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  1. #9376

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Rhodes is not mentioning that the USA's reputation, as a country that honors its word, was shattered as it was the USA that reneged on the deal, not Iran.
    So when N. Korea or Syria or anybody signs a new deal with the USA, they can do two things: not believe what has been signed, or simply sign and then break the deal because they can go "you started".
    And be right.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  2. #9377

    Re: World News Random, Random

    The Sydney Morning Herald
    @smh
    Interpol issues wanted notice for wife of US diplomat sought over fatal UK car crash: report

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/...source=Twitter
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  3. #9378

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Boris Johnson resorts to bluster under Starmer's cross-examination
    John Crace

    Wed 13 May 2020 17.38 BSTLast modified on Thu 14 May 2020 00.00 BST


    Little cause for celebration as incompetent and unprepared PM crumbles at PMQs

    On Monday Boris Johnson was singing the praises of “good old-fashioned British common sense”. A higher order of common sense than French or German common sense, naturally. So it’s unfortunate that this is the very quality he seems to singularly lack. Because you’d have thought the one thing Boris might have learned from his first time up against Keir Starmer at prime minister’s questions last week was that it would be a help to come properly prepared.

    But Boris has never done preparation for anything. It’s not in his nature. Preparation is for girly swots. He is a tabula rasa who treats every day as a new beginning. One free from the consequences of any past actions. He is the macho blagger who has always been able to wing it, fuelled by a few gags and some hasty last-minute revision. Something that might have been good enough, when backed up by a full chamber of braying Tory MPs, to see off Jeremy Corbyn, but that is proving hopelessly inadequate against a top QC in a near-silent courtroom. Things are now so bad that every time Boris opens his mouth, he only encourages the jury to convict him and the judge to increase his sentence.

    It’s also possible that Starmer has made the same mistake as many people in severely overestimating Boris’s intelligence. That the long words and the Latin phrases simply cover up the fact the prime minister isn’t particularly bright: after all, it takes a very special type of cleverness to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. But then old habits die hard for the leader of the opposition too. He has learned from his time at the bar that there’s no such thing as having too much evidence against a defendant, so he was taking nothing for granted by coming to the Commons somewhat over-prepared.

    Give it time and Boris may well cut to the chase and just plead guilty in advance to save him the torture of answering six questions, but we’re not there yet, so Starmer opened his folder and asked the court to consider Exhibit A. Care homes. Was it not true that the government had been far too slow to act to protect the most vulnerable members of society? Absolutely not, Boris insisted. No country had done more to protect the elderly. What better protection could anyone get than being killed?

    Hmm. That was weird, Starmer said, because in Exhibit B he had a surgeon quoted in the Daily Telegraph – citing the newspaper that up till now had been only too happy to print any old rubbish the prime minister writes was a cruel twist of the knife – saying that the government hadn’t changed its advice on releasing untested patients into care homes until mid-March.

    That’s not just true, Boris blustered, sounding guiltier by the second. Even though it was true. Though to accuse the prime minister of lying is to commit a philosophical category error. As Boris has no clue what advice his government has and hasn’t given, he can’t knowingly be untruthful. Nor, given his career track record, show any signs of being able to differentiate between truth and lies. Rather he just recites the answer that he wants to be true and hopes to make it so by willpower alone. And to be fair, it’s a tactic that’s worked often enough in the past.

    Starmer moved on to the Office for National Statistics figures for deaths in care homes. Their report suggested there had been an excess death figure of 18,000 people, yet the government was certain that only 8,000 of them had died of the coronavirus. So what did he think the other 10,000 had died of? Boris shrugged. It was a huge mystery. Perhaps some were dying of happiness. Or of over-exertion in the gym during lockdown? Or perhaps they were dying of disappointment that the UK still had not technically left the EU?

    “I’m baffled,” said Starmer. Baffled is QC speak for ‘Now I’ve got you nailed, you filthy lying toerag’. Baffled that the government had stopped using the international death rate comparison at the Downing Street press conference, having done so continuously for the past seven weeks.

    Boris blustered yet again. It turns out that a prime minister who was supposed to be such a great communicator can now barely talk in joined-up sentences. He has regressed to the pre-verbal stage. “Um … er … ah,” he mumbled.

    There was little left of the prime minister but a sodden mess by the time Keir had finished with him, though the SNP’s Ian Blackford was happy to make a few ripples of his own in the pool of blubbery sweat previously known as Boris. All that Johnson could say in his defence was that his was a roadmap of consensus – the consensus being that he hadn’t bothered to consult Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It appears he was surprised to learn there were so many people in London who needed to use public transport.

    In other times it might have been uplifting for the opposition benches to see the prime minister so comprehensively dismantled. But there was little cheering or a sense of satisfaction, because in a time of crisis you rather hope the country would have a leader in whom you could believe. Someone you could trust to make at least some of the right decisions. But we have Boris. Incompetent, unprepared, selfish, lazy, amoral, and just not that bright. And no matter how many times Starmer batters him with an indefensible charge sheet at PMQs, Boris will remain prime minister for the duration.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics...P=share_btn_tw
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  4. #9379

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Ex-Green Beret captured in Venezuela believed U.S. backed overthrow plot: family
    Luke Denman would have never knowingly participated in a rogue operation to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, his relatives say.


    Handout picture released by the Venezuelan Presidency showing identification cards of US citizens arrested by security forces during a meeting with members of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on May 4, 2020.Marcelo Garcia / Venezuelan Presidency/ AFP - Getty Images

    May 16, 2020, 5:32 AM EDT
    By Rich Schapiro

    Frank Denman was at his home in Austin last January when he received a call from his son, Luke.

    A former Green Beret, Luke had been searching for his calling after leaving the service. On the phone that day, he suggested to his father that he had found it.

    “He said I had something come up in Florida,” Frank recalled. “He said it was a confidential kind of thing.”

    The elder Denman still remembers exactly what Luke said next: “But I can tell you it’s the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

    Luke had been working as a commercial diver on offshore oil rigs in Louisiana. His father thought that he may have been talking about a salvage operation involving a historic ship.

    But it was just a hunch. Frank didn’t pry, and Luke didn’t divulge any details. From Luke’s days in the Special Forces, that’s how their conversations often went.

    It wouldn’t be until several months later, in early May, when Frank found out what his son had actually been talking about.

    Luke Denman, 34, was one of two ex-Green Berets arrested in a foiled plot to oust Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. He’s now locked up in a Venezuelan jail, his fate in the hands of a leader the U.S. government considers a dictator responsible for tens of millions of his people going hungry.

    “I get it now,” Frank said, referring to his son’s cryptic words about his new, meaningful opportunity. “Everyone knows about the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”

    “And the motto of the Green Berets,” he added, “is free the oppressed.”

    Two weeks on, much remains unknown about the ill-fated operation. According to the Venezuelan government, eight “mercenary terrorists” were killed and several captured, including Denman and fellow Army veteran Aidan Berry, during an attempt to seize Maduro and topple his government.

    A third ex-Green Beret, Jordan Goudreau, claimed responsibility for the plot. A decorated former U.S. commando, Goudreau operated a Florida-based private security company called Silvercorp USA.

    Before he went into hiding, Goudreau had said in multiple interviews the plan was initially coordinated with representatives of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as the country’s interim president by the U.S. and much of the international community. But the relationship soured and Goudreau moved forward with the operation anyway, according to accounts in the Associated Press and Washington Post.

    Guaido has denied having anything to do with the effort to oust Maduro, but two of his U.S.-based advisers resigned this week after they acknowledged signing an agreement with Goudreau for a mission to arrest Maduro.

    In interviews with NBC News, a half dozen family members and close friends of Denman and Berry said they believe the former Special Operations soldiers would have only participated in such an operation had the two men been convinced it was supported by the U.S. government.

    Some of the friends and relatives said they now believe the men fell under the sway of Goudreau, who led them in overseas deployments, and were ultimately misled.

    “The only conclusion I can draw is he was intentionally deceived,” said Daniel Dochen, a longtime friend of Denman. “And Goudreau sent his former comrade-in-arms on a suicide mission in service of his ego.”

    Dochen said Denman had told him sometime prior to the botched operation that he was involved in an effort “sanctioned by the U.S. government.” “That’s really all I know about it,” Dochen said.


    Jordan Goudreau uploaded footage of himself attending a President Trump rally in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct.26, 2018. He is seen wearing an ear piece and scanning the crowd.Silvercorp

    Berry’s wife, Melanie, told NBC News that she, too, feels strongly that he was led to believe the U.S. backed the plan. “He’s not the type of person who would do something that hasn’t gone through the proper channels,” she said.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the U.S. had no “direct involvement” in the operation. President Donald Trump has also insisted the government had no part in the botched plot. “This was a rogue group that went in there,” Trump said last Friday.

    Goudreau, 43, did not respond to calls or text messages to his cell phone.

    The two captured Americans both grew up in Texas. Denman in Austin; Berry in Fort Worth.

    Their lives intersected in Stuttgart, Germany, the home base of one of the Army’s most elite units, Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group.

    According to a former member, the unit specialized in pursuing high-value targets in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was also called into action to conduct hostage-rescue operations, the former member said.

    Berry, an engineer sergeant, served from 1996 to 2013. Denman, a communications sergeant, spent five years in the Army until 2011.

    Drew White, a former Green Beret in the same unit, said Goudreau was a highly skilled team leader who earned his fellow soldiers’ respect.

    “He was a force to be reckoned with,” White said. “An incredible soldier who never got rattled. All of us looked up to him.”

    Berry met his now-wife Melanie, who is German, in Stuttgart in 1999. “We were both shy,” she said. “I could tell he was kind, and I felt so at ease around him.”

    They married the next year and went on to have two kids, who are now teenagers. After leaving the service, Berry remodeled homes and focused on his family.

    But this past January, he left Germany after telling his wife he accepted a job with Goudreau’s company. “He trusted Jordan,” Melanie Berry said. “He believed in Jordan.”

    She said her husband wouldn’t give details about his job or how long he expected to be gone. “He said he couldn’t share anything with me but that it’s for a good cause,” Melanie Berry recalled.

    After Denman left the service, he bounced around the country and worked a handful of jobs – first at a tree nursery in Austin, then in hotel security in Florida and finally as an underwater welder in Louisiana.

    Unlike many former Special Forces members, he seemed uninterested in pursuing contract work overseas, according to his family and friends.

    Sometime in 2017, Denman visited his old Special Forces buddy White during a cross-country motorcycle trip. “When he was here, he was still Luke but it just seemed he was searching for something,” White said. “I thought he had found it with the welding stuff, but looking back on it, I think he just missed the camaraderie and having that sense of purpose.”

    In late 2019, Denman was living with his girlfriend, Tatianna Saito, in Oregon. The pair had met in Austin and had been dating for five years. Saito said they had recently begun talking about starting a family together.

    Like Berry, Denman left in January and said little about what he was doing or where he was going.

    “I didn’t know the nature of the job or where it was,” Saito said. “I just knew that he seemed to think it was a great opportunity.”

    Over the next few months, Denman stayed in sporadic touch. A text message here. A phone call there. He remained circumspect about his job.

    “I’d ask, ‘Is everything okay?’ And he’d say, ‘I feel like this is my calling. I feel like this is something very meaningful,’” Saito recalled.

    In March, the Justice Department charged Maduro and several other current and former Venezuelan officials with carrying out a “narco-terrorism” scheme to flood the U.S. with cocaine. The Trump administration offered a $15 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

    Saito said she last heard from Denman in mid-April.

    The botched raid took place a couple of weeks later, in early May. Soon after Denman’s arrest, an interrogation video was played on Venezuelan state TV.

    Speaking to an unseen questioner, Denman says he was expecting to be paid between $50,000 and $100,000 for his role in the operation. He said his job was to seize control of the airport in Caracas and bring in a plane to be used to fly Maduro to the U.S.

    “I was helping Venezuelans take back control of their country,” Denman says.

    It’s unclear if Denman was pressured to make certain admissions, but one of the things that stood out to his former fellow ex-Green Beret Drew White was Denman’s payday.

    “Fifty to $100,000? That’s nothing in the contracting world,” Denman said. “If he was looking for money, he could have gone to a lot of other places and made a lot more than that.”

    Looking back on it now, White said he understood how Denman could have gone along with a plan pitched by Goudreau despite having reservations about overseas contract work.

    “We went to combat together. We saw action down range together,” said White, who himself briefly partnered with Goudreau at Silvercorp. “We share a bond.”

    “When a friend like that comes along and says, ‘I have this thing going on and it’s the real deal,’ most guys wouldn’t question it.”

    Berry’s wife said she doesn’t spend much time thinking about who may have been involved in the operation or how it went so wrong. “All that matters is to get them home,” she said. “They love their families. They love their country. They’re good men.”

    Luke Denman’s parents have been in touch with officials at the U.S. embassy in Colombia and the video of their son gave them hope that he was being treated humanely.

    But Frank Denman said it’s been difficult to read some of the news accounts depicting his son as a money-motivated mercenary. “What he believed about this operation had to be very different than what the facts on the ground were,” he said.

    In an interview late Thursday, the elder Denman described the final time he heard his son’s voice in January. But later in the interview, he said there was another phone call with Luke that was even clearer in his memory.

    It was around 2006, and Frank, who did high-rise work cleaning windows and putting up banners, was on the 27th story of the University of Texas clock tower.

    Luke called to tell him he was planning to join the Army.

    Not long before, Luke’s brother, who had served in the Army, wrote the family a long and eloquent email describing how moved he was by the sight of Iraqis raising their purple fingers in the air after voting for the first time in free elections.

    “Luke was inspired by it,” said Frank Denman, who himself had served in the Army in the years after the Vietnam War.

    The phone call lasted well over 30 minutes. “We talked about the risks and all that, but he was quite certain about it,” the elder Denman said of Luke’s desire to enlist.

    “He just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latin-a...throw-n1208471
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  5. #9380

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Olga Lautman
    @olgaNYC1211
    ·
    23h
    Checked Ukrainian news and apparently the Chinese Ambassador found dead in Israel served as an Ambassador to Ukraine in his prior post. Reminder Pompeo was in Israel. Wtf?

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  6. #9381

    Re: World News Random, Random

    "Note to myself. Look for very small pinpricks in unusual places"
    Tel Aviv's chief coroner.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  7. #9382

    Re: World News Random, Random

    So a few weeks ago it was announced that the Snowbirds would be flying across the country to lift spirits. The Snowbirds are Canada's aerial flying team, an elite group of military pilots who perform in air shows, and special events, and thousands of people had been watching them fly over from their backyards. And because it's 2020, yesterday this happened:


  8. #9383
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    Re: World News Random, Random

    I was reading about that this morning. It's horrible. And then there's the accidental irony of it.
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  9. #9384

    Re: World News Random, Random

    There is a huge hurricane approaching Kolkata and Southwestern Bangladesh. Exactly what they need right now.
    Roger forever

  10. #9385

    Re: World News Random, Random

    Bangladesh, being a mostly-close-to-sea-level country, gets ravaged by floods and major storms incredibly frequently. A few hundred thousand residents die in these occurrences, and our news will barely mention it, and then only on page 6 of the paper in an "Other News" column.

    GH

  11. #9386

    Re: World News Random, Random

    China to impose sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, bypassing city’s legislature

    By
    Shibani Mahtani,
    Anna Fifield and
    Tiffany Liang
    May 21, 2020 at 3:16 p.m. EDT


    HONG KONG — China's Communist Party will impose a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong by fiat during the annual meeting of its top political body, officials said Thursday, criminalizing "foreign interference" along with secessionist activities and subversion of state power.

    The move is the boldest yet from Beijing to undercut Hong Kong’s autonomy and bring the global financial hub under its full control, as it works to rewrite the “one country, two systems” framework that has allowed the territory to enjoy a level of autonomy for the past 23 years.

    After steadily eroding Hong Kong’s political freedoms, Beijing signaled that the national security law will be a new tool that allows it to directly tackle the political dissent that erupted on Hong Kong’s streets last year. The months-long and sometimes violent protests began last June and fizzled out only over public health concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.

    The new tactic marks an escalation in Beijing’s crackdown in the former British colony and the clearest indication that it views Hong Kong as a restive region to be brought to heel after last year’s protests.

    The city’s future has become a point of contention in the intensifying rivalry between China and the United States; on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was “closely watching what’s going on” in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have directly appealed to Washington for intervention, frequently waving American flags on the streets, and see themselves as the last bastion of resistance against an increasingly assertive Beijing under President Xi Jinping.

    “Beijing has opted for the most risky route,” said Ho-Fung Hung, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University. “It will show the world that ‘one country, two systems’ is, if not already over, almost over.”

    He added: “It will be very difficult for anyone, especially the United States, to say Hong Kong is still autonomous and viable.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...641_story.html
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  12. #9387

    Re: World News Random, Random

    New witnesses cast doubt on Dominic Cummings's lockdown claims
    Exclusive: eyewitness says top No 10 aide left isolation to go 30 miles to popular tourist town

    Matthew Weaver
    Sat 23 May 2020 19.30 BSTLast modified on Sat 23 May 2020 19.40 BST

    Devastating new claims have emerged that Dominic Cummings further breached the lockdown rules, as Downing Street came under sustained pressure to fire the prime minister’s most senior adviser.

    The new testimony suggests Cummings left the home where he was staying in Durham to visit a town 30 miles away. He was allegedly spotted back in Durham on 19 April, days after he was photographed in London having recovered from the virus.

    At the time, with the country at the peak of the pandemic, the government was insisting that people should be staying at home

    As Cummings faced calls to resign from across the political spectrum, the government was forced to defend his actions.

    Ministers insisted he had stayed put once arriving at a property in Durham, where he had travelled after contracting the symptoms of coronavirus to seek the support from his extended family.

    But the new claims would appear to demolish this defence and intensify questions over his claim that going there was permitted because he needed childcare while he was sick.

    The new accounts also raise fresh questions about his insistence that the initial 264-mile trip to Durham was justified.

    The two new witnesses were revealed in a joint investigation by the Guardian/Observer and the Sunday Mirror.

    One saw him in Durham on 19 April, days after Cummings was photographed in London having recovered from the virus.

    A week earlier Cummings was seen by another witness in Barnard Castle on Easter Day, 30 miles away from Durham, the investigation found. The town, which takes its name from the English Heritage site at its centre, is a popular destination for days out.

    Robin Lees, 70, a retired chemistry teacher from the town, says he saw Cummings and his family walking by the Tees before getting into a car around lunch time on 12 April.

    Lees said: “I was a bit gobsmacked to see him, because I know what he looks like. And the rest of the family seemed to match - a wife and child. I was pretty convinced it was him and it didn’t seem right because I assumed he would be in London.”

    He added: “I went home and told my wife, we thought he must be in London. I searched up the number plate later that day and my computer search history shows that.”

    Asked if thought Cummings should resign, Lees, said: “Of course he should. [Catherine] Calderwood [Scotland’s former chief medical officer] resigned after being stupid by visiting her second home. [Government scientific adviser Prof Neil] Ferguson didn’t even go anywhere, it was his mistress, and he had to resign too.

    “They didn’t do anything nearly as irresponsible as Cummings. You don’t take the virus from one part of the country to another. It just beggars belief to think you could actually drive when the advice was stay home, save lives. It couldn’t have been clearer.”

    When Cummings was apparently recognised a second time on 19 April he was wearing his trademark beanie hat, and was heard commenting on how “lovely” the bluebells were during an early morning Sunday stroll with his wife Mary Wakefield.

    The second eyewitness, who declined to be named, said: “We were shocked and surprised to see him because the last time we did was earlier in the week in Downing Street.”

    Cummings had been photographed on the 14 April in Downing Street, the first time he had been seen back at work since recovering from the virus.

    “We thought ‘he’s not supposed to be here during the lockdown’,” the source said.

    “We thought: ‘What double standards, one rule for him as a senior adviser to the prime minister and another for the rest of us.’”

    At Saturday’s daily Downing Street press conference, the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said Cummings’s actions, first revealed by the Guardian and Daily Mirror, were acceptable because he and his family had remained in isolation after arriving at the property in Durham, rather than travelling away from the property. “The decision here was to go to that location and stay in that location,” he said. “They didn’t then move around from there.”

    The deputy chief medical officer, Jenny Harries, said the aim of the advice on self-isolation was to remain “out of circulation”.

    Shapps said that the prime minister gave Cummings his full support. He added that he did not know when Boris Johnson became aware of the circumstances of Cummings’s decision to go to Durham.

    Asked whether Cummings’s claim that the police had not spoken to his family despite an official statement to the contrary meant that Durham constabulary were lying, he said that he was “not sure where the confusion in that comes in”.

    Durham police are standing by their statement on Friday that the Cummings family was reminded of the lockdown rules on 31 March, after he was seen in the city.

    No 10 insisted that the family were not spoken to, and Johnson’s chief adviser claimed he did nothing wrong.

    It came as figures from the police, church, the health service and the government’s own science advisory group condemned Cummings’s actions and warned that it risked undermining public adherence to the lockdown. Downing Street has also been accused of a cover-up after initial reports that some in No 10 knew he had made the journey.

    Last night, Labour demanded a Whitehall inquiry into the trip. In a letter to cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, shadow cabinet office minister Rachel Reeves writes: “The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for the Prime Minister’s most senior adviser.”

    Meanwhile, the cabinet’s most senior ministers were accused of placing political loyalty over public health, after they launched an orchestrated battle to defend Cummings. Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock, were among those to defend the spin doctor.

    Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said Cummings should be sacked, adding: “It’s rather insulting to the millions who’ve made sacrifices to keep to the government’s own rules for cabinet ministers now to be prioritising the career of Johnson’s spin doctor-in-chief above the public’s health and well-being.”

    Nick Baines, the bishop of Leeds, told the Observer: “People have missed being with family members who have died. But, now we learn that there is one rule for the people and another for No 10 and the elite. Ministers have clearly been told to tweet support for Cummings. What price conscience? Or integrity? Or credibility? Or competence at a time when leadership can only be rooted in trust?”

    Police warned that the allegations came at a crucial moment in the lockdown, with officers attempting to enforce the rules during a sunny bank holiday. George Peretz QC, a public law barrister, also suggested Cummings could have breached laws put in place to enforce the lockdown.

    Downing Street declined to comment on the new claims.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics...e_iOSApp_Other
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  13. #9388

    Re: World News Random, Random

    There was a poll by a Brit on Night Twitter (for us in the US) about what Boris would do about Cummings. I'm not a Brit but I knew he wouldn't sack him. This bears out my suspicions as to why.

    Guy Verhofstadt @guyverhofstadt ·2h
    Following the Cummings saga in the UK, this is spot on..

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  14. #9389

    Re: World News Random, Random

    So. Both the president of the USA and the PM of the UK are in reality puppets of another person (Tiny/Putin).
    How the mighty have fallen.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

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