Many of us spend hours by buying some additional gifts but the political events do not stop because of that.
First of all, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in Ankara, a second before he was expected to begin to speak at an art exhibition, "Russian Through Turkish Eyes". The video of the murder of Andrey Karlov (the scenery just like the Mafia I game's grand finale), a career diplomat who has survived a job in North Korea, is rather dramatic. The assassin is a fanatical terrorist savage enjoying the religion of peace and yelling things like "Allahu Akbar" and "it is a revenge for [Russia's help to Assad in] Aleppo" (in Turkish, not Arabic). He was gunned down. Some EU folks are close to giving similar men the visa-free travel to Europe; I am somewhat closer to the eradicate-them team.
What I find amazing is how much space this guy has had – and how closely he resembled a professional bodyguard. He could give a long speech. Weren't there any real bodyguards over there? Also, the recording of the video apparently continued without any interruption for quite some time, too. It looks so puzzling.
Russia has called the assassination an act of terror and it's generally expected that it will have some consequences. Note that the countries have basically recovered from the Russian jet that was shot by Turkey. But another attack – and against a diplomat? I hope that if Russia invades Turkey, it will be kind to liberate the two Czech anti-ISIS warriors. I surely hope that some people in NATO don't expect e.g. us, Czechia, to help Turkey – formally a NATO member – when it's deservedly attacked or invaded.
Sadly, Daesh repeated the Bastille Day truck attack from my sister's town of Nice – and transferred the bloody meme to Berlin. Even though it was a larger city and a Christmas scene with many people, they "only" killed 9 people and injured 50 (at least so far). After the attack, the Pakistani refugee Mr Naved Baluch (23 years old, born 1/1/1993, just like separate Czechia and Slovakia; he came via the Balkan route and arrived to Germany on 2/16/2016) ran away and was hiding among his peers (animals in the zoo). Before the street murders began, the Muslim probably killed a Polish driver Łukasz Urban (37, his photo) and stole his truck – including the dead Pole inside. (Polish truck drivers are dangerous by themselves, e.g. for Czech trains.) The Polish transportation company has acquired the detailed path of the truck in that afternoon – and they know that someone tried to ignite the truck in 15:44 and 16:52 before the truck left Berlin in 19:34 to return there.
Lots of chaotic things happened in the investigation. Naved made a traffic offense and was a suspect but he denied the crime and no traces of gunfire or fight or blood etc. was found on him. The next suspect is 23-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri who's had a crime in his record, has been using 4-12 aliases alternative names, and it's just remarkable how he could stay in Germany. I think it was him but I don't know whether they will find him.
Terrorists also stroke in Jordan and Libya today.
In Czechia, courts have defended privacy today – in two cases that brought me "mixed" feelings. First of all, David Rath, a former social democratic regional governor who was caught with $350,000 of bribes in a wine box, scored a victory when a court ruled that his conversations – which basically make his guilt unquestionable – have been recorded illegally. Well, I also feel uncomfortable about these methods. On the other hand, I feel almost certain that this guy has gotten lots and lots of money by corrupt methods and he deserves to spend many years in prison.
Another decision – one by the Czech Constitutional Court – seems to defend similar principles but I celebrate it. A group of senators led by Mr Ivo Valenta, a very wealthy guy running a gambling company, has complained about an additional form (a verification report KH, whatever is the English name) that was imposed on the value-added-tax payers by Mr Andrej Babiš, the ex-communist billionaire finance minister. While they found the KH itself OK, the constitutional judges ruled that it's unconstitutional for the finance minister (and prime minister) to demand ad hoc data from the taxpayers which aren't described by any law – just because they want to have the data.
So pieces of the law about the KH reports have to be abolished.
I think that EET – the bigger Big-Brother policy that started two weeks ago – is violating the Czech Constitution in pretty much the same ways. The Constitutional Court hasn't decided about the complaint about the beef of EET yet.
President Zeman has vetoed "Lex Babiš", the law preventing Babiš (and everyone else) from doing certain kinds of business and government politics at the same moment. It's expected that the Parliament will overrule Zeman's veto later. Although I am not happy about the philosophy of Lex Babiš, it's needed given the unique concentration of the power and I feel uneasy about the growing Zeman-Babiš alliance.
The U.S. electors are expected to confirm Trump as the 45th president. If dozens of Trump's electors (which are needed for a surprise) decided to deviate from the rule that has almost always worked, I would be far from the only person who would be shocked and a new U.S. civil war could get much closer. Well, that's the outcome that numerous anti-Trump psychopaths in the U.S. apparently want.
North America is enjoying some quality global warming – 100-year record cold temperatures have been broken at many places. The frozen Michigan lighthouse is really cute.
He3DA, the Czech producer of better lithium batteries which use nanotechnology to make the electrodes thicker or more resilient and that increase the capacity, shorten the charging times, reduce the price by a factor of 8 etc., claims to have started the mass production of the batteries in Prague. I am not 100% persuaded whether they're really making viable products now rather than just vaporware. But a part of the claims is that the production for the next 100 years has already been sold out. If true, it's a pretty bad choice of the output of the factory. The He3DA YouTube channel contains 7 virtually unknown videos showing that the batteries survive being overrun by a track, atomic blast, shooting by a gun or a firegun, and so on. ;-)