Feed aggregator

Gates Foundation Sues Thousands Of Charities For Infringing On Trademark Concept Of Philanthropy

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 14:57

SEATTLE—Seeking damages from its competitors totaling tens of billions of dollars, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reportedly filed a lawsuit Tuesday against thousands of charities for infringing on its trademark concept of philanthropy. “It has unfortunately come to our attention that there are charitable…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

The real “Money Heist”

Eric Lee's Blog - Tue, 2022-01-11 13:15

The hit Netflix series La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) tells the story of two spectacular robberies. One involved the seizure and occupation of the Spanish Mint (where paper currency is printed). The other took place in the Bank of Spain, where the country’s gold supply is kept.

The second heist story imagined the melting down of all the gold ingots stored in the Bank of Spain’s basement. These were then cleverly transferred to the group’s confederates miles away.

This story has a remarkable parallel to the real history of Spain — and the Soviet Union.

In 1936 when the danger of Franco’s rebel forces seizing control of Madrid became very real, the Spanish Republic’s only military ally — the Soviet Union — made them an offer they could not refuse. Let us take your gold reserve away for safe-keeping, Stalin said.

The gold was taken from the Bank of Spain, loaded onto lorries over the course of several days and driven to a port under the watchful eye of NKVD General Alexander Orlov.

Orlov is one of the dodgiest characters in 20th century history. A leading officer in Stalin’s secret police, he was responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Andreu Nin, POUM leader and former close ally of Trotsky. Facing the certainty of death when he was ordered back to Moscow in 1938, Orlov defected to the West. There, he revealed much about the inner workings of the Soviet intelligence services, including in a best selling book he wrote in 1953. But he failed to mention the Cambridge spy ring led by Kim Philby — which he managed. In 1956, he published in Life magazine a preposterous account, supposedly told to him by his cousin, about the “true story” behind the Moscow purges. In the McCarthy era United States, Orlov was something of a hero.

Back in Spain in 1936, Orlov’s men loaded the gold onto several Soviet ships and it made its way to Odessa. Orlov had been ordered to give the Spanish no receipt for the gold he had taken. The arrival of the gold — worth hundreds of millions of US dollars — was a cause for celebration in the Kremlin.

“The Spaniards will never see their gold again,” said Stalin. And they didn’t.

The Soviet government told the Spaniards that they would be taking gold to pay for all the money that the USSR had been spending helping Spain resist the fascist rebels. The Soviet government even charged the Spanish for the expense of looting their gold reserve and shipping it to Russia. In the end, they claimed that there was no gold left, that it had all been spent as part of the Soviets’ “fraternal” support for Spanish democracy.

With no gold left in the Bank of Spain, the money printed by the Republic soon lost its value. Hyper-inflation followed and this was one the factors that led to the Republican defeat.

The real “money heist” of 1936 wasn’t carried out by a small group of attractive young men and women who were busy falling in and out of love as they melted the gold ingots. Instead it was robbery in broad daylight, carried out by a criminal regime that cared nothing for the Spanish Republic.

To this day, Soviet support for that republic is sometimes seen as a genuine act of solidarity, one of the few things Stalin did that seems decent in hindsight. Everyone remembers the heroism of the International Brigades. But few know anything about the crushing of the POUM (and other non-Stalinist left parties), let alone the theft of the Spanish gold reserve.

Eight decades later, it’s time to tell the true story of the Soviet role in Spain.

This article appears in this week’s issue of Solidarity.

Worst Things To Tell Someone Who’s Retiring

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 12:20

Retirement can be an exciting moment for coworkers, friends, or family, but it’s also a time filled with anxieties about what the future holds. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid when talking to an acquaintance about their upcoming retirement.

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Cemetery Staff Assures Family Grandpa Buried Around Here Somewhere

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 11:12

EUGENE, OR—Promising to locate the loved one’s final resting place right away, the staff at Sacred Heart Cemetery assured a local family that their grandfather was buried around here somewhere, sources confirmed Tuesday. “Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure he’s gotta be in one of these sections over here,” said Lewis…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

San Francisco Skyscraper Tilting 3 Inches Per Year

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 09:00

Engineers are rushing to stabilize San Francisco’s Millennium Tower, a 58-story, 645-foot tall luxury residential skyscraper that has been sinking into the ground by three inches per year, and is now leaning over two feet off of center. What do you think?

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Journalist Worried He’s Becoming The Story In His Sponsored Air Purifier Review

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 09:00

NEW YORK—Struggling to remain detached from his subject matter, local journalist James Malvern was reportedly worried Tuesday that he was becoming the story in his sponsored air purifier review. “While I set out to write a simple recommendation of the Air Fine 2700 to our readers, I couldn’t help but start…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Man Horrified After Genealogy Test Confirms He Has No Past

The Onion - Tue, 2022-01-11 09:00

MIDWEST CITY, OK—Expressing shock after the laboratory report listed his origin as simply “N/A,” local resident Greg Hurt confirmed he was completely horrified Tuesday after a genealogy test confirmed he did not have a past. “No…it can’t…it can’t be—I come from nowhere?” Hurt said as he scanned his results from the…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Cambodia: Striking Cambodian workers demand release of union leaders

LabourStart - Mon, 2022-01-10 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFA

Report: Majority Of Men In Hard Hat, Coveralls Actually Members Of Heist Team In Disguise

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 16:00

PRINCETON, NJ—Upending the common perception that such workers are just going about a normal day on the job, a report published Monday by researchers at Princeton University found that the majority of men wearing a hard hat and coveralls are actually members of a heist team in disguise. “Nearly seven in 10…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Covid Vaccinations Quadruple In Quebec Ahead Of Liquor, Cannabis Store Restrictions

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 15:32

Quebec officials have reported the number of first-dose appointments for Covid-19 vaccines have quadrupled after announcing that vaccination passports will be required to enter liquor and cannabis stores. What do you think?

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting A New Fad Diet

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 14:55

Embarking on the road to weight loss can be a tough endeavor. With the number of diets increasing daily, it’s important to discover which is the right one for you before spending valuable time, energy, and money. Here are the most important questions to ask before starting a new fad diet.

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Chess App Allows Man To Waste Time On Phone But In Smart Way

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 13:00

BOSTON—Describing how the phone game had succeeded where others had failed, local man Peter Bolton told reporters Friday that the app Chess Ace allowed him to waste time on his phone but in a smart way. “It’s great, because instead of opening up some dumb app like Clash Of Clans, I now have a higher-brow option when…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Man Tries To Regain Sense Of Control In Chaotic Universe By Learning To Juggle

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 12:40

BUFFALO, NY—Hoping to hold onto some semblance of purpose in an unfeeling void, local man Craig Ulrich reportedly tried to regain his sense of control in a chaotic universe Monday by learning to juggle. According to sources, in a desperate attempt to combat the inherent entropy and confusion that governs the cosmos,…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Walgreens Pharmacist Far Too Chipper Not To Be Selling Painkillers On The Side

The Onion - Mon, 2022-01-10 12:30

GREEN BAY, WI—Noticing the unusually cheerful tone in the voice of the employee behind the pickup counter, customer Janelle Ramos told reporters Monday that a pharmacist at her local Walgreens appeared far too chipper not to be selling painkillers on the side. “He seems genuinely happy to be here, so you just have to…

Read more...

Categories: The Onion

Iran: Judiciary Workers Protest For Higher Pay In Rare Demonstration

LabourStart - Sun, 2022-01-09 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: RFE/RL

Sudan: “We must keep hold of the strike weapon:” Sudanese court workers and bank workers demand dignity

LabourStart - Sat, 2022-01-08 20:00
LabourStart headline - Source: MENA Solidarity Network

Review: Dolphin Junction, by Mick Herron

Eric Lee's Blog - Sat, 2022-01-08 06:51

While we wait for the next Slough House novel to come out (on 12 May, but who’s counting) and for the Apple TV series based on that those characters (no release date yet), along comes this collection of previously-published Mick Herron short stories. Some are stand-alone stories, some feature his Oxford-based private investigator Zoë Boehm and there’s one featuring my own personal favourite, Jackson Lamb. The stories are consistently interesting, usually surprising and have certainly tempted me to read the Zoë Boehm books. Highly recommended.

Syndicate content