position:spokesman

  • Gifts Tied to Opioid Sales Invite a Question : Should Museums Vet Donors ? - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/01/arts/design/sackler-museum-donations-oxycontin-purdue-pharma.html

    The New York Times surveyed 21 cultural organizations listed on tax forms as having received significant sums from foundations run by two Sackler brothers who led Purdue. Several, including the Guggenheim, declined to comment; others, like the Brooklyn Museum, ignored questions. None indicated that they would return donations or refuse them in the future.

    “We regularly assess our funding activities to ensure best practice,” wrote Zoë Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was listed as receiving about $13.1 million from the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation in 2012. “The Sackler family continue to be an important and valuable donor to the V & A and we are grateful for their ongoing support.”

    De l’usage de la philanthropie comme écran de fumée

    Robert Josephson, a spokesman for the company, pointed to its efforts to stem the opioid epidemic — distributing prescription guidelines, developing abuse-deterrent painkillers and ensuring access to overdose-reversal medication — and noted that OxyContin has never had a large share of total opioid prescriptions. In an email, he added, “Many leading medical, scientific, cultural and educational institutions throughout the world have been beneficiaries of Sackler family philanthropy.”

    #Sackler #Philanthropie #Opioides #Musées


  • Palestinian teen hiking with friends was killed in Israeli army ambush. He posed no danger
    Gideon Levy, Alex Levac | Feb. 1, 2019
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-palestinian-teen-hiking-with-friends-was-killed-in-idf-ambush-he-p

    The soldiers hid behind the tallest oak tree in the valley. That’s where the six teenagers were headed, as they descended from their town, Silwad, northeast of Ramallah, into the deep, steep valley to hang out together on that Friday afternoon. On the way, they bought potato chips, sunflower seeds and chocolate, and they planned to boil water for tea over a campfire. Suddenly, without warning, a gunshot rang out. The teens had no idea where it came from. Ayman collapsed, rolling over and landing on his back. A bullet had sliced through his chest from the left, below his neck, and exited from his hip. When Mohammed tried to approach, to pull him out of the line of fire, another shot rang out. Mohammed was hit in the arm and ran for his life.

    Ayman lay on the ground, dying.

    The firing grew more intense. The shooters emerged from the ambush site behind the oak tree. They were joined by two more soldiers who came out of an Isuzu jeep parked on the other side of Highway 60. Bursts of automatic gunfire, aimed at the teens who were fleeing for their lives, echoed through the valley. The group rushed up the hill on which Silwad – meaning “above the wadi” in Arabic – is perched.

    That evening, the Israel Defense Forces returned Ayman Hamad ’s body to his family. He was 17 years old and was buried the next day in the town.

    Not far away, on that same day, last Saturday, January 26, settlers from the outpost of Adei Ad, and/or soldiers who joined them – it is still not clear – killed Hamdi Na’asan , 38, as he was plowing his field next to his village, Al-Mughayyir. Last weekend was particularly lethal for the Palestinians. Four of them were killed by Israelis, in the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

    It was raining when we visited Silwad on Monday, and the killing field in the valley that separates the town from Highway 60 was draped in thick fog. Through the fog a stunning view could be made out – of olive trees, the towering oak and the verdant valley. The last house in town, on the wadi’s edge, belongs to Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a former cabinet minister and prisoner. Fares, fluent in Hebrew, is one of the more impressive leaders in the Palestinian Authority, an associate and good friend of the jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti.

    The Silwad community center – above which looms the turret of the local mosque that locals say is the tallest in Palestine – had been turned into a venue of mourning and condolences. The dead teenager was a relative of Fares’, who, in an elegant wool coat, was among those welcoming the guests who had come to comfort the family. Next to him was the bereaved father, Ahmed Hamad, 44, a metalworker who once had four daughters and two sons. Now, he has four daughters and one son.

    According to the dead teen’s history teacher, Aouni Fares, Ayman, a high-school senior, was well-informed and knew a lot about the Nakba, the Palestinians’ suffering and the history of the occupation that began in 1967. Ahmed Hamad says his son promised him that he would always be proud of him. Ayman’s uncle Mohammed Othman was the first fatal casualty in Silwad during the first intifada; two other uncles, Akram Hamad and Rifat Hamad, are serving life sentences in Israeli prisons.

    Last Friday morning, Ayman had coffee with his father and then attended prayers in the mosque. At midday the family drove to its olive grove in the valley for a picnic, not far from the place where their firstborn would be killed a few hours later. The weather was ideal, under the winter sun, and Ayman was in high spirits, the mourners recall. The family ate stuffed vegetables prepared by the mother, Inas; Ayman cleared away the dishes.

    When they got home, around 2:30 P.M., Ayman asked his father, who was driving to the nearby village of Rammun to shop, for money to buy snacks; he was given 20 shekels ($5.60). At the end of the day, two shekels would be found in the teen’s cellphone case.

    Almost every Friday they would head out to the valley, Ayman and his buddies, all of them about the same age. There, amid the olive trees, about a kilometer or two from their homes, is the local gathering place.

    When they arrived, the group split up. Ayman and two friends went on ahead, the other three stayed behind for some reason. Later on some of the eyewitnesses, among them the wounded Mohammed Hamad, would say that the group did not throw any stones, although one authoritative source admitted that they had. Iyad Hadad, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, noted that Ayman was shot at around 4:30 that afternoon – almost Shabbat – so there were certainly no religious settlers’ cars on Highway 60 at the time. Candle-lighting time in the nearby settlements was 4:31 P.M. in Beit El, 4:40 P.M. in Shiloh and 4:49 P.M. in Ofra.

    Many questions remain about what happened this week, and they are very disturbing – even if stones were thrown. The Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot Ayman Hamad from a distance of between 50 and 100 meters, from which he could not have posed any threat. When he was shot, he was also more than 100 meters from the highway, again a distance from which no stone could have hurt anyone traveling on the road. The soldiers fired live ammunition from an ambush with no prior warning, hitting him directly in the chest. They shot to kill, of that there’s no doubt. A teenager, a high-school student, who maybe did throw stones (which hurt no one), or maybe didn’t throw stones, was executed. The soldiers went on shooting even after they had hit him. Fortunately, they didn’t kill anyone else.

    The IDF Spokesman’s Unit made do with a laconic, dry response to Haaretz’s query, one that only raises additional questions: “A Military Police investigation has been launched into the matter, and at its conclusion the findings will be conveyed for further examination to the office of the military advocate general.” We’re unlikely to hear any more about this incident – either about the conclusion of the “investigation” or about a trial of those deemed responsible for the killing of the teen from Silwad.

    After the incident, the wounded Mohammed Hamad made his way into town, where he was taken to the local clinic and from there by ambulance to the Government Hospital in Ramallah. Ayman was still on the ground, with the soldiers gathered around him. A Palestinian ambulance driver who happened to pass by and saw what was going on offered to evacuate Ayman, but the soldiers told him to leave. It’s not clear whether Ayman was still alive at that point. Mohammed said he saw him take a few heavy breaths before he himself fled the scene, as did the third one in their group. The other teens were far off and didn’t see what was going on.

    After almost an hour, after an Israeli ambulance evacuated Ayman, the soldiers left the site. The boy was taken to a military guard tower next to the nearby village of Ein Yabroud, where an intensive care ambulance arrived, lingered for about 10 minutes and then drove off, according to the testimonies. Ayman was apparently already dead.

    In the meantime, one of the friends phoned Ayman’s father to report that his son had been wounded and was with the soldiers. A few minutes later, he called back to say that Ayman had not been wounded, only arrested. Then Qadura Fares phoned to tell Ahmed to drop everything in Rammun and get back to Silwad fast. When Ahmed reached Fares’ house, he saw the crowd that had gathered there, among them his brother, Suheil, who was weeping bitterly, and he realized what had happened.

    Fares meanwhile contacted the District Coordination and Liaison unit in order to get Ayman’s body back; at about 7:30 that evening, the family were instructed to go to the military base at Beit El to retrieve the body. At the Government Hospital in Ramallah, where they brought the body, Ahmed saw the bullet’s entry hole in his son’s chest and the exit wound in the hip.

    While we are visiting, Mohammed Hamad, the survivor of the shooting, enters the community center. His entire arm is bandaged. This is his first encounter with Ahmed since the incident. The teenager had undergone surgery in the Government Hospital shortly after arriving there, but walked out the next day, against his doctors’ instructions, to attend Ayman’s funeral.

    Mohammed is clearly still in a state of shock. Ayman, he relates, walked about 30 meters ahead of the rest of the group toward his family’s olive grove. He denies that they threw stones. After Ayman collapsed on the ground, Mohammed says he saw that he was still moving his fingers, even as blood spilled out of his chest, but doesn’t remember anything else because he was then shot himself. At first, he didn’t feel anything as he was fleeing for his life, with bullets whistling around him. He didn’t feel any pain until a few minutes later. Now he tells us he’ll have to return to the hospital in a few days for additional surgery.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/755175
    #Palestine_assassinée


  • Venezuela Military Backs Maduro, as Moscow Warns U.S. Not to Intervene - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/24/world/americas/russia-venezuela-trump-pence.html

    CARACAS, Venezuela — The leader of Venezuela’s armed forces declared loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro on Thursday and said the opposition’s effort to replace him with a transitional government amounted to an attempted coup.

    The pronouncement by the defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López, came a day after an opposition lawmaker proclaimed himself the country’s rightful leader during nationwide antigovernment protests and pleaded with the armed forces to abandon Mr. Maduro.

    The defense minister’s declaration was a setback for the opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, whose claim to legitimacy has been backed by a number of countries, including the United States. In a further blow to the opposition, Russia warned the United States on Thursday against meddling in Venezuela, a longtime Kremlin ally.

    “Any external intervention is very dangerous,” Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, told reporters in Moscow. “We consider the attempt to usurp the top power in Venezuela as going against the foundations and principles of the international law.”


  • Germany pulls out of Mediterranean migrant mission Sophia

    Germany is suspending participation in Operation Sophia, the EU naval mission targeting human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The decision reportedly relates to Italy’s reluctance to allow rescued people to disembark.
    Germany will not be sending any more ships to take part in the anti-people smuggling operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, according to a senior military officer.

    The decision means frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced early next month, Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn told members of the defense and foreign affairs committees in the German parliament.

    The 10 German soldiers currently working at the operation’s headquarters will, however, remain until at least the end of March.

    The European Union launched Operation Sophia in 2015 to capture smugglers and shut down human trafficking operations across the Mediterranean, as well as enforce a weapons embargo on Libya. Sophia currently deploys three ships, three airplanes, and two helicopters, which are permitted to use lethal force if necessary, though its mandate also includes training the North African country’s coast guard. The EU formally extended Operation Sophia by three months at the end of December.

    The Bundeswehr reported that, since its start, the naval operation had led to the arrest of more than 140 suspected human traffickers and destroyed more than 400 smuggling boats.

    But Operation Sophia’s efforts have largely focused on rescuing thousands of refugees from unseaworthy vessels attempting to get to Europe. According to the Bundeswehr, Operation Sophia has rescued some 49,000 people from the sea, while German soldiers had been involved in the rescue of 22,534 people.

    European impasse

    The operation has caused some friction within the EU, particularly with Italy, where the headquarters are located, and whose Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has threatened to close ports to the mission.

    Salvini, chairman of the far-right Lega Nord party, demanded on Wednesday that the mission had to change, arguing that the only reason it existed was that all the rescued refugees were brought to Italy. “If someone wants to withdraw from it, then that’s certainly no problem for us,” he told the Rai1 radio station, but in future he said the mission should only be extended if those rescued were distributed fairly across Europe. This is opposed by other EU member states, particularly Poland and Hungary.

    Italy’s position drew a prickly response from German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who accused Sophia’s Italian commanders of sabotaging the mission by sending the German ship to distant corners of the Mediterranean where there were “no smuggling routes whatsoever” and “no refugee routes.”

    “For us it’s important that it be politically clarified in Brussels what the mission’s task is,” von der Leyen told reporters at the Davos forum in Switzerland.

    Fritz Felgentreu, ombudsman for the Bundestag defense committee, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that Italy’s refusal to let migrants rescued from the sea disembark at its ports meant the operation could no longer fulfill its original mandate.

    The EU played down Germany’s decision. A spokeswoman for the bloc’s diplomatic service, the EEAS, told the DPA news agency that Germany had not ruled out making other ships available for the Sophia Operation in future, a position confirmed by a German Defense Ministry spokesman.

    Decision a ’tragedy’

    The decision sparked instant criticism from various quarters in Germany. Stefan Liebich, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s socialist Left party, called the government’s decision to suspend its involvement a “tragedy.”

    “As long as Sophia is not replaced by a civilian operation, even more people will drown,” he told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    The Green party, for its part, had a more mixed reaction. “We in the Green party have always spoken out against the military operation in the Mediterranean and have consistently rejected the training of the Libyan coast guard,” said the party’s defense spokeswoman, Agnieszka Brugger. But she added that Wednesday’s announcement had happened “for the wrong reasons.”

    Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, defense policy spokeswoman for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), called the decision a sign of the EU’s failure to find a common refugee policy.

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), meanwhile, defended the decision. “The core mission, to fight trafficking crimes, cannot currently be effectively carried out,” the party’s defense policy spokesman, Henning Otte, said in a statement. “If the EU were to agree to common procedure with refugees, this mission could be taken up again.”

    Otte also suggested a “three-stage model” as a “permanent solution for the Mediterranean.” This would include a coast guard from Frontex, the European border patrol agency; military patrols in the Mediterranean; and special facilities on the North African mainland to take in refugees and check asylum applications.

    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-pulls-out-of-mediterranean-migrant-mission-sophia/a-47189097
    #Allemagne #résistance #Operation_Sophia #asile #migrations #réfugiés #retrait #espoir (petit mais quand même)

    • EU: Italy’s choice to end or continue Operation Sophia

      The European Commission says it is up to Italy to decide whether or not to suspend the EU’s naval operation Sophia.

      “If Italy decides, it is the country in command of operation Sophia, to stop it - it is up to Italy to make this decision,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (23 January).

      The Italian-led naval operation was launched in 2015 and is tasked with cracking down on migrant smugglers and traffickers off the Libyan coast.

      It has also saved some 50,000 people since 2015 but appears to have massively scaled back sea rescues, according to statements from Germany’s defence minster.

      German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen was cited by Reuters on Wednesday saying that the Italian command had been sending the Germany navy “to the most remote areas of the Mediterranean where there are no smuggling routes and no migrant flows so that the navy has not had any sensible role for months.”

      Germany had also announced it would not replace its naval asset for the operation, whose mandate is set to expire at the end of March.

      But the commission says that Germany will continue to participate in the operation.

      “There is no indication that it will not make another asset available in the future,” said Avramopoulos.

      A German spokesperson was also cited as confirming Germany wants the mission to continue beyond March.

      The commission statements follow threats from Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini to scrap the naval mission over an on-going dispute on where to disembark rescued migrants.

      Salvini was cited in Italian media complaining that people rescued are only offloaded in Italy.

      The complaint is part of a long-outstanding dispute by Salvini, who last year insisted that people should be disembarked in other EU states.

      The same issue was part of a broader debate in the lead up to a renewal of Sophia’s mandate in late December.

      https://euobserver.com/migration/143997

    • #Operazione_Sophia

      In riferimento alle odierne dichiarazioni relative all’operazione Sophia dell’UE, il Ministro degli Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale Enzo Moavero Milanesi ricorda che «L’Italia non ha mai chiesto la chiusura di Sophia. Ha chiesto che siano cambiate, in rigorosa e doverosa coerenza con le conclusioni del Consiglio Europeo di giugno 2018, le regole relative agli sbarchi delle persone salvate in mare». Infatti, gli accordi dell’aprile 2015 prevedono che siano sbarcate sempre in Italia, mentre il Consiglio Europeo del giugno scorso ha esortato gli Stati UE alla piena condivisione di tutti gli oneri relativi ai migranti.

      https://www.esteri.it/mae/it/sala_stampa/archivionotizie/comunicati/operazione-sophia.html


  • Ten sailors dead, 14 saved after two ships catch fire near Crimea | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-crimea-ship-idUSKCN1PF1PX


    Smoke rises from a fire at a ship in the Kerch Strait near Crimea January 21, 2019 in this still image taken from Reuters TV footage.
    REUTERS/Reuters TV

    Ten crew members have been found dead and 14 have been rescued after two ships caught fire in the Kerch Strait near Crimea, Russia’s transport ministry said on Monday, with a rescue operation still underway.

    The ministry said earlier on Monday that crew members were jumping into the sea to escape the blaze, which probably broke out during a ship-to-ship fuel transhipment.

    Both ships were under the Tanzanian flag - Candy (Venice) and Maestro - and had a combined total of 31 crew members. Of them, 16 were Turkish citizens and 15 from India, it said.

    • Le transfert bord à bord risqué et l’incendie qui s’est déclaré en Mer Noire serait une conséquence des sanctions états-uniennes contre l’approvisionnement en hydrocarbures de la Syrie.

      Exclusive: Ship in deadly Black Sea blaze was turned away from port over sanctions | Reuters
      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-crimea-ships-exclusive-idUKKCN1PG1ZT


      An aerial view from a helicopter shows a rescue vessel during a fire-fighting operation following an accident involving two ships, which caught fire in the Kerch Strait, near the coast of Crimea in this handout photo released by Russian Emergencies Ministry January 22, 2019.
      Russia’s Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters/Handout via REUTERS

      Two ships ablaze in the Black Sea region, leaving at least 10 crew dead, caught fire while transferring fuel mid-sea after one vessel was barred from using its usual port in southern Russia due to U.S. sanctions risk, two sources told Reuters.

      The vessels, which caught fire on Monday, have the same names as two gas-transporting tankers, the Maestro and Venice, which were included on a U.S. sanctions advisory note last year for delivering fuel to Syria.

      The U.S. Treasury note, published in November, advised that any dealings with these or other vessels involved in transporting fuel to Syria could result in sanctions.

      The Maestro was subsequently barred from using Temryuk port in southern Russia by the owners of its only gas terminal, Maktren-Nafta, two industry sources said, where it had previously loaded liquefied petroleum gas of Russian and Kazakh origin for export to the Middle East.

      Temriouk est situé à la base de la presqu’île de Taman (détroit de Kertch), côté mer d’Azov.

    • At least 10 dead as fire rages on Black Sea ships | Reuters
      https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ukraine-crisis-crimea-ships-idUKKCN1PG0GF

      Ten crew died and another 10 were missing presumed dead in a fire that broke out on two ships while they were transferring fuel in the Black Sea, Russia’s Transport Ministry said on Tuesday.

      Twelve people were rescued from the burning vessels but there was little hope of finding any more survivors, a spokesman for the Transport Ministry’s maritime unit said. The focus had switched from a rescue operation to a search for bodies, he added.

      The spokesman said the vessels, which had a combined crew of 32, were still on fire and rough no attempts were being made to put out the blaze because of rough sea conditions.

      Russian maritime officials said on Monday that the vessels were carrying out a ship-to-ship transfer of fuel in the Kerch Strait, which separates Crimea from Russia.


  • The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

    Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades.
    Peter Beinart
    January/February 2019 Issue

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/authoritarian-sexism-trump-duterte/576382

    The problem with both American-born story lines is that authoritarian nationalism is rising in a diverse set of countries. Some are mired in recession; others are booming. Some are consumed by fears of immigration; others are not. But besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.

    To understand global Trumpism, argues Valerie M. Hudson, a political scientist at Texas A&M, it’s vital to remember that for most of human history, leaders and their male subjects forged a social contract: “Men agreed to be ruled by other men in return for all men ruling over women.” This political hierarchy appeared natural—as natural as adults ruling children—because it mirrored the hierarchy of the home. Thus, for millennia, men, and many women, have associated male dominance with political legitimacy. Women’s empowerment ruptures this order. “Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them,” laments Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible. “My people, your leaders mislead you.”

    Because male dominance is deeply linked to political legitimacy, many revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries have used the specter of women’s power to discredit the regime they sought to overthrow. Then, once in power themselves, they have validated their authority by reducing women’s rights.

    Commentators sometimes describe Trump’s alliance with the Christian right as incongruous given his libertine history. But whatever their differences when it comes to the proper behavior of men, Trump and his evangelical backers are united by a common desire to constrain the behavior of women. That alliance was consecrated during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, when Republicans raged against Judiciary Committee Democrats for supposedly degrading the Senate by orchestrating a public hearing for Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

    Like Trump, Bolsonaro linked this counterrevolution to a counterrevolution against uppity women. When, as a legislator, he voted to impeach Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff—who had been tortured by Brazil’s military rulers in the early 1970s—he dedicated the vote to one of that regime’s most infamous torturers. In 2015, he told a Brazilian congresswoman, “I would not rape you, because you are not worthy of it.” Crowds at Bolsonaro rallies chanted that they would feed dog food to feminists. And, like Trump, Bolsonaro has intense support from his country’s growing population of evangelicals, who appreciate his fervent opposition to abortion and gay rights.

    In the Philippines, Duterte didn’t have an economic or corruption crisis to help him delegitimize the political order. (...) Also like Bolsonaro, Duterte has threatened violence against women. In 2017, he informed Filipino soldiers that because he had declared martial law on the island of Mindanao, they could each rape up to three women with impunity. In 2018, he told soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina,” because that would render them “useless.”

    Duterte’s anti-feminist crusade—like Trump’s and Bolsonaro’s—has also featured the ritualized humiliation of powerful women. When Senator Leila de Lima demanded an investigation into Duterte’s drug war, he vowed to “make her cry.” The government then detained de Lima on drug-trafficking charges and leaked evidence supposedly proving, in Duterte’s words, that she was “screwing her driver” like she was “screwing the nation.” A congressman who would later become Duterte’s spokesman joked that de Lima wanted to be detained at an army base “because there are many men there.” Not even Duterte’s female vice president, Leni Robredo—a member of a rival political party—has escaped his taunts. At a public event in 2016, he noted gleefully that the skirts she wore to cabinet meetings were “shorter than usual.”

    One can see parallels in Italy, whose deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, a Steve Bannon ally noted for his authoritarian tendencies, in 2016 compared the female president of the lower house of parliament to an inflated sex doll. The Italian government is promoting a law that critics say would eliminate child support, and a government spokesperson said forthcoming legislation would prosecute women who accuse their husbands of domestic violence if the husbands are not convicted.

    Not all of the new authoritarians are this flamboyant. But they all link the new political order they seek to create to a more subordinate and traditional role for women. Orbán, who has accused his predecessors of permitting immigrants and Roma to undermine Hungary’s identity, has proposed “a comprehensive agreement with Hungarian women” to bear more children. He promotes debt-free education for women, but only if they have at least three children.

    For its part, Poland’s autocratic government has run ads urging Poles to “breed like rabbits” and banned over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill. In late 2017, after Polish women protested draconian new restrictions on abortion, the government raided the offices of women’s groups.

    #guerre_aux_femmes #patriarcat #autoritarisme #extrême_droite
    #USA #Philippines #Brésil #Pologne #Italie #Hongrie
    Et appels au #viol comme punition envers les femmes, @mad_meg.



  • The Arthur Sackler Family’s Ties to OxyContin Money - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/04/sacklers-oxycontin-opioids/557525

    Much as the role of the addictive multibillion-dollar painkiller OxyContin in the opioid crisis has stirred controversy and rancor nationwide, so it has divided members of the wealthy and philanthropic Sackler family, some of whom own the company that makes the drug.

    In recent months, as protesters have begun pressuring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other cultural institutions to spurn donations from the Sacklers, one branch of the family has moved aggressively to distance itself from OxyContin and its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. The widow and one daughter of Arthur Sackler, who owned a related Purdue company with his two brothers, maintain that none of his heirs have profited from sales of the drug. The daughter, Elizabeth Sackler, told The New York Times in January that Purdue Pharma’s involvement in the opioid epidemic was “morally abhorrent to me.”

    But an obscure court document sheds a different light on family history—and on the campaign by Arthur’s relatives to preserve their image and legacy. It shows that the Purdue family of companies made a nearly $20 million payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler in 1997—two year after OxyContin was approved, and just as the pill was becoming a big seller. As a result, though they do not profit from present-day sales, Arthur’s heirs appear to have benefited at least indirectly from OxyContin.

    The 1997 payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler is disclosed in the combined, audited financial statements of Purdue and its associated companies and subsidiaries. Those documents were filed among hundreds of pages of exhibits in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of a 2007 settlement in which a company associated with Purdue and three company executives pleaded guilty to charges that OxyContin was illegally marketed. The company paid $600 million in penalties while admitting it falsely promoted OxyContin as less addictive and less likely to be abused than other pain medications.

    Arthur’s heirs include his widow and grandchildren. His children, including Elizabeth, do not inherit because they are not beneficiaries of a trust that was set up as part of a settlement of his estate, according to court records. Jillian receives an income from the trust. Elizabeth’s two children are heirs and would receive bequests upon Jillian’s death. A spokesman for Elizabeth Sackler declined to comment on the Purdue payment.

    Long before OxyContin was introduced, the Sackler brothers already were notable philanthropists. Arthur was one of the world’s biggest art collectors and a generous benefactor to cultural and educational institutions across the world. There is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

    His brothers were similarly generous. They joined with their older brother to fund the Sackler Wing at the Met, which features the Temple of Dendur exhibit. The Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation was the principal donor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; the Sackler name is affiliated with prestigious colleges from Yale to the University of Oxford, as well as world-famous cultural organizations, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is even a Sackler Rose—so christened after Mortimer Sackler’s wife purchased the naming rights in her husband’s honor.

    Now the goodwill gained from this philanthropy may be waning as the Sackler family has found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight over the past six months. Two national magazines recently examined the intersection of the family’s wealth from OxyContin and its philanthropy, as have other media outlets across the world. The family has also been targeted in a campaign by the photographer Nan Goldin to “hold the Sacklers accountable” for OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis. Goldin, who says she became addicted to OxyContin after it was prescribed for surgical pain, led a protest last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which demonstrators tossed pill bottles labeled as OxyContin into the reflecting pool of its Sackler Wing.

    While it doesn’t appear that any recipients of Sackler charitable contributions have returned gifts or pledged to reject future ones, pressure and scrutiny on many of those institutions is intensifying. In London, the National Portrait Gallery said it is reviewing a current pledge from the Sackler Trust.

    #Opioides #Sackler


  • Facebook isn’t a tech company — let’s stop calling it that - CNN
    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/15/perspectives/facebook-regulation-tech-company/index.html

    Sometimes it takes an old guy to call out a youngster. Hatch knew that it was time for us to stop referring to Facebook as a tech company. As his spokesman reportedly noted later, Hatch was just using “a common tactic used in Congressional hearings to make a point.”
    Facebook runs ads based on the information it has collected about you. And it has used the imprimatur of “technology” to shift our attention so it — as well as Google — can operate under a different set of rules than all the other media companies that run ads. By clinging to its definition of being a technology company, Facebook and other social media companies enjoy protections under the Communications Decency Act that immunize them from being held liable for hate and other objectionable speech, libel and falsehoods in news stories and advertising that media companies do not.

    To be sure, Facebook utilizes technology, but that doesn’t make it a tech company any more than Exxon Mobil (because it uses instruments to find oil) or Burlington Northern (because it’s based on the invention of the steam engine)."

    David Dodson

    For media companies that run ads, especially ones that use public networks, we tell them that they can’t lie or mislead, that it’s not okay to advertise cigarettes to children or push prescription drugs without including the risks. We have laws governing deceptive advertisements and Truth in Advertising laws. Companies that run ads can’t say a car gets 40 miles per gallon unless it’s true. They can’t say a movie won an Academy Award unless it did. If you say the wool comes from New Zealand, it must.
    Technology companies invent cars that drive themselves, satellites that can identify a license plate from miles away, phones that can guide us through traffic jams, and machines that see inside our bodies. That’s what tech companies do.

    To be sure, Facebook utilizes technology, but that doesn’t make it a tech company any more than Exxon Mobil (because it uses instruments to find oil) or Burlington Northern (because it’s based on the invention of the steam engine).
    Zuckerberg’s genius was harnessing an already existing network and previously developed computer code to allow people to share words and pictures with one another. In return, he runs ads.

    When nearly half of Americans get their news from Facebook, its newsfeed should be subjected to the same standards of fairness, decency and accuracy as newspapers, television and other media outlets.

    For decades, CBS sold beer during weekend football games and toys during Saturday morning cartoons. Long before the internet, folks figured out that by targeting the right audience, they could charge a higher price for running ads. Facebook just does it better.

    #Facebook #Médias_sociaux


  • Palestinian teen shot, killed by Israeli forces in al-Bireh
    Dec. 14, 2018 5:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 5:55 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=782092

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted in the al-Jalazun refugee camp north of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank, on Friday evening.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that a Palestinian from the al-Jalazun refugee camp arrived to the Palestine Medical Center in a critical condition.

    Sources added that the teen was injured with live bullets in the abdomen.

    The ministry identified the killed teen as Mahmoud Youssef Nakhleh.

    Israeli forces opened fire at the teen from a very close range; from less than 10 meters away.

    Israeli soldiers attempted to detain Nakhleh afterwards, however, Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics were able to take him and transfer him to the Palestine Medical Center after having to quarrel Israeli soldiers for more than 30 minutes.

    Nakhleh was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • After Shooting a Palestinian Teen, Israeli Troops Dragged Him Around – and Chased an Ambulance Away

      A Palestinian from the Jalazun refugee camp was shot in the back and died after soldiers kept him from receiving medical care
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Dec 20, 2018
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium--1.6765800

      What goes through the head of soldiers, young Israelis, after they shoot an unarmed Palestinian teenager in the back with live ammunition, prevent him from getting medical treatment, move him around, putting him on the ground and then picking him up again – and chase away an ambulance at gunpoint? For 15 minutes, the Israel Defense Forces soldiers carried the dying Mahmoud Nakhle , pulling him by his hands and feet, it’s not clear why or where, before allowing him to be evacuated. They had already shot him and wounded him badly. He was dying. Why not let the Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the site rush him to the hospital and possibly save his life? Nakhle died from a bullet in his liver and loss of blood. He was two weeks after his 18th birthday, the only son of parents who are descendants of refugees, and he lived in the Jalazun refugee camp adjacent to Ramallah, in the West Bank.

      Nakhle was killed last Friday, December 14.

      Getting to Jalazun took a long time this week; it was a long and stressful trip. Overnight, terror attacks and other sights of the intifada had returned simultaneously: innumerable surprise checkpoints, such as we hadn’t seen for years; long lines of Palestinian vehicles, forced to wait for hours; drivers emerging from their cars and waiting in desperation by the side of the road, anger and frustration etched on their faces; roads blocked arbitrarily, with people signaling each other as to which was open and which was closed; some cars making their way cross-country via boulder-strewn areas and dirt paths to bypass the roadblocks, until those options, too, were sealed off by the army. And also aggressive, edgy, frightened soldiers, carrying weapons that threatened just about anyone who made a move near them.

      Welcome back to the days of the intifada, welcome to a trip into the past: Even if only for a moment, the West Bank this week regressed 15 years, to the start of the millennium.

      The wind blows cold at the Jalazun camp. A throng of thousands of children and teenagers is streaming down the road, heading home from their schools run by UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency. The two schools, one for boys and one for girls, are situated at the camp’s entrance, on both sides of the main Ramallah-Nablus road. We were here a year and a half ago, after IDF soldiers shot up a car stolen from Israel when it stopped outside the settlement of Beit El, spraying it with at least 10 rounds, and killing two of its passengers. About half a year ago, we returned to the camp to meet Mohammed Nakhle, the bereaved father of 16-year-old Jassem, one of those fatalities. The father cried through our entire meeting, even though this was a year after he had lost Jassem.

      Mahmoud Nakhle, who was killed last week, was a relative of Jassem’s.

      Last Friday, there was stone throwing in the valley between Jalazun’s boys’ school and the first houses of Beit El, across the way. The soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the young Palestinians. Quite a few of the camp’s residents have been killed at this spot, which has become a main arena of the struggle against the large, veteran settlement that looms through every window in poverty-stricken, overcrowded Jalazun, situated below.

      The stone throwing had slowed down in the afternoon and had just about stopped when an IDF force, arriving in two vehicles, began chasing after the youths, who were now on their way back to the camp, at about 4 P.M. The latter numbered about 15 teens, aged 14 to 18. Suddenly the soldiers started shooting, using live ammunition – even as calm was apparently about to be restored. A video clip, one of several that captured the event, shows the soldiers walking along the road and firing into the air.

      The wail of an ambulance slashes the air now, as we stand at the site of the incident with Iyad Hadad, a field investigator for the Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem, who collected testimony from eyewitnesses. Nakhle chose to return home by way of a dirt path that passes above the camp. The soldiers ran after him and one of them shot him once, in the lower back. Nakhle fell to the ground, bleeding.

      The occupant of the first-floor apartment in the closest building in Jalazun, just meters from the site of the incident, heard the shot, the groans and a call for help. She assumed someone had been wounded, but wasn’t sure where or who he was. From her window she saw a group of soldiers standing in a circle, though she couldn’t see the wounded person who lay on the ground between them. A second eyewitness saw one soldier nudge Nakhle with his foot, apparently to see if the teen was still alive. They then pulled up his shirt and pulled down his pants, apparently to check whether the stone-throwing youth was a dangerous, booby-trapped terrorist. As the video accounts show, he was left lying like that, exposed in his blue underwear. The woman from the apartment rushed out to summon help, but the soldiers fired toward her to drive her off. One bullet struck her husband’s car.

      The soldiers lifted Nakhle up and carried him a few dozen meters from where he’d fallen, laying him down at the side of the road. One of the eyewitnesses related that they carried him “like you haul a slaughtered sheep.” The video clip shows them carrying him not in the prescribed way for moving someone who is seriously wounded, but by his hands and his feet, his back sagging.

      Before the soldiers shot at the first eyewitness – whose identity is known to the B’Tselem investigator – to scare her off, she shouted at them to let the wounded person be and to allow him to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. “Leave him alone, do you want to kill him… give him aid.” She also shouted at the soldiers that she was his mother – apparently hoping that the lie would stir pity in them – but to no avail. In the video shot by her daughter on her cell phone, the woman sounds overwrought, gasping for breath as she cries out, “In God’s name, call an ambulance!”

      After five to seven minutes, the soldiers again lifted Nakhle, once more by his extremities, and carried him a few dozen meters more, in the direction of the main road, and again laid him by the roadside. A Palestinian ambulance that had arrived at the scene was chased off by the soldiers, who threatened the driver with their rifles. As far as is known, the soldiers did not give Nakhle any sort of medical aid. The woman from the house again shouted, now from her window: “In God’s name, let the ambulance take him away.” But still to no avail.

      It was only after a quarter of an hour, during which Nakhle continued to bleed, that the soldiers allowed an ambulance to be summoned. A video clip shows Nakhle raising one hand limply to the back of his neck, proof that he was still alive. Half-naked, he’s placed on a stretcher and put in the ambulance, which speeds off, its siren wailing, to the Government Hospital in Ramallah.

      The teen apparently breathed his last en route, arriving at the hospital with no pulse. Attempts were made to resuscitate him in the ER and to perform emergency surgery, but after half an hour, he was pronounced dead. Dr. Muayad Bader, a physician in the hospital, wrote on the death certificate that Mahmoud Nakhle died from loss of blood after a bullet entered his lower back, struck his liver and hit a main artery, damaging other internal organs.

      A group of children is now standing at the site where Nakhle fell, practicing stone throwing on the way back from school. They hurl the stones to the ground in a demonstrative fit of anger. In the mourning tent that was erected in the courtyard of the camp, adorned with huge posters of the deceased, the men sit, grim-faced, with the bereaved father, Yusuf Nakhle, 41, in the center. Disabled from birth, he is partially paralyzed in his left arm and leg. We asked him to tell us about Mahmoud’s life.

      “What life? He hadn’t yet lived his life, they robbed him of his life,” he replies softly. Mahmoud attended school until the 10th grade and then studied electrical engineering at a professional college in Qalandiyah. He completed his studies and afterward a year of apprenticeship, and was waiting to find a job as an electrician. His father was waiting for him to help provide for the family. Yusuf is a technician at a pharmaceuticals company in Bir Zeit, near Ramallah. He and his wife, Ismahan, 45, have two more daughters, aged 14 and 4. Mahmoud was their only son.

      In response to an inquiry, the IDF Spokesman’s Office gave Haaretz the following statement this week: “On December 14, 2018, there was a violent disturbance adjacent to Jalazun, during which dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with demonstration-dispersal measures.

      “During the disturbance, a Palestinian holding a suspicious object approached one of the soldiers. The soldier fired at him. Later, it was reported that the Palestinian had been killed. The Military Police have launched an investigation into the incident. Upon its completion, the findings will be transferred to the military advocate general’s office.”

      The spokesman’s office did not respond to a question regarding the denial of medical assistance to Mahmoud Nahle.

      Last Friday, the hours passed normally in the home of Nakhle family in the Jalazun camp. Breakfast, a shower; the son asks his father if he needs anything before going out around midday. Never to return. At 4:30, Yusuf’s brother called to inform him that his son had been wounded and was in the Government Hospital. By the time his father arrived, Mahmoud had been pronounced dead.

      “We are human beings and it is our right to live and to look after our children. We too have feelings, like all people,” says Rabah, Mahmoud’s uncle, the brother of his father. Yusuf has watched the video clips that document the shooting and the hauling of his dying son dozens of times, over and over. Ismahan can’t bring herself to look at them.


  • Ukrainian leader says Putin wants his whole country, asks for NATO help | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-idUSKCN1NY1K5

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday of wanting to annex his entire country and called for NATO to deploy warships to a sea shared by the two nations.
    […]
    Ukraine’s border service said it would only allow Ukrainian citizens to travel to Crimea via its land border with the annexed territory, while the head of the Ukrainian navy said Kiev would try to get Turkey to close the Bosphorus Strait to Russian ships.

    There were further signs that Russia was pressing ahead with its plans to fortify Crimea and turn it into what Kremlin-backed media have called a fortress.

    Russia on Thursday deployed a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in Crimea, its fourth such battalion, TASS news agency cited a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as saying.

    Citing a Crimean security source, Interfax news agency also reported Russian plans to build a new missile early-warning radar station in Crimea next year that would be able to track ballistic and cruise missiles from a long distance.

    Russia was also working on a new technical system to allow it to better track shipping around the peninsula in order to protect its maritime borders, Interfax said.

    En tous cas, il y en a qui n’ont peur de rien : demander à la Turquie de fouler au pied la #convention_de_Montreux, il faut oser !


  • Oltre 500 ore consecutive di culto per non far espellere una famiglia migrante

    In Olanda la legge vieta di interrompere una funziona religiosa: per questo centinaia di pastori da oltre tre settimane si alternano per evitare il rimpatrio di una famiglia ospitata in chiesa.

    In Olanda una chiesa protestante de l’Aja sta tenendo un culto da oltre tre settimane consecutive per proteggere una famiglia di migranti dall’espulsione dal Paese.

    La storia è tanto semplice quanto geniale: secondo la legge statale le forze dell’ordine non possono interrompere una funzione religiosa in corso. Centinaia di pastori si stanno dunque alternando per non far cessare mai il culto cui sta partecipando la famiglia in questione, una coppia armena con tre figli di 15, 19 e 21 anni. L’idea è venuta al presidente del consiglio generale della Chiesa protestante olandese, il pastore Theo Hettema, una volta saputo che la famiglia, da ben 8 anni nei Paesi Bassi, con un figlio iscritto all’università e gli altri alle scuole dell’obbligo, rischiava il rimpatrio perché non può più godere delle tutele internazionali in quanto l’Armenia, terra d’origine dei cinque, non è considerata nazione a rischio.

    I cinque, cristiani, frequentano la chiesa protestante della cittadina in cui risiedono, Katwijk, nei pressi proprio de L’Aja, e una delle figlie svolge volontariato in una associazione legata alla chiesa. L’ appello del pastore Hettema ha raccolto l’adesione di centinaia di colleghi e di moltissimi membri di chiesa, provenienti anche dai Comuni vicini. Tutti consapevoli che la splendida iniziativa non potrà durare in eterno, ma con la speranza di far nel mentre cambiare idea al governo, che ha però più volte affermato che la famiglia non ha i requisiti per rimanere nel Paese. Otto anni per ottenere una risposta sulla possibilità di asilo o meno in una nazione rischiano di essere un tragico record, e ignorare che la famiglia si sia oramai integrata nel nuovo contesto pare un’inutile cattiveria.

    Quando i 5 non partecipano alla funzione, si riposano nei locali sopra la cappella. Un tempo in Italia le chiese erano luoghi di asilo e rifugio in cui le forze dell’ordine non potevano entrare, ma da oltre un secolo le cose sono cambiate (secondo quanto normato prima dalle leggi Siccardi del 1850 e quindi dai Patti Lateranensi del 1929 il cui l’articolo 5 recita comunque con formula ambigua “Salvo i casi di urgente necessità, la forza pubblica non potrà entrare, per l’esercizio delle sue funzioni, negli edifici aperti al culto, senza averne dato previo avviso all’autorità ecclesiastica”). Le norme in materia cambiano molto da Stato a Stato e non sono mancate in questi anni polemiche a seguito di arresti di migranti in chiesa (in Germania, in Islanda).

    La Chiesa protestante in Olanda, nata dalla fusione di tre precedenti chiese, la riformata olandese, la riformata in Olanda e la evangelica luterana, rappresenta circa un terzo dei 6 milioni di abitanti dei Paesi Bassi.

    https://riforma.it/it/articolo/2018/11/19/oltre-500-ore-consecutive-di-culto-non-far-espellere-una-famiglia-migrante
    #messe #résistance #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Pays-Bas #culte #religion #refuge #Eglise #église

    • To Protect Migrants From Police, a Dutch Church Service Never Ends

      Jessa van der Vaart and Rosaliene Israel, two Dutch pastors, usually get to church by cycling through the streets of Amsterdam to a Protestant parish in the city center. But last Wednesday night, they packed their robes into the trunk of a car and drove down the highway to The Hague for what was the equivalent of a priestly shift change.

      They would take over at 8 p.m. from a local minister at the modest Bethel Church. Then, at 11 p.m., they would be replaced by a group from the city of Voorburg, who were scheduled to pull an all-nighter, singing hymns and preaching until daylight, when another cleric would arrive to take the baton.

      The two pastors from Amsterdam were running slightly late. “Well,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as Ms. Israel started the engine. “They’ll have to keep going till we get there.”

      For the marathon church service, which started more than six weeks ago, and hasn’t stopped since, can never take a break.

      Under an obscure Dutch law, the police may not disrupt a church service to make an arrest. And so for the past six weeks, immigration officials have been unable to enter Bethel Church to seize the five members of the Tamrazyan family, Armenian refugees who fled to the sanctuary to escape a deportation order.

      The service, which began in late October as a little-noticed, last-gasp measure by a small group of local ministers, is now a national movement, attracting clergy members and congregants from villages and cities across the Netherlands. More than 550 pastors from about 20 denominations have rotated through Bethel Church, a nonstop service all in the name of protecting one vulnerable family.

      “It’s about practicing what we preach,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as she and Ms. Israel sped down the Netherlands’ A4 highway toward the church.

      At a moment when Christianity’s relevance in Europe is waning — and when xenophobia and nationalism are rising — the Bethel service has also been a reminder of the influence that religious institutions can still exert in a largely secular Western Europe. The pastors have given protection to the Tamrazyan family; the family has given them a cause to show the power of their faith.

      “We’re kind of struggling here as churches in the West, we’re more and more in the margins, and as church leaders we can kind of feel this,” said Ms. Israel, who is the secretary general of Protestant Church Amsterdam.

      “But with this,” she added, “we feel that what we’re doing is quite relevant.”

      In recent years, nationalists have used xenophobic messaging to win office in Italy, Hungary and Austria, and achieve prominence in Sweden, Germany, Britain, France and the Netherlands, underscoring the impression of a European continent that is turning inward. But as the two pastors reached the outskirts of The Hague, Ms. van der Vaart said the marathon at Bethel shows that another Europe still exists.

      “I often think we’re entering times with less and less solidarity,” said Ms. van der Vaart, the vicar at the Oude Kerk, the oldest church and building in Amsterdam. “But then this initiative is all about solidarity, and that gives me hope.”
      An Unassuming Hideaway

      If you weren’t looking for it, you might walk straight past Bethel Church, a red-brick building tucked away on a quiet side-street in The Hague. Inside is a wider complex, which includes accommodation for the Tamrazyan family, as well as various offices and meeting rooms. At first it seems sort of mundane.

      When Ms. van der Vaart and Ms. Israel arrived, with a few minutes to spare, there were no police officers waiting to pounce. The sheer fact of the ongoing service is enough to keep them away. The two pastors quickly donned their robes and hurried into the chapel. On the tiled wall behind the altar hung a migration-themed interpretation of the Madonna and child — a portrait of an African refugee and her baby, dressed as Mary and Jesus.

      In the pews sat roughly a dozen worshipers, some of whom had come before, some there for the first time. Most were believers, but one or two were not.

      “I’m not religious but when I heard about this, I said to my husband, ‘Don’t be shocked, but I want to go to church,’” said Florine Kuethe, a public relations consultant who later agreed to help the church deal with the heightening news media interest. “This type of thing makes the church relevant again.”

      Inside the chapel, the pastors began with a greeting, then a rousing Dutch hymn, then Psalm 82.

      “Rescue the weak and the needy,” read the translation of one line. “Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

      The three Tamrazyan children — Haryarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 — came in and out, frequently playing an active part in the service. Journalists, however, were only allowed in for brief sequences, a rule the pastors said was to ensure that the service retained its spiritual value, instead of becoming a media spectacle.

      “Sometimes I look back and ask why it has been as big as it has,” said Pastor Derk Stegeman, a spokesman for the family, and the service’s main organizer. “It’s because we protected our service and did not make it into an action for other things.”

      Where It All Began

      The story of the service started not in The Hague but in Katwijk, a large seaside town southwest of Amsterdam. The Tamrazyan family ended up there after the father was forced to flee Armenia for political reasons in 2010, Mr. Stegeman said. At the family’s request, their full predicament has been kept a secret, along with the names of the parents, to prevent repercussions for relatives still in Armenia.

      In a six-year legal process, Dutch officials twice tried to deny the family asylum, and were twice defeated in court. But the government finally got its way on its third attempt, even though the three children had all been in the country for more than five years and were theoretically eligible for an amnesty under legislation enacted in 2013.

      Lennart Wegewijs, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of justice and security, said that the government could not comment on individual cases. But speaking generally, he said that under Dutch law, families can only qualify for amnesty if they, somewhat paradoxically, are willing to cooperate with official efforts to deport them from the country.

      To avoid what they believed to be certain danger back in Armenia, the Tamrazyans did not cooperate. Instead, they took refuge in a church in Katwijk. It was when that first church ran out of resources to help them that the leadership at Bethel agreed, after some deliberation, to welcome the family instead.

      As well as maintaining round-the-clock prayers, the church has provided psychological help for the family and teaching for the children, who can no longer go to school or university classes.

      To avoid compounding their stress, the family rarely gives interviews, and they made no exception for The New York Times.

      But on a blog that Haryarpi, the eldest child, started soon after entering the church, she has written about the relief of being granted shelter.

      “I often think the only place where I am safe is the church,” she wrote in Dutch on Nov. 4. “It really feels like a refuge.”

      The pastors have promised to continue the service indefinitely — even after a Dutch minister, Mark Harbers, said on Friday that the service hadn’t changed the government’s mind.

      Initially, the nonstop services were run by a core group of around a dozen pastors. Some of them pulled all-nighters on their own, including Mr. Stegeman and his wife. But a few days into the process, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands endorsed the service and used its newsletter to encourage other congregations to participate.

      Soon it became hard to fit all the volunteers into the schedule.

      “It’s amazing,” said Mr. Stegeman. “From all over our country people are coming, from the north to the very south, west and east.”

      Some preachers simply reuse services and sermons they gave at other churches. But others have used the opportunity to try something new, turning the church into a kind of greenhouse for liturgical experiments.

      Ms. Israel read from a modern reinterpretation of the biblical story of King David and his wife Bathsheba, told from Bathsheba’s perspective. One minister incorporated meditative song into her service, and another interspersed prayers and hymns with sermons from Martin Luther King Jr. During one all-nighter, Mr. Stegeman even brought along a harpist.

      “You see preachers from every background across the country, bringing their own way of celebrating and worshiping that is different hour by hour,” said Pauline Kuipers, who chairs the fund that owns the church. “It goes on continuously but it changes all the time.”

      By 11 p.m., the two pastors from Amsterdam were relieved by the group that had just arrived from Voorburg.

      After three hours of singing, preaching and praying, Ms. van der Vaart’s voice was now slightly hoarse, and Ms. Israel admitted to being “a little bit tired.”

      But she was also moved. As Ms. Israel left the chapel, Haryarpi told her that she had been inspired to write a poem about one of the psalms they had sung.

      “For me, that’s what it’s all about,” Ms. Israel said a few minutes later, packing her robes back into her cycling bag.

      “You could read that psalm a hundred times and not get touched by it,” she said. “But here, in this night, in Bethel Church, it’s very real.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/world/europe/migrants-dutch-church-service.html

    • Dutch church clocks up 1,400 hours to prevent family being deported

      A non-stop church service in the Netherlands — aimed at stopping an Armenian family from being deported — has become so popular it has issued tickets for the Christmas period to control numbers.


      The service has been going around the clock since October 26 — more than 1,400 hours.
      Under Dutch law, police officers are not permitted to enter a church while a religious service is taking place. So, church leaders hatched the idea of meeting non-stop to prevent the Tamrazyan’s from being removed from the country.
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/24/europe/non-stop-church-service-netherlands-armenia-intl/index.html


  • Google abandons Berlin base after two years of resistance
    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/24/google-abandons-berlin-base-after-two-years-of-resistance

    Kreuzberg residents were concerned about tech giant’s unethical practices and gentrification driving up rents Campaigners in a bohemian district of Berlin are celebrating after the internet giant Google abandoned strongly opposed plans to open a large campus there. The US firm had planned to set up an incubator for startup companies in Kreuzberg, one of the older districts in the west of the capital. But the company’s German spokesman Ralf Bremer announced on Wednesday that the 3,000 m2 (...)

    #Google #urbanisme


  • EU border ’lie detector’ system criticised as pseudoscience

    Technology that analyses facial expressions being trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia.

    The EU has been accused of promoting pseudoscience after announcing plans for a “#smart_lie-detection_system” at its busiest borders in an attempt to identify illegal migrants.

    The “#lie_detector”, to be trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, involves the use of a computer animation of a border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam.

    The “deception detection” system will analyse the micro-expressions of those seeking to enter EU territory to see if they are being truthful about their personal background and intentions. Those arriving at the border will be required to have uploaded pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds.

    According to an article published by the European commission, the “unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying”.

    The project’s coordinator, George Boultadakis, who works for the technology supplier, European Dynamics, in Luxembourg, said: “We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks. The system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”

    Travellers who have been flagged as low risk by the #avatar, and its lie detector, will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry. Those judged to be of higher risk will undergo a more detailed check.

    Border officials will use a handheld device to automatically crosscheck information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings.

    When documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm-vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk will be recalculated. A border guard will then take over from the automated system.

    The project, which has received €4.5m (£3.95m) in EU funding, has been heavily criticised by experts.

    Bruno Verschuere, a senior lecturer in forensic psychology at the University of Amsterdam, told the Dutch newspaper De Volskrant he believed the system would deliver unfair outcomes.
    A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ - podcast

    “Non-verbal signals, such as micro-expressions, really do not say anything about whether someone is lying or not,” he said. “This is the embodiment of everything that can go wrong with lie detection. There is no scientific foundation for the methods that are going to be used now.

    “Once these systems are put into use, they will not go away. The public will only hear the success stories and not the stories about those who have been wrongly stopped.”

    Verschuere said there was no evidence for the assumption that liars were stressed and that this translated to into fidgeting or subtle facial movements.

    Bennett Kleinberg, an assistant professor in data science at University College London, said: “This can lead to the implementation of a pseudoscientific border control.”

    A spokesman for the project said: “The border crossing decision is not based on the single tool (ie lie detection) but on the aggregated risk estimations based on a risk-based approach and technology that has been used widely in custom procedures.

    “Therefore, the overall procedure is safe because it is not relying in the risk on one analysis (ie the lie detector) but on the correlated risks from various analysis.”

    The technology has been designed by a consortium of the Hungarian national police, Latvian customs, and Manchester Metropolitan and Leibnitz universities. Similar technology is being developed in the US, where lie detection is widely used in law enforcement, despite scepticism over its scientific utility in much of the rest of the world.

    Last month, engineers at the University of Arizona said they had developed a system that they hoped to install on the US-Mexico border known as the #Automated_Virtual_Agent_for_Truth_Assessments_in_Real-Time, or Avatar.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/02/eu-border-lie-detection-system-criticised-as-pseudoscience?CMP=share_bt
    #wtf #what_the_fuck #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #expressions_faciales #Grèce #Hongrie #Lettonie #mensonge #abus #gardes-frontière #biométrie #biomarqueurs #corps #smart_borders #risques #université #science-fiction
    ping @reka @isskein

    • Smart lie-detection system to tighten EU’s busy borders

      An EU-funded project is developing a way to speed up traffic at the EU’s external borders and ramp up security using an automated border-control system that will put travellers to the test using lie-detecting avatars. It is introducing advanced analytics and risk-based management at border controls.

      More than 700 million people enter the EU every year – a number that is rapidly rising. The huge volume of travellers and vehicles is piling pressure on external borders, making it increasingly difficult for border staff to uphold strict security protocols – checking the travel documents and biometrics of every passenger – whilst keeping disruption to a minimum.

      To help, the EU-funded project IBORDERCTRL is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ facilitating – making faster – border procedures for bona fide and law-abiding travellers. In this sense, the project is aiming to deliver more efficient and secure land border crossings to facilitate the work of border guards in spotting illegal immigrants, and so contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism.

      ‘We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,’ says project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg. ‘IBORDERCTRL’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.’
      Smart ‘deception detection’

      The IBORDERCTRL system has been set up so that travellers will use an online application to upload pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds, then use a webcam to answer questions from a computer-animated border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language. The unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying.

      This pre-screening step is the first of two stages. Before arrival at the border, it also informs travellers of their rights and travel procedures, as well as providing advice and alerts to discourage illegal activity.

      The second stage takes place at the actual border. Travellers who have been flagged as low risk during the pre-screening stage will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry, while higher-risk passengers will undergo a more detailed check.

      Border officials will use a hand-held device to automatically cross-check information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings. After the traveller’s documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk posed by the traveller will be recalculated. Only then does a border guard take over from the automated system.

      At the start of the IBORDERCTRL project, researchers spent a lot of time learning about border crossings from border officials themselves, through interviews, workshops, site surveys, and by watching them at work.

      It is hoped that trials about to start in Hungary, Greece and Latvia will prove that the intelligent portable control system helps border guards reliably identify travellers engaging in criminal activity. The trials will start with lab testing to familiarise border guards with the system, followed by scenarios and tests in realistic conditions along the borders.
      A mounting challenge

      ‘The global maritime and border security market is growing fast in light of the alarming terror threats and increasing terror attacks taking place on European Union soil, and the migration crisis,” says Boultadakis.

      As a consequence, the partner organisations of IBORDERCTRL are likely to benefit from this growing European security market – a sector predicted to be worth USD 146 billion (EUR 128 bn) in Europe by 2020.

      Project details

      Project acronym: #iBorderCtrl
      Participants: Luxembourg (Coordinator), Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Latvia
      Project N°: 700626
      Total costs: € 4 501 877
      EU contribution: € 4 501 877
      Duration: September 2016 to August 2019


      http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=49726

    • AVATAR - Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time

      There are many circumstances, particularly in a border-crossing scenario, when credibility must be accurately assessed. At the same time, since people deceive for a variety of reasons, benign and nefarious, detecting deception and determining potential risk are extremely difficult. Using artificial intelligence and non-invasive sensor technologies, BORDERS has developed a screening system called the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR). The AVATAR is designed to flag suspicious or anomalous behavior that warrants further investigation by a trained human agent in the field. This screening technology may be useful at Land Ports of Entry, airports, detention centers, visa processing, asylum requests, and personnel screening.

      The AVATAR has the potential to greatly assist DHS by serving as a force multiplier that frees personnel to focus on other mission-critical tasks, and provides more accurate decision support and risk assessment. This can be accomplished by automating interviews and document/biometric collection, and delivering real-time multi-sensor credibility assessments in a screening environment. In previous years, we have focused on conducting the basic research on reliably analyzing human behavior for deceptive cues, better understanding the DHS operational environment, and developing and testing a prototype system.

      Principal Investigators:
      #Aaron_Elkins
      #Doug_Derrick
      #Jay_Nunamaker, Jr.
      #Judee_Burgoon
      Status:
      Current

      http://borders.arizona.edu/cms/projects/avatar-automated-virtual-agent-truth-assessments-real-time
      #University_of_Arizona

    • Un #détecteur_de_mensonges bientôt testé aux frontières de l’Union européenne

      L’Union européenne va tester dans un avenir proche un moyen de réguler le passage des migrants sur certaines de ses frontières, en rendant celui-ci plus simple et plus rapide. Ce moyen prendra la forme d’un détecteur de mensonges basé sur l’intelligence artificielle.

      Financé depuis 2016 par l’UE, le projet iBorderCtrl fera bientôt l’objet d’un test qui se déroulera durant six mois sur quatre postes-frontière situés en Hongrie, en Grèce et en Lettonie. Il s’avère que chaque année, environ 700 millions de nouvelles personnes arrivent dans l’UE, et les gardes-frontières ont de plus en plus de mal à effectuer les vérifications d’usage.

      Ce projet iBorderCtrl destiné à aider les gardes-frontières n’est autre qu’un détecteur de mensonges reposant sur une intelligence artificielle. Il s’agit en somme d’une sorte de garde frontière virtuel qui, après avoir pris connaissance des documents d’un individu (passeport, visa et autres), lui fera passer un interrogatoire. Ce dernier devra donc faire face à une caméra et répondre à des questions.

      L’IA en question observera la personne et fera surtout attention aux micro-mouvements du visage, le but étant de détecter un éventuel mensonge. À la fin de l’entretien, l’individu se verra remettre un code QR qui déterminera son appartenance à une des deux files d’attente, c’est-à-dire les personnes acceptées et celles – sur lesquelles il subsiste un doute – qui feront l’objet d’un entretien plus poussé avec cette fois, des gardes-frontières humains.

      Le système iBorderCtrl qui sera bientôt testé affiche pour l’instant un taux de réussite de 74 %, mais les porteurs du projet veulent atteindre au moins les 85 %. Enfin, évoquons le fait que ce dispositif pose assez logiquement des questions éthiques, et a déjà de nombreux opposants  !

      L’IA a été présentée lors du Manchester Science Festival qui s’est déroulé du 18 au 29 octobre 2018, comme le montre la vidéo ci-dessous :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fsd3Ubqi38

      https://sciencepost.fr/2018/11/un-detecteur-de-mensonges-bientot-teste-aux-frontieres-de-lunion-europee


  • #Angola : Les migrants africains en danger de mort

    Les autorités angolaises lancent « la chasse aux ressortissants sub-sahariens en situation irrégulière ». Une #opération dénommée « #expatriado » est en cours en ce moment. Elle vise à « expulser tous les immigrés en situation irrégulière en Angola ». Des ressortissants maliens témoignent des « cas d’#emprisonnement suivis de pires formes de #maltraitance et d’#humiliation ». Pour l’instant, difficile d’avoir des chiffres officiels sur le nombre de Maliens victimes. Mais ceux joints sur place appellent à l’aide des autorités maliennes.

    Selon certains Maliens, ces opérations d’expulsion ont débuté dans les zones minières. Elles se déroulent maintenant dans toutes les villes du pays, et concernent toutes les nationalités y compris les Maliens, qui sont parmi les plus nombreux. « Cela fait des jours que nous ne pouvons plus sortir pour aller au boulot par peur de nous faire arrêter », explique un ressortissant malien sur place. Selon lui, cette opération qui ne devrait concerner que les #sans-papiers, est aussi menée par les forces de l’ordre angolaises contre ceux qui sont en situation régulière. L’objectif, selon notre interlocuteur, est de soutirer de l’argent aux migrants.

    « Une fois entre les mains des autorités angolaises, il faut payer de l’argent ou partir en prison », témoignent certains migrants maliens, avant de confirmer que plusieurs d’entre eux sont actuellement en prison. En Angola certains Maliens ont l’impression d’être « laissés pour compte par les autorités maliennes ». Pour l’Association Malienne des Expulsés, « il est inacceptable qu’un pays membre de l’Union Africaine expulse d’autres africains de la sorte ». L’AME qui juge la situation « grave » en Angola, appelle les autorités maliennes à réagir.

    https://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Angola-Les-migrants-africains-en-danger-de-mort.html
    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #rafles #expulsions #renvois #chasse_aux_migrants #migrants_maliens

    • Briefing: Problems multiply in Congo’s Kasaï

      The Kasaï region in the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to recover from two years of intense conflict. The influx last month of more than 300,000 people from Angola, most of them long-standing migrant workers, has made a fragile humanitarian situation worse.

      Here’s our briefing on the risks for the region and the new challenges for the humanitarian response.
      What happened?

      In attempts to clamp down on what it called illegal diamond mining operations, Angola’s government ordered the expulsion of more than 360,000 Congolese nationals, forcing them to flee in October into the Kasaï region of neighbouring DRC.

      "This new shock is compounding an already dire situation in the same area that was the epicentre of the Kasaï crisis over the last couple of years,” explained Dan Schreiber, head of coordination in Congo for the UN’s emergency aid body, OCHA.

      Congolese migrants and officials said the crackdown was violent, telling Reuters that dozens of people were killed, with the worst attacks occurring in Lucapa in Angola’s diamond-rich Lunda Norte province. Angolan security forces denied the allegations.
      Where did they go?

      Most of those expelled crossed into Kamako in Kasaï province, where aid organisations are responding to the tail-end of the Kamuina Nsapu insurgency that first erupted in 2016. Some of the returnees include refugees who fled violence in Kasaï over the last two years, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

      The NRC said conditions returnees face in Congo are “shocking”, including the risk of waterborne disease due to ineffective water and sanitation; thousands sleeping outdoors because of insufficient shelter; food prices tripling; and extortion of goods on both sides of the border.

      “Hundreds of thousands of people have been robbed of their right to a dignified existence,” said Ulrika Blom, NRC’s country director in DRC. “This is not a crisis that is about to begin, it is a full-blown emergency.”
      What has the reaction been?

      While local communities have generally been welcoming to the returnees, OCHA’s Schreiber said skirmishes erupted in certain villages, mainly over the strain on limited food resources.

      “Experience in the DRC does show that when you have a large influx of people arriving in an area it can generate tensions between host communities and the people who arrive,” he said.

      Schreiber said OCHA has seen most returnees wanting to move away from the border areas and toward other destinations inland, which could help ease the humanitarian strain in Kasaï, but he also warned that more returnees could arrive from Angola.

      “We don’t expect the first wave to be the last wave,” he said. “Expulsions from Angola are a cyclical phenomena that go all the way back to 2002-2003. It’s not a new phenomenon, but in this case we are seeing a major influx, and clearly the absorption capacity is not there.”
      Why is their arrival in Kasaï in particular such a problem?

      Kasaï was a relatively stable region in an unstable country – one currently dealing with multiple conflicts, an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu province, and one of the world’s most neglected displacement crises.

      The situation in Kasaï changed dramatically in 2016 when conflict erupted between the Kamuina Nsapu anti-government movement and Congolese security forces. The inter-communal clashes spread far and wide, soon engulfing the entire region.

      The conflict escalated in 2017, with massacres and mass graves, as well as general insecurity marked by banditry, and poor harvests that led to food insecurity and malnutrition.

      An estimated 5,000 people have since been killed and more than 1.4 million displaced.

      Toward the end of 2017 and into 2018, the crisis eased slightly, as national authorities regained control over large parts of the region. Despite isolated bouts of violence, aid groups say most militias have been formally disbanded and displaced communities are tentatively returning home.

      “But those returns are accompanied by many needs, because people are returning to burned villages, destroyed homes, and a lot of destruction,” said OCHA’s Schreiber.

      Two years of violence and displacement also mean locals have been unable to grow crops for three seasons, which has led to concerns over malnutrition. “We have really seen food insecurity skyrocket. So even in areas where returns have occurred, humanitarian needs have not come to an end,” Schreiber added.
      What are the risks?

      Although the current influx of people from Angola isn’t directly linked to the Kamuina Nsapu rebellion, aid groups are concerned about the implications of piling one problem on top of another in the same geographic area.

      For the most vulnerable groups, specifically women and children, the challenges that affect those displaced by the insurgency also pose risks for the new returnees from Angola.

      In May for instance, UNICEF reported that 400,000 children were “at risk of death” in the Kasaïs, because of food shortages.

      Yves Willemot, a spokesman for UNICEF in Congo, said the rate of severe acute malnutrition among children living in the region has improved slightly since earlier this year but “remains challenging”.

      “The security situation has clearly improved, but the impact on children is not ending in the short term,” he said.

      Among those newly returned from Angola are 80,000 children. They now are also at risk, forced to walk long distances while exposed to inclement weather, hunger, and the threat of violence. Willemot said basic services are lacking for them, including access to drinking water, schooling, and treatment for diseases like malaria and measles.

      Médecins Sans Frontières is among the NGOs initiating primary healthcare services for the recent arrivals, while also continuing interventions to assist the local population.

      In a recent report, MSF documented alarming levels of rape in the Kasaï region, saying it treated 2,600 victims of sexual violence between May 2017 and September 2018; 80 percent of those interviewed said armed men raped them.

      “The sexual violence committed in Kasaï was perpetrated largely by armed groups against non-armed people,” Philippe Kadima, MSF’s humanitarian advisor for the Great Lakes region, told IRIN. “Although the main conflict is over, we still see some violence happening in Kasaï.”

      For the more than 300,000 returnees, he said there are clear humanitarian concerns, but also the risk of insecurity. “The question is, how do you keep people secure?”

      “Displaced people become vulnerable, so it’s not that different to what the existing IDPs in Kasaï are going through… Security concerns, humanitarian needs, and risks of sexual violence are all factors when people become vulnerable,” he said.
      What about the longer-term challenges?

      Humanitarian needs remain critically underfunded in the Kasai region, said OCHA’s Shreiber, emphasising that beyond the immediate concerns are much broader needs in the region and the DRC as a whole.

      He added that the humanitarian response must help minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on those affected.

      “The longer we remain in this critical phase, the more we can expect to see humanitarian needs spiral out of control,” he said. “The current trigger of new humanitarian needs (the returnees from Angola) may be time-bound, but I think the impact will be lasting.”

      Schreiber said the Kasaï region remains vulnerable because it faces particular challenges, including decades of underdevelopment and inaccessibility as a result of poor road infrastructure, and he urged more development actors to get involved.

      “People in the Kasaïs are eager to rebound, to be back on their feet, and move on. There is no expectation that humanitarian assistance should continue forever in the Kasaï region,” he said. “People want to be autonomous, but what they need is support to build up their resilience and be able to move towards a situation where their most basic needs are met and they are able to think about their futures again.”


      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/11/08/briefing-congo-kasai-angola-aid-conflict

    • Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Les violations des droits humains des migrants africains en Angola

      Depuis un certain moment, la communauté africaine vivant sur le territoire angolais est l’objet de toute sorte de violation de ses droits les plus fondamentaux par les autorités de ce pays. La Charte Africaines des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples protège les droits des migrants dans tous ses aspects contre les violations des droits et l’Angola est justement membre de l’Union Africaine. Ainsi, ces violations se matérialisent par des arrestations musclées et arbitraires, des emprisonnements dans des conditions inhumaines et dégradantes (art.5 de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples) de même que les expulsions collectives pourtant interdites par la Charte Africaine dans son article 12.5.

      L’AME est vivement préoccupée par les récentes arrestations, détentions et expulsions des centaines de milliers de migrants africains dont des maliens. Selon des informations recueillies auprès de nos sources sur place, une centaine de maliens sont concernés par cette situation qui évolue et change de jour en jour.

      Nous attirons l’attention de l’Union Africaine et de ses pays membres sur la situation inacceptable que vivent les étrangers sur la terre africaine d’Angola et rappeler que les droits de l’homme sont des droits inaliénables de tous les êtres humains, quels que soient leur nationalité, leur lieu de résidence, leur sexe, leur origine ethnique ou nationale, leur couleur, leur religion…

      L’Angola comme la plupart des pays africains s’est engagé à protéger, respecter et réaliser les droits de l’homme, non seulement de ses nationaux, mais de toute personne sous sa juridiction. Dans ce contexte, tous les étrangers se trouvant sur le sol angolais auraient dû bénéficier de la protection des autorités angolaises quelque soient les raisons qu’elles mettent en avant pour justifier ces expulsions.

      L’Organisation des Nations Unies (ONU) n’est pas resté silencieuse comme la plupart des pays africains, le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies aux droits de l’homme a mis en garde sur les conséquences des expulsions massives de réfugiés depuis l’Angola, au cours des trois dernières semaines de ce mois d’octobre.

      Par ailleurs, le Secrétaire Général des Nations Unies a rappelé le 19 septembre 2017 que : « tout pays a le droit de contrôler ses frontières. Mais cela doit se faire de telle sorte que les droits des personnes ‘en mouvement’ soient protégés ».

      Au regard de tout ce qui vient d’être évoqué :
      1. L’Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME) pour sa part, exhorte le gouvernement Malien à tout mettre en œuvre pour la sécurisation de nos compatriotes et de leurs biens dans les pays d’accueil ;
      2. Appelle le gouvernement à communiquer davantage sur cette situation en donnant beaucoup plus d’informations aux familles des maliens vivants en Angola ;
      3. Encourage le gouvernement de continuer à œuvrer pour le respect des droits des migrants maliens et aussi pour le développement d’une relation franche entre les Etats africains en vue de la réalisation de l’unité africaine comme le prévoit l’article 117 de la Constitution ;
      4. Invite l’Union Africaine à dénoncer et prendre des mesures contre les violations des droits humains dans les pays membres ;
      5. Invite également les Etats membres de l’Union Africaine à renoncer aux expulsions massives des ressortissants d’autres pays africains et à mettre fin sans délais aux opérations actuelles en cour ;
      6. Exhorte l’U.A et les Etats à une plus grande implication des organisations de la société civile aux différents processus pour la gestion de la migration.

      http://www.expulsesmaliens.info/Les-violations-des-droits-humains-des-migrants-africains-en-Angola


  • Somali returned to Libya under Italian policy sets himself on fire

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in Triq al Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.
    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    A Somali man set himself on fire in a Libyan detention centre on Wednesday, according to fellow detainees and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    The man, who is in his late 20s, reportedly doused himself in petrol from a generator in the centre and lit it, after telling friends he had lost hope of being relocated to a safe country.

    Sources told The Irish Times the man carried out the action after being told he had little chance of evacuation by visiting officials from the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The UNHCR said it was trying to verify this.

    IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the detainee had set himself on fire as an “act of protest”.

    “He was admitted into the hospital yesterday in Tripoli in the burn centre for intensive medical care. Our medical team visited him and informed the management that they are willing to support if it is needed,” he said.

    However, a fellow detainee said he believed the Somali man had died. “All refugees have [a] very bad feeling. Today [we’re] not eating at all because so many people have died.” This would be the eighth death in #Triq_al-Sikka centre this year, according to the detainee.

    Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have been returned to Libya since February 2017, when the country’s UN-backed government entered into a deal with Italy to prevent migration to Europe. Italian politicians have called the deal a success, because it has reduced the number of people arriving on their shores.

    Rife with abuse

    However, for the men, women and children returned to Libya, the situation is bleak. More than a dozen detainees across Tripoli contacted by phone have described detention centres rife with abuse, where they’re fed once a day at most, forced to work, and sometimes beaten or raped. Overcrowding has led to the spread of infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

    Those detained include pregnant women and children of all ages.

    Sources in #Zintan, a detention centre 180km southwest of Tripoli, said that four detainees have died there within the past month. They say the poor conditions, including a lack of sanitation, have caused or contributed to the deaths.

    In Tripoli, detainees in two centres said their families at home are being forced to send money for them to buy food because managers in the Libyan department for combating illegal immigration (DCIM)-run centres say there is no other way for them to eat.
    Cross the Mediterranean

    Many detainees’ families have already paid ransoms of more than $2,000 to smugglers who held them prisoner, regularly torturing them, before allowing them to attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

    One man said the manager in his centre withholds food depending on his mood and whims. “If the leader of the detention centre gets happy by something in his own personal situation he tries to serve us food, if [he] not get happy he tries to stop it.”

    In September, the UNHCR updated its policy to say Libya is no longer a safe country to return people to. The organisation is currently registering detainees from countries including Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia, who cannot return home or are unwilling to because of conflict or fear of persecution. Many are hoping for evacuation from Libya, but the number of resettlement places currently offered by other countries is very limited.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/somali-returned-to-libya-under-italian-policy-sets-himself-on-fire-1.367
    #décès #mort #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_somaliens #Italie #expulsions #renvois Libye #détention #centre_de_détention #suicide


  • Afghan, Pakistani forces clash over border fence

    Afghan and Pakistani border forces engaged in an armed clash over building a fence along the #Durand_Line on Sunday, local officials in southern Kandahar province said.

    Kandahar police spokesman, Zia Durani, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Pakistani forces tried this afternoon to fence a part of the Durand Line in Shorabak district of Kandahar, but Afghan border forces prevented their move.

    He said Pakistani forces in response attacked the Afghan forces and the clash was still underway. No one has so far been hurt in the battle. However, Pakistan closed down the friendship gate in #Spin_Boldak.

    A day earlier, Kandahar police chief, Gen. Abdul Raziq, said they had stopped Pakistan from fencing the Durand Line.

    He said that Pakistan started fencing the Durand Line in the southern region of the country but they stopped them.

    “Two weeks back, Pakistani forces started installation of fence on the border between Spin Boldak and #Shorabak districts of #Kandahar but border forces removed the fence and prevented them from doing so,” Raziq added.

    A year back, Afghan and Pakistani forces engaged in heavy clashes over fence installation in #Luqman and #Jahangir areas of Spin Boldak district and both the sides suffered casualties.

    Luqman and Jahangir areas are located in the zero point area of the border and they belong to Spin Boldak district.

    Pakistan forces last year conducted a population registration process in the two areas and claimed the areas belonged to Pakistan, but Afghan forces prevented them.

    The Afghan forces’ interference last year led to a fierce clash that continued for several hours, with both sides sustaining heavy casualties.

    After the clash, Afghanistan port with Pakistan was closed for 23 days that caused millions of afghanis losses to traders.


    https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2018/10/14/afghan-pakistani-forces-clash-over-border-fence
    #Pakistan #Afghanistan #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #disputes_frontalières

    #Ligne_durand:


    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligne_Durand


  • The mad, twisted tale of the electric scooter craze
    https://www.cnet.com/news/the-mad-tale-of-the-electric-scooter-craze-with-bird-lime-and-spin-in-san-fran

    Dara Kerr/CNET

    For weeks, I’d been seeing trashed electric scooters on the streets of San Francisco. So I asked a group of friends if any of them had seen people vandalizing the dockless vehicles since they were scattered across the city a couple of months ago.

    The answer was an emphatic “yes.”

    One friend saw a guy walking down the street kicking over every scooter he came across. Another saw a rider pull up to a curb as the handlebars and headset became fully detached. My friend figures someone had messed with the screws or cabling so the scooter would come apart on purpose.

    A scroll through Reddit, Instagram and Twitter showed me photos of scooters — owned by Bird, Lime and Spin — smeared in feces, hanging from trees, hefted into trashcans and tossed into the San Francisco Bay.

    It’s no wonder Lime scooters’ alarm isn’t just a loud beep, but a narc-like battle cry that literally says, “Unlock me to ride, or I’ll call the police.”

    San Francisco’s scooter phenomenon has taken on many names: Scootergeddon, Scooterpocalypse and Scooter Wars. It all started when the three companies spread hundreds of their dockless, rentable e-scooters across city the same week at the end of March — without any warning to local residents or lawmakers.

    Almost instantly, first-time riders began zooming down sidewalks at 15 mph, swerving between pedestrians and ringing the small bells attached to the handlebars. And they left the vehicles wherever they felt like it: scooters cluttered walkways and storefronts, jammed up bike lanes, and blocked bike racks and wheelchair accesses.

    The three companies all say they’re solving a “last-mile” transportation problem, giving commuters an easy and convenient way to zip around the city while helping ease road congestion and smog. They call it the latest in a long line of disruptive businesses that aim to change the way we live.

    The scooters have definitely changed how some people live.

    I learned the Wild West looks friendly compared to scooter land. In San Francisco’s world of these motorized vehicles, there’s backstabbing, tweaker chop shops and intent to harm.

    “The angry people, they were angry,” says Michael Ghadieh, who owns electric bicycle shop, SF Wheels, and has repaired hundreds of the scooters. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the Bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”

    Yikes! Clipped brakes

    SF Wheels is located on a quaint street in a quintessential San Francisco neighborhood. Called Cole Valley, the area is lined with Victorian homes, upscale cafes and views of the city’s famous Mount Sutro. SF Wheels sells and rents electric bicycles for $20 per hour, mostly to tourists who want to see Golden Gate Park on two wheels.

    In March, one of the scooter companies called Ghadieh to tell him they were about to launch in the city and were looking for people to help with repairs. Ghadieh said he was game. He wouldn’t disclose the name of the company because of agreements he signed.

    Now he admits he didn’t quite know what he was getting into.

    Days after the scooter startups dropped their vehicles on an unsuspecting San Francisco, SF Wheels became so crammed with broken scooters that it was hard to walk through the small, tidy shop. Scooters lined the sidewalk outside, filled the doorway and crowded the mechanic’s workspace. The backyard had a heap of scooters nearly six-feet tall, Ghadieh told me.

    His bike techs were so busy that Ghadieh had to hire three more mechanics. SF Wheels was fixing 75 to 100 scooters per day. Ghadieh didn’t say how much the shop was making per scooter fix.

    “The repairs were fast and easy on some and longer on others,” Ghadieh said. “It’d depend on whether it was wear-and-tear or whether it was physically damaged by someone out there, some madman.”

    Some of the scooters, which cost around $500 off the shelf, came in completely vandalized — everything from chopped wires for the controller (aka the brain) to detached handlebars to bent forks. Several even showed up with clipped brake cables.

    I asked Ghadieh if the scooters still work without brakes.

    “It will work, yes,” he said. “It will go forward, but you just cannot stop. Whoever is causing that is making the situation dangerous for some riders.”

    Especially in a city with lots of hills.

    Ghadieh said his crew worked diligently for about six weeks, repairing an estimated 1,000 scooters. But then, about three weeks ago, work dried up. Ghadieh had to lay off the mechanics he’d hired and his shop is back to focusing on electric bicycles.

    “Now, there’s literally nothing,” he said. “There’s a change of face with the company. I’m not exactly sure what happened. … They decided to do it differently.”

    The likely change? The electric scooter company probably decided to outsource repairs to gig workers, rather than rely on agreements with shops.

    That’s gig as in freelancers looking to pick up part-time work, like Uber and Lyft drivers. And like Nick Abouzeid. By day, Abouzeid works in marketing for the startup AngelList. A few weeks ago, he got an email from Bird inviting him to be a scooter mechanic. The message told Abouzeid he could earn $20 for each scooter repair, once he’d completed an online training. He signed up, took the classes and is ready to start.

    “These scooters aren’t complicated. They’re cheap scooters from China,” Abouzeid said. “The repairs are anything from adjusting a brake to fixing a flat tire to adding stickers that have fallen off a Bird.”

    Bird declined to comment specifically on its maintenance program, but its spokesman Kenneth Baer did say, “Bird has a network of trained chargers and mechanics who operate as independent contractors.”

    All of Lime’s mechanics, on the other hand, are part of the company’s operations and maintenance team that repairs the scooters and ensures they’re safe for riders. Spin uses a mix of gig workers and contract mechanics, like what Ghadieh was doing.
    Gaming the system

    Electric scooters are, well, electric. That means they need to be plugged into an outlet for four to five hours before they can transport people, who rent them for $1 plus 15 cents for every minute of riding time.

    Bird, Spin and Lime all partially rely on gig workers to keep their fleets juiced up.

    Each company has a different app that shows scooters with low or dead batteries. Anyone with a driver’s license and car can sign up for the app and become a charger. These drivers roam the streets, picking up scooters and taking them home to be charged.
    img-7477

    “It creates this amazing kind of gig economy,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden, who is a former Uber and Lyft executive, told me in April. “It’s kind of like a game of Pokemon Go for them, where they go around and try to find and gobble up as many Birds as they can.”

    Theoretically, all scooters are supposed to be off city streets by nightfall when it’s illegal to ride them. That’s when the chargers are unleashed. To get paid, they have to get the vehicles back out on the street in specified locations before 7 a.m. the next day. Bird supplies the charging cables — only three at a time, but those who’ve been in the business longer can get more cables.

    “I don’t know the fascination with all of these companies using gig workers to charge and repair,” said Harry Campbell, who runs a popular gig worker blog called The Rideshare Guy. “But they’re all in, they’re all doing it.”

    One of the reasons some companies use gig workers is to avoid costs like extra labor, gasoline and electricity. Bird, Spin and Lime have managed to convince investors they’re onto something. Between the three of them they’ve raised $255 million in funding. Bird is rumored to be raising another $150 million from one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, Sequoia, which could put the company’s value at $1 billion. That’s a lot for an electric scooter disruptor.

    Lime pays $12 to charge each scooter and Spin pays $5; both companies also deploy their own operations teams for charging. Bird has a somewhat different system. It pays anywhere from $5 to $25 to charge its scooters, depending on the city and the location of the dead scooter. The harder the vehicle is to find and the longer it’s been off the radar, the higher the “bounty.”

    Abouzeid, who’s moonlighted as a Bird charger for the past two months, said he’s only found a $25 scooter once.

    “With the $25 ones, they’re like, ’Hey, we think it’s in this location, it’s got 0 percent battery, good luck,’” he said.

    But some chargers have devised a way to game the system. They call it hoarding.

    “They’ll literally go around picking up Birds and putting them in the back of their car,” Campbell said. “And then they wait until the bounties on them go up and up and up.”

    Bird has gotten wise to these tactics. It sent an email to all chargers last week warning them that if it sniffs out this kind of activity, those hoarders will be barred from the app.

    “We feel like this is a big step forward in fixing some of the most painful issues we’ve been hearing,” Bird wrote in the email, which was seen by CNET.

    Tweaker chop shops

    Hoarding and vandalism aren’t the only problems for electric scooter companies. There’s also theft. While the vehicles have GPS tracking, once the battery fully dies they go off the app’s map.

    “Every homeless person has like three scooters now,” Ghadieh said. “They take the brains out, the logos off and they literally hotwire it.”
    img-1134

    I’ve seen scooters stashed at tent cities around San Francisco. Photos of people extracting the batteries have been posted on Twitter and Reddit. Rumor has it the batteries have a resale price of about $50 on the street, but there doesn’t appear to be a huge market for them on eBay or Craigslist, according to my quick survey.

    Bird, Lime and Spin all said trashed and stolen scooters aren’t as big a problem as you’d think. When the companies launch in a new city, they said they tend to see higher theft and vandalism rates but then that calms down.

    “We have received a few reports of theft and vandalism, but that’s the nature of the business,” said Spin co-founder and President Euwyn Poon. “When you have a product that’s available for public consumption, you account for that.”

    Dockless, rentable scooters are now taking over cities across the US — from Denver to Atlanta to Washington, DC. Bird’s scooters are available in at least 10 cities with Scottsdale, Arizona, being the site of its most recent launch.

    Meanwhile, in San Francisco, regulators have been working to get rules in place to make sure riders drive safely and the companies abide by the law.

    New regulations to limit the number of scooters are set to go into effect in the city on June 4. To comply, scooter companies have to clear the streets of all their vehicles while the authorities process their permits. That’s expected to take about a month.

    And just like that, scooters will go out the way they came in — appearing and disappearing from one day to the next — leaving in their wake the chargers, mechanics, vandals and people hotwiring the things to get a free ride around town.

    #USA #transport #disruption #SDF


  • C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

    The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.

    Late in his presidency, Barack Obama sought to put the military in charge of drone attacks after a backlash arose over a series of highly visible strikes, some of which killed civilians. The move was intended, in part, to bring greater transparency to attacks that the United States often refused to acknowledge its role in.

    But now the C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to northeastern Niger to hunt Islamist militants in southern Libya. The expansion adds to the agency’s limited covert missions in eastern Afghanistan for strikes in Pakistan, and in southern Saudi Arabia for attacks in Yemen.

    Nigerien and American officials said the C.I.A. had been flying drones on surveillance missions for several months from a corner of a small commercial airport in Dirkou. Satellite imagery shows that the airport has grown significantly since February to include a new taxiway, walls and security posts.

    One American official said the drones had not yet been used in lethal missions, but would almost certainly be in the near future, given the growing threat in southern Libya. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secretive operations.

    A C.I.A. spokesman, Timothy Barrett, declined to comment. A Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, said the military had maintained a base at the Dirkou airfield for several months but did not fly drone missions from there.

    The drones take off from Dirkou at night — typically between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. — buzzing in the clear, starlit desert sky. A New York Times reporter saw the gray aircraft — about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long — flying at least three times over six days in early August. Unlike small passenger planes that land occasionally at the airport, the drones have no blinking lights signaling their presence.

    “All I know is they’re American,” Niger’s interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said in an interview. He offered few other details about the drones.

    Dirkou’s mayor, Boubakar Jerome, said the drones had helped improve the town’s security. “It’s always good. If people see things like that, they’ll be scared,” Mr. Jerome said.

    Mr. Obama had curtailed the C.I.A.’s lethal role by limiting its drone flights, notably in Yemen. Some strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere that accidentally killed civilians, stirring outrage among foreign diplomats and military officials, were shielded because of the C.I.A.’s secrecy.

    As part of the shift, the Pentagon was given the unambiguous lead for such operations. The move sought, in part, to end an often awkward charade in which the United States would not concede its responsibility for strikes that were abundantly covered by news organizations and tallied by watchdog groups. However, the C.I.A. program was not fully shut down worldwide, as the agency and its supporters in Congress balked.

    The drone policy was changed last year, after Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director at the time, made a forceful case to President Trump that the agency’s broader counterterrorism efforts were being needlessly constrained. The Dirkou base was already up and running by the time Mr. Pompeo stepped down as head of the C.I.A. in April to become Mr. Trump’s secretary of state.

    The Pentagon’s Africa Command has carried out five drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State militants in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago. The military launches its MQ-9 Reaper drones from bases in Sicily and in Niamey, Niger’s capital, 800 miles southwest of Dirkou.

    But the C.I.A. base is hundreds of miles closer to southwestern Libya, a notorious haven for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. It is also closer to southern Libya than a new $110 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, 350 miles west of Dirkou, where the Pentagon plans to operate armed Reaper drone missions by early next year.

    Another American official said the C.I.A. began setting up the base in January to improve surveillance of the region, partly in response to an ambush last fall in another part of Niger that killed four American troops. The Dirkou airfield was labeled a United States Air Force base as a cover, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential operational matters.

    The C.I.A. operation in Dirkou is burdened by few, if any, of the political sensitivities that the United States military confronts at its locations, said one former American official involved with the project.

    Even so, security analysts said, it is not clear why the United States needs both military and C.I.A. drone operations in the same general vicinity to combat insurgents in Libya. France also flies Reaper drones from Niamey, but only on unarmed reconnaissance missions.

    “I would be surprised that the C.I.A. would open its own base,” said Bill Roggio, editor of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal, which tracks military strikes against militant groups.

    Despite American denials, a Nigerien security official said he had concluded that the C.I.A. launched an armed drone from the Dirkou base to strike a target in Ubari, in southern Libya, on July 25. The Nigerien security official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.

    A spokesman for the Africa Command, Maj. Karl Wiest, said the military did not carry out the Ubari strike.

    #Ubari is in the same region where the American military in March launched its first-ever drone attack against Qaeda militants in southern Libya. It is at the intersection of the powerful criminal and jihadist currents that have washed across Libya in recent years. Roughly equidistant from Libya’s borders with Niger, Chad and Algeria, the area’s seminomadic residents are heavily involved in the smuggling of weapons, drugs and migrants through the lawless deserts of southern Libya.

    Some of the residents have allied with Islamist militias, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which operates across Algeria, Mali, Niger and Libya.

    Dirkou, in northeast Niger, is an oasis town of a few thousand people in the open desert, bordered by a small mountain range. For centuries, it has been a key transit point for travelers crossing the Sahara. It helped facilitate the rise of Islam in West Africa in the 9th century, and welcomed salt caravans from the neighboring town of Bilma.

    The town has a handful of narrow, sandy roads. Small trees dot the horizon. Date and neem trees line the streets, providing shelter for people escaping the oppressive midday heat. There is a small market, where goods for sale include spaghetti imported from Libya. Gasoline is also imported from Libya and is cheaper than elsewhere in the country.

    The drones based in Dirkou are loud, and their humming and buzzing drowns out the bleats of goats and crows of roosters.

    “It stops me from sleeping,” said Ajimi Koddo, 45, a former migrant smuggler. “They need to go. They go in our village, and it annoys us too much.”

    Satellite imagery shows that construction started in February on a new compound at the Dirkou airstrip. Since then, the facility has been extended to include a larger paved taxiway and a clamshell tent connected to the airstrip — all features that are consistent with the deployment of small aircraft, possibly drones.

    Five defensive positions were set up around the airport, and there appear to be new security gates and checkpoints both to the compound and the broader airport.

    It’s not the first time that Washington has eyed with interest Dirkou’s tiny base. In the late 1980s, the United States spent $3.2 million renovating the airstrip in an effort to bolster Niger’s government against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the leader of Libya.

    Compared with other parts of Africa, the C.I.A.’s presence in the continent’s northwest is relatively light, according to a former State Department official who served in the region. In this part of Niger, the C.I.A. is also providing training and sharing intelligence, according to a Nigerien military intelligence document reviewed by The Times.

    The Nigerien security official said about a dozen American Green Berets were stationed earlier this year in #Dirkou — in a base separate from the C.I.A.’s — to train a special counterterrorism battalion of local forces. Those trainers left about three months ago, the official said.

    It is unlikely that they will return anytime soon. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing nearly all American commandos from Niger in the wake of the deadly October ambush that killed four United States soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/africa/cia-drones-africa-military.html
    #CIA #drones #Niger #Sahel #USA #Etats-Unis #EI #ISIS #Etat_islamique #sécurité #terrorisme #base_militaire

    • Le Sahel est-il une zone de #non-droit ?

      La CIA a posé ses valises dans la bande sahélo-saharienne. Le New-York Times l’a annoncé, le 9 septembre dernier. Le quotidien US, a révélé l’existence d’une #base_de_drones secrète non loin de la commune de Dirkou, dans le nord-est du Niger. Cette localité, enclavée, la première grande ville la plus proche est Agadez située à 570 km, est le terrain de tir parfait. Elle est éloignée de tous les regards, y compris des autres forces armées étrangères : France, Allemagne, Italie, présentes sur le sol nigérien. Selon un responsable américain anonyme interrogé par ce journal, les drones déployés à Dirkou n’avaient « pas encore été utilisés dans des missions meurtrières, mais qu’ils le seraient certainement dans un proche avenir, compte tenu de la menace croissante qui pèse sur le sud de la Libye. » Or, d’après les renseignements recueillis par l’IVERIS, ces assertions sont fausses, la CIA a déjà mené des opérations à partir de cette base. Ces informations apportent un nouvel éclairage et expliquent le refus catégorique et systématique de l’administration américaine de placer la force conjointe du G5 Sahel (Tchad, Mauritanie, Burkina-Faso, Niger, Mali) sous le chapitre VII de la charte des Nations Unies.
      L’installation d’une base de drones n’est pas une bonne nouvelle pour les peuples du Sahel, et plus largement de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, qui pourraient connaître les mêmes malheurs que les Afghans et les Pakistanais confrontés à la guerre des drones avec sa cohorte de victimes civiles, appelées pudiquement « dégâts collatéraux ».

      D’après le journaliste du NYT, qui s’est rendu sur place, les drones présents à Dirkou ressembleraient à des Predator, des aéronefs d’ancienne génération qui ont un rayon d’action de 1250 km. Il serait assez étonnant que l’agence de Langley soit équipée de vieux modèles alors que l’US Air Force dispose à Niamey et bientôt à Agadez des derniers modèles MQ-9 Reaper, qui, eux, volent sur une distance de 1850 km. A partir de cette base, la CIA dispose donc d’un terrain de tir étendu qui va de la Libye, au sud de l’Algérie, en passant par le Tchad, jusqu’au centre du Mali, au Nord du Burkina et du Nigéria…

      Selon deux sources militaires de pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest, ces drones ont déjà réalisé des frappes à partir de la base de Dirkou. Ces bombardements ont eu lieu en Libye. Il paraît important de préciser que le chaos existant dans ce pays depuis la guerre de 2011, ne rend pas ces frappes plus légales. Par ailleurs, ces mêmes sources suspectent la CIA d’utiliser Dirkou comme une prison secrète « si des drones peuvent se poser des avions aussi. Rien ne les empêche de transporter des terroristes de Libye exfiltrés. Dirkou un Guantanamo bis ? »

      En outre, il n’est pas impossible que ces drones tueurs aient été en action dans d’autres Etats limitrophes. Qui peut le savoir ? « Cette base est irrégulière, illégale, la CIA peut faire absolument tout ce qu’elle veut là-bas » rapporte un officier. De plus, comment faire la différence entre un MQ-9 Reaper de la CIA ou encore un de l’US Air Force, qui, elle, a obtenu l’autorisation d’armer ses drones (1). Encore que…

      En novembre 2017, le président Mahamadou Issoufou a autorisé les drones de l’US Air Force basés à Niamey, à frapper leurs cibles sur le territoire nigérien (2). Mais pour que cet agrément soit légal, il aurait fallu qu’il soit présenté devant le parlement, ce qui n’a pas été le cas. Même s’il l’avait été, d’une part, il le serait seulement pour l’armée US et pas pour la CIA, d’autre part, il ne serait valable que sur le sol nigérien et pas sur les territoires des pays voisins…

      Pour rappel, cette autorisation a été accordée à peine un mois après les événements de Tongo Tongo, où neuf militaires avaient été tués, cinq soldats nigériens et quatre américains. Cette autorisation est souvent présentée comme la conséquence de cette attaque. Or, les pourparlers ont eu lieu bien avant. En effet, l’AFRICOM a planifié la construction de la base de drone d’Agadez, la seconde la plus importante de l’US Air Force en Afrique après Djibouti, dès 2016, sous le mandat de Barack Obama. Une nouvelle preuve que la politique africaine du Pentagone n’a pas changée avec l’arrivée de Donald Trump (3-4-5).

      Les USA seuls maîtres à bord dans le Sahel

      Dès lors, le véto catégorique des Etats-Unis de placer la force G5 Sahel sous chapitre VII se comprend mieux. Il s’agit de mener une guerre non-officielle sans mandat international des Nations-Unies et sans se soucier du droit international. Ce n’était donc pas utile qu’Emmanuel Macron, fer de lance du G5, force qui aurait permis à l’opération Barkhane de sortir du bourbier dans lequel elle se trouve, plaide à de nombreuses reprises cette cause auprès de Donald Trump. Tous les présidents du G5 Sahel s’y sont essayés également, en vain. Ils ont fini par comprendre, quatre chefs d’Etats ont boudé la dernière Assemblée générale des Nations Unies. Seul, le Président malien, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, est monté à la tribune pour réitérer la demande de mise sous chapitre VII, unique solution pour que cette force obtienne un financement pérenne. Alors qu’en décembre 2017, Emmanuel Macron y croyait encore dur comme fer et exigeait des victoires au premier semestre 2018, faute de budget, le G5 Sahel n’est toujours pas opérationnel ! (6-7) Néanmoins, la Chine a promis de le soutenir financièrement. Magnanime, le secrétaire d’Etat à la défense, Jim Mattis a lui assuré à son homologue, Florence Parly, que les Etats-Unis apporteraient à la force conjointe une aide très significativement augmentée. Mais toujours pas de chapitre VII en vue... Ainsi, l’administration Trump joue coup double. Non seulement elle ne s’embarrasse pas avec le Conseil de Sécurité et le droit international mais sous couvert de lutte antiterroriste, elle incruste ses bottes dans ce qui est, (ce qui fut ?), la zone d’influence française.

      Far West

      Cerise sur le gâteau, en août dernier le patron de l’AFRICOM, le général Thomas D. Waldhauser, a annoncé une réduction drastique de ses troupes en Afrique (9). Les sociétés militaires privées, dont celle d’Erik Prince, anciennement Blackwater, ont bien compris le message et sont dans les starting-blocks prêtes à s’installer au Sahel (10).


      https://www.iveris.eu/list/notes_danalyse/371-le_sahel_estil_une_zone_de_nondroit__


  • Photos Show Confrontation Between USS Decatur and a Chinese Navy Warship in South China Sea – gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/photos-show-confrontation-between-uss-decatur-and-chinese-navy-warship-in-


    U.S. Navy photo showing a confrontation between the USS Decatur (left) and PRC Warship 170 (right) in the South China Sea on Sunday, September 30, 2018.
    U.S. Navy Photo

    gCaptain has just obtained photos showing a confrontation involving the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Decatur and a Chinese Navy warship in the disputed South China Sea over the weekend. 

    The U.S. Navy confirmed the incident on Tuesday, accusing China’s navy of conducting an “unsafe and unprofessional maneuver” that nearly led to a collision as the U.S. destroyer was underway “in the vicinity” of Gaven Reef in the #Spratly Islands on Sunday, September 30.

    According to a Navy spokesman, during the incident, the Chinese warship “approached within 45 yards of Decatur’s bow, after which Decatur maneuvered to prevent a collision.

    As was reported over the weekend, the USS Decatur on Sunday conducted the U.S. Navy’s latest #freedom_of_navigation operation in the South China Sea, coming within 12 nautical miles of the Gaven and Johnson Reefs claimed by China.

    China issued a statement Tuesday accusing the U.S. of violating its “indisputable sovereignty” over the #South_China_Sea islands. “We strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and stop such provocative actions to avoid undermining China-U.S. relations and regional peace and stability,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday in a statement.

    #Spratleys #mer_de_Chine_Méridionale


  • Vandalism forces New Zealand council to remove Captain Cook statue

    A year ahead of 250th anniversary of explorer’s arrival, monument will be replaced by ‘cultural designs’

    A statue of Captain Cook in New Zealand that has been repeatedly defaced and daubed with graffiti is to be removed by the council a year out from the 250-year anniversary of his arrival in the country.

    The statue of Cook in Gisborne has been repeatedly targeted by vandals amid a heated debate about the portrayal of the town’s complex colonial history.

    The Cook statue has had red paint smeared on its face and coat, and a bikini and a pair of thongs have also been painted on.

    With the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing in New Zealand only a year away, tensions are high in the city which lies 350km south-east of Auckland.

    Many residents have posted on social media describing Cook as a “murderer” and “crooked Cook”.

    Cook and the crew of the Endeavour landed in Gisborne’s Poverty Bay in 1769 and the first significant meetings of Europeans and Māori took place nearby.

    Nick Tupara, spokesman for the #Ngati_Oneone tribe, said according to historical records, Cook’s crew shot nine #Maori men of his tribe, including Tupara’s ancestors. Six of the men are believed to have died.

    Ngati Oneone has long opposed having the controversial statue of Cook placed on the sacred mountain of #Titirangi, and on Monday the #Gisborne district council said it would be moved to the Tairawhiti Museum instead.

    The council said the mountain would now be adorned with “iwi [tribal] stories and cultural design elements can be shared from this significant location”.

    The council would also consult with the local community regarding the renaming of the Cook Plaza on top of Titirangi, as well as various walking tracks and sites on the mountain.

    Meredith Akuhata-Brown, a local councillor, told Maori Television the removal of the statue would allow a more nuanced and “honest” story about New Zealand’s history to emerge.

    Discussions are under way in the Gisborne region for Poverty Bay – so named by Cook in 1769 – to be replaced by its Māori name, or given a dual name.
    Advertisement

    Akuhata described the name of Poverty Bay as “horrendous” and said it was particularly painful as the region had numerous social and economical challenges it was working to overcome.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/vandalism-forces-new-zealand-council-to-remove-captain-cook-statue?CMP=
    #mémoire #Cook #Nouvelle_Zélande #post-colonialisme #vandalisme #histoire #colonialisme #James_Cook #musée #espace_public #toponymie (même si je ne sais pas si la place s’appelle Cook, mais c’est pour retrouver l’article) #peuples_autochtones
    ping @reka

    • Il faudrait que je retrouve le nom d’un film superbe (australien je crois) qui mets en scène aborigènes et communautés allochtones, et dans lequel une actrice aborigène lance l’insulte suprême « Tu n’es qu’un fils batard du capitaine Cook ! »


  • ‘Criminal negligence’ or disregard to Russia-Israel ties : MoD details chronology of Il-20 downing — RT World News
    https://www.rt.com/news/439151-russia-israel-il-20-negligence

    A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel’s culpability and either its military bosses’ lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.

    We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force,” said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli’s F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.

    The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that “the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy.

    On the evening of September 17, the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 with 15 crew on board was circling over the Idlib de-escalation zone on a special reconnaissance mission, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets left their country’s airspace and flew over the neutral Mediterranean waters towards the Syrian coast. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute’s warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers, Konashenkov said, calling such actions “a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements.

    Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several ’industrial facilities’ in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation. The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the recon plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

    • RUSSIA’S IL-20 DOWNING RESPONSE - THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NEXT - Fort Russ
      (article paru avant la conférence de presse du ministère de la Défense russe)
      https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/09/russias-il-20-downing-response-this-is-what-needs-to-happen-next

      It would seem that there were two significant contributory factors here: i) the Israeli ‘bad-faith’ abrogation of the proper protocols for communication between themselves and the Russian Military, in order to attain a deliberate advantage for carrying out their attack; and ii) the regrettable features of outmoded air-defence hardware which ultimately lead to the shoot-down.

      The solution to the second issue is rather straightforward: Russia had earlier proposed selling S-400 systems to Syria – a move which wound up effectively ‘veto’d’ by Israel stating in no uncertain terms that they would carry out airstrikes against any such systems before they had been fully installed, regardless of whether they were still Russian crewed at that point. Given Israeli airstrikes are presently causing Russian casualties anyway; as well as the fact that the Russians have already had their own advanced SAM systems for Russian defence set up in Syria for some time now, in the present situation of Israeli diplomatic weakness created by Monday’s events, now is the ideal time to engage in such technology-transfer directly to Syria with an explicit view to ensuring that Monday’s events do not recur thanks to half-century old hardware malfunctioning.

      The first issue is much more complex, as I would be rather surprised if Russia genuinely wanted to seriously contemplate abandoning its significantly close relationship with Israel – although it may potentially be convinced to ‘downgrade’ it somewhat, assuming that we do not see a repeat of what happened following Turkey’s downing of a Russian military aircraft in 2015 (ironically, a seeming catalyst for the two countries beginning to work more closely together than ever before). Whether Russia chooses to remain on ‘friendly’ ‘terms with Israel in a militaristic sense or not, the plain reality is that the Israelis have demonstrated that they cannot and should not be trusted to behave in an up-front manner when it comes to the communication and co-ordination protocols essential to allowing them to continue to operate with relative impunity above Syrian airspace.

      Russia should therefore suspend this facility they have provided to the Israelis forthwith – and openly state that future instances of Israeli military aircraft turning up unannounced above Syria will simply be treated as hostile, and dealt with accordingly. After all, from the perspective of that IL-20 crew, what else characterizes the Israeli conduct than this designation? Certainly not the actions of something approaching a ‘trusted’ ally! The net effect of this would be to impose a ‘no-fly zone’ of sorts over Syria – thus allowing operational freedom for Russian and Syrian air assets, and denying precious, vital air-cover to the extremist forces which theoretically everybody agrees need to be wiped out.

    • Avec, au passage, l’utile rappel de la possibilité de perte de contrôle des vieux missiles anti-aériens S-200.
      C’était il y a longtemps, le 4/10/2001 époque où il y avait encore des manœuvres communes russo-ukrainiennes.

      Vol 1812 Siberia Airlines — Wikipédia
      https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vol_1812_Siberia_Airlines

      Un rapport préliminaire russe confirma les évaluations de responsables militaires américains faites à titre privé : le missile S-200 avait dépassé sa cible téléguidée qui avait été détruite avec succès par un S-300 tiré au même moment. Au lieu de s’autodétruire, le missile S-200 prit pour cible le long courrier qui se trouvait à près de 200 kilomètres ; le projectile explosa en projetant des billes d’acier (shrapnel) 15 mètres au-dessus de l’avion.

      Les responsables militaires ukrainiens nièrent d’abord que leur missile avait abattu l’avion ; ils déclarèrent que le S-200 avait été lancé vers la mer et qu’il avait réussi à s’autodétruire. Le porte-parole du ministère de la Défense Konstantin Khivrenko affirma que « ni la direction ni la portée (des missiles) ne correspondaient à l’endroit réel ou théorique où l’avion avait explosé. » Toutefois, les responsables ukrainiens admirent par la suite que c’était bien leur armée qui avait abattu l’avion de ligne.


  • Venezuela : arrivée à La Guaira du navire hôpital chinois Hé Píng Fāng Zhōu (ou Arche de la Paix)

    Buque Chino llegó a Venezuela para «iniciar operación estratégica»
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/buque-chino-llego-venezuela-para-iniciar-operacion-estrategica_252868


    Foto: @ArmadaFANB

    Este sábado arribó al Puerto de La Guaira, estado Vargas, el Buque Hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    Bienvenidos. Sigamos estrechando nuestros lazos de amistad y cooperación, para la paz”, escribió Vladimir Padrino López, ministro de Defensa, en su Twitter.

    El ministro detalló que el “Arca de la Paz” atenderá a personas de todas las nacionalidades, incluyendo a 1.200 colombianos.

    La visita de este buque hospital también se inscribe en una operación defensiva estratégica. Va a ser muy satisfactorio tener este buque en Venezuela”, precisó.

    El Ministerio de Comunicación e Información detalló que el buque tiene 500 camas, 35 unidades de ciudados intensivos y 12 quirófanos.

    «Sus equipos permiten atender problemas cardiovasculares, ginecología, odontología, oftalmología, pediatría y medicina interna, entre otros», informó el Ministerio en su página web.

    • Pour l’opposition, ce sont les conseils communaux qui désigneraient («  choisiraient  ») les patients à traiter à bord du navire chinois.

      Le ministre de la Défense répond qu’il va (même !…) soigner 1200 Colombiens…
      Rocío San Miguel : Consejos comunales « escogerán » pacientes del buque chino
      http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/politica/rocio-san-miguel-consejos-comunales-escogeran-pacientes-del-buque-chino

      Rocío San Miguel, abogada y defensora de Derechos Humanos, denunció este sábado que los consejos comunales «escogerán» a los pacientes que recibirán atención médica por parte del buque hospital chino «Arca de la Paz».

    • Durée du séjour non précisé dans l’article. Lors de son escale à Papeete fin août, il était précisé qu’il repasserait à Tahiti le 22 décembre.

      Le He Ping Fang Zhou a accosté au port de Papeete | La Dépêche de TAHITI
      http://www.ladepeche.pf/he-ping-fang-zhou-a-accoste-port-de-papeete


      Photo : Yan Roy

      Le navire hôpital chinois, He Ping Fang Zhou, était attendu mardi dans la rade de Papeete. Il a finalement accosté ce vendredi matin dans le port de Papeete, après avoir passé près de trois jours au large de Tahiti, pour des raisons administratives. Cependant, le bâtiment militaire ne va pas s’attarder dans nos eaux. Il repartira dès 20 heures ce vendredi soir, après avoir refait le plein en carburant. À noter qu’un retour du navire est prévu le 22 décembre prochain, selon le calendrier des arrivées du Port autonome de Papeete.

      Pour rappel, cette « arche de la paix » a déjà pris en charge 90 000 patients, et intervient principalement dans les zones de guerre, peu équipées ou nécessitant une aide humanitaire. Le navire comprend à son bord une pharmacie, une salle de radiothérapie, un scanner, huit salles d’opération, un laboratoire d’analyses, une salle d’examens, une zone de stérilisation des instruments, des services gynécologiques, stomatologie, ophtalmologie, pédiatrie, médecine interne,…

    • Double nom, double lecture évidente : #soft_power ou #bâtiment_de_soutien_d'assaut_amphibie.

      Mystery Chinese Hospital Ship : What’s It For ? | WIRED
      (article de novembre 2008)
      https://www.wired.com/2008/11/mystery-chinese

      Late last month, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) accepted its first purpose-built floating hospital, the 10,000-ton “Ship 866.” While seemingly innocuous on the surface, ships like this are windows into an evolving military strategy for an emerging world power. Hospital ships can be used for a wide range of missions, from supporting full-scale amphibious assaults against heavily defended targets, to humanitarian “soft-power” expeditions winning hearts and minds.

      The question is: what is Ship 866 intended for? I asked two leading naval analysts for a new piece in World Politics Review.

      • It’s for #soft_power, contends Bob Work, from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He says Ship 866 has its roots in the 2004 tsunami. Many world powers sent ships to help out in the aftermath of the storm, which killed more than 200,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean. But not China: the PLAN didn’t have any ships capable of assisting. “The tsunami embarrassed them,” he says. “The Chinese respond to embarrassments in very focused ways.” In this case by building a hospital ship.

      • John Pike from Globalsecurity.org disagrees. He says Ship 866 is probably intended to support the growing Chinese amphibious fleet, which in turn is meant for enforcing China’s claim to South China Sea oil reserves. It’s a far cry from humanitarian soft-power missions.

      Of course, intentions are only intentions. Regardless of the original motive, the PLAN now has a ship capable of both humanitarian missions and supporting amphibious assaults. The Chinese are still decades from matching the U.S. Navy’s huge amphibious and humanitarian fleet, but it’s a start.

      Pour mémoire, la marine états-unienne dispose de 2 navires-hôpitaux (3 fois plus gros)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Mercy_(T-AH-19)

      La France ne peut se payer ce luxe et utilise ses navires de soutien amphibie (à coque grise donc) pour ces missions humanitaires, les 3 BPC de la classe Mistral qui ont succédé aux 2 TCD de la classe Foudre.

      cf. Irma en septembre 2017
      Ouragan Irma : première mission humanitaire | colsbleus.fr : le magazine de la Marine Nationale
      http://www.colsbleus.fr/articles/10267

      A la fois bâtiment amphibie, porte-hélicoptères, bâtiment de commandement et navire hôpital, le bâtiment de projection et de commandement (BPC) présente une polyvalence exceptionnelle dont le déploiement du Tonnerre aux Antilles a montré une nouvelle fois. Mis en alerte le 8 septembre, après le passage de l’ouragan Irma, le Tonnerre a appareillé, avec un préavis très court, dès le 12 septembre, pour apporter son soutien aux populations de l’île sinistrée de Saint-Martin. Retour sur cette mission.

      Le module de rétablissement sommaire sur la plage à Saint-Martin

    • Tiens, d’ailleurs, après l’ouragan Maria à Porto-Rico en septembre-octobre 2017…

      Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort Will Deploy to Colombia to Care for Venezuelan Refugees - USNI News
      (article du 20/08/2018)
      https://news.usni.org/2018/08/20/35918


      The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. Comfort will help support Hurricane Maria aid and relief operations.
      US Air Force photo.

      The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) is being deployed to Colombia this fall to provide medical care to a growing regional humanitarian crisis, as Venezuelans steadily pour over the border to escape a deteriorating health and political climate.

      While visiting Colombia late last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced he was sending Comfort at the request of Colombia’s government. The hospital ship will assist the Colombian medical services network in providing medical care to what has been reported as an influx of more than 1 million Venezuelans into neighboring Colombia.

      The plan is for that hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to deploy this fall,” Col. Robert Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said during a Monday media briefing. “The details are being worked out as far as a detailed timeline.

      A departure date has not been set, and medical staffing needs aboard the ship are still being determined, Manning said.


  • Origins of an Epidemic: Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/health/purdue-opioids-oxycontin.html

    Prosecutors found that the company’s sales representatives used the words “street value,” “crush,” or “snort” in 117 internal notes recording their visits to doctors or other medical professionals from 1997 through 1999.

    The 120-page report also cited emails showing that Purdue Pharma’s owners, members of the wealthy Sackler family, were sent reports about abuse of OxyContin and another company opioid, MS Contin.
    Image
    “We have in fact picked up references to abuse of our opioid products on the internet,” Purdue Pharma’s general counsel, Howard R. Udell, wrote in early 1999 to another company official. That same year, prosecutors said, company officials learned of a call to a pharmacy describing “OxyContin as the hottest thing on the street — forget Vicodin.”

    A spokesman for Purdue Pharma, Robert Josephson, declined to comment on the allegations in the report but said the company was involved in efforts to address opioid abuse.

    Suggesting that activities that last occurred more than 16 years ago are responsible for today’s complex and multifaceted opioid crisis is deeply flawed ,” he said in a statement.

    La famille sacquer savait, dès le début...

    In May 1996, five months after OxyContin’s approval, Richard Sackler and Mr. Udell were sent an older medical journal article describing how drug abusers were extracting morphine from MS Contin tablets in order to inject the drug , prosecutors reported. A Purdue Pharma scientist researched the issue and sent his findings to several Sacklers, the government report states.
    “I found MS Contin mentioned a couple of times on the internet underground drug culture scene,” the researcher wrote in that 1996 email. “Most of it was mentioned in the context of MS Contin as a morphine source.”

    #Opioides #Sackler


  • Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy

    #Home_work — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory — is a cornerstone of the #fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, where millions of low-paid and predominantly female home workers are some of the most unprotected in the industry, because of their irregular employment status, isolation and lack of legal recourse.

    That similar conditions exist in Italy, however, and facilitate the production of some of the most expensive wardrobe items money can buy, may shock those who see the “Made in Italy” label as a byword for sophisticated craftsmanship.

    Increased pressure from #globalization and growing competition at all levels of the market mean that the assumption implicit in the luxury promise — that part of the value of such a good is that it is made in the best conditions, by highly skilled workers, who are paid fairly — is at times put under threat.

    Though they are not exposed to what most people would consider sweatshop conditions, the homeworkers are allotted what might seem close to sweatshop wages. Italy does not have a national minimum wage, but roughly €5-7 per hour is considered an appropriate standard by many unions and consulting firms. In extremely rare cases, a highly skilled worker can earn as much as €8-10 an hour. But the homeworkers earn significantly less, regardless of whether they are involved in leatherwork, embroidery or another artisanal task.

    In #Ginosa, another town in Puglia, Maria Colamita, 53, said that a decade ago, when her two children were younger, she had worked from home on wedding dresses produced by local factories, embroidering gowns with pearl paillettes and appliqués for €1.50 to €2 per hour.

    Each gown took 10 to 50 hours to complete, and Ms. Colamita said she worked 16 to 18 hours a day; she was paid only when a garment was complete.

    “I would only take breaks to take care of my children and my family members — that was it,” she said, adding that she currently works as a cleaner and earns €7 per hour. “Now my children have grown up, I can take on a job where I can earn a real wage.”

    Both women said they knew at least 15 other seamstresses in their area who produced luxury fashion garments on a piece-rate basis for local factories from their homes. All live in Puglia, the rural heel of Italy’s boot that combines whitewashed fishing villages and crystal clear waters beloved by tourists with one of the country’s biggest manufacturing hubs.

    Few were willing to risk their livelihoods to tell their tales, because for them the flexibility and opportunity to care for their families while working was worth the meager pay and lack of protections.

    “I know I am not paid what I deserve, but salaries are very low here in Puglia and ultimately I love what I do,” said another seamstress, from the attic workshop in her apartment. “I have done it all my life and couldn’t do anything else.”

    Although she had a factory job that paid her €5 per hour, she worked an additional three hours per day off the books from home, largely on high-quality sample garments for Italian designers at roughly €50 apiece.

    “We all accept that this is how it is,” the woman said from her sewing machine, surrounded by cloth rolls and tape measures.
    ‘Made in Italy,’ but at What Cost?

    Built upon the myriad small- and medium-size export-oriented manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of Europe’s fourth largest economy, the centuries-old foundations of the “Made in Italy” legend have shaken in recent years under the weight of bureaucracy, rising costs and soaring unemployment.

    Businesses in the north, where there are generally more job opportunities and higher wages, have suffered less than those in the south, which were hit hard by the boom in cheap foreign labor that lured many companies into moving production operations abroad.

    Few sectors are as reliant on the country’s manufacturing cachet as the luxury trade, long a linchpin of Italy’s economic growth. It is responsible for 5 percent of Italian gross domestic product, and an estimated 500,000 people were employed directly and indirectly by the luxury goods sector in Italy in 2017, according to data from a report from the University of Bocconi and Altagamma, an Italian luxury trade organization.

    Those numbers have been bolstered by the rosy fortunes of the global luxury market, expected by Bain & Company to grow by 6 to 8 percent, to €276 to €281 billion in 2018, driven in part by the appetite for “Made in Italy” goods from established and emerging markets.

    But the alleged efforts by some luxury brands and lead suppliers to lower costs without undermining quality have taken a toll on those on those operating at the very bottom of the industry. Just how many are affected is difficult to quantify.

    According to data from Istat (the Italian National Institute of Statistics), 3.7 million workers across all sectors worked without contracts in Italy in 2015. More recently, in 2017, Istat counted 7,216 home workers, 3,647 in the manufacturing sector, operating with regular contracts.

    However, there is no official data on those operating with irregular contracts, and no one has attempted to quantify the group for decades. In 1973, the economist Sebastiano Brusco estimated that Italy had one million contracted home workers in apparel production, with a roughly equal figure working without contracts. Few comprehensive efforts have been made to examine the numbers since.

    This New York Times investigation collected evidence of about 60 women in the Puglia region alone working from home without a regular contract in the apparel sector. Tania Toffanin, the author of “Fabbriche Invisibili,” a book on the history of home working in Italy, estimated that currently there are 2,000 to 4,000 irregular home workers in apparel production.

    “The deeper down we go in the supply chain, the greater the abuse,” said Deborah Lucchetti