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PayPal Pulls Out of Pornhub, Hurting 'Hundreds of Thousands' of Performers
« Reply #14580 on: November 15, 2019, 06:54:03 AM »
Pornhub said it's 'devastated' by PayPal's decision to stop payouts to models on its platform.



Late Wednesday night, Pornhub announced that PayPal is no longer supporting payments for Pornhub—a decision that will impact thousands of performers using the site as a source of income.

Most visitors to Pornhub likely think of it as a website that simply provides access to an endless supply of free porn, but Pornhub also allows performers to upload, sell, and otherwise monetize videos they make themselves. Performers who used PayPal to get paid for this work now have to switch to a different payment method.

"We are all devastated by PayPal's decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods," the company said on its blog. It then directed models to set up a new payment method, with instructions on how PayPal users can transfer pending payments.

"We sincerely apologize if this causes any delays and we will have staff working around the clock to make sure all payouts are processed as fast as possible on the new payment methods," the statement said.

A PayPal spokesperson told Motherboard: “Following a review, we have discovered that Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.”

A spokesperson for Pornhub told Motherboard: "Decisions like that of PayPal and other major companies do nothing but harm efforts to end discrimination and stigma towards sex workers. While we still have several payment methods for our models available, we will continue to add more sex worker friendly ones and explore cryptocurrency options in the near future."

PayPal is one of many payment processors that have discriminated against sex workers for years. Its acceptable use policy states that "certain sexually oriented materials or services" are forbidden—phrasing that's intentionally vague enough to allow circumstances like this to happen whenever the company wants.

Are you a sex worker who has been impacted by this situation, or by any payment processors discriminating against your work? We'd love to hear from you. Contact Samantha Cole securely on Signal at +16469261726, direct message on Twitter, or by email.

The list of payment platforms, payment apps, and banks that forbid sexual services in their terms of use is very, very long, and includes everything from Venmo to Visa. Many of these terms have been in place for nearly a decade—and payment processors have been hostile toward sex work long before harmful legislation like the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act came into law last year. But those laws only help to embolden companies to kick sex workers off their platforms, and make the situation even more confusing and frustrating for performers.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d3abgv/paypal-pulls-out-of-pornhub-payments?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Protesters in white jumpsuits with smartphones mounted on their heads scanned people's faces on Thursday.

Protesters who oppose facial recognition donned white hazmat suits and cameras to collect face scans of more than 13,000 people.

Activists from Fight for the Future mounted the protest in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Three protesters wearing white jumpsuits bearing signs saying "Facial Recognition in Progress" scanned the faces of passersby using smartphones mounted on their heads. They used Amazon's commercially available facial-recognition software, called Rekognition.

The protesters were making the point that facial recognition remained unregulated in the US. Private companies and the US government are increasingly adopting the technology, prompting fears of surveillance creep.

The protesters focused on the halls of Congress as well as busy metro stops, and they were looking in particular for members of Congress, journalists, and Amazon lobbyists, according to a press release.

The protest was livestreamed, and a tally was kept of how many people they scanned. The final count was 13,740, including 25 lobbyists, seven journalists, and one congressman, Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California.



The website where the protest was livestreamed allows people to upload their picture to check whether they were among the 13,740 faces scanned. Fight for the Future says it will delete all the photos and data after two weeks.

"This should probably be illegal, but until Congress takes action to ban facial-recognition surveillance, it's terrifyingly easy for anyone — a government agent, a corporation, or just a creepy stalker — to conduct biometric monitoring and violate basic rights at a massive scale," Fight for the Future's deputy director, Evan Greer, said in a statement. "We did this to make a point."


Fight for the Future's protesters.

The organization is calling for immediate legislation banning the use of facial-recognition technology by governmental bodies and law enforcement.

Four US cities have enforced their own facial-recognition bans: Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco in California, and Somerville, Massachusetts. The protest took place on the same day a bipartisan bill was introduced that would force the police to obtain a warrant before using facial recognition.

Fight for the Future's methods were not universally welcomed. Chris Gilliard, an expert in privacy and tech policy, objected to the logic of using nonconsensual facial recognition on unsuspecting citizens, especially people of color.

Greer responded in a comment to Vice that Fight for the Future deliberately picked areas "already under surveillance" rather than residential areas, a logic Gilliard rejected. "Following that logic, I could set up my surveillance project in a neighborhood filled with Ring doorbells. After all, everyone in that neighborhood is in the system," he tweeted.

Artificial-intelligence experts have expressed concerns specifically over the usage of Amazon's Rekognition software by law enforcement, as researchers found it was more likely to misidentify women and people with darker complexions.

https://www.businessinsider.com/facial-recognition-protesters-scan-13000-people-2019-11?r=US&IR=T&utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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European Investment Bank to phase out fossil fuel financing
« Reply #14582 on: November 15, 2019, 07:17:00 AM »
EU’s lending arm to become first ‘climate bank’ by ending financing of oil, gas and coal projects after 2021


 A power station in Poland. The bank has called its decision the ‘most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere’.

The European Investment Bank has agreed to phase out its multibillion-euro financing for fossil fuels within the next two years to become the world’s first ‘“climate bank”.

The bank will end its financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021, a policy that will make the EU’s lending arm the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

The decision to stem the flow of capital into fossil fuel projects has been welcomed by green groups as an important step towards the EU’s aim to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

The EIB, the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, described its decision as a “quantum leap” in ambition. “Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” said the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer. “We will stop financing fossil fuels and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”

The bank’s vice-president, Andrew McDowell, said the move was “an important first step – not the last step, but probably one of the most difficult.”

Under its new policy, the bank will end all lending to fossil fuels within two years and align all funding decisions with the Paris climate accord. Energy projects applying for EIB funding will have to show they can produce one kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grammes of carbon dioxide.

The decision to prioritise renewable and efficient energy follows a policy promise by the incoming European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, to turn the EIB into a “climate bank”, unlocking a potential €1tn in funds to help move Europe’s economy toward cleaner energy.

Von der Leyen also wants the EU to raise its target of cutting emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 in support of plans to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The EIB’s announcement comes a year later than hoped by climate campaigners but also limits approvals of new fossil fuel projects before 2021 to projects that are already under appraisal by the EIB. This could pose long-term problems for the gas industry, which has more than $200bn in liquefied natural gas projects planned over the next five years.

Colin Roche, of Friends of the Earth Europe, called the decision “a significant victory” for the climate movement. “Finally, the world’s largest public bank has bowed to public pressure and recognised that funding for all fossil fuels must end – and now all other banks, public and private, must follow their lead,” he said.

Nick Mabey, of the environmental thinktank E3G, said: “Europe is sending a clear signal that it intends to move away from fossil fuel investments toward the climate-neutral future its citizens want. The EIB is sending a message to other financial institutions that investment in fossil fuels is drawing to an end.”

Environmental campaigners estimate that the EIB handed out €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies between 2013 and 2018.

The EIB handed one of Europe’s largest ever loans to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will bring Caspian gas to Europe, and it has funded plans by the Polish utility PGE to build two gas-fired power plants.

The climate campaign group 350.org said a decisive end to this financial lifeline could prove another nail in the coffin for the fossil fuel industry.

Kate Cahoon, a campaigner for 350.org, which is based in Germany, said: “When the world’s biggest public lender decides to largely ditch fossil fuels, financial markets across the globe will take notice: this is the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”

However, the group warned that the EIB’s pledge included loopholes that could still lock European countries into decades of dependence on fossil fuels. The EIB will continue to support any project added to the EU’s “projects of common interest” list before 2022. At present, more than 50 gas projects could be eligible.

Alex Doukas, an analyst with Oil Change International, said the EIB had failed to pass a policy consistent with the Paris agreement because of the hold the fossil fuel industry still had over EU politics.

“Gas lobbyists were able to convince many parties – most significantly Germany and the European commission – to override public support for a fossil-free EIB and write significant concessions into this policy,” he said.

“However, with people-powered movements for climate action stronger than ever, the gas industry will face an uphill battle in using these EIB loopholes to get new projects funded by 2021.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/15/european-investment-bank-to-phase-out-fossil-fuels-financing
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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A rubbish story: China's mega-dump full 25 years ahead of schedule
« Reply #14583 on: November 15, 2019, 07:23:24 AM »

A worker applying a capping layer to a landfill site in Hangzhou

The Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day.

But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day - the most of any landfill site in China.

China is one of the world's biggest polluters, and has been struggling for years with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate.

How big is the landfill site?
The Jiangcungou landfill in Xi'an city was built in 1994 and was designed to last until 2044.

The landfill serves over 8 million citizens. It spans an area of almost 700,000 square metres, with a depth of 150 metres and a storage capacity of more than 34 million cubic metres.

Until recently, Xi'an was one of the few cities in China that solely relied on landfill to dispose of household waste - leading to capacity being reached early.

Earlier this month, a new incineration plant was opened, and at least four more are expected to open by 2020. Together, they are expected to be able to process 12,750 tonnes of rubbish per day.

The move is part of a national plan to reduce the number of landfills, and instead use other waste disposal methods like incineration.

The landfill site in Xi'an will eventually become an "ecological park".

How much waste does China produce?
In 2017, China collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste, according to the country's statistical yearbook. That's up from 152 million ten years earlier.

The country had 654 landfill sites and 286 incineration plants.

It is not clear what China's recycling rate is, as no figures have been released. China plans to recycle 35% of waste in major cities by the end of 2020, according to one government report.

This July, sorting and recycling rubbish was made mandatory in Shanghai - leading to "a sense of panic" among some residents.

In 2015, there was a landslide at a rubbish dump in the southern city of Shenzhen, killing 73 people.

The dump was designed to hold four million cubic metres worth of rubbish, with a maximum height of 95 metres.

When it collapsed, it was holding 5.8m cubic metres of material with waste heaps up to 160m high.


One town in Malaysia was left swamped with foreign waste

Does China deal with other countries' waste?
Not anymore. It used to, until the end of 2017 when it decided to ban the import of 24 different grades of rubbish.

In 2017 alone, China took in seven million tonnes of plastic rubbish from Europe, Japan and the US - and 27 million tonnes of waste paper.

Other countries, including Malaysia, Turkey, the Philippines and Indonesia, have picked up some of the slack.

But they struggled to deal with the amount of waste coming in - often times resulting in massive, out-of-control landfills in their own countries.

Some of these countries have now banned the import of certain types of rubbish and are even sending it back.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-50429119

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Climate activists to launch week-long hunger strike
« Reply #14584 on: November 15, 2019, 07:34:00 AM »

Police hold a protester during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Westminster, London.

Environmental activists around the world have announced they will begin a week-long hunger strike next week in a bid to force global leaders to urgently tackle the “climate emergency”.

An octogenarian from the UK will join hundreds of others in at least 22 countries who have signed up to go without food in protest against a lack of action being taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions and halt ecological breakdown.

The decision is a “last resort tactic”, according to international campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is spearheading the hunger strike.

Members from the UK branch of XR have delivered a letter to the country’s main political parties as they prepare to go to the polls in next month’s general election.

In the letter they issue a dire warning about the future of the planet and call for meetings with leaders to demonstrate their commitment to battling climate change.

The letter states: “Today, humanity is at a crossroads. Either we unite to prevent the rapidly escalating climate and ecological collapse, or this nation and global society will disintegrate beyond recognition.

“Your party has an absolute duty of care, for the current and future well-being of everyone in the United Kingdom.”

La Pethick, an 83-year-old from East Sussex, is set to take part in the protest.

“I am going on hunger strike for my family’s future and for future generations,” she said.

Another UK striker, 67-year-old artist Marko Stepanov from London, said: “I will strike for seven days or more to show my dedication and determination. I believe that the hunger strike is the strongest, effective, non-violent way to progress our cause.”

The strike, which aims to highlight the vulnerability of world food supplies and force governments to enact Extinction Rebellion’s three demands – tell the truth; act now; and go beyond party polictics – has been scheduled to continue for a week.

The action was initiated by Giovanni Tamacas of Extinction Rebellion US, whose extended family in Vietnam and El Salvador is already experiencing many disastrous effects of global warming.

The 20-year-old said: “We are hunger striking because we have no choice. We are being taken to our deaths.

“Greedy governments and corporations have criminally and catastrophically failed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

“Our shortsighted governments are too systemically corrupt to stop mass starvation, societal collapse and the death of billions of humans.”

imate-activists-to-launch-week-long-hungwww.scotsman.com/news/environment/cler-strike-1-5046407
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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School children take over Ireland's parliament for climate crisis debate
« Reply #14585 on: November 15, 2019, 01:04:23 PM »
n what has been described as a "major first," Ireland's parliament was taken over by 157 young people from across the country on Friday as they discussed the climate crisis in Ireland's first Youth Assembly.

Aged between 10 and 17, the young people selected were from the Republic of Ireland's 26 counties and were invited to the parliament's lower house, the Dáil, and called on adults to take action on their recommendations to help tackle pressing environmental issues.
Seán Ó Fearghaíl, chair of the lower house, described the Youth Assembly as a "historic meeting" and said it was fitting that "one of the greatest challenges of our time, if not the greatest challenges of our time" should be debated by representatives of Ireland's younger generation.

After introductory remarks from selected speakers, the representatives took part in workshops and then presented their 10 proposals to the chair.
Among the recommendations made was banning imported fracked gas, labeling and pricing to illustrate the climate impact of food products and for Ireland to "outlaw acts of ecocide."
"The government has said it will listen to what you bring forward here today," said Ó Fearghaíl as he opened proceedings.
"I know a lot of fear has been engendered in relation to the issue of climate change. We should all be worried about the future of our planet ... We older people should be ashamed of the planet we are now passing on to you.

"You have serious issues to address to make this world a safe habitable space in which to live for the decades ahead ... leave fear at the door and enter your discussions with optimism, with realism and with knowledge."
The Youth Assembly is part of the Dáil's centenary celebrations and is being broadcast live by national broadcaster RTE as part of its climate week, as well as parliament's own TV channel.
"This Youth Assembly is a major first for us," said Ó Fearghaíl. "It is an example of national parliament and national broadcaster working in the national interest."
The climate crisis has become one of the predominant issues of the age. In September, the third Global Climate Strike organized by school students took place in a number of locations across the world, calling for the adults in charge to take more decisive action.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/15/europe/irelands-youth-assembly-climate-change-intl-scli/index.html
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Chile to vote on new constitution in response to protests
« Reply #14586 on: November 15, 2019, 01:16:55 PM »


SANTIAGO: Chile announced Friday it will stage a referendum to replace the country’s dictatorship-era constitution next year — a key demand of protesters after nearly a month of sometimes violent civil unrest.

The current charter, in force since 1980 and enacted by the former military junta of Augusto Pinochet, has been changed numerous times in the years since.

But it does not establish the state’s responsibility to provide education and healthcare — two demands made by millions of Chileans who have taken to the streets.

Lawmakers in Chile’s National Congress agreed early Friday to hold the plebiscite in April 2020 after hours of negotiations between the governing coalition and opposition parties.

The referendum will ask voters whether the constitution should be replaced and if so, how a new charter should be drafted, Senate president Jaime Quintana said.

The unrest that began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush-hour metro fares has mushroomed into a broader outcry against the status quo, with burning, looting and daily confrontations between demonstrators and police.

The crisis is Chile’s biggest since its return to democracy in 1990, leaving 20 dead — five at the hands of state forces — and more than 1,000 injured.

Protesters cite low wages, high costs for education and healthcare and a yawning gap between rich and poor in a country dominated politically and economically by a few elite families.

Demonstrators have demanded greater social reform from President Sebastian Pinera, who has announced several measures in a bid to appease the public mood.

After weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations, most polls show the protest movement is supported by 75 percent of Chileans.

A slightly larger number — 87 percent, according to a survey by pollster Cadem published this month — say they favor the protesters’ demand for constitutional reforms.

A few days after Pinera became president last year, his government announced it would not allow the consideration of a bill to amend the constitution that his socialist predecessor Michelle Bachelet had submitted to congress.

https://arynews.tv/en/chile-protests-new-constitution-vote/
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Palm oil chief arrested on suspicion of paying to have activists killed
« Reply #14587 on: November 15, 2019, 01:30:32 PM »
Jakarta: The murder of two Indonesian activists, allegedly ordered by a palm oil businessman, highlights the threats faced by environmentalists, campaigners say.

Martua Parasian Siregar, 55, and Maraden Sianipar, 42, were found dead 10 days ago with multiple stab wounds near a palm plantation in the island of North Sumatra.

Indonesian police have arrested the head of the Amelia palm oil company, who they identified only as "H" or "Harry", on suspicion of having paid several men about $3000 to kill the two activists.

"This strengthens our suspicion that human rights violations in palm oil companies are rampant," said Dana Prima Tarigan, who heads green group the Indonesian Forum for the Environment.


Environmental activists oppose palm oil on the grounds it is destroying the habitat of endangered animals.

Police said the palm oil concession where the men's bodies were found was closed by the government in 2018 for illegally clearing hectares of forest area.

The two activists had been working with local farmers to gain control of the palm crop there, police said.

"The motive of the incident revolves around a land conflict case," North Sumatra Police Chief Agus Andrianto told reporters, adding that four other suspects had been arrested in the case, with another three still at large.

The murders come weeks after the death of environmental lawyer Golfrid Siregar in North Sumatra.

Although police have said his death was a road accident, rights groups say the circumstances were mysterious.

Indonesia and Malaysia produce 85 per cent of global palm oil, a product attracting growing scrutiny for its role in forest loss, fires and worker exploitation.

"Our palm oil industry was, and is, built upon the smeared blood and suffering of residents," Greenpeace campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said when asked about the two activists' murders.

Reuters

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/palm-oil-chief-arrested-on-suspicion-of-paying-to-have-activists-killed-20191111-p539i7.html
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Iran Abruptly Raises Fuel Prices, and Protests Erupt
« Reply #14588 on: November 15, 2019, 04:59:57 PM »
The timing of the announcement suggested an urgent scramble to fill a budget gap caused partly by severe American sanctions. Angry protests over the price increases soon followed.

Iran abruptly raised gasoline prices as much as 300 percent early Friday and imposed a strict rationing system, and within hours protests erupted across the country with angry crowds calling for the ouster of President Hassan Rouhani.

The new energy policy appeared to be the latest attempt by the Islamic Republic to manage an economic crisis worsened by American sanctions that have sharply reduced oil exports.  Mr. Rouhani said at a speech a day earlier that Iran faced a deficit amounting to nearly two-thirds of its annual $45 billion budget.

By Friday night, large crowds had gathered in major cities including Shiraz, Mashhad, Ahwaz and Bandar Abbas, as well as in a range of smaller working class towns. In some places the protests turned violent, according to videos posted on social media showing riot police officers spraying tear gas in one confrontation and smashing vehicle windshields in another.

Like their counterparts in Lebanon and Iraq, the protests in Iran on Friday were set off by economic anxiety,  but some quickly assumed an antigovernment tone.

Iranians across political factions — both hard-liners and reformists —  expressed fury on social media, saying the price increases would only hurt the people and create more loopholes for financial corruption. 
Some said the timing of the policy change was especially ill advised, given the popular unrest that has convulsed Lebanon and Iraq.

“We will reclaim our rights but not be oppressed,” chanted hundreds of men and women blocking the road at a sit-in in the southern city of Ahwaz.

In Mashhad, a religiously conservative city in the northeast, people turned off their cars to create traffic jams and shouted, “Rouhani, shame on you, let go of the country!”

Iran announced the policy in a statement by the heads of its three key branches —  government, parliament and judiciary — to signal unity.

Two energy analysts close to the government in Iran said that Mr. Rouhani had opposed the policy because of concern that it could cost his faction major losses in the coming parliamentary elections. One of the analysts said that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, had overruled Mr. Rouhani.

An announcement carried on state-run television described the changes as a way to help fund subsidies for about 60 million Iranians, or around three-quarters of the population. But the timing of the changes, coming without warning, suggests the government was worried there would be a backlash for increasing the price of gasoline in a stressed economy, in which inflation already is running by some estimates at 40 percent.

The immediate effect of the change also appeared to be an attempt to prevent motorists from mobbing gasoline stations to fuel up beforehand.

“Clearly, making this decision in the middle of the night, to take effect immediately, right before a weekend, reflected their concerns about the political implications,” said Henry Rome, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy in Washington.

While official media said the price increase was unrelated to the budget, it came as the government was scrambling for ways to compensate for a stark decline in revenue from oil exports, which have shrunk because of sanctions the Trump administration imposed after it withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement in 2018.

“All of these games carry one message: The treasury is empty and the only way they have to fill it is to take from the people’s pockets,” said Maysam Sharifi, an oil and energy trader in Tehran.

Iran has long planned to cut energy subsidies as part of an economic reform plan. Mr. Rouhani’s predecessor,  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also cut subsidies and created a cash handout system to Iranian families instead, but economists said that policy led to inflation and market instability.

Some Iranian economists warned that the new energy policy would fail for a number of reasons. The price increases are not significant enough to give the government a big financial boost — estimated at $800 million a year. But for ordinary Iranians, the added expense could breed resentment and lost confidence.

“There will be no positive impact in the economy,” said Alireza Salavati a political economist in London. “This policy is poorly planned and terribly executed and will result in more inflation and instability.”

Gasoline has remained a relative bargain in Iran because it is heavily subsidized. The low price also has been partly blamed for undisciplined consumption and has contributed to the country’s urban pollution problem.

Under the changes, the price for a liter of gasoline rose to 15,000 rials, or about 13 cents, from 10,000 rials per liter on Thursday, and a monthly ration for each private car was set at 60 liters. Any purchases over that limit would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The change was all the more jarring because Iran is endowed with vast quantities of fossil fuels. The Energy Information Administration of the United States ranks Iran as possessing the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas reserves.

Just last Sunday, President Rouhani bragged that an enormous oil field holding 53 billion barrels of crude had been discovered in southwest Iran, which if confirmed would give the country about 210 billion barrels and make it the No. 3 country in oil reserves behind Saudi Arabia, with 298 billion, and Venezuela, with 303 billion, according to statistics from BP.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/world/middleeast/iran-gasoline-prices-rations.html
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Pope compares politicians who rage against gays to Hitler
« Reply #14589 on: November 15, 2019, 05:06:48 PM »
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Friday politicians who rage against homosexuals, gypsies and Jews remind him of Hitler.

“It is not coincidental that at times there is a resurgence of symbols typical of Nazism,” Francis said in an address to participants of an international conference on criminal law.

“And I must confess to you that when I hear a speech (by) someone responsible for order or for a government, I think of speeches by Hitler in 1934, 1936,” he said, departing from his prepared address.

“With the persecution of Jews, gypsies, and people with homosexual tendencies, today these actions are typical (and) represent ‘par excellence’ a culture of waste and hate. That is what was done in those days and today it is happening again.”

During the 1933-45 Nazi regime in Germany, six million Jews were killed and homosexuals and gypsies were among those sent to extermination camps.

Pope Francis did not name any politicians or countries as the targets of his criticism.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro had a history of making homophobic, racist and sexist public remarks before he took office on Jan. 1. He told one interviewer he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

In May, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah extended a moratorium on the death penalty to incoming legislation prohibiting gay sex, seeking to temper a global backlash led by celebrities such as George Clooney and Elton John.

The United Nations had warned Brunei it would be violating human rights by implementing Islamic laws that would allow death by stoning for adultery and homosexuality.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has also denounced a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe.

On Wednesday, in improvised remarks at his general audience, he said: “Today the habit of persecuting Jews is beginning to be reborn. Brothers and sisters: this is neither human nor Christian; the Jews are our brothers and sisters and must not be persecuted! Understood?”

Last week, a Vatican cardinal said he was “disgusted” by anti-Semitic abuse directed at an 89-year-old Italian senator and Holocaust survivor, who was given police protection after receiving death threats.

In July, a European Union study said young Jewish Europeans experience more anti-Semitism than their parents, with a rise in abuse coming in emails, text messages and social media postings.

More than 80% of Jews of all ages said they felt anti-Semitism had increased on the Internet over the past five years and around 70% said they faced more hostility in public, the study found.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-lgbt-hitler/pope-compares-politicians-who-rage-against-gays-to-hitler-idUSKBN1XP1MM?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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When Normal Is Dysfunctional Social Collapse Is Inevitable
« Reply #14590 on: November 15, 2019, 05:23:06 PM »


What is normal for the spider is dysfunctional for the fly.
Professor Jem Bendell writes on page 2 in the abstract portion of his Dec 2018 updated paper, Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating ClimateTragedy, “of an inevitable near-term social collapse due to climate change.” Then Bendell writes on page 3 in the introduction portion of the same paper “of a social collapse triggered by an environmental catastrophe,”.

The logic Bendell demonstrates here appears that of climate change and environmental catastrophe preceding, and therefore forming the precondition for, social collapse. This logic would seem to indicate that catastrophe would need to be inevitable for collapse to be probable.

Yet, on page 19 of this paper Bendell states, “I have chosen to interpret the information as indicating inevitable collapse, probable catastrophe and possible extinction.” This presents an opportunity to reform the logic supporting his interpretation.

Social collapse may well be inevitable due to deeper issues of which environmental catastrophe may also be symptomatic. The first issue that comes to mind is the human global Ecological Footprint Earth overshoot. This strongly correlates with the Club of Rome 1972 publication of, The Limits to Growth, edited by Donella Meadows.

The Global Footprint Network, an independent think tank founded in 2003, calculates the Ecological Footprint and bio-capacity of more than 200 countries and territories from 1961 to the present based on up to 15,000 data points. These calculations evaluate the capacity of the Earth to restore the resources consumed within a one year time period.

For example, the capacity of the Earth to replenish fresh water aquifers, rebuild fertile soil and recycle CO2 from the atmosphere is evaluated against human fresh water use, soil depletion and atmospheric CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels. The Global Footprint Network then determines when during the year human activity overshoots the capacity of the Earth to restore the consumed resources. In 2019, Earth Overshoot Day was July 29, the earliest ever.

This overconsumption of resources is enabled by drawing on stores accumulated over millennia. These stores are the resources Nature itself employs to restore the resources consumed. These stores may be understood as a goose who lays golden eggs, the golden eggs representing the restored resources available for human use each year.

Humanity, in exceeding the capacity of the Earth to restore resources, is killing the goose incrementally since the 1970s. This view is validated by the computer models used for the Club of Rome publication. While this may resemble the earlier conclusions of Malthus and Hobbs, notice that the Club of Rome and The Global Footprint Network base their work on global empirical data and system computer modeling rather than philosophical conclusions subject to personal biases.

Today through major media outlets we can also observe the widespread early evidence of global social collapse. Concurrent with global environmental degradation we can also witness the heightened fragility of the global financialization of capitalism exposed to the increasing threats of ethno-nationalism to trade and migration. This correlation does not necessarily indicate causation, as many others seem to prematurely conclude.

Rather, all these effects seem symptomatic of an underlying psychology. This underlying psychology generates behavior that embodies cognitive dissonance and therefore evidence of dysfunction. This dysfunction then becomes destructive to human society through internecine conflict and environmental destruction.

Sigmund Freud Opened a Door to Understanding
In letters written during 1931 &1932, Einstein queried Freud, “Why War?” Freud’s answer was grounded in his delineation of the conflict between “Eros” and “Thanatos”, the life instinct and the death instinct. This may be the most accessible explication of the core of Freud’s approach. This clearly reveals the normal psycho-pathology of human nature.

This Freudian approach carried forward into the construct of Melanie Klein, W.R. Bion and the Tavistock tradition. The primitive psychotic defenses identified by Melanie Klein as ‘innate/instinctive’ (Klein, 1952) and developed by Bion in his, Experiences in Groups, (Bion, 1961) lay unchallenged at the core of the Tavistock paradigm.

The Tavistock paradigm has been propagated globally to noteworthy institutions such as the A.K. Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Brunel Institute of Organisation and Social Studies, National School of Government, Uxbridge (Middlesex) UK.

The evidence seems to indicate a near universal mental state assuming unlimited opportunity for growth, inexhaustible resources and an endless capacity for Earth to absorb waste products. This mental state now comes into direct conflict with paranoid-schizoid defenses emerging from the projection of an alter generated by a psychological split. These mental states are exhaustively documented and widely examined in professional psychology and psychoanalytic literature.

These mental states have long been considered normal for humanity. Freud, Klein, Bion and many others accepted these mental states as essential to human beings. These mental states provide the basis of the understanding and manipulation of both individuals and crowds as exemplified in the personalities and work of Gustave Le Bon, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and Edward Bernays.

While the normality of these mental states, now evident in dysfunctional conflict, has long gone unchallenged and now seems enshrined in apparently unassailable intellectual cannon, there is also advanced theory supported by cultural anthropological, historical and contemporary medical evidence. This advanced theory suggests that humanity can develop beyond its normal dysfunction.

This advanced theory relies upon evidence showing that these mental states producing the normal human dysfunction are learned rather than being hardwired into the human psyche. Since they are learned, they are therefore accessible to analysis and modification.

The entirety of existent human society has been built upon the normal dysfunction, the normal psycho-pathology, of human individuals and crowds. For this reason, social collapse is inevitable. Society will either collapse tragically as a result of its normal psycho-pathology or collapse when intentionally restructured somewhat elegantly and gracefully in the nick of time.

It will only be from the resolution of the question of the nature of social collapse that we will be able to understand if humanity faces probable catastrophe and possible extinction. We can perhaps yet manage the collapse of business-as-usual in a way as to avoid the worst case scenarios. But our window of opportunity to do so is rapidly closing.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-normal-dysfunctional-social-collapse-inevitable-jay-greathouse
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Police fired tear gas as Yellow Vest protesters blocked a major road and erected barricades in Paris, marking one year since the nationwide demonstration movement began sweeping the country.
Clashes broke out at Place d’Italie downtown and near Porte de Champerret on the city’s outskirts.

The protesters have also blocked traffic down the Boulevard Peripherique, the main ring road circling the capital. Riot police were deployed to disperse them.

A total of 41 people were arrested on the streets of Paris, police said.

More than 270 protest events were planned to take place across France over the weekend. Thousands are expected to rally in Paris alone, celebrating a full year since the inception of the Yellow Vest movement last November.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/G4OLgjthllk&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/G4OLgjthllk&fs=1</a>

The protesters are determined to show that the movement is “far from being dead” and called for a “grand national mobilization,” according to one group on social media.

Police, meanwhile, beefed up security in the capital. Local media reported that officers are on the lookout for hundreds of “yellow ultras and ultra-left militants.”

The Yellow Vest protests started as a grassroots campaign against government plans to hike fuel taxes. The hikes were scrapped after several weeks of protests but the rallies continued. They grew to encompass other demands, such as better living standards, government accountability, the fight against corruption and for more direct-ballot initiatives. Demonstrators have also demanded the resignation of President Emmanuel Macron.

Some of the Yellow Vest rallies remained peaceful and maintained a cheerful atmosphere. Others have spiraled into fierce clashes with police, widespread riots and vandalism. More than 8,400 protesters were detained, and at least two dozen of them lost their eyesight after being injured by riot gun fire.

https://www.rt.com/news/473609-yellow-vest-anniversary-france/
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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30 years after the Velvet Revolution, the Czechs are back on the streets
« Reply #14592 on: November 16, 2019, 06:46:16 AM »
For many Czechs, Sunday's anniversary of the Velvet Revolution will be a bittersweet moment. Three decades after the collapse of the Communist regime, people will mark a dramatic moment in history amid allegations, confirmed by a court decision, that their prime minister collaborated with the StB, the Communist-era secret police.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend anti-government demonstrations across the country on Saturday, one day before the anniversary, when a non-violent demonstration led by students emboldened the nation to rise up against Communism.
They are demanding the resignation of PM Andrej Babis, a business tycoon who is listed as an StB agent in its official archives. Babis has consistently denied cooperating with the StB knowingly, saying he has been wrongly identified in the documents.
Pensioners Miloslava and Pavel Šimáček took part in the mass protests 30 years ago. They came back on Saturday because they were opposed to Babis being PM.
Carrying home-made banners, they paused to listen to the national anthem playing from the sound system.
"I'm very unhappy about the fact that the Prime Minister is a former StB agent and Communist. He has no self reflection whatsoever," Pavel Šimáček said. His wife Miloslava added: "Back then, 30 years ago, if someone told me this would the case, I wouldn't have believed it. We knew everything won't be ideal, but this is unacceptable."


Miloslava and Pavel Šimáček march in Prague on Saturday -- 30 years after they took part in the Velvet Revolution protests.

The organizers of the protests, a group called "A Million Moments for Democracy" has coordinated some of the biggest demonstrations since 1989 in the past few months. More than 432,000 people have also signed its petition calling for Babis to resign.

"We consider it unacceptable ... for an StB agent to be the Prime Minister," the petition said. "We are not going to pretend that it's normal. We want Andrej Babis to step down!"
Babis, a Slovak-born millionaire, has admitted to meeting with StB agents in the 1980s, when he was a member of the Communist Party working for a foreign trade company -- a cushy job that allowed him to travel abroad, a perk that was unthinkable for most Czechoslovaks at that time.
However, he has denied cooperating with the StB knowingly.

According to official files held by the Slovak Nation's Memory Institute, Babis agreed to become a collaborator during an hour-and-a-half long meeting with StB officials at a wine bar in Bratislava in November 1982.
The historical files describes him as being worried his coworkers would find out about his collaboration, something he thought could hurt his career. But, according to the records, he signed up anyway, adopting the code name "Bures."
Babis has fought a bitter legal battle to have his name removed from the files, a bid that was finally rejected by the Slovak Constitutional Court last year. The institute presented 12 separate files signed by some 40 former StB officials as evidence against Babis.
Vote winner
While many in the Czech Republic disagree with Babis and want him gone, the PM has plenty of supporters too. His political party ANO won the European Parliament elections in May with 20% of the vote.
In the last parliamentary election in 2017, the group secured almost 30% of the vote, way more than the second-biggest party ODS which got just over 11%. His populist politics included a firm rejection of the EU's proposal for a new immigration quota that would split refugees among the member states. He was among the four leaders who, in June, rejected Europe's proposal to slash carbon emissions.

The protesters are now urging the fragmented opposition parties to come up with a plan to defeat Babis, and have pledged to keep protesting until their demands are met.
Their criticism goes way beyond Babis' alleged past.
"The justice system and the public media are in danger, and the president, disregarding the constitution, is promising, if ever needed, a presidential pardon to the Prime Minister who has been in a huge conflict of interest," they said in a statement on the website.
Babis has been accused of fraud related to EU subsidies received more than a decade ago by his former agricultural business empire Agrofert.
An investigation ended in the police proposing criminal charges against him. But this September, on the day of Babis' 65th birthday, prosecutors put the case on hold and later decided to drop it all together. Babis has denied the accusations.
ANO has not responded to a request for comment.

The European Union is also investigating Babis for a potential conflict of interest. Babis transferred the ownership of Agrofert into trust funds before taking the office and the EU is investigating whether he is still profiting from the business.
The vast empire includes a large number of food producers, meaning Czech supermarkets are full of products made by companies that trace their ownership to the PM.
App developer Vytrhlík was curious about the scale of Babis' business empire and devised a smartphone app called "Bez Andreje," Czech for "Without Andrej."
It allows people to scan the barcode of any product to check whether it was made by one of the Agrofert companies. It has been downloaded more than 250,000 times, Vytrhlík said.
The organizers of Saturday's protests were hoping for big crowds.
"We don't have many reasons to be optimistic, 30 years after the Velvet Revolution," the organizers, who are mostly students, said in a statement. "How else shall we celebrate the anniversary than by raising our voices in defense of democracy?"

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/16/europe/prague-velvet-revolution-anniversary-protests-intl/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fedition_world+%28RSS%3A+CNNi+-+World%29
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Khamenei: Iran not calling for elimination of Jews, wants non-sectarian Israel
« Reply #14593 on: November 16, 2019, 06:56:54 AM »
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran is not calling for the elimination of the Jewish people, but believes people of all religions should decide Israel’s future, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday.

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has refused to recognize Israel and has backed militant Palestinian groups. Israel has long accused Iran of seeking its destruction and regards Tehran as its main enemy in the Middle East.

“Calling for the elimination of the state of Israel does not mean the elimination of the Jewish people,” Khamenei told officials and participants at an Islamic conference in Tehran, according to his official website.

“It means that the people of Palestine - be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish - should choose their own government.”

The Shi’ite Muslim Khamenei, the ultimate authority on Iranian domestic and foreign policy, also criticized Western powers for pressuring Tehran over its nuclear program.

“All nations need peaceful nuclear energy, but Western monopolists seek to keep this energy in monopoly...,” Khamenei said. “Westerners know that we are not seeking nuclear weapons

because of our principles and (religious) beliefs.”

Iran has repeatedly denied ever having sought to build a nuclear bomb, referring to a religious decree issued in the early 2000s by Khamenei that bans the development or use of nuclear weapons.

U.S. intelligence agencies and the U.N. nuclear watchdog believe Iran had a covert atomic bomb program for a number of years that it subsequently halted.

France, Britain and Germany said this week they were extremely concerned by Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment at an underground plant, though they stopped short of directly urging new sanctions.

Iran’s move was the latest in a series of steps through which Tehran has overstepped the limits of its 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, in response to the United States withdrawing from the accord last year and reimposing sanctions.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-iran-khamenei/khamenei-iran-not-calling-for-elimination-of-jews-wants-non-sectarian-israel-idUSKBN1XP0WP?utm_source=reddit.com
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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Harvard students walkout of Israel envoy talk
« Reply #14594 on: November 16, 2019, 07:05:00 AM »
Over 100 students staged a walkout during Israeli envoy Dani Dayan's talk at Harvard

Israeli Consul General to New York Dani Dayan was left shocked as at least a hundred students staged a walkout during a talk he was about to give at the US’ Harvard Law School on Wednesday.

Just as Dayan was due to start his talk on “The Legal Strategy of Israeli Settlements” in occupied Palestine, students who had filled the lecture theatre stood up, lifted placards reading “Settlements are a war crime” and walked out of the room in silence.

The gesture reportedly made a significant impact on Dayan as he was heard muttering “I remember doing this in kindergarten” while the auditorium emptied. He was then left to continue with his speech to the few audience members who remained.

The impact of the incident, however, resulted in a spark of awareness on the issue and made a huge impression. One of the organisers of the protest, Samer Hjouj, told the UK-based media outlet Middle East Eye that “To have 100 people standing up all at once and silently, did leave an impact.” Hjouj detailed the process through which it was organised, saying that “As soon as we found out about the event, we planned and it took a lot of time but we had a team at every school in Harvard, finding people to help us make it happen.”

Dayan is a key advocate for the establishment and maintenance of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. He served as the Chairman of the Yesha Council, an alliance of the illegal Israeli settlements, from 2007 to 2013. He was subsequently appointed as the council’s Chief Foreign Envoy – the only official representative of the illegal settlement movement to the international community.

This is not the first time that the invitation of Israeli officials or pro-Israeli figures to events at universities have been condemned by students and activists. With some facing such protests accusing demonstrators of repressing free speech.

In May last year, the former strongly pro-Israel US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had her speech at the University of Houston interrupted by protestors screaming “Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!”

Despite Israel’s construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory being in violation of international law as well as considered a war crime, the settlements have continued to be built and expanded, with around 650,000 Israelis currently living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This comes at the cost of Palestinian homes, villages and entire neighbourhoods being either evacuated and occupied or destroyed and replaced, leaving their legal owners destitute.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191115-harvard-students-walkout-of-israel-envoy-talk/?fbclid=IwAR35Qi6J5mRRKAIXs_OkrtQ0YRRdGIHaNh9pl6OqusDus7IwDOCNNTXqGjk
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'