Extinction Rebellion Banned in London | EcoWatch


One week into Extinction Rebellion‘s planned two weeks of International Rebellion to demand action on the climate crisis, the London police have banned the group from the city.

The Metropolitan Police made the announcement Monday evening, and immediately began to clear the protest encampments from Trafalgar Square, which had previously been designated as a legitimate protest area, according to The Guardian.

Source: Extinction Rebellion Banned in London – EcoWatch

Welcome to the U.S. Future—It Looks a Lot Like the Ukrainian Past


Many Americans point out to me that the scandal involving Trump’s misconduct in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will never really be about Ukraine: it is all about the integrity of democracy in the United States.

I disagree. This scandal is all about Ukraine, but not in the way most Americans expect.

Since the Trump-Zelenskyy call went public, many Americans have come to use the word “Ukraine” interchangeably with “corruption.”

Let’s get the facts straight: Ukraine is not the most corrupt place on earth. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, at least 60 countries are doing much worse than Ukraine. Among them are Russia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran. Moreover, Ukraine has recently made audacious anticorruption reforms and elected new leadership on the fiercest anticorruption platform in the country’s history.

My homeland used to be dreadfully corrupt, however. So corrupt that it robbed my parents’ whole generation of any chance at a decent life. Corruption robbed me of opportunities as well.

But I’m not here to make you care about Ukraine’s multi-decade struggle with corruption. Rather, I think that understanding certain features of the corrupt Ukrainian past could shed some light on political corruption in today’s United States.

Source: Welcome to the U.S. Future—It Looks a Lot Like the Ukrainian Past

New Wave of Police Searches Targets Allies of Opposition Leader Navalny Across Russia | The Moscow Times

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Police searched the homes of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s supporters in at least 12 Russian cities overnight following mass raids last month, the police-monitoring website OVD-Info reported Tuesday.

News of the latest wave of early-morning home searches came from cities including Yekaterinburg, Krasnodar in the south and Arkhangelsk in the north. Police carried out more than 200 raids against Navalny allies across Russia last month as part of a criminal money-laundering investigation into his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

Source: New Wave of Police Searches Targets Allies of Opposition Leader Navalny Across Russia – The Moscow Times

Interactive: The Time of the Kurds


The Kurds are one of the indigenous peoples of the Middle East and the region’s fourth-largest ethnic group. They speak Kurdish, an Indo-European language, and are predominantly Sunni Muslims. Kurds have a distinct culture, traditional dress, and holidays, including Nowruz, the springtime New Year festival that is also celebrated by Iranians and others who use the Persian calendar.

Kurdish nationalism emerged during the twentieth century following the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of new nation-states across the Middle East.

The estimated thirty million Kurds reside primarily in mountainous regions of present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey and remain one of the world’s largest peoples without a sovereign state. The Kurds are not monolithic, however, and tribal identities and political interests often supersede a unifying national allegiance.

Some Kurds, particularly those who have migrated to urban centers, such as Istanbul, Damascus, and Tehran, have integrated and assimilated, while many who remain in their ancestral lands maintain a strong sense of a distinctly Kurdish identity.

The Kurdish diaspora of an estimated two million is concentrated primarily in Europe.

Source: Interactive: The Time of the Kurds

London retains global finance throne amid Brexit chaos | Reuters


From the pinnacle of the City of London’s largest skyscraper, Stuart Lipton is wagering a $1.2 billion bet that the British capital remains a master of the international financial universe no matter what happens with Brexit.

The cataclysmic warnings during the 2016 referendum that London would lose its financial throne if it voted to leave the European Union (EU) have, so far, been proven wrong. London is still the world’s banker, only bigger by some measures.

Source: London retains global finance throne amid Brexit chaos – Reuters

U.S. pension funds took positions in blacklisted Chinese surveillance company | Reuters


Some of the biggest public pensions funds in the United States have invested in one of the world’s largest purveyors of video surveillance systems that the U.S. government claims are used in wide-scale repression of the Muslim population of western China.

The Trump administration’s decision to put the company, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co (002415.SZ), on a blacklist last week has prompted at least two of the pension plans to say they are reviewing or monitoring that development.

Source: U.S. pension funds took positions in blacklisted Chinese surveillance company – Reuters

How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections | Reuters


The expansion by Amazon Web Services into state and local elections has quietly gathered pace since the 2016 U.S. presidential vote. More than 40 states now use one or more of Amazon’s election offerings, according to a presentation given by an Amazon executive this year and seen by Reuters.

So do America’s two main political parties, the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the U.S. federal body charged with administering and enforcing federal campaign finance laws.

While it does not handle voting on election day, AWS – along with a broad network of partners – now runs state and county election websites, stores voter registration rolls and ballot data, facilitates overseas voting by military personnel and helps provide live election-night results, according to company documents and interviews.

Source: How Amazon.com moved into the business of U.S. elections – Reuters

Jailed Catalan separatist leader says new referendum unavoidable | Reuters


The Catalan separatist leader hit by the heaviest jail sentence by Spain’s Supreme Court for his role in the region’s failed secession bid told Reuters a new referendum on independence was unavoidable.

Oriol Junqueras, the Catalan regional government’s former deputy leader, said in emailed answers to questions that the prison sentences imposed on him and eight others on charges of sedition only made them and their movement stronger and more determined.

Source: Jailed Catalan separatist leader says new referendum unavoidable – Reuters

Hong Kong leader rules out concessions in face of escalating violence | Reuters


Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday ruled out making any concessions to pro-democracy protesters in the face of escalating violence, which police said was now “life threatening” citing the detonation of a small bomb.

Protesters have five main demands, which include universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into what they say has been excessive force by police in dealing with the demonstrations.

Source: Hong Kong leader rules out concessions in face of escalating violence – Reuters

Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate’s firm | Reuters

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President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday.

The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.

Source: Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate’s firm – Reuters