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Internation Events X - Why such a long break...?


TheLastWolf
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Nazis never give up!

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/11/world/europe/germany-prince-heinrich-xiii.html

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.... Followers of this conspiracy theory call themselves Reichsbürger, or Citizens of the Reich. And there are a lot of them in southeastern Thuringia, the state where the Nazis first won power locally more than 90 years ago, before going on to establish the Third Reich.

Today the state’s biggest political force is the far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD — one of whose former lawmakers was arrested as part of the prince’s alleged plot this week. ....

.... Intelligence officials had been watching the prince since the fall of 2021, and what they were discovering was far more sinister: The group of co-conspirators around Heinrich XIII included current and former soldiers from the elite special forces, police officers, army reservists, and others with links to the military who had worked out concrete plans and even prospective dates for a coup, officials said.

Already twice this year the group appeared ready to act — once in mid-March and once in September, putting security agencies on high alert, but each time they postponed, intelligence officials said. ....

The prince recruited support not only in far-right circles close to the military. He also sought allies among fellow aristocrats, traveling to Austria and Switzerland to court German-speaking nobility for donations to finance his plot, officials familiar with his travels said. With the money he collected, his group bought satellite phones to communicate off the grid during and after the planned coup. The phones were later found at the lodge during the raid.

Heinrich XIII also made contact with Russian diplomats, aided by a younger Russian girlfriend, who has only been identified by prosecutors as Vitalia B. Several times, she facilitated meetings, though prosecutors say they had no evidence of a Russian response. ....

.... Mr. Burkhardt said he was disturbed by how many local sympathizers of Reichsbürger beliefs expressed a longing for the days of Communist Germany and disdained the current German government, which is discredited in their eyes. ....

 

 

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Exploitation of migrant workers on highly restrictive working visas surprises exactly no one.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/130729008/rse-workers-being-treated-like-slaves-equal-employment-opportunity-commissioner-says

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Workers within the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are being subjected to conditions akin to modern slavery, the Human Rights Commission has found.

And it was not a case of “a few bad apples” but it was systemic, said Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo.

“When people are being told – despite being sick – ‘you get in that van, and you go to the field’, that’s forced labour. If you’re living in a regime where you fear for your safety – that is a version of modern day slavery," she said.

“And when you want to go home because of the way you’ve been mistreated, but you can’t go until you’ve earned your airfare to go home there’s no freedom there, so again it’s like forced labour.”

Exactly what, one wonders, did these modern day slaver employers have to do to get "recognised"?

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Thought this Vox piece was a good, measured read on putting the Iranian protests in context - Iran’s months-long protest movement, explained:

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Though there are vocal opposition groups formed by the diaspora, “any viable government for a post-Islamic Republic Iran cannot come from exile, but must emerge from the ground up,” Kashani-Sabet said. “Some individuals or groups in exile will undoubtedly be stakeholders, but it is hard to know whether the majority of the people in Iran, who are living under dire conditions every day, will want someone from the outside.”

In the present, the three-day general strikes show that the protests have real support from workers, who are a critical part of any political struggle in Iran and whose decision to close their businesses in a time of economic precariousness shows great solidarity with the protesters. But as of yet, the protest movement hasn’t defined a specific vision of Iranian society — which it will need to do in order to maintain momentum and work toward a political future.

 

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'Bali tourism will not be affected by new criminal code,' Indonesian officials say

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/bali-tourism-indonesia-criminal-code-intl-hnk/index.html

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.... Officials previously said that the new code -- which bans adultery, cohabitation before marriage and apostasy -- would also apply to foreign residents and tourists.


It's safe to say that tourists in Bali will not be affected by the new laws. But for hundreds of millions of Indonesians, the reality on the ground remains worrying.


"For decades now, Indonesia has enjoyed a reputation as a pluralistic democracy, with very little religious, ethnic, or political conflict, given its size and cultural diversity," said Rebekah Moore, a professor at Northeastern University and co-founder of Project Bersama, an Indonesian arts and culture nonprofit.


Many groups like activists, journalists, religious minorities and members of the queer community are still at risk and will be harmed by this new code, Moore added.

 


"The provisions could impact any Indonesian exercising freedom of expression," she said. "I observed firsthand what happens when extremists (in Indonesia) are emboldened by the political and media mainstream and am deeply concerned for queer and activist friends and others."

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The filthy mercenary thought the package might be his sons head-

Russian linked to Wagner badly hurt in assassination attempt in Central African Republic

https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/16/africa/russia-embassy-assassination-attempt-intl/index.html

Im having a hard time mustering up empathy for the blood diamond dealer.

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How a cocaine-smuggling cartel infiltrated the world’s biggest shipping company
The crime was so big and brazen that authorities made the exceptional decision to seize not just the cocaine but also the Gayane itself, a 1,000-foot-long ship worth more than $100 million.

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/how-a-cocaine-smuggling-cartel-infiltrated-the-worlds-biggest-shipping-company-9722091.html

~~~~~~~~~

In other international trading news:

Vietnam Boots UK Out of Top Seven US Trading Partners

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-12-19/supply-chain-latest-vietnam-tops-uk-in-top-7-us-trade-partners?

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Vietnam is on track this year to bump Britain from its long-time place among the US’s top seven goods trading partners, which would be the first time the UK hasn’t been in that group in records going back at least to 2004.

The UK’s share of the US merchandise trade slid to 2.6% through the first 10 months of this year while Vietnam’s rose to 2.7%, according to Census Bureau data.

In full-year numbers going back almost 20 years, the top seven US partners in goods trade have consistently been Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Germany, South Korea and the UK, though their position within the group has shifted around.

Vietnam didn’t appear in the bureau’s top-15 list until 2019, and it has climbed ever since, ending last year at No. 10. If Vietnam’s lead over the UK holds for the final two months of 2022, it’ll be the first time that a majority of the top seven are Asian economies. ....

 

 

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China’s Future Isn’t What It Used to Be by Paul Krugman

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/22/opinion/china-future-growth.html

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.... Recently Goldman Sachs, which formerly projected China as No. 1 by the mid-2020s, pushed that date back to 2035. The Japan Center for Economic Research, which previously projected Chinese leadership by 2028, then 2033, now says that it won’t happen for at least several decades. Some analysts don’t think it will ever happen.

Where does this newfound pessimism come from? Part of the issue is demography. China’s working-age population has actually been declining since 2015. The Chinese economy can still grow rapidly if it can sustain rapid productivity growth. But China’s policy missteps seem to have reinforced the perception that it’s entering the “middle-income trap,” a widely claimed (although controversial) phenomenon in which some poorer nations achieve rapid catch-up, but only up to a point, and stall out well below the income levels of the most advanced economies.

None of this should be taken to detract from the incredible rise in Chinese living standards over the past four decades, nor as a denial that China has already become an economic superpower. But if you were expecting Chinese economic dominance, you may have to wait for a long time. As I said, China’s future isn’t what it used to be.

 

 

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Thought this was an outstandingly cogent and concise piece worth sharing - The far-right threat to liberal democracy in Europe, explained:

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Most of the relevant parties in this fourth wave are part of the same populist radical right subgroup, focusing primarily on issues like crime, corruption, and immigration. Unlike the extreme right, which consists of a broad variety of small, neo-fascist parties — parties that, in terms of ideology and symbols, hark back to the fascist movements of the early 20th century — the radical right supports democracy per se. That is, they support popular sovereignty and majority rule, while opposing key institutions and values of liberal democracy, such as an independent judiciary and media, minority rights, pluralism, and the separation of powers.

Decades of mainstreaming of radical right frames and policies have led to further radicalization of some these parties, which has blurred the boundaries between the radical and extreme right; for example, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Forum for Democracy (FvD) in the Netherlands. Both parties combine nativist opposition to immigration and populist rejection of the establishment with more or less open historical revisionism — e.g., Alexander Gauland, the former AfD co-chair, said that “Hitler and the Nazis are just bird shit in more than 1,000 years of successful German history” — and thinly veiled support for political violence. One FvD MP threatened a mainstream politician with “tribunals” over Covid-19 policies.

 

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

Thought this was an outstandingly cogent and concise piece worth sharing - The far-right threat to liberal democracy in Europe, explained:

Saw that, and this in particular was unhappy reading, though we knew this anyway:

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Five European countries in particular (but not exclusively) deserve attention on this front. Going from the most to the least acute level of threat, the world should keep an eye on Hungary, Poland, Italy, Sweden, and France. In all these countries, far-right parties are electorally successful and politically powerful, though their ability to weaken liberal democracy varies.

 

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

Saw that, and this in particular was unhappy reading, though we knew this anyway:

Hungary is barely a liberal democracy these days. Poland not far behind. 

The others don't deserve to be on the list next to those two, Italy and Sweden's recent elections notwithstanding. 

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3 hours ago, Paxter said:

Hungary is barely a liberal democracy these days. Poland not far behind. 

The others don't deserve to be on the list next to those two, Italy and Sweden's recent elections notwithstanding. 

Well, the article is very clear the other three are not on the level of Hungary or even Poland.  Indeed, the five examples are specifically chosen to demonstrate the different levels and manner of threat the far right poses across the continent. 

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So, Bolsanaro and some generals have one-way tickets to Florida.  His wife is not on this trip. 

This news has Brasil rather agog, wondering what is up -- fear of losing his passport soon? Hmmmmm.  Why is his wife not going? Why are generals going?.

They are expecting to hang out at you know where, according to Brasilian twitters, that Partner is reading to me.

 

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

So, Bolsanaro and some generals have one-way tickets to Florida.  His wife is not on this trip. 

This news has Brasil rather agog, wondering what is up -- fear of losing his passport soon? Hmmmmm.  Why is his wife not going? Why are generals going?.

They are expecting to hang out at you know where, according to Brasilian twitters, that Partner is reading to me.

 

He's up to something. No doubt something stupid.

Edited by Spockydog
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17 hours ago, Zorral said:

So, Bolsanaro and some generals have one-way tickets to Florida.  His wife is not on this trip. 

 

Where else would he go? Didn't Santos also spend a good deal of his campaign money in Florida?

I mean, ofc it's Florida. You know that myth that Hitler did survive WWII and spent the rest of his life in South America (Argentina was the most common version I think). At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if a report emerged that showed him having spent his golden years in Florida. 

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