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EU claims it’s the biggest donor to Developmental Aid, but conflates Member States’ own contributions and internal spending on refugees

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • So we have a supra-national organisation broadly claiming the accomplishments of its member states as its own. Using, it might be added, not its effectiveness, but spending as ‘claim to fame’, which is the worst possible measurement. Then we are confronted by a Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development who seems unsure about the meaning of a decrease in ODA. Who, in reaction to this, blindly insists “we need to do more”.
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    European Parliament planning stuff again, including “inter-religious dialogue focussing on persecution of non-believers”

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Last, but not least, there is an interesting case of “phrasing!” going on. Based on initiatives (PDF) dating back to 1994, the EU has engaged in “regular meetings” between EU institutions and “European churches, religious associations and non-confessional organisations.” However, “this time the inter-religious dialogue will focus on the issue of discrimination and  around the world.”
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    Summary: Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation Part 7 – Grandeur and Obedience in early 16th century Rome

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Clark returns to the grandeur of early 16th century Rome. The Reformation and subsequent Wars of Religion, whose devastating effect on Western Europe Clark describes in passing naturally had their impact on Rome. Part 7 is dedicated to the extraordinary resilience and ability shown by Catholicism to bounce back from a seemingly desperate position. And the situation was bad. As Clark describes it, Rome had been humiliated: “The city had been sacked and burnt, the people of Northern Europe were heretics, the Turks were threatening Vienna.”
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    Star Wars’ new Solo trailer is out, and we can’t say we’re too siked

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    Germany: Group of 15 young men of “Southern appearance” leaves trail of assaults, 20 y/o woman hit in face with glass bottle

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Again, the assailants used violence against passers-by, completely unprovoked. One of the perpetrators tried to extinguish a burning cigarette on the face of a 20-year-old woman, who luckily was able to avert the attack. One of the other men hit her in the face with a glass bottle instead. Another friend of the original victims, herself a 21-year-old, was thrown to the ground, injuring her hand and head.
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    Kurdish delegation to Élysée claims France will send Special Forces to protect Mabij city from Erdogan

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • However, it should be stressed that these are unofficial reports. The official press release by the Elysée makes no mention of the sending of ground forces. Le Parisien writes that:

    “In the aftermath of these announcements, Paris on Friday denied military reinforcements” and assures that there will be no new ground operation in Northern Syria, outside of the international anti-Daesh coalition.”

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    Sweden’s Social Welfare Board published brochure for “Adults married to a child”. Retracts it after outrage

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • On its website, Socialsyrelsen presented the brochure as: “(…) aimed at adults who are married to a child. This folder contains information about what rules apply in Sweden with regard to childhood marriage and children’s rights. The folder can be left to the spouse by social services or other professionals who meet the child.”
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    EU wants Belgian railways to offer additional trains for Members and staff. Metro ‘too complicated’, 5-minute walk too long

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • In Brussels, the European Parliament is located at Wiertzstraat 60 less than 500 grueling meters removed from Brussels-Luxemburg Station. If we assume the MEP’s survive this five-minute walk, they are confronted by the fact that the NMBS, the Belgian Railways, operates only one direct train to Brussels Airport every hour, which takes them there in 21 minutes. Now, one train every hour isn’t a lot. But if you miss it, there is another train 8 minutes later, which takes you to Brussels Noord, where you transfer.
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    SpaceX’ ‘Dragon capsule’ to launch ESA’s new toy for studying tropical lightning storms from the International Space Station

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Almost every second, lightning triggers powerful electrical bursts in our atmosphere. But the inner workings of lightning are still unknown. Indeed, when Andreas Mogensen directed a high-resolution camera towards a gigantic thunderstorm, while flying over India at 28.800 km/h in 2015, he made spectacular, first of its kind footage. He caught a blue jet, repeatedly shooting up into space towards the upper layers of the atmosphere – as high as 40 Km.
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    Report: Denmark’s Social Democrats make a U-Turn on immigration and integration. Will European colleagues follow suit?

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • -‘That was your mistake?’

    ‘Yeah. Fully. That was our core voters. It was working class, middle class voters who were saying to us, we have a problem with integration. And what our leadership in the social democratic party, basically told them was: you don’t have a problem. O.K., you have one problem, that you are racist if you are raising your voice in any way.”

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    Paris: 85-year-old Holocaust survivor stabbed 11 times and burnt to death in own apartment by “local resident”

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • According to a source with the police, the victim had made a complaint against a local resident, who had threatened to burn her. He had been seen in her apartment. Enough reason, to get the Criminal Investigation Division (police judiciaire; pj) involved. Saturday, police placed a 29-year-old suspect in custody. According to an inquiry by Bureau National de Vigilance Vontre les Actes Antisémites, Knoll was stabbed 11 times, and her house had been set fire to in five places.
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