La Señal Informativa de América Latina <![CDATA[Salvador Dalí's Body to be Exhumed for Paternity Test]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:42:00 -0400 In a bizarre turn of events that could only happen to a surrealist like Salvador Dalí, a judge in Madrid has ordered the artist’s body to be exhumed to close a paternity lawsuit. 

After the artist died at the age of 85 in 1989, he bequeathed his belongings to the state, having no children of his own, or so he thought.

A tarot card reader, named María Pilar Abel Martínez was born in 1956 after a secret affair with the painter in 1955, according to the woman’s mother, Antonia. The woman claimed to have worked as a maid nearby Dalí’s home.

Martinez says she grew up listening to her mother recount the story to both friends and strangers.

“The only thing I lack is a mustache," she told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

She and the Martinez family have been fighting this lawsuit since 2007, already undergoing two paternity tests. The court, however, stated they never received these results.

Martínez began a legal action against the state to retrieve the painter’s patrimony.

As there were no biological remains from the artist, no traceable objects, and no known offspring, the judge ordered his coffin to be dug up for a paternity test.

In a statement from the Madrid Supreme Court, they stated the purpose of the exhumation is to "to get samples of his remains to determine whether he is the biological father of a woman from Girona (in northeastern Spain) who filed a claim to be recognized as the daughter of the artist."

The Salvador Dali Foundation stated it is prepared to fight the court order to disturb the artist’s resting place through a court appeal.

"The Dalí Foundation is preparing an appeal to oppose the carrying out of this exhumation, an appeal that will be presented in the coming days," the foundation stated.

If her story proves true, Martinez will be allowed the use of her surname and be entitled to a part of the artist’s estate. However, Spanish media sources say she would have to apply for her share in order to access it.

"I want this exhumation to tell me who I am and to bring satisfaction at last to my mother," Abel told Spanish TV, stating her lawsuit had nothing to do with the millions of dollars left to the Spanish government by the artist.

The judge presiding over the case has not announced a date for the exhumation, but it’s thought it might take place in July.

The painter was buried in his hometown, Figueres, Catalonia, resting peacefully in the theater and museum he designed.

<![CDATA[Province in China Runs on 100% Renewable Energy for a Week]]> New clean schemes push nation further forward as leader in search for alternative technologies.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:24:00 -0400 Demonstrating that renewables are a viable option for the future, China’s Qinghai Province last week ran for seven consecutive days entirely on clean energy.

China Calls For International Cooperation to Protect Antarctica

From June 17 to June 23, Qinghai used only wind, solar and hydropower stations, coordinated by the national State Grid Corporation.

The Chinese province broke the previous record held by Portugal, which ran for four days straight on renewable energy in May 2016.

Quan Shengming, the general manager of the provincial grid company, told the official Xinhua News Agency that electricity use was 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours, which is equivalent to 535,000 tons of coal.

"Clean energy is the ultimate way. We need to reduce reliance on fossil fuel, improve our energy structure, and reduce carbon emissions," stated Han Ti, the company’s vice general manager.

While hydropower plants supplied 72.3 percent of the electricity to the province’s some 5.8 million people, the remainder was filled by wind and solar sources.

"Being the first trial of this kind in the country and a major step in the transformation of energy supply, it will be of great importance in promoting the use of clean energy in China in a sustainable and effective way," Shenming said in a statement to the media.

By May, Qinghai had already installed a power grid with a capacity of 23.4 million kilowatts, 82.8 percent of which comes from natural sources.

Don’t Mess With China’s Silk Road Initiative: Venezuela

According to its provincial 13th Five-Year Plan, Qinghai plans to expand its solar and wind capacity to 35 million kilowatts by 2020, in addition to supplying 110 billion kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year to central and eastern parts of China.

Elsewhere in the country, China plans to invest US$366 billion in renewable energy technologies by 2020, creating more than 13 million jobs, and placing Beijing at the forefront of clean energy innovation, according to the Chinese National Energy Administration.

<![CDATA[Mexico: International Press Group Demands Probe into Killings ]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:52:00 -0400 The Inter-American Press Association, IAPA, has called for an investigation into the abuses against journalists, demanding to know the reasonss for their deaths.

Mexican Journalist Salvador Adame Found Dead, Authorities Confirm

“Given the total impunity we journalists have already reached a stage in which while we do not have certainty regarding the causes of the murder of a colleague we have common cause to demand justice and that this be investigated painstakingly so as to learn the real motives of the crime and that those responsible be brought to court,” said IAPA’s chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock on the year’s events.

The IAPA guild denounced the murder of Salvador Adame Pardo, whose remains were identified by the Michoacan State Attorney’s Office Monday. The journalist, founder and director of Canal 6 Media TV and well known for his criticism of local municipal officials, was reported missing since May 18.

The non-profit organization appealed to three separate levels of government to stop attacks against Mexican journalists and allow them to work in peace. The National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) defended freedom of speech and communicators, stating that they deserve the right to practice their trade free from threats and attacks.

CNDH, Special Commission on Aggression of Journalists and the Chamber of Deputies Media and Communication have appealed to state authorities in defense of journalists, demanding action from the government to protect communicators. The organization's state journalists deserve the right to practice their trade in peace, completely free from danger.

"The National Commission calls on the authorities to intensify the investigations in a thorough and well-documented way so that the motive, whatever it may be, corresponds to the evidence," the group said in a statement.

"We call again the Secretary of the Interior to ensure the safety of journalists, and the Attorney General to punish those responsible," said the deputies. 

Despite six written demands for information on attacks against journalists to the state and the Attorney General, attacks to journalists increase in number while current cases remain in impunity. So far, CNDH has registered attacks on more than 120 media professionals since 2000.

<![CDATA[Poll Shows Growing Unfavorability Towards US Under Trump]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:15:00 -0400 The image of the United States tumbled across the globe under President Donald Trump and a majorityof  people in other countries disapprove of his ability to lead as well as his signature policies.

World Peace Councils Slams US Interventionism in Cuba

Research by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan 'fact tank' based in Washington, says out of the 37 countries surveyed, favorable ratings for the U.S. have decreased globally to 49 percent from 64 percent at the end of Barack Obama's presidency.

The figures are similar to those towards the end of the George W. Bush's administration.

"The drop in favorability ratings for the United States is widespread," the Pew report said. "The share of the public opinion with a positive view of the U.S. has plummeted in a diverse set of countries from Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa."

Among those countries that saw sharp declines, some are Washington's closest allies in Europe and Asia, including Germany and Japan, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada.

But around 41 percent of Russians now say they have a favorable view of the U.S., up from 15 percent at the end of the Obama era.

Trump took office in January promising to put "America First" and “Make America Great Again.”

Since then, he has forged ahead with his plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, restrict travel to the U.S. from some majority-Muslim nations and withdraw from the Paris climate accord. 

According to the survey, Trump’s Mexican wall plans are generating the greatest opposition.

In the countries surveyed, an average of 76 percent of those questioned disapprove, while only 16 percent are in favor. 

22 percent of the people surveyed are confident that Trump will do the right thing in global affairs, down from 64 percent from those who had confidence in the Obama adminstration.

Confidence in President Trump is also influenced by reactions to his character. 

Globally, 75 percent of respondents described Trump as “arrogant,” 65 percent as "intolerant" and 62 percent as "dangerous."

But he still has his supporters - 55 percent described him as a "strong leader."

The countries with the lowest confidence in Trump were Mexico and Spain, at 5 percent and 7 percent respectively. He received a higher score than Obama only in two countries: Russia and Israel. 

However, the survey showed that in many countries, a majority of respondents said they expected relations with the United States to stay roughly the same under President Trump.

<![CDATA[Here’s Your Guide to Understanding Protest Deaths in Venezuela]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 13:00:00 -0400 Headlines about ongoing violence in Venezuela are practically inescapable, with at least 87 people dead since opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the government began in early April.

Bolivia's Evo Says US Wants to Overthrow Venezuela to Steal Oil

In addition to those killed, over 1,200 have been injured in the protests.

Right-wing opposition leaders have attempted to portray the deaths as examples of state repression and evidence of the "dictatorship" that they are aiming to topple. Mainstream media have by and large echoed this version of events, using titles like “Venezuelan Regime Has Blood On Its Hands” and “Venezuela's Tiananmen Moment."

Some outlets have even gone as far as claiming the elected government of President Nicolas Maduro as engaging in “a campaign of state genocide.”

The reality of the situation on the ground, however, demonstrates something very different.

Here’s a breakdown of those killed since the opposition protests began.


April 6

1. Jairo Ortiz: the 19-year-old student, was shot by transit police Officer Rohenluis Leonel Mata in the state of Miranda. Venezuelan police immediately detained Mata, who is set to face criminal charges.

April 10

2. Daniel Queliz: the 19-year-old college student from Carabobo was shot by police while participating in an opposition protest.

3. Ricarda de Lourdes: the 83-year-old woman died at her home in Caracas on April 10 from hydrocephalus. When her symptoms began flaring earlier that day, she was unable to be transported to a nearby hospital because opposition protesters blocked all of the neighborhood’s roads, preventing ambulances from picking her up.

April 11

4. Yey Amaro: 37-year-old police officer in the state of Lara, was hit by a vehicle driven by opposition protesters on April 11 after trying to mediate protests in his home state.

5. Miguel Colmenares: the 36-year-old opposition supporter from Lara died from multiple wounds received after the detonation of explosive devices in Barquisimeto, Lara state.

6. Gruseny Canelon: the 32-year-old opposition supporter from Lara died of organ failure after being shot during an anti-government demonstration. Fifteen members of the National Guard have been placed under arrest in the incident.

7. Oliver Villa: the 29-year-old digital marketing entrepreneur was shot by unidentified assailants on motorbikes in Caracas after evading an opposition barricade in the El Paraiso sector of Caracas.

April 12

8. Brayan Principal: the 14-year-old resident of the Ali Primera Socialist City was shot by opposition protesters after they toppled the main gate of the commune.

9. Carlos Moreno: the 17-year-old student was shot in the head while in Caracas. Family members say he was not involved in the protest, and it is suspected his murder was perpetrated by armed robbers who stole his motorcycle.

April 19

10. Niumar Sanclemente: the 28-year-old sergeant with the National Guard was apparently killed by sniper fire in Los Teques, the capital of the state of Merida.

11. Paola Ramirez: the 23-year-old college student from Tachira was shot while in the vicinity of a demonstration. A member of the right-wing Vente Venezuela opposition group is under arrest for the murder.

April 20

12. Kevin Leon: the 19-year-old bakery worker in the El Valle district of Caracas, was shot by opposition protesters who were vandalizing his workplace.

13. Ramon Martinez: the 28-year-old cook who worked in the same bakery as Kevin Leon in the El Valle district of Caracas was shot by opposition protesters as he tried to protect the store.

14. Francisco Gonzalez: the 34-year-old died during the vandalization of the El Valle bakery.

15. Elio Manuel Pacheco Perez:  the 20-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

16. Jairo Ramírez: the 47-years-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

17. Robert Joel Centeno Briceño: the 29-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

18. William Heriberto Marrero Rebolledo: the 33-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

19. Jonathan Meneses: the 27-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

20. Stivenson Zamora: the 21-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

21. Kenyer Alexander Aranguren Pérez: the 20-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

22. Yorgeiber Rafael Barrena Bolívar: the 15-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.

23. Mervin Guitanthe 26-year-old who worked for a mayor's office in Sucre was shot by unidentified gunmen as he walked near a protest.

24. Alberto Rodriguez: the 16-year-old died from suffocation from tear gas used in El Valle, Caracas.

25. Eyker Daniel Rojas Gil: the Lara state native was shot while passing by an opposition protest in Barquisimeto on his way home.

April 23

26. Almelina Carrillo: the 47-year-old was struck in the head with a frozen water bottle thrown from a building while walking near a pro-government march in Caracas on April 19 and died a few days later.

April 24

27. Jesus Sulbaran: the 41-year-old criminology student and an official in the governor's office in Merida was killed while participating in a pro-government demonstration, according to Venezuela’s ombudsman.

28. Renzo Rodriguez: the 54-year-old was killed in the state of Barinas from a gunshot wound to his chest when he was in the vicinity of the mayor's office of the municipality of Barinas.

29. Orlando Jhosep: the 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound during a protest in the city of El Tocuyo, Lara state.

30. Daniel Infante: the 25-year-old transportation worker was killed while participating in a pro-government demonstration, according to Venezuela’s ombudsman.

31. Luis Marquez: the 52-year-old was shot and killed in the capital of the state of Merida while taking part in a pro-government demonstration.

April 25

32. Efrain Sierra: the 27-year-old lost his life after receiving a bullet in the stomach on April 24 as he resisted the theft of his motorcycle while passing through an opposition barricade. Disturbingly, there are also other people whose murders during these dates raise concerns about targeted assassinations and possible paramilitary activity.

33. Christian Humberto Ochoa Soriano: the 22-year-old college student from Carabobo was shot by police while participating in an opposition protest.

April 26

34. Juan Pablo Pernalete Llovera: the 20-year-old was killed Wednesday in Chacao after being hit by a gas cannister.

May 2

35. Angel Enrique Moreira Gonzalez: the 28-year-old died after trying to dodge a barricade placed by an opposition march blocking a highway in the state of Miranda, as his motorcycle crashed into another car. 

36. Ana Victoria Colmenarez de Hernandez: the 43-year-old died in the state of Carabobo when the bus she was traveling in crashed trying to dodge a street barricade. Police have yet to confirm the identity of another person that would have been killed in the same accident. On this same date, the opposition had called for communities across Venezuela to block all access to their towns by building barricades.

37. Maria de los Angeles Guanipa: the 38-year-old was killed in the same bus accident as Ana Victoria Colmenarez de Hernandez. She was originally from Coro in Falcon state.

38. Yonathan Quintero: the 21-year-old was killed by a store owner when a group of people tried to loot his store in the state of Carabobo. 

39. Carlos Eduardo Aranguren Salcedo: the Caracas native died in the city's Puente Baloa neighborhood near a violent opposition demonstration while buying breakfast for his brothers.

May 3

40. Armando Cañizales: the 18-year-old died due to a gunshot wound on his neck during an opposition march blocking one of the main highways in Caracas.

May 4

41. Gerardo Barrera: the 38-year-old police officer was shot during an opposition demonstration in the town of La Pradera, in the state of Carabobo, around 100 miles west of Caracas. 

42. Juan Bautista Lopez Manjarrez: the 33-year-old student organizer and United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV, member was shot at the Territorial Polytechnic University in Anzoategui by an unknown shooter. Lopez was killed a day after publicly backing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s proposal for a national constituent assembly during a press conference.

May 5

43. Hecder Lugo: the 20-year-old died after being shot in the head during a protest held in Valencia the day before.

44. Miguel ‘Mike’ Joseph Medina Romero: the 20-year-old died after being shot in the abdomen on May 3 during an opposition protest in Zulia state.

May 7

45. Cesar Guzman: the 22-year-old college student was shot in the head after participating in a student assembly in the El Tigre area of Anzoategui.

May 10

46. Miguel Castillo: the 27-year-old died during an opposition demonstration in the Las Mercedes neighborhood of Caracas.

47. Anderson Dugarte: the 32-year-old died after being hit in the head by a projectile of a firearm while riding a motorcyle near an opposition protest two days earlier.

May 12

48. Carlos Enrique Hernandez: the 30-year-old was driving a motorcycle with a companion and collided with a street barricade, or guarimba, set up by opposition protesters.

49. Jose Muñoz Alcoholado: the victim, of Chilean origin, was in a restaurant in Caracas during an activity supporting Maduro when two opposition protesters entered and shot him. Alcoholado was a former member of the Revolutionary Left Movement, a Chilean Marxist-Leninist militant organization that fought against right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet.

May 15

50. Luis Alviarez: the 17-year-old died after being reportedly shot while demonstrating in Palmira, Tachira state. An investigation has been opened into his death.

51. Javier Antonio Velazquez Cardenas: the 42-year-old business owner was murdered nearby a gas station in Merida state amid a local opposition protest. He was approached by armed subjects who shot him three times and left him lying on the floor.

52. Isabel Torrealba: the 54-year-old died of a stroke while caught in the middle of an opposition protest against national guards. 

May 16

53. Diego Hernandez: the 33-year-old from the Capacho Nuevo municipality in Tachira state died after being shot in the chest during an opposition protest. Tachira police have been implicated in his death and a Tachira prosecutor has been put in charge of the case. Minister of Interior Relations Nestor Reverol confirmed that he was a member of the PSUV and that he was working as a taxi driver when he was assassinated.

54. Diego Fernando Arellano: the 32-year-old biologist died in a local clinic after being injured during an opposition protest in the city of San Antonio de los Altos, a middle-class suburb about 10 miles from Caracas.

55. Yeison Mora Castillo: the 17-year-old was wounded on May 15 and died today in Barinas state. A prosecutor of the state has been named to lead the investigation.

May 17

56. Jose Francisco Guerrero: the 15-year-old was shot the day before while shopping nearby an opposition protest in Tachira state. His relatives indicated that he was not a member of any demonstration.

57. Manuel Castellanos: the 46-year-old was shot while commuting to a local store in Tachira state to purchase diapers. His death was not connected to protests.

May 18

58. Pedro Josue Carrillo: the 20-year-old was found dead with gunshot wounds in Lara state after being kidnapped several days before. He was a leader of the PSUV in his home state as well as the Socialista Guerrera Ana Soto commune that forms part of the Bolivar and Chavez Mission.

59. Daniel Rodriguez: the 18-year-old college student was shot by unknown suspects on a motorcycle in the Cordoba area of Tachira.

60. Paul Moreno: the 24-year-old college student was run over at a barricade by a van in Zulia.

May 19

61. Jorge Escandon: the 37-year-old community law enforcement officer was shot by opposition protesters with a makeshift gun in the Naguanagua area of Carabobo state.

May 20

62. Edy Alejandro Teran Aguilar: the 23-year-old was shot during demonstrations in the El Murachi district of the city of Valera. Authorities reported that armed people opened fire against protesters, hitting Teran in the chest. Teran and at least two other people injured in the incident were taken to the hospital, where the 23-year-old victim was pronounced dead on arrival. 

63. Orlando Jose Figuera Esparragoza: the 20-year-old was killed in Miranda while traveling to his uncle's house after leaving work. He was approached by an unknown group of protesters and stabbed to death.

May 22

64. Yorman Ali Bervecia Cabeza: the 18-year-old was shot in the city of Barinas after opposition demonstrators began to attack the Bolivarian National Guard.
The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

65. Elvis Adonis Montilla Pérez: the 20-year-old was shot during a demonstration in the city of Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

66. Alfredo José Briceño Carrizales: the 25-year-old father was shot during a demonstration in the city of Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

67. Miguel Ángel Bravo Ramírez: 25-year-old was shot during a demonstration in the municipality Antonio José de Sucre in Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

68. Freiber Darío Pérez Vielma: 21-year-old was shot during a demonstration in the Dominga Ortiz de Páez parish in Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

May 23

69. Juan Sánchez: 21-year-old was shot during a demonstration in Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

70. Erick Molina: 35-year-old was shot during a demonstration in Barinas. The circumstances are being investigated by the prosecutor of Barinas state.

71. Mauro Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez: 60-year-old father of four and PDVSA truck driver died after not being able to receive medical attention due to violent roadblocks by protestors in the city of Barinas.

May 24

72. Augusto Pugas: the 22-year-old student was killed after being shot in the head during a protest near the University in Ciudad Bolivar.

73. Adrian Jose Duque Bravo: the 23-year-old was killed during an opposition protest in Zulia.

74. Augusto Sergio Puga Velasquez: the 22-year-old medical student was shot in the head while passing by an opposition protest in Bolivar.

May 25

75. Manuel Alejandro Sosa Aponte: the 33-year-old food company worker was shot in the back during an opposition protest in Lara.

May 27

76. Cesar David Pereira Villegas: the 20-year-old was killed after being shot nearby a protest in Anzoategui.

77. Danny Jose Subero: the 34-year-old retired National Guard member died nearby a funeral held by opposition protesters in Lara. He was approached by unknown assailants on a motorcycle who shot at him, blew up his car and later robbed him.

May 31

78. Nelson Antonio Moncada Gomez: the 37-year-old judge who oversaw opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez's criminal trial was shot while passing by a street barricade organized by opposition protesters in Caracas. Upon identifying him, an unknown protester shot him, later proceeding to rob him.

June 1

79. Maria Estefania Rodriguez: the 45-year-old hotel waitress was shot several times as she walked by a protest in Lara.

June 3

80. Yoinier Javier Peña Hernandez: the 28-year-old died at the Central University Hospital after being shot by unknown gunmen nearby a protest in Lara on April 10.

81. Luis Miguel Gutierrez Molina: the 20-year-old died at the Hospital Universitario de Los Andes after being shot on May 17 while passing by a protest in Merida.

June 13

82. Douglas Acevedo Sanchez: the 42-year-old police officer was shot in the neck during a violent opposition protest in Merida. Two students and another police officer were also left injured.

June 15

83. Luis Enrique Vera: the 20-year-old died at a protest at the Rafael Belloso Chacin University in northern Maracaibo in Zulia state, after being dragged by a truck that opposition forces had tried to detain.

June 16

84. Nelson Daniel Arevalo Avendaño: the 24-year-old student died in Barquisimeto, Lara state from severe mortar explosion wounds. The explosion, according to Venezuelan authorities, was triggered by armed protesters. 

June 19

85. Fabian Urbina: the 17-year-old was participating in an opposition demonstration on the Francisco Fajardo highway in the municipality of Chacao, Miranda state, where he was injured after being shot in the chest. He was transferred to a private clinic in the area where he died. Two officials of the Bolivarian National Guard have been detained for the misuse of firearms.

June 22

86. David Vallenilla: the 22-year-old was shot during a violent demonstration by the Venezuelan opposition in the Altamira section of Caracas. The Venezuelan Public Ministry will investigate the murder, which the opposition claims was committed by state forces.

June 27    

87. Ronny Parra: the 27-year-old National Guard member was killed during an 'irregular' situation in Maracay, Aragua.

The next two cases were not directly related to the marches, but the political nature of their work has raised concern that their deaths could be part of a broader trend.

April 23

Esmin Ramirez: the Venezuelan trade unionist was killed in the southeastern state of Bolivar after being kidnapped in an act that people close to him claim was politically motivated. Ramirez, who was a member of the Movement 21 labor syndicate in the state-run iron ore producer Ferrominera and part of the PSUV political party in Cachamay, was killed in El Rinconcito sector in Guayana City, a city along the bank of the Orinoco River in Bolivar state.

Jackeline Ortega: murdered in the greater Caracas area in Santa Lucia del Tuy. Ortega was also a member of the PSUV as well as a leader in the Local Committee on Supply and Production, known as CLAP, a government-created alternative food distribution program.

<![CDATA[Russians Name Stalin, Lenin as ‘Most Outstanding World Figures’]]> A December poll by the Levada Center also found that the majority of Russians would prefer living under the old Soviet Union.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:32:00 -0400 Russians have yet again named the late leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Joseph Stalin, as “the most outstanding figure” in world history, a new poll by the Levada Center published Monday indicates.

Most Russians Prefer Return of Soviet Union and Socialism: Poll

Ranking him first in the free form poll — meaning, respondents weren’t given suggestions for answers — Stalin beat out Russian President Vladimir Putin, who came second alongside poet Alexander Pushkin.

Third in the poll’s ranking, which surveyed 1,600 people in 137 places across Russia, was the late revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution.

Only three non-Russians made the top 20: French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.

According to the Levada Center, public opinion of Stalin has been improving over the past few years, mostly due to Stalin’s role in leading the USSR to fight against Nazism in World War II.

A December poll by the Center also found that the majority of Russians would prefer living under the old Soviet Union and would like to see the socialist system and the Soviet state restored.

It found that over 50 percent of Russian citizens believe the collapse of the Soviet Union was bad and could have been avoided. Only 28 percent of the population surveyed felt positive about its collapse.

The center also published that nostalgia for the USSR is at its highest point since 2000.

<![CDATA[Serena Williams Hits Back at McEnroe's Tennis Circuit Claims ]]> Retired player's comments have reopened the long-time debate, often mired in sexism, of women in sports.

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:47:00 -0400 Tennis star Serena Williams, considered one of the greatest athletes of her generation, has slammed John McEnroe’s claims that she would struggle immensely if she played on the men’s tennis circuit.

Is Serena Williams the Next Muhammad Ali?

Retired player McEnroe told NPR that Williams would "be like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's Tour, reopening the debate about sexism in sports.

Williams, who holds 23 grand slam singles titles and is the only woman on Forbes' list of the world's 100 highest paid athletes in 2017, tweeted in response, saying, “Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.”

"I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir," she said in another tweet.

Williams, who often combines her athletic acumen with political activism, has said she will make her tennis comeback next year.

McEnroe has since refused to apologize, saying that he was just calling it "like it is".

Asked on CBS "This Morning" if he would like to say sorry, McEnroe said no before adding that he did not believe his comments, made on his book tour, would create the storm they have.

In 2015 McEnroe, who is now 58, said he believed he could still beat Williams.

“My daughters are over there,” he said during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“I think it’s mixed, they think I’d probably lose to Serena. I believe that I could still take her.”

McEnroe won seven grand slam singles titles, including three victories at Wimbledon.

<![CDATA[Jailed FARC Members Continue Hunger Strike for Promised Amnesty]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:46:00 -0400 As the delivery of thousands of weapons was completed, imprisoned members of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia started a hunger strike to demand the implementation of their amnesty as established in the peace agreement.

UN Confirms Colombia's FARC Disarmament is Complete

The Colombian government says it will free 2,400 FARC members, without clarifying whether they were refering to current members in transition zones or jailed former fighters.

According to the FARC, 110 political prisoners have joined in the hunger strike, and they say it will continue until the government complies with the implementation agreement.

Jesus Santrich, one of the leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said on Monday that he joined the strike to protest what he called the state's failure to release prisoners within the framework of the peace agreement.

It's been six months since the Colombian Congress signed the Amnesty and Pardons Act, and only 832 of the 3,400 FARC prisoners have been included.

"The lack of political will in the implementation of what was agreed in Havana has been the constant of the national government and the branches of power," Santrich said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

Colombia: Another FARC Member Killed in Somber Sign for Peace

Santrich said the hunger strike will continue "until the state fulfills the commitment to release the prisoners and members of the FARC."

He said the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace of the United Nations has been slow in delivering the final certifications to members of the FARC, which in turn delays the amnesty process.

"Of the 3400 people recognized by the FARC, 2,577 are still not released, which shows the non-compliance by the Colombian state, while the group finished the delivery of arms in compliance with the agreement," said Santrich.

<![CDATA[Mexican Boxing Legend Julio Cesar Chavez Faces Kidnap Threat]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:21:00 -0400 Julio Cesar Chavez says the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned him that he could be kidnapped.

The former world champion boxer was speaking to the media in Culiacán, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa state, where he had been attending his brother Rafael's funeral.

Rafael was killed during a robbery at his house in the city on Sunday night.

He promised that his brother's murder would not go unpunished and and vowed to search for his brother's killers.

"The FBI have warned me that they want to kidnap me and my daughter in Tijuana, I told the authorities and they have not done anything," said Chavez, who currently works as an analyst for ESPN and TV Azteca.

He said that the information shared by the FBI was then given to the Governor of Baja California, Francisco Vega, and the authorities of Tijuana.

But Chavez said nothing has been done "I think they are waiting for something to happen," Chávez said.

He also claimed that the FBI has identified the possible kidnapper but did not want to reveal his name so as not to alert him.

At a news conference on Monday, Sinaloa state prosecutor Juan Jose Rios said two men entered Rafael Chavez Gonzalez's house in Culiacan on Sunday night.

One was armed and demanded money.

The Attorney General has opened a case file after the State undersecretary of Public Security, Cristóbal Castaňeda Camarillo, announced an investigation into Rafael's killing. Five casings and two bullets were discovered at the scene.

"It's unbelievable that they just assaulted my uncle, he did not want to give them the money and they killed him. It is incredible how people can take the life of someone who has children, mother, wife without knowing the pain and damage that will provoke so easily I can not believe I hope and justice is done," said the victim’s nephew, Chávez Carrasco on his instagram account.

His death has been mourned by the boxing community, with representatives of the World Boxing Council offering their condolences in a statement Monday.

"The World Boxing Council laments the passing of Rafael "Borrego" Chavez, brother of our beloved former champion Julio Cesar Chavez,” the organization said.

A formidable boxer like his younger brother, “Borrego” Chavez held a record of 9 bouts victories and 2 losses, although he chose not to pursue the profession.


<![CDATA[Brazil's Temer Won't Resign and Says Nothing Will Destroy Him]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:29:00 -0400 Brazil's President Michel Temer says nothing will destroy him, as he faces suspension and a possible impeachment.

On Monday, Temer became the nation's first sitting office holder to be charged with graft and is now awaiting a final decision by the Supreme Court.

Brazil Police Present Evidence President Temer Took Bribes

Attorney General Rodrigo Janot formally accused President Michel Temer and his aide Rodrigo Rocha Loures of corruption, charging them with receiving bribes from the head of the meatpacking giant JBS.

Criminal charges against a sitting president have to be approved by about two-thirds of the lower house of Congress. 341 out of the 513 lawmakers would have to vote in favor. Only then can the Supreme Court issue a conviction.

If approved by the lower house, Temer could be suspended for 90 days while awaiting impeachment proceedings. 

In that scenario, the current House Speaker Rodrigo Maia would assume the presidency.

Temer who was one of the main architects of a similar procedure against former the President Dilma Rousseff, has said he will not resign.

Just a few hours before the Prosecutor's Office decision was confirmed, Temer said,"Nothing will destroy us, neither me nor my ministers".

The president, eight of his ministers and other political allies and advisers are being investigated for alleged corruption in the country's largest bribery scheme investigation called Operation Car Wash.

Brazil Police Confirm Audio of
Temer Ordering Bribes is Authentic

In May, a wiretapped conversation with businessman Josley Batista, chairman of JBS, the largest meatpacking company in the country was released which appeared to show Temer endorsing bribes to potential witnesses in the investigation.

In the recording, Temer was heard saying after being informed that hush money was being paid to the former head of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, “Look, you've got to keep that up.”

Police alleged they had evidence against the president and confirmed the authenticity of the recordings, which Temer insists have been tampered with.

Temer also denied a report in a national magazine claiming that the country's secret security service, known as Abin, spied on the judge in charge of the same corruption probe.

The president's support has plummeted as he also faces protests against austerity measures. A survey by the Datafolha polling institute shows just 7 percent of those questioned approved of his administration, down from 9 percent in April.

Meanwhile, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva would win the 2018 presidential election, although his candidacy is not yet official, according to the Datafolha Institute.

Lula from the Workers' Party maintains a leadership between 29 and 30 percent of the vote intention, followed by Marina Silva from Rede Sustentabilidade and Jair Bolsonaro from the Social Christian Party.

<![CDATA[Bolivia to Pay $50,000 Fine for Release of Detainees from Chile]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:05:00 -0400 Bolivia has agreed to pay a fine of US$50,000 paving the way for the release of nine of its nationals following an acrimonious legal battle with Chile.

Chile Expels Detained Bolivian Officials, Imposes Fine

The men, two military and seven customs officials, were detained in a border region on March 19.

They were accused of smuggling, theft with intimidation and illegal possession of weapons.

Bolivia has rejected the claims, insisting that Chilean police crossed into its territory and detained the officers while they were performing a regular operation against smuggling.

The detainees are expected to return to Bolivia within the coming days. The Bolivian Justice Minister said "Let's hope that between Tuesday and Wednesday the nine compatriots are finally in Bolivian territory".

Last week a Chilean judge ruled that they would be expelled from the country within 30 days once the money had been paid.

President Evo Morales has confirmed the signing of a supreme decree to provide the funding for the fine.

Morales maintains the men's detention was illegal and promised to give them back their dignity:

After the fine is processed, the detainees will be transported to the Bolivian border.

Bolivia's Attorney General, Pablo Manacho, said the transfer will be handled judicially through consular authorities and the Ministry of Justice.

The dispute went as far as the Organization of American States.

The Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni told the OAS General Assembly that the men's detention was “unjust and arbitrary”.

Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz responding by saying that “he does not accept that an internal legal situation in his country should being vented at the OAS” and warned that “the precedent that can be created with this case is interminable.”

<![CDATA[World Peace Councils Slams US Interventionism in Cuba]]> Trump’s policies denounced as “unfounded and hypocritical accusations against Cuban democracy.”

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:35:00 -0400 The World Peace Council (WPC) has strongly rejected the U.S. President Donald Trump’s rollback of normalizing relations with Cuba.

‘Doomed to Fail’: Cuba Responds to Trump’s Policy Reversal

In a statement published on Monday, the WPC called interventionist actions by the United States as “attempts to frustrate the progress of the Cuban Revolution and isolate the nation through a criminal blockade imposed for over five decades.”

They also slammed the reasoning behind the rollback as “typical of a failed and outdated policy, of unfounded and hypocritical accusations against Cuban democracy.”

In addition, the Council also recalled the long history of aggression by Washington in Latin America, stressing that all nations have a right to self-determination and sovereignty, “given signs that domestic destabilization policies are set to intensify.”

The WPC, affiliated with the United Nations, is an international organization founded in 1950 that advocates for universal disarmament, sovereignty and anti-imperialism.

Earlier this month, at the 23rd Brazilian Convention of Solidarity with Cuba, WPC President Socorro Gomes cited the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro as “eternal as his humanism”.

Russia Affirms Solidarity with Cuba, Laments US ‘Cold War’ Rhetoric

She also stated that Castro’s legacy is a “major reference” for the WPC.

Trump’s rollbacks, announced earlier this month, include the continuation of the economic blockade, tightening of restrictions on business with companies linked to authorities in Havana, as well as prohibiting “people to people” travel to Cuba.

Other changes announced by the White House include the possibility of auditing all U.S. citizens who visit Cuba to ensure that they have not violated the sanctions policy.

<![CDATA[Ceremony Marks FARC's Disarmament in Colombia]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:18:00 -0400 The United Nations has confirmed that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, has delivered 7,132 weapons, as part of the peace process to end decades of conflict and start their transition into politics.

A Timeline of Colombia’s Peace Process

The group's representatives and the government have been attending a disarmament ceremony in the Mesetas, around 250 kilometers south of Bogota.

The rebels' leader Rodrigo Londoño, also called Timoleon Jimenez, or Timochenko, and the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos were also present.

Timochenko told FARC fighters they were "yesterday militants of the people's army, now militants of the hope of the people."

"Today is not the end of the FARC, it's the end of us taking up the arms 50 years ago, we continue to exist through legal and peaceful means," Timochenko said.

The FARC leader said the group had honored their word and complied with the peace deal, and they expected the state to do its part, demanding an end to political persecution.

“We will walk through the streets and plazas of Colombia bringing our message of peace,” Timochenko said.

"Goodbye to arms, goodbye to war, welcome peace!"

Timochneko denounced paramilitary violence which continues to harm the group as well as the deaths of human rights activists who have been murdered since the peace agreement was signed.

Six months after the signing of the Amnesty Law, he said many FARC members are still in jail. Only 832 of the 3,400 FARC prisoners have received amnesty. Hundreds of them have started a hunger strike to demand the implementation of this part of the agreement.

"The peace agreement is not for the FARC but for the entirety of Colombia," Timochenko said.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos told the audience at the ceremony "We are no longer a story of pain and death, we are one people and one nation, advancing towards the future in democracy". He added that "Today is the day the weapons were changed by words."

Santos said the disarmament signifies the end of decades of war that affected millions, and the international community will see through the implementation of all aspects of the agreements. He said both sides still need to comply with several aspects of the deal.

"There will be justice, and there will be reparation, there will be truth, and a guaranty of no repetition, we made sure of that in the peace agreement," Santos said.

Colombia's President said he will never agree with the FARC on the political or economic model for the nation but said he will defend their right to express their ideas, and offered all security guarantees that are necessary.

Jean Arnault, head of the U.N. mission in Colombia, said the disarmament process has seen the largest amount of weapons being handed in from any recent conflict. He said this implementation will bring definitive peace and prosperity especially to the most affected areas and hope for the victims.

"We recommend that the UN gather the lessons of the experience of the mission in Colombia to apply them in other parts of the world," Arnault said.

The process to deliver all weapons was approved on May 29, 2017. It marks the beginning of the fighters' reintegration into society and the end to more than fifty years of conflict with the Colombian government, which claimed around 260,000 lives.

Timochenko and other leaders have said they will continue their fight for social justice now through peaceful means.

The disarmament process had been scheduled to end last month, but the both sides announced an extension due to logistical problems. The sticking points included issues over security and infrastructure shortages for the 26 transition zones for members of the FARC.

Colombia's Uribe Vows to Roll Back Deal with FARC If His Party Wins in 2018 Election

The zones are the next phase of the peace process which is helping the former rebels reintegrate back into civilian life.

The historic agreement had the support of the international community, especially guarantor countries such as Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela, Norway and Chile.

The UN peace mission said that by August 1 they will have stored all the weapons from the camps. They will be used to build three monuments signifying peace as agreed in the deal negotiated with the Colombian government in Cuba.

Further aspects of the accord still to be implemented include land for campesinos, demining, the fight against drug trafficking as well as state social investment in education and health.

<![CDATA[Activist: 15 ISIS Members Killed in Airstrike on Syrian Jail]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 07:22:00 -0400 According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an airstrike targeting an Islamic State-run jail in eastern Syria killed at least 42 prisoners on Monday.

'Staggering, Disastrous': Monitors Slam US-Led Attacks in Syria

The activist-run Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet claimed that at least 15 ISIS jailers and fighters, as well as dozens of civilians, were among those killed in the strike.

The building that was struck reported belonged to an al-Qaida-linked commander, prior to being seized by the Islamic State group in 2014.

Unconfirmed reports from both activist groups have alleged that a U.S.-led coalition was responsible for the strike.

Late Monday, the White House issued a warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad based on "potential" evidence that Syria was making preparations to carry out another chemical attack.

"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children," U.S. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

Spicer further explained that intelligence has observed certain activities which mirror preparations taken before the April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children.

"(If) Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price," Spicer warned.

Russia and Syria have previously carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State in that region.

<![CDATA[EU Slaps Google with Massive $2.7 Billion Fine ]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:36:00 -0400 Google has been slapped with a hefty fine by European antitrust officials.

Google Loses Monopoly Suit in Russia

The search engine giant was dealt a major blow for unfairly favoring its search services over those of its competitors.

The company is required to fork out a whopping 2.4 billion euros or $2.7 billion, a record antitrust fine — which tops the 1.06 billion euros against Intel in 2009.

This decision marks Europe's aim to regulate cyber content.

Europe's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager has previously demanded that other major players in the tech industry pay their dues in the region. She has pushed for Apple to repay $14.5 billion in back taxes in Ireland, launched an investigation into Amazon’s tax practices and Facebook’s alleged dominance over people’s digital data.

“What Google has done is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules,” said Vestager. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

The focus of Vestager's "cleanup" campaign has mainly been Silicon Valley firms, prompting accusations that Europe is unfairly targeting American companies.

Google's hefty fine marks the latest chapter in a lengthy standoff between Europe and Google, which also faces two separate charges related to its Android platform and advertising products.

The antitrust ruling targets Google’s online shopping service practices, which the EU states have enjoyed preferential treatment.

Google has repeatedly denied breaching Europe’s competition rules, saying that its digital services grew the region’s cyber economy because they are used by millions in the region daily.

The company also added that there remains significant online competition in Europe, including Amazon and eBay.

Google Expands 'Fact Check' Tool to Flag Fake News

Under European rules, the search giant must present proposals showing that it competitors are treated fairly. 

The authorities can demand that Google makes further changes if they are not satisfied with the initial proposals.

Additionally, many of Google’s competitors have called for an independent monitor to oversee the company’s digital services in Europe.

“The changes could have ramifications beyond Google Shopping, and might even impact Google’s operations in the United States,” a number of American companies that have filed antitrust complaints against Google said in a public letter ahead of the ruling on Tuesday.

The signatories included Oracle, News Corporation and Yelp.

<![CDATA[Appeal: Dutch Govt Partially Liable for 300 Srebrenica Deaths]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 05:55:00 -0400 On Tuesday a Dutch appeals court ruled that the government was partially liable for the 1995 deaths of 300 Muslim men murdered by Bosnian Serb forces.

Black People Are a 'Genocide Project' in Brazil Says Researcher

The ruling somewhat upholds the 2014 civil court decision that found the state fully liable for the deaths of the men in the Srebrenica massacre.

The Hague Appeals Court's presiding judge, Gepke Dulek, explained that Dutch soldiers became culpable once they had released the men and other shelter-seeking refugees seeking from the secured compound, "they were deprived of the chance of survival."

Dutch U.N. peacekeepers turned over the men to Serbian forces, who trucked them away, executed them and dumped their bodies in mass graves.

The men were among around 8,000 Muslim men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the massacre, ruled a genocide by the international courts.

<![CDATA[Top Arms Exporter Russia Successfully Launches Missile]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 04:38:00 -0400 According to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass, a nuclear-powered submarine has successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.

DPRK Fired Ballistic Missile That Flew 430 Miles: South Korea

The Yuri Dolgoruky vessel reportedly carried out the exercise in the Barents Sea in the Arctic. The ship is one of Russia’s most significant operating in the region earmarked for military development by Moscow. Russian Admiral Viktor Chirkov pointed out that the advancements would include modernizing facilities and military coverage of the North Sea route.

On Monday, the sub launched a Bulava missile in the northwest region of Russia and found a target on the other side of the country, according to the news agency.

“The launch was carried out from an underwater position in accordance with the combat readiness plan,” a statement from the Ministry of Defense reported in Itar-Tass.

The launch was lauded as a success when it “hit the designated targets on the course.”

This target-hit signals significant progress, considering the missile project has largely been a failure since it began more than a decade ago. A launch had taken place in September but did not achieve the desired outcome, as the missiles self-detonated before reaching the target.

Russia is one of five countries with a territorial claim over the Arctic, and as part of strengthening its hand in the region, Moscow formed an Artic Joint Strategic Command in 2014.

The other four countries that have claims on the area are all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members – the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway.

Russia among top 5 arms exporter

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia is among the five biggest exporters of major armaments in 2012-2016, during which the country supplied weapons to 50 states.

Since 2000, Russia has sold about 50 warships, with a price tag of $24 billion, according to the country's agency for exports and imports of defense-related products.

"One-third of them were submarines," Alexander Mikheyev, the Director General of Rosoboronexport said in a statement.

Rosoboronexport, the state intermediary agency for Russia's exports/imports of defense-related and dual use end products, is expected to sign new contracts at the upcoming 8th International Maritime Defense Show which commence on Wednesday in St. Petersburg.

Mikheyev stated that warships accounted for around 12 percent of total arms exports by the agency.

The combined arms sales of the 11 Russian companies in 2015 Top 100 was $30.1 billion, representing 8.1 percent of the total Top 100 arms sales for 2015, according to SIPRI's December report.

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

<![CDATA[4 Black Teens Handcuffed for Selling Water]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 02:38:00 -0400 On Thursday, four black teens were detained and handcuffed by undercover police for selling water at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Family of Police Killing Victim Philando Castile Reach $3 Million Settlement

On Friday, U.S. Park Police Sergeant Anna Rose said, in a statement, that “officers placed them (two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old) in handcuffs for the safety of the officers and of the individuals.

“Vending on the National Mall is illegal without a permit,” Rose added, stating that the teens were released without charges after their parents arrived at the park’s police station and that the incident was “blown out of proportion.”

A Mall worker, Tim Krepp, posted images of the young men in cuffs on his Twitter page. Krepp, who spoke to HuffPost, said his shift had just ended when he saw the young men in the custody of plainclothes park policemen.

Krepp, a tour guide for almost 11 years, said that young boys and girls sell water at the Mall “all the time,” but he has never witnessed anyone being handcuffed as a result.

“My kids sell water and everyone smiles at them. These kids do it and get arrested. It is racist,” Krepp wrote on his Twitter. 

He said seeing the young men handcuffed, sitting on the ground and being searched struck him.

Krepp’s tweet, which has since been shared more than 15,000 times, has sparked wide-scale outrage from the public as well as political representatives.

“There’s no way you can avoid the obvious imagery of young black men being handcuffed and clearly being treated as a threat with white cops around,” Krepp told HuffPost. Krepp added that this incident speaks to a broader more significant issue involving the policing of people of color.

“Images matter and symbols matter, especially at the National Mall when you’re here to see symbols and images to learn,” he added. “That’s why it’s here, this is a sacred space to talk about our national history and the cops should be aware of that.”

Washington D.C. Councilman Charles Allen chimed in on the incident, posting a letter he addressed to the U.S. Park Police chief.

In the letter, Allen pointed out the racial double standard regarding the manner in which the incident was handled.

“While I understand the need to maintain consistency in permitted actions, I do not understand why the enforcement cannot take place with uniformed personnel and actions less severe than handcuffing individuals suspected of the sales. I can’t help but think how the reaction by these same officers might have varied if different children had set up a quaint hand-painted lemonade stand on the same spot,” Allen's letter detailed.

“While still the same violation of selling a beverage without proper permits and licenses, I doubt we would have seen little girls in pigtails handcuffed on the ground.”

<![CDATA[Brazil's Lula Continues to Lead Polls in 2018 Presidential Race]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 23:02:00 -0400 Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva is still leading polls for the 2018 presidential race, suggesting that the right wing's undemocratic return to power could be short-lived.

Brazilian Workers' Party 6th National Congress to Nominate Lula for President

According to the polling firm Datafohla, the Workers' Party's candidate would win the election in a run-off vote with any of the five possible scenarios proposed to the people surveyed — considering that most of the parties have not appointed their candidate for next year's election yet.

Lula would obtain at least 14 percentage points more than any other candidate tested, with about 29 or 30 percent of support against Green Party's candidate Marina Silva, Social-Christian Party's Jair Bolsonaro, or Sao Paulo's Governor Geraldo Alckmin.

Lula has criticized the media in Brazil for consistently accusing him of corruption and fraud without any evidence and creating a “climate of guilt” around him.

Evidence Proves Brazil's Lula Must be Acquitted: Defense

Lula is accused of receiving a beach apartment as a kickback from the Brazilian construction conglomerate OAS in exchange for political favors like helping the firm win government contracts. Lula has denied owning the property and slammed the case as a "farce," claiming it is an attempt to destroy his character and sabotage his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election.

If Lula is convicted, he can appeal to a federal court, and would not face prison unless the judge rules he is at flight risk or has a concern that he could intimidate witnesses. If his appeal is not accepted, he could seek an injunction from the Supreme Court. In the case that all appeals are rejected, it would bar Lula from running or being nominated for any public office for eight years and could include prison or house arrest.

<![CDATA[DAPL Resistance Camp on Louisiana End of Pipeline Goes Up]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:51:00 -0400 Inspired by the Standing Rock movement, the Indigenous communities, along with environmental justice groups in southern Louisiana are resisting the 163-mile-long Bayou Bridge pipeline, essentially the "tail end of the Dakota Access pipeline."

Water Protectors Score a Significant Win as Judge Orders Review of DAPL Permits

A new resistance “floating" camp opened on June 24, named "Water Is Life" sits among Louisiana's wetlands. The southern Louisiana-based camp primarily comprising of the Indigenous and environmental activists contain numerous Indigenous art structures on rafts.

Its name, "L’eau Est La Vie," is derived from the Indigenous-colonial Houma-French language. The United Houma Nation is one of the tribes whose members are challenging the pipeline.

For the first two weeks, the prayer and resistance camp will be engaging in a prayer ceremony. Cherri Foytlin, state director of Bold Louisiana and an Indigenous woman told Colorlines, “Someone is praying at all times at the camp for the next two weeks."

According to the camp, the Bayou Bridge pipeline is in the stages of receiving permits, and the Energy Transfer Partners — the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline — is pressing the construction of Bayou Bridge pipeline to bring the Dakota Access to its full potential.

The Bayou Bridge pipeline is strategic as it would carry North Dakota’s fracked oil to the Gulf of Mexico.

The pipeline system, collectively called the Bakken pipeline, would bring the oil to Nederland, Texas, and then to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The idea is to expand the existing system to St. James. According to Colorlines, ETP wants the crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, that runs through the Dakota Access to Illinois, to ultimately end up at terminal facilities and refineries in St. James, Louisiana.

Future of DAPL Remains in Question as Legal Battle Continues

According to L’eau Est La Vie's Facebook page, Energy Transfer's proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline is in violation of the Louisiana State Constitution as "it endangers drinking water, would destroy life-giving and protecting wetlands, and continue to injure the 'health, safety, and welfare' of environmental justice communities and landowners along the route."

“This is part of protecting ourselves and liberating ourselves from (Energy Transfer Partners) in particular,” Foytlin said. “It should have its social license revoked. They don’t deserve to keep doing business.”

"Some of that trauma that we have in our genes is also the resistance that we have in our genes," Foytlin added.

It will also take over private lands and worsen the flooding situation in the region. According to Colorlines, the pipeline will carry 480,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The Indigenous communities, environmentalists and landowners in the region are concerned that a spill will impact the local crawfishing industry and the private land will be taken over by ETP as in several other states where the pipeline project has flourished.

Climate refugees from regions like Isle De Jean Charles and Choctaw Biloxi Chitimacha in southern Louisiana are being pushed out as nearly 98 percent of its land is gone, mostly owing to coastal erosion and rising sea levels.

In 2002, the Army Corps of Engineers made changes to the originally planned route of the 72-mile Morganza to Gulf Hurricane Protection System due to cost constraints, causing Isle de Jean Charles to become excluded from the protected zone, according to the Guardian.

L'eau Est La Vie Camp Facebook Page.