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20 Jan

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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  • Police issue citations to volunteers giving out food and socks

  • El Cajon says ban aims to tackle outbreak of hepatitis A

A protester at an event where homeless people were offered food in El Cajon, California, on Sunday.

 

A California city has brought charges against 12 people who defied a ban on feeding homeless people at a neighborhood park, as officials try to rein in a hepatitis A outbreak that has killed 20 people and prompted mass vaccinations and the bleaching of streets.

Officials in El Cajon, east of San Diego, argue that the ordinance aims to protect the public from hepatitis A, which has mostly affected those who are homeless or use drugs, by preventing the person-to-person transmission of pathogens. But activists have decried it as a draconian measure to criminalize homeless residents.

Jen Loving, a Bay Area advocate who has followed the situation, said it reflected a broader breakdown in trust, with locals losing confidence that their elected representatives have effective solutions for what, in other contexts, might be recognized as a humanitarian disaster.

“From afar, it feels like a community struggling with crisis and wanting consensus in a comprehensive solution to this problem,” said Loving. “This points to a much bigger issue all around the country. All communities are starved for long-term solutions for decreasing homelessness.”

Homelessness in the US has grown by about 1% since 2016, the first increase since the great recession, and it is driven by high rents on the east and west coasts. In San Diego County the numbers rose 5%.

In El Cajon on Sunday, a volunteer organization named Break the Ban manned tables offering breakfast bars, oranges and bananas, hygiene supplies and socks at a local park. Within an hour, the police arrived threatening to arrest those who defied the ban. Volunteers shouted angrily at them, and they began issuing misdemeanor citations.

Scott Dreher, an attorney to the organizers who was present at the event, described the ordinance a restriction on his free-speech rights. “It prevents me from exercising my right to share food with those people in need, which is an expression of speech by action,” he said. “There are other, non-first-amendment-restrictive, ways to accomplish the city’s stated goal of preventing the spread of hep A, namely, by cleaning up the parks and providing and encouraging use of public restrooms and hand-washing.”

Almost 600 people in the county have been infected with the disease, which is spread via fecal contamination, a symptom of the fact that homeless people have few places to use the bathroom and then wash their hands.

As well as spraying bleach and offering vaccinations, officials in San Diego have installed washing stations and erected huge tents to give people some protection from the elements. The city is also making longer-term plans: on Thursday, San Diego’s mayor, Kevin Faulconer, unveiled a homelessness plan that includes a tax hike, central intake hub and more shelter beds.

A homeless man at the feeding event, Berl Crist, said El Cajon, by contrast, “would rather take a hands-off inactive approach, by banning food sharing and making panhandling illegal.”

“It’s not a feeding ban,” said El Cajon spokesperson Monica Zech. “We want to protect the homeless by feeding them in a clean and safe environment. A park isn’t a clean environment.”

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After taking to the streets one year ago, organizers are back with an ambitious new agenda: get more women on the ballot and in the voting booth

The Women’s March on Washington: ‘We started 2017 with perpetual outrage and now we have perpetual outrage, plus a plan for 2018’.

 

A year ago, more than 1 million people took to the streets in cities around the US wearing pink knit “pussy hats” and waving wry placards, in an extraordinary display of dissent against a newly vested president. Then, after the rousing success of the march, organizers were left with the inevitable question: what next?

On Sunday, the first anniversary of the march, the organizers will head to Las Vegas to launch “Power to the Polls”, a national voter registration and mobilization tour that will target swing states ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

“We started 2017 with perpetual outrage and now we are at the moment when we have perpetual outrage, plus a plan in place for 2018,” Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the Women’s March, told the Guardian.

Meanwhile, women and supporters of the liberal movement around the world will return to the streets this weekend in opposition to Donald Trump. The largest protests are expected in Washington, New York and Los Angeles.

Sarsour said reclaiming liberal majorities in the House and Senate is the best – and only – way to stop Trump’s agenda. The Women’s March intends to endorse female and progressive candidates in 2018, and to partner with local organizations to register new voters and increase engagement.

“One year ago, we had millions of people marching in the streets of the streets,” she said. “The idea is that we march the same people and their families and their friends to the polls in 2018.”

The Women’s March on Washington on 21 January 2017. More than 1 million people were estimated to attend. Photograph: Tracie Van Auken/EPA

The Las Vegas venue was a deliberate choice. On 8 November 2016, Nevada, a swing state with an increasingly diverse electorate, voted for Hillary Clinton and elected Democrats up and down the ballot, a bright spot during an otherwise devastating night for liberals. It’s poised again to be a battleground state in 2018.

This year, Democrats hope to pick up a Senate seat and reclaim the governor’s mansion, energized in part by the state’s substantial Latino population, many of whom have a stake in the changes to the US immigration system.

Sustaining the movement

Last year, the decentralized movement touched off a flurry of activism. Liberals mobilized against the administration’s travel ban and an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and ushered in a wave of progressive victories, including electing a Democrat to the Senate in Alabama. Liberal organizations have reported record-breaking outreach from women interested in running for office – or from people eager to help women win office.

In October, thousands of women attended a convention in Detroit, attending trainings sessions for candidates and others on coalition building and countering white supremacy. It also paved the way, organizers believe, for the #MeToo moment, a social upswell in which women have come forward to share experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

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World Politics

United States

One year on, has Trump kept his promise? A Pennsylvania county gives its verdict – video

Members of Donald Trump’s base in Northampton County, which supported him in 2016 after twice backing Barack Obama, remain passionate – but some voters appear to be moving away from the president.

Members of Donald Trump’s base in Northampton County, which supported him in 2016 after twice backing Barack Obama, remain passionate – but some voters appear to be moving away from the president.

White House calls Democrats ‘obstructionist losers’ as federal agencies head into the first closure for five years

A pro-Dreamer placard at a rally in Washington on Friday night.

 

The United States has its first government shutdown in nearly five years after senators failed to reach a deal to keep the lights on.

An effort by Republicans to keep the government open for one month was rejected in a vote on Friday night after they failed to address Democratic concerns about young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

Republicans needed 60 votes to make the bill filibuster-proof, but the legislation only received the support of 50 senators. Five red state Democrats broke ranks to support the bill while four Republicans voted against.

A filibuster allows a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn” (60 out of 100 senators) vote for the bill.

But 12.00am ET came and went without a deal, causing funding for the federal government to lapse. Federal law requires agencies to shut down if Congress has not appropriated money to fund them. Hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” federal employees will be put on temporary unpaid leave. In previous shutdowns, services deemed “essential”, such as the work of the homeland security and the FBI, have continued.

Speaking on the floor after the vote, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell assailed the shutdown as the result of a “cynical decision by the Democrats”. His opposite number, minority leader Chuck Schumer, delivered a scathing rebuke of Donald Trump, blaming the president for the shutdown. The New York Democrat said Trump “walked away from two bipartisan deals” and that “a Trump shutdown will serve as a perfect encapsulation for the chaos he has unleashed”.

Mitch McConnell: Democrats got “their very own government shutdown” – video

A White House statement issued just before midnight said “this is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators”.

Democrats earlier blamed Republican divisions for the failure of the vote. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, said lawmakers from his rival party were not on the same page as president Donald Trump.

“You’ve got the three branches of government – everything,” Wyden said. “Can these folks organize a two-car parade?”

On Thursday, the House had voted by a margin of 230-197 to advance the bill after speaker Paul Ryan made concessions to conservative Republicans in the Freedom Caucus. These included a vote on increased military funding, a potential vote on a hardline immigration bill and other “subplots”, which Mark Meadows, the head of the Freedom Caucus, declined to share with reporters. The vote was almost entirely along party lines, with only six Democrats and 11 Republicans breaking ranks.

The bill did not contain any provisions to protect Dreamers, which has been a key Democratic priority since Donald Trump announced in September that he was rescinding an Obama-era program, known as Daca. The program enabled young, undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to obtain temporary legal status.

After the bill passed the House, Ryan preemptively tried to blame Democrats for any government shutdown, telling reporters: “The only people standing in the way of keeping the government open are Senate Democrats.”

In a final dash to avert a shutdown, Trump cancelled plans to depart for his Mar-a-lago resort in Florida, where the president was due to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office. Instead, Trump spent the day negotiating with congressional leaders.

But despite hosting Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon, the sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Trump and Schumer, who both hail from New York, negotiated over cheeseburgers in a small dining room adjacent to the Oval Office.

A source briefed on the meeting said Schumer offered not only to meet Trump’s full funding request for a border wall, but also agreed to boosting defense spending “far above” what the White House had requested.

In exchange, Schumer requested a short-term measure that would keep the government open for just a few days, in the hopes of keeping pressure on lawmakers to reach a broader compromise. The president even seemed amenable to Schumer’s approach, the source said, and told the Democratic leader he would broach the topic with Republican leaders.

But not long after Schumer returned to the Capitol, he received a phone call from John Kelly, the White House chief of staff. Kelly, who emerged as an unexpected hardliner on immigration, informed Schumer the contours of the deal he discussed with Trump were too liberal.

Read Full Article>>

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