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  • Université : ces Kenyans qui aident les étudiants occidentaux à tricher contre de l’argent | Reha Kansara & Ed Main

    Si un étudiant de Londres ou de New York va en ligne pour payer quelqu’un pour faire sa rédaction, il y a de fortes chances pour que le travail soit en fait effectué par quelqu’un du Kenya. Un reportage de BBC Trending à Nairobi sur les écrivains fantômes qui aident les étudiants étrangers à tricher. Source : BBC News Afrique

  • Mexico City to swap Columbus statue for one of indigenous woman

    A statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, which stood on one of the main avenues of Mexico City, will be replaced by one of an indigenous woman.

    Mexico City Mayor #Claudia_Sheinbaum said the bronze likeness of Columbus would be moved to a park and a statue of an #Olmec woman would take its place.

    The Columbus statue was removed from its plinth last year ahead of protests.

    Protesters have toppled Columbus statues in Latin America and the US.

    Christopher Columbus, an Italian-born explorer who was financed by the Spanish crown to set sail on voyages of exploration in the late 15th Century, is seen by many as a symbol of oppression and colonialism as his arrival in America opened the door to the Spanish conquest.

    Mayor Sheinbaum made the announcement on Sunday at a ceremony marking the international day of the indigenous woman.

    She said that relocating the statue was not an attempt to “erase history” but to deliver “social justice”.

    Ms Sheinbaum said that the Columbus statue “would not be hidden away” but that the civilisations which existed in Mexico before the Spanish conquest should receive recognition.

    The mayor said that sculptor #Pedro_Reyes was working on a statue of a woman from the Olmec civilisation, which flourished in the Gulf of Mexico from 1200 BC to 400 BC, to replace that of Columbus on Reforma Avenue.

    The plinth on which the Columbus statue stood has been empty since 10 October 2020 when it was removed “for restoration purposes” just two days before planned protests marking the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

    Some activists had issued calls on social media for the statue to be toppled.

    #Mexico_City #mexique #statue #monument #Colomb #Christophe_Colomb #toponymie #toponymie_politique #femmes #femme_autochtones #peuples_autochtones #justice_sociale #mémoire

    ping @cede

  • Il a raison de nous faire commenter sa sortie sur les écrans plats, notre Fétide, parce que la rentrée c’est après-demain, et qu’on se doute tous que ça va être très compliqué grâce à lui. Alors autant parler d’autre chose.

    Le cas spectaculaire, c’est l’Écosse, où l’école a repris mi-août, et depuis c’est une flambée des cas que les autorités attribuent ouvertement à la réouverture des écoles : Covid in Scotland : Return of schools ’fuelling’ record case numbers

    About a third of the new cases were in the under-19s age group - with almost 42% of 16 and 17 year olds having had their first dose of a vaccine.

    Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Mr Swinney said there was no doubt that pupils and staff returning to school over the past fortnight had contributed to the “unprecedented” number of cases.

    Le nombre de cas relève carrément du jamais vu (« unprecedented »), là-bas :

  • Covid study: How to avoid catching virus in a shared car - BBC News

    For driving below 30mph (48kph), opening all four windows is most beneficial.

    But on faster roads, opening two on a diagonal can have an even bigger impact.

    We found that the increased difference in air pressure at high speeds meant that the diagonal opening (eg a front window on the right and a rear window on the left) created a very strong targeted tunnel effect, which was even more efficient at dispersing particles than having all four windows open," said Prof Li.
    “The process is so effective that it’s only necessary to do it for 10 seconds at a time, every five to 10 minutes, or whenever somebody coughs or sneezes.”

    Prof Li said having the windows open constantly would create its own risks from exhaust fumes and air pollution outside the vehicle, which could potentially be more serious than Covid.

    The team’s research also discovered that sitting in the front seats was far safer than being in the back, owing to the prevailing direction of the airflow through the car.

    If passengers do have to sit in the rear, Prof Li recommended they sit in the opposite seat to where the window is being opened.

  • La paille, la poutre, tout ça…

    Emmanuel Macron, pour qui les Jeux devaient se tenir, estime que le Japon a quelque peu manqué d’anticipation face aux variants avec sa stratégie zéro Covid.

    Au même moment, son ministre Blanquer prépare la rentrée de mes petits sous variant delta en annonçant la création d’un comité de lutte contre le « wokisme » et la « cancel culture ».

  • #Covid: Children’s extremely low risk confirmed by study - BBC News

    Lead researcher Prof Russell Viner said complex decisions around vaccinating and shielding children required input from many sources - not their work alone.

    But he said if there were adequate vaccines, their research suggested certain groups of children could benefit from receiving Covid jabs.

    He added: “I think from our data, and in my entirely personal opinion, it would be very reasonable to vaccinate a number of groups we have studied, who don’t have a particularly high risk of death, but we do know that their risk of having severe illness and coming to intensive care, while still low, is higher than the general population.”

    He said further vaccine data - expected imminently from other countries, including the US and Israel - should be taken into account when making the decision.

    Dr Elizabeth Whittaker, from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Imperial College London, said […] “[a]lthough this data covers up to February 2021, this hasn’t changed recently with the #Delta #variant. We hope this data will be reassuring for children and young people and their families.”

    #enfants #vaccination

  • How Vienna built a gender equal city

    In the Austrian capital, all aspects of public life, including transportation and language, are impacted by Vienna’s aim of being an inclusive and gender-neutral destination.

    Walk through the Reumannplatz, one of the best-known squares in Austria’s capital city, Vienna, and you will probably spot an outdoor platform, prominently labelled Mädchenbühne (girls’ stage). The large podium, which can be used by everyone, was requested as a performance space by the girls of the nearby school when asked what they would like from the urban area.

    The girls’ stage joins workout stations, a playground and more than 50 new trees as new additions to the square, which reopened last year following a gender-sensitive redesign. But in Vienna, it’s not only the urban spaces that are developed with gender in mind. All aspects of public life, including transportation and language, are impacted by the capital’s aim of being an inclusive and gender-neutral destination.

    The strategy Vienna uses to achieve this aim is called “gender mainstreaming”. The head of the Department for Gender Mainstreaming, Ursula Bauer, describes it as a tool to achieve gender equality in society based on equal structures, settings and conditions for both women and men.

    She says that it differs from women’s policy in that it makes sure regulations and procedures take into account that there is a structural difference between women and men, mainly stemming from traditional gender roles. “Women’s policy is repair work, whereas gender mainstreaming is prevention,” Bauer said.

    She explained that the department looks at gender-differentiated data and provides guidelines as well as training to make sure government services are gender-sensitive and accessible. Over the years, a network of gender experts in key areas has also been set up. Bauer likens the department’s cross-sectional role to that of a watchdog making sure all areas of the city’s government take gender inequalities into account. “No-one can escape,” she said jokingly. “We are like a spiderweb.”

    In practice, gender mainstreaming takes many forms, such as ensuring government bodies use gender-sensitive language to communicate, or that public transportation includes illustrations of men with children to signal seats reserved for parents. A visitor to the capital might also notice the wide pavements for mothers navigating the city with prams or children, or the fact that a large proportion of the city, including the whole public transportation network, is wheelchair accessible.

    Another key area is urban planning. Gender planning expert, Eva Kail, was central to making sure Vienna was one of the first cities to look to gender to shape its public spaces. Inspired by feminist planning literature, Kail began exploring the topic 30 years ago and received the budget and political backing to make it a priority. “It was time to look at the whole city from the female perspective,” she said.

    Kail began collecting data on how and by whom Vienna’s public spaces were being used and discovered that the female perspective had often been missing. She explained that the predominantly male urban planners had been basing their designs on male interests and their everyday life experiences, meaning they tended to neglect the perspectives of other population groups.

    Kail noticed that the perspective of teenage girls in particular was missing from the city’s parks, and, together with her team, worked with them to understand how to make these urban spaces more appealing. The result was larger areas dedicated to soccer being divided into smaller spaces so that multiple groups could play; and creating additional seating areas, such as hammocks, to retreat to. “It may sound trivial but having public toilets in parks is also important for many park users,” she said.

    The new park designs, which were tested in six pilot projects in 1999 and 2000, also addressed the safety fears held by many females. “We made sure the main path was well lit, as straight as possible, and that bushes weren’t too close,” she said.

    Observations showed that the pilots were a success. “They worked really well,” said Kail. “More girls were using the parks and they were taking up a larger amount of space in them.” Now visitors to the city will see that every new or refurbished park in Vienna follows the same principles.

    The planning pioneer says she is often asked how to spot gender mainstreamed urban design around the city. “When it is done well, it is invisible,” she said. “A well-functioning public space, where no group is missing or struggling to use it, doesn’t stand out.”

    But sometimes Vienna’s public spaces are purposefully used to make females more visible. For example, in the city’s urban development project Seestadt Aspern, the majority of the streets, squares and parks have been named after women, such as Janis Joplin, as a small counter to the historically predominant male naming. And there’s the symbolic identification of the podium in the Reumannplatz as the girls’ stage.

    While Vienna’s gender mainstreaming approach helps it to position highly in quality-of-life rankings, political science professor at the University of Vienna, Birgit Sauer, says the rest of Austria hasn’t yet implemented it to the same extent. “We have a gap between Vienna and the country’s more rural areas and smaller cities,” she said.

    Sometimes Vienna’s public spaces are purposefully used to make females more visible

    Sauer says that while there is a tradition of gender equality in Austria, including public housing projects dating back to the 1920s, women in Vienna have more access to support, such as free childcare, which tends to be costly and have limited opening hours elsewhere in the country. “This means that mothers can work if they want to,” she said, but adds that gender pay gaps are still common.

    Many travellers will think of Vienna, which is known for its formal balls, as a very traditional society, but the professor says that multiple factors have resulted in the capital being ahead of the gender equality curve in Central and Western Europe. Sauer explains that already in the 1970s, the city was home to many active women’s groups and that Vienna has a history of having Social Democratic governments that invested in creating social equality.

    And this does not just stop with gender. According to Sauer, there has also been a lot of activism and political support for the LGBTQ community.

    Berni Ledinski, who is the Vienna coordinator for QueerCityPass, a tourist ticket for lesbian, gay and trans visitors highlighting queer-friendly institutions, agrees. Ledinski, who also performs as the drag queen Candy Licious, says that “Vienna as a city is a really safe space for queer people.” He says that it not only offers a good range of queer-friendly cafes, bars, shops and museums, but also has a division within the city administration focused on combating LGBTQ discrimination.

    For Ledinski, a central moment for the capital’s queer community was when Thomas Neuwirth won the 2014 Eurovision song contest, performing in drag as Conchita Wurst. “It definitely had a really big impact, and marketing campaigns started to include same-sex couples,” he said.

    The event also inspired the City of Vienna to make the queer community more visible in public spaces, for example, by including illustrations of same-sex couples in traffic lights. But while much progress has been made for the queer community, Ledinski says there is a potential to do more. “There is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to the recognition of inter and trans people,” he said.

    And it appears that important steps in that direction are taking place. Vienna recently unveiled its first transgender crosswalk, located close to the Vienna General Hospital, which is home to the nation’s only transgender healthcare centre. “Due to Covid-19, there have been a lot of problems with trans healthcare, and we thought it would be a great sign of solidarity,” said Dominique Mras who came up with the idea.

    Mras, who is the member of parliament in Vienna’s 9th district responsible for diversity, says it is important to note that the pink, blue and white crossing received support from all political parties, including the conservative one. And while it is the only such crosswalk planned for now, Mras believes that it is an important symbol to help open up the conversation around gender diversity and make trans people more visible in Vienna.

    “It’s a first step,” she said.

    #genre #ville #Vienne #ressources_pédagogiques #TRUST #master_trust #villes #urban_matter #espace_public #femmes #visibilité #in/visibilité #Mädchenbühne #urbanisme #féminisme

  • A Guide to the Best Lovers Rock on Bandcamp | #Bandcamp_Daily

    As Jamaican reggae was exploding onto the mainstream UK scene in the 1970s, a younger, more omnivorous audience was forging a new genre called “lovers rock.” At the time, the children of the #Windrush_Generation, whose parents emigrated from the Caribbean and African Commonwealth en masse in the 1950s, were teenagers looking to establish themselves in the UK, and wanted to do it to their own soundtrack.

    While reggae, through its network of under-the-radar soundsystem dances, had become the music of choice for so many Black youngsters, growing up in Britain in the ’60s had exposed them to all manner of other sounds. Motown, Philly soul, and pop music in general—everybody loved the Beatles—were part of their musical environment and were duly reflected in the reggae these kids created for themselves.

    Reggae made in Britain at that point veered away from the higher profile Jamaican approach, which modeled itself after Bob Marley’s rebel music; steeped in roots ‘n’ culture ‘n’ Rastafari. British reggae became a Black pop music, the UK’s first, as it absorbed the more melodic aspects of American soul, focused on singing and harmonizing, and centered around young love found, lost, ignored, or precluded. “The songs,” explains Janet Kaye, the genre’s first mainstream star, “were all about us—falling in love, having our hearts broken—so they appealed so much to us as young kids, growing up and finding our ways in the world.”

    • Pour mémoire :

      The literature on the Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Lebanon and on Palestinian residents and refugee camps in that country is extensive.

      On the 1993 Israeli attack, Shlaim writes that “the ruthless targeting” of the civilian population was designed to induce them to pressure the governments of Lebanon and Syria to end their support of the Hezbollah movement and militias, as well as to give Israel a free hand in southern Lebanon. Shlaim, The Iron Wall, pp. 560–561.

      On the 1982 attacks on civilians, see Michael Jansen, The Battle of Beirut: Why Israel Invaded Lebanon (London: Zed, 1982); Jonathan Randal, Going All the Way: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers, and the War in Lebanon (New York: Viking, 1983); and, especially, the devastating account by two leading Israeli centrist journalists, Zeev Schiff and Ehud Yaari, Israel’s Lebanon War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984).

      On the 2006 attack, see Human Rights Watch, “Why They Died: Civilian Ca- sualties in Lebanon during the 2006 War,” Vol. 19, No. 5 (Human Rights Watch, September 2007),; and Amnesty International, “Leba- non: Deliberate Destruction or ‘Collateral Damage?’ Israeli Attacks on Civilian Infrastructure” (Amnesty International, August 2006), 2006.

      Avi Shlaim summed up the evidence on all of the major Israeli attacks on Lebanon: “[T]he massacre of innocent civilians [is] a recurrent feature of Israeli military intervention,” including the 2006 attack, which “involved the deliberate targeting of civilians in flagrant violation of the laws of war.” First quote in Shlaim, “Israel’s Error, Then and Now,” International Herald Tribune, August 4, 2006; and second quote in Shlaim, “The Iron Wall Revisited,” p. 94.
      18. John Kifner, “Human Rights Group Accuses Israel of War Crimes,” New York Times, August 24, 2006.
      19. Q

  • Glasgow protesters rejoice as men freed after immigration van standoff

    Hundreds of people surrounded vehicle men were held in and chanted ‘these are our neighbours, let them go’

    Campaigners have hailed a victory for Glaswegian solidarity and told the Home Office “you messed with the wrong city” as two men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement were released back into their community after a day of protest.

    Police Scotland intervened to free the men after a tense day-long standoff between immigration officials and hundreds of local residents, who surrounded their van in a residential street on the southside of Glasgow to stop the detention of the men during Eid al-Fitr.

    Staff from Immigration Enforcement are believed to have swooped on a property in Pollokshields early on Thursday morning and detained people.

    By mid-morning, a crowd of about 200 protesters surrounded the vehicle, preventing it from driving away, and chanting “these are our neighbours, let them go”, with one protester lying under the van to prevent it driving off.

    “I’m just overwhelmed by Glasgow’s solidarity for refugees and asylum seekers,” said Roza Salih, shouting to be heard over the jubilant shouts of “refugees are welcome here”. She added: “This is a victory for the community.”

    Salih, who had been at the protest since the morning, is a Kurdish refugee and co-founded the #Glasgow_Girls_campaign in 2005 with fellow pupils to prevent the deportation of a school friend and fight against dawn raids.

    Earlier Salih questioned why the widely condemned practice of dawn raids appeared to be recurring 15 years later in Glasgow , the only dispersal city for asylum seekers in Scotland. She also highlighted the jarring impact of carrying out such an action during Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end of Ramadan, in one of the most multicultural areas of the city and within the constituency of the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

    As cheering protesters escorted the men to the local mosque, Pinar Aksu, of Maryhill Integration Network said: “They messed with the wrong city.

    “This is a revolution of people coming together in solidarity for those who others have turned away from,” she said. Aksu described how hundreds more supporters had arrived at the scene as the afternoon progressed. “This is just the start. When there is another dawn #raid in Glasgow, the same thing will happen.”

    Aksu added: “For this to happen on Eid, which is meant to be a time of peaceful celebration, is horrifying. It is no coincidence that it is taking place when a new immigration bill is being prepared.

    “We also need answers from Police Scotland about their involvement. We have already written to the home secretary asking urgently to clarify whether the decisions to carry out immigration enforcement raids, including dawn raids, represents a change in the policy by the UK government.”

    Shortly after 5pm, Police Scotland released an updated statement, saying that Supt Mark Sutherland had decided to release the detained men “in order to protect the safety, public health and wellbeing of those involved in the detention and subsequent protest”. The force asked those at the scene to disperse from the area as soon as possible.

    A spokesperson said earlier: “Police Scotland does not assist in the removal of asylum seekers. Officers are at the scene to police the protest and to ensure public safety.”

    The second dawn raid in Glasgow within a month appears to show a further escalation of the UK’s hostile environment policy. While the SNP government has argued strongly for Scotland to have control over its own immigration policy, not least because of the country’s unique depopulation pressures, it remains reserved to Westminster.

    Sources told the Guardian the immigration status of the individuals detained was unclear.

    The protests took place as new MSPs were sworn in to what has been described as Holyrood’s most diverse ever parliament, taking their oaths in British Sign Language, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, Doric, Scots, Gaelic, Welsh and Orcadian, and after an election in which refugees had voting rights for the first time in Scotland.

    Politicians expressed their solidarity with the residents on social media.

    Following the men’s release, #Nicola_Sturgeon tweeted: “I am proud to represent a constituency and lead a country that welcomes and shows support to asylum seekers and refugees.”

    She added that the police had been “in an invidious position – they do not assist in the removal of asylum seekers but do have a duty to protect public safety. They act independently of ministers, but I support this decision.”

    Condemning the Home Office action, #Sturgeon added: “To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.

    “Both as MSP and as FM, I will be demanding assurances from the UK government that they will never again create, through their actions, such a dangerous situation.”

    Wafa Shaheen, of the Scottish Refugee Council, told the Guardian: “To force people from their homes on the first day of Eid, with neighbours and families trying to honour the religious celebration in peace, shows – at best – a serious lack of cultural sensitivity and awareness on the Home Office’s part.

    “Regardless of the immigration status of those targeted today, this heavy-handed approach from the Home Office is unnecessary and avoidable. It is frightening, intimidating and disproportionate. The hundreds of people on the streets this morning in solidarity with those affected shows people in Scotland are sick of these raids and have had enough.”

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “The UK government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people, by removing those with no right to be in the UK. The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times.”

    #Glasgow #Ecosse #solidarité #réfugiés #asile #migrations #résistance #refugees_welcome

    ping @isskein @karine4

    • Police release men from immigration van blocking Glasgow street

      Two men who were being detained in an immigration van which was surrounded by protesters have been released.

      The move followed a standoff between police officers and protesters in Kenmure Street on Glasgow’s southside.

      Early on Thursday people surrounded the Home Office vehicle believed to contain two Indian immigrants who had been removed from a flat.

      Hundreds gathered in the area, with one man crawling under the van to prevent it from moving.

      The Home Office said the men had been detained over “suspected immigration offences”.

      Some of the protesters were heard shouting “let our neighbours go”.

      In a statement, Police Scotland said that Ch Supt Mark Sutherland had decided to have the men released.

      It said: "In order to protect the safety, public health and well-being of all people involved in the detention and subsequent protest in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, today, Ch Supt Mark Sutherland has, following a suitable risk assessment, taken the operational decision to release the men detained by UK Immigration Enforcement back into their community meantime.

      “In order to facilitate this quickly and effectively, Police Scotland is asking members of the public to disperse from the street as soon as possible. Please take care when leaving the area and follow the directions of the officers on the street.”

      Earlier the force stressed that it did not assist in the removal of asylum seekers, and that officers were at the scene to police the protest and to ensure public safety.

      Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is also the MSP for the area, said she disagreed fundamentally with Home Office immigration policy.

      She said: “This action was unacceptable. To act in this way, in the heart of a Muslim community as they celebrated Eid, and in an area experiencing a Covid outbreak was a health and safety risk.”

      She said she would be “demanding assurances” from the UK government that they would not create such a dangerous situation again.

      She added: “No assurances were given - and frankly no empathy shown - when I managed to speak to a junior minister earlier.”

      Nicola Sturgeon and her justice secretary, Humza Yousaf are seeking follow up talks with the Home Secretary, Priti Patel.

      They believe Immigration Enforcement has acted provocatively by trying to remove migrants from an ethnically diverse community during Eid.

      The resulting protests brought people together, against Covid rules, in part of Glasgow which is experiencing a spike in cases linked to the Indian variant.

      Police Scotland intervened on public health and public order grounds to require the release of the two Indian nationals being held by Immigration Enforcement.

      Their operational decision is fully supported by Scottish ministers and while the Home Office is always grateful for police assistance, releasing the men on bail is hardly the outcome they wanted.

      They will not have enjoyed being seen to back down in the face of public and political protest.

      Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s justice secretary, said: “the action they [the Home Office] have today is at best completely reckless, and at worst intended to provoke, on a day the UK government would have known the Scottish government and MSPs would be distracted by parliamentary process.”

      He added that the situation “should never have occurred”, and that “the UK government’s hostile environment is not welcome here.”

      In a statement, the Home Office said: "The UK government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes, often to the most vulnerable people by removing those with no right to be in the UK.

      "The operation in Glasgow was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and the two Indian nationals complied with officers at all times.

      “The UK government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally.”

      The Sikhs in Scotland group said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned”, and urged the Home Office to “abandon forced removals and to adopt an immigration policy based on human rights, compassion and dignity”.

      Mohammad Asif, of the Afghan Human Rights Foundation, said hundreds of people were protesting.

      The 54-year-old added: “We’re here against the hostile environment created by the Tories and the British state.”
      Presentational grey line

      Incidents like Kenmure Street - at the centre of Scotland’s most ethnically diverse neighbourhood - will do nothing to persuade those who already believe the UK’s policy on immigration is unfair and inhumane.

      Despite the protest, the Home Office says it was a legitimate operation targeting those it suspected of immigration offences.

      And yet there could be more problems on the horizon. The Home Office has just ended its consultation on its New Plan for Immigration - a policy that will speed up deportations for those who have entered the country ’illegally’.

      Those in such a position will not be able to claim asylum and will instead be granted ’temporary protection’, a status that would come under periodic review.

      More than 70 charities and faith groups in Scotland have condemned such proposals.

      The Home Office is toughening its stance on immigration, but says its policies will make the system fairer for those most in need, while discouraging criminal activity like people trafficking.

      The Scottish government, and the protestors in Glasgow today, fundamentally disagree.

  • Intéressante question à laquelle #Google / #Apple ne répondent pas vraiment : pourquoi les cartes de #Gaza sont floues sur #GoogleMaps ?

    L’article souligne combien les images précises ont permis d’alerter sur les situations des Rohingyas et des Uighurs.
    Il est à craindre un vraisemblable choix politico-commercial nauséabond...
    #GAFA #Israel #Palestine

    • It’s an issue that has been highlighted by researchers using open-source, publicly available information - including mapping data - to locate attacks and document the destruction.

      “The fact that we don’t get high-resolution satellite images from Israel and Palestinian territories sets us back,” says Samir, an open-source investigator.

      In fact, much of both Israel and the Palestinian territories appear on Google Earth as low-resolution satellite imagery, even though higher-quality images are available from satellite companies.

      It’s barely possible to see the cars in Gaza City.

      Compare that with Pyongyang, the secretive capital of North Korea, where the cars are sharply defined and it’s possible to make out individual people.

      Why is satellite imagery important?

      The use of satellite images has become a vital element in the reporting of conflict.

      But the availability of detailed images can also compromise military security.

      In the latest Middle East confrontation, investigators are looking to corroborate the locations of missile fire and targeted buildings in Gaza and Israel, using satellites.

      However, on Google Earth, the most widely used image platform, the most recent imagery for Gaza is of low resolution and therefore blurry.

      “The most recent Google Earth image is from 2016 and looks like trash. I zoomed in on some random rural area of Syria and it has had 20+ images taken since that time, in very high resolution,” tweeted Aric Toler, a journalist for Bellingcat.

      Google says its aim is to “keep densely populated places refreshed on a regular basis” but this hasn’t been the case with Gaza.
      Are high-resolution images available?

      Until last year, the US government had placed a restriction on the quality of satellite images of Israel and the Palestinian territories that American companies were permitted to provide on a commercial basis.

      This restriction was written into the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment (KBA) - US legislation dating back to 1997 - in support of Israeli security concerns.

      “We would always prefer to be photographed at the lowest resolution possible. It’s always preferable to be seen blurred, rather than precisely,” said Amnon Harari, head of space programmes at Israel’s Defence Ministry last year, reported by Reuters.

      Under the KBA, US satellite image providers were allowed to offer lower-resolution pictures with a pixel size of no less than 2m (6ft 6in, making an object the size of a car just about visible, but no smaller).

      It’s not uncommon that sites such as military bases have been blurred - but the KBA was the only case of an entire country being subject to such a restriction.

      The law mentioned only Israel, but it was also applied to the Palestinian territories.

      However, once non-US providers, such as French company Airbus, were able to supply these images at a higher resolution, the US came under increasing pressure to end its restrictions.

      In July 2020, the KBA was dropped, and now the US government allows American companies to provide far higher-quality images of the region (each pixel can now be as small as 40cm, so that objects the size of a person could be readily picked out).

      The initial motivation was scientific," says Michael Fradley, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford and one of the academics who successfully campaigned for the amendment to be changed.

      “We wanted to have a consistent data source to work with in our project, so we needed access to high resolution over the Occupied Palestinian Territories comparable to what we use over other parts of the region.”
      So why is Gaza still blurry?

      The BBC spoke to Google and Apple (whose mapping apps also show satellite images).

      Apple said it was working to update its maps soon to a higher resolution of 40cm.

      Google told us that its images come from a range of providers and it considers “opportunities to refresh [its] satellite imagery as higher-resolution imagery becomes available”. But it added that it had “no plans to share at this time”.

    • “Considering the importance of current events, I see no reason why commercial imagery of this area should continue to be deliberately degraded,” said Nick Waters, an open-source investigator for Bellingcat on Twitter.
      Who actually takes the images?

      Public mapping platforms, such as Google Earth and Apple Maps, rely on companies that own satellites to supply imagery.

      Maxar and Planet Labs, two of the largest, are now making available high-resolution images of Israel and Gaza.

      “As a result of recent changes to US regulations, the imagery of Israel and Gaza is being provided at 0.4m (40cm) resolution,” Maxar said in a statement.

      Planet Labs confirmed to the BBC it supplies imagery at 50cm resolution.

      Open-source investigators, however, rely heavily on the free-to-use mapping software and don’t often have direct access to these high-resolution images.
      What else can high-resolution imagery reveal?

      Satellite imagery is used for many purposes, including tracking deforestation and forest fires, as well as investigating human rights abuses around the world.

      Researchers at Human Rights Watch teamed up with satellite providers Planet Labs in 2017 to show the destruction of Rohingya villages by the military in Myanmar.
      The imagery enabled them to map the extent of damage to more than 200 villages in the area, by comparing 40cm-resolution satellite imagery of these areas from before and after.

      The evidence appeared to corroborate claims from Rohingya, who had fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, that their homes had been targeted by the military.

      Satellite imagery has also been vital in tracking what’s been happening in the Xinjiang region of China, including the network of “re-education” centres set up there for the Uyghurs.
      The information has helped to show where these facilities have been built, and high-resolution images have also given an idea of their size and particular features.

  • Belgian farmer accidentally moves French border

    A farmer in Belgium has caused a stir after inadvertently redrawing the country’s border with France.

    A local history enthusiast was walking in the forest when he noticed the stone marking the boundary between the two countries had moved 2.29m (7.5ft).

    The Belgian farmer, apparently annoyed by the stone in his tractor’s path, had moved it inside French territory.

    Instead of causing international uproar, the incident has been met with smiles on both sides of the border.

    “He made Belgium bigger and France smaller, it’s not a good idea,” David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of #Erquelinnes, told French TV channel TF1. That sort of move caused a headache between private landowners, he pointed out, let alone neighbouring states.

    The border between France and what is now Belgium stretches 620km (390 miles). It was formally established under the Treaty of Kortrijk, signed in 1820 after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo five years earlier. The stone dates back to 1819, when the border was first marked out.

    “I was happy, my town was bigger,” the Belgian mayor added with a laugh. “But the mayor of #Bousignies-sur-Roc didn’t agree.”

    “We should be able to avoid a new border war,” the amused mayor of the neighbouring French village, Aurélie Welonek, told La Voix du Nord.

    Local Belgian authorities plan to contact the farmer to ask him to return the stone to its original location. If that does not happen the case could end up at the Belgian foreign ministry, which would have to summon a Franco-Belgian border commission, dormant since 1930.

    Mr Lavaux noted that the farmer could also face criminal charges if he failed to comply.

    “If he shows good will, he won’t have a problem, we will settle this issue amicably,” he told Belgian news website Sudinfo.

    #Belgique #France #frontières #frontières_mobiles #tracé_frontaliers #bornes #Traité_de_Courtrai #borne_frontière #déplacement

  • Une étonnante corrélation entre la sévérité de la maladie et le taux d’#anticorps neutralisants chez les patients #COVID-19 | INSB

    [...] les chercheurs ont montré que les patients avec peu de symptômes développent peu d’anticorps neutralisants alors que les patients en réanimation, qui présentent une maladie plus sévère, ont des taux d’anticorps neutralisants significativement plus élevés, sans qu’il soit à ce stade possible de déterminer s’il y a un lien de cause à effet entre les deux paramètres. 

    Des tests sérologiques existent et permettent, après une prise de sang, de détecter la présence d’anticorps totaux mais sans pouvoir distinguer les anticorps neutralisants des anticorps non neutralisants. En effet l’organisme est capable de produire de nombreux anticorps dirigés contre une même protéine virale, dont seulement une fraction sont neutralisants. La détection des anticorps neutralisants est un processus à la fois délicat et long à mettre en œuvre, impossible à utiliser en routine à l’heure actuelle. Cependant, les chercheurs ont montré que le taux d’anticorps totaux contre la protéine Spike est, pour certains tests sérologiques, corrélé avec celui des anticorps neutralisants et pourrait donc servir de facteur prédictif du niveau de protection.

    Source (janvier 2021) :
    A longitudinal study of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients reveals a high correlation between neutralizing antibodies and COVID-19 severity | Cellular & Molecular Immunology

  • How human waste can protect Malawi’s forests - BBC Future

    At Mulanje Prison in southern Malawi, convict Felix Chimombo wakes up early every morning to prepare food for his fellow inmates. With a handful other prisoners, Chimombo’s responsibility is to make sure that by 7:00 AM, they have prepared food for 200 or so inmates at the prison. The prison previously used an average of two cubic meters of wood to prepare the day’s food, an arduous process that could last for five hours.

    But then came a rather unconventional replacement for the wood. The prison was installed with a biogas digester, a system that converts organic matter – including human waste – into energy. Made from plastic sheets, the system has an inlet that feeds the poop and other waste into a digester, where they are submerged in water. The water creates an anaerobic environment that allows bacteria to break down the biomass into methane, which is pushed through a piping system to the gas stoves in the prison’s kitchen.

    via @reka

  • Coronavirus: Brasil es «como un Fukushima biológico, un reactor nuclear que está fuera de control» - BBC News Mundo

    «Cuando la gente me pide que haga una metáfora, digo que para mí es como Chernóbil o Fukushima, un reactor nuclear, pero uno biológico, que está fuera de control en una reacción en cadena», se explaya para BBC Mundo el reconocido neurocientífico y profesor de la Universidad de Duke (Estados Unidos) desde su casa en Sao Paulo.


    De acuerdo con el profesor, «si Brasil no está bajo control, (si hay) cientos de miles de casos todos los días, vamos a tener un depósito de nuevas variantes que pueden surgir y extenderse a América del Sur y a América Latina, y luego al mundo entero en cuestión de semanas».

    «Si se permite que tanta gente se infecte todos los días y no se hace nada para controlar esta pandemia aquí, el mundo entero sufrirá las consecuencias».

    Se trata, en su opinión, de una amenaza contra los esfuerzos de la comunidad internacional para frenar la pandemia.

  • Spotify wants to suggest songs based on your emotions

    Spotify has patented technology that will allow it to analyse your voice and suggest songs based on your “emotional state, gender, age, or accent”. The patent, which was filed in 2018 and granted on 12 January, would allow the streaming giant to “make observations” about a user’s environment and emotions using speech recognition technology. Spotify could then play music reflecting their mood or even their social setting - “e.g. alone, small group, party,” according to the patent. If (...)

    #Spotify #algorithme #émotions #reconnaissance #profiling #voix

  • #Covid-19 : le cas de l’homme possédant des superanticorps contre le #coronavirus et pourquoi il constitue un espoir pour les scientifiques - BBC News Afrique

    Le problème est que lorsqu’une personne entre en contact avec le virus pour la première fois, il faut du temps pour que son organisme produise ces anticorps spécifiques, ce qui permet au virus de se propager.

    Mais les #anticorps de Hollis sont différents : ils attaquent diverses parties du virus et le tuent rapidement.

    Ils sont si puissants qu’Hollis est immunisé contre les variantes les plus récentes du coronavirus.

    « On pourrait diluer ses anticorps à un millième et continuer à tuer 99 % du virus », affirme Liotta.

    He unknowingly had Covid-19. Now his blood contains rare antibodies.

    On apprend rétrospectivement que le concerné avait eu une forme légère de Covid-19 qui est passée en 2 jours, et que c’est lui qui avait contaminé son voisin.

    #variants #immunité #sars-cov2

    • Mon dieu, mais il va se faire breveter par big pharma !!!

      S’il est moins cher que pfizzzeur, y’a ptêt moyen de le multicloner ? :-p