Military poisoning poor US communities – National & International News – THU 25Mar2021

A new report claims the Pentagon has burned 20 million pounds of "forever chemicals" near poor communities across the US.

US military poisons communities. CEO: too many chips produced in Asia. Major retailers in Xinjiang backlash. Israel elections: Zionists spurn coalition with Arab party

NATIONAL NEWS

Military poisoning US communities

A new report reveals that the US military has been secretly incinerating Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF),a PFAS “forever chemical”, next to disadvantaged US communities. According to the report,  the military burned 20 million pounds of AFFF and AFFF waste between 2016-2020. However, there is no evidence that burning destroys the synthetic chemicals. Instead, burning the chemicals sends particulate pollution into the air, which then settles on local farms, fields and waterways. 

Exposure to even trace amounts of these “forever chemicals” has been linked to numerous cancers, developmental disorders, immune dysfunction, and infertility. Lately, it has been blamed for aggravated Covid-19 infections and weakened vaccine efficacy.

The Pentagon previously admitted to contaminating hundreds of water sources through its use of the chemicals. Several states are now pushing the military to address the problem.

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Intel CEO: too many chips produced in Asia

Pat Gelsinger, the new CEO of tech giant Intel, recently vowed to step up production of computer chips in the US and other Western countries. 80% of the world’s computer chips are currently produced in Asia, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Gelsinger says this “simply isn’t a palatable manner for the world to have its view of the most critical technology”.

Gelsinger explains: “Every smartphone, every telemedicine, every remote worker, every remote education, every autonomous vehicle, every aspect of humanity is becoming more digital. And when it becomes digital, it runs on semiconductors”.

COVID has created global spike in demand for tech products, leading to shortages of the chips that make this technology work. The shortage has since hit nearly every industry. For example, the shortage recently forced GM to pause production for some of its vehicles. Chips run virtually everything in modern cars from ignition and fuel regulation to seat-warmers.

Gelsinger says Intel will be taking on chip production for other companies, using their specifications. Intel will soon invest $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona and expand an existing facility in Ireland. Intel will also build a new factory elsewhere in Europe.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Nike, H&M, Gap, others forced into reckoning over Xinjiang

Major apparel retailers, including Nike, H&M, GAP, Zara, Uniqlo, are under fire from all sides over  possible ties to Xinjiang, China. Xinjiang is home to China’s Muslim Uighur population. The US, UK, EU and Canada recently imposed sanctions on some of Xinjiang’s governors and industrial leaders for their involvement in forced labor and internment camps.

Allegations of widespread forced labor in Xinjiang’s cotton plantations first arose last year. Forced labor allegations in factories go back further still. Xinjiang produces about 20% of the world’s cotton. Nearly half a million Uighurs are said to be virtual slaves on its numerous plantations. When the revelations first surfaced last year, several prominent retailers raced to put disclaimers on their websites. Most denied any direct connection with Xinjiang, but some admitted being “deeply concerned” about “indirect” ties to forced labor through their various suppliers in China.

Following the sanctions, Nike, H&M and Zara’s parent company Inditex faced some belated backlash over last year’s statements on Chinese social media, with many vowing to boycott the brands. Several Chinese celebrities have cut promotional ties with the brands, and major e-commerce sites in the country have dropped them. The stocks of these companies later fell when markets opened. Inditex and some of the other brands have now quietly removed these statements of concern from their websites.

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Israel elections: Zionist party rules out coalition with Arab party

As reported yesterday, Israel’s latest inconclusive election result has left no clear path to forming a governing coalition. Mansour Abbas’ breakaway Arab party the United Arab List party found itself in the unlikely position of deciding Israel’s next prime minister. With 87% of the vote tallied, the UAL is projected to win 4 seats in the Knesset. Abbas says he is open to cooperation either with PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s largely right-wing coalition, or with the centrist coalition of Netanyahu’s rival, Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu’s path to victory became even more uncertain today when one of his partners, the Religious Zionist party, ruled out any arrangement with the UAL. The Religious Zionists are an ultranationalist party run by Jewish West Bank settlers, whose leadership is openly racist.

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