Friday, March 10, 2017
EU DIPLOMATS WARN US OF RUSSIAN MILITARY THREAT.
Daylight saving time causes higher electricity use in Alberta, study finds-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-March 8, 2017
Daylight saving time was first implemented as a way to conserve energy, but the controversial twice-yearly clock change actually has the opposite effect in Alberta, a Calgary economist says."When we're on daylight savings, we increase our electricity use here in Alberta," University of Calgary PhD candidate and C.D. Howe Institute fellow Blake Shaffer told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.Shaffer and his research colleague Nic Rivers, who teaches in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Institute of the Environment at the University of Ottawa, studied the effect of daylight saving time (DST) on energy consumption.The impact very much depends on geography, Shaffer said.Research by Rivers showed that DST reduces electricity demand in Ontario by 1.5 per cent.Shaffer then looked at whether that's also the case in Alberta."I took a look at what daylight saving time does in Alberta, and, lo and behold, it's the opposite effect," he said.During DST, electricity use in Alberta rises by 1.6 per cent during the periods of spring and fall transition and by roughly one per cent across the entire DST period, Shaffer's study found.It's Albertans' habit of getting up early that makes the difference, Shaffer said."Alberta's almost an outlier, in terms of how early we wake up. We get up around 20 minutes earlier than our Torontonian counterparts. And to add to that, the sun rises later."Ontario's earlier sunrises and later waking hours leave fewer people affected by the transition to DST during morning hours — hence there's less need to use extra energy during DST.The findings could bolster growing calls in Alberta to ditch DST.Last month, Edmonton MLA Thomas Dang, launched public consultations on whether to end daylight saving time. PC MLA Richard Starke has presented a petition calling for the same thing."To put the Albertan result into perspective, eliminating DST would have the equivalent energy saving effect as replacing about half of Alberta's residential lights with LED bulbs. All at the cost of a stroke of a pen," said the release by Shaffer and Rivers.-Energy cost vs. health benefits-But other research has shown health benefits associated with DST, Shaffer says.Researchers at the University of Washington said DST leads to a measurable uptick in healthy, calorie-burning activity. And a study published by MIT found there was a seven per cent decline in robberies in jurisdictions on DST."It really comes down to energy versus health, and we'd have to weigh those two," said Shaffer. "I'd be a proponent of the morning light, but that's just me. So I'd be going with Mountain Standard Time."The clocks go ahead one hour on March 12 as Alberta changes to daylight saving time.With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
MIGRATING BIRDS IN ISRAEL EATS HUMANS FLESH FOR COMING AGAINST ISRAEL-JERUSALEM
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog (RUSSIA/ARAB/MUSLIMS) a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers (EAST OF THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN VALLEY) on the east of the sea: and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog (RUSSIAN) and all his multitude:(ARAB/MUSLIM HORDE) and they shall call it The valley of Hamongog.(BURIEL SITE OF THE 300 MILLION,RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS)
12 And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land.(OF ISRAEL)
16 And also the name of the city shall be Hamonah. Thus shall they cleanse the land.(OF THE ISRAEL-GOD HATERS)
17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.(OF RUSSIAN/ISLAMIC HORDES AGAINST ISRAEL)
18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD.
21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;(AGAINST ALL NATIONS ARMIES THAT COME AGAINST JERUSALEM AND ISRAEL)
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog,(RULER) the land of Magog,(RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal,(TOBOLSK) and prophesy against him,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) the chief prince of Meshech(MOSCOW) and Tubal:TOBOLSK)
4 And I (GOD) will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws,(GOD FORCES THE RUSSIA-MUSLIMS TO MARCH) and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
5 Persia,(IRAN,IRAQ) Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
6 Gomer,(GERMANY) and all his bands; the house of Togarmah (TURKEY) of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.(AFRICAN MUSLIMS,SUDAN,TUNESIA ETC)
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog,(LEADER OF RUSSIA) and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (MOSCOW) and Tubal: (TUBOLSK)
2 And I will turn thee back,(RUSSIA-ARAB MUSLIM ISRAEL HATERS) and leave but the sixth part of thee,(5/6TH OR 300 MILLION DEAD RUSSIAN/ARAB/MUSLIMS I BELIEVE) and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,(RUSSIA) and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:
3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.
4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands,( ARABS) and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.
5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
6 And I will send a fire on Magog,(NUCLEAR ATOMIC BOMB) and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.
8 Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken.
Russian missiles pose new threat to Europe By Andrew Rettman-MAR 9,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 09:36-The US and Germany have criticised Russia over new missile deployments that posed a threat to Nato and Europe.“The Russians have deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the spirit and intent of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces [INF] treaty,” Paul Selva, a senior US general who advises the White House, told a House committee in Washington on Wednesday (8 March), referring to a Cold War-era agreement.“The system … presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to Nato and to facilities within the Nato area of responsibility,” he added.“They do not intend to return to [INF] compliance,” he said.State department spokesman Mark Toner told press the same day: “We do believe they’re in violation [of INF].”“We have conveyed that [to Russia] … they’re quite clear that - of our concerns,” he said.The German foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, also on Wednesday raised the alarm on Russia’s deployment of Iskander ballistic missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad."If Iskander missiles were stationed in Kaliningrad permanently, that would be a cause for great concern and a blow to European security," he told Russia’s state-run Interfax news agency.Russia installed the rockets, which could hit Berlin, during a military drill in the exclave last year.Kaliningrad also hosts 25,000 Russian soldiers, anti-air and anti-ship missiles that restrict Nato movements in the Baltic region, and two nuclear-capable warships.Stephen W. Wilson, the deputy-chief of the US air force, told the House hearing that “in terms of nuclear capabilities, Russia is our only peer, and will likely remain so in the coming decades”.“Russia’s continued aggression and provocations, its demonstrated willingness to violate the sovereignty of its neighbours, and its disregard for its international commitments, poses a clear threat to global stability,” he added.Robert Kehler, a retired US air force general, the same day told a Senate committee that he did not believe there was a threat of war, but said that Russia’s nuclear sabre-rattling caused concern.“I believe the likelihood of a massive surprise nuclear attack is low today,” he said.“I am troubled by statements from Russia and elsewhere that describe the possible limited use of nuclear weapons in regional conflicts,” he added.Senior diplomats from Poland and the Baltic states gave US senators equally gloomy assessments of Russia’s aggressive behaviour in Europe earlier this week.Adrian Bradshaw, a UK general who is Nato’s second-in-command in Europe, told British media last week that the West needed a “grand strategy” to deter Russia.“The threat from Russia is that through opportunism and mistakes and a lack of clarity regarding our deterrence we find ourselves sliding into an unwanted conflict which has existential implications,” he said.Russia has said that Nato’s deployment of a rapid reaction force of some 5,000 soldiers in the Baltic region posed a threat to its security.But Gabriel dismissed that claim in his Interfax interview, saying the Nato force was tiny compared to Russia’s military build-up in the region.“Germany and other Nato states were not the first to go into the Baltic area,” he said.
AMERICA (POLITICAL BABYLON)(NUKED BY SNEAK ATTACK FROM RUSSIA)
IN REVELATION 17 & 18 IS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL BABYLONS.IF YOU CAN NOT DECERN BETWEEN THE 2 BABYLONS IN REV 17 & 18.YOU WILL JUST THINK THEIR BOTH THE SAME.BUT NO-THERES A RELIGIOUS BABYLON (THE VATICAN IN REV 17)(AND THE POLITICAL BABYLON IN REV 18 (AMERICA OR NEW YORK TO BE EXACT)
10 It (AMERICA-POLITICAL BABYLON) shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.
JEREMIAH 51:29-32 (CYBER ATTACK 1ST)
29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon,(AMERICA-NEW YORK) to make the land of Babylon (AMERICA) a desolation without an inhabitant.
30 The mighty men of Babylon (AMERICA) have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.
31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon (NEW YORK) that his city is taken at one end,
32 And that the passages are stopped,(THE WAR COMPUTERS HACKED OR EMP'D) and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.(DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO)
COMPLETE SILENCE AFTER AN EMP GOES OFF
1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
3 For out of the north (RUSSIA) there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.
24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon,(AMERICA) and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD. (RUSSIA A SNEAK CYBER,EMP ATTACK,THEN NUKE ATTACK ON AMERICA)
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,(U.S.A) and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her,(U.S.A) and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her,(AMERICA) my people,(CHRISTIANS,JEWS) that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her (AMERICA-NEW YORK) even as she rewarded you,(WITH FALSE FLAG TERRORISM) and double unto her double according to her works:(DOUBLE-EMP 1ST,THEN RUSSIA NUKE ATTACKS U.S.A) in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.(PROBABLY A RUSSIAN CYBER ATTACK WILL SET THE WHOLE SITUATION UP AS RUSSIA HACKS THE USA ARMY COMPUTERS.THEN THE EMP,THEN THE NUKE ATTACK)
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
EU diplomats warn US of Russian military threat By Andrew Rettman-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, 8. Mar, 12:19-Poland and Lithuania have called for US troops to stay in eastern Europe and for US arms and communications technology to counter Russian aggression.The EU and Nato states’ ambassadors to the US issued the request at a hearing with the Senate’s armed services committee in Washington on Tuesday (7 March).Piotr Wilczek, the Polish envoy, said that a US-led force that was recently sent to the region by Nato “should have a long-term character”.“A long-term American commitment … is absolutely essential”, he said.Lithuania’s Rolandas Krisciunas said there should be “US and Nato troops in the Baltic States on a permanent basis”.He added that the US should restore its “military presence in Europe back to a pre-2009 level”.Krisciunas asked the Senate to assist Lithuania in procurement of US anti-tank rockets and high-calibre artillery shells.He also requested $1 million of military intelligence technology, social media analysis software, and more powerful radio transmitters to broadcast Western media into Russia.Russia has said that any permanent new Nato bases near its borders would violate a Nato-Russia treaty.The country has also said that Nato troops in the Baltic region posed a threat to its security.But Poland’s Wilczek told senators that Russia had turned its Kaliningrad exclave into “the most militarised region in Europe”.He said anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles there restricted Nato movements on Nato’s own territory in “an area spanning from north-eastern Poland to the Baltic states”.Wilczek went on to say that Russian ballistic missiles, which were deployed in Kaliningrad last year, were capable of hitting targets in Europe as far afield as Germany.Lithuania echoed Poland.Krisciunas said Russia had 25,000 troops in Kaliningrad and that two Russian warships stationed there last year were “capable of blocking the entrance to the Baltic Sea”.He also noted that Russian forces “regularly” held “offensive” military drills on Lithuania’s borders.The Polish ambassador said “Russian aggression against Ukraine ended the period of a post-Cold War stability”.Russia aimed to “restore [its] superpower status” and “military power [has become] the Kremlin’s chief tool for pursuing its policy objectives,” he added.-’Hybrid warfare’-Poland and the Baltic states said Russia was already waging non-military warfare against Europe.The Polish envoy said the Kremlin used gas exports as a “political weapon”.“Countries cooperating with Russia benefit from large discounts on their energy bills. Those seeking integration with the West end up paying high prices or are threatened with being cut off from supplies,” he added.He said if Russia and Germany built the Nord Stream II gas pipeline it would “hinder the [energy] diversification efforts of the whole region”.The Lithuanian ambassador said Russian spies were trying to “aggressively” interfere in national politics and that Moscow was funding Russian-speaking groups in the Baltic states in order to “incite ethnic tensions”.He remarked that Russian spies and hackers tried to steal information on Lithuanian MPs in last year’s elections.He also said Russian state media was spreading toxic propaganda, such as a fake story that German soldiers in the Nato force in Lithuania had raped a local girl.“Information attacks against Nato military personnel deployed in the region are highly likely to be repeated in the future,” Krisciunas said.The Latvian ambassador to the US asked the Senate to help fund EU counter-propaganda projects, such as the British-led Creative Content Support Fund.Estonia’s US envoy, Eerik Marmei, said it would be a mistake to think Russia’s actions were limited to eastern Europe.“We, as neighbours to Russia, are just a bit more used to witnessing such behaviour,” he said.-Long arm-He noted that the Kremlin was “increasingly reliant” on anti-EU and anti-Nato populist political parties all over Europe.“Upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France, and Germany are a perfect theatre for the Russian disinformation warriors,” he said.The Ukrainian foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, also spoke on Tuesday.He told the Senate that when Russian proxy forces fought the Ukrainian army in and around the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka in January a US-trained Ukrainian battalion “was one of the most effective in repelling the Russian-controlled attacks”.He thanked the US for its “provision of defensive weapons” to Ukraine.But he said Russia was still pouring weapons into eastern Ukraine, including heavy flamethrowers, radar jamming systems, and drones.The EU and US “imposed sanctions must be not only preserved but enhanced” in order to prevent Russian escalation, he added.-Trump U-turn?-The Senate hearing came amid concern in Europe that the Kremlin-friendly US president, Donald Trump, might reverse previous Russia policy.It also came amid White House pledges to cut foreign aid.Ukraine’s Klimkin, who met US secretary of state Rex Tillerson in Washington on Tuesday, said he received assurances of continued support.Marco Rubio, a senator from Trump’s Republican Party, said on Twitter that Ukraine was "America’s good friend".Another Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, told the EU diplomats he had just had lunch with Trump and that he could "give [them] some hope in the region that America's back”."I think you're going to have a good ally in President Trump, in terms of having a rotational troop presence, that the Ukraine will be helped more, not less, and we will push back,” he said.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)
Russell firefighters brave blizzard to find stranded motorists-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-March 8, 2017
The small western Manitoba community of Russell sent out a rescue team late Tuesday to rescue dozens of travellers stranded after a blizzard swept through the province Tuesday and left snowdrifts up to six feet tall on a local highway.Wes Anderson, emergency measures co-ordinator for the municipality of Russell-Binscarth, said 30 people were rescued from vehicles stranded on Highway 16 just outside of the town Tuesday afternoon, when the height of the blizzard was slamming Manitoba."They were very surprised," he said. "They said that there was some smooth sailing on the highways through Saskatchewan and once they hit the Manitoba border they were surprised to see the snowdrifts across the highway."He said emergency measures registered another 50 to 80 people who made it to Russell and became stranded when the highways closed.Rheanne Gray, manager of the Russell Inn, said the 125-room hotel was full with stranded travellers on Tuesday night and the motorists brought in that evening slept on cots in the hotel's banquet room.She said staff members who could make it to work have put in long hours this week managing the influx of people.Anderson said emergency personnel in the town, located near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border and about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, were first notified late Tuesday afternoon that there were people stranded on the highway and mobilized a 14-member search-and-rescue team around 5 p.m.Some motorists had been stranded on the highway for more than 12 hours, he said."We had drifts in some spots that were between four to six feet tall, anywhere from 10 to 40 feet in width [on the highway]," Anderson said. "The winds had done some havoc on the highways out in our area."Wind gusts of more than 80 km/h were clocked in western Manitoba as a result of the blizzard.Anderson said members of the some fire department and public works plowed a way out of town and escorted motorists back in, while others rode out on snowmobiles and a rescue vehicle.With the weather starting to clear up, Anderson is hopeful some stranded travellers will be able to head home."We have some major snow drifts and snow piles throughout town," he said. "Our public works crews are currently opening up Main Street.""It's definitely a a winter wonderland back here in Russell."
Windsor crews rescue crushed cars, remove trees on Victoria Avenue-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-March 8, 2017
Greg McCullough came home from a long walk to find a giant tree lying across his front yard, crushing the back of a nearby SUV.Severe winds whipped the Windsor region Wednesday, tearing shingles off roofs, taking down power lines and sending debris flying."I walked up here and I said, 'Uh oh,'" McCullough recalled, saying he was shocked to see the gigantic trunk that blocked off Victoria Avenue. "Fortunately my house didn't get damaged."McCullough said the tree had been threatening to come down for years — every time the breeze started to blow branches would fly off.With gusts reaching an estimated 100 km/h he said the big-branched giant didn't stand a chance."This is as bad a wind as I remember and I've been there since '74," he said. "It was only a matter of time until it came down."-Car was pulverised-Despite having their car damaged, the owners of the vehicle counted their blessings.Natalie Bownes was attending an assembly at Queen Victoria Public School to see her daughter win an award. When she came outside, she found the back half of her Hyundai pulverized beneath the heavy tree trunk."I'm just glad I wasn't in there, or my daughter," she said.As he pulled pool noodles and other swimming supplies through the car's crushed back window, Bownes' husband Tristan Fehrenbach, said he was happy too — all things considered."At least nobody got hurt," he said. "It's just a car."Fallen trees and other debris littered the length of Victoria Avenue and kept city crews busy as they cut broken limbs into pieces and shoved them into a chipper. Rogue garbage cans and rubbish were also swirling down the street.A Windsor police officer, who parked midway down the road, said he was there to keep drivers from heading into danger, but said he was concerned his vehicle could get crushed too.Lifelong resident Graham Sutherland, said he heard one of the trees fall from inside his house."It was like a freight train," he said, adding that many of the trees are more than 100 years old."There are a lot of older trees in the neighbourhood," he said. "I'm worried about some of them coming down as well."
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)
Opinion-EU: The next 60 years By Tomas Prouza-MAR 9,17-EUOBSERVER
Prague, Today, 09:22-The 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome provides us with an opportunity to celebrate as well as to reflect on the past achievements and recent developments, and to think about the current challenges the EU is facing.In the Czech Republic, the prospect of integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures (both the EU and NATO) was considered as a safeguard of successful political, social and economic transformation and as a beacon of stability, security and prosperity in the tumultuous times of transition after the restoration of democracy in 1989.Becoming a member of the EU was our strategic choice that has brought us many privileges we would hardly have seen if we had remained an independent player. Nowadays, after almost thirteen years, this sentiment is not so strongly present anymore and we have become a “normal” EU member state.As a “normal” EU member, we are not only ready enjoy the benefits of our cooperation, we also share the responsibility for the future development of European integration and for building an even more successful Union. The upcoming Rome summit is a good opportunity for this reflection.We expect – and we will strongly support – that this summit will confirm the unity and cohesion of the member states, as well as the willingness to continue to follow the path on which we embarked 60 years ago.At the same time, it should also send a strong message about the EU’s main priorities, including specific measures which will allow us to deliver tangible results.In recent years, the EU has become the ideal scapegoat across the continent. When national politicians face domestic issues, “dictations from evil Brussels” is an easy excuse and almost nobody seems to care enough to speak up for the European institutions or the Union as a whole.-European cooperation-The fact that public discourse is dominated by negative attitudes towards the EU and the positive impacts of our membership are rarely mentioned contributes considerably to the growth of various anti-European populist movements.To counter their insurgence, it is essential to balance out the public debate and strengthen the ability of the EU to act.It is crucial to constantly remind the public of and emphasise the importance of European cooperation and its results, and clearly demonstrate that we are gradually managing all of the problems.The EU is successful and attractive. Its citizens enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world; they benefit from the best social and healthcare systems and, most importantly, live in a stable area of freedom, rule of law and security.We should ask those who cast doubt on the EU and its benefits – what is your alternative outside of a united Europe? The answer to those who want to gradually loosen the EU, rather than to improve its functioning, is clear: we have enough tools at our disposal to achieve the necessary changes.Rather than engaging in endless debates about radical reforms with uncertain outcomes, we should make use of the existing legal framework in such a way to allow us to meet the expectations of our citizens.Since 2008, when the financial crisis broke out in the USA, from the perspective of many it looks as if the EU is constantly staggering from crisis to crisis.Now it is high time to drop this narrative of a Union in a state of permanent crisis management. This interpretation is clearly wrong and only creates problems for the self-esteem of European citizens.The new breed of nationalistic and xenophobic politicians would like us to feel like we are losing control over events and processes that affect us. They would like us to doubt whether we are capable of finding a solution. They would like to erect new walls instead of tearing down the ones that remain.-Restoring confidence-Restoring the confidence of people in the EU is our primary task. To achieve this, the Union must respond quickly and effectively to the needs and concerns of its citizens.The European Union will only be truly credible if the member states discuss and develop the steps for further integration together, with the contribution of all that are interested in cooperating. We must constantly strive to promote unity and respect among member states and between member states, the EU institutions and citizens.The Union can strengthen its credibility only if it is capable of action and show – like some many times in its 60 years of existence – tangible benefits to its citizens.For the Czech Republic, two areas are crucial in debates about the future direction of European integration: increasing the economic prosperity of Europe and its citizens and ensuring internal and external security.A restart of economic and social convergence should become the fundamental pillar for strengthening of prosperity in Europe. Approximation of living standards between member states and bringing European societies closer together has always been an essential goal of European integration.We have plenty of instruments available to promote convergence and growth, an internal market based on the four freedoms being one of them. Other instruments include the digital single market, Energy Union, promotion of investment, active trade policy – and more courage to move ahead in the social area.Nowadays, economic prosperity also involves the aspect of security. If we ensure a stable standard of living for our citizens, they will feel more confident and secure.-Taking more responsibility-It is necessary for the EU to guarantee its citizens protection against threats of all kinds. The EU must ensure full control of its external borders, encourage cooperation between member states in fighting terrorism, and protect the privacy of its citizens.In order to guarantee a sufficient level of external security, it is crucial to continue the development of European defence capabilities, while preserving the role of Nato in providing collective defence in Europe.The Union must take more responsibility and contribute more to international stability. We must be prepared to defend our interests by strengthening rapid response capacity and crisis management in our regional neighbourhood.We must not lose sight of our enlargement policy and keep offering a European perspective to our partners who are willing to share our values with us.We must continue to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the economic and social standards of people, in order to preserve their dignity.Together, we have to stand up to those who invest national resources to damage and destroy what we have been building for the last 60 years and who would like to replace democracy with the autocratic rule of a single man.Only then will we be sure of another celebration in Rome 60 years from now.Tomas Prouza is state secretary for European affairs of the Czech Republic.
Opinion-Future of Europe is unity, not uniformity By Gunnar Hoekmark-MAR 9,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 07:14-Brexit, Le Pen and Geert Wilders. These are only three expressions of the new European discontent that trembles though the corridors of Brussels.Amidst confusion and panic, and various attempts to display force, decisiveness and action are considered to be a remedy. Almost invariably the response is “More Europe”. And more Europe tends to be defined as more Brussels.That is the wrong way to go.The discussion about new institutions and new ways to balance power leads to centralism, which will not make Europe stronger. Nor will it make difficult political decisions easier. Rather to the contrary, it will create the illusion that the EU is responsible for all of the shortcomings in our societies.The belief that reforms of EU institutions can solve political problems is an illusion that will only provide an excuse for not showing political leadership in reforming Europe today.Centralisation at the cost of subsidiarity will only make the EU more exposed to criticism and more vulnerable when people realise that average solutions do not fit.We are a political union as well as an economic one, but above all we are a union of European member states and citizens based upon the rule of law.-I love Europe-I have lived in Europe my entire life and I am a Member of European Parliament, elected by Swedish voters to represent them on a pro-European platform. But I am getting more and more convinced that we need to change our perspectives.The solution to the crisis is not changes to the European institutions, but changes in what is not working in Europe.In Brussels, institutional competition is sometimes understood as rivalry between EU bodies, such as the parliament and the executive, the EU commission. But in the social sciences, this concept means that diversity in policies creates competition between various political alternatives, displaying how some policies work better than others.The internal market has greatly enhanced this process, showing how and why some economies create more wealth and jobs than others and that those who are lagging behind should learn from those who are more successful.This aspect of the internal market and the road to competitiveness, cohesion and convergence should be strengthened, not weakened.Rather than more Brussels in Europe, we need more Europe in Brussels, in the sense that plurality provides more strength and better dynamics than average decisions and uniformity. We don’t need new mechanisms or methods of decision tomorrow, we need decisions and political courage today.-Catalyst of national reform-We need to do what we have set out to do: to fulfil the promise of the free flow of goods, services, capital and people across borders, a real energy union and a common foreign and security policy worth its name.Brussels should be a catalyst of national reform, not its inhibitor.Reform is needed in Europe, not in the EU institutions.While the EU boasts five of the ten most competitive countries in the world, the World Economic Forum shows that some member states are facing huge challenges in becoming modern and globally competitive.There is no one-size-fits-all approach for such a variety of countries and situations. A Europe that focuses on the median will be stuck in mediocrity. That is not good enough.-We need excellence-The threats and the challenges we face today are of the same kind as the ones that once made us turn the vision of Europe into a legal framework of open borders, cooperation and solidarity.We need to make all of this function better by being more courageous and decisive in order to make the union stronger with its policies, not by never-ending discussions on new institutions.The 28 (or 27) social pillars, adapted to our differences, provides for more stability and social security than one pillar neglecting them all.The openness over borders and between different models fosters something better than uniformity - unity. That’s the way to stay together in difficult times, standing strong as a unit and allowing for all of us to contribute in the best way possible.There is a saying often credited the old roman Petronius Arbiter: “We trained hard—but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralisation.”This line of thinking is prevalent in the Commission White Paper and in the first scenario Jean-Claude Juncker presents as “Carrying on”. It is described as “unwieldy” and that such a path would “only deliver incremental progress”.But what we need today is to develop what we have and what we are.That is not simply to carry on, but to make full use of the proud achievements we have so far accomplished.We should define a way forward that is characterised by unity, not by uniformity, and common goals rather than common societies.Decisiveness on policies is needed today, instead of discussions on institutional make-overs tomorrow.Gunnar Hoekmark is leader of the Swedish EPP delegation in the European Parliament and Member of the Committee on Economic Affairs.
EU re-elects Tusk, leaving Poland isolated By Eszter Zalan and Eric Maurice-MAR 9,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 17:43-Donald Tusk was re-elected European Council president on Thursday (9 March) by EU leaders meeting in Brussels despite opposition from his native Poland."Thank you for keeping your fingers crossed and the cordial support. It helped," the former Polish premier tweeted shortly after he was confirmed for another two-and-a-half year mandate.In another tweet he said he was "grateful for [the] trust and positive assessment" by the European Council. "I will do my best to make the EU better," he added.Twenty seven member states voted in favour of Tusk, leaving Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo alone in opposition to her fellow countryman, a political opponent of her conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.Arriving at the summit, Szydlo had insisted that "a person who has no support in his home country cannot become president of the European Council".In the end, it took EU states just half an hour to overrule her.Szydlo even lost the support of Poland's usual EU allies, Visegrad group partners Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic.The Czech Republic and Slovakia believed Warsaw's anti-Tusk stunt had harmed Visegrad collaboration and the group's weight in the European Council."He [Tusk] comes from our region and understands it," Czech premier Bohuslav Sobotka said, adding that Tusk was a Visegrad candidate and that Poland had no right to veto him.Council chiefs are normally chosen by consensus, but Poland forced Tusk to be reappointed by a vote, which only served to highlight Warsaw's diplomatic fiasco.Muscat, who chaired the meeting, led Tusk back to the room after the formal vote, where he was received by a round of applause.Szydlo in a letter on Wednesday accused Tusk of having tried to overthrow her government.She also pushed for the Council to meet with Warsaw's alternative candidate, MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, in hard-ball tactics which, EU officials said, closed to door to any compromise."We don’t want to become hostages of national politics inside Poland, it looks more like the war of thrones" Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaite said on her way in to the summit."I don't see how a country could oppose that solution as long as all others are in favour of it," France's president Francois Hollande said.He added that keeping Tusk was important for EU "continuity, coherence, stability".Tusk's was mainly opposed by PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who holds Tusk responsible for his twin brother's death in the Smolensk air disaster in 2010.According to sources, Poland had threatened to leave the summit early if Tusk was re-elected.But Szydlo stayed in the room after the vote despite her threat.-'Democratic'-European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said Tusk's re-election was a “democratic” decision.“It's not a scandal, it's democracy,” Tajani said at a press conference on Thursday, after giving his speech to EU leaders at the summit.Tajani was not present at the vote, and noted the election of the European Council president was “not my job”.He said Poland's objection to Tusk's re-election was “an internal matter for Poland”, and he would not share his feelings about the candidacy of MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, who until recently was a member of Tajani's and Tusk's centre-right EPP party.“It's a personal decision of my colleague Saryusz-Wolski,” said Tajani.-Allies irritated-The feud comes at an awkward time, with the founding EU member states pushing for a multi-speed Europe that would allow them to push forward with deeper integration.The Visegrad states fear that that could leave them behind in a second-class Union.They warned in a statement last week that it could lead to the disintegration of the EU.The future of the EU will be discussed on Friday morning, with Tusk chairing the meeting.
WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)
EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)
EU leaders to discuss Libya migrant plans By Nikolaj Nielsen and Aleksandra Eriksson-MAR 9,17-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 16:25-The EU is pressing ahead to provide a Libyan land border authority, said to be "in complete disarray", with vehicles, surveillance, intelligence and other technologies, according to a document seen by EUobserver.In a letter ahead of Thursday's EU summit in Brussels, Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat, whose country holds the EU presidency, said that the EU is ready to "do its utmost" to stabilise Libya in a broader effort to stop people from exiting the war-torn country towards Europe.Muscat outlines the plans and money needed to help people stuck in Libya and prevent others from entering or leaving the country.The letter, addressed to European Council president Donald Tusk, provides an overview of EU-led efforts in Libya, following a declaration signed five weeks ago among heads of state at a summit in Malta and will be presented to other EU leaders when they discuss migration at the summit.It says the European Commission has earmarked €20 million to help improve conditions in detention centres, which are mostly run by armed militia groups.Part of that money will also go towards sending around 5,000 people home in assisted voluntary return schemes, organised by the Geneva-based International Organisation of Migration (IOM).One senior EU diplomat told reporters in early March that migration was just a side-issue to the real problems facing the country."Libya is totally out of control," he said, noting that the ties among local communities and tribes were shattered in the wake of Muammar Gaddafi's downfall as leader in 2011.But EU leaders in Brussels, at a summit on Thursday, intend to endorse all efforts in resolving the migratory challenges faced in Libya, according to draft conclusions seen by EUobserver.Among the biggest problems is trying to control a southern Libyan border that spans across vast tracks of lawless desert.-1,500 militias-The aim is to crack down on migrant smuggling in a country where some 1,500 armed militia groups operate with near total impunity.The task is further complicated by inter-tribal disputes and a UN-backed government of national accord in Tripoli that has little to no control over most the country.The difficulties were highlighted by the EU's border and surveillance mission in Libya, EUBAM, which in an internal report from February, said Libya's ministry of the interior is being infiltrated "by militias and religiously motivated stakeholders."It had also described Libyan border security and management as being "in complete disarray at present".The Muscat letter says EUBAM will support the ministry to tackle organised crime and human smuggling.It also offloads big tasks against smugglers in Libya to EU agencies like Europol, the European Border and Coast Guard, European Maritime Safety Agency, European Fisheries Control, and the European Satellite centre.One idea includes disrupting supplies to smugglers by somehow liaising with "manufacturers, suppliers, retails of dinghies and engines, etc".Another proposal involves "information sharing between military and law enforcement capacities deployed in the region."-Local opposition-Despite the plans, big questions remain on how exactly they will be carried out and whether the Libyan factions in control are willing to work with the EU.Local authorities from Tripoli and Zintan, a city in the north-west of country, told EUobserver in February that they opposed the EU plans to keep migrants inside the country."It is not acceptable and it is not logical that we should solve the problem of Europe by keeping the migrants and refugees in Libya," said Mostafa Al-Barooni, Zintan's mayor.The EU is carrying out missions in order to train the Libyan Coast Guard to return people caught within the territorial waters back to the country. In February, a first group graduated in Malta's capital city Valletta.A second training mission has since begun in Crete, with Malta planning to host another two training modules between March and April.
Anti-Islam populist Wilders protests outside Turkish embassy-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-March 8, 2017
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A rally in Rotterdam to seek support for a "yes" vote in a Turkish referendum on constitutional reform that would give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power was cancelled Wednesday, amid security concerns.Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wrote in a letter to city aldermen that the owner of a hall in the city that was to have hosted the meeting had cancelled . Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had planned to address the rally.Aboutaleb added that even if the venue had not pulled the plug on the meeting that he likely would have banned it "because of the risk to public order and security."Tensions have been high in Rotterdam's Turkish community since last year's failed coup aimed at toppling Erdogan.Earlier Wednesday, anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders said that Cavusoglu was not welcome in the Netherlands.Amid tight security, Wilders held a brief demonstration Wednesday outside Turkey's embassy in The Hague to protest the planned rally featuring the minister.Standing in front of a banner saying: "Stay Away! This is our country," Wilders called Erdogan a "dictator" and said, "We will not help strengthen a dictatorship."The demonstration came the morning after Cavusoglu addressed a rally in the German city of Hamburg and a week before Dutch elections in which Wilders is forecast to make strong gains.It was not immediately clear if Cavusoglu, who was in neighbouring Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday, would seek to hold a rally somewhere else in the Netherlands.The Dutch government has called such a rally "undesirable."Mike Corder, The Associated Press.
Germany's AfD calls for "negative immigration" of 200,000 people-[Reuters]-By Michelle Martin-YAHOONEWS-March 9, 2017
BERLIN (Reuters) - The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party called for the country to get rid of at least 200,000 more people a year than it takes in, as it faces a plunge in its popularity before elections this autumn.The target for "negative immigration" ("Minuszuwanderung") would be necessary for several years, according to a draft election programme the AfD released on Thursday, although it did not specify whether the quota would be met by migrants leaving voluntarily, by deportation or both.At the same time, the co-leader of the AfD said he was not alarmed about plunging support in polls. Its support has dropped to between 8 and 11 percent from a high of 15.5 percent at the end of 2016.Bitter infighting, a drop in migrant arrivals and a Social Democrat candidate who looks like a fresh alternative to Chancellor Angela Merkel have hurt its fortunes."The falling poll numbers ... doesn't worry me in the least," AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen told Reuters. "Okay, they're down now - that's happened several times before and the key thing is how we're doing at the time of the election, and I think we're on top there - especially due to this programme."He added he was not concerned about a reduction in the number of migrants arriving here hitting the party's popularity because the AfD also had strong positions on other issues such as taxes, defence, health policy and housing policy.The party could reach nearly 20 percent in the Sept. 24 election at best and just under 10 percent at worst, Meuthen said.Scandal rocked the AfD earlier this year when Bjoern Hoecke, the party leader in the eastern state of Thuringia, called Berlin's Holocaust Memorial a "monument of shame". He has also caused controversy by denying Adolf Hitler was "absolutely evil" in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.At a news conference on Thursday, party members declined to comment on the controversy. But Meuthen told Reuters while he was critical of Hoecke's views, the party had nothing to do with National Socialism."We're a party in which certain things are not accepted and that includes National Socialist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and racist positions - we don't tolerate them," Meuthen said.Two-thirds of the AfD's executive have voted to oust Hoecke. A party arbitration body must now decide whether to let that stand. The issue has triggered a spate of ugly infighting.In its election programme, the party criticised reducing Germany's history to the Nazi era and urged a "wider view of history that also includes aspects of German history that have contributed to our identity in a positive way".The party also called for the introduction of a minimum quota for deportations, said the borders should be closed immediately to end "uncontrolled mass immigration" and said only qualified people should be allowed to come to Germany.It said all rejected asylum seekers should be sent back to their countries of origin and it should be possible to withdraw German nationality from migrants who commit serious crimes.The AfD is projected to emerge from the election as the third biggest party. But it is ostracised by its mainstream rivals, so has no chance of joining any government.(Writing by Michelle Martin,; editing by Erik Kirschbaum, Larry King)
After fleeing to U.S., some asylum-seekers run north to escape Trump crackdown-[Reuters]-By Rod Nickel and Amran Abocar-YAHOONEWS-March 9, 2017
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Somali-born Abdulrahman Mohamed was a social worker in Grand Forks, North Dakota, for three years. He had a U.S. work permit and earned a promotion while waiting for his asylum claim to be heard.He had an apartment and was sending $350 a month to family in a Kenyan refugee camp. That changed in January. Mohamed and three friends with pending asylum claims were told to meet with an immigration officer to discuss their cases. When his friends went to their meetings they called him to say they had been detained. He has not heard from them since.“I started thinking, if I go in, what will happen to me?” said Mohamed, 30, who now lives in a Salvation Army homeless shelter in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "I had everything. I had a life. I never thought about coming to Canada, to be honest with you.”U.S. immigration officials told Reuters that without more specific personal details about Mohamed's three friends they were unable to confirm his account.Mohamed crossed illegally into Canada on the night of Feb. 19 after being driven close to the border and then walking six hours across snow-covered open ground with a friend.Mohamed and his friend are not alone in making the journey northward. Since Jan. 1, several hundred people, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have defied wintry conditions to cross illegally into Canada, fearing they will be ensnared in U.S. President Donald Trump's more aggressive effort to crack down on illegal immigrants.What has not been entirely clear until now is who is among this group going north. Reuters interviews with Mohammed and nearly two dozen others show that some of those crossing into Manitoba, are from East Africa - Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Others, including from Yemen and Syria, are crossing illegally into Canada at other points.Some of those now fleeing the United States originally moved there to escape what they said was persecution in their homelands. Reuters could not independently verify their stories.Those interviewed typically fit into three categories: some had pending U.S. asylum cases but feared being detained anyway, others had been denied asylum but still had work visas, while a third group flew into the United States on visitor visas and immediately crossed the border into Canada illegally.Three had failed asylum claims and criminal records that virtually guaranteed their removal under U.S. law.Few of those Reuters spoke to were undocumented workers, who are the main focus of Trump's stepped-up efforts.Canadian police say 183 people have crossed illegally into Manitoba since Jan. 1. Hundreds more are believed to have entered Quebec and British Columbia, according to refugee groups and media reports, although there is no firm data on exactly how many.The flow of migrants to Canada from the United States pre-dates Trump’s election, and is partly due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s welcome of refugees. But the numbers going northward have accelerated since the first week of February, according to Canada's public safety minister."I CAN'T GO BACK TO SOMALIA"-To be sure, former U.S. President Barack Obama also cracked down on illegal immigrants and was dubbed the "deporter in chief" by some dismayed migrant advocates after he expelled more than 400,000 people in 2012, the most by any president in a single year.But under Obama, failed asylum seekers who had no criminal records and were from countries deemed dangerous, like Somalia, were not a priority for deportation. They were allowed to work and had to report regularly to an immigration office.Trump has signaled a much tougher approach - he wants to widen the net to include these asylum seekers, among others.Yussif Abdullaahi, a failed U.S. asylum seeker worked at a manufacturing plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota, before he was told at his check-in to prepare for deportation by April 5 or be detained."I did not want to abandon my work, but I was worried," he said. After two years in the United States, he left for Canada, giving his car and personal belongings to his brother.Mohamed Daud, 36, left his wife and four step-children - some of whom have green cards making them legally permanent residents, or were born in the United States - and quit his job at a meat-packing factory in Grand Island, Nebraska for Canada, two days ahead of a March 1 check-in with immigration officials."I can’t go back to Somalia and I can’t go to jail," said Daud.The asylum seekers interviewed said they feared being killed if they returned to their home countries, either by the government or militant groups like al Shabaab.-UNDERGROUND RAILROAD-Many of those housed in shelters in Winnipeg have one thing in common: they congregated in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to take advantage of a little reported modern-day Underground Railroad, spread through word of mouth and social media, that lays out the path to Canada.Minneapolis is 650 kilometres (400 miles) from one of the main illegal crossing points into Canada, the town of Emerson in Manitoba.Ibrahim, 27, who said he was afraid to give his last name, lived with his U.S. citizen brother in Seattle and worked as a cleaner. When rumors of raids began to circulate in February, he fled. Instead of making the two-hour car trip to the border with British Columbia, the nearest Canadian province, he bussed halfway across America to Minneapolis."In Minneapolis, people know how to do it," he said.Those interviewed said the path from Minneapolis typically begins with a connection to drivers, usually Somali friends of friends who have often driven to North Dakota, and know the back roads and unwatched bush trails to Canada.The driver sets a time for departure – typically mid-afternoon in order to reach U.S. border towns across from Manitoba under cover of darkness – and tells travellers to arrive, cash in hand, at a designated spot.Up to six asylum seekers, often unknown to each other, may pack into a vehicle, each paying between $600 and $1,000, for a silent journey to North Dakota. The drivers typically forbid conversation and give out little information about themselves.Abdullaahi, the St. Cloud manufacturing employee, said his drive to North Dakota was fraught with anxiety."Every time the driver stopped to pick up someone or slowed down on the highway, my heart jumped. 'What is happening? Why is he stopping’,” he said.After they have been dropped off, sometimes 20 miles (32 km) from the border, they crunch across snowy fields. Once in Manitoba, asylum seekers phone Canadian police, who take them to the government border office to file claims.Refugee agency staff then take the migrants to Winnipeg to find housing while they await immigration hearings, usually within two months, that will determine if they can stay.Mohamed, the social worker from Grand Forks, is among those now waiting to hear his fate. Despite leaving behind a life that he had built over three years, he has few regrets about his trek north to an uncertain future.“What would you do if you knew your family ... is depending on you? Of course you would walk across a field, of course you would walk through snow," he said.(Reporting by Rod Nickel and Amran Abocar in Winnipeg, editing by Ross Colvin)
After marathon debate, draft of Obamacare repeal approved by House committee-[Christian Science Monitor]-David Iaconangelo-YAHOONEWS-March 9, 2017
The repeal of Obamacare just cleared its first hurdle.The House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee voted along party lines on Thursday to approve draft legislation that would overhaul the nation’s health care system, as the chamber’s Energy and Commerce Committee continued debate on the bill. The Ways and Means approval inched the bill closer toward consideration on the House floor, by which time Republicans also expect they will have a Congressional Budget Office estimate of its cost. And coming against a backdrop of significant Republican dissent and full-throated resistance from Democrats, the repeal poses the first legislative test for President Trump, who has busied himself primarily with a flurry of executive actions.The House plan, as The Christian Science Monitor’s Francine Kiefer noted this week, would eliminate individual and employer mandates while letting insurers raise premiums for lapsed coverage, replace subsidies for low-income Americans with tax credits, draw down the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid after 2019, and keep two of Obamacare’s most popular tenets that cover young adults under their parents’ insurance until age 26, and prohibit denial of coverage for a preexisting condition.But some independent analysts who have reviewed the plan say it could substantially reduce the number of people with coverage.“This is going to be a difficult lift, and I don’t see Trump having much sway in this trek to repeal and replace,” G. William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, told the Monitor, estimating that 8 million to 12 million fewer people could be covered under the GOP plan.Several hospital associations, as well as the AARP, have come out against the bill, saying it would raise health care costs and cause many patients to lose their insurance. And the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physicians’ organization, sent both House committees a letter this week expressing objections to the drafts."While we agree that there are problems with the ACA that must be addressed, we cannot support the AHCA as drafted because of the expected decline in health insurance coverage and the potential harm it would cause to vulnerable patient populations," the group wrote.During marathon debates on Wednesday, Democrats repeatedly tried to adjourn proceedings, protesting that decisions were being made before the CBO provided its analysis. And Democratic members on the Ways and Means Committee mounted dozens of attempts to tack on amendments to the bill, without success."This is decision-making without the facts, without the evidence," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, according to Reuters.Several key conservatives in the House and Senate have also attacked the bill’s system of tax credits, which they see as a rebranded version of entitlements, as well as its slow sunsetting of Medicaid expansion and leaving in place of some Obamacare taxes.The White House disputes the accuracy of CBO estimates, with spokesman Sean Spicer saying on Wednesday that relying on it for accuracy would be “looking in the wrong place.” But Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met that day with conservative groups opposed to the repeal, after which a White House official said they were “open to constructive improvements that maintain the core principles” of the bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin has played down opposition from his party’s most conservative wing."We’ll have 218 when this thing comes to the floor, I guarantee it,” Representative Ryan said, according to USA Today, in reference to the number of votes needed for passage in the House.This report contains material by Reuters.
AP Interview: Potential Netanyahu heir promotes Gaza island-[Associated Press]-ARON HELLER-YAHOONEWS-March 9, 2017
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel's powerful transportation and intelligence minister says he is pushing forward with a proposal to build an artificial island with a seaport off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza that he believes will alleviate hardship in the blockaded territory and offer residents their first real bridge to the outside world in a decade.With an independent Palestinian state unlikely anytime soon, Yisrael Katz told The Associated Press that an island for moving goods in and out of Gaza was part of his broader goal of creating regional security and "economic peace" between Israel and its neighbors. The plan has been derided by critics as impractical but presents a bold platform for Katz, who speaks openly of succeeding Benjamin Netanyahu even as the embattled prime minister faces a series of potentially devastating corruption probes.Seaport in italy-Katz's plan calls for an eight-square-kilometer (three-square-mile) island linked to Gaza by a five-kilometer (three-mile) bridge. The island, estimated to cost $5 billion, would take five years to build and include a seaport, a power station, a desalination plant and perhaps a future airport. Israel would supervise security but it would otherwise be run by the Palestinians and the international community — which he says would mark the completion of Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza."No Palestinian can oppose this, not Abu Mazen and not Hamas, because it gives them an opening to the world," Katz said in an interview at his Tel Aviv office. "In an absurd way, we are giving Hamas the keys to the world's largest prison."West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also known as Abu Mazen.The Palestinians have greeted the plan with skepticism, concerned that it is an Israeli power play whose real aim is to cement control over Gaza and further sever the territory from the West Bank. The Palestinians seek both territories, which are divided between rival governments, as parts of a future state.Israel destroyed Gaza's airport during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, and it restricts access to Gaza's small seaport, mostly to local fishermen.Nabil Shaath, Abbas' adviser for foreign affairs, said the Palestinians have their own plans for developing Gaza's coastline. "We are capable of taking care of ourselves. All we need is for Israel to leave us alone and lift the siege on Gaza," he said.He said Israel has rejected a number of initiatives over the years on security grounds. These include a French-Dutch offer to build a seaport in Gaza and a proposal for the Palestinians to rent a port in Cyprus, where international inspectors could check all cargo before it is shipped to Gaza."Katz's idea is to build a place that will be easy for Israel to control," he said. "Israel is the main reason for the crisis in Gaza and it is the obstacle in the way of our development."Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, declined comment.Arie Arnon, the Israeli coordinator of the Aix Group, a joint Israeli-Palestinian think tank, said Katz should be lauded for trying to tackle the complicated Gaza crisis, but that his island initiative was merely a "gimmick" since it came unilaterally and did not address the core of the problem."He wants a backdoor solution," he said. "The problem in Gaza is political, not technical."While the plan seems like a long shot, the idea has helped brand Katz as a creative thinker. The veteran Cabinet minister is currently Netanyahu's top deputy and has long been a power broker in the ruling Likud Party but remains generally unknown internationally.Katz made it clear he considers himself Netanyahu's natural successor but would not challenge the prime minister as long as he remains in power."The day he retires, I am running for head of Likud and prime minister," Katz stated.The next Israeli election is not scheduled until 2019, and Netanyahu has given no indication of stepping down. But he faces a series of police investigations into possible corruption, including suspicions that he accepted expensive gifts from Israeli billionaire Arnon Milchan, that could potentially force him to resign. The media buzzes daily with reports of the police investigations.Katz says he is serious about the island plan, which he believes could bring much-needed relief to the people of Gaza at a time of political impasse.Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority in 2007. Repeated reconciliation attempts between Gaza and West Bank governments have failed.Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms from reaching the Islamic militant group, which is sworn to Israel's destruction and has fought three wars with Israel since the takeover. Over the years, Gaza has frequently been used to launch rocket attacks against Israel.But critics say the closure amounts to collective punishment of Gaza's roughly 2 million residents. The blockade has hit Gaza's economy hard and prevented most residents from moving in and out.Israel currently allows about 850 truckloads of goods into Gaza each day, but aid groups and U.N. officials say this is not enough to meet Gaza's needs, especially as it rebuilds from a 2014 war.Katz said the island would be in international waters and could provide economic independence to Palestinians while allowing Israel to still vet security.He said Israel's security establishment backs the plan, and he is pressuring Netanyahu to bring it up soon for a Cabinet vote. After that, international bodies would have to get involved in the implementation and funding.Katz said he has gotten positive feedback from the U.S. and from Arab countries and that he believes wealthy Arab governments would pick up the hefty tab, though he declined to identify them. Officials in Saudi Arabia and with the Gulf Cooperation Council did not immediately return messages seeking comment.The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Katz said Israel will not negotiate directly with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group. But he said he has received indications that the Western-backed Palestinian Authority would welcome such a plan — a claim the Palestinians deny.Although he himself opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, Katz said none of his initiatives inhibit future negotiations. "I'm talking about an interim arrangement for 10 to 15 years that can lower violence and friction, loosen the reins on the population and let them develop," he said.____Follow Heller on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap.
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