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Swiss athletic footwear brand On has unveiled the second addition to the Roger Federer franchise in the form of a bold statement sneaker that aims to target a younger audience.

The debut sneaker from Federer, the ‘Centre Court’ marked the performance running brand’s first tennis-inspired style. It was minimalistic in design and featured On’s award-winning CloudTec sole.

The new Roger Clubhouse has been designed to make a statement and has a much chunkier look and feel than the Centre Court style. Described by the brand as an “ode to youth culture: to be worn, torn, stained and just lived in”.

The upper has been made from vegan leather and is tailored with textured layering for more robustness and durability. In addition, the Clubhouse also still features all of On’s performance DNA including the signature Speedboard and CloudTec technology.

On states that these sneakers have been made to be “functional” and they’ve added a herringbone pattern for better traction so they can be worn “wherever you see fit”.

“For those who tend to shy away from an all-white silhouette and still believe that collectables should remain in immaculate condition, it’s about living in them,” added On in the press release. “Every crease should take you back to a moment in time you celebrated being you. Paint them proud!”

The On Roger Clubhouse will be limited to just 2,000 pairs worldwide and will be available online via a raffle running from October 19 until October 21 and via 18 Montrose.

Images: courtesy of On

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Lance Stroll has confirmed that he tested positive for coronavirus after he was forced to pull out of the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Stroll felt unwell with “flu-like symptoms” on the Saturday morning before final practice and decided not to take part, handing over his Racing Point seat to last-minute replacement Nico Hulkenberg.

He had not tested positive in the most recent round of routine coronavirus testing of key paddock and team personnel before the race weekend, but did so when he was subsequently re-tested after returning home.

“I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for COVID-19 after the Eifel GP weekend,” Stroll posted on social media on Wednesday.

  • Read also: Villeneuve questions Stroll’s commitment after Eifel GP pull-out

“To fill you all in on what happened, I arrived at the Nurburgring after testing negative in the normal pre-race tests,” he continued. “On Saturday morning I started to feel unwell and woke up with an upset stomach.

“I followed the FIA protocol and self-isolated in my motorhome and did not re-enter the paddock.

“I wasn’t fit to race so I flew home early Sunday morning. As I was still feeling under the weather I took a COVID test on Sunday evening.

“The next day the results came back positive, so I stayed at home self-isolating for the next 10 days. Luckily my symptoms were pretty mild.”

Stroll said that he had made a swift recovery and was ready to race in this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

“I am feeling 100 per cent,” he wrote. “I was tested again on Monday this week and my results were negative. I feel in great shape and I can’t wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal.”

He’s the second Formula 1 driver to test positive for coronavirus, after his team mate Sergio Perez was forced to sit out the Silverstone double header in August. He too had been subbed at short notice by Hulkenberg.

Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer had previously stated that Stroll felt unwell at the preceding Grand Prix in Sochi at the end of September, but that all tests for coronavirus before the Eifel GP had come back negative.

That had led to speculation about whether the FIA’s testing regimen is as robust as needed, but Formula 1 race director Michael Masi told Motorsport.com he was confident about the protocols the governing body had put in place.

“We don’t feel there is any loophole,” Masi insisted. “The requirement for Lance, or any other attendee on that matter, is that there are the various time requirements to test prior to entering the paddock, and then the follow up testing from that point.

“Based on the Tuesday test [before the Eifel GP] his next test would have been Sunday morning to fulfil the requirements of the FIA COVID protocol.

“With regards to Lance feeling ill, like any other driver it’s incumbent upon the driver and the competitor – in this case, Racing Point – to determine if they feel that their driver is not up to the capacity to drive the car.

“It’s incumbent upon Racing Point as the stakeholder in this case and Lance himself as an attendee to declare within the parameters of the protocol if they are having any of those requirements, and then there is the requirement from there to report.

“None of that has been reported to the FIA, so there’s nothing further from our perspective at this point in time.”

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The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to recognize Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples Day” after years of organizing by indigenous activists.

Hundreds of Native Americans filled the Minneapolis City Hall for Friday’s vote, Native News Online reports.

“City of Minneapolis recognizes the annexation of Dakota homelands for the building of our city, and knows Indigenous nations have lived upon this land since time immemorial and values the progress our society has accomplished through American Indian technology, thought, and culture,” reads the resolution.

The resolution does not do away with Columbus Day, but instead adds Indigenous Peoples Day as an official holiday. However, all official city communications will say “Indigenous Peoples Day,” not “Columbus Day.”

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Since the late 1970s, indigenous people have organized to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, the resolution notes.

Columbus, who never set foot in what is now the United States, is widely credited with discovering the “New World,” despite the fact that indigenous people were already living there.

Columbus, who landed in what is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic, exterminated and enslaved the Taíno people.

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937, but Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and South Dakota do not celebrate it.

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The movement for reproductive justice sees women’s decision to have – or not have – children as a fundamental right. Should they choose to bear a child, women should have the right to care and provide for them; if they opt not to give birth, family planning services should be made available to enable women to space or prevent pregnancies.

In Cambodia, where women make up 60 percent of the population of 14 million people, this fundamental right is being trampled by insecure labour contracts, toxic working conditions and a near-total absence of maternity benefits for working mothers.

Take Cambodia’s garments industry, a massive sector that accounts for 80 percent of the country’s exports. A full 90 percent of the workforce is female, but labour rights have not accompanied employment opportunities.

Ever since the country entered into a liberalising agreement with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2005, long-term contracts have been edged out in favour of short term or fixed duration contracts (FDCs), the latter being far more popular among East Asian factory owners and western clothing brands like Gap, Walmart and H&M.

These informal arrangements “abuse garment workers’ reproductive rights,” Sophea Chrek, a former garment worker and technical assistant to the Workers Information Center (WIC) – which recently staged a fashion show to highlight the issue – told IPS.

“Women employed under FDCs for three to six months, or sometimes even one month, will not risk their job by having a baby. Usually, they choose to have an abortion…before the contract ends to ensure that the line leaders or supervisors are not aware of their pregnancy,” Chrek added.

According to Cambodian labour law, factories are supposed to provide maternity leave, but most get around this requirement with short contracts, which leave the estimated 600,000 workers vulnerable to employers’ whims.

Melissa Cockroft, a technical advisor on sexual and reproductive health, tells IPS that women without access to family planning services resort to unsafe and unregulated measures, such as using over-the-counter Chinese products to induce abortions.

These methods can be fatal, but women seem hesitant to avail themselves of NGO-provided free or discounted service at on-site infirmaries, which are less confidential.

Sometimes their grueling schedules, which include 10 to 12-hour workdays with only a short lunch break in between, keep them from making appointments. Many of these women, Cockroft says, are just too busy to even think of starting families.

Garment workers’ reticence to use reproductive services can be cultural too, as talking about sexual health is considered ‘shameful’ in traditional Cambodian society.

Cambodian law also stipulates that factories provide working mothers with childcare, but Cockroft says she has only seen one operational childcare facility during all her years as an advocate in the field.

For some women, the decision to leave their children at home emerges from a desire to spare them the grueling commute – many factory workers travel shoulder-to-shoulder in trucks or on compact wagons pulled by tuk tuks, ubiquitous motorcycle taxis, down Cambodia’s notoriously unsafe roads.

Very often, babies remain at home with their grandmothers in the countryside while their mothers go off to work in the city, where they earn roughly 100 dollars per month. Union leaders are trying to raise this minimum wage to 160 dollars.

In general, though, both Cockroft and Chrek say garment workers consider themselves “too poor” to have children.

Entertainers and street workers

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Meanwhile, in Cambodia’s popular entertainment sector, women face a unique set of challenges, their access to reproductive health services hindered by the informal and unpredictable nature of their work.

Independent researcher Dr. Ian Lubek tells IPS that entertainment workers are likely to experience a much higher risk of foetal alcoholic syndrome due to the number of beverages they are forced to consume every night in order to get tips from their customers. Research from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) suggests that a female beer seller or hostess consumes up to 11 drinks a night.

Years of advocacy efforts have at least enabled entertainers working for international beer companies to secure better wages, with women employed by the Cambrew brewery now drawing a salary of close to 160 dollars a month.

Higher wages, according to Phal Sophea, former beer seller and representative for the Siem Reap division of the Cambodia Food and Service Workers Federation (CFSWF), amounts to less economic pressure to have transactional sex.

“I think better pay will reduce sex work because the [women] generally go out with customers when the pay is too low,” she told IPS.

Of all the groups of working women struggling to raise children, street-based sex workers are among the most marginalised and are often subject to police violence, arrests and forced detention in anti-trafficking ‘reeducation centres’.

While unions for entertainment workers can negotiate contracts, sex workers are left completely vulnerable to the laws of the streets.

Pen Sothary, a former sex worker and secretary of the sex-worker led collective Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), told IPS that many women are so poor they take whatever work they can get.

Labour research indicates that Cambodians living in urban areas require, at the very least, 150 dollars a month in order to survive; most salaries are set below 100 a month, making it very difficult for the average working Cambodian to make ends meet, and feed their families. As it is, 40 percent of Cambodian children are chronically malnourished.

WNU Board Member Socheata Sim explained that sex work might be the only option for the many women without a formal education; according to a report on education levels among women in Cambodia, only one-third of school-aged girls are enrolled at the lower secondary school level, and one in ten at the upper secondary school level.

Many sex workers want a better life for their children, but few can afford the high fees, bribes and related costs of formal schooling.

Furthermore, sex workers living in slum dwellings face a constant threat of eviction. Tola Moeun, head of the labour programme at the Community Legal Education Centre, told IPS that high rates of evictions are now forcing many women to migrate abroad in search of employment.

“Yet once abroad, if undocumented, migrant workers find they do not have the rights citizens have,” he lamented.

In Thailand, for instance, where tens of thousands of Cambodian women now live and work, undocumented workers are fired from their jobs if they become pregnant, are denied maternity leave and earn half the 300-baht (nine-dollar) daily minimum wage.

Tola sees the “lack of labour rights for women as a worrying trend that is completely changing the culture of Cambodia.”

© 2014 IPS

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Scientists Call for Moratorium on Tar Sands

October 15, 2020 | News | No Comments

The culmulative effects of tar sands development—from environmental degradation to transportation to emissions from burning—must be determined before Canada or the United States approve any more projects, a group of scientists argue in an op-ed published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Calling for a binational moratorium, the scientists—representing a number of North American universities including Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Northern Arizona University, the University of Calgary and the University of Waterloo—argue that governments must evaluate tar sands development projects, including the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, “in the context of broader, integrated energy and climate strategies.”

“Anything less demonstrates flawed policies and failed leadership,” they write. “With such high stakes, our nations and the world cannot afford a series of ad hoc, fragmented decisions.”

The group continues:

The scientists say that current debate which presents each pipeline proposal as an “ultimatum” between environmental costs and economic success “artificially restricts discussions to only a fraction of the consequences of oil development.”

The letter comes just over a week after the Canadian government approved the construction of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, which will carry 200 million barrels of tar sands crude each year from Alberta to an export terminal in Kitimat, British Columbia. 

“Reform is needed now,” the group adds, concluding: “Canada and the United States can avoid the tyranny of incremental decisions — and the lasting economic and environmental damage that poorly conceived choices will cause.”

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Economic Recession Linked to 10,000 Suicides

October 15, 2020 | News | No Comments

A new study has linked the economic recession to 10,000 suicides across North American and Europe, and revealed a “looming mental health crisis.”

Researchers from the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine used data from the World Health Organization on suicides in Canada, the U.S. and 24 EU nations and found an increase in the number of suicides from 2008 to 2010.

The suicide rate increased by 4.8 percent in the U.S. between 2007 and 2010. In the EU, the rate rose by 6.5% by 2009 and stayed at that level.

The three factors the study found to be the biggest risk factors were job loss, home repossession and debt.

“There has been a substantial rise in suicides during the recession, greater than we would have anticipated based on previous trends,” stated Dr. Aaron Reeves of Oxford University’s Department of Sociology and lead author of the study.

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The study authors also warn that the 10,000 suicides may be a conservative estimate.

“Suicides are just the tip of the iceberg,” stated co-author Professor David Stuckler from the University of Oxford.

“These data reveal a looming mental health crisis in Europe and North America. In these hard economic times, this research suggests it is critical to look for ways of protecting those who are likely to be hardest hit,” Stuckler stated.

The findings were published Thursday in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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A march on Staten Island in New York City is underway on Saturday where community members are voicing outrage over persistent patterns of police violence nationwide while they also commemorate the recent deaths of several black men at the hands of officers accused of using excessive force.

Organized by those mouring the recent killing of Eric Garner, who died after being aggressively tackled and choked by Staten Island police officers last month, the demonstration is also being joined by people from all over the country, including the parents of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black teenager who was gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. Brown’s death sparked more than two weeks of protests in Ferguson and a national dialogue about race, police accountability, and the increasingly militarized nature of local U.S. law enforcement.

“We hope it will be a success and people will understand why we’re doing it,” Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, told the New York Daily News on Friday. “We hope the people who are supposed to hear our outcry respond to it.”

The mother of Amadou Diallo, a man killed in a 1999 shooting by four NYPD officers, also spoke Saturday morning ahead of the march and said: “Police cannot judge our sons and execute them for no reason.”

Though streets were blocked off for the march and some businesses reportedly decided to close to avoid the expected crowds, the march was billed as peaceful rally. According to the Staten Island Advance news site—which is providing live coverage of the march— the early police presence attending the rally was “conspicuous but subdued.”

A video loop of protesters in Staten Island via Vine:

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Led by Rev. Al Sharpton’s  National Action Network, the NAACP, United Healthcare Workers East (1199 SEIU) and the United Federation of Teachers—the march brings together a wide array of community groups and individuals offering a shared message against police violence and the need to address a woeful pattern of treatment against communities of color, especially young people who face glaringly disproportionate levels of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of officers.

“We aren’t saying all police are bad,” Sharpton said in a statement. “We aren’t marching against the police. We are marching against the chokehold.”

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Marching under the collective banner of “#WeWillNotGoBack,” the hashtag was trending on Twitter as it tracked the day’s march:

#WeWillNotGoBack Tweets

An editorial in the New York Times on Saturday argued that for the city, the day’s demonstration goes deeper than the death of Garner, given the ongoing political dispute that has focused on the way the NYPD polices the city:

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Button to race McLaren GT3 at British GT finale

October 15, 2020 | News | No Comments

Jenson Button will be back behind the wheel of a McLaren next month, albeit a GT3 car entered in the final round of the British GT championship at Silverstone.

Button will team up with good friend Chris Buncombe for the three-hour event in which they will share a McLaren 720S GT3 entered by Jenson Team Rocket RJN, the outfit he co-founded with RJN boss Bob Neville.

The 2009 F1 world champion will race at Silverstone for the first time since competing in a round of the WEC in 2018 with SMP Racing.

“This will be my first taste of a GT3 car but I’m really looking forward it,” Button said. “It will be lovely to join our team and lining-up in the McLaren 720S with my best buddy Chris Buncombe.

“It’s great to come back and race on UK soil again and a big thank you to our partners that have made this possible.”

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Buncombe said the pair’s appearance in the November 8 event, that will unfortunately be held behind closed doors, will be a one-off, with no plans for an onslaught on the British GT series in 2021.

“We’re purely seeing it as a one-off appearance,” said Buncombe. “We’re both coming at it fairly green but with the same aspect in as far as if we want to do anything, we do the best job we can.”

    Read also – Button: Hamilton ‘the cleanest guy’ I ever raced against

After concluding his career in F1 with McLaren, Button has raced in the WEC and the Japanese Super GT championship, winning the 2018 title in a Honda NSX-GT for Team Kunimitsu alongside Naoki Yamamoto in 2018.

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The near complete collection of transcribed notes of Vasili Mitrokhin, a senior KGB official who defected to the UK with a trove of gathered Soviet intelligence information in the early nineties, have finally been made public.

After being held under lock and key by the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University, the Mitrokhin files detail years of Soviet intelligence operations during the height of the Cold War, some of which led to high-profile espionage charges on both sides of the Atlantic.

Described by the FBI as ‘the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source,’ the archive is viewable to the public for the first time on Monday.

“Mitrokhin dreamed of making this material public from 1972 until his death; it’s now happening in 2014,” said Professor Christopher Andrew, the only historian to date allowed access to the archive. “The inner workings of the KGB, its foreign intelligence operations and the foreign policy of Soviet-era Russia all lie within this extraordinary collection; the scale and nature of which gives unprecedented insight into the KGB’s activities throughout much of the Cold War.”

According to the Associated Press:

And the Guardian adds:

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Thousands of people are expected to rally in Detroit Friday afternoon to demand a moratorium on the city’s mass shut-offs of water to households, which they say has unleashed a public health emergency.

Dozens of local, national, and international organizations and unions are backing the march, which will call for an immediate renewal of water services to thousands of residences that have already been disconnected, with tens of thousands more slated to be next. “The more attention we can bring to this moment, the more likely we are to get action to alleviate a crisis that doesn’t have to happen,” Shea Howell of the communications working group for Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management and the People’s Water Board told Common Dreams.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced last month it is implementing a plan to escalate the disconnection of water to households that have fallen behind on their bills to 3,000 a month. Nearly half of all residents are behind on their water payments—a pool that is likely to expand further as the city continues to increase its water rates and cut public services, including welfare and public pensions.

“Cutting off water to community residents is a disgraceful attack on the basic human right of access to safe, clean water,” —Jean Ross, National Nurses United

As a result, thousands of Detroit residents are going without water, despite its close proximity to the Great Lakes—which account for over one-fifth of the surface fresh water in the world.

The disconnections have been condemned as a “violation of human rights” by a UN panel, with the UN expert on the right to adequate housing warning they “may be discriminatory” against African Americans. Many residents suspect the shut-offs are part of a plan to get rid of bad debts to privatize water services, and ultimately, drive residents out of this majority-black city to make way for gentrification and corporate profits.

But organizers say Detroiters are finding creative ways to resist the water shut-offs and help each other get by.

Friday morning, residents blocked the entrance to Homrich Inc., the company contracted by the city to shut off water to homes. According to Howell, the civil disobedience is still ongoing, with a standoff between protesters and police. The direct action follows a similar protest earlier this month, which led to the arrest of ten residents.

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Ann Rall of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and the People’s Water Board told Common Dreams that “rapid response teams” have formed to warn residents when contractors enter their neighborhoods to shut off their water. Organizers are also going door-to-door in areas devastated by the shut-offs to connect residents to crisis resources, including a Water Rights Hotline. This is in addition to numerous “watering stations” set up across the city, which, according to Rall, constitute “central locations where people can access water and strategize how to organize.”

“The more attention we can bring to this moment, the more likely we are to get action to alleviate a crisis that doesn’t have to happen,” —Shea Howell, Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, People’s Water Board

At a DWSD “community meeting” in the Detroit neighborhood of Grandmont Rosedale Thursday night, activists and neighbors voiced anger about the water shut-offs. And in Detroit’s North End, one resident on Monday physically stood over her water valve to prevent contractors from shutting it off, according to Rall.

Numerous local organizations are pressing the city to adopt a Water Affordability Plan, which was passed by the Detroit City Council in 2005 but disregarded by DWSD.

And later this month, the Council of Canadians will send a water convoy to Detroit to deliver water to residents in need in what they have declared is a “solidarity action.”

Organizers express hope that Friday’s protest will help lift the international profile of the water crisis in Detroit. “Cutting off water to community residents is a disgraceful attack on the basic human right of access to safe, clean water,” said Jean Ross, co-president of National Nurses United—which is playing a key role in organizing Friday’s protest.

Rall emphasized that, amid the “calculated, very heartless, and very exploitative” actions the city is taking, local resistance appears to be on the rise. “There are amazing things happening in Detroit,” she said.

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