December 13, 2017

Review Category : People

Hurricane Harvey: Texas' biggest church 'closes doors' during Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey: Texas' biggest church 'closes doors' during Hurricane HarveyA megachurch in Houston closed its doors in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which has caused catastrophic flooding and forced thousands to leave their homes. An announcement on Facebook said Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church had shut due to the storm and asked people to pray for those affected. “Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe,” the post read.


Read More →

Japan wakes up to North Korean missile warnings

Japan wakes up to North Korean missile warningsSirens blared out in northern communities that were on the flight path of the ballistic missile as it soared over Japanese territory for two minutes before crashing into the Pacific. Missile passing." warned an official text message sent to people across the north of Japan. North Korea's launch towards neighbouring Japan -- a key US ally and Korea's former colonial overlord -- marked a major escalation by Pyongyang amid tensions over its weapons ambitions.


Read More →

German election: Polls and odds tracker as Merkel seeks fourth term as Chancellor 

German election: Polls and odds tracker as Merkel seeks fourth term as Chancellor The German election is less then a week away, with Chancellor Angela Merkel defending her position against Martin Schulz for a fourth term in power. Polls currently show that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party - with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - will be the largest party after the Bundestag election on 24 September, but they will fall short of a majority. This is common in Germany, and so the resulting parliament is in part determined by how the smaller parties perform, and which coalition possibilities will be born. German election poll tracker How does the German voting system work? Each person casts two votes in the Bundestag election, to allocate a total of 598 seats. Half of these are to elect a local MP by constituency, in a first-past-the-post fashion. The remaining 299 votes are elected via party lists, allocated near-proportionately to the party vote share in each of Germany’s 16 federal states. To be included in this seat allocation process, a party must achieve five per cent of the national vote.  This second round of seat allocation also means that the total number of MPs can be higher, with politicians elected in "overhang seats" in order to balance the state- and constituency-level votes. The most recent parliament had 32 overhang seats, taking the total up to 631 MPs. This allows voters to represent their interests locally through their chosen representative, as well as nationally in the party they feel will be strongest in the Bundestag. In the end, the seat share for each party ends up very similar to their vote share - unlike the system used in the UK's parliamentary elections. Graphic: The German electoral system So who will win the German election? Merkel's CDU is looking most likely to win the most seats in the Bundestag - for the fourth election in a row.  The SPD, led by former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, is in second place in the polls - securing around a quarter of the vote. The AfD - the far-right Alternative for Germany party - had enjoyed a slight rise in the polls in 2016 but have since collapsed into in-fighting and unpopularity. In reality, the CDU will have to seek a coalition agreement with the SPD or one of the other minor parties to form a government.  German election projected seat share Potential coalitions The centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) has been in coalition with centre-right CDU in this current government, as well as in Merkel's first term. These two parties are Germany’s biggest, leading to a union dubbed the "Grand Coalition". The polls are currently suggesting that Germans are content with their current government, which means a Grand Coalition could happen for a third time in just four elections. Another option is a Black-Yellow coalition, consisting of Merkel's CDU party propped up by the smaller Free Democratic Party (FDP). This would take Merkel over the target needed for a majority, and was the option the party opted for in 2009-2013.  The only situation that poses a risk to Merkel’s leadership is a left-wing "Red-Red-Green" coalition, led by the SPD's Martin Schulz. For this, he would have to gather enough seats together alongside the Linke (Left) and Grüne (Greens) parties. German election coalition scenarios What do the parties stand for? The main parties standing in the election are as follows: Christian Democrats (CDU): The leading party in Germany, headed by Angela Merkel. The centre-right group - made up of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) - they have employment, tax cuts and ongoing public investment at the forefront of their manifesto. Social Democrats (SPD): Led by Martin Schulz, the centre-left are vying to make another Grand Coalition to remain in government. The party polled well following the election of their new leader, but then suffered once again in regional polls. The SPD is a traditionally working class party, pledging investment in education and infrastructure, funded by higher taxes for the rich. Left (Linke): Led by Sahra Wagenknecht and loosely descended from the East German communists. This small party, often used as a protest vote, is campaigning for a rise in national minimum wage, a rejection of military missions abroad and the dissolution of NATO. Green (Grüne): Led by co-chairs Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir, this party could be the coalition kingmakers. They rely on educated, urban citizens, focusing on the environment, taxes and social policies. Free Democratic Party (FDP): Led by Christian Lindner, the party was Merkel's junior coalition party in her second term. It failed to reach five per cent of the vote to allow another coalition in 2013. The party campaigns for tax cuts and to remain in financial markets - particularly within the EU. Alternative for Germany (AfD): A right-wing populist party lead by Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland. The party's hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration views have attracted voters from almost all of the other parties, especially among lower income households. Graphic: Germany’s political spectrum What are the betting odds for the German Bundestag election? Political pollsters have taken a beating recently after failing to predict a British Hung Parliament in 2017, a Leave vote last summer and a Donald Trump victory in November. For those who have lost faith in polling, there is another way of predicting electoral outcomes: ask people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is. Many now believe that political betting markets can better predict elections, relying on the wisdom of a crowd of punters to sort and weigh all the probabilities. Coral's latest odds for the election have Mrs Merkel as most likely to continue as Chancellor after the election. The latest odds for the party to emerge with the most seats are: CDU/ CSU - 1/100 SPD - 16/1 AfD - 100/1 Die Linke - 100/1 Greens - 100/1 FDP - 100/1   Our poll tracker takes in national polls from a range of German pollsters: INSA, Infratest Dimap, Emnid, Forsa, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, Allensbach and IPSOS. Their individual polls, while of different sample sizes, use nationally representative samples. Our seat share projection is based on the average of the last eight polls, excluding any parties that are polling at under five per cent, as the German proportional top-up system does.


Read More →

World's oldest neo-Nazi website Stormfront shut down

World's oldest neo-Nazi website Stormfront shut downThe founder of Stormfront, the internet's oldest white supremacist site, said he was trying to get the site back online after a company revoked its domain name following complaints that it promotes hatred and is linked to dozens of murders. Don Black, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has operated stormfront.org since 1995, said he had not received any warning before Network Solutions blocked the use of the stormfront.org name on Friday. Stormfront.org had more than 300,000 registered users, Black said, with traffic increasing since a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. stormfront founded 1995 Popular with the KKK and neo-Nazi groups, the site included forums where users sometimes promoted white power events. "I'm talking to my lawyers, and that's about all I can do right now," Black said. "I can switch to another domain, but it might wind up the same way." Another major white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, was previously shut down by the web-hosting company Go Daddy and then Google after the violence in Charlottesville. Following action by @LawyersComm@StopHateProj, racist website Stormfront is no more. We must #StopHate. https://t.co/vanyViwW3V— Lawyers' Committee (@LawyersComm) August 27, 2017 The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said the stormfront.org shutdown followed complaints it filed with Network Solutions alleging the site promotes not only hate speech, but deadly violence. A spokesman for Network Solutions did not immediately return an email seeking comment. Users of Black's website have been implicated in more than 100 killings, according to the complaint, including 77 people slain by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik at a camp in Norway in 2011. "Especially in the wake of tragic events in Charlottesville and the spike in hate crimes across the country, Stormfront crossed the line of permissible speech and incited and promoted violence," said Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Black, speaking about the shutdown during an online radio show on Monday, said his site had rules against promoting violence or any crime. Charlottesville far-right protest Black was a state KKK leader under former Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke, who appeared on the radio show following Black and expressed his "full support" for Black and the website. "He was the first major site defending the rights of white people," said Duke. Black has been involved in the white supremacy movement since the 1970s and was convicted in 1981 for his role in a right-wing plot to overthrow the government of Caribbean island nation of Dominica. 


Read More →