Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

December 2020

by Bernard Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:51:48 PM EST

Your take on this month's news

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by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:53:28 PM EST
Giscard grasped the 70s mood, but French women won their own rights - France24
The French presidency of Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who died on Wednesday aged 94, was marked by a series of breakthroughs on women's rights, most famously with the legalisation of abortion in 1975. But was the self-styled "moderniser" a driving force behind the reforms or was he merely in tune with the changing times?

Among the many tributes and reflections prompted by Giscard's death late on Tuesday, a number of social media posts, generally written by men, earned swift rebukes for suggesting the late president had "granted" women key rights. Some said women should be "grateful" to VGE, as Giscard was commonly known. Bernard-Henri Lévy, a public intellectual, referred to him as "the man to whom French women owe so much".

Progress on women's rights is, indeed, a major legacy of Giscard's single-term presidency, arguably surpassing his much-touted contribution to European integration. Landmark achievements of his seven-year tenure, between 1974 and 1981, include the legalisation of abortion, the reinstatement of divorce by mutual consent, and free contraception. A centrist, Giscard was also the first president to hand women full ministerial portfolios. In a pioneering move soon copied around the world, he appointed the very first secretary of state - the equivalent of a junior minister - for "the condition of women".

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 09:46:50 PM EST
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Germany Reveals There's a Russian Pipelayer Ship in Its Waters That Will Help Complete Nord Stream 2
The European Commission condemned US plans to expand sanctions, calling them a violation of international law and warning that Brussels would be prepared to defend its interests if Washington moved forward with its plans. Prior to sanctions, the US repeatedly proposed replacing Russian gas deliveries with more expensive US LNG supplies.
Nord Stream 2: US lawmakers agree to widen sanctions on Russian-German pipeline
US-EU consultations, landfall alert
by Cat on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 11:59:37 PM EST
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Why are people protesting the security law?
Carrie Lam is satan.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 12:03:05 AM EST
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Experts warn EU capitals not to ease coronavirus rules for holidays
It's pandemic pandemonium all over again.

Brussels has urged EU capitals to avoid a disjointed lifting of containment measures that could lead to a third wave of coronavirus infections, but countries are already moving ahead with their own plans to ease restrictions ahead of the winter holidays. Public health experts say that could be a big mistake that will ultimately lead to more deaths.

Austria is bickering with its neighbors -- Germany, Italy and France -- over whether to reopen ski resorts, and even if the EU agrees on a path forward, Switzerland -- a non-EU country -- still plans to reopen. Poland has opened up malls and shops. France is now allowing religious services with up to 30 people, with further relaxation of control measures planned by mid-December. Museums, cinemas and theaters are expected to reopen, and a curfew will replace a stay-at-home order.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 02:51:59 PM EST
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EU gives Hungary and Poland 24 hours to lift veto
NEW! script. No florin, no zloty. Places, everyone.
by Cat on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 04:32:50 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 03:41:41 PM EST
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Italy prosecutes 4 over student murder but upset at lack of European solidarity
ROME -- Italy has moved a step closer toward justice for murdered doctoral student Giulio Regeni, but is concerned that its European allies aren't providing support.

Prosecutors in Rome on Thursday charged four members of the Egyptian security forces with the kidnap, torture and murder of Ph.D. student Regeni, whose body was found on the side of a highway on the outskirts of Cairo in February 2016.

Michele Prestipino Giarritta, Rome's chief prosecutor, said at an Italian parliamentary commission hearing on Thursday: "This is an extremely important result," and added that "we owed it to Giulio's memory."

But politicians and campaigners lamented a lack of solidarity from Italy's neighbors, which they say continues to undermine efforts to get to the truth.

Other European countries did not join Italy in recalling their ambassadors to Egypt after the murder, restricting themselves to statements of disapproval, and France this week rolled out the red carpet for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. French President Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference that he had addressed human rights with el-Sisi, but "won't make our defense and economic cooperation conditional upon these [human rights] disagreements."

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 06:30:30 PM EST
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Dishonorable: Italians return top French award over Macron's Egypt ties
ROME -- Italian recipients of the Légion d'honneur -- France's highest order of merit -- are returning their awards in protest at Paris' close relations with Egypt.

The news that Emmanuel Macron gave the Légion d'honneur to his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a state visit to France last week proved too much for several high-profile Italians already aggrieved at what they say is a lack of solidarity from Paris in the case of murdered doctoral student Giulio Regeni.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 03:14:23 PM EST
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EU confirms Brexit-adjusted carbon market permit removals for 2021
"Power plants in Northern Ireland will continue to be covered by the carbon market from 2021, under electricity market rules agreed in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement."
by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 03:17:55 PM EST
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Germany: Anti-lockdown protest leader contracts COVID
A prominent leader of the "Querdenker" (lateral thinker) movement in the eastern German city of Leipzig contracted COVID-19 and had to be hospitalized, reported Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ) newspaper on Saturday.      

The man, who was a co-organizer of the anti-lockdown demonstration in the city on November 7, was apparently brought to the hospital a week after the protest.

"One of the well-known lateral thinkers who demonstrated in Leipzig was intubated eight days later," said the director of the Leipzig University Hospital, Professor Christoph Josten, at a press conference.

"The virus does not differentiate between people, no matter who they are," the doctor added.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 04:47:29 PM EST
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EU to unveil landmark law curbing power of tech giants
"do's, don'ts and penalties"
FAANG to EC: What are our payment plan options?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 12:32:42 AM EST
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by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 08:40:25 PM EST
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Macron tests positive for COVID-19, European leaders rush for tests
PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, prompting a track-and-trace effort across Europe following numerous meetings between the French leader and EU heads of government in recent days.

Since Macron had met a number of European head of states and governments these past days, there is a stampede of testing all over Europe.

Luckily for Ireland: Taoiseach tests negative for Covid-19 following close contact with Macron

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 06:23:14 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 05:07:41 PM EST
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COVID: France fast-tracks citizenship for frontline workers
Of the nearly 3,000 people who responded, 74 had already obtained citizenship and 693 more were in the final stage of the process, according to the statement.

Additionally, immigration authorities have been ordered to reduce the residency period needed for citizenship to two years from the usual five in the case of "great services rendered."

Last year, around 112,000 foreigners acquired French nationality, including more than 48,000 by naturalization, 10% fewer than in 2018.

by Cat on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 03:15:49 PM EST
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meanwhile Special Report-Leaving Hong Kong: A family makes a wrenching decision
"a typical middle-class, politically moderate Hong Kong family" flees HK SAR national security law with five of 200K British National Overseas (BNO) passports
by Cat on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 04:23:43 PM EST
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Der Postillon: The effect of the lockdown on politicians hair

Angel Merkel

Anton Hofreiter (Grüne)

Björn Höcke (AfD)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 08:11:50 PM EST
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Germany's drive for EU-China deal draws criticism from other EU countries - Politico.eu
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's strong push to conclude the EU-China deal in the last days of the year has left a bad aftertaste among a group of EU countries who said they felt ignored.

Officials from Italy, Poland, Belgium and Spain criticized the way Germany pushed through the investment agreement with China in the final days of the German presidency of the Council of the EU, despite their warnings that the timing was tone deaf to slave labor concerns in China and risked alienating incoming U.S. President Joe Biden.

The officials said they felt steamrolled by Merkel and the "German engine" inside the European Commission, in particular Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and trade department director Sabine Weyand, who are both German.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 11:24:08 AM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:53:51 PM EST
by Cat on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 01:31:00 PM EST
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by Cat on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 02:09:09 PM EST
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by Cat on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 02:39:44 PM EST
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UK warns people with ["]serious["] allergies to avoid Pfizer vaccine after two adverse reactions
Mirror claims 4. < checks watch > Peanut and gluten RNA warnings forthcoming?
by Cat on Wed Dec 9th, 2020 at 05:08:08 PM EST
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All we know now is two people with known severe allergies had "non-life threatening" reactions to the vaccine.  How and why is under investigation.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 04:24:19 PM EST
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mmm, yes, well, the disclaimer story continues to develop, most vigorously it must be said by officious health experts, contracted for PSAs by cable news networks.

< checks watch >

In the past 36 hrs, incumbent and transitional panelists have recommended disqualification of a variety of "immunosupressed" persons (and possibly pregnant) from Pfizer ahh rations.

Give it a Baltimore minute for patients with certain ahh gene markers to be stricken from Pfizer's of risk-free consumer-patients, then the lot added to Moderna's ahh safe harbor list.

by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 06:45:45 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 06:36:03 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 12:19:02 AM EST
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Summary of Findings (data available as of 12/10/20): 1,639,728 total child COVID-19 cases reported on the DL
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 10:29:02 PM EST
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NEW! "community immunity". Places, everyone!
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 12:47:31 AM EST
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Maryland (V2019) pop 6,045,680; 21 Dec 2020 "positivity" 7.72%

by Cat on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 05:13:02 PM EST
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Cuomo forecasting unrealistic "6, 9, 12 months" close of economy to validate min herd immunity ring ("60%, 70%, 90%" vaccination); also prosecuting vaccine fraud rings.
by Cat on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 05:00:00 PM EST
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Expressed in a biological formula ...

The Cuomo Inverse Rule for corona ratings:
NY Cuomo = 1 / WH Trump

Cuomo: higher positivity by lower number of tests.

Trump complained by massive increase in tests raises the number of positive results. Bad PR for his personal achievement in view of his Twitter followers.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 05:56:10 PM EST
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Cuomo's New York does quite well ... see the very serious problems in the UK - London and South East ... high positivity rates and quite an headache for Boris Johnson and the Tories ...

Infection rates in England are currently highest in areas of Essex, London and other parts of the South East.

Parts of Essex have recorded the highest weekly coronavirus case rates since the pandemic began. In the week leading up to 21 December, Brentwood, Epping Forest and Thurrock all had rates of more than 1,350 cases per 100,000 people.

In the Netherlands, the infection rate is low here in The Hague at 400 upto extremes in some towns in the Bible Belt and beyond of upwards from 2,500 per 100,000.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 06:18:16 PM EST
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FDA investigating five [!] allergic reactions after Pfizer shot in U.S
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics [BWAH!] Evaluation and Research, said at a press conference ... a chemical called polyethylene glycol (PEG) that is an ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine - as well as the Moderna Inc vaccine authorized on Friday - "could be the culprit" causing the reactions.
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 02:35:35 PM EST
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storage and custody issssues
by Cat on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 05:33:52 PM EST
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UPDATE! Vaccine overdose puts German care workers in hospital
"Vorpommern-Ruegen authorities pointed to previous statements by BioNtech saying larger doses were tested in the Phase 1 study without serious consequences."
by Cat on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 05:08:53 PM EST
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wut: "new coronavirus variant discovered in Britain seems to have been present in Germany since November as doctors detected it retrospectively"
by Cat on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 09:28:32 PM EST
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wut: EU's Borrell accuses Russia of spreading COVID-19 disinformation to sell its vaccine, while completing Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Uniper, BASF's Wintershall Dea, =Royal Dutch Shell, OMV and Engie.


by Cat on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 09:50:33 PM EST
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🤣 hahaha
"Russian state-controlled media, which has in some cases led to absurd claims that vaccines will turn people into monkeys," Josep Borrell said in a blog post.

You got to be absolutely a Third World country to fall for Sputnik-V 🤣 so dumb!

Oxford Covid vaccine to be combined with Sputnik jab for trial

What the hell does Borrell know? Better for him to study China the original.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 11:28:51 AM EST
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wut: "Neanderthal gene protects against COVID-19 ... An earlier study linked a cluster of genes inherited from Neanderthals to higher risks of hospitalization from COVID-19."
by Cat on Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 11:29:06 PM EST
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wut: "The Pfizer vaccine can only remain at refrigerated temperatures for five days."

archived briefing document 12 Dec

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is supplied as a frozen [between -80°C to -60°C (-112°F to -76°F)] multi-dose (5-dose) vial. The vaccine must be thawed and diluted in its original vial with 1.8 mL of sterile 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection, USP prior to administration. After dilution, the vial contains 5 doses of 0.3 mL per dose. After dilution, the multiple-dose vials must be stored between 2°C to 25°C (35°F to 77°F) and used within 6 hours from the time of dilution.

Sumbuddy in their right minds explain to me how US "authorities" expected to administer 25M (initial) doses by "end of December". I suppose now they never did, given MSM reporting 11M to date, implying ~50% waste in first tranche; and hasty purchase of 100M more and sudden Moderna distro.

by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 07:06:21 PM EST
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by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 07:36:40 PM EST
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by Cat on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 at 12:31:41 AM EST
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wut: "At some point it became clear that it would not be possible to deliver so quickly"
by Cat on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 02:14:44 PM EST
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wut: "That first [Pfizer] dose we think gives you somewhere [?!] around 50% [!], and you need that second dose to get up to 95%,"
by Cat on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 01:16:07 AM EST
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When all else fails, sign a waiver.
Right to Try Act of 2017
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 06:52:43 PM EST
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FDA announces deaths of two Pfizer vaccine trial participants, 8 Dec
Mossad is on the line < wipes tears > "This is a developing story."
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 07:05:21 PM EST
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by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 07:33:56 PM EST
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Fairbanks clinician is third Alaskan with adverse reaction to COVID-19 vaccine
"I would get the vaccine and recommend it to anyone, despite my reaction, to help our country get immunized which is needed for the health of all Americans, for the economy, get families hugging again, for getting children back to schools, and to get the country on the other side of this pandemic," the health worker said.
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 02:07:49 AM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 12:22:14 AM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:43:18 AM EST
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Warp Speed: US begins vaccine shipments UPS, FedEx deliveries M,T, W from Kalamazoo
by Cat on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:57:51 PM EST
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mmm sumbuddy's going to be irked by those deep freeze equipment leases
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 01:18:46 AM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 05:05:13 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 08:01:52 PM EST
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Mutated coronavirus variant from South Africa found in UK
"'So the new variant in the UK, which we've identified, is very different to the variant in South Africa, it's got different mutations,' said Susan Hopkins from Public Health England."
by Cat on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 05:54:56 PM EST
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by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:06:05 PM EST
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How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?
In a telephone interview the next day, Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on NEW! science, and partly on his GUT! feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks.
Hard as it may be to hear, he said, he believes that it may take close to 90 percent immunity to bring the virus to a halt -- almost as much as is needed to stop a measles outbreak.
< wipes tears >
Now that some polls are showing that many more Americans are ready, even eager, for vaccines, he said he felt he could deliver the tough message that the return to normal might take longer than anticipated.
by Cat on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 10:53:29 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 02:22:36 PM EST
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As I recall from my long ago Biowarfare classes 90% vaccination rate is the accurate figure.  I do not know why Fauci, et. al., lied.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 at 05:39:45 PM EST
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Dependency on UK imports. Fish & Chips in peril...

Irish fear loss of British potatoes post Brexit

UK spuds ideal for chipping and deep-frying face import ban when transition ends January 1.

 DUBLIN -- Potatoes are a staple food for the Irish, but many of their spuds come from Britain -- and that supply chain is about to be smashed by Brexit.

The Irish Department of Agriculture warns that all British potatoes, including seed plants, will be banned from importation once transition arrangements end January 1.

Even in the event of a trade deal, the department has told growers, processors and distributors that the flow of British potatoes to Ireland will stop January 1 and not be restored for months, because Britain's application to export potatoes "must go through the EU law-making process."

Ireland's food promotion agency, Bord Bia, says one in four Irish people visits their local "chipper" for this guilty-pleasure meal at least once a week.

Fast food chains are scrambling to find alternative sources for the 80,000 tons of British-made chips normally consumed in Ireland annually. Only about 10,000 tons of chip-grade potatoes are grown within Ireland.

Possibly related:

COVID-19 crisis: Belgians called upon to eat more fries

In Belgium, the birthplace of "French fries," mountains of potatoes are piling up as global demand drops amid coronavirus shutdowns. Belgium's potato industry is now appealing to citizens to do their part and double their consumption of the Belgian specialty.

Direct freight ferry route between Rosslare and Dunkirk? (or Antwerp) Problem solved...

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 03:04:53 PM EST
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by Cat on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 10:59:01 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 08:54:33 PM EST
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Oh, good, another deadline. By the end of the weekend, the deal will either be made or not made. For sure. Absolutely the last deadline, no further negotiation. None.

Except possibly a few days to iron out the text. And then another few days to get the translations checked.* And the EU will obviously vote to ratify this in one day, probably December 31st. And then a six month waiver on road and air transport to get past the initial border problems.

*How does this work, anyway? Does the UK get to review the EU's translations before signing the English version? Or under the UK sovereignty clause, does the English version take precedence in any dispute?

by asdf on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 12:39:50 AM EST
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This could never have been predicted.

The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, agreed there was sufficient hope off a deal being reached to make a continuation worthwhile, making Sunday the latest deadline to be missed.

Ten bucks USD sez that 1 January will be delayed too, by some unimaginable and magical political gyration.

by asdf on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 06:14:23 PM EST
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by Cat on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:47:42 PM EST
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Never could have seen this coming.

Earlier this week the UK government said tariffs will be suspended in the UK from 1 January, when the current post-Brexit transition period ends. But the US responded saying the UK had no right to impose the tariffs anyway.

The US Trade Representative said only the EU sued the US at the WTO, while the UK "did not bring a case in its individual capacity. Therefore, the UK has no authority from the WTO to participate in any such action after it no longer is part of the EU."

by asdf on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 06:02:40 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 03:28:54 PM EST
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premieres 2021. US tour to Hamilton! fans TBD.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 10:40:11 PM EST
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by Cat on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 05:24:43 PM EST
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C'est un blocus continental autrement plus efficace que celui décrété par Napoléon en 1806 qui isole désormais le Royaume-Uni du reste de l'Europe et d'une partie du reste de la planète.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 22nd, 2020 at 08:53:47 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 12:14:44 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:54:18 PM EST
by Cat on Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 at 05:52:23 PM EST
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Apparently Bill Gates was on TV arguing that you should take the vaccine. I'm sure that will sway the holdouts.
by generic on Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 at 06:54:23 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 at 03:38:44 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 09:51:06 PM EST
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one month ago
"the illness and efforts to bring a vaccine to market are part of a scheme by Russia and China to spread communism around the globe."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 11:49:37 PM EST
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herd immunity is achievable with 90% vaccination.
by Cat on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 10:23:58 PM EST
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In what alternate universe is any country going to get a 90% vaccination rate?
by asdf on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 08:33:28 PM EST
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Had to check how large percentage in Sweden got vaccinated in 2009. If view solely as a mass vaccination campaign (and ignoring wheter it was necessary and the side effects) a very successful campaign.

It was 64% (the pdf in Swedish includes breakdown in different groups).

90% does not seem very feasible.

by fjallstrom on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 01:51:23 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 06:26:50 PM EST
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Employees with either a disability or "sincerely held" religious beliefs that prevent them from getting inoculated are exempt
by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 06:28:48 PM EST
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"sincerely held" religious beliefs
by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 06:31:19 PM EST
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The San Marino approach:
E sta pensando addirittura di addebitare le cure a chi si ammalerà dopo aver rifiutato il vaccino.
The article also points out that restaurants in San Marino will be open over Christmas. They have to defend their position of being number one (Covid deaths per capita) from competition from places like the US.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 06:37:17 PM EST
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The wealthy scramble for COVID-19 vaccines: 'If I donate $25,000 ... would that help me?'
< wipes tears > recalling a subplot in Netflix's most wondrous sci-fi drama Altered Carbon that chronicles the rituals of a 400-year-old, DHF backed-up oligarch who stocks cloned "sleeves". One of these is monthly visits to a reservation of bio-warfare descendants, where he succumbs forthwith grisly speed to the disease's symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers.  Another is BDSM murders, managed for fees in coin and sleeve "upgrades" by brothel proprietors.
by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 06:58:42 PM EST
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by Cat on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 11:56:43 PM EST
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Trump Administration Declined Summer Offer To Buy More Of Pfizer's Vaccine: Reports
The Trump administration declined an offer from Pfizer to buy more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine at the end of the summer, according to several reports.

The New York Times first reported Monday that Pfizer offered to sell the U.S. government more of its promising vaccine candidate, developed in partnership with the German company BioNTech. The U.S. agreed to buy 100 million doses of the Pfizer drug in July, but the vaccine takes two injections to work, meaning the contract is only enough for 50 million people. (At the time, there were several promising vaccine candidates, but none had shown widespread efficacy in late-stage, large-scale trials).

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 07:07:57 AM EST
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Dec 9th, 2020 at 02:43:18 AM EST
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"Many are harmless but it's virtually impossible for scientists to predict when and how a mutation can result in a strain of a virus that is more transmissible or impervious [BWAH!] to proposed vaccines."
priming the pump for "seasonal" production.
archived Wed Apr 15th, 2020
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 06:30:24 PM EST
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by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 02:49:36 PM EST
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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Re-infection by a Phylogenetically Distinct Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Strain Confirmed by Whole Genome Sequencing , 25 Aug
Asymptomatic 33 y.o. male SARS-Cov-2 carrier, twice hospitalized, travels from HK SAR to Spain via UK and back between April and August:
First, it is possible that herd immunity may not eliminate SARS-CoV-2 if reinfection is not an uncommon occurrence, although it is possible that subsequent infections may be milder than the first infection as for this patient. Then, COVID-19 will likely continue to circulate in the human population, as in the case of other human coronaviruses. Re-infection is common for "seasonal" coronaviruses 229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1 [24]. In some instances, re-infection occurs despite a static level of specific antibodies. Second, vaccines may not be able to provide lifelong protection against COVID-19. Furthermore, vaccine studies should also include patients who recovered from COVID-19.
by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 02:29:14 PM EST
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by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 01:46:00 AM EST
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wut: "Pfizer has said it will have about 25 million [?!] doses of the two-shot vaccine for the U.S. by the end of December."
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 11:28:12 PM EST
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It was the ration algorithm wut done it.
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 05:01:33 PM EST
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Mr Folk Hero
by Cat on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 01:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 04:25:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida state police raid home of Rebekah Jones, data scientist who challenged DeSantis on coronavirus statistics
Law enforcement authorities in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday raided the home of a data scientist who had been fired by Gov. Ron DeSantis after refusing to manipulate numbers.

In the months since her firing, Rebekah Jones has continued to publish coronavirus statistics independently, while also issuing warnings on Twitter and cable news. DeSantis, meanwhile, has continued to downplay the severity of the epidemic, which has killed nearly 20,000 Floridians.

Jones posted video of the raid, which was conducted by Florida state police Monday morning. She said the police "took all my hardware and tech," for which they obtained a warrant following a Department of Health complaint.

"They pointed a gun in my face," Jones said in her message, which was shared by thousands of people. "They pointed guns at my kids."

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 07:10:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 09:17:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 03:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 11:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Meanwhile, in Germany: "Der Verlierer des Jahres" (the loser of the year):

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 05:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That adds a half to the short list, starting with Wallis Simpson, of women who have got that "honour".
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 05:59:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
most ignorant, litigious nation on planet REPORTS Texass v PA, MI, GA, WI
motions to intervene by MO, AR, LA, MS, SC, UT, with art. II, § 1, cl. 2, escalating Trump. uh oh
Sheldon's Axis of Amici briefs, led by AZ: MO, AL, AR, FL, IN, KS, LA,  MS, MT, NE, ND, SD, OK, SC, TN, WV, UT
by Cat on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 02:49:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
original jurisdiction
Article III, § 2 + 28 U.S.C. § 1251 + Rule 17

a gulag archipelago

by Cat on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 02:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
foiled again.

Separate-but-Equal Thomas and Scalito accept consolation prize, Goldman Sachs v AR Teacher Retirement et al.

by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 12:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections."

Shorter SCOTUS: Bitch, please...

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 09:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Visegrád will rise again!
by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Texas making a start by obeying the 8th Amendment?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 11:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are they going to call it a confederacy?
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 02:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 05:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this an inadvertent post.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 06:19:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or an "unwitting co-conspirator"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 12:20:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
88,000 pages
Census2020 litigation is going to be GREAT.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 12:22:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

landssakes, Where would essential workers' rights be without COVID-19?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 04:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 07:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
25M, national Pfizer ration, Round 1
not a "normal democracy"

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 09:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Dec 15th, 2020 at 11:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 11:12:03 PM EST
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foiled again!
Anti-RBG Watch score: 6-3
The [Per Curiam] decision said that "judicial resolution of this dispute is premature" in part because it is not clear what the administration plans to do. "At present, this case is riddled with contingencies and speculation that impede judicial review," the ruling said. The decision noted that the court was not weighing the merits of Trump's plan.
Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the justices during the Nov. 30 oral argument in the case that the administration could miss a Dec. 31 statutory deadline to finalize a Census Bureau report to Trump containing the final population data, including the number of immigrants excluded. [...] Wall said, it may propose excluding certain groups, such as the fewer than 100,000 in federal detention, and the total number may not be high enough to affect apportionment.
Trump v New York, et al.
The judgment of the District Court is  vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
archived Sat Oct 17th, 2020, Fri Jul 12th, 2019
by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 04:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 07:05:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

At the weekend 20 Dec, Richard Rubin (WSJ) adopted a short title for this ahh time-sensitive bill, "coronabus", I believe, chiefly to memorialize the heroic, bicameral effort to announce simultaneously "stimulus" details ENGROSSED by FY2021 budget bill before a much publicized (revised) SHUTDOWN deadline at 00:01 hr 21 Dec.

severability à la Texass v California: under the radar, the pols enrolled two appropriation bills (as seen by myself recorded at congress.gov and which cheeto signed 20 Dec) to replenish "entitled" funds and relevant fed agencies' operations (a Budget Control Act 2011 legacy); leaving FY2021 discretionary spending d/b/a "COVID relief bill" with Steny's amendment earmarks and Mitch procedural evils to the proverbial wolves of PR and serial House suspended rules, eg. H.R. 133, H.R. 107, &tc.

Incredibly, CNN embedded the entire coronabus pdf, 5,593 printed pages, a/o 22 Dec (which I immediately downloaded) before CNN deleted its pdf-reader, after cheeto dictator vindictively vetoed (23 Dec) congress' enrolled FY 2021 $741B NDAA.

errata: emend the CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, not amend serial HOUSE amendments; signifying the incoherence, emanating from US press, Capitol, and social media in the past 18 hours.
by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 04:04:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mitch was taking the heat for short-changing Americans' R2 "rebate checks", $600 instead of $1,200. cheeto's veto ignited hasty House passage of the $2000 CASH Act, now referred to Mitch's circular file for all motions not NDAA veto override.

Sensing his final twitter close-up, the rabid cheeto turns on Mitch: "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP."

Exit hapless parliamentarian NY Chuck. Enter DNC's hoary statesman IL Dick.

by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 10:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 11:33:31 PM EST
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"christmas bonus"
by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 02:49:10 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 01:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 05:14:33 PM EST
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Terrorist attack 'Intentional act' in Nashville, Tennessee.

Police: Suspicious blast wounds 3 in Nashville on Christmas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- An explosion shook the largely deserted streets of downtown Nashville early Christmas morning, shattering windows, damaging buildings and wounding three people. Authorities said they believed the blast was intentional.

Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake said police were responding to a report of shots fired when they encountered a recreational vehicle blaring a recording that said a potential bomb was to detonate in 15 minutes. Police evacuated nearby buildings and called in the bomb squad.

"Shortly after that, the RV exploded," Drake said at a midday news conference.

Surveillance video published on a Twitter account Friday that appeared to be recorded from across the street captured an audio recording that included the warning, "... if you can hear this message, evacuate now." The blast was captured on the surveillance video seconds later.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 07:38:48 PM EST
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Rumor mill says it was adjacent to AT&T building that has one of the nodes of the US Internet in it.
by asdf on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 12:21:02 AM EST
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AT&T still owns US continental backbone and most intercontinental lines (famously trans-Pacific cable to two of the Five Eyes) since forever. The proliferation of AT&T leased telecom P&E to diverse transnational telecoms is partly the result of 1984 antitrust remedy, the 1996 Act, and internal P&L diversification. Network maps are not exactly secret, but they are complex down within the "last mile" radius.
by Cat on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 04:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AT&T switching center, disrupting mobile, internet and TV services across central Tennessee and parts of four other states allegedly sabotaged by "Warner [who] had come into the office roughly once a month to provide computer consulting services, until this month when Warner told the company in an email that he would no longer be working for them. He gave no reason, according to Fridrich."

y'all know how to read packet routing reports, dontcha.

by Cat on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 at 07:07:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The year of Karen: how a meme changed the way Americans talked about racism  - Guardian
More than just an amusing meme, Karen allowed for a new kind of discourse about racism to gain credence in the US.

"We as a culture have adopted this stance that white women are more virtuous and not complicit in upholding racism in particular," said Apryl Williams, a professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan. "They just sort of go along with it, but they're not conscious actors. The Karen meme says, no, they are conscious actors. These are deliberate actions. They are complicit. And I think that's why it strikes a nerve with people."

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:38:37 PM EST
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Emma Goldman pointed out in the 1900s Southern Suffragettes were arguing women should get the vote in order to ensure White Supremacy, as enacted via the Jim Crow laws, would carry on into the indefinite future.

And you know what?  It did.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 06:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Seems fine really.

by generic on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 09:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:54:35 PM EST
OECD, Revenue Statistics, 1965-2019 (or 2018+, titled "Consumption tax revenues under COVID-19: Lessons from the 2008 global financial crisis", 347 pp) developed nations edition
by Cat on Thu Dec 3rd, 2020 at 02:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 02:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 02:33:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 04:48:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you thought 2020 couldn't get any worse:

India: Unknown disease leaves 1 dead, scores hospitalized

At least one person has died and over 200 others were hospitalized in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh with an unidentified illness, local health authorities said on Monday.

The first cases were noted on Saturday evening in the ancient city of Eluru and since then, patients have experienced symptoms ranging from nausea and anxiety to loss of consciousness, local doctors reported.


"All patients tested negative for COVID-19. Air pollution, water or food contamination is also ruled out after tests were carried out. It is some mystery illness and more lab tests are being carried out to find out what it is," Rao said.

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Dec 7th, 2020 at 09:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some initial findings:

Patients hospitalized with mystery illness in India have excessive nickel and lead in blood, officials say

Health officials in India have found excessive amounts of lead and nickel in blood samples taken from patients who have been hospitalized in Andhra Pradesh, officials investigating the cases said Tuesday.
More than 500 people have been hospitalized for an unidentified illness in southeastern India, according to Dolla Joshi Roy, the district surveillance officer of Eluru's West Godavari District. Patients reported a range of symptoms including seizures, loss of consciousness and some nausea over the weekend, Roy said.
by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 09:31:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A man believed to be the longest-serving inmate for non-violent, marijuana charges has been released from a Florida prison, and is set to spend the holidays with family for the first time in more than 31 years.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 05:43:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France Diplomacy - From the press briefing (16 October 2019)

Q: The wife of Ruhollah Zam, the Iranian dissident arrested by the Revolutionary Guards, has asked the French authorities for help. What is France's response?

A: Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian national, has refugee status in France and as such has a residence permit issued in conjunction with asylum proceedings. Mr. Zam does not have French citizenship.
Mr. Zam is therefore free to enter and leave the country, and did leave on October 11.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 12:05:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU stresses UN peace process after US U-turn on Western Sahara
As part of a deal to normalize relations between Israel and Morocco on Thursday, President Donald Trump made a U-turn on long-standing U.S. policy and said Washington would recognize Rabat's claim of sovereignty over Western Sahara.

A former Spanish colony, Western Sahara is mostly administered by Morocco but is home to an independence movement led by the Polisario Front. The U.N. has supervised talks aimed at organizing a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara since a 1991 ceasefire agreement, which recently broke down amid border tensions.

Trump tweeted that "Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara."

A spokesperson for the EU's diplomatic service said in response to the U.S. announcement that the bloc's position regarding Western Sahara "has not changed."

"The EU regards Western Sahara as a non-self governing territory in the sense of the U.N., for which a dedicated U.N. process is ongoing to determine its final status and which the EU supports," said European External Action Service spokesperson Peter Stano.

Morocco has occupied the largest part of Western Sahara since the 1975 "Green March" invasion, during the last days of the Franco dictatorship in Spain. The Polisario Front is supported by Algeria, neighbor and rival of Morocco since the 1962 independence.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 05:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 07:29:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 09:02:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 09:08:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But at least he's not going to criticise Israel over Palestine - and that's what really matters to the modern Labour Party.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 14th, 2020 at 10:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My earlier comment ...

Getting rid of a decent human being and British politician ...

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 12:02:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 03:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Algeria PM on Israel-Morocco deal: 'Zionist entity' wants to be near our borders | Times of Israel |

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 07:34:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump Administration Moves Forward With $1B Moroccan Arms Deal | VOA |

Trump admin offered $700M to 9/11 victims to save Sudan deal | ABC News

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 07:55:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the cut for the Trump Organization?
by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 12:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook Suspends Rival French, Russian Networks
Facebook announced on Tuesday it has removed hundreds of accounts linked to rival French and Russian networks that sought to sway public opinion in Africa.

The social media company said the actions mark the first time it has detected networks at odds with one another directly interacting and criticizing the other as being "fake."

One of the networks was tied back to the French military while two others were linked to a well-known Russian troll farm, and its alleged Russian financier, Evgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin has been indicted in the US on charges tied to Russia's attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

The networks' campaigns largely focused on the Central African Republic, ahead of its elections later this month, as well as other African nations including Mali, Algeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Libya.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 03:09:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Wed Dec 16th, 2020 at 04:20:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 06:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Union's member states have abstained en masse from a United Nations resolution against the `glorification of Nazism'.

In all, 155 countries backed the motion, which was presented by Russia on Friday (21 November) under the title "Glorification of Nazism: inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance".

Three countries voted on Friday against the Russian resolution: Ukraine, Canada and the United States.

Israel voted for it. A country that Politico calls "Macedonia" abstained.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Dec 17th, 2020 at 09:42:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri Dec 18th, 2020 at 07:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Navalny and Castro Failed Assassination Attempts

Fidel Castro: The CIA's 7 Most Bizarre Assassination Attempts

Fidel Castro survived no fewer than 634 attempts on his life, according to his former secret service chief.

Whether that figure is accurate or not, Cuba's iconic dictator provided an almost-mythical adversary for what became an obsessive, error-prone assassination campaign by the CIA.

... Castro has his old underwear incinerated so they cannot be laundered with deadly chemicals to assassinate him.

Navalny's Underpants Smeared With Poison, Would-Be Assassin Reveals | VOA |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 21st, 2020 at 07:01:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 08:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Ex-Japan PM Abe to face questioning in parliament over funding scandal
"The scandal could also damage his successor, Yoshihide Suga, who was Abe's right-hand man throughout his term and has defended his boss in the parliament."
archived Fri Aug 28th, 2020
by Cat on Fri Dec 25th, 2020 at 03:13:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PA calls on UN Security Council to stop Israel settler attacks

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 26th, 2020 at 06:50:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
#BREAKING Uganda continues descent into first world status after the country refuses to accredit civil society groups and foreign missions to observe forthcoming election, which is reminiscent of polls in troubled nations like US where violence and voter suppression are routine.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 13th, 2021 at 02:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:55:07 PM EST
For those who would like to read an article in a language that even Google doesn't understand, here is the local paper with the COVD rules in Cimbro.
Bar offe sin di 20, ristorént sin di 22

Birthaüsar offe sin di achte abas un ristorént offe sin di zene un schülar un studjént ka schual. Dise di bichtegarstn diferentz pinn lest dekrèt von Rat Vorsitzar übar dar pandemì, inngevüart in Trentino pinn vorschrif untarschribet haüt von vorsitzar vodar Provìntz Maurizio Fugatti. Ma makse nèt vennen in di öffentleschen plètz in mearar baz sèks laüt auz baz az soin mittlebar un di sunta stianda gespèrrt di geschèft. Vor bazta ågeat di skilage saitma nå `zarbata aftnan protokòll zo magase offetüam. Ma vorst in laüt boda håm mearar baz 70 djar zo stiana a pizzle ar a bege.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 07:56:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:55:28 PM EST
A leading AI ethics researcher says she's been fired from Google - MIT Technology Review
Timnit Gebru says she's facing retaliation for conducting research that was critical of Google and sending an email "inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager."

On December 2, the AI research community was shocked to learn that Timnit Gebru had been fired from her post at Google. Gebru, one of the leading voices in responsible AI research, is known among other things for coauthoring groundbreaking work that revealed the discriminatory nature of facial recognition, cofounding the Black in AI affinity group, and relentlessly advocating for diversity in the tech industry.

But on Wednesday evening, she announced on Twitter that she had been terminated from her position as Google's ethical AI co-lead. "Apparently my manager's manager sent an email [to] my direct reports saying she accepted my resignation. I hadn't resigned," she said.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Gebru said that the firing happened after a protracted fight with her superiors over the publication of an AI ethics research paper. One of Gebru's tweets and a later internal email from Jeff Dean, head of Google AI, suggest that the paper was critical of the environmental costs and embedded biases of large language models.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 07:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
from Quetelet (1829) to Du Bois (1900)
The Exhibit of American Negroes was the antithesis to nearly everything the Paris Exposition stood for, with Du Bois's infographics identifying statistics of Black property ownership, population growth, employment rates, mortality, education, and other metrics of social uplift.
by Cat on Sun Dec 6th, 2020 at 02:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
quantifying religious dysphoria
UVM administrators claim their decision is based in cold, hard math: Religion just doesn't have enough majors. But the number of majors a department has does not equal how much revenue a department generates. Enrollments do that, and UVM's award-winning faculty members consistently over-enroll their courses. Not to mention that UVM Religion grads are shaping conversations about religion at the national level--you can't put a price on that kind of impact (no matter how much tuition costs these days).
spiritual "Nones" elect Biden-Harris
archived Tue Nov 10th, 2020, Mon Oct 5th, 2020
by Cat on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 05:12:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 9th, 2020 at 07:10:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Dec 12th, 2020 at 10:52:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Michael Dols, "Plague in Early Islamic History," Journal of the American Oriental Society (1974)

Quite a humourous anthology (pun intended).

So yeah. That's one of several monographs I've exhumed in the past 12 hrs without recourse to Germs, Guns, and Steel "theory" of domesticated bliss in the Levant, because Twitter brought to my attention an early-stage revival of academic interest in 14th century European ("black") death. This time around, by employing documentary, archaeological, paleogenetic, and molecular conjecture aspiring authors--solicited by one Monica Green, de facto representative of the American Historical Association's interest--intend to identify the origin, or paleolithic reservoir, of Y. pestis. Inexplicably, the leading nominees are west or east Africa (Great Lake region, "Ethiopia") and Issyk Kul (cradle of the Mongol "Golden Horde"). "The Four Black Deaths":

... I contend that reservoir was uniquely active, and that it seeded new plague reservoirs elsewhere. But it did so starting in the thirteenth century, not the fourteenth, and it did so in a centrifugal pattern. The most important contribution of genetics is not that it verifies the pathogen (though it does that definitively), but that in so doing, it brings Yersinia pestis's history up to the present day, to be scrutinized by the tools of modern science. Importantly, it also shifts the history of plague away from a litany [!] of human outbreaks--or rather, recorded human outbreaks--as its measure, and follows the biological record of the bacterium instead, as it can now be reconstructed through both aDNA and the results of field studies of modern plague in the wild. As a single-celled organism that replicates, under ideal conditions, about a dozen times a day,Y. pestis needs to be understood from an ecological perspective: its modes of transmission, its rates of change. Most of those factors can never be known precisely for historical out-breaks that occurred hundreds of years ago. But they do suggest certain biological parameters that we, as historians of the human past, should go looking for, and the time frame in which to do so. In what follows, I agree with Hymes that we should look closely at the thirteenth century, not the fourteenth, to find the Black Death's origins. Like Hymes (and other investigators before him), I agree that we need to look beyond the geographies explicitly flagged by our written sources, and seek Y. pestis's history in its real, wild animal haunts. And like Hymes, I connect the expanded geography and chronology of this new [!] Eurasian disease regime with a specific human vector: the Mon-gols. ...
Ironically, Egyptian and Italian Merchants in the Black Sea Slave Trade, 1260-1500 [archived] receives a specious citation that Monica quickly discards.
by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2020 at 06:50:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China's `tainted' cotton - BBC - The Long Read
The Chinese government denies the claims, insisting that the camps are "vocational training schools" and the factories are part of a massive, and voluntary, "poverty alleviation" scheme.

But the new evidence suggests that upwards of half a million minority workers a year are also being marshalled into seasonal cotton picking under conditions that again appear to raise a high risk of coercion.

"In my view the implications are truly on a historical scale," Dr Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington who uncovered the documents, told the BBC.

"For the first time we not only have evidence of Uighur forced labour in manufacturing, in garment making, it's directly about the picking of cotton, and I think that is such a game-changer.

"Anyone who cares about ethical sourcing has to look at Xinjiang, which is 85% of China's cotton and 20% of the world's cotton, and say, `We can't do this anymore.'"

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 11:27:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing recovery ...

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 23rd, 2020 at 05:56:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Dec 29th, 2020 at 02:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:55:49 PM EST
by Cat on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 10:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no good pilots; there are only old pilots.

Chuck Yeager, pilot who broke the sound barrier, dies at 97

US Air Force officer and test pilot Chuck Yeager, known as "the fastest man alive," has died at the age of 97.
Yeager broke the sound barrier when he tested the X-1 in October 1947, although the feat was not announced to the public until 1948.
His second wife, Victoria, confirmed to CNN Monday night that Yeager had passed after she tweeted from Yeager's verified Twitter account that the World War II flying ace had died.

"An incredible life well lived, America's greatest pilot," she tweeted.
His legacy captured later generations as well, being featured in the book and 1983 film, "The Right Stuff."

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 07:04:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forty years ago:

John Lennon's Children, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Honor Legend on 40th Anniversary of His Killing

John Lennon's sons and Beatles mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr honored the legend on Tuesday (Dec. 8), which marked the 40th anniversary of his death.

The iconic musician was fatally shot in front of his New York City apartment on the evening of Dec 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman. He was 40.

"A sad sad day but remembering my friend John with the great joy he brought to the world. I will always be proud and happy to have known and worked with this incredible Scouser! X love Paul," McCartney wrote, along with a touching picture of the duo snapped by McCartney's late wife, Linda.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Dec 8th, 2020 at 06:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British author John le Carré dies aged 89, officially 12 Dec, 2020
"after a short illness (not COVID-19 related)"
by Cat on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 10:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambrose Dlamini
"while under medical care in a hospital in South Africa"
by Cat on Sun Dec 13th, 2020 at 11:03:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One year ago precisely:

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Dec 31st, 2020 at 05:51:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2020 at 05:56:03 PM EST
According to Der Postillon, Christmas tires will now have to be called "winter tires". Has the same political correctness already hit the US?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 at 08:44:29 PM EST
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Yes, they are usually called "winter tires" here. Some people call them "snow tires." Tire Rack is a mail order tire store that has lots of useful information, and most retail shops will meet Tire Rack's pricing.
by asdf on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 at 08:57:16 PM EST
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Worrisome display of heathendom. Add rampant heresy in the church

US cardinals criticize Pope Francis endorsement of same-sex unions

Pope Francis' controversial support for same-sex civil unions has found its fair share of critics in the United States.

Clearly the pope needs to place the United State under Intedict
by generic on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 at 09:09:39 PM EST
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The Trump Effect: The Truth About the Pope and the Order of Malta

How large is the diocese of Malta ... how many US Cardinals can be exiled with Edmund Burke?

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 4th, 2020 at 10:46:48 PM EST
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An entertaining flick in which Frank (not that one, the other) shines. I totally recommend it for all the futbol highlights.
by Cat on Sat Dec 5th, 2020 at 12:34:22 AM EST
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Politician Named Adolf Hitler Wins Election in Namibia
Adolf Hitler Uunona has been elected with 85 percent of the vote for a seat on the regional council in the former German colony, where street names, people and places still have German names. However, Adolf Uunona as he prefers himself to be known, says he wants to assure people that he has no plans for world domination.

He told German tabloid paper Bild: "My father named me after this man. He probably didn't understand what Adolf Hitler stood for. As a child I saw it as a totally normal name. Only as a teenager did I understand that this man wanted to conquer the whole world."

He appears on the election nomination list as Adolf H. Uunona. He won the seat on the ticket of the ruling SWAPO party which has ruled Namibia since independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990. He also said that while his wife calls him Adolf, it would be too late for him to change his name officially.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Dec 11th, 2020 at 06:11:08 PM EST
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Just got my $600 stimulus from the IRS....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 09:58:35 PM EST
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us, too. Gah bless the Mnoooch.

Now, Janet "$7M speaker" Yellen better bring her A-game 2021Q1 or all heeeel gonna break loose in USA.

by Cat on Fri Jan 1st, 2021 at 10:46:50 PM EST
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