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Republican Covid lies follow foreign strongmen’s lead – and are deadly for it From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA hospital in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is being charged under the country’s National Security Act for sounding the alarm over a lack of oxygen that resulted in Covid deaths. The hospital’s owner and manager says police have accused him of “false scaremongering”, after he stated publicly that four patients died on a single day when oxygen ran out.Related: Relief, reluctance and confusion: New Yorkers react to mask-free guidanceSince Covid-19 exploded in India, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, seems to be trying to the control the news more than the outbreak. On Wednesday, India recorded nearly 363,000 cases and 4,120 deaths, about 30% of worldwide deaths that day. But experts say India is vastly understating the true number. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, estimates at least 25,000 Indians are dying from Covid each day.The horror has been worsened by shortages of oxygen and hospital beds. Yet Modi and his government don’t want the public to get the true story.One big lesson from the Covid crisis: lying makes it worse.Vladimir Putin is busily denying the truth about Covid in Russia. Demographer Alexei Raksha, who worked at Russia’s official statistical agency, Rosstat, but says he was forced to leave last summer for telling the truth about Covid, claims daily data has been “smoothed, rounded, lowered” to look better. Like many experts, he uses excess mortality – the number of deaths during the pandemic over the typical number of deaths – as the best indicator.Trump wants the credit for developing the vaccine. Then he also gets the blame for so few of his voters taking itFrank Luntz“If Russia stops at 500,000 excess deaths, that will be a good scenario,” he calculates.Russia was first out of the gate with a vaccine but has fallen woefully behind on vaccinations. Recent polling puts the share of Russians who don’t want to be vaccinated at 60% to 70%. That’s because Putin and other officials have focused less on vaccinating the public than on claiming success in containing Covid.Story continuesThe US is suffering a similar problem – the legacy of another strongman, Donald Trump. Although more than half of US adults have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, more than 40% of Republicans have consistently told pollsters they won’t get vaccinated. Their recalcitrance is threatening efforts to achieve “herd immunity” and prevent the virus’s spread.Like Modi and Putin, Trump minimized the seriousness of the pandemic and spread misinformation about it. Trump officials ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to downplay its severity. He declined to get vaccinated publicly and was noticeably absent from a public service announcement on vaccination that featured all other living former presidents.Trump allies in the media have conducted a scare campaign about the vaccines. In December, Fox News host Laura Ingraham posted a story on Facebook from the Daily Mail purporting to show evidence that Chinese communist party loyalists worked at pharmaceutical companies that developed the coronavirus vaccine.As recently as mid-April, Fox News host Tucker Carlson opined that if the vaccine were truly effective, there’d be no reason for people who received it to wear masks or avoid physical contact.“So maybe it doesn’t work,” he said, “and they’re simply not telling you that.”Why then should anyone be surprised at the reluctance of Trump Republicans to get vaccinated? A recent New York Times analysis showed vaccination rates to be lower in counties where a majority voted for Trump in 2020. States that voted more heavily for Trump are also states where lower percentages of the population have been vaccinated.The Republican pollster Frank Luntz says Trump bears responsibility for the hesitancy of GOP voters to be vaccinated.“He wants to get the credit for developing the vaccine,” Luntz said. “Then he also gets the blame for so few of his voters taking it.”Trump’s Republican party is coming to resemble other authoritarian regimes around the world in other respects as well – purging truth tellers and trucking in lies, misinformation and propaganda harmful to the public.Related: We are responding calmly to Indian Covid variant, insists UK health ministerThis week the GOP stripped Liz Cheney of her leadership position for telling the truth about the 2020 election. At last week’s congressional hearing about the 6 January attack on the Capitol, one Republican, Andrew Clyde, even denied it happened.“There was no insurrection,” he said. “To call it an insurrection is a bold-faced lie … you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”Biden says he plans to call a summit of democratic governments to contain the rise of authoritarianism around the world. I hope he talks about its rise in the US too – and the huge toll it’s already taken on Americans.







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Will the return of big government lead to a spike in inflation? From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



As Biden's $4 trillion economic growth plan faces political obstacles, prices and wages are already on the rise.







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Pink Floyd lead singer Waters: Israel is an apartheid state From “World News”



This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 60%. (I’m a bot)While the reactions to the Masjid al-Aqsa raid continued, Pink Floyd’s lead singer Roger Waters shared a post targeting Israel on his social media account.”Israel is an apartheid state. Look at the genocidal evictions of Sheikh Jarrah,” said Waters.Speaking to US President Joe Biden, who said, “I support Israel under all circumstances,” Waters said, “You support people being driven out of their homes like genocide. How would you feel Joe Biden? scum takes him away,”he criticized.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: Waters#1 Israel#2 B’Tselem#3 competition#4 apartheid#5







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China’s UN envoy: Myanmar violence could lead to civil war From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



China’s UN ambassador on Monday urged stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup. AP PhotoUNITED NATIONS: China’s UN ambassador on Monday urged stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, warning that further violence could lead to a chaotic situation “and even a civil war.” Zhang Jun also warned that “any wrong handling” might lead to further tension in Myanmar. The UN Security Council on Friday strongly backed calls by Southeast Asian nations for an immediate cessation of violence and talks as a first step toward a solution following the military coup in Myanmar that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy. The council again demanded the restoration of democracy and the release of all detainees including Suu Kyi and condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Zhang, who described Myanmar as “a friendly neighbor,” strongly backed diplomatic efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN and by UN special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, and expressed hope they would produce results. He said, “China is not in favor of imposing sanctions.” “We should really be creating a more favorable environment for bringing the country back to normal and finding a political solution through dialogues among the relevant political parties within the constitutional and legal framework,” he said. Myanmar for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Suu Kyi’s rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country. The coup took place following November elections, which Suu Kyi’s party won overwhelmingly and the military contends was marred by fraud. “It’s mainly an issue relating to the difference on the election,” Zhang said. “The political parties should be able to find a solution on that. So that’s why China prefers… more diplomatic efforts.” “That’s why China is working very closely with the relevant parties urging them really to refrain from going extreme, avoiding violence, avoiding casualties, and try to find a solution with dialogue. That’s why the council is also now giving full support to the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN,” he said. Zhang was asked whether China was concerned that Myanmar could descend into civil war, given that its military is fighting the Kachin and Karen ethnic minorities, which maintain their own armed forces, while also confronting pro-democracy protesters – amid reports that civilians, mainly students, are now receiving training in the use of weapons in ethnic areas. “We do have similar concerns,” Zhang said. “We do believe that with diplomatic efforts we can avoid the further escalation of the tension.” “With further escalation of the tension, there will be more confrontation, and with more confrontation there will be more violence, and with more violence there will be more casualties, and then we may go further down the wrong direction,” he warned. “It may also mean a chaotic situation in Myanmar and even a civil war.” Zhang said China is also very concerned about the humanitarian impact of the crisis, citing UN envoy Schraner Burgener who pointed to more poor people losing jobs, civil servants refusing to work to protest the junta, and a brewing crisis of families in and around the main city Yangon “pushed to the edge” for food, going into debt and trying to survive. In her briefing to the council Friday, obtained by The Associated Press, she also cited a World Food Program report that the combination of existing poverty, the Covid-19 pandemic and the political crisis have led to a sharp rise in “hunger and desperation,” and that within six months up to 3.4 million more people will suffer from hunger, particularly those in urban areas. In again urging a diplomatic solution, Zhang warned that with further deterioration “definitely a humanitarian disaster or crisis will be inevitable so we do need to try our best to avoid that.” FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Myanmar violence could lead to civil war From “Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines”



UNITED NATIONS (AP) — China’s U.N. ambassador on Monday urged stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, warning that further violence could lead to a chaotic situation “and even a civil war.”Zhang Jun also warned that “any wrong handling” might lead to further tension in Myanmar.The U.N. Security Council on Friday strongly backed calls by Southeast Asian nations for an immediate cessation of violence and talks as a first step toward a solution following the military coup in Myanmar that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy.The council again demanded the restoration of democracy and the release of all detainees including Suu Kyi and condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the deaths of hundreds of civilians.Zhang, who described Myanmar as “a friendly neighbor,” strongly backed diplomatic efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN and by U.N. special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, and expressed hope they would produce results. He said “China is not in favor of imposing sanctions.”“We should really be creating a more favorable environment for bringing the country back to normal and finding a political solution through dialogues among the relevant political parties within the constitutional and legal framework,” he said.Myanmar for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Suu Kyi’s rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country. The coup took place following November elections, which Suu Kyi’s party won overwhelmingly and the military contends was marred by fraud.“It’s mainly an issue relating to the difference on the election,” Zhang said. “The political parties should be able to find a solution on that. So that’s why China prefers … more diplomatic efforts.”Story continues“That’s why China is working very closely with the relevant parties urging them really to refrain from going extreme, avoiding violence, avoiding casualties, and try to find a solution with dialogue. That’s why the council is also now giving full support to the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN,” he said.Zhang was asked whether China was concerned that Myanmar could descend into civil war, given that its military is fighting the Kachin and Karen ethnic minorities, which maintain their own armed forces, while also confronting pro-democracy protesters — amid reports that civilians, mainly students, are now receiving training in the use of weapons in ethnic areas.“We do have similar concerns,” Zhang said. “We do believe that with diplomatic efforts we can avoid the further escalation of the tension.”“With further escalation of the tension, there will be more confrontation, and with more confrontation there will be more violence, and with more violence there will be more casualties, and then we may go further down the wrong direction,” he warned. “It may also mean a chaotic situation in Myanmar and even a civil war.”Zhang said China is also very concerned about the humanitarian impact of the crisis, citing U.N. envoy Schraner Burgener who pointed to more poor people losing jobs, civil servants refusing to work to protest the junta, and a brewing crisis of families in and around the main city Yangon “pushed to the edge” for food, going into debt and trying to survive.In her briefing to the council Friday, obtained by The Associated Press, she also cited a World Food Program report that the combination of existing poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis have led to a sharp rise in “hunger and desperation,” and that within six months up to 3.4 million more people will suffer from hunger, particularly those in urban areas.In again urging a diplomatic solution, Zhang warned that with further deterioration “definitely a humanitarian disaster or crisis will be inevitable so we do need to try our best to avoid that.”







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China's UN envoy: Myanmar violence could lead to civil war From “World”




China’s U.N. ambassador is urging stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup







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Queen and Boris Johnson lead tributes to Northern Ireland on centenary | Northern Ireland From “World news | The Guardian”



Northern Ireland has marked its centenary with low-key commemorations, reflecting a mixed mood of pride, resentment and post-Brexit uncertainty.The Queen and Boris Johnson led tributes to the region on its 100th birthday on Monday with carefully worded statements that praised its people while acknowledging a troubled history and polarised society.Advocates of a united Ireland made their own statement by draping a giant banner over a tower block in west Belfast urging the region to leave the UK. “A united Ireland is for everyone. Let’s talk about it,” said the banner, which had a Sinn Féin logo. It was later removed.Several band parades, church services and other small-scale events, operating under pandemic restrictions, were held across the region.Northern Ireland was created on 3 May 1921 when the Government of Ireland Act came into effect and partitioned the island, leaving its six north-eastern counties under British rule and dominated by a Protestant majority that discriminated against the Catholic minority.The Queen said the anniversary was a reminder of a complex history that invited reflection on togetherness and diversity. “In Northern Ireland today, there is, perhaps, more than ever, a rich mix of identities, backgrounds and aspirations, and an outward-looking and optimistic mindset,” said her statement.“The political progress in Northern Ireland and the peace process is rightly credited to a generation of leaders who had the vision and courage to put reconciliation before division. But above all, the continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests.”The prime minister said centenary events in the coming months would exhibit the region’s accomplishments. “The government will continue to showcase all the brilliant things Northern Ireland contributes to the rest of the UK and the world, from its world-class fintech industry and research capabilities to its inspiring young people and its vibrant culture of arts and sport.”Johnson’s statement added: “It is also important that we pause to reflect on the complex history of the last 100 years. People from all parts of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and across the globe will approach this anniversary in different ways, with differing perspectives.”Gerry Adams, the former Sinn Féin leader, published an essay recalling violence against Catholics in the early years of Northern Ireland, calling it a “pogrom” that launched decades of state-sanctioned violence against nationalists and Catholics. Adams also tweeted what has become a Sinn Féin rallying cry: “Time4unity.”The SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood, said Northern Ireland had reached a fork in the road. “It’s time we had a meaningful conversation about where we go next.”Ireland’s president, Michael D Higgins, said that instead of calling for a united Ireland it was better to call for a united vision against violence and “false differences”.The UK government has set aside £3m for centenary events in the coming months, including tree-planting, an online concert, a business conference, a postmark and a church service.Efforts to forge a united political front to mark the anniversary foundered. Sinn Féin and the SDLP boycotted a panel coordinating the commemorations. Sinn Féin also blocked the erection of a stone in the shape of Northern Ireland at the Stormont assembly.Unionists have expressed pride in Northern Ireland’s contribution to the UK, singling out arts, culture, sport and industry, but political developments along with Covid-19 dampened any festive spirit.Unionist leaders fear the post-Brexit Irish Sea trade border will untether the region from the UK just as Catholics seem poised to outnumber Protestants for the first time. A party revolt last week toppled Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist party leader and first minister. The possibility of Scotland seceding from the union has also fuelled anxiety and focused attention on this week’s Scottish election.







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