The Guardian • Issue #2104

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2104
Global briefs

Canada: Women’s groups in Canada have taken a stand against NORAD and NATO expansion, and demand that the Arctic becomes a zone of peace. The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Canada (WILPF-Canada) have opposed Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s plan to spend $38.6 billion Canadian to modernise NORAD, citing concerns of militarising the north, displacing Indigenous communities, and harming the climate. The US-backed plan would see the construction of military infrastructure across Canada’s northern territories, including missile systems and surveillance platforms. Canada has also signed contracts for 140 US-made aircraft, has spent $60 billion on naval warships, and is interested in acquiring submarines. Indigenous peoples, comprising half of Canada’s Arctic population, have opposed the plan on environmental and anti-war grounds.

USA: 10,000 American Airlines workers have begun protests ahead of a stockholders’ meeting for the corporation. Workers from all sections of the company, from baggage handlers to cabin cleaners, have joined the picket lines and engaged in leafletting and email campaigns to demand higher wages and healthcare coverage. Led by Airport Workers United, the movement demands that American Airlines and its private subcontractors end poverty wages (currently at US $14/hour or less) and recognise the union. The action comes as part of a growing wave of union efforts across the USA and across many industries to fight against economic oppression, particularly in the face of exorbitant CEO-pay and corporate profits.

Argentina: Mass protests have been undertaken in Argentina by various unions, human rights organisations, and other groups as the Senate approved far-right President Milei’s ‘Law of Bases,’ aka the Omnibus Bill. The reforms include a plan for expanding the mass corporate looting of the Argentine public sector through further privatisations. The reforms also provide President Milei with additional powers under the pretext of declaring a state of emergency. Some proposed reforms, such as increased taxation of low-income workers, were scrapped before approval. Police have been deployed to break-up protests as union leaders rally for prolonged action against the new legislation.

Colombia: Colombia is set to receive $38 million from Chiquita after a Florida jury found them guilty of funding death squads. Chiquita, previously known as the United Fruit Company, has an extensive history of brutality across Latin America, including overthrowing governments and establishing fascist puppets (the infamous Banana Republics). The Florida decision, following a civil case brought by several Colombian families, only considers Chiquita’s funding of the paramilitary United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC). Considering Chiquita had a peak revenue of $3.1 billion in 2023, the $38 million payout represents only 1.2 per cent of revenue. No criminal charges have been made.

China: Temperatures over 40°C have been reported in parts of Hebei, Shandong, and Henan. Experts have warned these temperatures are set to continue, particularly in southern Hebei and northern Henan. The heatwaves have intensified drought conditions in Henan, one of China’s major crop-producing provinces. Henan authorities have declared an emergency response to water shortages and the drought’s impacts on agriculture. Soil moisture and crop growth is being monitored, while farmers are being advised on irrigation techniques. Local residents have also been urged to conserve water. Measures to address energy supplies and fire risks have also been undertaken. This heatwave is one of many around the world, with others happening in countries such as Pakistan and Greece. China’s southern provinces are also facing issues with storms and high rainfall. Chinese meteorological organisations have attributed the events to climate change, as well as anomalies in atmospheric circulation.

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