The Daily Shaarli

All links of one day in a single page.

December 14, 2018

Israel welcomes Europe's neo-fascists
The two-day visit of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to Israel this week is only the latest episode in the increasingly open alliance between the Zionist state and resurgent forces of the far-right and neo-fascism in Europe and beyond.

Salvini, the leader of the anti-immigrant Lega party, has become the dominant figure in Italy's right-wing coalition government, setting an agenda based on the slogan of "Italians first" and vowing to "cleanse" Italy of undocumented migrants "by force if necessary."

He has in both deed and word resurrected the politics of Italian fascism, which was responsible for the systematic suppression of Italian Jews. who were stripped of their rights under racial laws enacted by the dictator Benito Mussolini and deported to concentration camps, where nearly 10,000 died, most of them at Auschwitz.

Salvini has deliberately invoked the legacy of Mussolini, citing Il Duce's sayings and stressing the supposedly positive achievements of Italian fascism. His political rallies are regularly attended by fascist militants carrying portraits of the dictator and other symbols of his regime.

Last July, on the occasion of Mussolini's birthday, Salvini tweeted: "tanti nemici, tanto onore," meaning "so many enemies, so much honor," a slight variation of Mussolini's famous slogan "molti nemici, molto onore," or "many enemies, much honor."

The xenophobic and anti-Muslim policies he has implemented hauntingly parallel the persecution of Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. His anti-immigrant crackdown has seen Italy turn away boatloads of refugees, including children and pregnant women, just as ships bearing Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were turned away eight decades ago. He has also called for the state to register all of Italy's Roma people, along with the "cleansing" of all "non-Italian" Roma from the country and the demolition of their "illegal houses." Jewish groups in Italy protested the proposal, pointing to its chilling similarity to the racial laws enacted against the Jews under Mussolini.

This is the man welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "great friend of Israel" and taken Wednesday to Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial, for the traditional photo-op.

Within both Israel and among Italy's Jewish population there was opposition and anger over the visit. During an evening tour of Jerusalem, Salvini was booed in the streets, with protesters shouting, "Fascist, we don't want you here."

Italian Jewish organizations addressed a letter to Salvini, demanding that he use the visit to condemn "anti-Semitic acts, oblivion and trivialization of the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s [committed] by movements and parties belonging to the ethno-nationalistic far right in Italy and Europe." Of course, he did no such thing.

Among broad layers of Jews, both within Israel and internationally, the fact that Israel, whose founding was defended with the claim that it would provide a refuge from fascism and anti-Semitism, is now welcoming and allying itself with fascists and anti-Semites is a source of extreme disquiet and revulsion.

Salvini is only the latest in a long line of such "great friends" to pay their visit to Yad Vashem, which some Israeli critics of the Netanyahu government have described as a "washing machine," where far-right figures go to clean themselves up, absolving themselves of their anti-Semitism through their support for Israel.

In the Israeli daily Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer wrote: "It is clear what they come for on the political level. Politicians who are historically tainted with their party's past associations with fascist and neo-Nazi roots can get Israel's kashrut [kosher] stamp by visiting the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial."

Among these pilgrims has been Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has described Admiral Miklos Horthy, Hungary’s World War II-era dictator, who collaborated with the Nazis in the murder of some 565,000 Jews, as “an exceptional statesman.” Like Salvini, he has engaged in a relentless demonization of the US-based, Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, with openly anti-Semitic overtones, portraying his funding of immigrant aid groups as part of a plot to rob European nations of their Christian and racial heritage.

Another “friend” to visit the Yad Vashem “washing machine” was Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who rules as part of a coalition with the Freedom Party, a far-right group founded by two former Nazi SS officers. After a guide pointed out to him that some of the same Austrian towns memorialized at the site for the slaughter of their Jewish populations had recently seen anti-Semitic acts by members of the Freedom Party, the Austrian government filed a formal complaint with the Netanyahu government, which compelled the museum to issue an apology.


Nor are such relations restricted to Europe. Also making the trek to Yad Vashem was the autocratic ruler of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, who publicly praised Hitler and vowed to emulate him by exterminating three million “criminals.” His pilgrimage to Israel was driven in large measure by the desire to procure arms to conduct this slaughter.

And Netanyahu has announced his plans to attend the inauguration of the fascistic former army captain Jair Bolsonaro as president of Brazil. Bolsonaro, who has praised the country’s former dictatorship and extolled the virtues of torture, had said during the election campaign that he would ape Donald Trump by moving the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has cast his embrace of the far right as a brilliant exercise in realpolitik, stating during a trip to Budapest last year that he could leverage these regimes against “Old Europe,” which has continued to make its formal criticisms of Israel for its illegal occupation and settlements policy and maintain the pretense of upholding some rights for the Palestinians.

Such a reactionary strategy would be bad enough. But the alliance between the Israeli state and the far-right is not merely a pragmatic foreign policy exercise. There is a natural ideological and political affinity that stems both from Israel’s present day political and social policies as well as the historical roots of Zionism.

For their part, the far right and the neo-fascists admire the Zionist state for its racist policies and its determination to build an ethno-centrist society by means of Apartheid-style oppression of the Palestinian people. The passage last July of the so-called “Nation-State Law” enshrining Jewish supremacy as the legal foundation of the state is something that they would like to emulate with their own xenophobic and racialist laws.

The same social and economic contradictions that are giving rise to the growth of neo-fascism in Europe and elsewhere are producing similar results in Israel itself. A garrison state involved in continuous acts of militarism in the Middle East, Israel is also wracked by social tensions, registering the highest poverty rate of any of the so-called developed countries and the most extreme social inequality, with the exception of the United States. These conditions have generated mounting working class protests and strikes, including a recent nationwide walkout by social workers over poor pay and deteriorating working conditions.

Zionism itself is one variant of extreme nationalism. Before World War II and the Holocaust, it was a relatively isolated movement, which arose as a peculiar expression of the nationalism that prevailed in eastern Europe in the 19th century—one based not on universal democratic principles, but rather on exclusivist conceptions of racial, religious and linguistic hegemony. These same ideological conceptions were to underpin the rise of fascism.

A column published Thursday in the Israeli daily Haaretz drew attention to the seemingly paradoxical affinity between Zionism and fascism, noting that the Zionist movement’s principal founder, Theodor Herzl, “believed that people with anti-Semitic views would help realize his dream because of their desire to get the Jews out of their own countries.”

As the Zionist state has embraced anti-Semites and neo-fascists in Europe and elsewhere, it has pursued an aggressive worldwide campaign to brand as an anti-Semite who must be silenced anyone on the left daring to criticize the daily crimes committed by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. Presumably such a proscription should apply to anyone opposing the far-right and neo-fascist “friends of Israel.”

Just days before Salvini’s visit, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Daniel Schwammenthal of the American Jewish Committee declaring that “Far leftists—including Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour Party—pick up traditional anti-Semitic tropes, replace ‘Jews’ with ‘Zionists,’ and deny anti-Semitism.” Such slanders are part of the hysterical campaign raging throughout Europe, and in particular in Britain, to discredit left-wing political views with false accusations of anti-Semitism. Salvini’s visit exposes the filthy and absurd character of these charges and shows that the Israeli state, not its left-wing critics, is guilty of boosting neo-fascism and anti-Semitism.

The alliance between the Israeli government and far-right and fascistic forces on a global scale is the clearest barometer of the bankruptcy and reactionary dead-end of the entire Zionist project.
Israeli army arrests dozens in raids across West Bank
At least 40 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, including Hamas supporters.

A Hamas official in the occupied West Bank says Israeli forces have arrested dozens of Hamas supporters, including legislators, in overnight raids.

Palestinian media also reported on Friday that scores of Palestinians, including two legislators, have been arrested across the West Bank in overnight raids.

The Israeli military said it arrested 40 people and alleged 37 of them are linked to Hamas.

The arrests come as four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in separate operations over the past 24 hours, with the Israeli army declaring the city of Ramallah a closed military zone, as it carried out searches around the roads entering and exiting the city.

The closure was announced following a shooting attack near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra east of Ramallah. Two Israeli soldiers were killed by an unknown Palestinian.
Pierre Moscovici, l’italo-scettico che non sa far l'arbitro
Definirlo un anti-italiano sarebbe ingiusto. Semmai, un italo-scettico che vede i suoi «cugini» mediterranei come francesi mal riusciti. Pierre Moscovici, socialista parigino, 61 anni, commissario europeo agli Affari economici, politico a tutto tondo, è stato una delle sponde incontrate dal governo nella trattativa, insieme col presidente Jean-Claude Juncker. E, almeno in apparenza, la sponda di Moscovici e di Juncker è apparsa la più disponibile verso l’Italia, dopo che il premier Giuseppe Conte ha ripreso in mano la trattativa.

Nel resto della Commissione, la voglia di «punire» il governo di Roma andando avanti sulla procedura di infrazione è rimasta prepotente. Su questo, fino a mercoledì sera, convergevano i giudizi di Palazzo Chigi e Quirinale. Eppure, in questi mesi le parole del commissario francese contro la maggioranza Movimento Cinque Stelle-Lega sono state spesso tra le più abrasive e irritanti. E la frase con la quale ieri ha quasi rimesso in bilico il compromesso raggiunto dal premier Conte, sostenendo che «l’Italia dovrebbe compiere ulteriori sforzi per il Bilancio 2019», ha gelato il governo.

Il fatto di avere aggiunto che «è un passo nella giusta direzione, ma ancora non ci siamo: ce ne sono altri da fare, forse da entrambe le parti», non ha rassicurato molto. La sua uscita ha rianimato tutte le diffidenze di un esecutivo dichiaratamente populista nei confronti delle istituzioni di Bruxelles. Mentre la base grillina accusava il vicepremier Luigi Di Maio di avere «calato le braghe» sull’altare europeo, e in parte anche quello leghista, Moscovici ha mostrato un volto odiosamente bifronte: indulgente per i provvedimenti annunciati da Emmanuel Macron, spinto a prenderli non da un voto democratico ma solo dalla «piazza» violenta dei gilet gialli; arcigno nei confronti di un’Italia che, per quanto dopo molti errori, ha mostrato di sapersi imporre un simulacro di autodisciplina finanziaria.

Ed è rispuntata la vulgata di sempre. Le ha dato voce il presidente grillino della Camera, Roberto Fico. «Due pesi e due misure significherebbe un’Europa non equilibrata, con figli e figliastri. Questo non è possibile, non ci voglio e non ci posso credere», ha intonato ieri proprio da Parigi. E spiegare le differenze tra la situazione italiana e francese è diventato difficile: anche perché lo sfondamento dei conti al 3,5 per cento previsto da Macron oltrepassa di gran lunga quello del nostro governo, che è sceso dal 2,4 iniziale al 2,04 nel rapporto tra deficit e Prodotto interno lordo. Ma il problema è perché Moscovici abbia voluto correggere l’immagine positiva che i colloqui di Conte avevano trasmesso.

Su un punto c’è una certa concordanza: nelle vesti di arbitro più o meno neutrale, il commissario agli Affari economici si trova a disagio. È un socialista che come ministro dell’Economia del proprio Paese non ha brillato per rispetto dei conti, anzi. E dal 2014, nominato commissario Ue, ha dato ai governi di centrosinistra di Matteo Renzi e Paolo Gentiloni circa 40 miliardi di euro per la flessibilità. Ha creduto alle promesse di riforma dell’Italia. E ora esita a fidarsi sia del contenuto della manovra portata da Conte su mandato della sua maggioranza, sia di quella coalizione in sé. La considera il nucleo duro di forze che vogliono scardinare gli equilibri dell’Ue. E questo alla vigilia di elezioni europee a maggio del 2019, che forse per la prima volta saranno le più politiche della storia.

D’altronde, nell’Eurogruppo gli umori anti-italiani sono lievitati sull’onda delle risposte sprezzanti date a lungo da Di Maio e Salvini alla Commissione. I Paesi nordeuropei tendono a contrapporre le loro virtù calviniste e luterane al lassismo cattolico dell’Italia mediterranea. Solo da qualche settimana M5S e Lega hanno cambiato registro, dopo avere depositato uno strato di risentimento che la Commissione ha cercato di assottigliare. La mediazione del premier Conte, insieme con i rammendi diplomatici del ministro degli Esteri, Enzo Moavero, e la mediazione invisibile del capo dello Stato, Sergio Mattarella, hanno riaperto i canali in extremis.

Ma Moscovici sa di dover respingere l’accusa degli altri Stati, di essere sensibile alle richieste dell’Italia per assecondare gli eccessi della sua Francia. Tanto più che, orfano di un Psf ai minimi termini, dovrà cercare una nuova famiglia politica, magari nei paraggi di Macron. I maligni arrivano a raffigurarlo come portatore di interessi d’Oltralpe che non vedono male un crollo dell’economia e della Borsa italiane, per fare shopping a buon mercato nel nostro sistema industriale e finanziario. Forse è troppo. Moscovici è solo figlio di un europeismo in affanno, e di una politica nella quale nazionalismo e spregiudicatezza vanno a braccetto. Pronto ad aiutare l’Italia, ma solo a patto che l’Italia sia in grado di aiutarsi da sola.
CHE NOIA !
Il terrorista solitario di Strasburgo è stato ucciso, quindi non racconterà come si è "radicalizzato".  Che noia.  I suoi atti sono stati rivendicati da DAESH (ISIS), che è un'organizzazione islamica creata dagli U.S.A., e i suoi amici nella N.A.T.O., pagata dai sauditi per abbattere il  governo di Assad.  La rivendicazione è avvenuta tramite il SITE di Rita  Katz.  Del resto il nome e l'identità del terrorita  sono apparsi sui social  israeliani solo 3 ore dopo  la strage. Come sempre,  loro sanno già  tutto "prima". Premiers informés sur l'attentat de Strasbourg: des Israéliens. Che noia, come sono ripetitivi.

Secondo il tedesco Bild, Cherif Chekatt era nel suo appartamento la mattina dell'attentato, quando la polizia francese andò ad arrestarlo per una vicenda precedente, un omicidio in seguito a rapina;  ma lui è riuscito a prendere  la fuga.  Evidentemente il suo appartamento, un  HLM (Habitation à Loyer Moderé, casa popolare a canone assistito) non era  il consueto mono-  o bilocale con-cucina-a-vista di  questo tipo di abitazioni; doveva avere saloni  e  una quantità di finestre nel retro, da cui il terrorista si sarà calato con le lenzuola.  Altrimenti bisogna immaginare che DAESH, ossia la N.A.T.O., lo abbia fornito della tuta mimetica  dell'invisibilità immortalata nel film Predator, e sia passato in mezzo ai poliziotti che erano sulla porta, guadagnando le scale.

POI, LA SERA, COMPIUTA LA STRAGE, IL TERRORISTA HA FERMATO UN TAXI ED È SCAPPATO. PICCOLO PARTICOLARE INSIGNIFICANTE: I TAXI HANNO IL DIVIETO DI ENTRARE NELLA ZONA IN CUI L'AVREBBE PRESO.  Come mostra la mappa del giornale locale Dernières Nouvelles  d'Alsace, dal 23  novembre la zona –  a causa dei mercatini di Natale – è pedonalizzata. "L'accès à la Grande Île sera uniquement réservé aux véhicules autorisés. Ils seront systématiquement soumis à des contrôles de sécurité pendant les horaires d'ouverture du marché de Noël."

Non solo entrano "solo i veicoli che dispongono di un'autorizzazione",  ma solo da "quattro  varchi" dove i vigili urbani filtrano, ossia controllano  "sistematicamente" che le auto  abbiano l'autorizzazione.  L'uscita dalla  zona è permessa solo e tassativamente da 2 varchi 2, parimenti controllati, le pont Saint-Nicolas e le pont du Théâtre.  Ovviamente la sosta di veicoli è parimenti vietata.

Invece il nostro ha trovato un taxi, e  non ha ucciso il taxista, "salvo perché musulmano e devoto alla preghiera", dicono i giornali. A lui il terrorista in fuga e forse  ferito  ha spiegato di aver  "ucciso per vendicare i fratelli morti" in Siria.  È solo grazie alla testimonianza del taxista sulle chiacchiere che ha intavolato col terrorista, che quest'ultimo ha potuto essere identificato nel noto Tale dei Tali. Naturalmente del taxista non si sa il nome, quindi non è possibile ascoltarlo. (Una facile via di fuga,  per un taxi )

IL TERRORISTA DI DAESH POI  NON HA CHIESTO AL TAXISTA DI PORTARLO IN GERMANIA, DOVE HA FAMIGLIA  ED APPOGGI. NO,  SI È FATTO LASCIARE A STRASBURGO, E NEI PRESSI DI UN COMMISSARIATO DI POLIZIA. E L'HANNO TROVATO PRATICAMENTE A CASA SUA DOVE  L'HANNO UCCISO.

CHE NOIA. FINCHÉ IL POPOLO NON CAPIRÀ CHE È STATO INGABBIATO IN UNA DITTATURA  DISPOTICA E FALSA DAL PRINCIPIO ALLA FINE, NON SE  NE ESCE.
Mère Agnès-Mariam: "En Syrie, le Hezbollah protège les chrétiens"
Published on 12 Jan 2016 -

Mère Agnès Mariam de la Croix nous a fait parvenir deux enregistrements vidéos réalisés fin décembre 2015 dans son monastère en Syrie. Nous vous prions d'excuser les imperfections techniques de ces enregistrements. Le message de la Mère est particulièrement instructif.

https://www.medias-presse.info/en-syrie-le-hezbollah-protege-les-chretiens-mere-agnes-mariam-de-la-croix/47255/

Le Hezbollah au secours des Chrétiens d'Orient
https://www.agoravox.fr/actualites/international/article/le-hezbollah-au-secours-des-168578

A very telling pictures of Hezbollah fighters and Christian images
http://thesaker.is/a-very-telling-picture-of-a-hezbollah-fighter/
Russian bombers landed in Venezuela after a 13 hour, 10'000 km-flight
10-MINUTE VIDEO REPORT:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t00ow0Cuaao

Far from Ukraine...
ROMA, LA CITTÀ ETERNA, PUZZA, SOMMERSA DALLA SPAZZATURA
"Raggi riconosca lo stato d'emergenza"
http://www.romatoday.it/politica/rifiuti-roma-stato-emergenza-cgil.html

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Emergenza rifiuti a Roma, Virginia Raggi chiede aiuto alle altre regioni italiane
https://www.huffingtonpost.it/2018/12/11/emergenza-rifiuti-a-roma-virginia-raggi-chiede-aiuto-alle-altre-regioni-italiane_a_23615007/

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Roma affonda nei rifiuti e i Cinque Stelle ora scaricano la Raggi
https://www.democratica.com/focus/roma-affonda-nei-rifiuti-cinque-stelle-ora-scaricano-la-raggi/

Virginia Raggi è in stato confusionale. Mentre la città affonda, sporca come non mai, abbandonata a se stessa, lei posta video sui social in cui invita tutti alla manifestazione dei Cinque Stelle al Circo Massimo, in programma il 20 e il 21 ottobre, chiedendo pure di fare delle donazioni a favore del movimento. Forse non si rende conto di cosa stia succedendo e di come la cura M5s stia stritolando la capitale d’Italia, ormai precipitata in un vortice che sembra senza via d’uscita. I cassonetti sono stracolmi di rifiuti, l’odore di immondizia in molte zone della città è insopportabile, interi Municipi sono vicini al collasso. Uno scenario da incubo, frutto soprattutto della mancanza di visione, di strategia, di un minimo di capacità amministrativa. Se a questo sommiamo le buche che si aprono nelle strade con regolarità imbarazzante trasformandole in un colabrodo, l’erba che cresce incolta sui marciapiedi e nei parchi, un sistema di trasporti al collasso e in costante emergenza, gli alberi che si spezzano, i lavori pubblici bloccati, la sciatteria amministrativa che sta trasformando Roma in una città triste e senza stimoli, il quadro è davvero desolante, per usare un eufemismo.

Due anni e mezzo di gestione Raggi sono già un fallimento dichiarato. E questa volta il richiamo arriva addirittura dal normalmente silente governo giallo-verde. Dopo quasi mille giorni di bugie, tentennamenti e scaricabarile, è il ministero dell’Ambiente a ristabilire un minimo di verità in questa storia assurda: spetta alla Città Metropolitana (e non alla Regione, che i grillini per anni avevano individuato come capro espiatorio per coprire la loro inadeguatezza) individuare i siti idonei per costruire i nuovi impianti di trattamento dei rifiuti. Una conclusione a cui la sindaca sarebbe potuta giungere in autonomia, semplicemente leggendo il Testo Unico Ambientale, che all’art. 197, comma 1, lettera d) dice chiaramente che tocca alle province o alle città metropolitane individuare le zone idonee (cosiddette zone bianche) e quelle non idonee alla localizzazione degli impianti di smaltimento dei rifiuti. E, solo successivamente, se AMA (e perciò il Comune) decidesse di smaltire i rifiuti all’interno della provincia una società, pubblica o privata, potrebbe presentare alla Regione Lazio un progetto di discarica in una delle zone indicate.

Due anni e mezzo persi in chiacchiere, in cui il Campidoglio non è stato neppure in grado di abbozzare quella “rivoluzione” della raccolta differenziata tanto annunciata spesso e mai neanche iniziata. Condizione per la quale, la promessa chiusura del Tmb Salario è finita da tempo nel dimenticatoio. Dal Pd si leva, forte, la richiesta di dimissioni sia della sindaca che dell’assessore alla Sostenibilità Ambientale Pinuccia Montanari, per manifesta incapacità.

La situazione è esplosiva in tutta la città. Nel primo, terzo e quindicesimo Municipio diecimila esercizi commerciali sono senza servizio per un contenzioso con la ditta di raccolta dei rifiuti, nel sesto Municipio i cittadini disperati mettono i rifiuti in strada. Roma, in queste condizioni, non c’è mai stata. La barzelletta dell’eredità delle gestioni precedenti è ormai una cantilena vuota a cui non crede più nessuno. Il Movimento 5 Stelle sta distruggendo la Capitale d’Italia.

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Ecco perché Roma affoga nella spazzatura
Tutto quello che c'è da sapere sulle insufficienze infrastrutturali (storiche) e sull'indecente balletto di Regione e Comune

Roma. Un tempo bastava una grande buca. La monezza si raccoglieva e veniva gettata lì senza alcun trattamento. Dal 1974 al 2012 nella discarica di Malagrotta sono state ammassate 60 milioni di tonnelate di rifiuti. Poi però è intervenuta l'Europa: i rifiuti non possono essere mandati in discarica senza un preventivo trattamento. D'allora, era il 2013, Roma e la Regione Lazio non sanno cosa fare dei propri rifiuti. La Regione continua a non avere un piano rifiuti, cioè un'organizzazione razionale che integrando gli impianti di tutto il territorio permetta di concludere definitivamente lo smaltimento. Il problema è Roma che da sola produce quasi il 60 per cento dei rifiuti regionali (se prendiamo l'area metropolitana si arriva al 78 per cento) e secondo la Regione non indica i siti dove costruire nuovi impianti. Un passo necessario per la redazione del piano. Questa stasi, tra Comune e Regione, è il motivo per il quale la città è sporchissima.

La questione rifiuti, già un'emergenza per la Capitale, è divenuta una tragedia martedì quando ha preso fuoco l'impianto di via Salaria che ogni giorno lavorava circa un quinto della produzione quotidiana d'indifferenziato. Comune, Regione e Governo hanno lanciato tutte insieme un grido alle altre Regioni d'Italia: "Aiutate Roma". Questa però è solo un'emergenza nell'emergenza. Lo scaricabarile tra Regione e Campidoglio ha fatto sì che in due anni non si facesse nulla per evitare di vivere sull'orlo del burrone.

Nel 2017 – secondo il rapporto sui rifiuti dell'Ispra – nella Capitale si sono prodotti un milione e 687mila tonnellate di rifiuti, poco del 2016. Di questi solo 729 mila tonnellate (il 43,2 per cento, +1,2 per cento rispetto al 2016) sono state di rifiuto differenziato. Il resto è stato inviato ai quattro Tmb della Capitale: i due di Ama (Rocca Cencia e Salario) e ai due di Colari, la società di Manlio Cerroni, gestita da un commissario dopo un'interdittiva antimafia. Gli impianti ricevono ogni giorno tra le 2.700 e le 3.200 tonnellate di rifiuti, una quantità teoricamente accettabile (la capacità dei tre impianti è di 3mila tonnellate al giorno), ma è sufficiente un qualsiasi imprevisto che l'equilibrio salta e costringe l'amministrazione a cercare accordi per portare i rifiuti fuori da Roma.

Il trattamento meccanico biologico (questa la versione lunga della sigla Tmb), inoltre, inizia il processo di smaltimento dei rifiuti, ma non lo conclude. Dopo la trituratura dei rifiuti, infatti, una supercalamita cattura i metalli che poi saranno fusi nelle acciaierie. Poi, l'impianto separa la parte organica da quella secca. Da quest'ultima si ottiene il "cdr", un combustibile destinato ai termovalorizzatori. La parte organica invece, con un lento processo d'essiccazione, si ottiene la "fos", la "frazione organica stabilizzata" che, ormai inerte, viene inviata in discarica come terriccio di copertura. Da entrambi i processi si ottengono inoltre degli scarti che sono invece ciò che non si è riusciti a smaltire e che non può che finire in discarica. Per capire quanto già funzionasse male l'impianto di via Salaria andato a fuoco martedì basta pensare che – secondo quando scritto dall'Arpa Lazio – produceva principalmente scarti: il 53 per cento, più della metà del prodotto del Tmb.

Tutte queste sottofrazioni del rifiuto nell'area Metropolitana di Roma non si sa dove mandarle. E anche gli impianti della Regione non sono sufficienti. Una piccola parte di "cdr", infatti, prende la strada del termovalorizzatore di San Vittore, nel frusinate, ma la maggior parte finisce al nord. Discorso analogo per "fos" e scarti che in parte vanno nelle discariche di Viterbo e Civitavecchia, ma in larga quantità vengono inviati in Abruzzo, Puglia e Molise. Per questo secondo la Regione Lazio per stilare un piano rifiuti regionale è necessario che il Campidoglio, o meglio la Città metropolitana, indichi i siti per la realizzazione di una discarica di servizio.

Da parte sua Roma Capitale ha individuato due aree dove costruire due impianti di compostaggio per l'organico (e questa è una buona notizia), ma si rifiuta di indicare un sito per la discarica. La posizione del Campidoglio è semplice: "Roma ha già dato con Malagrotta. Inoltre entro il 2021 arriveremo al 70 per cento di differenziata e dunque produrremo talmente poca 'fos' e scarti che potranno tranquillamente andare nelle altre discariche presenti in Regione".
BRITAIN STOLE $45 TRILLION FROM INDIA
There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the colonisation of India - as horrible as it may have been - was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long - the story goes - was a gesture of Britain's benevolence.

New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik - just published by Columbia University Press - deals a crushing blow to this narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

IT'S A STAGGERING SUM. FOR PERSPECTIVE, $45 TRILLION IS 17 TIMES MORE THAN THE TOTAL ANNUAL GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM TODAY.

It happened through the trade system. Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way - mostly with silver - as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade.

Here's how it worked. The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, "buying" from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them.

It was a scam - theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. Had it been the same person, they surely would have smelled a rat.

Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain's industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India.

On top of this, the British were able to sell the stolen goods to other countries for much more than they "bought" them for in the first place, pocketing not only 100% of the original value of the goods but also the markup.

After the British Raj took over in 1847, colonisers added a special new twist to the tax-and-buy system. As the East India Company's monopoly broke down, Indian producers were allowed to export their goods directly to other countries. But Britain made sure that the payments for those goods nonetheless ended up in London.

How did this work? Basically, anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills - a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were "paid" in rupees out of tax revenues - money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded.

Meanwhile, London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports.

THIS CORRUPT SYSTEM MEANT THAT EVEN WHILE INDIA WAS RUNNING AN IMPRESSIVE TRADE SURPLUS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD - A SURPLUS THAT LASTED FOR THREE DECADES IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY - IT SHOWED UP AS A DEFICIT IN THE NATIONAL ACCOUNTS BECAUSE THE REAL INCOME FROM INDIA'S EXPORTS WAS APPROPRIATED IN ITS ENTIRETY BY BRITAIN.

Some point to this fictional "deficit" as evidence that India was a liability to Britain. But exactly the opposite is true. Britain intercepted enormous quantities of income that rightly belonged to Indian producers. India was the goose that laid the golden egg. Meanwhile, the "deficit" meant that India had no option but to borrow from Britain to finance its imports. So the entire Indian population was forced into completely unnecessary debt to their colonial overlords, further cementing British control.

Britain used the windfall from this fraudulent system to fuel the engines of imperial violence - funding the invasion of China in the 1840s and the suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. And this was on top of what the Crown took directly from Indian taxpayers to pay for its wars. As Patnaik points out, "the cost of all Britain's wars of conquest outside Indian borders were charged always wholly or mainly to Indian revenues."

AND THAT'S NOT ALL. BRITAIN USED THIS FLOW OF TRIBUTE FROM INDIA TO FINANCE THE EXPANSION OF CAPITALISM IN EUROPE AND REGIONS OF EUROPEAN SETTLEMENT, LIKE CANADA AND AUSTRALIA. SO NOT ONLY THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF BRITAIN BUT ALSO THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF MUCH OF THE WESTERN WORLD WAS FACILITATED BY EXTRACTION FROM THE COLONIES.

Patnaik identifies four distinct economic periods in colonial India from 1765 to 1938, calculates the extraction for each, and then compounds at a modest rate of interest (about 5 percent, which is lower than the market rate) from the middle of each period to the present. Adding it all up, she finds that the total drain amounts to $44.6 trillion. This figure is conservative, she says, and does not include the debts that Britain imposed on India during the Raj.

These are eye-watering sums. But the true costs of this drain cannot be calculated. If India had been able to invest its own tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings in development - as Japan did - there's no telling how history might have turned out differently. INDIA COULD VERY WELL HAVE BECOME AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE. CENTURIES OF POVERTY AND SUFFERING COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED.
FUEL TAX HIKE TRIGGERS POVERTY, FINANCE WAR AND REPAYMENT OF THE PUBLIC DEBT
HIKES IN THE FUEL TAX APPLIED WORLDWIDE IN MORE THAN 120 COUNTRIES ARE PART OF A PACKAGE OF DEADLY MACRO-ECONOMIC REFORMS WHICH SERVE TO IMPOVERISH LARGE SECTORS OF THE WORLD POPULATION.  THE HIKE IN GASOLINE PRICES TRANSLATES INTO INCREASES IN THE PRICE OF FOOD, TRANSPORTATION AND ESSENTIAL GOODS AND SERVICES. IT UNDERMINES THE PRODUCTIVE STRUCTURE. IT LEADS TO THE COLLAPSE OF THE STANDARD OF LIVING.
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PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON IS AN INSTRUMENT OF THE FINANCIAL ESTABLISHMENT, A FORMER STAFF OF THE ROTHSCHILDS, ACTING ON THEIR BEHALF, ENFORCING A PROFIT DRIVEN MACRO-ECONOMIC AGENDA AS WELL BOOSTING THE REVENUES OF THE MILITARY CONTRACTORS.

THE TAX ON FUEL SERVES THE INTERESTS OF POWERFUL CREDITOR  INSTITUTIONS. THE TAX PROCEEDS WILL BE CHANNELLED INTO SERVICING FRANCE'S SPIRALLING PUBLIC DEBT WHICH IS  ESTIMATED AT 2.2 TRILLION EUROS, EQUIVALENT TO 96.8 PERCENT OF GDP. ANNUAL DEBT SERVICING OBLIGATIONS OF THE FRENCH REPUBLIC ARE STAGGERING. THE ENTIRE FISCAL STRUCTURE IS IN CRISIS.

THE TAX ON FUEL WILL ALSO SERVE TO FINANCE MOUNTING MILITARY EXPENDITURES (IN EXCESS OF 30 BILLION EUROS PER ANNUM IN 2017) IN SUPPORT OF FRANCE'S PARTICIPATION IN N.A.T.O.'S VARIOUS  "PEACE-MAKING" INITIATIVES  IN EASTERN EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST.

Clamping down on the Yellow Vest protest movement is intimately related to the War Economy, which is sustained by neoliberal austerity measures. On July 13, ironically one day before Bastille Day, President Emmanuel Macron signed into law the 2019-2025 military budget law "clearing the way for a funding boost for procurement for the Air Force, Army and Navy" (Defense News, July 15, 2018). THIS THRUST IN MILITARY EXPENDITURE WAS IN LARGE PART IN RESPONSE TO PRESSURES FROM WASHINGTON.

This was a "military budget law of growth," he said in a speech to the officers and personnel who would take part in the parade the next day. The spending would be at a level unseen for decades, …  and the move comes at a time when the domestic budget was under strain. (Defense News July 15, 2018)

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE MILITARY BUDGET LAW, THE MACRON GOVERNMENT CONFIRMED THAT DEFENCE SPENDING WOULD INCREASE BY MORE THAN 40 PERCENT. THE AMOUNTS OF MONEY THAT NEED TO BE COLLECTED FROM TAX REVENUES (INCLUDING THE FUEL TAX) TO FINANCE FRANCE'S WAR ECONOMY ARE COLOSSAL. IN TURN THE HIKE IN MILITARY EXPENDITURE IS TO BE SUPPORTED BY DRASTIC AUSTERITY MEASURES DIRECTED AGAINST ALL OTHER CATEGORIES OF (CIVILIAN) EXPENDITURE:

 "The defence ministry plans to raise its spending by 1.7 billion euros a year (2019-2022), increasing to 3 billion a year (2023-2025" (France 24, August 2, 2018).

Profit over people. What is at stake is a process of lucrative military procurement through the Direction Générale pour l'Armement under the auspices of the Ministry of Defense.

IN TURN, THIS MULTIBILLION WAR ECONOMY UNDER N.A.T.O. AUSPICES, CONTROLLED BY THE PENTAGON AND DIRECTED AGAINST RUSSIA, IS DESTROYING FRANCE'S SOCIAL FABRIC, ITS WELFARE STATE, LEADING TO POVERTY AND SOCIAL DESPAIR.

GUNS VERSUS BUTTER: THIS MECHANISM OF N.A.T.O.-SPONSORED SOCIAL DESTRUCTION (COUPLED WITH NEO-LIBERAL AUSTERITY MEASURES) IS OPERATING RELENTLESSLY THROUGHOUT THE EUROPEAN UNION.

FUEL TAXES ARE BEING IMPLEMENTED IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES.  IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES THE HIKES IN FUEL TAXES ARE IMPOSED BY THE WORLD BANK ON BEHALF OF CREDITOR INSTITUTIONS. THEY ARE PART OF THE SO-CALLED STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM (SAP) UNDER THE HELM OF THE I.M.F. AND THE WORLD BANK.

THE HIKE IN FUEL PRICES LEADS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY TO AN INCREASE IN THE PRICES OF FOOD AND TRANSPORTATION, HIKES IN THE PRICE OF SOCIAL SERVICES.  BITTER "ECONOMIC MEDICINE": THE RESULT IS WIDESPREAD POVERTY AS WELL AS THE BANKRUPTCY OF LOCAL PRODUCERS.
PUTIN'S WARNINGS ABOUT SATANISM & PEDOPHILIA IN POLITICS ARE TURNING OUT TO BE TRUE
A few years ago, Vladimir Putin mentioned Satanism and Pedophilia within politics, and he hasn't been the first to do so. He expressed how there are attempts to normalize these practices within society and make it global.

Who are we electing? Who are the people that've amassed so much power that they practically control all resources on planet Earth? We do we continue to elect corrupt politicians who don't have the will of humanity at heart? What's going on inside?
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The "acquisition of unwarranted influence" that Eisenhower warned us that the military industrial complex was seeking has now occurred and has morphed itself into what we refer to today as the Deep State or the secret government. These are terms that have been used by numerous presidents and politicians who have tried to clue the public in on what has been going on behind the scenes. Today, our opportunity to see this is clearer than ever, because its domination has become evident.

We are talking about mass murderers who hurt and bomb their own citizens (9/11) in order to justify the infiltration and takeover of other countries for ulterior motives. While they do this, they slaughter innocent people, like the millions that died in Iraq, for example, and those that continue to suffer in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

Vladimir Putin has said that this power has used "imaginary and mythical threats" to impose their will on others. This isn't Russian propaganda, it's a strategy that has existed since the inception of politics. It represents psychopathic behaviour, but it's masked by massive amounts of propaganda and brain-washing, to the point where individuals with good hearts join in because they believe they're lending themselves to a good cause.
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Putin stated: "The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis."
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Another serious challenge to Russia's identity is linked to events taking place in the world. Here there are both foreign policy and moral aspects. We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilisation. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.

The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote paedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to export this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.

What else but the loss of the ability to self-reproduce could act as the greatest testimony of the moral crisis facing a human society? Today almost all developed nations are no longer able to reproduce themselves, even with the help of migration. Without the values embedded in Christianity and other world religions, without the standards of morality that have taken shape over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity. We consider it natural and right to defend these values . One must respect every minority's right to be different, but the rights of the majority must not be put into question."
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Iraq, China celebrate Silk Road initiative on 60th anniversary of bilateral ties
BAGHDAD, Dec. 13 -- Iraq and China on Thursday held a ceremony in Baghdad to celebrate the Silk Road initiative on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Speaking at the ceremony, China's Ambassador to Iraq Chen Weiqing hailed the the Silk Road for connecting the eastern and western sides of Asia.

The road reduced the distance between the Chinese and Iraqi people, strengthened their friendship by starting friendly exchanges between the two cradles of civilization in the past and the joint development of the two countries in the present, he said.

He described the Silk Road as a "preliminary formula for economic globalization", citing it contributed to creating solid ties between China and the Arab world more than 2,000 years ago.

"In order to continue the legacy and development of the spirit of the Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013 the initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, known as the Belt and Road Initiative," Chen said.

He said the initiative advocates consultation and sharing in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win, and seeks to establish closer relations of cooperation and partnership between states.

The Chinese envoy said China will seize the opportunity of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties to work together with Iraq to promote cooperation, and intensify bilateral cultural and personnel exchanges.

The trade volume between China and the Belt and Road countries has exceeded 6 trillion U.S. dollars, while Chinese investments in these countries have surpassed 80 billion dollars, creating more than 240,000 jobs.

Chen noted that Iraq is the fourth largest oil exporter to China and its third largest trading partner in the Arab world.

"The Chinese companies are involved in the construction of power stations, cement factories, oilfields and others as part of their contribution to reconstruction in Iraq," he said.

The Chinese envoy also commended Iraq for winning remarkable victories in the war against terrorism and the continued improvement in the security situation.

Such victories led the country into a new phase of building and reconstruction, providing new opportunities for further developing the China-Iraq relations, Chen concluded.

For his part, Jaber al-Jaberi, Iraqi deputy minister of culture, lauded the "deep and close historical relationship" between Iraq and China.

He note that China has "distinguished and successful cultural, intellectual, economic, social positions in the world," as the Chinese people have been walking on the Silk Road for over 2,000 years.

Jaberi said China has been praised by the world as it has not shown "claws of a frightening power," but has delivered "messages of production, innovation, creativity and giving to all humanity."
The U.S.A. demands that Europe joins war against Russia
In recent decades, the U.S. Constitution’s clause that requires a congressional declaration of war before invading any country, has been ignored. Furthermore, ever since 2012 and the passage by Congress of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, economic sanctions by the U.S. Government have been imposed against any company that fails to comply with a US-imposed economic sanction; a company can even be fined over a billion dollars for violating a U.S. economic sanction. And, so, sanctions are now the way that the U.S. Congress actually does authorize a war — the new way, no longer the way that’s described in the US Constitution. However, in the economic-sanctions phase of a war — this initial phase — the war is being imposed directly against any company that violates a US-ordered economic sanction, against Russia, Iran, or whatever target-country the US Congress has, by means of such sanctions, actually authorized a war by the US to exist — a ‘state of war’ to exist.

For the U.S. Congress, the passage of economic sanctions against a country thus effectively serves now as an authorization for the U.S. President to order the U.S. military to invade that country, if and when the President decides to do so. No further congressional authorization is necessary (except under the US Constitution). This initial phase of a war penalizes only those other nations’ violating companies directly — not the target-country. Though the U.S. Government punishes the violating corporation, the actual target is the targeted (sanctioned) country. Sanctions are being used to strangle that target. The fined companies are mere ‘collateral damage’, in this phase of America’s new warfare. In this phase, which is now the standard first phase of the US Government’s going-to-war, the US Government is coercing corporations to join America’s economic war, against the given targeted country — in this case, it’s a war against Russia; Russia is the country that the US Government wants to strangle, in this particular instance.

On Tuesday, 11 December, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously (no member objected), by voice vote — unrecorded so that nobody can subsequently be blamed for anything — that President Donald Trump should impose penalties, which could amount to billions of dollars, against any E.U.-based corporation that participates with Russia in Russia’s Nord Stream II Pipeline to supply gas to Europe. This “Resolution,” H.Res.1035, is titled “Expressing opposition to the completion of Nord Stream II, and for other purposes,” and it closes by asserting that the US House of Representatives “supports the imposition of sanctions with respect to Nord Stream II under section 232 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” With no member objecting, the US House thereby warns corporations to cease doing business with Russia, because the US Government is determined that any such business will be terminated and will maybe also be fined. The US Government imposes its will as if it were the dictator to the entire world, and without even needing to use its military, but just economic coercion.

The US Senate doesn’t yet have a similar bill, but the unanimous passage of this one in the House constitutes a strong warning to Europe’s corporations, that unless they obey the US sanctions, huge financial penalties will be imposed upon them. There are not many issues on which the US Congress is even nearly 100% united in agreement, but during this phase, the introductory phase, of America’s war against Russia, the war against Russia is certainly among those few instances — entirely bipartisan.

According to RT, on December 12th, headlining “US lawmakers want to put a cork in Russia's gas pipeline to Europe”: "On Monday, Austria's OMV energy group CEO Rayner Zele stated that the company is set to continue financing the pipeline next year. OMV has already invested some 531 million euros ($607 million) into the project, Zele told Ria Novosti. In early December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said that Berlin’s abandoning the project would not make sense as Russia will still go on with it. Germany earlier rebuked Trump’s criticism of the project after the US leader accused Berlin of being a ‘captive’ of Moscow citing Germany’s alleged dependency on natural gas from Russia.”

If the U.S. Government fails to strangulate the economies in the countries such as Russia and Iran against which it has imposed sanctions, then the next step, of course, would be some type of armed invasion of the given targeted country. Before the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, America’s economic sanctions killed from 100,000 to 500,000 Iraqi children, but then the U.S. invaded and destroyed the country vastly more than just that.
China makes Canada pay for being a lackey of the U.S.A.
The wars of words between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau may have grabbed headlines, but Canada has always remained a faithful U.S. ally, apparently believing it's a safe bet. The strategy, however, has backfired.

Trump's presidency has been marked by a continued row with Canada's 'liberal' Trudeau, which was fueled by a U.S. trade dispute with its Western allies and incompatible views on climate change, for example. The war of words between the two neighbors apparently culminated during the G7 summit in June.

But do not be deceived by what you see. All this time Canada actually dutifully followed the U.S. lead and even copied some of its trendiest policies. Be it following Russophobic hysteria or making billions worth of deals with some Middle Eastern autocrats, Canada was here to march in lockstep with its powerful neighbor. Its response to the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Washington's key Middle Eastern ally – the Saudis – was also conspicuously reserved, particularly for a nation that portrays itself as a fervent champion of human rights.

Now China got a taste of Ottawa's imitation game, as Canada seemingly decided to get involved into the unfolding economic 'Cold War' between Washington and Beijing. Last week Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou – the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei – provoking a furious reaction from Beijing.

This action was taken at the request of Washington, which is investigating Meng for allegedly circumventing US sanctions on Iran. Although the inquiry has been pursued at least since 2016, the provisional warrant suspiciously came following reports that Washington has embarked on a mission to discourage its allies from using Huawei's equipment which it considers a security risk.

It also comes as the US still actively seeks to 'win' its trade war with China by forcing Beijing to accept its terms, despite agreeing to a truce. As if picking sides in a costly economic war was not bad enough in itself, Ottawa also decided to pitch itself against the world's second-biggest consumer market. Living in the shadow of its powerful neighbor for so many years, Canada apparently forgot that mimicking the U.S. does not make you the U.S. Now, Canada's economy, which amounts to some two percent of the world's GDP has to bear the burden of consequences of such a decision all by itself.

And Trudeau didn't have to wait long for them. Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians on security-related charges. Chinese consumers made the shares of Canada Goose clothing company – the second-best performer in Canada's benchmark stock index this year – plunge by nearly 20 percent over just four days. With the legal process against Meng far from over, Trudeau might expect that there will be more to come.

Now, facing China's rage over doing the U.S.' bidding, Ottawa desperately seeks to save face and avoid further politicization of an already explosive issue. On Wednesday, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned the U.S. not to mess with the "pursuit of justice" after Trump said he could intervene in the extradition case if it benefits US trade interests with China.

However, it might be, in fact, too late as Canada has already backed itself into a corner. Regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings, its relations either with Washington or Beijing are going to suffer.

With the U.S. being its only continental neighbor, Ottawa apparently believed that catering to the interests of just one foreign state was enough. But it seems to be learning that the world is much more multipolar than it wanted to believe.
Brexit: E.U. says no to May on renegotiating deal
Theresa May's bid to make her Brexit deal more acceptable to MPs has suffered a blow after E.U. leaders said it was "not open for renegotiation".

She wanted legal assurances on the Irish backstop and had warned the deal itself was "at risk" over the issue.

But European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there could be clarifications but no renegotiation.

Labour says MPs must vote on the deal next week and it was "unacceptable" for it to be pushed back to January.

"This is becoming a farce," said Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

"The prime minister pulled this important vote last week on the basis that she was going to get meaningful changes to her Brexit deal, She has obviously not."

On Thursday evening, Mr Juncker urged the UK to set out more clearly what it wants, adding that the European Commission will publish information on 19 December on its preparations, should the U.K. leave the E.U. without a deal in place.

"Our UK friends need to say what they want, instead of asking us to say what we want, and so we would like within a few weeks our UK friends to set out their expectations for us, because this debate is sometimes nebulous and imprecise and I would like clarifications," he said.

The Democratic Unionist Party, on whom Theresa May relies for her Commons majority, said the EU's response was unsurprising and Mrs May must not "roll over as has happened previously".

"The EU are doing what they always do," said the party's leader Arlene Foster. "The key question is whether the prime minister will stand up to them."

But Cabinet minister David Lidington described the meeting as a "welcome first step" in showing that the E.U. was committed "to negotiate a trade deal with the UK speedily".

Mrs May travelled to Brussels to make a special plea to EU leaders after delaying Tuesday's Commons vote on the deal, in anticipation of a heavy defeat.

She then went on to win a confidence vote brought by her own MPs but vowed to listen to the concerns of the 37% of Tory MPs who voted against her and was hoping to address their concerns about the controversial "backstop" plan in the withdrawal agreement.

Critics say the backstop - aimed at preventing a hard border in Northern Ireland - would keep the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely and curb its ability to strike trade deals.

Conservative MPs have demanded changes to make it clear that it could not last forever, and the UK could terminate the arrangement on its own.

But BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it appeared that Mrs May's meeting went badly and E.U. leaders doubted her political ability to get the deal through the Commons.
LO STALIN DELLA RUMENTA
Quando tra i fumi fetenti della discarica romanesca ne hanno parlato le radio, non volevo crederci. Secondo loro, la Virginia Raggi era addirittura contenta del fatto, perché aveva un progetto: "l'uso creativo dei rifiuti" invece della loro dissipazione negli odiati incineritori. Isole dove i  rifiuti sarebbero stati "riutilizzati" da "artigiani", eccetera.

Invece tutto vero. La sindaca grillina l'ha annunciato il 4 aprile 2017 annunciando il Piano Quinquennale Pattume. "Dalla Green Card al riuso creativo. Così porterò la differenziata al 70%".

Ed ho avuto paura. Il termine "Piano" evoca l'industrializzazione forzata che  il totalitarismo staliniano impose alla Russia. Solo che qui è applicata alla monnezza.  Il suo nome ufficiale è "Piano per la gestione dei materiali post-consumo  2017-2021".  Sigla usata, PMPC.

Come nei sistemi totalitari del passato, ovviamente  la rivoluzione   ideologica comincia dalle parole:  dal cambiare i nomi alla realtà. L'assessore al pattume,  Montanari, ha ordinato alla stampa: "Non chiamateli  più rifiuti  ma materiali post-consumo".  Essi, ha  promesso, " diventeranno nuovamente risorse:   in grado di creare nuovi posti di lavoro green e svilupperanno  una vera economia circolare nel rispetto dell'ambiente come sottolineato nella stessa Enciclica 'Laudato Si' di Papa Francesco".

Il "Grande Balzo all'Indietro" -

La compagna Raggi ha insistito  sul nuovo cambiamento di mentalità cui sono chiamati i  cittadini: "Quelli che consideriamo rifiuti sono a tutti gli effetti materiali che possono tornare a nuova vita".  Ed ha indicato le direttive verso il Radioso  Futuro, di cui non ha mancato di tratteggiare le Luminose  Realizzazioni: "Ridurre entro il 2021 la produzione di rifiuti annuali di 200mila tonnellate, aumentare la raccolta differenziata dal 40% al 70%, realizzare nuovi impianti di riciclo e compostaggio e una nuova organizzazione di AMA basata su unità di Municipio. "Il tutto per avviare Roma verso un'economia circolare e a Rifiuti Zero".  Faremo, ha annunciato la Guida Suprema, " nella Capitale una vera e propria conversione ecologica ed economica dove Municipi, cittadini, imprese, associazioni e tutti i soggetti sociali di Roma saranno protagonisti".

Tutti, imprese, cittadini, comunali e centri sociali, a  lavorare  sulle montagne di spazzatura a  ricavarne  valore e riutilizzo; rispetto a questo sogno grandioso, il Grande Balzo in Avanti di Mao è una loffia.

Per portare la Capitale alla "Economia circolare", la Guida ha  ordinato  "12 azioni e 5 progetti". Scorro alcune idee e progetti:

"Introduzione di "family bag per prodotti cucinati, serviti e non consumati nei ristoranti".
"Promozione del compostaggio domestico e di quello di comunità"
"Valorizzazione degli scarti verdi, componente fondamentale anche negli impianti di compostaggio per la produzione di un compost di qualità". Allo scopo "saranno installate 120 micro compostiere di comunità",sul modello probabilmente delle Comuni cinesi maoiste.

Infatti sono previste "le cosiddette AMA di Municipio" per "rendere l'Azienda più vicina ai cittadini. E' prevista da parte di AMA la costruzione di impianti per la valorizzazione della frazione organica".

Tutto è  previsto. Anche  l'uso di tessili sanitari riutilizzabili che possono generare risparmi fino a 1.500 euro l'anno a famiglia", anche le "Ecofeste"  educative  e  la raccolta dei Metalli non da imballaggio. Ah, quasi dimenticavo:  "Mercati  a Impatto Zero" ed altre fantastiche fantasticherie.

E le discariche? Niente paura.  Non si chiameranno più così.  "Per le esigenze della nostra città è allo studio la realizzazione di un impianto di selezione per multimateriale (imballaggi di metallo e di plastica). Il sistema impiantistico previsto sarà flessibile e innovativo, e basato su impianti di recupero di materia e riciclo eco-efficiente".  Ce ne saranno 3.  Ma "non saranno vicino ai centri abitati, né a Rocca Cencia nè al Tmb Salaria e non aumenteremo Maccarese" ha spiegato Montanari. "Saranno in aree verdi. Queste zone sono state già inserite nel piano industriale di Ama che sarà presentato entro aprile. Una volta ottenute tutte le autorizzazioni ci vorrà un anno, un anno e mezzo, per vederle realizzati."

Ed ecco infine l'idea vincente, alla Beppe Grillo, il bel futuro italiano: "Verranno sviluppati i cosiddetti CRiC (Centri per il Riuso Creativo) "dove promuovere le attività centri di riparazione e riuso, due pilastri fondamentali del Piano".

Rileggete le parole di cui sopra. La Guida Suprema e e le avanguardie ecologico-futuristiche  al potere nella Capitale vogliono arrivare a questo.  Una moltitudine di romani felici che razzolano sui "materiali di postconsumo" fra voli  di gabbiani ed esclamano: Tò, una vecchia scarpa bucata! Se trovo anche l'altra, la porto all'Artigiano Creativo che me la risuola. Con cosa? Ah, questo vecchio  copertone di  pneumatico fornirà ottime suole a carro armato! Strappiamo l'altra scarpa al ratto che la sta rosicchiando! Intanto, fanciulle festose che raccolgono i pannolini mestruali usati (perché questo sono i "tessili sanitari") o i pannoloni piscio-merdosi degli Alzheimer dicendosi l'un l'altra: "Con questi facciamo risparmiare alla Comunità 1500 euro!"

Creare l'Uomo Nuovo -

Perché è inutile obiettare che, se non avessero viaggiato con le fette di salame sugli occhi, i grillini avrebbero potuto vedere i loro Centri di Riuso Creativo al Cairo, a Bombay, in una qualunque megalopoli africana, dove intere orde di bambini affamati i sporchi  si dedicano alla "differenziazione"  dei materiali e non fanno altro che "portarli a nuova vita", per esempio coprendo di plastica buttata via i loro tuguri per lo più di tela  di risulta, e  marcia. E che tutto ciò non crea  alcun "nuovo artigianato",  anzi  nemmeno una riduzione dei rifiuti;  non crea che miseria e sporcizia da cui le orde di miserabili bambini-schiavi vorrebbero solo fuggire.

Inutile eccepire, perché il Piano Quinquennale della Raggi e dei fanatici al potere non punta in realtà,  semplicemente,  a liberare la capitale dei suoi rifiuti. Punta –  come le vere dittature totalitarie – a creare l'Uomo Nuovo. L'uomo che ri-consuma i propri rifiuti, in cui vede "risorse". L'uomo  felice di vivere di Economia Circolare, di nutrirsi di avanzi e riutilizzare i pannoloni.

Come già accaduto alle altre ideologie, l'Uomo Nuovo tarda a nascere. Roma rimane abitata da romaneschi (da distinguere dai Romani,la popolazione antica) che percepiscono stipendi enormi da qualche apparato pubblico, sono quindi parte di una delle tante associazioni a delinquere di cui la Capitale prospera e rigurgita, ATAC, AMA, Parlamento, Ministeri, Rai-TV,  troie  berlusconiane ed altri fornitori  dei Ricchi di Stato da 200 mila euro in su –  gente che se timbra il  cartellino poi  esce a  magnà: e mangia, mangia, mangia, e butta, butta,  butta tutto sul  marciapiede: a cominciare dalle bucce di banane  i gusci di cozze,  e le cacche dei loro cani  di compagnia,  di cui questi mascalzoni non sanno – non vogliono –  escogitare un "riuso creativo"  per un artigianato di qualità.

E siccome poi la giunta Raggi non dispone dei mezzi  necessari  al totalitarismo per creare l'Uomo Nuovo  –   Kgb, GuLag e Guardie Rosse ad instaurare il Terrore Rivoluzionario fra i romaneschi (che lo meriterebbero, eccome!),  ecco che il Piano della Felicità Decrescente resta inattuato. Nella pratica, la città resta priva sia di incineritori sia di artigiani del riuso. Di fatto, piena di pacchi di  rumenta  lacerati da gatti e ratti, che vengono  raccolti quando l'AMA vuole e mandati alla discarica in cui da mesi non funzionano le telecamere di sorveglianza (chissà  perché), dove qualcuno di una associazione a delinquere  poi li incendia con sui gran vantaggio suo. Ché poi in fondo ai romaneschi  je piace vivere fra  le montagne dei loro rifiuti, altrimenti avrebbero invocato termovalorizzatori come Treviso e Bolzano.

Il Ponte Morandi Ricreativo -

Nell'utopia grillesca le infrastrutture devono dare gioia e servire essenzialmente per il tempo libero e la ricreazione  dell'Uomo Nuovo, che non avrà più bisogno  né di auto né di incineritori, né di detersivi è di fonti energetiche inquinanti, né dovrà  lavorare per campare (reddito di cittadinanza).  E' una visione che ha confermato Toninelli, quando s'è lanciato a ri-pensare il ponte Morandi come "struttura "multilivello e multifunzione", su cui mangiare, passeggiare e fare shopping".  E a chi si sbalordiva, ha dato degli "ignoranti – guardate il ponte di Galata a Istanbul":  inconcusso dal fatto che il ponte di Galata è una attrazione turistica interna alla città, sovraffollato  semi-pedonale,  non certo un tratto di autostrada a  pedaggio fra due tunnel da 100 all'ora.

O meglio: la differenza deve parergli inesistente, dato che nel futuro grillesco non ci sarà  più bisogno di autostrade, essendo l'intera popolazione  – nella sua totalità – impiegata nel  riuso ecologico dei rifiuti (pardon, materiale post-consumo), ricavando ampi guadagni  artigianali "chilometro Zero" dalla  "riparazione e ri-utilizzo"  creativo degli stracci, pannoloni, scarpe bucate e bottiglie di plastica, "pilastri fondamentali del Piano" della decrescita felice. Magari non completamente tutti;  si potrà lasciare a lavorare nelle industrie  ai nuovi Kulaki: ossia quella parte di popolazione stupida e arretrata al Nord e Nord-Est,  a cui gia vengono mandati i rifiuti romani di troppo perché li inceneriscano, che serve ad esportare e guadagnare valuta, con cui pagare il reddito di cittadinanza ai sereni creativi rumentari.

Non è un segreto quale sia la Fonte  ideologica del rumentismo in un solo paese, il Teorico  – diremmo il Lenin – delle idee della Raggi e di Toninelli:  Beppe  Grillo.  Basta scorrere il suo blog per vedere che non parla d'altro: di questo futuro senza industrie però fotovoltaico, tutto solare e ventoso, tutto alberato e ricreazionale,  grazie a mirabolanti innovazioni di "economia circolare" che scopre dovunque nel mondo.  Superate le scoperte di anni fa, la pallina ceramica che messa in lavatrice lava i panni senza detersivo, al motore ad acqua  o ad aria compressa, ecco che Beppe Grillo spiega perché dice no al TAV; perché è vecchio, è assurdo realizzare treni da 300 all'ora quando sta per arrivare – anzi è già qui, lui l'ha visto a Cadice – "l'Hyperloop,  un sistema di trasporto innovativo, a levitazione magnetica, capace di viaggiare a 1200 km orari.  Il tutto sfruttando la sola energia elettrica, prodotta da fonti rinnovabili: fotovoltaico, eolico e geotermico. Il concetto dell'Hyperloop è eliminare ogni attrito, lanciando capsule a levitazione magnetica in tubi pressurizzati, svuotati dall'aria anteriormente e spinti dall'aria compressa posteriormente.  Ma  –  concede subito –  il punto fondamentale non è arrivare ad una velocità di 1200 km all'ora, il punto è una concezione diversa di mobilità, per persone e, soprattutto, per merci".

No TAV, sì Hyperloop.  Naturalmente senza la minima nozione del livello industriale e consumi energetici e costi del progetto di cui parla. Altro che tunnel  TAV, l'Hyperloop richiederebbe una immane rete di tunnel-tubi pressurizzati in acciaio a tenuta d'aria.  Ma ovviamente il Grillo crede che la "levitazione magnetica" da 1200 orari si ottenga "con le energie rinnovabili", tutto per incantata magia –  e  solo la  cattiva volontà di pochi uomini malvagi sta impedendo la realizzazione dell'Utopia  così evidentemente benefica. In primo luogo gli imprenditori  che chiedono strade e ponti e ferrovie e porti, sbertucciati e chiamati  "prenditori" di denaro  pubblico.  Ma ci sono anche i traditori nelle stesse file del Movimento, che di nascosto stanno sabotando il Piano Quinquennale.  Altrimenti non si spiega perché Roma continui ad affogare nella propria rumenta a tonnellate , fra ratti e gabbiani. Perché non si può negare che  dei 120 "compostieri di comunità" e dei  favolosi CRiC (Centri per il Riuso Creativo) non si vede nemmeno l'ombra, ed ancor meno dell'"ATAC di quartiere" che  fa "la raccolta differenziata porta a porta  – per non parlare della differenziata "al 70 %"  comandata dalla tenera dittatrice. Roma è il porcaio di sempre, ossia sempre più porcaio. Senza termovalorizzatori e senza nemmeno discariche,  essendo quella andata a fuoco.

Ecco perché sul sito del Movimento, l'11 dicembre scorso, è apparso il seguente annuncio: "Da oggi su Rousseau è online Segnalazioni, un nuovo strumento per tutti gli iscritti al MoVimento 5 Stelle, che potranno segnalare iscritti, candidati e portavoce eletti che non rispettano i principi alla base del MoVimento"

Oscurantismo futuristico -

Perché anche questo è inevitabile negli utopismi totalitari:  poiché la Teoria è scientifica e infallibile, se non funziona è perché nel seno del Partito si annidano sabotatori:  che devono essere "segnalati". La delazione sistematica ed anonima dei nemici interni e falsi, è un altro segnale della grinta totalitaria e letale che prenderebbe il MoVimento se solo avesse il  potere assoluto.  Quanto alla  sua pericolosità per la comunità nazionale, che dire? L'ideologia che Beppe Grillo è riuscita a diffondere fra gli adepti, non po' essere definita altro che Oscurantismo.  

Oscurantismo della specie peggiore: Oscurantismo Futuristico.  Che si serve delle innovazioni futuristiche che Grillo scopre sui giornali, per impedire lo sviluppo delle innovazioni strutturali attuali e necessarie.  Un  Futurismo oscurantista di semi-colti che non hanno mai visto delle industrie funzionanti e non  ne hanno capito il funzionamento – e ritengono che non gli serva, perché il futuro sarà post-industriale, ciclabile, fotovoltaico, frumentario, creativo-spazzaturiero.

È ovvio che costoro  al potere sono pericoli pubblici che manderanno in rovina le poche e vecchie infrastrutture esistenti (il cui degrado stesso, pare, impone un sovraccosto di 13 miliardi alle industrie e  esportatrici ) e non le sostituiranno  che con cumuli di "risorse post-consumo". Fino a  ieri si poteva sperare nella funzione moderatrice  e concreta della Lega. Adesso con Sfesso Ebbasta al timone,  la speranza si fa vacillante.
TENS OF THOUSANDS OF POLICE PREPARE FOR YELLOW VEST PROTESTS
France is ready to deploy tens of thousands of police in anticipation for a fifth round of the Yellow Vest protests that have swept the nation since mid-November.

In Paris alone, 8,000 police will ready themselves to face the next round of uprising on Saturday from a French public who has become increasingly dissatisfied with the Macron government and its willingness to tax and move forward with globalist policy without public consent.

The chief of police in Paris is highly concerned about violent groups infiltrating the protests and is prepared to have police guarding landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and prevent people getting close to the presidential palace.

"We need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios," police chief Michel Delpuech told RTL radio, according to Reuters.

And to make matters worse for the Macron government (much worse), a group of French military generals have written his administration an open letter accusing the President of "treason" for placing his signature on the U.N. migration pact.

The letter accuses Macron of being "guilty of a denial of democracy or treason against the nation" for signing the pact without putting it to the people.
NEARLY 15'000 CHILDREN HELD IN DETENTION CAMPS ACROSS THE U.S.A.
Nearly 15,000 immigrant children are being held in a network of detention centers across the United States. Changes implemented by the Trump administration have filled the child jails to near capacity, and the government is considering adding more employees and more beds to make it possible to hold even more adolescents.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the incarceration of immigrant children at more than 100 locations, reported Thursday that the system was 92 percent full. Among the most notorious detention centers is the tent camp on the US-Mexico border in Tornillo, Texas, where approximately 2,800 children are being held in the desert.

Children are being held at Tornillo for an average of 50 days before being released into the custody of sponsors, typically family members already living in the US who will take care of the minor until their status is determined by an immigration judge. New detainees are being brought into the camp faster than they are being released to sponsors.

Conditions that prevail in the detention centers can be traumatic, with reports by children of rapes, sexual abuse and assaults. A significant portion of those being detained are teenage boys from Central America who have crossed into the US without a parent, seeking asylum from poverty and gang violence in their home countries.

The population in the system began to swell after the Trump administration implemented a policy requiring anyone living with potential sponsors for a child to provide their fingerprints and go through a criminal background check.

This has raised fears among potential sponsors that they would be opening up other family members to potential arrest or deportation. At least 41 family or household members were detained for deportation in 2018 after attempting to sponsor a detained child.
Julian Assange's uncertain fate
Julian Assange is fighting to stay at Ecuador's embassy in London, but his hosts don't want him anymore. The WikiLeaks founder accused the embassy of carrying out a surveillance operation on behalf of the FBI.

WikiLeaks founder and transparency activist Julian Assange is locked in a legal battle with Ecuador over the new stringent conditions imposed in October on his embassy stay. This week, he has threatened to take his case to the International Court of Justice if a second appeal against the Ecuadorian government fails.

The new rules by the Ecuadorian Embassy have resulted in the tightening of privileges he is allowed and put financial demands on his remaining in the building. It also introduced the option for Quito to expel the Australian if he breaks the new rules.

Assange sought to challenge the new house rules in court in November, saying they violated his fundamental rights, but judges ruled against him. He has appealed the decision and should receive a verdict on in eight days.

For the past year, the Ecuadorian government has been seeking to rid itself of what it sees as an international problem it inherited from the previous administration. The WikiLeaks founder has been at the embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum by the administration of President Rafael Correa.

The stricter rules and reduction in privileges suggest the Ecuadorean government is hoping Assange will choose to leave, but the efforts have been unsuccessful.

Ecuadorian daily newspaper El Comercio reported last week that Quito was ready to improve its diplomatic relations with the UK, citing comments from Ambassador Jaime Marchan. "In the recent years, due to the situation we have at the embassy, there has been an obligatory cooling and distancing in the relationship," Marchan said.

In terms of Assange's embassy home, Marchan did not mince his words. "The embassy is not an asylum camp, but a diplomatic mission that has a daily function to fulfill," the ambassador said.

Marchan said that since efforts to grant him citizenship or diplomatic status have failed, he felt that now "Assange should be the one to make the decision" to leave.

As a result of Ecuador's change of heart, the relationship between Assange and his hosts has soured, but the WikiLeaks founder is still reluctant to leave.

Venezuela-based Latin American broadcaster Telesur reported on Wednesday that Assange had claimed to be under surveillance within the embassy, an accusation he made to reporters in a video conference. Assange accused the FBI of running an operation to pressure Quito to end his political asylum deal and extradite him to the United States.

Assange claimed that his surveillance information was being sent directly to the FBI. He also criticized Ecuadorian authorities, saying that officials at the embassy had made "pejorative and threatening comments" about him and that his work as a journalist had been questioned.

The Australian spoke out against his housing restrictions, noting that he lives in a type of "solitary confinement," which is now threatening his health.

Assange's fears that the US is out to get him are not completely unfounded. Last month, US officials accidentally revealed the existence of an indictment against him, though the charges remain unknown.

The extent to which the US has pressured Ecuador to expel him from the embassy remains unclear, though WikiLeaks maintains that Washington is actively involved.

"Ecuador recently secured $1.1 billion (€970 million ) in loans. The US representative to the IMF told Ecuador in late 2017 that loans were conditional on Ecuador resolving the Assange and Chevron matters," WikiLeaks said in a statement.

If Assange left the embassy, the matter of his extradition would be decided by courts in the UK. Ecuador has said the UK provided written guarantees to President Lenin Moreno that the Australian would not be extradited to a country where he would face the death penalty.

This does not mean, however, that Assange wouldn't be apprehended by UK authorities for violating conditions of his bail agreement when he fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

On Wednesday, Ecuador's top attorney, Inigo Salvador, said the written guarantees were all that Quito had to give. Salvador admitted that his country "cannot provide assurances to Mr. Assange that the UK will not hand him over to a third country that requests his extradition."

The UK signaled in October that it would not extradite the Australian if he left the embassy, as no extradition request currently exists, and that he would only serve six months in jail for his outstanding jail violation.

Although an individual facing the death penalty in the US cannot be extradited, the law would allow for the US to extradite  Assange if it guarantees the British government that — if convicted — he would not be executed.
U.S. DEBT GREW THE SIZE OF THE ENTIRE BRAZILIAN ECONOMY IN JUST TWO YEARS
In a mere two years, the United States debt has massively grown.  In fact, the amount of debt the U.S. incurred equaled the size of the entire Brazilian economy.

U.S. government debt is on track this year to rise at the fastest pace since 2012, reported the Los Angeles Times.  The strong yet quickly weakening economy is failing to keep pace with the wave of red ink that’s rising under the Trump administration and there appears to be no end to the spending in sight.

The total public debt outstanding has jumped by $1.36 trillion, or 6.6%, since the start of 2018, and by $1.9 trillion since President Trump took office, according to the latest Treasury Department figures. The latter figure is about the size of Brazil’s gross domestic product.

As of Monday, the nation’s debt stood at a record $21.9 trillion. The borrowing is needed to cover a budget deficit that expanded by an estimated $779 billion in Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, the widest fiscal gap in six years, since Barack Obama’s term. By the end of Trump’s first term, the debt is expected to rise by $4.4 trillion despite historically low unemployment, relatively low interest rates and robust growth.

In other words; the United States is actively committing suicide.
"Gilets jaunes" say "Well played, Micron!"
Hundreds of "gilets jaunes" have taken to Facebook to claim the French government is behind the deadly attack at Strasbourg's Christmas market on Tuesday. The conspiracy theories have prompted an angry response from ministers.

News of a lone gunman shooting into a crowd at Strasbourg's famous Marché de Noel on Tuesday night has been met with suspicion by many yellow vest protesters who have suggested the French government is responsible for the attack. 

The main conspiracy theory circulating in their Facebook groups is that the government wants to divert attention from the current crisis engulfing the Macron presidency.
Guatemalan child dies of thirst in U. S. custody at the border with Mexico
A seven-year-old girl who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with her father last week died after being taken into the custody of the U.S. border patrol, federal immigration authorities have said.

The Washington Post reported the girl died of dehydration and shock more than eight hours after she was arrested by agents near Lordsburg, New Mexico. The girl, from Guatemala, was traveling with a group of 163 people who approached agents to turn themselves in on 6 December.

It is unknown what happened to the girl during the eight hours before she started having seizures and was flown to an El Paso hospital.

In a statement, customs and border protection authorities said the girl had not eaten or consumed water in several days. The agency did not provide the Associated Press with the statement it gave to the Post.

Processing 163 immigrants in a single night could have posed challenges for the agency, whose detention facilities are meant to be temporary and do not usually accommodate that many people.

When a border patrol agent arrests someone, that person gets processed at a facility but usually spends no more than 72 hours in custody before they are either transferred to immigration and customs enforcement or, if they are Mexican, quickly deported home.

The girl's death raises questions about whether border agents knew she was ill and whether she was fed anything or given anything to drink during the more than eight hours she was in custody.
Merkel interrupts May, Juncker calls E.U. talks "nebulous"
Brexit was one of the main subjects at the EU Council meeting that took place on 13 December. Reports say that the discussion was marked by a showdown among the world's two most powerful women (according to Forbes' list), as well as the European Commission president.

The mood was "very bad" as the bloc's heads of state argued about Brexit during the Brussels summit, the German outlet Welt reports, citing sources in EU circles. The newspaper claims that German Chancellor Angela Merkel interrupted her UK counterpart, Prime Minister Theresa May, several times during her speech and insisted that she clarify her position.

The German website Focus reported that Merkel had refused to accept May's proposal to set a specific deadline for striking a free-trade agreement that could resolve the Northern Ireland issue instead of a backstop date. The outlet cites the EU insiders as saying that the UK prime minister suggested it was December, 2021.

Merkel reportedly rebuffed her claims, pointing out that it "always depends on two sides" whether a free trade agreement exists.

"If reinsurance is necessary because we have not found enough regulation for the transition phase, then we want to quickly overcome this backstop. And we will do our utmost to do that", she said.

At the same time, she emphasized that the preparations for Britain's unregulated exit, which would be the case if the UK Parliament does not agree on the deal, would continue. She pointed out that their "desire is to have an agreement".
THE U.S.A. CONCEALS ECONOMIC BANDITRY UNDER "LEGAL" COVER
The blatant arrest of a Chinese telecoms executive in Canada on behalf of the U.S. is shrouded in obscure legalistic claims. But the bottom line is clear; the U.S. is abusing the legal process to pursue lawless economic interests.

This hegemonic conduct by the U.S. is undermining international law and leading to chaos. The recklessness of American unilateral diktat is unsustainable and is risking inevitable war with someone, sometime, somewhere.

China’s anger over the latest legal spat resonates with similar grievances against the U.S. felt by Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and even American allies in Europe, due to Washington’s high-handed arbitrariness.

The U.S. is behaving like a bandit state, imposing its demands as it alone sees fit for its presumed advantage – under the cover of legalistic probity.

The detention of Meng Wanzhou on December 1 while boarding a commercial flight out of Vancouver was carried by Canadian federal police on behalf of U.S. authorities. It was not even clear on what legal grounds Meng was hauled away in handcuffs for. A court hearing for bail this week in Vancouver confirmed that the charges relate to U.S. accusations that the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei allegedly violated American sanctions on Iran.

However, as Canadian legal expert Christopher Black explains, the alleged offenses of sanctions-busting that the US claims are non-existent in international law. American sanctions against Iran – questionable as they are – are a matter solely for US courts. They have no application to foreign territories and between sovereign states such as China and Canada which have diplomatic relations. International sanctions can only be implemented and enforced by the U.N. Security Council.

Therefore, according to Black, what Canadian law enforcement is doing on behalf of the U.S. in the arrest of the Huawei executive is illegal.

Besides, adds Black, the sanctions claim concerning Iran and Huawei is not the real motive, he believes. “Huawei is a leading global competitor of U.S. telecoms firms. What the U.S. is doing is using legalistic mechanisms to outlaw Huawei and other Chinese competitors like ZTE,” he said in an email interview.

This week President Donald Trump told Reuters that he was prepared to personally intervene in the Meng case “if it helps U.S.-China trade relations”. That suggests the Chinese executive is being used as a pawn in the trade war between Washington and Beijing.

For months now, U.S. government and media sources have been spreading scary claims that Chinese technology is posing a threat to national security by stealthily introducing spy software into homes and businesses. China has strenuously denied the claims as provocative nonsense. Significantly, too, U.S. telecoms firms such as Apple which manufacture products in China have also come to flatly reject the claims emanating from Washington of Chinese government “spy chips”.

It seems obvious that this background of anti-China commercial propaganda is aimed at discrediting and disenfranchising Chinese telecoms firms from the U.S. and other markets. Huawei phones, for example, are banned from sale on U.S. military bases around the world.

Earlier this year, in testimony to become C.I.A. chief Gina Haspel gave a snide comment in congressional hearings to the effect that she wouldn’t touch Chinese tech products with a barge pole, implying security risk.

The detention of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive, which Chinese media have denounced as barbaric, fits this context of commercial competition. The alleged Iranian sanctions issue is merely a cover for her arrest. Even on its face, the detention of Meng is arguably a violation of international rights. But the real, underlying issue is the U.S. using legality to pursue economic interests – unlawfully – which then makes the US and Canadian conduct even more odious.

We are witnessing similar hegemonic conduct by the U.S. over and over. A few weeks ago, the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Russian and Iranian businesses for allegedly shipping oil commercially to Syria. Again, this was another instance of American authorities invoking their laws to apply extra-territorially on other parties whom they deem to be in violation.

The U.S. has increasingly been wielding its legal definitions and measures as if it is the world’s judge and jury.

In recent years, American lawmakers have created a slew of legal weapons, including the Magnitsky Act, the Global Magnitsky Act, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which give Washington the supposed power to penalize any country it deems to be in breach of its national laws.

The arbitrariness of U.S. “justice” has got to the febrile point where Washington is threatening all nations, including its supposed European allies, with legal punishment if they don’t toe the line on its designated policy.

With regard to Iran, the Trump administration is the party that is arguably in dereliction of international law having unilaterally pulled out of the U.N.-ratified nuclear accord with Tehran – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015 by the European Union, Russia and China. Yet Trump is threatening to impose sanctions on countries, including the Europeans, who continue doing business with Iran.

The same megalomaniac mentality is applied by the US towards Europe regarding its long-standing purchase of Russian natural gas. Washington is threatening European firms and governments with sanctions for allegedly “trading with an adversary”. But the brazen motive is to harass Russian gas out of its natural market, to give US Liquefied Natural Gas an abnormal competitive advantage – an advantage that defies normal laws of economics.

Evidently, this is what it’s all about. The U.S. economy is no longer viable as a global competitor on its own merits. Decades of chronic underinvestment at home and setting up businesses abroad by U.S. capital have completely undermined any concept of American national economy. Trump is trying to reverse that through his nationalistic and demagogic appeals for “America First” and “Make America Great Again”. But Trump is striving to achieve that epic reversal, not through genuine economic regeneration at home. Instead, Washington is using and abusing legalistic cover for lawless attacks on the legitimate commercial interests of foreign nations.

Nevertheless, this flagrant exercise in banditry by the U.S. is a dangerous Pandora’s Box. The arbitrary arrest of foreign business executives and bullying use of secondary sanctions will undermine the confidence of global business with Washington. Will European corporate leaders be next to be arrested for allegedly doing business with Russia or Iran?
The view from the edge of space
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo: the view from the edge of space

The latest test flight by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully rocketed to the edge of space and back.

The SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship reached a height of 82.7km, beyond the altitude at which US agencies have awarded astronaut wings.
Gli studenti indossano i gilet gialli. E bruciano un fantoccio di Salvini
La protesta arriva anche in Italia: in piazza a Milano collettivi e centri sociali coi gilet gialli invocano la ghigliottina per Salvini e Macron

Il centro di Milano è stato preso d'assalto, ancora una volta, dagli studenti di sinistra che, a sostegno delle proteste in Francia, hanno indossato i gilet gialli.

Ma la manifestazione contro il governo gialloverde si è trasformata, per l'ennesima volta, un attacco ferocissimo contro Matteo Salvini e il Carroccio. Un fantoccio con il volto del vicepremier leghista è stato, infatti, dato alle fiamme davanti alla sede di Unicredit di piazza Cinque Giornate. Sulla felpa del pupazzo si leggeva la scritta "Ladropoli". Sul marciapiede altri esagitati hanno scritto con la vernice Lega Ladrona.

"Lega merda". Gli slogan della manifestazione, organizzata dai collettivi studenteschi milanesi insieme ad esagitati dei centri sociali come il Cantiere, sono violentissimi. "Liberi di protestare - scandiscono - legittimati a ribellarci". Nei giorni scorsi più di un esponente del governo aveva esternato i propri timori di un eventuale contagio dalla Francia. E così sta succedendo: alla manifestazione di Milano diversi studenti hanno indossato i gilet gialli in solidarietà ai colleghi francesi e hanno invocando per Salvini, come per Emmanuel Macron, la ghigliottina. "Dalla Francia all'Italia - si legge su uno striscione portato in corteo dagli antagonisti - cacciare la Casta, cambiare il sistema".

Il nemico numero uno dei collettivi e dei centri sociali è sicuramente Salvini. A lui rinfacciano il pugno duro per fermare l'immigrazione clandestina e il decreto Sicurezza e arrivano addirittura a paragonare i centri per i rimpatri ai lager nazisti. Al Carroccio, invece, rinfacciano le inchieste sui fondi del partito. "Dove sono i soldi?", hanno urlato alcuni studenti davanti alle banche. "Lì la Lega nasconde il suo tesoretto - hanno tuonato per le vie di Milano - leghisti ladroni ridateci i milioni". "Le stesse banche armate - hanno spiegato i collettivi in una nota - reinvestono poi a loro volta i soldi in armi e guerre da cui poi scappano le persone che Salvini usa come capro espiatorio per tenersi i 49 milioni e la poltrona".
E.U. rules out Brexit renegotiation, vows to avoid Irish backstop with free trade deal before 2021
British Prime Minister Theresa May wants reassurances that a section of the Brexit withdrawal agreement known as the Irish backstop is temporary. EU leaders say they will at least try to avoid triggering it.

European Union leaders on Friday once again ruled out changes to the United Kingdom's withdrawal agreement. But they reassured British Prime Minister Theresa May that they would try to finalize a new UK-EU free trade deal before 2021.

In a joint statement, the leaders of 27 EU member states said it was their "firm determination" to finish the free trade deal as quickly as possible to avoid triggering a controversial "backstop" arrangement in the withdrawal agreement.

The backstop, which is legally binding, would maintain an open border between Northern Ireland, a British territory, and EU-member Ireland if London and Brussels fail to agree on a new free trade deal by December 2020.

The embattled prime minister is struggling to convince enough hard-line lawmakers in her Conservative Party to approve the withdrawal agreement over fears that the backstop could force the UK to accept EU rules indefinitely.

May had met earlier with EU leaders in Brussels to seek "legal and political assurances" from the EU that the backstop would be temporary. But during the meeting, EU leaders became frustrated by May's lack of clarity over the kind of assurances she wanted.

The prime minister, who suspended a parliamentary vote on the deal on Monday to avoid a near certain defeat, faces a difficult task of saving the deal if her EU counterparts stand firm in refusing any legal changes to the backstop.

Many pro-Brexit lawmakers want the withdrawal agreement to give the UK the right to exit the backstop or for the arrangement to have a legally-binding expiry date.

But Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar dismissed those options ahead of the EU leaders' meeting. "If the backstop has an expiry date, if there is a unilateral exit clause, then it is not a backstop," he said.

June 2016: 'The will of the British people'
After a shrill referendum campaign, nearly 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the EU on June 24. Polls had shown a close race before the vote with a slight lead for those favoring remaining in the EU. Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had campaigned for Britain to stay, acknowledged the 'will of the British people' and resigned the following morning.

July 2016: 'Brexit means Brexit'
Former Home Secretary Theresa May replaced David Cameron as prime minister on July 11 and promised the country that "Brexit means Brexit." May had quietly supported the remain campaign before the referendum. She did not initially say when her government would trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty to start the two-year talks leading to Britain's formal exit.

March 2017: 'We already miss you'
May eventually signed a diplomatic letter over six months later on March 29, 2017 to trigger Article 50. Hours later, Britain's ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow, handed the note to European Council President Donald Tusk. Britain's exit was officially set for March 29, 2019. Tusk ended his brief statement on the decision with: "We already miss you. Thank you and goodbye."

June 2017: And they're off!
British Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, kicked off talks in Brussels on June 19. The first round ended with Britain reluctantly agreeing to follow the EU's timeline for the rest of the negotiations. The timeline split talks into two phases. The first settles the terms of Britain's exit and the second the terms of the EU-UK relationship post-Brexit.

July-October 2017: Money, rights, and Ireland
The second round of talks in mid-July began with an unflattering photo of a seemingly unprepared British team. It and subsequent rounds ended with little progress on three phase one issues: How much Britain still needed to pay into the EU budget after it leaves, the post-Brexit rights of EU and British citizens, and whether Britain could keep an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

November 2017: May pays out?
Progress appeared to have been made after round six in early November with Britain reportedly agreeing to pay up to £50 billion (€57 billion/$68 billion) for the "divorce bill." May had earlier said she was only willing to pay €20 billion, while the EU had calculated some €60 billion euros. Reports of Britain's concession sparked outrage among pro-Brexit politicians and media outlets.

December 2017: Go-ahead for phase two
Leaders of the remaining 27 EU members formally agreed that "sufficient progress" had been made to move on to phase 2 issues: the post-Brexit transition period and the future UK-EU trading relationship. While May expressed her delight at the decision, European Council President Tusk ominously warned that the second stage of talks would be "dramatically difficult."

July 2018: Boris and David resign
British ministers appeared to back a Brexit plan at May's Chequers residence on July 6. The proposal would have kept Britain in a "combined customs territory" with the EU and signed up to a "common rulebook" on all goods. That went too far for British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary Davis. They resigned a few days later. May replaced them with Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab.

September 2018: No cherries for Britain
The Chequers proposal did not go down well either with EU leaders, who told her at a summit in Salzburg in late September that it was unacceptable. EU Council President Tusk trolled May on Instagram, where he captioned a picture of himself and May looking at cakes with the line: "A piece of cake perhaps? Sorry, no cherries." The gag echoed previous EU accusations of British cherry-picking.

November 2018: Breakthrough in Brussels
EU leaders endorsed a 585-page draft divorce deal and political declaration on post-Brexit ties in late November. The draft was widely condemned by pro- and anti-Brexit lawmakers in the British Parliament only weeks earlier. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned along with several other ministers, and dozens of Conservative Party members tried to trigger a no-confidence vote in May.

December 2018: May survives rebellion
In the face of unrelenting opposition, May postponed a parliamentary vote on the deal on December 10. The next day, she met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to seek reassurances that would, she hoped, be enough to convince skeptical lawmakers to back the deal. But while she was away, hard-line Conservative lawmakers triggered a no-confidence vote. May won the vote a day later.

The political fallout in the UK over the withdrawal agreement had raised doubts about May's future in office.

On Wednesday, she survived a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party.

But May, who has vowed to step down before the next election in 2022, could still face a parliamentary vote of no confidence if Labour, the biggest opposition party, heeds calls from other opposition parties to request the move.

If British lawmakers fail to approve the withdrawal agreement, the UK risks crashing out of the EU on March 29, 2019 without any deal in place. Many observers, including the UK government, predict severe economic and political turbulence after a "no-deal" Brexit.

Speaking after the meeting in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bloc was stepping up preparations for such an outcome.

"The Commission will publish on December 19 all the information that is generally useful for the preparation of no deal," he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her country's decision to leave the European Union have become the butt of satirical humor even in Germany, as can be seen here by a float that featured in a Carnival procession in the western city of Mainz. But so far, she has stayed in power despite seemingly overwhelming odds.

Theresa May won the leadership struggle to become prime minister in July 2016, after David Cameron resigned over the Brexit vote. Outside 10 Downing Street, May pledged to fight against the "burning injustice" inflicted on the poor and discriminated minorities.

By the time of the Tory party conference in October 2016, May appeared to be firmly in control. She claimed her government had a "plan" for Brexit. She still commanded the absolute majority in the UK parliament inherited from David Cameron. May repeatedly ruled out another election.

In April 2017, however, May pulled a U-turn and demanded a snap vote to supply her with a clear Brexit mandate. The campaign relied heavily on Theresa May's perceived popularity and the "strong and stable" slogan in the contest against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The June vote showed that May and her team had severely miscalculated: The Tories lost their absolute majority and were forced to make a deal with the far-right Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to stay in power.

Following the election, senior Tory members reportedly pressured May to fire two of her closest aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, or face a leadership challenge. The two allegedly mismanaged the campaign and threated Cabinet members in a "rude, abusive" way, according to some officials. May complied and cut ties with the pair.

Less than a week after the election, Prime Minister May faced a deadly catastrophe in London: A fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment block claimed 71 lives, with many alleging that the blaze showed the Tories' disregard for the living conditions of the poor. May was booed by protesters while visiting the scene.

May envisioned her party conference speech in October 2017 as a rallying cry to unite the country and reassert her leadership. But the event did not go according to plan. While giving her speech, May's voice repeatedly cracked and she suffered multiple coughing fits.

May also had to deal scandals involving several senior Cabinet members. In November 2017, Development Secretary Priti Patel was forced to leave after secretly talking with Israeli representatives about military aid. Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon stepped down days earlier over misconduct allegations. And Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned in April 2018 amid outrage over the Windrush affair.

All previous Cabinet troubles paled in comparison to the departures of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis in July 2018. The two rebelled against May's Brexit plan, claiming she was kowtowing to the EU.

A visit from US President Donald Trump seemed to further undermine the British prime minister. Trump told British media that May's Brexit plans were not "what the people voted on." Trump added that "I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn't agree, she didn't listen to me."

For many months, global media outlets (including DW) have speculated about May losing power. So far, however, she has managed to prove her doomsayers wrong. Still, polls in July 2018 showed her approval ratings at a record low: Only 30 percent approve of her as prime minister and only 22 percent are happy with the government.

Following long and difficult talks with the EU, Theresa May endorsed a controversial Brexit deal and presented it to the UK public in November 2018. Hardliners in May's own Tory party rebelled and launched a challenge for party leadership. In the end, May survived with 200 Tory lawmakers confirming their support and 117 voting against her.
Qui ci vuole meno spazzatura in discarica
I recenti roghi di magazzini stipati di rifiuti hanno allarmato i cittadini. Per raggiungere gli obiettivi europei di economia circolare, occorre una rete di impianti di trattamento in grado di assorbire i flussi crescenti delle raccolte differenziate.

Negli ultimi mesi i roghi di magazzini stipati di rifiuti hanno riportato al centro del dibattito politico la questione degli impianti per il riciclo.

Ora l'annuale Rapporto Ispra sui rifiuti urbani fotografa alcuni importanti novità. Nel 2017 la produzione di rifiuto è diminuita. La raccolta differenziata è arrivata al 55,5 per cento, in aumento di 3 punti percentuali rispetto al 2016. Anche il riciclaggio è salito al 43,9 per cento. Ne consegue la riduzione del volume di rifiuto conferito in discarica (-6,8 per cento) e incenerito (-3 per cento).

Questi dati lasciano ben sperare perché indicano che la gestione dei rifiuti urbani sta cambiando; e che la direzione di marcia è coerente con la gerarchia dei rifiuti.

Vi sono tuttavia altri dati che sono in deciso contrasto con le raccomandazioni dell'economia circolare e sostenibile. Quasi un quarto dei rifiuti urbani raccolti (il 23 per cento) continua a trovare collocazione in discarica. Si tratta di 6,9 milioni di tonnellate, a cui si aggiungono circa 400mila tonnellate di rifiuti urbani esportati nei paesi del Nord Europa.

Di queste, una quota prevalente origina dalle regioni del Mezzogiorno. Ma l'autosufficienza nello smaltimento dei rifiuti urbani non pericolosi non è raggiunta neanche in alcune regioni del Nord (Liguria, ad esempio).

Come spesso accade l'Italia riesce a racchiudere insieme le eccellenze in ambito europeo (la città metropolitana di Milano, il Veneto, l'Emilia-Romagna, la Lombardia) con regioni, come la Sicilia, dove gli indicatori di sostenibilità ambientale del ciclo dei rifiuti sono più simili a quelli della Grecia.
È evidente che la pianificazione regionale, così come è stata impostata sinora, rappresenta spesso uno strumento di matrice più politica che tecnica, fondata su stime assai di sovente ottimistiche, non in grado di sostenere un percorso industriale coerente con l'autosufficienza.

Per raggiungere gli obiettivi indicati dalle direttive UE che chiedono di raggiungere il 65 per cento di riciclaggio al 2035 e di scendere sotto al 10 per cento di rifiuti smaltiti in discarica, occorre un mix di politiche coerenti con la gerarchia dei rifiuti europea, che superino i tanti limiti delle pianificazioni regionali.
Lo scenario qui proposto, seppur ambizioso, offre uno spunto sul percorso da intraprendere nei prossimi anni.

Alla sua base ci sono tre assunzioni: 1) la produzione di rifiuti urbani rimane ferma ai livelli correnti, in esito alle politiche di prevenzione e al rinforzo della responsabilità estesa del produttore; 2) la raccolta differenziata raggiungerà il 75 per cento nel 2035; 3) la dotazione di impianti rimarrà costante.

Assumendo un'ipotesi di intercettazione della frazione organica pari a 140 kg/ab/anno, un valore ambizioso ma già superato da alcune delle migliori realtà del paese, si giungerà nel 2035 a un fabbisogno residuo di trattamento della frazione organica (Forsu) di circa 2,3 milioni di tonnellate/anno.

Per soddisfare il fabbisogno di trattamento che avremo da qui ai prossimi 20 anni vi sarebbe il bisogno "impellente" di avviare 53 nuovi impianti di digestione anaerobica, di cui 36 da realizzare nel Mezzogiorno e nelle Isole.
Quel senso di ingiustizia che anima la protesta dei gilet gialli
La tassa sui carburanti che ha innescato la protesta dei gilet gialli è solo la punta dell'iceberg di un diffuso senso di iniquità. Ma è desolante che alle richieste di chi si sente escluso e lasciato indietro si risponda solo con ricette populiste.

Le proteste dei gilet gialli sono state uno degli argomenti di cui si è più discusso nelle ultime settimane, fino a indurre il presidente francese Macron a presentarsi in televisione per dire che ha capito le ragioni dei manifestanti e che adotterà misure per venire incontro alle loro esigenze. L'innesco delle proteste è stato un aumento delle tasse sui carburanti, che penalizzano specialmente chi abita nelle periferie, e quindi usa l'auto per andare al lavoro, e i proprietari di auto più inquinanti. Proprio in questa settimana c'è stata la Nobel lecture di William Nordhaus, che l'Accademia di Stoccolma ha premiato per i suoi studi sul cambiamento climatico. Val la pena di riportare una citazione: "L'economia mostra una verità sconveniente sulle politiche sul cambiamento climatico: per essere efficaci esse devono aumentare il prezzo della CO2 e, così facendo, correggere l'esternalità del mercato. Se si vuole essere efficaci, il prezzo deve aumentare".

Gli eventi francesi suggeriscono però anche un'altra verità sgradevole: l'aumento di prezzo dei carburanti rischia di penalizzare soprattutto i più poveri. Un obiettivo come quello di limitare i danni del cambiamento climatico rischia di essere percepito come un ulteriore fattore che genera iniquità. Pensare al futuro del pianeta è una preoccupazione riservata solo ai ricchi?

Negli scorsi giorni un altro premio Nobel, Jean Tirole, ha scritto un articolo sul "Journal du Dimanche" in cui elenca alcune proposte volte ad attenuare l’impatto della tassa sui carburanti sui meno abbienti: per esempio, ridurre il carico fiscale togliendo alcune delle imposte più distorsive e meno efficaci, come gli oneri fiscali che gravano su imprese e lavoratori, dare un bonus energia ai più bisognosi per far fronte all’aumento dei carburanti, facilitare l’accesso al credito per chi volesse dotarsi di tecnologie meno inquinanti, usare il gettito della tassa sui carburanti per opere di adattamento e di attenuazione dell’impatto del cambiamento climatico.

Ma il problema del diffuso senso di mancanza di equità del sistema economico, nota Tirole, è più ampio di quello legato alla tassa sui carburanti. Infatti la protesta dei gilet gialli, partita da lì, si è spostata su un piano più ambizioso, quello del recupero del potere di acquisto, anche attraverso una netta riduzione della pressione fiscale.

Ma come si può ridurre la pressione fiscale sui più poveri senza privare i cittadini di servizi essenziali? Un primo elemento è quello di fare pagare di più i ricchi. La decisione di Emmanuel Macron di riformare alleggerendo una forma di tassazione patrimoniale ha esacerbato il senso di iniquità dei cittadini francesi. Tuttavia, in passato quell’imposta ha garantito un gettito limitato. Per dare maggiori entrate dovrebbe probabilmente colpire una platea più ampia, con le ovvie conseguenze in termini di consenso. Inoltre, afferma Tirole, occorre spendere meglio, tagliando i programmi di spesa meno efficaci. “Vaste programme”, verrebbe da dire sulla base dell’esperienza italiana della spending review. Infine, e forse è questo il punto più importante, occorre ricordare a tutti che l’economia non è un gioco a somma zero. Le riforme per aumentare la produttività e quindi la crescita sono essenziali. Ma anche in questo caso, non c’è da essere ottimisti. Troppe volte i governi hanno parlato negli anni passati di riforme strutturali senza che poi i cittadini ne abbiano visto gli effetti e oggi molti di loro provano fastidio solo a sentirle nominare.

Il contrasto tra efficienza ed equità non è certo un tema nuovo in economia. Ma è desolante osservare che alle richieste di chi si sente escluso e lasciato indietro oggi siano offerte solo le ricette populiste, come il protezionismo o l’assistenzialismo. La combinazione di fallimento dei mercati e della politica rischia di avere conseguenze difficilmente prevedibili e non certo in senso positivo.
YELLOW VESTS PREPARE FOR MASSIVE ‘MACRON RESIGN’ PROTEST ON SATURDAY
Paris is bracing for yet another round of Yellow Vest protests, with demonstrators planning to take to the streets on Saturday. More than 10,000 people have already RSVP'd on Facebook to the 'Acte 5: Macron Démission' march. The demonstration is scheduled to take place in the French capital at Champs-Élysées. 

The organizers, consisting of some 15 groups, have outlined their list of demands on Facebook, saying they will continue their action against Macron until all their demands are met.

"Our organizations support the demands of tax and social justice brought by the movement of yellow vests. They call for demonstrations Saturday, December 15, for social justice and tax, for a real democracy, for equal rights, for a true ecological transition…" the planners said in a statement, as quoted by Le Parisien. Similar demonstrations are also expected to take place in other cities across the country.

Security officials are gearing up for the protests, with Paris Police Chief Michel Delpuech stating that tens of thousands of cops will be deployed across France, and some 8,000 in Paris. "We need to be prepared for worst-case scenarios," he said. Delpuech told RTL that authorities are aiming to be in "better control" of the situation than they were last weekend, when more than 125,000 people hit the streets of France, 10,000 of whom protested in Paris.

Those demonstrations saw clashes between protesters and police, with officers deploying tear gas and water cannon on people who threw Molotov cocktails, burned cars, and vandalized stores. Over 260 people were injured and 1,700 detained across the country.

Ahead of the demonstrations planned for Saturday, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said it was time for the Yellow Vest protesters to scale down their demonstrations and accept that they had achieved their aims, as Macron has granted concessions as a result of the rallies.

"I'd rather have the police force doing their real job, chasing criminals and combating the terrorism threat, instead of securing roundabouts where a few thousand people keep a lot of police busy", he said, just days after an attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg killed three people and injured around a dozen others.

Earlier this week, Macron spoke to the nation in a televised address, saying he understood the concerns of protesters. In addition to canceling fuel tax increases that were scheduled to kick in next month, he said he would increase the minimum wage by 100 euros a month from January and reduce taxes for poorer pensioners, among other measures. Even despite those concessions, Macron's critics are still demanding that he resign, continuing to refer to him as "President of the Rich."
Johnson & Johnson shares drop after asbestos report
Shares in Johnson & Johnson plunged more than 10% on Friday, after Reuters reported that the US pharmaceutical giant had known about asbestos tainting its talcum powder for decades.

The report comes as the company faces thousands of lawsuits claiming that its talc products caused cancer.

Reuters' review of documents found the company was aware of trace amounts of asbestos since at least 1971.

J&J lawyers said: "Johnson & Johnson's baby powder is safe and asbestos-free. The Reuters article is one-sided, false and inflammatory. Simply put, the Reuters story is an absurd conspiracy theory."

Attorney Peter Bicks told Reuters in an email. "The scientific consensus is that the talc used in talc-based body powders does not cause cancer, regardless of what is in that talc. This is true even if - and it does not - Johnson & Johnson's cosmetic talc had ever contained minute, undetectable amounts of asbestos."

Reuters reviewed Johnson & Johnson documents produced as part of the trials, many of which had been shielded from view by court orders.

The documents revealed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s the firm's internal tests sometimes found small amounts of asbestos in its raw talc and finished powders.

Most of the firm's tests did not find asbestos, and it did not disclose the tests that did to regulators, Reuters found.

Mr Bicks said the tests cited by Reuters article were "outlier" results. In court, the firm has argued that some of the documents referred to industrial talc products.

The investor reaction wiped 10% off the firm's market value at one point, making it the biggest loser on the Dow.

Legal cases against Johnson & Johnson have had mixed results.

IN JULY, JOHNSON & JOHNSON WAS ORDERED TO PAY $4.7 BILLION IN DAMAGES TO 22 WOMEN WHO ALLEGED THAT ITS TALC PRODUCTS CAUSED THEM TO DEVELOP OVARIAN CANCER.

The verdict marked the largest payout the firm has faced over the allegations. The firm is appealing against the decision.
Where the most journalists are imprisoned worldwide
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group, has released its annual census showing the number of journalists imprisoned across the world. As Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, more than 250 journalists are behind bars for the third consecutive year and the CPJ said that an authoritarian approach to critical news coverage is more than just a temporary spike.

As of December 1st, 2018, Turkey was the worst jailer with 68 journalists identified as being in prison there. China came second with 47 while Egypt was in third place with 25.

Collectively, Turkey, China and Egypt are responsible for more than half of all jailed journalists worldwide for the third year in a succession. CPJ said that those countries (and others such as Saudi Arabia) are experiencing a wave of repression which has resulted in a crackdown on press freedom. The vast majority of imprisoned journalists are facing anti state charges such as belonging to or aiding groups deemed by authorities as being terrorist organizations. Others are in jail on false news charges, particularly in Egypt with 19 in total.

The issue was brought into the spotlight this week with the one-year anniversary of the detention of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar. Among a group of journalists named "Person of the Year" by Time magazine, they are serving seven-year sentences for reporting on a massacre of Rohingya by the country's military. The issue has resulted in heightened criticism of Myanmar's de facto civilian leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. On Wednesday, journalists, activists ans rights groups rallied in Yangon and called for the immediate release of the imprisoned journalists.

Still, we couldn't help but notice the extreme irony of Erdogan's current onslaught of abuse and accusations against Saudi Arabia's MbS over the Khashoggi killings when his own nation is head and shoulders above the world in journalist capture.