Showing posts from May, 2019

Hannah Ellis-Petersen - Philippines ships 69 containers of rubbish back to Canada

The Philippines has followed through on its threat to send 1,500 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish back on a boat to Canada, ending a six-year dispute between the two countries. Wilma Eisma, administrator of Subic Bay freeport, confirmed that the 69 containers of garbage had been loaded overnight on the container ship M/V Bavaria, which left on a 20-day journey to the Canadian port city of Vancouver, via Taiwan. Eisma said the the move ended a “sordid chapter in our history”. The dispatch of the Canadian rubbish, which had been sitting in two Philippine ports since 2013 and 2014 while Canada refused to acknowledge the issue, was a cause for celebration in the Philippines. Environmental activists, including those from Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition, sailed around Subic Bay on a small boat carrying with a streamer reading, “Philippines: not a garbage dumping ground!” while foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin posted on Twitter: “Baaaaaaaaa bye, as we say it,” alongside images of the v

Tom Phillips : Students protest across Brazil over Jair Bolsonaro's sweeping cuts to education

Tens of thousands of students, academics and teachers have taken to the streets of  Brazil  for their latest mass protest against what they call far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s assault on education. Up and down the country – from Amazon cities to small towns in Brazil’s deep south – demonstrators turned out to condemn Bolsonaro’s highly controversial moves to slash funding for public education and  science . In the capital, Brasília, student protesters were filmed  burning an effigy of the Brazilian president  while chanting the increasingly common refrain of his opponents: “Hey, Bolsonaro go and get fucked”.In the northeastern city of Salvador, where a reported 70,000 people marched, one dissenter carried  a diabolic caricature of Bolsonaro  stamped with the phrase: “Not today Satan”. Thousands of students  marched through downtown Rio  with placards reading: “Education isn’t an expense, it is an investment”. “This isn’t just an attack on universities. It is going to

Ultraprocessed foods are easy, cheap and could be killing you

"Ultraprocessed" describes many foods, including pre-prepared dishes found in grocery store freezers, packaged baked goods, dehydrated soups, ice cream, sugary cereals and fizzy beverages. Two separate studies published Wednesday in The BMJ link eating the popular factory-made fare with an  increased risk of cardiovascular disease  and an  increased risk of early death . While a direct cause-effect relationship has yet to be established, the researchers of both studies note that previous studies have associated highly processed food consumption with higher risks of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even some cancers. Avoid these 'ultraprocessed' foods and you might live longer "Ultraprocessed foods already make up more than half of the total dietary energy consumed in high-income countries such as USA, Canada and the UK,"  Maira Bes-Rastrollo , senior author of one study and a professor of preventive medicine and public health at

‘A zombie party’: the deepening crisis of conservatism. By Andy Beckett

The traditional right is clinging on to power – but its ideas are dead in the water Conservatism is the dominant politics of the modern world. Even when rightwing parties are not in power, conservative ideas and policies set the shape of society and the economy. Ever since the transformative 1980s governments of Ronald Reagan and  Margaret Thatcher  – with their new fusion of disruptive capitalism and social traditionalism – the assumption in Britain, the US and far beyond has been that conservatism is the default setting of democratic politics. Even when other parties have been in office, leaders such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton have continued with the conservative project of privatising the state and deregulating business. For decades, armies of rightwing activists – with rich financial backers and many allies in the media – have successfully spread and entrenched conservative ideas. Many of conservatism’s opponents have come to expect that, somehow, it will always prevai

The Anthropocene epoch: have we entered a new phase of planetary history? By Nicola Davison

From the pragmatic stratigraphic perspective, no marker is as distinct, or more globally synchronous, than the radioactive fallout from the use of nuclear weapons that began with the US army’s Trinity test in 1945. Since the early 1950s, this memento of humankind’s darkest self-destructive impulses has settled on the Earth’s surface like icing sugar on a sponge cake. Plotted on a graph, the radioactive fallout leaps up like an explosion. Zalasiewicz has taken to calling it the “bomb spike”. he slowly realized that the sciences were not a way to limit violence but to fuel it. He decided to hear and to feel this terrible earth shaking tremor travelling from Hiroshima, the only date in history that he takes as a real turning-point; the earth has been shaking ever since…. Thanatocraty - Serres’ word for the black triad made by scientists, politicians and industrialists. (Bruno Latour on Michel Serres -   Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures  (1987) It was February 2000 and the

Chaos, hope, change: stories from 70 years of the People's Republic of China. By Lily Kuo

Seven decades after Mao declared the beginning of a new era, Chinese people reflect on the dizzying and jolting changes that have forged the modern nation “I have seen the true face of the teachers, government officials, trade unions, police, and the courts. They don’t care about the workers. “They don’t want to solve problems. They just want to solve the people who reflect the problem”  T his year marks 70 years since  Mao Zedong  stood in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and declared the beginning of the People’s Republic of China. To the outside world, China’s transformation from a poor agrarian society into one of the world’s most powerful economies is nothing short of miraculous. “If you think about what China was 70 years ago, essentially a country that had fought its way through two wars and was on its knees and battered – the idea that in 70 years it would be the second biggest economy in the world… and a major global player would have seemed very unlikely indeed,” said Rana M

Geoff Mulgan: New frontiers in social innovation research

Nesta has published a  new book  with Palgrave which contains an introduction by me and many important chapters from leading academics around the world. I hope that many people will read it, and think about it, because it challenges, in a highly constructive way, many of the rather tired assumptions of the London media/political elite of both left and right. The essay is by Roberto Mangabeira Unger, perhaps the world’s most creative and important contemporary intellectual. He is Professor of Law at Harvard (where he taught Obama); a philosopher and political theorist; author of one of the most interesting  recent books on religion ; co-author of an equally ground-breaking recent  book on theoretical physics ; and serves as strategy minister in the Brazilian government. His argument is that a radically different way of thinking about politics, government and social change is emerging, which has either not been noticed by many political leaders, or misinterpreted. The essence of

'Egg boy' Will Connolly donates $100,000 to Christchurch mosque attack survivors

Will Connolly, the Australian teenager who became known as “egg boy”, says he has donated almost $100,000 to help those affected by the Christchurch mosque attack. The money has come through two GoFundMe pages that were established by other people after Connolly cracked an egg on the head of far-right senator Fraser Anning. The egging came after Fraser said the Christchurch attack highlighted “growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence” in Australian and New Zealand communities. Anning punched 17-year-old Connolly after the incident and Anning’s supporters tackled Connolly to the ground. Connolly was taken away by police and released without charge. The GoFundMe pages had been set up to raise money for legal fees but the teenager promised to donate the money to help those affected by the attack in which 51 people were killed... read more:

Aditya Chakrabortty - Britain is in the grip of an existential crisis that reaches far beyond Brexit

But lo! Yonder comes Michael Gove, bearing “unity” and “vision” The person who is best qualified to hold up a mirror to British politics today is neither a minister nor an academic. He is not even British. No: he is, of course, Michel Barnier, the French-born servant of Brussels. In his 1,036 days as the EU’s chief negotiator, he has sat for numbing hours opposite Theresa May, haggled with David Davis and Dominic Raab and their junior ministers and faced down countless Whitehall officials. He is the outsider who knows our system inside out.  So when he popped up right at the end of the BBC’s  fly on the wall Storyville documentaries  on the Brexit negotiations, I leaned in to listen. Filmed in March, as it became clear that Britain would not be leaving Europe any time soon, Barnier is shown briefing senior European parliamentarians. This latest breakdown is “more than weariness”, he tells them. “There is a very serious crisis in the UK which … isn’t linked to the text of  Brex

FAROOQ TARIQ - Pakistan’s Ali Wazir: The lone Marxist to win despite Taliban killing 16 of his family

A rare Communist to survive and win, Wazir refused a seat from Imran Khan, who later didn’t put up a candidate against him. Ali Wazir, a central committee member of  The Struggle , has  won a seat in the national parliament of Pakistan from NA-50 (Tribal Area–XI) with 23,530 votes  and his closest rival from a religious parties alliance, MMA got 7,515. Thus winning the seat with a majority of 16,015. Ali Wazir is one of the main leaders of the Pashtun Tahafaz Movement (PTM). This year, mass meetings were organised in major cities of Pakistan to raise voices for fair compensation to the victims of the “war on terror” and to demand the release of all ‘missing’ persons or to bring them to the courts if they are guilty. Two other leaders of the PTM also contested for the national parliament and one of them, Muhsin Dawer also won the seat after a close competition. Mohsin Javed Dawer got 16,526 votes while Aurangzeb of Imran Khan’s PTI got 10,422. However, the MMA candidate Mufti

Charlotte Middlehurst - How The Country Once Nicknamed ‘Garbage Island’ Cut Waste By 30%

In the ’80s and ’90s, Taiwan had one of the world’s worst urban waste problems. Its landfills overflowed and mountains of rubbish clogged street corners, earning it the unflattering moniker “Garbage Island.” Fed up with the accumulation of waste, people across the country demanded action. They burned trash in the streets and rallied at dumping sites. Over the next two decades, the government over-hauled the waste management infrastructure of the island from root to branch, investing in waste trucks and recycling plants and switching from landfills to incineration.  New regulations compelled companies and consumers to share the physical and financial burden of recycling and garbage collection, establishing personal accountability and incentivizing people to produce less waste in the first place. Yen-Chi Chang, 26, who grew up along the east coast of Taiwan and now works in marketing, was born just as the tides of trash were beginning to turn.   “When my parents were in schoo

‘Walking over bodies’: mountaineers describe carnage on Everest

NB:  A calamity caused solely by the negligence and corruption of the Nepali authorities.  DS An experienced mountaineer has described the “death, carnage and chaos” at the top of  Mount Everest  as climbers pushed past bodies to reach the world’s highest summit. The death toll on the mountain grew to 11 in the past day after an  American doctor was killed  while descending from the peak. It emerged also that an Australian climber was discovered unconscious   but had survived after being transported downhill on the back of a yak. Elia Saikaly, a film-maker, reached Hillary Step, the final stage before the summit, on the morning of 23 May, where he said the sunrise revealed the lifeless body of another climber. With little choice at that altitude but to keep moving, his team – including Joyce Azzam, the first Lebanese woman to climb the world’s “Seven Summits” – made it to the peak a short time later. “I cannot believe what I saw up there,” Saikaly said of the last hours of

Mario Candeias: Understanding the Rise of the Radical Right

Decisive is whether everyday experience is shaped by practical solidarity or by competition and isolation. It is not impossible that a successive practice of solidarity could be more attractive than the imagined self-empowerment of the radical right, without any solution for everyday problems. It is about a “generalized capacity to act” on the path toward a common and solidary disposition about our own conditions of life – “taking back control,” but “for the many, not the few.” A “helpless antifascism” focusing too much on the radical right and its agenda, rushing from one counter-demonstration to another, defensively concedes the chosen terrain of struggle. We have to develop our own agenda and shift the terrain with concrete organizing around everyday social problems with connective class politics, focused not only on the antagonist from above and from the radical right, but creating its own broader basis for a lived solidarity for all It is the time of monsters. The organi

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta: Converting Hindus to Hindutva - Interview with D.R. Goyal (1929-2013) writer and historian

Des Raj Goyal was born in 1929 in Moga; Panjab; and joined the RSS in 1942, when he was a school student. He was disillusioned with the organisation and left it in 1947. He continued with his interest at an analytical level and published a book on it in 1979, which is considered authentic by academics. D.R. GOYAL is known to have written the most authentic account of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), in 1978. As a school student, he joined the RSS, which projected itself as one of the organisations fighting for India’s independence, but it did not take him long to realise that the organisation’s professions were not necessarily true. Since then, he has been a chronicler of various developments in this “cultural” organisation. In 1962, when he was a Delhi University lecturer, he set up a unit of the Communist Party of India at the university. He later joined Subhadra Joshi (then Member of Parliament from Jabalpur, who also holds the distinction of having defeated Atal Bihar

93 year old found dead in Assam after objection filed against his name in NRC

In a heartbreaking instance of man succumbing to hopelessness, Ashrab Ali, a 93 year old man, was found dead in Assam’s Kamrup district after someone filed an objection application against the inclusion of his name in the National Register of Citizens (NRC). His family alleges he committed suicide by consuming poison. “His name was in the final draft of NRC published last year but someone put an objection against him and he had to attend a hearing on May 23 in Rangia (about 100 km away). After the hearing, his biometrics were taken and that scared him because some people in the village told him that biometric details are taken from suspected foreigners whom police might put in a detention camp,” Fazlur Rehman, a family member, told  Indian Express . The family says that he was disturbed after attending the hearing and feared he would be dragged away to a detention camp. He also feared how his family’s citizenship status would now be questioned if his citizenship could not be pr

Thousands of Phantom Votes Suspected Across Lok Sabha Seats in Bihar, UP, Delhi, MP - Three former Chief Election Commissioners say EC should explain

New Delhi:  In several Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh, thousands of votes were recorded to have been counted in excess of the total votes cast, an investigation by  Newsclick  has revealed. These constituencies include at least three high-profile ones -- Patna Sahib, Jehanabad and Begusarai. In at least one of the eight constituencies investigated, the discrepancy is more than the margin of defeat, leading to fears that the results would have been different in other uninvestigated constituencies, too. These fears come in the wake of widespread complaints and allegations of irregular and suspicious movement of electronic voting machines (EVMs) prior to the counting on May 23, across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana among other states. EC Should Explain, Say Former CECs Three former Chief Election Commissioners (CEC), when contacted by  Newsclick  on this matter, expressed surprise and said that the Election Commission (EC) needs to

Henry A. Giroux - Fight the dictatorship of ignorance

The paramount role of violence in many countries today raises questions about the role of education, teachers and students in a time of tyranny. How might we imagine education as central to politics whose task is, in part, to create a new language for students, one that is crucial to reviving a radical imagination, a notion of social hope, and the courage to collective struggle? How might higher education and other cultural institutions address the deep, unchecked nihilism and despair of the current moment?.. At this point in the 21st century, the notion of the social and the public are not being erased as much as they are being reconstructed under circumstances in which public forums for serious debate, including public education, are being eroded. Reduced either to a crude instrumentalism or business culture, or defined as a purely private right rather than a public good, our major educational apparatuses are being removed from the discourse of democracy and civic culture.

यह जीत अौर यह हार ० कुमार प्रशांत

यह जीत अौर यह हार   ० कुमार प्रशांत   भरोसा अौर विश्वास किसी भी राजनीतिज्ञ की सबसे बड़ी पूंजी होती है अौर वह पूंजी आज नरेंद्र मोदी के खाते में है अौर सारे देश में है . इसलिए अांकड़ों का , जीत - हार की गिनती का , वोटों के प्रतिशत का अौर गठबंधनों में ‘ ऐसा होता कि वैसा होता ! ”   जैसे समीकरणों का अभी कोई मतलब नहीं रह गया है . अब अगर कुछ मतलब की बात है , अौर आंख खोल कर जिसे देखते अौर दिखाते रहने की जरूरत है तो वह यह है कि बातें क्या कही जा रही हैं अौर बातें क्या की जा रही हैं . इनके बीच की खाई ही है जो अाने वाले समय में देश की कुंडली लिखेगी . मतलब कि हमें यह देखना ही होगा कि मोदी - शाह की जोड़ी अब उस तरह बरत रही है जिस तरह कभी वाजपेयी - अाडवाणी की जोड़ी बरतती थी . हमेशा ही इस पार्टी का दो चेहरा रहा है , दो बोली रही है . अौर हर निर्णायक मोड़ पर हम देखते आए हैं कि दोनों मिल कर एक हो जाते हैं . आज भी एक चालाकी अौर चाशनी की