Category Archives: Academia

MexicoWatch: Corruption, protest, disappointment


We begin with a teleSUR English report on one of the missing 43:

They took Luis Ángel Arzola alive, we want him back alive

Program notes:

Lorenzo Francisco Gálvez talks about his son, Luis Ángel Francisco Arzola, who is one of the 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teacher Training College who were kidnapped in Iguala on September 26 and not seen since.

From the Guardian, a report about the day’s blockbuster story:

Mexico authorities ‘knew about attack on students as it happened’

  • Leaked government documents say federal officials did nothing to stop disappearance and probable massacre of missing 43

Mexican federal authorities had real-time information of an attack on a group of student teachers by corrupt local police, but did nothing to stop the disappearance and probable massacre of 43 people, according to new evidence published by the news magazine Proceso.

Based on leaked government documents, the new allegations are likely to further fuel public anger at the government of the president, Enrique Peña Nieto, which has insisted that federal authorities share no responsibility for the students’ disappearance.

The documents include a detailed record of the student’s movements made by a government information command post – known as a C4 – as the group left their college in Ayotzinapa in the town of Tixtla.

Anabel Hernández, one of the report’s authors, told MCS Noticias radio station: “When we see that the federal government and the state government were following the students since they left the college in Ayotzinapa, it becomes very difficult to think that everything else that happened was an accident.”

The story was assembled with the help of the UC Berkeley journalism school for the Mexican magazine Proceso.

We know one of the authors, Steve Fisher, who has done excellent reporting on environmental issues. And here how teleSUR describes co-author Anabel Hernández in a must-read interview with the reporters:

The ever-passionate and expressive Hernandez is no stranger to explosive investigations and allegations, so much so that her home was raided by official authorities late last year. The award-winning and internationally-acclaimed journalist has also been subjected to harrowing, threatening acts, such as having found animal body parts at the doorstep of her home.

Now for the Proceso story, via a Borderland Beat translation:

Iguala: Unofficial history

Federal forces participated in the attack against the students at the normal Ayotzinapa the night of September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero, during which died three teacher training and 43 went missing in a succession of facts that was known in real time by the federal government.

A study done with the support of the Journalism Program of Research from the University of California at Berkeley on the basis of testimonies, videos, unpublished reports and judicial statements shows that the Federal Police (PF) participated actively and were directly involved in the attack.

Even more, according to information obtained by the normal process of Ayotzinapa, the attack and disappearance of the students was directed specifically to the ideological structure and governance of the institution, because one of the 43 missing  was part of the Committee on student Struggle, the highest governing body of the school and 10 were “political activists in training” of the committee of political and ideological orientation (COPI).

Until now the official version is that the then mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, ordered the aggression, concerned about the possibility that students interrupted the report on the activities of his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, President of the municipal DIF.

According to this version, municipal police of Iguala and the neighboring municipality of Cocula attacked and captured the students, while members of Guerreros Unidos killed the missing and burned their corpses. with the ignorance of the federal agents and soldiers stationed in the area.

And there’s a video of confrontations and one of the first shootings in Iguala, with another cell phone visible and recording as well, via Proceso:

Iguala: The Unofficial History

Program notes:

Audiovideos captured by witnesses to the attack on Ayotzinapa students.

Next, a damning admission, via teleSUR:

Federal Police Claim They Knew but Didn’t Participate in Iguala

A high ranking federal police officer agreed that the Ayotzinapa students were under surveillance, but denied that agents participated actively in the events of September 26, meaning the government has been hiding information for over two months.

Enrique Galindo, general commissioner of Mexico’s Federal Police, accepted on Monday that the organization knew about the attack on Ayotzinapa Teacher Training School students on September 26. However, he denied that federal officers were among the ones attacking and eventually abducting students in the southern state of Guerrero.

“Federal Police do not intervene, there’s no clear evidence of their active participation in the incidents … that truck [apparently a federal police truck, seen in a video shown by Proceso magazine] it’s not a federal police truck.”

“We did know about that day’s demonstrations because they [the students] came by bus. Our jurisdiction only applies to federal roads. The federal officers did go after the call for help, to respond to the violent acts against the soccer team, but we didn’t act at all in the city,” declared the official yesterday during an interview.

And from Eric J. Garcia’s El Machete Illustrated, a graphic response:

U.S. helping drug war

U.S. helping drug war

Followed by the inevitable poster protection, covered in a subsequent teleSUR story:

Mexico Government Denies Federal Involvement in Ayotzinapa Case

  • Attorney General Jesus Murillo said he has no evidence of Federal Police participating in the attack against the students.

Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo denied this Tuesday news reports suggesting involvement of federal police forces in the attack against the Ayotzinapa students in Iguala, Guerrero on Sept. 26, when three of them were killed and 43 others forcibly disappeared.

“Is absolutely not true that the Federal Police participated, there are many statements that have no foundation,” said Murillo in an interview with Mexican broadcaster MVS.

Murillo said that even when the Federal Police knew about the moves of the students that does not imply that it participated in the attack.

“I do not have the evidence that they claim to have. I do not know where that evidence comes from. If they have it I hope they hand it to me for analyzing it.” said Murillo in another interview with Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui.

Reuters covers a disappointing development:

Austrian experts may need months to identify murdered Mexican students

Austrian forensics experts who helped solve the mystery of Russia’s murdered imperial family identified one student earlier this month using samples sent to Innsbruck’s Medical University.

The remaining samples, however, are in such a bad state that even time-consuming specialist analysis, focusing on so-called mitochondrial DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), might take months, if it yields any good data at all.

“We hope for results in the next two to three months,” molecular biologist Walther Parson, a leading expert at Innsbruck Medical University’s forensics institute, who is working on the Mexican case, said.

“The chances for useful results even with mitochondrial DNA are very slim, but we will try everything to create more potential DNA profiles.”

The Guardian covers police suppression:

Mexican police clash with protesters at site of concert for missing students

  • Injuries to 21 people reported and cars burned near venue of solidarity concert for 43 students missing since September

Clashes between federal police and protesters organising a concert in solidarity with 43 missing college students left at least 21 people injured and several cars in flames on Sunday in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

A police official said eight officers were injured, including five who were run over by a vehicle. Three others were said to have been beaten by protesting teachers, leaving one officer with “severe brain damage”. The official was not authorised to talk to the press and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Tlachinollan human rights group, which supports the relatives of the missing students, said the violence left at least 13 people injured, including students, teachers, parents of the missing students and two journalists, including a photographer who was working with Associated Press.

From teleSUR, the response from those who matter the most:

Relatives of Missing 43 Suspend Dialogue with Mexican Gov’t

  • Victims claim that the federal government is carrying out a strategy of provocation to orchestrate a violent end to the mass protests.

Claiming the government has been taunting the relatives of the missing 43, their lawyer announced the temporary suspension of the dialogue with federal officials on Tuesday.

“Right now we suspend the talks with the federal government because of all the things that have been happening,” said Vidulfo Rosales, lawyer of the missing 43 relatives.

However, Rosales also noted that the parents are willing to receive information from the government in order to find out what really happened to their sons.

The teleSUR English video report:

Mexico: government charged with seeking to criminalize protests

Program notes:

Family members of the 42 missing Ayotzinapa Teachers Training College students and human rights lawyers charged that Sunday’s confrontation with federal police at a concert in Chilpancingo, Guerrero was a provocation designed to criminalize the growing protest movement in Mexico. Meanwhile, there is mounting pressure on the Federal Attorney General’s Office to explain the role of the federal police and the military in the killing and kidnapping of the Ayotzinapa students as reported by the weekly magazine Proceso and contrary to the government line that only municipal police were involved. Clayton Conn reports from Mexico City.

From the Latin American Herald Tribune, vigilantes return:

Armed Civilians Block Roads in Western Mexico to Press for Cartel Crackdown

Hundreds of armed civilians blocked highways over the weekend in nine of the 113 cities in the western Mexican state of Michoacan to pressure the federal government to arrest Caballeros Templarios drug cartel members.

The civilians, who were armed with assault rifles and pistols, used buses, trucks and pick-up trucks, to block the roads on Sunday.

The protesters unfurled banners that called for the arrest of Servando Gomez Martinez, the cartel’s leader.

The demonstrators also called for the arrest of Sergio Huerta Tena, a close associate of Gomez Martinez, and Ignacio Andrade Renteria, a former associate of the drug lord.

And from teleSUR, the battle to keep military murder under wraps:

Mexico: Tlatlaya Massacre Witnesses Released

  • Orders are given for two women who witnessed a massacre of 22 presumed criminals by the Mexican army to be released.

A federal judge ordered the immediate release on Monday of two women who were arrested by the Mexican army in June this year, witnesses to the mass execution of 22 presumed organized crime members by the army in a warehouse in the town of Tlatlaya, State of Mexico.

The Fourth District Court in the State of Mexico ordered the dismissal of the criminal charges of illegal possession of firearms and cartridges for the exclusive use of the military.

The two women remain detained in the Women’s Federal Social Rehabilitation Center in Tepic, Nayarit.

And a story that should inspire students at the University of California, via teleSUR:

Mexican University Resumes Classes after 76-Day Student Strike

  • Students returned to classes Monday after fighting against proposed reforms for more than two months.

About 12,000 students from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) resumed classes Monday, ending a 76-day student strike against changes to the curriculum and other major reforms.

The IPN´s 40,000 students and nearly 4,000 employees resumed their normal academic activities, starting with the medicine and health science colleges, while the engineering department will commence classes on Jan. 7.

The students have demanded that federal government and IPN authorities suspend changes to the curriculum because they would lower the quality of education. Students also called for the removal of IPN’s dean, Yoloxochitl Bustamante.

Tens of thousands of undergraduates took to the streets, and by October they achieved these two demands. However, realizing the strength of their movement, the students called for further changes and proposed to hold negotiations with the government.

Finally, a graphic from Vancouver, British Columbia photographer Paulo Noe Mariles of a demonstration of solidarity at the Vancouver Art Gallery:

bLOG Ayotzinapa

Map of the day: Geography of scientific plagiarism


From Science, a map showing the percentages of suspect sources in a study of scientific articles from across the globe:

BLOG Plagiarism

Reminder from Chile: It doesn’t have to be this way


The seizure of the commons by corrupt corporateers, aided and abetted by pet legislators, has seen the once mighty California university system transformed into a service industry for training global elites, a far cry from the dream of providing free higher educations to all California’s youth who wanted one.

University of California Regent Richard “Greasy Thumb” Blum, spouse of powerful Democratic [sic] Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has been a major player in the transition while owning a big chunk of a corporate “university” chain in direct competition with the public university he is sworn to serve.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Consider the case of Chile, a nation not nearly so rich as state of California, but one which has taken seriously what was promised to Californians back when esnl first started reporting in the Golden State back in 1968 at the very same moment Blum and his co-conspirators on the Board of Regents are trying to hike tuition yet again so as to enable the plutocratic salaries they pay those at the peak of the administrative ladder while refusing to pay workers at UC Berkeley the city’s own minimum wage.

From teleSUR:

Chile to Have Free Higher Education by 2016

  • The Chilean students have been demonstrating since the conservative government of Sebastian Piñera (2010-2014) to demand more equality in access to education.

Chile’s Minister of Interior Rodrigo Peñailillo announced Thursday that university education will be free by 2016.

“In March 2016 we will start with the free higher education, now that we have the resources [to implement the reform], as we approved the fiscal reform,” said Peñailillo.

His announcement came after a survey released Wednesday claimed that the popularity of President Michelle Bachelet’s government had dropped to 38 percent amid heavy criticisms of the education reform.

More power to Chile, and isn’t it about time to dump the megamillionaire Blum and his plutocratic chums from their posts at the helm of the people’s university?

EnviroWatch: Politics, climate, ills, & nukes


But first, another of those superb climate videos from ScienceAtNASA:

ScienceCasts: Climate Change and the Yin-Yang of Polar Sea Ice

Program notes:

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are both affected by climate change, but the two poles of Earth are behaving in intriguingly different ways.

On to the apocalyptic, via the Guardian:

Conservative lobby group Alec plans anti-environmental onslaught

  • Corporate lobbying network plans to draft bills attacking protections
  • Bills will reportedly aim to expand offshore oil drilling and cut EPA budget

The corporate lobbying network American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as Alec, is planning a new onslaught on a number of environmental protections next year when Republicans take control of Congress and a number of state legislatures.

The battle lines of Alec’s newest attack on environmental and climate measures will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, when the group begins three days of meetings in Washington DC.

On the agenda for its environment and energy task force are draft model bills that will seek to disband the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expand offshore oil drilling, and weaken environmental protections for smog and other air pollutants, as well as roll back protections for endangered species.

And this is only the beginning, via BBC News:

World on course for warmest year

This year is in the running to be the hottest globally and for the UK since records began, early estimates show.

In the first 10 months of 2014, global average air temperature was about 0.57 Celsius above the long-term average. And the first eleven months in the UK have produced an average temperature 1.6C above the long-term.

A separate study by the UK Met Office says the observed temperatures would be highly unlikely without the influence of greenhouse gases produced by humans.

On a related note, via BBC News:

Major deltas ‘could be drowned’

Sea-level rise and river engineering “spell disaster” for many of the world’s river deltas, say scientists.

Half a billion people live in deltas, but the newly published research suggests many of these areas are set to be inundated by rising seas. Some of the lowest lying, including the Mekong and Mississippi, are particularly vulnerable.

The paper is published in the journal Nature. Lead researcher Dr Liviu Giosan, from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, said dams and other river engineering had exacerbated the problem by reducing the amount of sediment rivers could carry.

Messin’ with Texas via Public Radio International:

The ‘Texas miracle’ is fueling huge economic growth — and the climate change that may end it

There’s not much beautiful about the Houston Ship Channel, but it’s awe-inspiring in its own way: It’s the largest international port in the US and one of the busiest in the world.

The port is 52 miles long, hosts 7,000 ships a year, and is surrounded much of the way by warehouses, chemical and oil storage tanks, and construction cranes. It’s essentially one huge monument to the “Texas miracle,” the economic boom that’s delivered high profits and huge job growth even during the economic downturn.

But it’s also a symbol of Texas’ growing catch-22: Sites like the Ship Channel are fueling both the state’s economy and the effects of climate change — Texas is the nation’s top greenhouse gas polluter — bringing the state closer to a potential environmental and economic catastrophe.

The waterway is enormously vulnerable to big storms blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico, just 50 miles away. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused an estimated $5 billion of damage around the state. And Allison was merely a preview of what might be ahead as climate change warms the world’s oceans.

The Guardian covers a subject of ongoing concern at esnl:

Toiletry chemicals linked to testicular cancer and male infertility cost EU millions, report says

  • Nordic Council calls on EU to ban damaging compounds found in household products that cost millions due to their harmful impact on male reproductive health

The hormone-mimicking chemicals used routinely in toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, plastics and pesticides cause hundreds of millions of euros of damage to EU citizens every year, according to the first estimate of their economic impact.

The endocrine disruptor compounds (EDCs) are thought to be particularly harmful to male reproductive health and can cause testicular cancer, infertility, deformation of the penis and undescended testicles.

The new report, from the Nordic Council of Ministers, focuses on the costs of these on health and the ability to work but warns that they “only represent a fraction of the endocrine-related diseases” and does not consider damage to wildlife. Another new study, published in a medical journal, showed an EDC found in anti-perspirants reduced male fertility by 30%.

An ongoing outbreak covered by Reuters:

Dutch discover bird flu in wild ducks, cull continues

Dutch animal health authorities found bird flu in two samples taken from wild ducks, a government statement said, but it was unclear if that was the source of an outbreak at four chicken farms in the Netherlands.

Duck droppings from the central Dutch province tested positive for the highly contagious H5 strain of the disease, the deputy economic affairs minister wrote in a letter to parliament.

“Based on this information I am considering follow-up measures,” deputy minister Sharon Dijksma wrote.

And a related Reuters story:

Three Egyptians die of bird flu, raising death toll to six

Three people have died from H5N1 bird flu in Egypt in the past week, bringing the death toll in the country this year to six, the Egyptian health ministry said on Monday.

Egypt has identified 11 cases of the virus in people this year including the six who have died, a ministry statement said.

It identified the most recent victims as a 40-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman in the central province of Minya as well as a 25-year-old woman in Beni Suef, south of Cairo.

The Guardian covers the conflation of the epidemiological and the environmental:

Venezuela: illegal mining and the resurgence of malaria

  • Gold mining in the Amazon is not only bad for the environment, stagnant water is propagating malaria-carrying mosquitoes

Not only does gold and diamond mining have a harmful environmental impact in the Amazon, but the rise in small-scale, illegal mining activities is causing a resurgence of malaria in Venezuela, which used to be a world leader in managing the disease.

In 2013, 76,621 cases of malaria were reported in Venezuela, the majority among men aged between 15 and 44 years old, and with 93% of cases (pdf) occuring in the state of Bolivar where gold mining is booming. Estimates suggest that the number of cases will only continue to rise.

Both legal and illegal mining create the perfect conditions for malaria to resurface and spread. “There is a large number of miners drilling holes in search of minerals. These holes with stagnant water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” says Jo Lines, a reader of malaria control and vector biology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

But cases of malaria are much harder to control among those working illegally, adds Lines. “The majority of self-employed miners are mobile [increasing the risk of imported malaria infections], and they are often reluctant to present themselves to official medical facilities due to immigration and work permit issues. They often live in cheap, crowded places without walls, where it is not easy to hang a bednet.”

From BBC News, suspicions confirmed:

Amazon indigenous land loss threatens climate, says study

Scientists say destroying indigenous areas of the Amazon rainforest will have an irreversible impact on the atmosphere of the planet.

A new study said indigenous lands were “protected natural areas” accounting for 55% of the carbon stored in the Amazon basin. It said this land was at risk because governments had failed to recognise or enforce indigenous land rights.

The report was released on the first day of UN climate talks in Peru. The study said nearly 20% of the Amazon forests are at risk from logging, mining, agriculture and infrastructure projects.

EcoWatch covers a notable anniversary:

30th Anniversary of the World’s Worst Industrial Disaster

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the Bhopal gas tragedy, the deadliest in human history. The aftereffects continue to haunt the Bhopalis even after the victims’ 3rd generation has been born.

What’s even worse is the post tragedy scenario—the apathy that subsequent governments have shown in dealing with it.

It’s a known fact that till today, the impacted people are awaiting justice and there are continuing health and environmental issues.

A video report from the Economist:

The Bhopal disaster: Toxic legacy

Program notes:

Decades after the worst industrial accident in India’s history, many residents of Bhopal feel they were abandoned to suffer its toxic effects.

On to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with the Asahi Shimbun:

British researcher blasts U.N. report on Fukushima cancer risk as unscientific

  • A British scientist who studied the health effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster panned a United Nations report that virtually dismissed the possibility of higher cancer rates caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Keith Baverstock, 73, made the comments during a visit to Tokyo at the invitation of a citizens group related to the Fukushima disaster.

In response to questions from The Asahi Shimbun, Baverstock said a report released in April by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was “not qualified to be called ‘scientific’” because it lacked transparency and independent verification. He added that the committee should be disbanded.

The U.N. report said any increase in overall cancer rates among residents of Fukushima Prefecture due to fallout from the accident was unlikely. However, Baverstock, former head of the radiation-protection program at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe, said radiation levels shown in the report were enough to cause a spike in cancer rates.

The Asahi Shimbun again, this time with improved readings:

New technology to speed up detection of radioactive strontium tenfold

New updated equipment that is scheduled to go into operation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in December will detect radioactive strontium 90 in contaminated water in less than 30 minutes, compared to the seven to 10 days it now takes.

The advanced detection equipment was developed as part of a group effort centered on the work of Yoshitaka Takagai, an associate professor of analytical chemistry in the Faculty of Symbiotic Systems Science at Fukushima University. Researchers from PerkinElmer Japan Co., based in Yokohama, were also involved in the research.

University officials discussed the plan to deploy one of the new devices Nov. 27.

Finnish nuclear news from the Guardian:

Finland set to agree joint nuclear venture with Russian energy company

  • Alexander Stubb, Finnish PM, rejects suggestions that by backing Rosatom’s involvement he is bowing to Moscow

Finland’s parliament is poised to give the go-ahead to a controversial joint venture with the Russian state-owned energy company Rosatom to build a new nuclear power plant in the north of the country.

The green light will come despite calls by the EU for member states to suspend most planned energy agreements with Russia, as part of an international campaign of economic and financial sanctions prompted by the Ukraine crisis.

The nuclear joint venture is understood to have the support of a majority of MPs from the four main Finnish political parties and to be backed by the coalition government led by the prime minister, Alexander Stubb. A vote will take place on Wednesday.

And the New York Times covers nuclear troubles in Ukraine:

Ukraine Reports Nuclear Plant Accident, but Official Says There’s ‘No Threat’

Prime Minister Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk of Ukraine on Wednesday announced that there had been an accident at one of the country’s nuclear power plants, briefly setting off fears of a Chernobyl-like catastrophe. But there appeared to have been no radiation leak and only a temporary disruption in the power supply.

Mr. Yatsenyuk, during a session of the new Ukrainian government, disclosed that the accident had taken place at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant and called on the newly installed energy minister to quickly brief reporters on the incident, the Ukrainian news media reported.

The energy minister, Volodymyr Demchyshyn, said that there was “no threat” from the accident and that the malfunction had taken place in the section of the plant responsible for distributing power, not among the reactors in the section for generating power.

Finally, from Environmental Health Perspectives, a story to get you really incensed:

Ritual Risk: Incense Use and Cardiovascular Mortality

Numerous studies have examined exposures to indoor combustion products such as secondhand smoke and emissions from burning of solid fuels. However, only a few have examined incense burning as a potential health threat, even though incense is commonly used for religious and ritual purposes in China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Middle Eastern nations.2 In this issue of EHP, investigators report an association between long-term incense use and increased cardiovascular mortality.

The study used data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study, which enrolled a cohort of 63,257 Chinese adults aged 45–74 years between 1993 and 1998. The authors identified cardiovascular deaths of cohort members via a nationwide death registry, checking the registry yearly through 31 December 2011. They stratified their analysis for factors such as smoking history, education level, baseline history of cardiovascular disease, and gender. They also performed a sensitivity analysis to examine potential confounding by exposure to secondhand smoke.

More than three-quarters of the participants reported currently using incense, and another 13% were former users. Most had used incense daily for at least 20 years, typically keeping it burning intermittently throughout the day. The authors estimated that current long-term incense users had a 12% increased risk of cardiovascular mortality compared with former and never users, including a 19% increased risk for stroke and a 10% increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Ted Rall: University of Californicate the Students


All whilst making the administrators at the top a whole lot richer.

From the op-ed cartoonist of the Los Angeles Times:

BLOG Rall

Protests challenge California, British tuition hikes


The desideratum of the neoliberal regimes governing on both sides of the Atlantic can be summed up simply: It is the abolition of any barriers toi the infinite accumulation of wealth by that the very apex of an increasingly rigid and increasingly steep class hierarchy.

Two graphics drawn on the work of Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez and colleagues sum up the reality:

First, the hyperconcentration of wealth by the American elite, via VoxEU:

BLOG wealth

Second, evidence that a parallel process is at work in Europe as well, most notably the U.K., via the London School of Economics:

Print

One major factor in this process of hyperaccumulation is the deconstruction of progressive income tax and the replacement of lost revenues by regressive taxation that penalizes the porr and, increasingly, middle classes.

And one major initiative has been the replacement of student tuition and fees to replace lost tax revenues, with the result that student costs are soaring at rates far higher than inflation, forcing the young to mortgage their futures through student loans, debts that in the U.S. can’t be forgiven in bankruptcy court, effectively insuring a form of debt servitude.

Just how bad has the increase been? Well, here’s what is looks like for the University of Califonia, via the Committee on Student Fees:

BLOG UC tuition

But it doesn’t stop there.

From the Associated Press:

Tuition hike tentatively approved in California

A proposed tuition hike was tentatively approved Wednesday by a committee of the University of California governing board.

The committee voted 7-2 to approve the plan recommended by UC President Janet Napolitano that would raise tuition in each of the next five years.

The proposed tuition hikes still must be reviewed by the full Board of Regents on Thursday.

Napolitano said the increases are needed to protect the quality of education in the face of insufficient state funding.

Before the meeting, students made their feelings known as the Los Angeles Times reports:

UC tuition hike: Shoving, anger among protesters, police

Student protesters and university police tussled outside a UC San Francisco meeting hall early Wednesday where the regents for the 10-campus system were about to debate a proposed tuition hike.

About 100 protesters tried to block entrances into the building as regents and other UC officials tried to enter. Some of the officials were jostled as they wedged their way through the yelling crowd. Pushing matches between police and protesters erupted at several entrances and at metal barricades.

There was one arrested in an incident that led to the shattering of a glass door in the building’s rear, UC police said. No one appeared to be seriously injured in the protest.

A video report on the protest from Sacramento Bee:

UC students standoff with CFO Nathan Brostrom

Program notes:

University of California students protested a proposed tuition hike outside the Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2014.

The Bee also covered a Tuesday protest in nearby Davis, home of another University of California campus:

UC Davis tuition protest

Program notes:

Hundreds of students at UC Davis marched Tuesday to protest proposed tuition hikes.

And from ABC 10 News in San Diego, a report on a protest at the UC campus there:

UCSD students protest proposed tuition hike

Program notes:

UC San Diego students staged a sit-in Tuesday to protest a tuition hike proposal — an action mirrored at other University of California campuses.

And just as the wealth concentration process is going on in the U.K., so is the ceaseless rise in unviserity tuition, so that at the same time studentds were taking to the streets in California, their counterparts were doing the same in London.

From the Guardian:

Student protest over tuition fees ends in scuffles with police

  • Organisers say 10,000 joined march, which saw NUS offices daubed with paint after it refused to back protest

Organisers said the demonstration against tuition fees and wider cuts to education was the biggest mobilisation of students since 2010 when demonstrators occupied Tory party offices at Millbank.

Wednesday’s protest saw the National Union of Students (NUS) headquarters in London daubed with paint after it decided not to back the demonstration due to “an unacceptable level of risk” to its members. That provoked anger among those who took part in the march. “We did not organise what happened at the NUS but we do know students are very angry about being let down by the NUS,” said Beth Redmond from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, one of the groups that organised the demonstration. “When you see the numbers here today, they are in danger of becoming an irrelevance.”

Organisers claimed that up to 10,000 protesters took part in the march with university students joining those from further education colleges and sixth forms.

The protest passed off peacefully until demonstrators arrived at Parliament Square. A breakaway group of several hundred, including many who were wearing masks, pulled down fences blocking off the square, provoking minor scuffles with the police.

A video report for the Press Association:

Two arrested in mass student protest

Program notes:

Two protesters have been arrested after protesters on a student demonstration charged the headquarters of the Tory party in central London. Thousands of students marched through central London in protest against tuition fees and debt.

We agree with the students. Tax those who can afford it, and save the most precious resource any community has, its future, embodied in the students of today.

MexicoWatch: Shootings, parents, rage, pols


We begin with another shooting, first from teleSUR:

Mexican Students Shot by Police

  • One student was shot in the leg and another grazed by a bullet, according to early reports.

At least two people were shot Saturday as an individual alleged to be a police officer fired on students at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) who were meeting to discuss their participation in the upcoming national strike.

One student was shot in the leg while another was grazed by a bullet, although both of them are in stable condition, according to early reports.

The incident occurred around 13:00 pm (local time), when a group of soldiers and federal police officers occupied the entrance of the iconic university as students held a meeting on the national strike called for November 20 in protest of the disappearance of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teachers’ training college.

According to eyewitnesses, a car of the Office of the General Prosecutor (PGR) parked outside of the auditorium where the meeting took place, with four armed men getting out of the car. A number of the students asked them to leave the grounds before one of men from the car opened fire on the group.

The four individuals managed to escape in a taxi and left the car in the parking lot.

Photos of an injured student from the Pugrider Tumblr:

BLOG Mexico student

The accompanying text:

Around noon, members of the PGJ (Procuraduría General de Justicia. Like, special cops) entered the UNAM, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which, as it’s name says, is autonomous, so the police has no right to go in and, well, do their job. It’s out of their jurisdiction.

The problem started when these agents were seen taking pictures of some students, (who may have been pacifical anarchists, but were doing nothing at the moment) when these students asked them what were the photos for, they started running. A group of people, including more students, followed them, either to stop them or make them leave, but one of the agents took out a gun and started shooting. Several times. Hitting a student in the leg, and even a dog. Luckily, no one else. Now outside of the University, a couple of these ‘cops’ fled in a cab, while a third one, the one who shot, was arrested by the regular Police Department itself.

Later, members of this Police Department (Public Safety Secretary) went to University grounds (once again, they can’t do this) and, in an attempt of getting students out of where the morning shooting happened, a violent conflict started. The Police retreated but is still in the outside of the University.

Please share this, what we want is to make some noise about our situation. We won’t remain silent about how we’ve constantly been opressed for no reason. Not anymore.

Mexico City, November 15, 2014.

More from teleSUR:

Mexico University Rector Allegedly Aiding Student Repression

  • The case of the 43 missing students has mobilized university students in numbers not seen in many years and the state is responding with repression

Alberto Bravo, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) told teleSUR in an exclusive interview that the President of UNAM, Jose Narro is, “complicit not only in the repression that occurred this past Saturday but also in other incidents where police have entered the campus.”

Bravo also told teleSUR that Narro, “maintains close ties with the [governing] Institutional Revolutionary Party,” and that as a result he works to preserve the image of the government. He also stated that, “inside the university there are many complaints regarding police harassment and there are many infiltrators.” He added that these complaints have not been pursued and those who speak out against the authorities face intimidation tactics.

On Saturday, police from the office of the Attorney General of the Federal District shot and injured two students. The shooter arrived alongside 3 other officers and university police at the Che Guevara auditorium and began photographing the students at which point they were told to leave, the shooter then took out a gun and fired.

But it’s not just students who have been protesting. Teachers are taking to the streets as well, as CNN reports:

Teachers of missing students riot

Program notes:

With little developments in the mystery of 43 missing students in Guerrero, Mexico, the community is outraged.

From Reuters, more blowback for the abduction of the 43:

Main Mexico leftist party on verge of dissolution, leader says

The elder statesman of Mexico’s main leftist party said on Sunday the group was on the verge of falling apart after a series of mistakes and the disappearance of 43 students in a state it runs in the southwest of the country.

Three-times presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas said the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which finished runner-up in Mexico’s last two presidential elections, had lost its moral authority and needed urgent reform.

The PRD, which Cardenas helped found in 1989, rules Guerrero state and the city of Iguala, where the government said 43 trainee teachers were abducted by police on the night of Sept. 26 and apparently handed over to a drug gang and killed.

A president besieged, via the Guardian:

Mexico’s president faces wave of fury across country over fate of missing student teachers

The brutal killing of 43 students has become a national cause, and the government’s inaction and perceived disdain risk a social explosion and political instability

The pent-up fury of the parents reflected the intensity of the violent protests that marked a dramatic week in Mexico, which has deepened the political crisis facing President Enrique Peña Nieto as he returns from a week-long trip to China and Australia, seen by many as a sign of disdain for the suffering and anger at home.

The most significant thing the president said during his trip was on an outward stopover in Alaska, when he condemned an arson attack on the door of the ceremonial presidential palace in Mexico City. “Mexican society says no to violence,” he said, referring to the burning door. “We say yes to justice, order, harmony, tranquillity, and we say yes to the application of justice.”

The president made no mention of the fact that, immediately before the door was set on fire, the streets of the capital were filled with thousands of peaceful demonstrators. Many had carried banners proclaiming “ya me cansé”, which means “I’m tired” or “I’ve had enough”. The phrase was used by the attorney general, Jesús Murillo Karam, to cut short questions at the end of a press conference two days earlier, in which he had revealed the government’s new claim that the students were probably massacred in a rubbish tip not far from Iguala, hours after they had been arrested by municipal police and handed over to a local drug gang called Guerreros Unidos on 26 September.

And an inconvenient complication, via Reuters:

Mexican president promises answers on tainted luxury home

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said late on Saturday the government would next week give answers about a luxury house acquired by his wife that has raised questions about the ethical standards of his administration.

Days after the government canceled a $3.75 billion rail contract won in an uncontested bid by a Chinese-led consortium, local media reports identified the property as linking one of the Mexican partners in the group to Pena Nieto.

Reports about the house have swelled a recent tide of public anger about the government, which has been under heavy fire for its management of the disappearance of 43 students in the southwest of the country in late September.

And from teleSUR, presidential thuggery:

Mexican President Warns of Further Force Against Protestors

  • At a press conference, Enrique Peña Nieto said he will address corruption allegations this week and issued a warning over protests demanding justice in the case of the 43 missing the Ayotzinapa protesters

Mexican President Peña Nieto has said that while he will try to establish a dialogue with protesters demanding justice over the 43 missing students but warned that the state will use force “when all other mechanisms to restore order have been exhausted.”

His remarks, during a Saturday night press conference, came just hours after the police in the capital shot and injured two students at a meeting planning solidarity events for the 43. Later 500 heavily-armed police forcefully entered the campus of the university, provoking clashes with students.

Peña Nieto condemned the violent acts of some protesters during recent weeks, although, he said that the government understands the pain and concern of the Mexican population for the atrocities carried out in Ayotzinapa.

While the Latin American Herald Tribune voices neoliberal anxiety:

Mexico’s Central Bank: “Social Developments” Could Hurt Investor Confidence

Recent “social developments” in Mexico could have an adverse impact on investor confidence, the central bank said, according to the minutes of its most recent policy meeting.

Although the Bank of Mexico did not mention any event in particular, all indications are the monetary authority was referring to the case of 43 missing teacher trainees in the southern state of Guerrero – which has made headlines worldwide – and nationwide protests demanding their safe return.

That perception stems from statements Thursday by Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, who pointed to the potential negative repercussions of the missing students’ case on the national economy.

And CNN turns the focus on those most impacted by the crimes of Iguala:

Crying for justice, clinging to hope: The parents of Mexico’s missing 43

In parental torment over what became of his son and 42 other missing Mexican students, Isrrael Galindo rejects official accounts they apparently were massacred. He hopes that somehow his son and the others are still alive.

“I think they have him arrested or locked up. I don’t know where he is, but if I knew, I would go get him,” Galindo said of Israel, 19, his namesake son with a different spelling.

“I want him to know that I love him,” he added, beginning to weep. “I want him alive.”

Anguish overwhelms Galindo and grows daily, ever since the aspiring primary school teachers disappeared September 26 in a violent clash with police during a political protest that also left six people dead, including three other students.

More on the parents, from Reuters:

Parents of Mexico missing students lead rally

Program notes:

Parents of 43 students who have gone missing in Mexico lead rallies demanding the government bring back their children alive. Yiming Woo reports.

And to close, via the Associated Press, a judicial story:

Mexico begins court proceeding in other crimes for mayor investigated in missing students case

A federal judge has opened a court proceeding against the former mayor of a southern Mexico city in crimes that preceded the case of 43 missing students from a teachers’ college.

The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement late Saturday that Jose Luis Abarca has been charged with organized crime, the kidnapping of seven people and the killing of another in crimes that occurred before the students disappeared. Abarca was mayor of Iguala, in Guerrero state, when the students went missing.

Abarca has been behind bars since he and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were arrested Nov. 4 in a crowded Mexico City neighborhood.