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The Drones Are Coming Home to Roost

Almost exactly fifteen years after the first time the United States used a remote controlled flying robot to attack its enemies abroad, the chickens started coming home to roost. Oct. 2, 2016 was the day ISIS used a kamikaze drone to kill a pair of US-allied Kurdish troops and severely wound two French commandos in Iraq.

The American era of drone warfare had begun when the US military tried to assassinate the Taliban leader Mullah Omar

The Prince Who Only Charms Journalists

Though they are one of the world’s most authoritarian and dangerous regimes, the family that rules the self-titled Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gets a remarkably free pass from the international media. In this close look at the scheming of the kingdom’s deputy crown prince, who is angling to jump the line of succession and succeed his aging father, Al-Akhbar’s Sabah Ayyoub shows how the millions of dollars the kingdom’s rulers spend on American public relations firms every year bend the western press to serve their interests.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman regularly invites western journalists to visit him in his Riyadh office

The Goldman Murders

Environmental activism in Latin America very frequently pits indigenous local leaders against rapacious companies backed by foreign money and the full military weight of the state. As IB’s Brian Hagenbuch writes here, the separate murders of two recent winners of the prestigious Goldman Prize over the past year, in Mexico and Honduras, threw a spotlight on a much larger pattern of violence and intimidation that claimed dozens of lives in the region.

Mark Baumer’s final blog post on January 21, 2017 was morbidly prophetic.

Trump Suggests a Friendly Little Invasion

Whether Donald Trump’s suggestion he might send US troops to Mexico was a threat, as this article suggests, or a friendly offer, as the White House today claimed, the idea of US troops on the soil of a country that lost half its territory to the United States in various wars is raising a firestorm in Mexico. From Proyecto Puente, Dolia Estevez’s scoop which sent a minor shockwave through Mexico yesterday:

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, told his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, that the United States does not need Mexico

Trump – The View From Havana

What does the President-elect mean for Cuba? As with most things Trump, nobody can say quite yet. International Boulevard’s Mateo Jarquin did, however, happen to be in Havana when Americans cast their ballots, and thus got a sense of how Cubans viewed the election and its consequences for their future.

The first thing worth mentioning is that while Cubans remain unusually sealed-off from the rest of the world – they rely overwhelmingly on state-controlled media, and must pay an expensive rate of 2 dollars per hour for internet access.

A Pleasant Waystation on this Road Through Hell

The ‘invisible diaspora,’ Simone Dalmasso calls this human chain that stretches from the ruined lands of Central America, through the mountains of Guatemala and Mexico and across the Rio Grande to the uncertain promised land of the North. Hard, dangerous lives she finds at temporary respite in a Franciscan hostel in southern Mexico, named for 72 fellow migrants savagely murdered, men women and children, by Mexican narcotraffickers six years ago.

The real struggle to reach the North begins at the frontier between Guatemala and Mexico.

Regarding the Ruin of America

At home and abroad, the strange attraction of what Spain’s Yorokobu magazine calls ‘Ruin Porn’: images of the decayed ruins of America’s wrecked industrial heartland.

Detroit was what started it all. The proud Motor City, once the industrial epicenter of the United States.

In Kashmir, a Gathering Storm

The past week a spate of violent separatist attacks have rocked Indian-administered Kashmir. In this prescient survey of the region, Hardnews suggests that the relative quiet that has prevailed in recent years marks an evolution but not a lessening of separatist feeling in the Muslim-majority region. When the US finally withdraws from Afghanistan next year, will the Pakistan military establishment’s attention return to Kashmir?

It's May and still cold in Srinagar. "The cool weather is just to help the flowers bloom (phool wali sardi),"

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