Thursday 29th of July 2021

time and again...

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the time before...

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press freedom...

US authorities have apparently seized the web domains of Iran’s international media outlets Press TV and Al-Alam, along with the Yemeni TV channel Al Masirah, run by the Houthi faction, an Iraqi Shia satellite channel, and others. 

Visitors to the PressTV.com and a number of other websites were greeted on Tuesday with a notice that they were seized under US laws that allow civil and criminal forfeiture of property involved in “trafficking in nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological weapons technology or material, or the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance.”

The seizure notice by the US Department of Justice also invokes a law governing presidential authority in dealing with “unusual and extraordinary threat; declaration of national emergency,” which includes the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 and the ironically named Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/527292-us-seizes-iran-presstv-websites/

 

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detention for kids...

At a US border detention centre in the Texan desert, migrant children have been living in alarming conditions - where disease is rampant, food can be dangerous and there are reports of sexual abuse, an investigation by the BBC has found through interviews with staff and children.

In recent months, the US has seen a massive rise in migrants and asylum seekers from Central America. Violence, natural disasters and pandemic-related economic strife are some of the reasons behind the influx, experts say. 

Some have also suggested the perception of a more lenient administration under Democrat Joe Biden has contributed to the crisis, though the White House has urged migrants against journeying to the US border.

The tented camp in the Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas, is the temporary home for over 2,000 teenaged children who have crossed the US-Mexico border alone and are now awaiting reunification with family in the US.

Findings from the BBC's investigation include allegations of sexual abuse, Covid and lice outbreaks, a child waiting hours for medical attention, a lack of clean clothes and hungry children being served undercooked meat.

The BBC has spoken to camp employees about these conditions and seen photos and video smuggled out by staff.

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the american dream...

 

By Nicholas Kristof

 

“America is back” became President Biden’s refrain on his European trip this month, and in a narrow sense it is.

 

We no longer have a White House aide desperately searching for a fire alarm to interrupt a president as he humiliates our country at an international news conference, as happened in 2018. And a Pew Research Center survey found that 75 percent of those polled in a dozen countries expressed “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing,” compared with 17 percent a year ago.

Yet in a larger sense, America is not back. In terms of our well-being at home and competitiveness abroad, the blunt truth is that America is lagging. In some respects, we are sliding toward mediocrity.

Greeks have higher high school graduation rates. Chileans live longer. Fifteen-year-olds in Russia, Poland, Latvia and many other countries are better at math than their American counterparts — perhaps a metric for where nations will stand in a generation or two.

As for reading, one-fifth of American 15-year-olds can’t read at the level expected of a 10-year-old. How are those millions of Americans going to compete in a globalized economy? As I see it, the greatest threat to America’s future is less a surging China or a rogue Russia than it is our underperformance at home.

We Americans repeat the mantra that “we’re No. 1” even though the latest Social Progress Index, a measure of health, safety and well-being around the world, ranked the United States No. 28. Even worse, the United States was one of only three countries, out of 163, that went backward in well-being over the last decade.

Another assessment this month, the I.M.D. World Competitiveness Ranking 2021, put the United States No. 10 out of 64 economies. A similar forward-looking study from the World Bank ranks the United States No. 35 out of 174 countries.

So it’s great that we again have a president respected by the world. But we are not “back,” and we must face the reality that our greatest vulnerability is not what other countries do to us but what we have done to ourselves. The United States cannot achieve its potential when so many Americans are falling short of theirs.

“America’s chronic failure to turn its economic strength into social progress is a huge drag on American influence,” said Michael Green, chief executive of the group that publishes the Social Progress Index. “Europeans may envy America’s corporate dynamism but can comfort themselves that they are doing a much better job on a host of social outcomes, from education to health to the environment.

“Rivals like China may see the fraying of America’s social fabric as a sign of strategic weakness,” he added. “Emerging economies, whose citizens are starting to enjoy quality of life ever closer to that of Americans, may be less willing to take lectures from the U.S. government.”

Biden’s proposals for a refundable child credit, for national pre-K, for affordable child care and for greater internet access would help address America’s strategic weaknesses. They would do more to strengthen our country than the $1.2 trillion plan pursued by American officials to modernize our nuclear arsenal. Our greatest threats today are ones we can’t nuke.

America still has enormous strengths. Its military budget is bigger than the military budgets of the next 10 countries put together. American universities are superb, and the dynamism of United States corporations is reflected in the way people worldwide use their iPhones to post on their Facebook pages about Taylor Swift songs.

But they also comment, aghast, about the Capitol insurrection and attempts by Republicans to impede voting. American democracy was never quite as shimmering a model for the world as we liked to think, but it is certainly tarnished now.

Likewise, the “American dream” of upward mobility (which drew my refugee father to these shores in 1952) is increasingly chimerical. “The American dream is evidently more likely to be found on the other side of the Atlantic, indeed most notably in Denmark,” a Stanford study concluded.

“These things hold us back as an economy and as a country,” Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said Tuesday.

More broadly, the United States has lost its lead in education overall and in investments in children. The World Bank Human Capital Project estimates that today’s American children will achieve only 70 percent of their potential productivity. That hurts them; it also hurts our nation.

We can’t control whether China builds more aircraft carriers. We can’t deter every Russian hacker.

But to truly bring America back, we should worry less about what others do and more about what we do to ourselves.

 

Read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/opinion/america-security-competitiveness.html

 

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root causes...

 

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the U.S. southern border about three months after she was put in charge of handling the illegal immigration crisis.

The Office of the Vice President sent out an email to the press on Wednesday confirming that Harris will visit El Paso, Texas, on Friday, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas joining her.

“Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” stated the email. “As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday.”

President Joe Biden tapped Harris to be “border czar” on March 24, saying she was “the most qualified person to do it" due to her experience as attorney general of California. She has since faced criticism for not accepting repeated requests that she visit the southern border to see the crisis for herself.  

The Biden administration’s approach to dealing with mass migration and the border crisis was also criticized by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. He noted that despite telling people not to come to the U.S. months after the crisis began, as Vice President Kamala Harris did during her recent visit to that country, the administration's policies are making it easier for cartels to traffic people into the U.S. 

“I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border — do not come, do not come,” said Harris at a press conference in Guatemala. “There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur, but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration. And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who recently went to the border to see the immigration crisis, criticized the Biden administration for its border policies that he says are enabling cartels to profit from human trafficking.

"The answers aren’t down there in Guatemala because the cartel is actively recruiting. They’re making about $5 billion this year trafficking people across our southern border," Donald said in an interview with Fox News earlier this month. "And so you don’t have to go down to Guatemala to know what’s actually going on. What’s going on is the administration’s weak policies allow the cartels to make billions of dollars. It’s that simple." 

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to halt border wall construction, a move Republican lawmakers say is unauthorized since funds for construction had already been appropriated

 

Read more:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/kamala-harris-to-visit-texas-border-amid-immigration-crisis.html

 

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