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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: 21,738

Journal Archives

Protests Erupt In Belgrade Over Return Of Restrictions Amid Surge In Coronavirus Cases

Protesters flooded Belgrade’s city center to voice their anger over President Aleksandar Vucic’s announcement of a return to strict limits on gatherings and plans to reimpose a weekend because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Scuffles broke out between police and a group of protesters who tried to storm into the parliament building, prompting police to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd.

More than 1,000 people took part in the protest, which came after Vucic said on July 7 that the situation in Belgrade is critical and that hospitals in the city of around 1.3 million are almost full.

snip

Vucic told a press conference on July 7 that gatherings will be limited to five people from the following day, and he said he will request that a government task force declare a nationwide weekend curfew ahead of a reassessment of the situation.


https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-holds-safranov-space-agency-aide-ex-journalist-on-high-treason-charge/30711721.html

This headline is interesting: Republicans Are Nervous about Being the Party of White Grievance

Don't know why. That is what the Republicans have been for over 2 decades

Earl Cameron, 'Britain's first black film star', dies aged 102

Earl Cameron, who with his debut role in the 1951 film Pool of London, became one of the first significant black actors in British cinema, has died aged 102. His agent confirmed the news to the Guardian, saying “he passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and family” on Friday in Kenilworth in Warwickshire.

Cameron’s significance to the current generation of black British actors was underlined by tributes on social media. David Harewood described him as “a total legend”, while Paterson Joseph wrote: “His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on. No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of god and the heart of a kindly prince.” Historian David Olusoga added: “A remarkable and wonderful man. Not just a brilliant actor but a link to a deeper history.”

In a statement, Cameron’s children said: “We are overwhelmed by the messages of love and respect on the news of his passing … As an artist and as an actor he refused to take roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of colour. He was truly a man who stood on moral principle.”

Born in Bermuda in 1917 and arriving in the UK in 1939 after a spell in the British merchant navy, Cameron ended up with a small role in 1941 in a stage production of the musical Chu Chin Chow. More theatre work followed after the war, and Cameron was then cast in a substantial role in Pool of London, a thriller set in the London docks in which he played Johnny Lambert, a merchant seaman. Cameron’s character is also involved in a mixed-race relationship, generally acknowledged as the first such portrayal in a British film.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jul/04/earl-cameron-britains-first-black-film-star-dies-aged-102

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Religious Court Rules To Strip Rogue Russian Priest Of His Rank

YEKATERINBURG, Russia -- An ultraconservative, coronavirus-denying Russian priest who took control of a convent in the Urals with help from Cossack guards last month has been stripped off his religious rank.

The Diocesan Court in the Sverdlovsk region on July 3 ruled that Schema-Hegumen Sergiy (Nikolai Romanov), had shown disobedience toward Russian Orthodox Church authorities and therefore must be punished.

snip

Father Sergiy also publicly condemned the Russian Orthodox Church's order in April to stop church services to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus. Weeks later, the Yekaterinburg diocese barred him from preaching and launched a probe into his conduct, citing his stance on the coronavirus and his interference with church policy during the pandemic.

snip

After forcibly taking over the convent in June, Father Sergiy issued several political statements saying that constitutional amendments offered by President Vladimir Putin "would legalize a slave-owning system."

https://www.rferl.org/a/religious-court-rules-to-strip-rogue-russian-priest-of-his-rank/30704755.html


2. Croatia election: Will the ruling party's early election gamble pay off?

Croatia will hold parliamentary elections on Sunday (July 5) in an early election that is likely to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Polls show a close race between the two mainstream parties but it’s uncertain who will win the most seats or who might be able to form a majority coalition in Croatia's 151-member parliament.

Experts say the elections were brought forward in part because the ruling party thinks they could benefit from their handling of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been just under 3,000 cases and 110 deaths but now cases are on the rise.

snip

"But the decision to lift the lockdown and open the borders too fast came back like a political boomerang: now the epidemiological situation in Croatia is deteriorating day by day."

https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/04/croatia-election-will-the-ruling-party-s-early-election-gamble-pay-off


3. Court In MH17 Trial Grants Defense Request For Additional Investigations

Judges hearing the case against four suspects in the 2014 downing of a passenger airliner over eastern Ukraine have granted a defense request to investigate alternative theories about the incident.

On July 3, the court in The Hague in the Netherlands ordered that defense lawyers and experts be granted access to the partial wreckage of the plane, which is being held at a Dutch military base.

The suspects -- Russians Sergei Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov, and Igor Girkin, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko -- are being tried in absentia for involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, which killed all 298 people on board.

Following a six-year international investigation, prosecutors have argued that the aircraft was shot down by a Russian-made Buk antiaircraft system fired by Russia-backed separatist fighters who had acquired it from a Russian military base on the border between the two countries.

https://www.rferl.org/a/court-in-mh17-trial-grants-defense-request-for-additional-investigations/30704964.html


4. Italy breaks up child abuse ring 'that shared images of babies

ROME (AP) — Italian police say they have broken up a child abuse ring used to share illicit material, including photos of newborns, via an instant messaging platform.

Police said on Saturday that the crackdown involved dozens of search warrants and led to the arrest of three people for allegedly possessing what was described in a statement as “huge quantities of pornographic material depicting minors”. About 50 people are under investigation.

The police statement said investigators had discovered photos of nude minors and other “horrifying content, depicting actual sexual violence where the victims were often newborns”.

Police said some of the images had been produced at home. Material was exchanged on an instant messaging platform that investigators did not identify except to say it was well-known.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/04/italy-breaks-up-child-abuse-ring-that-shared-images-of-babies


5. François Fillon found guilty of embezzling public funds

The former French prime minister François Fillon and his Welsh wife, Penelope, were sentenced to jail on Monday for embezzling public funds as part of a “fake jobs” scandal.

A court found the couple guilty of fraud after a trial heard he had paid her and two of the couple’s children about €1m for non-existent jobs as his parliamentary assistants.

In a scathing verdict, the judge said Fillon, 66, who was prime minister under the centre-right president Nicolas Sarkozy, had eroded trust in France’s political class.

The court said Mrs Fillon, 64, was paid “the maximum possible” and that the sums were “out of proportion to her activities”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/29/francois-fillon-found-guilty-of-embezzling-public-funds

Quotes from President Harry Truman for this age

- Not all readers become leaders. But all leaders must be readers.
(Now you know why trump can't lead)

-My own sympathy has always been with the little fellow, the man without advantages.

- Good name and honor are worth more than all the gold and jewels ever mined.

- I don’t believe that because peace is difficult that war is inevitable.

- We can well afford to pay the price of peace. Our only alternative is to pay the terrible cost of war.

- I never sit on a fence. I am either on one side or another.

- Criticism is something [a president] gets every day, just like breakfast.

- Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.

- If we wish to inspire the peoples of the world whose freedom is in jeopardy, if we wish to restore hope to those who have already lost their civil liberties, if we wish to fulfill the promise that is ours, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of democracy. We know the way. We need only the will.

- I have had some bitter disappointments as president, but the one that has troubled me the most, in a personal way, has been the failure to defeat organized opposition to a national compulsory health insurance program.

= It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

The 3 Weeks That Changed Everything

Coping with a pandemic is one of the most complex challenges a society can face. To minimize death and damage, leaders and citizens must orchestrate a huge array of different resources and tools. Scientists must explore the most advanced frontiers of research while citizens attend to the least glamorous tasks of personal hygiene. Physical supplies matter—test kits, protective gear—but so do intangibles, such as “flattening the curve” and public trust in official statements. The response must be global, because the virus can spread anywhere, but an effective response also depends heavily on national policies, plus implementation at the state and community level. Businesses must work with governments, and epidemiologists with economists and educators. Saving lives demands minute-by-minute attention from health-care workers and emergency crews, but it also depends on advance preparation for threats that might not reveal themselves for many years. I have heard military and intelligence officials describe some threats as requiring a “whole of nation” response, rather than being manageable with any one element of “hard” or “soft” power or even a “whole of government” approach. Saving lives during a pandemic is a challenge of this nature and magnitude.

It is a challenge that the United States did not meet. During the past two months, I have had lengthy conversations with some 30 scientists, health experts, and past and current government officials—all of them people with firsthand knowledge of what our response to the coronavirus pandemic should have been, could have been, and actually was. The government officials had served or are still serving in the uniformed military, on the White House staff, or in other executive departments, and in various intelligence agencies. Some spoke on condition of anonymity, given their official roles. As I continued these conversations, the people I talked with had noticeably different moods. First, in March and April, they were astonished and puzzled about what had happened. Eventually, in May and June, they were enraged. “The president kept a cruise ship from landing in California, because he didn’t want ‘his numbers’ to go up,” a former senior government official told me. He was referring to Donald Trump’s comment, in early March, that he didn’t want infected passengers on the cruise ship Grand Princess to come ashore, because “I like the numbers being where they are.” Trump didn’t try to write this comment off as a “joke,” his go-to defense when his remarks cause outrage, including his June 20 comment in Tulsa that he’d told medical officials to “slow the testing down, please” in order to keep the reported-case level low. But the evidence shows that he has been deadly earnest about denying the threat of COVID-19, and delaying action against it.

snip

But the most important event was the H5N1 “bird flu” outbreak, in 2005. It originated in Asia and was mainly confined there, as the SARS outbreak had been two years earlier. Bush-administration officials viewed H5N1 as an extremely close call. “We were deeply and genuinely concerned about the potential for human-to-human transmission of the bird flu,” John R. Allen, now president of the Brookings Institution, told me. Allen is a retired four-star Marine Corps general who during the Bush administration was an early participant in the contingency planning efforts to assess the lessons of the H5N1 threat. “We realized that if it had spread worldwide, the numbers would have been enormous. So the national-security system was pulled right into the process of improving our awareness mechanisms, and developing a national pandemic strategy.”

snip

The system the government set up was designed to warn not about improbable “black swan” events but rather about what are sometimes called “gray rhinos.” These are the large, obvious dangers that will sooner or later emerge but whose exact timing is unknown. Did the warning system work this time, providing advance notice of the coronavirus outbreak? According to everyone I spoke with, it certainly did. A fascinating unclassified timeline compiled by the Congressional Research Service offers a day-by-day and then hour-by-hour chronology of who knew what, and when, about developments in central China. By at least late December, signs were beginning to show something seriously amiss—despite foot-dragging, lies, and apparent cover-up on the Chinese side. A different kind of Chinese government might have done a different job, calling for help from the rest of the world and increasing the chances that the coronavirus remained a regional rather than global threat. But other U.S. leaders had dealt with foreign cover-ups, including by China in the early stages of the SARS outbreak in 2002. Washington knew enough, soon enough, in this case to act while there still was time.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/how-white-house-coronavirus-response-went-wrong/613591/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20200629&silverid-ref=NDA0MTk0Njc3OTYxS0

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Kosovo's President To Address War Crimes Charges In Speech To Nation

Kosovar President Hashim Thaci plans to address the nation on June 29 about the war-crimes charges filed against him, including crimes against humanity, stemming from Kosovo’s war of independence in 1998-99.

A special prosecutor's office in The Hague on June 24 announced the indictment alleging Thaci and another senior Kosovar politician, Kadri Veseli, are among those "criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders" and other wrongdoing involving "hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and including political opponents."

Thaci commanded guerrilla forces under the banner of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) during the conflict.

A pretrial judge at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague has until October to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial based on the 10-count indictment, according to the statement from the Special Prosecutor's Office.

https://www.rferl.org/a/kosovo-war-crimes-thaci/30695906.html


2. Russian Metallurgical Giant Admits Waste 'Violations' At Arctic Plant

A Russian metallurgical giant has admitted one of its plants pumped wastewater into the fragile Arctic environment and that it has suspended the responsible employees.

Citing a "flagrant violation of operating rules," Norilsk Nickel said on June 28 that the employees were responsible for dumping wastewater from a dangerously full reservoir into the tundra.

The company said employees of the Talnakh enrichment plant near the industrial city of Norilsk had pumped out "purified water" and that there is no threat of waste leakage.

snip

The incident occurred near the industrial city of Norilsk, one month after a massive fuel leak at a plant in the area owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading nickel and palladium producer.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-metallurgic-giant-admits-waste-violations-at-arctic-plant/30695249.html


3. Summer of the cannibal rats! Hungry, aggressive, highly fertile – and coming to our homes

With restaurants closed and less food discarded on UK streets, rats have had to find new places to feed. Luckily for them, people are eating more in their houses, flats and gardens …

Lockdown has been hard for rodents whose fortunes are tied to those of humans. When restaurants closed, and city streets and back alleys emptied of people and their waste, rats lost a plentiful supply of food. So they followed us home, foraging and breeding in our gardens, drains and household voids. They became more brazen and aggressive. And, when that wasn’t enough, they began to eat each other.

Cannibal rats are among the grimmest consequences of the upending of urban life. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned of “unusual or aggressive” behaviour in rats, including the eating of rat pups.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that cannibalism is common among mammals in extremis. “Mothers will eat their young in the hope of one day being able to reproduce again,” says Steve Belmain, a professor of ecology at the Natural Resources Institute in Kent, and the UK’s leading rat academic. “If there’s not enough food to take care of herself, she won’t kill herself looking after them.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/29/summer-of-the-cannibal-rats-hungry-aggressive-highly-fertile-and-coming-to-our-homes


4. Russian Election Commission: Turnout Passes 28 Percent On Third Day Of Constitutional-Amendments Vote

Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC) says overall turnout was nearly 28.5 percent on the third day of a weeklong vote for constitutional amendments that could pave the way for an extension of President Vladimir Putin’s rule by 12 years.

Almost 31 million people have cast ballots, including remote online voting, CEC chairwoman Ella Pamfilova said on June 28. Pamfilova also said that the CEC has received 113 complaints of irregularities.

Some 110.5 million people are eligible to cast ballots in the nationwide vote, which ends on July 1.

The sweeping constitutional reforms has sparked sharp criticism from opposition members and human rights groups who see them as an attempt at a power grab by President Vladimir Putin.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-election-commission-turnout-passes-28-percent-on-third-day-of-constitutional-amendments-vote/30695164.html

5. Armenian Parliament Adopts Contentious Amendments That Would Shake Up Constitutional Court

The Armenian parliament has adopted proposed changes to the constitution that would lead to the removal of Constitutional Court judges, potentially opening the door for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to exert more influence over the South Caucasian nation.

A total of 89 members of the National Assembly -- all affiliated with the ruling My Step bloc -- backed the draft constitutional amendments in the first and second readings on June 22.

The votes were boycotted by the two opposition parties represented in the 132-seat legislature -- the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Bright Armenia Party (LHK).

The draft changes, unveiled last week by the My Step bloc of Pashinian, would lead to the immediate dismissal of three of the nine Constitutional Court members.

https://www.rferl.org/a/armenian-parliament-adopts-amendments-on-constitutional-court/30684853.html

3 Countries in Europe Vote

Poland - First round of elections are today. Pres Andrzej Duda and the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski are the only two who really count in this race. Neither are expected to clear 50%, so a run-off is likely. This race is really too close to call according to Euronews

2. Russian constitutional referendum. Staring Sunday and ending July 1, Russians will vote on Constitutional Reform. Among the issues that Russians will be voting on:
- The Russian Constitution should take precedence over international law
- Persons who hold "important positions for ensuring the country's security" (President, Ministers, judges, heads of regions) should not have foreign citizenship or a residence permit in other countries, either at the time of their work in office or, in the case of the President, at any time before
- A presidential candidate must live in Russia for at least 25 years (currently 10 years)
- Granting the Constitutional Court the ability to check the constitutionality of laws adopted by the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation at the request of the President before they are signed by the President
-Defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman

and the most important
-remove the "in a row" clause from the article regulating the maximum number of presidential terms, discounting previous presidential terms before the amendment enters into force

3. France.
The second round of voting begins June 28.

Clever cat wins police plaudits in Japan for leading to rescue of man stuck in canal

A cat in the city of Toyama has been honored by local police for helping lead to the rescue of an elderly man who had fallen into an irrigation channel.

On June 16, a 77-year-old woman taking a walk around 7:30 p.m. found Koko, a female cat who belongs to a neighbor, staring into the canal and acting strangely. When she followed the cat's gaze, she discovered a man lying on his back in a 60-centimeter-wide and 40-cm-deep canal. The water was about 15 cm deep.

snip

The Toyama Minami Police Station honored the five neighbors with certificates of commendation on Saturday, while Koko was presented with cat food for her effort.

Holding Koko in her arms, Nitta said, "I want to tell her well done, as (her discovery of the man) led to his rescue."

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/28/national/cat-police-rescue-japan/#.Xvhu5qZS_IU

Venezuela, Myanmar, North Korea, Rwanda, Cuba

These are five of the countries that are on the EU approval list when the EU borders open again
The U.S. is not
Heckuva job there trumpie

https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/25/revealed-draft-list-of-countries-that-will-be-allowed-to-enter-eu-when-borders-open
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