In Digest

New Cold War.org Information Bulletin, Vol 1 #22, Dec 31, 2016

Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:

A UN Security Council meeting on Dec 23, 2016

UN Security Council approves Russian-drafted resolution on Syria ceasefire, RT.com, Dec 31, 2016

UN Security Council welcomes Syria ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, Reuters, Dec 31, 2016

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution welcoming a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Turkey demands U.S. support for its operation in Syria, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Dec 29, 2016

Despite Turkey’s high-profile collaboration with Russia and Iran aimed at ending the Syrian crisis, Turkey’s position in Syria remains confusing.

Turkey, Islamist groups attack Kurdish forces despite truce in Syria, ARA News, Dec 31, 2016

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) reported on Friday that their positions were being attacked by Turkey’s military and Islamist rebels. The anti-YPG offensive targeted military installations across northern Aleppo Governorate. “The Turkish Army and allied jihadist groups launched a renewed offensive in the Kurdish areas of Rojava, targeting YPG headquarters with heavy weapons and airstrikes,” the Protection Unit’s leadership said in a statement.

Foza Yusif: Federalism protects the interests of all Syrian people, ANHA News, Dec 30, 2016

Diana Buttu and Gideon Levy on Israeli settlements, John Kerry, military and the end of a two-state solution, broadcast on Democracy Now!, Dec 30, 2016 (with transcript)

Peter Ford, former UK ambassador to Syria, says ‘ Britain ‘got Syria wrong every step of the way’, story on BBC, Dec 23, 2016. [The full, six-minute audio of the interview with Peter Ford is posted here on You Tube. His words are strongly challenged by the BBC program host.]

Peter Ford, UK ambassador to Syria from 2003 to 2006, told the BBC’s ‘Today’ programme on Dec 23, “We have made the situation worse.”

“It was eminently foreseeable to anyone who was not intoxicated with wishful thinking. The British Foreign Office, to which I used to belong, I’m sorry to say has got Syria wrong every step of the way.”

From the archive: Now the truth emerges: how the U.S. fueled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq, commentary by Seumas Milne, The Guardian, June 3, 2015

United States:
Russia hysteria infects WashPost again: False story about hacking U.S. electricity grid, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Dec 31, 2016

Down the rabbit hole: Government’s first report on Russian hack is woefully inadequate, by Matthew Sheffield, Salon.com, Dec 31, 2016

Glenn Greenwald and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson share skepticism over Russian hacking story, Fox News report on Dec 19, 2016

Fascism, SB 1070 and the Arizonafication of U.S. politics, by Alexander Reid, Truthout.org, Dec 31, 2016

The experiences of a Haitian-American unionist in Trump’s America, by Marie-Paule Florestal, published in Haiti Liberté (print weekly), Nov 23, 2016

Rift between officers and residents as killings persist in South Bronx, by Benjamin Mueller and Al Baker, New York Times, Dec 31, 2016

… In the 40th Precinct, at the southern tip of the Bronx, as in other poor, minority neighborhoods across the country, people long hounded for small-time infractions are crying out for more protection against grievous injury or death. By September, four of every five shootings in the precinct this year were unsolved.

Out of the city’s 77 precincts, the 40th has the highest murder rate but the fewest detectives per violent crime, reflecting disparities in staffing that hit hardest in some neighborhoods outside Manhattan, according to a New York Times analysis of Police Department data.

World:
U.S. special operations numbers surge in Africa’s shadow wars, by Nick Turse, The Intercept, Dec 31, 2016

Africa has seen the most dramatic growth in the deployment of America’s elite troops of any region of the globe over the past decade, according to newly released numbers. In 2006, just 1% of commandos sent overseas were deployed in the U.S. Africa Command area of operations. In 2016, 17.26% of all U.S. Special Operations forces — Navy SEALs and Green Berets among them — deployed abroad were sent to Africa..

Using data provided by Special Operations Command and open source information, The Intercept found that U.S. special operators were actually deployed in at least 33 African nations, more than 60% of the 54 countries on the continent, in 2016…

Venezuela frees jailed activists, ex-presidential candidate, The Associated Press, Dec 31, 2016

How a little-known patent sparked Canada’s opioid crisis, by Grant Robertson and Karen Howlett, The Globe and Mail, Dec. 30, 2016

The untold story of how a single pill sparked Canada’s opioid crisis, and ignited one of the biggest pharmaceutical battles in Canadian history

[Canada’s decades-long ‘war against drugs’, mirroring its failed counterpart in the United States, has cost the lives of thousands of people, seen tens of thousands jailed or otherwise crippled with criminal records. Now it is  upending the country’s medical services industry as the industry responds daily to hundreds of drug overdose emergencies and an average of two and a half people dying. The inventors of oxycontin and other opioid derivatives, on the other hand, have made billions of dollars in profits.]

Welfare cheque day in downtown eastside Vancouver, ground zero of Canada’s drug overdose crisis, special investigation by Andrea Woo, Sunny Dhillon, Wendy Stueck, Mike Hager, Mark Hume, Ian Bailey, and Luiz Lopes, The Globe and Mail, Dec. 31, 2016

The prevalence of fentanyl and carfentanil means drug users in the Downtown Eastside are always at risk, but never more so than when social assistance cheques arrive every month. The Globe spent roughly 24 hours in the troubled neighbourhood for a first-hand look at the overdose crisis

By the numbers:

  • Approximate number of Downtown Eastside(DTES) residents receiving social assistance: 6,300
  • Value of social-assistance payments in the Downtown Eastside: $4.7-million
  • Overdose calls in Vancouver from 12:01 a.m. on Wed., Dec. 21 until 6 a.m. on Thurs, Dec. 22: 80
  • Overdoses at Insite drug injection site during the same time period: 29, out of 666 visits
  • Patients seen at the mobile medical unit in the DTES on Wed., Dec 21: 29, compared with 15 on a typical day
  • Drug-related calls to the Downtown Eastside firehall over the 14-hour night shift: 26
  • Price for an average dose of heroin, which produces a high that lasts four to six hours: $10

How Globe and Mail reporters traced the rise of fentanyl, The Globe and Mail, April 8, 2016

Canada does not have a national database tracking deaths from opioid overdoses. In a bid to fill that gap, The Globe contacted coroners and medical examiners in every province and territory…

Global warming:
Heat, hunger and war force Africans onto a ‘road on fire’, text by Somini Sengupta, photographs and video by Josh Haner, New York Times, Dec 31, 2016

‘The men and boys of West Africa to leave home because the rains have become so fickle, the days measurably hotter, the droughts more frequent and more fierce, making it impossible to grow enough food on their land. Some go to the cities first, only to find jobs are scarce…’

‘Scholars of migration count people like Mr. Bokoum among the millions who could be displaced around the world in coming decades as rising seas, widening deserts and erratic weather threaten traditional livelihoods. For the men who pour through Agadez, these hardships are tangled up with intense economic, political and demographic pressures…

PHOTOS: Louisiana’s oil and gas industry continues growing along the coast it’s helping to shrink, by Julie Dermansky, DeSmog Blog, Dec 29, 2016

For China, climate change is no hoax – It’s a business and political opportunity, by Matthew Kahn (University of Southern California), DeSmog Blog, Dec 31, 2016


New Cold War.org Information Bulletin is posted daily (or every several days) to the New Cold War.org website as a complement to the feature articles published or re-produced in full. It is included in the daily newsletter emailed to website subscribers. As of Nov 22, 2016, the ‘search’ function on the website will be needed by readers to find many of the items by published title or author. Articles that are published exclusively on New Cold War.org will continue to be published in their entirety and tagged in the relevant subject category. As well, articles from other publications will be selectively re-posted here in their entirety, tagged by category, sometimes as ‘editor pick’. As always, the weblink to the original source will be provided. Comments in square brackets [ ] are those of New Cold War.org editors. Comments and suggestions welcome; find email address under ‘Contact’ on main website page.

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