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rpannier

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

Journal Archives

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. New Push To Pass Domestic-Violence Law Angers Russia's 'Traditional Values' Conservatives

At a time when alarming cases are drawing attention to domestic violence in Russia, activists are pushing -- again -- for a law that would criminalize it. Conservative groups are pushing back. Russia is the only country in the Council of Europe that has no criminal statute on domestic violence. Of the 47 member states, only Russia and Azerbaijan have failed to sign the 2011 Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence.

More than 40 times over the last decade, bills on domestic violence have been introduced in the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, but none of them has passed even the first reading.

In each instance, the efforts have met staunch resistance from socially conservative organizations and self-professed advocates of so-called traditional values. That history is now repeating itself as activists and their allies in the Duma prepare yet another bill seeking to address the persistent problem.

snip

In October, more than 180 "traditional values" organizations and their regional branches signed an open letter denouncing the proposed bill as a purported product of "gender ideology" and an "instrument for the fundamental and forcible alteration of the basic foundations of Russian society and the destruction of our traditional family and moral values."

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-domestic-violence-law-traditional-values-conservatives/30283060.html


2. Malta's PM urged to step back from case of murdered journalist

A senior European monitor is calling for Malta’s prime minister to distance himself from the investigation into the killing of the prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia due to a potential conflict of interest.

Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, has the power to grant immunity from prosecution to a key witness who may have vital evidence about those who commissioned Caruana Galizia’s assassination two years ago.

However, two current members of Muscat’s government have been linked to a businessman arrested on Wednesday in connection with the killing.

snip

Investigations have revealed Fenech as the owner of a secretive offshore company, 17 Black, which Caruana Galizia was looking into at the time of her death. It was later revealed 17 Black was due to make payments to other offshore companies belonging to Konrad Mizzi, Malta’s then energy minister, now in charge of tourism, and Keith Schembri, Muscat’s current chief of staff.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/22/maltas-pm-urged-to-step-back-from-investigation-into-journalists-killing


3. Spain tracking mobile phones on massive scale for statistical survey

Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) has launched a controversial survey this week involving tracking mobile phones on a massive scale — and without the consent of customers.

The move raised concerns over consumers' privacy and data protection, with some questioning the legality of such a survey.

snip

The purpose is to understand mobility dynamics within the national population on workdays or during holidays

https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/20/spain-tracking-mobile-phones-on-massive-scale-for-statistical-survey


4. Court acquits mountain guide charged with helping asylum seekers

A French appeal court ruled on Thursday that mountain guide Pierre Mumber committed no crime in providing help to asylum-seekers in the Alps last year, his lawyer told Euronews

snip

The verdict is a relief to Mumber and his advocates, who kept saying the mountaineer only offered hot tea and warm clothes to four West Africans who arrived in France through the mountains from Italy.

snip

Since the beginning of the migration crisis in 2015, Mumber, like hundreds of other people living along the French-Italian border, has been participating in “maraudes”- the name that is given in France to roaming operations intended to help those in need.

The incident Mumber was charged for occurred on January 6 last year. The mountain guide and other volunteers were roaming the border when they found four migrants. One of them was a seriously injured Nigerian woman.

https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/20/crime-or-act-of-kindness-french-mountaineer-faces-suspended-sentence-for-helping-asylum-se


5. Merkel successor challenges party to back her or sack her

The embattled leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats has challenged delegates at the party’s conference to back her vision or else “end it here and now”, amid deep divisions over the future direction of the party.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the CDU’s annual conference in Leipzig she was putting her future on the line in response to stinging criticism over her leadership style.

The 57-year-old, who took over as CDU head from Angela Merkel almost a year ago, shocked party members towards the end of a rousing 90-minute speech by inviting them to move to vote her out if they wanted to.

snip

Kramp-Karrenbauer has been seen as Merkel’s successor, sometimes even referred to as “mini Merkel” since she was narrowly elected party leader last December. She was subsequently appointed as defence minister and has drawn both praise and criticism for pushing for Germany to play a stronger role on the international stage.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/22/merkel-successor-annegret-kramp-karrenbauer-back-her-or-sack-her


******************
Someone pm'd me asking what the criterion I used for stories I chose. I choose stories that I think are interesting and, I think, will be of interest to others. Some stories do get coverage in Europe, like the kidnapping in Romania that I posted stories last spring and how it exposed the incompetence and corruption within sectors of the Romanian government, the journalist murdered in Malta and the corruption in the Malta government that it has exposed.

Some I do not post are stories involving Trump, Brexit stories and the Separatists in Spain --unless they're peripheral (both Brexit and Spanish separatists): I debated whether to include a story on a restaurant in the UK that has said it will provide a place for homeless to vote -- I thought that was interesting (it will appear in its own thread). Brexit and Catalonia stories are easy to find and the cacophony surrounding Brexit and Catalonia are covered everywhere.
Kramp-Karrenbauer probably also is getting decent coverage in Europe right now as well. Not sure if it's getting a lot of coverage in the states. I know coverage of Malta has been sparse in the states

I do wish to thank the people who regularly check out these threads. It's nice to see the numbers of views.
Thank you

I Wonder if Mr Stone would like to rethink this moment

Winter War: The 1939 Soviet Invasion Of Finland (Many pics)



Shattered buildings and a car burn in Helsinki after an air raid on the opening day of the Winter War.




A Soviet plane on a bombing run.

Amid an international outcry over the unannounced attack on Finland, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov claimed on the radio that planes were dropping food supplies -- rather than bombs -- to hungry Finns.



An artillery shell explodes near a farmstead during a Soviet advance.



One cheap anti-tank weapon the Finns devised were Molotov cocktails (pictured) made of gasoline and tar.

Showing their dark sense of humor, the fighters named the firebombs after the Soviet foreign minister as a "drink to go with the food" that Molotov had claimed to be dropping on Finland. Thus giving birth to an oft-used weapon in conflicts through the decades since.



Dressed in white camouflage, the defenders were almost impossible to see among snow-dusted trees.

The invading Red Army troops initially wore dark uniforms, making them easy targets for Finnish sharpshooters.

****************************
Rest of pics and stories about the Winter War
https://www.rferl.org/a/finlands-winter-war-with-the-soviet-union/30280490.html

Maclean's compiled a list of questions they'd like asked of Prince Andrew

https://www.macleans.ca/news/26-more-questions-for-prince-andrew-about-his-relationship-with-jeffrey-epstein/

1. You say you have no recollection of meeting Virginia Roberts, who claims she was told by Ghislaine Maxwell to have sex with you. She says she was forced to have sex with you a total of three times, including twice when she was 17.

But there are lots of other young women who have been identified as having been abused by Jeffrey Epstein. Their faces have been all over the media. Do you recognize any of those faces? If yes, then please explain the circumstances.

2. Virginia Roberts (now Virginia Giuffre) has repeated her claims against you both in public and in legal filings since 2015. Aside from a few blanket written statements denying any involvement in Epstein’s crimes, you have never specifically refuted her claims regarding that day in London on March 10, 2001. Now you say you took your daughter, Beatrice, to a party at a Pizza Express in Woking and then, later, were home with your children while your ex-wife was away. You said you were reminded of your whereabouts on that day and then remembered the pizza event, which was unusual.

Who reminded you of that day?

snip

12. Did Epstein give any other money beside that one payment to anyone in your family? Describe the circumstances. Has that money been paid back?

13. Has Epstein ever done a favour for you or your family? Describe the circumstances.

snip

15. Do you understand why so many find it unbelievable that you went to New York, stayed in his mansion for four days, and took part in a dinner party in order to end your relationship with him, because he was now a convicted sex offender?

16. Why stay there—even if it is a “convenient place to say”—as there are lots of hotels in New York?

snip

22. Was Epstein vetted before being allowed into those royal residences? If not, do you now vet such guests?

23. You said you met Ghislaine Maxwell earlier this year, before Epstein’s arrest. Given all the allegations against her, that she procured young girls for Epstein and helped cover up his crimes, why are you still meeting her?

https://www.macleans.ca/news/26-more-questions-for-prince-andrew-about-his-relationship-with-jeffrey-epstein/

Sesame Street - Goodbye Mr. Hooper



Just Because. How true
Many in the cast were barely able to hold it together
This was one of their best ever and one of the best on death on TV ever

What Trump learned that he was probably warned about and ignored (Bolton)

I know a few people who have met John Bolton personally, and one of them described the meeting as staring into the abyss and having the abyss stare back at you. Almost everyone who has met him for the first time over the past dozen years or so will wow you with a variety of unflattering and chilling adjectives; he is amoral, soulless, pitiless, driven, Machiavellian, etc. To John Bolton, the end is the only thing that matters, everything in between is the mess you look back upon that got it accomplished.
Words that you will never hear people say to describe Bolton include lazy, unprepared, forgiving, or weak. He is so driven, he is as prepared as possible for every meeting, he has analyzed every possible scenario in a plan and is prepared to go to the mat to defend his position. He is a long-term thinker; if he gives on an issue, it is likely because he sees a pay-off down the road by compromising. If you want to know how horrible a person he is, consider this, two of his closest supporters have been the Mercers.

Trump, is the exact opposite of Bolton. Trump is stupid, he is unprepared, he is lazy and he is unable to see the prize in the bottom of a box of cereal, much less the prize in a complicated foreign or military policy. Trump sees one answer and goes with it, and that answer is almost always the simplest one and the wrong one. Bolton pours through details, Trump thinks details are someone with an accent talking about the back appendages of animals.
It is likely that Bolton kept thorough records of everything that he saw in the Trump administration; a man of his paranoia and work ethic would not be trusting of someone who has a history of screwing over anyone and everyone because he thinks he's so damned smart. It is also likely that the circus elephant sweepers working in the maladministration are mulling what proof Bolton has about them, as well as their boss.

This is not about Bolton being a hero of liberals, as Politico seemed to get in their head in an article a few weeks back. Only a fool and the so-called political insiders of media would think that the left has fallen in love with John Bolton. The vast majority of liberals will tell you he is a neo-conservative, Reagan worshiping, war mongering, amoral, pitiless, self-centered jerk. But, he knows things and liberals want to know what he knows -- like any American who cares about good governance and rule-of-law should want.

To those who think they're clever with the "If he loves America and is so upset at what Trump is doing why hasn't he come forward?"
My reply is, "You don't understand Bolton." He is getting mileage out of this, both in terms of how much money his book will likely rake in, but more importantly, sweating people at the White House who are wondering what he'll say. He may also be sweating the Mercers as well. Unlike Bannon's exit from the White House, where the Rebekkah Mercer made it clear she and her father were backing trump, nothing from them on this that I have seen.
It's likely if you asked Bolton why he hasn't come forward, his answer would be, "Why?" As in, what do I owe you or anyone else?

Trump invited the vampire into his home. He kicked him to the curb and tried to gain machismo mileage out of Bolton being gone. But he's now learning what happens when you cross an ideologue, who is smart, ruthless, and believes in vengeance.

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Thousands expected at Prague protest against Czech PM Andrej Babis

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are expected to attend a mass rally in Prague against Czech prime minister Andrej Babis on Saturday — the 30th anniversary of the country’s Velvet Revolution.

Organisers of the protest hope to repeat the success of a similar event in June that was the largest of its kind since the fall of Communism in 1989.

snip

Babis, a Slovak-born billionaire, has been investigated over a €2 million EU subsidy paid to a farm and convention centre that is now part of his giant Agrofert business, one of the country's largest private employers. He insists the site was owned by family members at the time of the subsidy, making it eligible, and has dismissed complaints about him as "fake news".

Czech police recommended that Babis be charged, but the country’s justice minister resigned the next day and the case has been dropped.

https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/16/thousands-expected-at-prague-protest-against-czech-pm-andrej-babis


2. Serbian President Vucic Hospitalized With Heart Problems

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been hospitalized after experiencing heart problems.

A statement issued on November 16 by his office said Vucic had been admitted to the military hospital in Belgrade, the capital, on November 15.

Vucic, 49, is a former extreme nationalist who now wishes to lead Serbia into the European Union.

Vucic's ruling Serbian Progressive Party ascended to power in 2012. Vucic has been Serbia's president since 2017.

https://www.rferl.org/a/serbian-president-vucic-hospitalized-with-heart-problems/30275114.html


3. Greenland airport becomes latest victim of climate change


Greenland's main airport is set to end civilian flights within five years due to climate change, as the melting of permafrost is cracking the runway.

Kangerlussuaq Airport, the country's main hub, had 11,000 planes landing or departing last year.

Permafrost, the layer of soil usually frozen solid, is shrinking as temperatures rise. For airport workers, ridding the runway of the snow and ice has become a constant struggle.

As a result, authorities will start building a new facility from scratch.

https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/15/greenland-airport-becomes-latest-victim-of-climate-change


4. Uzbekistan Urges Media Not To Politicize Suspicious Death Of Critical Journalist

Uzbek authorities told reporters not to politicize the death of a prominent journalist and outspoken government critic killed in a late-night road accident last week that many believe is suspicious.

Officials told reporters at a press conference in Tashkent on November 12 that Davlat Nazar’s death was simply a tragic traffic accident.

But the death of the 48-year-old journalist -- well-known for his critical reporting of the government -- has raised suspicions in Uzbekistan, where the government has little tolerance for dissent.

A correspondent for the private Jamiyat newspaper, Nazar (also known as Davlatnazar Ruzmetov) had been detained by authorities several times due to his critical reports and said he was being tailed by state agents in the time leading up to his death.

https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-urges-media-not-to-politicize-suspicious-death-of-critical-journalist/30269928.html


5. MEPs reject Hungary's pick for EU commissioner but approves those of France and Romania

MEPs have blocked Hungary's latest pick for EU commissioner but given the green light to those of France and Romania.

snip

MEPs rejected Hungary's Commissioner-designate in a first hearing, which means Oliver Varhelyi will have to answer additional written questions in the coming days before his candidacy can be approved.

Varhelyi, who has been put forward for the neighbourhood and enlargement portfolio, was quizzed by MEPs from the Foreign Affairs Committee.

snip

Some MEPs, the European Parliament said in a statement, "voiced serious concerns over how Mr Várhelyi will be capable of promoting the rule of law and fundamental rights in the enlargement countries, given that his own country, Hungary, has passed several laws in clear breach of the EU Treaties over the last few years. Others expressed their worry over whether the Commissioner-designate’s loyalty will lie with the Hungarian government or the EU as a whole

https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/14/eu-parliament-approves-france-s-commissioner-designate-thierry-breton

Michael Bennet speaks with Democrats Abroad - Nov 19

Tuesday, November 19, 10:00am DC time join a call with Senator Michael Bennet!

When: November 19, 2019 at 10:00am Eastern Time

Where: Zoom call

As this is an online call, you will need an internet connection in order to attend.

You must RSVP to be a part. This is the third Democratic Candidate that will have spoken to Dems Abroad

To Don Cherry and every other bigoted, big mouthed, blowhard

If you don't want to get fired on Remembrance Day, don't make bigoted comments on or around Remembrance Day

Just some advice

Into the abyss: How the MV Lyubov Orlova, a cruise ship named for a Soviet movie star, met its end a

How the MV Lyubov Orlova, a cruise ship named for a Soviet movie star, met its end as a ‘cannibal rat-infested ghost ship’ in the Atlantic

*******************
Glenn Mackey boarded the MV Lyubov Orlova in St. John’s Harbour on July 2, 2010, expecting to conduct a routine ship inspection.
But the Transport Canada inspector's visit quickly became anything but routine. He noticed the crane for the lifeboats was broken and the fire doors were defective. His notes from that day describe the crew's emergency drills as a "fiasco."

snip

Mackey's visit proved to be the beginning of the end for the Lyubov Orlova, a 4,251-tonne Arctic and Antarctic expedition cruise ship with a capacity of 110 passengers and 70 crew. The 2010 Arctic summer cruise season would be its last. Within two months of Mackey's inspection, the Lyubov Orlova and its crew would be abandoned in the harbour by the vessel's owner, as lawsuits and liens piled up.

snip

The Lyubov Orlova was originally owned by the Far East Shipping Company, which used it to ferry passengers along the eastern coastline of the Soviet Union, mostly around the Vladivostok region.

snip

"[One owner] said it was going to scrap and [the other] said they were taking it to 'humanitarian' purposes as a hotel in Haiti."
Nobody planned for what actually happened next. Within a day at sea, the Charlene Hunt's towline broke, sending the Lyubov Orlova adrift.

********************
Very long read, but worth it (IMO)

https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/longform/into-the-abyss
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