Sputnik International – Breaking News & Analysis – Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics: Hong Kong Chief Lam Says China Extradition Bill ‘Dead’

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BEIJING (Sputnik) – Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam has said a controversial bill that would’ve allowed extradition to the Chinese mainland and that subsequently led to mass protests in the city is “dead”.

Sputnik International – Breaking News & Analysis – Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics


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Sputnik International – Breaking News & Analysis – Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics: Bill Clinton ‘Knows Nothing’ About Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Terrible Crimes’ – Spokesman

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Bill Clinton’s press secretary released a statement on Monday, saying that the former president of the United States “knows nothing” about the “terrible crimes” linked to Jeffrey Epstein.

Sputnik International – Breaking News & Analysis – Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics


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Global Voices: China’s censored histories: The struggle to carry memories of the Tiananmen Massacre into the future

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Despite pervasive censorship, there is a continued effort to remember.

Chinese Internet users post 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre artwork, music, and memes. Image from Weiboscope.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, research teams at the University of Hong Kong’s Weiboscope and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab gathered a collection of June 4 related content that is censored on social media in China. We explain our analysis of the censored contents in a series of articles published on Global Voices. The first post was published on April 17 and the second on June 27.

For thirty years the Communist Party of China and citizens have been locked in a struggle over the memory of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989. Every year, around late May, the state censorship machine gears up to stop memorials of the incident from surfacing online and offline. Nevertheless, citizens continue to engage in acts of remembrance manifested in annual commemorations, historical preservations, music, and online memes. Citizen Lab and Weiboscope’s collection of censored content related to June 4 provides a view into this struggle.

Preserving history

Books and documentaries that document and analyze the history and outcomes of the Tiananmen student democracy movement are heavily censored on social media in China. Censored content includes references to The Gate of Heavenly Peace, a book by historian Jonathan D. Spence on Chinese revolutions, and a film of the same name by American filmmaker Carma Hinton that chronicles the student protests and military crackdown.

On the Chinese microblogging social media platform Weibo, users collectively gather historical information from a grassroots perspective, including numbers of deaths and injuries, confrontations between the military and the protestors, eyewitness testimonies, and timelines of the protest movement and the ensuing massacre. Many June 4 related posts on Weibo that are censored include information on the event supported by validated sources, including journalistic coverage, video footage, photographs, books, archives, and documents. Despite the pervasive censorship, these posts signal disagreement with state propaganda aimed at covering up the facts surrounding the massacre.

Music as memorial

Artists also used music and other forms of expression to remember June 4 over the past 30 years. Musicians from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan voiced some of the strongest support for victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre and democracy movements in China. Posts censored on Weibo between June 1st and June 4th of each year between 2012 and 2018, include album covers and photos of artists such as Beijing-based Chinese rock music pioneer Cui Jian, Hong Kong singer Anita Mui Yim-fong, and Taiwanese singer and songwriter Lo Ta-yu who all made popular songs to commemorate the event.

The user caption reads: “Sharing Cui Jian’s song ‘Nothing to my name’: I would like to dedicate this song to the students”. (Shared on June 3, 2014 and censored the following day.) Image from Weiboscope.

User caption reads: “Sharing Luo Ta-you’s song ‘Beijing Night’: Today, listen to this song: the wind is rustling, the rain is thundering, the thunder is murderous, the murderous smoke is heavy, the vocals, the drums, the noise, hot, hot, the singer, the singer, the singer, They come from above and below, on the ground and underground. They have been hiding for thousands of years and have been quiet”. (Shared on June 4, 2014 and censored on the same day.) Image from Weiboscope.

Keywords found to be censored on social media include references to songs like “Mother, I have done nothing wrong” (妈妈我没有做错), by Hong Kong rock and roll artist Danny Summer, and “There Should Be Love in June” (六月里应该有爱), by Chinese punk band Punkgod. Both songs were written on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Movement in 2009. Danny Summer, known in some circles as the godfather of rock and roll in Hong Kong, wrote the song to show support and sympathy for mainland students who participated in the protests in 1989. Punkgod, a band from Jiangxi in Southeast China, dedicated an entire album to commemorate the Tiananmen Movement on its 20th anniversary in 2009.

Memes in remembrance

Each year, Chinese netizens attempt to dodge social media censorship by posting memes that symbolize June 4. Weibo posts collected by Weiboscope in 2012-2018 and made available to the public this year, show a range of creative ways adopted by users to outsmart Chinese censors. Much of this content make references to the tanks used by the government in the military crackdown on civilians. Posts playfully arrange cigarette packages, yellow duck toys, books, logos, and other objects to make subtle references to the iconic photo of Tank Man standing in front of a line of tanks at Tiananmen Square. Other posts share comics and artwork that generally depict tanks. 

An abstract painting of a tank with a user caption that has nothing to do with the June 4 incident. (Shared on June 4, 2012 and censored on June 6, 2012.) Image from Weiboscope.

An image of cigarette packages made to look like tanks with a user caption that reads “today is the international No Smoking Day, please don’t smoke”. (Shared on June 4, 2016 and censored the same day.) Image from Weiboscope.

There are also more straightforward displays of commemoration including photos showing performing artists carving the numbers six and four on a brick, and a group of poets with their faces masked while attending a small gathering at the Great Wall in Beijing in 2013.

Artists’ performance. Shared on June 3, 2013 and censored on June 6, 2013. Image from Weiboscope.

Keyword data from Citizen Lab demonstrates how Chinese netizens use coded language to refer to June 4. Many keywords use Roman numerals and combinations of numbers to reference June 4 such as “VI IV”, “VIIIIX VI IV”, “1+3”, “32×2”. Other keywords use less obvious codes like “*(^$” a string of special characters that represents the numbers 8964 on the keyboard.

Users also make creative use of Chinese characters to refer to the event. Most Chinese characters consist of several smaller characters that can be broken down into components and radicals. Users break down sensitive keywords into individual characters and components in an attempt to evade censorship. For instance, “20周年纟己念氵舌云力建讠义” (20th anniversary commemoration suggestions) breaks down the characters “纪念活动建议” ( jǐ niàn huó dòng jiàn yì, commemoration suggestions) into their individual components and radicals “纟己念氵舌云力建讠义” (sī jǐ iàn shuǐ shé yún lì jiàn yán yì).

Carrying Memory into the Future

Since June 4 1989, the Chinese government has aggressively attempted to push the memory of the brutal crackdown away from the public mind through pervasive censorship. Lousia Lim, a veteran China correspondent found in a small experiment that only 15 of 100 students in China recognized the famous photo of Tank Man, and accounts from millennials in China portray a seeming indifference to government efforts to expunge the event from the collective consciousness. However, acts of memorial from tens of thousands of lit candles in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park, sounds of a Cantonese pop song moving through the air, to playful images of the Tank man or simply “64” posted on Weibo show a continued effort to remember.

Note: In order to protect Weibo users’ privacy, all post accounts shown in screenshots are given pseudonyms.

Global Voices


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Blogs from Michael_Novakhov (21 sites): The FBI News Review: Another Comey making prosecutorial calls on Clintons? Bad idea! – Boston Herald

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Feedly Logo
July 08, 2019
Another Comey making prosecutorial calls on Clintons? Bad idea! – Boston Herald
Mark Meadows: Comey basically ‘went through red stoplights’ trying to ‘get’ Trump – Fox News
Alerta de Google: fbi counterintelligence: Shocking: Immigrant Army Recruits Are Being Abruptly Discharged Without Explanation
Alerta de Google: fbi counterintelligence: William Barr Says He’s Recused From Epstein Case Over Legal Conflict
“fbi” – Google News: Loudon Co. Chief Deputy selected for FBI academy – WVLT.TV

Another Comey making prosecutorial calls on Clintons? Bad idea! – Boston Herald

Boston Herald
Since Hillary Clinton has a penchant for deleting things — those 33,000 emails come to mind — she may want to zap this missive pronto. In June she tweeted, “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the president is not above the law.” Of course she was referring to President Trump, her arch enemy.
Read More

Mark Meadows: Comey basically ‘went through red stoplights’ trying to ‘get’ Trump – Fox News

Fox News
Mark Meadows on Comey trying to indict Trump Former FBI Director James Comey tried very hard to get President Trump indicted in relation to the Russia investigation, according to Rep.
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Alerta de Google: fbi counterintelligence: Shocking: Immigrant Army Recruits Are Being Abruptly Discharged Without Explanation

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Take a look at the face of bigotry and how it destroys lives. The Associated Press reports that at least 40 immigrant recruits and Army reservists who enlisted with a promised path to citizenship have been abruptly discharged, without explanation, with an “uncharacterized discharge” neither honorable nor dishonorable.
Read More

Alerta de Google: fbi counterintelligence: William Barr Says He’s Recused From Epstein Case Over Legal Conflict

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced his recusal from the high-profile Jeffrey Epstein case because his former law firm once represented the convicted sex offender. “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined for a period of time,” Barr told reporters in South Carolina.
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“fbi” – Google News: Loudon Co. Chief Deputy selected for FBI academy – WVLT.TV

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (28 sites)
LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) — A local law enforcement officer has been chosen to attend the National FBI Academy. The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office said Chief Deputy Jimmy Davis has been one of a select few to attend the academy in Quantico, Virginia.
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RT – Daily news: ‘One boss – US dollar’? China & India put future of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency into question

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Preview India and China have expressed skepticism over Libra’s prospects, as both seek to limit the cryptocurrency trade. Beijing, in particular, is worried that US-controlled digital currency might undermine its financial sovereignty.
Read Full Article at RT.com

RT – Daily news


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“Right Cause party” – Google News: Plaintiffs seek to block Justice Department from changing lawyers in census citizenship case – The Washington Post

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Plaintiffs seek to block Justice Department from changing lawyers in census citizenship case  The Washington Post

The legal battle over the Trump administration’s efforts to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census further escalated on Monday as the plaintiffs argued that …

“Right Cause party” – Google News


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“Оппозиция в России” – Google News: Venezuela’s govt. and opposition to hold talks – NHK WORLD

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Venezuela’s govt. and opposition to hold talks  NHK WORLD

Representatives of the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido will hold talks in a bid to break a political …

“Оппозиция в России” – Google News


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“Right Cause party” – Google News: Lt. Gov. McNally renews call for David Byrd’s resignation; former U.S. rep says ‘brand is hurt’ by Byrd – The Tennessean

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Lt. Gov. McNally renews call for David Byrd’s resignation; former U.S. rep says ‘brand is hurt’ by Byrd  The Tennessean

A former Republican congressman now says that Rep. David Byrd, a state lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting teenagers, should leave the General …

“Right Cause party” – Google News


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“Right Cause party” – Google News: Is Nicki Minaj Single? Find Out Who the Rapper Is Dating – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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Is Nicki Minaj Single? Find Out Who the Rapper Is Dating  Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Nicki Minaj’s name is currently all over the news due to her upcoming performance in Saudi Arabia. But, that isn’t the only reason the Megatron singer’s name …

“Right Cause party” – Google News


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РБК – Все материалы: Мадуро объявил о начале переговоров с венесуэльской оппозицией

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Стороны встречаются на острове Барбадос. Посредником в этом диалоге выступает Норвегия. Гуиадо прежде заявлял, что целью этих переговоров является попытка положить конец «узурпации» в Венесуэле и назначить новые выборы

РБК – Все материалы


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Voice of America – English: Poll: Brazil President’s Approval Rating Among Worst Since Return to Democracy

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Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is among the least popular since the country’s return to democracy three decades ago, but his rating in a poll released on Monday showed his numbers stabilizing.

The Datafolha polling institute found that 33% of respondents said Bolsonaro was doing a “great or good” job. That is technically tied with the 32% in an April Datafolha poll.

Those who think Bolsonaro is doing a “bad or awful” job rose to 33% from 30% in the April poll.

The latest polls show Bolsonaro technically tied with former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso as the leader with the least support at this point in his first term. Thirty-four percent of those asked by Datafolha in June 1995 thought Cardoso was doing “good or great.”

The poll of 2,086 people across Brazil on July 4-5 has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Bolsonaro easily won last year’s election over leftist rival Fernando Haddad, who stepped in to take the top place on the Workers Party ticket after a graft conviction prevented imprisoned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from running. Datafolha polls last year showed Lula far more popular than Bolsonaro – even after he had been imprisoned.

Lula’s conviction has come under scrutiny since the publication of leaked messages last month by news website The Intercept Brasil showed former federal judge and current Justice Minister Sergio Moro stepping over ethical, and possibly legal, lines by coaching the prosecution in Lula’s trial.

Moro, who presided over the case and found Lula guilty, has alternatively argued that the leaked messages show no improper behavior to questioning their authenticity, is facing withering criticism.

On Monday, Moro’s press office said he would take the week of July 15-19 off for “personal” reasons, and later added he was spending time with his family. Moro’s wife and children do not live with him in the capital. July is winter recess for schools in Brazil.

In August the Supreme Court is expected to weigh an appeal from Lula’s legal team, demanding his release from jail.

Lula has been convicted in a second graft trial and faces at least eight more.

Voice of America – English


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Lenta.ru : Новости: «Нафтогаз» рассказал о новом иске «Газпрома»

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Возможный пересмотр решения суда по транзитному контракту с «Газпромом» остается для инвесторов украинской компании «Нафтогаз» одним из существенных рисков. Согласно требованиям российской компании, «Нафтогаз» должен будет выплатить ей около 2,1 миллиарда долларов, а также отказаться от собственных претензий.

Lenta.ru : Новости


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Газета.Ru – Новости дня: Санкции против Грузии разработали в Госдуме

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Депутаты Госдумы призвали правительство ввести санкции против Грузии и внесли соответствующий документ, передает РИА “Новости”.

В документе обосновывается целесообразность введения экономических мер против страны.

Предложенные …

Газета.Ru – Новости дня


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Voice of America – English: At Tehran Symphony, Music Lovers Seek Escape From Reality

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Aficionados of Western classical music have carved out a niche for themselves in Iran, where cultural expression remains tightly controlled by strict rules imposed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

And perhaps surprisingly, musicians in their 20s and 30s perform for overwhelmingly young audiences.

Last week, the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, including female musicians in burgundy headscarves on cello, horn and harp, played works by 19th-century Russian composers for an enraptured crowd in the capital’s main concert venue, Vahdat Hall.

A major draw is Shahrdad Rohani, 65, the orchestra’s charismatic music director. The Iranian-American composer, musician and conductor who has led orchestras in the United States and Europe, said he is proud of his homegrown crop of young musicians.

Iranian American maestro Shahrdad Rohani conducts the Tehran Symphony Orchestra at Unity Hall, in Tehran, Iran, July 3, 2019.

Classical music may not have mass appeal, but Rohani said in a backstage interview that there’s potential for growth, citing a large turnout during a stadium concert last year in Abadan, a provincial city in southwestern Iran.

“Classical music is growing, and as you see, the audience, they are really supporting the arts and classical music,” he told The Associated Press during the intermission of the July 3 sold-out concert.

In four decades of conservative Islamic rule, the space for artistic expression in Iran has expanded or contracted, depending on whether political hard-liners or moderates prevail.

In the first decade after the Islamic Revolution, including the eight-year war with Iraq, pop music disappeared from the public sphere, said Nima Mina of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

The Tehran Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1933, continued its work after 1979, he said. Live performances were initially rare, but have increased in number since the 1990s.

The Tehran Symphony Orchestra performs pieces by 19th-century Russian composers in Unity Hall, in Tehran, Iran, July 3, 2019.

Even during periods of eased controls, red lines are enforced.

This includes a ban on female singers performing for mixed audiences, considered “haram,” or religiously forbidden. In February, female guitarist Negin Parsa sang a solo during a concert by pop singer Hamid Askari. The authorities cut her microphone, and Askari’s permission to perform was briefly suspended.

A music cafe in downtown Tehran complies with the ban on female singers during live shows, but not when playing records. On a recent afternoon, a blues recording featuring a soulful female vocalist played in the background, as customers sipped coffee and smoked cigarettes.

“Authorities rarely challenge the playing of recorded music in the cafe, and mainly argue about the hijab issue,” said waitress Nillofar Dailami, 29, referring to the headscarf all Iranian women are required to wear. Dailami also professed a love for classical music as a result of her study of guitar.

These days, the influence of hard-liners appears on the upswing again as moderates find themselves on the defensive because of the seeming collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal they negotiated with world powers.

The U.S. walked away from the deal a year ago, instead embarking on a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, including unprecedented economic sanctions.

The sanctions have hurt ordinary Iranians, sending prices for staples and consumer goods soaring and weakening the local currency, while raising the specter of war with the U.S.

For Tehran music lovers, events like Wednesday’s concert on the main national stage next to the Russian Embassy offers a momentary escape from reality.

Audience members wait for the Tehran Symphony Orchestra during a break at Unity Hall, in Tehran, Iran, July 3, 2019.

“It is little moments that build up your life in the end,” said Shafa Sabeti, a 36-year-old architect whose business has suffered as the result of the economic downturn linked to the U.S. sanctions. “Public spaces have gotten more crowded recently. People are just living the moment — maybe it’s some coping mechanism.”

Yet tensions and fear of escalation are a “major big black cloud hovering over the country,” he said.

Wednesday’s concert featured works by Russian composers Alexander Borodin, Sergey Rachmaninov and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The audience was entranced.

There was no fidgeting or coughing. A young couple in the balcony held hands. A woman nearby recorded the concert on her iPhone. Rohani, the conductor, was greeted by loud applause and addressed the crowd several times, including announcing details about an upcoming concert.

“I love the work of Rohani,” said concert-goer Ali Reza, 26, who was introduced to classical music by learning to play the piano. He said most of his friends prefer other styles of music, including rock and pop.

Some said there’s a generational divide, with older people tending to prefer traditional Iranian music.

“There is a lot of interest in Western culture among the young urban middle class population,” said Mina, portraying it as pushback against the lifestyle and artistic expression promoted by the authorities.

He said that since the 1940s, Tehran’s music conservatory has provided a steady supply of musicians, including those who later join the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.

One of the graduates of the conservatory, violinist Ed Nekoo, spent 10 years in the Los Angeles area but returned home to care for his mother.

He said he misses the exchange with peers abroad and complained of the lack of foreign music teachers.

“We have to learn the music by ourselves,” said Nekoo, 44.

Still, he’s optimistic.

“Our audience is so young,” he said. “That’s what I like about classical music.”

Voice of America – English


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Взгляд: США собрались «удушить» Иран

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Советник президента США по нацбезопасности Джон Болтон анонсировал «удушающие санкции» против Ирана.

По его словам, Белый дом «только начинает» применять санкции против Ирана. В ноябре Вашингтон намерен вернуться к «удушающим санкциям, которые изначально и заставили Тегеран сесть за стол переговоров», передает ТАСС.

По словам Болтона, Вашингтон хочет заключить с Тегераном новую сделку, которая бы отвечала «всем интересам» США, но «никакой режим, декламирующий «Смерть Америке!» или «Смерть Израилю!», не получит никакой сделки».

Болтон заявил, что США добьются от Ирана отказа от программы создания ядерного оружия, а также заставят Иран прекратить «поддержку терроризма» и «сопровождающуюся применением насилия деятельность на Ближнем Востоке».

При этом США, которые вышли из сделки с Ираном, обвиняют Тегеран в том, что иранская сторона перестала выполнять условия договоренностей. Болтон видит в этом «ядерные амбиций Тегерана». Нынешняя администрация США намерена отрезать для Ирана все пути к ядерным вооружениям.

Саму ядерную сделку «шестерки» международных посредников с Ираном Болтон назвал «худшим дипломатическим фиаско в американской истории».

По его мнению, «кампания максимального давления на Иран работает». Как утверждает Болтон со ссылкой на западную печать, из-за санкций США происходит коллапс иранской экономики.

Напомним, Вашингтон вышел из ядерной сделки с Ираном.

В июле Тегеран заявил, что будет сокращать свои обязательства по ядерной сделке каждые 60 дней.

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