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Chinese Stocks, U.S. Sanctions, Rolls Royce Bribes

Chinese Stocks, U.S. Sanctions, Rolls Royce Bribes

CHINA STOCKS RESUME SLIDE AMID CRACKDOWN

Chinese equities fell again today despite ending higher on Friday, following a devastating week for the country’s stock markets. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.8%, and although the Shenzhen CSI 300 ended up 0.7%, both fell by as much as 4% at one point, Reuters reports. This came as the government launched a large-scale crackdown on people who allegedly spread false rumors leading to “disorders in stock market or society,” Xinhua reports, quoting an official statement. The incriminated rumors are that a "man jumped to death in Beijing due to stock market slump," and that "at least 1,300 people were killed in Tianjin blasts." As many as 197 people have been “punished.”


ON THIS DAY


On August 31, we said hello to a violinist and bid farewell to a princess, as part of our daily video shot of history.


U.S. WEIGHS CHINESE SANCTIONS

The United States are putting together what The Washington Post described as “a package of unprecedented economic sanctions” targeting Chinese individuals and companies that benefited from Beijing’s alleged large-scale cyber attacks on the U.S. Such a move would raise tensions between the two countries further, amid an ongoing row in the South China Sea and Beijing’s devaluation of its currency. The specter of sanctions comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s planned visit to the U.S next month.


VERBATIM

“Hungary is part of Europe, which has values, and we do not respect those values by putting up fences that we wouldn't even use for animals,” said France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, lashing out at Hungary, for its decision to erect a fence in an attempt to stop the influx of migrants travelling via Serbia, a non-European Union country. Fabius’ Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, slammed the French diplomat’s “shocking and groundless judgments” and retorted that his country was following EU rules. Hungary has received almost 150,000 migrants so far this year, 50,000 this month alone. Read more from AFP.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The wasting of food continues in a world where too many people still go hungry. Still there are signs of a growing consciousness, writes Ignacio Zuleta in Colombian daily El Espectador. “The impact of wasting food is not just moral, financial or social. It's also environmental, given the amount of water and fertilizers used to produce it, the fuel burned in trash collection and the greenhouse gases these processes generate, which in turn foment more poverty.

The scandal is that the planet can evidently produce food for everyone, but our depraved consumer culture and typical ignorance mean that our food is instead being discarded in trash bags or being left to rot in fields because, for one example, the potatoes don't meet size standards. It's certainly a sin.”

Read the full article, Our Food … Is In The Trash .


ISIS BLOWS UP ANOTHER PALMYRA TEMPLE

Photo: Bernard Gagnon/GFDL

ISIS terrorists have destroyed part of another 2,000-year-old temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the group detonated more than 30 tons of explosives to blow up the Temple of Bel, the largest structure in the UNESCO-listed city. Read more from Al Jazeera.


EXTRA!

There are now four suspects in the bombing earlier this month at a holy shrine in Thailand’s capital that killed 20 people. See the latest from the Bangkok Post.


ROLLS-ROYCE IN BRAZIL CORRUPTION SCANDAL

British giant Rolls-Royce has become the latest company to be dragged in the massive corruption scandal engulfing Brazil’s state-oil company Petrobras, The Guardian reports. The car manufacturer is alleged to have paid bribes to Brazilian government officials and executives via an influent Brazilian businessman who is already under investigation. The company is also under criminal investigation in Britain over bribery allegations in Asia.


“SUPERGIANT” GAS DISCOVERY IN EGYPT

Italian energy company Eni announced late Sunday it had made “a world class supergiant gas discovery” off the Egyptian coast, enough to satisfy Egypt’s natural gas demand “for decades,” the company said in a statement. According to Forbes, the discovery is bad news for Israel.


22

Serena Williams will be looking to equal Germany’s Steffi Graf’s grand slam tally of 22 at the U.S. Open, which begins today. A victory in Flushing Meadows would see the American champion clinch her first single-season Grand Slam. Graff was the last female player to achieve this in 1988.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



KANYE FOR PRESIDENT?

It was with a lengthy speech (even by his own standards) that Kanye West received a Video Vanguard Award yesterday at the MTV Video Music Awards, but the final revelation was worth the wait. “As of this moment, I have decided that I will be running for president in 2020,” the rapper said, before dropping the mic and leaving the stage. This may have been a “joke” since he admitted moments before having “rolled up something” before coming on stage. Still, in the world of ludicrous White House candidates, West would be the perfect successor to Deez Nuts or Donald Trump.

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Society

The Food Truck, A Sign That The White And Wealthy Are Moving In

In San Diego, California, a researcher tracked how in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked dining options, when interesting eateries arrive the gentrification of white, affluent and college-educated people has begun.

Balboa Park Spring Fling Food Truck festival

San Diego Food Trucks via Facebook
Pascale Joassart-Marcelli

SAN DIEGO — Everybody, it seems, welcomes the arrival of new restaurants, cafés, food trucks and farmers markets.

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis?

But when they appear in unexpected places – think inner-city areas populated by immigrants – they're often the first salvo in a broader effort to rebrand and remake the community. As a result, these neighborhoods can quickly become unaffordable and unrecognizable to longtime residents.

An appetite for gentrification

I live in San Diego, where I teach courses on urban and food geographies and conduct research on the relationship between food and ethnicity in urban contexts.

In recent years, I started to notice a pattern playing out in the city's low-income neighborhoods that have traditionally lacked food options. More ethnic restaurants, street vendors, community gardens and farmers markets were cropping up. These, in turn, spurred growing numbers of white, affluent and college-educated people to venture into areas they had long avoided.

This observation inspired me to write a book, titled The $16 Taco, about how food – including what's seen as "ethnic," "authentic" or "alternative" – often serves as a spearhead for gentrification.

Take City Heights, a large multi-ethnic San Diego neighborhood where successive waves of refugees from places as far away as Vietnam and Somalia have resettled. In 2016, a dusty vacant lot on the busiest boulevard was converted into an outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44. There, food vendors gather in semi-permanent stalls to sell pupusas, lechon (roasted pig), single-sourced cold-brewed coffee, cupcakes and tamarind raspado (crushed ice) to neighborhood residents, along with tourists and visitors from other parts of the city.

Informal street vendors are casualties.

A public-private partnership called the City Heights Community Development Corporation, together with several nonprofits, launched the initiative to increase "access to healthy and culturally appropriate food" and serve as "a business incubator for local micro-entrepreneurs," including immigrants and refugees who live in the neighborhood.

On paper, this all sounds great.

But just a few blocks outside the gates, informal street vendors – who have long sold goods such as fruit, tamales and ice cream to residents who can't easily access supermarkets – now face heightened harassment. They've become causalities in a citywide crackdown on sidewalk vending spurred by complaints from business owners and residents in more affluent areas.

This isn't just happening in San Diego. The same tensions have been playing out in rapidly gentrifying areas like Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood, Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, New York's Queens borough and East Austin, Texas.

In all of these places, because "ethnic," "authentic" and "exotic" foods are seen as cultural assets, they've become magnets for development.

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

A call for food justice

Cities and neighborhoods have long sought to attract educated and affluent residents – people whom sociologist Richard Florida dubbed "the creative class." The thinking goes that these newcomers will spend their dollars and presumably contribute to economic growth and job creation.

Food, it seems, has become the perfect lure.

It's uncontroversial and has broad appeal. It taps into the American Dream and appeals to the multicultural values of many educated, wealthy foodies. Small food businesses, with their relatively low cost of entry, have been a cornerstone of ethnic entrepreneurship in American cities. And initiatives like farmers markets and street fairs don't require much in the way of public investment; instead, they rely on entrepreneurs and community-based organizations to do the heavy lifting.

In City Heights, the Community Development Corporation hosted its first annual City Heights Street Food Festival in 2019 to "get people together around table and food stalls to celebrate another year of community building." Other recent events have included African Restaurant Week, Dia de Los Muertos, New Year Lunar Festival, Soul Food Fest and Brazilian Carnival, all of which rely on food and drink to attract visitors and support local businesses.

Meanwhile, initiatives such as the New Roots Community Farm and the City Heights Farmers' Market have been launched by nonprofits with philanthropic support in the name of "food justice," with the goal of reducing racial disparities in access to healthy food and empowering residents – projects that are particularly appealing to highly educated people who value diversity and democracy.

Upending an existing foodscape

In media coverage of changing foodscapes in low-income neighborhoods like City Heights, you'll rarely find any complaints.

San Diego Magazine's neighborhood guide for City Heights, for example, emphasizes its "claim to authentic international eats, along with live music venues, craft beer, coffee, and outdoor fun." It recommends several ethnic restaurants and warns readers not to be fooled by appearances.

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against the "urban food machine"

But that doesn't mean objections don't exist.

Many longtime residents and small-business owners – mostly people of color and immigrants – have, for decades, lived, worked and struggled to feed their families in these neighborhoods. To do so, they've run convenience stores, opened ethnic restaurants, sold food in parks and alleys and created spaces to grow their own food.

All represent strategies to meet community needs in a place mostly ignored by mainstream retailers.

So what happens when new competitors come to town?

Food vendor at outdoor international marketplace called Fair@44.

Fairat44 via Instagram

Starting at a disadvantage

As I document in my book, these ethnic food businesses, because of a lack of financial and technical support, often struggle to compete with new enterprises that feature fresh façades, celebrity chefs, flashy marketing, bogus claims of authenticity and disproportionate media attention. Furthermore, following the arrival of more-affluent residents, existing ones find it increasingly difficult to stay.

My analysis of real estate ads for properties listed in City Heights and other gentrifying San Diego neighborhoods found that access to restaurants, cafés, farmers markets and outdoor dining is a common selling point. The listings I studied from 2019 often enticed potential buyers with lines like "shop at the local farmers' market," "join food truck festivals" and "participate in community food drives!"

San Diego Magazine's home buyer guide for the same year identified City Heights as an "up-and-coming neighborhood," attributing its appeal to its diverse population and eclectic "culinary landscape," including several restaurants and Fair@44.

When I see that City Heights' home prices rose 58% over the past three years, I'm not surprised.

Going up against the urban food machine

Longtime residents find themselves forced to compete against what I call the "urban food machine," a play on sociologist Harvey Molotch's "urban growth machine" – a term he coined more than 50 years ago to explain how cities were being shaped by a loose coalition of powerful elites who sought to profit off urban growth.

I argue that investors and developers use food as a tool for achieving the same ends.

When their work is done, what's left is a rather insipid and tasteless neighborhood, where foodscapes become more of a marketable mishmash of cultures than an ethnic enclave that's evolved organically to meet the needs of residents. The distinctions of time and place start to blur: An "ethnic food district" in San Diego looks no different than one in Chicago or Austin.

Meanwhile, the routines and rhythms of everyday life have changed so much that longtime residents no longer feel like they belong. Their stories and culture reduced to a selling point, they're forced to either recede to the shadows or leave altogether.

It's hard to see how that's a form of inclusion or empowerment.The Conversation

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Pascale Joassart-Marcelli is a Professor of Geography and Director, Urban Studies and Food Studies Programs at San Diego State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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