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The latest bills from Congress cut back on President Obama’s aid request while increasing military assistance. Here is an update of current funding proposals for Central America.

The State Department’s Directorate for Defense Trade Controls has proposed a rule change that could loosen oversight of private security companies and exacerbate the problems we’ve seen with them.

 

Last week the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, requested the authority to begin an investigation into potential human rights violations committed by Georgia, South Ossetia, and Russian forces during the 2008 August War or “Five-Day War.” Alongside the request, the ICC released a report outlining the alleged crimes committed by all sides that would be further investigated.

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In the midst of 2011’s Arab uprisings, thousands of tear gas canisters bearing the conspicuous “Made in U.S.A.” designations became a symbol of U.S. support for authoritarian regimes and violent repression of peaceful dissent in countries like Bahrain, Egypt and Tunisia. While U.S. transfers of crowd control items like tear gas are sometimes viewed as encouraging a non-lethal approach to protests, the regimes excessive and improper use of tear gas have caused cases of serious injury or death. In response, Congress has sought to better control such transfers, but the gaps in such controls are growing to an alarming level.

“What happened in Kunduz is happening multiple times a day in Yemen,” stated Tariq Riebl on an October 20 panel entitled “Humanitarian and Security Consequences of Military Support to the Region.” Riebl, who recently returned from three months in Yemen with Oxfam International, was joined by experts William D. Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and Senior Advisor to Security Assistance Monitor, Martin Butcher, a Policy Advisor at Oxfam International, and moderator Natalie Goldring, a Senior Fellow for the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Demanding answers to structural and stability challenges facing their nation, Argentines will take to the polls on October 25 to elect a new president. Sunday will mark the end to 12 years of kirchnerismo, the peronist political movement born under presidential couple Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the late Néstor Kirchner, once lauded a leftist success for its sustained economic growth and robust spending on social programs.

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