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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 07 říj 2019, 15:25

EU brings in 'right to repair' rules for appliances

Household appliances will become easier to repair thanks to new standards being adopted across the European Union.

From 2021, firms will have to make appliances longer-lasting, and they will have to supply spare parts for machines for up to 10 years.

The rules apply to lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges.

But campaigners for the "right to repair" say they do not go far enough as only professionals - not consumers - will be able carry out the repairs.

The legislation has been prompted by complaints from consumers across Europe and North America infuriated by machines that break down when they are just out of warranty.

Owners are usually unable to repair the machines themselves - or find anyone else to do it at a decent price - so are forced to buy a replacement.



Roger Harrabin
October 1, 2019
BBC News

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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 07 říj 2019, 22:19

US to let Turkish forces move into Syria, dumping Kurdish allies

White House reveals policy shift following conversation between Trump and Erdoğan

Julian Borger, Bethan McKernan
October 7, 2019
The Guardian
The U.S. Is Now Betraying the Kurds for the Eighth Time



The U.S. has now betrayed the Kurds a minimum of eight times over the past 100 years. The reasons for this are straightforward.

The Kurds are an ethnic group of about 40 million people centered at the intersection of Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. Many naturally want their own state. The four countries in which they live naturally do not want that to happen.

On the one hand, the Kurds are a perfect tool for U.S. foreign policy. We can arm the Kurds in whichever of these countries is currently our enemy, whether to make trouble for that country’s government or to accomplish various other objectives. On the other hand, we don’t want the Kurds we’re utilizing to ever get too powerful. If that happened, the other Kurds — i.e., the ones living just across the border in whichever of these countries are currently our allies — might get ideas about freedom and independence.



Jon Schwarz
October 7, 2019
The Intercept
Rojava in danger!

Despite all the efforts we did to avoid conflict, our commitment to the security mechanism agreement, and taking all necessary steps on our end, the US forces did not carry out their responsibilities and have withdrawn from the border areas with Turkey.

Turkey’s unprovoked attack on our areas will have a negative impact on our fight against ISIS and the stability and peace we have created in the region in recent years.

As the Syrian Democratic Forces, we are determined to defend our land at all costs.

We call on our Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, and Syriac people to strengthen their unity and stand by the SDF in defense of their land.

General Command of Syrian Democratic Forces
October 7, 2019
EU warns against Turkish military operation in Syria

The European Union warned on Monday against any Turkish operation against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, after a surprise U.S. decision to pull its troops out of the region.

“In light of the statement made by Turkey and the U.S regarding the evolution of the situation, we can affirm that, while recognizing Turkey’s legitimate concerns, the EU has from the very beginning said that any sustainable situation will not be reached by military means,” a spokeswoman told a news briefing.

Robin Emmott
October 7, 2019
Reuters
U.N. calls for protecting civilians in northeast Syria

Civilians must be spared in any Turkish military operation in northeast Syria, where the United Nations hopes that mass displacement and Srebrenica-like killings can be prevented, a senior U.N. aid official said on Monday.

The United States began pulling troops from northeast Syria in a major policy shift, opening the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington and handing Turkey responsibility for thousands of jihadi captives.

The United Nations currently delivers aid to 700,000 people in the densely-populated northeast region of 1.7 million.

It has drawn up contingency plans to reach people who might flee south with food and medical aid, said Panos Moumtzis, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis.

“Any (military) operation that takes place at the moment has to take into account to ensure that we don’t see any further displacement,” Moumtzis told reporters in Geneva. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst”.

Turkey has long argued for the establishment of a 20-mile (32 km) “safe zone” along the border, under Turkish control, driving back the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia - which is the dominant force in the SDF alliance and which Ankara considers a terrorist organization and a threat to its national security.



“For us as the United Nations, the safe zone concept is one that we have a bitter history (with) and actually we never promote or encourage. We don’t think it is something that had worked for the United Nations, keeping in mind Srebrenica and what had happened in the past,” he said.

He was referring to the slaughter by Bosnian Serb troops of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 in a U.N.-declared “safe zone” where Dutch peacekeepers were unable to protect civilians.



Stephanie Nebehay
October 7, 2019
Reuters

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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 10 říj 2019, 13:13

The Annihilation of Rojava

A US withdrawal from Syria that cleared the way for the destruction of the Kurds’ radical democratic experiment would not serve the cause of peace — and it would not be a blow to US imperialism.

Djene Bajalan, Michael Brooks
October 8, 2019
Jacobin

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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 11 říj 2019, 23:31

The obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniers. Company wants to curry favour with conservatives to protect its ‘section 230’ legal immunity.



But five years later, Google still funds more than a dozen organisations that deny the climate crisis and oppose political action to try to solve it. Among them is the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the group that launched the notorious Cooler Heads Coalition two decades ago, a group of conservative and libertarian pressure groups dedicated to dispelling the “myths” of global heating.

For Google, providing financial backing to groups such as CEI and the Cato Institute – staunch free marketeers – has nothing to do with climate science, and everything to do with its effort to curry favour with conservatives on its most pressing issue in Washington: protecting an obscure section of the US law that is worth billions of dollars to the company.

The law – known as section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – was established in the 1990s, at a time when the internet was in its infancy, and helped to give rise to internet giants, from Google to Facebook, by offering legal immunity to the companies for third party comments, in effect treating them as distributors of content and not publishers.

Section 230, in effect, allowed Google and Facebook to be shielded from the kinds of libel laws that can ensnare other companies, such as newspapers.

The law has important advocates across the political spectrum, from Democrats who hail it as a triumph of free speech, to Republicans who say it has promoted free enterprise and innovation.

But now some lawmakers, including Republicans, think it might be time to revise section 230. The senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, has said Google’s alleged bias in favour of Democrats means it is not a neutral platform and should not be protected from liability.

Google’s decision to give to groups such as CEI reflects an attempt to win friends in Republican and conservative circles, and support those lawmakers on the right who are champions of section 230.



Stephanie Kirchgaessner
October 11, 2019
The Guardian

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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 13 říj 2019, 23:11

Never Forget What the Fascists Did

In Bulgaria, campaigns that equate Communism with Nazism aren’t about defending democracy against “Russian meddling,” they’re about rehabilitating Bulgarian fascism and its complicity in the Holocaust.



But why should a celebration of the defeat of Nazism be considered unwelcome intrusion? The answer owes to the specific anniversary being commemorated — the events of September 9, 1944, the day when the Fatherland Front took over the government. Uniting an anti-Nazi coalition of Communists, Agrarians, Social-Democrats, and military generals, the Fatherland Front came to power against the backdrop of the arrival of Soviet troops. This date is thus usually considered the beginning of socialism in Bulgaria, paving the way for the Communist Party takeover in 1947.

Every year, this anniversary (known as 9/9) triggers debates and denunciations. Liberals never miss an opportunity to bewail the events of 1944 and the “criminal deviation of history” which Bulgarian socialism supposedly represented. But this year, the Russian exhibition added an international dimension to the traditional “September 9 debate.” The problem, for many, was that the defeat of Bulgaria — a Nazi-allied, but sovereign country — was integrated into a general celebration of the liberation of central-eastern Europe from Nazi occupation.



Yet even the legitimacy that might be implied by the word “revolution” is now denied it. Indeed, if during the socialist era 9/9 was celebrated as a revolution, after 1989 it was relabeled a “coup.” As historian Alexander Vezenkov notes, this particular “coup” had the unusual feature that power was immediately handed to a civilian force — the Fatherland Front. But denying that this was a “revolution” has another purpose. Even despite years of vilification, the word “revolution” still invokes mass participation and thus implies a degree of democratic consent, whereas “coup” usually refers to some illegitimate and factional assumption of power.

The Right cannot admit that there was a “revolution,” because this would be to acknowledge that the events of 1944 in any way responded to the aspirations of the mass of Bulgarians, rather than just the Russian “occupiers.” This is also allied to a prominent trend in the post-1989 liberal public sphere — at the source of a continuing historical revisionism — which denies that there was ever such a thing as a Bulgarian fascism, such as might have needed to be fought against. This denial of the basic legitimacy of anti-fascism makes it easier to portray it as a fraudulent, antidemocratic politics imposed by a foreign imperial power.

This historical revisionism necessarily has short shrift for the facts — after all, pre-1944 Bulgaria was anything but democratic. Aside from being a Nazi ally, it was a constitutional monarchy with weak parliamentary life disrupted by coups, suspensions of the constitution, paramilitary violence, and a royal dictatorship that suspended party political life from 1934 until 1944. In January 1941, eight months after it joined the Axis, Bulgaria drafted a Law for the Protection of the Nation which stripped the Bulgarian Jews of civic and political rights and launched a state terror against them.

As an Axis ally, Bulgaria shipped all the Jews from territories it had occupied in Greece and Macedonia to the Treblinka extermination camp. While the Bulgarian government was not explicitly Nazi, it did have overt fascist leanings and created or tolerated a number of fascist organizations. If Bulgaria did, indeed, avoid falling under the Nazi jackboot like neighboring Yugoslavia or Greece, the domestic regime was certainly pro-fascist and provided good enough reasons for the homegrown opposition to fight it. In fact, an anti-fascist resistance emerged even before Bulgaria joined the Axis: it was certainly not just “imported” on the bayonets of the Red Army.



The Foreign Ministry statement also reiterates another common talking-point of the Right, namely, that in 1944 one totalitarianism replaced another. Any celebration of the defeat of Nazism is replaced by the complaint that Bulgaria was “forcefully shut out from Europe by the Soviet invasion.”

The purported moral equivalence of Nazi and socialist “totalitarianisms” then justifies a second move, claiming that socialism was the worse of the two since it 1) lasted much longer, and 2) unlike Nazism, it violated the sacred right to private property. The latter point was made by politicians like Zhelyu Zhelev, the first democratically elected Bulgarian president and a liberal philosopher who introduced the notion of totalitarianism to Bulgaria. Of course, the fascists in power did violate some private property, for example that of the Jews, but it seems that this was a small price to pay for Bulgaria’s Axis membership and the preservation of capitalism in general.

Indeed, if numerous declarations from the European Parliament have explicitly put Communism and Nazism on an equal footing, liberals’ actions betray a preference for one “totalitarianism” over the other. One of the sponsors of the controversial recent European Parliament motion on historical memory, the Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovatchev, even invited Dyanko Markov — a member of the interwar Nazi paramilitary group known as the Bulgarian National Legions — to the European Parliament. Markov rode the 1990s wave of rehabilitation of interwar fascists: on one solemn occasion, honoring the “victims of Communism,” he excused the deportation of the Jews to Treblinka by calling them “an enemy population.” He spoke those words in the Bulgarian Parliament, no less.

The other Bulgarian MEP who sponsored the European Parliament motion, Alexander Yordanov — a politician from the early liberal anticommunist opposition — publicly insists there was never fascism in Bulgaria. It is worth emphasizing that these MEPs are members of the ruling European People’s Party — the respectable “center-right” — and not from some fringe extremist party.



Jana Tsoneva
October 9, 2019
Jacobin

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Re: Zajímavé aktuální zahraniční články

Příspěvek od davkol » 15 říj 2019, 16:15

Extinction Rebellion Has a Politics Problem

On why it isn’t possible to find an apolitical solution to a political problem…



What’s more, whether its leaders realize it or not, there is a great deal about Extinction Rebellion as it exists now that is already explicitly political in one sense or another. The group notably focuses on strategic activist arrests, which the founders believe are far more effective at garnering public attention than the protests themselves. At last spring’s week-long London demonstrations, over 1,000 people were arrested for taking part in peaceful demonstrations. XR demonstrators as a general rule do not have an antagonistic relationship with the police, and arrests are often accompanied by music from those who remain behind. But isn’t the ability to face arrest without fear, to watch police officers approaching without trepidation, the product of political realities? It’s for precisely these reasons that XR has been criticized as a largely white movement (which it is): The risks associated with the type of police interactions that are the group’s stock-in-trade are far higher for minorities. The XR protesters who win attention for the movement by putting themselves at risk of arrest are able to do so because of existing racial and social hierarchies—hierarchies that are inherently political in nature.



Another reason why this supposedly apolitical position is deeply worrying is because of the increasing prominence of ecofascism, whose adherents embrace both aspects of the green movement and militant xenophobia. Since Extinction Rebellion’s founding, the perpetrators of two major mass shootings—one at a WalMart in El Paso, the other at a mosque in Christchurch—have left behind manifestos that root their xenophobia in ecological concerns. Whether they frame nature conservation in explicitly nationalistic terms, or latch onto overpopulation as an excuse for curbing nonwhite populations, or argue that climate change needs to be halted because of the waves of migration from the global south that will inevitably result, ecofascists are a growing presence within white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in the United States and elsewhere. To be clear, XR has in no way endorsed these kinds of far-right beliefs. But in the absence of taking any strong stance in the opposite direction, the movement leaves room for these kinds of reactionary forces to gather strength from the mass appeal of XR’s galvanizing pro-green message, its media attention, and its organizing systems. If Extinction Rebellion is truly committed to the principle of ecological justice, it cannot accept a future—or a present—in which environmental refugees from the global south are violently refused entry from the former colonial power whose unchecked CO2 production has birthed the very disasters driving these people from their homes in the first place (something that’s already happening along the southern border of the United States as Central American migrants fleeing drought-induced famine come up against the American border machine). Creating an ecologically just future requires vocal opposition to and rectification of the environmental injustices of the past and present.



Erica X Eisen
October 11, 2019
Current Affairs

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