Bitcoin futures surge on trading; Venezuelan opposition banned from elections

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  • Bitcoin futures trading began in the United States with a $3,000 surge on the contract that opened at $15,000 and heavy traffic that overwhelmed the Chicago Board Options Exchange website. The exchange’s futures don’t involve actual bitcoin, one of the best known virtual currencies, but are securities that will track bitcoin prices on the bitcoin exchange Gemini, which is owned by the Winklevoss brothers, a pair of cryptocurrency entrepreneurs. Bitcoin prices have surged all year (Forbes). (Read more WikiTribune coverage on cryptocurrencies.)
  • Major Venezuelan opposition parties are banned from next year’s elections, says President Nicolas Maduro. He said only parties which took part in Sunday’s mayoral polls would be able to contest the presidency. Leaders from other parties boycotted the vote because they said the electoral system was biased. Maduro insists the Venezuelan system is trustworthy. Venezuela’s 30 million people are enduring one of the worst economic meltdowns in Latin American history. This backgrounder from Al Jazeera explains the crisis.

  • The U.S ambassador  to the UN, Nikki Haley, says women who accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard.” Haley’s comments diverged from the White House position that the more than a dozen women have all lied. Also on Sunday Democrat Senators Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley, and Cory Booker all called on Trump to resign as others have in the face of such allegations. (The Hill)

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What we’re reading

  • Rohingya women fleeing Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh faced rape by security forces that was both “sweeping and methodical,” according to an investigation by The Associated Press. The survivors, refugees who ranged in age from 13 to 35, described assaults between October 2016 and mid-September. AP reported their accounts bolstered a contention by the U.N. that Myanmar’s armed forces used rape “a calculated tool of terror” against the Rohingya people. – Jodie DeJonge

What the WikiTribune community’s up to

  • Journalist and community member Michael Field has been writing about the Pacific for three decades. More recently, his investigations have led him into a dark world of foreign-flagged vessels fishing the waters of New Zealand, other Pacific nations, and the Southern Ocean. He has uncovered brutality, misery and death – as well as impending ecological disaster: the destruction of the last great southern schools of fish. Here WikiTribune consulting editor Charles Anderson interviews Field about his latest investigation —  “Murder and abuse: the price of your sashimi.” It details another, largely unreported, aspect of the murky high seas — the mysterious disappearance of observers tasked with ensuring maritime law is observed and helping preserve the planet’s fish stock.
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