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18 Sep

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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World Politics

United States

The Resistance Now: activists call for action as they mourn Edith Windsor

At the gay rights leader’s memorial service in New York, a lawyer urged listeners to ‘redouble our efforts to resist’

Edith Windsor and the fight for same sex marriage

by and in New York

The “resistance” lost one of its inspiring figures this week with the death of Edith Windsor, a hero of the gay rights movement who died on Tuesday at age 88. The Guardian’s Molly Redden was at a service for Windsor held in New York city on Friday afternoon, where those paying their respects included Hillary Clinton, and she sent us this dispatch:

With quavering voices, hundreds of family, friends, and supporters gathered on to celebrate Edith Windsor.

They were also feeling political.

When Roberta Kaplan, the litigator who argued Windsor’s landmark gay rights case before the US supreme court, said her passing was a reminder to “redouble our efforts to resist”, the word went out like a shockwave, drawing applause and cheers.

Known to friends as “Edie”, Windsor was the lead plaintiff in the US supreme court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. Those gathered inside Temple Emanu-El on the Upper East Side remembered her as an electric companion whose 4ft 11in frame could barely contain her verve.

The weight of Windsor’s political legacy was heavy in the room – most of all when Hillary Clinton approached the podium to standing applause. Without naming the current president, Clinton recast Windsor’s legacy as an exemplar for those countering the Trump administration’s assaults on LGBT rights.

“There wasn’t a cynical or defeatist bone in Edie’s body,” Clinton said. “That’s especially important for us to remember now. We owe it to her to ensure that gay rights are human rights and human rights remain gay rights forever … It is easy for us to grow weary of these fights, but remember Edie, who took on and won the US government. Our work is not done.”

Moments later, Kaplan echoed Clinton’s message. After warmly recounting that Windsor lived by two maxims – “never delay joy” and “keep it hot” – Windsor’s friend and attorney charged the congregation with taking up her legacy. “No human gets to complete the dream of liberation,” Kaplan said. “Edie did not see her work as finished, and neither should we.”

Windsor married Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007, after the pair had been together for 40 years. Two years later Spyer died, and the IRS ordered Windsor to pay $363,000 in estate taxes, as the federal government did not recognise the pair’s marriage, prompting her legal battle.

“Even during her final weeks, she was a flirt,” working her charms on the doctors, nurses and cleaning staff who cycled out of her room, said Karen Sauvigne, one of Windsor’s longtime friends. In the hospital, Sauvigne said, Windor charmed a nurse into painting her nails “so that she died with a fresh manicure”.

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Rudd: Trump’s London terror tweet is ‘pure speculation’ – video

Home secretary Amber Rudd says Donald Trump’s tweet about the Parsons Green tube attack was unhelpful. Speaking on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, Rudd says Trump’s suggestion that the terrorist who left a bomb on the tube on Friday was in the sights of Scotland Yard was ‘pure speculation’

Juggalos and Trump backers to descend on Washington – at the same time>>

Aid agencies in camps are overwhelmed as family tragedies unfold on Myanmar’s border

About 80% of those fleeing are women and children – and there are babies being born along the way.

About 80% of those fleeing are women and children – and there are babies being born along the way. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

More than 400 babies have been born in the no man’s land between the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar in the past 15 days as 400,000 Rohingya people have fled from the violence, house burnings and gunfire in Rakhine state.

The Rohingya are trapped. Myanmar’s military has blamed insurgents for the latest round of violence. The UN has called the situation a “humanitarian disaster” and aid agencies are overwhelmed. About 80% of those fleeing are women and children – and there are babies being born along the way.

Caught between two countries – and welcome by neither – Suraiya Sultan, 25, is one of those new mothers. She was waiting in a 500-yard-long strip of mud when she went into labour. As her contractions increased, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) took her on to a boat, where she gave birth to her daughter, Ayesha, under a makeshift sari canopy. Sick and exhausted, mother and baby were taken to the Nayapara camp to seek medical assistance. Camp officer Mohd Mominul Haq said they had received many others in a similar position and that their condition was “critical”.

“We are trying our best to help them, but the situation is beyond our capacity,” he said. Mothers have died during childbirth; others gave birth only to watch helplessly as their newborns died from sickness and poor camp conditions.

Masum Bhadur, 28, lost her son. “He had a fever and wouldn’t stop shaking,” she sobbed. Her husband Abu Bakr, 35, went to find help, but when he returned the baby was dead. There is no proper burial ground in the vicinity, as all available space is being used to erect make-shift shelters, so Abu Bakr dug a small grave in the forest nearby and buried their son. He was three days old.

Another woman did not know what to do with her dead baby. After carrying her boy with her for two days, she slipped him into the Naf river. Tears streamed down her face as she told her story. Manzur Kadir Ahmed, chief executive of Gonoshasthaya Kendra (People’s Health Centre), said that the mothers were unable to breastfeed their babies because of a lack of enough food and water.

Vivian Tan, from the UN refugee agency UNHCR, described how a man approached the clinic at the Nayapara camp looking distressed. “He took us to this little basket covered by a blanket … he opened it and showed us two tiny babies. His wife had just given birth to twins while they were on the run,” she said. One died soon afterwards.

Anthony Lake, executive director of the UN children’s agency Unicef, said: “Women and children on both sides of the border need urgent help and protection.” While Unicef is scaling up its response in Bangladesh, Myanmar has blocked all aid-worker access to civilians in northern Rakhine, including babies and pregnant women.

As the situation on the border of Myanmar and Bangladesh worsens, the global criticism directed at Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, over her silence about the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority, who are mainly Muslim, is mounting. In the UK, there are growing calls for awards and honours bestowed on her by a range of universities and cities to be withdrawn. In the City of London – where Aung San Suu Kyi was endowed with the honorary freedom of the City as recently as May this year – questions are also being asked about how and why she was honoured after local government members and others expressed their concerns.

The role of the Foreign Office, which was consulted by City of London officials, is also now in the spotlight, and at least one elected member of the Square Mile’s local authority has now initiated discussions with colleagues on whether her honour could be withdrawn.

“The City remains a fantastically diverse place, with a huge number of south Asian Muslims living and working here. This makes it all the more important that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standard on this issue,” said the letter from Thomas Anderson, which has been seen by the Observer.

There are also calls for Aung San Suu Kyi, having already faced criticism over her stance by her fellow Nobel laureates Malala Yousafzai and Desmond Tutu, to be stripped of her honorary Canadian citizenship and the Nobel Peace Prize that she was given in 1991.

Thousands of Rohingya refugees are stuck in no man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Thousands of Rohingya refugees are stuck in no man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

In Dublin, where she received the freedom of the city in 2012, councillors have started to debate whether to begin the process of taking back that award, with one, Mannix Flynn, warning colleagues that they could have “blood on their hands”.

Disappointment at Aung San Suu Kyi’s stance on the violence is keenly felt in Oxford, her former home. A campaign is under way there calling for withdrawal of the honorary doctorate bestowed on her in 2012, when she visited after being released from 15 years under house arrest in her own country.

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As appeals for dialogue make no progress, Madrid turns to threats of police action

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Josep Lluis Trapero Álvarez, chief of the regional police.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and Josep Lluis Trapero Álvarez, chief of the regional police, inspect members of the Mossos d’Esquadra force last week. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

In two weeks, Catalans will go to the polls to vote in a referendum on whether to secede from Spain and form an independent republic. Or will they?

Ever since Carles Puigdemont’s government called the referendum for 1 October, the central government in Madrid has been doing everything in its power to ensure that it does not happen. Madrid says the referendum is unconstitutional and so are the laws the Catalan parliament passed a week ago, which will in effect disconnect Catalonia from Spanish legislative and administrative control if the Yes vote prevails.

If the Catalan government’s strategy has been to provoke a reaction from Madrid, it has succeeded. While refusing to discuss the issue, the Spanish government has lashed out with a series of threats, including taking control of Catalonia’s finances by 18 September and abolishing its regional autonomy. It has threatened to bar Catalan leaders from holding office and even warned them that they could face jail. The attorney general has also said that any mayor who allows local authority buildings to be used as polling stations could face prosecution. Meanwhile, mayors who say they will not facilitate the referendum are being picketed and sent hate mail by pro-secessionists.

Anyone printing or distributing ballot papers or supplying ballot boxes risks prosecution, and the government has even threatened to cut off the electricity to schools serving as polling stations. It has warned postal workers against handling electoral material. The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force who became local heroes over their handling of the terrorist attacks last month, have been ordered to intervene to prevent voting taking place.

Last Wednesday the Civil Guard shut the official referendum website, but within 24 hours Puigdemont had published a new link to the site on his Twitter account. WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange says he has been helping to defend the website.

Critics of the referendum, including Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, say it lacks the necessary guarantees and has set no minimum level of participation. However, she has reached an agreement with Puigdemont to facilitate the vote in the capital. Meanwhile the Catalan government has sent letters to 55,000 citizens calling on them to run the polling stations. Under the Catalan referendum law they are obliged to take part, but the law has been ruled illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

In a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock, Colau and Puigdemont have sent a joint letter to the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, and the king pleading for dialogue and a legally binding referendum. In the letter they appeal for an “open and unconditional dialogue”. Rajoy insists that he is open to dialogue on any topic – except a referendum on independence.

The Yes camp has successfully created an image of consensus around independence – witness the million people they mobilised on the streets of Barcelona last week for Catalonia’s national day – but these impressive shows of popular power mask the fact that there is still only a minority in favour of secession. A survey at the end of July found that 49.4% of Catalans were against independence and 41.1% supported it.

When a similar referendum was held in November 2014, 80% voted Yes. However, the turnout of barely 37% suggested that No voters had boycotted the poll. There are fears this will be repeated on 1 October, but the Catalan government seems bent on a declaration of independence, however small the margin in favour.

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Police order crowds to disperse after dozens arrested at weekend during protests over acquittal of Jason Stockley

and agencies

Clashes in St Louis after policeman acquitted of murder

A largely peaceful rally in St Louis turned rowdy on Sunday as a handful of demonstrators protesting at the acquittal of a white police officer over the fatal shooting of a black man in 2011 threw bottles in response to police making arrests.

Hundreds of people gathered for the third night in a row in the Missouri city of almost 320,000 people. Violence erupted the previous two nights, evoking memories of the riots following the 2014 shooting of a black teenager by a white officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

More than 80 people were arrested as police in riot gear used pepper spray and arrested the demonstrators who had defied orders to disperse following a larger, peaceful protest.

At a late-night news conference, Mayor Lyda Krewson noted that “the vast majority of protesters are non-violent,” and blamed the trouble on “a group of agitators.”

Sunday’s event began peacefully, just like the previous two nights. Then a police officer was making two arrests a block away from police headquarters, leading some to rush toward the officer, who then jumped in his car and reversed quickly through the crowd to get away, according to two Reuters journalists.

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