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Everything posted by Flashermac

  1. China carrying out 'intense' global attack on rights: HRW NEW YORK - China is using its economic and diplomatic might to carry out the "most intense attack" ever on the global system for protecting human rights, a leading campaign group said Tuesday. Human Rights Watch made the allegation in its annual report, launched in New York two days after executive director Kenneth Roth was barred from entering Hong Kong to release it there. The NGO accuses President Xi Jinping's government of overseeing "the most brutal and pervasive oppression that China has seen for decades," including building a "nightmarish surveillance system" in Xinjiang province. To fend off global efforts to hold it to account, Beijing has "significantly increased" efforts to undermine the international institutions created in the mid-20th century to defend human rights, HRW said. "Beijing has long suppressed domestic critics. Now the Chinese government is trying to extend that censorship to the rest of the world," Roth said in the 652-page report. "If not challenged, Beijing's actions portend a dystopian future in which no one is beyond the reach of Chinese censors, and an international human rights system so weakened that it no longer serves as a check on government repression," he added. ... https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1835734/china-carrying-out-intense-global-attack-on-rights-hrw#cxrecs_s
  2. Try reading about Eleanor Roosevelt. Hers had become a sham marriage, but she didn't divorce. I'd expect the same with Trump. But after he leaves office? Don't be surprised. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/weekinreview/20mcgrath.html
  3. Flashermac


    'Hazardous' air pollution halts Australian Open practice MELBOURNE: Soaring pollution halted Australian Open practice and delayed qualifying on Tuesday as smoke from raging bushfires hit the build-up to the season's opening Grand Slam. Slovenian qualifier Dalila Jakupovic retired with breathing difficulties, but it was not immediately clear whether her problems were related to the smoggy air. Players and one prominent coach voiced concern after the sudden deterioration in conditions, following months of deadly bushfires that have engulfed huge swathes of the Australian countryside. .. https://www.bangkokpost.com/sports/1835564/hazardous-air-pollution-halts-australian-open-practice#cxrecs_s I've seen concerns for Formula 1 too.
  4. Farms go dry as Bangkok battles seawater Ongoing attempts to halt saltwater intrusion in the Chao Phraya River have come at a hefty price -- the collapse of paddy fields in Ayutthaya province. Most of the rice fields there are already withering and the government has now banned farmers who are growing off-season crops from using water from the Chao Phraya and Pasak rivers from Jan 20. "Without doubt, over two thousand rai of rice fields [320 hectares] in Nakhon Luang district and adjacent tambon Phra Kaew in Phachi district will be doomed by the lack of water," said Saifon Chomsri, a farmer in tambon Nong Pling, Nakhon Luang district, Ayutthaya -- an area known as the country's rice bowl. "Farmers were told to halt farming because authorities need fresh water to drive out the intrusion of salty seawater. Of course, officials came and took our names and promised compensation, but we don't know what criteria the government will use to pay compensation," she told the Bangkok Post. ... https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1831409/farms-go-dry-as-bangkok-battles-seawater?fbclid=IwAR3KCh852012iuVWbPceybrEHb5JU_XPfMqQ-8juLZRfBAVd58icqaIPnU0#cxrecs_s Be sure to bathe and brush your teeth with seawater!
  5. Obama always has seemed to get along with the Chinese.
  6. The Native Americans (well, not really native but there long before the rest of us) also used burns to clear the brush in forests. When the first Brits arrived they described the forests as looking like an English park. (And despite all the talk about Indian wars etc., it was really European diseases that defeated the native folks. Even ordinary diseases such as measles could kill those who had never been exposed to them, though it was small pox - contracted from sailors on an English merchant ship that stopped in New England even before colonisation - that depopulated the area where the 1620 Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. That's something to remember if you should ever happen to encounter ET and his friends.)
  7. When I was in graduate school (back in a previous century) there were many students from Iran. The unmarried men by and large were actively seeking a US citizen spouse so they could stay in the USA. And that was in the days of the Shah, when Iran was a much pleasanter place than it is today. (In fact a close neighbour in the States is from Iran. He married a yummy looking gal and is even a member of my Masonic Lodge. He became a US citizen long ago and has brought his mother to the US. No fool is he.) Iranian women - before and after the Islamic Revolution https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47032829
  8. Sorry, I didn't realise that Raman Ghavami spouts bullshite. Obviously he knows nothing. Raman Ghavami is an analyst based in London and the Middle East. He is currently working for a consultancy firm based in the United Kingdom with a focus on insurgency and counterinsurgency. "A Middle East analyst, I worked for various social and political organisations across the Middle East and Europe such as EU, MDM and KKC. I am currently working for a consultancy firm based in the United Kingdom. I hold an MA in International Relations." https://independent.academia.edu/RamanGhavami
  9. Kimia Alizadeh, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, wrote on social media that she had left Iran after growing tired of being used as a propaganda tool. - REUTERS https://www.bangkokpost.com/vdo/world/1834629/iran-only-female-olympic-medallist-defects#cxrecs_s Are times changing in Iran? Student protests ... and now this?
  10. Weather conditions in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces are improving -- but the Pollution Control Department on Sunday said it expects unsafe dust levels to return this week. The department's weekly report on Sunday said the level of particulate matter measuring 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter showed only some of the 50 stations slightly exceeding the safe zone. This week, however, it expects PM2.5 levels in Greater Bangkok to rise once more. "People living in Bangkok and its vicinity will continue to be affected by PM2.5 dust," the report said.Greater Bangkok was out of the serious zone on Sunday. The worst pollution was on Sam Saen Road in Phra Nakhon district, where PM2.5 was measured at 73 microgrammes per cubic metre, followed by Rama III Road in Bang Khorlaem district at 71mcg. Any measurements above 90 -- the red zone -- are considered a serious threat to health. Levels of 51-90, the orange zone, affect people negatively. People in orange zones are advised to curb exercise and outdoor activities. When they do go out, they should wear masks, the department said. Khon Kaen and Phayao were among provinces conducting activities to reduce dust levels in their municipalities. In Khon Kaen, trucks sprayed water and workers cleaned up dirty roads in the municipality, although PM2.5 was only measured at 41 in the area. Deputy Khon Kaen governor Suthep Maneechote said the campaign was a preventive measure against toxic dust. The northeastern province was one of the most affected areas last year when PM2.5 levels reached as high as 106mcg in February. Officials in all districts of Khon Kaen have been ordered to prevent farmers from burning sugarcane fields during the harvest season, the official added. In Phayao, officials also launched an activity raising public awareness of how slash-and-burn farming causes local pollution. https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1834024/greater-bangkok-braced-for-more-haze#cxrecs_s
  11. So what do you make of this, Steve? AOC is taking on the Democrat party. Ocasio-Cortez Refuses to Pay DCCC Dues, Frustrating House Dems Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has exasperated her fellow House Democrats by announcing that she will not pay dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House. “For me personally, I’m not paying D-trip dues” for a “myriad of reasons” the freshman progressive congresswoman from New York said, using a nickname for the DCCC. According to records, she has so far not paid her $250,000 in dues despite leveraging her massive social media following to raise millions for her own reelection, Fox News reported. Ocasio-Cortez said her gripe with the party’s official House campaign organization relates to the DCCC’s practice of not supporting newer progressive candidates in order to insulate incumbent Democrats. “One, I don’t agree with the policy around blacklisting groups that help progressive candidates,” she said. “I think we need to evolve as a party and make room for that.” ... “To have people try to purify the caucus because they don’t agree with them – 100 percent, I certainly don’t agree with that,” said Texas Representative Henry Cuellar, one of the Democrats Ocasio-Cortez is trying to replace with a more progressive candidate, in this case Jessica Cisneros, for whom she raised $35,000. “Hopefully, we will start to get away from this circular firing squad,” Cuellar said. https://www.yahoo.com/news/ocasio-cortez-refuses-pay-dccc-185022484.html
  12. What you said: Australia fires: Aboriginal planners say the bush 'needs to burn' For thousands of years, the Indigenous people of Australia set fire to the land. Long before Australia was invaded and colonised by Europeans, fire management techniques - known as "cultural burns" - were being practised. The cool-burning, knee-high blazes were designed to happen continuously and across the landscape. The fires burn up fuel like kindling and leaf detritus, meaning a natural bushfire has less to devour. Since Australia's fire crisis began last year, calls for better reintegration of this technique have grown louder. But it should have happened sooner, argues one Aboriginal knowledge expert. "The bush needs to burn," says Shannon Foster. She's a knowledge keeper for the D'harawal people - relaying information passed on by her elders - and an Aboriginal Knowledge lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51043828
  13. Iran students refuse to walk over US and Israeli flags Many students at a university in Tehran have openly avoided walking over US and Israeli flags in an apparent show of defiance again the Iranian government. Video shows the students walking around, rather than across, the flags at Shahid Beheshti University campus. The flags were painted on the ground so that those walking along the route would thereby insult both countries - which Iran considers staunch enemies. Thousands of protesters chanting anti-government slogans have taken to the streets after Iran's military admitted it had mistakenly downed a passenger plane. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-51084619/iran-students-refuse-to-walk-over-us-and-israeli-flags Looks like the students also want the ayatollahs gone.
  14. Flashermac


    Britain condemns Tehran's arrest of UK ambassador Rob Macaire was detained after attending a vigil for those who died when a passenger plane was shot down on Wednesday. He left when it turned into a protest before being arrested and accused of helping to organise the demonstrations. Mr Macaire denied taking part in the protests in a tweet on Sunday. He said he was attending the vigil because it was "normal to want to pay respects", adding that some of the victims were British. The ambassador added: "Arresting diplomats is of course illegal, in all countries." In a statement, Mr Raab said: "The arrest of our Ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law. "The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards." Mr Macaire was arrested and held for three hours when he stopped at a barber shop for a haircut on his way back to the UK embassy. Under the Vienna Convention, diplomats cannot be detained. The Foreign Office is to demand a full explanation. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51077897?fbclid=IwAR3fRL0DSEXEXMcOKKbpa08xefTPqDVokoBmYPDbx5lh39QOOO868WnZwPc
  15. UK ambassador arrested in Tehran The UK ambassador to Iran was arrested during anti-government protests in Tehran after officials admitted shooting down a passenger plane. Rob Macaire was held for three hours, in what the UK described as a "flagrant violation of international law". https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51077897
  16. Life in America is never predictable ... George Conway's anti-Trump group releases new ad calling out evangelical Christians https://www.yahoo.com/news/george-conways-anti-trump-group-154731339.html
  17. Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in Iran's capital, Tehran, to vent anger at officials, calling them liars for having denied shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane. Protests took place outside at least two universities, with tear gas reportedly fired. US President Donald Trump tweeted support for the "inspiring" protests. Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752, en route to Kyiv, was shot down on Wednesday near Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran shortly after take-off, and only hours after Iran had fired missiles at two air bases housing US forces in Iraq. The students called for those responsible for the downing the plane, and those they said had covered up the action, to be prosecuted. Chants included "commander-in-chief resign", referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and "death to liars". Fars said police had "dispersed" the protesters, who were blocking roads. Social media footage appeared to show tear gas being fired. Social media users also vented anger at the government's actions. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51079965 And in the rest of the world ...
  18. Which countries love Trump the most and least? Only 29% of the countries surveyed by Pew expressed confidence in Mr Trump last year, in keeping with how his presidency has been viewed since its infancy in 2017. Pew notes that this lack of confidence is in part due to opposition to the president's foreign policy. Mr Trump's policies on tariffs, climate, immigration and Iran are all largely unpopular globally. His negotiations with North Korea's Kim Jong-un garnered the most support, with a median 41% approval across the 33 countries polled. Unlike Mr Trump, the US remains favourable in the eyes of the world, generally speaking, Pew found. "Favourable opinion of the US declined dramatically when Trump took office and remains significantly lower than during the Obama era," Pew reported. But in the last year, there have been some increases in favourable views of the US, which Pew says "may be driven at least in part by increased favourability among supporters of right-wing populist groups in some nations". ... How Trump stacks up against other leaders It appears none of the five leaders have received particularly high marks overall, but Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel saw the highest of the group. The US president received the highest negative ratings of the group, though Russia's Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping were also seen in a negative light. "Trump is more popular among people on the political right, yet even among these respondents, confidence in Trump rises to 50% or higher in only six nations," according to the report. So which countries love Trump the most? While overall, it seems the world lacks confidence that the US president will make the right choices, Mr Trump does find support in some countries. Mr Trump is popular in the African nations surveyed despite his past missteps - including reportedly calling African states "shithole countries". Kenya and Nigeria, which view Mr Trump favourably, are both among the top recipients of US economic aid, according to the Security Assistance Monitor. Pew also notes sub-Saharan African nations have typically expressed favourable opinions of the US. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was the first sub-Saharan African leader invited to the White House in 2018. The Trump administration also sold 12 US military aircraft to Nigeria in a reversal of an Obama-era policy. Mr Trump's support in the Philippines is less surprising, considering his praise for his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. In 2017, Mr Trump was criticised for telling Mr Duterte he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem" in his country. Since coming into office in 2016, Mr Duterte has encouraged extrajudicial killings of those involved in the drug trade, which critics allege undermines human rights. Mr Trump's favourability in Israel is also expected; the US president has a close relationship with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu and the US has long been supportive of Israel. The Trump administration has gone controversially further in that support - moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which was seized from Syria in 1967. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51012853
  19. The US Congress' most powerful Democrat is coming under pressure from Senate allies as she holds up President Donald Trump's impeachment trial. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has delayed sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in a tussle over rules with Republicans.Senator Dianne Feinstein called on Mrs Pelosi, her fellow California Democrat crone and ex-neighbour, to "send it over". The Senate's Republican leader vowed there would be "no haggling". Mitch McConnell said he can muster the majority of 51 votes needed among his fellow Republicans in the Senate to codify the proceedings without Democratic support. Senate Democrats said prolonging the stand-off would be pointless. "The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes," Senator Feinstein said on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported. "So if it's serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn't, don't send it over." The political trial of Mr Trump cannot begin until the Democratic-controlled House sends its articles of impeachment, the charges against the president, to the Senate. ... https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51042196
  20. Five new sports will be added to the programme of the Tokyo Olympic Games this year, including the host country's number one spectator sport - baseball. And when it's played in Japan the game has some distinct features. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200109-the-unique-world-of-japanese-baseball
  21. A new witness video shows the moment an Iranian air defense missile struck a Ukrainian passenger jet over Tehran, resulting in the deaths of all 176 passengers and crew members. https://www.funker530.com/new-witness-video-iranian-missile/?fbclid=IwAR1DVn9A5fp3rc1u5jk_5pbm-03GmaI8wKnXrujFH3qRD95ADv6MTaHnDkg
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