Tag Archives: London

“Black” Month of United Kingdom – chronic symptoms of current times

The violent events held the United Kingdom continues to take front page news around the world. Faced with real urban guerrilla groups, the authorities are striving to keep things under control. Thousands of extra police officers flooded into London Wednesday in a bid to end Britain’s worst rioting in a generation. An eerie calm prevailed in the capital, but unrest spread across England on a fourth night of violence driven by diverse and brazen crowds of young people, said AP. Back from vacation in Italy, Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to increase police and declared that “will not allow a culture of fear to take over the streets”. “We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order onto our streets” Cameron said in a somber televised statement. “Nothing is off the table.” Before attempting a summary the causes and possible developments of events, take a quick look on the development of chronological events.

The violence had its genesis in the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four children who was gunned down in Tottenham on Thursday under disputed circumstances. Britain’s riots began Saturday when an initially peaceful protest over a police shooting in London’s Tottenham neighborhood turned violent. That clash has morphed Sunday into a general lawlessness in London and several other cities (Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham) that police have struggled to halt. Already traditional, social networks were, of course, part of the coordination of actions. Summary of the five days of violence: heritage buildings on fire, destroyed dozens of cars, shops and people robbed on the street, four dead and over 768 people have been arrested in London and 167 charged — including an 11-year-old boy — and the capital’s prison cells were overflowing. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said it had teams of lawyers working 24 hours a day to help police decide whether to charge suspects, allowing them to quickly clear police station cells. A total of 111 officers and 14 members of the public have been hurt so far in the rioting, including a man in his 60s who was attacked as he attempted to put out a fire started by members of a mob.

croydon-london riots It is difficult to find suitable terms for the phenomenon as accurate as radiography. Those who break windows, steal everything they can from shops, threw stones at police and burn cars are generally young people between 7 and 27, and from families of immigrants. Matei Visniec considers it is inappropriate to speak about revolt. He opts for the term “social fire”, with periodic outbursts because it has reached a critical point of social problems. The word “revolt” is not quite right because the groups do not present any coherent claims, although they have much to complain about the society in which they live. It might be called “riots”. Anglo-Saxon press talks about “racial riots”. In fact, we have here a typical racial motivation: the police shot a black guy in suspicious circumstances. The Voice, Britain’s leading black newspaper, has claimed that both Duggan and his best friend, 23-year-old rapper Kelvin Easton, known as Smegz, “had links to the Star Gang”, one of several criminal groups in north London whose turf wars have caused at least three deaths over the past few years. In reply, close family members blaming the media for “twisting the truth” and telling “all these lies” about Duggan. “He was a good man. He was a family man, was a good Dad who idolised his kids” one relative told The Guardian. The press has given back to the allegations. History of racial persecution is really generating chills. That’s why most of us react defensively in the face of such accusations. And most likely not to be accused of racism authorities reacted inefficient, leading to the spread of violence.

In such cases could be possible as the discrimination to be itself generating racial discrimination? What motivations behind the invasion of violence?

Here are some possible explanations: Social – Young people with an uncertain status. Many violent young come from families of immigrants but are born in the Kingdom. Which does not, however, gave them equal opportunities. Mostly their misfortune comes even from their parents’ inability to integrate into British society. But also comes from the failure of multiculturalism promoted as an emblem of democracy. They belong to anyone. And they can not love a country that in their view just to ensure their survival. Lack of sense of belonging to society itself brings serious problems of social integration. It’s good to remember that the need for social belonging is manifest in many cases by integrating the various gangs in urban areas. Also they have the lack of prospects, unemployment and the cuts jobs. It is true that Tottenham is among London’s poorest boroughs, with 10,000 people claiming jobseeker’s allowance and 54 applicants chasing every registered job vacancy. Is interesting to observe that the extremist English Defense League said: “Maybe individual police officers are too fearful of being later blamed if they injure someone but the reality is the human rights of these violent criminal looters have been placed way above the right of decent people to walk the streets, to sleep soundly in their beds and to expect the police will protect their businesses and livelihoods”.

Temporal and local context – We are in the summer period when much of the urban population still afford to vacation. We have such a moment “sensitive” of those who consider themselves prisoners of their condition of “marginal” or “disadvantaged.” After the riots in France, the Paris authorities thought more programs for young people in summer. Also important to notice: the disorder has caused heartache for Londoners whose businesses and homes were torched or ransacked, and a crisis for police and politicians already staggering from a sputtering economy and a scandal over illegal phone hacking by a tabloid newspaper that has dragged in senior politicians and police.

Psychological – Professor John Pitts, Director of the Vauxhall Centre for the Study of Crime (University of Bedfordshire, UK) and expert in criminology, said robberies helps those who feel powerless to feel suddenly strong. Also, many young people participating in these actions because they are simply on holiday and the nights are longer. It’s fun for them. He points out that there is a team spirit. The more they are, the more they feel they have control. “You can not start a rebellion on their own. At one point, a large group facing the police feel they have control” said John Pitts. Psychologists say that a person loses the moral identity in a large group, and empathy and guilt, which makes us not as a criminal act, disappear. “When you belong to a relatively anonymous group, you do what you want,” says James Thompson, a psychologist. It also speaks of a psychological mechanism by which young people take an immediate moral code: “rich people have so many things that I do not have. It is fair to take them”. Experts point out that there is evidence to suggest that gang leaders tend to have psychopathic tendencies. Young revolutionary mentality can be compared with the ultras of football teams are often the protagonists of street violence.

Favorable global context: Arab Spring triggered youth energies of Maghreb, the economic crisis of Europe has driven the streets on the Greek and Spanish. Recently, Israel has been unprecedented social challenge that most products have become too expensive. “It is no coincidence that the worst violence London has seen in many decades takes place against the backdrop of a global economy poised for freefall. The causes of recession set out by J K Galbraith in his book, The Great Crash 1929, were as follows: bad income distribution, a business sector engaged in “corporate larceny”, a weak banking structure and an import/export imbalance. All those factors are again in play” said the journalists from The Telegraph. If we add to the list seriousness of the situation in Syria and Yemen, can see that social tensions globally are very high such that the shutter button can be anything from a measure of a government austerity plan to a clip from Anonymous posted on social networks.

Is difficult to predict how things will evolve. Main key: this events are not just about United Kingdom. Because although we communicate globally, we do business globally, eat and dress the same brand products, not yet know how to think globally. It’s a contagious energy that sweeps over crowds, causing them to act in ways they would never act alone. The world’s economic state and the widening financial gap seem to be the fuel to the fire. Events and people are linked, they influence each other, are interconnected globally much more than we are accustomed to routinely admit.

Are such manifestations a viable solution? Of course, not! But there is a warning that the things are not on the right track. Human society is becoming, despite technological advances, a primitive “global village“. Human society has a plurality of diseases manifested by symptomatic crises: social, political, economic, spiritual and of value items. And, as in any chronic illness, painkillers – populist type no longer effect. More, recently, painkillers are not longer available. Sometimes surgery is necessary. Unfortunately, the society is not a patient can be operated under anesthesia. Who has the courage to take in his hand the scalpel and not fear of being accused of “mal praxis”?

Published Oriental Review, August 10, 2011

Monitor European Agenda 6/12 March 2011

Certainly, the theme of this week is the rise of far right in France. The results of a new French poll about potential 2012 presidential candidates offers quantitative support to the emerging consensus that under Marine Le Pen, the French far right is a force to be reckoned with. The new poll has shocked French and European political circles and Western media analysts by showing a far right candidate coming in first place (23 percent of voting intentions). But, according to Jean-Yves Camus, a specialist on France’s far right, the poll’s biggest flaw is the absence of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn – or DSK, as the French call him — as the likely Socialist candidate.

Estonia’s centre-right coalition government won out Sunday in the Baltic state’s general election after winning a clear majority in parliament with a total of 56 seats, according to results from the national electoral commission.

Predictably, Ramzan Kadyrov was elected for the second consecutive mandat, the president of Chechnya, an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. Itar-Tass agency reports that Chechen MPs voted unanimously for Kadyrov’s candidacy. The president said that Chechen Republic is part of the Russian Federation and the Chechen people is its defender.

Faithful to a discrete policy like the ostrich with head in the sand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania on March 8 will have a new round of US bilateral negotiations on anti-missile shield. According to an announcement posted on the website of the institution, the Romanian delegation will be headed by Bogdan Aurescu Secretary of State for Strategic Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, and will have an inter-institutional structure. The U.S. delegation will be headed by Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for arms control.
The two delegations will continue, given the positive results of previous rounds, the negotiation of the legal framework which will regulate bilateral cooperation in missile defense. The program will include a meeting between the heads of two delegations to discuss security issues of common interest.

The Political Quarterly 2011 Annual Lecture – David Miliband – Why is the European Left Losing Elections?
8 March 2011, 6.30pm, Old Theatre, London School of Economics and Political Science; “For the first time since the First World War, governments in Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and Italy come from the centre-right. Is this just an accidental quirk of fate or is it more serious?” An interesting debate in full accord with the theme of the week.

Also, Serbia and Kosovo on March 8 have first round of direct negotiations, mediated by the EU.

A leading expert on contemporary Egypt, the historian and writer Tewfik Aclimandos, as well as Egypt’s ambassador to France Nasser Kamel will be among those taking part in an exchange of views on the situation in Egypt at a meeting of the Sub-Committee on the Middle East of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Paris on 8 March 2011 – 3 p.m. Council of Europe office in Paris (55 Avenue Kléber, Paris 16ème, métro: Boissière).

A current affairs debate on co-operation between the Council of Europe and emerging democracies in the Arab World will be a highlight of a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Paris on 11 March 2011. Other topics to be debated include an opinion on the Draft Council of Europe Convention to Prevent and Combat Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, preserving the environment in the Mediterranean, the need for a global consideration of the human rights implications of biometrics, and “Genetically modified organisms: a solution for the future?”

The parliamentarians will also discuss social measures, education and rehabilition for young offenders as well as the situation of the inhabitants of Rhodes and Kos with a Turkish cultural background. There will also be a report on a code of conduct for rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly.

About European Summit in Brussels on 11, 24 and 25 March 2011 I will write a separate post.

London – Bomb found aboard flight traveling to Chicago from Yemen

Terrorist threats and economic repercussions

An ink toner cartridge converted into a bomb was found aboard a United Parcel Service (UPS) flight traveling to Chicago from Yemen, Reuters and CNN reported on Friday.
The bomb was discovered during a stopover in London.
Notice that U.S. authorities were investigating a possible bomb threat on Friday on two cargo plane at Philadelphia International Airport. Also one UPS plane at Newark airport in New Jersey were also being investigated on Friday for suspicious packages. A UPS truck in New York City was also under investigation, police said. Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Kristin Lee said the planes landed safely and are being swept by law enforcement.
FBI source tells Reuters initial tests of package on Chicago-bound UPS plane in Britain found no explosives.

United Parcel Service, Inc. - stocks/ October 29 5:32pm GMT+0300

Before you rush to conclude that terrorist threats much publicized are close to materialize, I noticed that the whole story is a serious blow to those of UPS. Also, with the economic repercussions. A news by Steven Gelsi from MarketWatch, noticed (21 October 2010) that United Parcel Service  said Thursday its third-quarter net income jumped 81% to $991 million, or 99 cents a share, from $549 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The package delivery giant’s adjusted earnings rose to 93 cents a share, from 55 cents a share. Revenue rose 9% to $12.19 billion from $11.15 billion. UPS was expected to earn 88 cents a share on revenue of $12.35 billion, according to a survey by FactSet Research. UPS said it expects 2010 adjusted profit to increase by 50% from 2009. UPS raised its 2010 profit outlook to a range of $3.48 a share to $3.54 a share, from its earlier view of $3.35 a share to $3.45 a share.

Standard & Poor’s Equity Research analyst Jim Corridore reiterated his buy rating on the stock with a price target of $84 a share, even though he said the numbers came up short of his forecasts. “UPS saw strong margin improvement in all business units, but is also seeing moderating economic growth,” Corridore wrote in a note, quoted by MarketWatch.