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Combat-Ready N. Korea, Greek Reshuffle, Dismaland

Combat-Ready N. Korea, Greek Reshuffle, Dismaland

NORTH KOREAN ARMY COMBAT READY

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered full combat readiness for the army after declaring a “quasi-state of war” with South Korea following yesterday’s exchange of fire between the two countries, Yonhap reports. Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun-hye has issued orders for the military to retaliate to any provocation from Pyongyang, which still demands that South Korea cease anti-North propaganda. Technically, the two countries have been at war since they signed an armistice at the end of the Korean war, in 1953.


MACEDONIA FACES MIGRANT CRISIS

The Macedonian government has declared a state of emergency on the country’s northern and southern borders, with Serbia and Greece, respectively, deploying troops and riot police to these areas to stem the flow of migrants trying to enter the country illegally, Reuters reports. Interior Minister Ivo Kotevski said yesterday that the southern border “was unprotected by the Greek authorities and the migrants were allowed to cross illegally. In many instances, we witnessed their organized transportation to the border,” he explained, calling on the European Union to find a solution. Amid clashes this morning, the riot police fired tear gas at thousands of migrants.

Today’s issue of Libération includes a 16-page feature about the European migrant crisis, analyzing the human and financial cost of policies implemented in France, Germany and the European Union as a whole. Read more in our Extra! feature.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



85 MILLION

France is expected to remain the world’s most visited country this year with a record 85 million foreign tourists, the country’s Foreign Ministry announced yesterday.


GREEK SYRIZA MEMBERS LEAVE PARTY

A group of 25 Syriza lawmakers in Greece who are opposed to austerity and the third bailout agreement reached Wednesday have announced plans to leave the ruling party to form their own party, Popular Unity, Greek Reporter reports. This comes after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced yesterday he would resign, a move designed to trigger new elections since he’s lost support from much of his party. He will stand again in a new general election to be held Sept. 20.

  • The new party will be led by former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who has been one of Tsipras’ most vocal critics. Popular Unity will “put the country on a new path of national independence, sovereignty, recovery and a new progressive course,” Lafazanis said in a statement. Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou is expected to join the party. It’s unclear whether former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will also join.
  • According to Kathimerini, the creation of this new, radical-left party may allow Tsipras to move what remains of Syriza closer to the political center. “The people will have to decide again,” he said in his televised address. “You will have to decide whether we represented you with courage. We have done everything in our power to save Greece.”
  • But opposition parties from the center and the right may be trying to form a minority government without an election. The Greek Constitution allows them three days to come up with a viable agreement.

VERBATIM

“It is past time that Labour apologized to the British people for taking them into the Iraq war on the basis of deception, and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology,” Jeremy Corbyn, one of Britain’s Labour Party leadership candidates, told The Guardian. The media has cast Corbyn as the most left-wing of the candidates. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has urged Labour supporters not to choose Corbyn, regarded as the favorite to succeed Ed Miliband.


ASIA SHARES CONTINUE FREEFALL

Asian shares slumped further today, with Japan’s stock market falling by 3% and South Korea’s by 2.2%, after similar results yesterday in U.S. and European markets, the BBC reports. China’s Shanghai composite index plunged 4.3%, bringing its weekly losses to 11%, after new data showed Chinese manufacturing falling to its lowest level since 2009, another alarming sign that the country’s economy is slowing. According to The Daily Telegraph, the succession of bad news means European shares today are poised for what could be this year’s worst weekly decline


ON THIS DAY


It would take two years to recover the Mona Lisa after a Louvre employee stole Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece on this day in 1911. Check out today’s shot of history.


ISRAEL STRIKES SYRIA AFTER ROCKET FIRE

Israeli Defense Forces hit a Syrian military building in the Golan Heights this morning, killing one soldier, in retaliation for rocket fire on a northern Israeli village, The Jerusalem Post reports. Israeli authorities believe the rockets were fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and were “facilitated” by an Iranian man.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Humans aren’t the only living beings able to perceive the emotions of others and respond to them. When it comes to empathy, animals and people are more alike than not, Le Temps’ Pascaline Minet writes. “Experiencing emotions because of others is one thing, but adapting one’s actions accordingly is another. Animals such as primates, elephants, horses and crows also demonstrate such behavior â€" especially to comfort. They have the desire to satisfy the needs of another in appropriate and specific ways. Orangutan mothers, for example, understand that their young is stuck in a tree when they hear their baby crying a certain way.”

Read the full article, Empathy, The Emotion Humans And Animals Share.


MANDELA GRANDSON FACES RAPE CHARGE

A grandson of late South African President Nelson Mandela is expected to appear in a Johannesburg court today after being charged with raping a 15-year-old girl, News24 reports. Earlier this week, it was reported that Mandela's ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had sent a bodyguard pretending to be a policeman to the young girl’s home to convince her family to drop the charges.


BANKSY’S IDEA OF FUN

Photo: dismalandofficial via Instagram

British artist Banksy unveiled his latest project yesterday titled Dismaland, describing it as “a family theme park unsuitable for small children.” Among the creations on display in Weston-super-Mare, southwest England, is a carousel with a figure making lasagne from the horses, while one of the shops “offers” children money at an interest rate of 5,000%.

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Society

What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel

-Essay-

BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.


Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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