themcglynn.com

27 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

View All>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

World Politics

Germany

Germany Angela Merkel signals U-turn on gay marriage>>

United States

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal Jay Sekulow approved plans to push people to give to his Christian nonprofit, which then paid big sums to his family

Sekulow, 61, has become one of Trump’s most vocal defenders since joining the president’s team of attorneys. Sekulow did not respond to a series of detailed questions from the Guardian.

Sekulow, 61, has become one of Trump’s most vocal defenders since joining the president’s team of attorneys. Sekulow did not respond to a series of detailed questions from the Guardian. Photograph: Steve Helber/AP

More than 15,000 Americans were losing their jobs each day in June 2009, as the US struggled to climb out of a painful recession following its worst financial crisis in decades.

But Jay Sekulow, who is now an attorney to Donald Trump, had a private jet to finance. His law firm was expecting a $3m payday. And six-figure contracts for members of his family needed to be taken care of.

Documents obtained by the Guardian show Sekulow that month approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.

‘Every gift will make a huge difference!’

‘Every gift will make a huge difference!’

Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a “sacrificial gift”.

“I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks”.

In addition to using tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and nephew, and their firms, Case has also been used to provide a series of unusual loans and property deals to the Sekulow family.

Attorneys and other experts specialising in nonprofit law said the Sekulows risked violating a federal law against nonprofits paying excessive benefits to the people responsible for running them. Sekulow declined to detail how he ensured the payments were reasonable.

“This is all highly unusual, and it gives an appearance of conflicts of interest that any nonprofit should want to avoid,” said Daniel Borochoff, the president of CharityWatch, a Chicago-based group that monitors nonprofits.

Sekulow, 61, is the president of Case and the chief counsel of its sister organization, the American Center for Legal Justice (ACLJ). He has become one of Trump’s most vocal defenders since joining the team of attorneys representing the president amid investigations into possible ties between his campaign and Russia.

Sekulow did not respond to a series of detailed questions from the Guardian.

His spokesman, Gene Kapp, said in an emailed statement: “The financial arrangements between the ACLJ, Case and all related entities are regularly reviewed by outside independent compensation experts and have been determined to be reasonable. In addition, each entity has annual independent outside audits performed by certified public accounting firms. Further, the IRS has previously conducted audits of the ACLJ and Case and found them to be in full compliance of all applicable tax laws.”

Sekulow is an ally of the conservative televangelist Pat Robertson and made his name in Washington by fighting against abortion rights and efforts to legalise same-sex marriage.

He founded Case in 1988 to build on a successful appearance at the US supreme court on behalf of the group Jews For Jesus, after an earlier career as a real estate attorney ended in bankruptcy and legal disputes. Sekulow has gone on to use Case as a platform for legal action to defend Christians against perceived encroachments on their rights.

Case raises tens of millions of dollars a year, much of it in small amounts from Christians who receive direct appeals for money over the telephone or in the mail. The telemarketing contracts obtained by the Guardian show how fundraisers were instructed by Sekulow to deliver bleak warnings about topics including abortion, Sharia law and Barack Obama.

“It’s time to let the president know that his vision of America is obscured and represents a dangerous threat to the Judea-Christian [sic] values that have been the cornerstone of our republic,” one script from 2015 said.

A 2013 script warned listeners that Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, promised to give Planned Parenthood federal funding to open abortion referral clinics “in your child’s or grandchild’s middle school or high school”.

Sekulow has assured supporters that his organization “does not charge” for its services. “We are dependent on God and the resources He provides through the gifts of people who share our vision,” he wrote in a letter sent to contributors.

For years, the nonprofits have made a notable amount of payments to Sekulow and his family, which were first reported by Law.com. Since 2000, a law firm co-owned by Sekulow, the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, has been paid more than $25m by the nonprofits for legal services. During the same period, Sekulow’s company Regency Productions, which produces his talk radio show, was paid $11.3m for production services.

Sekulow also personally received other compensation totalling $3.3m. Pam Sekulow, his wife, has been paid more than $1.2m in compensation for serving as treasurer and secretary of Case.

Sekulow’s brother, Gary, the chief operating officer of the nonprofits, has been paid $9.2m in salary and benefits by them since 2000. Gary Sekulow has stated in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings that he works 40 hours per week – the equivalent of a full-time job – for each of the nonprofits. Filers are told to specify if any of the hours were spent on work for “related organizations”. He does not.

Meanwhile, a company run by Gary’s wife, Kim Sekulow, has received $6.2m since 2000 in fees for media production services and for the lease of a private jet, which it owned jointly with Jay Sekulow’s company Regency Productions. The jet was made available for the use of Jay and Pam Sekulow, according to corporate filings.

Jay’s two sons, and Gary’s son and daughter, have also shared at least $1.7m in compensation for work done for the nonprofits since 2000.

Read Full Article>>

Trump travel ban: US supreme court partially lifts block on order>>

Attorney general who stopped Trump’s travel ban responds to partial lifting – video>>

Hawaii attorney general Doug Chin says he believes in the president’s power to protect national security but not when it discriminates against people because of their national origin or religion. The nation’s highest court ruled on Monday that a travel ban may be enforced if visitors lack a connection with a person or entity in the United States. Hawaii sued to stop President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban in March. Chin says the decision is a partial victory for Hawaii because it allows people such as university students and relatives of US citizens to enter the country. “We expect our president to follow the law,” he says.

US travel ban will kick off ‘summer of litigation’, advocates warn>>

‘Fake news’: Trump tweets glee as three CNN journalists resign over Russia story>>

Russia denies Sergey Kislyak is leaving US even as plans are made for send-off>>

Republican healthcare Bill may send pregnant women back to days without coverage>>

Trump’s disdain for diplomacy is making the world more dangerous>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Share
27 Jun

United States Wars, News and Casualties

 United States Wars, News and Casualties

**********************


Our Country’s Treasure, Chapter One

Originally Published in 2007

“I regret they got hurt,’ Bush,the former president and war criminal said of the veterans.”

To the War Criminal Bush – And to the thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians?

Never, ever forget that the War Criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. founded ISIS and today are proud of what they did and feel no regret.

‘It was the right decision’: Bush says he has ‘no regrets’ about invading Iraq and Afghanistan when asked how he feels when he sees wounded veterans

Since the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts began, at least 8,000 US and allied soldiers have died, according to CNN.

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, according to the United Nations.

The civilian death toll in Iraq is estimated to be somewhere between 170,000 and 190,000, according to Iraq Body Count

The McGlynn

**********************

War News

IRAQ BODY COUNT>>

Total Dollar Cost of War>>

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Cost of Military Action Against ISIS>>

Cost of Pentagon Slush Fund>>

BBC: US senator to block arms sales to Gulf over Qatar crisis

An influential US senator has said he will withhold consent for arms sales to Gulf Arab states until there is a “path forward” to resolving the Qatar crisis.

Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, warned that efforts to fight so-called Islamic State and counter Iran were being hurt.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut air, sea and land links with Qatar three weeks ago.

They accused Qatar of aiding terrorist groups and Iran – charges it denied.

On Friday, the emirate was presented with a 13-point list of demands to end the crisis that included shutting down the Al Jazeera news network, cutting ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and curbing diplomatic relations with Iran.

Read full story »

AP: Top Russian and US diplomats discuss cease-fire for Syria

MOSCOW (AP) — The top diplomats of Russia and the United States have focused on the Syrian crisis in a phone call.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson talked Monday about the need to secure a cease-fire in Syria, fight extremist groups and to prevent the use of chemical weapons.

It added that Lavrov “urged Washington to take steps to prevent provocations against Syrian government forces battling terrorists.”

Moscow reacted angrily when the U.S. downed a Syrian jet last week after it dropped bombs near the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces conducting operations against the Islamic State group.

Read full story »

GUARD: Assad preparing new chemical weapons attack in Syria, claims White House

Questions over timing and intelligence behind late-night Trump statement warning Syrian leader following April’s sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun

The White House has declared that it believes Bashar al-Assad’s regime is preparing to carry out another chemical weapons attack, and warned that the Syrian leader and his military would “pay a heavy price” if it went ahead.

The unusual public warning on Monday night appeared to be intended to deter the regime from repeating its use of chemical weapons against rebel-held cities and towns. It may also have been aimed at the regime’s backers in Moscow and Tehran, who have resolutely backed Assad and denied the regime’s responsibility for chemical weapons use.

US Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East, said in a statement: “For this matter, we have no information to add to what has already been stated.”

Several US news outlets quoted unnamed US military sources as saying they had been taken by surprise by the announcement and had no independent knowledge of chemical weapons preparations. However, intelligence on any such Syrian activities is likely to have been closely held.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, tweeted: “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”

Read full story »

IraqiNews: IS suicide bomber’s belt explodes, kills 12 well-wishing comrades in Diyala

Baqubah (IraqiNews.com) An Islamic State suicide bomber’s belt exploded prematurely, accidently killing the militant and 12 other comrades in Diyala, according to a top police official.

Diyala police chief Jassem al-Saadi said in a statement that twelve IS militants in Mekheisa region, northeast of Baqubah, were bidding farewell to a comrade who was on his way for a suicide attack. Saadi said that the explosive belt on the bomber’s body went off to kill well-wishers instead.

The incident occurred during what the rite which the group dubs “blood party”, according to Saadi.

Read full story »

REU: Mosul battle to end in days as troops advance in Old City: Iraqi general

The battle to wrest full control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State will be over in a few days, the Iraqi military said on Monday, as elite counter-terrorism units fought militants among the narrow alleyways of the historic Old City.

An attempted fight-back by militants failed on Sunday night and Islamic State’s grip on the city, once its de facto capital in Iraq, was weakened, a senior commander said.

“Only a small part (of the militants) remains in the city, specifically the Old City,” Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in Mosul, told Reuters.

“From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished,” Assadi said. “It has lost its fighting spirit and its balance. We are making calls to them to surrender or die.”

Read full story »

AP: Marines rekindling old Afghan relations in Helmand Province

WASHINGTON (AP) — In Afghanistan’s turbulent Helmand province, U.S. Marines are rekindling old relationships and identifying weaknesses in the Afghan forces that the Trump administration hopes to address with a new strategy and the targeted infusion of several thousand American forces.

Returning to Afghanistan’s south after five years, Marine Brig. Gen. Roger Turner already knows where he could use some additional U.S. troops. And while he agrees that the fight against the Taliban in Helmand is at a difficult stalemate, he said he is seeing improvements in the local forces as his Marines settle into their roles advising the Afghan National Army’s 215th Corps.

Turner’s report on the fight in Helmand will be part of a broader assessment that Gen. Joseph Dunford wlll collect this week from his senior military commanders in Afghanistan.

Read full story »

ISIS in Afghanistan release grim execution video purports to show execution by children

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group’s offshoot in Afghanistan, the so-called ISIS-Khurasan province, has released a new grim execution video purportedly showing the murder of five individuals. The video circulated online by the supports of the terror group shows the killing of five individuals, accused of espionage. However, the grimmest part

Read full story »

Kabul security plan final and will be implemented soon: Ghani

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has said a comprehensive security for capital Kabul has been prepared and will be finalized in the near future. He informed regarding the finalization of the security plan during a meeting with the generals, officers, and personnel of the Afghan army’s 111th division in Kabul. According to President Ghani, the security

Read full story »

12 militants killed, 7 hideouts destroyed in Nangarhar airstrike

At least twelve insurgents were killed in an airstrike conducted in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the airstrike was carried out in the vicinity of Achin district. A statement by MoD said at least twelve insurgents were killed and seven of their hideouts were destroyed in the raid.

Read full story »

Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians>>

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

DOD:  The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

They died June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation.

The Soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY.

Killed were:

Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland;

Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California; and

Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina

IIraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Afghanistan Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care, Benefits, or Claims.

Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians>>

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

DOD:  The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

They died June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation.

The Soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY.

Killed were:

Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland;

Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California; and

Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina

 

Iraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Afghanistan Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care, Benefits, or Claims.

Share
26 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

View All>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

World Politics

Poland

Great Britain

Live Theresa May makes Commons statement on rights of EU nationals in UK – Politics live>>

United States

Supreme court agrees to hear arguments on legality of controversial order in the fall after lifting significant elements of lower court orders to block ban

The US supreme court handed a partial victory to the Trump administration on Monday as it lifted significant elements of lower court orders blocking the president’s controversial travel ban, which targets visa applicants from six Muslim-majority countries.

The nation’s highest court agreed to hear arguments on the legality of Trump’s controversial immigration order – which also temporarily suspends the US refugee resettlement program – in autumn this year, paving the way for parts of the order to go into effect over the summer.

Much of Trump’s executive order, a revised version of a first travel ban that was rolled out chaotically in January, had been stayed by federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii, meaning the ban had never taken effect. These rulings were later upheld by federal appeals courts.

More to follow …>>

 

Sanders talked to the Guardian while on a tour to speak out unsparingly against the bill: ‘the most anti-working class legislation in the modern history of’ the US

Bernie Sanders at a rally on Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As Donald Trump celebrated the marriage of Wall Street executive-turned-treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin in the Washington swamp he repeatedly pledged to drain, Bernie Sanders stepped onstage in Pittsburgh.

In a city the president last month said he was elected to represent rather than Paris, home of the global climate accord from which Trump has withdrawn, the Vermont senator denounced a “moral outrage that this country will never live down”.

In Washington, Senate Republican leaders pushed for a vote to dramatically reshape the US healthcare system, ignoring pleas from within their own party to allow more time for debate. In the Rust Belt, Sanders spent the weekend rallying opposition to their plan.

In Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, Sanders was unsparing in his attack on the Republican healthcare bill, which would likely leaves millions of people without insurance cover.

“The so-called healthcare bill passed in the House last month is the most anti-working class legislation in the modern history of our country,” he said in Pittsburgh, at the first of three rallies organized with the progressive group MoveOn.org, aiming to mobilize opposition ahead of an expected Senate vote this week.

The Senate plan, which was drafted in secret and released last Thursday, would repeal major pieces of the Affordable Care Act (Aca) and exact deep cuts to Medicaid.

“The horrible and unspeakable truth,” Sanders said, speaking to a crowd of roughly 1,600, “is that if this legislation was to pass, and if millions of people, many of whom are terribly ill today, would to lose their healthcare that they have, there is no question but that many many thousands of our fellow Americans will die unnecessarily.”

“Unacceptable!” a man called out.

Others shouted: “I will die!

In Columbus, Ohio, Sanders told the crowd he been criticized for portraying the healthcare bill as a matter of life and death. But it was “common sense”, he said, to say that if you take away healthcare coverage, “people will die by the thousands”.

“I say this with pain, with anxiety,” he added. “Thousands.”

For many attendees, this was personal. Diana Zoelle, a retired political science professor, feared cuts to Medicaid would leave her 89-year-old mother unable to afford nursing home care. Her mother had spent nearly all of her retirement savings, she said, and had been told she was eligible for Medicaid, which covers the longer-term care needs of nearly two-thirds of nursing home residents.

“But then Trump says he’s taking $880bn out of Medicaid,” Zoelle said. “I guess he assumes that I will take my mother home with me from the nursing home and that I will pay for everything she needs and then I won’t have anything for my old age.”

One of the women Zoelle came with shook her head. “If the healthcare bill goes through,” she said, “that’s when the real revolt is going to start because it’s going to affect them and they will act.”

Read Full Article>>

Philando Castile protest hits Pride as US gay rights marches get political>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Leaders from more than 250 cities gathered at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach to vote on a resolution to switch cities over to solar and wind power

‘I think most mayors in America don’t think we have to wait for a president’ whose beliefs on climate change are disconnected from science, Mitch Landrieu said.

‘I think most mayors in America don’t think we have to wait for a president’ whose beliefs on climate change are disconnected from science, Mitch Landrieu said. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Mayors meeting in Florida are considering an ambitious commitment to have US city governments run entirely on renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2035.

Leaders from more than 250 cities gathered at the US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach were scheduled to vote on Monday on a resolution to reach the 100% clean energy goal.

Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine is leading the effort after being in the spotlight for his moves to combat sea level rise.

A May survey by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions said 47 cities spent nearly $1.2bn annually on electricity for city operations.

Mayors at the conference have overwhelmingly expressed support to fight climate change, especially after the Trump administration pulled out of the Paris climate agreement last month.

“I think most mayors in America don’t think we have to wait for a president” whose beliefs on climate change are disconnected from science, New Orleans mayor and new conference president Mitch Landrieu said at the beginning of the conference.

“There’s near unanimity in this conference that climate change is real and that humans contribute to it. There may be a little bit of a disagreement about how actually to deal with it.

“If the federal government refuses to act or is just paralyzed, the cities themselves, through their mayors, are going to create a new national policy by the accumulation of our individual efforts.”

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Decision to abandon landmark deal described as a ‘slap in the face’ and prompts charity to cancel gala event with Israeli PM

Jewish women praying at the women’s section of the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem.

Jewish women praying at the women’s section of the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem. Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

A high-profile body that liaises between Israel and the Jewish diaspora has reacted with fury at a decision by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to in effect abandon a plan to allow men and women to pray together at the Western Wall.

The Jewish Agency has cancelled a gala dinner with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and is to discuss the ramifications of the decision at a meeting this week.

The Israeli cabinet decided on Sunday to scrap a compromise agreement made 17 months ago, which was intended to resolve a battle lasting more than a quarter of a century over equal rights for women praying at the Western Wall.

Netanyahu came under intense pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties in his coalition government and the religious authorities that manage the site, the holiest place that Jews can pray.

The plan would have created a new area for worship at the Western Wall for men and women to pray together. At present, prayer areas are segregated, with a smaller stretch of the wall of the ancient temple reserved for women.

The deal, made in January 2016, was welcomed by liberal and reform Jews, and the feminist group Women of the Wall, which has mounted monthly protests at the Old City site since 1989. The gatherings frequently ended in physical tussles and arrests.

Women of the Wall also demanded an end to ultra-Orthodox bans on women praying aloud, reading from the Torah and wearing traditional prayer shawls, known as tallit.

The compromise followed three years of intense negotiations between liberal Israeli and American Jewish groups and the Israeli authorities and was seen as a significant breakthrough in promoting religious pluralism in Israel, where ultra-Orthodox authorities govern almost every facet of Jewish life.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of reneging on the ‘historic’ agreement. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/AP

But opposition from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox religious establishment has prevented the agreement from being implemented.

Speaking after Sunday’s announcement, Moshe Gafni, the leader of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party, said: “We are happy about this, and thank the holy one, blessed is he, on this great success.”

But Anat Hoffman, the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, accused Netanyahu of reneging on a “historic” agreement with liberal Jewish denominations.

“This is a bad day for women in Israel,” she wrote on Facebook. “The Women of the Wall will continue to worship at the women’s section of the Western Wall with the Torah scroll, prayer shawls and phylacteries until equality for women arrives at the wall as well.”

Natan Sharansky, a former government minister and chairman of the Jewish Agency, who helped broker the original deal, said the move was a “deep disappointment”.

The agreement would have established “a dignified space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall,’’ Sharansky said. “[The] decision signifies a retreat from that agreement and will make our work to bring Israel and the Jewish world closer together increasingly more difficult.”

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Kensington and Chelsea council writes to people affected by fire saying they must leave as hotel does not have availability

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have been evicted from their emergency hotel accommodation at short notice after the local council was unable to extend their booking.

In a letter from Kensington and Chelsea council to the families affected, it said people needed to urgently leave their rooms by 4pm on Friday.

“Despite efforts to extend your stay at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, regrettably the hotel has stated that they do not have availability,” the council wrote.

The letter, which was subsequently shared on social media, tells families to contact the council’s accommodation team as a matter of urgency and provides a phone number.

A council spokesman said: “The Holiday Inn Gloucester Road was unable to continue accommodating 30 households due to previous bookings and we are deeply sorry for the manner in which the families had been informed of the need to move them.”

The people concerned were reportedly staying in 20 rooms at the Kensington hotel and the council said those who had to leave had been offered alternative hotels in central London.

Pilgrim Tucker, a community organiser working with the Grenfell Action Group, said in a statement released by the Radical Housing Network: “It’s beyond disgusting that after all these people have been through, losing their neighbours and watching their homes burn to the ground, authorities are prepared to tell them that they have hours to pick up their bags and move to some unknown destination… It makes you wonder if anything has been learned from the Grenfell catastrophe.”

Community groups and volunteers claim some people have been moved several times since the fire broke out. In response, the council said it was trying hard to avoid “unnecessary moves for people”.

A volunteer, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This is bad for the families. It’s bad because they’ve already had to endure enough, bad because they are being told this at the last minute, and let’s admit, this country only treats certain people this way.

“It is also bad because people are now being split across accommodation all over and that means it’s probably going to be even harder for the families in question to get support.”

Leila al-Halabi, who has been volunteering in the area since the fire, claimed “families have been split up into various accommodation away from each other”.

She said the council was not doing enough to make sure families got what they needed. “It’s volunteers doing this and many families do not even know where to get what or what they are entitled to. Still, translators are not offered,” she said.

“Each family should be allocated a member from the council to be their main point of contact to see what they need and inform them of what they are entitled to.”

Tucker said: “We still need answers as to what will happen to private renters, subtenants and homeowners of Grenfell Tower. We strongly suggest that given the scale of the disaster, all tenants of Grenfell, not just council tenants, are prioritised for permanent social housing in the local borough.”

Last week, the number of people dead or missing presumed dead rose to 79. The blaze also left hundreds of residents homeless.

A spokesman for the Grenfell response team, which was set up to coordinate relief efforts, said: “Ensuring that we house all those who have been effected by the Grenfell Tower fire is one of our most pressing priorities.

“It is a significant task to find people permanent accommodation, but we are making progress.

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Opinion

If enacted, the bill would be the largest single transfer of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history

US President Trump

‘The core of the bill is a huge reduction in Medicaid, America’s healthcare program for the poor, elderly and disabled.’ Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The Senate’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is not a healthcare bill. It’s a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, paid for by a dramatic reduction in healthcare funding for approximately 23 million poor, disabled, working and middle-class Americans.

America’s wealthiest taxpayers (earning more than $200,000 a year, $250,000 for couples) would get a tax cut totaling $346bn over 10 years, representing what they save from no longer financing healthcare for lower-income Americans.

That’s not all. The bill would save an additional $400bn on Medicaid, which Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump are intent on shrinking in order to cut even more taxes for the wealthy and for big corporations.

If enacted, it would be the largest single transfer of wealth to the rich from the middle class and poor in American history.

This disgrace is being proposed at a time when the nation’s rich own a higher percentage of the nation’s wealth and receive the highest percent of America’s income since the era of the Robber Barons of the late nineteenth century.

Almost all of the transfer is hidden inside a bill that’s supposed to be a kinder and gentler version of its House counterpart, which Trump called “mean, mean, mean.”

Look closely and it’s even meaner.

The Senate bill appears to retain the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for poorer Americans. But starting in 2020, the subsidies would no longer be available for many of the working poor who now receive them, nor for anyone who’s not eligible for Medicaid.

Another illusion: the bill seems to keep the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. But the expansion is phased out, starting in 2021.

The core of the bill – where its biggest savings come from – is a huge reduction in Medicaid, America’s healthcare program for the poor, elderly and disabled.

This, too, is disguised. States would receive an amount of money per Medicaid recipient that appears to grow as healthcare costs rise.

But starting in 2025, the payments would be based on how fast costs rise in the economy as a whole.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They’ll almost surely continue to do so – as America’s elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life. Which means that after 2025, Medicaid coverage will shrink.

The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that between 2025 and 2035, about $467bn less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

The states would have to make up the difference, but many won’t want to or be able to.

One final major deception. Proponents of the bill say it would continue to protect people with preexisting conditions. But the bill allows states to reduce insurance coverage for everyone, including people with preexisting conditions.

So insurance companies could technically “cover” people with preexisting conditions for the cost of, say, their visits to a doctor, but not hospitalization, drugs, or anything else they need.

The Senate bill only seems like a kinder, gentler version of the House repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but over time it would be even crueler.

Will the American public find out? Not if McConnell can help it.

He hasn’t scheduled a single hearing on the bill.

He’s shut out major hospitals, physician groups, consumer advocates and organizations representing millions of patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Share
25 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

View All>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Protest Corpses Laid Outside Venezuela National Guard

The pretend coffins and body bags were laid at gates of the National Guard headquarters on Tuesday in protest after the latest fatality in anti-government unrest

 

Dummies simulating corpses and a cardboard coffin are seen at the gates of the Venezuelan National Guard headquarters during a protest by opposition lawmakers in Caracas.

Venezuela opposition lawmakers placed pretend coffins and body bags at gates of the National Guard headquarters on Tuesday in protest after the latest fatality in anti-government unrest that has killed at least 75 people since April.

Footage and photos from demonstrations on Monday showed at least three members of the National Guard – a military unit with public order responsibilities – aiming and firing pistols in clashes on a major Caracas highway.

A 17-year-old demonstrator was shot in the chest and died, while several others were injured.

“You cannot keep killing people in the street!” opposition lawmaker Tomas Guanipa shouted during the early-morning protest in the middle-class El Paraiso zone of Caracas.

“Who gave the order to shoot?” asked another lawmaker Jose Olivares as soldiers watched silently from inside their base.

Venezuelan authorities said two National Guard members had been detained on Monday for what the interior minister called “presumed improper and disproportionate use of force” when thousands of protesters flooded the streets.

New commander

And President Nicolas Maduro announced that the general in charge of the National Guard, Antonio Benavides, was being replaced by another military man, Sergio Rivero.

“Win peace! That is our aim,” Maduro told Rivero, without giving reasons for the change.

As well as the fatalities, thousands of people have also been injured or arrested since Venezuela’s opposition began its latest street campaign against Maduro’s socialist government in early April.

They accuse Hugo Chavez’s successor of becoming a dictator and wrecking the once-prosperous OPEC member’s economy, demanding a presidential election to end his rule.

Maduro, 54, narrowly won election in 2013 to replace Chavez after his death from cancer, but has seen his approval rating halve to just above 20 percent during four years of an economic crisis causing hunger and shortages.

Terrorists and fascists

Maduro says “terrorists” and “fascists” are leading the protests in an effort to topple him by force as briefly happened to Chavez in 2002. Government supporters, bystanders and some members of the security forces have also been victims of the violence, with gunshot wounds the most common cause.

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

World Politics

United States

Justice department fighting use of unclaimed money from settlement for museum honoring black men who were not given treatment for disease

Tuskegee Syphilis Study participant Fred Simmons on his way to the White House in 1997, where Bill Clinton issued an apology to survivors of the study.

Tuskegee syphilis study participant Fred Simmons on his way to the White House in 1997, where Bill Clinton issued an apology to survivors of the study. Photograph: Dave Martin/AP

The Trump administration is opposing an attempt to use unclaimed money from a legal settlement over the government’s infamous Tuskegee syphilis study to fund a museum honoring its victims.

The justice department argued in court documents recently that providing the money to the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center would violate an agreement reached in 1975 to settle a class-action lawsuit.

Days after the government made its argument, attorney general Jeff Sessions issued a memo barring third-party organizations from receiving money from settlements involving the government.

For the study, hundreds of black men suffering from the sexually transmitted disease were allowed to go untreated for decades so doctors could analyze the progression of the illness.

The government said that it “does not intend in any way to justify, condone, or defend the Tuskegee syphilis study” but contended that allowing remaining money from a $9m settlement to be used for the museum would violate the original provision that any leftover money go back to the government.

Fred Gray, a civil rights attorney who represented men in the study and made the funding request in 2016, declined comment on the government’s position.

US district judge Myron Thompson held a telephone conference on the request on 30 May, records show, but has not yet ruled.

Starting in 1932 and continuing for four decades, government medical workers in rural, segregated Alabama withheld treatment from unsuspecting black men infected with syphilis so doctors could track the disease and dissect their bodies when they died.

When the study was revealed by the Associated Press in 1972, it ended and the men sued, resulting in the settlement negotiated by Gray on behalf of the victims, all of whom have died.

The men wanted to be remembered in a memorial that told their story, Gray said in court documents, adding that a county-owned history museum that includes exhibits about the study could use the “relatively small” amount of unclaimed money. The men’s names are emblazoned in a circle on the floor of the museum, which only opens in the summer because of funding shortages.

The justice department said sending the money to the museum would “fundamentally alter the terms of the agreement”.

Officials say more than 6,000 heirs of the roughly 600 men who were involved in the study received settlement payments through the decades, but an undisclosed amount of mainly interest earnings remains in court-controlled accounts. Court officials say they cannot find additional descendants, if any exist.

Some descendants of the men have said they support using the settlement money to help the museum, while others like the idea of a new memorial at Tuskegee University, where the study was based. Others want new medical screenings on relatives.

A judge’s decision could be a step toward ending the study participants’ class-action lawsuit, which was first filed in 1973.

Sportswear brands review spate of incidents in factories where employees on short-term contracts work 10-hour days in 30C temperatures

Garment workers on the outskirts of Pnomh Penh prepare for the working day.

Garment workers on the outskirts of Pnomh Penh prepare for the working day. Photograph: Jarl Therkelsen Kaldan/Danwatch

Women working in Cambodian factories supplying some of the world’s best-known sportswear brands are suffering from repeated mass faintings linked to conditions.

Over the past year more than 500 workers in four factories supplying to Nike, Puma, Asics and VF Corporation were hospitalised. The most serious episode, recorded over three days in November, saw 360 workers collapse. The brands confirmed the incidents, part of a pattern of faintings that has dogged the 600,000-strong mostly female garment workforce for years.

The Observer and Danwatch, a Danish investigative media group, interviewed workers, unions, doctors, charities and government officials in the country’s garment industry, worth $5.7bn in 2015.

The women who collapsed worked 10 hour days, six days a week and reported feeling exhausted and hungry. Excessive heat was also an issue in three factories, with temperatures of 37C. Unlike in neighbouring Vietnam, where factory temperatures must not exceed 32C, Cambodia sets no limit, though if temperatures reach a “very high level” causing difficulties for workers, employers must install fans or air conditioning.

According to unions, short-term contracts – common for workers in three of the factories – were also a key source of stress and exhaustion.

The minimum monthly wage in Cambodia is £120 and two hours’ overtime a day boosts it to between £150 and £190, depending on the factory. Wages vary, but none of the four factories pays the “living wage”, which in Cambodia is £300 a month, according to the workers’ rights alliance Asia Floor Wage.

Bent Gehrt, south-east Asia field director for the Workers Rights Consortium, which monitors factories making clothing for US universities, said: “There is no proper investment in an adequate working environment and no investment in the living wage. If workers are fainting, it should be a clear indication you need to do something more drastic.”

Short-term contracts were a “root cause” of job insecurity, he added, meaning people cannot refuse overtime: “Workers say if you don’t do overtime, you won’t get your contract renewed.”

Mass collapses bring factories to a standstill and cost “hundreds of thousands” of pounds in lost productivity, according to the Garment Makers Association in Cambodia. A factory supplying shoes for Asics in Kamong Speu province had to close temporarily when 360 workers passed out over three days.

“Mass panic” had occurred when one woman suffered a seizure in a factory where temperatures were later found to be reaching 37C, said Norn Sophea, who represents the Collective Union of Movement of Workers. “Certain departments have small fans to cool the area, but in others the fans are only designed to remove dust from the factory. So it gets very hot,” said Sophea.

Workers feared for their lives in one incident when 28 people collapsed rushing to escape a fire at a factory supplying Nike. Another described panic after thick smoke seeped into a factory supplying Puma.

On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, at a factory that makes sportswear for Puma, 150 workers passed out in March after thick smoke seeped across the factory floor. One woman, 28, was unconscious for two hours. “I heard the explosion. Smoke came into the factory. Workers were afraid and panicked. I ran to the gate to get out. It was locked but I ran to the manager’s door,” she said. “More and more workers came behind. Other workers could not run to get out and I heard they started fainting.”

Kim So Thet, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, has asked the factory to set up a cooling system. “It was very hot in the dry season,” said So Thet. “The combination of the fire in the generator, which smells like a poison, and the heat, makes the workers sick.”

Puma said an investigation found no reports of an explosion. It added that a generator malfunction produced the smoke and workers left via the fire exit.

Poor ventilation and chemicals inside and outside factories contribute to the gruelling working environment, while workers at provincial factories can face exhausting journeys into work, standing for up to two hours in trucks.

Cheav Bunrith, director at Cambodia’s Ministry of Labour’s National Social Security Fund, says the number of faintings has decreased, from 1,800 in 2015 to 1,160 last year, thanks to education programmes on nutrition and free treatment for those feeling unwell. But he admitted factories could improve: “The cooling systems need to be set up appropriate to the size of the factory and a safe electrical system has to be set up.”

Medical sociologist Robert Bartholomew, who has studied mass faintings, compares episodes in Cambodia to similar outbreaks in 19th century Britain when people worked long hours in unsafe conditions. It was, he said, a form of “subconscious political resistance”. “The reason for these outbreaks is not so much physical but psychological, in the form of mass psychogenic illness” said Bartholomew.

“Providing some workers with better nutrition is all well and good, but there needs to be sweeping reforms in the areas of long hours, stressful conditions and poor wages,” he said.

Contacted by the Observer and Danwatch, Puma, VF Corporation, Nike and Asics said they had investigated the episodes, which took place from last November to March. Nike said action had been taken to prevent fires and fire drills had been increased. It had also installed cooling systems and air conditioning, after an audit found temperatures above Nike’s code of conduct limits up to 30C. “We take the issue of fainting seriously, as it can be both a social response and an indication of issues within a factory that may require corrective action.” Nike doesn’t use short-term contracts.

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Off-duty black officer arrives at crime scene to help, is ordered to ground

White officer shoots, ‘apparently not recognizing’ colleague

An off-duty black St Louis police officer’s race factored into him being mistakenly shot by a white officer who didn’t recognize him during a shootout with black suspects this week, the wounded officer’s lawyer said on Saturday.

The 38-year-old black officer was off duty when he heard a commotion near his home and ran toward it with his service weapon to try to help his fellow officers, police said.

St Louis’ interim police chief, Lawrence O’Toole, said the incident began when officers with an anti-crime task force followed a stolen car and were twice fired upon by its occupants. One suspect was shot in an ankle and was arrested, along with another teenager who tried to run from police, O’Toole said. A third suspect is still being sought.

When the off-duty officer arrived at the scene to help, two on-duty officers ordered him to the ground but then recognized him and told him to stand up and walk toward them. As he was doing so, another officer arrived and shot the off-duty officer, “apparently not recognizing” him, police said.

The police department as of Saturday had not disclosed the names of the officers, who have been placed on routine administrative leave as the matter is investigated. Police described the black officer as an 11-year department veteran and said he was treated at a hospital and released. The officer who shot him is 36 and has been with the department more than eight years.

The black officer’s lawyer, Rufus J Tate Jr, discussed the shooting to St Louis Fox affiliate KTVI, but the officer was not named in the report. Tate did not reply to several phone messages seeking comment.

Tate told the station his client identified himself to the on-duty officers and complied with their commands. He questioned the white officer’s account, according to police, that he shot the off-duty officer because he feared for his safety.

“In the police report you have so far, there is no description of a threat he received,” Tate said. “So we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years. There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared.”

It was in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson where a white officer shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, three years ago, setting off months of protests, some of which were violent. The officer, who later left the force, was not charged, further straining relations between the area’s black community and the police.

There have been several notable instancesin which an officer mistakenly shot a colleague. In 2009, 25-year-old New York City police officer Omar J Edwards, who was black, was shot and killed by a white officer on a Harlem street while in street clothes. He had his service weapon out and was chasing a man who had broken into his car, police said.

Three plainclothes officers on routine patrol arrived at the scene and yelled for the two to stop, police said. One officer, Andrew Dunton, opened fire and hit Edwards three times as he turned toward them with his service weapon. It wasn’t until medical workers were on scene that it was determined he was a police officer. A grand jury voted not to indict Dunton.

A year earlier in the suburb of White Plains, New York, a black off-duty Mount Vernon police officer was killed by a Westchester County policeman while holding an assault suspect at gunpoint.

Read Full Article>>

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

untitledeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee21

Share

© 2017 themcglynn.com | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Global Positioning System Gazettewordpress logo