By Uri Avnery*
4 July 2015
A MIGHTY naval battle took place this week on the waves of the Mediterranean. It will go down in history as the equal of Salamis or Trafalgar.
In a daring move, the navy of the State of Israel intercepted the enemy, consisting of the trawler Marianne and the 18 people aboard. Israel naval commandos captured the ship and towed it to the harbor of Ashdod.
The admiral who commanded this glorious action has so far modestly remained anonymous.
Therefore we cannot honor him with a column in the center of Tel Aviv, like Admiral Horatio Nelson’s column in London’s Trafalgar Square. Pity.
However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lauded the courage of the victors in glowing terms, expressing the gratitude and admiration of the nation for their gallant deed.
I WOULD continue in this vein, but even sarcasm has its limits.
The whole affair was a masterpiece of stupidity.
Five years ago, several boats tried to reach Gaza, as a symbolic act of support for the beleaguered enclave, and were let through by the Israeli navy. No one mentioned them again. Continue reading
The United Nations refugee agency on 3 July 2015 welcomed proposals by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to set up a task force and trust fund to respond to the irregular movement of refugees and migrants in the region.
Fishing boats head out into the Bay of Bengal. UNHCR fears thousands could be stranded on smugglers’ boats between the Andaman Sea and the Straits of Malacca and in need of rescue. Photo: UNHCR/S. H. Omi
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), recommendations were made during yesterday’s Emergency ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on “Transnational Crime Concerning Irregular Movement of Persons in Southeast Asia” held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – the latest in a series of regional meetings to respond to the “boat crisis” that has seen thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals stranded at sea in May this year.
By Alex Lantier*
4 July 2015 (WSWS) – Hours before anti-austerity demonstrators flooded the streets of central Athens on Friday, a number of retired Greek military officers publicly called for a “yes” vote in Sunday’s referendum on the European Union’s demands, defying Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call for a “no” vote.
**Photo: 3 July 2015: Demonstration for voting NO in front of the Greek parliament, Syntagma Square, Athens. | Author: Ggia | Wikimedia Commons
The contrast between masses of workers denouncing EU austerity and the pronouncements of prominent military figures could not have been starker.
Retired General Fragkoulis Fragkos, a former defense minister and one-time head of the Greek army general staff, called for a “loud yes on Sunday.” In 2011, Fragkos was cashiered by then-Prime Minister George Papandreou amid rumors of a coup. Continue reading
By John Scales Avery*
4 July 2015 – In the United States, campaigns for the presidential election of 2016 have already begun. This might be an occasion for a realistic discussion of the enormously important challenges which we now face, not only in the America, but also throughout the world. But will the central issues be discussed? Or will the campaigns focus on personalities and trivia?
**Map showing where natural disasters caused/aggravated by global warming may occur. | Author: KVDP | Wikimedia Commons
Most thoughtful people agree that the two most important issues facing humanity today are the threat of catastrophic and uncontrollable climate change, and the threat of nuclear war. Each of these threatened disasters has the potential to destroy human civilization and much of the biosphere.
But will these vitally important issues be discussed in an honest way? Or will the campaign spectacle presented to us by the mass media be washed down into the murky depths of stupidity by rivers of money from the fossil fuel giants and the military industrial complex? Continue reading
Two United Nations agencies have on 1 July 2015 unveiled a series of new guidelines aimed at addressing the health risks posed by the increasing number and intensity of climate change-related heat waves affecting the planet, as warm weather alerts spread across Europe following soaring temperatures that killed hundreds of people in India and Pakistan last month.
Degraded dryland ecossystems put at risk the social and economic well-being of millions of people. Photo: Binh Thuan, Thien Anh Huynh/Vietnam/UNEP
The set of guidelines, jointly produced by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and entitled Heatwaves and Health: Guidance on Warning-System Development, will seek to alert decision-makers, health services and the general public through the systematic development of so-called heatwave early warning systems which, in turn, will hope to trigger timely action in reducing the effects of hot-weather extremes on health.
Much more needs to be done to reverse the trend of an ever increasing number of children forced to work as a result of the conflict in Syria often “carrying heavy loads, being exposed to pesticides and toxic chemicals, and working long hours,” according to a joint report released on 2 July 2015 by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children.
A boy in northern Syria uses a sponge to collect spilled fuel from an oil drum. Photo: Ahmad Baroudi/Save the Children | Source: UN
“Syria’s children are paying a heavy price for the world’s failure to put an end to the conflict”, says a joint press release issued on the report in Amman, Jordan.
“The report shows that inside Syria, children are now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households, In Jordan, close to half of all Syrian refugee children are now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households, while in some parts of Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working,” the agencies said.
By Pepe Escobar, RT*
Forget the mad spinning. Here it is, in a nutshell, what it really takes for Iran and the P5+1 to clinch a game-changing nuclear deal before the new July 7 deadline.
**Author: Cary Bass | Wikimedia Commons
Iran and the P5+1 agreed in Lausanne on a “comprehensive plan of action,” taking into account delicate constitutional considerations in both the US and Iran.
A crucial part of the plan is the mechanism to get rid of sanctions.
Lausanne – and now Vienna – is not a treaty; it’s an action plan. There will be a declaration when a deal is reached. But there won’t be a signing ceremony.
The next important step is what happens at the UN Security Council (UNSC). All the concerned parties at the UNSC will endorse a declaration, and a resolution – which is still being negotiated – will render null and void all previous sanctions resolutions.
As it stands, all the parties – except the US government – want to go to the UNSC as soon as possible. Washington remains, at best, reticent. Continue reading
By Johan Galtung*
1 July 2015 – TRANSCEND Media Service – We have been revisited, not only Charleston SC, not only the USA; the whole world by the shocking massacre in the iconic Emanuel Church.
It hit this aging Norwegian male deep in the heart; once a young man, sociology professor at Columbia University, NY, as American as any with that passport, deeply involved in the desegregation conflict in Charlottesville, VA.
Like millions others now trying to come to grips with this enormity of history moving backward to comprehend, searching for “how could it have been avoided”; any solution anywhere?
Using an old tested method, “what does this remind me of”, Anders Behring Breivik, a fellow Norwegian, came up. On 22 July 2011, first a bomb at a government building killing seven, then a massacre of young laborites at an island, killing 69 more.
Having researched the case, I see him located in a triangle with his pure, blond and blue-eyed Norway of believers in true Christianity in one corner, threatened by Muslim invasion; the traitors to that society–the Labor government, the laborites in the second, and in the third corner those who stand up, do something against the Muslim menace: Israel, the hard Zionists.