World Condemns US Blockade on Cuba


Prensa Latina

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Five Big Sticking Points in the Republican Tax Plan — Handful of House Republicans already declared opposition

Peace and Freedom


By Anna Edgerton, Erik Wasson, Sahil Kapu, and Laura Davison

 Updated on 
  • A handful of House Republicans already declared opposition
  • Other quiet whispers of concern question pass-through rules
GOP Faces Disappointment, Deadline on Tax Plan

After a display of unity for the unveiling of an ambitious plan to slash individual and corporate taxes, some House Republicans began late Thursday to pick out the parts of the tax legislation they don’t like.

The ink was barely dry on the first draft when at least four Republicans declared they would vote against the bill in its current form. While the early opponents represent high-tax states that would get slammed by the plan’s elimination of state and local income-tax deductions, several other areas began to emerge as points of contention as Republicans sifted through the 429-page bill.

“I’m trying to get my arms around it,” Mark Sanford, a Republican from South Carolina…

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Read an Excerpt from Badriya Albeshr’s ‘Thursdays Visitors,’ Newly Banned in Saudi

Arabic Literature (in English)

Over the last two days, tweets about Saudi novelist Badriya Albeshr’s Thursday’s Visitors have exploded, after complaints about passages in the book deemed sexually explicit led to it being pulled from bookshops:

According to Agence France-Presse, a spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Culture said, “The ministry of culture and information has withdrawn the book ‘Thursday’s Visitors’…  and opened an investigation into the matter.”

This latest series of attacks on Albeshr’s novels apparently began when someone found Thursday’s Visitors in the children’s section of a Jarir Bookstore.

The novel is a coming-of-age in which Masha’el, the protagonist, finds herself becoming more and more like her mother, in spite of her best efforts to resist this transformation. As translator Sawad Hussain asked in her introduction to a translated excerpt, “Why and how did she end up here? Will she be able to make sense of her reality through the Thursday get-togethers where…

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Sierra Leone Mudslide Exposes Peril of Freetown’s Sprawl — West African Journal Magazine

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE — Augustine Deen, a 31-year-old officer with the Sierra Leone Police Force, was on night duty at his post in Freetown, counting down the hours, when disaster struck. In the early morning of August 14, a major mudslide hit Mount Sugarloaf, which overlooks the capital, slicing it in two. The collapse killed […]

via Sierra Leone Mudslide Exposes Peril of Freetown’s Sprawl — West African Journal Magazine

Six degrees of separation, FROM Less than zero TO …

Whispering Gums

Last month I changed my Six Degrees titling practice to not including the end book. Most commenters preferred that approach, so I’m sticking with it for the moment, with apologies to those who demurred! And now, before I get stuck into this month’s choices, the formalities. Six Degrees of Separation is a meme currently run by Kate (booksaremyfavouriteandbest). For information about how the meme works, please click the link on her blog-name. It’s a fun meme.

Bret Easton Ellis, Less than zeroThis month’s book, as often happens, is one I haven’t read, Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than zero. It’s set in 1980s Los Angeles, and the GoodReads summary calls it “a raw, powerful portrait of a lost generation who have experienced sex, drugs, and disaffection at too early an age, in a world shaped by casual nihilism, passivity, and too much money– a place devoid of feeling or hope.”  Plenty there for…

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Refugee chief criticizes UN for failing to solve conflicts




UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. refugee chief sharply criticized the Security Council and world leaders Thursday for failing to prevent and resolve conflicts that have displaced nearly 66 million people around the world.

Filippo Grandi told the U.N.’s most powerful body the sharp rise in forced displacement from 42 million people in 2009 “reflects weaknesses in international cooperation, and declining capacity to prevent, contain and resolve conflicts.”

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Thousands fill Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ for Halloween celebration (photos)


By Tuoi Tre News

November 1, 2017, 14:58 GMT+7

Thousands fill Ho Chi Minh City’s ‘backpacker area’ for Halloween celebration (photos)
Congestion happened at the Bui Vien-De Tham Intersection in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on October 31, 2017 as thousands gathered to celebrate Halloween. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Thousands of people have flooded the ‘backpacker area’ of Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Halloween.

Dressed up in a variety of costumes, large crowds gathered at Bui Vien Walking Street in District 1, the most popular road in the city’s ‘backpacker area,’ on Tuesday night.Pubs and restaurants along the street were decorated in the spirit of the celebration.

Along with the frenetic atmosphere, severe congestion occurred in the area, especially at the intersection of Bui Vien with De Tham Streets.

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