07 Jul

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

Hundreds of thousands look on as close to 500 LGBT groups take part in annual event

The Pride in London Parade gets under way in central London on Saturday.

The Pride in London Parade gets under way in central London on Saturday. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

Hundreds of thousands of people have lined the streets of central London for the city’s annual LGBT Pride celebration.

About 30,000 people from almost 500 LGBT groups are taking part in the parade, watched by spectators on the parade route from Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.

The parade was officially opened on Saturday by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, who also participated in the event.

A further 20,000 people applied to march in the parade but were not permitted to do so after organisers capped the total at 30,000 in a decision that the march co-founder and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said amounted to “anti-LGBT+ discrimination”.

Sadiq Khan and Penny Mordaunt (left) open the Pride In London parade on Saturday.

Sadiq Khan and Penny Mordaunt (left) open the Pride In London parade on Saturday. Photograph: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

London Pride, which organises the event, said allowing everyone who wanted to march to do so was “not practical at present” and that if it did so the parade could take nine hours.

Groups taking part in the parade include Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre; Xtend, a support group for gay parents; and Educate & Celebrate, which aims to make schools LGBT-friendly places.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS this year, groups representing various parts of the health service are playing a prominent part in the parade.

Alison Camps, co-chair of Pride in London, said: “The NHS is more important to the LGBT community than ever. It’s their 70th anniversary so we wanted to say happy birthday and acknowledge the amazing work they do.”

The start of the event was overshadowed by a protest by a small group of lesbian anti-trans activists, some carrying signs with slogans such as “transactivists erase lesbians”.

The decision to allow the protesters to remain in the parade has been criticised by some.

A Pride in London spokesperson said: “Given the hot weather and in the interest of the safety for everyone attending today’s event, the parade group was allowed to move ahead. We do not condone their approach and message and hope the actions of a very small number of people does not overshadow the messages of the 30,000 people marching today.”

As well as floats from corporate sponsors including Barclays, Virgin Atlantic and Metro Bank, political parties are also participating.

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As unions warn of serious injuries, plans to take speed limits off the lines at pig plants are causing anxiety

Pig carcasses in a Missouri plant

Pig carcasses in a midwest plant. US meat workers are three times more likely to suffer serious injury than the average American worker. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Amputations, fractured fingers, second-degree burns and head trauma are just some of the serious injuries suffered by US meat plant workers every week, according to data seen by the Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

US meat workers are already three times more likely to suffer serious injury than the average American worker, and pork and beef workers nearly seven times more likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries. And some fear that plans to remove speed restrictions on pig processing lines – currently being debated by the government – will only make the work more difficult.

Government and industry bodies point out that there have been reductions in worker injury rates over the last couple of decades, although the figures still remain higher than average. They argue that despite the lifting of speed restrictions, the need to adhere to strict rules on food safety will impose its own limit on line speeds.

Records compiled by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reveal that, on average, there are at least 17 “severe” incidents a month in US meat plants. These injuries are classified as those involving “hospitalisations, amputations or loss of an eye”.

Amputations happen on average twice a week, according to the data. There were 270 incidents in a 31-month period spanning 2015 to 2017, according to the OSHA figures. Most of the incidents involved the amputation of fingers or fingertips, but there were recordings of lost hands, arms or toes. During the period there were a total of 550 serious injuries which cover 22 of the 50 states so the true total for the USA would be substantially higher.

Recorded injuries include:

  • An employee’s left arm had to be surgically amputated at the shoulder after it was pulled into the cubing machine during sanitation

  • A worker was reaching down to pick up a box to clear a jam when his jacket became caught in a roller. As he tried to pull it out, his hand got pulled in as well. His hand and lower arm were crushed

  • While an employee was attempting to remove the ribs from the spine of a cattle rib set, his hand made contact with a running vertical band saw and two of his fingers were amputated

  • An employee working on a sanitation crew pushed the stop button after removing parts from the upper portion of a machine. The employee then placed his foot into a horizontal grinder while climbing down from the machine, causing all five toes on his right foot to be amputated

  • A worker was clearing the hydrolyzer when back pressure caused hot feathers to discharge on to him. As he moved out of the way, he fell six feet, breaking a bone over his left eye and suffering first- and second-degree burns to the hands, arms, face and neck.

Chronic ailments are an even bigger issue, leaving many workers permanently disabled, and leading to losses and costs, both individually and publicly. According to one published study, carpal tunnel syndrome costs more than $2bn annually in medical treatment costs alone, for workers in all US industries.

“Every co-worker I know has been injured at some point,” plant worker Eric Fuerstenberg told the USDA as they examined the case for implementing reforms that would include speeding up the line. “I can attest that the line speeds are already too fast to keep up with. Please, I am asking you not to increase them any more.”…………….“I am strongly opposed to any provision that would allow employers to increase the number of forceful repetitions workers are required to perform,” David Michaels, the former top OSHA administrator under President Obama, wrote in response to the plans. “The proposed rule allows employers to increase the line speed without adding additional workers. This will, without doubt, increase worker injuries and illnesses.”

But NAMI argues that the removal of line speed caps is not about speeding things up, but about allowing the line inspector to decide a speed that is appropriate for safety. Plants would not be capped at 1,106 pigs per hour, but they could only operate as fast as adhering to food safety rules would allow, said a NAMI spokesperson. In fact, under the pilot programmes that have been running, some plants actually ran more slowly than the current capped rate, they point out.

The USDA believes that the current inspection system forces vets to concentrate on areas that actually are not the priority for food safety concerns. They believe the NSIS will “improve animal welfare and compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA); improve the effectiveness of swine slaughter inspection; make more efficient use of the agency’s resources; and remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles to innovation”.

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World Politics

United States

Cartoonists Overseas Take on Donald Trump

Dan Murphy

Ireland Dan Murphy

Opponents’ death threats haven’t slowed the outspoken California congresswoman in her crusade against Trump

Maxine Waters at a protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policy last month.

Maxine Waters at a protest against the Trump administration’s immigration policy last month. Photograph: Monica Almeida/Reuters

Amid threats to assassinate, hang, lynch, expel and otherwise silence her, Maxine Waters clambered on to a stage in Los Angeles last week and did what comes naturally: hurl defiance.

“All I have to say is this: if you shoot me, you better shoot straight,” she told cheering supporters. “There’s nothing like a wounded animal.”

It was typical audacity from one of the most outspoken members of Congress, a 79-year-old political veteran from California who is leading the charge against Donald Trump and now finds herself at the heart of a debate about civility – or the lack of it – in political discourse.

Waters was one of the first Democrats in Washington to call for Trump’s impeachment after his inauguration in 2016, calling him a scumbag, immoral, indecent and inhumane. She branded his staff the “Kremlin Klan”.

The former factory worker now leads calls to confront and shame his cabinet members over the separation of immigrant families. People are going to “harass” and “turn on them”, be it in stores, restaurants or gas stations, she declared last month. “We’ve got to push back.”

To progressive supporters, Waters is “Auntie Maxine”, a matriarchal rebel who inspires resistance to tyranny. Millennial fans have taught the grandmother terms like “woke” and “throwing shade”. Her soundbites go viral, become memes and end up on T-shirts.

To rightwing foes, she is Kerosene Maxine, Crazy Maxie, Dirty Waters and worse – Twitter spews slurs by the hour. Trump has set the tone by calling her an “extraordinarily low IQ person” and making a veiled threat: “Be careful what you wish for Max!”

The backlash reached new intensity this week.

Death threats deemed credible prompted Waters to suspend scheduled appearances in Texas and Alabama until security can be beefed up.

A conservative group, Judicial Watch, filed an ethics complaint with the House of Representatives, claiming Waters had incited mob violence against Trump supporters (she denies that and says Trump is the inciter of violence). Social media spread a fake report, purportedly from CNN, claiming Waters wanted an undocumented migrant appointed to the supreme court.

In a renewed attack, Trump called her corrupt, crazy and, along with the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, the face of the Democratic party. “Her ranting and raving, even referring to herself as a wounded animal, will make people flee the Democrats!” he tweeted.

It wasn’t just Republicans piling on. Some Democratic leaders also rebuked Waters for advocating harassment of Trump officials. “Unacceptable,” said Pelosi, without naming her colleague. “Not American,” said Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader.

This prompted a counter-blast from nearly 200 black female leaders – activists, pastors, academics, elected officials – who accused the Democrats of failing to protect Waters.

Whatever clouds hovered over her in Washington, this week it was only sun – with a looming heatwave – in Waters’ 43rd congressional district, a Democratic bastion of African American, Latino, white and Asian communities in south LA.

“She’s a headstrong woman and that’s always a positive,” said Alvarette Valley, 45, a healthcare worker, seeking shade in Inglewood, near the LAX airport. “We’re at a point where we are so far beneath being civil. Trump can spew his evil and she can spew truth about that.”

Illya Brantley, 36, a salesman, called Waters a beacon. “We have a racist-ass president. We have policies that are helping the top 1%. If you sit back and say nothing, nothing changes. A closed mouth don’t get fed. She’s harnessing energy and directing feelings.”……………….James Fugate, who runs a bookshop in south LA, said Trump’s “low IQ” taunts showed the need for vigorous opposition. “He’s figured out a way to come close, without actually saying it: ‘Oh, she’s a monkey out of the tree.’”

The concern for Democrats is whether Auntie Maxine’s recipes, such as publicly shaming Trump officials, will backfire by alienating swing voters and galvanising Republicans in November’s midterm elections.

Guerra, the political analyst, played down that risk, saying the challenge for Democrats was to fire up their own base. “If you turn out Democrats, they win. Without Maxine Waters and people like her, the Democrats cannot recapture the House.”

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Francis also denounces ‘sterile hypocrisy’ of those who turn a blind eye to the world’s poor

Pope Francis is greeted by a migrant at a mass to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his visit in Lampedusa. Photograph: Vatican Media/Reuters

Pope Francis urged governments on Friday to make good on their commitments to curb global warming, warning that climate change, continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threatens to turn the Earth into a vast pile of “rubble, deserts and refuse”.

Francis made the appeal at a Vatican conference marking the third anniversary of his landmark environmental encyclical “Praise Be.” The document, meant to spur action at the 2015 Paris climate conference, called for a paradigm shift in humanity’s relationship with Mother Nature.

In his remarks, Francis urged governments to honor their Paris commitments and said institutions such as the IMF and World Bank had important roles to play in encouraging reforms promoting sustainable development.

“There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse,” he warned.

The Paris accord, reached by 195 countries, seeks to avoid some of the worst effects of climate change by curbing global greenhouse gas emissions via individual, non-binding national plans. President Donald Trump has said the US will pull out of the accord negotiated by his predecessor unless he can get a better deal.

Friday’s conference was the latest in a series of Vatican initiatives meant to impress a sense of urgency about global warming and the threat it poses in particular to the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

Recently, Francis invited oil executives and investors to the Vatican for a closed-door conference where he urged them to find alternatives to fossil fuels. He warned climate change was a challenge of “epochal proportions”.

Next year, Francis has called a three-week synod, or meeting of bishops, specifically to address the church’s response to the ecological crisis in the Amazon, where deforestation threatens what he has called the “lung” of the planet and the indigenous peoples who live there

On Friday, Francis also thanked aid groups that rescue and care for migrants and denounced the “sterile hypocrisy” of those who turn a blind eye to the world’s poor seeking security and a dignified life.

Francis celebrated a mass for migrants and those who care for them in St Peter’s Basilica, calling attention to their plight as Europe, the US and other countries increasingly closing their doors, ports and borders to them.

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