Spoonbills foraging, video


This 9 October 2018 video shows spoonbills foraging along the Western Scheldt river in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

Featuring also other birds, like shelducks.

Martien van Beekveld made this video.

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Hurricane Michael, from Caribbean to USA


This 9 October 2018 video says about itself:

Hurricane Michael Strengthens to Category 2

Hurricane Michael has been battering Cuba and Central America.

Michael is expected to reach Florida in the USA tomorrow.

Hungarian-Ukrainian governments’ conflict


This 2015 Euronews video says about itself:

Ukraine’s Hungarians wait impatiently for better times to come

The Carpathian mountain chain lies along Ukraine’s border with Hungary.The vibrant and well-established Hungarian community inside Ukraine has escaped, like the rest of western Ukraine, the ravages that have swept Donbass and the east. This is agricultural country, and despite being poorer than the rest of the country, life is gentler and prices are much much lower. The region gets financial aid from Budapest, and many towns and villages are twinned with Hungarian communities.

By Jason Melanovski:

Relations deteriorate between Hungary and Ukraine

9 October 2018

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has expelled a consul of the Hungarian government for what it calls the illegal distribution of Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens.

In hidden camera footage posted to YouTube in September, Hungarian consular staff in the town of Berehove are shown distributing Hungarian citizenship documents and leading oaths of loyalty to the Hungarian state.

Under Ukrainian law, citizens are not permitted to hold dual citizenship. However, in practice, as a multi-ethnic country with a large number of Ukrainians living and working abroad, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens hold passports from Russia, Belarus, Poland, Romania and elsewhere.

In retaliation for Ukraine’s expulsion of its government representative, Hungary announced that it would be kicking out a Ukrainian diplomat currently stationed in Budapest. It also threatened to block Ukraine’s bid for NATO and EU membership.

The escalating tit-for-tat expulsions are a result of deteriorating relations between the two right-wing, nationalist governments over the treatment of ethnic minorities, laws on language rights and geopolitics.

Over 200,000 Hungarians live in Ukraine, with the majority residing in the Zakarpattia province. Prior to World War II this region was not considered part of then-Soviet Ukraine.

Discrimination against the Hungarian language has been presented by the government of Viktor Orban as the main reason for its increasingly negative attitude towards Kiev. In September of 2017, the Ukrainian government of Petro Poroshenko introduced a new, undemocratic language law that limited the ability of ethnic minorities to be instructed in their native language. It made Ukrainian the required language of instruction for all students in secondary school.

While the bill was clearly intended to target the use of Russian language in schools and “Ukrainianize” the country’s Russian population, it also angered other ethnic minorities. In response to the changes in the language bill, EU members Hungary, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria all filed complaints with the Council of Europe and the OSCE. Hungary said that it will veto any vote in support of Ukrainian membership in the EU and NATO, unless the language bill is changed.

The enforced use of Ukrainian has been utilized by the Poroshenko regime and the country’s nationalist thugs to attack ethnic minorities and whip up ethnic hatred of all things “anti-Ukrainian”. This is part of the now over four-year-long war against the Russian-majority Donbass region of the country, which attempted to break away from Kiev in the wake of the anti-Russian coup that brought Poroshenko to power.

In September, the western city of Lviv banned all Russian-language books, movies and other cultural artefacts, despite the fact that a substantial minority of the population uses the Russian language in daily life.

Such actions have further emboldened right-wing thugs to attack those speaking languages other than Ukrainian in the public sphere. In September, a McDonald’s worker in Kiev was accosted by a right-wing “activist” for speaking Russian while serving customers. …

In addition to already announced plans to build a naval base on the Azov Sea, Ukraine’s Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov declared last week that the country intends “to conduct serious drills in the waters of the Azov Sea.” For its part, Washington has supplied the Ukrainian navy with patrol boats.

Last month Ukraine conducted a series of provocative military exercises throughout the country with the support and involvement of the United States, which has military “advisers” all over the territory. Ukraine’s army sent troops towards the Hungarian border during the exercises, in an attempt to intimidate Budapest. Kiev denied that the exercises targeted Hungary, absurdly claiming that the show of force was meant to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine from the west.

While Trump is constantly lambasted by the Democratic Party for being insufficiently aggressive towards Russia, he has in fact gone further than former President Barack Obama in support for Kiev, including by sending the country Javelin anti-tank missiles.

In September, the US House of Representatives approved the 2019 draft military budget, which increases war funding for Ukraine to $250 million.

German mass deportation of refugees to Afghan war


This video says about itself:

Afghanistan: Deported refugee commits suicide after return to Kabul

12 July 2018

Deported refugees and government officials lamented the suicide of a 23-year-old Afghan man who died six days after being deported from Germany, on a visit to a Kabul guesthouse on Thursday.

Returnees from Austria said they had been forced into a corner by European governments.

“I cannot live in Afghanistan and don’t know what to do? Where do I go? I want to survive and live in peace”, said Wazir Hussain.

While Sayed Kamal said he was deported “for no reason”.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations, Hafiz Ahmad Maikhel, urged partners in Europe to show mercy to Afghan asylum seekers.

“We ask the European countries to consider violence in Afghanistan while they are processing the applications of Afghan asylum seekers”, he stated in a brief interview.

Jamal Nasser’s body was found at the Spinzar Hotel, temporary accommodation provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to returning migrants who have nowhere to go.

He was on a flight carrying 69 failed asylum seekers which left Munich on July 4. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer made a joke about celebrating his 69th birthday on the same date.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

German government organises mass deportations of refugees to Kabul

9 October 2018

The louder the protests of working people, the more deliberate and mercilessly the government pursues its right-wing policies. The most recent collective deportations to Kabul in war-torn Afghanistan were carried out on “German Unity Day”, of all days.

On the same day, October 3, 40,000 people took to the streets in the Bavarian state capital to protest against increased police powers and the “politics of fear.” A few days earlier, more than 30,000 people had demonstrated in Hamburg. In September alone, mass demonstrations against racism and xenophobia took place in Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, Chemnitz and other cities.

Despite this, the grand coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) is accelerating the pace of its deportation operations. … Because they are preparing social attacks on all workers, the establishment politicians resort to crackdowns on refugees to divide and intimidate the population at large.

Seventeen people were flown to Afghanistan in the latest collective deportation. Eight of them came from Bavaria, the other nine from Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein and Saxony. Sixty-three federal and four Bavarian state police officers are said to have accompanied them.

With this deportation to a war zone, the state and federal interior ministers are trampling on basic democratic rights, such as the right of asylum and the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Afghanistan is anything but a “safe country of origin”. On average, about 35 members of the security forces die there every day in fighting and attacks by radical Islamists, as the NGO International Crisis Group has reported. In the first half of 2017, almost 1,700 civilians died in violent conflicts, the highest number since 2009. Overall, the number of people killed through violence in Afghanistan in 2018 could reach a new high of well over 20,000.

Since the US and other NATO powers, including Germany, occupied the country 17 years ago, Afghanistan has been in a state of war. Just hours before the aircraft started its engines in Munich on October 3, there was another bloody attack on a public event in the province of Nangarhar. At least 13 people, including children, were killed and more than 30 injured.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the security situation in Afghanistan has recently deteriorated significantly. On August 30, in its latest guidelines, the UNHCR urgently called for a deportation ban to this country. Kabul cannot be a place of safety for those affected, according to UNHCR guidelines. “Members of the civilian population who participate in everyday economic and social life in Kabul are at risk of falling victim to the general violence affecting the city.”

Moreover, the population in Kabul is increasingly suffering from poverty and hunger. This reassessment by the UNHCR has already resulted in Finland suspending deportations until further notice. But not the German government.

On behalf of the minister of the interior, State Secretary Helmut Teichmann said that the directive of the High Commissioner for Refugees represents “a mere recommendation of the UNHCR, based on the evaluation of various sources. The BAMF [Federal Office for Migration and Refugees], however, continues to hold the view that Kabul is fundamentally eligible as a place of internal safety.”

The brutality and recklessness of the authorities are shown by the cases reported by the Bavarian Refugee Council and other bodies. Accordingly, in the early morning hours of October 2, a young Afghan man was arrested in Nuremberg. He had been living in Germany for eight years, had his own apartment and was in a steady relationship with a woman for seven years. “An apprenticeship as a gardener was terminated because he was constantly being called to the immigration office”, writes the Refugee Council. “A new job offer as a drywall constructor is available but has not been approved by the immigration authority. The potential employer would be happy to hire him because he desperately needs dedicated workers.”

In two other cases, deportation was aborted at the last minute due to protests. These cases only hint at what fate threatens those who are nevertheless deported.

Eighteen-year-old vocational student Ahmed A. was arrested in Passau on September 27 at his college and taken into deportation custody five days before the deportation flight. On October 1, he was to have started his training course. The young man is from Ghazni, a town taken by the Taliban a few weeks ago. Only when teachers, classmates and friends organised a public campaign for him was Ahmed released, shortly before the deportation was to take place.

It was a similar experience for Mujtaba A., a 22-year-old Afghan, also from Passau. He was arrested on September 18 and placed in deportation custody in Bremen. He too was only released due to widespread public protests. Mujtaba had successfully completed a year of vocational college and then completed a six-week internship as a cook in a restaurant. The company had agreed he could undertake his chef’s apprenticeship there. The only thing missing was a work permit from the Central Immigration Office.

The young man, who is not accused of any crime, lives in a committed relationship with a mother of two children. She had done everything in her power and successfully alerted the Bavarian media to save her partner from deportation at the last minute. However, these cases only show how arbitrarily the authorities act and that the officially claimed case-by-case examination is a fable.

The deportation of the 17 Afghans to Kabul on the night of October 3 brings the number of people expelled to the war zone to 383. There were 228 this year alone. The largest mass deportation to Afghanistan so far, some 69 people, took place at the beginning of July. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) had celebrated this with downright sadistic satisfaction: “Precisely on my 69th birthday, 69 people—I didn’t plan it that way—were returned to Afghanistan. This is far above the usual number.” A few days later, it was announced that one of the deportees had taken his own life after his forcible return to Kabul.