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Sep 17th

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The interdependence behind bilateral political tensions: Economic realities affecting Venezuela – U.S. relations

The interdependence behind bilateral political tensions: Economic realities affecting Venezuela – U.S. relationsVenezuela – U.S. Research File 



In January 2006, the sixth gathering of the World Social Forum, during which Hugo Chávez as well as other left-leaning and socialist leaders fiercely criticized imperialist practices, was held in the Caracas Hilton Hotel. As James Surowiecki noted in an article for The New Yorker six months before the conference opened, a meeting sponsored by the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance took place at the same hotel. The aim of the aforementioned meeting was meant to promote American investments in Venezuela. How can one explain such a paradox? Are Venezuela and the United States only rhetorical political foes? Or, is there an underlying economic relationship between these two countries that renders them important trading partners?


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Rwanda diplomat during genocide alive and well in Alabama

Rwanda diplomat during genocide alive and well in AlabamaApr. 6 (GIN) – A former ambassador to the U.N. during the horrific days of the Rwandan was discovered living quietly in Alabama working in a plastics factory.

Jean Damascene Bizimana, the country's 36-year-old ambassador in the spring of 1994 when close to a million people were killed in a so-called ethnic war, defended the regime while in his U.N. post and opposed an arms embargo which all other members of the Security Council endorsed.

Bizimana assured the world’s diplomats that his government was not to blame as over 800,000 people were massacred. Then he vanished and remade his life in middle-class America according to research by American University Prof. David L. Bosco in a Washington Post article.
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Former U.N. Chief's climate change forum goes broke

Former U.N. Chief's climate change forum goes brokeApr. 6 (GIN) – Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan announced that his Global Humanitarian Forum, dedicated to addressing climate change, will close due to a lack of financial support.

The Ghanaian diplomat who sits on many boards including the United Nations Foundation, heads the Panel of Eminent African Personalities which addressed civil unrest in Kenya, and is chancellor of the University of Ghana, among many other posts and citations, acknowledged that the organization he founded in 2007 was unable to raise enough cash to stay afloat.

“It is a great disappointment to all of us that this promising project had to end this way,” Annan said. Its most concrete project was to install weather data collectors on mobile phone towers in Africa to provide better climate data to impoverished communities.

Annan singled out Switzerland for creating the forum and then failing to provide enough support to keep it alive.

White supremacist leader dead, new one is named

White supremacist leader dead, new one is namedApr. 6 (GIN) – The leader of a notorious far-right separatist movement was killed this week, over his alleged failure to pay two farmworkers he employed since December.

Eugene Terreblanche, 69, was found Saturday, bludgeoned to death at his farm house in North West province. A 28-year-old farm laborer and 15-year-old casual worker were charged with theft, unlawful entry, and killing Terreblanche. Reports from the scene say he had refused to pay them their monthly pay of $41.

President Jacob Zuma remarked: “We strongly condemn such acts of violence. People should use legal and peaceful means to resolve differences of any nature including labor disputes. We should uphold the right to life that is enshrined in the Constitution and abide by the rule of law at all times.”
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National health care advocate passes

National health care advocate passesApr. 6 (GIN) – A passionate advocate for national health care in South Africa has passed. Dr. Molefi Sefularo died tragically in a car accident in Pretoria West on Monday.

Accolades for the 53-year old Deputy Health Minister poured in all week. Frans Baleni of the National Union of Mineworkers noted that Sefularo had been a hope for many hopeless, poor and marginalized South Africans… ... particularly as champion of the National Health Insurance which stands to benefit many poor South Africans.”

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga agreed the country has been robbed of a dynamic and talented leader with a passion for social justice and a deep care for the poor. The Inkatha Freedom Party expressed its condolences, saying Sefularo's death had left the country poorer.

Sefularo held diplomas in tropical medicine, public health and health service management from the university and had lectured in the department of community health.

Sefularo leaves a wife and 3 daughters, Bonolo, Masechaba and Ipelang, and one son, Chere. 

A new poll tax?

Measure would disenfranchise many

The Minnesota Voters Alliance and Citizens for a Better Minneapolis are heading a petition for a photo ID requirement of anyone who wishes to vote because they are concerned about the potential for voter fraud in Minneapolis city elections.

These two groups and their supporters would like to see a photo ID requirement for all elections in Minnesota, but they are starting with a push in the state’s three biggest cities: Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

Opponents of the petition argue that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is essentially creating a poll tax, which are illegal because it limits who has the ability to vote. In the event that the proposal becomes law, the State of Minnesota will be compelled to issue individuals at or below the poverty level an ID card for free.
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NAACP Legal Defense Fund commends President Obama on strengthening Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

WASHINGTON, March 29  -- This weekend President Obama announced a number of recess appointments of critical nominees whose confirmations had been stalled in the Senate. Among these appointments were three commissioners and the general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Jacqueline Berrien, Associate Director Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is being appointed as Chair of the EEOC. The Legal Defense Fund commends the President for taking action to fill these critical positions.
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Grim employment report highlights increasing need for bold federal action on jobs

NEW YORK -- Slow job recovery revealed in today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforces the need for legislation that funds direct job creation and training for the chronically unemployed, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said.

"The economy remains weak and we’re clearly in a jobless recovery," Morial said.  "Private job creation  is stuck in neutral, with little clue on where and when a surge in job creation might begin.

While the overall unemployment rate of 9.7% remained unchanged in March, black unemployment rose from 15.8% to 16.5%. Most of the increase is due to the rise in black male unemployment -- 19% from 17.8%.  Unemployment among black women rose to 12.4% from 12.1%.

"There are people ready & willing to work, but no jobs are available for them," Morial said. "The demand for labor is not rising fast enough to absorb the large number of people looking for work.  There are still 15 million unemployed people and the ranks of the long-term unemployed continue to rise as well."
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Statement from State Representative Bobby Joe Champion

Statement from State Representative Bobby Joe ChampionMarch 29, 2010 - The Minnesota House of Representatives passed the second part of an aggressive job agenda today with a bill that lawmakers say will create between 5,000 – 12,000 new jobs with a package of tax credits that will encourage investments in startup companies, historic building renovations and pave the way for an expanded Mall of America. The credits would be paid for in part by repealing a $25 gas tax credit currently offered to low income individuals.
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Rep. Keith Ellison cosponsors legislation addressing the Alzheimer crisis

Rep. Keith Ellison cosponsors legislation addressing the Alzheimer crisisThe Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota commends Rep. Keith Ellison for cosponsoring both the “Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act” {S. 1492/ H.R. 3286} and the “National Alzheimer’s Project Act,” {S. 3036/H.R. 4689). For the more than 5 million people nationwide living with Alzheimer’s, and the 97,760 living right here in Minnesota, supporting these important bills is a significant step in the fight against the disease and offers great promise for someday having a world without Alzheimer’s.
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Minneapolis Urban League partners with Minneapolis Civil Rights

Recognizing the vital role advocacy plays in addressing issues of parity, which is the thrust of its mission, last week launched ed a news partnership with the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department's (MDCR) Complaint Investigations Unit (CIU) (www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/civil-rights). This partnership will increase access to the complaint process, as well as educate community members about their rights under the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance.   "This is a good sign; to see the Civil Rights Office becoming more accessible to the community by locating a satellite office at both our North and Southside hubs," said President/CEO Scott Gray.  Services such as intake interviews, trainings and presentations will also be provided to all communities interested in learning about civil rights laws and discrimination in multiple areas.
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