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The Shame Is On The Aggressor, Not The Victim.
Angelina Jolie knows that religion – a bastion of male domination – is often the spur and the excuse for degrading and abusing women, for preventing them from being educated, for using them as a vehicle for violent sexual satisfaction.
She has drawn the world’s attention toward a crime that is unthinkable.
She has made people talk about an act that is unspeakable.
Her visceral connection with women who have had the horrors of savage wars taken out on them, is evident when she struggles to hold back tears as she hugs and comforts when she walks among those who have been brutally raped too many times to count – some mothers brutalised by boys young enough to be their sons.
The shame, as she says, is on the aggressor, not the victim.

( Fiona Phillips, 14.06.2014 )

Half A Million People Marched Through Moscow To Honour This Crucial Date In Russian History.
On May 9, 2015, Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, was on an official visit to Moscow in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Upon seeing countless people marching in the streets, he assumed that what he was witnessing was an anti-Putin protest.
This kind of ‘misunderstanding’ was not a surprise.
After all, European and North American mainstream media is fond of exaggerating anti-government protests—by a handful of affluent pro-Western ideological Liberals—that are limited to large urban centres.
Yet that day, foreign journalists were forced to cover something unprecedented, though underestimating the numbers.
Half a million Muscovites marched through the city carrying mounted photographs of their family members, who participated in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945).
To be clear, these Muscovites did not come out to “hail the government,” in the words of Ban Ki-moon, but to honour this crucial date in Russian history.
The Soviet Union lost over 26 million people in this War, most of them civilians, according to official estimates.
Yet it was also responsible for 80% of Nazi German losses, with the second Allied front opened only in mid-1944; thus, this victory is rightfully theirs.
Because this War literally touched every family in the country—not just at the front, but also at home in industrial production; from the 872 days of starvation during the siege of Leningrad to the million Soviet casualties paid for that famous turning-point victory at Stalingrad—it became the great consolidating experience for the USSR.
( Nina Byzantina, 20.05.2015 )  ..

Reclaim Our Gas And Electricity.
Let the Government create a firm – “OurEnergy” has a ring to it – which significantly undercuts the Big Six cartel and invites every customer to switch to it, until it eventually attracts the majority of energy users and has the power to set prices as low as realistically possible.
Leaving the foreign-owned pirates to conclude that they can’t make their killer profits any longer, and head for other shores.

( Brian Reade, 31.10.2013 )

Israel’s new deputy foreign minister delivered a defiant message to the international community, saying that Israel owes no apologies for its policies in the Holy Land and citing religious texts to back her belief that it belongs to the Jewish people.
The speech by Tzipi Hotovely illustrated the influence of hardliners in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new government, and the challenges he will face as he tries to persuade the world that he is serious about pursuing peace with the Palestinians.
Hotovely, 36, is among a generation of young hardliners in Netanyahu’s Likud party who support West Bank settlement construction and oppose ceding captured land to the Palestinians.
Hotovely said Israel has tried too hard to appease the world and must stand up for itself.
She said: “We need to return to the basic truth of our rights to this country. This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologise for that. We expect as a matter of principle of the international community to recognise Israel’s right to build homes for Jews in their homeland, everywhere”.
She laced her speech with biblical commentaries in which God promised the land of Israel to the Jews.
( Associated Press, 22.05.2015 )  ..

The Most Expensive Nuclear Power Station In The World.
The Government’s decision to back a new £16billion nuclear power plant is “economically insane”, City analysts have warned.
Ministers have handed French energy firm EDF, with the support of the Chinese, a contract to construct two reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
But brokers Liberum Capital said the deal would make Hinkley the most expensive power station in the world, with rich rewards for its investors.
It claimed they could rake in £1billion a year in profit from the plant, compared to the £2.1billion a year the Big Six energy companies currently make from their generation arms.
Liberum Capital analysts Peter Atherton and Mulu Sun said they were “flabbergasted” that the Government had agreed to go ahead with the deal.

Ministers, they said, were banking on the fact that gas prices would continue to soar to make the plant cost effective.
They said, “Once again, the UK Government is taking a massive bet that fossil fuel prices will be extremely high in the future.
If that bet proves to be wrong, then this contract will look economically insane.”

( Graham Hiscott, 31.10.2013 )

Israel Exploit Young Palestinian Children To Work In Illegal Agricultural Settlements.
Hundreds of Palestinian children work on Israeli illegal settlement farms in the illegally occupied West Bank, the majority located in the Jordan Valley.
The Human Rights Report, ‘Ripe for Abuse’, documents rights abuses against Palestinian children as young as 11 years old, who earn around US$19 for a full day working in the settlement agricultural industry.
Many drop out of school and work in conditions that can be hazardous due to pesticides, dangerous equipment, and extreme heat.
Children working on Israeli settlements pick, clean, and pack asparagus, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, onions, and dates, among other crops.
Children whom Human Rights Watch interviewed said they begin work as early as 5:30 or 6 a.m. and usually work around 8 hours a day, six or seven days a week.
During peak harvest periods, some children reported working up to 12 hours a day, over 60 hours a week.
Some children described pressure from supervisors to keep working, and not to take breaks.
Although international law, as well as Israeli and Palestinian law, sets 15 as the minimum age of employment, many children told Human Rights Watch that they began working at age 13 or 14.
Even younger children work part-time, and one boy interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that he worked together with a boy who was only 10 years old.
( Human Rights Watch, 13.04.2015 )  ..

Riots By Canadian Soldiers.
Following the end of the Second World War, Commonwealth forces were eager to return home.
Because demobilisation and repatriation was a slow progress, boredom started to take hold and poor conditions, coupled with pay restrictions and bad food, led to riots at military bases around the world.
Canadian soldiers were no strangers to rioting while awaiting demobilisation, having done so in Epsom, Surrey and at Kinmel Park, Conwy in 1919.
During the VE Day celebrations of 8-9 May 1945, Canadians rioted in Headley, Hampshire, while a false rumour that three Canadian soldiers were being held at Aldershot police station saw rioting hit the town on 4 and 5 July.
Damage was estimated to be around £150,000 and despite the soldier’s grievances including being over-charged in local shops and pubs, no looting had taken place.

The Canadian army made amends by paying for replacement glass, while Aldershot Borough Council – aware that the rioters were in the minority – granted the Canadian Army Overseas the freedom of the borough.
While there wasn’t a cover-up as such, the Canadian army only issued a short statement confirming that three soldiers had been jailed for between two and seven years following a court martial.

( Best of British magazine, January 2015 )

Prisoners Of War Held In Britain.
In 1944 Britain was awash with hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war in camps dotted across Britain.
At their peak in 1946, the German POW’s in the camps numbered over 400,000.
At first, prisoners were not permitted to mingle with the local populace, but by Christmas 1946, fraternisation was allowed.
In the early years of the war, Britain was home to only a few – mostly downed German pilots and their aircrew or U-boat personnel.
Most of these were sent to USA or Canada for security reasons.
From 1941 there was a major influx of Italian POW’s.
It was not until after the D-day landings in June 1944 that German prisoners came in large numbers.
On their arrival they were interrogated and then graded according to their loyalty to Nazism.
They wore a coloured patch on their uniform to indicate their grade.
A white patch signified no loyalty to Nazism, a grey one meant no loyalty either way, and a black patch revealed a fervent Nazi.
The latter were sent to sparse areas of Scotland, where they worked in agriculture.
The POW’s were moved to different camps so that they didn’t become too familiar with their location.
The repatriation process for German POW’s was slow, the last prisoner returning home in 1948.
About 25,000 elected to remain, making Britain home.

( Jackie Hendry )

Ukraine Government Responsible for Cluster Attacks on Donetsk.
Ukraine government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch claim.
The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.
During a week-long investigation in eastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in more than a dozen urban and rural locations.
While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk.
An employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was killed on October 2, 2014 in an attack on Donetsk that included use of cluster munition rockets.
“It is shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine,” said Mark Hiznay, senior arms researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Ukrainian authorities should make an immediate commitment not to use cluster munitions and join the treaty to ban them.”
The government of Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied using cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine.
( 20.10.2014 )  ..

Churchill Was Determined His Wedding Night Would Be A Success.
Sir Winston Churchill chatted up girls by telling them: “Marry me, and I will conquer the world and lay it at your feet”.
And a book reveals his conquests included society beauty Pamela Bowden, shipping heiress Muriel Wilson, actress Ethel Barrymore and a music hall girl who found he “did nothing but talk about himself”.
Yet historian Sonia Purnell said Sir Winston was a rarity among alpha males as he was not a “Bill Clinton or a JFK” and a sexual predator.
But he still liked to present himself as a “swashbuckling suitor” startling female staff at his family home, Chartwell, by running between rooms in the nude.
He even told his mother-in-law that he found sex a “delightful occupation”.
However, his 57-year marriage to Clementine was the “real deal”.
Sonia Purnell says Sir Winston was so determined the wedding night would be a success he contacted his mother, who reputedly had 200 lovers.
She gave very good advice and it went terribly well as he wrote thanking her and telling her “we’ve loved and loitered”.
( David Collins, 27.06.2015 )

The UK Is One Of The Most Unequal Countries In The World.
There has been recent work showing that overall human beings are becoming less violent, but at the same time the murder rate has been going up in places like Britain, because a small group of people become more violent and that level of violence can be affected by inequality.
Levels of violence are higher in more unequal countries, more unequal countries are more likely to go to war and to ask for a coalition to come with them.
More equal countries are more likely to resist war.
My favourite Prime Minister of Great Britain is the man who kept us out of the Vietnam War.
Nobody ever celebrates Harold Wilson for keeping us out of the Vietnam War – I think part of the reason he could do it is because it was a time of greater social equality, because we had more in common with each other.

Robert Frank, a very mainstream American economist, has helped to explain that as inequalities increase, it becomes more and more important if you just want your child to go to an average school, to spend more and more money on housing, and then to start to drive your child to school, past the schools that you are afraid of.
If you want to live in a society where you don’t have to worry about where you live and spend as much money as possible on your house, where your children can go to the nearest school and be friends with other people, you need to live in a more equal society.

There are great dangers in having huge and widening inequalities.
Currently in the United States the average black family has 19 times less wealth than the average white family.
Society begins to break down when you have those kinds of differences.

We’re living through a very strange time in Britain.
The last time we were as unequal as now was in the 1920s and that was short-lived and it was overcome.

One very big problem about inequality is that the people who study it talk endlessly, as I have done, about the problems of inequality.
What we tend not to do is talk about what is good about less inequality, about becoming a bit more equal – partly because of the anger you often feel when you talk about inequality.
But I think it’s good to talk about what happens when equality increases, when people come together.

There has been some work done in America suggesting that many world religions began at a time of inequality. People were affected by inequality, by injustices, by occupations, and one of the effects of that was to create religions which often preached the equality of human beings and corresponding behaviour to each other.
The United Kingdom is one of the most unequal of the rich countries in the world.
Of the 25 richest countries in the world, only three are more unequal:  Singapore, the United States (which has a higher infant mortality rate, a lower life expectancy, two million people in prison) and Portugal (because of an aristocracy) – then the United Kingdom, and then Israel, which is a more equal country by income than the United Kingdom.
You’ll have heard of the 1% – this is the 1% who have the most, the 1% richest.
And this measure of inequality is, just how much do this 1% have?
If you have a perfectly equal society, the 1% would only have 1%, the same as everybody else..

In the United Kingdom, the 1% have approaching 18% of all income – 18 times the average income.
The only large country which is worse than this is the United States, where the top 1% have 20% of all income, which is 20 times the average income.

One way is to think about having a hundred children, and all of these children have pocket money, and one child gets £20 a week, leaving only £80 to be shared among the other ninety-nine.
In societies which are more unequal, where the top 1% take more, people are more stressed, find things harder, are more likely to suffer anxiety and depression.
My view about the top 1% statistic is that it’s really indicative of a badly-run society in general and many things go wrong in a society where the best-off people take more and more and more.
( Danny Dorling, May 2012 )

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