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Protests continue in Lebanon's Beirut after hundreds injured in violent clashes with police

protests lebanon
© REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir
According to the Lebanese Red Cross, hundreds of people were injured during violent clashes between protesters and police last week.

Protests over economic crisis continue in Lebanon's Beirut following clashes between protesters and police that took place in the city during the weekend.

Lebanese riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse crowds of anti-government protesters that occupied the downtown Beirut and attempted to storm the parliament building. Hundreds of people were injured, the country's Red Cross said.

Mass protests rocked Beirut in October 2019 when people took to the streets to express their outrage over a new tax the government planned to impose for making calls using the WhatsApp application. The resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government failed to quell the protests, and a new cabinet has not been formed in Lebanon ever since.

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Comment: See also:


Political pawn: Extradition trial of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou begins in Vancouver

Meng Wanzhou Vancouver
© AFP / Getty Images North America / Jeff Vinnick
Meng Wanzhou leaves her Vancouver home with a security guard, January 20, 2020.
A Canadian court is set to hear a much-anticipated case at the centre of the tech and trade war between the US and China, as Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou will fight a US extradition request based on charges her team say have no merit.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 at the bidding of the United States, just as tensions were mounting between Washington and Beijing over trade tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. US authorities accused her of defrauding financial institutions and lying in an attempt to circumvent US sanctions impeding other countries' abilities to do business with Iran.

The Huawei executive — who was forced to surrender her passports, abide by a curfew and wear a GPS tracker — has been living under house arrest in Vancouver since she was released on a $10-million bail. Formal hearings begin on Monday and are expected to continue until Thursday, though this is only phase one in what is expected to be a long and drawn out extradition trial. With so many moving parts to the case and potential for multiple appeals, it could still take months or even years for it to really come to an end.

Decisions this week will hang on the Canadian law principle, necessary for extradition, of 'double criminality'. That essentially means the crime the person is accused of by the country requesting extradition must also be a crime in Canada.

Comment: Additional background:

People 2

Virginia's capitol sees massive crowd of gun rights activists for Second Amendment rally - MSM disappointed at lack of violence

pro gun 2A rally virginia richmond
© Associated Press
Demonstrators are seen during a pro-gun rally, Monday in Richmond, Va.
Thousands of Second Amendment supporters carrying long firearms and wearing stickers reading "Guns Save Lives" descended upon Virginia's Capitol in Richmond Monday for a widely publicized rally to protest a recent push by state Democrats for comprehensive gun control.

The rally comes as the city has been on high alert for days following threats of violence, leading to road closures as well as a ban on firearms in the Capitol and on its grounds. Yet as of midday Monday, the demonstrations were peaceful.

"If they can come for your guns in Virginia, they can come for them in West Virginia," demonstrator Annette Parker told Fox News, noting that she drove six hours to get to the event.

The throngs who gathered in Richmond Monday were heard in large groups reciting the Second Amendment in unison, while others broke out in chants of "we will not comply!"

Comment: RT reported:
Thousands of gun-rights supporters and militia members have gathered at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, in an armed show of defiance against a slew of gun laws proposed by Governor Ralph Northam.

Northam - who shot to international infamy last year when a yearbook picture of him in blackface surfaced - has proposed a bevy of new gun laws in the wake of a mass shooting at Virginia Beach last May. Democrats took control of the state's House of Representatives and Senate in November, giving Northam the political path to passing these laws. The proposed measures include universal background checks, 'red flag' laws, and a restriction on handgun purchases. A highly controversial ban on AR-style semi-automatic rifles was struck out by the State Senate last week.
pro gun 2a richmond virginia
© Reuters / Jonathan Drake
Armed militia members stand with people dressed in American revolution-era attire at a rally near Virginia's Capitol
President Donald Trump has lent his support to the gun activists, warning Virginians: "The Democrat Party in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia are working hard to take away your 2nd Amendment rights. This is just the beginning. Don't let it happen, VOTE REPUBLICAN in 2020."
Despite the MSM's clear directive to report the rally as a dangerous collection of gun crazy, white supremacists, with Hollywierd singing chorus, the gathering as reported by RT and tweets on the ground show the event was anything but:
Talking heads in the media and Hollywood tried to paint the pro-Second Amendment supporters in Richmond, Virginia as racist or potentially violent, creating a much gloomier image than the one that transpired in reality.

Folks walking around the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond with semi-automatic weapons strapped over their shoulders had anti-gun activists up in arms and concerned, but the pro-Second Amendment protest — which was against new anti-gun measures proposed by Governor Ralph Northam — ended up being quite peaceful.

'Westworld' actor Jeffrey Wright was similarly bothered by the gun-wielding protesters. He tweeted that the protest was "gun circle jerk" and said it had a "Klan-like rally smell" to it. This is despite the fact that plenty of videos and pictures showed minorities protesting for gun rights too.

"This is what's happening in Virginia right now. Trump's America," Democrat activist and Charmed actress Alyssa Milano tweeted in response to a video of protesters showing up, sporting rifles and tactical gear.

Mainstream media outlets got serious pushback from supporters of the rally and rally attendees for their coverage of the day's events.

MSNBC correspondent Gabe Gutierrez found himself in hot water when he tweeted a video of a large group of protesters saying the pledge of allegiance and captioned the video with: "Chants of 'we will not comply' from gun rights protesters in Richmond."

Since the audio in the video did not match what Gutierrez was saying, commentators like Ben Shapiro and Dana Loesch immediately descended on the man.

"We all have ears, dude. That's not what they're chanting," Shapiro tweeted.

Hours after his original post, Gutierrez posted the actual video of protesters chanting, "we will not comply." This video was of a much smaller group and its delayed posting led to more criticism.

"This should have been first with the proper context. I see no problem with law-abiding Americans peacefully assembling, as is their right, stating that they will not comply with unlawful orders that rob them of constitutionally protected rights," Loesch wrote in response to the new video.

MSNBC, Huffington Post and other outlets promoted the idea that thousands of "extremists" and "white nationalists" would descend on Virginia in support of gun rights, the coverage ended up being a far cry from the predicted doom.

MSNBC reporter Ben Collins deleted a tweet where he called the rally a "white nationalist rally."

CNN said ahead of the rally that the FBI was working with law enforcement to prepare for"threats of violence." They later had to report that the event ended "peacefully."

One video even showed protesters cleaning up after themselves as the rally came to a close.

To the disappointment of the MSM reporters on the scene, the rally WAS peaceful, even fun. This interview is a perfect example:


Norway's Progress Party resigns after ISIS bride is given assistance to return to the country

Siv Jensen
© Reuters / Fredrik Varfjell
Norway's Progress party leader and Finance Minister Siv Jensen speaks during a news conference in Oslo.
Norway's Progress Party has quit the country's coalition government after a jihadist bride and her children were allowed to return from Syria. The move leaves the remaining coalition partners ruling in a minority.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen announced the resignation of her Progress Party on Monday, after a woman suspected of marrying two Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) jihadists in Syria was given assistance to return to Norway over the weekend. The Norwegian government aided the woman's return out of concern for the welfare of her children, but Jensen's party had vehemently opposed any repatriation for Islamist fighters or their spouses.

"I brought us into government, and now I'm bringing the party out," Jensen told reporters on Monday, adding that her Conservative, Liberal, and Christian Democratic coalition partners had forced her to make "too many compromises" to her platform of tax cuts and immigration restrictions.

Bizarro Earth

Ukraine furious after UK adds its coat of arms to list of 'extremist' symbols in anti-terror guide

ukraine right wing
© Reuters / Marko Djurica
Ukraine's embassy in the UK has demanded an official apology after the Trident — its national coat of arms — was included among a group of "right-wing signs & symbols" in a guide by Britain's national anti-terrorist authority.

The Trident — or Tryzub as it's known in Ukraine — was featured in an Extremism Guide for UK teachers and medical staff produced by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Network - a collaboration of law enforcement entities tasked with preventing and combating terrorism.

A tattoo of the Trident is shown in a section on right-wing "signs & symbols" and is described simply as "nationalist." It appears alongside well-known extremist symbols including the Nazi swastika, the 'SS Runes,' the iron eagle, the iron cross and various white pride emblems.

Comment: The fruits of the Western-backed coup in Ukraine are clear for all to see:

Yellow Vest

Macron pulls back on France's pension reforms, unions vow to continue, majority say he's 'poorly managing' the crisis

France Strike
© Reuters / Charles Platiau
Protesters at the Thursday march shouted anti-government slogans, waved red flares and held banners saying "on strike until withdrawal."
But unions argue the changes will force people to work longer for less. A majority of French people think the showdown between President Emmanuel Macron and unions over pensions has been mishandled by the government, a poll published on Wednesday found. The poll, conducted by Elabe for the news channel BFMTV, showed that 67 percent of French people think the pension reform has been "poorly managed" by the Macron government, compared with 32 percent who think the opposite.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were "opposed" to the reform in its current form, while 43 percent said they backed the planned changes.

The poll also put public support for the strike action against the reform at 53 percent, compared with 46 percent against.

Comment: The Duran interviews Alexander Mercouris on the issue and he states that while France's pensions do need reforming, unlike Putin who recently pushed through reforms for Russia, Macron does not have the political capital to do so.

One example he provides, and that reflects Macron's time in power, was his recent New Year's speech which was basically an 18 minute long lecture 'in a way they don't like being lectured... and certainly not on New Year':

See also: 450,000 join France's ongoing strike action including nurses, teachers and lawyers


All the single ladies

woman dining alone texting phone
© Satria Eleazar/Unsplash
"Oh, he's kind of cute." My friend at Yale, swiping through Tinder, leaned over and showed me his profile.
"Wait, no." She moved her finger leftward.
"Why not? He seems alright," I reply.
He goes to a local, less highly-regarded university, she explained. In other words, not Yale.

Swipe Right for a Master's Degree

The dating market for women is getting tougher. In part, this is because fewer men are attending universities. Why would male enrollment in higher education matter for women? Because women, on average, prefer educated men. One source of evidence comes from women's personal responses to dating profiles posted by men. Researchers analyzed 120 personal dating ads posted by men on the West Coast and in the Midwest. They found that two of the strongest variables that predicted how many responses a man received from women were years of education and income. Similar results have been found in Poland. Researchers analyzed how many women responded to dating ads posted by 551 men. They found that men with higher levels of education and higher income received more responses. A more recent study in Australia of more than 40,000 online daters found that women were more likely to initiate contact with a man if he had more education than themselves.

Comment: It's hard to say whether the rise of video games and online porn has lead to more men being satisfied in uncoupled lifestyles, or that uncoupled men have turned to porn and video games as a coping mechanism, something the above authors seem not to have considered. The above could be an instance of 'blaming the victim', but more research is needed to tease this apart.

See also:


3 men killed in London stabbing frenzy - Knife crime doubled since 2014

© Jonathan Brady/PA
Officers search through a bin in Seven Kings, Ilford, near where three people died after being stabbed.
Residents of a north-east London street where three men were stabbed and bled to death have described the horrific aftermath of the attack.

Two men, aged 29 and 39, were arrested on suspicion of murder on Monday after the trio were pronounced dead at the scene on Sunday night in Seven Kings, Ilford.

Det Ch Supt Stephen Clayman, commander of the Metropolitan police's east area basic command unit, initially said he believed the people involved were Sikhs. But a statement released later on Monday revealed that officers believed some of the men to be from the Hindu community as well.

Officers stressed they did not think the incident was "gang or race-related". Det Ch Insp Paul Considine said: "We now believe all those involved were known to each other and from the Sikh and Hindu community, however we are still in the process of identifying the men and working to inform their next of kin."

Comment: RT adds:
Fatal stabbings in London have surged in the last five years, with the number almost doubling from 55 in 2014 to a staggering 90 in 2019, according to Met figures.

The scourge of knife crime is not confined to the English capital; it affects the UK as a whole. Data published by the Ministry of Justice on Thursday shows that 26,364 knife crime offences were recorded in the year to September 2019, up 3 percent on the previous year, and the highest figure since 2009.
There's been a significant uptick in knife crime throughout Europe: French police shoot man wielding knife & yelling 'Allahu Akbar'- follows similar incident 2 days earlier

And more recent stories from the UK below:


Leaked pictures show torture of Palestine prisoner in Israel prison

Israeli prison

Israeli prison
A number of pictures leaked to mass media show the grave effects of the severe torture of Palestinian prisoner, Walid Hanatsha, inside an Israeli prison, Shehab News Agency reported on Friday.

The pictures demonstrated the effects of torture on different parts of the prisoner's body, including his neck, thighs and legs.

Bayan Hanatsha, the prisoner's wife, revealed that her husband was subjected to three rounds of torture - the first lasting for 12 days - during which he was interrogated for 23 hours a day.

According to Hanatsha's lawyer, the Israeli occupation inflicted five methods of torture during the interrogations.

Hanatsha was hung by his hands while they were tied behind his back, and was blindfolded. He remained hung until he fell unconscious.

Comment: See also:


Pakistan to import wheat to overcome shortage crisis

Government accuses Sindh government of failing to prevent hoarding; Opposition blames center for exporting crop
Pakistan's Economic Coordination Committee on Monday approved a proposal to import 300,000 tons of wheat to overcome a nationwide shortage that had dramatically raised prices of the food staple and threatened the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led regime's claims of a 'prosperous and stable' 2020.

The first shipment of the imported wheat would reach Pakistan around Feb. 15, said authorities, with the federal government asking the Punjab government and the Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) to release excess stocks in the interim to overcome the shortage, especially in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The wheat imports are set to continue until March 31, when the next crop of wheat would be harvested.

The ECC has also approved a Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) waiver of Rs. 400 per bag to ensure supply of cheap fertilizer to farmers in a bid to further cut costs of wheat.