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rpannier's Journal
rpannier's Journal
January 27, 2021

Russians Buy Disabled Man Apartment After His Squalid Living Conditions Revealed

People have raised nearly $27,000 to buy a new apartment for a disabled man in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk after a Current Time report showed the squalid housing conditions in which he was living. Police have opened a criminal case against the company that manages Artyom Arkhipov's home.

Video at Link

January 27, 2021

Kyrgyzstan Seeks To Stop Wives From Staying In Abusive Marriages At All Costs

In the space of a single month, three Kyrgyz women from different walks of life killed themselves in the northeastern Issyk-Kul region in separate cases linked to domestic violence.


In a WhatsApp message sent from her deathbed, Aruuzat told her colleagues that she had decided to end her life because her family wanted her to reconcile with her abusive husband despite being beaten by him.


It’s a long-standing tradition for abuse to be quietly accepted in Kyrgyzstan -- a country where divorce is shunned and women are encouraged to keep their marriages intact at almost any cost.


In an unprecedented move, the parliament passed a bill that bans such reconciliation if one of the parties in the marriage subjects his or her spouse to physical or mental abuse.


“Now, the bill introduces new standards that prohibit the reconciliation of the parties if it puts one of the parties in harm’s way, or in cases in which one of the parties has already been subjected to violence,” Nikitenko said.


It'll be interesting to watch how well this works. It's difficult to overcome centuries of cultural beliefs
It is a start
And Kyrgyz Lawmakers Ishak Pirmatov and Natalia Nikitenko have signaled this is only the beginning

January 24, 2021

Quotables from around the internet about the capitol insurrection

1. People at the riot who lost their jobs finally realized why their grandparents wore hoods to cover their identity.

2. Rioters: Lost Jobs, court fees, jail time, tainted record.
Trump: playing golf in sunny Florida

3. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes

4. Play terrorist games, win terrorist prizes

5. Boy if these people were worried about the government watching them before?

6. "Nothing we can't accomplish"? Like getting arrested

7. "We went there to attack people." (said hairstylist in California)
Thanks for making it easy for the FBI.

8. It was great fun until the FBI showed up at his house.

response to story about a dating and relationship strategist at the insurrection

-. Key to successful relationships: Don’t be a terrorist!

-. A dating coach? He's got a date now with a judge, a jury and a warden. Nice work.

January 23, 2021

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. Renew Europe expels Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich over homophobic comments

European Parliament group Renew Europe has expelled Lithuanian MEP Viktor Uspaskich over homophobic comments.

The politician had faced an internal disciplinary procedure for posting comments on social media where he referred to the LGBT+ community as "perverts".

In a statement on Wednesday, the liberal group confirmed Uspaskich's expulsion "with immediate effect" following a vote.


But he repeated his comments, adding that he was "not referring to people who are naturally given a different orientation by nature ... [but] those who scream loudly and lead a perverted way of life."


2. From vaccine creation to trepidation: France's struggle with anti-vaxxers

As vaccination against COVID-19 gears up in Europe, so are the campaigns discrediting vaccines led by the so-called anti-vaxxers. Distrust and even opposition to vaccines are very prevalent in France. Recent polls by Nature Medicine and Wellcome Global Monitor 2018 demonstrate this lack of confidence the French have in vaccine efficiency and safety. The distrust also seems to be shared across gender, origin and social-economic status. This latent hesitancy is what anti-vaxxers are trying to capitalise on. But for what reason?

Some want to gain political or social influence. Others are looking at ways to make a profit either via links to drug lobbies, health gurus and even vegan markets.


One such anti-vaxxer took us six weeks to talk to and he only accepted on condition of anonymity. He says that he has 125 000 social media followers. He also believes he has received death threats. The pharmaceutical industry, he claims, is tracking him because of his opinions. One of these opinions, in his words, is that "some of Bill Gates' vaccines have created big pandemics in certain countries, like India, where he took his polio vaccine". He also believes the vaccine gave 450 000 children the disease and it doesn't stop there. He tells me that "in other countries, like Kenya, it even caused huge sterilisation of thousands of young women".


Another conspiracy he tells me about is connected to Moderna and how it allegedly "received investment from Merck about five years ago and they were already doing research on a vaccine against COVID in 2015". In addition to this, he believes "Pasteur has even registered patents for the coronavirus and for COVID".

The French vaccine pioneer, Louis Pasteur, of course, did not register any patent for a COVID-19 vaccine, as many anti-vaxxers claim, nor did The Pasteur Institute register a patent for the COVID-19 vaccine before the pandemic.


3. Italy blocks TikTok for certain users after death of girl allegedly playing 'choking' game

Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the accidental death of a 10-year-old girl who allegedly took part in a “blackout challenge” on the video-sharing network TikTok.

The probe came as Italy announced it had temporarily blocked access to TikTok for users whose age could not be proved definitively.

The girl died in a Palermo hospital after being discovered on Wednesday by her five-year-old sister in the family bathroom with her cellphone, which was seized by police.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, said on Friday it had not managed to identify any content on its site that could have encouraged the girl to participate in any such challenge, but was helping the authorities in the probe over possible “incitement to suicide”.


4. Belarus Teenage Couple Gets Jail For Anti-Lukashenka Slogans

MINSK -- A court in Minsk has sentenced a teenage couple to prison terms for painting slogans against strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has run the country since 1994, on the shields of riot police officers during ongoing protests.

The Kastrychnik (October) district court on January 22 sentenced Sofya Malashevich to two years in prison and Tsikhan Klyukach to 18 months. Both are 18-year-old students of a college in the western city of Brest.

The court found Malashevich guilty of hooliganism, publicly insulting the country's president, and conducting activities that disrupted public order. Klyukach was found guilty of conducting activities that disrupted public order.

The charges stem from their participation in anti-Lukashenka protests in Minsk, during which Malashevich spray-painted anti-Lukashenka slogans on the shields of the riot police while Klyukach was filming her actions on his mobile phone.


5. Former Bosnian Muslim general Sakib Mahmuljin convicted of war crimes

A former general of Bosnian Muslim forces has been convicted of war crimes by a court in Sarajevo.

Sakib Mahmuljin was found guilty of responsibility in the deaths of more than 50 Serb prisoners of war in the Vozuca and Zavidovici region during the 1992-95 conflict.

The Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina ruled the wartime Bosnian Army Third Corps commander did nothing to prevent crimes committed by Islamic volunteer fighters in the El Mujahedin.

Mahmuljin had pleaded not guilty, with his lawyers insisting he had no real command over the unit. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday but can appeal the verdict.

January 14, 2021

A certain bit of irony that the House Freedom Caucus would want a vote to oust

Liz Cheney for exercising her freedom to impeach trump

January 7, 2021

Pat Robertson was right. Just not the way he thought

On the 4th of January Pat Robertson said, "I believe something dramatic. I believe something very dramatic will happen before Congress meets..." he also added, "The Holy Spirit is going to enter in and something very dramatic will happen."

Something dramatic did happen, on January 5th the Democrats swept the Republicans from both U.S. Senate seats. So, to Pat and his followers, "There's your dramatic happening, courtesy of the Holy Spirit."

You can feel free to disagree. But this is my talking point to all of Pat's followers

January 7, 2021

Before The Killings: Rare Photographs Of Russia's Last Royal Family (7 photos)


Nicholas II and his wife, Empress Aleksandra (far right), with their four daughters and son. The tsar was forced to abdicate in 1917 and he and his family were shot and stabbed to death by Bolshevik troops, in 1918, before their bodies were doused in acid and dumped into a mine shaft.

Tsar Nicholas II wading on the rocky shore of Finland. After the early death of his father, he confided to a friend, "I am not yet ready to be tsar. I know nothing of the business of ruling."

Anna Vyrubova (right) wading at the beach with Grand Duchesses Tatyana and Olga. After the family was murdered, Anna, a close friend of the royal family, was able to flee Soviet Russia with six albums containing these photographs.

Two of the grand duchesses aboard the Standart. When the children were small, each was assigned a sailor to ensure they didn't fall overboard.

A footbridge at Spala in Poland. During the royal family's 1912 trip here, Tsarevich Aleksei fell while jumping into a rowboat and badly bruised his thigh, triggering internal bleeding that brought the heir apparent to the brink of death.

Tsarevich Aleksei, third from left, playing soldiers. Andrey Derevenko (far left) was one of two minders tasked with looking after the vulnerable heir apparent. Derevenko joined the Bolsheviks soon after the revolution and taunted the tsarevich before disappearing into obscurity.

Villagers photographed during a trip made by the tsar and his family. The picture is one of only a few in the albums which focus on the ordinary people of Russia.

January 7, 2021

Effects From South Ossetia War Linger 30 Years Later (8 photos)


A woman sits in her apartment, which was badly damaged during fighting between ethnic Georgians and Ossetians in 1991.
The war has been called the most “pointless” of Georgia’s conflicts that broke out amid the collapse of the Soviet Union, but its consequences still loom large over the Caucasus.

A Ossetian hunter photographed in the 1970s. Ossetians are an Iranian ethnic group who speak a language related to Persian.
In 1989, the South Ossetian population of around 98,500 was two-thirds ethnic Ossetian and about one-third ethnic Georgian. An observer noted both Georgians and Ossetians “are among the Soviet Union's most sociable people. They like to drag strangers by the arm to the hospitality of good food and impassioned toasts about freedom.”

Zviad Gamsakhurdia (center) takes part in a Tbilisi rally in 1989.
As Georgia pushed for secession from the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, Zviad Gamsakhurdia -- an intellectual who pushed a hard-line, ethnic-nationalist message -- maneuvered into power. He was elected Georgian president in 1991 with nearly 90 percent of the vote. A philosopher reacted to Gamsakhurdia’s “Georgia for the Georgians” platform by declaring: “if this is the choice of my people, then I’m against my people.”

A Soviet soldier stands guard in Tskhinvali in December 1990.
Moscow sent a contingent of Interior Ministry troops to South Ossetia to “prevent clashes and bloodshed,” but Tbilisi protested the Soviet “meddling” and sent in their own fighters.

Ossetian fighters on January 1, 1991, at a barricade set up in Tskhinvali.
A shooting war broke out on January 5 when ethnic Georgian fighters entered Tskhinvali. Urban warfare between the Georgians and Ossetians raged for weeks in the city before the Georgian troops withdrew.

A female Ossetian fighter poses for a portrait.
A Russian woman married to a Georgian told Human Rights Watch she attempted to find help after the couple’s house was robbed but was told “you [cooked] this porridge, now eat it!”

An Ossetian fighter wrapped up against the cold in Tskhinvali in December 1991.
Georgia cut off gas and electricity to the region during the conflict. In Tskhinvali’s hospital, several newborn babies reportedly died from exposure due to the harsh weather. A surgeon in Tskhinvali described the difficulty of working without heating: “When you operate on someone you have to take his clothes off. To keep a patient warm, we have to surround him/her with as many as 12 hot-water bottles.”

The boundary marking South Ossetian territory being patrolled by armed Georgian police in 2016.
Since the conflict ended, the South Ossetia issue has repeatedly flared up, most notably in 2008 when a Georgian attempt to retake the region sparked an all-out war with Russia. Since then, the Kremlin has formally recognized South Ossetian “independence” and Russian and Ossetian troops have gradually pushed fencing and territorial markers deeper into undisputed Georgian territory.
Moscow has said the notorious “borderization” taking place is a matter of South Ossetians marking their "true territorial boundaries in line with maps from the Soviet-era."
January 5, 2021

Opposition party pushing divided LDP over separate surnames in Japan

The largest opposition party is seeking to push forward a legal revision to enable married couples to have separate surnames by urging some members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to join hands with it.

The development comes as a deep divide surfaced within the LDP led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as to whether to introduce such an alternative to a single surname per couple.

Yukio Edano, head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, plans to call for adopting a revision to the Civil Code, which opposition forces submitted in 2018 to introduce separate surnames, in the regular parliamentary session starting later this month.


Under current laws, a couple must choose between either of their surnames upon marriage. While the rule is applicable to either, as it is women who change their surnames in more than 90% of the cases, it has been criticized as discriminatory.

Suga was supportive of the change long before becoming prime minister, and he even suggested in a Diet session in November that he remains committed to introducing the option.

But in an interview broadcasted live online the following month, Suga called for "taking things slowly" in light of a rift within his party that surfaced in compiling the government's basic gender equality promotion policy for the next five years.

"It became quite a debate within the party," he admitted in the program, adding he hopes people don't get "too emotional" over the topic."


Wife and I use separate last names. I'm American and she's half-Korean, half-Japanese
They made no fuss when we registered using separate family names, partially because our passports reflect that. In Korea it's common for both to keep their own family name
Our daughters all use Japanese last names (all still in school).

January 5, 2021

World's oldest person marks 118th birthday in Fukuoka

Fukuoka – Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest person who was born in the same year as the Wright brothers’ first powered flight, celebrated her 118th birthday in southwestern Japan on Saturday.

Tanaka, born on Jan. 2, 1903, was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person in March 2019 at the age of 116. Those born in the same year include British novelist George Orwell.

She also set an all-time Japanese age record in September last year at 117 years and 261 days.

Currently living in a nursing home in Fukuoka, Tanaka celebrated her birthday with other residents. She was pleased and said, “Applaud everyone,” according to the facility.

She usually spends her time exercising, doing calculations and playing Reversi. She has a strong appetite and likes eating chocolate and drinking Coke, the nursing home said.

When asked about the secret to her longevity, Tanaka replied, “Eating delicious food and studying.” She said she is aiming to live to 120.

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