Donald Trump’s economic war on Cuba

This 9 April 2019 video from TIME magazine in the USA says about itself:

The Trump administration is moving to end a deal allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with [United States] Major League Baseball organizations.

By Alexander Fangmann in the USA:

Trump administration escalates threats against Cuba

20 April 2019

On Wednesday, in a set of twin events presided over by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, the administration of US President Donald Trump announced its reversal of a policy shared by Democratic and Republican administrations alike for nearly a quarter of a century by imposing a set of draconian economic sanctions against Cuba.

In addition to reversing a number of Obama-era measures loosening economic restrictions against Cuba, the administration is ending the regular waivers of Title III of the anti-Cuban Helms-Burton Act, which provides penalties even for non-US citizens and companies conducting business on the island. Title III, which has been continuously waived every six months by US presidents since the law was signed by Bill Clinton, authorizes US nationals to sue persons or companies for damages in US courts if they are found to be “trafficking” in property confiscated by the Cuban government following the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The statements of the two US officials, and Bolton’s in particular, delivered to the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association near Miami, made clear that Washington’s ongoing actions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are part of an effort to re-impose the absolute dominance of US imperialism in the Western hemisphere. It is also part of the anti-socialist campaign launched by Trump and the Republican Party in an attempt to whip up support among the far right in advance of the 2020 elections.

Pompeo told a State Department press conference that the full provisions of Title III would take effect May 2. Those sued could have assets in the US seized in recompense or have US travel visas denied or revoked. Justifying the new measures in relation to Cuba’s support for Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez, Pompeo said, “Cuba’s behavior in the Western Hemisphere undermines security and stability of countries throughout the region, which directly threatens United States national security interests.”

Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier said at the press conference that 6,000 Title III claims have already been certified, with a potential for up to 200,000. The 6,000 claims already certified have a stated value of $8 billion. Notably, Title III claims have to be for confiscated property worth over $50,000, and the law mandates a $6,700 filing fee, shattering any pretense that this measure would benefit any but the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

Among the highest claims certified so far are those of Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola and Office Depot. Should they prevail in US courts, they would reap their rewards through the seizing of the US assets of foreign companies, mostly European and Canadian, operating in Cuba, exacerbating already sharp global trade tensions.

Pompeo said, “Those doing business in Cuba should fully investigate whether they are connected to property stolen in service of a failed communist experiment.”

Following the announcement, representatives of Canada and the EU, among Cuba’s biggest trade partners, issued a joint statement, saying, “The decision by the United States to renege on its longstanding commitment to waive Title III of the Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act is regrettable, and will have an important impact on legitimate EU and Canadian economic operators in Cuba. The EU and Canada consider the extraterritorial application of unilateral Cuba-related measures contrary to international law.” They also stated they would be challenging the US action through the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution framework.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry also issued a statement, noting, “As it has done historically, Mexico rejects the application of unilateral trade laws with extraterritorial character, since they violate the norms of international law.”

Other measures announced include a reduction in the amount of remittances Cuban residents of the US are able to send to their families on the island to $1,000 every three months. Under Obama, restrictions on remittances had been lifted entirely, and while average remittances are around $200 per month, the restrictions will have serious repercussions for numerous families as well as small businesses, which have relied on such remittances essentially as a form of foreign investment.

Pompeo also said that the US would be shutting down travel to Cuba for anything but family visits, eliminating several categories of travel that had been authorized by the Obama administration, which would now require authorization from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This is expected to have an effect on American tourism to the island, and will reduce family visits by Cubans and Cuban-Americans as airlines eliminate flights and raise fares in response to decreasing demand.

Another measure will ban so-called “U-Turn” transactions through which the Cuban government indirectly accesses the US financial system by making transactions in third-party countries.

Additionally, five Cuban entities will be added to the list that prohibits direct financial transactions with US companies. The only one named so far is Aerogaviota, an airline founded by the Cuban military.

The net effect of all these restrictions will be to further squeeze the Cuban economy, which is already facing shortages of energy and other imports resulting from slow growth, as well as falling deliveries of subsidized fuel from Venezuela. The hope, especially in regard to Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, is to discourage companies from doing business in Cuba or encourage them to exit. The strategy is, essentially, to starve the island into submission.

The political character of the actions of the Trump administration were made especially clear by Bolton’s appearance at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, near Miami, where he spoke to a group of ultra-right Cuban exiles celebrating the 58th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, an abortive CIA-led effort to overthrow the Castro government using an army of right-wing Cuban exiles. He ludicrously compared the counterrevolutionary band, which surrendered en masse to the Cuban military after a day of fighting, to “the brave men of Bunker Hill, Belleau Wood and Normandy.”

Referring to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua as the “troika of tyranny”, Bolton’s speech was loaded with blood curdling anti-socialist rhetoric reminiscent of the height of the Cold War. Saying that “the twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere”, Bolton said it was time to “reverse the consequences of disastrous Obama-era policies and finally end the glamorization of socialism and communism.”

Bolton also stated, “Today, we proudly proclaim for all to hear: the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well”, referring to the historic US policy of claiming unfettered dominance over the Americas.

Perhaps most provocatively, he appealed to the ultra-right elements in attendance to be prepared for a confrontation with the growing socialist sentiments in the US itself, saying, “We will need your help in the days ahead. We must all reject the forces of communism and socialism in this hemisphere—and in this country.”

RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED ON U.S. TRAVEL TO CUBA The Trump administration is imposing new sanctions on Cuba this week, including banning all U.S. travel to the island for tourism in response to the Cuban government’s support of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro. [HuffPost]

On Tuesday, the US government published new rules restricting cruise ships as well as some types of educational tours from traveling to Cuba. The aim is to exacerbate an economic crisis on the island: here.

Beetle-ant symbiosis in the dinosaur age

Detailed photos of the newly discovered Promyrmister kistneri beetle's morphology through its amber encasement. Credit: Courtesy of the Parker laboratory / eLife

From the California Institute of Technology in the USA:

These beetles have successfully freeloaded for 100 million years

Ancient beetle infiltrated earliest-known ant colonies like its modern relatives

April 17, 2019

Summary: An ancient and rare beetle fossil is the oldest example of a social relationship between two animal species.

Almost 100 million years ago, a tiny and misfortunate beetle died after wandering into a sticky glob of resin leaking from a tree in a region near present-day Southeast Asia. Fossilized in amber, this beetle eventually made its way to the desk of entomologist Joe Parker, assistant professor of biology and biological engineering at Caltech. Parker and his colleagues have now determined that the perfectly preserved beetle fossil is the oldest-known example of an animal in a behaviorally symbiotic relationship.

A paper describing the work appears on April 16 in the journal eLife.

Symbiotic relationships between two species have arisen repeatedly during animal evolution. These relationships range from mutually beneficial associations, like humans and their pet dogs, to the parasitic, like a tapeworm and its host.

Some of the most complex examples of behavioral symbiosis occur between ants and other types of small insects called myrmecophiles — meaning “ant lovers.” Thanks to ants’ abilities to form complex social colonies, they are able to repel predators and amass food resources, making ant nests a highly desirable habitat. Myrmecophiles display elaborate social behaviors and chemical adaptations to deceive ants and live among them, reaping the benefits of a safe environment and plentiful food.

Ants’ social behaviors first appear in the fossil record 99 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, and are believed to have evolved not long before, in the Early Cretaceous. Now, the discovery of a Cretaceous myrmecophile fossil implies that the freeloading insects were already taking advantage of ants’ earliest societies. The finding means that myrmecophiles have been a constant presence among ant colonies from their earliest origins and that this socially parasitic lifestyle can persist over vast expanses of evolutionary time.

“This beetle-ant relationship is the most ancient behavioral symbiosis now known in the animal kingdom,” says Parker. “This fossil shows us that symbiosis can be a very successful long-term survival strategy for animal lineages.”

The fossilized beetle, named Promyrmister kistneri, belongs to a subfamily of “clown” beetles (Haeteriinae), all modern species of which are myrmecophiles. These modern beetles are so specialized for life among ants that they will die without their ant hosts and have evolved extreme adaptations for infiltrating colonies. The beetles are physically well protected by a thick tank-like body plan and robust appendages, and they can mimic their host ants’ nest pheromones, allowing them to disguise themselves in the colony. They also secrete compounds that are thought to be pacifying or attractive to ants, helping the beetles gain the acceptance of their aggressive hosts. The fossilized Promyrmister is a similarly sturdy insect, with thick legs, a shielded head, and glandular orifices that the researchers theorize exuded chemicals to appease its primitive ant hosts.

Depending on another species so heavily for survival has its risks; indeed, an extinction of the host species would be catastrophic for the symbiont. The similarities between the fossilized beetle and its modern relatives suggest that the particular adaptations of myrmecophile clown beetles first evolved inside colonies of early “stem group” ants, which are long extinct. Due to Promyrmister’s remarkable similarity to modern clown beetles, Parker and his collaborators infer that the beetles must have “host switched” to colonies of modern ants to avoid undergoing extinction themselves. This adaptability of symbiotic organisms to move between partner species during evolution may be essential for the long-term stability of these intricate interspecies relationships.

Macron’s austerity burned Paris Notre Dame

This 14 March 2017 video from France says about itself:

France: Firefighters flare up protest against austerity in Paris

Thousands of firefighters staged a demonstration in Paris, Tuesday, to protest against austerity measures and demand better recognition. Dressed in their firefighters’ uniforms, or ‘bunker gear,’ protesting firefighters marched from Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation, throwing flares and coloured smoke canisters.

SOT, Francois, firefighter from Pyrenees Atlantiques (French): “We are here today because we are the most appreciated profession in France but we are also the least recognised [by authorities]. Firstly we are under territorial divisions, so each department does what they want with us. We are working 24 hours while guards get paid as much for 17 hours.”

SOT, Vincent, firefighter and union member from Christian Workers Union (CFTC) (French): “This situation for professional firefighters is precarious, and the result is that we are losing 1000 second class firefighters, who are not engaged and the winners of the professional accreditation in 2013 are without jobs. We can see that the majority of the department is engaging “Future Jobs” (special contract) or “Civic services” to replace professional firefighters.”

That was over two years ago. Then, the French government decided not to pay more than a measly 2 million euros a year on the restoration of the Paris Notre Dame cathedral. Which meant insufficient fire safety. Which meant the devastating fire of this week.

By Alex Lantier in France:

No to calls for “national unity” after the burning of Notre Dame in Paris

20 April 2019

The calls in the French media and ruling elite for national unity after a horrific fire devastated Notre Dame cathedral on Monday in Paris deserve nothing but contempt. Their goals are obvious. They aim to strangle all critical reflection on the causes and lessons of this shocking event, which has exposed the utter irresponsibility of the state machine; and to stabilize President Emmanuel Macron’s government, which is rocked by the upsurge of the class struggle, with “yellow vest” protests and mass protests against the Algerian military regime.

The cause of the devastation of Notre Dame cathedral is the lack of serious fire security in renovation work, rooted in austerity and the relentless self-enrichment of the financial aristocracy. The French state refused to foot the €100 million bill for the renovation, leaving church officials to beg for money internationally. The plan that was ultimately adopted ignored basic fire security measures, including the need to hire sufficient fire security staff. After a fire alarm, under this plan, it would take staff up to 20 minutes to reach and inspect the area.

The gaping holes in this plan—adopted amid Macron’s austerity policy that funnels hundreds of billions of euros to the army, tax cuts for the rich, and bank bailouts—had disastrous consequences. Despite two fire alarms on Monday, Notre Dame staff

who are religious employees, not fire experts

could not locate the fire until much of the roof was ablaze and the spire was collapsing.

After this disaster the major media and parties are calling for a political truce and a halt to all criticism. Macron’s Republic on the March (LRM) and the neo-fascist National Rally (RN) suspended their European campaigns. …

Europe1 radio enthused, “Deep emotion took over all the state officials who went to visit the flaming cathedral. The president, prime minister … all went to see for themselves. In one hour, a holy union was formed. There were no discordant notes in the call for national unity, except maybe Jean-Luc Mélenchon because he asked Emmanuel Macron to be quiet for a few days.”

By raising the “holy union”—historically, the name for the bourgeoisie’s union with the social democrats to wage the First World War and oppose the rising international communist movement emerging from the October 1917 Russian revolution—Europe1 perhaps said more than it intended.

The current official campaign for French “national unity” is an almost chemically pure example of the reactionary role of nationalism, which by denying the significance of the international class struggle subordinates the workers to the military-austerity diktat of the ruling class. While the major parties led the call to silence criticism of official policy in the name of national unity, they left it to the Medef business federation to specify what “national unity” means.

On Wednesday, Medef President Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux went on BFM-TV to deliver a full-throated defense of the tax cuts for the rich and exorbitantly wealthy that led to this disaster. Hailing an “incredible enthusiasm” in the nation for rebuilding Notre Dame, he denounced “pathetic debates on tax cuts”, saying: “If you tax people too much in France, they will go elsewhere. We need rich taxpayers who pay their taxes in France.”

Roux de Bézieux then hailed the billionaire Arnault and Pinault families, who refused to fund the renovation but are now giving a few hundred million euros to towards the multi-billion-euro project of rebuilding the cathedral. He said, “If the state paid 100 percent, who would pay? It’s you and me, everyone, the taxpayers. … So I think it’s great that there are people who agree to pay out of pocket to help. It’s a real moment of national unity.”

The fate of Notre Dame cathedral and the Medef’s ignorant lust for money are a warning to workers not only in France but around the world. The only way forward for workers is to expropriate the irresponsible and parasitic ruling class that dominates official public life. Class struggle, rejecting nationalist appeals for unity with the super-rich and fought through to its conclusion, is the only way to resolve the urgent problems created by the destructive operations of the financial aristocracy.

Mélenchon’s pretense that the great divide in French society is between atheists and believers is just as false … One recent poll found that only 4.5 percent of French people attend mass at least once a month. The great divide is class—the line separating the overwhelming majority of workers forced to sell their ability to labor to an employer, and the parasites of the financial aristocracy.

Belgian pro-climate school strike activist Anuna De Wever: now suddenly billions for Notre Dame. How about the climate?

Macron government intended to break environmental and historical heritage rules in reconstructing Notre Dame: here.

Last week, French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the CEO and leading shareholder of luxury fashion retail group LVMH, became the third person in history to surpass the US$100 billion mark in personal wealth. Only Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (worth $157 billion) and Microsoft head Bill Gates ($102.9 billion) are richer: here.

In the more than three months since the April 15 fire that devastated and came close to destroying Paris’ historic Notre Dame cathedral, evidence has continued to mount that the fire was the outcome of systematic cutbacks and negligence on the part of the French government. At the same time, Paris authorities are covering up the health dangers posed to the local population, particularly children. The fire caused almost 400 tons of lead roofing to be carried away by smoke onto nearby schools, maternity centers, houses and sidewalks: here.

What coelacanths tell about brain evolution

This 2 February 2018 video says about itself:

Diving With Coelacanths

This video is part of the banquet presentation given by Richard Pyle at the 2013 Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (MACNA) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It represents a video overview of a series of dives conducted in 2011 off Sodwana Bay, South Africa, to find and film living Coelacanths.

The video also shows what the habitat looks like at depths of 100-120 meters (330-400 feet) off Sodwana Bay. The dives were led by Peter Timm, and filmed by Robert Whitton, Daniel Stevenson and Richard Pyle.

From the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility:

Coelacanth reveals new insights into skull evolution

April 17, 2019

An international team of researchers presents the first observations of the development of the skull and brain in the living coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae. Their study, published in Nature, provides new insights into the biology of this iconic animal and the evolution of the vertebrate skull.

The coelacanth Latimeria is a marine fish closely related to tetrapods, four-limbed vertebrates including amphibians, mammals and reptiles. Coelacanths were thought to have been extinct for 70 million years, until the accidental capture of a living specimen by a South African fisherman in 1938. Eighty years after its discovery, Latimeria remains of scientific interest for understanding the origin of tetrapods and the evolution of their closest fossil relatives — the lobe-finned fishes.

One of the most unusual features of Latimeria is its hinged braincase, which is otherwise only found in many fossil lobe-finned fishes from the Devonian period (410-360 million years ago). The braincase of Latimeria is completely split into an anterior and posterior portion by a joint called the “intracranial joint.” In addition, the brain lies far at the rear of the braincase and takes up only 1% of the cavity housing it. This mismatch between the brain and its cavity is totally unequalled among living vertebrates. How the coelacanth skull grows and why the brain remains so small has puzzled scientists for years. To answer these questions, researchers studied specimens at different stages of cranial development from several public natural history collections.

Although many specimens of adult coelacanths are available in natural history collections, earlier life stages such as fetuses are extremely rare. Scientists hence used state-of-the-art imaging techniques to visualize the internal anatomy of the specimens without damaging them. They notably digitalized a 5 cm-long fetus, the earliest developmental stage available for Latimeria, with synchrotron X-ray microtomography at the European Synchrotron (ESRF). Over the last two decades, the ESRF has developed unique expertise in designing non-invasive techniques widely used for evolutionary biology studies.

In addition, the researchers also imaged other stages with a powerful Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner at the Brain and Spine Institute (Paris, France), and a conventional X-ray micro-CTscan at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris, France). These data were used to generate detailed 3D models, which allowed scientists to describe how the form of the skull, the brain and the notochord (a tube extending below the brain and the spinal cord in the early stages of life) changes from a fetus to an adult.

They also observed how these structures are positioned relative to each other at each stage, and compared their observations with what is known about the formation of the skull in other vertebrates.

In contrast to most other vertebrates, where the notochord is replaced by the vertebral column early in embryonic development, the notochord expands considerably in Latimeria. The dramatic enlargement of the notochord likely influences the patterning of the braincase, and might underpin the formation of the intracranial joint. The brain might also be affected by the enlargement of the notochord, as relative size dramatically decreases during development.

These results illuminate for the first time the development of the living coelacanth skull and brain, and open up new avenues for research on the evolution of the vertebrate head.

Hugo Dutel, lead author and research associate in palaeobiology at the University of Bristol, UK, says, “These are very unique observations, but they represent only a tiny step forward compared to the amount we know on the development of other species. There are still more questions than answers! Latimeria still holds many clues for our understanding of vertebrate evolution, and it is important to protect this threatened species and its environment.”

British Conservative government represses climate change protesters

This 17 April 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

Extinction Rebellion: The People Risking Their Freedom To Stop Climate Change | HuffPost Reports: UK

In the midst of unprecedented warnings of climate breakdown, a new, radical protest group emerged in the UK in 2018 – Extinction Rebellion. Focusing on direct action and civil disobedience, Extinction Rebellion aim to disrupt daily life and confront government inaction on climate change. From their launch last year, we followed the group and witnessed its expansion.

By Laura Tiernan in Britain:

UK home secretary demands climate change protesters face “full force of the law”

20 April 2019

Mass arrests of climate change protesters continued in London yesterday, after the Conservative government’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid demanded police “use the full force of the law.”

More than 682 protesters have been arrested since Monday.

“No one should be allowed to break the law without consequence,” Javid tweeted Thursday morning. He called on police to “take a firm stance” against “any protesters who are stepping outside the boundaries of the law” and “significantly disrupting the lives of others.”

Javid’s statement followed well over 100 additional arrests in the centre of London Wednesday, after Scotland Yard demanded protesters be cleared from Parliament Square. Social media footage showed hundreds of police marching in formation from Millbank, with protesters later dragged away.

Javid issued his threats despite the peaceful tactics of protesters who have occupied public spaces including Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch. While hundreds have been arrested, just 10 people have so far been charged with any offence.

After widely publicised protests in London yesterday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed that 106 arrests were made. At Oxford Circus, actress Emma Thompson addressed demonstrators from a pink wooden boat in the middle of the road. “We are here in this little island of sanity and it makes me so happy to be able to join you all and to add my voice to the young people here who have inspired a whole new movement,” she said. Rings of police surrounded the boat before moving in to make arrests.

On Thursday evening, London Metropolitan Police issued a statement confirming more than 1,000 police had been mobilised and restating that under Section 14 orders, protests at Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Parliament Square were “illegal.” The statement followed a meeting between Javid and Met Chief Cressida Dick.

The Met responded to demands by Javid and others for tougher police action by explaining they were operating within legal constraints and with resources stretched to breaking point: “We have been asked why we are not using tactics such as containment—physically and forcibly stopping the protesters from moving around. The simple answer is we have no legal basis to do so. These are peaceful protesters; while disruptive their actions are not violent towards police, themselves or other members of the public.”

The media responded with demands for stepped-up repression, as urged by Javid.

On Thursday, Sky News presenter Adam Boulton attacked protesters for “fascistic disruption” in a clear attempt to redefine and criminalise the right to protest.

Boulton was articulating the stance of large sections of the media and political establishment. On Wednesday night, the Daily Mail carried a comment written by former Labour Home Secretary, now Sir David Blunkett. He railed, “Why hasn’t the full force of the law been used against these eco-anarchists who fill me with contempt?

“As Home Secretary between 2001 and 2004 I had to deal with the anti-globalisation protests and the Reclaim the Streets movement. I had to make decisions as to how far you allow these protests to go.”

Blunkett accurately described Labour’s draconian and anti-democratic response at the time: “What I learned was that you had to be tough. The full force of the law needs to be used against those who have been warned and yet who persist with their anti-social protests.”

On Thursday night, the Met warned that protests planned the following day at Heathrow Airport would be met with “firm action … We have requested mutual aid from other police forces to support our operation.”

The next morning dozens of police lined the streets around Heathrow Airport and surrounded a small group of protesters from Extinction Rebellion Youth. The 10 teenagers occupied a traffic island and did not impede entry to the airport. They held a banner that read, “Are we the last generation?”

Samar Faraj, 14, told reporters, “In 30 years’ time, I don’t want to be looking back on this and regretting not doing everything I could do to help prevent the disasters we’re facing.” Her fellow-protester Nathan Hunter, 15, said, “I’m protesting today because I don’t want to wake up in 15 years and regret that I didn’t do more to stop the climate crisis. I don’t want to live in a future defined by an unstable climate; A world where future generations may not be able to live happy, healthy lives—or even have lives at all.”

This week’s protests were organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR), attracting support from students and disparate sections of the middle-class, including retirees and professionals. An XR protest outside oil giant Shell’s corporate headquarters was joined by leading environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin, who helped draft the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Yamin superglued herself to the footpath outside Shell, telling reporters, “the legal process is pretty broken right now. And we’re having to break law rather than make law, because of the inaction of 30 years now of these companies.”

A press release issued by XR explained that their members had deliberately caused more than £6,000 of damage to Shell property to ensure their case is heard by a Crown Court jury (rather than a magistrate), where they hope to publicise their concerns over the activities of Shell.

XR’s protest actions, including blocking roads and light rail networks, are based on appeals to the capitalist state. XR is calling on the government to declare a climate emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and create a Citizens’ Assembly on ecological justice. XR explains such an assembly would comprise “randomly selected” members of the public who would supposedly “work together” on a “non-partisan basis” to solve the climate emergency.

While most climate change protesters arrested this week were released under investigation and without charge, the Met confirmed Thursday that they would “be brought back to be formally interviewed and charged as appropriate in due course.”

The statements by Sajid Javid, Blunkett and the vitriolic media attacks are a foretaste of how the state will respond to any movement in the working class. The arguments being deployed to justify police repression—including “disruption” and “inconvenience” to the public—will be used tomorrow to demand mass arrests and repression against striking railway workers, bus drivers, pilots and cabin crew, or NHS staff.

Monday, April 22, 2019: Over a thousand Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested in past week. Environmentalists stage a ‘die-in’ at the Natural History Museum while others consider whether to continue direct action: here.

The London Metropolitan Police are pushing to prosecute every single one of the 1,130 protestors arrested during climate change demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR) in April: here.

UK: Defence minister’s sacking escalates Tory crisis amid rising UK/US tensions: here.