Sep 23 2018

Alcácer signs five year contract with Barça; Munir loaned to Valencia

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Friday, September 2, 2016

On Tuesday, Catalonian football club FC Barcelona announced signing of Spanish striker Paco Alcácer from Valencia C.F. for €30 million. Barcelona is obliged to pay €2 million as add-ons for the 23-year-old striker. Barcelona forward Munir El Haddadi was loaned to Valencia with an option to buy the player for €12 million.

Making hood professional debut in the 2010–2011 season, Paco Alcácer has played 146 domestic matches. He has scored 43 goals for Valencia in all competitions. Alcácer was loaned to Madrid based club Getafe CF for a season where he scored four goals.

Alcácer made his international debut under Vicente del Bosque in 2014 and has scored six goals. After passing hood medicals and signing a five-year contract, Alcácer said, “when I found out about the offer from FC Barcelona I asked the club to listen to it, as it was my decision to take a step forward in my career” ((es))Spanish language: ?cuando conocí la oferta del FC Barcelona, le pedí al club que la escuchara, ya que era mi decisión dar un paso adelante en mi carrera.

Munir graduated from Barça ‘s youth academy La Masia and made his professional debut playing a La Liga match at the age of eighteen. He also made his international debut under del Bosque’s management. Munir has played 45 matches for the Catalonians scoring ten goals. Valencia said Munir’s signing was “an important reinforcement for the frontline” of their team.

Paco Alcácer’s presentaton was to be postponed while he completed duties with the international team.

Munir has been allocated the number 9 jersey at Valencia. Barcelona has set the buy-out clause of Paco Alcácer at €100 million; he is Luis Enrique’s sixth signing this season. Previously, Barcelona signed Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen from Amsterdam-based club AFC Ajax.

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Sep 23 2018

Category:August 27, 2006

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? August 26, 2006
August 28, 2006 ?
August 27

Pages in category “August 27, 2006”

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Sep 22 2018

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

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Sep 21 2018

Gunman massacres at least 12 at New York immigration center

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Friday, April 3, 2009

A gunman attacked a downtown Binghamton, New York-based immigration services center today, killing up to 13 people before killing himself.

New York Governor David Paterson at a news conference indicated that 12 or 13 people were killed at the American Civic Association. It is unclear whether or not the attacker was included in the number of the deceased.

An anonymous law enforcement official indicated the presumed gunman’s body was found in an office of the immigration services center building. The attacker blocked the rear building door with his car and entered through the front door. He then opened fire.

The gunman held over 40 hostages, some in a closet and the rest in the boiler room. Police and EMS started arriving at 10:30 A.M (EDT). SWAT sharpshooters and the Endicott police bomb squad were called to the scene. Nearby residencies and businesses were evacuated, while a nursing home and the high school were placed on lockdown. FBI hostage negotiators and evidence response team were being sent to the scene. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were headed to Binghamton. About noon, the shooter released ten hostages, then another ten out the back 40 minutes later. At 2:40 p.m., the local police said the standoff had ended and a SWAT team was checking the building for anyone remaining.

In Johnson City, Wilson Medical Center staff are treating three to five gunshot wounds, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton is treating a single such case. Both hospitals called in additional staff and cancelled all elective surgeries.

A national law enforcement source identified the shooter as 42-year-old Jiverly Voong. The police asked Broome Community College Assistant Professor Tuong Hung Nguyen, a fluent Vietnamese speaker, to translate for discussions between police and Voong.

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Sep 19 2018

US charges homeless man after plane stolen and crashed in Maryland

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Police from Frederick in Maryland, US have charged a homeless man with three offenses after a light aircraft was stolen from Frederick Municipal Airport early yesterday morning. The single-engine aircraft crashed as its thief tried to take off.

51-year-old Calvin Cox was arrested near the scene in the nearby woods after officers arrived. He was discovered by dog handlers. The Piper Super Cub came off the runway and ran onto grass, sustaining damage to its fuselage and propeller as well as possibly its engine. The crash occured at 2:15 a.m.

Cox has been charged with felony theft, burglary, and trespassing. The plane was removed from an airport hangar and belonged to the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association, who uses it to tow gliders. Michael H. Higgins, the association’s president, said it would be difficult for someone unfamiliar with the aircraft to start it, as several buttons and switches are required. He described the incident as “a very unusual situation.”

Police described Cox as familiar with aircraft. They say that while they have yet to determine any motive, they believe Cox’s “intention was to leave the Frederick area.” Nobody was injured in the crash.

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Sep 18 2018

The White Stripes to tour ‘Great White North’

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Grammy Award-winning rock band The White Stripes announced on Wednesday the Canadian leg of a tour in support of their soon-to-be-released album, Icky Thump. The tour, which would be the first cross-Canada excursion for The White Stripes, will see the band play dates in all provinces and territories.

The latest tour for The White Stripes will kick off June 1 in Nürburgring, Germany and will play several dates in Europe before starting off in Canada on June 24, in Burnaby, British Columbia. Canadian dates will include stops in northern locales such as Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Iqaluit, on Baffin Island.

The White Stripes, made up of guitarist/singer Jack White and drummer Meg White, have developed a significant worldwide following with their blend of punk and blues, guitar-oriented rock. The band had expressed interest in playing cities they had not yet visited. “Having never done a full tour of Canada, Meg and I thought it was high time to go whole hog,” said Jack White on The White Stripes website. “We want to take this tour to the far reaches of the Canadian landscape. From the ocean to the permafrost.” The band’s website referred to Canada by its nickname, the ‘Great White North’.

The White Stripes have played to thousands in large outdoor festival settings, but will have to deal with different logistics while setting up in a northern location, such as Iqaluit.

Some 500 tickets for the Iqaluit show are to be sold, with an admission fee of approximately CA$40. Mike Bozzer, the city of Iqaluit’s economic development officer, told CBC News that talks have taken place with The White Stripes’ publicist regarding equipment, technicians, security and other such details. “It’s definitely going to have some economic impact, and they’ll come back home with positive stories of the city,” said Bozzer.

The band’s ten-year anniversary will be reached at a point during the Canadian leg of the tour, which will be commemorated. “Another special moment of this tour is the show which will occur in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia on July 14th, The White Stripes’ Tenth Anniversary,” said Jack White.

Following the Canadian dates, The White Stripes will embark on a tour in the United States, which will reach some 16 states they have not yet visited during their career, among other repeat locations.

2007 Canadian Tour Dates   Venue City Province/Territory
June 24   Deer Lake Park Burnaby British Columbia
June 25   Yukon Arts Centre Whitehorse Yukon
June 26   Shorty Brown Multiplex Arena Yellowknife Northwest Territories
June 27   Arctic Winter Games Arena Iqaluit Nunavut
June 29   Pengrowth Saddledome Calgary Alberta
June 30   Shaw Convention Centre Edmonton Alberta
July 1   TCU Place Saskatoon Saskatchewan
July 2   MTS Centre Winnipeg Manitoba
July 3   Community Auditorium Thunder Bay Ontario
July 5   Molson Amphitheatre Toronto Ontario
July 6   Bell Centre Montreal Quebec
July 7   John Labatt Centre London Ontario
July 8   Bluesfest Ottawa Ontario
July 10   Moncton Coliseum Moncton New Brunswick
July 11   Charlottetown Civic Centre Charlottetown PEI
July 13   Cunard Centre Halifax Nova Scotia
July 14   Savoy Theatre Glace Bay Nova Scotia
July 16   Mile One Centre St. John’s Newfoundland

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Sep 18 2018

G20 protests: Inside a labour march

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Wikinews accredited reporter Killing Vector traveled to the G-20 2009 summit protests in London with a group of protesters. This is his personal account.

Friday, April 3, 2009

London – “Protest”, says Ross Saunders, “is basically theatre”.

It’s seven a.m. and I’m on a mini-bus heading east on the M4 motorway from Cardiff toward London. I’m riding with seventeen members of the Cardiff Socialist Party, of which Saunders is branch secretary for the Cardiff West branch; they’re going to participate in a march that’s part of the protests against the G-20 meeting.

Before we boarded the minibus Saunders made a speech outlining the reasons for the march. He said they were “fighting for jobs for young people, fighting for free education, fighting for our share of the wealth, which we create.” His anger is directed at the government’s response to the economic downturn: “Now that the recession is underway, they’ve been trying to shoulder more of the burden onto the people, and onto the young people…they’re expecting us to pay for it.” He compared the protest to the Jarrow March and to the miners’ strikes which were hugely influential in the history of the British labour movement. The people assembled, though, aren’t miners or industrial workers — they’re university students or recent graduates, and the march they’re going to participate in is the Youth Fight For Jobs.

The Socialist Party was formerly part of the Labour Party, which has ruled the United Kingdom since 1997 and remains a member of the Socialist International. On the bus, Saunders and some of his cohorts — they occasionally, especially the older members, address each other as “comrade” — explains their view on how the split with Labour came about. As the Third Way became the dominant voice in the Labour Party, culminating with the replacement of Neil Kinnock with Tony Blair as party leader, the Socialist cadre became increasingly disaffected. “There used to be democratic structures, political meetings” within the party, they say. The branch meetings still exist but “now, they passed a resolution calling for renationalisation of the railways, and they [the party leadership] just ignored it.” They claim that the disaffection with New Labour has caused the party to lose “half its membership” and that people are seeking alternatives. Since the economic crisis began, Cardiff West’s membership has doubled, to 25 members, and the RMT has organized itself as a political movement running candidates in the 2009 EU Parliament election. The right-wing British National Party or BNP is making gains as well, though.

Talk on the bus is mostly political and the news of yesterday’s violence at the G-20 demonstrations, where a bank was stormed by protesters and 87 were arrested, is thick in the air. One member comments on the invasion of a RBS building in which phone lines were cut and furniture was destroyed: “It’s not very constructive but it does make you smile.” Another, reading about developments at the conference which have set France and Germany opposing the UK and the United States, says sardonically, “we’re going to stop all the squabbles — they’re going to unite against us. That’s what happens.” She recounts how, in her native Sweden during the Second World War, a national unity government was formed among all major parties, and Swedish communists were interned in camps, while Nazi-leaning parties were left unmolested.

In London around 11am the march assembles on Camberwell Green. About 250 people are here, from many parts of Britain; I meet marchers from Newcastle, Manchester, Leicester, and especially organized-labor stronghold Sheffield. The sky is grey but the atmosphere is convivial; five members of London’s Metropolitan Police are present, and they’re all smiling. Most marchers are young, some as young as high school age, but a few are older; some teachers, including members of the Lewisham and Sheffield chapters of the National Union of Teachers, are carrying banners in support of their students.

Gordon Brown’s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!’

Stewards hand out sheets of paper with the words to call-and-response chants on them. Some are youth-oriented and education-oriented, like the jaunty “Gordon Brown‘s a Tory/He wears a Tory hat/And when he saw our uni fees/He said ‘I’ll double that!'” (sung to the tune of the Lonnie Donegan song “My Old Man’s a Dustman“); but many are standbys of organized labour, including the infamous “workers of the world, unite!“. It also outlines the goals of the protest, as “demands”: “The right to a decent job for all, with a living wage of at least £8 and hour. No to cheap labour apprenticeships! for all apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage, with a job guaranteed at the end. No to university fees. support the campaign to defeat fees.” Another steward with a megaphone and a bright red t-shirt talks the assembled protesters through the basics of call-and-response chanting.

Finally the march gets underway, traveling through the London boroughs of Camberwell and Southwark. Along the route of the march more police follow along, escorting and guiding the march and watching it carefully, while a police van with flashing lights clears the route in front of it. On the surface the atmosphere is enthusiastic, but everyone freezes for a second as a siren is heard behind them; it turns out to be a passing ambulance.

Crossing Southwark Bridge, the march enters the City of London, the comparably small but dense area containing London’s financial and economic heart. Although one recipient of the protesters’ anger is the Bank of England, the march does not stop in the City, only passing through the streets by the London Exchange. Tourists on buses and businessmen in pinstripe suits record snippets of the march on their mobile phones as it passes them; as it goes past a branch of HSBC the employees gather at the glass store front and watch nervously. The time in the City is brief; rather than continue into the very centre of London the march turns east and, passing the Tower of London, proceeds into the poor, largely immigrant neighbourhoods of the Tower Hamlets.

The sun has come out, and the spirits of the protesters have remained high. But few people, only occasional faces at windows in the blocks of apartments, are here to see the march and it is in Wapping High Street that I hear my first complaint from the marchers. Peter, a steward, complains that the police have taken the march off its original route and onto back streets where “there’s nobody to protest to”. I ask how he feels about the possibility of violence, noting the incidents the day before, and he replies that it was “justified aggression”. “We don’t condone it but people have only got certain limitations.”

There’s nobody to protest to!

A policeman I ask is very polite but noncommittal about the change in route. “The students are getting the message out”, he says, so there’s no problem. “Everyone’s very well behaved” in his assessment and the atmosphere is “very positive”. Another protestor, a sign-carrying university student from Sheffield, half-heartedly returns the compliment: today, she says, “the police have been surprisingly unridiculous.”

The march pauses just before it enters Cable Street. Here, in 1936, was the site of the Battle of Cable Street, and the march leader, addressing the protesters through her megaphone, marks the moment. She draws a parallel between the British Union of Fascists of the 1930s and the much smaller BNP today, and as the protesters follow the East London street their chant becomes “The BNP tell racist lies/We fight back and organise!”

In Victoria Park — “The People’s Park” as it was sometimes known — the march stops for lunch. The trade unions of East London have organized and paid for a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and tea, and, picnic-style, the marchers enjoy their meals as organized labor veterans give brief speeches about industrial actions from a small raised platform.

A demonstration is always a means to and end.

During the rally I have the opportunity to speak with Neil Cafferky, a Galway-born Londoner and the London organizer of the Youth Fight For Jobs march. I ask him first about why, despite being surrounded by red banners and quotes from Karl Marx, I haven’t once heard the word “communism” used all day. He explains that, while he considers himself a Marxist and a Trotskyist, the word communism has negative connotations that would “act as a barrier” to getting people involved: the Socialist Party wants to avoid the discussion of its position on the USSR and disassociate itself from Stalinism. What the Socialists favor, he says, is “democratic planned production” with “the working class, the youths brought into the heart of decision making.”

On the subject of the police’s re-routing of the march, he says the new route is actually the synthesis of two proposals. Originally the march was to have gone from Camberwell Green to the Houses of Parliament, then across the sites of the 2012 Olympics and finally to the ExCel Centre. The police, meanwhile, wanted there to be no march at all.

The Metropolitan Police had argued that, with only 650 trained traffic officers on the force and most of those providing security at the ExCel Centre itself, there simply wasn’t the manpower available to close main streets, so a route along back streets was necessary if the march was to go ahead at all. Cafferky is sceptical of the police explanation. “It’s all very well having concern for health and safety,” he responds. “Our concern is using planning to block protest.”

He accuses the police and the government of having used legal, bureaucratic and even violent means to block protests. Talking about marches having to defend themselves, he says “if the police set out with the intention of assaulting marches then violence is unavoidable.” He says the police have been known to insert “provocateurs” into marches, which have to be isolated. He also asserts the right of marches to defend themselves when attacked, although this “must be done in a disciplined manner”.

He says he wasn’t present at yesterday’s demonstrations and so can’t comment on the accusations of violence against police. But, he says, there is often provocative behavior on both sides. Rather than reject violence outright, Cafferky argues that there needs to be “clear political understanding of the role of violence” and calls it “counter-productive”.

Demonstration overall, though, he says, is always a useful tool, although “a demonstration is always a means to an end” rather than an end in itself. He mentions other ongoing industrial actions such as the occupation of the Visteon plant in Enfield; 200 fired workers at the factory have been occupying the plant since April 1, and states the solidarity between the youth marchers and the industrial workers.

I also speak briefly with members of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a small group of left-wing activists who have brought some signs to the rally. The Bolsheviks say that, like the Socialists, they’re Trotskyists, but have differences with them on the idea of organization; the International Bolshevik Tendency believes that control of the party representing the working class should be less democratic and instead be in the hands of a team of experts in history and politics. Relations between the two groups are “chilly”, says one.

At 2:30 the march resumes. Rather than proceeding to the ExCel Centre itself, though, it makes its way to a station of London’s Docklands Light Railway; on the way, several of East London’s school-aged youths join the march, and on reaching Canning Town the group is some 300 strong. Proceeding on foot through the borough, the Youth Fight For Jobs reaches the protest site outside the G-20 meeting.

It’s impossible to legally get too close to the conference itself. Police are guarding every approach, and have formed a double cordon between the protest area and the route that motorcades take into and out of the conference venue. Most are un-armed, in the tradition of London police; only a few even carry truncheons. Closer to the building, though, a few machine gun-armed riot police are present, standing out sharply in their black uniforms against the high-visibility yellow vests of the Metropolitan Police. The G-20 conference itself, which started a few hours before the march began, is already winding down, and about a thousand protesters are present.

I see three large groups: the Youth Fight For Jobs avoids going into the center of the protest area, instead staying in their own group at the admonition of the stewards and listening to a series of guest speakers who tell them about current industrial actions and the organization of the Youth Fight’s upcoming rally at UCL. A second group carries the Ogaden National Liberation Front‘s flag and is campaigning for recognition of an autonomous homeland in eastern Ethiopia. Others protesting the Ethiopian government make up the third group; waving old Ethiopian flags, including the Lion of Judah standard of emperor Haile Selassie, they demand that foreign aid to Ethiopia be tied to democratization in that country: “No recovery without democracy”.

A set of abandoned signs tied to bollards indicate that the CND has been here, but has already gone home; they were demanding the abandonment of nuclear weapons. But apart from a handful of individuals with handmade, cardboard signs I see no groups addressing the G-20 meeting itself, other than the Youth Fight For Jobs’ slogans concerning the bailout. But when a motorcade passes, catcalls and jeers are heard.

It’s now 5pm and, after four hours of driving, five hours marching and one hour at the G-20, Cardiff’s Socialists are returning home. I board the bus with them and, navigating slowly through the snarled London traffic, we listen to BBC Radio 4. The news is reporting on the closure of the G-20 conference; while they take time out to mention that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delayed the traditional group photograph of the G-20’s world leaders because “he was on the loo“, no mention is made of today’s protests. Those listening in the bus are disappointed by the lack of coverage.

Most people on the return trip are tired. Many sleep. Others read the latest issue of The Socialist, the Socialist Party’s newspaper. Mia quietly sings “The Internationale” in Swedish.

Due to the traffic, the journey back to Cardiff will be even longer than the journey to London. Over the objections of a few of its members, the South Welsh participants in the Youth Fight For Jobs stop at a McDonald’s before returning to the M4 and home.

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Sep 18 2018

Boxing great Muhammed Ali dies aged 74

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Legendary boxing great Muhammed Ali died on Friday aged 74 in a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. A family spokesperson said Ali had been admitted with respiratory problems. The former heavyweight champion lived with Parkinson’s disease for decades, diagnosed in 1984.

Born on January 17, 1942 as Cassius Marcellus Clay, he changed his name to Muhammed Ali after his 1964 conversion to Islam. In his professional career, Ali won 56 out of 61 fights — including 31 consecutive wins. He won the World Heavyweight Championship three times and had also won an Olympic gold medal in the light-heavyweight category.

Often considered the greatest boxer of all time, Ali was the world heavyweight champion in the 1960s and 1970s. His famous fights with George Foreman in 1974 when he won his title back and against Joe Frazier are considered by many as two of the greatest fights in the sport’s history. Ali had also defeated Sonny Liston to claim the championship title.

Ali was also known as a political activist. He came under considerable controversy after his decision to refuse the Vietnam War draft.

He lit the flame in the 1996 Olympics hosted in Atlanta.

His funeral is to be in Kentucky.

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Sep 17 2018

Bomb in Dagestan explodes Russian military truck

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Friday, September 2, 2005

An explosion today in Makhachkala, Russia in the Russian region of Dagestan killed one and wounded five others, police say. The bomb detonated in a pile of garbage, where servicemen and a truck had been sent to search for explosives on a street near a military base. When the engineers got out of the truck to search, the bomb went off.

The Dagestani Ministry, reported by the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass, originally stated that the blast killed two servicemen and wounded three others. They later revised this to six servicemen wounded (as well as one civilian), but no fatalities. A police officer told ITAR-Tass news that a brigade had been on patrol when the explosion occurred.

According to RIA-Novosti and Interfax news, medics reported one death and six injuries. RIA-Novosti also reports that the bomb exploded near a trolley bus.

Police and ambulances were immediately brought to the area of the explosion, which was quickly sealed off by police.

The alleged planters of the bomb were followed by police, but escaped after firing at the officers.

This explosion is not surprising, as racial tensions in the Muslim majority region of Dagestan often lead to attacks on officials and police.

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Sep 17 2018

At least seven dead after bomb blast in Northwestern Pakistan

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

According to reports, at least eight people, including three United States military personnel and four schoolgirls, were killed earlier today by a roadside bomb near a girls’ school in north-western Pakistan. Another 62 were injured. The incident occurred in a village in the Lower Dir district, near Swat Valley.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the US troops were travelling to the area in a convoy to attend the opening ceremony of the school for girls when the explosion occurred.

In a statement, the US embassy in Pakistan commented that “three Americans were killed and two injured in a terrorist bomb explosion at about 11:20am today in the Lower Dir district of Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas.

“The Americans were US military personnel in Pakistan to conduct training at the invitation of the Pakistan Frontier Corps. They were in Lower Dir to attend the inauguration ceremony of a school for girls that had recently been renovated with US humanitarian assistance,” it added.

Mohammed Wakeel, the chief doctor at the local hospital, confirmed that some of the dead were schoolgirls, saying: “We have four dead bodies [in the hospital]. They are schoolgirls aged ten to fifteen. We have received 65 injured; most of them are girls.”

Rema Bibi, a sixth-grader, was in the school when the explosion happened. She recalled her experiences, stating that “We were all busy with classwork when the a part of the roof collapsed,” as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

The Taliban, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the attack. “We claim responsibility for the blast,” said a Taliban spokesman, Azam Tariq.

The US does not officially have stationed troops in Pakistan, although there a few personnel are there. Their duties are primarily to train and advise Pakistani security forces over tactics against local rebel groups.

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