Rights group disputes account of US raid in Yemen, saying five civilians died

from May 24, 2017 at 06:00AM http://bit.ly/2qliU5s

London-based human rights group cites local sources, who say the raid went wrong from the start when US Navy Seals opened fire on a 70-year-old man

Five civilians were killed in a US Navy Seal raid in Yemen against al-Qaida militants, a human rights organisation said on Wednesday.

US central command that the raid on Tuesday had killed seven members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) in Marib governorate, “through a combination of small arms fire and precision airstrikes”.

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Concerns over Trump still allowing his company to profit from foreign officials

from May 24, 2017 at 05:30AM http://bit.ly/2qXaiUP

Documents show the president is continuing to risk violating the constitution’s emoluments clause, which forbids US officials from being paid by a ‘foreign state’

Donald Trump will continue to risk violating the US constitution by allowing his company to profit from foreign government officials, according to documents released by Congress on Wednesday.

Executives at the president’s hotel business said they were not prepared to make efforts to check whether customers worked for overseas states, in part, because this would be awkward for the Trump brand.

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

US army ‘lost track of $1bn worth of arms’

from May 24, 2017 at 02:06AM http://bit.ly/2rRe81R

The US army has failed to monitor over $1bn worth of arms and other military equipment transfers to Kuwait and Iraq, Amnesty International says in a report citing a 2016 US government audit.

The now-declassified document by the US Department of Defence (DoD) audit, was obtained by the rights group following Freedom of Information requests.

The audit reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq.

Some records were incomplete, while duplicated spreadsheets, handwritten receipts and the lack of a central database increased the risk for human-error while entering data.

READ MORE: ISIL won’t be defeated on the battlefield

“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous – system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” says Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights researcher, in the report.

The rights group says in the report that its own research has “consistently documented” lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command, which had resulted in arms winding up in the hands of armed groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

“After all this time and all these warnings, the same problems keep occurring,” Wilcken said.

‘Irresponsible transfers’

The military transfers were part of the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF), a programme that appropriated $1.6bn to provide assistance to military and other security services associated with the government of Iraq, including Kurdish and tribal security forces.

The transfers included small arms and heavy weapons, machine guns, mortar rounds and assault rifles.

“This effort is focused on critical ground forces needed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL [also known as ISIS] in Iraq, secure its national borders and prevent ISIL from developing safe havens,” the DoD said in a report justifying ITEF.

Is the international community indirectly enabling war crimes in Iraq?

“If support is not provided American interests in the region would be undermined.”

In response to the audit, the US army has pledged to implement corrective actions.

“This occurred during the Obama administration as well, and groups such as Amnesty International repeatedly called on irresponsible arms transfers to be tackled, as the weapons were not only falling into the hands of groups like ISIL but also pro-Tehran Shia jihadists fighting for the Iraqi government,” Tallha Abdulrazaq, a security researcher at the University of Exeter, told Al Jazeera via email.

“While ISIL certainly needs to be fought, if this is achieved by hurling arms at groups that are just as extreme as the militant group, how does that resolve the situation?”

Amnesty International has urged the US to comply with laws and treaties to stop arms transfers or diversion of arms that could fuel atrocities.

“This should be an urgent wake-up call for the US, and all countries supplying arms to urgently shore up checks and controls,” Wilcken said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

UN panel releases draft treaty banning possession and use of nuclear weapons

from May 22, 2017 at 09:51AM http://bit.ly/2rKnjRI

States would have to destroy any nuclear weapons they have and would be forbidden from transferring them

A United Nations-backed panel has publicly released a draft treaty banning the possession and use of all nuclear weapons.

The draft treaty is the culmination of a sustained campaign, supported by more than 130 non-nuclear states frustrated with the sclerotic pace of disarmament, to prohibit nuclear weapons and persuade nuclear-armed states to disarm.

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

Sheriff who likened Black Lives Matter to KKK to join Trump administration

from May 17, 2017 at 07:21AM http://bit.ly/2rAECDU

David Clarke, who acted as surrogate for president during election campaign, says he will be link between federal government and local law enforcement

The controversial Milwaukee County sheriff, David Clarke, who has compared Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, has said he is joining the Trump administration as a point person between federal government and local and state law enforcement.

Clarke broke the news of his appointment on the local Wisconsin radio station 1130 WISN Radio. The move brings to an end a long courtship between Trump and the sheriff, who acted as a surrogate for the Republican nominee on the campaign trail last year and was one of few African American speakers at the Republican national convention, at which he proclaimed “blue lives matter” in homage to police officers.

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

What you need to know about the Trump-Russia inquiry’s special counsel

from May 17, 2017 at 11:21AM http://bit.ly/2q55V84

Robert Mueller, the former FBI director, will investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia – here’s how it works

On Wednesday night, the justice department announced the appointment of Robert Mueller, the former FBI director under presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, as a special counsel to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Related: Special counsel appointed to oversee Trump-Russia investigation – politics live

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

US immigrant arrests soar under Donald Trump

from May 17, 2017 at 03:03PM http://bit.ly/2rAeiKG

The number of immigrants arrested by US authorities has soared in the first months of Donald Trump’s administration, rising by nearly 40 percent, according to new official figures. 

Trump has emboldened immigration agents in a crackdown on people suspected of being in the country without documents.

US may deport group of Indonesian Christians

The numbers released on Wednesday by Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are seen as a snapshot of how the new president is following through on his campaign promises to make immigration enforcement a top priority.

Overall, 41,300 people were arrested for deportation between January 22 and April 29, a 38 percent increase from a comparable period last year.

In contradiction to Trump’s past claims that immigrants with criminal convictions would be prioritised for deportation, nearly 11,000 had no criminal convictions. That is more than double the number of immigrants without criminal convictions arrested during a comparable period last year.

That increase is a result of recent guidance given by Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, to implement Trump’s executive orders on interior immigration enforcement and border security signed on January 25, just days after the Republican president took office.

‘Going after the wrong people’ 

Silvia Avelar-Flores, a 31-year-old mother of three from Utah, was picked up by immigration agents enforcing an old deportation order last month while she was shopping with her eight-year-old daughter in a Salt Lake City suburb.

She was released and given three months to plan her return to Mexico, a country she left as a young girl. Avelar-Flores plans to take her youngest daughter, aged two, with her and leave her 10-year-old-son and eight-year-old daughter with her husband, who has permanent US residency.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” Alves-Flores said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency. “I understand that they want to fix everything, you know, but they are going after the wrong people. Trump said he was just going for the criminals, and that’s not happening.”

Other examples highlighted by advocates include an Indian taxi driver in southern California recently arrested during a routine check-in with immigration authorities and a Mexican man facing deportation after nearly two decades in the US.

Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo, who was living in Michigan, is being held in a Louisiana detention facility while lawyers try to block his deportation.

READ MORE: In the colonias of Texas, living on the edge

ICE’s Homan said the increase in arrests stems from stepped up immigration enforcement, adding that morale has improved among agents under Trump because they are “allowed to do their job”. 

“Their job is to enforce the law, and that is exactly what they’re doing,” he said.

Even so, deportations were down from late January to late April compared with a year ago despite the new president’s stepped-up immigration enforcement pledge.

The increase in arrests of people without criminal convictions has generated outrage across the US from Trump opponents who believe otherwise law-abiding families are being rounded up.

‘Destroying our families’

The report was made public as the Trump administration seeks to promote its accomplishments despite a growing scandal over the firing of the FBI director and the sharing of intelligence with Russian officials.

The president “puts this out to distract from the real affairs of our country”, Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, told AP. “It is unfortunate that he basically is using the pain and destroying our families as a way by which to give red meat to his base.”

Immigration arrests doubled in the Miami and Dallas metro areas. They rose by five percent in and around Los Angeles and dropped slightly in the San Francisco area.

READ MORE: The undocumented immigrants deported under Trump

While arrests of immigrants rose, the number of deportations fell 12 percent during the period, ICE’s Homan said.

He attributed the drop to a decline in arrests on the US-Mexico border where immigrants are usually sent home quickly and a lengthy backlog in US immigration courts that issue deportation orders.

On Wednesday, state attorneys general from New York, California, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington state and Washington, DC, issued a report laying out why they have chosen to limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents.

A section of one of the president’s executive orders, which aimed to cut off federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities”, has been blocked by a federal judge in California.

Undocumented in Trump’s America – Fault Lines

Source: News agencies

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

‘Erdoğan’s bodyguards’ in violent clash with protesters in Washington DC

from May 16, 2017 at 01:22PM http://bit.ly/2quAype

Nine people hurt and two arrests made during the altercation at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the US capital

Nine people were hurt and two arrests were made during an altercation at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in the US capital during a visit by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, police have said.

Doug Buchanan, a DC Fire and EMS spokesman, said two of those hurt were seriously injured and were taken to hospitals by ambulance. He said by phone that emergency personnel were called to the residence about 4:30pm Tuesday.

Continue reading…

Read more at: World news | The Guardian http://bit.ly/2pJ7Aoj

China’s Xi pledges to support Paris climate agreement

from May 9, 2017 at 05:33AM http://bit.ly/2pin9mQ

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said he will uphold the Paris agreement on curbing climate change, in a telephone conversation with French President-elect Emmanuel Macron.

The Chinese leader’s comments on Tuesday came as climate negotiators entered their second day of meetings in Bonn, Germany, aiming to start drafting a guide on how to implement the landmark deal amid fears the United States may pull out of it.

The historic accord, which came into force last year, aims to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Most of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, including China, the United States, India and the European Union, have ratified the agreement, seen as a turning point for global climate policy.

Xi told Macron that both China and France should “protect the global governance achievements contained within the Paris Agreement on climate change”, according to a statement by the China’s foreign ministry.

Will Trump pull US back from the UN climate deal?

China is the world’s top producer of greenhouse emissions, but support for the Paris deal was recently considered one of the few bright spots of cooperation between Beijing and Washington.

US President Donald Trump has expressed scepticism about the deal and threatened to pull out. Advisers are presenting him with a range of policy options and a final decision is not expected to be made before the G7 summit on May 26 and 27.

“It’s a sign that the president wants to continue to meet with his team … and come to a decision on what’s [in] the best interest of the United States,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday.

Many nations want Trump to remain in the agreement, which is meant to rein in rising world temperatures by shifting towards cleaner energies such as wind and solar power, even though he plans to bolster the US coal industry.

READ MORE: The quest to save the world’s coral reefs

In Bonn, where representatives of the nearly 200 countries that are party to the agreement are meeting to go through the technical aspects of implementing the accord, discussions are overshadowed by the uncertainty over Washington’s position.

Al Jazeera’s Dominic Kane, reporting from Bonn, said that “although there are delegates here that implement the Paris agreement in their own legislation, they very much fear what comes around the corner” from the US.

State of Denial – Fault Lines

For US allies, Trump’s wavering has uncomfortable echoes of President George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the 1992 Kyoto Protocol.

It could also have a negative impact on Trump’s careful diplomacy with China, which the White House wants on-side to tackle North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

“Politically it would be a disaster; diplomatically it would be a disaster. The whole world would put the US as a pariah”, Jeffrey Sachs, from the Center for Sustainable Development, told Al Jazeera.

The core of the Paris deal was an agreement between Xi and then US president Barack Obama. Both men have this week pressed Trump to stay on board.

The US is the world’s number two emitter of greenhouse gases after China.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B

French voters react to Emmanuel Macron’s election win

from May 8, 2017 at 07:39AM http://bit.ly/2q4wj3F

Al Jazeera spoke to residents of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a northeastern Paris suburb, and people in Menilmontant, a neighbourhood in the capital’s 20th arrondissement, about France’s crucial presidential vote.

Here is what they had to say as they woke up to the republic’s youngest ever president, the 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, who beat his far-right rival Marine Le Pen a day earlier.

Macron won with more than 65 percent of the vote to Le Pen’s 35 percent.

In Aulnay-sous-Bois

Junior, 33, driver

I did not vote at all, neither in the first nor second round [Raymond Bobar/Al Jazeera]

I did not vote at all, neither in the first nor second round. I don’t feel represented by the political establishment. I voted for Francois Hollande in the last election.

People in France should be able to work, go to school, have access to jobs and education.

Racism is an enormous problem, there is a lot of discrimination even if you don’t see it. It’s according to your social class. Macron defends the banks’ interests.

To vote for Macron would be to vote for globalisation. Le Pen divides people. We had to choose between dividing people and enriching the banks.

Ben Fikih, 75, retired

The sun is for everyone, we are just passengers in this world [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]

Macron’s victory means hope for the French state. He’s the youngest president we’ve had. God is with him. I hope he will govern with dignity, fraternity and freedom.

I don’t know Macron well, but he’s the future of the French people. There are millions of immigrants here – France is mixed.

The sun is for everyone, we are just passengers in this world. Le Pen’s party members are like the Nazis, it’s in their blood.

She [Marine Le Pen] has a face like a lemon, she’s like a scorpion. She can bite you. She’s racist. For a lot of people racism is hidden, but not for her.

Djonar, driver

 My parents were immigrants. They voted for Macron [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]

I voted blank in the first round and yesterday for Marine. I don’t know Macron. I don’t know who he is, I just heard about him in this election but it’s unclear what he stood for.

Marine doesn’t like immigrants, but I’m not an immigrant. I don’t have anything to fear from her. My parents were immigrants. They voted for Macron.

That’s what we call freedom of expression. I’m not disappointed she didn’t win.

I don’t think either of them can do much for France.

I agree with what some of [the things] Marine says, but disagree with other things. I’m not OK [with her rhetoric about minorities]. I live here, I have Muslim friends.

In Menilmontant

Manar, works in a bakery

I didn’t vote. There wasn’t anyone who represented me. I didn’t want Le Pen to win, but what Macron is putting forward does not respond to the issues I care about.

I voted for [Jean-Luc] Melenchon in the first round. I feel relieved about Macron winning, but he was not my candidate.

Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he does.

Cecile, 21, design student

I voted yesterday. I voted for Macron in both rounds and I’m happy. He’s ambitious, audacious, courageous.

He’s trustworthy, I hope.

The rise of the far right in this election was scary. It’s reflective of an anger that is growing in this country.

Caroline, resident of Menilmontant

There’s no ideal candidate these days [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]

I didn’t vote in the first round and I voted for Macron in the second round. He’s a young president. We want to believe in him.

There’s no ideal candidate these days. Everyone is playing to get in the highest position, so why not him?

Deborah, 27, PhD student of sociology

France’s greatest issues are austerity and liberalisation [Raymond Bobar / Al Jazeera]

I’m relatively happy with the result. Like many people, I didn’t vote with conviction for Macron.

I was hesitating between [Jean-Luc] Melenchon and [Benoit] Hamon in the first round. I voted for Hamon in the end.

France’s greatest issues are austerity and liberalisation.

Additional reporting by Naima Bouteldja

Source: Al Jazeera News

Read more at: Al Jazeera English http://bit.ly/1FQbY1B