Hundreds protest reported Gaza ceasefire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Hundreds protest reported Gaza ceasefire, block Sderot roads with burning tires

Some demonstrators in rocket-battered town clash with police, chant ‘Bibi go home’; protesters said planning rally in Tel Aviv Wednesday

Protesters burn tires at the entrance to the southern town of Sderot, Novermber 13, 2018 (Hadashot screenshot)

Protesters burn tires at the entrance to the southern town of Sderot, November 13, 2018 (Hadashot screenshot)

Hundreds of people were demonstrating Tuesday evening at the entrance to the town of Sderot over Israel’s reported agreement for a ceasefire with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, after a 25-hour period that saw over 460 rockets fired at Israeli communities near the Palestinian enclave.

Protesters were blocking roads and burning tires, with some chanting, “Bibi go home,” using a nickname for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Confrontations were reported between protesters and policemen.

Police said they were working to restore order, saying they would “allow freedom of expression and lawful protest” but not “disturbance of public order, violence towards policemen and civilians and riots on major roads.”

Some 500 people were reported to be taking part in the protest.

According to Hadashot TV news, some southern residents planned further demonstrations and road blockages in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to protest the truce.

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Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay expressed support for the protesters, saying it was a “justified” response to the government “forsaking” them.

He said the government had failed the south by “neglecting” the issue of Gaza since the 2014 war.

“This is not the time for another fragile truce,” he said. “This is the time for a true diplomatic initiative in Gaza, that will lean on the recommendations of the security establishment.”

Hamas and other Gaza terror groups said Tuesday they had accepted an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Israel. Terms of the deal were not immediately known, and there was no immediate comment from Israel. But a senior Israeli diplomatic official appeared to confirm the reported armistice.

“Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect],” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Many southern residents were unhappy with the decision.

“It’s better that we suffer in shelters and they put an end to it once and for all,” Reut Bassis of Sderot told Hadashot. “A month from today the same thing will happen…it doesn’t make sense that our lives are like this.”

Another Sderot resident, Miri, said: “The IDF is hitting empty buildings, while sending them trucks with cement and construction materials. Where’s our self-respect? We’ve been at war for 17 years.”

Another man, Yohanan Cohen, said he had lost faith in the prime minister. “I’ve been a Likud man for 40 years but I promise I won’t vote Likud anymore. We’re captives of Hamas.”

People gather outside a house that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, on November 13, 2018. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Channel 10 news reported Tuesday evening that at least four senior ministers opposed the decision.

The report said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett proposed an alternative response, but it was rejected by the other ministers.

An unnamed minister who attended the seven-hour meeting Tuesday told the news outlet that no vote was held to determine the next steps. A source with direct knowledge of the discussions confirmed to the Times of Israel there was no vote.

The source confirmed there were several disagreements between cabinet members, some of which were the focus of debate for a number of hours. They would not comment on the content of the disagreements.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the security cabinet released a statement that read, “The security cabinet discussed the events in the south. The cabinet received briefings from the IDF and defense officials on the [IDF] strikes and widespread operations against terror targets in Gaza. The cabinet instructed the IDF to continue its strikes as needed.”

According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours on Monday and Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 100 of them. Most of the rest landed in open fields, but dozens landed inside Israeli cities and towns, killing one person, injuring dozens more, and causing significant property damage.

A home in the southern Israeli town of Netivot that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018. (Israel Police)

In response to the rocket and mortar attacks, the Israeli military said it targeted approximately 160 sites in the Gaza Strip connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, including four facilities that the army designated as “key strategic assets.”

In recent weeks, Egyptian and UN mediators had appeared to be making progress in brokering informal understandings aimed at quieting the situation.

Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to Gaza to allow cash-strapped Hamas to pay the salaries of thousands of government workers. At the same time, Hamas has lowered the intensity of violent border protests in recent weeks.

The fighting on Monday and Tuesday cast doubt over understandings previously brokered by Egypt and UN officials to reduce tensions. Just a day earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had defended those understandings, saying he was doing everything possible to avoid another “unnecessary war.”

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Israel: Defense Minister Liberman resigns over disagreements with Prime Minister

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Defense Minister Liberman resigns, says Israel ‘capitulated to terror’ in Gaza

Yisrael Beytenu leader slams ‘drastically inadequate’ response to massive rocket fire on south, calls for elections as soon as possible; Netanyahu to take over defense portfolio

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman announced Wednesday that he would be resigning as defense minister and called for the government to be dismantled and for new elections to be set.

“I am here to announce my resignation from the government,” he said at a hastily organized press conference at the Knesset after a Yisrael Beytenu party meeting, during which he told MKs of his decision.

Liberman said his decision came in light of the ceasefire reportedly agreed on Tuesday between Israel and Palestinian terror groups in Gaza following an unprecedentedly fierce two-day barrage of over 400 rockets fired by Hamas and other terror groups toward Israel.

A day earlier, Liberman and other ministers severely criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the decision.

“What happened yesterday, the ceasefire, together with the deal with Hamas, is a capitulation to terror. There is no other way of explaining it,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“What we are doing right now is buying quiet for a heavy price with no long-term plan to reduce violence toward us,” he said of the deal, which wasn’t officially confirmed by Israeli officials. He also slammed the military’s response to the rocket fire. “To put it lightly, our response was drastically lacking to the 500 rockets fired at us,” he said.

Fire and smoke billow following Israeli air strikes targeting Hamas infrastructure in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt, on November 12, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Liberman also directly criticized Netanyahu, saying he “fundamentally disagreed with him” on a number of key issues, including the government’s allowing $15 million to be transferred in cash from the Qatari government to Hamas on Friday.

“I opposed it. The prime minister needed to write an executive order for it to go above my head,” Liberman claimed, saying that the money went first to the families of Hamas members killed on the Gaza border in clashes with the IDF and then to funding for rockets to fire at Israel.

He said that he made his decision because “I could not remain [in office] and still be able to look residents of the south in the eyes.”

Liberman concluded his prepared statement by calling for elections to be held “at the soonest possible date.” During a subsequent question-and-answer session he predicted that right-wing voters would “see through the other parties’ hypocrisy” and reward his Yisrael Beytenu party with 20 Knesset seats.

A Likud source said in response that there was “no need to go to elections at this time of sensitive security,” despite the coalition losing five seats with Yisrael Beytenu’s expected exit.

After Yisrael Beytenu’s pull out, the coalition will hold a paper-thin majority in the 120-seat Knesset. New elections must be held by within the coming 12 months.

“The government can complete its term,” the Likud source said in a statement. “In any case, in the meantime, the defense portfolio will go to Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

The Jewish Home party, however, is expected to demand the position of defense minister for its leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Liberman has clashed frequently with Bennett, whose religious-nationalist party will compete with Liberman’s secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu over the votes of many hawkish Israelis in the upcoming Knesset elections.

The two men have traded barbs repeatedly in recent weeks, with Bennett accusing Liberman of being soft on Gaza and Liberman replying in kind, while also asserting that policy decisions regarding the ongoing violence emanating from the Strip were made by the ministers in the high-level security cabinet rather than his office.

Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu defended his decision to accept a ceasefire with terror groups in Gaza after the worst escalation in violence in the Strip since 2014.

“In times of emergency, when making decisions crucial to security, the public can’t always be privy to the considerations that must be hidden from the enemy,” he said at a ceremony in honor of Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion.

“Our enemies begged for a ceasefire and they knew very well why,” he added.

The deal has provoked criticism from within Netanyahu’s government as well as from Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip and want further action against Hamas, the terror group that rules the enclave.

Sources close to the defense minister told Haaretz that he was “incensed” by a briefing in which Netanyahu appeared to indicate that Liberman supported the reported ceasefire.

The security cabinet reportedly agreed to the ceasefire with Hamas on Tuesday afternoon, in a decision that several cabinet ministers later said they opposed. The decision was slammed by some opposition leaders, who called it a capitulation to terror after a deadly two-day conflagration that saw over 400 rockets and mortar shells fired at southern Israel.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (C) leads discussions at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 12, 2018 (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Channel 10 reported that at least four senior ministers who attended the cabinet meeting opposed the decision, which was made by Netanyahu without a vote. But Housing Minister Yoav Gallant, who was at the meeting, said the ministers all accepted the decision.

The ceasefire was hailed by Hamas as a victory ostensibly imposed on Israel on Hamas’s terms. Rocket fire at Israel came to a halt on Tuesday afternoon, after two days of incessant attacks.

Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett proposed an alternative response, but it was rejected by the other ministers at the meeting, according to Channel 10.

An unnamed minister who attended the seven-hour meeting Tuesday told the outlet that no vote had been held to determine the next steps. A source with direct knowledge of the discussions confirmed to The Times of Israel that no vote took place.

The source said there were several disagreements between cabinet members, some of which were the focus of debate for “a number of hours.” The source would not, however, comment on the content of the disagreements.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the security cabinet merely released a statement that read: “The security cabinet discussed the events in the south. The cabinet received briefings from the IDF and defense officials on the [IDF] strikes and widespread operations against terror targets in Gaza. The cabinet instructed the IDF to continue its strikes as needed.”

Missiles from Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system in the south of Israel destroy incoming missiles fired at Israel from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza above Ashkelon on November 13, 2018. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours on Monday and Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 100 of them. Most of the rest landed in open fields, but dozens landed inside Israeli cities and towns, killing one person, injuring dozens more, and causing significant property damage.

In response to the rocket and mortar attacks, the Israeli military said it targeted approximately 160 sites in the Gaza Strip connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, including four facilities that the army designated as “key strategic assets.”

As news of a ceasefire broke, Liberman’s office put out a statement saying that any claim that he had backed ending Israel’s offensive was “fake news. The defense minister’s position is consistent and has not changed.”

Similarly, Bennett’s office said any reports that he had supported a halt to strikes were “an absolute lie” and that the minister had “presented his resolute position to the cabinet that he has expressed in recent months and his plan for Gaza.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

READ MORE:

India among world leaders expected to push for China-backed trade deal excluding US

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE INDIA NEWS PAPER THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India among world leaders expected to push for China-backed trade deal excluding US

World leaders, including China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries, will push for the rapid completion of a massive, China-backed trade deal that excludes the US at a summit this week, in a rebuke to rising protectionism and Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

WORLD Updated: Nov 11, 2018 11:22 IST

India,China,trade deal
Not only is the US absent from the deal, but Donald Trump is skipping the summit in Singapore.(NYT)

World leaders will push for the rapid completion of a massive, China-backed trade deal that excludes the US at a summit this week, in a rebuke to rising protectionism and Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

China, Japan, India and other Asia-Pacific countries could announce a broad agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which covers half the world’s population, on the sidelines of the annual gathering.

Not only is the US absent from the deal, but Trump is skipping the summit in Singapore, highlighting how far he has pulled back from efforts to shape global trade rules and raising further questions about Washington’s commitment to Asia.

Trump launched his unilateralist trade policy with a bang shortly after coming to office by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal spearheaded by predecessor Barack Obama that aimed to bind fast-growing Asian powers into an American-backed order to counter China.

His approach has left the floor open for Beijing to promote a rival pact it favours, the 16-member RCEP, a free trade deal which also aims to cut tariffs and integrate markets, but gives weaker protection in areas including employment and the environment.

The pact championed by Obama has been kept alive even without the US, and is due to go into force this year, but the Beijing-backed pact has now overtaken it as the world’s biggest.

Announcing in Singapore that talks for the deal — which formally began in 2012 — are mostly concluded would be “important as a symbol of Asia’s commitment to trade at a time of rising global tensions”, Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, told AFP.

US commitment questioned

She said negotiations in some areas were likely to continue into next year, however, while a diplomat attending the summit, speaking anonymously, said “substantial progress” had been made but there were still sticking points.

The gathering of 20 world leaders comes against a backdrop of a months-long trade dispute between China and the United States after Trump imposed tariffs on most Chinese imports this summer, and Beijing retaliated with its own levies.

The standoff is having an impact far beyond the US and China, and leaders at the four days of meetings that begin Monday will be keen to voice their grievances to Vice President Mike Pence, attending in Trump’s place, and Premier Li Keqiang.

Trump’s absence from the Singapore gathering and a subsequent meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea is even more notable given Obama, who launched a so-called “pivot to Asia” to direct more US economic and military resources to the region, was a regular participant.

Washington, however, argues that it remains committed to Asia, pointing to regular visits by top officials.

“We are fully engaged,” insisted Patrick Murphy, one of the State Department’s most senior Asia diplomats. “That is very sustained and has been enhanced under the current administration.”

Nukes, sea tension

Myanmar’s embattled leader Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the meetings, and will deliver a keynote address at a business forum Monday.

She may face criticism over a military crackdown on the Muslim Rohingya that saw hundreds of thousands flee to Bangladesh last year, and has sparked rare criticism of Myanmar from within regional bloc the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Also on the agenda will be North Korea’s nuclear programme. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a vaguely worded agreement on denuclearisation at a historic summit in June, but progress has been slow since.

Pence will also keep on pressure on Beijing over its growing aggression in the South China Sea. China claims almost all the strategically vital waters, a source of friction with Southeast Asian states that have overlapping claims as well as the US, the traditionally dominant military power in the region.

Other leaders attending include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But much of the focus will be on the RCEP as leaders seek to send a message in support of free trade. The deal groups the 10 ASEAN members plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

World leaders “should present a united front advancing trade liberalisation in (the Asia-Pacific) despite global headwinds to trade from the rising tide of global protectionism,” Rajiv Biswas, chief regional economist at IHS Markit, told AFP.

First Published: Nov 11, 2018 11:21 IST

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From U.N. Right Now

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From The U.N. Right Now 

 

This article to you tonight is one I have been thinking about writing for a couple of weeks but because of the length I knew it would be I have avoided taking the time to write it. First I want to let you know that I got a lot of the information for this article from the New York Times so I want to make sure to credit them. Also, a lot of this information is simply garnered from all of the years of taking history classes in high school and in college. There is another point that I want to make clear to folks about how I feel/believe about the “People’s Republic of China” or the ‘PRC.’ for the purpose of this article I will refer to the Communists murderers in Beijing as the rulers of the Mainland. My personal opinion and belief is that Taiwan’s government, the “Republic of China” is the real legal government of all of China, not just the Taiwan Island.

 

The PRC is a leading member of the U.N., they also sit as one of the 5 permanent member seats of the Security Council. Up until 1950 the ROC was a founding member of the U.N. and had a seat on the Security Council. In 1950 the balless wonders at the U.N. not only removed the rightful government of the Chinese people from the Council they removed them as a member State and they demoted them to an “Observer State.” If you are a person who has not been paying attention to the blatant aggression of the PRC government through their President Xi Jinping, you need to, everyone on the planet does. The following is information on some of the reasons that I made that statement and is some of the reasons that I have decided to take the time to write this article to you.

 

July 12th of 2016, the Communist government of Mainland China totally told the U.N. and the rest of the world to go  F–k themselves. On that day the World Court which is through the U.N. made a ruling concerning the PRC’s blatant aggression in the South China Sea. The PRC was told to quit their activities of aggression toward their neighbors and the rest of the world. The Communist government of the Mainland told the U.N. and the World Court that they “did not recognize the authority of the U.N or of the World Court.” So, the question I have for you, and to the U.N. is, if they refuse to recognize the authority of the World Court and the U.N. then why in the bleep has the U.N. not removed these murderers both from the Security Council and from the U.N. itself? Why on earth would the balless wonders who run the U.N. allow the PRC to remain on the Security Council where they have Veto Power to cancel out all of the good things that the rest of the world is trying to accomplish? This makes no sense, it is totally stupid. The only thing that I can think of is, they are cowards! If the U.N. cared about the world in general they would remove the PRC from the Council, and reinstate the ROC (Republic Of China/Taiwan) to its rightful position in the U.N. and on the Security Council. Also, they should lower the PRC to the position that the ROC has now, only as an Observer State and if the PRC chooses to balk at that then they should be removed from the U.N. all together.

 

July 12th, 2016. The International Tribunal at the Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the PRC and their actions in the South China Sea which includes the construction of artificial islands. The Court also ruled that their expansive claim to sovereignty over the air and sea has no legal basis. The PRC could have been and should have been named as an “International Outlaw.” This was the first time that the PRC has ever been summoned before the International Justice System. The PRC claims that they have “Historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea,” basically about 90% of it. The International Court disagrees and they sided with their neighbors who brought the suit against them. The International Court also said that the PRC violated International Law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine oil exploration. Globally the rulings of the International Court are binding but the problem is that there is no system in place to physically enforce the law. At the very least the U.N. does have the authority to require all UN member nations to totally and completely boycott all imports and exports into and out of the PRC Mainland. The PRC obviously knew that they were going to lose this court battle so they didn’t even bother to send a low-level representative to the Court. They also made it very clear to the U.N. before the litigation began that they would not abide by the Court’s ruling.  The countries that brought the complaint to the Court were the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

Speaking at a meeting of European Leaders the PRC President Mr. Xi Jingping was defiant in his claims about them having sovereignty over the South China Sea since “Ancient Times.” Since the ruling the PRC has accelerated their aggression in the South China Sea trade routes, fishing waters as well as stealing the oil and other mineral rights of their neighboring. The PRC has built a large artificial island upon an atoll known as Mischief Reef. They have built a large military airstrip and Naval births there even thought the World Court ruled that this was in Philippine National waters. The PRC claims what they call the “nine-dash-line” which encircles 90% of the South China Sea, the area we are talking about here is equivalent to the size of Mexico. The Philippines had asked the International Court to rule against the PRC because the PRC is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the “Law Of The Sea” which both the PRC and the Philippines signed and ratified as being valid.

 

The International Court also ruled that several disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea were too small to claim control of economic activities in the waters around them. As a result the Court ruled that the PRC was engaging in unlawful behaviour in the Philippines waters including activities that have made the dispute worse. This is no light matter, think about what the PRC is trying to do. They say they control all shipments of goods into and out of all of these Nations. They are saying that they control all air routes into and out of all of these Nations that would go into or over the South China Sea. If these illegal actions are not forcibly stopped right now the PRC will be able to totally control and or totally tank every Nation’s economy not just in the region but in the world. At the very least the PRC is quickly becoming capable of charging every ship and every plane a toll of their own chosen level, they can do anything they choose to any nation or people. The whole world, the U.N. must grow a set of Balls and stand up against the PRC in every possible way, right now, for if not, we will all soon be needing to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. If you have paid any attention the Communist PRC isn’t even the Legal Government Of China, the Legal Government is the ROC (Republic of China) which at this time resides on the Island of Taiwan. These mass murderers killed ten of millions of China’s people when they forced themselves onto the Mainland population. The first Leader of the PRC was Chairman Mao and during the 1950’s he murdered tens of millions if not a few hundred million of the Chinese people via starvation. You may ask, what that has to do with now and that is a fair question. The answer is that the President for life of the PRC, Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout student, believer and follower of Chairman Mao. Wake up world, grow some Balls U.N. or soon you will not exist any longer.

 

 

 

Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Whitaker backlash prompts concern at the White House

(CNN)There is a growing sense of concern inside the White House over the negative reaction to Matthew Whitaker being tapped as acting attorney general after Jeff Sessions’ abrupt firing.

Whitaker, who was Sessions’ chief of staff, has faced criticism since Wednesday afternoon’s announcement for his previous comments on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Several senior officials told CNN they were surprised by the criticism, and believe it could potentially jeopardize Whitaker’s chances of remaining in the post if it continues to dominate headlines.
Whitaker is expected to take over oversight of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia. He has given no indication he believes he needs to step aside from overseeing the probe, according to one person familiar with his thinking, a belief echoed by White House officials. And a source close to the President told CNN that the idea of Whitaker ending or suppressing the Russia probe is not an option as of now.
But Whitaker has previously expressed deep skepticism about the probe, including arguing in a 2017 CNN op-ed that Mueller was “dangerously close to crossing” a red line following reports that the special counsel was looking into Trump’s finances and calling Mueller’s appointment “ridiculous” and “a little fishy” in a 2017 appearance on the “Rose Unplugged” radio program.
Whitaker also spoke about the investigation in numerous other radio and television appearances, including CNN, where he was a legal commentator.
It was not widely known among White House staff that he’d commented repeatedly on the special counsel’s investigation in interviews and on television — which is ironic given that this is what drew President Donald Trump to him and raises continued questions over the depth of the administration’s vetting process.
Sam Clovis, a 2016 Trump campaign national chairman who has close ties to Whitaker, encouraged him to get a regular commentary gig on cable television to get Trump’s attention, according to friends Whitaker told at the time. Whitaker was hired as a CNN legal commentator last year for several months before leaving the role in September 2017 to head to the Justice Department.
Along with the breadth of his previous comments on the investigation, there have been questions about the legality of Whitaker’s appointment.
George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, co-authored a New York Times op-ed published Thursday that called the appointment “unconstitutional.”
The Appointments Clause of the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, Clause 2, Conway wrote, “means Mr. Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
Whitaker’s standing ultimately depends on the President. But continued negative coverage will get Trump’s attention.

Poem: The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

The Walls Of Reagan, Old Man Bush, And Trump

 

Do You remember Berlin Germany and the Russian Wall

Mr. Reagan went there and called Mr. Gorbachev Out

The wall that had to come down if freedom was to ring

Machine Guns and bricks do not a good neighbor make

 

Old Man Bush, on his watch the Wall finally did fall

People rushed out, killed their captor, freed themselves

The West welcomed the downtrodden from the East

There could be no EU until that Devils wall did fall

 

Different place and time, some now want a Wall built

Christians backing a man who joys in starving the poor

Hate begets hate until there is in fact, an unholy war

Trump, You, Your Minions and Your Wall will burn in Hell

Stories of Sri Lankans who are “Taking a Stand” for democracy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Stories of Sri Lankans who are “Taking a Stand” for democracy

Image via Groundviews

This post originally appeared on Groundviews, an award-winning citizen journalism website in Sri Lanka. An edited version is published below as part of a content-sharing agreement with Global Voices.

Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political crisis since October 26 when president Maithripala Sirisena removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe – replacing him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. This has led to a power struggle between the newly appointed PM and the recently ousted PM who both believe in the legitimacy of their position. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Colombo to question the constitutional legitimacy of the president’s decision and demand the parliament be reconvened to settle the matter. Bowing to pressure, President Sirisena has promised to reconvene the parliament on November 7.

On November 4, 2018, a group of people gathered at the Liberty roundabout in the Kollupitiya neighborhood of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

For some, it was their fifth day of standing in protest. Following news that President Maithripala Sirisena and the United People’s Freedom Alliance had stepped down from the coalition Government, a group of citizens decided to meet at the roundabout every day, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, until Parliament was convened. On the first day, the protest coincided with a larger rally organised by Ranil Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) held nearby – but many of those who attended the rally on that day were quick to say that they were not attending to support the UNP.

On October 30, a tweet by Lisa Fuller featuring one of the posters held by a protester went viral. It read, “I’m not here for Ranil – I’m here for democracy”.

Lisa Fuller@gigipurple

“I’m not here for Ranil. I’m here for democracy and good governance” Civil society protest at liberty circle now

The poster appeared to encapsulate the sentiments of many of those gathered at the Liberty roundabout on October 30 and every day after.

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest. Those attending included young people who had never attended a protest before, senior citizens, activists and members of civil society. On November 4, there were participants from Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa and Kandy as well as from Colombo. For some, it was their first time at a protest. Others had seen corruption continue on for decades (the oldest participant was 92 years old). Members from the corporate sector stood shoulder-to-shoulder with activists from Jaffna and Batticaloa, who were flanked by those in the theatre community.

Corruption was a recurring topic, given revelations from UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene about sums of money being offered for Parliamentarians to switch allegiances.

On October 30 and afterward, we asked those who attended one simple question – “What made you decide to participate?”

Over the past few days, Groundviews documented those who attended the citizen protest.

This is what they had to say:

Diordre Moraes. Image via Groundviews

“As a mother, as a grandmother, I want to see democracy restored. I’m not against any person or any party but as a citizen of Sri Lanka. Nothing like this has ever happened before” – Diordre Moraes

Neluni Tillekeratne. Image via Gorundviews

“I feel young people should take political issues more seriously. When youth engage with politics they only look at statements from the President or Prime Minister. We don’t look at deeper issues. I’m hoping to influence young people to come.” Neluni Tillekeratne

Nadesan Suresh. Image via Groundviews

Our Malaiyaha Tamil community, those who work in tea estates, voted for President Sirisena hoping he would reform society. However, what he did sets us back 100 years.’ Nadesan Suresh, from Badulla.

Sarojini Kadirgamar. Image via Groundviews

“Though I’m 92 years old, I feel I must make a stand for democracy. Over the years I’ve seen the steady deterioration of political life. Every party has used corrupt practices for short term gains.This has to change.” Sarojini Kadirgamar

Leisha Lawrence, Mihiri de Silva, Sepali de Silva and unknown. Image via Groundviews

“I’m here for democracy. If an MP choose to jump to another party they should lose their seat in Parliament. I’m not here for any party.” Leisha Lawrence (far right)

“We vote in a particular way for who we want. That doesn’t give the President the right to do what he wants, because he doesn’t get on with a particular person.” Mihiri de Silva (second from right)

“My vote is not for sale. This is not right!” Sepali de Silva (second from left)

Kalaivani. Image via Groundviews

‘We call this a democratic country but what happened suppressed democratic means. We made history as having the first female prime minister, now we have made history again for having two prime ministers!’ Kalaivani, from Batticaloa.

Adrian Roshan Fernando. Image via Groundviews

“The decisions being made now don’t include the public opinion. They are just taking their own decisions. There is a way to do things.” Adrian Roshan Fernando.

Piyathilaka Ranaweera. Image via Groundviews

“This is not good for the country. We’re doing this for the next generation, for the future of this country.” Piyathilaka Ranaweera

Irfadha Muzammil. Image via Groundviews

“People’s votes matter. We can’t let politicians corrupt that and exploit voters.” Irfadha Muzammil

Abdul Kalam Azad. Image via Groundviews

Rather than saying “I am Prime Minister” come to Parliament now and show that you have the majority. Govern the country. Don’t waste our time!” Abdul Kalam Azad.

As evening fell, the electricity at the Liberty roundabout remained switched off. Later on, Mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake tweeted that this was “an act of sabotage”.

Rosy Senanayake@Rosy_Senanayake

This has been brought to my notice and it was an act of sabotage. We will ensure the lights are switched on tomorrow.

Groundviews

@groundviews

Citizens use smartphones – for light, and to inquire with the CMC why the streetlamps were turned on late – as their protest against #ConstitutionalCrisisSriLanka ends for the day. It will continue daily, 4.30pm-6.30pm at Liberty roundabout till Parliament is convened. #lka

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Undeterred, the protesters used the light of their mobile phones and continued chanting.

Image via Groundviews

Eventually, at 7 pm, the protest came to an end – to be resumed the next day, and the day after that, until Parliament reconvenes.

Image via Groundviews

You can read the full Photo essay here. You can also follow along with the protest on Twitter, and from multiple perspectives, here.

Grenada: Truth, Knowledge, History Of This South Atlantic Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

 

Grenada

Introduction Carib Indians inhabited Grenada when COLUMBUS discovered the island in 1498, but it remained uncolonized for more than a century. The French settled Grenada in the 17th century, established sugar estates, and imported large numbers of African slaves. Britain took the island in 1762 and vigorously expanded sugar production. In the 19th century, cacao eventually surpassed sugar as the main export crop; in the 20th century, nutmeg became the leading export. In 1967, Britain gave Grenada autonomy over its internal affairs. Full independence was attained in 1974, making Grenada one of the smallest independent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Grenada was seized by a Marxist military council on 19 October 1983. Six days later the island was invaded by US forces and those of six other Caribbean nations, which quickly captured the ringleaders and their hundreds of Cuban advisers. Free elections were reinstituted the following year and have continued since that time. Hurricane Ivan struck Grenada in September of 2004 causing severe damage.
History The recorded history of Grenada begins in 1498, when Christopher Columbus first sighted the island and gave it the name Conception Island, and later called it Granada. At the time the Island Caribs (Kalinago) lived there and called it Camerhogue. The Spaniards did not permanently settle in Camerhogue. Later the English failed their first settlement attempts, but the French fought and conquered Grenada from the Caribs circa 1650. The French conquest resulted in the genocide of 17th century Caribs from present-day Grenada. Warfare also existed between the Caribs of present day Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with the French invaders. The French took control of Camerhogue and named the new French colony La Grenade. La Grenade prospered as a wealthy French colony; its main export was sugar. The French established a capital known as Fort Royal in 1650 as ordered by Cardinal Richelieu. To wait out harsh hurricanes, the French navy would shelter in the capital’s natural harbour. No other French colony had a natural harbour to even compare with that of Fort Royal (later renamed St. George’s). The colony was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1763 by the Treaty of Paris. A century later, in 1877 Grenada was made a Crown Colony.

History 1958-1984: Independence and Revolution

The island was a province of the short-lived West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962. In 1967, Grenada attained the status of “Associated State of the United Kingdom”, which meant that Grenada was now responsible for her own internal affairs, and the UK was responsible for her defense and foreign affairs. Independence was granted in 1974 under the leadership of the then Premier, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada.

Civil conflict gradually broke out between Eric Gairy’s government and some opposition parties including the New Jewel Movement (NJM). Gairy’s party won elections in 1976 but the opposition did not accept the result. In 1979, the New Jewel Movement under Maurice Bishop launched a successful armed revolution against the government. Maurice Bishop suspended the constitution and declared a People’s Revolutionary Government. All parties except the NJM were banned and elections were never held to legitimize the change.

A dispute later developed between Bishop and certain high-ranking members of the NJM. Party members including Bernard Coard demanded that Bishop either step down or enter into a power sharing arrangement. The dispute eventually led to Bishop being deposed in 1983 and placed under house arrest. These actions led to street demonstrations in various parts of the island. Bishop was eventually freed by a large demonstration in the capital. Soon after, he was captured and executed by soldiers along with seven others including cabinet ministers of the government.

After the execution of Bishop, the People’s Revolutionary Army formed a military government with General Hudson Austin as chairman. The army declared a four-day total curfew during which it said that anyone leaving their home without approval would be shot on sight.

Six days after the execution of Bishop, the island was invaded by forces from the United States. The US stated this was done at the behest of Dame Eugenia Charles, of Dominica. Five other Caribbean nations participated with Dominica and the USA in the campaign, called Operation Urgent Fury. While the Governor-General, Sir Paul Scoon, later stated that he had requested the invasion, the governments of the United Kingdom and Trinidad and Tobago expressed anger at not having been consulted.

Eighteen members of the PRG and the PRA (army) were arrested after the invasion on charges related to the murder of Maurice Bishop and seven others. The eighteen included the top political leadership of Grenada at the time of the execution as well as the entire military chain of command directly responsible for the operation that led to the executions. Fourteen were sentenced to death, one was found not guilty and three were sentenced to forty-five years in prison. The death sentences were eventually commuted to terms of imprisonment. Those in prison have become known as the Grenada 17.

Twenty-first century history

In 2000-2002, much of the controversy of the late 1970s and early 1980s was once again brought into the public consciousness with the opening of the truth and reconciliation commission. The commission was chaired by a Roman Catholic priest, Father Mark Haynes, and was tasked with uncovering injustices arising from the PRA, Bishop’s regime, and before. It held a number of hearings around the country. The commission was formed, bizarrely, because of a school project. Brother Robert Fanovich, head of Presentation Brothers’ College (PBC) in St. George’s tasked some of his senior students with conducting a research project into the era and specifically into the fact that Maurice Bishop’s body was never discovered. Their project attracted a great deal of attention, including from the Miami Herald and the final report was published in a book written by the boys called Big Sky, Little Bullet. It also uncovered that there was still a lot of resentment in Grenadian society resulting from the era, and a feeling that there were many injustices still unaddressed. The commission began shortly after the boys concluded their project.

In 2004, after being hurricane free for forty-nine years, the island was directly hit by Hurricane Ivan (September 7). Ivan struck as a Category 4 hurricane and caused 90 percent of the homes to be damaged or destroyed. The following year, 2005, Hurricane Emily (July 14) a Category 2 hurricane struck the northern part of the island, causing an estimated USD $110 million (EC$ 297 million) worth of damage. This was much less damage than Ivan had caused.[citations needed]

Grenada has recovered with remarkable speed, due to both domestic labor and financing from the world at large. By December 2005, 96% of all hotel rooms were to be open for business and to have been upgraded in facilities and strengthened to an improved building code. The agricultural industry and in particular the nutmeg industry suffered serious losses, but that event has begun changes in crop management and it is hoped that as new nutmeg trees gradually mature, the industry will return to its pre-Ivan position as a major supplier in the Western world.[citations needed]

In April 2007, Grenada jointly hosted (along with several other Caribbean nations) the 2007 Cricket World Cup. After hurricane Ivan, the Chinese government paid for the new $40 million national stadium, along with the aid of over 300 Chinese labourers to build and repair it.

Geography Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 12 07 N, 61 40 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 344 sq km
land: 344 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 121 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; tempered by northeast trade winds
Terrain: volcanic in origin with central mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Saint Catherine 840 m
Natural resources: timber, tropical fruit, deepwater harbors
Land use: arable land: 5.88%
permanent crops: 29.41%
other: 64.71% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: NA
Natural hazards: lies on edge of hurricane belt; hurricane season lasts from June to November
Environment – current issues: NA
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
Politics As a Commonwealth Realm, Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Grenada and Head of State. The Crown is represented by a Governor-General, who is currently Sir Daniel Williams. Day-to-day executive power lies with the Head of Government, the Prime Minister. Although appointed by the Governor-General, the Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest faction in the Parliament.

The Parliament consists of a Senate (thirteen members) and a House of Representatives (fifteen members). The senators are appointed by the government and the opposition, while the representatives are elected by the population for five-year terms. With 48% of the votes and eight seats in the 2003 election, the New National Party remains the largest party in Grenada. The largest opposition party is the National Democratic Congress with 45.6% of the votes and seven seats.

Grenada is a full and participating member of both the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

People Population: 89,971 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 32.8% (male 14,876/female 14,641)
15-64 years: 64.1% (male 30,522/female 27,137)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 1,353/female 1,442) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 22.1 years
male: 22.6 years
female: 21.6 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.336% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 21.87 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.61 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -11.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.016 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.125 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.938 male(s)/female
total population: 1.082 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.92 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 65.21 years
male: 63.38 years
female: 67.05 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Grenadian(s)
adjective: Grenadian
Ethnic groups: black 82%, mixed black and European 13%, European and East Indian 5%, and trace of Arawak/Carib Amerindian
Religions: Roman Catholic 53%, Anglican 13.8%, other Protestant 33.2%
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96%

China to help Pakistan avert fiscal crisis: One Demon Bailing Out Another: For A Price

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AL-JAZEERA NEWS AGENCY)

 

China to help Pakistan avert fiscal crisis, ‘more talks needed’

Pakistan’s foreign reserves have dwindled, causing PM Khan to decry the financial situation he inherited.

The last time Pakistan received an IMF bailout was in 2013, when it received $6.6bn [Jason Lee/Reuters]
The last time Pakistan received an IMF bailout was in 2013, when it received $6.6bn [Jason Lee/Reuters]

China is willing to provide Pakistan with economic aid to help it deal with its deteriorating finances but more discussions are needed on the details, according to a top Chinese diplomat.

The comments on Saturday by Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou came after a meeting in Beijing between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan’s foreign reserves have plunged 42 percent since the start of the year and now stand at about eight billion dollars, or less than two months of import cover.

Late last month, Saudi Arabia pledged to give Pakistan a six billion dollars rescue package, but officials say it is not enough and the country still plans to seek a bailout from the IMF to avert a balance of payments crisis.

It would be Pakistan’s 13th rescue package from the multilateral lender since the late 1980s.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People following Khan’s talks with Li, Kong said his country would help.

“During the visit, the two sides have made it clear in principle that the Chinese government will provide necessary support and assistance to Pakistan in tiding over the current economic difficulties,” Kong said.

“As for specific measures to be taken, the relevant authorities of the two sides will have detailed discussions,” he added, without giving details.

Pakistan’s fiscal crisis partly comes from limited restraints on spending and a failure to institute genuine tax reform [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Khan, whose party swept Pakistan’s July elections, told Chinese President Xi Jinping the previous day that he had inherited “a very difficult economic situation” at home.

Though China is Pakistan’s closest ally, Khan’s newly elected government has sought to re-think the two countries’ signature project, the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Beijing touts as the flagship infrastructure programme in its vast Belt and Road Initiative.

Pakistan has looked to amend CPEC to put greater emphasis on projects that focus on social development, rather than purely on infrastructure.

In his meeting with Li, Khan invited the Chinese premier to visit Pakistan and see for himself the difference the megaproject has made in the country.

“CPEC in 2013 was just an idea. Now, it is on the ground. And it has caught the imagination of the people of Pakistan,” he said.

“We feel that this a great opportunity for our country to progress, to attract investment. It gives us an opportunity to raise our standard of living, growth rate.”

For his part, Li praised the relationship, saying “China and Pakistan are all-weather partners.”

Commenting on CPEC, Kong said there were no plans to scale back the economic corridor, but he added that it would be altered somewhat to “tilt in favour of areas relating to people’s lives”.

Meanwhile, Khan’s office said in a statement that the two governments had signed a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding in the fields of agriculture, poverty reduction, forestry, law enforcement and socioeconomic development.

A history of the IMF

EMPIRE

A history of the IMF

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Republicans Are Only For White Males: Democrats For Everyone Except White Males?

Republicans Are Only For White Males: Democrats For Everyone Except White Males?

 

For those who are reading this article and are unaware of it, I am a 62-year-old white man who lives in the state of Kentucky, I also am a registered Independent when it comes to politics. So, this article to you today is simply my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. A person comes to their opinions mostly through life’s experiences and I am simply giving you mine at this time. In my life I have voted for several Republicans and for several Democrats as well as for people from various Independent movements. I like some of the things that each of the two main Parties stand for, at least on paper, and I am against several things that each of those Parties stand behind.

 

During my years I have come across racism from several people. I have been hated on sight because I am a white man and I absolutely have no doubt about that statement, yet I have also had people of many races stand up for me and against people of their own race because of me. Being one skin color of another should have nothing to do with how you act or are viewed, yet often, it does. I have to admit that I have been a bit surprised by the amount of racism some White folks who have shown since the Electoral College elected Donald Trump as our President, and it does sadden me. I try to be a devout Christian everyday of my life (though I fail often) but I am sure that G-d The Father and G-d The Son are not racists. I am 100% sure that if a person hates another because of their skin color, they are not a Christian, they are nothing but “luke warm water,” at best.

 

When former President Obama was the President from 2009-2017 I used to often hear about the “angry White Males.” Honestly I did not know just how many and how deep this hatred is and it greatly saddens me as a person and as a Christian.  Often I heard this philosophy and when I did it always seemed to generate from GOP affiliated mouth pieces. I know that there is racism all over the world it is not something that is exclusive to North America Americans, nor only to some Republicans. Obviously about 50% of white folks are women and it is my belief that many White Women who voted for Mr. Trump will either not vote in the midterm election next Tuesday, or they will vote against the GOP because they have seen the hate coming out of the mouth of Mr. Trump and many other GOP Politicians since they took total power in January of 2017.

 

Unfortunately it appears that many people and Politicians who are Democrats and Democratic mouth pieces have seemed to be hating the White Males for many years. Too me, it has seemed that the leadership of the Democratic Party has for many years been working hard at becoming the party of ‘only’ the minorities. Too me, it has felt that the Democratic Leadership has worked hard to be inclusive to all people, except White People, especially the men. Our Nation, or any Nation, cannot survive if its core is poisoned and all racism is poison. I have heard this quote several times during my years and it is true that “great Nations are not usually conquered from the outside, they are conquered from the inside” and I do believe that is true of America also.

 

There are two main reasons that I have ever voted for a Republican and against a Democrat and neither have anything to do with race, nationality, or someone’s religion. These two issues are Abortion and Gun laws, as a Christian I cannot and will not condone what I believe to be blatant murder of babies. Regarding guns, I am for a 3-5 day waiting period when purchasing a firearm and I do believe that the loophole of Gun Shows needs to be closed. But I do believe in everyone has the right to defend themselves and their families by any means necessary. Here in Kentucky almost all people can open carry without a special permit and folks like myself who have taken weapons classes can conceal carry. When I do go into a business with a weapon in a gun belt no one has ever freaked out, not other customers or the workers, not even the workers at the cash registers. I know that these people look at this issue the same as I do, if anything, I am extra free security for the business I am in. Folks something that the Democratic Party does not seem to understand or even care about is why almost all people should be allowed to have firearms if they so choose and that is defense, not offense. People need to notice that gunmen go to places to shoot people where they know there will be no guns to shoot back at them, these people are cowards. When was the last time you saw a Police Station or a Donut Shop shot up? Folks, the times are coming where the people have to be able to defend themselves from crooked government officials and crooked policing agencies. The time is coming where the people need to be able to defend themselves from invasions from other Nations and the time is very close where we all need to be able to defend ourselves from terrorists, homegrown and otherwise. Well, that is all for now friends, I hope that you are able to enjoy your weekend, stay warm, stay safe, G-d’s blessings I wish to all of you.