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The Netherlands: "Big Brother" Wire Tapping: Government Wire Tapping Powers 'rejected' by Dutch in Referendum

The Netherlands Rejects "Big Brother" wanting to watch them
The Netherlands put to a referendum new legislation, officially the Intelligence and Security Law.

The bill gave new powers to the Netherlands' intelligence services.

They would be able to install wire taps on whole areas, rather than just individuals, store information for up to three years and share this data with other spy agencies.

An independent panel would have to approve these wire taps before they could go ahead.

Both the lower and upper chambers of the Netherlands parliament passed the law last year,

Voters, however, in the Netherlands appear to have narrowly rejected the new online data collection powers for intelligence agencies in the referendum which was held in on March 21.

With about 90% of votes counted, 48.8% have rejected the powers, with 47.3% in favour.

An exit poll by the national broadcaster had earlier suggested a victory for "yes".

Supporters say the powers could help fight terrorism, while opponents say the law could be invasion of privacy.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has promised to take the Referendum vote seriously --And he better do so, even though the result is non-binding, this no-vote will  require a re-debate in parliament. 

This is a controversial issue, which would have  allowed "Big Brother" to put their nose even deeper into Dutch citizens personal privacy, under the nebulous pretext of national security. As if there are not enough government agencies already infringing on citizens privacy.


Turkey’s Erdogan: Leader-for-Life?

The country’s leader since 2003 has been adept at evading term limits or restarting the clock on them.

1. In the bitterly contested 2017 constitutional referendum, Turkey narrowly approved a change to the executive structure of government.
2. This change made the presidency the dominant executive office in the country with no more prime minister.
3. That adjustment completed Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s transition from Prime Minister (2003-2014) to President (2014-present).
4. This was reminiscent of Vladimir Putin’s musical chairs strategy in Russia, where he served as president for two terms, then prime minister with the same power for one and then returned to the presidency.
5. The 2017 Turkish presidential reforms also meant that the existing limit of two five-year terms, although unchanged, will only be applied beginning with the next term, 2019-2024.
6. Erdogan could therefore serve as president for three consecutive terms until 2029 without modifying the official term limit.
7. If he does, it would bring his total tenure as Turkey’s leader possibly to as many as 26 years.
8. For half a century, the continent of Africa stood out as the center of “leaders for life” – politicians who managed to hold on to power for decades.
9. Now that trend is returning to major nations on the world stage and Turkey’s president is a prime example.
10. However, it is also fair to note that other major countries – usually those with parliamentary-led systems – have never had tenure limits for their leaders. Germany’s Angela Merkel, for example, is in her fourth term as Chancellor.

Read more: Turkey’s Erdogan: Leader-for-Life? - The Globalist

Armageddon: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades' - by Paul Ehrlich

A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.

In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s – a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture.

Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.

“Population growth, along with over-consumption per capita, is driving civilisation over the edge: billions of people are now hungry or micronutrient malnourished, and climate disruption is killing people.”

Read more: Paul Ehrlich: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades' | Cities | The Guardian

'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe - by Harriet Sherwood

Europe’s march towards a post-Christian society has been starkly illustrated by research showing a majority of young people in a dozen countries do not follow a religion.

The survey of 16- to 29-year-olds found the Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, with 91% of that age group saying they have no religious affiliation.

Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands also categorise themselves as non-religious.

The two most religious countries, Poland and Lithuania, and the two least religious, the Czech Republic and Estonia, are post-communist states.

The trend of religious affiliation was repeated when young people were asked about religious practice. Only in Poland, Portugal and Ireland did more than 10% of young people say they attend services at least once a week

Note Almere-Digest.  Pew Research Center in 2015 said Europe’s Christian population is expected to shrink by around 100 million people in the coming decades. Maybe, as someone suggested, it is not that there is something wrong with the message, but rather that today the problem lies with those who bring the message. 

It seems they have forgotten that Jesus, in most, if not all his spiritual teachings, professed an egalitarian society, whereby the division between rich and poor has been erased. It is little wonder that the Romans crucified him, and that his followers were persecuted. And, of course, it is the polar opposite of what today's "conservatives" stand for. 

Early Christians practiced a form of "socialism". Acts of the Apostles tells us, "The believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he or she had need." Isn't it time for Christians to become revolutionary again when it comes to bringing the message of redemption, and willing to fight for it?

Read more: 'Christianity as default is gone': the rise of a non-Christian Europe | World news | The Guardian


The Netherlands: In Dutch municipal elections Jessy Klaver's Greens and PM Rutte's VVD end up as the winners

Jesse Klaver Chairman Greens
In the Dutch Municipal Elections, Jesse Klaver (32) - of the Greens (Groen Links) and PM Rutte's party (VVD) seem to have ended up as the winners.

Right wing Nationalists, anti-EU, and pro-Trump and Putin parties of Thiery Baudet (FVD) and Geert Wilders (PVV) made some gains, but overall did worse than expected.

Jesse Klaver (32) prior to being elected the chairman of the Greens party, chaired the youth union of the Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond, (the youth section of the Federation of Christian Trade Unions of the Netherlands) from 2009 to 2010 (see also

In Rotterdam, Netherlands largest city DENK, the party of Tunahan Kuzu of Turkish descen, was also one of the big winners.



Social Media: Facebook Besieged by Wall Street, Washington and Europe - by Brandon Kochkodin

Facebook Inc.’s grim week is getting grimmer.

The company on Tuesday was beset on two continents by governments suddenly focused on data security and investors unliked its stock to the point that it lost $60 billion in value.

The Menlo Park, California, company, whose social network is a ubiquitous venue for social and political life, is drawing the unaccustomed unwelcome attention after the disclosure that it released the personal data of 50 million users to an analytics firm that helped elect President Donald Trump.

The company, Cambridge Analytica, has been implicated in dirty tricks in elections around the globe.

Facebook has struggled to respond to the fast-moving imbroglio, and even Facebook workers have been in the dark.

The company held a staff meeting today to answer their questions and address staff questions about what Facebook knew and when. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg plans to address employees on Friday at a previously scheduled all-hands meeting. For those not privy to the internal meetings, here are the latest developments:

Read more here: Facebook Besieged by Wall Street, Washington and Europe

British Russian Relations: Expelled Russian Diplomats Head Home As U.K. Mulls Furthur Poisoning Response

Twenty-three Russian diplomats who were ordered out of Britain in response to the poisoning of a former spy with a deadly nerve agent arrived home on March 20, as London decided not to impose further sanctions on Moscow for now.

The diplomats, who Prime Minister Theresa May said were spies, had been given a week to leave Britain as tension mounted over what officials say was the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War II.

Three buses with diplomatic license plates left the Russian Embassy in London in the morning as embassy workers waved, Reuters reported. The diplomats boarded a plane to Moscow's Vnukovo airport, where it landed later in the day.

A patriotic imperial-era Russian march played as the buses carrying diplomats and their families left for the airport, state-run Russian news agency TASS reported
Read more: Expelled Russian Diplomats Head Home As U.K. Mulls Furthur Poisoning Response

Trump Tariffs: China reacts to Trump's tariffs by vowing to open its markets further - Simon Denyer

China responded to the threat of new tariffs from the United States by vowing Tuesday to further open its own markets to foreign trade and investment, while warning that a trade war between the two nations would hurt both sides.

President Trump is preparing to impose a package of $60 billion in annual tariffs against Chinese products, a move that he says will punish China for intellectual property theft and create more U.S. jobs, administration officials say. He is determined to bring down the U.S. trade deficit with China, which reached $375 billion last year.

But China’s premier, Li Keqiang, said the issue should be solved through dialogue and negotiation.

“No one will emerge a winner from a trade war,” Li told a news conference at the conclusion of China’s annual parliamentary session. “What we hope is for us to act rationally instead of being led by emotions.”

Read more: China reacts to Trump's tariffs by vowing to open its markets further - The Washington Post

European Weather: now falls on first day of spring in much of Germany - The Local

Berlin in particular turned into a vast snowscape, with all parts of the city from Treptower Park to Alexanderplatz coated in a growing amount of white.

The day has a historic average temperature of 8 degrees, according to, in contrast to today's high temperature of 3 degrees and low temperature of -4 degrees.

Read more: Snow falls on first day of spring in much of Germany - The Local