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Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Snowflake logic strikes again: Michigan college bans dormitory whiteboards to stop 'hurtful words'


Many students criticize decision as overbearing, unnecessary


Students at Michigan State University soon will not be permitted to hang whiteboards on the outside of their dorm room doors.

The new policy, effective Fall 2017, was created in an attempt to eliminate opportunities for students to write mean words and racial slurs, according to a campus official.

"Their utility as a communication tool no longer outweighed the attractive nuisance that they are," Kat Cooper, director of university residential services communications, told The College Fix via email.

In a statement to The Detroit News, Cooper added: "In any given month, there are several incidents like this [hurtful words]. There was no one incident that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Sometimes these things are racial, sometimes they're sexual in nature. There are all sorts of things that happen."

Comment: See also:


Blackbox

Business is booming? British economy continues to defy Brexit doom-mongers

© Neil Hall / Reuters
Britain's economy grew by more than previously reported in the last quarter of 2016, according to official figures - despite Brexit scaremongering.

The UK's GDP grew by 0.7 percent in Q4 of last year - up from the 0.6 percent originally estimated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The upward revision is partly due to the manufacturing industry performing better than predicted.

Comment: Of course most 'experts' were screaming that Britain would burst into flames on a 'Brexit' vote - it was just more of the same-old propaganda. So, the fact that the world hasn't ended shouldn't shock anyone. Nancy Curtin, Chief Investment Officer at Close Brothers Asset management, has claimed that it has largely been a weak pound that has helped Britain maintain its current course:
"The improved GDP revision for the final quarter of 2016 confirms that it was business as usual for the UK economy, despite the UK's momentous vote to leave the EU. The lower pound appears to have acted as shock absorber and continues to aid industrial activity and exports. The UK is also in a fortunate position of capitalising on any pick up in global growth given that 70% of its market is international.
The weak pound has helped British corporations who get their earnings abroad. As Financial Times reports,
Why is the FTSE loving this?

Because many companies in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 get their earnings abroad.

The likes of HSBC, GlaxoSmithKline and Wolseley are all seeing nice boosts to their share prices. Even the mid-cap 250 index, which has a more diverse group of companies that better reflects the UK economy, is enjoying sterling's pain, since it is populated by commodities companies. Interest rates are low so the dividend yield from equities is more tempting than yields from other markets. Caution: this is one way of looking at the FTSE.

Another is to measure FTSE companies in dollar terms, and when you do that you see that the FTSE is down over the course of the year. Compared to US companies and other peers, UK companies are underperforming in the long term. Even so, the FTSE may be benefiting from the surprisingly good economic data since Brexit and the neutralisation, thus far, of fears about recession. There is also the prospect of a weaker pound firing M&A activity. "While we expect Brexit fears to bite at some stage, the strength of the FTSE 100 is reflective of the fact that Brexit hasn't had too much of an impact on the UK economy so far," says Kathleen Brooks at City Index.



Heart

Muslim activists raise $57k to restore vandalized Jewish cemetary

© Stephanie Keith / Reuters
Activist Linda Sarsour
Two prominent Muslim activists joined together to raise more than $57,000 for repairs to a Jewish cemetery. Vandals damaged over 150 tombstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Missouri.

The suburban St. Louis cemetery was vandalized late Sunday or early Monday and discovered Monday morning. But by the end of Tuesday, a fundraiser started by Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi raised over $31,000 to repair it, surpassing its goal of $20,000.

The damages to the cemetery came following heightened concerns over hate crimes in the US. There have already been 12 reported bomb threats to Jewish community centers and late last month, a mosque in Texas was burned down.

Attention

Illegal immigrant gang member released from Rikers Island under New York's "Sanctuary City" law

An illegal immigrant gang member from El Salvador was allowed to walk free from Rikers Island under Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Sanctuary City" law — in defiance of a federal petition to hold him for deportation, officials said Tuesday.

"This man is by his own admission a member of a violent street gang and he was released back into the community," said Thomas Decker, field office director for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in New York. "Honoring a detainer request is not about politics, it is about keeping New York citizens safe."

Estivan Rafael Marques Velasquez, an admitted member of the notorious MS-13 gang, was released from Rikers Island on Feb. 16 after serving time for disorderly conduct.

ICE officials had requested last May that Velasquez — who was ordered removed by an immigration judge in November 2015 — be turned over to them when he was done serving his sentence, but no one at ICE was alerted to his release.

Comment: Poll finds that 80% of American voters oppose 'sanctuary cities'


Alarm Clock

Mentally ill Chinese man beheads noodle vendor over 12 pence

© Wuhan Police
A Chinese man beheaded a noodle vendor after accusing him of overcharging 12p ($0.15), according to local reports from the city of Wuhan. The incident took place on Saturday 18 February.

The suspect, 22, is alleged to have been furious after believing he had been asked to pay one yuan too much for his dinner. He complained to the restaurant owner, 42, and a deadly fight broke out.

During the fight, the younger man is reported to have seized a kitchen knife from within the restaurant and used it to decapitate the proprietor. He is then said to have thrown his rival's head into a nearby rubbish bin.

The victim is reportedly a single father who divorced five years ago and now takes sole charge of his 13-year-old son in Wuhan, Hubei province.

Police arrived at the scene shortly after and arrested the 22-year-old, reported to be from the bordering province of Sichuan. Photos show him in custody handcuffed to a table, seemingly calm.

Arrow Up

Texas proposes aggressive campus rape laws in wake of Baylor sexual assault scandal


Sen. Joan Huffman is co-sponsoring a bill that would institute some of the most stringent anti-campus rape rules in the country.
Texas could soon pass some of the most aggressive campus rape laws in the country, a reaction to the sexual assault scandal at Baylor University.

"I love my school, but I've been extraordinarily disappointed," said Baylor alumnus Kirk Watson, a Democratic senator from Austin. "I actually think there is a real feeling that we need to address sexual assault.
"It's a bear in the room."
Watson filed five bills Tuesday that aim to increase and encourage reporting and lessen rates of sexual violence, harassment and stalking on college campuses. But he's also the co-sponsor of a proposal that would require school employees — and even some students — to report assaults or else face criminal penalties.

"We've got to be serious about this," Watson said. "Students have a right to be safe."

Comment:


Question

'Guess I'm breaking the law': Utah in a predicament in how to enforce abortion clinic 'fetal pain' law

© Global Look Press
Nine months after Utah passed the nation's first law requiring abortion providers to administer anesthesia to fetuses, the only licensed clinic in the state says that the state is not enforcing the law.

In May 2016, Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) signed the "Protecting Unborn Children Amendment" law, which requires physicians to administer anesthesia or analgesic, a painkiller, to women having an abortion after 20 weeks' gestation. These painkillers are not intended to aid the pregnant women, but only to "eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child."

According to Planned Parenthood, there are only two licensed abortion clinics in the entire state, both of which are located in Salt Lake City. However, only one of those clinics performs the elective procedure.

Dr. Leah Torres, one of the handful of physicians who performs elective abortions at the clinic, said she has been trying to comply with the law, but she doesn't know how to administer fetal anesthesia.

"I have no idea of what fetal anesthesia means," Torres told the Standard Examiner last April. "Does that mean if I give my patient a Motrin I've now administered an analgesic to the fetus? I'm calling the governor, every day... I want to know how not to break the law."

Governor Gary Herbert (R) told the Associated Press that physicians should direct their questions about the law to the attorney general's office.

Comment: See also: No aid with maternity or abortions: Most state laws drive families with children to poverty - report


Fire

DAPL protesters set tents ablaze ahead of camp evacuation deadline

© Terray Sylvester / Reuters
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters have started setting fire to their camp ahead of an enforced evacuation deadline Wednesday.

Earlier, several demonstrators declared they would not leave the site and instead were bracing for a stand-off with law enforcement.


Stop

East London gallery under fire for hosting 'neo-Nazi' art & 'Islamophobic' speakers

© Kacper Pempel / Reuters
A London art gallery has been criticized for exhibiting neo-Nazi artwork, hosting openly Islamophobic speakers and "promoting fascism."

LD50, in Dalston, east London, is facing calls to shut down over an exhibition and a series of talks hosted by the far right or so-called 'alt-right' movement, which is known for its vehement anti-liberal stance, often favoring white supremacist views.

Last summer, the gallery, run by Lucia Diego, held a 'neoreaction conference' featuring speakers including Peter Brimelow, Brett Stevens and Iben Thranholm. 'Neoreaction' is a 'philosophy' which rejects democracy, is anti-egalitarian and embraces autocratic rule.

Handcuffs

Solitary confinement of teens in British prisons 'against UN torture rules'- government denies the practice

© Suhaib Salem / Reuters
Prisons in the UK are keeping teenage offenders in solitary confinement despite the government denying the practice is still in use, an investigation has found.

Young offenders institutions (YOI), which imprison 15- to 18-year-olds, are allegedly using solitary confinement, which can cause mental health issues for inmates, according to the Independent.

Prison inspection reports found that teenagers are self-harming as a result of the distress caused by recurring and prolonged isolation.

Solitary confinement could be infringing British law and Article 16 of the UN Convention Against Torture, under which governments must prevent prison officials from carrying out "acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."