Archive for April, 2016

Source: Paul Causton

Would a racist give a shit about Palestine or Tibet?

Syria, Ukraine, the Philippines.


Madi Barney sat sobbing in the Provo, Utah, police department. It had been four days since the Brigham Young University sophomore had been raped in her off-campus apartment.

She was scared – terrified – that the officials at her strict, Mormon university would find out and punish her.


Nonsense, the officers told her, they’ll never know, and they won’t hurt you. But a month or so later, there she was with her attorney in Brigham Young University’s Title IX office – a place where rape victims are supposed to get help – and offered an ultimatum by a university official.

Barney was told the school “had received a police report in which ‘A) it looks like you’ve been raped and B) it also looks like you may have violated the honor code’”, she recounted, and that “I was going to be forwarded to the honor code office unless I let them investigate me. I said absolutely not.”

The university has told Barney that she cannot register for future classes. She is no longer welcome at the institution her father attended before her, along with aunts and uncles and two cousins, a university that devout families consider the Harvard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Attending the graceful campus at the foot of the snow-capped Wasatch Range is an aspiration for many young Mormons, and being thrown out is a black mark that can follow the devout for life, estrange them from their families, derail their education and ultimately their careers.

It can bring with it “horrible guilt and shame and dishonor”, said sociologist Ryan Cragun, who specializes in Mormonism at the University of Tampa. “If it’s tied to the honor code, not only is it tied to academic failure, but you’re a sinner. This could cause ramifications for your eternal salvation.”

Source: ‘You’re a sinner’: how a Mormon university shames rape victims | World news | The Guardian

Two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in fresh fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in the east even as a new truce takes effect, officials say.

Saturday’s casualties came a day after the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian fighters agreed on a new truce that began from midnight at talks in the Belrussian capital Minsk.

The agreement is aimed at reinforcing a deal co-signed by France and Germany in February 2015 after a surge in violence in the industrial east of Ukraine.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had given warning that the bloodshed had reached levels not seen for months.

The deal came in advance of Orthodox Easter Sunday and covers holidays that include labour day on May 1 and the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during World War II marked on May 9.

‘No respect’ for ceasefire

Lysenko said several attacks had been recorded after the new truce came into force.

“The enemy does not respect the ceasefire,” he said.

“But we hope that it happened accidentally and the enemy will stick to the agreements that have been reached at the international level.”

Leonid Kuchma, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s envoy to the OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk, said multiple violations of the new agreement had been recorded in the villages of Shyrokyne, Avdiivka and Mariinka.

Speaking through Darka Olifer, his spokesperson, Poroshenko said Ukraine was sticking to the agreement and called on Russia and the rebels to respect the truce.

About 9,300 people have died and more than 21,000 have been injured since the revolt against Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership erupted two years ago in the predominantly Russian-speaking east.

Source: Ukraine crisis: Troops killed in east despite truce – AJE News

Palestinians have slammed Israel’s rejection of a French-sponsored initiative to kick-start peace efforts, which have been moribund since April 2014, saying it was tantamount to “a refusal to any proposal that could lead to a resolution to the conflict”.

“Israel is challenging the international community and its adherence to the two-state solution,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Its occupation is the source of chaos and insecurity.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel is ready to begin talks with the Palestinians immediately without preconditions.

“Israel adheres to its position that the best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is direct, bilateral negotiations,” the statement read. “Any other diplomatic initiative distances the Palestinians from direct negotiations.”

The Israeli announcement comes about a month before France holds an international summit of ministers from more than 20 countries, which will discuss ways to relaunch talks between Israelis and Palestinians – neither of whom have been invited to the meeting.

The summit, which will include the “Quartet” of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States, is projected to lay the groundwork for an international conference in the second half of 2016, which will be attended by the Israelis and the Palestinians.

A spate of attacks

The conference is being held against the background of a spate of attacks that have left more than 209 Palestinians and 33 Israelis and foreign nationals dead since October 2015.

As the French initiative took shape, Palestinian President Abbas decided to hold off on plans to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank.

Shortly after Israel’s announcement, Palestinians said they would “continue to support the realisation of an international peace conference,” according to chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

“The Israeli government’s call for “bilateral negotiations” is not a call for the achievement of the two-state solution, but an attempt at legitimising its settlement enterprise and the imposition of an apartheid regime,” Erekat said.

He added that the Israeli rejection of the French initiative came just as authorities informed the Palestinians that the army would continue to storm Area A of the West Bank.

The Oslo Accords signed between the two sides divided the West Bank into three zones, with Area A under Palestinian jurisdiction.

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, said Israel’s decision proved that “an alternative national strategy that focused on popular resistance and the boycott movement” was essential, in addition to reconciling feuding parties Hamas and Fatah.

Source: Palestine slams Israel’s rejection of French peace plan – AJE News

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