Archive for Frances Martel

China Bans Dozens of Islamic Names in Muslim Xinjiang: ‘Jihad,’ ‘Saddam,’ ‘Muhammad’

Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty
The government of China has drafted a list of "overly religious" names banned in western Xinjiang province, home to the nation's Uighur Muslim ethnic minority. The list includes names such as "Muhammad," "Jihad," and "Imam."

Venezuela: Maduro Dances Hip-Hop as Protesters Burn Down Chávez Statue

Venezuela: Maduro Dances Hip-Hop as Protesters Burn Down Chávez Statue
The anti-socialist opposition in Venezuela called for daily protests following the "mother of all marches" last week, and angry Venezuelans appear to have heeded the call, defying increasingly violent repression tactics from the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB).

100 Days of Trump in Asia: Winning over Duterte, Golf with Abe, and a ‘Not as Good’ Deal with China


The administration of President Barack Obama made much ado about their "pivot to Asia," an attempt to prioritize the continent over traditional alliances with Europe.

100 Days of Trump in Asia: Winning over Duterte, Golf with Abe, and a ‘Not as Good’ Deal with China


The administration of President Barack Obama made much ado about their "pivot to Asia," an attempt to prioritize the continent over traditional alliances with Europe.

EXCLUSIVE: Archbishop of Lahore Tells Pakistani Christians: ‘Don’t Live in Fear, and Do Not Fight’


Despite being present in the country long before its independence, the Christians in Pakistan are among the nation's most persecuted victims of social discrimination, mob violence, and the near-constant threat of terrorist attacks.

EXCLUSIVE: Archbishop of Lahore Tells Pakistani Christians: ‘Don’t Live in Fear, and Do Not Fight’


Despite being present in the country long before its independence, the Christians in Pakistan are among the nation's most persecuted victims of social discrimination, mob violence, and the near-constant threat of terrorist attacks.

Duterte Tells Civilians to Take Arms Against Islamic State Affiliate After Soldier Beheading

Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an extended military operation against the Islamic State affiliate Abu Sayyaf and assured civilians that any violent action they take to subdue local terrorists will be forgiven in a court of law, following the arrest of a policewoman with ties to the group and the beheading of a soldier.

Venezuela: Nude Man Holding Bible Sprayed with Rubber Bullets During Protest


A protester joining the thousands calling for an end to Venezuela's socialist regime on Thursday approached an armed military vehicle wearing nothing but a knapsack and holding a Bible, demanding law enforcement stop attacking protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Erdogan Plans World Tour, Including Trump Visit, Following Turkish Referendum Power Grab

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures at supporters during a rally in Istanbul on March 11, 2017. Erdogan threatened to retaliate after the Netherlands banned the foreign minister from flying in for a campaign rally, as he said The Hague's behaviour was reminiscent of Nazism. Turkish politicians are keen to harness votes of the Turkish community in Europe ahead of the April 16 referendum on whether to boost Erdogan's powers. OZAN KOSE / AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit China, Russia, India, and the United States, as well as make stops in Europe during a world tour next month intended to rehabilitate his public image after a controversial referendum vote greatly expanded his executive power.

Venezuelans Take the Streets Again After ‘Mother of All Protests’ Leaves Teen, Soldier Dead


The Venezuelan opposition called for a second "mother of all marches" on Thursday from the same 26 rally points from which hundreds of thousands took the streets to demand an end to socialism on Wednesday.

Years After ‘Likely’ Quitting Venezuela, GM Pays Price for Doing Business with Dictators

A motorcyclist rides past the General Motors' plant in Valencia, Venezuela, Thursday, April 20, 2017. The company announced that it was shuttering operations in the country after authorities seized the factory on Wednesday, April 19. General Motors' announcement comes as Venezuela's opposition looks to keep up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, taking to the streets again Thursday after three people were killed and hundreds arrested in the biggest anti-government demonstrations in years. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Hernandez)
The business world awoke to a headline shocking to American audiences but quite routine for those following the past two decades of socialist rule in Venezuela: the government of dictator Nicolás Maduro had seized GM's remaining plant in the country.

Venezuela: Teen Killed in ‘Mother of All Protests’ as Maduro Seeks to Arm One Million Chavistas


Dissidents participating in what Venezuela's opposition dubbed the "mother of all protests" Wednesday faced gang attacks, tear gas, and other repressive tactics by state police and civilian militias alike.

Ex-Head of Migration Office: 10,000 Syrians, Iranians Have Venezuelan Passports

Venezuelan citizens show their passports during a demonstration to express their disagreement about the situation in Venezuela and against the restoration of US diplomatic relations with Cuba,outside a hotel in which Cuban dissidents give a press conference in Panama on April 8, 2015, days before the opening of the VII Summit of the Americas which starts next April 10 and 11, in Panama City. AFP PHOTO / RAUL ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The former head of the Office of Identification and Migration (Saime) in Venezuela told the Miami Herald this week that, while he was there, the office issued at least 10,000 passports to Syrian, Iranian, and other Middle Eastern nationals with no ties to Venezuela.

Report: North Korea Ignores Multiple Chinese Requests for Talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the first congress of the country's ruling Workers' Party in 36 years, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 9, 2016. Kyodo/via REUTERS
Beijing's message to the Trump administration that it would take an active role in diminishing tensions on the Korean peninsula has apparently reached Pyongyang. North Korean officials have reportedly not responded to requests from the Chinese government to meet for diplomatic talks.

Turkey Referendum: Opposition Parties Cry Fraud, Demand Recount of ‘Yes’ Vote

REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Turkey's opposition parties are demanding a recount following Sunday's referendum to install a presidential system of government greatly expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Venezuela: Police Brutality Kills Six, Ages 13 to 87, amid Growing Protests


The Christian holiday occasion of Holy Week has brought a new wave of protests to Venezuela's major cities – and with them another wave of violent police repression.

Venezuela: Socialist Mob Assaults Archbishop of Caracas During Holy Week Mass

Cardinal Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino celebrates a mass in memory of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, in Rome's Santa Maria dei Monti Church, Friday, March 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A mob of supporters of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro stormed a Catholic Mass celebrating Holy Week on Wednesday, assaulting Archbishop of Caracas Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, injuring both believers attending the mass and media recording the scuffle, and reportedly looting the church.

North Korea May Be Preparing a Nuclear Test for Kim Il-Sung’s Birthday

PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
North Korea has begun preparing festivities for the "Day of the Sun," a holiday celebrating communist leader Kim Il-Sung. Satellite images suggest that among those festivities may be the nation's sixth nuclear test, which would arrive at a particularly tempestuous time in the relationship between Pyongyang and its largest benefactor, China.

UNICEF: Boko Haram Use of Child Suicide Bombers Up 200% in 3 Months of 2017

NIGERIA, Kano : A screengrab taken on October 2, 2014 from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau. Shekau dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on October 2 and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns. AFP PHOTO / HO / BOKO HARAM
The United Nations children's organization UNICEF announced this week that the Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram has used 27 children as suicide bombers in the past three months, nearly the same amount as in the entirety of 2016.

Socialism Has Destroyed Venezuela – So Why Does the Opposition Trust the Socialist International?


Socialism has destroyed Venezuela. State corporate takeovers, strict price controls, and a food rationing system have left the country poor, sick, and literally starving.

With Venezuela in Open Revolt, Dictator Maduro Heads to Havana to Bash Trump

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Maduro accused the United States of sabotage plans against Venezuela, saying they aim to create a scenario of violence to justify a foreign military intervention to remove him from power. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
The political situation in Venezuela has destabilized significantly as the socialist dictatorship has attempted to nullify the opposition-held legislature and banned a presidential contender from public office for fifteen years. It is a bizarre time for dictator Nicolás Maduro to leave the country, yet he has done so, attending a leftist summit in Havana.

In Trump White House, Wildcard Putin Faces First Assertive America of His Career


As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Moscow for talks with the Russian government – no longer scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin himself – international observers have expressed growing concern of a showdown between two of the world’s major political powers. Those who criticize President Donald Trump for ordering airstrikes against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a longtime ally of Russia’s, warn that a prolonged war in the Middle East is not in America’s best interests. Even more concerning, many contend, is a prolonged war in the Middle East with the potential of direct conflict with Russia. Trump now finds himself in the bizarre position of an overnight mainstream media about-face. Those who warn Trump’s relationship with Russia is too contentious, in many prior occasions, participated in the chorus of invective accusing Trump of being too close to Russia, of indulging a “bromance” and “love story” with Putin. At one point during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic campaign platform almost exclusively became warning that a President Trump would allow the nefarious Putin to take over the world. Soundly defeated, the Democrats alleged that Putin had “hacked” the election on Trump’s behalf. Neither critics nor supporters of Trump’s

In Trump White House, Wildcard Putin Faces First Assertive America of His Career


As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Moscow for talks with the Russian government – no longer scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin himself – international observers have expressed growing concern of a showdown between two of the world's major political powers.

Duterte Promises China ‘Not Even One Gun’ in South China Sea After Call for Occupation

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has scrapped peace talks with communist insurgents, saying he is ready for a prolonged conflict
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte shocked international observers last week with a call to occupy the uninhabited islands of the South China Sea before China colonized them, an apparent about-face from his months-long campaign to improve bilateral relations with China.

North Korea: Friendship with Syria ‘Will Be Strengthened and Developed’

Kim Jong-un and Bashar al-Assad
The government of North Korea sent a "message of greeting to Bashar al-Assad" on Thursday meant to congratulate Assad for "the 70th anniversary of the [Baath Arab Socialist] Party's founding." North Korean state media published the congratulatory note on Friday, following the Trump administration's decision to conduct airstrikes on a key Assad military base.

Chinese State Media: Trump Struck Syria to Show He Is ‘No Businessman President’

US President Donald Trump, warmly welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to what the US leader likes to call the "Winter White House," the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida
China's state newspaper The Global Times published an editorial criticizing President Donald Trump's decision to conduct airstrikes in Syria, suggesting it was made "in haste," but also observed that Trump appears to want "prove to the world that he is no 'businessman president.'"

Assad Regime: Trump Airstrikes Make U.S. a ‘Partner’ of Islamic State

Reuters
The government of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has condemned U.S. airstrikes on a Syrian airbase in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad troops that killed dozens of civilians, including children.

The Ten Major Military Players Fighting for the Heart of Syria

Aleppo
On Thursday, following the publication of gruesome images of the victims of an apparent chemical attack on civilians, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump ordered a missile attack on a base in Syria. The reports follows a week in which President Trump responded to an alleged chemical weapons attack by dictator Bashar al-Assad by noting it “crossed many red lines” and had changed his thinking on Syria. The President refused to elaborate earlier in the week on how he would approach the six-year-old civil war and the sprawling web of armed factions fighting each other within Syria’s borders, likely in part due to the complex nature of the fighting. The Syrian Civil War is not being fought solely between Assad’s soldiers and anti-Assad rebels, but by a diverse cast of characters staking their territorial claims in isolated regions of the country, sometimes failing to interact with each other at all, and their patron nations looking to stake a claim in the heart of the Middle East. At least ten major armed groups, including the armies of at least five sovereign nations, have entered the fray in Syria. Governments: Bashar al-Assad/The Government of Syria The Syrian army is the official sovereign military

Venezuela: Catholic Church Calls for Resistance Against Socialist ‘Self-Coup’

Demonstrators who are against the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States (OAS) during the special meeting of the Permanent Council, in Washington, Monday, April 3, 2017, to consider the recent events in Venezuela. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Venezuela's Catholic leadership has called for citizens to take up peaceful resistance against the socialist government this week, following a Supreme Court decision meant to grant the courts lawmaking power. The Vatican has also weighed in with a front-page feature in official publication L'Osservatore Romano.

Venezuela: Catholic Church Calls for Resistance Against Socialist ‘Self-Coup’

Demonstrators who are against the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States (OAS) during the special meeting of the Permanent Council, in Washington, Monday, April 3, 2017, to consider the recent events in Venezuela. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Venezuela's Catholic leadership has called for citizens to take up peaceful resistance against the socialist government this week, following a Supreme Court decision meant to grant the courts lawmaking power. The Vatican has also weighed in with a front-page feature in official publication L'Osservatore Romano.

Five Delicate Problems Trump Trusts Jared Kushner to Solve


Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to President Donald Trump and the President's son-in-law, boasts a thin resume in diplomacy.

Nikki Haley: Syrian People ‘Don’t Want’ ‘Disgusting,’ ‘War Criminal’ Assad


American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley referred to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad as a "war criminal" guilty of "disgusting" actions against his people, insisting Syrian citizens "don't want Assad anymore."

Venezuela’s Maduro: Starving Elephant, Symbol of Food Crisis, Is Simply of ‘Advanced Age’

Venezuela’s Maduro: Starving Elephant, Symbol of Food Crisis, Is Simply ‘Of Advanced Age’
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has dismissed reports of a starving African elephant, the only one in the country, in a nation that lost twenty pounds on average in 2016, claiming there is a right-wing conspiracy to create a "media show... to demoralize the people" into no longer supporting socialism.

PHOTOS: Chaos in Venezuela as Police Repress Resistance to Supreme Court ‘Self-Coup’


Members of Venezuela's anti-socialist opposition took the streets of the nation this weekend to protest a move by the Supreme Court to usurp federal legislative power, nullifying the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

Venezuela: Supreme Court Rules Itself a Lawmaking Body, Dissolves Legislature


Venezuela’s chavista-friendly Supreme Court issued a ruling Wednesday declaring itself the legislative body of the federal government, annulling the opposition-ruled National Assembly for showing “contempt” towards the socialist government. Latin American media have labeled the move an autogolpe (“self-coup”), recalling the dissolution of Congress by Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori in 1992. With the notable exception of Russia, the international community has demanded President Nicolás Maduro and the Supreme Court undo the unconstitutional power grab and return lawmaking authority to the popularly-elected legislature. Late Wednesday night, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling stating that the National Assembly was in “contempt” of the socialist government. “While the contempt scenario persists and the National Assembly remains invalid, this institution will guarantee that the parliamentary duties be executed directly by this institution or whatever institution it wishes,” the statement read. The Supreme Court had previously ruled that the National Assembly did not have lawmaking powers, claiming that three anti-socialist legislators elected in December 2015 – the election that turned the Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV) into the minority in the legislature for the first time in the Chávez era – had committed fraud. “Legally, the National Assembly does not exist,” then-vice-president Aristobulo Isturiz said last year.

Cuba: Thugs Beat Pregnant Pro-Democracy Dissident ‘in the Belly,’ Put Father in the Hospital

Cuba: Thugs Beat Pregnant Pro-Democracy Dissident ‘in the Belly,’ Put Father in the Hospital
An unidentified mob attacked two members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) – a pregnant teen and her activist father – on Sunday night, hurling bottles at them and reportedly punching the woman in the belly.

Nikki Haley Leads Walkout on UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Meeting

US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, speaks outside the United Nations General Assembly on March 27, 2017 in New York
American Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Monday that her country and a list of nearly forty others would not participate in a meeting to pass an international nuclear weapons ban, calling the proposal "naive" and warning that "bad actors" like North Korea would take advantage of it.

Venezuela Pleads for UN Aid as Medicine Shortages Put Millions at Risk

Patients lie on beds at the Universitary Hospital in Merida, Venezuela June 17, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello
Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro has demanded the United Nations deliver humanitarian aid in the form of medical supplies, which pharmaceutical leaders in the country have spent over a year warning are in short supply.

Iran: Lawmaker Threatens to Designate U.S. Military, CIA ‘Terrorist Organizations’


Iranian lawmaker Allaeddin Boroujerdi, who leads the Iranian parliament's national security committee, has pledged to legally designate the U.S. military and the CIA "terrorist organizations" if the U.S. State Department does the same to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a military arm with longstanding ties to Hezbollah.

Venezuela, Home to World’s Largest Oil Reserves, Runs Out of Gasoline

AFP PHOTO/FEDERICO PARRA
Hundreds of Venezuelans found themselves stranded this week as the nation's gasoline supply ran out at most stations throughout the nation's urban centers, a stunning development in an OPEC nation believed to boast the world's largest oil reserves.
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