US Ukraine policy risks WWIII
By: Sherwood Ross
By subverting the elected government of The Ukraine, President Obama has restarted a dangerous and costly Cold War with Russia that literally threatens life on the planet.
This reckless president, who has already bombed six countries, (Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq) is risking a possible escalation of the Ukraine crisis he helped foster, into World War III against Russia.
Victoria Nuland, Mr. Obama’s Undersecretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, stated at a Washington conference last Dec. 13 that since 1991 the U.S. has invested $5 billion in Ukraine to install “a good form of democracy.”
But in a recent article published by Global Research, Bill Van Auken identified the “good democrats” the U.S. has been aiding in The Ukraine as those responsible for last February’s “fascist-led coup that installed an unelected ultra-nationalist government in which neo-Nazis from the Right Sector and the Svoboda party hold prominent positions.”
Paul Craig Roberts, of the Institute For Political Economy and former high treasury official under President Reagan, has written the U.S. objective in the current crisis “is to restart the Cold War by forcing the Russian government to occupy the Russian-speaking areas of present day Ukraine where protesters are objecting to the stooge anti-Russian government installed in Kiev by the American coup.”
The heightened tensions, says The Nation in its May 19th editorial, “will almost certainly result in a new nuclear arms race, a prospect made worse by Obama’s provocative public assertion that ‘our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians.’”
Russian authority Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, Champaign, says the U.S./NATO/European Union “are promoting the destabilization and the breakup of Ukraine in order to achieve the NATO goal of moving into Ukrainian territory closer to Russia.” The U.S., for a long time, has been attempting to get The Ukraine into NATO, he noted.
Obama now has broken the promise President George H.W. Bush gave to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev that if he agreed to the reunification of Germany, NATO would move no farther east, toward Russia’s boundaries, Boyle said. He adds, “The Obama administration and NATO are maneuvering humanity into a reverse Cuban Missile Crisis right on the borders of Russia. Can World War III be far behind?”
Author Roberts said NATO official Alexander Vershbow, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia, told reporters NATO has given up on “drawing Moscow closer” and soon will deploy a large number of combat forces in Eastern Europe. And so the dreaded Cold War, with all its staggering cost, with all its immeasurable weight of fear, begins again.
One wonders what the U.S. reaction might be to a Russian warning that it was going to station armies in Mexico or Canada? It should not be forgotten that Russian foreign policy in recent years has been one of peaceful contraction while President Obama’s has been one of violent expansion. This is reflected in the official figures for military spending last year compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The U.S., it reports, spent $640 billion of a world total of $1747 billion, or 37% of all. After the U.S. came China, $188 billion; Russia $88 billion; Saudi Arabia, $67 billion and France $61 billion. U.S. arms spending is now greater than the next nine nations combined.
And while Russia has fewer than a dozen military bases world-wide, most of them built in former Soviet territory, the U.S. has more than 1,000 bases, in addition to 1,000 located on its own soil.
Given the fact that the U.S. is pounding on Moscow’s door; that it is actively engaged in half a dozen shooting wars; that it has 1,000 military bases abroad; that it leads the world in military spending by a wide margin; and that it has spent $5 billion to aid the neo-Nazis in an overthrow by force and violence in The Ukraine; it is hard to disagree with Roberts when he asserts “Washington has no intention of allowing the crisis in Ukraine to be resolved.”
World Health Organisation: alcohol kills one person every 10 seconds
By: Nina Larson
Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise.
Including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year, the UN health agency said.
“This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, who heads the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva.
Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 per cent of global deaths (7.6 per cent for men and 4.0 per cent for women).
In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 per cent, tuberculosis causes 1.7 per cent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 per cent, the study showed.
More people in countries where alcohol consumption has traditionally been low, like China and India, are also increasingly taking up the habit as their wealth increases, it said.
“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” Oleg Chestnov of the WHO’s Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health unit said in a statement launching a massive report on global alcohol consumption and its impact on public health.
Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found.
Most deaths attributed to alcohol, around a third, are caused by associated cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Alcohol-related accidents, such as car crashes, were the second-highest killer, accounting for around 17.1 per cent of all alcohol-related deaths.
China, India drinking more
Binge drinking is especially damaging to health, the WHO pointed out, estimating that 16 per cent of the world’s drinkers abuse alcohol to excess.
While people in the world’s wealthiest nations, in Europe and the Americas especially, are boozier than people in poorer countries, rising wealth in emerging economies is also driving up alcohol consumption.
Drinking in populous China and India is rising particularly fast as people earn more money, the WHO said, warning that the average annual intake in China was likely to swell by 1.5 litres of pure alcohol by 2025.
Still, Eastern Europe and Russia are home to the world’s biggest drinkers.
Russian men who drink consumed an average of 32 litres of pure alcohol a year, according to 2010 statistics, followed by other Western countries including Europe, Canada, the United States, Australia and South Africa.
On average, every person above the age of 15 worldwide drinks 6.2 litres of pure alcohol in a year, according to the report.
Counting only those who drink though, that rises to 17 litres of pure alcohol each year.
But far from everyone indulges. Nearly half of all adults worldwide have never touched alcohol, and nearly 62 per cent say they have not touched a drink in the past year, the report showed.
Abstinence especially among women, is most common in low-income countries, while religious belief and social norms mean many Muslim countries are virtually alcohol free.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday her government accepted people’s right to demonstrate during the World Cup but warned that it would not tolerate violence.
With less than 30 days to go to the tournament, military police deployed to the streets of Rio to protect a trickle of buses that were running in the face of a strike by bus drivers, although angry drivers still damaged 74 buses and there was travel chaos.
That came after a series of walkouts in Rio and other cities in other public sectors — including the police — and threats of general protests during the World Cup, which begins June 12, from people unhappy about the huge financial outlay for the tournament.
Last year’s Confederations Cup was dogged by huge protests, some of them violent.
“Whoever wishes to demonstrate may do so, but not so as to hurt the Cup. Brazil is a democratic country… but democracy does not signify vandalism or damaging the country as a whole,” Rousseff said in the northern city of Ceara.
The bus drivers’ 48-hour strike followed another last Thursday in which 531 buses were trashed or set on fire, causing an estimated 17 million reais ($7.7 million, 5.6 million euros) in damage.
Businesses said last week’s strike cost them 250 million reais, 60 percent of their daily turnover.
The bus drivers are demanding monthly salaries of 2,500 reais — a 40-percent raise — and an end to their double duty as drivers and fare collectors.
About two million of Rio’s 6.3 million people depend on the city’s privately run bus network, said municipal transport secretary Alexandre Sansao.
Hundreds of thousands of domestic and foreign tourists are set to flood Rio for the World Cup.
The city, which will host seven matches including the July 13 final, has been hit by a rash of strikes ahead of the tournament.
Teachers, bank security guards and the federal police have all gone on strike in recent weeks, the latter raising security fears by threatening to stay off the job during the World Cup.
In business hub Sao Paulo — which will host six matches, including the kick-off — police were meanwhile investigating after 11 vehicles parked outside a police station were torched.
Rousseff insisted that a 170,000-strong nationwide security force would guarantee public safety during the month-long World Cup.
She also dismissed criticism of Brazil’s preparation for the event, with the hosts struggling to upgrade poor transport links and running behind schedule on several stadiums.
“The stadiums are coming on and the airports too. I think the Cup has all the ingredients for being a success,” she said. SAPA
An explosion and fire in a Turkish coal mine killed 201 people and the death toll could rise with hundreds more still trapped, the country’s energy minister has said.
Speaking to reporters at the scene of the disaster on Tuesday, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 workers were inside the mine when the blast hit a power unit. Another 76 people were injured and hospitalised, he said.
Yildiz said most of the deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Time is working against us,” Yildiz said, adding that some of the workers were 420 metres deep inside the mine, located in the town of Soma, about 250km south of Istanbul.
He said some 400 rescuers were involved in the operation.
Television footage showed people cheering and applauding as some trapped workers emerged out of the mine, helped by rescuers, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot.
Authorities had earlier said that the blast left between 200 to 300 miners underground and were preparing for the possibility that the death toll could jump dramatically, making arrangements to set up a cold storage facility to hold the corpses of miners recovered from the site.
Earlier reports from Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency put the death toll at 17, with up to 300 men still trapped in the mine.
In televised comments, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “evacuation efforts are under way. I hope that we are able to rescue them”. Erdogan postponed a one-day visit to Albania scheduled for Wednesday and planned to visit Soma instead.
The rescue effort was being hampered by the fact that the mine was made up of tunnels that were kilometres long, said Cengiz Ergun, the leader of Manisa province, where the town is located.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the mine and the hospital in Soma seeking news of their loved ones.
NTV television said people broke into applause as rescued workers arrived in ambulances. Interviewed by Dogan news agency, some complained about the lack of information from state and company officials about the situation of the trapped workers.
Police set up fences and stood guard around Soma state hospital to keep the crowds away.
Soma Komur Isletmeleri A.S., which owns the mine, confirmed that a number of its workers were killed but would not give a specific figure.
It said the accident occurred despite the “highest safety measures and constant controls” and added that an investigation was being launched.
“Our main priority is to get our workers out so that they may be reunited with their loved ones,” the company said in a statement.
Mining accidents are common in Turkey, which is plagued by poor safety conditions.
Turkey’s worst mining disaster was a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak. Al Jazeera