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Showing posts from October, 2016

After spying illegally for 17 years UK intelligence seeks new powers

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The U.K. Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that the U.K.'s secret bulk collection by the GCHQ between 1998 and near the end of 2015 violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was never approved as legal by the U.K. parliament.
The GCHQ is the Government Communications Headquarters. The program was first revealed by Edward Snowden.Key points in the Tribunal findings can be found here. The program, or rather programs, allowed the U.K. surveillance agency, the GCHQ, to build up a detailed database of communications with little to no oversight.The bulk collection included a whole year's worth of call data and location records from every cell phone in the U.K. The collection had been kept secret from the public and beyond the reach of the courts. If it were not for the revelations of Edward Snowden the data collection probably would never have been revealed. Snowden is in Russia at present. If he returns to the U.S. he would no doubt face criminal charges. …

Libyan coup plotters remain in seized headquarters

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The Rixos coup leaders of their self-declared Salvation Government remain protected by loyal militia who form a ring around the Rixos Hotel and guest houses across the road.
The Interior Ministry ordered that those responsible for the coup be arrested some time ago. Asa tweetreports, Serraj stated: "I have instructed the Interior Ministry to arrest those involved in storming of the State Council. #Libya". Rather than being subject to arrest, the coup members were joined by the Presidential Guard who are supposed to be defending the Presidential Council(PC) of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). PM and head of the PC, Faiez Serraj, acted as if there were no coup by visiting a Tripoli hospital. He also attended a parade of police cadets who are reported to have been trained and hired to protect the Interior Ministry. Faiez claimed that there would be zero tolerance for those who sought to undermine the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) and instead sow chaos. He again…

Amy Goodman charged with participating in a riot for filming native protest

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Well-known Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman is now facing charges of participating in a "riot" after she filmed Native American-led protests against an oil pipeline project in North Dakota.
North Dakota state prosecutor, Ladd Erickson, filed the new charges on Friday before District Judge John Grinsteiner. He will decide on Monday (October 17) whether there is enough evidence to pursue the charge. The prosecutor decided earlier to drop a criminal trespassing charge against Goodman. Goodman will appear in court to face the charges if they are approved. Goodman said: "I came back to North Dakota to fight a trespass charge. They saw that they could never make that charge stick, so now they want to charge me with rioting. I wasn’t trespassing, I wasn’t engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters." Erickson claimed that Goodman was not acting as a journalist in a statement to the Bismarck Tribune. …

Some members of General National Council attempt a coup in Libya

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The attempted coup by some members of the General National Council and Salvation Government is still ongoing after two days. There have been some clashes in Tripoli but the city was mostly calm by nightfall.
The coup leaders took overthe Roxios Hotel and "Hospitality Houses" across the road. The buildings were the headquarters of the State Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) which had seized them some time ago from the Salvation Government. The Salvation Government although still existing had its ministries taken over by the GNA. The coup was immediately condemned by the UN, the GNA its Presidency Council (PC) the EU and the U.S. However, the rival government of the GNA the Al-Thinni House of Representatives (HoR) government had a less negative response. The coup leaders were probably hoping for a dialogue with some members of the HoR in the hopes of agreeing on a unity government. The Libya Herald suggests that PM Al-Thinni had effectively rejected calls by c…

About 300 U.S. marines to be based in Norway

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The Norwegian government is considering allowing a contingent of about 300 U.S. marines to be based in the country in order to facilitate better military cooperation between the two countries and to be prepared in the event of a crisis involving Russia.
The marineswould deployon a six-month rotation, pending approval of the Norwegian government, after which additional rotations would follow. The U.S. already has crisis response teams for Africa, the Middle East and Japan. A Norwegian newspaper reported that the Vaernes air base in Stjordal is being considered to house the marines. The air station is already serving as part of Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway. This program allows the Marine Corps to store thousands of vehicles and other military gear in caves that are temperature controlled. The vehicles are ready for joint exercises or any combat contingency. The base is far from Russia, about 1,000 miles — although in the extreme north Norway shares a 120 mile border with R…

Kuwaiti's Emir dissolves parliament paving way for elections

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The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Sabah, has issued a decree today dissolving the Kuwaiti National Assembly, according to the official state news agency KUNA.
The dissolutionsets the stage for an early election. The dissolution was announced after an emergency government meeting. The emir said that because of the circumstances in the region and security challenges, that he had ordered that the 50-member legislature be dissolved. The emir's move comes less than 24 hours after the speaker of the parliament Marzouk al-Ghanem called for new elections in the face of security and economic challenges. Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy with the emir having power to appoint the PM who appoints government ministers but compared to most other Gulf Cooperation Council states it is more liberal and the legislature has considerable power. A BBC article claims:Kuwait's parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf region, but the ruling al-Sabah family has the fina…

UN, EU, and others condemn the attempted coup in Libya

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The UN, the EU and the Libyan Government of National Unity (GNA) have all condemned the attempted coup yesterday by members of the Salvation Government of the former General National Congress (GNC).
Although the Interior Ministry of the GNA was ordered to arrest those involved in the coup, so far no action to do so appears to have been taken. There is tension and some violence in Tripoli but it is not clear that the violence is related to the attempted coup. As atweet reminds commentators: User Actions "#Libya Worth noting there are pre-existing Tripoli militia disputes, some skirmishing may that + not related to rival govts. power struggle."Another tweetnotes there are clashes between two militia in Tripoli: "Avoid BenGasheer,#Tripoli, due to ongoing fighting (tanks being used) btwn militias of BGasheer and Warshiffan. #Libya." So far, there appears to be no violence at the Rixos hotel buildings that the coup leaders seized which are now guarded by militia. The le…

HP Inc. to shed 3 to 4 thousand jobs during the next 3 years

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HP Inc. the successor company to Hewlett-Packard the computer manufacturer is downsizing once again. The company announced that it expects to eliminate 3,000 to 4,000 jobs over the next three years.
 1 of 3 Between 2007 and the second quarter of 2013,Hewlett-Packardwas the world's leading PC manufacturer but was then overtaken by Lenovo. On November 1, 2015 the company split into two with HP Inc. being the computer and printer business and Hewlett Packard Enterprise providing services and enterprise products. HP has been shedding jobs for years now:On December 31, 2013, HP revised the amount of jobs cut from 29,000 to 34,000 up to October 2014. The current amount of jobs cut until the end of 2013 was 24,600.[70][71][72] At the end of 2013 the company had 317,500 employees. On May 22, 2014 HP announced it would cut a further 11,000 to 16,000 jobs, in addition to the 34,000 announced in 2013. "We are gradually shaping HP into a more nimble, lower-cost, more customer and partner…

Attempted coup in Libya by members of the General National Congress Salvation government.

Former members of the General National Council's (GNC) Government, as it called itself, including the former prime minister, Khalifa al-Ghwell have taken over their former headquarters in the Rixos Hotel and announced they are in power again.
Ghwell issued a statement declaring a state of emergency and claiming that this was a "historical initiative to rescue Libya". Both the Rixos Conference Center and the "Hospitality Palaces" across the road were taken over last April by the State Council by militia who were then loyal to the GNA. The pro-GNC militia withdrew to avoid bloodshed. The State Council actually pulled out of the headquarters a couple of days ago citing security issues. Apparently, the militia guarding the Council were harassing members. According to theLibyan Express:  The Head of the Libyan High Council of State, Abdelrahman Al-Sweihli, ordered Monday the headquarters of the council be evacuated from all members and employees over recurrent violat…

Libyan Investment Authority loses court case against Goldman Sachs

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A United Kingdom court has ruled in favor of Goldman Sachs in a $1.2 billion dollar case brought by the the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) regarding nine disputed equity derivatives trades, according to a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs.
+ Add Image 1 of 2  The LIA said that it was disappointed in the decision by Judge Vivien Rose, saying in response: "Time will be needed fully to digest the judgment and all options are being considered at this time." Some sources said that an appeal should be expected.
The trial had run for seven weeks in London's High Court over the summer. The LIA had argued that the trades were secured through "undue influence" and "unconscionable bargaining". The LIA also argued that its members were too unsophisticated to understand what it was they were buying and Goldman had abused its position as a trusted adviser by taking advantage of this inexperience. The members of the LIA had been appointed by the Gadaffi regime, and n…

U.S. ups air attacks on the Islamic State in Sirte Libya

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Although the final push to defeat the Islamic State (IS) in Sirte began some time ago and their imminent defeat has been announced a number of times, a few IS fighters still remain surrounded in the city in an increasingly smaller area.
In order to soften up IS positions before each advance of the Al Bunyan Al-Marsous (Solid Structure or BAM) forces, the U.S. has targeted snipers and IS positions as part of its Operation Odyssey Lightning that began back on the beginning of August. Just in the last four days, the U.S. has carried out 51 airstrikes. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said that this was some of the heaviest bombing since the operation began. AFRICOM said that in all about 155 targets were hit, mostly enemy fighting positions. The BAM forces are mostly brigades from the city of Misrata and are loyal to the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). The U.S. airstrikes are in support of the Sirte offensive. There are also some special forces from the U.K. and the U.S. wh…

Pickup truck rams into crowd of protesters in Reno Nevada

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Police are investigating after a pickup truck plowed into a group of demonstrators for native rights in downtown Reno Nevada on Monday night.
The appended video shows occupants of the vehicle arguing with the protesters then revving the engine and speeding into the crowd. Reno police chief Jason Soto said the 18-year old male who was driving the vehicle along with a 17-year old passenger contacted police just three minutes after the incident as they were several blocks away. Both he and his passenger are cooperating with the police. A 59-year old woman was sent to the hospital with injuries resulting from the rampage. Three other people were hurt. According to the police about 40 protesters were blocking Virginia Street in front of a famous arch that has the Reno slogan "Biggest Little City in the World". As a group of protesters surrounded the truck which was revving its engine, they told the occupants that that they need to go in a different direction. Some shouted "S…

French farmer and critic of CETA finally allowed to stay in Canada but just for 7 days

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Jose Bove a French farmer, member of European Parliament, and anti-globalization activist has been allowed to stay in Canada for seven days after being told yesterday he would have to leave the country today.
However, Bove missed his speaking engagement scheduled for Montreal last night. TheCouncil of Canadians had asked Bove to speak on his opposition to the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). He will be able to attend a conference at St. John's later on this week. After Bove had spent hours in customs by Canada Border Services Agency on Tuesday, Bove had his passport confiscated and was informed he had to leave Canada on Wednesday afternoon. He was told he was being expelled because of his previous criminal convictions, including one in which he vandalized a McDonald's restaurant.Bove has been convicted of crimes resulting from his activism a number of times. However, he has been to Canada many times before with no issue. His experience in th…

Russia to expand Syrian naval base at Tartus and make it permanent

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While Russia has occupied the Tartus naval base in Syria for 45 years now it is nevertheless about to formalize that it is a permanent base and also come to an agreement with the Assad government for a substantial expansion of the base.
Tartus is Russia's only naval base in the Mediterranean. The base is quite limited in size and cannot accommodate larger warships. Russia wants to expand the base. Since the Assad government is very much indebted to Russia for helping it survive, negotiations should not be too difficult. In fact, any Russian expansion of the base will be seen by Assad as a sign of serious commitment to saving his regime. Russia has recently deployed an S-300 anti-aircraft system to the area around the base. As relations with the U.S. sour, Russia is also apparently considering opening up Soviet era bases in both Vietnam and Cuba. Russia has also talked of opening an airbase in Egypt but Egyptian officials deny it will agree to any such base. However, Russia appears…