In Digest

New Cold Information Bulletin, Vol 2 #77, May 31, 2017

Chechnya’s leader ready to organize Finnish reporter’s trip at Russian diplomat’s request
, TASS, May 31, 2017

MOSCOW – Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov will organize a trip to his homeland for the Finnish reporter who asked Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova a question about alleged persecution of gay people in that Russian North Caucasian region, Kadyrov said in an interview with Life news on Wednesday…

During her May 31 press briefing, Zakharova called on Kadyrov to organize a trip to the republic for the Finnish reporter interested in alleged persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya.

On April 1, Novaya Gazeta published an article on its website entitled “Murder of Dignity” which referred to some alleged abductions and possible killings of Chechen residents over their non-traditional sexual orientations or on suspicion of being gay. The paper cited anonymous sources in law enforcement agencies and also victims, without revealing their names…

[An anti-Russia propagandist laments the failed ‘Maidan revolution’], essay by Tim Judah in New York Review of Books, dated April 27, 2017, in print edition of May 25, 2017

[Tim Judah’s NYRB essay frames the Maidan “Revolution” of 2014 as a worthy experiment gone wrong due to pervasive corruption in Ukraine. ‘Will Ukraine ever change?’ laments the essay title. However, the real evil in the story, as always in the world of the writer, is Russia, with its “annexation” of Crimea and its ambitions to “take more territory” from Ukraine.

[Judah’s account of the past three years in Ukraine is a complete whitewash of the human rights violations and crimes that have taken place. The whitewash is not limited to the civil war prosecuted by the Kyiv government in the east of the country that has killed thousands and displaced millions. He also credits the government of Presid4ent Petro Poroshenko for “preventing Russian-backed rebellions in vulnerable regions such as Odessa…” What the naïve or uninformed reader will not know is that Odessa was the scene of a horrific arson attack against anti-Maidan protesters on May 2, 2014 that killed at least 48 people. Judah cannot even get his chronology straight–Poroshenko was elected president three weeks following the Odessa Massacre, on May 25. (In that election, the voices of anti-Maidan parties and candidates were sharply restricted.)

[The writer skillfully hides the predominant role of the extreme-right in the politics and police and armed forces of Maidan Ukraine. Here, for example, is how he describes the extensive training, arming and financing of  Ukraine’s revamped army and paramilitary battalions during the past three years by the U.S., UK and Canada: “In the past three years, they [Ukraine’s soldiers] have received training and advanced equipment, like targeting systems, from several [sic] NATO countries.”

[As for the prospects for a dignified peace in eastern Ukraine which the Minsk-2 accord of February 2015 could provide, this is dismissed by the hawk writer. “One of the central flaws of the Minsk accords is their ambiguity…” etc, etc.]

New Russian jet heralds carbon manufacturing shake-up, Reuters, May 30, 2017

Related: Boeing says its trade complaint against Canada’s Bombardier is designed to prevent later, direct competition with 737, The Canadian Press, May 29, 2017

Netherlands ratifies EU-Ukraine treaty, by Peter Teffer, EU Observer, May 30, 2017

The Dutch senate approved ratification of the EU-Ukraine free trade and association agreement on May 30, bringing to a close a political saga that started over a year ago when Dutch voters rejected the deal in a referendum. Almost two-thirds of the senate voted for ratification, with opposition coming mostly from far-left and far-right parties…

Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:
Iraqi forces reach Syrian border, pushing to free key town
, Press TV, May 29, 2017

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi in Arabic, are pressing forward to liberate a key town, west of the embattled city of Mosul, from the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, after arriving at the Syrian border and establishing their control on a series of towns and villages in the area.

Iran-backed forces secure Iraq-Syria border north of Mosul, Associated Press, May 30, 2017

U.S. is arming Syrian militants on border with Iraq to block popular forces, Press TV, May 30, 2017

The U.S. has ramped up airstrikes against ISIS in Raqqa, and Syrian civilians are paying the price, by Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept, May 30, 2017

… The independent monitoring group Airwars estimates that coalition strikes in Syria and Iraq over the past several years have killed between 3,681 and 5,849 civilians, compounding the suffering of people who have already endured years of civil war. In recent months, local media have reported a steady stream of airstrikes that have hit civilian targets, including several particularly egregious strikes on packed schools and mosques.

But worse days for civilians in northern Syria could still be ahead, as the United States and its allies prepare for a terminal offensive against Raqqa — the last urban stronghold of ISIS and the capital of its deteriorating proto-state…

U.S. ‘annihilation tactics’ will make matters worse in Syria, says antiwar activist Rick Sterling, story on, May 30, 2017

Future uncertain as jihadists begin to leave Damascus’ Yarmouk camp, by Tom Rollins, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2017

Fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, are leaving Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee camp as per a deal with the regime [sic], although the residents do not seem so enthusiastic.

Turkey making itself at home in northern Syria, by Fehim Tastekin, Al-Monitor, May 29, 2017

Turkey is looking less like a visitor in northern Syria as it sets up more permanent facilities and resettles Turkmens in certain areas.

Turkey issues warrant for Peoples Democratic Party spokeman, detains MP, Rudaw, May 30, 2017

Turkey has continued its roundup of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members, announcing  on May 30 an arrest warrant for HDP spokesman Osman Baydemir and the re-arrest of member of parliament from Siirt Besime Konca.

The reason for the warrant was not immediately clear. Baydemir was a former member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which joined the HDP in 2014…

Site of a massive truck bomb attack in the Western diplomatic zone of Kabul on May 31, 2017 (Rahmat Gul, AP)

Bombing in diplomatic area of Kabul kills 80, wounds scores, by Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah, Associated Press, May 30, 2017  (with extensive photos)

A timeline of major attacks on Kabul in the past year, Reuters, May 31, 2017

Site of a massive truck bomb attack in the Western diplomatic zone of Kabul on May 31, 2017 (Rahmat Gul, AP)

Nighttime and early morning bombings in Baghdad kill 31, by Murtada Faraj, Associated Press, May 30, 2017

BAGHDAD (AP) — A massive bombing by the Islamic State group outside a popular ice cream parlor in central Baghdad and a rush hour car bomb in another downtown area killed at least 31 people on Tuesday, Iraqi officials said…

United States:
Trump’s budget balls-up
, by Michael Roberts, Marxist economist in the UK, May 24, 2017

President Trump’s economic team have release their plans for the federal budget over the next ten years.  It is a combination of wildly optimistic economic growth forecasts, vicious cutbacks in public services and environmental measures; and significant cuts in corporate taxes and personal taxes for the rich…

No one wants the big White House job that just opened up, BuzzFeed, May 30, 2017

“Hell no,” one Republican said when asked about the communications director job in President Trump’s administration. “That would be career suicide.”

Fight terrorism or control resources: What’s the real reason for U.S.’s increased presence in Africa?
, by David Love, Atlanta Black Star, May 26, 2017

Excessive credit, rentier capital and crises, by Michael Roberts, Marxist economist in the UK, May 29, 2017

Steve Keen has a new book out.  It’s called Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? The author is professor of economics at Kingston University in the UK. His earlier book (Debunking Economics) is a brilliant expose of the fallacious assumptions and conclusions of mainstream economics, i.e. ‘perfect competition; general equilibrium and ‘rational expectations’ of economic ‘agents’…

Duterte insists he ‘will not talk to terrorists’ in U-turn on clashes in south Philippines,, May 31, 2017

Islamic State jihad explodes in Southeast Asia, by Noel Tarrazona, Asia Times, May 30, 2017

The siege of the southern Philippine city of Marawi likely represents the first salvo of the global extremist group’s bid to extend its war deep into Asia

Canada taxation agency pursuing criminal charges against Panama Papers tax cheats, by Marco Chown Oved, foreign affairs reporter, Toronto Star, May 30, 2017

The Canada Revenue Agency says it has “upped its game” and launched dozens of criminal investigations into offshore tax schemes — the strongest signal yet that Canadians named in the Panama Papers data leak could end up behind bars… [To be filed under, ‘Will believe it when we see it’.]

Well known leader of the historic, 2012 Quebec student strike wins by-election to Quebec legislature by a large majority, Toronto Star, May 29, 2017

[Voter turnout in the electoral district of Gouin in the city of Montreal on May 29 was a low 32 per cent. The conservative, opposition Parti québécois in the Quebec legislature did not contest the by-election, standing aside in favour of the winning candidate Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.]

Amid sovereignist infighting, Québec solidaire looks to gain momentum in Gouin byelection, by Benjamin Shingler, CBC News, May 28, 2017

Maple Ridge BC, where poverty and Vancouver’s real estate bubble clash, radio documentary on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, May 31, 2017

$15/hour minimum wage in Canada’s largest province, maybe, report in the Toronto Star, May 30, 2017

[The province of Ontario is the second Canadian province (after Alberta) to declare an intention to legislate a $15 per hour minimum wage. Premier Kathleen Wynne says the measure will come into place in 2019. This is provided her government wins re-election next year and the economy doesn’t tank in the meantime. The starvation-level minimum wage presently sits at $11.40. Wynne says it will go to $14 in 2018.

Related: Kathleen Wynne’s precarious workplace reforms fall painfully short, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, May 31, 2017

Global warming and climate change:
Kinder Morgan admits its Alberta-to-Pacific Ocean tar sands pipeline may be doomed, by Kai Nagata, National Observer, May 29, 2017

Kinder Morgan Canada says pipeline expansion will proceed in B.C., by Michael Lewis, business reporter, Toronto Star, May 30, 2017

[The New Democratic Party and Green Party have formed a governing agreement in the Canadian province of British Columbia following the May 11 provincial election. The two parties won 44 seats (NDP 41, Green Party 3) compared to the 43 seats of the incumbent (conservative) Liberal Party. The NDP and Greens are opposed to the ‘Trans Mountain’ pipeline expansion proposal of Texas-based company Kinder Morgan. The existing, 1,100 km crude oil pipeline connects Edmonton, Alberta to the port of Vancouver BC; the expansion would deliver tar sands bitumen for export.

[The NDP governs the province of Alberta and is strongly in favour of the pipeline expansion, as is the federal Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In true Orwellian-speak, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley supports the Trans Mountain proposal in the name of “environmental sustainability”.]

The Merkley-Sanders climate bill isn’t a launchpad, it’s quicksand, by Stan Cox, published on Green Social Thought, May 27, 2017

The ‘100 by ’50 Act’ it would enshrine in federal legislation the false notion that by taking baby steps over a period of decades, our country and the world can avoid runaway greenhouse warming. That easygoing strategy cannot handle the emergency we face. Only by pushing greenhouse emissions down to zero within a decade and at the same time building a society that can function well without fossil fuels can we keep the Earth livable.

New Cold Information Bulletin is posted daily (or every several days) to the New Cold website as a supplement to the feature articles published or re-produced in full. Text in [square brackets] is that of New Cold editors. The bulletin is included in the daily, Monday-Friday newsletter emailed to website subscribers. Subscribe at website home page. Comments and suggestions welcome, email to [email protected].


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