Efforts in Cuba that also “save”

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Granma | May 13, 2020

Homemade face masks, placed at the side of the road, with a sign bearing only a few words: Photo: Facebook

Gestures of love and solidarity have always spontaneously occurred during hard times in Cuba – gestures by a people that knows how to rise to the task in the face of difficulties.

Recalling recovery periods following hurricanes produces hundreds of anecdotes, which reflect the essence of this island, where brotherhood among the people is cultivated, the sense of all belonging to the big house, and the virtue that “good is done, just because,” as Martí taught us.

It is no accident that, in these times of pandemic, social media and neighborhoods are filled with stories that, although simple and common, are moving.

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BRAZIL: To combat “hunger pandemic” MST has donated more than 600 tons of food

by Brasil de Fato

People’s Dispatch | May 14, 2020

The “We’ll Need Everybody” campaign, of which MST is a part of, has already donated more than 40,000 food baskets – Periferia Viva

The “We’ll Need Everybody” campaign, organized by diverse social movements in Brazil including the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), has already distributed more than 40,000 food baskets to poor neighborhoods.

These acts of solidarity organized by social movements from all over the country since the start of the pandemic, beyond helping those most vulnerable in society during the quarantine, are also ways of denouncing the absence of good governance.

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COVID-19 Pandemic: US Jobless Grew Nearly 3 Million Last Week

teleSUR | May 14, 2020

U.S. jobless claims climbed by nearly 3 million last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of initial jobless claims in the United States totaled nearly 3 million last week as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the nation, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

In the week ending May 9, the number of Americans filing for U.S. unemployment benefits decreased by 195,000 from the prior week to 2,981,000, the sixth weekly decline in a row but higher than economists’ expectation for 2.5 million.

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US Uses “Humanitarian Intervention” to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests

A review of Dan Kovalik’s book No More War

No More War focuses on the one nation in recent times that has been continuously engaged in wars of aggression. In fact, that nation has been engaged in wars or military occupations in all but five years since its founding in 1776. Author and professor of human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh, Dan Kovalik, contrasts international law designed to keep the peace to the contravening ideology of “humanitarian intervention” used to excuse the US imperial project.Read More »

American Weapons Manufacturers Are Thriving Even as the US Economy Suffers

by Alan Macleod

MintPress News | May 13, 2020

Coronavirus Weapons Manufactures Feature photo

The economy has crashed. A nationwide pandemic that has (officially) claimed some 84,000 Americans has also resulted in an estimated 36 million filing for unemployment insurance and millions frequenting food banks for the first time. Yet business is booming for one unlikely industry; weapons manufacturers are busier than ever and are even advertising for tens of thousands of more workers. Read More »

Wall Street Will Likely Be the Only Winners in the Pandemic Housing Crisis

by Alan Macleod

MintPress News | May 13, 2020

Rent Strike

The coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown it has precipitated is having a profound effect on the economy of the United States and the rest of the world. Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization warned that his projections predict an economic downturn and job losses more severe than those of the great financial crash of 2008. Renters, those with mortgages, and even many landlords face ruin in this unprecedented catastrophe. An estimated 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance in the previous few months, with millions more losing their employer-based healthcare as a result. Food banks across the country have seen record levels of users and are struggling to keep up with demand, even as fresh produce rots in farmyards as supply lines have been cut. Read More »

Communists lead class struggle at local level in France’s “Red Cities”

by Adrian Welsh

People’s World | May 13, 2020

Communists lead class struggle at local level in France’s “Red Cities”

Demonstrating in the pre-pandemic days: Members of the French Communist Party in St-Martin d’Hères march on May Day 2018. | PCF St-Martin d’Hères

France has a long tradition of electing communists locally. As Georges Marchais noted in his 1980 book L’espoir au present (Hope in the Present), “The French Communist Party has 28,000 elected officials—1,500 mayors, nearly 500 councilors. One in five French people lives in a communist-controlled municipality.”

Forty years later, the French Communist Party (PCF) has certainly faded, especially after the counter-revolution in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Still, even today, however, several “red cities” remain, particularly in the working-class suburbs around urban centers. These centers of power, which elude the bourgeois parties, are commonly called the “red belts.” The tradition of communist municipalities is so strong that it is sometimes crudely identified as “municipal communism.” Some town halls have been run by the PCF since the 1920s (the Parisian suburb of Malakoff is a notable example), but the history of most of these red cities began with liberation from the Nazis in 1945.

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New study shows staggering effect of coronavirus pandemic on America’s mental health

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The Conversation | May 08, 2020

When the novel coronavirus roared into the U.S., mental health took a back seat to physical health. The number one priority was making sure hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed and that as many lives as possible could be saved.

Schools closed, remote work became the norm, restaurants shuttered and getting together with friends was no longer possible. The news cycle spun with story after story highlighting the ever-increasing number of cases and deaths, while unemployment soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

Any one of these shifts could be expected to cause an increase in mental health issues. Put together, they created a a perfect storm for a crisis.Read More »

Why can’t we use antibody tests for diagnosing COVID-19 yet?

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The Conversation | May 14, 2020

Nearly two million “rapid” antibody tests imported into Australia have been declared useless for determining whether someone has been exposed to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Testing by the Doherty Institute revealed many of the tests accurately detected COVID-19 antibodies in just 56.9% of cases – not much better than flipping a coin.

Antibody tests are important for establishing who has had the virus, especially because many people infected seem to show no symptoms. There is also hope rapid tests could be used to diagnose active COVID-19, as the tests would be much quicker and less invasive than the current swabs, known as PCR tests.Read More »

Yes, carbon emissions fell during COVID-19. But it’s the shift away from coal that really matters

by and

The ConversationMay 15, 2020

Much has been made of the COVID-19 lockdown cutting global carbon emissions. Energy use has fallen over recent months as the pandemic keeps millions of people confined to their homes, and businesses closed in many countries. Projections suggest global emissions could be around 5% lower in 2020 than last year.

What about Australia? Here we’ve seen sizeable reductions in electricity sector emissions, but mostly from the sustained expansion in solar and wind power rather than the lockdown.

That is good news. It means our electricity sector emissions will not bounce back once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, as they might in other parts of the world.Read More »