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by Editors — last modified Jul 29, 2015 01:12 PM
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox

Gulf Arabs 'stepping up' arms supplies to Syrian rebels | BBC

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Oct 08, 2015 05:38 PM
"The Saudi official did not rule out supplying surface-to-air missiles to the rebels, a move resisted by many in the West for fear that they would fall into the hands of IS and end up being used to shoot down warplanes of the US-led Coalition or even civilian airliners. ... he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances - Jaysh al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front." Full story here.

Also see: A Look at the Army of Conquest, a Prominent Rebel Alliance in Syria | The New York Times

"The Army of Conquest, or Jaish al-Fatah in Arabic, is a loose alliance of armed rebel groups formed in March to fight the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. ... The alliance consists of a number of mostly Islamist factions, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate; Ahrar al-Sham, another large group; and more moderate rebel factions that have received covert arms support from the intelligence services of the United States and its allies."

And: Russian Cruise Missiles Help Syrians Go on the Offensive | The New York Times

"Russia has focused its earliest operations on the insurgent coalition known as the Army of Conquest, or Jaish al-Fatah, rather than on the Islamic State, according to the official from the pro-government alliance, because it is the Army of Conquest’s positions that most urgently threaten the crucial government-held coastal province of Latakia, while Islamic State forces are farther to the east and can later be isolated and hit. ... A number of times in Wednesday’s fighting, insurgents fired advanced TOW antitank missiles, supplied covertly by the C.I.A., at Syria’s Russian-made tanks"

And: Patrick Cockburn: Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War | Counter Punch

"Overall, it is better to have Russia fully involved in Syria than on the sidelines so it has the opportunity to help regain control over a situation that long ago spun out of control. It can keep Assad in power in Damascus, but the power to do so means that it can also modify his behaviour and force movement towards reducing violence, local ceasefires and sharing power regionally. It was always absurd for Washington and its allies to frame the problem as one of “Assad in or Assad out”, when an end to the Assad leadership would lead either to the disintegration of the Syrian state, as in Iraq and Libya, or would have limited impact because participants in the Syrian civil war would simply go on fighting."
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Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen? | Counter Punch

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Oct 08, 2015 05:01 PM
"US support for Saudi Arabia’s war has ensured a steady stream of new weapons orders. US-based arms manufacturers have sold 8 billion USD worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since it launched ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ six months ago. This is a figure that adds almost ten percent to the 90.4 billion USD worth of weapons that US arms manufacturers have sold to Saudi Arabia since President Obama was elected." Full story here.
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Syria extends major offensive to retake territory in west | Reuters

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Oct 08, 2015 05:37 PM
"Ground forces loyal to the Syrian government targeted insurgents in the west of the country, with heavy barrages of surface-to-surface missiles as Russian warplanes bombed from above ... Sources in the region say Iran has sent hundreds of troops to back Syrian forces in a ground campaign coordinated with Russia's air assault. Assad's government also relies on support from Hezbollah, the Shi'ite militia from neighboring Lebanon. ... The operation that began on Wednesday in Hama appears to be the first major assault coordinated between Syrian troops and militia on the ground with Russian warplanes and naval ships." Full story here.
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Why Zunera Ishaq fought for her niqab - and became an election issue | CBC

by Faiz Ahmed last modified Oct 08, 2015 10:55 AM
"I am feeling a little unsafe. People are staring at me... Otherwise before this issue has been taken to this point, everything was fine. I've never faced this kind of attitude in the public." - Zunera Ishaq fought the Conservative government for her right to wear a niqab at her citizenship ceremony"

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Welfare for All

by JBB last modified Oct 07, 2015 09:04 PM
by Adam Fisher | Want to improve animal welfare? Focus on bettering the conditions of the people who work with them.

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Method in Ecological Marxism

by JBB last modified Oct 07, 2015 08:55 PM
Science and the Struggle for Change | by Hannah Holleman | Monthly Review

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Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over

by JBB last modified Oct 07, 2015 08:49 PM
by Murrary Dobbin | CounterPunch

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Banks ask for more regulation to save them from Uber-like services | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Oct 05, 2015 10:57 AM
Banks are asking for regulators to save them from new technologies that might undermine their profitable business models.

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In a move that can only be expected from financial organizations that drowned the global economy to save themselves, Banks who act as cheerleaders for anti-worker (and sometimes illegal) actions of companies like Uber are demanding to be saved from the same disruption.

A new report from McKinsey financial consultants shows that emerging technology companies are focused on inserting themselves where money transactions occur -- at the cash register. Banks currently get much of their profit from fees charged at points of sale, credit cards and car loans. McKinsey shows those profits could drop 40-60%.

The same pressures on banks are being felt in other industries as costs for services are reduced through insertion of technology that either replace workers or make it easy get around slow-to-evolve regulations. Financial service transactions are where banks gain 22 per cent return compared to just six per cent from holding and investing your money.

Hypocrisy, it seems, is not in a bankers dictionary.

More: McKinsey warns banks face wipeout in some financial services

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Trade deals break through as an election issue with TPP | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified Oct 05, 2015 10:58 AM
You know it has been a long campaign when the mainstream media is forced to talk about trade deals to have something new to say.

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You know it has been a long campaign when the mainstream media is forced to talk about trade deals to have something new to say. Fair trade campaigners have been trying to get the next generation of free trade contracts like CETA, TiSA and the TPP on the radar for years. While the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been a threat to Canadian jobs since negotiations started, concerns have been ignored by the corporate media. After all, for big business, Canada is a "trading nation" and therefore can only benefit from agreements that reduce our rights to regulate capitalism -- never mind the inequality those politicies have brought.

The long-time focus of socialists has been on the excessive limitations these supposed "free" trade deals place on all levels of government. However, the media does not like to talk about issues that do not fit into sound bites and trade agreements are the antithesis of a sound bite subject. In fact, even the current turn of events -- sparked by the NDP -- is not about the substance of the deals, but is about democracy and the Conservatives' disregard of it.

The argument is that the Conservatives have no right to sign a massive trade agreement that will limit future governments in the middle of an election campaign. Signing on now is on par with a six year old yelling "keepsies, no backsies" in a game of tag. It just does not wash when establishing law.

There are many reasons to be opposed to TPP including workers' rights, the environment, regulatory standards, restraints on procurement, intellectual property rights and copyright issues. However, most activists do not mind why we are talking about trade agreements so long as we are talking about them. Maybe the highlight on trade will bring some to understand that other agreements being negotiated all pose a similar threat as the TPP.

More: Don't agree to a TPP deal that threatens Canadian jobs

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ETUC Congress adopts emergency resolution on TiSA

by Graham H. Cox last modified Oct 02, 2015 02:11 PM
The adoption of the resolution is a clear sign that trade unions across Europe are united in rejecting any give away of the right to regulate and possibilities to maintain and/or develop universal access to quality public services.

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