Archive for the ‘International’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

artur-masPresident of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas i Gavarró, his deputy, and his education minister face prosecution by the Spanish Government for alleged civil disobedience, abuse of power, usurpation of duties, and embezzlement of public funds according to a statement released by the public prosecutor’s office of the Spanish Government.

In what many see as clearly dubious prosecution by Spanish authorities, President Mas remarked: “It is sad to see that when the Catalan people want to express their opinion … the reaction of the state comes from the courts and prosecutors.”

The action comes several weeks after Catalonia held a non-binding vote on independence from Spain, buoyed by what many Catalonians hailed as a close race with the Scottish Independence referendum, a worrisome event to the Spanish government.

The matter brings into the discussion of Parliamentary Immunity and Executive authority held by other nations, and the chilling effect the threat of prosecution can have for representative government of constituents.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

kurdish-art-screwAs we have discussed many times free speech can be a powerful weapon against the injustices and in the case of the Islamic State, genocide. A new exhibition in the semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan in Northern Iraq provides through art an interpretation of the struggle faced by ordinary individuals at the hands of extremists. It ties not only differing cultures but transcends the fences of language that are often barriers to understanding and empathy.

The Dohuk Art Gallery featured thirty artists organized by the Center for Graphic Art in Northern Iraq for the purpose of contributing to the fight against the Islamic State. It is not just conventional war implements that further the battle, but it is often the case of ideals, allegiances, and blind faith that aids the Islamic State.

Artists featured in Dohuk Gallery seek to change these beliefs through painting the atrocities prosecuted against the Kurdish People in an artistic representation showing the honor in protecting their society and humanity in general. Niquash reporters interviewed several participants bringing their thoughts and reflections to canvas and clay.

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250px-Statue_of_Liberty_7President Obama’s changes to the immigration status of millions of illegal immigrants has caused the expected firestorm of controversy. I have previously criticized the decision to withhold the details of the plan until after voters went to the polls and I continue to view the changes as an assault upon the doctrine of separation of powers. While I have always recognized the wide latitude given to presidents in the past in prioritizing enforcement, this is an open circumvention of Congress to achieve by executive fiat what was denied in legislation. However, I have also been thinking about the families themselves and my own family’s history in coming to this country. Many Americans are finding themselves taking journeys of their own — retracing the often harrowing steps of their ancestors in coming to this country in looking for a better life.

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maxresdefaultThere is a troubling report out of Ireland that raises many of the concerns that we have discussed earlier about the erosion of free speech in the West. Bernadette “Bernie” Smyth is one of Northern Ireland’s most prominent anti-abortion activists and the founder of Precious Life, a pro-life group. She was convicted this week of two counts of harassment that stem from her picketing of the country’s only abortion clinic. The charges were brought by the clinic’s director, Dawn Purvis, who runs the Belfast branch of Marie Stopes. However, the line drawn in the case could create a chilling effect on political and religious speech in the future.

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305px-USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedDefense_Finance_Accounting_Services_(DFAS)_Official_SealIt has been a virtual mantra of U.S. policy for decades that we do not negotiate with terrorists and never never pay ransoms. That is why a new report is so startling even though it has received relatively little attention. The Pentagon reportedly gave an unspecified but large amount of money to an Afghan for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and then found out the money and the Afghan disappeared without a trace. The Pentagon is denying that it tried to pay a ransom for Bergdahl.

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This Is Why I Love Canadians

I have often written about my love for traveling in Canada. This video reminds me why I love Canadians. At the November 18, 2014 Maple Leafs game against the Nashville Predators, the mic cut off during the singing of our national anthem so the Canadians finished singing the song for us.

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1416045268537_wps_30_Syrian_boy_hero_2_jpg

We have previously discussed how filmmakers are releasing fake videos such as the recent profiling video out of New York — a practice that is not only dishonest but highly counterproductive for groups seeking to address such abuses. Now it appears that a moving video of a Syrian boy heroically rescuing a little girl under fire is a fake, but director Lars Klevberg, 34, is heralding his hoax as a wonderful success and is entirely unapologetic for misleading millions of people.

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