Events


Globally


TeleSUR: Global Food Prices Surge 14.3 Pct in 2022: FAO

In 2022, the FAO’s sub-indexes show cereal prices are up by 17.9 percent from 2021, vegetable oil prices are up by 13.9 percent, dairy prices are up by 19.6 percent, meat prices are up by 10.4 percent, and sugar prices are up by 4.7 percent.

TeleSUR: New Subvariant of COVID-19 Spreads Rapidly - WHO

At a briefing on Thursday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of the rapid spread of XBB.1.5, a new subvariant of COVID-19.

“There is intense transmission and pressure on health systems, particularly in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and a recombinant subvariant is spreading rapidly. XBB.1.5 is the recombinant of two BA.2 sublineages,” Ghebreyesus said.

The Conversation: Long COVID stemmed from mild cases of COVID-19 in most people, according to a new multicountry study

Even mild COVID-19 cases can have major and long-lasting effects on people’s health. That is one of the key findings from our recent multicountry study on long COVID-19 – or long COVID – recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Europe


Naked Capitalism: Zelensky’s Bloody War Against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

TeleSUR: Ukraine’s GDP Plunges Record 30.4 Pct in 2022

In the fourth quarter of last year, Ukraine’s economy experienced a decline of 35.5 percent compared with the same period in 2021, it said.

The Ukrainian economy saw a 3.4-percent growth in 2021. The country’s GDP is expected to rise 3.2 percent this year, according to the government’s projection.

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TeleSUR: French Family Doctors to Continue Strike

On Thursday, French family doctors took to the streets of Paris to demand that the authorities improve their working conditions and double the value of health care fees in urban areas.

WSWS: Starmer pledges austerity alliance between future UK Labour government, big business and unions

Naked Capitalism: Germany, the Birthplace of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 Vaccine, Now Wants to Cancel Its Vaccine Deal


East Asia and Oceania


WSWS: Australian public health system breaking down as funding cuts to Medicare deepen

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Australians to access free medical care under Medicare. Growing numbers of general practitioners (GPs) are being forced to impose out-of-pocket fees due to a massive decline in real terms of payments provided by the public health insurance scheme.


Central Asia and the Middle East


TeleSUR: 8 Million Pakistanis Remain Displaced After Summer Floods

At least 2 million homes have been destroyed or damaged, as well as some 13 000 km of roads, 3 000 km of railways, 439 bridges and 4.4 million acres of agricultural land, the official said.


North America


Common Dreams: ‘What Are We Doing Wrong?': US Police Killed Record Number of People in 2022

Nearly three years after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked worldwide protests demanding far-reaching reforms to stop law enforcement agents from perpetrating violence against the communities they’re meant to protect, new data shows 2022 was the deadliest year on record for people who had police encounters in the United States.

At least 1,176 people were killed by police officers last year, according to the project Mapping Police Violence—the most since experts began tracking police violence and the use of deadly force.

The number represents the killing of more than three people per day on average by police officers, or nearly 100 per month last year.

Common Dreams: Pentagon Doc Reveals US Lied About Afghan Civilians Killed in 2021 Drone Strike

Circle of Blue: 20 Years of Severe Drought Impede Huge Developments in Southwest

WSWS: “The whole world’s watching”: 10,000 New York City nurses prepare to strike, as NYSNA blocks united struggle

Ten thousand New York City nurses across five hospitals are set to strike on Monday after the expiration of their contracts last week. Nurses are fighting for better pay and higher, safer staffing ratios amid a “tripledemic” and historic inflation.

TeleSUR: South Carolina Makes Abortion Legal After Sixth Week

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state’s ban on abortion at six weeks violates the state constitution by infringing on privacy protections.

Thus, the ban on abortion after the sixth week, which was implemented in the state in June 2022, is repealed. Its implementation was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the “Roe v. Wade” ruling, which had protected a pregnant woman’s right to choose since 1973.

WSWS: 2022 was Canada’s deadliest year of the COVID-19 pandemic

According to official statistics released by Health Canada, 2022 proved to be the deadliest year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada so far. Almost 20,000 Canadians died from COVID-19, representing close to a 30 percent increase in fatalities compared to 2021.


South America


TeleSUR: Brazil To Encourage COVID-19 Vaccination Before Carnival

Health Surveillance Secretary Ethel Maciel said that the pandemic continues and “the level of vaccine coverage is quite worrying” since less than 50 percent of 210 million Brazilians have received three doses.

TeleSUR: Firefighters Fight Forest Fires in Uruguay

TeleSUR: Peru Dismisses Its Ambassador to Bolivia

The Peruvian Government announced on Friday the decision to dismiss its ambassador in La Paz, Carina Palacio, in the context of the controversy over the alleged interference of former Bolivian president Evo Morales in the country’s internal affairs.

TeleSUR: Peru: Nation-Wide Strike Against Boluarte Reaches Third Day

TeleSUR: Peru: Protests Hit Traffic at 40 Points on National Highways

According to the Superintendence of Land Transportation of People, Cargo and Goods (SUTRAN), six regions of the country have 40 points on national highways with interrupted traffic.


The Ukraine Proxy Conflict


TeleSUR: Ukraine Rejects Ceasefire With Russia and Carries Out Attacks

WSWS: NATO powers send tanks to Ukraine

The United States, France and Germany have announced that they will send over a hundred tanks and other armored, tracked vehicles to Ukraine, massively escalating NATO’s proxy war with Russia.

TeleSUR: US, Germany To Send Ukraine Fighting Vehicles

During the call, Biden expressed the intent to supply Ukraine with Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, tracked armored combat vehicles that are used to transport troops onto battlefield. Biden did not specify how many such vehicles will go to Ukraine.

Scholz, for his part, said Germany was prepared to provide Ukraine with Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles, according to the statement. The United States and Germany will train Ukrainian forces on how to operate the respective vehicles being given to Ukraine.

WSWS: Macron’s sending tanks to Ukraine marks escalation of France’s role in war on Russia

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans for France to deliver AMX-10 RC light tanks to the Ukrainian military. This is the first time that Western-designed tanks will be sent to the Ukrainian armed forces. It marks a significant escalation of French involvement in the war.

In a tweet announcing the deal, Macron stated, “Until victory, until peace returns to Europe, our support for Ukraine will not weaken. I confirmed it to President Zelensky: France will provide light combat tanks.” The exact number of AMX-10 RCs to be delivered is unknown, but they will be transferred from the French military, which currently has 248. The vehicles sent to Ukraine will be replaced by EBRC Jaguar vehicles at a cost of €5 million apiece.


Analysis


The Left and the Right


Monthly Review: Socialism is not a Utopian ideal, but an achievable necessity: The First Newsletter (2023)


Inside the Imperial Core


WSWS: Opposition to union bureaucracy, class war monetary policies to fuel growth of US class struggle in 2023

Strikes by workers in the United States grew significantly over the course of 2022 and class conflict will escalate in 2023 with an estimated 1.6 million workers facing contract expirations. The number of large strikes involving more than 1,000 workers increased from 16 in 2021 to 22 in 2022, with the total number of workers involved growing from 80,700 to 117,300, according to government figures.

WSWS: As Washington prepares for conflict with China, US confronts major labor shortages in semiconductor manufacture

The manufacture of semiconductors has become a central focal point of the escalating conflict of the Biden administration with China. The Biden administration is also seeking to ramp up the domestic manufacture of semiconductors to reduce reliance on imports, but the ruling class is confronting significant obstacles in implementing this plan.

A report released last year by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Reshoring Semiconductor Manufacturing: Addressing the Workforce Challenge, warns that the United States faces a major shortage of skilled labor as it tries to move semiconductor manufacturing onshore.

Semiconductors are a vital component in every aspect of the modern economy. Logistics networks and machine tools rely on large amounts of raw computing power, as do end products like automobiles, home appliances, and of course consumer electronics. The supply chains for semiconductors sprawl across continents and bring together the labor of millions of workers. Ongoing shortages caused by the refusal of capitalist governments to deal with the pandemic have had ramifications throughout the global economy.

The US government is concerned that these shortages will impact its ability to deploy its military. Stocks of military hardware have been poured into Ukraine. Washington is worried about its ability to continue to escalate its conflict with Russia, as well as opening up a new front against China.

However, as the CSIS report outlines, the US confronts a major stumbling block in trying to move production within the US: a lack of skilled labor. According to the report, new fabs (the facilities that turn raw silicon wafers into functional chips) being built by TSMC in Arizona and Intel in Ohio are already facing construction delays due to labor shortages. The Intel project will require 7000 workers just for construction.

The report continues, “U.S. chipmakers are already grappling with a talent shortage, and according to some estimates, when the new U.S. fabs now being planned come on stream, an additional 70,000 to 90,000 fab workers will be needed. Some suggest that if the United States were to seek to become self-sufficient in chips, the number would rise to around 300,000.”

Mint Press News: Why is the West Lamenting the End of ‘Liberal’ Israel?

Even before the new Israeli government was officially sworn in on December 29, angry reactions began emerging, not only among Palestinians and other Middle Eastern governments but also among Israel’s historic allies in the West.

As early as November 2, top US officials conveyed to Axios that the Joe Biden Administration is “unlikely to engage with Jewish supremacist politician, Itamar Ben-Gvir.”

In fact, the US government’s apprehensions surpassed Ben-Gvir, who was convicted by Israel’s own court in 2007 for supporting a terrorist organization and inciting racism.

US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan reportedly “hinted” that the US government would also boycott “other right-wing extremists” in Netanyahu’s government.

However, these strong concerns seemed absent from the congratulatory statement by the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, on the following day. Nides relayed that he had “congratulated (Netanyahu) on his victory and told him that I look forward to working together to maintain the unbreakable bond” between the two countries.

In other words, this ‘unbreakable bond’ is stronger than any public US concern regarding terrorism, extremism, fascism, and criminal activities.


Climate Change


Common Dreams: Oxford Study Warns Extreme Heat and Drought to Hit 90% of World Population

Inside Climate News: Scientists Report a Dramatic Drop in the Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice

Links between global warming and the decline of sea ice in the Southern Ocean are still unclear, but climate can’t be ruled out as a driver.

Common Dreams: World Could Lose Half of Glaciers This Century Even If Warming Is Kept to 1.5°C