Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 14 Dec 2019
The World for People who Think

Society's Child


If Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia are considered for EU membership, why not independent Scotland & Catalonia? - Puigdemont

The EU can be prosperous even if it comprises of scores of small independent nations, says fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. If the number of members was an issue, the EU would not accept new ones, he adds.

The former Catalan president is a wanted man in Spain for organizing a referendum on the independence of his home state two years ago. Voices opposing Catalan independence came not only from Madrid, but also Brussels.

For example, then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it would be impossible to manage the EU, if it had 98 members, which, he predicted, would eventually happen if Catalonia was allowed to do what it wanted. Puigdemont said this line of reasoning has an obvious flaw.

Evil Rays

Mobile provider O2 chooses Huawei to build its German 5G network

huawei 5g
Mobile network provider Telefonica Deutschland picked Finland's Nokia and China's Huawei to build its 5G network in Germany, the company announced Wednesday.

Huawei is a global leader in constructing equipment and infrastructure for ultra-high-speed 5G data networks. However, there are concerns, led by the US, that Huawei poses a security threat and should be excluded from critical network infrastructure.

Telefonica Deutschland, which operates under the O2 brand, is one of only a few European operators to use Huawei as a 5G supplier. The company called Nokia and Huawei "proven strategic partners" on 5G infrastructure.

The company said its cooperation with Huawei and Nokia on 5G is contingent on the technology and companies passing a security certification according to German law.

Comment: Actual dangers of 5G wireless aside, the EU is not buying into the US' scare tactics over Huawei technology. See also:


F-35's troubled present & uncertain future: Japan eyes local assembly of the fighter jet that faces new problems in the US

f 35 model
© REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
The F-35 program continues along its rocky path to full-rate production, facing new challenges such as a persistent lack of spare parts, poor repair capacity, and what is most dreaded - grumpy lawmakers reluctant to foot the bill.

Japan is looking to re-launch domestic production of the F-35 5th-generation fighter jets, local media reported on Wednesday. Earlier, Tokyo opted to purchase the US-made aircraft, but now the F-35's local assembler - Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - has managed to shave the costs.

A single unit assembled in Japan is now expected to cost 9.37 billion yen ($86.3 million), compared with 9.42 billion yen ($86.7 million) to ship the plane from the US. The difference is not that big - and after all, there's nothing wrong with simply 'gifting' the modest sum of $400 thousand per unit to their main ally.

Still, Tokyo is opting for local assembly - presumably hoping that the famed Japanese quality will at least save the technical issues-ridden plane from assembly-line troubles.


Internet and media personalities come out in force against YouTube's vague 'harassment' guidelines

© Reuters / Dado Ruvic
Internet and media personalities have come out in force against YouTube's crusade against "harassment," worried that the extremely vague and ill-defined new rules will be used to selectively target users for their political views.

Announcing the move in a blog post on Wednesday, YouTube said it was revamping its harassment rules in response to criticism, taking aim at "implied threats,""personal attacks" and "malicious insults" hurled on the platform, especially those based on "protected attributes" like race or gender.

Under the new rules, the company will also take a more aggressive approach to scrubbing comment sections, where it says it deleted some 16 million posts just last quarter. While YouTube maintains that it won't go after comments that are merely "negative or critical," detractors said the new guidelines are vague, providing neither clear "lines" nor "guidance."

Comment: See also:

Snow Globe

Church of Sweden unveils altarpiece of paradise featuring gay couples and transgender serpent - UPDATE

Gay couple and transgender serpent painting
© RT
“Paradise” by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin
A church in Malmo has a new altarpiece meant to celebrate inclusivity by replacing Adam and Eve in paradise with gay couples in suggestive poses, while depicting the serpent tempting them as a transgender woman.

The controversial work of art is not new. Photographer and artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin painted it in 2012 and tried to donate it to the Skara Cathedral just before the church was preparing to conduct the first same-sex wedding in its 1,000-year history.

The openly lesbian artist, who has a history of blending religious imagery with pro-minority activism, said at the time that she wanted to test if the Church of Sweden was as gay-friendly as it claimed to be when it embraced same-sex marriage in 2009. The Skara Cathedral politely declined the gift, saying it was about political activism and not faith.

But over seven years have passed, and now Wallin has got her way, even if it isn't in her home city. St. Paul's Church in Malmo accepted the painting called "Paradise" as its new altarpiece and unveiled it on Sunday, the first day of Advent. Helena Myrstener, the pastor, said that "history was written" in the hanging of the "LGBT altarpiece" as she tweeted a photo of the painting.


UPDATE 12/12/2019: Peak inclusivity madness. St. Paul's Church in Malmo relocated part of the altarpiece, not because of the outrage of traditional parishioners, but because the snake was depicted as transgender, which they feared would be offensive.
After two weeks of deliberation, a church in Sweden decided that a newly-acquired LGBT-friendly painting was too problematic to serve as its altarpiece. Its depiction of Adam and Eve as two same-sex couples was not the issue.

The St. Paul's Church in the southern city of Malmo accepted the painting as its altarpiece on the first day of Advent two weeks ago. The artwork by Swedish photographer and artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin was meant to symbolize inclusivity. It predictably generated a lot of buzz, attracting both praise and controversy online.

The pastor, however, had an issue with the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve to try the forbidden fruit. In the painting, it was depicted as a transgender person. "The serpent traditionally symbolizes evil, and turning it into a transgender person can mean that a transgender person is evil or is the devil," Svensson explained.

"The Church of Sweden certainly cannot stand by that."

Furthermore, the painting contains apples, a Biblical symbol of knowledge, the pastor added. This invites a question about the kind of knowledge the painting portrays, along with "so many different interpretations" that make the imagery problematic, Svensson said.


Chilean military plane, 38 aboard, disappears en route to Antarctica UPDATES

C-130 Hercules
© Reuters/Rafael Marchante
C-130 Hercules
A Chilean military transport aircraft carrying 38 passengers and crew has gone missing, losing radio contact on its way to a base in Antarctica.

The military lost contact with the plane, a C-130 Hercules transport craft, on Monday evening while it was traveling to the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva air base in Antarctica. The whereabouts and condition of those on board - of which 17 were crew members and the rest of them passengers - is not known.
The Chilean Air Force said it had assembled a "multidisciplinary search and rescue team" to locate the missing craft that had departed from Chabunco Air Base in the city of Punta Arenas on a routine support and maintenance mission.

Comment: UPDATE: Aljazeera, 10/12/2019: Plane goes missing
In a statement, the air force said it was yet to find the plane, but concluded it must have crashed, given the number of hours it had been missing. Defence Minister Alberto Espina added that the chance of finding survivors was looking "difficult".

"The chances are difficult but I think it would be profoundly wrong to lose heart at this moment when we are doing everything humanly possible and with all our energy and determination," Espina told reporters. "The air force has provided a thorough investigation to clarify the facts with complete transparency."

The C-130 Hercules took off at 4:55pm local time (19:55 GMT) from the city of Punta Arenas on Monday to the President Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base, it lost contact at 6:13pm (21:13 GMT), the air force said in a statement.

President Sebastian Pinera said in a tweet that he would fly to Punta Arenas along with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel. Once there, they would meet Espina to monitor the search and rescue mission.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 38 crew members and passengers of the FACh [air force] C-130 plane," Pinera wrote on Twitter, where he said his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, had offered support. Argentina's government also said it had offered air and naval assistance for the search and rescue, Pinera said.

Drake's Passage, where the plane went missing, is known for severe weather conditions, including freezing temperatures and ferocious storms. But the air force said late on Monday that the weather was good when the plane began its flight, or the mission would not have been carried out.

Mosqueira said the aircraft would have been about halfway to the Antarctic base when it lost contact. No emergency signals had been activated, he said. He said the plane, whose pilot had extensive experience, had been scheduled to return on Monday night.

Those on board the plane were to perform logistical support tasks for the maintenance of Chilean facilities at the Antarctic base, the air force said.

UPDATE: US News 10/12/2019: Chile combs Antarctic
Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media that a search was underway and a ship was in the general area where the plane should have been when contact was lost. "Antarctica is different. It's hard to fly because of changing conditions," said Mosqueira, who added that he had personally flown to the continent with one of the missing pilots.

On Tuesday crews encountered low visibility waves up to 6 meters (20 feet) high. Holding out hope of survivors, officials said the plane has four rafts that could carry up to 20 passengers each if it went down at sea.

Chile maintains a scientific base on Antarctica, conducting research on climate change and medicine. Military planes provide the only travel possibilities, frequently transporting civilians.

Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil said they were sending crews to assist in the search. Several airplanes scoured the area with infrared devices.

UPDATE: RT, 10/12/2019: Chilean military transport plane declared 'crashed'
The aircraft is considered to have "crashed" because it would have run out of fuel by now and could not fly any longer, the Director of Operations of the Chilean Air Force, Brigadier General Francisco Torres told reporters. But there is "always a possibility" that it has managed to land somewhere, he said, adding that the plane did not send any distress calls.
UPDATE: RT, 12/12/2019 Human remains and wreckage found
Chile's defense minister has confirmed that wreckage recovered from the sea off Antarctica is from a Chilean Air Force plane which disappeared on Monday. Alberto Espina also said some human remains have been found.

An emergency search and rescue operation was launched by the Chilean Air Force, and some debris was recovered from the waters of the Drake Passage on Wednesday. Espina told the media on Thursday that the debris was from the missing Hercules plane, and said that human remains from some of the victims have been recovered.

Earlier on Thursday, a Chilean regional governor said that the families of those on board the missing plane have been informed of the findings.
Very sad news indeed.

Heart - Black

Elementary school knowingly allowed drag queen convicted for prostitution to read to children

Miss Kitty Litter
A public-school librarian allowed a drag queen to read to students even after learning about his criminal background, a watchdog group has learned.

Texas Values used a Freedom of Information request to obtain text messages showing Roger Grape, a librarian at Blackshear Elementary School, was informed by drag queen David Richardson that he expected to fail a background check after a conviction for prostitution.

In the text message to Grape, Richardson predicted the "guidelines for submission automatically disqualify me" if his deferred adjudication for prostitution is considered a criminal conviction by the school district.

Take 2

Roman Polanski claims media trying to make him a 'monster' after new rape allegation & blames... Harvey Weinstein

© Reuters
Roman Polanski (left); Samantha Geimer (right)
Roman Polanski has accused none other than disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of being behind a media campaign to tarnish his reputation and lashed out at the press for seizing on rape allegations without evidence.

In an interview with Paris Match magazine published this week, Polanski said Weinstein had tried to brand him a "child rapist" in order to prevent him from winning an Oscar for his 2003 film, The Pianist.

He claimed Weinstein's press agent was the first person to call him that, in what he believes was an effort to ensure his own film, Chicago, was the big winner at the Oscars that year.

Polanski's comments come in light of new allegations which he has dismissed as "absurd," complaining that the media are "trying to make me into a monster" again. The film director fled the US in 1978 after admitting statutory rape of a 13-year-old.

Comment: That makes him a "child rapist", no? Maybe Weinstein did engage in a petty smear campaign - it sounds like something he'd do. But that doesn't imply Polanski is much if any better.

French photographer Valentine Monnier accused Polanski last month of raping her in an "extremely violent" way in 1975, which included beating her into submission.

Comment: See also:


Clashes between followers of Shia parties, police taking place in downtown Beirut

beirut lebanese army
Lebanese police are clashing on Thursday with followers of the Shia parties, trying to prevent them from coming to the squares of Downtown Beirut, occupied by peaceful protesters, eyewitnesses told Sputnik from the site.
"The clashes between followers of the Hezbollah [movement], the Amal Movement and police are taking place on the Ring Bridge near the Martyr's Square and the Riad Al Solh Square. Police are using tear gas to prevent aggressive groups from access to peaceful demonstrators. Followers of the Shia parties are throwing stones to police officers", the eyewitnesses said.

Comment: Elijah Magnier provides some background:
War was avoided when Hezbollah issued a directive instructing all its members and supporters to leave the streets, asking its members to stop and persuade any ally members to come off the streets and to avoid using motorcycles to harass protestors. The instructions were clear: "If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Hezbollah understood what the corners of Beirut are hiding: an invitation to start a war, particularly when for over a month the Lebanese army refused to open the main roads, allowing not only legitimate protestors but also thugs to rule.
So what's going on now, just a few days after the above was written? Did these alleged Hezbollah supporters not get the message?


Fire breaks out on Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, 2 people unaccounted for

Admiral Kuznetsov

Screenshot of the fire on Admiral Kuznetsov
A blaze has broken out during repair works on the Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov. Two servicemen have been injured, while two more people are reportedly missing.

The ship was undergoing repairs while docked at the Barents Sea port of Murmansk when fuel caught fire.

The blaze was sparked by welding in the first power section on the ship's deck, after which the fire spread to a space of 600 square meters (6,460 square feet), according to emergency services sources.

The Northern Fleet's press office later clarified that there was "a release of smoke into one of the compartments during welding works," and the source of the smoke was "localized." It added that there were no munitions on board.