Category Archives: International Agreements

Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Ecuador After ‘Intolerable’ Quito Embassy Raid

“This is a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 4-6-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: TRT World Now/X

Mexico on Friday night announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Ecuador after police stormed the Mexican Embassy in Quito and kidnapped former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas, who was granted asylum after being convicted of what he claims are politically motivated corruption charges.

“Alicia Bárcena, our secretary of foreign affairs, has just informed me that police from Ecuador forcibly entered our embassy and detained the former vice president of that country who was a refugee and processing asylum due to the persecution and harassment he faces,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on social media following the raid.

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US Court Orders Transfer of Migrant Children From ‘Profoundly Inhumane’ Open-Air Sites

“But it remains a tragedy that a court had to direct the government to do what basic human decency and the law clearly require,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 4-5-2024 by Common Dreams

An open-air detention site in California. Photo: Al Otro Lado/X

Migrant rights defenders on Thursday cheered a federal court ruling ordering U.S. Customs and Border Protection to stop holding undocumented minors in squalid open-air detention sites in Southern California and to transfer all children held in such locations to “safe and sanitary” spaces.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contended that people held in the open-air detention sites (OADS) are not yet in U.S. custody. However, Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles issued a 12-page ruling that found migrant children are entitled to protection under the Flores Settlement Agreement, which established national minimum standards for the treatment of detained minors.

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‘Autocratic Rule’ of Erdogan Cracks as Secular Left Wins Big in Turkey Elections

“You opened the door to the rise of democracy, equality, and freedom,” Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu said following his re-election. “You ignited hope at the ballot box.”

By Brett Wilkins Published 4-1-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: Al Jazeera

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party suffered its worst-ever defeat Sunday when the country’s main opposition party scored major wins in municipal elections, including in all five of the nation’s largest cities.

With nearly all ballots counted, candidates for the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) emerged victorious in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, İzmir, Bursa, Adana, and other cities and towns. Turkish media reported CHP victories in 36 of the country’s 81 provinces. The right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP) performed best in the largely rural Anatolian interior.

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In GOP’s Latest ‘Clear Call to Genocide,’ Lawmaker Calls for Nuclear Bombing of Gaza

“To so casually call for what would result in the killing of every human being in Gaza sends the chilling message that Palestinian lives have no value,” said one Palestinian rights advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 3=30-2024 by Common Dreams

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.). Photo: walberg.house.gov

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg became the latest Republican lawmaker to openly call for the genocide of Palestinian people in Gaza, saying at a town hall that instead of sending humanitarian aid to starving civilians there, the U.S. should “get it over quick” by dropping a nuclear bomb on the besieged enclave.

The Michigan Republican was asked by a voter why taxpayer money was being spent to build a port off the coast of Gaza at an event in the town of Dundee, in a video that was apparently recorded on March 25 and posted to social media on Saturday.

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Low-Paid Immigrant Farmworkers Most at Risk From Toxic Weedkiller US Refuses to Ban

Farmworkers “should not be subjected to additional health risks due to the negligent actions of pesticide manufacturers, farm owners, and state regulatory agencies,” said one analyst.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-29-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel/Public domain

Concerns about the safety of paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide, pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2021 to ban its use on golf courses—but the weedkiller is still permitted for agricultural use, and a new first-of-its-kind analysis shows how the EPA’s continued approval of the substance has put low-income Latino communities at disproportionate risk for health impacts.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found in a study released Wednesday that 5.3 million pounds of paraquat were sprayed over a five-year period in California, the only state with readily available figures on the herbicide.

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Montana Supreme Court Strikes Down 4 ‘Unconstitutional’ Voting Laws Passed by GOP

The laws disproportionately impacted the ability of Native people to participate in voting, the court noted.

By Julia Conley. Published 3-28-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Democracy Chronicles/flickr

Native rights groups were among those applauding a decision by the Montana Supreme Court late Wednesday as four voting restrictions, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, were struck down as “unconstitutional.”

The sweeping 2021 laws had ended same-day voter registration, eliminated the use of student ID cards as a form of identification for voters, banned the distribution of absentee ballots to teenagers who would turn 18 by Election Day, and prohibited third parties from collecting ballots and returning them on behalf of voters.

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Pentagon Urged to Just Say No to AI-Powered Killer Robots

“The Department of Defense should declare its opposition to the development and deployment of autonomous weapons.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-26-2024 by Common Dreams

Predator B Drone. Photo: Jonathan Cutrer/flickr/CC

The watchdog group Public Citizen on Tuesday led a letter urging Pentagon leaders “to clarify that the Replicator Initiative will not involve the development and deployment of autonomous weapons systems,” also known as “killer robots.”

Last September, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks “asserted that the development of all-domain, attributable autonomy systems (ADA2) is an essential way for the Pentagon to maintain its comparative cutting-edge and keep up with the technological advancements of other states,” notes the letter, which was addressed to her and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

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Generative AI could leave users holding the bag for copyright violations

By Anjana Susarla, Michigan State University. Published 3-22-2024 by The Conversation

Image: rawpixel.com

Generative artificial intelligence has been hailed for its potential to transform creativity, and especially by lowering the barriers to content creation. While the creative potential of generative AI tools has often been highlighted, the popularity of these tools poses questions about intellectual property and copyright protection.

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are powered by foundational AI models, or AI models trained on vast quantities of data. Generative AI is trained on billions of pieces of data taken from text or images scraped from the internet.

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US Pariah Status Grows as Finland Resumes UNRWA Funding

“Collectively punishing millions of Palestinians over allegations concerning a few individuals is never acceptable,” said one campaigner. “Other E.U. member states must follow.”

BY Brett Wilkins. Published 3-22-2024 by Common Dreams

An UNRWA staffer holds a traumatized Palestinian baby in Gaza on March 13, 2023. (Photo: UNRWA/Facebook)

As the United States doubled down on banning funds for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Finland said Friday that it would resume contributions to the lifesaving organization in an implicit rebuke of unsubstantiated Israeli claims—reportedly extracted via torture—that staff members were involved in the October 7 attacks.

Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio announced during a press conference that the country’s €5 million ($5.4 million) annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would be reinstated, with 10% of the funding reserved for “risk management.”

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Steven Donziger, Lawyer Targeted by Chevron, Appeals to Biden for Pardon

“A pardon would bring a measure of justice to a prosecution that has been widely criticized as a violation of international law… and as a grave threat to free speech,” said 14 attorneys backing the climate justice lawyer’s request.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 3-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Steven Donziger at sentencing hearing in 2021 Photo: Marisam77/Wikimedia Commons/CC

After exhausting his options in the judicial system, American attorney Steven Donziger on Wednesday launched a campaign seeking a pardon from U.S. President Joe Biden for his misdemeanor conviction—the result of a process that experts worldwide have condemned as retaliatory for his climate justice work and an abuse of the nation’s judiciary.

“No matter where one stands on the political spectrum, we should all be able to agree that what happened to me in the United States should not happen to anybody in any country that adheres to the rule of law,” Donziger said in a statement announcing a letter to Biden signed by 14 prominent lawyers and a leader at the advocacy group Amazon Watch.

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