28 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

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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Venezuela’s ANC Passes New Price Control Law

Known as the Constitutional Law of Agreed Prices, the law authorizes regulatory authorities to reach agreements with industry representatives on maximum sale prices for key staples.

Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly approved the price control law Tuesday, while President Nicolas Maduro has called on the people to enforce it “in the streets”. (VTV)

Caracas, November 22, 2017 ( – Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) passed in second discussion Tuesday a new price law aimed at controlling the country’s soaring inflation.

Known as the Constitutional Law of Agreed Prices, the law authorizes regulatory authorities to reach agreements with industry representatives on maximum sale prices for key staples.

This week, Venezuela’s Superintendence for the Defense of Socioeconomic Rights (SUNDDE) published a list of prices for a number of goods, including white rice, coffee, corn, chicken, certain types of fish, pasta, sugar, and toothpaste.

The new prices will go into effect as of this Thursday.

Speaking on Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro praised the law and called on the people to help enforce it “in the streets”.

“I authorize the people to apply the law throughout the country, with its organized force… I put myself at the front of this fight, but the people must win it in the streets,” he stated.

The law is based on a proposal for 50 new price controls unveiled by President Maduro in September.

Under Presidents Chavez and Maduro, the Venezuelan government has long maintained a system of price controls aimed at guaranteeing affordable consumer goods for the population.

While the controls were effective during years of high oil prices, critics have accused the government of gradually abandoning the regulations as the country’s severe economic crisis has deepened, allowing prices to be determined by the black market value of the bolivar.

Nonetheless, this time around, the government says it is committed to enforcing the controls.

On Wednesday, SUNDDE officials visited the large Guaicaipuro market in Caracas where, in the company of military personnel, they ordered discounts of ten to thirty percent on a host of products targeted under the new regulations.


World Politics


Protestors against the ‘vestige of slavery’ featured in Christmas celebrations were blockaded on a motorway and an ‘action group’ invaded a school

The demonstrators were on their way to Dokkum, above, to protest against the inclusion of Zwart Piet in the town’s festival.

The demonstrators were on their way to Dokkum, above, to protest against the inclusion of Zwart Piet in the town’s festival. Photograph: NurPhoto/Getty Images

An annual debate in the Netherlands about the Christmas practice of white people blackening their faces, colouring their lips red and donning wigs to play Zwarte Piet, a sidekick to Saint Nicholas, has this year descended into street brawls, vandalism and a conviction for inciting racial hatred.

The characterisation of Zwarte Piet – or Black Pete – has divided Dutch society in recent years. In 2015 the UN stepped in to declare it was a “vestige of slavery”. Some major cities, including Amsterdam and The Hague, have refashioned Zwarte Piet’s image, or done away with him altogether, to avoid accusations of racism.

Others, however, continue to believe the character’s portrayal to be a harmless tradition. In a survey of 272 of the 388 Dutch municipalities, 239 said they would be sticking with the traditional image in 2017.

The blackened face is often explained away in those cases as a consequence of Zwarte Piet climbing sooty chimneys while helping Saint Nicholas deliver presents at a feast on the evening of 5 December. Opponents say that Zwarte Piet is instead a reference to slavery.

The difference of opinion has turned particularly ugly this year, however, with the involvement of the extreme right apparently helping to push local disputes into violence and vigilantism.

Last weekend, buses filled with those opposed to the traditional portrayal of Zwarte Piet were blocked on the motorway on their way to protest at an official “Sinterklaas arrival”, the point at which Saint Nicholas arrives in town with his sidekick to mark the start of the festive season.

Around 35 people, many thought to be members of extreme-right nationalist organisations, halted the convoy of 120 demonstrators on the motorway as they were about to make a legal protest in Dokkum, in the north of the country.

The Dutch home affairs minister, Raymond Knops, responded by calling for pro-Zwarte Piet protesters to abide by the law. “I understand the emotions on this subject, but I cannot approve of people stopping everything on a highway,” he said. “Everyone must abide by the law, including these people.”

In a separate incident, this week 10 members of an “action group for the preservation of Zwarte Piet” invaded a primary school just before the end of the school day, dressed in the contentious garb, and handed out flyers and stickers. The school in Utrecht intends to file a charge of trespass against the intruders. It has celebrated the Sinterklaas festival without Zwarte Piet since 2015.

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United States


Pontiff pressured to avoid using the word ‘Rohingya’ during three-day visit that includes talks with Burmese army

Pope Francis

Pope Francis had 15-minute meeting with top general and other officials on Monday. Photograph: The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Myanmar’s powerful army chief has told Pope Francis there is “no religious discrimination” in the country during talks at the start of the pontiff’s delicate visit to the majority-Buddhist nation that has been accused of “ethnic cleansing” against its Muslim Rohingya people.

Thousands of Catholics welcomed Pope Francis to the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, where he arrived for a three-day visit to Myanmar on Monday. The trip – fraught with sensitivity and trepidation over how he will deal with the plight of the Muslim Rohingya – could be the trickiest yet of his papacy.

The army chief told the pope that “Myanmar has no religious discrimination at all. Likewise our military too … performs for the peace and stability of the country”, according to a Facebook post published by the general’s office a few hours after the meeting. There is also “no discrimination between ethnic groups in Myanmar”, he added.

The Vatican said the meeting with General Min Aung Hlaing and three officials from Myanmar’s bureau of special operations took place on Monday evening at the residence of the Myanmar archbishop and lasted about 15 minutes.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke didn’t provide details of the private meeting other than to say that “they spoke of the great responsibility of the authorities of the country in this moment of transition”.

Min Aung Hlaing is in charge of military operations in Rakhine state, where security forces have launched a scorched earth campaign against Rohingya Muslims that has forced more than 620,000 to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh in what the UN said is a campaign of “ethnic cleansing”.

Francis’s meeting with the commander had been scheduled for Wednesday morning, but was moved up to just a few hours after he landed in Naypyidaw. He is scheduled to meet the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in the coming days.

After touching down on Monday afternoon, the pope was greeted by a large crowd at the airport, many waving yellow and white Vatican flags and dressed in T-shirts bearing the slogan of the trip, “Love and Peace”. As he drove past, they screamed and chanted “We love Papa”.

But the head of the Catholic church faces a difficult diplomatic balancing act on his first papal visit to Myanmar.

Many civilians, fleeing an army campaign, arrived with bullet wounds and claimed their homes had been razed. The operation followed an attack on security posts on 25 August by Rohingya militants, who the government said are responsible for abuses. The army has also absolved itself of wrongdoing.

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Sixty-five animals died on railway track on Saturday while further 41 killed last week during winter migration

A train passes by dead reindeer near Mosjoen, northern Norway

A train passes by the bodies of dead reindeer near Mosjøen, northern Norway. Photograph: John Erling Utsi/AP

More than 100 reindeer have been killed by freight trains in northern Norway in the past days in what has been called a senseless tragedy.

One train killed 65 deer on a track on Saturday while 41 died between Wednesday and Friday, the public broadcaster NRK reported late on Sunday.

“I’m so angry that I’m dizzy,” the owner of the 65 dead reindeer, Ole Henrik Kappfjell, told NRK. “It’s a senseless animal tragedy … a psychological nightmare.”

Norway is home to about 250,000 semi-domestic reindeer and most of them live in the far north of the country. At this time of year, herders take the reindeer to the winter pastures in search of grazing grounds, a perilous journey as many animals are hit by cars and trains. Some also drown.

Photos taken by the documentary filmmaker Jon Erling Utsi showed dead reindeer lying in the blood-stained snow. Some were shot after they were left wounded in Saturday’s incident. “It was a nightmare to watch,” he told NRK.

“The worst thing was the animals that were not killed in the accident. They were lying there, suffering. It was a bloodbath over several kilometres,” he added.

More than 2,000 reindeer were hit along the same northern railway line between 2013 and 2016.

The herders are demanding that the railway operator install a fence along the track but as yet there has been no funding.

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300 wild reindeer killed in lightning strike in Norway – video

323 wild reindeer including 70 calves are killed after lightning struck in Norway on Friday. The Norwegian Environment Agency said this rare natural disaster happened on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in the county of Telemark. Agency spokesman Kjartan Knutsen said the large number of animals were killed as they flocked together in bad weather

Source: AP

Norway reprieves 32 of 47 wolves earmarked for cull>>

Reindeer to be culled in Russia’s far north due to anthrax outbreak>>

Norway plans to cull more than two-thirds of its wolf population>>



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