The Swiss Speak Out On An Anti Turkish Initiative

The Swiss go to the polls tomorrow to vote on a ban on hiding one’s face in public , an initiative that directly targets Muslim women who wear the nicab and burqa , despite the fact that very few do so in the Alpine country. The polls give a short victory to the initiative called “antiburka” , after years of debates and the adoption of similar measures in other European countries.

Despite the fact that the text does not mention the words burqa and nicab, no one is aware of who the prohibition measure is aimed at. In fact, in the campaign posters you can read Stop Radical Islamism where women with nicab appear directly.

For their part, on their side, opponents of the initiative call to vote “no” on an “Islamophobic, absurd and useless” law. If the initiative is approved, it will be prohibited to completely cover the face in public, although exceptions are foreseen for example for places of worship .

“The objective of the initiative is not Muslims. We do not question their religious practices,” Jean-Luc Addor, spokesman for the “yes” and member of the right-wing populist UDC party , told AFP . For Addor, it is about defending “the values ​​of our civilization.”

He acknowledges that there are very few women who wear this type of clothing in Switzerland but, he explains, “when a problem is identified, when there is a problem, it is better to treat it before it gets out of control.”

Feminist opposition
“In addition to being useless, this text is racist and sexist. We think that in 2021, as feminists, it is not acceptable for the Swiss Constitution to have an article that orders or prohibits women, whatever it is,” Inés El Shikh, spokesperson for the Muslim feminist collective Los Fulares Violetas. For El Shikh, the bill creates the illusion of a problem where there is none and concerns only a few dozen women.

The “yes” is still ahead in the polls but its initial advantage, very comfortable, has been reduced since January. The federal government and Parliament oppose this measure on the grounds that it addresses a problem that does not exist.

The alternative, which would be adopted immediately in case of failure of the yes, would force people to show their faces when the authorities demand it for identification purposes, for example at the borders.

The offenders can be fined up to 10,000 Swiss francs (about 9,000 euros, $ 10,800). The Minister of Justice Switzerland , Karin Keller-Sutter, stressed that the vast majority of women who use niqab are tourists. Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was not unusual to see them shopping in the luxury stores in central Geneva. Liberals and left-wing politicians joined the initiative of the UDC party in the name of protecting women’s rights.

In Switzerland, 100,000 signatures in favor of a proposal are enough for citizens to speak out on it , in referendums that are held several times a year. It is a direct democracy that is the pride of this rich country of 8.6 million people.

According to 2019 figures from the statistics office, about 5.5% of the Swiss population is Muslim , essentially with roots in the former Yugoslavia, where this tradition in clothing does not exist.

Cruel Boat Trip Of 895 Cows Through Sea Of Bureaucracy

The almost 900 calves transported by the ship Karim Allah left the port of Cartagena on December 18 to be sold in Turkey as bait cattle, but they will end up slaughtered back in Spain after a cruel journey through the sea of ​​bureaucracy.

In between, the animals spent more than two months roaming the Mediterranean inside the old Lebanese-flagged freighter, an odyssey in which at least 22 cattle have already died, butchered and thrown into the water. This Saturday morning the unloading and slaughter of the rest of the cows began, in an operation that can last about 37 hours.

A boat loaded with 900 cows that nobody wants returns to Cartagena after two months at sea. The sanitary inspectors recommend the slaughter of the cows of the ship docked in Cartagena.

The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid on Friday rejected the appeal that requested the precautionary suspension of the order to sacrifice them. The journey for the animals is now coming to an end. In the same port of Escombreras, a tent has been set up next to the ship to kill them and remove the corpses in containers for disposal, without really knowing if they are infected with bluetongue, a non-contagious viral disease that affects ruminants. .

“I can’t explain it,” says Nabil Mohamad, the Syrian-born captain of the Karim Allah . “I’ve been in this for 25 years and nothing like this has ever happened to me,” he says. “I don’t understand anything, it has been very hard.” The nightmare began when they arrived at the port of Iskenderun, when the Turkish authorities rejected the merchandise, considering that the documentation did not make it clear that the 895 cattle were free of bluetongue disease.

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture has ensured that “at the time of its departure, the transport was covered by the certification of the Spanish veterinary authorities, which guarantees the good health of the animals.”

However, according to the version of Miguel Masramon, lawyer for the ship’s owner (Talia Shipping Line), there was a “mess” with the health certificates: “The certificates showed that the origin of the animals is Aragon and that it is a free zone blue tongue.

But the ministry had notified the OIE in November that there was a bluetongue outbreak in a farm in Huesca (Aragon). On the certificate of origin that Turkey receives it said ‘Aragon’, and in the ministry’s report to the OIE it also said ‘Aragon’. When Turkey receives the health certificates for the operation, “they see that the origin of the cattle is Aragon and, having no more information, they reject the merchandise.”

Luis Fernández, administrator of Ganados Ferru, one of the companies that owns the animals, confirms that “none of the calves left Huesca”. “In the certificates and the notification from the ministry, it should have been specified that the calves were from Zaragoza and Teruel,” he says.

Finally, the ship leaves Turkey on December 31. According to the shipowner’s lawyer, without the Turkish authorities examining the health of the cattle. “It was proposed to Turkey that they do PCR tests to confirm that they were healthy, but the Turkish authorities declined the offer,” says Matilde Moro, manager of the Spanish Association of Beef Beef Producers. The captain is then ordered to head to Libya to try to sell the cattle there, beginning the cattle odyssey across the Mediterranean.

In the port of Tripoli, after having taken blood samples from the calves, the Libyan authorities inform the ship that the animals cannot be unloaded because they do not comply with the blue tongue regulations.

“We deduced that they were tested for bluetongue antibodies and that some [of the animals] were positive,” says Masramon. “In Spain it is very common to vaccinate calves to prevent them from catching blue tongue.” According to the lawyer, that is why some of the calves would have tested positive.

Luis Fernández explains that “almost all” the calves had been vaccinated against bluetongue in their farms where they were born and that before being exported, they are subjected to PCR tests. The Libyan authorities did not disclose the result of the blood tests.

On January 9, the captain of the Karim Allah removes the vessel with the calves from Tripoli, under threat of imprisonment if it does not leave the African port. If Libya’s purchase failed, the World Trade exporter “ignores it,” says Masramon, and the ship is left to its own devices.

Near the coast of Tunisia, the freighter requests permission to enter the port of Bizerte in order to stock up on fodder for livestock. This is what the Tunisian newspaper La Presse tells it on January 23 , which reports that the Karim Allah is forced to leave the territorial waters of Tunisia and is prohibited from docking in any commercial port in the country.

According to Youssef Ben Romdhane, general director of Maritime Transport and Ports, the ship is carrying cattle suspected of being infected with the disease of the blue tongue, although “at the moment there is no document that proves the veracity of this information ”.

Converted into a stinking ship that nobody wants, the animals go without food for more than three days, only on water, until, finally, the freighter gets fodder to feed them in the port of Augusta, in Sicily.

After two and a half months, Karim Allah returns to Cartagena on February 22, but the bad dream has not ended: the authorities here prohibit him from entering Spanish territory. If it did, they consider that the cattle would be imported from Libya, the last country where they were tried to sell.

And Libya is prohibited from exporting live animals to the European Union due to the existence of foot-and-mouth disease on its territory. Therefore, Spain does not accept the entry of animals .

The Ministry of Agriculture also relies on another law that establishes that any product that the European Union exports to a third country and is rejected has only two outlets: either be sold to another non-EU country or destroyed in the place of origin.

So if the Karim Allah entered the port, the cattle would be isolated and slaughtered. To avoid this, the captain anchors abroad and the shipowner hires independent veterinarians from the Offshore Special Services (OSS) company, who take 39 blood samples from the cattle.

However, these samples were sealed by the Cartagena Customs department at noon on February 25, before they could be sent to the laboratory. Despite this, OSS veterinarians maintain that the animals “do not show clinical signs consistent with bluetongue.”

That same afternoon and at the request of the ministry, the captain docks at the Escombreras dock for the Animal Health veterinarians to inspect the animals. According to the captain, they did not take any blood samples. Indeed, the veterinary inspection report is based only on a visual inspection that concludes that the calves have skin conditions and digestive disorders.

The document counts 864 calves and records the unknown whereabouts of nine cattle, apart from the 22 that the captain admits died during the trip. But the minutes do not mention foot-and-mouth disease or blue tongue.

However, the ministry informs the shipowner that the animals must be slaughtered because they are not suitable for transport and cannot be imported. For Masramon, the shipowner’s lawyer, it is a “huge nonsense”. However, this order is endorsed by the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, which applies the precautionary principle and the prevalence of general interests.

Animal transport
Karim Allah’s 69-day odyssey from port to port across the Mediterranean has raised doubts about the guarantees of animal welfare on these types of trips.

The European Union regulates the transport of live animals through the European Council regulation on the protection of animals during transport . But from organizations like Animal Equality they affirm that these norms are not fulfilled. “Once they leave the port, there is no way to control it,” says Silvia Barquero, president of this entity.

In the case of the Karim Allah , although the 18 crew members monitored the status of the cattle, as confirmed by the captain, there were no veterinarians on board.

Boatman also points out that the Karim Allah, an old ship from 1956, was not built to transport livestock. “Yes, it used to be a vehicle freighter,” says the captain, “but now it has cattle and complies with the regulations. It has the certificate to do it until 2022 ”. Specifically, the vessel was conditioned for the transport of livestock in 2001. In addition, the inspection of the veterinarians of Animal Health considered that the cleanliness of the Karim Allah is “adequate” and did not observe overcrowded conditions.

However, given the consequences of this bureaucratic mess, animal organizations are demanding a change in the legislation relating to the transport of livestock. From Animal Equality they urge the Government of Spain to follow the example of other European countries and “prohibit the transport of live animals outside the European Union.”

For the Animalista Party – PACMA, the operation is a “sample of the cruelty of the cattle industry and the complicity of the administrations”. For this reason, it has presented proposals to the Government for the modification of the Royal Decree that regulates the transport of live animals.

“The tragedy of these animals illustrates that this type of trade is poorly controlled and that animals are victims of arbitrariness and errors,” they denounce from the Animal Welfare Foundation. For the organization, the case of Karim Allah is “a clear example of the lack of immediate and effective reaction on the part of the competent Spanish authorities”, which “have been slow to react for more than two months and have only reacted clearly due to the high pressure Social”.

Unions And Feminists Appeal The Prohibition Of 8-M Mobilizations

The unions UGT and CC OO and the two main platforms that call mobilizations in Madrid -8M Feminist Movement and 8M Commission- have decided to appeal to justice the prohibition of the Government Delegation in Madrid, which has vetoed all the mobilizations called for the 8 -M in the region .

The only community in which the central Executive prohibits mobilizations is Madrid, also the one with the worst epidemic data (an incidence of 253 cases per 100,000 inhabitants this Thursday, still at extreme risk and above the national average, 153).

The calls for March 8 began to be massive in Madrid in 2018, when more than 170,000 people, according to the official estimate, joined the demonstration called in the capital. Last year’s call, with 120,000 participants, was highly criticized because it was held a week before the state of alarm was decreed and was not prohibited, nor were sporting events or party acts that have not been so questioned later by part of the political class, mainly the PP and Vox.

That is why part of the feminist movement and the Minister of Equality herself, Irene Montero, consider that the mobilization of women is being “criminalized”

The Secretary of Equality of UGT Madrid and spokesperson for the 8-M feminist movement of Madrid, Ana Sánchez de la Coba, during a press conference. In video, De la Coba expresses his rejection of the veto of the March 8 demonstration in Madrid.

The unions have jointly filed the appeal before the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid for violation of the fundamental right to demonstrate, “which is not restricted by the state of alarm,” said Ana Sánchez de la Coba, Secretary of Equality of UGT Madrid.

“In addition, they make this decision in a community that has not even closed the bars, that they have to vacate parties on weekends, crowded transport … It is shameful, a barrabasada,” he added.

The 8M Feminist Movement platform will also appeal, convening one of the most important demonstrations that were planned for this 8-M in Madrid. “We are going to appeal and we are going to ask for a correction. We feel aggrieved, ”says Elena Sigüenza, spokesperson for the association.

The 8M Commission platform, the main promoter of the feminist strikes in 2018 and 2019 , has also announced legal measures: “We are going to use all legal tools to get out to our squares on March 8,” they say in a statement.

They announce that they will be visible on the street using “everything” that is allowed: “Go out to consume, go out to produce, go out to care, go out to study; to dye Madrid purple ”. The latter have requested the resignation of the Government delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco.

The representative of the Executive in the Community of Madrid explained on Thursday that the ban is due to “public health” reasons. Permission had been requested in the community for 104 different mobilizations. “If we add all the attendees we could easily have more than 60,000 people moving through the different streets of Madrid,” Franco said.

The organizers of the mobilizations have once again emphasized that the programmed events were “safe”. The main action of the 8M Commission was concentrations in four squares in the center of Madrid, with a capacity of 500 people, the maximum allowed.

A spokeswoman for the commission explained this Friday that there would be separation fences, that the capacity would be controlled, gel would be distributed among the participants and much attention would be paid to ensuring that no one took off their mask.

The members of 8M Movimiento Feminista proposed “a controlled concentration” in the Plaza de Callao, for which they had planned a maximum of 250 participants who had previously requested it by sending an email, following the criteria set by the Government Delegation in Madrid.

The tenth section of the contentious of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid (TSJM) will be the one that resolves the appeals that are presented against the decision not to authorize the demonstrations called in the capital on the occasion of 8-M.

The decision, or the decisions – because the criteria may vary according to the circumstances and guarantees of each call – will foreseeably arrive on Sunday, given the obvious time constraints. For now, only the appeal of the General Labor Confederation (CGT) has been formalized before the TSJM, but in media close to the court itself it is expected that some more will be presented, reports José María Brunet .

Paloma Vega, Secretary of the Organization of the CC OO of Madrid, has classified the delegation’s decision as “a criminalization of the feminist movement” and has labeled it as “irregular”. He sees “unfair” that a single criterion has been applied when denying all the mobilizations, without taking into account that some did not intend to gather even hundreds of people: “There is a high percentage that was adjusted to the right”.

The general secretary of CC OO of Madrid, Jaime Cedrún, has said that the delegation’s decision reminds him of the Franco regime: “It will be a judge who will have to tell us if we cannot demonstrate, not the delegation. What we do not want is to convene the rallies in a large restaurant, because there we could meet in this autonomous community ”.

In the same vein, Rosa Moreno, Secretary of Organization of UGT Madrid, has pronounced: “We are outraged and very angry because absolutely all the mobilizations have been denied.” He stressed that the protests called “were completely controlled, with all security measures such as masks and distance between participants.”

The unions have raised an alternative protest: that all the workers leave their work centers at 12 noon on March 8 and demonstrate in front of them for between five and 10 minutes. This protest is also called in the rest of Spain, where CC OO and UGT will hold mobilizations for International Women’s Day.

Karim Benzema Says I Only Have One Friend

Of the long list of questions that Karim Benzema answered by email (including voice messages, the latest fashion) due to his club’s imposition, the Real Madrid nine only avoided one about his reputation for being clueless, another about homophobia in football and a third about their favorite cars.

The rest, many dedicated to his childhood, his family, his relationship with money or failure, he answered them in French rich in onomatopoeia. Even in writing, Benzema seems a man with an easy laugh. He arrived at the photo session after going through the pits in the spa of the new luxury hotel in Madrid, manicure included.

Relaxed and charming, he showed why he is more than just a soccer star. If Maradona is an icon at the height of Marlon Brando andMessi would come to be Al Pacino, Karim Benzema (Lyon, 1987) belongs to the exclusive Robert Mitchum club, that is, those who possess the perspicacity of the coolest on the planet. If it seems exaggerated, make a note of this answer:

– How important is friendship in your life?

“I only have one friend.” Which shows that friendship is very important to me.

Perhaps the secret of that attitude is in a childhood that remembers idyllic. When asked if he believes that money brings happiness, he replies: “Nobody agrees. Money makes many things easier, but it doesn’t take millions to be happy.

When I was little, I had nothing at all. But he was happy ”. Benzema remembers those days glued to a ball: “I could spend a whole day kicking it against the wall and the garage of my house. I was a child who lived only for football ”.

It was his father who, seeing the boy’s gifts, pushed him into sport, sometimes harshly. “I was demanding, but thanks to that I have a mentality of steel. Of course, I am grateful to you. If today I am who I am, it is because of that education ”.

In line with his childhood, he assures that he never had idols, but models. “I come from a neighborhood where things were difficult. When I saw older boys well dressed and with nice cars, what I wanted was to be like them. In football, I would say that Ronaldo , the Brazilian, was a model for me ”.

In his social networks (no less than 37 million followers on Instagram) , Benzema usually limits himself to his training routine, although there is also room for his two children, some pose next to one of his millionaire cars or paying tribute to figures like him boxer Mike Tyson and slain ’90s hip hop idol Tupac Shakur. “I admire Tyson because we both came from the bottom and we went up little by little. We never had it easy and they never gave us anything ”.

Trained at the Olympique de Lyon , in whose first team he made his debut at age 17, Benzema was an early winner who was already winning titles and scoring goals while still a teenager. Already then he was pointing out elegant footballer ways and, why not, a bit cold.

Those who understand football as a contact sport do not fully appreciate it. Those who see this activity as something between dance and chess, love it.

He landed in Madrid a decade ago and confesses that adapting was not easy. “I was only 21 years old, I was alone and my family could not accompany me. I used to spend all my time with them, so my beginnings were difficult ”. Despite being reserved with his love life, the player cultivates his image of a great father with Melia, a seven-year-old girl, and Ibrahim, born in Madrid three years ago.

“Social networks allow me to be close to my fans. And to the people who love me I have to show them, from time to time, something more than football. That is why I sometimes post photographs with my children. I am a father, I have wonderful children and my life has changed. I don’t think about what will become of me in 10 years. The main thing is that my children are happy ”.

International with the French national team 81 times and fifth top scorer in the history of Real Madrid, Benzema denies that the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has freed the predator from the area within him. The fact is that just three years ago he was shooting at the door less than ever and today he is the author of almost a third of the goals of his team.

With Bale and Ronaldo away from Madrid, the Frenchman is the natural leader of the squad, the guy on whom the burden falls that this season is not something a club like Real Madridcan’t afford: a transition year. “The only thing I would say is that Cristiano’s departure allowed me to play a different role. He was scoring 50 or 60 goals a year and you had to adapt to his game.

He is one of the best in the world and I was happy by his side ”. He also speaks without reservation about his relationship with Zinedine Zidane: “He is an older brother to me. Off the pitch, he is always there to advise me ”. When asked if the roots unite them, the player once again demonstrates his ability to dribble: “We only speak the same language,” he laughs.

The scandal over the alleged blackmail of his teammate Valbuena left him out of the French team, a painful chapter in his career. He could have been part of that France that won the 2018 World Cup. “In a race there are always ups and downs and that was a very low point. But every human being faces challenges. Mine are big, but I have enough back and psychological capacity to fit them. I am not giving up ”.

He assures that his greatest virtue is tenacity, that he accepts criticism but tries not to read it to protect himself. That calm and that distance from him are often interpreted as a certain disdain. Does Benzema protect himself from the outside while maintaining that apparent coldness? “It is not true that nothing affects me.

I have feelings, but I will never show my weaknesses, even if I have them. When I’m bad I keep it to myself ”. Reminding him of the meme that turned his dribbling on the line against Godín, Savic and Giménez into a museum painting in the 2017 Champions League semi-final, the player acknowledges that it was a “very beautiful” action due to “the movement, the vision, speed and dribbling ”. He considers it one of his best plays.

His fondness for fast cars is known (in his networks there are copies of Porsche, Lamborghini or the Bugatti Chiron that he showed on Instagram in December). Also to music, especially rap. “Who doesn’t like cars and music? Right now I listen to Big Ben, a boy from my neighborhood ”.

He also cites rappers like Ninho, a young musician who has become a phenomenon in France, or the famous Booba , also controversial for destroying the Duty Free at Orly airport in a fight. As the footballer usually wears Kanye West’s Yeezy sneakers , the question also seems obliged: “I haven’t listened to rap for a long time.American, but, I don’t know, his shoes are cool and I wear them, ”he says.

The fashion industry can search for all the conceptual alibis it wants, but for Benzema, one of its most celebrated clients, the matter is much simpler. “I don’t have favorite clothes, I like everything I wear. Even a tracksuit can be nice, it depends on how you wear it and with what ”.

He does not consider himself presumptuous: “Why do you want to worry about your image if you are the way you are? You have to like yourself, if you wait for people to tell you that they like you, you didn’t understand anything ”.

Regarding his favorite smell or perfume, the player responds with a laugh: “I always smell good! I have many fragrances. But I can’t say what perfume is or everyone will want to buy it, ”he laughs.

When talking about how the pandemic has affected football, the player is resigned. “I hope we get out of this chaos soon. We don’t like to play without an audience, but we’ve gotten used to it. As we love football, we are happy just playing, ”he says without mentioning that Ballon d’Or that was canceled in 2020 and that, given his recent performance, could easily have been his.

Regarding racism in stadiums, the player assures that it has always existed. “It should never happen. It is disgusting, horrible and dirty. We are all the same. I have not suffered racist comments, although they have insulted me ”. How do you react when that happens? The answer is once again worthy of Robert Mitchum: “I am focused on my football. My ears are elsewhere ”.