Italian neo-fascist anti-Roma violence


This video from Rome, Italy, says about itself (translated):

ROMA SINTI DEMONSTRATE IN ROME AGAINST RACISM AND DEPORTATIONS

On February 20, 2019 a demonstration was held in Rome, in Piazza dell’Esquilino, organized by the Roma Nation Association (ANR) and supported by the #INDIVISIBILI: women, men, children, of every ethnicity, geographical origin, religion.

The first request of the protesters was that of the immediate withdrawal of the deportations of Gordana Sulejmanovic and Madalina Gavrilescu, women, protagonists of the demonstration against GOVERNMENTAL RACISM AND THE SALVINI DECREE promoted by #INDIVISIBILI in Rome, 10 November 2018.

By Marianne Arens:

Fascists mount pogrom against Roma population in Italy

6 April 2019

Pogrom-style racist clashes occurred in Torre Maura, a suburb of the Italian capital of Rome on Tuesday. Several Sinti and Roma families were driven out of the impoverished district. The fascists from CasaPound, who led the action, feel able to act with such aggression because they have backing from the government and state apparatus.

On the afternoon of April 2, several Sinti and Roma families were transferred into city accommodations in Torre Maura. The fascists agitated against this, managing to mobilise some of the most backward local residents. Along with CasaPound with its leader Mauro Antonini, other right-wing extremist groups like Forza Nuova took part. For several hours, they ran riot on the streets.

The Nazis rallied until late into the evening, supported by a handful of backward residents, in front of the accommodation where 65 Sinti and Roma, including children, were being housed. They shouted “Fuori fuori!” (out!) and insulted and intimidated anyone who appeared at the entrance or in the yard of the accommodation.

Rubbish bins were overturned and set alight, while a car belonging to the cooperative that works in the accommodation was set ablaze. Racist slogans were sprayed on the wall in front of the house, including that “f***ing apes” should be “burned alive”. When a volunteer sought to enter the house with a box of sandwiches, the mob tore the box from him, threw it to the ground, and trampled the sandwiches.

The siege lasted late into the evening. In the darkness, the assailants set off an explosive device in the yard, but luckily nobody was injured. The fascists repeatedly sought to incite the situation further, but the group barely grew in size. Instead, residents turned away in disgust. “These people here are organising the war among the poor”, commented an elderly woman.

After a crisis meeting, the Rome city authorities decided to relocate the Roma families. As the last buses bearing the city’s logo departed from the house, the fascists broke out in jubilation, kicking the vehicles, in which children were seated. Several videos show a mob subsequently extending their arms in a fascist salute and bellowing the national anthem.

The district mayor of the suburb, Roberto Romanella (Five Star Movement), encouraged the fascists by stating at a press conference that a serious mistake had been made “which cannot be repeated”. Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi (Five Star Movement), hypocritically condemned the “racist hatred being whipped up by right-wing extremists.” In reality, her party bears responsibility for the rise of the fascists.

With the Lega, the Five Star Movement forms Italy’s coalition government, whose policies are determined by Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the Lega. Hardly a day passes without Salvini agitating against refugees and Roma. At his initiative, the Italian government has closed the country’s ports to refugee rescue ships, condemning thousands of people to drown in the Mediterranean. The Salvini decree has also condemned tens of thousands of refugees within Italy to illegality. Refugee aid workers and sea rescuers are being sentenced to years in prison.

As a coalition partner, the Five Star Movement also bears responsibility for these policies. The Five Star Movement emerged from last year’s parliamentary elections as the largest party, with 33 percent of the vote. It concluded a coalition agreement with the far-right Lega, which had secured half as many votes (17.4 percent). The Five Star Movement thus helped the Lega obtain power and ensures it has a parliamentary majority for its reactionary policies.

These policies play into the hands of the fascists, who feel emboldened. By contrast, they enjoy little support among the population. At the beginning of March, hundreds of thousands protested in Milan against racism.

The fascists know full well that their crimes are tolerated by the highest levels of the state and government. The government systematically incites right-wing extremist sentiments, and sets precedents that only encourage the fascists. For example, Salvini ordered the house arrest of Riace mayor Dominico Lucano, who had sought to prevent his small town from dying out by resettling immigrants there. All foreign residents in Riace were deported.

It is also noteworthy that the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, recently spoke positively of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. The member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia told a radio interview that the fascist “Duce” accomplished “positive things”. In addition to his negative acts, which included his conduct of the war and introduction of anti-Semitic laws, Mussolini managed to build “infrastructure, bridges, roads, and sport parks for our country,” claimed Tajani. “One can’t claim that he did nothing,” he added.

The subsequent outrage expressed by other European Parliament deputies cannot conceal the fact that the European Union (EU) and the governments of its member states, led by Germany, are responsible for the reemergence of pogroms in Europe. The EU’s refugee policy is no less brutal than that of the coalition in Rome.

Only last week, the EU brought to an end its Operation Sofia (Eunavfor Med) in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the EU cooperates closely with the Libyan coast guard, which has established conditions akin to hell on earth for refugees. An indication of the EU’s despicable policies was given by the order from the Maltese government a few days ago for the army to storm a rescue ship.

Saving Australian native Murray river fish


This video says about itself:

Construction of Native Fish Habitat- Murray River South Australia, 18/10/2018

A group of dedicated local fishers build 10m x 3m x 3m high Fish Reef in a back yard, at Barmera and place it in 8m of water near Kingston on Murray. Here is how !

From Flinders University in Australia:

Australian Murray River habitat restoration increases native fish populations

April 5, 2019

Dubbed the ‘honeypot effect’ — a team of scientists from around Australia have shown that providing woody habitat, or ‘snags’, for native fish in the Murray River increases their population size.

In a paper released today in the scientific journal Ecological Applications, Dr Jarod Lyon from the Arthur Rylah Institute and his team describe studying 110 km of the Murray River over seven years, installing more than 4450 ‘snags’ and analysing more than six million records of tagged fish.

“We found a three-fold increase in the abundance of Murray cod, and a doubling of abundance of golden perch, in the reach of river where habitat restoration was done compared to sites where habitat remained constant,” says Dr Lyon.

“In addition, abundances of the target species in the nearby reference sites remained stable, indicating that the numbers of fish across the whole study area had increased, rather than just the same fishes just moving around.”

A team of scientists from the Arthur Rylah Institute, University of Melbourne, University of Canberra, the Federal Government, and Flinders University employed a range of methods to track the fish populations over time, including electrofishing surveys, mark-recapture, and telemetry tracking.

Collaborator Professor Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University, says relevant government bodies and authorities are more likely to take habitat-restoration options seriously because of the proven effectiveness.

“Restoring degraded freshwater ecosystems like the embattled Murray-Darling Basin is an expensive and colossal task, so knowing that our restoration attempts actually work to increase the number of native fish gives us hope that we can keep these unique species around well into the future.”

Anglers also provided important data by sharing their catch records within a valuable science citizen-science program.

“These results give great confidence to river managers that installing woody habitat really does help native fish populations thrive, and delivers substantial benefits to the communities using them,” says Dr Lyon.

“Under most climate-change scenarios, we are looking at a future where there will be increased pressure on Australia’s limited water resources.”

“We need to look at a range of options for restoring fish populations in our waterways — it will take a mix of interventions to do this, and it is vital for managers to know that we can apply habitat restoration that works.”

The large-scale, long-term study also provides a valuable and useful example of how experts can assess other interventions in our rivers, such as installing fish passage or delivering water for the environment, all of which are designed to support better, healthier, thriving native fish populations.

London Grenfell disaster residents protest against cancerous waste


London Grenfell disaster area people protest over cancerous chemicals from Grenfell blaze, 5 April 2019

By Ceren Sagir in London, England:

Friday, April 5, 2019

Kensington residents protest over cancerous chemicals from Grenfell blaze

Grenfell justice activists brought traffic to a standstill today in a protest against the continuing presence of toxicity in the area around the tower that was devastated by fire two years ago.

By Thomas Scripps in England:

Surrounding land left highly toxic after Grenfell Tower inferno

6 April 2019

The preliminary findings of a study into the widespread presence of toxic substances in the area around the fire that destroyed Grenfell tower in London were published in the journal Chemosphere.

Carried out by Professor Anna Stec and a team from the University of Central Lancashire, its findings were reported to the government last February and ignored. Public Health England (PHE) has only ever tested for airborne pollution and always insisted that “the risk to public health from air pollution remains low.”

However, the Stec study described how “huge concentrations” of potential carcinogens are present in the dust and soil around the tower, as well as in the burned debris that had fallen from it.

Even when these findings were brought to national attention in the Guardian eight months later, in October 2018, PHE and the government attempted to evade the issue. They dismissed Stec’s work as not yet peer-reviewed and claimed that the chemicals she discovered could have come from “a variety of sources.”

Although a chemicals consultant, AECOM, has now been appointed to investigate the issue, not a single government-organised soil test has been carried out 21 months after the June 14, 2017, fire.

The publication of Stec’s full study confirms her original warnings, detailing “significant environmental contamination”. The carcinogen benzene was found in concentrations 40 times greater than the guideline level for urban residential areas in soil samples taken 27 metres away from the tower, six months after the fire. Samples from 142 metres away still registered up to 30 times the guideline level. Both sites had higher concentrations than would be expected for commercial land around petrol refineries.

Six carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found within 140 metres of the tower, at levels up to 160 times greater than other urban areas. Soil sampled 27 metres away contained more than five times the guideline level of the most toxic PAH, benzo(a)pyrene, which can damage the lungs and the immune system and is related to increased risk of cancers.

Soil and debris sampled within 50 metres of the tower contained phosphorus flame retardants that are potentially toxic to the nervous system.

A balcony 160 metres away from the tower, sampled 17 months after the fire, contained traces of isocyanic acid, ethyl isocyanate and propyl isocyanate, potential causes of asthma, rashes, swelling and lung inflammation.

The researchers conclude that the findings could not have occurred naturally and that they are inconsistent with surrounding areas. They make the point that any study would have been much more valuable if begun in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Stec said last week, “It is now crucial to put in place a long-term health screening plan to assess any long-term adverse health effects of the fire on local residents, emergency responders and clean-up workers.”

Her report is a vindication of the concerns expressed by the local community and a damning indictment of the authorities’ refusal to act.

Speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, local resident Kerdesan explained, “The children are sick all the time. My son goes to primary school next to the Kensington Aldridge Academy [at the base of Grenfell Tower]. They all have similar symptoms: coughing, chest pains, sore throats and ears, headaches. They haven’t done any tests in the school for the children, no screening. The community is fighting for it, but the authorities don’t care.”

Kerdesan herself suffered a bloody cough soon after the fire that antibiotics couldn’t cure. Seventeen months later, after a Grenfell survivor raised her case in a public meeting, she finally received a hospital appointment.

“They said your area must have very poor air quality. They asked if I smoked or if anyone in my family smokes, and none of us do. So they asked where I lived, and I explained it was near the Grenfell Tower. They asked if anyone else had done these tests. I’m due to meet a consultant on April 15 who will tell me the extent of the damage.”

Asked about the role of the Conservative government and the [Conservative] Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council, Kerdesan said, “In the morning after the fire, the entrance to my house was covered in debris. I had to clean it myself. … I filled up four bin bags. I rang the council to ask for help, and they said no, you have to contact the housing association. I rang my landlord, and they said no, you have to contact the council. Why couldn’t we get this service as an emergency matter? It was all left there for us to deal with. Three weeks after the fire, I got a knock on the door from someone who’d come to clear the debris!

“I think they should screen everybody now. That’s the first thing they should do. But they want to hide the truth.

“Last October, when people asked how safe it was for people to eat fruit and vegetables grown in the garden, PHE said ‘Just wash it before you eat it.’ We asked what about the children playing, rolling around on the ground, which they’ve been doing for the last 17 months, what will happen to them—because nothing’s been properly cleaned? They said, ‘Just tell your children to wash their hands.’ This is how they risk people’s health, and every time it’s about costs.”

Joe Delaney, a local resident who lived adjacent to Grenfell Tower and has a long record of fighting for safe and decent housing in the area, condemned the government’s efforts to avoid a serious investigation.

“Professor Stec came into the area in December 2017 and took samples, she told them of her findings in February 2018 and they sat on it and did nothing. Then it leaked in October 2018, and we all trooped to the Hilton Hotel for a meeting where they said they were doing something. And now here we are in April, and still nothing’s been done.

“They’ve appointed AECOM to do an investigation for the area. I was contacted by Lisa James, who works for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, in late December. She said she would like to meet me and discuss appointing a consultant and how to move forward. …

“Lisa James and her assistant Cecil Sinclair are the community engagement team of MHCLG. She has been brought in from the private sector, where she is a motivational speaker. He is someone who has been seconded internally, and he’s come from the Troubled Families Unit.

“Why are MHCLG running a highly technical, specialised area of science that will need rigorous study that can carry the confidence of a community that already doesn’t trust the authorities, and you give it to the housing people? It’s an old trick in the civil service, when you don’t want questions asked, let alone answered, you get a complete generalist to do a specialist’s job—and they don’t know what they’re doing. The situation is being managed.”

Joe explained that AECOM was the only bidder for the consulting position, in a tender process that lasted less than 48 hours. Their tender document was completed and submitted by December 12, 2018, before any meetings were held with Joe or other residents, who were told nothing had been decided. AECOM worked with RBKC as recently as 2016, when environmental studies had to be carried out during the Kensington Academy Leisure Centre rebuilding project.

“It’s the magician’s trick, pick a card any card, and somehow you end up with the one that he wants. And if you read through their document it’s all talk about ‘managing expectations’.

“There are academic institutions around the country that could have done this work. Or internationally even, if you really wanted to avoid questions of impropriety.

“When they appointed AECOM, what they were basically saying was, ‘Come on now, enough time has passed, we just need to get on with things, so there’s no point objecting to AECOM.’ In other words, we’ve wasted almost two years, so we might as well do something—even if that something is useless and not what you want at all. Now they can say about the chemicals, well this stuff could have come from anywhere, it’s years later.

“These synthetic vitreous fibres, there’s no way that they could have come from anything else except Kingspan and or Celotex products—the fibres didn’t exist when the tower was built.”

Celotex supplied the RS5000 insulation sandwiched between the equally dangerous aluminium panels that were clad to Grenfell during its refurbishment. When RS5000 burns it gives off toxic fumes that contain cyanide. Highly flammable insulation was combined with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with a highly flammable polyethylene core.

“What PHE said was, yes there may be stuff in the area but Victorian people lit fires and had factories. Firstly, there weren’t factories. This area was a slum, bits of it were a racetrack owned by the Earl of Ladbroke, and farmland. We didn’t have chemical industries. If you look at the dispersal pattern for PAHs, the heaviest concentrations are around the tower and they seem to decrease the further away you go, so more likely than not they came from the tower.

“We were subjected to institutional indifference before the fire, institutional inadequacy when the relief effort failed, and now institutional inertia because they don’t want to investigate.”

Grenfell area residents demonstrate against toxins