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Bizarro Earth

Explosion in Montenegro kills 2, thought to be gang related; father arrested after explosion in Croatia kills his 9-year-old

Montenegro
FILE:
An explosion in central Montenegro's historical capital, Cetnje, on Thursday killed two people and seriously injured three others, police said.

Police sealed off the area around the Cetinje town's sports hall. They launched an investigation to find the type and cause of the explosion.

The state RTCG television said it was a bomb, and suggested the blast was linked to the Balkan nation's criminal gangs involved in drug smuggling. The report said, "some of the victims recently got out of prison."

Montenegro is a small Adriatic Sea nation of about 620,000 people. It is a NATO member state and a candidate for European Union membership. The country has been told it must tackle rampant organized crime and corruption to join the EU.

Comment: These incidents don't appear to be related, except for the fact that they occurred within about 24 hours of each other. ABC reports:
Czech man arrested in Croatia after explosion kills his 9-year-old child

A Czech man has been detained in Croatia for allegedly allowing his 9-year-old child to take an explosive device from a military zone which later killed the child, Croatian police said on Friday.

The 46-year-old man on Wednesday entered a restricted military training ground in central Croatia without authorization where he allowed his child to pick up the explosive device and bring it back to the family car, said a police statement.

When the car later broke down along the way, the child took out the explosive device which then exploded, killing the child and wounding three people, the statement added. It was not immediately clear what kind of device the child had found.

Police did not reveal the sex of the child, though some reports said it was a boy.

The father is facing charges of "grave criminal acts against public safety" in connection with "endangering lives and property by a dangerous act or device," police said.

Croatia, with its Adriatic Sea coastline, is a favorite tourist destination that is packed with visitors from the Czech Republic and other European countries during the summer season. The explosion happened on Thursday in an area close to the central coastal town of Zadar.



Heart - Black

The kibbutzniks blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza

Members of the “Kaplan Force”
© Abir Sultan/EFE via ZUMA Press/APA ImagesMembers of the “Kaplan Force” at an anti-government protest in Tel Aviv, June 24, 2023. Members of the Kaplan force have since been blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza during the ongoing genocide.
Complicity in genocide is not confined to the Israeli right. Members of the liberal organization that spearheaded the anti-Netanyahu protests last year are now blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The issue of Israelis physically blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza has been reported in the mainstream media over the past few months. In March, CNN's Clarissa Ward reported on Israeli right-wing activists seeking to block the crossings into Gaza where humanitarian aid was being transported in with their bodies. Ward pushed back on the demonstrators' claims that the rice bags were being filled with bullets by explaining that Gazans were dying of starvation, to no avail.

On Friday, the Biden administration issued a selective sanctioning of the primary organization blocking the aid "Tzav 9" — meaning "Order 9," a name alluding to the Israel military reserve call-up order.

Eye 1

The woke movement is actually corporate enslavement - The culture war is a fight to stop it

panopticon
I was recently watching a video by some of my favorite movie commentators in which they were lamenting the apparent death of the movie theater business. They cited a long list of recent blockbuster bombs with some confusion as to why so many films were failing. In particular, they had predicted the film 'Furiosa' (a feminist bait and switch movie designed to replace the more popular male Mad Max character) would do relatively well. Yet, the movie bit the dust in epic fashion. They were bewildered as to why this occurred.

They posited numerous social and economic theories trying to explain why so many big budget bonanzas were losing money. They of course suggested that the covid event might have pushed people to adjust to streaming services as the better option. They noted that theaters can be more frustrating because of loud customers. They tried to apply some economic theories to the situation (these theories were overly simplistic and painful, but these guys aren't economists so I gave them a pass).

However, when the concept of the culture war was briefly broached, they dismissed it immediately.

MIB

Ecuador hit by nationwide blackout; New Zealand's north suffers power outage after pylon mysteriously 'falls over'

ecuador blackout
Ecuador was hit by a nationwide blackout on Wednesday, a senior government minister said, leaving some 18 million people in the dark for several hours.

The subway system in the capital, Quito, ground to a halt and traffic lights stopped working around mid-afternoon local time on Wednesday.

Shortly after the power was restored, Public Works Minister Roberto Luque blamed the outage on a lack of investment in electrical systems.

Writing on X, he said it was "just more proof of the energy crisis we're dealing with".

"For years we have stopped investing in these systems and today we are experiencing the consequences," he added.

Comment: Associated Press reports:
Much of New Zealand's far north is without power after a transmission tower fell over

Much of the northernmost part of New Zealand is without power after a transmission tower toppled over in a rural area on Thursday, with no indication when power will be fully restored to the area.

The 220-kV tower fell "unexpectedly" in a field, a spokesperson for the national grid operator, Transpower, said in a statement. It was not clear why the tower fell over.
pylon fallen
© Taran Marsh-Goudie via APA fallen power pylon lies in a farm paddock near Kumeu north of Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday, June 20, 204. Much of the northernmost part of New Zealand is without power after a transmission tower toppled over in a rural area on Thursday, with no firm indication for when it will be restored.
The tower carried two separate high-capacity circuits that supplied most of the power to the remote Northland region, which has a population of 195,000. Officials suggested 180,000 people were without power, Radio New Zealand reported.

Power had been restored to some through the use of a lower-capacity network, but most of the region's homes and businesses — more than 70,000 — were still without electricity hours after the outage, the two power companies servicing Northland told The Associated Press.

The region's emergency management agency advised residents to conserve water and New Zealand police urged people not to travel by road unless necessary.

The outage occurred just over a year after New Zealand's ageing power grid experienced its worst-ever damage during a deadly cyclone in February 2023, which battered Northland, cutting power to the region and devastating farmland. Local politicians in the area have long sought more government funding for its crumbling infrastructure.
Whilst it's true infrastructure in a great many places across the planet has been neglected in recent years, particularly in the West, there's also evidence that some of these blackouts - as well as explosions, fires, and system failures - which appear to be on the rise in recent years, are also due to sabotage; it remains to be seen whether we will find out which is applicable in these most recent incidents.

The following is just a small selection of incidents that have occurred in just the last 6 months or so:


Padlock

Man responsible for world's longest lockdown given Australia's top honour

2 guys gold thing
© screenshotDaniel Andrews • Mark McGowan
In Australia, you can preside over human rights abuses, you can run the healthcare system into the ground, you can authorise police violence on citizens, you can blow billions on cancelled infrastructure projects, and you can name-call from the bully pulpit - and we'll give you an award for it.
Today, Australia's two most aggressive Covid-era premiers, Daniel Andrews (Victoria) and Mark McGowan (Western Australia), were awarded the nation's top honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

In the 2024 King's Birthday Honours roll, only six Australians received the award, which signifies "eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large".

Andrews received the award for "eminent service to the people and parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform, and to infrastructure development".

McGowan received the same award for "eminent service to the people and Parliament of Western Australia, to public health and education, and to international trade relations".

Awarding the Companion of the Order of Australia to these two former premiers renders the honour system essentially meaningless - no more than a pat on the back for occupying a top position during hard times.

Daniel Andrews, also known as 'Dictator Dan' for his strongman style of leadership during the pandemic years, left a legacy of brutality, debt and corruption after stepping down as Victorian premier in September last year.

Pistol

Details emerge of alleged contract hit ordered by ex-Zelensky mentor

Kolomoysky
© Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto/Getty ImagesIgor Kolomoysky during a court hearing in September 2023
The Ukrainian government has accused businessman Igor Kolomoysky of attempting to arrange the murder of a lawyer in 2003.

Ukrainian media have published new details about a criminal case against businessman Igor Kolomoysky, who was charged with ordering a contract killing over two decades ago.

The mogul is believed to have played a key role in Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky's rise to power. Prior to running for the presidency in 2019, Zelensky had a comedy show platformed by a Kolomoysky-controlled media holding.

Ukrainian authorities placed Kolomoysky in pre-trial detention last September over alleged financial crimes and have since added fresh charges, including in May.

The most recent statement on the case alleged that in 2003 "a famous businessman" hired a gang to exact revenge against a lawyer for rejecting his demand to overturn the outcome of a shareholder meeting. The gang assaulted its target but failed to kill him, the office of Ukraine's prosecutor general said. It did not name Kolomoysky, although a photo of the accused clearly showed the businessman.

Pirates

Islamic terrorists using Ukraine to enter EU — German spies

haldenwang
© Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesGermany’s head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution Thomas Haldenwang and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser present the 2023 report on the agency’s activities • June 18, 2024
Jihadists pose a serious domestic security risk to Germany, the country's BfV security agency warned on Tuesday, singling out the Afghanistan-based offshoot of the once-powerful terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

The group, designated ISPK by the German intelligence service, "has managed to bring followers to Western Europe, possibly with the wave of refugees from Ukraine, who are now staying here in various Western European countries," Director General Thomas Haldenwang told the media on Tuesday.

The senior official and Interior Minister Nancy Faeser presented an annual report on the BfV's activities, including a July 2023 operation involving a series of arrests in Germany and the Netherlands.

A total of nine people from Central Asia were taken into custody at the time for allegedly founding a "domestic terrorist group" and preparing major attacks on European soil. Seven of them lived in Germany.

The group was allegedly in contact with ISPK, also known as ISIS-K, and had entered the European Union from Ukraine "almost simultaneously," according to German security officials. The suspects were described as "black sheep" among Ukrainians when the arrests happened.

Cult

Climate barbarians douse Stonehenge with orange powder, demand end to fossil fuels in UK

climate just stop oil stonehenge vandalism
© Just Stop Oil /TMXBystanders attempt to stop the two activists with Just Stop Oil as they spray orange powder paint on the ancient Stonehenge monument in the U.K.
UK activists claim the orange powder paint is water soluble and will wash away

A climate activism group vandalized an ancient landmark in the U.K. as part of a wider protest against fossil fuels.

Just Stop Oil, the organization behind the Wednesday incident, is demanding "the incoming U.K. government commit to working with other governments to agree an equitable plan to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030."

"Stonehenge at solstice is all about celebrating the natural world — but look at the state it's in! We all have a right to live a life free from suffering, but continued burning of oil, coal and gas is leading to death and suffering on an unparalleled scale," said 21-year-old Oxford student Niamh Lynch, who participated in the stunt.

Comment:


Wolf

Lawsuit claims Zuckerberg's Meta retaliated against worker for speaking out against mistreatment of women

mark zuckerberg meta
Meta got hit Tuesday with a lawsuit alleging that the company knowingly overlooks sexist treatment of female employees. That includes an apparent practice of hiring and promoting less qualified men to roles over more qualified female applicants.

The complaint was filed in a US district court in New York by Jeffrey Smith, an engineer who joined Meta in 2018. Smith alleged that Meta was on the brink of promoting him when suddenly his "upward trajectory stopped" after he started speaking up about allegedly misogynistic management practices at Meta.

Smith claimed that instead of a promotion, his Meta manager, Sacha Arnaud, suggested that he resign shortly after delivering Smith's first-ever negative performance review, which reduced his bonus payout and impacted his company stock. Smith has alleged he suffered emotional distress and economic injury due to this alleged retaliation.

Comment: Interesting that the situation seems to have been so bad, a man felt compelled to speak out about it. Good on Mr. Smith for backing his colleagues.

As the pendulum swings back from the excesses of #MeToo, it should be remembered that some cases of workplace discrimination do have solid grounds. This appears to be one of them. Good luck to Mr. Smith in court.


Calculator

What's the real size of China's economy?

Chinese factory worker
China's economy is bigger than the World Bank realizes.


Big time) I'm on my way, I'm making it (Big time)


(Big time) I've got to make it show, yeah (Big time)

(Big time) So much larger than life

(Big time) I'm gonna watch it growing (Big time)

- Peter Gabriel
In May, the World Bank concluded one of its periodic International Comparison Program (ICP) assessments - the price survey which "officially" determines purchasing power parity GDP.

Like college rankings, the league table of the world's largest economies shifted just enough for the obsessives to notice while springing no real surprises. Harvard will be Harvard and whether Princeton ranks above or below Yale this year is largely irrelevant.

For the obsessives, China's lead versus the US expanded by 5.6%, India inched closer to China, Japan kept its ranking while sliding down a tick, Russia moved ahead of Germany, France ahead of the UK, Indonesia tumbled two places and Brazil rose one spot. The top 10 remained the top 10.


Comment: For a quick overview:
China GDP comparison



Comment: In the West, the whole service industry is part of the GDP numbers. The UK is even adding illicit drugs and prostitution to the GDP to keep up the appearance of a strong and robust economy.
Illegal drugs and prostitution boost Britain's economy by £11billion

In comparison, China is a real powerhouse and does not need to fluff up the numbers. Instead it is apparent from the above article, the Chinese underplay the strength of their economy and thus keeps the Chinese yuan competitive. Yet, it would be a big mistake if Western leaders underestimate the real strength of China just like they underestimated the real strength of Russia.