October 4th 2022
|Good morning from Berlin, Germany will likely continue down the path of intensified relations with Italy that started under the previous administration, even if a Georgia Meloni-led government is formed after the elections on Sunday. Read more.|
Germany’s plan to protect households and companies from soaring energy crises with a €200 billion investment have been heavily criticised for being a go-it-alone approach by the European Commission and member states. Read more.
French people hosting Ukrainians to receive financial assistance. French people who welcomed displaced Ukrainians into their homes will receive financial aid, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced on Monday. Read more.
Austria in favour of additional Iran sanctions. The Austrian government has called for extending sanctions against Iran alongside five other EU countries following the women’s protests and subsequent government suppression. Read more.
New Dutch agriculture minister announced. Former deputy Piet Adema is the Netherlands’ new agriculture, nature, and food quality minister, taking over from Henk Staghouwer, who resigned last month over Netherlands’ nitrogen dilemma. Read more.
|EU foreign ministers agree to prepare new Russia sanctions amid recent escalation. A new round of sanctions against Russia is set to be prepared after an emergency late-night meeting between EU foreign ministers on Wednesday (21 September) in New York, following Moscow’s latest escalation in the war against Ukraine. Read more. MEPs seek to streamline enforcement in EU’s political ads rulebook. The MEPs from the leading parliamentary committee have tabled a series of amendments on the upcoming rules for political advertising, notably on the implementation, sanction regime, definition and public ad repositories. Read more.|
|BERLIN Germany will apply to become a permanent member of the main executive organ of the United Nations – the Security Council, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday in New York. Read more. /// PARIS France’s energy bill to exceed €100 billion this year. France’s fossil fuel import bill is expected double from 2021, reaching €100 billion as energy bills skyrocket across Europe, the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN) told a Parliamentary hearing on Wednesday. Read more. /// VIENNA Austria in violation of EU labour market laws. The European Commission has notified the Austrian government of its failure to signal the transposition of new EU labour market directives, kickstarting the bloc’s infringement procedure that could end at the European Court of Justice. Read more. /// BRUSSELS Belgian PM reacts to Putin’s partial mobilisation, threats against West. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for continued support for Ukraine in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats against the West on Wednesday. Read more. /// THE HAGUE Asylum ship arrives in North Holland. Silja Europa, a cruise ship that will accommodate 1,000 asylum seekers between now and February, arrived in Velsen-Noord, in the north Holland province, on Wednesday. Read more.|
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|STOCKHOLM The new executive must respond to Brussels’ demand to scrap border controls with Denmark as soon as possible, Swedish Home Affairs European Commissioner Ylva Johansson declared on Tuesday as political parties continue talks to form a new government. Read more. /// HELSINKI Finland: Uniper’s nationalisation a ‘regrettable’ necessity, relief. The long-anticipated announcement that the German State will take full control of the Finnish energy company Fortum’s subsidiary Uniper was seen in Finland mostly as an unavoidable measure and a relief despite the heavy losses. Read more.|
|LONDON Truss sets April 2023 deadline for NI protocol settlement. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has set an April 2023 deadline for negotiating a settlement with the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol following talks with US President Joe Biden. Read more.|
Comment The arrogance of western elites, notably Anglo U.S. EU and NATO’s ongoing elite media and government misinformation concerning their money making empire building war in Ukraine, along with the kind of energy cum cost of living strategy favoured by Police State Britain, makes fascism very attractive to working class people – as it did in the 1930s. Trickle down economics is very similar to Britain’s inter war economic police state’s retrenchment..
With its struggling cumbersome on the cheap empire, just as with market protecting Bank of England ( Blair empowered and glorified that institution as heart oif a corrupt financial system where even the new token black Tory Chancellor is a former Hedge Fund Manager ) the conditions are ripe for a resurgence of fascism. An open door immigration policy from Africa is too expensive fot the masses who are paying for it, as well as a proxy war in Ukraine which is making the rich a fortune.
They don’t care how much of the world they blow up because the hopelesss helpless masses will pay. The banks are ready to asset strip those who can’t afford higher rate mortgages. Official propaganda never mentions the effects of war in Ukraine and ever extending Russia sanctions. They get away with it because Russsia has been portrayed as a evil ever since they removed the Romanovs. This is why Britain led the conspiracy to assassinate communist idealist Vladymir Ulyanov aka Lenin to have him replaced by murderous Stalin to discredit the communist threat to pleasure bent rich ruling classes – typified in the U.K by Romanov very close relatives of the Windsors. This class is aware of the demographic and climate time bomb ticking away at hastening speed. This is why self interested King Charles III has been banging on about it, offering paliatives and charity, since the 1980s
The cruelty of the Romanov regime and Royal drivel has reached a greater apogee with the ancient Queen’s apparently unexpected death aged 96 and a remodelled Charles Windsor as King Cover All. The proof of the pudding will be in people freezing and starving for yet another glorious war.
The Queen’s grand military funeral , attended by some of the most dubious and ruthless of world leaders was most disconcerting to me. Still the masses loved it, making them feel part of something really big. It is a moot point as to whether World War Three has started. I think it started when Yeltsin bit the dust. R J Cook
October 1st 2022
This Really Is Anglo-U.S Led NATO’s War & Has Been A Long Time In Planning.
Putin Announces Official Annexation of 4 Ukrainian Territories
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed a decree that will annex four Ukrainian territories into the Russian Federation in a move that was condemned by Western powers.
The order will impact the disputed regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia. Starting about a week ago, residents of those areas signed referendums, although U.S. and European Union officials claimed it was a sham.
“You know that referendums have taken place,” Putin said Friday at a ceremony in the Kremlin, according to state-run media. “The results have been calculated. The results are known. People have made their choice, an unequivocal choice.”
Describing the votes as “the will of millions of people,” Putin said that people “living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our compatriots forever.”
In February, the Kremlin recognized the disputed Donbass areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states and accused Ukraine’s government of failing to implement earlier agreements that would give those regions special status following widespread protests in Kyiv in 2014. Days later, Putin on Feb. 24 announced the invasion of Ukraine, describing it as a “special military operation.”
“We will always remember the heroes of the Russian Spring,” Putin said in reference to incidents in 2014, including protests against Ukraine’s government in the Donbass and Crimea—which Russia ultimately annexed.
And Putin said he would remember “those who died for the right in their native tongue, to preserve their culture, traditions, their faith. For their right to live,” state-run media reported.
He urged Ukraine to cease military action and return to the negotiating table. Kyiv has vowed to recapture all the lands seized by Russia and said that Russia’s decision to annex the territories has destroyed any prospect of talks.
It comes as Russian forces have faced setbacks on the battlefield. Pro-Russian officials acknowledged that Russian troops were on the verge of encirclement in Lyman, their main garrison in the north of Donetsk province.
A defeat there could open the way for Ukraine to recapture swathes of the territory that Putin has now declared to be part of Russia.
The referendum votes were sharply criticized in the West, accusing Russia of perpetuating a sham.
Putin signs treaties on accession of former Ukrainian regions to RussiaRussian President Vladimir Putin has signed the treaties on the inclusion of Donbass, as well as Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions into RussiaRead more on the site
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||01 October|
‘Will of the people’ against ‘dictate of the West’: Highlights of Putin’s speech at signing ceremony for treaties of accessionRussia will support the people willing to join it and will oppose the Western campaign of ‘de-sovereignization’, Vladimir Putin has saidRead more on the site
‘I can’t imagine our future differently’: Donbass residents explain why they voted to join RussiaRT’s correspondent in Donetsk outlines the local reaction to the referendums on reunification with RussiaRead more on the site
Long way home: How Ukraine lost control of regions that returned to RussiaRussia has begun official acceptance of four former-Ukrainian regions as its new territories, following years of conflictRead more on the site
Ukraine reacts to former regions joining RussiaHowever strongly NATO feels about supporting Ukraine, it is not willing to become party to the conflict, or grant Kiev accelerated admissionRead more on the site
Western leaders react to new regions joining RussiaWestern leaders have condemned President Vladimir Putin for signing treaties to bring four former regions of Ukraine into RussiaRead more on the site
|Business News||30 September|
Washington sanctions Russian central bank chiefThe Russian central bank chief is now blacklisted by the US as Washington has expanded the number of individuals targeted by sanctionsRead more on the site
|World News||30 September|
September 30th 2022
Open World War Three Ever Nearer
Zelensky has asked for his Ukraine NATO application to be fast tracked because four regions, including two in Donbas are to join Russia. Ukraine has lost 20 % of its territory. There are too many dead Rusians and obvious NATO involvment for Putin to back down. Support for Uktraine in rabble rouser Britain is leading Europe astray. Britain had far more to do with the previous World Wars as well as empowering Stalin and then Hitler to destroy Stalin, than common people are allowed to know. This is s game to Prince Charle’s class of people and we are expendable.
The Queen’s death was inevitable at 96. Few working class people survive for so long in such fine health and have so much pleasure. Her ancestors in the Russian and German Royal Family created World War One. Her class punished British and German working people whilst having the audacity to plot the murder of communist idealist Vladimir Ulyanov , aka Lenin.
This vile greedy class were responsible for the Great Depression , fascism and hatred which destroyed Europe, nuked Japan,with hideous consequences to stop the Russians getting in there in 1945. People were cooked alive. One hideously deformed woman saw her post man melted along with his bicycle from the incredible heat. The radiactive fallout spelled years of misery and deformed children.
So the logic of this situation is that, once Ukraine – which was never a country – is accepted by NATO fast tracking, they have an obligcation to openly attack Russisa, instead of the current covert death by a thousand cuts method. Russia will ultimately have no other option than Nuclear.
The phrase sleepwalking into World War One was used in Max Hasting’s book on that four years of horror. Russia knows the hell of war better than any nation. After the Russian Revolution – caused by hedonistic vile Romanov ancestors of our late Queen and beloved King Charles III – the Capitalist allies stirred up ad supported Civil War there – killing real communist Marxist ideals along with Lenin. That has happened here, Russia’s culture is under attack and it may be too late to pull back. Vanity is the hall mark of a dictator. It is redolent with pompous pius Zelensky who like his predecessor, is a NATO place man. What the west want is Russia broken down into a more manageable collection of colonies. Then a minority of minorities will take charge of each, bent to the will of elitist Anglo U.S NATO and EU
The fear factor has worked up Scandanavian countries into hysteria. Here wonderful peace loving female leaders have achieved the dream of having Russian nuclear missiles pointed at them. Our media people are superficial. They underestimate the risk of nuclear war and significance of 300,000 Russians being trained and mobilised . Britain and Western Europe’s young men ( war is sexist , culling young men ). face conscription as a real possibility. Woe betide any of those men who choose conscientious objection. Women will hand out the white feathers again and the jails will burst open.Then the mindless masses might wake up from their daily sleep walking. The Quen’s funeral was British militarism at its’ best.
China , Pakistan, Turkey and Iran need to consider their positions, Remember what NATO did to Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. NATO is really the U.S interest, so we can add Somalia and all of Latin America except Britain’s friends in Argentina and Chile. I worked for the Nitrate Corporation of Chile, so know what that is all about. There is nothing exceptional about Britain and the U.S except skills in lying , secrecy , hypocrisy , exploitation and corruption.
R J Cook
Russia and US seeking to revive key nuclear deal – MoscowThe US and Russia are considering the resumption of inspections under the New START nuclear arms treaty, the Russian Foreign Ministry saysRead more on the site
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||29 September|
Kremlin reveals next step for former Ukrainian regionsVladimir Putin to sign treaties on including the republics of Donbass and two self-proclaimed states into the Russian FederationRead more on the site
US VP speaks of ‘strong alliance’ with North KoreaDuring a visit to the Korean demilitarized zone, US Vice President Kamala Harris accidentally commended the US alliance with North KoreaRead more on the site
|Business News||29 September|
Israel gives green light for drone assassinations – mediaIsrael’s military has authorized the use of drones to kill terrorism suspects in the West Bank, the Jerusalem Post has reportedRead more on the site
Ex-Polish FM deletes tweet implying US sabotage of gas pipelinePolish MEP Radoslaw Sikorski has deleted a tweet implying that the US was behind the explosion that damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelinesRead more on the site
Key Russian Black Sea gas pipeline under threat – US state mediaThe Russian natural gas pipeline TurkStream is no longer being maintained due to EU sanctions, a US government outlet reportedRead more on the site
US puts energy operators on ‘heightened alert’US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged American energy carriers to be on alert after the sabotage of Russia’s Nord Stream pipelinesRead more on the site
Comment I fully Understand what Vladimir Putin is doing and why, but would get arrested if I wrote on here that I agree. I think my views are clear. I am sick of Russia’s past being used as an excuse for our vile elite and police state. Mass hysteria over the Royal Funeral was incredible.
It says it all that anyone interested in reading the RT reports needs a particular special browser which I cannot name. So much for Britain’s Strong Independent media if it and what passes for a nation has to be protected from RT. Our grotesque governement and no better opposition are using the Ostrich Dopey Defence and Security methood -ODDS for short , and they are getting shorther every day.
Too many British get off on uniforms. There is even a uniform dating society. To many women, the sight of a man in uniform is as erotic as that when a man sees a woman in pretty satin lingerie – the rough and the smooth. Some women enjoy wearing police and military uniforms too. I will leave that sensitive subject alone. Princess Anne’s attire at her mother’s funeral says it all..
Miss R J Cook
September 25th 2022
6 April 2022 – 7 min. read
The Environmental Cost of the War in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine rages over one of the most heavily industrialised and polluted territories in the world. The legacy of Soviet heavy industry was already a public health disaster but the Russian invasion risks further damage to the natural systems on which people living in these regions depend. The ecological impacts of the conflict is a reminder that even when the fighting stops, the violence will be felt for generations to come.
War always pollutes the environment, especially when it damages hazardous industries. Between 2014 and 2022, the conflict in Donbas in eastern Ukraine, a heavily industrialised region, has presented significant risks to the environment and public health of people living in the area. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with its takeover of nuclear power plants, and attacks on cities, thermal power plants, and industrial enterprises with hazardous facilities dramatically increases the threat of an environmental and public health catastrophe. Truth suffers as war unfolds, and the impeding loss of access to environmental monitoring on the ground coupled with direct disinformation also weaken our capacity to understand and limit environmental harm.
Environmental disaster in Ukraine
Besides the numerous civilian casualties and the unprecedented displacement of people, Russia’s war on Ukraine will have dire consequences for the environment and public health, not just in Ukraine, but also in Russia, Belarus, Moldova and larger parts of Eastern Europe. The long-ranging effects of environmental harm from war can range from persistent pollution, the loss of ecosystems, fertile soil, and livelihoods to large-scale and regional consequences of industrial disasters highly likely in a country as industrialised as Ukraine.
In 2013 and 2014, following a wave of protests across Ukraine in response to the government’s decision to forego signing an Association Agreement with the European Union, pro-Russian protests erupted in Donbas, a region with a Russian-speaking majority. Over the course of 2014, with Russia’s undercover support and inspiration, protests and occupations of government buildings in Donbas escalated into a war between Ukrainian armed forces and separatist militia backed by Russian troops and paramilitaries. Even though Russia consistently denied its involvement, it established de-facto control over parts of the Donbas region by installing its proxies, providing weaponry, and having a military presence. Since then the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in Donbas carried out numerous grave human rights violations, such as torture and forced displacement. On top of shelling, which never completely ceased over the last eight years, people living in the area also had to cope with cuts in power supplies, heating, and drinking water.
Numerous Ukrainian and international organisations — including Zoï Environmental Network, Ecoplatform, CEOBS, PAX, Environment-People-Law, Truth Hounds, and the OSCE to name a few — have warned for years about the regional environmental and public health consequences of the war in Donbas — the region covering the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in Eastern Ukraine. Home to around 4500 mining, metallurgical, and chemical enterprises, the Donbas region was polluted before and is home to “Europe’s most significant man-made environmental burden”. Eighty per cent of those industries have hazardous installations that pose a threat to the environment. The region hosts 200 of Ukraine’s 465 Tailing Storage Facilities (TSFs) — large ponds storing the industrial waste and toxic substances of the region’s heavy mining, chemical, and energy industry. Some of these enterprises and facilities are abandoned by their owners or in disrepair. Many were in the immediate vicinity of the line of contact.
Besides the numerous civilian casualties and the unprecedented displacement of people, Russia’s war on Ukraine will have dire consequences for the environment and public health […]
Ever since the conflict began, abandoned coal mines are flooding Donbas with toxic and sometimes radioactive substances. Many environmental risks come from sudden disruptions in the production of mines: mine water needs to be pumped continuously; if the pumping stops, toxic water fills the mineshafts and moves up, eventually reaching and polluting the ground and drinking water. Polluted water from one shaft spills over to others because many of the mineshafts are connected. The Yunyi Komunar (Yunkom) mine, for instance, was the site of a nuclear explosion in 1979 to release trapped gas, and the Luhanska, Proletarska, and H.H. Kapustin mines may contain radioactive waste as well. Reporting on flooding in the Yunyi Komunar mine raised fears that contaminated water would mix with the groundwater and pollute drinking water. Future environmental emergencies such as breaks in the dams of Tailings Storage Facilities may pollute the Siverskyi Donets River — a primary source of drinking water for a large part of the Donbas region too — with transboundary pollution theoretically capable of reaching the Sea of Azov and eventually the Black Sea.
These environmental and public health risks, which international and national reports have already found, will significantly increase with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. A few days before Russia’s invasion, an MLRS Grad rocket hit Luhansk Thermal Power Plant in Schastia, causing power outages and plumes of black smoke. On 13 March, shelling damaged production shops and pipelines of the Avdiivka Coke Plant — Ukraine’s largest producer of coke, a fuel mainly used in the industrial sector. Damage to critical facilities of the plant could result in the release of harmful substances. Its thermal power plant, which supplies heat to the town of Avdiivka, was also damaged during the attack. Many other industries were damaged throughout Donbas and the rest of Ukraine too. In Sumy, Russian shelling led to leakage of toxic ammonia. The water supply of numerous Ukrainian cities including Donetsk and Mariupol was disrupted by shelling just before the war started, and then in particular during the first month of hostilities.
Today, many NGOs and observers such as PAX, the Conflict and Environment Observatory, and Zoï Environment Network report that Russia has attacked nuclear and hydropower plants, fuel pipelines and depots, and other industrial infrastructure throughout Ukraine. Indiscriminate bombing of cities does not only lead to acute human suffering, it also destroys and dramatically pollutes the urban environment which will prolong and deepen the human suffering of this war.
Nuclear fears and toxic floods
The severe environmental risks of this war were clear from the outset. Russian troops moving through the exclusion zone of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant – the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster – caused gamma radiation to spike. On 9 March, reports about a power outage, exhausted staff, and a loss of communication with Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, raised further concerns of eventual radiation-loaded accidents. On March 10, an airstrike cut the power supply for the research nuclear facility “Source of Neutrons” in Kharkov. Fire by Russian tanks damaged reactors at the Zaporiz’ka Nuclear Power plant, taking them out of operation and switching them off the power grid. Although in its later update the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that the radiation levels in all operational reactors in Ukraine were normal, there is no direct way to confirm this, and the safety of nuclear facilities in close proximity to the front line remains highly compromised.
While people have deep-rooted fears of nuclear catastrophe, disasters following damaged and leaking Tailing Storage Facilities of chemical and mining industries are equally worrisome. From afar, storage facilities resemble still lakes, but these large, dammed structures store the toxic sludge, water, and residue ore from the mining process. Left unattended, these facilities are prone to damage and can leak contaminated wastewater into the environment, eventually reaching ground- and surface waters.
Tailing Storage Facilities can break because of internal erosion, lack of maintenance, or external hazards such as military threats. Catastrophes connected to dam failures are increasingly common around the world. Just ten years ago the spill at miner Talvivaara in Sotkamo, Finland — a company primarily mining for nickel and zinc, with uranium as a by-product — contaminated at least 100 hectares of lake and marshlands with heavy metals and uranium. A cyanide spill near Baia Mare, Romania in 2000 by the gold-mining company Aurul polluted the Tisza River and long stretches of the Danube, and was, at the time, referred to as the worst environmental disaster in Europe since Chornobyl.
Today the war in Ukraine puts its 465 storage facilities with over six billion tons of toxic waste at great risk of being damaged by accidental or intentional fire. Around 60 per cent of Ukraine’s Tailing Storage Facilities are old and some have been abandoned by their owners, and almost three quarters are considered potentially dangerous. Many storage facilities are located meters away from water bodies and are close to towns. Potential failures could lead to the pollution of Ukraine’s major rivers such as the Dniester, Dnipro, and Siverskyi Donets which flow through Russia, Moldova, and Belarus.
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Environmental warfare and disinformation
The war in Ukraine is taking place amid a cautiously growing optimism about our ability to protect the environment during war as well as hold states and individuals accountable for wartime environmental harm. Until recently, the environmental consequences of war and conflict have largely been ignored in international politics. As recently as 2014, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, still alleged that the environment remains a silent casualty of war. The latest developments such as the codification of the principles for the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict by the UN International Law Commission (PERAC), expected to be finalised in 2022, and the proposed new legal definition of ecocide have renewed optimism for legal accountability and remedy for environmental harm during armed conflict. Widening the mandate of the International Criminal Court to include crimes against the environment further strengthens the cause, even if the threshold for convincing evidence may be unattainably high and collecting reliable data collection extraordinarily challenging during an active war.
Disruptions to regular environmental monitoring, lack of access to sites in the war zone, unreliable information in mainstream and social media as well as direct disinformation all contribute to this challenge. The latter not least indicates possibly planned “false flag” operations with chemical, biological and even radioactive substances, as environmental information is increasingly weaponised. In 2018, false documents distributed by a hacking group claimed that the US and the Ukrainian authorities had poisoned water supplies with radioactive material from nuclear waste from the Vakelenchuk storage facility. A Ukrainian environmental organisation alleged that its report on shelling and environmental damage in Savur-Mohyla had been appropriated by Russian experts who used their findings to shift the blame for the shelling on Ukraine.
Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon alleged that the environment remains a silent casualty of war.
Countering such disinformation in the war becomes increasingly difficult as expertise vanishes because environmental experts are displaced or forced to flee the country along with 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees today. Yet many of them continue their work, and efforts are growing both within Ukraine and among the international community to ensure that environmental damage from this war is not left unaccounted for.
In this regard, international organisations such as the Red Cross could play a significant role in preventing disasters by negotiating on the basis of international humanitarian law to stop the attacks on hazardous facilities in Ukraine. There are rules on prohibitions regarding dams, dykes, and nuclear electrical generating stations, which are established under the Geneva Convention and the Guidelines on the protection of the natural environment in armed conflict.
Besides supporting the collection and assessment of essential data and lending a helping hand to weakened environmental authorities at all levels, the international community should also get prepared to make significant efforts to support the post-war recovery of Ukraine, including restoration of the environment. It will also be essential to help Ukraine ensure that the enormous task of rebuilding the country and its economy is not carried out at new environmental costs.
An Open letter to Mrs Olena Zelenska from Roger Waters
05.09.22 – Independent Media Institute
This post is also available in: Greek
Dear Mrs Zelenska,
My heart bleeds for you and all the Ukrainian and Russian families, devastated by the terrible war in Ukraine. I’m in Kansas City, USA. Iread an article on BBC.com apparently taken from an interview you have already recorded for a program called Sunday with Laura Kuenssburg which broadcasted on the BBC on September 4th.
BBC.com quotes you as saying that if support for Ukraine is strong the crisis will be shorter. Hmmm? I guess that might depend on what you mean by “support for Ukraine?” If by “support for Ukraine,” you mean the West continuing to supply arms to the Kiev government’s armies, I fear you may be tragically mistaken. Throwing fuel, in the form of armaments, into a firefight, has never worked to shorten a war in the past, and it won’t work now, particularly because, in this case, most of the fuel is (a) being thrown into the fire from Washington DC, which is at a relatively safe distance from the conflagration, and (b) because the “fuel throwers” have already declared an interest in the war going on for as long as possible.
People like you and me actually want peace in Ukraine, don’t want the outcome to be that you have to fight to the last Ukrainian life – and possibly even, if the worst comes to the worst, to the last human life.
If we, instead, wish to achieve a different outcome we may have to seek a different route and that route may lie in your husband’s previously stated good intentions.
Yes, I mean the platform upon which he so laudably ran for the office of President of Ukraine, the platform upon which he won his historic landslide victory in the democratic election in 2019.
He stood on the election platform of the following promises.
To end the civil war in the East and bring peace to the Donbas and partial autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk.
And to ratify and implement the rest of the body of the Minsk 2 agreements.
One can only assume that your husband’s electoral policies didn’t sit well with certain political factions in Kiev and that those factions persuaded your husband to diametrically change course ignoring the people’s mandate. Sadly, your old man agreed to those totalitarian, anti-democratic dismissals of the will of the Ukrainian people, and the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have, since then, ruled the Ukraine. They have, also since then, crossed any number of red lines that had been set out quite clearly over a number of years by your neighbors the Russian Federation and in consequence they, the extreme nationalists, have set your country on the path to this disastrous war.
I won’t go on.
If I’m wrong, please help me to understand how?
If I’m not wrong, please help me in my honest endeavors to persuade our leaders to stop the slaughter, the slaughter which serves only the interests of the ruling classes and extreme nationalists both here in the West, and in your beautiful country, at the expense of the rest of us ordinary people both here in the West, and in the Ukraine, and in fact ordinary people everywhere all over the world.
Might it not be better to demand the implementation of your husband’s election promises and put an end to this deadly war?
Independent Media Institute
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Roger Waters cancels gigs in Poland amid row over Ukraine war comments
Pink Floyd co-founder’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine has sparked ‘indignation’ in Kraków
Roger Waters performs in Chicago in July. Photograph: Rob Grabowski/Invision/APNadeem Badshah and agencySat 24 Sep 2022 20.41 BSTFirst published on Sat 24 Sep 2022 20.34 BST
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has cancelled concerts planned in Poland amid outrage over his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Polish media reported on Saturday.
An official with the Tauron Arena in Kraków, where the musician was scheduled to perform two concerts in April 2023, said they would no longer take place.
“Roger Waters’ manager decided to withdraw – without giving any reason,” Łukasz Pytko, from Tauron Arena Kraków, said in comments reported by Polish media outlets.
The website for Waters’ This Is Not a Drill concert tour did not list the Kraków concerts previously scheduled for 21 and 22 April.Advertisement
City councillors in Kraków were expected to vote next week on a proposal to name Waters as a persona non grata, expressing “indignation” over the musician’s stance on the war in Ukraine.
Waters wrote an open letter to the Ukrainian first lady, Olena Zelenska, early this month in which he blamed “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine for having “set your country on the path to this disastrous war”.
The 79-year-old also criticised the west for supplying Ukraine with weapons, blaming Washington, in particular. Waters has also condemned Nato, accusing it of provoking Russia.
It is not the first time that the British songwriter has expressed his views on international politics.
In 2019, he criticised a Live Aid-style concert to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Venezuela, claiming it is a US-backed effort to tarnish the socialist government.
The show in the Colombian border city of Cúcuta aimed to raise millions of dollars to provide food and medicine for Venezuelans suffering widespread shortages.
The row came as Venezuelan security forces were accused of executing dozens of people and arbitrarily detaining hundreds of others in a campaign to punish people who protested against President Nicolás Maduro.
In 2018 during a concert in Brazil before presidential elections, Waters spoke out against the rightwing candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who is currently president.
September 21st 2022
Why are more Pakistani women choosing to divorce?
Pakistani women are using a section of Islamic law allowing them to leave a marriage without their husband’s consent. However, those who do still face danger and alienation from their community and family.
A women’s rights movement in growing in Pakistan, empowering many women to leave abusive marriages
More women in Pakistan are choosing to leave their marriages, despite divorce remaining a complicated social taboo in the country’s conservative culture.
Women’s rights activists say the increase comes as women in the Islamic nation’s patriarchal society are becoming more empowered and are less willing to settle for abusive marriages.
In Pakistan, divorce is not monitored by any dedicated agency and rules are dictated by Sharia or Islamic law.
In the South Asian country, a woman cannot “file for divorce” but rather has the right to dissolve a marriage under Sharia without the consent of her husband. This is called a “khula” and is arbitrated by a family court.
There are several reasons for which a wife can seek a dissolution of marriage under khula. These include spousal abuse, the husband leaving or a husband’s mental health issues.
Although official rates of women seeking to dissolve their marriages aren’t recorded, the number of khulas seems to be rising.
According to a 2019 survey carried out by Gallup and Gilani Pakistan, 58% of Pakistanis believe that divorce is becoming more prevalent in the country.
The survey found that 2 in 5 of the respondents believed that a couple’s in-laws were responsible for most of these cases. 3:35 min
Who are Pakistan’s ‘brides of the Quran’?
Pakistani women demand more autonomy
Atika Hassan Raza, an attorney at the Human Rights Protection Center, a Lahore-based human rights non-profit, told DW that more women are seeking a khula. Cases of formal divorce in Pakistan must be initiated by the husband. Unlike a khula, the husband’s consent is mandatory.
Raza added that there are more family courts being established that cater to family law, khula and guardianship issues. She noted that there has also been an increase in the number of family law judges.
Raza said more women are aware that they can leave marriages for reasons other than physical abuse, including psychological abuse or simply “not getting anything” out of a marriage.
“Women know about their rights and are more independent,” she said.
Shazia (name changed) is a mother of two who left her abusive marriage last year. “I didn’t have much of an education or work experience, but I had my cooking skills. Once my cooking business took off a bit and I felt I could become financially independent, I became emotionally independent enough to finally leave my marriage,” the 41-year-old told DW.
Shazia is able to support herself on what she earns, however, it is very difficult to give her sons the lifestyle she wants for them. Although Islamic law is very clear about women’s right to alimony, the reality is that many women like Shazia do not receive anything from an ex-husband.
Pakistan’s marriage culture
In Pakistan, marriages by choice are called “love marriages.” However, arranged marriages are very common in the South Asian country. Couples signing a marriage contract before living together is also common.
Many marriages in Pakistan are arranged
Kamal, a 33-year-old marketing manager, got married in 2018. However, he recently filed for divorce saying he was not “compatible” with his wife, despite having dated before marriage.
“Unlike in the West, where people usually have live-in relationships before they get married, here you don’t,” he told DW.
“Even though we were technically married for a year, we were still technically just dating because we still didn’t live together. It was only after living together that differences came out,” he added.
Momin Ali Khan is a lawyer who has taken on more family law cases due to high demand. Khan told DW that women from educated or affluent backgrounds usually file for khula when the marriage is no longer working, even if it is at the cost of foregoing their dowry.
It is more challenging for women from rural areas or poor socioeconomic backgrounds, as they generally cannot forego the financial support, he added.
Hania (name changed) comes from a working-class family in Islamabad, and managed to earn a bachelors’ degree, and aspires to get a high-paying job. She had been arranged to marry her cousin, but did not want to, despite her parents wishes.
On the day she was to depart to a village where her cousin lives for her wedding, the 23-year-old ran away. As a contract had already been signed for the marriage, Hania filed for a khula.
Due to the massive taboo and “shame” surrounding divorce in rural Pakistan, Hania was disowned by her family and told DW her life may be in danger if she returns to the village.
Now, Hania has married for “love” and is living with her husband and his family in Islamabad.
Edited by: Wesley Rahn
Russia calls up 300,000 reservists, says 6,000 soldiers killed in Ukraine
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- Defence Minister Shoigu says 300,000 reservists to be drafted
- Shoigu says 5,937 Russian soldiers died so far
- Mobilisation necessary to “consolidate” seized territories
LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Russia will draft 300,000 reservists to support its military campaign in Ukraine, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday in televised remarks.
In Moscow’s first update on casualty numbers in almost six months, Shoigu said 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the conflict.
President Vladimir Putin had ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War Two in an early-morning television address, saying the additional manpower was needed to win a war against not only Ukraine but also its Western backers. read more Advertisement · Scroll to continue
Shoigu dismissed assertions by Kyiv and the West that Russia has suffered heavy losses in its seven-month campaign, and said 90% of wounded Russian soldiers had returned to the frontline.
It was the first time Russia had given an official death toll since March 25, when it said 1,351 servicemen had died.
The U.S. Pentagon said in August that it believed between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian personnel had been killed or wounded, and in July estimated Russia’s death toll at around 15,000.Advertisement · Scroll to continue
Shoigu said Russia had 25 million potential fighters at its disposal.
The decree published on the Kremlin’s website said the call-up would apply only to reservists with previous military experience.
Shoigu said this meant around 300,000 men. He said they would be given additional training before being deployed to Ukraine, and that they would not include students or those who were currently serving as conscripts.
September 17th 2022
‘A new way of life’: the Marxist, post-capitalist, green manifesto captivating Japan
Kohei Saito’s book Capital in the Anthropocene has become an unlikely hit among young people and is about to be translated into English
Kohei Saito’s book Capital in the Anthropocene, inspired by Karl Marx’s writings on the environment, has become a surprise hit in Japan. Photograph: Ruben Earth/Getty Images
Justin McCurry in TokyoFri 9 Sep 2022 11.38 BSTLast modified on Fri 9 Sep 2022 22.01 BST
The climate crisis will spiral out of control unless the world applies “emergency brakes” to capitalism and devises a “new way of living”, according to a Japanese academic whose book on Marxism and the environment has become a surprise bestseller.
The message from Kohei Saito, an associate professor at Tokyo University, is simple: capitalism’s demand for unlimited profits is destroying the planet and only “degrowth” can repair the damage by slowing down social production and sharing wealth.
Read More https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/09/a-new-way-of-life-the-marxist-post-capitalist-green-manifesto-captivating-japan?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB
The historical significance of lying-in-state and what it meant to the late Queen
The late Elizabeth II was a nervous nine-year-old when she was taken to Westminster Hall to pay her respects to her beloved grandfather George V. Here, Matthew Dennison, her biographer, recalls a poignant moment and reflects on what the tradition means now
September 14th 2022
Britain must be prepared to go to war with Russia
Putin’s latest threats show he is not beaten, but we are dangerously ill-equipped for a conventional conflict Con Coughlin Defence Editor 23 June 2022 • 6:00am
After the terrible drubbing the Russian military has suffered during the Ukraine conflict, Western leaders might be forgiven for concluding that Vladimir Putin no longer has the ability to threaten his European neighbours….
Read More https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/06/23/britain-must-prepared-go-war-russia/
Comment Britain’s elite officially left Europe so that it could speak as one with the U.S. leading the charge to a new world war to end wars. The U.K is being bombarded with Royal mythology using the dead Queen as bridge with fake glorious history, which the current matriarchy accepts without question. Communism has haunted – as Marx declared in his 1848 Manifesto, -Europe for many years. Post Yeltsin they thought they had cracked it. Listening to the U.K masses drooling over the Queen’s legacy, it seems they might have done, but there will be a lot more bloodshed yet awhile. R J Cook
September 13th 2022
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||13 September|
Ukraine and Russia interested in nuclear plant ceasefire – UNIAEA head Grossi is optimistic about Russia and Ukraine agreeing to a ceasefire around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in EnergodarRead more on the site
Senator confirms US helped Ukraine with counter-offensiveUS and UK intelligence support has contributed to Ukraine’s military successes in Kharkov Region, Senator Mark Warner has saidRead more on the site
US mayor justifies luxury flights citing skin color and genderNew Orleans’ Democratic mayor LaToya Cantrell refuses to return $30k of taxpayers’ money after spending it on first-class flights to EuropeRead more on the site
US supplying intel for Kiev’s strikes on nuclear plant – MoscowThe US is providing Ukraine with intel on critical facilities at the Zaporozhye nuclear plant for shelling, says a Russian security officialRead more on the site
|Games & Culture||12 September|
Civilians killed in Ukrainian shelling of Russian regionOne person has been killed and four injured in Ukrainian shelling of the Russian Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, local authorities saidRead more on the site
September 12th 2022
Britain masterminded plot to kill Lenin? PinterestLinkedinGmail London, Mar 22 (PTI) London, Mar 22 (PTI), Mar 22 2011, 15:52 istupdated: May 03 2018, 11:57 ist For a century, the story was dismissed as fiction. But 90 years on, …
For a century, the story was dismissed as fiction. But 90 years on, new documents indicate that Robert Bruce Lockhart — London’s representative in Moscow — was involved in a plot which saw Lenin shot
Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/content/147846/britain-masterminded-plot-kill-lenin.html
Comment The British Ruling Class never got over the Russian Revolution and have been shitting themselves ever since. That is why they are leading the NATO proxy war on Russia, This country is lo0ng overdue for srious meaninful social reform. I read a number of very disturbing books this weeks, one about hpow sane people are abused and labelled mad, another about corrupt lying unaccountable U.K Police and the Hilssborough Scandal. It is so funny how U.K elite media moralise about Russian censorship when the U.K l;eads the world in that area. R J Cook.
Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/content/147846/britain-masterminded-plot-kill-lenin.html
From F.S Out west.
Capitalism demands hunger. Poverty and starvation benefit the privileged. Discuss…
I’ve just had a haircut. Chris the barber gave his thoughts on royalty – and I thought I’d pass them on.
The Queen: ‘You’ve got to respect her as a person. No media training, and she never put a foot wrong. But why are we paying for her funeral when she was a millionaire?’
The rest of the royals: ‘They’re all pricks. All of them.’
William: ‘He’s a prick.’
Harry: ‘A prick. And a scrounger. He’s made it plain he doesn’t want to be part of the royal family, so why are we paying for all his security? And why did he marry that stupid woman? She’s in her 30s and she’s been divorced twice. Didn’t any alarm bells ring?’
Camilla: ‘You’ve got to admit it, she’s a very ugly woman.’
Andrew: ‘He’s a nonce. I watched about 5 minutes of that interview, and it was obvious from the beginning he’s a paedo. He just started sweating and lying. He should have said “Yes, I met her and, yes, I fucked a 17 year old – but you know what? It’s legal. So you can just fuck off: It’s none of your business.” He should be extradited to the States and tried.’
This is a pretty fair summary, I think.
Hereford security tasked with Royal protection of the Queen was withdrawn from Buckingham palace around late December along with palace medical staff, word around the campfire was that “london Bridge was down ” back then but timing is everything isnt it, they wanted this”crisis for the country” not to go to waste so its synchronised with the next phase of the “great reset” whilst everyone is looking the other way .
I imagine we will never know.
Seen the photo of queen + Truss? (Copy attached.) Guess the difference in their height. It’s 3 inches. Either a bad bit of Photoshop or the royals need a new photographer
September 9th 2022
How Queen Elizabeth II’s sense of duty prevailed in an age of individualism
The monarch’s 70 years on the throne were defined by her conservatism. What happens when a new generation takes over?
By Andrew Marr
This piece by our political editor, Andrew Marr, was published in June 2022 in a special issue to mark the Platinum Jubilee.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marks… what, precisely? First, obviously, her longevity. No previous monarch in British history has been on the throne for 70 years. Elizabeth II has reigned for more than six years longer than Victoria, whose lumpy memorial guards the approach to Buckingham Palace. She is close to the record of King Bhumibol the Great of Thailand and only two years behind the all-time longest serving monarch, the Sun King himself, Louis XIV of France.
Longevity, however, is a fact of modern life, and the better off you are, the easier it gets. More than that, the Jubilee marks a real achievement: in all that time, not screwing up.
Yes, there has been a multitude of problems in the wider family but the Queen herself has reigned through crisis after crisis, bad times and good times, without saying or doing anything to cause embarrassment or political controversy. She has been calm, patient, dutiful. As the new century cartwheels forward, these relatively passive virtues seem ever more virtuous.
Neither they nor she are admired equally, either across the UK or across the generations. For older Britons, she is the country they have grown up in. She is a rare living link, and the most important one, to the Britain of the Second World War and the Attlee welfare state, as well as the last remnants of empire.
When she goes, many older Britons will experience trauma. Whenever it comes her death can hardly be a shock – she is 96. But for millions it will feel like the cutting of a living cord, a break in history. The United Kingdom faces so many challenges, including to its survival as a political unit, that when the second Elizabethan era ends the very ground will seem to move. Others, including many younger Britons, will wonder vaguely what all the fuss is about. Some will welcome the chance for a fresh start and to reappraise the institutions, hierarchies and social relations that the Queen’s reign has conserved.
Queen Elizabeth II mastered the art of embracing change in a historic reign that bridged generations
‘Change is a constant; managing it has become an expanding discipline,’ the Queen said in 2002. ‘The way we embrace it defines our future’
By Cahal MilmoSeptember 8, 2022 6:36 pm(Updated September 9, 2022 10:32 am)
In her first Christmas broadcast after her coronation in 1953, a twenty-something Elizabeth II sat behind a microphone in New Zealand while dressed in a formal gown and offered her thoughts on the nature of monarchy.
Over airwaves crackly with static, and in the clipped, cut-glass tones that became as much a trademark as the royal handbag and hat, the new Queen said: “I want to show that the Crown is not merely an abstract symbol of our unity but a personal and living bond between you and me.”
The remarks were made just a few weeks into a six-month, 43,618-mile royal progress across the rump of the rapidly shrinking British Empire and its recently liberated dominions, to show off Britain’s young sovereign to a rapt world.
While the words were primarily aimed at the citizens of the emerging Commonwealth, they also offer a profound insight into how Elizabeth II saw her role as sovereign and the spirit in which she reigned for what she could not have known then would be more than seven decades on the throne.
The announcement of her death is accompanied by a roll call of achievement expressed in the language of longevity and endurance: Elizabeth II became the oldest, longest-serving monarch that the United Kingdom has ever known.
Comparatively few Britons, indeed few people on the planet, have known anyone else on the British throne, and the Queen remained perhaps the sole public fixture in the cavalcade of political leaders and cultural movers and shakers that paraded across the national stage for the best part of three quarters of a century.
But there is another interpretation of Elizabeth II’s words from New Zealand in 1953 – that the “personal and living bond” of which she spoke was not so much between her and her subjects, but between her and the Crown she embodied.
Thrust into the gilded cage of queenhood by the love life of her uncle Edward VIII, and by her father’s early death, Elizabeth II and her reign is the story of a careful – often deft but once or twice perilously close to stumbling – walk along the tightrope laid out for her by Britain’s unwritten constitution: the preservation and perpetuation of hereditary monarchy by dint of a lifetime of unstinting and, as she saw it, God-ordained service.
Her reign has seen Britain transformed – from a fading but still potent imperial power, whose throne she learned she had inherited in 1952 while in Kenya, to a nation that has swapped its sense of geopolitical entitlement for a more modest wardrobe of social democracy shaped by influences from multiculturalism to Brexit, gay marriage to devolution.
Throughout this period of tumult, the Queen achieved the extraordinary feat of remaining an indefatigable, if largely unknowable, constant.
While the standing of the other institutions that wielded power at the beginning of her reign – among them Parliament and the Church of England – was eroded, the monarchy emerged as a benchmark for stability.
One senior former Buckingham Palace aide told i: “If you are to take one lesson from the reign of Elizabeth II, it is this: the monarch should not seek popularity but show at all times his or her purpose.
“The Queen understood from the outset that she must be above the fray and yet not aloof. For her, it was duty, duty and duty with a side serving of duty. That might lead to popularity but it seemed to me she was popular only because people understood and appreciated her dedication.“
He added: “Above all, she knew that the permanency of the monarchy is a paradox. In order to be this rock of stability, the institution itself must change – mostly incrementally and at other times more dramatically, but always constantly.
“Yes, there were difficult moments – she didn’t want to lose [Royal Yacht] Britannia and [there was] the death of Diana. But she listened and changed.”
Destiny shaped by abdication
The Crown was a lifelong covenant into which Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was not born.
The eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of York, the flaxen-haired “Lilibet” was originally destined for the closeted life of a second-rank royal, raised initially in a handsome townhouse at 145 Piccadilly in central London and another residence in Richmond Park.
Along with her sister Margaret, she was home-schooled and their exposure to the rest of society, including other children, limited.
Marion Crawford – the governess whose account of life in the York house, published in 1950, saw her frozen out of royal circles for life – described what would happen when the princesses came across other children in Hyde Park.
She wrote: “They used to smile shyly at those they liked the look of. They would so have loved to speak to them and make friends, but this was never encouraged. I often thought it a pity.”
It was the irreconcilable constitutional difficulties presented by Edward VIII’s determination to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson which altered the course of Princess Elizabeth’s life.
When her uncle abdicated in 1936, placing the Duke of York on the throne at the age of 41 as George VI, it is said that the young Margaret turned to her sister and asked: “Does that mean you will have to be the next queen?”
After “Lilibet”, then aged 10, replied in the affirmative, Margaret apparently responded: “Poor you.”
Although Princess Elizabeth’s tutoring was duly expanded to include constitutional history, anchored in the weighty ponderings of the great Victorian essayist Walter Bagehot, and additional efforts in French, the relative youth of her father meant any preparations for the queenhood were carried out at a sedate pace.
But the burdens of office and the pressures of the Second World War, during which the Queen Mother famously rejected out of hand the suggestion that she and her daughters should be evacuated to Canada, took their toll on the king’s health.
There was a brief period of post-war freedom. Princess Elizabeth moved to Malta while her new husband, Prince Philip, completed his naval service, and she played the role of dutiful forces wife.
While back in London, the young couple made occasional forays to the cinema, slipping into their seats after the lights had gone down to revel in the anonymity that would all too soon prove unrepeatable.
Fate intervened on 6 February 1952 while the couple were in Kenya en route to a tour of Australia. Having returned to the Treetops Hotel after a night on safari, the news was broken by the Duke of Edinburgh to his wife that George VI had succumbed to lung cancer. The king was 56 and his successor was just 25.
As the Queen herself later put it: “In a way, I didn’t have an apprenticeship. My father died much too young. It was all very sudden, taking and making the best job you can. It was a question of just maturing into what you are doing and accepting that here you are, and it’s your fate.”
It was a matter-of-fact pragmatism that served the new monarch well.
In her constitutional role as the fulcrum between Government and power, the Queen received a daily flow of “Red Boxes” containing, among other documents, the Red Book (the weekly top-secret intelligence briefing seen by the prime minister), correspondence from Cabinet ministers, and a report on the previous day’s proceedings in Parliament.
She did not stint on her homework, dispatching her boxes with religious regularity and thereby building up an encyclopaedic knowledge of government and the minutiae of its affairs.
During her reign the Queen oversaw 15 prime ministers, starting with Winston Churchill, an initial sceptic on the young Queen’s political talents who rapidly became besotted with her, and ending with Liz Truss, who formally took up the role earlier this week. The Queen’s admiration of Sir Winston’s political nous is a matter of record. Quite what Her Majesty thought of the rest of her prime ministers is untold.
For their part, the incumbents of Downing Street more often than not spoke fondly of their weekly audience (the times of which have oscillated between Thursdays at 5.30pm, Tuesdays under Tony Blair, and Wednesdays at 6.30pm) with the monarch.
Harold Wilson once joked about his trips “to see mother” but added that his audiences with the Queen were the only time when he could have a serious conversation in the knowledge that its contents would not be leaked and that a usurper was not after his job. Contrary to popular belief, the Queen is said to have grown to like her first female prime minister, though Margaret Thatcher is well known to have disliked weekends at Balmoral.
Mr Blair was left in no doubt as to his place in the pecking order. He wrote in his memoir: “She was… direct. ‘You are my 10th prime minister. The first was Winston. That was before you were born.’ I got a sense of my relative seniority, or lack of it.”
A royal sounding board
The Queen understood well the usefulness of her role as a prime ministerial sounding board. She once told the BBC: “They unburden themselves. They know one can be impartial. It’s rather nice to feel that one’s a sort of sponge and everybody can come and tell one things.”
The “sponge” metaphor can perhaps be extended to Elizabeth II’s interactions with the rest her subjects.
Not only did she uphold her duty not to divulge anything discussed with her prime ministers, she punctiliously avoided being seen to have an opinion on nearly everything – the famous “blank canvas” upon which the public were able to project their hopes, beliefs and aspirations for the monarchy and themselves.
By soaking up controversy in pursuit of regal impartiality, at least in public, the Queen was sometimes accused of being cold – a woman whose facial expressions were either a vaguely inscrutable moue or the full 100-watt royal grin.
As former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd once put it, she had “trained the feelings out of herself”.
History may yet judge that to be a harsh summary.
Baron Hurd of Westwell‘s view highlighted a recurring tension of the modern monarchy – the extent to which the curtain of formality and regality could be drawn aside to show a more tangible royal family as Britain moved from an age of deference to one of celebrity fascination.
An early flirtation with this idea – a television documentary made in 1969 going behind the scenes with the Windsors called The Royal Family – was a massive popular success.
Made with the encouragement of Prince Philip, its first screening was watched by fully two thirds of the UK population and repeated endlessly on the BBC and ITV in its first year, as Britons flocked to view the domestic routines of the innermost circle of the monarchy as never before.
In an era that preceded the ubiquity of celebrity, it was hard to overstate the public interest in the Duke of Edinburgh flipping sausages on the Balmoral barbecue and the Queen making salad.
Never before had a British monarch been seen asking her family: “How do you keep a regally straight face when a footman tells you, ‘Your Majesty, your next audience is with a gorilla?’ It was an official visitor, but he looked just like a gorilla.”
But behind the scenes in Buckingham Palace – and beyond – it was decided that emphasising the ordinariness of the Queen was not the way forward.
Among the film’s most robust detractors was David Attenborough, who was at the time a BBC controller.
He wrote to the producers: “You’re killing the monarchy, you know, with this film you’re making. The whole institution depends on mystique and the tribal chief in his hut. If any member of the tribe ever sees inside the hut, then the whole system of the tribal chiefdom is damaged and tribe eventually disintegrates.”
The naturalist was in effect paraphrasing Bagehot, who had written a century before in his book The English Constitution that a key factor in maintaining the standing of the monarchy was ensuring that “we must not let in the daylight upon magic”.
The Queen appears to have agreed.
It is thought to have been on her orders that the 105-minute documentary was withdrawn, never to be shown at its full length again, along with more than 43 hours of raw footage, and locked away in the royal archive in Windsor.
What took its place for much of the next three decades was the duty-driven version of royalty with which Elizabeth II instinctively identified, having learned from her father and her grandfather, George V.
That “personal and living bond” between the Queen, her office and her subjects were now the main narrative of her reign, and to a greater or lesser extent would remain so as she traversed the world the equivalent of 42 times.
It was not without its moments of regal flair and grit. In 1961, she overrode the advice of courtiers and ministers to insist that a trip to Ghana should go ahead despite assassination threats against her host (and recent replacement as head of state), Kwame Nkrumah.
Twenty years later, the Queen was praised for her sangfroid when 17-year-old Marcus Sarjeant fired six blank shots at her from a starting pistol as she rode past during Trooping the Colour. It later transpired that the adolescent, who had boasted, “I am going to stun and mystify the world – I will become the most famous teenager in the world,” had originally intended to use live ammunition but had been unable to secure either the necessary bullets or weapon.
Addressing Parliament at the start of her Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002, she made clear perhaps the most important lesson of what would be her seven decades on the throne. She said: “Change is a constant; managing it has become an expanding discipline. The way we embrace it defines our future.”
From the outset, the Queen had been willing to embrace change. Prior to her Coronation, she had swatted aside the advice of the Churchill and the then Archbishop of Canterbury to insist that the ceremony be televised. The subsequent coverage is regarded as one of the coming-of-age moments of television as a mass medium and Elizabeth II was among the first to harness its power.
But by the 90s, a mixture of circumstance, cruel fate and a regality which was mistaken for uncaring inflexibility served up the defining crises of the reign.
The unstitching of the marriages of all but one of the Queen’s offspring brought the Royal Family a decade of unwanted headlines, as the philanderings of the next generation of Windsors – led by the unravelling union of Prince Charles and Diana – were laid bare to an avid worldwide audience.
When coupled with the fire that destroyed a significant portion of Windsor Castle, causing £36m of damage, and an outcry over whether the repair bill would be met by the taxpayer, the Queen let slip the mask of personal inscrutability to memorably declare 1992 her “annus horribilis”.
In the closest that a monarch can probably come to a mea culpa, she said: “There can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution – city, monarchy, whatever – should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.”
With the added gesture of becoming a sovereign who paid income tax it was hoped that the monarchy had been put back on an even keel.
But the greatest test of the reign was to follow five years later, during seven extraordinary days of spontaneous national mourning, when the Queen’s instinctive desire to confront upheaval with calm reflection was misinterpreted as a lack of feeling in the wake of Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris.
While the nation was expressing its grief – some 1.3 million bouquets costing around £25m were laid outside Kensington Palace in the sunshine of September 1997 – the Queen remained in Balmoral as she sought to protect her grandsons.
The threat to the popularity of the monarchy, led by a chorus of tabloids asking why there was no public display of royal grief, was resolved by a television address, and a change in protocol to allow the raising of a half-mast Union Flag over Buckingham Palace.
Delivering only the second televised special address of her reign, the Queen paid tribute to Diana, memorably saying she was speaking both as monarch and “as a grandmother”.
Subsequently, a new streamlined version of “The Firm” was unveiled with a pared-back civil list and a new funding settlement.
This resulted in a more accessible monarchy, as the Queen was seen to “parachute” into the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics in a pink sequinned dress after insisting she be filmed with Daniel Craig as James Bond inside Buckingham Palace.
The new Elizabethan legacy
During her 1953 Christmas address, Elizabeth II had declared: “Some people have expressed the hope that my reign may mark a new Elizabethan age. Frankly, I do not myself feel at all like my great Tudor forbear, who was blessed with neither husband nor children, who ruled as a despot and was never able to leave her native shores.”
Some have argued, forcibly, that the age of Elizabeth II will be remembered for its stability, but for perhaps for little else. Speaking in 2015, the historian David Starkey said: “To the monarch’s existing political rights (to be consulted, to encourage and to warn) she has added a fourth: the duty to be silent and make no political comment… The effect has been to deprive republicanism of the necessary oxygen of controversy and largely asphyxiate it.”
This is to misstate the significance of the reign of Elizabeth II, a woman 30 per cent of whose subjects believed in 1964 that she had been chosen for her role directly by God.
A smaller proportion of Britons will believe the same to be true of her son, Charles, as he takes the crown.
And yet his mother straddled an era in which monarchy was effectively stripped of that crutch of divine provenance and much else besides in terms of deference and obedience, only to be replaced by approval and affection. By 2017, more than three quarters of Britons wanted to see the United Kingdom remain a monarchy and at the time of her Platinum Jubilee this summer, some 80 per cent of the population said they had a positive view of her.
As one former courtier, who spent a decade working for both the Queen and her heir, put it: “Only history will judge whether Elizabeth II was a successful as well as an incredibly enduring monarch. The joke used to be that she would ask people at palace garden parties, ‘Have you come far?’ I think we as a country have indeed come far. And we owe her a huge debt of gratitude for helping us to do that.”
Comment This is absolute drivel. At best, the Queen has been a smokescreeen covering so much of what is wrong with Britain, a geographical entiuty where justice is a game and costs a fortune, where corruption is rife , taxes falling heavily on the poor. Wars go on and on, are all about money with politicians lying in the name of necessary state secrecy. Multi cultural chaos has hypocrisy and privilege at its heart. The nation’s hisitory is heavily censored, with white working classes taking the blame for racism, not the elites whose ancestors created slavery. Men have never been more marginlaised. , with no excuses for the white ones unless they are rich. R J Cook
September 8th 2022
By Daniel Stables29th August 2022Located between Britain and France, the Minquiers have long been subject to the squabbles of dukedoms and governments, torn between Normans, Britons and French for 1,000-plus years.T
The southern-most building in the British Isles is not a crumbling castle, built to repel would-be conquerors; nor is it a lonely lighthouse, flashing a warning beacon to passing seafarers.
It is a public toilet.
“This toilet has the distinction of being the most southern building in the British Isles,” reads its neatly printed sign. “Please use with care! The nearest alternative is Jersey 11 miles – Chausey 10 miles.”
This toilet has the distinction of being the most southern building in the British Isles. Please use with care!
The loo sits on the edge of a cluster of stone cottages on the miniscule Maîtresse Île, the only island in the tiny Minquiers archipelago to bear any imprint of civilisation. This is the British Isles’ southern frontier: a group of islands and reefs 10 miles south of Jersey, at the mercy of one of the largest tidal ranges in the world.
At low tide, the islands have a land area around 10 miles long and 7 miles wide – larger than Jersey itself, or the city of Manchester. At high tide, just six hours later, they disappear: barely a few rocks protrude from the water, adding up to around 0.004 square miles. This lends the Minkies, as they are known to locals, a strange atmosphere: part rocky desert-island chain, part watery Atlantis, straddling the boundary between land and sea.
Comment How has the British elite owning overseas territory ever benefitted their masses ? R J Cook
September 7th 2022
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||06 September|
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||07 September|
Russia comments on IAEA nuclear plant reportIAEA failed to identify who was shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and proposed an unworkable solution, Russia’s UN envoy saidRead more on the site
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||06 September|
Russia showcases freshly-deployed anti-ship missiles (VIDEO) Russia used Bastion missile systems deployed in the Matua Island, part of the Kuril Archipelago, to fend off a simulated attack Read more on the site
Winter is coming: Prague’s 70,000-strong protest shows what’s in store for EuropeA demonstration saw 70,000 people gather in Prague to protest Czech involvement in self-detrimental policies instigated by the EURead more on the site
Biden speech is ‘dangerous escalation,’ most Americans say – pollBy a wide margin in a new poll, Americans see President Biden’s Philadelphia speech as a dangerous escalation intended to incite conflictRead more on the site
US will make attack on Taiwan ‘really hard’ for China — air force generalUS Air Force General Clinton Hinote has warned China that attacking Taiwan would trigger one of the toughest wars everRead more on the site
EU plans to cap Russian gas price as Putin warns West of winter freeze
- EU to propose cap on price of Russian gas
- Putin threatens to cut off all energy supplies
- Bill rising to support businesses, households
BRUSSELS/VLADIVOSTOK Russia, Sept 7 (Reuters) – The European Union proposed a price cap on Russian gas on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin threatened to cut off all energy supplies if it took such a step, raising the risk of rationing in some of the world’s richest countries this winter.
The escalating standoff could drive up sky-high European gas prices further, adding to already eyewatering bills EU governments are paying to stop their energy providers collapsing and prevent cash-strapped customers freezing in the cold months ahead.
Europe has accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. Russia blames those sanctions for causing the gas supply problems, which it puts down to pipeline faults.
As tensions rose, Putin said contracts could be ripped up in the event of price caps and warned the West it risked being frozen like a wolf’s tail in a famous Russian fairy tale. read more
‘Scum of the Earth – how Wellington described his troops at Waterloo.’
Comment For every Jew slaughtered during World War Two, four Slavs died. The latter have always been held in low esteem by the arrogant west. The moralising hypocrisy of Anglo-U.S led elite knows no bounds. Britain’s elite knew they were deluding their ignorant masses into Brexit, with every intention of sucking ever more migrant rejects into its slave economy whilst ensuring Africa, the Middle East and Indian sub continenet remained in the religiously captive bigoted proxy pampered dictator run overpopulating polluting diesease ridden half starved dark ages – so essential to their profiteering and life styles.
Meawhile, this elite’s vile land grab in East Europe marches on. We are supposed to rejoice in the latest fake egalitarian ‘equal’ lack of opportunity for the masses Truss ( Horse shit in Slovakian ) government. Russia can either accept annihilation at the hands of the western elite, or do something that may well destroy most of us.
The West played Hitler to do their bidding, after Anglo Germanic incestuous elite empires came to blows in 1914-18. Hitler’s bitter sense of grievance ran out of control. Britain has been a self centred malign influence of Europe for the last 300 years. EU membership was never meant to benefit anyone outside the elite. Germany and France are still falling for the suave deceitful British elite bullshit. This elite sees the masses, as Wealthy Irishman Wellington described them: ‘The scum of the earth.’
https://www.youtube.com › watch Lyrics John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore.
His mama sure was proud of him!
He stood straight and tall in his uniform and all.
His mama’s face broke out all in a grin.… Full lyrics Source: Musixmatch Videos 5:14Bob Dylan – John Brown (Live at Town Hall, New York, NY …YouTube · BobDylanVEVO31 Aug 2021
When Johnny Comes Marching HomeSong by Shiro HamaguchiOverviewVideosListenLyricsOther recordingsArtists
https://www.youtube.com › watch
We were watching “Doctor Strangelove,” and it turned out neither of the kids knew the original words to the background song:
While goin’ the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin’ the road to sweet Athy, hurroo, hurroo
While goin’ the road to sweet Athy
A stick in me hand and a drop in me eye
A doleful damsel I heard cry,
Johnny I hardly knew ye.
With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns, hurroo, hurroo
With your drums and guns and drums and guns
The enemy nearly slew ye
Oh my darling dear, Ye look so queer
Johnny I hardly knew ye.
Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your eyes that were so mild
When my heart you so beguiled
Why did ye run from me and the child
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run
When you went for to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.
I’m happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I’m happy for to see ye home, hurroo, hurroo
I’m happy for to see ye home
All from the island of Sulloon
So low in flesh, so high in bone
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.
Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg, hurroo, hurroo
Ye haven’t an arm, ye haven’t a leg
Ye’re an armless, boneless, chickenless egg
Ye’ll have to put with a bowl out to beg
Oh Johnny I hardly knew ye.
They’re rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They’re rolling out the guns again, hurroo, hurroo
They’re rolling out the guns again
But they never will take our sons again
No they never will take our sons again
Johnny I’m swearing to ye.
Steven Rogers said…
I first encountered those lyrics while reading “The Star Fox”, by Poul Anderson.
Sad. And where’s “Sulloon”? Or is that, nudge- “Saloon”? At wargames.ch, (http://www.wargame.ch/wc/nwc/newsletter/23rd_edition/Newsletter23/Songbook.html),
an authoritative sounding (or gaming) source, they say….”The reference to the “island of Sulloon” (Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka) indicates that Irish Johnny may have been sent to South Asia sometime after the British occupation of Ceylon in 1795″. ReplyAugust 11, 2005 at 16:23 Ronald Brak said…
According to comments on the very useful site mudcat.org (“the mudcat cafe”) the last verse was added in the 1950’s by the American folksingers Betty Sanders and Les Pine.
The original is not an antiwar song at all. Brad’s version drops several verses. In the original, the singer is Johnny himself, an Irish soldier (that is, an Irishman in a British army regiment). As he’s walking to Athy he comes across “a doleful damsel,” who, it turns out, is a girl that he seduced and abandoned when she became pregnant. She says, Johnny, I hardly knew (that is, recognized) you. She’s not particularly cut up about it, she’s more scornful that he’s returned crippled after leaving her.
The Island of Sulloon is Ceylon, where Irish troops were sent to fight as part of the British Expedition of 1803-04, which was bloodily repulsed. The British didn’t fully conquer Ceylon until 1815.ReplyAugust 11, 2005 at 20:47 VKW said…
Steeleye Span, an English folk rock group, produced a song, Fighting for Strangers, that reminds me of Brad’s lyrics. From a fan website:
This song is a tragic military montage of three songs segued together against layers of percussive over-dubbing. The results were both experimental and exciting. The chorus is from Our Captain Cried All Hands, which can be found e.g. on Martin Carthy’s album Byker Hill.
What makes you go abroad fighting for strangers?
When you could be safe at home free from all dangers.
A recruiting sergeant came our way
To an inn nearby at the close of day,
He said, “Young Johnny you’re a fine young man.
Would you like to march along behind a military band,
With a scarlet coat, a big cocked hat,
And a musket at your shoulder?”
A shilling he took and he kissed the book;
Oh poor Johnny what’ll happen to you.
A recruiting sergeant marched away
From the inn nearby at the break of day.
Johnny went too with half a ring;
He was off to be a soldier, he’d be fighting for the King
In a far off war, in a far off land,
To face a foreign soldier.
But how will you fare when there’s lead in the air;
Oh poor Johnny what’ll happen to you?
Oh the sun shone high on a barren land
As a thin red line took a military stand.
There was sling shot, chain shot, grape shot too,
Swords and bayonets thrusting through.
Poor Johnny fell but the day was won
And the King is grateful to you;
But your soldiering’s done and we’re sending you home;
Oh poor Johnny what have they done to you.
Oh they said he was a hero and not to grieve
Over two wooden pegs and empty sleeves.
They carried him home and they set him down
With a military pension and a medal from the crown.
You haven’t an arm, you haven’t a leg,
The enemy nearly slew you.
You’ll have to go out on the streets to beg;
Oh poor Johnny what have they done to you.
More if you can bear it-
“Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” is probably not the original lyric to the tune. It’s likely a parody song that was set to an existing tune after the 1802-03 Ceylon expedition. Irishmen who became British soldiers weren’t particularly popular, and the theme of soldiers who seduce young women and leave them is common in the folk music of the British Isles, so this was probably a song that mocked the soldiers who were returning in defeat. It happens to be the earliest version that we know about, because Irish “folk” or “street” songs didn’t start to be collected until the mid-1800’s. J-I-H-K-Y was first collected in 1869, but because of the Ceylon reference it’s dated back to the first decade of the 19th century.
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was written in 1863 by a US Army Band Master of Irish origin named Patrick S. Gilmore. Gilmore was stationed in New Orleans (occupied by the Union) when he wrote it. He may have gotten the tune from J-I-H-K-Y. But there was another song to the same tune, called Johnny Fill Up The Bowl. It was a drinking song, and in one version it begins:
We all went down to New Orleans,
For Bales, for Bales;
We all went down to New Orleans,
For Bales, says I;
We all went down to New Orleans
To get a peep behind the scenes,
And we’ll all drink stone blind,
Johnny fill up the bowl.
So Gilmore might have known that version, not J-I-H-K-Y, or he might have known both, and perhaps others now lost as well. It’s a pretty simple tune to set words to (“the ants go marching one by one”) and there were probably lots of sets of lyrics.
Cooper Cannell – When Johnny Comes Marching Home
https://www.youtube.com › watch2:07Cooper Cannell When Johnny Comes Marching Home Visit My Blog: … Music promote music that’s free to download and use on YouTube videos.YouTube · No Copyright Music · 14 Dec 2019Missing:
I am aware that certain parties in the U.K are monitoring this site daily.
R J Cook
September 6th 2022
‘We Did This To them.’ Winning For The Rich Parasite Liars – From F.S West Country Correspondent.
Mia Sep 5, 2022 11:58 PM Reply to Clutching at straws
I’m Canadian. My family on my mother’s side is from the Ukraine. I used to work with a peace group. This was not a Russian invasion; it’s the culmination of an 8 year long proxy war by NATO. We in the west are funding and training Naz i militia. Surely you people remember all our mags like TIME in 2018 doing major stories on the atrocities of the violent Nazi regime in the Ukraine. NATO and the west don’t care about the people; this is about Russia’s gold backed , asset backed currency system that’s going to replace the US dollar ( the US dollar that’s based on air ; only with air money can they do this endless printing of dollars and create this unbelievable inflation and create an economy based on debt). Our ‘elites’ have trashed our economy. It’s going down. They want to replace it with a global digital ‘air’ currency that will basically allow the billionaires’elites ’ to own the value of every person’s labour and control it, and all of us. Russia is messing up their plans. It’s also about Russia and China’s Belt and Road initiative that 80 % of the rest of the world is on board with. It frees the world from the IMF, US , NATO extortion and thuggery. We’re not ‘the good guys’. Stop believing our relentless propaganda . Ask why the west wants war so badly instead of even mentioning diplomacy. Know your history. In 2014 the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian president and installed a known Nazi ‘ sympathetic’ to ‘western interests’. Look what they’re doing just so these western billionaire ‘elites’ can hang on to dominance. I’m so fed up with how uninformed people are here in the west. Jesus. The banality of evil; so called decent people self righteously cheering on the monster. Sort it out people.
And stop idiotically flying those Ukrainian flags. WE are hurting the Ukrainian people ; WE did this to them.
Mainstream media is not ‘news’; it exists to shape public perceptions. They want you on board with their latest warmongering so you’ll agree to ‘suffer’ while they wage war. And while they’re at it, billions can be transferred from western taxpayers to military arms corporations . Win win.
And now back to work – with the thought in mind that humans only really need two instructions: create your own reality, rather than relying on a manufactured one, and don’t outsource your critical thinking. Virtually no one follows these instructions.
From F.S Out West for www.robertcookofnorthbucks.com
September 5th 2022
Britain, Europe and U.S use the word ‘Democracy’ just as East Germany used to.
I’ve discovered that if you download the Tor browser (https://www.torproject.org/download/) you can access websites that are supposed to be inaccessible in this country – sometimes because of copyright (US sites big on that) and sometimes because banned (RT, for example). I was checking links in a bibliography, guv. Now expecting a knock on the door – but a useful trick to know.
I hear our country is now being led by a frightful little goblin called Truss. Make your own joke: as far as I’m concerned this is beyond parody.
With energy companies profits guaranteed, the police preparing for winter protests in the U.K, it would be cheaper to run a 50 mpg diesel car along with a diesel generator, than buy anymore electric cars. People need to think more and accept that demcoracy is a sham, a mere word, fake, a coat of paint. F.S West Country Correspondent.
West and Russia will eventually strike a deal – KremlinThe ongoing crisis between Russia and the West is bound to be followed by negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has saidRead more on the site
World’s largest particle collider at risk over EU energy crunchThe European nuclear research organization (CERN), which houses the Large Hadron Collider, is preparing an emergency plan in case of cutsRead more on the site
|Business News||04 September|
Kiev spreading ‘propaganda by fear’ – French ex-presidential candidateFormer French minister Segolene Royal has been criticized for accusing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky of spreading ‘propaganda’Read more on the site
Timofey Bordachev: Russia is a European country, but the West’s hybrid war has forced it to turn to AsiaRussia’s hybrid war with the West makes a turn to the East no longer a choice but a necessity for Moscow.Read more on the site
September 4th 2022
Gazprom reveals reasons behind indefinite shutdown of Nord Stream pipelineRussia’s Gazprom won’t bring the Nord Stream 1 pipeline back into operation due to an engine oil leak found in the main gas turbineRead more on the site
The West wants to disarm the ‘powder keg’ of Europe, but it risks igniting itThe shaky deal between Serbia and Kosovo can only postpone the conflict rooted deeply in the region’s historyRead more on the site
How some Western ‘fans’ of Ukraine are turning the conflict into a paid-for blood sportThe Russia-Ukraine fighting is being commodified for the Western audience, encouraged to buy into pro-Ukrainian merchandiseRead more on the site
US limits chip sales to Russia and China – mediaWashington has imposed restrictions on the sale of certain high-tech computer chips to Russia and China, media reports, citing US chipmakersRead more on the site
Comment The West, notably ringleader U.K demonstrates its Ostrich mentality by making it impossible to read this page in the west. The Anglo -U.S elite media invented the term ‘fake news’ as cover for their role in State Propaganda. U.K Tories have chosen a new Iron Lady, representative of this mindset. The Gas pipe is shutting down. The rich have their inalienable rights to carry on profiteering. The propaganda is pumped out faster and in greater volume than the gas deficit, the hot air threatening global disaster. Western dirty tricks will abound. The poor will pay. Ukraine is a bread basket and resource base, the western elite must have. Minsk was just a deception, playing for time. That time is up. In warfare, it is vital to choose one’s moment and one’s ground correctly. R J Cook
September 3rd 2022
Anglo-U.S Elite, Exceptional Hypocrits Propagandist & Liars
‘Complete freedom consists of being able to do what you like, provided you also do something you like less.’ Italo Svevo, Zeno’s Conscience.
As a school boy, my working class ex soldier then truck driver father, long dead, I used to deliver newspapers in the morning , then work on a farm after school. There were no obsessive health and safety Nazi Commisars in those days.
On weekends, my friend Michael and I, with the farmer following behind in his Citroen 2CV, we drove sheep several miles along a main road from an outlying field to the main farm. Sheep are a mass with little demonstrable intelligence, but easily controlled by basic animal psychology.
Humans are the same. To lead or drive them requires simple forceful and deceitful trickery. Frighten them enough and you can drive them into pens and slaughter. These skills were easily transferred into my later life as a school teacher. The larger the mass, the more such tricks are required.
Humans are easily fooled en masse into nonsense aboout diversity, gender identity and human rights. Education is so awful, that most lack the language codes to work out what clever duplicitous politicians, including police chiefs, and civil servants are doing. Super intelligent people may be top scientists and engineers, but understand little else, as those like Dr Werner Von Braun, working for Nazis, demonstrated.
So, as in 1914 and 1939, all sides marched off to war clueless or terrified to object. We are here again, which is why the U.K thinks it alright to block this website and links with RT in this country. This is all in the name of keeping the field open to Britain’s so called strong independent journalism. Go against the grain and journalists like me are labelled insane or traitors. Julian Assange gets jailed for exposing war crimes and the SAS are protected from prosecution.
The west violated the 2008 MINSK Agreement after years of war crime in the Donbas, for control of resources and regime change in Russia. The Western ruling class never accepted the Russian and Chinese Communist Revolutions, working tirelssly to undermine and discredit them. Point out our elites and their lackeys police state methods and you will be told, ‘Go to Russia.’
Today, at 4p.m, I stepped off the X60 Aylesbury bound bus in Sheep Street Winslow to be confronted by a desperate looking late 50s woman, smiling desperately at me. A female nurse, stentorian, in her starched modesty nurses smock, hauled her back. ‘ But I want this bus’ the helpless woman pleaded.. ‘No. you are not going on this or any other bus, insisted the prim and proper State Guard, her tone cold and clinical.
The elderly woman, her whole life behind her, facing decline into caged drugged helpless hoplessness, was led away by her guard.
I have been in this situation, still facing more court proceedings accordingly. A female friend recently told my son of her alarm that one of her middle class mature clients had been taken away by the authorities never to be seen again. This friend could not believe such things possible in the famous ‘British Democracy’ – that did so much to ensure the ideals of Russia’s Revoliution failed.
So we have the sanctimonious attack on Russia. We have Britain and the U.S, following through on blocking Nordsteam 2, bleating about Nordstream I being turned of. Nordstream 2 was an issue because it by passed Ukraine – where the Biden family had a history in questionable business deals and pay offs. NATO orchestrated this proxy war on Russia. Ukraine was the way into Russian regime change.
Meanwhile, England’s lady footballers have won another victory, a Boris Johnson barrister friend has called him a victim and another anti Russian ‘Iron Lady’ has been installed as U.K Prime Minister. Johnson , like so many of the British elite, including senior police officers, are self serving liars. This elite has an incestuous relationship with the U.S, and inordinate influence on Europe. These people make money from war. Private energy companies must keep their disgusting profits, grinding the masses further into the mud, as they did in the previous two world wars that the Anglo -U.S set up Miss Roberta Jane Cook
The Minsk Conundrum: Western Policy and Russia’s War in Eastern Ukraine
The Minsk agreements rest on two irreconcilable interpretations of Ukraine’s sovereignty: is Ukraine sovereign, as Ukrainians insist, or should its sovereignty be limited, as Russia demands? Instead of trying to resolve an unresolvable contradiction, Western policymakers should acknowledge the starkness of the Minsk conundrum. Research paper 22 May 2020 ISBN: 978 1 78413 400 6
- Introduction: the ‘Minsk conundrum’
- The background to the Minsk agreements⌄
- The Minsk-1 agreement
- The Minsk-2 agreement
- Minsk implementation⌄
- Why not jettison the Minsk agreements?
- About the author
|Newsletter Aug 31, 2022|
|Surging energy prices create perfect storm for UK bonds British government bonds are on course for their biggest monthly fall since 1994, as surging energy prices create a perfect storm of higher inflation, tighter monetary policy and the prospect of greater government borrowing.|
|Why Russia drives European and British gas prices The Nord Stream 1 pipeline that transports gas from Russia to Germany will undergo maintenance from Aug.31 – Sept.|
Comment It is not a connundrum. The reportage is just a con pulled on ignorant masses. R J Cook
Russia indefinitely suspends Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe
Move follows G7 agreement to introduce price cap on Russian oil exports
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Russia has indefinitely suspended natural gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, exacerbating a squeeze on Europe’s energy supplies and deepening the recession risks faced in the EU. State-owned Gazprom, which was meant to restore operations on the Baltic Sea pipeline on Saturday after three days of maintenance, said the suspension was due to a technical fault. The move came hours after the G7 countries said they were pushing ahead with a plan to try to impose a price cap on Russia’s oil exports as part of an attempt to lower revenues flowing to Moscow that can be used to fund its invasion of Ukraine. It will heighten fears in European capitals that Russia aims to further cut supplies before the winter. Moscow has been accused of “weaponising” its gas to stoke a cost of living crisis in retaliation for western support for Ukraine.
“Gazprom’s announcement this afternoon that it is once again shutting down Nord Stream 1 under fallacious pretences is another confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier,” Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesman, wrote on Twitter. “It’s also proof of Russia’s cynicism, as it prefers to flare gas instead of honouring contracts.” Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has made little attempt to hide his goal to undermine western sanctions and stop attempts by Ukraine’s allies to reduce their dependence on Moscow’s oil and gas exports. Gazprom had already cut capacity on Nord Stream 1 since June, curtailing volumes to just 20 per cent of normal levels and triggering a more than doubling in European gas prices.
The company said the shutdown was because of an oil leak discovered in the main gas turbine at the Portovaya compressor station near St Petersburg, which feeds the line that runs through the Baltic Sea to Germany. However, Siemens Energy, which manufactures and maintains the turbines that power the pipeline, cast doubt on this explanation. “Such leakages do not usually affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site,” the German company said. “It is a routine procedure during maintenance work. In the past, the occurrence of this type of leakage has not resulted in a shutdown of operations. “Irrespective of this, we have already pointed out several times that there are enough additional turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” Siemens Energy said. After jumping last week to an all-time high, European gas prices have slid in recent days, declining by a third to €209 per megawatt hour — though that is still about 10 times the average level of the past decade.
Prices eased partly as the EU hit its target of filling storage sites to 80 per cent of capacity ahead of the winter heating season. But gas stocks in storage alone are not enough to meet winter demand without normal Russian export flows. Sergei Vakulenko, an independent energy expert, said that Russia hoped that winter shortfalls might force Europe to plead for gas and agree to at least some of its terms on Ukraine. “Every bit counts,” Vakulenko said. “Therefore Russia most likely has decided, that as much as it likes the revenue and creating uncertainty, it’s time for it to create as much of a shortage as possible.” Germany and other large European economies aim to cut their gas demand by 15 per cent to avoid severe shortages, though they may still need to introduce rationing. Blackouts are a possibility.
Before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia met about 40 per cent of Europe’s gas demand. Simone Tagliapietra, a senior fellow at the Bruegel think-tank, said the latest announcement was an indication that a winter with “zero Russian gas” should be treated as the central scenario for Europe. He added: “There is only one way to prepare for that: reducing gas and electricity demand. This must be Europe’s key policy priority.” EU member states have also been seeking to diversify their gas supplies, including by purchasing more seaborne liquefied natural gas from countries including the US. The complete halt of Nord Stream leaves just two significant pipeline routes supplying Russian gas to the EU: one through Ukraine and another across the Black Sea and through Turkey.
A representative for the German economy ministry said it had already seen Russia’s unreliability as a supplier and that “as a result we are much better prepared than we were a few months ago”. Recommended ExplainerWar in Ukraine How would a G7 price cap on Russian oil work? “We will reach our target of getting [storage facilities] 85 per cent full by October already in the first few days of September,” the ministry representative added. “We are also making good progress in finding alternative supply routes to the Russian ones and building import capacities for LNG.” In Washington, the White House National Security Council said that as a result of US-Europe collaboration, gas storage would be full by the winter heating season. But it added: “These efforts alone will not suffice.”
EU energy ministers are due to meet in an emergency session in Brussels next Friday to further discuss their preparations for the winter, including the ways of mitigating the impact of soaring gas prices on electricity costs. In an internal policy paper this week, the commission said member states could funnel a share of inflated profits generated by power companies to consumers as part of a plan to cushion soaring wholesale electricity prices in Europe. Additional reporting by Sam Fleming and Andy Bounds in Brussels, Guy Chazan in Berlin, Joe Miller in Frankfurt and James Politi in Washington
|Business News||02 September|
UN nuclear watchdog should be mistrusted ‘by default’ – Zelensky aideUkrainian presidential advisor Mikhail Podolyak expresses his low expectations from the IAEA inspection to the Zaporozhye power plantRead more on the site
EU threatened with complete halt of Russian gas suppliesRussia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev has warned Moscow would halt gas supply to the EU if a price cap was imposed on Russian fossil fuelRead more on the site
Climate activists invade British parliamentClimate-change crusaders Extinction Rebellion have glued themselves around the speaker’s chair in the UK Parliament as part of a protestRead more on the site
|Business News||02 September|
September 2nd 2022
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||01 September|
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||01 September|
Ukraine conflict will be over soon – Belarusian president Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko alleged there is a conflict brewing between President Zelensky and the military in UkraineRead more on the site
Leaked document exposes hidden Western hand behind new British-style anti-worker laws in UkraineUkraine’s labor laws: How UK influence played a role in a measure that flies in the face of apparent ambitions to join the EURead more on the site
Turkey shouldn’t be only country talking to Russia – MacronWhile supporting Ukraine and insisting on EU unity against Russia, the French president urged diplomats to keep an open channel with MoscowRead more on the site
Trump teases pardon for January 6 defendantsFormer President Donald Trump said that, if re-elected, he will consider “full pardons” for his supporters jailed over the January 6 riotRead more on the site
|After what looked like the dawning of a new era, Latin America’s “pink tide” suddenly appears to have reached its limits.During a particularly brutal pandemic, with scant government resources to help people and businesses survive the economic collapse, voters began turning to the left.Radical leaders were elected in Peru, Chile and most recently Colombia on pledges to tackle glaring inequalities and address climate change.The high water mark of change may have arrived.Key reading:Boric Faces Ultimate Leadership Test in Chile Constitution Vote Why Chile’s Draft Constitution Has Come Under Attack Gunman Tried to Murder Argentina’s Kirchner, President Says A New Minister Is Appointed Every Six Days in Castillo’s Peru Colombia Needs Fuel Hike After Wasted Bonanza, Credit Chief SayA planned new constitution for Chile to deliver a more progressive and inclusive legal framework is facing defeat in a referendum this weekend. That would be a significant blow for Gabriel Boric, who made a rewrite of the Augusto Pinochet-era charter a priority when he came to office as Chile’s youngest-ever president.In Peru, Pedro Castillo’s government stumbles from crisis to crisis, with barely a week going by without him losing a cabinet minister to some scandal.Gustavo Petro has only just been sworn in as Colombia’s first leftist leader and already the challenges look daunting.An attempt on the life of Argentina’s leftist vice president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, yesterday came at a time when the country is bitterly polarized after years of economic crisis and political infighting.True, polls suggest that former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is on course to beat far-right incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro, to the Brazilian presidency next month. But whatever your views of Bolsonaro, the return of a 76-year-old former jail inmate is hardly indicative of a healthy democracy. It’s not that the right is in any better shape.Rather, it points to increased political volatility stemming from the pandemic and years of social neglect now being compounded by surging consumer costs.That’s a lesson governments elsewhere might want to take on board. — Alan Crawford|
|Police take into custody an armed man who allegedly attempted an attack on Kirchner yesterday. Photographer: Tomas Cuesta/Getty Images Click here for this week’s most compelling political images and share this newsletter with others. They can sign up here.|
|Outrage appeal | President Joe Biden sought to stoke US voters’ outrage over what Democrats call the extremism of Donald Trump and his supporters ahead of congressional midterm elections in November. In a prime-time address to the nation, he went to some lengths to distinguish “the majority of Republicans” from “MAGA Republicans” who support the former president and as a result have put as a result democracy “under assault.”Nuclear visit | International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and some team members left Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant yesterday after spending several hours there, amid reports of increased shelling in the area. Five monitors out of about a dozen stayed on to inspect Europe’s biggest atomic plant following warnings that fighting nearby could trigger a potential radioactive disaster.The US called on Russia to let the IAEA inspectors stay as long as needed, and National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Moscow is grappling with maintaining a sizable and motivated army after suffering significant casualties in its invasion of Ukraine. The risk of civil unrest has spiked across the globe as both developed nations and emerging markets grapple with spiraling inflation and upheaval exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of 198 countries tracked in Verisk Maplecroft’s Civil Unrest Index, 101 showed mounting risk in the third quarter of 2022. That’s the biggest increase since the ranking was developed in 2016.Energy crisis | An emergency intervention in European Union power markets may lower prices but won’t return them to pre-crisis levels or remove the impact on inflation and the economy, according to the bloc’s executive arm. The steps considered by the European Commission include a power-demand reduction and price caps on renewables, nuclear and coal.German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the country can’t rely on gas supplies from Russia, and there are growing expectations that the flows will be used as a way to squeeze the bloc to reconsider its sanctions against Moscow. EU officials remain skeptical about plans for a new gas pipeline connecting the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of Europe, despite the risk of further cut-offs by Russia. Best of Bloomberg Opinion Don’t Abandon Small Businesses in the Energy Crisis: Javier Blas The World Must Avert a Nuclear Disaster in Ukraine: Editorial Liz Truss Threatens to Ignite Brexit Dynamite: Therese RaphaelDownbeat assessment | The US described Iran’s response to the latest effort to revive the 2015 nuclear accord as “not constructive,” dousing the optimism of recent weeks that the two sides could reach a deal that would free more oil for global markets. US officials are still looking at the text that was submitted to the EU. Explainers you can use The Misery Behind Ethiopia’s Simmering Civil War How Eurovision’s Silly Songfest Met War in Ukraine Biggest Cocaine Producer Rethinks the War on DrugsUS ‘betrayal’ | South Korea views new US rules that favor American-made electric vehicles and batteries as a “betrayal” that may complicate economic and security cooperation between the close allies, a senior official said. The Inflation Reduction Act Biden signed last month includes tax credits for purchases made in North America that put South Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia at a disadvantage. Bloomberg TV and Radio air Balance of Power with David Westin weekdays from 12 to 1pm ET, with a second hour on Bloomberg Radio from 1 to 2pm ET. You can watch and listen on Bloomberg channels and online here or check out prior episodes and guest clips here. News to Note China has sent warplanes across the Taiwan Strait’s so-called median line almost daily since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last month, shrinking a buffer zone that has helped keep the peace for decades. Russia is struggling to export its record wheat crop, just as the opening of a safe corridor supports an uptick in shipments from Ukraine. Poland’s ruling nationalists issued a demand for World War II compensation from Germany, saying destruction wrought by the Nazi regime caused damage worth about $1.3 trillion. The shell companies that Chinese firms often use to list shares in New York would face heightened scrutiny from American regulators under a new bill in the US Senate. Angola’s main opposition group formerly rejected the outcome of last week’s presidential vote won by the ruling party and may take the matter to the nation’s Constitutional Court.Pop quiz (no cheating!) Which country is seeking to attract an exclusive group of expatriate workers by offering a flexible five-year work visa for foreigners making at least $21,500 a month. Send your answers to email@example.com.And finally … Berlin is once again on the front-line of a battle — over how European nations gripped by an energy-supply crisis overhaul the ways they power everything from factories to the daily commute. In a sign of the times, government officials and senior executives gathered on a recent morning to welcome an electric bus — the symbol of the biggest revamp to Germany’s largest city bus system since the adoption of the internal combustion engine in 1906. The new Ebusco e-bus. Photographer: picture alliance|
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September 1st 2022
A World of Debt For Taxpayers And Profit For Global Elite.
|The line of hopefuls outside the Washington headquarters of the world’s financial firefighter is looking busy.Countries from multiple regions are again tapping the International Monetary Fund for loans as their economies teeter. Each case has its differences, but generally it’s a combination of high inflation, dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising borrowing costs and stuttering growth. Often with a dose of political turmoil thrown on top.Key reading:Zambia Gets IMF Bailout, Marking Progress for G-20 Debt Plan Sri Lanka Reaches Initial Deal With IMF for $2.9 Billion Loan Pakistan Secures $1.1 Billion IMF Loan to Avert Default IMF Warns Faster Debt Relief Needed as More Nations Seek Help The Spiraling Debt Crunch Confronting Poor NationsThe IMF, part of the framework set up in the dying days of World War II to create greater global stability, has at times been controversial, given conditions attached to its programs including big spending cuts. But alongside China the IMF is arguably a lender of last resort and, as a barometer of risk and frailty, it’s blinking red.Pakistan, facing political turmoil and now deadly floods, just secured a loan of about $1.1 billion to avert an imminent default. Sri Lanka is close to finalizing nearly $3 billion, while Zambia won IMF board approval yesterday for $1.3 billion. Egypt is in talks for a new loan as investors fret about a broader default. Six months after Russia invaded, Ukraine is desperate for IMF money and yet may not be able to get any, given the rule that any borrower must have a clear path for repayment.Soaring energy and food prices are adding to the woes for countries buried by debt incurred during the pandemic. So quick fixes are needed. There are concerns about contagion for more robust economies.But the world also finds itself in cycles of crisis in part because politicians with an eye on the electoral calendar lurch from one band-aid to another without undertaking the painful but necessary structural reforms that so many economies need in the longer term.And countries may want to be careful what they wish for: Having taken years to navigate a $44 billion program, Argentina is now in the bind of needing to slash spending and cut subsidies even as utility bills soar. — Rosalind Mathieson|
|People affected by the floods block the Indus Highway today demanding food and shelter in Sindh province, Pakistan. Photographer: Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg|
August 31st 2022
Whose Faults Were The Lost Opportunities ?
Vladislav M. Zubok · Foreign Policy
A hopeful moment in Russian history dies with the former Soviet leader.
Greg Rosalsky · NPR
Car dealerships deploy tricks and traps to make as much money as they can from you. Here’s what I learned when trying to buy a new car.
Manyun Zou · The Pudding
A case study on how the government censors TV in China.
Commenr The west have no
Mikhail Gorbachev: Remembering a warm-hearted and generous man
By Steve Rosenberg
Russia Editor, Moscow
Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev were married for 46 years before her death in 1999
It’s March 2013 and I’m interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev at his Moscow think tank. After half an hour the former Soviet leader announces ‘Vsyo!’ (‘That’s your lot!’). He gets up, but appears in no hurry to say goodbye.
So, we continue to chat. Mr Gorbachev has just published the latest volume of his memoirs, which he’s dedicated to his late wife Raisa. She died of leukaemia in 1999. They’d been married for nearly 46 years and from the tender way in which he talks about her it’s clear that Gorbachev misses her deeply.
He shows me the book. Page one features an entry from Gorbachev’s diary, a year after Raisa’s death:
“My life has lost its principal meaning,” he writes. “I have never had such an acute feeling of loneliness.”
But Gorbachev’s eyes light up as he points out pictures of Raisa in the book: the holiday snaps, the family photos, pictures of her accompanying him on official trips abroad. And his two favourite images: matching portraits of Mikhail and Raisa before their wedding day in 1953. They look like Hollywood film stars.
While Gorbachev and I have been looking through the book, our camera operator Rachel has been examining the grand piano in the corner of the room.
“Can you play that?” she asks Gorbachev.
“No need to, it plays itself!” he replies.
We all laugh. But he isn’t joking. Gorbachev walks over to it, presses a button and the piano keys burst into life all by themselves.
Read More https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62062852?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB
Comment Gorbachev could have been the best thing that ever happened to Russis. But western elite greed and the greedy within, pushed him out. Yelstsin was the western place man . The asset strippinhg started. Gangster like oligarchs traded with a western security service alliance that made the KGB look no better than mere school bullies. Russian people had hell under the Tsar, an ancestor closely related to Britain’s Queen because he was Queen Victoria’s nephew – as the German Kaiser Willhelm II had been.
The Kaiser’s government promoted the Russian Revolution to get Russia off its back in 1917 because they were going to lose the war otherwise. After that war, the west with cheer leader rich man and war monger Churchill would not leave Communist Russia alone. Idealist Lenin was toppled by thug Stalin, a perfect bogey man to scare the west’s oppressed starving masses. Lenin’s assassination was a set up, made to look like a shooting by a crazy person
The war against communism had begun with Hitler actually encouraged by the elites to defeat communism because it was threaatening their wealth and power. Stalin , ironically, became a vital ally against Hitler who had never recovered from the insanity induced and compounded during and after heroic service in that first allegedly , world war. Once the war ended, the war on communism recommenced, spreading to Vietnam as Western Empires collapsed. The Soviet Union was under siege.
Something had to give and Gorbachev tried to give it. But Western meglomaniacs and pleasure seeking leaders wanted too much too fast. So Gorbachev had to go. I have never forgotten how depressing it was to wake up to the news that he had been pushed out. Then the rot set in. Putin is the west’s scapegoat because he is trying to protect Russia and restore its dignity. The Anglo U.S Western Elite cannot tolerate that, so they are stepping up military training and arms production. A lot of money is being made at the expense of the masses who face rising prices and worse misery.
There is a real and increasing prospect of all out war because the elite , who forced the global economy on to us for selfish reasons, are now turning it off for the same. It would’t make any difference if people did understand what was happening. They couldn’t do anything about it. They most certainly won’t get the truth from the BBC.
Miss Roberta Jane Cook
August 30th 2022
RT News – Banned in Britain where free press is as mythical as the Unicorn – comment by R.J Cook.
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||27 August|
War, fatalism, even some heavy drinking: Here are the modern movies you should watch to understand the mysterious ‘Russian soul’On Russian Cinema Day, RT presents a list of the main works of modern Russian directors.Read more on the site
|World News||28 August|
Blame West for global inflation — former Czech presidentFormer Czech President Vaclav Klaus has rejected the notion that Russia has been the sole reason for the current global economic problemsRead more on the site
|Business News||27 August|
India negotiates resumption of LNG supply from RussiaIndia has negotiated resumption of LNG supplies with Russia’s Gazprom, Manoj Jain, chairman of state-run Indian company GAIL said FridayRead more on the site
Comment Pride Events are a pretence at tolerance and a distraction from the absurdity and intolerance of multi culture. LGBTQI people are being conned, they are not one people, espcially in U.K where TERF feminist hate preachers label trans women as rapists in waiting. R.J Cook
August 27th 2022
Trump Trump Rich Lefties Evil One.
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|Intercepted foreign communications and intelligence gathered by spies were among the classified defense and intelligence material that former US President Donald Trump stashed improperly at his Mar-a-Lago estate, according to an unsealed FBI affidavit.Joe Biden said the philosophy espoused by supporters of Trump is “like semi-fascism” as the US president started his campaign for the congressional midterm elections in November.Ukraine celebrated 31 years of independence from the Soviet Union this week as Vladimir Putin’s invasion passed the six-month mark, with Russian forces suffering huge casualties and causing enormous suffering and destruction.China pumped a further 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) into the economy, with funding largely focused on infrastructure spending.And in Europe, with Russia squeezing gas deliveries and power-plant outages sapping energy supplies, pressure mounted on governments to ease the burden on consumers ahead of the approaching winter.Delve into these and more of this week’s top political stories in this edition of Weekend Reads. — Karl Maier|
|A man mourns during a ceremony for the fallen soldiers of Ukraine at the Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv on Wednesday. Photographer: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images Click here for this week’s most compelling political images and share this newsletter with others. They can sign up here.|
|Trump’s Return of Top Secret Files Convinced FBI He Had More|
The FBI indicated in the affidavit supporting its search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate that records he kept contained information about clandestine human sources and data collection authorized under a secret body known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Jack Gillum writes.Months before FBI agents executed the search warrant, a lawyer for the former president insisted to a top Justice Department official that Trump had been acting in “good faith.” Five key takeaways from the affidavit. Six Months of Putin’s War Unravels Russia’s Superpower Image
Putin’s invasion has upended fundamental assumptions about Russia’s military and economy. Marc Champion outlines how wrong expectations of officials and analysts in Washington and Europe proved to be. Putin ordered his army to boost its troop total by 137,000 to 1.15 million, the highest level in more than a decade. Nuclear inspectors will be given wider powers than initially sought to investigate attacks against a Russian-occupied atomic plant in Ukraine. Biden Touts Debt Relief, Climate Wins in Test of Midterm Message
The president kicked off his campaign for the midterm elections by casting Republican candidates as committed to “destroying America.” As Jordan Fabian and Nancy Cook write, Biden touted recent legislative wins and said “the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.” Biden announced a sweeping package of student-debt relief that forgives as much as $20,000 in loans for some recipients, a move he said would help a generation “saddled with unsustainable debt.” Trump, DeSantis and Cheney Expose Fault Lines in GOP Identity
The US Republican party is searching for its identity ahead of the crucial midterms, with confidence waning that it can reclaim control of Congress and face the 2024 presidential vote from a position of strength. Mario Parker explores what is going wrong for the GOP.
Japan Set to Become One of World’s Biggest Defense Spenders
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling party is looking to double spending over five years from this year’s 5.4 trillion yen ($39.5 billion), Isabel Reynolds writes. That could propel Japan from ninth in the world for military spending to a likely third spot behind the US and China, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI. Kishida rides in a tank in Tokyo on Nov. 27, 2021. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg US, Iran Near Nuclear Deal Whose Final Push May Still Take Weeks
Washington and Tehran may need several weeks to resolve their differences over key details of an emerging deal to revive a landmark nuclear agreement, sources say. Jonathan Tirone, Golnar Motevalli and Samy Adghirni detail the gaps that remain.Growing public anger over worsening living standards is putting pressure on Iran’s ruling hardliners to make concessions and reach an accord. China’s Historic Drought Spawns Power Crisis in Test for Xi
Drought is hitting megacities like Shanghai, adding to the challenges China faces in reviving an economy battered by Covid-19 lockdowns and posing yet another test for President Xi Jinping as he closes in on an unprecedented third term in power.China announced 19 new policies Wednesday aimed at beefing up efforts to rescue economic growth. Hong Kong authorities are increasingly using a colonial-era sedition law to curb dissent in the Asian financial hub.Goodbye Hot Showers. Here’s How Europe Is Slashing Energy Use
Europeans are taking colder showers, offices are turning down thermostats and stores are dimming lights to avoid blackouts and freezing homes this winter in the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine. Also see Brian K Sullivan’s report on how rivers across the globe are disappearing. Europe’s record-breaking heat wave will be just an average summer in less than 15 years — even if countries meet their climate goals — with regular droughts and fires set to become the norm. Part of the Guadiana river has dried up in the central-western Spanish region of Extremadura on Aug. 16. Photographer: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images Best of Bloomberg Opinion This Week Listening to Electricity Traders Is Really Scary: Javier Blas Why Pakistan Can’t Afford Another Political Crisis: Mihir Sharma Did Congress Really Snub Supreme Court on Climate?: Noah Feldman The Stink Over Britain’s Sewage Gets Political: Therese Raphael The Era of Economic Whiplash Is Just Beginning: Eduardo PorterTensions in Team Truss Emerge With 10 Downing Street in Reach
While Liz Truss has opened up a comfortable poll lead over Rishi Sunak in the race to be the UK prime minister, behind the scenes disagreements are emerging in her team. As Alex Wickham writes, there are fundamental divisions over how to help Britons struggling with soaring prices this winter.Truss, the current UK foreign secretary, said the “jury’s out” on whether French President Emmanuel Macron is a friend or an enemy. Truss in Manchester on Aug. 19. Photographer: Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg Singapore Housing Barrier Becomes Even Higher for LGBTQ Buyers
The authorities’ move to bolster rules preventing same-sex marriages could be a serious blow to the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community in one of the city-state’s most important wealth and lifestyle areas: housing. Natalie Choy explains why.
Angola President Wins Second Term in Closest Vote in Decades
The ruling MPLA party maintained its 47-year grip on power in Angola and won a second mandate for President Joao Lourenco in this week’s election — a result the opposition rejected. Henrique Almeida and Candido Mendes write that the vote was the most hotly contested in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer since a civil war ended in 2002.Imran Khan’s Street Politics Sets Up Showdown With Army
Pakistan’s military-backed establishment faces a dilemma: The more they seek to boot Imran Khan out of politics, the greater the risk the former premier becomes even more popular. Kamran Haider and Ismail Dilawar explain how his campaign to rally supporters for a fresh national vote is paying off.Pakistan has appealed to foreign donors for help as unprecedented rains trigger a humanitarian crisis and threaten the economy.Border Reopening Stalls as Maduro Mulls Impact of Colombia Trade
Gustavo Petro’s inauguration as Colombia’s first leftist president was expected to lead to a quick reopening of the border with Venezuela and a reboot of their often acrimonious relations. Patricia Laya looks at why the process has stalled. Explainers of the Week Scotland’s Push to Secede From UK Won’t Go Away Women Paid Less Than Men? Here’s Who’s Keeping Score Net Zero Will Make or Break One of the UK’s Wealthiest Cities Covid Incubation Gets Shorter With Each New Variant, Study Shows Why Ghana Went From Hero to Zero for InvestorsChurch Ties Exposed by Abe Murder Drag Down Successor in Japan
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination was expected to unite a nation in shock. Instead, Jon Herskovitz and Yuki Hagiwara explain, it exposed embarrassing ties between the ruling party and the Unification Church, leading to a sharp fall in public support for the current leader and possibly threatening his grip on power.
Even From Jail, Najib Will Remain a Kingmaker in Malaysia
Najib Razak is in prison after Malaysia’s top court upheld the former prime minister’s conviction for his role in one of the world’s largest financial scandals. Yet as Niluksi Koswanage, Philip J. Heijmans and Ravil Shirodkar write, he will loom large over the next battle for control of parliament.
And finally … After the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, some users of the social media platform he helped to start urged people to respond with violence, Julia Love reports. That prompted a congressional committee to write to Truth Social to express concern over posts including “Arm yourselves! We are about to enter into Civil War!” Trump supporters outside Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 9. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg
Nato War on Ukraine Insane
– R J Cook
Wandering around Bletchley today I had no sense that people had any idea about war in Ukraine, why it was happening and for whose actual benefit. Bletchley is a miserable downtrodden place , in spite of a new railway line under construction and a lot of new luxury mini blocks of flats being built. They are actually rebuilding a rail link shut down by the arrogant incompetent feminist pampered overrated Labour Minister Barbara Castle on December 31st 1967. It used to link Oxford and Cambridge. The boffins from the two world famous universities used to stop off at Bletchley to visit Bletchley Park German code breaking HQ. During World War Two. Maths genius Alan Turing led the project but was driven to suicide after the war because he was a homosexual. His memory has been honoured in town by having a pub named after him on one of the town’s sprawling outlying estates near Water Eaton.
Many people swallowed all the jingoism of two past world wars for an establishment that had no care for them beyond use as canon fodder. It is amazing how putting on military or police uniform can turn the average person into a robotic Nazi. I noticed that the first time I wore my Air Training Corps Uniform.
Even at that level, you represented the nation regardless of its underlying morality or lack of it. When I went for my flying commission in the Royal Navy I was asked if I could kill. When I hesitated , the officer psychiatrist remarked ‘That is what it comes down to in the end, being able to kill without question.’ Of course they are not so honest these days, which is why Julian Assange is locked away for leaking a video of a U.S helicopter gunship massacring innocent civilians in Iraq. I don’t think I could have done that, but who knows what military mind conditioning can do to a ‘normal’ person.
I grew up with the myth that Britain’s empire civilised the world and that its class system was God’s will. There were simply good and bad people and Britain was owned and run by good people.
My last 15 years at the mercy of the corrupt British establishment has taught me otherwise. Now we come to this hypocritical war against Russia. It is NATO’s war. Our so called freedom loving democracy has cut off my Russian newsfeed. British people must only hear from its posh news readers and writers, working for their ‘strong independent media.’ Google has agreed to block Russian media and ‘bots.’ I am obviously classed as one of the latter because there are blocks on this site. It seems only the cops and security services read it – maybe the local looney bin who labelled me a paranoid bi polar delusional schizophrenic keeps an eye on me here too.
Believe Britain has an independent media with experts you can trust and and you will believe anything. World War One originally involved three in bred Royal cousins, two nephews and a son of the much esteemed Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm II, an idiot, Tsar Nicholas II, an incompetent weakling and Kind Edward VII whose main interests were his 9 course meals, yacht racing around the Isle of Wight and fornicating with his mistresses – his wife also had a voracious sexual appetite reputedly with over 200 lovers. Princess Diana was a novice by comparison.
Then there was France, a nation misled onto the course of revenge against France because the vainglorious Napoleon III ( there never was a Napoleon II ) had been foolish enough to be baited into war by Bismark during the Prussian wars to reunite Germany. His successors kept beating the ‘Revenche’ ( Revenge ) drum.
Add to all of that the competition over empires and how Germany was blamed for causing the First – fortune making working class slaughtering- World War, driven into the mire and hatred that created Hitler, then you get World War Two. Had the United States not pushed out the Kaiser and joined the League of Nations, controlling the absurd British and French vindictive leadership, then the Second World War would have been avoided.
But wrongly blame any individuals for crimes they have not done , then you will get an apparently psychotic reaction , which we saw in Adolph Hitler – which we see with feral youth today. But the British and French ignored Hitler, even encouraging him because World War One also facilitated the Russian revolution. The rich of Europe were first to express the ‘Domino Theory.’ Hitler was increasingly seen as protector of their power and privileges because they were grinding their common people into the dirt of the hungry 1930s.
And so we come to the Cold War, the Glasnost capitulation .oligarchs and drunkard western stooge Yelstsin, along with all the asset stripping. Putin sees where this is going and western elite paranoia kicks in to block his response. Propaganda abounds. We are in a new version of the 1920s and the Zinoviev Letter. We are supposed to believe that the Russians are plotting to take over our glorious ‘free world of western style democracies.’ These so called democracies have a production line of new laws, overpaid politicians, lawyers and police officers that make the old Soviets and GDR look like kindergarten school.
So the Europeans, led by British elite cheer leaders who are so much more free after their self interested Brexit, see no war like significance in Russia burning off £8.4 million worth of daily gas supplies to Europe, to reduce long pipe line pressure presaging complete shut down. Russia is doing its best to avoid Nuclear options but has to do something. Europe is being warned of a long cold winter with 80% energy price rises imminent.
NATO are after the wealth and strategic value of Ukraine and Crimea, rewriting history in the process – easily done due to mass stupidity and ignorance,
Still, you can’t talk sense to nonsense in western style democracies, where mass political priorities are football ( especially women’s ), BLM, TERF Trans hating Trans fearing feminism or blocking the rights of we trans ladies to use women’s toilets ( If you can find one that hasn’t been sold off for housing in the U.K ) or show our money making superiority in sports.
Miss Roberta Jane Cook.
August 26th 2022
How Britain Broke The World
|Business News||26 August|
Russia responds to Zuckerberg’s FBI revelationsRussia’s foreign ministry has claimed Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed in a recent interview that the FBI controls US social mediaRead more on the site
|Business News||26 August|
Banks in EU country sued over anti-Russian sanctionsSeveral French banks have been sued for ethnic discrimination against people with “Slavic-sounding” names, due to anti-Russian sanctionsRead more on the site
Russia ‘burning off £8.4m worth of gas a day’ as Europe grapples with energy crisis
The flaring first came to light a few weeks ago when Finnish people noticed a large flame on the horizon at the Russian border. Analysis suggests around 4.34 million cubic metres of gas is being burned every day – an estimated $10m worth.
Friday 26 August 2022 14:46, UK
Russia is burning off large amounts of natural gas that it previously would have exported to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, analysis suggests.
Satellite monitoring of heat levels at a new liquified natural gas facility near the Finnish border indicates it has been happening since 11 July – and an estimated $10m (£8.4m) worth of gas is being burnt every day.
The flaring first came to light a few weeks ago when Finnish people noticed a large flame on the horizon at the Russian border.
Analysis by Norway-based Rystad Energy, an independent energy research company, suggests around 4.34 million cubic metres of gas is burnt each day.
This is “enough gas to supply 1.5 million European homes”, Sindre Knutsson, senior vice-president of gas and LNG markets at Rystad Energy, told Sky News.
He also described the quantities of carbon dioxide produced by the plant as an “environmental disaster”.
Although the flaring may be part of testing procedures at the Portovaya LNG plant or because of a lack of coordination between different operating segments, experts said “the likely magnitude and duration of this continuous flaring period is quite extreme”.
More on Russia
- Putin to increase size of Russian armed forces by 137,000 starting in 2023
- Russian rocket attack on train station in central Ukraine kills 25 people
- Moscow families enjoy day out at war games exhibition as Ukraine marks Independence Day
Mr Knutsson said similar observations had been made by several firms which have been interpreting the satellite data, “confirming these radiant heat levels”.
“A significant amount of flaring is happening at that LNG facility which is under construction at the moment,” he said.
The Portovaya plant, which is northwest of St Petersburg and is due to start up this year, is close to a compressor station at the start of the Nord Stream 1 undersea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.
Supply was cut off for 10 days in July while the pipeline was undergoing annual maintenance, and while it has since resumed, the gas flow is running at a fifth of its capacity.
Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy company, has cited faulty or delayed equipment as the main reason behind this.
Germany disputes this, saying it is a pretext and that Moscow is using gas as a weapon to push back against Western pressure over its invasion of Ukraine – fuelling soaring prices and the deepening cost of living crisis ahead of winter.
Russia denies this, and says Western sanctions are the reason for high gas prices.
“The exact reason for the flaring happening is uncertain because there has not been any proper communication from Gazprom or Russia,” Mr Knutsson said.
He said there could be a number of reasons for the flaring with Russia sitting on a “surplus of gas right now”.
“There are many potential reasons but we don’t know the exact one,” he said.
There are also concerns about the quantities of carbon dioxide and soot the plant is creating.
“This is the equivalent of 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide on a daily basis which is really an environmental disaster,” Mr Knutsson said.
August 25th 2022
This site, robert cook of north bucks, like RT , is blocked in the freedom loving United Kingdom which left the E.U to assume its true identity as 51st State of The United States, underwriting World War 3 at the masses expense – same old story & tunes of glory – R. J Cook
|Business News||24 August|
Ukrainian spies detained at nuclear plant – RussiaRussian troops have detained two workers from the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, who are accused of colluding with Kiev’s forcesRead more on the site
Barely audible Zelensky dodges Russian response at UNAt the UN Security Council, Russia called out Western support for Ukraine’s “campaign of lies” and crimes against the civilian populationRead more on the site
Man diagnosed with HIV, Covid-19, and monkeypox all at once – reportThe Journal of Infection has reported the first case of a man being diagnosed with HIV, Covid-19, and monkeypox simultaneously Read more on the site
Islands near Australia could be sold to ChinaAustralian PM Anthony Albanese was unimpressed by a private citizen’s “offer” to force the country to buy 21 islands near Papua New GuineaRead more on the site
|Russia & Former Soviet Union||25 August|
|Business News||25 August|
|Business News||25 August|
|Games & Culture||25 August|
It’s OK to troll American patriots but not LGBT+ activists in video gamesThe controversy surrounding a Spider-Man Remastered mod that replaced Pride flags with American ones shows the double standards of wokenessRead more on the site
No Problem Being American – Comment By Roberta Jane Cook.
The United States was founded by English settlers profering piety but feeding a hungry English Crown rivalling the Spanish who were bleeding what became poveryty stricken Catholic overpopulated Latin America. There was a brief union of lust when Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon before creating his Anglican Church offshoot to get his divorce so he could rape and murder more wives. That is what the English Welsh Crown was founded on.
The politics of all this went over the cowardly masses heads. When Christianity split into two after the islamic rift, there were the Crusades. People die for this crap, but never for truth. Hiding with God is so OCD. Anti hate laws are a finishing touch when it comes to putting religion in its place.
So, the rich English so pious founders of the United States broke away from the insane British King to create the ultimate planet eater United States. Wars make money and never stop. I have no problem with that, just the lies and crippling fake democracy. I have no problem being a ‘citizen’ of the 51st state of the U.S, but the BBC does not speak for me. They are a career junket for the British upper middle classes, with token blacks who are usually bourgeoise too, and moronic chavs for the ‘people’s programmes’ like ‘Big Breakfast’ and sports commentary.
Britain does not have a truth seeking independent media, which is why this site and RT are blocked in the United Kingdom because people must not see this vile despotism for what it is. There are harsh penalties for exposing it.
August 23rd 2022
|Top Science News|
|NASA’s massive moon rocket will roll out earlier than planned (Orlando Sentinel/Getty Images) It’s rare that a spaceflight milestone occurs earlier than planned. Full Story: Space (8/15)|
|NASA’s gargantuan Mega Moon Rocket could head to space as soon as Aug. 29 (NASA/Glenn Benson) NASA’s Artemis mission — which will ultimately return humans to the moon’s surface for the first time in 50 years, including the first woman and person of color to set foot there — could launch as soon as late August, agency officials said in a news briefing on Wednesday (July 20).|
The first phase of the mission, dubbed Artemis-1, will see NASA’s massive new Space Launch System (SLS) launch on a four-to-six-week-long trip around the far side of the moon and back. NASA has eyed Aug. 29, Sept. 2 or Sept. 5 as the earliest possible launch dates for the mission, NASA associate administrator Jim Free told reporters. Full Story: Live Science (7/22)
|AP-NORC Poll: Most in US want stricter gun laws CHICAGO (AP) — Most U.S. adults think gun violence is increasing nationwide and want to see gun laws made stricter, according to a new poll that finds broad public support for…Read More|
|Six months on, Ukraine fights war, faces painful aftermath CHERNIHIV, Ukraine (AP) — Danyk Rak enjoys riding his bike, playing soccer and quiet moments with…Read More|
|DeSantis rival to emerge from high-stakes Florida primary MIAMI (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised to learn the identity of his general election…Read More|
Comment Elite and their media are still tembling following the Capitol Riots. The masses may well be increasingly diverse, but the poor whites and others nostalgic for their better days, are threatening to the minority of fake Democrats, their war mongers and fat cats. The masses need to be divided, then penned in like frightened sheep waiting for the slaughter. The U.S , as Bill Bryson’s ‘The Lost Continenet’ informed us, is not one country. The most significant difference is that between rich and poor, the former ever fearful of what Karl Marx called, in 1848 , “The Spectre of Communism.”
R J Cook
An Oval Office incident from 2019 perfectly illustrates Trump’s approach to state secrets, say ex intel officials
“He said, ‘Look, I’m the president, I can declassify anything,’” according to a former official.
President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office on Sept. 4, 2020.
By Ken Dilanian
Senior intelligence officials realized early on that President Donald Trump wasn’t going to read even short written summaries of his regular intelligence briefings. So the CIA officers who prepared the briefings made sure they came to the Oval Office laden with striking images, pared-down charts and slick graphics designed to grab the president’s fleeting interest, several officials familiar with the briefings told NBC News.
“To secure his attention, you had to use images and catchy headlines, even better if they had his name in them,” said Doug London, a former CIA officer who helped assemble the briefing material.
On Aug. 30, 2019, top spies learned the dangers of that approach. What unfolded that day became an infamous moment in the Trump presidency — one that former intelligence officials say perfectly illustrated his approach to dealing with state secrets. A former senior intelligence official with firsthand knowledge told NBC News that Trump did indeed tweet a highly classified image taken by a secret spy satellite, as many experts suspected at the time. And in doing so, the official and others said, Trump gave U.S. adversaries keen insights into the U.S. capabilities to spy from above.
“The president tweeted a picture of an Iranian missile launch site that showed a failed ICBM test launch that everybody acknowledged was a highly classified picture taken from space,” former national security adviser John Bolton, who was in Poland when it happened, told NBC News Monday. “He tweeted it out, and that of course declassified it by definition, but also showed what could happen when such a picture, even on a Twitter attachment, was then able to be analyzed by foreign intelligence services.”
Bolton and others familiar with it say the episode is emblematic of a mindset in which Trump or people close to him thought it was permissible to bring and store what the FBI says are highly classified documents to his compound in Mar-a-Lago.
“He spent no time understanding what made something a secret and what we protected,” a second former senior intelligence official said.
The former senior official directly familiar with the matter explained to NBC News that the president’s intelligence briefing that day included a photo from one of the America’s premier spy satellites — an image with resolution far superior to anything on the commercial market. The photo showed the aftermath of a catastrophic failure of an Iranian rocket launch.
“We had this image of the Iranian missile blown up, and it was exquisite intelligence, and he didn’t even wait,” the former official said. “As soon as we showed him, he said, ‘Hey, I’m tweeting this.’”
The official said CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire tried to talk Trump out of doing it, noting that the U.S. spent billions of dollars developing capabilities to capture images from space, and told Trump, “You can’t do this. If you put this out, they’re going understand what our capability is.”
But the former official said Trump was unmoved.
“He said, ‘Look, I’m the president, I can declassify anything,’” the official said.
Trump was told he was correct, but the intelligence officials asked Trump to wait, so they could provide the same image with less resolution, the official said.
Charles Kupperman, Bolton’s deputy, and Vice President Mike Pence were also in the briefing, the former official said.
Zelensky ‘troubled’ as he questions inner circle’s loyalties – ErdoganUkrainian President Vladimir Zelensky allegedly told Recep Tayyip Erdogan he fears one of his close associates will betray himRead more on the site
|Business News||22 August|
August 22nd 2022
Kashmir Hindus on edge after resurgence of targeted killings
By Yogita Limaye
BBC News, Srinagar
On the way to the government high school in Gopalpura village, in the southern part of Indian-administered Kashmir, is a rushed tribute to a much-loved teacher.
Six stones encircle the spot where 41-year-old Rajni Bala was killed on the morning of 31 May.
Students and staff were just gathering for prayers outside the school building when they heard a sound like a firecracker. But in a region where violence is a part of everyday life, they immediately knew something was wrong.
Rajni Bala was shot in the head by anti-India militants, police said.
It’s widely believed that she was targeted because she was a Hindu, a minority in the country’s only Muslim majority region. There has been a wave of Hindu killings in the past year – the latest just last week. Sunil Kumar Bhat was shot dead in an apple orchard in the Shopian area of south Kashmir.
Rajni’s family say they had tried to move out of Kashmir before the attack on her.
“A month-and-a-half ago, a Hindu driver was killed a couple of kilometres from the school, and there had been other attacks on Hindus in different parts of Kashmir. Since then we were scared and we’d applied twice for a transfer for Rajni,” her husband Rajkumar Attri said.
Rajni Bala taught history and loved the school she’d worked at for five years. She’d told her colleagues she would have never wanted to move if not for the threat.
“She was such a decent person, so full of knowledge and friendly. She was adored not just in our school, but in our entire village,” said Saima Akhtar, a science teacher. “We are devastated.”
Since the killing, only half the students were attending classes and trauma was visible on the faces of those who had made it to school.
Mr Attri has now moved out of the region with their teenage daughter.
Many Kashmiri Hindus who came back to the region have demanded to be relocated
The killings have brought back memories from 30 years ago, when hundreds of Hindus were killed by militant groups, triggering an exodus of the community from the region.
It was at the start of Indian-administered Kashmir’s complex conflict, which has raged on for decades.
Since the late 1980s, Kashmir Valley has been gripped by an armed insurgency, which India accuses Pakistan of fuelling in order to disrupt peace in the region that is disputed between the two countries. Islamabad denies the accusations.
Over the decades, thousands of Indian security forces, militants and civilians have been killed in the conflict.
But since 2003, the Hindu community has rarely been specifically targeted. In fact, since 2010, there have been efforts to bring back those who had left, with government jobs and flats given as incentives.
Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha, the region’s top administrator appointed by the Indian government, told BBC Hindi that the number of targeted attacks on civilians needed to be measured over a longer period of time.
“These are very sad incidents. But if you look at targeted killings, not just of Hindus but of all civilians in the past 10 to 15 years, then it’s a number that’s reducing now. The atmosphere of fear is not as grave as it was earlier,” he said.
But Kashmiri Hindus, who returned to the region in the past decade, say they fear for their lives and want to leave again.
In a resettlement colony in south Kashmir, scores of Kashmiri Hindus who came back to the region through the government incentive programme have been sitting in protest, demanding to be relocated.
“Since we returned, we’ve had many problems, such as the condition of the homes we’ve been given. But we didn’t feel targeted. Now, we have begun to fear for our lives,” said Sandeep Raina, an engineer who works in public services.
“I was 10 when my family fled in the 1990s. My son is now at a similar age and we want to leave again,” he added.
“If someone next to me takes their hands out of their pocket, I feel they’re going to pull out a gun to shoot me. We’ve stopped sending our children to school and we hardly go out of our compound,” said Sanjay Koul, a public school teacher.
Resettling Kashmiri Hindus back in the region has been one of the campaign promises of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Many of the Hindus at the camp said there was pressure on them from the government to not leave, as it would dent that promise.
The government did not respond to these allegations.
Militant groups say they are attacking minorities and outsiders because they believe India’s Hindu nationalist government is trying to change the religious demographic of the Muslim-majority Kashmir.
It’s an allegation the Indian administration rejects. Its actions, though, have fuelled distrust.
In 2019, the federal government revoked Kashmir’s autonomy, imposing federal rule in the region, and allowed outsiders to purchase land. There is no elected regional government, while large sections of the police and bureaucracy are now dominated by officers from other parts of the country.
Anger against the Indian state, which has long been felt in some parts of Kashmir, has grown since 2019.
In the village of Turkwangam, 20-year-old Shoaib Mohammad Ganaie, a Muslim civilian, was shot dead on 15 May.
His family said he was outside a car spare parts shop they had set up a few months earlier, when a paramilitary soldier pointed a gun at him and asked him to raise his hands. Shoaib followed the order, his relatives said, but the soldier still shot him in the chest.
Shoaib’s father, Ghulam Mohammad Ganaie, 50, spends the whole day tending to his son’s grave.
“Shoaib was a civilian, a student and a shopkeeper. What was his crime?” he said as he broke down. “We want justice for this cruelty inflicted on us. A piece of our hearts has been taken from us.”
He shows a photo of his son, who loved playing cricket, wearing sporting gear and holding up a big trophy.
The police and paramilitary told the BBC that Shoaib was killed in a crossfire. But multiple eyewitnesses insisted there was no gunbattle for him to get caught in.
An inquiry has been ordered into the incident. His father says he is grateful to local officers for helping the family to get Shoaib’s body released to them quickly, but he has no hope that the truth of what happened to his son will come out.
“If we had our own government, we could at least hold someone to account. Here, there is no-one to listen to us, no-one to ask any questions of. They don’t need votes from us, so why would they care?” Mr Ganaie said.
There have been many such allegations of killings of civilians by security forces in recent months.
The Indian government did not respond to the BBC’s questions about such cases.
Lt-Gov Manoj Sinha said an elected government would be put in place at an “appropriate time” as decided by India’s home ministry, without elaborating on what that means.
As Mr Ganaie left his home to walk to his son’s grave again, he said, “No one is safe in Kashmir. When you leave your home, you don’t know if you’ll return in the evening.”
Ukraine war: Russia appeals for new recruits for war effort
By Will Vernon
BBC News, Volosovo, Western Russia
The town of Volosovo, near St Petersburg, is booming. Not the economy – it’s the loudspeakers.
Like many towns in Russia, Volosovo has them installed on tall poles that line the main street. Traditionally they are used for playing patriotic music during national holidays. Now, though, they have a different purpose.
“Two volunteer artillery battalions are being formed. We invite men from 18 to 60 years old to join,” the speakers blare out.
It’s a message that’s being repeated up and down this vast country. On social media, on TV and on billboards, men are being urged to sign short-term contracts with the military to fight in Ukraine.
In the face of significant losses in the conflict, the authorities have launched a recruitment drive for the Russian army.
I stop one man on the street in Volosovo and ask him if he supports the call-up for volunteers. “Yes! If I were young I’d go, but I’m too old now,” he tells me, clenching his fists. “We should bomb them!”
But most people in the town seem less enthusiastic. “[The war] is too painful to even talk about,” one woman complains. “Killing your brothers is wrong.” I ask her what she would say if one of her relatives wanted to join. “Why go? Only their bodies will be brought back.”
And many bodies are.
Russia does not give numbers, but Western officials say between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since it launched its invasion six months ago.
In order to attract fresh recruits, the authorities are offering volunteers huge sums of money, plots of land and even premium places for their children in Russian schools.
Recruiters have even been visiting Russian prisons to sign up inmates, promising them freedom and money.
Investigative journalist Roman Dobrokhotov says the recruitment drive is a sign of desperation on the part of the authorities: “This is not the type of soldiers needed for a victorious war. The Kremlin still hopes that quantity can win over quality. That they can get these hundreds of thousands of desperate people with their debts and just throw them into the conflict zone.”
Despite the eyewatering amounts of cash on offer to potential recruits – up to £4,700 ($5,700) a month in some cases – Roman says the reality is different.
“People don’t actually see this money,” he says. “They are returning [from Ukraine] now and telling us journalists about how they were deceived. This is also influencing the situation, this lack of trust in our government, so I don’t think this strategy will be successful.”
But some are happy to join up.
Nina Chubarina’s son Yevgeny left their village in the northern region of Karelia to join a volunteer battalion. Nina says her son, who had no military experience, was given a gun and sent straight into Ukraine.
He was killed just days later. He was 24 years old.
Nina agrees to meet me in a park near Moscow, where she has found part-time work in a bread factory. She says the monotonous task of packing loaves takes her mind off the loss of her son.
She remembers pleading with her son not to go to Ukraine.
“I tried to talk him out of it. I cried. I said, ‘There’s a war, you’ll be killed!’ He said, ‘Mum, everything will be fine.'”
Nina is critical of how the authorities recruit volunteers to fight in Ukraine.
“They just send them in like dumb little chickens! They’d hardly even held a gun before. They’re cannon fodder. The generals think, ‘We’ve got a volunteer: great, in you go!'”
Not everyone is as keen to sign up as Yevgeny.
Travelling around this country, you are not left with the impression that the Russian people are all fully behind the “special military operation,” as the Kremlin likes to call it.
The number of cars on Russian roads displaying the pro-war “Z” symbol is still relatively few. Experts say that the numbers of volunteers joining up are low.
Military analyst Pavel Luzin says people here are not ready to sacrifice themselves for their president.
“The problem for the Kremlin is that most Russian people are not going to die for Putin or for the restoration of ‘the great Empire’. Recruitment isn’t possible in current circumstances because there is no civil consensus in Russia for the war.
“Compare this with Ukraine. The Ukrainians are ready to fight.”
With thanks to Alla Konstantinova from Mediazona.
Darya Dugina: Speculation rife as Russians ponder journalist’s killing
By Will Vernon
Muscovites on Monday morning awoke to a smoky haze that had enveloped the city – nearby wildfires were to blame, said the authorities. The other topic of conversation was equally murky – who killed the ultranationalist Darya Dugina, and was she the intended target?
The 29-year-old journalist was killed in a car bomb explosion on Saturday night.
Russian media reported that her father, radical philosopher Alexander Dugin, was supposed to be travelling in the vehicle, but changed his mind at the last minute. This led to speculation that Mr Dugin, 60, was the intended victim.
He is a controversial figure in Russia. His political ideology, Eurasianism, sees Russia as the centre of a new empire that will challenge liberal democracy and Western culture. Previously on the fringes of political life here, Mr Dugin’s ideology went mainstream as Russia became more belligerent on the world stage.
But he has never held any official positions in state structures.
Russian political analyst Yekaterina Shulman told me that theories of Mr Dugin being “close to Putin” or “Putin’s brain” are wrong.
“He may have been influential indirectly – some things he wrote may appeal to [people in the security services]… but he did not have any direct influence on the decision-making process, ever,” she insisted.
But Mr Dugin was a vocal supporter of Russia’s war in Ukraine, as was his daughter.
Russia’s FSB Security Service has said that Ukrainian intelligence agents were responsible for the murder. In a statement released on Monday, the FSB claimed that Ukrainian operatives fled to Estonia after blowing up her car.
An adviser to the Ukrainian president has denied Ukraine was involved.
On Monday morning, the Time Will Tell programme on Russian state TV paid tribute to Ms Dugina, who had been a regular guest. “She died for the idea of the ‘Russian World’,” said presenter Olesya Loseva.
One studio guest suggested the response would be “holy fury” and the programme showed a photograph of mortar shells, apparently belonging to pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, one of which had “This is for Darya!” scrawled on the side.
If Ms Dugina’s killing was meant to intimidate Russia, bellowed several of the guests, “it will have the opposite effect”.
Ms Shulman says the outpouring of anger amongst pro-Kremlin commentators in response to the car bomb attack appears suspicious: “The reaction… was immediate. It looks as if they were waiting for something like this to happen.”
She says that whoever was responsible, the killing “could possibly be used to ramp up some public outrage within the country to justify even more active repressive actions on the part of the state”.
Amongst ordinary Russians though, the killing of Darya Dugina – a very minor figure in Russia – will have made little impact, if any.
But many here will be worried about the worsening security situation in Russia. A series of explosions have hit Russian bases in occupied Crimea, and in Russian regions near the border with Ukraine, in recent weeks.
And some opinion polls do show that more Russians are becoming concerned that the “special military operation” – what the Kremlin likes to call its invasion of Ukraine – is dragging on, and is unsuccessful.
August 21st 2022
New York Polio Case Now Connected to Traces of Virus Found in UK and Israel
Using sewage sample tests from three countries separated by thousands of miles, public health officials hope to unravel the mystery of where this polio started circulating and what threat it poses.
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New York Polio Case Now Connected to Traces of Virus Found in UK and Israel
Using sewage sample tests from three countries separated by thousands of miles, public health officials hope to unravel the mystery of where this polio started circulating and what threat it poses.
by Robin Fields
ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.
Public health officials’ international hunt for clues in the case of polio that paralyzed a New York man has turned up a big one: The virus that infected him matches the genetic fingerprint of poliovirus found in sewage samples taken in London and in the Jerusalem area, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization told ProPublica on Friday.
It is not yet clear how the virus moved from one place to another or where it was first.
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The hunt for answers in countries thousands of miles apart shows how viruses can hopscotch across the globe. Polio is highly contagious and, because the majority of infections cause no symptoms, it can circulate silently through communities where there is no routine monitoring.
ProPublica reported on Tuesday that U.S. public health agencies generally haven’t tested sewage for evidence of polio, relying on high vaccination rates to protect Americans from the disease, but there are signs of cracks in that shield, both here and abroad.
Waiting for patients to show up with symptoms can be perilous: By the time there’s a case of paralysis, 100 to 1,000 infections may have occurred, public health experts say. New York health officials began screening wastewater only after the case there was identified.
The New York case was the first in the U.S. in nearly a decade. It was discovered after a young man in Rockland County, a suburban area northwest of New York City, sought medical treatment in June for weakness and paralysis. He had not been vaccinated against polio. It was well into July when tests confirmed he had polio.
Genetic sequencing confirmed that he had what’s called vaccine-derived polio. This kind of polio is linked to an oral polio vaccine that hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 2000. The oral vaccine, still used in other parts of the world, relies on weakened polio viruses to trigger the immune system and create protective antibodies. In rare instances, when the weakened viruses circulate in people who have not had the vaccine or are under-immunized, they can revert to a form that can sicken unvaccinated people.
Public health officials said the traces of poliovirus found in sewage samples from early June in Rockland County and greater Jerusalem were still too weak to cause paralytic polio. It’s not clear where the virus evolved, becoming powerful enough to cause the Rockland County patient’s illness.
A spokesperson for Rockland County’s Health Department said she could not confirm whether the man had traveled to London or Jerusalem this year. How Polio Crept Back Into the U.S.
Another mystery in the case is that like the U.S., the U.K. hasn’t used the oral polio vaccine in years. Instead, both use only an injectable vaccine that contains inactivated viruses and cannot cause vaccine-derived polio. Though Israel does use oral polio vaccine, the version it uses does not contain the strain of polio, known as Type 2, that’s turned up in the sewage samples or that infected the New York man.
New York officials say they are now testing both stored sewage samples, which were collected as part of the effort to track COVID-19, and more recent ones for signs of polio.
A year after the Taliban took power, RSF published an exclusive study, revealing the chaos in which the Afghan media landscape is plunged today.
Afghan journalism has suffered a real slaughter. More than half of the journalists have been forced to stop working, especially female journalists who have completely disappeared in large parts of the country. Three out of four media professionals have lost their jobs.
Media and journalists are being subjected to iniquitous regulations that restrict media freedom and open the way to repression and persecution, amid a deep economic crisis.
Since the fall of Kabul on 15 August 15 2021, RSF helped to evacuate more than 200 Afghan journalists in danger and implemented hundreds of emergency administrative and financial support actions for them.
Many journalists are still in serious danger in Afghanistan and need help. Support RSF to give us the opportunity to fight alongside them.
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