US Jewish group removes offensive ‘Polish Holocaust’ video

By ethan / February 22, 2018

A US-based Jewish group has removed its “Polish Holocaust” YouTube video, which criticized a new Polish law criminalizing suggestions that Poland was complicit in Nazi war crimes, following a backlash from Poles.

The prominent Boston-based Jewish-American Ruderman Family Foundation uploaded the video on Wednesday, using the controversial term “Polish Holocaust” to protest what they called a “death camp” law passed in Poland last week. The law, which criminalizes the expression “Polish death camps“, sparked outrage in Israel, as well as in Ukraine, which also outlaws the extremist “Bandera ideology” of Ukrainian nationalists.

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The former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland. © Kacper Pempel

The video, which called for the US to sever ties with their NATO ally, was removed after Jonathan Ornstein, director of the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, explained to foundation president Jay Ruderman how offensive the terminology used in the footage was.

The term ‘Polish Holocaust’ is not accepted by any reasonable person whether Jewish, Polish, Israeli or German,” said Ornstein to the AP.

Emotions are running high and harmful, inaccurate comments from various sides have been published, but this is indefensible,” Ornstein added.

The Ruderman Family Foundation released a statement of their own, saying “after a hugely successful campaign that went viral internationally and among American Jews and Israelis who have signed the petition – the Foundation was contacted by the Polish Jewish community and because of their concerns for their safety, we decided to halt the campaign.”

READ MORE: Polish Jews say PM’s Holocaust complicity comments ‘cross line of common sense’

The video is just the latest debacle that has followed the introduction of the new law. On Tuesday, Poland’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Jarosław Sellin, endorsed the creation of a special “Polocaust” museum to commemorate the non-Jews who died in Poland during World War II.

It is estimated that around three million ethnic Poles were among the six million people who were killed in Poland during the war. Minister Sellin said he regrets that Poland’s suffering isn’t more widely known around the world and called for “this  terrible fate” to be acknowledged. Discussing the law, Sellin said: “Compared with other nations, especially in this recent history, generally we have nothing to be ashamed of, we behaved as it should.”

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Children in Siberia pour cold water on DiCaprio’s climate change concerns (VIDEO)

By ethan / February 21, 2018

A group of children in Russia’s northeastern Yakutia Republic have, literally, poured cold water over Leonardo DiCaprio’s concerns that temperatures there have reached record lows.

The children, dressed in karate gear, delivered an ‘ice cool’ video message to the Hollywood actor and environmental activist as they stood topless on the snow-covered ground and threw buckets of freezing water over themselves.

Hello Leo! Thank you for thinking of us. Don’t worry, we are all good. The sun is even shining today. Come visit us, we’ll pour cool water. Good luck!“, one boy from Yakutsk declared to the camera.

The response was to DiCaprio’s apparent concern over extremely cold weather in the region. Earlier the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation noted on its Instagram page that temperatures in Oymyakon (Republic of Yakutia, also known as Sakha), known as the coldest inhabited place on Earth, had  plummeted to -62℃ (-111.6°F), an extreme low that had not been recorded by locals in 15 years.

Thermometers broke when temperatures reached near-record levels,” the post said, citing a documentary called Oymyakon, by Dominik Bari, Felipe Paiva and Petr Vinokurov, as the source.

Climate change is posing a real threat to local people’s lives and life structures, changing the soils, the fauna and the flora,” the foundation said.

However, according to the head of a local weather service, winters have become warmer in the region. “We have been observing [the effects of] climate change annually since the 1980s. It is becoming warmer every year,” Alexander Arzhakov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

Temperatures of minus 60 degrees are not considered unusual for winters in the region. This year, the average temperature for February in Yakutia was four degrees higher than the norm, Arzhakov added.

READ MORE: Another Oscar awaits DiCaprio in Russia’s Yakutia, made of fan-donated jewelry

DiCaprio appears to have quite the fanbase in Yakutia; this is his second invitation from locals to visit the region. In 2016 the actor was invited to collect a custom-made ‘Oscar’ crafted from donated jewelry by DiCaprio devotees in the area.

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‘See if it fits’: Brief panic as SUV enters pedestrian passage in St. Petersburg (VIDEO)

By ethan / February 21, 2018

Video footage has shown frightened pedestrians flee after an SUV casually entering an underground passage in St. Petersburg. However, the incident wasn’t terror-related: the driver claims he was only carrying out a bet.

A CCTV video circulating online shows commuters going about their day in the underground pedestrian passage near St. Petersburg’s Moskovskaya metro station on Wednesday morning. People are soon seen running for their lives when the black SUV begins traveling down the stairs into the passage.

Once the vehicle had made it down the stairs, it proceeded to take a leisurely drive through the underground passage. A video obtained by RT’s video agency Ruptly shows passersby looking on and filming the SUV as the smiling driver bizarrely shouts “Everyone disperse, only the strongest remain!” and attempts to maneuver the vehicle to exit the passage.

It also shows the driver dropping even less coherent phrases to puzzled police after he left the vehicle. Luckily, there were no injuries in the incident, a city representative told RIA Novosti.

The man’s initial questioning reportedly revealed he “wanted to check if the car fits into the crossing or not,” while he also claimed someone “dared” him to try and drive underground. It was not immediately clear if there really was any bet, while Russian media reports also suggest the man has been monitored at a psycho-neurological clinic.

While the driver appeared to be all-smiles about his stunt, the sight of a car driving into pedestrian crossing was certainly not amusing for passersby in the age of terrorist attacks which have seen vehicles used as deadly weapons. In late December, four people were killed when a bus crashed into an underground passage in Moscow. The bus driver claimed the vehicle took off from a halt on its own, while a surviving passenger said he believes there was a malicious intent. 

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‘It’s our grandson!’ 2yo boy returns from Iraq after family recognize him in RT video

By ethan / February 21, 2018

A two-year-old boy, who was left stranded in Iraq, has been returned to Russia. His grandparents, who spotted Zaid in an RT video from an orphanage haven’t seen their daughter for months.

Zaid lost one finger in a shelling attack in Iraq, where his mother had taken him. He was found in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) controlled territory. The boy’s mother left Russia when he was only nine months old. Found in an Iraqi orphanage, Zaid doesn’t remember what happened either to her or to his father.

With Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate in tatters, many children possibly related to the terrorist group’s fighters have been left stranded in Iraq and Syria following their parents’ deaths. RT has been conducting a 24/7 campaign to return Russian-speaking children to their relatives.

“This is our grandson. That’s him!” Ahmed said, avidly watching the video of Zaid from the orphanage. They say he lived in his native Dagestan until he was nine months old. “He hasn’t changed at all,” Zaid’s grandparents say. However, they haven’t heard from his morther for months.

“We want to get our grandson, Zaid, back home. We’ll take care of him ourselves,” Zaid’s grandmother, Patimat, says. “We have all the right living conditions, we have everything needed,” her husband adds. Zaid could finally travel home to reunite with the family after spending more than five months in a Baghdad orphanage, while papers for his departure were being prepared. 

In the past few months, people claiming to be relatives of the children shown in RT coverage from an Iraqi orphanage, have contacted RT after the video went viral.

READ MORE: ‘Waiting for you at home’: Relatives of Russian children in Iraq come forward after RT coverage

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Gaza ‘on brink of collapse’ as residents remain ‘caged in’ – author Norman Finkelstein to RT

By ethan / February 21, 2018

The “open-air prison” of Gaza is “on the brink of collapse,” with Palestinians verging now on an unlivable situation, author Norman Finkelstein told RT’s ‘Going Underground.’

Finkelstein, author of the book ‘Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom,’ believes the “point of no return” has been reached when it comes to Gaza. “Seventy percent of the people of Gaza are refugees. More than half are children. They’re trapped, there’s no way out,” he told the host, Afshin Rattansi.

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A Palestinian woman feeds her daughter as they sit by a fire on a rainy day in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 19, 2018. © Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

“Ninety-five percent of the water in Gaza is unfit for human consumption. Each day, when a child drinks water, the child is poisoning him- or herself but they can’t leave. They’re caged in. As your former [Prime Minister David Cameron] put it, Gaza is an ‘open-air prison.'”

The difference between Gaza and the rest of the world, according to Finkelstein, is that the rest of the world “has an option to flee” any bad situation.

He gave the examples of Syrians fleeing the country’s civil war and of people who leave areas plagued by drought.

He noted that UN reports “and even Israel” have said that Gaza is “on the brink of collapse,” and that those living in Gaza have a right to fight back. “The people of Gaza, they are under a legal obligation to just lay down and die? They don’t have the right to resist? No, that makes no sense to me,” he said.

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FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces training © Yin Dongxun / Global Look Press

However, he said that he doesn’t think it’s a “wise or prudent strategy” to resist in any way. “If they manage to stay non-violent, the people of Gaza, Israel will be forced by international pressure to break the siege,” he said.

When asked about one Palestinian person who did fight back, teenage activist Ahed Tamimi, Finkelstein said “there’s no hope of her getting a fair trial.” Tamimi, 17, was detained and faces up to a decade in prison for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier, after troops surrounded her home. The altercation occurred shortly after a soldier shot her 14-year-old cousin in the head at close-range with a rubber bullet.

Finkelstein noted that even Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has “stopped coordinating and cooperating with the Israeli military trials because it said they’re just farces, so we’re not going to even bother anymore to go through the motions because all it does is provide a smokescreen for Israel that there’s a legal process going on when there isn’t.”

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Opposition cries censorship as Spanish rapper jailed for insulting king & glorifying terrorism

By ethan / February 21, 2018

The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld a decision to jail a rapper for three and a half years for a song deemed to have glorified terrorism and insulted the crown, sparking a debate about freedom of expression in the country.

The court rejected arguments on Tuesday by little-known rapper Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, stage name Valtonyc, that his songs were protected by freedom of expression laws, when ratifying a sentence handed down last February.

Among the lyrics deemed criminal were: “Let them be as frightened as a police officer in the Basque Country,” a reference to violence against police officers in the region by the now-disarmed Basque separatist group ETA.

Valtonyc went on to fantasize about the king having “a rendez-vous at the village square, with a noose around his neck.” In another track Valtonyc threatened to kill a Spanish politician and aristocrat involved in a corruption scandal after forcing her to “see how her son lives among rats.”

The court deemed that the Mallorcan rapper’s lyrics constituted “praise, not of political objectives but of the violent means used by the cited terrorist organizations” and upheld his three and a half-year sentence, Valtonyc confirmed the decision on social media.

Leftwing figures from Spain rallied to the rapper’s defense and branded his prosecution as an attack on freedom of expression. “Censoring a book because it speaks of corruption, sending a rapper to jail for a song, or taking down a work of art because it’s uncomfortable. The gag laws of the PP (Partido Popular) are incompatible with a fair and democratic country,” Podemos deputy Irene Montero wrote on twitter.

Writers’ group PEN Català‏ also criticised the decision saying that it “proves Spanish Gag Law is a serious attack on freedom of expression”.

In a statement the group also said that it was “also concerned about the ‘chilling effect’ of this law on artistic expression.”

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‘To be kicked off flight for period pain is madness’ – Couple blasts Emirates ejection

By ethan / February 21, 2018

A woman says she and her boyfriend were kicked off an Emirates flight, bound for Dubai, because she was complaining to him about her period pain.

Beth Evans, 24, claims they were waiting for their flight to take off from Birmingham airport when she told him her menstrual pain was a “one out of ten.”

Evans claims flight crew overheard their conversation and told her she would need to leave the flight as there wasn’t a doctor onboard to provide medical assistance should she need it throughout the seven-hour flight.

READ MORE: ‘Climb, climb, climb!’ Female pilot’s swift maneuver thwarts mid-air collision over Mumbai

To be kicked off for period pains, it was madness. Beth was in tears and getting upset when the hostess was asking her questions,” Evans’ boyfriend Joshua Moran told The Sun.

It’s embarrassing to have to explain about period pains when it’s being overheard. They didn’t have anyone look her over. They just contacted a medical team in the US and they said Beth couldn’t fly,” Moran added.

A statement from an Emirates spokesperson said Evans “alerted crew that she was suffering from discomfort and pain and mentioned she was feeling unwell.

READ MORE: The Sun ‘screwed up’ after falsely claiming Brit jailed in Egypt would be pardoned

The captain made the decision to request medical support and offload Ms Evans so she could access medical assistance. We would not have wanted to endanger Ms Evans by delaying medical help had she worsened during the flight,” the spokesperson added.

The couple say they were forced to pay £250 ($ 350) each for a new flight to Dubai, in addition to the £400 they had already paid for the flights.

RT.com has reached out to Emirates for comment.

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Conservation chief turns rodent killer: NZ minister joins Million Dollar Mouse hunt

By ethan / February 21, 2018

New Zealand’s conservation minister will join a crew on a month-long crusade to ensure the eradication of rodents on remote islands in the subantarctic.

In what might seem like a counterintuitive move, environmental chief Eugenie Sage will form part of the Million Dollar Mouse team travelling to the Antipodes Islands 470 miles (760km) southeast of his home country. Protected as a Nature Reserve and internationally recognized as a World Heritage site for its outstanding natural values, the sub-Antarctic area is the focus of a million-dollar (NZ) project to eradicate its 200,000-strong mouse population.

READ MORE: Mutant crayfish invading the world originates from 1 single female

In June 2016, military helicopters covered the island in rodent bait before a ground crew of 13 people spent 75 days exterminating hundreds of thousands of the creatures. Now, two years on and two mice breeding seasons later, the team made up of an international coalition of conservationists, including the Morgan Foundation, WWF New Zealand and Million Dollar Mouse, are travelling to the island to see if the project has been a success.

“These islands have incredible bird and plant life. Mice can be voracious predators, so they needed to go in order to preserve the islands as a key site for biodiversity,” Sage told Island Conservation. “If any mice had survived the operation, the population would have rebounded by now to a level where they should be detectable.”

READ MORE: Snakes causing strain: How reptiles brought by US Navy devastated Guam

Mice, the only mammalian pest on the islands, were first reported there in 1907, arriving either by shipwreck or with seal hunters. They have since gone on to attack albatross nests and other wildlife unique to the island.

This is not the first large-scale extermination effort undertaken in recent times. In the 1940s an infestation of brown tree snakes brought as stowaways aboard US Navy cargo ships hit the island of Guam in the South Pacific. After wreaking havoc on Guam’s ecosystem, the US took action in 2013 by dropping thousands of dead mice laced with paracetamol as part of an $ 8million eradication program. It is not yet clear how effective the strategy has been.

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Night of knife crime prompts Khan to seek emergency meeting as machete fight VIDEO goes viral

By ethan / February 21, 2018

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May as knife crime in the capital hits crisis levels. Two people were stabbed to death on February 20 – the 14th and 15th knife deaths in 2018.

London Assembly figures showed there were 14,521 knife crime offenses in the capital in the 12 months to January 2018, with stabbings in London at their highest level in six years, a 23 percent rise from the previous year.

Two young men were murdered on the streets in Camden on Tuesday night, prompting the London mayor to call for action from Downing Street.

A 17-year-old died in the street after being attacked outside a corner shop in Kentish Town. Less than two hours later, a 20-year-old died after being stabbed near Belsize Park.

Videos and images circulating in the media have shown just how dangerous the streets are becoming, especially for young men.

Horror footage of knife-wielding youths battling in east London has revealed the brazenness of criminals in the capital. The video from Barking, thought to have been shot in December last year, shows a group of young men fighting with weapons, with seemingly no fear of being caught.

In the two-minute clip, released on the internet, five young men circle a car parked outside what appears to be a block of flats.

The men hit the car repeatedly, with at least one of them holding a huge machete-style knife.

Eventually their target, another young man, emerges from the back seat of the car. With his face covered and holding a weapon, he launches himself toward his attackers.

They can be heard shouting to one another about how they want to kill him and how it should be done there and then in the carpark.

One shouts: “His face needs cutting up,” before another says: “Let’s finish him now. We’re not done.” The group call to each other “don’t let him go” while they take it in turns to approach the man, who is also carrying a what seems to be a machete.

Trolleys and a bike are thrown around as a woman and her child run past the chaos. The video ends before it is clear what happened to the man.

Twitter users said this is a daily occurrence in London. One man wrote: “Thugs acting with TOTAL impunity it in broad daylight… No fear of encountering police or of the pathetic court sentences if unlucky enough to do so… THIS is the dystopia the Govt have created with their cuts to policing … “

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‘A gift from fate’: Child thought dead for 7 years reunites with family… thanks to bailiffs

By ethan / February 21, 2018

A Russian couple who thought their baby had died shortly after birth were reunited with their child after more than seven years, thanks to bailiffs who had come calling to ask for money for the boy’s care.

The touching story with a long-postponed but happy ending began in the southwestern Russian city of Volgograd back in 2011. A couple decided to abandon their newborn as they were told that the baby would not survive for more than a week. However, the parents changed their minds just five days later, and rushed to take their child back, but it was too late as doctors told them that the boy had already died.

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© Thomas Kroeger/ Global Look Press

Almost seven years later, however, Russia’s Federal Bailiffs Service was tasked with recovering money from the parents for the child’s care, as the boy was alive and staying in a care home, according to a statement published on Tuesday.

As the officials seized money on the mother’s banking account, the infuriated woman went to bailiffs to demand an explanation. The couple was ordered to pay the care home more than $ 4,000 (230,000 rubles), Russian media reported

The documents the bailiff presented to the woman left her stunned – as the papers revealed the shocking news that all these years her baby had been alive, despite the couple being sure their son was dead.

Right after the “resurrection,” the couple went to court to restore their parental rights. The amazing family reunification then took place, and the child is now being raised by his happy parents. “The child was transferred to his legitimate parents on New Year’s Eve, having probably the most expensive gift in his life, not only from Ded Moroz [Russian version of Santa Claus], but also from fate!” the bailiff service statement concludes.

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