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Megaphone

Snap Covid-19 lockdown sparks rare protest in Chinese tech hub Shenzhen

BYD Covid testing line, China, coronavirus
© Jade Gao/AFP
Employees of electric carmaker BYD lining up to be tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus at the company headquarters in Shenzhen, in China’s southern Guangdong province, on July 11, 2022.
Dozens of people have taken part in a rare protest in the southern Chinese tech hub of Shenzhen, social media footage shows, after officials announced a snap lockdown over a handful of Covid cases.

The megacity of more than 18 million people reported just 10 infections on Tuesday, but officials have still ordered residents in three districts to stay home as China sticks to its strict zero-Covid policy.

Officials are also under pressure to snuff out outbreaks quickly ahead of a key political meeting in Beijing next month.

Videos circulating on China's Twitter-like platform Weibo and Instagram since Monday — verified by AFP — show dozens chanting "lift the Covid lockdown" as rows of police in medical protective gear look on.

In one clip a woman shouts: "Police are hitting people."

The protest took place in Shawei, a neighbourhood in Futian district where the city government is based, AFP confirmed.

Comment: It may not be much longer until China starts to relax its strict policies: Will China abandon zero Covid after the CCP National Congress in October?


Info

Early turnout numbers for referendums on joining Russia revealed

refugee polling station, Alushta, Crimea, Russia, Ukraine
© Sputnik / Konstantin Mikhalchevsky
Refugees queue to vote during the referendum on the joining of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic to Russia, at the polling station in Alushta, Crimea, Russia.
The referendums on joining Russia are continuing in the Donbass republics and Russian-controlled regions of southern Ukraine. On Sunday, the turnout already reached the required 50% threshold in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and Zaporozhye Region, with only Kherson lagging behind.

In the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), more than 76% of eligible voters have already cast their votes, according to official figures. The referendum in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) is proceeding at a similar pace, with some 77% of voters having shown up at the polling stations.

Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which were largely seized by Russian forces amid the ongoing conflict, have demonstrated a lower turnout. Still, the latter region has already met the required legal threshold, with some 51.55% of registered voters already casting their ballots, according to the head of the Zaporozhye electoral committee, Galina Katyshenko. Kherson has so far demonstrated lower turnout, with nearly 49% of voters showing up for the referendum. Polls across the two regions and in the Donbass republics are set to stay open for the next two days.

Comment: Serbia and Kazakhstan have said that they won't recognize the results of the referendums:

Russian Ally Kazakhstan Says It Won't Recognize Referendum Results From Ukraine
Kazakhstan, a close ally of Russia, will not recognize the results of so-called referendums organized by Moscow on Ukraine's territories occupied by Russian troops.

Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov said on September 26 that Astana's attitude to the ongoing referendums in parts of Ukraine's Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya regions, which are under at least the partial control of Russian troops, is based on "the principle of countries' territorial integrity."

Smadiyarov stressed that Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev had explicitly expressed the Central Asian nation's position on the parts of Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions that have been under Russia-backed separatists' control since 2014, as well as in the districts of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions, parts of which have been under the control of occupying Russian troops since March this year.

At a June economic forum in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, Toqaev, sitting on the podium next to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, called parts of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk, which Moscow has recognized as the Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) and Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), as "quasi-states" that Kazakhstan will not recognize.
Balkan Ally Serbia Says It Won't Recognize Russia's Staged Votes In Occupied Ukraine
Russian ally Serbia has said it won't recognize the current votes in Russian-held parts of Ukraine that Kyiv has called "sham" referendums, dealing another international blow to the Kremlin's hastily organized effort at consolidating early gains in its 7-month-old invasion.

Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said on September 25 in Belgrade that "Serbia cannot accept these results" due to its commitment to the UN Charter and respect for international law, among other things.

Doing so "would completely violate our national and state interests, the preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the inviolability of borders," he said.

Serbia has kept close relations with Russia in particular to bolster its refusal to recognize the 2008 declaration of sovereignty by its former province Kosovo, which is now recognized by more than 100 countries.

Moscow has repeatedly cited the Kosovo case as an example of Western overreach.

Selakovic and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signed a so-called consultation plan for their countries for the next two years on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

It was the first high-level diplomatic document that Serbia and Russia have signed since February 24, when the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

The European Union's rapporteur for EU hopeful Serbia, Vladimir Bilicik, greeted news of the signing as "a major blow to [the] accession process in the Western Balkans."

"Let's be clear: [Russia] is mobilizing to attack [EU] candidate state [Ukraine], Russia is attacking EU enlargement!" Bilicik said.

Belgrade backed several UN resolutions condemning Russia's invasion but has avoided joining EU-wide sanctions joined by the bloc's other aspiring members.

The so-called referendums in the Russia-held areas in Ukraine of the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya regions have been dismissed as frauds by Ukraine, the West, and the United Nations because they are illegal under international law.

Moscow has suggested it will defend them as part of Russia after the votes.



Arrow Up

Cut 'symbolic gestures', Braverman tells police in England and Wales

Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman has ordered police chiefs to spend less time on "symbolic gestures" and more time on policing.

In an open letter to police leaders in England and Wales, in which she set out her policing agenda, the new home secretary said diversity and inclusion initiatives "should not take precedence" over tackling crime.

"Unfortunately, there is a perception that the police have had to spend too much time on symbolic gestures than actually fighting criminals," she wrote in the letter, published on Saturday.

Comment: While Nazir Afzal has a point about underfunding, there have been cases of police arresting people for supposed 'hate crimes', so it wouldn't be a stretch to say that they are not using their time wisely, case in point:

See also:


Black Magic

Are more Americans waking up to the horrors of 'gender-affirming care'?

transgender flag protester
© AP Photo/Robin Rayne
A supporter for the transgender community holds a trans flag in front of counter-protesters to protect attendees from their insults and obscenities at the city's Gay Pride Festival in Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.
As the Left takes over all aspects of culture, you are not supposed to notice. When you notice, they first tell you that it isn't happening. Then when you provide the proof, they ask you why you care and proceed to extoll the virtues of whatever horror they're pushing. When you continue to point it out, it is encouraging violence. This trend is alive and well among trans activists as the horrors of gender-transition treatment for minors come to light.

Here is trans activist and adult human male Parker Malloy lying and saying no one is doing genital surgeries on children. According to Molloy, Senator Ted Cruz and anyone objecting to the castration and mutilation of adolescents are encouraging murder:

Comment:


Bulb

How could we have been so naive about Big Tech?

Big Tech
The 1998 movie Enemy of the State starring Gene Hackman and Will Smith seemed like fiction at the time. Why I didn't regard that movie - which still holds up in nearly every detail - as a warning I do not know. It pulls back the curtain on the close working relationship between national security agencies and the communications industry - spying, censorship, blackmailing, and worse. Today, it seems not just a warning but a description of reality.

There is no longer any doubt at all about the symbiotic relationship between Big Tech - the digital communications industry in particular - and government. The only issue we need to debate is which of the two sectors are more decisive in driving the loss of privacy, free speech, and liberty in general.

Not only that: I've been involved in many debates over the years, always taking the side of technology over those who warned of the coming dangers. I was a believer, a techno-utopian and could not see where this was headed.

The lockdowns were the great shock for me, not only for the unconscionably draconian policies imposed on the country so quickly. The shock was intensified by how all the top tech companies immediately enlisted in the war on freedom of association. Why? Some combination of industry ideology, which shifted over 30 years from a founding libertarian ethos to become a major force for techno-tyranny, plus industry self-interest (how better to promote digital media consumption than to force half the workforce to stay home?) were at work.

Megaphone

Tunisians protest high prices and food shortages, chaotic scenes at supermarket over staples

tunisia 2022
© NurPhoto/Getty
A fish stall at a market in Tunis. Food shortages have been blamed on both speculators and hoarders by the government.
Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Sunday night in the capital against poverty, high prices and the shortage of some foodstuff, escalating pressure on the government of President Kais Saied, as the country suffers an economic and political crisis.

Tunisia is struggling to revive its public finances as discontent grows over inflation running at nearly 9% and a shortage of many food items in stores because the country cannot afford to pay for some imports.

The North African nation is also in the midst of a severe political crisis since Saied seized control of the executive power last year and dissolved parliament in a move his opponents called a coup.

Comment:




Stock Down

British pound hits all-time low as PM Truss is accused of gambling with economy

gbp british pound dollar

The British pound has plunged to an all-time low against the dollar with investors looking for exits after the new Tory government's fiscal plan threatened to stretch the crisis-battered country's finances to breaking point.
The pound nosedived nearly 5 percent at one point to $1.0327, its lowest since the United Kingdom went decimal in 1971, reports said on Monday.

On Monday, the British currency plummeted to an unprecedented $1.0327, extending a 3.61 percent dive from Friday, when new Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng enacted historic tax cuts.

The pound's latest dive, which saw the British currency fall to near parity with the dollar, further prompted shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves to accuse Kwarteng and the Conservative Party's newly-picked Prime Minister Liz Truss of "recklessly" gambling with Britain's finances.

Comment:








Newspaper

Iran protesters clash with police outside embassy in London

iran protest london

Protesters gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in London
Protesters have clashed with police officers during demonstrations outside the Iranian embassy in London.

The Met Police said members of the crowd threw missiles at officers and breached police lines in Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, on Sunday afternoon.

It comes as protests in Iran spread across the world, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in custody after being detained by Iranian morality police.

At least five officers were seriously injured, the Met Police said.

Comment: Below is some footage from the protests, some media from Iran and the protests that have occurred in favor of the government, along with some balanced commentary - see also: Iranian police claim woman arrested over hijab died of heart attack in custody - incident sparked protests
















Book 2

Syracuse U. professor defends sexually explicit K-12 book

queer power grafitti
A Syracuse University professor is defending the inclusion of a sexually explicit book in the nation's K-12 schools, saying she doesn't see what is so "scandalous" about it.

Katherine Kidd, coordinator of the Syracuse English Studies program, told the student paper The Daily Orange that keeping a book like "Gender Queer" out of schools "solely on the basis of it being sexually explicit limits discussions about young adults' discovery of gender identity in relation to their bodies."

Kidd said banning the book — the most challenged publication of 2021 — "erases" the experiences of what folks like author Maia Kobabe describe, and added it's "scary" that it is being "challenged for pornographic material."


Comment: Only fanatic idiots talk like this. Not including this book in school libraries does not, and cannot, "erase" someone's experiences. Get a grip, Kidd.


Kidd's remarks were part of an article titled "SU professors emphasize reading banned books focusing on gender, sexuality" which also covered Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." That book, now almost 40 years old, was included in the American Library Association's list of most challenged books in 2019 and "has been banned across school districts nationwide for even longer."

Kidd said she "will strive to include novels and readings that are controversial as a way to expose her students to viewpoints and ideas that differ from their own."

X

Is it time to accept that Omicron is not COVID-19?

Corona
© Unknown
Corona Virus
A few weeks ago, the Washington Post announced:
"President Biden, doubly boosted, is in a much more favorable position to fight COVID-19 than President Donald Trump was before the rollout of vaccines."
NPR elaborated:
"Even if you're the president, it's hard to avoid a breakthrough Covid infection."
We all know many individuals who have been vaccinated and boosted, yet still get infected. How does that happen? One reason is that original COVID-19's SARS CoV-2 virus - to which human populations have built immunologic resistance through exposure, vaccine or both - no longer circulates. References to current illness as COVID-19 represents a category mistake (when a person talks about something as though it's a different type of thing from the thing it is).

It was still pertinent to speak of 'COVID-19' after the late 2020 exit of the 'ancestral' version, since certain SARS CoV-2 descendants, via mutation, found gaps in our immunologic defenses to become next-generation (but milder) 'variants of concern' (VOC). They ran sequentially through the Greek alphabet, springing up around the globe: Alpha (England), Beta (South Africa), Gamma (Brazil), and Delta (India).

All of these second-wave variant-strains ultimately disappeared, superseded in the category of coronavirus infection by the significantly milder virus found circulating late 2021 in South Africa. This virus was given a Greek letter name as per the previous VOC format - but this was inappropriate, given that Omicron strain is not a lineal SARS-CoV-2 descendant.

Comment: Commiserating reference to Biden? He's not one of us. Not even close.