[News] All Around The World

A posting place for news from places around the globe, outside of the US/Europe.

Myanmar’s military needs to reach out to the GOP and Rhupert Murdoch. They’re not doing a good job of “both sidesing” this situation by getting just under half their populace to support the coup.

Of course, the GOP coup failed, so maybe the advice should be going the other way....

Yep. At a certain point, the guys with guns were going to use them. Bless the protesters, man, although I don't know if there's a way out of this that isn't returning fire.

This is actually pretty huge news:

Brazil: Lula has convictions quashed, leaving him free to challenge Bolsonaro

Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva could be set for a sensational comeback attempt after a supreme court judge annulled a series of criminal convictions against the leftist icon and restored his political rights.

The ruling, which analysts called a political bombshell, means Lula is almost certain to challenge Brazil’s incumbent president, Jair Bolsonaro, in the 2022 presidential election.

“The election starts today … It’s virtually impossible Lula won’t be a candidate,” said Thomas Traumann, a Rio de Janeiro-based political observer. “In American terms, it’s going to be like Sanders versus Trump.”

The Valor Econômico, Brazil’s leading financial newspaper, declared: “Lula is back in the game.”

Lula was president of Latin America’s largest economy for two terms, between 2003 and 2011, and oversaw a historic period of commodity-fuelled growth and poverty reduction. The Workers’ party (PT) politician, who is now 75, had hoped to seek a third term in 2018 but was sidelined after being jailed on disputed corruption charges, paving the way for Bolsonaro’s landslide victory.

Lula was released from prison in November 2019 after 580 days behind bars but remained unable to seek election after being stripped of his political rights.

US and China trade angry words at high-level Alaska talks

US and Chinese officials have exchanged sharp rebukes in the first high-level talks between the Biden administration and China, taking place in Alaska.

Chinese officials accused the US of inciting countries "to attack China", while the US said China had "arrived intent on grandstanding".

Relations between the two superpowers are at their most strained for years.

The US pledged to raise contentious issues such as Beijing's treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

The ill-tempered talks in Anchorage involved Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the US side, facing off with China's most senior foreign policy official, Yang Jiechi, and foreign minister Wang Yi.

However, a US official said the subsequent talks behind closed doors had been "substantive, serious and direct" and ran over the planned two hours.

In a blunt opening statement before the talks in private, Mr Blinken said the US would "discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion of our allies".

"Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability," he said.

In response, Mr Yang accused Washington of using its military might and financial supremacy to suppress other countries.

"It abuses so-called notions of national security to obstruct normal trade exchanges, and incite some countries to attack China," he added.

Mr Yang said human rights in the US were at a low point, with black Americans being "slaughtered".

Mr Sullivan hit back, saying Washington did not seek a conflict with China, but added: "We will always stand up for our principles for our people, and for our friends."

The exchange, which took place in front of the world's media, went on for more than an hour. It came at the start of three sessions, which are due to end on Friday morning.

It is the first high-level meeting between the US and China since last June - during the administration of the previous US President, Donald Trump.

No.

A carpet of brown greeted Matt Lovenfosse as he pulled up to his home on Monday morning. “So I went out to have a look and it was millions of spiders,” he says.

They were running ahead of flood water rising up from Kinchela Creek, pouring across the back of Lovenfosse’s property on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

“It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” he told Guardian Australia. “The spiders all crawled up on to the house, on to fences and whatever they can get on to.”

The spiders aren’t the only animals he has spotted fleeing the floods. “When the water goes up, the snakes go up into the trees,” Lovenfosse said.

As record-breaking rains batter the NSW coastline and southern Queensland, causing widespread flooding, animals and insects are scrambling to escape the waters.

Shenae and Steve Varley witnessed a similar phenomenon on Sunday, when they visited the Penrith weir in western Sydney. Shenae said spiders covered “the entire length of the railing that’s not under water”.

“There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters. My husband videoed it, because I was not going close to it. When he was standing still he had spiders climbing up his legs. A skink used him as a pole to get away from the water.

“Penrith floods quite regularly, and this is not something I’ve ever thought about before,” she said.

Macksville resident Melanie Williams was also shocked by a swarm of spiders climbing the outer wall of her home as they fled for higher ground. “I occasionally see spiders around the place but never anything like that, it was just insane,” she told the ABC.

The spiders outside her home were “horrific” but her neighbour told her there were twice as many inside his garage, she told Guardian Australia.

Abso-f*cking-lutely not.

Drought, fire, the Covid-19 pestilence and an all-consuming plague of mice. Rural New South Wales has faced just about every biblical challenge nature has to offer in the last few years, but now it is praying for another – an almighty flood to drown the mice in their burrows and cleanse the blighted land of the rodents. Or some very heavy rain, at least.

It seems everyone in the rural towns of north-west NSW and southern Queensland has their own mouse war story. In posts online, they detail waking up to mouse droppings on their pillows or watching the ground move at night as hundreds of thousands of rodents flee from torchlight beams.

Lisa Gore from Toowoomba told Guardian Australia her friend stripped the fabric of her armchair when it began to smell, only to find a nest of baby mice in the stuffing.

Dubbo resident Karen Fox walked out of the shower on Friday morning to see a mouse staring at her from the ceiling vent. There’s nothing she can do, she says, because the stores are sold out of traps.

In Gulargambone, north of Dubbo, Naav Singh arrives five hours early for work at the 5Star supermarket to clean up after the uninvited vermin visitors.

“We don’t want to go inside in the morning sometimes. It stinks, they will die and it’s impossible to find all the bodies … Some nights we are catching over 400 or 500,” he says.

Before opening, Singh must empty the store’s 17 traps, sweep up the droppings and throw out any products the mice have attacked.

“We have got five or six bins every week just filled with groceries that we are throwing out,” he says.

The family-run business has had to drastically reduce stock, put whatever they can in thick containers, use empty fridges to store the rest. Nothing in the store is safe, with mice even chewing their way into plastic soft drink bottles. “They were running around faster after that,” Singh jokes.

So I assume we're dropping nukes from orbit at any moment now

Coldstream wrote:

So I assume we're dropping nukes from orbit at any moment now

It's the only way to be sure.

The Big Boat's Still Stuck, And May Never Be Un-Stuck

While the global shipping industry bleeds $400 million each hour the massive Ever Given container ship stays stuck in the sand of the Suez Canal, an elite team of salvors on the ground in Egypt is facing an entirely different problem: How do you make a top-heavy ship stuck in shifting sands weigh less without capsizing it?

“They’ll need a full survey of the seabed and canal bottom to see what the extent of grounding is,” Nick Sloane, the salvage master who miraculously led the removal of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in 2014 off the island of Giglio, told The Daily Beast. “The worst case is that the ship is presently supported over her bow and stern areas, meaning possible sags in the middle.”

Those sags could lead to the ship splitting in two, spilling the fuel and cargo—which includes COVID-19 supplies like respirators and personal protection equipment made in China—into the canal, making it temporarily impassable. “The risk is that it could also become top-heavy and capsize,” Captain John Konrad, founder and CEO of gCaptain shipping industry website, said. “And that would be catastrophic.”

But before anyone can even think of lightening the massive vessel—which is 1,312 feet long and 194 feet wide, with 50 feet of the ship below the water—they would need to download the schematics of the ship and run them through a series of computer-generated programs to determine what offloading will do to the balance. And then, they would have to somehow get a maritime crane to Egypt since the country does not own one tall enough to reach the top of the Ever Given’s 20,000 containers.

This really is possibly the new all-time champion in terms of "I f*cked up at work" stories.

IMAGE(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/FD86/production/_117720946_evergiven_salvage_1_640-2x-nc.png)

Like, I think it's STUCK-stuck.

It is also very, very dumb and very, very entertaining.

EDIT: IMPORTANT FOLLOW-UP:

@bencjenkins wrote:

Imagine being the captain of the first ship to pass through the Suez after it gets unblocked and knowing that you have the potential to do the funniest thing that anyone has ever done ever.

does the ship have a step-brother?

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/zdGt06Z.jpg)

Apparently there was a sudden sandstorm that blew the bow sideways, and that caught and the stern went to the other side and burrowed in. The hypothesis is that visibility was so low that it was difficult to react properly, and the container stack acted as a giant sail.

In which case, might not be pilot error...

Prederick wrote:

Yep. At a certain point, the guys with guns were going to use them. Bless the protesters, man, although I don't know if there's a way out of this that isn't returning fire.

Myanmar: Dozens die in protests as coup leaders mark Armed Forces Day

Dozens of protesters have reportedly been shot dead in Myanmar, on the bloodiest day since February's coup.

At least 60 and possibly more than 90 anti-coup demonstrators have died, reports say, as they defied warnings and a military show of strength.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing earlier used an Armed Forces Day TV address to promise elections, but gave no timetable.

The US embassy said security forces were "murdering unarmed civilians".

The latest deaths would take the number killed in the suppression of protests since the coup took place to about 400.

State TV had warned in a separate broadcast on Friday that people "should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back".

What is happening on the streets?

News outlets The Irrawaddy and Myanmar Now are reporting episodes of bloodshed across the country.

Myanmar Now set out a tally of 91 deaths in 40 towns nationwide by 16:30 local time (10:00 GMT).

The Irrawaddy's latest report tells of 59 deaths, including three children, across 28 locations.

The anti-coup activists had called for major demonstrations on Saturday, despite the military's threat to use deadly violence against them.

Security forces were out in strength trying to prevent rallies, particularly in Yangon, where gunshots were fired at the US cultural centre. The US embassy said those shots caused no injuries.

Among the dead were four outside a police station in the Dala suburb of Yangon, Myanmar Now reported.

Witnesses and sources told BBC Burmese of protester deaths in the cities and townships of Magway, Mogok, Kyaukpadaung and Mayangone.

Deaths were also reported on the streets of the second-largest city Mandalay, as protesters carried the flag of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Myanmar's detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and gave their now traditional anti-authoritarian three-finger salute.

One journalist told AFP news agency police had used live ammunition against protesters in the north-eastern city of Lashio.

The EU delegation to Myanmar said: "This 76th Myanmar Armed Forces day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour. The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts."

Dr Sasa, a spokesman for anti-junta group CRPH, told Reuters this was "a day of shame for the armed forces".

F**king hell, the new numbers are well over 100.

Partially, the back is unstuck, now they’re working on the front.

Booty shakin’, stable up front. #twerking

IMAGE(https://i.ibb.co/VtXfCp6/67-B234-EB-0238-46-D0-A304-6-AC0-A0-F298-F1.jpg)

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. PUT IT BACK.

Hong Kong: China limits parliament to 'patriots'

China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city.

The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland.

The aim is to ensure only "patriotic" figures can run for positions of power.

Critics warn it will mean the end of democracy, fearing it will remove all opposition from the city parliament.

But Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, said there is not a "one-size-fits-all" way of doing democracy, adding the vetting committee will not screen people out based on their political views, but rather weed out any "non-patriots".

Mrs Lam said as long as the candidates can show allegiance to Hong Kong, uphold the Basic Law and pass national security checks, they will be permitted to run for election.

"For people who hold different political beliefs, who are more inclined towards more democracy, or who are more conservative, who belong to the left or belong to the right, as long as they meet this very fundamental and basic requirement, I don't see why they could not run for election," she said on Tuesday.

The first vote under the changes, which will elect members to Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo), will be held in December.

Beijing's rubber-stamp parliament first approved the plan during the National People's Congress (NPC) meetings earlier in March.

On Tuesday, Chinese state media reported that the country's top decision-making body, the NPC Standing Committee, voted unanimously to pass it. This amends the annexes of Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Opposition figures say the changes are designed to keep anyone who is not aligned with Beijing's rule out of parliament.

"This whole new system is really degrading and very oppressive," Emily Lau, a pro-democracy former lawmaker told AFP, adding that she thought political unrest could explode on Hong Kong's streets again.

"If you have so many people who are very unhappy inside, all you need is a little trigger and that would spark a lot of people."

"Giving a police force the power to oversee who can stand for elections is not seen in systems usually deemed democratic in a meaningful sense," said Chong Ja Ian, an associate professor of politics at the National University of Singapore.

[quote="Prederick"]

China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city.

The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland.

The aim is to ensure only "patriotic" figures can run for positions of power.

The progressive destruction of HK's democracy has been like the inevitability of a large boulder slowly rolling down a hill. Honestly, I'm a little surprised that China hasn't just said "screw it, democracy in HK is done". The main lesson China and many other political parties/entities have learned over the last 10 years is that just doing something outrageous while obviously and shamelessly lying about it is a winning move, since it achieves the objective of power in the certain knowledge that opponents will stop screaming about it eventually, one way or another.

It terrifies me that we're starting to get to a point where I think that armed resistance may be the only tenable option in some regions of the world. All the peaceful protesting at some point becomes futile when the enemy is powerful, heavily armed, utterly without restraint, and is willing to distort reality without hesitation to maintain power.

Coldstream wrote:

It terrifies me that we're starting to get to a point where I think that armed resistance may be the only tenable option in some regions of the world. All the peaceful protesting at some point becomes futile when the enemy is powerful, heavily armed, utterly without restraint, and is willing to distort reality without hesitation to maintain power.

Agreed. So it’d be great if y’all down south there could just settle down a bit...

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

Agreed. So it’d be great if y’all down south there could just settle down a bit...

You'd best be quiet unless you'd like to become the 51st state.

"Crazy people with guns" is pretty much the USA's motto

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

It terrifies me that we're starting to get to a point where I think that armed resistance may be the only tenable option in some regions of the world. All the peaceful protesting at some point becomes futile when the enemy is powerful, heavily armed, utterly without restraint, and is willing to distort reality without hesitation to maintain power.

Agreed. So it’d be great if y’all down south there could just settle down a bit...

not sure if Blue State or Canadian province...

Watched the first two days of trials for the murderer Derek Chauvin. I wasn't going to at first seeing as each day is like over 7 hours. I found it all interesting. I was wondering where they were going with some to the questions but it was later made clear. Most of the defense case seems to be broken like they try to suggest the crowd was in a frenzy or very scary but none of the witnesses has said that. The video doesn't support that. The officers weren't acting like the crowd worried them much besides one cop telling people to get back. Of coarse I believe the defense hasn't called their witnesses yet.

China butchers Aesop fable in latest act of wolf-warrior diplomacy

A butchered Aesop’s fable from the Twitter account of China’s embassy in Ireland has drawn mirth from observers and highlighted the growing sensitivity of Chinese diplomats to international criticism.

As China engages in international disputes ranging from fist fights with Taiwanese officials to trade sanctions and threats of conflict, the belligerent and aggressive style of communication of some of its foreign officials has earned the nickname “wolf warrior diplomacy”.

Thursday’s tweet pushed back on such accusations but appeared to lose something in translation as the author navigated English allegories and the need to maintain an image of Chinese strength.

Riffing on the fable of the Wolf and the Lamb, a story of tyrannical injustice in which the lamb is falsely accused and killed, Thursday’s post queried: “Who is the wolf?”

It continued: “Some people accused China for so-called ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’. In his well-known fable, Aesop described how the Wolf accused the Lamb of committing offences. The wolf is the wolf, not the lamb … BTW, China is not a lamb.”

The confused analogy prompted attempts to unpack its meaning.

“[H]e leaps in with the fable of the wolf and the lamb … but as he gets to the end, he realises he’s left himself open. China can’t be portrayed as a weak lamb that will be eaten up. China is strong, powerful! So he adds the ‘BTW’,” said Foreign Policy’s deputy editor, James Palmer, in a breakdown of the likely context behind the tweet.

“I honestly don’t think the embassy staff meant to say that China is the wolf in this fable but I scratch my head about what they meant to say through this fable,” said Victor Shih, a University of California San Diego academic on China. “[If] it’s something like ‘China is innocent like the lamb in the fable except China is a wolf’ then don’t use the fable!”

While Thursday’s post sparked ridicule, it also illustrated the growing enthusiasm of Chinese diplomats to show toughness, regardless of whether it is done well.

“There’s always been this performative aspect of being an official in the party structure,” said Margaret Lewis, a law professor and China specialist at Seton Hall University, New Jersey. “But we’re hearing it louder now.”

In the online age, wolf-warrior posts are usually made on western social media platforms such as Twitter (banned in China) and push back at international reactions to Beijing’s human rights abuses, pandemic failings and obfuscations, and regional aggression, by targeting other nations or figures.

Some have landed a hit: an illustration and post about findings of suspected war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan prompted an angry press conference by Australia’s prime minister. But Foreign Policy’s Palmer said their intended audience was usually Chinese government superiors, and it didn’t necessarily matter if the post was any good.

“It counts as success if your boss, or your bosses’ boss, sees it and thinks it reflects the right political line,” said Palmer. “There’s maybe some small bonus in a dumb post that gets mocked a lot because if you’re getting measured for impact at all, it takes no account of the qualitative impact only the quantifiable one.”

Ah, they Marjorie Taylor-Greene method.

Today someone attacked the capitol by ramming his car into a barricade. He killed one officer and injured another that is still in the hospital. No motive or reason has been given for the attack yet. The attacker is also dead.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

Today someone attacked the capitol by ramming his car into a barricade. He killed one officer and injured another that is still in the hospital. No motive or reason has been given for the attack yet. The attacker is also dead.

Heh, think you put this in the wrong thread, Baron.

'The grim reality of reporting in China that pushed me out’

It was a reminder of the grim reality of reporting in China to the very end.

As my family scrambled to the airport - late and unprepared from the last-minute packing - we were watched outside our home by plainclothes police, who then followed us to the airport and tailed us through check-in.

True to form to the very end, China's propaganda machine has been at full throttle, denying I faced any risks in China, while simultaneously making those risks abundantly clear.

"The Foreign Ministry said they are not aware that Sudworth was under any threat," the Communist Party controlled Global Times said, "except that he may be sued by individuals in Xinjiang over his slanderous reports."

The chilling effect of such statements lies in the reality of a court system run - like the media - as an extension of the Communist Party, with the idea of an independent judiciary dismissed as "an erroneous Western notion".

China's ministry of foreign affairs has continued the attacks, using the podium at its daily press briefing on Thursday to criticise what it called the BBC's "fake news".

It played a video clip from our recent interview with Volkswagen in China over its decision to operate a car plant in Xinjiang, suggesting that this "is the kind of report that triggers the anger of the Chinese people".

It's an unlikely claim, of course, given that the vast majority of the Chinese people cannot see any of our reporting, which has long been blocked.

But while all of this has brought my posting to a fraught and fretful end, it is worth remembering that mine is just the latest in a long line of foreign media departures in recent years.

And it is part of a far bigger battle that China is waging over the global space for ideas and information.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

Today someone attacked the capitol by ramming his car into a barricade. He killed one officer and injured another that is still in the hospital. No motive or reason has been given for the attack yet. The attacker is also dead.

I just saw this on CNN. Their headline was "Suspect identified in attack at US Capitol" and I was like, wait a minute, haven't we already identified dozens of suspects?

Then I read a bit further and realized this was a new attack.