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‘Fight far from over’: Survivors, others on Weinstein conviction

Survivors and victims of sexual violence, their supporters and others have hailed Monday’s conviction of former movie producer Harvey Weinstein as a “landmark” verdict, but said their “fight was far from over”.  Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, Weinstein, 67, was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping…

‘Fight far from over’: Survivors, others on Weinstein conviction

Survivors and victims of sexual violence, their supporters and others have hailed Monday’s conviction of former movie producer Harvey Weinstein as a “landmark” verdict, but said their “fight was far from over”. 
Once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, Weinstein, 67, was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. He faces up to 25 years in prison on the sexual assault conviction. 
More: 

Tarana Burke: #MeToo didn’t start with Harvey Weinstein

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The jury acquitted Weinstein on two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carried a potential life sentence, and first-degree rape.
The case was a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which was re-energised following the accusations against Weinstein. Women across the world went public with misconduct allegations, many against powerful men in several industries. 
“While it is disappointing that today’s outcome does not deliver the true, full justice that so many women deserve, Harvey Weinstein will now forever be known as a convicted serial predator,” the Silence Breakers, a group of Weinstein accusers, said in a statement. 
“This conviction would not be possible without the testimony of the courageous women and the many women who have spoken out,” the group added. “Their bravery will forever be remembered in history. Our fight is far from over.”

BREAKING: A New York jury has found Harvey Weinstein guilty on two counts – criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. The following is a statement in response from 23 #Silencebreakers: pic.twitter.com/fXtoZ3Evzc
— TIME’S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) February 24, 2020

Prosecutors bolstered their case against Weinstein by calling several other accusers as witnesses. 
One of these women, The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, told jurors Weinstein came into her apartment one night in 1993 or 1994 and raped her.
Though the accusation was too old to be charged as a separate crime, prosecutors offered it to show Weinstein was a repeat sexual offender.
“For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you,” tweeted actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to go on the record against Weinstein in the New York Times. 

For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you.#ConvictWeinstein #Guilty
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) February 24, 2020

“Today is a powerful day & a huge step forward in our collective healing,” tweeted actress Rose McGowan, one of the Silence Breakers. 

Today is a powerful day & a huge step forward in our collective healing
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) February 24, 2020

Mira Sorvino, another woman who was part of the group, tweeted that Monday was “the beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters”. 

The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters. #weinsteinguilty
— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) February 24, 2020

More than 80 accusers
More than 80 women had accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades. He had denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual. His defence lawyers have said Weinstein will appeal against Monday’s conviction. 
“This trial – and the jury’s decision today – marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse and assault at work,” said Tina Tchen, the president and CEO of the Time’s Up Foundation. 
“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement,” she added. “While we celebrate this historic moment, our fight to fix the broke system that has allowed serial abusers like Harvey Weinstein to abuse women in the first place continues. Abusers every where and the powerful forces that protect them should be on notice: There’s no going back.” 

(1/3) This trial – & today’s verdict – mark a new era of justice not just for Weinstein survivors, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse & assault at work. It sends a powerful message on how much progress we’ve made since the #SilenceBreakers ignited an unstoppable movement. https://t.co/OOoShZ9jMx
— Tina Tchen (@TinaTchen) February 24, 2020

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), of every 1,000 sexual assaults in the United State, 995 perpetrators will walk free. 
Tarana Burke, who founded the MeToo movement more than a decade ago to support survivors of sexual assault, shared a statement from the movement that said a lot of work still must be done. 

People participate in a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Los Angeles, California [File: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters] 

“Though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say MeToo,” the statement read. 

This isn’t my personal victory. My thoughts on the Weinstein verdict. #metoomvmt #silencebreakers https://t.co/LDo7mEtXGy
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) February 24, 2020

Weinstein now faces charges in Los Angeles, California. In that case, announced just as the New York trial was getting under way on January 6, authorities allege he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.
In addition to the criminal cases, Weinstein and the company he founded are facing civil lawsuits filed by dozens of women for various allegations of sexual harassment or assault.
Lawyers for many of the women as well as creditors of the Weinstein Company, former board members and insurers have reached a proposed civil settlement worth approximately $47m. About $25m is expected to be available for compensating women who alleged abuse, according to a report by the New York Times.
The agreement would need court approval.
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Armenia-Azerbaijan

Armenia-Azerbaijan fight threatens to draw in Russia, Turkey

One of Eastern Europe’s longest frozen conflicts has exploded into a hot war in recent days, with clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh killing dozens of people and threatening to drag nearby Turkey and Russia into a direct military confrontation. While Moscow has long backed Christian Armenia and Ankara has…

Armenia-Azerbaijan fight threatens to draw in Russia, Turkey

One of Eastern Europe’s longest frozen conflicts has exploded into a hot war in recent days, with clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh killing dozens of people and threatening to drag nearby Turkey and Russia into a direct military confrontation.

While Moscow has long backed Christian Armenia and Ankara has openly supported the largely Muslim Azerbaijan, regional analysts say the situation has grown more complex and dangerous recently amid escalating Turkey-Russia tension on other fronts — from Syria to Libya and the wider Eastern Mediterranean.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has also become increasingly tied to Moscow-Ankara friction over oil and gas pipelines running through the area. And, with the U.S. and the European Union struggling to wield influence, concerns are rising over the prospect of an all-out regional war that could draw in bigger players on both sides.

President Trump pushed called for calm on Sunday night, telling reporters that his foreign policy advisors are closely monitoring the latest violence. “We’re looking at it very strongly,” he said. “We have a lot of good relationships in that area. We’ll see if we can stop it.”

Nagorno-Karabakh tensions have simmered since the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Armenian and Azerbaijani forces fought a war over the territory, a heavily ethnic Armenian enclave surrounded by Azeri territory. Russia helped broker a cease-fire in 1994, but on-again-off-again fighting has flared over the years, such as in 2016 when hundreds were killed.

A fresh eruption of fighting has occurred over the past several months, with clashes in July killing more than two dozen people and serving as a precursor to deadly attacks by both sides in recent days that have also reportedly left hundreds dead.

Local news reports said the fighting had not abated Monday between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces, with both sides blaming each other for the violence that has featured major artillery and rocket attacks.

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry claimed Armenian forces had begun shelling the town of Tartar on Monday morning, while Armenian officials blamed the Azerbaijanis for resuming “offensive actions.”

Russian media cited Azerbaijani officials as saying 550 Armenian troops were “destroyed,” a claim that apparently referred to troops wounded as well as killed. Armenian officials denied the claim, although there were reports of more than 50 Armenian servicemen killed, as well as at least two civilian deaths, including those of a woman and her grandson.

Amid confusion on the ground, analysts are calling on global powers to intensify pressure on both sides — as well as their backers in Russia and Turkey — to resolve the situation diplomatically.

“We are a step away from a large-scale war,” analyst Olesya Vartanyan of the International Crisis Group told Agence France-Presse over the weekend, saying the international community had let an untenable situation fester for too long.

“One of the main reasons for the current escalation is a lack of any proactive international mediation between the sides for weeks,” said Ms. Vartanyan.

“If there are mass casualties it will be extremely difficult to contain this fighting and we will definitely see a full-fledged war that will have a potential intervention of Turkey or Russia, or both of them,” Ms. Vartanyan later told the Reuters news agency.

Pipelines at risk

Analysts say Turkey-Russia tensions are mounting over oil and gas pipelines within reach of the mostly mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region — an area about the size of the state of Delaware.

Energy sector experts have been warning since July that Turkish- and Azerbaijani-controlled infrastructure involved in shipping oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to world markets is located near the fighting.

At issue specifically, are pipelines under construction via Georgia and Turkey, the completion of which could substantially reduce Western Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies.

Speculation over the Russia’s true intentions with regard to involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh violence has soared lately. At the same time, there are indications that Turkey has been the one provoking the situation.

Reuters reported Monday that Turkey has begun sending Syrian rebel fighters to support Azerbaijan in the escalating conflict with Armenia, according to two Syrian rebels, who spoke with the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Armenia’s ambassador to Moscow separately claimed that Turkey had sent around 4,000 fighters from northern Syria to Azerbaijan and that they were fighting there, according to Reuters. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has denied the claim.

Turkey has previously sent Syrian fighters, including some with ties to jihadist groups, to help uphold a fragile government in oil-rich Libya against an assault by Russia-backed forces in the North African nation.

Russian officials said Monday that they are pushing for calm in Nagorno-Karabakh. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the fighting “a cause for concern for Moscow and other countries.”

“We believe that the hostilities should be immediately ended,” Mr. Peskov told reporters, adding that the process of resolving the conflict between the two countries should shift into “a politico-diplomatic” dimension.

However, officials in Armenia, which has reportedly been receiving arms shipments from Moscow in recent months, openly accused Turkey of triggering the current violence.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said Monday that “Turkish military experts are fighting side by side with Azerbaijan, who are using Turkish weapons, including [drones] and warplanes.”

The situation on the ground “clearly indicates” that people in Nagorno-Karabakh are fighting against “a Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance,” the ministry said in a statement.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, meanwhile, denied reports Monday that Ankara has sent arms or foreign fighters to Azerbaijan.

“Armenia is disturbed by Turkey’s solidarity with Azerbaijan and is producing lies against Turkey,” the spokesman, Omer Celik, said in a tweet.

Turkey and Armenia have a tangled and bloody history, with Yerevan pressing a global campaign accusing Ottoman Empire of carrying out a genocide of its Armenian minority in the chaos unleashed by World War I.

Mr. Erdogan has strongly backed Azerbaijan and said Armenia’s immediate withdrawal from the region was the only way to ensure peace and calm. “All other impositions and threats will not only be unjust and unlawful, but will continue to indulge Armenia,” the Turkish president said.

Mr. Erdogan also criticized France, the U.S. and Russia — the three chairs of the so-called Minsk group, which was set up in 1992 to find a diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict — for what he said was a failure to resolve the issue for 30 years.

“They have done their best not to solve this issue. And now they come and counsel and issue threats. They say, ‘Is Turkey here? Is the Turkish military here?’” Mr. Erdogan said.

For Russia, Turkey’s expanding involvement in the conflict may present “a clear binary choice: lose face as a security ally to Armenia or risk casualties by getting engaged in the fight,” according to Maxim A. Suchkov, a non-resident scholar with the Middle East Institute in Washington.

“Coincidentally (or not), Russia just held large-scale military drills in the region, called “Caucasus 2020,” and seems ready to consider worst-case scenarios,” Mr. Suchkov wrote in an analysis circulated by the think tank on Monday.

“For now, however, Moscow remains focused on diplomacy,” he wrote.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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Trump vows to ‘fight in the trenches’ on abortion

In a letter to pro-life activists this week, President Trump promised to “continue our transformation of the federal judiciary” on the issue of abortion. “With your help, I will win re-election, ensuring we have another four years to fight in the trenches for unborn children and their mothers,” said the letter, signed by Mr. Trump,…

Trump vows to ‘fight in the trenches’ on abortion

In a letter to pro-life activists this week, President Trump promised to “continue our transformation of the federal judiciary” on the issue of abortion.

“With your help, I will win re-election, ensuring we have another four years to fight in the trenches for unborn children and their mothers,” said the letter, signed by Mr. Trump, and posted on his campaign’s website on Thursday. The president said he would appoint justices “who will respect the Constitution and not legislate an abortion agenda from the bench.”

Anti-abortion groups have visited homes in Midwestern swing states and Pennsylvania, especially heavily Roman Catholic areas home to many pro-life voters, to generate support for Mr. Trump’s candidacy in the fall presidential election, according to reporting from Fox News.

Only a quarter of Americans base their vote exclusively on the abortion issue, according to Gallup survey released in July. Even so, that number is “significantly higher than most others years in the trend,” the polling organization said.

In the key abortion decision on the U.S. Supreme Court this last term, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four more liberal justices on the court to strike down a Louisiana law that would’ve required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges in a local hospital. 

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Civil

‘That same fight’: DC civil rights march commemorates MLK’s dream |NationalTribune.com

Washington, DC – Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC on Friday to denounce racism, protest against police brutality and commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march when Martin Luther King Jr made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In his iconic address, King lamented “the unspeakable horrors of police…

‘That same fight’: DC civil rights march commemorates MLK’s dream |NationalTribune.com

Washington, DC – Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington, DC on Friday to denounce racism, protest against police brutality and commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march when Martin Luther King Jr made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
In his iconic address, King lamented “the unspeakable horrors of police brutality” and envisioned a reality, a future where his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.
Kimberly Jones, a Black woman from Illinois, was one of hundreds of marchers, lining up to enter the National Mall.
“Fifty-seven years later we are still fighting that same fight,” Jones said, “the fight for equality.
“I’m angry, I’m frustrated, and I’m disappointed,” she said.

Demonstrators gather for the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March on Washington 2020 in support of racial justice in Washington 

The march comes at the end of a summer rocked by nationwide protests and racial unrest over police killings of Black people – sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in late May after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network began planning for the march back in June in the wake of Floyd’s death. On Friday, he delivered the keynote address in front of the cheering crowd.
“The reason we had and still have to say Black Lives Matter … we go to jail longer for the same crime like we don’t matter, we get poverty, double the unemployment like we don’t matter, we’re treated with disrespect like we don’t matter,” he said. 
“So we figured we’d let you, Black Lives Matter and we won’t stop until it matters to everybody.”

Reverend Al Sharpton addresses the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March on Washington 2020 on the spot where Reverend Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 57 years ago today in Washington, US [Tom Brenner/Reuters] 

Martin Luther King III, a son of the late civil rights icon, also took the stage and addressed his father’s legacy as well as the issues that continue to plague this generation.
“We are courageous but conscious of our health, we are socially distant, but spiritually united, we are masking our faces but not our faith in freedom, we are taking our struggle to the streets and to social media,” King said.  
“The nation has never seen such a mighty movement in a modern-day incarnation of what my father called the coalition of conscience,” he added.
Relatives of an ever-growing list of police killings in recent years, including Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor – also briefly took turns addressing the crowd. 
The protest, called the “Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” gained new urgency in recent days, after police shot another Black man, Jacob Blake, multiple times in the back at close range in front of his children in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake’s father and sister attended the march. The father had earlier said that Blake has been paralysed from the waist down. 
After the speeches at the Lincoln Memorial, participants marched to the nearby Martin Luther King memorial, led by the families of victims of police violence.

People attending the march have their temperatures checked before entering the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, on the 57th anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech [AP Photo/Julio Cortez] 

But unlike the historic 1963 event, when more than 200,000 people took part to demand equality and an end to racial segregation, this year’s march comes in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, a disease that has killed more than 180,000 Americans and has disproportionately affected Black people.
Participants were required to wear masks and temperature checks were conducted at the entrance. Hand sanitiser and face masks were being distributed by volunteers.
Organisers estimate some 50,000 took part in the march in Washington, DC after shuttle buses from coronavirus hotspots were cancelled. But hundreds of thousands tuned in to the virtual commemoration, which featured civil rights activist Reverend William Barber. Politicians, entertainers and celebrities were also in the lineup.
Sharelle Jackson, from New Orleans, Louisiana whose own daughter contracted the coronavirus earlier this summer, said she was determined to come, despite the risks.
“This is so important, I will be as safe as possible, wear a mask, social distance and use hand sanitiser,” she said. “It’s a sacrifice that needs to be made for the change that we require.”
The event is also taking place during a fraught political moment, following national conventions by the Democratic and Republican parties over the past two weeks.
Trump, who is running for a second term in office on a law-and-order platform, has not denounced Blake’s shooting and on Thursday announced that he has dispatched federal forces to quell the protests in Kenosha. 

Succes: Since the National Guard moved into Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days ago, there has been NO FURTHER VIOLENCE, not even a small problem. When legally asked to help by local authorities, the Federal Government will act and quickly succeed. Are you listening Portland?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2020

Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris recorded a three-minute video on Twitter, which was  played during the march. 
She said if civil rights activists from the 1960s were here today, they “would share in our anger and frustration as we continue to see Black men and women slain in our streets and left behind by an economy and justice system that have too often denied Black folks our dignity and rights”. 
“They would share our anger and pain, but no doubt they would turn it into fuel,” Harris said. “They would be lacing up their shoes, locking arms and continuing right alongside us to continue in this ongoing fight for justice.”

On the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, let’s continue to march on for justice, in the name of our ancestors and in the name of our children and grandchildren. pic.twitter.com/BlP5oCEbxW
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 28, 2020

Water bottles and energy drinks were being distributed as groups of people, all wearing masks gathered on the grass around the Reflecting Pool on Friday, some dangled their feet in the water on a particularly hot and humid day, listening to the speeches. 
Speakers talked about the importance of justice, police reform and referenced John Lewis, the late lawmaker who spoke at the 1963 march. They spoke of hope and of the importance of voting in November’s election.
Victor Radcliffe who came from Dallas, Texas, said that it was deeply meaningful to him to come on this day to demand racial equality and change, as well as reflect on King’s vision. 
“Fifty-seven years ago Martin Luther King was out here, and we’re still fighting for that dream,” Radcliffe said, “but the reality is, we’re still living a nightmare.”
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