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Helbiz unlimited is a fixed price monthly all-you-can-ride subscription that allows you to take as many 30 minutes rides as you want every day, all month.

 

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November 22, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump adds new feather in his "conspiracy in commiting election fraud on the U.S." cap

In a December 2020 lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court, Trump claimed 10,315 dead people, 2,560 felons and 2,423 registered voters cast ballots illegally in the presidential election. He later incorporated those claims when he contested the Fulton County proceedings in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. But correspondence among his attorneys shows Trump knew the statistics were false by the time he vouched for them in the federal lawsuit.

More here:

https://www.ajc.com/politics/judge-trump-knew-his-georgia-voting-fraud-stats-were-inaccurate/LM4JRDYZYRGPHADPQABRBRWAZM/

Politico:

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/19/judge-trump-signed-court-document-that-knowingly-included-false-voter-fraud-stats-00062577

Newsweek:

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-committed-another-crime-filing-false-court-documents-kirschner-1753560

CNBC:

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2022/10/20/trump-slams-judge-who-said-he-knowingly-pushed-false-voter-fraud-case.html

Note from Teknosis: @realDonaldTrump 's arrogance, his megalomaniacal inability to gracefully accept a defeat, consciously and willingly conspiring with others in committing Federal crimes against the U.S. in planning to trample, stubbornly and persistently trampling [albeit unsuccessful in their mission, thank God] over the will of the people that in their sacred duty definitively and overwhelmingly spoke via the "voting booth" - like some megalomaniac "mafia Don" in his neverending, flouting the rule of law - appears to like flying too close to the Sun with his waxen wings, his ultimate downfall, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”.

October 20, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump indictment odds skyrocket after bombshell Mar-a-Lago report, legal experts say

A bevy of legal experts, reacting to new explosive reporting about the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, are convinced there is now enough evidence to charge former President Donald Trump with crimes.

Fresh details about the politically charged Justice Department inquiry, reported by the Washington Post and others on Wednesday, revealed a Trump employee told federal investigators that Trump himself ordered the moving of boxes stocked with records following a May subpoena for classified material, and security footage corroborated the account.

Read more here: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/justice/trump-indictment-odds-skyrocket-legal-experts

October 13, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

EXPEL RUSSIA FROM U.N. NOW! - A U.N. Security Council Permanent Member’s De Facto Immunity From Article 6 Expulsion: Russia’s Fact or Fiction?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech to the United Nations on April 5 was the besieged nation’s latest call to the international community for unified aid from the nations that have already vigorously condemned Russia’s so-called special military operation. Zelenskyy questioned the legitimacy and value of the Security Council itself in the face of the most severe, systematic war crimes since World War II: “Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee? It is not there, though there is a Security Council,” clearly pointing out the dilemma: Russia itself sits on this council as a permanent member, exercising its veto authority, effectively making this body impotent. The impotence is even more jarring in the face of the most significant international armed conflict in generations.

 

The conventional wisdom says that Russia cannot be expelled from the U.N., let alone kicked off its seat on the Security Council, because it is a permanent member of that council. In the weeks since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, much has been said and written on its legal implications. From an international law perspective, this failure in diplomacy and deterrence is a case study for students and observers of just war theory, economic warfare, “lawfare,” treaty obligations, jus in bello principles of the law of armed conflict, and the effect of modern technology on the proliferation of propaganda and misinformation as well as on the documentation of unlawful use of force in real time. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack has been so explicitly worthy of public condemnation and political sanction that reasonable people might expect that one simple and predictable consequence would be to expel Russia from the U.N., the important international organization devoted to protecting “peace, justice, respect, human rights, tolerance and solidarity” across the globe. But the resounding, though reluctant, retort has been to say that such expulsion is legally impossible. In syllogistic form, the argument says:

 

1. The General Assembly may expel a member from the United Nations.

2. But a Security Council vote to expel a member of the United Nations is required before the General Assembly can vote on it. 

3. That preliminary council vote requires the unanimous consent of its permanent members. 

4. Russia is a permanent member. 

5. Russia will exercise its veto to prevent the General Assembly from having the opportunity to vote on its own expulsion.

 

This post questions the key premise: premise number 2. Rather than swiftly dismissing the ability of the U.N. to expel Russia, a close reading of the U.N. Charter’s text and a mostly forgotten decades-old discussion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) may reasonably suggest that the General Assembly does have that legal authority, regardless of any vote taken or not taken by the Security Council.

 

Can we? and Should we? are, of course, different questions. This post concerns only the narrower subject of interpreting the expulsion provision of the U.N. Charter; it also avoids the distinct legal and policy matter of whether the Russian Federation is, lawfully, a member of the Security Council at all when the charter itself assigned the responsibility to the U.S.S.R. and was never amended to reflect its dissolution. This interesting argument is raised and debated elsewhere. Nor will this post argue whether Putin and his military commanders are committing war crimes—also a critically important discussion occurring elsewhere. The single question here is this: Assuming legitimate cause for expulsion can be demonstrated, can the Russian Federation be legally removed from the General Assembly? The conventional wisdom says no. This post offers a basis for saying yes.

 

The Terms of a Social Contract of Article 4 

Consider the U.N. Charter’s membership admissions rule. According to Article 4:

 

  1. Membership in the United Nations is open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter and, in the judgment of the Organization, are able and willing to carry out these obligations.
  2. The admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

 

Foremost, Article 4 is like a social contract. Article 4(1) establishes that membership is conditional, and that condition is the acceptance of all the charter’s obligations, and willingness to carry out those obligations. Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, a continuation of Putin’s unlawful militant action beginning with his government’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, should force the world community to consider what consequences follow in the face of a broken social contract. Putin’s order, and the Russian military’s subsequent breaches of international humanitarian law, by tacitly condoning or expressly ordering attacks on noncombatants and civilian property, is an unambiguous illustration of the very state conduct prohibited by the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions. If the rule of law is to mean anything, then Putin’s attack on Ukraine deserves the global condemnation he has received and the punitive social and economic consequences he and his country feel. But there is something to be said for also denying such bad actors a place on the international stage as punishment for their abusive behavior, as a general deterrent, and as an expressive signal to other members of the international community that certain conduct crosses a red line of dignity and respect—one that separates members from nonmembers.

So, in addition to the tangible consequences of government-imposed sanctions, private commercial pressure, and a nonbinding resolution from 141 countries in the U.N., the question of whether the Russian Federation also deserves to keep a seat among other states on the Security Council, or even as a member of the General Assembly, has been raised. It is severely problematic for a nuclear nation endangering global peace by attacking a sovereign neighbor under demonstrably false pretenses to be a permanent member of the committee charged with “the maintenance of international peace and security” (Article 24 of the U.N. Charter). It is even more abhorrent and is a strike to the dignity of the organization and its members when that offending state commits the very acts it is expected to prevent and punish. Such a view was recently adopted by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said it was “reasonable” to question Russia’s continued membership on the Security Council following news of the apparent war crimes committed in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

 

The Expulsion Provision of Article 6

Can the Russian Federation be unilaterally removed from its position on the Security Council, demoting it to a two-year term member or even excluding it from the council altogether? The answer is a pretty clear “no, not directly.” Nothing in the U.N. Charter expressly confers on the General Assembly, or other members of the Security Council, the authority to strip “permanent member” status or expel one such member even for good cause, like grossly “egregious” and repeated violations of the law of armed conflict and the U.N. Charter.

 

The obvious mechanism would be to amend the U.N. Charter to pointedly strike Russia from its permanent council seat or its membership in the General Assembly. This path, however, is merely a tempting mirage. While an amendment (according to Article 108) requires only two-thirds of the organization’s members to ratify it, the amendment still requires unanimous consent of the permanent members of the Security Council. In effect, Russia has the bizarre power to act like a criminal defendant who, with farcical impunity, single-handedly vetoes his own indictment or refuses to submit to the sentence the jury hands down upon convicting him.

 

Aside from amending the U.N. Charter itself, can Russia be removed, through regular expulsion mechanisms, from the General Assembly? The conventional wisdom says no (moreover, no member state has ever been removed under Article 6, despite numerous resolutions to expel offending nations raised by member nations over the decades). But upon closer inspection of the succinct Article 6, the answer is not so definitive:

 

A Member of the United Nations which has persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the Organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.

 

The reason for the expulsion is straightforward: persistent violation of the charter’s principles. It is an ironic historical fact that it was the Soviet Union, in discussion and negotiation over what would become the U.N. Charter, that first “insisted” on a mechanism for expelling members, arguing it was “essential as a disciplinary measure.”

 

But the key phrase for this present purpose is what appears to be a contingent trigger for that expulsion: “upon recommendation of the Security Council.” In the usual rendering of this article, the Security Council’s recommendation necessarily precedes the General Assembly’s vote for expulsion, and that vote can begin only if the council voted in favor of expulsion. The discussions of the parties during the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which would become the basis for the charter’s text, do not suggest otherwise. Under this interpretation, Russia can veto any such council recommendation, effectively preventing its removal from the U.N., essentially serving as a judge in its own case who dismisses the charges before trial. However, later commentators have sensibly emphasized—even assuming a Security Council vote was a required preliminary step—that the General Assembly’s discretion to expel a member was not controlled by the outcome of that earlier vote.

 

The Security Council Offers Advice or Grants Permission? Two Theories of Expulsion 

In 1961, the General Assembly debated whether or not the cost of operations it had authorized in the Congo and the Middle East were to be paid by apportioning that cost across the member states of the U.N. The General Assembly asked the ICJ for a formal advisory opinion interpreting the charter’s text. In its July 1962 opinion answering this question, the court affirmed that the phrase in Article 17 “expenses of the Organization” and its requirement for defraying the cost of doing business across the member states did apply to the General Assembly’s expenditures for those specific operations. In drawing this conclusion, the court discussed a much larger concept: the General Assembly’s relationship with the Security Council. Notably, the court described the Security Council as having “primary” responsibility, not “exclusive” responsibility, for the maintenance of international peace:

 

The Charter makes it abundantly clear ... that the General Assembly is also to be concerned with international peace and security. Article 14 authorizes the General Assembly to “recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations, including situations resulting from a violation of the provisions of the present Charter setting forth the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

The word “measures” implies some kind of action, and the only limitation which Article 14 imposes on the General Assembly is the restriction found in Article 12, namely, that the Assembly should not [emphasis added by the author] recommend measures while the Security Council is dealing with the same matter unless the Council requests it to do so. Thus while it is the Security Council which, exclusively, may order [emphasis added] coercive action, the functions and powers conferred by the Charter on the General Assembly are not confined to discussion, consideration, [or] the initiation of studies and the making of recommendations; they are not merely hortatory.

 

Concerning the legal authority for Russia’s potential expulsion, it should be noted carefully what the court said next:

 

In connection with the suspension of rights and privileges of membership and expulsion from membership under Articles 5 and 6, it is the Security Council which has only the power to recommend and it is the General Assembly which decides and whose decision determines status; but there is a close collaboration between the two organs.

 

I will emphasize the point: “[T]he Security Council ... has only the power to recommend ...[.] [I]t is the General Assembly which decides and whose decision determines status.”

 

It is difficult to square the conventional and widespread assumption about Russia’s de facto immunity with this ICJ opinion. Article 6 must be read as meaning something more than just an occasion for the General Assembly to vote on a nation’s expulsion only when the Security Council has first raised it, debated it and recommended it. It does not read—and this ICJ opinion makes the point clear—that the General Assembly may only vote on expulsion after a preceding vote by the Council, and one that positively recommended that punitive action. 

 

Indeed, if the power and responsibility for global security rest with both bodies of the U.N.—each with independent and overlapping roles—then it would defy logic and the intention of the U.N. Charter to permit a small group of nations to function as the gatekeeper of all expulsion or suspension actions regardless of which nation is at risk for such a sanction or why it has come within the organization’s cross-hairs. It would further defy the charter’s clear intentions to afford one nation within that already exclusive club a perpetual shelter that remains secure even if that nation is the one violating international law and the foundational principles (see Article 2) and purposes (Article 1) of the charter.

 

A Structural Interpretation of the U.N. Charter 

This reasonable reinterpretation of Article 6 is strengthened by reading the expulsion rule in light of the charter’s related provisions. There are at least four places in the document to consider. To begin, there is clear enough evidence that the parties well understood and appreciated the potential scenario of a Security Council member having a conflict of interest in a matter it was responsible for resolving: Article 27(3) expressly requires that such a member abstains from voting on the investigation and pacific settlement of disputes in which it is a party. There is no exception available for a permanent member. Not dispositive of the expulsion question, but suggestive.

 

Next, recall the charter’s membership admissions rule in Article 4 quoted above. It complements the warning in Article 6 that “persistent violations” of the charter justify expulsion from the organization. Note that Article 4’s set of qualifications for admission to the U.N. and Article 6’s permission to expel a member for persistent violations of the charter have something in common. They both speak of the Security Council’s recommendation. More conspicuously, they both lack something in common—neither article says explicitly whether a recommendation by the Security Council must be made before a vote to admit or remove a member.

 

This plain reading of the text faces at least one obstacle. In 1950, the ICJ rendered an advisory opinion directly addressing the meaning of Article 4. The ICJ unequivocally determined that it limited the General Assembly’s admission discretion: that decision could only follow on the heels of a Security Council affirmative vote, which thus implied that no permanent member had exercised its veto power:

 

The text under consideration means that the General Assembly can only decide to admit upon the recommendation of the Security Council; it determines the respective roles of the two organs whose combined action is required before admission can be effected: in other words, the recommendation of the Security Council is the condition precedent to the decision of the Assembly by which the admission is effected.

 

To the court, this was the “natural and ordinary meaning” of the words. Nevertheless, the ICJ was not unanimous in its opinion: The dissent observed that conditions of modern international relations, the very conditions that led to the creation of the United Nations, force a reconsideration of how to interpret international law:

 

The text must not be slavishly followed. If necessary, it must be vivified so as to harmonize it with the new conditions of international life. When the wording of a text seems clear, that is not sufficient reason for following it literally, without taking into account the consequences of its application. 

 

In other words, when a literal reading would lead to “unreasonable or absurd results,” and “run counter to the purposes of the institution,” the interpretation of the text must be read more broadly and contextually.

 

But assuming, arguendo, that a Security Council recommendation must be made first, neither provision reads as a constraint on the General Assembly’s discretion and decision afterward. Article 97, regarding the appointment of the U.N.’s secretary-general, follows a similar pattern: “appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation by the Security Council.” This, also, looks like an affirmative recommendation from the council must precede the assembly’s opportunity to vote and appoint the secretary-general. In practice, this is usually the case. However, as early as 1950, the U.N. demonstrated its flexibility and broad understanding of the plenary power of the General Assembly: The Security Council was deadlocked over the reappointment of Norway’s Trygve Lie as the first secretary-general; despite the Soviet Union’s threatened veto, the General Assembly reappointed him to the office anyway.

 

Just as the ICJ observed six decades ago (“it is the General Assembly which decides and whose decision determines status”), the assembly need not submit to the council’s recommendation. Otherwise, the word “recommendation” is hollow, and not just in one article but in several. It would, inevitably and always, lead to “absurd results” and “manifest injustice” that “run counter to the purposes of the institution.” And if the General Assembly can disregard that recommendation, it is not obvious at all that a recommendation must be made, one way or the other, first.

 

There is a foreseeable, though relatively weak, objection to this view—one that also considers context and the changing character of international relations. It would say the particular phrasing or word choice of these two provisions is—in the real world of politics and diplomacy—irrelevant, or at best an academic puzzle. It would insist that the clause “upon the recommendation of the Security Council” should be construed, as most observers conclude today, as a limiting constraint on the General Assembly’s freedom of decision and its timing. This broad interpretation, empowering the Security Council at the expense of the General Assembly, is—the thoughtful objector would say—the most natural one when considering the gravity of the council’s peacekeeping mission and accepting the scope of its responsibilities. In other words, the Security Council does wield tremendous authority and can speak for the U.N. as a whole by ordering punitive economic sanctions or authorizing military force. Therefore, presuming the Security Council must vote first and must vote in favor of admission or expulsion before the General Assembly may consider the course of action is a normatively coherent and pragmatically consistent reading of Article 4’s admissions criteria and Article 6’s expulsion process.

 

That presumption, however, fails in the face of the structural interpretation of the U.N. Charter; and its inappropriateness is even clearer when giving due regard to the drafters’ intentions and the very purpose of the charter outlined in Articles 1 and 2. During the Yalta Conference in 1945, Secretary of State Edward Stettinius of the American delegation described in a memorandum the U.S. position on how future Security Council voting, relative to action taken by the General Assembly, would proceed. The memo explained that when it came to the issues of admitting new members, suspending or expelling members, and selecting a secretary-general, the action by the council was explicitly categorized as a “recommendation” and distinguished from decisions that would be left to the ultimate discretion of the council itself, like punitive enforcement actions.

 

So why the confusion? The procedural requirement that an expulsion vote within the Security Council must include the unanimous consent of each permanent member (regardless of whether one of those members was the problem) has been misinterpreted by some scholars as proof that a problematic permanent Security Council member could effectively block its own removal before the decision could be made by the General Assembly: One commentator asserted unequivocally that “the General Assembly cannot expel a Member without first receiving a recommendation to that effect from the Security Council.” This might be called the “Security Council Permission Theory of Expulsion.”

 

But if the drafters of the U.N. Charter wanted a preliminary Security Council vote to be both required and binding on the General Assembly for admission or expulsion of a member, they could have said so explicitly. They certainly knew how to draft text in this fashion: They did so in several other areas in the charter. For example, in Article 12:

 

  1. While the Security Council is exercising in respect of any dispute or situation the functions assigned to it in the present Charter, the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation unless the Security Council so requests. [emphasis added]
  2. The Secretary-General, with the consent of the Security Council [emphasis added], shall notify the General Assembly at each session of any matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security which are being dealt with by the Security Council and shall similarly notify the General Assembly, or the Members of the United Nations if the General Assembly is not in session, immediately the Security Council ceases to deal with such matters.

 

And in Article 25: “the Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.” 

 

If words matter at all, then two points are paramount and largely obvious. First, a “recommendation” by the Security Council is not the same as a “decision” by the Security Council. Second, no conditional triggers or caveats like “unless the Security Council so requests” or “with the consent of the Security Council” are found to hinder the actions of the General Assembly permitted by Articles 4 and 6. The “Security Council Permission Theory of Expulsion” is long-entrenched. But it is also wrong.

 

Conclusion

Engaging Article 6 of the U.N. Charter to expel Russia is not, in fact or law, prevented by Russia’s status as a permanent member of the Security Council. Whether Putin and his agents in the government and military on the ground in Ukraine ought to be prosecuted as war criminals, or even whether Russia should be expelled from the U.N. for directly endangering international peace by waging an unlawful war of aggression against the territorial integrity of a sovereign neighbor and its noncombatant citizens, are deeply complicated geopolitical questions for which this post admittedly offers no hint of an answer. Instead, there is some reason to be optimistic, rather than cynical, about the global community’s legal right to hold even a Security Council permanent member accountable for its illegality by removing that offender from the community itself, as both a deterrent and an expressive signal of how much the global communities values the principles of the U.N. project. I suspect that this view does not appeal to the governments of any of the other four permanent members. But one consequence of making expulsion a real possibility is that it would shift attention to the justification required—the evidence of “persistent violations” that must be presented for the consideration of the General Assembly.

 

 

Expulsion has always been considered a drastic remedy, fraught with the risk that it would delegitimize the very concept of a global community of nations united in a process to peacefully resolve disputes and advance mutual interests, or at least cast out a member and force it to the fringe of global society, the periphery of cooperation and the sidelines of decision-making. That such action has never occurred in the U.N.’s history does not render the individual U.N. Charter’s meaning and purpose irrelevant, though. The charter is understood to be a “constitutional framework” that structures the rights and responsibilities of the member states. Just as one would interpret the U.S. Constitution in the absence of binding precedent, the charter’s rules, including rules creating the rights and responsibilities of the Security Council, ought to be read in a way consistent with the charter’s purpose and design. Article 6, demonstrated by its text and by its relation to other articles, does provide for the very kind of accountability that intuition demands but that conventional wisdom has, so far, prematurely deemed procedurally impossible.

 

(Ref: https://www.lawfareblog.com/un-security-council-permanent-members-de-facto-immunity-article-6-expulsion-russias-fact-or-fiction )

 

 

October 11, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Russian attacks on Kyiv and cities across Ukraine are an escalation of aggression and apparent violations of laws of war

“Russia must immediately stop its war of aggression. All those responsible for the aggression and war crimes, including commanders and civilian leaders, such as ministers, and heads of state should be held criminally responsible for their actions.”

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/10/russian-attacks-on-kyiv-and-cities-across-ukraine-are-an-escalation-of-aggression-and-apparent-violations-of-laws-of-war/

October 11, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Matteo Mammi, CEO Helbiz EMEA explains the evolution of the urban electric micromobility sector to Il Tempo

Il Tempo article: Matteo Mammi (MM), CEO Helbiz EMEA interviewed by Filippo Caleri (FC), f.caleri@iltempo.it

 

The urban electric micromobility market has closed the startup phase.  Now the greater maturity of the sector can open great prospects to the cities that adopt it and to the companies that offer services,  Matteo Mammi, CEO Helbiz EMEA explains the evolution of the sector to Il Tempo.

 

FC: Are we entering a new phase for scooters and shared vehicles in urban centers?

 

MM: As in any new business, opportunities and critical issues were highlighted.  Now, after the first experiences, the sector is undergoing a necessary rationalization step, which is also a foundation for operators to better plan investments and activities.

 

FC: You have received criticism from citizens and administrations. What is changing?

 

MM: A constant dialogue has been initiated with the administrations as well as cooperation to increase security with technology.  For example with the control of speed limits and the introduction of indicators and shock absorbers. The tenders for licenses are now more detailed and provide for a smaller number of operators but also an overall fixed stock presence of micro vehicles in the historic and city center, to avoid overcrowding, as well as extension of services to the suburbs. An improvement in the service to users and the entire city.

 

FC: Are you ready to face these new conditions?

 

MM: Our company has all the credentials.  Not only are we Italian, unlike our competitors, putting our first electric scooter on the road in 2018 in Milan. We were also the first company in the industry to go public on Nasdaq. And while our focus has been on mobilty we didn't stop there.

 

FC: In what way?

 

MM: We used our platorm to expand user services in line with urban lifestyles.  So for example we offer the vision @HelbizLive [https://helbizlive.com, https://apps.apple.com/us/app/helbiz-live/id1570423369, https://t.co/cXDgKFheDw] of the Serie B [Serie BKT] of football for which we have obtained broadcasting rights with an investment of 45 million over three seasons. Another product line is dedicated to food delivery. But, unlike our competitors, with Helbiz Kitchen  we have activated our own kitchen with five production lines, one of which is for sushi, and with vertical integration of the business. Our peculiarity is also based on employment.

 

FC: What policy do you have?

 

MM: Our employees are all employed directly by the company.  We have about 200 in Italy.  In each city we have our own dedicated teams all with Helbiz contracts.

 

FC: Let's talk about investments. How much are they?

 

MM: In the mobility line since 2018 we have put 100 million.  So every year we set aside between 25 and 30 million for development. Three million for delivery.

 

FC: Future developments?

 

MM: Today our licenses for electricity are 40, half in Italy and the other 50% in the USA. But we are going to offer our services in Spain starting from the city of Alcalà. And we have expansion to France and Portugal in our sights. In Belgrade we have just won a tender to manage bike sharing for 15 years. Not only new markets but also new products.

 

FC: For example?  

 

MM: We are finalizing the closing of Wheels, a California startup that has developed a bike without pedals. A kind of micromotorbike that does not need a plate. Then we aim for a business-to-business model that provides for the rental of fleets of electric vehicles to companies that equip their employees with them.  

 

FC: Who are your customers? 

 

MM: As mentioned, those in urban living. Mostly young people. We dedicate our attention to them with ad hoc initiatives. Next Sunday, for example, we will offer free rides with vouchers to vote. Thus, it encourages those who vote for the first time to exercise their right.

September 26, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's Over, Donald Trump Will Be Indicted

I have finally seen enough. Donald Trump will be indicted by a federal grand jury.

read here

August 29, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Have a Message for My Russian Friends; By Arnold Schwarzenegger

I Have a Message for My Russian Friends

By Arnold Schwarzenegger

I have a message for my Russian friends, and for the Russian soldiers serving in Ukraine: There are things going on in the world that have been kept from you, terrible things that you should know about. But before I tell you about the harsh realities, let me tell you about the Russian who became my hero.

In 1961, when I was 14 years old, I had the chance to attend the World Weightlifting Championships in Vienna. Yury Petrovich Vlasov won the world-championship title, becoming the first human being to lift 200 kilograms over his head. Somehow, a friend of mine got me backstage. All of a sudden a 14-year-old boy was standing in front of the strongest man in the world. I couldn’t believe it. He reached out to shake my hand. I still had a boy’s hand. He had this powerful man’s hand that swallowed mine, but he was kind. And he smiled at me.

I never forgot that day. I went home and put his photo above my bed. It inspired me when I started lifting weights, but it angered my father. He didn’t like Russians, because of his experience in the Second World War, when he was injured in Leningrad. (The Nazi army that he was part of did vicious harm to that great city and to its brave people.) My father told me to take Petrovich’s picture down, and to find a German or Austrian hero. But I did not take the photograph down, because it didn’t matter to me what flag he carried.

Years later, I was in Moscow to film Red Heat, the first American movie allowed to film in Red Square. Yury and I spent the whole day together. He was so thoughtful, so kind, so smart, and very giving. He gave me a blue coffee cup that I still use every morning.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is that ever since I was 14 years old, I’ve had nothing but affection and respect for the people of Russia. The strength and the heart of the Russian people have always inspired me. That is why I hope that you will let me tell you the truth about the war in Ukraine. No one likes to hear something critical of their government. I understand that. But as a longtime friend of the Russian people, I hope that you will hear what I have to say.

I spoke to the American people this way last year on January 6, when a wild crowd was storming the U.S. Capitol trying to overthrow our government. There are moments that are so wrong that we have to speak up.

I know that your government has told you this is a war to de-Nazify Ukraine. This is not true. De-Nazify Ukraine? It is a country with a Jewish president—a Jewish president, I might add, whose grandfather’s three brothers were all murdered by the Nazis. Ukraine did not start this war. Neither did nationalists or Nazis. Those in power in the Kremlin started this war; this is not the Russian people’s war.

Let me tell you what you should know. One hundred forty-one nations at the United Nations voted that Russia was the aggressor and called for it to remove its troops immediately. Only four countries in the entire world voted with Russia. That is a fact. The world has turned against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. Whole city blocks have been flattened by Russian artillery and bombs, including a children’s hospital and a maternity hospital. Three million Ukrainian refugees, mainly women, children, and the elderly, have already fled the country, and many more now seek to get out. It is a humanitarian crisis. Russia, because of its brutality, is now isolated from the society of nations.

You’re also not being told the truth about the consequences of this war for Russia itself. I regret to tell you that thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed. They’ve been caught between Ukrainians fighting for their homeland and the Russian leadership fighting for conquest. Massive amounts of Russian equipment have been destroyed or abandoned. The destruction that Russian bombs are raining down upon innocent civilians has so outraged the world that the strongest global economic sanctions ever enacted have been imposed on the country. Those who don’t deserve it on both sides of the war will suffer.

The Russian government has lied not only to its citizens, but also to its soldiers. Some of the soldiers were told they were going to fight the Nazis. Some were told that the Ukrainian people would greet them like heroes. Some were told that they were simply going on exercises—they didn’t even know that they were going into war. And some were told that they were there to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine. None of this was true. Russian soldiers have faced fierce resistance from the Ukrainians who want to protect their families.

When I see babies being pulled out of ruins, I feel like I’m watching a documentary about the horrors of the Second World War, not the news of today. When my father arrived in Leningrad, he was all pumped up on the lies of his government. When he left Leningrad, he was broken physically and mentally. He spent the rest of his life in pain: pain from a broken back, pain from the shrapnel that always reminded him of those terrible years, pain from the guilt that he felt.

Russian soldiers already know much of this truth. You’ve seen it with your own eyes. I don’t want you to be broken like my father. This is not a war to defend Russia like your grandfathers and your great-grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, and your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war, condemned by the entire world. Remember that 11 million Russians have family connections to Ukraine. With every bullet that you shoot, you shoot a brother or a sister. Every bomb and every shell that falls is falling not on an enemy, but on a school or a hospital or a home.

I don’t think the Russian people are aware that such things are happening. So I urge the Russian people and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine to understand the propaganda and the disinformation that you are being told. I ask you to help me spread the truth so that your fellow Russians will know the human catastrophe that is happening in Ukraine. To President Putin, I say: You started this war. You’re leading this war. You can stop this war now.

And to the Russians who have been protesting on the streets against the invasion of Ukraine: The world has seen your bravery. We know that you have suffered the consequences of your courage. You have been arrested. You have been jailed and you’ve been beaten. You are my new heroes. You have the strength of Yury Petrovich Vlasov. You have the true heart of Russia.

March 20, 2022 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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