Society's ChildS


Polish farmers begin week-long protest at border with Lithuania to block Ukrainian grain imports

Polish farmers in Lithuania
The demonstrators claim Ukrainian grain is being imported into Poland through the Baltic state

Polish farmers have launched a week-long protest along the border with Lithuania against the importation of Ukrainian grain, the authorities in Vilnius have said. The agricultural workers have been blocking checkpoints on the Ukrainian frontier for months in an attempt to prevent deliveries of cheap produce from reaching their markets.

The protest at the Budzisko-Kalvarija checkpoint on the Polish-Lithuanian border began on Friday, the administration of Kalvarija municipality announced in a post on Facebook.

Polish agricultural workers have been protesting against imports of Ukrainian grain since the fall. They claim that agricultural producers from the neighboring country have an unfair advantage, given that they do not have to abide by EU regulations or pay the bloc's taxes.

The farmers have been blocking trucks from Ukraine from entering Poland altogether, but they're using "a new form of protest" on the Lithuanian border, Kalvarija's authorities said.

"The goal of the move isn't to paralyze an important transport artery or intentionally harm businesses," but to draw attention to the issue of the transit of grain from Ukraine and other non-EU countries through Lithuania, they explained.

Comment: To understand the history behind the EU's agricultural policy and thereby understand the design flaws which are seen today, read this article: The European Union against farmers

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Apple Red

US-sanctioned Cuba asks UN for help to feed children

cuba food line
Cuba has asked the World Food Programme for donations of powdered milk.

Cuba has appealed to the World Food Programme (WFP) for help with providing milk to children on the island, for the first time in its history, the UN body has acknowledged.

Havana has admitted to milk shortages for weeks, but has not made the request to the WFP public. The agency confirmed it to the Spanish news agency EFE, in a written statement on Wednesday.

Comment: See also:


New Zealand set to scrap world-first tobacco ban

© REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/IllustrationAn illustration picture shows cigarettes in their pack, October 8, 2014.
New Zealand will repeal on Tuesday a world-first law banning tobacco sales for future generations, the government said, even while researchers and campaigners warned of the risk that people could die as a result.

Set to take effect from July, the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the world would have banned sales to those born after Jan. 1, 2009, cut nicotine content in smoked tobacco products and reduced the number of tobacco retailers by more than 90%.

The new coalition government elected in October confirmed the repeal will happen on Tuesday as a matter of urgency, enabling it to scrap the law without seeking public comment, in line with previously announced plans.

Comment: The headline should have read "New Zealand decides overt nanny-state fascism maybe isn't such a good idea". Let people decide for themselves what they will and won't consume.

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Over 260K Houston criminal cases suspended due to 'lack of personnel' code, police chief says

troy finner
© Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via Getty ImagesHouston Police Department Chief Troy Finner on Monday said that the number of cases that were suspended due to a "lack of personnel" code expanded to over 264,000 cases department-wide.
10% of incident reports since 2016 suspended with 'lack of personnel' code, Houston police chief says.

The Houston Police Department suspended over 260,000 criminal cases over the past eight years due to the department's "lack of personnel" code, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said on Monday.

Finner initially revealed last week that "lack of personnel" administratively suspended 4,017 cases of alleged sexual assault, but a closer examination by the department identified that the code expanded to all other divisions of the department, Finner said in an update on Monday.


Elon Musk sues OpenAI and Sam Altman over 'betrayal' of nonprofit AI mission

elon vanity fair summit
© Michael Kovac / Vanity Fair / Getty Images
Elon Musk has sued OpenAI, its co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, and its affiliated entities, alleging the ChatGPT makers have breached their original contractual agreements by pursuing profits instead of the nonprofit's founding mission to develop AI that benefits humanity.

Musk, a co-founder and early backer of OpenAI, claims Altman and Brockman convinced him to help found and bankroll the startup in 2015 with promises it would be a nonprofit focused on countering the competitive threat from Google. The founding agreement required OpenAI to make its technology "freely available" to the public, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in a court in San Francisco late Thursday, says that OpenAI, the world's most valuable AI startup, has shifted to a for-profit model focused on commercializing its AGI research after partnering with Microsoft, the world's most valuable company, which has invested about $13 billion into the startup.

Comment: While it seems doubtful that AI will ultimately benefit humanity, you can't really fault Musk for trying to steer it in that direction.

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Brick Wall

Dr. Phil exposes 'The View' and other media responsible for lockdown harms to our kids

dr phil on the view
© The View/ABCDr. Phil discussed on "The View" how the COVID-19 school closures hurt the mental health of children.
America experimented with the lives of millions of children during the pandemic and sacrificed their mental health to satiate adults' fears.

The media's loudest voices pushed the silent torture of the most innocent population with constant isolation.

Dr. Phil hammered home how our COVID-19 response created more harm for American children than the virus we were attempting to protect them from on ABC's "The View" Monday.

Comment: Changing the minds of propagandists and narrative enforcers like the hosts of The View is not really a win (and it's probably impossible). But getting the audience reaction is a true win. Keep going, Dr. Phil!

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Russian Flag

Russia to restrict gasoline exports - RBK

Fueling car
© Sputnik/Vitaly Timkiv
Cross-border sales of the fuel will be halted for six months, the outlet has said

Comment: The outlet referred to, RBK, is a media company. The Wiki writes:
"The paper is part of RosBusinessConsulting and is published by the company in cooperation with the German publishing group Handelsblatt.[2][3]"

Russia will suspend gasoline exports for six months starting in March to ensure sufficient supply for the domestic market during high demand season, the RBK daily reported on Tuesday.

According to a government source familiar with the matter, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has approved the measure, which will come into force on March 1.

The RBK article stated that earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak wrote a letter to the government calling for a temporary suspension of gasoline exports as the domestic market enters peak season for fuel demand.

He attributed the growing demand to increased usage in the agricultural sector and upcoming seasonal maintenance at refineries. These factors will tighten domestic supply, Novak reportedly said in his letter.

Comment: It is reasonable to prioritize the domestic market. Several western governments have as if forgotten their citizens as if they matter less than their support for military aid to Ukraine, sanctions against Russia and preparation for war.

Star of David

Israeli tourism hits rock bottom as travelers refuse to pay for Gaza genocide

israel economy damage hamas Oct. 7
© PressTVTourism official Yossi Fattal complained the staggering fall of Israel’s tourism sector is a “victory for Hamas over Israel.”
Airlines are reluctant to resume flights, tourist sites wear a deserted look and hotels are empty, bringing the once-flourishing tourism industry of the Israeli regime to a standstill.

Monthly figures announced by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) revealed that last month only 500 single-day visits to the occupied territories were registered, compared to 14,000 in January 2023, indicating a drastic decrease of 96 percent.

Israel's genocidal war on Gaza, now nearing its fifth month, has taken a heavy toll on its economy. The war, according to the regime's finance ministry, will likely cost it approximately $13.8 billion.

In November, the Bank of Israel pared back its estimates for annual economic growth to 2 percent for 2023 and 2024, down from 2.3 percent and 2.8 percent.

Comment: Israel's 'booming economy' was always a mirage, propped up by massive cash infusions from the U.S. government, U.S., and other private charities.


Judge holds veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for refusing to divulge source

Catherine Herridge
© X/@FaceTheNation - ScreenshotVeteran national security reporter Catherine Herridge
A federal judge held veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in civil contempt on Thursday for refusing to divulge her source for a series of Fox News stories about a Chinese American scientist who was investigated by the FBI but never charged.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington imposed a fine of $800 per day until Herridge reveals her source, but the fine will not go into effect immediately to give her time to appeal.

Cooper wrote that he "recognizes the paramount importance of a free press in our society" and the critical role of confidential sources in investigative journalism. But the judge said the court "also has its own role to play in upholding the law and safeguarding judicial authority."


Not just Herridge:

The First Amendment right of freedom of speech and of the press is being incrementally eroded.


Newsom exempts Panera Bread from California's new $20 minimum wage law - CEO donates to his political campaigns

© unknownCalifornia Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom
Just brazen corruption.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) carved out an exemption for Panera Bread from the state's new insane $20 minimum wage law because its billionaire CEO Greg Flynn donates to his political campaigns.

In September California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed a law raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 per hour. During the signing Newsom said:
"Eighty percent of the workforce, these fast food places - 80 percent of people of color, two thirds...are women, the majority are breadwinners and we have the opportunity to reward that contribution, reward that sacrifice and stabilize an industry in turn. What a remarkable moment."
According to Bloomberg, Newsom pushed for Panera Bread to be exempt from the new minimum wage law. Flynn, a billionaire restaurant franchisee, is a Newsom donor and was involved in business dealings with the California Governor.

Newsom told reporters of the exemption that it's "part of the sausage-making" of politics.

Greg Flynn previously criticized the minimum wage bill dubbed the FAST Act. He said it would destroy the franchising in California - and next thing you know his restaurants are exempt.

How did Panera escape the Democrats' new minimum wage bill?

Comment: Newsom's mandatory wage increase for CA employees signals future cuts in staff. Newsom does Panera no favors - nor the wallets of customers as prices rise.
In 2014, Flynn, who is the largest franchisee in the US with thousands of brands including Applebee's, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Wendy's, acquired a Napa Valley resort that was managed by Newsom's hospitality firm, according to disclosure forms.

Flynn has a net worth valued at $1.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has donated at least $164,800 to Newsom's campaigns.

Michelle Korsmo, head of the National Restaurant Association, told an industry conference last year that "everyone's scratching their head" about the bread exemption. "You may be celebrating or you may be lamenting the bakery exemption," Korsmo was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. "But remember, all of that comes through relationships."

Flynn quietly lobbied Newsom's aides to reconsider whether Panera Bread can be considered fast food, according to Bloomberg News.

The exemption for bread sellers was inserted into the legislation after the union that was pushing for the hike in minimum wage accepted it as a concession aimed at getting the governor's support, the report stated.

Earlier this month, Chipotle executives warned that consumers in California should expect to see "significant" price hikes due to the minimum wage hike.

Jack Hartung, Chipotle's chief financial and administrative officer, told investors on an earnings call that the price hikes are necessary to keep up with increasing labor costs.

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski warned in October that the Big Mac maker would also need to hike the price of its menu items in California. The chain has increased prices nationwide amid rampant inflation, including charging $18 for a Big Mac meal.

Earlier on Wednesday, Panera Bread agreed to pay $2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the chain of misleading customers about fees and menu prices for delivery orders.