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Migrant Tragedy Aftershock, South Africa Arrests, Kim Climbs

Migrant Tragedy Aftershock, South Africa Arrests, Kim Climbs

EMERGENCY EU SUMMIT AFTER MIGRANT TRAGEDY

European Union leaders are holding an emergency summit in Luxembourg to discuss a common response to the ongoing migrant crisis. But the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini warned ahead of the meeting that there was “no easy solution, no magic solution,” the BBC reports. This comes just one day after some 700 migrants are believed to have drowned after their boat capsized off the coast of Libya. Only 28 have been rescued. Civil-war ravaged Libya has become a major hub for human traffickers since the NATO intervention and the subsequent fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011. Up to 1,500 migrants are thought to have perished crossing the Mediterranean this year alone, in what Italy’s La Repubblica characterizes as a “migrant apocalypse.”

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ON THIS DAY


Spanish painter and sculptor Juan Miró would have turned 122 today, plus three uglier events from the past. Get ready for your 57-second shot of history.


TTIP TALKS RESUME

Talks between the U.S. and the European Union about establishing a free-trade zone between the two blocs are resuming today in New York, but the European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström believes the deal won’t be finalized this year, according to French business daily Les Échos.

  • The deal, which is being negotiated mostly in secret, is facing growing opposition, especially in Germany where hundreds of protest marches were held this weekend. Critics are particularly worried by a clause that would allow corporations to sue governments in private courts that will sit outside national law. Also on the list of concerns are forced imports of controversial U.S. products such as genetically modified vegetables, hormone-treated beef or chlorine-washed chicken.
  • Barack Obama is also facing opposition inside his own ranks, especially after his recent decision to side with the Republicans to fast track the free-trade deals with the EU and Japan. Read more from The Washington Times.

AUSTRALIA, IRAN TO SHARE INTELLIGENCE IN ANTI-ISIS FIGHT

The Iranian government will share secret intelligence gathered by their operatives in Iraq with Canberra, thus allowing the Australian government to track its citizens fighting with ISIS, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop announced after meeting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this weekend. More than 100 Australians are believed to have joined the terrorist group’s ranks. Read the full story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

  • ISIS-affiliated fighters in Libya have published a video that purportedly shows the killing of at least 28 Ethiopian Christians at two different locations, some being shot dead, others beheaded, Al Jazeera reports.
  • Another ISIS-affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for a roadside bomb that killed three Egyptian soldiers near the border with the Gaza Strip.
  • A similar attack targeted a bus in northeastern Somalia in which United Nations workers were travelling, killing at least six of them. Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

PARIS COLOR RUN

Photo: Michael Bunel/NurPhoto/ZUMA

An estimated 20,000 people took part in the second edition of the Paris Color Run on Sunday — a 5-kilometer charity race for hospitalized children — where runners wear white at the starting line and finish plastered in colored powder.


XI JINPING VISITS PAKISTAN

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Islamabad for what Pakistani newspaper Dawn describes as a “historic visit” during which the Chinese leader is expected to roll out a $46 billion energy and infrastructure plan for the next 15 years. According to The New York Times, the investment plan includes the construction of roads, rails and power plants by Chinese companies. But it’s also a move aimed at stopping the spread of Islamist groups is the northwest Xinjiang region of China.


41.8 MILLION TONS

The amount of electrical and electronic waste discarded globally in 2014 reached a record high 41.8 million tons, two tons more than the previous year, a UN report showed. At current rates, the annual amount of e-waste will reach the 50-million-ton mark by 2018.


HERBICIDE BLAMED FOR MYSTERIOUS DEATHS IN NIGERIA

At least 18 people have died under mysterious circumstances in a small community in southern Nigeria over the past week, with all victims succumbing within 24 hours of showing early symptoms, including headaches, blurred vision and loss of consciousness. While people there said the deaths were divine punishment after a group of youths who broke into a religious shrine, World Health Organization official Gregory Härtl said the agency’s working hypothesis was that of a herbicide, after tests for viral and bacterial infections returned negative, Vanguard reports.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Being the filming location of global hits like HBO’s Game of Thrones has huge economic consequences. Le Monde’s Marie Charrel reports on the fierce competition — from Iceland, France, and beyond. “Filmed across Europe, Game of Thrones is the perfect theatre to view the war raging among numerous countries to try and attract top movies and TV show shootings, especially American ones. ‘The competition is fierce,’ admits Olivier-René Veillon, Director General of the Film Commission for the region Ile-de-France. ‘To win, we have to be the best on many levels,’ adds Einar Hansen Tomasson, from Film in Iceland, the agency in charge of promoting Iceland to foreign studios. It's working here, as the island has welcomed cast and crew of movie blockbusters Interstellar (by Christopher Nolan), Noah (by Darren Aronofsky) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (by Ben Stiller).”

Read the full article, Game Of Thrones, The Global Battle To Host The Set.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



300+ ARRESTED AMID SOUTH AFRICA XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE

As many as 307 people have been arrested in South Africa as the country experiences a wave of violent xenophobic protests in which at least six people were killed, The Cape Times reports. Calling out to those who engage in public violence, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said they “will be dealt with to the full might of the law,” as the government seeks to reassure foreign investors.


VERBATIM

“Climbing Mount Paektu provides precious mental pabulum more powerful than any kind of nuclear weapon,” Kim Jong-un (who else?), after climbing North Korea’s highest mountain.

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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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