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Sat, 22 Feb 2020
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Irish MEP reprimanded for calling Venezuela's Guaido an "unelected gobshite" in EU parliament

Irish MEP Mick Wallace calls Juan Guaido gobshite
Irish MEP Mick Wallace has been reprimanded for referring to Venezuela's self-declared president Juan Guaido as an "unelected gobshite" during remarks at the European Parliament.

Wallace, an Independents 4 Change MEP, was speaking Wednesday about Venezuela's ongoing political crisis and the European Parliament's recent decision to recognize Guaido as the country's interim president, when he slipped the insult in.

Dressed in a neon green t-shirt, the clearly irate MEP said the decision was "an absolute embarrassment to anyone who has to occupy this chamber" and a "disgrace on the part of the member states of Europe" that so many of them have recognized an "unelected gobshite."

"Gobshite" is a favorite Irish term for a less-than-competent individual.

Comment: Kudos to Mr. Wallace for having the audacity to speak the plain truth about Juan Guaido. Although these EU bureaucrats aren't willing to face it, Guaido's prospects for maintaining this charade much longer are looking rather grim:


Footprints

Corporate bosses in Delhi fall prey to honeytraps on gay dating app

grindr
© AP file photo
At least 50 senior executives, including CEOs, of companies based in the National Capital Region (NCR) were among 150 people who fell victim over three months to racketeers who befriended them on Grindr — a social networking app for gay, bisexual and transgender people — and blackmailed them with intimate pictures, according to senior Gurugram Police officers.

Members of the racket allegedly contacted their targets through the app, and, after befriending them, arranged dates on isolated stretches of the Western Peripheral Expressway and Southern Peripheral Road in Gurugram.

In most cases, the victims were ambushed in their cars while meeting their dates by the gang members, photographed in the nude, beaten up, and robbed of their belongings, the officers said.

Bomb

At least 5, including civilians, killed in suicide blast near military academy in Kabul

Afghan National Army
© Reuters / Omar Sobhani
Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers stand guard at the entrance gate of Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A suicide attack has struck near the main entrance of a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, local media report. The blast has led to at least five casualties, with ambulances rushing to the scene.

The explosion rocked the area in the immediate vicinity of Marshal Fahim military academy's gate in Kabul at about 7:00 am local time - when students and staff were streaming into the building, TOLO News reported, citing witnesses.

A video purportedly showing the aftermath of the incident has emerged online.

Afghan Interior Minister spokesman Nasrat Rahimi has confirmed that two civilians were among those killed, along with three Afghan soldiers. Twelve others were injured, five of them non-combatants.


Binoculars

American CEO of Barclays bank investigated over Jeffrey Epstein ties

Jes Staley
© Getty Images
Jes Staley
The American boss of one of Britain's biggest banks is being investigated over his ties to late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, it emerged Thursday.

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley, 64, insists he only had a "professional relationship" with Epstein — but maintained contact with him for several years, even after he was convicted of having sex with underage girls.

The bank says it challenged Staley over his ties to the perverted moneyman last year when the Epstein scandal blew up after he was charged with further serious sex crimes and ultimately hanged himself. The company concluded that it had no concerns over the way its chief executive characterized the nature and extent of his relationship with the convicted sex offender, the Guardian reports.

That information was used to defend the banker in an initial probe by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Barclays said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

However, the UK's Prudential Regulation Authority has now joined the FCA in an ongoing investigation, challenging the "characterization" of the relationship, Barclays confirmed.

The Boston-born banker said he "deeply regrets" his friendship with the pedophile, whom he first met in 2000 when he took charge of JP Morgan's private banking division and Epstein was "already a client" in New York.

Family

'Worst idea ever!' Plans for Greta mural on North Dakota bakery scrapped after community outcry & boycott threats on social media

greta mural
© Reuters / Henry Nicholls
A planned mural featuring teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg in North Dakota has been tossed to the wind after news of the project stoked outrage among locals, who flooded social media with protests and threats to boycott.

The 7-foot mural was slated to be posted on an exterior wall of the Brick Oven Bakery in the city of Bismarck, however when local media outlet KFYR-TV brought the story to its Facebook page on Tuesday night, residents were immediately up in arms, with the post racking up over 1,000 comments in a matter of hours.

"Can't we put someone of importance from North Dakota on the building?" asked one outraged local. "Our state's history is flooded with important people, Native Americans, Pioneers, Explorers, Presidents, Inventors. Seriously! This is the worst idea ever!"

Red Flag

Illinois drivers may be banned from pumping their own gas

pumping gas
Drivers in Illinois would be prohibited from pumping their own gas if state lawmakers pass a proposed bill.

The Gas Station Attendant Act, introduced by Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Oak Park), "provides that no gas may be pumped at a gas station in the state unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station."

Proponents say the bill would create jobs. Critics say it would raise gas prices. The proposal comes after the state of Illinois doubled its tax on gas in 2019.

Health

China reports huge jump in new coronavirus infections and deaths; Oil, stocks tumble

hong kong facemasks market coronavirus
© Associated Press / Achmad Ibrahim
People visit the open market wearing face masks in hopes to prevent contracting the spreading coronavirus in Hong Kong
All those clueless hacks who warned us for years not to trust China's economic numbers, yet were so gullible to believe any coronavirus pandemic "data" released by Beijing are going to look pretty stupid right about now.

Hubei just released its latest round of coronavirus outbreak figures, and in a clear confirmation of the 'conspiracy theory' that China had altered the way it was reporting Covid-19 deaths and cases - clearly in order to suggest that things were improving and you should go back to work, while ideally buying stocks, the province at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic just came clean and the numbers are stunning.

The number of cases exploded by 14,840, resulting in a total of 48,206 cases, including 13,332 clinically diagnose cases:

Stock Down

Almost a THIRD of US workers can't live on their paychecks, spelling doom for a service economy based on discretionary spending

walmart
© REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Almost one in three American workers can't quite make ends meet in between paydays, a new survey has revealed. This doesn't bode well for the US' service economy, where discretionary spending is the major driver of growth.

Some 32 percent of US workers are unable to stretch their salaries to cover their needs, according to a survey published on Tuesday by Salary Finance. Nor is this inability to make one's paycheck last limited to poor and working-class individuals - the poll queried over 2,700 adults working for medium- to large-sized companies about their finances and found that even among those making over $200,000 annually, 32 percent "always" or "most of the time" ran out of cash before payday.

Certainly, the insufficient-funds problem is more severe for those making under $15,000 per year - fully 40 percent, or two in five, are unable to make ends meet on that salary. But no matter how high up the pay scale one goes, the problem stubbornly refuses to vanish.

Comment: See also: Trump's greatest vulnerability is the economy - just ask poor Americans


Handcuffs

Breakthrough or whitewash? Long-overdue punishment for a terror monster as Pakistan sentences Hafiz Saeed for 2008 Mumbai attack

mumbai
© Reuters / Arko Datta
I have personal reasons to be elated with the 11-year-sentencing of the UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed in Lahore, Pakistan on Wednesday - though like most self-gratifying moments, I could be guilty of undue haste.

I feel a sense of lightness at the sentencing of a monster terrorist who masterminded the 26/11 attack in Mumbai in 2008, in which 166 innocent people were gunned down, including a very dear fellow journalist with whom I shared the newsroom at the English daily Times of India in the 1990s.


Though the sentence is too little, too late - and could still mean nothing in the days to come - Hafiz Saeed is the face of evil to me. Saeed's men pumped bullets into my colleague and friend, Sabina Saikia, pulling her from below the bed where the terrified girl had hidden at the staccato sounds of machine guns outside her room in the iconic Taj Hotel of India's commercial capital.

Cross

Archbishop of Canterbury: 'I'm ashamed of our history'; Church of England 'still deeply institutionally racist'

Archbishop of Canterbury
© Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Kenya St. Stephen's Cathedral
The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his shame after admitting that the Church of England remains "deeply institutionally racist," insisting that they must change the "hostile environment" for black and ethnic minorities.

In a scathing speech on Tuesday, Justin Welby, who is England's most senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England — a Christian church — claimed they had failed over many decades on the issue of race equality.

Welby's intervention came as the General Synod voted to back a motion to "lament" and apologize for both conscious and unconscious racism in relation to black and ethnic minorities since the arrival of the Windrush generation in the UK between the late 1940s and 1970.