Archive for November 17th, 2012


Another Superfluous War

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery* — How did it start? Stupid question.

Uri Avnery

Conflagrations along the Gaza Strip don’t start. They are just a continuous chain of events, each claimed to be in “retaliation” for the previous one.

Action is followed by reaction, which is followed by retaliation, which is followed by …

This particular event “started” with the firing from Gaza of an anti-tank weapon at a partially armored jeep on the Israeli side of the border fence.

It was described as retaliation for the killing of a boy in an air attack some days earlier. But probably the timing of the action was accidental – the opportunity just presented itself.

The success gave rise to demonstrations of joy and pride in Gaza. Again Palestinians had shown their ability to strike at the hated enemy.

However, the Palestinians had in fact walked into a trap prepared with great care. Whether the order was given by Hamas or one of the smaller more extreme organizations – it was not a clever thing to do.

Shooting across the fence at an army vehicle was crossing a red line. (The Middle East is full of red lines.) A major Israeli reaction was sure to ensue.

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US, the Generals and Their ‘Pen Pals’

Human Wrongs Watch

By Ernest Corea*, IDN-InDepthNews, Washington DC –– There’s nothing like a real-life scandal involving a spymaster, who is also a bemedalled and highly regarded retired general, to deprive a big-time political event of major headlines, whether in the print or electronic media.

Photo: Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Election Day – November 6th | Credit: Scout Tufankjian for Obama for America

The scandal turned convolute, and the entire activity considered worthy of even more headlines, when the FBI informed the Pentagon that the retired general’s successor in the army (another general) had exchanged “potentially inappropriate” emails with the woman whose informal complaint to an FBI agent sparked the investigation that initially exposed the scandal.

Neither public curiosity about the scandals nor the news coverage they have generated raises them to a higher level of significance than the re-election of America’s first African-American president.

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More than 7 in 10 Workers Worldwide Lack Unemployment Protection

Human Wrongs Watch

Geneva, ILO*  – More than 70 per cent of workers worldwide have no statutory access to unemployment insurance or any type of unemployment assistance, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said. Unemployment insurance schemes exist in 72 countries out of 198 monitored by the ILO, most of them being middle- and high-income countries.

Photo: ILO

The proportion of unemployed workers without any such income security is even higher (86 per cent) if one includes those who haven’t paid social security contributions long enough to qualify for unemployment benefits, as many unemployment insurance schemes are based on contributions.

“This means that more than 86 per cent of the almost 40 million people who dropped out of the labour market since 2008 found themselves without a regular income from one day to the other,” says ILO social protection expert Florence Bonnet.

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