Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Nearly 40% of AstraZeneca Investors Reject Boss’s Bonus Rise

THE GUARDIAN: Covid vaccine maker passes its remuneration policy but suffers sizeable rebellion

AstraZeneca has suffered a substantial shareholder rebellion over proposals to hand its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, bigger bonus awards for the second consecutive year.

Nearly 40% voted against the policy, which could hand him pay and perks of nearly £18m for 2021.

At the company’s annual meeting in Cambridge, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker managed to win approval for its remuneration policy, which required support from shareholders holding more than 50% of the firm’s stock, but investors owning 39.8% of the shares opposed it. » | Julia Kolleweand Damien Gayle | Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Pascal Soriot »

Thirty People Dead as Netanyahu Vows to Intensify Gaza Attacks

THE GUARDIAN: Medics on both sides put death toll at 28 Palestinians and two Israelis after day of fierce confrontation

Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to increase the intensity of attacks on Gaza, after a day of ferocious confrontations that left 30 people dead as Israeli jets and Palestinian militants traded airstrikes and rockets.

As medics on both sides put the death toll at 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, and two Israelis, the Israeli prime minister said there would be no pause. “It was decided that both the might of the attacks and the frequency of the attacks will be increased,” he announced.

Residents in Gaza City reported bombings on high-rise buildings, as families spent the night cowering in basements. On Tuesday evening, a 13-storey tower housing apartments and the offices of officials from Hamas, the Islamist group that rules inside Gaza, was hit by an Israeli airstrike and collapsed. Residents had earlier been told to evacuate. In response, Hamas’s military wing said it had fired 130 rockets towards Tel Aviv, and air raid sirens and then explosions were heard in the coastal city. » | Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem | Tuesday, May 11, 2021

13 Principles of Jewish Faith, Explained

Maimonides, one of the greatest codifiers of Torah law and giants of Jewish philosophy, he formulated a list of the thirteen principles of Jewish faith. Or, as he described them: Judaism’s fundamental truths and very foundation.

Anti-gay Campaign Shows Russia's Worst Side (2014)

As Russia prepares to host the Sochi Winter Olympics, Europe Editor Matt Frei reports that the country's campaign against gay people shows its worst side just when it hoped the world would see only its best.

Health Expert Reveals What Foods Are Killing You & How the Food Industry Lies | Dr. Mark Hyman

’Breaking Bread’ Australian Trailer

The Australian theatrical trailer for BREAKING BREAD, the new heart warming documentary from Beth Elise Hawk.

China’s ‘Long-Term Time Bomb’: Falling Births Stunt Population Growth

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Only 12 million babies were born last year, the lowest number of births since 1961, providing fresh evidence of a looming demographic crisis that could complicate Beijing’s ambitions.

China’s population is growing at its slowest pace in decades, with a plunge in births and a graying work force presenting the Communist Party with one of its gravest social and economic challenges.

Figures for a census conducted last year and released on Tuesday showed the country’s population at 1.41 billion people, about 72 million more than those counted in 2010. This was the narrowest increase recorded since the Communist Party conducted its first census, in 1953.

Only 12 million babies were born in China last year, according to Ning Jizhe, the head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the fourth year in a row that births have fallen in the country. That makes it the lowest official number of births since 1961, when a widespread famine caused by Communist Party policies killed millions of people, and only 11.8 million babies were born.

The figures show that China faces a demographic crisis that could stunt growth in the world’s second-largest economy. China faces aging-related challenges similar to that of developed countries, but its households live on much lower incomes on average than the United States and elsewhere. » | Sui-Lee Wee | Published” Monday, May 10, 2021; Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2021

German Catholic Priests Defy Rome to Offer Blessings to Gay Couples

THE NEW YORK TIMES: More than 100 Roman Catholic parishes in Germany held services to bless gay couples, in defiance of the Vatican’s refusal to recognize same-sex unions.

BERLIN — More than 100 Roman Catholic parishes in Germany offered blessings to gay couples on Monday in defiance of church teaching and their own bishops.

The call for nationwide blessings came in response to a decree issued by the Vatican on March 15, reinforcing the church’s prohibition of priests asking for God’s benevolence for gay couples, stating that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”

A group of 16 German priests and volunteers organized a petition that within days collected more than 2,000 signatures. Encouraged by the response, they decided to take their action one step further and declare May 10 — chosen because of its association with Noah, who in the Bible is recognized by God with a rainbow, a symbol that has more recently been adopted by the L.G.B.T.Q. community — as a day to hold blessing ceremonies for any and all couples, but especially those in same-sex unions.

“In view of the refusal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to bless homosexual partnerships, we raise our voices and say: We will continue to accompany people who enter into a binding partnership in the future and bless their relationship,” the group said in a statement. “We will not refuse a blessing ceremony.” » | Melissa Eddy | Monday, May 10, 2021

Monday, May 10, 2021

Jerusalem Seethes as the Rockets Begin on Day of Rising Tension

THE GUARDIAN: A series of events come together to inflame an already volatile situation in the holy city

It was strikingly clear that the most dangerous moment in Jerusalem’s worst unrest for years would arrive on Monday. After weeks of mounting anger, a series of provocative events were all set to spiral together at once, creating a tinderbox situation that world powers warned needed delicate handling.

The European Union had called on authorities to “act urgently to de-escalate the current tensions in Jerusalem” while the US said the Israeli government should “pursue appropriate measures to ensure calm”.

But even before dawn broke, tensions had been raised another notch. And by the end of the day, rocket sirens were blaring in Jerusalem.

Fierce confrontations erupted overnight as Palestinians threw rocks and launched fireworks at police, who returned fire into the packed crowds with round after round of rubber bullets and stun grenades. » | Oliver Holmes and Sufian Taha in Jerusalem | Monday, May 10, 2021

‘Like Purgatory’: Diaspora in Despair as India Sinks Deeper into Covid Crisis

THE GUARDIAN: Indian Americans scramble to secure oxygen canisters for family members, desperately work to raise funds and pressure US legislators to lift vaccine patents

Since the pandemic began, Fatima Ahmed has lost 29 of her family members in India and one in the US to Covid-19.

A few days ago, her uncle died in his car as he was driving back home from a hospital in Hyderabad, a city in southern India. “All the hospitals were at capacity, so they couldn’t take him in,” said Ahmed. “He pulled over and he called the rest of the family, the khandan – before he passed.”

Each loss has amplified her anger – at the mass crisis unfolding 8,000 miles away, at the shortages of oxygen and vaccines, at the anti-Muslim attacks stoked by Indian officials who have scapegoated religious minorities as the country. Ahmed, an academic and activist based in New Jersey, has asked the Guardian to use a pseudonym for privacy and safety concerns.

As the US begins to emerge from the depths of the coronavirus crisis, India is sinking. And the 4.8 million members of the diaspora in the US, like Ahmed, have been anxiously monitoring their phones in case of news that an old neighbor, or relative, or close friend has died. The despair has permeated across time zones, as Indian Americans scramble to secure oxygen canisters and hospital beds for family members, desperately work to raise funds, donate resources and pressure US legislators to lift vaccine patents. » | Maanvi Singh | Monday, May 10, 2021

Of Brexit and Boris: What’s Driving the Call for Scottish Independence

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Scots voted to remain in the E.U., and they resent being dictated to by England. And they just plain don’t like Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The millions of votes cast across Scotland Thursday could be among the most consequential in recent times, and not because of their impact on things like health, education and fisheries. The greatest issue facing the country, and the one that was really at stake, was nowhere to be found on the ballot, and that is the future of its 314-year-old union with England.

In the vote for parliamentary elections, the pro-independence Scottish National Party fell short of the majority it had hoped would create an irresistible momentum for a new referendum on breaking away from the United Kingdom. But it will retain power in Edinburgh, probably with the support of the Scottish Greens, guaranteeing that the issue will continue to dominate Scottish politics, as it has in recent years. » | Stephen Castle | Published: Saturday, May 8, 2021; Updated: Monday, May 10, 2021

‘I Seek a Kind Person’: The Guardian Ad That Saved My Jewish Father from the Nazis

THE GUARDIAN: In 1938, there was a surge of classified ads in this newspaper as parents – including my grandparents – scrambled to get their children out of the Reich. What became of the families?

On Wednesday 3 August 1938, a short advertisement appeared on the second page of the Manchester Guardian, under the title “Tuition”.

“I seek a kind person who will educate my intelligent Boy, aged 11, Viennese of good family,” the advert said, under the name Borger, giving the address of an apartment on Hintzerstrasse, in Vienna’s third district.

The small ad, costing a shilling a line, was placed by my grandparents, Leo and Erna. The 11-year-old boy was my father, Robert. It turned out to be the key to their survival and the reason I am here, nearly 83 years later, working at the newspaper that ran the ad.

In 1938, Jewish families under Nazi rule were scrambling to get their children out of the Reich. Newspaper advertisements were one avenue of escape. Scores of children were “advertised” in the pages of the Manchester Guardian, their virtues and skills extolled in brief, to fit the space.

The columns read as a clamour of urgent, competing voices, all pleading: “Take my child!” And people did. The classified ads – dense, often mundane notices that filled the front pages, and coffers, of the Guardian for more than 100 years – also helped save lives. » | Julian Borger | Thursday, May 6, 2021

Sunday, May 09, 2021

How the Austro-Hungarian Empire Destroyed Itself - The Fall of The Habsburgs - History Documentary

The Habsburg Dynasty had ruled large parts of Europe and the world for 650 years. During World War I, however, the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire sowed the seeds of its own demise. When Charles I inherited Franz Joseph's throne in November 1916, he embarked on a single-handed mission to make peace. He offered France control of Alsace-Lorraine - a betrayal of his greatest ally and brother-in -arms, Germay. The so-called "Sixtus Affair" destroyed the last chance for peace in Europe - and sealed the fate of the Habsburg Dynasty and the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself. Charles I would go down in history as the last emperor of Europe.

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor - IV. Adagietto. Sehr langsam

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor - IV. Adagietto. Sehr langsam · Berliner Philharmoniker · Herbert von Karajan - Adagio ℗ 1973 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

Children Who Met Hitler Speak Out - Hitler and the Children of Obersalzberg - History Documentary

The Obersalzberg retreat was the summer residence and retreat of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun and his closest confidants in the Nazi regime. The public are mainly familiar with film footage and photographs from the alleged Nazi idyll. For the first time, eye witnesses are willing to talk about their experiences in Obersalzberg.

Obersalzberg »

Scottish Election 2021: Nicola Sturgeon Celebrates 'Historic' SNP Election Win

Nicola Sturgeon has hailed the SNP's "historic and extraordinary" fourth consecutive victory in the Scottish Parliament election.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Nicola Sturgeon Vows to Hold Indy Ref 2 as SNP Closes In on Win

THE GUARDIAN: First minister said voters gave ‘emphatic’ mandate to stage legally-recognised independence poll

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to press ahead with plans for a second independence referendum after the Scottish National party was poised to win its fourth consecutive Holyrood election, triggering a constitutional battle with Boris Johnson.

With counting continuing into Saturday evening, the Scottish National party was expected to fall two seats short of an overall majority despite winning a record number of Holyrood constituency seats, after a surge in anti-independence tactical voting.

Sturgeon’s lingering hopes of winning a majority were quashed after the Scottish Conservatives won the key SNP target seat of Aberdeenshire West with a hefty majority – a result the Tories will argue vindicates their decision to make independence one of the biggest issues in their campaign.

Buoyed by a record turnout in a Holyrood election of 64%, the first minister said Scottish voters had given her an “emphatic” mandate to stage a legally-recognised referendum in the next parliament – a challenge the prime minister dismissed before the election result was declared. » | Severin Carrell and Libby Brooks | Saturday, May 8, 2021

Friday, May 07, 2021

Nancy Wake: Enemy of the Reich | French Resistance Documentary | Timeline

This is the incredible true story of Nancy Wake, the daring allied spy who became the Gestapo’s most wanted woman in WWII. Codenamed ‘The White Mouse’ for her elusiveness, this international femme fatale was a key inspiration behind Sebastian Faulkes’ celebrated fictional spy Charlotte Gray.

phoenix persönlich: Hamed Abdel-Samad zu Gast bei Alfred Schier

Hamed Abdel-Samad ist gebürtiger Ägypter und bekannt als Islamkritiker. Jetzt hat er ein Buch geschrieben: „Aus Liebe zu Deutschland“. Es bedarf vielleicht eines zugewanderten Deutschen um uns zu zeigen, dass unser Land liebenswert ist. Aber Abdel-Samad sagt auch, unsere Demokratie und die freie Gesellschaft sind in Gefahr.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

New Concerns as Indian Covid Variant Clusters Found across England

THE GUARDIAN: Exclusive: Leaked emails show Public Health England assessment of ongoing risk from B16172 variant is ‘high’

Clusters of the Indian variants of Covid-19 have been found across England, including in care homes, the Guardian has learned, amid growing fears about the speed with which they are spreading in communities.

The latest update of case numbers of these variants was due to be published on Thursday. But leaked emails seen by the Guardian show the announcement was delayed until at least Friday because of the local elections.

The documents also suggest officials from Public Health England are poised to escalate one of the variants to one “of concern”. » | Nicola Davis, Science Correspondent | Thursday, May 6, 2021

Scenes of Scotland, as It Weighs Its Future within Britain

THE NEW YORK TIMES: If the pro-independence vote surges in Thursday’s elections for the Scottish Parliament, momentum for [an] another referendum on independence may become unstoppable.

It has weathered the conquest and loss of an empire, survived two world wars and witnessed more than one deadly pandemic. But now Scotland’s ancient alliance with England is itself in poor health, and on Thursday it could take a serious turn for the worse.

When Scottish voters go to the polls to elect 129 members of Scotland’s Parliament, strictly speaking the question of independence will not be on the ballot.

Yet as these photos vividly illustrate, Scotland is grappling with an uncertain future. Pressure is growing for a second referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom, breaking up a 314-year-old union. If Scots vote in sufficient numbers for pro-independence parties in Thursday’s election, the momentum for another plebiscite could become unstoppable. » | Photographs by Andrew Testa; Written by Stephen Castle | Thursday, May 6, 2021

Wie alles begann - die Geschichte des Rauchens.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: The 60 Minutes Interview

Norah O'Donnell speaks with Secretary Blinken in a wide-ranging interview that touches on China's recent military aggression, winding down the long war in Afghanistan and the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Read more here: https://cbsn.ws/3edTdA6

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Boris Johnson - Utterly Incompetent and Yet He’s Funny on the Telly

Despite a catalogue of failures from the mishandling of the COVID pandemic which caused so many unnecessary deaths, the PPE scandals, worst economic slump in the G7, lies about a border down the Irish Sea, refusing to say who paid initially for the redecoration of his flat and, most seriously, lying to Parliament, Boris Johnson remains very popular.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Religion in Pre-Islamic Arabia

American Germany

GI's in Rubbleland - by Mathias Haentjes

"Frankly, I had very little sympathy for the Germans. After all they were the ones who started the damn war, not us." These sentiments as expressed by US Press Officer Gene Mater are shared by many former GIs who came to Germany at the end of the war.

The years 1945-1949 were for many of these young soldiers the most important time of their lives. 'American Germany' tells the stories of German-American rapprochement from the perspective of former occupying troops. The Americans, who had previously only known the Germans from the battlefield or from propaganda, found that their opinion of the local population changed as a result of living in close quarters with them. At the time, they were undertaking a task that was the first of its kind, i.e. to re-educate politically the population of a conquered country, to put that country back on its feet economically and to help its population achieve a whole new attitude to life.

In this documentary, Gene Mater and other occupying soldiers discuss their experiences in Germany. They tell us of the misery of post-war Germany, of distrust between the Americans and the Germans, of the black market and of the hunt for hidden Nazis. And they tell us of great emotions. Love amid the rubble - at that time this was no cliché but a reality a thousand times.

Bill and Melinda Gates Announce Divorce after 27 Years

THE GUARDIAN: Pair say in statement ‘we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple’ but will continue to run foundation together

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced they are to divorce after 27 years of marriage, saying they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.

The Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist and his wife have built up a combined $124bn (£89bn) fortune, making them among the five richest couples in the world.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the pair said in a joint statement posted on Twitter on Monday. » | Rupert Neate, Wealth correspondent | Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Melinda Gates could become world’s second-richest woman »