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

August - September 2020

by Bernard Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:18:25 PM EST

Your take on this month's news

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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:19:03 PM EST
Italy Foreign Minister Shares Blackface Images of His Summer Tan - NYT
In one image, he was a new relative in the Huxtable family from "The Cosby Show." In another, his face was superimposed on the body of Michael Jordan as he glided to the rim. In another, he was placed in a scene from a classic Italian film in which the actor Totò, wearing blackface, plays an ambassador from a fictional African country.

When Luigi Di Maio, Italy's foreign minister, returned to Rome from a vacation on the island of Sardinia, it took little time for Italians to notice his deep tan. By Aug. 25, images and memes featuring Mr. Di Maio in a form of blackface appeared across the Italian web. One of these instances depicted Mr. Di Maio as a Black migrant on a crowded boat.

Instead of criticizing the images, Mr. Di Maio embraced them, sharing some on his own Instagram account, including the ones of Mr. Jordan, Totò and the Huxtables.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 09:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 05:16:54 PM EST
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France's Macron to head to Beirut to pressure Lebanese political elite
PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron will head to Beirut next week to pressure local politicians into pressing ahead with the creation of a government that can implement urgent reforms, a French presidential official said on Friday.

"The president has said it he will not give up. He made a commitment to do what needs to be done and to apply the necessary pressure to put this programme in place," the official told reporters ahead of Macron's visit to Beirut next Monday and Tuesday.

The official added it was time for Lebanese political parties to temporarily step aside and ensure a government of change was put into place.

Note: The French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, under the then League of Nations, ended in 1943; the last French troops left in 1946.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 09:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland calls Lukashenko's words unacceptable as relations become tense
WARSAW (Reuters) - Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's comments that Warsaw may be plotting to seize part of the country if its political crisis worsened are unacceptable, Krzysztof Szczerski, an aide to Poland's president, said on Friday.

Relations between Warsaw and Minsk have become tense in recent days following Lukashenko's suggestions quoted by state news agency Belta that Poland planned to take over the Grodno region bordering Poland and Lithuania if Belarus falls apart.

On Thursday, Poland summoned the Belarus ambassador to protest the "unfounded accusations".

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 07:45:15 PM EST
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Malta journalist murder suspect accused former PM's chief of staff - police
VALLETTA (Reuters) - A businessman suspected of masterminding the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has told police that the ex-chief of staff of the former prime minister wanted her dead, a court heard on Thursday.

Caruana Galizia, who wrote extensively about corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb in October 2017. Wealthy entrepreneur Yorgen Fenech was arrested last November and accused of complicity in the murder. He has denied the accusation.

Police inspector Kurt Zahra, one of the officers who interrogated Fenech, told a court that the businessman had said Keith Schembri, the chief of staff of the then prime minister, had wanted Caruana Galizia killed.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 08:07:45 PM EST
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jobs saved or created
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 08:30:14 PM EST
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Watch a tiny anti-mask demonstration try  unsuccessfully to set a mask on fire. They apparently had better luck with a photo of the Pope.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 5th, 2020 at 10:40:59 PM EST
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They've apologized, without saying what they should have used. This?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 5th, 2020 at 10:46:02 PM EST
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For those who are not aware : Scotland has its own, autonomous blacklist... exercising its sovereign prerogatives in public health... not yet allowed to name their own ambassadors.

This had family implications for me when my daughter, who was in France for the summer, was going to be joined from Glasgow by her boyfriend. Since he couldn't come to (blacklisted) France, he cleverly got a ticket for Geneva... only a couple of hours' drive from here, and they had been intending to spend a week in Italy anyway...
Then a couple of days before his flight, Switzerland was put on Scotland's blacklist (followed the next day by the UK of England, Wales and Norn Ireland)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 03:35:07 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 01:08:21 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 05:37:14 PM EST
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Suspected Navalny poisoning opens German debate over gas pipeline
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas over the weekend became the first member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet to link the natural-gas conduit's fate to Russian cooperation with an inquiry into the poisoning of dissident Alexey Navalny. A lawmaker from Merkel's party suggested suspending the project.

While there's no sign that Merkel is about to pull the plug, the comments amplify the latest flare-up of exasperation about President Vladimir Putin in Berlin and suggest an emerging debate in Merkel's governing coalition. The German leader has consistently backed the pipeline in the face of opposition by the U.S. and some European Union allies.

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Sep 7th, 2020 at 09:12:42 AM EST
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As a Russian commentator said in RIA Novosti a couple of days ago: "Navalnyi is Merkel's problem now".

Should Germany (Merkel, that is) want Nord Stream 2 and peaceful transition in Belarus, the game somebody played with Navalnyi's transfer to Germany basically made both goals more difficult to achieve.

There are two things here that I don't quite understand, so any help would be appreciated:

  • what cooperation Germany expects? Is this like MH-17, only admittance of guilt is deemed cooperation, nothing else (like actually cooperating with Russia) matters. Would Germany start a criminal investigation without any proof that a crime has been committed, especially if German evidence says that there's no indication of crime.
  • why people talk like Nord Stream 2 is about energy dependency? There are already Nord Stream (original), Jamal, Transgas and Blue Stream pipelines bringing Russian gas to EU. NS2 only adds capacity to the only pipeline that hasn't any middlemen between Germany and Russia thus making it less dependent and cheaper.
by pelgus on Mon Sep 7th, 2020 at 01:49:33 PM EST
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Navalny, Novichok, and Nord Stream 2
if indeed the Russian state was indeed guilty of poisoning Navalny, why on earth would it allow his transfer to Germany? And why would it carry out such a criminal act during the last phase of the Nord Stream pipeline project, in which so much has been invested? Politically and geopolitically, such an act would absolutely backfire. By eliminating an opposition member such as Alexei Navalny, it would no doubt produce a furious reaction from both foreign powers and domestic opposition, only encouraging anti-government activism.

[...] As in the Skripal case, the timing of the incident couldn't be worse for the Kremlin. Then, it was just before the Russian world cup; in this case, it is just before the completion of Nord Stream 2 and when the Trump administration has spoken of meeting with Putin later this year.

by das monde on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 10:12:23 AM EST
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I don't particularly want to disagree with Craig Murray, but the fact remains that someone in Russia poisoned Navalny with a nerve agent on an aeroplane, then someone pressured the hospital into attempting to cover up this fact.

His assertion that "they" could have refused to divert the flight, or had him killed in hospital... The problem with that is that Russia, though not exactly an open society, is not exactly a closed one either, and either event would have been difficult to cover up, amounting to a signature to the crime.

In Russia, there are many powerful people who must have reasons to prefer Navalny dead; it doesn't have to be Putin. But clearly, nobody in power is interested in investigating the attempted murder.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 at 11:03:35 AM EST
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Sorry, I thought you were quoting Craig Murray.

But it seems that "Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland" basically paraphrased Murray's opinion, adding a few giveaways such as :

Furthermore, it's worth considering Navalny's popularity and reach within Russia. According to a recent poll by Levada, the opposition activist would gain around 2% of the vote in a presidential election was to be held, compared to 56% who would re-elect Vladimir Putin

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 at 11:10:36 AM EST
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The fact remains that Navalnyi had none of the symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

The fact remains that Germany has given no actual evidence of poisoning, and refuses to do so when asked.

The fact remains that according to US Military study published in Cell human body degrades organophosphates (Novichok) so fast that if Navalnyi was poisoned in Omsk or in the plane, none would have been left in his body by the time he reached Charite. There would be metabolites, sure, but those would not indicate the actual poison with any certainty.

The fact remains that Russia has already done the preliminary investigation. They have interrogated Navalnyi's entourage, people on the plane, people on the airport and people he was in contact with in Tomsk. To turn that into a criminal investigation, they need Germany to give some, any, proof that a crime indeed has been done. For reasons unknown, Germany refuses to do this - saying either that it's up to OPCW to communicate with Russia (OPCW says they haven't been provided with any evidence either) or that they need Navalnyi's consent to provide any information.

As far as I'm aware, Navalnyi's anti-corruption foundation has not been very effective in fighting corruption. They have found some procedural errors in couple of public tenders, but that's about it. The big corruption cases, like the latest one in Vyborg, are found out by investigative media or actual police investigations. Independent media in Russia calls Navalnyi a "blogger", because that's pretty much what he does with any effect.

Navalnyi, at best, is a nuisance for some of the oligarchs. That's why recently, when Navalnyi's foundation was ordered to pay huge damages to the city of Moscow (foundation made provably false claims about the quality of school meals), man providing those meals, Prigoshin, bought the damages claim from Moscow, and now can shut down Navalnyi's operation at will. Why go trough that trouble and then try to off the man?

The very fact that Navalnyi was allowed to leave Russia while borders are closed to regular people, while still on parole (for embezzlement) and under investigation (for money laundering) has convinced many Russians that he is actually either FSB or has powerful friends among those he claims to fight.

Considering that his supporters finally managed to get a couple of seats in a few regional councils this week, he must be royally pissed off his wife arranged him out of the country without chance to return in the foreseeable future. BND will not let him go while they can use him to prevent Merkel moving away from trans-Atlantic binds.

by pelgus on Tue Sep 15th, 2020 at 12:50:55 PM EST
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A Coded Word From the Far Right Roils France's Political Mainstream - NYT
The word "ensauvagement" has been a favorite dog whistle of France's far right in recent years, used to suggest that the nation is turning savage. With its colonial and racist overtones, it has been wielded in discussion of immigration and crime to sound alarms that France is being transformed into a dangerous, uncivilized place, stripped of its traditional values.

"Behind it, there is an underlying imaginary world, with savages on one side and civilized humanity on the other," said Cécile Alduy, a French expert on the political use of language who teaches at Stanford University.

So it did not go unnoticed this week when sitting ministers of President Emmanuel Macron's government started throwing around the word themselves, arguing forcefully that talk of France's "ensauvagement" was legitimate.

"Personally, I use the word ensauvagement and I repeat it," said Gérald Darmanin, the powerful interior minister and head of the national police.

The same Darmanin who is under criminal investigation for alleged rape.

As with many things in France, an unresolved colonial history lies below the surface of the battle over the word ensauvagement.

The word is a direct outgrowth of France's colonial and slave-trading past, a history that the French have yet to come to terms with and that they have often preferred to ignore, said Pascal Blanchard, a historian on French colonialism and its enduring impact on French society.

More than any other imperial power, France justified colonialism by describing it as a "civilizing mission," Mr. Blanchard said.

"The idea of guiding savages out of the darkness into the light was omnipresent in France's discourse," he said. "The idea of the savage is still deeply rooted in French society."

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 12:53:47 PM EST
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Greece goes arms shopping as Turkey tension rises
Despite the deep recession caused by the coronavirus crisis and a rising budget deficit, Athens has decided it's time to act. Fighter jets, frigates, torpedoes and helicopters are all on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' shopping list.

France, which has given Athens political and military backing in its confrontation with Ankara, will be a big beneficiary of the procurement push. A deal between the two countries was on the agenda when Mitsotakis met French President Emmanuel Macron in Corsica ahead of a summit of Mediterranean leaders on Thursday.

But other key allies are also likely to benefit from plans that are expected to raise military spending by some €10 billion over the next 10 years, according to Greek officials. That would amount to an increase of about one third on current levels.

The Greek budget deficit is expected to slide to 5 percent of GDP, as the pandemic has blown large holes in the state budget.

The European Commission has lifted the deficit rules for this year and next to help governments deal with the pandemic. But sooner or later, Greece will face the problem of how to return to surpluses -- as it is required to do according to its bailout exit terms -- and pay back its debts.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 08:55:51 AM EST
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"Sweden's new epidemic: clan-based crime"

"There are at least 40 family-based criminal networks -- or clans -- in Sweden, he confirmed: immigrants who came to the country `solely for the purpose of organising and systematising crime'.
Conflicts between rival criminals last month escalated to a point where gangs took an unparalleled move to establish their dominance. Masked and armed men set up roadblocks, and controlled cars entering certain neighbourhoods in Gothenburg.
At the end of August, two teenage boys were abducted, raped and abused for hours at a cemetery outside Stockholm. When police found them they had been stabbed and buried alive in a pit. Somehow they survived."

by Number 6 on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 11:30:50 AM EST
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Swedish minister of the interior chooses to blame the police for not being active in the poorest areas ...

(Source, Swedish:

by Number 6 on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 11:41:56 AM EST
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Salvini had already announced that his candidate for mayor had won, before the voting had even finished - after all, the candidate was running unopposed. But even though the opposition couldn't agree on a candidate, they could agree on a boycott. The result - they missed the quorum of 50% of all eligible voters voting by 48 votes, and the election is invalid and will have to be repeated. story

Imagine if 50% of all eligible (not just registered) voters were required for elections in the US....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 09:02:40 PM EST
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Wow. This confirms my optimism for the rebirth of the Italian left.

Seriously. will 20 years be enough?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 07:12:23 AM EST
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Finnish PM to stand-in for Swedish colleague at EU Summit
HELSINKI (AP) -- Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven won't take part in a European Union meeting in Brussels starting on Thursday since he is attending his mother's funeral and will be represented by his counterpart from neighboring Finland.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin will represent the Swedish government at the Oct. 1-2 summit where only heads of state and government participate, Lofven told Sweden's TT news agency. Sweden's EU affairs minister Hans Dahlgren also will be present in Brussels, the agency added.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Sep 30th, 2020 at 06:30:09 PM EST
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Paper tiger? EU roars in first rule-of-law report
The EU commission on Wednesday (30 September) published its first overview on the judiciary, media freedoms, corruption and checks and balances in EU member states.
In a statement, Hungary's government claimed the report was "written by organisations forming part of a centrally-financed international network engaged in a coordinated political campaign against Hungary", pointing the finger to the Open Society Foundations linked to US billionaire George Soros.
The rule of law issue has become the major political obstacle to unlock the €1.85 trillion EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund.
archived Sat Nov 23rd, 2019
by Cat on Sat Oct 3rd, 2020 at 08:55:18 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:19:24 PM EST
EU's Barnier says at this stage deal with Britain seems unlikely
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union's chief Brexit negotiator said on Friday that talks with Britain this week often appeared to going backwards rather than forwards and, at this point, it looked unlikely that a deal could be clinched before a year-end deadline.

"At this stage, an agreement between the UK and the European Union seems unlikely," Barnier told a news conference after two full days of negotiations in Brussels.

"On the European side, we are very concerned about the state of play in our negotiations. The clock is ticking."

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 07:46:58 PM EST
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Barnier 'flabbergasted' at UK attempt to reopen Brexit specialty food debate
The UK government has renewed its attempt to reopen the chapter of the Brexit divorce treaty protecting specialty food and drink, such as Parma ham, roquefort cheese and champagne, in a move that left the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, "a little bit flabbergasted".

The British proposal on protected status for food and drink was included in a draft free-trade agreement handed to Barnier by his opposite number, David Frost, last week, according to two EU sources.

But EU officials have ruled out diluting the divorce deal provisions that protect more than 3,000 high-end food and drink products from copycats. "It's just not going to happen," said one official.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 07:49:51 PM EST
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One wonders whether the appointment of Tony Abbott as Trade Advisor (whatever that is) is really about demonstrating a return to Commonwealth principles, wherein politicians, academics, industrialists, civilians, etc. moved freely between England and her colonies. Certainly the Australia of the 1950s was still deeply integrated with the UK.
by asdf on Sun Sep 6th, 2020 at 02:44:24 PM EST
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Remember the Withdrawal Agreement agreed upon by the UK and EU a year ago?

Brexit: UK plans to override parts of EU withdrawal deal

The UK government is planning legislation that will override key parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, British newspaper the Financial Times reported Sunday.

The so-called internal market bill, due to be published Wednesday, is expected to "eliminate the legal force of parts of the withdrawal agreement" in areas relating to state aid and Northern Ireland customs, according to the newspaper.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who was key in negotiating the withdrawal agreement, tweeted that the reported plan "would be very unwise."

The status of the UK's only land border with the EU, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has been one of the most difficult sticking points in negotiations.

Environment Minister George Eustice attempted to downplay the legislation on Monday morning, saying that the UK was committed to the Northern Ireland protocol and that the internal market bill would tidy up some "legal ambiguities."

But EU diplomats said any plan to override part of the divorce agreement would be a "desperate and ultimately self-defeating strategy."

"I remain worried ... the negotiations are difficult, because the British want the best of both worlds," the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told French radio.

This much has been obvious from day one.
by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Sep 7th, 2020 at 08:45:05 AM EST
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Reutersplain UK says it may break the law on Brexit: how so?
"Yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way.

"We are taking the powers to disapply [sic] the EU law concept of direct effect [?!] required by article 4 in a certain, very tightly defined circumstance.

"There are clear precedence for the UK and indeed other countries needing to consider their international obligations as circumstances change."

ahem. Henry VIII clauses Duplicity
To do that, they are planning to pass domestic legislation to hand ministers more powers rather than complying with the EU principle of direct effect [?!].
which does not apply to third-countries
by Cat on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 06:38:19 PM EST
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Your Man in the Public Gallery: the Assange Hearing Day 6

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 05:24:26 PM EST
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Well this is a shocker.  Buried in an article about Brexit is:

Ministers are increasingly nervous that a Scottish breakaway is on the cards (the cabinet was recently briefed that the latest opinion polls show 56% of Scots would vote for independence, and 44% to stay in the UK).

Between Brexit and Covid it is looking more and more like the UK will lose the "U" in the not-so-distant future.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 04:21:52 PM EST
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Why will it lose the "U"? It will simply become the United Kingdom of Southern Britain and Northern Ireland. UKSB for short.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 07:21:05 PM EST
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United Kingdom of Southern England and Wales, you mean?
At this rate, even Northern Ireland may be on its way out before the end of the decade.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 08:44:55 AM EST
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The United Kingdom never mentions Wales, so I stuck to the tradition. "Southern England"? Is some of the north going to go with Scotland? Which parts? Just those parts north of the wall, or more of it?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 08:57:46 AM EST
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I'm not sure that Andrew Marr is an authority on anything, but even so
Writing in The Spectator yesterday, Marr admitted that it's "likely" Scotland will be independent before the end of this UK parliament.

Detailing his recent travels around the UK - which included trips to Fife and Perthshire - Marr says that the difference in attitudes to the pandemic between London and Scotland is "almost tangible".

He says he found people are "much more likely" to wear a mask and be cautious, while they "listen attentively" to the First Minister.

He goes on: "The opinion polls confirm what general conversation suggests: that Scotland is likely to leave the United Kingdom before the end of this parliament.

"The SNP may be having feuds but they are self-confident, vigorous and optimistic. Unionism seems muffled and tired by comparison."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 07:23:42 PM EST
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Seems to me that the "United" part of the name came along when Ireland was added to Great Britain, wherein the Kingdom of Great Britain was made up of England, Wales, and Scotland. So if NI leaves, then the U goes away, or if Scotland leaves then the GB goes away and so the U also goes away.

Since Wales has been part of England since the 1200s, the departuer of NI and Scotland would leave England, period.

by asdf on Sat Sep 12th, 2020 at 04:14:52 PM EST
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"Johnson accused the EU of threatening Britain by saying they could block British exports to Northern Ireland"

archived  Minister of the Crown duties, EU (Withdrawal Agreement Bill Delegated Powers Memorandum, Oct 2019

by Cat on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 07:54:53 PM EST
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Q4 predictions

UK workers slowly move off furlough programme - statistics office
7.5% unemployment

Bank of England looks harder at negative rates in case troubles deepen

ONS "Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme statistics: June 2020"

by Cat on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 05:37:31 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:19:50 PM EST

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 at 06:41:42 PM EST
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USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll: A majority of Americans say cities under SIEGE by protesters
Those who live in rural areas (71%) are more likely to agree with that sentiment than those in urban areas (59%).
Six in 10 Americans say the mainstream media has made the [INSERT BANNER] protests more dangerous, followed by the Black Lives Matter movement at 59% and Trump at 54%. A majority of Americans say antifa (53%), conservative militias (52%) and conservative media (51%) contribute to protests becoming more dangerous.
Incidentally, I listened to 2/5hrs of MD Judicial Procedures Committee ZOOM hearing today on 7 bills purporting to reform, rather than repeal, LEIBoR-sanctioned excessive force. Decades of gruesome testimony from vics, civil rights attys, police unions, municipal pols. Most odd: MD League of Women Voter's rep literally appeared simply to oppose all the bills, because she hadn't had time to read them. btw, the General Assembly adjourned March 16, and Mag-lev Hogan promptly vetoed ~250 bills.
The use of federal officials in U.S. cities was highly controversial, but more than half (56%) of Americans say they believe the government should deploy more police to get protests and unrest under control, according to the Ipsos poll. Fifty-four percent say people should arm themselves to protect private property during protests.
archived "We're probably being treated worse than prisoners right now."
by Cat on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 12:33:04 AM EST
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"decision fatigue"
Is it safe to go to the grocery store? Can my kids have a play date? Will the other child wear a mask? Can I send them back to school? When my boss asks me to come back to the office, should I?

Shayla Bell lies awake at night racking her brain for answers and preparing for another day of unprecedented choices.

"There's all these little, small decisions all the time," said Bell, a suburban Chicago retail professional with two kids. "I find myself being my own devil's advocate so often to try to reach the best conclusion. And I'm tired."
"It's a state of low willpower that results from having invested effort into making choices," said Roy Baumeister, a psychology professor at Florida State University who coined the term in 2010.

simile suicide
Like a mental gas tank, the human brain has a limited capacity of energy, and as you make decisions throughout the day, you deplete that resource. As you become fatigued, you may be inclined to avoid additional decisions, stick to the status quo or base a decision on a single criteria, Baumeister said.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 at 06:47:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Aug 31st, 2020 at 10:47:02 AM EST
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(You're still playing as the contras and shooting antifa though)
by generic on Mon Aug 31st, 2020 at 12:59:11 PM EST
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Bill o' Rights data visualization, 2Q-3Q2020
wikiwtf listicle, 44 BCE-present

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 5th, 2020 at 03:01:22 PM EST
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The reaction by the cops is no different than it ever has been - See Fred Hampton's killing for the crime of Sleeping While Negro.

It's that white America prefers its racism to be more covert and the In-Your-Face videos pulls back the curtains.

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

by ATinNM on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 05:07:15 PM EST
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English law: What is COLOR?

application: "under color of law"

US DOJ governing law: Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime

by Cat on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 10:24:29 PM EST
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"over-qualified" 2011
by Cat on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 06:07:30 PM EST
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Aug 31st, 2020 at 05:07:27 PM EST
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Biden and Trump Unveil Dueling Law-and-Order Ads as Both Eye Swing States
"This is exactly the kind of decision-making that we would see emanating from the White House," said Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, calling the large ad buy an effort to "dissuade" Americans that Mr. Biden isn't a "tool of the radical left."
by Cat on Wed Sep 2nd, 2020 at 06:51:40 PM EST
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Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 12:44:43 PM EST
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Some Democrats warn Trump may use 'red mirage' to prematurely declare victory while absentee ballots are being counted
In a report released Tuesday, Hawkfish, a Democratic-aligned data and technology firm founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, warned of a "red mirage" on election night in which Trump will appear ahead even if he's not. Only as more mail-in ballots are reflected in the count, the group said, "will this red mirage dissipate, and Biden's lead materialize."
DJIA drops 800pts
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 09:05:52 PM EST
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Some Democrats should grow a spine and fight back.

But I've given up any hope of that while the DLC rules the party

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

by ATinNM on Tue Sep 8th, 2020 at 05:09:12 PM EST
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by Cat on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 03:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 at 09:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some quick Googling gives me 13% Black and 1% Muslim, so in per capita terms attacks against muslims was about double in 2001. Plus if one assumes that most of those attacks happened in the last third of the year, the wave of hate crimes in the last four months of 2001 was six times higher risk of getting killed for being (or rather suspected of being) a muslim in the US, then the risk against of getting killed for looking like a descendent of slaves.

Given that the latter risk is far to high, I don't think the numbers shows what he thinks it shows. Isn't he supposed to be good with numbers?

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 09:11:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ICE established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002
by Cat on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 12:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 07:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? With Xi's latest promise for China to reach peak emissions by 2030, and to be carbon-neutral by 2060, shouldn't anybody who wants human beings to survive on the planet support China over the US?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 07:52:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just work here.
by Cat on Tue Sep 29th, 2020 at 01:19:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taco Bell is now selling its own custom wine
"There's tons of cheese on Taco Bell's menu, so a wine to pair with it is a natural next step."
by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 04:14:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump order seeks to ban military, government contractors from some diversity training
The order followed Trump's creation of the 1776 Commission to promote what he calls "patriotic education." He has hammered the theme during political rallies in recent weeks, often drawing cheers from mostly white audiences.

"By viewing every issue through the lens of race, they want to impose a new segregation, and we must not allow that to happen," Trump said at an event in Washington last week. "The crusade against American history is toxic propaganda."

On Sept. 4, the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a memo here that preceded Tuesday's order, saying that federal agencies could no longer use taxpayer dollars to fund "un-American propaganda sessions" that provided instruction about critical race theory, white privilege or that "taught that the United States is an inherently racist or evil" country.

Creepy Uncle Joe's sanctimonious rebuke story developing ...
by Cat on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 02:54:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Crossing the thin line between tax avoidance and tax evasion, BLOOMBERG and Yella Cake set stage of demonstrable "national security threat" posing as debt.

Meanwhile, Who Killed Sears? Fifty Years on the Road to Ruin

by Cat on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 02:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found this in the NYT article (not on the first page...)
Mr. Trump was periodically required to pay a parallel income tax called the alternative minimum tax, created as a tripwire to prevent wealthy people from using huge deductions, including business losses, to entirely wipe out their tax liabilities.

Mr. Trump paid alternative minimum tax in seven years between 2000 and 2017 -- a total of $24.3 million, excluding refunds he received after filing. For 2015, he paid $641,931, his first payment of any federal income tax since 2010.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 07:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 06:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU says US sanctions on ICC 'unacceptable'
The European Union's chief diplomat on Thursday said U.S. moves to sanction top officials with the International Criminal Court (ICC) are "unacceptable" and "unprecedented measures" meant to obstruct the court's official duties.

E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell was responding to moves by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday that put sanctions on the ICC's top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and the court's head of jurisdiction, Phakiso Mochochoko.

"The sanctions announced by the United States administration on 2 September against two Court staff members, including its Prosecutor, are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the Court's investigations and judicial proceedings," Borrell said in a statement.

"The ICC must be able to work independently and impartially, free from outside interference. The United States should reconsider its position and reverse the measures it has taken. Impunity must never be an option," he said.

The Trump administration has targeted ICC officials and those aiding investigations for sanctions and visa restrictions over the court's pursuit of investigations into allegations of American service members committing war crimes in Afghanistan.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 4th, 2020 at 09:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What will EU ever do about this? Too many members are bound by NATO to any idiocy USA deems suitable to pursue.

Almost to the extent that I would say EU and NATO are becoming mutually exclusive. One pretends to be a "defensive" pact while the other pretends to be an economic union when both are actually political alliances with ever so divergent aims.

by pelgus on Sat Sep 5th, 2020 at 10:47:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dozens of Austrians with no US affiliation get coronavirus stimulus checks: report
Several of the recipients were puzzled to get the checks, including pensioner Manfred Barnreiter, 73, who said he believed he was the victim of a scam at first.

"We quietly went to the bank ... where we were told they'll see if it's real," Barnreiter told Austrian public broadcaster ORF. "Three days later, we had the money in our bank account."

Barnreiter, who briefly worked in the U.S. in the 1960s, received the full $1,200, as did his wife. Neither are citizens of the U.S. or live there, which are required to be eligible for the checks.

"People initially thought it's a treacherous form of fraud -- but the checks were real," a spokeswoman for Austria's Oberbank told the Washington Post.

The report comes the month after NPR reported thousands of foreigners who once worked in the U.S. had accidentally received checks. Government officials attributed the error to likely tax return errors.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 08:51:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 09:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least now they are being honest: it's the Harris-Biden team, and it will be the Harris administration (gods forbid).
by Number 6 on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 10:59:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump says a Harris vice presidency is 'no way for a woman' to become president
Widow Harris? Or something more salacious implied? You be the judge. Truman immediately came to my mind, since Joe's resignation isn't really in the tarot cards.

archived Kamala?! on the left

by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 04:29:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More than 35,000 mail-in ballots were rejected in Florida primary
"60 percent of votes cast in the state`s Aug. 18 primary were sent by mail"

archived abridged

by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 01:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

We shall overcome dread "community spread". And the closure of polling stations across the nation.
by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 01:50:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Good work everyone.
by generic on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 12:45:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Especially appreciate everyone in this picture

by generic on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 12:54:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 01:12:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While at Harvard, now-Associate Justice Elena Kagan, then dean of Harvard Law School, recommended him for a clerkship with Justice Anthony Kennedy.[3]
bring on the #MeToo "survivors"
by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 03:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

'Without delay!': Trump urges Republicans to move quickly on Ginsburg replacement
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a vote for Trump's nominee [...] Trump is expected to nominate his pick as soon as the middle of next week, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Twitterverse is planning to expand the tribunal as soon as Joe is elected, because of course ahh if DNC doesn't gain five seats by Dec certification of the absentee ballot election from HELL, with Angus and Bernie in the bag they only need to "flip" three to set the 117th session plan into motion.
by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 03:23:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 03:46:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breyer is 82. Obvious need for mandatory retirement age.
by asdf on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 04:14:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(Did I mention the latest Biden PR? 'If it's close - watch out': Biden says he has 600 lawyers ready to fight election 'chicanery' by Trump + 10,000 voluteers)

by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 04:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would rather say "Damn, Hillary".

It is a lifeline for Trump, to overwhelm all troubles with delivering SCOTUS

by das monde on Sun Sep 20th, 2020 at 07:57:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

to "over-turn" fruits of the poison trees like the Hyde amendment, for example, or Shelby v Alabama?
by Cat on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 09:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That announcement would energize Trump's base, probably
by das monde on Sun Sep 20th, 2020 at 08:02:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tim for republicans to repeat their "Thank you Senator Reid!"
GOP doesn't have 60 votes, but they do have 51!

As you sow, so shall you reap.

by Number 6 on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 11:07:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is actually more complicated than that.
by asdf on Tue Sep 29th, 2020 at 04:36:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The trolling practically writes itself:

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Sep 20th, 2020 at 04:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US reaches 200K coronavirus deaths as Trump praises administration for doing 'phenomenal job' with pandemic
The United States has reached yet another grim milestone Tuesday: 200,000 coronavirus deaths.

The news comes as states grapple with opening restaurants, small businesses, and schools; and cases are peaking in Montana, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data. Social distancing fatigue and continued contention over mask-wearing threaten to compound COVID-19 cases and deaths as the year goes on.

In March, President Donald Trump said keeping the death toll between 100,000 to 200,000 people would have indicated that his administration had "done a very good job." With models predicting that number to be eclipsed by the end of the year, Trump has sought to reshape the significance of the death tally.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 05:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cases are peaking in Montana, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming

jeez, these states are so backward that they aren't over the FIRST wave yet. They're literally behind Africa.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 08:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to define waves now that we have much better data then in the previous epidemics. Czechia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are now increasing (first two in cases, second two in deaths but not cases indicating testing capacity reached) and they all had smallish outbreaks during the spring. First or second wave?

Then we have the increase in all EU countries that were hard hit during the spring (less in Italy and Sweden). More of a case for a second wave, but I doubt it ever went away during the summer.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 09:15:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What we have in Finland is very much a second wave.

From March to May the infections were almost completely located to the capital area (which was isolated from the rest of the country), and a few hot spots in the north.

June-July daily cases dropped between zero and ten, but now we're back to the March numbers, mostly in the central Finland.

Incidence rate has doubled between the last 14 days and the 14 days before that.

by pelgus on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 02:26:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden has an increase in cases with case numbers larger then March. However, testing capacity was expanded in June, so it becomes an apple to oranges situation. The increase in cases now is driven by Stockholm, and Stockholm was hardest hit with half the COVID-deaths during spring.

Something that complicates the picture is that ICU-admittances are as low as during the summer. They should lag about 14 days, so the increase in cases that has been going on this last month, should by now register there.

It is possible that there is an increase in spread among younger people who gets less severly ill, and therefore doesn't end up in the ICU. It is also possible that it isn't spread that is increasing but testing. If you get the sniffles during vacation maybe you don't test, but now work may insist you see a doctor in order to get you back quicker. I think the second may be a factor, but less likely as then it should have increased to a new higher level and stopped there.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 02:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point about the testing, although here the testing reached a peak last month. For some reason we're doing less testing now, even if the cases are going up, using only about half the capacity.

Anyway, positive rate of samples tripled from week 35 to week 38, while weekly testing dropped by 10k, so here testing doesn't explain the rise in infections.

Number of ICU patients is somewhat higher than in the summer, but mainly because it was between zero and two back then. Now it's up to 4, so basically still negligible, and definitely nowhere near the peak in early April. The prediction for this weeks total is 3-11 ICU cases, so we're still on the lower boundary.

At the moment quite many employers here allow five days of sick leave without seeing a doctor to. Both keep people coming to work if having any symptoms and also for less burden on the health care system. So there's really no pressure here by employers for people to get tested.

They give age groups only for mortality statistics so it's really hard to tell, but I'd also guess that it's the younger cohorts riding this wave, or what you want to call it. That would explain why the hospitalizations are not following the infections.

Today they announced a recommendation in Southern Finland to wear masks in any closed public place - previously it was only for public transport. Similar recommendations are expected for tomorrow in other parts of the country.

by pelgus on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 03:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the moment quite many employers here allow five days of sick leave without seeing a doctor to. Both keep people coming to work if having any symptoms and also for less burden on the health care system. So there's really no pressure here by employers for people to get tested.

We had 7 days until seeing a doctor until the pandemic, now it is 14 days. And we used to have a "karensdag" without pay, at the start of a sick leave, that "karensdag" is now gone. And we used to have a sharing of sick leave costs between employer and government, which the government has now taken over. So 80% pay, from the first day, without a doctors note for two weeks, government picking up the tab.

But we also have a general recomendation to stay home at first sign of a cold, until either 48 hours has passed since last symtoms or symtoms are gone and you have tested negativ for COVID. And that is where employers (and now schools and/or parents to kids from ten years and up) pushes for testing so they can get people back to work without the extra 48 hours quarantine.

Since testing was expanded so much at the end of the outbreak during the spring, testing is now not much of a strain on the system. During March, April and May testing was reserved for patients where it was medically relevant, and employees in health care and nursing homes.

by fjallstrom on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 12:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we do catch infections a bit earlier than the last time around? That would explain the bigger lag between infections at least.

Here in Austria we seem to have achieved a full second wave before the summer is even over. The state broadcaster has a neat summery page. There is no positive rate, but you can estimate from the other curves and it is not much lower than the first time around. So the real number of cases should be comparable. Indoor dining is still open unless that changed in the last few days. Seems the anti-viral properties of a cash register were overstated. The schools also just opened a few weeks ago, so that's going to be fun. Communication has also been less than optimal. When the first wave ended and we declared victory on Covid the government went into confidence building mode, so they got rid of the masks and introduced one of those terror color code systems for each district. Supposedly to signal that there won't be a national lockdown again. Now we are back to masks in most settings again, but compliance doesn't seem to be all that great. When I lived in Japan I was always annoyed at the constant how to do things right announcements in public transportation, but I'm slowly coming around on that. Maybe a how to wear a mask for idiots campaign would have helped. It is also slowly dawning on our great leaders that face shields do literally nothing, but the rules don't reflect that. The school my mother teaches in for her, I think, last year before retirement has everyone wear one. I guess it's more comfortable and still feels like you're doing something. Absolutely thrilled about the whole situation.

by generic on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 02:02:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a how to wear a mask for idiots campaign would have helped.

Maybe something like this:

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 07:12:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Case of Herd Immunity 2.0

It's the economy stupid ... virologists and epidemiologist are out!

Rutte in sync with Johnson, Belgium following suit

Belgian coronavirus experts go on `silent strike' against relaxed rules

Recently the virologists were thrown out of the "expert" panel advising the government.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 07:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Europe in general, people took holidays within their own country over the summer, relieved to be out of the house and out of lockdown, saw lots of people, and partied... with varying levels of precautions. I know I did.

And guess what... second wave. My wife got a mild case (classic symptoms, but never had a positive test). We know who she got it from. My most recent up-the-nose test was "negative, but doubtful" -- only part of the gene patterns tested for were present -- which according to doctors I know, means I had an asymtomatic case, and am no longer infectious, but presumably immune, for the moment.

But indeed, there is much more testing. And hospitalisation and death rates are much lower than in the spring... But I think we're still a long way from herd immunity.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 03:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This winter is going to be awful.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 11:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's for sure. Coronavirus, a respiratory infection, has not been demonstrated through a winter season--at least not in the northern hemisphere. Plenty of people are already primed with stressed lungs due to wildfires. There will be the usual influenza season. Plus COVID-19. Plus influenza and COVID-19 at the same time. Plus influenza and "recovered" COVID-19. Plus schools struggling to keep their financial heads above water by continuing to press for in-person teaching. Plus companies facing bankruptcy and pressing their employees to take chances. Plus the "revoke and replace" approach to health care. Plus side effects from hurricanes.

One supposes that Brexit won't have a huge impact on the US, at least. Maybe.

by asdf on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 01:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As many people have noted in various forms over the years, the US and UK have been in a race since the 1970s to see who can devolve back into a feudal society the fastest.

George Floyd was killed 3 miles from my house in Minneapolis, and I was out in the bay area for work for most of this August and September, so I got to go through a period of about a month of not seeing the sun or sky. I'm surprised I'm not doing worse than I am, actually. While living through it sucks, I'm helped by a) knowing how good things still are, and b) literally nothing happening today politically or environmentally is surprising (in broad strokes) going back to my initial interest in politics / current events in the late 90s. And smart folks have been predicting the current day since the dust settled after WW2.

As for COVID, I'm glad they've at least figured out decent treatments since March, as the flu season tends to load up the hospitals real good on its own.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Sep 25th, 2020 at 11:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope rejects US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting
The Vatican has denied US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo an audience with Pope Francis.
The Holy See said the Pontiff does not receive politicians during an election period.
The move adds to a diplomatic row following comments by Mr Pompeo about China and the Catholic Church.
The Vatican accused Mr Pompeo of trying to use that issue to attract voters in November's US presidential election.
In an article earlier this month, Mr Pompeo said the Catholic Church was risking its "moral authority" by renewing an agreement with China regarding the appointment of bishops.
Donald Trump receives support from conservative religious movements, including conservative Catholic voters, some of whom think Pope Francis is too liberal.
by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Oct 1st, 2020 at 04:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 07:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only assume that this is the zoomer way of wishing him well.
by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 07:18:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Amharic by way of Google translate:

When the power of a thousand demons invests in your body, your lungs are cut off, your sins are unforgivable, and the plague knows your deepest dark secrets. Dark nights are upon us.

Coming from the place that harbours ancient artifacts well known to melt faces.

by fjallstrom on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 09:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 03:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope the bastard dies from convulsions due to his endothelium cells leaking blood into his brain.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 03:46:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no doubt in my mind that they'll bring him back as one of the Good Ones™ when we have to vote out president Carlson. If he doesn't croak.
by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 05:08:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, especially if he croaks.
by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 05:11:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 07:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a peep out of the FLOTUS for more than a week
by asdf on Mon Oct 12th, 2020 at 09:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Fri Oct 2nd, 2020 at 05:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Tue Oct 6th, 2020 at 10:57:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:20:10 PM EST
Shinzo Abe: Japan's PM resigns for health reasons>
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has announced his resignation for health reasons.

He said he did not want his illness to get in the way of decision making, and apologised to the Japanese people for failing to complete his term in office.

The 65 year old has suffered for many years from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, but he said his condition had worsened recently.

Last year, he became Japan's longest serving prime minister. His current period in office began in 2012.

In 2007 he resigned abruptly from an earlier term as prime minister because of his struggles with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that he has lived with since he was a teenager.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 09:15:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ex-defence minister Ishiba is people's choice for next Japan PM: polls, Aug 30
Japan does not elect its leader by direct popular vote. Under the country's parliamentary political system, lawmakers elect a prime minister who is usually the leader of the ruling party.
A Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll showed Ishiba with 28% support, followed by current Defence Minister Taro Kono with 15%. Suga came in fourth place with 11%, the poll showed.
Japan stocks rise on U.S. data, easing concerns about new prime minister, Sep 1
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emerged as the leading candidate to replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a [LPD] election expected this month. [Sep 14]
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 01:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Wed Sep 16th, 2020 at 03:41:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 08:53:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gender parity in Japan has still some way to go.
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 09:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 03:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali junta frees ousted president Keita ahead of regional summit
BAMAKO (Reuters) - Coup leaders in Mali have released President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and he has returned home, his representative said on Thursday, a potential sign of good faith a day ahead of a regional summit on the country's political future.

A group of military officers has controlled Mali since Aug. 18, when they detained Keita at gunpoint and forced him to resign in a takeover foreign powers fear could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine a fight against Islamist militants in the wider Sahel region.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 07:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
India's police 'complicit' in anti-Muslim riots, alleges Amnesty
Police in Delhi were "complicit and an active participant" in the February violence in which 53 people, mostly Muslims, were killed, according to an investigation by Amnesty International India.

"The Delhi police personnel were complicit and an active participant in the violence that took place in Delhi in February 2020, yet in the last six months not a single investigation has been opened into the human rights violations committed by the Delhi police," the rights group said in a statement on Friday.

Amnesty said it spoke to riot survivors, witnesses, human rights activists and retired police officers and analysed several user-generated videos for the investigation that reveals a "disturbing pattern of grave human rights violations committed by the Delhi police during the riots".

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Aug 28th, 2020 at 07:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Sep 2nd, 2020 at 06:33:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 06:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That''s unfair. I got the impression that nobody actually believed Pravda, while lots of people actually believe these American propaganda rags.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 06:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, nowadays many Russians are joking that Pravda actually told the truth about West, but unfortunately nobody believed.

Pravda still exists, btw, and is vehemently against the "criminal-oligarchic" regime, even more so than the notorious Mr. Navalnyi.

It's the main opposition party organ, but that party being Communists, having a program of "social justice, support for working class, young families, children, students and pensioners" it's not as popular in Western media as certain anti-corruption blogger.

by pelgus on Wed Sep 9th, 2020 at 10:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Venezuela: UN accuses Maduro government of crimes against humanity"
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/16/venezuela-un-report-crimes-against-humanity-maduro-gov ernment
by Number 6 on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 11:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems like Venezuela might employ a professional police force. Troubling.
by generic on Thu Sep 17th, 2020 at 01:13:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Three women, two men pass round one of WTO leadership race
de-gendered translation: KE, KR, SA, UK, NG
by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 02:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Australia fails to protect its heritage
MELBOURNE -- The land now known as Australia is an invaded, colonized place. When the invaders arrived, they settled on the basis of the legal fiction of terra nullius, or land belonging to no one, despite the existence of more than 500 clans or nations of Traditional Owner groups.

Digging up this land is the cornerstone of Australia's modern economy. The rocks we've sold to China have seen us avoid recession for 29 years. And while our run of economic growth has ended, we're ever more dependent on blowing up, digging out and putting our land on ships to make steel for buildings in faraway places.

Australia's determination to ignore its Indigenous people and their heritage in favor of economic exploitation was made evident in May, when news broke that mining giant Rio Tinto had deliberately destroyed the Juukan Gorge Caves, a cultural site of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Traditional Owner (PKKP) people of Western Australia.

And yet, on Australia's National Sorry Day -- which remembers the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities -- Rio Tinto went ahead with its plans.

Because of the weak protections offered by the outdated Aboriginal Heritage Act of 1972 (WA), Rio Tinto's destruction of the site was, in fact, lawful.

by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 06:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A people who have historically killed a third of their own children, and who do not have a written language after 40000 years - is this something to celebrate?

Good riddance.

"Dinosaurs had their shot and Nature selected them for extinction!"

Next up: Europe!

by Number 6 on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 11:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the British Empire write this?
by generic on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 11:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am the British Empire, and I endorse this post.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 01:27:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 04:31:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How surprising...

`Artificial coronavirus' study linked to Steve Bannon and Chinese fugitive Guo Wengui - SCMP

A foundation associated with fugitive Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is linked to a non-peer-reviewed study that alleges the coronavirus
is an artificial pathogen.

The Rule of Law Foundation's name appears on the title page of the paper published on the Zenodo open-access research repository on Monday.

In the paper's abstract, the researchers said the theory of a natural origin of the coronavirus "although widely accepted, lacks substantial support".

"The alternative theory that the virus may have come from a research laboratory is, however, strictly censored on peer-reviewed scientific journals," it said.

The study's first author is Yan Limeng
, a former University of Hong Kong postdoctoral researcher who alleged in July that HKU silenced her when she claimed to have discovered early in the outbreak that the coronavirus could be transmitted between people.

Yan made the allegations on Fox News and claimed she made the discovery three weeks before the Chinese government confirmed human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus on January 20.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Sep 19th, 2020 at 06:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guessing this won't make it to mainstream media.


SleepyJoe and Pelosi should take it on the road:

  • Say Good Night, Nancy!
  • Good morning, Sunday morning!

(Starting to feel like everyone up for office is right out of the geriatric mob in Ghost Dog.)
by Number 6 on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 07:59:23 AM EST
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(Darn, was going to have hyphens but it was changed into bullets. I feel like Joe without a teleprompter!)
by Number 6 on Wed Sep 23rd, 2020 at 08:00:30 AM EST
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With the victory of the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) in the Bolivian elections on October 18, the de facto coup government presided over by Jeanine Áñez, has requested visas from the United States for its officials according to a US-based network.

NBC news network journalist Tom Brokaw reported Thursday on a letter from Jeanine Áñez, in which he has requested 350 visas from the U.S. government for officials of his de facto coup government.

The report, cited by the communication platform Resumen Latinoamericano, indicates that the reason behind the request is the concern that the Bolivian de facto government has about being prosecuted by the government of President-elect Luis Arce Catacora.

Presumably they can count on the US ignoring their extradition treaty.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Oct 29th, 2020 at 09:03:32 AM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:20:30 PM EST
Mauritius says almost all oil removed from damaged Japanese ship
Nearly all the oil from a damaged Japanese ship that caused a spill off the coast of Mauritius has now been removed, the country's Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said on Wednesday.

The prime minister's office also said that everything in the ship's fuel tanks had been removed but there was still residue in parts of the ship.

Jugnauth said Mauritius will seek compensation from the ship's owner, Nagashiki Shipping, for the environmental damage it has caused.

MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier, has been stranded on a coral reef off the nation's coast for over two weeks now.

The vessel ran aground on July 25 and has since leaked an estimated 1,000 tonnes of oil into coral reefs, mangrove forests and protected wetlands.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 06:20:34 PM EST
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The latest:

Ship leaking tonnes of oil off Mauritius splits apart

A grounded Japanese-owned ship that leaked tonnes of oil near protected areas off the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius has split apart, with remaining fuel spreading into the turquoise waters.

The bulk carrier struck a coral reef off Mauritius on July 25 and its hull began to crack after days of pounding waves. Some 1,000 tonnes of fuel began to leak on August 6, threatening a protected marine park boasting mangrove forests and endangered species.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 08:39:15 PM EST
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'Heartwrenching': at least 40 dolphins dead near Mauritius oil spill, Aug 28

Thousands march in Mauritius over dead dolphins, oil spill, Aug 29
"Another protest is planned on Sept. 12 in Mahebourg, one of the most affected coastal villages, Cassimally said."

Two Mauritians killed in accident near site of Japanese ship oil spill, Sep 1

by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 12:56:01 PM EST
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Japan sending team to PROBE Mauritius ship grounding, depth of corp liability
"The captain and another member of the crew have been arrested by Mauritius police."
by Cat on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 03:16:55 PM EST
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The Japanese government said in a statement that it would send a team of five people to Mauritius on Sept. 20.

The kicker:
Japan previously told Mauritius it would offer support on an "unprecedented scale."
Now, that's some scale...
by Bernard (bernard) on Fri Sep 18th, 2020 at 06:13:40 PM EST
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by generic on Sun Aug 30th, 2020 at 06:00:23 PM EST
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California is afire again.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 12:57:43 PM EST
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The data is updated each Tuesday and released on Thursday. This map shows the drought conditions on September 08, 2020, unexpectedly. The U.S. Drought Monitor started in 2000. Since 2000, the longest duration of drought (D1-D4) in California lasted 376 weeks beginning on December 27, 2011 and ending on March 5th, 2019 [?!]. The most intense period of drought occurred the week of July 29, 2014 where D4 affected 58.41% of California land.

by Cat on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 09:54:09 PM EST
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Blaze breaks out again on supertanker off Sri Lanka, cargo area intact
chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) [...] The ship sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was headed for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 02:31:46 PM EST
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Massive smoke clouds from wildfires darken West Coast sky
The smoke blocked out so much sunlight that a forecast for temperatures to climb to 90 degrees (32 Celsius) instead dipped to the 60s (15.5 Celsius) as though "we're in perpetual morning without the sun to help us warm up," said Drew Peterson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Bay Area office.

Some of the smoke settled in San Francisco Bay and formed a 15-mile (24-kilometer) trail of ash along the tidal line, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Borrmann said the conditions were expected to linger until Friday. By then, the district expects to issue its 25th consecutive Spare The Air alert requiring residents to cut pollution -- the longest stretch since the program began in 1991. The alerts began Aug. 18 after thousands of lightning strikes ignited three massive wildfires to the north, south and east of San Francisco.

The previous streak was 14 days of alerts in 2018 when the Bay Area was choked by smoke from a fire that devastated the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

This time, strong winds from the north and northeast pushed smoke from devastating wildfires in the Sierra Nevada foothills and in Oregon and Washington state into lower elevations. A fire that exploded in size Tuesday and prompted evacuation orders for some 20,000 people in Oroville sent the air quality index in Sacramento to a hazardous reading at one point.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Sep 10th, 2020 at 12:34:53 PM EST
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by das monde on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 10:05:06 AM EST
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by Cat on Fri Sep 11th, 2020 at 04:19:46 PM EST
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A claim that can now be seen to be utterly and completely wrong. Sweden, which did not lock down, has had a death rate of 0.0058 percent.

Of total population (about 10 million), yes. Of infected, no.

According to anti-body studies about 6% of the Swedish population has had Covid. As of today 5863 died from it. So about 1% of infected died.

And, as I have pointed out before, while Sweden did not have a lock down, the actions taken meant that spread peaked in mid March (and deaths in late April), and then declined which is why only 6% has been infected. It didn't decline as fast as countries with lockdown.

This is what happens when people think "no lockdown = no effective measures".

by fjallstrom on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 09:25:32 AM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:20:47 PM EST
Marge Simpson Responds to Trump Adviser's Kamala Harris Jab: `I Teach My Children Not to Name-Call'
Marge Simpson responded to a tweet uploaded by a senior advisor to president Donald Trump in which she mocks vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, comparing her voice that of "The Simpsons" character.

In a video uploaded to Twitter, Marge (voiced by Julie Kavner) said that she feels disrespected by Jenna Ellis' comment, which she interpreted as an insult to both herself and to Harris.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 06:24:34 PM EST
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ByteDance picks Oracle as partner to try to save TikTok U.S.: sources
Under ByteDance's latest proposal, Oracle would be the firm's technology partner and assume management of TikTok's U.S. user data, sources told Reuters on Sunday. Oracle is also negotiating taking a stake in TikTok's U.S. operations, they said.

The data is currently stored in Alphabet Inc's ["]cloud["].

by Cat on Mon Sep 14th, 2020 at 02:48:07 PM EST
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Why neoliberalism can end in autocratic, populist and incompetent plutocracy  - Mainly Macro
There is a more basic reason for describing the UK and US as plutocracies, and that is by analysing how we got here. The place to start is neoliberalism. Neoliberalism eulogizes the market. In the past I've characterised the ideology as what you might believe if you did Econ 101 (a first year course) and skipped some of the lectures on market imperfections. However an ideal market for any economist involves competition, and as any student doing Econ 101 would know, any form of imperfect competition takes you away from that ideal. However neoliberalism in practice has become increasingly relaxed about monopoly power. Colin Crouch distinguishes between what he calls market-neoliberals and monopoly-neoliberals.

Neoliberalism's success owes a great deal to it being a very attractive ideology for the wealthy, and that in turn helps explain why it has been increasingly relaxed about monopoly. Wealthy funders of think tanks that promote neoliberalism, like the IEA in the UK, will not look kindly on the think tank suggesting their monopoly should be broken up. This is an illustration of how neoliberalism has increasingly adapted as an ideology to serve the interests of wealthy individuals. It is no accident that under neoliberalism the relative incomes of the 1% and 0.1% have taken off, which greatly increases both the ability and incentive for the wealthly to meddle in politics.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Sep 22nd, 2020 at 06:27:54 PM EST
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Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on multiple occasions brought with them from Israel suitcases of clothes to be laundered and dry cleaned while staying at the White House guesthouse, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 24th, 2020 at 04:28:27 PM EST
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in case it becomes the permanent high plateau of our times.
by generic on Mon Sep 28th, 2020 at 04:09:45 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:21:02 PM EST
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 01:54:19 PM EST
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famous last words?
by Cat on Thu Sep 3rd, 2020 at 01:58:10 PM EST
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Now we know why we speak of 20:20 vision, and 20:20 hindsight. We thought it was an ophthalmologist's crazy numbering system. In fact, it was a warning from a time traveller.
The Illuminaties have a sense of humor
by das monde on Sun Sep 6th, 2020 at 12:05:40 PM EST
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by Bernard (bernard) on Sat Aug 15th, 2020 at 05:21:21 PM EST
Boris Johnson has clashed with Brussels over an 11th-hour attempt to save British passport holders from hours of delays at European airports from the end of the year.

The government is seeking continued use by UK nationals of the automatic e-gates used by EU nationals at airports and Eurostar terminals. The move is seen by the European commission as an attempt to keep Britons in faster lanes rather than having to queue up with the rest of the world after the end of the transition period.

Studies suggest the loss of access to automatic gates and the need for extra passport checks could delay Britons by an extra hour as they move through some European airports. The issue has been raised in the ongoing trade and security negotiations, and the government has made contact with a number of member states in an attempt to retain access to the e-gates.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 23rd, 2020 at 04:05:03 PM EST

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