Daily Archives: March 2, 2021

2021-03-02: News Headlines

Editor (2021-03-02). Raise the minimum wage to $15 — at least! workers.org A $15-per-hour minimum wage cannot be included in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill proposed by Congressional Democrats. So ruled the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth McDonough, on Feb. 25. This unelected official called it "irrelevant to budget legislation." This edict is a brutal blow to millions of struggling workers. Nevertheless, the . . . |

Areeb Ullah (2021-03-02). Covid-19: Saudi Arabia says vaccine is a must for Hajj. middleeasteye.net Covid-19: Saudi Arabia says vaccine is a must for Hajj | It is still unclear if Riyadh will allow people to travel to the kingdom for the annual pilgrimage this July | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 12: 57 | Saudi Arabia introduced social distancing rules to protect pilgrims from the coronavirus (AFP) | Saudi Arabia said pilgrims hoping to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage would need to be vaccinated against Covid-1…

MEE, agencies (2021-03-02). Covid-19: Turkey reopens restaurants, schools as infection rates drop. middleeasteye.net Covid-19: Turkey reopens restaurants, schools as infection rates drop | President Erdogan declares the beginning of 'controlled normalisation' policy with the coronavirus | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 07: 54 | A man feeds seagulls on the shore of the Bosphorus in Istanbul during heavy snowfalls on 14 February 2021 (AFP) | Turkey is beginning to ease coronavirus restrictions from Tuesday in new guide…

Staff (2021-03-02). Black People Face Higher COVID Infections & Deaths. Should They Have Lower Age Cutoffs for Vaccines? democracynow.org As the U.S. vaccine rollout continues to expand, health justice advocates worry about a racial gap in vaccinations. Black communities have been hard hit by the pandemic, but rates of vaccination in communities of color lag behind largely white communities across the country. Dr. Oni Blackstock, a primary care and HIV physician, argues that age cutoffs should be lowered or removed for Black people in order to speed up inoculations, noting that Black Americans are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white Americans and also dying at rates similar to those of white Americans who are 10 years older. "These fixed-…

RT (2021-03-02). Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly opposes delaying second doses of Covid vaccines to inoculate more people. rt.com Dr. Anthony Fauci has disagreed with calls to delay the second dose of Covid-19 jabs to inoculate more Americans, rejecting the strategy adopted by the UK government and others to speed up their vaccine rollout. | America's top infectious disease official made the comments to the Washington Post, as he said the United States must stick to its current two-dose strategy for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. | Fauci warned that, while delaying second doses of the vaccines could allow health officials to provide more individuals with their first dose, it also presents risks, such as leaving people wit…

RT (2021-03-02). Johnson & Johnson's newly-approved Covid vaccine met with pushback as Catholic diocese condemns it for 'ties to abortion cells'. rt.com As Johnson & Johnson rolls out its freshly approved Covid-19 vaccine in the US, it faces a religious controversy as the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans has labeled it "morally compromised" over links to abortion cells. | Catholics are advised not to receive the vaccine because Johnson & Johnson used cell lines derived from decades-old abortions in both testing and production of the new product, the Archdiocese Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have utiliz…

RT (2021-03-02). US won't share Covid-19 vaccines with Mexico as Americans must be inoculated first — White House. rt.com The Biden administration has rejected the idea of sharing Covid-19 vaccines with the hard-hit neighbor Mexico, White House press-secretary Jen Psaki said, adding that it can only be discussed after all Americans get their shots. | "The administration's focus is on ensuring that every American is vaccinated. And once we accomplish that objective we're happy to discuss further steps," Psaki said when asked about possible vaccine sharing during a briefing on Monday. | The comments came hours before the virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. | Also…

RT (2021-03-02). 'It is time!' Mississippi governor to end mask mandate & lift all Covid-19 business restrictions, following Texas' lead. rt.com Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he will soon axe the state's mask mandate and end all coronavirus-related business restrictions, pointing to improved case and hospitalization numbers after Texas took a similar step. | "Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules," Reeves said in a tweet on Tuesday. | Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time! | Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will…

Staff (2021-03-02). Anti-Choice Forces Use Pandemic to Slash Abortion Access in Preview of Post-Roe v. Wade World. democracynow.org We look at how people across the U.S. have struggled to access abortions during the pandemic with reporter Amy Littlefield, who says that even before the COVID-19 outbreak, many states had restrictions, including three-day waiting periods and counseling sessions filled with misinformation. Then, many tried to use the pandemic as a pretext for banning abortion as a nonessential service. "Texas, in the early weeks of the pandemic, sort of gave us a dress rehearsal for what it could look like when states try to ban abortion entirely," says Littlefield. "We saw how half a century worth of attempts to whittle away at…

_____ (2021-03-02). Billionaire Wealth, U.S. Job Losses and Pandemic Profiteers. strategic-culture.org Check back for our regular updates on U.S. unemployment and billionaire wealth during the pandemic emergency. | By Chuck COLLINS | February 24, 2021 Update: US Billionaire Wealth Grows $1.3 trillion Since Mid-March 2020. | As the US crosses the threshold of half a million deaths from the Covid pandemic, the nation's billionaires continue to reap extraordinary financial gains. After 11 months of pandemic misery, where millions have lost their jobs, health and wealth, total US billionaire wealth increased $1.3 trillion since mid-March, 2020, an increase of 44 percent. | As of the market close on Friday, February…

RT (2021-03-02). Texas gov lifts mask mandate & OKs businesses to operate at 100% capacity. rt.com Texas Governor Greg Abbott has lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions in his state, permitting businesses to operate at 100-percent capacity starting March 10 and repealing the requirement for people to wear face coverings. | Abbott delivered the "exciting news" during a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, informing the assembled small business and community leaders that the mask mandate — in place since July — was no more. | "We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent," Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday — Texas' Indepe…

RT (2021-03-02). Texas gov lifts mask mandate & OKs businesses to operate at 100% capacity. rt.com Texas Governor Greg Abbott has lifted many of the Covid-19 restrictions in his state, permitting businesses to operate at 100-percent capacity and repealing the requirement for people to wear face coverings. | Abbott delivered the "exciting news" during a speech to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, informing the assembled small business and community leaders that the mask mandate — in place since July — was no more. | pic.twitter.com/k5SZKnAUg5— Sarah Self-Walbrick (@SarahFromTTUPM) March 2…

RT (2021-03-02). 'Mass murder' and 'reckless': Texas ending mask mandates triggers Democrat meltdown. rt.com The announcement by Governor Greg Abbott that Texas will fully reopen next week is drawing backlash from mask mandate champions such as his California colleague Gavin Newsom and other Democrats — and counter-backlash as well. | Abbott marked the anniversary of the 1836 Texan independence on Tuesday by announcing that the state will reopen "100 percent" by next week in order to "restore livelihoods and normalcy." | Also on rt.com | | While Covid-19 has not disappeared,…

RT (2021-03-02). 'This is why Americans don't trust media': CNN's Cuomo ripped for claiming he 'obviously' can't cover brother's scandals. rt.com CNN's Chris Cuomo is igniting anger by claiming he cannot objectively cover the numerous sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against his brother, with critics pointing to past puffy interviews between the two. | Promising to "shoot straight" with his audience, Cuomo finally acknowledged the numerous scandals plaguing his brother Andrew Cuomo's administration on Monday evening. | "Obviously I am aware of what's going on with my brother," he said. "And obviously I can't cover it because he is my brother." | Cuomo promised his network would "extensively" cover the ongoing situations with the New York go…

Online News Editor (2021-03-02). South Korea begins new school year in hope of more in-person classes. laprensalatina.com Seoul, Mar 2 (efe-epa).- Schools in South Korea opened for the new session on Tuesday amid hopes that relaxed Covid-19 restrictions and the vaccination drive that began last week will allow students to attend more face-to-face classes in the second year of the pandemic. The Ministry of Education, in January, revised its health protocols for …

RT (2021-03-02). Italy shuts all schools in Covid-19 hotspots, toughens travel rules until after Easter amid spread of variants. rt.com The Italian government has ordered all schools to close in the areas with the highest Covid-19 infection rates as part of a series of new measures set to last until after Easter amid the threat of more contagious viral variants. | On Tuesday, Italy's new prime minister Mario Draghi signed an emergency decree that will see public health measures tightened in so-called 'red zones' from March 6 to April 6. | Under a new

Devin Cole (2021-03-02). Nadezhda Krupskaya: Bolshevik revolutionary and educator. workers.org Feb. 14 is the birth date of Nadezhda Krupskaya — Bolshevik revolutionary, educator and library advocate. Although born to a formerly aristocratic family, her family had descended into poverty, which led her to study Marxism. She joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903. Nadezhda Krupskaya In 1905, Krupskaya . . . |

RT (2021-03-02). Amazon revises new app logo after users liken it to Adolf Hitler's smirk. rt.com Amazon quietly changed the design of its app logo after social media users claimed the image of a box with tape on it bears a resemblance to Nazi Germany's dictator, Adolf Hitler. | The original logo, which Amazon rolled out in January, was meant to portray a brown Amazon box with a piece of jagged tape above the company's iconic smile icon. The combination of the smile and tape, however, ended up vaguely resembling Hitler's infamous toothbrush moustache. | Amazon's revised version of the logo has ditched the jagged tape for a more square piece of tape with a folded corner. | lmao I completely missed that amaz…

Kathy Kelly (2021-03-02). Blood for Oil. dissidentvoice.org Amid the ongoing horror, it's important to find ways to atone for war crimes —including reparations. Thirty years ago, when the United States launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, I was a member of the Gulf Peace Team. We were 73 people from fifteen different countries, aged 22 to 76, living in a tent camp …

The Conversation (2021-03-02). Decline of Coal shows Gov't Policy, Renewables crucial to Reducing Carbon Emissions: The Market isn't Enough. juancole.com By David Drake and Jeffrey York | — The big idea People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist …

Binoy Kampmark (2021-03-02). War Mongering for Artificial Intelligence. counterpunch.org The ghost of Edward Teller must have been doing the rounds between members of the National Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The father of the hydrogen bomb was never one too bothered by the ethical niggles that came with inventing murderous technology. It was not, for instance, "the scientist's job to determine whether a hydrogen bomb

Jim Soliz (2021-03-02). Congressional Republicans Kevin McCarthy, Mike Garcia met with protests. peoplesworld.org SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Planned protests against two Congressional Republicans from Southern California, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (23rd C.D.) and Rep. Mike Garcia (25th C.D.) took place as scheduled on Fri., Feb. 26. The actions took place in the cities of Santa Clarita, Lancaster, and Bakersfield, three bulwarks of the far right in California, as …

E.L. Melrose (2021-03-02). Erie, PA: Residents skeptical towards corporation's "green" promises. liberationnews.org The plight of this area has left the door open to the opportunism of "green" industry and it is currently being courted by International Recycling Group (IRG).

Phil Knight (2021-03-02). Yellowstone Wasn't Saved by Chance. counterpunch.org Yellowstone National Park, the original "Best American Idea", turns 149 on March 1 this year. We tend to take for granted that we have lots of great national parks and that ones like Yellowstone are protected. But Yellowstone was the first national park and we almost lost that wonderland. In the 1870s and '80s, opportunists

Climate Nexus (2021-03-02). Sky-high levels of fracking chemicals detected in children's bodies. peoplesworld.org While the hazards of fracking to human health are well-documented, first-of-its-kind research from Environmental Health News shows the actual levels of biomarkers for fracking chemicals in the bodies of children living near fracking wells far higher than in the general population. The research fills a gap in the science between the health harms experienced by …

Staff (2021-03-02). Faith without workers is dead. therealnews.com Working in the Church is a lot like working for other nonprofits, according to Rev. Lindsey Joyce. The work is fulfilling, but it can also be exploitative, and we need to talk about it.

Ben Cowles (2021-03-02). At least 15 refugees dead in Mediterranean shipwreck. peoplesworld.org At least 15 people drowned in the central Mediterranean at the weekend while attempting to flee Libya, though the death toll could have been much higher if civilian rescuers had not intervened. Activist network Alarm Phone received a distress call early yesterday morning from a rubber boat carrying about 125 people. The boat was deflating, …

James Bovard (2021-03-02). The Afghanization of American Democracy? counterpunch.org Acrimony and recriminations continue to swirl around the 2020 presidential election. Three out of four Republicans believe that there was "widespread fraud" in the election, while Democrats have sought to turn into criticisms of the election into a "Big Lie" heresy against democracy. Senior congressional Democrats are pressuring the nation's largest cable providers to cease carrying conservative networks such as Fox News that raised too many questions about Biden's victory.

E.L. Melrose (2021-03-02). Erie, PA: Residents skeptical towards corporation's 'green' promises. liberationnews.org The plight of this area has left the door open to the opportunism of "green" industry and it is currently being courted by International Recycling Group (IRG).

Patrick Cockburn (2021-03-02). ISIS and the UK: the Case of Shamima Begum. counterpunch.org A former Isis fighter once complained to me that western volunteers who travelled to the so-called Islamic State in northeastern Syria were a burden because they did not speak Arabic, had no military experience, knew little about Islam and had often come because they were bored or unhappy at home. He said that their main

John Feffer (2021-03-02). The Claudius Presidency? counterpunch.org Caligula was by all accounts a nasty piece of work. During the nearly four years that he ruled over the Roman empire in the first century CE, Caligula was notorious for sexual predation and extravagant spending. Never one to sell himself short, he proclaimed early on that he was a god. He held the Senate

Berry Craig (2021-03-02). Biden just proved to workers that he's got our backs. peoplesworld.org Going on 86 years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt made the most pro-union statement ever uttered by an American president. Joe Biden just broke FDR's record. Said the 46th president in a video posted to Twitter: "…Workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. This is vitally important—a vitally …

Robert Penner (2021-03-02). Struggle for justice forces reopening of two cases of police violence in Milwaukee. liberationnews.org The cases of Christopher Davis, killed by Milwaukee Deputy Juan Ortiz, and Jay Anderson, killed by Wauwatosa officer Joseph Mensah, have been re-opened in the Milwaukee area.

Margaret Flowers (2021-03-02). Small Acts Can Become A Power No Government Can Suppress. dissidentvoice.org The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was passed in the House this past week and now heads to the Senate, where it will no doubt be changed before it becomes law some time in mid-March. The current unemployment benefits expire on March 14. While we don't know what the final bill will look like, at least …

PAI (2021-03-02). Senate Democrats pull $15 wage from rescue package; progressives target filibuster. peoplesworld.org WASHINGTON—The Senate's barely ruling Democrats apparently have given up for now on raising the minimum wage, but the nation's unions, the New Poor People's Campaign, and their allies haven't. By a 219-212 vote after midnight on Feb. 27, the Democratic-run House approved the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill, called the American Rescue Plan. It includes …

Joe Sims (2021-03-02). Getting it right on Hampton, the Panthers, and 'Judas and the Black Messiah'. peoplesworld.org The young freedom fighters of the Black Panther Party, as brilliantly portrayed in the film Judas and the Black Messiah, were most certainly "uncompromising," as described in Brian W. Major's recent People's World review. The recently released film, directed by Shaka King and starring Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfiel, Dominique Fishback, and Martin Sheen, unfolds a …

Sam Pizzigati (2021-03-02). The Average American Pay Tax on Half of Their Wealth, Shouldn't Rich Americans? counterpunch.org Might the United States, home to the world's wealthiest people, sometime soon sport a tax on wealth? Media outlets the nation over have begunspeculating on just that question. But many of these reflections are missing the point: The United States already has a wealth tax. We call this already existing levy the "property tax," and

RT (2021-03-02). Harry Potter video game will allow transgender characters, but unsated critics want 'reparations' from 'transphobic' JK Rowling. rt.com The upcoming Harry Potter video game 'Hogwarts Legacy' will allow players to customize characters beyond two genders, but social justice warriors upset over creator JK Rowling and a "far-right" designer are saying it's not enough. | The game, which is set to be released next year, will let users customize their character's voice, body type, and gender placement, according to a report from Bloomberg citing sources working on the project. The only identifying marker for characters will be whether they are a "wizard" or a "witch." | The move came after some working on the game were concerned with numerous public…

MEE correspondent (2021-03-02). Egypt: 'Homesick' journalist detained after return from exile in Turkey. middleeasteye.net Egypt: 'Homesick' journalist detained after return from exile in Turkey | Gamaal el-Gamal, who suffers five chronic illnesses, is at risk of death in custody, his friends warn | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 14: 24 | Gamaal el-Gamal, an Egyptian journalist and columnist, was detained at Cairo airport on 22 February (Social media) | Egypt has ordered the pre-trial detention of journalist and governm…

MEE staff (2021-03-02). UN experts call on Israel to stop repeated demolition of rural Palestinian community. middleeasteye.net UN experts call on Israel to stop repeated demolition of rural Palestinian community | Special rapporteurs stress that Israel's justification that village lies within military firing zone does not meet requirements of international law | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 21: 32 | A resident reacts as Israeli forces demolish Bedouin tents and structures in Humsa area in northern Jordan valley, on 8 February (AFP/File photo)…

MEE, agencies (2021-03-02). Morocco cuts contact with German embassy over diplomatic tensions. middleeasteye.net Morocco cuts contact with German embassy over diplomatic tensions | Officials say the suspension is a warning over Berlin's 'disregard' for Rabat on Western Sahara and Libya issues | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 11: 15 | German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita at the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) conference on 19 November 2019 in Berlin (AFP) | Morocco has s…

MEE staff (2021-03-02). Biden administration 'enthusiastically embraces' IHRA antisemitism definition: Report. middleeasteye.net Biden administration 'enthusiastically embraces' IHRA antisemitism definition: Report | Secretary of State sends letter to American Zionist Movement in support of controversial definition | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 18: 21 | US Secretary of State said he supported the antisemitism definition in a letter sent to American Zionist Movement President Richard Heideman (AFP) | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said t…

MEE, agencies (2021-03-02). Libya: Peace process threatened by vote-buying allegations. middleeasteye.net Libya: Peace process threatened by vote-buying allegations | Political rival and UN weigh in after claims delegates offered up to $500,000 to elect interim prime minister-designate Abdul Hamid Dbeibah | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 16: 31 | A UN staff member empties a ballot box after delegates vote for Libya's new interim government during LPDF meeting on 5 February 2021 near Geneva (AFP/United Nati…

MEE staff (2021-03-02). Austria: Outrage after authorities target academic as part of 'terrorism' crackdown. middleeasteye.net Austria: Outrage after authorities target academic as part of 'terrorism' crackdown | Farid Hafez's house was raided at gunpoint in wake of Vienna terror attack as he was also accused of supporting the removal of Egypt's Sisi | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 11: 10 | Farid Hafez in a photo taken from social media (Twitter) | An Austrian academic's account of being interrogated at gunpoint over alleged "terrorist" sympathie…

MEE staff (2021-03-02). US lawmakers ask Biden to push Turkey on 'human rights abuses'. middleeasteye.net US lawmakers ask Biden to push Turkey on 'human rights abuses' | In a bipartisan letter, 170 House lawmakers asked State Department to make 'the gross violation of human rights' in Turkey a foreign policy priority | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 14: 52 | Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an AK Party meeting in Ankara on 24 February (AFP/File photo) | One hundred and seventy bipartisan members…

Areeb Ullah (2021-03-02). Khashoggi murder: Press watchdog files criminal complaint against Saudi crown prince. middleeasteye.net Khashoggi murder: Press watchdog files criminal complaint against Saudi crown prince | Reporters Without Borders pursues Mohammed bin Salman in German court following declassified US report into assassination | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 11: 28 | Jamal Khashoggi's murder in 2018 sparked an international outcry for justice (Screengrab) | A press freedom watchdog has filed a historic criminal complaint in Germany a…

Ian Cobain (2021-03-02). Labour faces legal challenge over recruitment of former Israeli spy. middleeasteye.net Labour faces legal challenge over recruitment of former Israeli spy | British Palestinian party member says ex-military intelligence officer's 'social listening' role raises questions about data security | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 12: 04 | Labour leader Keir Starmer has been criticised by other senior party figures over the appointment (Reuters) | The UK Labour Party is facing a legal challenge over its decision t…

MEE staff (2021-03-02). US sanctions Houthi commanders in Yemen for 'worsening humanitarian crisis'. middleeasteye.net US sanctions Houthi commanders in Yemen for 'worsening humanitarian crisis' | In announcing sanctions, Washington also rebuked Iran's 'involvement' in protracted conflict | Tue, 03/02/2021 – 17: 24 | Houthi supporters in Sanaa protest against blockade imposed on Yemen by Saudi-led coalition, 26 February (AFP) | The Biden administration imposed sanctions on two Houthi commanders on Tuesday, accusing the Yemeni…

Romana Rubeo (2021-03-02). Engaging the World: The 'Fascinating Story' of Hamas's Political Evolution. mintpressnews.com On February 4, representatives from the Palestinian Movement, Hamas, This was not the first time that Hamas's officials traveled to Moscow on similar missions. In fact, Moscow continues to represent an important political breathing space for Hamas, which has been isolated by Israel's Western benefactors. Involved in this isolation are also several Arab governments wh…

Betsey Piette (2021-03-02). Protest demands freedom for Mumia, suffering COVID symptoms. workers.org Political prisoner and Black journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including difficulty breathing, Feb 26. Hearing this news, his family and supporters called a protest. Less than 24 hours later, about 70 people turned up outside the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to call for Abu-Jamal's immediate . . . |