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'It's all lies': Migrants stuck at Polish border feel cheated by people smugglers

11/28/21 4:43 PM

By Yara Abi Nader and Joanna Plucinska ORLA/BIALYSTOK, Poland (Reuters) - Syrian friends Anas Kanaan, 34, and Mouein al-Hadi, 36, were told by people smugglers that they would easily be able to get to Germany from Belarus. They just had to pay 3,000 euros ($3,390) each to an intermediary in Turkey. But the safe crossings from Belarus to Poland indicated by the smugglers were closed off. Then, after more than a week spent camping in freezing forests on the border, a smuggler led them to a Polish village in broad daylight where they were easily spotted by police, arrested and returned to Belarus. "It's like our money has just basically evaporated," al-Hadi told Reuters in a field near the Polish town of Orla after again managing to breach the border but now unable to walk because his feet were swollen from the cold. His childhood mate Kanaan added: "It's all lies. They all lead you to roads where you can die. And at the end they tell you 'we are not responsible for you. Die, whatever'. They just want your money." Shortly afterwards, the two Syrians - who said they want to request asylum in Poland, not move on westwards to Germany - were picked up once again by the Polish border guard who said they would be taken to a detention centre. "More people are becoming aware that they've been led into a trap and that what they've been promised is a lie," said Marysia Zlonkiewicz, an activist from Polish charity With Bread and Salt. HARDER TO CROSS The crisis on the Belarusian border, involving thousands of migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere all hoping to get into the European Union, has dragged on for months. Poland and the EU accuse President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging the migrants to travel to Belarus and cross the border illegally as revenge for sanctions imposed on Minsk over human rights abuses. Belarus denies the charge and says the EU is to blame for the humanitarian crisis on the border. Migrants face a much tougher challenge now to enter the EU. Under EU pressure, airlines have restricted flights from the Middle East to Belarus, while many travel agencies in the region have stopped selling plane tickets to the ex-Soviet republic. Poland has deployed over 20,000 border guards, soldiers and police in a sealed-off border zone, while Belarusian authorities have taken many migrants back to Minsk with the apparent aim of letting them return to their home countries. Poland's Border Guard says illegal border crossing attempts have dropped to around 200 attempts a day from about 500. Around 314 smugglers have been detained in Poland since August, police data shows. They are from countries including Germany, Sweden, Ukraine and Georgia. As crossings have become more difficult, the people smugglers have hiked their prices to as much as $7,000, migrants told Reuters. 'NO GOING BACK' "With every day, things are evolving on the border. Every day, there is a (new) obstacle, there are more guards, more people," Syrian migrant Khaled Zein Al Deen, 45, told Reuters at an open migrant centre in the Polish city of Bialystok. He and his five relatives lost 18,000 euros to smugglers who promised to take them to a safe apartment, with a car driving ahead of them to make sure there were no police checks. That also proved a lie, and they were caught. A Polish army spokesperson said the tighter security was making migrants more desperate, with many using force to push through, especially further south, with the help of Belarusians who gave them implements to break down the border fence. Despite the falling temperatures and increased risks of being caught, the migrants are unlikely to give up trying to get cross, activist Zlonkiewicz told Reuters. "When it comes to development, education or finding work many of these people have nothing to return to, they have no choice," she said. "Families went into debt or sold their apartments and homes. There's no going back." ($1 = 0.8846 euros) (Additional reporting by Fedja Grulovic, Stephan Schepers, Lukasz Glowala, Charlotte Bruneau; Editing by Gareth Jones)

'Pseudo-science' and 'self-centered worldview': Researchers find link between astrology and 'narcissism'

11/26/21 12:04 PM

Astrology has enjoyed something of a revival in recent years. A Pew Research poll released in 2018 found that 29% of American adults — roughly one in four — believed in astrology. And a new study conducted by researchers at Lund University in Sweden offered some reasons for that revival, ranging from "narcissism" to "stress."In an article published by Psych News Daily on November 20, writer Douglas Heingartner notes, "Scientists do not know why astrology is undergoing what these researchers call a 'revival,' but they do point out that past research has found people are more likely to embrace astrology and other scientifically questionable beliefs when they are under stress. Prior studies, for example, have found a link between personal turmoil and a belief in astrology."Astrology had its followers in the United States long before the current revival. The late First Lady Nancy Reagan was mocked by some of her critics for her belief in astrology and for seeking the advice of astrologer Joan Quigley, but astrology was hardly limited to the Ronald Reagan White House back in the day. Astrology was part of Baby Boomer pop culture during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and was famously referenced in R&B hits like the 5th Dimension's "Aquarius" (1969), The Floaters' "Float On" (1977) and Leon Haywood's "I Want'a Do Something Freaky to You" (sampled by Los Angeles rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on their 1992 hit "Nuthin' But a G Thang"). There was plenty of talk about astrology in 1960s, 1970s and 1980s pop culture. And in the late 2010s and early 2020s, astrology — as Heingartner explains in his article — has been "becoming more and more popular."READ: 'You were gullible': Federal judge torches Trump's election lies — and a rioter who believed themStress would explain the popularity of astrology during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The Boomer era had its stressors: the Vietnam War, Watergate, stagflation, the Cold War, two U.S. presidents surviving assassination attempts (Gerald Ford in 1975 and Ronald Reagan in 1981), a brutal recession in the early 1980s. And it would explain the popularity of astrology in 2021.Heingartner says of the Lund study, "The authors suggest that current 'stressors' which might explain the increasing popularity of astrology include climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. And understanding why people believe in astrology matters. Although astrology in itself may seem harmless, it also correlates with belief in other pseudo-sciences and conspiracy theories. So, the researchers wanted to find out whether individual personality traits might play a role in understanding why people who believe in astrology hold that belief."Referencing the Lund researchers, Heingartner explains, "264 English-speaking participants…. were recruited via Facebook. Most of the participants, 87%, were women, and their age range was 25-34…. The researchers also wanted to investigate the links between astrology and narcissism, 'due to the self-focused perspective' at the core of both. Finally, the researchers wanted to measure the participants' IQ levels, as intelligence has been found to correlate negatively with belief in pseudoscience and the paranormal."The researchers designed specific questions to measure how narcissistic a person is. And they asked participants to respond to statements like "I get bored hanging around with ordinary people" and "people see me as a natural leader."READ: Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist slams Ron DeSantis for 'lying' about COVID-19 vaccines Heingartner says, "As the researchers write, the link between astrology and narcissism 'is possibly due to the self-centered worldview uniting them.' They also suggest that the positive framing of astrological predictions and horoscopes might reinforce grandiose feelings, 'and thus might appeal even more to narcissists.'"Intelligence was measured as well by the Lund researchers. Heingartner notes, "Intelligence had a small but significant negative effect: the higher the IQ, the lower the likelihood of believing in astrology. The researchers also found that female participants and older participants showed slightly higher rates of believing in astrology."

'This is Covid-21,' Belgium PM declares as Omicron variant hits Europe

11/26/21 3:53 PM

Belgium’s prime minister has warned that the coronavirus facing the world today is very different from the one that appeared in Wuhan two years ago, claiming it is three times more contagious than the original strain. Read Full Article at

12 Photo Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

08/29/21 10:33 PM

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19 Dead, 32 Injured After Mexico Pilgrimage Bus Crash

11/27/21 5:43 AM

State officials said the bus was heading to Chalma when it apparently lost its brakes and slammed into a building.

61 Passengers On 2 Flights From South Africa To Netherlands Tested Positive For COVID-19

11/28/21 9:43 AM

Officials later confirmed that at least 13 had the omicron variant.

7 Photo Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

08/22/21 11:44 PM

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751 Unmarked Graves Were Found At A Former Boarding School For Indigenous Children

06/27/21 4:25 PM

The brutal discovery comes less than a month after a mass grave containing the bodies of 215 Indigenous children was found at another former school in Canada.View Entire Post ›

8 Photo Stories That Will Challenge Your View Of The World

08/16/21 12:00 AM

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A British Newspaper Deleted A Critical Column About Kate Middleton

06/21/21 2:14 PM

A Telegraph source denied to BuzzFeed News that the piece had been pulled as a result of pressure from the Palace, but the newspaper declined to comment on the record.View Entire Post ›

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