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More adventurous than the average bear

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Links - 10th July 2018 (1)

Is China's Belt and Road working? A progress report from eight countries - "Pakistan symbolizes both the promise and the potential peril for countries participating in China's BRI undertaking -- arguably the largest investment drive ever launched by a single country -- and its related projects. For countries needing infrastructure, the BRI holds the promise of investment in new railways, roads, ports and other projects. But as the Nikkei Asian Review and The Banker magazine discovered in producing this special report, participating countries also have worries, ranging from a lack of participation by local workers and banks to unmanageable debt hangovers."

The Chinese Think Liu Xiaobo Was Asking For It - "People like Liu are potential object lessons; cross the line and we will destroy you—and it’ll be your own fault. The government gives the impression, and much of the public seems to believe, the lines in question are clearly drawn. The problem is they’re often invisible until you accidentally blunder across them. My friend Jimmy’s uncle didn’t know that his construction company was bidding against a mafia run by local officials and gangsters—until they kidnapped him, took him to the top of an unfinished building, chopped off his legs and left him to bleed to death, while their official counterparts arrested his brother on false charges. The vast bulk of the damage done by the Chinese state is to people who did nothing except be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And these are by far the most dangerous injustices, from the government’s perspective. If the public is ever stirred from its apathy, it will be because of ordinary victims, not outspoken dissidents. That’s why the many prosaic encounters with the Chinese government that result in tragedy are permitted only a mayfly lifespan in the Chinese media; a brief burst of attention in the aftermath, followed by a swift closure of discussion of the topic. Political persecution, on the other hand, is given a proud public place. When the government decided to crush China’s flickering, hopeful online life in 2013, prominent blogger Charles Xue was made to confess to his crimes as a Weibo activist on live television. Talking with an intelligent and liberal colleague after the televised confession, she seemed unfazed by the crudity and echoes of the Cultural Revolution. “He must have had warnings,” she said."

Henry Vincent: Tributes to burglar killed breaking in to pensioner's home must be respected, police tell angry neighbours - "Police have urged people to “respect” tributes left by the grieving family of a burglar stabbed to death during a botched break-in at a pensioner’s home. Officers have moved to ease escalating tensions in Hither Green, south-east London, after angry locals repeatedly ripped down flowers left by Henry Vincent’s relatives and friends. Vincent, 37, was killed during a struggle with Richard Osborn-Brooks, 78, whose house he had broken into with an accomplice while armed with a screwdriver last week. The burglar’s family have left floral bouquets, cards and balloons on a fence opposite the home of the pensioner, who was arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without charge... The family, who have identified themselves as Gypsies, say they are being stigmatised because of their background and should be allowed to grieve... The tributes were laid opposite the house of Mr Osborn-Brooks, who has yet to return home since he was freed by police. Neighbours suggested he may never return out of fear of a revenge attack. Firefighters fitted new smoke alarms in the pensioner’s house, where he lives with his wife who is disabled. Fire crews declined to comment but there have been fears of reprisals since Vincent’s death. CCTV was installed at the house last week, and it has been boarded up since the break-in and remains behind police tape"
Tributes as a form of provocation/revenge - brilliant!
So much for 'stereotypes'


Study: Colleges That Ditch The SAT And ACT Can Enhance Diversity
Diversity = stupid people?

Chinese Coal Miner Marries Russian Girl Who Says She 'Doesn't Need a Car or House' - "The mining housing that Chen lived in was not something that Sophia was used to, as she had to use outdoor toilets and baths, while the frogs and rats were in abundance. Sophia revealed that even though it was the hardest time she had, but it was also when she was happiest. Chen popped the question to Sophia after half a year of dating and she agreed."

The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany - "Prato is believed to have the second-largest Chinese population of any European city, after Paris, and it has the highest proportion of immigrants in Italy, including a large North African population... The strangest accusation was that the Chinese in Tuscany weren’t dying—or, at least, that they weren’t leaving any bodies behind. In 1991, the regional government began an investigation into why, during the previous twelve months, not a single Chinese death had been officially recorded in Prato or in two nearby towns. In 2005, the government was still mystified—that year, more than a thousand Chinese arrivals were registered, and only three deaths. Locals suspected that Chinese mobsters were disposing of corpses in exchange for passports, which they then sold to new arrivals, a scheme that took advantage of the native population’s apparent inability to tell any one Chinese person from another... In 2010, Santo Versace—a politician who is also the chairman of the Versace fashion house—championed a law that contained a very Italian compromise: if two of the steps in the manufacturing process took place in Italy, the item could bear the valuable label. But the famous fashion companies continued to look for ways to make the “Made in Italy” tag mean what it was supposed to mean without forgoing profits... Working for a company like Fendi wasn’t easy for a Chinese person, he went on. You had to “acquire an Italian mentality” and “conceive of the bag as an Italian would.” He explained, “A Chinese person thinks only that he has to get so many bags done, but behind every bag there’s a precise study of what it’s about. I think the Italians are the greatest artisans in the world."... “All the Italians looked the same,” she recalled. “It was hard to tell one face from another.” But she soon settled in and began to excel at school, in part because she was good at math. In her early teens, she returned to China for two years to improve her Chinese and learn about the culture. She didn’t fit in. “That was a more racist society than the one here!” she said.... “in China, what a man can do with one word takes a woman five. A woman in China needs grinding determination and force. But here in Italy it’s the reverse. A woman, one word. A man, five.”"

Goldman asks: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'
And libertarians claim that private sector is always superior

Stan Lee Needs a Hero: Elder Abuse Claims and a Battle Over the Aging Marvel Creator

Harvard to interrogate profs accused of ‘microaggressions’ - "Seven classes at the Harvard University School of Public Health have been “flagged for special attention and review” after each class drew three or more student reports of microaggression... Campus Reform reached out to Harvard to ask if students’ allegations of microaggressions could result in sanctions—impacting professors’ tenure or promotion applications, for example—but the school did not respond despite repeated requests."

Lecturer faces hate speech charges for calling holy books 'fiction' - "A lecturer at the University of Indonesia’s School of Philosophy has been reported to the police for alleged hate speech after stating on a TV show on Tuesday that holy books are “fiction”."
Yesterday's comment is today's microaggression is tomorrow's hate speech

A First Nation by any other name? - Canada - "What to call indigenous groups is intensely political in Canada, reflecting the power struggle over land, resources and government funding between these groups and the government and also among the groups themselves. Complicating the matter is a lack of consistency on naming that makes the area a minefield for non-indigenous Canadians who may not be up to date on what is and is not an acceptable term. In this way it is similar to shifting terminology in America for African-Americans. The Indians referred to in the ministry's former title, many of whom have cross-border cousins among the Native Americans of the United States, decided several decades ago that they would rather be known as First Nations. It was both a symbolic casting off of the colonial yoke and a not-too-subtle reminder that they were here first. Their organisation, the National Indian Brotherhood, changed its name officially to the Assembly of First Nations in 1982. But not all of the 600-plus bands that belong to the group have gone along with the change, and some others use both terms interchangeably... The First Nations are the largest of Canada's three indigenous groups—the last census counted 700,000—the other two being the Métis and Inuit. The First Nations, however, are the only ones who negotiated treaty rights with the Crown when Canada was still a British colony. Their prime concern is that the switch in the name of the ministry foreshadows a change in government policy that will undermine their traditional rights. Thus they found themselves in the unusual position of defending a name that most of them had rejected... The Inuit, who do not use the term "First Nations" to describe themselves, seem prepared to keep an open mind. With about 50,000 members scattered across the vast Canadian Arctic and sub-Arctic, this group historically felt the ministry was, as its title suggested, focused on Indians. (In fact, the First Nations' use of "first" miffs the Inuit a bit, for the obvious reasons.)... Much like the term Indian fell out of favour because of its colonial and sometimes pejorative overtones, Eskimo has slipped from popular usage in Canada. But nothing is ever straightforward. Some younger Inuit have taken to using the term, believing it has street cred. And while Inuit in Canada prefer to stick to their modern name, across the border in Alaska there are those who identify themselves quite happily as Eskimo"

Eskimo, Inuit, and Inupiaq: Do these terms mean the same thing? - "Eskimo is a term used to mean people of North America or Greenland, as distinguished from Eskimo people from Asia or the Aleutian Islands. The term Eskimo has largely been replaced by Inuit in Canada, and Inuit is used officially by the Canadian government. Many Inuit people consider Eskimo to be a derogatory term. However, Eskimo continues to be used in all parts of the world, especially in historical, archaeological, and cultural contexts. It is widely known that Inuit, a term of ethnic pride, offers an acceptable alternative, but it is less well understood that Inuit cannot substitute for Eskimo in all cases, being restricted in usage to the Inuit speaking peoples of Arctic Canada and parts of Greenland... the only all inclusive term remains Eskimo"

Tuesday’s letters: Origin of word Eskimo is innocuous - "Modern linguists believe the word Eskimo actually came from the French word esquimaux, meaning one who nets snowshoes. Netting snowshoes is the highly precise way that Arctic peoples built winter footwear by tightly weaving, or netting, sinew from caribou or other animals across a wooden frame. Pray tell; how is that offensive?"
"Change the name of the CFL’s Eskimos? Why stop there? How about the Oilers become the Edmonton Carbon Neutrals or the Renewable Energies?"
"lets also be totally inclusive and change the name of the Blue Bombers. Their team name is racist and symbolic of violence. A “bomber,” according to the dictionary is either a plane that delivers bombs or a terrorist who bombs other citizens. I’m sure that all those refugees newly arrived to Canada that were bombed out of their cities and villages in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, or that were witnesses to terrorist bombings elsewhere, are “triggered” every time they hear about the exploits of the Winnipeg football club."
"to correct past bigotry towards Ukrainians, let’s call them the Cossacks to reflect the past injustices and discrimination suffered by Ukrainians before human rights laws and the politically correct groups were in existence."

Global Muslim body urges Europe to assimilate migrants better - "Europe must do more to assimilate Muslim immigrant populations and criminalise religious hate speech, said the head of a global Muslim missionary society trying to help Saudi Arabia mend its reputation as a promoter of intolerant ideology."
If you can't make Saudi Arabia more tolerant, make the world more like Saudi Arabia

Teachers' Union Demands Action on 'Prejudiced' Parents Withdrawing Children from Islam Lessons - "Parents are allowed to pull their children from some Religious Education (RE) lessons that conflict with their personal views. However, a motion passed by the ATL claims the power is being abused by “prejudiced” parents."

After Years of Challenges, Foursquare Has Found its Purpose -- and Profits - "In the spring of 2016, Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck went on CNBC to make a bold prediction: Chipotle comparable sales would fall by 29 percent in its first quarter. The network’s anchor seemed skeptical. The fast-food chain was reacting to some health scares at the time, but no one was predicting nearly as steep a drop in revenue... Two weeks after Glueck’s appearance on CNBC, the Mexican eatery reported sales had fallen 29.7 percent from a year earlier."

Refugees set for payout because midwives didn't tell them to feed baby - "The Sri Lankan family of a brain damaged child is set for a multi-million-pound NHS payout because midwives didn’t explain the importance of feeding their newborn"
Isn't it a microaggression to assume minorities don't know they need to feed their babies?

Singapore swings and misses at the arts - "several commercial galleries, contemporary showcases and art fairs have ended or scaled back their operations and events amid falling foot-traffic and lower-than-expected sales. While arguably more organic art scenes in Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok and Hong Kong enjoy contemporary art booms with works fetching ever-rising prices and a mushrooming of new galleries and private museums, Singapore’s scene is comparatively in the doldrums. As the city-state bids to build a reputation as a premier cultural destination, local artists and promoters still find themselves contending with Singapore’s political conservativism and entrenched censorship... “Strong economic growth has led to many new galleries and private museums opening in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. Everywhere, everywhere, the art scene booms. The only place we have stagnation is Singapore,” he said, speaking at Art Stage’s recent lackluster opening... Just four in 10 Singaporeans expressed an interest in arts and cultural events, according to a 2016 NAC survey... Palay believes the state’s arts funding has bred a climate of self-censorship that stifles the local scene’s vibrancy, forcing artists to adapt their works to be more palatable to the government grant application process and depressing the art market’s potential in the process."

Disinformation campaigns can create 'true armed conflict': The Ukrainian experience with Russian propaganda
"How come "Stop Fake", an organisation funded by George Soros, was invited by the Select Committee to give oral representation. Foreign intervention is welcomed only when it suits partisan interests?"

George Soros who? Why Singapore is no Hungary - "In Hungary this week, civil activists were seething after the OSF’s announcement that it might be forced to move operations in the country elsewhere due to intensifying pressure from strongman premier Viktor Orban. However, there was little such reaction when the Singapore government earlier this month blocked the registration of a company that accepted OSF funds... “The long, consistent, and determined position by the government has enabled it to institutionalise [such] antipathy” toward foreign funding of political activity, said Tan, a law professor at the Singapore Management University... Chong Ja Ian, a political-science professor in the National University of Singapore, said while the ACRA’s action was “not surprising”, its statement did not provide clarity on what constituted foreign influence. “Foreign firms lobby [the government], foreign representatives sit on the National Wage Council, [and] universities get grants from various foreign foundations,” said Chong."
Basically foreign influence is good if the government approves of it

Can We Just Let The Kampung Spirit Die in Peace? - "Take for example, the oft-repeated claim that our kampung days had more ‘social cohesion’. By this, most commentators mean that neighbors were more sociable. They knew each other by name and talked cock on a regular basis. What critics often forget are the reasons for this sociability: Chronic unemployment and a lack of amenities. In pre-independence, pre-modern Singapore, that was no such thing as a ‘career’. Most kampung dwellers worked what we now call ‘odd jobs’ in the informal economy, that is if they could find employment at all. Many men worked part-time on the docks while the women laboured as laundresses cum housewives."
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