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Europe In Convulsions Even As Corbyn Rises In Britain



Europe In Convulsions Even As Corbyn Rises In Britain

By Saeed Naqvi

From Rome to London the contrast was sharp – from political despair to hope.

A comprehensive conference on Afghanistan, superbly organized the NATO Foundation was the only redeeming feature in Rome. Meetings with journalists and think-tanks on the margins were depressing.

The Far Right leader of the ruling coalition, Matteo Salvini of the League, whose early act as Deputy Prime Minister was to order a boat full of North African migrants to be allowed to drift towards Spain, is rising on the popularity charts. He is much the most popular leader in Italy with his anti-immigrant rantings. To firm up ideological bonds, Marine Le Pen, of France’s National Front, visited Salvini recently. If this was not a sufficient shot in the arm for Italian fascists, White supremacist, once President Trump’s soulmate, Steve Bannon, arrived to give a fillip to his plot – Brothers of Italy, they are called, under a title a canopy which Bannon calls “The Movement”. “Bannon is here frequently to confer with Salvini and meet some of us” says Francesco Galieti, journalist who also advises investors.

Bannon is the spider in the web wherever ultra-nationalism, illiberal economics, leavened with dollops of racism rears its head. On Brexit too he is putting in his mite to accelerate the break with EU. Just as committed on the other side of the debate is the even more powerful, anti-Brexit Billionaire, George Soros. They are both in convulsions to save the world from the curse of anti-capitalist headwinds.

There is a common anxiety but with distinct right wing prescriptions.

Bannon must not be overdrawn but he does represent an impulse to navigate the leaky boat of capitalism away from any real or imaginary leftward lurch.

Europe In Convulsions Even As Corbyn Rises In BritainThe desperation of this lot is manifest even as far as Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro, who romanticizes the likes of Pinochet, has support from the same interests who are stitching together fascism in Europe. Steve Bannon has been advising Bolsonaro’s media team. His appearance on a Nigel Farage radio show created a minor storm. Farage, of the former Independence Party, leads the anti-Brexit movement with a self-explanatory title – Leave Means Leave.

Removed from anti Brexit extremism are countries like Austria, Poland, Hungary and the Nordic North, which are anti migrant, on occasion anti-Semitic. Bannon has no interests here; Soros does.

Against this broad canvas of despairing gloom, I would like to state, on the pain of being repetitious, that Britain provides relief. For many in Britain this relief is mingled with fear because the right wing media has painted Jeremy Corbyn in lurid colours. The Conservative Party, not to be confused with the rightist aberrations stretches from European continent to Latin America and elsewhere is in convulsions over both Brexit and Corbyn.

Prime Minister Theresa May is looking at the “Exit” door in a sort of daze. She does not quite know how to handle the several balls up in the air. A break with EU will prompt Scotland sewing up its own deal with Brussels. Also, since this will entail the border between Belfast and Dublin demanding visa clearances, the Democratic Unionist leader, Arlene Foster will break with Theresa May, bringing down her government. The whole point about Unionism in Ulster is to be “exactly” like the rest of Britain, says Foster. Any arrangement exclusive to Northern Ireland will not be acceptable to the Unionists.

Meanwhile, the right wing of the conservatives, say, former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson and his cohorts are threatening to throw a ginger fit if Brexit is “softened” a means of placating the urge to “remain”, which is noticeable on both sides of the aisle.

Ambiguity afflicts the Labour Party too but it has the advantage of being in the opposition. It is under no compulsion to show its hand. It is simply waiting for an embattled Prime Minister to trip up. That would mean fresh elections which Labour is expected to win easily.

His opponents would not accept it but Labour Party has a charismatic leader in Jeremy Corbyn who has emerged even more firmly in control after the annual Party conference in Liverpool last month.

During his speech Corbyn made an offer to Theresa May. “Labour MPs would vote for a soft Brexit deal which keeps Britain in the Customs Union with the EU”.

What would be the Labour Party’s position on a growing demand for a fresh referendum on Brexit? I had put this question to Corbyn two months ago. His response was very political. “The people have voted for Brexit in a referendum. Let the government negotiate a deal with Brussels which is acceptable to the British public.”

Corbyn was very conscious of the many inconsistencies among Labour voters, constituency to constituency, during the referendum. But as an opposition leader and Prime Minister in-waiting, his job was to wait for May to make mistakes.

With Corbyn as Prime Minister looming large on the horizon the media, which has placed him consistently in a negative searchlight, has a huge challenge on its hands: how to begin to adjust to the reality of Corbyn.

He continues to say things which make those elements of the Conservative Party who are wrapped in a very Anglaise-Britishness, very uncomfortable. For instance he would like schools to have in the text books those aspects of British history which illuminate negative aspects of colonialism. This when the centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in April 2019 may well be a high profile event during the Indian election season.

Little wonder a magazine like the Economist still makes Corbyn look like Che Guvera, a beret and the revolutionary leader’s trademark beard et al.

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Five news stations receive letter bombs in Ecuador, one explodes in journalist’s face

Minister says the bombs were sent as a clear message to silence journalists in violence-ridden Ecuador



Police officials searching for bombs in a new station in Ecuador

Ecuadorean authorities have reported that a series of letter bombs were mailed to five different TV and radio new stations in Ecaudor. The explosive devices were delivered to journalists on Monday, March 20.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata informed that one of these letters exploded in Guayaquil’s Ecuavisa private TV station. The bomb burst in the middle of the newsroom in presenter Lenin Artieda’s face. He was injured but not severely. Lenin informed the police that the device was structured like a USB drive, and it exploded as he plugged it into his computer.

Zapata added that all the devices were similar and sent from the town of Quimsaloma, on the Los Rios coast. The Ecuadorean attorney-general’s department has begun their investigation on the letters as an act of terrorism. Journalists have said that the bombs were sent to intimidate the free press and silence the media.

 Zapata also said that the government condemns such attacks and freedom of expression is a right that must be respected. The other four explosives sent through post never exploded as they failed or were never opened.

Police officer Xavier Chango informed the USB drive sent to Artieda seemed to be loaded with a military-type explosive RDX.

Ecuador lies between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, and has become a hub for global drug trade in the recent years. The increased violence is a result of competition and clashes between drug criminal gangs for territory and charge.

In 2022, the RTS TV station came under gunfire attack and in 2020, a bomb exploded at Teleamazonas. President Guillermo Lasso had declared war on the gangs controlling drug trade from prisons, and has led to the death of more than 400 inmates since 2021. Ecuador’s murder rate has jumped from 14 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021 to 25 per 100,000 in 2022.

Two local gangs, the Lobos and Los Tiguerones, working with Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation cartel, have been responsible for these deadly prison riots. The Jalisco cartel is considered one of the five most dangerous criminal organizations in the world and its leader, Nemesio Oseguera, aka El Mencho, is among the most wanted by both Mexican and U.S. authorities.

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Earthquake leaves 11 dead in Pakistan, tremors shake North India

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.



Pakistan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled parts of Northern India on Tuesday night, left at least 11 people dead and over 160 others wounded in neighboring Pakistan, reports said.

According to reports by Pakistani media, tremors were felt in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar, Kohat, Lakki Marwat, and other areas of the country. In a statement, Pakistan Meteorological Department said the epicenter of the quake—which hit at a depth of 180 kilometers, at a latitude of 36.09 and a longitude of 71.35. — was the seismically active Hindu Kush region in Afghanistan.

Reports said that tremors and aftershocks were also witnessed in Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Kot Momin, Madh Ranjha, Chakwal, Kohat and in Gilgit-Baltistan areas.

Pakistani news channels showed panicked citizens running out of their home and on the streets to seek refuge from the tremors.

According to a report by Pakistan-based Geo News, eleven people, including two women were killed while over 160 people were injured due to the earthquake.

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The strong jolts also led to the collapse of several buildings in impacted regions while a stamped was witnessed in markets of Rawalpindi when the earthquake hit, according to The Express Tribune newspaper.

State-run Associated Press of Pakistan released a statement by Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has directed disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to handle any situation while Federal Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel declared an emergency in Islamabad hospitals.

A statement by the international seismological centre said that apart from Pakistan, tremors were also felt in India, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

Tremors of the earthquake, that hit at around 10:17 pm on Tuesday night, were felt across Northern India including Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. However, no casualties were reported. However, reports of damages to buildings are coming in from different parts of North India.

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits Delhi-NCR

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Rupert Murdoch set to marry for 5th time at 92

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer.



Rupert Murdoch Smith

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born American business magnate, announced on Monday that he will be marrying for the fifth time at the age of 92. Murdoch is already engaged to former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Talking about his fifth marriage, Murdoch, the 31st richest person in the United States, said he was very nervous, and dreaded falling in love, but he knew it would be his last. He said he is happy about it.

Murdoch, who met 66-year-old Smith last September at an event held at Murdoch’s vineyard in California, is planning to marry her in the summer. He said that they both are looking forward to spending the second half of their lives together. They will spend their time between California, the UK, Montana and New York, reports state.

Smith is the widow of an American country singer and media executive who died in 2008. Speaking about the relationship with Murdoch, Smith said the two bonded over their shared knowledge of the media business.

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She said for both of them it’s a gift from God. She said she is a widow for 14 years. Smith went on to say that like Rupert, her husband was a businessman. Worked for local papers, developed radio and TV stations, and helped promote Univision. So she speaks Rupert’s language. They share the same beliefs, she added.

Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., has six children from his first three marriages. Prudence MacLeod, with his first wife Patricia Booker, then Elisabeth and sons Lachlan and James with his second wife Anna Mann. He has two more daughters, Grace and Chloe, with his third wife Wendi Deng.

Later, he married former supermodel Jerry Hall for the fourth time. But the couple decided to part ways eight months ago after being together for six years.

According to Forbes, Murdoch is believed to have a fortune of around $17 billion. His empire includes Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and a string of other media assets around the world.

Rahul Gandhi says he won’t be intimidated days after Delhi Police search his residence

Traffic chaos as rain lashes Delhi NCR, more showers forecast tomorrow

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