WWIII is close
By JW Insider
Most posts from a previous topic that dealt with organ transplants/harvesting have been moved here. The previous topic is linked below:
Another new topic about Socialism and Communism will be posted elsewhere, in case anyone wishes to discuss those political ideas, too.
By JW Insider
By now, most people have heard about the "Weeger" issues in China. There are supposedly concentration camps, torture camps, medical experiments, thousands imprisoned, etc. When someone changed thousands to "for all we know, there might even be millions" the new number changed to "millions" without Western media even batting an eyelash.
So here's an opinion about it, which focuses on Xinjiang Province (also known as the “Uyghur Autonomous Region”)...
There’s a lot of background to this, but the basic problem is geopolitical: The US wants to sabotage the growth of China as a world power in favor of the Western model of capitalism and imperialism.
What imperialist Western elites see as China’s weakest links are its new Belt & Road Initiative (BRI: an infrastructure project to expand high-speed rail, telecommunications, and both dirty and renewable energy worldwide) and its relations with other Asian and Muslim countries (which are increasingly friendly). There has been a “New Cold War” against China since Obama’s/Hillary’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy (of which the TPP and the deployment of THAAD in Korea were a part), but especially renewed now since Trump’s propaganda and trade war. China is threatened by HUNDREDS of US military bases and nukes surrounding it (and Russia, Iran, etc.)!
The basis for the propaganda has always existed, of course: “Tiananmen Square was a heartless massacre proving the unpopularity of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” “Hong Kong is being brutalized by Beijing,” “China is genociding Tibet,” and so on. I think most of these issues are lies — completely fabricated — or distortions of reality not presenting the whole story. The CCP, for example, is one of the most (perhaps THE most) popular political parties in the world, which hilariously perplexes international polling agencies and Harvard researchers time and time again.
[See “Understanding CCP Resilience” by Harvard University. The writing is biased, but the researchers are forced to admit the fact that the Chinese people — and particularly underprivileged minorities — are in love with the Party.]
This claim — “China is genociding Muslims” — is no different. The “1 million Uyghurs in concentration camps” and “forced to eat pork” are complete fabrications. They were alleged by one US official, and then some Western diplomats went along with it. Most of the recent “reports” and “statistics” (which extrapolated numbers to ALL of Xinjiang from a localized study!) originate from US-funded think-tanks, usually involving a man named Adrian Zenz. Zenz is a right-wing Christian fundamentalist who believes that he has been “led by God” against the unspeakable evil of China. In Western media, when they write “reports show” such and such, find their source; it’s typically Adrian Zenz.
[See: https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/ ]
It has not merited an official statement by the UN. In fact, nearly every Muslim-majority country has praised China’s response to the rise of Islamic extremism and terrorism in Xinjiang Province.
Speaking of which, how did this extremism arise in the first place? One answer is poverty and lack of adequate education. The other is the promotion and funding of Jihadist terrorist groups by the US and the West since the 1980s, first against the Soviet Union, and then again recently in Afghanistan, Pakistan, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and China — all of which have sizable Muslim populations. This includes some fundamentalist propaganda and especially weapons from U.S. allies in Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (but which are now beginning to move closer to China).
Everybody knows the history, how Obama expanded the wars into Syria and Libya by arming Jihadists, how Hillary admitted we aided Al-Qaeda, and how, going back even further, the New York Times praised Osama bin Laden himself on the cover as our “freedom fighter.” We also don’t need to review the aftermath. We all know how devastating it was, how many millions lost their lives due to the civil wars and US bombs. We also know how many lies we were told, about “weapons of mass destruction” and “chemical warfare.”
China responded to Islamic extremism in Xinjiang Province — which shares borders with Pakistan, India, etc. — through poverty alleviation, education centers, and arrest/punishment for crimes (such as stabbing) or possessing incriminating materials (propaganda, knives, etc.). Most Muslim countries believed this response to be unprecedentedly good. Pakistan went so far as to say that this should be the “model for antiterrorism.”
[See also: https://medium.com/@leohezhao/xinjiang-facts-vs-fiction-bdc2aa403c91 ]
Another thing to research (with a skeptical eye of course) is the 2009 Urumqi Riots in China. These incidents, in which many ethnically Han Chinese people were arrested for retaliating against Muslim violence in Xinjiang, were ugly and brutal, and scarred the CCP and all the peoples of China, especially Muslims. Many Uyghurs also fled China to fight alongside ISIS and Al-Nusra “rebels” (Al-Qaeda) in Syria. This is well-documented! And these are typically the Uyghurs quoted in explosive “news reports” crying “My husband was murdered!!!”
Some more facts: China has built thousands of mosques, both within China and throughout the Middle East and Africa. How can this be explained? The Uyghur population has nearly DOUBLED since 1990, as minority ethnic groups (like them) are guaranteed certain privileges and exemptions by the Chinese Constitution in order to (as the party states) “combat Han chauvinism.” How is this possible if they are being “genocided”? Road signs and schools use Arabic and Uyghur scripts along with Chinese. Many Chinese and Uyghurs intermarry! Do those sound like “genocide”?
In short, there’s a real propaganda campaign ramping up. It’s very possible (and very stupid) that a war with China is brewing. The illegal actions against Huawei (the world leader in 5G technology) are yet another example. Unfortunately, our entire social media experience from the top-down is manipulated by elites, the ones who own it and all the other media we consume.
It is extremely tempting to fall into peer pressure these days and deny real research about this issue because it makes one look like a "genocide denier." Revealing what the research shows makes one seem "evil" for not following what others think. And that is exactly how propaganda works in the modern age, all while the details and research required to become informed are increasingly in the hands of mega-monopolies like Google and CNN.
Sometimes, one can learn from the mistakes of these same media companies, too. Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube can quickly ban someone who get complaints against them for showing evidence that goes against Western propaganda. SkyNews just ran a story about claimed Uyghur torture, and they used footage of prisoners in blindfolds. Embarrassingly, it turned out to be SkyNews' own footage from a few years earlier of a prisoner transfer of Han Chinese, not Uyghurs. It had nothing to do with torture, or Muslims. (Blindfolding prisoners during transfers is common practice in many countries.) The original report knew this, but the footage was re-used to fit Western propaganda. There have been many such examples. Another time it was footage of the U.S. capturing Muslims that had nothing to do with China or Uyghurs. Another time it was footage from Thailand or Indonesia repurposed to supposedly show Muslim Uyghurs in China. People have pointed out mistakes in claiming certain persons were Uyghurs just because they looked like they were wearing Muslim garb, which turned out to be a style from Muslims unique to other countries.
The new flu strain is similar to the swine flu that spread globally in 2009
A new strain of flu that has the potential to become a pandemic has been identified in China by scientists.
It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say.
The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak.
While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.
As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus.
The scientists write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that measures to control the virus in pigs, and the close monitoring of swine industry workers, should be swiftly implemented.
As a person in China... your social credit "score" will go down if you interact with too many others who are in debt.
This is a radar device for every citizen to avoid being around others or interacting with other citizens who are in debt.
Scary Big Brother stuff going on in china
President Trump and China President Xi Jinping were one belly-bump shy of a bromance during last month’s trade talks. But now, U.S. and China are back at each other’s throats.
U.S. hits first
The Trump administration voted against recognizing China as a “market economy” in the WTO—a status that would allow China to export goods around the world at cheaper prices than competing countries.
What allows China to sell at cheaper prices? For one, government-backed subsidies that enable Chinese companies to trim expenses from their operations.
But China’s up in arms about the U.S.’ opposition. That’s because after joining the WTO in 2001, it was guaranteed market economy status 15 years later.
So naturally, Xi kicked back
As the world’s steelmakers gathered Thursday to discuss a global oversupply, China crossed its arms and refused to slow down production (or at least, to be the only one slowing down production).
And that’s an issue, considering the country controls~50% of the world’s supply.
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Tesla is close to securing a deal with the city of Shanghai that would allow the Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker to produce vehicles in China, according to a newly published report by
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . Chinese regulations require Tesla to enter into a joint venture with a local company to manufacture vehicles in the country. Having a presence in the world’s largest electric vehicle market is a critical next step for Tesla as it seeks to scale production globally. Tesla has previously shared that it is looking to build vehicles and batteries in China which would allow the company to avoid a 25% tariff on vehicles it sold in the country. Last year, Tesla’s sales in China tripled to over $1 billion, or roughly 1/7th of its total sales.
[Photo credit: Tesla]
With China serving as a hotbed for plug-in vehicles and manufacturing, it would be an ideal location for Tesla to lay down the framework for its customers in Asia. China is also home to 1/6th of the world population, and with its ever growing middle class represents a large market for its upcoming affordable Model 3 sedan.
The Chinese plug-in vehicle market is on the rise, as the country seeks to pivot away from smog producing internal combustion vehicles in favor of clean energy vehicles like Tesla’s Model S and Model X. To support these clean energy vehicles, China has exempted buyers from paying sales tax which can reach upwards of 115% of the purchase price of the vehicle.
The report by Bloomberg comes on the heels of the announcement that more than 6% of Tesla’s global sales were in Hong Kong, of which 7% of all vehicles sold were Teslas. That will likely change if proposed changes to the EV incentives are put into effect which would nearly double the price of a new Tesla.
Tesla currently builds all of its vehicles in its Fremont factory in northern California and ships them to customers across the globe, though the other half of its supply chain is firmly rooted in batteries. Production of its newest 2170 lithium ion battery cells – the same cells being used in Tesla’s Model 3 – is taking place exclusively at Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada. Contrary to early beliefs that Tesla would migrate the 2170 cell to its flagship vehicles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. form factor. Building a Gigafactory in close proximity to Panasonic’s existing Chinese factories like its recently opened factory in Dalian, China would drastically cut the length of the supply chain and minimize potential disruptions.
We have reached out to Tesla for comment and will update this story accordingly as we learn more.
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Tesla has confirmed that it is now in talks with the Shanghai municipal government to build a Gigafactory and manufacture cars in the city’s tech sector, according to
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . “While we expect most of our production to remain in the U.S., we need to establish local factories to ensure affordability for the markets they serve,” Tesla said in a statement.
[Photo credit: Tesla]
Chinese regulations require Tesla to enter into a joint venture with a local company to manufacture vehicles in the country. While Tesla hasn’t announced a partner yet, all eyes are on Tencent Holdings, the Chinese internet company that holds a 5% stake in Musk’s company.
The EV company has not said which vehicles it plans to produce in China if and when the deal goes through, but the Reuters report cites a supplier source who says the company is considering Model 3 and Model Y production there.
The company plans to release more finalized plans by the end of 2017.
Tesla has previously shared that it is looking to build vehicles and batteries in China which would allow the company to avoid a 25% tariff on vehicles it sold in the country. Last year, Tesla’s sales in China tripled to over $1 billion, or roughly 1/7th of its total sales.
The company currently builds all of its vehicles in its Fremont factory in northern California and ships them worldwide, though the other half of its supply chain is firmly rooted in batteries. Tesla produces its newest 2170 lithium ion battery cells – the same cells being used in Tesla’s Model 3 – exclusively at Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada.
Tesla shares popped 1.5% at the news of the talks, leading to $382 in midday trading.
By Guest Nicole
You can already hail an autonomous taxi in Singapore. And Tokyo. And Moscow. China doesn't want to be left behind in this AI party, so Chinese Internet giant Baidu announced that it's working on a slate of self-driving passenger vehicles, including robo-taxis, that will go into testing as soon as next year in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province.
The news came as part of a series of AI vehicles announcements in Beijing at Baidu World, the company's annual technology conference, where Baidu also announced an AI deal with Ford.
"The era for autonomous passenger vehicles is upon us, but having only smart cars is not enough," Baidu Chairman and CEO Robin Li said. "We also need smart roads. By leveraging our capabilities in autonomous driving and AI technologies, we can develop comprehensive solutions that will greatly improve the efficiency of urban cities."
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Immigration This is how they treated us: children separated from their parents at the border tell of their days in detention in the United StatesBy Guest Nicole
Many of the children described conditions at US Customs and Border Protection facilities, where they were taken and processed during the first days after crossing the border. In the reports they were only identified by their first names. Timofei, 15, from Russia, who sought asylum on the border with his parents for his beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses, said they were crowded night and day in the closed and crowded room, detained along with other boys. He said there was only one window that opened onto an empty hallway and that they did not have soap in the bathroom, and that only sometimes, they gave him a toothbrush for individual use. He also said that he was offered a shower when he arrived at the facilities in San Ysidro, California, but he did not and the second or third day there did not allow him to do so.
By Guest Nicole
(Moscow) – Law enforcement authorities acrossÂ RussiaÂ have carried out a sweeping campaign against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in recent months, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have carried out dozens of home searches, raids, interrogations, and other acts of harassment and persecution.
The authorities are holding 18 men in pretrial detention on charges of organizing, participating in, or financing the activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” solely for their religious activities. Several others are facing the same charges and are under house arrest or subject to travel restrictions. The charges carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence. RussianÂ authorities should release those in detention immediately, drop the charges, and halt the persecution of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses.
Â“The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses are simply peacefully exercising their right to freedom of religion,Â” saidÂ Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Â“The JehovahÂ’s Witness faith is not an extremist organization, and authorities should stop this religious persecution of its worshipers now.Â”
Human Rights Watch interviewed four lawyers defending JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in five regions and a representative of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Human Rights Watch also reviewed court documents, media reports, Russian government statements, and Federal Security Service (FSB) photos and videos purporting to show the raids.
The raids and arrests stem fromÂ an April 2017 Russian Supreme Courtruling that banned all JehovahÂ’s Witnesses organizations throughout Russia. The ruling declared the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses Administrative Center, the head office for 395 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses branches throughout Russia, an extremist organization and ruled that all 395 be shut down. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses across Russia, blatantly violates RussiaÂ’s obligations to respect and protect religious freedom and freedom of association.
Russian authorities should reverse the ban on the organizationÂ’s activities and remove the Â“extremistÂ” designation, Human Rights Watch said. Meanwhile, they should leave JehovahÂ’s Witnesses free to practice their faith.
JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia and other former USSR countries have faced persecution in the past. During the Soviet era, they were arrested and imprisoned in labor camps, including in Siberia. Within the past decade,Â worshipers across Russia have faced persecution, intrusive home searches, andÂ arrests, and have been denied rights to freedom of assembly, association, and religion.
In 2010, theÂ European Court of Human Rights ruled against RussiaÂ for closing the Moscow branch of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses and refusing to allow the group to re-register. The court found violations of articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protect freedom of religion and association, respectively. In addition to awarding monetary damages, the court said that Russia should review the domestic decisions that led to the violations. Russia has refused to carry out the judgments in that case andÂ several othersÂ brought by members of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. On the contrary, Russia has continued to persecute JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, seeking the groupÂ’s complete dissolution in Russia.
From April to June 2018, law enforcement raids targeted JehovahÂ’s Witness communities in at least 11 regions throughout Russia, from Saratov region in southwestern Russia to Primorsky Krai in RussiaÂ’s far east. Police carried out the raids, often accompanied by a combination of FSB officials wearing masks, armed personnel of the Interior Ministry Special Task Police Force or National Guard, and representatives from the Investigative Committee, RussiaÂ’s criminal investigation service. Â
The authorities, who obtained search warrants or entry permits in most cases, confiscated personal computers, mobile phones, bank cards, passports, religious literature, and, in some cases, housing deeds. Dozens of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, including at least one child, were taken to local investigative offices for questioning. Others were detained and later charged.
A lawyer representing a JehovahÂ’s Witness who is in pretrial detention in Murmansk Region told Human Rights Watch that the authoritiesÂ’ actions contradict religious freedom guarantees in the Russian Constitution. Â“The [Russian] constitution says that you canÂ practice your faith togetherÂ with others, but as it turns out, thatÂ’s a crime,Â” said Yegiazar Chernikov, of the Sverdlovsk LawyersÂ’ Association.
In at least two regions, armed officers threatened the worshipers with firearms, in one case pointing a gun at a personÂ’s head, a lawyer familiar with the incident told Human Rights Watch.
A JehovahÂ’s Witnesses representative told Human Rights Watch that approximately 160 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses have fled Russia to seek refuge abroad.
On June 20, RussiaÂ’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights announced that it hadÂ asked the prosecutor generalÂ’s officeÂ to verify the legality of criminal prosecutions against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses practicing their faith. A week earlier, several of the spouses of the men in pretrial detention hadÂ sent a letter to the chair of the council, Mikhail Fedotov, urging him to ask President Vladimir Putin to end the raids and arrests and to restore freedom of religion in Russia.
Over 150 Russian activists, journalists, and academics Â– including several members of Memorial, RussiaÂ’s foremost human rights group Â–Â signed and publishedÂ an open letter urging the authorities to immediately release those in detention and to reverse the Supreme CourtÂ’s decision to liquidate the JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ organization.
JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia Â– like all people in Russia Â– should be able to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of religion and association, Human Rights Watch said. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party.
Under international law, freedom of religion includes the freedom to practice oneÂ’s religion or belief both individually and in community with others, in public or in private, and through worship, practice, and teaching. Russia already has many rulings against it for its failure to respect the freedom of religion of faith communities and minority religious groups, such as theÂ Church of Scientology, theÂ Salvation Army, and theÂ JehovahÂ’s Witnesses
Â“Russia should do right by its national and international obligations to respect freedom of religion,Â” Denber said. Â“Russian leadership should make sure that law enforcement is honoring and protecting that right, not trampling on it.Â”
Raids Aimed at Intimidation
The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses are a peaceful religious community. The consistent show of force in raids in many locations in Russia was disproportionate and seemed aimed at sending a strong message of intimidation, Human Rights Watch said.Â
In most regions, the authorities arrested people they singled out as leaders and organizers of the local JehovahÂ’s Witnesses community for such actions as recruiting new members and distributing religious literature that the authorities label Â“extremist.Â”
On May 16 in the Orenburg Region, in southwest Russia, law enforcement personnel searched 18 homes in four cities and charged nine people. Two are in pretrial custody and another is under house arrest.
On May 17 in Birobidzhan, in southeast Russia, representatives of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses reported that about 150 law enforcement personnel raided the homes of at least nine JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, confiscating photos, bank cards, money, and computers. An officialÂ reportedly saidthat the operation was code-named Â“Judgment Day.Â” One person was arrested and charged with organizing activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” but wasÂ released from pretrial detentionÂ eight days later.
On April 18 in the town of Polyarny in the Murmansk Region, in northwest Russia, armed law enforcement agents raided at least seven homes and arrested two men. They took several others into custody for questioning and later released them. Police also took a 16-year-old girl into custody and questioned her at the local investigative unit for several hours. AÂ video posted on the Murmansk Investigative CommitteeÂ’s websiteÂ shows men wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets forcing open a door to an apartment.
The arrest and raid campaign took place as the trial of aÂ JehovahÂ’s Witness who is a Danish citizen, Dennis Christensen, continues in Orel, a city in western Russia. Christensen, who was arrested in May 2017, is being tried on charges of organizing activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” and faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence if convicted. He hasÂ filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rightsalleging, among other things, that his arrest constituted unlawful interference with his right to freedom of religion.
Another JehovahÂ’s Witness in Orel, 55-year-oldÂ Sergei Skrynnikov, was charged on May 8, 2018, with participating in the activities of an Â“extremist organization.Â”
A lawyer who is defending three JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in two regions said that throughout the past eight months, FSB agents in the Orenburg Region and the Republic of Bashkortostan conducted wiretapping, videotaping, and other surveillance of JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ activities Â– for which they said they had warrants Â– as part of the investigation. In some cases, the lawyer said, authorities placed recording devices in JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ homes.
Earlier in 2018, police raided more than two dozen JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ homes in Belgorod and Kemerovo. Two JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Belgorod are facing extremism charges.
Saratov and Shirokoe, Saratov Region
On June 12, authorities in Saratov Region, southwestern Russia,Â raided at least seven homesÂ of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in the city of Saratov and village of Shirokoe. According to the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia,Â special forces officers broke down doorsÂ and confiscated computers, books, notebooks, photographs, bankbooks, and passports. The authorities took at least 10 people to FSB offices for questioning.
ThreeÂ were detained and chargedÂ with organizing activities of an Â“extremist organization.Â” They are: 43-year-old Konstantin Bazhenov, 35-year-old Aleksei Budenchuk, and 33-year-old Felix Makhammadiyev. On June 14, the Frunzensky District Court placed all three in pretrial detention until August 12.
Tomsk, Tomsk Region
Law enforcementÂ raided several homes and cars belonging to JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in TomskÂ between 10 a.m. on June 3 and about 2 a.m. the next day, the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia reported. Officers confiscated Bibles, mobile phones, tablets, computers, photographs, money, bank cards, and other personal possessions. They took about 30 people to the police anti-extremism center for questioning.
According to a statement by the Tomsk Investigative Committee, the searches were part of a joint FSB and Internal Affairs Ministry investigation into meetings of JehovahÂ’s Witness residents in Tomsk. Investigative authorities allege that worshipers studied prohibited, Â“extremistÂ” religious materials and carried out organized religious activities in violation of the Supreme CourtÂ’s ruling against the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses Administrative Center.
Representatives of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that 48-year-old Sergei Klimov was detained after a search of his home on June 3, was charged with organizing activities of an Â“extremist organization,Â” and will remain in pretrial detention until August 4.
Magadan, Magadan Region
The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in RussiaÂ reportedÂ that on May 30, FSB and law enforcement officers arrested Konstantin Petrov, 31; Yevgeny Zyablov, 41; and Sergei Yerkin, 61, after searching their homes in the city of Magadan (Magadan Region). On the same day, authorities in Khabarovsk (Khabarovsky Krai) detained Ivan Puyda, 39, based on a court order from Magadan. All four are accused of organizing activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” and will remain in pretrial detention until July 29.
Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan
Police and FSB officials searched the homes of 10 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny, in south-central Russia, on the evening of May 27. The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in RussiaÂ reportedÂ that the searches lasted Â“well into the night.Â”
Investigators arrestedÂ Ilham Karimov, 37; Vladimir Myakushin, 30; Konstantin Matrashov, 25;Â Â Â Aydar Yulmetyev, 24, on suspicion of organizing and participating in the activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” and placed them in pretrial detention until July 25. The Naberezhnye Chelny City Court displays records of all four hearings.Â According to the religious freedom monitoring group Forum 18, Karimov, Myakushin, and Matrashov have appealed their pretrial detention.
Perm, Perm Krai
The JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia reported that on the evening of May 22, Aleksandr Solovyev, 48, and his wife, Anna, wereÂ detained at the railway stationÂ in Perm, in the Ural Mountains region, after returning from a trip abroad. Law enforcement then searched the coupleÂ’s home and reportedly seized property deeds, photographs, several Bibles, and a Wi-Fi router.
Anna was released, but her husband was held for two days. He was released on May 24, and the Sverdlovsk District Court ordered him confined to house arrest.Â According to Forum 18, he is being investigated on charges of participating in the activities of an Â“extremist organization.Â”
Before the 2017 Supreme Court ruling banning the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses Administrative Center, Solovyov chaired the Perm JehovahÂ’s Witnesses congregation,Â according to the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Russia website.
Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region
On May 17 in Birobidzhan, southeast Russia,Â police raided the homes of at least nine JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. The raids were carried out by approximately 150 law enforcement officers. An officialÂ reportedly saidthat the operation was code-named Â“Judgment Day.Â”
On May 18, 55-year-old Alam Aliev was placed in pretrial detention until July 13 under suspicion of organizing activities of an Â“extremist organization.Â” TheÂ FSB statedÂ that its request to detain Aliev Â“was motivated by the fact that the crime is classified as graveÂ” and because Â“[t]he suspect may impede the criminal proceedings, put pressure on witnesses, and also evade investigative and judicial authorities.Â” Following an appeal by AlievÂ’s lawyer,Â Aliev was released from detention on May 25Â but still faces charges.
Orenburg, Orenburg Region
On May 16 in Orenburg Region, Investigative Committee authorities, FSB officials, and armed National Guard officers searched 18 homes in four cities. Vitaly Svintsov, a lawyer representing two JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in the region, told Human Rights Watch that nine people were charged with organizing or participating in the activities of an Â“extremist organization.Â” Two of them, Aleksandr Suvorov and Vladimir Kochnev, both 38, remain in pretrial custody until July 14. Twenty-six-year-old Vladislav Kolbanov remains under house arrest. The other six remain under travel restrictions while the investigation is ongoing, Svintsov said.
Photographs of some of the raidsÂ posted on the Orenburg Investigative Committee websiteÂ show FSB officials and riot police in bulletproof vests and masks approaching JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ residences.
A statement by the Orenburg Investigative Committee said that investigative operations were Â“carefully planned and organizedÂ” by law enforcement with the aim of Â“seizing documents and items relevant to the criminal case, as well as identifying other persons involved in unlawful activities.Â”Â Investigators allegeÂ that the suspects Â“organized activities of a subdivision of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses [Administrative Center] by calling and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and communicating the contents of religious literature to meeting participants.Â”
Shuya, Ivanovo Region
Forum 18 reportedÂ that law enforcement raided four homes in the town of Shuya, western Russia, early on the morning of April 20.
Dmitry Mikhailov, 33, wasÂ arrested on May 29, over a month after his home was searched and placed in pretrial custody until July 19. He is being accused of Â“financing extremist activities.Â” Â
On April 20, the Ivanovo Region Investigative CommitteeÂ released a statementÂ about the home searches, alleging that since the beginning of 2018, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Shuya had been studying literature Â“containing statements degrading human dignity . . . and elements of propaganda of the exclusivity of one religion over another.Â”
Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai
Several homes belonging to JehovahÂ’s Witnesses wereÂ reportedly raidedon April 19 in the far-east city of Vladivostok.
Human Rights Watch was able to confirm that on April 23Â Valentin Osadchuk, 42, was placed under arrest by Frunzensky District Court on charges of participation in the activities of an Â“extremist organizationÂ” after authorities searched his home and confiscated computers, notebooks, and other devices. He remains in pretrial detention until September 20. Representatives of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that five others face the same charges but remain at liberty subject to travel restrictions.
Polyarny, Murmansk Region
On the evening of April 18 in the town of Polyarny in the Murmansk region, armed law enforcement raided at least seven homes and arrested two JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, Roman Markin, 44, and Viktor Tifimov, 61. Others whose homes were searched were taken to the local investigative unit for questioning and later released without charge.
The Murmansk Region Investigative CommitteeÂ stated on its websitethat National Guard officers and FSB officials who led the home searches confiscated computer drives and religious literature. AÂ video posted to the websiteÂ shows men wearing camouflage uniforms and helmets forcing open a door with a pry bar. The Investigative Committee said that beginning in April 2017, the suspects had allegedly Â“organized activities of the religious organization [JehovahÂ’s Witnesses] by convening and holding meetings, organizing the recruitment of new members, and leading studies of religious texts at meetings.Â”
MarkinÂ’s lawyer, Arli Chimirov, told Human Rights Watch that armed officers broke down MarkinÂ’s door and told him and his 16-year-old daughter, who was at home with him, to lie on the floor while law enforcement threatened them with firearms and searched the apartment. MarkinÂ’s daughter was escorted to the investigative unit and was questioned for several hours along with her mother, who arrived some time later.
On April 23, 2018, the Polyarny District Court placed Markin in pretrial custody until June 11. MarkinÂ’s lawyer unsuccessfully appealed the decision. According to court documents on file with Human Rights Watch, investigative authorities requested that Markin be placed in pretrial detention because of the risk that he Â“may continue criminal activities, threaten participants in the legal proceedings, hide or destroy evidence, and also fail to attend preliminary court hearings.Â” On June 4, MarkinÂ’s pretrial detention was extended to October 11.
TifimovÂ’s lawyer, Yegiazar Chernikov, told Human Rights Watch that beginning in October 2017, investigators had been collecting as evidence audio and video recordings of conversations among JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Chernikov said that on several occasions, a woman involved in the investigation invited Tifimov to her home, where audio and video recording devices were in place, and asked him questions given to her by investigative authorities and designed to incriminate him.
Tifimov was originally detained until June 12, 2018, but his pretrial detention was extended until October 11.
Ufa, Republic of Bashkortostan
The religious freedom groupÂ Forum 18 reportedÂ that approximately 60 law enforcement officers, some of them armed, raided eight homes in the city of Ufa, south-central Russia, on the morning of April 10. Investigators confiscated personal belongings, books, and photographs. The lawyer representing one of the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses who was detained said that authorities threatened worshipers with weapons,Â in one case holding an automatic weapon to a personÂ’s head.
At least 20 people were reportedly taken to the Lenin District Investigative Department for questioning and fingerprinting but were later released. One girl was called for questioning, but when she showed up for the meeting with her mother and the director of her school, the investigator failed to appear.
On April 12, Anatoly Vilikevich, 32, was arrested on suspicion of organizing activities of an Â“extremist organization,Â” and placed in pretrial detention. VilikevichÂ’s lawyer, Vitaly Svintsov, who appealed the order, told Human Rights Watch that on June 21 the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan overturned the lower courtÂ’s decision and placed him under house arrest.
A statement by theÂ Bashkortostan Republic Investigative Committeealleged that Vilikevich had organized a local chapter of the banned JehovahÂ’s Witnesses Administrative Center. Investigators who searched his home confiscated Â“prohibited literature,Â” the statement said.
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Since 2007, dozens of pieces of JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ literature have been banned and placed on the federal registry of banned extremist materials. Pictured here, stacks of booklets distributed by a local leader of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in the Siberian town of Gorno-Altaysk are seen during a court session on December 16, 2010.
Â Â©2010 Reuters/Alexandr Tyryshkin
By Guest Nicole
In a surprising move, a branch of the Russian government has called out the actions of their government’s police and judicial forces in the enforcement of the ban of Jehovah Witnesses. The ban occurred last year when the Russian Supreme Court labeled the religious denomination an “extremist organization.” This has led to arrests of over a dozen Jehovah’s Witnesses, the closing of all administrative and religious worship buildings, and near constant harassment by police forces for the private practice of their faith. Several wives of arrested Jehovah’s Witnesses created a joint statement begging for their release. The Presidential Council is designed to help assist the Russian president in protecting human rights. In a written statement, the organization questioned the actions of the past year, saying “It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character.” This comes at a unique time for human rights and Russia. The country deflected demands by the United States to release over a hundred political and religious prisoners earlier in the week, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. The United States pressure was labeled Western propaganda. Conversely, Russia has been proposing that it takes the United States spot on the United Nations Human Rights Council. The United States announced pulling out of the international body earlier this week. Given the authoritarian control Putin has over the government, the actions of the presidential council may be purely a symbolic measure to prevent criticism from the West and gain support for their bid to join the UN Human Rights Council. It is unclear what steps will be taken and what the lasting effect will be on the government. What is not addressed in the letter is the physical violence and threats that have occurred from vigilante groups and private citizens, which seem emboldened by the government’s law and police actions.
Read more at World Religion News: "Russian Government Criticizes Putin for Treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses" https://www.worldreligionnews.com/?p=53681
By Guest Nicole
By Andrew Osborn
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Advisers to President Vladimir Putin have questioned the legality of a slew of criminal cases opened against members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and asked the General Prosecutor’s office to protect the group’s freedom of belief.
Russia’s Supreme Court ruled in April last year that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were an “extremist” organisation and must disband, a move the group unsuccessfully appealed.
Since then, at least 19 members have been detained on criminal charges in Russia with one, Danish citizen Dennis Christensen, now held for more than a year and put on trial for extremism.
The Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, which advises Putin but does not have policy-making powers itself, said it believed law enforcement agencies were flouting the constitution and misinterpreting last year’s ruling by locking people up for collective bible reading and praying.
“It cannot but be a cause for concern because the criminal prosecutions and detentions have taken on a systemic character,” the council said in a statement which the Jehovah’s Witnesses publicised on Thursday.
“The situation evokes associations with the Soviet period when Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered groundless repression because of their faith.”
The fact that the council has intervened on the group’s behalf does not necessarily mean that Putin will take up their cause though the subject is likely to be raised at the council’s next meeting with the Russian leader.
‘GLIMMER OF OPTIMISM’
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a United States-based Christian denomination known for its door-to-door preaching and rejection of military service and blood transfusions, has around 170,000 followers in Russia.
The U.S. State Department on Monday said it was deeply concerned by what it described as the growing number of religious prisoners held in Russia, saying that people were being persecuted “in retaliation for peaceful religious practice.”
And on Tuesday, more than 60 well-known Russian writers, historians and rights activists signed an appeal demanding the authorities stop prosecuting the group, describing the legal onslaught on its members as a test for Russian society.
Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a member of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, said on Thursday the council’s intervention had given his group “a glimmer of optimism.”
“We hope that common sense will prevail and that someone wise … will say that this has all gone too far,” he said.
“If the authorities can do this to us they can apply the same logic to do the same to anyone in Russia.”
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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WIVES OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IMPRISONED IN RUSSIA SEND LETTER TO PUTIN ADVISER BEGGING FOR AN END TO CAMPAIGN OF TERRORBy Guest Nicole
The wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses rounded up and imprisoned in Russia have written an open letter to a top adviser of President Vladimir Putin, asking him to stop the campaign of terror against the religious group.
“This open letter to you is a cry of desperation. People who are very dear to us, our husbands, those who feed us, the fathers of our children, peaceable, honest people, who are always ready to help others, are being thrown behind bars for being suspected of reading Bible commandments and praying together with us and our children,” reads the letter directed to Mikhail Fedotov, a close adviser of Putin and chairman of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights. The letter is signed by 10 wives of Jehovah’s Witnesses from across Russia.
“In return for freedom and a quiet life, we are being invited to disown our faith. This is not just a figure of speech—investigators have directly invited us to sign documents in order to avoid punishment for ‘extremism’…If the Russian government does not quickly put an end to this growing campaign of terror, the administration will be faced with a nation-wide human rights catastrophe,” the letter continues.
The Russian government labeled the Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist sect in April 2017, and has since been imprisoning its members and charging them with extremism. Members of the group have had their homes raided by masked men and their places of worship shuttered
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Total homes destroyed by new criteria: 235.
Improvements to map display and techniques used in assessing 'homes lost' have been made. Home status in this map now relies on the use of Hawaii County, Real Property Tax Department's publicly released information. The information from the County is used to locate, address, and account for homes lost. This allows for more accurate way to distinguish between a 'home' and a 'structure'. Each home now lists it's associated address.
Addresses are determined to be 'lost' via on the ground reporting, aerial comparisons, USGS lava flow surveys, and disclosures by home owners. Homes that have been damaged by cracks, SO2, and even properties totally surrounded by lava were not counted. Also, since this change in methodology relies on tax records many un-permitted homes, and Ohana homes on the same parcel as a primary home, have been excluded.Â
If there are in errors seen in locations of homes marked (not just the slightly off placement of dots) or something that is missed please post in the comments. My condolences to all homeowners who have lost their homes and displaced families. This is a hard time for everyone involved.
Mahalo to Jen Naylor Sexton for assisting in the map parcel examination and compiling a list of addresses. Heath Dalton for his accurate and robust information on status of specific homes. Ryan Finlay for his many, many contributions. And all residents that have contributed in this hard time by providing information about the homes and neighborhoods in which they lived. Also, a Mahalo to Kris Burmeister and Andrew Hara for their reporting back of addresses as homes are lost.Â
By Bible Speaks
Massive New Fissures Open On Hawaiian Volcano, Prompting More Evacuations
Some 37 buildings have been destroyed and nearly 2,000 people ordered to evacuate in the past 10 days.
PAHOA, Hawaii, May 13 (Reuters) - Two new fissures opened on HawaiiÂ’s Kilauea volcano, hurling bursts of rock and magma with an ear-piercing screech on Sunday, threatening nearby homes and prompting authorities to order new evacuations.
One new fissure from Sunday morning was a vivid gouge of magma with smoke pouring out both ends and was the 17th to open on the volcano since it began erupting on May 3. Some 37 buildings have been destroyed and nearly 2,000 people ordered to evacuate in the past 10 days.
Viewed from a helicopter, the crack appeared to be about 1,000 feet (300 meters) long and among the largest of those fracturing the side of Kilauea, a 4,000-foot-high volcano with a lake of lava at its summit.
Â“It is a near-constant roar akin to a full-throttle 747 interspersed with deafening, earth-shattering explosions that hurtle 100-pound lava bombs 100 feet into the air,Â” said Mark Clawson, 64, who lives uphill from the latest fissure and so far is defying an evacuation order.