Category Archives: Politics

U.N. Criticises Pakistan for allegedly killing 23 in Iran’s Boarder

At least a dozen people and possibly up to 23 have been killed in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province where Revolutionary Guards and security forces have used lethal force against fuel couriers from ethnic minorities and protesters, the United Nations said on Friday.

Iran is investigating an incident in which at least two Iranians were shot dead this week at the border with Pakistan, and Islamabad has handed over the body of one of the victims, the Iranian foreign ministry said a week ago.

The shooting of people carrying fuel across the border led to protests that spread from the city of Saravan to other areas in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, including the capital, Zahedan.

“The series of violent events and unrest began on 22 February, when Revolutionary Guards are alleged to have shot and killed at least 10 fuel couriers, known as sookhtbar, in Sistan and Baluchistan Province at the border with Pakistan, after a two-day stand-off triggered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps blocking the road to the city of Saravan,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva.

The killings had triggered demonstrations in several cities across the province, during which the revolutionary guard and security forces fired lethal ammunition at protesters and bystanders, he said.

Colville said that it has been difficult to verify the death toll due to disruptions of local mobile data networks, but some unconfirmed reports have estimated that as many as 23 people may have been killed.

“We call on the authorities to immediately restore Internet access in areas that remain disconnected,” he said.

Sistan-Baluchistan’s population is predominantly Sunni Muslim, while most Iranians are Shi’ite. Iran has some of the lowest fuel prices in the world and has been fighting smuggling to neighbouring countries.

[Full Story] Did Biden Just Called Abbott a Neanderthal?

President Joe Biden on Wednesday slammed states that repealed Covid-19 restrictions on businesses and rescinded mask mandates for residents, calling the moves a “big mistake.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, both republicans announced Tuesday they would allow buisness to reopen at 100% capacity and lift mask mandates. Biden’s remarks were in response to shouted questions from the press specifically about the two states.

“Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms… The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking, that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.’ It still matters.”

He added that it is “critical, critical, critical” that state officials “follow the science” and encourage Americans to continue to wear masks and follow all public health guidelines.

“I know you all know that,” Biden told reporters. “I wish the heck some of our elected officials would.”

In response to Biden’s remarks, Reeves tweeted that “Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them.”

In announcing their decisions, Reeves and Abbott both cited the declining number of new Covid-19 cases and the increasing availability of vaccines as reasons for ending the restrictions. But federal officials have been warning that the decline in new cases appears to be stalling out and that the emergence of new coronavirus variants could lead to a resurgence.

“It is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, the reduced hospitalizations, and the safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed,” Renae Eze, Abbott’s press secretary, said in a statement to CNBC. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans. The Governor’s focus has been, and always will be, protecting the lives and livelihoods of Texans.”

She added that Texas have “the tools and knowledge to combat” Covid-19 and can make their own decisions. Eze said the “Governor was clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices” during the pandemic.

Both governors struck a similar tone in making their announcements Tuesday, saying that people should still follow public health guidance, but that statewide mandates are not appropriate. Despite the rollback of the restrictions some businesses in both states have said they will still require masking in their stores.

On Monday, before the two governors made their announcements, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned state officials against lifting public health restrictions too quickly.

Over the past seven days, the U.S. reported an average of more than 65,400 daily new cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s far below the peak of about 250,000 new cases every day that the country was reporting in early January, but it’s still well above the rate of infection the U.S. saw over the summer when the virus swept across the Sun Belt.

“At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” Walensky said Monday. “With these statistics, I am really worried about more states rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.

“I Kind of Liked” That Donald Trump Pisses People off says Tim Allen and that goes viral of Twitter

Actor Tim Allen said he got a kick out of ex-president Donald Trump making people mad and also explained in a new interview why he’s a conservative.

On the latest episode of Marc Maron’s “Wtf” podcast, the “Last Man Standing” star said his dislike of paying taxes — and not knowing what the government was spending half of his income on — pushed him politically to the right.

Allen attended Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 and later provoked anger when he likened his experience as a conservative in Hollywood to living in 1930s Nazi Germany. Maron asked him how he minimized backlash for his conservative views.

“I literally don’t preach anything,” said Allen, who described himself as a fiscal conservative.

“What I’ve done is just not joined into, as I call it, the ‘we culture,’” he continued. “I’m not telling anybody else how to live. I don’t like that, ‘we should do this’ or, ‘we should do that.’”“Once I realized that the last president pissed people off, I kind of liked that,” Allen added. “So it was fun to just not say anything. Didn’t join in the lynching crowd.”

Despite his apparent delight over Trump’s divisiveness, Allen said he’s been friendly with Bill and Hillary Clinton. He just didn’t think the former secretary of state “should have been president.

“In the end, you go the other direction,” he added. “There’s nothing personal about it. If you don’t like it then wait ’til the next election.”

IS Jeremy Renner dead? #RIPJeremyRenner causes Havoc on Twitter

RIP Jeremy Renner, or more specifically #RIPJeremyRenner, is taking off on Twitter today. If you think that means the Hawkeye actor has passed away, you would be understandably confused to learn that he is still alive according to all reports. So, why the hashtag proclaiming his death? It turns out it is part of a movement to get the actor removed from his status as a celebrity. In the common parlance of the times, it looks like a strong contingent of people wants to cancel the actor.

The RIP Jeremy Renner movement seems to center around a large number of controversial elements in the actor’s past. One of the more focal points of him being asked to be held accountable for his actions has to do with his ex-wife, Sonni Pacheco. The two divorced back in 2014 after just ten months of marriage and the reasons cited were irreconcilable differences. However, Pacheco later alleged that Renner threatened to kill her.

She also describes an incident where Renner put a gun in his mouth and threatened suicide in front of her but then fired the gun into the ceiling in an effort to frighten Pacheco.
The disturbing allegations don’t stop there. The RIP Jeremy Renner movement is also bringing up other incidents that Pacheco claims happened. Some include Renner being under the influence of cocaine and alcohol and biting his young daughter Ava. Ava said that her dad bit her when he was “being mean and yelling.” There is also at least one incident alleged by Pacheco that Renner left cocaine out on a bathroom counter that was easily reachable by their daughter.


These issues would be enough for a reasonable examination of the actor’s behavior, but the RIP Jeremy Renner movement is also concentrating on some of his actions during interviews over the years. He has used derogatory language against trans people, gleefully used an outdated term on The Graham Norton Show, used a racist slur against Black people during an interview, and even called Black Widow a slut during an interview for the second Avengers film. These aren’t quite as horrific as the alleged behavior against his family, but it’s an unfavorable way to conduct yourself and is certainly not a good look for an actor who is attached to playing a superhero.

With all of this combined, will the RIP Jeremy Renner attempt actually see him being shunned from mainstream entertainment in the same way it happened to Gina Carano? It all depends on how the consensus swings and what cost studios think having him attached to their projects is worth. We know he is set to headline the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+.

Could that be the last we see of him in the role after all this information continues to be brought up on social media? Or will he be able to skirt any repercussions since he isn’t actively antagonizing people on social media in the same way Carano was? No matter what happens, RIP Jeremy Renner does not mean that the actor is dead. But it does look like his career is the next one to possibly get the ax.

January 6 Riots were caused by “fake Trump Protesters” says FBI Director Chris Wray- Conspiracy Theorist

FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers Tuesday that the FBI has not seen any evidence indicating that the rioters who took part in the January 6 US Capitol attack were “fake Trump protesters,” knocking down a baseless claim that has been pushed by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in recent weeks as he has sought to downplay the violence committed by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Testifying publicly for the first time since pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol nearly two months ago, Wray was pressed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin on whether the FBI has seen any evidence that individuals involved in the January 6 attack were posing as Trump supporters — a claim the Illinois Democrat called “the next big lie.”

“We have not seen evidence of that, at this stage, certainly,” Wray responded when Durbin asked if he had seen any evidence the riot was organized by “fake Trump protesters,” referring to comments Johnson made during a Senate hearing last week in which he also claimed those involved in the attack were “agents provocateurs.”

Most Republicans on the panel did not embrace these conspiracies, but the baseless claim that left-wing infiltrators were responsible for the violent attack has been promoted by Trump’s impeachment lawyers, several GOP lawmakers and at least one speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week.On Tuesday, Wray made clear that Antifa and other left-wing groups were not part of the violence on January 6 — even as several Republicans sought to use the hearing as an opportunity to highlight the threat posed by those groups rather than focus on the Capitol attack.”We have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to Antifa in connection to the 6th,” Wray told the Senate committee.More than 260 defendants — many of them professing allegiance to Trump, disgust for Congress, and supportive of revolution — have been charged in federal court related to their actions in and around the US Capitol siege on January 6.Previously, nearly a dozen Trump supporters charged in connection with the US Capitol insurrection have said that Antifa and other left-wing groups weren’t involved in the attack, further debunking the conspiracy among Trump supporters.

[TRENDING] 6 Books of Dr. Seuss is Banned and WHY?

Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the business that preserves the author’s legacy said.

The titles are:

  • “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”
  • “If I Ran the Zoo”
  • “McElligot’s Pool”
  • “On Beyond Zebra!”
  • “Scrambled Eggs Super!”
  • “The Cat’s Quizzer”

In a statement, Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it made the decision after consulting educators and reviewing its catalog.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.

The announcement was made Tuesday, the birthday of the famed children’s book author.

Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, is one of the best-known authors in the world, the man behind beloved classics like “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” among others. Over 650 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, the Washington Post reported in 2015.

But Dr. Seuss had a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work, spanning back to the 1920s when he was a student at Dartmouth College. There, Dr. Seuss once drew Black boxers as gorillas and perpetuated Jewish stereotypes by portraying Jewish characters as financially stingy, according to a study published in the journal “Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.”
That study, published in 2019, examined 50 books by Dr. Seuss and found 43 out of the 45 characters of color have “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism,” or the stereotypical, offensive portrayal of Asia. The two “African” characters, the study says, both have anti-Black characteristics.

Two specific examples, according to the study, are found in the books “The Cat’s Quizzer: Are YOU Smarter Than the Cat in the Hat?” and “If I Ran the Zoo.”

“In (“The Cat’s Quizzer”), the Japanese character is referred to as ‘a Japanese,’ has a bright yellow face, and is standing on what appears to be Mt. Fuji,” the authors wrote.

Regarding “If I Ran the Zoo,” the study points out another example of Orientalism and White supremacy.

“The three (and only three) Asian characters who are not wearing conical hats are carrying a White male on their heads in ‘If I Ran the Zoo.’ The White male is not only on top of, and being carried by, these Asian characters, but he is also holding a gun, illustrating dominance. The text beneath the Asian characters describes them as ‘helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant’ from ‘countries no one can spell,'” the study authors wrote.

The study also argues that since the majority of human characters in Dr. Seuss’ books are White, his works — inadvertently or not — center Whiteness and thus perpetuate White supremacy.

Separating Seuss from children’s literature
Earlier this week, a school district in Virginia made headlines for allegedly banning books by Dr. Seuss.

But Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), located in Ashburn, said it is not banning books by the famous children’s author — it’s just discouraging a connection between “Read Across America Day,” which was created to get kids excited about reading, and Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Both fall on March 2, and have often been “historically connected” to each other, the district said in a statement.

Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” LCPS said in its statement, which links to a School Library Journal article from 2018 about the National Education Association focusing its Read Across America efforts “on Diversity Not Dr. Seuss.”

Hong Kong Citizen’s that are pro-democracy charged with security crimes

Dozens of Hong Kong dissidents were charged with subversion on Sunday in the largest use yet of Beijing’s sweeping new national security law, as authorities seek to cripple the finance hub’s democracy movement.

Police arrested 55 of the city’s best-known pro-democracy campaigners in a series of dawn raids last month

On Sunday, 47 were charged with one count each of “conspiracy to commit subversion” – one of the new national security crimes – with police saying the group would appear in court on Monday morning.

Democracy supporters described the move as a body blow.

“Every prominent voice of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong now is either jailed, in exile, or charged for subversion of state power,” activist Sophie Mak wrote on Twitter.

The European Union’s office in Hong Kong said the charges were of “great concern”.

“The nature of these charges makes clear that legitimate political pluralism will no longer be tolerated in Hong Kong,” the office added.

Beijing is battling to stamp out dissent in semi-autonomous Hong Kong after swathes of the population hit the streets in 2019 in huge and sometimes violent democracy protests.

The broadly worded security law, imposed on the city last June, criminalises any act deemed to be subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.

Those charged are routinely denied bail until trial and face up to life in prison if convicted.

The activists charged on Sunday represent a broad cross-section of Hong Kong’s opposition, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers to academics, lawyers, social workers and a host of youth activists.

Joshua Wong, one of the city’s most recognisable pro-democracy figures, was among those charged, visited by police inside prison where he is currently serving a sentence for organising protests in 2019.

John Clancey, an American lawyer and long-time Hong Kong resident who was with the initial group arrested, was one of the few not charged on Sunday.

Many struck a defiant tone as they prepared to report to police on Sunday to hear the charges.

“Democracy is never a gift from heaven. It must be earned by many with strong will,” Jimmy Sham, a key organiser of 2019’s huge protests, told reporters outside a police station.

“We can tell the whole world, under the most painful system, Hong Kongers are the light of the city. We will remain strong and fight for what we want,” he added.

Former student leader Lester Shum said: “We have long decided not to bow our heads to totalitarian rule. I hope Hong Kong people can carry on with this decision.”

The alleged offence of those arrested for subversion was to organise an unofficial primary last summer to choose candidates for the city’s partially elected legislature, in hopes that the pro-democracy bloc might take a majority for the first time.

Many of those candidates were ultimately disqualified from standing, and authorities scrapped the election because of the coronavirus.

[Full Story] Why is Twitter Trending #MilkTeaAlliance and #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar

Months of protests in Thailand reached a critical juncture on Oct 16 when police deployed water cannons – the strongest use of force against protesters calling for reform of the Thai monarchy and removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.

This sparked a flurry of online posts on popular social media platform Twitter under the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance.

Netizens from Hong Kong and Taiwan posted messages of support for Thai activists. Student activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan organised physical rallies in solidarity with Thai protesters.

Thai protesters even took a page out of Hong Kong protesters’ playbook, and wore hard hats, goggles and gas masks for protection following showdowns with the police.

But that didn’t stop another round of police unleashing water cannons on protesters on Nov 8. Developments, fortunately, did not escalate and the protesters were able to hand over a letter to the king outlining their concerns.

SHARED LOVE FOR MILK TEA AND MORE

The Milk Tea Alliance spans Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand, and gets its name from a shared love of the drink.

The grouping was born in April from an online battle between Chinese and Thai netizens, triggered by Thai actor Vachirawat Chivaaree and his girlfriend’s tweets of support for Hong Kong independence.

A loose alliance of netizens from Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan created the hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance to rally supporters to push back against Chinese netizens by posting memes and other self-depreciating content on Twitter and Facebook.

Some memes emphasise the unity between members – a popular one is an illustration of three varieties of milk tea linking arms together – while others poke fun at the perceived braggadocio of Chinese nationalists.

The online initiative has evolved into a regional movement for greater political autonomy.

Activists and protesters are for the most part, young professionals, university and high school students. They are tech-savvy and have actively participated in protests.

Members of the alliance have worked together to promote their protests. Hong Kong activists have raised the three-fingered salute, a symbol for reform in Thailand, while protesters in Thailand have highlighted the plight of 12 Hong Kong youths detained by Chinese authorities in September.

However, just as milk tea is drunk differently, the specific goals of the protests in the alliance vary.

Thai protesters advocate for the reform of Thailand’s military leadership and the monarchy, while Hong Kong protesters want greater autonomy from China.

While some Thai protesters have also explicitly expressed concerns over the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence in Thailand and the region as a chief area of their platform, domestic issues have clearly taken precedence.

THE ROLE OF MESSAGING APPS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Their ability to mobilise quickly, through instant messaging, social media and word-of-mouth, allows protesters to stay one step ahead of authorities.

Encrypted messaging chat apps such as Telegram are used to communicate information and share strategies for rallies and marches.

While these protests are leaderless – with no single or obvious leaders – their flat hierarchy allows decisions to be made quickly. Strategies evolve from the ground-up, through online forums or messaging chat groups on Telegram, where participants vote on the next course of action.

This has provided protesters fluidity in changing circumstances. Gathering points for rallies are posted in messaging platforms at the very last minute, allowing protesters to create spontaneous flash mobs, hampering efforts by authorities to rapidly break up crowds.

Blogger in China Detained for demeaning the soldiers as “Heroes” – India-China Dispute

Police in China have arrested a blogger over comments he made about Chinese soldiers who died in a Himalayan border clash with Indian troops last year.

The 38-year-old man had “maliciously distorted the truth” about the conflict, said authorities.

He is one of at least seven people that China has detained for their allegedly inappropriate remarks on this incident.

The incident, which took place last June, was the first deadly clash in the disputed border area in 45 years.

A Chinese law passed in 2018 bans people from “slandering heroes and martyrs”.

However, a person can only be criminally charged for this offence under an amendment to China’s criminal law, which comes into effect next month, according to a column by China Daily.

This would enable those charged under this law to be imprisoned for up to three years.

“If [Qiu] committed the offence ten days later, he would be the first person punished by this law. It’s a pity,” said a columnist with China Daily.

‘Slandering heroes’

According to a statement issued by the Nanjing Public Security Bureau, the man – identified only by his surname Qiu – was arrested on 19 February.

The 38-year-old blogger had 2.5 million followers on Weibo, according to local reports. The BBC was unable to verify this as his account has since been removed.

Microblogging site Weibo announced last week that Mr Qiu’s account had been banned for one year.

The man has since confessed to “illegal behaviour to gain the attention of netizens, distorting facts on Weibo and slandering and demeaning the heroes defending the border”.

He has since been detained for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a charge commonly used against critics. The same charge has been used against a handful of other people who have also been detained for their remarks on the same incident – what exactly they said has not been revealed.

China had earlier last week revealed for the first time that four of its soldiers died in a clash with Indian troops at the Galwan Valley in India’s Ladakh region.

Previously, India said that 20 of its soldiers were killed in last year’s clash, while Beijing acknowledged casualties but did not disclose details.

China’s military news outlet PLA Daily named the “heroic” Chinese soldiers who gave their “youth, blood and even life” to the region – Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran. They were all given posthumous awards.

India and China have been locked in a border dispute for decades. The root cause of the tension is an ill-defined, 3,440km (2,100-mile)-long disputed border called the Line of Actual Control.

Rivers, lakes and snowcaps along the frontier mean the line can shift, bringing soldiers face to face at many points, sparking a confrontation. The two countries however have a long-standing agreement to not use guns or explosives along the border.

In January this year, the two armies also clashed along the border in the north-east in India’s Sikkim state, leaving troops on both sides injured.

But India and China have since agreed to “disengage” from the border are now in the midst of pulling back troops from parts of it.

[Full Story] #SetahunPengkhianatan goes VIRAL in Malaysia as Malaysians feel betrayed #PRU14

MALAYSIANS took to Twitter today to mark the first anniversary of the infamous “Sheraton move”, which led to the ouster of the Pakatan Harapan government.

The #SetahunPengkhianatan hashtag was trending at top position at 12.30pm today, with more than 3,000 tweets.

Exactly one year ago on the 23 Feb 2020, Pakatan Harapan lost its majority to form a government in Malaysia because of the decision of PPBM and also 11 members of Parliament whom voted against Pakatan Harapan making Muhyiddin Yasin the prime minister of Malaysia.

However during the 14th election which was held on the Mei 2018, Pakatan Harapan had the majoriti vote of 139 when they got the support of Parti Warisan Sabah and also UPKO

One of the member of Parliament, Steven Sim said that 23rd of February is a warning to Malaysians because Malaysians were betrayed as their votes meant nothing after Tun Dr Mahathir decided to quit as Prime Minister.

This will also be remembered in our history textbooks along with the characters that betrayed Malaysia especially during tough times such as Covid-19.

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