GLOBAL PULSE: Britain’s Labour goes back to the ’70s, German military’s Nazi nostalgia and the in-flight ban on laptops

BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY GOES BACK IN TIME

Struggling to make headway in the ongoing election campaign, Britain’s Labour party wants to nationalize rail, mail and energy companies, in a ‘transformational programme’ for the country.

According to the draft of a radical manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn’s party is promising a dramatic boost in finance for childcare, a review of sweeping cuts to universal credit, a price cap on energy bills and an annual injection of £6 billion for the health programme and £1.6 billion for social care.

Critics say it represents a shift back to the 1970s. The Conservatives are saying it is a plan to “unleash chaos on Britain”. Jobs will be lost, families will be hit and the economic security damaged for a generation, they say.

The money will be raised through tax rises for those earning over £80,000 and a reversal of corporation and inheritance tax cuts.

 

GERMAN ARMY’S NAZI NOSTALGIA

The German military police is currently investigating 275 cases involving accusations of racism or far-Right extremism, setting off an alarm about the growing but long ignored presence of pro-Nazi extremists in the ranks. When the barracks were searched, authorities found an array of Nazi-era military memorabilia.

The revelations, in the middle of an election year, have added a disturbing new dimension to Germany’s effort to address a surge of extremist activity since the country took in nearly one million refugees in 2015. One soldier attached a Nazi-era war flag to the hood of his car and drove past a refugee shelter, while drawing his hand across his throat.

From July, all applicants hoping to join the military will have to undergo a security check aimed at weeding out potential extremists and Nazi nostalgia among the youth.

 

UN WARNS AGAINST AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM

The UN’s new Secretary-General António Guterres says international institutions must stand up for threatened values, as human rights agenda loses ground to ‘aggressive nationalism’.

“Europe’s greatest gift to the world was the values of enlightenment. Now they are being called into question and under threat. We are seeing the human rights agenda losing ground to the national sovereignty agendas. We see more and more irrational behaviours, including an aggressive nationalism,” he said in his first speech in London since his appointment in January.

Guterres is seen as a potential reformer for an institution that is struggling to stay relevant in the face of criticisms from Donald Trump, and the impasse between Russia and the US on the Security Council.

“We need to fight xenophobia, anti-semitism and hatred of Muslim communities,” he said.

 

HIV PATIENTS ARE LIVING LONGER NOW

Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments, a study in The Lancet suggests.

Twenty-year-olds who started antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are projected to live 10 years longer than those first using it in 1996, it found. Anti-retroviral therapy has been called “one of the greatest public health success stories of the past 40 years”. It is also more difficult for the virus to build up a resistance to the most recent drugs.

The drug combination, improved screening and prevention programmes have helped.

Doctors say that starting treatment early is crucial to achieve a long and healthy life. But groups working among at-risk communities say that there are still too many people unaware they have the virus.

 

LAPTOP BAN ON EUROPE-U.S. FLIGHTS

The U.S. plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe.

Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle-East. The ban was based on fears that terrorists can convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an aircraft.

However, the aviation industry says that this ban could actually endanger flights. Laptops and tablets in the checked baggage means that devices with a history of lithium-ion battery fires could set off a deadly conflagration in a cargo hold — where no one can put out the fires.

The FAA recorded 33 incidents in 2016 of personal electronic devices causing fire emergencies. Flight attendants used halon fire suppressant extinguishers and water extinguishers to put out the fire.

 

Picture Courtesy: Twitter @jeremycorbyn

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