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Mon, 17 May 2021
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Montana Gov. Gianforte signs bill banning transgender athletes from girls sports

Greg Gianforte
© Reuters
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte approved legislation Friday barring transgender youth from participating on sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.

Backed the Republican state lawmakers, the bill requires athletic teams at public schools to limit participation based on "biological sex." The measure also contains explicit language dictating that girls' or women's sports teams "may not be open to students of the male sex."

The bill generated a heated debate in Montana's GOP-controlled state legislature prior to its passage in April. Lawmakers eventually passed the bill alongside an amendment that would void the law if the government withheld federal funding in response to the ban and state efforts to appeal failed.

President Biden signed an executive order in January calling on public schools to allow transgender athletes to participate on sports teams that align with their gender identity. The order signaled that schools that do not comply could lose their federal funding under Title IX, which bars sex-based discrimination.

Comment: See also:


Fire at medical marijuana lab in Italy kills 1, injures 3

fire marijuana

Italy Laboratory Blaze
A blaze on Friday at a small laboratory in central Italy that treats marijuana so it can be used medically left a man dead, three injured survivors and a woman missing, Italian firefighters said.

Flames raged through a small building in the countryside outside Gubbio, a town in the Umbria region.

Comment: Other fires reported in just the last few days:


Massive fire breaks out at Ambernath chemical factory, India

fire chemical
© Times of India
Fire brigade officers at Jain and Jain MEKP chemical firm.
A serious fire broke out at a chemical firm in Morivali MIDC space of Ambernath within the wee hours of Saturday.

The incident occurred round 12.30am at Jain and Jain MEKP chemical firm.

The Ambernath fire brigade officers mentioned that three fire autos from Ulhasnagar and MIDC space have been used together with a number of water tankers to manage the fire.

Comment: Other fires reported in just the last few days: And in the last few months:


Fire at Iran chemical factory hours after media reports ANOTHER massive blaze near Bushehr's nuclear power plant

fire iran
© Reuters / WANA
A large fire has erupted at a chemical plant in the Iranian city of Qazvin, with local media reporting an explosion. The incident follows an overnight blaze in the port city of Bushehr, home to Iran's only nuclear power plant.

The fire broke out at the plant on Saturday afternoon following a small explosion at the site. Footage circulating online shows flames emerging from the facility, with a large column of billowing black smoke.

Multiple fire engines were deployed to the location to tackle the blaze. While the explosion and the fire that followed did not inflict any casualties, at least two firefighters were injured while battling the flames, local media reported.

Comment: Other fires reported in just the last few days: See also:

Arrow Up

Another postcard from Brazil

© Andre Coelho/Bloomberg
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
There it was. With that simple phrase, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro dashed the hopes of everyone who thought he might perform a U-turn. The hateful media, the think tanks, the politically-minded state governors, the scores of lockdown lovers, all of them.

That's when I knew. Brazil was not now, not ever, going to have a national lockdown.

Because, if not now, when?

Let me take you all back a few months. Since roughly August of 2020, Brazilians had been living almost completely free lives. Sure, there were some token rules in place, depending where you were in the vast, continent-sized country, but they were barely adhered too. The first wave had come and gone. In reality, if it hadn't been for the hysterical media coverage, it would have gone unnoticed, swallowed up by the black hole of constant tragedy and stress within the Brazilian medical system.

Comment: Seems to be attitude over latitude and platitude! Keep it up Brazil!

Star of David

Senior Iranian rabbi accuses Israel of cynically exploiting Judaism to pursue own goals

3 synagogue
© AFP/Hasan Sarbakhshian
Iranian Jewish men pray in a Iranian synagogue
Tens of thousands of Muslims in Iran and across the Middle East took part in Friday's 'International Quds Day' protests, an annual Iran-backed campaign of demonstrations meant to show solidarity with the Palestinians. Iranian Jewish leaders have joined in the protests, calling on Jews, Muslims and Christians alike to "stand against" Zionism.

Younes Hamami Lalehzar, one of Iran's top rabbis, has expressed his support for International Quds (Jerusalem) Day and accused Israel's leaders of exploiting the ancient religion of Judaism in pursuit of their own goals.

"Zionists have been exploiting Judaism to achieve their own goals," Hamami Lalehzar said, speaking to Fars News Agency on Saturday.
"The Zionists have used Judaism, which is a monotheistic religion, as a pretext to justify within their own political framework any strategy to achieve their goal. This behaviour was not accepted at all by the Jews of the world, and from the very beginning of the Zionist regime until today, there has been a lot of opposition to the Zionists' approach and it still continues."


Cuomo investigation expands as state's attorney investigates whether Covid-19 vaccines were linked to support

© Reuters/Timothy A. Clary
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
An investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly expanding to look into allegations that a top aide tied support to the governor with access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The probe looking into numerous claims of sexual misconduct has been broadened, according to sources familiar with the investigation speaking to The Wall Street Journal.

Three Democrat county executives reportedly told the Journal that Larry Schwartz, a volunteer advisor for the governor, recently called them to rally support for Cuomo. He asked them if they would be demanding his resignation amidst a wave of public officials doing so, but the calls were made under the guise of discussing vaccine distribution.

Schwartz previously said in March there was no deliberate attempt to tie vaccine distribution plans to support for Cuomo, and Beth Garvey, counsel for Cuomo, said about Schwartz's calls that "distorting Larry's role or intentions for headlines maligns a decades long public servant."

Schwartz left his position last month as the state's vaccine czar and refused to comment further on his phone calls for the Journal's report.

Blue Pill

The Wokest Place on Earth: The Disney Cultural Revolution

© Fred Prouser / Reuters
The Walt Disney Corporation famously bills its amusement parks as "the happiest place on Earth," but inside the company's headquarters in Burbank, California, a conflict is brewing. In the past year, Disney executives have elevated the ideology of critical race theory into a new corporate dogma, bombarded employees with trainings on "systemic racism," "white privilege," "white fragility," and "white saviors," and launched racially segregated "affinity groups" at the company's headquarters.

I have obtained a trove of whistleblower documents related to Disney's "diversity and inclusion" program, called "Reimagine Tomorrow," which paints a disturbing picture of the company's embrace of racial politics. Multiple Disney employees, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisals, told me that the Reimagine Tomorrow program, though perhaps noble in intent, has become deeply politicized and engulfed parts of the company in racial conflict.

The core of Disney's racial program is a series of training modules on "antiracism." In one, called "Allyship for Race Consciousness," the company tells employees that they must "take ownership of educating [themselves] about structural anti-Black racism" and that they should "not rely on [their] Black colleagues to educate [them]," because it is "emotionally taxing." The United States, the document claims, has a "long history of systemic racism and transphobia," and white employees, in particular, must "work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed." Disney recommends that employees atone by "challeng[ing] colorblind ideologies and rhetoric" such as "All Lives Matter" and "I don't see color"; they must "listen with empathy [to] Black colleagues" and must "not question or debate Black colleagues' lived experience."



Accused Capitol rioter attorney: Client had 'Foxitis,' watching Fox News led to his actions

capitol protest
The attorney for an alleged Capitol rioter says his client's actions during the Jan. 6 breech were the result of "Foxitis," the result of having watched too much of the Fox News Channel.

Attorney Joseph Hurley said in court Thursday that problems for client Anthony Antonio started six months before the riot when he was laid off.

"For the next approximate six months, Fox television played constantly," Hurley said.

Hurley also said Antonio "became hooked with what I call 'Foxitus' or 'Foxmania' and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him."

Hurley said his client believed he was following orders from former President Trump when he went to Washington D.C., according to The Huffington Post.

Comment: This news has provoked some interesting takes, including from GQ's Julia Ioffe. Glenn Greenwald's response is classic:

No news yet on the epidemic of CNNitis and MSNBCitis.


Fire rips through flat in Canary Wharf tower block which reportedly has same cladding as Grenfell

London fire
© Barry McGrath/Twitter
Residents trapped in a tower block this morning screamed for help from balconies as a blaze ripped through their building - with many only becoming aware of the fire via WhatsApp messages.

More than 125 firefighters in 20 vehicles spent hours battling the inferno and rescuing a host of people - including a small toddler - at New Providence Wharf, near Canary Wharf, in east London today.

Two men were taken to hospital after being exposed to toxic fumes, while a further 38 adults and four children were treated at the scene for shock and breathing in smoke.

Comment: See also: