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peppertree's Journal
peppertree's Journal
May 30, 2017

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

May 29, 2017

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

May 27, 2017

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=
May 26, 2017

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
May 25, 2017

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/

May 25, 2017

Socialist Lenin Moreno sworn in as Ecuador president

Source: Reuters

Lenin Moreno was sworn in as Ecuador's president on Wednesday following a tight electoral race that the former vice president won on promises of maintaining the social programs of his leftist predecessor, Rafael Correa.

The 64-year-old socialist won a runoff last month against right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso, bucking a shift to the right in South America as leftist governments struggle to maintain support. He has promised a more conciliatory style with adversaries and foreign companies, in contrast to Correa's often combative manner.

Moreno promised more support for agriculture and tourism, adding he would provide cheap credit and push to modernize infrastructure. Debt terms will be improved, he said, and the relationship between the state and multinationals transformed. His oil minister, Carlos Pérez, is a former Halliburton executive.

Moreno is the first disabled individual to take office as president of Ecuador. He became paraplegic after being shot in the back during a robbery in 1998.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ecuador-politics-idUSKBN18K2GU?il=0

The headline notwithstanding, Moreno is actually a little closer to the middle than his predecessor. All the best to him.

May 23, 2017

Two men caned 83 times in Indonesia for homosexual sex

Source: CNN

Two men were caned 83 times Tuesday as a punishment for having homosexual sex in Indonesia's ultra-conservative Aceh province.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the public punishment, held at a mosque in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, filming the caning on their phone cameras. It is very rare, even in Aceh, which follows strict Islamic law, for two men to be caned for having sexual relations.

The men, aged 20 and 23, were arrested in March by vigilantes. Neighbors had barged into an apartment with the men and filmed them naked with camera phones, according to rights groups. The videos were shared widely in local media.

They were subsequently found guilty of violating Aceh's strict Islamic laws and were sentenced to 85 lashes. On Tuesday, two lashes were taken off because the men had already served two months in prison.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/23/asia/indonesia-caning-homosexuality/

Another White House invite, no doubt.
May 23, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Declares Martial Rule in Southern Part of Country

Source: Time

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country's south under martial rule for 60 days and cut short a visit to Moscow on Tuesday after Muslim extremists allied with the Islamic State group laid siege to a southern city.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told a news conference in Moscow that martial rule took effect Tuesday evening in the southern region of Mindanao "on the grounds of existence of rebellion."

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said troops raided the hideout of a top terrorist suspect in southern Marawi city on Tuesday, sparking a gunbattle that prompted the militants to call for reinforcements from an allied group, the Maute. He said dozens of gunmen occupied city hall, a hospital and a jail and burned a Catholic church, a jail, a college and some houses in a bold attack that killed at least two soldiers and a police officer and wounded 12 others.

Several militants were killed in the fighting in Marawi city in Lanao del Sur province, about 830 kilometers (520 miles) south of Manila, but others continued to lay siege to the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people, officials said, adding that power was cut in the city in a chaotic scene.

"The whole of Marawi city is blacked out, there is no light, and there are Maute snipers all around," Lorenzana said in the news conference in Moscow, which was broadcast live in the Philippines.

Read more: http://time.com/4791237/rodrigo-duterte-martial-law-philippines/

Cheeto must be so jealous.
May 21, 2017

Oklahoma crisis offers opportunity for Democrats

The Oklahoma state budget has been cut so deeply that two elementary schools in state Rep. Jason Dunnington's district in Oklahoma City can no longer afford to pay for art teachers. A hospital is struggling after lawmakers axed a fund for uncompensated care.

Beyond the cuts, the situation has also produced a political role reversal. Republicans want to ease the pain with increases in cigarette and fuel taxes. Dunnington and fellow Democrats are attacking those bills, hoping opposition offers their party a path back to relevance after many years in the wilderness.

"I would rather lose fighting for what's just than win fighting for the wrong thing," Dunnington said.

No state Democratic party has been more hapless in recent years than Oklahoma's. It holds only a small minority of seats in the overwhelmingly Republican Legislature and has been repeatedly defeated in elections for statewide office.

But the worst budget crisis in recent state history presents an opportunity for a possible Democratic comeback, although it might mean inflicting more suffering on some constituents after three straight years of revenue shortfalls. If budget negotiations break down and Republicans are forced to make even deeper cuts, the effects could drive more voters to support Democrats in 2018.

For Democrats, "there's no downside to this at all," said Keith Gaddie, chairman of the University of Oklahoma's political science department. "It costs them nothing." Erin Taylor, whose youngest of five children receives supplemental health insurance through a state program because of a disability, is fearful of seeing her benefits slashed.

At: https://www.mail.com/news/politics/5211498-oklahoma-crisis-offers-opportunity-hapless-democra.html#.23140-stage-hero1-1

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