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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: 21,891

Journal Archives

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Bulgaria Expelling Two Russian Diplomats Over Espionage

Bulgaria is expelling two unnamed Russian diplomats accused of involvement in spying in the Balkan country.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry says it summoned the Russian ambassador to Sofia on January 24 and handed him a note declaring the two diplomats -- a consular first secretary and an official at Russia's trade representation -- personae non gratae.

Both were given 48 hours to leave the country, the ministry says.

The Russian Embassy says the two men will leave Bulgaria but insists that “no evidence confirming their activities incompatible with their status were presented."

https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgaria-considers-expelling-two-russian-diplomats-over-espionage/30395123.html


2. Serbia, Kosovo 'Agree In Principle' On Reviving Railway Links

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the U.S. special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo say talks are planned for next week about restoring a railway link between the two Balkan neighbors.

“We have an agreement in principle and we will meet in Berlin on Monday [January 27],” Richard Grenell, who also serves as U.S. ambassador to Germany, said on January 24 following talks with Vucic in Belgrade.

Grenell said he had also discussed plans to resume a railway link between Belgrade and Pristina with Kosovar leaders during his visit to Kosovo on January 22-23.

https://www.rferl.org/a/serbia-kosovo-agree-in-principle-on-reviving-railway-links/30395624.html


3. At least 21 dead and thousands injured as earthquake hits Turkey

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake rocked a sparsely-populated part of eastern Turkey on Friday, killing at least 21 people, injuring more than 1,015 and leaving some 30 trapped in the wreckage of toppled buildings, Turkish officials said.

Rescue teams from neighbouring provinces were dispatched to the affected areas, working in the dark with floodlights in the freezing cold, and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said troops were on standby to help.

Hundreds of residents were left homeless or with damaged homes.

snip

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who travelled to the afflicted area together with Soylu, said 13 people were killed in Elazig, including two people who suffered heart attacks, and five others died in Malatya. A total of 1,015 people were hurt, according to the AFAD (the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency).

https://www.euronews.com/2020/01/25/at-least-18-dead-and-hundreds-injured-as-earthquake-hits-


4. A Foul-Mouthed Culture Minister Who Hates Museums? Russia May Have One Now -- And Some Say It's An Improvement

By her own apparent blog accounts, the Olga Lyubimova of two decades ago had an affinity for drugs, approached life in Russia as she felt a rape victim might, and was admittedly not a "cultural person."

All of which made many of her compatriots blanch at the thought of Lyubimova being appointed the country's new culture minister.

Yet as screenshots of old blog posts and a photo of her wearing a rude T-shirt made the rounds on social media, alternative pictures emerged of Lyubimova as a self-described "liberal-minded Orthodox" believer who brought financial transparency and some openness to the conservative ministry's Cinematography Department, which she headed from January 2018.

snip

In another from 2008 she admits to her disdain for certain arts, specifically opera, ballet, classical music, theater, and museums.

“A friend called with an invite to go to a classical music concert with a child. And I realized that I just couldn't force myself," she wrote. "I began to seriously think about this. I unexpectedly discovered that I’m not a damned cultured person."

https://www.rferl.org/a/a-foul-mouthed-culture-minister-who-hates-museums-russia-may-have-one-now----and-some-say-it-s-an-improvement/30395738.html

5. 'Declaration of war': Polish row over judicial independence escalates

A confrontation between the Polish government and senior judges has escalated dramatically, prompting an anguished response in Brussels, after the country’s supreme court and parliament issued conflicting rulings on the legality of judicial reforms.

The rival rulings, which concern attempts by the governing Law and Justice party (PiS) to assume direct control over the judiciary, have thrown the country’s legal order into chaos, with judges now liable for prosecution for complying with rulings issued by their own supreme court.

PiS, a rightwing populist party, has spent more than four years trying to take control of the country’s system of courts and public prosecution, eroding the independence of most branches of the judicial system. “This is an extreme escalation by the Polish government,” said Marcin Matczak, a professor of law at the University of Warsaw. “It has run out of arguments so it is resorting to brute force.”

snip

The deepening crisis will fuel tensions between Poland and European institutions including the European commission and the European court of justice. In November, the ECJ ruled that it was for the Polish supreme court to decide the dispute, meaning that the Polish parliament has now in effect rebuked not only Poland’s top court but the EU’s top court as well.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/24/declaration-of-war-polish-row-over-judicial-independence-escalates

Cat Lovers Get Surprised By A Box Of Kittens

Russian Stand-Up Comedian Who Joked About Church, Putin Flees Country

Russian stand-up comedian Aleksandr Dolgopolov has fled Russia fearing for his safety after learning police had started investigating videos taken at his performances in different clubs.

Dolgopolov’s lawyer Leonid Solovyov and his concert director Armen Gandilyan confirmed with Current Time on January 23 that the comedian had decided to leave his homeland, though they did not say where.

Police officials in Moscow said a day earlier that Dolgopolov's performances caught the eye of law enforcement after an unidentified resident of the city of Orekhovo-Zuyevo near Moscow had filed a complaint against the comedian, accusing him of "insulting the feelings of believers" in God. No details were given on what exactly in Dolgopolov’s act offended the man.

snip

"If Putin issues a decree, ordering all Russians to jump into lava, they will say: 'Oh, God, where will we find lava, we don't have it in our yard. What shall we do, our wise chief?" Dolgopolov jokes in the performance in question.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-stand-up-comedian-who-joked-about-church-putin-flees-country/30393234.html

U.S. Vacuum: How Libya Is Descending Into A Russia-Turkey Proxy War

Libya has been torn by civil war since longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi was killed in an uprising in 2011 following a NATO-led bombing campaign.

The conflict has descended into a proxy war as regional and international powers jostle to secure their own interests in the oil-rich North African nation.

snip

Libya has been divided since 2011. The country’s west is ruled by the internationally recognized and UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in the capital, Tripoli. Eastern Libya is run by a self-declared administration based in the city of Tobruk that is backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

snip

Russia has condemned Turkey’s decision to increase its military assistance to the Tripoli government. Meanwhile, Ankara has slammed the presence of Russia-linked mercenaries in Libya.

link
https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-vacuum-how-libya-is-descending-into-a-russia-turkey-proxy-war-/30389900.html

How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime

f you want to buy a gun in Japan you need patience and determination. You have to attend an all-day class, take a written exam and pass a shooting-range test with a mark of at least 95%.

There are also mental health and drugs tests. Your criminal record is checked and police look for links to extremist groups. Then they check your relatives too - and even your work colleagues. And as well as having the power to deny gun licences, police also have sweeping powers to search and seize weapons.

snip

The law restricts the number of gun shops. In most of Japan's 40 or so prefectures there can be no more than three, and you can only buy fresh cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought on your last visit.

snip

"Ever since guns entered the country, Japan has always had strict gun laws," says Iain Overton, executive director of Action on Armed Violence and the author of Gun Baby Gun.

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-38365729

No handguns at all. Only rifles and shotguns may be purchased

Lighthouse keeper collects $1M lottery prize -- after waiting 2 months to get leave

A lighthouse keeper working near Port Hardy, B.C., "couldn't believe his eyes" after receiving an email he had won $1 million in B.C.'s Lotto 6/49 draw.

Ivan Dubinsky, who started his lighthouse career more than 20 years ago, read in the email that he had successfully matched all 10 numbers in the draw on Nov. 29, 2019.

Dubinsky's day-to-day job requires him to look after the lighthouse grounds and send weather reports to aircraft and marine vessels. As a result, he buys most of his lottery tickets online.

snip

Dubinsky had to wait two months until he was able to get leave from the lighthouse to come to the BCLC's office in Vancouver to claim his prize.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/retirement-on-the-horizon-for-b-c-lighthouse-keeper-who-won-1-million-lottery-draw-1.5434091

Meet Russia's New Prime Minister, An 'Enforcer Who Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried'

Russian President Vladimir Putin's new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, has a reputation for getting things done.

During his near-decade long tenure at the helm of Russia's tax service -- whose army of roughly 150,000 employees oversees tax compliance and collections -- Mishustin tripled the amount of money his agency delivers to the budget.

Coming during a period of slow economic growth amid sanctions and falling oil prices, those results earned him accolades from the government and made him a logical choice to replace Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who announced on January 15 that his government would resign.

snip

"All of what we have seen [on January 15] suggests that what the Kremlin is most worried about is not the relationship with the population. It is getting the relationship with the elite right and keeping the elite in line and under control," said Sam Greene, director of the Russia Institute at King's College London.

https://www.rferl.org/a/meet-russia-s-new-prime-minister-an-enforcer-who-knows-where-the-bodies-are-buried-/30381627.html

Amy Klobuchar speaks with Democrats Abroad - Jan 22

Tuesday, Jan 22nd, 8:30am DC time join a call with Amy Klobuchar! She'll spend time with Democrats Abroad sharing her policy stance on Americans abroad issues (and other issues too, time permitting).

They have a link in the email they I received
If you didn't receive one, or are not a member, my suggestion is to contact Democrats Abroad

https://www.democratsabroad.org/

Little did we know that Sherman T. Potter of MASH served with future trump voters

and their offspring

"Now you take World War 2. My unit got the word that Nazis, dressed as Eskimos, had overrun Seattle. Incredible as it seems, half my unit believed it." - That half votes and voted for il douche

The Village Genius: Astonishing Photos Of Soviet Life Found In An Abandoned House (7 BW pics)

In the spring of 2016, film student Victor Galusca was exploring a sleepy village in his native Moldova when the 23-year-old noticed some photographic negatives in the rubble of an abandoned house.

The discarded pictures were the life’s work of Zaharia Cusnir, an unknown amateur photographer who died in 1993.

The villager had struggled professionally under the communist regime and battled alcoholism, yet he left behind some of the most brilliant portraits of rural life ever captured on film.

For the past three years, with the permission of the photographer’s daughter, who dismissed her father’s work as “garbage,”​ Galusca and his photography teacher have been cleaning and scanning the stunning find, which they released on a website in January.



Two villagers pose for a portrait with glasses brimful with wine.






Villagers in fancy dress during a New Year's​ carnival.









Galusca believes Cusnir was able to afford the film needed for his hobby partly by selling prints that villagers could use in their identification cards – a mandatory document in the police state of communist Moldova.​


https://www.rferl.org/a/astonishing-photos-of-soviet-village-life-discovered-in-abandoned-house-in-moldova/30383072.html
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