Arnold Schwarzenegger Mocks President Trump’s Approval Ratings

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

Arnold Schwarzenegger Mocks President Trump’s Approval Ratings and Challenges Him to a Middle-School Visit

8:42 AM ET

Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday mocked President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings and challenged him to go to a Washington D.C. middle school to see after-school programs in action, after they were placed on the chopping block in the President’s proposed budget.

“Oh, Donald, the ratings are in, and you got swamped,” Schwarzenegger said in a video Tuesday. “Wow. Now you’re in the thirties?”

“But what do you expect?” he added. “I mean, when you take away after-school programs from children and Meals on Wheels from the poor people, that’s not what you call ‘making America great again.'”

Hey, @realDonaldTrump, I have some advice. See you at Hart Middle School? Here’s more info about : http://www.afterschoolallstars.org/programs/national-outcomes/ 

 The video is the latest addition to an ongoing feud between the two men. Trump regularly criticized the ratings of The New Celebrity Apprentice after Schwarzenegger took over as host earlier this year. The actor and former governor of California recently stepped down from the show after one season, prompting Trump to taunt him for “pathetic” ratings.

A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

(POT IS A STEP DOWN DRUG, NOT A STEP UP DRUG. LEGAL POT IS A THREAT TO THE ALCOHOL AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES AS WELL AS TO THE PROFITS OF DRUG CARTELS, POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND TO THE STATE AND FEDERAL PRISON FOR PROFIT SYSTEMS. THIS IS THE MAIN REASONS THAT POT IS STILL ILLEGAL, THAT AND PEOPLE LIKE THE AG JEFF SESSIONS WHO ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OR TRUTH OR SIMPLY DO NOT CARE WHAT THE TRUTH IS.) (THIS COMMENTARY IS BY TRS)   

A Quarter of American Beer Drinkers Say They’re Switching to Pot

11:34 AM ET

As legalization of marijuana grows throughout the United States, so does its popularity with beer drinkers.

About one in four Americans are now spending their money on marijuana instead of beer, new research from Cannabiz Consumer Group found. Twenty-seven percent of beer consumers are legally purchasing cannabis instead of beer, or suggested they would purchase it instead if it were legalized in their state. The research group surveyed 40,000 Americans last year.

About 24.6 million Americans legally purchased pot in the U.S. last year and that number is expected to grow, according to the study. Numerous states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and a smaller number of states have legalized it for recreational use. The Department of Justice under the Obama Administration relaxed federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal, but the Trump Administration may reverse that trend.

Still, the group predicts the cannabis industry will grow to $50 billion. The U.S. beer market sells over $100 billion in beer each year, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

If marijuana were legalized nationally, the beer industry would lose more than $2 billion in retail sales, the Cannabis Consumer Group says. The group anticipates the cannabis industry will take just over 7% of the beer industry’s market.

Other studies have supported this concept. As Money reported in 2016, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state contributed to beer sales falling in those states, according to research firm Cowen & Company.

Most recently, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada passed measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana late last year. More than half of U.S. states permit the medical use of marijuana.

Myanmar: The Civil War With All Of Its Ethnic Killing Continues With No End In Sight

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

‘This Will Be the Worst War’: Fears of Mass Displacement as Thousands Flee Conflict in Myanmar’s Northeast

1:27 AM Eastern

A steady stream of men, women and children arrive by the hundreds at Mansu Monastery in rural northeastern Myanmar. Each day brings a fresh wave of people fleeing a new outbreak of conflict that threatens to derail the country’s already fragile peace process. Powdered with red dust after hours on open-air flatbed trucks through mountain roads, they enter Lashio, the largest city in Myanmar’s Shan state. New arrivals walk into the monastery quarters carrying bundles of belongings and stories of violence from the streets and surrounding suburbs of Laukkai, capital of the Kokang Special Administered Zone bordering China.

Just before dawn on Monday, members of a Kokang-based armed group called the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) attacked a hotel in Laukkai and several outposts of Myanmar police and armed forces, known locally as the Tatmadaw. Government figures estimate that there were at least 30 fatalities, including at least five civilians, and about 20 of the deceased were burned beyond recognition. “I can’t live there anymore, there’s too much shooting,” Than Naing Tun, a 35-year-old sugar-cane farmer, tells TIME as he waits at the monastery to board a truck back to his hometown in Magwe.

Next Generation Leaders: Wai Wai Nu
Wai Wai Nu, 30, spent 7 years in jail in Myanmar as a political prisoner. She is now a lawyer and the founder of two NGO’s that promote peace and justice in Myanmar.

Most, if not all, of the displaced people arriving in Lashio — about 100 miles southwest of Laukkai— are migrant workers from Myanmar’s central plains. Attracted by the somewhat higher wages on offer in Kokang, many labor in the fields or work at recycling plants. “Our families found out from watching TV, and all of the phone lines [in Laukkai] were cut,” Than Naing Tun says, “they were so worried, they thought we were dead.” While the migrants try and make their way back to central Myanmar, the Kokang people, who are ethnic Chinese, have mostly fled across the border into Yunnan province in China. Humanitarian agencies and local aid workers estimate that more than 10,000 people have made their way over the border.

Read More: ‘We Cannot Believe Aung San Suu Kyi’: Why Many in Burma Are Losing Hope of Peace

Several of those who fled to Lashio tell TIME that almost everyone in Laukkai is attempting to leave, as the sounds of gunfire, and what they believe were mortar shells, have resumed each nightfall since the early hours of Monday morning. Myint Kyi, 44, seated beside her 14-year-old daughter, says she heard gunfire and explosions for several hours before daybreak on Monday. When the sun rose and the sounds died down, she walked to a nearby hotel about 50 m away from her apartment, where the fighting first broke out. There she says she saw four dead bodies — three men and one woman — still lying on the ground outside. She decided to leave with her family. “We left everything behind,” her daughter San San Maw says. “We left so fast we didn’t even bring our slippers.”

But leaving has not been easy for many. Unable to enter the town of Laukkai , convoys of trucks are waiting in nearby towns for the thousands of people trying to head towards Lashio and on into central Myanmar. Meanwhile, bus drivers in the town are charging passengers 10 times the normal fare to leave — about $73 instead of the usual $7.30 — several arrivals tell TIME, consistent with accounts in local media. Myint Kyi says that “almost everyone” wants to leave, but most do not have enough money to pay the exorbitant fare.

This week’s outbreak is the deadliest escalation of conflict in Kokang since early February 2015, when the MNDAA launched an attack on Myanmar forces in an effort to reclaim control of the territory. The group’s presumed leader, Peng Jiasheng, was ousted by the Myanmar government in 2009, forcing him and his supporters to retreat into the remote and forested hills of Yunnan. When they re-emerged, the Tatmadaw fiercely fought off their surprise comeback, imposed a four-month period of martial law and ultimately sent the MNDAA back into hiding.

Read More: David Miliband: How to Bring Peace to the World’s Longest Civil War

Monday’s escalation sparked fears of a repeat, and concerns about the humanitarian cost. Myint Kyi, the mother TIME met at the monastery, says the city’s residents worry that “this time will be worse than the last,” which left hundreds of soldiers dead on both sides of the conflict and caused an exodus of tens of thousands of civilians, mostly to China. “I heard that the Tatmadaw will take down all of the MNDAA, they will get them all, and this will be the worst war,” she tells TIME.

The abbot of Mansu Monastery, Padanna Pone Nay Nanda, tells TIME that well over 1,000 migrants have already passed through his compound since Monday. Upon our visit on Wednesday morning local time, hundreds were loading up on trucks and leaving, while more trickled in. Another 300 were expected to arrive throughout the day. The Mansu complex is known far and wide as a refuge, having welcomed displaced populations many times over Padanna’s 28 years as a monk there, and he coordinates with local aid workers to provide for the displaced. “This is only the start, it’s hard to know what will happen over the next week,” he tells TIME, recalling the thousands that transited through during the previous conflict.

Read More: Burma’s Transition to Civilian Rule Hasn’t Stopped the Abuses of Its Ethnic Wars

Myanmar, which was ruled by a brutal military junta until 2011, has suffered one of the world’s most protracted and complex civil wars, with more than 20 nonstate armed groups fighting the Myanmar army for political autonomy over the course of nearly six decades. The new civilian government, led by Nobel laureate and now State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, has pledged to make peace a priority as it struggles to rebuild a nation devastated by conflict, corruption and poverty. In late 2015, a cease-fire was reached between government forces and eight of the rebel armies, though several groups abstained and others were categorically excluded from the process. Among those denied a seat at the table were the MNDAA, along with three other armed groups with which the Kokang have now formed a coalition. The Brotherhood of the Northern Alliance, as it is known since its inception last year, includes the MNDAA, the Arakan Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and some parts of the Kachin Independence Army.

Suu Kyi released a statement condemning Monday’s attack and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, warning that continued attacks can bring “nothing but sorrow and suffering on the innocent local tribes and races,” urging actors to join the national peace dialogue. The Tatmadaw, however, has repeatedly stated that it will not allow the concerned groups to participate in the peace process unless they immediately disarm. Having withstood previous cease-fires with the Myanmar army that later disintegrated, their leadership is disinclined to do so.

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Pope Francis: Read The Bible As Often As You Check Your Cellphone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE VATICAN AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Pope Francis: Read the Bible as Often as You Check Your Cellphone

12:51 PM Eastern

(VATICAN CITY) — Pope Francis has called on the faithful to consult the Bible with the same frequency as they might consult their cellphones for messages.

Francis urged a packed St. Peter’s Square following his weekly Angelus blessing Sunday to give the Bible the same place in daily life as cellphones, asking: “What would happen if we turned back when we forget it, if we opened it more times a day, if we read the message of God contained in the Bible the way we read messages on our cellphones.”

The message was a twist on Francis’ frequent use of social media to reach the faithful, including regular messages on Twitter.

At Least 60 Inmates Killed in Brazil Prison Riot

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE)

At Least 60 Inmates Killed in Brazil Prison Riot

“This is the biggest prison massacre in our state’s history”

(RIO DE JANEIRO) — At least 60 inmates died during a prison riot in the northern state of Amazonas, including several who were beheaded or dismembered, Brazilian state authorities said Monday.

State public security secretary Sergio Fontes said that in addition to the deaths, some inmates escaped, but he did not say how many. Several prison guards were held hostage.

“This is the biggest prison massacre in our state’s history,” Fontes said during a press conference. The riot began Sunday afternoon and lasted until Monday morning.

Two of the biggest crime gangs of Brazil began fighting last year over control of several prisons and authorities in Amazonas believe that’s the reason behind the first riot of 2017.

Fontes said the inmates made few demands to end the riot, which hints at a killing spree organized by members of a local gang against those of another that is based in Sao Paulo.

The secretary said officers found a hole in a prison wall through which authorities believe weapons entered the building.

Fontes confirmed that many of the dead had been beheaded and Judge Luis Carlos Valois, who negotiated the end of the riot with inmates, said he saw many bodies that were quartered.

“I never saw anything like that in my life. All those bodies, the blood,” Valois wrote on Facebook.

Valois said that during the negotiations, inmates only asked “that we did not transfer them, made sure they were not attacked and kept their visitation.”

The riot ended after the inmates freed the last of the 12 prison staffers they had held hostage, Valois said.

In another prison in Amazonas, 87 inmates escaped in the first hours of Monday, Fonte said.

One of the inmates posted a picture on Facebook as he left the prison.

Boy, 12, Accused of Nail Bomb Attempt on Christmas Market in Germany

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE, REUTERS AND NBC NEWS)

Boy, 12, Accused of Nail Bomb Attempt on Christmas Market in Germany

The boy was possibly controlled by ISIS, local media reports

12-Year-Old Attempts Nail Bomb Attack at German Christmas Market: Report
German officials say a 12-year-old tried to detonate a nail bomb in a Christmas market in Ludwigshafen in western Germany.

A 12-year-old boy attempted to commit attacks on a Christmas market and near a town hall in Ludwigshafen, western Germany, in the space of just over a week, officials say.

Hubert Stroeber, a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, told Reuters that the boy, who is German but of Iraqi heritage, tried and failed to detonate a nail bomb at the Christmas market on Nov. 26 and then planted another self-made explosive device in a backpack near the town hall on Dec. 5. A passer-by drew the police’s attention to the abandoned backpack, and specialists destroyed it in a controlled explosion.

The boy was possibly controlled by ISIS, according to the German magazine FOCUS. The “religiously radicalized” boy was “instigated [by an] unknown member” of the terrorist organization and had been planning to flee to Syria last summer, it reports. Authorities also told television network ZDF that the boy had been radicalized via social media and the internet.

A spokesman at the Federal Public Prosecutor Office in Karlsruhe confirmed that officials were investigating the case but declined to comment on any possible Islamic State link, Reuters states.

As the child is 12 and Germany’s age of criminal responsibility is 14, the boy was not arrested but reportedly taken into foster care instead. Hubert Stroeber, a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, told NBC News that an investigation would be “turned down” because of the boy’s age.

Donald Trump Invites Philippines’ President Duterte To White House And Vice Versa

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES AND REUTERS)

Donald Trump Invites Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to the White House After ‘Animated’ Phone Call

Rodrigo Duterte
Eugene Hoshiko—AP Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to journalists before getting aboard a coast guard ship at a Japan Coast Guard base in Yokohama, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. The Philippine President had a telephone conversation with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 2.

Both leaders invited each other to their respective nations

Donald Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House in 2017 during a telephone conversation, according to an aide to Duterte.

Reuters reported on Friday that the conversation between the two had been described by Duterte aide Christopher Go as a “very engaging, animated” one, lasting more than seven minutes. Some have drawn similarities between the two leaders based on their unexpected rises to power and their controversial statements and provocative personalities. Immediately after the U.S. election last month, Duterte extended an olive branch to Trump, despite fractious relations between the two countries since the Philippine Presidential election in May this year.

Duterte also invited Trump to the Philippines next year when the country chairs the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Go said. It is tradition for the U.S. president to attend the proceedings. At the summit in October, Duterte called President Obama the “son of a whore.”

[Reuters]

 

As China Threatens: India And Japan Choose To Grow Closer With Each Other & U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

JAPAN

What to Know About Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Visit to Japan

 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Friday, commencing a three-day bilateral meeting in Japan, to discuss developing the two countries’ economic and strategic relationship.

“Japan may be on its way to becoming one of India’s most important strategic partners, some years from now,” Sanjib Baruah, an honorary research professor at India’s Center for Policy Research think-tank and professor at Bard College, tells TIME. “[But] China is the elephant in the room.”

Traditional alliances in the region are shifting, as Russia — one of India’s biggest arms suppliers — seeks stronger relationships with Pakistan and China. As the country looks to phase out its phase out its fleet of Soviet-era aircrafts, India has increasingly looked to Washington, and American defense companies for military equipment.

The meeting with Japan is indicative of a continuing pivot for India as the two countries discuss deals ranging from a highly coveted civil nuclear cooperation pact to a defense trade agreement worth more than a billion dollars.

“There is always some nervousness in Indian policy circles that the U.S. may be insufficiently appreciative of India’s desire for strategic autonomy. But with Japan there is no such baggage,” says Baruah. “In the long run I can see Japan occupying the kind of place that Russia once did in Indian foreign and defense policy.”

Here’s what you need to know about Modi’s visit to Japan.

1. Pomp and circumstance

Modi’s visit was preceded by much fanfare as 32 members of India’s military band will participate in Japan’s Self Defense Forces 2016 Marching Festival for the first time, celebrating the two countries’ efforts to developing closer strategic ties. According to The Hindustan Times, the festival, which was held in Tokyo this year, is a tradition going back more than half a century and draws audiences of more than 50,000 people. Although India’s marching band has been in Tokyo since earlier this week, the actual festival will take place from Nov. 11 to 13, during Modi’s visit. While the march is a largely symbolic overture, it sets the tone for a meeting highly anticipated in bringing the two countries together both economically, as well as strategically.

2. Search and rescue planes

The meeting will also finalize one of the first military sale’s Japan has made since lifting a 50-year-old export ban on arms sales two years ago. According to Reuters, India will buy 12 rescue water-planes from Japan, worth an estimated $1.6 billion. The deal will be included in the memorandum of understanding signed by Prime Minister Abe and Modi during the summit.

3. Civil nuclear cooperation-pact

Modi and Abe will also conclude a much-anticipated civil nuclear-cooperation pact, which would allow Japan to sell nuclear technology to India. According to the Japan Times, the pact will benefit Japanese nuclear-component manufacturers who suffered setbacks after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The deal may also mark the first time Japan has sold nuclear technology to a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Negotiations began in 2010, before either Prime Minister was elected, and the two leaders reached a memorandum of understanding in December of last year, during Abe’s visit to India. Abe’s Vice-Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama traveled to India last month to put finishing touches on the deal.

4. Focus on Regional Security

Despite the promises of the meeting, some experts see the recent U.S. election as a monkey-wrench in terms of projected gains from the bilateral talks — as much of the long-term success of the meeting will hinge on U.S. influence in the region. There is also uncertainty as to how the new U.S. administration, under President-elect Donald Trump, will respond to its alliances around the world, especially in Asia.

“With the election of Trump, the containment strategy towards China embraced by the U.S. and Japan looks uncertain at best,” Jeff Kingston, Director of Asian Studies in Japan’s Temple University tells TIME.

Although, there has been little indication of Trump’s policies, some fear his “America First” policy speech last April, raised serious questions as to America’s future global commitment in Asia.

“The Trump factor reinforces the perception that the U.S. is a declining power in Asia, and leaders will act accordingly,” says Kingston.

Among Japan’s largest concerns is China’s increasing military presence in the South China Sea. As an island nation, with very few natural resources, the disputed waterway is Japan’s cheapest trade corridor. For this reason, China’s militarization of the sea is of great concern to Japan and one of the areas in which it seeks stronger rhetoric from India.

While India issued a joint statement with the U.S. in January, “[calling] on all parties to avoid the threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means,” the country has not risked adopting stronger rhetoric against China’s actions in the contested waters.

Ahead of Modi’s meeting with Abe, China’s state-run Global Times, warned India of “great losses” should New Delhi decide to call on Beijing to respect the Hague tribunal’s arbitration ruling rebuking China’s behavior in the South China Sea. Since then, the Times of India reported, Beijing’s foreign ministry has called on New Delhi to “respect [the] legitimate concerns” of India’s northern neighbor during the Indian prime minister’s meeting with Abe.

Although India would like to check the growing influence of China in the region, “China has significant capacity to cause trouble for India in its immediate neighborhood,” says research professor Baruah. For now, it isn’t in India’s best interest to antagonize the Asian giant — especially when there is still much trepidation as to Trump’s policies and influence in the region.

“Everyone is on ‘wait and see’ mode to gauge how Trump will act, because on the campaign trail he was a loose cannon,” says Kingston.

Is Hong Kong Set To Go Up In Flames As The People Buck Against Communist Leaders?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘TIME’)

HONG KONG

Hong Kong Protest Turns Violent as Anxiety Over China’s Interference Rises

Police stop demonstrators as they protest in Hong Kong
Tyrone Siu—Reuters Police stop demonstrators as they protest against what they call Beijing’s interference over local politics and the rule of law in Hong Kong, China November 6, 2016.

Police used pepper spray and batons on protesters who stormed a barricade

A massive protest in Hong Kong turned violent Sunday night when demonstrators attempted to storm a police barricade outside the Chinese government’s headquarters, prompting officers to retaliate with pepper spray and batons.

The protest began peacefully earlier in the day: with thousands of people marching across town to decry Beijing’s controversial decision this week to effectively decide the fate of two radical lawmakers who call for the semi-autonomous territory’s outright independence from China. The maverick legislators, 25-year-old Yau Wai-ching and 30-year-old Sixtus “Baggio” Leung, who came to political prominence in the wake of the 2014 pro-democracy protests, have been the subject of scandal since they gave their oaths of office on Oct. 12. The pair refused to pledge allegiance to Hong Kong’s constitution, the Basic Law, and instead swore fealty to the “Hong Kong Nation” — the oath required them to swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Read More: China Will Intervene in the Case of Hong Kong’s Pro-Independence Lawmakers

On Friday, the Hong Kong government announced that Beijing would step in and interpret the Basic Law accordingly to decide if Yau and Leung would still be able to take their seats. The issue is currently being decided in a local court, but at a meeting on Sunday with Hong Kong’s representatives to Beijing, Zhang Xiaoming, mainland China’s most senior official in Hong Kong, said Beijing would “absolutely” not permit pro-independence politicians to serve as lawmakers, according to the South China Morning Post.

Beijing’s actions in the matter have widely been seen as a violation of Hong Kong’s constitutional principle known as “one country, two systems,” enacted in 1997 when the British returned the former colony to China.

Under this system, Hong Kongers maintain the right to freedom of speech and protest, freedoms that citizens of mainland China do not enjoy. On Sunday, as many as 10,000 people marched nearly 2.5 miles from the district of Wan Chai to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, Beijing’s nerve center in the territory. The demonstrators were civil but spirited, speaking out against what they say is Chinese encroachment in Hong Kong and a local government that has failed to defend their constitutional rights.

Read More: Court in Hong Kong Hears Case Against Two Pro-Independence Lawmakers

“The [Chinese government] stepped over the line. It’s a blatant violation of the Basic Law to take the initiative to interpret it,” 25-year-old Francis Chung, who works in the financial sector, tells TIME. “I’m rather pessimistic regarding Hong Kong’s way forward, but I’ll do what I can, come out and march.”

When the crowd approached the Liaison Office, however, they faced a police barricade. Prominent activist figures like 20-year-old Joshua Wong, a figurehead of the 2014 pro-democracy protests known as the Umbrella Revolution, gave rousing speeches.

“It’s time for us to show our disagreement with the communist regime’s suppression of Hong Kong’s rule of law and judicial independence,” Wong tells TIME. “The number of participants of today’s protest to the Liaison Office is the highest in three years. It shows the anger of Hong Kongers with the suppression.”

It is unclear what or who prompted some members of the crowd to storm the police barricade shortly after 8 p.m. local time. In the preceding hour, officers unfurled banners urging the protesters to stop charging or they would use force. After beating back demonstrators with their batons, the police used pepper spray. Still, the crowd continued to push against the metal grate, unfurling umbrellas — an icon of the Umbrella Revolution — to protect themselves.

The scuffle was promptly subdued, but as of 9:15 p.m. demonstrators continued to occupy the streets around the Liaison Office.

Read More: Chaos Again at Hong Kong’s Legislature as Chinese Intervention Said to Loom Large

The protest marked the crescendo of months of simmering political tensions in Hong Kong. Hostility towards what many see as China’s impingement on the city has mounted since late last year, when five local booksellers, who sold works critical of mainland leaders, disappeared and resurfaced months later in the custody of mainland police. The unease precipitated an unprecedented movement demanding Hong Kong’s independence from China — a call deemed seditious by mainland authorities and also the Hong Kong government, seen by many as Beijing’s proxy power. Several pro-independence candidates were barred from running in the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections.

When asked in an interview with TIME on Saturday — less than 24 hours before Sunday’s clashes — if she believed the popular unrest in Hong Kong would grow violent, and if she would join in if it did, Yau replied in the affirmative.

“I’m the people’s lawmaker, and I have to give my support to them,” she said. “I’ve taken my oath to them.”

Can The People Of Iceland Take Their Country Back From The Political Mafia?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

ICELAND

Everything You Need to Know About Iceland’s Pirate Party

Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir at Home
Giles Clarke—Getty ImagesBirgitta Jonsdottir, activist member of the Icelandic parliament representing the Pirate Party, stands in front of a sculpture at an Icelandic sculpture park on July 9, 2015

Will this insurgent party sail to victory in Oct. 29 elections?

Iceland’s Pirate Party is hoping to win the largest share of the vote in the country’s Oct. 29 general election, not even four years after the fringe political group formed.

Until this week the esoteric political party had led the polls in Iceland, though the latest opinion poll puts the group a single pointbehind the center-right Independence Party, which is currently a junior member in the country’s coalition government.

The Pirate Party’s rise against the perceived corruption of Iceland’s political elite is the latest— and perhaps most colorful— in a string of anti-establishment insurgencies throughout globe, from the far left to the far right. Here’s a bit more about the group:

Anchors aweigh

The Pirate Party formed in 2012, in the wake of the collapse of Iceland’s hugely over leveraged banking industry following the 2008 financial crisis. The Party and its motley group of of anarchists, libertarians and internet activists is led by Birgitta Jonsdottir. The 49-year-old former Wikileaks activists, web programmer and “poetician” has been an MP for different parties since 2009, but decided to help start the party, which part of an international anti-copyright movement that originates in Sweden, because “I’m often crossing paths with nerds as I’m such a nerd myself” she told the Financial Times.

Jonsdottir thinks Iceland’s population of about 300,000 are sick of corruption and “nepotism.” She also likens the country to Sicily and claims it is controlled by a handful of “mafia-style families” and their friends. “That might explain why, when the banks were privatized in 2005, stern laws and promises of professionalism were tossed aside and the banks were handed over to bosses who pleased the ‘mafia’ families” she writes in the New Internationalist.

This anti-establishment message resonated with some Icelanders and the Pirates gained a seat in parliament in 2013. Support for the movement surged to 43% in an April poll after the Panama Papers revealed that former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson held investments in offshore accounts— which led to some of the largest protests the country has ever seen.

Gunnlaugsson stepped down as leader, and his replacement called early elections. His party, the Progressives, is now wallowing at 8% in the polls.

An ‘aye on power

While slim on policies, the Pirates espouse a set of core values, which include direct democracy, pushing civil rights and more transparency from companies and the creation of informed decisions. The party wants to be the “Robin Hood” of politics by handing power back to Icelanders, and seeks to make the country a haven for hackers and whistle-blowers (including Edward Snowden). It also hopes to make cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender.

The Pirates have also created a crowd sourced draft of the constitution, which includes provisos to create new rules for governance and to re-nationalize the natural-resource industries of the small country. Like other European populist parties, the Pirates want a referendum on Iceland’s relationship with the E.U., but promise to not conduct the nativist, anti-immigrant stance seen in U.K.’s iteration. “We don’t want to make the same mistakes that happened in Britain” Jonsdottir told the Washington Post. “You have to make sure that it is an informed campaign. People need to know what [membership] implies.”

Close quarters

But forming a stable government could present a challenge for the company of radicals. Jonsdottir has no intention to become prime minister and the party has ruled out working with the current center-right coalition, which includes Gunnlaugsson’s Progressive Party. Jonsdottir has conceded in the past that once in power the Pirates might have to temper their idealism.

It currently looks like Saturday’s vote may leave Iceland with a center-left coalition of the Pirates and three, or possibly four, other parties. Iceland has historically never had a coalition government consisting of more than two parties survive a full four-year term says the BBC.

If the Pirates do plunder a win, it will be one more example of an outsider turning into the champion of establishment-weary voters.

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