Turkey Versus ISIS, Aiding Gaza, Economics Nobel

A moment of rest for Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" protesters
A moment of rest for Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" protesters

Monday, October 13, 2014

Turkey has agreed to allow the U.S.-led coalition to use its military bases as part of the campaign to fight the ISIS terrorist group, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice told NBC in an interview Sunday. Rice said the White House welcomed this “new commitment,” as Turkey is also set to let Syrian opposition forces be trained there. One of the key points of the agreement is the use of the Incirlik Air Base near the Syrian border. A Defense Department team is expected to arrive in Turkey this week to finalize the plans, The Washington Post reports.

In the NBC interview, Rice said ground troops would be part of the global anti-ISIS campaign but insisted they would not be U.S. troops. “It’s got to be the Iraqis,” she said. “This is their fight. This is their territory.” Rice added that combat against ISIS would be long-term. “It's not going to be quick. It's not going to be easy. But this is the only way to accomplish taking back territory, preventing a safe haven in Iraq in a sustainable way.”

ISIS advanced in Kobani, Syria, over the weekend and are currently in control of certain areas of the town, the BBC reports. Though the jihadists are striking parts of the town with heavy fire, Kurdish forces are putting up strong resistance. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 36 ISIS and 8 Kurdish fighters were killed Saturday.

Meanwhile, ISIS has boasted about enslaving and selling Yazidi men, women and children, a Human Rights Watch report reveals. An English-language ISIS propaganda magazine called Dabiq described how Yazidi women and children were considered spoils of war after they were captured by the jihadists in Iraqi Kurdistan in August. According to the report, a teenage girl who managed to escape from ISIS said a fighter had bought her for $1,000. The number of Yazidis captured by the terrorist group is said to be around a thousand, but according to VICE News, it could be as high as 2,500.

Hundreds of opponents to the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, some wearing surgical masks and armed with crowbars and cutting tools, tore down protest barriers in the heart of the city’s business district today, scuffling with protesters who have occupied the streets for two weeks, Reuters reports.

U.S. health officials said Sunday they were deeply concerned by a “protocol breach” after it was confirmed that a nurse had become the second person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola. The Texas Health Presbyterian hospital employee had previously cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the virus in an isolation unit last week in Dallas. In a media briefing Sunday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thomas Frieden said an unknown breach in protocol led to what is the first case of Ebola transmission in the U.S., The Washington Post reports.

The Ebola outbreak is "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times," World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said today.

Meanwhile, medical staff in Liberia have threatened to go on a national strike, demanding an increase in monthly pay, personal protective equipment and insurance, the BBC reports. Liberian Assistant Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah has appealed to medical staff not to go ahead with the strike, stressing that such a decision would seriously diminish the progress made so far in the fight against the deadly virus.

So far 4,033 have died from Ebola, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A donor conference in Cairo yesterday ended with $5.4 billion in pledges to aid Gaza, Norway's Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said.

Bolivian voters have elected President Evo Morales for a third consecutive term. With at least 60% of the votes, according to the most recent election data, it was an easy win. At the presidential palace in La Paz, where he claimed victory, the former farmer told his cheering supporters, "This win is a triumph for anti-imperialists and anti-colonialists.” Since he was first elected in 2006, Morales has overseen strong economic growth and reduced poverty.

New research in Germany shows that something triggers personality changes in people when they get older. And no, it's not retirement or being grandparents that explains the changes, Die Welt’s Wiebke Hollersen reports. “Among those over 70, on the other hand, all sorts of things began to happen. Their personalities changed in all possible directions. They were less controlled, lived more impulsively, or they achieved greater self-esteem and inner peace. Others turned into ‘over-controlled’ personalities. All this applied to older Australians and Germans, men and women alike ... The researchers were surprised by the changes in character traits in older people, and so far have been unable to determine what drives these changes. After having tested for the influence of several different factors, they are only sure about what doesn't explain the changes.”
Read the full article, Old Dogs, New Tricks: Why Personalites Change After 70.

Oscar Pistorius arrived at Pretoria’s High Court this morning for the hearing that will determine whether he will serve jail time for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He was found guilty of the culpable homicide last month but was cleared of murder. Pistorius faces up to 15 years in jail, but the BBC reports that Judge Thokozile Masipa could suspend the sentence or impose a fine.

French economist Jean Tirole has won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on how governments should deal with mergers and cartels, and regulate monopolies, The Guardian reports.

Rescue teams have begun their relief operations on India’s east coast after Cyclone Hudhud hit there over the weekend. At least eight people were killed and as many as 400,000 were forced to flee to relief camps. The cyclone also wrecked homes, roads and crops across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.


Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

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


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.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!