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posted by martyb on Wednesday August 14, @01:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the gunboats,-always-associated-with-diplomacy dept.

Hong Kong Airport Paralysed for a Second Day by Protesters:

The US is claiming its naval ships have been denied entry to Hong Kong, as Donald Trump suggests troops are “moving towards the border”.

A US Commander has confirmed China has blocked the Pacific Fleet’s naval ships from entering ports in Hong Kong.

Two US naval ships due to visit Hong Kong have been denied scheduled access to the city’s ports by China, the US Pacific Fleet confirmed today.

A US Navy spokesman today said two vessels had been blocked from entering the port, hours after President Donald Trump said China was moving its troops towards the border.

The president’s claims were made without specific evidence, according to The Australian

Commander Nate Christensen, the deputy spokesman for the United States Pacific Fleet, confirmed this morning the two US ships, USS Green Bay and USS Lake Erie, had been barred from entering the port. The first vessel, an amphibious dock landing ship, was due to stop in Hong Kong on Saturday, and the second was due in the city next month.

The last time the US Navy visited Hong Kong was in April.

Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019

[...]Hong Kong’s 10-week political crisis, in which millions of people have taken to the streets calling for a halt to sliding freedoms, was already the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.

But two days of protests at the airport have again raised the stakes for the financial hub.

Beijing is sending increasingly ominous signals that the unrest must end, with state-run media showing videos of security forces gathering across the border.

[...]All check-ins were cancelled on Tuesday afternoon after thousands of protesters wearing their signature black T-shirts made barricades using luggage trolleys to prevent passengers from passing through security gates.

[...]Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

While Hong Kong is a sovereign part of China, the former colony has significant differences to the mainland, including separate legal and political systems, distinct currency, national sporting teams and a greater tolerance for freedom of expression.

Hong Kong also retains many of its pre-colonial features, including driving on the same side of the road as Britain and Australia but not China, the retention of many British place names and statues of British monarchs and dignitaries.

Those two different systems are supposed to remain in place for at least 50 years.

However, Beijing has sought to erode these freedoms in recent years through changes to the law, attempts to not allow pro-independence politicians to take their seats in the region’s parliament and even the disappearance of booksellers critical of the Communist Party leadership.

See also: Navy Times, Business Insider, CNN.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday August 14, @03:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the are-you-"kid"ding? dept.

Anti-natalists: The people who want you to stop having babies

They believe humans shouldn't have children. Who are the anti-natalists - and how far are they willing to push their ideas?

"Wouldn't it just be better to blow a hole in the side of the earth and just have done with everything?" Thomas, 29, lives in the east of England, and although his idea of blowing up the world is something of a thought experiment, he is certain about one thing - humans should not have babies, and our species should gradually go extinct.

It's a philosophy called anti-natalism. While the idea dates back to ancient Greece, it has recently been given a huge boost by social media. On Facebook and Reddit, there are dozens of anti-natalist groups, some with thousands of members. On Reddit, r/antinatalism has nearly 35,000 members, while just one of the dozens of Facebook groups with an anti-natalist theme has more than 6,000.

They are scattered around the world and have a variety of reasons for their beliefs. Among them are concerns about genetic inheritance, not wanting children to suffer, the concept of consent, and worries about overpopulation and the environment. But they are united in their desire to stop human procreation. And although they are a fringe movement, some of their views, particularly on the state of the earth, are increasingly creeping into mainstream discussion. While not an anti-natalist, the Duke of Sussex recently said he and his wife were planning to have a maximum of two children, because of environmental concerns.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 13, @11:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the he-said-she-said dept.

China said on Friday the joint declaration with Britain over Hong Kong, which laid the blueprint over how the city would be ruled after its return to China in 1997, was a historical document that no longer had any practical significance.

In response, Britain said the declaration remained in force and was a legally valid treaty to which it was committed to upholding.

The stark announcement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, that is sure to raise questions over Beijing’s commitment to Hong Kong’s core freedoms, came the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Hong Kong the “one country, two systems” formula was recognized “by the whole world”.

It was not immediately clear if Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was attacking just the idea of continued British involvement in Hong Kong, which marks the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule on Saturday, or the principles in the document.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 13, @10:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-do-drugs-eh dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Canadians are in a kerfuffle over the Trump administration's preliminary plan to allow Americans to import lower-cost prescription medications from Canada.

The plan was announced July 31 and is part of the administration's long-sought effort to drag down the US's skyrocketing drug prices. But it's a long way from being a reality. Even if the plan does pan out, it will likely be years before regulators review, approve, and scale up efforts to import drugs.

Still, Canadians are infuriated by the idea and already brainstorming ways to toss it down the garburator, according to a report by health-news outlet STAT. Many fear that American importation would exacerbate current drug shortages in Canada.

"You are coming as Americans to poach our drug supply, and I don't have any polite words for that," Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa told STAT. Prof. Attaran went on to refer to the plan as "deplorable" and "atrociously unethical." "Our drugs are not for you, period."

[...] On Monday, August 12, Canada's Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor was set to meet with pharmacists, patients, and industry officials to discuss a response to the US plan, according to STAT. Petitpas Taylor has pledged to "ensure there are no adverse effects to the supply or cost of prescription drugs in Canada."

In order to protect Canadians, some advocates and policy experts suggested that Canada could begin controlling the export of pharmaceuticals, pass new laws simply banning exporting drugs meant for Canadians, or impose new tariffs.

-- submitted from IRC


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday August 06, @09:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the Cool-It! dept.

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters: Don't 'Play With Fire'

Amid weeks of mass anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that have frequently turned violent, Beijing on Tuesday issued a stark warning to protesters: "those who play with fire will perish by it."

The remarks, at a news conference in Beijing, were made by Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. He said China has "tremendous power" to put down the protests and warned that anyone who engages in "violence and crimes ... will be held accountable."

Asked if he could rule out the use of military force in Hong Kong, Yang told journalists: "We will not let any acts attacking the principle of 'one country, two systems' go unpunished." "I warn all those criminals: Don't misjudge the situation or take restraint as a sign of weakness," he said.

Yang's comments came a day after Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, vowed to restore order in the city after nine weeks of nearly uninterrupted demonstrations. Speaking on Monday, the embattled Lam said the Chinese territory was "on the verge of a very dangerous situation" — words repeated verbatim by Yang.

See also: Hong Kong Strike Sinks City Into Chaos, and Government Has Little Reply
Hong Kong's Stock Rout Enters 10th Day, Worst Streak Since 1984
Hong Kong Protests Broaden Despite Police Crackdown


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday August 03, @04:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-you-can't-fix-it,-break-it dept.

U.S. pulls out of Soviet-era nuclear missile pact with Russia

The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty, something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Washington signalled it would pull out of the arms control treaty six months ago unless Moscow stuck to the accord. Russia called the move a ploy to exit a pact the United States wanted to leave anyway in order to develop new missiles.

The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was negotiated by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

INF treaty.

Also at BBC and NPR.

Previously: President Trump Warns That the U.S. Will Pull out of Nuclear Forces Treaty and Build Up its Arsenal


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 26, @11:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-looking? dept.

Russian hackers probed election systems in all 50 states, a new Senate report confirmed Thursday.

The report comes one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller told Congress that the Russian government is working to meddle in U.S. elections "as we sit here."

"It wasn't a single attempt," Mueller said Wednesday of Russia's 2016 election interference. "They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign."

The bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released Thursday confirmed previous comments by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Russian hackers scanned election systems in all 50 states ahead of the 2016 presidential election. DHS initially acknowledged Russian attempts to hack into election systems in just 21 states.

Russia targeted all 50 states in 2016 election hacking campaign, Senate report confirms


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 26, @06:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the rattling-sabres dept.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected the demonstration of a "new-type tactical guided weapon" on Thursday as a warning to South Korea to stop importing high-tech weapons and conducting joint military exercises with the United States, state media KCNA said on Friday.

North Korea test-fired two new short-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, South Korean officials said, its first missile test since Kim and US President Donald Trump agreed to revive denuclearisation talks last month.

The KCNA report did not mention Trump or the US, but it said Kim criticised South Korean authorities for carrying on with joint exercises, which are usually conducted with US troops.

"We cannot but develop nonstop super-powerful weapon systems to remove the potential and direct threats to the security of our country that exist in the South," Kim said, according to KCNA.

He accused South Koreans of "double dealing" for saying they support peace but simultaneously importing new weapons and conducting military drills.

South Korea's leader should stop such "suicidal acts" and "should not make a mistake of ignoring the warning," Kim said.

Kim said he was satisfied with the rapid response and low-altitude trajectory of the weapon, which he said would make it difficult to intercept.

Seoul's National Security Council said on Thursday it believed the missiles were a new type of ballistic missile, but it would make a final assessment with the US.

Ballistic missile tests would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korean use of such technology. North Korea rejects the restriction as an infringement of its right to self-defence.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday July 24, @12:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the all-change,-again dept.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49084605

Boris Johnson has been elected new Conservative leader in a ballot of party members and will become the next UK prime minister.

He beat Jeremy Hunt comfortably, winning 92,153 votes to his rival's 46,656.

The former London mayor takes over from Theresa May on Wednesday.

In his victory speech, Mr Johnson promised he would "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn".

Speaking at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in London, he said: "We are going to energise the country.

"We are going to get Brexit done on 31 October and take advantage of all the opportunities it will bring with a new spirit of can do.

"We are once again going to believe in ourselves, and like some slumbering giant we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self doubt and negativity."

Any other comments would be editorializing...


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Friday July 12, @05:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the tweets-are-for-birds dept.

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

Trump's Twitter blocks violate First Amendment rights, appeals court affirms

It's one thing for most of us to block Twitter users who annoy us, but it's a violation of those users' First Amendment rights for the president to do so, a federal appeals court confirmed.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday issued an opinion supporting an earlier federal court ruling that as long as Donald Trump is a public official, he cannot block people (which prevents them from reading his feed or responding to his comments) he disagrees with on Twitter.

The opinion (PDF) is narrow, specific, and unanimous, with all three judges concurring. "We do not consider or decide whether an elected official violates the Constitution by excluding persons from a wholly private social media account," the judges write, "Nor do we consider whether private social media companies are bound by the First Amendment when policing their platforms."

But, they continue, "The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.... Once the President has chosen a platform and opened up its interactive space to millions of users and participants, he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with."

"The irony of all this," the opinion concludes, "is that we write at a time in the history of this nation when the conduct of our government and its officials is subject to wide-open, robust debate. This debate encompasses an extraordinarily broad range of ideas and viewpoints and generates a level of passion and intensity the likes of which have rarely been seen. This debate, as uncomfortable and unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing. In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less."

[Update 20190713_080924 UTC: Part of what distinguishes this case from other politician's use of twitter is that on June 6, 2017 it was reported:

At the daily White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said the President's tweets are considered official White House statements, saying the President is the "most effective messenger on his agenda."

--martyb]


Original Submission