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Wed, 19 Feb 2020
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Russia & EU on path to cut out the dollar by boosting settlements in national currencies

© Getty Images / Eskay Lim 53
With the number of non-dollar deals rising, Moscow and Brussels are discussing ways to boost the volume of settlements in euros or rubles, says Russia's envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov.

The talks about the switch-over come as the greenback still remains a "powerful weapon" of the US, the permanent representative to the EU said in an interview with Sputnik. Sanctions are another tool for Washington, as foreign companies dependent on the American market have to stop dealing with firms, as well as whole countries, that the US targets.

"We have dialogue [about switching to rubles and euro in settlements], and the share of settlements in euros is gradually growing," Chizhov said.


Forget about balance? BBC now a climate activist saying it's a 'privilege' to have 'global icon' Greta Thunberg front new series

© Getty Images / Laura Lezza
In a bid to peddle its new series on climate change to a wider audience, BBC drops all pretenses of impartiality, as they announce Greta Thunberg will front the latest effort to sell their overtly political environmental message.

With the turmoil surrounding the BBC right now, warring talent arguing over their salaries, the hunt for a new Director General and the bound-to-get-uglier row over the tv licence fee, excitedly announcing a new climate change documentary all about Swedish teen Greta Thunberg shows a palpable lack of feel for the public mood.

But she is exactly the sort of poster child the BBC is looking for, as it turns to climate activism in a bid to boost its audience figures.

The national broadcaster is very much a self-appointed custodian of all things climate. Look at their What is Climate Change website and you will see plenty of broad facts about changes in the environment, but nothing to suggest that environmental change is largely part of the wondrous cycle of nature and not entirely the fault of man. That is where the BBC case lies.

Mr. Potato

'Nothing is truly Scandinavian' top Nordic airline SAS declares in ad — what could go wrong with that?

(left) 2 girls (right) boy

Screenshots from the SAS ad. Left: ‘There is no such thing’ as truly Sandinavian. Right: We are no better ‘than out Viking ancestors’.
SAS, the leading airline of Denmark, Norway and Sweden had to quietly remove a video commercial, which declared entire Scandinavian culture borrowed and featured a black guy saying he is no better than his 'Viking ancestors. '

Hijacking a hot button social topic to generate some good publicity is a tricky task. Just ask Gillette with their last year take on 'toxic masculinity,' or Pepsi equating drinking its soda with fighting for justice in street protests a few years ago. Scandinavian Airlilnes, or SAS, had its own tone deaf disaster of a commercial pulled after public outcry.

The ad published on Monday starts with a punchline that nothing is "truly Scandinavian" before going down the list of things that people in Denmark, Norway and Sweden take pride of — wind power plants, popularity of bicycles, parental care rights and democracy — and declares them "copied."

"It gets worse. Rumor has it that the oh-so-sweet Swedish meatballs might not be as Swedish as you think, but Turkish," the video goes on.


'Get lost, traitor!' Protests and fights erupt as Guaido arrives at Venezuelan airport, gets booed and doused with water

protests against Guaido
Chaos broke out at an airport in Venezuela's capital Caracas, when Juan Guaido, who was declared interim president by the opposition, returned from an overseas trip.

On Tuesday, Guaido arrived at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas after completing a support-seeking tour abroad, during which he attended US President Donald Trump's annual State of the Union Address in Washington.

The tensions first erupted when the politician was passing immigration control. As he was talking to an immigration officer, Guaido was suddenly confronted by an angry woman who accused him of "selling out the country." She was wearing a bright red T-shirt, often sported by the supporters of Guaido's chief opponent, President Nicolas Maduro.

Comment: Guaido, is a clown, a US stooge, and a thug. It is to the credit of the majority of Venezuelans that they can see through his act:


Suspected terrorists & war criminals that Sweden cannot deport are given job permits & passports, warns migration chief

© REUTERS / Johan Nilsson / TT
A police officer escorts migrants in Sweden.
Sweden's top migration official has warned the country is a 'safe haven for war criminals and potential terrorists,' as it gives passports and benefits to suspected dangerous criminals, shielded from deportation by legislation.

The northern European country is remarkably welcoming to foreigners seeking refuge, but Sweden can reject an application on security grounds. The Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) has the authority to deport a person it deems to be a threat due to suspected links to terrorism or allegations that the applicant has committed serious crimes.

But ordering the deportation of such a person and actually enforcing it are two different things. Sweden doesn't send people back to countries where they may face persecution, torture, or the death penalty. So, some folk are ordered to leave, but cannot be forced to do so.

While stuck in legal limbo, they are issued with temporary residency permits with all the benefits. They can work in Sweden, receive generous social benefits and sometimes even get passports that allow free travel to other EU members.

Comment: It's the perfect metaphor for everything wrong with the West. The lack of morality, the hypocrisy, the duplicity, the mendacity. The really ugly part of it is that Sweden provided one of the largest contingents of ISIS terrorists to Syria, where they beheaded and raped with abandon, safe under NATO air cover. Now they have safely returned home, they can 'retire' on welfare and breed more terrorists.

Heart - Black

Predatory attorney forces Kansas father to be jailed over medical debt for treatment of son's leukemia and wife's seizures

Tres and Lane Biggs, USA medical debt jail
Heather and her son Lane Biggs just needed medical care. A few years ago, Lane was getting treated for leukemia, which he was diagnosed with at age 5, and at the same time, his mom Heather developed seizures from Lyme disease. That left the family with piles of medical debt that they couldn't afford.

They didn't make enough to afford health insurance, but they made too much to qualify for Medicaid.

"We had so many multiple health issues in our family at the same time, it put us in a bracket that made insurance unattainable," Heather told CBS News. "It made no sense. We would've had to have not eaten, not had a home."

Her husband, Tres, was working two jobs in their hometown of Coffeyville, Kansas, where the poverty rate is twice the national average, but it wasn't nearly enough to pay off the debt, which hit $70,000. After he missed a court appearance about his unpaid bills and was unable to get the money for the $500 bail, Tres was sent to jail.

"You wouldn't think you'd go to jail over a medical bill," he said. "[It was] scary. I was scared to death, because, you know, I'm a country kid. I had to strip down, get hosed and put a jumpsuit on."

Comment: There is no excuse for such inhumane treatment of families who are already traumatized by the US medical system, but this couple's story is all too common - the US 'health care system' routinely bankrupts families when serious illness strikes.

Apple Red

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. Humanity has won

farming with baby
As the editor of a website documenting human progress, I am sometimes asked to name the one statistic that best exemplifies the improving state of the world. The rising life expectancy immediately comes to mind, for to a dead person, all the other indicators of human well-being are irrelevant. Luckily, almost everyone knows that people today live much longer than our ancestors did. As such, I often end up talking about food consumption. For millennia, people lived on the edge of starvation. Today, starvation has disappeared outside of war-zones. Let's look at some data.

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, Stanford University biologist and "overpopulation" alarmist Paul Ehrlich famously predicted that "The battle to feed all of humanity is over ... hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." Between 1968 and 2017, the world's population increased by 113 percent from 3.55 billion to 7.55 billion. Over the same time period, the average global food supply per person per day rose from 2,334 calories to 2,962 - a 27 percent increase.

To put the magnitude of that achievement into proper perspective, consider the basic food consumption needs of your fellow human beings. The U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 estimate that calorie needs per person per day range from 1,600 to 2,000 for women and 1,900 to 2,500 calories for men. That amounts to an average of 2,000 calories per person per day across sexes and over the entire human lifespan. Hence the crude "2,000 calorie diet" that every American knows about.


Minnesota man exposed as commander of Nazi-led unit dies

Michael Karkoc
© Richard Sennott/Star Tribune via AP
FILE - In this May 2014 file photo, Michael Karkoc works in his yard in Minneapolis. Karkoc, a retired Minnesota carpenter whom The Associated Press exposed as a former commander of a Nazi-led unit accused of war atrocities, died Dec. 14, 2019, according to cemetery and public records. He was 100. His family maintained that he was never a Nazi or committed any war crimes.
A retired Minnesota carpenter whom The Associated Press exposed as a former commander of a Nazi-led unit accused of war atrocities has died.

Michael Karkoc, whose family maintained that he was never a Nazi or committed any war crimes, lived quietly in Minneapolis for decades until AP's review of U.S. and Ukrainian records in 2013 uncovered his past and prompted investigations in Germany and Poland. Karkoc died Dec. 14, according to cemetery and public records. He was 100.

His son, Andriy Karkoc, hung up on an AP reporter without confirming his father's death. Officials at the Kozlak-Radulovich Funeral Chapel, which was listed on one website as having handled the funeral arrangements, declined to comment.

But records at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis show he was quietly buried there Dec. 19, next to his wife, Nadia Karkoc, who died in 2018. And Minnesota Department of Health records show that a Michael Karkoc with the correct birthday died Dec. 14. The family and funeral home did not publish a public obituary.

Comment: The lack of action from the US government, despite the overwhelming evidence, is notable. Then again, it also has a well documented history of protecting and working with Nazi war criminals:


Russia jails members of alleged terror group 'Set' for plotting to overthrow the government

Protesters russia
© Getty
Protesters have gathered outside FSB offices in recent weeks in defence of the men
Seven Russian anarchists and anti-fascist activists have been handed lengthy jail terms on terror charges.

A court in the city of Penza sentenced the men - said to be part of a group known as Set, meaning Network - to between six and 18 years in penal colonies.

Russian authorities say they were plotting to overthrow the government.

But rights groups and lawyers say the charges were fabricated, and the men were tortured into confessing.

Prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny described the sentences as "horrific" in a tweet, and called the Set group a "fictitious terrorist organisation".

Comment: See also:

Eye 1

'Kind of humiliating': Student reacts to Biden calling her a 'lying, dog-faced pony soldier'

joe biden
The 21-year-old college student whom 2020 Democrat Joe Biden referred to as a "lying, dog-faced pony soldier" said the insult was "kind of humiliating."

During a New Hampshire campaign stop on Sunday, Madison Moore, a student at Mercer University, asked the former vice president a question about his underwhelming finish in the Iowa caucuses and got an unusual response.

"How do you explain the performance in Iowa, and why should voters believe that you can win the national election?" she asked.

Biden, 77, responded by asking her if she had ever been to a caucus, and, after Moore nodded, he quipped, "No, you haven't. You're a lying, dog-faced pony soldier."