Category Archives: World

Netherlands Apologize for Colonial-Era Mass Murders

Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling

Raymond Pierre Paul Westerling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, the Dutch government apologized for the mass killing of thousands of Indonesians during colonial occupation which ended in 1949.

The Dutch ambassador for Indonesia, Tjeerd de Zwaan, officially presented the state’s apology at a ceremony in Jakarta.

Dutch Special forces carried out thousands of “summary executions” between 1945 and 1949 in Indonesia. In total, 40,000 people were executed, according to the Indonesian government; the Dutch government has only acknowledged a few thousand of these deaths.

“On behalf of the Dutch government I apologize for these excesses,” De Zwaan said at the ceremony.

“The Dutch government is aware that it bears a special responsibility in respect of Indonesian widows of victims of summary executions comparable to those carried out by Dutch troops in what was then Celebes [Sulawesi] and Rawa Gede [now West Java],” De Zwaan added.

The Dutch government had already apologized for some specific murders, and paid compensation to victims’ families in those cases, but this was the first general apology for all the murders during the colonial era.

Via Impunity Watch.

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Syrian Refugees Begin Relocation

The United Nations announced on Tuesday that over 100 Syrian refugees are being relocated to Germany, in the first step of a plan to move 12,000 Syrians this year.

 (Photo courtesy of World Bulletin)

More than 100 Syrians will be the first of 5,000 Syrians to be relocated to Germany by the end of this year in what the U.N. is deeming a temporary humanitarian admissions program.

This first wave of refugees includes “women and girls at risk, people with serious medical conditions, survivors of torture or others with special needs.”

Neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon have taken in most of the Syrian refugees so far, as 2 million Syrians have fled.

The U.N. has managed to find homes for 7,000 refugees in twelve western countries in the current plan, despite the goal of reaching 12,000. Other countries that have agreed to accept Syrian refugees include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Germany’s relocation plan is the largest. The country has announced that it will extend two-year residence permits which allow the Syrian refugees to work, and the permits could potentially be lengthened if the Syrian conflict remains unsettled.

Via Impunity Watch.

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Superstitious? How About a Friday the 13th Flight #666 to HEL?

Finnair Embraer 170 landing to Helsinki-Vantaa...

Finnair Embraer 170 landing to Helsinki-Vantaa airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Superstitious passengers flying Finnair had a hat trick of dark omens: Flight #666, on Friday the 13th, to HEL. You couldn’t even make that up.

The short flight from Copenhagen to Helsinki was nearly sold out. Passengers’ courage was rewarded with clear skies and a smooth flight. The plane landed safely in Helsinki in the afternoon.

Every Friday the 13th costs nearly $1 billion in lost business worldwide as superstitious customers avoid travel.

Via Death and Taxes.

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Brand Removed from Party for Pointing Out that Event Sponsor Made Money from Nazis

Russell Brand

Russell Brand (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)

While speaking at GQ‘s Man of The Year Awards, Russell Brand joked about the fact that Hugo Boss, the event’s sponsor, made a fortune selling uniforms to the Nazis. Via The Daily Mail:

While on stage, Brand told the gathered celebrities and politicians, ‘If anyone knows a bit about history and fashion, you know it was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis.’
He then added, with less than subtle irony, ‘But they looked fucking fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.’

Shortly afterwards, Brand was kicked out by the magazine’s editor, Dylan Jones. According to the comedian’s Twitter feed, the two men exchanged angry words, with Jones saying, ‘What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss.’ Brand replied, ‘What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews.’

Firstly, what Brand said was amazing because it was uncomfortable and true.

Secondly, as an added bonus, the Daily Mail article cited above is hilarious because it works so hard to point out that Hugo Boss wasn’t an active Nazi, he just joined the party to make an insane profit from Herr Fuhrer’s innocent little Blitzkrieg and took advantage of the forced labor from occupied countries who then occasionally died from the work conditions. In fact, as the Daily Mail reports, Hugo Boss was able to appeal his post-war status to the lesser class of “follower” as opposed to an active promoter of Nazism.

What’s crazy about this whole thing is that Hugo Boss’ tie to the Nazis has been well known. Brand wasn’t saying anything that people didn’t already know; it was just that he was bold enough to say it.

Via The Superficial.

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Why are Chemical Weapons a “Red Line”?

English: Aerial photograph of a gas attack lau...

English: Aerial photograph of a gas attack launched by the Germans against the Russians circa 1916 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chemical weapons, rarely used since World War I, have emerged as an issue after the massacre in Syria last month, that killed nearly 1,500 people, men, women and children.

As in World War I, that represents only a small fraction of the more than 100,000 lives that have been lost during the two and a half years of Syria’s civil war.

Why does the killing of 100,000 or more with conventional weapons elicit little more than a concerned shrug, while the killing of a relative few from poison gas is enough to trigger an intervention?

Whatever the reasons for the distinction, it has long been recognized.

Roughly 16 million people died and 20 million were wounded during World War I, yet only about 2% of the casualties and fewer than 1% of the deaths are estimated to have resulted from chemical warfare.

Nevertheless, the universal revulsion that followed World War I led to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which banned the use of chemical and biological weapons. The protocol is one of the few treaties that have been almost universally accepted. Syria is a signatory.

No Western army used gas on the battlefield during the global slaughter of World War II. Hitler, himself gassed during World War I, refused to order its use against combatants, however willing he was to gas non-combatant Jews, Gypsies and others.

There have been only a few instances of gas being used since 1925, and in each case the perpetrator never admitted it. In the first two cases, gas was used by authoritarian regimes against those they considered lesser races. In 1935-36, Mussolini used several hundred tons of mustard gas in Abyssinia, now Ethiopia. In 1940-41, the Japanese used chemical and biological weapons in China, where poison gas shells are still being dug up at the expense of the Japanese government.

Via The New York Times.

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8-Year-Old “Bride” Dies of Internal Injuries after Night with 40-Year-Old “Husband”

An eight-year old girl identified as “Raman” has died of internal injuries after being raped on first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age. The incident has sparked outrage in the area, where child-marriage is a contentious issue.

Yemeni officials insist that the journalist who broke the story, Mohammad Radman, is making it up, child brides are not uncommon thing Yemen.

After Nujood Ali, a ten-year-old girl, obtained a divorce from her adult husband, the country tried to make it illegal to marry off girls under the age of fifteen. Conservative activists and lawmakers overturned the law, calling it

English: picture of girl signing a 'nikahnama'...

English: picture of girl signing a ‘nikahnama’, the Muslim marriage certificate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“religious discrimination” against Muslims. As of now, marriage at any age is permitted in the country, but the adult husbands are supposed to wait until the girl is “sexually mature” before he rapes her. Usually, this age is considered to be nine years old.

Child marriage and systemic physical and sexual abuse of women are common in patriarchal societies, where men believe it is their right to raise their own brides to their liking. Victims are often from poor families, who sell their young daughters in order to make ends meet. It is most common in developing nations, like Chad, Niger, Bangladesh and Yemen. However, it’s also occurred in the United States, with the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Via Death and Taxes.

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Russian Lawmakers Want to Remove Parental Rights Of Homosexuals

Russian lawmakers will soon discuss a bill to remove children from homosexual parents.

Protesters demonstrate upon hearing of Russia’s plan to remove children from homosexual parents. (Photo courtesy of the Moscow Times)

In June 2013, Duma Deputy Yelena Mizurina proposed the idea of revoking parental rights from homosexuals.

Under Russian law, sufficient grounds to revoke parental rights include alcoholism, drug addiction, and “premeditated crime against a child’s life.” If made law, the bill adds to such grounds the “fact of non-traditional sexual orientation.” Parental rights could be terminated whether one or both parents are homosexual.

Deputy Alexei Zhuravlev of Putin’s United Russia Party stated that homosexual “propaganda” must be prohibited in the public and “also in the family.”

Head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov responded to the new bill, asking, “Will we deprive left-handed people of their driver’s licenses now too? They’re left-handed, you know, and all our vehicles have the steering wheel on the left side, so it’s harder for a left-handed person to drive.”

Via Impunity Watch.

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