New York City
NYPD

New York City passes major police reforms

The New York City Council passed five bills and three resolutions aiming to increase the transparency and accountability of the New York Police Department (NYPD). One bill ended qualified immunity for police officers, meaning that individual officers may be sued for rights violations. The move makes New York the first US city to ban the use of qualified immunity for police officers. The legislation creates a new “local civil right,” protecting residents from unreasonable searches and seizures as well as from the use of excessive force. Another measure requires the NYPD to issue quarterly reports on vehicle stops, including information on the demographics of targeted drivers, whether vehicles were searched with or without consent, and other information. (Photo: CounterVortex)

Mexico
CFE

Mexico: court suspends new electricity law

A Mexican court issued a suspension of the new electricity law that aims to strengthen the state-run company, Comisi├│n Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The law is supported by President Andr├ęs Manuel L├│pez Obrador, who wants to increase state control of the energy market. L├│pez Obrador claimed that under the previous administration, the electricity market was skewed in favor of private operators. Grupo Bimbo, Walmart Inc and two unnamed companies filed challenges against the law. The US Chamber of Commerce expressed concern that the new law violates the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and may create a monopoly in the electricity sector. The injunction will be in place until the case is decided on its merits. The judge asserted that the injunction was necessary “to prevent economic damage to the electricity sector, to ensure competition, and to protect the environment.” (Photo of power lines in┬áIxtapaluca via Wikimedia Commons)

Greater Middle East
Turkey Coup

Turkey: 200 soldiers arrested for alleged G├╝len ties

Turkish security forces arrested 203 soldiers in nationwide raids targeting military personnel accused of links to an exiled Muslim cleric, Fethullah G├╝len, accused by Ankara of being behind a 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan. The 2016 episode┬áled to crackdowns and mass arrests, resulting in more than 250 deaths. Thousands of soldiers were rounded up in the wake of attempted coup. The new raids targeted personnel across ranks and regions of the country. Authorities alleged that the arrested soldiers are linked to the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), a supposed network infiltrating the police and security forces. The suspects are accused of communicating with G├╝len’s “covert imams” via payphone. “Covert imams” is a term used by the government to refer to senior FETO operatives. Tens of thousands of people have been detained on similar grounds since the coup attempt. (Photo of pro-Erdo─čan rally:┬áMstyslav Chernov via Jurist)

Syria
Atareb

Syria: outrage after Assad regime attack on hospital

Aid groups working in besieged northern Syria are expressing outrage after a hospital in the town of al-Atareb was destroyed by artillery fire. Six people were killed in the strikes, including a child, and at least 16 injured. The hospital was within the rebel-held pocket of Aleppo province, which has come under renewed bombardment by the Assad regime and Russia in recent weeks after a year-long lull in the fighting. The hospital was jointly supported by the International Rescue Committee and the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS). All the casualties were civilians. The IRC said in a statement: “Although SAMS shared the hospital’s coordinates through the UN’s notification system, it came under attack and has now been damaged so severely that it can no longer be used.” (Photo via Daily Sabah)

Southeast Asia
karen

Burma: thousands displaced as junta bombs villages

More than 3,000 villagers from Burma’s Karen state have fled their homes following a series of air-strikes by the military on territory controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU). Many fled to the Ei Tu Hta camp, which already holds some 2,400 internally displaced persons. Other fled across the Salween River, which separates Burma and Thailand. The air-strikes, centered on Kho Kay village,┬ácame after KNU fighters overran the military’s Thee Mu Hta base, capturing at least eight soldiers. (Photo:┬áMyanmar Now)

Greater Middle East
Selahattin Demirta┼č

Kurdish leader sentenced for insulting Erdogan

Kurdish left-wing politician Selahattin Demirta┼č was sentenced to three years and six months in prison by a Turkish court for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan. Demirtas, a leader and co-founder of the PeoplesÔÇÖ Democratic Party (HDP), was given the maximum punishment for the offence. He has been imprisoned since November 2016 along with several other HDP leaders. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled twice in favor of DemirtasÔÇÖ immediate release, concluding that his continued pre-trial detention has an “ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which is at the very core of the concept of a democratic society.”┬á(Photo:┬áDemirta┼č’┬ápresidential campaign launched outside Edirne prison where he is incarcerated, May 2018, via Wikipedia)

North Africa
Libya girls

New Libyan government: progress for women

Libya’s Government of National Accord officially handed power over to a new interim government in Tripoli. This is the fruit of a long and complicated UN-led process with multi-track negotiations. The new leadership faces multiple challenges, including holding elections and restoring much-needed government services. It also needs to unite a country that has largely been in chaos since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, helped by NATO’s decision (exactly 10 years ago) to intervene. The new cabinet contains five women, including the ministers of foreign affairs and justice. Together they make up 15% of the leadershipÔÇönot the 30% delegates to the UN process had promised. But many Libyan women are viewing this as at least a step in the right direction. (Photo: WikiMedia Commons)

The Andes
Apure

FARC ultra-dissidents in Venezuela clashes?

Some 3,000 Venezuelans fled across the border into Colombian territory to escape an outbreak of fighting between the military and an unnamed armed faction. Venezuelan Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino L├│pez said that in an operation dubbed Bolivarian Shield, troops have arrested 32 people, destroyed six camps, and seized weapons. There have also been reports of two Venezuelan soldiers killed in the fighting. Padrino did not name the armed group targeted in the operation, only identifying a supposed commander by his nom de guerre “Nando.” But regional media reports indicate the targeted group is one of the “dissident” factions of the Colombian FARC rebels that have remained in arms despite a peace accord. Bogot├í accuses Venezuela of providing shelter to FARC dissidents. It is hypothesized that the group targeted in Bolivarian Shield is a dissident faction refusing to accept the leadership favored by Caracas. (Map:┬áSof├şa Jaimes Barreto via Caracas Chronicles)

Central America
Juan Carlos Cerros

Indigenous water protector slain in Honduras

On the eve of World Water Day, an indigenous activist who was leading the fight against construction of a hydroelectric dam was shot dead in front of his family in Honduras. Juan Carlos Cerros Escalante, a member of the Lenca indigenous people, was gunned down directly outside the church at the pueblo of Nueva Granada, in the Caribbean coast department of Cort├ęs. He was on his way to visit his mother, and his children were beside him. Cerros Escalante led the local group Communities United, which was mobilizing residents along the Rio Ul├║a to oppose El Tornillito hydro-dam. The pending project would displace 10 communities in the departments of Cort├ęs and Santa B├írbara. (Photo: Radio Progreso)

Syria
kronstadt

Syria: Lessons from Kronstadt 1921

In Episode 65 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg offers his presentation on the panel “Kronstadt 1921 and the Social Crises of 2021,” part of the online conference Kronstadt as Revolutionary Utopia, 1921-2021 and Beyond, marking the centenary of the Kronstadt uprising in revolutionary Russia. In March 1919, Russian naval troops mutinied and took over their island garrison as an autonomous zone, in solidarity with striking workers in Petrograd, and to demand greater freedom and power for democratic soviets (worker councils) against the consolidating one-party state of the Bolsheviks. When the uprising was brutally put down, this marked the first time that international leftist forces found themselves on the side of repression rather than rebellion. A century later, all too many on the international “left” similarly find themselves on the side of repression rather than rebellion in Syria. And the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, unlike the Russia of 1921, is by no stretch of the imagination a revolutionary state. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.┬á(Photo mash-up with images from┬áRojava Breaking News┬áand RFE/RL)

Greater Middle East
Istanbul Convention

Turkey drops treaty on violence against women

Turkey withdrew from the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, popularly known as the Istanbul Convention, by presidential decree. The Istanbul Convention is the first legally binding instrument in Europe to combat violence against women. Turkey was the first country to sign the convention the day it was launched in the city of Istanbul in 2011.┬áThe withdrawal comes as femicides and domestic violence cases are on the rise in Turkey.┬áThousands immediately took to the streets in protest of President Recep Tayyip┬áErdo─čan’s decision. (Photo via Twitter)

North Africa
Rania Amdouni

Tunisia frees imprisoned LGBT activist

A Tunisian appeals court ordered the release of jailed activist Rania Amdouni┬áfollowing an outcry from civil society and human rights groups. Amdouni had been charged with “insulting police and abuse of morals,” which sparked concerns from rights groups over suppression of free speech. Amdouni is the president of Chouf Minorities and a member of the Tunisian Association for Justice & Equality (DAMJ), both organizations concerned with rights for women and the LGBT. She has faced abuse from law enforcement over of her involvement in recent protests against austerity policies and police brutality. Police and politicians have shared her photo on social media with disparaging comments about her appearance and presumed sexual orientation and gender identity. (Photo via Twitter)