E-Com at MC11 is effort to hijack basic internet governance issues

By Chakravarthi Raghavan* – SUNS

Geneva, 21 Nov – As issues relating to the monopolistic/oligopolistic control over information and data by the Silicon Valley technology giants and their platforms are beginning to attract adverse public and political attention around the world, these technology platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter) are attempting to hijack the issue of internet governance and democracy by writing trade rules at the WTO under the rubric of “e-commerce”.

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Donald Trump’s FCC is a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy

By John Nichols* – The Nation

It has rewritten media-ownership rules to benefit giant corporations, including the pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting.

Eighty years ago, the dawn of the modern communications age coincided with the rise of authoritarian leaders who controlled and manipulated communications in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the danger, declaring that

If the fires of freedom and civil liberties burn low in other lands, they must be made brighter in our own. If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free. If in other lands the eternal truths of the past are threatened by intolerance, we must provide a safe place for their perpetuation.

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Robert Mugabe Resigns as Zimbabwe’s President, Ending 37-Year Rule

By NORIMITSU ONISHI and JEFFREY MOYONOV – The New York Times

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him, according to the speaker of Parliament.

The speaker of Parliament read out a letter in which Mr. Mugabe said he was stepping down “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.”

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Suu Kyi takes a populist, paranoid turn

By DAVID SCOTT MATHIESON* – Asia Times

Myanmar de facto leader conflated illegal migration with terrorism in a keynote speech, adding her voice to the Islamophobia that has justified persecution of the Rohingya

YANGON, NOVEMBER 21, 2017 . Myanmar’s increasingly internationally maligned de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi signaled a neo-populist turn in her speech on Monday to the Asia Europe Foreign Ministers (ASEM) meeting held at Naypyitaw.

Echoing similar statements from Islamophobic populist leaders in Europe, the United States and Australia, Suu Kyi said, “conflicts around the world are giving rise to new threats and emergencies; illegal migration, spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war.”

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Trump may be turning his back on the world, but America isn’t

BY ISHAAN THAROOR - The Washington Post

Last week in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, the most unwelcome attendees at a U.N. summit on climate policy may have been the members of the delegation representing the Trump administration. President Trump, after all, made a great show of his opposition to the landmark Paris climate accord — one of the linchpins of his predecessor’s political legacy — by announcing his country’s withdrawal from the pact in June.

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Journalism and algorithmic accountability

Opinion, A.S. Panneerselvan – The Hindu

A collective effort is needed to retrieve the information space

For the last couple of years, Cathy O’Neil, a data scientist and author of the bookWeapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy , has been speaking about the dangers in the flawed assumption that numbers are neutral and objective. She explains how algorithms choose the information we see online, and talks about their role in defining our credit worthiness, academic proficiency, and general station in life. “It goes without saying that when computers are making decisions, a lot can go wrong,” she warns. I have drawn from her work to explain some of the crisis created by Silicon Valley companies in the information ecology.

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Zimbabwe – a military coup is no promise of political stability

Analysis, MIKAELA NHONDO ERSKOG -  The Daily Maverick, Johannesburg

Bulking military tanks and armed troops have halted the usual blustering traffic and street vending activities down Samora Machel Avenue in central Harare. Leaders of the ruling party have reportedly been arrested, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been seized, and a range of parliamentary, police, intelligence and The Sitting Duck himself have been detained by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) in what is clearly a military coup d’etat. War-time songs are being broadcasted on radio and TV – an eerie gesture to the “victories” and “might” of the military’s past.

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The Birth of a Dictator

By Pascal Laureyn

PHNOM PENH, Nov 17 2017 (IPS) – The government had an almost paranoid fear of protests. A square kilometer around the Supreme Court was barricaded and off limits to the public. In faraway provinces, roadblocks were erected to stop demonstrators. Some opposition members were under temporary house arrest. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody dared to protest.

The Cambodian government has launched a fierce crackdown on the opposition. For a few months now, politicians, journalist and activists have been harassed to make their work impossible.

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The Richest 1% Now Own More Than 50% of the World’s Wealth

By David Meyer – Fortune

The richest 1% now owns more than half of all the world’s household wealth, according to analysts at Credit Suisse. And they say inequality is only going to get worse over the coming years, with millennials having a particularly tough time.

The Swiss bank released its latest Global Wealth Report on Tuesday, together with a statement that contained the immortal phrase, “The outlook for the millionaire segment is more optimistic than for the bottom of the wealth pyramid.”

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Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?

Robert J. Burrowes*

In a recent incident in the United States, yet another unarmed man was shot dead by police after opening his front door in response to their knock. The police were going to serve an arrest warrant on a domestic violence suspect – the man’s neighbour – but went to the wrong address. See ‘Police kill innocent man while serving warrant at wrong address’.

For those who follow news in the United States, the routine killing of innocent civilians by the police has become a national crisis despite concerted attempts by political and legal authorities and the corporate media to obscure what is happening. See ‘Killed by Police’ and ‘The Counted: People killed by police in the US’.

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Trump’s Asia trip was hardly the success he says it was

By Ishaan Tharoor* –  The Washington Post

All things considered, President Trump’s lengthy five-country trip to Asia was not the total fiasco some feared it could be. The president had a chummy swing through Japan and then delivered a well-received speech before the South Korean parliament. He made the conventional noises expected from a U.S. leader about his country’s commitments to security in the Asia-Pacific and moved to restore an ambitious Bush-era military bloc seen as a check to rising Chinese power.

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On Gender Day at Climate Meet, Some Progress, Many Hurdles

By Stella Paul

BONN, Germany, Nov 15 2017 (IPS) – “Five years ago, when we first started talking about including gender in the negotiations, the parties asked us, ‘Why gender?’ Today, they are asking, ‘How do we include gender?’ That’s the progress we have seen since Doha,” said Kalyani Raj.

Raj is a member and co-focal point of the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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The Harsh Plight of 152 Million Child Labourers

By Baher Kamal 

Key facts:• 108 million boys and girls between 5 and 17 years are identified as child labourers in agricultura. • Worldwide, nearly 70.9 per cent of child labour is found in agriculture. •Agriculture is one of the most dangerous sectors in terms of rates of work-related fatalities, non-fatal accidents and occupational diseases. • Most (70 per cent) of all child labourers are unpaid family workers. (Source: FAO)

ROME, Nov 14 2017 (IPS) - While trillions of dollars are being spent on exploring remote galaxies, Planet Earth is still home to harsh realities that could be easily –and much less expensively—resolved. One of them is that worldwide 152 million children are currently victims of child labour.

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Contesting the politics of identity

By: Siti Ruhaini Dzuhayatin* , for  Strategic Review

The modern world is marked by its plural and multicultural social realm, due to the rapid and massive cross-border mobility of people dating back to the Industrial Revolution, and its global expansion to the East, including into Southeast Asia. Today, no country is entirely homogeneous or exclusively isolated as an ethno-religious entity. Economic development has enticed people to move from their homelands to new ones. They have to adjust to neighborhoods where people share different races, ethnicities, faiths and classes, but also demand equal basic rights. Multiculturalism and pluralism come along with the concept of citizenship in how cities are managed, based on their diversity and the tolerance of the majority.

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Trump’s incoherent message to America’s allies in Asia

Analysis by Adam Taylor* –   The Washington Post

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President Trump’s 12-day tour of Asia was designed to offer a vision for U.S. foreign policy in the region and reassure allies at a time of worrying tension. So far, it has done neither. Instead, the Trump administration has offered up conflicting versions of its Asia policy, while the president himself created further distractions in the form of insults for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NEAR EAST

by Pier Francesco Zarcone*

The military breakthrough in the Syrian war appears to be definitive … at least according to Robert S. Ford, former US Ambassador in Damascus, known for his collusion with local radical Islamists.

Even though the conflict has not yet come to an end, in a recent article published inForeign Affairs Ford wrote that the Syrian army has now won the war and “the United States will have to abandon any hopes of supporting a separate Kurdish region”, having “no good options in Syria” anymore, so that “hopes of getting rid of Assad … are far-fetched fantasies”.

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A year ago, Trump was the hero of Europe’s far right. Not anymore.

BY ISHAAN THAROOR* -  The Washington Post

A year ago, Western democracies were reeling from the biggest political shock in decades. American voters had just made a reality-TV star the most powerful person in the world. A presidential candidate who had campaigned on a divisive platform cheered on by white nationalists was now going to lead the world’s most venerable democracy. An anti-establishment neophyte would soon be in charge of the American nuclear arsenal. Leading European statesmen struggled to contain their bemusement.

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Ambassador Jazairy: “Myanmar’s Rohingyas are denied the right to have rights”

The Geneva Centre*

10 November 2017, GENEVA – The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (hereinafter “The Geneva Centre”) Ambassador Idriss Jazairy emphasized – during a lecture on 10 November at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies – that the denial of equal citizenship rights to the Rohingya population is breeding radicalization and inter-communal violence in Myanmar.

Although Myanmar’s recent political reforms and “opening to the world” have brought welcome change and transformation to the country, the Muslim population in the State of Rakhine continues to be denied access to basic human rights as the “1982 nationality code was not changed” stated Ambassador Jazairy.

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Resistance, for the Win!

Charles M. Blow * – The New York Times

Tuesday night’s election results were a major shot in the arm for the anti-Donald Trump resistance and a major slap in the face for all the Democrats who caterwauled last November about how the party had focused too much on courting women and minorities, and ignored angry white men.

After Trump’s election, there seemed to be a surge in coverage of these men, like The Guardian’s “Trump’s Angry White Men” and Time’s “The Revenge of the White Man.”

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There is a way to outlaw tax havens – and I’ll personally tell world leaders how to do it

By  Gordon Brown*

If a million people sign my open letter to Argentine President Mauricio Macri, chair of the G20, I will personally deliver it to him.

Eight years ago, at a G20 summit in London, I tried to end the unfairness of global tax havens. But as the Paradise Papers leak shows, trillions of dollars are still being siphoned off through new loopholes to dodge tax in the most shadowy places in the global economy.

It is one of today’s greatest injustices – allowing the richest to stand aside while the rest of us pay for health, education and protecting the most vulnerable.

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