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Houston Cop Charged in Capitol Riot After Photos He Thought Were Deleted Placed Him in the Building

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What do you call a person who commits a crime, lies about it, comes clean after getting caught in the lie and then makes up a lame excuse for committing the aforementioned crime? Would you call them a criminal? A hooligan? An undesirable member of society? Well, in this instance, the thing to call said person is “Mr.…

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China: Tibetan Monk Dies from Beating in Custody

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Police patrolling Wonpo township, Kandze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, a Tibetan area within Sichuan province, in late 2019. 
© 2019 Private

(New York) – Chinese authorities should account for the death of a 19-year-old Tibetan monk recently released from police custody, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities also should release six other young Tibetans – including a 16-year-old boy – sentenced to up to five years in prison for involvement in the same peaceful protests.

The young monk, Tenzin Nyima (also called Tamay), was from Dza Wonpo monastery, in Wonpo township, Kandze (Ch: Ganzi) prefecture, a Tibetan area within Sichuan province. The authorities initially detained him on November 9, 2019, two days after he and three other Wonpo monks briefly distributed leaflets and shouted slogans calling for Tibetan independence outside the local Wonpo government office. The protests occurred as local officials increasingly put pressure on forcibly resettled nomads and local residents to publicly praise the government’s “Poverty Alleviation” program.

“Chinese authorities have once again turned arbitrary detention into a death sentence,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “They should hold to account all those responsible for the brutal killing of the Tibetan monk Tenzin Nyima.”

The authorities released Tenzin Nyima in May 2020, but rearrested him on August 11, apparently for sharing news of the arrests online, including with contacts in India. In early October, prison authorities told his family to collect him from the prison due to his medical condition. Tibetans in exile with knowledge of the case said he was unable to speak or move and was suffering from serious injuries and an acute respiratory infection, which they believed was due to beatings, malnourishment, and mistreatment in custody.

On October 9, Tenzin Nyima was admitted to a hospital in the provincial capital, Chengdu, by which time he had lost consciousness. A hospital report that Human Rights Watch obtained indicates that he had been in critical condition for 10 days before being handed over to his family. Hospital treatment appears to have been delayed until his relatives raised the necessary funds (RMB 40,000, or US$6,200). After he spent several weeks in the hospital, doctors declared his injuries to be beyond treatment and discharged him.

On December 1, his family succeeded in having him admitted, still comatose, to a hospital in Kandze prefecture, Dartsedo (Ch: Kangding). Doctors at that hospital also discharged him on the grounds that his condition is terminal. Further evidence seen by Human Rights Watch indicated that he was paralyzed and gravely ill. He died soon after relatives brought him home.

Chinese police and prison authorities routinely torture and abuse inmates, and the situation is particularly severe in ethnic minority regions. The Chinese government should order a prompt and impartial investigation into the alleged torture of Tenzin Nyima and hold his abusers accountable, Human Rights Watch said. Authorities should provide his family with fair and adequate compensation, as required under the United Nations Convention against Torture, to which China is a party.

United Nations standards adopted by the General Assembly set out that all death-in-custody cases should be subjected to “prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the circumstances and causes” of the death. As the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions has noted, since there is a presumption of state responsibility due to the custodial setting and the government’s obligation to ensure and respect the right to life, the government has to affirmatively provide evidence to rebut the presumption of state responsibility. Absent proof that it is not responsible, the government has an obligation to provide reparations to the family of the deceased.

Chinese government rules dealing with deaths in custody require the police to “immediately conduct” an investigation into the cause of death by viewing and preserving the surveillance video of the detention cell, and questioning fellow detainees, doctors, and guards, among other measures.

The need for independent investigation of the range of human rights violations by the Chinese government was underlined by a collective statement from UN human rights experts in June 2020. They expressed grave concern over China’s failures to respect human rights and abide by its international obligations, and recommended the establishment of an impartial and independent UN mechanism to monitor and report on abuses “in view of the urgency of the situations” in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet.

The trials of Tenzin Nyima and six other Tibetans took place at the Intermediate People’s Court in Sershul on November 10 and 12. On December 14, four other monks from Wonpo monastery and two local youths, all between ages 16 and 23, were sentenced for involvement in one of two protests in Wonpo in November 2019 or for spreading news about the first incident. The sentences ranged from one to five years.

The court sentenced the Wonpo monks Choephel (also called Kunsel), 20, to four years; So-tra (also called Woezer), to three years; and Tsultrim, 16, to one year. All three were accused of distributing leaflets and shouting slogans on the night of November 7, 2019, and were charged with “incitement to split the country.” Tenzin Nyima was charged with the same offense, but the court did not announce his sentence, presumably because of his medical condition.

The longest sentence, five years, was imposed on Nyimay, a 22-year-old monk who had not taken part in the leafleting protests, but had posted news on social media about the detention of the four other monks. Nyimay had been detained on November 18, 2019, 11 days after the others, also on grounds of “incitement to split the country,” but local sources report that he was also accused of revealing state secrets for posting news of the earlier detentions.

The sentencing of Tsultrim, who was 15 or under at the time of the protest, is contrary to Chinese law, since children under age 16 are not deemed criminally responsible in China and cannot be tried for criminal offenses, except for certain violent crimes such as murder and arson (Chinese Criminal Code 1997, article 17). Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which China is a party, the detention of children shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period.

Two other young men from Wonpo, Nyimay’s elder brother Choegyal and his friend Yonten, were sentenced to four years in prison, also for “incitement to split the country,” after distributing leaflets and shouting slogans outside the local government offices in Wonpo on November 21, 2019. In court they testified to having also sent a video clip showing pro-independence leaflets and photos of the Dalai Lama to Choegyal’s uncle in Switzerland shortly before their protest.

Choegyal and Yonten had also posted statements on social media. Choegyal had written, “Loyalty to our people rests on each of our shoulders, and must never be abandoned.” Yonten wrote, “I heard of the misery suffered by those heroes who have given their lives for the sake of our people, the warriors who have struggled for our independence, and now I am terribly saddened that our brothers from Wonpo have been thrown in jail. May our brothers soon be released!”

Altogether, the authorities detained about 30 Wonpo residents, both monastic and lay people, following the protests on suspicion of involvement in the incidents or of showing support for protesters. Armed police were deployed in the town to patrol the streets and conduct military exercises, apparently intended to intimidate residents. Local officials also held two weeks of political education meetings at Wonpo monastery. By the end of December, all of those detained had been released except for the seven who were eventually brought to trial.

“Urgent, grim cases like the imprisonment of the young Tibetans have prompted UN experts to call for a mechanism to monitor and report on grave abuses by Chinese authorities,” Richardson said. “A failure to hold accountable those responsible for Tenzin Nyima’s death enables further appalling violations.”

For details about the situation in Wonpo and about the people detained, please see below.

Situation in Wonpo

Informants in exile with knowledge of developments in the Wonpo area said that the November 2019 protests took place against a background of heightened discontent after local officials placed increasing demands on resettled herders and other residents. The officials had required the former herders to publicly praise the Chinese government’s “Poverty Alleviation” policies, which are being carried out throughout China and which in Tibet generally include the compulsory resettlement of nomads and other rural dwellers.

Officials had reportedly ordered former herders and other poor families in Wonpo, which has approximately 2,000 households, to declare on camera or to visiting officials that their lives had improved as a result of the anti-poverty drive. “Poor families are made to borrow other peoples’ cattle and furniture and so on in order to put on a show of having been made richer,” the source said, and local officials “threatened many poor households that if they didn’t have those things, then they should borrow them from others and put on a show, or else later they would be detained and punished.”

The source said that local officials in Wonpo “were planning another such show just before November 7 [2019] and … this made people angry. There was a lot of opinion and writing about it and it was at that time that this protest took place.”

Radio Free Asia reported that during the first Wonpo protest in November 2019, “the nomads’ livelihoods have gone from bad to worse [following resettlement], and, not having any other sources of income, they have to depend solely on government subsidies for their survival.” The report quoted a local source as saying at the time, “during tours to the area by Chinese officials, the resettled nomads

are forced to put up pictures of Chinese national leaders and praise China’s ruling Communist Party in public speeches, which are then filmed and distributed to Chinese mass media.”

During a wave of protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule in 2008, monks at Wonpo monastery refused to hoist Chinese national flags on the monastery’s roofs. An ensuing crackdown led to searches of Tibetan homes and scores of detentions, with at least three monks given prison sentences, according to foreign media reports.

Armed police were deployed in the local community, which was singled out for surveillance and restrictions by the authorities, leading to further protests and arrests in 2012. Two other Wonpo monks, Lobsang Lhundrub and Choechok, were detained in December 2017 and March 2018 respectively; Choechok was released two years later.

 

Summary of Cases

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Choephel, also known as Kunsel.
© Private

Choephel, Ch.:Qiupai 求排, also known as Kunsel, 20, father’s name Shiring, mother’s name Jangri. Monk at Wonpo monastery. Detained on November 9, 2019 for involvement in protest on November 7, 2019. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to four years for incitement to split the country (煽动分裂国家).

 

 

 

 

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So-tra.
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So-tra, Ch.: Suozha 所扎, also known as Woezer, about 20, father’s name So-tse, mother’s name Golo. Monk at Wonpo monastery, detained November 9, 2019 for involvement in a protest on November 7, 2019. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to three years for incitement to split the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tsultrim.
© Private

Tsultrim, Ch.:Cicun 次村, 16, father’s name Pembar, mother’s name Yangchuk. Monk at Wonpo monastery, detained November 9, 2019 for involvement in a protest on November 7, 2019. Released May 9, 2020; re-detained August 11, 2020. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to one year for incitement to split the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tenzim Nyima.
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Tenzin Nyima, Ch.: Danzeng Nima 旦增尼玛, also known as Tamay, born August 5, August 2001, father’s name Punday, mother’s name Drolma. From Ajia Village. Monk at Wonpo monastery, detained November 9, 2019 for involvement in a protest on November 7, 2019. Released around May 9, 2020, but re-detained August 11, 2020. Released on medical grounds in early October 2020. Tried on December 14, 2020 for incitement to split the country but awaiting sentence. Died in January 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nyimay.
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Nyimay, Ch.: Niming 尼名, 22, father’s name Yonga, mother’s name Tolha. Detained on November 18, 2019 for distributing news about the protest on November 7. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to five years for incitement to split the country and distributing state secrets.

 

 

 

 

 

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Choegyal.
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Choegyal, Ch.: Qujia 曲加, 23, father’s name Yonga, mother’s name Tolha. Detained on November 21, 2019 for involvement in a protest on that day. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to four years for incitement to split the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yonten.
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Yonten, Ch.: Yongdeng 拥等, 22 or under, father’s name Oepa. Detained on November 21, 2019 for involvement in a protest on that day. Sentenced on December 14, 2020 to four years for incitement to split the country.

 

 

 

 

 

Political violence in Ankara is more than meets the eye – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Three politically motivated assaults on figures critical of the government’s nationalist ally rattled the Turkish capital last week. The brazen violence sent shockwaves across opposition quarters, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also seems to have gotten food for thought.

The victims were Selcuk Ozdag, deputy chair of the opposition Future Party, Orhan Uguroglu, a journalist heading the Ankara office of the daily Yenicag, and Afsin Hatipoglu, a lawyer who hosts a TV program on a channel critical of the government, all battered in broad daylight outside their homes by masked men wielding sticks and guns.

What did the victims have in common? All had vocally criticized the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the election ally and de facto government partner of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), days before the attacks. More importantly, they all come from nationalist political background, but have become critics of the MHP, the backbone of Turkey’s nationalist movement, over its alliance with the AKP. Hatipoglu, for instance, is a former head of the ultra-nationalist Idealist Hearths, known also as the Grey Wolves. The rift within the MHP has already spawned a splinter party that has aligned with the main opposition. AKP defectors, too, have formed new parties, including the Future Party, led by former Premier Ahmet Davutoglu.

Source: Political violence in Ankara is more than meets the eye – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Qanon-Backing NYC Sanitation Worker Arrested For Allegedly Breaching The Capitol Building – Gothamist

Dominick Madden, an NYC sanitation worker, at the U.S. Capitol

A Qanon-backing city sanitation department employee was arrested in Brooklyn on Thursday night for his alleged role in the siege on the U.S. Capitol building.

Dominick Madden, 43, was seen on video entering the Capitol with scores of rioters on January 6th, wearing a blue Qanon sweatshirt and carrying an American flag, according to the federal complaint.

 

Source: Qanon-Backing NYC Sanitation Worker Arrested For Allegedly Breaching The Capitol Building – Gothamist

Britain’s refusal to give the EU’s ambassador full diplomatic status is a childish insult | Denis MacShane

Boorish Boris is a good boor and terrible bully…

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This petulant slight echoes a move by the Trump administration – one that it quickly saw fit to reverse

Of all people in government Boris Johnson should be first to recognise the status of European Union representatives. His father, Stanley, was a European commission official for many years and the European taxpayer paid the prime minister’s school fees at the expensive Brussels International School and then Eton.

However, in a row that has been rumbling for a year alongside Brexit trade talks, the government is refusing to give full diplomatic status to the EU’s ambassador to the UK, João Vale de Almeida and his 25-strong mission. The Foreign Office claims it does not want to set a precedent by treating an international body in the same way it treats a nation state, with diplomats afforded the privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention.

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Quarter of known bee species have not been recorded since 1990

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Global study finds that species numbers reported in the wild fell sharply between 1990 and 2015

The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on Earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines.

Researchers analysed bee records from museums, universities and citizen scientists collated by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, (GBIF) a global, government-funded network providing open-access data on biodiversity.

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Facing a crush of COVID-19 patients, ICUs are completely full in at least 50 Texas hospitals

Dozens of facilities have reported that their ICUs have been at or above 100% capacity for weeks, leaving staff overworked and stretched thin. Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
Hidalgo County Health Authority Ivan Melendez says coming into COVID-19 units nowadays feels like going through a non-linear version of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“You cry,” he told the Tribune. “There’s a lady that I’m taking care of that I’ve known since I was a child… we grew up together, and I know she’s going to die… It’s the same thing: ‘We got together for Christmas.’ Now we’re seeing the ramification of it.”
A nurse visits a COVID-19 patient in the SIDU COVID-19 ward at the DHR Health Center in Edinburg on June 30, 2020.

A nurse visits a COVID-19 patient at the DHR Health Center in Edinburg on June 30, 2020. Dozens of facilities have reported that their ICUs have been at or above 100% capacity for weeks, leaving staff overworked and stretched thin.

Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

Hidalgo County Health Authority Ivan Melendez says coming into COVID-19 units nowadays feels like going through a non-linear version of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“You cry,” he told the Tribune. “There’s a lady that I’m taking care of that I’ve known since I was a child… we grew up together, and I know she’s going to die… It’s the same thing: ‘We got together for Christmas.’ Now we’re seeing the ramification of it.”

Across Texas, hospital intensive care units are being battered as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in a post-holiday surge. Dozens of facilities have reported that their ICUs have been at or above 100% capacity for weeks, leaving staff overworked and stretched thin.

More than 50 Texas hospitals are currently reporting that their ICUs are 100% full or higher, and a dozen of them have been full for more than half of the 24 weeks since hospitals began reporting that information in July, according to a Texas Tribune analysis of data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For example, Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen and HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center in Houston have been over 100% for 23 and 22 weeks, respectively.

Though statewide hospitalizations due to COVID-19 seem to be stabilizing, there is still cause for concern, said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services. Across Texas, there are around 600 available ICU beds — a fraction of the couple of thousand that were open in the spring as the pandemic began.

Van Deusen said the pandemic has seemed to hit different regions in waves. Currently, the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio areas are seeing significant spikes in COVID-19 cases, according to DSHS data.

Health officials in Laredo have sent emergency alerts pleading with residents to stay home because local ICUs have reached capacity within the past month. Currently, COVID-19 patients take up almost half of that region’s hospital capacity, according to DSHS data — the highest percentage in the state.

Many cities have had to divert patients to other hospitals as their local ICUs overflow, in addition to expanding and converting available beds to treat ICU patients.

Melendez said counting available ICU beds doesn’t give the full picture at Texas hospitals because they are constantly adjusting to accommodate more patients. If an ICU is technically full, he said, many hospitals can still convert some available beds or units outside of that ward to give patients ICU care.

Hendrick Health Chief of Staff Stephen Lowry said his hospital in Abilene has used both diversion and bed conversion. Currently, the facility is operating at 160% capacity, which is down from a peak of 180%, he said.

Hendrick Health is the regional referral center for 24 surrounding counties, but Lowry said the hospital hasn’t been able to meet the area’s needs because they don’t have any more space for new patients; they created all the new space they could in the spring before the pandemic struck.

“It’s really frustrating,” Lowry said. “You hear stories from out in the community, or family members that may have relatives in one of these outlying cities, and they’re having trouble getting their loved ones into a higher level of care because not just Hendrick, but a lot of other facilities around the state are full and unable to accept the transfers.”

Texas Health Fort Worth, one of Tarrant County’s busiest hospitals, reported hitting 100% ICU capacity on Jan. 8, according to HHS data. The hospital’s president, Joseph DeLeon, said like many other medical centers, the Texas Health Resources network has tried to relieve the pressure by canceling non-critical outpatient procedures.

But so far, measures that helped during the summer COVID-19 surge haven’t worked as well in the winter, DeLeon said.

“We thought, ‘Well, OK, now we have some experience from back in July, we kind of know what it’s going to look like.’ But the second surge was different. There were many more critically ill patients this time around,” DeLeon told the Tribune. “This time, we have had much more stress on the staff, much more stress on the physicians … it was just a test of endurance.”

Cynthia Simmons is Arlington’s public health authority and an emergency room physician at Medical City of Arlington, which has been at or near 100% capacity for weeks. She said Texans should understand that if they get into car accidents, have heart attacks or face other non-COVID-19 emergencies, a full ICU at the nearest hospital could mean there may not be enough resources available.

“We’re at a point now where we have so much COVID in our community, it’s so easily spread, that the same things we’ve been talking about from public health measures from day one are really important now,” Simmons said. “I’m aware that people are tired of that. But it’s really, really important at this juncture at this time, that we continue those measures to help save the capacity in our hospitals.”

Simmons added that people should not delay care if they need it because emergency rooms are adept at managing both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, even when they’re full.

Simmons and other Texas health care workers have expressed hope for the future after Texas’ vaccination process began on Dec. 14. Tens of thousands have gotten a second dose already, though millions of people who are now eligible are still waiting for Texas to receive enough doses to vaccinate the health care workers, long term care residents, people over 65 and those with certain health conditions who comprise groups 1A and 1B.

But the ICU bed crunch is far from over. Though hospitalizations are not currently increasing at December’s higher rates, a more contagious COVID-19 variant, identified in Harris County on Jan. 7, could cause hospitalizations to rise more sharply as it spreads. While it may not make people sicker or affect the death rate, the mutation means the virus could spread faster and infect more people, said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

“As a result, more hospitalizations, more capacity issues,” Love said. “For the next three to four weeks, (it’s) absolutely critical for us to monitor and try to get the word out to people to please do what they need to do to tamp down the spiral.”

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The Silence of the Trams: Barcelona commuters told not to talk to avoid spreading coronavirus

“People shouting or talking on the phone can emit up to fifty times more particles,” according to the Spanish National Research Council.

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“People shouting or talking on the phone can emit up to fifty times more particles,” according to the Spanish National Research Council.