La Señal Informativa de América Latina <![CDATA[Argentina's Macri Heads to US to Meet with Trump]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:55:00 -0400 Argentine President Mauricio Macri and first lady Juliana Awada were set to begin Wednesday an official visit in the U.S. that will include a meeting with President Donald Trump, officials said.

The couple left on Tuesday night from Jorge Newberry Airport in Buenos Aires.

On arrival in Houston, Texas, Macri, who is traveling with Production Minister Francisco Cabrera and Energy and Mines Minister Juan Jose Aranguren, will be welcomed by Argentine Consul Gabriel Volpi.

In Houston, Macri will hold talks with top executives from Dow Chemical, Halliburton and other companies, and he will participate in a forum on energy issues, Argentine officials said.

Macri and his party are scheduled to attend a luncheon organized by the Argentine Gas and Oil Institute in Houston along with nearly 200 guests, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Macri and his delegation plan to travel from Houston to Washington, where the Argentine leader will be received by Trump and first lady Melania on Thursday.

Macri and Trump will have a private meeting and take part in a working lunch with officials from both countries.

<![CDATA[US Public Pension Funds Help Enrich Trump, Report Shows]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:19:00 -0400 A current management contract of one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s hotels generated a significant revenue for Trump, a new report released Wednesday reveals. It’s the latest controversy around the president's potential conflict of interest. 

Trump Slides Into 100 Days of 'For-Profit Presidency'

The exclusive Reuters report found that public pensions funds in at least seven U.S. states have invested in a real estate fund belonging to a Los Angeles investment group, the CIM Group. Millions of dollars are paid every quarter to this CIM fund for managing investments on its properties. The Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in Manhattan, New York, is one of them, according to state investment records. 

These pensions funds represent more than 500 state and city employees in California, New York, Texas, Arizona, Montana, Michigan and Missouri. They include state lawmakers in California, teachers in Texas and police officers in New York.

Under the contract, Trump SoHo gets monthly management fees from the CIM fund and CIM pays Trump International Hotels Management LLC 5.75 percent of the SoHo’s operating revenues annually in return. In 2015, it was about US$3 million, Reuters reported. Trump also received US$3.3 million in income from the CIM, hotel records and campaign filing show. 

Before his inauguration in January, Trump turned over the management duty of his company to his two eldest sons. But currently Trump International Hotels Management LLC is still owned by Trump.

This payment chain may put Trump at risk of violating a U.S. constitutional rule prohibiting the flow of money from states to the sitting president, according to five ethics and constitutional law experts interviewed by Reuters.

Article II of the U.S. constitution bars the sitting president from receiving “any other Emoluments from the United States, or any of them” beyond his own salary. There’s another clause prohibiting similar payments from foreign governments.  

A lawsuit alleging Trump has violated both the clauses by letting his hotels and other business accept payments from public offices have been filed, but it does not refer to the CIM fund. 

“If you take a step back and look at this transaction, it’s a payment chain from state pension funds to President Trump,” Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University told Reuters. “This looks like an emolument to me.”

This arrangement did raise new significant questions about Trump’s conflict of interest, but it still depends on how a court interprets the constitutional clause.

<![CDATA[Ivanka Trump's Clothing Line: Brought to You by Sweashop Labor]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 12:07:00 -0400 US$158 dresses. US$79 blouses. US$95 earrings.

These are the prices of the pieces in Ivanka Trump’s clothing line that rake in hefty profit margins while the makers behind the products endure a laundry list of sweatshop work conditions, including earning only US$62 a week, a factory audit released Monday revealed.

Trump Slides Into 100 Days of 'For-Profit Presidency'

The contractor, G-III Apparel Group, employs 80 workers in a factory in China that knit clothes for the U.S. president’s daughter’s company, and also makes clothes for Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and other brands.

During a four-day tour of the factory back in October, inspectors with the Fair Labor Association found two dozen violations of international labor standards, which included daunting work hours, safety hazards and pay near or below China’s minimum wage.

The inspectors found that workers were required to work 57 hours a week “on a regular basis” to hit production targets, and while Chinese law sets the limit for overtime at 36 hours per month, workers had worked up to 82 hours of overtime a month between September 2015 and August 2016.

In addition, they made only between 1,879 and 2,088 yuan a month, or around US$255 to US$283 — well below minimum wage in many parts of China.

And while it is legally required for employers to offer coverage under China’s social insurance benefits, including a pension and medical, maternity, unemployment and work-related injury insurance, only a third of workers were provided with such benefits. The factory also did not contribute to the legally required fund that is designed to help workers afford housing.

Yale Grad Students Launch Hunger Strike for Better Conditions

Workers also had no unions and the only representative was a factory appointee.

A number of workplace safety concerns were also found. Inspectors noted that employees were not trained on safety techniques, provided equipment that could reduce injury or protected against harsh chemicals.

The release of the report comes as Trump reiterated her father’s “buy American, hire American” agenda at a public discussion in Germany Tuesday about "global entre­pre­neur­ship and empowerment" that saw the crowd swiftly deliver a torrent of boos as she talked about President Trump. She also cast herself as a “champion" of workplace issues at the event, which was held one week before the debut of her book, “Women Who Work.”

And in another display of her vapid support for feminism and labor rights, Trump wrote in a Financial Times essay Monday, “We can add billions to the global economy by creating an enabling environment, increasing women’s labor force participation and business ownership, and improving the productivity of their work.”

The revealing report also comes just a week after President Trump signed an executive order that he said would push the government to “aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.”

<![CDATA[ESPN to Layoff 100 On-Air Talent: Source]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:32:00 -0400 Walt Disney's ESPN television unit is laying off about 10 percent of its 1,000 on-air staff, according to a source familiar with the situation.

In a memo to employees on Wednesday, ESPN President John Skipper announced changes to ensure the company is quicker to respond to the changing viewing patterns of sports fans.

“Our content strategy — primarily illustrated in recent months by melding distinct, personality-driven SportsCenter TV editions and digital-only efforts with our biggest sub-brand — still needs to go further, faster," Skipper wrote in the memo, reviewed by Reuters.

On top of the cuts to on-air talent, "a limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs," according to the memo.

<![CDATA[Chile's Top Media Mogul Conspired with CIA to Carry out 1973 Coup, Documents Reveal]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 11:00:00 -0400 Agustin Edwards Eastman, the owner of the largest media conglomerate in Chile who died on Monday, and his conservative media establishment were crucial to the CIA-backed operation to oust socialist President Salvador Allende in a coup in 1973 and install a military dictatorship, declassified documents have revealed. 

Chile Frees Pinochet Agent Who Tortured, Killed President Bachelet's Father

According to declassified CIA and White House documents published Tuesday by the National Security Archive, Edwards and his conservative El Mercurio newspaper were critical in setting the stage for the coup and ensuring the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet assumed power.

Edwards worked in close collaboration with former U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and was the only Chilean that met CIA director Richard Helms, according to the documents.

During the meeting with Helms, Edwards expressed support for Washington's intervention in Chile through a coup to block Allende from taking power. He also provided intelligence information that was used to analyse the potential for a coup operation from the various branches of the military, the "timing for possible military action," and how the new diplomatic relations would be between a dictatorship and Washington, declassified notes on the conversation reveal. 

"Agustin Edward represents everything we don't want for this country: corruption, censorship, torture, death, disapperances and lies."

After the media mogul met with the CIA director, Kissinger worked to arrange a secret meeting between Edwards and President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, according to the documents, but there are no records to prove that meeting took place. Edwards testified during previous investigations on the matter that he didn't recall meeting Nixon.

Nixon had called Kissinger and Helms and instructed them to “save Chile” with a military takeover.

5 Times the OAS Was OK with Latin American Human Rights Abuses

“I have this impression that the president called this meeting,” Helms testified before the U.S. Senate, “because of Edwards’ presence in Washington and what … Edwards was saying about conditions in Chile.”

Nixon authorized covert CIA funding of over US$1 million for El Mercurio "so that it could become a media megaphone of opposition, agitation, and misinformation against the Allende government," the files reveal. The documents also show that the group received about US$2 million between 1971 and 1972 and continued to receive money until June 1974. Allende took office on Nov. 4, 1970.

Even the CIA praised the role of Edwards' media support in Chile that played "a significant role in setting the stage for the military coup of September 11, 1973” as part of a "propaganda project."

The trove of documents also shows that after Allende's death, the financial support continued so that the El Mercurio media group would present the U.S.-backed military junta "in the most positive light for the Chilean public” and help Pinochet consolidate his power.

Edwards continuously denied that El Mercurio received funding from the CIA, and regarding his meeting with Helms, he said that the conversation took place "a few days after the election of Salvador Allende, which gave me the opportunity to comment on the circumstances that had permitted a communist president to win in a democratic country. At no time did we discuss a coup or anything like that.”

But the documents provide a historical account of what Edwards denied — that he and his flagship media enterprise, El Mercurio, were key in advaning a U.S.-backed plot to oust a democratically elected president and install a dictatorship that went on to terrorize Chilean society for 17 years. 

<![CDATA[Venezuelan Youth March in Caracas in Support of Peace, Dialogue]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:55:00 -0400 Students from all across Venezuela gathered in the capital city Caracas Wednesday for a march in support of the government of of President Nicolas Maduro calling for peace and dialogue and and rejecting violence that has at time broken out in demonstrations led by the right-wing opposition in recent weeks.

5 Killed in 1 Day in Venezuela as Opposition Violence Continues

Under the banner of marching "In favor of peace and against violence," the demonstration kicked off at Plaza Morelos at 10:00 a.m. local time, bringing together socialist youth supporting the educational achievements of Maduro's government.

The past three weeks have seen large protests in favor and against the Maduro government, during which more than two dozen people have been killed and at least 437 injured, according to Attorney General Luisa Ortega, while opposition protests have at time turned violent. Many of the victims of fatalities have been young people and students.

Of those killed, three deaths have been attributed to state security forces, while two of the dead are members of the police themselves. Eight were electrocuted as they attempted to loot a bakery, while five other were killed in incidents expressly connected to opposition protests. On the other hand, 10 of the deceased are attributed to right-wing violence.

Government supporters or chavistas accuse right-wing opposition leaders of attempted to portray the deaths as examples of state repression and evidence of the “dictatorship” that they are aiming to topple in order to try to justify a foreign intervention. 

CELAC to Hold Urgent Meeting Amid Venezuela Opposition Violence

The opposition has called for more marches as recent protesters have clashed with police when they attempted to break police cordons and head to areas where pro-government demonstrators were gathered. A new round of opposing marches have been organized in Caracas for Wednesday.

Maduro has called for a broad dialogue, which the opposition has rejected and in turn demanded his removal from office.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, will hold an urgent session on May 2 about ongoing opposition violence in Venezuela.

<![CDATA[Famed Venezuelan Conductor Dudamel Urges Politicians to Solve Crisis Democratically ]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:27:00 -0400 Renowned Venezuelan orchestra conductor Gustavo Dudamel has sent a message to politicians in his country, urging all parties to not let “egos” cloud the need for urgent action to remedy the ongoing political crisis and prevent the country from sliding into a potential “fratricidal conflict.”

Make No Mistake: There Is a Media Blockade Against Venezuela

Dudamel, longtime music director of Venezuela’s Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra as well as music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, shared a video message on Twitter Tuesday calling for a democratic solution to the high-running political tensions that have sparked near-daily marches in the country both in favor of and against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

“I want to make a call to political leaders to find the necessary ways to get out of this crisis that afflicts our beloved Venezuela,” Dudamel said. “Primarily, we must put aside egos, ideologies and definitely listen to and think about the people.”

Dudamel conducts the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra

The opposition launched a series of anti-government protests in Caracas and other cities about three weeks ago, and the government has accused right-wing leaders of attempting to create chaos to destabilize and topple the socialist government. At least 26 people have died amid the protests that have at times turned violent.

“We must avoid clashes between brothers, because this path can lead us to a fratricidal conflict,” Dudamel said in his Twitter video message to 759,000 followers.

“Political leaders of Venezuela, immediate solutions are needed, putting aside any kind of personalities and opening doors to the most healthy and exemplary democratic game,” he continued. “We are a country full of youth and hope.”

A new round of opposing marches have been organized in Venezuela Wednesday, with plans for both opposition supporters and socialist youth backing the Maduro government to take to the streets in Caracas.

<![CDATA[Inquest Probes Milwaukee Inmate's Death After 7 Days Without Water]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:27:00 -0400 Milwaukee prosecutors opened an inquest this week into the death of an inmate in the Milwaukee County Jail last year after surveillance video showed three officers had turned off the water in the inmate’s cell and never turned it back on.

Chicago Sheriff Releases Videos Showing Excessive Force

Terrill Thomas, 38, died of “profound dehydration” after being alone in his cell for seven days without water.

Jail staffers shut off the water supply to Thomas’s solitary cell shortly after he was transferred there because he had stuffed his mattress in a toilet to flood the previous one, Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley said.

"This order to shut off Mr. Thomas' water was highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail," Benkley said.

A current and a former jail captain testified Tuesday about the video. Captain George Gold said that his commander, Nancy Lee Evans, directed him to review the video the day after Thomas's death and report to her what he saw. But Evans denied that she was told about the water being shut off when she testified later.

An inquest allows prosecutors to question witness under oath before a jury. The jury will later decide unanimously whether and what legal charges should be filed. But the final decision will be up to the district attorney's office.

This inquest into Thomas’s death is expected to last five days. Prosecutors are not required to follow the jury's verdict. They have not said whom they might consider charging.

ICE-Detained Nicaragua Immigrant Dies After Attempting Suicide

Thomas was arrested on April 15, 2016, on charges of shooting a man in the chest and firing another two shots inside a casino, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His family says he was having a mental breakdown at that time.

Because of an untreated mental illness, Thomas started his stay in the jail loud and belligerent. But he became weak and quite as days went by. Thomas lost nearly 35 pounds and never asked for or received medical attention, the Sentinel reported.

“I could tell he was getting weaker,” fellow inmate Marcus Berry who was in a cell across from Thomas told the Sentinel in July 2016. “One day he just lay down, dehydrated and hungry.”

The Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force released a statement on Monday saying it hopes the full circumstances of Thomas’s death will be clarified through the inquest process. “But there is strong reason to believe that oversight failures, inadequate training and supervision within the Sheriff’s department played a significant role in these deaths,” the statement said.

In the United States, 1.5 million inmates were held in state and federal prisons in 2015, according to the latest data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It was the lowest since 2005, but still the largest in the world.

<![CDATA[Yale Grad Students Launch Hunger Strike for Better Conditions]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:17:00 -0400 Graduate student teachers at Yale University have launched a hunger strike for better conditions as the institution continues to crack down on the campus’ growing labor movement.

Feminist Activism and the Caribbean Academy

Eight graduate students from the union Local 33-Unite Here, began their hunger strike protest — dubbed “Fast Against Slow” — Tuesday night, after a silent march that culminated in front of Yale President Peter Salovey’s house. The student teachers are attempting to force the university into negotiation with their union, which Yale has spent months denying the legitimacy of. They are demanding equal pay, comprehensive health care and institutional protection for women and other minorities in higher education.

"This is an indefinite fast, and we'll go until the university sits down with us," Charles Decker, one of the fasting students, told Mic. "And if one of us can't continue, we have colleagues that will take our places."

Two other women involved in the fast, Julia Powers and Robin Canavan, said female graduate teachers routinely face sexual harassment.

“Yale tried to assign a sexual predator to oversee my work and decide my future,” said Powers, reported the New Haven Register. “There is an ongoing crisis on campus that Yale sweeps under the rug.”

Canavan added that a Yale professor told her “not to worry about getting a job because I could use my boobs as leverage.”

As is typical of anti-union employers, Yale is running a campaign against the students and their union. Even though the National Labor Review Board granted Local 33 permission to hold union elections, the university is preventing the vote from being recognized as legitimate.

Organizers also allege that Yale is interfering in such a way because they want to wait until the Trump administration can place anti-labor appointees to the NLRB.

“They want Trump’s NLRB to crush our union,” said Aaron Greenberg, chairman of Local 33 and another one of the fasting graduate teachers.

A Celebration of US Labor's Women Fighters

Despite this institutional pushback, mayors and lawmakers across the country have pledged their support for the Yale unionization efforts. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter in solidarity in February, while Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Maria Elena Durazo said the student’s efforts were akin to those of labor leader Cesar Chavez hunger-striking while he was the leader of the United Farm Workers in 1968 and again 20 years later.

“Yale wants you to wait,” Durazo said, as reported by the New Haven Register. “Those in power always want the rest of us to wait.”

For Decker, who is only one of 32 Black men in the entire graduate school at Yale, the union negotiations offer a semblance of hoping in raising awareness of Yale’s issue of lack of diversity.

"We'll keep going until the university sits down and fulfills their moral and legal duty to sit down with us," he told Mic.

<![CDATA[Turkey Detains 1,000 'Secret Imams' in 'Ongoing' Police Purge]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 10:02:00 -0400 Turkish authorities arrested more than 1,000 people on Wednesday they said had secretly infiltrated police forces across the country on behalf of a U.S.-based cleric blamed by the government for a failed coup attempt last July.

The nationwide sweep was one of the largest operations in months against suspected supporters of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan  who is now accused by the government of trying to topple him by force.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the overnight crackdown targeted a Gulen network "that infiltrated our police force, called 'secret imams.'

"One thousand and nine secret imams have been detained so far in 72 provinces, and the operation is ongoing," he told reporters in Ankara.

In the aftermath of the failed July coup, authorities arrested 40,000 people and sacked or suspended 120,000 from a wide range of professions.

The latest detentions came 10 days after voters narrowly backed plans to expand Erdogan's already wide powers in a referendum which opposition parties and European election observers said was marred by irregularities.

The referendum bitterly divided Turkey. Erdogan's critics fear further drift into authoritarianism, with a leader they see as bent on eroding modern Turkey's democracy and secular foundations.

<![CDATA[Picasso's Guernica Stands as Lasting Symbol of War in New Show]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:34:00 -0400 Eighty years after the bloody air raid on the Spanish town of Guernica that drove Pablo Picasso to paint a masterpiece, a new exhibition in Madrid highlights the enduring relevance of his depiction.

Adolf Hitler sent aircraft in support of Francisco Franco's nationalist forces to strike the Basque town on the afternoon of April 26, 1937, killing as many as 1,600 and wounding hundreds.

The show at the Reina Sofia museum, the painting's home since 1992, includes newspaper photographs of the destruction which the Spanish artist saw at home in Paris, and drew on in the black-and-white oil painting.

"Guernica" was commissioned for the Spanish pavilion at Paris's World Fair in 1937.

Rosario Peiro, head of collections at the Reina Sofia, said that while researching she had seen a photograph of an image of "Guernica" on display in the Syrian town of Aleppo.

"It addresses a system of destruction and terror which sadly is very much a part of our lives," Peiro told Reuters. "It is so hard to fathom, you never really stop thinking about it."

Versions of the image have been produced at times of conflict in places from Afghanistan to South Carolina, exhibition curator Timothy James Clark said.

<![CDATA[UK Complains to Twitter over Withdrawal of Access to User Data]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 09:22:00 -0400 Britain has protested to Twitter over restricting the government's access to data, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

The Telegraph newspaper, citing industry sources, said Twitter had withdrawn access to information which helped the police and intelligence agencies identify plots as part of the social media firm's efforts to stop user data being used for surveillance.

"We are protesting this decision. We are in talks with Twitter on getting access to this data," the spokesman told reporters.

He added that social media companies needed to play a role in the government's fight against terrorism.

<![CDATA[9 People Die Mysteriously in Southeastern Liberia]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 06:54:00 -0400 Police in Liberia is investigating the mysterious deaths of nine people.

WHO to Announce End of Ebola in Liberia, Thanks to Cuba

The individuals died after a repass, following a 2-night wake in Sinoe County in the southeastern region of the country.

According to GNN Liberia, among the deceased are five females and four males. Reportedly, specimens from the nine have been taken for testing to establish the actual cause of death. The strange incident is said to have caused panic among residents of Sinoe, prompting visitors to return to their towns and villages.

The Liberia National Police have dispatched officers, armed with megaphones, in a bid to connect with other persons who may have consumed food at the repass. The officers, however, are encouraging citizens not to panic, because many believe the deaths are ebola-related.

The county's health officer, John Logan, declined to comment on the issue.

<![CDATA[Judge Blocks Trump Order Which Affects Sanctuary Cities]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 05:31:00 -0400 Yesterday a federal judge blocked a Trump Administration order to withhold funding from communities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.

Trump Set to Embark on a Pre-100th Day Executive Spree

U.S. District Judge William Orrick ruled that U.S. President Donald Trump has no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending. Orrick issued the temporary judgment in a lawsuit against the executive order targeting sanctuary cities. The decision will remain in place as the lawsuit goes through the court.

The Trump Administration and two California governments that sued over the order disagreed about its scope during a recent hearing. San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that it threatened billions of dollars in federal funding for each of them, making it difficult to plan their budgets.“It’s not like it’s just some small amount of money,” John Keker, an attorney for Santa Clara County, told Orrick.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said the county and San Francisco were interpreting the executive order too broadly. He explained that the funding cutoff applies to three Justice Department and Homeland Security Department grants that require complying with a federal law that local governments not block officials from providing people’s immigration status. The order, Readler explained, would affect less than $1 million in funding for Santa Clara County and possibly no money for San Francisco. Republican President Donald Trump was using a “bully pulpit” to “encourage communities and states to comply with the law,” Readler added.

But Orrick sided with San Francisco and Santa Clara, saying the order “by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants, not merely the three mentioned at the hearing. The rest of the order is broader still, addressing all federal funding,” Orrick said. “And if there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments.” He added that, “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves.” San Francisco and the county argued in court documents that the president did not have the authority to set conditions on the allocation of federal funds and could not force local officials to enforce federal immigration law.

Judge Indefinitely Extends Injunction on Trump's Muslim Ban

The Trump Administration says sanctuary cities allow dangerous criminals back on the street and that the order is needed to keep the country safe. San Francisco and other sanctuary cities rebutted that argument stating that turning local police into immigration officers threaten the trust needed to persuade people to report crimes.

The order also has led to lawsuits by Seattle; two Massachusetts cities, Lawrence and Chelsea and a third San Francisco Bay Area government, the city of Richmond. The San Francisco and Santa Clara County suits were the first to get a hearing before a judge.

The sanctuary city order was among a flurry of immigration measures Trump has signed since taking office in January.

<![CDATA[UEFA Charge Dynamo Kiev with Racist Behavior]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:12:00 -0400 On the weekend, some Dynamo Kiev fans were clad in white and wore what appeared to be Ku Klux Klan (KKK) headgears bearing swastikas to the home game against rivals Shakhtar Donetsk.

Brazilian Soccer Player Endures 'Monkey Chants' for Entire Game

The Dynamo ultras, as the radical fans are called, rallied those who were attending the game to dress in white – calling the action “white frenzy,” according to Ria Novosti. This action was aimed at antagonizing the black players in Shakhtar's squad. Some ultras wore white masks and others completely bandaged their faces. The costumes were similar to traditional KKK dress, characterized by white hoods with eyeholes and masks adorned with hand-drawn swastikas.

Both sets of fans lit flares and threw them at fellow spectators during the encounter. Ukrainian journalist Oleksii Bratushchak, in his report for Ukrainska Pravda, accused the ultras of planning the disorder after match organizers made pleas to fans to refrain from instigating provocation or bringing pyrotechnics to the stadium due to the presence of a UEFA inspector.

The inspector was in attendance to assess the readiness of the club’s Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex stadium to host the 2018 UEFA Champions League final.

Dynamo fans of the club are known to carry out racially charged offenses. In 2015, fans of the club were filmed brutally attacking four black supporters in the stands during a home Champions League match with English Premier League side Chelsea. Two years before that incident, photographs surfaced showing fans posing in KKK outfits with a Confederate flag in front of the Shakhtar team bus.

Dynamo lost Saturday’s game against Shakhtar 0-1, and remain 14 points behind the Ukrainian Premier League leaders in the second spot.

<![CDATA[Poll: Nicaragua's Ortega Enjoys High Approval Ratings]]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:40:00 -0400 Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his ruling party are enjoying high approval ratings.

Nicaragua Condemns Proposed Imperial US Sanctions as Irrational

According to a poll by M&R Consultants, the Nicaraguan government is strongly supported with a more than 70 percent positive rating.

The study also showed that 73.9 percent of families were happy with how the government was running the country. An even higher margin, 74.8 percent, believed that the conditions in the country had improved over the past half-a-decade.

The report showed that Ortega had a 74.1 percent rating and his Vice President Rosario Murillo was not far behind with a 73.7 percent nod of approval. Nearly 73 percent of people who participated in the study viewed the government is a unifying force for the nation.

The ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front held a marginal 51.5 percent general support, but a resounding 60.3 percent confidence vote.

Ortega has been in power since January 2007 and was re-elected last year. Over the decade he has been in power, his main focus became to reduce poverty in Nicaragua. Ortega stated that his administration, through job creation and social programs, has managed to reduce overall poverty from 42.5 to 29.5 percent in the last five years.

Data from the Central Bank showed that country maintain a stable economic growth of between 4.5 and 5 percent.

<![CDATA[Officer in Tamir Rice Shooting Says 'Didn't Know It Was a Kid']]> Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:00:00 -0400 According to a video released Tuesday, a Cleveland police officer involved in the Tamir Rice shooting in 2014, said he "didn’t know it was a kid."

Report: US Police Twice as Likely to Kill Unarmed Black Civilians

Cleveland Police Officer Frank Garmback who is seen covering his face in the video as his partner, Officer Timothy Loehmann, fatally shot 12-year-old Rice within seconds of arriving at the park where he was playing with a toy gun on Nov. 22, 2014. The officers were responding to an emergency call about an armed man at the park.

At the time, disciplinary charges were recommended against the two officers to the city’s safety director, but the police union ultimately found that the officers did nothing wrong. In 2015, a Cuyahoga County grand jury also declined to charge Garmback or Loehmann, according to Reuters.

The police interview video was released by Rice's family attorney Subodh Chandra as part of the family’s push to have both officers fired, calling them incompetent. Both officers now face administrative charges that could result in suspension or termination.

Last year, Cleveland settled a civil lawsuit with the family for US$6 million. The brutal shooting death of Rice was one of many acts of police terror that galvanized a movement for Black lives in the U.S. against police brutality and murder.

WATCH: In 60 Seconds: Police and Students Clash in Paris Against Brutality

<![CDATA[NYPD Trade Fast-Track Gun Permits for Booze, Strippers ]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:52:00 -0400 A retired NYPD lieutenant, two retired NYPD officers and a former Brooklyn assistant district attorney were arrested Tuesday by FBI agents for allegedly building an unofficial fast-track into the department's gun licensing office, according to the justice department, NBC reported.

Lawsuit Filed Against Off-Duty LAPD Officer Who Fired Gun at Teens in Anaheim

The process of obtaining gun licenses usually takes months as the division reviews the applicants' mental health and criminal record, personally interviews them, and conduct additional verifications looking into the reasons for why they need the firearm.

According to ThinkProgress, the license division suspects didn't limit their graft to approving the initial applications for the would-be gun owners but also helped theses clients keep their weapons even if the circumstances would normally have led the city to revoke a license, according to investigators.

Prosecutors identified retired Lieutenant Paul Dean, one of the two most senior officers at the license division along with retired Officer Robert Espinel as Dean's primary accomplice involved in taking the bribes. The two men allegedly have been taking bribes from expediters for a long time in exchange for passing applications through the system without doing any of the review required by New York City’s gun laws, ThinkProgress reported.

According to NBC, the officers received bribes in the form of Broadway and sports tickets, expensive watches, booze, food and strippers. The trading of gun licenses for bribes spanned at least six years, starting in 2010. Authorities allege the officers solicited thousands of dollars in fees to help people secure gun licenses.

According to the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim, bribes resulted in licenses awarded to individuals with substantial criminal histories, including convictions for crimes involving weapons or violence, NBC reported. "They sold their duty to do their jobs," Kim said. "They allegedly got more audacious as time went on."

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement that the department had revoked at least 100 gun licenses and over 400 license applications are under review to ensure that they are properly processed.

<![CDATA[UN Appeals for $2.1 Billion to Avoid Starvation in Yemen]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:41:00 -0400 On Tuesday U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for a total of US$2.1 billion in aid to avoid the "starving of an entire generation," in Yemen.

Trump Ordered 70 Airstrikes in Yemen, Twice as Many as Last Year of Obama

The request was made at the commencement of a donor session conference in Geneva. "On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes," said Guterres, adding that, "this means 50 children in Yemen will die during today's conference and all of those deaths could have been prevented."

Even if aid is provided, getting assistance to the Yemeni people amid the war-torn country may prove to be a serious challenge. It has been reported that the Saudi-led coalition may continue to target the strategic port of Hodeidah.

According to U.N. officials, nearly two-thirds of the Yemeni population — approximately 19 million people — are in need of emergency assistance. UNICEF's Mideast and North Africa Director Geert Cappelaere told AP, "There is no single country in the world where, today, children are suffering more than in Yemen."

Robert Mardini, Red Cross's regional director for the Middle East, told RT, "Saying that the humanitarian situation is catastrophic is certainly an understatement. Today in Yemen we have teams on the ground and they bear witness every day of the immense suffering of the Yemeni people."

Yemen's hunger emergency is mostly due to the Saudi-led, US-backed military campaign against the country. The U.N. has sharply criticized previous attacks on the country's main port of Hodeidah which has obstructed attempts to import food and fuel supplies.

<![CDATA[French Mayor to Ditch City of 'Assholes' Who Voted for Le Pen]]> Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:38:00 -0400 Daniel Delomez, the mayor of the town of Annezin in northern France, confirmed Monday that he will step down because “(he did) not want to devote (his) life to assholes,” after finding out that over 38 percent of his constituents voted for far-right candidate Marin Le Pen the night before.

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He told local media that the results of the first round were a “catastrophe,” but later apologized for the “excessive” word used to refer to his constituents. He said his reaction was due to the "shock and anger" that was directed at people he assumed voted for Le Pen. 

Delomez belongs to the Socialist Party, which faced a record low in Sunday's elections possibly leading to its erasure from the French political map.

However, leftist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon ranked first in Annezin with over 19 percent of support — a sign that Le Pen's electoral base may not just consist in “assholes” but also people who feel abandoned by traditional parties and are interested in new proposals.

The Socialist Party was managing the country during the five past years with President Francois Hollande, who became the most unpopular president in French modern history. Hollande implemented a neoliberal economic and political agenda with the help and advice of former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, who is due to face Le Pen in the runoff vote on May 7.