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Nestora Salgado addresses the community police force she lead in Olinalá, Mexico, prior to her arrest last year. (Still from Youtube)

Nestora Salgado addresses the community police force she lead in Olinalá, Mexico, prior to her arrest in 2013. (Still from Youtube)

Nestora Salgado, the Renton woman who returned to Mexico to head a community police force, should be a free woman, the interim Gov. Rogelio Ortega of Guerrero, Mexico, said this week.

The statement by Ortega could be a key step in freeing Salgado and getting federal kidnapping charges against her dropped, according to a story published this week by the Associated Press.

Salgado, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces charges of kidnapping after her community police force arrested several people, including a city official accused of stealing a cow and the Los Angeles Times.

The previous governor of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre, had been critical of Salgado’s methods, according to the Los Angeles Times. However,Ortega was named as Guerrero’s interim governor after Aguirre left the governorship last year in the political fallout following the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, another city in Guerrero.

The charges against Salgado were filed by Mexican federal prosecutors, but the Associated Press reported that Ortega said that Guerrero’s government “does not attack social struggles or movements.”

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Taxi hate crime

A not-guilty plea was entered in the assault of a cab driver in Seattle that is alleged to be racially motivated. (Photo via Flickr user doerky)

A man accused of beating a Somali American taxi driver while calling him a “terrorist” pleaded not guilty Monday to hate crime and assault charges.

Jesse Alexander Fleming, a U.S. Navy sailor based in Everett, is charged with second degree assault and malicious harassment, a charge that alleges that the Dec. 7 attack was motivated by racial, ethnic or religious bias. He is free in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Fleming, 26, is accused of beating taxi driver Adan Ali Gaal, 34, unconscious, causing Gaal’s cab to roll downhill, striking several cars and an apartment building in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, according to charging papers.

The case is the second high profile assault of a cab driver in Seattle that prosecutors say has alleged racial or religious motivation in the past two years. The previous case was tried by federal prosecutors.

Gaal told police that Fleming got angry after a slow credit card transaction, and accused Gaal of being a terrorist and told him to “go back to your own country,” according to charging papers. Gaal also suffered a broken nose, according to prosecutors.

Fleming told police that he hit Gaal in self-defense, according to the charging documents. According to KIRO TV, which obtained video of the investigation from the Seattle Police Department, Fleming told police that Gaal was using abusive and explicit language against the United States.

 

 

The independent Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle will show "The Interview," after major movie theater chains pulled out of screening the comedy set in North Korea and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. Phot

The independent Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle will show “The Interview,” after major movie theater chains pulled out of screening the comedy set in North Korea and starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. (Photo via “The Interview” official Facebook page.)

Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle’s Columbia City is among the 200 indie theaters nationwide that will show the nearly shelved “The Interview” on Christmas Day, according to entertainment site Deadline.com and the theater’s website.

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Gov. Jay Inslee signing the Washington State Dream Act. (Photo thanks to OneAmerica)

Gov. Jay Inslee signing the Washington State Dream Act. (Photo thanks to OneAmerica)

2014 has been quite the year. We’d like to know what you think are some of the top Seattle Globalist moments from 2014. What Globalist stories or issues struck you as notable this year?

Let us know via Facebook, Twitter, here in the comments below or via email at editor@seattleglobalist.com what we should include in our news roundup. It would be great to include a little description about why the stories you picked are noteworthy, and we might quote you in the article. We’ll publish the list at the end of the month.

Seattle Ferguson Protest Photos

People gather at the University of Washington for a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration on Nov. 25. (Photo by Jama Abdirahman)

An 12-year-old Syrian boy sews reinforcement stitches on donated shoes at his parent's storefront in the Zaatari Camp's main market area. In lieu of going to one of the schools offered at the camp, many children end up working for their parents or in other shops to bring in extra money for the family. (Photo by Alisa Reznick)

An 12-year-old Syrian boy sews reinforcement stitches on donated shoes at his parent’s storefront in the Zaatari Camp’s main market area. In lieu of going to one of the schools offered at the camp, many children end up working for their parents or in other shops to bring in extra money for the family. (Photo by Alisa Reznick)

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Flag of Cuba. (Photo by Stewart Cutler via Creative Commons license.)

Flag of Cuba. (Photo by Stewart Cutler via Creative Commons license.)

The United States and Cuba will seek to re-establish diplomatic relations, according to a statement released by the White House Wednesday morning. President Barack Obama also delivered an address Wednesday morning on the announcement.

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” he said during this morning’s address.

According to a a statement from the White House:

“It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba. At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba.”

“We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse. We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state.”

(Read the full statement on whitehouse.gov.)

Cuba President Raul Castro addressed his country at the same time as Obama’s address, and Castro called for the U.S. embargo of Cuba to be lifted, according to NBC News.

The announced plans include some easing of travel, but tourist travel will not be eased, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Key to the changes are:

  • The reopening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, which were severed in 1961.
  • The re-establishment of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.
  • Raising remittance levels from $500 to $2,000 per quarter.
  • Expanding commercial sales to Cuba, and allowing licensed U.S. travelers to import up to $400 worth of goods from Cuba.
  • Allowing U.S. credit cards and bank cards to be used by travelers in Cuba.
  • Expanding travel visas for: family visits; official government business; journalists; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines.

AP also reported that the change in policy was announced as Cuba released a spy who provided intelligence to the United States and an American prisoner Alan Gross, who was convicted in Cuba five years ago after installing censorship-free Internet access. The U.S. also released three convicted spies for Cuba, who were convicted in Miami in 2001.

Pope Francis reportedly encouraged the warming of relations between the two countries and the Vatican released a statement following the announcement.

“The Holy Father wishes to express his warm congratulations for the historic decision taken by the Governments of the United States of America and Cuba to establish diplomatic relations, with the aim of overcoming, in the interest of the citizens of both countries, the difficulties which have marked their recent history,” the Vatican’s statement read in part.

Several  Congressional critics of Cuba who are also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee criticized Obama’s move, according to The Huffington Post.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized the exchange of convicted spies for Gross.

“There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation,” he said in a statement.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on Fox News before Obama’s televised address, according to Huffington Post.

It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,” the publication quoted Rubio as saying.

The Seattle Globalist will update this post with more information. Got something to say? Tell us in the comments, or email the Seattle Globalist at venice@seattleglobalist.com