Art News - Worldwide

How America Captured a Russian MiG-15 Fighter (Thanks, North Korea)

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 08:30

This was Operation Moolah.


The day of reckoning: inside the secret network helping Hong Kong protesters flee into exile

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 08:19

As a protester on the frontline of fierce clashes with the Hong Kong riot police during the city’s pro-democracy rallies, Dan always knew he would face a day of reckoning. It came earlier than expected, shortly after he joined the storming of the city’s legislature in July last year in protest against a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects to be tried in China. His face was captured on surveillance footage. An encounter with the police made up his mind. “I wasn’t arrested but they stopped and searched me and filmed my face and marked my ID. At that moment, I decided to go to Taiwan,” said the 21-year-old, who requested anonymity for fear of repercussions. Dan was one of the first of hundreds to seek refuge in Taiwan, a democracy of 23 million a short flight from Hong Kong, which has a history of receiving dissidents. It was easy enough then for him to flee. Taiwan, like the UK, has offered a safe haven. Taipei last week opened a new office to make migration easier for Hong Kong residents and companies to settle there. But there are potentially massive numbers are planning to join him in exile after the sudden enactment last week of China's ambiguous and draconian national security law that can impose life sentences for acts of subversion. And now leaving Hong Kong is becoming much more difficult. After more than 9,000 arrests during the protest movement, many have found themselves on watchlists or had their passports confiscated, forcing them to seek alternative routes of escape, sometimes being smuggled by sea. A pipeline of clandestine Hong Kong-based sympathisers and “rescue teams” around the world have launched into action, secretly offering exit strategies, medical care, safe houses and financial donations to protesters wanted by the authorities. The underground network has been likened by some to “Operation Yellowbird,” a sophisticated mission to extract hundreds of dissidents from China and into Hong Kong in 1989 following the massacre around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.


Mainstream media ignores arrest of 'ringleader' of DC statue attacks

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 07:57

Reaction from Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill.


5 Americans who flew by private jet to Italy were reportedly denied entry due to the EU ban on visitors from countries with high coronavirus infection rates

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 07:47

Officials on the island of Sardinia expressed frustration at having to exclude the US travellers after their long flight, said reports.


Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend tests positive for coronavirus

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 07:24

Kimberly Guilfoyle had traveled to South Dakota to see the president's Fourth of July speech and celebration fireworks at Mount Rushmore.


'How the hell are we going to do this?' The panic over reopening schools

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 07:00

The CDC issued additional guidance this week on safely reopening schools, with infections spiking in the South and West.


Philippine officials faked data showing ex-Wirecard exec in country

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 06:16

Philippine immigration officers falsified records to show ex-Wirecard executive Jan Marsalek briefly visited the country after he was sacked from the collapsed German payments processor, the justice minister said Saturday. German and Philippine authorities want to question the former chief operating officer as part of their separate investigations into the Wirecard accounting scandal, but his whereabouts are unclear. Entries in the Bureau of Immigration database show Marsalek arrived in the Philippines on June 23 -- the day after he was fired -- and left for China on June 24.


Virus spike in Spain reveals plight of seasonal farm workers

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:35

In the 20 years since he left his native Senegal, Biram Fall has never slept in the streets. This week, when he ran out of savings after failing to find work in northern Spain’s peach orchards, he still refused to do so. As part of an army of cheap labor that follows the ripening of different crops across the country, the 52-year-old responded in May to an urgent call for workers in Lleida, a major gateway to surrounding fertile farmland.


Native American protesters blocked the road leading up to Mount Rushmore and faced off with the National Guard in the hours before Trump's fiery speech

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:22

The protesters were sprayed with pepper spray and 15 people were arrested during the demonstration on Friday.


Lincoln deserves statues but the Emancipation Memorial misleads on him and Black history

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:00

Lincoln would have bristled at the statue and the 'Great Emancipator' honorific. He was a reluctant emancipator whose assassination made him a martyr.


US supreme court gives conservatives the blues but what's really going on?

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:00

Donald Trump’s nomination of two justices seemed to have tilted the balance decisively but recent rulings have raised eyebrowsFor all the ominous twists of Donald Trump’s presidency, his placement on the US supreme court of two deeply conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, inspired a special kind of foreboding for many liberals.With three conservatives already sitting on the court, the creation by Trump of a seemingly impregnable, five-vote conservative supreme court majority appeared to pose a generational threat to essential American rights and freedoms.But as the first full term with the two Trump “supremes” draws to a close, a curious development has taken hold. Last month, the court handed down a trio of rulings that clashed directly with Trump’s agenda on the hot-button issues of abortion, immigration and LGBTQ+ rights – angering the president, tentatively pleasing progressives and leaving many court watchers to scratch their heads.There never was any doubt about the kind of supreme court that Trump and his sponsors set out to build. But suddenly there is doubt everywhere about how close – or far – their project has come to success.“I’ve referred to this past month at the supreme court as Blue June,” said Josh Blackman, a conservative court analyst and professor at the South Texas College of Law. “It seems as if almost all the big cases went to the left, and it’s made conservatives blue – that is, sad.”First Gorsuch wrote an opinion destroying the Trump administration’s argument that a 1964 law prohibiting employment discrimination “because of sex” does not apply to homosexual or transgender employees. “Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender,” Gorsuch wrote. “The answer is clear.”Then Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W Bush appointee, found that the government had failed to make its case for ending a program protecting so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who arrived to the US as children.“Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?” Trump tweeted after the decision was released.Roberts struck again later in the month, vacating a Louisiana anti-abortion law on the grounds that the supreme court had vacated an identical law in Texas just four years earlier, before the arrival of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.Roberts’ defection eliminated the law in a narrow 5-4 ruling.Daniel Goldberg, legal director at the progressive Alliance For Justice, called the victory on abortion surprising, but not because it demonstrated some unforeseen liberal bent on the part of the justices.“You know what surprises me, is that it wasn’t 9-0,” said Goldberg. “What does it say that four justices were completely willing to ignore precedent just four years old?“The response to these decisions just epitomizes how extreme the conservative legal movement is in this country.”Legal analysts cautioned the recent unexpected rulings were not signs of real moderation, and they said the court had moved unmistakably to the right under Trump.Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were willing to expose about 700,000 Dreamers to deportation, and both justices argued in favor of upholding the Louisiana abortion law, which was seen as posing an existential threat to the landmark Roe v Wade decision. Even in tipping that case to the left, Roberts emphasized that he was not doing so on the merits.“He has been consistently not supportive of abortion rights,” said Gillian Metzger, a professor of constitutional law at Columbia University, of Roberts. “I would not read into his decision any signal that, if confronted with a new kind of abortion measure, or even potentially if confronted with an effort to really rethink reproductive rights generally, that Roberts would necessarily be a very sympathetic respondent.”The court has advanced other conservative causes this term, expanding presidential power and challenging the separation of church and state by releasing public funding for religious schools.In one case, the four most conservative justices, including Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, ruled in favor of forcibly reopening California churches, against the will of state officials, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, so that Christians could celebrate Pentecost. Again, with Roberts’ defection, they were overruled.Multiple analysts said Trump’s failure, despite having a sympathetic court, to deliver on his promises to dismantle Barack Obama’s healthcare law and roll back abortion rights, could lie partly with flaws in his own administration’s legal strategies.In a series of cases, Trump lawyers have advanced arguments that Roberts has found to be pretextual or beside the point, as when administration lawyers said they wanted to include a question about citizenship on the US census because they wanted better data to ensure protection of voting rights.Roberts, whose light touch as the presiding officer in Trump’s impeachment trial just seven months ago was seen as aiding Trump’s expeditious acquittal, doubted the argument. “Reasoned decision-making calls for an explanation for agency action,” he wrote. “What was provided here was more of a distraction.”A similar objection – not to say exasperation – was detectable in Roberts’ recent ruling to leave in place the Dreamers program. Lawyers defending immigrants in the case said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was trying to pretend that it might want to keep the program, but its hands were tied because parts of the program had been thrown out in court.Again, Roberts detected a note of disingenuousness. “An agency must defend its actions based on the reasons it gave when it acted,” he wrote. “This is not the case for cutting corners to allow DHS to rely upon reasons absent from its original decision.”“You see Roberts much more willing to push back on that side of the Trump administration, and so I would say that’s been a shift,” said Metzger. “Over time the Trump administration is losing a little bit of the benefit of the doubt.”Rulings remaining in the current term – there are eight outstanding cases – could include powerful conservative decisions that could yet erase any memory of the court’s recent moderation.In Trump v Mazars USA, the court is expected to rule on whether financial and accounting firms that have worked with Trump must hand over tax records subpoenaed by Congress, in what analysts say is a major test for the balance of powers in the US system of government.“Although Trump v Mazars is about the tax records, it’s actually about a more basic constitutional principle, which is whether or not Congress can take meaningful oversight of the executive branch,” said Metzger. “And if Congress cannot do that, then we really are moving much more towards an authoritarian presidential regime.”Just a few months after the last ruling of the term is issued, a much larger ruling will be handed down, with much broader implications, by some 140 million voters in the November presidential elections.If Democrat Joe Biden can defeat Trump, he appears likely to have the opportunity to appoint at least two justices, with the octogenarian liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, nearing retirement. The Democrats would have to win the Senate too to ensure a smooth confirmation process and preserve the court’s current ideological balance.“If the Democrats have the Senate, I think it’s very likely that Ginsburg retires immediately and Breyer retires the next year, two back-to-back,” said Blackman. “That wouldn’t affect the composition of the court, unless Justice [Clarence] Thomas becomes ill, so I think the court would more or less stay the same for a while.”But if they win a strong majority, Democrats could attempt to pass reforms to bring the court more in line with the popular will, by adding seats to the court or imposing time limits on justices.Whatever the election outcome, the last court term of Trump’s first term seems likely to be noted for its unpredictable twists.“This is a very strange term,” said Blackman. “I don’t remember one quite like it.”


COVID-19 treatments enter new testing phase as cases surge in U.S.

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:00

Research on therapeutics is accelerating as cases of COVID-19 surge across the United States.


Cities around the US have already cut at least $1.19 billion from police budgets since George Floyd was killed

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 05:00

Cities including New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Boston have answered calls to reduce police funding as Black Lives Matter protests continue.


'Eviction crisis': Housing advocates fear waves of homelessness as moratoriums expire

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 04:30

"It’s really unfathomable that we would put low-income, already marginalized groups through even greater uncertainty," one legal aid provider said.


Why U.S. F-35s, Stealth Bombers and Attack Drones Could Fail in a War

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 04:00

Fighter jets, stealth bombers, attack drones and air-traveling missiles all need to “operate at speed” in a fast-changing great power conflict era. What that means is that “sensor to shooter” time (how fast data can go from a sensor to a war-fighter) needs to be drastically sped up. Without that speed, warfighters won’t be able to react as quickly to threats and it will be harder to win.


Belgian king's 'apology' for brutal colonial Congo stirs calls for reparations

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 03:56

Congolese politicians have demanded Belgium pays the DRC reparations after the Belgian King expressed remorse for the brutal colonial occupation of the African country for the first time. King Philippe offered his “deepest regrets” in a letter to DRC president Felix Tshisekedi on the 60th anniversary of independence on Tuesday and as the Black Lives Matter movement is forcing Belgians to examine the past. Philippe’s great-great-great uncle Leopold II ruled a region containing the whole of the DRC as a private rubber-producing slave state. More than ten million Africans are estimated to have died in a “forgotten Holocaust”. He was forced to surrender direct control of the Congo Free State in 1908 and Belgium formally annexed it, calling it the Belgian Congo until independence in 1960. Pierre Kompany, who is Belgium’s first black mayor and moved to the country from the DRC as a child, praised King Philippe. “In 60 years no one has done what he has done. In the 60 years since independence, he is the first to express his deep regrets,” Mr Kompany, who has faced racist death threats since becoming mayor of Ganshoren in Brussels, said. “We must take that in a positive way and advance forward together,” the father of footballer Vincent Kompany told the Sunday Telegraph.


Nevada officials report 49% mask mandate compliance, Sisloak calls the report 'disappointing, unacceptable'

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 02:40

Nevada officials report a 49% compliance rate of the governor's mask mandate at businesses throughout the state ahead of the Fourth of July holiday - a finding that Gov. Steve Sisolak calls "disappointing and unacceptable." Jeremy Chen reports.


Just How Powerful Are China's Aircraft Carriers?

Yahoo - Art News - Sat, 07/04/2020 - 01:30

Can they stand against America's?


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