News, June 7th

Anti-racism protesters rally around world, topple statue

Thousands of people took to the streets of European cities Sunday to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, with protesters in the English port of Bristol venting their anger at the country’s colonial history by toppling a statue of a 17th-century slave trader.

Demonstrators attached ropes to the statue of Edward Colston before pulling it down to cheers and roars of approval from the crowd.

Images on social media show protesters appearing to kneel on the statue’s neck, recalling the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25 that has sparked worldwide protests against racism and police violence.

Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck even after he pleaded for air while lying handcuffed on the ground. The statue met with a watery end as it was eventually rolled into the city’s harbor.

It wasn’t the only statute targeted on Sunday. In Brussels, protesters clambered onto the statue of former King Leopold II and chanted “reparations,” according to video posted on social media. The word “shame” was also graffitied on the monument, reference perhaps to the fact that Leopold is said to have reigned over the mass death of 10 million Congolese.

Protesters also defaced the statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in central London, crossing out his last name and spray painting “was a racist” underneath. They also taped a Black Lives Matter sign around its mid-section.

The day’s demonstration in London had begun around the U.S. Embassy, where thousands congregated — most it seemed wearing masks against the coronavirus — to protest Floyd’s brutal death and to shine a light on racial inequalities at home.

Death of George Floyd triggers protests against racism, brutality across the globe

Outrage over the death of George Floyd have sparked a wave of protests in the United States and beyond, with citizens voicing their opposition against racism and police brutality, as well as demanding justice and social fairness.

Floyd, the unarmed African American, was suffocated to death after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

Chanting slogans while holding signs, thousands of protesters marched to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, staging what is expected to be the largest demonstration in the nation’s capital against racial injustice and police brutality.

After eight days of protests that ebbed and flowed in the district, people from around the country gathered with renewed momentum, streaming into the capital from nearby places such as Arlington, Virginia.

Tens of thousands of people in Germany demonstrated against racism and police brutality in the United States. Many of the demonstrators in black clothes carried banners supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Organizers called for a silent demonstration lasting exactly 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time it took for Floyd to lose consciousness as the police officer knelt on his neck.

In Berlin alone, police said around 15,000 participants gathered at Alexanderplatz Square, despite the minimal distance order during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Munich, around 25,000 demonstrators took to the streets, but according to the police, only 200 people had registered for the event. The meeting area was finally expanded to make more space to allow demonstrators to follow the social distancing order.

The Farce of Self-Reliance

PRIME Minister, Narendra Modi, has hijacked the concept of self-reliance (Atmanirbhar Bharat). He claims this is the way to revive growth and make the 21st century, India’s century. Behind such bombast lies a crude contradiction and deception.  The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan special package announced to realise this goal has exposed the reality – the aim is to make India’s economy more dependent on international finance capital and to privatise India’s natural resources to benefit foreign and Indian big business.

The prime minister has reiterated the goal of self-reliance in his address to the Confederation of Indian Industry annual session on June 2.  He said that a self-sufficient India would be fully integrated with the world economy, “but it also meant that the country would not depend on anyone in strategic areas”.

The package unveiled by finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has done the opposite.  The mineral and mining sector has been thrown open to multinational companies.  500 mineral blocks would be auctioned to private bidders.  Already the government had announced 100 per cent FDI through the automatic route for mining and exploration in metal and non-metal sectors.  It had also announced 100 per cent FDI in commercial coal mining. Minerals is a strategic sector and an exhaustible resource.  The policy of the Modi government is to invite MNCs to come and exploit this valuable resource without any regulation. This is a vital blow to India’s self-reliance.

Another strategic sector is defence production.  Here the package provides for increasing FDI from 49 per cent to 74 per cent along with measures to dismantle the public sector defence production units. Already the government has opened up defence production to Indian corporates who have to tie up with a foreign weapons manufacturer under a strategic partners programme.  Alongside, India has become one of the biggest buyers of American military equipment. Rather than fostering self-reliance in this vital strategic sector, the policy is to become completely dependent on US arms companies both for domestic manufacture and for imports.

The package has laid out a blueprint for privatising the major public sector undertakings, including those in strategic areas.  The package states that the private sector will be allowed to invest in strategic sectors; in each strategic sector, the number of PSUs will be reduced by privatising some of them. This is nothing but demolishing whatever prospects that exist for self-reliance.

Thousands of protesters march to Washington DC

Chanting slogans while holding placards, thousands of protesters marched to Washington, DC, staging what is expected to be the largest demonstration in the US capital against racial injustice and police brutality.

After eight days of protests that ebbed and flowed in the district, people from around the country gathered with renewed momentum on Saturday, streaming into the capital from nearby places such as Arlington, Virginia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Destined for the city’s landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial, Capitol Hill, and the White House, which has been fortified with tall black fences, the demonstrators in one group were heard chanting “Whose streets? Our streets”.

DC police closed much of the downtown area to vehicle traffic starting 6 a.m., with boundaries of the restricted area reaching the National Mall in the south and L Street NW in the north.

The western end is along 19th Street NW and the eastern edge is Ninth Street NW through the city centre down to Third Street NW facing the US Capitol.

As of 12 p.m., DC Police Traffic estimated that there were roughly 6,000 protesters, with some 3,000 at the Lincoln Memorial and another 3,000 at 16th and I streets, NW.

Other groups were proceeding along 15th and H streets NW, as well as Pennsylvania Avenue, a diagonal street connecting the White House and the US Capitol.

World Food Safety Day:  Nuclear Techniques Used to Keep our Food Safe

“Food safety, everyone’s business” — this is the slogan of this year’s World Food Safety Day.

From fields and farms to dinner plates, the IAEA — in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) — builds capacity in countries worldwide in the use of nuclear, isotopic and complimentary analytical techniques to determine the safety and quality of food, including its origin and authenticity. It also provides support to specialists worldwide on the use of food irradiation to increase the durability of food products.

Over 70 countries have benefited from support in using nuclear techniques for the control of harmful chemical residues and contaminants, delivered as part of the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme as well as through coordinated research projects. We celebrate World Food Safety Day this year by showcasing two achievements — from Uganda and Costa Rica.

Worldwide coronavirus death toll reaches 400,000

The global confirmed death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 400,000 on Sunday, according to data collected by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The United States reported the most COVID-19 cases, at 1,920,061, and 109,802 deaths, Other countries with more than 20,000 fatalities included the U.K., Brazil, Italy, France and Spain.

The death toll from the coronavirus across the globe stood at 400,290 as of 9:30 a.m. in New York.

The milestone was reached a day after the government of Brazil broke with standard public health protocols by ceasing to publish updates of the number of deaths and infections in the hard-hit South American country.

Worldwide, nearly 7 million people have been infected by the virus, according to the John Hopkins tally.

Health experts, however, believe that the worldwide death toll falls short of showing the true tragedy of the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.

Many governments have struggled to produce statistics that can reasonably be considered as true indicators of the pandemic given the scarcity of diagnostic tests, especially in the first phase of the crisis. Authorities in Italy and Spain, with more than 60,000 combined deaths, have acknowledged that their death count is larger than the story the numbers tell.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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