TURKISH TROOPS HIT AGAIN IN DEADLY ATTACK
Photo: Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua/ZUMA
A Turkish military convoy in southern Turkey was targeted by a roadside bomb this morning, an attack that killed at least six soldiers and wounded another, Hürriyet reports. It came just hours after a car bomb in Ankara also targeted military personnel yesterday, killing 28 people, including civilians, and wounding 61.
- Kurdish militants are being blamed for both attacks. In a televised address, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Ankara attacker had been â€œclearly identifiedâ€ as a northern Syrian man with links to the YPG Kurdish militia, a group backed by the U.S. in the fight against ISIS. Davutoglu also blamed the Kurdish militant group PKK, which Turkey considers a terror group, and the Syrian government, newspaper Todayâ€™s Zaman reports. He said Turkey would continue to hit back at Kurdish positions in northern Syria. Leaders of both Kurdish groups have denied responsibility.
- Before yesterdayâ€™s attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had no intention to stop shelling Kurdish fighters in Syria, while criticizing Washington for its support of the YPG and its refusal to establish a no-fly zone in Syria. Meanwhile Turkey and Saudi Arabia are reportedly considering a ground intervention in northern Syria, where the Syrian army and their allies are regaining territory.
- According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 500 â€œrebelsâ€ crossed the Turkish border into Syria yesterday, heading for the town of Azaz, where Kurdish fighters now have the upper hand against the rebels. The report comes days after some 350 fighters with heavy weaponry also crossed the border. The Syrian government said Turkish troops were among them.
- Erdoganâ€™s son Bilal has been placed under investigation in Italy for money laundering, AFP reports. Bilal Erdoganâ€™s name has also been linked to ISISâ€™ illegal oil trade.
Critics have lambasted the cover of Polish newsweekly wSIECI, which depicts a screaming white woman wrapped in the European Union flag being pulled at and fondled by six dark and hairy arms. â€œThe Islamic Rape Of Europe,â€ the cover reads. See the controversial image and read more from Le Blog.
EU PONDERS DEAL TO AVOID BREXIT
EU leaders are gathering in Brussels for a two-day summit during which British Prime Minister David Cameron is hoping to clinch a deal for new membership terms that will avoid a Brexit, the BBC reports. Cameron is eager to repatriate some sovereignty powers from Brussels, including on European integration and restrictions on benefits and migrants. Though the general feeling is that Britain leaving the EU would put the union at risk, a leaked copy of the final draft text suggests that thereâ€™s no EU-wide agreement on Cameronâ€™s demands. Read more from The Daily Telegraph.
ON THIS DAY
The Ferrari patriarch meets UK fox hunting and the first Ironman in todayâ€™s shot of history.
OBAMA TO VISIT CUBA
U.S. President Barack Obama will be traveling to Cuba in the coming weeks as part of the rapprochement initiated over a year ago between the two countries, The New York Times reports. It will be the first visit to the island by a sitting U.S. president since Calvin Coolidgeâ€™s boat trip in 1928.
â€œWe must charge for gas. I ask that the people welcome and support this new system,â€ Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said as he announced a 6,000% gas price hike, from 0.1 bolivar ($0.02) to 6 bolivars per liter ($0.94). Gas in oil-rich Venezuela has been heavily subsidized, and even the drastic levy will make the cost less than a third of the price of a beer. The country has been badly hit by falling crude prices, making an already dire economic situation worse. Maduro also announced a currency devaluation and a 20% rise in the minimum wage and pensions, newspaper El Universal reports.
Voters in the east African state of Uganda will choose today whether to extend President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s 30-year rule. According to newspaper New Vision, it will be one of the toughest elections yet for Museveni in a country where 80% of the population has known no other president.
A hospital in Hollywood has agreed to pay a $17,000 ransom in bitcoins to hackers who had seized control of the hospitalâ€™s computer systems.
NIKE KNOCKS OUT PACQUIAO
Nike has terminated its contract with boxing champion Manny Pacquiao after he described gay people as â€œworse than animalsâ€ in TV comments in his native Philippines.
Retreating glaciers are liberating bodies and objects lost thousands of years ago and revealing much about the people who once lived in the mountains of Switzerland, Xavier Lambiel writes for Le Temps. â€œSince 1850, temperatures have been rising faster in the Alps, and glaciers have been retreating. When they do, they expose forgotten, long frequented paths that ice gradually obstructed. â€˜Weâ€™re living an auspicious period of archeology,â€™ says Philippe Curdy, curator of the Prehistory and Great Age Department of the Sion History Museum. At the Schnidejoch Pass, which made it possible to travel through Bern and the Valais canton, the 2003 heat wave melted an ice field. By chance, hikers found a bow and arrows that were more than 7,000 years old.â€
Read the full article, In Switzerland, Melting Glaciers Reveal Buried Treasures.
N. KOREA LEAVES A BAD TASTE
South Korea has asked its patriots living overseas not to eat at North Korean restaurants, an effort to punish Pyongyang for its recent nuclear test and rocket launch. There are about 130 North Korean restaurants abroad, most of them in China, and they earn a reported $100 million a year.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
MOKA MAKER MEETS HIS
The snazzy Italian aluminum coffee maker known as a Moka pot was first invented in the 1930s. The iconic design was produced and spread around Italy, and then the world, by industrialist Renato Bialetti, who died Feb. 10 at the age of 93. And yes, La Stampa reports, at his funeral in the northern Italian city of Montebuglio, Bialettiâ€™s ashes were placed in a Moka pot. Long life. Slow brew.
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.
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.
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?
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 Perverse Effect Of Street Art On Neighborhood Gentrification ... ›
- Taiwan To Hong Kong To L.A., Birth Of Bubble Tea Culture ... ›
- How The Pandemic Is Helping Reinvent Food Production ... ›
- What's Chic Now In Paris Dining? African-American Soul Food ... ›