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Gender: Male
Current location: Boseong
Member since: Fri Jan 30, 2004, 05:44 AM
Number of posts: 22,678

Journal Archives

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Europe's oldest person - a 116-year-old French nun - survives COVID-19

A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be Europe’s oldest person has survived COVID-19 and is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, lists Frenchwoman Lucile Randon — Sister André's birth name — as the second-oldest known living person in the world.

French media reported that the nun tested positive for coronavirus in mid-January in the southern French city of Toulon. But just three weeks later, she is considered recovered.

“I didn’t even realise I had it,” she told French newspaper Var-Matin.


2. Chinese Summit Gets Chilly Reception From Central, Eastern European Countries

Chinese leader Xi Jinping chaired a long-delayed summit with Central and Eastern European countries amid growing division in the region over how to view Beijing’s growing influence.

The February 9 virtual meeting that took place via video link focused on access to COVID-19 vaccines and post-pandemic economic recovery as Beijing convened the 17+1 bloc -- a format launched in 2012 for China to engage with Central and Eastern European nations, of which 12 are European Union members.

The summit took place after more than a year of delays and friction as Beijing looked to capitalize on the momentum of a European Union-China investment deal signed in late 2020 and to highlight its growing ties with the continent by having Xi lead the event in place of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, the usual top official.


The episode highlights a growing split taking place in Central and Eastern Europe in which many countries have a more sober assessment of engagement with China and are carefully positioning themselves between Beijing and Washington amid the deepening rivalry.


3. Swedish embassy in Minsk harbours two Belarusians for five months

Two Belarusians who sought refuge in the Swedish embassy in Minsk in September are still there five months later, Sweden’s foreign ministry has announced, in a case turning into a diplomatic headache.

A father and son, Vitaly and Vladislav Kuznechiki, tried to enter the Swedish embassy in the capital of Belarus on 11 September to seek asylum in the midst of widespread protests disputing the election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Finding the front door closed, the pair managed to jump a fence to the diplomatic compound’s car park.

“The two individuals are still on the premises of the embassy,” a spokesperson for the Swedish foreign ministry told AFP.


4. Fear And Loathing Vs. Trade Across The Armenian-Azerbaijani Border

SHURNUKH, Armenia -- As a shop owner in Armenia's southern province of Syunik, Lusine Aleksanian sells produce, bread, cheese, juice, cigarettes, and alcohol.

Just a few meters from her shop in the village of Shurnukh is the border with Azerbaijan.

Russian peacekeepers and Azerbaijani soldiers arrived in Shurnukh at the beginning of the year under the terms of the November 2020 peace agreement that brought an end to the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Using GPS locators, they determined that 12 of the houses in Shurnukh are in Qubadli -- one of the seven Azerbaijani districts that surround Nagorno-Karabakh and had been occupied by ethnic Armenian forces since the early 1990s.


5. Fresh blow to press freedom in Hungary as Klubrádió forced off the airwaves

Hungary's first independent radio station, Klubrádió, will go off the airwaves on Sunday at midnight after a court upheld a decision by media authorities not to extend its broadcasting licence.

The news marks yet another setback for the independent media in the country, which has been under pressure since Prime Minister Viktor Orban's return to power in 2010.

Klubrádió's president Andras Arato made the announcement on Tuesday, adding authorities said the station had "broken the rules" when the media lost its licence.

The liberal-leaning commercial station was one of the only remaining opposition radio voices in Hungary.


Countries That Allow Or Assist Gender Self-Determination



AiNA is one of the members of the Japanese Punk Group BiSH (A favorite of one of my daughters and me)
Their biggest hit is Orchestra
AiNA is singing this version by herself. It's accompanied by only the piano.
Her voice is amazing. She reminds me so much f Pat Benetar, Joan Jett and Deborah Harry (3 of my faves from Jr High, High School and Univ)

English subtitles provided for those who don't speak Japanese

ECFR: Why the Western Sahara dispute could escalate conflicts across North Africa and the Sahel

In light of Kushner being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, I am linking this story to create a broader understanding of the situation in Western Sahara and the various players involved as the deal that brought in Morocco directly impacts this.
One thing that is important to note, the Algerian Government does not support the US-Moroccan Agreement


Last week, the Trump administration decided to kick open one of the world’s longest-running conflicts on its way out the door, with potentially far-reaching consequences for North Africa and the Sahel. In a series of tweets on Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that he had signed a proclamation recognising Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a largely desert territory contested by Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front since 1975.


Although much of the initial media commentary on Trump’s announcement has focused on Moroccan-Israeli relations or US-Moroccan relations, the move poses problems for Morocco at home. The announcement also threatens to create greater unrest in an already-unstable Sahara. And, by disrupting decades of established international agreements, the announcement snubs international law and presents Europe and the incoming Biden administration with another uncomfortable and potentially dangerous international situation to sort out.


But, on closer inspection, the agreement may not be all that was advertised. Although Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law, consigliere, and lead Abraham Accords architect – referred to the full normalisation of diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco, Moroccan leaders have been more circumspect. Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, for instance, denied that recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara came in exchange for recognition of Israel. He only announced the reopening of Morocco’s “liaison offices” in Israel and vice-versa, and added in a separate interview that Morocco’s ties to Israel were already “normal”, necessitating no further normalisation.

Similarly, Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine el-Othmani celebrated the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara without mentioning the agreement with Israel, a position echoed by his Islamist Justice and Development Party. So far, the only official statement King Mohamed VI’s office on the issue has been to say that he telephoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to assure him that Morocco’s support for the Palestinian cause remained unchanged.


Guerguerate lies in a buffer area between Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara and a “free zone” made up of land controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). In 2016 Morocco deployed armed security forces in violation of the ceasefire agreement to protect construction workers completing a road that runs through the town to Mauritania (providing a link to West Africa). There were clashes over the construction of the road in 2016, but the ceasefire held – partly due Algeria’s desire to avoid open conflict. Algeria has supported the Polisario Front financially, politically, and militarily for almost all of the group’s history, and Algeria is home to more than 170,000 Sahrawi refugees.

Russians Buy Disabled Man Apartment After His Squalid Living Conditions Revealed

People have raised nearly $27,000 to buy a new apartment for a disabled man in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk after a Current Time report showed the squalid housing conditions in which he was living. Police have opened a criminal case against the company that manages Artyom Arkhipov's home.

Video at Link

Kyrgyzstan Seeks To Stop Wives From Staying In Abusive Marriages At All Costs

In the space of a single month, three Kyrgyz women from different walks of life killed themselves in the northeastern Issyk-Kul region in separate cases linked to domestic violence.


In a WhatsApp message sent from her deathbed, Aruuzat told her colleagues that she had decided to end her life because her family wanted her to reconcile with her abusive husband despite being beaten by him.


It’s a long-standing tradition for abuse to be quietly accepted in Kyrgyzstan -- a country where divorce is shunned and women are encouraged to keep their marriages intact at almost any cost.


In an unprecedented move, the parliament passed a bill that bans such reconciliation if one of the parties in the marriage subjects his or her spouse to physical or mental abuse.


“Now, the bill introduces new standards that prohibit the reconciliation of the parties if it puts one of the parties in harm’s way, or in cases in which one of the parties has already been subjected to violence,” Nikitenko said.


It'll be interesting to watch how well this works. It's difficult to overcome centuries of cultural beliefs
It is a start
And Kyrgyz Lawmakers Ishak Pirmatov and Natalia Nikitenko have signaled this is only the beginning

Quotables from around the internet about the capitol insurrection

1. People at the riot who lost their jobs finally realized why their grandparents wore hoods to cover their identity.

2. Rioters: Lost Jobs, court fees, jail time, tainted record.
Trump: playing golf in sunny Florida

3. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes

4. Play terrorist games, win terrorist prizes

5. Boy if these people were worried about the government watching them before?

6. "Nothing we can't accomplish"? Like getting arrested

7. "We went there to attack people." (said hairstylist in California)
Thanks for making it easy for the FBI.

8. It was great fun until the FBI showed up at his house.

response to story about a dating and relationship strategist at the insurrection

-. Key to successful relationships: Don’t be a terrorist!

-. A dating coach? He's got a date now with a judge, a jury and a warden. Nice work.

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Renew Europe expels Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich over homophobic comments

European Parliament group Renew Europe has expelled Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich over homophobic comments.

The politician had faced an internal disciplinary procedure for posting comments on social media where he referred to the LGBT+ community as "perverts".

In a statement on Wednesday, the liberal group confirmed Uspaskich's expulsion "with immediate effect" following a vote.


But he repeated his comments, adding that he was "not referring to people who are naturally given a different orientation by nature ... [but] those who scream loudly and lead a perverted way of life."


2. From vaccine creation to trepidation: France's struggle with anti-vaxxers

As vaccination against COVID-19 gears up in Europe, so are the campaigns discrediting vaccines led by the so-called anti-vaxxers. Distrust and even opposition to vaccines are very prevalent in France. Recent polls by Nature Medicine and Wellcome Global Monitor 2018 demonstrate this lack of confidence the French have in vaccine efficiency and safety. The distrust also seems to be shared across gender, origin and social-economic status. This latent hesitancy is what anti-vaxxers are trying to capitalise on. But for what reason?

Some want to gain political or social influence. Others are looking at ways to make a profit either via links to drug lobbies, health gurus and even vegan markets.


One such anti-vaxxer took us six weeks to talk to and he only accepted on condition of anonymity. He says that he has 125 000 social media followers. He also believes he has received death threats. The pharmaceutical industry, he claims, is tracking him because of his opinions. One of these opinions, in his words, is that "some of Bill Gates' vaccines have created big pandemics in certain countries, like India, where he took his polio vaccine". He also believes the vaccine gave 450 000 children the disease and it doesn't stop there. He tells me that "in other countries, like Kenya, it even caused huge sterilisation of thousands of young women".


Another conspiracy he tells me about is connected to Moderna and how it allegedly "received investment from Merck about five years ago and they were already doing research on a vaccine against COVID in 2015". In addition to this, he believes "Pasteur has even registered patents for the coronavirus and for COVID".

The French vaccine pioneer, Louis Pasteur, of course, did not register any patent for a COVID-19 vaccine, as many anti-vaxxers claim, nor did The Pasteur Institute register a patent for the COVID-19 vaccine before the pandemic.


3. Italy blocks TikTok for certain users after death of girl allegedly playing 'choking' game

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the accidental death of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly took part in a “blackout challenge” on the video-sharing network TikTok.

The probe came as Italy announced it had temporarily blocked access to TikTok for users whose age could not be proved definitively.

The girl died in a Palermo hospital after being discovered on Wednesday by her five-year-old sister in the family bathroom with her cellphone, which was seized by police.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said on Friday it had not managed to identify any content on its site that could have encouraged the girl to participate in any such challenge, but was helping the authorities in the probe over possible “incitement to suicide”.


4. Belarus Teenage Couple Gets Jail For Anti-Lukashenka Slogans

MINSK -- A court in Minsk has sentenced a teenage couple to prison terms for painting slogans against strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country since 1994, on the shields of riot police officers during ongoing protests.

The Kastrychnik (October) district court on January 22 sentenced Sofya Malashevich to two years in prison and Tsikhan Klyukach to 18 months. Both are 18-year-old students of a college in the western city of Brest.

The court found Malashevich guilty of hooliganism, publicly insulting the country's president, and conducting activities that disrupted public order. Klyukach was found guilty of conducting activities that disrupted public order.

The charges stem from their participation in anti-Lukashenka protests in Minsk, during which Malashevich spray-painted anti-Lukashenka slogans on the shields of the riot police while Klyukach was filming her actions on his mobile phone.


5. Former Bosnian Muslim general Sakib Mahmuljin convicted of war crimes

A former general of Bosnian Muslim forces has been convicted of war crimes by a court in Sarajevo.

Sakib Mahmuljin was found guilty of responsibility in the deaths of more than 50 Serb prisoners of war in the Vozuca and Zavidovici region during the 1992-95 conflict.

The Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina ruled the wartime Bosnian Army Third Corps commander did nothing to prevent crimes committed by Islamic volunteer fighters in the El Mujahedin.

Mahmuljin had pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers insisting he had no real command over the unit. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday but can appeal the verdict.


A certain bit of irony that the House Freedom Caucus would want a vote to oust

Liz Cheney for exercising her freedom to impeach trump

Pat Robertson was right. Just not the way he thought

On the 4th of January Pat Robertson said, "I believe something dramatic. I believe something very dramatic will happen before Congress meets..." he also added, "The Holy Spirit is going to enter in and something very dramatic will happen."

Something dramatic did happen, on January 5th the Democrats swept the Republicans from both U.S. Senate seats. So, to Pat and his followers, "There's your dramatic happening, courtesy of the Holy Spirit."

You can feel free to disagree. But this is my talking point to all of Pat's followers
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