SLG Syndication

SLG Syndication is committed to aggregating excerpts from news published by international news agencies and key insights on contemporary issues published by think tanks. Our aim is to facilitate the expansion of its reach while giving due credit to the original source.

India’s Karnataka Exit Polls: Congress May Form Government, But JDS Holds the Key

As the voting in Karnataka concluded on May 12, the exit polls results have predicted a hung assembly in the state. The majority mark in the 224-seat Karnataka assembly stands at 113 seats, and seven out of 10 exit polls have predicted a hung assembly. However, two exit polls, India Today-Axis My India and Times-Now ETG, have predicted an outright victory for the Congress, while one exit poll has predicted a BJP victory.

Those expecting a hung assembly have indicated that HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular (JDS) is likely to play the kingmaker. The JDS is expected to win a significant number of seats, which would make it a crucial player in government formation.

The India TV-CNX and Zee News-Matrize exit polls have given an upper limit exceeding 113 to the Congress, indicating that the party has a good chance of forming the government. However, News Nation-CGS has predicted a BJP victory, and Suvarna News-Jan Ki Baat has predicted an upper limit of 117 for the BJP.

The exit poll results suggest that the Congress has an advantage, but a hung verdict cannot be ruled out. The actual results will be announced on May 15, and it remains to be seen which party will form the government in Karnataka.

Iran and Syria Call for End of Western Economic Domination


The Syrian and Iranian presidents met in Damascus and announced their resolve to work for greater regional stability. The leaders stressed that the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the region was necessary for this purpose. They emphasized that their cooperation in the economic field is intended to be a strategic move to counter the impact of illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. and some of its allies.

The countries signed a long-term comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement during the state visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Damascus on May 3. They also signed long-term cooperation agreements in various economic areas such as agriculture, oil, and transport.

Raisi is the first Iranian president to visit the country in the last 13 years. He was accompanied by his foreign, economic, and transport ministers and the chief of Iran’s central bank.

After the meeting, Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed that the various economic projects agreed upon between Iran and Syria would help “mitigate the impacts of sanctions” and aid in liberating “international economics from Western hegemony.” He also emphasized that both countries agreed that it has been an old colonial tactic to “undermine the stability of countries and divide them.” However, countries in the region need to take advantage of improving relations to find common grounds for peace and prosperity. Assad was referring to the recent rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran after years of tension and hostility.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

South African Court Rules in Favor of NUMSA and Others in Load Shedding Case


In a crucial ruling on May 5, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria decided in favor of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and 18 other applicants seeking relief from severe power outages that have affected much of the country. The Court ordered the Minister of Public Enterprises to take “all reasonable steps” within 60 days to ensure that there is sufficient supply or generation of electricity to prevent any interruption due to load shedding to all public health establishments, all public schools, and the South African Police Service.

South Africa has been in the throes of an electricity crisis as Eskom, the state-owned energy utility company, has struggled to meet the country’s energy demands for over 15 years, resorting to load shedding in the process.

Record power outages over the past year have inflicted major economic losses and disrupted access to crucial public services including hospitals. Conditions are set to worsen with Eskom preparing protocols for Stage 9 load shedding, which could see outages lasting for over 14 hours a day.

In March, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and NUMSA joined political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups in calling upon the court to declare load shedding (or rotational power cuts) unconstitutional.

As such, the application not only named Eskom, but also President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Ministers of Mineral Resources and Energy and Public Enterprises, and the South African government as a whole.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

IACHR Slams Peru’s De Facto Government for Human Rights Violations Against Protesters

On May 3, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a report on human rights violations in Peru during protests that broke out following the ouster of left-wing president Pedro Castillo in December.

In its 113-page-long report, the IACHR established that the country’s security forces committed “serious human rights violations” as they cracked down on nationwide protests against the de facto Dina Boluarte government. According to reports, at least 60 people were killed in these protests.

The IACHR characterized the state’s response to demonstrators as the “disproportionate, indiscriminate, and lethal use of force.” The report added that in some cases, the government’s actions could be classified as “extrajudicial executions” and “massacres.”

In this regard, the IACHR said that an objective investigation must be conducted “with due diligence and an ethnic-racial approach,” and by “prosecutors specialized in human rights.”

The day after the report was released, the Boluarte government rejected the IACHR’s report and dismissed its conclusions.

“We reject the supposed findings of extrajudicial killings and the claim of mass massacres,” said Boluarte at a press conference.

Boluarte downplayed IACHR’s report, claiming that the report did not in fact confirm the existence of human rights violations in her government, it merely confirmed the possibility of there being human rights violations.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

U.S. Activists Face Harassment From Authorities Upon Return From Cuba

On May 7, several participants in the May Day Brigade of the U.S.-based National Network on Cuba (NNOC), were detained and harassed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol upon arrival to the United States from Cuba.

Similarly, on May 3, over a dozen people who had traveled to Cuba as part of a 10-day international youth delegation faced similar treatment from U.S. authorities during their return to the country.

For the NNOC, the incidents faced by U.S.-based activists on May 3 and 7 constitute “an onslaught against Cuba solidarity activism.”

The People’s Forum, one of the organizations that participated in the solidarity brigade of young people organized by the International Peoples’ Assembly, condemned the harassment faced by delegation members at U.S. airports. It affirmed, “We will not be moved! Our commitment to end the U.S. [blockade] of Cuba will only grow”

The NNOC also released a public statement following the detention of their delegates, emphasizing that “In face of persecution, we reaffirm our right to travel to Cuba. Solidarity is not a crime—the U.S. blockade is!” They added that several of the people who were detained by CBP also had their electronics seized and some were even threatened with jail time.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

South Korea Pivots to Conflict

by Dae-Han Song and Alice S. Kim

South Korea’s far-right President Yoon Suk Yeol is rushing South Korea headlong into the middle of the new Cold War that the United States is waging against China. Yoon’s aspiration to position South Korea as a “global pivotal state” is turning South Korea into a bigger cog in the U.S. war machine and stakes South Korea’s security and economic future on a declining U.S.-led global order. Yoon’s support of the U.S. global order has taken him on a flurry of visits and meetings around the world from the virtual Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) summit to the NATO summit in Madrid to high-level meetings in Japan and the United States.

Most recently on his April 26 U.S. visit, President Yoon and U.S. President Joe Biden announced the “Washington Declaration” to deploy U.S. nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea—reintroducing U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea for the first time in over 40 years. When viewed against North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons as a strategic deterrent, these weapons in South Korea will more likely fuel a nuclear arms race rather than check North Korea’s nuclear program. As former South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun observed, four out of North Korea’s six nuclear tests occurred in response to the hardline stance of conservative South Korean administrations that refused to dialogue with North Korea.

Ultimately, Yoon’s actions are putting South Korea on a dangerous path that further destabilizes inter-Korean relations and antagonizes China, its biggest trading partner. All the while, the move also forsakes the Korean government’s duty to advocate for reparations from Japan for Koreans exploited under Japanese colonialism and to prevent the discharge of radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear reactor, which lies upstream from South Korea.

Yoon’s ‘Global Pivotal State’

The alarming return of U.S. nuclear weapons to South Korea follows Yoon’s posturing to develop nuclear weapons in South Korea this past January as part of his evolving extremist hardline North Korea policy. More broadly, it forms part of Yoon’s greater foreign policy agenda of inserting South Korea in the security architecture of the U.S.’s anti-China Asia-Pacific grand strategy. The Yoon administration’s “Strategy for a Free, Peaceful and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region,” like Yoon’s recent activities, follows closely from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, with the goal of building and enforcing a U.S.-led “rules-based order” in the region with “like-minded allies” to contain China.

For all its declarations of fairness and playing by the rules, this U.S.-dominated “rules-based order” is at odds with the actual multipolar world taking shape around the world as well as the multilateral nature of the internationally agreed-upon UN-based order. The United States has been leading the creation of regional minilateral bodies such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) or the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework as part of its “hybrid war against China” and engaging in unilateral aggression toward China in the form of “military, economic, information, and military warfare.” 

For example, the United States is setting the stage to dispute China’s actions in the South China Sea not through the UN “Law of the Sea Convention,” which the United States has not signed onto, but rather through the Indo-Pacific security framework. This allows the United States to target China’s actions while exempting its own naval operations from the oversight of “global bureaucrats”—i.e., the UN. Furthermore, despite calling for an “open” and “free” Indo-Pacific, the United States is waging a “chip war” by pressuring its Indo-Pacific allies to impede China’s access to semiconductor chips, one of the world’s most critical high-tech resources today.

The Yoon administration has been contributing to the buildup and reinforcement of this “rules-based order” through its participation in the Indo-Pacific framework, global NATO, and by consolidating the U.S.-Japan-South Korea trilateral military alliance. In May 2022, a few weeks into his term, Yoon participated virtually in the IPEF meeting. In December, the administration adopted its own Indo-Pacific Strategy which committed to “stabilize supply chains of strategic resources” and “seek cooperation with partners with whom we share values,”—i.e., IPEF states. South Korea is now being recruited into the U.S. chip war against China.

In June 2022, the participation of South Korea (including Yoon’s establishment of a NATO diplomatic mission) and three other Asia-Pacific states in the NATO meeting expanded NATO’s reach from the North Atlantic into the Pacific. This year, Yoon paved the way toward consolidating the U.S.-Japan-South Korea trilateral alliance by forgoing demands that Japan take responsibility for its colonial exploitation of Korean workers. Then, during his March visit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, he resumed the controversial 2016 General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) intelligence-sharing pact, laying the groundwork for direct military coordination between South Korea and Japan.

In April, U.S., Japan, and South Korean officials met and agreed to hold missile defense and anti-submarine exercises to counter North Korea and “promote peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region,” with special emphasis on “peace and security in the Taiwan Strait.” As a further show of commitment to the U.S. global war strategy, in an April 19 Reuters interview, Yoon reversed his position on Ukraine and raised the possibility of sending weapons, and exacerbated the U.S.’s provocations in Taiwan vis-a-vis the One China principle, to the ire of Chinese officials.

A Pivot Toward Peace

Activists in South Korea and abroad have been ceaselessly working toward peace on the peninsula, with key struggles waged along the very sites of U.S. military installations in the Asia-Pacific region encircling China, such as the construction of the military naval base in Gangjeong village. They have also been part of long-standing transnational activism to procure a peace treaty for the Korean War. As these activists and U.S. scholar Noam Chomsky have recently reiterated in the face of the April 26 U.S.-South Korea nuclear weapons deal, only a peace treaty ending the Korean War would lay the basis for denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, bring an end to the U.S. military occupation of South Korea, and move toward peace and stability in Northeast Asia. To continue building greater exchange, dialogue, and solidarity, and pivot the region toward peace, this May 16, Justice Party National Assemblymembers along with the International Strategy Center and other civil society organizations in South Korea, the United States, and Japan will be organizing an International Forum for Peace in Northeast Asia and Against a New Cold War Order.

Dae-Han Song is in charge of the networking team at the International Strategy Center and is a part of the No Cold War collective. 

Alice S. Kim received her PhD from the Rhetoric Department at UC Berkeley and is a writer, researcher, and translator living in Seoul. Her publications include “The ‘Vietnamese’ Skirt and Other Wartime Myths” in The Vietnam War in the Pacific World (UNC Press, 2022) and “Left Out: People’s Solidarity for Social Progress and the Evolution of Minjung After Authoritarianism,” in South Korean Social Movements (Routledge, 2011).

Source: Globetrotter

May Day in Havana: International Solidarity to Resist the U.S. Blockade


by Walter Smolarek

This year’s May Day celebration in Cuba was interrupted by severe storms that knocked out electricity in much of the country. Authorities had no choice but to postpone the traditional mass marches. But for over 150 young grassroots organizers from the United States who had traveled to the country to mark the holiday, this turn of events was just more reason to deepen their efforts to end the U.S.-imposed blockade of the country.

Miya Tada, a brigade participant from New York, explained how this showed that “the biggest obstacle the Cuban people are facing is the repression and economic warfare of our own government, and that just inspires me to further the struggle against the blockade back in the United States.”

This wide range of activists from nearly 30 states and dozens of organizations was brought together by the International Peoples’ Assembly, a network of left movements and parties around the globe. Members of the solidarity brigade had spent the preceding week taking part in educational panels, discussions with Cuban activists, and youth exchanges as they sought to deepen their understanding of the Cuban Revolution.

May Day Amid a Tightening Blockade

The country is currently grappling with a range of severe difficulties that boil down to a single tremendous challenge—surviving amid a blockade that seems to tighten every day. The U.S.-imposed blockade has been in effect for over six decades, but a series of developments in the past several years has taken its cruelty to new heights.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused havoc in every country on the planet, but the coercive measures on Cuba magnified the crisis dramatically there. The country was able to avoid the kind of catastrophic loss of life experienced in the United States thanks to its world-renowned health system that produced five different vaccines, but the economic consequences were grave. Tourism is a principal source of foreign currency—essential to import vital goods since Cuba is locked out of the dollar-dominated world market—but this industry effectively disappeared overnight. Many other sectors of the economy were severely impacted as well.

“The other pandemic we faced,” Dr. Damodar Peña Pentón of the Latin American School of Medicine explained to brigade members earlier in the trip, “was the administration of Donald Trump. He imposed 243 new measures and used COVID-19 as an ally.”

Over the course of the Trump administration, the mild thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations that took place at the end of the Obama years was completely reversed. Aiming to suffocate the revolution, Trump imposed 243 new restrictions on Cuba designed to totally isolate it from the world economy.

Towards the end of his term, the State Department officially labeled Cuba a “state sponsor of terrorism”—because it had hosted successful peace talks between the Colombian government and the rebel movement FARC! Colombia’s president at the time was celebrated for his efforts with a Nobel Peace Prize, but Cuba’s reward was to be slandered as terrorists in an effort to further deter potential trading partners. This is a prime example of what Johana Tablada, Deputy Director for U.S. Affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told brigade members the prior week: “The U.S. government has been permanently telling lies to justify its policy.”

Last August, a massive inferno broke out at the country’s main fuel storage facility in the province of Matanzas. A lightning strike sparked a fire that exploded one of the facility’s massive tanks and then spread to three more. Fourteen firefighters tragically died as they heroically battled the blaze.

Such a disaster would badly affect any country, but for Cuba, the blockade had already made it extraordinarily hard to meet its energy needs. Severe fuel shortages ensued, which persist to this day. This disrupts daily life in innumerable ways and makes it extremely difficult to respond to situations like the storm on the eve of May Day.

Just a few weeks after the fire, on September 27th, Hurricane Ian made landfall in the western province of Pinar del Río. The powerful storm destroyed over 50,000 homes and damaged 60 percent of the housing in the province. Construction materials desperately needed for reconstruction efforts could not be imported due to the economic siege of the island.

Ian also had a profound effect on agriculture. Pinar del Río is known for its tobacco production, and Cuba’s cigars are an important way to acquire foreign currency through exports. Food crops being grown in the region were almost totally destroyed.

The cumulative effect of all this was to create an economic crisis that—contrary to the presentation in the major corporate media outlets—is the consequence of the limitless cruelty of the U.S. government, not a failure of socialism.

The United States seeks to cover up this criminal behavior by preventing its own citizens from traveling to Cuba to see the reality firsthand. Despite traveling as part of a licensed, completely legal trip, members of the youth brigade were harassed and held in secondary questioning upon their return home at the Miami and Newark airports. Several young activists had their phones wrongfully searched and seized in a blatant violation of their civil liberties.

Moving Forward Despite Great Obstacles

The slogan of this year’s May Day in Cuba was “Hands and Hearts for the Homeland!” It reflects the urgent need for every Cuban to contribute all their abilities to overcome any challenge.

Any easing of U.S. pressure on the country will be an immense relief as they pursue this task. The blockade of the country has been almost unanimously condemned at the United Nations on an annual basis for three decades. But even short of the full lifting of the blockade, steps like the revocation of the 243 Trump-imposed measures or the outrageous designation by the State Department that Cuba is a “state sponsor of terrorism” would improve the situation greatly.

“Being here in Cuba has opened my eyes to the dire need in the United States to raise awareness about what’s going on with this blockade and to end it,” explained brigade member Sarah Brummet of Pensacola, Florida. “I’m very inspired to see the solidarity and the struggle of the Cuban people, and it’s our responsibility to take that same energy home and fight the blockade,” she said.

Author Bio: This article was produced in partnership by Peoples Dispatch and Globetrotter. Walter Smolarek is a Philadelphia-based journalist and activist, covering both political developments inside the United States as well as the international activities of U.S. imperialism. Since becoming involved in the movement against the Iraq War as a high school student, he has also participated as an organizer in social movements ranging from Occupy Wall Street in 2011 to the 2014-2015 wave of the Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing mutual aid relief efforts in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. He is a contributor to BreakThrough News, currently serves as the editor of Liberation newspaper, and is the managing editor of

As UN ‘Reviews’ Its Presence in Afghanistan, Its People Continue to Suffer From Growing Hunger and Poverty 


As Afghanistan’s economy continues to spiral, as many as 34 million Afghans are living below the poverty line, says a new UN report. The “Afghanistan Socio-Economic Outlook 2023” report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on April 18 highlights the impact of cuts in international aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban took power.

The report notes that the number of people below the poverty line in Afghanistan has increased from 19 million in 2020 to 34 million today. It also adds, “Even if the UN aid appeal for international assistance to reach $4.6 billion in 2023 succeeds, it may fall short of what is needed to improve conditions for millions of Afghans.”

The UNDP report comes after the UN said that it was “reviewing its presence” in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s ban on Afghan women from working for the international organization earlier this month. The UN statement suggested that it may be planning to suspend its operations in the country.

The report also notes that Afghanistan is currently facing a severe fiscal crisis after the ending of foreign assistance “that previously accounted for almost 70 percent of the government budget.” A severe banking crisis also continues. In 2022, Afghanistan’s GDP contracted by 3.6 percent. The report adds that the average real per capita income has also declined by 28 percent from the 2020 level.

On May 1, the UN began holding crucial talks regarding Afghanistan in Doha. The participants include the five permanent UN Security Council members, countries in the region such as Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and key players such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Notably, the de facto Taliban government of Afghanistan was not invited to participate. “Any meeting about Afghanistan without the participation of the Afghan government is ineffective and counterproductive,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, Taliban foreign ministry spokesman.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

Colombian Government and ELN to Hold Third Round of Peace Talks in Cuba


On April 25, Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla reported that the third round of the peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group would begin in Havana, Cuba, on May 2.

Last month, Colombian President Gustavo Petro met with the members of his peace negotiating team and instructed them to try to reach agreements on a bilateral ceasefire and mechanisms for the participation of civil society in the process by the end of the third round of talks.

The meeting was held after an attack by the ELN against a military unit in Norte de Santander left nine soldiers dead and another nine wounded. The ELN explained that the group has the right to defend itself and respond to the attacks it faces from the military forces, recalling that it has not yet agreed to a bilateral ceasefire with the government.

“We will host from May 2, with the traditional willingness and impartiality of Cuba as guarantor and alternative venue, the celebration in Havana of the Third Round of the Peace Negotiating Table between the Colombian government and the ELN,” wrote Rodríguez.

For its part, Colombia’s High Commissioner for Peace reiterated the government’s “willingness to move forward in the process” and thanked Cuba for its “invaluable support for peace in Colombia.”

In turn, the ELN said that in the upcoming round, the delegations would work to reach agreements on three topics: “participation of civil society, bilateral ceasefire, and humanitarian actions and dynamics.”

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

Why 340,000 UPS Workers Are Preparing to Strike in the U.S.


United Parcel Service (UPS) workers are gearing up for a potential strike as they hold contract negotiations with the company. Talks between the company and the union representing UPS workers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, opened on April 17. Teamsters President Sean O’Brien says that workers are ready to walk off the job if UPS fails to reach a deal on a strong contract before the current one expires on July 31.

Workers are demanding better pay, more full-time work, better job security, and an end to the two-tier “22.4” job classification. The deeply unpopular “22.4” provision creates a lower-paid tier of workers who essentially perform the same work as senior drivers, but receive lower pay.

The workers are also demanding an end to excessive overtime, better protections against company harassment, the elimination of driver-facing cameras, and protection from hot weather. Drivers reported extreme temperatures inside their delivery trucks in posts that went viral last summer, and workers, like 24-year-old Esteban Chavez Jr., have died due to extreme heat.

A strike may have a formidable impact. UPS workers move 6 percent of U.S. GDP every day. The last time UPS Teamsters went on strike was in 1997 when 185,000 workers walked off the job in one of the largest strikes in U.S. history. The work stoppage cost the company $850 million despite only lasting for 15 days. There has been no larger work stoppage in the US since then.

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

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