Mistrial declared in case of anti-coup activists arrested in DC police raid on Venezuelan Embassy

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RT | February 15, 2020

Jurors who heard the case of the four activists who were invited by Caracas to protect the Venezuelan Embassy in the US capital – only to be nabbed in a police raid on the compound – failed to reach a verdict due to a hung jury.

Four members of the ‘Embassy Protection Collective’ – Adrienne Pine, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers and David Paul – are each facing a year in prison and a $100,000 fine if found guilty of interfering with the US State Department’s attempt to seize the compound and hand it over to the “ambassador” of Venezuela, “appointed” by opposition leader Juan Guaido.

However, the jurors selected to hear the case apparently were not convinced by the regime-change narrative on Venezuela championed by the Trump administration and adopted by the prosecution team, and as the time came to deliver a verdict on Friday, they failed to do so.

Journalist Max Blumenthal, who reported from the courtroom, said that the prosecution put forward a series of dubious arguments – such as that the Guaido-appointed “ambassador” was seeking a “return” of the embassy, despite the fact it had never been controlled by the US-backed opposition in the first place.

According to Blumenthal, Judge Beryl Howell, who presided over the case, argued that since Trump was president, it was his right to recognize or un-recognize foreign heads of state at will. Ironically telling the courtroom that “elections matter,” she appeared to ignore the fact that incumbent Venezuela leader Nicolas Maduro was reelected for a second six-year term in May 2018, while Guaido – who declared himself ‘interim president’ one year ago – was ousted as the head of the opposition-led National Assembly last month in a vote by fellow MPs.

With the jury unable to come to a consensus, a new trial date will be decided on February 28. It’s so far unclear whether the case will proceed at all, however […]

via Mistrial declared in case of anti-coup activists arrested in DC police raid on Venezuelan Embassy

Turning up pressure for integration, NYC students plan citywide school boycott

Teens Take Charge rally, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019

Students from PACE High School rally on Dec. 16, 2019, with Teens Take Charge as part of weekly protests aimed at moving the needle on school integration.
PHOTO CREDIT: Reema Amin/Chalkbeat

By Christina Veiga as originally published February 5, 2020  by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters

It’s been more than two months since New York City students began boycotts at a different school campus each week. They’ve walked out of class to demand Mayor Bill de Blasio integrate one of the country’s most segregated school systems.

Students went on strike at one Manhattan campus to protest admissions practices that had segregated them into different schools within the same building. A few weeks later at another campus, students walked out to highlight how schools with mostly black and Hispanic students often lack access to sports teams.

This spring, students plan to ramp up the pressure by taking their strikes citywide. Two student-led organizations — IntegrateNYC and Teens Take Charge, which has led the weekly actions — are joining forces for a daylong walkout planned for May 18.

“It’s just addressing the inaction by the city government, but I think more importantly, it’s also about building youth power,” said Emma Rehac, a Manhattan high school student with IntegrateNYC, who is helping organize the boycott. “If you walk out, you’re taking the power into your own hands.”

Both student groups have pushed the de Blasio administration to take a more systemic approach to desegregation within the nation’s largest school system. But the mayor, who until recently refused to say the word “integration,” has prefered to follow the lead of local activists fighting for school-by-school changes, or tweaking admissions only within local districts.

“There hasn’t been enough progress,” said Taylor McGraw, an adult advisor with Teens Take Charge. “Students across the city are united… and are calling for more, and faster.”

The student activists say they aren’t bringing any new demands to the table with their latest protest — because the mayor already has a menu of policy options to choose from, following years of planning led by local communities, city-appointed task forces, and reams of academic research on possible solutions.

IntegrateNYC, for example, was part of an advisory group appointed by the mayor to make recommendations on how to integrate schools. More than five months after the group issued its latest report, the mayor has yet to respond or implement the proposals.

“We want our schools to get better,” Rehac said. “We want to learn more. We’re saying that’s not happening in school right now.”

Teens Take Charge wants the city to implement the group’s proposal to overhaul high school admissions so that every campus enrolls a similar share of high-performing students and those who struggle academically. In New York City, students must apply to high schools, which in turn can set their own competitive admissions criteria — a process that many blame for deepening segregation.

By taking their protests citywide, teens are following in the footsteps of history. On Feb. 3, 1964, nearly half a million New York City students refused to attend school to demand that city leaders act boldly to integrate classrooms — one of the largest civil rights protests in history.

The May walkout is planned on the anniversary of the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision in the Supreme Court, which upheld the doctrine of “separate but equal” establishments for black and white citizens. It was overturned more than 60 years ago in Brown vs. Board of Education.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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Turning up the pressure for integration, NYC students plan citywide school boycott

The ‘Bolivarian Shield’ Prepares to Defend Venezuela

Civilians practice combat tactics for the defense of their homeland, Feb. 15, 2020.

Civilians practice combat tactics for the defense of their homeland, Feb. 15, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Bauxilum_CVG

Telesur

More than 2.3 million Venezuelans are participating in military exercises to protect their homeland.

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro Saturday inaugurated the 2020 Bolivarian Shield, a defensive military exercise that is carried out amid U.S. threats and sanctions.

“We start the 2020 Bolivarian Shield Exercise with the deployment of our glorious Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), which maintains a military-civic union with more than 2,300,000 mobilized combatants,” Maduro said.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez confirmed that the Army has been deployed throughout the country for the realization of the new military exercises

“We are deployed on every ship, border post, city, and street. Our determination is born from our love to defend the homeland […]

Via https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/The-Bolivarian-Shield-Prepares-Millions-to-Defend-Venezuela-20200215-0003.html

China Is Disintegrating: Steel Demand, Property Sales, Traffic All Approaching Zero

There is a very high probability that China’s GDP in Q1 will not only flatline, but crater deep in the red for one simple reason: there is no economic activity taking place whatsoever.

Easy Money

In our ongoing attempts to glean some objective insight into what is actually happening “on the ground” in the notoriously opaque China, whose economy has been hammered by the Coronavirus epidemic, yesterday ZeroHedge showed several “alternative” economic indicators such as real-time measurements of air pollution (a proxy for industrial output), daily coal consumption (a proxy for electricity usage and manufacturing) and traffic congestion levels (a proxy for commerce and mobility), before concluding that China’s economy appears to have ground to a halt.

That conclusion was cemented after looking at some other real-time charts which suggest that there is a very high probability that China’s GDP in Q1 will not only flatline, but crater deep in the red for one simple reason: there is no economic activity taking place whatsoever.

We start with China’s infrastructure and fixed asset investment, which until recently accounted for the bulk of Chinese GDP. As…

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Militarization Of Wuhan’s P4 Lab Raises New Questions About The Origin Of The Deadly Covid-19 Virus

“Beijing has had four known accidental leaks of the SARS virus in recent years, so there is absolutely no reason to assume that this strain of coronavirus from Wuhan didn’t accidentally leak out as well.”

AGR Daily News

A genetic analysis of the spike-protein genes – the exact region that was bio-engineered by the UNC lab in 2015, where Zhengli Shi and Xing-Yi Ge previously isolated a batty coronavirus that targets the ACE2 receptor just like this 2019-nCoV strain of the coronavirus does – indicates an artificial and unnatural origins of the Wuhan Strain’s spike-protein genes when they are compared to the genomes of wild relatives.

Instead of appearing similar and homologous to its wild relatives, an important section of the Wuhan Strain’s spike-protein region shares the most genetic similarity with a bio-engineered commercially available gene sequence that’s designed to help with immunotherapy research. It is mathematically possible for this to happen in nature – but only in a ten-thousand bats chained to ten-thousand Petri dishes and given until infinity sense.

And soas the report goes on, a scientist who’s been prolifically involved with studying the…

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Will China Virus Trigger New Great Depression? US Economy Already Fragile

Oil prices are falling sharply on expectation that the world’s largest oil importer, China, will import significantly less oil in the coming months as the economy is hit by fallout from the virus epidemic. As of end January Chinese oil demand has dropped by about 3 million barrels a day, or 20% of total consumption and the price for the US West Texas Intermediate oil is below $50. This is the greatest oil demand shock since the 2008 financial crisis.

Counter Information

Global Research, February 12, 2020

Historically the greatest economic depressions have started with unexpected events on the periphery of major financial markets. That was the case in May 1931 with the surprise collapse of the Austrian Creditanstalt Bank in Vienna which brought the entire fragile banking system of postwar Germany down with it, triggering the Great Depression in the United States as major US banks were rocked to their foundations. Will it be again an unanticipated event outside the financial markets, namely the China 2029 Novel Coronavirus and its effects on world trade and especially on US-China trade that triggers a new economic depression?

Until around January 20 when the news broke about the coronavirus exploding in China’s Wuhan and surrounding cities, global financial markets and especially in the US were optimistic that the combined actions of the Federal Reserve to pump in more liquidity and…

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‘Parasite’ Reflects Deepening Social Divide in South Korea

People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on South Korean director Bong Joon-ho who won four Oscars with his film

People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on South Korean director Bong Joon-ho who won four Oscars with his film “Parasite”, in Seoul, South Korea, February 10, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Telesur

The film is a tale of two South Korean families – the wealthy Parks and the poor Kims – mirroring the deepening inequality in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

The dark comedy “Parasite” made history as the first non-English language movie to win the Oscar for best picture on Sunday, prompting South Korean social media to erupt in celebration.

The film’s message resonated with many South Koreans who identify themselves as “dirt spoons,” those born to low-income families who have all but given up on owning a decent house or climbing the social ladder, as opposed to “gold spoons,” who are from better-off families.

The debate over inequality has exploded onto South Korea’s political scene in recent years amid runaway home prices, translating into a drop in support for President Moon Jae-in, despite being elected on a program of raising taxes the wealthy in the country.

Moon, in his congratulatory message, said, “Parasite” had “moved the hearts of people around the world with a most uniquely Korean story.”

But the film’s message is a sharp critique of South Korea’s modern society, and director Bong Joon-ho turned to many familiar scenes around Seoul to highlight the divide between the city’s haves and have-nots.

Across South Korea, the divide is visible as some of the old neighborhoods of crumbling brick slums contrast with the gleaming high-life of Seoul’s more expensive spots.

The film uses many of those visual cues to illustrate the competition going on in society, and the sometimes “parasitic” relationships between the rich and poor […]

Via https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Parasite-Reflects-Deepening-Social-Divide-in-South-Korea-20200210-0014.html