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  1. #9526

    Re: World News Random, Random

    As a citizen of another dictatorship, this makes me so sad. These totalitarian bastards simply don't leave. The firepower and the ruthlessness simply allow them to stay forever.
    Truth is weaker than bullets. It is that simple.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  2. #9527

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Sometimes they do fall, but it's so difficult to predict beforehand which ones will fall and which ones will hold on...
    Roger forever

  3. #9528

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Lebanon’s prime minister to step down amid large protests following last week’s blast

    Louisa Loveluck and
    Suzan Haidamous
    August 10, 2020 at 1:17 p.m. EDT

    BEIRUT — Lebanon's prime minister on Monday announced his intention to resign amid public fury over official negligence that led to an explosion so massive that it devastated swaths of the capital.

    The blast erupted Tuesday in a warehouse on Beirut’s port that contained 2750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, stored there for years despite repeated warnings that it was unsafe. The explosion killed at least 160 people, wounded more than 6,000, and left as many as 300,000 homeless.

    In a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said a level of corruption “bigger than this government” precipitated the events that led to the blast.

    “Only God knows how many catastrophes they are hiding,” he said, in an apparent reference to the country’s ruling elite. “That’s why I have announced my resignation today. May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon.”

    Diab’s successor will need to form a new cabinet.

    As Beirut emerges from its shock, it has mostly been the people, and not the authorities, sweeping the rubble and glass from the streets. Protesters have clashed with security forces and occupied state ministries. They have also hanged nooses in a public square and demanded the death penalty for members of the ruling elite.

    Decades of corruption and mismanagement had already left Lebanon in the throes of economic calamity, with the value of the currency shattering and hundreds of thousands of Lebanese sinking below or close to the poverty line in a matter of weeks. Tuesday’s explosion caused widespread damage to Beirut’s port and destroyed the country’s main grain silo at a time when reserves are low and some food prices have already tripled in the space of a year.

    Aoun has rejected calls for an international probe into the circumstances surrounding the explosion, saying it will “delay” justice for the dead. But activists say a Lebanese investigation will allow the corrupt political elite to avoid accountability.

    The state-run National News Agency said Monday that Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba, the head of the Lebanese State Security, had been questioned by a judge. It gave no details, but other generals are scheduled to be questioned.

    As Diab prepared to announce his resignation Monday, protesters thronged the streets of downtown Beirut for a third day as security forces used tear gas to try to push them back. The Lebanese Red Cross said it had taken two demonstrators to the hospital and treated 23 at the scene. “Operation ongoing, updates shortly,” it said.

    Sarah Dadouch and Nader Durgham in Beirut and Asser Khattab in Paris contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  4. #9529

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by suliso View Post
    Sometimes they do fall, but it's so difficult to predict beforehand which ones will fall and which ones will hold on...
    Thanks for the thoughts, but tell me: which dictator has fallen in the last 20 years without external intervention? All I can think of were Saddam and Ghadafhi. Without intervention, I can only think of Mubarak, which then made all others bulk up.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  5. #9530

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Thanks for the thoughts, but tell me: which dictator has fallen in the last 20 years without external intervention? All I can think of were Saddam and Ghadafhi. Without intervention, I can only think of Mubarak, which then made all others bulk up.
    I think we should count Ben Ali in Tunisia. Probably also someone in Sub-Saharan Africa since there are so many there. Full scale dictators a bit thin on the ground these days. Only two left in Europe, perhaps 3-4 in Americas. Central Asia seems to be a hot spot...
    Roger forever

  6. #9531

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Linas Linkevicius
    Svetlana #Tikhanovskaya is safe. She is in #Lithuania.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  7. #9532

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Lithuania would probably do as much as possible to protect her. But I'd get further away and not let anyone know where I am. This woman is in serious danger. GH

  8. #9533
    Director of Nothing
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    May 2006
    New York, New York, United States

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    Lithuania would probably do as much as possible to protect her. But I'd get further away and not let anyone know where I am. This woman is in serious danger. GH
    Her husband (he was going to run for President but was arrested so she ran instead) is still imprisoned in Belarus, so, unfortunately, they don't need her to get to her. Their children are, indeed, in an undisclosed EU country.

  9. #9534

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Whoosh! This is one big mess. I really feel for her and her family. Look at the trouble they are in for trying to do the right thing. Please keep us posted if you hear something big about this. I have not taken the time to read about it on line as much as I would have liked. GH

  10. #9535

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Britain plunges into deep recession, with steep job losses and Europe’s highest virus death toll

    Stickers asking customers to observe social distancing because of covid-19 line the sidewalk outside a shuttered shop in Manchester, northern England, on Wednesday. (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

    Karla Adam and
    William Booth
    August 12, 2020 at 9:01 a.m. EDT

    LONDON — The official numbers were published Wednesday, and they are officially ugly. The British economy has plunged into a record-shattering recession, shrinking by a fifth in the second quarter and posting the steepest decline of any Group of Seven nation.

    Alongside huge job losses announced a day earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Britain now finds itself with the worst economy and highest death toll in Europe from the coronavirus. In numbers of deaths, the United Kingdom follows the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

    The official data released Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that gross domestic product (GDP) fell 20.4 percent in the second quarter — April, May and June — compared with the first quarter. The downturn reflected losses across all sectors, after the country went into a tight lockdown in the third week of March.

    “The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record,” said Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician.

    A recession is called when two consecutive quarters show contraction in gross domestic product. Britain’s first quarter in January, February and March was down 2.2 percent. This is Britain’s first recession in 11 years, since the global downturn in 2009.

    Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who serves as Britain’s finance minister, said the government was “grappling with something that is unprecedented.”

    He told reporters: “A few months ago, I said that hard times were coming. Today’s figures show that hard times are here.”

    Sunak warned of further job losses, even without a second wave of covid-19 infections. A government program that was paying up to 80 percent of a furloughed worker’s salary is set to expire in October. Sunak said continued high-level government job support was not sustainable.

    “We’ve already got the worst excess death rate in Europe — now we’re on course for the worst recession too,” tweeted Anneliese Dodds, the opposition Labour Party’s point person on the economy.

    “That’s a tragedy for our country, and it’s happening on the PM’s watch,” she said.

    In the new numbers, April proved the cruelest month. It showed the sharpest contraction, with shops and restaurants shuttered, factories idled, construction at a near-standstill and domestic and international travel curtailed.

    In one bit of hopeful news, the British economy began to bounce back in June. Output was up 8.7 percent month on month, as shops reopened, factories began to ramp up production and house building continued to recover. Even so, GDP in June was far below the level of production in February before the virus struck, the ONS reported.

    By comparison, the U.S. economy shrank by 9.5 percent over that same period, and the euro zone, made up of European Union countries that have adopted the euro currency, contracted by 12.1 percent.

    Despite the recession, Johnson is pressing ahead with his vow to pull Britain out of the E.U. at the end of the year — with or without a trade deal. A pact with the bloc, Britain’s closest trade partner, has proved elusive, with the sides still far apart as talks drag on.

    The fact that Britain is in a recession does not come as a surprise, since much of the economy was in lockdown during the second quarter of 2020. Britain was slower than many E.U. countries to go into lockdown, and slower to come out. In mid-March, bars, restaurants and other “nonessential shops” were closed, and the government did not start lifting restrictions until June.

    Anand Menon, professor of European politics at King’s College London, said the figures that many will be watching for are not those from the second quarter of this year, when Britain’s economy was largely frozen, but from the third quarter, which will show “how effective the government’s measures are to get the economy back post lockdown.”

    “The third quarter will give us the first indication as to whether you are talking a V or a W or an L or whatever the letter of the alphabet,” he said, referring to the various shapes of rebounds that the economy could take, as shown on a graph.

    Johnson’s government is paying the wages of more than 9 million people under its furlough scheme. It will start winding that up in October, prompting fears of an unemployment spike in the fall.

    There is a debate in Britain over whether furloughs should be extended for some sectors and what kind of funding the government might provide for those whose jobs will be lost. This week, official statistics showed that employment has already suffered its biggest decline in more than a decade.

    The government has also introduced initiatives such as “Eat Out to Help Out,” which offers customers 50 percent discounts at restaurants and pubs between Monday and Wednesday in August.

    Johnson told reporters this week that the economy faces “bumpy months” and has a “long, long way to go” until it recovers. The Bank of England forecasts that the British economy will not return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2021.

    “The figures are quite devastating, but anyone who was paying attention would have expected quite devastating figures,” said Isabel Stockton, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent economic research organization.

    Stockton said that Britain was expected to be hit hard in the second quarter in part because of the timing of its lockdown — and because its economy relies heavily on hard-hit sectors. About 80 percent of it flows from services, and many businesses in retail, accommodation, tourism, food and entertainment were temporarily shut during the lockdown.

    Stockton agreed that the next set of figures will be the ones to watch, as they indicate the kind of recovery the economy might have.

    “For the labor market, for the public finances, it matters a lot how quickly we recover, possibly more than how far we crash,” she said.

    Of course, a second wave triggering a second lockdown, or even just reduced confidence, could further hammer the economy.

    “Even if we are not in lockdown, if cases rise and people are very concerned about going out, then understandably the rebound could be frozen relatively quickly,” Stockton said.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  11. #9536

    Re: World News Random, Random

    maggie penman
    Last week a video circulated of a wedding shoot in Beirut interrupted by massive explosions.
    @mohammadlinah tracked down the bride, and we hear from her on today's #PostReports. Turns out she's a doctor, and moments later she was tending to the wounded, still in her dress.

    linah | لينة
    Here’s the original footage of the wedding shoot via Mahmoud Nakib

    For everyone asking: The bride, her husband and the videographer are okay. They were shooting in a square less than a mile away from the explosion site.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  12. #9537

    Re: World News Random, Random

    One video I saw of the bride showed her and 2 other men (likely the husband and videographer as above) a couple of minutes after the big explosion. They looked completely unharmed but a little dirty. Fascinating that she was immediately back in "doctor mode" and treating the wounded.


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