Sunday, September 22, 2019

Global Climate Strikes, Israeli Elections, Iran & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 15 - 22

This week's list of articles, news items, opinion pieces and videos that I see as a must if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of September 15 - 22.

For those interested in news and developments in the Canadian election this will be covered in a separate weekly roundup the second of which this past Friday was: Brownface, Scheer Hypocrisy, the PPC and more -- The Left Chapter Canadian Election Round-up Week Two

1) The Neoliberal University

 Ontario Universities and Colleges Coalition and Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, Socialist Project Bullet 

Announced in the Ontario Budget, the Ford government’s reckless new market-based approach to funding postsecondary education will fundamentally compromise the integrity of Ontario’s higher education system. This alarming shift in education funding will create greater inequity, hurt students, and threaten the quality of education in our province.

2) Workers at Riva steel on strike for four months


In one the other longest labour disputes in German history, 130 workers at two steel plants in southwest Germany have been on strike since 11 June.

3) This City's First Ever Pride March Ended With Far-Right Mobs Hunting Down Queer Kids

Tim Hume, Vice News

The first ever Pride march in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv descended into scenes of violence Sunday, as mobs of ultranationalist thugs hunted down and assaulted marchers at the end of the event.

4) Canadian officials honour Nazi collaborators in Ukraine, angering Jewish groups

 David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

The Canadian Forces and Global Affairs Canada are facing criticism after honouring members of Ukrainian organizations that helped the Nazis in the Second World War.

5) CUPE members vote 93 per cent in favour of strike, could walk off by month's end

The Canadian Press

A major union representing education workers in Ontario says its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a potential strike that could take effect by the end of the month.

6) NFL Teams Are Desperate for Quarterbacks—but Colin Kaepernick Remains Unsigned

Dave Zirin, The Nation 

Unfortunately, as of this writing, the Saints, Jets, and Steelers have already signed quarterbacks far less accomplished than Kaepernick to round out their rosters. The NFL has a chance to right a historic wrong and actually do the right thing. But if we know anything about this league, it would be wise for us to not hold our breath.

7) Recovering from the opioid addiction crisis: Time for progressive strategies?

Brian Major, People's World

A major effort is underway in court rooms across the continent to prosecute Big Pharma companies that have irresponsibly promoted some of the medicines that have fueled the opioid epidemic and resulted in harm and death for many vulnerable people, such as OxyContin. Cases have been brought by more than 2,000 states, counties, municipalities, and Native American governments against Purdue Pharma and other opioid companies. On Sept. 16, Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy as part of its plan to settle litigation with dozens of states and and other plaintiffs who say the company fueled the opioid crisis.

8) Charles Koch Is Funding a Campaign to Kill Food Stamps and Medicaid

Alex Kotch, Sludge

Last December, an innocuously named nonprofit, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), wined and dined Republican politicians and White House staffers at a Walt Disney World resort, according to a new report from the Center for Public Integrity. The pitch: make it harder for poor Americans to access government programs meant to help them get on secure financial ground, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, and Medicaid.

9) Iran: Labour and student activists sentenced to more than 100 years

Susan Price, Green Left Weekly 

Union leader Esmail Bakhshi, student and civil rights activist, Sepideh Gholian, and four activist journalists were sentenced to long prison sentences by the Iranian regime on September 7.

10) Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze

Tess McClure, The Guardian 

Demand for ‘healing’ crystals is soaring – but many are mined in deadly conditions in one of the world’s poorest countries. And there is little evidence that this billion-dollar industry is cleaning up its act.

11) Revolt Grows in Vancouver Sun and Province Newsroom over Op-ed Policies

David Beers, The Tyee

The offending opinion piece, by Calgary college instructor Mark Hecht, argued Canada should “say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion” or risk unraveling as a society. It cited discredited reports by an anti-Muslim think tank.

12) How Ezra Levant’s Globe Op-ed Got Published

Jonathan Goldsbie, Canadaland 

According to two Globe sources with knowledge of the matter, the op-ed was personally commissioned by editor-in-chief David Walmsley, who pushed it through over the objections of editors in the paper’s opinion section.

13) B.C. ends controversial policy that removes newborns from families


The British Columbia government has decided to stop a child welfare practice called hospital or birth alerts, citing the rights of Indigenous people.

14) Nearly 50,000 UAW workers strike at General Motors in US


Almost 50,000 UAW members have stopped work in more than 50 General Motors plants across the US in the largest strike in the country’s auto sector in over a decade.

15) 'He didn't discover anything': Maori village bans Endeavour replica


A replica of British explorer James Cook's vessel Endeavour has been banned from docking at a village in New Zealand's far north district after local Maori groups objected to the visit.

16) CIA’s favorite newspaper in Chile praises Pinochet dictatorship on coup anniversary

Steve Sweeney, People's World

Chilean journalists picketed the offices of right-wing national daily El Mecurio on Thursday after it published an insert praising the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship that ruled the country from 1973 to 1990.

17) Baltimore crowd celebrates 100 years of the Communist Party USA

Tim Wheeler, People's World

A multi-racial crowd from the mid-Atlantic region, Sept. 15, celebrated the founding of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) a century ago in 1919, filling a church here with singing, poetry, and calls for the ouster of President Trump.

18) Pompeo inadvertently admitted the Iran crisis is a 'direct result' of Trump’s actions

 John Haltiwanger, Business Insider

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday acknowledged that the current crisis with Iran is a "direct result" of actions taken by President Donald Trump.

19) Disputing Trump Claims, Japan Says No Evidence Iran Was Behind Saudi Attack

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.

20) US Drone Strike 'Accidentally' Kills 30 Afghan Farmers


A U.S. drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State (IS) group hideout in Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day’s labor in the fields, officials said Thursday.

21) 'Puts My Life at Risk': Omar Slams Trump for Sharing False Video Accusing Her of Dancing on 9/11 Anniversary

The Associated Press

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday used Twitter to share an edited video made by a conservative comedian that falsely accused Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of dancing and partying last week on the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

22) The Army Beat Its Recruitment Goals This Year by Targeting Students in Debt

 Leila Ettachfini, Vice News

“Debt is a form of social control. You can force people to do all kinds of things if you put them in debt first."

DH News

The union that represents workers at three downtown Vancouver hotels announced today it has launched an “indefinite strike” over the “need for safe and stable work.”

Allana Akhtar, Insider

More than 6,500 nurses in California, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois are expected to participate in a 24-hour strike on Friday.

Alison Rose Levy, FAIR

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (CJR, 8/26/19) has recently noted, corporate ownership of media interferes with the core societal function of the press: reporting and investigating key issues at the intersection of public need and governance. And nowhere is that more critical than when it comes to climate. Due to their corporate conflicts of interest, trusted news authorities have diverted us from our primary responsibility—assuring a viable habitat for our children and grandchildren.

Joe Emersberger - FAIR

A line from the trailer for  Jack Ryan, an Amazon TV drama whose second season streams on November 1, is: “A nuclear Venezuela…. You will not hear about it on the news, ’cause we’ll already be dead.”


According to the still-state-controlled utility, about 23,700 workers in France had joined the industrial action by Thursday evening in one of the biggest strike turnouts at the company in eight years.

One hundred thousand here in London, thousands more around our country and millions across the world.

This movement will not be silenced.

I'm here with a message: Labour will meet your demands for a Green Industrial Revolution and real change.

28) 'Feminist emergency' declared in Spain after summer of violence

Sam Jones, The Guardian 

Protesters took to the streets of more than 250 towns and cities across Spain on Friday night to declare a “feminist emergency” after a series of high-profile rape cases and a summer in which 19 women were murdered by current or former partners.

29) Egyptian forces fire teargas at anti-Sisi protesters in Cairo

Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian 

Hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets in Cairo and other cities in rare protests against the country’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption.

30) Ecuador: Hundreds Protest to Legalize Abortion for Rape Victims


"Lawmayers, you could have guaranteed access to justice for victims of sexual violence; however, you didn't do it. Instead you decided to wash your hands with the blood of women who die in clandestine abortions and girls who die because their bodies cannot give birth."

31) Sanders unveils $2.5 trillion 'Housing for All' plan

Tal Axelrod, The Hill

White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday released a $2.5 trillion plan to guarantee housing for every American.

32) Israel's Ethiopian community denounces racism ahead of election

 Arwa Ibrahim, Al Jazeera 

Ethiopian-Israelis, who constitute a small minority of the population, say they face institutional discrimination.

33) Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Says He Wants Unity Government; Gantz: I Will Lead It


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on rival Benny Gantz to meet him "at any hour" on Thursday in order to hold discussions. "We must form a broad unity government," he told the Kahol Lavan leader, whose party widened the edge over Likud according to the latest election results.

34) Revised exit poll gives Joint List of Arab parties unprecedented 15 seats

Moran Azoulay, Ynet

This could potentially even see the faction becoming the main opposition party should the Likud join with Blue and White to form a national unity government, as demanded by Yisael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, whose party holds the balance of power in forming a coalition.

35) Israel Election Results: Netanyahu Brought a Disaster on Likud

Yossi Verter, Haaretz

After a crude and thuggish campaign, in which he trampled the election laws alongside his son, who attacked every government institution, it looks as though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is closer than ever to losing power. Avigdor Lieberman, on the other hand, who repeated his pre-election promises, will probably be the key person in the next Knesset. 

36) British unions vote ‘unanimously’ to boycott Israel

Glen Davies, Green Left Weekly

“At the moment we’re looking at a people lacking the control that allows them to function as a society — water, the freedom to travel, the basic right to safety,” said Martin Sundram, delegate for the Artists’ Union of England (AUE) at the annual congress of the British trade union movement.

37) UK blocks visit by BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada 

The co-founder of the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement for Palestinian rights is unable to speak in the UK because the British government has failed to grant him a visa.

38) Lake Superior among the fastest warming lakes in the world, U.S. researcher says

Matt Prokopchuk · CBC News

University of Minnesota Duluth also studying whether warming contributing to algae blooms on south shore.

39) Students stage ‘die-in’ to demand action on climate change in downtown Edmonton

Omar MoslehStar Edmonton

As part of the Global Strike for Climate, about 300 people took part in a “die-in” protest on Friday to demand action on climate change and raise the alarm on the impact of global warming on Earth. Events took place in several cities across Canada, including Edmonton and Calgary, and abroad.

40) In Pictures and Video: What 'Biggest Day of Climate Action in Planetary History' Looks Like as Over 4 Million Strike Worldwide

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

"We're here to reclaim our right to live, our right to breathe, our right to exist."

41) Millions Of Young People Around The World Are Leading Strikes To Call Attention To The Climate Crisis

 Zahra Hirji and Matthew Champion and Azeen Ghorayshi and J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed News

Students skipped school, made signs, and took to the streets in more than 3,600 planned strikes around the globe, part of a huge youth-led movement to protest inaction on climate change.

42) CSDM, Concordia, Dawson cancelling classes for Sept. 27 climate protest

CBC News

Several Montreal academic institutions say classes will be cancelled so students can attend climate march.

43) Something strange is happening to Greenland's ice sheet

Madeline Stone, National Geographic

“We're watching an ice sheet rapidly transform its state in front of our eyes, which is terrifying,” says lead study author Mike MacFerrin, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

44) North America has lost 3 billion birds since 1970

Emily Chung · CBC News

There are nearly three billion fewer birds in Canada and the United States than there were half a century ago, a new study estimates.

45) We are the dead

Anna Kingston, Maclean's 

A months’-long Maclean’s investigation into intimate-partner violence reveals how systems, politicians and people have failed women and girls.

46) At Least One Dead, Many Wounded As Protests Continue In Haiti


At least one person died and several were injured this Friday during violent protests in the Haitian capital where the local police used tear gas, as well as rubber bullets that turned lethal in order to suppress marchers' and prevent them from reaching the National Palace.

47) More Immigrant Children Are Dying At The Border As The Trump Administration Sends People Back To Mexico

Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed

New Trump administration policies are sending asylum-seekers back to Mexico to wait until their case is heard. A 21-month-old immigrant boy's drowning is the latest in a growing number of child deaths at the border.

48) Trump Froze Aid To Guatemala. Now Programs Are Shutting Down

Tim McDonnell, NPR

For Carlos Marroquín, the chickens are all that's left.

49) Cutting Health Benefits of 1,900 Whole Food Workers Saved World's Richest Man Jeff Bezos What He Makes in Less Than Six Hour

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams

A new analysis finds that the billionaire could provide annual coverage slashed last week with just a fraction of what he makes personally each day.

The increase in sanctions, a clear violation of international law, marks at present the policy promoted by the U.S. toward the island.

See also: Climate Strikes, Israeli Elections, Hurricane Dorian & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos September 15 - 22

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