Authorities in Poland last week announced the confiscation of bonds held in private pension funds without compensation, implausibly claiming that the move did not amount to a nationalization of the assets. While Polish officials engaged in rhetorical games and semantics to conceal the severity of the “transfer” of privately owned assets to a “state pension vehicle” known as ZUS, the controversial move is still fueling confusion and fierce criticism from analysts and economists. Some experts fear other governments may follow suit.
As the deeply unpopular Brussels-based European Union continues to usurp unprecedented powers over citizens and formerly sovereign national governments, another example of the EU gone wild just hit the headlines. Under its latest controversial scheming, supposedly aimed at improving “road safety,” all civilian cars within the 28-member state bloc could be fitted with a device to prevent speeding — essentially preventing any speed in excess of 70 miles per hour.
Global outrage is mounting after an armed squad of German police and social workers abducted four homeschooled children from their loving parents’ arms, relying on a Nazi-era prohibition on home education that has been used to ruthlessly terrorize embattled homeschooling families in Germany for years. The latest move, which experts in international law have condemned as a “shocking” violation of fundamental human rights, follows controversial efforts by the Obama administration to deport another persecuted German home-educating family granted asylum in the United States by a federal judge in 2010. Hundreds of other families have fled persecution in Germany to other European nations, virtually all of which permit homeschooling.
Challengers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel are accusing her of permitting the NSA to conduct illegal surveillance on the people of Germany.
The Guardian newspaper (U.K.) and other news outlets reported on July 12 that during a meeting with human rights activists at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden said he will request temporary political asylum in Russia. Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch, who was at the meeting, reported that Snowden would stay in Russia until he could win safe passage to Latin America.
The comparison of the NSA to the East German STASI reflects the same problem of the surveillance state: Just who is sorting through the large amounts of data?
Saturday’s revelations by the German newspaper Der Spiegel that U.S. agents placed bugs in European Union officials’ offices in New York and Washington and hacked into EU headquarters in Brussels have ignited a firestorm of indignation among German and European officials.
As anti-government protests that began on May 28 continued in Istanbul on June 11, hundreds of riot police breached barricades set up by protesters in the Turkish city’s Taksim Square, using non-lethal weapons such as tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons to control the area. The protests started as a demonstration against the replacement of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of the historic Taksim Military Barracks, then morphed into larger protests and riots across Turkey against what many regard as the authoritarian rule of Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his elected government.
As national sovereignty increasingly becomes a thing of the past for most Europeans, the controversial European Union is taking the British government to court in an effort to force taxpayers to supply more welfare for immigrants in the United Kingdom. Analysts, however, say the move is likely to backfire, with fuel essentially being poured on the fire as escalating anti-EU fervor sweeps across Britain ahead of a promised public vote on secession.
The secretive Bilderberg meetings that took place over the weekend in Watford, England, drew protesters from around the world and seemingly unprecedented amounts of media coverage in the international press — a stark contrast with decades of near-total silence surrounding the controversial annual gathering of some of the planet’s most powerful figures in politics, business, military, academia, banking, and more. As usual, however, virtually nothing is known publicly about the agenda or what went on behind the veil of secrecy surrounding the entire conference.
In a remarkably candid assessment of the IMF's failure to rescue Greece from its follies, the IMF staff's report still misses the most important lesson of all: Free people left alone will find solutions to their problems.