities across the country on Tuesday, intensifying a crackdown on mass protests against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko. Police searched the homes of 25 members of the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and the human rights organization Viasna-96, Viasna-96 said. The authorities in a statement connected the searches to an investigation into what they said was the financing of the protests by “organisations positioning themselves as human rights defenders”. More than 33,000 people have been detained in a violent crackdown following an election last August that Lukashenko’s opponents say was blatantly rigged to hand the president a sixth term in office since 1994. He denies electoral fraud. The crackdown has prompted new Western sanctions but Lukashenko has refused to resign, counting on diplomatic and financial support from traditional ally Russia, which sees Belarus as a buffer state against the European Union and NATO. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures as he takes part in the celebrations of Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus July 3, 2020....
    KYIV (Reuters) - Belarusian security forces searched the homes of journalists and human rights activists in several cities across the country on Tuesday, intensifying a crackdown on mass protests against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko. Police searched the homes of 25 members of the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) and the human rights organization Viasna-96, Viasna-96 said. The authorities in a statement connected the searches to an investigation into what they said was the financing of the protests by "organisations positioning themselves as human rights defenders". More than 33,000 people have been detained in a violent crackdown following an election last August that Lukashenko's opponents say was blatantly rigged to hand the president a sixth term in office since 1994. He denies electoral fraud. The crackdown has prompted new Western sanctions but Lukashenko has refused to resign, counting on diplomatic and financial support from traditional ally Russia, which sees Belarus as a buffer state against the European Union and NATO. "They are looking for 'criminals' among those who help political prisoners and write about the struggle of Belarusians for freedom,"...
    BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai youth activists protesting against laws forbidding insult to the country's powerful king briefly clashed with police on Saturday after draping Bangkok's Democracy Monument in red cloth. Protesters threw paint at police and several small bangs were heard during a standoff near a city shrine after the demonstration had moved from Democracy Monument and the main leaders had called for it to disperse. Activists said the red cloth on the monument represented the blood of fighters for democracy. Police deputy spokesman Kissana Pattanacharoen said more than 20 police officers were injured in the clashes and seven or eight people were detained for questioning. The demonstration was in reaction to this week's arrests of four key protest figures under charges of insulting the monarchy in mass anti-government demonstrations last year. The "lese majeste" law, contained in Article 112 of Thailand's criminal code, carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison. Student activists say the law has been abused for decades to crush political opposition to a military-royalist establishment. "We want Article 112 to be revoked plus the...
    One of Saudi Arabia's most prominent political activists was released from prison on Wednesday, her family said, after serving nearly three years on charges that sparked an international uproar over the kingdom's human rights record. Loujain al-Hathloul, who pushed to end a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia, was arrested in 2018 and sentenced to almost six years in prison last December under a broad counterterrorism law.  Human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy previously wrote in a report that women's rights activists including Loujain were forced to kiss and perform sex acts on their interrogators in jails in Saudi Arabia. They were also made to watch pornography, threatened with rape, hung from the ceiling, beaten and suffered electric shocks during treatment which 'amounted to torture'.    Louijain was held for 1001 days, with time in pre-trial detention and solitary confinement. She was accused of crimes such as agitating for change, using the internet to cause disorder and pursuing a foreign agenda - charges that rights groups describe as politically motivated. 'Loujain is at home!!!!!!' her sister Lina al-Hathloul declared on...
    On January 14, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized an NRA-supported rule to end politically-motivated discrimination in the provision of financial services. The new regulation is now set to take effect on April 1. As we reported last month, the rule follows a long pattern of banks refusing or curtailing service to lawful industries that have been targeted by political activists in and outside of the government. These have included businesses in the firearm and ammunition sectors. Banks have tried to justify these actions against viable, financially-sound customers on the basis of “reputation risk.” That is, even though the customers’ own financial houses are in good order, the bank insists it could suffer possible adverse consequences by transacting with them from angering those who oppose the customer’s products or activities. Taken to its logical extreme, however, this means that the only businesses allowed to operate in the private sector would be those deemed acceptable by the social grievance lobby, which continually expands its targets and its demands. This small, vocal minority – whose members disproportionately come from elites in technology, media,...
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian-American lawyer said Thursday she was being persecuted for her political opinion as she and dozens of other government critics charged with treason and other offenses returned to court in a trial criticized by rights advocates. The more than 60 defendants are mostly former members or supporters of the disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party, which had been the sole credible political opposition until Cambodia’s highest court in late 2017 ordered its dissolution. Many of them are accused of being involved with a failed effort by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return from exile in November 2019 to challenge the country’s long-time ruler, Prime Minister Hun Sen. Fellow activists in exile have announced they will likewise try to return this Sunday although their plans are again opposed by Hun Sen’s government, which has launched a sweeping crackdown on opponents. Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American lawyer who has long been one of the most outspoken Hun Sen critics, told reporters on her arrival at court that she was not afraid of his regime...
    “Progressive activists” are the only political demographic that does not mostly take pride in being American, according to data published by “More in Common US.” “More in Common US” describes itself as “a nonpartisan nonprofit that seeks to strengthen democratic culture by bringing Americans together around shared values, beliefs, and identities.” They partnered with “YouGov” to identify how different Americans feel about the country and learned that “progressive activists” across the board have the most negative feelings about the United States. “Progressive activists” are “deeply concerned with issues concerning equity, fairness, and America’s direction today,” according to the nonprofit. Making up 8% of the population, only 34% of this group expressed pride in being an American, the data showed. (RELATED: Study: Left-Wing Activists Are Hyper-Educated White People Who Likely Earn Over $100K A Year) The next lowest group was “Gen Z,” which saw 51% express pride. 60% of “passive liberals” reported that they are proud to be an American and 96% of “traditional conservatives” declared the same, “More in Common US” reported. Pretty much everyone in America is proud to be...
    SACRAMENTO —  Though home to more Latinos than any state in the union, a haven for Central American immigrants and infused with a rich history as a former Mexican territory, California has never sent a Latino to the U.S. Senate in its 170 years of statehood. Now, Latino lawmakers and activists want Gov. Gavin Newsom to change that when he appoints a replacement for Sen. Kamala Harris, who will resign before being sworn in as vice president in January. “Gov. Newsom, you have an opportunity to change things,” Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) said at a recent news conference. “Your choice matters. It matters for all those kids imagining what they could be when they grow up. It matters to Latinos who make up almost 50% of COVID-19 deaths, 60% of our state’s uninsured. All of whom need a voice in Washington, D.C. It matters to our immigrants, documented, undocumented, who need a champion.” Newsom, who has not said when he’ll make an announcement on Harris’ successor, is facing an onslaught of competing pressures over what is perhaps one of...
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A Cambodian court on Thursday began hearing the cases of nearly 130 government critics and opponents charged with treason for taking part in nonviolent political activities over the past three years, in what one of them called a sham trial. Only 33 defendants attended Thursday’s session at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, with some believed to be overseas. Most are former members or supporters of the disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party. As the sole opposition party in Parliament, it had been expected to present a strong challenge to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party in the 2018 general election. But in late 2017, Hun Sen launched a sweeping crackdown on his opponents and the CNRP was forced by the high court to disband and its lawmakers removed from Parliament. Many people believe the court acted to ensure that Hun Sen’s party won by sweeping all the seats. Virtually all of the defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit treason and incitement to commit a felony, which together carry a maximum penalty of 12...
    PHNOM PENH – A Cambodian court on Thursday began hearing the cases of nearly 130 opponents and government critics charged with treason for taking part in nonviolent political activities over the past three years, in what one of them described as a sham trial. Most of those being tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court are former members or supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party. As the sole opposition party in Parliament, it had been expected to offer a strong challenge to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s party in the 2018 general election. But in late 2017, Hun Sen launched a sweeping crackdown on his opponents. Virtually all critical media were pressured to close or tone down their coverage, and the Cambodia National Rescue Party was forced by the high court to disband and its lawmakers were removed from Parliament. Many people believe the court acted to ensure that Hun Sen’s party won by sweeping all the seats. Virtually all the defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit treason and incitement to commit a felony,...
    By SOPHENG CHEANG, Associated Press PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — A Cambodian court on Thursday began hearing the cases of nearly 130 opponents and government critics charged with treason for taking part in nonviolent political activities over the past three years, in what one of them described as a sham trial. Most of those being tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court are former members or supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party. As the sole opposition party in Parliament, it had been expected to offer a strong challenge to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s party in the 2018 general election. But in late 2017, Hun Sen launched a sweeping crackdown on his opponents. Virtually all critical media were pressured to close or tone down their coverage, and the Cambodia National Rescue Party was forced by the high court to disband and its lawmakers were removed from Parliament. Many people believe the court acted to ensure that Hun Sen’s party won by sweeping all the seats. Virtually all the defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit treason...
    CAIRO (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights office, the United States and several European countries on Friday criticised the arrest of three members of a prominent Egyptian rights group after a meeting with diplomats in Cairo. In the past week, security forces detained three staff, including the director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), after 13 senior diplomats visited the group for a briefing on human rights on Nov. 3. EIPR said all three have been ordered detained for 15 days on charges of joining a terrorist group and spreading false news, in what critics see as the latest escalation of an unprecedented clampdown on civil society and political dissent. Egypt's government has said EIPR was operating illegally. "We are very concerned that the targeting of human rights defenders and other activists, as well as further restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly imposed in the country, are having a profound chilling effect on an already weakened Egyptian civil society," Ravina Shamdasani of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights told a briefing in Geneva. Several...
    Campaign Action In the immediate aftermath of George Floyd's murder under the knee of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, thousands of people took to the streets in the Twin Cities and across the country to demand justice for George, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, and more. The world watched as protesters were violently assaulted while demanding police be held to the same laws the rest of us are. People clamored desperately for ways to help. The movement to defend Black lives saw more national support than ever, as even huge corporations made solidarity statements and donations. But their core demand to defund the police was met with confusion and resistance. What does it mean to defund the police? Is that the same as abolishing the police? How will we keep communities safe without police departments? Aren't there reforms that can make police more accountable to community members? Over the next few months, Daily Kos Liberation League is hosting a political education series for people with a genuine curiosity about abolition, about ways they can engage,...
    By Luis Jaime Acosta and Nelson Bocanegra BOGOTA (Reuters) - Frequent threats, attacks and killings targeting local activists across Colombia highlight the government's inability to protect human rights defenders, advocacy group Amnesty International said on Thursday. Violence against rights defenders and activists - locally known as social leaders - will continue until the government effectively addresses structural issues such as deep inequality and substitution of illicit crops, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty's Americas director, said in a statement. "A narrative has been built, especially internationally, that Colombia is now in the post-conflict process," Guevara-Rosas said in a virtual press conference. "In reality we see that Colombia's armed conflict unfortunately continues to be a daily reality for millions of people." Dozens of social leaders and activists - numbers vary widely - face threats or are killed each year. The government has said violence will not be stopped by military and police presence alone but by establishing rule of law. On Wednesday President Ivan Duque reiterated plans to invest more than $2 billion in regions affected by violence. The government accuses left-wing guerrillas from...
    By GRANT PECK, Associated Press BANGKOK (AP) — Protesters were gathering Saturday in Bangkok for the most ambitious rally so far in a pro-democracy campaign that has shaken up the government and Thailand's conservative establishment. Organizers are predicting as many as 50,000 will show up and march over two days in an area of the capital historically associated with political protests. An estimated 10,000 people turned out for the last major rally on Aug. 16, and this time, opposition political parties are expected to join and mobilize supporters from other provinces. Demonstrators ignored a Thursday night plea from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to cancel the event, which he said risked spreading the coronavirius and derailing recovery of the battered economy. The core demands declared by the protesters in July were the dissolution of parliament with fresh elections, a new constitution and an end to intimidation of political activists. They believe Prayuth, who as then-army commander led a 2014 coup toppling an elected government, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election because the laws had been changed to...
    BANGKOK (AP) — Protesters were gathering Saturday in Bangkok for the most ambitious rally so far in a pro-democracy campaign that has shaken up the government and Thailand’s conservative establishment. Organizers are predicting as many as 50,000 will show up and march over two days in an area of the capital historically associated with political protests. An estimated 10,000 people turned out for the last major rally on Aug. 16, and this time, opposition political parties are expected to join and mobilize supporters from other provinces. Demonstrators ignored a Thursday night plea from Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to cancel the event, which he said risked spreading the coronavirius and derailing recovery of the battered economy. The core demands declared by the protesters in July were the dissolution of parliament with fresh elections, a new constitution and an end to intimidation of political activists. They believe Prayuth, who as then-army commander led a 2014 coup toppling an elected government, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election because the laws had been changed to favor a pro-military party. A...
    (CNN)After leading members of Belarus' political opposition seemed to vanish on Monday, raising fears of abduction, two activists reappeared in Kiev on Tuesday with a dramatic tale.At a lengthy press conference in the Ukrainian capital, activists Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov gave their version of their disappearance. It began, they said, with a trip to check on the safety of their colleague Maria Kolesnikova, a prominent anti-government activist who has been detained by the Belarus Border Control.These three women stood up to Europes longest-serving dictator. Heres what happened to themAll three are members of the Belarus Coordination Council, the country's main political opposition group, which seeks to coordinate a peaceful transition of power in the wake of August's disputed elections.Rodnenkov said he and Kravtsov visited Kolesnikova's home in Minsk on Monday after hearing reports that she was missing.When the two men arrived at her home, however, they were pushed into a bus by unidentified men and interrogated, they told reporters. They were later put separately in a convoy of five or six cars -- including Kravtsov's BMW -- and driven...
    For immigrant rights activist Hairo Cortes, the Santa Ana jail stood as a monument to oppression. In a city with a large Latino population, elected leaders had turned it into a detention center for immigrants in the country illegally. The jail became a rallying cry for a political reform movement that eventually led the Santa Ana City Council to phase out immigrant detention at the facility, improve police accountability and spend more money on badly needed community services. In many ways, the effort foreshadowed what is happening in Los Angeles and other cities around the country as protesters call for an end to police brutality and sweeping social reforms. But Santa Ana offers a cautionary tale for the “defund the police” movement, one that underscores the fragile nature of such reforms even in predominantly working-class, non-white cities. What happened in the short time following activists’ victories, Cortes now says, was a sobering reality check. The nationwide call to cut police budgets has been fueled by massive street protests against racism and police violence — a historic reckoning prompted...
    EXCLUSIVE: Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight committees are demanding answers on the arrests of pro-life protesters in Washington, D.C., in what they are calling “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.”House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, along with the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, James Comer, R-Tenn., on Monday penned a letter to Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband questioning the arrest of two people affiliated with Students for Life of America. Jordan and Comer noted that the students were arrested “for writing the phrase ‘Black Pre-Born Lives Matter’ in chalk on a public sidewalk” in D.C. and were charged with defacing public or private property, with a punishment of a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail. “This incident, in light of the District allowing other political messages to appear on public property, raises troubling questions about whether the District is respecting the constitutional rights of individuals in a viewpoint-neutral manner,” they wrote. SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN JUSSIE SMOLLETT INVESTIGATION FINDS KIM FOXX'S OFFICE MISHANDLED CASE “The District’s prohibition of the ‘Black Pre-Born Lives Matter’ message...
    DETROIT - China Cochran met Kamala Harris at a campaign event in Detroit last year and was swept away by her ambition, charisma and leadership. She hoped the California senator would advance in politics. So when Joe Biden named Harris on Tuesday as his running mate — making her the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket — Cochran wasn't just struck by the history. It represented a full-circle moment for Black women, who for generations have fought for their voices to be heard and political aspirations recognized. "It tells Black girls that they can be president," said Cochran, who recently ran for state representative in Michigan. "If you look back at Shirley Chisholm, she ran so that Kamala could lead at this moment. I think it's important for us to look at that and see other young women of color realize that they can go after their dreams and really make change in our world." Harris' selection is historic in many senses. It also marks the first time an Asian American would be on the presidential...
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