Hungary gives tax breaks to boost population, stop immigration

Only a male fascist would come up with such a plan – 4 years of being pregnant to “save” money? And how much will it cost to raise the four children – or is the next step to give them over to state nurseries? Prime Minister Viktor Orban has announced tax benefits and subsidies to encourage families to have more children. He said the policy was meant to create more Hungarians instead of promoting EU-backed immigration.

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian

“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades. Advertisement He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.

Source: Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian

‘Maduro, our amigo’: loyalists in Venezuela cling to their man

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Protests put Chavista movement in a dilemma – ditch their leader or go down with him

In the final weeks of Hugo Chávez’s life, shattered followers flocked to a palm-dotted square in downtown Caracas to pray for the recovery of “El Comandante”.

Six years on, with Chávez’s leftist Bolivarian revolution seemingly in its death throes, some are returning to appeal for the survival of his successor, Nicolás Maduro. “There are millions of us,” insisted Fernando Andrade, 69, a retired electrician and one of hundreds of mostly elderly Chavistas queuing to sign a pro-Maduro petition in Plaza Bolívar last week. A few hours later, Maduro appeared and was greeted with chants of: “Maduro, amigo! El pueblo está contigo!” “Maduro, our friend! The people are with you!”

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In revering Trump, the religious right has laid bare its hypocrisy | Samuel G Freedman

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The evangelical fortress around the president can look like a problem, but progressives can use that heresy to fight opponents

The annual anachronism known as the National Prayer Breakfast attracted its usual array of clergy, military, and political leaders in Washington on 7 February. Most prominent of all, of course, was Donald Trump, who used the de facto pulpit to call for outlawing abortion, among other positions dear to the Religious Right.

Yet the presidential comment that most typified all that has gone morally haywire with the supposedly moral majority came when Trump praised the “abolition of civil rights”. You can consider that statement an innocent, if embarrassing, misreading of the Teleprompter. Or you can hear it as a Freudian slip.

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H.R. 1116: To amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the sale or other disposition of a firearm to, and the possession, shipment, transportation, or receipt of a firearm by, certain classes of high-risk individuals.

Introduced: Sponsor: Rep. Robin Kelly [D-IL2]

This bill was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

H.R. 1115: To amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to remove the exclusion of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms from the definition of consumer product in order to permit the issuance of safety standards for such articles by the Consumer Product Sa

Introduced: Sponsor: Rep. Robin Kelly [D-IL2]

This bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce which will consider it before sending it to the House floor for consideration.

Will Chinese company’s stake in Reddit normalise censorship? | Emily Bell | Media | The Guardian

The creation of concentration camps for a million Uighurs in Xinjiang has not been enough to persuade any of the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs receiving funds from Chinese companies to refuse the cash. Neither is it apparently enough of a deterrent to stop the US companies investing in China to stop their plans to enter the market. Trade tensions between the US and China revolve entirely around tariffs and not around human rights. Most troubling of all, against a background of demonstrably tightening censorship, internment camps and an extension of totalitarianism, the narrative of western companies is that their presence in China, and the presence of Chinese money in western companies, is helping ease those restrictions. All the evidence says this is not true.

Source: Will Chinese company’s stake in Reddit normalise censorship? | Emily Bell | Media | The Guardian