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Wed, 22 Jan 2020
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Queens of Gamergate Zoe Quinn & Anita Sarkeesian monetized feminist victimhood, then cheated their followers

Zoe Quinn Anita Sarkeesian
© Getty Images / Mike Coppola
Zoe Quinn (L) Getty Images / John Lamparski; Anita Sarkeesian (R)
For the best part of a decade two women have parlayed supposed gamer sexism and death threat allegations into wealth, fame, and a reputation at odds with their actions. Will Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn ever be held to account?

Sarkeesian was an online pioneer of a certain type of feminist game criticism that appeared to dismiss most games as a form of digitalized misogyny and hated playing all of them, while Quinn was a game developer with a thin track record but a flair for drawing attention on the internet, when Gamergate struck.

An avalanche triggered in August 2014 by a single account of Quinn's supposedly unscrupulous personal behaviour, Gamergate was the moment that a prevalent but culturally marginalized hobby came of age as something that truly mattered.

Eye 1

2 more inmates killed in troubled Mississippi prison

Mississippi prison
Two inmates were killed Monday night at an understaffed Mississippi prison that has been shaken by other deadly violence in recent weeks.

The state Department of Corrections confirmed the deaths Tuesday but did not immediately release the names of the latest inmates killed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. A chaplain was trying to reach the inmates' families to notify them of the deaths, and the department said it is investigating the deaths.

"At this moment, it appears to be an isolated incident — not a continuation of the recent retaliatory killings," the department said Tuesday on Twitter.

Department spokeswoman Grace Simmons Fisher verified to The Associated Press that the information is accurate.


Georgia uses DNA sample and genealogy to solve rapes from 1999

DNA test
Advanced genetic genealogy testing helped authorities solve three Georgia rape cases from 1999, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The three rapes happened between June and October 1999 within a three-mile radius of each other, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said in a press release. In each case, a woman awoke in the wee hours of the morning in her own bed to find an unknown man standing over her.

Each woman reported her assault immediately and underwent testing to collect and preserve semen left by the rapist. Rape kit testing done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the time indicated that the the DNA profile from the three kits was identical, but repeated checks never matched to any known offender in a national DNA database.

The district attorney's office began looking into the case again in late 2018 and determined that advanced DNA testing might be appropriate. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, which funds the Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, approved about $10,000 for testing, the release says.


George Galloway: BBC faces existential threat. In the 21st century, it has nobody left to lie to

BBC headquarters police
© Getty Images / Carl Court
Police gathered outside the BBC building during a protest
Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.

The next director general of the BBC will be formally appointed by Sir David Clementi, educated at Winchester, Oxford and Harvard, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England, chair of insurance giant Prudential, a former director of Rio Tinto Zinc, chair of Virgin Money and CEO of Kleinwort Benson. His grandfather was the governor of Hong Kong.

Be sure then that the interests of the establishment are in safe hands.

But in truth, the new DG will be picked by another public-school Eton-and-Oxford blue-blood, Boris Johnson.


UK: Lie-detector tests for terrorists spark backlash online

banners/pics UK
© AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas
Banners and pictures on London Bridge in memory of crime victims of central London attack on December 12, 2019.
New legislation that would see terrorists taking lie-detector tests has sparked anger and disbelief online, with many pointing out that the technology is far from foolproof and accusing the government of being soft on crime.

The proposed polygraph testing is part of a slew of new measures drawn up by PM Boris Johnson's government in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack last November which left two people dead.

Yet, the idea of 'toughening up' Britain's counter-terror laws by polygraphing convicted terrorists to prove they no longer pose a threat to society after their release isn't sitting well with many in Britain. Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, never shy of airing his views on controversial matters, seemed to be unimpressed with the idea, tweeting: "What? Is this a joke?"


2 killed, 1 critically injured in chaotic stabbing, robbery & arson spree in Barcelona

© AFP / Lluis Gene
FILE PHOTO: A Catalan policeman stands guard in downtown Barcelona.
Police in Barcelona have connected the dots between a series of apparently random attacks across the city, tying one suspect to two murders, a stabbing and an attempt at arson in the span of a single afternoon.

It all started around 3pm local time, when Barcelona's fire brigade responded to calls about an apartment blaze near the city's Ciutadella Park. Inside the flat they stumbled upon far more than a fire, finding not only evidence of arson, but the body of a man with "signs of violence," and apparently strangled. Police were called to investigate, strongly suspecting foul play.

A video later emerged on social media showing an unidentified man descending the facade of the apartment building as smoke billowed from one of its windows, dressed in beige pants, a dark jacket and a black motorcycle helmet.

Comment: Meanwhile in London yesterday: 3 men killed in London stabbing frenzy - Knife crime doubled since 2014

See also: French police shoot man wielding knife & yelling 'Allahu Akbar'- follows similar incident 2 days earlier (4th January 2020)


WHO Emergency Committee meet on Wednesday as China confirms sixth coronavirus death

coronavirus china
© Getty
Medical staff transfer patients to Jin Yintan hospital in Wuhan. China has confirmed that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus virus can be transmitted between humans, with medical workers currently among the infected
The World Health Organisation is convening an emergency committee of experts on Wednesday to assess whether the coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes an international emergency, the WHO said on Monday.

The meeting follows the virus spreading from Wuhan, where it has infected nearly 200 people, to more Chinese cities, including the capital Beijing and Shanghai, and a fourth case has been reported beyond China's borders.

Comment: Al Jazeera reports on the sixth death:
Asia steps up defences as China confirms sixth coronavirus death

Nations increase fever checks at airports amid fears of a bigger outbreak of the virus that causes pneumonia.

Asian countries have ramped up measures to block the spread of a new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of cases jumped to almost 300, raising concerns in the middle of a major holiday travel rush.

From Australia to Thailand and as far as Nepal, nations stepped up fever checks of passengers at airports to detect the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Footage from Twitter reportedly shows checks occurring on aircraft in Wuhan: "[A scary sentence] I just returned from Wuhan!"

Zhou Xianwang, mayor of Wuhan, told state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday that the death toll had risen from four to six.

Fears of a bigger outbreak increased after a prominent expert from China's National Health Commission confirmed late on Monday that the virus can be passed between people.

Zhong Nanshan, head of the National Health Commission, said there was no danger of a repeat of 2002's SARS epidemic that killed nearly 800 people across the world, as long as precautions were taken.

"It took only two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus," state news agency Xinhua quoted Zhong as saying late on Monday.

Earlier, Zhong acknowledged patients may have contracted the new virus without having visited the central city of Wuhan where the infection is thought to have originated in a seafood market.

"Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to-human transmission," he said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV.

China said it would attend a special World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on Wednesday which will determine whether to declare a rare global public health emergency over the disease, which was detected in Thailand, Japan and South Korea among four people who had visited Wuhan.

Outbreak spreads

Almost 80 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of people hit by the virus in China to 291, with the vast majority in Hubei, the province where Wuhan lies, and others in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, according to the National Health Commission.

State media said one case was found in Zhejiang province.

Australia on Tuesday said it would screen passengers on flights from Wuhan amid rising concerns that the virus will spread globally as Chinese travellers take flights abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday that starts this week.

A man showing symptoms of the new disease who had travelled to Wuhan was in isolation as health officials awaited test results, public broadcaster ABC reported on Tuesday

"The outbreak could perhaps not have come at a worse time," said Al Jazeera's Katrina Wu, who is in Beijing.

"This is the peak travel season in China. The government has always boasted that during the Lunar New Year you see two to three billion trips being made across the country and Wuhan is not a small city; it's about 11 million people who will be travelling not only in China, but overseas. It's a major transport hub."

Authorities around the globe, including in the United States and many Asian countries, have stepped up the screening of travellers from Wuhan.

Zhong, the head of the National Health Commission, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the disease from family members who had visited Wuhan.

He added that 14 medical staff helping with coronavirus patients had also been infected.

The Wuhan virus causes a type of pneumonia and belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as SARS. Symptoms include fever and difficulty in breathing, which are similar to many other respiratory diseases and pose complications for screening efforts.

SARS originated in southern China in 2002 and spread to 26 countries across the world over the following months, infecting more than 8,000 people before it was brought under control, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO, which is due to hold an emergency meeting on the outbreak on Wednesday, has said an animal source appeared most likely to be the primary origin of the Wuhan outbreak

Enhanced screening

South Korea on Monday reported its first case of the new coronavirus - a 35-year-old woman who had flown in from Wuhan.

Thailand and Japan previously confirmed a total of three cases - all of whom had visited the Chinese city.

China festival
© Aly Song/Reuters
The outbreak is spreading as China gears up for the Lunar New Year festival when hundreds of thousands of people visit family or take holidays
WHO has said the jump in new cases was the result of "increased searching and testing for [the virus] among people sick with respiratory illness".

Wuhan authorities said they have installed infrared thermometers at airports, and railway and coach stations across the city. Passengers with fever were being registered, given masks and taken to medical institutions.

Chinese state media moved to calm the mood as discussion swelled on social media about the coronavirus spreading to other Chinese cities.

Weighing in on the matter for the first time, China's President Xi Jinping said on Monday that safeguarding people's lives should be given "top priority" and that the spread of the epidemic "should be resolutely contained", according to CCTV.

Xi said it was necessary to "release information on the epidemic in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation", and ensure people have a "stable and peaceful Spring Festival", the broadcaster said.

See also:

Stock Up

Australia's wild weather tipped to wreak havoc on grocery bills

Coles online shopping website, 20 January 2020.
© Coles online shopping website, 20 January 2020.
Australians at supermarket checkouts could be the next to feel the effects of the wild weather that has decimated entire crops and limited the supply of goods. Here are some of the products you may need to budget a higher price tag for in the next few months.

The ongoing bushfires that have been ravaging the country since September 2019 - combined with a prolonged and severe drought in many areas - have weighed heavily on farmers and the delivery of fresh food and will result in short-term price increases on fruit and vegetables, according to vegetable industry association AUSVEG.

In fact, people who shop for their groceries online with Coles may have already noticed some items are unavailable due to "bushfires and subsequent road closures".

Industry experts and the government have said that in addition to fruit and vegetables, a number of other products such as honey, milk, wine and meat could go up in price as well.

And it doesn't come at a great time, given people are feeling less motivated to spend while their fellow Australians are suffering, according to AMP Capital Chief Economist Shane Oliver.

"The constant terrible news since October about the bushfires along with the smoke in cities is likely weighing further on the national psyche adding to weakness in consumer spending," Dr Oliver said earlier this month in an analysis of the bushfires' impact on the Australian economy.

Wild weather events have continued since he made that point, with widespread rainfall giving the fireys some reprieve, but also bringing massive hail, floods and dust storms.

AUSVEG and other groups have urged Australians who can afford to do so to keep buying produce to support farmers and regional communities in their recovery from these events. The Australian Government has so far made grants of up to $75,000 available for farmers and other primary producers who have been impacted by the fires.

Comment: See also:


'Absolute red alert': Journalist Glenn Greenwald charged with cybercrimes in Brazil

Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has been accused of hacking the cellphones of Brazilian prosecutors and public officials in a criminal case launched on Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors charged Greenwald with cybercrimes for his role in publishing leaked cellphone messages that have embarrassed the Bolsonaro administration and its anti-corruption task force, as well as charging him with membership of a "criminal organization."

Greenwald had already butted heads with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, with the journalist referring to him as a "wannabe dictator," and the president vowing not to expel the journalist from the country but instead to imprison him.

Greenwald's news organization The Intercept Brasil, which he co-founded in 2016, has published numerous bombshell reports featuring a multitude of leaked messages, incriminating sitting Minister for Justice Sergio Moro for undermining Brazil's leftist Workers' Party and preventing former president Lula da Silva from returning to power, thus paving the way for Bolsonaro to take power in 2018.


Lawyer: Michael Avenatti too isolated in jail to help case

Michael Avenatti
Michael Avenatti, the jet-setting lawyer who once represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her battles with President Donald Trump, is now being imprisoned in the same chilly cell that once held drug kingpin El Chapo, his lawyer said.

"The temperature in his cell feels like it is in the mid-40s. He is forced to sleep with three blankets. Not surprisingly, he has been having great difficulty functioning," Avenatti's lawyer, Scott Srebnick, wrote in a letter to a federal judge late Sunday.

He asked that Avenatti be transferred from the high-security cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan to the general population in order to help him prepare for his upcoming trial on charges that he extorted the sports apparel giant Nike.

A spokesman for the MCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comment: See also: Michael Avenatti arrested at Los Angeles courthouse during state bar hearing