France put the pressure on Egypt keep its distance from Syria

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07-02-19 02:53:00,

The daily newspaper, Al Hayat, has cited the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shukri as saying that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, probably put pressure on his Egyptian partner, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

It is likely that, due to this pressure, Egypt backed away from letting Syria back into the Arab League.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

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How Companies Pressure Workers to Vote for Corporate Interests Over Their Own

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07-11-18 09:23:00,

Voters are largely free to ignore the wave of television and direct mail ads aimed in their direction every election cycle. But what if the person trying to influence your vote is your boss?

Business groups are increasingly using the workplace as a staging ground to shape the outcomes of elections.

Last month, supervisors at the Phoenix corporate headquarters of the truck rental business U-Haul were told to bring their respective teams to an internal company town hall to hear from Steve Ferrara, the Republican candidate for Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, who ended up posting a picture of his talk with the workers on a campaign Facebook page. An umbrella group of mining companies, according to its own social media postings, has pushed workers to embrace candidates endorsed by company lobbyists — a list that is overwhelmingly Republican.

It’s not a new dynamic. Every year, companies are taking more and more liberties in attempting to influence workers’ political behavior.

“It used to be that voting was more private. Now, the environment is much more fraught with debate and tension and conflict.”

“It used to be that voting was more private,” said Paula Brantner, the executive director of Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit employee rights group. Brantner said that increased political polarization intensified employer messages to workers: “Now, the environment is much more fraught with debate and tension and conflict.”

Those efforts by bosses to push employees to certain choices at the ballot box are not just aimed at pushing particular candidates: Businesses are taking brazen steps to coerce workers into taking positions on ballot measures that align with the companies’ corporate interests. The Intercept collected accounts from both publicly available information and employees of several companies.

This year, employees of Western National Group, a privately held apartment building developer, received a letter — which was obtained by The Intercept — from chief executive Michael Hayde to “please join” him in opposing Proposition 10, a California ballot question to allow the expansion of rent control. And nurses at a health care provider, who asked not to be named, told The Intercept that they were bombarded with messages through their employee portal about the importance of voting against Proposition 8 — a California measure that would limit profits at dialysis treatment centers.

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The US Pseudo Pressure Game with Saudia | New Eastern Outlook

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04-11-18 09:43:00,

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The US call for immediate commencement of talks on Yemen with the view to bringing the war to an end is, more than anything else, a pseudo game of pressure that it is playing with Saudi Arabia. In this game, Saudia isn’t a US rival; it is its partner. For one thing, the US president Trump has already made it clear that they wouldn’t stop their defence deals, worth billions of dollars, with Saudi Arabia. US allies, such as the UK, are also following suit. For another, while the US has remained conspicuously silent for years over the atrocities the Saudi-led coalition has been committing in Yemen, the reason why its top officials have only now started to talk about stopping the war in Yemen is the up-coming mid-term elections in the US and the anti-Saudi mood prevailing among the general masses due to the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul. As such, by portraying itself as ‘advocates of peace’ rather partners in crime with Saudia, the Trump administration is playing with its voters, and is highly unlikely to take any meaningful action against the House of Saud. It wouldn’t be wrong to say the possibility of such an action is zero.

As such, while James Mattis has said that the killing of Khashoggi was ‘threatening regional stability’, the top US general, CENTCOM Commander Joseph Votel confirmed in his latest interview that the US-Saudi relations are absolutely unchanged and that Saudi Arabia continues to be the most important military ally in the Middle Eastern region. To quote Votel, “there’s no change with any military relationship we have with Saudi Arabia. From the military perspective, I characterize the relationship as strong, deep, and I think a beneficial one for us. They have been an extraordinarily important security partner in the region.”

Even secretary Mattis, who initiated the call for bringing the war in Yemen to an abrupt end, also said at the Manama Dialogue, an annual gathering of Persian Gulf country security leaders, in the presence of the US’ gulf allies including Saudia that the US support for Saudi Arabia would continue unabated. “We do not accept that there is any reason for a slow-down in the effort to bring this to a negotiated end,” he added a day after his meeting with Saudi foreign minister Adel Jubeir.

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