French-Italian proxy oil war in Libya continues


This 8 May 2019 video says about itself:

Italy Pressures France Over Support For Libya’s Rebels

France has backed Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar’s efforts … But after complaints from the Italian government, the French have apparently backed off their vocal support of Haftar’s advance on Tripoli. But the head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party says Haftar is taking advantage of diverging international interests in Libya to get ahead.

Guests:
Guma el Gamaty
Head of Libya’s Taghyeer Party

Mohamed Eljarh
Founder and CEO of Libya Outlook

Anne Giudicelli
CEO of Terr(o)Risc

By Alex Lantier in France:

Bombing of Turkey’s Watiya base escalates Franco-Italian proxy war in Libya

8 July 2020

Even as COVID-19 spreads, the decade-long civil war between rival imperialist-backed warlords triggered by the 2011 NATO war in Libya is spiraling out of control.

On July 5, unidentified warplanes bombed al-Watiya airbase, which Italian-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) forces recently retook from French-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar. The attack damaged hangars and destroyed military equipment from Turkey, which is coordinating its support for the GNA with Italy. LNA official Khaled al Mahjoub told Al Arabiya that “other attacks similar to the one on the base will soon be carried out. … We are in a real war with Turkey, which has oil ambitions in Libya.”

Turkish military sources told Spanish news site Atalayar the raid included “nine precision airstrikes against Turkish air defense systems,” which wounded several Turkish intelligence officials. They added that the attacks were “successful” and left “three radars completely destroyed.” However, Atalayar refuted reports that MiG-29 or Su-24 jets Moscow has given the LNA carried out the strikes, saying that it was the work of French-made Rafale jets.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France itself all field Rafales, support the LNA, and could have bombed al-Watiya. On June 21, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi threatened to intervene in Libya against Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office reacted to the strike by tweeting that Turkey would escalate operations in Libya, attacking the coastal city of Sirte and Al Jufra, Libya’s largest airbase, both located in central Libya and held by LNA forces. It cited control of oil supply lines and Russian support for the LNA to justify its intervention.

The bombing of al-Watiya, barely 150km from Tripoli, followed visits by Turkish and Italian officials. It came only a few hours after Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar concluded a trip to Tripoli, during which he proclaimed, “Turkish sovereignty and our return, after the withdrawal of our ancestors, to return forever in Libya.” This apparently referred to the Turkish Ottoman Empire’s control over Libya, until Italy seized Libya and held it as a colony from 1911 until 1943 and its defeat during World War II.

On June 24, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio visited Tripoli, after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara and amid joint Turkish-Italian naval drills. In Tripoli, he said the war was central to Rome’s strategic interests, calling Libya “a priority for our foreign policy and national security.”

The strike on al-Watiya has revealed the bitter divisions among the NATO imperialist powers, as well as between the regional powers, over the division of the spoils from the 2011 war.

Amid revolutionary uprisings of the working class in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, Paris, London and Washington pushed NATO to bomb Libya and arm Islamist and tribal militias to topple Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Berlin declined to join the war, and the belligerent powers ran roughshod over initial Turkish objections. Western media and petty-bourgeois pseudo-left groups like France’s New Anti-capitalist Party claimed it was a humanitarian war to protect Libyan protesters, but it was an imperialist rape of Libya.

It set the stage not only for the ongoing proxy war in Syria between Russia and NATO, which sent to Syria many Islamist proxy militias it had mobilized in Libya, but for a ruthless struggle to carve up Libya and its massive oil reserves.

Thousands have died in fighting between rival militias unleashed by the 2011 war, and the coronavirus pandemic is now ravaging Libya. The number of cases doubled in the last two weeks of June, to 713, and now stands at 1,117. Only 269 have recovered while 34 have died, as the disease spreads across a country whose health and industrial infrastructure have been shattered by a decade of bloodshed.

This month, the International Rescue Committee reported: “This year Libya has recorded the highest number of attacks on health facilities of any country in the world. Just yesterday, an ambulance was hit by an airstrike, severely damaging the vehicle and the health facility close by. Last week two doctors were killed by a mine that exploded under a body they were moving from a hospital. With Libya’s health system already on its knees, continued attacks such as these are making it even harder for medical teams in the country to respond to the pandemic.”

The NATO powers are not bringing medical and humanitarian aid, however, but plundering Libya and threatening to escalate the fighting into an all-out regional war. Several regional powers play a major role—with Turkey and Algeria backing the GNA, and Egypt and the UAE backing the LNA. Moscow has also intervened to back the LNA against the Islamist-dominated GNA. However, a decisive aspect of the conflict is between major oil corporations like France’s Total and Italy’s ENI.

On July 3, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency wrote that the GNA is “advancing on Sirte, the gateway to the east of the country and oil fields.” It called Sirte “crucial” for two reasons: “First, Sirte has significant economic value as a gateway to Libya’s oil crescent region, consisting of vital ports such as al-Zuweytinah, Ra’s Lanuf, Marsa al Brega, and as-Sidr, which reportedly supplies 60 percent of Libya’s oil exports. Secondly, it is a strategic city that could enable the GNA to take control of the Libyan coastline from the capital to the west and Benghazi to the east.”

ENI dominates the oilfields in GNA-held northwestern Libya. But many of the oil reserves and refineries in the “oil crescent” region are held by Total and LNA militias in the Cyrenaica region around Benghazi, the center of the NATO-backed revolt against Gaddafi, and in the Fezzan. This region in southern Libya borders two former French colonies, Niger and Tchad, that Paris exerts control over as part of its so-called war on terror in Mali and the Sahel.

Conflicts between the NATO imperialist powers are increasingly evident. Commenting on French support for Haftar, Tarek Megerisi of the European Council on Foreign Relations told the Financial Times: “France has different interests to Germany and Italy in Libya, and it has moved to protect these interests. It has security interests in the Sahel and a wider security partnership that it is building with the United Arab Emirates—and in which Egypt is a big part.”

Dorothée Schmid of the French Institute on International Relations (IFRI) said there is “strategic panic” in Paris at Haftar’s recently suffered reverses. She pointed to growing chaos and uncertainty in NATO: “France is rather isolated in this affair, and everyone is waiting for the American elections.”

The only way to avert a further escalation is a mobilization of the working class in Africa and the Middle East, resuming the struggles launched a decade ago, and the unification of these struggles with growing strikes and protests in America and Europe in a socialist anti-war movement. Absent a revolutionary intervention of the working class, the ruling elites are all sliding towards war.

Naval tensions continue to grow in the Mediterranean. France withdrew from NATO operations in the Mediterranean on July 1, protesting that a Turkish warship allegedly threatened to fire on a French frigate as it tried to inspect a merchant ship bound for Libya. Egypt has for its part reportedly acquired a Russian “Bastion” coastal defense battery amid reports that Turkey intends to set up a naval base in the Libyan city of Misrata.

How dinosaurs became extinct, video


This 8 July 2020 video says about itself:

Why the Dinosaurs’ Extinction is an Ongoing Puzzle | Nat Geo Explores

Dinosaurs ruled the world for roughly 140 million years—until they suddenly disappeared. While decades of research point to an asteroid impact at Chicxulub crater as the end of the dinosaurs’ reign 66 million years ago, scientists weren’t always so sure what happened to these mesmerizing creatures. Theories varied wildly throughout the twentieth century as the field of paleontology grew, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that one theory emerged as a major breakthrough in the extinction mystery. Today’s scientists continue to piece together the puzzle with discoveries that give us a clearer picture of what happened to the dinosaurs.

Jeffrey Epstein’s Ghislaine Maxwell to another jail


This 8 July 2020 video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

A look into Ghislaine Maxwell’s life behind bars l GMA

Maxwell is being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, just across the East River from the prison where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Jeffrey Epstein’s confidante Ghislaine Maxwell relocated to federal jail in New York City

8 July 2020

Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime partner of convicted sex offender and wealthy New Yorker Jeffrey Epstein, has been relocated to a federal jail in Brooklyn where she will appear via remote video before a Manhattan judge on July 14.

Federal Bureau of Prison officials disclosed on Monday that Maxwell was transferred from Merrimack County Jail in New Hampshire to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn but did not say on what day she was relocated. Prosecutors have indicated that Maxwell is a flight risk and any request for bail will be denied.

On July 2, US Department of Justice officials announced that Maxwell had been arrested and charged on four counts of enticing minors to engage in illegal sexual activity and two counts of perjury, in connection with her role in grooming girls as young as 14 for abuse by Epstein and to be trafficked in his international sex ring during the 1990s.

Last year, Jeffrey Epstein was awaiting trial on multiple counts of sex trafficking and abuse of minors when he was found dead in his jail cell in the Manhattan Correction Center on August 10. Although the New York City medical examiner determined that Epstein committed suicide by hanging, the circumstances at the prison indicated and the opinion of other medical experts was that he had been strangled to death.

Although authorities, including Attorney General William Barr, claimed at the time that a vigorous investigation of Epstein’s sexual abuse of young girls would be continued, it took nearly eleven months for Maxwell to be arrested

One of the reasons given for the delay was that authorities were uncertain where Maxwell was or if she was even in the United States. However, more than twenty armed agents and police reportedly raided her million-dollar mansion called Tucked Away on a 156-acre property in rural Bradford, New Hampshire on July 2, breaking down the front door and bringing Maxwell out in handcuffs.

According to the unsealed indictment, between 1994 and 1997, Maxwell and Epstein, “enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which Maxwell knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse. Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minors described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.”

Ghislaine Maxwell, 58, is the youngest daughter of the British media baron Robert Maxwell, who owned the Mirror Group Newspapers before he drowned under suspicious circumstances near his yacht called Lady Ghislaine in the North Atlantic off the coast of the Canary Islands in 1991.

Shortly after Robert’s death, Ghislaine moved to New York City and met the investment advisor, multimillionaire and well-connected socialite Jeffrey Epstein with whom she developed a close relationship.

Over the next two decades, Maxwell and Epstein—with her connections to European royalty and wealthy elite and with his connections to US celebrities and the financial and political elite—established a social network through lavish parties and get-togethers at Epstein’s residences in Palm Beach, Manhattan, New Mexico and his private island in the US Virgin Islands that involved sex with young girls.

A measure of the connections that Epstein had was revealed on Tuesday when the New York State Department of Financial Services announced that Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $150 million in fines to settle allegations that it “inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions,” despite knowing Epstein’s “terrible criminal history.”

According to a report in the Washington Post, “The German bank’s ties to Epstein began in 2013, years after the billionaire pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in Florida, according to the consent decree filed by the New York regulator. Deutsche Bank knew about Epstein’s past, classifying him as a ‘high-risk’ client, but also considered the relationship potentially lucrative—$100 million to $300 million in revenue over time.”

In 2014, the report says, bank officials met with Epstein at his New York City mansion after reports emerged about his activities. “The bank ultimately decided to continue doing business with Epstein but established new safeguards, which were largely ignored, according to the consent decree.” The bank processed more than $7 million in settlement payments that Epstein made to alleged coconspirators.

Clearly, the role of Deutsche Bank is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporate, financial and government participation in facilitating and covering up Epstein’s criminal activities. In 2008, after dozens of young girls had given statements to Palm Beach law enforcement officials that Epstein had both sexually abused them and also paid them to help recruit a network of teenagers for his trafficking operation, the federal government intervened and blocked the local case from going forward.

At that time, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alex Acosta, worked out a plea deal with Epstein’s legal team that included a “non-prosecution agreement” stipulating that Epstein and none of his coconspirators could be charged in the future for any crimes related to his guilt in “procuring a minor for prostitution.” Ghislaine Maxwell was named as one of his coconspirators in that agreement.

Dilophosaurus dinosaurs, new research


This 2018 video says about itself:

What Jurassic Park Got WRONG – The Dilophosaurus

Jurassic Park brought millions of people around the world to fall in love with Dinosaurs, but they wrong about some key aspects regarding the Dilophosaurus. With Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom nearing release, we want to take you on a ride looking over the Dinosaurs brought to life by Ingen and the makers of Jurassic Park, and see how they stack up to the real thing!

From the University of Texas at Austin in the USA:

Famous ‘Jurassic Park’ dinosaur is less lizard, more bird

July 7, 2020

From movies to museum exhibits, the dinosaur Dilophosaurus is no stranger to pop culture. Many probably remember it best from the movie “Jurassic Park,” where it’s depicted as a venom-spitting beast with a rattling frill around its neck and two paddle-like crests on its head.

The dinosaur in the movie is mostly imagination, but a new comprehensive analysis of Dilophosaurus fossils is helping to set the record straight. Far from the small lizard-like dinosaur in the movies, the actual Dilophosaurus was the largest land animal of its time, reaching up to 20 feet in length, and it had much in common with modern birds.

The analysis was published open access in the Journal of Paleontology on July 7.

Dilophosaurus lived 183 million years ago during the Early Jurassic. Despite big-screen fame, scientists knew surprisingly little about how the dinosaur looked or fit into the family tree, until now.

“It’s pretty much the best, worst-known dinosaur,” said lead author Adam Marsh. “Until this study, nobody knew what Dilophosaurus looked like or how it evolved.”

Seeking answers to these questions, Marsh conducted an analysis of the five most-complete Dilophosaurus specimens while earning his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences. He is now the lead paleontologist at Petrified Forest National Park.

The analysis is co-authored by Jackson School Professor Timothy Rowe, who discovered two of the five Dilophosaurus specimens that were studied.

The study adds clarity to a muddled research record that reaches back to the first Dilophosaurus fossil to be discovered, the specimen that set the standard for all following Dilophosaurus discoveries. That fossil was rebuilt with plaster, but the 1954 paper describing the find isn’t clear about what was reconstructed — a fact that makes it difficult to determine how much of the early work was based on the actual fossil record, Marsh said.

Early descriptions characterize the dinosaur as having a fragile crest and weak jaws, a description that influenced the depiction of Dilophosaurus in the “Jurassic Park” book and movie as a svelte dinosaur that subdued its prey with venom.

But Marsh found the opposite. The jawbones show signs of serving as scaffolding for powerful muscles. He also found that some bones were mottled with air pockets, which would have helped reinforce the skeleton, including its dual crest.

“They’re kind of like bubble wrap — the bone is protected and strengthened,” Marsh said.

These air sacs are not unique to Dilophosaurus. Modern birds and the world’s most massive dinosaurs also have bones filled with air. In both cases, the air sacs lighten the load, which helped big dinosaurs manage their bulky bodies and birds take to the skies.

Many birds use the air sacs to perform other functions, from inflating stretchy areas of skin during mating rituals, to creating booming calls and dispersing heat. The intricate array of air pockets and ducts that extend from Dilophosaurus’ sinus cavity into its crests means that the dinosaur may have been able to perform similar feats with its headgear.

All the specimens Marsh examined came from the Kayenta Formation in Arizona and belong to the Navajo Nation. The University of California Museum of Paleontology holds in trust three of the specimens. The Jackson School Museum of Earth History holds the two discovered by Rowe.

“One of the most important responsibilities of our museum is curation,” said Matthew Brown, director of the Vertebrate Paleontology Collections. “We are very excited to help share these iconic Navajo Nation fossils with the world through research and educational outreach, as well as preserve them for future generations.”

To learn more about how the fossils compared with one another, Marsh recorded hundreds of anatomical characteristics of each fossil. He then used an algorithm to see how the specimens compared with the first fossil — which confirmed that they were indeed all Dilophosaurus.

The algorithm also revealed that there’s a significant evolutionary gap between Dilophosaurus and its closest dinosaur relatives, which indicates there are probably many other relatives yet to be discovered.

The revised Dilophosaurus record will help paleontologists better identify specimens going forward. Marsh said that the research is already being put into action. In the midst of his analysis, he discovered that a small braincase in the Jackson School’s collections belonged to a Dilophosaurus.

“We realized that it wasn’t a new type of dinosaur, but a juvenile Dilophosaurus, which is really cool,” Marsh said.

Coronavirus news update


This 8 July 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus infections are soaring in Central Asia.

Former Soviet states have been suffering a second wave of cases since lockdown restrictions were eased two months ago.

Al Jazeera’s Victoria Gatenby reports.

TRUMP PROMISES TO PRESSURE GOVERNORS TO REOPEN SCHOOLS President Donald Trump vowed to pressure states and local governments to open schools in the fall, despite the renewed surge in coronavirus cases. At a White House roundtable to discuss fall plans for public schools, Trump claimed, without proof, that some schools were staying closed for political reasons. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” Trump said of local leaders. “No way. We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.” This comes as a GOP lawmaker urged constituents to “stop getting tested.” [HuffPost]

6 DEAD, 1,500 INFECTED AS CORONAVIRUS RAVAGES SAN QUENTIN Half a dozen inmates have died and more than 1,300 inmates have been infected by the coronavirus at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, as advocates urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to release more prisoners. In late May, San Quentin prison had zero confirmed cases of the virus among its around 4,000 inmates. But after over 120 prisoners were transferred in from a facility in Chino — 25 of whom later tested positive for COVID-19 — an outbreak began. As of Tuesday, 1,369 people incarcerated at San Quentin and 184 staffers had tested positive. Only 13 inmates with active cases have been released so far. [HuffPost]

USA: As COVID-19 rages at San Quentin, a prison rabbi and activist offer comfort and support.

Israel employs controversial tracking tool to fight surging COVID.

Listing all the world’s wildlife species


This video is called World Wildlife Day 2020 Film Showcase.

From PLOS:

Making a list of all creatures, great and small

July 7, 2020

A paper published July 7, 2020 in the open access journal PLOS Biology outlines a roadmap for creating, for the first time, an agreed list of all the world’s species, from mammals and birds to plants, fungi and microbes.

“Listing all species may sound routine, but is a difficult and complex task,” says Prof. Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin University, the paper’s lead author. “Currently no single, agreed list of species is available.” Instead, some iconic groups of organisms such as mammals and birds have several competing lists, while other less well-known groups have none.

This causes problems for organizations and governments that need reliable, agreed, scientifically defensible and accurate lists for the purposes of conservation, international treaties, biosecurity, and regulation of trade in endangered species. The lack of an agreed list of all species also hampers researchers studying Earth’s biodiversity.

The new paper outlines a potential solution — a set of ten principles for creating and governing lists of the world’s species, and a proposed governance mechanism for ensuring that the lists are well-managed and broadly acceptable.

“Importantly, it clearly defines the roles of taxonomists — the scientists who discover, name and classify species — and stakeholders such as conservationists and government and international agencies,” says Dr Kevin Thiele, Director of Taxonomy Australia and a co-author on the paper. “While taxonomists would have the final say on how to recognize and name species, the process ensures that stakeholders’ needs are considered when deciding between differing taxonomic opinions.”

The Earth’s species are facing unprecedented threats, from global heating, pollution, land clearing, disease and overutilization, which together are driving an unprecedented and accelerating extinction crisis. “Developing a single, agreed list of species won’t halt extinction,” says Garnett, “but it’s an important step in managing and conserving all the world’s species, great and small, for this and future generations.”

COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain


This 7 July 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Boris Johnson should look in the mirror before blaming Care Homes | Professor John Ashton – EP 12

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a a point… 00:00 Boris Johnson blames Care Homes 03:19 Exercise Cygnus, PPE & other Government failings 04:41 Still massaging the figures 05:37 American style press briefing incoming 06:39 Getting stories off the front page 07:21 The curious case of the BBC & Boris Johnson’s Haircut 08:09 Blame the public 10:29 Clap for the NHS today, privatise it tomorrow 12:32 State vs Private Sector 15:24 Masks 17:13 Airborne Spread 18:03 The virus has not gone away 19:13 The world is a very small place

From daily News Line in Britain today:

THE TORIES have no plan to deal with a second spike of the deadly coronavirus.

A fresh report just released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warns that the ‘Government does not have either a clear understanding of the equipment needed for clinical and care workers, or how to distribute it – particularly in the more fragmented care sector.’

UK meat processing factories involved in COVID-19 outbreak back up and running. By Tony Robson, 8 July 2020.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 8 July 2020:

Editorial: Ignore the government: Covid-19 is far from finished

OVER 20,000 people have died of and with coronavirus in care homes.

Twenty-thousand is a significant figure. Recollect that at the beginning of the pandemic we were told that this was the figure that top specialists believed might be the best we could hope for.

Total deaths are now more than twice that.

There are a lot of problems in the care sector, not least the reality that care is conceived of as a business and that its success is to be measured by profits and shareholder value.

When the drive to profit intervenes in the provision of public services, the ability of government to effect necessary changes is always conditioned by its willingness to challenge the values which underlie privatisation policies.

Prejudice for privatisation is in the political DNA of Tory politicians, Lib Dems and New Labour types alike, and it takes more than evidence or experience to divert them from their defence of the indefensible.

Disastrous as it has been, the more or less complete shift to private ownership is not of itself responsible for the high rate of deaths in care homes.

The full responsibility lies in the hands of the people who thought a systematic transfer of people from hospital to care homes without a testing regime was a sensible move.

This has been compounded by the failure of the sector to anticipate demand for personal protective equipment or of government to fully provide across the sector.

Shifting vulnerable people from a place where professional medical advice and treatment was immediately available to the care sector where none of this was universally available has proved to be a disaster.

Boris Johnson’s grotesque bid to place the responsibility for this level of deaths on care homes themselves exceeds the boundaries of bad taste already pushed to the limit by the Premier’s characteristic buffoonery.

It is not simply a transparent manoeuvre to displace responsibility for the failures of his government but is a more ambitious bid to present the next stage in the government’s campaign to open up the economy and loosen the measures which informed and expert opinion still thinks are necessary to contain the virus.

The alarming feature of this process is the complete failure to resource the means by which infection rates can be effectively monitored, and those infected, isolated and treated and their contacts tracked down and tested themselves.

Independent Sage says NHS Test and Trace is not reaching sufficient numbers of newly symptomatic people and fewer than half of contacts reached within three days of a person are being tested.

We can listen to the sunshine sentiments of the government or we can take a cold, hard look at the real picture. But we don’t know the real picture because, as the Independent Sage group of scientists and doctors says, we don’t know if reported declines in positive confirmed cases are accurate because fewer people are getting tested or fewer people are having Covid-19 or a combination of both.

We do know that the steady decline in new infections has stopped, that nowhere in Britain does contact tracing appear as a key part of the Covid-19 response, and that only Scotland encourages testing.

Faced with an alarming tendency for government to fudge the scientific and medical advice it is getting and to relax social distancing and infection control measures, the sensible reaction is to take extra personal care.

Millions of people have learnt to modify their behaviour. They are also learning to distrust the government.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

PM BORIS Johnson was condemned yesterday after trying to pin the 20,000 plus coronavirus deaths in care homes on care home staff saying: ‘Too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures’ during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mark Adams, CEO of charity Community Integrated Care, told the BBC the PM’s comments were ‘cowardly’. He continued: ‘I think at best this was clumsy and cowardly. But to be honest with you, if this is genuinely his view, I think we’re almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the government sets the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results, they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.’

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 8 July 2020:

The government still has no plans for PPE shortages, MPs warn, after PM blames care homes

THE government still has no proper plans to ensure that hospitals and care homes have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with a second wave of coronavirus, MPs have warned today.

The cross-party Commons public accounts committee said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was not treating the issue with “sufficient urgency.”

It comes after Downing Street declined to apologise for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments on Monday, when he implied that care homes might be to blame for deaths because “too many … didn’t really follow the procedures.”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 7 July 2020:

Commons catering staff could be advised to walk out over unsafe conditions amid pandemic, says union

CATERING staff at the House of Commons could be advised to walk out if health and safety measures are not put in place, a union warned today.

The London region branch of GMB is calling on management to adhere to regulations and the government’s guidance on Covid-19, and to meet five coronavirus safety tests.

If the tests are not passed and protective measures are not enacted “as a matter of urgency,” they will consider the workplace unsafe and tell staff that they have the right to leave, the union said.

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy. By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020. Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.