When the first Europeans arrived in Africa in the late fifteenth century, they found a thriving slave trade along the west African coast. UNESCO reported some years ago that the slave trade was back, in every single country. President John Kufour of Ghana apologized for the fact that African leaders had been involved. Without them, there could have been no slave trade. Now, it seems that the trade is back. See the following two reports from Nigeria. Kaduna is a Muslim city in the north of Nigeria.
Nearly 500 men and boys have been rescued from a building in the northern city of Kaduna, where the detainees were allegedly sexually abused and tortured, Nigerian police said.
Children as young as five were among those in chains at what was thought to be an Islamic school, officers said. Kaduna police chief Ali Janga told the BBC the building was raided after a tip-off about suspicious activity. He described it as a “house of torture” and a place of human slavery.
Eight suspects, most of them teachers, were arrested. The police chief said the detainees – some with injuries and starved of food – were overjoyed to be freed. (BBC 9/27)
Police rescued 19 pregnant girls who had been kidnapped and raped from properties in Lagos dubbed “baby factories.”
Most of the women, aged between 15 and 28, were abducted and forcibly impregnated so their babies could later be sold. The girls had been promised employment as domestic workers in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. Instead they were held in the properties and forced into sex slavery. They were also forced to bear children, which were then sold. (Independent, 10/1)
It’s likely that these babies were intended for western markets.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROBLEMS
Manhattan apartment prices suffered their worst slide in almost a decade in the third quarter as buyers stayed away from multimillion-dollar purchases while newly-built luxury properties continued to flood the market. Median prices fell 12 per cent in the quarter from the year earlier, the worst drop since the last three months of 2009, according to Core, a New York City real estate broker. The median price fell to $999,950, the first time it dipped below $1m in four years, according to Core’s data.
Vacancies in US shopping malls have hit an eight-year high but new data show that some areas are coping with the retail upheaval far better than others and the gap is widening. The proportion of units lying empty in some cities, including Indianapolis and Birmingham, Alabama, is about four times higher than the economic hotspot of San Francisco, according to new data from Reis, part of Moody’s Analytics. The signs of difficulty in local retail property markets come as landlords brace for a wave of store closures following the bankruptcy of Forever 21 this week. The fast-fashion retailer, which has 32,800 employees globally, has earmarked 178 locations for closure across the US. (Alistair Gray, Financial Times, 10/3)
Global stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, with the UK market having its worst day in more than three years, after poor US jobs data compounded weak manufacturing reports and geopolitical fears — a pile-up of risks that sets the stage for a rocky fourth quarter. The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 closed 3.2 per cent lower, the largest one day fall since January 2016 and exceeding the decline that followed the UK referendum in June 2016. The US S&P 500 fell 1.8 per cent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed down 1.6 per cent. The sell-off continued in Asia on Thursday morning. Japan’s Topix slid 2.1 per cent, on track for its worst day in almost two months, and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 2.2 per cent, setting up the bourse for worst one-day performance in seven weeks. Stocks in Hong Kong opened down 0.8%. (Financial Times, 10/3)
The World Trade Organisation gave America the green light to impose $7.5bn of tariffs on imports from the European Union. The Trump administration slapped 25% tariffs on a smorgasbord, from Scotch whisky and parmesan to aeroplane parts. The WTO had already ruled that EU subsidies for Airbus, a plane-maker, amounted to illegal state aid harming Boeing, its American rival. (The Economist, 10/3)
IRAN TO WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP
ISRAEL MUST BE ‘WIPED OFF MAP’ AND IRAN HAS ‘THE CAPACITY’ — Iran Guards chief: Destroying Israel now not a dream but an ‘achievable goal’
In a claim prominently reported in Iran, Major General Hossein Salami declares Tehran able to annihilate ‘the impostor Zionist regime. ’Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the impostor Zionist regime,” Major General Hossein Salami was quoted saying by the IRGC’s Sepah news site. “This sinister regime must be wiped off the map,” Salami said.
Salami’s comments Monday came two days after Abbas Nilforoushan, the deputy commander of operations of the IRGC, threatened that if Israel attacks Iran, it will have to collect “bits and pieces” of Tel Aviv from the Mediterranean Sea.
“Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides. Nothing will be left of Israel,” said Nilforoushan in an interview with the Iranian news agency Tasnim on Saturday. “Israel is not in a position to threaten Iran,” he said according to a translation published by Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/iran-guards-chief-says-destroying-israel-is-not-a-dream-but-an-achievable-goal/)
AUSTRALIAN PM GIVES MAJOR SPEECH ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned against “negative globalism” that could restrict his government from acting on its election promises, pushing back against global bodies in areas like climate change and border control.
Mr. Morrison used a major foreign policy speech to reject isolationism but said his government could not accept decisions by an “unaccountable internationalist bureaucracy” at odds with the will of the Australian people.
The Prime Minister insisted Australia did not have to choose between its friendships with the United States and China, one week after he took a position on global trade talks that triggered objections in Beijing.
In a key statement about Australian alliances, he praised a “quadrilateral” meeting between the United States, Japan and India last week as an important advance on regional cooperation.
And he announced his intention to visit Japan and India early next year, cementing relations with both countries at a time of public strains with China, which has strongly opposed the “quadrilateral” forum for more than a decade. (David Crowe, 10/3)
“. . . parts of the coalition that brought Mr. Trudeau to power are looking shady. In 2015, eight out of the ten constituencies with the highest proportion of immigrants went for his party. The blackface scandal could put some immigrants voters off, although Mr. Trudeau’s support for high levels of immigration will weigh in his favor. Just over 321,000 permanent residents were admitted in 2018 (0.9% of Canada’s population) and the target for 2021 is 350,000.” (The Economist, 9/28).
CHINA’S 70th BIRTHDAY
The Chinese Communist Party celebrated 70 years in power on Tuesday, October 1st. The “People’s Republic of China” was founded on that day, seventy years ago.
Celebrations were marred by on-going rioting in Hong Kong, where protestors celebrated a “Day of Grief.” Sources say that the military display Tuesday was the biggest in history, showing that China is a military superpower.
President Xi declared that “no force can shake this great nation.”
Since Berlin’s ceremonial reception of a secessionist from Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China has been reducing its working relations with Germany. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi canceled a series of bilateral meetings with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas. China’s easing customs restrictions for German automobile companies are in jeopardy. Maas recently met with Joshua Wong, General Secretary of the Demosisto party, which is campaigning for a referendum on Hong Kong’s secession from China. Germany, which is thus blatantly interfering in the People’s Republic of China’s domestic affairs and is strengthening those forces, hostile to the Chinese nation’s continued existence, had already been one of those European powers, which, at the turn of the 19th century, had sought to weaken China, to colonially subjugate regions of the country – including Hong Kong – and to plunder the Middle Kingdom. From the outset, German colonial troops had committed massacres of countless civilians, to crush the fierce resistance within the population. (German Foreign Policy, 10/2).
FACEBOOK — END OF FREE SPEECH?
EU courts can demand Facebook actively monitor and delete illegal material such as hate speech, Europe’s top court has ruled.
In a landmark ruling that Facebook has warned threatens freedom of expression, the European Court of Justice on Wednesday said there is nothing in EU current law stopping Facebook from searching and deleting duplicate posts of content that has been declared illegal. The court said the searches and deletion can be done in the EU but also worldwide should national courts demand it.
The judgment upholds a non-binding opinion from an ECJ adviser in June, which Facebook said “undermines the longstanding principle that one country should not have the right to limit free expression in other countries.”
In its ruling, the ECJ said there is nothing stopping Facebook “from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal.” (Mehreen Kah, Brussels, Financial Times, 10/3)
TO THE POINT
- “For three years, the media-deep state axis has sought to overturn the election of 2016 and bring down Trump, starting with Russia-gate. Now it appears to have tailored and weaponized the impeachment process . . . This is what the deep state does to outsiders Middle America sends to Washington to challenge or dispossess it.” (Pat Buchanan, 10/1)
- SYNAGOGUES IN GERMANY
Rykestrasse Synagogue in Berlin: The Jewish community in Berlin with more than 11,000 members is once again the biggest in Germany. Its main synagogue is on the Rykestrasse, a red-brick building in a Neo-Romanesque style dating from 1903/04. With seating for over 2,000 it is the second largest synagogue in Europe after the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest.
- In February 2019 . . . Pope Francis travelled to Abu Dhabi after receiving an invitation from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. It was there that on 4 February the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, signed a historic Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Abrahamic Family House: Immediately, the newly signed document took on flesh. Just one day later on 5 February, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince announced the construction of the Abrahamic Family House on Saadiyat Island. The complex will eventually house a Christian church, a mosque and a synagogue as well as an educational centre. . . . Committee member Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak says that this latest proposal to “bring world cultures together” is rooted in an overall desire on the part of the United Arab Emirates.
- A village in New Zealand has banned a replica of Captain Cook’s ship from docking there to mark 250 years since the explorer’s arrival after an outcry from the local Māori community. The vessel is part of a flotilla circumnavigating New Zealand next month for the Tuia 250– a NZ$13.5m (£7m) series of events that “acknowledges the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769-70.” It was due to visit Mangonui, in the North Island, but the stop was cancelled by the ministry of culture and heritage after complaints from indigenous figures. Anahera Herbert-Graves, the head of Northland’s Ngāti Kahu iwi, or tribe, told RNZ: “He [Cook] was a barbarian. Wherever he went, like most people of the time of imperial expansion, there were murders, there were abductions, there were rapes, and just a lot of bad outcomes for the indigenous people. “He didn’t discover anything down here, and we object to Tuia 250 using euphemisms like ‘encounters’ and ‘meetings’ to disguise what were actually invasions.” In Gisborne, nearly 800km from Mangonui down the east coast and the starting point for the flotilla’s months-long voyage, iwi said they would refuse to hold pōwhiri, or welcoming ceremonies, for those ships linked to colonization. (Graham Russell, The Guardian, 9/17)
- BORIS JOHNSON’S PLANS FOR BREXIT Boris Johnson on Wednesday finally published the plan he hopes will end Britain’s three-year Brexit agony, winning plaudits from Eurosceptics at home but prompting serious doubts about whether it could unlock a deal with the EU. Mr. Johnson closed his Conservative party conference with a flourish, despatching to Brussels what he called “fair and reasonable” proposals to address the vexed issue of the Irish border, intended to broker an exit deal by October 31. The prime minister’s allies said Mr. Johnson would negotiate with Brussels, but if his plan was rejected outright he would break off all talks and start preparing for a no-deal exit. He could also refuse to attend an EU summit next month and fight any future election blaming Brussels, opposition parties and Remainers for stopping Brexit. (Financial Times, 10/3)