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DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Last post by Frenzie -
Speaking from a Dutch/Flemish perspective you're never allowed to fish from locks and bridges over navigable water, so I'd be quite surprised if I did see people fishing from a bridge.
DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Last post by ersi -
Different from Galata Bridge across Χρυσόκερας (or Haliç as Turks would have it), I have not seen almost any fishermen on the bridges across Seine. Either Seine is truly poison or Parisians have very high standards. There's busy fish trade going on immediately under the Galata Bridge, by the way.
DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Last post by Frenzie -
Quote from: Le Monde as per above
« Les eaux sont propres à la baignade à l’heure actuelle », avait commenté Marc Valmassoni, coordinateur eau et santé chez Surfrider, regrettant toutefois que la teneur en produits chimiques ne soit pas prise en compte par les autorités.

Here's a report about the situation as it was a few months ago, by the same Surfrider people. Although I'll note it also explicitly excludes chemical pollution, so I might have to eat my words in that regard. For the athletes' sake, hopefully not.

Surfrider is currently the only association working on water quality and user health at European level. For over 6 months, it has been taking regular samples from the Seine to monitor the bacteriological quality of the water. Bi-monthly samples are taken from the Pont de l’Alma and the Pont Alexandre III, the section of the river where the triathlon, marathon swimming and paratriathlon events will be held. In all, over 14 samples were taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

These samples enabled the association to determine the concentrations of E. coli and enterococci, intestinal bacteria and formidable indicators of pollution of faecal origin. Of the 14 samples taken, whether after heavy rain or on a sunny day, only 1 enabled our team to conclude that the quality of the water in the Seine at this particular point was even satisfactory.
In accordance with the directive mentioned above, these results are based on only 2 types of bacteria. Other types of pollution (chemical, biological, etc.) are not taken into account in the directive’s definition of bathing water quality.

It is therefore clear that the athletes who will be taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic events planned for the Seine will be swimming in polluted water and taking significant risks to their health. Just like the courageous people who will be taking the opportunity to cool off in the river waters of Paris in the summer of 2025, as announced as part of the Paris City Council’s Bathing Plan.
DnD Central / Re: what's going on in france
Last post by Frenzie -
There are certain algae and toxic waste that you just don't ever want to be near, but the worst you might get from the Seine is probably a bit of diarrhea, if it rained hard recently. Of course the idea is that the latter part of that no longer applies now, but it's nothing like the Yellow River which is full of carcinogenic benzene and many other harmful substances. The reporting seems to be very excited about exaggerating how bad the Seine is (or was).
DnD Central / Re: The comings and goings of the European Union
Last post by ersi -
Sanctions work like tariffs. It's not just a matter of locking somebody else out of transacting with entities in your country, but also a matter of being ready to smack the entities in your own country who keep transacting with the other country.

It is a matter of some bureaucratic administering: The transaction with the other country may have happened because the entity in your own country was precisely trying to follow the sanctions situation, e.g. closing down a business in Russia is, on paper, a transaction with Russia. Or it may have happened due to not being up-to-date on the sanctions situation, i.e. a "good faith" accomplice. Or it may be a willing accomplice. Or a bad-faith actor. Or the foreign country may have put up a front entity in your country, to mislead, disrupt and corrupt. Each situation requires a bit different handling on your own side, and it's the ability to handle every case (or at least most cases) competently on your own side that matters most — not to lose vigilance, not to lose the sense of purpose in the sanctions.

Unfortunately the EU did not have the required vigilance, the competence, and the sense of purpose in the sanctions. All along, every Western member country wanted to ensure ways to water down the sanctions for the benefit of its own particular pet industries that have dense transactions with Russia.

Germany to halve military aid for Ukraine despite possible Trump White House

This is not despite Trump. It is in preparation for the Second Coming of Trump :angel: It is also Germany sliding comfily back to its old grooves.

Germany is taking back the initiative in Europe as they used to, the kind of initiative they used to have, namely the pro-Russian and anti-self-determination initiative. In hindsight it must be said that when Russia invaded Crimea (and Donetsk and downed the MH17 flight), Western Europe (EU spearheaded by Germany and France) outright congratulated Putin on a brilliant colonial move. There was some diplomatic nagging against Russia, but nothing was done that would be even remotely proportionate to the crime that Russia committed. Instead they speak to this day about "pro-Russian separatists" in Ukraine. Western EU leaders did not acknowledge any crime by Putin for annexing Crimea and invading Donetsk.

In actions, such as going to visit Putin after the annexation of Crimea on May 10th instead of the usual May 9th, there were congratulations, even though less so in words. Whereas Trump congratulated Putin for the full-scale assault in plain unashamed words.

For a few years now, Scholz has been annoyed to have to follow Biden's drive for sanctions and military aid to Ukraine. Now Scholz is toning it down, expecting Trump to return to presidency. Toning the aid to Ukraine down serves to repair Scholz's image domestically too, making it harder for AfD and Wagenknecht to criticise him. It's a win-win-win: Ensure domestic control, make annoying Balts and Poles go away, and eventually get Russia's gas back.

Trump has always been fully in Putin's pocket, but Biden has also been a weak helper of Ukraine. Biden would like to be a little stronger, but he cannot because of the Republican majority in Congress. Still, Biden would not like to be too strong. Not so strong as to kick Russia out of Ukraine, not so strong as to isolate Russia's Black Sea fleet to Novorossiisk. Biden has been strong enough to push and drive Germany for a while, but not all the way. The momentum is winding down now. The aid to Ukraine has only been barely sufficient to sustain a defence against Russia's continued encroachment, never enough for offensive against the aggressor.

I have heard that there were two big generals who had Biden's ear. One was anti-Putin in a principled way, the other a Mearsheimerian figure. The principled general retired a little while ago, which leaves the Mearsheimerian guy whispering to Biden something like "The real problem is China and we have to prepare for the real problem" ignoring that China determines its actions exactly based on how decisively the West protects Ukraine. Since there is no land bridge to Taiwan, Taiwan cannot be protected in the same manner as Ukraine, so the proper way to deter China is to send a message by means of actions in the Ukraine conflict. But we are sending a weak and garbled message in the conflict which is far easier to handle than Taiwan would be, and is far closer to home both logistically and morally.

Eastern EU countries cannot keep up the drive to support Ukraine. Pro-Ukraine countries, such as Poland and Baltics, will lose their edge, because biggies hate it when tinies have any edge. Biggies insist on colonial relations between West and East. Orbàn will not have to make any adjustments. He placed his bet correctly from the beginning, having calculated that Germany is a natural-born sucker for Putin's gas, and would get back to it again as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and that this would determine the entire balance of the EU, the tendency to betray and keep betraying its smaller members over bigger non-members. The EU biggies are entrenched in the mindset a la "Russia big and scary, Russia's gas tasty, therefore Putin friend" to the point of voluntarily feeding eastern EU members to Putin, and it will be entirely up to Putin to decide whether to spare the likes of Hungary who did not go along with unfriendly behaviour towards Russia, whereas Baltics and Poland are definitely doomed, not to mention the left-over Ukraine who either must become Belarus or the war will continue at some point until complete annihilation.

And this will set the tone for the relations with China. In words, Western commentators are worried over the aggressiveness of China. In deeds, they are encouraging China, just as they have been encouraging Russia. Putin took the bait. China will be more clever by remaining patient, I think. China will cause so much puzzlement over its refusal to take the bait that Western leaders will eventually lose their patience first and push Taiwan into China's lap, and China will then pretend to be reluctant to accept Taiwan.
DnD Central / Re: CloudStrike hiccup?!
Last post by ersi -
At my job I am fairly substantially affected. Christopher Steele's[1] database that is good for spying on all the world's businesses is offline.

Remember when CloudStrike determined that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee's servers (revealing, e.g., John Podesta's embarrassing emails?) but the FBI decided they didn't need access to those servers because ah! heck: CloudServe said...
It is not a crime to get hacked. On the other hand, it is a crime to invite hacking.

Let's pay attention how America "works". Namely, it doesn't. The highest crimes, such as those done by presidents or former presidents, routinely go uninvestigated and unpunished. Therefore there's no reason to whine when non-crimes are not investigated.
Yes, it's Christopher Steele of the Steele dossier.
DnD Central / CloudStrike hiccup?!
Last post by OakdaleFTL -
Remember when CloudStrike determined that Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee's servers (revealing, e.g., John Podesta's embarrassing emails?) but the FBI decided they didn't need access to those servers because ah! heck: CloudServe said...
Well, a world-wde failure in critical services has just occurred, supposedly via a CloudStrike Security services update (and —of course— Microsoft Windows :) ).

Can somebody explain what has happened?

What is CloudServe saying?