Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of what’s going on in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace found that China’s carbon dioxide emissions have plummeted nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2015:
That’s … unexpected. Ever since 2000, China’s annual emissions have been rising at a relentless pace, as the country has rocketed itself out of poverty, burning billions and billions of tons of coal for electricity and industry. And China’s official plan was for annual emissions to keep rising until 2030 or so. Given that China is the world’
Man arrested over racist rant on Wellington bus
5:20 PM Sunday Mar 29, 2015
A Lower Hutt man has been arrested after a video of a racist rant on a Wellington bus against two young men who appeared to be Muslim was published online.
The incident happened on an NZ Bus in the Lower Hutt suburb of Naenae on Wednesday morning.
The footage, shot by an Iraqi Muslim woman sitting behind the man, shows the man calling out to the pair and accusing them of being “Islam c***s” and “shooting innocent people”.
“Go back to your own country,” he said.
One woman on the bus stood up for the young men and called out “welcome to New Zealand” to them before telling the man to behave himself.
The man then repeatedly told the woman to “shut your mouth up b****”.
Police today said they had identified and arrested a 66-year-old Lower Hutt man in relation to the incident.
Someone needs to tell the old white man that this isn’t 1960s New Zealand anymore.
Steve Shives, does another episode of his “Five Stupid Things,” this time on North Korea, and its inhuman “god kings,” who have caused so much suffering.
And to think that there are some people in America who think they’re opressed just becouse they have to pay the federal goverment to use its land.
Burmese political blogger Nay Phone Latt was jailed for sharing news online about the monk-led saffron revolution in 2007 against the country’s brutal military dictatorship. Released under an amnesty for political prisoners three years ago, he is involved in another kind of revolution, one against hate speech targeting Muslims that is becoming more and more prevalent in Burmese society.
The internet in Burma was once among the most restricted in the world but, since the lifting of censorship, people can now access whatever they want. Internet availability is still scarce but, with telecommunications infrastructure developing at a fast pace, many use the internet via mobile phones. Social media, especially Facebook, has become a popular way to discuss politics and share views and opinions, something not possible before. However, not only has it led to greater political debate, it has also lead to an outpouring of hateful and racist sentiment towards Muslims who make up about 4 per cent of the population.
“Now everything is open, and most people are using Facebook and social media,” says Nay Phone Latt. “But not only is there free speech but there is also hate speech spreading through social media.”
From a modest building in a quiet leafyRangoon neighbourhood, he and his civil society group Myanmar ICT Development Organisation, in collaboration with other activist groups, operates a campaign to counteract hate speech online. Called Panzagar (flower speech), their slogan is “not to spread hatred among our society; be careful of your speech”.
Like Hong Kong, the nearby former Portuguese colony of Macau is a Special Autonomous Region (SAR) within the People’s Republic of China. That means, on paper anyway, that Hong Kong and Macau operate autonomously from the national government in Beijing.
In practice, the autonomy is especially restricted by Beijing’s overwhelming desire to keep a tight control on every local government within the PRC.
In Hong Kong, students and other citizens occupied commercial districts for several weeks, demanding the right for the public to nominate candidates for the office of chief executive, as had been promised (on paper) when the British handed HK back to China in 1997. Full suffrage was promised for the chief executive election in 2017. That may yet happen, but the nominations will come from a special committee and the candidates will have to acceptable to Beijing.
Macau has now become another thorn in Beijing’s paw.
Macau’s gambling take, which makes up 80 percent of its revenues, has suffered the biggest decline since the industry was liberalized in 2001. This is partly because Xi’s sweeping crackdown on corruption has scared off high-rollers, including corrupt officials.
Xi is also helping inaugurate a second five-year term for Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui, who was re-elected by a pro-Beijing panel in August amid unprecedented political protests.
Au Kam San, a pro-democracy Macau lawmaker, said Beijing still viewed Macau as more controllable than Hong Kong. But the protests from July to October by Ieong’s gambling union, in a city where casinos raked in $45 billion last year, troubled Beijing.
“The gambling union is much more important and it has a higher risk for Beijing because it’s mobilizing potential is much stronger,” Au said. “It’s seen as a threat to Beijing.”
The controversies that have become common in other parts of China, like academic freedom, universal suffrage, and abuses of the criminal justice system to quell dissent, are now surfacing in Macau.
It sounds like Islamophobia isn’t just a problem in the west. The Rohingya, a group of Muslims that live in the majority Buddhist nation of Myanmar are being severally persecuted. They are being denied basic human rights, and government is even planning to take away their right to vote, and ban marriages between Muslims and Buddhists. Things are only getting worse as violence and persecution increases. Make no mistake about it, our “counter jihad” loves this sad state of affairs.
Jane Perlez reports,
SITTWE, Myanmar — The Myanmar government has given the estimated one million Rohingya people in this coastal region of the country a dispiriting choice: Prove your family has lived here for more than 60 years and qualify for second-class citizenship, or be placed in camps and face deportation.
The policy, accompanied by a wave of decrees and legislation, has made life for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority, ever more desperate, spurring the biggest flow of Rohingya refugees since a major exodus two years ago.
In the last three weeks alone, 14,500 Rohingya have sailed from the beaches of Rakhine State to Thailand, with the ultimate goal of reaching Malaysia, according to the Arakan Project, a group that monitors Rohingya refugees.
The crisis has become an embarrassment to the White House ahead of a scheduled visit by President Obama to Myanmar next week. The administration considers Myanmar a foreign-policy success story in Asia but is worried that renewed conflict between Buddhist extremists, who are given a free hand by the government, and the Rohingya could derail the already rocky transition from military rule to democratic reform.
Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy organization, has identified at least 100 fake Twitter accounts that were likely commissioned by Beijing to spread pro-Chinese propaganda in the West.
Curious about the people who were most prolifically tweeting pro-Chinese political messages, Free Tibet discovered they were fictitious personae created out of appealing photographs plucked from the Internet. @Tomhugo148, for example, used the photograph of a Brazilian underwear model. @Alayna Newark used the photograph of a Canadian actress.
The others were a grab bag of photographs of actresses, a New Zealand radio hostess and a handful of American high school students whose images were apparently taken from a commercial photography website.
Not only were the fake identities unusually good-looking, many of them had two first names, such as Tom Hugo, Ken Peters and Felix James, as though they were randomly chosen by a computer program. Some also had YouTube and MySpace accounts. They listed one another as followers, retweeting each other. One tweet criticizing the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, was retweeted 6,555 times.
If you have anyone in your timeline bashing Japan over ownership of the unihabited Diaoyu (Senkaku) Islands, now you know why!
Don’t even think about Kim Jong-un! You do not want to force the hand of America. Just because you can get away with that in your own country doesn’t mean that you will be able to force us to violate our first amendment, which I’m guessing you know nothing about. I agree with everything The Young Turks had to say about this. Your threats only show us how pathetic you really are.
China has woken up the whole region, and climate change ratchets up the tension with a slow certainty.
Announcing the dispatch of Japanese Coast Guard vessels to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia, Mr. Abe said Japan “intends to play a more active and proactive role” in the region and issued strong, if veiled criticism of China’s recent behavior in pressing its maritime territorial claims.
“Japan will offer its utmost support for the efforts of ASEAN countries as they work to ensure the security of the seas and the skies and maintain freedom of navigation and of overflight,” he said, referring to the Association of South East Asian Nations.
In a keynote speech to the Shangri La Dialogue, an annual forum for Asian defense and security specialists, Abe acknowledged that a number of the countries in the region that he would like to befriend had bitter memories of Japanese occupation during World War II.
But since the war, he insisted, “Japan has walked a path … abhorring war … and we will continue to walk that path for generations to come.”
Thailand’s army chief announced a military takeover of the government Thursday, saying the coup was necessary to restore stability after six months of political deadlock and turmoil.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a statement broadcast on national television that the same military commission that had imposed martial law Tuesday would now take control of the country’s administration. Prayuth will head the body, a deputy spokesman said late Thursday.
The army also announced a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and a suspension of the country’s constitution.
“In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peace Keeping Committee comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4:30 p.m.,” Prayuth said.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that he was “seriously concerned” about the developments, and appealed for the military to return Thailand to civilian rule.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “no justification” for the military coup, according to a State Department news release. “While we value our long friendship with the Thai people,” Kerry said in the release, “this act will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship, especially our relationship with the Thai military. We are reviewing our military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with U.S. law.”
The army has banned gatherings of more than five protesters, and told anti-government protesters to leave the square in Bangkok where demonstrations have been taking place since November.