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Date is:
August 26, 2017

Poverty does not weaken the need for Efficiency in Integrity.
The Cure - Fascination Street
I placed that map on the previous session.
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 Parra/AFP/Getty Images

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 situation.

“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 rate.

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 newborns.

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 roof.

“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 native Venezuela.
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 support programmes.

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 food.”

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 end.

“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 best twice.”

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 fees.
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 stomach.

“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 luxurious indulgence.

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 kicked down.”
UK news The Observer
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 of it.

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 Buckingham Palace.

“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 spray.”

The investigation is being led by Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command.

The Guardian understands that officers are examining CCTV footage to see if the Prius was “scouting” the area before the incident.

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 fighting back.

“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 unit.

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 Friday night.

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 problems.

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 general population.

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.
Un 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 prensa francesa.

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 migración.

(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 blame
Technology and social media has been blamed for putting ‘an enormous amount of pressure’ on young women. Photograph: fizkes/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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 overweight.

Only a quarter had been screened for sexually transmitted infections in the last five years. The survey found 95% of women were non-smokers.

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 different things”.

More than 40% reported feeling anxious, nervous and “on the edge”, while many agreed to regularly feeling easily annoyed or irritated.

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 Indigenous communities.

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

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