TDB Top 5 International Stories: Wednesday 30th November 2016





PIPELINE DEMONSTRATORS INJURED by rubber bullets, tear gas canisters, and water cannons during a wintry nighttime standoff with police last week filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against the sheriff of the North Dakota county involved. The suit describes in new detail the evening of November 20, when more than 200 people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline were injured by “less-than-lethal” weapons.

The lawsuit alleges that sheriff’s deputies and police officers used excessive force when they deployed impact munitions, like rubber bullets, as well as explosive tear gas grenades and water cannons against protesters. It argues that the tactics were retaliatory, punishing those involved for exercising free speech rights. It also argues that officers were inadequately trained to handle the situation, naming Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler, and Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Keiser as defendants.

The Intercept


4: Who is the real Tony Blair?

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Glasgow, Scotland – He arrived like a political hurricane, but in the end, left a legacy of controversy that, in the eyes of many in his native Britain, has today reduced him to the status of pariah.

Tony Blair’s landslide victory as UK Labour leader in the 1997 general election saw the Scots-born Oxford graduate become, at just 43, the youngest person to secure the British premiership since Lord Liverpool in 1812. It would lead to 10 years at the helm of the UK government as Blair’s rebranded New Labour party enjoyed three consecutive general election victories.

But when Sir John Chilcot, author of the long-awaited and explosive report into Britain’s role in the Iraq war, told the House of Commons liaison committee earlier this year that Blair had caused long-term damage to the British people’s trust in politics by taking the country to war in the Arab state, it reinforced the uncompromising views of his many detractors.



3: Trump Matters More for US-Cuba Relations Than Castro’s Death

From the day he entered Havana in 1959 after leading a guerrilla revolution against Cuba’s US-backed military dictator, Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro occupied an oversized space in American politics. Over his 49 years of rule, the “Maximum Leader” became a major US antagonist during the Cold War. His regime spawned a wave of refugees that reshaped US demographics. And his country remained, improbably, one of the world’s last bastions of straight-up Communism.

So Castro’s death Friday night wasn’t just the passing of one of the world’s most controversial and hated leaders, but the end of an era. Yet for all the hullabaloo, most signs indicate that Fidel’s death won’t have a huge practical effect in Cuba. Still, it marks the first major foreign policy event that US President-elect Donald Trump has to grapple with—and it could egg on America’s new Twitter-user-in-chief into a confrontation with Cuba that could undo the normalization of relations between the two nations initiated almost two years ago.

Fidel has not actually been in charge of Cuba for a decade. After five years of visibly failing health, he temporarily turned over power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother and the Cuban minister of defense, in 2006, then made the transfer permanent in 2008.

Vice News

2: Trump’s election led to ‘barrage of hate’, report finds

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has counted 867 hate incidents in the 10 days after the US election, a report released Tuesday found, a phenomenon it partly blamed on the rhetoric of Donald Trump.

The advocacy group collected reports of incidents from media outlets and its own #ReportHate page. SPLC said it was not able to confirm all reports but believed the number of actual incidents was far higher, as according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics most hate crimes go unreported.

Richard Cohen, SPLC’s president, blamed the recent surge in hate crimes on Trump and his divisive language throughout the campaign.

“Mr Trump claims he’s surprised his election has unleashed a barrage of hate across the country,” said Cohen in a statement on Tuesday. “But he shouldn’t be. It’s the predictable result of the campaign he waged. Rather than feign surprise, Mr Trump should take responsibility for what’s occurring, forcefully reject hate and bigotry, reach out to the communities he’s injured, and follow his words with actions to heal the wounds his words have opened.”

The Guardian 


1: Democracy Now! Special: Bernie Sanders on Trump’s Victory & the Need to Rebuild the Democratic Party

In a Democracy Now! special, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sat down with Amy Goodman at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Monday night in his most extensive broadcast interview since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton two weeks ago. He began by speaking about Donald Trump’s election night victory and the need to rebuild the Democratic Party.

Democracy Now!