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I don't know how important seating arrangements are, but viewing the EU from the US suggests that it is a long way from being taken seriously on this side of the pond.

I would bet that if you asked 100 Americans about the EU you would get a blank stare from 99 of them. We "know about" Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, and maybe a couple of other European countries, but I know zero people who could identify Slovenia, for example, on a map--even though it is the home country of the ex-FLOTUS. And most of what we "know" comes from watching glorious WW2 movies on TV.

As for the EU, a few people might say something about the Common Market, but that is about it.

If the EU wants to be taken seriously, it needs to take that huge step from being a confederacy to a federation, with all the accoutrements, as mentioned above.

by asdf on
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It's difficult to generalise across so many countries and political views but I don't get the sense in Ireland that people have wildly unrealistic expectations of what the EU can and can't do. It was the Brexiteers that wildly inflated its powers and all pervasive influence, to bolster their own case that it was an undemocratic dictatorship.

Here, people tend to look at their own government with some destain and distrust and are glad the EU has some powers to mitigate it's worst excesses. They would be aware of the ECB's role in ensuring the availability of cheap money for borrowing, and of the EU role in attempting to keep economies afloat with some structural spending.

The EU is seen mostly as a sensible attempt by 27 countries to cooperate and coordinate their responses to global problems too big for any one country to fix by itself. People are proud that Ireland, as a small country, has a seat at the table with some much bigger countries.

They are happy that it helped sustain Irish agriculture and develop the Irish economy by making it attractive for MNCs to locate here to access the single market. They value the EU's contribution to the peace process and ensuring Brexit wasn't allowed to jeopardize it completely.

The snafu over article 16 and the failures in vaccine procurement would be seen as the main mistakes but there is a recognition there were a lot of factors involved and perhaps an openness to greater cooperation and coordination in the future. I don't get the sense of a huge alienation from the EU as you got with Brexiteers and amongst many in the US towards the Federal government.

So overall, its not too bad a place to be in, even ifit can be infuriatingly slow to get a consensus on any issue.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: April 2021

Re: April 2021
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Greek crime journalist shot dead by motorcycle gunmen -police
ATHENS (Reuters) -Two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a prominent Greek crime journalist near his home in Athens on Friday, police said.

George Karaivaz, a veteran journalist for private broadcaster STAR TV, was well-known to Greek audiences for his coverage of law and order and police stories.

There were no immediate reports of a possible motive for Friday's shooting, however police said the murder was clearly carefully planned.

See also: Daphne Caruana Galizia

by Bernard on
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The EU is misnamed. They should have called it 'The European Confederation'. That would be more accurate and might let more people have realistic views of what it can and cannot do. The thing about the EU that is most union like would be the EMU, but that is a poor recommendation.


by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Which State Is Behind Coup Attempt Jordan

Complot Theory Trump Operation Set In Motion
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Former Qatari PM Cashes In With $333 Million London Hotel Sales

by Oui on
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by Oui on
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In story: Which State Is Behind Coup Attempt Jordan

Centennial Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
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    Translation:
    A special gift from the people of the Emirates on the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
    Kingdom of the free O Dar Nashami
    Arabic .. Jordanian .. Hashemite
    A hundred years ago your glory increased
    The centenary of the State of Jordan
    The march continues
by Oui on
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In story: Which State Is Behind Coup Attempt Jordan

Centennial Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
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    Translation: His Excellency Ahmed Al Balushi - UAE Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: The relationship between Jordan and the UAE is a close and deep one
    #CentennialJordan #Jordan #UAEJordan #Dubai TV
by Oui on
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In story: Which State Is Behind Coup Attempt Jordan

King Abdullah Joined by Prince Hamza - 100 Years
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by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Israel Sabotaging Natanz4 and JCPOA Nuclear Deal
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Defense analyst: We're nearing point where Iran will have no choice but to respond to Israeli attacks

by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Israel Our Strategic Partner In Overt War On Iran
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AEOI chief: International community, IAEA must address 'nuclear terrorism' against Iran

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has slammed the act of sabotage against the country's nuclear site in Natanz earlier in the day, noting that the international community, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), must deal with such "nuclear terrorism" that targets Iran's facilities.

Ali Akbar Salehi's remarks came hours after the AEOI spokesman said on Sunday that an incident took place at the electricity distribution network of Shahid Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility in Natanz, which is a uranium enrichment center located in the city of the same name in Iran's central province of Isfahan.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran, while condemning this despicable act, underlines the need for the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to address this nuclear terrorism and reserves the right to take action against masterminds, perpetrators and conspirators of this [terrorist] act," Salehi said.

He added that the Islamic Republic will seriously pursue the development of its nuclear technology, on the one hand, and make efforts to remove the oppressive US sanctions, on the other hand, so that those who ordered the terrorist act would not reach their goals.

by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Israel Our Strategic Partner In Overt War On Iran
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by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

UAE Sheikh Fails to Provide Proof Latifa Is Alive
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by Oui on
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Hard to say: I expect that many heads of state/government in the EU27, starting with Merkel & Macron, but also the Greek and Cypriot PM's, are none too happy; this after the Borrel humiliation in Moscow two months ago.

I don't know whether the EUCO can remove Michel, but we can expect they will want to keep him on a shorter leash, especially Merkel, who's been VDL's sponsor.

In any case, for all the talks of "geopolitical commission" or whatnot, the EU is still a trade giant and a political dwarf (and it still doesn't have a unique "phone number"). This is by design from the member states, but it is clearly not up to the task when engaging with "difficult" neighbors like Russia or Turkey. Will this prompt more changes in the way the 27 organize their common diplomacy? I don't expect radical changes any time soon, and certainly not before the German and French elections.

by Bernard on
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In story: Rebuilding US Alliance with EU - Human Rights

Re: Rebuilding US Alliance with EU - Human Rights
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... trying to appease the EU-Turkey relations ...

Not so! Biden has sent the NATO and EU-27 instructions the West needs to appease Erdogan's Turkey at any cost.

After invoking Chapter 5 due to the attack of 9/11 and entering a brief bombing raid on the Afghan Taliban regime, NATO and Europe rolled into the expeditionary force of the U.S. Armed Forces. After the Afghan expedition, NATO was instructed to enter an illegal war in Iraq and uncomfortable regime change in Libya followed shortly thereafter into Syria. The Obama era of human rights and R2P policy was a propaganda spin to make the Middle East into the image of the West and capitalism. Europe became a partner in US proxy wars of aggression and flaunting International law, by-passing the UN Security Council and institutions like the ICC in The Hague.

The 8 years of George Bush brought enormous wealth into the pockets of allies of the Gulf States minus Iraq, Iran and Libya.

Venezuela was already nominated to fall as Cuba would fall and Obama/Biden sought Atlantic Council policy of making the provincial power, the Russian Federation, a pariah state after policy decision for enlargement during NATO summit in Bucharest of March 2008.

 NATO's Response to Hybrid Threats

NATO and the Middle East:  A Positive Agenda for Change | March 23012 |

I have always wondered where decisions are made, I have come to the conclusion that the military commanders in NATO and the intelligence alliance of 5- or 9-Eyes are the architects of war. Political leaders of the nations outside the UNSC do not have a voice and are the water carriers with instructions from the White House and the NATO Commander in Brussels. Stoltenberg like De Hoop Scheffer has no voice in decision making.

From the diaries ...

Trump's Revival of anti-EU Sentiment in Warsaw

    As part of its 2010 Lisbon agreement, NATO also invited Russia to cooperate on missile defense. Although NATO and Russia have had different views on missile defense, there are numerous successful areas of U.S.-Russian and NATO-Russian military cooperation and the NATO-Russia Council continues to have active discussions on missile defense cooperation, including a joint theater missile defense exercise program.

    The United States and NATO believe that cooperation on missile defense can enhance the security of both NATO and
    Russia and such cooperation could also send a vitally important signal to Iran that we are united in opposition to any Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

So, why did the NATO allied nations provoke the Russian Bear within the coup d'état in Kiev of February 2014? The powers of a Deep State. McCain et al after the failure under George Bush in Ukraine - 2004 - and Georgia - 2008 -. Indeed, Obama did write history.

Under the Trump administration, leadership and policy went complete haywire ...

by Oui on
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In story: April 2021

Re: April 2021
( / )
NOAA | Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean

by Cat on
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Great comment. Will there be consequences for Michel for embarrassing the EU, or will all of this be brushed under the carpet? How will Merkel feel about her former protege being humiliated?

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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It was a pity that Charles Michel missed the opportunity to offer his seat to her for at least part of the meeting, especially when matters under the primary purview of the Commission were being discussed.

Michel showed, at a minimum, a serious lack of judgement. According to Brussels bubble journalists, this two-tiered seating was indeed mostly a casualty of the Michel-VDL rivalry: the EU Delegation in Turkey was supposed to be the main point of contact to arrange the meeting, but the Council (Michel's team) "sent an advanced team including a Protocol officer who established a direct contact with the Turkish Protocol thus complicating effective communication and coordination with the Turkish side."

Then, Michel didn't realized the exceedingly bad optics of seating alone with Erdogan while forcing his rival to a remote sofa, until it was way too late.

The Turkish side, who is blaming the EU protocol rules for the blunder, is not entirely blameless: Erdogan had already been seated with both the EUCO and the EC presidents, and there were three chairs; of course, both presidents were male at the time. The Erdogan team, who apparently are trying to appease the EU-Turkey relations rather than pulling a deliberate humiliation, didn't see the bad optics either - neither the bad optics of pulling out of the Istanbul Convention a few days ago. They may be furious at what they surely perceive as unfounded accusations, but they failed as much as Michel to see a problem with the seating arrangement.

Still, the main issue is, as you pointed out, is the rather weak and too often ineffective EU Executive. Unfortunately, this is by design: the head of states & governments in the Council have always wanted to have primacy over a possibly too active Commission (and over the EP, goes without saying). For the Council members, Michel, a former Belgian PM, is "one of us", and he is always insisting on his primacy, protocol or otherwise, over the EC President, until of course he overplayed his hand in Ankara. VDL herself was nominated to the EC after a not so glorious political career in Germany and has willingly played second fiddle to the EUCO.

Eventual change is not going to come from inside the EU institutions: only the EU governments can change, and eventually reinforce, the EU institutions. With the rise of nationalists, if not outright fascist, parties all over the continent, and the msinstream right parties jealous of their national prerogatives, it doesn't look like change is going to happen anytime soon.

by Bernard on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

UAE Sheikh Fails to Provide Proof Latifa Is Alive
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By returning Dubai princess Latifa, India's hard-nosed realism paid off. But at what cost?

Join the dots between India sending back Dubai princess Sheikha Latifa to UAE two years ago and the Gulf countries siding with Delhi on everything from oil to Kashmir.

File photo of PM Narendra Modi with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2018 | Twitter

UAE confers award on Modi amid Kashmir crackdown | Dawn News Pakistan |

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the United Arab Emirates' highest civilian honour during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf nation, reinforcing ties between the countries even as he pursues stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status.

The induction of Modi into the Order of Zayed [a list of WhoIsWho in corruption - Oui] shows the importance the UAE places on India, the world's third-largest consumer of crude oil. India is home to a rapidly growing consumer market and labour pool that the federation of sheikhdoms relies on for its own economy.

Activists, however, decried the UAE bestowing the award on Modi as he pursues a clampdown on the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Modi is also to travel to Bahrain to become the first Indian premier to visit the island nation.

"With several Gulf states in an ever-tightening embrace with Modi, human rights have been discarded in favour of economic opportunities," wrote Samah Hadid, a Beirut-based human rights advocate.  

I just want to puke in disgust ...

by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

UAE Sheikh Fails to Provide Proof Latifa Is Alive
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The Great Escape

Amid a rash of women fleeing oppressive families in the middle east, the case of Princess Latifa, who has tried to run away twice, has been splashed across headlines around the world. In exclusive interviews with her friends and family, Marie Claire goes behind the scenes of her last attempt and their fight to #FreeLatifa.

Princess Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, the daughter of the billionaire ruler of Dubai, was careful to avoid suspicion. On the morning of February 24, 2018, the then-32-year-old modern and sporty royal instructed her driver to drop her off at a shopping mall downtown so she could meet her close friend, Finnish personal trainer Tiina Jauhiainen, for breakfast. The two women had met at the same time and place several times before in order to give the impression that this was a normal Saturday. But this particular day was far from ordinary.

Once inside the mall, Princess Latifa went to the bathroom and changed out of her black abaya into a hoodie and sweatpants. She redid her hair and makeup, put on mirrored sunglasses, and threw her cell phone into the trash and destroyed the SIM card. Then, heart hammering, she slipped out an exit to Jauhiainen's waiting SUV, which she hoped would take her on the first leg of a journey to long-desired freedom.

About a week earlier, Princess Latifa had secretly recorded a 40-minute video documenting why she wanted to flee Dubai, a city in the dazzlingly rich United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. With her black hair casually pulled back in a ponytail, and wearing a washed-out blue tee, Latifa talked about the abuse, torture, and imprisonment she had suffered at the hands of her family, as well as her suffocating existence behind royal palace walls. "There is no justice here," she said in a calm tone, sitting near a window with billowing cream-colored drapes in Jauhiainen's Dubai apartment.

by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

UAE Sheikh Fails to Provide Proof Latifa Is Alive
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Princess Latifa: 'Hostage' ordeal of Dubai ruler's daughter revealed | BBC Panorama - Feb. 16, 2021 |

The daughter of Dubai's ruler who tried to flee the country in 2018 later sent secret video messages to friends accusing her father of holding her "hostage" as she feared for her life.

In footage shared with BBC Panorama, Princess Latifa Al Maktoum says commandos drugged her as she fled by boat and flew her back to detention.

The secret messages have stopped - and friends are urging the UN to step in. Dubai and the UAE have previously said she is safe in the care of family.

Queen Elizabeth in 2019 with Sheikh Mohammed, second from right, who regularly attends horse racing events

Ex-UN rights envoy Mary Robinson, who had described Latifa as a "troubled young woman" after meeting her in 2018, now says she was "horribly tricked" by the princess's family.

The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and president of Ireland has joined calls for international action to establish Latifa's current condition and whereabouts.

"I continue to be very worried about Latifa. Things have moved on. And so I think it should be investigated," she said.

by Oui on
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Actually, the page you linked to doesn't show any income per capita figures at all: I've searched the table at least twice. It does show plenty of figures, including a GDP par capita figure more than twice the UK's ($84 K vs. $40 K), but we know that this ridiculous number is due to leprechaun economics and adds little to the Irish people's wealth.

I've tried to find figures for the household income per capita (for "real" people, not corporation-are-people), from various sources: they tend to show a figure ($22,500 to $25,300) that is a bit behind the UK's households ($25,000 to $28,700), but not by much.

Obviously, the income has progressed a lot since Ireland joined the EU, particularly during the Celtic Tiger years, and is now closing the gap without most of Western Europe countries; it looks like  Irish household income is now higher than in Spain or even Italy.

OTOH, the income figure for UK households may actually go down over the next years, with the Brexit effects slowly eating at the people's "real" economy (not the City), as you mentioned.

by Bernard on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

UAE Sheikh Fails to Provide Proof Latifa Is Alive
( / )
Indeed, inspire family and loved ones ... not my concept of morals and law enforcement. I lived through a tough adventure in Dubai in the 90s to retour for a visit a few years ago. Not at all attractive on human rights! Play ball by dominance of wealth.

by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Re: Police Chief Dubai UAE Voted Head of INTERPOL
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    Translation: With hearts believing in the judgment of God and his destiny, I extend my deepest condolences and condolences to the shrine of my master His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and to all the honorable Maktoum family, on the death of the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, God Almighty asked to inspire His family and his family and loved ones patience and solace
by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Re: Police Chief Dubai UAE Voted Head of INTERPOL
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by Oui on
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In story: Assassins for Hire In UAE and Saudi Arabia

Police Chief Dubai UAE Voted Head of INTERPOL
( / )
After 3-year stint in South-East Asia ...

by Oui on
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Internally Michel and VDL represent two different institutions and methods within the EU - the inter-governmental and community methods which both play an important role in determining policy and are part of the institutional balance of powers so beloved of (especially US) constitutional theorists. The EP and ECB are to other important power centres, but the Commission and Council are the most important.

I'm quite sure there are huge political tensions between these power centres particularly in contested areas of competence and the balance of power can change over time. But it shouldn't be beyond the wit of mature and skilled politicians to coordinate policies and present a united front abroad. Brexiteer attempts to divide and conquer the EU didn't get far. Even the blame games over vaccine s haven't yet become over personalised, though not without some governments trying it on.

But if Michel was complicit in dissing VDL on this occasion, then he is the big loser in this affair. You have to present a united front when abroad, and he let the whole EU down if he allowed her to be snubbed, especially with women's equality so high on the agenda. She appears to have handled it with some dignity in public, but I imagine there was war behind the scenes. While VDL has her critics, Michel seems to be a bit of a non-entity as far as I can see.

I don't think the EU should abandon such complexity and  cave into the "strongman" model of governance where all policy seems to revolve around a central figure like Trump, Boris, Erdogan or Orban. I quite like the fact that the EU has virtually no military capability or culture, but that doesn't mean it should shy away from using its soft or economic power when required.

I appreciate that, as Oui notes, Turkey plays a key role in east European and near middle east politics, but actions such as snubbing VDL and abandoning the Istanbul convention should have consequences, perhaps in the form of travel ban in the current situation as I don't trust Turkish covid statistics since Erdogan sought to minimise the numbers to avoid damage to the tourist trade.

Your point that despots need to do brinkmanship for domestic consumption to shore up their positions is well made, but the EU also needs to show competence, coherence, and decisiveness in the face of common threats or crises and that means consistent messaging and coordinated actions - in this case against oppression and demeaning of women. If Michel can't be on that team then it is he who should be replaced. I imagine Angela might be having a word...

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Rebuilding US Alliance with EU - Human Rights

When All Is Done, the EU Visits Libya
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Has the EU lost Libya to Russia?

A united UNSC urges withdrawal of foreign forces, mercenaries from Libya | Al Jazeera - March 23, 2021 |

The leftovers for the EU-28 minus 1? Refugee crisis from 2015 onward, surge in rightwing populism and policy, chaos, Brexit and disunity in NI sea border, Donbass and Crimea, German-Russian Nordstream 2 and failed EU energy policy.

by Oui on
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In story: Rebuilding US Alliance with EU - Human Rights

Re: Human Rights Daily Violations USA
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by Oui on
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Lawsuit: Virginia Police Officers Threatened, Pepper Sprayed Army Officer During Stop

More across the globe in old colonial racist countries with extreme right on the rise ...

Racist tweets by Rotterdam police ... no sanctions, racism not endemic!!

This America is so fu***-up!

by Oui on
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News and Views

 April 2021

by Bernard - Apr 4, 49 comments

Your take on this month's news

 March 2021

by Bernard - Mar 1, 167 comments

Your take on this month's news

 March-April Open Thread

by Bernard - Mar 14, 13 comments

Waiting for spring... and for vaccines.

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