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Putin’s Loss of German Trust Seals the West’s Isolation of Russia


Vladimir Putin has long had a soft spot for Germany. As an officer of the KGB in the late 1980s, he was stationed in the East German city of Dresden, where he developed a love of the language and, according to his memoirs, for the enormous steins of pilsner he drank at a beer hall in the town of Radeberg with friends.

As President, Putin’s foreign and economic policies have always looked to Germany as a pivotal ally, a vital partner in trade and a sympathetic ear for Russian interests. He seemed to feel that no matter what political headwinds came his way, the German sense of pragmatism would prevail in keeping Berlin on his side. That illusion has just been shattered.

During a speech on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted a drawn-out confrontation with Moscow. Breaking from her normally subdued political style, she even invoked the worst years of the 20th century in describing the West’s conflict with Russia over Ukraine. “After the horrors of two world wars and the end of the Cold War, this challenges the peaceful order in Europe,” she said, referring to what she called Putin’s “old-thinking” view of Eastern Europe as Russia’s stomping ground. “I am convinced this won’t succeed,” she said. In the end, the West would win out against the challenge emanating from Russia, “even if the path will be long and hard and full of setbacks,” Merkel told a conference in Brisbane, Australia.


It was in many ways the low point for Putin’s deepening estrangement from the West. During the G20 summit of world leaders held in Brisbane over the weekend, the Russian leader was broadly ostracized by the most powerful figures at the table, and some of them were far less diplomatic toward Putin than Merkel has been. In greeting Putin on Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”

Later that day, Merkel came to the Hilton Hotel in central Brisbane for an unscheduled meeting with Putin that reportedly lasted almost six hours, running well into Sunday morning. The subject was the conflict in Ukraine, and according to the Kremlin, Putin did his best to “clarify in detail the Russian approach to this situation.” But his efforts to win Merkel’s sympathy – or at least her understanding – appear to have done the opposite. He emerged from their encounter apparently so exhausted that he decided to leave the summit early, saying he needed to get some sleep.

The letdown seemed all the more painful considering his recent attempt to reach out to the German public. A few days before the G20 summit began, Putin decided to give a rare one-on-one interview to the national German television network ARD, whose correspondent grilled him on Russia’s support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Putin tried to sound conciliatory. “Of course we expect the situation to change for the better,” he said. “Of course we expect the Ukrainian crisis to end. Of course we want to have normal relations with our partners, including in the United States and Europe.”

Particularly for Germany, he argued, it is important to work things out with Russia, because their economies are so closely intertwined. Trade with Russia accounts for as many as 300,000 German jobs, Putin said, and by going along with the sanctions that the West has imposed on Russia, Berlin risks hurting its own economic growth. “Sooner or later,” he said, “it will begin to affect you as much as us.”

The warning, more plaintive than defiant in its tone, was aimed as much at the political elites in Germany as its powerful business interests, which rely on Russia for natural resources and a huge consumer market. Last year the trade between the two countries was worth more than $100 billion, compared to less than $40 billion between the U.S. and Russia. To fuel its energy-intensive industrial base, Germany also gets a third of its oil and gas from Russia, and 14% of everything that Russia imports is made in Germany.

But Putin, for all his appeals to German pragmatism, was wrong to hope that Russia’s isolation could boomerang back on the German economy, or on Merkel’s popularity. Even as the sanctions war choked off trade between Russia and the West, Germany’s total exports reached an all-time high in September. At the same time, Russia’s reputation among the German public has been scraping bottom. In a nationwide survey conducted in August, a German pollster reportedly found that 82% of Germans do not believe that Russia can be trusted, while 70% called for tougher sanctions against the Russian economy.

“So it seems clear that Putin has miscalculated,” says Joerg Forbrig, an expert on Eastern Europe at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. “Certainly when it comes to Germany.”

This is a costly mistake. In trying to sway Berlin, Putin pursued his best, and perhaps only, chance of breaking the West’s resolve against him. The business lobby in Germany is both more powerful and more sympathetic toward Russia than any major European state, and the German electorate has generally favored a neutral stance on foreign policy.

Just a few weeks after Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March, nearly half of Germans said that their government should not take sides in the conflict, while 35% urged their leaders to seek an understanding with Moscow. This core of German Russophiles now looks to have evaporated, and with it Putin loses the only Western partner that could have stopped the isolation of his country.

Many in Moscow have watched that turn in German feelings with surprise. “Even during the Cold War, we were laying [oil and gas] pipelines to Germany,” says Leonid Kalashnikov, vice chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament. “Back then nobody seemed to mind.”

Under Putin, those energy links have been vastly expanded. In 2011, he launched the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to pump fuel from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. (In a sign of just how well-connected Putin was in Berlin at the time, Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, took a job as chairman of that pipeline project after his term as chancellor ran out in 2005.) But at the end of September, Merkel said the European Union may need to break its addiction to Russian fuel in the long term, especially if the Kremlin’s expansionist policies continue to violate “basic principles.”

But even the threat of losing the European market – disastrous as that would be for the Russian economy – is not likely to make the Kremlin yield. “There’s one thing the West just doesn’t understand,” says Kalashnikov. “They can use sanctions to coerce a small country. But Russia is not one of them. We will not get on our knees and do as we’re told.”

Thanks largely to his own anti-Western bluster, Putin’s support in Russia now relies more than ever on his defiance toward the West, and he will sooner accept the role of a pariah abroad than weakling at home. “We’re just not going to chastise him into changing his tune,” says Matthew Rojansky, a Russia expert at the Wilson Center in Washington.

Much more likely, the West’s ostracism will “foreclose” any remaining channels for swaying Putin through dialogue, adds Rojansky. But if Putin was searching for such a channel during his night of debating with Merkel, he has come up empty-handed. It’s not clear if he has anywhere else in the West to turn.

http://time.com/3590588/putin-merkel-germany-russia/
Russia expels Polish, German diplomats in tit-for-tat action



MOSCOW, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Russia confirmed Monday it had expelled a group of Polish and German diplomats in what Moscow called "responsive measures".

"Polish authorities undertook the unfriendly and unfounded move. Due to that, Russia has undertaken adequate responsive measures," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding the Polish diplomats had already left Russia.

Neither Moscow, nor Warsaw revealed the number of the diplomats expelled, though some local media said three Polish military attaches and one employee of the political section had been affected by the decision.

On Friday, Moscow gave the diplomats 48 hours to leave the country.

Earlier this year, Warsaw canceled a number of joint cultural events with Moscow scheduled for 2015, and in October withdrew accreditation for a Russian journalist working in Warsaw.

On Saturday, Russia also expelled a female German diplomat as a tit-for-tat response to the unspecified "unfriendly actions" of the German authorities against an unnamed Russian official in Bonn.

Meanwhile, Moscow said the deportation had no link with media reports over the upcoming visit by German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier.

Ties between Russia and major European countries have been strained over the unsettled Ukraine crisis, with Moscow repeatedly denying to have been playing destabilizing role in the conflict.


http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/europe...221842.htm
(11-18-2014 11:04 AM)Gimp Wrote: [ -> ]
Putin’s Loss of German Trust Seals the West’s Isolation of Russia


Vladimir Putin has long had a soft spot for Germany. As an officer of the KGB in the late 1980s, he was stationed in the East German city of Dresden, where he developed a love of the language and, according to his memoirs, for the enormous steins of pilsner he drank at a beer hall in the town of Radeberg with friends.

As President, Putin’s foreign and economic policies have always looked to Germany as a pivotal ally, a vital partner in trade and a sympathetic ear for Russian interests. He seemed to feel that no matter what political headwinds came his way, the German sense of pragmatism would prevail in keeping Berlin on his side. That illusion has just been shattered.

During a speech on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted a drawn-out confrontation with Moscow. Breaking from her normally subdued political style, she even invoked the worst years of the 20th century in describing the West’s conflict with Russia over Ukraine. “After the horrors of two world wars and the end of the Cold War, this challenges the peaceful order in Europe,” she said, referring to what she called Putin’s “old-thinking” view of Eastern Europe as Russia’s stomping ground. “I am convinced this won’t succeed,” she said. In the end, the West would win out against the challenge emanating from Russia, “even if the path will be long and hard and full of setbacks,” Merkel told a conference in Brisbane, Australia.


It was in many ways the low point for Putin’s deepening estrangement from the West. During the G20 summit of world leaders held in Brisbane over the weekend, the Russian leader was broadly ostracized by the most powerful figures at the table, and some of them were far less diplomatic toward Putin than Merkel has been. In greeting Putin on Saturday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly said, “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”

Later that day, Merkel came to the Hilton Hotel in central Brisbane for an unscheduled meeting with Putin that reportedly lasted almost six hours, running well into Sunday morning. The subject was the conflict in Ukraine, and according to the Kremlin, Putin did his best to “clarify in detail the Russian approach to this situation.” But his efforts to win Merkel’s sympathy – or at least her understanding – appear to have done the opposite. He emerged from their encounter apparently so exhausted that he decided to leave the summit early, saying he needed to get some sleep.

The letdown seemed all the more painful considering his recent attempt to reach out to the German public. A few days before the G20 summit began, Putin decided to give a rare one-on-one interview to the national German television network ARD, whose correspondent grilled him on Russia’s support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Putin tried to sound conciliatory. “Of course we expect the situation to change for the better,” he said. “Of course we expect the Ukrainian crisis to end. Of course we want to have normal relations with our partners, including in the United States and Europe.”

Particularly for Germany, he argued, it is important to work things out with Russia, because their economies are so closely intertwined. Trade with Russia accounts for as many as 300,000 German jobs, Putin said, and by going along with the sanctions that the West has imposed on Russia, Berlin risks hurting its own economic growth. “Sooner or later,” he said, “it will begin to affect you as much as us.”

The warning, more plaintive than defiant in its tone, was aimed as much at the political elites in Germany as its powerful business interests, which rely on Russia for natural resources and a huge consumer market. Last year the trade between the two countries was worth more than $100 billion, compared to less than $40 billion between the U.S. and Russia. To fuel its energy-intensive industrial base, Germany also gets a third of its oil and gas from Russia, and 14% of everything that Russia imports is made in Germany.

But Putin, for all his appeals to German pragmatism, was wrong to hope that Russia’s isolation could boomerang back on the German economy, or on Merkel’s popularity. Even as the sanctions war choked off trade between Russia and the West, Germany’s total exports reached an all-time high in September. At the same time, Russia’s reputation among the German public has been scraping bottom. In a nationwide survey conducted in August, a German pollster reportedly found that 82% of Germans do not believe that Russia can be trusted, while 70% called for tougher sanctions against the Russian economy.

“So it seems clear that Putin has miscalculated,” says Joerg Forbrig, an expert on Eastern Europe at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin. “Certainly when it comes to Germany.”

This is a costly mistake. In trying to sway Berlin, Putin pursued his best, and perhaps only, chance of breaking the West’s resolve against him. The business lobby in Germany is both more powerful and more sympathetic toward Russia than any major European state, and the German electorate has generally favored a neutral stance on foreign policy.

Just a few weeks after Russia invaded and annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March, nearly half of Germans said that their government should not take sides in the conflict, while 35% urged their leaders to seek an understanding with Moscow. This core of German Russophiles now looks to have evaporated, and with it Putin loses the only Western partner that could have stopped the isolation of his country.

Many in Moscow have watched that turn in German feelings with surprise. “Even during the Cold War, we were laying [oil and gas] pipelines to Germany,” says Leonid Kalashnikov, vice chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament. “Back then nobody seemed to mind.”

Under Putin, those energy links have been vastly expanded. In 2011, he launched the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to pump fuel from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea. (In a sign of just how well-connected Putin was in Berlin at the time, Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, took a job as chairman of that pipeline project after his term as chancellor ran out in 2005.) But at the end of September, Merkel said the European Union may need to break its addiction to Russian fuel in the long term, especially if the Kremlin’s expansionist policies continue to violate “basic principles.”

But even the threat of losing the European market – disastrous as that would be for the Russian economy – is not likely to make the Kremlin yield. “There’s one thing the West just doesn’t understand,” says Kalashnikov. “They can use sanctions to coerce a small country. But Russia is not one of them. We will not get on our knees and do as we’re told.”

Thanks largely to his own anti-Western bluster, Putin’s support in Russia now relies more than ever on his defiance toward the West, and he will sooner accept the role of a pariah abroad than weakling at home. “We’re just not going to chastise him into changing his tune,” says Matthew Rojansky, a Russia expert at the Wilson Center in Washington.

Much more likely, the West’s ostracism will “foreclose” any remaining channels for swaying Putin through dialogue, adds Rojansky. But if Putin was searching for such a channel during his night of debating with Merkel, he has come up empty-handed. It’s not clear if he has anywhere else in the West to turn.

http://time.com/3590588/putin-merkel-germany-russia/

this is pretty big.

But in any case.. there is still BRICS and all the non-aligned nations. Russia should join ASIA
Apple Is Now Worth More Than The Entire Russian Stock Market


It might seem a little odd that one single company is now worth more than the entire publicly traded market of a major economy. But that’s what has happened to Apple AAPL +0.37% just recently: that one single firm is now worth more than the entirety of the Russian stock market. However, this isn’t so much a story about how wonderfully Apple is doing (the valuation of Apple is still quite low going by the traditional numbers like EPS and so on), rather, it’s more of a story about how appallingly bad Russian public policy is.

Here’s the Telegraph commenting upon it:

Apple is now worth more than Russia’s stock market, new data have revealed.

The US technology giant’s market capitalisation has overtaken the combined value of all Russian public companies for the first time in history, Bloomberg reported.


Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has added $147bn to its market cap this year and was worth $652bn as of November 12. The shares closed up 1.2pc to $114.18 each on Friday.

Russian equities have fallen $234bn to $531bn in the same period, Bloomberg data stated.


Bloomberg, the originators of the calculation, go rather further. You’d actually have enough money left over to buy every Russian an iPhone as well:

If you owned Apple Inc. (AAPL), and sold it, you could purchase the entire stock market of Russia, and still have enough change to buy every Russian an iPhone 6 Plus.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the total market capitalization of all public companies in the world’s largest country slipped below that of the world’s most-valued company for the first time on record. The gap, at $121 billion on Nov. 12, is about the price of 143 million contract-free 64-gigabyte iPhones, based on Apple Store prices.


It’s definitely a fun number but as I say it’s not really about how much we’re all valuing Apple at. Sure, the company is incredibly successful and it is the world’s most valuable publicly traded company. But given the profits it is making it’s not valued particularly highly by the normal methods we might use to judge company valuations. The p/we ratio most certainly isn’t excessive and so on.

No, what this comparison really shows us is how badly the Russian economy is doing. And there’s both macroeconomic and microeconomic reasons for this.

The macroeconomic ones are that the country is hugely dependent upon oil and gas exports: and so also is the government budget. Those prices have fallen recently and thus so has the currency and the government budget just isn’t going to anywhere near balance at these numbers. Add to that the way in which many Russian companies have substantial debts denominated in foreign currency (those debts become more difficult to repay as the ruble plunges) and we’ve got everyone thinking that those companies really aren’t worth very much.

However, there’s also the microeconomic effects of what we might call Putinism. Property rights, especially in those oil and gas firms, don’t seem all that secure. Who owns what is not something that seems all that fixed in law: Yukos and more recently Bashneft, and of course the various tribulations of BP over TNK, all lead to no one being quite certain that they do own what pieces of paper say they should own.

Meaning, of course, that share prices, the valuations put on those pieces of paper that allocate at least nominal ownership, aren’t very high. Add in what the Streetwise Professor calls “tunnelling“, whereby insiders profit at the expense of the nominal owners of the business, those shareholders again, and we can understand why a $1 of profits in Russia is valued at a rather lower capital value than a $1 of profits in the US.

Yes, it is true and it’s also a fun number that Apple is now worth more than the entire quoted Russian stock market. But that’s not so much a reflection of how well Apple is being run as it is a signal of how appallingly the Russian economy is being run.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/...ck-market/
While David Cameron's broadband filters are doing an admirable job of shielding Britain's young eyes from adult content, the government reckons it can do more. That's why, as from October, it'll treat music videos like movies and begin placing age ratings on them. The Prime Minister announced the new program during a speech yesterday, noting that the government will work with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to "protect [..] children from some of the graphic content music videos" hosted on YouTube and Vevo.

The pilot, which will run for three months with assistance from Google, has also been backed by the the three biggest music labels in the UK -- Sony, Warner Music and Universal -- letting them assign three age-suitable labels (12, 15 or 18) to videos with adult-themed content. It's not yet known how it will be enforced, but parents will be provided with an option to block videos according to their ratings. Whether they'll choose to enable the feature remains to be seen (many haven't enabled the so-called 'porn filter' on their home internet connections), but we're sure enterprising teenagers will find a way to navigate around it anyway.
Orthodox Jew attacked on NY subway platform


An Orthodox Jewish man was attacked at a Brooklyn train station by three men who also lobbed anti-Semitic insults, authorities said on Tuesday.

Haim Ovanounou, 53, was standing on the platform of the Marcy Avenue station in Williamsburg around 4 p.m. Monday when one of the suspects came up behind him and tried to pick his pocket, sources said.

When the victim turned around, the thug called him a “dirty bloody Jew” and spat in his face, police said.

The attacker then grabbed Ovanounou’s umbrella and hit him in the head before running off.

The victim tried to chase the brute, but was quickly pounced on by two other attackers, who knocked him down and began kicking him repeatedly while shouting taunts like “f–king dirty Jew.”

A witness tried to rush to the man’s aid but was also beaten up by the men before they hopped on a Manhattan-bound train and disappeared.

Both victims suffered minor injuries.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident, which was first reported by JPUdates.com.

http://nypost.com/2014/11/18/orthodox-je...-platform/
Yahoo dethrones Google as default Firefox search tool



Mozilla has picked Yahoo to be the default search engine for its Firefox browser in the U.S., deposing Google in a new five-year partnership announced on Wednesday.

Google has been the default search tool in Firefox since 2004 but its agreement came up for renewal this year and Mozilla said it was making the change to promote “innovation and competition.”

Yahoo called the deal its most important partnership in five years, and said it will expand its reach in search. But it’s unclear how much the agreement will really lift Yahoo’s fortunes.

Firefoxs share of the browser market has been in decline, and in the past year it slipped behind that of Google Chrome, according to figures from Net Applications. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still way in front.

On smartphones and tablets, a critical growth area for Yahoo, Firefox barely registers, with Chrome, Safari and the Android browser all dominant.

Still, the deal will put Yahoo’s search engine in front of more users and is a win against Google in that regard. Firefox users search the Web more than 100 billion times per year globally, the companies said. The deal also opens the door for other integrations with Mozilla in future, Yahoo said, though it didn’t provide details.

“Our agreement [with Google] came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options,” Firefox said in a blog post.

While Yahoo will be the default search engine for Firefox in the U.S., Yandex Search will become the default in Russia, and Baidu will continue to be the default in China, Mozilla said. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and other search tools will continue to be offered as options, it said. Google will continue to power the safe browsing and geolocation features of Firefox, Mozilla said.

“In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence, and positions us to innovate and advance our mission in ways that best serve our users and the Web,” Mozilla said.

“In the end, each of the partnership options available to us had strong, improved economic terms reflecting the significant value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem. But one strategy stood out from the rest.”

It’s not difficult to change the default search tool in a web browser, but many users don’t bother, especially non-tech savvy ones, so having the default position is valuable.

“This is the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years and we’re so proud that Mozilla has chosen us as their long-term partner in search,” CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a Tumblr post.

Yahoo will also introduce an updated interface for its search tool with a “clean modern and immersive design,” it said. The new interface will reach Firefox users in the U.S. next month, and Yahoo users globally in early 2015, it said.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2850152/y...-tool.html
Yahoo will also introduce an updated interface for its search tool with a “clean modern and immersive design,”


---

lmfao. 5-10 years too late.
http://hamptonroads.com/2014/11/man-says...killed-her

--

Man says PETA took his dog from porch, killed her

By Joanne Kimberlin
December 1, 2014

ACCOMACK COUNTY

Parksley is off the radar, even for Virginia's Eastern Shore. Tucked away west of the peninsula's main corridor, it's surrounded by farm fields and chicken houses - a town of fewer than 1,000 souls living rural lives up near the Maryland border.

No one in this story is used to headlines. Except for PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This just might be the first time in its history that the Norfolk-based group's publicity machine is lying low.

At the center of a drama pitting local officials against each other and drawing outrage from around the globe:

Video shot by a security camera six weeks ago shows a woman identified by authorities as a PETA worker scooping Maya off the porch of her owner, a Mexican immigrant named Wilbur Cerate, who lives outside Parksley in a run-down trailer park named - somewhat surreally - Dreamland 2.

Before Cerate could get his dog back, Maya had been euthanized. According to Cerate, a representative from PETA came to his trailer bearing a fruit basket as a token of apology.

Up until last week, Cerate was telling his story to all who would listen. He called the sheriff, who pressed charges against the two PETA workers seen on the video. He gave TV interviews. A week ago today, on Monday morning,, he led a few dozen supporters on a march to the office of the Accomack County commonwealth's attorney to protest the prosecutor's decision to drop charges against the workers.

By that afternoon, though, Cerate had lawyered up. Outside his home, situated on the backside of a muddy, potholed loop through Dreamland 2 (there's also a Dreamland 1), Cerate apologized to a Pilot reporter.

In broken English, he said he now has an attorney, who has advised him to stop talking.

Others remain willing or have become so. Again, except for PETA.

Known for its in-your-face animal advocacy campaigns - everything from throwing red paint on fur wearers to comparing slaughterhouses to the Holocaust - PETA's public relations staff has not returned multiple messages seeking comment.

The tiny dog's demise began around noon on Saturday, Oct. 18. According to the prosecutor, PETA workers were at the trailer park picking up strays at the request of a nearby landowner, who said dogs from the park had ripped up the udder of his milking cow, killed a goat and terrorized his rabbits.

Cerate was at home when the roundup began but left to buy a dog bed for Maya, according to one of his friends, Edward Armstrong, who runs a tax business in Parksley.

Cerate got Maya as a puppy, Armstrong said - a gift for his daughter, now 9. He'd just given the dog a bath, removing her collar and leaving her loose on the porch - a lean-to built of particle board - to dry out on what was a warm day.

"That dog was very well trained," Armstrong said. "She wouldn't leave the porch."

When Cerate returned and found Maya missing, he suspected PETA and reviewed the video in his security camera. It showed a white van backing up to his trailer, two women getting out and opening its rear doors. There was Maya, wriggling toward them down the steps, then scurrying back up onto the porch. A woman follows, picks her up, puts her in the van, shuts its doors and drives away.

Cerate immediately called PETA, but he couldn't reach anyone. He called again the next day but was told no dogs had been picked up at the park. That Monday, he showed the video to Armstrong, who urged him to call police. On Tuesday, - three days after Maya was taken - the fruit basket arrived at Cerate's front door with word that she had been killed.

Accomack Sheriff Todd Godwin charged the workers, both women from South Hampton Roads, with larceny.

"If it was me or you who did something like that," Godwin said, "PETA would eat us up."

Godwin obtained arrest warrants and contacted PETA, who he said sent the women to Accomack accompanied by an attorney. The workers were booked and released.

PETA euthanizes nearly 90 percent of the animals it takes in, a rate often criticized by other animal groups. PETA defends its practices, referring to itself as a shelter of last resort - a place that provides a merciful death for animals too sick, old or otherwise unfit for adoption.

But state regulations call for a minimum holding period of five days, said Debra Griggs, president of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. Pickups are also required to be reported to a locality's animal control.

"In Maya's case, PETA did neither of those things," Griggs said. "It's a serious violation."

Aside from that, she said, the video shows "a happy, healthy, sweet dog on its own property, and that flies in the face of everything we believe in - not only about our pets but our property rights in general."

Griggs joined the protest march on the prosecutor's office.

"It was a very interesting cross-section of people," she said. "There were some locals, but some were from as far away as D.C."

Godwin, the sheriff, is also frustrated with the prosecutor, Gary Agar. Godwin said he has "no idea" why Agar dropped the charges: "We can't figure it out."

Initially, Agar would say only that he wasn't "satisfied that the evidence is capable of showing criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't feel I have to explain it. It only invites argument, and I'm not going to debate my opinion."

On the day of the protest, however, he issued a two-page statement that said Maya had no dog tag and had, at times that day, been off the porch. To convict on criminal intent, Agar wrote, prosecutors would have to prove the women knew they were "stealing property.

nstead, it's "more probable" they believed "they were gathering animals that posed health and/or livestock threat."

Cerate and his supporters aren't satisfied with that. They can't imagine how anyone could consider a Chihuahua - average weight: 4 to 6 pounds - a danger to livestock.

Armstrong said PETA workers were familiar with the trailer park, having been there before to collect abandoned pets and donate dog houses.
By Zachary Fagenson


MIAMI (Reuters) - A graffiti artist who went by the nickname "Demz" died after being hit by a police car during a chase amid the height of Miami's annual Art Week, according to his mother.

“He died doing what he loved,” Nannette Gutierrez wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her son's name spray-painted in bright blue bubble letters.

Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, 21, who died late Tuesday, had been hit by the police car on Friday night after officers spotted him spray-painting the side of a building in Wynwood, a hip Miami neighborhood popular with street artists, police said.

Rodriguez is the second street artist to die in the Miami area in the past 16 months. Israel Hernandez-Llach, 18, died in August last year after being struck by a police Taser gun when he was cornered by officers who spotted him spray-painting a building in Miami Beach.

The latest incident came at the peak of Miami’s annual Art Week, which hosts nearly two dozen fairs including Art Basel Miami Beach, among the world’s most prominent contemporary art events.

In a statement Miami Police Department said officers observed Rodriguez "committing an act of vandalism by spray painting the façade of a business storefront not related to Art Basel."

A chase ensued and Rodriguez was hit when a police car turned a corner and in the darkness failed to see him crouching near the sidewalk, according to the police statement. "The subject either fell or was attempting to hide the spray cans under a nearby car," the statement said.

Evidence indicated that the police car was traveling less than 15 miles per hour at the point of impact, it said.

Wynwood is a top attraction with massive murals painted by international celebrities like Shepard Fairy and Ron English along with a cornucopia of works by independent artists.

It also was the scene of back-to-back nights of protests over police violence after grand juries refused to indict officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

Protesters also called for justice in Hernandez-Llach’s case. The family has sued both the Miami Beach Police Department and the officer who tased him, and the case is being reviewed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Despite being fined more than half a million dollars for blocking guests from using their own personal Wi-Fi, Marriott – along with other hotels – is pushing the government to legalize this behavior.

Standing in the hotel industry’s way is not just the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which Marriott is asking to rule in its favor, but also technology giants like Google and Microsoft. The two companies have teamed up with the wireless industry trade group CTIA to call on the FCC to reject the hotel industry’s request, Re/code reported on Monday.

The whole debate dates back to a March 2013 complaint, in which consumers stated that Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center was using technology that prohibited guests and exhibitors from setting up their own private hotspot on the hotel’s premises. At the same time, the hotel was charging between $250-$1,000 for Wi-Fi access.

Marriott ended up settling the case with the FCC and paid a $600,000 fine – but the hotel insisted its actions were legal and asked regulators to reinforce its case. It was joined by the American Hospitality and Lodging Association.

In a statement, Marriott framed the matter as one of security.

"Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hot spots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft," the hotel said. "Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers."
Cop tries to kill dog, instead kills woman in front of her 4 year-old child.

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cop-kil...r-old-son/

"When the escort officer saw the disturbance he went to break it up. Witnesses say that at this time the dog was being playful, but apparently still threatened the officer which caused him to draw his pistol and begin shooting.

One of the shots fired struck Steele in the chest.

“The dog startled the officer. The officer began shooting at the dog. The officer was still shooting when he fell down in the snow,” one witness told The Hawk Eye Newspaper.

“It appeared he was shooting at the dog when (the officer) fell to the ground. It’s my belief the woman was shot accidentally,” said another witness."
^ pathetic. That coward should spend the rest of his miserable life in prison.
Lol at saying he was shitcanned after 30 years of service for using the word cripple.

What a crock of gobshite.
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