Britain Wants A ‘Way Out’ Of The Julian Assange Standoff, Says Ecuador

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By Julian Assange for The Guardian – Maria Fernanda Espinosa, foreign minister, says UK and Ecuador working on an ‘opening’ Britain is interested in finding a solution to the standoff that has led to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years, the foreign minister of the South American country has said. In May, Sweden dropped an investigation into rape allegations that led Assange, 45, to seek asylum in the embassy in 2012, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the building. “The United Kingdom wants a way out, but evidently that is in the hands of the UK justice system, they have their procedures, their ways,” the minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, told reporters on Thursday. “This opening has been there, and we are working on it.“ A British court issued an arrest warrant for Assange when he failed to surrender to the court on 29 June, 2012, and the Metropolitan Police Service is compelled to execute that warrant, the London police said in May. Assange, who denies the rape allegations, fears being handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

‘Day Of Rage’ Protesters Demand May’s Resignation

Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian

By Nadia Khomami for The Guardian – Hundreds of protesters marched from west London to Downing Street on Wednesday to protest against the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire. The march – on London’s hottest day of the year – was one of a number of “day of rage” protests to coincide with the state opening of parliament. The demonstrators demanded that the displaced residents of Grenfell Tower are rehoused locally, and want full amnesty and permanent UK residency for those without immigration papers. The marchers also demanded the publication of all records of the companies involved with the tower and their dealings with Kensington and Chelsea council. There were around 500 people on the march, police said. The march, which was organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), set off for Downing Street as the prime minister set out her legislative programme for the next two years.

6 Lessons From The UK Election For National Improved Medicare For All

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By Brittany Shannahan for HCHRMD – This is the end of the center-left as we know it. In democracies across the world, we have seen a polarization of politics, with far-right populists and ethnonationalists sparring against a new wave of leftist political activism as the traditional center-left collapses under its own weight. The process has a name, Pasokification, after the Democrat-esque Greek center-left party that went from a major government player into a fringe institution overnight after an election in 2015. Had Labour replaced Jeremy Corbyn with a centrist, Theresa May and the Conservative party would have won by a landslide. We see a leftist coalition built on a visionary plan for a future for the many rather than for the few taking on a highly popular right-wing government and almost beating it entirely after only six weeks of campaigning. Some will bring up Macron in France as an example of a centrist, neoliberal political party holding its own against the far right. But we need to remember that Nazi sympathizers and collaborators founded the Front National. As Naomi Klein has said, the Front National is more David Duke than Donald Trump.

Trump Postpones Trip To UK Due To Fear Of Protests

The President reportedly made the admission in a recent phone call to the PM AFP/Getty

By Emily Shugerman for Independent – The President does not want to visit the UK until the public supports him, sources say. Donald Trump has reportedly told Theresa May that he does not want to visit the UK soon for fear of large-scale protests against him. Ms May invited Mr Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration. Now he apparently wants to wait until the British public supports him coming. The US President made the admission in a recent phone call to the Prime Minister, a Downing Street adviser who was present for the call told The Guardian. The aide said Ms May seemed surprised. Jeremy Corbyn welcomes ‘cancellation’ of Donald Trump state visit. Mr Trump – never a favourite among British voters – stoked outcry in recent weeks for attacking London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of terrorist attacks in the city. The President ridiculed Mr Khan’s calls for calm, and later condemned the Mayor’s “pathetic excuse” for his statements.

Newsletter: Corbyn Teaches To Embrace Change We Need

Corbyn For the Many Not the Few

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The shocking election result in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives losing their majority and the creation of a hung Parliament; and Jeremy Corbyn being more successful than any recent Labor candidate – cutting a 20 point Theresa May lead down to a near tie – gives hope to many that the global shift to the right, fueled by the failures of governments to meet the basic needs of their population and growing economic insecurity, may be ending. Corbyn is a lifelong activist (as you will see in the photos below), whose message and actions have been consistent. He presented a platform directed at ending austerity and the wealth divide and was openly anti-war. There are a lot of lessons for the Labor Party in the UK from this election but there are also lessons for people in the United States. We review what happened and consider the possibilities for creating transformative change in the United States.

Corbyn Tells Truth About Counterproductive War On Terror

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By Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal for AlterNet – This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Party’s establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His party’s leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the country’s tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and “civilian protection.” While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil…

UK Set For First Coal-Free Work Day Since Pre-Industrial Times

Drax, the UK's biggest coal power station, has converted to partly run on biomass (Flickr/Jonathan Brennan)

By Megan Darby for Climate Home – Three old coal plants closed last year, while surging renewables, cheap gas and a carbon price make the remaining power stations less viable. A halving of coal use in 2016 was the main driver of a 5.8% fall in UK carbon dioxide emissions, according to Carbon Brief analysis of official data. The government has pledged to end coal burning by 2025, subject to consultation. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said the day should be noted by politicians fighting over who will lead the UK through the next stage of its energy transition. “A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in ten years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again,” she said. “It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology. They will need to get on with the coal phase-out plan and recognise the economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. We can meet the UK’s needs for skilled jobs and fair bills, whilst also meeting our climate targets.” Britain is phasing out coal faster than some European neighbours like Germany, helped by a surcharge of £18 a tonne of CO2 ($23) on top of the €5 ($5) EU market price.

Tear Gas, Bottles Fly As Paris Police & Anti-Brutality Protesters Clash For 3rd Night

Police, riot control, brutality, militarism

By Charlotte Dubenskij for Russia Today. Paris, France – Hundreds of protesters have gathered in front of police station in Paris for the 3rd consecutive night to vent their anger over the killing of a middle-aged Chinese man over the weekend. Tensions quickly escalated into clashes with police again firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd. RT’s correspondent at the scene, Charlotte Dubenskij, reports that police used tear gas to break pockets of protesters as the crowd continues to shout “Police assassins!” Paris, France – Hundreds of protesters have gathered in front of police station in Paris for the 3rd consecutive night to vent their anger over the killing of a middle-aged Chinese man over the weekend. Tensions quickly escalated into clashes with police again firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the angry crowd. RT’s correspondent at the scene, Charlotte Dubenskij, reports that police used tear gas to break pockets of protesters as the crowd continues to shout “Police assassins!” “We’ve been seeing bottles thrown. We’ve got tear gas flown, pepper spray. I actually had it right in my face, we’ve been sort of with the crowd as it’s moving,” Dubenskij said.

UK Campuses Stifle Anti-War And Palestine Solidarity Activism

Protesters attend a rally supporting Palestinians following the recent Al-Aqsa mosque tensions on Place Chatelet in central Paris, France, Oct. 10 2015. | Photo: EFE

By Staff of Tele Sur – The U.K.’s often-criticized counter-terrorism strategy, Prevent, has advised universities and colleges to counter extremism by stifling anti-war and Palestine solidarity activism. British university staff have been advised to watch out for students that may harbor “extremist views” such as vocal support for Palestine, opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza, criticism of wars in the Middle East and opposition to Prevent, according to the training materials provided. One campus has already felt the policy’s censoring effect. The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) on Tuesday canceled an event organized by a Friends of Palestine society group, citing that it would be anti-Semitic and “unbalanced.” “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition (of anti-Semitism) and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events…

UK Labour Party Proposes A Maximum Wage Gap

Garry Knight / Flickr

By Sam Pizzigati for IPS – In 1942, Franklin Roosevelt advanced what may have been the most politically daring policy proposal of his entire presidency. FDR called for the equivalent of a maximum wage. No individual American after paying taxes, Roosevelt declared, should have an income over $25,000, about $370,000 today. A half-century later, in 1992, Bernie Sanders — then a relatively new member of the House of Representatives — marked the 50th anniversary of FDR’s maximum wage initiative. Sanders placed a commentary on FDR’s 1942 proposal in the Congressional Record. Last week, in the 75th anniversary year of Roosevelt’s 1942 proposal, British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn gave FDR’s income cap idea a considerably wider public airing.

Britain’s Largest Student Union Endorses BDS

Image of students celebrating after the University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted to pass a motion in support of BDS on 11th December 2016 [@IsraelWC/Facebook]

By Staff of MEMO – The largest student union in Britain has officially endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, in a significant success for Palestine solidarity activists. The University of Manchester’s Student Union Senate voted last Thursday to pass a motion in support of BDS. The motion won the backing of 60 per cent of the SU Senate, following an impassioned debate. The motion was put forward by Huda Ammori, President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society, and was supported by Etisha Choudhury, President of Action Palestine, and the BDS Campaigns Committee. In the three weeks prior to last week’s Senate meeting…

The UK’s ‘National Security’ Plan? It’s A Blueprint For A Police State

Campaigners from Amnesty International carry model missiles in a protest against the export of UK arms to Saudi Arabia (AFP)

By Nafeez Ahmed for MEE – The report offers no insight on how Britain has destroyed the national security of other countries – and thereby threatened its own. In early December, the British government released its first annual report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. Despite the total media blackout, the document reveals in stark detail the Conservative government’s plans to expand Britain’s military activities around the world. In the name of defending “national security”, Britain is building a “permanent” military presence in the Gulf to defend Britain’s access to regional energy resources

UK Fracking Giant Fails To Imprison Grandmother

tina-louise-rothery-at-the-infrastructure-bill-demonstration

By Steve Rushton for Occupy – “Public support was paramount and I believe it made the judge acutely aware that this was not a simple case that I had wronged [U.K. fracking firm] Cuadrilla and owed them money,” Tina Rothery explains. “This was greater: it was about communities coming together. The huge public support showed the weight of my legal argument, and I think the judge could see that.” Rothery, a grandmother and resident of Blackpool in North England, was met by a jubilant crowd of hundreds outside Preston Court on Friday, December 9, when the verdict of her freedom was announced.

Parliament Passes Most Extreme Surveillance Law In UK History

(Illustration by Todd Detwiler)

By Staff of RSF – The UK Government has failed to respond to widespread public dismay over secret mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The Bill will not only put into statute the capabilities revealed by Snowden but extend surveillance even further. This is not just of grave concern for UK citizens. The impact of the Bill will be felt around the world. Authoritarian leaders with poor human rights records can now point to the UK when justifying their own surveillance regimes.

U.K. Rent Strike Builds Toward Nov. 19 March As Students Say

From occupy.com

By Charlotte Dingle for Occupy.com. In January of this year, students at University College London held a rent strike over what they considered to be extortionate prices for substandard student accommodation. “UCL rent strikes were prompted by appalling conditions – mice, loud construction works going on in and near buildings that left students unable to do work – and rent hikes that left many students in poverty,” a spokesperson for Rent Strike, who preferred to remain unnamed, recently told Occupy.com. “Rents rose with no regard for the income of most students, leaving many students with around £12 a week for all expenses (including) food, clothes and books.” Nine months later, with student rent costs now increased by 18% in the last two years, the student rent strike movement has spread to 25 different universities.