Ecuador’s President Correa again won the presidency in the country’s recent election. In addition, his party won more than a 2/3 majority in the national congress. This means that he now has the power to change the constitution without a national vote. Essentially, he has no opposition that matters.
People are beginning to wonder about the implications of this unlimited power. Two serious conflicts already loom on the horizon as a result of Correa’s desire to again alter the path Ecuador will follow. One is a possible war in the Amazon. Another could mean the wholesale introduction of GMO’s into the country.
As was expected, Correa won the election handily, with more than 57% of the vote. His closest rival gained only 24%. It makes me wonder if some of the multitude of other candidates got any votes at all other than from family and friends.
“This victory is yours. It belongs to our families, to our wives, to our friends, our neighbors, the entire nation,” Correa said. “We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you, a people who have become dignified in being free.”
In addition to the excellent @NatGeo article below, I’d recommend checking out a couple of other related items of interest form their site (links after the excerpt).
Photograph by Darlyne A. Murawski, National Geographic
You could call them early bloomers: In 2010 and 2012, plants in the eastern U.S. produced flowers earlier than at any point in recorded history, a new study says.
This result, according to the research team, has a bit of a literary twist: It comes from data collected by U.S. environmental writers Henry David Thoreau and Aldo Leopold. Thoreau began observing bloom times in Massachusetts in 1852, and Leopold began in Wisconsin in 1935.
Scientists compared this historical data with modern, record-shattering high temperatures in Massachusetts and Wisconsin during 2010 and 2012. (See “Heat Waves ‘Almost Certainly’ Due to Global Warming?”)
They discovered that those two recent warm spells triggered many spring-flowering plants to blossom up to 4.1 days earlier for every 1.8-degrees Fahrenheit (degree Celsius) rise in average spring temperatures.
Many studies have already shown that flowering times have come earlier as a result of recent global warming, but what’s unknown is how long the plants will be able to “keep up” by budding earlier and earlier. (Get more facts about spring.)
So far, plants—at least in the eastern U.S.—are coping.
“It’s just remarkable that they can physiologically handle this,” said study leader Elizabeth Ellwood, a biologist at Boston University in Massachusetts.
But Ellwood suspects that “at some point this won’t be the case anymore as winter gets shorter.”
“Something’s gotta give.”
Related NatGeo Article: 6 Ways Climate Change Will Affect You
Topics Covered: Atmospheric carbon, increased energy demands, aging transportation infrastructures, droughts, increased cases of allergies and asthma, cities could become more dangerous
NatGeo YouTube Channel: Amazon Adventure—Documenting Life in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park (beautiful photography, as always, of an ecologically important area).
urged them, in effect, to pay less attention. Many policymakers in emerging markets complain that Fed easing destabilises their economies, contributing to higher inflation and asset prices. Mr Bernanke pointed out that emerging economies can insulate themselves from his decisions by simply decoupling their currencies from the dollar. It is their habit of shadowing America’s currency, however loosely, that obliges emerging economies to ease monetary policy whenever he does.
all very logical and sensible….
according to a new study by Arvind Subramanian and Martin Kessler of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC, the dollar’s influence is waning in the emerging world. Currencies that used to shadow the greenback are no longer following it so closely. Some are floating more freely. But in other cases they are steadily falling under the spell of a different currency: the yuan.
this seems to be a natural phenomenon called “growth” - as the world’s economies progress, they moderate and balance each other, it’s the basic underpinnings of modern global economics.
by the less nuanced, it is used to create scary hyperbole about impending u.s. doom and loss of international prestige and power, a psychology we can call ‘pre-eminent dominance’ - or the level of need one needs to feel ‘superior’ as opposed to ‘equal’.
Some inflation-prone emerging economies, such as Ecuador, have adopted the dollar as their official currency. Others, such as Jordan, peg their exchange rate to it. These official policies are one measure of the dollar’s international role.
this is due to the dollar’s stability, and not the preconception of ‘dominance’, which isn’t a lexicon Global Economics uses with ease (dominance in essence suggests a form of economic fascism, as opposed to an economically balancing force).
as seen here:
Based on this measure, the dollar still exerts a significant pull over 31 of the 52 emerging-market currencies in their study.
and here we see the effects of lack of stability, not superiority:
But a number of countries, including India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Russia, appear to have slipped anchor since the financial crisis. Comparing the past two years with the pre-crisis years (from July 2005 to July 2008), they show that the dollar’s influence has declined in 38 cases.
and the result is:
the region is now on a yuan standard. Seven currencies in the region now follow the yuan, or redback, more closely than the green (see chart). When the dollar moves by 1%, East Asia’s currencies move in the same direction by 0.38% on average. When the yuan moves, they shift by 0.53%.
read more at the economist
By the US accepting the UK threat to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London it helped to normalize attacks on embassies.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) September 12, 2012
Not only is it an absurd comparison because the Ecuadoran embassy was not attacked and was under watch for Julian Assange who continues to face questions over sexual assault in Sweden but it is nearly as absurd as Donald Rumsfeld’s Tweet:
The attacks on our embassies & diplomats are a result of perceived American weakness. Mitt Romney is right to point that out.
— Donald Rumsfeld (@RumsfeldOffice) September 12, 2012
The list below from Wikipedia’s entry on Terrorist attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities since 1958. It does not include other nations. These attacks are in now way comparable to the Assange/Ecuador legal event in the UK. Additionally, as I noted to Donald Rumsfeld, there were 12 embassy attacks under W’s watch and 8 under Ronald Reagan.
A LEGENDARY Ecuadorean leader, José María Velasco, once declared “give me a balcony and I will become president”. He did, five times, only to be overthrown by the army on four occasions. Rafael Correa, who resembles Mr Velasco in his histrionic populism, clearly hopes that his decision on August 16th to grant Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website, asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London—and the use of its balcony to address his supporters (pictured)—will boost his chances of winning another term at an election due in February. The affair has certainly granted Mr Correa a rare moment of global celebrity. But whether it will redound to his long-term advantage is not clear.
Since coming to power in 2007, Mr Correa has enjoyed durable popular support by leading what he calls a “citizens’ revolution” in a country that was a byword for political instability. He has used an oil windfall and money saved by defaulting on bonds to boost social spending. He has combined this with bouts of theatrical anti-Americanism. He refused to renew an agreement allowing an American anti-drug base in Ecuador. He has teamed up with communist Cuba and Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in an anti-American alliance known as ALBA (meaning “dawn” in Spanish). When WikiLeaks published a cable in which the American ambassador in Quito, Heather Hodges, alleged that the president knew that his police chief was corrupt, Mr Correa expelled her.
In June Mr Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy, a flat in a redbrick mansion-block behind Harrods department store, to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for possible indictment for sexual assault. (He says the sex was consensual.) In granting him asylum, Mr Correa claims to be defending freedom of speech. The foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, last month described the Swedish accusations as “hilarious”, claiming that they were a ruse to facilitate Mr Assange’s onward extradition to the United States, where he might face the death penalty. But international lawyers argue that this would be harder from Sweden than from Britain. The United States has not indicted Mr Assange, although it is trying Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of passing thousands of confidential cables to WikiLeaks, for “aiding the enemy”.
Some of Mr Correa’s opponents argue that he is using the Assange case to wrest the initiative within ALBA from Mr Chávez, who has been ill with cancer. Earlier this year, Mr Correa called for sanctions against Britain because of its refusal to negotiate about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, and boycotted a 34-country Summit of the Americas in protest at Cuba’s exclusion.
Legal Myths About the Assange Extradition
A brief critical and source-based guide to some common misconceptions.
By David Allen Green Published 20 August 2012 13:49
Whenever the Julian Assange extradition comes up in the news, many of his supporters make various confident assertions about legal aspects of the case.
Some Assange supporters will maintain these contentions regardless of the law and the evidence – they are like ‘zombie facts’ which stagger on even when shot down; but for anyone genuinely interested in getting at the truth, this quick post sets out five common misconceptions and some links to the relevant commentary and material. It complements a similar post on the leading Blog That Peter Wrote.
[Add: also now see this excellent post by barrister Anya Palmer.]
One: ‘The allegation of rape would not be rape under English law’
This is flatly untrue. The Assange legal team argued this twice before English courts, and twice the English courts ruled clearly that the allegation would also constitute rape under English law.
(See my post at Jack of Kent for further detail on this.)
Continue reading at the New Statesman.
Julian Assange’s Rape Case Has Nothing to Do With Free Speech
by Adrian Chen - Gawker
The latest Wikileaks farce came to a head this weekend, with Julian Assange thundering from a balcony at the London Ecuadorian embassy that Obama must end the “witch hunt,” against Wikileaks. That Assange is holed up in the embassy after seeking asylum in Ecuador to avoid two-year-old Swedish rape and sexual molestation accusations, not a U.S. government investigation, proved no obstacle: His supporters are now seized by one of their periodic spasms of delusional op-ed writing, blogging and tweeting in the hopes of throwing up a screen of bullshit thick enough to hide the fact that this is a very straightforward case of a dude allegedly being a sex creep—not a shadowy conspiracy against a free speech champion.
Michael Moore and Oliver Stone
The charge is being led this time by the filmmakers Michael Moore and Oliver Stone. They argue in a Times op-ed today that Assange’s Ecuadorian asylum bid is an important struggle for “global free speech” instead of a struggle by Julian Assange to not go to jail for rape. Moore has thankfully backed off of his most offensive argument, that what Assange is accused of is not really rape, as he claimed to the BBC back in December of 2010 after donating $20,000 to Assange’s bail fund. (In fact one of Assange’s two accusers claims Assange forcibly held her down while having sex with her; the other claims she woke to find him having sex with her without a condom.)
Moore and Stone concede that the allegations should be “thoroughly investigated”; but then argue that the attempt to extradite Assange to Sweden in order to investigate the claims is a secret ploy to send him to the U.S. to face trial for Wikileaks’ classified diplomatic cable release. “Taken together, the British and Swedish governments’ actions suggest to us that their real agenda is to get Mr. Assange to Sweden,” they write.
Ecuador Could Extradite Belarusian Dissident
Aliaksandr Barankov says his life would be at risk if Ecuadorean court refuses to extend his status as a political refugee
Associated Press in Quito
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 August 2012 07.33 EDT
But now, the former financial crimes investigator is in imminent danger of losing his political refugee status and being sent home, where he says he could be killed because he unearthed corruption at the highest levels of government.
Barankov’s fate could be decided as early as Tuesday, less than a week after Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Worried Assange using US bad record on rendition to avoid Swedish accusations. Rape must always be taken seriously. Accountability for all
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) August 20, 2012
The declassified diplomatic cables, released under freedom of information legislation, show Australia’s ambassador, the former Labor leader Kim Beazley, has made high level representations to the US government asking for advance warning of any moves to prosecute Assange.
Senator Carr has repeatedly dismissed suggestions that the US has any interest in prosecuting and extraditing Assange. In June, Senator Carr also told the ABC Insiders program: ‘I’ve received no hint that they’ve got a plan to extradite him … I would expect that the US would not want to touch this.”
However, the Australian embassy in Washington reported in February that ‘the US investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr Assange has been ongoing for more than a year’.
The embassy identified a wide range of criminal charges the US could bring against Assange, including espionage, conspiracy, unlawful access to classified information and computer fraud.
INTERPOL Red Notice for Julian Assange remains in force
16 August 2012 - Media release
LYON, France – INTERPOL confirms that its Red Notice, or international wanted persons alert, issued for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at Sweden’s request in November 2010 remains valid.
Julian Assange - Interpol Red Notice
Confirmation that Mr Assange’s Red Notice status remains in force follows Thursday’s decision by authorities in Ecuador to grant asylum to Mr Assange, two months after he took refuge in its London embassy while fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden where authorities want to question him in connection with alleged sexual offences.
A Red Notice status is a request for any country to identify or locate an individual with a view to their provisional arrest and extradition in accordance with the country’s national laws.
Many of INTERPOL’s member countries consider a Red Notice a valid request for provisional arrest, especially if they are linked to the requesting country via a bilateral extradition treaty. In cases where arrests are made based on a Red Notice, these are made by national police officials in INTERPOL member countries.
INTERPOL cannot compel any of its 190 member countries to arrest the subject of a Red Notice. Any individual wanted for arrest should be considered innocent until proven guilty.