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Showing posts from January 10, 2016

Waiting to die: Iranian child inmates facing execution – in pictures

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[In Iran, girls are held criminally accountable by law from the age of nine, and can be sentenced to death by hanging for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and armed robbery. Sadegh Souri has photographed girls in juvenile detention – many of whom are marking time until they turn 18, when their executions will be carried out. *RON*]

Sadegh Souri, The Guardian, 8 January 2016


Mahsa is 17. She fell in love with a boy and intended to marry him, but her father was against the marriage. One day she had an argument with her father, got angry, and killed him with a kitchen knife. Mahsa’s brothers are requesting the death penalty for her. Photograph: Words and pictures from Waiting for Capital Punishment, by Sadegh Souri

This Case Could Strike a "Mortal Blow" to Unions

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[Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association could be the next worst thing to Citizens United to come out of the Supreme Court. It would dramatically weaken labor's clout. *RON*]

By Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones, 8 January 2016


On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear a case that has been likened to Citizens United for its potentially far-reaching ramifications. Instead of eviscerating long-standing campaign finance laws, though, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association threatens to strike a devastating blow to the nation's labor movement. Spearheaded by a conservative legal group, the case was designed to weaken public employee unions by challenging a nearly 40-year-old decision that allows them to collect compulsory fees from all employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, even if those employees aren't dues-paying union members.

The fees for nonunion members at issue in this case, known as "agency fees,&quo…

18 Guatemalan Ex-Military Leaders Arrested for Crimes Against Humanity During U.S.-Backed Dirty War

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[Part of this winds up being an interesting meditation on the interaction between global wage suppression and violence. *RON*]
Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn, Democracy Now!, 8 January 2016
In a stunning development, Guatemalan police have arrested 18 ex-military leaders on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the decades-long, U.S.-backed dirty war against Guatemala’s indigenous communities. The ex-military leaders face charges of ordering massacres and forced disappearances during the conflict, which led to perhaps a quarter-million deaths. Many of the arrested former military leaders were backed by the United States, including Manuel Benedicto Lucas García, who had worked closely with U.S. military officials to develop a system of attacking the highlands where Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan communities reside. The system involved decapitating and crucifying people. We speak to investigative journalist and activist Allan Nairn.

TRANSCRIPT…

Saudi Aramco confirms share listing deliberations

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[Now, THAT would be a giant step! *RON*]

Anjli Raval and Neil Hume, Financial Times, 8 January 2016

Saudi Arabia’s state oil entity has confirmed it is considering a stock market flotation in what would probably create the most valuable listed company in the world.

Saudi Aramco said in a statement on Friday that the kingdom was looking at various options, including the listing of “an appropriate percentage of the company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle [of] its downstream subsidiaries”.

Mohammed bin Salman, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, told The Economist that the kingdom was studying selling shares in Aramco — the parent company or subsidiaries — as part of a privatisation drive to generate revenue in an era of cheap oil.

What Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ can teach us

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[I read this and felt guilty again for 5 minutes. I've started War & Peace many times and never finished it. The cast of thousands, all called indiscriminately by their first, middle or last names plus nick names has always defeated me, not to mention the innumerable long passages in French. Apparently the print version of this Schama article was titled "Tsar Wars!" *RON*]

Simon Schama, Financial Times, 8 January 2016

Henry James called it a ‘monster’, Sergei Bondarchuk almost died trying to turn it into a film — yet each generation feels compelled to take on the epic. As a new BBC adaptation unfolds, Simon Schama explains why.
How should we live? That’s the not unimportant question posed by Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece, and it makes War and Peace-niks terrible bores. But we can’t help it: we need to evangelise, spread the word that there is no book quite like it; no book that encompasses almost the whole of humanity, and which coll…

Texas Now Allows Guns in Mental Hospitals

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[Are you cr...? Oh, never mind. *RON*]

Denver Nicks, Time Magazine, 9 January 2016
Employees and patients are still prohibited from carrying firearms on the premises.

Under a new law that went into effect on New Year’s Day, visitors will now be allowed to openly carry guns with them into state-run mental health hospitals in Texas.

This week, state mental health hospitals began pulling down signs that banned guns from their facilities in accordance with a new law that bars state agencies from banning guns from their property, USA Today reports. A similar law, which goes into effect on August 1, will allow guns into public universities.