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19 Aug
2019

Hearings continue for accused al-Qaeda commander

CUBA (WNF) - Pre-trial proceedings for an Iraqi man accused of commanding al-Qaeda’s army in Afghanistan following the terror attacks in the United States on Sep 11, 2001 (9/11) will take place at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay. The defendant, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, has been incarcerated sat the base since 2007.
Preliminary hearings began in March at Guantanamo, where his trial will take place in Feb 2020. The defendant’s degenerative spine condition, which required four emergency spine surgeries in 2017 and 2018, has left him disabled, an issue that has complicated earlier efforts to bring him to trial.

He is accused of commanding and paying al-Qaeda or Taliban forces who attacked U.S. and allied troops, as well as civilian aid workers, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in Oct 2001. Captured in Turkey in 2006, he reached Guantanamo in Apr 2007 and was charged in Jun 2014. If convicted, according to the Miami Herald, he faces a possible life sentence.

The other two major pending cases at Guantanamo are mired in pre-trial challenges. One is against the five defendants charged in the 9/11 attacks. The other is against the men who attacked the USS Cole. #23151 Updated: 07/16/2019 WRITE THROUGH UPDATE JUL 16 TO SHOW NEW DATE AND HEARINGS IN CUBA

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21 Aug
2019

Native Hawaiian sovereignty dream still alive 60 years after U.S. statehood

UNITED STATES (WNF) - Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States in 1959. Sixty years on some Native Hawaiians nurse sovereignty dreams. Others aspire to self-government, but struggle to find agreement on how it might work.
People of Native Hawaiian descent make up some 21 per cent of the residents of the islands. They are the descendants of the original Polynesians who built a society on the islands more than 1,000 years ago, arriving on double-hulled voyaging canoes they navigated by following the stars. The United States played a role in tearing down the Hawaiian monarchy, overthrowing the kingdom and forcing Queen Lili'uokalani to abdicate the throne in Jan 1893. Congress voted to annex Hawaii in 1898, and admission to the Union followed in 1959.

Advocates for total independence regard the United States as an occupying power. They want international help to force the U.S. out of Hawaii, a quest that has nowhere to go. The Boston Globe pointed out in Jun 2018 that Hawaii is militarized, and all American military activity in the Pacific – where tensions seem certain to rise in the coming years – is directed from a base in Oahu.

For the self-governance movement, the challenge is deciding how the government would operate and form relationships with others once it is achieved. The Washington Post noted in Nov 2017 that the groups hosting workshops across the islands are pro-federal recognition, which has made many in the total independence camp wary of participating in the nation-building process.

Ballotpedia reports that a Hawaii Constitutional Convention Question was on the ballot in in the state on Nov 6, 2018, and it was defeated. A Yes vote supported holding a constitutional convention to explore proposals for changes to the state constitution. A No vote opposed holding a constitutional convention to explore proposals for changes to the state constitution. #22814 Published: 11/08/2018

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21 Aug
2019

Plans for United Nations and controversial Security Council made 75 years ago

UNITED STATES (WNF) - The victorious powers of World War II met 75 years ago in Washington DC for the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, where they laid down the plan for the United Nations and the UN Security Council (UNSC). The decades have not yielded a tool for picking open the lock on power that was secured at the time by the so-called Permanent Five of the UNSC.
The meeting followed up on a promise made at the Moscow Conferences of 1943 to create an international organization to succeed the 1919 League of Nations. The Yalta and San Francisco conferences in 1945 moved the negotiations along. The latter yielded the UN Charter, which was signed on Jun 26, 1945, by the representatives of 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 UN member states. The United Nations came into being on Oct 24, 1945.

The Permanent Five of the UNSC are the major allied nations of WWII – the United States, Russia (previously USSR), China, France, and Great Britain. Each member has veto power over any proposal brought before the Council, giving the five members the power to prevent attempts to abolish it.

The attempts in the now 193-nation body have continued unabated over the years, with the call made in the UN General Assembly in Nov 2018 echoing previous demands: “To meet emerging challenges of today’s increasingly complex international security and peace architecture, the United Nations Security Council must adapt, reform and expand its membership to include underrepresented regions, particularly Africa.”

Delegates have called for solutions that include broadening the number of permanent members beyond the current five, and abolishing the permanent membership’s use of veto power to overrule the adoption of draft resolutions and preserve their power.

The Security Council is not representative of the geopolitical realities of the modern world, according to the Global Policy Forum. Both Africa and Latin America lack a permanent seat on the Council, while Europe is overrepresented and Asia is underrepresented. The organization notes that these problems are not easily addressed because the Permanent Five do not want to see their power diminished. #23159 Published: 07/04/2019

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24 Aug
2019

Judges to announce whether Jacob Zuma must be tried for corruption

SOUTH AFRICA (WNF) - On or about the date judges of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) High Court in Pietermaritzburg are expected to announce their decision on whether former South African president Jacob Zuma’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution has succeeded. If granted, the stay will halt any further litigation against Zuma, who is charged with corruption related to a 1999 arms deal.
Citing political interference and an “overzealous” investigation into his wrongdoing,
Zuma has asked for the case to be dropped.

The charges include fraud, money laundering and racketeering for bribes he allegedly took via his former business adviser, Schabir Shaik, from French arms company Thales. The company secured contracts in a government arms deal worth hundreds of millions of euro. Shaik was found guilty of accepting bribes on his client’s behalf and sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The charges were raised more than 10 years ago and later withdrawn. They were reinstated after a court ruled there were sufficient grounds to bring him to trial.

Zuma and Thales assert that the case has been prejudiced by long delays, but the prosecution says his legal maneuvering caused delays and there are no justifiable reasons to halt his prosecution.

Zuma was president from 2009 until 2018, when his African National Congress party forced him to resign amid the corruption allegations. #23157 Published: 07/04/2019

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24 Aug
2019

France hosts G7 expanded summit with a focus on fairer capitalism and equality

FRANCE (WNF) - President Emmanuel Macron hosts G7 leaders in Biarritz for the 45th summit of the group of major industrialized nations. Fairer capitalism and equality top his diverse agenda. He plans to expand the format of the summit and widen the debate by including leaders from outside the G7 and also influential individuals from civil society.
In the lead up to the summit, G7 finance ministers and bank governors explored taxation as a means of bringing about fairer capitalism. France is expected to urge the G7 to reach a global corporate tax deal. Euronews reports that Paris recently defied the United States administration by passing a tax on big digital firms’ revenues in France despite a threat from Washington to launch a probe that could lead to trade tariffs.

The non-G7 leaders will be expected to contribute insight on the debates of subjects as diverse as digital transformation, climate change and gender discrimination from their particular group or region. According to France’s G7 website, Australia, Chile, India and South Africa fall in the first group as “partners committed . . . to democratic values and fundamental freedoms.”

African leaders who are leaders of forums in their own region form a second group.

The third group is made up of, “Exceptional figures committed to the fight against violence and discrimination, promoting girls’ access to education, economic empowerment of women and women’s entrepreneurship.”

The members of the G7 are: Canada, France, United States, Japan, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. #23183 Published: 07/23/2019

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