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Tue, 27 Jul 2021
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Why: Tech companies plan to introduce bizarre pregnant man emoji

pregnant man emoji
© emojipedia.org
A preview of the Unicode Consortium's 'Pregnant Man' emojis
The creative geniuses behind the emojis we use every day have released a slew of new designs. The new emojis include a gender-neutral "person with crown," interracial handshakes, and, weirdly, a mustached "pregnant man."

The latest batch of emojis that could be hitting smartphone screens soon were revealed on Thursday, and they include some head-scratching choices: an androgynous "person with crown" as an alternative to the gendered "prince" or "princess" emojis, 15 new interracial handshake combinations, a gender-neutral "pregnant person," and, most confusingly, a "pregnant man" with a mustache.

The inclusion of a pregnant man is not a joke, nor is it a reference to the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy 'Junior'. Instead, Emojipedia - a member of the Unicode Consortium responsible for creating and releasing new emojis - said the pregnant man was included to "recognize that pregnancy is possible for some transgender men and non-binary people."


Mayor Lightfoot's Chicago to dispatch mental health experts instead of cops on 911 calls

© Scott Olson/Getty Images
Mental health professionals paired with paramedics will replace cops on some Chicago 911 calls in a first for Mayor Lori Lightfoot's troubled city.

The Chicago Times reports in one future pilot program, a paramedic will be dispatched alongside a mental health clinician for "behavioral health calls."

In another, a paramedic will work with a "recovery specialist" on calls involving substance abuse.

The response restructure comes as Chicago Police pension board figures reveal more cops have left the force so far in 2021 than did in the whole of 2018.

In total, 363 officers retired between January and June compared to 339 in 2018, as crime continues to soar across the city.

The number of homicides and shootings in Chicago spiked dramatically in 2020, ending with more bloodshed than in all but one year in more than two decades, as Breitbart News reported.

After three years of falling homicide totals, 2020 ended with 769 homicides — 274 more than the previous year and the most since the 784 homicides in 2016.

Arrow Up

Death toll in South African unrest jumps above 200 as looting and violence continues in KwaZulu-Natal

South Africa
© REUTERS/Rogan Ward
A military tank patrols near a shopping centre which was damaged after several days of looting following the imprisonment of former South Africa President Jacob Zuma in Durban, South Africa, July 16, 2021.
A South African cabinet minister has announced that the death toll from the looting and violence, triggered by the sentencing and arrest of former President Jacob Zuma, has risen to 212.

Speaking on Friday evening in a televised news conference, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the country had now registered 212 deaths since the violence erupted.

Just a day earlier, Ntshavheni had said there had at that point been 117 deaths in the two provinces primarily affected by the unrest, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The minister on Friday described the situation in KwaZulu-Natal, where the violence and unrest have been most persistent, as "stable" but "tense." She said the eastern province had seen an additional 89 deaths over the previous 24 hours.

Ntshavheni added that authorities in the region had reported 1,488 incidents of unrest, violence and looting in the past 24 hours. The government said there would be further investigations, after 4,000 rounds of ammunition were found on two people arrested.

In Gauteng, the province in which both the country's administrative capital and its largest city is located, the violence has been largely quelled. The minister said there had been an additional six deaths there during the past 24-hour period, and that 137 additional arrests had been made.

Comment: For more on the background of these riots, see:


Recent report and video reveals name of officer who shot Ashli Babbitt

ashli babbit memorial
© Reuters / Carlos Barria; Twitter
Supporters in January created a makeshift memorial for Ashli Babbitt near the Capitol in Washington.
We've been reporting on the question of who shot Ashli Babbitt. This shouldn't be a political question. But it's become one, so much so it's even had President Donald Trump raise the question.

It's a basic issue of transparency that is revealed in virtually every other case. It's what we've come to expect in a free society. It's also not just the name but the release of further facts that have not been provided by the Capitol Police in regard to the case. But the Capitol Police are controlled by Congress and so are not subject to FOIA. So despite requests, including from Babbitt's family, the Capitol Police have refused to give up the name.

Because of that, there was at least one person falsely identified as the officer who did the shooting. The USCP termed that report misidentifying a person as the officer as "misinformation."

Now there's a report as to what the real name is, based on what the acting House Sergeant at Arms said during a hearing on February 25, according to Real Clear Investigations.

Both C-SPAN and CNN removed his name from transcripts, but CQ Transcripts — which, according to its website, provides "the complete word from Capitol Hill; exactly as it was spoken" — recorded the Capitol official, Timothy Blodgett, referring to the cop as "Officer Byrd." His name is clearly audible in the videotape of the hearing (at around 39:20).

Comment: Some had suspected Byrd prior to the slip-up. For example, see this tweet from April:


The left used to love liberal Sweden: Now for pro-mask, pro-lockdown UK progressives, it doesn't exist

© TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Stockholm, Sweden
Many UK leftists seem to believe that opposing draconian Covid restrictions makes one right- wing. But what about Sweden - a country most would have admired until March 2020 - which neither locked down nor mandated masks?

With the same depressing predictability of England being defeated in a major football tournament via a late-night penalty-shoot-out, the UK government's announcement that mandatory masks and Covid restrictions would end on July 19 has been met with outright hostility from many on what one could call the 'progressive' side of British politics.

Never mind that 'Freedom Day' wasn't really freedom day at all, and that the government has spent the last few days frantically rowing back from what it had earlier promised. The very fact that face masks and 'social distancing' would no longer be mandated by the state sent some people into meltdown.

Comment: And it's not just the left, everyone who has been hystericized by the establishment and its propaganda media refuses to face the irrefutable and obvious fact that lockdowns have caused more suffering and death than the coronavirus itself. And, it's worse, because many of these outcomes were known from the very beginning, that's why no country included total lockdowns in their pandemic preparedness plans: Also check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal: The Terrible Toll of Lockdowns


Meet the Americans studying medicine on the Cuban government's dime

Med students Cuba
© Javier Galeano/AP
Medical students in laboratory of the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana.
It's a medical school like no other: the largest of its kind in the world.

The Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana, Cuba hosts students from well over 100 countries and every year, dozens of American students are paid to go there to train as doctors. Paid, that is, by the Cuban government on the proviso that they return to the U.S. and serve underprivileged communities. Generally, students come from underprivileged backgrounds themselves and would not have been able to attend medical school in the U.S. for financial reasons. The average cost of in-state training at am American public college runs to nearly $35,000 per year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, with private universities charging well over $50,000. Women and people of color make up the clear majority of applicants.

Cuba is constantly demonized by both the U.S. government and the media. Washington made its opposition to the 1959 revolution immediately clear, attempting an ill-fated invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. Decades of illegal blockades have since sapped the country's strength and wealth. Nevertheless, it remains ideologically committed to opposing American imperialism and providing similarly poor countries with medical relief. While the U.S. sends troops to other countries, Cuba invariably sends medical professionals.


The Michigan senate moves to repeal emergency powers law

© screenshot
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Republican state senators on Thursday approved the repeal of the Michigan law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used to order emergency lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic when Michigan was among the states hardest hit by COVID-19.

The state Senate's 20-15 vote along partisan lines came two days after the Board of State Canvassers certified Unlock Michigan's petition drive to repeal the 1945 law Whitmer used to maintain a state of emergency and lockdown past 28 days without the Legislature's input. The petition received about 460,000 valid signatures, far more than the approximately 340,000 needed.

Because it resulted from a petition drive, Whitmer would not be allowed to veto the repeal if the Republican-led House also approves it, as it's expected to do.

Comment: See also:


California approves first state-funded guaranteed income plan

CA state assembly
© AP/Rich Pedroncelli
California State Assembly • Sacramento, CA • July 15, 2021
California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan in the U.S., $35 million for monthly cash payments to qualifying pregnant people and young adults who recently left foster care with no restrictions on how they spend it.

The votes — 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly — showed bipartisan support for an idea that is gaining momentum across the country. Dozens of local programs have sprung up in recent years, including some that have been privately funded, making it easier for elected officials to sell the public on the idea. California's plan is taxpayer-funded, and could spur other states to follow its lead. Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk said:
"If you look at the stats for our foster youth, they are devastating. We should be doing all we can to lift these young people up."
Local governments and organizations will apply for the money and run their programs. The state Department of Social Services will decide who gets funding. California lawmakers left it up to local officials to determine the size of the monthly payments, which generally range from $500 to $1,000 in existing programs around the country.


Arizona election auditors call on lawmakers to subpoena records, survey voters

Ballot check
© AP Photo/Matt York
Maricopa County 2020 election ballots examination and recount
Contractors, hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to oversee a partisan review of the 2020 election, said Thursday that they don't have enough information to complete their report, and urged legislators to subpoena more records and survey voters at home.

Leaders of the GOP audit described a wide variety of reasons their review is taking months longer than the 60 days initially planned, including confusion about damaged ballots and a lack of access to certain data. They described the delays during a meeting livestreamed at the Capitol Thursday and watched by thousands.

As the audit drags on, some Republicans worry the spectacle of widely discredited operations will drive away voters in next year's elections. Yet as long as it continues, it provides fodder for former President Donald Trump and other Republicans making false claims of fraud and vague allegations about ballot problems.

Comment: This is conjecture from the author. To determine the status and viability of the vote via the audit is to every voter's benefit.

A hand count of a statistical sample of ballots matched the machine count, and two post-election audits found no manipulation of the machines. Trump lost Arizona by 10,457 votes.

Comment: See also:

Gold Seal

Russian soccer team CSKA Moscow players refused to vaccinate against Covid-19 due to already having high levels of antibodies

russian soccer team CSKA
© Sputnik / Vladimir Fedorenko
CSKA's players celebrate the team's goal during the Russian Premier-League soccer match between CSKA Moscow and Krasnodar, in Moscow, Russia
Every player at Russia's CSKA Moscow soccer club has refused vaccination against Covid-19, it was reported on Thursday, with the team allegedly rejecting inoculation against the virus that has killed at least 146,000 Russians.

That's according to a source for Russian sports outlet Championat, which revealed that, at the moment, only the club's employees have been vaccinated, with the talent refusing to be jabbed.

According to Sergey Aksenov, the club's public relations director, the players decided not to get jabbed because 85% of them reportedly have a high level of antibodies. He called the reports of a collective decision "complete nonsense," however.

Comment: A high level of antibodies signals the body's immune system has already recognized and dealt with the virus and many of its variants. There's no need for artificial intervention, and in fact, could be actively harmful.