April 2021 This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It consists of headlines with weblinks to published news articles and political analysis. Occasional commentary by the website publisher, Roger Annis, appears in square brackets [ ]. For months preceding those on this page, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote original items published on the home page of A Socialist In Canada.
For by-country data on the Covid-19 pandemic: Worldometer. For all Europe data on the Covid-19 pandemic: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC, agency of the European Union). For the status of world vaccine research and testing, go to the New York Times’ Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker.
World news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, April 2021
Covid-19 policies have collapsed in the member countries of the NATO military alliance. Even in the U.S. where new daily cases have declined from their historic highs, they remain stubbornly high at over 65,000. ‘Vaccination salvation’ is proving elusive in the NATO countries, but it remains a key part of the criminally negligent policies that have never considered for a moment a ‘zero Covid’ strategy. All this provides a powerful incentive for NATO governments and their media barons to continue their propaganda and threats and against China. The Chinese government, health authorities and people have set an inspiring example for the peoples of the world in how to protect lives and social life from the worst ravages of the pandemic.–A Socialist In Canada, April 1, 2021
NED-funded ‘Uyghur Separatist Network’ and director of Council on American-Islamic Relations rally in Washington around cold war propaganda, by Dan Cohen, Mint Press News, Apr 15, 2021 At a March 30 demonstration at the Chinese Embassy, the U.S.-funded Uyghur Separatist Network was joined by prominent Muslim figures. ‘Behind The Headlines’ correspondent Dan Cohen spoke to participants and examined their claims.
Related: In interview on British state broadcaster BBC, economist Jeffrey Sachs slams the hypocrisy of Western media for accusations against China of human rights violations. YouTube broadcast of BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ program, April 15, 2021 (The segment with Jeffrey Sachs begins at the six-minute mark.)
Spring 2021 round of coronavirus negligence crashes across 38 states as hospitalizations increase. Report in Washington Post, Apr 15, 2021 …National statistics don’t capture the intensity of the coronavirus emergency in the hotspots. Michigan reported more than 10,000 new infections on April 13 alone. On April 14, the state reported an average of 46 deaths a day, up from 16 a month earlier… [Michigan, population 10 million, suffered 7,191 new Covid-19 cases on April 15. The neighbouring province of Ontario, Canada, population 14.6 million, had a record 4,736 new cases on that date.].
* Covid surges, variants spread, but U.S. states shrug at shutdowns, Morning News Update, published by Kaiser Health News, Apr 14, 2021 The number of new coronavirus infections in the U.S continues to rise, making a quick, clean end to the pandemic less and less likely. Much of the U.S. is relying almost exclusively on vaccines to control the virus, abandoning social distancing and other safety measures. That’s helping the virus to steadily gain ground even as vaccinations barrel ahead. The U.S. averaged roughly 71,000 new cases per day over the past week, about a nine per cent jump from the week before.
* ‘Madness’ at largest U.S. port, Los Angeles, as cargo records broken, report by gCaptain, Apr 14, 2021
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not a tainted cantaloupe, by Graeme Wood, staff writer, The Atlantic, Apr 14, 2021 Our regulators are not fools. But they have a peculiar sense of responsibility that leads them to adopt a fraidy-cat level of caution.
Related vaccine news:
* When it comes to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and reported blood clots, we’ve lost our ability to put risk in perspective, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Apr 14, 2021
* Four things to know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause, by Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, Apr 14, 2021
The rural pandemic in the U.S. isn’t ending, by Elaine Godfrey, staff writer, The Atlantic, Apr 14, 2021 Public-health leaders in rural America are turning toward the next and more difficult stage of the nationwide vaccination campaign: persuasion …In pockets of the country, vaccination rates could stay low, creating little islands where the coronavirus survives and thrives. In a worst-case scenario, the virus could mutate, becoming a highly transmissible and much more lethal version of itself. This is the future that keeps some public-health experts awake at night…
Related: Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, joins former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx in promoting unproven ‘air purifying’ products to combat coronavirus, Kaiser Health News, Apr 12, 2021
U.S. and allies say they will withdraw their troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. It must be true, because they say so. [Western media is full of stories of the claim by the Biden regime in Washington that it plans a withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan. The German and British governments have joined the performance with their own withdrawal announcements in parallel with the U.S., while NATO itself says it has joined the parade. It all ranks right up there with the NATO countries’ promises to ‘do something’ about global warming, all the while escalating threats against China and Russia and letting a coronavirus pandemic run riot. In the real world, NATO military leaders are planning how to boost their war and illegal occupation in Afghanistan (see New York Times report immediately below).].
* U.S. and allies plan fight from afar against Al Qaeda once troops exit Afghanistan, New York Times, Apr 15, 2021 Drones, long-range bombers and spy networks will be used in an effort to prevent Afghanistan from re-emerging as a terrorist base to threaten the United States.
* Biden’s misleading claim to be ending America’s longest war, by Jeremy Kuzmarov, Covert Action Magazine, Apr 14, 2021
* [Democracy Now! is regurgitating the ‘Afghan withdrawal’ ruse. See Afghanistan: Biden vows to end nation’s longest war by 9/11 after decades of bloodshed & destruction (story April 14) and: ‘A courageous decision’: Rep. RoKhanna praises Biden’s plan to end the ‘forever war’ in Afghanistan (story April 15) ].
* Making sense of a viral military: A U.S. military spouse’s perspective on the Pentagon’s flawed response to the pandemic, by Andrea Mazzarino, Tom Dispatch (a project of The Nation), Apr 14, 2021 (Andrea Mazzarino is a regular contributor to TomDispatch and a co-founder of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.)
* Biden’s empty gesture: Houthis are no longer ‘terrorists’, but Yemen’s suffering only grows, by Ahmed Abdulkareem, Mint Press News, Apr 9, 2021 Human rights groups warn that levels of famine in Yemen are now among the highest recorded since 2015, suggesting that suffering in the country has actually grown worse under the Biden administration.
Postmortem on the defeat of the union organizing drive at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama, by Michael Goldfield , published by the Labor and Working Class History Association (USA), Apr 13, 2021
Previously reported: Defeat of union organizing drive at Amazon in Bessemer, Alabama, by Jane McAlevey, The Nation, April 9, 2021 Earlier today, the National Labor Relations Board announced the results of the vote on whether workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., would join a union. The vote was 738 in favor to 1,798 against. It’s bad news, but it doesn’t mean workers in future Amazon campaigns won’t or can’t win. They can…
How ‘Bellingcat’ media project (Eliot Higgins) launders national security state talking points into the press, by Alan Macleod, Mint Press News, Apr 9, 2021 For a self-proclaimed ‘citizen journalism’ outfit, an alarming number of Bellingcat’s staff and contributors come from highly suspect backgrounds, including high-level positions in military and intelligence agencies.
250 health care groups urge WTO chief to embrace vaccine patent waiver, ditch Big Pharma-friendly approach, Common Dreams, Apr 14, 2021
Related: How Bill Gates impeded global access to Covid vaccines, by Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, Apr 12, 2021 Through his hallowed foundation, the world’s de facto public health czar has been a stalwart defender of monopoly medicine.
Previously reported: As rich countries shield pharma monopolies, just 0.2 per cent of Covid vaccine doses have gone to poor nations, Common Dreams, Apr 11, 2021
Food and Drug Administrtion in U.S. lifts abortion pill restriction during pandemic, advocates say they want the policy to be made permanent, Common Dreams, Apr 14, 2021
U.S. increases military presence in Germany in reversal of Trump policy, Euroactiv, Apr 13, 2021 [In June, 2021, the Trump regime announced a withdrawal of around 12,000 of the 36,000 U.S. troops in Germany. It was a typical Trumpian distraction, saying that Berlin had been taking advantage of the U.S. while not meeting its defence spending obligations to NATO. The plans were officially cancelled by the Biden regime in February. The new regime in Washington has now announced 500 additional troops and equipment to Germany.].
Related: U.S. officials tour Europe to shore up allied support on Russia, China and Iran, France 24, Apr 13, 2021
Letter supporting the Syrian People, April 2021 Introduction to the letter: Pro-Western Syrian exiles have initiated a statement supported by a number of “progressive” individuals and organizations. Their statement is titled, ‘Erasing people through disinformation: Syria and the ‘anti-imperialism’ of fools’. The statement supports the goal of the U.S. and its allies of regime change in Syria. The authors attack those who have consistently supported an end to intervention in Syria by the U.S., NATO, Israel and other repressive states in the Middle East. Their statement was signed by a number of people in the US. and around the world. One of the groups criticized in this statement is the United National Antiwar Coalition. The war on Syria has been an especially divisive issue for the peace movement, so, we and others have put out a statement below explaining our position. You can read the statement here on the website of UNAC. If you agree with this statement, we ask that you sign as an individual or an organization by clicking the link, here. The text of the statement and list of initial signatories can be read here in pdf format: Letter supporting the Syrian People
Moderna says new data shows its Covid vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective against virus six months after second shot, CNBC, Apr 13, 2021
Top epidemiologist at World Health Organization warns coronavirus pandemic ‘growing exponentially’ around the world, Common Dreams, Apr 12, 2021
* India reels amid virus surge, affecting world vaccine supply, Associated Press, Apr 13, 2021 [As of April 12, 2021, the seven-day rolling average of deaths from Covid-19 in India is 787. That compares to the record of app. 1,170 in mid-September 2020.].
* Canada is now outpacing U.S. for new COVID-19 cases per capita, CTV News, Apr 11, 2021
‘Out of abundance of caution,’ FDA and CDC recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, Common Dreams, Apr 13, 2021
Related vaccine news: India approves Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, Reuters, Apr 12, 2021 …The Russian Direct Investment Fund is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad. It says it has signed agreements to produce more than 750 million doses of Sputnik V with six domestic firms in India…
Right-wing candidate takes Ecuador presidential election on April 11. Sixteen per cent of votes were cast as abstentions following the call of NGO-funded Yaku Perez, Telesur, Apr 12, 2021 …The 13 provinces where Yaku Perez obtained a majority of votes during the first round of the presidential election on February 7 were the ones that, in the end, were decisive in the victory of Guillermo Lasso…
Related: Ecuador: Reversing the pandemic slump?, by Michael Roberts, UK economist, Feb 8, 2021
Iran blames Israel for sabotage at Natanz nuclear site, Associated Press, Apr 12, 2021
Related: Iran says Israeli ‘nuclear terrorism’ could have led to catastrophic ‘crime against humanity’, Common Dreams, Apr 12, 2021
Marking two years since the arrest of Julian Assange in Britain, press freedom advocates demand Biden Dep’t of Justice drop all charges, Common Dreams, Apr 11, 2021
Related: A history of the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act and how it ensnared Julian Assange, by Joe Lauria, editor, Consortium News, Apr 11, 2021
Blood clots linked to AstraZeneca vaccine stem from rare antibody reaction, New York Times, Apr 9, 2021 read also: report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (U Minnesota), Apr 9, 2021
Cuba says it’s ‘betting it safe’ with its own Covid vaccines, NBC News, Apr 9, 2021 …If Cuba’s vaccine trials are successful, the relatively small, communist island of 11 million–sanctioned by the United States for decades–will be one of just very few countries manufacturing vaccines to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The other countries that have developed vaccines, including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and India, have significantly larger economies and population sizes. Currently, two of Cuba’s five vaccine candidates are in Phase 3 trials–Soberana 2, which translates to ‘sovereignty’, and Abdala, named after a book by the Cuban independence hero José Martí…
Colombia’s drug cartels target Europe with cocaine, corruption and torture, The Guardian, Apr 11, 2021 [The irony of this reporting by the faux-liberal UK daily The Guardian is difficult to overstate. The newspaper is a leading voice of the imperialist drive to impose crushing economic sanctions on Venezuela and violently overthrow its government. Yet, here the newspaper reports that it is Venezuela’s neighbouring country and Western ally, Columbia, that is a deadly threat to the health of people in Europe, due to the combined effects of international cocaine trading and harsh, punitive ‘war on drugs’ laws. Colombia has suffered 65,000 deaths from Covid-19 and 2.5 million infections. Yet it is Venezuela–with a tiny fraction of Covid-19 infections and deaths compared to Colombia (see immediately below)–which is targetted by Western governments and media for the violent overthrow of its government.].
Venezuela rolls out economic support to keep workers home as Covid-19 infections spread, Venezuela Analysis, Apr 7, 2021 …Venezuela’s vaccination rate is behind other countries in the region as U.S.-led sanctions have cut off access to international trade, credit lines and payment channels. The sanctions have also frozen billions of dollars of foreign-based assets, which limit the country’s ability to procure doses… Venezuela has thus far largely relied on China and Russia to obtain the vaccinations the country requires to inoculate its population…
[Venezuela is #74 in the world for Covid-19 cases and #50 by population. For the past two weeks, it is reporting more than 1,000 new cases of Covid-19 per day. By comparison, Colombia, with nearly twice the population of Venezuela, has been recording more than 10,000 new cases daily during the same period.]
Crisis, sanctions and environment in Venezuela: A conversation with Liliana Buitrago and Emiliano Terán (part two), interview published in Venezuela Analysis, Apr 9, 2021 (Liliana Buitrago and Emiliano Terán are researchers at the Political Ecology Observatory in Venezuela.)
Previously reported: Crisis, sanctions and environment in Venezuela: A conversation with Liliana Buitrago and Emiliano Terán of the Venezuelan Political Ecology Observatory (part one), published in Venezuela Analysis, Apr 2, 2021
Canadian MP Don Davies says sanctions against Venezuela are illegal and immoral, by Steve Lalla, published in Orinico Tribune, Apr 10, 2021
Western media incite anti-Asian racism when they join in cold war against China, by Joshua Cho, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Apr 8, 2021
U.S. Navy strike group enters South China Sea amid growing tensions, The Defense Post, Apr 7, 2021 This is the second time this year, the strike group has conducted operations in the South China Sea.
* Hawks up the ante: China is now a nuclear threat, too, by Daniel Larison, Responsible Statecraft, Apr 8, 2021
* U.S. military cites rising risk [sic] of Chinese move against Taiwan, Associated Press, Apr 7, 2021
New COVID variants have changed the game, and vaccines will not be enough. We need global ‘maximum suppression’, by members of The Lancet Covid-19 Commission Taskforce on Public Health, published in The Conversation, Apr 5, 2021 …Each time the virus replicates, there is an opportunity for a mutation to occur. And as we are already seeing around the world, some of the resulting variants risk eroding the effectiveness of vaccines. That’s why we have called for a global strategy of “maximum suppression”…
* Rise of coronavirus variants will define the next phase of the pandemic in the U.S., Washington Post, Apr 8, 2021
* U.S. refuses to extend time between coronavirus vaccine doses, by Graham Lawton, New Scientist, Mar 17, 2021 The UK’s controversial decision to increase the time between covid-19 vaccine doses has been thrust back under the spotlight after the U.S. hasn’t followed suit, amid warnings that the strategy may backfire. However, the UK is no longer alone in its decision, with Canada and Germany both choosing to follow a similar plan… Read the article here in pdf format: Time between vaccine doses
* As coronavirus variants evolve, how much more dangerous can they get?, by Michael Le Page, New Scientist, Mar 31, 2021 Read the article here in pdf format: Dangers of coronavirus variants
Hospitals across U.S. are seeing more young adults with severe Covid symptoms, CDC says, CNBC, Apr 7, 2021
* As variants have spread, progress against the pandemic in U.S. has stalled, New York Times, Apr 5, 2021
* Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just five states–New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Associated Press, Apr 6, 2021
* The U.S. government approved trillions in aid but many hard-hit families have yet to receive it, Washington Post, Apr 6, 2021 …About 30 million Americans who should have automatically received the $1,400 payments are still waiting, more than three weeks after Biden signed the $1.9 trillion relief package…
Brazil government’s pandemic negligence has become South America’s superspreader event, Washington Post, Apr 5, 2021 Hospitals near collapse across Latin America …There is mounting anxiety in parts of South America that the ‘P.1’ coronavirus variant could quickly become the dominant variant, transporting Brazil’s humanitarian disaster — patients languishing without care, a skyrocketing death toll — into their countries…
Biden’s inhumanity on Syria, by Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News, Apr 6, 2021
Related news of the Middle East:
* Biden regime upholds immunity for former Egypt prime minister and torturer Hazem Beblawi, Middle East Monitor, Apr 5, 2021 [Hazem Beblawi served as prime minister of Egypt for eight months following the military-fascist coup on July 3, 2013. Many Western leftists, including most Trotskyist organizations, welcomed the coup because it ousted ‘Islamists’ from power, namely, the elected government of the Freedom and Justice Party (Wikipedia), headed by President Mohammed Morsi. He and his party were elected in 2012. Morsi was jailed by the coup and died in prison in June 2019. The bankrupt Western leftists said the coup marked a ‘new stage’ of a ‘pro-democracy revolution’ in Egypt.] * U.S. controls 90 per cent of Syria oil, Telesur, Mar 19, 2021 read also: report in RT, Mar 20, 2021
* Trump and Biden’s secret bombing wars: One thing that hasn’t changed, by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies, Salon, Mar 5, 2021 The U.S. has waged an unrelenting air war in the Middle East for 20 years. How bad is it? That’s a secret.
World’s billionaires club grew during pandemic by nearly a third, to 2,755, reports Forbes in annual listing, Washington Post, Apr 6, 2021
* 55 of America’s biggest companies paid zero taxes during the pandemic, Fast Company, April 2, 2021
* American inequality was massive before the pandemic; it’s gotten far, far worse during it, by Luke Savage, Jacobin, Apr 2, 2021
How Joe Biden tamed the Democratic Party left, Washington Post, Apr 3, 2021
Panel discussion with Grayzone editors Max Blumenthal, Aaron Maté and Ben Norton, livestream broadcast on the YouTube channel of The Grayzone, Apr 2, 2021 (three hours in total) The three editors discuss the imperialist military/political escalations in recent years against the peoples of Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, Ecuador and China’s Xinjiang region. They are joined mid-broadcast by Grayzone correspondent Ajit Singh.
China emerges as big winner in vaccine outreach, Nikkei Asia, Apr 5, 2021 …The Nikkei has used information provided by the Chinese government’s official website and UNICEF to estimate the scope of China’s vaccine diplomacy. At least 70 nations and areas have either approved Chinese vaccines or agreed to purchase them. In addition, more than 100 countries or territories have received COVID support from China when supplies of face masks, the deployment of doctors and other kinds of aid are also considered. The recipients of this outreach include countries covered by Beijing’s Belt and Road global infrastructure drive as well as Latin American nations that have not signed onto the program…
Europe is torn whether to accept Russia’s offer of help on vaccines, CNN, Apr 3, 2021 [More than two months ago, The Lancet medical magazine published a report on phase-three trials for the Russia-produced Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. The report said the trials “show a consistent strong protective effect across all participant age groups.” Two months later, the European Medical Agency has yet to complete an approval process for the vaccine. In an effort to deflect the vaccination debacle in Europe, this CNN report is full of prejudice and invective towards Russia, callling it an “enemy” of Europe, anxious to “exploit Europe’s weaknesses” through deploying “vaccine diplomacy”.].
* Europe’s vaccination program is ‘unacceptably slow’ says World Health Organization, Associated Press, Apr 1, 2021
India’s daily COVID cases surpass 100,000 mark for the first time, Reuters, Apr 5, 2021 …The country’s daily infections have risen about 12 fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February, when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and following social distancing… India is the world’s biggest maker of Covid-19 vaccines. It has injected 77 million doses at home since the middle of January, but its per capita COVID-19 vaccinations, are lower than many other countries, including that of more populated China which started giving shots to its citizens much earlier…
Related news of pandemic negligence:
* India pins its hopes on vaccines to stop COVID case surge, Deutsche Welle, Apr 4, 2021
* Brazil has become South America’s superspreader event, Washington Post, Apr 5, 2021
* Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, begins exhuming old graves to make space for COVID-19 dead, Reuters, Apr 2, 2021 …Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 3,769 new COVID-19 deaths on April 1, narrowly missing a daily record for a third straight day. The pandemic in Brazil is the second-deadliest in the world (after the United States), averaging about 3,100 deaths and 74,000 new cases per day over the past week, a rate that has climbed steadily since February. “What is happening in Brazil is a global menace,” said José Miguel Bernucci, secretary of Chile’s National Medical Association. “Closing our borders won’t help us so much with the variants that we already have here, but with the new variants that can continue to be created…”
* Hydroxychloroquine and other ‘miracle cures’ continue to fuel Brazil’s outbreak, ABC News, Apr 4, 2021
* As coronavirus infections and vaccinations surge in U.S., hope collides with dread, Washington Post, Apr 2, 2021 [For nearly two months now, new, daily Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are fluctuating around 70,000. The seven-day moving average of daily deaths was 862 on April 2, 2021.]
Moscow holds emergency talks with U.S. over fighting in Donbass as Ukraine says NATO exercises will train troops for war with Russia, RT, Apr 6, 2021
Related: Again, Washington jumps to conclusions after Ukraine-Russia skirmish, by Anatol Lieven, Responsible Statecraft, April 2, 2021
Outbreaks of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases are associated with changes in forest cover and oil palm expansion at global scale, research paper published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Mar 24, 2021 (download the paper here, or read the pdf here: Zoonotic diseases and forest cover, Mar 2021)
Russia’s laws regulating the activities of foreign agents on its soil were strengthened in late 2020, provoking the ire of Western media, April 4, 2021. [Enclosed are two contrasting news reports on ammendments in late 2020 to Russia’s laws regulating the activities of foreign agents on its soil. One is from the TASS Russian news agency, the other is a newly-published article in the Washington Post condemning the ammendments. The moves by Russia are intended to protect its national sovereignty from intervention by Western state and NGO actors seeking to subvert the country’s democracy and destabilize its government.].
* Russian president signs new law governing registration and oversight of foreign agents acting on Russian soil, TASS news agency, Dec 30, 2020 An unregistered public association conducting political activity with foreign financing that evades inclusion in the foreign agents list will face a fine of up to 300,000 rubles (about $4,000)
* Russia’s ‘foreign agent’ law now threatens rights group that survived even Soviet pressures, Washington Post, Apr 3, 2021
With Nicaragua, scary Covid-19 projections in Western media are more newsworthy than the country’s positive outcomes, by John Perry, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Apr 2, 2021
[Here are Covid-19 outcomes in selected Latin American countries, all figures are per million population, source: Worldometer]:
Brazil 60,500 infections 1,710 deaths
Peru 47,000 1,570
Costa Rica 42,300 575
Mexico 17,300 1,570
Venezuela 5,700 60
Nicaragua 1,000 27
Related: Here is the latest offering of lies and disinformation on Nicaragua by the imperialist mouthpiece the UK daily The Guardian: Nicaraguan ruler Ortega rolls out vaccination campaign amid secrecy and doubt, The Guardian, Apr 5, 2021
Border crossings into U.S. in March along Mexico border jumped to highest level in 15 years, Washington Post, Apr 2, 2021
* U.S. on track to encounter record 2 million migrants on the southern border, government estimates show, CNN, Mar 31, 2021 The U.S. is on track to encounter more than 2 million migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the fiscal year, according to internal government estimates reviewed by CNN, marking a record high…
* Border apprehensions spiked in March, including a record number of unaccompanied migrant minors, CNN, Apr 2, 2021
* The reason many Guatemalans are coming to the border? A profound hunger crisis, Washington Post, Apr 2, 2021 …So far this year, more unaccompanied minors processed by immigration agents are from Guatemala than any other country. Analysts and U.S. officials refer obliquely to “poverty” as an underlying cause of that influx, but the reason is often far more specific: hunger. Guatemala now has the sixth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. The number of acute cases in children, according to one new Guatemalan government study, doubled between 2019 and 2020. In Indigenous communities in the country’s western highlands, where a disproportionate number of people are leaving, the chronic child malnutrition rate hovers around 70 percent, higher than any country in the world. The crisis is caused in part by failed harvests linked to climate change, a string of natural disasters and a nearly nonexistent official response…
[This informative report in the Washington Post makes no mention of the long history of the United States in violently imposing authoritarian governments on the peoples of Guatemala and Central America more widely. This failing is understandable because the Post is part of the cabal of Western governments and media seeking to degrade the Venezuelan government and people, similar to what they have done for decades in Guatemala.].
* Another migrant caravan leaves from Honduras towards the U.S. border, by People’s Dispatch, Apr 2, 2021 Social and economic conditions in Honduras continue to worsen while the institutional crisis also deepens following the drug trafficking conviction of the president’s brother in a U.S. court
* As Biden ramps up migrant detention capacity, group warns contaminated military bases ‘are no place’ for kids, Common Dreams, Apr 2, 2021
* The Honduran nightmare, essay and book review by Hilary Goodfriend, published in Jacobin, Dec 12, 2018 Reviewing: The Long Honduran Night: Resistance, Terror and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup (Haymarket Books, 2018) Neither the right-wing nor liberal version of Honduras’ history acknowledge the United States’ responsibility in generating the economic, political, and social conditions for mass migration by destroying Honduran lives and livelihoods
* An ‘Alliance for Insecurity’ in Central America, by Hilary Goodfriend, published in Jacobin, June 14, 2017 US. policy in Central America under Trump appears to be shifting from bad to worse
Georgia has changed its voting laws, other states are set to follow, CBS News, Apr 2, 2021 …Lawmakers in 47 states have introduced 361 bills that would restrict voting access. Of those restrictive bills, at least 55 are currently moving through legislatures in 24 states. So far, 29 of them have passed one chamber, while 26 of them have made it through a committee vote. Overall, five bills have been signed into law, including Georgia’s last week…
* Major League Baseball MLB moves its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law, CBS News, Apr 3, 2021 …Critics say strict new voting laws in Georgia are designed to disenfranchise voters of color. The new law requires a photo ID in order to vote via absentee ballot, which more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used during the coronavirus pandemic. It also limited the locations for dropbox locations and limits the time voters have to request an absentee ballot…
* What Georgia’s voting law really does, New York Times, Apr 4, 2021 The New York Times analyzed the state’s new 98-page voting law and identified 16 key provisions that will limit ballot access, potentially confuse voters and give more power to Republican lawmakers.
* Expand access? A historic restriction? What the Georgia voting law really does, Washington Post, Apr 3, 2021
The race between COVID vaccines and emerging variants, Axios, Apr 1, 2021 …Larry Luchsinger, assistant member of the nonprofit New York Blood Center, and several other experts warn vaccinations must speed up in the U.S. and globally before a more serious variant pops up that renders the first generation of vaccines ineffective…
Related: The imperative of global vaccination, interview with Peter Maybarduk, braodcast on the weekly ‘Counterspin’ interview program on Fairness and Assuracy In Reporting (FAIR.org), Apr 2, 2021 (Nine-minute interview, click on the MP3 link at the weblink. Peter Maybarduk is the director of the Global Access to Medicines Program at Public Citizen.)
Other news of pandemic negligence:
* Drug overdose [poisoning] deaths in U.S. jump to 88,000 for year beginning Aug 2019, NPR, Apr 1, 2021 Drug deaths spiked dramatically during a period that includes the first six months of the pandemic, up roughly 27 per cent compared with the previous year, the acting head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported on April 1… [Opioid related deaths in Canada were 3,945 for the nine months Jan to Sep 2020, an annual rate of 5,260 (source). That is approximately half the mortality rate per capita of the U.S. for opiod and other drug death poisonings.].
* The unmitigated chaos of America’s attempt at color-coded Covid-19 guidance, New York Times, Apr 2, 2021 Many states use color-coded tiers to signal coronavirus restrictions. Why are they all wildly different?
France’s defense minister visits Mali on April 1 for damage control after reports confirm that French jets killed 19 people at a wedding in Mali on January 3, 2021, Associated Press, Apr 2, 2021
* French air strike in January killed 19 unarmed civilians in Mali, says UN report, People’s Dispatch, Mar 31, 2021
* The clandestine war on Africa: France’s endgame in Mali, by Ramzy Baroud, The Palestine Chronicle, Apr 12, 2021
[Defense Post reports on April 2 that the foreign ministers of France, Czech Republic and Estonia came together in Mali on March 31 to announce that a new multinational occupation force, ‘Takuba’, has become operational in Mali and the broader Sahel region. The force has 500 French soldiers at its core and is expected to grow to 2,000 troops, according to the publication. The report explains, “France has so far been unable to obtain significant support [for the idea of the new force] from its larger EU partners.” France already has a large military force in Mali since 2013 (Wikipedia). It specifically operates outside of the authority of the UN Security Council-sponsored military intervention in Mali, known as MINUSMA (Wikipedia). A parade of Western powers has joined France (MINUSMA) in occupying Mali following the military coup in that country in 2012. But their appetite for staying did not last. As well, dozens of smaller countries have done stints in Mali. Military jaunts by smaller countries in such countries as Haiti and Mali under the umbrellas of large imperialist countries, typically with the fig leaf of official support by the UN Security Council. These serve as valuable training grounds for the police and militaries of smaller countries that would otherwise be unable to wage military adventures abroad.]
Biden announces huge infrastructure plan to ‘win the future’, Associated Press, Apr 1, 2021 …The White House says the largest chunk of the proposal includes $621 billion for roads, bridges, public transit, electric vehicle charging stations and other transportation infrastructure…
* Seven infrastructure problems in urgent need of fixing, New York Times, Apr 2, 2021 The Biden administration has pledged a $2 trillion investment in the nation’s infrastructure. With century-old water systems and schools vulnerable to earthquakes, there is no shortage of need.
* U.S. improves to C- in Infrastructure Report Card, but too many D’s remain, Forbes Magazine, Mar 9, 2021
* U.S. infrastructure gets C- from engineers as roads deteriorate, Associated Press, Mar 3, 2021 …In its ‘Infrastructure Report Card’ [published every four years] released on March 3, 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports calls for “big and bold” relief, estimating it would cost $5.9 trillion over the next decade to bring roads, bridges and airports to a safe and sustainable level. That’s about $2.6 trillion more than what government and the private sector already spend…
‘Wipe out China!’: U.S.-funded Uyghur activists train as gun-toting foot soldiers for empire, by Ajit Singh, The Grayzone, Mar 31, 2021 Cultivated by the U.S. government as human rights activists, leaders of the Uyghur American Association partner with far-right lawmakers and operate a militia-style gun club that trains with ex-US special forces. On March 21, U.S.-government-funded Uyghur activists were caught on video disrupting a gathering against anti-Asian racism in Washington DC. They barked insults at demonstrators including, ‘Wipe out China!’ and ‘Fuck China!’ The Uyghur caravan flew American and ‘East Turkestan’ flags and drove vehicles adorned signs bearing slogans such as, ‘We Love USA’,” ‘Boycott China’ and ‘CCP killed 80 million Chinese people’…
Media disinformation as propaganda backing Western firepower in Libya, Syria and Venezuela. A case study of British media, analysis by David Cromwell, editor, Media Lens, Mar 29, 2021
France to close schools, ban domestic travel and impose other restrictions as virus surges, Covid policy flails, Associated Press, Mar 31, 2021
Related pandemic news in Europe:
* What are the lockdown rules in different EU countries?, Deutsche Welle, Apr 2, 2021 Cases of Covid-19 are rising in many parts of the European Union. Consequently, some governments have decided to shut down many areas of public life.
* Medics despair as France’s ‘third way’ virus strategy fails, Associated Press, Apr 1, 2021
* Merkel faults German ‘perfectionism’ for current virus woes, Associated Press, Mar 28, 2021
* Seven-day averages of new Covid-19 cases in leading countries in Europe as of March 31, 2021: France 33,000, Poland 24,000, Italy 17,000, Germany 15,000, Ukraine 10,000, Netherlands 7,000, Sweden 7,000, Spain 6,500, Czech Republic 6,000, Britain 4,500, Belgium 4,000
Thousands of cases of the worrying Covid-19 variant have been reported in the US. These states have the highest numbers, CNN, Apr 1, 2021
Related pandemic news in U.S.:
* Virus surge in Michigan is a ‘gut punch’ to hopes of pandemic’s end, New York Times, Apr 1, 2021 The U.S. has entered a disconcerting phase: Vaccines are rolling out quickly, but upticks in cases raise the prospect of a new surge
* Covid-19 was third-leading cause of death in U.S. in 2020, people of color hit hardest, NPR, Mar 31, 2021
Vaccines vs. coronavirus variants: New studies show how the shots fare, news headlines in the ‘Kaiser Health News Morning Briefing’, Apr 1, 2021
Related vaccine news:
* Vaccines help some Covid long-haulers, report in NPR‘s ‘Shots’ news feature, Mar 31, 2021
* Experts warn of failing to rapidly ‘vaccinate the world’ and creating dangerous opening for virus, Common Dreams, Mar 30, 2021
The China-based foreigners defending Beijing from Xinjiang genocide claims, news report in South China Morning Post, Mar 30, 2021 [This news report is intended to discredit commentary by China-based foreigners who are defending the Chinese people and government against hostile propaganda and military threats from the West. But the report’s effect is the opposite.].
…Li Xing, a professor of international relations at Aalborg University in Denmark who grew up in China, says he frequently watches pro-China content creators because they often show what life is like on the ground, providing first-hand knowledge of the country… He cites Daniel Dumbrill’s YouTube broadcasting in what he calls the one-sidedness of Western media reports on Xinjiang. Dunbrill has cited Danish journalists who frequently approached him for comment on China-related issues but, “Whenever I tell Danish journalists that there is no genocide in Xinjiang they just stop contacting me.” While Li says he is critical of some Chinese government policies – such as its strict controls on speech and press freedoms – he believed ascribing the label of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang does not reflect the complex relationship between Uygur Muslims and the Chinese state. He highlights the Uygurs’ exemption from the one-child policy and affirmative action in university entrance examinations as a few examples of how China could not be perpetuating genocide… “While there are people in China who think there are problems in the way China has handled Xinjiang, the moment they hear the BBC say there is ‘genocide’ happening, they become so angry that they lose all will to criticise the Chinese government.”
Global billionaires have grown $4 trillion wealthier during pandemic, Common Dreams, Mar 31, 2021