Assange has been at the Belmarsh prison since May 2019. His lawyers and family say his mental and physical health are deteriorating dramatically. A group of 60 doctors have stated in a letter to UK authorities that Julian Assange could potentially die in prison. They “have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020.”
For more than 10 years protesters demand for Julian Assange to be freed. We can see them back in January 2020 in front of the Belmarsh Prison chanting. A group of protestors called the Gilets jaunes came all the way from Paris to support the movement.
As the global pandemic unfolds, journalists and Assange supporters alike are continuing their efforts to spread the message of Assange’s condition. The British government states that mass gatherings should not take place.
There aren’t strict regulations that prohibit citizens from protesting, however the UK government has issued an advice note for people participating in protests that you could read here :
“The current advice in the UK is that due to the coronavirus, mass gathering events should not take place.”
The right to protest is imbedded in many international treaties as a human right. Many consider that Jualian Assange’s case is also tied to our freedom of expression. Our foundational freedoms are currently being defied by a public health threat on a global scale. The question remaining is, how this threat will shape the future of democratic governance?
Featured Image credit: Spanish protesters wear masks of the ‘Anonymous’ group and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Photograph: Jon Nazca/REUTERS
Yesterday May 6th 2020, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had a crisis meeting with the Minister Presidents of the 16 federal states in Germany about easing lockdown restrictions and how individual states should deal with it.
In the following press conference, the Federal Chancellor announced, that the following easing measures had been adopted by the government:
1. All shops are allowed to open again from next week under strict hygiene conditions and social distancing. Until now, only shops with a floor space of less than 800 square metres had been allowed to do so.
2. The ban against social contact will remain until the 5th of June at the least, to prevent the meeting of groups in a private area.
3. Outdoor sports, such as tennis or football should be possible from next week under strict condition. It is still unclear when gyms and other sports clubs that offer indoor sports can reopen. According to Merkel “the risk is too high.”
4. Restaurants and bars can look forward to open their doors again. But there are also conditions here. Only half of the tables may be occupied due to social distancing and mask obligation applies. In order to be prepared in the event of a second wave, costumers are required to provide their contact details, so that the government are able to trace an infection chain.
5. Restrictions have also been eased in the area of culture. Galleries and museums can now show their exhibitions again. Zoos and playgrounds can also rejoice life.
6. Social contacts are also being considered. From now on you can meet with people from a second household
7. The responsibility for new easing and how to proceed with the pandemic will now be in the hands of the federal states.
Merkel named the positive development but on the same time warned for caution.
She furthermore assured if Germany is close to a second wave, the easing would be withdrawn again.
Since the year 2000, Geatano “Tonino” Copia runs the restaurant “Pinocchio” in Gummersbach (Germany). The native Sicilian has cooked his way into the heart of many customers with his big heart, lots of humour and good food. But now he must fear for his existence.
Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus he has to fight with financial cells. Fewer and fewer people have come because of the risk of infection. “I really noticed that since the beginning of February the costumers are missing. When I served in January at the weekend about 500-1000 costumers for lunch and dinner, it was only half of it in February. Of course, this had also a financial impact ” he said.
Almost three weeks ago, the public health service closed down all restaurants and prohibited serving customers across Germany. The only way to earn money now is the delivery and pick up service his restaurant offers. But he remains sceptical: “It is good that my restaurant has a good reputation in this area and that I have so many loyal customers. But I fear the future. The cost remain the same, but the proceeds are only 50% compared to normal times. I had to send 90% of my employees in short-time work”, he says.
Besides the fear of existence, the fear for family and friends in Italy is in the foreground.“I brought my mother, who actually wanted to enjoy her retirement in Italy, already home. However, I have more relatives and friends there and when I see the pictures from Italy, I am really worried and scared. This is only natural”.
The federal government of North-Rhine Westphalia has approved a 25 billion- Euros rescue package for people like Tonino. It is designated to safe small businesses such as driving schools, restaurants or hotels from financial ruin and to avert the consequences of the crisis. It should be possible to obtain the permits quickly and easily.
“This help is really good and comes in very handy. I could probably close my business, because I don’t earn enough money to pay my rent, employees or the car I need for my delivery” complains the father of three and grandfather of two.
Geatano Copia is one example of many, who will be hit very hard by the crisis. The friendly pizza maker has one last appeal: Stay at home and do not lose your heart.
Since its outbreak in Wuhan (China) in December 2019 the Corona virus or Corvid 19 has set the world in fear. Nearly every country is affected and has cases. The number is extremely rising.
According to Channel 4 news, 563 people have died in the UK from the 1st to the 2nd of April 2020. That’s why countries are under lock down and public life is set onto zero.
The most important thing is to contain the virus, so that the health care system does not collapse, and the care of all sick people in hospitals is guaranteed.
The question is how to behave and what rules and advices are given by the governments across Europe? Through a press release, the Robert-Koch institute, has given 10 rules for people to follow:
1:STAY AT HOME: This is the most important rule! People are advised not to leave their home if they do not need to buy food, go to work or to the doctor. Especially elderly people or people with health problems are asked not to leave their house at all. They can ask family or friends to do the shopping for them. If this is not possible, they can use delivery service
2:DO NOT HAVE ANY SOCIAL CONTACT APART FROM PEOPLE YOU ARE LIVING WITH The next very important thing is to reduce your social contact. The governments across Europe advised people not to meet friends, work colleges or other people you are not living with. They also warned that grandparents shouldn’t have any personal contact to their grandchildren, as elderly people are mostly in danger.
3: HOMEOFFICE If you have the possibility to work from home, you should do it. It will keep you safe.
4: AVOID LARGE CROWDS In these times you should not go into parks or other public places. Most of the governments have already closed public places likes parks, restaurants or hotels.
5: DO NOT BUY TOO MANY GROCERIES This is a very big problem in Germany. People are buying too much food for themselves. The governments said that the supply of food is guaranteed at all times. Panic shopping is unnecessary and lacks solidarity towards your fellow men.
6: SNEEZ AND COUGH INTO THE CROOK OF ONES ARM AND ALWAYS WEAR A MASK This is important not to infect anyone. No one can know if the others are not carrying the virus.
7: ONLY GO TO THE HOSPITAL IF IT IS A REAL EMERGENCY The resources in the hospital are now used up to the point of exhaustion. Doctors and nurses are now working tirelessly. In order not to burden these people even more you should only go to hospital, if there is no other way.
8: KEEP DISTANCE Keep at least two meter distance if you do not want to get infected or infect somebody.
9: WASH YOU HANDS AND DISINFECT YOUR HANDS REGULARLY The government advices people to wash your hands at least 20 seconds and as often as you can. Furthermore, you should disinfect your hands if you touch something that somebody might have touched before you.
10: KEEP CALM The last advice the government has given is to stay calm. The situation will only get worse, if everybody is freaking out. Take a breath and relax, go for a walk in the forest or watch a movie to think about something else. If everybody is taking the virus seriously and listens to the advices, the situation will get normal as soon as possible.
A national demonstration for Palestinians will be taking place in London tomorrow afternoon. Assembling at 12 noon in Portland Place, demonstrators will march to Whitehall carrying signs and banners in support of Palestinians.
Organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the demonstration is calling for global protests to protect Palestinian’s collective rights. They say they hope to ‘hold Israel to account and push for an end to the oppression of the Palestinian people.’
Previous rallies by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Source: PSCupdates
The demonstrations are in partnership with Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al- Aqsa, and Muslim Association of Britain.
The demonstration comes at the beginning of ‘Nakba week’ where the Palestine Solidarity Campaign organises a week of events to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, which was when 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the Palestine War.
The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are both currently on the track to expand inclusivity by increasing bursaries given to students from low-income backgrounds.
Starting in 2020, Oxbridge students from low-income backgrounds will be receiving up to £5,000 per year in scholarship funding. In an effort to attract students who would typically write off the university due to their high tuition fees, both leading British universities are looking to bring in students from “under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Following last years accusations of being socially exclusive and failing to recruit eligible students from public colleges, the University of Oxford claimed that they were “very aware” that they “must work harder.”
Currently, the University of Oxford provides 25 percent of its students with £8,000,000 of financial support. Students whose guardians earn less than £27,500 are currently receiving between £3,700 and £1,700. In 2020, this figure will increase to between £5,000 and £4,200.
According to research performed by the Sutton Trust charity, between 2015 and 2017, Oxbridge enrolled more students from the eight top British schools than nearly 3,000 other English state schools put together.
Advocating for a “fair chance”, Sutton Trust’s founder Sir Peter Lampl found that students from the top eight schools in Britain filled 1,310 places at Oxford and Cambridge while 2,900 state schools filled 1,200 places between 2015 and 2017.
College rooms and meals are free for students invited to interview. We have now committed to ensuring no students are unable to attend interview because of high travel costs and will pay interview travel expenses for students from low-income households: https://t.co/Dtnf8tVnexpic.twitter.com/3glRHELRtz
In 2018, Labour MP David Lammy criticized the University of Oxford following a report that found that a mere 11 percent of undergraduate students at the university were from “disadvantaged backgrounds.” This report also found that white British applicants were twice as likely to be accepted than black applicants.
In response, director of undergraduate admissions, Samina Khan claimed that that was, “not getting the right number of black people with the talent to apply to us.”
Oxford’s Student Union stepped in and claimed, “there are large and unacceptable attainment gaps in schools, which greatly disadvantage black pupils and those from low-income backgrounds, among other under-represented groups.”
In a poll taken by 336 students, 94% said that they agreed with Oxbridge accepting more applicants from low-income environments.
“I think that giving low-income and disadvantaged students a financial boost is an effort that will greatly excel the university’s diversity and reputation.”- Morgan Howk, 20
“I really appreciate what Oxford and Cambridge are doing and I wish more university’s would follow in suit.”- Katie Trent, 21
“While I admire their efforts, I think that they are not tackling the most present issue here. Their announcement is just a coverup for the fact that they don’t really want to diversify the University in terms of race. Only [17.9%] of Oxford students are BAME and I personally think that, that should be improved upon before they focus on other flaws in their admissions system.”- Shawn Waynick, 19
Overall, Dr. Jane Gover, the university’s director of student finances, said that, “there’s been really strong feedback,” from Oxford currently enrolled undergraduate students.
Gover believes that, “this is a really huge part of the university work to attract and support undergraduates from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds. We don’t want to see students being put off because they’re worried about the cost of living or their ability to engage with university life.”
An ongoing protest outside Westminster Abbey received a mixed reception as members of the royal house attended a service at the Abbey.
The already high police presence was increased prior to demonstrations and a “die-in” which commenced at 12pm.
Tourists and City workers stopped to take photographs, with one construction worker blazing “We want more nukes.”
Two separate demonstrations were organised. One demonstration condemned a service supposedly thanking the peace nuclear weapons had created. It consisted of vicars and clergymen and other supporters of the Anglican Church.
The second, which did not have affiliations to the church, encouraged disarmament and slated the government for their development of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). The die-in condemned the collateral damage caused to human life and the environment by previous governments.
Opponents of the protest returned with pro-nuclear weapon comments “Big up nuclear war, it’s exactly what we want.”
People from all walks of life attended the protest, with students, pensioners and young families, and even a few pets in attendance.
One protestor said “I want my children, and grandchildren and their children to have a world to grow up in.” She was physically and emotionally moved by the events unfolding.
Pointing to the Abbey, the pensioner said “I’m here because Weapons of Mass Destruction are absolutely immoral. “I don’t think they’ve (WMDs) ever been a deterrent.”
The protest had slowly been gaining momentum in the early afternoon with protesters aiming to maintain the “die-in” for as long as possible.
As the local elections come to a close, the conservative party have lost over 700 councillors alongside Labour who have lost just under 100. This follows the complete Brexit Blunder that has been happening since the referendum in 2016, which has caused a huge divide with the country.
Liberal democrats have seen a substantial rise in seats with a gain of 398 councillors. The local elections take place to select office-holders in local government. This fully impacts how the country views the government and its decisions.
With Brexit being extended until October, the results have been interpreted by the PM Theresa May, as the voter’s plea to ‘deliver Brexit’ which was reported by The Guardian this afternoon. The hashtag #Brexitbacklash is currently trending across the UK, with many voicing that Brexit impacted not only this vote, but their vote in the Euro Elections at the end of the month.
The Local elections take place every 4 years, with the main goal to establish Mayors and Councillors representing England and Northern Island. This is different from the General Election where you vote for who you wish to see Govern Britain. Your Local Councillor is chosen to represent the people who live in your area.
With the two main parties holding considerable losses, people have used the elections to show their opinions on Brexit and where to go from here. From the referendum nearly 3 years ago, many have begun to grow frustrated with the government, calling for them to just ‘get on with it’.
The losses for the conservative party could mean a real lack of confidence in the government and the PM who has been under scrutiny for the handling of Brexit, with many setbacks and anger around her deals.
Walking through a fresher’s fair, a student is often first greeted by the welcoming bright teal sign of the NUS. More formally known as the National Union of Students, the famous brand is commonly known for offering students some of the best discounts in the United Kingdom.
Aside from the massive discounts NUS offers, when a student signs up for the union, they join a group of over seven million students aiming to use their education in order to create a fair and prosperous society.
Nevertheless, 61% of students are unaware of what the NUS does for their university environment. And even so, of the 39% who are “aware” of what the National Union of Students does, 86% thought that the organization was just their NUS Extra Card that allows them to get discounts.
Founded in 1922, as an effort to make peace after the first world war, their mission still remains to promote, defend, and extend student rights allows them to fight discrimination and injustice through democratic representation, campaigning, and targeted action.
Through the help of students across the nation, the NUS is able to bring together the collective interests of their members in order to develop research that influences national policy and take on issues that affect the lives of students now and in the future.
The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organization consisting of 600 students’ unions. That’s more than 95 percent of all higher student unions in the United Kingdom. When a student pays £20 for their discounted student railway card or the extra 20% off at Boots, they agree to uphold and support the three core values of the NUS: equality, democracy, and collectivism.
The latest elected officers of the NUS focus on pursuing equal opportunities for everyone to fully participate in a society of students to celebrate diversity. The NUS also aims to “[build] open, transparent, and accessible democratic structures that increase performance and strengthen accountability.”
Furthermore, their message strongly resonates with the quote, “unity is our strength” by constantly promoting the idea that students’ unions are more effective when they work with each other on a local, national, and international level.
Students and student unions have long been targeted by the press because we are often at the forefront of politics, leading the way on social issues where the rest of society is falling behind.#NUSZones
Within every student’s union lies a desire to provide wide-ranging research and discussion about the policies of further education, higher education, society, citizenship, union development, and welfare.
Spanning across Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, the NUS also campaigns and defends the rights of highly marginalized and underrepresented groups such as black students, disabled students, LGBTQI+, and women.
Although it may seem like the NUS does nothing but give you 10% off at Pizza Express and lead the funding and mission student unions, their recent movements and parliamentary wins for students are very present for plenty of individuals.
Student’s right to protected student deposits in the private rented sector, exemption from Council Tax, Young Persons Railcard, and Endsleigh Student Insurance are all due to the constant efforts of the NUS.
Less known strides towards a more student-friendly world have been made by the NUS as well. In the past three years, the National Union of Students has managed to help 48,000 international students who were wrongly deported after falsified English language tests were turned in.
The NUS is also the reason why students over the age of 30 are still able to receive student loans.
When founded by Sir Ivison MacAdam, his vision for the future involved providing “hope for tomorrow.” Giving a voice to their seven million members from all walks of life and fighting for a better student environment for the future.
Read all about what the NUS is doing to not file bankruptcy here.
On March 15th, students from more than 112 countries took to the streets in one of the biggest climate protests since.
Who started the young activist climate change movement?
This demand for climate change jump-started last year, when Swedish, 16-year-old, Greta Thunberg, influenced tens of thousands of young climate change activists in countries such as the United Kingdom. Australia, France, Uganda, Colombia and Thailand.
When is the next strike?
The next strike to this cause will be held, Friday, 12th April, 2019.
Image by: School Strike
Does the U.K have its own young activists climate change society?
In the United Kingdom, these activists have created their own network called the ‘UK Student Climate Network’.
This network is made up of under 18s who go against the government in hopes that they can protect their future.
Currently, the network has a target of £50,000 to help in their fight for climate change.
This infographic gives us the mission and demands of the UK Student Climate Network for the government that will help tackle the climate crisis and help he younger generation towards a better future.