• Jun, 2021
  • 12-06-2021
  • There's talk about making Puerto Rico the 51st US state
     
  • May, 2021
  • 26-05-2021
  • Belarus president causes Ryanair flight to land to arrest opposition activist

    Considered the most brazen act from an Eastern European regime in a long time, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus had a the plane tailed by a fighter jet, and under the pretense of a bomb threat caused the plane to divert from its course (Greece to Lithuania) and land in Minsk.

    No explosives were found but they arrested
    Roman Protasevich, who is seen as taking on the role of a sort of hero in recent anti-government protests through a Telegram channel.

    The country has him on charges of terrorism for his blogging on what the State calls extremist organization, and protest organizing, which the state refers to as organizing mass riots and enticing social hatred, it seems. Western powers are now calling Belarus' act one of 'State terrorism.'

    The EU wants to react strongly, but people wonder how they can do so. Some considerations that might hurt the Belarusian regime include blocking Belarus from the international banking system, in cooperation with the US. They could sanction state companies that support the Belarusian regime. They could stop oil imports and exports--the EU is the second-biggest trade partner of Belarus after Russia.

    Lukashenko said it was his country’s 'sovereign right' to arrest the activist: 'Let his numerous Western patrons answer this question: Which intelligence services did this individual work for? Not only him but his accomplice as well.'

    Belarus later released videos of Protasevich and his girlfriend in custody confessing to crimes against the state. He said the activist had moved on from reporting solely on Belarus to 'working full out against Russia, thus showing the true goal of western strategists. ... Their goal is to dissolve the Belarusian people and move on to smothering their arch-enemy: the Russian.'

    Lukashenko commented on the bomb threat: 'Was Chernobyl not enough?, If there was a bomb on board the plane and terrorists wanted to blow it up, we couldn’t really have helped. But I couldn’t let the plane fall on our people’s heads.'

    Belarusian authorities also arrested 14 staff from the organization Protasevich worked for in a tax evasion case. There were reports of numerous incidents of violence against journalists in the country.

    According to Reuters, 'a day after Protasevich's arrest, the government introduced new measures to regulate media activities, including a blanket ban on covering protests or publishing opinion polls without prior authorization from the government.'

    Many people, not least of all Russian journalists, have pointed out that in 2013 the USA and EU countries forced a Bolivian plane--carrying that country's president Evo Morales--to land in Austria (it was en route from Moscow to Bolivia after a summit) for 13 hours because they thought fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden might be on board, who was charged with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property.

    The weekend following the incident, Lukashenko visited Putin and video footage was published of the two enjoying conversation and some laughs and dining together with Lukashenko's son on a yacht in the Black Sea in Sochi. During a televised conference between the two, Putin also brought up the 2013 incident of Morales' plane, laughing.

    #Terrorism #Lithuania #FreeSpeech #Press #EdwardSnowden

     
  • May, 2021
  • 01-05-2021
  • 400 people moving to Dallas every day

    Other hot real estate markets right now include Phoenix, Austin, and Atlanta.

    Line up to buy and buy as soon you can, with prices for new homes less than for old homes for the first time in 15 years due to inflated building costs (lumber notably up 400% this year), although different from 15 years ago buyers are actually qualified to buy.

     
  • EU Parliament threatens Russian oil sector

    The EP, responding to Russian military buildups on the Ukraine border, passed a resolution that "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbors."

    The EU stated that other countries should supply more arms to Ukraine, and threatened that if Russia invaded Ukraine the EU "imports of oil and gas from Russia to the EU be immediately stopped, while Russia should be excluded from the SWIFT payment system, and all assets in the EU of oligarchs close to the Russian authorities and their families in the EU need to be frozen and their visas cancelled."

    Russia responded by saying it was ready to be shut off from Swift.

    SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is a transaction network that connect thousands of banks in over 200 countries. Russia's central bank has its own transaction network, SPFS (System for Transfer of Financial Messages) but outside of Russia only 8 banks use it.
    "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html
    It also "demands that Russia immediately end the practice of unjustified military build-ups targeted at threatening its neighbours."

    Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/russian-aggression-ep-resolution-proposes-switching-off-swift-for-russia-if-kremling-invades-ukraine-11406190.html

     
  • Apr, 2021
  • 30-04-2021
  • Burkina Faso's electric power grid

    Citizens there increasingly have access to electricity, up from 18% to 45% in the past 5 years, and power outages have been reduced from regular multi-hour outages to ones lasting about an hour.

    The country gets 65% of it's power from Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, but it is moving towards energy independence with large fields of solar panels in the desert. It expects the investments it is making now in solar will cause it to become 'completely powered' by solar in the coming years.

    #BurkinaFaso #Energy
  • China's population to decline, introduces 3-child policy

    For the first time since Mao's Cultural Revolution 50 years ago, China's 1.4b people may decline, according to some calculations. China denies that it has reached its peak but says it might come in the coming few years. [FT]

    The 'One Child Policy' was in effect for 35 years until it was ended in 2015. After lifting the limit to two, China saw a small baby boom in the same year but then it started to decline again. Commentators noted that China is finding it is easier to cause citizens to have less babies than more, particularly since in the competitive labor market families often prefer to put all their resources behind making one child succeed rather than splitting resources up.

    China has now lifted the limit to three, but since lifting it to two didn't do much, people don't expect the 3-child policy will cause a dramatic boom. Some think the government will now incentivize or pressure citizens to have more children.

    The issue China faces is that they are now going to be facing an aging population, but without having reached their desired development level so that wages will be as high as Western countries and better able to support that type of population.

    India is a close second for the largest population, with 1.38b, but their population is expected to continue increasing.
     

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