Chile: Pandemic and Rebellion

by Angel Guerra Cabrera


The great Chilean mass rebellion scored a very important victory yesterday. What had been expected for days is now a fact: the approval in both houses of Congress of the right of the 11 million members of the Pension Fund Administrators (AFP) to withdraw for one time 10 percent of what they have been paid, equivalent to some 20 billion dollars. Some argue that this is not the most ideal solution for the social drama these people are experiencing, but most see it as very important economic aid to stave off devastation.  More to come at a time when the government of President Sebastián Piñera has plunged the country into one of the worst situations on an international scale due to its disastrous management of the pandemic. It has also been incapable of adopting social plans that would mean real support for large sectors of the population that have been greatly affected economically by the confinement, that had already been lacking in the past, since the coronavirus has served to aggravate and expose in raw form the damage caused to layers of the society by neoliberal policies. In the face of the pandemic, Piñera’s government only sought to save the profit share of its friends in the largest economic groups, but even that has not been achieved, given the great damage the disease is doing to the economy.Read More »

How Is The Pandemic Going For You? Trump, Johnson And Bolsonaro In The Swamp

by Alfredo Saad-Filho

Progress in Political Economy | July 23, 2020

The spectacular failures of Brazil, the UK and the USA during the COVID-19 pandemic offer valuable lessons on what must never happen again: wish away the virus, minimise the potential impact of a pandemic on public health and the economy, delay inevitable lockdowns, the list goes on. They also shed a powerful light on the root causes of the devastation.

The first step is to recognise the immensity of the catastrophe (see Table 1).

Table 1: The impact of the pandemic

  Brazil UK USA China Cuba Germany New Zealand South Korea Taiwan Vietnam
Total cases 1,921,824 292,931 3,431,744 85,226 2,432 200,734 1,547 13,551 451 381
Cases per million 8,772.5 4,266.0 9,984.6 59.1 214.2 2,374.7 247.6 262.9 18.9 3.8
Total deaths 74,133 45,138 136,699 4,642 87 9,079 22 289 7 0
Deaths per million 353.9 677.6 408.5 3.3 7.7 109.5 4.7 5.6 0.3 0.0
Excess deaths 54,700 65,700 149,200 n.a. n.a. 9,800 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
GDP growth in 2020 (estimate) -9.1 -10.2 -8.0 1.0 n.a. -7.8 -7.2 -2.1 -4.0 2.7


In summary, the human disaster in our selected countries is unlikely to be compensated by a shallower economic downturn – quite the contrary, they are likely to do worse than average – dismantling the argument that protecting the economy should be a priority and ‘if some pensioners die [as a consequence], too bad’.[1]Read More »

Britain’s communists warn Labour against joining US’s ‘new cold war hysteria’ against China and Russia

Morning Star | July 24, 2020

BRITAIN’S communists have warned Labour not to join the “new cold war hysteria” led by the US against China and Russia.

“Labour should develop a genuinely independent foreign policy for Britain,” Communist Party international secretary John Foster told a two-day meeting of its political committee on Thursday night.Read More »

Feminist groups protest rising femicide and violence against women in Turkey

The murder of Pinar Gultekin, a 27-year-old university student, has brought thousands to the streets in protest. They are demanding an end to femicide and other forms of violence against women

Peoples Dispatch | July 23, 2020

Turkey women protest
(Photo: Twitter)

The news of the murder of a 27-year-old woman has brought thousands to the streets across Turkey to demand an end to femicide and gender-based violence. Protests took place in many places on Wednesday, and more are scheduled for Friday.

Read More »

The colliding epidemics of COVID-19, Ebola, and measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

by Jean B Nachega, Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, John Otshudiema, Alimuddin Zumla, Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tam-Fum

Lancet | June 23, 2020

Open Access | Published:June 23, 2020 | DOI:
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is facing major public health challenges due to a confluence of major outbreaks of Ebola virus disease, measles, and COVID-19., , ,
The tenth Ebola outbreak in eastern DR Congo began on Aug 1, 2018, and as of May 28, 2020, there have been 3406 Ebola virus disease cases with 2243 deaths. The Ebola virus disease outbreak was well controlled in northeast DR Congo following a multisectoral response, but four new confirmed Ebola cases were detected in northwest DR Congo on June 1, 2020, and an outbreak response is underway.

Additionally, the DR Congo has been burdened with recurrent measles outbreaks: 13 3802 cases in 2011, 88 381 cases in 2013, and 311 471 cases in 2019.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in DR Congo was diagnosed on March 10, 2020, and the government declared a state of emergency on March 24, 2020. A national multisectoral response committee instituted lockdown in the capital, Kinshasa, the epicentre of the epidemic in DR Congo, in which daily confirmed cases now average 100. As of June 16, 2020, 4777 COVID-19 cases with 106 deaths have been reported from the DR Congo.

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Global burden and trends in premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer: a population-based study

by Emily Heer, MSc, Andrew Harper, MSc, Noah Escandor, Hyuna Sung, PhD, Valerie McCormack, PhD and Miranda M Fidler-Benaoudia, PhD 

Lancet | August, 2020

Open Access| Published:August, 2020 | DOI:



Breast cancer has distinct causes, prognoses, and outcomes and effects in patients at premenopausal and postmenopausal ages. We sought to assess the global burden and trends in breast cancer by menopausal status.


We did a population-based analysis of global breast cancer incidence and mortality among premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Menopausal status was defined using age as a proxy, whereby breast cancer cases or deaths at age 50 years or older were regarded as postmenopausal. Age-standardised breast cancer incidence and mortality in 2018 were calculated using GLOBOCAN data. Incidence trends for 1998–2012 were assessed in 44 populations from 41 countries using the Cancer in Five Continents plus database, by calculating the annual average percent change.

Read More »

China’s successful launch of Mars mission seals global era in deep-space exploration

by Smriti Mallapaty

Nature | July 23, 2020

People watching the Mars probe being launched in south China's Hainan Province
Tianwen-1 is scheduled to arrive at Mars in February.Credit: Xinhua News Agency/Shutterstock

A Chinese spacecraft is on its way to Mars after launching successfully from Hainan Island in southern China. The mission — named Tianwen-1, which means ‘questions to heaven’ — is the country’s first attempt to land on the red planet.

The 5,000-kilogram spacecraft, which contains a lander, orbiter and rover, blasted off from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center aboard a Chinese Long March-5 rocket at 12:41 p.m. local time on 23 July. Some 36 minutes later, the craft was successfully put on its trajectory towards Mars.

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Winners and losers in the global trade in food

by and 

Lancet | August, 2020

The first pineapples seen by Europeans were objects of wonder. Everyone who heard of them wanted one. The problem was that almost no one could manage to grow them and the few that did, such as Louis XIV at Versailles, only succeeded by enormous investments in heated greenhouses.

Today, pineapples, in some form, can be found in shops in almost all parts of the world, with the Hawaiian pizza, initially greeted with horror by Neapolitan restauranteurs, becoming a symbol of the fusion of the world’s foods. However, even in the richest countries in the world, while the wealthy can obtain fresh pineapples easily, the poor, who might live close by, might depend on stores where fruit of any sort only comes in tins.

In these ways, the global spread of the pineapple exemplifies the expansion of international trade in food and the uneven flow of benefits arising from it.

Read More »

Controversial cave discoveries suggest humans reached Americas much earlier than thought

by Colin Barras

Nature | July 22, 2020

Researchers in protective clothing marking soil sample sites on multiple levels on a cave.
Researchers looking for ancient DNA take samples in Chiquihuite Cave, Mexico.Credit: Mads Thomsen

Archaeologists excavating a cave in the mountains of central Mexico have unearthed evidence that people occupied the area more than 30,000 years ago — suggesting that humans arrived in North America at least 15,000 years earlier than thought.

The discovery, which includes hundreds of ancient stone tools, is backed up by a fresh statistical analysis that incorporates data from other sites. But the conclusion has stirred controversy among some researchers.

Read More »