Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Coronavirus News (246)

Urban design explained: the signs, the symbols, the mysterious objects, and why LED panels have replaced the glow of neon Cities surround us with arcane signs, symbols and objects of unsuspected meaning, says American radio producer Roman Mars in his new book The 99% Invisible City Mars provides an offbeat guide ‘to decoding the built world’ 

Indo-Pacific strategy gains support as China’s assertiveness fuels fears More nations will be prompted to join US initiative because of Beijing’s behaviour in the region, according to analyst He cites threats to freedom of navigation and overflight, coercive actions against Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, and ‘Wolf Warrior diplomacy’ .......... Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy is seen by Beijing as an effort to rally powers like India and Japan against China’s rise in the region ........ the US-led quadrilateral grouping with Japan, Australia and India, known as the Quad, has repeatedly called for rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. Beijing has called the alliance “an anti-China front line”.   

US seeks formal alliance similar to Nato with India, Japan and Australia, State Department official says Washington’s goal is to get countries in the Indo-Pacific region to work together as a bulwark against ‘a potential challenge from China’, says the US official He says the four nations are expected to meet in Delhi sometime this autumn ........... even Nato started with relatively modest expectations and a number of countries [initially] chose neutrality over Nato membership ......... the group of four nations were expected to meet in Delhi sometime this autumn and cited Australia’s possible participation in India’s Malabar naval exercise as an example of progress towards a more formal defence bloc. .......... The naval exercises, taking place mostly in the Bay of Bengal, have been run annually by the US and India since 1992, and have included Japan since 2015. ........... Washington would like to see South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand to eventually join an expanded version of the quad 

Why is Germany wading into the Indo-Pacific’s strategic waters? Berlin’s relationship with Beijing is founded on economics and trade but now the European giant is taking a bigger interest in the region on the other side of the world Among the main concerns is the South China Sea, an area at risk of becoming a flashpoint ....... Germany’s new Indo-Pacific policy suggests that it is reassessing its relationship with China ....... Germany’s relationship with China has long centred on economics and trade but now that is expected to encompass geopolitical interests and human rights.  

Amy Coney Barrett and the New, Old Anti-Catholicism Critics of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee argue that pious Catholics are a problem for liberalism. They have a point. ........ liberal theorists have long recognized that it’s risky to tolerate notions and movements that could undermine liberal democracy itself. In the case of religious tolerance, liberals have historically grappled with the matter of Roman Catholicism. ............  Roman Catholicism does not readily distinguish between public and private moral obligations. ............ the options of Catholic judges hearing capital punishment cases, which the state permits but the church forbids. Judge Barrett and her co-author maintain that Catholic judges must or should recuse themselves from such cases, concluding that “judges cannot — nor should they try to — align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge. They should, however, conform their own behavior to the Church’s standard.” ........... Catholic hospitals have found themselves embroiled in court battles for refusing to perform or even discuss abortions, regardless of state or federal law. ......... religions whose ethics conflict with the broader culture will shift toward forming small, dense enclaves, where they are unlikely to encounter legal challenges to their preferred practices. 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Meet Donald Trump Over the past five days, we learned a lot about the president and his powers. ........ Trump’s businesses have usually lost money hand over fist ....... “the dogma lives loudly within you.” ...... the Kavanaugh hearings only helped Republicans expand their Senate majority in 2018 ........ Barrett is certainly a way, way more sympathetic character than Kavanaugh was. At this point it’s hard to imagine her being blocked. ....... with this new, 6-3 conservative majority they can wave goodbye not only to abortion rights, but also a ton of other things including protection against gender discrimination and any aggressive federal attempt to beat back climate change. .......... Biden has to win so he might have a chance to appoint Clarence Thomas’s eventual successor and bring the Court back to a 5-4 balance. ......... Trump has spent so much time painting his opponent as a senile idiot ........  All Biden has to say is, I’m Joe, two plus two is four and 10 times 10 is one hundred, I love my wife, I’m not going to declare war on anyone’s suburb, my economic plan is to cut taxes on the middle class, build a faster Acela and declare the Trump hotel in Washington a toxic-waste dump, I won’t blow up the world and I’m definitely not Donald Trump. Argument over. ........ I’d rather have a president who might sometimes get a bit confused than one who deliberately sows confusion. I’d rather lose more of my paycheck in taxes under Biden than lose more of my democracy in demagogic deceit under Trump. ..........  I’ll take Biden’s Medicare expansion over Trump’s repeal of protection for people with pre-existing conditions.   

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