Sunday news round-up: August 17th-23rd

Top Story: Religious cleansing in Central African Republic intensifies: Muslims in the Central African Republic are coming under increasingly violent pressure to convert to Christianity or face social exile, thanks to armed militias such as the Anti-Balaka. These groups, which roam around the CAR looking for Muslims to brutalize, claim their goal is to cleanse the entire nation of heretic beliefs, paving the way for a purely Christian state. The some 750,000 Muslims living in CAR have been subject to threats, intimidation, armed assaults, and even firing squads, with renewed religious cleansing campaigns taking place during the holy month of Ramadan. At least 6,000 Muslims have died so far thanks to the actions of the militias, with tens of thousands more driven into UN sanctuaries. Countless Mosques have also been destroyed and the CAR government has so far done nothing to stop the bloodshed. Predictably, this story failed to make headlines with mainstream Western news outlets because it demonstrates that Muslims are the victims of violence, something quite inconvenient to the accepted narrative of Muslims as inherent terrorists.

Greek Prime Minister resigns, calls for elections: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has unexpectedly resigned and called for national elections, after leading the country through one of its most unstable and financially perilous periods in modern times. Tsipras made the announcement on Thursday and accepted that his promises had not been implemented, but far from a humble apology, critics allege that Tsipras is trying to capitalize on the popularity of his relatively new party before a rebellion by left-wingers tears it apart, and before the second wave of austerity turns the people against him. Tspiras has been ubiquitously criticized by progressives across Europe, with former SYRIZA Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accusing him of surrendering to the EU’s financial wing and branding him “the new De Gualle”. The latest bailout package Tsipras accepted is expected to exacerbate the already untenable poverty levels across most of Greece.

Officials cast doubt on suspected Hamas-Israel agreement: Rumours and reports are circulating that Hamas and Israel have been conducting top secret negotiations in order to secure a more permanent truce, but so far have been rebuffed by those who would be involved. Under the supposed guidance of war criminal and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Hamas and Israeli officials are said to have met in Doha and Egypt to kick-start renewed negotiations about the conflict. Despite this multitude of reports, Hamas and Israel have both so far denied meeting for the purpose of a long-standing ceasefire agreement, but there are growing suspicions that Hamas is at least testing the feasibility of negotiations with Blair as a go-between. Hamas maintains that any long-term truce with Israel would require the cessation of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and an end to the occupation of Palestine, something Israel has repeatedly refused to do for “security concerns”.

Hundreds of thousands protest for Rouseff’s removal: At least 130,000 people have taken to the streets of Brazil’s largest cities to call for the immediate removal of Dilma Rouseff, the current head of state, as well as members of her cabinet as part of ongoing anti-government demonstrations. Protesters stormed the streets of São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro on Monday to call for the impeachment of top officials, whom some described as “thugs”, and to call for snap elections. Protesters cite a lack of consideration for the environment as well as ongoing corruption allegations against those within Rouseff’s cabinet. The government has yet to respond to the protests, but a heavy police presence was felt at some of the bigger demonstrations. This is by no means the first time Brazilians have taken to the streets to protest Rouseff’s government, with over one million people marching through cities in March, and a further 600,000 demonstrating a month later all for the same purpose.

Manning narrowly escapes permanent solitary confinement: Jailed whistleblower and former U.S. army soldier has managed to avoid spending her 35 year sentence in permanent solitary confinement, after prison officers tried to penalize her for minor and inconsequential infractions. Among other things, Manning was accused by prison officials of violating standards by having a copy of Vanity Fair magazine in her cell, for possessing an expired tube of toothpaste, and for dropping some food on the floor of the cafeteria. She was initially denied access to the yard or the gym for twenty-one days, then denied access to legal materials before being tried for the ludicrous infractions. To add to the Kafkaesque nightmare Manning currently faces, a list of banned books was recently issued in order to further penalize her for no apparent reason. Manning was kept naked in a cold cell during the espionage charges, and only has the possibility of parole in around 6 years, provided no more trumped-up charges are levied against her.

European refugee crisis shows no end in sight: Thousands of desperate refugees fleeing North Africa and the Middle East are finding little to no sanctuary in Southern and Eastern Europe, after a renewed series of political blunders and brutal crackdowns. In Britain, politicians renewed calls for better border security as refugees crossed from Calais into the Channel Tunnel, while in Macedonia immigration officials attacked Syrian refugees with tear gas to stop them from crossing the border with Greece. Meanwhile, Slovakia announced that it would be happy to accept those fleeing from nearby failed states, provided that they were not of the Muslim faith, whilst in Germany rioters chanting “foreigners out” attacked buses carrying refugees. Europe’s callousness towards this refugee crisis, which it helped to create, seems to be part of a long-standing tradition of white supremacy on the continent.

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