Steve Benson: No doggin’ this bull


From the editorial cartoonist of the Arizona Republic:

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Unpaid Brazilian police threaten Olympic strike


The latest chapter in the ongoing Brazilian meltdown comes from folks who are charged with keeping order.

Form the Japan Times:

Police in Rio de Janeiro protested Monday over late payment of salaries and a lack of equipment ranging from car fuel to toilet paper as the Brazilian city prepares to host the Olympic Games.

About 300 police clad in black T-shirts stood on the steps of the Rio de Janeiro state assembly to denounce what they said had been their abandonment ahead of the Olympics, which start on Aug. 5.

“The police’s priority is the people, the government’s priority is the Olympics,” read one banner at the rare public display of anger by a force that finds itself in the midst of both a state budget crisis and a lethal surge in criminal activity.

One officer, who like other protesters asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions at work, told AFP that he had only been paid half his salary last month and was still waiting for this month’s salary.

“I haven’t been paid my overtime for five months either,” the 40-year-old officer said.

More from teleSUR English:

Hundreds of police gathered outside the police headquarters in the neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, the state capital, marching with signs through the downtown streets until they reached the headquarters of the National Assembly.

“We are unsatisfied and without the prospect (of a solution), we can’t rule out a gridlock during the Olympic Games in August,” Neira said.

Police authorities put out a statement saying they understand the claims, which they also believe are fair.

According to the statement, a commission would analyze the requests, and begin working on the urgent cases.

All we can ask is ‘What next?’

Xenophobia runs amok in post-Brexit Britain


And the frankly xenophobic character of pro-Brexit propaganda has played a leading role in the epidemic of racial and religious violence sweeping Old Blighty:

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We begin with a roundup from Deutsche Welle:

According to initial police figures, there has been a sharp spike in hate crimes since last week’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU: an increase of 57 percent in reported incidents between Thursday and Sunday, compared with the same days four weeks earlier. In addition to the incidents reported to police, accounts of verbal abuse have proliferated on social media. “I suddenly feel a lot further away from home,” German national Karoline Weber, who works in London, told DW.

While much of the aggression has been targeted at EU nationals, non-white Britons have also been affected. BBC journalist Sima Kotecha was called a “Paki” while reporting on the responses to the Brexit vote in her home town of Basingstoke. Channel 4 News correspondent Ciaran Jenkins heard three people shout “send them home” in the space of five minutes as he reported on the referendum in Barnsley in northern England.

“The attacks are mostly on eastern European migrants – but not all,” says Liz Fekete, director of the Institute for Race Relations. “What we’re observing is Muslim women are a prime target and a lot of children as well. A lot of damage has been done to social and community cohesion. There’s a hell of a lot of work to be done to repair that.”

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Next up, two stories from U.S. Uncut, the first reporting on on attack targeting Muslims:

Kashmir Meat & Poultry, a halal butcher shop owned and operated by a Muslim man, was attacked with a “petrol bomb” this Monday evening in the West Midlands in England.

Bashir Hussain, who was managing the store at the time of the attack, luckily escaped with only minor bruising from being struck by the weapon itself, but most of the store itself was destroyed by the flames.

The owner, Jamal Hussain, was dismayed by the attack and still seemed in shock when he spoke with reporters.

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Next, even Western Europeans are begin singled out by bitter xenophobes:

British radio host James O’Brien and his guest Simon Woolley were stopped in their tracks this morning when an elderly German woman named Karen called in hysterical tears after facing an onslaught of xenophobic attacks following the Brexit vote last week.

“I came from Germany in 1973,” she said, her speech punctuated by sobs throughout the entire conversation. “My husband, my late husband, was British. I’ve lived here for 43 years, and I’m so scared now.”

Despite having lived in the country for over four decades, Karen has been the victim of vandalization and hate speech so consistently that she has now locked herself in her house.

“I’ve gotten dog turds  thrown at my door on Friday… I’ve got nobody in Germany… I haven’t been out of the house for three days because I don’t know what to do,” she sobbed.

Finally, from Al Jazeera, a call for action from the United Nations:

The United Nations raised alarm as a series of racist incidents against minorities and foreigners were reported in the United Kingdom, following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Tuesday that “racism and xenophobia are unacceptable in any circumstances” around the world.

“I urge the UK authorities to act to stop these xenophobic attacks and to ensure that all those suspected of racist and anti-foreigner attacks and abuses are prosecuted,” Hussein said.

“All of us must refuse to tolerate discriminatory acts in our daily lives – to ensure that there is nothing ‘everyday’ about discrimination.”

Violence, intimidation and calls of “Go home” directed at minorities – from Europeans in England to non-white Britons – have surged since the referendum last Friday.

Amyris plunges to new record low, recovers


Amyris Inc. [previously], the UC Berkeley-spawned GMO start-up bankrolled by Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Arab oil sheikhs plunged to less than three shares for a buck before adding on six cents a share by the close of market Tuesday.

The record low of thirty-one cents a share was more than a hundred times below the post-IPO high of $33.85 less than five years ago.

The modest recovery was spawned by news that the company, which abandoned its goal of producing cheap fuel from plant cellulose in favor of turning out basic oils and compounds for cosmetics, had signed a new deal with perfume and flavor firm Givaudan to produce scents for perfumes.

The stock woes haven’t hut company founder and UC Berkeley bioengineer Jay Keasling, who sold his stock soon after the IPO, pocketing a eight-figure payoff, a sum that would be worth in the low six figures if he’d held on to his stock.

Trumpies are more racist [surprise, surprise]


A new poll from Reuters/Ipsos:

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Headline of the day II: Tiny hands in Nazi salutes


From teleSUR English:

Sacramento Neo-Nazis Pledge to ‘Defend’ Trump Supporters at the Republican National Convention

Neo-Nazis involved in Sacramento’s violent melee have vowed to defend Trump supporters at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

California burning, images captured from space


While Donald Trump insists that California’s near-epochal drought is but a myth, it ain’t necessarily so.

Indeed, the state is tinder dry.

From NASA’s Earth Observatory:

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More form NASA:

A wildfire burning northeast of Bakersfield, California, is the state’s largest so far in 2016, according to news reports. It has also been called the season’s a most destructive fire. As of June 27, the Erskine fire had scorched 18,368 hectares (45,388 acres), destroyed at least 250 structures, and was responsible for at least two deaths.

The top image shows the region at 3:34 a.m. Pacific Time on June 26, 2016. It was acquired with the day-night band (DNB) of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite. The DNB can detect relatively dim signals such as city lights and reflected moonlight. In this case it also shows the glow of wildfire.

The second image shows the fire later that same day. This natural-color image was acquired with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected warm surface temperatures associated with fires. Winds carried smoke from the fire northward.

The fire first ignited on June 23 due to a yet-unknown cause. On the date these images were acquired, the fire had burned 17,588 hectares (43,460 acres). As of June 27, the fire was 40 percent contained and continued to pose a threat to structures.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, above normal fire potential is expected to expand into the Sierras and central coast region of California as summer progresses. According to the outlook: “The highest potential may be over the Sierra Foothills where a severe, multiyear drought has exacted a toll on the vegetation of the area.”

And there will be more to come, thanks to a massive die-off of California’s pine, fir, and cedar forests.

From United Press International:

California’s climate has always been hospitable to fire – it comes with the territory. But add five years of drought, a bark beetle blight killing trees by the millions and rising temperatures, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

“We are seeing the compounded effects of climate change that includes five consecutive years of drought and rising mean temperatures across the West – last year was the hottest year on record,” said Janet Upton, deputy director of communications at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “All that is trending to a more flammable California.”

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service reported that 26 million trees had died in six counties in the southern Sierra Nevada since October. Adding in an estimated 40 million dead trees counted since October 2010, it brings the statewide tree mortality to at least 66 million in less than six years.

High rates of tree mortality are being driven by bark beetles in combination with the state’s drought. Like fire, bark beetles are a natural part of the state’s ecology and a way for nature to weed out the weak and keep forests healthy. But when the trees suffer from drought, they no longer have their natural defense mechanism to fight off bark beetles. “Trees draw up moisture and push the beetle out,” said Upton. “With the drought, they couldn’t draw the moisture needed to do that.” And that has led to a bark beetle explosion – to epidemic levels.

Hardest hit so far has been the southern Sierra. “We identified six high-hazard counties and now we’ve added four more,” said Upton. The bark beetle blight is marching to the north.