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Amnesty Int'l "Shame," American Sniper Gets Life, Rent A Hungarian Village

In its annual report published Wednesday, Amnesty International describes 2014 as “catastrophic” and the world leaders’ response to ISIS as “shameful and ineffective.” The 415-page report criticizes governments for failing to protect civilians from terrorist groups and details abuses in up to 160 countries. “This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones,” Salil Shetty, the Secretary General at Amnesty International writes.

  • Amnesty urges the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to give up their right to veto action “in situations of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” insisting such a move could “save many lives.”
  • Governments must act, not only speak out, the report states. “Approximately 2% of refugees from Syria had been resettled by the end of 2014 — a figure which must at least triple in 2015.”
  • The rights group calls for restrictions on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas to protect civilians: “This would have saved many lives in Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists ... and pro-Kiev forces both targeted civilian neighborhoods.”
  • Meanwhile, ISIS militants have abducted at least 150 people from Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria, the Syrian National Council of Syria, a Christian group representing several NGOs said Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had earlier reported that 90 Syrian Christians had been abducted.
  • The outlook for 2015 is bleak, Amnesty adds.

Russia would face additional European Union sanctions if pro-Russia separatists attacked Ukraine’s government-held port of Mariupol, in the southeast of the country, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced Wednesday. Speaking on France Info radio station, Fabius said “the problem today is particularly around Mariupol. We've told the Russians clearly that if there was a separatist attack in the direction of Mariupol things would be drastically altered, including in terms of sanctions.” The French, German, Ukrainian and Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs called for the Minsk ceasefire brokered on Feb. 11 to be followed by all sides in Ukraine, as they met in Paris Tuesday. Reuters reported Wednesday that the truce was appearing to hold in eastern Ukraine as pro-Russian separatists were pulling artillery back from the front.

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Time for your 57-second shot of history, today featuring an American tycoon, a French painter and a Russian leader.

After interviewing around 800 suspected Taliban-linked detainees in Afghanistan, UN human rights investigators said Wednesday in a report that more than a third of them have been tortured or mistreated by Afghan authorities. This represents a drop in such figures, but the problem is still persistent, according to the report. “I welcome the new administration's immediate attention to end these practices,” Nicholas Haysom, the head of the UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) said in a press release.

$532.9 MILLION
Apple has been ordered to pay $532.9 million to the patent licensing firm Smartflash after a Texas federal jury found that the iTunes software infringed three patents owned by the company, according to Reuters.

Eddie Ray Routh, the man who killed “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a gun range in Feb. 2013, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by a Texas jury,The Washington Post reports.

It's not important whether Islam is "a part of Germany," as the country is debating. Fascism once was utterly German. For Die Welt’s Jacques Schuster, the real question is: Will Muslim leaders accept reason and freedom as the central values of society? “Communism and fascism are part of Germany. Following this train of thought, even Islam has roots in Germany. ... As different as communism, fascism and Islamism may be, they all have in common the law of eliminating something harmful. If you transformed this into a positive law, its decree would read, ‘Thou shall kill!’ Is this a German decree? This thought alone demonstrates that this is a futile debate if it is limited to what Germany once was, what it now is and what claims to be or not be a part of it.”
Read the full article, No Better Place Than Germany To Ask Muslims The Hardest Question Of All.

More drones have flown over landmarks in Paris for the second night running, between Tuesday and Wednesday, Le Monde reports. The precise number of devices has not been established. They were seen above the Place de la Concorde, the Invalides military museum, near the Eiffel Tower and around two of the old city gates. The previous night, five drones were also seen flying over sensitive sites, such as the American embassy.


A Hungarian Mayor has put his entire village, Megyer, on the eastern edge of Budapest, for rent in order to raise funds. For around 700 euros a day, the renter can hire all four streets, the bus stop and even “peasant-style” houses, The Guardian reports.

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Populists With A Plan: Welcome To The Age Of Reactionism

Right-wing reaction to the globalized, liberal order is starting to look less dispersed and more systematic, like 20th-century political movements like socialism and communism.

Photo of Bolsonaro Supporters Storming Congress

Supporters of former Brazilian President Bolsonaro clash with mounted police in the capital.

Juan Gabriel Tokatlian


BUENOS AIRES — In a 2018 text published in the International Studies Quarterly, academics Joseph MacKay and Christopher David La Roche asked why there was no "Reactionary International Theory." In December of that year, speaking with Crisis journal, I myself stressed that beyond Europe and the United States, international reactionism was taking root in Latin America. Then in 2019, "Reactionary Internationalism" and the philosophy of the New Right were the subjects of another paper by Pablo de Orellana and Nicholas Michelsen.

As an emergent trend, the "reactionary international" is worth considering.

This international is comparable in scope to 20th-century currents like the Communist International, Socialist International and Christian Democrat International. While those were prominent in Europe, the new reaction has emerged most emblematically in Anglo-American countries and remains a solidly Western phenomenon. Its expressions in peripheral countries, eastern Europe or Latin America have effectively adopted its mainstream proposals.

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