Reality seen from the Eyes of a TRIBalance.
Poverty does not weaken the need for Efficiency in
Cure - Fascination Street
I placed that map on the
Venezuela The Observer
Hunger eats away at Venezuela’s soul as
its people struggle to survive
The Maduro regime denies its once oil-rich country is in crisis.
But on the streets the desperation cannot be hidden
A supermarket is looted in Maracay, Aragua state. Photograph: Federico
Emma Graham-Harrison in Caracas
Sunday 27 August 2017 00.05 BST
Hunger is gnawing at Venezuela, where a government that claims
to rule for the poorest has left most of its 31 million people
short of food, many desperately so. As night falls over Caracas,
and most of the city’s residents lock their doors against its
ever more violent streets, Adriana Velásquez gets ready for
work, heading out into an uncertain darkness as she has done
since hunger forced her into the only job she could find at 14.
She was introduced to her brothel madam by a friend more than
two years ago after her mother, a single parent, was fired and
the two ran out of food. “It was really hard, but we were going
to bed without eating,” said the teenager, whose name has been
changed to protect her.
Since then Venezuela’s crisis has deepened, the number of women
working at the brothel has doubled, and their ages have dropped.
“I was the youngest when I started. Now there are girls who are
12 or 13. Almost all of us are there because of the crisis,
because of hunger.”
She earns 400,000 bolivares a month, around four times the
minimum wage, but at a time of hyperinflation that is now worth
about $30, barely enough to feed herself, her mother and a new
baby brother. She has signed up to evening classes that run
before her nightly shift, and hopes to one day escape from a job
where “everything is ugly”.
Velásquez grew up in one of Caracas’s poorest and most violent
districts, but Venezuela’s food crisis respects neither class
nor geography. The pangs of hunger are felt through the
corridors of its major businesses, behind the microphone on
radio shows, in hospitals where malnutrition is climbing sharply
and already claiming lives, and at schools where children faint
and teachers skip classes to queue for food.
Nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans have lost weight over the
past year, and the average loss was a huge 9kg, or nearly a
stone and a half, according to a survey by the country’s top
universities. For many that is simply because food is too
expensive. Nine out of 10 homes can’t cover the cost of what
they should eat.
And 10 million people skip at least one meal a day, often to
help feed their children.
David González, not his real name, had a college degree, a
career and modest middle-class dreams of owning a car and a
house before Venezuela slipped towards its current crisis, and
spiralling inflation made the food he needed to stay alive
unaffordable. In a cafe in downtown Caracas, he explains how his
dreams shrank with his wasting body, now so emaciated that ribs
and collarbones poke through a once-chubby chest.
Venezuelan group declare rebellion against President Nicolás
Maduro – video
“It’s sad because you stop thinking of what your professional
goals and challenges are and instead just focus on what you can
eat,” said the 29-year-old activist and journalist. Like many of
Venezuela’s hungry middle classes he was ashamed of his
“I had seen people suffering, I saw people queueing for bread,
but it had not reached me, I didn’t expect it would,” he said.
“Never in my life had I spent a night worrying about what I
would eat tomorrow.”
This year he has done little else. He stands 5ft 7in tall, and
has lost more than a quarter of his body mass, shrinking to
little over 50kg (7st 12lb) since the start of the year. During
a checkup for a new job, doctors diagnosed a heart murmur caused
by stress and hunger. He gets up at 5am to queue for food, but
sometimes it isn’t there.
“Its like an obstacle course. You have to find money to buy
food, a place to buy it and then get there in time,” he said,
with a wry grin that has survived better than his health, before
adding: “One of the good things about Venezuelans is they laugh
about it all – food, and security and health.”
This summer he swallowed his pride and signed up for a monthly
box of subsidised food sold by the government for about $1. “I
didn’t want to be part of that scheme. But I had to change my
decision, to literally not die of hunger.”
President Nicolás Maduro says Venezuela’s problems are the
result of “economic warfare” waged by the US. He points to
Donald Trump’s public mulling of a “military option” earlier
this month as evidence Washington is pushing for regime change,
and on Friday slammed ramped-up US sanctions against the
government and the state-owned oil corporation as an overt bid
to undermine the government by forcing it to default on debt.
Former foreign minister and top aide Delcy Rodríguez has denied
the country has a food crisis, denouncing the “blackmail of
hunger”. She told the new legislative super-body she heads: “In
Venezuela there is no hunger, there is willpower. There is
indignation and courage to defend Venezuela.”
But critics and economists say the crisis is both real and
self-inflicted, the result of a government using a raft of
imports as a shortcut to meet promises of development and food
security during the heady years of an oil price boom. Venezuela
used to produce more than two-thirds of its food, and import the
rest, but those proportions are now reversed, with imports
making up around 70% of what the country eats.
When crude prices began sliding in 2014, bringing down oil
earnings, it left the country short of dollars, and the
government decided to focus its income on servicing the national
debt rather than importing food.
The Katiuska family face a daily struggle. Photograph: Emma
Graham-Harrison for the Observer
“This administration decided people have to eat less for them to
balance their accounts,” said Efraín Velásquez, president of the
semi-official National Economic Council. “That implies poverty,
social deterioration, that people are worse off.”
Supplies dried up and inflation sliced through savings and
earnings, slashing the value of the currency by more than 99%
since Maduro’s 2013 election. Bolivares bought with $1,000 then
would be worth little over a dollar at today’s black market
There has been no official inflation data from the government
since 2015, but the opposition puts the figure at 250% in the
first seven months of the year. In a tacit recognition of the
scale of the problem, the president himself boosted the minimum
wage nearly 500% last year, to “offset inflation”.
“We are the only country in the world where people dread a wage
hike, because they know the price of food will follow [up],”
said Ingrid Soto de Sanabria, head of nutrition at Venezuela’s
top children’s hospital, who has been raising the alarm about
the steep rise in cases of malnutrition.
The number of children with severe malnutrition who were
admitted to the hospital rose from 30 in 2015 to 110 last year,
and looks set to climb further this year based on figures from
the first half of the year, she said. There has been a subtle
shifting in the nature of the problems parents face. Formula for
babies who can’t be breastfed was hard to track down anywhere
last year, with shortages so severe they claimed the lives of
Since the government unofficially relaxed price controls there
are more supplies, but parents struggle to pay for what they
need, she said. “Last year there were terrible shortages, this
year there are less shortages, but the prices are through the
“We don’t have formula, and what little we do is thanks to
donations,” she said. Mothers who are malnourished can struggle
to breastfeed, exacerbating the problem.
Catholic charity Caritas has been among those raising the alarm,
after launching a project to monitor and tackle child nutrition
across four Venzeulan states. “Humanitarian help is needed to
save lives. I wouldn’t have said that a year ago, because people
weren’t dying,” said Susana Raffalli, who led the project. After
decades tackling food crises around the world, from Pakistan to
Algeria, she was horrified to find herself doing the same in her
People check bags of foodstuff inside one of the food
distribution centres, which have been set up by local
committees ‘for supply and production’ in Caracas. Photograph:
Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
“Its not a country with a tradition of humanitarian crises like
others in the region,” she said. But malnutrition has been
rising sharply, with more than half of all children affected in
some way. The percentage of children showing signs of acute
malnourishment climbed from 8% last October to 12% in July. That
is well over the 10% threshold for a severe food crisis, and she
fears it is still rising. If acute malnourishment reaches 15%,
international agencies consider a country or area to be in a
state of food emergency.
“They are getting younger, and the cases more serious,” said
Raffalli, who is particularly disturbed about the long-term
implications, for individuals and for the country. Malnutrition
in the youngest children can stunt development for life.
“If children are severely malnourished under two years old, it
has an irreversible effect. The first 1,000 days are the most
important in the life of a baby, and sets up the cognitive
situation that will affect them for their whole life.”
She is waiting for funding to take the survey, and food support,
to a wider range of provinces. It fills a gap in data left by a
government that has not published statistics on nutrition for
several years, and a gap in support left by failed public
But she warns that no feeding programme can do anything more
than protect individual children. “We need this help because
people are being harmed, they are dying. But it’s a temporary
solution, it won’t resolve the problem of supply and access to
Many mothers are already fearful. Luisa García, not her real
name, wept when she heard her malnourished son had been nursed
back to health by the Caritas feeding project, but not tears of
joy. She was still unemployed, with empty cupboards and a bare
fridge, and yet the food handouts he had been living on would
“On the day they said he was up to weight, I went away crying,
because I had nothing to give him to eat. I counted on that
food,” the 38-year-old recalled as she waited in line at a
church soup kitchen, also organised by Caritas. “We eat like
crabs, picking a little where we can. Often only once a day, at
The volunteers who make and serve the soup understand the
desperation; they too have become familiar with the gnawing pain
of an empty stomach. “We are all professionals and we spend
almost everything we earn on food and basic needs,” said
Rosalinda Rodríguez, a retired teacher who hasn’t bought new
clothes since 2014, and has lost 12kg over the past year.
Although she is still in her own words “stout”, she was recently
diagnosed with anaemia because she is eating such poor quality
food. Another volunteer has shrunk even more. “Life has been
totally derailed,” said Ricardo López, a lawyer whose son went
to an international school until the crises shrank his salary –
paid in bolivares – to far below the foreign currency tuition
Empty shelves in Caracas. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters
“I try to leave lunch as late as possible myself, so you can
just have a snack in the evening. My colleagues sometimes faint
from hunger, or don’t have lunch.”
As with other former members of the middle class, the crisis has
brought not just hunger but a hollowing out of his life.
Cinemas, meals out, gym membership, even hiking in hills around
the city have been cut out by the need to stave off hunger.
López, who asked for his real name to be withheld, has so little
money left these days after paying for food and other essentials
that he could only budget 15,000 bolivares, or a single US
dollar, to enjoy the summer holiday with his son.
Instead of beach trips, he spent August weekends feeding those
who are even worse off. “We thought no one would come but then
we were full. Hunger doesn’t take holidays.”
The crisis has left the promises, and legacy, of former
president Hugo Chávez, in tatters. He rose to power and stayed
there until his death from cancer in 2013, in large part
promising a more equitable distribution of the country’s oil
wealth and food security for all. The benefits were real for
many Venezuelans, and even if they have not proved sustainable
they nurtured a fierce loyalty that carried Maduro to power and
a base that is sticking with him through hardship.
Even today his supporters include those who have lost serious
amounts of weight, pine for their favourite food, and have been
separated from beloved relatives by the vast exodus of
Venezuelans seeking a better chance of going to bed on a full
“If we supported Chávez with oil at $100 a barrel, we have to
support him now with it down at $40 a barrel,” said Henny Liendo,
a cocoa cooperative member in the village of Chuao. Diets have
shifted back to patterns more familiar to parents and
grandparents, to fish, root vegetables and bananas, with less
sugar, flour and meat.
He sees his curtailed diet and occasional hunger as sacrifices
in a bigger war, but mourns for the past. “We were happy and we
didn’t know it,” Venezuelans say in towns and villages, looking
back over recent turbulent decades. The government’s most recent
effort to hang on to Chávez’s legacies has been the boxes of
subsidised food, known colloquially by their Spanish initials
CLAP, that were launched last year. They bundle imported food
together for a low price. They never last a whole month, often
little more than a week for large families, but they bring cheap
food and much needed variety, staples-turned-luxuries like
mayonnaise, butter and milk powder into homes.
When González, the activist, got his first government box after
months of waiting, he sat down to a dinner of arepas, the
national corn-flour patties, with butter and cheese and a cup of
milky coffee. Once an everyday meal, it felt, he said, like a
For the very poorest in this crumbling economy, though, even a
dollar to pay for them can be out of reach. “We eat yuca,
bananas, green papaya,” said Katiuska Pérez, not her real name,
a 28-year-old mother of six, who lives in the village of Tocoron.
“When the boxes come I’m allowed two, but sometimes I can only
afford one, or none at all.”
Her five daughters all registered as severely malnourished when
Caritas did checks, even though like many parents she had been
cutting back her own meals to boost their portions.
“I feed them first, so they have enough to eat, and we go
without,” she said. Most recovered with feeding support, but on
the latest visit her one-year-old had slipped back to six
kilograms, a weight more appropriate for a baby half her age.
Pérez said she feels hopeless. “We have been screwed for several
years now. Everything that Chávez built with his hands has been
UK news The
Buckingham Palace suspect with 4ft sword
shouted 'Allahu Akbar'
Luton man, 26, arrested under Terrorism Act after struggle
outside palace in which three police officers were injured
A police vehicle patrols outside Buckingham Palace the day after
the incident. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters
Vikram Dodd Police and crime correspondent
Saturday 26 August 2017 13.09 BST
A man arrested outside Buckingham Palace armed with a 4ft sword
repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as police struggled to subdue
him, Scotland Yard has said.
Three unarmed officers were injured – two receiving cuts to
their hands – while detaining the man just after 8.30pm on
Friday. Police are treating the incident as suspected terrorism.
Scotland Yard said the man drove at a police van just outside
Buckingham Palace in a blue Toyota Prius, and stopped in front
Officers subdued the suspect, a 26-year-old from Luton,
Bedfordshire, with CS spray.
Man with sword arrested outside Buckingham Palace – video report
A Metropolitan police statement said: “Just after 8.30pm [on
Friday], a car deliberately drove at a police van and stopped in
front of it in a restricted area on Constitution Hill near
“The officers, who were unarmed police constables and from
Westminster borough, got out of the van and approached the car,
a blue Toyota Prius.
“As they challenged the driver, who was the only occupant in the
car, he reached for what we now know to be a 4ft sword which was
in the front passenger footwell.
“The officers acted very quickly to detain him. During a
struggle the three officers sustained minor injuries. The man,
who repeatedly shouted Allahu Akbar, was incapacitated with CS
The investigation is being led by Scotland Yard’s
The Guardian understands that officers are examining CCTV
footage to see if the Prius was “scouting” the area before the
Detectives will also examine whether the vehicle was driven at
the police van in order to lure officers towards it.
The suspect was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing
grievous bodily harm and assaulting a police officer. Hours
later he was further arrested under the Terrorism Act and he
remains in custody at a central London police station.
Witness Kiana Williamson said the incident lasted around a
minute: “The police were trying to get the man out of the car,
shouting. More police were arriving on the scene and the man was
“I saw one injured policeman with an injury to his arm, although
it didn’t look severe. He was being tended to by another officer.
The man had been restrained and looked almost unconscious by the
side of the road.”
The domestic security service MI5 is part of the investigation,
which is being led by Scotland Yard’s SO15 counter-terrorism
On Saturday police were carrying out searches in the Luton area.
The Met said: “The incident is being treated as terrorism but we
will remain open minded while the investigation continues.”
Commander Dean Haydon, the head of SO15, said: “We believe the
man was acting alone and we are not looking for other suspects
at this stage. While we cannot speculate on what the man was
intending to do – this will be determined during the course of
the investigation – it is only right that we investigate this as
a terrorist incident at this time.”
Police said two of the officers were taken by ambulance to
hospital with minor cuts and discharged a short time later. The
third injured officer did not require hospital treatment.
Haydon said: “I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and
professionalism of these officers who quickly brought this
incident under control. Their vigilance, courage and the
swiftness of their response demonstrates how our officers are
protecting the public at this time.”
Police want anyone who witnessed the incident, or filmed any
part of it, to contact them.
It happened at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend during
which many Met officers will be deployed in west London on
Sunday and Monday for the Notting Hill carnival, which can draw
crowds of up to 1 million.
Haydon added: “This is a timely reminder that the threat from
terrorism in the UK remains severe. The police, together with
the security services, are doing everything we can to protect
the public and we already have an enhanced policing plan over
the bank holiday weekend to keep the public safe.”
No members of the royal family were staying at the palace on
Security at major sites has been reviewed and increased after an
attack on the Palace of Westminster in March - the first of a
flurry of plots Britain faced this year that were either
thwarted or resulted in deaths.
In the Westminster attack a car was driven into pedestrians near
parliament before a police officer guarding the parliament
building, PC Keith Palmer, was stabbed to death.
That attack was followed by atrocities in Manchester, where a
suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert, and London
again, where an attack near London Bridge killed eight people.
Three attackers drove a van into pedestrians before stabbing
people indiscriminately. All three were shot dead by police.
The three attacks were blamed on terrorists following an
Islamist ideology such as that espoused by Islamic State.
A fourth attack in June in Finsbury Park killed one person and
police say the attacker held extremist rightwing views.
Police said the investigation into the Buckingham Palace
incident would look into the suspect’s mental health. At least
two incidents initially thought to have been terror-motivated
knife attacks – one at Leytonstone tube station in December 2015
and the other in Russell Square in August 2016 – were later
determined to be more driven by the attacker’s mental health
Police officers have a system that warns them of the specific
level of threat they face from terrorism. It stands at severe,
meaning an attack is highly likely – the same level as for the
Islamic State propaganda has changed from urging people to join
its fight in Syria, to encouraging attacks in the home countries
of supporters. As military action recaptures land previously
held by the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, it is morphing
from a caliphate ruled by an Islamist doctrine, to a terrorist
franchise using the internet and other means to urge attacks.
British counter-terrorism officials have said there is no sign
of the prolonged series of terrorist plots ending.
inmigrante muere electrocutado en un tren de Francia
Fuente: GV/Con información de EFE 26-08-2017 06:02PM
Un inmigrante, cuya nacionalidad no fue dada a conocer, murió
este sábado electrocutado al esconderse de una revisión policial
en el sistema eléctrico de un tren que pasaba por Cannes
procedente de Vintimille (Italia), informó la
Se trata del tercer inmigrante que es hallado muerto en la
estación La Bocca de Niza en esas
circunstancias en lo que va de 2017.
Debido al incremento de inmigrantes que han llegado a las costas
italianas hasta julio de 2017 respecto al mismo periodo de 2016,
un 20 % más, la frontera más meridional entre Italia y
Francia se ha convertido en un notable punto de
(Lea también: Miles de personas salen a
las calles de Barcelona en contra del terrorismo)
Los inmigrantes, de países como Eritrea,
Afganistán o Sudán, buscan
continuar la ruta hacia el norte o pedir asilo en la propia
Francia y muchas veces se ven abocados a acudir
al servicio de traficantes de personas.
Survey finds 40% of Australian women
diagnosed with depression or anxiety
Jean Hailes women’s health survey finds women aged 18-35 have
the highest anxiety scores, with social media being partly to
Technology and social media has been blamed for putting ‘an
enormous amount of pressure’ on young women. Photograph: fizkes/Getty
Australian Associated Press
Sunday 27 August 2017 02.41 BST
A survey of more than 10,000 Australian women found 40% have
been professionally diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
The Jean Hailes Women’s Health survey 2017 released on Sunday,
also found 60% did not meet the recommended 2.5 hours of weekly
physical activity because for many they were “too tired” or it
was too “hard” to find the time.
Two out of five women surveyed, aged 18-89, considered
themselves slightly overweight, while 20% said they were quite
Only a quarter had been screened for sexually transmitted
infections in the last five years. The survey found 95% of women
The survey director, Dr Helen Brown, said the findings raised
particular concern about the mental health of young women.
“The 18 to 35-year-olds had the highest anxiety scores, that’s
even more telling,” she said.
Technology and social media was to blame, Brown said. “I think
they put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to be
‘ever-ready’, to be on Instagram et cetera, which means they
constantly have their phone in their hand and being ready for
it,” Brown said.
The survey asked women what had bothered them in the past two
weeks and nearly half agreed to “worrying too much about
More than 40% reported feeling anxious, nervous and “on the
edge”, while many agreed to regularly feeling easily annoyed or
Adding to a woman’s anxiety was an overload of health
information available to them online, the survey concluded.
“They are getting a lot of information about their health but
actually they are getting too much and so they’re getting
confused as to what they should trust,” said Brown.
“In the old days we used to get health messages from our GPs,
you know very restricted views, and now that it’s open to
everything its really hard to work out who to believe.”
The survey found women were most concerned about menopause, bone
health, breast and bowel health, and painful sex.
The advice for women was to go back to the “basics”. “Behaviour
change is extremely complicated, we live in a very complex
environment but it’s still trying to remember the basics of
eating well, exercising well or being active,” said Brown.
She said being active did not mean going for a 10km run or going
to the gym.
“Physical activity’s not about that – it’s just making sure
you’re active throughout the day, like using the stairs instead
of the lift,” Brown said.
Women’s health week starts on 4 September.
Canadian Indian residential school system
In Canada, the Indian residential school system was a network of
boarding schools for Indigenous peoples. The network was funded
by the Canadian government's Department of Indian Affairs and
administered by Christian churches.
The school system was created for the purpose of removing
children from the influence of their own culture and
assimilating them into the dominant Canadian culture. Over the
course of the system's more than hundred year existence, about
30%, or roughly 150,000, of Indigenous children were placed in
residential schools nationally. At least 6,000 of these students
are estimated to have died while residents.
The system had its origins in laws enacted before Confederation,
but was primarily active from the passage of the Indian Act in
1876. An amendment to the Indian Act in 1884 made attendance at
day schools, industrial schools, or residential schools
compulsory for First Nations children. Due to the remote nature
of many communities, school locations meant that for some
families residential schools were the only way to comply. The
schools were intentionally located at substantial distances from
Indigenous communities to minimize contact between families and
their children. Indian Commissioner Hayter Reed argued for
schools at greater distances to reduce family visits, which he
thought counteracted efforts to civilize Indigenous children.
Parental visits were further restricted by the use of a pass
system designed to confine Indigenous peoples to reserves. The
last federally operated residential school closed in 1996.
The residential school system harmed Indigenous children
significantly by removing them from their families, depriving
them of their ancestral languages, exposing many of them to
physical and sexual abuse, and forcibly enfranchising them.
Disconnected from their families and culture and forced to speak
English or French, students who attended the residential school
system often graduated unable to fit into either their
communities or Canadian society. It ultimately proved successful
in disrupting the transmission of Indigenous practices and
beliefs across generations. The legacy of the system has been
linked to an increased prevalence of post-traumatic stress,
alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide, which persist within
On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a public
apology on behalf of the Government of Canada and the leaders of
the other federal parties in the Canadian House of Commons. Nine
days prior, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was
established to uncover the truth about the schools. The
commission gathered statements from residential school survivors
through public and private meetings at various local, regional
and national events across Canada. Seven national events held
between 2008 and 2013 commemorated the experience of former
students of residential schools. In 2015, the TRC concluded with
the establishment of the National Centre for Truth and
Reconciliation, and the publication of a multi-volume report
detailing the testimonies of survivors and historical documents
from the time.
"Fascination Street" - The Cure
Oh it's opening time
Down on Fascination Street
So let's cut the conversation
And get out for a bit
Because I feel it all fading and paling
And I'm begging
To drag you down with me
To kick the last nail in
Yeah I like you in that
Like I like you to scream
But if you open your mouth
Then I can't be responsible
For quite what goes in
Or to care what comes out
So just pull on your hair
Just pull on your pout
And let's move to the beat
Like we know that it's over
If you slip going under
Slip over my shoulder
So just pull on your face
Just pull on your feet
And let's hit opening time
Down on Fascination Street
So pull on your hair
Pull on your pout
Cut the conversation
Just open your mouth
Pull on your face
Pull on your feet
And let's hit opening time
Down on Fascination Street
Down on Fascination Street
Down on Fascination Street
Down on Fascination Street
On Fascination Street
Written by Boris Williams, Laurence Andrew Tolhurst, Porl Thompson,
Robert James Smith, Roger O'donnell, Simon Gallup • Copyright ©
Universal Music Publishing Group