United Kingdom

Diego Garcia detainees in bureaucratic limbo

Lawyers for some of approximately 60 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers stranded on the British-held island of Diego Garcia have appealed to the UK's new Foreign Minister David Lammy to intervene after the US blocked them from visiting the island for a hearing set to take place this week. The US runs a secretive military facility on the island, and issued the decision to bar the legal team on a "confidential" basis, citing "national security." The lawyers are accusing the island's government—the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) administration—of illegally detaining their clients, who have been confined to a small camp for nearly three years after fleeing Sri Lanka and India by boat. The BIOT administration claims to have no role in negotiating permission for the visit, but lawyers for the asylum-seekers say the administration has a duty to persuade the US to allow the hearing to take place and ensure the rule of law on the remote British territory.

Russia-DPRK defense pact: Cold War redux

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a mutual defense assistance pact on June 19 during Putin's first visit to Pyongyang since 2000. According to a statement from the Russian government, the Treaty on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership stipulates "mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties thereto." Putin characterized the deal as a "breakthrough document," reflecting the desire to elevate relations to a "new qualitative level."

Podcast: Four dead in Ohio. And two in Mississippi.

As the police crackdown on the Gaza protests continues coast-to-coastdrawing concern from Amnesty International—Bill Weinberg notes that this repression comes in the month marking the 54th anniversary of slayings of student protesters at Kent State University in Ohio and Jackson State University in Mississippi. With police now unleashing violence on student protesters in Paris, Amsterdam and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon, there is an unsettling sense of deja vu. In Episode 225 of the CounterVortex podcast, Weinberg warns that the world could be headed toward an historical moment that rhymes with May 1970.

US vetoes Palestine bid for full UN membership

The US vetoed a resolution to approve Palestine's application for full membership in the United Nations on April 18. The resolution before the Security Council was put forward by Algeria, and received 12 votes in favor—more than the required nine. Two countries, the UK and Switzerland, abstained.

Climate protesters shut down The Hague

Climate protestors who attempted to create a road blockade at The Hague were detained April 6 by Dutch police. Among those detained was prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg. Protestors took to the streets to oppose fossil fuel subsidies, and especially the Dutch government's tax concessions for companies such as Royal Dutch Shell. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from The Hague city center to a field next to the A12 highway, a main artery through the Netherlands, which some then tried to block with their bodies.

UN condemns increase in West Bank settlement

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk released a statement March 8 condemning Israel's latest expansion of settlements in the West Bank as well as the marked increase in "illegal" Israeli settlements over the last year, along with increasing extremist settler violence against Palestinians residing in the territory.

Ecological disaster looms after Houthi ship attack

The internationally recognized Yemeni government on Feb. 24 issued an urgent plea to the international community following a Houthi attack on the Rubymar, a British-owned, Belize-flagged cargo ship carrying hazardous materials through the Red Sea six days earlier. The attack has raised fears of an imminent environmental disaster due to the potential leakage of ammonia fertilizer and oil from the abandoned and damaged vessel.

Antifa march against Budapest Nazi-nostalgia fest

Anti-fascist protestors marched in Budapest on Feb. 10 in response to a previously banned right-wing gathering to commemorate the so-called "Day of Honor." Activists travelled from across Europe to take part. The dueling rallies came amid diplomatic tensions between Budapest and Rome, as an Italian anti-fascist activist remains imprisoned in Hungary.

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