Tears for a Dying World

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ article in Le Monde newspaper: Europe at crossroads

On 25th of last January, the Greek people made a courageous decision. They dared to challenge the one-way street of the Memorandum’s tough austerity, and to seek a new agreement. A new agreement that will keep the country in the Euro, with a viable economic program, without the mistakes of the past. The Greek people paid a high price for these mistakes; over the past five years the unemployment rate climbed to 28% (60% for young people), average income decreased by 40%, while according to Eurostat’s data, Greece became the EU country with the highest index of social inequality. And...

Industrialization in Japan

The human cost of industrialization

  In the year the West knows as 604 A.D., one of Japan’s most revered statesmen, Shotoku Taishi, issued a “constitution,” the first of whose 17 articles states, “Harmony is to be valued.” So it was; so it is to this day — valued so highly that it is apt to be seen whether it exists or not. Japan’s industrialization was a government-led forced march to a national goal expressed in a government slogan: “Rich country, strong army.” Individual suffering counted for little. There was a good deal of it, inevitably. Peasants pouring into cities were herded into factories. Hours...

Obama and Abe

Obama afraid of improved relations between Japan and Russia, putting pressure on Abe

  U.S. President Barack Obama asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to deal cautiously with Russia at their summit in Washington in April, Japanese government sources said Saturday. Fully aware of Japan’s hope to realize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tokyo, Obama apparently wanted to make sure that Japan does not concede easily over the Ukraine crisis, according to the sources. In the summit, Obama stressed the importance of a careful approach toward Russia. The Group of Seven major economies have moved in step with one another on the issue and should continue to do so, Obama told Abe. Japan...

A girl about 12 years old has carried out a suicide attack at a bus station in north-eastern Nigeria, killing seven and injuring 31, witnesses say.

Little 12-year old girl, used by Muslims as suicide bomber, kills seven, injuring 31 in north-east Nigeria

“A girl aged about 12 detonated an explosive under her clothes as she approached the station’s perimeter fence,” said Danbaba Nguru, a shopkeeper who witnessed the attack in the town of Damaturu. “The road leading to the gates is always full of small traders … I was lucky not to have been hit.” The head of the local Sani Abacha hospital, doctor Gara Fika, said six bodies and at least 31 injured had arrived there with one person dying after being admitted. The Damaturu bus station has been repeatedly targeted in a string of previous suicide attacks. “I was in...

Vatican calls for urgent action on climate change: Wealthiest have moral obligation to find solutions

Pope Francis is right to call for climate action

Pope Francis is calling on the world to take action against global warming, and many conservatives in the United States are up in arms. The pope should stick to morality, they say, and not venture into science. But, as the climate debate unfolds this year, most of humanity will find Francis’ message compelling: We need both science and morality to reduce the risk to our planet. The first point to note is that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with Francis’ call for climate action. Unfortunately, their views are not represented in the U.S. Congress, which defends Big Coal and...

Soldiers stand guard on a road as they are deployed to remote villages in Jolo, Sulu southern Philippines, in this October 17, 2014 file photo. (Reuters)

This is what happens if you have Muslims in your backyard: 4 killed as Philippine troops clash with Abu Sayyaf

MANILA: Philippine troops overran a bomb factory of Abu Sayyaf militants after a firefight that killed three insurgents and a soldier in the country’s restive south, the military said Friday. Troops on Basilan Island, the birthplace of the militant Abu Sayyaf movement, clashed with 25 rebels who also included one Malaysian on Thursday, said Rear Adm. Reynaldo Yoma, a military task force commander. The four-hour running battle left one soldier dead and seven wounded, and on the side of the militants, three killed and three wounded. Soldiers, however, recovered the body of only one Abu Sayyaf fighter. Troops later entered...

Three of the six GCC nations are not even sending heads of state to the Arab Summit, a clear message to Obama.

Obama and the Arab Summit: from one blunder to the next

While hosting the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Washington on Wednesday and at Camp David on Thursday, President Barack Obama faces a hard sell: assuring the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia that the United States has an Iran policy that encompasses their security needs. He must also encourage the six GCC countries to work together for their own collective security, but in a way that dovetails with America’s own strategic goals. But doing so won’t be easy. Only three of the six GCC nations are sending heads of state. The leaders of Oman and...

DHAKA: A blogger was hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers in Bangladesh on Tuesday, the third killing of a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation in less than three months

Bangladesh, another country where you don’t want to live if you’re not a Muslim

DHAKA: A blogger was hacked to death by machete-wielding attackers in Bangladesh on Tuesday, the third killing of a critic of religious extremism in the Muslim-majority nation in less than three months. Ananta Bijoy Das, a blogger who advocated secularism, was attacked by four masked assailants in the northeastern district of Sylhet on Tuesday morning, senior police official Mohammad Rahamatullah told Reuters. Rahamatullah said Das was a 33-year-old banker. He was also editor of science magazine “Jukti”, which means “logic”, and on the advisory board of “Mukto Mona” (Free Mind), a website propagating rationalism and opposing fundamentalism that was founded...

Research has discovered that some animals can produce their own sunscreen.

No lotions needed: Many animal species produce their own sunscreen

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Researchers have discovered why many animal species can spend their whole lives outdoors with no apparent concern about high levels of solar exposure: they make their own sunscreen. The findings, published today in the journal eLife by scientists from Oregon State University, found that many fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds can naturally produce a compound called gadusol, which among other biologic activities provides protection from the ultraviolet, or sun-burning component of sunlight. The researchers also believe that this ability may have been obtained through some prehistoric, natural genetic engineering. The gene that provides the capability to produce...

President Barack Obama speaks about trade policy during his visit to Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, on Friday. | AFP-JIJI

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: another Obama disaster for the working class, a heaven-sent for multinationals

WASHINGTON – Things are not quite square in Washington when the biggest backer of President Barack Obama’s current legislative priority is the Senate’s top Republican and its archfoe is the Democratic leader. Yet that is the scenario in the U.S. Senate, which is set to hold a test vote Tuesday on whether to consider giving Obama fast-track trade promotion authority (TPA) to complete a massive trade deal with 11 other Pacific rim countries. Senate Republicans mostly support the measure, which will allow Obama to present a trade deal to Congress for an up or down vote, but with lawmakers forfeiting...