Dear Readers,

If you are interested in learning more about Armistice Day, the Washington Post has a long article on World War I’s Black veterans. Obviously, you can also re-read my article “Do millennials know more about the First World War and its global legacy than older generations?” that I wrote a few years ago. It includes several links to various educational resources.

It’s also the end of COP26, and you will find several news stories below on this topic, including on the importance of environmental action in India and Africa.

You will also find several unmissable news stories in the European news section, including an interesting investigative piece by VoxEurope on Bangladeshis agricultural workers in Greece who have replaced the “more expensive Balkan workers”, as well as a short film on how migrants in Spain are working relentlessly to counteract the housing crisis and an article on African migrants running a food bank in Sicily. There are also a few articles on the EU and the Poland-Belarus border crisis below, but the Evening Standard’s photos on young children and babies  stuck in freezing conditions are difficult to ignore.

Keep Well & Stay Safe!

Thushari Perera

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Remembrance Day: School pupils uncover tales of black and Asian veterans who fought in the Second World War, inews, 9 November 2021

“‘I grew up in this country and it was always that refrain of “You’re not English, you don’t belong here”. Well, my father fought for this country – how can I not belong here?’”


Durham University student’s clean energy device earns global prize, BBC News, 11 November 2021

“A Durham University student has won a global award for his work in trying to combat energy poverty…Mr Thoronka, from Sierra Leone, invented a device that uses kinetic energy from traffic and pedestrians to generate clean power.”




COP26: Coal compromise as leaders near climate deal, BBC News, 12 November 2021

A draft agreement at the COP26 climate summit has watered down commitments to end the use of coal and other fossil fuels, as countries race to reach a deal after two weeks of talks.

Climate crisis: How significant is India’s net-zero pledge?, Al-Jazeera, 9 November 2021

“After years of refusing to set targets for net-zero emissions, India has pledged to achieve that benchmark by 2070.”


Africa: Why Taking Climate Action Supports Global Health and Saves Money #AfricaClimateCrisis – allAfrica.com, 11 November 2021

“What does health have to do with climate change? If you stop to think about it: Everything. A report by the United Nations Environment Program looked at how higher temperatures in cities would effect the health of the people who live there.”

Climate Refugees are Increasingly Victims of Exploitation, ReliefWeb, 11 November 2021

“Millions of climate-displaced people are victims of modern slavery. They end up in forced labor or debt bondage, have to prostitute themselves or are forcibly married. Their fate has so far been largely ignored by international politics. This must change.”

COP26: Bangladesh cities battle climate migrants’ surge, The Scotsman, 11 November 2021

“A World Bank report said some 13.3 million people will become climate migrants in Bangladesh by 2050, representing about 37 per cent of all South Asian migrants. The shanties are mostly vulnerable to overheating and heavy rains.”



Brent teenager gets council homeless policy overturned, BBC News, 10 November 2021

“A teenager from north London who spent years sofa-surfing and sleeping rough has made a council overturn its housing policy, allowing homeless people to apply for somewhere to live.”

ITV News investigation exposes racism in social housing sector, ITV, 9 November 2021

“A council whistleblower has told ITV News that racism and prejudice towards tenants is rife within the social housing department she works in…Helen says managers in her housing department make racially-motivated judgements about tenants, and are dismissive of their complaints, often blaming them for the problem.”

EU citizens more likely to experience rough sleeping in UK than others, The Guardian, 9 November 2021

“Crisis charity’s research finds job loss is main reason for European citizens becoming homeless in Britain…For homeless Europeans who were in employment, insecure and exploitative work was a common problem, with 28% of people forced to put up with unacceptable employment conditions such as working without a contract and having an abusive employer. Many were paid below the minimum wage or were not paid at all.”



Naga Munchetty: ‘Immigrant families have to be that bit better’, The Big Issue, 8 November 2021

“How growing up as the daughter of an immigrant family shaped the TV presenter Naga Munchetty’s work ethic and desire to succeed.”


Centre for Ageing Better Ethnic Health Inequalities in Later Life

Ethnic health inequalities in later life: The persistence of disadvantage from 1993-2017, Centre for Ageing Better, 11 November 2021

“This briefing presents the findings of recent research from the Universities of Sussex and Manchester. It looks at ethnic inequalities in health in later life in the UK.”

Gene commonly found in south Asian people affects COVID severity – new study, The Conversation, 10 November 2021

“We don’t yet know how much the disproportionate effect that COVID has had on people of south Asian heritage in the UK is down to this gene, and these findings don’t mean that socio-economic factors haven’t played an important role. We also don’t yet have data on the role of the gene in south Asian countries where far more people are likely to carry it, or what this might mean for efforts to tackle the pandemic there.”

Government accused of ignoring link between depression and poverty, The London Economic, 10 November 2021

“The government has been accused of “ignoring” public health after a new study revealed poverty is causing over 1.3 million avoidable cases of depression in the UK.“ Read the Report here.

AI skin cancer diagnoses risk being less accurate for dark skin – study, The Guardian, 9 November 2021

“Research finds few image databases available to develop technology contain details on ethnicity or skin type.”


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‘Employment inequality’ is adding to UK’s dire labour shortage, Yahoo News, 12 November 2021

“Many from low-income backgrounds are hindered because they are not able to gain unpaid work experience, relocate for a job, use family connections or get financial help from parents. This is according to a Totaljobs and the Social Mobility Foundation report in which 5,000 UK adults were surveyed last month.”

Ex-BBC producer sues for racial discrimination after ‘all-white’ panel laughed at her accent, Eastern Eye, 10 November 2021

“My grievance reflected my own experiences and the biased and unfair recruitment process I was subject to, but also highlighted wider diversity issues across the BBC.”



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Muslim councillors in Walsall reveal the extent of racist abuse they have suffered, Express & Star, 9 November 2021

“A motion calling for Walsall Council to adopt the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims’ definition of Islamophobia was passed at a meeting on Monday with a vow to combat incidents…But the motion did encounter some opposition with Walsall Council leader Mike Bird quoting MP Eddie Hughes in saying it was premature and the definition was wrong and not fully supported by Muslims.”

Dependent relatives to get EU Settlement Scheme family permits, Free Movement, 8 November 2021

The UK’s agreements on the post-Brexit rights of EUEFTA and Swiss residents allow beneficiaries to sponsor their non-European family members to live with them in the UK.



New Home Office policy risks ‘driving human trafficking victims underground’, experts warn, The Independent, 12 November 2021

“Government’s own modern slavery tsar says she is ‘extremely concerned’ about plans to grant immigration enforcement teams power to make decisions on trafficking cases.”



Councils and police must ‘weigh CCTV firms’ human rights records’, BBC News, 12 November 2021

“Professor Fraser Sampson’s call has been backed by Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP. The committee has previously called for a ban on Chinese camera tech it says was used in Uyghur internment camps. But there are doubts the government will add the proposed ethical rule to the CCTV code.”

New research supports targeted action on ethnic diversity in UK fintech, Tech Nation, 2 November 2021

“A major revelation and discussion point from the research is the fact that ethnic diversity decreases as the stage of fintech company increases; seed-stage companies have around 15% Black, Asian and other ethnic minority group representation, while post-exit companies have 9%.“


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PODCAST: John Barnes on football and racism – Football Weekly podcast, The Guardian, 10 November 2021

“Footballing authorities are struggling to deal with players racially abusing each other, fans racially abusing players in the stadium and anonymous online racial abuse. There’s a lack of representation in the dugout and the boardroom, and John’s book goes beyond football to look at racism as a wider issue.”

Asian MP demands ECB investigates all racist counties, Eastern Eye, 10 November 2021

“Cricket’s governing body, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), must immediately investigate racism at all levels of the sport. That is the demand from Bradford West MP, Naz Shah. Speaking exclusively to Eastern Eye, Shah said that the game was institutionally, structurally and systemically racist, and the problem went beyond Yorkshire.”

Azeem Rafiq: Cricketer settles legal case with Yorkshire as new chair says club handled racism claims ‘badly’, Yahoo/Sky News, 8 November 2021

“So far, the club has not published the full report compiled by an independent panel that examined the claims of racism made by Rafiq.”


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Prince Harry Accused The UK Press Of Amplifying Twitter Trolls And Hate Accounts, Buzzfeed News, 10 November 2021

“The Duke of Sussex’s comments come as a new report shows royal commentators at times regurgitated misinformation on Twitter as truth.”



PODCAST: Addressing vaccine inequity: can Europe walk the talk?, VoxEurop, 4 November 2021

“While the EU talks about achieving partnerships of equals and global solidarity, its actions send a different message. What does this say about the EU’s values and approach to partnerships? And where do we go from here? The latest episode of the Talking Development podcast series will dive into questions exactly like that by discussing the EU’s narrative and holding it accountable.”

Hold Belarus accountable for bid to ‘destabilise’ EU border, says west, The Guardian, 12 November 2021

“Western delegates on UN security council call for ‘strong reaction’ from international community, but make no mention of Russia.”

EVENT: 9 December 2021 Conference: Tackling Institutional Racism – The Potential Of Equality Bodies, Equinet, 10 November 2021

“Bringing together equality body staff, representatives of European institutions, national authorities, and civil society organisations, this online conference aims to: Examine institutional racism as a concept and how it is relevant for the mandate and the work of equality bodies; Identify and demonstrate how equality bodies are and could further effectively tackle institutional racism; Identify the barriers facing equality bodies and other stakeholders to tackle institutional racism effectively and the solutions required to overcome these.”


EU Commission: laws allowing Belarus pushbacks need changes, Expats One, 10 November 2021

“According to EU law, member states are required to provide admission in order to assess individual claims for asylum.”



New Caledonia sets date for decisive referendum on independance from France, RFI, 12 November 2021

“A third and final referendum offering the Pacific territory of New Caledonia independence from France will go ahead on 12 December, despite objections raised by Kanak secessionists who say the Covid crisis will make it impossible to hold the polls properly.”


German business leaders talk allyship at diversity conference, Deutsche Welle, 12 November 2021

“Decision-makers from business, science and politics in Germany are at the annual Diversity conference to show their commitment to an inclusive workplace. But many attendees complained that the country is lagging behind.”


The cheap labour behind the juicy business of Greek “red gold”, VoxEurope, 10 November 2021

“Up to 10,000 migrant agricultural workers live in makeshift camps in the strawberry fields of Manolada, which produce the “red gold” that generates tens of millions of euros in exports. Solomon reports on how the sector relies on the work of Bangladeshis farmers, who have replaced the more expensive Balkan workers.”

Free Humanitarians: Drop the Charges for Sarah Mardini, Seán Binder, Nassos Karakitsos and 21 others, Europe Must Act, 11 November 2021

“31 civil society organisations are releasing an open letter in support of Sarah, Seán and Nassos and 21 others who were involved in search and rescue activities on the island of Lesvos and are now facing trial. They risk a sentence of up to 25 years in jail. While the humanitarian assistance of people like Seán, Sarah and Nassos has been essential, authorities across Europe continue to criminalise people and organisations that assist and support refugees and save lives (at sea and on land).”


The African migrants running a food bank in Sicily, BBC News, 11 November 2021

“One morning in the historic heart of Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, a group of Nigerian women are frantically preparing to open a food bank for African migrant families. It is organised monthly by Osas Egbon to assist those unable to feed themselves because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The initiative is part of work undertaken by the Women of Benin City, a group Ms Egbon founded in 2015 with other women who were victims of trafficking to Italy.”

Number of refugees arriving in Italy doubles compared to 2020, Press TV, 10 November 2021

“About 57,000 people have landed in Italy, often on rickety boats, since January, the majority of whom are Tunisian, Bangladeshi and Egyptian…At the weekend Italy agreed to let 800 migrants disembark after they were stuck at sea aboard an overcrowded vessel for days. The vessel was carrying over 200 minors, including many children under the age of 10.”



Poland-Belarus border crisis: What’s going on and who’s to blame?, The Evening Standard, 10 November 2021

“Young children and babies are among the people stuck in freezing conditions.”

One of Europe’s Most Notorious Far-Right ‘Hate Fests’ Gets Official Backing, Vice, 10 November 2021

“Poland’s government has given its blessing to an Independence Day march organised by far-right groups, despite it being banned by the courts.”



WATCH: Sindicat: evading eviction in one of Europe’s most densely populated cities – video, The Guardian, 11 November 2021

“Near Barcelona, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat is one of the most densely populated cities in the EU and home to a large migrant community. Dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable members of this fringe society, a group of young volunteers set up Sindicat, a renters union that is working relentlessly to counteract the housing crisis engulfing the often undocumented residents.”

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