29 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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Video: Trapped in Libya, migrants face torture and slavery


In the past few months, the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean has shrunk drastically on the back of new migrant policies in Libya and Italy alike. Instead, many of them find themselves stuck in a living nightmare in Libya, where they are imprisoned, tortured and sold off as slaves. We take a closer look at this humanitarian catastrophe which has caused global outrage.

Compared to just a few months ago, the number of overcrowded migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean seems to have become less and less frequent. In Italy alone, the number of Europe-destined migrants landing on its shores has dropped by as much as 70 percent.

The sudden halt in crossings can largely be attributed to Italy’s new migrant policies, engineered by the country’s Interior Minister Marco Minitti. Although these policies heavily rely on the official cooperation of the Libyan navy, they also include a number of secret, and more troubling, deals struck with local militia groups which have been put in charge of stemming the migrant flow in exchange for arms and millions of dollars.

A number of NGOs are more than worried about these “secret deals” and the impact they have on the migrants who find themselves stuck in Libya, where – with neither the possibility to cross the Mediterranean nor return home – they are imprisoned, tortured and sold off as slaves.

Our reporters, Natalia Mendoza and Taha Zargoun, went to investigate in the Libyan coastal city of Sabratah, which finds itself at the heart of this international scandal.

World Politics

United States

  • Republican backed by Trump alleged voter fraud and sought new vote

  • Judge turns down request as state officials confirm Democratic win

Roy Moore

Roy Moore has not conceded the election to Doug Jones. Photograph: Brynn Anderson/AP

Doug Jones was formally certified as the winner of Alabama’s US Senate election this month, as the state ignored a last-ditch legal challenge by the Republican Roy Moore.

The announcement came hours after Moore’s lawyers filed a request late on Wednesday for a restraining order to stop Alabama’s canvassing board from certifying Jones’ victory. In a statement accompanying that filing, Moore’s team called for a new special election and claimed Alabama “will suffer irreparable harm if the election results are certified without preserving and investigating all the evidence of potential fraud”.

But even before Montgomery circuit judge Johnny Hardwick denied Moore’s request in a Thursday ruling, state officials rejected Moore’s claims. The certification paved the way for Jones to be sworn in as Alabama’s junior senator when the Senate reconvenes in January.

After that was done, at the state capitol on Thursday afternoon, Jones said in a statement: “I am looking forward to going to work for the people of Alabama in the new year.

“As I said on election night, our victory marks a new chapter for our state and the nation. I will be an independent voice and work to find common ground with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Washington back on track and fight to make our country a better place for all.”

Moore, who was accused of assaulting teenage girls while in his 30s, lost to Jones in the 12 December race by around 20,000 votes, a margin of 1.5%. It was the first time Alabama had elected a Democrat to the US Senate in 25 years.

Moore refused to concede, citing unsubstantiated rumors of election fraud and claiming high Democratic turnout was improbable. The Republican remained undeterred after state officials certified Jones’s win, issuing a statement that continued to suggest foul play despite there being no evidence to support his claims.

“I have stood for the truth about God and the constitution for the people of Alabama,” Moore said. “I have no regrets. To God be the glory.”

A spokesman for Jones called Moore’s late-stage legal challenge “a desperate attempt … to subvert the will of the people” and said: “The election is over. It’s time to move on.”

State officials also disputed any claim of inconsistencies in the voting process. John H Merrill, the Alabama secretary of state, told CNN: “Will this affect anything? The short answer to that is no.”

Merrill met Alabama’s governor, Kay Ivey, and attorney general, Steve Marshall, on Thursday to certify the election result. Jones will be sworn in by vice-president Mike Pence on 3 January.

With respect to Moore’s allegations of voter fraud, Merrill said that while more than 100 such cases had been reported, the state had “adjudicated more than 60 of those”. “We will continue to do that,” he said.

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Death in an Amazon dumpster

When his body was found in a dumpster outside an Amazon warehouse, the homeless man’s death was a mystery. The search to uncover his past exposes the dangers of a life spent scavenging

by in San Francisco

The day before last year’s presidential election, a hungry homeless man named Jonathan Manley stopped at a dumpster outside a warehouse in San Francisco. Unmarked on the outside, the building was occupied by Amazon.

For those able to tolerate the grime and the smell, and who had no other choice but to risk eating expired or rotting food, the large dumpsters stationed there could be bountiful. Visitors say they have found ice cream, bananas, strawberries, grapes and frozen pizzas, not to mention cans and packaging that can be sold for pennies at recycling centers.

The lid was too high and too heavy for Manley to flip open from the sidewalk, so he climbed the side, pulled the lid back and dropped into the trash. It was full of things to eat.

“That’s when I noticed him,” Manley said.

At the front, on all fours as if he was struggling to stand up, was a middle-aged man wearing a T-shirt, pants and boots. He had a graying mustache and beard, his hands were caked with dirt and there was blood around his nose.

Manley tried to wake him but could not. He tried to lift him, but the man weighed too much and was too stiff. Poking his head out of the dumpster, Manley saw two passersby walking a dog across the street and yelled for them to call 911. When the paramedics arrived, they determined that the man was beyond resuscitation.

Dumpsters can be life-sustaining for people surviving on the streets. But a Guardian investigation has found that they are also implicated in dozens of homeless deaths.

This has added resonance in San Francisco, where the economy hinges on the noncorporeal – algorithms, the cloud and the flows of venture capital – yet some 4,500 people sleeping outdoors still struggle each night for the basic physical necessities of existence. They subsist in the interstices of the new paradigm, or in some cases off its waste.

Just inside the Amazon warehouse, visitors are confronted by shelves stacked with food, everything from peanut butter to tabasco sauce, Oreos, teabags and jello.

In another room, staff hurriedly prepare bags of shopping. When they are ready, delivery people dispatch this abundance to the inhabitants of San Francisco.

The garbage receptacles outside are not the first tech dumpsters to have attracted the attention of homeless locals. A few years ago, they responded with wonder and bemusement to a dumpster by a nearby Google warehouse.

It “had every kind of food you can imagine”, said a resident named Michael Mundy. “They just threw it away, thousands of dollars’ worth.”

But the warehouse closed down, and people had to look elsewhere. “All of a sudden,” said a woman who only gave her first name, Renee, “they started talking about Amazon”.

For about a week after stumbling on the body, Manley went through the encampments of south-eastern San Francisco, trying to find somebody who was missing someone. Thousands of homeless people die in American cities each year to little fanfare, and the Amazon incident barely made the news. Neither the man’s name nor the occupant of the warehouse appear to have ever been reported.

At an encampment underneath a highway, he came across a woman who had strung up dried flowers around her tent and cultivated succulents. Cheryl Iversen, 49, had riotous, flaming orange hair, a personality to match and, fittingly, went by the name of Tygrr, pronounced “Tiger”. Manley told her what he had discovered, and she felt the burden of not knowing what had happened to Frank Ryan lifted.

“I said ‘thank you’,” she recalled. “He held me when I cried.”………………… Iversen vividly remembers the day they got together. They were wading by a pier in San Francisco Bay, gathering stones that they could sell and placing them on a plastic float. As the tide rose, they sat on the float, and had to lie down when their heads started to bump on the pier above. He brushed her hair from her cheek and they kissed.

A few days later, Iversen wrote a poem about it that she still remembers by heart.

Cheryl Iversen’s poem, written for Frank. Photo: Alastair Gee for the Guardian.

“He had such a beautiful soul, he was so smart,” she said. “He never once made me feel stupid for not knowing something.”

Although they were not monogamous – Iversen described herself dismissively as a “side-piece” – towards the end Ryan had told her he wanted to settle down with her in a warehouse squat. When she last saw him he said he was going to look for ice cream.

For those so inclined, living out of dumpsters can occasion philosophy. “Almost everything I have now has already been cast out at least once, proving that what I own is valueless to someone,” Lars Eighner wrote in his treatise On Dumpster Diving.

Eighner’s experiences were distinct from those of people who dumpster-dive as a lifestyle choice – he began when he was struggling to pay rent, and the day-to-day realities were brutal. “No matter how careful I am I still get dysentery at least once a month, oftener in warm weather,” he said.

A Guardian review of news reports from the last decade has found at least 50 cases of dumpster-related homeless deaths and serious injuries. In some instances, the dumpster is simply the bleak setting. On Christmas Day last year, a Wichita, Kansas, man was found in a dumpster outside a bakery, and while a preliminary autopsy suggested he died of natural causes, his relatives could not fathom what had prompted him to get inside.

In other examples, it is the act of trash collection itself that is fatal. A man in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was tipped out of a dumpster and then run over by a garbage truck. In Forth Worth, Texas, a screaming man had a heart attack after the dumpster he was inside was picked up. More common are situations in which homeless people, sleeping in dumpsters or sheltering from the elements, are collected by garbage or recycling trucks and compacted along with the trash. This is why ruined bodies sometimes end up at the dump.

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  • Taylor was attacked by six white men as she walked home from church

  • Men who admitted assault were not indicted by all-white, all-male grand juries

Recy Taylor in 2010. ‘Recy Taylor was so courageous, so brave to have spoken up.’

Recy Taylor in 2010. ‘Recy Taylor was so courageous, so brave to have spoken up.’ Photograph: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

Recy Taylor, a black Alabama woman whose rape by six white men in 1944 drew national attention, died on Thursday. She was 97.

Taylor died in her sleep at a nursing home in Abbeville, her brother Robert Corbitt said. He said Taylor had been in good spirits the previous day and her death was sudden. She would have been 98 on Sunday.

Taylor’s story, along with those of other black women attacked by white men during the civil rights era, is told in At the Dark End of the Street, a book by Danielle McGuire released in 2010. A documentary on her case, The Rape of Recy Taylor, was released this year.

The Rape of Recy Taylor is directed by Nancy Buirski, best known for directing The Loving Story, about Mildred and Richard Loving, the couple who toppled laws against interracial marriage

“This is such an important time in this country’s path to recognize Recy Taylor,” Buirski told the Guardian this month. “With women being singled out on Time magazine’s cover, as part of the #MeToo campaign, I really want to draw attention to the black women who spoke up when their lives were seriously in danger.”

Taylor was 24 when she was abducted and raped as she walked home from church in Abbeville. Her attackers left her on the side of the road in an isolated area. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) assigned Rosa Parks to investigate the case, and she rallied support for justice for Taylor.

Two all-white, all-male grand juries declined to indict the six white men who admitted to authorities that they assaulted her.

In a 2010 interview, Taylor said she believed the men who attacked her were dead, but she still would like an apology from officials.

“It would mean a whole lot to me,” Taylor said. “The people who done this to me … they can’t do no apologizing. Most of them is gone.”

The Alabama legislature passed a resolution apologizing to her in 2011.

Buirski told the Guardian that “during the civil rights movement, issues like equal accommodations and voting rights became more vital to the general population than issues about ‘sexual stuff’. That was something that people put aside, that people didn’t want to talk about. It was unseemly to talk about, and certainly, to fight about.”

But Buirski said the movement remained rooted in what one academic has called “a bodily claim to own a space”, a debt Buirski said it owed partly to women like Taylor.

“That was her legacy,” Buirski said. “Recy Taylor was so courageous, so brave to have spoken up.”

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