News, July 15th

‘Palestine is here in New Hampshire’

On July 10, amidst fog and rain, activists took the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against apartheid and new efforts of annexation by the settler colonial Israeli government. In a state that has few organizations working on this question and a dependence on major weapons contractors such as Sig Sauer and BAE systems and others as a jobs base, this action was particularly significant and welcome.

The demonstration converged at the African Burial Ground, a local historical landmark were the bodies of nearly 200 enslaved African people were buried, a place of immense symbolism for the day and action given the history of connection between the continuing struggle for Black Liberation and Palestinian Liberation.

Speakers called for solidarity and remembrance of figures such as Huey P. Newton, Malcolm-X, Leila Khaled, Ahed Tamimi and others who have dedicated their lives to seeing all oppressed peoples freed from all vestiges of bondage and apartheid. Quoting Huey P. Newton of the Black Panther Party in his speech, Garrett Walker of the Party for Socialism and Liberation told the crowd:

“‘We support the Palestinians’ just struggle for liberation one hundred percent. We will go on doing this, and we would like for all of the progressive people of the world to join our ranks in order to make a world in which all people can live.‘ This struggle is international, just as the corporations which profit off police brutality are international, just as the capitalist police from around the world gather in Israel to train.”

Following these speeches, the energetic crowd took the streets with a banner reading “Free Palestine,” chanting “Trump Trump, you will see, Palestine will be free!” and “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go!”

Nooran Alhamdan, a key organizer of the protest and first-generation child of Palestinian refugees, spoke with Liberation News in an interview after the event.

“In 1948 my father’s family was expelled from their village in central Palestine by force of arms. The Haganah, a Zionist terrorist militia that would later go on to be the Israeli army (along with other Zionist militias guilty of similar crimes), attacked their village twice in July of 1948…

“Palestine is a struggle against settler colonialism, apartheid and systemic racism — defining traits of the United States since its inception. Palestine is even here in New Hampshire. When the New Hampshire State Police have been involved in a Deadly Exchange training in Israel.  When they use Israeli cyberware and technology. Palestine is here in New Hampshire and when we demand accountability for the police at a Black Lives Matter protest we must understand that the cruelty inflicted onto Palestinians is taught to the forces that oppress Black people in this country, and the cruelty inflicted on Black people for centuries here in the United States and in apartheid South Africa serves as a blueprint for how Israel treats Palestinians. There is no way to separate the liberation of Indigenous people, Black people, and Palestinian people. Our fate is tied to collective liberation and decolonization…

“Liberation in Palestine looks like the refugee camp my father was raised in in Jordan becoming a shell. Vacant. Empty. Because its people will have finally returned home. No longer birthing generations into exile, no longer burying the survivors of the 1948 Nakba in shallow refugee camp graves.

Liberation in Palestine is right of return. It is decolonization of the land and fair redistribution of it. It is a binational state that we must work towards by working to what Palestinian author Noura Erakat calls ‘radical futurism.’ We must think radically about the future. It’s not enough to say we want Palestinians and Israelis to be equal in one state. I do want that. But I also want to imagine a future where we can create a collective memory rooted in transitional justice, redefining identity, and breaking out of the modern constraints of nationalism. Palestinian liberation looks like freedom and justice for all, Palestinians and Israelis, Muslims Christians, and Jews, in the entire land between the river and the sea. And I believe that I will live to see that day.”

Challenges facing the world in the fight against poverty and hunger

Socio-economic fluctuations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are reversing decades of progress on poverty, healthcare and education and interrupting the implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs). The risk of many people being pushed into extreme poverty is creating huge challenges in the fight against global poverty.

According to a recently released report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the 15-year-long global effort to improve the lives of people everywhere through the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 was already off track by the end of 2019.

In only a short period of time, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented period of crisis, causing further disruption to the SDG’s progress, with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable affected the most, including children, older persons, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees. An estimated 71 million people are expected to be pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020, the first rise in global poverty since 1998.

The international community is concerned about food crises, the risk of humanitarian disasters and rising poverty, which makes the “gray picture” of the global fight against poverty even gloomier. Long-running conflicts in Syria, Yemen, terrorist violence in Africa’s Sahel or the worst economic crisis in decades in Latin America are pushing many people into a terrible humanitarian tragedy.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), nearly 10 million people in Yemen are suffering from severe food shortages, which is making the humanitarian situation worsen at an alarming rate. Warning signs of famine already exist in the nation as over 20 million Yemenis are food insecure.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that at least 3.5 million people are projected to fall into crisis or emergency food insecurity in Somalia between June and September. The humanitarian crisis in this African nation is mainly due to the consequences of climate change, conflict, and widespread poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing 40 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean to face serious food shortages. The WFP has urged governments in the region and international humanitarian organizations to take immediate action to prevent the crisis from turning into a pandemic of hunger.

Meanwhile, about 24 million people in Africa’s Sahel, of which more than half are children, need support and protection to merely survive this year. Food insecurity and malnutrition in the region are expected to skyrocket, with more than 12 million people facing severe famine, the highest figure in the last decade.

At a recent teleconference, the Group of Seven finance ministers called for full implementation of a G20 freeze on debt service payments by all official bilateral creditors. G20 members and the Paris Club of official creditors in April offered a freeze on debt service payments to the 73 poorest countries up until year-end in order to free up an estimated US$12 billion in funds to fight the outbreak. But the implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) has proven challenging, and the unexpectedly deep downturn in the global economy has prompted calls for extension and expansion of the moratorium. So far, 41 countries have applied for relief under the DSSI.

Food crises, humanitarian issues and the fight against poverty have been mentioned many times by the UN and international organizations since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The WFP, meanwhile, warned of immediate difficulties in aid operations around the globe as most of its logistics humanitarian flights are at risk of failure in July due to a lack of funding. Lack of finance and the current alarming poverty situation are affecting joint efforts to implement the SDG and are posing numerous challenges in the fight against poverty and hunger.

China, Arab countries work together to build community of shared future

China and Arab countries have made concerted efforts in the fight against COVID-19. During this process, the China-Arab traditional friendship and strategic partnership have been further deepened, promoting the building of a community with shared future between China and Arab countries.

Chinese medical experts visit a public health laboratory in Palestine on June 14, 2020. They discussed detection and treatment of COVID-19 with Palestinian experts. (Photo/Xinhua)

During China’s most difficult time in its battle against the coronavirus, the Arab countries and people provided strong support, according to a statement issued at the 53rd session of the Arab health minister council supporting China’s anti-epidemic efforts.

Furthermore, Arab countries have donated more than 10 million masks and other urgently needed medical supplies to China, and people in Arab countries have also recorded videos to give encouragement to China and Wuhan, the former epicenter of COVID-19 in China.

China has also done its best to provide support and assistance as the COVID-19 pandemic hits Arab countries hard. China has unreservedly shared its anti-epidemic experience and medical technology with Arab countries, assisted them in purchasing anti-epidemic materials in China, and supported them in resuming work and production in an orderly manner.

Under the current circumstances, it is more important than ever for China and Arab countries to strengthen cooperation, overcome difficulties and move forward hand in hand.

A mask production line of an Egypt-China joint venture has been in operation for several months in Egypt, greatly satisfying local demand. Omar Abdu, head of the production line in Egypt, said that thanks to the help of Chinese equipment and friends, high-quality masks can now be produced to help fight the epidemic in Egypt.

The Huo-Yan Laboratory (or Fire Eye Lab), a full nucleic acid testing lab constructed by Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), allowed COVID-19 testing to be conducted for approximately 30 percent of the population of Saudi Arabia over eight months.

“We need to work together to overcome the epidemic. I would like to thank the Chinese government and BGI for the support,” said Turki M. A. Almadi, Saudi Ambassador to China.

The joint efforts of China and Arab countries in the fight against the epidemic have proven once again that no matter how the international situation has changed, China and Arab countries have always been great partners of mutual benefit. The anti-epidemic cooperation between the two sides has led to the further deepening of their strategic partnership.

Chinese state media editor-in-chief asks if US is ‘mentally retarded’

The editor-in-chief for The Global Times, a state-funded newspaper in China, asked Monday if the United States is “mentally retarded” for rejecting Beijing’s broad territorial claims in the South China Sea, a region with long-standing disputes between China and other Southeast Asian countries.

In a retweet of an article about Washington’s statement, Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin accused the U.S. of trying to provoke a conflict between China and surrounding nations.

“The US issued the statement four years after the South China sea ruling. Is Washington mentally retarded and slow in action?” Xijin wrote. “Who can’t see you want to instigate ASEAN-China clash and make ASEAN the cannon fodder of US’ strategy against China? Do you think other people are fools?”

Xijin has earned a reputation over the years for his belligerent rhetoric and inveterate support of the Chinese Communist Party. He has been particularly outspoken in his opposition to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, likening them to ISIS terrorists.

In an editorial published last November, he told Hong Kong police they have nothing to be scared of because they have the backing of “Chinese soldiers and People’s Liberation Army in Hong Kong” who can “provide support at any time.”

Xijin’s less than diplomatic rhetoric against Washington on Monday comes amid Beijing accusing the U.S. of trying to sow discord between China and the Southeast Asian countries with which it has long-standing territorial disputes in waters that are both a vital international shipping lane and home to valuable fisheries.

“The United States is not a country directly involved in the disputes. However, it has kept interfering in the issue,” the Chinese Embassy in Washington said on its website. “Under the pretext of preserving stability, it is flexing muscles, stirring up tension and inciting confrontation in the region.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement released Monday, said the U.S. now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognized waters to be illegitimate. The new position does not cover land features above sea level, which are considered to be “territorial” in nature.

Pompeo’s statement marks a major shift in America’s South China Sea policy. Previously, the U.S. had only insisted that maritime disputes between China and its smaller neighbors be resolved peacefully through U.N.-backed arbitration.

Both Indonesia and the Philippines joined Pompeo in calling on China to abide by an international arbitration court ruling in 2016 that disqualified many of China’s claims.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated China’s position that it has had effective jurisdiction over the islands, reefs, and waters of the South China Sea for more than 1,000 years.

China’s emergence as a military power and its ambitions to extend its offshore reach have come into conflict with the U.S., which has been the dominant naval power in the western Pacific in the post-World War II period.

On duty!  To serve humanity

This island nation once again kisses her children on the forehead, bids them farewell with pride, and watches as they embark on another journey to where life demands their presence, without hesitation

This time, Azerbaijan is the destination for Cuban health professionals, whose internationalist vocation calls them to heal the pain of others. Thus the 115 members of this brigade are now joining thousands of their brothers and sisters around the world, showing that humanism and solidarity are the most effective vaccines against the new coronavirus.

For the first time, the Azeri people will receive the warm embrace of Cuban medical collaboration. “The Henry Reeve Brigade will share Cuba’s experience fighting the pandemic and will strengthen the cooperation demanded by these times,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla posted on his Twitter account.

Today it is COVID-19, but on other occasions, it was Ebola, an earthquake, a hurricane, as Cuban doctors, and nurses continue the tradition of offering hope with health care, beyond our homeland’s borders. This is why there are everyday more grateful people who, motivated by personal experience or conviction, sign a petition, or raise their voice to support the candidacy of the Henry Reeve Brigade for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Undoubtedly, one of the most heartfelt of these statements came from our own continent, issued by the Argentine Solidarity with Cuba Movement (MasCuba), under the premise that, “Despite the genocidal blockade, Cuba saves lives.”

Sharks of the Badlands brings Porsche 928 lovers to the region this weekend

The underdog of the Porsche world — the Porsche 928 — and people who love it will converge this weekend in Rapid City.

Sharks in the Badlands, a special event for the Porsche 928 Owners Club, is set for July 17-19. Organizer Harvey Carlisle anticipates up to 65 people from throughout the United States will drive their Porsche 928s to the Black Hills to tour the region.

“We want people to get out in these cars and drive them and enjoy them. They were meant to be luxury cars. … When Porsche 928 owners travel, they like to drive fast — for an hour or two,” Carlisle said, chuckling.

“A lot of people who are coming have never been to South Dakota. Over half have never been in this part of the country before,” he said.

The Porsche 928s and their owners will be at the Cambria Hotel in Rapid City, where anyone who wants to see the cars and talk to owners is welcome to stop by on Friday evening.

“We stand around in the parking lot talking about cars and having fun,” Carlisle said.

Porsche 928s will start rolling into Rapid City on Wednesday and Thursday, Carlisle said. The Sharks in the Badlands event includes trips to the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain Road, Custer, Needles Highway, Pactola, and Devils Tower plus bus trips to Hill City and Deadwood. For more information, Carlisle encourages people to stop at the Cambria Hotel while Sharks in the Badlands is taking place.

“You don’t have to own a 928 to go to our events,” Carlisle said. “If you like them, then you’re welcome to show up. It’s a love for the cars and the desire to come get together and have fun.”

The Porsche 928 launched in Europe in 1980 and was introduced in the United States in 1983. The car was supposed to replace the popular Porsche 911, Carlisle said, noting that members of the 928 Car Owners Club own four of the original 11 prototypes of the 928.

However, the 928 was expensive when it was first produced and couldn’t compete with the popularity of the 911, Carlisle said. Porsche 928s stopped being manufactured in 1995. Only 61,056 of the Porsche 928s were made. Carlisle estimates about 12,000 still exist in the United States.

The Porsche 928’s claim to fame comes from the 1983 blockbuster “Risky Business,” when Tom Cruise, a gold Porsche 928 and a wooden pier abruptly plunge into Lake Michigan.

The car’s place in cinematic history is not the biggest attraction for its small but loyal group of fans. Nationally and internationally, the Porsche 928 Owners Club has about 280 members. They appreciate the Porsche 928 for its looks, its speed (up to about 175 miles per hour) and its affordability compared to other Porsches, Carlisle said.

“They’re just a beautiful car. They were built 35 or 40 years ago and they’re still beautiful,” Carlisle said.

Collectors can buy 928s for between $15,000 and $20,000, while Porsche 911 and other models generally range in price from about $35,000 to more than $1.25 million.

Carlisle bought his first Porsche while stationed in Germany with the Air Force. He toured a Porsche factory in Stuttgart and discovered a demonstrator vehicle that had been a factory executive’s car for a year fit his budget.

Carlisle now owns three Porsche 928s. Carlisle lives in Cottonwood and serves as its president because the town, with a population of nine, is too small to have a mayor.

“With three 928s, I have more 928s per capita than anybody in the world,” Carlisle said with a laugh.

His 1979 black Porsche 928 is the car he bought to tinker with. Carlisle said he has learned through online tutorials how to maintain and repair his Porsches, with the help of others in the Porsche 928 community.

He also owns a brown 1983 vehicle that’s one of the earliest surviving Porsche 928s manufactured that year, he said. His 1991 vehicle is one of only 387 Porsche 298s built for the United States that year, and as far as Carlisle knows, one of only two from that year of its color, Horizon Blue.

The Porsche 928 Owners Club typically puts on annual events in California, Texas, North Carolina, and Virginia. Carlisle said Sharks of the Badlands is the second annual “Rendezvous,” a club event that will move to a different location every year. He’s looking forward to getting out on the road in the Black Hills with other 928 owners.

“We’re making (Rendezvous) so people can see different parts of the country they’ve never seen before,” Carlisle said. “I want them to come up and enjoy my neck of the woods and have fun.”

The Guardian latest UK publisher to announce job cuts

The Guardian newspaper said on Wednesday it plans to axe 180 jobs, the latest British publisher to announce cuts as the coronavirus crisis drives readers online and slashes advertising revenues.

The left-leaning newspaper said in a staff memo the redundancies would affect around 70 editorial roles, with the remainder in areas such as advertising, marketing, and events.

Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and Guardian Media Group chief executive Annette Thomas added revenues would be down by more than £25 million ($31.6 million, 27.6 million euros) this financial year, and the pandemic had created an “unsustainable financial outlook for the Guardian”.

The move follows an announcement last week by Reach, which publishes national newspapers the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, and a string of local titles, to cut about 550 jobs.

It also blamed the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, which had accelerated “structural change in the media sector”, with increases in digital revenue not making up the shortfalls from lost advertising income.

Reach’s proposed reduction of 12 percent of its workforce was part of plans to make annual cost savings of £35 million, it added.

The Guardian announced its cuts alongside financial results for the 2019-20 financial year, which cover the 12 months to the end of March — when Britain’s three-month virus lockdown was just a week old.

They showed company revenues had fallen to £223.5 million. Income from readers through subscriptions and donations made up for a drop in advertising income.

The paper, which switched to a new tabloid format in 2018 to help cut costs, has kept its online content free-to-read and, in contrast to many rivals, not adopted a paywall model.

Viner and Thomas told staff they remained committed to the strategy.

“Despite the pressures that coronavirus has placed on our business, our unique reader relationship model has proved successful, and the strategy of the past few years has been the right one,” they added.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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