23 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.

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This racist new law makes me ashamed to be Israeli

Daniel Barenboim is a conductor, pianist, author and activist

Israeli Arabs are being made second-class citizens. This form of apartheid violates the founding commitment to equality

Palestinians cross through Israeli checkpoint to get to work.

Palestinians cross through Israeli checkpoint to get to work. Photograph: Ammar Awad/Reuters

I gave a speech at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in 2004 in which I spoke about the declaration of independence of the state of Israel. I called it “a source of inspiration to believe in ideals that transformed us from Jews to Israelis”.

I went on to say that this remarkable document had expressed the commitment that: “The state of Israel will devote itself to the development of this country for the benefit of all its people; it will be founded on the principles of freedom, justice and peace, guided by the visions of the prophets of Israel; it will grant full equal, social and political rights to all its citizens regardless of differences of religious faith, race or sex; it will ensure freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”

The founding fathers of the state of Israel who signed the declaration in 1948 considered the principle of equality to be the bedrock of the society they were building. They also committed themselves “to pursue peace and good relations with all neighbouring states and people”.

Seventy years on, the Israeli government has just passed a law that replaces the principle of equality and universal values with nationalism and racism. This law states that only the Jewish people have a right to national self-determination in Israel.

It fills me with deep sorrow that I must today ask the same questions that I asked 14 years ago before the Knesset: can we ignore the intolerable gap between what the declaration of independence promised and the realities of Israel?

Is there any sense in ??independence ?for one at the expense of the fundamental rights of the other?

Does occupation and domination over another people fit the declaration of independence? Is there any sense in independence for one at the expense of the fundamental rights of the other? Can the Jewish people, whose history is a record of continued suffering and relentless persecution, allow themselves to be indifferent to the rights and suffering of a neighbouring people? Can the state of Israel allow itself the unrealistic dream of an ideological end to the conflict instead of pursuing a pragmatic, humanitarian one based on social justice?

I still believe that, despite all the difficulties, objective and subjective, the future of Israel and its position in the family of enlightened nations depend upon our ability to realise the promise of the founding fathers as they enshrined it in the Israeli declaration of independence.

Yet nothing has really changed since 2004. Instead, we have a law that confirms the Arab population as second-class citizens. It follows that this is a very clear form of apartheid. I don’t think the Jewish people lived for 20 centuries, mostly through persecution and enduring endless cruelties, in order to become the oppressors, inflicting cruelty on others. This new law does exactly that. Therefore, I am ashamed of being an Israeli today.

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Study says the date by which we consume a year’s worth of resources is arriving faster

Drought at Rawal Lake in Pakistan during June 2018.

Drought at Rawal Lake in Pakistan during June 2018. On current trends, next year could mark the first time, the planet’s budget is busted in July Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty

Humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes, according to a new study that reveals we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days.

As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded.

To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt.

The overshoot began in the 1970s, when rising populations and increasing average demands pushed consumption beyond a sustainable level. Since then, the day at which humanity has busted its annual planetary budget has moved forward.

Thirty years ago, the overshoot was on 15 October. Twenty years ago, 30 September. Ten years ago, 15 August. There was a brief slowdown, but the pace has picked back up in the past two years. On current trends, next year could mark the first time, the planet’s budget is busted in July.

While ever greater food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance and fossil-fuel burning bring short-term (and unequally distributed) lifestyle gains, the long-term consequences are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages and climate disruption.

World Politics

United States

Campaigner hails start of ‘age of the downloadable gun’ after state department reaches settlement with software designer

Cody Wilson poses with a ‘Liberator’ 3D-printed gun.

Cody Wilson poses with a ‘Liberator’ 3D-printed gun. Photograph: Cody Wilson

From 1 August, thanks to the Trump administration, a commercially available software blueprint will allow people to make their own guns using ABS plastic resin and a 3D printer.

The green light came late last month, with a court settlement between the designer of the blueprint and the US state department. Gun rights advocates celebrated.

In a statement greeting the news, the Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice-president, Alan Gottlieb, said: “Not only is this a first amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby.”

Defense Distributed, the company behind the blueprint, declared: “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins.”

Gun control advocates were alarmed. Nick Suplina, managing director of law and policy at Everytown for Gun Safety, said the settlement was “incredibly dangerous” and called on the state department to continue to block the publication of what he described as “deadly information”.

“This settlement would enable convicted felons and domestic abusers to download schematics online and print their own illegal and untraceable guns,” he said.

The lawsuit arose from a software file developed by a University of Texas law student, Cody Wilson. It was a blueprint for a single-shot 3D-printed handgun, named “The Liberator”. The state department ordered Wilson to cease work, arguing that making the blueprint available would be akin to a violation of arms export statutes.

The libertarian-minded Wilson swiftly turned from a hobbyist to a crusader. “All I tried to do in law school was print a pistol and put it on the internet,” he told the Guardian in 2016. “Now I’m on a ride I can’t get off.”

Wilson sued on the grounds that his design was protected by the first amendment. He also founded a non-profit, Defense Distributed. Celebrating the settlement, he tweeted an image of flowers laid at a plaque in memory of “American gun control”.

Wilson’s legal battle was largely financed by the sale of products which allow for the DIY production of metal-framed “ghost guns”, which do not have serial numbers and are not subject to traditional gun control laws.

Defense Distributed sells users an “80% lower” – a piece of metal the government deems is only 80% a gun – and a milling machine that can, with a PC and the right software, bring the gun to completion.

On its website, the company describes the milling device as a way to “legally manufacture unserialized rifles and pistols in the comfort and privacy of home”.

With the Liberator and other 3D-printed guns including AR-15 style rifles, users will not need a prefabricated “80% lower”. They will be able instead to construct virtually an entire gun with any 3D printer and enough ABS plastic resin.

The gun does require a metal firing pin to operate. An additional piece of metal is included in the blueprint, to ensure compliance with the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act.

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