Tag Archives: France

US Pariah Status Grows as Finland Resumes UNRWA Funding

“Collectively punishing millions of Palestinians over allegations concerning a few individuals is never acceptable,” said one campaigner. “Other E.U. member states must follow.”

BY Brett Wilkins. Published 3-22-2024 by Common Dreams

An UNRWA staffer holds a traumatized Palestinian baby in Gaza on March 13, 2023. (Photo: UNRWA/Facebook)

As the United States doubled down on banning funds for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Finland said Friday that it would resume contributions to the lifesaving organization in an implicit rebuke of unsubstantiated Israeli claims—reportedly extracted via torture—that staff members were involved in the October 7 attacks.

Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio announced during a press conference that the country’s €5 million ($5.4 million) annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would be reinstated, with 10% of the funding reserved for “risk management.”

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Greenpeace Says Ban Deep-Sea Mining, Not Our Right to Protest Against It

“How can Greenpeace’s activists paddling on kayaks be a threat to the environment, but the plundering of the oceans be a solution to the climate catastrophe?”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 3-18-2024 by Common Dreams

Greenpeace kayaktivists hold up a sign reading “stop deep-sea mining” during a November 2023 protest near a Nauru Ocean Resources Inc. exploration ship in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Martin Katz/Greenpeace/X)

As the International Seabed Authority kicked off its annual summit in Jamaica on Monday to discuss rules for extracting minerals from the ocean floor, Greenpeace—which could be expelled from the United Nations body over a demonstration targeting a mining company—is urging the ISA to “stop deep-sea mining, not protests.”

Representatives of 167 nations are gathering in Kingston to draft the regulatory framework for deep-sea mining, which ISA member states agreed to work out by July 2025. Although there are no current commercial deep seabed mining operations, the ISA has issued exploration licenses to state-owned companies and agencies in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, and to private corporations including U.K. Seabed Resources, a subsidiary of U.S. military-industrial complex giant Lockheed Martin.

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Trump is no Navalny, and prosecution in a democracy is a lot different than persecution in Putin’s Russia

By James D. Long. Published 2-22-2024 by The Conversation

Alexei Navalny in 2020 on a march in memory of politician Boris Nemtsov, who was killed in Russia. Photo: Michał Siergiejevicz/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, announced on Feb. 16, 2024, lays bare to the world the costs of political persecutions. Although his cause of death remains unknown, the 47-year-old died while serving a 19-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony.

“Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” said Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, in a Feb. 19 video.

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Amazon Fined in France for Illegally Spying on Workers

The retail giant was also ordered to pay more than $30 million last year after allegedly surveilling customers with its tech products.

By Julia Conley. Published 1-23-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: LSA/CC

Months after Amazon was fined more than $30 million for allegedly spying on customers in their homes, a French data watchdog on Monday announced it had ordered the retail giant to pay another $35 million for what it called “excessive” tracking of warehouse employees’ activity.

France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) informed Amazon France Logistique, which runs the U.S. company’s warehouses in the country, of the fine late last month after investigating scanning devices used by employees.

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Shell Employees Urged to Revolt as Oil Giant Faces Internal Backlash for Ditching Renewables

“Shell bosses sacrifice our safety for short-term profits, even their employees see it,” said one campaigner. “No point waiting for them to grow a conscience.”

By Julia Conley. Published 9-29-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel

Anti-fossil fuel campaigners on Friday urged employees of oil and gas giant Shell to speak out as loudly as possible about their objections to the company’s pivot away from renewable energy, after thousands of workers expressed support for an angry open letter penned by two of their colleagues.

On the company’s private platform, a letter published by Lisette de Heiden and Wouter Drinkwaard of Shell’s low-carbon division garnered 1,000 “likes” and 80,000 views earlier this month and was reported on by Reuters Wednesday.

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On Nagasaki Anniversary, UN Chief Warns ‘Humanity Now Confronts a New Arms Race’

“We will not sit idly by as nuclear-armed states race to create even more dangerous weapons,” he said, calling for abolishing such arms.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 8-9-2023 by Common Dreams

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Photo: UNclimatechange/flickr/CC

Nearly eight decades after the United States dropped an atomic bomb codenamed “Fat Man” on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday was among the voices around the world renewing calls for eliminating nuclear weapons.

In a message to the Nagasaki Peace Memorial on the 78th anniversary of the 1945 bombing, Guterres said that “this ceremony is an opportunity to remember a moment of unmatched horror for humanity.”

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Military alliances like NATO won’t solve our greatest security threat

Things may look rosy for NATO today, but climate breakdown, not wars, are the biggest threat to global security

By Paul Rogers. Published 7-14-2023 by openDemocracy

Finland accession to NATO ceremony. Photo: Estonian Foreign Ministry/flickr/CC

NATO really is on a roll thanks to Vladimir Putin, but even as its immediate prospects look good, the whole future of the alliance should be open to question.

For now, as Finland and Sweden join, Putin finds an enlarged alliance ranged against him. NATO’s reputation is so bound up with the fate of Ukraine that, in the unlikely event that Russia makes substantial military gains in the conflict, Kyiv cannot be allowed to lose. From Putin’s perspective, his warning early last year of the threat posed to Russia from NATO has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This does at least mean he can claim ‘I told you so’ – which is helping maintain some domestic support.

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‘Ancient Heat Records Will Be Broken’: Southern Europe Braces for Unprecedented Temperatures

“If the disasters we’re seeing this month aren’t enough to shake us out of that torpor, then the chances of our persevering for another hundred and twenty-five thousand years seem remote.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 7-16-2023 by Common Dreams

People cool off in a water fountain during a heatwave, at Trafalgar Square in London. Photo: Vatican News

Southern Europe faced dangerously high temperatures on Sunday amid a continent-wide heatwave that’s expected to get worse in the coming days, potentially shattering longstanding records as the climate crisis rages.

Reuters reported that a “new anticyclone dubbed Charon, who in Greek mythology was the ferryman of the dead, pushed into the region from north Africa on Sunday and could lift temperatures above 45°C (113°F) in parts of Italy early this week,” prompting Italian officials to issue heat advisories for more than a dozen cities on Sunday.

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Nuclear weapons on rise in a world where ‘peace through deterrence’ is a myth

Powerful nations are prepared to use nuclear weapons first. This is why their proliferation is worrying analysts

By Paul Rogers. Published 6-16-2023 by openDemocracy

A B61 tactical nuclear weapon, probably an inert training version. U.S. AIR FORCE

The world is “drifting into one of the most dangerous periods in human history”, according to a leading security research centre, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). At the root of its concern is that, though the number of nuclear warheads is still far lower than during the Cold War years, nuclear modernisation and development programmes in the nine nuclear-armed states are leading to an expansion in the number of warheads held.

The numbers are small, according to the SIPRI Yearbook 2023: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, just 86 more warheads than in January last year in a global inventory of 12,512. So why the concern? Who has the warheads and why is the number increasing rather than decreasing?

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Could Iran’s new nuclear bunker increase the risk of an Israeli attack?

If Israel keeps its far-right government and Trump returns, chances of an attack on Iran will increase

By Paul Rogers. Published 5-26-2023 by openDemocracy

Former President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Reports that Iran is constructing a very large, deep bunker as part of its nuclear programme mean there is a renewed risk of an upsurge in tension, and the potential for conflict, most likely involving Israel but always with risk of it spreading much wider.

Context here is important.

During Barack Obama’s second term in the White House, countries including the UK, France and Germany, worked hard with the US to forge an agreement with the Iranian regime to avoid Iran developing nuclear weapons. A powerful motivation was the risk of Israel otherwise taking unilateral action.

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