Posts Tagged ‘said’

Time to change? Mixed response after German officials cheer diversity campaign to give names of migrant origin to weather events

Posted by RT on January 6, 2021  |   Comments Off on Time to change? Mixed response after German officials cheer diversity campaign to give names of migrant origin to weather events

The German migration agency has praised a campaign to showcase ethnic diversity by giving names of foreign origin to weather events. The initiative did not go down well with everyone though.

“We live in an immigration country. Nevertheless, the weather highs and lows [anticyclone and cyclone] are almost always given names like Gisela and Helmut. It’s time to change that,” a diversity group wrote on their #WeatherCorrection project’s website. The campaign to bring “new” German names into weather forecasts involves activists from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

“After all, Germans also have names like Ahmet, Chana, Khue und Romani,” the website said

Pretty much anyone can choose the name of a cyclone or an anti-cyclone for a fee of between €240 and €360 ($296-$444) paid to the Free University of Berlin’s Institute of Meteorology, with the proceeds going to student projects. The names are then used in official weather reports.

Fourteen such names were acquired through the initiative for 2021. So this year, Germany will see weather events with names of Arabic and Turkish origin, like Ahmet, Cemal and Jussuf, as well as Bozena, Bartosz, Irek, Dragica, Goran, and Chana, which are of Polish, south Slavic, and Hebrew origin.

The country’s migration and integration minister’s office praised the campaign in a series of tweets. “Ahmet or Alex, the main thing is the weather report! In 2021, it will be as diverse as our society, and that’s a good thing.” 

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The initiative, however, was met with a mixed response online.

“A very nice idea! And yes, our society is diverse – even if some don’t want to hear that or accept that,” one person tweeted.

Others called the idea “stupid” and complained about the “ideological indoctrination through the weather reports.”

“Thank you! The naming of high- and low-pressure areas is certainly one of the biggest issues in Germany. It doesn’t really matter whether the Ahmets and the Stafenies also get top education and well-paid jobs,” one person complained.

There are also those who say no one really cares about the names of weather events, while others find the campaign amusing. “Most high- and low-pressure areas have a migrant background, but little is known about the sexual orientation,” one Twitter user said.

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Stay home for Christmas despite your FOMO, as ‘few more months of sacrifice’ lie ahead, WHO’s top official in Europe urges

Posted by RT on December 19, 2020  |   Comments Off on Stay home for Christmas despite your FOMO, as ‘few more months of sacrifice’ lie ahead, WHO’s top official in Europe urges

The World Health Organization’s director for Europe has asked people to avoid large gatherings during the holidays, despite the depression and anxieties caused by “social exclusion” amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is a difference between “what you are being permitted to do by your authorities and what you should do,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement.

“The safest thing right now is to remain at home,” Kluge stressed, explaining that large gatherings during the holiday season were “not worth the risk,” despite people’s natural feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

“We have a few more months of sacrifice ahead and can behave now in a way that we are collectively proud of,” the official cautioned.

Kluge acknowledged that “social exclusion” caused by the lockdowns and self-isolation has contributed to anxieties and depression during the pandemic.

We expect to see a larger number of people facing more severe mental health challenges in the coming months as the reality of this experience takes hold.

A second wave of Covid-19 infections forced many European countries to bring back tougher restrictions, including lockdowns, curfews and limits on the number of households allowed to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve together.

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks along a shopping street ahead of Christmas amid the spread of the coronavirus in Rome, Italy.
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There is hope that vaccines will slow down the spread of the coronavirus. A nationwide vaccination campaign kicked off in the UK earlier this month. European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that vaccination will start across the EU on December 27-29.

The EU’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, is currently reviewing vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech, and by Moderna.

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US envoy to South Korea says goodbye to his MUSTACHE amid controversy over its ‘Japanese colonial’ look

Posted by RT on July 27, 2020  |   Comments Off on US envoy to South Korea says goodbye to his MUSTACHE amid controversy over its ‘Japanese colonial’ look

The US Ambassador to Seoul shaved off his mustache on Monday after a lengthy wrestle with local media, which resented its Japanese colonial-era look. However, the diplomat denied that it was public opinion that forced his shave.

Having facial hair can be a factor of irritation in international relations, as the US envoy in South Korea has learned lately.

Ambassador Harry Harris’s mustache irritated Koreans’ historic memories, reminding them about Japan’s 1910-1945 brutal occupation of their country.

South Korean media repeated relentlessly – ever since Harris took his post last June – that his mustache was reminiscent of the fashion adopted by Japanese governors-general during those decades.

To make things worse, 40-year-old Harris was born in Japan and is of part-Japanese origin. Still, he resolutely denied that his mustache had anything to do with political sympathy and was a matter of his personal choice. 

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A South Korean soldier takes part in a live fire exercise near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, June 23, 2020. © Reuters / Kim Hong-ji
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He explained that was the only available way for him to reinvent himself: “I tried to get younger but I couldn't get younger. But I could grow a mustache, so I did that.” He stressed that many Korean leaders also used to have a mustache.

But, in an unexpected twist, on Sunday the embattled envoy posted a nearly three-minute-long video online showing the entire process of him bidding farewell to his contentious facial hair.

Still, he insisted he undertook that move so he could wear a facemask more comfortably in hot summer weather, rather than because succumbing to local public opinion. “Covid guidelines matter,” he said.

The hair-cutting decision was generally welcomed by netizens, many of whom said on Twitter that the diplomat looked younger with a clean-shaven face.

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‘2020 is like Hunger Games’: Italians shocked as EARTHQUAKE hits Rome week after Covid-19 lockdown relaxed

Posted by RT on May 11, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘2020 is like Hunger Games’: Italians shocked as EARTHQUAKE hits Rome week after Covid-19 lockdown relaxed

Many Italians were awakened in the middle of the night as the capital was shaken by an earthquake. This came several days after the government began easing quarantine rules, following nearly two months of a nationwide lockdown.

A 3.3-magnitude earthquake struck shortly after 5am local time. Its epicenter was located near the town of Fonte Nuova, around 15km (9.3 miles) from Rome. However, the tremors were felt by many in the capital.

A 3.3-magnitude earthquake struck shortly after 5am local time. Its epicenter was located near the town of Fonte Nuova, around 15km (9.3 miles) from Rome. However, the tremors were felt by many in the capital.

Although emergency response officials did not record any casualties or damage, frightened residents flocked to social media to describe how they were awakened by the sudden quakes, which were “brief, but intense” one person said.

Others responded with a bit of dark humor, alluding to the fact that the earthquake appeared amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic, with Italy being among the hardest-hit nations.

“2020 is like the Hunger Games: whoever makes it out alive on December 31 wins,” a Twitter user joked.

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File photo © REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
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“When 2020 thinks you are relaxing too much and occasionally reminds you that the world is destroying itself,” another person wrote.

“We missed the earthquake, but when will 2020 end?” one commenter quipped.

Italy began gradually relaxing its quarantine restrictions last week after nearly two months of a nationwide lockdown, as more businesses were allowed to resume work, while maintaining safety protocols and distancing rules.

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‘Aggressive confrontation’ between Indian & Chinese troops causes injuries on both sides, reports claim

Posted by RT on May 10, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘Aggressive confrontation’ between Indian & Chinese troops causes injuries on both sides, reports claim

More than a hundred soldiers were involved in a confrontation along the contentious Indian-Chinese border in the Himalayas, Indian media reported. The encounter allegedly left injuries on both sides.

Citing two high-ranking military sources, the Hindustan Times said that the incident occurred at a mountainous pass at a height of more than 5,000m (16,400ft) along the border with China in India’s northeastern Sikkim State on Saturday.

“Four Indian soldiers and seven Chinese troops suffered injuries during the confrontation that involved around 150 soldiers,” an unnamed officer told the paper, describing the incident as an “aggressive confrontation.”

Indian military sources also confirmed to ANI that the border conflict took place in the northern part of Sikkim, saying that “aggressive behavior and minor injuries occurred on both sides.”

Both outlets reported that the conflict was resolved at a local level.

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India and China have several territorial disputes. Standoffs and clashes occasionally happen along the border between Sikkim and China’s Tibet, as well as at the mutually-agreed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Kashmir, where the nations also share a border.

Beijing and New Delhi have been holding high-level talks to resolve the border issues. Last December, both sides agreed to set up a hotline between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army to avoid conflicts along the LAC.

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Beware #AprilFoolsDay! Social media users rally against Covid-19 jokes and falsehoods

Posted by RT on April 1, 2020  |   Comments Off on Beware #AprilFoolsDay! Social media users rally against Covid-19 jokes and falsehoods

The coronavirus has put a damper on April Fools’ Day this year, with calls not to spread fake news about the pandemic, and people on social media urging others not to joke about Covid-19 or its possible cures.

On Wednesday, the Indian government used the hashtag #AprilFools to urge everyone not to “make #Coronavirus a joke” and stay vigilant against false rumors about the rapidly-spreading disease.

Earlier, acting in a similar vein, the Delhi police sent out a tweet asking people not to use April Fools’ Day to disseminate falsehoods (but at least did so in a humorous manner).

Not only in India, but all over the world, Twitter users say April Fools’ Day should be “cancelled” this year because it’s “not a time to joke” in the middle of a pandemic.

“Keep your jokes to yourself because this whole year has been one already. Many of us just wanna survive,” one person wrote. “No #AprilFools jokes. People are going through enough. It won’t go over well,” another said.

“April Fools Day is CANCELLED this year,” Jamaican politician Chris Tufton wrote, adding that the spread of false information “leads to public panic and unnecessary anxiety.”

Some commenters specifically asked everyone to refrain from joking about being diagnosed with Covid-19 or potential cures.

Overall, around 860,800 people have tested positive for Covid-19 worldwide, and more than 42,300 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Talk like Doraemon & don’t nag: Malaysian Health Ministry issues coronavirus lockdown advisory for wives, sparking fierce backlash

Posted by RT on March 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Talk like Doraemon & don’t nag: Malaysian Health Ministry issues coronavirus lockdown advisory for wives, sparking fierce backlash

Malaysian health authorities have issued a coronavirus lockdown advisory for wives, urging them not to "nag" their husbands and instead be "feminine." The advice was deemed to be highly sexist and attracted a storm of criticism.

The ministry shared its wisdom on social media, releasing an infographic on how to act 'properly' during isolation. One image provides an insight for wives on how to do house chores while being stuck inside with their spouses.

"If you see your husband carry out a task in a manner that clashes with your own method, avoid nagging," the image reads. Apart from that, women should "mimic the tone of Doraemon" – a robotic cat from a popular Japanese manga – and reinforce their statements with a coy and "feminine" laugh.

In a separate graphic, the ministry also advised women to refrain from making "sarcastic" comments if their spouses are not helping with household tasks.

The advisory promptly went viral and triggered a storm of criticism, with many attacking the graphics as ultimately sexist and dehumanizing.

Others said the ministry should actually teach men not to engage in domestic violence instead of lecturing women on how to pacify their spouses.

Some took a more light-hearted stance, pointing out that the advisory doesn't make any sense since Doraemon, is actually a male robotic cat, while others suggested it might be a bad April Fools' joke released too early.

Following the outrage, the offensive imagery vanished from the ministry's social media. Earlier pieces of 'advice' for women, however, remain readily available. On Friday, for instance, the health authority told women to avoid wearing "home clothes," as well as to keep the dining table, kitchen and living room clean and neat during the lockdown.

"Present yourself as per usual, wear makeup and dress neatly," the graphic reads.

Malaysia's standing movement control order, introduced to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, was extended until April 14 last week. The country has been affected by the pandemic relatively moderately so far with some 2,700 confirmed cases and over 40 deaths.

Worldwide, the coronavirus infection tally has already smashed past the 800,000 mark, while nearly 39,000 people have died from the disease.

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‘Terrorists’ launch major attack against Syrian Army in Idlib, reports say ‘pro-Turkish’ militants involved

Posted by RT on February 20, 2020  |   Comments Off on ‘Terrorists’ launch major attack against Syrian Army in Idlib, reports say ‘pro-Turkish’ militants involved

Syrian state media say “terrorists” have launched a major offensive in the province of Idlib. Some reports suggest “pro-Turkish” militants are also taking part as tensions between Ankara and Damascus mount.

Citing its reporter on the ground, SANA news agency said on Thursday that government troops forces have been repelling militant attacks towards the village of Al-Nayrab, southeast of Idlib. The community was liberated by Damascus earlier this month when the Syrian Army made gains in the areas controlled by pro-Turkish groups.

Turkish media outlets say that the anti-government forces are pressing towards Al-Nayrab and near the city of Saraqib, an important road junction, which was also seized by the Syrian Army in early February. Anadolu reported that intense clashes continued after the militants entered Al-Nayrab, destroying a Syrian tank and an APC, as well as capturing another tank.

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FILE PHOTO Su-24 fighters © Sputnik / Igor Zarembo
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The militants battling the Syrian army has been heavily supported by Turkish army artillery, the Russian defense ministry said. To avoid further breaches of the defense lines, Moscow launched airstrikes against the “terrorists.” Earlier, reports and videos on social media also suggested that the militants in Idlib were aided by military hardware supplied by Ankara.

The latter had recently sent army units and commandos across the border, reinforcing its outposts in Idlib Province, which is adjacent to the Aleppo region. Turkish officials openly threatened to start a military operation in support of their proxies if the Syrian army continued advancing towards Idlib, the last-remaining major large stronghold controlled by anti-Damascus groups.

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FILE PHOTO. A Turkish soldier walks near Turkish military vehicles in Hazano near Idlib, Syria. ©REUTERS / Khalil Ashawi
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Renewed tensions around Idlib have caused a rift between Turkey and Syria’s ally Russia, which strongly warned Ankara against attacking Syrian troops. The two countries set up a ‘de-escalation zone’ around Idlib, after which Turkey has been accusing Damascus of violating the ceasefire and shelling Turkish troops. Russia, meanwhile, insisted that the government forces only carry out attacks against terrorists, while Ankara had failed on its promise to clear the ‘de-escalation zone’ of jihadist groups.

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What next, cattle transport? Mexican mayor mocked online for wanting Tesla pickups as GARBAGE, WATER trucks & police cars

Posted by RT on December 1, 2019  |   Comments Off on What next, cattle transport? Mexican mayor mocked online for wanting Tesla pickups as GARBAGE, WATER trucks & police cars

The top official of a Mexican city has suggested that the futuristic Tesla Cybertruck would be awesome to patrol streets and to take out the trash, unleashing a wave of mockery online.

Last week, the internet had a field day poking fun at Elon Musk’s most-recent creation – the electric-powered Tesla Cybertruck. Nevertheless, Adrian Esper Cardenas, who heads up the city of Ciudad Velles in Mexico’s central San Luis Potosi state, believes the trendy pickup trucks would be rather useful in municipal services.

The mayor said he has pre-ordered 15 vehicles, making a deposit of $1,500 of his own money, equivalent to his monthly salary. Instead of driving around environmentally-conscious hipsters, the cars would be transformed into water trucks and garbage trucks. “They’ll have three times the loads of a normal truck,” the mayor said.

Cardenas also suggested that Musk’s futurist-designed electric cars could serve as police patrol vehicles – presumably to roam the streets of Ciudad Valles, watching for drug cartels and other violent gangs. At a press conference, the mayor even revealed what a law enforcement version of a Cybertruck would look like, equipped with roof lights and police markings.

The official told reporters that using the trucks would save the city around 24 million pesos ($1.2 million) a year.

“We took a photo [of the pre-orders]. I will send it to Elon Musk to see if he makes us a discount.”

The idea, however, triggered widespread mockery on Mexican social media, with many baffled by the prospect of seeing Tesla cars performing public services. “I thought it was fake [news],” one user wrote.

Others jokingly suggested that slick Cybertruck models could be used for other mundane activities, such as transporting cattle.

Some began with an ironic anticipation that the Tesla-driving police force will be the first step in transforming Ciudad Velles into a futuristic mega-city.

“They issued new uniforms for police in Ciudad Velles,” a user wrote, posting a photo from the 90s show Power Rangers.

Commenters also blasted the mayor for blowing money on Teslas instead of focusing on more pressing local issues. “Many schools are closed, there is a lot of poverty – these are the issues they should be investing in,” one person complained. Another user said that even if the mayor delivers the Tesla trucks, they will not get far, because of the city’s potholes.

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Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stands in front of the cracked windows of company's first electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, after it was unveiled and a metal ball was thrown at the windows, in Los Angeles, California U.S., November 21, 2019  © Reuters / Tesla
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‘Big Brother’ state? Spain begins tracking mobile phones in controversial study to better public services

Posted by RT on November 19, 2019  |   Comments Off on ‘Big Brother’ state? Spain begins tracking mobile phones in controversial study to better public services

Millions of Spaniards are being tracked on their mobile phones this week as part of a controversial government study designed to gather information about where citizens are traveling and when in order to “improve public services.”

The National Statistics Institute (INE) has assured people that the eight-day project is completely “anonymous” — but that hasn’t stopped concerns being raised over the ‘spy state’ and ‘big brother’ style privacy issues.

Spain’s three largest mobile phone operators — Movistar, Vodafone and Orange — are taking part in the project, and insist they are not breaking the law by handing the data over to the government. The three companies account for almost 80 percent of mobile users in Spain.

The INE will first track peoples’ movement between 18-21 November, and then again on November 24, Christmas Day and July 20 and August 15, 2020.

With the information available, it will be possible, for example, to see “how many mobiles there are at 5 PM on a particular street in any city of more than 15,000 people, but no more than that,” the INE told El Confidencial.

To conduct the research, the agency has divided the country into 3,200 cells, with over 5,000 people in each one. Trackers will be able to figure out how many phones there are in each cell at certain times throughout the day. First, phones will be analyzed between midnight and 6 AM in order to decipher where phone users live — and then again between 9 AM and 6 PM to discover where they work or go during the day.

The results will be used in the 2021 census and will reveal which daily travel routes are most used, which locations are most common for holiday vacations, as well as information on how many people work or study long distances from their homes. The government will pay each of the three major operators about €500,000 each to gain access to the valuable information, it is reported.

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Unsurprisingly, the plan hasn’t exactly been received well by many Spaniards on social media.

“I have not given you my consent, you are robbing me with the corresponding profit of the telephone companies,” one person wrote, advising Spaniards to seek out phone companies not taking part in the study.

One tweeter responded to an INE post about the study with details of his schedule for the day "to make life easier for Big Brother,” while others said that if the government wanted information on citizens’ travel for the census they should “ask” for it, rather than “steal” it through such a study.

Some people advised that they would put their phones on airplane mode during the study. Spanish media has also published information explaining how phone users can avoid being tracked at the allotted times.

In order to be exempt from the study, people must visit the website belonging to their phone provider and “expressly request” that their data not be included, one website explained. Alternatively, people can simply turn off their phones, remove their SIM cards or, as some tweeters suggested, switch to airplane mode.

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