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U.S. Outrage Continues, Remembering Mandela, Color Of The Year

Thursday protests in Minneapolis over the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case.
Thursday protests in Minneapolis over the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern parts of the country agreed yesterday to a new ceasefire starting Dec. 9, under the terms of a deal reached three months ago in Minsk, AFP reports. Under the agreement, Kiev will begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the eastern frontline on Dec. 10. Previous failed attempts at peace suggest any truce is tenuous, especially around the strategically crucial Donetsk airport. More than 4,300 people are believed to have died since the conflict escalated 8 months ago.

Demonstrators in Minneapolis shut down the Northbound lanes of I-35W, as thousands of protesters poured out in cities across the country last night in a show of outrage over the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case. The consequences of the Staten Island grand jury's decision not to bring charges against 29-year-old officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July 17 death of 43-year-old African-American Eric Garner continue to be felt nationwide. The jury found no evidence of possible criminal activity in the death of Garner, who was placed in a chokehold, although he repeated "I can't breathe" — a phrase that has become a rallying cry for protesters.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration issued a report yesterday accusing the Cleveland Police Department of using excessive and deadly force against citizens in violation of their constitutional rights, the Washington Post reports.

Despite suffering their worst defeat in years in last week’s regional and municipal elections, Taiwan’s ruling party reappointed a cabinet very similar to the one that resigned after the elections, Reuters reports.

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Cardinal George Pell, who is leading a thorough review of Vatican finances in the wake of a series of scandals says the Catholic Church's economic situation is in relatively stable, though in need of major reform.

The Australian Parliament approved a series of immigration reforms, including allowing temporary visas for asylum seekers, a controversial measure that allows refugees to live and work in Australia but doesn’t grant them permanent protection, newspaper The West Australian reports. Australia currently detains asylum seekers in offshore camps in conditions that have been widely criticized. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison promised to free 100 children detained on Christmas Island by Christmas day, a move supported by charity group Save the Children, though it expressed “deep concern” over other parts of the legislation that it said “ignores the plight of the hundreds of children who remain stuck in mandatory, offshore detention.” In a scathing article, The Guardian writes that the new laws make Morrison the country’s most powerful man, giving him “unchecked control over the lives of other people” and allowing him to “push any asylum seeker boat back into the sea and leave it there.”

For Renaud Laplanche, it all began with a credit card statement that seemed all wrong. Now, after helping to bring banking into the digital era, it's time for a major IPO for his San Francisco-based firm, Le Monde’s Jérome Marin reports. “Laplanche set his sights on becoming the middleman between private individuals with capital and those who needed money,” the journalist writes of the businessman who founded Lending Club. “‘He was determined to impose a new model at a time when almost nobody was talking about a sharing economy,’ recalls Loïc Le Meur, who invested in the company. ‘But he had this ability not to listen to anybody and to go into an environment that was not his.’”
Read the full article, Meet The Frenchman Behind Lending Club, The "Google Of Finance".

In the wake of botched sterilization operations and shocking reports of doctors’ practices, which led to the deaths of at least 15 women, India is waking up to a new health scandal. At least 15 people have lost their sight after undergoing free cataract surgery in the northern district of Punjab. According to The Indian Express, as many as 62 villagers underwent surgery at a camp set up by a medical charity, and there are fears that more in the group could have been left blinded.


One year after Nelson Mandela died, South Africa is honoring his memory today, remembering the legacy of its former leader with “services, blasting of vuvuzelas and a cricket match,” AFP writes. “Although Nelson Mandela is no longer physically with us, his legacy remains to guide us as we continue our journey into the third decade of our new society,” said former president F.W. de Klerk, who shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with the anti-apartheid leader. South African newspaper Mail & Guardian reports that a growing number of people are getting Mandela tattoos to honor him.
For more on one of the great figures of the 20th century, check out our special Mandela dossier.

Thailand’s citizens celebrated the 87th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej after doctors advised the monarch to cancel a planned public appearance, The Bangkok Post reports. “I come and join the celebrations every year and don't ever want to miss them,” one of the thousands of well-wishers said. “I will come and join in until I die.” King Adulyadej is the world’s longest-reigning monarch, but there’s been growing concern about his health recently. According to the BBC, he hasn’t been seen in public since last month.

The Pantone gods have spoken and elected Marsala — an earthy, reddish-amber color — as the 2015 Color of the Year.

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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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