Gates of Vienna News Feed 2/12/2021

The chief health officer in British Columbia has asked to be granted the authority to arrest people who attend church in violation of coronavirus restrictions. Meanwhile, the British government is considering extending social distancing and mask requirements to the end of the year.

In other news, a Christian man in Algeria has been jailed for posting a Mohammed cartoon on Facebook.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to Bill Keezer, Insubria, JD, Reader from Chicago, SS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. I check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» Poland’s GDP Drop is Second Lowest in EU, According to European Commission
» Stock Market News Live Updates: S&P 500 Rises to a Fresh Record Closing High, Posts Back-to-Back Weeks of Gains
» UK Economy Crashed 9.9% in 2020, Biggest Drop in 311 Years
 
USA
» AIDS Drugs Tested on Foster Kids
» Biden’s ‘100 Days’ of Masks Transforms Into Masks ‘Through the Next Year’
» Bills in Utah, North Dakota Aim to Ban Biological Men From Women’s Sports
» Breaking: Lincoln Project Co-Founder Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Scandal Spirals Out of Control
» Breaking: FBI Investigating Lincoln Project Co-Founder Who Allegedly Solicited 14-Year-Old Boy
» CDC Now Says Americans Should Wear Masks Indoors
» Cuomo Guilty of Obstruction? GOP Rep Calls for Investigation Into Nursing Home Cover-Up
» Cuomo Coverup? Aide Admits Nursing Home Data Purposefully Concealed So Feds Wouldn’t Find Out
» Disney Faces Intense Backlash for Firing of Mandalorian Actress
» Exclusive — Andy Ngo: Goal of Antifa/BLM is to Abolish Nation States
» Experts Suggest COVID Restrictions Could Last Forever
» Famous Constitutional Law Scholar Says Dems “Overplayed Their Hand” in Impeachment Proceedings
» Free Speech Experts Say Campus Censorship is Driven by Students, Not Administrators
» Hillary: Senate Republicans Are Trump’s ‘Co-Conspirators’
» If “Fight Like Hell” Constitutes Incitement, Every Political Candidate in America is Guilty: Sen. Cruz
» L.A. Evangelical Church to Host Conference of 3,000 People Despite Health Orders
» Lab Just Made a More Dangerous COVID Virus
» More Businesses Flee Seattle Because of Crime and Violence
» Trump Legal Team Plays Scorching Montage of Democrats ‘Inciting’ and Challenging Past Elections
» Twitter Says Trump Will be Banned Even if He Runs in 2024
» Utah to Allow Residents to Carry Concealed Firearms Without Permit
» Watch: Angry Mask Police Karen Confronts Grocery Store Owner
» White House Deputy Press Secretary Tells Politico Reporter “I Will Destroy You”
» Young Surgeon Dies After Getting the COVID Vaccine
 
Canada
» B.C. Top Doc Files to Give Police Power to Arrest Churchgoers
 
Europe and the EU
» Bomb Making Equipment, Shotgun and ISIS Flag Found During Police Raids in Denmark and Germany
» France: Islamists Threaten to Kill Another Teacher
» France: Algerian on Trial After Keeping Son’s Corpse for 18 Months in Paris Apartment
» Italy: Homeless Man Who Froze to Death Had Big Bank Assets
» Italy: Soccer: American Businessman Platek Takes Over Spezia
» Italy: Sporting Probe Opened Into Agnelli-Conte Row
» KPMG UK Chairman Resigns After Viral Video Telling Privileged Staff to Stop Complaining About Pandemic
» ‘Makes You Proud to be British’ — COVID Cops Catch Couple Having Outdoor Sex on Coldest Night for 26 Years
» Mario Draghi Officially Becomes Premier of Italy, Names His Top Ministers
» Report: UK Government Could Grant Vaccine Exemptions to Ethnic Minorities
» Rights Groups Push Back Against Scotland’s Proposed “Hate Speech” Law
» Soros-Funded NGO Demands Punishment for Hungary Migrant ‘Pushbacks’
» Spain: Catalan Vote to Test Pandemic’s Impact on Separatism
» UK: ‘You Have Blood on Your Hands’: Extinction Rebellion Throw ‘Blood’ on Steps of Leeds Civic Hall Over Airport Decision
» UK: Cambridge University Panel: Winston Churchill a “White Supremacist” Leading Empire “Worse Than the Nazis”
» UK: Facebook Blocked Art Gallery Images of Cows for Being “Sexual Content”
» UK: Guardian Amends Article Decrying ‘Phallic’ Necktie as Symbol of ‘White Male Power’
» UK: Lockdown is ‘Damaging’ Children, As Cases of Young People With Mental Health Problems Soar
» UK: Proof No One is Safe From the Woke War on Free Speech: Sue Reid Investigates the Pensioner Publicly Shamed by a Drinks Giant and an Asda Worker Who Lost His Job Sharing a Billy Connolly Skit
» UK: Rees-Mogg Rips ‘Red Khan’ For BLM-Inspired ‘Diversity Commission’ On Memorials
» UK: Social Distancing, Masks Could be Enforced Till End of Year: Report
» UK: Top Tory: Authorities Going Mad With ‘Unlimited Power’ After Children Ordered From Play Park
 
North Africa
» Christian Man Jailed in Algeria After Facebook Post Depicting Islamic Prophet Muhammad
 
Middle East
» Report: Iranian Nuke Scientist Killed by One-Ton Gun Smuggled Piecemeal
 
Russia
» Ukraine: Islamic State Cell Discovered Near Kiev
 
Far East
» China “Refuses” to Hand Over Raw Data on Early COVID Cases to WHO Team
» In Major U-Turn, WHO Says Wuhan Lab-Leak Hypothesis Still a Possibility
 
Australia — Pacific
» Australian Lawmakers Refuse to Blink After Google Threats
» Facebook Removes Australian Lawmaker Craig Kelly’s Post About Masks After Complaints From Opposition Party
» High Court to Decide on Peter Ridd Free Speech Case
» The Next $38Bn Industry Being Targeted by China as the Communist Powerhouse Accuses Australians of Having ‘Low Quality’ Education — and Beijing Slams Scott Morrison for Their Worsening Relationship
 
Immigration
» Biden Cancels Emergency Border Wall Funding as DHS Prepares to Admit 25,000 Migrants Waiting in Mexico
» Turkey Erects Signs in 6 Languages on the Greek-Turkish Border to Guide the Illegal Immigrants
 
Culture Wars
» Celeb Cancelled Over “Fat Shaming” Meme
» Facebook’s AI is Now Preemptively Flagging 97% of the “Hate Speech” That Gets Removed From the Platform
» Poynter Wonders Why Fact-Checkers Don’t Follow China’s Lead and Tackle Clubhouse
 

Poland’s GDP Drop is Second Lowest in EU, According to European Commission

In 2020, Poland’s GDP decreased by 2.8 percent instead of the 3.6 percent drop forecasted in fall of 2020. According to European Commission data, Poland’s GDP drop was the second lowest in the European Union; only Lithuania had a smaller drop of 0.9 percent.

Estonia and Sweden also experienced drops that were below 3 percent, with each falling by 2.9 percent.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Stock Market News Live Updates: S&P 500 Rises to a Fresh Record Closing High, Posts Back-to-Back Weeks of Gains

Stocks ended higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing out the session at record levels.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each rose about 0.5%, while the Dow ended just a tick above the flatline. U.S. stocks shook off earlier declines after tracking a drop in overseas equities, after new data showed that UK gross domestic product (GDP) slumped by a record 9.9% in 2020 as a virus-induced recession swept the country.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK Economy Crashed 9.9% in 2020, Biggest Drop in 311 Years

Britain’s crippled economy suffered its biggest crash in economic output in 311 years after it slumped by 9.9%. Last year’s fall in output was the biggest since modern official records began after World War Two. Longer-running historical data hosted by the Bank of England suggest it was the biggest drop since 1709, when Britain suffered a “Great Frost”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

AIDS Drugs Tested on Foster Kids

Government-funded researchers tested AIDS drugs on hundreds of foster children over the past two decades, often without providing them a basic protection afforded in federal law and required by some states, an Associated Press review has found.

The research funded by the National Institutes of Health spanned the country. It was most widespread in the 1990s as foster care agencies sought treatments for their HIV-infected children that weren’t yet available in the marketplace.

The practice ensured that foster children — mostly poor or minority — received care from world-class researchers at government expense, slowing their rate of death and extending their lives. But it also exposed a vulnerable population to the risks of medical research and drugs that were known to have serious side effects in adults and for which the safety for children was unknown.

[Comment: From 2005, but Fauci was still in NIH.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

Biden’s ‘100 Days’ of Masks Transforms Into Masks ‘Through the Next Year’

Joe Biden’s 100 day mask mandate has now transformed into wearing masks ‘through the next year’, according to comments he made Thursday.

In an appearance at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Biden told staff “You know that wearing this mask through the next year here can save lives, a significant number of lives.”

Mumbling through his own mask, Biden also blamed President Trump for the vaccine roll out being delayed.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Bills in Utah, North Dakota Aim to Ban Biological Men From Women’s Sports

The North Dakota state House of Representatives passed a bill that would bar biological men from women’s high school sports teams.

The bill is now headed for the state Senate.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Breaking: Lincoln Project Co-Founder Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Scandal Spirals Out of Control

Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt has resigned from the Anti-Trump group, following a series of sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder John Weaver. According to Axios, as a result of the FBI investigation into Weaver, major donors have opted to ditch the group, leading to Schmidt doing so himself.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Breaking: FBI Investigating Lincoln Project Co-Founder Who Allegedly Solicited 14-Year-Old Boy

As of Friday morning, reporter Yashar Ali said that “The FBI is investigating allegations against longtime GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver, according to two sources who said they were contacted by FBI agents. Those sources told me the agents inquired whether Weaver ever touched them inappropriately or sent or requested sexually explicit material when they were underage.”

This comes after The Lincoln Project’s Thursday announcement that they will be launching an external investigation into who knew what when about co-founder John Weaver’s alleged sexual misconduct. This included the alleged harassment of boys as 14-years-old.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

CDC Now Says Americans Should Wear Masks Indoors

The CDC is now recommending Americans wear face masks indoors “anytime” they are around someone who they don’t live with.

The advice was contained in a February 10 update that appeared on the CDC websitepertaining to face coverings.

The CDC is now urging people wear the masks “anytime you are indoors or outdoors with people you don’t live with.”

The advice follows another recommendation by the public health body that Americans should begin wearing two face masks instead of one.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Cuomo Guilty of Obstruction? GOP Rep Calls for Investigation Into Nursing Home Cover-Up

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration should be investigated over possible obstruction of justice after a Thursday revelation in the New York Post that officials purposefully concealed the death toll in New York nursing homes during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Cuomo Coverup? Aide Admits Nursing Home Data Purposefully Concealed So Feds Wouldn’t Find Out

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers over a decision to withhold the state’s nursing-home COVID-19 death toll out of fear that it would be “used against us” by the Trump Justice Department, according to the New York Post.

Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, made the shocking admission during a two-hour video conference call with Democratic leaders — telling them that the Cuomo administration stonewalled after the State Senate requested the information in August.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Disney Faces Intense Backlash for Firing of Mandalorian Actress

Disney company’s controversial decision to fire Gina Carano from the cast of its hit show “The Mandalorian” has been met with intense pushback online from conservatives and free speech advocates.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Exclusive — Andy Ngo: Goal of Antifa/BLM is to Abolish Nation States

The shared goal of leftist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter is to abolish nation states, noted Andy Ngo, journalist and author of Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, on Thursday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.

Ngo identified the “revolutionary Marxist” ideology Antifa and Black Lives Matter espouse while explaining that the groups view America as their primary target for destruction.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Experts Suggest COVID Restrictions Could Last Forever

Experts suggests COVID restrictions will remain indefinitely as ‘vaccination passports’ become mandatory for travel.

Rolling lockdowns are also here to stay. That’s the precedent we’ve allowed to be created.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Famous Constitutional Law Scholar Says Dems “Overplayed Their Hand” in Impeachment Proceedings

Well-known constitutional law expert and attorney Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that Democrats have “overplayed their hand” following the long impeachment trial arguments of the past few days in the Senate.

Dershowitz said the House Democrats had gone on “too long” in formulating their proceedings and sending the impeachment article to the Senate.

[Comment: A weakness of the Left is that they tend to overplay their hand.]

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Free Speech Experts Say Campus Censorship is Driven by Students, Not Administrators

The cancel culture and censorship on college campuses is being pushed largely by students, not faculty, according to several leading scholars and experts who spoke at a Baylor University event on Wednesday.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Hillary: Senate Republicans Are Trump’s ‘Co-Conspirators’

Hillary Clinton, two time failed Presidential candidate turned conspiracy theorist, stated this week that if Senate Republicans fail to convict President Trump during the impeachment trial it will be because they are his “co-conspirators”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

If “Fight Like Hell” Constitutes Incitement, Every Political Candidate in America is Guilty: Sen. Cruz

Authored by Janita Kan via The Epoch Times

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the third day of the impeachment trial criticized House managers for failing to show how former President Donald Trump “incited” the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Cruz said that while the House managers’ presentation was “designed to be emotional and powerful,” it only makes the case that a “terrorist attack” occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He said that the prosecution team presented “virtually no argument” on how Trump’s conduct meets the legal standard of incitement.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

L.A. Evangelical Church to Host Conference of 3,000 People Despite Health Orders

Grace Community Church in Sun Valley is set to host an indoor conference that is expected to draw at least 3,000 people from across the country, despite L.A. County public health orders.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Lab Just Made a More Dangerous COVID Virus

Story at-a-glance:

  • Scientists are already cooking up more virulent and lethal versions of SARS-CoV-2
  • By serial passaging live SARS-CoV-2 in plasma obtained from a recovered COVID-19 patient that had high amounts of neutralizing antibodies in it, the virus ended up mutating to evade the antibodies
  • The SARS-CoV-2 variant they created bypasses acquired immunity or negates the immunity you normally would have after recovering from the infection. As such, it could be extremely lethal
  • Since the virus can mutate to evade neutralizing antibodies, it could potentially mutate under the “selective pressure” of vaccination as well
  • Two prominent figures during the COVID-19 pandemic have been Dr. Anthony Fauci and Peter Daszak, both of whom have much to gain by misleading the public and the world about SARS-CoV-2’s origin, as they may both have been involved in its creation

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

More Businesses Flee Seattle Because of Crime and Violence

EDMONDS, Wash — TR International, a global chemical distributor, is moving from its home of more than two decades in downtown Seattle, crossing the county line to neighboring Edmonds.

The company is one of at least 160 businesses that have left Seattle since last March.

While some of the companies that have left Seattle is due to the coronavirus pandemic, business leaders have said that much of it could be traced back to a sense that no one is minding the store in Seattle anymore, and a lack of accountability from city leaders.

TR International CEO Megan Gluth-Bohan said the decision to leave was easy. She cited ongoing violence, along with rampant homelessness and drug use.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Trump Legal Team Plays Scorching Montage of Democrats ‘Inciting’ and Challenging Past Elections

Update (1540ET): Trump’s legal team wrapped up their case in just over three of the allotted 16 hours.

The next phase will consist of up to four hours of questions from senators to both the House managers and Trump’s legal team — though several senators have said they don’t think it will take that long.

“Our country needs to get back to work. I know that you know that. But instead we are here. The majority party promised to unify and deliver more Covid relief. But instead, they did this,” said Trump attorney Bruce Castor in closing remarks.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Twitter Says Trump Will be Banned Even if He Runs in 2024

Officials at Twitter have confirmed on Tuesday that the ban of former President Donald Trump’s account is permanent and irreversible, meaning that under no circumstances do they expect to reinstate him to the platform.

Trump’s Twitter account, through which he communicated directly with the American public, has been permanently banned since Jan. 8.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Utah to Allow Residents to Carry Concealed Firearms Without Permit

Utah residents will soon be able to carry a concealed gun without a permit, with Gov. Spencer Cox signing the legislation into law this week.

The law allows anyone over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit while in the state. Convicted felons, those adjudicated mentally ill, and others prohibited from owning a gun are excluded from the law.

Chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council Clark Aposhian said that the law is a win for gun owners and will decrease wait times for those potentially in danger.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Watch: Angry Mask Police Karen Confronts Grocery Store Owner

While Alfie Oakes is filming a commercial in his store, he is confronted by a customer over his beliefs about the mask mandates in Florida.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

White House Deputy Press Secretary Tells Politico Reporter “I Will Destroy You”

White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo has been suspended without pay for one week after it surfaced that he had issued threats and used derogatory language against Politico reporter Tara Palmeri.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Young Surgeon Dies After Getting the COVID Vaccine

A 37-year-old surgeon died February 8, 2021, after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials said he may be the first adult case of someone who had a delayed immune response to the vaccine after having a natural COVID infection.

The reaction to the vaccine causes multi-system inflammation in the blood vessels and is most common in children. It occurs days, weeks or even months after a natural infection. The surgeon was not aware that he’d had COVID, as he’d tested negative several times.

However, he did have antibodies to COVID, which indicated he’d been infected. Officials said they are still gathering information on his death and that this is “not a reason to not get the vaccine.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]
 

B.C. Top Doc Files to Give Police Power to Arrest Churchgoers

British Columbia is one of the more open provinces in Canada, and yet it’s also one of the provinces that has come down the hardest on places of worship, as far as COVID-19 restrictions go. It may officially become the most oppressive province in Canada for freedom of religion very soon, if the injunction that Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is now seeking against a few of the churches who have remained open is granted.

Perhaps that would be more understandable if churches, and other places of worship in B.C., had actually proven to be “super spreaders” as they’ve been treated, except that statistically, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Bomb Making Equipment, Shotgun and ISIS Flag Found During Police Raids in Denmark and Germany

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Shotguns, a rifle and “things that can be used to make a bomb,” were found as 14 people were arrested in Denmark and Germany on suspicion of preparing one or several attacks in the two countries, Danish police said Friday.

An Islamic State group flag could indicate the suspects “have a connection or sympathy with the terror organization,” police said.

Flemming Drejer, operative head of Denmark’s Security and Intelligence Service, said the findings were “worrying” but “it is our assessment that there was no imminent danger.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

France: Islamists Threaten to Kill Another Teacher

French authorities provided police protection to teacher Didier Lemaire, who received several anonymous death threats after warning against the spread of radical Islam in the country.

Lemaire will now have to live under the same police protection as top constitutional officials, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, AP reported. Police were already providing unspecified protection to the philosophy teacher, but Darmanin said the authorities had raised it to the highest possible protection, which includes a driver and an additional bodyguard. The minister did not say whether the teacher had accepted the offer.

Lemaire lectures on philosophy at the University of Trappes, located in a suburb of Paris. The threats began, according to Lemaire, after he published a text last autumn in which he publicly criticized the state for not doing enough to protect Samuel Paty, the middle-school teacher who was beheaded by an Islamist terrorist.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

France: Algerian on Trial After Keeping Son’s Corpse for 18 Months in Paris Apartment

A 69-year-old Algerian man in the suburbs of Paris faces trial after he allegedly stabbed his 15-year-old son to death in 2015 and kept the boy’s corpse in his apartment for 18 months.

Mohieddine D. is accused of stabbing his 15-year-old son at the end of 2015 but the corpse, which was hidden beneath a carpet and covered in blankets, was not discovered until June of 2017.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Homeless Man Who Froze to Death Had Big Bank Assets

Calabrian man, 75, had over 100,000 euros in account

(ANSA) — MILAN, FEB 3 — A 75-year-old homeless man who froze to death at a Milan rail station last week had assets in the bank as well as a decent monthly pension, Corriere della sera newspaper reported Wednesday.

Umberto Quintino Diaco disappeared from his Calabrian mountain home at the age of 17, and went on to work in Munich, Italy’s biggest selling daily said.

“He decided to become a ghost forever”, family members said.

It is not known exactly how he made his money.

But at the time of his deth he had over 100,000 euros in his bank account along with 19,000 euros in stocks and shares, as well as enjoying a monthly pension, from his job in Munich, of 750 euros, the Milan-based daily said.

He also owned a house in Calabria and two vans, with their insurance fully paid up.

When he was found dead in his makeshift bed at Milan’s Porta Garibaldi train station Thursday he had 1,235 euros in cash on him.

His sister Chiarina told Corriere “we looked for him but he never wanted to be found”.

Diaco’s assets were found at Catholic charity Caritas’s post box, the only service he used despite insistent requests by aid workers to get more help and get off the streets.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Soccer: American Businessman Platek Takes Over Spezia

Serie A club bought from Gabriele Volpi

(ANSA) — ROME, FEB 11 — Spezia said Thursday that the family of American finance businessman Robert Platek have bought the Serie A club from the holding company of Gabriele Volpi.

The Platek family includes brothers Robert and Philip Platek; Robert’s wife, Laurie Platek; and Robert’s children, Amanda, Caroline, and Robert Jr.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Spezia Calcio.

Serie A football is in an elite class of its own, and it has been our long-held ambition to find the right opportunity to partner with a special club in Italy,” the New York-based family said in a statement.

“From the time of our initial conversations, we have been extremely aligned with the mission, ethos, and ethic of Spezia Calcio.

“The club embodies the hard-work and humility espoused by the people of the surrounding area — values shared by our family.

“We are humbled by this opportunity to become stewards of the club.

“As a family, we are proud to play a small role in helping the team to grow, achieve further success and make the fans proud”.

Spezia won promotion to the top flight for the first time ever last season and they are currently 16th in the standings.

Longtime owner Volpi said he and his family were happy the Pateks could “further improve the club’s mission” and said “we gave the club and the city all the support we could”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

Italy: Sporting Probe Opened Into Agnelli-Conte Row

FIGC prosecutors summon fourth official Chiffi

(ANSA) — ROME, FEB 11 — Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) sporting prosecutors have opened an investigation into a row between Inter coach Antonio Conte and Juventus President Andrea Agnelli during Tuesday’s Italian Cup semi-final second leg in Turin, sources said Thursday.

The fourth official, Daniele Chiffi, has been summoned by the prosecutors, the sources said.

TV footage shows Conte giving the finger to the Juve contingent at the end of the first half of the match.

At the end of the game Agnelli appears to call Conte a “dick” before the reported bust-up between the two.

Conte said the Juventus side directed insults at him throughout the first half and the fourth official must have heard them.

The ordinary disciplinary report on the match, which was released on Thursday, did not mention the row.

Agnelli and Conte used to be friends.

Conte led Juventus to three Serie A titles between 2012 and 2014, stating a run of success hat has not stopped since.

Tuesday’s match ended 0-0, which meant Juve reached the final after winning the first leg 2-1.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]
 

KPMG UK Chairman Resigns After Viral Video Telling Privileged Staff to Stop Complaining About Pandemic

KPMG UK chairman and senior partner Bill Michael resigned, a decision that was forced by the online backlash he faced after telling employees to stop complaining about the pandemic. Michael caved and apologized before and after resigning.

In a viral video call with consultants, Michael told employees to not “sit there and moan” about working amid the pandemic, according to a report by The Financial Times. The former chairman added that they should cease playing “victim unless they are sick,” and instead, “take control of [their] life.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

‘Makes You Proud to be British’ — COVID Cops Catch Couple Having Outdoor Sex on Coldest Night for 26 Years

A couple caught having sex by police officers on Dartmoor on the coldest night for 26 years have earned praise from some social media users.

The couple, who engaged in their tryst in temperatures of —3 °C (26.6 °F), were sent on their way by officers enforcing the anti-coronavirus lockdown and reported for a breach of the regulations, which could mean heavy fines.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Mario Draghi Officially Becomes Premier of Italy, Names His Top Ministers

Update (3:00pm ET): As expected (see below), Mario Draghi has agreed to take over as Italy’s next prime minister, naming his ministers as he prepares to head a new government that will prioritize the pandemic, a struggling economy and moving ahead with European integration.

The 73-year-old former ECB head will lead a new national unity government to replace Giuseppe Conte’s centre-left coalition that collapsed one month ago, leaving the country rudderless in an unprecedented crisis. Draghi will return to the presidential palace at midday on Saturday to be formally sworn in.

After securing broad support from all the country’s main parties except for the far-right Brothers of Italy, Draghi met with President Sergio Mattarella late on Friday to formally accept the appointment and told the head of state he was ready to form an administration.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Report: UK Government Could Grant Vaccine Exemptions to Ethnic Minorities

The UK government could grant vaccine exemptions to people of color while simultaneously mandating vaccine travel certificates for everyone else in order to avoid accusations of racism, according to a report in the Spectator.

Despite repeatedly promising that ‘vaccine passports’ would not be required in order to fly, the government has been actively planning for their introduction.

After more than 324,000 people signed a petition opposing immunization passports, UK vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said that vaccines would not be compulsory and that, “We have absolutely no plans for vaccine passporting.”

That turned out to be a complete falsehood.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Rights Groups Push Back Against Scotland’s Proposed “Hate Speech” Law

London-based Index on Censorship is urging members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to oppose the country’s proposed new legislation on hate crimes.

A letter signed by the freedom of expression promoting group’s chief executive, and a number of other activists, journalists, editors and former politicians, is specifically calling on MSPs from all parties to oppose adoption of Part 2 of the Hate Crime and Public Order Bill as contentious.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Soros-Funded NGO Demands Punishment for Hungary Migrant ‘Pushbacks’

Andras Lederer from the George Soros-backed Hungarian Helsinki Committee has called on the European Union to punish Hungary after accusing the country of engaging in migrant pushbacks in contradiction of a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling.

Mr Lederer criticised the European Commission for inaction over the alleged pushbacks along the Serbian border with Hungary, saying that the central European nation was acting in defiance of an ECJ ruling from December that stated that pushbacks were unlawful.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Spain: Catalan Vote to Test Pandemic’s Impact on Separatism

BARCELONA, Spain — Over 5 million voters will be called to the polls on Sunday in Spain’s northeast Catalonia for an election that will measure the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the restive region’s secessionist movement.

Pro-independence lawmakers have held power in the regional government based in Barcelona for the past decade. And although pro-union Socialist Salvador Illa, Spain’s former health minister, is hoping to end the separatists’ hegemony on local power, the outcome is far from clear according to the polls.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: ‘You Have Blood on Your Hands’: Extinction Rebellion Throw ‘Blood’ on Steps of Leeds Civic Hall Over Airport Decision

Extinction Rebellion have thrown ‘blood’ over the steps of Leeds Civic Hall after Leeds Bradford Airport’s new £150m terminal was approved by the council.

Last night plans for LBA’s new terminalwere given the go-ahead by Leeds City Council after a lengthy, and at times feisty, planning meeting.

The detailed proposals include a new three-storey terminal at the eastern edge of the runway. Increased flying hours were also approved, meaning planes can now operate between 11.30pm and 6am.

Extinction Rebellion, who last year hosted a ‘die-in’ at a council meeting inside the Civic Hall and chained members to railings over the plans, made their feelings on the decision clear this morning by throwing ‘blood’ over the steps.

In the video above, a demonstrator can be heard shouting, ‘You have blood on your hands’, before pouring a red liquid on the Civic Hall steps.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Cambridge University Panel: Winston Churchill a “White Supremacist” Leading Empire “Worse Than the Nazis”

A Cambridge University panel of academics discussing wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s legacy concluded that the leader who helped defeat Hitler was actually a “white supremacist” and was leading an empire “worse than the Nazis”.

The London Telegraph reports that the inflammatory comments were made during a discussion titled “Racial Consequences of Mr Churchill”.

Ironically, the event was taking place at the Churchill College, named in honour of the former Prime Minister.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Facebook Blocked Art Gallery Images of Cows for Being “Sexual Content”

Facebook banned a UK-based art gallery from advertising after mistakenly flagging its photos for violating its policies — photos of cows standing in a field, the England cricket team, and a skyscraper were deemed overtly sexual. The social media behemoth has since reinstated the account and apologized.

The story highlights how, in the push of tech giants to have lives and conversations policed by algorithms, the potential for error is huge.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Guardian Amends Article Decrying ‘Phallic’ Necktie as Symbol of ‘White Male Power’

The Guardian has amended an article decrying the “phallic” necktie as a symbol of “white male power” to correct an erroneous assertion that it is based on the codpiece.

The article by Professor Claire Robinson, pro-vice-chancellor of the College of Creative Arts at Massey University, focuses on her anger that the New Zealand parliament is opting to retain rules making ties mandatory for male members — “a dress standard designed to promulgate Victorian white male power” — but raised eyebrows by claiming that “For those unfamiliar, the necktie is derived from the codpiece, a fabric flap or pouch designed 500 years ago to emphasise a European nobleman’s importance through his large phallic size.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Lockdown is ‘Damaging’ Children, As Cases of Young People With Mental Health Problems Soar

A London psychiatrist has said he is not under any doubt that the coronavirus lockdown has led to a surge in mental health referrals for children, saying the figure had “skyrocketed”.

Dr Omer Moghraby described seeing a rise in children who have cut themselves or taken overdoses in Accident and Emergency wards. He has seen other children suffering from eating disorders, losing such a drastic amount of weight that doctors are fighting to save their lives.

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UK: Proof No One is Safe From the Woke War on Free Speech: Sue Reid Investigates the Pensioner Publicly Shamed by a Drinks Giant and an Asda Worker Who Lost His Job Sharing a Billy Connolly Skit

SUE REID: The police phone call to Margaret Nelson, from Suffolk, came one Monday morning around breakfast time. It was as unexpected as it was unwelcome.

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Rees-Mogg Rips ‘Red Khan’ For BLM-Inspired ‘Diversity Commission’ On Memorials

Leading Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg ripped the London mayor as ‘Red Khan’ for the BLM-inspired commission he has established to audit the “diversity” of the capital’s monuments, street names, and other memorials.

The colourful Leader of the House of Commons was speaking in response to Andrew Rosindell, the Member of Parliament for Romford — and a Conservative party colleague — who raised the issue of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm and the fact that “unsurprisingly, it seems to be made up almost entirely of left-wing political activists, campaigners, and celebrities, instead of historians and experts”.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Social Distancing, Masks Could be Enforced Till End of Year: Report

Social distancing measures and mask-wearing could be enforced until the end of the year, despite Britain’s world-leading coronavirus vaccine progress.

Government sources have indicated that ministers are considering extending the period of restrictions in order to move England out of the third lockdown.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

UK: Top Tory: Authorities Going Mad With ‘Unlimited Power’ After Children Ordered From Play Park

Senior Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith has condemned as police going mad with “unlimited power”, after reports that a police officer told two young children playing in a park to go home and play in their gardens, even though they lived in an apartment.

Media reported this week that a police officer approached brothers Wren, eight, and six-year-old Bo late last month as they were taking pictures of their freshly-made snowman in a London park, telling the youngsters to go home and play there.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Christian Man Jailed in Algeria After Facebook Post Depicting Islamic Prophet Muhammad

Many Christian communities find themselves under siege in a number of Middle East and North African countries, persecuted for their religion, and targets of attacks in real life.

But the internet is not exactly safe for them, either, especially for those who think they are free to express themselves on social media sites like Facebook. In Algeria, a 43-year-old Christian man has been sentenced to five years in prison for a post shared on the platform in 2018, containing a cartoon depiction of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

It is not clear from reports what the imagery showed, but they say that it took local police and judiciary only a couple of days last month to declare the photo blasphemous and lock up this Facebook user.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Report: Iranian Nuke Scientist Killed by One-Ton Gun Smuggled Piecemeal

The November killing of the mastermind behind the Iranian nuclear program was carried out using a one-ton gun smuggled into Iran in separate pieces by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, according to a report by The Jewish Chronicle on Wednesday.

Citing intelligence sources, the British paper said a team of more than 20 spy agents, comprising of both Israeli and Iranian nationals, targeted Mohsen Fakhrizadeh after eight months of surveillance.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Ukraine: Islamic State Cell Discovered Near Kiev

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has discovered an Islamic State (IS) cell near Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, which was allegedly led by a combatant wanted for participating in combat in Syria.

According to the statement released by the SBU, the cell’s leader arrived in Ukraine in 2019 and used forged documents to enter the country.

After his arrival, he is accused of gathering a group of foreigners with extremist views to build his cell.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

China “Refuses” to Hand Over Raw Data on Early COVID Cases to WHO Team

It came as no surprise that China disingenuously seized on this month’s World Health Organization (WHO) trip to try and claim the COVID-19 pandemic actually started abroad, while at the same time a number of global headlines essentially echoed “nothing to see here” — particularly on widespread suspicions the virus originated in a Wuhan military lab.

But now fresh Wall Street Journal reporting strongly suggests this first ever and much-hyped WHO trip to ‘get to the bottom’ of the virus’ origins likely didn’t even scratch the surface in terms of a real investigation (did anyone really expect it to?… also coming a full year+ after the fact). In particular the team of scientists and researchers was reportedly blocked by Chinese authorities from accessing crucial data on 174 of the country’s earliest cases.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

In Major U-Turn, WHO Says Wuhan Lab-Leak Hypothesis Still a Possibility

Two days after the WHO team of investigators was marched through the Wuhan Institute of Virology, its members declared that any ‘conspiracies’ about the origins of COVID-19 were simply untrue — confidently exclaiming that it was “extremely unlikely” the pandemic came from a lab leak.

Once the team returned to Geneva, however, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus did a “screeching U-turn to the lab leak theory” — admitting on Thursday that all theories behind the origin of COVID-19 warranted further investigation.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Australian Lawmakers Refuse to Blink After Google Threats

Australia’s Parliament will reportedly debate making Google and Facebook pay for news after a committee recently recommended no changes to drafts of proposed laws.

AP News reports that Australia’s Parliament is set to debate forcing Google and Facebook to pay news publishers for their content after a Senate committee on Friday recommended no changes to drafts of laws that would force the tech giants to compensate publishers. The bill has been scrutinized by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee since it was introduced in Parliament in December.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Facebook Removes Australian Lawmaker Craig Kelly’s Post About Masks After Complaints From Opposition Party

Facebook has censored Australian lawmaker Craig Kelly by removing one of his posts addressing the consequences of the use of face masks by children.

Kelly, who comes from the country’s ruling party, has previously been denounced by the opposition, who wrote to a local Facebook exec asking that the MP be monitored and if need be censored on the giant social network.

Facebook has recently ramped up policing of its platform for Covid-related information, and now Kelly’s claim contained in the removed post — that forcing children to wear cloths over their faces was tantamount to child abuse — has been declared as “harmful misinformation.”

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

High Court to Decide on Peter Ridd Free Speech Case

by Gideon Rozner

The Institute of Public Affairs has today welcomed the historic judgement of the High Court in the case of James Cook University (JCU) v Peter Ridd, which has given Dr Peter Ridd special leave to bring on his final appeal.

“This will be the most significant test case for academic freedom in a generation to be settled by the highest court in the land,” said Gideon Rozner, Director of Policy at the IPA.

“Today’s decision continues the David vs Goliath battle on the fundamental issue of freedom of speech, against a university administration backed by millions of taxpayer dollars,” said Mr Rozner.

Dr Peter Ridd, a professor of physics at JCU, was sacked by the university for serious misconduct for questioning the climate change science in the IPA’s publication Climate Change: The Facts 2017 around the Great Barrier Reef, and for public statements made on the Jones & Co program on Sky News Australia.

“James Cook University has engaged some of the most expensive legal representation in the country to stifle the free speech of one of its own staff, despite crying poor about university funding in the wake of coronavirus. It creates a massive chilling effect for any academic engaging in public debate in Australia,” said Mr Rozner

“James Cook University’s shameful actions prove without doubt there is a crisis of free speech at Australian Universities. Many academics are censured, but few are prepared to speak out and risk their career, particularly if faced with the prospect of legal battles and possible bankruptcy.”

The IPA called on the Senate to pass the Higher Education Support Amendment (Freedom of Speech) Bill 2020 which would ensure the dismissal of an academic like Dr Peter Ridd can never happen again…

           — Hat tip: Bill Keezer [Return to headlines]
 

The Next $38Bn Industry Being Targeted by China as the Communist Powerhouse Accuses Australians of Having ‘Low Quality’ Education — and Beijing Slams Scott Morrison for Their Worsening Relationship

China has already crippled many Australian industries with trading tariffs, including beef, barley and wine, with fears the highly-profitable education sector could be next.

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]
 

Biden Cancels Emergency Border Wall Funding as DHS Prepares to Admit 25,000 Migrants Waiting in Mexico

The Biden administration on Thursday canceled President Trump’s 2019 emergency declaration directing nearly $25 billion to fund the construction of new and replacement fending at the US-Mexico border.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Turkey Erects Signs in 6 Languages on the Greek-Turkish Border to Guide the Illegal Immigrants

At a time when the Minister of Immigration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, is carrying out German and EU orders by expanding the migrant camp on the Greek-Turkish border, signs along the Evros River were erected that guide illegal immigrants into Greece.

Under the pretext of humanitarian aid and with signs in six languages, they are guiding immigrants on how to illegally enter Greece from Turkey.

This is reported by one of Turkey’s largest newspapers, Milliet, which refers to the area of Adrianopoli (Turkish: Erdine) and even mentions the migrant crisis of March 2020, giving of course Ankara’s narrative.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Celeb Cancelled Over “Fat Shaming” Meme

A disability is an immutable condition.

Eating 15 Big Mac meals a week isn’t an immutable condition.

Being fat isn’t a disability or a social justice movement, it’s a bad lifestyle choice.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Facebook’s AI is Now Preemptively Flagging 97% of the “Hate Speech” That Gets Removed From the Platform

Facebook has revealed that its artificial intelligence (AI) systems are now preemptively flagging 97.1% of the “hate speech” and 49% of the “bullying and harassment” that’s removed from the platform before any human flags it.

In a post discussing its proactive detection of hate speech and bullying and harassment for Q4 2020, Facebook revealed that these numbers reflected an increase from 80.5% of hate speech being proactively flagged by AI in late 2019 and 16% of bullying and harassment being proactively flagged by AI in Q1 2020.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

Poynter Wonders Why Fact-Checkers Don’t Follow China’s Lead and Tackle Clubhouse

Internet censorship similar to that imposed by the Chinese government has long been used as a pejorative, particularly as a way to stress a government’s authoritarian nature.

But the time may have come to normalize this type of authoritarian censorship, at least if you ask Poynter, a hub for online “fact-checking,” that now appears to be openly endorsing and promoting China-style control of information.

“If Xi Jinping’s administration isn’t ignoring Clubhouse, why should fact-checkers? Why should you?,” a write-up on the organization’s website shockingly said.

           — Hat tip: Reader from Chicago [Return to headlines]
 

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