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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Hundreds of German farmers drive their tractors through Berlin in protest against agriculture policy: 'We've had enough!'

German farmers protest EU regulations
© Associated Press
In a similar protest, farmers parked their tractors on a road between the university and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
German farmers flooded streets of Berlin again to denounce the way government spends EU subsidies and its emission policies that satisfy neither them nor environmentalists, who are also taking part at the protests.

More than 150 tractors rolled up to the iconic Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin on Saturday afternoon, paralyzing traffic in the adjacent areas. Anticipating this, the authorities have urged residents to use the public rapid transit system instead of car when travelling through the city's center.

Around 15,000 people are participating in the demonstration, which takes place as Berlin hosts the International Green Week, a food and agricultural fair attended by top-ranked officials. United by the slogan 'We've had enough!,' a grand alliance of 100 organizations, including farmers and environmentalist and animal rights groups, is demanding "better appreciation" of farm work by the state and clearer regulation on pollution and animal welfare.

Comment: Hang on, they're protesting with green groups to demand more regulation on themselves?



Virginia gun sales soar as Dems consider draconian "assault weapons" ban

Ever since Virginia's Democrats retook the state assembly and Senate in November, Democratic Gov. Ralph "blackface" Northam and the legislature have been gearing up to pass a draconian gun control bill.

Unsurprisingly, many Virginians feel strongly about preserving their second amendment rights, and the state has traditionally enforced a more permissive stance toward firearm ownership. But now, lawmakers are tossing around ideas like an "assault weapons ban" - language that has been criticized as vague and even nonsensical. Several moderate Democrats have even expressed reservations about supporting a sweeping gun-control bill if it includes the ban.
"A lot of people don't really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is," said Democratic Sen. John Edwards. "It's going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we're studying it, that's all I can say."

Comment: See also:


You're fired! Harry and Meghan to lose royal funds and HRH titles by Spring 2020

harry meghan markel

Harry and Meghan are 'required to step back from royal duties'
Prince Harry and Meghan will lose royal funds and no longer use their HRH titles from spring, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also repay £2.4m of taxpayer's money spent on renovating their Berkshire home - Frogmore Cottage.

The statement said: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

"As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.

Comment: Fear not for this feckless celebrity couple. They will do just fine.


Burnt bodies of troupe of musicians discovered - Mexican gang suspected of grisly mass murder

Mexican Army
© Ulises Ruiz / AFP
The area was cordoned by members of the Mexican Army, National Guard and Guerrero state police, file photo.
The scorched remains of a band of 10 indigenous musicians have been discovered in southern Mexico and investigators suspect that a vicious drug gang carried out the brutal slayings.

The bodies of 10 members of the Sensación music group were found in the rural Mexcalcingo community, in the southern state of Guerrero.

The musicians, from the Nahaus indigenous group, the largest in Mexico, were traveling in two vans along the country road when they were reportedly stopped at a checkpoint by a band of armed men from a 'Peace and Justice' group linked to the infamous Los Ardillos crime syndicate.

Local police say the armed men first burned the two vans then killed all the musicians, El Universal newspaper reports. The gang then blocked the road leading to the scene of the horrific attack to prevent authorities from moving the bodies.

Comment: See also:


Second Russian prison guard in high-profile torture case sentenced


Maksim Yablokov (left) is shown at a court hearing in Yaroslavl on July 25, 2018.
The second of at least 17 Russian prison guards charged in a high-profile inmate torture case has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

A court in Yaroslavl, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on January 17 convicted Maksim Yablokov of abuse of authority for beating three inmates. The court handed down the sentence the same day.

Two days earlier, former prison guard Sergei Yefremov, who made a deal with investigators, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Comment: This anti-corruption drive has been forging ahead for a good while now and it's stories like these that show the Russian government, under Putin, means it:


Explosion due to suspected gas leak destroys house in France, two seriously injured

explosion limoges
© Youtube
A violent explosion shook the city center of Limoges this morning. Around 8:30 am, a house caught fire, rue de la Souterraine, in the Marceau district. The strong deflagration made the walls of many of the surrounding houses tremble.

A large plume of smoke can be seen from all over the city. The house was blown up during the explosion. Firefighters are on site to control the fire. A security perimeter has been established by the police and municipal police.

Comment: More on the story from Lci.fr translated with DeepL:
The blast literally blew the house down.

An explosion occurred this Saturday, January 18 shortly after 8:30 am in Limoges in a pavilion located rue de la Souterraine. Two people were seriously injured and two more slightly affected. A fire broke out following the explosion. The fire brigade and rescue services were sent on the spot. A security perimeter was set up.

"I heard an explosion and saw a big cloud of smoke," a local resident, who lives in the Place Carnot area, told France Bleu. "There are bits of tiles everywhere, shutters and windows that landed on the roofs of other houses." Statements supported by images relayed en masse on social networks.

According to the chief of staff of the prefect of Haute-Vienne, the first elements of the investigation suggest a gas leak. The gas has been cut off in the whole neighborhood. Some neighbouring homes were hit, with several windows destroyed.
Other unusual explosions in the news in the last 7 days:

Evil Rays

ALEC is determined you will have 5G

5G cell tower
For the average American, bills that are introduced into state legislatures, especially those with bipartisan support, generally become the law of the state. But how often does the average citizen of any state review the bills in different committees or the laws passed and signed by the governors that have a direct impact upon their lives? We would imagine very few. What does it mean when a bill in California, for example, that mandates a change in an existing environmental law that protects citizens and in turn permits and protects corporations to pollute the environment, water and air with impunity? Then that same bill shows up in other states across the nation. How does that happen? One past example are bills to ban GMO labeling that were virtually the same in California, Oregon, Colorado and elsewhere. The same is true for hydro-fracking and pipeline installations, roll backs on environmental protections, public funds for charter schools, increasing the private prison system, gun rights, keeping drug costs high, etc. These are only a few examples of thousands of laws that are in place because one trade organization that represents many of the world's largest corporations and industries has fully captured the policy narrative in many of our state legislatures.

Today, many of us in the environmental movement consider the greatest danger to human health and the environment is going to be the full roll out of 5G technology. This is article exposes one of the largest organizations in American that is paving the way to make 5G a reality: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).


App developers take Facebook to court over alleged 'anticompetition scheme'

The proposed federal class-action lawsuit is based entirely on previously secret documents that NBC News and international journalistic partners obtained last year.

A group of companies behind defunct Facebook apps is suing the social media giant, claiming illegal monopolistic behavior.

The proposed class-action lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court is based entirely on previously secret documents that NBC News and international journalistic partners obtained last year.

The trove of more than 7,000 pages was leaked from an ongoing lawsuit brought by another defunct startup known as Six4Three, which made a short-lived app known as Pikinis. The documents showed that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and other top officials used their market position to squeeze potential rivals and competitors from 2011 through 2015.


Eiffel Tower

The Louvre closed as pension-reform protesters gather outside the museum in Paris

French trade unions pension reforms, Musee du Louvre on strike
Employees and members of French trade unions hold flags and a banner reading "Musee du Louvre on strike" on Friday.
Tourists hoping to see some of the most famous works of art in the world had their plans upset on Friday as the pension-reform protests that have swept across France sprang up outside the Louvre museum in Paris.

Dozens of demonstrators were in high spirits as they gathered at the entrance to the famous museum, chanting slogans and singing songs on a grey day in the French capital.

The landmark was chosen as a demonstration site because it is where French President Emmanuel Macron celebrated his victory in the May 2017 presidential election.

Comment: "I am France": No one is calling this a revolution, but it is
No one is calling this a revolution, but it is.

Since November the revolt against Macron and the French state has entered a higher, more intense phase. Along with the vast union strikes go freeway and rail closure, petrol shortages, the selected allocation of electricity supplies to poor areas; the denial of power to Amazon, the marches of the Gilet Jaune, the intensifying battles with the police, the involvement of more and more of the French citizenry and institutions, including, last week, the National Ballet; all of it is evidence of how the struggle to remove Macron is intensifying.

After a year of weekend battles in every major French city and the official entry of the trade unions into the fight, big changes are in the wind and the yearlong power struggle in France is moving inexorably towards a climax.
See also:

Arrow Up

Pakistan sentences hard-line Islamists who violently protested acquittal of Christian woman for blasphemy

protests Pakistan 2018 Asia Bibi acquittal

There were protests across Pakistan in 2018 after Asia Bibi's acquittal.
A Pakistani court has sentenced 86 people to 55-year prison terms each for taking part in violent rallies over the acquittal of a Christian woman in a high-profile blasphemy case.

Those convicted were all workers and supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a hard-line Islamist party that had spearheaded violent protests across Pakistan in late 2018 in the wake of Asia Bibi's acquittal.

An anti-terrorism court in the city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, announced the verdicts late on January 16 following a trial that lasted for more than a year.

Senior party leader Pir Ejaz Ashrafi said the sentences -- unusually harsh in Pakistan, where blasphemy is a very sensitive issue -- would be appealed.

Those convicted are not expected to spend more than 25 years in prison -- the equivalent of a life sentence under Pakistani law.