[News] News From Other Places!

It's news you can use from places with different views! (Don't misuse or abuse you yahoos.)

Absolutely embarrassing results in both countries. The polls showed that the writing was on the wall in nz for a while now, so at least it wasn't a shock. I did hope that the Voice referendum might go through though. Sadly, it wasn't even close.

‘He acts like Wolverine’: who is Javier Milei, Argentina’s presidential frontrunner?

The hairstylist responsible for Argentina’s most famous sideburns believes people don’t always vote based on what they hear: “They vote with what they see.”

With that in mind, Lilia Lemoine used her scissors to turn the man she wants as the country’s next president – wild-haired celebrity economist Javier Milei – into what she considers an irresistible proposition: a South American fusion of Elvis Presley and the adamantium-clawed mutant Wolverine.

“He looks like Wolverine. He acts like Wolverine. He’s like an anti-hero,” explained Lemoine, a professional cosplayer who is the image consultant for the eccentric hard-right libertarian seemingly poised to lead the region’s second largest economy.

Lemoine, whose stage name is Lady Lemon, saw striking similarities between Milei and the volatile Marvel character who inspired his unconventional side-whiskers.

“[Wolverine] is very loyal and brave … He can get really mad and be aggressive with his enemies – but only when he’s attacked. He will never ever kill someone or attack someone for no reason,” the 43-year-old said, insisting Milei also had a softer side.

“He’s adorable. He opens the door for you. He always speaks in a nice tone,” Lemoine claimed, producing a pair of nail scissors she once used to give Milei’s mop an emergency trim.

Limoine isn’t alone in adoring a political newcomer who found fame on racy television talk shows where he scrutinized the economy and evangelized about tantric sex, before entering politics in 2021.

Polls suggest the self-proclaimed “anarcho-capitalist” will defeat his main rivals – the Peronist finance minister Sergio Massa and the former security minister Patricia Bullrich – in next Sunday’s election, although a November run-off is likely.

“It’s hard to predict and I could tell you all the reasons he might lose. But I think if you were a betting man, you’d have to put your money on Milei,” said Benjamin Gedan, the head of the Wilson Centre’s Argentina Project.

Gedan rejected the idea that Milei’s popularity was proof of a major conservative shift like the one that saw Milei’s far-right ally, Jair Bolsonaro, elected in Brazil in 2018. Voters were not flocking to Milei because of his anti-abortion views or plans for drastic spending cuts. Rather, they saw him as a renegade from outside Argentina’s venal political “caste” who could end decades of economic mismanagement and corruption by demolishing the political establishment and building something new.

“It isn’t the ideas that are appealing. It’s plague on both your houses populism,” Gedan said. “It’s literally a cry of rage.”

The prospect of a Milei presidency has thrilled millions of supporters and horrified detractors who fear the foul-mouthed populist could wreak further havoc on a nation already reeling from a 40% poverty rate and annual inflation of 138%.

“More than Milei’s ideas, what worries me is his state of mind and emotional stability,” said Juan Luis González, the author of an unauthorized biography which takes Milei’s nickname as its title: El Loco (The Madman). The book – which Limoine dismissed as “sh*t” – portrays Milei as an unhinged loner who was bullied and beaten as a child and gets political advice from four cloned mastiff dogs named after libertarian thinkers such as Murray Rothbard.

“They’re very good advisers, don’t you think?” chuckled Lemoine, declining to deny or confirm that claim.

On the campaign trail, Milei has appalled critics by calling human-driven climate change “a socialist lie”, accusing the pope of sympathizing with “murderous communists”, downplaying the crimes of Argentina’s dictatorship, and brandishing a chainsaw. His more radical ideas include abolishing the central bank and dollarizing the economy, legalizing the sale of organs, loosening gun laws, and shunning Argentina’s biggest trading partners, China and Brazil.


The Voice referendum was a disaster but it showed the hidden rottenness of Australian society that likes to be seen as fair, trots out an apologetic school curriculum which recognises the sins of colonialism, but ultimately does not seek to address the gaping chasm between First Nations people and the rest of Australia.

My siblings and parents were equally divided on the referendum.

What surprised me about this vote was that there was huge support for same sex marriage a couple of years ago. Yet here, on another social equity issue, there was a resounding negative response.

Only one Territory (the ACT, which has the highest income per capita from memory as most of the population are tied to our political system and federal government bodies) voted yes. The next closest State to passing a Yes vote was Victoria (45-46%), which was surprisingly more than New South Wales (40%) which was on par with Tasmania. Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia were unsurprisingly and unapologetically No states at less than 1/3 of voters supporting the Voice. It's not a coincidence the latter 3 states have the lowest proportion of multiculturalism in their populations.

Perhaps we'll see a change demographically in the next 20 years? A sad reality for Australia.

It's fear among White folks that they'll lose something. Plus they don't want to confront the past.

I mean, based on my public school education, why would white people not want to confront their past? It has so much good in it. Columbus discovering the Americas, pilgrims making peace with Native Americans, the taming of the wild and uninhabited west, the large-scale immigration of Africans, giving those same people's descendants freedom and (mostly) equal rights, need I go on?


That is the same tune they played in my public school. Rather depressing when you find out more. We do ourselves a disservice.

There was a huge disinformation campaign against the Voice from the right too. I spoke to people who were convinced that if it went through a new tax would be introduced on their pensions in order to pay reparations.

I thought there was a threshold of misinformation that couldn't be crossed but that line has shifted. I wonder how much of that was attributable to our former Prime Minister taking up the disgraceful habits of the former US President?

It's so mind boggling to me that our consumer law prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct but political advertisement and conduct is in no way restrained along similar lines.

Because it'd basically end "politics" as we've known it for centuries.

...waiting for the downside...

Prederick wrote:

Because it'd basically end "politics" as we've known it for centuries. :lol:

it would be silly to not accept that the 24 hour news cycle, instant tweets, etc. hasn't changed 'politics' in a very real way.

Only because "news" became a profit center decades back, had restrictions on reporting balance removed, and was deliberately adopted as propaganda in mainstream Right outlets. The Right has also socialized the idea that "there is always bias so there can be no truth in news" very completely.

A 24 hour news feed like NPR, dedicated to accuracy, transparency and balance, shows how different "old school" news was from today's propagandistic cacaphony. It also shows that "everyone does it, all sources are untrustyworthy" is completely wrong.

Back in the '60's and '70's the idea that a news source should cater to the Right or the Left would have been laughed out of Journalism, and the public would have reacted in horror, citing Orwell and other dystopic views of propaganda. Now, it's a mantra that it's the only way news - infotainment - can be done, with very few exceptions.

Nota bene - I cited NPR because of its excellent, unbiased radio reporting, not its left-leaning Opinion content (which seems to be due mostly to issue/article selection rather than adding in bias). I'd also cite the reporting of the Wall Street Journal as a good source of news, rather than it's Opinion pages, which seems to appeal to people who think Genghis Khan was a weak-minded flower-sniffer. There's also AP, Reuters and other news wires that tend to just dump facts for other services to use.

Japan investigates foreign YouTubers accused of dodging train fares and stealing food

A rise in the antics of nuisance influencers in Japan, who are accused of duping train ticket collectors and pretending to be homeless to get cash, has caused consternation in the country as tourism number near their pre-pandemic levels.

A railway company in Japan is investigating allegations that a group of four popular foreign YouTubers had travelled long distances by train without paying. One of the suspected fare dodgers, known online as Fidias, posted a video to his 2.38 million subscribers over the weekend showing him and three others evading rail staff and blagging free food.


Panayiotou’s clips emerged soon after an American live streamer known as Johnny Somali was arrested after he filmed himself breaking into a building site in Osaka.

The 23-year-old, whose real name is Ismael Ramsey Khalid, was charged with trespassing last month.

He and another American allegedly broke into a hotel that was nearing completion, media reports said. Video taken and posted by Khalid shows him repeatedly shouting “Fukushima” to construction workers who asked him to leave.

Other videos by Khalid have caused consternation and anger in Japan, including those in which he jokes about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was rearrested this month for filming inside a restaurant in Osaka without permission and playing loud music.

1 - This should be far enough on the side of assholery for YT to remove or at least totally demonetize the content
2 - there are criticisms of Japan's immigration policies, but given how strict we know they are, how have these dudes not been thrown out of the country yet?

Because they're very polite or they appear to be for this foreigner looking from far away.

Without taking the time to read into it, it most likely is because they haven’t yet been arrested and then gone on to either make a confession or been found guilty in court. Once either of those occurs, they can be deported and barred from reentry. From skimming the quoted text, I can only assume that at least some of these jackasses will be deported soon.

Prederick wrote:

nuisance influencers


Billion points to the Korean authorities for, a full year on, pulling the "Now is not the time for politics" schtick.

A turning point in Myanmar as army suffers big losses

In a matter of days the military government in Myanmar has lost control of much of its border with China.

A co-ordinated attack by three ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State, supported by other armed groups opposing the government, has overrun dozens of military posts, and captured border crossings and the roads carrying most of the overland trade with China.

It is the most serious setback suffered by the junta since it seized power in February 2021. After two-and-half years of battling the armed uprising it provoked with its disastrous coup, the military is looking weak, and possibly beatable.

The government has responded with airstrikes and artillery bombardments, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. But it has been unable to bring in reinforcements or recover the ground it has lost. Among hundreds of troops killed is believed to be the commander of government forces in northern Shan State, Brigadier General Aung Kyaw Lwin, the most senior officer killed in combat since the coup.

What makes this attack even more significant is that it marks the first time that the well-armed insurgents operating in Shan State have explicitly aligned themselves and their military operations with the wider campaign to overthrow the junta and restore democratic rule.

However, there are other factors at play. These three insurgent groups have long-held ambitions to expand the territory they hold. And crucially China, which normally acts as a restraining influence on all the groups along its border with Myanmar, has not prevented this operation from going ahead.

That is probably because of its frustration over the military government's inaction over the scam centres which have proliferated in Shan State. Thousands of Chinese citizens and other foreigners have been forced to work in these scam centres. The insurgents say one of their aims is to close them down.

Oh, damn, I have heard nothing of this beyond the coup and thinking "Yeah, this will go nowhere good." But I did not have "Myanmar turns into Chinese client state after revolt" on my dance card.

Very interesting update from Iceland.

Why businesses are pulling billions in profits from China

Foreign businesses have been pulling money out of China at a faster rate than they have been putting it in, official data shows.

The country's slowing economy, low interest rates and a geopolitical tussle with the US have sparked doubt about its economic potential.

All eyes will be on a crucial meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden this week.

But businesses appear to be already erring on the side of caution.

"Anxieties around geopolitical risk, domestic policy uncertainty and slower growth are pushing companies to think about alternative markets," says Nick Marro from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

China recorded a deficit of $11.8bn (£9.6bn) in foreign investment in the three months to the end of September - the first time since records began in 1998.

This suggests that foreign companies are not reinvesting their profits in China, rather they are moving the money out of the country.

Right-winger Milei wins Argentina presidential poll

Right-wing libertarian outsider Javier Milei has won Argentina's presidential run-off poll, according to provisional results.

Mr Milei's rival, economy minister Sergio Massa, called him to concede.

The election comes at a difficult time for Argentina with rising inflation and an economy in crisis on peoples' minds.

His proposals, which included detonating the central bank, won support with voters desperate for change.
Mr Milei confounded pollsters by easily defeating the candidate of the governing Peronists, provisionally by more than 10 points.

Provisional results showed Mr Milei had nearly 56% of the vote compared with 44% for Mr Massa, with almost 90% of votes counted.

"Obviously the results are not what we expected. I have contacted Javier Milei to congratulate him," Mr Massa said.

"From tomorrow the responsibility of providing certainty belongs to Milei."

It was a close race to the very end but the former pundit who at one point wielded a chainsaw on the campaign trail, won out.

A man who has been likened to former US President Donald Trump, and ex-Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro, Javier Milei is untested.

But that was part of his appeal.

His talk of introducing the US dollar as the country's official currency was met with applause by his supporters. Many economists though talk of financial disaster.

No matter, in a country where annual inflation is now over 140% and two in five people live in poverty, his win proves that Argentinians are fed up with traditional politics and economic disaster.

His victory means they are willing to try something new in an effort to make their lives better.

Reacting to the result, Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said: "I wish good luck and success to the new government. Argentina is a great country and deserves all our respect."

"Brazil will always be available to work together with our Argentine brothers," he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

On the campaign trail, the president-elect publicly criticised Lula's policies and branded him an "angry communist".

Colombia's President Gustavo Petro said the result of the election was "sad for Latin America".

"Neoliberalism no longer has a proposal for society, it cannot respond to humanity's current problems," he posted on X.

But Chile's President Gabriel Boric said he saluted Mr Milei "for his victory and Sergio Massa for his worthy recognition of defeat".

He posted on X: "I wish the Argentine people the best and know that they will always have our respect and support."

An interview with him, if you're wondering.

Also, if you were curious what mercurial billionaire just praised his election on Twitter, well, you'll have to bet $20 to make $1.

You can’t even pay people to have more kids

Taiwan has spent more than $3 billion trying to get its citizens to have more children.

In 2009, after decades of falling birth rates, it began offering six months of paid parental leave, reimbursed at 60 percent of a new parent’s salary — then recently increased that share to 80 percent. The government has introduced a cash benefit and a tax break for parents of young children, and has invested in child care centers.

Perhaps having exhausted more conventional approaches, current and would-be lawmakers have started getting creative: Authorities have hosted several singles mixers in an effort to get young people to pair up. Terry Gou, a candidate in next year’s Taiwanese presidential election, has even proposed giving people a free pet if they have a child. “If there is no birthrate in the future, who will take care of our furry friends?” he said. “So I have put these two issues together.”

If history is any guide, none of this will work: No matter what governments do to convince them to procreate, people around the world are having fewer and fewer kids.

In the US, the birth rate has been falling since the Great Recession, dropping almost 23 percent between 2007 and 2022. Today, the average American woman has about 1.6 children, down from three in 1950, and significantly below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 children needed to sustain a stable population. In Italy, 12 people now die for every seven babies born. In South Korea, the birth rate is down to 0.81 children per woman. In China, after decades of a strictly enforced one-child policy, the population is shrinking for the first time since the 1960s. In Taiwan, the birth rate stands at 0.87.

The drop has frightened lawmakers and commentators alike, with headlines warning of a coming “demographic crisis” or “Great People Shortage” as economies find themselves without enough young workers to fill jobs and pay taxes. To stem the tide, the world’s leaders have tried everything from generous social welfare programs to pink-and-blue awareness campaigns to five-figure checks to veiled threats, all to relatively little avail. “Even the richest, savviest, most committed governments have struggled to find policies that produce sustained bumps in fertility,” Trent MacNamara, a history professor at Texas A&M who has written about fertility rates, told Vox in an email. “If such policies were discoverable, I think someone would have discovered them.”

The failure of dozens of often very expensive pronatalist policies to produce much of a return has policymakers and observers alike wondering whether there’s any way for governments to convince their citizens to have more babies. If not, what should lawmakers should be doing instead to help societies adapt to a demographically changing world?

Prederick wrote:

You can’t even pay people to have more kids

The failure of dozens of often very expensive pronatalist policies to produce much of a return has policymakers and observers alike wondering whether there’s any way for governments to convince their citizens to have more babies.

I would start with "making sure the world is going to be a habitable place for said babies".

Prederick wrote:

You can’t even pay people to have more kids

The failure of dozens of often very expensive pronatalist policies to produce much of a return has policymakers and observers alike wondering whether there’s any way for governments to convince their citizens to have more babies.

They never actually want to pay anywhere near enough to convince people. When you actually run the numbers on how much the state benefits from a citizen versus how much the state pays for a child’s upkeep, it’s tens of thousands in the state’s favour. That’s before we look at the direct costs to parents to have a child and the opportunity costs are huge too.

So tell me how €800 for a first child and €1000 for a second is actually offsetting that? That’s how much Italian pro natalist payments are. They are once off payments so good luck.

The collapse in birthrates in the developed Western world is product of just how much extra costs to have a child. Every survey tells us people want to have between 2 or 3 children, and every survey tells us that costs of childcare, housing and career costs prevent people from having children.

The article does not mention, FWIW, that I think only Africa, the Middle East and possibly South Asia currently have no birthrate issues (for a variety of reasons), which is definitely not why dudes like Elon are freaking out about birthrates.

It's not big in literal terms, but it also is big news and probably should be bigger, especially after the whole Canada thing?

US says it foiled alleged plot to assassinate Sikh activist in New York

The US has said it foiled an alleged plot to assassinate an American citizen in New York who advocated for a Sikh separatist state.

Nikhil Gupta, an Indian national, is accused of trying to hire a hitman for $100,000 (£79,000) in cash.

But the hitman was actually an undercover federal agent, prosecutors said.

Mr Gupta, 52, is in jail in the Czech Republic pending extradition. The charges carry up to 20 years in prison.

He was allegedly directed by an Indian government official who was not named or charged in the indictment.

The White House said it had raised the alleged assassination plot with India at the most senior levels, and officials there responded with "surprise and concern".

A senior administration official said the murder-for-hire allegations so concerned President Joe Biden that he dispatched top US intelligence leaders - CIA Director William Burns and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines - to India to speak to officials there.

India's government, meanwhile, said it was investigating.

As millions of empty houses rot in Japan, Airbnb wants to turn them into tourist lodgings

Airbnb is looking to capitalise on a growing swathe of empty houses in Japan, hoping to convince owners to remodel the vacant homes into tourist attractions.
“It can be a good source of income after people retire as our lifetime gets longer. If the owners of idle assets refurbish them and convert them into lodgings, that would be a solution,” Airbnb’s head of Japan, Yasuyuki Tanabe, told Nikkei.

Airbnb hopes to partner with businesses and local governments to encourage homeowners to invest in renovations, Tanabe told Nikkei.

“The number of akiya is increasing and expected to increase further. Many of them are too good to be abandoned. There are also safety risks if they are left unkept,” Tanabe added.

Japan has some 8.49 million akiya, or unoccupied homes, according to the government’s Housing and Land Survey in 2018. The survey is conducted every five years.