11 May 2015   Leave a comment

Amnesty International has written a letter to the US Department of Justice asking that it reopen its investigation of the US use of torture against individuals suspected of participating in terrorist activities against the US.  Amnesty International does not believe that earlier investigations have been diligent enough, saying:

“In Amnesty International’s view, the USA is granting what amounts to a de facto amnesty for crimes under international law and has effectively engaged in an executive encroachment on judicial power. This arrogation of judicial function can be seen as a continuation of the Bush administration’s deliberate and calculated removal of the judiciary from any oversight over the secret detentions in question. During the course of these detentions multiple crimes under international law were committed, crimes which the Obama administration continues to insulate from judicial determination of individual criminal responsibility.”

On Monday the US appeared before the UN High Commission on Human Rights and was asked questions about its commitment to human rights given these allegations.  The media brief released by the UN on this review of American policy can be accessed here.

Medical scientists have identified a strain of the typhoid bacteria, called H58, that is resistant to most typical antibiotics.  Typhoid fever affects about 30 million people a year and, if not treated, can lead to death (25% of untreated patients).  The disease is most common in South Asia and Africa and is usually quite debilitating.  The drug-resistant bacteria was first identified many years ago, but it is becoming much more prevalent.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, fresh from his recent electoral victory, has decided to move up his proposed referendum on the terms of British participation in the European Union to next year.  The move was made to prevent a conflict with the French and German elections scheduled for 2017.   Cameron campaigned on renegotiating these four issues:

  • Give Britain an opt-out from the historic EU ambition to forge an “ever closer union” of the peoples of Europe.
  • Create safeguards to ensure that changes in the single market cannot be imposed on non-eurozone members by the eurozone.
  • Tighten access to in-work and out-of-work benefits for EU migrants.
  • Hand greater powers to national parliaments to block EU legislation.

He is clearly in a stronger position given the outcome of the election and the EU will need to respond to these concerns without jeopardizing its larger mission of a united Europe.

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Posted May 11, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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