AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1922001 times)

Offline knarf

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Young Canadian women ‘sugar babies’-growing in popularity
« Reply #15060 on: January 15, 2020, 06:59:03 PM »

Sugar daddy (sugar baby, sugar mommy)

It’s become a common term that may have its origins as far back as 1908 when the heir to a sugar fortune (Adolph Spreckels) married an apparently good looking and much younger woman 24 years his junior.  She called her husband her ‘sugar daddy’.  By the mid 1920’s the term had become slang for a man who offers financial reward or expensive gifts to a younger woman in exchange for intimate companionship.

Now there are any number of services where attractive young women, and men, can meet wealthy older men or women again exchanging financial rewards for intimacy (ahem)

The term sugar daddy now has added ‘sugar momma’ and ‘sugar baby’, the later for those seeking compensation.

This idea of selling intimacy for financial gain has become popular among students who are burdened with massive student debt.

One of the world’s largest such sites recently pointed out that Canadian students are carrying more than 28 billion dollars in debt.

The site says it has 330,000 sugar baby and sugar daddy listings in Canada.

In its annual report it says the number of  university students in Canada seeking such an ‘arrangement’ has risen 44 per cent in one year.

It claims that besides an average monthly ‘allowance’ of just over $2,000, the sugar baby also gains networking connections and career and business advantages.

It’s latest report ranks the top 20 Canadian universities in terms of the number of students listed on its site, the top ten in terms of growth last year are below

Rank           University                New Sign-Up Growth in 2018       Student Total 2019
01        University of Toronto                           362                          1170
02        York University                                    229                            836
03        University of Waterloo                         204                            381
04        McGill University                                 194                            805
05        Carleton University                              145                            615
06        University of Alberta                            142                            764
07        University of British Columbia             121                            359
08        University of Saskatchewan                114                            561
09        University of Guelph                            104                            728
The phenomenon has sparked a number of documentaries on the practice, and there are coaching sessions for students on how to attract a sugar daddy.

The most common sugar babies are apparently ( in order), student, actrees/model, teacher, cosmetologist, nurse, flight attendant.

While the most common sugar daddies are, tech entrepreneur, CEO, developer, financier, lawyer, and physician.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Re: Scientists Accidentally Recreate Big Bang Detonation in the Lab
« Reply #15061 on: January 15, 2020, 07:00:47 PM »

Ask a scientist — or anyone, really — about the birth of the universe, and they’ll probably tell you it started with the Big Bang.

What nobody knows, though, is what caused that explosion. Some suspect the Big Bang was actually a massive star going supernova, but again, no one knows what exactly causes those stars to ignite, either.

That might have just changed, though, thanks to a University of Central Florida research team that says it discovered the conditions necessary for a Big Bang explosion in their lab — without actually intending to.

A team led by Kareem Ahmed, an assistant professor in UCF’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was testing methods for producing hypersonic jet propulsion when it discovered that a passive flame could accelerate and explode on its own.

“We explore these supersonic reactions for propulsion, and as a result of that, we came across this mechanism that looked very interesting,” Ahmed said in a press release. “When we started to dig deeper, we realized that this is relatable to something as profound as the origin of the universe.”

What his team discovered was that turbulence could cause a passive flame, like that of a candle, to self-accelerate and eventually detonate.

From there, the team created a two-inch-by-two-inch shock tube that induces the turbulence needed for a passive flame to become active — essentially, the researchers found a way to create “Little Bangs” mimicking the big one that birthed our universe.

“We’re taking a simplified flame to where it’s reacting at five times the speed of sound,” Ahmed said in the release.

They’ve detailed their work in a paper published Friday in the journal Science. Aside from potential applications in air and space travel, the researchers believe their study could improve our understanding of the Big Bang, and maybe even what — if anything — preceded it.

READ MORE: Scientists recreate origin of the universe in a lab [Inverse]

Screw the Big Bang. They just discovered Warp Drive!
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Offline knarf

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There were around 8,000 dead birds per mile of shoreline in Whitter, Alaska.

Back in 2015–16, about 62,000 dead or dying common murres — a North Pacific seabird — washed ashore between Alaska and California.

Only a fraction of the dead birds made it to shore, and the total number of deaths was estimated to be close to a million birds.

Researchers think it was the largest seabird die-off in recorded history.

Compounding the deaths, at least 22 colonies completely failed to produce any offspring over several breeding seasons.

Now a major study has concluded that the die-off was the result of a huge disruption to energy flow through food webs, precipitated by "the blob" — an unprecedented mass of warm, nutrient-poor water that emerged off the Pacific coast of the US from 2013.

The blob was up to 6 degrees Celsius above typical maximum temperatures in places and extended to a depth of 200 metres, and more than 3,000 kilometres up the US coastline into Alaska.

As well as the huge seabird die-off, the researchers believe the marine heatwave caused the mass mortality of a suite of other fish, mammal and bird species during 2014–17.

During the period that the blob persisted off the coast of the US, production of phytoplankton or microscopic algae dropped, and "the largest harmful algal bloom in recorded history" stretched from California to the Gulf of Alaska in 2015, the researchers said.

"A massive die-off of planktivorous Cassin's auklets [seabirds] occurred from Central California to British Columbia in the winter of 2014-15, a marked increase in mortality of [sea lions] was noted in Southern California, and an unusually large die-off of baleen whales occurred in the Gulf of Alaska in 2015–16," they wrote in their paper, published today in PLOS ONE.

An 'ectothermic vice' squeezed the birds' food supply

Many seabirds feed around Alaska during the northern summer.

Their study used a combination of data gathered by citizen scientists, government, university and private organisations, and wildlife rehabilitation centres, to conclude that the common murres were caught in an "ectothermic vice" — basically, a squeezing of the murre's food supply from above and below.

On the one side, the murre's preferred prey species, fish like anchovies, juvenile salmon, capelin and sardines, are ectothermic or cold-blooded.

Warmer ocean temperatures increased their metabolic rate, said lead author John Piatt from the US Geological Survey.

"If you crank up the temperature a few degrees, these ectothermic fish, their metabolic rate cranks up and so they had to eat more," he said.

But at the same time, food for the fish like zooplankton, had been diminished by the warmer temperatures, and the fish suffered accordingly.

"A lot of forage [fish] species did poorly. Juvenile salmon lost body condition because as it turns out their diets were impacted," Dr Piatt said.

"The quality of the food they wanted to eat was getting poor."

Sea surface temperature imagery shows warm waters returned off the US west coast in 2019.

Not only were there fewer fish for the murre to eat, but because the fish were smaller and in worse physical condition, the murre needed to catch and eat more to survive.

On the other side of the "vice" were the murre's competitors — ectothermic or cold-blooded fish like Pacific cod and halibut, which compete with the murre for food.

"The big fish, the big cod, the flounders and the pollock, these large predatory fish, their metabolic rates went up too," Dr Piatt said.

Increased competition for food meant the murre — which has been recorded diving to depths of up to 180 metres — had to work extra hard to sustain themselves.

Murres are highly energetic, and need to consume around 56 per cent of their own body mass every day to meet their own energy demands.

"These are high-energy birds with high-energy demands. If they don't eat for three to four days they're dead," Dr Piatt said.

The result was the biggest seabird die-off or "wreck" that scientists know of.

Did Australia's mutton birds suffer the same fate?

Mutton birds migrate from Alaska to southern Australia every year.

Late last year, as only trickles of mutton birds showed up at their regular southern Australian roosting sites, ecologists feared the worst.

For some reason, many had failed to make the annual migration from Alaska.

Birdwatcher Peter Barrand told the ABC at the time that we could be "looking at an extinction event".

Because seabirds have large natural population fluctuations year on year, it's too early to say the drop in mutton bird numbers last year was anything more than a blip, said John Arnould of Deakin University, who wasn't involved in this study.

"We'll have a better idea in March when we do the annual monitoring," Professor Arnould said.

"There were visibly fewer animals but that varies from year to year. I'm cautious about saying the sky is falling, but there's no doubt that fewer animals came back."

Because of the difficulty in detecting rapid declines in species that have big natural population variability, Australia needs to increase its monitoring, he said.

"To understand what's happening in the environment you have to monitor regularly," he said.

"Long-term monitoring in Australia could be better funded. You have to factor in natural environmental variability overlaid with changing climate impacts."

A study published this week showed that 2019 was the hottest year in recorded history for our oceans, a trend that is predicted to continue as climate change intensifies.

And ocean warming has been greatest in the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

In late 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the blob had reformed off the west coast of the US.

While seabird wrecks have occurred historically, Dr Piatt discovered during his research records of just two other mass die-offs comparable in size to the event he was studying.

"As we looked we discovered that there were actually two very large die-offs in the 2010s — in this decade," he said.

"One of them was off the coast of New Zealand. Then there was the die-off of puffins off the coast of France in 2014. They lost 50 to 60 per cent of puffins.

"What do they have in common? They all happened in the 2010s and that's been the warmest decade.

"It's not me saying it, it's oceanographers saying it.

"[Climate change] gives rise to these heatwave events and it makes them more frequent and of greater magnitude."
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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House leaders march Trump impeachment articles to the Senate
« Reply #15063 on: January 15, 2020, 07:16:52 PM »
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a dramatic procession across the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats carried the formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate late Wednesday, setting the stage for only the third trial to remove a president in American history.

Trump complained anew it was all a “hoax,” even as fresh details emerged about his efforts in Ukraine.

The ceremonial pomp and protocol by the lawmakers prosecuting the case against Trump moved the impeachment out of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic-run House to the Republican-majority Senate, where the president’s team is mounting a defense aiming for swift acquittal.

“Today we will make history,″ Pelosi said as she signed the documents, using multiple pens to hand out and mark the moment. “This president will be held accountable.”

Moments later the prosecutors walked solemnly through the stately hall, filing into the Senate back row as the Clerk of the House announced the arrival: “The House has passed House Resolution 798, a resolution appointing and authorizing managers of the impeachment trail of Donald John Trump, President of United States.”

The Senate will transform itself into an impeachment court at noon Thursday. The Constitution calls for Chief Justice John Roberts to preside at the trial, administering the oath to senators who will serve as jurors and swear to deliver “impartial justice.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to have the Senate “rise above the petty factionalism” and “factional fervor and serve the long-term, best interests of our nation.″ He called it “a difficult time for our country.”

Technically, the House was simply notifying the Senate of its delivery of the articles, with a more formal presentation Thursday. Opening arguments are to begin next Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193, almost entirely along party lines to deliver the charges. The split reflected the deeply divided nation at the start of this presidential election year. It came one month after the House impeached Trump alleging he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump was also charged with obstructing Congress’ ensuing probe.

“This is what an impeachment is about,″ Pelosi said before the vote. “The president violated his oath of office, undermined our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections.”

Trump’s political campaign dismissed the House effort as “just a failed attempt to politically damage President Trump leading up to his reelection.”

The top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy of California, said Americans will look back on this “sad saga” that tried to remove the president from office with the “weakest case.”

The president’s team expects acquittal with a Senate trial lasting no more than two weeks, according to senior administration officials unauthorized to discuss the matter and granted anonymity.

That’s far shorter than the last presidential impeachment trail, of Bill Clinton, in 1999, or the first one, of Andrew Johnson, in 1868.

As McConnell sets the rules for the trial, Trump has given mixed messages about whether he prefers lengthy or swift proceeding, and senators are under pressure with the emerging new evidence to call more witnesses for testimony.

The seven-member prosecution team was led by the chairmen of the House impeachment proceedings, Reps. Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee and Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee, two of Pelosi’s top lieutenants.

“President Trump gravely abused the power of his office,” Nadler said. “He did all this for his personal political gain.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s session, Schiff released new records from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, about the Ukraine strategy, including an exchange with another man about surveilling later-fired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Schiff said the new evidence should bring more pressure on McConnell, who is reluctant to allow witnesses to testify and prefers swift acquittal.

“The challenge is to get a fair trial,” Schiff said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It shouldn’t be a challenge — if the senators are really going to live up to their oath to be impartial, they’ll want a fair trial. That’s obviously not where Mitch McConnell is coming from.”

Trump’s trial will be only the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history, and it comes against the backdrop of a politically divided nation in an election year.

The managers are a diverse group with legal, law enforcement and military experience, including Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Val Demings of Florida, Jason Crow of Colorado and Zoe Lofgren of California.

Two are freshmen lawmakers — Crow a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Garcia a former judge in Houston. Demings is the former police chief of Orlando and Jeffries is a lawyer and member of party leadership. Lofgren has the rare credential of having worked on the congressional staff investigation of then-President Richard Nixon’s impeachment — he resigned before the full House voted on the charges — and then being an elected lawmaker during Bill Clinton’s.

For the roll call, all but one Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted to transmit the articles. All Republicans voted against. One former Republican-turned-independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, joined Democrats.

McConnell faces competing interests from his party for more witnesses, from centrists who are siding with Democrats on the need to hear testimony and conservatives mounting Trump’s defense.

Senate Republicans signaled they would reject the idea of simply voting to dismiss the articles of impeachment against Trump, as Trump himself has suggested. McConnell agreed he does not have the votes to do that.

 Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is leading an effort among some Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee to consider Senate witnesses. She told reporters she was satisfied the rules will allow votes on that.

Romney said he wants to hear from John Bolton, the former national security adviser at the White House, who others have said raised alarms about the alternative foreign policy toward Ukraine being run by Giuliani.

Those four senators could force votes. Republicans control the chamber, 53-47, and are all but certain to acquit Trump. But it takes just 51 votes during the trial to approve rules or call witnesses. It also would take only 51 senators to vote to dismiss the charges against Trump.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and other Republicans want to subpoena Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a gas company in Ukraine, Burisma, while his father was vice president.

McConnell prefers to model Trump’s trial partly on the process used for Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. It, too, contained motions for dismissal or calling new witnesses.

McConnell is hesitant to call new witnesses who would prolong the trial and put vulnerable senators who are up for reelection in 2020 in a bind with tough choices. At the same time, he wants to give those same senators ample room to show voters they are listening.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline Surly1

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Re: ‘A final implosion’: Regime in Iran will soon collapse, says shah’s son
« Reply #15064 on: January 16, 2020, 02:13:58 AM »
Iran’s theocratic regime is tottering on the brink of collapse, according to the former crown prince whose family was dispossessed in the 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs to power.

Which is like Jared and Ivanka arguing that US should just embrace Fat Orange as czar-autocrat and have done.
Self-serving much?
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Offline K-Dog

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Re: Young Canadian women ‘sugar babies’-growing in popularity
« Reply #15065 on: January 16, 2020, 11:51:47 AM »

While the most common sugar daddies are, tech entrepreneur, CEO, developer, financier, lawyer, and physician.

Don't forget idiot.

At $2000 a month three sugar daddies could set up a whore pretty good!

Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline K-Dog

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Not every billionaire is a climate denier. Larry Fink is smart enough to see what's coming. I doubt what Black Rock is doing matters much, though, in the long term scope of things.  We need for Charlie Koch to have a Road to Damascus moment and suddenly realize he's ruined a perfectly nice county.....and a lot more people just like him.
Not gonna happen though. They're  probably building small nuclear reactors now to run the AC in their Enviro-Domes.

The rich have better educations and are more worldly in general.  But everything else about wealth actually dumbs them down.  They inhabit ultra conservative bubbles that reflect their own wants and desires like a pond of Narcissus made of solid gold.

Or silicon, thus canceling out their edge in intellectual superiority.

From a pragmatic point of view smarter people outnumber billionaires by hundreds to one easy.   1% or less being significant because it illustrates the lunacy of billionaires running the world.
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Offline Surly1

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The rich have better educations and are more worldly in general.  But everything else about wealth actually dumbs them down.  They inhabit ultra conservative bubbles that reflect their own wants and desires like a pond of Narcissus made of solid gold.

KD, you are on a roll. This is the second quote of yours in a couple of days that is repeat-worthy.

Maybe your next job is author.

The pay is even worse than the acclaim, though.
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Offline Surly1

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The rich have better educations and are more worldly in general.  But everything else about wealth actually dumbs them down.  They inhabit ultra conservative bubbles that reflect their own wants and desires like a pond of Narcissus made of solid gold.

KD, you are on a roll. This is the second quote of yours in a couple of days that is repeat-worthy.

Maybe your next job is author.

The pay is even worse than the acclaim, though.

Here was the other quote from an earlier post:

Quote from: K-Dog
Economically we are a high tech Rwanda also about to go on genetic autopilot.  The cheetoh will claim he is a job creator even as they drag him away.  There was a time when I would have thought that would be crazy behavior.  But now in a land fully propagandized, where the average person is managed so completely they have no clue about the actual state of our reality; he who screams louder wins.

I am a sucker for a well-turned phrase.
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Offline knarf

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and it could win!

Iran will pursue war-crimes charges against President Donald Trump at the International Criminal Court in the Hague over the January 3 assassination of its top commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, outside Baghdad's international airport, according to Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, the spokesman for Iran's top judicial authorities.

"We intend to file lawsuits in the Islamic Republic, Iraq and The Hague Court [International Court of Justice] against the military and government of America and against Trump," Esmaeili said at a Tuesday press conference.

"There is no doubt that the US military has done a terrorist act assassinating Guards Commander Lt. Gen. Soleimani and Second-in-Command of Iraq Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ... and Trump has confessed doing the crime."

Since the killing, Iran's leadership has vowed political, military, and legal revenge for what they call an unlawful killing of one of their greatest military heroes.

Soleimani was well known throughout the Middle East for his diplomatic and military acumen.

The US faces a PR embarrassment if the case gets to trial - because Iran could win
Iran's response to the assassination so far has, however, been complicated by the accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner last week.

While the US is not a signatory to the international court - US presidents have long contended the venue could be used by America's enemies in cases like this to pressure its foreign policy - it still faces a public-relations burden if the case goes to trial.

This is because according to at least one internationally recognized expert, Iran could win.

Shortly after Soleimani's death, Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions, tweeted that the bar for lethal action by a nation claiming self-defense - as the Trump administration has repeatedly claimed - is extremely high and requires an imminent threat that the US has so far failed to identify.

"The targeted killings of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandi most likely violate international law [including] human rights law," she wrote. "Lawful justifications for such killings are very narrowly defined and it is hard to imagine how any of these can apply to these killings."

An attack needs to be imminent to justify such a killing, and this one may not meet the standard
In another tweet, Callamard explicitly broke down how the Trump administration's claims that Soleimani posed an imminent and ongoing threat to US interests failed to reach the bar set by international law.

The White House statement "mentions that it aimed at 'deterring future Iranian attack plans,'" she wrote. "This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law."

A NATO military attaché based in the region told Business Insider that while the case has yet to be formally filed, it could pose significant problems for the US and its NATO partners, should the court rule against the Trump administration.

'The case against the Americans is shockingly strong'
"Keeping distance between the Americans and Europe is most of Iran's broader plan right now."

"If this case happens - I suspect there are some reasons Iran might not want to take this mess to an international court for their own reasons - but if it does go forward, the case against the Americans is shockingly strong," the official, who asked not to be named, said.

"On the face of it, the killing of Soleimani for reasons specifically cited by Trump is probably illegal. Do the Americans have a stronger case then they're showing us?

"I would assume so, but there's little chance of them participating in a Hague trial, so all the evidence will be what Iran delivers along with public statements."

"And these statements will not look good in a courtroom," the official added.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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'Hundreds of thousands' killed by counterfeit medicine in Africa
« Reply #15070 on: January 17, 2020, 01:40:14 PM »
World Health Organization sounds alarm as West African leaders move to crack down on huge illegal trade.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says hundreds of thousands of people are killed by fake medicine every year in Africa.

The medical trade in West Africa alone is worth $200bn, with the counterfeit drugs coming from China, India and Nigeria.

Now, West African leaders are meeting in Lome to sign an agreement aiming to crack down on the trade.

Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports from Senegal's capital Dakar.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline knarf

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Paris Louvre museum closed amid strikes over pension plans
« Reply #15071 on: January 17, 2020, 01:48:38 PM »
Paris' Louvre Museum has closed down as protesters blocked the entrance to denounce the French government's plans to overhaul the pension system

Striking employees hold a banner reading "Louvre on strike" outside the Louvre museum Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 in Paris. Paris' Louvre museum was closed Friday as dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to denounce the French government's plans to overhaul the pension system.

PARIS -- Paris' Louvre museum was closed Friday as dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to denounce the French government's plans to overhaul the pension system.

Also closed, therefore, was the Louvre's Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian master’s death, the museum said.

Several dozen protesters, including some Louvre employees, staged the demonstration after an appeal from several hard-left trade unions against President Emmanuel Macron's planned changes to the retirement system, which they said will “lower everyone's pensions.”

Some protesters were singing “Mona Lisa in on strike, Leonardo is on strike.”

It is the first time since the protest movement began on Dec. 5 that the Louvre and the Leonardo exhibit were fully closed. About 30,000 people visit the museum every day.

Some videos on social media showed angry visitors booing at protesters to express their disappointment.

Some of those shut out were upset, while a few of those interviewed expressed solidarity with the strikers.

“I think it’s fine if they want to protest but they shouldn’t block the plans of the people who have flown over here to see an exhibition of Leonardo," said Ben Garrett of Dallas, Texas.

Gerhard Jehle of Germany, who had bought his ticket in advance, shared that view, and said he was “badly informed about the extent of the strike.”

“I don’t understand how this happens,” Jehle said. "Public transport doesn't function. The unions have to be controlled with an iron hand.”

The weeks of strikes and protests have hobbled public transportation and disrupted schools, hospitals, courthouses and even opera houses and the Eiffel tower.

Argentinian Marcelo Campano, who also had a ticket, said that he understands workers' bid to confront a government they perceive as “neoliberal ... So we'll show our solidarity and come back another day.”

Major French retailers Fnac Darty and Casino said that business in France was badly affected by the strikes, especially during the holiday season.

Fnac Darty said the strikes cost it around 70 million euros ($78 million) in lost revenue.

Casino cut its forecast for earnings growth in France, where it does more than half its business, to 5% in 2019, from a previous 10%. The company estimates that the strikes in December cost it about 80 million euros in lost revenue.

Shares in both companies were down by more than 5%.

The prime minister's office said earlier this week that the SNCF train authority and the RATP, which runs public transport, had lost over a billion euros since the start of the strike. Trains have suffered most, so far losing some 850 million euros.

While the number of striking workers has diminished since the movement, the country's trains and the Paris subway were still disrupted Friday.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

Offline knarf

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'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist Greta says ahead of Davos
« Reply #15072 on: January 17, 2020, 01:54:14 PM »
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said “you have not seen anything yet” before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change.

The 17-year-old, who launched the #FridaysforFuture movement that has sparked worldwide protests, denounced a lack of government action to cut heat-trapping emissions before it is too late.

“So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

Protesters held signs including “Wake up and Smell the Bushfires” and “It is late but it is not too late”.

Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.

Climate change and environmental destruction top the risks highlighted by global decision-makers in a survey ahead of the 2020 gathering of the global elite.

This year’s meeting of 3,000 includes U.S. President Donald Trump who once described climate change as a “hoax” and whose administration in November filed paperwork to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the pact to fight climate change.

The latest World Economic Forum annual meeting takes place against the backdrop of some of Australia’s worst ever bushfires. While the government there has avoided making a link to climate change, the fires have deepened public concern about the heating of the planet.

Last year was the Earth’s second-hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like Australia’s fires, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.

“We alliance that is organizing next week in 20 countries to say ‘time is up’ to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Time is up,” a Kenyan activist, Njoki Njoroge Njehu, told the crowd in Lausanne.

“It is time to abolish billionaires. It is time to abolish billionaires, because we cannot afford them, the planet cannot afford billionaires,” she said.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West
« Reply #15073 on: January 17, 2020, 06:38:05 PM »
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping have established themselves as the world’s most powerful authoritarian leaders in decades. Now it looks like they want to hang on to those roles indefinitely.

Putin’s sudden announcement this week of constitutional changes that could allow him to extend control way beyond the end of his term in 2024 echoes Xi’s move in 2018 to eliminate constitutional term limits on the head of state.

That could give them many more years at the helm of two major powers that are frequently at odds with Washington and the West over issues ranging from economic espionage and foreign policy to democracy and human rights.

Both moves reflect their forceful personalities and determination to restore their countries to their former glory after years of perceived humiliation by the West. They also mesh with a trend of strong-man rulers taking power from Hungary and Brazil to the Philippines.

Russia and China are on another level though when it comes to influencing international events — China through its economic might and rising military, Russia through its willingness to insert itself into conflicts such as the Syrian one and to try to influence overseas elections through misinformation or make mischief through cyber attacks.

Putin “believes that Russia is more powerful today than it has been since the end of the Cold War, including in places such as the Middle East,” said Ramon Pacheco Pardo of the Department of European & International Studies at King’s College London. “Thus, it is a good time to remain in power and use this power.”

How much of a challenge he and Xi are to Western models, values and multiparty democracy depends on where you sit. The China-Russian model inspires emulation among some in both smaller powers and major nations. President Donald Trump has praised both Xi and Putin, even while the U.S. battles their countries for economic and strategic dominance.

China touts its authoritarian system as providing the stability and policy continuity that has made it the world’s second-largest economy and pulled some 700 million people out of extreme poverty. Many Russians have backed Putin for standing-up to the West and improving their quality of life following the chaos after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Political competition between different systems of governance in the world is nothing new,” said the European Union’s ambassador to China, Nicolas Chapui. “I feel that we need to feel confident on our principles, our values, our governance system.”

In both their cases, Putin and Xi reflect the tendency of authoritarian leaders to hang onto power for as long as possible and to “die with their boots on,” said David Zweig, professor emeritus of social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

“Very few authoritarian leaders give up power, always convinced that only they can save the country, which also justifies and makes their hunger for power morally correct,” Zweig said.

For all their similarities, Xi, Putin and the systems they run have distinct features. Xi has repeatedly cited the fall of the former Soviet Union as a cautionary tale, saying its leaders failed to firmly uphold the authority of the ruling Communist Party.

China’s ruling communists have crushed all opposition and are tightening their hold on the economy and what remains of civil society, all while projecting an exterior image of seamless unity around Xi.

Russia at least maintains some of the forms if not the functions of a multiparty democracy, even as Putin, the security services and the oligarchs who run the economy call the shots.

Blunt attempts to single-handedly run the country are often met with large-scale protests — like in 2011-2012, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets following Putin’s announcement to return to the presidency for the third time and reports of mass rigging of a parliamentary election.

And while Putin managed to suppress the opposition with draconian anti-protest laws, crippling fines and arbitrary arrests, people’s growing frustration with the regime continues to spill out on the streets.

Crippling international sanctions imposed on Russia for the annexation of Crimea drove the country’s economy into a slump, and unpopular reforms like the raising of the retirement age in 2018 only added insult to injury. As a result, Russia has been regularly shaken by protests and unrest in the past two years.

Putin understands he needs to make changes, former Kremlin speechwriter turned political analyst Abbas Gallyamov told Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper.

“That is why now he is trying to solve two tasks at the same time: demonstrating to the society that there is no stagnation and, on the opposite, there are reforms, and securing his own political future,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the country’s constitution, Putin will have to step down in 2024, having served two consecutive terms. But the amendments Putin proposed this week would allow him to shift to the prime minister’s seat or continue to run the country as head of the newly defined State Council, a previously consultative body that consists of regional governments and federal officials.

“All of these are potential power bases where Putin could retreat after 2024, which would allow him to preserve a delicate political balance while pulling strings from the shadows,” said Cardiff University professor of international relations Sergey Radchenko.

Putin cast his constitutional change proposals as a way to strengthen parliament and bolster democracy. Kremlin critics described the proposed changes as an attempt by Putin to secure his rule for life. However, the suggested reform was so vague and far-reaching that there was hardly any public outrage about it.

When Xi moved to remove term limits in March 2018, there was barely a murmur of dissent. The official explanation was that the office of head of state needed to align with those of the other top posts — party general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Other explanations aren’t discussed and even party-backed scholars say the issue is a taboo topic.

The son of a former high communist official, Xi worked his way up through a series of increasingly important provincial positions before taking over as party head in 2012. He then began to consolidate power through a multi-pronged strategy of eliminating dissent and enforcing discipline through an anti-corruption campaign whose scale was unprecedented in recent years.

Xi’s ending of term limits was seen as an attack on former leader Deng Xiaoping’s attempts to regularize and institutionalize power following the cult of personality surrounding Mao Zedong and the political chaos of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. Xi further upended the thin precedents set in recent years by refusing to indicate a potential successor, leading to speculation he plans to continue ruling well beyond his second five-year term.

Putin, a former KGB officer, first took office in 2000 and secured popularity with promises of economic stability and ending the drawn-out wars with Chechnya, Russia’s troublesome region in the North Caucasus. He, too, cemented his rule by suppressing the opposition — through enforcing stricter control over the country’s media and giving vast powers to law enforcement and the security services. He has led Russia for more than 20 years — the longest rule since Joseph Stalin.

Their public styles are different. Xi generally communicates his vision for a powerful, prosperous China in dry speeches and prepared comments, while Putin tends to be more loquacious.

The Russian leader is also frequently biting in his comments about critics and the West — a task Xi leaves to underlings such as Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)

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In a clearing surrounded by burnt pine forest in western Canada, a match is dropped into a patch of tinder-dry grass.

Australian Indigenous fire practitioner Victor Steffensen is in Tsilhqot'in territory on the invitation of the Yunesit'in and Xeni Gwet'in communities, part of the Tsilhqot'in Nation.

"Indigenous burning is activating the landscape to bring it back to life," Mr Steffensen said as he watched the match burn, "to look after biodiversity and stop the country burning to nothing".

In 2017, just three years after the Tsilhqot'in Nation won Aboriginal title to a vast area of their traditional homeland in a landmark ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court, large areas of Tsilhqot'in territory were destroyed in the largest wildfires in the region's history.

"I don't know if people realise that no one living will see this land recover to its full potential," Mr Steffensen said.

"But the interesting part for me is how to we speed up that recovery through Indigenous knowledge."

Bridging Indigenous knowledge across the world
Mr Steffensen has spent over 20 years working with Indigenous communities in Australia to recover their traditional fire practices, work he started with two Kuku-Thayapn elders from Cape York in far north Queensland.

His trips to Canada mark the second time he has worked with traditional owners, on country with fire, outside Australia.

"It's not about going to peoples' country and saying 'this is how you burn'. It's about bridging principles and trying to recover their knowledge from their own country," he said.

Through the support of the Gathering Voices Society, a Vancouver-based charitable foundation, Mr Steffensen spent time on country in November 2018, observing and talking to the Yunesit'in and Xeni Gwet'in people.

"When I first went over there it was totally alien to me. There's snow, all different species of pine and other trees," Mr Steffensen said.

"So it was all about working with the traditional owners there to learn the country. It was like starting all over again, except this time I had a better understanding from our own knowledge and experiences.

"I was able to learn the trees, see the similarities in the soils and even similarities in the cultural uses, and their response to fire."

In April 2019, Victor returned to Tsilhqot'in country with Dr William Nikolakis, the executive director of Gathering Voices Society, and the first fire was lit.

"Lighting that first match in the grass, you didn't know what to expect," said Russell Myers Ross, chief of the Yunesit'in Government.

"And then when you see that yellow dry grass dissipate and the lush grass survive you realise that fire is meant to be here.

"This is something that's been done for generations on generations, and something that's been suppressed. We are just trying to reinvigorate something that was always within us."

"It was a quick flash fire, but it sure brought out the green," said Yunesit'in fire practitioner Duane Hink.

"And then, right around the corner after we burnt yesterday and this today, we had deer coming in. So in a way their instincts are showing.

"When I was small, running around, there were berries everywhere. Every single gully you could pick a raspberry. In my short time, I've seen the land change a lot."

For chief Russell Myers Ross, reviving traditional fire keeping practice is not just about healing land, but healing people.

"Having a landscape that is in constant turmoil or stress, not knowing that plants are replenishing themselves, it's hard on our community," Mr Ross said.

"We're in flux trying to understand our own landscape and how to provide for ourselves.

"The goal is different, it's not just protecting forests but it's trying to put a different light on our way of life and how we should be treating the land from year to year, season to season."

Facing a global climate crisis
The role of Indigenous knowledge systems in mitigating and adapting to climate change was recognised in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Two years later, at the 23rd Climate Conference in Bonn, a pilot project of the International Savanna Fire Management Initiative was announced, harnessing Australian traditional Indigenous fire knowledge and led by the Kimberley Land Council.

In May 2019, rangers from Kimberley Land Council travelled to Botswana to apply fire to the landscape using traditional Indigenous methods from both countries.

The initiative is backed by the Australian Government with funding of up to $3.87 million over four years and potential implementation in savanna ecosystems in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Its aim is to reduce the number and extent of high-intensity wildfires and associated carbon emissions.

Mr Steffensen is due to return to Canada with the support of the Gathering Voices Society in April to continue his work with Tsilhqot'in communities to rebuild the practice of fire keeping.

Gathering Voices Society staff are working with experts to develop a recognised carbon methodology to measure carbon emissions and generate carbon credits available for sale under the Verified Carbon Standard.

"The fact that we can demonstrate bridging knowledge from one place to another demonstrates how we can use Indigenous knowledge," Mr Steffensen said.

"People ask 'how does Indigenous knowledge help?' Well this is how it helps, by drawing knowledge out of landscapes and finding solutions.

"I'm not saying the solutions are the same, the methods in reviving knowledge are similar."

For Mr Steffensen it will take many generations to heal sick landscapes, but he believes it is crucial that those living today take the first step.

"The urgency has passed. There are animals that are already extinct, our elders have already passed, knowledge already gone to the grave," he said.

"There's devastating fires all around the world, there's sickness within landscape. What more can I say? We need to start acting now.

"We're past our due date, but I believe that there's still time."
NECROCAPITALISM at ‘Rolling thunder. Shock. A noble one in fear and dread sets things in order and is watchful.’ I-Ching (Hex.51)