Society's ChildS


Arrow Down

No, they're (probably) not going to bring back National Service

National Service
© Off-Guardian
As you all know, the UK is in the throes of campaigning following the announcement of an "election" on July 4th.

One particular campaign promise has already caused a huge stir, with incumbent PM Rishi Sunak pledging to re-introduce National Service - mandatory military or some other community service - should the Conservatives win:

It's caused a huge backlash already, with memes and videos circulating on social media either mocking or protesting the plan.

Not even the usual Tory defenders in the media have come to the governments aid, with defense of the policy relegated to joke hate-figures like Stanley Johnson.

Even the UK military is said to be "divided" over support for the scheme, with one ex-military Chief supposedly calling it "bonkers".

...and despite this backlash, the Tories have doubled down. Claiming that children and parents could face fines and criminal prosecution for refusing to participate.

So, will the Tories really do it?

Arrow Down

'A failed medical school': How racial preferences, supposedly outlawed in California, have persisted at UCLA

med students
© FatCamera/Grabien/UCLAMed Students • Jennifer Lucero
Up to half of UCLA medical students now fail basic tests of medical competence. Whistleblowers say affirmative action, illegal in California since 1996, is to blame.

Long considered one of the best medical schools in the world, the University of California, Los Angeles's David Geffen School of Medicine receives as many as 14,000 applications a year. Of those, it accepted just 173 students in the 2023 admissions cycle, a record-low acceptance rate of 1.3 percent. The median matriculant took difficult science courses in college, earned a 3.8 GPA, and scored in the 88th percentile on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Without those stellar stats, some doctors at the school say, students can struggle to keep pace with the demanding curriculum.

So when it came time for the admissions committee to consider one such student in November 2021 — a black applicant with grades and test scores far below the UCLA average — some members of the committee felt that this particular candidate, based on the available evidence, was not the best fit for the top-tier medical school, according to two people present for the committee's meeting.

Their reservations were not well-received.

Comment: The formerly-renowned UCLA Medical School program is on life-support without prognosis for future recovery.


X

Nearly a decade of early Chinese internet content no longer exists

chinese goldfish
In a fitting illustration last week of the Chinese leadership's unrelenting efforts to manipulate collective memory, an online essay with a shocking revelation about the wholesale disappearance of Chinese internet content spanning the 2000s was deleted by content monitors. But the post, quickly archived and shared, reverberated in platforms beyond PRC-managed cyberspace.

Written by He Jiayan (何加盐), an internet influencer active since 2018, the essay concluded, based on a wide range of searches of various entertainment and cultural figures from the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, that nearly 100 percent of content from major internet portals and private websites from the first decade of China's internet has now been obliterated. "No one has recognized a serious problem," wrote He. "The Chinese-language internet is rapidly collapsing, and Chinese-language internet content predating the emergence of the mobile internet has almost entirely disappeared."

Simple searches through the Baidu search engine for public figures such as Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun (雷军), who would have yielded perhaps millions of unique posts during the period of the "traditional internet" from the late 1990s through the end of the 2000s, turned up few if any results, He Jiayan revealed. These wholesale absences in Chinese-language content from inside China were repeated when He used non-Chinese search engines, including Google and Bing.

Comment: If nothing else this demonstrates the precariousness of storing our history digitally. Under the right circumstances, it can disappear in a moment - whether at the hands of a government censor, or a natural disaster doesn't make much difference.


Footprints

Biden's Border Patrol loses quarter of agents since 2020: report

B&Bcontrol
© UnknownUS President Joe Biden • US Border Patrol • Only one of these is looking at the situation!
Data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has revealed that a growing number of agents have left CBP since President Joe Biden took office and as a result the Border Patrol has lost nearly a quarter of its agents since 2020.

Many have chalked the phenomenon up to the fact that under this administration, the crisis at the southern border has gotten to a point where the goals that drew people to become agents in the first place have become unachievable. CBP has over 19,000 agents and between Oct. 2020 and April 2024, 4281 agents left the agency. That includes those who quit, were forced to retire, or retired early.

One Arizona-based agent told the Washington Examiner:
"Under Biden, things are the worst they have ever been by far. Agents are calling in all the time. You always hear, 'It doesn't matter,' or, 'What's the point?' in reference to doing our job. Agents are afraid of ending up on the news for doing their job or getting in trouble for doing their job. There is no morale."
According to CBP data cited by the outlet, between fiscal 2021 and 2023, 3,665 agents left the force, with an additional 616 departing in the first half of FY2024.


Comment: Organized failure has the Biden stamp of approval. It seems to be working.


Footprints

Harvard graduates stage commencement walkout over Gaza

grads
© Rick Friedman/AFPHarvard University class of 2024 graduation ceremony • Cambridge, Massachusetts • May 23, 2024
Hundreds of students in robes chanted "Free Palestine" on Thursday as degrees were conferred.

Hundreds of graduates walked out of a commencement ceremony at Harvard University on Thursday, calling for an end to the war in Gaza and decrying the disqualification of students involved in earlier protests.

A day earlier, it was announced that 13 students who had participated in a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus would not be allowed to receive their diplomas along with fellow graduates.

According to the Associated Press, groups of students walked out of the commencement chanting "Free, free Palestine" and "Let them walk, let them walk," in reference to the graduates barred from participating in the ceremony.

Harvard said on Wednesday that one of its two governing boards overruled faculty members, who had voted to re-invite 13 student protesters omitted from commencement.

Student speakers at the ceremony strongly criticized the decision, deviating from their prepared remarks to voice support for their disqualified peers.

Broom

Explosions follow Russian strike on suspected weapons depot on Kharkiv hypermarket, as Ukraine-SMO intensifies

russia ukraine war
© ReutersPeople run after the announcement of a Russian missile attack towards Kharkiv, at the site of a hardware hypermarket, which was hit by a Russian air raid, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine
At least seven people have been killed in separate attacks in Ukraine and Russia, according to officials, as Moscow steps up its offensive in northeast Ukraine.

Two Russian missiles hit a hardware hypermarket with about 200 people believed to be inside in the first attack on Saturday, Oleh Syniehubov, Kharkiv's regional governor, said on his Telegram channel.

Four people were killed and at least 38 injured, Syniehubov said, adding that the two of those killed were store employees, and that a fire caused by the explosion was now under control.

"This attack on Kharkiv is another manifestation of Russian madness," said Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy, reacting to the news of the attack. He noted that the target was not military infrastructure, but one of the biggest shopping centres in the city.

Comment: As the Kiev-junta face defeat within less than a year, their Western masters are desperately organising various other attacks on Russia: Ukraine's strike on Russia's strategic early warning radar site is a big deal


Health

Hospital says Slovak PM's condition 'improving'

fico
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico
Robert Fico's medical team has confirmed that he is recovering following an attempted assassination

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico's condition has improved, the hospital where he is undergoing treatment has said. He is recovering from gunshot wounds after an attempted assassination earlier this month.

F.D. Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia released a short statement on Fico's condition on Saturday: "After today's medical board meeting, the team of attending physicians confirmed a subjective improvement in the prime minister's health condition."

Comment: Perhaps one shouldn't be surprised. Fico has long been vocal about his antagonism to the EU and his support for Russia: Disgusting:

UK's Sky News one of many Western media outlets expressing barely concealed delight at the shooting of Robert Fico



Biohazard

Contaminated water supply sickens residents in 2nd UK region in just 10 days

contamination
© Ben Birchall/APPeople collect bottled water at Broadsands Car Park in Paignton, Devon, on 17 May, 2024, following the outbreak of cryptosporidium.
Thames Water has sent samples of water for lab testing after dozens of people reported becoming unwell with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea in south-east London.

Earlier this month, unsafe drinking water led to more than 100 cases of a waterborne disease in Devon, with people asked to boil their water because of contamination fears.

After cryptosporidium, a disease that can cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting, was detected in the water supply in the Brixham area of Devon 10 days ago, 17,000 households and businesses were told by South West Water not to use their tap water for drinking without boiling and cooling it first.

Comment: It's probably no coicindence that, just a few years ago, the UK government gave water companies free reign to dump waste into the country's waterways, and, since then, mass sickness incidents and contamination events have soared. These same companies have hiked prices for their services, whilst also paying record profits to their shareholders.

Notably, a similar scenario is playing out over in the US:


Cross

Vast majority of Russians believe in God - survey

Cathedral of Three Saints in Simferopol, Russia
© Sputnik / Konstantin MihalchevskiyBelievers attend the Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Three Saints in Simferopol, Russia.
Most of those polled who had religious beliefs identified as Orthodox Christians

Nearly 70% of Russians consider themselves religious, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing a poll based on in-person interviews with some 2,000 respondents across Russia.

Most who said they had religious beliefs identified as Orthodox Christians, according to data collected by the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the HSE University in Moscow during research in 2023.

The proportion of followers of other branches of Christianity or Islam stood at 7% in the country, the study revealed. Another 1% of respondents said they were Buddhists, while a further 1% described themselves as followers of Judaism.

Comment: See also:


Uzi

'Israeli soldier' from notorious unit confesses to US citizen's killing

settlers
© UnknownNetzah Yehuda • May 20, 2024
In recordings obtained by The Grayzone, a self-proclaimed soldier from Israel's infamous Netzah Yehuda battalion detailed his unit's killing of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American, and flaunted his genocidal views. After announcing plans to sanction the battalion, the Biden administration has inexplicably pulled back.

The Biden administration has balked after announcing plans to sanction five units of the Israeli military accused of wanton human rights abuses in the occupied West Bank. "Four of these units have effectively remediated these violations, which is what we expect partners to do," the US State Department has claimed, referencing unknown efforts by Israel to hold its soldiers accountable.

The fifth, un-remediated unit appears to be Netzah Yehuda, an all-male unit of Orthodox Jewish nationalists which operates almost exclusively in the Ramallah district of the West Bank. This battalion stands accused of widespread crimes including sexual assault and beating at least three older men to death while they were lying on the ground in custody.

In its most brazen instance of abuse, Netzah Yehuda soldiers detained an 78-year-old American citizen named Omar Asad in January 2022 near his home in Ramallah, then left him outdoors in harsh conditions, bound and blindfolded, until he died. Israeli authorities refused to charge the soldiers for Asad's killing, opting instead for a disciplinary slap on the wrist while paying compensation to Asad's family.