The world in brief – Tuesday, October 11, 2022

In Palestine, rival groups meet for reconciliation talks:

The leaders of rival Palestinian groups are meeting in Algeria for two-day talks aimed at discussing a proposal for reconciliation and national unity. The proposal was drawn up after “months of effort by Algeria to reach a common vision for boosting the Palestinian national action”, Palestinian ambassador Fayez Abu Aita said on Saturday. Representatives of 12 Palestinian groups, including rival Hamas and Fatah movements, will be attending, Abu Aita told the official broadcaster Palestine Voice Radio. The initiative is the latest attempt to solve a years-long rift that has caused division and undermined the people’s trust in the Palestinian leadership. Among the contentious points to be discussed is the future of Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigade, which both Fatah and Israel want to see completely disarmed. The two sides will discuss the payment of salaries to 30,000 Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip, as well as how to move forward with long-overdue Palestinian elections – the first to be held since 2006.

In Ukraine, new round of missile strikes hit Zaporizhzhia:

A new round of missile attacks struck the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia Tuesday, as the death toll from the previous day’s widespread Russian missile barrage across Ukraine rose to 19. Missiles struck a school, a medical facility and residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia, city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said. The State Emergency Service said 12 S-300 missiles slammed into public facilities, setting off a large fire in the area. One person was killed. The S-300 was originally designed as a long-range surface-to-air missile. Russia has increasingly resorted to using repurposed versions of the weapon to strike targets on the ground. The morning’s air raid warnings extended throughout the country, sending some residents back into shelters after months of relative calm in the capital and many other cities. That earlier lull had led many Ukrainians to ignore the regular sirens, but Monday’s attacks gave them new urgency.

In U.S.A., “copaganda” misrepresents the realities of crime and public safety:

If you watch enough ​“true crime,” you might be convinced that murderers and home invasions are everywhere, and the victims are almost always young, white women. In reality, rates of violent crime are less than half of what they were 30 years ago, and the actual leading causes of death in this country are heart disease and cancer. Plus, murder victims are disproportionately men of color. Meanwhile, tax evasion by the rich amounts to an annual trillion-dollar crime, more than 1,500 times the magnitude of all reported robberies in the United States. And employers steal an estimated annual $50 billion from workers through wage theft.  Then there’s what actually happens during most police investigations; the police clearance rate for homicides is at an all time low, with about half of U.S. murders going unsolved. There’s also a staggering rate of wrongful convictions — studies suggest 6% of state prisoners and 4% of people on death row are innocent — and a prison system that’s totally incompatible with rehabilitation or restorative justice.  Perhaps the biggest thing copaganda gets wrong is the underlying cause of crime, and what we don’t do about it as a society — such as put real resources into tackling systemic inequality, racialized disinvestment and cycles of trauma.

In India, huge information commissioner vacancies persist:

Forty-two posts of information commissioners are vacant across the country against the sanctioned strength of 165 and two states are working without chief information commissioners (CICs), an official report said on Tuesday. Issues like non-compliance in proactive disclosure by public authorities, hostile approach of public information officers (PIOs) towards citizens and misinterpreting provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act to conceal information, a lack of clarity on what public interest is and right to privacy stand in the way of effective implementation of the transparency law, it said. “Out of 165 sanctioned posts for Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners, 42 posts are vacant,” said the sixth State Transparency Report 2022, brought out by Transparency International India (TII), a non-government organisation. Of the 42 vacant posts, two are of CICs (in Gujarat and Jharkhand) and 40 of information commissioners (including the highest of four each in West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra and three each in Uttarakhand, Kerala, Haryana and at the Centre), the report said, adding that less than five per cent of the posts of information commissioners are occupied by women. As many as 4,20,75,403 RTI applications were received by the states and the Centre, as recorded by the information commissions, from 2005-06 to 2020-21, it said. The RTI Act, 2005 is a path-breaking legislation that enables the country to break away from the colonial legacy of secrecy, which is anathema to a democratic system, the report said.

In China, Yunnan province makes progress in protection of Asian elephants:

Last year, a wandering herd of wild elephants in southwest China’s Yunnan province went on an “exodus” and returned to their original habitat 124 days later. The 1,400 km journey unprecedentedly made Asian elephants a focus of the world. It showcased China’s progress in the protection of wildlife, and the country’s historic achievements in biodiversity conservation. Currently, the 15 elephants are living healthily in the Mengyang area of the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve in Yunnan province. Yunnan province is the sole habitat for wild Asian elephants in China. Despite the drop in the total population of elephants around the world, the number of wild Asian elephants in China has increased from 180 to over 300 in the past 40 years or so. Thanks to the province’s efforts to improve monitoring, enhance relevant research and strengthen elephant rescue and breeding, the protection of Asian elephants has been lifted onto a new level. The Asian Elephant Breeding and Rescue Center, established in Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture in 2008, is a scientific research base aiming to better rescue and breed Asian elephants.

In France, Finance Minister critizes U.S. for “taking advantage” of EU energy crisis:

The US should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market while the EU suffers from the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has warned. “The conflict in Ukraine must not end in American economic domination and a weakening of the EU,” he said, speaking at the National Assembly on Monday. Le Maire said it’s unacceptable that Washington “sells its liquefied natural gas at four times the price than it sets for its own industrialists,” adding that “the economic weakening of Europe is not in anyone’s interest.” “We must reach a more balanced economic relationship on the energy issue between our American partners and the European continent,” Le Maire said. Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia was the EU’s largest gas supplier, responsible for about 45% of the bloc’s gas imports. However, due to sanctions imposed on Moscow in recent months, Russian gas supplies to the EU have decreased significantly. Facing an energy crisis, EU countries have rushed to fill their storage facilities – the level of reserves in underground storages was close to 91% as of Monday, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe. The storage sites are largely filled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), and are currently at their highest seasonal levels since at least 2016, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. However, LNG imports from overseas cost much more than gas supplied via pipeline from Russia under long-term contracts, and energy prices in the bloc continue to rise.

In Guatemala, state of calamity declared in wake of storm Julia:

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammettei declared a state of calamity on Monday to address the damage caused by tropical storm Julia, now downgraded to a tropical depression. The decision, made during a cabinet meeting, will be sent to congress for ratification in the coming days, the president said on social media. “The damages caused by Julia, in Central America and Guatemala, are copious. We are expecting very heavy rains and already have flooding, people buried, seven affected bridges, damaged roads and people without electricity,” Giammattei said. He added that there was a high probability of flooding in the next 48 to 72 hours, calling on people living near rivers to evacuate to higher ground or take refuge at one of the 1,858 shelters set up. So far, the National Coordination for Disaster Reduction has reported 153,000 people affected by the heavy rains, with 1,302 people evacuated, 1,042 in shelters and two missing. In addition, the storm damaged 17 roads and seven bridges, and destroyed one bridge.

In South Africa, father of suspected serial killer vows to “disown” son:

The father of a man arrested on suspicion of multiple murders has vowed to DISOWN his son this week. Police made a gruesome discovery at a warehouse in Joburg on Sunday, where the decomposed bodies of six women were found. The alleged serial killer has been reprimanded in custody, and is due back in court on Wednesday 18 October. However, he won’t be able to count on the support of his dad.  He told SABC that he now ‘wants to disown’ the suspected murderer. In an emotional interview, the Joburg resident reasoned that his boy was old enough to ‘take responsibility for his actions’. He also put more distance between himself and the heinous crimes, explaining that they are ‘far removed’ from his own beliefs and values. “I want to disown him. I don’t even want to attach him with me. To me, these actions are so far away from myself. If you have a family member like this, people want to understand what has happened. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Aged 21, he is old enough to understand.” A 21-year-old man was arrested after six badly decomposed bodies believed to be of sex workers were found at a panel beating shop in central Joburg, Gauteng. The grim discovery was made on Sunday, 9 October 2022.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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