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Bundy militia occupies wildlife refuge in Oregon

A group of armed, right-wing men called the Bundy militia seized control of a wildlife refuge in Oregon over the weekend. On day one, Sunday, the group made up mostly of ranchers made it clear the occupation was in support of a father and son convicted of unlawfully setting fires on federal land. Ammon Bundy, the leader of the militia and son of Cliven Bundy, whose fame surrounds a 2014 civil rights case, said his men are peaceful but may turn otherwise if the authorities tried to take the convicts, who are due to report to jail today. But that was day one. Day two of their occupation, today, has taken a different tone. It’s still about the fires, and what they contend is a wrongful conviction, kind of, but has broadened to include the U.S. government. The militia intends to base its operation out of the refuge for as long as months, or until the government gives the land back to the people of Harney County. “Harney County at one time was the wealthiest county in the state,” Bundy said. “Because the federal government came in and blocked access to resources, it fell into economic depression. We intend to reverse that. We do have a plan, and that plan is going to take several months to accomplish. Those who have rights on this land, those rights will be acknowledged. There will be an opportunity to claim those rights. We are going to defend you as you use those rights.” It’s unclear what this all means. Bundy, according to the Guardian, has yet to clarify what giving the rights back to the landowners means. [Source: Guardian]

Mexico mayor gunned down a day after taking office

Mexico Mayor Gisela Mota was killed in her Temixco home one day after taking office. Officials have since killed two suspects and arrested two adults and a minor in connection with the attack, reported the Globe and Mail. Organized crime is believed to be behind the slaying. In the past 10 years, nearly 100 Mexico mayors have been killed, read a report issued by a municipal association representing the country’s mayors. Mota, sworn in on New Year’s Day, was part of the centre-left Democratic Revolution Party, a political group that described her as “a strong and brave woman who on taking office as mayor, declared that her fight against crime would be frontal and direct.” [Source: Globe and Mail]

Poland’s controversial media law opposed by EU

EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger has taken issue with a controversial media law put forward by Poland’s new conservative government (Law and Justice Party). According to reports from the BBC, Poland MPs have passed a law allowing government control over top appointments in public broadcasting. Oettinger is threatening legal action. “There are solid grounds for us to activate the rule of law mechanism and put Warsaw under monitoring,” he said. Poland President Andrzej Duda is expected to approve the new law this week, which, when enacted, will see TVP’s and Polish Radio’s media regulators replaced with government-appointed staff. Many people in upper-management at TVP resigned Saturday in opposition to the law. [Source: BBC]

Canada experiences butter shortage, imports four tonnes

Butter usage increases over the holiday season, apparently, and that’s why the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) was given permission to import four tonnes of it to combat the steady, formidable rise in consumption. The organization noticed the increase in consumer demand late in 2015, but was and is relatively impotent to combat it, as the Canadian dairy supply management system is tightly regulated and unable to accommodate annual growth surpassing three per cent. “We’ve never seen butter consumption do what it’s doing now,” says CDC CEO Jacques Laforge at the Manitoba Dairy Conference in early December. “We can’t keep up milk production fast enough with the demand. To increase milk production by two per cent a year is not too bad if you know in advance, but when it goes to four or five per cent, we’re not used to it, so we need to gear up in advance.” Food policy professor at the University of Guelph Sylvain Charlebois said Canada has experienced such shortages before, but never have they been so interesting to the public. “At least the consumers are starting to realize that agricultural policy may actually have an impact on them,” he told news sources. [Source: Steinbach Online]

Organization wants photos of Manitoba’s worst roads

Keystone Agriculture Producers (KAP), an ag-advocacy organization in Manitoba, is asking the members of the public to submit pictures and location details of the roads believed to be the province’s worst. This cheeky campaign is meant to show Manitoba’s current NDP government that a large swath of the province is seeing no sign of the infrastructure-fixing resolutions Sellinger keeps passing. KAP President Dan Mazier says a map has been created with submissions to date, and it shows that crumbling road infrastructure is widespread in the province. “We’re preparing ourselves to meet with the infrastructure minister and have a conversation about, well, here are really bad roads, why is this being missed? Or what are your priorities, and how do we make sure we are getting things done that are really priorities of Manitoba producers?” he said. Send photos to the KAP office with highway number and any other important location details. [Source: Pembina Valley Online]

Employee at dissenting publisher in China the fifth to go missing

Lee Bo works at Mighty Current, a publisher specializing in books critical of mainland China’s leadership. Bo went missing Sunday, and it is believed Beijing is behind his and the disappearance of four other Mighty Current employees who have been reported missing in recent months. Pro-democracy lawmaker in Hong Kong Albert HO said Hong Kong is “shocked and appalled” by the disappearances, and that he and others will demand answers from the government. “From the available information surrounding the disappearance of Lee Bo and his partners earlier, we have strong reason to believe that Mr. Lee Bo was probably kidnapped and then smuggled back to the mainland for political investigation,” Ho told reporters. Books published by Mighty Current are banned in mainland China, but enjoy wide distribution and availability in Hong Kong, a city that has freedom of the press because of it special status in China. The disappearances reveal growing concern over Beijing’s clampdown on dissent. [Source: CTV News]


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