Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

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davkol
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The Tokyo Olympics Are In Peril

Staging the Olympics amid a state of emergency and a coronavirus upsurge has led top officials to question whether they should happen at all.

Ten thousand people. That’s how many Olympic volunteers quit their posts in Tokyo, with the games just 50 days away. That is one of every eight volunteers needed to pull off the 2021 (still called the 2020) Olympics. This is just the latest warning sign that, despite the Panglossian protestations of the International Olympic Committee, this summer’s Games are in peril. Japan is currently wrestling with a coronavirus upsurge and less than 3 percent of the population is vaccinated. According to polls, as much as 80 percent of the country does not want to host the games, for fear of it exacerbating this omnipresent public health crisis, currently classified as a state of emergency.

The masses of Tokyo want to postpone or cancel the games, but the government says it’s the IOC’s decision, not the host country’s, sovereignty be damned. In a, pardon the expression, viral editorial, Japanese Olympic Committee member and one-time bronze medalist Kaori Yamaguchi wrote that Japan has been “cornered” into having to host the games. She wrote, “We have been cornered into a situation where we cannot even stop now. We are damned if we do, and damned if we do not…. The IOC also seems to think that public opinion in Japan is not important.” It was an extraordinary statement that broke a wall of blithe arrogance from the JOC in the face of this public opposition.

In a sane world, the Olympics would have already been postponed. But money has trumped all other concerns, and that’s what Yamaguchi is referring to when she says the country is “damned if we do, and damned if we don’t.” Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion on the games, but government audits reveal that the actual cost could be as high as $30 billion and climbing. At least a portion of that lucre needs to be recouped, and it won’t be if the gleaming new facilities are shuttered.

For the IOC, the pressure to televise something they can call the Olympics is a matter of survival. The committee receives 75 percent of its budget from Olympic television rights and is already hurting from last year’s postponement, which was instituted against its will. If these Olympics are postponed again or—heaven forfend—canceled, the IOC stands to lose, according to the Associated Press, between $3 billion and $4 billion. If the Olympics go on, it will be the ultimate negation of its alleged purpose: profit trumping the joy of sport.

Dave Zirin
June 8, 2021
The Nation

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'Keystone XL Is Dead!': After 10-Year Battle, Climate Movement Victory Is Complete

"Keystone XL is now the most famous fossil fuel project killed by the climate movement,' said one veteran campaigner, "but it won't be the last."

After more than a decade of grassroots organizing, agitation, and tireless opposition by the international climate movement, the final nail was slammed into the Keystone XL's coffin Wednesday afternoon when the company behind the transnational tar sands pipeline officially pulled the plug on its plans.

Following consultation with Canadian officials and regulators—including "its partner, the Government of Alberta"—TC Energy confirmed its "termination" of the project in a statement citing the revocation of a federal U.S. permit by President Joe Biden on his first day in office on January 20 as the leading reason.

Climate campaigners, however, were immediate in claiming a final victory after years of struggle against the company and its backers both in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa.

"After more than 10 years of organizing we have finally defeated an oil giant, Keystone XL is dead!" declared the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) in reaction. "We are dancing in our hearts because of this victory! From Dene territories in Northern Alberta to Indigenous lands along the Gulf of Mexico, we stood hand-in-hand to protect the next seven generations of life, the water and our communities from this dirty tar sands pipeline. And that struggle is vindicated."

IEN said that the win over TC Energy and its supporters was "not the end—but merely the beginning of further victories," and also reminded the world that there are "still frontline Indigenous water protectors like Oscar High Elk who face charges for standing against the Keystone XL pipeline."

Jamie Henn and Bill McKibben, both co-founders of 350.org and key architects of the decision to make the Keystone XL pipeline a target and symbol of the global climate movement, also heralded the news.

"When this fight began, people thought Big Oil couldn't be beat," said McKibben, who was among those arrested outside the White House in 2011 protesting the pipeline.

"Keystone XL is now the most famous fossil fuel project killed by the climate movement, but it won't be the last," said Henn. "The same coalition that stopped this pipeline is now battling Line 3 and dozens of other fossil fuel projects across the country. Biden did the right thing on KXL, now it's time to go a step further and say no to all new fossil fuel projects everywhere."

Clayton Thomas Muller, another longtime KXL opponent and currently a senior campaigns specialist at 350.org in Canada, said: "This victory is thanks to Indigenous land defenders who fought the Keystone XL pipeline for over a decade. Indigenous-led resistance is critical in the fight against the climate crisis and we need to follow the lead of Indigenous peoples, particularly Indigenous women, who are leading this fight across the continent and around the world. With Keystone XL cancelled, it's time to turn our attention to the Indigenous-led resistance to the Line 3 and the Trans Mountain tar sands pipelines."

McKibben also made the direct connection to KXL and the decision now looming before Biden when it comes to Line 3 in northern Minnesota. "When enough people rise up we're stronger even than the richest fossil fuel companies," he said. "And by the way, the same climate test that ruled out Keystone should do the same for Line 3."

Jon Queally
June 9, 2021
Common Dreams

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Mixing vaccines may boost immune responses

Faced with short supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and unforeseen side effects, some countries have adopted an unproven strategy: switching shots midstream. Most authorized vaccines require two doses administered weeks or months apart, but Canada and several European countries are now recommending a different vaccine for the second dose in some patients. Early data suggest the approach, born of necessity, may actually be beneficial.

In three recent studies, researchers have found that following one dose of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine produces strong immune responses, as measured by blood tests. Two of the studies even suggest the mixed vaccine response will be at least as protective as two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech product, one of the most effective COVID-19 vaccines.

Only a few of the potential vaccine combinations have been tested. But if mixing vaccines proves safe and effective, it could speed the effort to protect billions of people. “This possibility opens new perspectives for many countries,” says Cristóbal Belda-Iniesta, a clinical research specialist at the Carlos III Health Institute. Governments, for example, could immediately distribute new doses without worrying about setting aside second shots of specific vaccines to give people weeks or months later.

Mixing the two types of vaccine may give the immune system multiple ways to recognize a pathogen. “The mRNA vaccines are really, really good at inducing antibody responses, and the vector-based vaccines are better at triggering T cell responses,” Sander says. Matthew Snape, a vaccine expert at the University of Oxford, agrees the combination vaccine results so far are promising but cautions they don't resolve whether any improvement in T cell response results from longer dose intervals rather than the mixing.

The recent studies are imperfect because they are not designed to assess actual protection against COVID-19. That would require following large groups receiving different vaccine combinations to see who gets infected and sick over many months. The antibody and T cell measurements the studies rely on are thought to correspond to real-life protection, but studies are ongoing to determine exactly how reliable these correlates are.

Still, the findings support recent policy changes. Spain has authorized the mixing of the two vaccines for people under age 60. Other countries that have put age limits on the AstraZeneca vaccine, including Canada, Germany, France, Norway, and Denmark, have made similar recommendations.

Gretchen Vogel
June 11, 2021
Science

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Martin.Stanek
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White House admits CIA involvement in “War on Corruption” which jailed Lula and elected Bolsonaro

In a White House ‘Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials on the Fight Against Corruption’, a Biden administration official admitted that the CIA and other parts of the U.S. intelligence apparatus were involved in assisting the “War on Corruption” which jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and elected Jair Bolsonaro.

In July 2017, Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco gave a speech at NATO think tank the Atlantic Council in which he bragged of the Justice Department’s informal involvement in Brazilian anti-corruption operation Lava Jato and its prosecution of former president Lula. FBI personnel involved later boasted that it had “toppled presidents“. Lava Jato prosecutor Deltan Dellagnol described Lula’s 2018 arrest which kept him out of the election he was on course to win, as “a gift from the CIA“. The judge who prosecuted Lula, Sergio Moro, became Bolsonaro’s Justice Minister, and both made an unprecedented visit to CIA headquarters in Langley within months of taking office, whilst the DOJ rewarded the Lava Jato task-force with a $682 million dollar kickback. Lava Jato’s origins can be traced back to 2008/09, where Moro and a blueprint for an operation of its type appear in State Department cables.

Moro is now under investigation for 7 counts of judicial bias, in working to help oust president Dilma Rousseff, jail candidate Lula da Silva, and elect his opponent Bolsonaro, with the assistance of the U.S. government.

The role of anti-corruption as U.S. foreign policy tool in Latin America has expanded gradually since the 1990s, and has continued through successive Democrat and Republican administrations. Lava Jato was central to the ouster of president Dilma Rousseff, and pivotal to the election of Jair Bolsonaro, which were both undeniably advantageous to the United States government and business/banking sector, which is represented in Latin America by lobby and think tank Council of the Americas.

The June 3 press call was to mark a new national security study memorandum or NSSM on “Establishing the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest“, which is being renewed under the Biden administration, and held by unnamed “senior administration officials”.

June 3, 2021
Brasil Wire

Tito uživatelé poděkovali autorovi davkol za příspěvky (celkem 2):
Ales.Jakl, Ivor.Kollar

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