U.S. deports accused Nazi collaborator as hunt continues for last surviving WWII fugitives
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- U.S. immigration officers deport accused 95-year-old Nazi collaborator Jakiw Palij to Germany as hunt continues for dwindling list of WWII war-crimes suspects
- Measles cases in Europe have hit a modern high, warns the World Health Organization
- Berlin railway station goes to war with local drug users, and atonal classical music is its weapon
- Missed The National last night? Watch it here
American immigration officers have deported an accused 95-year-old Nazi collaborator to Germany, and Donald Trump is claiming it as a personal victory.
Polish-born Jakiw Palij arrived in the United States in 1949 and obtained his U.S. citizenship in 1957. But a judge revoked his passport and ordered him deported in 2004, because he had lied about his war-time activities.
The U.S. Justice Department says that Palij admitted to having entered an SS training unit in occupied Poland in 1943, and then serving as a guard at the Trawniki Labor Camp. On Nov. 3, 1943, approximately 6,000 Jewish men, women and children were shot to death at the camp in one of the largest "liquidations" of the Holocaust.
It took 14 years to remove him from the U.S. because Germany had long maintained that it wasn't able to accept him since he was never a citizen.
But the Trump administration redoubled efforts to rid America of one of its last accused World War II Nazis, and Germany changed its position. Although it's still unclear if Palij will face charges.
"President Trump commends his Administration's comprehensive actions, especially ICE's actions, in removing this war criminal from United States soil," reads the White House press statement. "Palij's removal sends a strong message: The United States will not tolerate those who facilitated Nazi crimes and other human rights violations, and they will not find a safe haven on American soil."
It is estimated that more than 10,000 Nazi war criminals found new homes in the United States in the years after the war. Just 137 of them have been subject to legal proceedings, and only 67 were ultimately deported or left voluntarily.
Palij was the last accused Nazi facing an active deportation order, but in March, U.S. authorities began the process of trying to extradite Michael Karkoc, a 99-year-old Minnesota man. The Ukrainian-born Karkoc is accused of having been the commander of a SS-led unit that burned Polish villages and massacred civilians during the war. He and his family deny the charges.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Operation Last Chance, which focuses on the dwindling Nazi ranks, notes that there have been just six convictions of World War II criminals since 2013, and approximately 50 new investigations opened. Their list of "possible prosecutions" for 2018 had just six names, including Palij and a Canadian resident, Helmut Oberlander.
The federal government is now in the midst of its fourth attempt to strip Oberlander, a 94-year-old Waterloo pensioner, of his Canadian citizenship.
Via an Access to Information request, the Waterloo Record determined that Ottawa has spent more than $2.1 million on the case since 1995.
A decision on the fourth attempt to revoke Oberlander's citizenship is pending.
Measles cases in Europe have hit a modern high, warns the World Health Organization, as major outbreaks in Ukraine and Serbia spread across the continent.
Over the first six months of 2018, there were more than 41,000 recorded cases of the highly contagious illness in Europe, and 37 deaths. That's almost double the 23,927 cases reported in 2017, previously the worst post-vaccination year on record.
Ukraine has been responsible for the most cases — 23,000 — so far this year. It's followed by Serbia, which recorded 5,718 cases and 14 deaths between last October and this August.
The WHO blames anti-vaxxers for the uptick in the disease, which gives most people a rash and flu-like symptoms, but can cause potentially deadly complications such as encephalitis, pneumonia and hepatitis.
Now-discredited research published in a British medical journal 20 years ago suggested a possible link between the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and autism in children. The article was retracted and declared "utterly false" in 2010, but its repercussions continue to be felt as some people avoid getting immunized.
In March, a Serbian prosecutor started an investigation into more than 40 high-profile public figures, including writers, doctors and a famous folk singer, who had been speaking out against the MMR vaccine. The country previously had an immunization rate of greater than 95 per cent, but it has dipped dramatically since parents were granted the ability to opt out of the MMR shot.
In Italy, the surge in measles has been tied to the rise of political populist movements like Five Star and the League, which now form the government. Earlier this month, the country's upper house rescinded a law that made 10 vaccinations mandatory before children started school. It had been passed only last March, following 5,000 measles cases and four deaths last year.
European nations recorded just 5,273 measles cases in 2016, their lowest-ever number.
A mid-August report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control catalogued 107 cases across 21 states since the beginning of 2018, mostly contracted via foreign travel.
Health Canada's most recent weekly surveillance report listed no active cases, and a total of 19 reported this year.
Vaccination programs are credited for an 84 per cent drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2016 worldwide, according to the WHO, but measles still infects more than 20 million people worldwide each year and remains a leading cause of death among young children. In 2016, the WHO reported 89,780 deaths internationally due to the disease — the first year the fatalities have ever fallen below 100,000.
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Junkies face the music
A Berlin railway station is going to war with local drug addicts, using atonal classical music as a weapon.
The Hermannstrasse station in the central Neukölln district is a busy transit hub that also attracts junkies looking for a sheltered spot to shoot up.
So Germany's national rail service, Deutsche Bahn, has decided to pump classical music into the station concourse in an effort to make it a less pleasant place to hang out. And more specifically, the atonal works of early 20th century composers such as Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg.
(So much so, that the music won't be played where passengers wait for trains, for fear of offending the paying customers.)
Playing classical music to drive away loiterers isn't a new idea. It has been tried in places ranging from bus stations in New York City, to city parks in Anchorage, Alaska.
Municipalities across the United Kingdom are particularly keen proponents of what is sometimes referred to as the "weaponization" of symphonic works. For example, the railway station in Tyne and Wear in the north of England clears out teens by blasting Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff.
It was Canada that apparently pioneered the idea of soothing sonic assaults.
In her 2012 book Music in American Crime Prevention and Punishment, Lily Hirsch traces the practice to a group of 7-Eleven stores in British Columbia that were looking for a way to disperse kids from their parking lots back in 1985. It worked so well that corporate HQ exported the technique to its U.S. outlets. The company continues to aggressively deploy classical music even today, as in this story about an Edmonton store that is hoping to get panhandlers to "Bach" off.
Atonal music, however, might work even better.
Scientific studies suggest that such compositions are intrinsically annoying, since the human brain equates structure and patterns with musical enjoyment.
Assuming, of course, that the people you are targeting aren't listening to something else in their headphones.
A few words on …
Drake's mysterious cancellations of a hometown gig.
Drake upset fans in Toronto by postponing a hometown concert . . . again. Perhaps no one was more disappointed than this fan who travelled all the way from the U.K <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheMoment?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheMoment</a> <a href="https://t.co/lL1WKk5oNY">pic.twitter.com/lL1WKk5oNY</a>—@CBCTheNational
Quote of the moment
"In today's global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children's daily lives. It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly."
- U.S. First Lady Melania Trump gives a speech stressing the need for "safe online habits" on a day when her husband was busy lashing out in all directions on Twitter.
What The National is reading
- Air Canada strikes deal to buy Aeroplan (CBC)
- Microsoft halts Russian political hack (BBC)
- A Parkland survivor returns to the hospital that saved her (NY Times)
- Montreal calls for ban on private handguns, assault weapons (CBC)
- Image conscious China appoints new global propaganda czar (Japan Times)
- Iran unveils new fighter jet with Washington in mind (Fox News)
- Is Duterte dying? (Asia Times)
- Usain Bolt starts chasing his soccer dream (AFP)
Today in history
Aug. 21, 1967: Bob Cole explains how to pronounce Newfoundland
Live television has its charms. Like these two-and-a-half minutes of Elwood Glover and the future voice of Hockey Night in Canada making chit chat during a broadcast from the CNE. Cole, then a not-so-youthful 34-year-old, was stuck in Toronto for the summer and wistful about missing salmon season. And he's not having any of Glover's mangling of his home province's name. It's Newfoundland, he instructs, emphasis on the third syllable.
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