Finnish Newspaper Greets Trump and Putin With Billboards Defending ‘Free Press’

With protesters in the streets of Helsinki, U.S. and Russian presidents get cold and critical greeting in nation’s capital city

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2018

Finland’s largest newspaper put out clear markers for both President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin ahead of a one-on-one meeting in Helsinki on Monday. (Photo: Helsingin Sanomat/Finland)

Like every other place the U.S. president has traveled in Europe over the last week, large protests also took place in the Finnish capitol of Helsinki on Sunday—a day ahead of a highly anticipated and much-hyped meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.

Both leaders were also greeted with a large billboard advertisement purchased by Helsingin Sanomat, the nation’s largest newspaper, which bashed the Trump and Putin as being enemies of journalism and a free press. Continue reading

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US Airstrike Kills 54 Civilians in Syria in Push to Control Syrian Border

With the U.S. now unable to prevent Syrian government control of the Syria-Jordan border, Friday’s strikes are a sign that the U.S. effort to oust the Syrian government from Abu Kamal is likely to only grow stronger as its occupation of Syrian territory faces an uncertain future.

By Whitney Webb. Published 7-13-2018 by MintPress News

Abu Kamal after a January airstrike. Screenshot: Qasioun News

Around midnight on Friday, U.S.-led coalition warplanes in Syria conducted intensive airstrikes near Abu Kamal in the Deir ez-Zor province, with estimates of civilian casualties ranging from 30 to 54. Syrian state media agency SANA has claimed that at least 30 were killed and that most of the dead were women and children. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), often cited by international and particularly Western media, has asserted that 54 were killed.

According to local reports, the U.S.-led coalition strikes targeted the towns of al-Souseh and al-Baghouz Fowqani, east of the Euphrates river in the countryside around Abu Kamal. The bombings resulted in dozens of houses in the towns collapsing, resulting in numerous civilian deaths, as whole families were crushed by the rubble while they were sleeping. Continue reading

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With ‘Carefully Calculated Strategy’ to Slash Safety Net Underway, White House Claims War on Poverty ‘Largely Over’

New Trump administration report calls for imposing work requirements for federal benefits programs, which anti-poverty advocates warn would harm poor Americans

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2018

Photo: Pinterest

Anti-poverty advocates are rejecting a new Trump administration report that ridiculously declares the “War on Poverty is largely over and a success.” In the words of Rebecca Vallas at the Center for American Progress, it is “part of a carefully calculated strategy to reinforce myths about the people these programs help” and “to smear these programs with a dog-whistle of welfare, in order to make them easier to cut.”


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Global Climate Movement Celebrates as Ireland Set to Become First Country to Fully Divest From Fossil Fuels

“Countries the world over must now urgently follow Ireland’s lead.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2018

Fossil fuel divestment activists displayed a sign outside the lower house of Ireland’s legislature. (Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland/Trócaire/350.org)

Climate activists across the globe celebrated Thursday after the lower house of the Irish legislature passed a divestment bill with support from all parties, effectively ensuring that Ireland will become the first nation in the world to fully divest public money from the fossil fuel industry.


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Claims That ICE Agents Were ‘Just Following Orders’ Won’t Save Them From Liability for Children’s Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn

“While such employees may say they were ‘just following orders,’ their highest command is to uphold the Constitution. This overrides any contrary decision from ICE or even Trump himself.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2018

Screenshot: Fox News

A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy—and warns that the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court could harm the chance of anyone being held accountable for the forcible separation of families.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s order that the government reunite all children under the age of five with their parents went largely unheeded yesterday, as the court-imposed deadline passed with fewer than half of the children being returned to their families. Continue reading

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Intensifying ‘Genocidal Policies of Collective Punishment,’ Israel Shuts Down Gaza’s Main Cargo Crossing

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called the move “a new Israeli crime against humanity.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-10-2018

Israel announced on Monday new restrictions for the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main cargo entry point into Gaza. (Photo: David Katz/The Israel Project/Flickr)

In a move condemned by human rights advocates as another of the Israeli government’s “genocidal policies of collective punishment” in Gaza, Israel has announced stringent new import rules for the territory’s main cargo crossing.

As Israel and Egypt have maintained a naval, aerial, and land blockade of the occupied territory for more than a decade, the Kerem Shalom crossing is how most commercial goods and foreign aid reach Gazans. Under the new restrictions, only food, medicine, and “humanitarian equipment” can come through the entry point. Continue reading

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Just Who Is ICE Targeting? Journalist Claims His Arrest Retaliation for Critical Reporting

At the time of his arrest while covering a protest, “I was doing my work and nothing more, like any other journalist does,” says Manuel Duran.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2018

Manual Duran, seen on the left, is arrested by police on April 3, 2018. (Photo: screengrab/YouTube)

Amid new revelations showing that Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to be increasing its indiscriminate arrests of undocumented immigrants—not prioritizing those with serious criminal records—one journalist in custody and facing possible deportation says in a new interview that he believes his arrest was absolutely the result of his reporting critical of the Memphis Police Department and Department of Homeland Security.

At the time of his arrest in April, “I was doing my work and nothing more, like any other journalist does,” 42-year-old Manuel Duran told The Daily Beast in Spanish. He said he believes he was apprehended “without a doubt” as a result of his reporting. Continue reading

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Fighting Resolution to Restrict Baby Formula Sales and Promote Breastfeeding, Trump Officials Threatened Funding Cuts

“What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2018

As baby formula sales have gone down in welathy countries in recent years, the baby food industry has targeted developing countries with marketing campaigns. A UN resolution passed this spring—despite pushback from the U.S.—aimed to promote breastfeeding around the world. (Photo: USAID/Flickr/cc)

International delegates to the United Nation’s World Health Assembly looked on at the group’s recent meeting, as U.S. representatives appeared to put the interests of the $70 billion baby food industry ahead of those of parents and children—and pressured other countries to do the same.

The New York Times reported Sunday that American officials, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, attempted to strongarm Ecuadorean delegates out of introducing a resolution to encourage and support breastfeeding and urge governments to restrict misleading marketing claims about baby formula.  Continue reading

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Insiders Admit Trump’s EPA Burying Cancer-Causing Chemical Study Unfriendly to Industry

New reporting in Politico adds further weight to claims of suppression of report on formaldehyde

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-7-2018

Photo: Pinterest

New reporting in Politico puts the spotlight on continued themes of the Trump administration: suppression of science, threats to public health, and carrying out the bidding of industry. The issue laid out involves alleged political interference at the Environmental Protection Agency, and while the agency’s current administrator, scandal-riddled Scott Pruitt, is now on his way out the door, the reins now head to number two Andrew Wheeler, who offers little reason to believe the burying of a key report will soon end.

As Politico‘s Annie Snider reported, Trump appointees at the agency are blocking the release of an assessment on formaldehyde produced by the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). A draft assessment already completed confirms research linking the common chemical to leukemia, nose and throat cancer, and other adverse health effects. Continue reading

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Outrage Grows as Trump Official Complains Deadline for Putting Kids Back in Parents’ Arms Too “Extreme”

“This is a cruel and harmful policy that was aggravated by the administration’s lack of basic humanity in thinking ahead of time about how it would bring these families back together.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-6-2018

Hundreds of thousands of Americans protested against the Trump administration’s forcible separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend, days after a federal judge ordered officials to reunite families. (Photo: Lindsey Turner/Flickr/cc)

Outrage over the Trump administration’s treatment of families who have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, many seeking asylum, grew on Friday as officials told a U.S. District court that they would likely not be able to meet a deadline set more than a week ago for reuniting parents with their children.


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