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Адвокат бывшей "Команды 29" пишет о важной дискуссии последних дней. Интернет пестр...

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Адвокат бывшей "Команды 29" пишет о важной дискуссии последних дней.

Интернет пестрит заголовками о том, что президент Украины Владимир Зеленский заявил о необходимости запретить россиянам въезд в страны Запада. В самой России также с начала войны активно ведется дискуссия о том, где поставить запятую в фразе «уезжать нельзя остаться».

Моя позиция в этом плане остается неизменной: Надо продолжать оставаться и работать в стране до тех пор, пока ты можешь там работать.
… Но не мгновением дольше.

Большинству из нас нельзя позволить себе стать легкой добычей для режима и соответственно обузой для тех, кто продолжает работать над проектом прекрасной России будущего. Я сейчас об адвокатах, юристах, журналистах, гражданских активистах и расследователях. Другое дело – политики. Они в отличие от нас «полезны» только внутри России, даже если за решеткой. В сегодняшней России для политика податься в эмиграцию, - значит совершить политическое самоубийство, сдаться и уйти из политики. Именно поэтому Алексей Навальный, Илья Яшин или Владимир Кара-Мурза прагматически сделали свой выбор остаться в политике в ущерб собственной свободе, и с достоинством героически приняли эту участь.

Но если вы не политик, то не будет никакой пользы от вашей посадки. Вы лишь станете обузой, которая оттянет на себя часть ресурсов, которые можно было бы тратить ради достижения чего-то важного.

Можно оставаться полезным для своей страны, находясь при этом в другой. Важно продолжать говорить и иметь возможность быть услышанным своей аудиторией. Благодаря Интернету, находящиеся за границей россияне имеют в этом плане даже больше возможностей, чем те, кто остается внутри страны. Поймите, что сидя в СИЗО, очень сложно взаимодействовать с реальностью, особенно если это ужасающая реальность сегодняшней России.

Как бы не был заманчив вариант с посадкой, не поддавайтесь. Вам может показаться, что вы так много сделали, устали, гори оно все синим пламенем, если сядете – так хоть отдохнете – пусть теперь вас другие защищают. Это - слабость и эгоизм. Гоните от себя такие мысли хотя бы потому, что там вы точно не отдохнете.

Поэтому если поняли, что подошли к черте, не пересекайте ее – уезжайте, но не ранее чем подойдете к этой черте. Лучше быть полезным на свободе на чужбине, чем стать обузой за решеткой на Родине.

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cherjr
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‘Bank robber’ rescued in Rome after tunnel collapses

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An Italian man had to be rescued after becoming trapped in a collapsed tunnel near the Vatican, suspected of being part of a gang burrowing its way to a nearby bank.

Firefighters spent eight hours digging him out from under a road in the west of Rome, before he was finally freed on Thursday evening and taken to hospital.

“Two people from Naples were arrested for resisting a public official and two, from Rome, for damage” to public property, a police spokesman told AFP.

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The rescued man, one of the two Romans, remains in hospital, he said without giving an update on his condition.

“We are still investigating, we do not exclude that they are thieves, it is one of the theories,” he said.

For Italian newspapers, however, the motive was clear, with reports noting the tunnel was found near a bank ahead of the August 15th long weekend, when residents traditionally head out of town and much of Rome is left empty.

“The hole gang,” headlined newspapers Repubblica and Corriere della Sera, while La Stampa said: “They dig a tunnel to rob a bank, and one of them is buried underground.”

Other reports referred to the suspected burglar as l’uomo-talpa, or ‘mole man’.

An AFP reporter at the scene on Thursday saw the man brought out alive on a stretcher, after a day-long operation involving dozens of emergency service workers using mechanical diggers.

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The tunnel began underneath an empty shop that had recently been rented.

“We all thought that the people there were renovating the place. So we had no suspicions and we did not hear noises either,” a resident, Michele, who lives in the same building told AFP.

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Reader question: Are there private beaches in France?

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Question: I read that all beaches in France are public property, but down here on the Riviera there are a lot of ‘private beaches’ – how do the rules actually work?

In France, everyone has the right to a dip in the ocean, though it might not seem that way when walking through certain areas.

There are 1,500 of these “private beaches” in France – the vast majority of them located on the Côte d’Azur.

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They have become a source of controversy recently, after two private beaches in Juan-les-Pins were accused of racism and discrimination following an investigation and video circulated by French media Loopsider. The video (below) shows how a white couples receive different treatment than North African or Black couples.

So what are these ‘private beaches’ and are they even legal in France?

In reality, none of these beachfront hotels, resorts or beach operators actually own that land, as the sea and the beach are considered ‘public maritime’ and are therefore the domain of the French state.

This means that technically there are no private beaches in France, as no one is supposed to be allowed to own the beach, though there are some caveats to that rule.

Since 1986, the State has been able to grant ‘concessions’ to allow for parts of the beach to be temporarily rented. Thus, hotels, resorts or beach operators can request a temporary rental of the beach for a specific period of time – the maximum duration being twelve years, which is renewable. If the local town hall agrees, then the renter will pay a fee (typically between €15,000 and €100,000 per year). 

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This might seem like a de facto way of allowing beaches to be privatised, but the few who manage to ‘rent the beach’ are still subject to some constraints. For instance, they are only allowed to occupy the beach for six months of the year (sometimes this can be extended up to eight months with the permission of the town hall, or twelve months in less common circumstances).

At the end of the season, they are required to dismantle their installations, so permanent private structures on the beach are therefore not allowed.

So you might see a waterfront resort, but they do not technically have ownership over the beach.

What about private deckchairs or sun beds next to the water? 

This is another rule that is not always perfectly respected. Legally, any organisation that rents a part of the beach is required to leave a strip of “significant width” along the sea.

This is usually about three to five metres from the high tide mark, where members or the public can walk along the water or bring down their own towels or deck chairs down to the beach.

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If a ‘private beach’ has deck chairs or sun-loungers right up against the water, there is a good chance the renting organisation is not following the rules.

Beachfront property

As the public has the right to be able to access the beach, homeowners are not allowed to block passage and can even incur fines for doing so. 

The public must be able to pass through land to get to the beach, and cannot be blocked from the beach in front of a property.

Public access to the beach came into the spotlight due to a controversy surrounding a property of former American presidential candidate and statesman, John Kerry.

Kerry’s family owns a villa in Saint-Briac-sur-Mer in Brittany, and has fought a three-decade legal battle to be able to block the coastal trail on the property, which by French law, should be accessible to the public. 

Despite the family siting potential ‘security threats’ should the beach front path be open to the public, local authorities backed plans to continue allowing public access in 2019.

What about building a waterfront property?

First, keep in mind that building in general in France is a heavily regulated process that requires planning permission.

You will not be able to build within 100 metres of the shoreline. If you buy a pre-existing coastal property, you will need to remember the three-metre rule discussed above and, as the Kerry family discovered, you are not allowed to block public access to the beach. 

For ‘coastal zones’ specifically, there are more strict regulations and most plots of land by the sea are listed as protected natural areas, and therefore are not allowed to be built on.

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Can access to the beach ever be forbidden?

Yes, as per the Coastal Law of 1986, local authorities can forbid access to the beach for “security, national defence or environmental protection.” During the Covid lockdowns several local authorities banned access to beaches to avoid illicit partying.

There are also several rules about what you are allowed to do – and not to do – while visiting French beaches, and some of them might surprise you. 

READ MORE: The little-known French beach rule that could net you a €1,500 fine

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‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

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France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

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The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

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Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

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Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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Spain launches project to import Ukraine grain by train

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February has severely disrupted Ukrainian grain exports, hampering harvests and trapping up to 25 million tonnes of wheat and other grain in Kyiv’s Black Sea ports.

The war has sent global food prices soaring and sparked fears of famine.

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As part of the Spanish project, a Renfe freight train “consisting of 25 containers, each measuring 40 foot (12 metres)” left Madrid late Tuesday for the Polish town of Chelm near the Ukrainian border, the transport ministry said.

It will travel 2,400 kilometres (1,500 miles) to Chelm where it will collect 600 tonnes of grain and return to Barcelona in early September.

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“This is a pilot project… to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of transporting grain via the railway network crossing Europe from Lodz in Poland to Barcelona,” the ministry said in a statement.

The containers have been fitted with special liners to allow them to carry grain, the ministry said.

On July 22nd, Russia and Ukraine signed a UN-backed deal brokered by Turkey to lift Moscow’s naval blockade and release millions of tonnes of blocked grain, thereby helping avert a global food crisis.

A total of 12 ships have so far left three different Ukrainian Black Sea ports since then.

With the reopening, the Spanish project will also help “to analyse the capacity of land transport to support maritime routes,” the ministry said.

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The White House privately demanded Twitter ban me months before the company did so

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Biden Administration officials asked Twitter to ban me because of my tweets questioning the Covid vaccines, even as company employees believed I had followed Twitter’s rules, internal Twitter communications reveal.

In a White House meeting in April 2021, four months before Twitter suspended my account, the company faced “one really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off from the platform,” a Twitter employee wrote.

The employee recounted the meeting discussion afterwards on Twitter’s internal Slack messaging system. The message, and others, make clear that top federal officials targeted me specifically, potentially violating my basic First Amendment right to free speech.

The First Amendment does not apply to private companies like Twitter. But if the companies are acting on behalf of the federal government they can become “state actors” that must allow free speech and debate, just as the government does.

Previous efforts to file state action lawsuits against the government and social media companies for working together to ban users have failed. Courts have universally held that people who have been banned have not shown the specific demands from government officials that are necessary to support state action claims.

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In my case, though, federal officials appear to have gone far beyond generically encouraging Twitter to support Covid vaccines or discourage “misinformation” (i.e. information that the government does not like).

Instead, top officials targeted me personally.

Andrew Slavitt, senior advisor to President Biden’s Covid response team, complained specifically about me, according to a Twitter employee in another Slack conversation discussing the White House meeting.

“They really wanted to know about Alex Berenson,” the employee wrote. “Andy Slavitt suggested they had seen data viz [visualization] that had showed he was the epicenter of disinfo that radiated outwards to the persuadable public.”

According to an interview he gave to the Washington Post in June 2021, Slavitt worked directly with the most powerful officials in the federal government, including Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff, and Biden himself.

The Slack conversations also show the pressure Twitter employees felt internally to respond to the government’s questions about whether the company was doing enough to suppress “misinformation” about Covid and the vaccines. An employee writes that the questions at the meeting were “pointed” but “mercifully, we had answers.”

(From Twitter’s internal Slack channel)

At the time, employees said internally they did not believe I had broken the company’s rules. “I’ve taken a pretty close look at his account and I don’t think any of it’s violative,” an employee wrote on the Slack conversation a few minutes after the "really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off.”

But the pressure on Twitter to take action against me and other mRNA vaccine skeptics steadily increased after that April meeting, and especially in July and August, as the government began to consider the unprecedented step of mandating Covid vaccines for adults.

On July 16, 2021, President Biden complained publicly that social media companies were “killing people” by encouraging vaccine hesitancy. A few hours after Biden’s comment, Twitter suspended my account for the first time.

On August 28, 2021, barely four months after the meeting, Twitter banned me - for a tweet that it has now acknowledged “should not have led to my suspension.”

I obtained the message and other documents related to Twitter’s censorship of me as part of my lawsuit against Twitter over my August 2021 ban. I filed the suit in federal court in San Francisco in December 2021. Twitter and I settled it last month, when Twitter restored my account and acknowledged it had erred in banning me.

The documents contain other revelations, including emails showing that other reporters asked Twitter to take action against me; I will report on those in the future.

More messages, emails, and internal documents are expected.



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cherjr
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bogorad
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Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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