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Extinction Rebellion’s co-founder, Roger Hallam, has caused outrage after telling a German publication that the Holocaust was “just another f***ery in human history”.

In an interview with Die Zeit, the 53-year-old appeared to downplay the genocide of six million Jews by Nazi Germany and claimed Germans’ attitude towards the massacre was holding them back.

He said: “The extremity of a trauma can create a paralysis in actually learning the lessons from it.

“The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history”.

Roger Hallam claims his comments were taken out of context
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Mr Hallam claims his comments were taken out of context

Hallam mentioned other mass killings during the last 500 years, including the Belgians’ slaughter in the Congo, adding: “They went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it.”

He suggested that because other genocides had repeatedly taken place over the centuries, the Holocaust could be considered “almost a normal event”.

His comments have been heavily criticised, with Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Mass, among those condemning them.

In a post on Twitter, he said: “The Holocaust is more than millions dead and cruel torture methods.

“To assassinate and destroy Jews industrially is uniquely inhumane. We always have to be aware of that, to make sure: never again!”

Extinction Rebellion’s German branch has condemned Mr Hallam’s comments and said he was “no longer welcome” in Germany.

In a post on Twitter, it said: “We explicitly distant ourselves from Roger Hallam’s belittling and relativising statements about the Holocaust.

“In so doing he contravenes the principles of XR, which does not tolerate antisemitism, and he is no longer welcome in XR Germany.”

Extinction Rebellion UK has also “unreservedly” denounced Hallam’s comments.

Police monitor as a climate activist perches on a make-shift structure in Oxford Street during the twelfth day of demonstrations by the climate change action group Extinction Rebellion
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Extinction Rebellion protesters demonstrating in London’s Oxford Street. File Pic

In a statement, the group said: “Jewish people and many others are deeply wounded by the comments today.

“Internal conversations have begun with the XR Conflict team about how to manage the conflict process that will address this issue.

“We stand by restorative outcomes as preferable, although in some cases exclusion is necessary.

Protesters took over busy Oxford Circus in April
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Protesters took over London’s busy Oxford Circus in April

“Our 6th Principle states: ‘We welcome everyone and every part of everyone working actively to create safer and more accessible spaces’. Our movement must be safe for Jews as well as all other minorities, marginalised peoples, and religious groups.

“We stand in solidarity with XR Germany, with Jewish communities, and with all those affected by the Holocaust, both in the past and in our times”.

Mr Hallam’s comments have also led to German publisher Ullstein announcing it would no longer publish his book, due to be released on Tuesday.

In a tweet, it said: “The Ullstein publishing house dissociates itself in form from current remarks of Roger Hallam.

“For this reason, his book ‘Common Sense’, originally announced for the 26.11.2019, will not appear. The delivery of the book was stopped with immediate effect”.

Mr Hallam claimed his comments had been taken out of context, with The Guardian quoting him as saying: “I want to fully acknowledge the unimaginable suffering caused by the Nazi Holocaust that led to all of Europe saying ‘never again’.

“But it is happening again, on a far greater scale and in plain sight. The global north is pumping lethal levels of CO2 into the atmosphere and simultaneously erecting ever greater barriers to immigration, turning whole regions of the world into death zones. That is the grim reality.”

“We are allowing our governments to willingly, and in full knowledge of the science, engage in genocide of our young people and those in the global south by refusing to take emergency action to reduce carbon emissions,” he added.

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France strike: Protests turn violent as industrial action causes travel chaos | World News

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Police have been seen dragging and beating protesters as demonstrations in Paris turned violent.

Officers deployed tear gas and used pepper spray as demonstrators threw projectiles and firecrackers.

More than 180,000 union members took to the streets as part of a general strike across the country which led to widespread chaos.

Protesters are tear gassed during clashes with police
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Protesters are tear gassed during clashes with police

Thousands of protesters marched towards Place de la Nation into the evening.

French public sector workers began the walkouts on Thursday over President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to reform the nation’s pension system.

The president says the system is unfair and too costly. He wants a single, points-based system under which for each euro contributed, every pensioner has equal rights.

The current system allows rail workers, mariners and Paris Opera House ballet dancers to retire up to a decade earlier than the average worker.

Railway and airport workers, firefighters, teachers, truck drivers and medics are among those who joined the action.

Yellow vest protest groups, or “Gilets Jaunes”, who brought much of Paris to a halt last year, were also there.

A demonstrator lights a flare
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A demonstrator lights a flare
France strikes
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The industrial action across France is in protest against pension reform

The demonstrations began peacefully as protesters marched along the Boulevard de Magenta.

But the atmosphere shifted when protesters wearing black clothing and protective gear began smashing bus stops and store fronts near the Place de la Republique.

Police struggled to control a number of fires set by demonstrators in the area and had cordoned off the square by the early evening.

The action is expected to paralyse the nation for days, as flights, trains and buses face the biggest wave of industrial action the country has seen for decades.

There are no tickets available on Eurostar trains until Tuesday, with the company saying it has cancelled almost 100 services between now and then.

A masked protester holds an umbrella
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A masked protester holds an umbrella

Airlines including Easyjet, British Airways and Ryanair have opted to cancel many of their flights to and from France, while Air France has said up to a third of its domestic flights would be cancelled.

Signs at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport showed “cancelled” notices.

A number of P&O Ferries services from Dover to Calais were delayed due to the industrial action.

The firm advised people to check its Twitter page for updates.

The SNCF railway company earlier said it expected nine out of 10 high-speed trains to be cancelled and said its services were “severely disrupted”.

Most of the subway system in Paris is also affected.

Commuters in Paris got out their bicycles, turned to carpooling apps or worked from home to avoid the crush on the limited train and metro services.

A smashed Paris information board and a burning bike
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A smashed Paris information board and a burning bike
Police secure the area during a demonstration
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Police secure the area during a demonstration

All businesses, cafes and restaurants along the route in Paris were ordered to close for the day by police.

Hotels across Paris have reported receiving cancellations from tourists who have decided against travelling to France during the industrial action.

“For 30 years successive governments have tried to bring reform and fail because the unions cripple the country,” said 56-year-old cafe owner Isabelle Guibal.

“People can work around it today and tomorrow, but next week people may get annoyed.”



Ghislain Coutard first encouraged protesters to wear yellow vests







‘Yellow vests’ founder speaks to Sky News

Elsewhere around France, thousands of red-vested union activists marched through cities from Marseille on the Mediterranean to Lille in the north.

Riot police in Nantes, western France, fired tear gas at masked protesters who hurled projectiles at them.

In Lyon and Marseille, thousands more protesters carried banners that read: “Don’t touch our pensions”.

A smashed Paris information board and a burning bike
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A smashed Paris information board and a burning bike

Ghislain Coutard, who started the yellow vest movement, told Sky News on Wednesday the protests could lead to a “new beginning” for his country.

“For me, it’s make or break. This is either a new beginning or it’s the end,” he said.

The national strike across France comes as thousands of rail passengers in southern England face misery as a 27-day walkout until New Year’s Day by South Western Railway staff entered its fourth day.

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More than 140,000 killed by measles last year as number of cases rises | World News

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An “unprecedented global measles crisis” caused more than 140,000 deaths last year, with most of those who died under five years old, new figures reveal.

Cases of measles are continuing to rise after more than doubling in 2018 compared with the previous year, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some countries which previously had high coverage rates or had eliminated the disease are seeing “devastating measles outbreaks” due to falling vaccination rates, Unicef said.

The charity added that although children in some areas are hard to vaccinate due to conflict or a breakdown in services, in other places some parents are not vaccinating their children “due to complacency, mistrust or misinformation about vaccines.”

Parents are being urged to vaccinate their children in places where vaccines are available, including the UK, while efforts are being stepped up in countries without ready access to the jabs.

The UK lost its measles-free status in August as cases rose sharply.

In 2017, the number of laboratory-confirmed cases in England was 259, but this more than tripled to 971 in 2018.

A further 532 cases were reported in England between January and June this year.

There has been a drop in vaccination rates for all nine vaccines given to children under the age of five in England, including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab.

Measles cases have been rising in recent years. File pic
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Measles cases have been rising in recent years. File pic

A charity leader has called the issue in the UK a “ticking time bomb” and said trust needs to be built with parents.

Liam Sollis, head of policy and advocacy at Unicef UK, said: “Vaccines are the safest and most effective preventative measures against highly infectious disease, but currently too many children are being put at unnecessary risk – with half a million children in the UK unvaccinated against measles.”

However, half of measles cases reported in 2018 were from five countries – the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine.



MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  University of Miami pediatrician, Judith L. Schaechter, M.D., gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl in her office at the Miller School of Medicine on September 21, 2011 in Miami, Florida. The vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV, is given to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer. Recently the issue of the vaccination came up during the Republican race for president when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) called the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer "dangerous" and said that it may cause mental retardation, but expert opinion in the medical field contradicts her claim. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, also a presidential contender, has taken heat from some within his party for presiding over a vaccination program in his home state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)







What’s behind the fall in vaccination uptakes?

Nearly 5,000 people have been killed by measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo so far this year, while close to a quarter of a million have been infected.

In recent weeks, more than 53 people have died in a measles outbreak in Samoa, 48 of whom were children.

The country declared a state of emergency on 20 November and has been placed on lockdown to contain the disease.

A one-year-old child is given a vaccine in Seattle, US
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A one-year-old child is given a vaccine in Seattle, US

The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called the worldwide measles deaths an “outrage” and a “collective failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable children.”

It is estimated more than 19m children worldwide did not have the first dose of the measles vaccine by their second birthday in 2018.

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Briton brought back to life after six-hour cardiac arrest in Spain | World News

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A British woman says it was a “miracle” she was revived after her heart stopped for six hours when she was caught in a snowstorm.

Teacher Audrey Schoeman collapsed while out walking in the Spanish Pyrenees last month and developed hypothermia before going into cardiac arrest.

Mrs Schoeman, 53, who lives in Spain but has a British passport, started “talking nonsense” as her eyes rolled back into her head and she stopped breathing, her husband Rohan said.

Mountain peeks near Vall de Nuria, Pyrenees.
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Audrey Schoeman collapsed while out walking in the Spanish Pyrenees

He added: “I thought she was dead.

“I was trying to feel a pulse… I couldn’t feel a breath, I couldn’t feel a heartbeat.”

Mrs Schoeman was airlifted to hospital, where her temperature was recorded as 18C (64.4F) – less than half what it should have been. Doctors could also not find any vital signs.

Medics at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona said Mrs Schoeman had suffered the longest cardiac arrest ever recorded in Spain, calling it an “exceptional case”.

Dr Eduard Argudo said: “She looked as though she was dead, but we knew that, in the context of hypothermia, Audrey had a chance of surviving.”

Audrey Schoeman with the doctors that helped save her life
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Audrey Schoeman with the doctors that helped save her life

Hypothermia, although causing her body to shut down, also meant her brain and organs had been protected.

Dr Argudo added: “If she had been in cardiac arrest for this long at a normal body temperature, she would be dead.”

In hospital, she was put on a machine that removed her blood, re-oxygenated it, and then pumped it back into her body.

Then, once her body temperature had reached 30C (86F), she was switched to a defibrillator. It was then that her heart began working again, six hours after emergency services were called.

Speaking to local media, she said: “It’s like a miracle except that it’s all because of the doctors.”

“Probably this winter, I won’t go to the mountains, but I hope that in Spring we’ll be able to start hiking again. I don’t want this to take away that hobby.”

Mrs Schoeman was discharged from hospital 12 days after being admitted.

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