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South Coast Plaza reopens for indoor shoppers



South Coast Plaza, Orange County’s renowned upscale shopping center, reopened for in-person shopping Monday as California relaxed some business restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Although not all boutiques are open and store hours vary, officials said more than 100 shops had reopened this week, with outdoor dining, takeout and curbside pickup available at more than 20 restaurants.

The Costa Mesa mall’s hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. Seniors, those with underlying health conditions and other at-risk groups have reserved blocks of time for shopping — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Saturday.

In announcing the reopening, center officials said their “ongoing commitment to your health and safety is unwavering” and that they had adopted “higher-than-ever standards for cleanliness, based on advice from public health officials and top industrial hygienists.”

“Our numerous efforts include installing a state-of-the-art air treatment system, implementing social distancing practices, improving our protocol for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently throughout the center and more,” according to South Coast Plaza’s website.

Face coverings are required, and some amenities — such as valet parking, drinking fountains, stroller and wheelchair rentals, and carousels — will remain unavailable for now.

Despite the precautions, center officials acknowledged there was “an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place where people are present, and our shopping center is not immune.”

That, officials wrote on South Coast Plaza’s website, “is what makes our health and safety protocols for the center, such as mandatory face coverings, social distancing, continuous sanitizing, improved air quality and taking the temperatures of our employees, so important.”

South Coast Plaza, like businesses throughout California, has had to navigate a shifting landscape of coronavirus-related health orders over the last several months.

The center closed in mid-March after a store employee tested positive for the coronavirus. The closure was originally planned to last two weeks, but officials later announced the mall would remain closed indefinitely.

South Coast Plaza reopened June 11, welcoming back long lines of shoppers, but had to shutter enclosed access to its boutiques and restaurants roughly a month later, when California reimposed many business restrictions in response to a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Under new rules Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled Friday, retail stores and shopping malls are now permitted to open at a maximum of 25% capacity.

The coronavirus outbreak has prompted the center to find creative ways to operate.

Earlier this month, South Coast Plaza opened what it called the Pavilion — a collection of by-appointment, open-air shopping suites in its northern parking structure.

The center also launched a contact-free curbside pickup program, called SCP 2 Go, in May.





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Analysis: CAQ minister plans to reinforce French language


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QUEBEC — It was Simon Jolin-Barrette’s summer reading in 2019: a biography on the life of Camille Laurin, the man considered to be the father of the Charter of the French Language.

Written by former journalist Jean-Claude Picard — who recently died — the book describes Laurin as a man who saw the charter and protection of French as a tool toward the social liberation of Quebec’s francophones.

In other words, Laurin was a staunch nationalist (who as a member of the Parti Québécois also favoured independence).

Camille Laurin, who served as Cultural Development minister in the first Parti Québécois government and is considered the father of the Charter of the French Language, is seen here in a 1977 photo.
Camille Laurin, who served as Cultural Development minister in the first Parti Québécois government and is considered the father of the Charter of the French Language, is seen here in a 1977 photo. Photo by Garth Pritchard /Montreal Gazette

Today, 43 years after the adoption of the charter by the PQ, Jolin-Barrette finds himself in the same job, the Quebec minister responsible for language. He, too, plans to unveil his own vision, a new “action plan” that he says will reinforce French in Quebec.

How far will he go and when? The pandemic and economic downturn may affect the timing and scope of the plan, particularly if it implies slapping more red tape on struggling small-business owners. The Legault government may want to hold off before launching a new controversy.



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From Juno Temple in Little Birds to Away and The Bridge: The best on demand TV this week


SKY, BRITBOX, DISNEY+ & ACORN TV

 

Little Birds

In the first scene, Lucy (Juno Temple) is leaving the psychiatric facility where she has been a patient. Her doctor gives her a bottle of experimental pills, ‘a mood-levelling tranquillity elixir’, and tells her to ‘have a great trip’. 

It’s an ambiguous farewell because although Lucy, a troubled American heiress, is off on a real journey to Morocco where she is to marry an English lord (Hugh Skinner), many scenes have a woozy, slightly hallucinatory quality.

In the first scene, Lucy (Juno Temple, above far right) is leaving the psychiatric facility where she has been a patient

In the first scene, Lucy (Juno Temple, above far right) is leaving the psychiatric facility where she has been a patient

Tangier in 1955 is a sultry, febrile, bohemian city and Lucy finds herself embroiled in political and amorous intrigue. Will this apparently fragile little bird have occasion to use the specially made gun her arms manufacturer father gives her ‘just in case trouble comes a-calling’..? 

Take a guess. This is a stylish, visually ravishing drama. Sky/NOW TV,  or on Stan in Australia, available now

 

Capital 

This biting satire is based on the novel by John Lanchester and centres on the residents of a fictional South London street. Pepys Road was once a working-class area but sky-rocketing property values mean each home is now worth over £1 million. 

They’re a disparate bunch, including an old woman who’s lived in Pepys Road for decades and a City banker with a Range Rover in the drive. All have their own problems, and the tensions escalate after each of them receives a mysterious postcard with a sinister message, ‘We want what you have’. 

The three-part drama was written by Peter Bowker (The A Word, Eric And Ernie) and first aired on the BBC in 2015 and the fine cast includes Toby Jones, Rachael Stirling, Gemma Jones, and Lesley Sharp. Acorn TV, available now

 

The Prisoner 

Patrick McGoohan created and starred in this surreal 17-episode 1967 show that captured the psychedelic zeitgeist with themes of freedom, individualism and rebellion against authority. 

McGoohan plays the captive known as Number Six. In the famous opening sequence he resigns from the secret service, is drugged and kidnapped and wakes up in the mysterious ‘Village’, a prison disguised as an Italianate holiday camp (in reality Portmeirion in North Wales), from which he spends the entire series trying to escape, only to be foiled by a malevolent bouncing white bubble every time. 

Patrick McGoohan (above) created and starred in this surreal 17-episode 1967 show that captured the psychedelic zeitgeist with themes of freedom and individualism

Patrick McGoohan (above) created and starred in this surreal 17-episode 1967 show that captured the psychedelic zeitgeist with themes of freedom and individualism

Fans still argue over the meaning of the crazy finale and, according to popular myth, McGoohan had to go into temporary hiding to avoid baffled viewers demanding an explanation. BritBox, available now

 

Mulan 

This hotly anticipated live-action remake was originally set for a cinema release but has been repeatedly postponed because of the pandemic. It’s now being shown on Disney+ and you can watch it from the comfort of your home, for an extra, somewhat pricey one-off payment of £19.99. 

Mulan is based on the Chinese legend about a young woman who masquerades as a man to go to war, and is set to include some major differences from the 1998 animated original. 

There will be no Mushu and Li Shang, Mulan’s love interest in the original, will be replaced by Chen Honghui (Yoson An). Chinese actress Liu Yifei (above) plays Mulan

There will be no Mushu and Li Shang, Mulan’s love interest in the original, will be replaced by Chen Honghui (Yoson An). Chinese actress Liu Yifei (above) plays Mulan

It has had a full overhaul from story to songs (mostly cut). There will be no Mushu, the fast-talking dragon sidekick made famous by Eddie Murphy, and Li Shang, Mulan’s love interest in the original, will be replaced by Chen Honghui (Yoson An). 

Chinese actress Liu Yifei plays Mulan. Disney+, from Friday

 

Keeping Faith 

The hit Welsh drama starring Eve Myles that broke BBC iPlayer records had everything to do with the way in which the ferociously feisty Faith Howells (Eve Myles) was a kind of beleaguered everywoman, battling to keep family and her work as a lawyer together while she contended with the consequences of her husband’s behaviour – in this case, simply vanishing into thin air. 

The hit Welsh drama starring Eve Myles had everything to do with the way in which the ferociously feisty Faith Howells (Eve Myles, above) was a kind of beleaguered everywoman

The hit Welsh drama starring Eve Myles had everything to do with the way in which the ferociously feisty Faith Howells (Eve Myles, above) was a kind of beleaguered everywoman

After Faith discovered there was a lot more to her Evan than she’d known about – and none of it good – the biggest shock of all came at the end of series one. The second series had yet more bombshells and, with the third outing in the offing, here’s a chance to play catch-up. Acorn TV, available now

 

Host 

Hugely effective low-budget horror in which a group of pals hold a seance on Zoom, the video conferencing app, and, inevitably, get much, much more than they bargain for. 

It’s short (57 minutes), sharp and shocking and has become a huge hit, generating the sort of social-media buzz that big studio movies dream of. Mostly filmed on Zoom, Host is the lockdown brainchild of British director Rob Savage (who took charge of several episodes of the bonkers ancient Briton drama Britannia), producer Jed Shepherd and writer Gemma Hurley, who recruited some of their actor friends to star in it. 

Watch it on your laptop. shudder.com (7-day free trial, £3.99 per month), available now

 

NETFLIX

 

Away

A Chinese woman, an Indian, a Russian, an Anglo-African and an American are on a spaceship. Not a joke but the premise of this epic new series starring Hilary Swank as Commander Emma Green, leading a crew on the first mission to Mars.

the premise of this epic new series starring Hilary Swank (above, with Brit Ray Panthaki) as Commander Emma Green, leading a crew on the first mission to Mars

the premise of this epic new series starring Hilary Swank (above, with Brit Ray Panthaki) as Commander Emma Green, leading a crew on the first mission to Mars

Naturally, they very quickly have what Mission Control calls ‘a situation’. If you’re not a sci-fi fan, don’t be put off. The focus is on the characters and their relationships with loved ones left behind, and Away packs a powerful emotional heft as the tension escalates in an excellent ten-parter. From Friday

 

I’m Thinking Of Ending Things 

Charlie Kaufman’s films – Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – are either charmingly quirky or disturbingly weird, depending on your point of view. 

The latest ‘metaphysical thriller’ written and directed by Kaufman is quite definitely in the latter camp. The unnamed protagonist, played by Jessie Buckley, is taking a road trip with her new-ish boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis) for the first time. 

It’s when the couple reach the remote farmhouse that things really begin to get, well, disturbingly weird. From Friday

 

Love Guaranteed 

Susan is a dedicated lawyer whose small law firm is struggling to keep its head above water. In a bid to save it, she takes on a lucrative case brought by Nick, a handsome and charming client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees to find love for its customers – he doesn’t believe such a thing is possible. 

As Susan and Nick work together, sparks fly – and you can probably guess what happens next… Rachael Leigh Cook (above) and Damon Wayans Jr take the leads in this romcom

As Susan and Nick work together, sparks fly – and you can probably guess what happens next… Rachael Leigh Cook (above) and Damon Wayans Jr take the leads in this romcom

As they work together, sparks fly – and you can probably guess what happens next… Rachael Leigh Cook and Damon Wayans Jr take the leads in this likeable romcom. From Thursday

 

Young Wallander 

The makers of the original Swedish series based on Henning Mankell’s best-selling novels have done a sort of Endeavour/Morse, imagining detective Kurt Wallander as a young man but set in the present day. 

In the opener of six episodes, Adam Pålsson (above) is a newly graduated Wallander, who has to overcome his guilt to solve a crime after failing to save a teenager from a nasty attack

In the opener of six episodes, Adam Pålsson (above) is a newly graduated Wallander, who has to overcome his guilt to solve a crime after failing to save a teenager from a nasty attack

In the opener of six episodes, Adam Pålsson (watch out for him in Moscow Noir on Channel 4 from September 13) is a newly graduated Wallander, who has to overcome his guilt to solve a crime after failing to save a teenager from a nasty attack. From Thursday

 

Chef’s Table: BBQ 

Vegans and vegetarians look away now – the roving Emmy-nominated culinary show is back and the emphasis this time is very much on meat. Barbecue experts including 85-year-old Texan Tootsie Tomanetz (who still takes charge of the coals at her own restaurant), Australian Lennox Hastie, who specialises in Outback cuisine, South Carolina’s Rodney Scott and traditional Mayan chef Rosalia Chay Chuc are among the most remarkable of those demonstrating their mouth-watering skills on the coals. From Wednesday

 

Why is there such a buzz about..? 

Selling Sunset (Netflix)

The series that follows the goings-on at the Oppenheim Group, a Los Angeles real estate agent specialising in luxurious properties, quickly rose from being a sort-of reality show to a genuine TV phenomenon. 

It’s now Netflix’s highest-rated programme, both here and across the Atlantic.

Much of the allure is the property- porn backdrop: swooping walk-throughs of multi-million-dollar homes, the kind where people enjoy infinity pools with views over the glowing city. 

The women include Mary Fitzgerald and Maya Vander (above with Fitzgerald)

The women include Mary Fitzgerald and Maya Vander (above with Fitzgerald)

(The developers of a newly built $40 million property even had nearby telephone poles knocked down so that the new owners could have a completely unobstructed view while entertaining on their roof terrace).

However, the real reason why Selling Sunset is unmissable is the obviously fake friendships and real beef between the six impossibly glamorous women who work at the Oppenheim Group.

The women include wholesome newbie Chrishell Stause, TV’s perfect sassy villain Christine Quinn, quiet assassin Davina Potratz, Mary Fitzgerald, no-nonsense Maya Vander and Heather Rae Young. 

The producers maintain the show isn’t scripted, but that some storylines are ‘amped up’ a bit to enhance the drama.

After the third season was released, Christine revealed that founder Brett has left Oppenheim to set up a new agency so we can expect to see even more fireworks in the next season.

Kelly Woodward 

 

BBC iPLAYER & ALL 4

 

The Bridge

The daddy of all Scandi-noir thrillers and arguably still the best. It opens with the weirdest discovery ever – a dead body, severed at the waist, straddling the Sweden/ Denmark border on the Oresund Bridge connecting Malmö and Copenhagen.

Enjoy again Sofia Helin as the socially inept Swedish detective Saga Norén and her rather more charismatic Danish counterpart, Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia, above with Helin)

Enjoy again Sofia Helin as the socially inept Swedish detective Saga Norén and her rather more charismatic Danish counterpart, Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia, above with Helin)

Enjoy again Sofia Helin as the socially inept Swedish detective Saga Norén (with her sludge-coloured 1970s Porsche, penchant for leather trousers and brutal approach to dating) and her rather more charismatic Danish counterpart, Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia, of Killing Eve fame). BBC iPlayer, seasons 1 and 2, available now

 

Code 37: Sex Crimes 

Now in its third season on Walter Presents, this police drama roams the often weird and sometimes not so wonderful world – rape, incest, prostitution, pornography – of a Ghent-based sex-crimes unit. 

At its heart is punky female chief investigator Hannah Maes (Veerle Baetens), who leads a team of chauvinistic males – old-timer Charles, macho Bob and blond rookie Kevin – and solves Belgium’s most abhorrent crimes while continuing a personal quest to avenge her mother’s death. 

There are echoes of 1970s cop dramas here, and the storylines sometimes feel a little simplistic, while Flemish is not the easiest tongue on the ear (no sex pun intended). But if you like your police dramas subtitled, it’s worth a watch. All 4, available now

 

Skin 

This moving six-part series follows a group of young people seeking help with skin conditions that have blighted their lives. In an age in which image is everything, they feel their appearance and confidence have been wrecked by issues ranging from acne to psoriasis. 

Among those featured is Amy, who is an ambassador for the Birthmark Support Group and is considering having treatment to lighten the port-wine stain on her face. BBC iPlayer, from today

 

When Bob Marley Came To Britain 

Had he not succumbed to cancer in 1981, Bob Marley would have celebrated his 75th birthday this year. The reggae icon is much loved, particularly in his native Jamaica and in Britain, which he regarded as his second home. 

This touching film explores the time he spent here in self-imposed exile in the late 1970s, from recording key albums to performing secret gigs and playing football in Battersea Park. 

Those who got to know him, including photographer Dennis Morris and broadcaster Don Letts, discuss his impact on their lives, as well as his influence on politics, culture and a generation of black Britons. BBC iPlayer, available now

 

Sakho & Mangane 

There’s a touch of black magic about this African crime drama, shot in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. It focuses on the partnership between two very different cops, the cool and calm Sakho and his boisterous colleague Lieutenant Mangane (Yann Gael). 

It focuses on the partnership between two very different cops, the cool and calm Sakho and his boisterous colleague Lieutenant Mangane (Yann Gael, above)

It focuses on the partnership between two very different cops, the cool and calm Sakho and his boisterous colleague Lieutenant Mangane (Yann Gael, above)

They’re paired together by the ambitious and newly promoted Mama Bâ, who is pinning her hopes on the duo to solve the high-profile murder of a Belgian ethnologist, which she believes will help her gain the respect of the men under her command. Walter Presents/All4, from Friday

 

AMAZON & STARZPLAY

 

The Boys 

Such is Amazon’s confidence in its demented superhero satire that it has ordered a third series before the eight-episode second has even aired. Its confidence is well placed. 

The Boys is funny, fast-paced and full of mayhem. The titular vigilantes who try to keep in line the amoral celebrity superheroes, led by the evil Homelander, are on the run. 

Meanwhile, there’s a new ‘supe’ in town – Stormfront. She’s a dab hand with Instagram, popular with the fans and seems extremely ambitious. And Homelander isn’t happy… From Friday

 

The Great 

It’s not the most accurate account ever made of how Princess Sophie Auguste of Anhalt-Zerbst came to be Empress of Russia but this ten-part series is definitely the most entertaining. 

Nicholas Hoult is a delight as the tyrannical man-child Tsar Peter III whose every whim – however mad, bad or dangerous – must be indulged by his subservient court, while Elle Fanning is perfect as the ambitious Catherine, who is determined to make the country a better place. 

Nicholas Hoult is a delight as Tsar Peter III whose every whim must be indulged by his subservient court, while Elle Fanning (above) is perfect as the ambitious Catherine

Nicholas Hoult is a delight as Tsar Peter III whose every whim must be indulged by his subservient court, while Elle Fanning (above) is perfect as the ambitious Catherine

Think Blackadder crossed with The Inbetweeners – side-splittingly funny, slightly ridiculous and occasionally very rude… StarzPlay, available now

 

All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur 

Amazon’s fly-on-the-dressing-room-wall sports docuseries moves to North London and the state-of-the-art new stadium at White Hart Lane. Tottenham Hotspur’s tumultuous 2019/20 season saw the departure of head coach Mauricio Pochettino and the arrival of former ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho – not necessarily good news for Spurs fans but a winner for the show’s producers. 

Tottenham Hotspur’s tumultuous 2019/20 season saw the departure of head coach Mauricio Pochettino and the arrival of former ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho (above)

Tottenham Hotspur’s tumultuous 2019/20 season saw the departure of head coach Mauricio Pochettino and the arrival of former ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho (above)

Follow all the highs and lows of the pandemic-interrupted season as the first three of nine episodes drop this week. From Monday

 

Bosch 

All good things come to an end – and that includes Bosch. The hugely popular crime show about Special Forces Operative turned LAPD homicide detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch has been renewed for a seventh season – but that will be its last. 

Catch the first six outings for Titus Welliver as the inscrutable Bosch, an officer with a grudging respect for the rules as he hunts down his own mother’s murderer. Available now

 

FILMS 

The King of Staten Island 

Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson stars in and co-writes a very personal film about a dope-smoking slacker on Staten Island who’s haunted by the death of his firefighter father. 

It’s funny, dark and too long but moving too once you know that Davidson’s fireman father died in the 9/11 attacks. Sky Store & Rakuten, from Monday

 

Bad Education 

An exuberant tangle Catholic guilt starring Gael García Bernal (above)

An exuberant tangle Catholic guilt starring Gael García Bernal (above)

Pedro Almodóvar’s 2004 film is an exuberant tangle of camp, conspiracy and Catholic guilt starring Gael García Bernal. But there’s a darker side too, as a young man approaches an old friend – now a film-maker – and offers him a story about the sexual abuse he suffered at the school they both attended. Mubi, from Friday

 

Vivarium 

Perhaps the ultimate lockdown film, with a young couple trapped in a suburban house they cannot escape. Whatever Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) do, they always end up back there.

And then a baby arrives in a cardboard box… Available now on most platflorms

Matthew Bond 



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Democrats Blast End Of In-Person Election Security Briefings : NPR


Congressional Democrats are calling the director of national intelligence’s cancellation of additional in-person election security briefings “outrageous,” after the change was announced on Friday.

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Congressional Democrats are calling the director of national intelligence’s cancellation of additional in-person election security briefings “outrageous,” after the change was announced on Friday.

Patrick Semansky/AP

Congressional Democrats are calling the director of national intelligence’s cancellation of additional in-person election security briefings “outrageous,” after the change was announced on Friday. Election Day is about nine weeks away.

Congress will still be briefed on election security by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, but through written reports instead of verbal briefings.

In a letter to congressional leaders, John Ratcliffe — a former Texas Republican congressman who was confirmed as director of national intelligence in May — wrote that he believes the change “helps ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the information ODNI provides the Congress … is not misunderstood nor politicized.”

President Trump said Saturday that Ratcliffe was ending the briefings in order to prevent leaks.

The change comes just weeks after a top counterintelligence official warned about ongoing interference and influence efforts by Russia, China and Iran.

Democrats, including Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, say the in-person briefings allow Congress to ask necessary questions and assess the tone and urgency of any threats from the intelligence community.

“I think it’s outrageous,” Krishnamoorthi told Weekend Edition Sunday. “The fact that they would prevent further in-person briefings means that they want us not to be able to question career public servants about the intelligence that backs up this assessment of Russian interference, press for additional information about it and, quite frankly, ask how can we do more to combat it.”

Addressing the counterintelligence report that Russia is again trying to influence the upcoming presidential election, Krishnamoorthi said Russians are using lessons they learned from 2016 and using different tactics this year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, both California Democrats, released a joint statement on Saturday saying the change “is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy.”

Schiff, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, said there is a possibility that Congress could subpoena U.S. intelligence officials to testify about election interference.

“We will compel the intelligence community to give Congress the information that we need. We will compel the intelligence community also to speak plainly to the American people,” Schiff said. “And the American people ought to know what Russia is doing, they ought to know their president is unwilling to stand up to Vladimir Putin.”

On Face the Nation on Sunday, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said his department does intend to continue to brief Congress on cyber threats to election infrastructure and that much of what they deal with is unclassified information. He says the change by the ODNI is “not about limiting access, this is about providing the information to Congress — they’re going to do that in a different format.”

When asked about the leaks that Trump cited as a reason for Ratcliffe’s decision, both Krishnamoorthi and Schiff said that while leaks being used for political gain is a legitimate concern, they do not consider that to be the case in this situation.

Krishnamoorthi says this change is the Trump administration “trying to create a chilling effect within the intelligence community.”

“They don’t want people to tell the truth, they want to muzzle them,” he said, adding that the announcement “just invites the suspicion that once again, they’re trying to invite that foreign interference.”

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who’s ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also criticized the decision on Saturday, saying in a tweet that the committee “does not and will not accept ODNI’s refusal to brief Congress in the 66 days ahead of the election.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and the acting chair of the intelligence committee, also released a statement on the changes, saying past leaks have hurt the relationship between the intelligence community and Congress. Rubio did not say he would take any action to push for in-person briefings again, but that he still expects intelligence officials to keep Congress informed.





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What to Know About Colon Cancer


Mr. Boseman learned in 2016 that he had Stage 3 colon cancer, according to an Instagram post announcing his death. Dr. Mendelsohn said that patients with Stage 3 “have an approximate 60 percent to 80 percent chance of cure,” depending on a number of factors, including whether the cancer is responsive to chemotherapy.

Yes. According to the recent American Cancer Society report, rates of colorectal cancer are higher among Black people. From 2012 to 2016, the rate of new cases in non-Hispanic Black people was 45.7 per 100,000, about 20 percent higher than the rate among non-Hispanic whites and 50 percent higher than the rate among Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Alaska Natives had the highest rate: 89 per 100,000.

Ms. Siegel also said that at any age, “African-Americans are 40 percent more likely to die from colorectal cancer. It’s because of later-stage diagnosis, it’s because of systemic racism and all that this population has been dealing with for hundreds of years.”

Common symptoms include bloody stool or bleeding from the rectum, doctors say. Other symptoms can include constipation or diarrhea, a change in bowel habits, dark sticky feces, feeling anemic, abdominal pain or cramps, nausea, vomiting or unexplained weight loss.

“If you feel something, you have to say something,” Dr. Salem said. “Don’t put it off because you’re busy or because you’re a young person or because you have too much on your plate.”

Unfortunately, yes. The average time from symptoms to diagnosis for people under 50 is 271 days, Dr. Siegel said, compared with 29 days for people 50 and older.

“Both doctors and these young folks are not thinking they have cancer,” she said. “Part of that is screening, but it’s not all screening. Young patients have symptoms, sometimes for years. For one thing, they’re much less likely to have health insurance than older people, and so they have less money. And they’re thinking, ‘I’m a 30-year-old, what could be wrong with me — it’s going to go away.’”



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It is Time for a Democratic Global Revolution — Global Issues


The UN’s Security Council, in particular, is suffering from a dysfunctional decision-making method that grants the five victors of the Second World War and official nuclear powers not only a permanent seat but also a veto right. Credit: United Nations
  • Opinion by Andreas Bummel, Daniel Jositch (berlin / berne)
  • Inter Press Service
  • Daniel Jositsch is a Member of the Swiss Senate and President, Democracy Without Borders-Switzerland, and Andreas Bummel is Executive Director, Democracy Without Borders. Twitter: @democracywb

For many, the corona-related global crisis exacerbates a situation that was already critical before the outbreak of the virus.

The climate crisis is unfolding with record temperatures in Siberia, Greenland, the Antarctic and other places like the Middle East. The new climate apartheid is characterized by whether you can afford to shield yourself from such heat or not. Most cannot.

135 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger. There are currently more than 70 million displaced people who have fled war, persecution and conflict. It’s the worst humanitarian and refugee crisis in seventy years.

There is a global inequality crisis. Productivity gains and globalization disproportionately benefit the affluent. Financial assets in the trillions are hidden in offshore accounts from tax authorities. The world’s 26 richest billionaires own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet.

While global surveys confirm that people across all world regions strongly believe in democracy, there is in fact a democratic retreat. Confidence in the actual performance of democratic governments is waning. Populist nationalism and authoritarianism has been advancing, aided and abetted by social media platforms and the internet. Major arms control treaties are crumbling, geopolitical tensions are rising and multilateralism is under attack.

Civil society and citizens across the world are fighting back, though. Pro-democracy movements are at an all-time high as widespread protests in dozens of countries now and in recent times demonstrate. Freedom and justice have lost no appeal. At the same time, millions of citizens joined climate protests around the world and called for quick and effective action in this critical field.

The present issues are symptoms of a crisis of global governance. There is a scale mismatch between a political world order that is based on 200 states and territories and issues that demand decisive global action.

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, the organization continues to lose significance and impact. The UN is only as strong and effective as its member states allow it to be. The same applies to all intergovernmental organizations and forums, including the World Health Organization that had to launch an investigation into its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN’s Security Council, in particular, is suffering from a dysfunctional decision-making method that grants the five victors of the Second World War and official nuclear powers not only a permanent seat but also a veto right.

If long-lasting solutions are to be achieved, this scale mismatch must be tackled. It is not enough to call on individual governments to change their policies. The way how the world is governed must be changed. What is needed is a new vision of a democratic world order that is based on shared sovereignty on global issues, a clear commitment to human rights, the principle of subsidiarity and complete disarmament.

When the UN was founded it was recognized that this should only be a beginning and that changes would be required. Article 109 of the Charter provides that a conference to review the Charter should be held by 1955. The UN’s member states did not deliver on that promise. Now is the time to hold them to account.

The world’s people need an actual say in global affairs that is not intermediated by national governments and their diplomats. The key ingredient of a new UN should be a democratically elected world parliament that complements intergovernmental bodies such as the UN General Assembly.

The creation of a new democratic world organization that has actual powers seems to be a gigantic project that raises numerous questions. How is a global democracy to be created while major states themselves are not democratically organised? Can decisions of a world parliament be enforced against the will of individual states? How is it possible that states will agree to the creation of a superior political unit?

These questions show the way forward: The people of the world themselves need to embrace and call for global democracy. Eventually, they are the sovereigns not only in their individual states but on the planet as a whole, too.

A global democratic revolution needs to push for a legitimate, inclusive and representative global body that will deal with these questions in a serious way. The creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly could be an important stepping stone to launch a global constitutional process and a transformation of global governance.

This global democratic revolution will be peaceful because it is not about destroying structures or conquering territories, but about opening up a political level that is lying idle. Supranational integration cannot be imposed by force. It will happen because the people want it.

If existing movements in the fields of climate, environment, peace, disarmament, democracy, social justice and others join forces, the global democratic revolution will become very real.

This may sound visionary. But the big issues troubling this planet and its people will remain, and worsen, unless the root cause is addressed. A democratic global government is not a mind game in some ivory tower. It is the most important question on the agenda of humanity today.

© Inter Press Service (2020) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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Primaries of the Nur Otan party before the elections to the Mazhilis of the parliament of #Kazakhstan



For the first time in the history of Kazakhstan, the Nur Otan party primaries will be held on the scale of country-wide intra-party elections, after which candidates for the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and Maslikhat (local representative body) deputies will be elected. The elections are due to take place next year.

As is known, the government of Kazakhstan has been actively implementing political reforms in the country over the past year. For example, the Law on Peaceful Assemblies has been amended to make it easier to organise and participate in assemblies. Furthermore, the National Council of Public Trust has been established by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to further facilitate the concept of a ‘listening state’. Amendments have also been made to the Law on Elections, including lowering the threshold for registration of political parties. The organisation of Kazakhstan’s first ever primaries is another step towards democratization and openness of the political process in the country.

There are a number of benefits to holding party primaries, both for the party and the country itself. Firstly, the process facilitates the democratic process of choosing potential future candidates, as each member of the party can cast a vote for the nominees. In addition, the process is more competitive as each candidate has to convince the members that they are suitable candidates and will perform to the highest standard if elected to the Mazhilis. This means that those who display the necessary attributes to become a deputy in Parliament are likely to be selected as candidates. Ultimately, this ensures that only the top candidates are selected.

Secondly, primaries ensure that new faces have the opportunity to participate in the process. This is especially important for Kazakhstan, which has been undergoing major transformations over the last few years, including the transition of power in 2019.

The First President of Kazakhstan – the Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, instructed to include at least 30 percent of women and 20 percent of young people under the age of 35 in the party lists for each Maslikhat and Mazhilis. In this regard, a unique situation this year is that for the first time in the history of Nur Otan, a certain number of women and youth will be added to the Nur Otan’s party lists.

These requirements were added to the rules for the primaries and approved by the political council of the party. The quota will empower women and their participation in political and civil processes. Kazakhstan already holds the second highest rate of female representation in parliament among the nations of the Eurasian Economic Union. This rule on quotas will further contribute to the involvement of women in politics and the decision-making process. In addition, opportunities have opened up for active and capable young people to make a career as a party member, and directly contribute to the ongoing modernisation and progress of Kazakhstan.

Today, all political parties, including Nur Otan, realise more than ever that young fellow citizens cannot just be considered as the electorate. They are also their main pool of candidates. But it is not enough to just understand this in theory. There should be new mechanisms for involving young people in the system of political governance.

One of these methods is the participation of young people in the preliminary party elections. Young members of Kazakhstan’s society are the future of the country, who will be responsible for its development and flourishment. It is therefore essential to include them in the political processes and elections as early as possible.

Initially, it was planned to hold the primaries from 30 March to 16 May. But due to the coronavirus pandemic and the quarantine measures in the country, the intra-party elections were postponed. Voting for candidates among Nur Otan members will now be held from August 17 to October 3.

The primaries include five stages:

  1. Nomination and registration of candidates;

  2. Preparation of candidates for campaigning;

  3. Campaigning;

  4. Voting;

  5. Confirmation of selected candidates.

In order to participate in the elections, the candidate must meet the following requirements: be a citizen of Kazakhstan, 25 years old or more, and permanently reside in Kazakhstan for the last 10 years.

The Party Control Committee, as well as regional and territorial commissions of party control, will oversee the conduct of the primaries.

During the primaries, voters will listen to the speeches of the Nur Otan members, as well as learn about their proposed programs and projects. Public debates will be held at conferences of regional, district and city branches. Participation in public debates is mandatory for all candidates.

It is worth noting that the public debates will provide an opportunity for the candidates to address the most pressing issues impacting Kazakhstan’s society today, including economic rehabilitation and growth following the COVID-19 pandemic, standards of living of Kazakh citizens, support for small and medium-sized businesses, the development of civil society, and other key priorities. Debating these issues during primaries means that the members of the party, as well as the public, are able to learn about the position of the potential candidates on these important issues.

According to the rules, candidates will campaign at their own expense. Financing from legal entities with foreign participation or from foreign citizens or government agencies is prohibited. On the day of the voting, one observer from each candidate may be present at the polling station.

Ultimately, the organisation of primaries by the Nur Otan party is a demonstration that Kazakhstan is willing to modernise and reform its political system to ensure pluralism of opinion, open debate and free competition. This will be a new experience at this level for the party and the country.

Nevertheless, the fact that a decision has been made to organise these primaries demonstrates that the ruling party and the authorities are confident in its abilities and the readiness of Kazakhstan to introduce this new practice. This bodes well for the future of Kazakhstan and its democracy.




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Ex-Prisoners Detail The Horrors Of China’s Detention Camps


This is Part 2 of a BuzzFeed News investigation. For Part 1, click here.

This project was supported by the Open Technology Fund, the Pulitzer Center, and the Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism.

ALMATY — Maybe the police officers call you first. Or maybe they show up at your workplace and ask your boss if they can talk to you. In all likelihood they will come for you at night, after you’ve gone to bed.

In Nursaule’s case, they turned up at her home just as she was fixing her husband a lunch of fresh noodles and lamb.

For the Uighurs and Kazakhs in China’s far west who have found themselves detained in a sprawling system of internment camps, what happens next is more or less the same. Handcuffed, often with a hood over their heads, they are brought by the hundreds to the tall iron gates.

Thrown into the camps for offenses that range from wearing a beard to having downloaded a banned app, upward of a million people have disappeared into the secretive facilities, according to independent estimates. The government has previously said the camps are meant to provide educational or vocational training to Muslim minorities. Satellite images, such as those revealed in a BuzzFeed News investigation on Thursday, offer bird’s eye hints: guard towers, thick walls, and barbed wire. Yet little is still known about day-to-day life inside.

BuzzFeed News interviewed 28 former detainees from the camps in Xinjiang about their experiences. Most spoke through an interpreter. They are, in many ways, the lucky ones — they escaped the country to tell their tale. All of them said that when they were released, they were made to sign a written agreement not to disclose what happens inside. (None kept copies — most said they were afraid they would be searched at the border when they tried to leave China.) Many declined to use their names because, despite living abroad, they feared reprisals on their families. But they said they wanted to make the world aware of how they were treated.

The stories about what detention is like in Xinjiang are remarkably consistent — from the point of arrest, where people are swept away in police cars, to the days, weeks, and months of abuse, deprivation, and routine humiliation inside the camps, to the moment of release for the very few who get out. They also offer insight into the structure of life inside, from the surveillance tools installed — even in restrooms — to the hierarchy of prisoners, who said they were divided into color-coded uniforms based on their assumed threat to the state. BuzzFeed News could not corroborate all details of their accounts because it is not possible to independently visit camps and prisons in Xinjiang.

“They treated us like livestock. I wanted to cry. I was ashamed, you know, to take off my clothes in front of others.”

Their accounts also give clues into how China’s mass internment policy targeting its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang has evolved, partly in response to international pressure. Those who were detained earlier, particularly in 2017 and early 2018, were more likely to find themselves forced into repurposed government buildings like schoolhouses and retirement homes. Those who were detained later, from late 2018, were more likely to have seen factories being built, or even been forced to labor in them, for no pay but less oppressive detention.

In response to a list of questions for this article, the Chinese Consulate in New York said that “the basic principle of respecting and protecting human rights in accordance with China’s Constitution and law is strictly observed in these centers to guarantee that the personal dignity of trainees is inviolable.”

“The centers are run as boarding facilities and trainees can go home and ask for leave to tend to personal business. Trainees’ right to use their own spoken and written languages is fully protected … the customs and habits of different ethnic groups are fully respected and protected,” the consulate added, saying that “trainees” are given halal food for free and that they can decide whether to “attend legitimate religious activities” when they go home.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to several requests for comment.

Nursaule’s husband was watching TV the day she was detained in late 2017 near Tacheng city, she said. She was in the kitchen when there was a sharp knock at the front door. She opened it to find a woman wearing ordinary clothing flanked by two uniformed male police officers, she said. The woman told her she was to be taken for a medical checkup.

At first, Nursaule, a sixtysomething Kazakh woman whose presence is both no-nonsense and grandmotherly, was glad. Her legs had been swollen for a few days, and she had been meaning to go to the doctor to have them looked at.

Nursaule’s stomach began to rumble. The woman seemed kind, so Nursaule asked if she could return to pick her up after she’d eaten lunch. The woman agreed. But then she said something strange.

“She told me to take off my earrings and necklace before going with them, that I shouldn’t take my jewelry where I was going,” Nursaule said. “It was only then that I started to feel afraid.”

After the police left, Nursaule called her grown-up daughter to tell her what happened, hoping she’d have some insight. Her daughter told her not to worry — but something in her tone told Nursaule there was something wrong. She began to cry. She couldn’t eat a bite of her noodles. Many hours later, after the police had interrogated her for hours, she realized that she was starving. But the next meal she would eat would be within the walls of an internment camp.

Like Nursaule, those detained all reported being given a full medical checkup before being taken to the camps. At the clinic, samples of their blood and urine were collected, they said. They also said they sat for interviews with police officers, answering questions on their foreign travel, personal beliefs, and religious practices.

“They asked me, ‘Are you a practicing Muslim?’ ‘Do you pray?’” said Kadyrbek Tampek, a livestock farmer from the Tacheng region, which lies in the north of Xinjiang. “I told them that I have faith, but I don’t pray.” Afterward, the police officers took his phone. Tampek, a soft-spoken 51-year-old man who belongs to Xinjiang’s ethnic Kazakh minority, was first sent to a camp in December 2017 and said he was later forced to work as a security guard.

After a series of blood tests, Nursaule was taken to a separate room at the clinic, where she was asked to sign some documents she couldn’t understand and press all 10 of her fingers on a pad of ink to make fingerprints. Police interrogated her about her past, and afterward, she waited for hours. Finally, past midnight, a Chinese police officer told her she would be taken to “get some education.” Nursaule tried to appeal to the Kazakh officer translating for him — she does not speak Chinese — but he assured her she would only be gone 10 days.

After the medical exam and interview, detainees were taken to camps. Those who had been detained in 2017 and early in 2018 described a chaotic atmosphere when they arrived — often in tandem with dozens or even hundreds of other people, who were lined up for security screenings inside camps protected by huge iron gates. Many said they could not recognize where they were because they had arrived in darkness, or because police placed hoods over their heads. But others said they recognized the buildings, often former schools or retirement homes repurposed into detention centers. When Nursaule arrived, the first thing she saw were the heavy iron doors of the compound, flanked by armed police.

“I recognized those dogs. They looked like the ones the Germans had.”

Once inside, they were told to discard their belongings as well as shoelaces and belts — as is done in prisons to prevent suicide. After a security screening, detainees said they were brought to a separate room to put on camp uniforms, often walking through a passageway covered with netting and flanked by armed guards and their dogs. “I recognized those dogs,” said one former detainee who declined to share his name. He used to watch TV documentaries about World War II, he said. “They looked like the ones the Germans had.”

“We lined up and took off our clothes to put on blue uniforms. There were men and women together in the same room,” said 48-year-old Parida, a Kazakh pharmacist who was detained in February 2018. “They treated us like livestock. I wanted to cry. I was ashamed, you know, to take off my clothes in front of others.”

More than a dozen former detainees confirmed to BuzzFeed News that prisoners were divided into three categories, differentiated by uniform colors. Those in blue, like Parida and the majority of the people interviewed for this article, were considered the least threatening. Often, they were accused of minor transgressions, like downloading banned apps to their phones or having traveled abroad. Imams, religious people, and others considered subversive to the state were placed in the strictest group — and were usually shackled even inside the camp. There was also a mid-level group.

The blue-clad detainees had no interaction with people in the more “dangerous” groups, who were often housed in different sections or floors of buildings, or stayed in separate buildings altogether. But they could sometimes see them through the window, being marched outside the building, often with their hands cuffed. In Chinese, the groups were referred to as “ordinary regulation,” “strong regulation,” and “strict regulation” detainees.

For several women detainees, a deeply traumatic humiliation was having their long hair cut to chin length. Women were also barred from wearing traditional head coverings, as they are in all of Xinjiang.

“I wanted to keep my hair,” said Nursaule. “Keeping long hair, for a Kazakh woman, is very important. I had grown it since I was a little girl, I had never cut it in my life. Hair is the beauty of a woman.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “They wanted to hack it off.”

After the haircut, putting her hand to the ends of her hair, she cried.


Thomas Peter / Reuters

A perimeter fence at the entrance to what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, Sept. 4, 2018.

From the moment they stepped inside the compounds, privacy was gone. Aside from the overwhelming presence of guards, each room was fitted with two video cameras, all the former detainees interviewed by BuzzFeed News confirmed. Cameras could also be seen in bathrooms, and throughout the building. In some camps, according to more than a dozen former detainees, dorms were outfitted with internal and external doors, one of which required an iris or thumbprint scan for guards to enter. The internal doors sometimes had small windows through which bowls of food could be passed.

Periodically, the detainees were subject to interrogations, where they’d have to repeat again and again the stories of their supposed transgressions — religious practices, foreign travel, and online activities. These sessions were carefully documented by interrogators, they said. And they often resulted in detainees writing “self-criticism.” Those who could not read and write were given a document to sign.

None of the former detainees interviewed by BuzzFeed News said they contemplated escaping — this was not a possibility.

Camp officials would observe the detainees’ behavior during the day using cameras, and communicate with detainees over intercom.

Camps were made up of multiple buildings, including dorms, canteens, shower facilities, administrative buildings, and, in some cases, a building where visitors were hosted. But most detainees said they saw little outside their own dorm room buildings. Detainees who arrived early in the government’s campaign — particularly in 2017 — reported desperately crowded facilities, where people sometimes slept two to a twin bed, and said new arrivals would come all the time.

Dorm rooms were stacked with bunk beds, and each detainee was given a small plastic stool. Several former detainees said that they were forced to study Chinese textbooks while sitting rigidly on the stools. If they moved their hands from their knees or slouched, they’d be yelled at through the intercom.

Detainees said there was a shared bathroom. Showers were infrequent, and always cold.

Some former detainees said there were small clinics within the camps. Nursaule remembered being taken by bus to two local hospitals in 2018. The detainees were chained together, she said.

People were coming and going all the time from the camp where she stayed, she said.

“She told me to take off my earrings and necklace before going with them, that I shouldn’t take my jewelry where I was going. It was only then that I started to feel afraid.”

Surveillance was not limited to cameras and guards. At night, the detainees themselves were forced to stand watch in shifts over other inmates in their own rooms. If anyone in the room acted up — getting into arguments with each other, for example, or speaking Uighur or Kazakh instead of Chinese — those on watch could be punished as well. Usually they were beaten, or, as happened more often to women, put into solitary confinement. Several former detainees said that older men and women could not handle standing for many hours and struggled to keep watch. The atmosphere was so crowded and tense that arguments sometimes broke out among detainees — but these were punished severely.

“They took me down there and beat me,” said one former detainee. “I couldn’t tell you where the room was because they put a hood over my head.”

Nursaule was never beaten, but one day, she got into a squabble with a Uighur woman who was living in the same dorm room. Guards put a sack over her head and took her to the solitary room.

There, it was dark, with only a metal chair and a bucket. Her ankles were shackled together. The room was small, about 10 feet by 10 feet, she said, with a cement floor. There was no window. The lights were kept off, so guards used a flashlight to find her, she said.

After three days had passed by, she was taken back up to the cell.


Ben Blanchard / Reuters

Residents at the Kashgar city vocational educational training center attend a Chinese lesson during a government-organized visit in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, Jan. 4, 2019.

The government has said that “students” in the camps receive vocational training, learn the Chinese language, and become “deradicalized.” Former detainees say this means they were brainwashed with Communist Party propaganda and forced to labor for free in factories.

State media reports have emphasized the classroom education that takes place in the camps, claiming that detainees are actually benefiting from their time there. But several former detainees told BuzzFeed News that there were too many people to fit inside the classroom, so instead they were forced to study textbooks while sitting on their plastic stools in their dorm rooms.

Those who did sit through lessons in classrooms described them all similarly. The teacher, at the front of the room, was separated from the detainees by a transparent wall or a set of bars, and he or she taught them Mandarin or about Communist Party dogma. Guards flanked the classroom, and some former detainees said they carried batons and even hit “pupils” when they made mistakes about Chinese characters.

Nearly every former detainee who spoke to BuzzFeed News described being moved from camp to camp, and noted that people always seemed to be coming and going from the buildings where they were being held. Officials did not appear to give reasons for these moves, but several former detainees chalked it up to overcrowding.

Among them was Dina Nurdybai, a 27-year-old Kazakh woman who ran a successful clothing manufacturing business. After being first detained on October 14, 2017, Nurdybai was moved between five different camps — ranging from a compound in a village where horses were raised to a high-security prison.

In the first camp, “it seemed like 50 new people were coming in every night. You could hear the shackles on their legs,” she said.


Ekaterina Anchevskaya For BuzzFeed News

Dina Nurdybai in her sewing workshop at her home in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Feb. 25.

Nursaule never expected to be released.

“It was dinner time and we were lining up at the door,” she said. “They called my name and another Kazakh woman’s name.” It was December 23, 2018.

She was terrified — she had heard that some detainees were being given prison sentences, and she wondered if she might be among them. China does not consider internment camps like the ones she was sent to be part of the criminal justice system — no one who is sent to a camp is formally arrested or charged with a crime.

Nursaule had heard that prisons — which disproportionately house Uighurs and Kazakhs — could be even worse than internment camps. She whispered to the other woman, “Are we getting prison terms?” The two were taken in handcuffs to a larger room and told to sit on plastic stools. Then an officer undid the handcuffs.

He asked if Nursaule wanted to go to Kazakhstan. She said yes. He then gave her a set of papers to sign, promising never to tell anyone what she had experienced. She signed it, and they allowed her to leave — to live under house arrest until she left for Kazakhstan for good. The day after, her daughter arrived with her clothes.

Nearly all of the former detainees interviewed by BuzzFeed News told a similar story about being asked to sign documents that said they’d never discuss what happened to them. Those who didn’t speak Chinese said they couldn’t even read what they were asked to sign.

Some of them were told the reasons they had been detained, and others said they never got an answer.

“In the end they told me I was detained because I had used ‘illegal software,’” Nurdybai said — WhatsApp.


Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A giant national flag is displayed on the hillside of the peony valley scenic area in the Tacheng region, in northwest China, May 13, 2019.

Nursaule’s daughter, who is in her late twenties, is a nurse who usually works the night shift at a local hospital in Xinjiang, starting at 6 p.m. Nursaule worries all the time about her — about how hard she works, and whether she might be detained someday too. After Nursaule was eventually released from detention, it was her daughter who cared for her, because her husband had been detained too.

Like for other Muslim minorities, government authorities have taken her daughter’s passport, Nursaule said, so she cannot come to Kazakhstan.

Snow fell softly outside the window as Nursaule spoke about what had happened to her from an acquaintance’s apartment in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, where a cheery plastic tablecloth printed with cartoon plates of pasta covered the coffee table. Nursaule spoke slowly and carefully in her native Kazakh, with the occasional bitter note creeping into her voice, long after the milky tea on the table had grown cold.

But when she asked that her full name not be used in this article, she began to weep — big, heaving sobs pent up from the pain she carried with her, from talking about things she could hardly bear to remember or relate, even to her husband.

She was thinking about her daughter, she said, and about what could happen if Chinese officials discovered she spoke about her time in the camps. It is the reason that she, like so many former detainees and prisoners, has never spoken publicly about what was done to her.

“I am still afraid of talking about this,” she said. “I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t bear it.”

“It makes me suffer to tell you this,” she said.

“But I feel that I have to tell it.” ●



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Amed Rosario’s walk-off homer propels Mets to sweep of Yankees


After Dom Smith propelled the Mets to victory in the first game on Friday, Amed Rosario finished the Mets’ perfect day against the reeling Yankees in the nightcap, as the Mets swept a pair of seven-inning games in the first Subway Series doubleheader of the weekend.

Smith hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning in the Mets’ 6-4 comeback victory in Game 1 and Rosario finished the second game with a two-run pinch-hit homer off Aroldis Chapman to beat the Yankees, 4-3.

The loss was the Yankees’ seventh straight, their longest such streak since 2017.

Jeff McNeil started the Mets’ seventh-inning rally in the second game with a walk. Pinch-runner Billy Hamilton was caught off first, but still stole second. Rosario followed with a walk-off, two-run homer to left to end it.

A day after the Mets and much of the rest of Major League Baseball opted not to play in an attempt to protest racial injustice, there was no talk of another day of postponements.

Instead, the Mets and Yankees took the field in The Bronx on Jackie Robinson Day and Smith delivered a go-ahead solo homer in the sixth inning of the first game off Chad Green.

In the second game, the Yankees scored three runs off David Peterson in the top of the third (since the Mets were serving as the home team in the makeup of last week’s postponement at Citi Field), sparked by a leadoff walk from Jordy Mercer. Erik Kratz and Aaron Hicks delivered RBI singles and Gary Sanchez drew a bases-loaded walk. Mike Tauchman grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Amed Rosario gets mobbed by teammates after hitting a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the Mets' doubleheader sweep over the Yankees.
Amed Rosario gets mobbed by teammates after hitting a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the Mets’ doubleheader sweep over the Yankees.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

The Yankees loaded the bases again in the fifth, but Miguel Andujar grounded out.

The Mets cut their deficit to a run with a Brandon Nimmo RBI double off Nick Nelson in the fifth.

And Chapman blew it in the seventh, much like Green did in the opener.

This was Green’s second straight poor outing, as he also allowed a homer to Freddie Freeman in Atlanta on Wednesday to blow that game.

The Mets’ Game 1 rally started with singles by J.D. Davis and Michael Conforto off left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

At just 68 pitches and holding a three-run lead, Montgomery was removed for Green to face Pete Alonso, mired in an 0-for-13 skid.

Alonso worked a full count and drilled a game-tying, three-run shot to center.

After Green got Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos, Smith came to the plate and hit one out to right-center to give the Mets a 5-4 lead.

Jake Marisnick followed with another homer to make it 6-4.

Like Masahiro Tanaka in Wednesday’s loss to the Braves, Montgomery had a low pitch count when he was pulled, but Boone defended the move.

“We like Green in just about any situation,’’ Boone said. “He’s had a couple bumps here. … It wasn’t a great day.”

It was for Smith, who has emerged as a leader for the Mets.

“It’s amazing, the way he carries himself off the field,’’ right-hander Michael Wacha said. “For him to come through there was unbelievable.”

The Yankees got two runners on with two outs in the sixth against Dellin Betances, as the ex-Yankee hit Clint Frazier and walked Brett Gardner. But Sanchez popped to center, as his struggles continued.

Edwin Diaz closed it out in the seventh for the save.

“We’ve just got to find a way,’’ Boone said of his injury-decimated team that, in the opener, had Gardner hitting third, Estevan Florial starting in center field despite never having played a game above Class-A Tampa and now Gio Urshela nursing an elbow injury. “We haven’t been able to finish off the win.”



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Douglas Todd: ‘Birth tourism’ jumps 22 per cent in B.C.


Article content continued

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is also fast turning into a hub for birth citizenship, experiencing a 38 per cent rise in births by non-resident women, one in seven of the total.

Virtually no country outside North and South America provides citizenship to babies solely because they’re born on their soil.

The newly released figures show there were 4,400 births in Canada in the past year to non-resident mothers, an overall hike of seven per cent. Ontario doctors still preside over the most non-resident births, 3,109, with one hospital in Toronto, Humber River, having a sudden jump of more than 119 per cent.

But Ontario’s volume of privately funded procedures has not risen nearly as fast as in B.C., which had a total of 868 non-resident births. That’s a six-fold increase from 2010.

Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information/Andrew Griffith

The new data, compiled by Andrew Griffith, a former senior director of the federal Immigration Department, comes from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which captures billing information directly from hospitals up until the end of March. It doesn’t include births in Quebec.

Birth tourism has recently been strongly condemned by Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Liberal MLA Jas Johal (Richmond-Queensborough), former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido (Richmond East), the head of Doctors of B.C. and others.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which controls immigration policy, has been silent on the matter. Former Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer said in 2018 he would end birth tourism. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has accused those who raise the issue of being guilty of “division and hate.”



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