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Friday, 31 March 2017

USA: California, from the Gas Chamber to Lethal Injections; Corfu, Greece - A Connection



A Greek-American friend (a Corfiot-Californian) and koumbaros, from my early days in Corfu, Greece, campaigned long and hard on his return to the States to have the death penalty abolished in California. He and his colleague travelled around the state with a replica of the gas chamber on the back of a truck, enabling people to understand what it looked and felt like inside - and what really went on.



From the San Francisco Community Press poster.
"Ten dollars a head"


Flamenco Guitarists


These are some of the first pictures I have of him, taken 49 years ago, in 1968
 (I didn't take the double exposure at Meteora, or the shots in Ioannina and Delphi):




Corfu



(Double exposure, Meteora)


Dodoni/Dodona


Ioannina


Delphi, April, 1968


San Francisco, 1978

This one was probably taken around 18 months year later, before he returned to California:


Later Visits to California:



I have written elsewhere about his extraordinary writings; here I want to draw attention to the issue of capital punishment in California, and in other US states. His campaign and contribution undoubtedly made an impact at the time. But the effect wasn't long-lasting.

From Wikipedia - Capital punishment in California


I was prompted to make this posting after reading a grim article by Ed Pilkington in The Guardian: "Eight executions in 11 days: Arkansas order may endanger staff's mental health"


I think of Jimmie ("DKT") on his protest crusade with the mobile gas-chamber on the back of a truck. Sadly, he died (from natural causes) in November 2009.


RIP, DKT

NHS: Waiting Times, Non-Urgent Operations


From The Independent - "Chief executive says he expects waiting times to rise significantly as 'trade off' for improvement in other areas".

From The Guardian - "New plan abandons target for hospitals to carry out 92% of non-urgent operations within 18 weeks and cuts surgery of ‘limited clinical value’"


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Brexit and Scotland: Scots share May's vision for Brexit deal, survey says; Brexit and Greece; Britain and Gibraltar



Report, 25 pages (pdf): Does Scotland Want a Different Kind of Brexit? John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at NatCen and Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University


From EU Observer - Scots share May's vision for Brexit deal, survey says

"Scots have similar expectations of Brexit to voters across Britain, but are more willing to accept freedom of movement if it means keeping free trade

Scottish voters show little appetite for special Brexit deal

Despite voting very differently in the EU Referendum, a new report from the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) reveals that when it comes to the UK government’s Brexit deal Scottish voters have largely similar expectations to voters across Britain as a whole".

See also Scotland (Scandinavia)


Brexit-Related:

Brexit Repercussions Costly to Greece, Greek Reporter

"The Federation (Hellenic Federation of Enterprises) asks from the EU to maintain current market and trade practices, safeguard, as much as possible, closer economic relations between the EU and Britain, organizing a smooth transition to a future trade agreement. Equally important will be the impact on tourism. Greece should expect a decrease in tourist arrivals as the depreciation of the sterling against the euro will reduce the purchasing power of the British and limit their travel options. It is estimated that currently over two million British tourists arrive in Greece each year. At the same time, there are concerns about the 60,000 Greeks who live and work in Britain. Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis met with the British Ambassador to Athens, Kate Smith, on March 15 to discuss the issue, namely, the legal framework in regards to the residence status of Greeks in Britain".


Pulling the Trigger on Brexit, Foreign Affairs - "The United Kingdom in a few years may well exist as the “former United Kingdom of England and Wales,” with the unfortunate acronym of FUKEW".


Anger as Spain is given a veto over future of Gibraltar in Brexit talks, i newspaper


Gibraltar's future at stake in Brexit negotiations, The Guardian


Sabre-rattling? Euronews


Spain appears to back independent Scotland's membership of EU as row over Gibraltar escalates, The Telegraph

EU will not go soft on Gibraltar issue in Brexit talks, diplomats say, The Guardian

Brexit talks turn ugly over Gibraltar, EU Observer

UK won't negotiate away Gibraltar sovereignty, May tells Tusk, The Guardian
Spain drops plan to impose veto if Scotland tries to join EU, The Guardian

Brexit Consequences - Things to Do Before the UK Is Out, Spiegel International


Guidelines for a soft Brexit, Andrew Duff, Policy Network


Tony Benn on Democracy and the EU Empire (Oxford Union Video)








UK, Plastic Bottles and Marine Pollution - "Bring back bottle deposits to stop plastic pollution in our oceans"



A campaign and petition to consider supporting

"In the UK we use a staggering 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles and a further 58 million cans every day! Only half of these are recycled, so it’s no surprise that many of these end up on our beaches and in our oceans.

Plastic bottles take 450 years to break down, killing marine life, harming the coastal ecosystem and ruining our beaches.

Placing a small deposit on plastic bottles and cans would dramatically increase recycling and reduce marine plastic pollution".


Corfu Port and Promenade: Corfu Town, The Joys That Await Corfu's Easter (and Summer?) Vacationers


Port pictures here:

From Corfu Post - Την Παρασκευή ξεκαθαρίζει το «τοπίο» για το μέλλον της εργολαβίας στον υπό κατασκευή κόμβο στο Λιμάνι


Garitsa images here:

Οριστική λύση στον κυματισμό που διαβρώνει την παραλιακή της Γαρίτσας εξετάζει ο ΟΛΚΕ

Misogynists or Misandrists? Neither.


A member of a women-only network and group (an admirable network) said, when asked on TV* why no men belonged to the group, "We're not misogynists, but we want to do our own thing".

I wondered whether there was a more accurate word than misogynist for use in this context. I had forgotten the word "misandrist".

As always, the Oxford English Dictionary had the answer:

"A misogynist is a person who hates women. A person who hates men can be described as a misandrist, and the corresponding noun is misandry. But however prevalent the attitudes described by these words may be, the words themselves aren't common. There are currently only 29 examples of misandrist in the Oxford English Corpus, while misogynist appears more than 1,500 times; 68 uses of misandry are overshadowed by over 2,000 examples of misogyny".


*Holding Back the Years-Series 1: 4. Arlene Phillips, BBC 1, iPlayer

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

UK: Brexit Article 50 Letter



gov.uk pdf letter

BBC (pdf),  Article 50 Letter, 29th March 2017

Plan for Britain - Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50,

Greece Reaches Agreement With Creditors (??)



From Reuters - Exclusive: Greece, EU/IMF lenders agree on key labour reforms, pension cuts - sources

"Greece will cut pensions by up to 1 percent of GDP in 2019, two officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Lowering the tax-free threshold to save roughly another 1 percent of GDP has also been agreed, an EU official said...On labour reforms, Greece will not be forced to ease present restrictions on collective redundancies initially sought by the IMF, another official said."

From Greek Reporter


Updates, Back and Forth: Από το 2019 η μείωση συντάξεων

Επίσπευση των μειώσεων στις συντάξεις κατά ένα χρόνο απαιτεί το ΔΝΤ, Kathimerini

More from Kathimerini


Bid to get SYRIZA behind deal as euro zone officials meet, eKathimerini

"Greek and European officials refuted a Reuters report that a deal had been reached on pensions and labour reforms on Wednesday and sources said it was unlikely bailout monitors would return to Athens imminently".


Το ασφαλιστικό φρενάρει τη συμφωνία, Kathimerini - Αβέβαιη η επιστροφή των θεσμών


Gov’t, lenders edge closer to deal but IMF has new demands, eKathimerini - "Greek and foreign officials remained at loggerheads over key issues including pensions and labour market reforms".


Considerable cuts are coming to 1.4 million pensions from 2019, eKathimerini


The Back and Forth continues:

Athens and creditors search for elusive deal to complete review, eKathimerini

"A letter sent by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos to the institutions last Monday proposing a different way to cut the equivalent of 1 percent of gross domestic product in pension spending from what had been agreed with the lenders just a few days earlier complicated matters".


New Hurdles in Greece’s Bailout Talks Delay Review, Greek Reporter


One Step Forward and Two Back - Κάνοντας ένα βήμα μπρος και δύο πίσω, Kathimerini


Some Facebook satire from Only True  -       Τσίιπρας: O αποτυχημένος παπατζής.




As austerity digs in, Greek courts are battleground on foreclosures,eKathimerini



Sales of Greek Real Estate Properties to Foreigners on the Rise, Greek Reporter



Brexit: The Papers, Front Pages










Some of the front pages above may recall that sad, infamous Sun headline:


Luckily, that attitude does not represent the mood -or manners- of the nation.

I wonder how many people agree with David Cameron, that he did "the right thing to hold a referendum":

David Cameron: I was right to hold Brexit referendum, The Guardian

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Turkey with Simon Reeve, BBC 2


Gallipoli to the Syrian Border, BBC iPlayer (for 28 days)

"Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two-part journey around Turkey, a dramatic and beautiful country that now finds itself at the centre of world events. In this programme, he visits Istanbul and the beaches and crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, before ending up at the war-torn border with Syria. In the region thought to have been the origin of the first vineyards, Simon meets a producer now trying to sell wine in a Muslim country with an increasingly conservative government. In Istanbul, he meets some of the people shaping modern Turkey, from loyal supporters of the nation's controversial and authoritarian president to the master builder constructing one of the world's largest mosques and the notorious billionaire cashing in on a Turkish property boom. Along Turkey's famous Turquoise Coast, Simon has a taste of luxury at the country's most expensive hotel, but discovers an industry on its knees as war in Syria and deadly terror attacks keep millions of holidaymakers away. Only one sector is bucking the trend - halal-friendly tourism. Finally, Simon reaches Turkey's southern border where state-of-the-art camps have been built for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Many are trying to carve out a new life in Turkey, and some are even learning Turkish, but the nearby thud of artillery and rockets is a constant reminder of the war just a few miles away" (BBC programme details).

Dorset Images, A Second Photographic Portfolio (Mostly West Dorset Snapshots)


Photos Copyright Jim Potts: