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Tue, 03 Aug 2021
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Olympic celebration sees Hong Kong police make first arrest under controversial national anthem law

HongKongers watch olympics
© StudioIncendo
Hongkongers watch Edgar Cheung strike Olympic gold at a shopping mall.
A man has been detained by Hong Kong police for allegedly insulting the Chinese national anthem - the first arrest of its kind in the city.

Police said the 40-year-old waved a British colonial Hong Kong flag while urging others to "boo" the Chinese anthem - March of the Volunteers - as well as chant slogans during a livestream of an awards ceremony from the Tokyo Olympic Games at a mall in Kwun Tong on Monday. It is the first time the authorities have invoked the controversial new anthem law since came into effect in June last year.

Comment: A flag on the play: Carrying the wrong piece of cloth on stick can get you arrested, investigated and criminalized.


COVID: Berlin court bans anti-lockdown protests

Berlin protest
© Christian Mang/Rückblende/dpa/picture alliance
Berlin protest
Judges in the German capital have moved to ban a number of weekend demonstrations amid fears they will lead to a rise in coronavirus infections. Police expect protesters to travel to Berlin nonetheless. Berlin authorities have banned more than tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters demonstrating this weekend.

Judges at the German capital's administrative court refused to authorize 13 demonstrations, some of which had been organized by the Querdenker (Lateral thinker) anti-lockdown movement. The ban was upheld by the Berlin-Brandeburg upper administrative court. Organizers said 22,500 people had registered to take part in one of the rallies.

Court officials said the protests were banned amid fears of a rise in coronavirus infections sparked by the delta variant.

A separate march planned for Sunday has also been forbidden. The "For Peace, Freedom, Truth" rally had been expected to draw 3,500 people. Several of the demonstrations had been organized in support of Berlin's nightclubs.

Why were the demos banned? The court said the risk to public health was too high.

Comment: Protests are gaining momentum. How many more variants, real or fake, will it take to quell the resistance?
Germany has become one of the focal points as thousands took to the streets. Authorities in Germany have indicated that unvaccinated people could be banned from cinemas and restaurants and that those who have taken the jab will have "more freedom."

Angela Merkel's chief of staff Helge Braun stated that unvaccinated people, even if they test negative for COVID, would not be allowed to go to venues like restaurants, cinemas, or stadiums, because "the risk to everyone else is too high."

Footage from the weekend highlighted riot police fighting with protesters, pepper spraying people and even aggressively pushing around old women and children. The AP reports that 600 people were arrested.


Sudesh Amman: Police voiced concern over Streatham terror attacker's intent before his release from jail, inquest hears

Sudesh Amman
Police were so concerned that terrorist prisoner Sudesh Amman might launch an attack, they tried and failed to get prison authorities to hold him in jail longer, an inquest into the Islamist extremist's death has been told.

The 20-year-old had been free from prison just 10 days before he launched a knife attack on Streatham High Road in southeast London.

He was shot dead by two armed surveillance officers just a minute after launching his attack on 2 February 2020.

Amman was jailed in December 2018 for collecting and disseminating extremist literature.

"While in prison he appeared to retain an extremist mindset and appeared still intent on carrying out acts of violence on his release," Jonathan Hough QC, for the coroner, told the hearing.

Mr Hough said: "He also seemed to feel he had celebrity status as a result of being convicted of terrorist offences."

During a search of his cell in 2019, prison officers found handwritten notes in Arabic that "appeared to show a pledge of loyalty to the leader of Islamic State", Mr Hough said.


No, New York Times, there is no good reason to let non-citizens vote - regardless of what self-obsessed immigrants demand

american flag bunting voting booths
© Getty Images / Hill Street Studios
The New York Times has published an essay by a permanent resident, urging Democrats to expand the US franchise to non-citizens. While we should be thankful someone said the quiet part out loud, the author's argument is nonsense.

"There Is No Good Reason You Should Have to Be a Citizen to Vote," blares the headline over the opinion piece, published Wednesday and authored by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian. She argues that now "it's time for Democrats to radically expand the electorate."

Comment: Democrat strongholds are already at it, whether through overt action, or obfusticaton.

Gold Seal

'Just magical': Joy for Tamberi and Barshim as they opt to share gold in men's high jump

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Ital7 share gold medal
© Hannah McKay/Reuters
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy celebrate after winning gold in the men’s high jump final at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Photograph:
Two athletes who agreed to share gold medals in the Olympics men's high jump competition, in what is likely to be remembered as one of the most heartwarming moments of the Tokyo Games, have been flooded with praise.

Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi and Mutaz Barshim of Qatar were locked in first place after a tough few hours of competing on Sunday. The two athletes, who are also good friends, were then given the option to settle matters with a jump-off.

Barshim had a better idea: how about two golds?

Bacon n Eggs

New California hog farming law could cut off nearly all of the state's pork supply, bacon prices would skyrocket

© Desconocido
A new California law for farms could cut off nearly all of the state's pork supply, which would create a bacon shortage in the state and drive up prices substantially.

In November 2018, California voters overwhelmingly approved California Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative. The bill is aimed at more humane treatment of farm animals would "establish minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens and ban the sale of veal from calves, pork from breeding pigs, and eggs from hens when the animals are confined to areas below minimum square-feet requirements," according to Ballotpedia.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, the second deadline of the law goes into effect, which requires "egg-laying hens to be housed cage-free and breeding pigs raised with twenty-four square feet per pig," which would mean expanding animals pens to about 4 feet by 6 feet.


Hard work is racist? Woke profs unironically demand to give black employees extra 'time to rest and recover'

workplace meeting employees
© monkeybusinessimages/iStock
Are some more deserving of rest than others?
Black employees are exhausted. Over the past year, their cognitive, emotional, and physical resources have been disproportionally depleted due to two deadly and intertwined pandemics: Covid-19 and structural racism. Black people are more likely to lose their jobs and be hospitalized or die from Covid-19, while still facing disproportionate threats of brutalization and death from policing compared to white people.

Additional factors exacerbate these experiences. First, assaults against Black people were major news stories in 2020, broadcasted regularly across all types of media. This is what's known as a racial mega-threat — a negative, large-scale, race-related event that receives significant media attention — which heightens racial trauma. Research shows that this type of ongoing experience creates psychological racial battle fatigue — a natural depletion response to commonplace, consistent experiences of heightened distress due to racism.

Comment: Speechless.


When will the COVID revolt come?

burning masks
At some point, there will be a revolt. The longer the arbitrary insanity persists, the more violent the reaction will be.

The most cheerful headline I have seen in weeks was on Glenn Reynolds' New York Post column: "No, Karen, we're not masking again." I hope he is right. I do wonder, though. I have no doubt that the second part of his headline — "A winning GOP message for 2022 [and] beyond" — is correct. At least it's correct if it is expressed as a conditional: It would be a winning strategy were it adopted. As Reynolds notes, "There is a great deal of pent-up frustration and resentment over the inconvenience, the loss of freedom and the general climate of hectoring that the government's pandemic response has created." Indeed. And he's right, too, that
It's irritating to be lectured by officials who claim to be smarter than you. It's infuriating to be lectured by government officials who claim to be smarter than you — but clearly aren't.

The on-again/off-again claims on masks and vaccination are just part of it. Tired of masks? Get vaccinated, they told us. Now they're saying wear a mask, even if you've been vaccinated and even if you're associating with others who've been vaccinated.

And there's talk of more lockdowns, which a growing body of scientific evidence suggests were perfectly useless and downright harmful.
As Molly Bloom exclaimed in a different context, Yes, Yes, Yes!

Penis Pump

Minor Russian politicians try to win votes at polling stations by using exact same name as opposition


"This is the only way these crooks can fight against me," Boris Vishnevsky said about two rival candidates with the exact same names.
Boris Vishnevsky is a known figure in St. Petersburg.

An opposition politician who heads the liberal Yabloko party's committee in the local legislature, he is also a man known locally as a defender of the city's cultural heritage and as a columnist in the independent newspaper Novaya gazeta.

But ahead of elections in September, the number of public figures named Boris Vishnevsky appeared to suspiciously multiply.

In May, Vishnevsky announced his candidacy for both the St. Petersburg legislative assembly and the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, representing two districts in the center of his native city.

Comment: Note that the ruling United Russia party and its candidates do not need to resort to such tactics to gain votes: Despite small gains for the far right and Navalny, Russia's weekend elections suggest no political change is imminent


Lagoon turns shocking pink and fish farming may be to blame

Argentina pink lagoon
Screenshot: Aerial view of a lagoon that turned pink due to a chemical in the Patagonian province of Chubut, Argentina, on July 23, 2021.
A lagoon in Argentina has turned pink and environmentalists say dumped chemical waste is to blame. The colour comes from sodium sulfite, an antibacterial product used in fish factories.

The lagoon, near the town of Trewlew and 1,400km south of Buenos Aires, receives runoff from an industrial park and has turned the colour of fuchsia before.

In recent weeks, residents living near the lagoon blocked roads used by trucks carrying processed fish waste to treatment plants on the outskirts of their city.

Comment: See also: