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Mon, 25 Jan 2021
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RIP Larry King: A man from an era of more civil, respectful and insightful journalism. Farewell and thank you

Larry King on RT
© RT
Larry King at RT
RT is paying tribute to talk show legend Larry King, whose distinguished career served us a reminder of simpler times when questioning entrenched beliefs and listening to those you don't agree with was considered a virtue.

The entire field of broadcast media is shaped to its core by the gold standard that he established, and the debt owed him by all practitioners of his craft can never be repaid in full.

Larry attained national prominence as host of The Larry King Show, taking calls from listeners across the country and giving every last caller a fair hearing; he challenged them, he consoled them, and by making the space everyone's perspective, he enlightened his whole audience.

Comment: Tributes have flowed in for the legendary host:
Beloved US talk show legend Larry King has died in hospital at the age of 87 following a long illness, his family confirmed. The veteran interviewer won stacks of awards during his career and hosted RT America's PoliticKing show.

This is the official RT statement regarding King's death:
"Today the world lost a legend and RT lost a dear colleague and friend. Larry King was a staple on TV screens for decades, shaping the face of news and current affairs for millions, and inspiring generations of journalists. He hosted two landmark shows on RT, PoliticKing and Larry King Now, and we proudly worked with him since 2013. Countless famous faces, world leaders and loyal viewers will feel his absence from the airwaves deeply."
RT's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has expressed her condolences over Larry King's death. She called him "the main legend" and a "symbol" of television, as well as "the most recognized TV personality in the world."

She added that King had always said he would work on TV until his death, and she is very proud that he worked with RT over the last eight years. He was a great man who was very easy to work with, Simonyan said, calling his death a "grievous and irreplaceable loss."


Schizoid nation: French doctors say not to talk on subway - because Covid

covid france
© REUTERS / Stephane Mahe
Passengers on public transport systems should avoid talking to one another or on the phone in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the French National Academy of Medecine said.

"The mandatory wearing of masks on public transport, where social distancing is not possible, should by accompanied by one very simple precaution: avoid talking and making phone calls," the academy said in a statement.

Academy member Patrick Berche said on BFM TV on Saturday that if there were only three people in a subway car there was no problem, but if you were only two centimetres away from the next person it made sense not to converse or talk on the phone.

"It is not an obligation, it is a recommendation," he said.

The academy is not an official advisory body. It can respond to government questions but also issues recommendations, which sometimes go against official policy.

Comment: Obsessive-compulsive behavior (constant hand-washing, mask-wearing). Paranoia. Hysteria. Antisocial behavior. And, as this article suggests, asociality. Covid regulations are designed to induce mental illness in the general public. And it's working.

Bizarro Earth

"Just like in Ukraine and Belarus": TikTok condemned by Russian parents association over calls for youth to attend Navalny protests

© Sputnik / Evgeny Odinokov
Young people attracted by calls for civil unrest from opposition activists could be putting themselves in harm's way, say Russian officials, telling parents to get their kids to watch a movie instead.

The Ministry of Education in Moscow posted the stark warning to its page on the VKontakte social network on Thursday. Responsible for the protection of young people, the authorities noted that "in the last few days, calls for children to go on so-called 'marches' [on Saturday] have begun to appear in droves in various forums."

"We are all aware of children's curiosity, love of harmless pranks and showing off, but in the hands of unscrupulous adults, all this can involve a young person in illegal actions and drag them into a very bad situation," the officials said. "Be as vigilant as possible, take an interest in your children's plans and protect them from the dangers of these 'outings.' Spend the day together!"

Comment: Tweets below reveal some of the planning behind the protests, as well as from the event itself:

"Oleg Stepanov, coordinator of Navalny's Moscow headquarters, detained"

Blue Planet

Google says it will block search engine in Australia if forced to pay for news

google logo 3d printed
© REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
A 3D printed Google logo is seen in this illustration taken April 12, 2020.
Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday it would block its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a new code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay media companies for the right to use their content.

Google's threat escalates a battle with publishers such as News Corp that is being closely watched around the world. The search giant had warned that its 19 million Australian users would face degraded search and YouTube experiences if the new code were enforced.

Australia is on course to pass laws that would make tech giants negotiate payments with local publishers and broadcasters for content included in search results or news feeds. If they cannot strike a deal, a government-appointed arbitrator will decide the price.

Comment: See also:


Ghislaine Maxwell's Epstein court hearing 'hacked' by 14,000 QAnon followers

Comment: That's RT's choice of headline, not ours. You don't 'hack' a court hearing. You publish it. 'Illegally' perhaps, but it's publishing information, not hacking it. The very fact that the two terms are synonymous (thanks to the highly publicized trial of Julian Assange, which amounts to a public torture session) whenever people in power feel threatened by public exposure sums up the absolute state of 'journalism' these days.

Ghislaine Maxwell QAnon Q
© AFP / Handout / Laura Cavanaugh / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA; REUTERS/Patrick Fallon
(L) Ghislaine Maxwell; (R) A QAnon sign
A court hearing involving Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell was interrupted after it was unlawfully live-streamed to thousands of followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

The hearing to unseal documents from a bombshell 2015 civil lawsuit against accused sex trafficker Maxwell ground to a halt on Tuesday when the presiding judge was informed that the proceedings were being broadcast on YouTube.

"Judge, I need to interrupt. I was just informed that apparently somebody is broadcasting this on to YouTube, so I don't know if you want to give a reminder that that is illegal to do," the deputy clerk told Judge Loretta Preska.

Comment: See also:


Twitter suspends Michelle Malkin, Gateway Pundit, Right Side Broadcasting Network accounts

Michelle Malkin
© AP Photo
Conservative activist Michelle Malkin is pictured.
Twitter suspended yet another stack of conservative accounts. This occurred less than two weeks after the hashtag "hang Mike Pence" was allowed to trend on the platform for a whole night and hit over 14,000 tweets.

On Tuesday, conservative activist Michelle Malkin took to Telegram to announce Twitter had locked her account without following typical protocol, which would require an explanation of the suspension and opportunity to delete posts violating Twitter policy.

The political commentator asserted her profile's 24-hour suspension was politically motivated and pointed to her account's final tweet. In her last post, she warned Americans about censorship on mass media platforms. She noted these restrictions go against the spirit of the Constitution.

Comment: See also:


It's a miracle! US sees record one-day drop in covid hospitalizations since Biden inauguration.

Joe Biden’s inaugural speech
In the last few days - really since the BIden inauguration - we have seen declarations of victory over covid across the board, from the likes of Dr. Fauci who yesterday said that coronavirus infections may be "about to hit a "plateau", to Wall Street, where Bank of America yesterday declared "The Beginning Of The End Of The COVID Crisis."

In its chart of the day, BofA showed that the US is now clearly over the hump, with 142,000 COVID cases in the US on Monday, down 32% from the prior Monday with the seven day average also dropping to 209,000, down 16% from the peak on January 8th.

us covid chart 1
In another good sign, the bank said that "testing is increasing and the share of tests that come back positive is falling" and cheerfully adds that "It seems clear that an end to the holiday season, a modest increase in restrictions and a small increase in herd immunity is bending the COVID curve."


Amazon never offered Trump administration COVID-19 vaccine distribution assistance: ex-officials

trump amazon
Amazon offered to aid President Joe Biden with coronavirus vaccine distribution, but former federal officials claim that the company never extended this same assistance to the Trump administration.

Just after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president, Amazon announced that the company was "ready to assist" with the new administration's goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his presidency.

Amazon's worldwide consumer business CEO Dave Clark penned the letter to Biden on Wednesday, promising that the company is "prepared to leverage our operations, information technology and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration's vaccination efforts."

Comment: Just another example of partisan politics standing in the way of a (supposedly) lifesaving intervention for the people. They either know the 'pandemic' is a NothingBurger™ and that the vaccine isn't as vital as they're letting on and are deliberately lying about it, or they're true believers who don't care about saving lives and would rather leverage an important vaccine for political points, ending lives in the meantime. Either way, they're scum.

See also:


Hungary to oppose 'shadowbanning' of 'Christian, conservative, and right-wing' voices online

Viktor Orbán
© AP Photo/Francois Mori
The Hungarian government is following Poland in moving against Big Tech, vowing action against the "shadowbanning" of "Christian, conservative, [and] right-wing opinions".

"'Shadowban' means the act of social media providers secretly, for political purposes, restricting the visibility and access of our user profile without our knowledge about it," explained Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice in Viktor Orbán's national conservative government, in a statement shared on social media, claiming that she has herself had "personal experience" of such treatment at the hands of "Big Tech".

"Tech companies thus violate all those fundamental democratic legal norms that form the basis of Western-type culture," she accused, adding that "we could... only learn about the system-wide practice of shadow banning from a now-leaked voice recording of the Twitter CEO [Jack Dorsey]."

Comment: See also:


UK minister warns more 'draconian' steps maybe be necessary to tackle Covid-19, hinting that police may receive health data

uk police
© REUTERS / John Sibley
The British environment minister has warned that additional measures may be necessary to combat lockdown fatigue and those guilty of repeatedly breaking Covid-19 restrictions as the government dismisses relaxing rules.

Speaking on Friday, Environment Secretary George Eustice said the government wants to be "straight" with people, adding that the current lockdown measures won't be reduced until case numbers start to fall and all vulnerable groups have received a vaccine.

Eustice was asked whether there was any truth to reports that police could be given access to health data to crack down on quarantine breaches.

"Generally, with this whole pandemic, we've had to take some quite extraordinary steps, very draconian steps, that are a big infringement on people's liberty," the minister responded.

"And yes, that does mean that we have to intervene in quite a draconian way and issue penalties, and we make no apology for doing that."

Comment: As if they weren't already draconian enough!
UK partygoers to be fined up to £6,400

In a bid to stem the ongoing spread of coronavirus, revellers will be slapped with £800 fines if they attend house parties with more than 15 people present during lockdown, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Thursday.

The fines will double for repeat offences, up to a maximum of £6,400, and the organisers of events will continue to be fined £10,000, as per the current restrictions, in what Patel called a "crackdown on those most serious cases of rule-breaking".

The home secretary was joined by the Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Martin Hewitt, who said that, from late August to January 17, some 250 fixed penalty notices had been issued in England for people organising large gatherings.

Wedding with 400 guests busted in London Jewish neighborhood

The Metropolitan Police busted a wedding celebration in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in London. Around 400 guests had convened behind covered windows in violation of the UK's strict social distancing rules.

The party was dispersed on Thursday night after police received a tip about a large gathering in Egerton Road, Stamford Hill. According to the BBC, the raid targeted the Yesoday Hatorah Girls Senior School. Stamford Hill is home to a large community of Orthodox Haredi Jews.

Police said an estimated 400 guests were taking part in the event, though many left when the officers arrived. A group of five attendees were issued £200 ($275) fixed penalty notices. The organizers of the event are facing a far heftier fine of £10,000 for the rule-breaking gathering.


Orthodox Jewish communities throughout the world have been reluctant to observe bans on mass gatherings, saying their spiritual obligations are more important than the mitigation of infection risks. This has opened them to criticism, including by members of other branches of Judaism who question the rationale.

Religious people are not the only ones defying lockdowns in Britain, even as the government imposes increasingly "draconian" measures, saying they are absolutely crucial to contain the infection. Rave parties appear to be the prime target for the Home Office's plan to increase fines for lockdown violators, which was announced earlier this week. With the screws tightening by the week, Britons are left to wonder and joke about the lengths that authorities will go to enforce the rules.