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rpannier

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Current location: Boseong
Member since: Fri Jan 30, 2004, 05:44 AM
Number of posts: 21,771

Journal Archives

The Fifth Estate (CBC): The Insider: Tales from Inside the Benny Hinn Ministries

Good reporting on Benny Hiin and his fraud-squad ministry
What makes it especially interesting is that his nephew Costi Hinn is interviewed for the piece
He is a critic of his uncle and has written a book about it (which I plan on getting)

https://gem.cbc.ca/media/the-fifth-estate/season-45/episode-19/38e815a-01229feb11c

Viewable in Canada only -- unless you use a VPN (I did)

on edit:
retShd below has provided a link on youtube

US coal power plants shut down at near-record rate, despite Trump's promise to save industry

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/coal-power-trump-plants-renewable-energy-close-a9282456.html

American coal-fired power plants were shut down at the second-fastest pace in history last year, despite Donald Trump’s frequent pledges to help the floundering industry out.

That’s according to a study by Reuters analysing statistics from the US Energy Information Administration, which found that power companies had converted or retired around 15,100 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired electricity generation in 2019, a drop that represents enough power for around 15 million homes.

snip

The decline marks a trend that has been seen for the past decade, as the energy source has been challenged by the production of cheap and cleaner natural gas.

Meanwhile, subsidised solar and wind energy have also cut into the market share of coal, which is a leading contributor of greenhouse gasses and global warming.


to note: The largest drop was in 2015.

Indigenous grandfather and 12-year-old handcuffed in front of Vancouver bank after trying to open an

account

He's been a customer since 2014 and wanted to open an account for his 12-year-old granddaughter so he could transfer funds to her electronically when she was on the road for basketball games.

snip

"She said the numbers didn't match up what she had on her computer," Johnson said from his home in Bella Bella, a Heiltsuk community located on B.C's Central Coast.

Johnson, 56, and his granddaughter were using government-issued Indian Status cards, his birth certificate and her medical card. He said the employee became suspicious and went upstairs with their cards.

snip

He says the employee then told them to come upstairs to retrieve their identification. Not long after, they saw police walking toward them.

"They came over and grabbed me and my granddaughter, took us to a police vehicle and handcuffed both of us, told us we were being detained and read us our rights," Johnson said.

link
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/indigenous-girl-grandfather-handcuffed-bank-1.5419519

Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight Speak to Democrats Abroad

Democrats Abroad is partnering with the DNC Voter Protection team and Fair Fight to protect your vote!

Join a call on January 14th to hear from your voter protection team - Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight, the DNC and our Voter Protection volunteers - about the work that we will be doing this year, and the challenges ahead.

When: January 14th, 9am DC, 3pm Berlin, 10pm Hong Kong
Where: Zoom call

Stacey Abrams
Founder of Fair Fight, Stacey Abrams is leading the charge in the Democratic fight against voter suppression. In 2018, Abrams ran for Governor of Georgia as the Democratic nominee. The voter suppression methods used by her opponent brought the election to international attention, and the consequent battle to resolve the election issues helped lead to the launch of Fair Fight.

Fair Fight 2020
Fair Fight 2020 is an initiative of Fair Fight that is building Democratic voter protection infrastructure now—ensuring that our eventual Presidential, Senate, Congressional, and down-ballot nominees have a tested program to scale. For more information, visit www.fairfight2020.org.

The DNC Voter Protection Team
The DNC Voter Protection team works with state parties to make sure our efforts are coordinated and supported in elections across the country, from the precinct level to the national stage.

Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight Speak to Democrats Abroad

Democrats Abroad is partnering with the DNC Voter Protection team and Fair Fight to protect your vote!

Join a call on January 14th to hear from your voter protection team - Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight, the DNC and our Voter Protection volunteers - about the work that we will be doing this year, and the challenges ahead.

When: January 14th, 9am DC, 3pm Berlin, 10pm Hong Kong
Where: Zoom call

Stacey Abrams
Founder of Fair Fight, Stacey Abrams is leading the charge in the Democratic fight against voter suppression. In 2018, Abrams ran for Governor of Georgia as the Democratic nominee. The voter suppression methods used by her opponent brought the election to international attention, and the consequent battle to resolve the election issues helped lead to the launch of Fair Fight.

Fair Fight 2020
Fair Fight 2020 is an initiative of Fair Fight that is building Democratic voter protection infrastructure now—ensuring that our eventual Presidential, Senate, Congressional, and down-ballot nominees have a tested program to scale. For more information, visit www.fairfight2020.org.

The DNC Voter Protection Team
The DNC Voter Protection team works with state parties to make sure our efforts are coordinated and supported in elections across the country, from the precinct level to the national stage.

This Toronto landlord has only raised rent by $100 -- since the 1980s

Fifteen houses along Niagara Street were awarded protection as heritage homes just before Christmas, thanks in part to one local landlord.

snip

For the past 10 years, he's been lobbying the city to do what many landlords fight against — designate the five Niagara Street houses he owned as heritage sites — a title that protects them from demolition or major renovations unless owners obtain special permission from the city's heritage department.

snip

Kendall and his wife Grecia owned five of the houses that run along the south side of Niagara Street between Bathurst and Tecumseh streets for more than 30 years. They were bought in part with the proceeds from his first novel, Lazaro.

snip

As for his ultra low rent, Kendall said he's grateful to past tenants who helped him and his wife pay off the mortgages, and he wants to pay it forward.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/this-toronto-landlord-has-only-raised-rent-by-100-since-the-1980s-1.5408903

Paws To Relax: Dogs Ease Stress At Russian Airport

Russian airport terminals are buzzing this week with travelers trying to get home for the Orthodox Christmas holiday. One Moscow airport is providing a fuzzy, four-legged way to help cope with the stress.

video at link
https://www.rferl.org/a/paws-to-relax-dogs-ease-stress-at-russian-airport/30363078.html

10 Things About Japanese Schools I learned this year

My daughters (we have no sons) are about to finish their second year in Japan (I came end of last March because I had to finish up work in Korea). Our daughters are a mix of Multi European (my side) and Japanese-Korean (their mother). We live in Kanagawa and, while some of the things may not be universal, most of these I've heard from friends of ours in other prefectures exist as well.

10. No phones at school.
No cell phones, no flip phones, no smartphones no iphones, no exceptions. They are considered distracting and unnecessary at school. I support this rule. Coming from Korea, where they could carry their phones to-and-from school, I found that Korean kids were getting these amazingly wonderful do everything phones that they don't need. This includes walking to-and-from school. No carrying phones.

9. No Taking Your Child to School.
In Japan teaching your child independence is practically job 1 for parents. Parents do not drive their kids to school, walk their kids to school or any of that. Our elementary aged daughters walk a fair distance to school (because of our location). They are assigned walking groups. Since they are triplets, they are in three different classrooms and they have different walking groups because they walk by class. Our twins (1st year middle school) walk with their homeroom friends -- so they have different groups to walk with. Our oldest (3rd Year Middle school) walks with her friends.
* Yes, we have 6 daughters. No, we are not planning on having any more children for two reasons; first, I am a fairly old parent 55, and second, I'm afraid we'd have 4 next time.*

8. No Mechanical Pencils at School.
Don't know why. But, I don't know anyone who has children in Kanagawa, Tokyo, Osaka, etc whose school allows mechanical pencils.

7. No make-up, no hair dye, hair length and style is regulated, no nail polish (finger nails or toe nails), no tattoos, no pierced ears.
Although I have heard stories that there are schools that allow pierced ears, I don't know anyone who has children at any school that allows it.
There are sometimes exceptions to the hair dye -- our twins are an example. Unlike their sisters, our twins have mixed dominance hair -- black with bits of blonde and brown. The principal asked us to have their hair dyed so they'd have their hair color like everyone else. So, their hair is dyed.

6. Uniforms are tightly regulated.
Our girls all attend schools that require uniforms. Watch any anime and you have already seen this (though in some areas of Japan, elementary school students don't have uniforms). Kanagawa is fairly traditional regarding uniform requirements at all levels. Not only is their uniform regulated, but the book bag they carry is often regulated (at all our children's schools boys have black and girls red), the shoes (outdoor and indoor) and how the uniform is worn.
I wasn't sure how our children would respond when they went from Korea to Japan, but all of them like their uniforms and enjoy wearing them -- which is good, because they're in uniform almost the whole day -- and by whole day, I mean the whole day, from the time they go to school, their after school classes and coming home they wear their uniform

5. Clubs are very important
Every school has clubs. The clubs are year round. Even during vacation they are expected to attend their club.

4. The students clean the school. After classes are over, Gakko Soji begins. Every student is assigned a duty around the school and every teacher is assigned to moderate and help. They did this in Korea as well. Interestingly, I have been told that this is to prepare them for when they start working as adults.

3. Students may not write or draw on the board, except for doing work during class.
When we were in Korea, during break period between each class, the students would sometimes draw pictures or write things on the board. As long as it was erased before next class it was okay. Not at any Japanese school I know of: no scribbling, no drawing, no writing, no kidding

2. Bullying is a Problem. But it is improving.
In the quest for conformity, children that are seen as unusual or different are often shunned by their peers. In some cases they are taunted by students in their class to be like everyone else. Fortunately, over the past few years it has been changing. The Superintendent for Public Instruction for our prefecture has a near zero tolerance policy for this behavior. One of our twins' best friend was one of the shunned, and this was strictly because her family is fairly lower socioeconomic and they're kind of odd. Fortunately for this girl, she latched on to one of our twins as a bff and this daughter can 'intimidate with the best of them' if need be.

1. Students cannot be held back
No matter how badly a student does, they cannot be held back. As far as I can tell, this has more to do with keeping the children in the same grade the same age -- sameness. The teachers spend a lot of time trying to get these slow students up to grade level -- so do the other children

**If you want to be a school teacher in Japan you might as well give up ever having a good, long vacation because they spend the bulk of their vacations at school doing work, attending classes assigned by the Prefecture, etc. I don't know about the foreign native English speakers

Five Stories from Asia You May Have Missed

(I've decided to branch out a bit)

1. SARS not the mysterious respiratory illness infecting dozens in China, authorities say

The 2002/03 SARS epidemic started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in mainland China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Fears of a SARS recurrence arose this month after a slate of patients were hospitalised with an unexplained viral pneumonia in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

As of Sunday, 59 people were diagnosed with the condition and had been isolated while they received treatment, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.

Seven were in critical condition, while the rest were stable.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-06/mysterious-illness-in-china-is-not-sars/11843068?section=world


2. Laos Cracks Down on Ivory, Rhino Horn Sales in Luang Prabang

Authorities in the Luang Prabang province of northern Laos have stepped up controls over the sale of ivory, rhinoceros horn, and other illegal wildlife products, seizing large quantities of banned goods over the last three years and warning Chinese tourists against their purchase, sources say.

More than 200 kilograms of prohibited wildlife products were confiscated in Luang Prabang in 2017, 2018, and 2019, an official from the province’s Agriculture and Forestry Department told RFA’s Lao Service at the end of the year.

“We seized most of these items from souvenir stores owned by Chinese who come to Laos to set up their businesses, and we have told them to stop selling these things,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Now there is no more ivory, rhino horn, or tiger bone on display for sale, and facsimile items made from rubber or plastic are also banned,” the official said, adding that though stores are now closely watched and inspected, “these items are very small.”

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/laos/ivory-01032020133359.html


3. Cambodia building collapse kills at least 24, others still trapped

The seven-storey concrete building collapsed on Friday in the coastal town of Kep, about 160 kilometres south-west of the capital Phnom Penh.

It came a year after another construction site collapsed, killing 28 people in Preah Sihanouk province.

"Twenty-four people have died so far," Kep Governor Ken Satha said.

"Three of the bodies are not yet at hospital, they have not been pulled out yet."

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-05/cambodia-building-collapse-kills-at-least-24-others-trapped/11841946?section=world


4. Malaysia Stands by Claim to Increase South China Sea Territory

Malaysia stands by its request to extend its boundary farther into the South China Sea, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah told reporters Friday, acknowledging Chinese opposition to the move and the potential for the case to lead to arbitration before the United Nations.

The government submitted a claim to the U.N. on Dec. 12 to increase Malaysia’s continental shelf beyond the standard 200 nautical miles off the northernmost point of Malaysian Borneo, according to submission documents viewed by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

In 2009, Malaysia and Vietnam jointly petitioned the U.N. to extend their boundaries into the South China Sea, in an area between their respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).

“We expected China to object, but it is our claim and we will maintain our claim,” Saifuddin told reporters in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/malaysia-southchinasea-01032020181448.html


5. Jakarta floods: recovery effort begins as city counts cost of worst deluge in a decade

Mudslides and power blackouts have hampered the search for people missing in massive floods in Indonesia’s capital, where more than 60 people have died and some of the tens of thousands of evacuees are living in damp, cramped emergency shelters.

More than 1,000 soldiers and health workers sprayed disinfectant in hard-hit areas on Sunday to fend off the spread of disease. Monsoon rains and rising rivers submerged a dozen districts in the greater Jakarta area after extreme New Year’s Eve rains, causing landslides in hilly areas on the outskirts of the capital that buried scores of people.

It’s the worst flooding in the area since 2007, when 80 people were killed over 10 days. More rain is forecast, with the potential for more extreme rainfall in the next month.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/06/jakarta-floods-indonesia-recovery-effort-begins-as-city-counts-cost-of-worst-deluge-in-a-decade

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Croatian election: Social Democrat Zoran Milanović beats incumbent president in runoff vote

Zoran Milanović, the leader of Croatia's centre-left Social Democratic Party, was leading the country's presidential race on Sunday, beating incumbent Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, according to exit polls.

Former Croatian PM Milanović won 52,73% of the vote, against 47,27% for outgoing president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, according to official figures from the country's electoral commission based on results from 98% of Croatian polling stations.

The result is a blow for the ruling conservatives while Croatia holds the European Union's rotating presidency, and before a parliamentary election later this year.

snip

Milanovic's win is a rare victory for a left-wing official to a major post in central Europe where populists and conservatives have been winning elections in recent years

https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/04/croatia-presidential-election-voters-choose-head-of-state-days-after-starting-six-month-eu


2. Bulgaria To Cull 24,000 Pigs Amid Swine Fever Outbreak

Bulgarian veterinary authorities say they will cull 24,000 additional pigs amid signs of an outbreak of African Swine Fever at a pig farm in the northeast of the country.

The report on January 3 represents a continuation of an outbreak that was first detected at six breeding farms in the summer and led to the culling of more than 130,000 pigs in August 2019.

Health officials said there were 42 registered outbreaks of African Swine Fever in the country in 2019.

snip

In August, industry officials expressed concerns that the virus could hit the nation’s entire pig herd of some 500,000 and cause more than $1.1 billion in damages

https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgaria-to-cull-24-000-pigs-amid-swine-fever-outbreak-/30360126.html


3. Belarus, Russia Officials Reach Deal To Reopen Oil Deliveries

Oil executives say they have reached agreement to restart Russian crude-oil supplies to Belarus following a cutoff over transit fees on January 1.

Belarus agreed to abandon a supplier's premium on the oil that it imports from its much larger neighbor, Belarus's Belneftekhim said in a statement on January 4.

The deal should allow for continuous operation of Belarusian refineries in January, they said.

snip

The halt in Russian oil supplies left oil bound for Europe unaffected but could have carried a wallop for Belarus, which depends on Russia for more than 80 percent of its energy.

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-russia-officials-reach-deal-to-reopen-oil-deliveries/30360183.html


4. Tiny Italian enclave in Switzerland transferred back to Italy and the EU's customs union

Campione d'Italia, a tiny Italian enclave located in Switzerland was returned to Rome and the EU's customs union on January 1st, raising fears among residents accustomed to the enclave's special status.

Ownership of the enclave, located on the banks of Lake Lugano in the Swiss canton of Ticino around 20 kilometres from Italy, has ping-ponged between the two countries since at least the 7th century as the map of Europe took shape.

Following the unification of Italy in 1861, the two countries exchanged land and Campione as it was known then, acquired its unique status as an Italian territory in Switzerland's customs union.

That meant that although the roughly 2,000 residents paid their taxes in Italy, most of the public services were carried out by Swiss providers. Their rubbish was collected by a Swiss company, the telephone supplied by Swisscom, their cars had Swiss licence plates and shopping was mostly done in Swiss francs.

https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/03/tiny-italian-enclave-in-switzerland-transferred-back-to-italy-and-the-eu-s-customs-union


5. Montenegro Slams Serbia Over 'Uncivilized' Embassy Attack


Montenegro has criticized Serbia after thousands of ultranationalists in Belgrade attacked the Montenegrin Embassy in protest over a law that could target Serbian Orthodox Church property.

The ultranationalists, many of them characterized by authorities as soccer hooligans, targeted the embassy in the Serbian capital in the evening on January 2, setting off fireworks that burned Montenegro’s flag outside.

In a Twitter post, Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic called the embassy attack an “uncivilized” act and that it was “stunning” Serbian police did not protect the embassy during the incident, as well as at other recent protests. Montenegro also summoned the Serbian ambassador on January 3 to lodge an official protest.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the embassy was protected and accused Markovic of “telling notorious falsehoods,” though he did not appear to comment on the flag burning itself.

https://www.rferl.org/a/montenegro-slams-serbia-over-uncivilized-embassy-attack/30359059.html
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