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A new exhibition seeks to tell the story of Lebanese of African and Asian heritage as well as tackle racism in Lebanon.

The “Mixed Feelings” exhibition, the brainchild of Lebanese Nigerian researcher and activist Nisreen Kaj and Polish photographer and artist Marta Bogdanska, has involved several key members of Lebanon’s civil society as well as several NGOs in highlighting the oft-ignored daily realities of Lebanese of African or Asian heritage as well as migrant workers who work in Lebanon. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sy – Michael’s Blog

In parallel to the EU-US trade deal currently under way, the US is negotiating a similar agreement with 11 countries of the Asia Pacific: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Walden Bello, leading critic of neoliberal and corporate globalisation, identifies the global strategy underpinning the two agreements. Interview.

Thomas Fazi: Today bilateral and regional ‘free trade agreements’ – or better, mega-regional agreements, such as the TTIP and TPP – have effectively replaced negotiations within the WTO. Have we entered a new phase of globalisation? [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sv – Michael’s Blog

Charlotte, N.C., merchant Tonieh Ross says her heart cries for the orphaned children back home in Liberia who aren’t getting the hugs they so need, for fear of the deadly Ebola virus.

Ross, the owner of the Virtuous D Boutique, also frets about her younger sister in Monrovia, Eugenia, whose paycheck disappeared when her employer shuttered his business and left the disease-ravaged country. Now Eugenia is among some 20 desperate Liberians, mostly children, phoning Ross “over and over and over until something happens” – that is, until she or her friends send money or food, she said.

“I have given everything just to be available and help my country,” Ross said. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-St – Michael’s Blog

In recent months, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) offered to release American hostages James Foley and Steven Sotloff in exchange for Aafia Siddiqui—an MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist convicted in an American court in 2010 of trying to kill Americans. She now is serving an 86-year sentence in a Texas federal prison.

Washington said no. ISIL went on to execute Foley and Sotloff. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sr – Michael’s Blog

The problem of special interests or lobbies was one of the foremost concerns of the Founding Fathers of the United States. In their day these pressure groups were called factions.

James Madison, who is considered the architect of the U.S. Constitution, devoted the entire tenth Federalist Paper (1787) to the problem. He defined a faction as “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority … actuated by some common … interest, adverse to … the aggregate interests of the community,” and believed that within the context of liberal republicanism, they could never be eliminated. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sp – Michael’s Blog

His doctor drove him over the border. It was quicker that way: If the man donated in Switzerland, his blood would be delayed while paperwork was filled out and authorizations sought.

The nurse in Annemasse, France, could tell from the label on the blood bag destined for Paris that this blood was pretty unusual. But when she read the details closely, her eyes widened. Surely it was impossible for this man seated beside her to be alive, let alone apparently healthy?

Thomas smiled to himself. Very few people in the world knew his blood type did—could—exist. And even fewer shared it. In 50 years, researchers have turned up only 40 or so other people on the planet with the same precious, life-saving blood in their veins. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sn – Michael’s Blog

On Friday, Kaci Hickox, a Doctors Without Borders nurse, arrived back in the United States after helping treat patients in West Africa. It was not a happy return: after arriving at an airport in New Jersey, officials put her in quarantine.

Hickox’s isolation is the result of a new policy endorsed last week by Govs. Chris Christie (R) of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York, who announced new guidelines requiring 21-day quarantines for those arriving from West Africa – whether they’re showing symptoms or not. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sl – Michael’s Blog

President Dilma Rousseff has struck a conciliatory tone after her victory in the closest Brazilian election in generations.

Rousseff was re-elected by a narrow margin on Sunday, ensuring that Latin America’s biggest nation will remain under the control of a Workers party (PT) committed to tackling inequality.

She won 51.6% of the valid votes cast to secure a much reduced mandate, having fought off a strong challenge by the pro-business Aécio Neves.

In a victory speech, a beaming Rousseff said she hoped the nation could rally together. “Instead of increasing differences and creating gaps, I strongly hope that we create the conditions to unite,” she told supporters in Brasilia. “I want to be a much better president than I have been until now.” [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sj – Michael’s Blog

Newspapers don’t tell the truth under many different, and occasionally innocent, scenarios. Mostly when they don’t know the truth. Or when they quote someone who does not know the truth.

And more and more, when they quote someone who is spinning the truth, shaping it to some preconceived version of a story that is supposed to be somehow better than the truth, omitting details that could be embarrassing. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sh – Michael’s Blog

There is more truth about American journalism in the film “Kill the Messenger,” which chronicles the mainstream media’s discrediting of the work of the investigative journalist Gary Webb, than there is in the movie “All the President’s Men,” which celebrates the exploits of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal.

The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power. [Read more]

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-Sf – Michael’s Blog

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