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Obama In China, ISIS Casualties, Pink Floyd's Finale

"Sari protest in Bhubaneswar, India
"Sari protest in Bhubaneswar, India

Monday, November 10, 2014

Asia-Pacific leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, are in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, where China’s Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe met for formal talks for the first time after more than two years of deep tensions over disputed islands. South Korea and China announced this morning that they had reached broad agreement on a bilateral free-trade deal, a move that might dent U.S. economic dominance in the region. The Washington Post reports, however, that Obama traveled to Beijing with a deal of his own in mind that doesn’t include China.

Speaking at the summit, Obama insisted the U.S. wanted China “to do well” and that it “welcomes the rise of a prosperous, peaceful and stable China.” Commenting on the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, he said that Washington’s “primary message has been to make sure violence is avoided, adding that the U.S. would "continue to have concerns about human rights" in China.

In the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar, a lower-caste tribal woman dries her sari during a protest demanding rights for those without land papers.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded in a U.S. airstrike near the Iraqi city of Mosul early Saturday, Al Jazeera reports that a spokesperson for the terrorist group wrote yesterday on Twitter. Though the authenticity of the message hasn’t been confirmed, it came after Iraqi officials made similar claims. Washington has yet to confirm it, although U.S. authorities said that the airstrikes on an ISIS gathering had killed a number of top militants. Read more from The New York Times.

French yachtsman Loïck Peyron has won the 10th running of the prestigious Route du Rhum single-handed transatlantic race in record time, sailing from Saint Malo in French Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in just over a week.

The Israeli government approved a bill yesterday to extend Israeli laws to West Bank settlements, a move that critics inside and outside the government are branding as a “de facto annexation” that “creates a policy of apartheid,” website Ynet newsreports. But right-wing supporters of the legislation claim the bill would protect Jewish settlers in Palestinian territories and would not apply to Palestinians.

Growing division inside Israel’s government was on display yesterday with the resignation of left-leaning Environment Minister Amir Peretz, who cited the country’s diplomatic, social and economic problems. “Netanyahu has no solutions, because he is the problem and must be replaced,” he said of the Israeli prime minister.

Tension is high among Arab Israelis after a 22-year-old was shot and killed by police Saturday. They said he attacked their vehicle when officers were trying to arrest a relative, though a New York Times reporter said that security camera footage “appeared to show him retreating from the vehicle when the officers got out and shot him.” The news led to riots in northern Israel, and 24 Palestinian citizens of Israel appeared in court this morning.

Eastern Ukraine’s rebel-held city of Donetsk experienced its worst shelling in months over the weekend as the fight between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian security around the Donetsk airport intensified, The Daily Telegraph reports. Both sides have accused the other of violating a shaky ceasefire signed on Sept. 5, but the newspaper notes that neither side has so far launched a major offensive. The escalation comes after reports from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that its observers had spotted “convoys of heavy weapons and tanks” in rebel-controlled territory, raising fears that all-out fighting could resume in eastern Ukraine. Commenting on the military reinforcement reports, the White House expressed “grave concern.” Read more from Voice of America.

As Radikal’s Suat Kiniklioglu reports, Turkey’s secular elite are moving abroad in growing numbers to escape growing authoritarianism there. “The white-collar employees of Turkish multinational companies try to get transferred to offices outside of Turkey,” the journalist writes. “Those who have the financial power to invest abroad start businesses or buy real estate that may allow them to legally migrate. Others try their luck with temporary business contracts in the hope of securing their presence abroad later. There is a growing demand for U.S. green cards. The white collars are leaving Turkey in search of a better future. They don't want to raise their children here.”
Read the full article, What Is Driving Turkey's Secular Elite To Emigrate.

At least 48 students were killed this morning in northeastern Nigeria as a suicide bomber disguised in school uniform detonated explosives at a high school assembly, AP reports. The location of the blast, in a city that was targeted by a similar attack last week, suggest that Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram could be behind the explosion.
For more on the infamous terrorist group, we offer this Le Monde/Worldcrunch report from Nigeria, Horror At The Front Line Of The Boko Haram Caliphate.


High-level talks between U.S., European and Iranian officials continued for a second consecutive day today in Oman in an attempt to reach an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline, AFP reports. Speaking on CBS’ Face The Nation yesterday, President Barack Obama warned that the gap between the two sides remained significant and that they “may not be able to get there.” But according to British newspaper The Times, Iranian and U.S. officials have held secret talks aimed at discussing a possible reopening of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Washington denied the claims.

Protests escalated into riots in Mexico over the weekend, with masked demonstrators trying to storm the presidential palace in Mexico City and setting its wooden door on fire. This came after the attorney general said gang members had confessed to killing 43 missing students.

Pink Floyd’s latest album —The Endless River — is being released today, and it also happens to be its last. The Guardian described as “a good way to call it a day.” Another highly anticipated release today is Foo Fighters’ 8th studio album, Sonic Highways.

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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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