Hundreds reported dead after Israel wipes out entire neighborhood in Gaza

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Original article republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Jabayla refugee camp’s most populated neighborhood is razed using six US-made bombs, each weighing one ton

Jabalya Refugee Camp Gaza 31 October 2023 Photo: Quds News Network
Jabalya Refugee Camp Gaza 31 October 2023 Photo: Quds News Network

On October 31, Israel dropped six US-made bombs (each weighing one ton) on the most populated neighborhood of Jabayla refugee camp in Gaza, killing and injuring 400, reports the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The death toll is likely to increase as more information becomes known. 

According to the Quds News Network, Jabalya is one of the most populated areas of Gaza, with 60,000 residents in only 1.4 square kilometers. 

The United States funds Israel to the tune of USD 4 billion each year. As Israel carries out its genocide in Gaza, the US Congress is set to approve USD 14.3 billion in emergency funds for Israel. 

US activists have argued that Israel’s heavy funding and military support from the US is due to the state’s unique position as a Western military outpost in West Asia. As current US President Joe Biden himself said in 1986, “It’s the best three billion dollar investment we made. Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interest in the region.”

Original article republished from peoples dispatch under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingHundreds reported dead after Israel wipes out entire neighborhood in Gaza

Over 420 Palestinian children are killed every day in Israeli war on Gaza, says UNICEF chief

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Original article by peoples dispatch republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Israel has intensified its bombings inside the besieged Palestinian territory, repeatedly targeting shelters for the displaced and hospitals which are crowded due to the large number of people injured

United Nations Security Council discusses war in Gaza
United Nations Security Council discusses war in Gaza

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), stated that Israel is carrying out “collective punishment” against Palestinians across the occupied territories and asked the world to ensure that women and children do not become “collateral damage.” 

Lazzarini was speaking at an emergency session of the UN Security Council on Monday, October 30, called by the UAE and China to yet again push for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. 

Addressing the session, Catherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, said that over 3,400 children had been killed and over 6,300 injured. “This means that more than 420 Palestinian children are being killed or injured in Gaza each day—a number which should shake each of us to our core,” she added.

Israeli forces have been indiscriminately bombing the Gaza strip for the last 25 days. Its forces also launched a ground offensive on Saturday. 

The number of total Palestinians killed so far in the Israeli bombings in Gaza crossed 8,300 on Tuesday morning, with over 20,000 Palestinians injured. According to reports, Israel once again used banned white phosphorus on civilians in Gaza on Monday.  

According to Lazzarini, more than 70% of all those killed are either children or women. He claimed that an “unprecedented human tragedy is unfolding under our watch” in Gaza which is “unbearable.”

He blamed Israel for forcing millions of Palestinians out of their homes which led to overcrowding in UNRWA shelters. Lazzarini claimed that over 67,0000 Palestinians are forcibly displaced and are now living in schools which have been converted into shelters. 

More than half of the population of Gaza, over 1.4 million Palestinians, have been forced out of their homes due to the Israeli offensive since October 7. More and more Palestinians are under threat of losing their homes as Israel continues to target civilian residential areas. 

Lazzarini claimed that over 65 staffers with the UNRWA have been killed in Israeli strikes inside the Gaza strip since October 7. 

Several relief and rescue staff working with other humanitarian missions in the war-affected region have also been killed in the Israeli bombings which have targeted hospitals, schools, aid distribution centers, and even ambulances.   

Israel has also blockaded the supply of food, fuel and medicines into the besieged Palestinian territories since October 9, which has intensified the humanitarian situation there as hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to live without adequate medicines and food. Due to lack of fuel, all essential services such as water supply, cleaning and transportation are blocked, leading to a very dangerous situation. 

“No place is safe in Gaza”  

The handful of aid allowed through the Rafah border is not enough for the over 2 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. Basic necessities such as water, medicine, food and fuel are running out, adding to the panic among the people, Lazzarini said during his presentation to the UN Security Council. 

He claimed that no place is safe from Israeli bombings in the small Palestinian enclave. 

“My UNRWA colleagues are the only glimmer of hope for the entire Gaza strip, a ray of light as humanity sinks into its darkest hour,” Lazzarini stated.  

Lazzarini added that the condition in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is also getting worse everyday. He claimed that Palestinians fatalities in those territories are already highest since 2005, when the UN started recording them. 

Over 115 Palestinians including 33 children have been killed by the occupation forces in these territories since October 7, Lazzarini said. 

According to the latest figures provided by the Palestinian ministry of health, the total number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem crossed 124 on Tuesday with the Israeli forces shooting of a 70-year-old man in Tubas. 

He claimed that the restrictions imposed on the movement of Palestinians and aid workers in the occupied Palestinian territories are impacting basic services such as education and health care.   

UNICEF head Russell also noted that Gaza has reported 34 attacks on health facilities, including 21 hospitals, due to which 12 of them can no longer function. She underlined that the Israeli bombings have destroyed 221 schools and over 177,000 housing units so far. 

She called for an immediate ceasefire, saying that we need to “put their [children] safety and security at the forefront of our efforts.”

Chinese ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun pointed out that Israel must implement the UN General Assembly resolution passed by over 120 countries on Friday demanding a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Jun claimed that Israel has been holding around 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza under a blockade for over 16 years and asked it to fulfill its responsibilities as the occupying power. Jung warned that if the current war continues, it can spiral out of control and a greater catastrophe would be inevitable.  

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya also blamed Israel, saying that “despite unambiguous reaction around the world” Israel has begun its plan to clear the Palestinian enclave by launching ground offensive. He noted that because of the US position to shield Israel at any cost, “the council has been paralyzed.” 

Other members of the UN Security Council and the Israeli ambassador also addressed the emergency meeting. Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour claimed that “Gaza is now hell on earth” and underlined that “saving humanity from hell today means the UN to save Palestinians in Gaza.” 

Original article by peoples dispatch republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA) license.

Continue ReadingOver 420 Palestinian children are killed every day in Israeli war on Gaza, says UNICEF chief

GB News Owner’s Hedge Fund Has $2.2 Billion Fossil Fuel Investments

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Original article by Sam Bright and Joey Grostern republished from DeSmog.

One of the owners of GB News runs a hedge fund that has a major financial stake in more than 100 oil and gas firms, DeSmog can reveal. 

This news comes after former prime minister Boris Johnson was announced as a new presenter on the television broadcaster on Friday.

An investigation by DeSmog in May found that one in three GB News presenters had spread climate science denial on air in 2022, while more than half had attacked climate action. GB News presenters have used their platforms to urge the UK to “drill, baby, drill” for more coal, oil and gas.

Paul Marshall is the chairman and chief investment officer of Marshall Wace, a London-based hedge fund that he co-founded in 1997.

Marshall Wace is now one of the world’s largest hedge funds – an investment vehicle that bets on rising and falling share prices – with around $63 billion (£51.9 billion) in assets under management.

According to DeSmog’s analysis of Marshall Wace’s filings with the US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), his fund owns shares worth $2.2 billion (£1.8 billion) in fossil fuel firms. This includes companies that specialise in extracting, refining, transporting and distributing fossil fuels.

In its latest SEC filing, for the quarter ending 30 June 2023, Marshall Wace reports a $213 million (£175.6 million) shareholding in the oil and gas supermajor Chevron, as well as stakes in Shell, Equinor, and 109 other fossil fuel companies. 

The value of Marshall Wace’s stake in Chevron, the world’s eighth largest fossil fuel company, has more than doubled from $105 million (£86.6 million) to $213 million (£175.6 million) in two years, even though its total number of shares and equity options has increased over that period by just 35 percent. 

The hedge fund’s stake in Chevron appears to be one of its top 50 most valuable investments, among the thousands of companies in which it currently holds shares.

This reflects the soaring value of fossil fuel companies following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up the price of fossil fuels and therefore the profits of suppliers. At the end of June 2021, Chevron’s share price stood at $107.30 (£88.27), rising to $157.35 (£129.45) by June 2023.

Marshall Wace held shares in 112 fossil fuel companies as of June 2023. Two years earlier, in June 2021, the hedge fund held shares in 50 of these firms. The value of the stakes in these 50 firms almost trebled over the period, from $565.4 million (£466.1 million) to $1.4 billion (£1.15 billion). 

“I’ve always wondered why anyone would invest in comically inept, loss-making GB News,” said John Nicolson MP, a member of Parliament’s influential Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee. “Step forward one major investor who makes bundles of cash from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, a disturbing number of GB News presenters question climate science. I’m beginning to see a connection.”

Marshall Wace has 22 partners and its latest company accounts, for the period ending February 2022, show that they shared bumper profits of more than £720 million as the firm’s annual turnover jumped 62 percent to more than £1.5 billion. The average salary at Marshall Wace is £561,000 a year.

Paul Marshall, who is one of these partners, is also a lead investor in the startup broadcaster GB News, holding a 45 percent stake. Marshall, estimated to be worth £800 million, reportedly invested £10 million in GB News when it first launched two years ago. In August 2022, he joined the Dubai-based investment firm Legatum Group in a £60 million capital injection and buyout of GB News’s other major investor, Discovery. 

On the announcement of the buyout, Marshall said: “This is more than a financial investment. As investors we’re proud of what GB News [sic] doing for media plurality in the UK, bringing fresh perspectives to the national conversation on issues that matter to real Britain.”

Marshall also owns UnHerd, a publication founded in 2017 that claims to give a platform to marginalised views. UnHerd has published multiple articles and videos critical of climate action, including an interview in July with Bjorn Lomborg about “how global warming will save lives”.

Marshall is involved in other projects that are linked to key opponents of climate action. He is one of the directors of the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC), a new group established by the backers of GB News. The ARC advisory board features a host of individuals who have denied climate science, downplayed the extent of the climate crisis, and attacked net zero policies. A number of these advisers are speaking at a conference hosted by ARC in London this week, alongside Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Kemi Badenoch.

It has been reported that Marshall is preparing to expand his media investments and is “readying a bid” for the right-wing Telegraph newspaper and Spectator magazine, with both expected to be put up for sale in the coming weeks.

The Conservative Party has also received funds from Marshall, who donated £500,000 in 2019. 

GB News lost more than £30 million during its first year on air and has been hit by multiple scandals over its use of Conservative MPs as presenters, its alleged lack of impartiality, and its habit of platforming of conspiracy theories

The broadcast regulator Ofcom ruled in March that Mark Steyn had broken its rules on harmful content by claiming on GB News that the third Covid vaccine was causing higher infection, hospitalisation and deaths. Steyn’s claims were “potentially harmful and materially misleading,” Ofcom ruled. Steyn, who has also questioned the existence of climate change, resigned from the channel in February after GB News reportedly demanded he personally pay the fines issued if found in breach of the broadcasting code.

Ofcom currently has 12 open investigations into GB News. Its TV output reached 2.87 million viewers in December, while its website had a UK audience of 5.7 million in April. 

Paul Marshall’s investments in GB News and UnHerd have been made in a personal capacity and there is no evidence that Marshall Wace’s investments have influenced the editorial output of either outlet. 

Marshall Wace claims on its website that “sustainable investing is an organisational focus” and that the firm is “committed to achieving positive social and environmental impact”.

GB News and UnHerd did not respond to DeSmog’s request for comment. Marshall Wace declined to comment.

‘State Control Over Your Life’

Since it launched in June 2021, GB News has been a prominent mouthpiece for individuals who support more fossil fuel extraction and oppose the UK’s target to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK’s 2050 net zero target is legally binding and is backed by the world’s top climate scientists. They agree that rapidly cutting carbon emissions is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including drought, famine, and ill health.

On 5 November last year, GB News host Neil Oliver used his show to attack “net zero [and] the green agenda”, which he claimed was part of “a hellish potpourri of policies guaranteed to condemn hundreds of millions to death by poverty, death by starvation”. 

Host Nigel Farage – who has a long record of opposing climate action – used his GB News platform to launch a campaign for a Brexit-style referendum on net zero. 

GB News host and Conservative MP Philip Davies was one of five MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act in 2008. Fellow presenters and Tory MPs Jacob Rees Mogg, Lee Anderson and Esther McVey are all supporters of the anti-climate action Net Zero Scrutiny Group of backbench Conservative MPs. 

This opposition to net zero is often tied to a denial of established climate science, which has been expressed repeatedly by GB News presenters. 

During last summer’s record UK heatwave, on 16 July 2022, then GB News host Calvin Robinson accused the Met Office of “alarmism”, adding: “Man-made climate change, I don’t buy it, because how much of an impact do we really make if we’re talking about carbon levels?”

Five days later, presenter Beverley Turner called summer heat warnings “fear mongering” in order to “facilitate state control over your life”.

The IPCC has warned that false and misleading information “undermines climate science and disregards risk and urgency” of cutting emissions.

Several GB News hosts have also been vocal about their support for policies that would maintain and even extend the UK’s reliance on oil and gas. 

Flagship presenter Dan Wootton argued on 10 March 2022 that the war in Ukraine meant “for now the rush to net zero must die”. He urged the government to “frack, frack, frack” for shale gas. Wootton has recently been suspended by the channel.

In a 9 December show, host Mark Dolan praised plans to open a new coal mine in Cumbria. He said the UK should “drill, baby, drill” for coal, oil and gas,  adding: “I think the push for net zero here is another element of liberal progressivism which is infecting the West.”

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that any new fossil fuel projects would be incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5C.

‘Genuinely Independent Thinking’

Marshall has defended GB News’s output on the basis that “in a world of too much groupthink”, the broadcaster provides a “space for genuinely independent thinking”. 

However, Marshall appears to share the opposition to net zero, and support for more fossil fuel extraction, expressed by a number of GB News presenters.

In July, Marshall shared a post on X (formerly Twitter) from Reform UK Leader Richard Tice, on the subject of Norway’s approval of new oil and gas projects worth $18 million. Tice’s post claimed that these fossil fuel resources are “essential to Europe’s energy security” and that the UK “could have these jobs and prosperity. But selfish wallies in Westminster want to make us poorer and colder with net zero”.

Tice has recently been hired by GB News.

A month later, Marshall claimed in a post that “The public are still being shamefully ill informed by the BBC about differing views on climate change policy”. This post linked to an article by Charles Moore, which argued that “Voters can see the disparity between the highly speculative and distant achievement of global net zero and the concrete and imminent prospect of becoming colder and poorer”. 

In fact, the UK government’s failure to implement green reforms has added an estimated £2.5 billion to domestic energy bills due to the rising costs of fossil fuels and poor energy efficiency in homes. A reliance on gas has also cost the UK an additional £50-60 billion since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, equivalent to around £1,000 for every adult.

Original article by Sam Bright and Joey Grostern republished from DeSmog.

Continue ReadingGB News Owner’s Hedge Fund Has $2.2 Billion Fossil Fuel Investments

‘Criminal’: Major Banks Funneled $1.8 Trillion to Carbon Bombs Between 2016 and 2022

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Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Protesters picket outside a Chase Bank branch in November 2019. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

JPMorgan Chase led the pack with more than $141 billion invested between 2016 and 2022, followed by Citi with $119 billion, and Bank of America with $92 billion.

Major banks funneled more than $150 billion in 2022 toward “carbon bomb” fossil fuel projects that would blow through the world’s chances of limiting global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The data, published by The Guardian Tuesday, shows that major banks in the U.S., Europe, and China funded the companies behind these projects with a total of $1.8 trillion between 2016 and 2022, with U.S. banks contributing more than half a trillion of that total.

“Criminal,” Nuclear Consulting Group chair Paul Dorfman tweeted in response to the news.

“We need to rapidly decline our production of fossil fuels and support for fossil fuels, whether that’s regulatory or financial.”

The “carbon bombs” are 425 fossil fuel extraction projects identified by The Guardian and other nonprofit and media organizations and compiled in an online database in 2022. Each bomb has the potential to release more than a gigaton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. At first, it was calculated that igniting all 425 bombs would release emissions more than double the remaining carbon budget that scientists say humans can spend and still have a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. However, research published Monday calculated that the remaining carbon budget is actually around 250 gigatons of carbon dioxide, not the 500 previously believed. The carbon bombs would release a combined total of more than 1,000 gigatons, or four times the revised number.

“The budget is so small, and the urgency of meaningful action for limiting warming is so high, [that] the message from [the carbon budget] is dire,” study co-author Joeri Rogelj of Imperial College London told The Guardian Monday.

That narrowing window makes it all the more urgent that banks stop financing fossil fuels, yet that is not what they are doing, according to the analysis of the carbon bomb data completed by French nonprofits Data for Good and Éclaircies, along with European media partners.

The data includes a list of the top ten financial backers of companies operating carbon bombs.

JPMorgan Chase led the pack with more than $141 billion invested between 2016 and 2022, followed by Citi with $119 billion, Bank of America with $92 billion, the Chinese ICBC with $92.2 billion, and BNP Paribas with $71.9 billion. Last year alone, the banks directly or indirectly funded the projects with around $161 billion. This comes despite greenwashing rhetoric from financial institutions pledging to act on climate.

For example, JPMorgan has promised to set goals to reduce the emission intensity of its portfolios for key sectors, including oil and gas, electricity, and auto making.

“We provide financing all across the energy sector: supporting energy security, helping clients accelerate their low-carbon transitions, and increasing clean energy financing with a target of $1 trillion for green initiatives by 2030,” a JPMorgan Chase spokesperson told The Guardian. “We are taking pragmatic steps to meet our 2030 emission intensity reduction targets in the six sectors that account for the majority of global emissions, while helping the world meet its energy needs securely and affordably.”

The data suggests these institutions need to do more and faster.

“We need to rapidly decline our production of fossil fuels and support for fossil fuels, whether that’s regulatory or financial,” Shruti Shukla, a National Resources Defense Council energy campaigner who was not involved with the research, told The Guardian.

In a worse-case scenario, nothing will be done to limit emissions, these carbon bombs will be exploited and burned, and weather will turn ever more extreme. However, if world leaders do succeed in rapidly phasing out fossil fuels, these projects could become stranded assets for the companies and banks that invested in them, and if this happens all at once, it could trigger a financial crash, University of Witten-Herdecke sustainable finance research fellow Jan Fichtner told The Guardian.

To avoid this, the world must work to make fossil fuels less profitable, Fichtner said.

“In a capitalist system, profitability is the most important current,” Fichtner told The Guardian. “You can try to swim against the current, it’s possible, but it’s very, very difficult.”

Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

Greenwash detected.

Continue Reading‘Criminal’: Major Banks Funneled $1.8 Trillion to Carbon Bombs Between 2016 and 2022

Boris Johnson said Covid was ‘nature’s way of dealing with old people’

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Original article by Finlay Johnston republished from Open Democracy.

Former prime minister said he agreed that ‘we should let the old people get it’, today’s Covid inquiry heard

Boris Johnson thought Covid was “nature’s way of dealing with old people”, the official Covid inquiry heard today.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s former chief scientific adviser, made the comments in his diary on 14 December 2020, amid a huge Covid wave that led to the third national lockdown and killed 1,000 people a day at its peak.

Vallance claimed Johnson said that a lot of his party “thinks the whole thing is pathetic and Covid is just nature’s way of dealing with old people – and I am not entirely sure I disagree with them”.

The following day, Vallance wrote that the then Conservative chief whip, Mark Spencer, said “I think we should let the old people get it and protect others.” Johnson backed this statement, according to Vallance, allegedly responding: “A lot of my backbenchers think that and I must say I agree with them.”

The comments were made on the same day Johnson hosted a ‘Christmas quiz’ for staff in Downing Street and four days before he issued London and the south-east of England with a ‘stay at home’ order, banning social gatherings.

In an earlier diary entry from 28 August 2020, Vallance wrote that Johnson was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going.”

Rishi Sunak’s efforts to bolster the economy also came under fire at today’s hearing.

Lee Cain, Johnson’s former director of communications, criticised Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which encouraged people to enjoy discounted meals in restaurants on certain days between 3 and 31 August.

Cain told the inquiry today he was critical of the scheme at the time, feeling that the government was “indicating to people that Covid’s over… crowd yourself onto trains, go into restaurants and enjoy pizzas with friends and family”.

He continued: “That’s fine if you are intent on never having to do suppression measures again but from all the evidence we were receiving, from all of the advice that we were receiving it was clear we were certainly going to have to do suppression again, we knew we were going to do that.”

The inquiry continues. openDemocracy is fundraising to pay reporters to cover every day of the public hearings. Please support us by donating here.

Original article by Finlay Johnston republished from Open Democracy.

Continue ReadingBoris Johnson said Covid was ‘nature’s way of dealing with old people’