The saying goes that the personal has become political. Now even the olive oil in your salad dressing can be political. \nBritish supporters of the Palestinian cause have launched an extra virgin olive oil grown in the lush groves of the occupied territories. \nProfits will go to Palestinian farming cooperatives in the West Bank, where access to markets is limited. But this particular harvest is in danger, they say, from Israel's controversial security wall, which is destroying some olive groves and dividing Palestinian agricultural lands. \nDistributors say they have already sold three times the number of bottles that they expected to. \nWithin two weeks they expect to hold talks with a British supermarket, and hope that it will stock it. \nThe oil is sold by Zaytoun, the Arabic word for olive, and is marketed by a group of four volunteers from pro-Palestinian groups. \nThe bottles bear the slogan "Resisting the occupation by insisting on life." A plan to have a tank on the label was dropped for fear that some stores might refuse to sell it and consumers might be put off. \nDistribution has so far been limited to liberal Jewish groups, pro-Palestinian groups and charities. \nConsumer reaction has been favorable, says Moira Bridge of the Fairer World store in York. Apart from the political selling point, the oil is good enough to deserve a place on the shelves on its own merits, she says: "People see it as a quality and fair-trade product and they're happy to pay the price." \nAtif Choudhury, of the International Solidarity Movement, a group which has been a thorn in the side of the Israeli authorities, saw no contradiction in trying to help poor farmers in a war zone by selling their product to the concerned middle classes in Britain: "This is about people's ability to trade. You can talk about globalization all day, but people have the right to trade and access to a marketplace." \nJane Straker of Myriad organics store in Ludlow said her customers had been waiting for the oil to arrive: "Selling it is something I can do to help the Palestinian people. They have a need for an outlet and trade can be a way to help people rather than just aid." \nIt is estimated that nearly half of Palestine's olive harvest goes unsold, often meaning it spoils. \nSelling the oil abroad is thus a way for the Palestinians to increase the returns from their harvest. The oil will also be sold in Japan, Spain, Belgium and the US. \nEven before Israel began to erect the security wall, which it says is necessary to defend itself from suicide bomb attacks, curfews and violence made an arduous life for Palestinian farmers even harder. \nHadas Lahav, who is from Sindyanna, an Israeli group which helps Palestinians to sell olive oil, said: "I think people in the world think the Middle East can produce only terror. It is important to show it's not just terror that's produced, but that we can produce beautiful things like olive oil."
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,