Leftist Lenín Moreno Achieves Inconclusive Win In First Round Of Ecuador’s Presidential Election

Ecuador’s presidential elections will proceed to a one-on-one final round on 2 April after Lenín Moreno, leftist successor candidate to President Rafael Correa, fell agonizingly short of victory in the first-round on 19 February. From a field of eight candidates, Moreno won 39.33% of the vote, just below the 40 percent required for outright victory.

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International Takes On A Trump Presidency

[Artwork by Iraqi cartoonist Ahmad Falah shows Trump with a red paintbrush; behind him, the White House has been painted blood red to reflect the violence of Trump’s statements, via Niqash.org]

Three weeks have passed since 62 million people voted for Donald J Trump. His 290 electoral votes guarantees he will be my president, barring a miracle.

Hate crimes have spiked during this period with many expecting “the situation to get worse in the future.”

My colleague here at IC, Andy Tenido, experienced the violent and racist atmosphere at a Trump primary event in Albequerque, where he was assaulted by Trump supporters and security while filming undocumented-rights protesters.

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Faced With Trump, Has Africa Learned From Obama?

At dawn on November 9, 2016, Africans woke up to news of a United States president-elect, and it was not Hillary Clinton. Many expected Clinton, largely because in preceding weeks and months they got their share of around-the-clock propaganda from a host of pundits who had kept the media under siege with axiomatic pronouncements abridged as: Trump can’t win. Also, there were, in Africa, prophecies by egotistical preachers who feigned hearing from God about a Clinton win when in reality, the god they had heard from was a TV set mainstreaming oracles from elites to the populace. In the end none other than Donald Trump was left to emerge as the victor in what is yet to remain a bewildering stunner administered to millions of Americans, feminism sympathizers, and world leaders who misguidedly fancied contemplations of Clinton’s coronation.

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An Uncensored View Of The Night Of The Turkish Coup

If you’ve seen coverage of Friday night’s coup attempt in Turkey, you’ll know that a faction of the country’s armed forces attempted to overthrow Turkey’s democratically elected government and that the coup plotters were defeated by popular will. But what happened in between? The press corps won’t show you much, because anything too dramatic will be censored out by editors so you don’t get offended.

Coups may be televised, but I promise you they’re not PG-rated.

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Perfectly Sensible Ideas From The ‘Radicals’ Sanders & Corbyn: Part 2 – Progressive Tax Reform

This is the second post in my series on the policies of the allegedly “radical” candidates for leadership of their respective countries, Bernie Sanders of the United States and Jeremy Corbyn of the United Kingdom. In this post, we discuss progressive tax reform. Progressive tax reform – a term I’m using to refer to the reform of taxes which tend to target the wealthy – has been targeted by both Sanders and Corbyn. Corbyn, being quite some time out from an election, has been thus far somewhat vague on the issue of taxes as such, but has indicated that a more progressive tax system is needed in the UK, and has targeted corporate taxes and tax avoidance as being of particular importance.[i] Sanders, being in the midst of a campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has given a more detailed view of his tax reform.[ii] This includes, among other measures, raising the top income tax rate, raising the corporate tax rate, reforms to capital gains tax, and the imposition of a tax on financial transactions. These kinds of measures have the potential benefit not only of reducing the exorbitant inequality which has emerged over the past four decades in particular, but of making the government more able to do its work in a sustainable manner without crimping anyone’s lifestyle too much.

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Half Revolutions: Stalemate & Secession In Spain

The stalemate in Spanish politics has entered its second month and shows no sign of resolution. The 20 December 2015 general elections ended in a four-way stalemate, with no single party or likely coalition achieving a majority.

On 22 January, Spain’s king invited conservative (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy to form a government. However, Rajoy strategically declined the offer, as he had no realistic prospect of winning the parliamentary vote necessary to confirm his position as president.

The conservative PP was the highest-voted party, winning 123 seats in the 350-seat parliament. However, their right-wing fellow-travelers Ciudadanos (Citizens) won only 40 seats, leaving the likely coalition and favorite of Bloomberg short of the 176 seats necessary to form a majority government.
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#FEESMUSTFALL: The Forgotten Plight Of International Students In South Africa’s Tuition Revolution

As many in South Africa, and beyond, attentively watched the vibrant students’ revolution unfold, an unaddressed, related matter caught my attention. Even as President Jacob Zuma bowed to students’ demands by scrapping a tuition increase for 2016, international students’ concerns remained a non-issue. Although the latter have not been loud enough – being a minority – the solution offered to end the crisis could have considered them.

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Six Ways The Guardian Is Wrong About Ecuador, Again.

Last week The Guardian published a piece that wildly misrepresented the situation in Ecuador, offering a one-sided view of recent events. We’ve previously critiqued the paper’s coverage of Ecuador (check that out here) and regional broadcaster TeleSUR has already produced a video addressing some of the falsehoods from The Guardian‘s latest attempt. Their response focused on presenting footage of opposition violence at protests, which The Guardian had uncritically reported as peaceful. However, The Guardian’s report was so full of omissions and outright falsehoods that we felt a further list was in order to set the record straight. Continue reading

Chasing The European Dream: Azerbaijan, Athletics And The Trans-Caspian Mega Pipeline

ImportantCool associate Edward Miller talks to environmental justice campaigner Emma Hughes about how BP and Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev dynasty have used events like the Euro Games to divert attention from human rights abuses and pipeline politics.

While European attention has been focused squarely on the unfolding financial skirmish between Greece and the troika, the inaugural Euro Games in Baku, Azerbaijan have come and gone with little global recognition. For sports watchers the games will probably fade into obscurity; many professional athletes didn’t bother to attend (some had to attend because it is an Olympic qualifier event) and few records were set. In fact you’d be forgiven for completely missing the supposedly historic event, while much of its news coverage breathlessly crossed into allegations of media censorship and other human rights abuses in the oil-rich state. One article in The Telegraph sardonically begins “Are you looking forward to the European Games in Baku? No?”

In the days leading up to the games their already-shaky legitimacy took some major blows. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced she would not be attending, and the 2019 games were left homeless after proposed hosts the Netherlands decided it was too expensive. To make matters worse, in a poorly calculated move, overzealous Azerbaijani security forces detained journalists and human rights organizations at the Baku airport for a number of hours, before denying them entry.

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This Picture’s Not Funny: French Far-Right Official Sparks Mob Violence Against Journalists

Where the hell are all the #jesuischarlies?

Following the attacks against the cartoonists and journalists at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, the English-language media fell all over itself to show support for the magazine. The New York Times published a column describing the attack as “an assault on French identity.” The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, the Daily BeastUSA Today, and many others all republished a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad to show their support for the magazine. Nearly 4 million people gathered in a giant Paris “unity rally” to condemn the attack. Charlie Hebdo and its anti-Muslim cartoons are still in the news four months later as the magazine was awarded the prestigious PEN Freedom of Speech award this year, despite strong objections from PEN members. Continue reading