Society's Child


Is it worth it? Sanctions against Russia affect quarter of German exporters

EU US flag collage
© Jamdesign
United States and European Union sanctions against Russia, introduced in several stages over the past few months, affected a quarter of German companies working abroad, deputy head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) Volker Treier said, in an interview to Rheinische Post.

"These [sanctions] affected about a quarter of German companies conducting activities abroad," Treier stated, as quoted by Rheinische Post.

The most affected are the companies that have business interactions with both Russia and the United States, since their activities now have to undergo numerous checks because of the sanctions, he added.

"Business contacts of German companies conducting activities in Russia and the United States. They have to go through checks to determine whether they comply with various sanctions of the United States and European Union," Treier said.

The United States and the European Union have already imposed packages of targeted sanctions against dozens of Russian officials and companies in response to the country's reunification with Crimea and Moscow's position toward the situation in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is counterproductive to all parties and could have a boomerang effect on European economies.

Finally! International experts arrive in Donetsk to investigate MH17 crash

© Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev
Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and members of a forensic team inspect a refrigerator wagon, containing the remains of victims from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, at a railway station in the eastern Ukrainian town of Torez July 21, 2014.
The first international investigators have arrived in eastern Ukraine to assess the aftermath of the Malaysian plane crash. The Dutch forensic experts have seen the train carrying the remains of the victims and will view the crash site later on Monday.

Three members of the Dutch Disaster Victims Identification team visited the city of Torez where some of the bodies of those that died in the Malaysian plane crash have been loaded on to a refrigerated train. The destination of the train, which is being guarded by rebel fighters from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, remains unknown.

So far 272 out of 298 bodies have been recovered at the site of the Malaysian Boeing crash, 251 are currently in refrigerated train cars at Torez Station.

The head of the Dutch team, Peter van Vliet, inspected the bodies that were being stored in rail cars.

"The storage of the bodies is of good quality," van Vliet told Reuters, as his team went through the train carriages in masks and rubber gloves checking the bodies. He added that they had been told the bodies would be taken to a place where they would be identified and repatriated.

The team will visit the crash site later on Monday in an attempt to discern the possible causes behind the tragedy.


Death of adopted Russian boy in Italy sparks outrage

© Wikicommons
Children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov.
The alleged killing of a five-year-old Russian boy by his adoptive Italian father has been met in Russia with mourning and calls for adoption reform, feeding an ongoing movement to keep orphans out of foreign hands.

Maxim Maravalle, last name Kichigin by birth, died on the night of July 17 in Pescara, Italy, according to a statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website. Several Russian media sources have reported that he was strangled.

"The crime was committed by the boy's adopted father - Massimo Maravalle, who was arrested by the police. Pescara's Prosecutor General has opened a criminal case against [him]," the statement said, citing information from the Italian government.

Edward Snowden: Calling all hackers

Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview at an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow, Russia.
Edward Snowden made an impassioned call on Saturday for hackers and technologists to help would-be whistleblowers spill more government secrets.

Speaking via remote Google Hangouts video feed from Russia, Snowden addressed his comments to an audience at this weekend's Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York.

Bolivia lowers legal working age for children to 10

© Reuters / David Mercado
A boy working as a shoe shiner in La Paz
A law, legally allowing children to work from as early as the age of ten, has been signed in Bolivia this week, making the Latin American country the first nation to legalize child labor. International organizations say it contravenes UN conventions.

The legislation was approved by the Congress earlier this month, with Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera signing it into law on Thursday. The signature - which didn't come from President Evo Morales due to his absence from the country - officially lowers the age that children can legally work from 14 to 10.

Under the new legislation, children above the age of 10 will be allowed to become self-employed workers as long as they attend school and have permission from their parents. Those over 12 years old will be permitted to take on contract work, also on terms of parental consent and compulsory school attendance.

Comment: Child labor is actually pervasive in developing countries, thanks to economic imperialism aka globalization practiced by the US. Rather than condemning the legislation, perhaps we should look at facts on the ground and ask what makes it necessary in the first place because such a situation is fast becoming a reality in Western countries.


Fake breaking news: Hacked WSJ page 'downs' US president's plane in Russia

Air Force One
© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
Hackers broke into the Wall Street Journal's Facebook page to claim that Air Force One possibly crashed over the Russian airspace rattling users' nerves.

While the world is still recovering from the shock of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, a message on WSJ's Facebook page posted on Sunday morning came as yet even a worse stress for a few readers.

The fake "breaking news" report suggested that the American president's plane went down in Russia.

"US Air Force One crash feared as air traffic controller loses contact with pilot over Russian air space," read one of the posts on WSJ's page.
Light Saber

11,000 take to the streets of Vienna in Gaza protest

© Reuters/Leonhard Foeger
Pro-Palestinian protesters shout slogans and hold flags during a demonstration against Israel's military action in the Gaza strip, in Vienna July 20, 2014.
Almost 11,000 demonstrators have attended a pro-Palestinian protest in the Austrian capital Sunday between the Hofburg Palace and the Rathaus town hall, in anger at Israel's military campaign which has killed more than 400 people already.

'Free, free, free Palestine' and 'Let Gaza Live', the protesters changed while wielding a variety of posters and flags.

"We are not against the Jewish people. the Jewish people should feel free and live free like everybody. We are against the Zionists, actually, who are supported from this big, big mafia and lobby around the world," Abderrahmen Laarouchi told Ruptly.

The protesters made their way to the historic Hofburg Palace, which is now the official residence of the country's president. The demonstrators were playing drums and some were carrying bloody sheets wrapped like a dead body or dolls, signs saying "Made in Israel".
Wake up World!!! #GlobalSolidarityWithGaza in #Vienna#Austria#gaza#Palestine [email protected]
- Solidarity Gaza (@GazaGlobal) July 17, 2014

Pro-Palestinian rally in London: 15,000 people gather for march

© AFP/Carl Count
Protesters display placards and banners as they take part in demonstration against Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in central London on July 19, 2014 against Gaza strikes.
London streets were swarmed by a pro-Palestinian demonstration which gathered nearly 15,000 participants Saturday. Marching down to the Israeli Embassy from Downing Street, they chanted "Israel is a terror state," slamming Tel Aviv's offensive in Gaza.

David Cameron's office is located about 5km (3 miles) from the embassy. While the march itself was peaceful, several key roads downtown were closed.

The death toll from the operation launched by Israel, including the ground offensive of two days ago, has now reached 400 people by Palestinian health ministry's accounts, the overwhelming majority of them civilians.

Similar to other major cities across the world, demonstrators held signs and banners asking the Jewish State to "Stop the bombing, free Palestine", "Stop Israeli terror," and so on. Some called it the "apartheid" state, according to the AP.
© AFP/Carl Count
Protesters display placards and banners as they take part in demonstration against Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in central London on July 19, 2014 against Gaza strikes.
Alarm Clock

Intl experts late; Donetsk militia puts MH17 bodies on refrigerated train

donetsk train
© AP
The bodies of 196 MH17 crash victims have been placed inside refrigerated train carriages, according to the leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, who also wonders why international experts are still not at the crash scene.

At least three refrigerated train carriages with bodies of those killed in the MH17 plane crash have departed from the town of Torez, near the site of the crash, to the town of Ilovaysk and are on their way to Donetsk.

Alternative reports suggest the train is still in Torez and the decision on where it will go depends on what authorities in Kiev say.

"So far, I do not know where they plan to take them," Sergey Kavtaradze, an official representative of the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) told the Russian News Service.

The carriages at the Torez station were reportedly examined by the OSCE observers, who said there were 196 bodies inside.

That has not been confirmed by Alexander Hug, deputy chief monitor of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, who said his team had actually seen body bags in the train carriages but were unable to count them, Reuters reports.

The bodies were lying in the heat for several days and have begun to decompose. By now special equipment is needed to deal with them.

Comment: The militia and residents were explicitly told not to move the bodies, even if they had fallen into their homes. It's good to see the militia has taken some initiative in this regard.

Comment: You can watch Boroday's press conference here (click CC for English captions):

Cloud Lightning

Petition aims to relocate abused polar bear to Canada

Arturo, the only polar bear in Argentina, living in captivity at a zoo in Mendoza
More than 450,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a heart-broken polar bear living in squalid conditions in Argentina to be transferred to Canada.

Supporters of the online appeal are well on their way to hitting the 500,000 benchmark, having nearly doubled the number of signatures in the last 24 hours.

Often dubbed 'the world's saddest animal,' Arturo lives in a cramped cage with little room to walk in Argentina's Mendoza Zoo. Temperatures sometimes hit 104F (40C), and the 29-year-old polar bear, clearly not designed for such a climate, only has a 20-inch-deep pool to keep him cool.

To make matters worse, Arturo's long-time friend Pelusa died two years ago. Animal rights campaigners say Arturo has exhibited signs of depression since the death, fearing the abnormal behavior mirrors that of 'Pelusa the Purple Polar Bear' before she passed away.

Comment: Related...

Zoos drive animals crazy

Barbarians! Shameful! Marius the giraffe killed and dissected at Copenhagen zoo despite worldwide protests