On December 10, the work of the Brazilian National Truth Commission (NTC) came to an end, after two years and seven months. The commission delivered a 2,000-page report to President Dilma Rousseff.
Aiming to investigate serious human rights violations committed by the Brazilian state in the period of 1946 to 1988, the NTC collected 1,121 testimonies from victims, perpetrators and state officials, resulting in a list of 434 names of dead or missing victims of the civil-military dictatorship.
The commissioners were sensitive to the demands of marginalised sectors and ended up expanding the scope of the report, incorporating a variety of unexplored themes. For example, they changed the traditional interpretation of who counted as a “victim”; until recently this concept was applied only to those who took part in the resistance. The NTC ended up including the stories of violence and abuse suffered by women, indigenous peoples, peasants and homosexuals and dedicated special chapters to them in the final report.
The commissioners also used their legal prerogative permitting them to release the names of human rights violators, while collecting evidence. As a result, for the first time in Brazilian history, we have the names of 377 public officials who were responsible for carrying out acts of violence during the military dictatorship.
A Turkish court has ordered the release from custody of a teenage boy arrested for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But he still faces up to four years in prison if convicted on the charges.
A court in the central Turkish city of Konya released the 16-year-old boy from police custody on Friday after dozens of lawyers petitioned for him to be freed, Turkish media said. He was met by his parents as he left the courthouse in Konya, according to the CNN-Turk channel.
The teenager was arrested by police at his school on Wednesday for reportedly delivering a speech at a student protest in which he accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) of corruption.
President Barack Obama marked the end of more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan by paying tribute to America’s military, telling troops on Christmas Day that their sacrifices have allowed for a more peaceful, prosperous world to emerge out of the ashes of 9/11.
At an oceanfront Marine Corps base in Hawaii, Obama told troops that while tough challenges remain for the U.S. military in hotspots like Iraq and West Africa, the world as a whole is better off because American troops put country first and served with distinction. He said Americans and their president could not be more thankful.
“Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country,” Obama said to applause from Marines and their families. “We are safer. It’s not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.”
President Barack Obama has said the US is reviewing N. Korea’s status following an alleged cyber-attack by the communist nation on Sony Pictures. Obama has pledged a “proportional and appropriate” response to the attack.
In an interview with the American broadcaster CNN, President Obama said his administration was examining the facts to determine whether North Korea should be classified as a state that sponsors terrorism.
“We are going to review those (facts) through a process that is already in place,” the president told CNN’s “State of the Union” show, which was recorded on Friday and will be aired later today.
When a retired Chinese general with impeccable Communist Party credentials recently wrote a scathing account of North Korea as a recalcitrant ally headed for collapse and unworthy of support, he exposed a roiling debate in China about how to deal with the country’s young leader, Kim Jong-un.
For decades China has stood by North Korea, and though at times the relationship has soured, it has rarely reached such a low point, Chinese analysts say. The fact that the commentary by Lt. Gen. Wang Hongguang, a former deputy commander of an important military region, was published in a state-run newspaper this month and then posted on an official People’s Liberation Army website attested to how much the relationship had deteriorated, the analysts say.
“China has cleaned up the D.P.R.K.’s mess too many times,” General Wang wrote in The Global Times, using the initials of North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “But it doesn’t have to do that in the future.”
The Cuban national assembly announced on Friday that it would back the agreement of President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago.
“In the name of the Cuban people, we fully back the speech to the president of the council of state and of ministers, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, this past Dec. 17,” read Yolanda Ferrer, the president of the National Assembly’s International Relations Commission.
Reminder: VOA is controlled directly by the US Government.
Media reports say U.S. authorities have linked last month’s crippling cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment to North Korea. The attack was made to pressure the studio into canceling the release of a film that parodies North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The incident is familiar to companies in South Korea, which have a history of being targeted by the North.
Simon Choi, a cyber security researcher at an anti-virus company in Seoul called Hauri Incorporated, studied the malware codes used to hack into the Sony Corporation’s computer system. He said the codes are similar to the ones used in a cyber attack on South Korean media companies in 2012.
A different angle of approach, could this end in war crimes trials?
CIA health professionals may have committed war crimes by collecting and analyzing data on brutally interrogated detainees in potential violation of U.S. and international bans on research on human subjects without their consent, a human rights organization said Tuesday.
Physicians for Human Rights called on President Barack Obama and Congress to establish a commission of inquiry to examine the participation of CIA and private medical personnel in the interrogation program, including possible breaches of domestic and international laws.
“The CIA relied upon health professionals at every step to commit and conceal the brutal and systematic torture of national security detainees,” the organization said in an analysis of a four-year study of the agency’s interrogation program released last week by the Senate Intelligence Committee. “While most of the acts detailed … violate international human rights and domestic laws prohibiting torture, several of these alleged violations can also constitute war crimes.”
Most days, it seems the news is filled with only tragedy and hate.
This morning I awoke to see #IllRideWithYou massively trending, as Australians refuse to allow the hostage situation define them.
Australian Muslim leaders have strongly condemned the hostage taker as people around the world took to social media to speak out against extremism.
The hashtag #IllRideWithYou trended globally this morning as thousands tweeted declaring their solidarity with Muslims after reports emerged of some veiled women receiving abuse on public transport leaving Sydney. One Twitter user, known Sir Tessa, suggested starting the hashtag.Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?— Sir Tessa (@sirtessa) December 15, 2014
Meet The Australian Woman Whose Selflessness Started The Viral #illridewithyou Hashtag: http://t.co/8lRECjzxQU pic.twitter.com/0nVnGMDJYd— Robert Johnson (@JohnsonRW) December 15, 2014
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition cruised to a big election win on Sunday, but feeble turnout could weaken his claim of a mandate for policies including reflationary steps to revive the economy.
Most media exit polls showed Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, the Komeito party, winning more than 317 seats in the 475-member lower house, enough to maintain its “super-majority” that smoothes parliamentary business.
But many voters, doubtful of both the premier’s “Abenomics” strategy to end deflation and generate growth and the opposition’s ability to do any better, stayed at home, putting turnout on track for a record low, interim figures showed.