US’ NSA spying on BJP

United States National Security Agency (NSA) is spying on India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a report said on Tuesday. According to a report published in news agency ANI, WikiLeaks claimed that apart from BJP, NSA is also spying on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “Hundreds of NSA cyber weapons variants publicly released including code showing hacking of Pakistan mobile system,” WikiLeaks had said.

— source zeenews.india.com

75th Anniv. of Internment of Japanese Americans

Seventy-five years ago yesterday, on February 19th, 1942, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, that forced more than 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese descent into internment camps. This included nearly 70,000 who were American citizens.

George Takei talking:

as a matter of fact, yesterday, which we, as you said, consider the Day of Remembrance, I remembered my childhood imprisonment at the home of the man who put us behind those barbed wire fences, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home at Hyde Park. I spoke on my memories there. And I spoke about that morning, when my parents got me up very early on that morning, together with my brother, a year younger, and my baby sister, still an infant, dressed us hurriedly. And my brother and I were told to wait in the living room while they did some packing back in the bedroom. And so, the two of us were just gazing out the front living room window, and we saw two soldiers marching up our driveway carrying rifles with shiny bayonets on them. They stomped up the front porch. This was in Los Angeles.

On Gardner Street, a two-bedroom house. And they began pounding at the front door with their fists. It was a terrifying sound. My father came out, answered the door. And literally at gunpoint, we were ordered out of our home. My father gave my brother and me little packages to carry, and we followed him out onto the driveway and waited for our mother to come out. And when she came out, she had our baby sister in one arm and a huge duffel bag in the other, and tears were streaming down her face. And this I told to a packed house audience at the Roosevelt Library on the thousand-plus-acre estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was a strange feeling.

we were first taken to the horse stables at Santa Anita race track. We were taken there in a truck with other families that had been rounded up. And there, they herded us over to the stable area, and each family was assigned a horse stall, still pungent with the stink of horse manure, to sleep in. For my parents, it was a degrading, humiliating experience to take their three children and arrange the cots for us to sleep in. I was a 5-year-old kid then, and for me, the perspective was totally different. I thought it was kind of fun to sleep where the horses sleep. So, my childhood experiences were quite different from my parents’ pain and anguish and the humiliation and the degradation and enragement that they went through for over four years.

Earl Warren was an ambitious man. He wanted to run for governor. And he saw that the single most popular political issue in California at that time was the “lock up the Japanese” movement. And I’m using the long word for Japanese; it was an ugly three-letter word. And he made an astonishing statement as the attorney general, the top lawyer of the state. He said, “We have no reports of spying or sabotage or fifth column activities by Japanese Americans, and that is ominous,” the fact that there was no report. He said the Japanese are “inscrutable.” You can’t tell what they’re thinking behind that placid face. And so it would be prudent to lock them up, before they do anything. So, for this attorney general, the absence of evidence was the evidence. And he fed into the hysteria, the war hysteria of that time, and reached all the way to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

For over four years. We were taken from the horse stables to the swamps of Arkansas, and we were imprisoned there—barbed wire fence, sentry towers, guns pointed at us—for about a year. And then, you know, initially, after Pearl Harbor, young Japanese Americans rushed to their recruitment centers to volunteer to serve in the military. This act of patriotism was answered with a slap on the face. They were denied military service and categorized as enemy aliens. We were neither. We weren’t the enemy, and we weren’t aliens. We were born, raised, educated in the United States, mostly on the West Coast. And so, with that outrage, we were put into these barbed wired prison camps.

But a year after imprisonment, after they completely took everything away from us, they realized there is a wartime manpower shortage. And here are these young people that they categorized as enemy aliens. How to justify drafting them? So they came down with, of all things, a loyalty questionnaire. And it was put together in the most sloppy, ignorant way. The most egregious question was question 28. It was one sentence with two conflicting ideas. In essence, it asked, “Will you swear your loyalty to the United States of America and forswear your loyalty to the emperor of Japan?”

The very fact that he brought that up to justify whatever plans that they have for Muslim people is—shows that he’s not learned the lesson of the internment of Japanese Americans, because if he’s really learned that lesson, if he has studied that, he would know that the lesson is we must never do that again. Ronald Reagan apologized for it in 1988 and pledged a $20,000 token redress for that—$20,000, which totaled up to $1.6 billion. This man, Higbie, is totally ignorant of that. We must not do it again. And the fact that he brought it up shows his ignorance.

Korematsu case

they did challenge it after they were imprisoned, and not just Korematsu, but Gordon Hirabayashi and an attorney named Min Yasui. They challenged it all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1944, the middle of the war, they were denied justice. They failed. But after the war, in the ’70s, they challenged it again, the finding of the Supreme Court. They went all the way up to the federal court, and the federal judge found that there was a fault in the original ruling. But they covered up those words by calling it by its Latin name, coram nobis, fault in the original ruling. And the government didn’t appeal that to the Supreme Court, so it ended there. But it was a fault in the Supreme Court’s original ruling, and it should never happen again.

In 1988, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act. And there was this $20,000 token redress paid. They went in the order of the age of the recipient, and I didn’t get mine until 1991. And it was—the letter of apology was signed by George H.W. Bush, with “George H.W. Bush” on the $20,000 check.

on so many issues, not just the Muslim travel ban, but issue after issue has been a failure. But this president is delusional. He just made that statement last week that his administration is operating like a finely tuned machine. He doesn’t realize the disaster that his administration is, the failure of the attack in Yemen and the series of failures that he’s—he is a danger. You know, the real terrorist is Donald Trump. Donald Trump is the terrorist president of the United States. And his rating is going down, down, down, and he still talks about the fantastic support that he’s been getting. We are going through an incredible time in American history.
____

George Takei
legendary actor and gay rights activist. He is best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek. Takei’s Broadway show Allegiance screened in cinemas across the United States on February 19, the Day of Remembrance. It is about the internment of Japanese Americans, inspired by the true story of Takei and his family’s experience.

— source democracynow.org

This very dangerous road divides us

The health hazard posed by traffic is invisible. The safety hazard is all too obvious, especially here.

Nearly 8,000 U.S. public schools sit close to busy roads, and in some cases, students must cross those lanes to get to class. In Burlington, northeast of Philadelphia, hundreds of students walk across a road the nonprofit Tri-State Transportation Campaign calls the most treacherous for pedestrians in all of New Jersey.

A four-year-old on the way home from after-school care was killed in 2008 on the road, the six-lane Route 130. A 12-year-old was badly injured in 2012 while riding his bike across it. And last May, a 17-year-old sophomore who didn’t even have a foot on the road was fatally struck by a driver who ran off the pavement.

“Our students are walking across this road to get to not only our schools but almost everywhere they need to go in Burlington City,” said Burlington City High School Principal Jim Flynn, whose office looks out onto Route 130. “This very dangerous road divides us.”

Now, it’s mobilized them. Horrified about the death of sophomore Antwan Timbers Jr., his classmates have campaigned all school year for drivers to slow down, inspiring a state senator to propose a lower speed limit and other safety-minded changes.

It’s a local piece of a nationwide transportation challenge. About 100 children are killed every year while walking or biking during the times of day kids typically go to and from school, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Nine years ago, New Jersey enacted a law to try to stop schools being built near highway ramps, and vice versa, after the death of an 8-year-old boy outside his Newark elementary school in 1997. But it’s arterials — roads like Route 130 — that are the most deadly for walkers, in New Jersey and nationwide.

Lowering speeds around schools is one way to reduce crashes and deaths throughout the day, not just immediately before and after class, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership says.

In Burlington, an enclave of 10,000 that gets more than three times as much traffic on its main route, students and teachers want the speed limit permanently lowered from 40 miles per hour to 25. That’s the speed motorists are supposed drive for a few hours in the morning and afternoon when kids are most likely to be walking to and from school, but the temporary limit isn’t working.

When a group of students and staff clocked speeds with a radar gun one morning last fall, “nobody was going 25,” said junior Jesseca Lamont, 16. “Some people were going 50, 60 miles per hour.”

Students are also coming and going from the high school after hours and on weekends, when the crossing guards aren’t out and the 40 mph limit applies. Flynn said fifth- and sixth-graders cross Route 130 to get to football practice in late afternoons, and he routinely sees kids walking across the road in the dark.

The route is divided as it cuts past the Burlington schools, with stores tucked between the north- and southbound lanes. It’s as if students must navigate two roads rather than one, with twice the opportunities for harm.

Students have held a rally, made a presentation at City Hall, researched the life-and-death implications of crashes at different speeds and produced a safety video. In January they testified at a hearing on state Sen. Diane Allen’s legislation.

“If you would go to any student in any grade, they would be like, ‘Oh, Antwan, he’s an amazing friend,’ ” said Jesseca, who knew him well as a fellow cadet in the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and who is best friends with the young man injured on the road in 2012. “We don’t want another tragic incident.”

— source publicintegrity.org by Jamie Smith Hopkins

Children say Boycott Hyundai

Campaign Cites Company’s Complicity in Demolition of Palestinian Homes & Violations of International Law

Palestinian human rights defenders launch #BoycottHyundai campaign to end its involvement in Israel’s “ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in Jerusalem and the Naqab”

Campaign seeks to cut Hyundai’s sales, induce divestment and tender exclusions

Campaign urges Korean labor unions to pressure Hyundai to end its complicity in human rights violations

Chair of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel: Hyundai is an “actively complicit” in the “Israeli crime of home demolitions”

February 7, 2017, Haifa — Today, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee of Palestinian Citizens of Israel (BDS48) launched a campaign calling on Palestinians, other Arabs, and “people of conscience worldwide” to boycott the products of the South Korean company, Hyundai, until it “ends its involvement in Israeli crimes committed against the Palestinian people, particularly in Jerusalem and the Naqab (Negev).”

BDS48 is a newly-formed group of human rights defenders, founded by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Their #BoycottHyundai campaign is the first such Palestinian-led BDS campaign for corporate responsibility launched from within Israel and specifically focusing on Israeli violations of Palestinian rights beyond the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory.

The call comes in response to the extensive use of Hyundai machinery by Israeli authorities in their recent demolitions of homes belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev) and in the city of Qalansawe, further north.

Mohammad Barakeh, the President of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the broadest coalition of Palestinian political parties and local councils in Israel, commented:

Hyundai equipment is used by the Israeli government to demolish Palestinian homes on both sides of the Green Line, in what we see as an assault on our lives and our homes. Hyundai is actively complicit in these crimes. We call on Hyundai to stop doing business with any perpetrators of crimes against humans; otherwise, the company will be increasingly recognized as a partner in crime.

A spokesperson for BDS48 explained:

Hyundai has for years ignored the mounting evidence of its persistent complicity in Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinian and Syrian communities in the 1967 occupied territories. It has thus forfeited its responsibilities as stated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

BDS48 is launching this Boycott Hyundai campaign as part of the wave of peaceful popular resistance against the recent escalation of the crimes committed by the Israeli regime of oppression against our people. Hyundai is knowingly profiting from Israel’s apartheid policies and serious violations of international law.

Human rights campaigners have highlighted the involvement of Hyundai in Umm al-Hiran, where Israeli armed forces destroyed many homes on January 18, 2017, “forcibly removing its Bedouin Palestinian population, injuring tens of peaceful protesters, and murdering the educator Yaquob Abu al-Qiyan in cold blood.”

A Bedouin Palestinian BDS activist, whose name is withheld for security reasons, stated:

The objective of this bloody Israeli conquest of Umm al-Hiran is to uproot its indigenous Bedouin Palestinian community for the second time since the 1948 Nakba, in order to establish a Jewish-only colony on the ethnically cleansed village’s land. Hyundai is involved in a war crime.

Israel’s latest crime is part of an ongoing policy of ethnic cleansing that Israel has adopted since 1948 and that has led to the forcible displacement of most of the indigenous Palestinian people from our ancestral land. The Nakba continues, and so does our steadfastness and popular resistance.

Israel has more than 60 racist laws that legalize and institutionalize its special form of apartheid against its indigenous Palestinian citizens. As during the global resistance to apartheid in South Africa, we are calling on the world to boycott corporations that are enabling Israeli apartheid. BDS has proven its strategic importance in the struggle for Palestinian freedom, justice and equality.

BDS48 hopes to rally Arab and worldwide support, particularly among churches, labor unions and local councils, for its Boycott Hyundai campaign to pressure the company to end its involvement in Israel’s violations of human rights. It is also calling on Korean labor unions to pressure Hyundai to stop “its complicity in Israel’s human rights violations.”

The group’s spokesperson said:

Just as several multinational giants, like Veolia, Orange, CRH, and most recently G4S, were compelled under effective BDS pressure to end their involvement in Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, so will Hyundai. It is just a matter of time and strategic campaigning.

Notes:

1) Hyundai equipment has been used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, particularly in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Beit Hanina, Surbaher, al-Issawiyya and at-Tur. A leading UN official has compared Israeli policies in occupied Jerusalem to the policies of the defunct South African apartheid regime.

2) Human rights defenders have documented Israel’s use of Hyundai equipment in the construction of Israel’s illegal settlements, such as Halamish, near Ramallah, and the Barkan industrial zone, in the northern West Bank. Israel’s settlement policy, which was recently condemned by the UNSC resolution 2334, constitutes a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

3) As documented by the human rights organization Adalah, the Israeli authorities allowed the creation of the village, Atir-Umm al-Hiran, to house the Bedouin Palestinians who were forcibly displaced during the 1948 Nakba – and who became citizens of Israel — from their original village, Khirbet Zubaleh. In 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plan to forcibly displace the Palestinian community again from “Umm al-Hiran” to build a Jewish-only colony called Hiran.

4) In 2012, then UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, international law expert Richard Falk, called on the UN General Assembly to endorse a boycott of international corporations that are complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. Falk’s list of companies included Caterpillar and Volvo, due to their involvement in the construction of Israeli colonies and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Hyundai is accused of involvement in similar crimes.

Watch the BDS48 #BoycottHyundai campaign video by clicking here.
Watch the video of Hyundai’s involvement in Israeli home demolitions in Isawiya, Jerusalem, by clicking here.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Committee of Palestinian Citizens of Israel (BDS48) is a human rights group founded by Palestinian citizens of Israel. Based in Haifa, it supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for freedom, justice and equality of all Palestinians. Visit https://bds48blog.wordpress.com and follow us on Twitter @1948BDS

— source bdsmovement.net

Link between PM 2.5 and breast cancer

In a first, a study has established link between PM 2.5 and mammographic breast density, a strong and independent risk factor for breast cancer. The study also found inverse associations between ozone (O3) and mammographic breast density. In medical terminology, breast density is a reflection of relative amounts of epithelial, stromal and fat tissue in breasts.

Published recently in Breast Cancer Research, the study was conducted to fill the knowledge gap on the link between air pollution and breast density. The authors say that this is the largest and the only study to examine the link between breast density and PM2.5 or O3.

— source downtoearth.org.in