London, 17 Sept 2020 - There’s an hidden message of England’s supremacy over Welsh, Scotland and Northern Ireland aimed at reaching the majority of Brexiters and expand Tories’ electorate in this Internal Market Bill.
That’s what looks like the underlying ‘norm’ of the Bill behind its legal inconsistency both with the British domestic law and the international one.
A reckless push toward centralisation of decision making where Westminster tries to withdraw devolved powers and reclaim its alleged right after decades to put under scrutiny mutually struck agreement and historical peace treaties such as the one with Northern Ireland.
It’s the step forward down the abyss of Brexit: now that Britain is out, how can Tories feed the hunger of English discontent? EU immigration ended, attacking immigrants from the far East would not be economically convenient, criminalising asylum seekers could be sanctioned by the UN...meanwhile the covid-19 crisis deepens.
They know their overall majority is the result of the hard sell of a fake illusion of supremacy, of a media crusade branded with England’s red cross flag. Therefore here it comes the new game of the Tory playground: the domestic Brexit. The destruction of the internal Union.
Reportage: A new way to listen to live music is creeping out of the vibrant streets of the ‘big cloud’
London, 11 September 2020 - Over these days if you walk in central London you can listen to the finest jazz, classical music, and pop. While theaters are dark, exceptional performers are out there.
Social distancing rules are hitting hard theaters and the music industry.
The West End is silent, but on the other side passers by are delighted to have the chance to hear professional bands and performers right on the go, when music becomes that unespected moment making your daily life and soul feel better in times of pandemic.
While the music sector said government’s 1,57 billion COVID-19 support scheme isn’t enough to keep it alive, the end of the tunnel for performers looks far away.
Watch video reportage
In the meantime exceptional artist are capturing ears and souls of people walking in high streets: London could make the most of it by giving space and new chances of live sessions and performances en plein air. Also over winter? Yes: music always keeps us warm.
"Today, at this stage, an agreement seems unlikely"
said très préoccupé Barnier. Silence on failure from UK
Brussels, 21 August 2020 - "The need for a level playing field is not going away even if the UK is going for a low level agreement", said today Brexit EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in a press conference concluding a week of unproductive talks.
"Our future agreement must encompass robust commitments to prevent distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages" pointed out Barnier in a 'small reminder" of those EU commitments, also endorsed by British parliament in the political declaration.
The key stumble blocks hampering the Brexit agreement are competition, level playing field, fisheries, state aid, social standard, climate change and relevant tax matters. Many too many.
It's not just about "lowering tariffs and removing quotas. it's about finding an agreement between sovereign parties on rules that govern future trade".
Though EU respects UK's concern to maintain its autonomy "no international agreement was reached without parties to agree on common rules" he said.
On fisheries "we have made no progress whatsoever on the issues that matter" and so for law enforcement, governance (dispute settlements), citizens' fundamental rights, personal data, mobility, social security "our positions remain far apart".
"If we do not reach an agreement on our future partnership, there will be far more friction. For instance, on trade in goods, in addition to new customs formalities, there will be tariffs and quotas. This is the truth of Brexit. And I will continue to tell the truth". (Michel Barnier, press conference video Copyright EU Commission)
London, 7 August 2020 - Five years since the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and still women, children, men are escaping war, famine and persecution.
To the EU 27 taking them on board is not just a matter of upholding human rights, but it’s about taking their own responsibilities as weapons produced in the EU are used in African conflicts and military backed proxy-wars have been for decades the western European states' ‘foreign policy’.
They are our own refugees, we have a ‘duty of first adoption’ because, as Europeans, we reckon that after having destroyed and impoverished Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria by drilling oil from their lands like bloodsuckers and keeping tyrants on their thrones for that, we must give their populations a chance to survive, to escape that hell we, so diligently, contribute to create.
UNHCR report (updated 6 August): in 2020 385 refugees/migrants dead in the Mediterranean route. Total arrivals so far: 39,309 of which 35,402 by the sea. During the migration crisis in 2015 over one million (1,032,408) reached southern Europe and 771 died during the dangerous journeys.
Migrants and refugees are the consequence, not the problem.
From vicious circles to developing chains the way out from war and poverty in Africa
Interview with Liam Campling, Professor of International Business and Development, Programme Director International Business and Politics MSc, Director of the Centre on Labour and Global Production at Queen Mary University London.
London, 28 July 2020 - Though fisheries sector only accounts for 0.1% of British economy, there's much at stake, not just job losses, but the balance and maybe even peace, on our seas.
While the negotiations talks are going on, fisheries are one of the major stumbling blocks in the Brexit negotiations.
Why is that? What’s the core of the issue?
"There are different layers - explains Campling - the first question regards the longstanding access of European fishing fleets into UK's waters and ever since the UK joined the EU in 1975 and gave over its fishing sovereignty to its EEZ (Exclusive Economic zone) so EU after the common fishery policy forced together all the fishing interests across the European Union, so after the long history of generations of Danish, French, Dutch, Spanish and Irish fishing interests using British waters, to stop that happening is a big political hit to those continental European fishing interests. This is a big political question."
Diving into the sea of Brexit troubles: "we risk new 'cod wars'"
Prof Liam Campling (Queen Mary): explains EU-UK fisheries battle while negotiations are drowning
London, 23 July 2020 - The future of EU citizens in the UK and British in the Union is at stake; today more than ever. Maike Bohn, co-founder of The3million, the largest campaign organisation for the rights of EU citizens in Britain, warns that "with no-deal Brexit any hope of continuing social security and healthcare coordination for all has gone up in smoke, which means that it will be much more complicated for the smaller group of 3.6 million EU citizens in the UK to get those rights in practice".
She talks in exclusive with Talkeurope on the sad day EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stressed the unwillingness from the UK side to reach an agreement.
"No deal also means any lingering hope that our friends British in Europe might have had of still securing their rights in EU member states other than their own is definitely gone- Maike Bohn explains - they will lose Freedom of Movement and only be allowed to live and work in their current country of residence: a huge blow to the many cross-border workers".
The Home Office stated the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status and just few thousands a pre-settled status is that true? What sort of help is available to EU citizens who have lived in the UK for decades and instead have been given pre-settled status only?
"It is not true to say the vast majority of EU citizens have been given Settled Status – current grants of pre-settled status are over 1,4 million. That is more than the high estimate of 1.4million, and much more than the low estimate of 0.9million anticipated in the EUSS Impact Assessment the Home Office itself published in March 2019.
Maike Bohn, co-founder at The3million
The no-deal catastrophe
Maike Bohn (The3Million): "first signs of discrimination, but the real problems will start in January 2021".
EU towards post-Covid recovery;
nearly 50% of the 750bln fund to be paid back in low interest loans over 30 years
Brussels, 21 July 2020 - We have to admit that the 'stingy four' prevailed, but that's European Union: a supranational democracy where conflict turns into agreement.
Austria, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden dubbed the 'frugal four', then escalated to 'stingy four', did not want the post-Covid Recovery fund of 750bln euros to be made of 500bln grants and the rest in loans. They wanted the most of money to be given back through loans.
The Nordics' position, also backed by Finland, turned the Special Council in Brussels into a 92 hours marathon where heads of the 27 states held bilateral and multilateral meetings in the heart of the night sipping coffees to stay awake and keep the negotiations going.
Council's president Charles Michel set a proposal of compromise on Monday to overcome the stark opposition to 500bln non refundable grants advantaging the pandemic most hit countries: Italy and Spain: the step towards the compromise reduced grants to 390bln while the remaining 360 to be repaid through low interest loans.
The final agreement edging the gap between grants and loans (equate to 17% of EU GDP), remains of 750bln of which 360bln loans will be repaid over 30 years starting from 2027.
Charles Michel: "We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget. These were, of course, difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans. A marathon which ended in success for all 27 member states, but especially for the people. This is a good deal. This is a strong deal. And most importantly, this is the right deal for Europe, right now".
Ursula von der Leyen: "Today we’ve taken a historic step, we all can be proud of. But other important steps remain. First and most important: to gain the support of the European Parliament. Nobody should take our European Union for granted. It is our common responsibility to deliver".
Photo Copyright © EU Council 2020
Brussels, 16 July 2020 - We don't know yet how tough the first post-Covid summit in Brussels of the 27 is going to be.
EU Council president Charles Michel is trying to turn the stumbling blocks into building blocks: "The goals of our recovery can be summarised in 3 words: first convergence, second resilience and transformation. Concretely, this means: repairing the damage caused by Covid-19, reforming our economies, remodelling our societies".
But stark divergences split the front; an hostile position comes from Hungary where far right premier Orban adopted a resolution to bargain support to EU's long-term budget and recovery fund in exchange of a backtrack on Article 7 (voted by MEPs in Sept 2018) aimed at imposing sanctions on Hungary over human rights violations; so Budapest's support will be conditional.
On the North Western front The Netherlands is the stumbling block to the new taxes, like single-plastic tax and 10bn euros annual levy that EU Commissioner for Budget, Johannes Hahn, said would affect 70,000 companies in Europe with global turnover exceeding €750mln.
In view of the upcoming Special Council 17 and 18 July, President Charles Michel sets key proposals for the repayment of loans of 750 billion euro COVID Recovery fund.
The introduction of new taxes (plastic waste, carbon adjustment measure and digital levy) would allow Commission new autonomy for budget setting.
EU superfriday: 27 heads of state meet mask-to-mask for the special Council
Main challenges Orban and the 'Nordics'
Charles Michel tries the middle ground with three proposals
The economy of war: UK issues new licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia
CAAT considering legal steps to stop civilians' massacre in Yemen
London, 7 July 2020 - The decision announced by the British Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, makes clear what 'global Britain' actually means to the Tory led government: enhancing its influence through warfare industry and injecting in a disrupted economy fresh cash from the arm sales, especially form Middle East partners such as Saudi Arabia.
London based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) challenged the government last June with an historical win establishing the UK can't sale weapons to the Saudis as this violates International Humanitarian Law. Now the government is disregarding the verdict.
The humanitarian organisation reports that since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, UK licensed £5.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones), £2.5 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures), highlighting that figures are likely to be a great deal higher, with most bombs and missiles being licensed via the secretive Open Licence system.
UK Government will resume the granting of new licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the coalition that is bombing Yemen. CAAT is considering challenge to government decision to resume sales after court victory last June 2019.
From today 'licences to kill' will be issued again by the UK government, regardless the verdict issued last June, when the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government acted unlawfully when it licensed the sale of UK-made arms to Saudi forces for use in Yemen without making an assessment as to whether or not past incidents amounted to breaches of International Humanitarian Law. Union Jack branded weapons have been used in military operation in Yemen against civilians deliberately killing people even while they were attending funerals.
Today's announcement is therefore a backtrack as after that verdict the government undertook not to approve any new licences pending a reconsideration process and was also ordered by the Court to retake the decisions on extant licences in a lawful manner.
"This is a disgraceful and morally bankrupt decision - said Andrew Smith, spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade - The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played a central role on the bombing. We will be considering this new decision with our lawyers, and will be exploring all options available to challenge it".
Turkey sentenced president of Amnesty International.
Taner Kılıç victim of false accusation and criminalisation in a verdict meaning who defends human rights is an enemy of Erdogan
London, 3 July 2020 - The President of Amnesty International Turkey has been sentenced today. Taner Kılıç, human rights activist, also founder of the Turkish branch of the Human Rights organisation, has been the victim of what Amnesty defines as "court deals crushing blow for human rights and for justice" as he has been sentenced for ‘membership of a terrorist organization’ (i.e. Gülen movement).
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher who observed the hearing said: “Today, we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This verdict is a crushing blow not only for Taner, Özlem, İdil and Günal and their families but for everyone who believes in justice, and human rights activism in Turkey and beyond".
The human rights activists Özlem Dalkıran, İdil Eser and Günal Kurşun have been also sentenced for ‘assisting a terrorist organization’.
In a press release Amnesty International defined “the decision of the court is staggering. During 12 court hearings, each and every allegation has been comprehensively exposed as a baseless slur. The court’s verdict defies logic and exposes this three-year trial as the politically motivated attempt to silence independent voices it was from day one.”
Kılıç, human rights lawyer, was arrested by Turkish authorities in June 2017 and accused of being linked to Gülen movement, right that movement Turkey's president Erdogan is persecuting as political opponent. Gülen in fact has been accused by Erdogan's islamic conservatives of AKP, of using the judiciary system to seek influence while the movement was seeking justice in a government's corruption scandal.
“This case has been a litmus test for the Turkish justice system. As such, it is tragic to see the part it has played and continues to play in criminalizing the act of standing up for human rights. We will continue to stand with our friends and colleagues as they appeal these shameful verdicts.” (Amnesty International)
UN warns on COVID-19 consequences amounting to torture
Violent enforcement and contagion in prisons
Brussels, 26 June 2020 - There’s no approximate estimate of the number of victims of torture in the world. UN reports that only in the US live 1.3mln of politically-motivated torture survivors.
Around the world up to 35% of migrants and refugees escaping persecution in their countries of origin are torture survivors. In this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture the UN launches a new warning: COVID-19 pandemic is leading to an escalation of torture and ill-treatment worldwide, and torture survivors are especially in danger of getting infected by the lethal virus due to their vulnerable situation.
In penitentiaries the situation is explosive: as of mid-June 2020, more than 78,000 prisoners have contracted COVID-19 in 79 countries, and at least 1,100 have died of this new virus throughout prisons in 35 countries (numbers are not final).
Today India along with nine countries (Sudan, Brunei, Bahamas, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, Comoros, Gambia and Palau) did not ratified the Convention. But countries such as Iran and US who are signatories blatantly disregard the UN Convention which is binding.
"Torturers must never be allowed to get away with their crimes - said today UN Secretary General António Guterres - and systems that enable torture should be dismantled or transformed".
Protesters in Washington askinng closure of Guantanamo
Painting by a victim of torture supported by the UN Torture Fund
London, 15 June 2020 - "Ciao Boris": the president of the European Parliament greets Johnson friendly as in the spirit and principle of the EU.
The 'mini summit" on video sees the EU big three, Sassoli, von Der Lyen and Michel at the same virtual table with the counterpart: the British government.
EU leaders see Johnson, Frost and 'company' as representatives of a member state seeking an agreement to exit the Union, as is in their right as stated in the Lisbon treaty. Yes, it is formally so, but the crude reality is they are a national ruling class seeking to keep their political consensus high.
There's much at stake now for the Conservatives: polls give for the first time Labour leader Keir Starmer at 51% while Johnson's leadership is losing gain, at 48%. (IpsosMori)
Let's say Boris is not in his golden moment at present. Therefore there's much rush: how can Tories distance their actual counterpart (the Labour) in the polls? With a breaking Brexit, it's obvious. The sooner the better.
Video Copyright © EU Parliament 2020
In a high level video conference EU Presidents of Parliament, David Sassoli, Commission Ursula von Der Leyen and Council, Charles Michel have discussed with British PM Boris Johnson further steps to finalise Brexit agreement as negotiations stalled.
As was acknowledged no extension will be asked by Britain, Johnson asked to put "the tiger in the tank" for a deal to be sealed within end July. Key points of disagreement are: fishing, governance, state aid, level playing field, rule of European court of justice and international arbitration system.
EU-UK: I don't know why you say goodbye and I say hello
While losing consensus at home, Johnson tries to put his fear in the tank before it's too late
London, 7 June 2020 - Today protesters in Bristol toppled a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston who killed 19,000 African origin people and enslaved 60,000, and then threw it into the harbour while some went up replacing the bronze monument calling for a 'revolution' with a megaphone.
It is the step forward from protest to revolt against the British racist and divisive system which through petty legal cheating makes it impossible to report and denounce discrimination based on race and nationality and finally seek justice.
Many of the signs of the thousands who on Saturday rallied by the Supreme Court of Justice in London, asked a fair and equal education and justice system. Beyond George Floyd, as the trial for his murder at the hands of Minneapolis police is starting on Monday, the whole British new generation, not just African origin and BAME, want to bury colonialism and imperialism derived racism, right the culture and ideology promoted by Tories and British business ruling class.
"Black history mandatory in schools", "Stop militarization of police", "Black is beautiful", are some of the messages in the endless sea of signs in Parliament Square and the nearby area of the Supreme Court where the chant "Black Lives Matter" and "Justice for George Floyd" marked the rhythm of low-sounding drums.
Nearly all are young, all backgrounds, all races and make clear "this is not a trend" but a determined commitment to achieving justice and equality.
For the second time on Saturday police intervened in the Downing Street area at the very end of the protest: mounted police have been reported dispelling the crowd. We can report until 6.30 the protest was absolutely peaceful.
British young are asking end of systemic racism. In Bristol a symbolic toppling to change culture and course of history
From WHO and Costa Rica a call for solidarity to fight Covid:
37 countries joined, only 5 among developed economies
Brussels, 29 May 2020 - “Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods”. President of Costa Rica Alvarado announced today along with WHO Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus the #COVID19 Technology Access Pool. It's a way to go beyond global competition, nationalist stances and pharma corporates interests for the good of humanity. On the day Donald Trump announces US quit the WHO indefinitely, Dr Tedros makes a step forward on the front of global solidarity.
So far 37 countries joined the Pool to share data and intellectual property to give all countries and companies way to tools and findings to defeat pandemic “The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool will ensure the latest and best science benefits all of humanity,” said Tedros underscoring that “global solidarity and collaboration are essential to overcoming COVID-19.”
The initiative comes at a stage of high competition in the race for the vaccine and increasing confrontational positions between US and China while uncertainty over the future is affecting us all: impossible to figure out to get back to normal life without a vaccine.
37 countries so far joined the Technology Access Pool. Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Bhutan, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Indonesia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, South Africa, Sudan, The Netherlands, Timor Leste, Uruguay, Zimbabwe.
UK: An army of homeless 'in waiting' outside courts doors
meanwhile government is not considering mayors' and MPs' plans
The British government set out a scheme to cover wages of employees during lockdown, but this is not protecting renters. Labour Shadow Secretary for Housing Debbonaire is proposing a rent ban, the Mayor of London a plan to protect three million renters in the capital, Clive Betts, Chair of Housing Committee said ban would breach rights to private property.
London - While Tories are protecting banks, property and assets owners spending millions and extending the mortgage scheme until October (and maybe further as Covid might restart spreading in autumn), renters are now exposed to mass evictions in June, as these have been only delayed by three months: the eviction ban expires on 25 June.
It is one of their main political strategies to maintain and expand Conservative political support: when in front of the ballot paper, owners will look back to 2020 when, thanks to Boris Johnson and his reckless team, they managed to earn money keep their properties while ruining the lives of millions of tenants during the historic coronavirus pandemic.
London, 18 May 2020 - It’s now proven scientific evidence surgical masks reduce Covid-19 infection rate by over 50%.
“The findings implied to the world and the public is that the effectiveness of mask-wearing against the coronavirus pandemic is huge,” said yesterday Hong Kong University microbiologist Dr Yuen Kwok-yung showing the outcome of the experiment he conducted with his team on 52 hamsters, the rodent with the immune system similar to humans.
The experiment is three-folded:
1) two cages put close, one with infected hamsters and the other with healthy ones: infection rate after 10 days is 67%, two thirds of the hamsters became infected.
2) two cages, one with infected hamsters protected by a surgical mask-like barrier and the healthy ones’ cage with no protections: infection rate falls to 16% ...
Wearing surgical face masks works
Hong Kong University study demonstrates infection rate reduction
Darwin, mice and coronavirus: a Tory-made strategy of science
slaved to politics
Cynicism from the government while the tragedy unfolds
London - Darwinism and evolution as exclusive outcome of natural selection is a theory that have always seduced British élite. Tories love this view rooted in the past and now muted into their main ideology, which is racism resulting into marginalisation, contempt for the weaker part of the society, ethic minorities, the poor, the homeless.
No surprise, then, that Tory best ‘treatment’ of COVID_19 is delegating the whole mess to the pitiless Mother Nature: the stronger will survive in the first season while the weaker will die, and next year those who became immune will protect the others from the virus.
The British population will now be considered as mice for the mass ‘herd immunisation experiment’ allowing them to freely enjoy the early spring coughing under blossoming trees and ‘impollinating’ their siblings with the deadly coronavirus and so celebrating the mating season.
Banksy: 'You lie', mouse. © Banksy 2020
The City's Dragon can't stand up against a new CETA
The politically motivated radical economic shift towards goods is just aimed at stabilising consensus
London, 18 Feb 2020 - A new UK-EU free trade regime will be agreed, if all hurdles are overcome over the few months left.
The most likely option seems to be the one EU has with Canada, meaning the services sector, which accounts for the 80% of UK's economy, will see an unprecedented contraction with huge job losses because that kind of trade agreement ends 98% of tariffs on goods, but leaves services, included financial ones, under the WTO regulation.
Now, Brexit implies the explicit request from the political electorate for investments in the Northern region of the country and to disinvest in London, which became a global service producer thanks to workers coming from the EU. The services boom developed and expanded over thirty years also as marketing and communications globalised arm of multinationals.
London - “If there is no recorded decision for you on the NHS Organ Donor Register, it will be considered that you agree to be an organ donor when you die”. These are the words published on NHS site announcing the new law by which we all are organ donors unless we declare the opposite.
We all should be ashamed of the country we live in and concerned about the new law coming into force from spring 2020: “all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system or presumed consent. You may also hear it referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law', probably to soften the actual dramatic impact of the silent assent which makes you an organ donor without your consent.
Everybody has to get informed about the fact in order for an organ to be transplanted the donor has to be still alive, that means in a coma, brain dead or judged by medics as dying, therefore the words "when you die" to encourage unaware people to agree to donation are a blatant and dangerous lie.
This new scandalous law which got Royal Assent last March 15 2019 as Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill 2017-19, or 'opt-out’ bill, betrays the will and dignity of the human and of the right to life of the person.
When Brexit goes domestic: the Internal Market Bill could be the ultimate Tory power grab destroying the UK