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North Korea

Kiev Crackdown, N. Korean "Provocation", Crimean Dolphins

Exclusive glimpse at North Korea's Masik Ryong ski resort
Exclusive glimpse at North Korea's Masik Ryong ski resort

Ukrainian police launched a wave of arrests against the far-right nationalist group Right Sector, after members threatened to avenge the death of their leader yesterday, The Moscow Timesreports. According to The Washington Post, a senior member of the group described it as a “counterrevolutionary activity” that they cannot accept. An unnamed source told Ria Novosti that the plans included “a police sweep of Kiev’s Independence Square,” where ultranationalists groups are still said to be gathered. Last week, Russian daily Kommersant reported on an ugly incident involving right-wing parliament members roughing up a television executive. Read about it in English here.

President Barack Obama is in Brussels, where he is expected to hold meetings with EU and NATO officials. According to Voice of America, he will urge NATO partners to “provide assistance to the Ukrainian government.” The meeting with EU representatives, originally due to focus on the Free Trade Agreement between the two regions, will likely be dominated by the Ukrainian crisis. The BBC explains more on the focus of Obama’s trip in Europe, which continues to Rome on Thursday where he will meet with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Authorities in Washington state confirmed that 10 more bodies have been found in the debris field near Oso, taking the total number of victims of Saturday’s mudslide to 24, the newspaper in Everett Washington, The Daily Herald reports. A team of more than 200 rescue workers is continuing to search for dozens of others still reported missing.

North Korea test-fired two ballistic missiles into the sea early today, hours after delegations from South Korea, Japan and the U.S. met in the Netherlands to discuss how to deal with Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reports. Washington and Seoul officials described the launch as “a provocation”, with South Korea’s Defense Ministry spokesman explaining that the missiles are “capable of hitting not only most of Japan but also Russia and China." Japanese representatives also expressed concern but said Tokyo had no plans to suspend bilateral talks with Pyongyang.
Meanwhile, some in North Korea are focusing on other projects ...

Writing in Chinese newspaper Caixin, Zhang Hong and Wang Ling urge leaders in Beijing to take an active role in helping to resolve the crisis in Ukraine:... At this point, a weighty and dedicated mediator could play an extraordinary role. No country is more suited than China to playing this role. China could consider sending a special envoy to Moscow, Kiev or even Brussels and Washington to find a solution acceptable to all parties.” Read the full article: Can China Be The Bridge Between Russia And The West?

A team of representatives from Pakistan’s government are to hold a meeting later today with Taliban leaders,AP reports. This is the latest in a series of attempts to reach a peace agreement and end the violence in the country that has cost hundreds of civilian lives.

Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced that French satellites had captured images of 122 objects in the South Indian Ocean that could potentially be from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the BBC reports.

Spain’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the planned independence referendum in the eastern region of Catalonia is unconstitutional, Barcelona’s newspaper La Vanguardia reports. The judges argued that the whole Spanish population is sovereign and that one region alone cannot decide to break up the “indissoluble unity” of the nation. The decision is a blow to the hopes of Catalan authorities who called for a referendum to be held in early November, amid increasing support for the region to break away from Madrid. The reasons behind the Catalan hopes of independence are explained in this Le Monde/Worldcrunch article.

A French guillotine, “in working order”, goes under the hammer. Expected price: 60,000 euros. Any takers?

Crimea’s combat dolphins are now officially Russian. Because animal-loving Putin.


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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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