Archive | March 25th, 2020

Puma is feeling the heat. Let’s turn it up!

Join 3rd Global Boycott Puma Day of Action, April 25, 2020

Dear supporter,

Puma says the #BoycottPuma campaign is making their lives “miserable.” 

Puma’s distributor in Israel was listed in the UN database of complicit settlement companies.

Malaysia’s largest university has ended a sponsorship deal with Puma.

UK football club Chester FC didn’t renew with Puma, citing “ethical working practices,” and Liverpool FC opted for another sponsor.

You helped put the previous two global #BoycottPuma days of action on the map, with actions in more than 20 countries and millions of impressions on social media. 

Ahead of Puma’s annual shareholder’s meeting, it’s time for Round 3.

Join 3rd #BoycottPuma Day of Action, April 25
Register your group for updates and material

Puma is the main sponsor of the Israel Football Association (IFA), which proudly includes and advocates on behalf of teams in illegal Israeli settlements pushing Palestinian families off their land.

On April 25, join human rights groups and sports associations around the world as we turn up the heat on Puma.

Register for the 3rd Boycott Puma Day of Action, April 25

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, CampaignsComments Off on Puma is feeling the heat. Let’s turn it up!

With 29 cases in Palestine, government steps up efforts to contain coronavirus

By: Yumna Patel 

Foreign tourists wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus during a visit to the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 05, 2020. (Photo: Abedalrahman Hassan/APA Images)

Foreign tourists wearing masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus during a visit to the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on March 05, 2020. (Photo: Abedalrahman Hassan/APA Images)

Palestinians are holding their breath as they wait to see if the Palestinian Authority’s desperate attempts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to the city of Bethlehem is working.

Panic grew on Monday after the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that there was one confirmed case of the virus in the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem, the first case of the virus outside of Bethlehem.

Local media reported that an unidentified Palestinian man from Tulkarem contracted the virus while he was working in Israel, but that he was quarantined immediately along with his entire family — none of whom tested positive for the virus.

In Bethlehem, the number of confirmed cases had risen to 28 on Tuesday. All of the confirmed cases were reportedly being held in quarantine at different locations across the city, except for one who was reportedly being held in a hospital after his health deteriorated.

So far, the ministry of health has reported that all the 29 people in Palestine, except for one, who tested positive for coronavirus were in good health, and displaying little to no symptoms.

Across the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, 2,900 Palestinians were being held in self-quarantine — six of them in Jerusalem, and 605 people in Gaza who had recently returned from performing the Umrah pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Municipal employees in Khan Younis wearing masks as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the southern Gaza Strip on March 9, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Municipal employees in Khan Younis wearing masks as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the southern Gaza Strip on March 9, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

Closing borders

As the number of cases in both Israel and Palestine continued to rise, both governments escalated efforts to contain the virus.

Israel announced on Monday that it would be enforcing a 14-day quarantine for every single person entering the country, including Israeli citizens and foreign nationals. So far, there have been at least 50 confirmed cases of the virus in Israel, and no deaths.

Meanwhile, Palestinian and Jordanian authorities have been floating around the idea of closing Palestine’s only border with the outside world, the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge, between the West Bank and Jordan.

After a number of reports claiming the border had been shut, PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem said that the border was still open for the time being, but could be closed “at any moment” in coordination with the Jordanian and Palestinian governments.

The Times of Israel reported that while the border was still open to Palestinians traveling to and from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Jordanian government had decided to close the border to any non-Palestinians.

While most tourists have been evacuated from Bethlehem and other tourist hotspots in the West Bank, the closure of the bridge could present an issue for the hundreds of foreign nationals living and working in the West Bank who use the bridge exclusively to travel outside of the country.

Shutdowns continue across West Bank

In Bethlehem, the epicenter of the outbreak in Palestine, the PA has stepped up its security at entry and exit points around the city, preventing anyone from the city from leaving its municipal boundaries.

It has been reported that only special cases with approval from the governor of the Bethlehem district have been allowed to leave the city.

Schools, universities, banks, and government offices have remained closed, and hotels, restaurants, and dozens of souvenir shops across the city have kept their doors shut.

The streets of the city have remained relatively empty as the ministry of health continued to urge people to stay in their homes and avoid contact with people outside their immediate family as much as possible.

While the virus has yet to spread to other districts, save one case in Tulkarem, other districts across the West Bank are stepping up preventative measures in the hopes that they can avoid the same fate as Bethlehem.

The governor of the Ramallah district Leila Ghannam ordered on Tuesday that all restaurants, cafes, gyms, and sports facilities be closed indefinitely. She also suspended all indoor and outdoor public gatherings.

In Hebron, health workers were deployed across the city to fumigate public areas like municipal facilities, public parks, bus and taxi stations, and mosques.

Similar measures have been employed in Jericho and the Jerusalem district of the West Bank as well.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, HealthComments Off on With 29 cases in Palestine, government steps up efforts to contain coronavirus

Politics and Consequences: From Climate Emergency to Coronavirus

After a forty-year waged on both science and government, the dangers that face us now are no surprise at all.

byDavid Orr

We are at the threshold of irreversible and irrevocable global changes that will jeopardize civilization," writes Orr. "No one in previous generations could say that with the authenticity and urgency with which we assuredly can." Key questions remain. How will we respond? And will it be in time? (Image: Ms Tech/Getty)

We are at the threshold of irreversible and irrevocable global changes that will jeopardize civilization,” writes Orr. “No one in previous generations could say that with the authenticity and urgency with which we assuredly can.” Key questions remain. How will we respond? And will it be in time? (Image: Ms Tech/Getty)

As the coronavirus sweeps across the country, we have good reasons to ask why we were so unprepared. Why warnings went unheeded, scientists ignored, and budgets cut at the Centers for Disease Control. We should ask the same questions about the climate crisis. In both cases the causes are political, the result of a forty-year war waged against government and science. That war explains a great deal about why we had no plan to deal with COVID-19 and why we have no plan to deal with the growing climate emergency. Collective foresight and preventive action requires both an alert, transparent, and effective government and an engaged and accurately informed citizenry.

Whoever wins the 2020 election, we the people must begin now to repair and strengthen democratic institutions. The timing, however, could hardly be worse. It will occur as the COVID-19 pandemic still rages and the effects of climate change become more severe. These are only the most urgent challenges ahead but there are others. We face not just a single crisis, but a convergence of crises and not just an emergency but “a long emergency” that will persist through this century and beyond.  

“The coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency combine to make this a teachable moment—a good time to ask larger question and challenge outworn assumptions.”

As the situation becomes clearer, demands for action could take either of two forms: one authoritarian and, frankly, fascist, the other for a stronger and improved democracy. The first promises quick, simple, fake solutions to complex problems and appeal to our worst tribal instincts, mostly by scapegoating vulnerable minorities. On the other hand, building a stronger democracy would allow us to address the roots of our problems that go back to deceit, secrecy, corruption, demagoguery, voter suppression, gerrymandering, inequality, and invertebrate leadership. 

The democracy we need, in other words, is not a slightly improved version of the status quo, but one that is more just, inclusive, stronger, competent, transparent, and accountable. It also requires us to understand our history.

The authors of the U.S. Constitution laid the foundation for a limited democracy. That system has been reinvented twice since, once to end slavery and again in the 1930s to avoid economic collapse. Neither was entirely successful. Jim Crow laws undid most of the gains of emancipation and the hijacking of the 14th Amendment by corporate lawyers did the rest. In the second instance, the patchwork reforms of the New Deal, worked well enough for a time, but inequality is now about what it was in 1929 and the system is otherwise failing in potentially catastrophic ways.

The differences from the reconstruction era to the present are striking. We are at the threshold of irreversible and irrevocable global changes that will jeopardize civilization. No one in previous generations could say that with the authenticity and urgency with which we assuredly can. No change in consumer behavior or market response alone will be effective unless they occur as a part of changes in the larger structures of governance, politics, economics, and values. This is a systemic crisis and must be met with systems-level changes not haphazard, piecemeal reforms conjured by anti-government ideologues.

“The democracy we need, in other words, is not a slightly improved version of the status quo, but one that is more just, inclusive, stronger, competent, transparent, and accountable.”

The upshot is that we must create a coordinated set of policies to counter the forty-year assault on governance and the underlying institutions of democracy. The goals include:

  • reforming our democracy by protecting the right to vote in fairly drawn electoral districts, and curtailing dark money in our politics;
  • educating and empowering a public committed to defend the rules of accountability, transparency, and fair play that allow democracy to exist;
  • building the capacity of government to protect public health and the global commons of air, oceans, biological diversity, forests, soils, and waters;
  • creating a fair economy in which “prices tell the truth” about the full ecological and social costs of what we buy; and
  • ensuring justice for all, including future generations.

The coronavirus pandemic and the climate emergency combine to make this a teachable moment—a good time to ask larger question and challenge outworn assumptions.

For example: If the founders knew in 1787 what we know now about how the earth works as a physical and biological system, how would they have written a Constitution for a complex world of leads and lags, positive and negative feedbacks, and long delays between action and consequence—all governed by biology, ecology, and thermodynamics not by simple Newtonian mechanics?

Calibrating our political system with how the Earth works as a physical system will be difficult, but much easier than contending with the consequences of a dysfunctional democracy on a planet with a biosphere and lots of viruses.

Posted in USA, HealthComments Off on Politics and Consequences: From Climate Emergency to Coronavirus

Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Zionist puppet MBS

Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Crown Prince MBS

How can the world’s leaders pretend that it is acceptable to meet in a country that imprisons and tortures peaceful women activists and bombs civilians in Yemen?

byMedea BenjaminAriel Gold

The fact that MBS lifted the driving ban and simultaneously put in prison those who had campaigned and suffered for such reforms makes clear his actual motive: to silence dissent and prevent these women’s voices from being heard. (Photo: @noconversion/Twitter)

The fact that MBS lifted the driving ban and simultaneously put in prison those who had campaigned and suffered for such reforms makes clear his actual motive: to silence dissent and prevent these women’s voices from being heard. (Photo: @noconversion/Twitter)

This week, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s 34-year-old de facto ruler, was on a tear. He arrested members of his own royal family and initiated an oil price war with Russia that has sent the price of oil—and the world’s stock markets—plummeting. Behind the headlines, however, another critical event will take place in Saudi Arabia starting March 18: women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested almost two years ago for advocating the right to drive, is due in court. The diabolical MBS wants the world to believe he is the Arab world’s liberal reformer and took credit for eventually granting women the right to drive, but he is also the one who had al-Hathloul and nine other women thrown in prison, charging them as foreign agents and spies. The imprisonment of these peaceful women activists exposes the brutal nature of MBS’s regime and the duplicity of the Western democracies that continue to support him.

Loujain al-Hathloul gained notoriety in 2013 for campaigning against the driving ban when she posted videos of herself driving as an act of civil disobedience. She was first arrested in December 2014 when she attempted to drive from the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia and spent 73 days in prison at that time. Al-Hathloul has also been an outspoken advocate for an end to the male guardianship system that treats women as no more than children throughout their entire lives.

On May 15, 2018, a group of armed men from the state security agency raided Loujain’s family’s house and arrested her.For the first three months of her detention, she was held incommunicado with no access to her family or a lawyer. According to the communication she was later able to have with her family, during those three months, she was beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks, sexually harassed, and threatened with rape and murder.

The case of Al-Hathloul and the other women’s rights activists on trial in Saudi Arabia is a tremendous embarrassment for MBS, who has been putting an enormous effort into convincing his Western allies that he is a reformer and that Saudi Arabia is becoming more liberal.

Loujain languished in a Saudi prison for almost a year before the public prosecutor’s office finally announced that it had concluded its investigation and alleged that Loujain was involved in activities that “aim to undermine the Kingdom’s security, stability, and national unity.” She was accused of contacting “enemy groups”—a reference to cooperation with the United Nations and human rights groups such as Amnesty International.

Loujain’s initial hearing was in March 2019, but she was not allowed access to a lawyer or to hear the charges prior to the hearing. Her family members were permitted to attend, but the court was closed to both diplomats and journalists.

According to her family, in August 2019, Al-Hathloul was offered her freedom in exchange for denying, on video, that she was subjected to torture. She refused. For her incredible bravery and determination to fight for women’s rights, eight members of US Congress have nominated Al-Hathloul for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The case of Al-Hathloul and the other women’s rights activists on trial in Saudi Arabia is a tremendous embarrassment for MBS, who has been putting an enormous effort into convincing his Western allies that he is a reformer and that Saudi Arabia is becoming more liberal. But behind the facade of new musical concerts and theme parks, the Crown Prince has overseen a vast crackdown on all forms of opposition and dissent. In November 2018, the CIA concluded that MBS was the one who ordered the gruesome assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. MBS is also responsible for dragging Saudi Arabia into an internal conflict in Yemen, where constant Saudi bombings have decimated what was already a poor country.

The fact that MBS lifted the driving ban and simultaneously put in prison those who had campaigned and suffered for such reforms makes clear his actual motive: to silence dissent and prevent these women’s voices from being heard. Loujain’s sister Lina al-Hathloul says that the regime arrested these women’s rights activists “so that they make the [Saudi] people understand that change only comes top down. And the people should not even try to make the changes.” This sentiment was echoed by Suzanne Nossel, the head of PEN America.“These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments, inspiring the world with their demand to drive, to govern their own lives, and to liberate all Saudi women from a form of medieval bondage that has no place in the 21st century,” she said.

“The very existence of this sham trial pulls the veil off of the authorities’ so-called push for reforms in the Kingdom,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director. “How can they initiate change in the country when the very women who fought for these reforms are still being punished for it?”

The bogus trial against Loujan al-Hathloul taking place this week should compel governments around the world to put more pressure on the Saudis and demand Al Houthloul’s immediate and unconditional release. Her imprisonment—as well as MBS’s arrest of royal family members and Saudi’s brutal war in Yemen—should be particularly embarrassing to the world community in light of the G20 meeting scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia in November. How can the world’s leaders pretend that it is acceptable to meet in a country that imprisons and tortures peaceful women activists and bombs civilians in Yemen? It isn’t.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Zionist puppet MBS

Accusing US of ‘Medical Terrorism,’ Iran Demands Trump Lift Drug Import Sanctions Amid Coronavirus Crisis

“The oppressive and illegal American sanctions have affected public welfare and health in Iran.”

by: Jake Johnson,

Patients wait for their results in front of the Keyvan Virology Laboratory to confirm the coronavirus cases in Tehran, Iran on March 10, 2020. (Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Facing a humanitarian crisis with at least 9,000 coronavirus cases nationwide and a death toll of more than 350 people, Iranian officials on Wednesday demanded that the U.S. lift crippling food and drug import sanctions that Tehran says have hindered the government’s ability to respond effectively to the outbreak.

“It’s fighting the disease at a time when a huge part of its national budget has been eliminated by U.S. sanctions. The sanctions continue to be a crime against humanity.”
—Sina Toossi, National Iranian American Council

“The oppressive and illegal American sanctions, which [have been imposed on Iran] within the framework of the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, have affected public welfare and health in Iran,” Abbas Mousavi, spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry, told reporters Wednesday.

Mousavi said the U.S. sanctions have restricted Iran’s access to crucial medicines and supplies as the novel coronavirus—formally known as COVID-19—continues to spread across the country, killing more than 350 people.

In a tweet last Saturday, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif called the U.S. sanctions a form of “medical terrorism.”

Javad Zarif@JZarif

.@realDonaldTrump is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID19—while our citizens are dying from it.

The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism.7,3821:13 PM – Mar 7, 2020

Ali Larijani, Iran’s speaker of Parliament, urged the international community on Wednesday to pressure the U.S. to lift the sanctions, which President Donald Trump reimposed in 2018 after ditching the Iran nuclear agreement.

The U.S. sanctions regime “clearly violates the U.N. Charter and that of the World Health Organization (WHO) and has not only seriously hampered Iran’s intensive efforts to help affected people and contain the spread of the coronavirus, but also left negative and undeniable impacts on all national, regional, and international efforts to contain the virus,” Larijani wrote in letters addressed to several international organizations, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Calls for the Trump administration to end its economic warfare against Iran come amid reports that Iranian hospitals are struggling to handle the influx of patients due to the coronavirus, which has hit Iran far harder than any other country in the Middle East.

“Iran is one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus,” tweeted Sina Toossi, senior research analyst with the National Iranian American Council. “It’s fighting the disease at a time when a huge part of its national budget has been eliminated by U.S. sanctions… The sanctions continue to be a crime against humanity.”

Desperate to treat or prevent coronavirus, some ordinary Iranians have resorted to consuming bootleg alcohol after the circulation of a false rumor that drinking alcohol can stop the infection. According to Iranian media, 44 people have died of alcohol poisoning after attempting to treat the coronavirus with bootleg liquor that contained methanol.

“The coronavirus outbreak in Iran is serious,” tweeted Iranian-American journalist and BBC commentator Negar Mortazavi. “The government hasn’t been transparent about data, mismanagement and incompetence has led to more chaos, there is a shortage of medical resources made worse by sanctions, and tons of misinformation made inside and outside the country.”

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, IranComments Off on Accusing US of ‘Medical Terrorism,’ Iran Demands Trump Lift Drug Import Sanctions Amid Coronavirus Crisis

As Italy’s Hospitals Overwhelmed by Coronavirus, Top Health Official Says ‘Worst Is Yet Come’ for US

“We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.”

byEoin Higgins,

During the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency, tourists on the quay of the port of Naples are checked with a thermo scanner by Civil Protection personnel, dressed in overalls and masks to protect themselves.

During the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency, tourists on the quay of the port of Naples are checked with a thermo scanner by Civil Protection personnel, dressed in overalls and masks to protect themselves. (Photo: Marco Cantile/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As an eruption of coronavirus cases in Italy strains the country’s healthcare system past its breaking point and the disease threatens to do the same in other nations, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress Wednesday  that “the worst is yet to come” for the United States and the World Health Organization officially labeled the outbreak a “pandemic.”

“We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now,” said Fauci.

The threat of the coronavirus overwhelming the U.S. healthcare system without aggressive containment remains high. News reports from Italy show a nation with hospitals and doctors pushed far past their breaking point, with care providers forced to make difficult decisions on who to treat due to age and health.

“It won’t take that much to completely saturate our capacity to provide care for these patients,” Indiana University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics Aaron E. Carroll tweeted Tuesday. “Look at what’s happening in Italy right now. That’s the cautionary tale.”

According to Politico:

For now, the marching orders are: Save scarce resources for those patients who have the greatest chance of survival. That means prioritizing younger, otherwise healthy patients over older patients or those with pre-existing conditions.

“Franky, I don’t know for how long the health system can cope, I don’t even want to think about how it could end,” Milan’s Sacco Hospital infectious disease department head Massimo Galli told the Financial Times. “We are holding up, but other hospitals are much worse off than us and it is a fact that we will come increasingly under pressure in the coming days.”

The Financial Times reported that the outbreak in Italy, which is now the second most affected country by the disease after China, is pushing the government to take extreme measures, such as a full nation lockdown and ramping up production of surgical masks and other medical supplies. 

“Some people still think that the measures in place are exaggerated,” said Galli. “I would like to say to them to come and see what’s going on in our departments.”

It’s unclear if the lockdown measures will have an effect, as Vice News reported:

Even before regions of the north were placed under quarantine Sunday, before the measures were extended to the entire country Monday night, there were signs of major holes in the approach. When news of the impending quarantine in the north leaked Saturday, thousands of people fled the red-zoned areas, raising fears of fresh outbreaks in the south of the country, where the healthcare system is not as well resourced as the wealthy north.

According to Vox, the damage from an overstressed healthcare system is felt across all of society:

Hidden behind the official Covid-19 numbers is a much broader health crisis, rapidly accumulating across the country. Even greater than the official coronavirus toll may be the collateral damage wrought by an over-stretched health system: The pregnant women and babies, cancer and HIV patients, and children in need of vaccines who are now less likely to get the health care they need.

“Looking at all the signs, and there are many, it would be shocking to me if we didn’t have large numbers of cases undetected, silently transmitting in the community, in multiple countries and regions,” O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University director Lawrence Gostin told Vox.

Dr. Daniele Macchini, a doctor in northern Italy, took to Facebook to warn the world of what he was seeing in hospitals. Throwing cold water on statements from European governments claiming there is no need to panic, Macchini described a dire situation in the region where doctors are so overworked and concerned over infection they’re forgoing heading home for breaks.

“There are no more shifts, no more hours,” said Macchini. “Social life is suspended for us. We no longer see our families for fear of infecting them.”

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientist Emma Hodcroft, in comment to Vox, warned Americans to pay attention to Italy. 

“The Italian situation should be a big wakeup call to the rest of Europe and the U.S.,” said Hodcroft.

Posted in Health, ItalyComments Off on As Italy’s Hospitals Overwhelmed by Coronavirus, Top Health Official Says ‘Worst Is Yet Come’ for US

UN Chief Warns World ‘Way Off Track’ on Tackling Climate Crisis as New Report Underscores Need for Bold Global Action

“Let us have no illusions: the climate crisis is already causing calamity and more is to come,” said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. “This is a battle we can—and must—win.”

by: Jessica Corbett,

A fire rages in Bobin, Australia on Nov. 9, 2019, as firefighters try to contain dozens of out-of-control blazes across the state of New South Wales.

A fire rages in Bobin, Australia on Nov. 9, 2019, as firefighters try to contain dozens of out-of-control blazes across the state of New South Wales. (Photo: Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued a stark warning about the necessity of ambitious global climate action Tuesday with the release of an annual report detailing the latest science on rising greenhouse gas emissions that drive up air and ocean temperatures, leading to devastating sea level rise and more severe extreme weather.

“Time is fast running out for us to avert the worst impacts of climate disruption and protect our societies from the inevitable impacts to come,” Guterres wrote in a statement included in the new World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, which concluded that 2019 was 1.1°C warmer than the pre-industrial era and concluded the hottest decade on record.

“We are currently way off track to meeting either the 1.5°C or 2°C targets that the Paris Agreement calls for. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050,” Guterres continued in the WMO report. “And for that, we need political will and urgent action to set a different path.”

António Guterres@antonioguterres

Let us have no illusions: the climate crisis is already causing calamity & more is to come.

I call on all countries to show more #ClimateAction ambition – and on individuals to hold your governments to account.

This is a battle we can – and must – win. pic.twitter.com/zYtRPyZnbC

Guterres reiterated his warnings and demands for bold action during a Tuesday event to unveil the WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2019 (pdf) at U.N. headquarters in New York City.

“The indications are crystal clear. Global heating is accelerating,” Guterres said. “We count the cost in human lives and livelihoods as droughts, wildfires, floods, and extreme storms take their deadly toll. We have no time to lose if we are to avert climate catastrophe. This is a pivotal year for how we address the climate emergency. We have to aim high at the next climate conference in Glasgow in November.”

Although experts worry that the COP26 summit could be derailed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Guterres’ outlined his main focuses for the upcoming meeting:

  1. “National climate plans—the Nationally Determined Contributions, as they are called—must show more ambition.”
  2. “All nations need to adopt strategies to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”
  3. “A robust package of program, projects, and initiatives that will help communities and nations adapt to climate disruption and build resilience.”
  4. “Developed countries must deliver on their commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020.”

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas, who joined Guterres at the unveiling event, told U.N. News in an interview that there is increasing public awareness—from young people to the financial sector—of the unparalleled threat posed by the climate crisis, “so there are plenty of good signs that we have started moving in the right direction.”

“Last year emissions dropped in developed countries, despite the growing economy, so we have been [able] to show that you can detach economic growth from emission growth,” Taalas said. “The bad news is that, in the rest of the world, emissions grew last year. So, if we want to solve this problem we have to have all the countries on board.”

The WMO leader highlighted that countries are still failing to meet their commitments under the Paris climate accord, which puts the world on track to endure a global temperature rise of up to five degrees by 2100, so “there’s clearly a need for higher ambition levels if we’re serious about climate mitigation.”

The key takeaways from the WMO’s new #StateofClimate report are:

  • The global mean temperature for 2019 was 1.1±0.1°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Global atmospheric mole fractions of greenhouse gases reached record levels in 2018.
  • The year 2019 saw low sea-ice extent in both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • The ocean absorbs around 90% of the heat that is trapped in the Earth system by rising concentrations of greenhouse gases.
  • Over the decade 2009–2018, the ocean absorbed around 23% of the annual CO2 emissions, lessening the increase in atmospheric concentrations.
  • As the ocean warms it expands and sea levels rise.

“This annual litany of climate change impacts and inadequate global responses makes for a gut-wrenching read,” Dave Reay, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, told the Guardian Tuesday.

View image on Twitter

Imperial College London professor Brian Hoskins emphasized to the Guardian the importance of the international community continuing to address the climate crisis.

“The report is a catalogue of weather in 2019 made more extreme by climate change, and the human misery that went with it,” he said. “It points to a threat that is greater to our species than any known virus—we must not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible.”

Hoskins’ comments come as experts express concerns that although the coronavirus outbreak will likely reduce planet-heating emissions from China and other countries with high infection rates, the ongoing pandemic “could complicate the challenges of climate change—which presents serious, if longer-term, threats of its own—at a point when it was crucial to make rapid strides,” as MIT Technology Review reported Tuesday.

“Emissions in China are down because the economy has stopped and people are dying, and because poor people are not able to get medicine and food,” Gernot Wagner, a clinical associate professor at New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies, told MIT Technology Review. “This is not an analogy for how we want to decrease emissions from climate change.”

Posted in Environment, UNComments Off on UN Chief Warns World ‘Way Off Track’ on Tackling Climate Crisis as New Report Underscores Need for Bold Global Action

China and Russia help COVID West while under its sanctions

This is a great critique of the EU failure, in the slip stream of the US one, on being ready for and dealing with the coronavirus.By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -March 23, 2020

With united Europe MIA in its Covid-19 response, worst-hit nations turn to ‘evil’ Russia & China for help

…by Damian Wilson, a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.[ Editor’s Note: This is a great critique of the EU failure, in the slip stream of the US one, on being ready for and dealing with the coronavirus. What an ultimate irony we have here to have Russia under EU sanctions sharing its own Covid19 medical supplies with EU countries worst hit.–While Trump was doing his expected demonization of China for the versus, his campaign defense plan for steering attention away from it tremendous success at closing Covid-19 down inside China. The new low infection counts being published are from travelers being picked up incoming at airports and returning Chinese students.–Russia took early action to blunt Covid in the front end, so now has the luxury of helping those countries who have been diplomatically civil to Russia while the EU has it under sanction for the pretend violation of “taking over” Crimea with its vastly Russian population when Ukrainian MPs were threatening from the Rada that the Ukrainian nationalists were going to steal everything the Crimean Russians had and throw them out.–What did NATO do to help the EU in this situation? Nothing that we can see. Is there an equivalent to the Army Corps of Engineers that is beginning to convert empty hotels into ICU compatible medical facilities over the next four weeks?

–In fact, it seems the EU pandemic preparation was as anemic as Trump’s, who is hard to beat when it comes to screws ups that he then tosses onto someone else for the blame.–All that was on Trump’s mind was not losing votes for this re-election. He did not go deer in the headlights. He was all in on an impossible gamble to hold the markets up so he could crow about all the wealth creation he had done.–When all is said and done that might turn out to have been a classic NeoCon pump and dump, with Trump in on it or lined up to take the fall for it. The Deep State already has Pompeo the Pompous preened up and ready to go as a replacements as no one with half a brain has any confidence in Pence.–The Russian and Chinese people have a lot to be thankful for, and can be proud about how they fought the virus tooth and nail for all the world to see, can now watch as China, and neighbor Russia extend their hand to those who have bitten them… Jim W. Dean ]

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Russia cargo planes loaded with Covid supplies line up for take off

– First published … March 23, 2020 ––Brussels has all but abandoned them to their fates, so is it any wonder that Italy, Spain and other European countries have turned to Moscow and Beijing for meaningful support in terms of expert advice and medical supplies?–

Covid front lines, Italy, after 12 hour shift

When this coronavirus pandemic has passed and the nations of the European Union are counting the cost of decimated populations, shattered public health infrastructures and economic meltdowns, one thing is certain: the dynamics within the bloc will have changed forever.

Before the global outbreak of this killer virus, Russia and China were always the West’s undisputed bogeymen. Troublemakers, always up to mischief, playing dangerous geopolitical games intended to undermine Western democracies and divide allies in the EU and NATO.

Many in the Western mainstream media are addicted to a daily fix of either Russian or Chinese conspiracy, so they probably don’t appreciate the irony here. Because things have changed. In a big way.

It’s largely due to the generosity of these two “tricksy” outsider superpowers that some European nations, fully paid-up, long-term members of the EU, have even a remote chance of getting to grips with the immense public health demands caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

And thank heavens for that, because if either Italy or Spain had been looking to the EU — or the USA for that matter — for real, on-the-ground assistance that would enable them to simply stop people dying in their thousands in overcrowded hospitals, then they would have found themselves waiting in vain.

Sure, the ECB weighed in only last week, with an unprecedented fiscal bazooka aimed at reducing the economic impact that is being caused by the virus (ar at least by the measures governments are taking to try to stop it). But that’s fighting the virus in one manner only, very much after the fact and certainly not on the frontline.

This significance of that fiscal help will only really be apparent once the health crisis is over and the full, disastrous economic consequences are realized. And the fact that it is far from over right now is what needs immediate attention, like providing more medical staff, personal protection gear, ventilators, hospitals and, obviously, a vaccine.

But the message from Brussels to Italy, Spain and other EU members is clear: in dealing with the pandemic and the thousands of dead citizens it leaves in its wake, you are on your own.

Covid front lines, Italy, after 12 hour shift

The EU’s abject hopelessness and indifference started to become clear some weeks back in the face of the escalating virus, when the export beyond national borders of facemasks and medical equipment was banned by some EU members, including Germany.

It’s unlikely the Italians will forget that. Compare it with the generosity of the Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi which has sent tens of thousands of face masks to Italy at the same time as Beijing has filled planes with medical experts and crucial equipment of which Rome was, and remains, in desperate need.

Compare it too with the help from Moscow sent over the weekend: 100 virus specialists, disinfection trucks and medical equipment. All being sent at the request of Italy.

It seems the close ties the Italian government maintained with Russia over the last few years, particularly at the initiative of former coalition foreign minister Matteo Salvini, have paid off. His refusal to be drawn into the EU’s Kremlin-bashing of recent times, preferring to cultivate a closer friendship of his own, has to be applauded for the dividends it has produced in the Italian hour of need.

And one unintended consequence of that must be that it is driving critics of the controversial Italian populist absolutely nuts.

It also won’t escape the attention of NATO that the aid from Russia is coming via military channels, which must sting those of its members with a more hawkish view towards Moscow. Just so they don’t miss the irony, the supplies bear a “From Russia with Love” label.

What cannot be denied is that actions speak louder than words. The people of those nations being helped from outside the EU will be eternally grateful for that assistance. It’s help that can be seen. It’s brigades of medical experts, boxes of supplies delivered in big planes. It will save the lives of family and friends and it will provide help on the frontline where it is most needed.

In Verduno, near Turin in northern Italy, a hospital that has been under construction for 20 years, and is still unfinished, will open as a Covid-19 hospital next week, and will take in its first 60 coronavirus victims.

In comparison, the Italian government will be well aware that China, using 7,000 builders working around the clock,  built a 1000-bed hospital in just 10 days, and that Russia, with parallel ambition, is looking to finish a virus hospital on the outskirts of Moscow within a month.

It is these sorts of highly visible acts that people need to see. It builds confidence from despair and hope from misery.

Confidence and hope. As millions of terrified Europeans sit confined in their homes today, isolated voluntarily or by law, those are two things in critically short supply.

Posted in China, RussiaComments Off on China and Russia help COVID West while under its sanctions

4-Star General chosen to succeed Trump command in emergency

VIDEO (35:00) BioWeapon Unleashed on China by Zionists? – Veterans Today | Military Foreign Affairs Policy Journal for Clandestine Services

The Trump administration has drawn up secret standby orders to put the military in power in the event the civilian authorities are disabled by the coronavirus pandemicBy VT Editors -March 23, 202024 0

Who is the General that US Media Claims will be in control should the Trump team be disabled?

…from Sputnik News, Moscow

The reportedly approved sweeping contingency plans involve everything from the evacuation of civilian authorities and their families to a secure location, all the way to schemes to circumvent the guidelines for the transfer of power set forth in the US Constitution.

The Trump administration has drawn up secret standby orders to put the military in power in the event the civilian authorities are disabled by the coronavirus pandemic, a Newsweek report has it, outlining the details of the emergency plan in what’s called “extraordinary circumstances”.

More specifically, it is Terrence O’Shaughnessy, a four-star 56-year-old general and former fighter pilot who is reportedly the designated “combatant commander”. So, what do we know about him so far?

  • He is the head of US Northern Command (Northcom) –  a military authority in charge of homeland defence under the Continuity of Government Commission’s contingency plans.
  • Terrence O’Shaughnessy also doubles as the chief of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, which has of late been frequently deployed by Trump to deal with illegal crossings at the Mexican-American border – a central issue to his domestic policies. One of the latest examples – the large-scale Operation Faithful Patriot, from October-November 2018.
  • The Gen. was previously Deputy Commander at the United Nations Command Korea and led the US Pacific Air Forces Command, being in charge of joint operations in a region encompassing over half of the globe and as many as 36 nations.
  • The senior general is a fighter pilot with 3,000 hours of flight time, including 168 combat hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Pentagon chief Mark Esper reportedly signed standby orders on 1 February, instructing Northcom to fulfil plans for a pandemic (even before it was declared) and urging it and East Coast military units to “prepare to deploy” for possible “extraordinary” missions, while not completely ruling out martial law.

Seven contingency plans are understood to have been approved, three of them overseeing missions to rescue and relocate President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their families, move the secretary of defence and other national security leaders, and congressional and court grandees to a secure location.

Government operations will reportedly be maintained from a bunker in Maryland. Another plan, codenamed Granite Shadow, envisages domestic ops involving weapons of mass destruction.

According to a military planner who spoke to the author of the Newsweek report, martial law is a “pretty straightforward process” that applies when one city or region has been devastated, “but with coronavirus, where the effect is nationwide, we’re in territory we’ve never been in before”, he concluded unambiguously.

The raging epidemic has been sweeping across the globe, with the number of cases in the US currently at 34,717. The tally indicates the country is the third-most affected in the world, after China and Italy. The death toll in the US, meanwhile, is 452, one of the lowest.

Trump’s inner circle, including POTUS himself, have so far tested negative for the novel viral infection, although a number of White House staffers self-isolated and have been working from home as a preventive anti-coronavirus measure.

Posted in USAComments Off on 4-Star General chosen to succeed Trump command in emergency

Turkish military prepares for Syrian Army offensive by building multiple posts near Jisr Al-Shughour

Turkish army soldiers stand guard as Kurdish people wait in a hope to enter Cizre, a town subject to a curfew as part of a controversial operation against Kurdish rebels, on March 22, 2016 in Mardin, for Newroz celebration. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for ‘New Year’, is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring, March 21, in Central Asian republics, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. / AFP PHOTO / ILYAS AKENGIN

The Turkish military is not taking any chances with this upcoming Syrian Arab Army (SAA) offensive in northwestern Syria, as they were reported to have setup several posts near a strategic city in the Idlib Governorate.

According to opposition reports, the Turkish military built at least three posts near the strategic city of Jisr Al-Shughour this week, as they anticipate the Syrian Arab Army’s upcoming offensive will target this part of the Idlib Governorate and M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway).

Furthermore, the Turkish military has reportedly deployed their short-range air defense systems to the Idlib Governorate, despite the fact there is an ongoing ceasefire among the warring parties.

The Syrian Arab Army has also been ignoring the ongoing ceasefire by sending several convoys of reinforcements to the Idlib Governorate; specifically, the Jabal Al-Zawiya front.

The Jabal Al-Zawiya front is expected to be the launching point for the Syrian Arab Army’s next major push towards Jisr Al-Shughour, which is one of the most important cities located along the M-4 Highway.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish military prepares for Syrian Army offensive by building multiple posts near Jisr Al-Shughour

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