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, 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 has 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
London - As we have seen over this weekend, many British people gathered in parks and holiday spots then gaining the tag of ‘selfish’. But they all not just put at risk others lives, but their own, so ‘irresponsible’ and 'not informed' are more appropriate adjectives.
Evidently many are unaware of what the words ‘incubation period’ mean. And the fault for this ignorance is not totally attributable to them, but principally to institutions and mainstream media.
Too few information in fact has been delivered on coronavirus incubation period: the time frame of latency starting from when we catch the virus until we feel and show symptoms. This period lasts from 1 to 14 days; on the average it can last 5 days.
COVID-19 symptoms, like persistent cough, high fever, respiratory illness (and other symptoms, like diarrhea, shown in a smaller percentage of cases) can take up to two weeks to show.
That means even if you catch coronavirus, over two weeks you might still look and feel healthy, without being aware of having the disease and feeling like going to the seaside or walking your dog in the nearest park (if this is allowed).
But while walking past somebody you could infect this person (or more than one) with your droplets which are not visible or controllable either, and this person could contract COVID-19 and later even die.
Bloomberg today (23 March 2020) reported that Iceland found half of those who tested (a meaningful percentage of its population) resulted positive with no symptoms.
These people are silently, and unintentionally, spreading the virus. It’s also reported that classified data from China say that a third of those who tested positive to Covid-19 had delayed symptoms or none at all.
Paolo Gentiloni, new EU Commissioner for tax and Economic Affairs VIDEO © EP European Union
London 12 Nov. 2019 - The actual cross-party electoral manifesto should be the one tackling homelessness. International charity Crisis' CEO Jon Sparkes wrote today a letter on The Times calling all politicians to end the national scandal of at least 350.000 people sleeping rough or in temporary accommodations.
"Our charities share a vision that homelessness can be ended and demand urgent action", Sparkes writes.
"Whoever forms the next government has the power to ensure that everyone in our society has the stability of a safe home, we need a plan that improves access to truly affordable housing by building at least 90.000 social homes a year for the next five years and bolster security of tenure for those renting in the private sector."
Also the universal credit and housing benefits are at the core of the issue. Sparkes along with Chief Executives of St Mungo's, Shelter, Homeless Link, Depaul UK and Centrepoint, ask "to ensure that housing benefits cover the full rent and do not force tenants into debt as rent arrears are the first cause of homelessness.
All pages of The Times would't be enough to mention the complex and interconnected series of factors not just limited to austerity led cuts, but including private owners interests, banks and real estate unregulated market and their strong direct influence on government's choices and policies.
Crisis calls all politicians to end homelessness:
this should be the true cross-party manifesto
Young leave the richest regions of Italy to find work abroad.
Migrantes Foundation reports 280K left the country
Rome, 25 Oct. 2019 - Over the last year 128,000 Italians left their homes to emigrate abroad Migrantes Foundation says in its XIV annual Report on Italians in the World. Overall the number of Italian nationals living in other countries is 5.3 million.
The majority of them are of working age: 35 to 49 years old (1.236.654; 23,4%) followed by 18 to 34 (1.178.717; 22,3%), and 65. As an index of increasing settlement those registered as born abroad are 39,7%.
Main destinations: the EU is the main destination. The book in UK foreign consulates regularisation of residency registered over 20.000 (+ 11.1% compared to the previous year), a growing figure attributable to Brexit.
Second in line is Germany with 18.385 newcomers from the 'Bel Paese' (-8,1% over 2017), then France 14.016, Brasil 11.663, the neighbouring Switzerland with its wide Italian speaking canton 10.265 followed by Spain with 7.529.
The richest and most industrialised region of Italy, Lombardy, with its vibrant financial centre of Milan, is first in line in the list of regions abandoned by the Italian working class both with low and high qualifications.
Out of a total of over 60 million citizens residing in Italy in January 2019, 8.8% are resident abroad (5,288,281 mln). From 2006 to 2019, Italian mobility increased by + 70.2% passing from just over 3.1 million registered with AIRE to almost 5.3 million.
Paolo Gentiloni, new EU Commissioner for tax and Economic Affairs VIDEO © EP European Union
We need to give homeless stable long term housing applying policies like the 'Housing first', not shelters where they only go to sleep overnight and where they can re-start their lives and start a path of social re-integration.
We are not going to ask Brussels more funds; money is there and there's a lot. We have to make better use of available funds. The previous EU legislature destined funds to short term needs like food and clothes which can be taken from the recycling chains instead.
"EU funds should target housing needs to end homelessness"
says Italian fio.PSD president Avonto
So far 839 refugees escaping war and poverty died, UNHCR reports.
They came from Afghanistan, Morocco/West Africa, Syria
Brussels, 22 August 2019 - The number of men, women and children escaping their countries and arriving in Europe has dropped over the first seven months of 2019 compared to last year: so far 53,761 reached EU borders, of which nearly 43,105 have risked their lives crossing the sea and 10,656 arriving by land UNHCR reports.
The UN agency adds in its report that 839 are those dead or missing until July 31st 2019
In 2018 arrivals have been 141.472 while 2.277 were dead or missing.
The drastic change in immigration policy in Italy with closed harbours and recent approval of tougher version of Security Decree determined since last year a change in migration routes: now the main one is the Eastern European one through Turkey and Greece.
The majority of refugees come from Afghanistan where the latest terror attack (Saturday 17 August 2019) claimed by Talibans, caused 80 dead and 160 wounded. So far 4,524 Afghani reached European shores this year.
Second country of origin of refugees and migrants crossing the sea is Morocco, a country crossed by those fleeing Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and other Western African countries. From there they head to Spain where this year to July 4.057 disembarked.
Refugees escaping war in Syria crossing central Mediterranean are until 31 July 3,089.
COUNTRY REFUGEES NUMBER PERCENTAGE
State of Palestine
4,524 until 30 Jun 2019
4,057 until 31 Jul 2019
3,529 until 31 Jul 2019
3,089 until 31 Jul 2019
1,917 until 31 Jul 2019
1,836 until 31 Jul 2019
1,661 until 31 Jul 2019
1,614 until 31 Jul 2019 1,566 until 30 Jun 2019 1,484 until 30 Jun 2019
Listen to Rome's monuments, they have the whole story
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Rome, July 2019 - Its beauty used to hide structural issues over centuries. No longer.
Ask people: locals, tourists, workers from overseas, professionals, and learn Rome is not blinding them anymore. It looks the beautiful scenario does not stand up the widespread problems.
Ancient history, modern times and the present are deeply entrenched in the eternal city and you find out the truth both engraved into bright marbles, on a post-it or over a light talk.
But monuments, statues, temples, churches talk about Rome's daily concerns too: from the statue of Giordano Bruno, the friar burned alive by the Roman Inquisition, to the fascist Dux balcony and more. Listen to Rio de La Plata, for instance: Bernini's most famous river of his Fountain in Piazza Navona sounds very sarcastic rising his scaremongering hand against the baroque facade of Sant'Agnese by his rival architect Borromini, right the same way Romans have always been with their chronically unstable governments and pompous, rhetoric-style politicians.
Or take a look to the faceless Pasquino: the ancient Greek statue has spoken caustic rhymes to the powerful from the 15th century, but politicians seem not up to criticism, nowadays.
Rome Sept. 2019 - Anti-immigration and tougher policing Security Decree Two passed Italian Senate's vote with decisive majority on a motion of confidence put forward by Salvini's Lega: the vote result showed a unified coalition government after weeks of signals of possible breakdown both from Lega Nord and 5Star Movement. Opposition Democratic Party called Di Maio led populists 5StarM 'slaves' to Salvini's far-right after these backed the bill.
Rome July 2019 - Carlotta Sami, UNHCR spokesperson for Southern Europe, answers Talk Europe's questions about the consequences of anti-immigration 'Decreto Sicurezza'.
London – The housing crisis is a complex issue where multiple factors come into play. These are not economic only but also, and primarily, political. Conservatives, traditionally, support existing owners’ interests though since 2010 introduced policies such as buy to let and first time buyers to ease new ownership through mortgages accessibility. These policies are the root cause of homelessness and rough sleeping.
After reports and figures of hundred of thousands of homeless started affecting government’s reputation and credibility, changes in stamp duty and cut to mortgages interest tax relief (i.e. landlords can no longer claim all of their mortgage interest against income tax on rent) have been introduced. But as a result property investors/speculators leaved the buy to let market with consequent drop in loans approvals, shortage of houses available to rent and letting prices soaring.
Rents crisis has a tragic impact on homelessness: the majority of homeless in the UK come from rent evictions and more 55% of homeless families are into work. That proves low wages do not cover rents and welfare system does not provide enough help, so people end in temporary accommodations or sleeping rough.
Riccardo Noury, Amnesty International Italy spokesperson, talks days before the second hearing of Carola Rackete, scheduled next 18 July in Agrigento, Sicily.
The conversation on the root causes of growing hate against NGOs involves Italian politics of business and interests prevailing over peoples' rights, a regime-style strategy of progressive abolition of the chance to even ask questions to politicians delivered trough one-way posts on social media and the consequent progressive marginalisation of reliable sources of information.
Rome 10 July 2019 - Challenging far-right populism is tough job. It takes courage, consistency, hard work, and the skills to oppose hate speech, to replace fake information and propaganda with fact-checked reality, with the truth. Riccardo Noury tells us about an organisation working on the frontline now in support of Carola Rackete, the German captain of the migrants rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 who dared to break Salvini's 'closed harbours' laws.
Previously acquitted from house arrests by magistrates, her case might set a legal precedent. She is charged with resistance to a warship for having rammed the Italian coastguard patrol boat while docking without authorisation at the Lampedusa pier. By not confirming her arrest, an Italian magistrate in Agrigento opened a way out of the anti-migrants Decreto Sicurezza.
In an exclusive interview to Talk Europe, Noury explains how Rackete is the point of convergence of a radicalisation of politics poisoning Italian society split into pro and against NGOs by a constant propaganda spreading on social media hate speech and criminalising those who help migrants, those who save lives at sea.
Debunking hate speech. A talk with Riccardo Noury on the root causes of the human rights crisis in Italy where Amnesty is supporting Sea-Watch 3 captain Rackete
and fighting far-right 'social' propaganda.
One luxury tower looking down to the homeless in the heart of London
Rough sleepers in London: majority are
London – A total of 8,855 people have been registered sleeping rough in London between April 2018 and March 2019. The figure is the outcome of the report Commissioned by the GLA (Greater London Authority) showing homeless have risen by 1.374 from 7,484 in 2018. Figures show 62% were sleeping rough for the first time.
Where rough sleepers are from:
British citizens are the majority 45%; second in line the EU citizens 39%.
Amnesty International's Hate Barometer measuring peak of intolerance in Italy
London 16 May 2019- The Hate Barometer is the tool Amnesty International Italy set to measure hate speech in the country over the EU elections. At ten days from the vote next 26 May, immigrants and Roma in particular are at the top of the chart with over 70%.
The online hate speech monitor is producing ongoing live figures and analyses on contents posted on Facebook and Twitter from Italian candidates to the EU Parliament and related replies from general account users.
On five main subjects: Roma, refugees, religious minorities, poverty and women the wider public of voters follows politicians and candidates generating hate speech. The chart shows 76% of replies to politicians posts about Roma ethnic minority are negative contents as well as 73% on refugees, 72% on women, 71% on religious minorities and finally 68% of replies and comments on solidarity are negative.
The same five issues are the everyday’s home and front pages of media: the latest Tweet from the far right interior minister restated the ‘closed harbours’ propaganda after the rescue vessel of the ONG Sea Watch rescued 65 men and women from a sinking boat coming from Africa, while in the capital the Roma ethnic minority is persistently attacked by locals who want to exclude them from the right to access social housing. Still in Italy the violence on women is widespread and the most serious cases are the top of an iceberg of discrimination, as a result of all those factors, solidarity is the least value for the majority of those who interact with political propaganda and are subdued to media agenda setting. Monitoring social media under elections is of pivotal relevance to understand the results. Hate speech and surging of far right in the polls are directly proportional now that far right Lega reached 32,2% and government allies 5SM at 21.5%.
Identity of a massacre.
70 years on from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Amnesty
London - It's the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The feeble light of the iconic candle of the international humanitarian organisation is the symbol of hope for justice.
The list of the victims in every country of the world is endless. The reading includes 200 of them. Many killed, many tortured, many still waiting for justice, the ones Amnesty advocates for.
"This year we held a special event - says Nick Hodgson, Secretary of Amnesty International Mayfair and Soho - because of the 70th anniversary of the Declaration which is a key document for Amnesty International. To celebrate we have linked the names of the individuals and the correspondent article violated and we have read the entire Universal Declaration".
The remembrance takes place each year so their names are kept alive in our memory. Names which add up to daily new cases Amnesty is fighting for, in and out national and international courts of justice.
London calling: stop lockdown,
while Johnson says no.