American Elections in Paris

voteus

The American elections are of importance not only for US citizens but for the millions of people in most of the countries and states which are affected directly or indirectly by american politics, …

Source: American Elections in Paris

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The Cult of the Professional Class

Much more than an environmental article and perspective.
Because everything in life and on planet is interrelated.

by Kristine Mattis Source: CounterPunch

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. — Albert Einstein …

Re blogged from: Climate Change-Human Case

 

The War “Agents” – From Vietnam to This Day

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Nick Ut’s famous photo known as “Napalm Girl” is credited for raising the awarness of the Vietnam War. Nick Ut rushed Kim Phuc to a nearby hospital after the photo was taken. Nick Ut, Associated Press

In the middle of a global turmoil, whether it would be murders in the form of “wars” (against….what exactly?), global inequalities (e.g. gender, income, living conditions, human and civil rights), climate change effects and pharisaic politics (see EU vs Refugees, US vs Democracy etc), the combination of two pieces of information gave way to this article.
They both involve wars, American wars, unreasonable wars (as if there were reasonable) i.e. aggressive (as opposed to defensive) wars, which both destabilised or destroyed countries, caused casualties and distress and proved to be vain, even more than any war could prove.

The two said factors are:

I) Agent Orange

Agent Orange is a herbicide.
We read that: 
During the late 1940s and 1950s, the US and Britain collaborated on development of herbicides with potential applications in warfare.
Indeed, Americans used that herbicide during Vietnam war with the pretext of destroying Vietnam’s flora which was making their lives “difficult” (or terminated) inside country’s jungle.

We learn that:
Agent Orange was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical,
an information which nowadays makes sense, to say the least, as it explains the GMOs “regime”.

In a more…trivial level we are informed that:
It was given its name from the color of the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped, and was by far the most widely used of the so-called “Rainbow Herbicides“.

We understand that in contemporary terms it was a chemical weapon, like these used in Syria and attributed only to country’s regime, [and which are German made and in fact have targeted Syrian people in order to force them to abandon their country and thus weaken Assad and pass to Turkey and…..  –read more about Turkey’s role, Germany, ISIS and EU].
Back to chemical weapons of the past with some more “unpleasant” information:
The 2,4,5-T used to produce Agent Orange was contaminated with 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), an extremely toxic dioxin compound. In some areas, TCDD concentrations in soil and water were hundreds of times greater than the levels considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

We are also informed that:
Although in the Geneva Disarmament Convention of 1978, Article 2(4) Protocol III to the weaponry convention has “The Jungle Exception”, which prohibits states from attacking forests or jungles “except if such natural elements are used to cover, conceal or camouflage combatants or military objectives or are military objectives themselves” this voids any protection of any military or civilians from a napalm attack or something like agent Orange and is clear that it was designed to cater to situations like U.S. tactics in Vietnam. This clause has yet to be revised
– 
which in a free translation means that international laws have always been tailored to mainstream – USA – interests.

To make a tragic story short, it was not only expected but also desirable that Agent Orange would harm people and not only vegetation, and it has, indeed.
Many handicapped children have been born since, unable (invalides, according to Napoleon’s conception) to function within society without help, victims of perverse minds and of the renowned imperialist war machine.  
The sad but also promising factor of the story/ history is that in Vietnam, the American veteran George Mizo founded in 1992 The Vietnam Friendship Village (See Village’s site) where children are taken care and are tought crafts with which they can support their lives -hopefully.

It’s not possible to explore George Mizo’s soul and mind.
Nevertheless, what formed half of this article’s “substance” is an episode of the Greek show/ travel documentary series World Party in which we watched kids between 7 and 17 years old who are affected by Agent Orange and who are now educated and supported by Vietnam Friendship Village.

Person presented, Mr Tsack, confessed/ admitted during the documentary something that we all know with certainty:
War is the worst failure of mankind.
It’s the failure of what is good and decent about human beings and represents/ reflects the worst aspects of all of us.”


II) Gulf War Syndrome

This sad outcome/aftermath of another chapter of absurd American wars, 
… refers to the complex of symptoms that affects veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War at significantly excess rates. It is characterized by multiple diverse symptoms not explained by established medical diagnoses or standard laboratory tests, symptoms that typically include a combination of memory and concentration problems, persistent headache, unexplained fatigue, and widespread pain, and can also include chronic digestive difficulties, respiratory symptoms, and skin rashes,
according to an article of Global Research.

gulf-war-syndrome2

Also, in Wikipedia we can find that:
According to a report by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may also suffer from the syndrome.
Suggested causes have included depleted uranium, sarin gas, smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors.

while many other sources (e.g. Medical Dictionary, veterans’ site Military.com but also US Dept Of Veterans Affairs) outline a number of symptoms caused by psychological or physical factors.
Saying that “they are lucky to be alive” would only be an insensitive and tragic irony in fact.

Consequences to other nations are not yet allowed to reveal and history is still being written.
So, maybe several decades later, someone, somewhere, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Syria, in Central Africa, in Eastern Europe, will acknowledge the harm caused to local people and the pointlessness, the irrationality, the absurdity and the cruelty of any and each war and maybe will create a friendship village or, better yet, a friendship Earth.

Or, people will keep in mind Mr Tsack’s comment:
“Most of us
took the easy way which was to submit and to do what we were told.
It’s much more difficult and much more courageous to say “no”, and I would try to convince my grandchildren to have the strength and the courage and the personal conviction to say “no”.
We
didn’t learn anything from Vietnam. That’s the real tragedy of Vietnam.
We could have learned lessons that would have made the world a very different place.”  

From my part, I won’t stop wondering how many kilometers of wall (other than China one), would be necessary if ALL millions of real victims had to be carved, mentioned and honored.

Relative reads:

Documentary The Look of Silence and Indonesian history

23 May 1965, Jakarta, Indonesia --- Members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the third largest in the world, gather in the Russian built sports stadium in Jakarta to celebrate the party's 45th anniversary. The party symbol of a soldier, a laborer and a farmer stands below a portrait of President Sukarno. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
23 May 1965, Jakarta, Indonesia — Members and sympathizers of the Indonesian Communist Party, the third largest in the world, gather in the Russian built sports stadium in Jakarta to celebrate the party’s 45th anniversary. The party symbol of a soldier, a laborer and a farmer stands below a portrait of President Sukarno. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

It was by chance that I watched an interesting (chilling would be fairer) documentary on TV, in which camera follows Adi Rukun a man who is “interviewing” some of his co-villagers, his parents and members of his family about the true story of the murder of his brother Ramli, one of the about one million victims (according to the bragging killers as well, 500000 according to other sources) in Indonesia’s 1965-66 massacre-extermination of members, supporters and sympathisers of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

I wondered how many people, if any, knew about that dark story and the large number of persons slaughtered with the most brutal methods under US and CIA directions and support, which took place during Cold War and the peak of American anti-communism, during the inland and outside US fear-inducing propaganda.

It is also worth wondering if and to what extent have things changed since then, when the US-led local army and police carried the prisoners and delivered them to their killers who stabbed, beheaded or buried them alive – in a few words using bestial practices upon Indonesian as well as  Chinese population.
At the time, the atrocities were presented as “impulsive” and were attributed to people’s fear of communists, who were said to be atheists, to exchange their wives and to commit crimes. Well known accusations which would be funny if they weren’t tragic.
The way interviewed murderers (butchers) present their brutal murders and the calmness of the “hero” before them is stunning.
One of the killers says that he collected their blood and drunk it while his young daughter who claims that she didn’t know anything about it asks Adi to forgive her and her father.

As Rukun points out to several of these beasts (many of whom remain in charge until today), they show no remorse and not one of them says that he acted wrongly or that what he did was his own fault.
Not surprisingly, this regime is US supported. Until now the school teachers continue to propagandise against communists, to distort facts and to induce fear by telling to 6-7 years creepy stories attributed to communists. We watch Adi trying to “repair the damage” by telling the true story to his son.

The country remains in turmoil as poverty and injustice induce uprisings – like in many places of the world.
The question is which and to what extent certain revolts and acts of “radicalism” (as reported by the Reuters in “Indonesia hopes village spending will counter radicalism“) are impulsive or directed provocations.
Careful interpretation in necessary. Especially under the lights of history like this.

With a little research we found that the documentary is The Look of Silence of Joshua Oppenheimer.
According to  The Conversation which presented the film in November 2014:

«The companion piece to his Oscar-nominated 2012 film The Act of Killing deals with a survivor’s quest for justice.[…]
It is this rupture – and not the cohesiveness of the “Indonesia as a whole” that explains why so many are invested in Oppenheimer’s project, why “Anonymous” crews support the production, and why it was possible to screen The Act of Killing more than 1,000 times throughout the country.
Despite the persisting cultural movement since Suharto’s downfall, the infrastructures that prevent Indonesians from contesting the official narrative of 1965-66 remain unchanged. We need structural changes within Indonesia to do this.»

In the article of January 2014 about the previous film, The Act of Killing, an equally if not more nerve challenging presentation of the criminals, The Conversation writes:
«Academy Award nominations rarely enter into the domain of politics, and certainly have not delved into Indonesian politics in the past. This year, however, is different.
US-British director Joshua Oppenheimer’s film The Act of Killing has already won numerous international awards and has now been nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
The film has received rave reviews from film critics, as well as one off-beat (and frankly misleading and illogical) paean from Slovenian Marxist philosopher, Slavoj Zizek.
Confronting, controversial, The Act of Killing aims to explain the politics of the past in Indonesia. The documentary presents two connected aspects of Indonesia: the anti-communist killings of 1965-1969; and the role of gangsters in present-day politics.»

It is one of the stories which remain buried deeper than the victims (many of whom in this case were thrown in Snake River) and it is surely a story worth spreading.
One of the killers describes with great indifference that no one was eating river fishes after the slaughter because fishes were eating people.
A safe conclusion would also be that any dictatorship, any inhuman, violent, sadistic regime and any human rights violating or illegal government is good as long as US “approves” it!

The trailer of The Look of Silence:


In 2014, an article of the New York Times was titled: ‘The Act of Killing’ Film Fails to Stir Indonesia.
No wonder at all, as it is doubtful if anyone would dare to watch it under the fear of retaliation and danger for his life (the same danger which his mother and his wife point out to Adi Rukun ).
An interesting and encouraging outcome from this presentation of NYT is the following letter and mostly its senders.

«Mass Slaughter in Indonesia
MARCH 6, 2014
To the Editor:
(of NYT)

“ ‘Act of Killing’ Film Fails to Stir Indonesia” (news article, March 2) describes how Indonesia’s media has largely ignored Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful, Oscar-nominated documentary about General Suharto’s murder of between a half million and a million alleged Communists in 1965 and 1966. It doesn’t even mention the United States’ contribution to what The Times described as “one of the most savage mass slaughters of modern political history.”

As we report in our “Untold History of the United States” documentary film series and book, the Central Intelligence Agency had targeted Sukarno, Suharto’s predecessor, for years, and in 1965 provided a “kill list” containing thousands of names. The State Department’s Indonesia expert stated, “No one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were butchered.” Suharto’s dictatorship lasted 32 years.

Conditions have improved since his ouster, but the horrors of his rule and American complicity in his crimes must never be forgotten.

OLIVER STONE
PETER KUZNICK
Los Angeles, March 3, 2014

Mr. Stone is the film director, and Mr. Kuznick is a professor of history at American University.»

More about the story (history) and the massacre:

The history and evidence “on how the October 1 coup was triggered” are presented in the article
US orchestrated Suharto’s 1965-66 slaughter in Indonesia of World Socialist Web Site.

A US Department of State recent presentation of “US Relations With Indonesia” (for anyone interested, only part of the URL, state.gov, to avoid tracking).

Macrohistory and World Timeline also gives and analytical version of the facts in Indonesia and the Great Slaughter and Sukarno Loses Power

The relative book China, class collaboration, and the killing fields of Indonesia in 1965, of James Robb is presented here.

All in all, it is worth taking a look and learning the facts about a rarely said history.

 

Fleeing Morality and Refugees

A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013. Bulgaria's asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images
A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refugee camp set in the town of Harmanli, south-east of Sofia on November 12, 2013. Bulgaria’s asylum centres are severely overcrowded after the arrival of almost 10,000 refugees this year, half of them Syrian. The influx has fuelled anti-immigrant sentiment in a country already struggling with dire poverty. AFP PHOTO / NIKOLAY DOYCHINOVNIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images

 

I started writing under the wish/need to note down some of my thoughts concerning the facts that we hear, see or live about the people who leave their countries (massively at this point) and become refugees or migrants or whatever-bs-their-namers-call-them-in-order-to-serve-their-own-interests.
Beyond the image, under the isothermic blanket or the tent, deeper than frostbite and hunger, which they meet during their trip, there are HUMANS.
Mercy!

Massiveness seems to distort, to water the understanding of people on what it means one’s forced separation, trip and finally wretched presence, thousands of miles away from home.
Perspective is lost and I admire those who act, react and offer by participating actively. 
Thought produce thoughts and together with human concern and interest in global issues, apart from whys and hows about the course and willful struggle of refugees, I questioned certain countries’ reactions with (apparently but you never know) prominent, Austria. 
Here, today, I want to confess that no matter now many years will pass (as it seems), there will always be something which will surprise me, which will find me unaware and will let me speechless, and which will draw all over my world a giant black question mark: Evil, malice, badness.
Theories and philosophies about human nature, kindness and culture, pale in front of malice. I don’t know if some good person has defined it once and forever.
In my understanding and senses it’s chilling because it lacks reason and I would never comprehend it even if I’d try.
It’s above me. It slips my mind.
Why would someone want to be bad? If he doesn’t want, he won’t; as simple as that.

Less strict persons say that bad souls are a by-product of some misery, lack, trauma, complex or imbecility (which seems probable although not for all cases).
Seriously?!
So, the rest of us, normal good people, we are all happy all the time, full, come from ideal environments and upbringings and we are geniuses?
You, bad, may suffer from something else; do you have to become “dirty-soul”?

To return to the global drama which takes place before our eyes (and everywhere in the world but we don’t normally learn about it unless it becomes massive and Media “appropriate”).
Once it happened to you to become “dirty-soul”, is it necessary to also become a politician or a person with influence and/or authority and to use people as if they were rubbish?
Why you, sub-human, don’t try to do the same to others, more powerful than you (individuals or states)?

The conclusion is that some statements and declarations are beyond limits of politics and interests and enter the sphere of raw and overt evil, which might have no clear (or unclear) reason but it always has disastrous results – to a smaller or bigger extent.  

At the same time and in parallel with the obvious, whatever takes place in a political level works destructively upon less resistant minds and more shaky moralities, because it acquits violence (covert or not) from human to human and allows its externalization which might were suppressed or masked because of social conventions.
Well, social conventions and contracts seem to have become toilet papers – the nearest to political correctness term available.
Woe for humanity if the same become sensitivity, empathy, compassion, understanding, kindness and finally logic. 
 
It is useful to know though, that:

  • Millions of refugees are hosted in countries outside “enlightened” Europe (and West), for years. For “civilized” countries and their Media they appear as nonexistent. The only images which are allowed to reach us are those which serve propaganda.
  • For ages, migrants enter Europe or EU, they are often exploited or marginalized or demonized. However, they live a better life … than death. More rarely, they really live their dream.
  • Suddenly, for Austria, FYROM and other “over-civilized”, migrants stink and likewise do refugees. Nowadays, when there are no lower jobs left and no funds can feed their so-called hospitality and solidarity, they throw them all in the lions’ den.
  • The massive exodus of Syrian citizens is useful for the West because it stripped the country as well as the demonized Assad. No matter how many elections or reforms he makes, the absent population will be the strong card for the Westerns and “opposition”.No, we are not all Charlie or Paris suddenly.
    It is certain though that we are all migrants or refugees under circumstances.
    The only condition needed is an economic crisis, like in Greece for example but not limited, or our violent uprooting. But it’s unlike, isn’t it? Sure..!

Exactly as unlike as it were for the about 5 millions of Syrians just a few years ago.

See also:
Report of UN for the Refugees (UNHCR) June 2015

«INTRODUCTION: Conflict, persecution, generalized violence and violations of human rights continued to cause forced displacement around the world during the first six months of 2015. Fighting across parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa have continued into the first half of the year, resulting in millions of individuals being forced to flee either within or outside their country»

 

 

 

 

My Beloved Old Paris

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Following the Paris “series”, I decided to share a few more views of my beloved city. 
The “old” in the title, implies that you will see here photos from a previous visit.
What differentiates them from the recent ones are my photo-skills which improve over time and the fact that they are taken in summer, while the new ones are in autumn.
This may or may not have an impact -let’s see.
So, for your eyes only…

 

SAM_1311

 

No, not real! Photo exhibition "Les Stars et La Seine" at Pont Solferino
No, not THE real! Photo exhibition “Les Stars et La Seine” at Pont Solferino

 

Les Stars et La Seine
Les Stars et La Seine

 

Les Plages de Paris (no swimming allowed)
Les Plages de Paris (No swimming allowed)

 

One the baby-pyramids of Louvre
One the baby-pyramids of Louvre

 

 

Luxembourg Garden in the summer
Luxembourg Garden in the summer

 

Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

 

Definitely autumn
One of the parks, definitely in autumn

 

Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression

 

Poor république!
Poor République!

 

Palais de Chaillot and waters
Palais de Chaillot, waters, Jardins du Trocadero 

 

 

Musée d'Orsay
Musée d’Orsay

 

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Opéra Garnier
Opéra Garnier

 

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A bientôt!

 

Photos: ©EliP

Paris and Paris again

SAM_2408

Have you ever heard about writer’s block? It’s the condition under which the writer lacks ideas, mood or even discipline in order to sit down and use fingers to write.
Has it ever happened to you?
Good! Well, not so good concerning its damage; I am just happy to find common thing between people.
Now, take writer’s block and wonder: What’s its opposite which produces the same result?
Out of personal experience I can say that total ankylosis in writing procedure is also caused by the … hordes, millions, kilos, kilometers of ideas which are crowding near the tiny exit of the mind and seek to become a script, text etc.
These explained, the daily menu includes visual material created a few months ago during my travel in Paris.
Regular (Greek) readers must have seen photos from my previous “fresh” journey and you have read many of my experiences. In order that the young are informed and the elders recall, you can find them here.

This time though, I will not reveal “chilling” details of the journey and I’ll just say that I felt at home -so to speak and hopefully- me the ex rookie and I’ll also say that later, while showing my photos, I found that my abilities have improved.
Wish you conclude the same!

With the least commenting from me, enjoy a part of the photos -they are too many to include in one posting.
So, admire my beloved (Eiffel Tower) (yes, it’s a boy!) with clouds or sun, from near by or away, in day and at night, with “normal” lights, as the Paris attacks came later.
Find also some photos of the beloved Park Monceau for which you can find encyclopedic  or tourist information here and here respectively.
Imagine circumstances and write stories. They will be wonderful anyway!

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Dancing, but not moving, couple
Dancing, but not moving, couple
Mark Monceau to the delight of our eyes
Mark Monceau to the delight of our eyes
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Tower with lights and sky with a fool moon

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Another dansing couple
Another dancing couple

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Here, on October 22, 1797, the French André-Jacques Garnerin,  jumping from a free baloon,  made the first parachuting fall in history
Here, on October 22, 1797, the French André-Jacques Garnerin, jumping from a free balloon, made the first parachuting fall in history

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Real mothers (or nannies) with real babies in the park
Real mothers (or nannies) with real babies in the park

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Mother and daughter?
Mother and daughter?
SAM_2305
“European Union of Gold” says the sign of the shop which buys and sells gold. Ironic and a little tragic, willingly or not

SAM_2191

Photos: ©EliP

Human Rights and Dying Migrants

This morning Greek media reported the arrival of 1,800 migrants, mainly from Middle East, in central Athens square. They were added to 100,000 people (refugees and migrants) who have crossed Mediterranean since start of 2015 according to UNHCR, “with record numbers now arriving every day in the Greek islands. Official figures show that as of 8 June a total of 103,000 refugees and migrants had arrived in Europe: 54,000 in Italy, 48,000 in Greece, 91 on Malta and 920 in Spain.”

EU obviously faces a humanitarian problem and evidently turns a blind eye to it, as its latest political (non) decisions show. (TWTP article Sea of War and Death)

The problem contains several contradictions:
– Human beings lose their lives while trying to escape their countries just to save their own and their children lives. 
– Civil and offensive wars, hunger, turmoil or evictions force people to abandon their residencies, fortunes, homes, jobs, families and homeland in order to survive. The oxymoron here is that a series of events beyond their power, force educated and working, respected and “normal”, until yesterday, people to be uprooted, then to become victims of traffickers and in the end to be treated as “interlopers” in European countries.
– The majority of the problems that their countries face are western-made and EU plays a major role in these. Libya’s (not so) civil war Lethal attempt of USA for a regime change in Syria.
– “Breeding and nurturing” by the West of islamic extremists in order to destabilize so-called enemies during the last decades.
– The consequent empowerment of armed sectarians who turned into a threat even for their funders.
– The newfound (?) “exploitation” of ISIS as a threat requiring restrictions and intercepts and which attempts to generate fear and to boost xenophobia, racism and far right parties in Europe,
and last but not least:

 – The perpetual and never stopped crimes of evictions, settlements, imprisonments and inhuman treatment, to the limits of genocide, in Palestine.

A western person could and should imagine itself and its family threatened by all these dangers. And then, to put itself in the same conditions that all these younger or elder people, women, men and children face when they arrive into european countries.
Dignity is a human right and it is not limited into one’s home or country’s borders and of course not in religion, race or ethnicity.
The self-proclaimed advocates and the self-appointed “defenders” of human rights use double standards, depending on their political and dominating purposes. They invade lands to defend freedoms and they violate major rights inside these lands.

In the present situation, in which Europe does not heed labor force anymore, the victims of western wars address to the instigators of their problems for relief. And the West condemns them for a second time in misery, threats, loss of dignity, inhuman conditions or in the ever existing and present, marginalization – if they survive.

The next thing to wait is an augmenting demonization of migrants – beloved practice of western propaganda. They will all be considered as islamist terrorists and they will be placed in new Guantanamos.

In the name of “safety” of course.

Week In Brief (#2)

The volume of publications about this week’s issues turned the article to not-so-brief but instead, and hopefully, comprehensive.
(On the last minute’s (bad) news about Nepal, new updates will be posted as soon as they come. You will also find ways to help people of Nepal**.)

– Updated April 27 – 11:39 GMT

 

Nepal earthquake

Earthquake in Nepal

On April 25 (Saturday before noon), an earthquake with magnitutde of 7.9 hit Nepal, near its capital, Katmandu.

New York Times report that: “A spokesperson for Nepal’s home ministry, Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, said the preliminary death toll stood at 356, and that thousands of people had been injured. Trekkers reported a major avalanche on Mount Everest, with some teams reported missing. In addition, 13 deaths had been reported in India by midafternoon”.

Later reporting of The Wall Street Journal, citing a spokesman of the police, raises the number of dead to 449* and specifies magnitude to 7.8.
WSJ also mentions that there are fears that people are trapped inside debris of buildings and also that accorging to witnessess, a large avalanche has destryed camps of trekkers and adventurer’s.
“I have been in earthquakes before, but this was the mother of all earthquakes,” said Prithivi Pande, a 60-year-old banker in Katmandu. “It went on and on and on. Everything was falling off the walls.”
The same reporting informs: “In neighboring India, at least 18 people died in the northern state of Bihar, which borders Nepal, and 62 others were injured, according to Alok Raj, a senior police officer in the state” and also, “ In Katmandu, Suraj Vaidya, a Nepalese businessman, said he saw the historic nine-story Dharahara tower in the center of Katmandu collapse to the ground”.

Unfortunately, nature hit Nepal; a poor country which has faced a recent wave of political turmoil amid debate over a new constitution and is struggling to restore political and economic stability.

Updates:

Séisme au Népal : les dernières informations – Le Monde

**Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund
**Nearly 1 million children require urgent humanitarian assistance after Nepal earthquake – UNICEF
This Video of the Moment the Avalanche Hit Everest Basecamp Is Terrifying – Mother Jones
Earthquake slams Nepal; devastating loss of people, history – CNN
Thousands trapped in Ruins after 7.9 Mag Earthquake in Nepal – nsnbc

Séisme dévastateur au Népal, plus de 750 morts – Le Monde
*Massive earthquake in Nepal; over 700 killed – The Hindu
(and AP)
See the Aftermath of the 7.9-Magnitude Earthquake in Nepal (photos) – TIME
*Séisme dévastateur au Népal, plus de 800 morts – Le Monde
8 Dead, More Missing in Quake-Triggered Avalanche on Everest – TIME

 

Photo credit: El Mundo España
Photo credit: El Mundo España

Sea of War and Death

Mediterranean Sea has become the grave of more that 1,700 men, women and children refugees since the beginning to 2015 according to Amnesty International. The desperate victims of the western-ignited wars risk and many of them lose their lives.
After Libya was destroyed by USA, not only the infrastructures and the refuge camps of the country cannot hospitalize asylum seekers fleeing wars in Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan as it was the norm during Gaddafi administration, but also Libyan people too, try to pass to Europe in boats.
Greece, Italy and Malta are the countries which accept the highest proportion of the people trying to enter Europe searching to live a safe life.
This year, 36,000 survivors reached the three countries and none of them has the means and cannot afford to keep all these people.
“Only 5,000 resettlement places across Europe are to be offered to refugees under the emergency summit crisis package to be agreed by EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday [April 23rd]”, according to The Guardian’s information and a leaked confidential draft statement. The majority of them will be sent back (where?) as irregular migrants.

The UN Refugee Agency “joined other organizations in a call on European leaders to put human life, rights and dignity first today when agreeing upon a common response to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean”.
UNHCR praise the European Union (EU) which “was founded on fundamental principles of humanity, solidarity and respect for human rights”.
The statement says: “We urge EU Member States to demonstrate moral and political leadership in adopting a holistic and forward-looking action plan centred upon these values.”

EU has an-anything-but honorary involvement in the destruction of Syria and Libya but also in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “literary” separation of people into migrants, asylum seekers and refugees and the try to waive responsibility are the opposite of European humanism of (very) older times.

“The reputation of Europe is at stake,” said Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “I have been saying for weeks and months that Europe has to do more, now unfortunately the reality has hit us in the face”, reports Reuters

Unfortunately indeed: All dead, refugees, dead refugees, wounded physically and psychologically, are the victims of American wars and EU has given more than one hand to them.
Relative: EU Allies Pay for America’s Global Conflict and Refugees – Strategic Culture Foundation
The Least We Can Do For Syria – Project Syndicate
One Migrant’s Harrowing Journey From Senegal to Italy – TIME
U.N. Refugee Chief: Europe’s Response to Mediterranean Crisis Is ‘Lagging Far Behind’ – TIME

 

Nicolas-Maduro-Vs_-Mariano-Rajoy
Mariano Rajoy’s Interventionism

The diplomatic conflict between Spain and Venezuela hardens with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, recalling Spanish ambassador in Venezuela on April 22nd.
The series of events started when the conservative leader of Popular Party, Rajoy, taking the role of US spokesman last October intervened in Venezuela’s internal affairs concerning detainment and trial of extreme right-wing opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and for a second time last March, when he condemned the arrest of Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.
After Rajoy’s first comments, Venezuela recalled its ambassador to Spain and called him to respect Venezuela in the same way Venezuela respects Spanish people.

Lopez was arrested after his involvement in a wave of violence in Venezuela that sought to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro, and that left 43 dead and over 1000 injured, reported teleSUR. Ledezma was arrested on February for having a role in Blue Coup, a plot of the US to overthrow Venezuelan government.

“On 14th April, the Spanish parliament called on Venezuela to release members of opposition parties who have been incarcerated on charges of having played a role in violence against the government and in plotting a coup d’état.
Only days before the attempted coup, the retired Venezuelan General Angel Vivas released a series of videos, calling on the people to form armed resistance cells and to prepare for a fight to the death.
Meanwhile, leading opposition figures who are known for their ties to CIA and Pentagon fronts like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID, among others, released a statement in which they called for the establishment of a “transitional government””, reports nsnbc.

Mr Rajoy, who is aware and concerned of the rise of Podemos inside his country, seems to choose blind conservatism.
His right government has opposed “Podemos friendly” Syriza government and maintains a very tough stance against Greece during negotiations with EU.
Would he let go unpunished any attempt to violently or by coup overturn his government?

However, according to teleSUR, tension seemed to normalize after both sides made conciliatory statements.
In a televised speech Nicolas Maduro said: “Yesterday (Friday), the Spanish government issued a statement expressing its willingness to maintain positive relations with our government; and I welcome positive relations but they must be based on mutual respect”.
Maduro added that his government is willing to cooperate in any efforts to improve diplomatic relations but emphasized that Venezuelan sovereignty must be respected. 
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia on Sunday, expressed his  country’s “happiness” and added that “with all probability, the ambassador to Venezuela will return to Caracas in the following hours.”

 

Wikileaks-Sony

Wikileaks-Sony and the Postponed War

The story of the uncovering of Sony Hack by Wikileaks is a topic that came to light on April 16th (see Press Release here).
The aftermath though is a new reality which clearly shows that propaganda is the strong card of American intelligence and administration, Media and even  Hollywood.
The released documents uncover the connection between two scandals, these of the University of North Carolina (UNC) and of Sony hacking.

“The University of North Carolina academic scandal involving athletes in “paper classes” consumed sports media and prompted action by university administrators nationwide.
The Sony Pictures email hacking scandal shook the entertainment industry and prompted large corporations to reassess their network securities. Not surprisingly, WikiLeaks has uncovered the intersection of the two. A quick search of “UNC” on the site where WikiLeaks has published some of those hacked emails reveals that reporters and high-level Sony execs were very interested in the goings on in Chapel Hill”, reports wralsportsfun.com.

And The Wrap notes: “The data, which has been indexed as a fully searchable archive on WikiLeaks, was sourced from the devastating cyber attack on the studio in November 2014.
The site’s founder Julian Assange qualified the publication of the material as showing “the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict… It belongs in the public domain.”

Someone should warn Mr Kim Jong Un: The next casus belli won’t take long to be invented.

Read also:
Hacked Sony Emails Show Major Democrat-Turned-Lobbyist Urging Support for Republicans
Sony Poses Greater Threat to First Amendment Than North Korea

 

vaccine

Vaccines Vs Fears

The pharmaceutical company Glaxo Smith Kline ordered a recall of its 4 in 1 vaccine against certain types of flu named Flulaval.
GSK stated that “the vaccine might cause more harm than good because it is not good enough to protect someone from the current flu strains present in the US”. Because Flulaval is ineffective, the remaining 1.7 million doses are being recalled while GSK conducts testing on the product to prove efficiency.

The recall, although for the benefit of public health, will possibly contribute to the increase of widespread skepticism and opposition to vaccination, worldwide.

According to reporting of Guardian on April 21st: “A major study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), one of the world’s leading medical journals has concluded that there is no link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination and autism in children”.
The study disproves the research of 1998 of Andrew Wakefield that there is a link between MMR vaccine and the appearance of autism and bowel disease, but “the belief that autism and vaccinations are linked continues to cause many parents to decide against having their children immunised”, according to Guardian.

Though it is rather common for citizens of other countries in Africa or Asia to oppose vaccination -with good reasons-, there is also a strong anti-vaccination movement (AVM) which attributes to vaccination diseases (as above) in Western countries, mostly among conservatives or because of religious beliefs.
“Some American families who fear vaccines may cause autism, and others who don’t trust the federal government are choosing not to vaccinate. In some places diseases once thought to be conquered are making a comeback”, comments USA Today which also reports: “Recent measles outbreaks in New York, California and Texas are examples of what could happen on a larger scale if vaccination rates dropped, says Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s director of immunizations and respiratory diseases.”

In Australia, where the vaccine-deniers risked to be exempted of health services, “on 19th April, Social services minister Scott Morrison announced the exemption the religious group that calls itself Christian Scientists ‘is no longer current or necessary and will therefore be removed’. Children of members of the religious organisation enjoyed exemptions from being vaccinated from 1998. ‘Having resolved this outstanding matter, the government will not be receiving nor authorising any further vaccination exemption applications from religious organisations,’ Morrison added”, reports the australian edition of International Business Times.

The distrust to big pharmaceuticals is based on facts and of many past “accidents” either from vaccines or from other drugs. The phantom of thalidomide and the near 60 year-old drama of its victims won’t stop to haunt big-pharma.

Recent and older relative articles:
Vaccines: Penalizing the Unvaccinated? – LocalOrg
Endangering the Herd: The case for suing parents who don’t vaccinate their kids—or criminally charging them – Slate
UC Spokesperson: Vaccine Policy Revisions ‘In the Works’ Long Before Measles Outbreak – OccupyCorporatism
Playing Politics With Measles—That’s Pretty Sick – truthdig

 

chile-volcano

Chile’s Volcano Erupts

On April 22nd, Chilean volcano Calbuco erupted. Calbuco woke up after more than 40 years and Chile declared state of emergency.

“The Calbuco volcano is located 900 kilometers south of Chile’s capital Santiago, and is also 600 kilometers away from Argentine Nequen province.
Authorities expect the ashes from the eruption to reach Argentina.
Another volcano in Chile is also in eruptive phase, the Villarica volcano, which is located close to Cabulco”, informs teleSUR.
“The first eruption on Wednesday sent a thick plume of ash and smoke several kilometres into the sky and more than 5,000 people were evacuated from the sparsely populated area about 1,000km south of the capital Santiago and near the tourist town of Puerto Varas. Wednesday’s eruptions also triggered flight cancellations in Chile and Argentina while in Chile, flights are not taking off to as far north as Concepcion, 630km from the volcano, as northeasterly winds blow ash in the direction of the capital, forcing thousands of people to remain stuck in the airports”, reports Al Jazeera.

“While the Calbuco eruption was the largest in recent memory, scientists suspect it will not have a detectable impact on climate”, according to The Washington Post, unlike when “200 years ago this month, a much larger volcanic eruption rocked the globe, and left the Earth with a Year Without a Summer”.

Chile is one of the volcanic countries of South and Central America, together with Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Colombia and Argentina.
In June 2011 a chain of volcanoes of the country, Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle, erupted causing earthquakes and rising smoke and volcanic ashes, which reached neighboring Argentina. Back then, the officials had issued red alert and about 3,500 people had been displaced.
One year earlier, in May 2010, “two explosive eruptions shook two huge volcanoes, Guatemala’s Pacaya and Ecuador’s Tungurahua, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and disrupting air traffic as ash drifted over major cities”, reported CBSNews.

Calbuco last erupted in 1972 and is considered one of the top three most potentially dangerous among Chile’s 90 active volcanoes, according to the AP news agency.
Chile, on the Pacific “Rim of Fire”, has the second largest chain of volcanoes in the world after Indonesia, including around 500 that are potentially active.
In March, volcano Villarrica, also in southern Chile, erupted in spectacular fashion, sending a plume of ash and lava high into the sky, but quickly subsided.

Though on TV or in photos, a volcanic eruption looks spectacular, it is certainly a frightening and dangerous natural phenomenon.
“It sounded like a big tractor trailer passing by the road, rattling and shaking, guttural rumbling … we left everything there, grabbed my kid, my dog, got in the car with my wife,” said Moffat, who was driving to nearby Puerto Varas at the time, to Reuters.

See
Photos: Calbuco volcano erupts in Chile – The Washington Post
Video: Chile Volcano – Local Residents Urged to Leave

 

South Africa xenophobia

Anti-Immigrant Wave in South Africa

An “unrepresentative” for the country’s history phenomenon has emerged in South Africa.
A wave of xenophobic attacks in the country of historic fighter against apartheid and leader Nelson Mandela has spread fear among migrant workers and foreigners who keep business.
The violent attacks are attributed to Zulu nationalists but “South Africa’s Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, insisted he was not behind a wave of violence against migrant workers he had compared a month before to head lice”, notes Reuters and continues: “His words had been twisted by the media, he said. If he had really given the order for his legions of followers to attack, ‘this country would be ashes’. [!]
Remarks like those, with the direct threat of violence, have alarmed politicians and activists in South Africa, who say they amount to an open challenge to the post-apartheid order and its elected leadership, from the traditional head of its biggest ethnic group, the 10 million strong Zulu nation”.

Ironically, President Zuma’s eldest son, Edward, last week also came out in full support of King Zwelithini’s controversial statement.
President Jacob Zuma, whose party ANC won by 62,2% of votes in May 2014 elections, said addressing to the parliament that the police are working round the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing acts of violence.
Since the provocative remarks of Zwelithini on March 20, the results of the attacks are at least seven killed people, destructions of shops, open attacks to foreigners and the international community’s outcry.
“The Philippines on Wednesday, April 22, denounced the wave of anti-immigrant violence in South Africa as the Southeast Asian country advised its estimated 3,000 nationals there to keep themselves safe”, reports Rappler.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement: “The Philippines condemns the wave of violence aimed at foreign workers, and joins the South African government and the international community in denouncing the aggression directed against foreigners during these 3 weeks of unrest”.
NSNBC reports that neighbouring’s Mozambique Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, “informed the press on April 21st, that the recent violence against migrant workers and other foreigners in South Africa caused some 1,500 Mozambican migrant workers to flee. Saide added that 107 of the Mozambicans returned from Durban in buses which had been made available to them by the government”.
Nsnbc also notes: “Most South African, Mozambican and international media as well as politicians would tout the violence as ‘xenophobic’” and adds that: “The underlying causes are, however, by some analysts considered to be closely related to the South African ANC government’s failure to negotiate appropriate wages for both South African and for migrant workers with South African trade unions”.
The same website concludes: “Arguably, decent wages rather than neo-liberalism, lethal violence against striking workers and a race to the bottom under BRICS cover would be a better remedy for the situation than Jacob Zuma’s call for a day of prayers against the violence”.

Violence against foreigners and xenophobia are against the mentality of Rainbow Nation’s hardly acquired liberties.
And as Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said in parliament according to spyghana.com: “In 1994, (late) President Mandela made a commitment that never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience oppression of one by another”.

Have a nice and successful week!

Week In Brief (#1)

By this article, we introduce a new category, which will present in brief, seven interesting events of the week, though not necessarily the most debated.

 

Pope_FrancisPope Francis angered Turkey for a second time after June 2013, when he publicly called the mass killing of 1.5 million Armenians, 100 years ago a genocide. Turkey, which does not recognize the Armenian massacre, summoned Vatican’s ambassador. A few days later, on April 15th, European Parliament voted for the official recognition of the genocide. The European decision prompted a furious response from Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Such decisions are nothing but expressions of enmity against Turkey by abusing Armenians,” he said while on a visit to Kazakhstan. “Come on, let’s leave history to historians.” Earlier he had made an implicit threat to deport Armenian citizens, many of whom work in Turkey, writes The Telegraph.

More about this:
Why Pope Francis was right to call the Armenian massacres genocide

Pope Francis’ Armenian genocide remarks prompt strong response

 

 HillaryClintonOn April 12th, Hillary Clinton formally announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in the 2016 election on April 12, 2015. Though this is not a surprise, she remains a controversial politician who during her term as Secretary of State and afterwards, has kept balancing on the edge of conservatism. Many of her views and practices match to these of a republican rather that a democrat.

Read also:
Hillary Clinton Announces Candidacy: ‘Everyday Americans Need a Champion’

 

Eduardo GaleanoEduardo Galleano the Uruguayan author and journalist, died on April 13th of lung cancer at age 74 in Montevideo, Uruguay. He is the writer of 35 books and is considered to be one of the most notable authors of Latin American literature. His death is a severe loss of the global intellectual world.

Read also:
Uruguay Honors the Life of Eduardo Galeano in Wake Ceremony

 

 gunter_grassOn the same day, the German Nobel literature prize winner, author of The Tin Drum and political activist Günter Grass also died at the age of 87. Double loss for the world of literature and intellect.

Read from Spiegel:
Günter Grass Obituary: Farewell to Germany’s Towering Literary Figure

 

Chibok-marchOne year before, on April 14th 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram abducted 276 teenage girls from their school hostel in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria. The majority remain captive, their whereabouts unknown. The global public opinion and the movement #BringBackOurGirls demands action. The families still mourn their children.

See more at:
UN Women-Statement of the executive director of UN Women on the one year anniversary  

 

Draghi terrifiedMario Draghi, the President of European Central Bank, was “attacked” with confetti by Josephine Witt, the 21-year-old protester and activist, during a press conference which turned interesting thanks to Josephine. Photos of frightened/surprised Draghi and “super-Josephine”, have made rounds all over the web after the event on April 15th. A rather awkward moment for mighty president.

See also:
Interview: ECB Protester Josephine Witt: ‘If Greece Falls, the Whole European Idea Has Failed’

Protester Attacks ECB President Mario Draghi

 

Islamic State Archaeological Sites GlanceOne more video was released by ISIS on April 12th showing the attack and the destroy of the monuments at Nimrud an archeological site of Iraq by ISIS terrorists. Islamic State militants used bulldozers and explosives. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on April 14th that the action constitutes a war crime.

Read also:
ISIS Video Shows Apparent Destruction of Nimrud Archaeological Site

UN: Islamic State Group’s Ruin of Iraq’s Nimrud a ‘War Crime’

Have a nice and interesting week!