Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/13/2021

The Taliban’s military successes continued in Afghanistan with the taking of the major cities of Kandahar and Herat. They now control about two-thirds of the country, and are expected to overrun Kabul in a matter of days. President Biden has ordered 3,000 troops back into Kabul to protect American citizens while the U.S. Embassy is evacuated. The UK is sending 600 troops to protect their own evacuation.

In other news, Italian demonstrators took to the streets to protest the “Green Pass” after the first fines were issued to citizens who violated the new vax regulations.

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

Thanks to Dean, DV, LP, 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.

USA
» Apple Employees Voice Concern Over iPhone Photo Scanning
» ‘At Least’ 63 People on Martha’s Vineyard Are COVID Positive After Obama Birthday Party
» Biden Administration May Consider ‘Vaccine Passports’ For Interstate Travel
» Colorado Springs School District 49 Bans Critical Race Theory
» D.C. Judge Rules Biden’s Eviction Moratorium Can Remain in Place, Makes Clear She Thinks it’s Illegal
» Fact-Checking Site Snopes’ Co-Founder Busted Plagiarizing 54 Articles
» Google Deplatforms Comic Book Publisher Vox Day
» GOP Lawmakers Want to Amend Defense Authorization to Ban Critical Race Theory From Military Academies
» Group Protests Mask Mandate Issued for Schools
» ‘It Should Have Never Happened’: 1 Student Dead After Shooting at New Mexico Middle School
» Nebraska Governor Vows to Continue Fighting Critical Race Theory as University Rejects Resolution
» New Jersey Prisoner Charged With Murder 2 Days After Being Freed Early Due to COVID
» Republican Party of Bexar County Joins Anti-Mask Groups for Protests in San Antonio Friday
» Revealed: ‘Defund the Police’ Activist Rep. Cori Bush Hired Two Off-Duty Cops as Private Security
» Rumble Snags Big Names Amidst Massive Growth
» Suspect in Killing of Officer Ella French Was Out on Probation for Robbery, Charged in April for Hit-and-Run
» Texas Law Enforcement to Track Down and Arrest Missing House Democratic Lawmakers
» Video: Philadelphia Announces Double Mask Mandate for Government Workers
» Watch: Glenn Greenwald Tells Tucker Carlson Why He Moved From YouTube to Rumble and Isn’t Looking Back
» YouTube Deleted Rep Malliotakis’s Press Conference Announcing Lawsuit Against NY Vaccine Passports
 
Canada
» Toronto Mayor John Tory Calls for Vaccine Passports Across Ontario
 
Europe and the EU
» French Police, Firefighters Lured Into Explosive Ambush by 50 ‘Youths’
» Hungarian Industrial Output Skyrocketed in June
» Italy Issues First Fines for Breaking ‘Green Pass’ Rules
» Just 1-in-5 Marriages Were Religious in UK, Dozens of Religious Gay Weddings Celebrated
» Lockdown Created 1 Million New Alcoholics in England
» Majority of Britons Would Treat Unvaccinated Like Pariahs, Refuse to Use Their Services
» Man Kills 5, Himself in UK’s First Mass Shooting in Decade
» Mayors of Two French Cities Tell Police to Stand Down on Vaccine Passport Enforcement
» Norwegian Health Authorities Warn More Fully Vaccinated May End Up in Hospital
» Poland: Morawiecki Responds to Blinken: Media Law is Not Aimed at Any Particular Television Station
» Protests and Strike Against Green Pass in Italy
» Spanish Prosecutors Ask for 140 Years for Instagram Child Sex Predator
» U.K. Government to End the Life of Two-Year-Old Jewish Girl
» UK: Author Kate Clanchy Will Rewrite Her Memoir After Being Faced With a Twitter Mob
» UK: Green Revolution Hypocrisy: Tory Climate Tsar Drives Diesel Car
» UK: Study Finds Children Born During Lockdown Have Lost IQ Points, Impaired Cognitive Functioning
» Vaccination in Czechia Hits Its Limits, Then Slows Down
» Where and When Health Pass Protests Will Take Place in France This Weekend
 
Russia
» No Lockdown Belarus Reports COVID Mortality Rates Similar to Neighboring Countries That Imposed Draconian Lockdowns
 
South Asia
» British Govt Surges 600 Troops Back Into Afghanistan to Evacuate UK Citizens
» Taliban Take Kandahar, Herat in Major Afghanistan Offensive
 
Far East
» Head of WHO Origin Investigation Team Admits Communist China Ordered Them What to Write in Report
 
Australia — Pacific
» Australia Lawmaker Blasts Coronavirus Overreactions: ‘We Are Locking Down Because Someone Sneezes’
» Authorities “Won’t Hesitate” To Go “Door-to-Door” To Perform COVID Tests on Australians
» Man Forcibly Imprisoned in Mental Asylum for Different Opinion on COVID
» New Zealand Loses Its Precious ‘Rings’ Series to Britain
» YouTuber friendlyjordies Denied Ability to Run Truth Defense in Defamation Case Brought by Politician
 
Sub-Saharan Africa
» Man Who Died of Ebola-Like Marburg Virus in Guinea May Have Spread it to 155 Others, Health Chiefs Fear
» Social Media Apps Were Blocked on Zambia’s Election Day
 
Immigration
» Czechia: Dozens of Migrants Scatter From a Van After a Wild Chase Across Prague
» France and Switzerland Also Suspend Deportation of Afghans
» Migrants Attack Hungarian Border Police
» More Syrians and Afghans Entering EU Via Western Balkans
» Poland is Transferring Troops to Belarusian Border to Stop Illegal Migration
» Ukraine Sends Lithuania Barbed Wire as a Form of Humanitarian Aid
 
Culture Wars
» Belgian Poet: People Must ‘Accept That Paedophilia Resides in Each of Us’
» Scotland to Allow Children as Young as Four to Change Gender Without Parental Consent or Knowledge
» YouTube Demonetizes Grabien Media
 

Apple Employees Voice Concern Over iPhone Photo Scanning

Ever since the scope and scale of invasive and widespread user-privacy endangering business models practiced by Big Tech started to become public knowledge, one of Big Tech’s biggest members, Apple, started to aggressively promote itself as a privacy-friendly alternative to products and services offered by Google and others.

But this carefully forged image was dealt a major blow recently when the giant announced it would start scanning iPhone devices of US users in search of images of child abuse. But it appears that not only Apple customers but also many of its employees had bought into the privacy shtick, and may now be experiencing something of a cognitive dissonance.

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

‘At Least’ 63 People on Martha’s Vineyard Are COVID Positive After Obama Birthday Party

While it can’t be said for sure that the big celebration hosted by the Obamas was a superspreader event, reports indicate an uptick of pandemic cases as of this week.

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

Biden Administration May Consider ‘Vaccine Passports’ For Interstate Travel

President Joe Biden really wants Americans to get vaccinated, and after rolling out all the stops, from free beer to free Uber rides to child care, the administration has plans to penalize those that either won’t get the shot or don’t feel obligated to prove to the government or businesses that they’ve gotten the shot.

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

Colorado Springs School District 49 Bans Critical Race Theory

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Parents gathered Thursday night at Colorado Springs School District 49’s board meeting arguing for and against teaching Critical Race Theory.

The controversial curriculum has been a hot-button topic throughout the nation and locally. In March, parents in Colorado Springs School District 20 spoke out against teaching Critical Race Theory.

Thursday night, nearly all of the public comments focused on a resolution to ban CRT in District 49. Parents opposing teaching CRIT claimed it would divide students.

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

D.C. Judge Rules Biden’s Eviction Moratorium Can Remain in Place, Makes Clear She Thinks it’s Illegal

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Friday rejected a request from a group of landlords to block the Biden administration’s renewed eviction moratorium, appearing to overrule The Supreme Court’s ruling that the moratorium is unconstitutional.

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

Fact-Checking Site Snopes’ Co-Founder Busted Plagiarizing 54 Articles

On Friday, it was revealed that the co-founder and CEO of the popular fact-checking site Snopes David Mikkelson has been writing articles using plagiarized content under a pseudonym for years.

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

Google Deplatforms Comic Book Publisher Vox Day

Vox Day, the publisher of Arkhaven Comics, had his personal blog Vox Popoli deplatformed by Google’s blogging platform Blogger. Day had anticipated the censorship and backed up the posts on another website.

Day was deplatformed on August 11. On visiting the blog, visitors got the message,”This blog is under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations and is open to authors only.”

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

GOP Lawmakers Want to Amend Defense Authorization to Ban Critical Race Theory From Military Academies

Republicans will seek to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to ban critical race theory from military institutions.

Rep. Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican, who spent time in the military prior to serving in Congress, told the Washington Examiner that this would be the “strategy” to curb critical race theory in the military.

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

Group Protests Mask Mandate Issued for Schools

A day before the opening of Hardin County Schools, several area parents and residents spent time Wednesday night in downtown Elizabethtown to protest the school mask mandates issued by Gov. Andy Beshear.

Behsear ordered on Tuesday that all students, staff and visitors must wear a mask in schools and on school buses to diminish the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

Hosted by the Hardin County chapter of Moms for Liberty, founders of the chapter, Katie Keary and Jenny Bowman, were at the protest along with dozens of others.

Since founding the chapter this year, Keary said they have received about 125 requests to join the group.

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

‘It Should Have Never Happened’: 1 Student Dead After Shooting at New Mexico Middle School

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One student was killed and another was taken into custody Friday after a shooting at a middle school near downtown Albuquerque during the lunch hour, police said.

The gunfire at Washington Middle School marked the second shooting in Albuquerque in less than 24 hours. The city is on pace to shatter its homicide record this year, having already matched within the first eight months of the year the previous annual high of 80 homicides set in 2019.

“I want to send out my thoughts and prayers to all of our students, all of our families that are impacted by this horrible event,” Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder said during a news conference.

Albuquerque police Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock described the shooting as an isolated incident between the two students, who were believed to be about 13 years old. He said a school resource officer ran toward the boys after gunfire erupted and prevented additional violence…

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]
 

Nebraska Governor Vows to Continue Fighting Critical Race Theory as University Rejects Resolution

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts told Fox News on Friday that he would continue fighting critical race theory (CRT) despite the state university’s decision to reject a resolution designed to combat the contentious ideology.

His comments came amid an ongoing controversy over the issue, which has prompted input from professors and students at the University of Nebraska. On Friday afternoon, the Board of Regents voted 5-3 to reject the anti-CRT measure, which opposed the “imposition” of the ideology in curriculum.

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

New Jersey Prisoner Charged With Murder 2 Days After Being Freed Early Due to COVID

A New Jersey inmate who was released early as a result of the coronavirus, was charged with murder a mere two days after being released. Jerry Crawford, 25, who was in prison for burglary, was released on “public health emergency credits” to parole supervision on November 4, according to NJ.com.

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

Republican Party of Bexar County Joins Anti-Mask Groups for Protests in San Antonio Friday

SAN ANTONIO — The Republican Party of Bexar County joined forces with anti-mask groups Friday to protest the new mask mandates issued by Bexar County and San Antonio officials.

The first protest was held at 11 a.m. outside the Bexar County Courthouse located at 100 Dolorosa. Bexar GOP members stood alongside members of Unmask.SanAntonio and Unmask our Kids San Antonio for what organizers said was a “peaceful protest to protect parent choice of masking children in schools.”

More than 50 people rallied outside the courthouse to fight for the right of parent choice.

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

Revealed: ‘Defund the Police’ Activist Rep. Cori Bush Hired Two Off-Duty Cops as Private Security

Tylance Jackson and Maurice Thompson, two deputies working for the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office, have been let go after it was found out that they worked on the side doing security detail for Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).

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

Rumble Snags Big Names Amidst Massive Growth

YouTube competitor Rumble has announced that a new group of prominent figures from across the US political spectrum is joining the platform.

In a blog post, Rumble, that has been popular with users whose speech is being curtailed on Big Tech platforms, said that the latest additions represent nationally recognized thought leaders.

Among the new group of eight high profile voices are former Democrat congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Snowden revelations story.

Others include podcasters, authors, reporters and creators: Bridget Phetasy, Matt Orfalea, Siraj Hashmi, Mujahed Kobbe, Shant Mesrobian and Zaid Jilani, the video sharing platform said, noting that their presence will add to the quality and diversity of content.

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

Suspect in Killing of Officer Ella French Was Out on Probation for Robbery, Charged in April for Hit-and-Run

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emonte Morgan was involved in a hit-and-run on April 9 of this year.

At the time, Morgan was on probation for a robbery in Old Town, and a petition had been filed to find him in violation but a hearing has yet to be held to resolve the issue. That could have sent Morgan to jail.

A hearing was supposed to be held this past Tuesday, three days after Morgan allegedly killed French.

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

Texas Law Enforcement to Track Down and Arrest Missing House Democratic Lawmakers

On Thursday, Texas law enforcement was tasked with tracking down House Democrats that are still missing from the state legislative chamber back to Austin.

Speaker Dade Phelan’s office said the process “will begin in earnest immediately,” according to The Texas Tribune.

Law enforcement was reportedly tapped “to assist in the House’s efforts to compel a quorum,” Phelan spokesperson Enrique Marquez said in an emailed statement to The Texas Tribune.

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

Video: Philadelphia Announces Double Mask Mandate for Government Workers

The Mayor and Health Commissioner of Philadelphia dropped an announcement Wednesday that unvaccinated city employees will need to wear two masks while working indoors and that all new hires after September 1 will have to be vaccinated.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted the details of Mayor Jim Kenney and acting Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole’s announcement.

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

Watch: Glenn Greenwald Tells Tucker Carlson Why He Moved From YouTube to Rumble and Isn’t Looking Back

Tucker Carlson interviewed author and journalist Glenn Greenwald Thursday night on Fox News about a migration of journalists away from YouTube and over to Rumble.

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

YouTube Deleted Rep Malliotakis’s Press Conference Announcing Lawsuit Against NY Vaccine Passports

YouTube took down a video of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis unconditionally without warning or explanation.

The video consists of her news conference in which she announced her lawsuit against the Democrat mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, for implementing a vaccination passport system in the city.

YouTube reinstated the video shortly after being contacted by Reclaim The Net.

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

Toronto Mayor John Tory Calls for Vaccine Passports Across Ontario

Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling for a “provincewide proof-of-vaccination system,” similar to what is referred to as a “vaccine passport.”

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

French Police, Firefighters Lured Into Explosive Ambush by 50 ‘Youths’

Law enforcement and fire crews were lured into a violent ambush set by a large group of ‘very young people’ in the commune of Mantes-la-Jolie, France, authorities say.

A night of urban violence unfolded on Wednesday night as emergency crews were called to the scene of a dumpster fire in the Val-Fourré district at approximately 11 p.m.

Fire crews and accompanying police patrols reportedly came under attack of fireworks and explosives detonated by a group of approximately 50 ‘young people’ at the scene.

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

Hungarian Industrial Output Skyrocketed in June

The volume of industrial production increased by 22.0 percent year-over-year in June, and working-day adjusted output increased by 18.6 percent. Compared to the previous month, the seasonal and working day adjusted performance of the industry decreased by 0.3 percent, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) announced on Thursday.

The volume of production was 13.0 percent higher than the pre-epidemic level of June 2019.

The output of the manufacturing industry, which represents the decisive weight within the industry, increased by 22.2 percent, and that of mining by 27.6 percent, although mining has a small weight in the economy. The output of the energy industry (electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply) increased by 12.8 percent. Compared to June 2019, manufacturing output increased by 13.8 percent and energy production by 7.2 percent.

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

Italy Issues First Fines for Breaking ‘Green Pass’ Rules

One week after Italy’s green pass was extended to most public and cultural sites across the country, authorities have started handing out fines to those breaking the rules of its use.

Milan and Treviso are the first cities to encounter sanctions for breaching the terms of Italy’s expanded ‘green pass’, according to news reports.

The infractions range from not having a green pass where needed to using someone else’s health certificate.

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

Just 1-in-5 Marriages Were Religious in UK, Dozens of Religious Gay Weddings Celebrated

Just one in five (21.1 per cent) of traditional, opposite-sex marriages in 2018 were religious ceremonies, the lowest on record, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK’s official statistics body also noted that all marriages for straight couples were at the lowest on record in 2018, continuing the “gradual long-term decline in both numbers and rates since the early 1970s”.

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

Lockdown Created 1 Million New Alcoholics in England

Official data shows that England’s lockdown caused an extra 1 million people to become addicted to alcohol since the start of the pandemic.

Before the pandemic began, government polling indicated that there were around 1.5 million alcoholics in the country, meaning people who drank at least 50 units every week.

“But this jumped to just shy of 2.5 million this summer, which experts have blamed on the endless cycle of virus-controlling restrictions,” reports the Daily Mail.

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

Majority of Britons Would Treat Unvaccinated Like Pariahs, Refuse to Use Their Services

The majority of Britons would refuse services from someone if they knew they were not vaccinated, a poll has revealed.

A combined 51 per cent of people responded to a YouGov poll on Thursday admitting that if they discovered that someone who had previously provided them with a service, such as a hairdresser, had not taken and was not going to take the Covid-19 vaccination, they would stop visiting them or using them.

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

Man Kills 5, Himself in UK’s First Mass Shooting in Decade

LONDON (AP) — Police investigating Britain’s first mass shooting in more than a decade—which left six dead, including the gunman—say the motive was unclear but there were no immediate signs that the crime was an act of terrorism, or connected to right-wing groups.

Police identified the shooter as Jake Davison, 22, and said he had a gun license, but revealed few other details.

Witnesses reported that he used a pump-action shotgun in his rampage on Thursday night.

Police wouldn’t confirm what type of weapon it was and whether it was the one Davison was licensed to use.

           — Hat tip: LP [Return to headlines]
 

Mayors of Two French Cities Tell Police to Stand Down on Vaccine Passport Enforcement

Two mayors in France are rebelling against the vaccine passport mandate, saying they will not require the police to enforce the new measures. Videos of police enforcing the new vaccine passport mandate for restaurants in Paris went viral this week, with many criticizing the police.

The mayor of Hayange Fabien Englemann, a member of the National Rally, called on the police not to enforce the vaccine passport mandate, arguing that the law was a violation of freedom.

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

Norwegian Health Authorities Warn More Fully Vaccinated May End Up in Hospital

Given the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the new, more contagious Delta strain, Norway’s health authorities have warned of a coming increase in hospital admissions, even among fully vaccinated Norwegians.

Still, the message is that the vaccines provide robust protection, especially to the elderly and at-risk groups.

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

Poland: Morawiecki Responds to Blinken: Media Law is Not Aimed at Any Particular Television Station

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that he was “deeply troubled” due to Polish parliament passing an amendment to the so-called media law and completing parliamentary work on the amendment to the administrative procedure codex (KPA). He declared that “these pieces of legislation run counter to the principles and values for which modern, democratic nations stand.” Blinken also called for the Polish government to “demonstrate its commitment to these shared principles not only in words but in deeds.”

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

Protests and Strike Against Green Pass in Italy

Six days after Italy made the Green Pass mandatory for many activities, people started protesting throughout the country, Il Corriere della Sera writes. The six largest trade unions also reacted to the fact teachers needed a Green Pass to teach at schools, calling it “a unilateral choice” and a “diktat”. In Turin, 650 employees went on strike calling the need for a Green Pass for restaurants discriminatory.

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

Spanish Prosecutors Ask for 140 Years for Instagram Child Sex Predator

Spanish prosecutors have requested a 140-year prison sentence for a man accused of sexually exploiting children through Instagram.

The Granollers prosecutor’s office has called for the heavy sentence ahead of the September trial of David C.G., who is accused of using fake Instagram accounts to force at least half a dozen minors to commit sexual acts and threatening those who refused.

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

U.K. Government to End the Life of Two-Year-Old Jewish Girl

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled against the family of a severely ill two-year-old Jewish girl, holding that doctors are allowed to withdraw treatment, over her family’s objections, and despite other treatment options overseas.

Alta Fixsler has severe brain damage after being born eight weeks premature in 2018. Even though both Israel and the United States have offered to treat Alta, the European Court of Human Rights sided with U.K. courts, agreeing that it is in the two-year-old’s “best interests” to withdraw treatment, thus ending her life.

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

UK: Author Kate Clanchy Will Rewrite Her Memoir After Being Faced With a Twitter Mob

When Salman Rushdie had a “fatwa,” a type of religious death sentence, issued against him decades ago because the Iranian regime didn’t like one of his books, one thing he didn’t do was — rewrite it.

It’s not far-fetched to say he probably never even considered such a possibility, because the idea of authors going back and rewriting their works of art under political, ideological or religious pressure was not really an option.

But times have changed and now reports say that Kate Clanchy, who in 2019 penned her Orwell-prize winning memoir, Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me, will now need to “do better” by “remembering better.”

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

UK: Green Revolution Hypocrisy: Tory Climate Tsar Drives Diesel Car

The president of the COP26 United Nations climate change conference has admitted he still drives a diesel vehicle, the latest hypocrisy for green revolutionary Prime Minister Boris Johnson after his climate spokesman said she doesn’t want an electric car.

The prime minister announced in November 2020 a ban on buying new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030 — and even hybrids by 2035 — as part of his “Green Industrial Revolution”. However, the message that the future is electric and that this change will not be an option for the general public has failed to reach some of his closest allies.

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

UK: Study Finds Children Born During Lockdown Have Lost IQ Points, Impaired Cognitive Functioning

A new study has found that mean IQ scores of young children born during the pandemic have tumbled by as much as 22 points while verbal, motor and cognitive performance have all suffered as a result of lockdown.

“With limited stimulation at home and less interaction with the world outside, pandemic-era children appear to have scored shockingly low on tests designed to assess cognitive development,” reports the Guardian.

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

Vaccination in Czechia Hits Its Limits, Then Slows Down

The willingness of Czechs to get vaccinated against Covid-19 is approaching its limits, at least according to the latest surveys. The declining interest is also visible in the statistics of the Ministry of Health, which show that administrations of first doses have been declining rapidly in recent weeks.

There is still less interest among younger people, but while the government is aiming a campaign at them, there are still hundreds of thousands of people unvaccinated among high-risk groups.

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

Where and When Health Pass Protests Will Take Place in France This Weekend

Some 250,000 protesters are expected to take part in an estimated 200 anti-health pass marches planned in towns and cities across France this weekend — so here are the areas to avoid if you don’t want to get caught up in protests.

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

No Lockdown Belarus Reports COVID Mortality Rates Similar to Neighboring Countries That Imposed Draconian Lockdowns

The country of Belarus, which imposed no legal lockdown at all throughout the entire pandemic, has released COVID mortality figures which are broadly in line with other nearby countries which imposed draconian lockdowns.

After authorities in Belarus refused to put their citizens under lockdown, the global media had a collective hissy fit, with one headline declaring, “One leader looks hell-bent on turning COVID-19 into a catastrophe for his country.”

However, while managing to avoid all the negative impacts of lockdown, the outcome of Belarus’ no lockdown policy is far from a “catastrophe.”

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

British Govt Surges 600 Troops Back Into Afghanistan to Evacuate UK Citizens

The British government is surging hundreds of soldiers back into Afghanistan, ostensibly to help evacuate some 4,000 people with British citizenship who are still in the Islamic republic.

Taliban fighters have rapidly conquered vast swathes of the South Asian country, including multiple provincial capitals and the historic capital of Kandahar, since the Western powers began withdrawing in earnest — a collapse which seems to have surprised London and Washington D.C. with its speed and scale.

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

Taliban Take Kandahar, Herat in Major Afghanistan Offensive

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban captured two major Afghan cities, the country’s second- and third-largest after Kabul, and a strategic provincial capital on Thursday, further squeezing the embattled government just weeks before the end of the American military mission in Afghanistan.

The seizure of Kandahar and Herat marks the biggest prizes yet for the Taliban, who have taken 12 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals as part of a weeklong blitz.

The capture of the city of Ghazni, meanwhile, cuts off a crucial highway linking the Afghan capital, Kabul, with the country’s southern provinces, all part of an insurgent push some 20 years after U.S. and NATO troops invaded and ousted the Taliban government.

While Kabul itself isn’t directly under threat yet, the losses and the battles elsewhere further tighten the grip of a resurgent Taliban, who are estimated to now hold over two-thirds of the country and continue to press their offensive.

With security rapidly deteriorating, the United States planned to send in 3,000 troops to help evacuate some personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Separately, Britain said about 600 troops would be deployed on a short-term basis to support British nationals leaving the country, and Canada is sending special forces to help evacuate its embassy…

           — Hat tip: DV [Return to headlines]
 

Head of WHO Origin Investigation Team Admits Communist China Ordered Them What to Write in Report

The head of the World Health Organization’s origin investigation into COVID-19 has admitted that China basically ordered his team on what to write in their report and allowed them to mention the lab leak theory, but only on the condition that they didn’t recommend following it up.

Revealing what is clear evidence of a cover up, the Washington Post reports that Danish WHO chief Ben Embarek made the admission after also commenting that he believes patient zero was a worker at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where experiments on coronaviruses were being carried out.

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

Australia Lawmaker Blasts Coronavirus Overreactions: ‘We Are Locking Down Because Someone Sneezes’

George Christensen, a member of Parliament in Australia, spoke Thursday about what he viewed as coronavirus overreactions in his country during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

GEORGE CHRISTENSEN: We are suffering from what is ‘pandemic policy insanity’ in this country. … The city of Canberra, which I’m currently in — one single case and the entire 400,000-plus population moved into lockdown, basically stay-in-place orders, businesses shut down that are deemed non-essential.

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

Authorities “Won’t Hesitate” To Go “Door-to-Door” To Perform COVID Tests on Australians

The Premier of Victoria has asserted that authorities “won’t hesitate” to go “door-to-door” to carry out mandatory COVID tests on Australians.

Daniel Andrews made the comments during a press conference as Australia continues to pursue a ludicrous ‘zero COVID’ policy that mandates draconian lockdowns in response to just a handful of new cases.

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

Man Forcibly Imprisoned in Mental Asylum for Different Opinion on COVID

An Australian man says he was forcibly imprisoned in a mental asylum for having a “different opinion” on COVID.

Worst of all — his own wife grassed him up!

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

New Zealand Loses Its Precious ‘Rings’ Series to Britain

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has long been associated with “The Lord of the Rings” but with the filming of a major new television series…

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]
 

YouTuber friendlyjordies Denied Ability to Run Truth Defense in Defamation Case Brought by Politician

Jordan Shanks, the owner and host of comedy YouTube channel friendlyjordies, has been denied his attempt to run a truth defense and have part of a defamation case brought by New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Premier John Barilaro struck out after the judge found that the truth defense cannot be relied on because it would breach parliamentary privilege — a privilege that prevents legal action being taken against anyone involved in the proceedings of parliament.

Shanks, who regularly criticizes the Australian government through his friendlyjordies YouTube channel, was sued by Barilaro for defamationearlier this year. Barilaro alleged that two friendlyjordies videos, one titled “bruz” and the other titled “Secret Dictatorship,” are defamatory because they incorrectly portray him as a “corrupt conman” who “committed perjury nine times” and “should be jailed.”

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

Man Who Died of Ebola-Like Marburg Virus in Guinea May Have Spread it to 155 Others, Health Chiefs Fear

Health chiefs in Guinea have traced 155 people who were in contact with a man who died from the virus last week, but no other cases have yet been spotted.

           — Hat tip: SS [Return to headlines]
 

Social Media Apps Were Blocked on Zambia’s Election Day

Social media and instant messenger apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were blocked in Zambia on election day, August 12.

“We’ve looked into this and can confirm that there seems to be a social media shutdown affecting our apps and others, like Twitter,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

The Zambian government as well as the Office of the President did not respond to requests for comment.

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Czechia: Dozens of Migrants Scatter From a Van After a Wild Chase Across Prague

A wild chase ended in Prague’s Holesovice district on Thursday morning when a van transporting mostly Syrian migrants crashed. The police detained 23 people, and another six were subsequently discovered by a police helicopter. A spokesman for the Prague police, Richard Hrdina, later announced that the driver, who managed to escape after the crash, had probably already been found.

“Criminal proceedings were initiated against the driver suspected of committing the crime of organizing and allowing the illegal crossing of the state border. If convicted, he can spend up to two years behind bars. If the investigation proves that he did so for a fee, the sentence will increase to five years,” said Hrdina.

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

France and Switzerland Also Suspend Deportation of Afghans

France and Switzerland have suspended the deportation of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers to their homeland due to the security situation in Afghanistan, which has descended into civil war. In addition, Denmark has decided to allow current and former local staff of its embassy in Kabul and Afghan coworkers of the Danish Armed Forces to stay temporarily in the Nordic country for two years.

France said on Thursday that it has suspended the deportation of unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers already in early July due to the fighting between the radical Islamist Taliban movement and government forces.

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

Migrants Attack Hungarian Border Police

Migrants attempting to enter Hungary illegally from Serbia threw bricks at border police on Wednesday evening, and police responded with tear gas projectiles, repelling them, daily Magyar Nemzet writes.

National Security Advisor József Horvath told the paper that as bad weather approaches and the number of Afghan migrants attempting to enter the European Union rises, the number of violent incidents is likely to increase.

“The latest attack also indicates that illegal migrants, who want to break into Hungary at all costs, are becoming more violent. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that such an attack, i.e. throwing objects at police officers and soldiers in the territory of another country, is a test of people smugglers, thus testing Hungarian border protection,” Horvath said.

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

More Syrians and Afghans Entering EU Via Western Balkans

The number of migrants irregularly entering the European Union by crossing the Western Balkans has almost doubled this year, EU border agency Frontex said, with the majority coming from Syria and Afghanistan, Reuters reports. Frontex said 22,600 migrants were detected irregulalry entering the EU via the Western Balkan route from January to July, an increase of 90 percent compared with the same period in 2020.

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

Poland is Transferring Troops to Belarusian Border to Stop Illegal Migration

Several hundred soldiers will be directed to the Polish-Belarusian border in the upcoming days to ensure its security against increasingly common attempts to illegally enter Polish territory, Polish Republican party MP Mieczyslaw Baszko told local Radio Bialystok.

Just last weekend, the Polish Border Guard detained around 350 foreigners who illegally crossed the Polish-Belarusian border. Since the start of 2021 the Podlaskie Border Guard unit has detained close to 900 illegal migrants — 8 times more than in all of 2020.

According to the Border Guard, all detained migrants will be transferred to guarded centers for foreigners based on a court ruling.

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

Ukraine Sends Lithuania Barbed Wire as a Form of Humanitarian Aid

Ukraine is sending 38 tons of barbed wire as humanitarian aid to Lithuania, which wants to build a fence on its border to protect the country from the influx of migrants coming through neighboring Belarus, according to the AFP agency.

Vilnius and the European Union suspect Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of controlling the influx of illegal migrants crossing the Lithuanian border. He is doing so in retaliation for the EU’s sanctions and Lithuania’s granting asylum and support to the Belarusian opposition. Lithuanian authorities have already detained more than 4,000 migrants, mostly from Iraq, compared to only 81 last year.

“The aid will help strengthen the protection of the Lithuanian border against illegal migrants,” the Ukrainian authorities said. This is the first delivery, with others to follow in September.

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

Belgian Poet: People Must ‘Accept That Paedophilia Resides in Each of Us’

A Belgian poet employed by the city of Bruges has come under fire after writing a letter condemning the demonisation of paedophiles and said people need to “accept paedophiles”.

Belgian poet Delphine Lecompte wrote the letter in response to an investigation by Belgian journalists into a Flemish actor accused of sexually abusing children.

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

Scotland to Allow Children as Young as Four to Change Gender Without Parental Consent or Knowledge

Leading the way for accommodation to trans identity is Scotland, where students as young as four are now permitted to change gender without their parents’ consent and teachers must go along with it.

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

YouTube Demonetizes Grabien Media

YouTube demonetized Grabien Media’s channel this week. Grabien Media is an organization that posts politically-themed videos.

According to Breitbart News, Grabien has been in YouTube’s crosshairs for the past few months. Back in May, YouTube removed a video posted by Grabien where a concerned mother was complaining about mask-wearing mandates for kids.

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

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