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Chile convicts 106 former intelligence agents

Source: CNN

A Chilean judge sentenced 106 former intelligence agents for their role in the kidnappings and disappearances of 16 leftist militants during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship. The sentences range from 541 days to 20 years.

The convictions are the result of one of the largest mass prosecutions in Chile related to human rights abuses during Pinochet's rule from 1973 to 1990. The cases centered on 16 leftist militants who were abducted by agents of the National Intelligence Directorate between June 1974 and January 1975, transported to various detention centers and never seen again.

The secret police then tried to cover up the deaths of the 16 militants - and more than 100 others - by planting stories in foreign newspapers to imply that they were killed while fighting abroad, and not at the hands of the government.

Government investigations since the end of Pinochet's rule have found that nearly 2,300 people disappeared during the dictatorship and 30,000 more were tortured.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/03/americas/chile-secret-police-convicted/index.html

Nigel Farage is 'person of interest' in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia

Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the former Ukip leader had raised the interest of FBI investigators because of his relationships with individuals connected to both the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whom Farage visited in March.

WikiLeaks published troves of hacked emails last year that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign and is suspected of having cooperated with Russia through third parties.

Farage has not been accused of wrongdoing and is not a suspect or a target of the US investigation. But being a person of interest means investigators believe he may have information about the acts that are under investigation and he may therefore be subject to their scrutiny.

Sources who spoke to the Guardian said it was Farage’s proximity to people at the heart of the investigation that was being examined as an element in their broader inquiry into how Russia may have worked with Trump campaign officials to influence the US election.

“One of the things the intelligence investigators have been looking at is points of contact and persons involved,” one source said. “If you triangulate Russia, WikiLeaks, Assange and Trump associates the person who comes up with the most hits is Nigel Farage.

“He’s right in the middle of these relationships. He turns up over and over again. There’s a lot of attention being paid to him.”

At: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/01/nigel-farage-is-person-of-interest-in-fbi-investigation-into-trump-and-russia

Argentine golfing great Roberto de Vicenzo dies, aged 94

Roberto de Vicenzo, the winner of the 1967 British Open and one of the greatest Argentine golfers of all-time, has died just weeks after suffering a fall at his home, his son told Argentine media on Thursday. He was 94.

De Vicenzo became the first South American to win the Open when he beat Jack Nicklaus by two strokes at Royal Liverpool.

The popular Argentine won 231 other tournaments, and would have been in a playoff at the U.S. Masters in 1968 if he had not signed an incorrect scorecard after the final round.

"How stupid I am," de Vicenzo famously said. He carded a closing 65 at Augusta National; but signed for a 66 and thus officially finished one stroke behind winner Bob Goalby.

De Vicenzo was also a success on the 50-and-over Champions Tour, winning the first U.S. Senior Open in 1980, and the 1974 PGA Seniors' Championship.

In later life, he sponsored the creation of numerous golfing schools in remote or disadvantaged communities accross Argentina - including one for retarded children in Berazategui, a working-class suburb 15 mi SE of Buenos Aires.

At: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/argentine-golfing-great-de-vicenzo-dies--aged-94-8905012

Roberto de Vicenzo

Jared Kushner and his partners used a program meant for job-starved areas to build luxury skyscraper

Jared Kushner and his real estate partners wanted to take advantage of a federal program in 2015 that would save them millions of dollars as they built an opulent, 50-story residential tower in this city’s booming waterfront district, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan.

There was just one problem: The program was designed to benefit projects in poor, job-starved areas. So the project’s consultants got creative, records show.

They worked with state officials in New Jersey to come up with a map that defined the area around 65 Bay Street as a swath of land that stretched nearly four miles and included some of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods. At the same time, they excluded some wealthy neighborhoods only blocks away.

The tactic — critics liken it to the gerrymandering of legislative districts — made it appear that the luxury tower was in an area with extraordinarily high unemployment, allowing Kushner Companies and its partners to get $50 million in low-cost financing through the EB-5 visa program.

The move was legal, and other developers have used similar strategies in recent years, often aided by state officials who welcome the infusion of cash.

But it illustrates how Kushner, who ran his family’s real estate company before he became a senior adviser to President Trump, and his partners exploited a loophole in a federal program that prominent members of both parties say has been plagued by fraud and abuse.

On the south side of Jersey City, which has some of the most entrenched poverty in the New York City region, many people interviewed one day last week were surprised that their neighborhood’s troubles were part of the reason that 65 Bay Street got cheap financing.

“That’s very sad,” said Pastor Shyrone Richardson of the World Outreach Christian Church in the struggling Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City. “Unfortunately, the people who are benefiting from this are not the people in this area.”

At: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/jared-kushner-and-his-partners-used-a-program-meant-for-job-starved-areas-to-build-a-luxury-skyscraper/ar-BBBKhnz?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

Colombia, the Country with Most Internally Displaced People Worldwide

Colombia is the country with the largest population of internal displaced people worldwide, according to a report published here by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) in conjunction with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

The report states that one in seven Colombians - about 7,200,000 people - have been internally displaced, placing Colombia ahead of warring countries such as Syria, with 6,300,000; Sudan (3,300,000); or Iraq (three million).

IDMC and NRC state that the result of the report, spread since yesterday, even takes into account that there was a reduction of people in situation of displacement in the national territory between 2015 and 2016.

Christian Visnes, regional director of NRC for Latin America, regretted that despite the signing of an agreement that ends the conflict with the FARC-EP and with the progress that has been made in this area, it is still not possible to speak of a culmination of the aftermath of the war.

The document states that some of these displacements are motivated by illegal armed groups that still operate in different regions, among which are the organized crime organizations, known as the Gulf Clan.

At: http://plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=13216&SEO=colombia-a-country-with-most-internally-displaced-people-worldwide

Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra resigns; Macri loyalist Jorge Faurie to replace her

Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra announced her resignation today.

Malcorra's resignation comes as the right-wing Mauricio Macri administration faces growing criticism at home and abroad for its use of arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against political opponents, as well as for its ties to international corruption scandals such as Brazil's Lava Jato and Odebrecht bribery cases and the Panama Papers.

Malcorra, 62, had worked for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as his Cabinet Chief from March 2012 until Macri took office in December 2015. Her appointment was touted as "reinserting Argentina in the world."

Her failed bid to succeed Ban Ki-moon in 2016 instead resulted in scandal when it was revealed in November that her office had spent nearly $100,000 in travel and entertainment expenses in her effort to secure the post.

The foreign minister's resignation nevertheless took the Macri administration by surprise. "Our foreign minister leaves us for personal reasons," Macri said in a hastily-called press conference at the Casa Rosada with Malcorra and Chief of Staff Marcos Peña.

"She will stay on as an adviser with ministerial rank from her residence in Spain," Peña added.

·Our best diplomat·

The Foreign Ministry will, as of June 12, reportedly be headed by the current ambassador to France, Jorge Faurie. The administration does not plan to submit the nomination for senate approval.

Faurie, 65, was appointed ambassador after working on Macri's 2015 campaign and chairing his inaugural committee. He had served as deputy foreign minister during the interim presidency of Eduardo Duhalde in the wake of Argentina's 2001 collapse; but was forced to resign in August 2002 after it was revealed that he shared an undisclosed Swiss bank account with Ramón Hernández, then private secretary to the scandal-ridden former President Carlos Menem.

Faurie and Hernández, who was issued a diplomatic passport by Faurie, were reportedly laundering the proceeds through a small Mexican restaurant in Buenos Aires' upscale Palermo Racecourse.

Asked about his choice, Macri described Faurie as "the best from our diplomatic corps."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldestapeweb.com%2Fsorpresivo-renuncio-susana-malcorra-la-cancilleria-n29353&edit-text=

And: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.politicargentina.com%2Fnotas%2F201705%2F21164-quien-es-jorge-faurie.html&edit-text=

Jorge Faurie

Plaintiff in prominent Argentine Dirty War case found dead

Elsa Marta Sosa de Fagetti, a witness and plaintiff in cases of crimes against humanity dating from the outset of Argentina's Dirty War in the mid 1970s, was found murdered in her home in the city of Córdoba.

Sosa de Fagetti was found by her daughter and son-in-law, bludgeoned and strangled to death. Local police initially described the crime as a "murder in the course of theft" and arrested a neighborhood construction worker in connection with the crime.

Revelations that nothing in the house had been taken or disturbed, and the uproar that ensued on account of the discrepancy, forced Córdoba authorities to reclassify the case.

"We have ruled out robbery and are now approaching a hypothesis of crime of private instance, unrelated to the victim's role as a witness in cases of crimes against humanity," Córdoba prosecutor Claudia Palacios said.

Human rights activists, including her son, Javier Fagetti, have called for a thorough investigation of the case.

Fagetti, 62, was a physician and the chief plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed against members of the infamous Army Intelligence Battalion 601 and other officials implicated in the persecution of leftists in San Rafael, a small city in the Andes foothills, during the repressive Isabel Perón administration between 1974 and her ouster in a 1976 coup.

Her murder is a serious setback in a case that by 2015 extended to 27 defendants charged with crimes against 72 victims.

The late Elsa Sosa de Fagetti and her son, Javier.

The Héctor Fagetti case

Elsa Fagetti's husband, Héctor Aldo Fagetti, was a teacher and supporter of the late populist leader Juan Perón, who had preceded his wife, Isabel, as president until his death in 1974.

He was a left-wing Peronist, however, at a time when violence between the Peronist right and left was rapidly escalating. Fagetti lost his municipal post after right-wing Peronists in the Mendoza Province Legislature forced the left-wing Peronist governor, Alberto Martínez Baca, to resign in June of that year.

Detained in his family-run bakery on February 25, 1976, Fagetti, then 26, was transferred to a nearby Army infantry base, where he was killed by a short to the heart on March 10.

The Fagetti case, originally filed in 2006, gained international attention when on January 11, 2007, Isabel Perón was detained at her home outside Madrid pursuant to an international arrest warrant issued by a San Rafael judge two months earlier. Her extradition was denied by a Madrid court.

The San Rafael Battalion 601 station head implicated in Fagetti's murder, Lt. Col. Luis Stuhldreher, was likewise arrested in 2013 but was cleared of charges.

The judge in the Stuhldreher case, Guillermo Petra Recabarren, was later charged with malfeasance for systematically dropping cases against Dirty war suspects.

Silence is health

Elsa Fagetti's murder is not the first time a witness in a Dirty War-related case has been killed in suspicious circumstances.

The trial of former Police Chief Inspector Miguel Etchecolatz, only the second case filed after the Argentine Supreme Court ruled all amnesty laws and pardons shielding Dirty War suspects unconstitutional in 2005. The trial led to a life sentence for Etchecolatz on September 19, 2006 - but not before the disappearance the day before of Jorge Julio López, a 76 year-old former detainee tortured by Etchecolatz in 1977 and whose testimony proved decisive.

A similar case to Fagetti's, the murder of 84 year-old pianist Myrtha Raia days before she was to testify in a Dirty War trial, took place on January 29, 2013. Raia died bludgeoned, a crime local police investigated as a "robbery committed by a courier" despite no objects being stolen.

The case, involving 41 former officers and 222 deaths in the northern province of Tucumán in 1975, resulted in all defendants being found guilty a year later.

Silvia Suppo, who after being detained in 1977 was tortured, raped, and subjected to a forced abortion during her 19 months' detention, met a similar fate.

Her testimony was central to convictions in 2009 against former Santa Fe Province Judge Victor Brusa and five police officers. Three months later, on March 29, 2010, Suppo was stabbed to death in broad daylight.

Suppo family lawyers believe the 2015 sentencing of two youths, who pleaded innocent, to be part of a cover-up.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pagina12.com.ar%2F39139-una-testigo-que-aparecio-muerta-en-su-casa&edit-text=

Republican Greg Gianforte wins Montana special election

Source: CNN

Republican Greg Gianforte has won the special election for Montana's open US House seat, CNN projects, defeating Democrat Rob Quist and capping off a whirlwind final 36 hours of the campaign that saw Gianforte being charged for allegedly assaulting a reporter.

With 77% of precincts reporting, Gianforte had 159,757 votes - or 50.4% of the vote, compared to Quist who has 138,325 votes, 43.7% of the vote, according to Edison Research.

Gianforte was considered the favorite heading into Thursday's election to fill the seat once held by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, but that was before he allegedly "body-slammed" a reporter during his final campaign event in Bozeman on Wednesday.

By midnight Wednesday, the Gallatin County Sheriff's office had charged Gianforte with misdemeanor assault.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/politics/montana-special-election-results/

Montana Sec. of State website: http://mtelectionresults.gov/resultsSW.aspx?typeFED&mapCTY

Labour close gap on Conservatives as Theresa May's lead over Jeremy Corbyn is cut to five points

Theresa May’s lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has been cut to five points after the Tory social care chaos.

A stunning poll put the Tories on 43% - but Labour on an astonishing 38%.

The Tories’ lead over Labour is now at it’s smallest since Theresa May became Prime Minister, polls suggest. The five point gap – down from 24 on the day the snap election was called – is the smallest lead the Tories have enjoyed since Theresa May became PM.

If repeated at the polls, the Tories may only lose seats, the Times claimed.

More worryingly for the Conservatives, the once huge 52 point gap between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn‘s personal rating has been cut to 17 in a month.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party are now just five points behind Conservatives – their most popular since October 2014.

YouGov’s Anthony Wells said the stunning reversal in Tory fortune appeared to stem from the manifestos. But he added the Tories may have lost support in wake of the Manchester terror attacks.

He said: “It has been a highly unusual few days in an election campaign, arguably unlike any other in history.”

At: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3653280/labour-close-gap-on-conservatives-as-theresa-mays-lead-over-jeremy-corbyn-is-cut-to-five-points-amid-social-care-chaos/

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's Budget Takes a Sledgehammer to What Remains of the American Dream

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