So which country would you prefer?

Sierra Leone pastor discovers 706-carat diamond in village

Fox News  – ‎19 hours ago‎
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – A pastor in Sierra Leone has discovered the largest uncut diamond found in more than four decades in this West African country and has turned it over to the government, saying he hopes it helps to boost recent development in …

Quite astonishing

Hooded youths armed with iron bars have gone on the rampage in secondary schools in the tinderbox suburbs north of Paris, sparking more than 50 arrests.

The violence prompted the far-Right Front National to claim that the government had lost control in suburbs around France, prey to lawlessness, drug dealing and ethnic and religious tensions.

The teenagers threw stones at police cars, started fires and lobbed smoke bombs in three sixth form colleges in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

Ethnic and religious tensions, prey to, is pretty light as a description of the banlieues around Paris, isn’t it?

This will work out well, won’t it?

President Jacob Zumahas called on parliament to change South Africa’s constitution to allow the expropriation of white owned land without compensation.

And this won’t work well either:

Mr Zuma, 74, who made the remarks in a speech yesterday/FRI morning, said he wanted to establish a “pre-colonial land audit of land use and occupation patterns” before changing the law.

There were no Bantu over the Fish River which is going to cock up some of that grievance politics good and proper.

This does appear ever so slightly suspicious

More than 120 diners celebrating a baptism fled without paying their bill €2,000 restaurant bill after the main courses.
The Romanian diners, who had paid a deposit of €900 (£770) to eat at the El Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, north-eastern Spain, fled as waiters were about to serve dessert.
Restaurant owner Antonio Rodriguez told the BBC: ‘It happened in the space of a minute. It was something they had planned and they left in a stampede.’

Given the baptism it shouldn’t be too hard to find a name……

Doesn’t add to Hollande’s reputation for competence, does it?

At least two people have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired during a speech by President François Hollande, French media have reported.

Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon in central France to mark the opening of a high-speed railway line between Paris and Bordeaux when a police marksman accidentally opened fire, the Sud-Ouest newspaper reported.

The paper quoted local officials as saying the member of the elite gendarmerie protection squad charged with protecting the president was positioned on a rooftop about 100 metres from the marquee where the ceremony was taking place.

The safety catch on the officer’s rifle was reportedly off and the shot was fired when he tripped while adjusting his position. The bullet pierced the marquee roof, hitting a waiter in the leg and a railway employee in the foot, according to Pierre N’Gahane, state prefect of the Charente region.

There were unconfirmed local media reports that the sniper had shot himself in the foot and could be seen hopping up and down.

Sure, it’s nothing to do with him at all but if someone was to go full Clouseau it would be Hollande’s retinue, wouldn’t it?

I even think he looks like Herbert Lom….sorta

Even the Romans would say Naples isn’t quite Europe

Doctors and nurses are among 94 hospital workers from Naples who have been placed under investigation on suspicion of repeatedly skipping work, police have said .

One supervisor at the Loreto Mare hospital was found working as a chef in a hotel, while an on-duty doctor was spotted playing tennis and going shopping. Two health workers were caught clocking in 20 colleagues each day to make it look like they were on the job.

Bit hyperbolic, but Africa starts 20 km south of wherever your Italian discussing it comes from.

The French are weird

A workmen’s café in central France was overwhelmed with gourmet customers and TV crews after it was awarded a Michelin star — by mistake, it later turned out.

OK, such things happen.

Prospective customers were astounded when they turned up at the Bouche à Oreille, in the small town of Bourges, to find a cheap and cheerful eatery with red and white polka dot tablecloths, serving a fixed price lunch menu with homemade lasagna or beef bourguignon for about €10 (£8.50).

Right.

The other Bouche à Oreille, in Boutervilliers near Paris, offers linen tablecloths and dishes such as calf’s brain, lobster flan and chocolate pear crisp, with a €48 menu including a glass of champagne.

Weird little Froggies. Seriously, a decent beef stew or a cow’s head? Which would you prefer, which would you pay more for?

Not quite as bad as it looks at first but still

French Jews holding dual Israeli citizenship will have to give up one of their nationalities if Marine Le Pen, the far-Right candidate, wins the presidential election this spring.

The leader of the anti-immigration Front National said she would bar French nationals from holding the citizenship of countries outside the European Union, except for Russia, which she described as part of “the Europe of nations.”

The first paragraph is horrible of course, the second shows that it’s not quite that bad although still bad (Russia for fuck’s sake?). As to the EU I don’t think she can ban it, can she?

Hmm

The current favourite to become the next president of France has been forced to deny rumours that he is enjoying an extra-marital gay affair with a high-profile media chief.
Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old former economy minister, has been rumoured to be seeing Mathieu Gallet, the 40-year-old boss of Radio France.
This is despite Mr Macron being married for the last decade to Brigitte Trogneux, who is 20 years older than him.

I do like that “despite” there.

Not really Mo, no

Mo Farah, a runner who was knighted after becoming the most successful track athlete in Britain’s Olympic history, condemned the executive order banning people from certain Muslim countries, saying that “President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.”

You have a British passport, don’t you?

BTW, even with one of those in American law you are actually an alien.

Have to admit I wouldn’t do this

Squatters have taken over a £15 million mansion owned by a Russian billionaire in one of Britain’s most expensive and exclusive streets.

The group has allegedly been in the Grade II listed building in Eaton Square for three days.

The property, which was built in the early 1820s, has believed to have been empty ever since Russian oligarch Andrey Goncharenko bought it in 2014.

You never know how much an oligarch has been tamed. Quite how much that important distinction between here’s how we do things at home and here’s how they do things there has sunk home.

On the one hand, Sberbank, close to the heart of the Putinist state. On the other, came up through Troika Dialog, so maybe Bernie Sucher trained him well.

Just not a risk I would take really.

Memo to the White House

True, Donald might well enjoy this but still:

The White House said this week the UK and US could become even “closer” when Theresa May meets Donald Trump on Friday.

If that is to be the case, they might have to start by spelling her name correctly.

The president’s press office sent out a memo highlighting Mr Trump’s Oval Office meeting with the Prime Minister on Friday. However, the release sent to media organisations dropped the h” in all three mentions of her full name.

“In the afternoon, the President will partake in a bilateral meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister, Teresa May. A joint press conference between the two parties follows,” the first misspelling in the initial email read.

Useful hint:

On the right is Teresa May, a glamour model (not porn star, flaunting assets rather than recording the details of penetration) of a certain comfortable age and a certain comfortable shape. On the left, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May.

We Brits think the difference worth noting. Only one of them is in a position to fuck the country, the other is only about sex.

Integrate or no citizenship

A left-wing Dutch vegan who campaigned against cowbells in the Swiss village where she lives has had a request for a Swiss passport thrown out after annoying the locals.
Nancy Holten, who was born in the Netherlands but moved to Switzerland at the age of eight, is a fluent speaker of Swiss German and has children who are Swiss nationals.
And she wanted a Swiss passport herself, but was refused after locals who were consulted about her request said they were ‘fed up’ of her challenging Swiss traditions by campaigning against the use of cow bells.

The campaign against cow bells by the 42-year-old vegan and animal-rights activist has made her unpopular in the Alpine confederation.

Sensible people the Swiss.

Milos Zeman’s a bit of a joke to be honest

And yet there’s some good sense sometimes:

Czech government tells its citizens how to fight terrorists: Shoot them yourselves

Guns are easily available – I’ve sat having a beer with someone carrying a pistol for example. True, it had to be carried inside a case, not a holster etc, but the laws are sensibly lax:

The Czech Republic already has some of the most lenient gun policies in Europe. It’s home to about 800,000 registered firearms and 300,000 people with gun licenses. Obtaining a weapon is relatively easy: Residents must be 21, pass a gun knowledge check and have no criminal record. By law, Czechs can use their weapons to protect their property or when in danger, although they need to prove they faced a real threat.

Why shouldn’t the populace defend the populace?

Snigger

A contractor in the platinum-rich Greater Tubatse municipality of Mpumalanga has managed to attach the local government’s vehicles and an investment account, according to a City Press report.

Reportedly, it was the the contractor’s last available option after municipal managers delayed paying Mphaphuli Consulting for work it had done on a R231 million village-electrification project called Operation Mabone.

The Polokwane High Court granted the attachment, which City Press reports “has paralysed the municipality’s traffic department with officers not having vehicles to perform their duties this festive season. This could only change if the municipality paid four invoices of R21.1 million, R3.6 million, R1.8 million and R14.6 million. Other vehicles that have been attached include trucks, earth-moving vehicles and the mayoral vehicles.”

Confiscating the cop cars for non-payment…..

All Praise Canada – Or The Canadian Pacific Railroad

This is a fabulous idea.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.

So, take one large Canadian train. Deck it with neon boughs of holly and the rest. Drive it across the entirety of Canada, coast to coast. And when it stops at a station, the box car side drops down and out springs the band to play Run Rudolph Run or some such.

Great photos here and some drone footage

Apparently they run two, one across the US, one across Canada each year.

OK, so it’s about awareness of food banks and such like. But I would love to have been in that planning meeting two decades back.

“Boss, we’re going to run a train festooned with neon across the country”

“Whut?”

“Yeah, and when it stops at a station then the band leaps out to play.”

“Whut? You been at the liquer chocolates already?”

“No boss, it’ll be great, great big Christmas train right across the prairies.”

“Well, it’ll have to be for charidee…”

“Food banks, whatever, big train, neon, Christmas!”

“And holidays, not Christmas”

“Whatever, but big train! Woo Hoo!”

“Yep, go get them other box of them chocolates too.”

Trivial when there’s so much suffering in the world? Sure. Those diesels pollute the planet too.

And what a frabjous day it is when I find out that someone actually does this. A large, official, organisation, goes out of its way to do this.

Yep, I think we’ll keep this species.