Henderson lifts Premier League trophy to mark Liverpool’s first top-flight title in 30 years

Liverpool celebrated receiving the title trophy for the first time in 30 years in style as the new Premier League champions overcame Chelsea in a thriller at Anfield.

Jordan Henderson – currently out injured – received the trophy from Liverpool legend Sir Kenny Dalglish on a special podium built on the Kop after Jurgen Klopp’s side made it three full unbeaten Premier League seasons at Anfield.

Chelsea, who now need a point from their final game at home to Wolves on Sunday to confirm a place in the top four – and next season’s Champions League – started well.

But Liverpool moved through the gears after Naby Keita broke deadlock with a rising 25-yard drive, and they added further goals before the break through Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fine free-kick and Gini Wijnaldum’s close-range strike.

Olivier Giroud scrambled in for Chelsea on the stroke of half-time but their hopes of a comeback appeared to be snuffed out 10 minutes after the break, when Roberto Firmino headed in his first Premier League home goal of the season from Alexander-Arnold’s cross.

Chelsea substitute Christian Pulisic then had a dramatic impact as he sparked a Chelsea fightback, creating a goal for Tammy Abraham and then scoring another himself on the turn as this entertaining game took an unexpected turn.

To the thunderous sound of fireworks being let off outside Anfield by celebrating fans, the champions pressed forward again and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slammed home the fifth from Andy Robertson’s cross with six minutes left.

And then it was time for the ceremony Liverpool have waited three decades to enjoy – albeit conducted in the somewhat surreal surroundings of a virtually empty stadium.

Liverpool irresistible to the end

Liverpool may have secured the title with seven games to go and Chelsea – but there is a relentless quality about the drive and motivation of Jurgen Klopp’s team.

They showed that against opponents who still needed that crucial point to assure a place in next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea were the better team early on but Liverpool produced on those spells after the midway point in the first half in which they are simply irresistible.

Liverpool scored three goals and even when Chelsea threatened an unlikely resurgence, they rose to the challenge again to confirm the win through substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Mohamed Salah could have pushed his claims for the Golden Boot but missed several chances – while Keita distinguished himself with a superb strike and excellent performance.

Once again, Liverpool refused to finish second best in a show of character and quality.

It was a fitting way for Liverpool to round off another unbeaten league season at Anfield and the perfect set-up for those title presentation celebrations.

Russian court sentences prominent Gulag historian to prison

A Russian court on Wednesday sentenced respected Gulag historian Yury Dmitriyev to more than three years in prison on controversial sexual abuse charges in a case supporters said was fabricated to punish him for his work.

Dmitriyev, head of the prominent rights group Memorial in Karelia in northwestern Russia, spent decades locating and exhuming mass graves of people killed under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s rule and chronicled state repression.

After the Soviet breakup, Dmitriyev found graves containing thousands of bodies of people held in Stalin’s Gulag network of prison camps.

Memorial said the prosecution of the researcher, who was tried behind closed doors, is part of a growing crackdown on dissenters.

Defence lawyer Viktor Anufriyev told reporters outside the court in the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk that Dmitriyev was ordered to “three years and six months in a strict-regime penal colony”.

The lawyer said he had not yet received the written verdict and it was possible with time served in pre-trial detention Dmitriyev, 64, could be free in September.

He had been facing up to 15 years under the charges.

Darkest chapters

Anufriyev said the historian had been cleared of pornography charges that stem from his first criminal case.

The researcher was first arrested in late 2016 on child pornography charges, then acquitted in 2018, and then arrested again in a new sexual assault case.

The prosecution claimed the historian sexually abused his adopted daughter, charges he denies.

“There are no doubts that Yury Dmitriyev is innocent,” Memorial said ahead of the verdict. “These charges have already taken away more than three years of freedom from Yury Dmitriyev and crippled the fate of his adopted daughter.”

Supporters, including prominent advocates at home and abroad, say the case against Dmitriyev is an attempt to punish the historian who has called attention to one of the darkest chapters in Russia’s history.

Dmitriyev is known for helping open the Sandarmokh memorial in a pine forest in Karelia in memory of thousands of victims – including many foreigners – killed in 1937 and 1938.

His focus on Stalin’s crimes has become politically untenable in a modern Russia where the dominant state narrative is of a great nation rising from its knees.

His backers say Dmitriyev’s real crime was dedicating himself to documenting Stalin’s 1937-38 Great Terror, in which nearly 700,000 people were executed, according to conservative official estimates.

The Kremlin has said it is not involved in his case. Asked whether it was politically motivated, state prosecutors have said the case is based on real evidence.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

Migrant children held in US hotels, then expelled

The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as one in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

A private contractor for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is taking children to three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in Arizona and at the Texas-Mexico border, where they are typically detained for several days, the records show. The hotels have been used nearly 200 times, while more than 10,000 beds for children sit empty at government shelters.

Federal anti-trafficking laws and a two-decade-old court settlement that governs the treatment of migrant children require that most kids be sent to the shelters for eventual placement with family sponsors. But President Donald Trump’s administration is now immediately expelling people seeking asylum in the US, relying on a public health declaration to set aside those rules.

A representative from the Texas Civil Rights Project confirmed to Al Jazeera the accuracy of the claims and that a lawyer with the organisation has visited a hotel where children were being held.

Lawyers and advocates said housing unaccompanied migrant children in hotels exposes them to the risk of trauma as they’re detained in places not designed to hold them and cared for by contractors with unclear credentials. They are challenging the use of hotels as detention spaces under the Flores court settlement.

“They’ve created a shadow system in which there’s no accountability for expelling very young children,” said Leecia Welch, a lawyer at the nonprofit National Center for Youth Law. “There really aren’t enough words to describe what a disgraceful example of sacrificing children this is to advance heartless immigration policies.”

ICE largely declined to answer questions but referred to the contractors as “transportation specialists” who are “non-law enforcement staff members trained to work with minors and to ensure that all aspects of the transport or stay are compliant” with the court settlement. It would not say whether they’re licensed child care professionals or have received FBI background checks.

In McAllen, Texas, people in scrubs went room to room on the fourth and fifth floors of the Hampton Inn caring for children, according to Roberto Lopez of the nonprofit Texas Civil Rights Project. He walked through the hotel Friday, spotting a small child holding on to a gate in a doorway as an adult on the other side played with him. Lopez said he could hear the cries of at least one child in the hallway.

Parked outside were unmarked white vans with the silhouettes of adults and children visible through the windows, Lopez said. He did not see logos or insignia for any government agencies on the vans or in the hotel.

The records obtained by AP show the Hampton Inn in McAllen was used most often to detain children – 123 times in two months. The other hotels are in Phoenix and El Paso.

Hilton, which owns the Hampton Inn brand, said in a statement Tuesday that all three hotels were franchises and it believed rooms were booked directly with those owners. Hilton would not say how many rooms had been used to detain children or how much the rooms cost.

“We understand these properties have been used for their intended purpose – temporary accommodation for guests traveling between locations,” the statement said.

Castle Hospitality, which operates the McAllen hotel, said it did not know its rooms would be used to detain children until they arrived.

“We are not making any political statements one way or the other by taking in this group and we feel that anyone, especially children in such difficult circumstances, is entitled to safe and clean accommodations and that’s what we aim to provide,” a company statement said. “In our conversations with the group contact, we have been assured that all state and federal regulations are being followed.”

At least 2,000 children have been expelled since March, when the Trump administration announced it would broadly refuse entry to people seeking protection in the US. The administration has cited the threat of the coronavirus in saying it does not have the resources to allow migrants to stay.

The US has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, and the virus is ravaging much of the West and South, including Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, where McAllen is located.

Before March, Central American children who crossed into the US alone were generally sent to facilities overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS facilities have bedrooms and schooling, and children are given access to lawyers and generally placed with family sponsors. The facilities also are licensed by the states where they are located. Federal anti-trafficking law requires the government to promptly refer most children to HHS.

While US Customs and Border Protection said it made 1,564 apprehensions of unaccompanied children at the southern border in June, HHS said it received just 61. CBP would not say how many children are expelled right away, how many are sent to hotels or how border agents decide between those options or referral to HHS. The agency referred questions about hotels to ICE.

ICE said it uses contractor MVM Inc “to transport single minors to hotels and to ensure each minor remains safe and secure while in this temporary housing.” MVM had a contract with ICE for “transportation services” extended for $49m on March 31, according to federal contracting data. The company declined to answer questions.

According to MVM’s hiring website, it is looking for “bilingual travel youth care workers” based in Phoenix and McAllen to provide “humble care and service to unaccompanied children and teens”. The posting does not require a child care background but said selected applicants wiould be given a “government background investigation”.

The border agencies and MVM have been criticised for their treatment of immigrant children during the Trump administration, including wide-scale family separations in 2018 and the detention of children in squalid border stations in Texas last year.

The government provided records on the detention of children and teenagers expelled in April and June to a team of lawyers representing the interests of immigrant children under the Flores agreement, reached in 1997. Records for May were not available.

The Hampton Inns in McAllen, El Paso and Phoenix were used 186 times. No other hotels appear in the records, which indicate that 169 children were detained at the hotels, some with multiple stays.

At least two one-year-olds were held for three days. But some young children, including three- to five-year-olds, were detained for two weeks or longer. One five-year-old was detained for 19 days in the McAllen hotel.

The records indicate the children were not accompanied by a parent but did not say more about the circumstances of their crossing the border. In the past, some very young children have been brought by older siblings or other relatives. Others have been sent by parents waiting for their court dates in refugee camps on the US-Mexico border with hopes they will be placed with relatives.

Karla Vargas, a Texas Civil Rights Project lawyer, represented a 13-year-old girl who was detained in a hotel and later expelled to El Salvador. Vargas said border agents did not tell the girl’s mother in the US that they had detained her daughter. A person who crossed the border with the girl called her mother.

“The children with whom we’ve spoken say there are other children in the hotels,” Vargas said. “We know that there are masses of children.”

SOURCE: AP NEWS AGENCY

Kuwait Emir to travel to US for medical treatment

Kuwait’s 91-year-old ruling emir will travel to the United States on Thursday morning to seek further medical care after recently undergoing surgery, the state-run news agency KUNA reported.

KUNA quoted a statement from the country’s royal court saying Sheikh Sabah would leave “based on advice from the medical team treating His Highness to complete his treatment after a successful surgical procedure”.

No details were shared on what required Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah to seek a previously unannounced medical treatment beginning on Saturday and a surgery on Sunday.

The statement, attributed to Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah, the country’s royal court minister, did not elaborate or say where in the US the emir will receive treatment.

Secret Police on the Streets of #PDX: Interview with a Member of Black Rose #Portland

The Most Revolutionary Act

Enough is Enough

Portland. OR. Fifty days into the popular uprising sparked by the police murder of George Floyd and demonstrations in Portland, Oregon show little sign of abating. An interview.

Originally published by Black Rose Anarchist Federation.

In fact, Portland has now become a proving ground for the Trump administration to demonstrate its ‘law and order’ bona fides in the run up to the 2020 election.

Federal police, with little information available as to which agencies they specifically work for, have become more active in the repression of demonstrations in the city. A number of recent videos have captured this secret police force, members of which wear military fatigues, grabbing demonstrators off the street and shuttling them away in unmarked vehicles.

We caught up with a member of our Portland local to find out more about what’s been happening on the ground.

Black Rose / Rosa Negra (BRRN):

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Land Loss has Plagued Black Americans Since Emancipation

The Most Revolutionary Act

Rep. Louie Gohmert Advocates Sharecropping As Welfare ...

By Julian Agyeman and Kofi Boone

The Conversation

Underlying the recent unrest sweeping U.S. cities over police brutality is a fundamental inequity in wealth, land and power that has circumscribed black lives since the end of slavery in the U.S.

The “40 acres and a mule” promised to formerly enslaved Africans never came to pass. There was no redistribution of land, no reparations for the wealth extracted from stolen land by stolen labor.

June 19 is celebrated by black Americans as Juneteenth, marking the date in 1865 that former slaves were informed of their freedom, albeit two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Coming this year at a time of protest over the continued police killing of black people, it provides an opportunity to look back at how black Americans were deprived of land ownership and the economic power that it brings. An expanded concept of the…

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Why Industrial Agriculture is Unsustainable

The Most Revolutionary Act

Fresh: Sustainable Food Production in America

Directed by Ana Sofia Joanes (2009)

Film Review

This documentary examines why industrial agriculture is inevitably doomed to failure. After detailing numerous financial, environmental, and human health crises linked to factory farm systems, the filmmakers explore the growing family farm movement. The latter seeks, above all, to re-localize US food production. The issue of local food production is especially relevant in 2020 with the current breakdown (thanks to COVID19 lockdowns) in globalized industrial food production.

In addition to profiling various family farmers who have abandoned factory farming, the film features Michael Pollan (author of TheBotany of Desire and the The Omnivore’s Dilemma); the 2009 president of the National Family Farm Coalition; the manager of an independent farmer-supported supermarket in Kansas City; and Will Allen, former pro basketball star and founder of Growing Power (a community-supported urban farm and training center in Milwaukee).

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