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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: 21,598

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Donald Trump statue baffles locals in Melania's home nation

A somewhat unflattering statue of US president Donald Trump has been unveiled in the home country of his wife Melania.

Locals in the Slovenian town of Kamnik were initially baffled as to what the eight-metre structure actually was, with some believing it was a replica of The Statue of Liberty.

Stane Supar, a local resident and the owner of the land on which the sculpture was erected, said: "We don't know exactly what it is. It was set up by the Sports and Cultural Society. Some say it's the Statue of Liberty, others say it's Donald Trump. It is similar to Trump. I would consider it a parody of Trump.

snip

Earlier this summer a "rustic" statue of First Lady Melania Trump appeared near her hometown of Sevnica.

link
https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/30/watch-donald-trump-statue-baffles-locals-in-melania-s-home-nation

The Nazi Occupation Of Prague: Then And Now (picture heavy)

link:
https://www.rferl.org/a/nazi-occupation-prague-slider-gallery-amos/30131071.html

on edit: To see the Now you have to go to the link and use the bar to see the changes



Defensive trenches being dug by Czechoslovaks under the silhouette of the Prague Castle in September 1938. Days later, the Nazi military rolled into Czechoslovakia’s mostly ethnic German border regions.



In March 1939, the Nazi military invaded what remained of Czechoslovakia and, from the Prague Castle (pictured), Hitler declared the 'Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.'




A Nazi military parade down Wenceslas Square in March 1939.




Jewish painter Robert Guttmann wearing the Star of David in Prague’s Old Town in 1941. The artist died in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland the following year. More than 77,000 Czech and Moravian Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime during the occupation.



In May 1942, Heydrich was assassinated by two Czechoslovak soldiers who had been trained in Britain and secretly parachuted into their Nazi-occupied homeland. The Nazis responded by sealing off the village of Lidice, near Prague, and executing 173 men there (above). Most of the women and children of the village were sent to concentration camps. In all, some 340 Lidice villagers were murdered. The village was then razed to the ground and all animals, including dogs, were killed.



Hitler Youth march over the cobbled street behind Prague Castle in 1943.



Ethnic Germans daubed with swastikas await transport out of Prague. In the aftermath of the Nazi occupation, some 3 million Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia. Tens of thousands were murdered by vengeful Czechs or committed suicide during the forced exodus.

5 Stories from Europe You May Not Have Seen

1. Could Italy's new coalition be stymied by Salvini's grip on parliament?

Even if Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S) can form a new coalition government with the Democratic Party (DP), its power might be curbed by Matteo Salvini’s League which keeps control of 11 powerful legislative committees until next spring.

The far-right League heads five key committees in the Chamber of Deputies (finance; transport and telecommunications; environment and public infrastructure; industry and employment) and six in the Senate (justice; constitutional affairs; education; agriculture; finance and treasury; defence).

The presidents of these committees cannot be changed until half-way through the parliamentary term and must serve for a minimum term of two years.

Salvini's economic advisor, Claudio Borghi, is President of the Finance Committee — a decisive one for the efforts of the new government to draft Italy's budget for 2020 and freeze a hike in VAT.

link:
https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/30/could-italy-s-new-coalition-be-stymied-by-salvini-s-grip-on-parliament

2. 'Black Hole': Prosecutors Probing Allegations Of Punitive Psychiatric Treatment In Siberian Prison

TYUMEN, Russia -- On February 14, Igor Sovchuk, a prisoner at prison IK-6 in the city of Tyumen, Siberia, complained repeatedly of a headache. After being told repeatedly to shut up, the guards finally agreed to take him to the medical unit. He was given an injection and sent back to his cell.

Almost immediately, he began to feel ill. His speech was slurred, and he began drooling uncontrollably. His movements became awkward and uncoordinated. The next morning, he filed an official request to see his wife. The prison administration began taking steps to prevent such a meeting. Prison doctors admitted Sovchuk to the medical ward and gave him another injection, after which he had difficulty breathing and was unable to get out of his bunk.

snip

Sovchuk's case, activists say, is far from uncommon. "It is no secret that [prison officials] use psychotropic drugs to pacify malcontents," Irina Zaitseva, an expert with the nongovernmental organization For Prisoner Rights, told RFE/RL. "Any person in this country can be shut away, declared incompetent, and simply destroyed. I have heard of many such cases."

The difference in Sovchuk's case, however, is that local prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into his allegations, which activists say is practically a unique instance in modern Russian history.

link
https://www.rferl.org/a/black-hole-prosecutors-probing-allegations-of-punitive-psychiatric-treatment-in-siberian-prison/30128314.html

3. Sunderland school suspended more than half its pupils in a year

An English state school has suspended more than half its pupils in a single year for the first time on record, Guardian analysis has found, as national exclusion rates continue to rise.

Red House academy in Sunderland, run by the Northern Education Trust, an academy chain, recorded the highest fixed-term exclusion rate in England in the 2017-18 academic year. It handed at least one fixed-term exclusion to 254 pupils, just over half the total attending the school.

Forty-one schools excluded more than one in five pupils, or roughly 10 times the national rate of 2.3%. Two academy chains – Outwood Grange Academies Trust and the Northern Education Trust – dominated that list with nine and seven of their schools featuring respectively.

The Northern Education Trust runs 19 schools across the north of England, while Outwood Grange Academies Trust runs 31 schools in the north and the east Midlands. Rob Tarn, the trust’s chief executive, was previously the regional CEO (north) for Outwood Grange Academies Trust until March 2017. According to the Northern Education Trust’s accounts, he was paid £183,000 last year.

link:
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/aug/31/sunderland-school-suspended-more-than-half-its-pupils-in-a-year

4. German far-right invokes 1989 spirit to woo voters in the east

Two state elections this Sunday in Germany could bring big gains for the far-right and deal another blow to Chancellor Merkel's government.

In the former communist eastern states of Saxony and Brandenburg, three decades after the country's reunification, many voters still feel left behind – and the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is now invoking the spirit of the 1989 revolution to try to win them over.

AfD leaders point to what they call "political correctness" and say that Germany today is as undemocratic as the East German dictatorship.

"You have to be careful when speaking to your neighbours, your colleagues, your children because they might repeat what you say. Many people who experienced life in East Germany say it’s as bad now as it was then," said Andreas Kalbitz, AfD leader and top candidate in the state of Brandenburg.

link
https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/30/german-far-right-invokes-1989-spirit-to-woo-voters-in-the-east

5. Former Chechen Commander Gunned Down In Berlin; Eyes Turn To Moscow (And Grozny)

When Zelimkhan Khangoshvili sought refuge in Germany in 2016, he was fleeing a series of assassination attempts and seeking distance from his past life, a decade earlier, as a company commander battling Russian troops in the Second Chechen War.

He and his family settled in Berlin, where he regularly attended Friday Prayers at a local mosque. On August 23, as he left the mosque and walked along a wooded path, a man rode up to him on a bicycle and shot him twice in the head, killing him nearly instantly.

Khangoshvili was the latest victim in a series of mysterious killings over many years that have targeted Chechen exiles and Russians who have clashed with either the Kremlin or with Russian security services.

German police have arrested a Russian man, and German media have cited unnamed official sources as saying investigators are looking into whether the murder was in fact a political assassination.

link
https://www.rferl.org/a/chechen-commander-khangoshvili-berlin-assassination-moscow-(and-grozny)/30133813.html

Top court orders review of Samsung heir's bribery case, convicting him of more charges (South Korea)


South Korea's top court on Thursday ordered a lower court to reconsider its suspended jail sentence on Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong for bribery...

snip

In its final verdict, the Supreme Court asked a lower court to revisit the February 2018 ruling that suspended Lee's jail term and dismissed major charges against him in a corruption scandal that ousted former President Park Geun-hye.

hief Justice Kim Myeong-su, who read out the sentencing, said that the three horses worth 3.4 billion won (US$2.8 million) that Samsung gifted to the president's friend Choi Soon-sil, can be considered bribes, overturning an earlier court ruling that excluded them from bribery.

The top judge also noted that Samsung's 1.6 billion-won donation to a sports foundation run by the Choi family was part of bribes given in return for a government backing of Lee's plan to inherit group control from his father.

n 2017, the 51-year-old was sentenced to five years in prison on numerous charges, including bribery and embezzlement.

link
https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190829003600315

This is supposed to be cat shaming? Epic Fail



Looks to me like both an award and a warning to any dog that might be foolhardy enough to enter this cat's realm

More from the Matt Shea files: GPS trackers, a 'provisional government' and a hunt for moles

snip

Last year, at the Marble religious compound in northern Stevens County, Shea described a brewing civil war in the United States, telling a crowd: “Liberty must be kept by force.” He later acknowledged writing a manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War.” And recently, “Bundyville,” a podcast about right-wing extremism in the American West, explored Shea’s connections to the racist Christian Identity movement and dominionism, the idea that Christians have a God-given right to govern.

Already, Shea and some of his closest supporters have made physical preparations for a holy war, one that would help them establish their long-envisioned 51st state, their Redoubt, their Christian homeland. Leaked emails published this week reveal that Shea has had close ties with a group that conducted “patriotic and biblical training on war for young men.”

In addition to running “background checks” on liberal activists and supporting military-style training for boys and young men, Shea has in recent years sought to purchase GPS tracking devices, compiled dossiers on local progressive leaders and kept a blacklist of suspected informants in his network. He also plotted to establish a “provisional government” in the event of a collapse and boasted about his efforts to “turn back the tide” of those who practice Islam in the United States.

Shea also distributed a list that purported to include the names and phone numbers of every law enforcement officer working in Washington state, saying it would help to “confirm or deny legitimacy” of investigators who made contact. He and his associates used email servers and messaging apps designed with extra layers of encryption in an attempt to shield their identities. He signed messages “V” or “V/B” – short for his code name, Verum Bellator, which is Latin for “truth warrior.”

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/aug/18/more-from-the-shea-files-gps-trackers-a-provisiona/

Hurricanes lead to more aggressive spiders, study says

https://qconline.com/news/science/hurricanes-lead-to-more-aggressive-spiders-study-says/article_2f78a321-d882-52a0-9a08-06c6fe064918.html

In regions of the United States and Mexico that are prone to hurricanes, aggressive spiders are evolving to survive and ride out the storm.

When hurricanes rage along the Gulf of Mexico or charge up the East Coast, they can reshape an entire habitat in a short time. The winds destroy trees and spread debris for miles, putting new pressure on the creatures living in these environments.

snip

The team monitored Subtropical Storm Alberto and Hurricanes Florence and Michael during the 2018 hurricane season. They tried to anticipate the systems' trajectories and study areas that included 240 female spider colonies, comparing them with areas where spider colonies were not affected by such storms.

The researchers returned to the sites hit by the storms 48 hours later. About 75% of the colonies survived the initial storm strikes.

snip

The researchers determined that after a storm passed, the colonies that aggressively pursued food and resources were able to produce more egg cases. The spiderlings also had a better chance of surviving into early winter.

In areas that weren't hit by storms, docile colonies thrived.

Just in case you thought the Epstein saga couldn't get more weird...

Mariel Colón Miró, one of the attorneys for Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman, was one of the witnesses on his new will
This was reported by the NY Daily News and confirmed by Ms Miro

Draw for Round 2 of AFC World Cup Qualifying

The draw for Round-2 of the 2020 Men's World Cup for Asia is in.

Group A: China PR, Syria, Philippines, Maldives, Guam

Group B: Australia, Jordan, Chinese Taipei, Kuwait, Nepal

Group C: IR Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Cambodia

Group D: Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Singapore

Group E: Bangladesh, Oman, India, Afghanistan, Qatar

Group F: Japan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Mongolia

Group G: United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia

Group H: Korea Republic, Lebanon, Korea DPR, Turkmenistan, Sri Lanka

My analysis:
It's hard to argue against China and Japan getting cushy draws; Guam, Maldive, the Philippines are terrible and Syria is marginally okay. China is a decent team, but hardly a first tier team in Asia. They may struggle a bit against Syria, which is a testimony to how weak the bracket is, then how good China or Syria are.

In Group F it is literally Japan and some other countries. Tajikistan will likely finish 2nd, though Kyrgyz Republic could take it as well. Japan coasts in this bracket. The only question is by how many goals does Japan pummel each team before they get bored?

Group H is the Group of Death for this draw. It has three legitimate teams in the bracket: Korea, Korea and Lebanon. While none of these teams will ever be mistaken for Germany, France and Argentina, South Korea has qualified for every world cup since the World Cup in Mexico, North Korea, while not qualifying in the last cup did attend in South Africa and Lebanon is always competitive, often surviving into the final 12

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed + 1

1. Russian Plane Hits Birds, Makes Emergency Landing In Cornfield

The crew of a Ural Airlines aircraft is being hailed as heroes after making an emergency landing in a farmer's field near Moscow with no fatalities among the 233 people on board.

The airline said on August 15 that one of its Airbus A321 aircraft made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Zhukovsky airport on the outskirts of Moscow after birds were sucked into its engines.

The Health Ministry said 23 people had suffered injuries, but that nobody had been killed in the accident.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-plane-emergency-landing-cornfield-moscow/30110937.html

2. Norway halts Amazon fund donation in dispute with Brazil

Norway has followed Germany in suspending donations to the Brazilian government’s Amazon Fund after a surge in deforestation in the South American rainforest. The move has triggered a caustic attack from the country’s rightwing president.

snip

After weeks of tense negotiations with Norway and Germany, the Bolsonaro government unilaterally closed the Amazon Fund’s steering committee on Thursday. The fund has been central to international efforts to curb deforestation although its impact is contested.

snip

According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the government agency that monitors deforestation, the rate increased by 278% in the year to July, resulting in the destruction of about 870 square miles.

link
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/16/norway-halts-amazon-fund-donation-dispute-brazil-deforestation-jair-bolsonaro


3. Italy government feud: PM Conte slams minister Salvini as 'disloyal'

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte accused interior minister Matteo Salvini of “disloyalty” and an “obsession with blocking immigration” in an open letter published on social media — intensifying the feud within the ruling coalition.

Conte, who does not belong to any party, used the case of a migrant rescue boat refused entry to Italy’s ports by Salvini to settle scores with the Lega Nord leader who had called a motion of no-confidence in the government.

Salvini said last week that his right-wing party would no longer support the current alliance with the Five-Star Movement.

snip

5-Star and the opposition Democratic Party (PD) have stalled any debate in the senate of the no-confidence motion and many politicians are now discussing forming their own coalition that would sideline Salvini.

link
https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/15/italy-government-feud-pm-conte-slams-minister-salvini-as-disloyal

4. Greenland: rising temperatures risk releasing atomic waste from Cold War US base

There are fears nuclear waste buried underneath the ice in Greenland could escape because of rising global temperatures.

Former US army base ‘Camp Century’ was built in the late 1950s as an Arctic research laboratory.

Accommodating up to 200 soldiers, the Cold War era-bunker in northwestern Greenland was also home to an atomic reactor and a top secret project to test and deploy nuclear missiles.

Code named ‘Project Iceworm’, when the US finally decommissioned the base in 1967, large amounts of nuclear waste, raw sewage and other toxic material were left behind.

link
https://www.euronews.com/2016/09/26/greenland-rising-temperatures-risk-releasing-atomic-waste-from-cold-war-us-base

5. Uzbek President Shuts Down Notorious 'House Of Torture" Prison

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirzioyev has ordered the closure of the Jaslyk prison in the Central Asian country's northwest, an institution that has long been associated with torture and human rights abuses.

The Interior Ministry called the presidential order to shut down the infamous facility "a truly historic decision that was made to boost the effectiveness of the correctional impact on convicts...as well to promote the country's positive image abroad."

Situated in the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, which is known for its severely cold winters and hot, dry summers, Jaslyk earned nicknames such as "The House of Torture" and "The Place of No Return."

snip

The prison was opened by former authoritarian President Islam Karimov at a former Soviet military base to incarcerate thousands of people arrested following deadly 1999 bombings in the capital, Tashkent, that authorities blamed on "religious extremists."

link
https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbek-president-shuts-down-notorious-house-of-torture-prison/30093031.html

+1- Unflagging Protest: Belarus's Opposition Inspired By A Pensioner And Her Outlawed Banner

MINSK -- Holding a bamboo pole with a red-striped white banner, the banned flag of the first independent Belarusian state, she faces a line of black-clad police officers staring down from a flight of stone steps.

The 2006 photograph transformed Nina Bahinskaya, now a pensioner and great-grandmother, into a celebrity of sorts among activists -- an endangered species in Belarus, ruled since 1994 by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who tolerates little dissent in the nation of some 9.5 million.

"Today, some may laugh at it, some may dismiss it, and some may not pay any attention at all. But in the future, that image will still be there," said Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the opposition group Malady Front (Youth Front). "That photograph of Nina Bahinskaya with the flag will be part of Belarus's recent history. Not all these political parties, but Nina Bahinskaya with the flag in her hand."

snip

Bahinskaya rarely heads out for demonstrations without her flag, the white-red-white symbol of the short-lived Belarusian People's Republic, which existed for about a year in 1918-19. It was also the official flag of modern Belarus for the country's first five years of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

snip

"Up until 2014, they would confiscate flags, then they started to snap them in two and take them away. But from 2016, the coffers were empty, I guess, so they stopped confiscating the flags, and started issuing fines instead," Bahinskaya said with a smile, holding a tiny first republic flag that she says rarely leaves her side.

link
https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-flag-protest-bahinskaya-pensioner-opposition-lukashenko/30087244.html


Bahinskaya brandishes Belarus's illegal flag in Minsk in 2016


Nina Bahinskaya facing down a line of policemen in 2006
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