New Italy's PM Draghi talks to the nation addressing Covid and economic crisis as main challenges
New PM Mario Draghi called to drive the country out of the crisis and ensure the administration of 222bln euros European Recovery Fund.
Draghi's 'conditional acceptance' will become fully operative after constructive talks to rebuild a working majority in the Parliament.
“The idea is to get in somebody competent to draw up the government and get the recovery on the right track. It is rightly seen as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lay the groundwork for economic recovery”, said to the New York Times Federico Santi, senior Europe analyst at think tank Eurasia Group.
"Investors applauded his appointment. Italy’s borrowing costs were heading for their biggest daily fall since June while the Milan bourse blue chip index rose 2.5%. However, there was no guarantee that the highly respected economist would be able to muster sufficient support, with the largest party in parliament, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, immediately ruling out its backing", Reuters explains .
"It's a difficult moment", started Mario Draghi in his first speech to the nation after accepting the mandate of PM from the Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
"Defeating the pandemic, completing the vaccination campaign, giving answers to citizens' daily problems, relaunching the country: these are the main challenges we are called to face".
As former ECB head, Draghi made clear the massive EU Covid funds give Italy "the chance to realise a lot, with a keen goal to the young generations' future and to strengthen social cohesion".
The appointment puts an end to a political manoeuvre in the Senate by a minority ally of Giuseppe Conte's government, Italia Viva led by Matteo Renzi who is also Conte's predecessor.
Conte, who has a wide popular support, resigned with the hope to rebuild a stable majority, but after days of consultations and power politics among the leading majority groups (moderate socialists/populists 5SM, dems PD and left Leu), on the one side and the right and far right asking a short transition government and new elections asap, the stance for a stability prevailed and a EU technocratic model and a champion of political balance prevailed.
"I trust that from the dialogue among political parties and parliamentary groups and with the social representations, will come out unity along with the ability to give a responsible and positive answers to the President's call".
While the former majority supports Draghi, it's not clear as to whether Giuseppe Conte is going to accept any role in the new government.
US President Joe Biden - photo © Copyright wtop
Before the unfortunate advent of Donald Trump, calling in a inaugural presidential speech Americans to unite, act together to safeguard democracy, recalling the words of the Founding Father of US Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, would have sounded an outdated rhetorical cliché. But Joseph R. Biden Jr understands well that America, after four years of poisoning and dividing nationalism, now needs to restore and rebuild the true, common, sentiment of belonging, that tolerance making fifty States acting in the spirit of a wider community.
“Today on the same sacred ground that just few days ago violence sought to shake the Capitol very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we had for more than two centuries”.
Applause and emotion from the crowd of a small official ceremony constrained by the Covid rules and controlled by FBI and riot police.
While the way out of the man who first provoked the pro-Trump violence was led by the 21 cannon shots, an unusually quiet celebration paved Biden’s way into the White House: the new president bares on his shoulders the dangers inherited from the previous one: “a rise of extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat. To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: unity. Unity. In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the President said, and I quote, 'If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.' My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together".
In Biden’s intent to restore the common ground for a progressive and peaceful society, to righteously draw the line between the values of the American Civil war and the grim opportunism of the ‘uncivil war’, Trumpism is revealed for what it has actually been: an interruption of democracy reducing the US from nation to a “state of chaos”.
As the world was watching the new American President saying "We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again; we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example", we put our whole souls in that promise.
Ditching America first', for the good of all
Trucks on M20 Highway, Kent, UK
Royal Navy deployed four gunboats to protect UK fishing waters as no-deal is the most likely outcome
London, 12 Dec. 2020 - While talks in Brussels are crashing into a no-deal, the final act of the Brexit tragedy ends with the worst case scenario: the provocative deployment of the Navy ships patrolling the Channel and the frantic preparation of the 'operation Brock barrier': a set of possible new paths for trucks coming from the EU to avert bottle necks on Kent's highways: with the introduction of custom checks thousands of import-export trucks are going to get stuck in long queues.
All is set in the dark, with last minute manoeuvres that perfectly reflect British government's confusion, lack of plan and dependence on pure political propaganda: Navy's imperial style move, after all, brings votes; that political consensus of the millions increasingly poor and de-potentiated by the Covid crisis who project on establishment the need to have power to act, to be independent, while in the tragic reality of a deepening economic crisis, are increasingly dependent on state aid.
The aggressive 'Navy move' by the way, only provoked strong opposition even within the Tories: Tory MP Tobias Ellwood described it as "irresponsible":
"Global threats increasing, Navy overstretched. Here we are squaring up to a NATO ally as beneath the same sea increased Russian sub/ drone activity goes unchecked. Our friends (US) watch in dismay. Our foes (China/Russia) in joy. Let’s raise our game & get a deal", he wrote in a tweet.
UK: GDP down by 11.3% this year: largest loss over three centuries.
Borrowing set at 394bln.
Recovery more than two years away. Chancellor sets 55bln plan
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, © Copyright UK Parliament
London, 25 Nov 2020 - The day of the ‘spending review’ is a tragic one: “The OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecast the economy will contract this year by 11.3%, the largest fall in output from more than 300 year”, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said.
That’s also the biggest loss within the G7.
The British government did not give any clue on tax rise as yet.
Britain will have to wait at least until the end of 2022 to see a recovery in the post-Covid era.
Sunak read out a discouraging and concerning list of record high and lows: nearly 3mln unemployed (2.800.000), borrowing forecast 394bln pounds over the next years, the largest i Britain’s peace time history.
In 2021 public spending is set at 55bln: 18bln to testing, 3bln £ to NHS recovery, 2bln to transports, 3bln to local councils, extra 2.50bln to end rough sleeping
3bln unemployment program, 2.6bln to devolved authorities in Scotland, NI Wales.
It will take more than two years for the economy to recover: “Our economy is not expected to return to pre-Covid levels before the forth quarter of 2022 and the economic damage is likely to be lasting”.
Growth forecast is grim:+ 5.5% next year, 6.6% in 2022, then 2.3% 1.7% and 1.8% over the following years.
In 2025 the economy will be 5% smaller than expected in the March budget.
Unemployment will reach a peak of 7,5%: 2.6mln jobless next year; by the end of 2024 is forecast to fall to 4.4%.
Though support to public sector is relevant (pay rise to over one million NHS workers) the private sector is on the verge of crashing.
Christmas lights in Oxford Street praise ‘2020 NHS Heroes, kind strangers and neighbours’, celebrating London as one city in its diversity and one heart beating for its whole community. (video taken on Nov 4th 2020)
London, 11 Nov - In the capital infection rate is lowering down to 152 cases out of 100.000 people, while in Northern England the Covid alarm is still high: in Manchester 781 per 100K, in Birmingham 306 per 100K while in Liverpool alarm is still high with the army deploying 2K troupes to help deliver a massive test and trace program.
In 21 out of 32 London’s boroughs infections are below alarm level so businesses are asking to shorten lockdown in order to stop the ongoing huge damage to the economy. Where big companies announced thousands layoffs, small ones are simply closing permanently.
London Chamber of Commerce launched the appeal to stop lockdown early before the downturn becomes irreversible. “We should come out as soon as the figures allow us to do it” e representative told BBC, suggesting a return to the regional tier approach.
London calling: stop lockdown,
while Johnson says no.
Retailers are luring shoppers with shining Christmas decorative trees anticipating the festive season, while outside the crisis hits hard.
London, 22 Oct. 2020 - While local governments put under forced lockdown rise their opposition against Westminster, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces the 'Winter Economy Plan': employees of companies forced to close in lockdown areas will receive at least 67% of their pay from the government; the new Job Support Scheme starting in November reduces the previous 80% paid with the furlough scheme.
Meanwhile the figures issued by the Office of National Statistics rise widespread concern: for June to August this year the unemployment rate for all people was 4.5%.
As a consequence taxes are expected to rise to compensate the unprecedented economic support and the historic high public debt: 2.06 trillion pounds.
UK: Isn't Christmas yet and the crisis already hits hard. The 'Winter economy plan' won't help retailers
London, 12 Oct. 2020 - "We don't want to go back to another national lockdown", said the British Prime Minister. It's clear the economy would otherwise sink into the immense Covid crisis.
In his speech at the House of Commons, Boris Johnson set out the new three-tier rules differentiating local areas by level of infection alarm:
Medium: closure of hospitality business at 10pm, rule of a maximum of six people in most of the country.
High: above measures plus rule of six applying also outdoors.
Very high: no social mixing both in and outdoors, pubs and bars shut down.
As the hospitality sector announced to revolt against the new restrictions, Johnson called for mutual dialogue and support from the regional governments.
The leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, put under question the effectiveness of the new measures calling to ensure local authorities from councillors, mayors to regional leaders to be directly involved in the decision making process.
Measures put in place over the last months did not work and the government lost control over the virus: "The PM - said Starmer -promised a 100% of test results would be turned around in 24 hours; the latest figures for in-person testing is just 24% being turned around. The serious failure combined with the continuous newspapers leaks on briefing over the last days eroded public confidence just when we needed most". Opposition stressed the approaching end of financial support measures, such as furlough scheme, are causing huge anger across the population.
UK PM Boris Johnson announced new COVID 'marshals' enforced through a local three tiers set of rules - Video Copyright © House of Commons
Labour leader Keir Starmer said he is 'skeptical' and opposition will scrutinise new rules with local governments, councillors mayors Video Copyright © House of Commons
Britain enters three-tier local lockdown.
Labour: "We will ensure local govs' involvement in future decisions"
London, 23 Sept 2020 - In the British capital the infection rate is increasingly high. NHS England reports the total number of deaths in London hospitals of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 is now 6,172. The total number of deaths in London hospitals where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate is now 242.
The Mayor Sadiq Khan published a message to the population today: "Our city has experienced a significant rise in coronavirus cases. I know that many Londoners haven’t been able to get a test and are frustrated by the situation – I am too. But now, more than ever, we all have to stick together to fight this deadly disease".
The measure announced by the Prime Minister Johnson yesterday apply to London while Norther Ireland, Wales and Scotland have implemented similar, and tougher, measures which are being enforced in England:
police will be able to issue higher fines to those who refuse to comply with the rules. The fine for failing to wear a face covering if you do not have an exemption, or for breaking the rule of six will be £200. If you break the rules on self-isolation you could be fined up to £10,000. Fines will also apply to business breaking COVID-19 rules.
"It’s vital that we all follow these new rules to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Please let your friends and family know this latest update. London, it’s on all of us to protect our city. We can do this, together." said the Mayor Sadiq Khan in a message to Londoners.
COVID: Infection rate is rising in London. Mayor Sadiq Khan calls for unity and to respect new guidelines
London, 17 Sept 2020 - There’s an hidden message of England’s supremacy over Wales, 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.
When Brexit goes domestic: the Internal Market Bill could be the ultimate Tory power grab destroying the UK
Reportage: A new way to listen to live music is creeping out of the vibrant streets of the ‘big cloud’
Watch video reportage
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.
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
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.
The economy of war: UK issues new licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia
CAAT considering legal steps to stop civilians' massacre in Yemen
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
British young are asking end of systemic racism. In Bristol a symbolic toppling to change culture and course of history
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.
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.
Operation 'Broxit'; UK prepares for the worst
amid chaos and propaganda
Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi
takes the helm of Italy