26 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


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Jill Stein requests Wisconsin recount, alleging hackers filed bogus absentee ballots

The Green party candidate’s filing cites the sharp increase in absentee voters rather than the expected focus on electronic voting in the key state

Green party candidate Jill Stein explains why she is calling for a recount of votes in three states, in a Facebook video posted on Thursday. Stein says the goal is not to overthrow Donald Trump, but to establish a voting system that is secure and trustworthy. The three states in question are Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – states where Donald Trump scored a narrow victory

Jill Stein has requested a full recount of the presidential election in Wisconsin, alleging that foreign hackers could have skewed the result by obtaining the state’s voter database and then filing bogus absentee ballots.

Stein, the Green party’s candidate in the presidential election, formally filed for a recount with Wisconsin authorities shortly before the state’s 5pm deadline on Friday. She also planned to request recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania in the coming days.

Wisconsin’s election board agreed on Friday to the statewide recount. The process, including an examination by hand of the nearly 3 million ballots tabulated in the state, is expected to begin late next week after Stein’s campaign has paid the required fee, the Elections Commission said.

The state faces a 13 December federal deadline to complete the recount, which may require canvassers in Wisconsin’s 72 counties to work evenings and weekends to finish the job in time, according to the commission.

The Wisconsin filing, a copy which was obtained by the Guardian, focuses on a “significant increase in the number of absentee voters as compared to the last general election”. It had been thought that it would instead focus on the scale of Donald Trump’s victories in counties using only electronic voting.

“This significant increase could be attributed to a breach of the state’s electronic voter database,” Stein said in her petition regarding the rise in the number of absentee ballot filings. Trump won a narrow victory in the state against Hillary Clinton, surprising pollsters.

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The comandante overthrew Batista, established a communist state and survived countless American assassination attempts

Former Cuban president Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro: an extraordinary figure who left his mark on history.

Fidel Castro has died at the age of 90, bringing an end to an era for the country, Latin America and world.

The revolutionary icon, one of the world’s best-known and most controversial leaders, survived countless US assassination attempts and premature obituaries, but in the end proved mortal and died late on Friday night after a long battle with illness.

Given the former president’s age and health problems, the announcement of Castro’s death had long been expected. But when it came it was still a shock: the comandante – a figurehead for armed struggle across the developing world – was no more. It was news that friends and foes had long dreaded and yearned for respectively.

Castro’s younger brother Raúl, who assumed the presidency of Cuba in 2006 after Fidel suffered a near-fatal intestinal ailment, announced the revolutionary leader’s death on television on Friday night.

“With profound sadness I am appearing to inform our people and our friends across [Latin] America and the world that today, 25 November 2016, at 10.29pm, Fidel Castro, the commander in chief of the Cuban revolution, died,” he said.

“In accordance with his wishes, his remains will be cremated.”

Raúl Castro said that further details of the posthumous tribute would be released on Saturday, concluding his address with the famous revolutionary slogan: “Onwards to victory!”

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Exclusive: Sayed Abdellatif is still held in detention in Sydney even though immigration minister Peter Dutton was briefed 18 months ago that evidence used in Egypt to convict him was discredited

Sayed Abdellatif’s horizons are low already, and narrowing still.

Where once he could wave to his family through a wire fence, he has been told by guards – without explanation – that the behaviour was a security risk and prohibited.

Now the only time he has with his wife and six children are the crowded hours spent in the overfull and noisy visitors’ area of Villawood detention centre in Sydney; a cavernous and impersonal room where guards wearing black vests and body cameras with listening devices quietly loiter to electronically eavesdrop on conversations. His children must wear brightly coloured wristbands to see him. The wristbands mean they can leave. His wrists are bare.

Abdellatif has watched hundreds of asylum seekers pass through and out of detention: granted bridging visas, protection visas, some deported. He has seen people set themselves on fire in detention, hang themselves and stab each other. Sniffer dogs invade rooms without notice seeking out drugs.

Abdellatif doesn’t count the days – 1,643 – he has been in held immigration detention. He knows broadly it is four-and-a-half years and he knows he remains no closer to a resolution of his case than the day he arrived in Australia.

In that time, he has seen four Australian prime ministers come and go. He follows politics closely and jokes darkly he may see many more. He has not been charged, nor accused of any crime in Australia.

His detention has been condemned by the UN human rights council as illegal, a “clearly disproportionate… deprivation of liberty” from which he should be released and for which he should be compensated; excoriated by the Australian Human Rights Commission as “arbitrary … and unjustified”; and criticised by the Australian government’s own inspector general of intelligence and security for its “lack of coordination and … urgency”.

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Engineer corps says the main encampment must be cleared in nine days because of the onset of winter weather

Anti-pipeline protesters raise their arms during a prayer at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.

Anti-pipeline protesters raise their arms during a prayer at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. Photograph: ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

The US Army has ordered the closure of the main encampment established by activists opposing the Dakota Access pipeline, according to a letter released by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Citing federal regulations governing public lands, Colonel John W. Henderson of the army corps of engineers wrote to Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman Dave Archambault that he was ordering the closure by 5 December.

The order was “to protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury” from the winter weather.

Henderson added that the corps would establish a “free speech zone” south of the Cannonball river, but that any individuals found on army land north of the river after 5 December would be considered trespassing and could be prosecuted.

“Our tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever,” Archambault said in a statement.

“The best way to protect people during the winter, and reduce the risk of conflict between water protectors and militarized police, is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing, and deny it now,” he added.

The pipeline lacks a final permit to drill under the Missouri river. The army has twice delayed issuing the permit, known as an easement. On 15 November, the pipeline company, Energy Transfer Partners, filed court papers asking a judge to force the army to allow drilling to proceed.

The army did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Guardian.

The move to evict the main Standing Rock encampment, known as Oceti Sakowin, comes at the end of a tense week for the indigenous and environmental activists opposing the construction of the oil pipeline, which is slated to cross under the Missouri river just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

On Sunday, local law enforcement deployed tear gas, “less-than-lethal” munitions, and water cannons on hundreds of peaceful demonstrators amid sub-freezing temperatures.

Twenty-six people were hospitalized, and hundreds more were injured, according to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council.

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