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Fri, 21 Feb 2020
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Megaphone

Hamas is quick to call for rallies, but not to support those who suffer losses - Protester

hamas militants
© AP Photo / Adel Hana
Even though Hamas is the one organising protests along the Israel-Gaza border, they don't take responsibility for the deaths and injuries such rallies cause, says a Palestinian protester, who was wounded in one of the clashes. Although he does get money from Ramallah, the amount is simply not enough to keep him afloat.

Demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border that have drawn thousands of Palestinians to the fence and have seen more than 200 Palestinians killed over the course of two years, will resume in March, said a statement by the High Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege.

The so-called March of Return protests that erupted in March 2018 following Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel stopped following mediation efforts by the Egyptian government. Now, however, they promise to come back with a new vigour.

Arrow Down

'More interested in pipelines than indigenous people': Trudeau faces activists' wrath over yet ANOTHER contentious energy project

Justin Trudeau
© Reuters / Blair Gable
With Canada paralyzed by anti-pipeline blockades that shut railways and crippled traffic, Justin Trudeau canceled a Caribbean trip to manage the crisis — but indigenous people opposing the project have little reason to trust him.

When he was first elected five years ago, Trudeau convinced liberal voters that he was an environmentalist and that concern for the natural environment would be a cornerstone of his administration. He gave heartfelt speeches on climate change and cutting carbon emissions. He pledged to phase out federal fossil fuel subsidies. He promised to end the "inaction" of the previous government on environmental protection and leave younger generations with an "even more beautiful, sustainable, and prosperous" country than exists now. He also committed to reconciliation with First Nations people.

Since then, his government declared a "climate emergency" — and he has even marched alongside teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. Yet, Trudeau has also approved new oil and gas pipelines, all but abandoned the promise to end fossil fuel subsidies, ignored indigenous fears over the destruction of their native lands and essentially sold out to corporate interests over environmental protection.

The recent anti-pipeline blockades and demonstrations have sprung up in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are fighting against the construction of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink — a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline in British Columbia that would cross-cut First Nations territory.

Comment: See also: Canadian energy giant 'funding' Oregon sheriff's unit to thwart protests against one of its own pipeline projects - report


Handcuffs

Russian police raid banned radical Islamist group Tablighi Jamaat's 'training camp', arrest leaders & participants

Russia arrests extremists Islamist Tablighi Jamaat
Seven members of a hardline Islamic organization were arrested in Moscow on Wednesday, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB). They are charged with disseminating extremist propaganda and trying to recruit new supporters.

Tablighi Jamaat, which means the Outreach Society or the Society for Spreading Faith, is banned in Russia. Its philosophy is based around the idea that Muslims should revert to practicing their faith as it was done in the 7th century, when the Prophet Mohammed himself lived. It particularly focuses on styles of dress, personal behavior, and forms of ritual.

"Three leaders and four active members of a conspiratorial cell who were conducting a training camp for members of the organization were detained," the FSB said in a statement. It further accused them of "undermining the foundations of Islam," while confirming the detained were natives of Central Asia.

Comment: Unlike many Western countries, Russia is serious about halting the spread of extremist ideology.


Black Magic

Russian police raid cult that made millions selling 'divine protection spells'

Order of the Path cult
© Getty Images / Fairfax Media / CRAIG SILLITOE
St. Petersburg police searched the apartment-turned-"temple" and stables of "Order of the Path," a family-run cult that claimed to be fighting against "black mages" in the gov't and sold "divine protection" for $300,000 a pop.

Earlier this week, St. Petersburg police SWAT teams raided the mysterious "Order of the Path," a cult run by psychologist-turned-"magister" Gayva Tihomirova, and arrested the leader, 78.ru reports. The raids targeted the main "temple" of the organization, which was converted from a two-bedroom apartment, their offices, and the stables outside the city where, the shady Order held their cabals. By day, Tihomirova and company played therapist to wayward souls who wandered into the "temple" looking for help with their troubles. By night, the sinister organization worked on "preventing the apocalypse, protecting life and civilization on planet Earth, and the planet itself" by getting their victims to pay them tens of thousands of dollars for "divine protection" spells.

Hooking the target

An average "client" that Tihomirova's operation targeted was a man like "Roman" (name possibly changed to protect his identity), who spoke to 78.ru. Roman was a well-off St. Petersburg-based businessman with a dark secret: he hit the bottle pretty hard. The rich alcoholic heard about the friendly psychologist from a friend of a friend, and decided to visit the "temple" to try to find a cure for his addiction. At first, the organization drew him in: everyone was friendly, really listened to his concerns, made him feel like they actually cared about him. For a man who got used to hearing from doctors that they couldn't help him, this was a real change of pace. Roman was hooked, and kept coming back for Tihomirova's $100 "balancing" sessions.

Comment: Fear and Knowledge
Fear is very much known to everyone and it is highly contagious. We see it everywhere, especially in today's world. When one becomes fearful, one's mind resorts to a state of being clouded or paralyzed. In order to overcome this kind of fear, one would require knowledge and the ability to think for oneself. Knowledge can surely protect us from that which we would be fearful of.



Star of David

Palestine's daily indignities: Israeli police break into Palestinian kindergarten, search children's bags for "weapons"

israel kindergarten search police
© Arab48
Israeli policemen searching bags of the children of Baida'a Ath Thalj kindergarten in the city of Tayibe, which is located in the land occupied in 1948.
Large numbers of heavily-armed Israeli policemen on Monday broke into Baida'a AthThalj kindergarten in the city of Tayibe in the land occupied in 1948 and searched children's bags, spreading fear among the children, reported Arab 48.

The Israeli raid comes a few days after breaking into a school in occupied Acre and taking a 9-year-old girl for interrogation.

The Israelis searched the bags of all children despite trials by teachers to prevent them.

The police claimed that it was looking for weapons inside the children's bags.

Rabab Oweidah, a teacher in the kindergarten, told Arab 48 that she "was very concerned about the children, who seemed very scared and shocked

Comment: Quds News also reported the destruction of a water supply in Jericho the same week:
Israeli occupation forces today destroyed pipes providing water to al-Shunah quarter in the village of al-Jiftlik, located in the Jordan Valley to the north of Jericho, according to Qais al-Sinawi, a local activist.

He told official Palestinian news agency WAFA that Israeli forces raided the village and proceeded to destroy the connectors supplying running water to Palestinian crops.

Palestinians tend to install water connector to the main Israeli water carrier lines which supply between 400 and 700 cubic meters of underground Palestinian water per hour to the colonial settlements, which is for them the only way they can get water to their homes, crops and livestock as Israel bans them from building water pipes of their own.

Israel does not allow Palestinian development in the Jordan Valley, which its politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the fertile Jordan Valley would be annexed to Israel.



Attention

Man stabbed in neck at London mosque during afternoon prayer

mosque stabbing
© The Guardian/Youtube
Screenshot: Footage appears to show man arrested at London mosque after stabbing
Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into the attempted murder of a man who was stabbed at a mosque during afternoon prayers.

The mosque's muezzin, who calls others to prayers, was said to have been stabbed in the neck, according to one witness who posted a video showing the alleged attacker being detained by police at London Central Mosque in Regent's Park.

The Metropolitan police confirmed the injured man was aged in his 70s. He had been assessed in hospital after being treated by paramedics at the scene and his condition was not life-threatening.

A man, who one witness said was a regular at the mosque, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

Comment: Also today: 9 dead after 'racist' man goes on shooting spree at two hookah bars in Hanau, Germany

Meanwhile there were at least two other notable incidents this week and in the UK:


Attention

Riot troops sent to small Ukrainian town as residents attempt to block evacuated coronavirus patients

Protests ukraine coronavirus

Ukrainian riot police gather to block protesters who planed to stop busses with passengers from the Ukrainian aircraft chartered by the Ukrainian government for evacuation from the Chinese city of Wuhan, leave the the gate upon their landing at airport outside Novi Sarzhany, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020
Ukraine had to resort to old-school police tactics to quash a protest by local residents of a small town when they closed roads after learning that a plane full of possible carriers of the new coronavirus was heading their way.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian government finally evacuated its citizens from the epidemic-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan. Four people were barred from boarding the plane by medics due to elevated body temperature, but 73 others boarded the charter flight. After a short detour to Kazakhstan to deliver two nationals to the Central Asian country, the plane flew to Ukraine.

But not everyone in Ukraine was happy for their 45 compatriots and 29 foreigners who were fleeing China. Some residents of Novi Sanzhary, in Ukraine's Poltava region, learned that they will be hosting the evacuees and crew members from the plane at a local medical resort. Much like similarly-minded people in Hong Kong, they said they didn't want to take the risk and resorted to street protests.

Comment: When there has been such a concerted effort by news media to terrify people about the virus, the response by residents is understandable, although hardly charitable.


Arrow Down

Two killed when Sydney-to-Melbourne XPT train derails near Victoria

Sydney to Melbourne XPT derailed

The scene after a Sydney to Melbourne XPT derailed, killing two people.
Two people, including the driver, were killed when the Sydney-to-Melbourne XPT train carrying 160 passengers derailed in Victoria on Thursday night.

Four carriages were scattered across rail lines, leaving shaken passengers scrambling from the wreckage near Wallan, 47km north of Melbourne, at 7.50pm.

The train was 12 hours into its journey and running more than two hours late when carriages jack-knifed on a section of track where recent problems had forced delays.

Comment: The incident is particularly unfortunate coming just after the mid-air plane collision north of Melbourne which took the lives of four people.


Health

UK: Hospitals to deny care to "racist" or "homophobic" patients

ambulance UK
Patients deemed to be "racist" or "homophobic" will be denied care in NHS Trust hospitals under new rules set to take effect in April.

"Currently, staff can refuse to treat non-critical patients who are verbally aggressive or physically violent towards them," reports Sky News. "But these protections will extend to any harassment, bullying or discrimination, including homophobic, sexist or racist remarks."

Police will also be given new powers to prosecute "hate crimes" committed against NHS staff.

Pistol

9 dead after 'racist' man goes on shooting spree at two hookah bars in Hanau, Germany

Hanau
© Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach
Special forces searching an area after a shooting in Hanau near Frankfurt, Germany, February 20, 2020
Shootings at two hookah bars in the German city of Hanau and nearby Kesselstadt have resulted in multiple casualties. Police believe the attacks are related and have detained one suspect.

German media reported that the first incident happened at Kurt-Schumacher-Platz in central Hanau. It was followed by the shooting in Kesselstadt, which apparently involved shots fired at another hookah bar from a moving car shortly afterward.

The two incidents are being treated as related.


A third shooting, in the Lamboy district, has been reported by local TV channel Hessischer Rundfunk, but remains unconfirmed as of yet.


Hanau is a city of about 100,000 residents, located just east of Frankfurt on the Mein, in the German state of Hesse.

Comment: Chancellor Merkel had this to say about it:
"There are many indications at the moment that the perpetrator acted on right-wing extremist, racist motives, out of hatred towards people of other origins, religion or appearance. Racism is poison, hatred is poison and this poison exists in society and it is to blame for too many crimes."
See also: