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14 Dec

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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World Politics

United States

Remembering the 26: how families honor Sandy Hook victims five years later

In the years since the mass shooting that killed 20 children and six educators, families have memorialized their loved ones in many different ways

by in New York

School safety campaigns. An animal sanctuary. A children’s book. Support for mental health reform. A lawsuit against the manufacturer of a military-style rifle.

In the five years since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, the families of the 20 children and six educators killed have taken very different paths to honor the lives of their loved ones.

Some family members have chosen to remain intensely private. Others have become prominent advocates for gun violence prevention.

No single campaign represents all 26 families. The continuing lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and dealer of the AR-15-style rifle used in the shooting, for example, was brought by the families of only nine Sandy Hook victims and one survivor.

Here, drawn from the joint website for the Sandy Hook victims’ families, is a brief look at how each family has asked to remember and honor those who died.

Charlotte Helen Bacon, age six

Charlotte Helen Bacon.

Charlotte Helen Bacon.

“Smart, funny, curious, messy, in-intimidated, and adventurous,” her family wrote, describing six-year-old Charlotte. “We like to use the word BOLD.”

A foundation in Charlotte’s honor supports a therapy dog program, a scholarship for students studying to become veterinarians, and a grant to help couples grieving the death of a child.

Together with an award-winning children’s book author, her parents co-wrote a picture book, Good Dogs, Great Listeners, which tells the story of Charlotte and her dog, Lily. Charlotte’s brother also wrote a book about his experience with therapy dogs after his sister’s death, called The Dogs of Newtown.

Olivia Rose Engel, age six

Olivia Rose Engel.

Olivia Rose Engel.

Olivia loved swimming and soccer and dancing in a pink tutu, singing and art projects and math. At dinner, she led her family in saying grace, and she was proud of her role as a big sister and her participation in an educational program at her parish church. To honor Olivia’s “zest for life”, her family has raised money for Newtown Park & Bark, a group that supports a local off-leash dog park. The organization has a page that honors Olivia’s joy, with photographs of happy dogs and messages about them. Olivia’s family also created a web site in her honor.

Josephine Gay, age seven

Josephine Gay.

Josephine Gay.

Seven-year-old Josephine, known as “Joey”, was the “girly-est” of her sisters, and she adored her older siblings, the family wrote in a recent article in the Newtown Bee. Fun-loving and affectionate, Joey had worked hard to “meet the milestones that came so easily to her older sisters,” after being diagnosed with autism, global apraxia and apraxia of speech. Her family wrote that she had found love and support in Newtown: “Her classmates eagerly learned sign language and encouraged and included her whenever they could.”

Her family has raised money for Joey’s Fund, which supports families in New England who need resources to help family members with autism. Her mother, Michele Gay, is also one of the founders of Safe and Sound Schools, an organization that promotes improved school security.

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At least 730 young children among people shot, burned or beaten to death in Rakhine state between August and September

A Rohingya woman and child walk through the Jamtoli refugee camp in Bangladesh. More than 640,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar.

A Rohingya woman and child walk through the Jamtoli refugee camp in Bangladesh. More than 640,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

More than 6,700 Rohingya Muslims, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed between August and September after violence broke out in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.

The figures released on Thursday by the humanitarian agency are believed to be a conservative estimate and far exceed Myanmar’s official death toll of 400.

“The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation, as we have not surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don’t account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar,” said Dr Sidney Wong, MSF’s medical director.

The majority of the people killed (69%) were shot, while others were burned and beaten to death. “We heard reports of entire families who perished after they were locked inside their homes, while they were set alight,” said Wong.

More than 640,000 Rohingya people have fled Rakhine since August. Soldiers, police and local militias burned hundreds of Rohingya villages to the ground, and they are also accused of gang-raping women and children, as well as slaughtering civilians indiscriminately.

Western countries have condemned the violence as ethnic cleansing, an allegation Myanmar strongly denies. Officials in the country have laid the blame on “extremist terrorists” belonging to a new Rohingya militant group. A Myanmar government spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

Some of the worst violence is believed to have occurred in Tula Toli, in a village in Maungdaw township, where survivors say residents were rounded up on riverbanks and shot as they tried to flee. The Guardian has seen videos taken by villagers showing the corpses of children washed up on shores.

Survivors believe thousands may have died in that village alone.

The high death toll tallies with reports from numerous journalists and human rights groups.

“The latest report adds to a long list of harrowing accounts that Human Rights Watch has collected from Rohingya refugees who fled the campaign of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in northern Rakhine state,” said Rich Weir, Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“The numbers should shock the conscience of the international community and stir them to action. Those responsible must be held to account and sanctions must be imposed on those who are behind these atrocities,” he said.

Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed to send Rohingya people back to Rakhine, in a deal that has been criticised by human rights groups as premature and lacking safeguards for the persecuted minority.

“Currently, people are still fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh and those who do manage to cross the border still report being subject to violence in recent weeks,” said MSF’s Wong. “With very few independent aid groups able to access Maungdaw district in Rakhine, we fear for the fate of Rohingya people who are still there.”

Myanmar insists the reports of mass murder and rape are fabrications invented by the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people now living in squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Two Reuters journalists investigating the events were arrested this week. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were detained while carrying maps and documents relating to the region, after meeting police officers for dinner in Myanmar’s commercial capital of Yangon.

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Footage shows rescue personnel airlifting child as people wait next to partially deflated rubber dinghy on Aegean coast

People stranded on rocks rescued by Turkish coastguards – video

The Turkish coastguard has mounted a dramatic rescue operation in the Aegean Sea, saving 51 people who became stranded on rocks as they attempted to cross to Greece.

Authorities intervened after receiving an emergency call at 1.12am local time. The coastguard said the rescue operation could only begin in daylight due to the rocky area and bad sea conditions. Helicopters dropped food and blankets in the night.

Footage from the rescue operation near the coastal city of ?zmir showed coastguard personnel airlifting a child as others waited on the rocks next to a partially deflated rubber dinghy.

Five children and a woman were rescued in this way while the rest were transferred to coastguard boats with the assistance of fishermen in the area, the coastguard said.

There was no information on the migrants’ nationalities, but Turkey is home to 3 million refugees from Syria, and many have continued to attempt the risky boat ride across the sea to Greece despite a deal between Ankara and the European Union that has curtailed illegal crossings. While some still attempt the sea route, others try to cross into Greece through the land border, and are sometimes forcibly returned even after entering the Greek mainland.

In addition to refugees fleeing the Syrian war, economic migrants from Asia and north Africa also attempt the crossing. More than 800,000 people reached Greece from Turkey at the height of the crisis in 2015, most of them settling in Germany and Sweden.

A Turkish coastguard crew member hangs on a rope attached to a helicopter above some rocks near ?zmir. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The March 2016 EU deal, under which Turkey cracked down on illegal migration in exchange for an assistance package and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, has been repeatedly criticised by human rights groups, who say Europe has shirked its responsibility to process asylum requests. Since the deal, Turkey says the number of people detained while making the illegal crossing has fallen by 85%.

Thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded in camps in Greece as the country attempts to deal with a backlog of asylum requests, and the influx has empowered far right and anti-immigrant parties across Europe.

A relocation scheme introduced by the EU in 2015 in an attempt to share the burden of migrant arrivals has been vilified by nationalist governments. Earlier this week the Guardian reported how Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, was ready to abandon the policy, which is being discussed by EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

On the ground, the suffering continues. A report by 12 humanitarian organisations released on Wednesday said 2,000 unaccompanied children were stranded on waiting lists for safe shelters in Greece, amid a chronic shortage of housing, with many sleeping rough……………Human rights organisations have blamed the European Union, which is providing funds to curtail migration from Libya, for being complicit in the abuses..

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