Netherlands-Australia 3-0, women’s football

This 1 June 2019 video is about today’s friendly international women’s football match in Eindhoven of the Netherlands against Australia.

Both teams have qualified for the World Cup, which will start on 7 June in France.

Though, according to the Huffington Post, Australia is one of the dark horses to win the World Cup tournament, the Dutch ‘orange lionesses’ beat the Australian ‘Matildas‘ 3-0.

This is a 26 May 2019 Dutch music video of a song supporting their women’s team.

2019 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP The eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup has been described as the most important in history. Kicking off in Paris today, the tournament promises an unprecedented wealth of talent, and never before has women’s football had such a platform. [CNN]

African teams at women’s football World Cup

This 31 May 2019 video says about itself:

Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa in high spirits ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup

Africa’s representatives at the Women’s World cup are in high spirits ahead of kick off on June 7.

Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon have intensified preparations as show time looms.

Nigeria’s Super Falcons are optimistic about their strategies and tactics to top group A. With such determination South Korea, Norway and host nation France face a daunting challenge. ”He [the trainer] wants us to play in the 3-5-2 formation, I think that has been our best formation right now, I think it’s a great improvement for the team’‘, said Super Falcons’ captain, Evelyn Nwabuoku.

New Zealand, Canada and the Netherlands also face a hurdle with Cameroon.

Known as the Indomitable Lionesses and so hungry to win, the three other teams on such a fairly balanced group will have to fight their way through.

Indomitable Lionesses’ goalkeeper, Mireille Mambingo said they are ready to leave no stone unturned.

“Like all lionesses going out hunting, we’re on a hunt and we’ll get our prey, because a lioness never comes home empty-handed’‘, she said.

Although Germany remains number 2 in the world and is unbeaten since losing to France in last year’s Cup, South Africa is also ready to put up a fight, with China and Spain also on the group.

“Today you are good, tomorrow you are better and the other day you’re even greater”, Banyana Banyana’s striker, Thembi Kgatlana said.

‘‘So yes people say we’re in the group of death, but I mean by the time we’ll be at the World Cup we’ll be good as a team and they would not know what to expect from us’‘, she added.

Stargazer fish video

This 29 May 2019 video says about itself:

Don’t Be Fooled by the Charming Name of this Marine Predator

It may be called a stargazer, but the only thing this ambush predator has its eyes on is its prey – and with a clever camouflage strategy and a lightning fast bite, it’s deadly effective.

French Macron helps Libyan anti-refugee armed gangs

This 30 May 2017 video says about itself:

Humanitarian groups accuse Libyan coast guard of ‘endangering refugee lives’

Search and rescue organisations in the Mediterranean Sea are accusing the Libyan coastguard of reckless behaviour that’s endangering lives.

A series of incidents caught on camera appears to show Libyan ships trying to prevent refugees from being pulled from the water. Refugees also say they’ve been robbed and shot at by Libyan forces. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from Sicily.

By Anthony Torres and Alex Lantier in France:

France illegally arming Libyan coastguards to stop refugees from Africa

1 June 2019

While hundreds of thousands of refugees are attempting to escape Libya to Europe, the Macron government in France is providing the Libyan coastguard with six ships to catch refugees sailing to Europe and return them to Libya, where they are imprisoned in concentration camps. The policy, which has been condemned by multiple human rights organizations because of the prevalence of torture, rape, slavery and murder in the camps, is both barbaric and illegal.

At a February security conference in Munich, Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly informed Faïez el-Sarraj, the President of the Government of National Unity based in Tripoli, that France had purchased six boats for Libya. The purpose was to stop the flow of migrants attempting to journey across the Mediterranean. According to the press, the ships, built by the company Sillinger, which equips the French special forces, include dedicated supports for the Libyan regime to mount machine guns.

On May 10, the Paris Administrative Court rejected the request of eight human rights organizations—including Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders, Cimade, and Migreurop—to suspend the boats’ delivery. They had pointed to European and UN embargoes against the sale of arms to Libya, and the “foreseeable consequences of the delivery of the six boats for the human rights of migrants and refugees intercepted and returned to Libyan soil.”

In the French-language press, a deafening silence reigns over the atrocious conditions in which refugees are being held in Libyan camps built with the financial support of the European powers. By 2017, human rights organizations and CNN had reported torture, sexual abuse and murder in the detention centers (See: “Amnesty International report exposes EU role in mass torture of refugees in Libya”).

Last November, La Croix interviewed Vincent Cochetel, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on the conditions for refugees detained in Libya.

When asked whether the practicing of slavery in Libya reported in 2017 was disappearing, Cochetel replied: “On the contrary, these practices have increased in number. As it is more difficult to leave Libyan soil, traffickers need to monetize their investment by exploiting even more detainees who are sold or lent by the day. In addition, detention situations have deteriorated.”

He added, “We don’t know much about detention centers controlled by traffickers and militia. But … since the beginning of the year, 14,595 people have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard and repatriated to Libyan soil. Some of them were finally able to return home with the help of the International Organization for Migration. But it is clear that a large proportion of them have been sold to traffickers to be used for labour on farms or construction sites, or even, for women, for sexual exploitation.”

Cochetel’s testimony underscores that the denunciations of human trafficking by European countries are entirely cynical, because the concentration camps they have built are an essential component of the financial strategy of these networks. According to Cochetel, Libyan law specifies that any irregular foreigner must “pay a fine or hard labour. This legal framework promotes human trafficking and the detention system is part of its business model.”

Libya is currently experiencing a resurgence of civil war between the militias that NATO powers supported during the imperialist war waged in 2011 to destroy the Gaddafi regime. The growth in military conflict, against the backdrop of a struggle for influence between Paris, Rome and other regional powers in the strategic and oil-rich country, only intensifies the suffering of refugees.

Marshal Khalifa Haftar, in conflict with the puppet government in Tripoli, launched an offensive in early April to conquer the capital. According to UN agencies, at least 278 people were killed, 1,332 injured and 35,000 displaced. The International Committee of the Red Cross stated: “The humanitarian situation in and around Tripoli has deteriorated severely in the past three weeks.”

Michael Neuman of MSF, an NGO that still has staff on the ground in Libya, testified to La Croix: “Libyan coastguards are menacing when they intercept migrants at sea, and systematically send them to detention centres. France is complicit in these practices.”

Nevertheless, despite unequivocal evidence, the Paris Administrative Court approved the transfer of the six French ships to Libya to force the refugees to remain in that country: “The decision to make such a free transfer of equipment intended for the Libyan armed forces is not detachable from the conduct of France’s external relations.” The court therefore declared itself incompetent to issue a judgment preventing the transfer of the vessels to the Libyan coastguard.

In other words, French foreign policy is not “detachable” from the torture, rape and murder of thousands of refugees, and a calculated disregard for their basic democratic rights. French policy follows the strategy of Rome, which has also concluded agreements with militia, particularly in Sabratha, to prevent boats from departing for Europe.

This also underlines the fraudulent nature of the official propaganda calling upon workers and youth to vote for pro-EU parties, supposedly to block the rise of neo-fascist organizations. In fact, the imperialist war in Libya has paved the way for the criminalisation of European foreign policy, in line with the xenophobia openly incited by the extreme-right.

This is an unforgettable lesson in the nature of the imperialist war in Libya—as well as the charlatanry of the pro-imperialist petty-bourgeois “left” who applauded NATO’s bombing of Libya as a “humanitarian” operation to liberate the country from Gaddafi.

Postmodernist essayist Bernard Henri-Lévy and the leaders of Olivier Besancenot’s New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) insisted that the country should be bombed, and that rebel Islamist or tribal militias must be armed in order to overthrow the regime. In 2011 Professor Gilbert Achcar of the NPA said that French imperialism should be called upon to protect Libya: “We are in a situation where the population is really in danger and there is no other alternative to protect them.”

These representatives of the wealthy middle classes, whose careers depend on their presence in the official media or on the state funding of their university research, have all adopted the view that imperialism could liberate Libya through a democratic revolution. It was a pack of lies. Now their “democratic revolution” has restored slavery and the most atrocious abuses, partly financed and facilitated by European money and military equipment.

AIRSTRIKES ON MIGRANT CENTER KILL AT LEAST 40 At least 40 people were killed and 80 injured when an airstrike hit a migrant center east of the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, according to the Health Ministry’s emergency service Field Medicine and Support Center. [CNN]

In an address to the National Assembly last night, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a series of far-reaching austerity measures, particularly targeting pensions and unemployment payments, as well as new attacks against immigrants and Muslims: here.

From Tilos golden oriole to Kos flamingos


After 13 May 2019 on Tilos came 14 May. For the last time, we heard a golden oriole sing in the Tilos morning.

We boarded the ferry to Kos island.

In Kos city, swifts flying.

In Tigaki village, greenfinch sound.

This video from Greece says about itself:

These are just a few of the 70 different species of birds we found on the delightful island of Kos over just a week in early May 2012. The northern migration did not really get into full swing until about the 9th, so our week was almost over before we spotted the hoards of Bee Eaters heading north ………. a wonderful sight and sound…

We were on the first holidaymakers’ flight out of Birmingham, so there were no crowds, just a lot of peace and quiet punctuated by the occasional ‘lifer’.

In the afternoon, we went to the Alikes lake. It used to be a salt pan; now it is a nature reserve.

Scores of black-winged stilts near the shore.

A bit further, about 15 flamingos.

Two ruddy shelducks swimming.

Cetti’s warblers sing.

A little egret.

A crested lark flies to a treetop.

Squacco herons.

A green sandpiper.

Holy orchid flowers.

Barn swallows nest under a roof near a swimming pool. They drink from the pool.

Trump’s cruel jails for immigrating

This 31 May 2019 video says about itself:

El Paso Immigration Center Is Dangerously Overcrowded, Inspector General Warns

Severe overcrowding at an immigration facility in El Paso presents an immediate risk to the health and safety of hundreds of migrants being held there, with some of those detained standing on top of toilets in crowded rooms just to find air to breathe, a federal watchdog said this week.

In a report issued Thursday in which it calls for immediate action, the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General detailed several striking observations about the conditions at the El Paso Del Norte immigration processing center gathered during unannounced inspections in early May.

Despite federal standards saying that people should generally not be detained for more than 72 hours, some people were held in “standing room only” cells for weeks, the report said. Investigators found that there was limited access to showers and clean clothes, the report said. Some people were “wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said. Investigators found 155 people in a cell that was supposed to hold 35, and 41 people in a cell that was supposed to hold eight.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

As Trump escalates war on immigrants

US watchdog finds 900 immigrants jammed into jail designed for 125

1 June 2019

Last month, the Intercept reported on a study by an international consortium of journalists and news outlets documenting the widespread use of solitary confinement, defined as torture by the United Nations, at immigrant detention centers in the US.

Exposures are mounting of the horrendous and illegal conditions under which immigrant workers and children are being held, even as President Donald Trump responds to mounting threats of impeachment with new attacks on refugees and fresh appeals to his fascistic base.

On Friday, CNN cited a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general on inhumane, unsanitary and dangerous conditions at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center in Texas. The inspector general found “standing room only conditions”, with detainees “standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets.”

Dumpster with detainee personal property

An unannounced inspection found logs indicating that on May 7 and 8 there were “approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively” at the facility, which is designed to hold a maximum of 125 people. A cell with a maximum capacity of 12 held 76 detainees, another with a maximum capacity of eight held 41, and another with a maximum capacity of 35 held 155, according to the report.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing,” it continued, “detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks.”

There is good reason to believe that similar conditions exist at other detention centers and holding pens for the tens of thousands of immigrants being swept up in the US government’s expanding war on immigrants.

El Paso Del Norte was one of five Border Patrol stations and two ports of entry in the El Paso, Texas area, including greater El Paso and eastern New Mexico, which were included in the unannounced spot inspection visits carried out in May at Customs and Border Protection holding facilities.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is recommending that additional detention facilities be built in El Paso to deal with the growing wave of workers and youth crossing the border from Mexico to seek asylum from gang violence, state repression and brutal poverty in their Central American home countries.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of DHS, has constructed a tent-like facility that can hold 500 at the site, is planning to open an “800 holding capacity modular facility” by July 31 and a permanent processing center for some 1,800 people by December 1, 2020.

US imperialism is chiefly responsible for the horrific conditions in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. These are countries it has oppressed and exploited for more than a century, repeatedly intervening to topple governments and install CIA-backed dictatorships, most recently in Honduras, where the Obama administration and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed the military overthrow of the elected president, Manuel Zelaya.

Overcrowded jail

Trump’s crackdown on immigration has spurred the increased flow of refugees across the border by virtually halting attempts by immigrants to seek asylum at ports of entry. The White House has asked Congress for an additional $4.5 billion in emergency funding to further expand the border police and build more detention centers. Last month, it emerged that his administration is considering a plan to carry out the mass arrest of 10,000 immigrants in major cities across the US.

The exposé of conditions in El Paso is only the latest revelation of the sadistic treatment of immigrant workers and youth. The Washington Post published a report Thursday that there are 2,000 unaccompanied children being held in “overcrowded US Border Patrol facilities…beyond legally allowed time limits, including some who are 12 or younger.”

Children are suffering from chicken pox and respiratory diseases. Six children—five Guatemalans and a Salvadoran—have died in US custody since September.

Last month, the Intercept reported on a study by an international consortium of journalists and news outlets documenting the widespread use of solitary confinement, defined as torture by the United Nations, at immigrant detention centers in the US.

These conditions are neither aberrations nor unintentional. They are the result of a deliberate policy of inflicting suffering on immigrants in order to deter them from seeking entry to the US and enhancing the administration’s appeal to “America First” chauvinism and racism.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s statement by Special Counsel Robert Mueller suggesting that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice in connection with his probe of supposed Russian “meddling” in the US elections and possible collusion by the 2016 Trump election campaign, and Mueller’s encouragement of a congressional impeachment inquiry, Trump has responded by doubling down on his persecution of immigrants and his effort to whip up backward and fascistic elements.

On Thursday, he announced that he would impose tariffs on all goods from Mexico, beginning at five percent and rising to 25 percent, unless the Mexican government halted all immigration from Central America via its territory. He told graduating cadets at the Air Force Academy in a campaign-type speech that he would soon make a major announcement on immigration and his crackdown at the US-Mexico border.

Politico reported that Trump was planning to issue a new rule that would “choke off asylum to Central Americans” by banning asylum applications to refugees who reached the US through a third country, i.e., Mexico. This would have the immediate effect of denying asylum to thousands of migrants waiting for months just south of the US border under a deal reached last year between Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The agreement, dubbed the “remain in Mexico” program, blocks asylum seekers from remaining in the US pending the disposition of their applications.

The stepped-up attack on immigrants is accompanied by increasingly aggressive assertions of unlimited presidential power and threats to resist efforts to remove him from office. Last month Trump threatened to cancel the 2020 elections and extend his term to 2022. He has in effect rejected congressional oversight by defying subpoenas from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives for testimony from his aides as well as documents related to Mueller’s Russia investigation. This coincides with his declaration of a national emergency to use the military to build his border wall.

The response of the Democratic Party to Mueller’s speech is likewise right-wing. Underscoring the reactionary basis of the Democrats’ opposition to Trump, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seized on Mueller’s statement, in which he reiterated the baseless claims that the Russian government subverted the 2016 election in order to install Trump in office, by doubling down on their anti-Russia hysteria. Both responded to an edited video of Pelosi posted on Facebook by denouncing Facebook as a “witting” agent of Russian plots against America.

In the ongoing warfare in Washington, whether or not it assumes the form of impeachment, the Democrats will continue to focus on warmongering against Russia and demands for more severe internet censorship while virtually ignoring Trump’s war on immigrants and attacks on democratic rights.

Honduran government cracks down on strike by teachers, doctors and nurses: here.

FEDS SLASH EDUCATION FOR DETAINED KIDS Unaccompanied immigrant children in government detention centers across the U.S. will no longer have English classes, recreational programs or legal aid, according to Department of Health and Human Services emails first obtained by The Washington Post. [HuffPost]