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Sunday, May 07, 2017

Links - 7th May 2017 (1)

Local elections 2017: Jeremy Corbyn branded 'cowardly and selfish' for failing to take responsibility for losses - "Jeremy Corbyn has been branded "cowardly and selfish" after he failed to take responsibility for Labour's local election wipeout, leaving local activists to take the blame. Labour candidates described the results as "an unmitigated disaster" for the party after it lost 320 council seats as well as the West Midlands, Tees Valley and West of England mayoral races it had been predicted to win. Party sources said Mr Corbyn has demanded data on the number of doors that were knocked and leaflets delivered in the areas where the party did badly, suggesting he is preparing to lay the blame at the door of local campaigners. One Labour candidate said: "Any self-respecting leader would look at these results and resign. He's obviously not going anywhere but the Corbyn vanity project is leading Labour off a cliff edge... It came as Mr Corbyn claimed the party is "closing the gap" with the Conservatives despite heavy losses across the country... In Wales, Labour councillors admitted that they had been talking to voters about the Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones, not Mr Corbyn, in a “Carwyn not Corbyn” strategy. They said that ignoring him made conversations with voters easier. Despite the result Mr Corbyn claimed he can still win the general election after he appeared to ignore the scale of the losses... One Labour candidate told The Telegraph: "It's absolutely clear that Labour can't win a general election under Jeremy Corbyn ... every time Corbyn or Diane Abbott appear on the TV Labour loses more voters." The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, was criticised for claiming the party's vote share will improve when people hear directly from Mr Corbyn during the election campaign as he insisted the results were not "the wipeout that some people expected"... The shadow chancellor told the BBC that "unbalanced media coverage" of the leader had given the public a "distorted view" of who he is, leading to lost votes."

35-year-old has lived at Jurong Point mall for 4 years, rents room only for the address - "He told Wanbao that he rents a shared room in Boon Lay, but finds the room hot and stuffy, saying he prefers to live at Jurong Point as the $250 room was "no good" and he could not get along with the other tenants. He added that it was cooler at Jurong Point, which is open late and has a 24-hour supermarket, and that he could use the free Wi-Fi and was able charge his phone at the mall. A spokesman for Jurong Point told The Straits Times it welcomed Mr Chen as long as he did not pose a nuisance."

How Harry Reid caused Donald Trump’s very conservative Cabinet - "For the 40 years before November 2013, a president's Cabinet picks needed to win the support of 60 senators to advance to a confirmation vote. What that usually meant is that a president needed to pick someone (or someones) who could reasonably expect to peel off some not-insignificant amount of support from the other side of the aisle. Reid, frustrated by a long-standing blockade by Senate Republicans of President Obama's nominees to federal judgeships, changed all of that... Politics is a pendulum. It swings to one side and then, predictably and always, swings back to the other... “The American people believe the Senate is broken, and I believe the American people are right,” Reid said that day. “It’s time to get the Senate working again.” The Senate will be working next week. Just not the way Reid envisioned it."

Immigration helps explain Sweden’s school trouble - "the change in pupil demographics due to immigration explains almost a third of the average decline between 2000 and 2012: 19 per cent in mathematical literacy, 28 per cent in reading literacy, and 41 per cent in scientific literacy. The effect is especially pronounced in recent years, coinciding with accelerating refugee immigration... These are strong effects. In fact, the change in pupil demographics is the only factor that we know for sure has contributed to Sweden’s falling scores. Furthermore, the full impact is probably somewhat larger. This is because immigration may also have lowered performance among pupils with a Swedish background, for instance through the redistribution of resources to immigrant pupils... the rise of an overly progressive educational culture is likely to be an important culprit. Incidentally, as my recent monograph shows, this is also relevant for understanding declining Pisa scores in Finland, the longstanding pin-up model of school choice and accountability critics."

'Leftist Fight Club' trains UCF students to fight Republicans
Addendum: This is the ‘Knights for Socialism’ student club at the University of Central Florida

Are white S. Africans discriminated against? - "Piet le Roux, however, a senior researcher with the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI), agrees that South African whites are, in fact, discriminated against. "There is no question that the current government's racial policies are alienating Afrikaners [South African whites of Dutch descent], just as it is alienating other minority groups," he told. Le Roux cited what he described as an increasing insistence by government departments that company or agency workforces always reflect the approximately 79 percent black, 10 percent white, 9 percent colored and 2 percent Indian composition of the country's population."

Airline pilots report suicidal thoughts, study finds - "Hundreds of pilots who are currently flying commercial planes may be clinically depressed, according to research published in the journal Environmental Health on Wednesday. Worse still, many pilots with symptoms of depression may not seek treatment due to fears of negative career consequences, such as being grounded, said researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health."

Tourist killed by tiger after jumping from Great Wall of China... straight into big cat's enclosure - "The three men, who had been walking along the Great Wall near Beijing, decided there would a quicker way back to the starting point if they jumped from the ancient structure and cut through some bushland. What they didn't know was that the bushy area was part of the Siberian tiger's enclosure at the Badaling Wildlife World."

Relatives of man mauled to death by tiger say zoo should take blame for 'security gaps' - "Two days after a man was mauled to death by tigers at a Ningbo zoo, the deceased man's relatives have traveled to Ningbo, arguing that the zoo should take some of the blame for the "gaps" in security that led to the man scaling two 3-meter-tall walls in order to avoid paying for an entrance ticket, and mistakenly ending up inside the tiger enclosure. "[The zoo] should not give people the opportunity to climb over," one relative told Pear Video, accusing the Ningbo Youngor Zoo of not having strict enough surveillance measures along its outer perimeter."

Did Rubens make big beautiful? - "Rubens never set out to make big beautiful. Rubenesque – with all its connotations of body shape – is a modern invention. Looking at Rubens' paintings and seeing only large bodies says far more about our age than his."

Facial attractiveness is related to women's cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness - "plasma cortisol level was negatively associated with attractiveness, indicating that stressed women look less attractive. Fat percentage was curvilinearly associated with facial attractiveness, indicating that being too thin or too fat reduces attractiveness"

Want to be a social escort? You need a degree first - "THE quality of female social escorts or professional companions has gone up, say agency owners and managers. Clients, they added, have become more discerning and demanding: They want degree-holders... summing it up best was Mr Ting, who said: 'It's a matter of feeding the right type of meat to cater to the right palate. 'We supply you with what you want. Simple.'"

Parliament: New ERP system 'not a threat to privacy'
Nov 3, 2014

ERP, traffic data to be used to counter terror threat
Apr 7, 2016

Some Ang Mo lived in SG and Sweden compares living, taxi and food : singapore - "I find I am bleeding money in SG at a rapid rate, more so than where I came from - Melbourne - which isn't exactly cheap either. But I am starting to work out there's two Singapore's. There's the "cheap" Singapore where life isn't actually that great (comparatively to where I am from) - the quality of life is better back in Australia I reckon for lower/middle income earners. Then there's the expensive SG, which is incredibly convenient - life is better than Australia in this Singapore - but also very draining on the wallet."

Sweden Crime Rates & Immigration: What Are the Facts? - "In quantitative terms, the NTU data on sexual assault show a rising victimization level from the first survey in 2005 to the last reported year, 2015. The legal definition of rape in Sweden, suddenly a hot topic in U.S. political discourse, is irrelevant here. These numbers are from a self-reported survey of sexual-crime victimization with the same definition over time. The number of sexual crimes reported to the police has also increased in recent decades, although here crime definitions and reporting rates become factors and make comparisons over time and with other countries difficult. There is no source pointing to a decrease in sexual crime over the long term in Sweden, and the increase in sexual assaults in official sources was grudgingly acknowledged by the Swedish media prior to Donald Trump’s comments.
Finally, it is worth emphasizing that the focus on overall crime statistics avoids the actual question being discussed: the situation in immigrant-dominated areas with low socioeconomic status... To isolate the effect of immigration on crime, we need data on crimes committed by immigrants. Obtaining this type of data is easy in the United States or Denmark, but not in Sweden. The last time there was an official report breaking down crime statistics by immigrant status and origin was in 2005, for the years 1997 to 2001. These statistics confirmed that immigrants were significantly overrepresented amongst offenders, in particular in committing violent crimes. The foreign born were four times more likely to be suspects in homicide cases than those with Swedish origin, and 4.5 times more likely to be suspects in rape cases."

Ban as old as first HDB flats - "The ban on cats in Housing Board (HDB) flats has been in force since Singaporeans moved into the first such flats in 1960. It was part of a blanket ban on all animals, livestock and poultry in flats... HDB went on to cite cats' tendency to wander as justification for continuing to ban cats as pets in flats... The points HDB was reportedly believed to have considered then included the necessity for cats to be spayed at five months to prevent a wandering instinct from forming, the difficulty of ensuring all cats are spayed, the noise from cat calls and fights, as well as damage to public property caused by their claws. Today, the ban is not actively enforced, with HDB acting against only errant home owners whose cats are a public nuisance"
Maybe the HDB should allow cats in flats - as long as any cats found outside are swiftly put down
This is *yet* another example of an unenforced law (like 377A)

can't trust cats: funny

Bahamas' swimming pigs found dead 'after tourists give them rum'

Henry&Aaron 'stay in school or else you will die a bloody death' video warns students not to skip class - "At the end of the advert, the warning "This is what happens when you slack off. Stay in school", appears ominously on screen."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, What's in a Name? - "Suddenly a woman, Julia [sp?] approached, shouting in English: 'Why are you interviewing him? The Fez seller? It's a cliche. Why are you not filming the crowds to show the unity of Turks. You Western media are all the same.' Then she broke into a chant: 'we love you Erdogan, we love you Erdogan'...
[On France's burkini bans] The ironies felt overwhelming. On the very beaches where bikinis, then monokinis once outraged public decency by showing too much, it was now apparently an offence for women not to reveal their bodies

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Treading Carefully - "[Gaddafi] was scared of flying, and thought a 4 engine plane was safer than one with 2. And whoever bought the plane would have to do a costly refit. Unless they wanted to keep the onboard jazuuzi, gold taps, double bed and other accoutrements that the Libyan leader had installed

The crack in Gambia's smile - "Gambian friends told me not to make the common outsider's mistake of treating their leader as a maverick or eccentric - "tyrant" was nearer the mark, they said. "Every day we think about the president's health... and hope it is getting worse," a Gambian back from long stints abroad remarked. Diplomats, both western and African, see The Gambia in freefall... It is a cut-price paradise; a newly declared Islamic Republic where beer is cheap and sex is openly available to both male and female tourists. Same-sex relationships, though, are not part of the scene. President Jammeh has volunteered to slit the throats of homosexuals."

BBC Radio 4 - From Our Own Correspondent, Linguistic confusion and mass killers - "Harlem, the spiritual heart of Black America, is changing fast. Rampant gentrification, unfailingly signaled by white female joggers, is everywhere"

Why UK Brexit talk baffles Germany - "There's one thing about the German language that if you're British, you never really quite get used to. It's how to say yes. And how to say no. An English friend of mine, Jessica, once told me a story which sums up the problem. When she was at school in London she was about to go on an exchange to stay with a family in Germany, and the teacher sat them all down for a talk. "Now girls," the teacher explained, "when someone offers you something to eat, and you want it, you say yes, not no." These well-brought-up young ladies would usually say: "No, I couldn't possibly" to that plate of biscuits the first time round, and wait to be persuaded before giving in with a gentle: "Oh, go on then." "In Germany," the teacher went on patiently: "No actually means no. You won't get offered again." Crazy, Jessica remembers thinking. Obviously the school had had experience of pupils coming back famished. In British English, of course, no means yes, yes means no … and "maybe," "possibly" and "would love to but" can mean either. A group of British people trying to decide where to go to for dinner will say things like "I'm easy" or "I don't mind" - even though everyone blatantly does mind. This is all quite straightforward to Brits, and the subtext is clear. In Germany it's baffling"
So much for yes is yes and no is no. And so much for not making people tea if they say they don't want any. Maybe they don't need re-education in affirmative consent in Germany
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