Argentina’s Maradona Calls for Unified Resistance to Macri

  • Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

    Argentine football legend Diego Maradona. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 February 2017 (9 hours 45 minutes ago)
“We can’t let him divide us further.”

Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is calling for unified resistance against President Mauricio Macri’s neo-liberal administration.

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“All of us united together, we will return to what we once had — that is the slogan we have to have,” Maradona said in a video released Saturday, HispanTV reports.

“We can’t let him (Macri) divide us further.”

The soccer legend also praised Argentine bank worker and labor leader Sergio Palazzo for his union’s recent wage hike win. The union, La Bancaria, reached a deal with the four major banking corporations, granting workers a retroactive 24-percent salary increase and a one-time bonus payment in November of 2017.

The salary boost is significantly higher than the inflationary ceiling for salary increases in 2017 established by Macri’s right-wing government. La Bancaria represents over 65,000 bank workers across Argentina.

“Palazzo, I want to give you a huge hug because you won and because you make us feel closer and closer to what we can achieve,” Maradona also said in the video.

Since taking office in 2015, Macri has rolled back progressive government programs instituted by former presidents Cristina Fernandez and Nestor Kirchner.

Jobs are being cut. Gas and electricity prices are rising. Government institutions are downsizing. Private companies linked to the ruling administration are getting tax cuts.

But Macri’s rollback of social programs implemented by Kirchner’s populist government is also breeding resistance.

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Since early February, thousands of Argentines have led daily protests across the country against the “Tarifazo,” the national increase in gas and electricity prices. Armed with pots, pans and whistles, demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Argentine Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren and a corruption probe against Macri. Protesters have been hosed down by water cannons, beaten with police nightsticks, and arrested en mass.

Simultaneously, thousands of Argentines have protested alongside 380 printing plant workers who were laid off earlier this year amidst spending cuts. The workers, who are demanding for their jobs to be reinstated, have also been met with violence, facing rubber bullets from police.

Maradona is one of many Argentines who have protested against Macri’s rule.


Major Support For Indian American Killed in Trump-Linked Attack

  • A 51-year-old man has been charged with killing an engineer from India. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 February 2017 (11 hours 5 minutes ago)

Xenophobic rhetoric continues to claim the lives of minorities in the United States.

The family of the Indian American who was shot and killed Wednesday in a hate crime which has been linked to the rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump has received overwhelming levels of support, after a friend created a GoFundMe campaign to rally behind the family.

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Alok Madasani and Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, were enjoying a casual drink after a long day’s work in a Kansas City Austins Bar and Grill, when 51-year-old navy veteran Adam Purinton is reported to have racially abused the pair.

After Purinton was asked to leave the bar by the manager, he is reported to have returned, yelling “get out of my country” before opening fire on the pair, killing Kuchibhotla and seriously wounding Madasani. Another man, Ian Grillot, was also hospitalized after intervening to help the two.

Since the tragedy, the GoFundMe campaign, which describes Kuchibhotla as the “kindest person you would meet,” has received nearly 15,000 donations, raising a staggering US$576,073 since it was set-up on Thursday. The campaign will provide support to the family in covering funeral costs and other expenses.

The shooting that occurred Wednesday night made national headlines in India, drawing widespread criticism from the Indian government and civilians alike. Outraged at the incident, people took to social media to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy on immigration and jobs, arguing it has fueled a climate of intolerance.

Madasani’s father, Jaganmohan Reddy, said he had urged his son to return home to India in the months prior to the shooting.

“The situation seems to be pretty bad after Trump took over as the U.S. president. I appeal to all the parents in India not to send their children to the United States in the present circumstances,” he told the Hindustan Times.

The widow of the deceased, Sunayana Dumala, told the New York Times that she had long been worried about similar shootings she had read about in the newspaper.

“I was always concerned, are we doing the right thing of staying in the United States of America?” she said. “But he always assured me that only good things happen to good people.”

She is now demanding answers from the U.S. government. “What are they going to do to stop this hate crime?” she asked the Kansas City Star.

Just 10 days into Trump’s presidency, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded a surge in hate crimes across the country. Among the many types recorded, the center lists “anti-immigrant” as the top motivation for committing a hate crime. The number of hate groups operating in the country also rose to near-historic highs in 2016, a phenomenon the center attributes to Trump’s election.

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But the White House has played down any link between Trump’s rhetoric and far-right violence on the streets, with Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer branding the link in relation to Wednesday’s shooting “absurd.”

Meanwhile, the Indian embassy’s spokesperson in Washington has expressed “deep concern over the incident” while urging the U.S. government to push ahead with a “thorough and speedy investigation.”


Hate crimes United States US & Canada Racism

Daily News-New York Times-Kansas City Star-Reuters–Hindustan Times

by teleSUR / ms-DB

Syrian Cinematographer Barred From Attending Oscars Ceremony

  • Members of Syria’s White Helmets after double airstrikes on the rebel-held Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, Aug. 27, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 February 2017

A Syrian man who helped work on the Oscar-nominated documentary “White Helmets” will not be able Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles after he was banned at the last minute by U.S. authorities.

Syria’s ‘White Helmets’ May Win Undeserved Oscar

While 21-year-old cinematographer Khaled Khateeb was previously granted a U.S. visa to attend the award ceremony, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security discovered “derogatory information” about him before he left his flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.

According to internal U.S. government communication, Khateeb was detained by Turkish authorities and needs a passport waiver to enter the U.S. No explanation was given for why he was detained and it was indicated that he would not been given a passport waiver.

The category of “derogatory information” could include something as serious as connections to terrorism to something as benign as a complication over travel documentation.

Khateeb is one of three cinematographers who helped to work on the “The White Helmets,” which is nominated for an Oscar for best documentary short. The 40-minute documentary, directed by British director Orlando von Einsiedel, intimately details a team of rescue workers saving civilians in Syria’s brutal civil war.

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The White Helmets face the constant risk of death as they attempt to find survivors from regular bombings in Syria. The group was last year nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose film “The Salesman” is nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film, is also unable to attend the ceremony given U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order banning visitors from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.


Arts & culture Oscars Syria United States Immigration


by teleSUR / mm-ACB

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