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On Paludan’s Sweden tour – ‘He came again to provoke the everyday immigrant’



Professor of peace and conflict research Ashok Swain says Rasmus Paludan’s controversial stunts in Sweden are a pure political act

Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, member of the far right anti-immigrant and anti-Islam group Stram Kurs (Hard Line), has been organising rallies in Sweden.

Paludan has made inflammatory comments about Muslim’s holy book, Quran including burning it and making threats to burn more copies which has sparked public outrage and protests in Sweden.

Professor Ashok Swain from Uppsala university says Paludan’s actions are purely political and have been “successful in Denmark”, so “now he is trying his luck in Sweden”.

“He came again with the intention of provoking the group of everyday immigrant or the Muslims who are living in this country,” he says.

Paludan is planning to stand in the Sweden elections in September but Swain says the politician “doesn’t have enough required signatures for set”.

He says he is on the Sweden tour to attempt to gain support.

Protests against Paludan turned violent last week with clashes erupting between the protesters and the police. 26 police officers and 14 civilians were injured in the violence with more than 40 arrested.

How did the protests turn violent?

The Sweden police previously said they believed the riots had some criminal gang involvement. 20 vehicles were damaged in the violence and a school was also set on fire in the Malmo region of the country.

Protesters set fire to a police bus during a violent clash in the Orebro region of Sweden. Photo: Reuters.

“The question is that, why are these riots not taking place against him or the kind of far right activism but against the state and the police, and particularly the state administrate infrastructure,” Swain says.

Swain raises a question surrounding the involvement of criminal elements, noting they might be taking advantage of these kind of scenarios “where it becomes difficult for the law and order”.

How can violent riots like these be prevented?

Swain gives the responsibility for the prevention to the “cooperation between the state police and the local”.

Swain says that while certain elements have been making law and order difficult, there is a lot to do to get the state and police force to work together.

He mentions the need for the Swedish system to act in a sensitive manner.

“Despite a number of provocations, the reactions of the police force have been quite mild in that sense,” he says.

Are these events an indication of the rise of far right politics in Sweden?

“Sweden was quite late to catch up to the far right politics compared to other parts of Europe,” Swain says.

Swain notes that Sweden has tried to keep the far right politics out of it’s government but there have been recent attempts such as Rasmus Paludan’s Sweden tour ahead of the September elections to gain attention.

Rijul Baath contributed to this report


Hurricane Ian makes landfall in southwestern Florida as Category 4 storm



Officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.

Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwest Florida with winds of 155 mph. Hitting the mainland U.S. as a Category 4 storm— officials say it’s one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the nation.

Moving at a crawling pace— Hurricane Ian is prompting major concerns about flooding and delayed rescues for those who decided to ride out the storm.

Forecasters say the storm’s relatively slow surge could lead to even greater rainfall than expected.

After slamming Florida’s southwest coast with Category 4 force Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told residents that Ian brought powerful conditions including relentless rainfall and life-threatening winds that are “incredibly dangerous.”

He said, “there will be debris in the air and flooding powerful enough to move cars around so please do not be outside during the storm. If you’re in those Southwest Florida counties that you need to be sheltering in place. Don’t forget that Ian will produce hurricane strength winds and massive flooding—not just where it makes the initial landfall—but throughout the state of Florida so central Northeast Florida will also feel impacts.”

The entire Sunshine state is under a state of emergency.

Several airports in Florida are closed with thousands of flights cancelled.

More than 50 of the state’s 76 school districts have already canceled classes, with many public schools be turned into evacuation shelters.

Meanwhile, FEMA has already deployed 700 personnel to Florida and the governor has activated 5,000 state national guard with another 2,000-guard coming in from other states.

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Nord Stream pipe attack “act of sabotage”



The US State Department has described recent leaks in the Nord Stream gas pipelines as “apparent acts of sabotage”

U.S State Department spokesperson Ned Price says they have more questions than answers at this point.

Adding Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin discussing the issue with European counterparts as soon as Wednesday.

Price confirmed the leak “impacts Europe’s broader energy security and energy resilience”.

When was pressed on whether sabotage would rise to the level of a breach of NATO Article 5, he declined to speculate.

But noted the investigation could take some time.

It comes as European countries ramp up their military presence at oil and gas facilities, following the Nord Stream incident.

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Russia is about to annex Ukraine, so what happens next?



Moscow is about to annex a swath of Ukraine, releasing what it called vote tallies showing support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia

It looks like Russia is poised to annex a large chunk of Ukraine.

This comes after so-called referendums were held in four occupied provinces, which showed overwhelming support for joining Russia.

Of course, these referendums were anything but legitimate. They were held at gunpoint and were widely denounced by Kyiv and the West as sham votes.

“They can announce anything they want. Nobody voted in the referendum except a few people who switched sides. They went from house to house but nobody came out,” said Lyubomir Boyko, 43, from Golo Pristan, a village in Russian-occupied Kherson province.

People attend a rally and a concert in support of annexation referendums in Russian-held regions of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg on September 23, 2022.

Moscow takes charge

Nevertheless, it looks like Moscow is moving ahead with its plans to absorb these Ukrainian regions. A tribune has been set up on Red Square, with giant video screens proclaiming “Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson – Russia!”

The Russian-installed administrations of the four Ukrainian provinces on Wednesday formally asked Putin to incorporate them into Russia, which Russian officials have suggested is a formality.

“The results are clear. Welcome home, to Russia!,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former president who serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Telegram.

It’s expected that President Vladimir Putin will give a speech within days confirming the annexation. This would mean that, in just over a week, Putin has gone from endorsing the sham referendums to formalizing the annexation of Ukrainian territory.

This latest development is sure to increase tensions between Russia and the West. It also further diminishes the chances of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.

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