How To Get Away With Murder
March 17, 2021
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“The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is to a more violent world.” — Hannah Arendt
“They leave the genitals off Barbie and Ken, but they manufacture every kind of war toy. Because sex is more threatening to us than aggression.” — Marilyn French
How To Get Away With Murder
(Ozan Kose via Getty Images)
Turkish men get away with murder — literally. Since 2002, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist Justice and Development Party took office, instances of domestic violence and femicide have soared, and the men responsible continue to go unpunished.
Murders of women rose from 66 in 2002 to 953 in the first seven months of 2009, after which the government stopped releasing the data. Turkey’s interior minister said 266 women died from domestic violence in 2020, but women’s rights groups say the number is much higher. They cite their own figures of 370 recorded femicides and 171 cases of women dying under suspicious circumstances. Add to that women’s suicides, which get only cursory investigation.
“In Turkey, at least three women are being killed every day,” said an activist and women’s issues commentator. She noted that femicide is becoming more violent, and some of the brutality is tantamount to systematic torture. The trial of Melek Ipek, a 31-year-old domestic violence survivor, could be the tipping point.
Melek says she was excelling in high school and hoped to become a math teacher when she was raped by Ramazan Ipek and forced to marry him. For years she endured brutal beatings and insults. In early January, 36-year-old Ramazan handcuffed his wife, hit her with a rifle butt, and beat her throughout the night while threatening to kill her and their two daughters aged 7 and 9. In the morning Ramazan left the house, having vowed to kill her and the traumatized children when he came back. Upon Ramazan’s return, a still-handcuffed Melek grabbed the rifle. A struggle ensued, the gun went off and Ramazan was killed. After calling the police, Melek was arrested and charged with murder.
The first court hearing was Monday. In the indictment, prosecutors describe Ramazan as a family man, and contend the fact that Melek didn’t seek help from police or her neighbors before or during the attack is evidence she intended to shoot her husband. Activists and lawyers say women have little faith in Turkey’s legal system. Police often persuade battered women to return to their husbands, restraining orders are rarely enforced, and courts give violent men reduced sentences for good behavior, imparting a sense of impunity. In 2017, a Turkish court acquitted two men accused of helping kill their sister because of her Western lifestyle. Melek faces life in prison, and remains in jail awaiting her next court hearing on April 2.
In his first decade in power, Erdogan made a show of instituting democratic reforms as part of his country’s bid to join the EU. Turkey became the first signatory of 2011’s Istanbul Convention, the first international agreement to address domestic violence. But a decade later, women’s rights campaigners say they are fighting attempts by Islamists to withdraw from the convention and roll back favorable legislation. Erdogan has encountered resistance from his own female supporters and family members, and it appears he has shelved the idea of withdrawing, for now at least. (NYT, $)
Massacre in Mozambique
- ISIS-linked militants in Mozambique claimed their first attack in June 2019 in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. Throughout 2020, the insurgents regularly engaged the military to capture and hold key towns. Brutality and mass killings have been hallmarks of the insurgency, including the murder of 52 people in the village of Xitaxi in April.
- Almost 2,700 people on all sides have died in the violence and some 670,000 people have been displaced. Beheadings are particularly popular with the militants, and in Cabo Delgado they are beheading children as young as 11. The director of Save the Children in Mozambique said reports of the horrifically unconscionable attacks on children “sicken us to our core.”
- Last week, the US declared the Mozambique group a foreign terrorist organization over its links to ISIS; on Monday the US embassy there said American special forces would train Mozambican marines for two months, with the country also providing medical and communications equipment, to help combat the insurgency. (Guardian)
Separatist Secession Soon?
- Yemen has been in upheaval since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country. Houthis still control the country’s northern areas. Last year, a new unity government was formed in the southern city of Aden under a power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia. The goal was to end the power struggle between the separatists, or STC, backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and loyalists to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia. The union hoped both sides would unite to fight the Houthis. In reality, the UAE has been supporting the separatists that have been calling for secession.
- Yemen’s government in Aden is headquartered in the Maashiq Presidential Palace. Saudi troops guard the inside of the palace, but STC forces guard the outside. On Tuesday angry demonstrators stormed the palace amid public protests over the lack of services, poor living conditions, and depreciation of the local currency. STC forces did not stop them.
- A reporter said the protesters are members of the national security forces who have not been paid for nine months. Yemeni and Saudi forces evacuated the prime minister and other cabinet members to a military building near the palace grounds. Aden’s police chief was able to talk the protesters down, but more demonstrations will surely follow due to the country’s deteriorating services and economic conditions. (Al Jazeera)
Additional World News
- In Tokyo, Blinken And Austin Work To Revive Asian Alliance To Counter China (NPR)
- Zuckerberg Faces the Bookkeeper: Facebook Reaches Deal With News Corp. Australia To Pay For News Content (NPR)
- Mass funerals held as Myanmar coup death toll revised up to 149 (Guardian)
- Nigeria: Inflation hits four-year peak as food prices soar (Al Jazeera)
- The Greenland ice sheet may be more vulnerable than we knew to global warming, new study shows (WaPo, $)
- Double trouble: Kashmiri children return to schools after two years of lockdowns (Al Jazeera)
- The last living man of the Juma people in Brazil has died from Covid-19. (NYT, $)
- WHO Points To Wildlife Farms In Southern China As Likely Source Of Pandemic (NPR)
- The Pandemic and the Future City (NYT, $)
- Some Zoos Are Vaccinating Their Animals Against Covid-19 (NPR). Preventing a pandemic-era Harambe.
- EU regulator ‘convinced’ AstraZeneca benefit outweighs risk (AP)
- Italy Heads Into Another Lockdown (NYT, $)
- The more the merrier: China approves another COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use (AP)
- Moderna Gives First Vaccine Shots To Young Kids As Part Of COVID-19 Study (NPR)
Uber & Lyft Leave Workers By The Curb
(Al Seib via Getty Images)
- Tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers obtained grants and loans under the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program of the US Small Business Administration, established to help small businesses weather severe economic disruptions during the pandemic. The drivers received at least $80 million in government assistance.
- Policy experts said it was unusual for such a vast pool of workers under the umbrella of multibillion-dollar corporations to tap into that money, but they qualified because gig workers are classified as independent contractors under the law, a designation that companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash fought last year to maintain.
- Policy experts and gig economy observers said tech companies benefited from their workforce’s access to programs the firms did not pay into. The founder of the popular blog The Rideshare Guy said his site posted guides during the pandemic on how to access the different types of government assistance. “From the companies’ perspective, they really got the best of both worlds: paying drivers as independent contractors and the government covered all of their benefits.” (WaPo, $)
Making A Reservation At The White House
- The first people to inhabit America’s lands hundreds of years before colonists arrived finally have one of their own heading up an important federal agency. Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo, has become the first Native American Cabinet secretary in US history.
- The Senate voted 51-40 Monday to confirm the Democratic congresswoman to lead the Interior Department, an agency that will play a crucial role in the Biden administration’s ambitious efforts to combat climate change and conserve nature.
- In addition to managing the country’s public lands, endangered species, and natural resources, the department is responsible for the government-to-government relations between the US and Native American tribes, making Haaland’s confirmation as impactful as it is historic.
- The Interior Department has been used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples for much of its history. “Indian country has shouted from the valleys, from the mountaintops, that it’s time. It’s overdue,” said a Sandia Pueblo tribal member. (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Southwest border crossings on pace for highest levels in 20 years, Biden admin says (NBC)
- FBI facing allegation that its 2018 background check of Brett Kavanaugh was ‘fake’ (Guardian)
- Sacking the Sacklers: Sackler family agrees to pay $4.2 billion as part of plan to dissolve OxyContin maker Purdue (CNN)
- Right-Wing Propagandists Were Doing Something Unique (Atlantic)
- California Sues Nursing Home Chain, Saying It Manipulated Ratings System (NYT, $)
- The father of the web: Tim Berners-Lee: ‘We need social networks where bad things happen less’ (Guardian)
- The Stimulus Bill Is the Most Economically Liberal Legislation in Decades (New Yorker)
- Asian Americans reported 3,800 hate-related incidents during the pandemic, report finds (Guardian)
- George Floyd’s killing sparked a debate on police reform. We need to think bigger. (WaPo, $)
- Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea? (NYT, $). I don’t think our fleet of F-16s will help.
With Corporations Like These, Who Needs College?
- Google is Boldly Going Where No Company Has Gone Before. The tech behemoth announced the launch of new certificate programs designed to help people bridge any skills gap and get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields — without a college degree.
- “The pandemic has led to a truly horrible year,” Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview. “But it has also created profound shifts along the journey to digital transformation in ways no one could have imagined.”
- While the pandemic greatly accelerated the shift to digital, Google has been observing a more gradual shift over several years. But as more and more digital jobs became available, it became obvious that there was a skills gap. “You can’t just say the next generation will naturally have the skills they need,” says Pichai. “We saw a lot of unfilled positions when it came to jobs in tech. It was a supply mismatch. Yet people were hungry to fill those positions. So we asked ourselves, ‘Why is there a gap?’”
- The light bulb moment came when analyzing data from Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate program, which the company launched on Coursera in 2018. A high percentage of students enrolling came from nontraditional backgrounds, and many didn’t have a degree. Furthermore, 46% reported being in the lowest-income bracket, making less than $30,000 a year.
- Google concluded it was important to offer programs that were available to as many people as possible … and that taught in-demand, real-world skills. The programs should offer a clear path to a high-paying job and a stable career, or even be a stepping stone to starting a business.
- Lisa Gevelber is vice president of the broader initiative Grow With Google, its plan to help accelerate economic recovery and provide opportunities for millions. She says the key is a continually developing plan, with the online certificate programs at its core. Each of the new certificate programs — in project management, data analytics, and user experience (UX) design — is available on the online course platform Coursera, which works with universities and organizations to offer courses, certifications, and degrees in various subjects.
- Google will also offer a new Associate Android Developer Certification course, over 100,000 need-based scholarships, and partnerships with more than 130 employers willing to hire graduates of the certification program. Most enrollees will finish in six months or less, at a cost of around $240 for US students.
- “Gaining a certificate is based on passing the assessments,” proving someone can do the job, Gevelber says. And passing those assessments isn’t easy. She describes them as “rigorous,” but there’s lots of support so students won’t get discouraged. (Inc.)
- Architecture vs. loneliness: 2021 Pritzker Prize Awarded To Architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal (NPR)
- The Making of a ‘European Yellowstone’ (NYT, $)
- The OODA Loop: How Fighter Pilots Make Fast and Accurate Decisions (FS)
- Dead Sea scroll fragments and ‘world’s oldest basket’ found in desert cave (Guardian). The basket was desert-ed centuries ago.
- Pandemic parenting: The workweek doesn’t pay a living wage, and paid leave isn’t enough to compensate (Vox)
- Doctors Are Investigated After Posting Organ Photos Online as ‘Price Is Right’ Game (NYT, $). Talk about a sanguine sense of humor.
- The climate controversy swirling around NFTs (Verge)
- Discovering WW1 tunnel of death hidden in France for a century (BBC)
- Oscars: Riz Ahmed first Muslim to bag Best Actor nomination (Al Jazeera)
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