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U.S. Weighs Joint Approach To Beijing Olympics With Allies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Tuesday the Biden administration is consulting with allies about a joint approach to China and its human rights record, including how to handle the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

The department initially suggested that an Olympic boycott to protest China’s rights abuses was among the possibilities but a senior official said later that a boycott has not yet been discussed.

The official said the U.S. position on the 2022 Games had not changed but that the administration is in frequent contact with allies and partners about their common concerns about China. Department spokesman Ned Price said earlier the consultations were being held in order to present a united front.

“Part of our review of those Olympics and our thinking will involve close consultations with partners and allies around the world,” Price told reporters.

Human rights groups are protesting China’s hosting of the Games, which are set to start in February 2022. They have urged a diplomatic or straight-up boycott of the event to call attention to alleged Chinese abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, and residents of Hong Kong.

Price declined to say when a decision om the Olympics might be made, but noted there is still almost a year until the Games are set to begin.

“These Games remain some time away. I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe on it, but these discussions are underway,” he said. “It is something that we certainly wish to discuss and it is certainly something that we understand that a coordinated approach will be not only in our interest, but also in the interest of our allies and partners. So this is one of the issues that is on the agenda, both now and going forward.”

The Beijing Winter Olympics open on Feb. 4, 2022 and China has denied all charges of human rights abuses. It says “political motives” underlie the boycott effort.

Rights groups have met with the International Olympic Committee and have been told the Olympic body must stay politically “neutral.” They have been told by the IOC that China has given “assurances” about human rights conditions.

Both the IOC and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said in the past they oppose boycotts.

In March, IOC president Thomas Bach said history shows that boycotts never achieve anything. “It also has no logic,” he said. “Why would you punish the athletes from your own country if you have a dispute with a government from another country? This just makes no real sense.”

The USOPC has questioned the effectiveness of boycotts. “We oppose Games boycotts because they have been shown to negatively impact athletes while not effectively addressing global issues,” it said. “We believe the more effective course of action is for the governments of the world and China to engage directly on human rights and geopolitical issues.”

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AP: WHO Report Says Coronavirus Likely Spread From Animals To Humans

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BEIJING (AP) — A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press.

The findings were largely as expected and left many questions unanswered. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.

The report’s release has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China. A World Health Organization official said late last week that he expected it would be ready for release “in the next few days.”

Members of the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus, visited the Hubei Center for anim



Members of the World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus, visited the Hubei Center for animal disease control and prevention in Wuhan, China on February 2, 2021.

The AP received what appeared to be a near-final version on Monday from a Geneva-based diplomat from a WHO-member country. It wasn’t clear whether the report might still be changed prior to its release. The diplomat did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to release it ahead of publication.

The researchers listed four scenarios in order of likelihood. They concluded that transmission through a second animal was likely to very likely. They evaluated direct spread from bats to humans as likely, and said that spread through “cold-chain” food products was possible but not likely.

The closest relative of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found in bats, which are known to carry coronaviruses. However, the report says that “the evolutionary distance between these bat viruses and SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be several decades, suggesting a missing link.”

It said that highly similar viruses have been found in pangolins, but also noted that mink and cats are susceptible to the COVID virus, which suggests they could be carriers.

The report is based largely on a visit by a WHO team of international experts to Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, from mid-January to mid-February.

Peter Ben Embarek, the WHO expert who led the Wuhan mission, said Friday that the report had been finalized and was being fact-checked and translated.

“I expect that in the next few days, that whole process will be completed and we will be able to release it publicly,” he said.

Associated Press writers Victoria Milko in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Jamey Keaten contributed. The AP Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus

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More Than 200 Vessels Stuck In Maritime Traffic Jam At Blocked Suez Canal

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SUEZ, Egypt (AP) — A maritime traffic jam grew to more than 200 vessels Friday outside the Suez Canal and some vessels began changing course as dredgers worked frantically to free a giant container ship that is stuck sideways in the waterway and disrupting global shipping.

One salvage expert said freeing the cargo ship, the Ever Given, could take up to a week in the best-case scenario and warned of possible structural problems on the vessel as it remains wedged.

The Suez Canal Authority said it welcomed international offers to help free the vessel, including one from the United States, although it did not say what kind of assistance was offered.

The EverGiven, owned by the Japanese firm Shoei Kisen KK, got wedged Tuesday in a single-lane stretch of the canal, about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) north of the southern entrance, near the city of Suez. The vessel remained grounded Friday morning, said Leth Agencies, which services the canal.

Tugboats and a specialized suction dredger were trying to dislodge it, as Egyptian authorities prohibited media access to the site.

In addition to the over 200 vessels waiting near the canal, more than 100 ships were en route to the waterway, according to the data firm Refinitiv.

Apparently anticipating long delays, the owners of the stuck vessel diverted a sister ship, the Ever Greet, to head around Africa instead, according to satellite data. 

This satellite image shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, on March 25, 2021.



This satellite image shows the cargo ship MV Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal near Suez, Egypt, on March 25, 2021.

Others also are being diverted to avoid the canal. The liquid natural gas carrier Pan Americas changed course in the mid-Atlantic, now aiming south to go around the southern tip of Africa, according to satellite data from MarineTraffic.com.

About 10% of world trade flows through the canal, which is particularly crucial for the transport of oil. The closure also could affect oil and gas shipments to Europe from the Middle East.

Capt. Nicolas Sloane, a maritime salvage expert who led the high-profile effort to salvage the cruis ship Costa Concordia in 2012, said extracting the Ever Given is “quite a challenge” and could take five days to a week.

The Ever Given’s location, size and large amount of cargo make the operation more complex, Sloane said. The operation should focus initially on dredging the bank and sea floor around it to get it floating again, rather than unloading its cargo, which could take weeks.

That’s because the clock is also ticking structurally for the vessel, he added.

“The longer it takes, the worse the condition of the ship will become, because she’s slowly sagging,” said Sloane, vice president of the International Salvage Union. “So ships are designed to flex, but not to be kept at that position with a full load of cargo for weeks at a time. So it’s not an easy situation.”

The Ever Given container ship is lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt's Suez Canal, on March



The Ever Given container ship is lodged sideways and impeding all traffic across the waterway of Egypt’s Suez Canal, on March 26, 2021.

International companies are preparing for the effect that the canal’s blockage will have on supply chains that rely on precise deliveries of goods. Singapore’s Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung said the country’s port should expect disruptions.

“Should that happen, some draw down on inventories will become necessary,” he said on Facebook.

The backlog of vessels could stress European ports and the international supply of containers, already strained by the coronavirus pandemic, according to IHS Markit, a business research group. It said 49 container ships were scheduled to pass through the canal in the week since the Ever Given became lodged.

The delay could also result in huge insurance claims by companies, according to Marcus Baker, Global Head of Marine & Cargo at the insurance broker Marsh, with a ship like the Ever Given usually covered at between $100 million to $200 million.

GAC



Those trying to dislodge the vessel want to avoid complications that could extend the canal closure, according to an Egyptian official at the canal authority. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to journalists.

Satellite and photos distributed by the canal authority show Ever Given’s bow touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall.

A team from Boskalis, a Dutch firm specializing in salvaging, is working with the canal authority. with efforts focusing on dredging to remove sand and mud from around the port side of the bow.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the Ever Given to get wedged, although the canal authority blamed bad weather. GAC, a global shipping and logistics company, said the ship had experienced a power blackout, but it did not elaborate.

Evergreen Marine Corp., a major Taiwan-based shipping company that operates the ship, said the Ever Given had been overcome by strong winds as it entered the canal from the Red Sea, but that none of its containers had sunk.

Pilots from the canal authority get aboard ships sailing through the waterway to guide them through it, but the ship’s captain retains ultimate authority over the vessel, according to shipping experts.

The Ever Given was involved in an accident in northern Germany in 2019, when it ran into a small ferry moored on the Elbe River in Hamburg. No passengers were on the ferry at the time and there were no injuries, but it was seriously damaged.

Hamburg prosecutors opened an investigation of the Ever Given’s captain and pilot on suspicion of endangering shipping traffic, but shelved it in 2020 for lack of evidence, spokeswoman Liddy Oechtering told The Associated Press.

Oechtering also could not say what the investigation had determined the cause of the crash was, but officials at the time suggested that strong winds may have blown the slow moving cargo ship into the ferry.

Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Pan Pylas in London contributed.

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STAY HUNGRY – The Most Powerful Motivational Speech of 2021 (Ft. Eric Thomas and Marcus Taylor)

Everyone wants to eat but few are willing to hunt! STAY HUNGRY! One of the BEST Motivational Speeches Ever featuring Eric Thomas and Marcus Taylor.
►Get the Official STAY HUNGRY Canvas by Motiversit

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Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield: The Official Galar Region Pokédex

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Galar Region Pokdex
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Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield: The Official Galar Region Pokédex has details on the Pokémon you can encounter and catch in the Galar region. With entries spanning from your first partner Pokémon to mysterious and powerful Legendary Pokémon, you’ll discover what you need to know to build the team that’s right for you—where to find elusive Pokémon, the moves they can use, how to evolve them, and more. You’ll be prepared for whatever challenges you face! Here’s what you’ll find inside: Detailed info on the Pokémon you can find in Galar Lists of moves, items, and more—including how you might get them! Information on Gigantamax Pokémon!

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Buckingham Palace Considers Diversity Czar In Wake Of Meghan Markle Interview

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Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is considering appointing an official who would serve as a diversity czar after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s disturbing interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to several media reports.

A source said that the palace has been working for some time to improve diversity in the royal households, but little progress has been made.

Diversity is an “issue which has been taken very seriously across the royal households,” the source told CNN and British outlets.

“We have the policies, the procedures and programs in place, but we haven’t seen the progress we would like and accept more needs to be done,” the source added. “The work to do this has been underway for some time now and comes with the full support of the family.”

Naming a diversity czar to spearhead efforts is on the table, but it’s still too early to announce any “firm plans,” the source explained. “We are listening and learning, to get this right,” the source added.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex complained about racist coverage in the British press to Winfrey in an interview earlier this month. But in the most disturbing revelation, they said that a member of the royal family had talked to them about “concerns” over how dark their son’s skin would be. They didn’t name the family member, but Winfrey later clarified that it wasn’t Queen Elizabeth or Prince Phillip.

Buckingham Palace is already slated to review diversity policies in all of the royal households, including Clarence House and Kensington Palace, the BBC reported.

The Guardian reported that royal aides were to take part in a “listen and learn” process concerning inclusion in the coming weeks. It will reportedly involve individuals and business leaders sharing thoughts on how the monarchy can improve representation of people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and individuals with disabilities.

In a statement on behalf of the queen following the Winfrey interview, Buckingham Palace said that allegations of racism made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were “concerning,” adding that they would be “taken very seriously” and “addressed by the family privately.”

After the interview, Prince William told a reporter that “we’re very much not a racist family.”

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US And China Spar In 1st Face-To-Face Meeting Under Biden

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Top U.S. and Chinese officials were set to meet again on Friday after offering sharply different views of each other and the world in their first face-to-face talks since President Joe Biden took office.

After the opening on Thursday, the two sides traded barbs, with the U.S. accusing the Chinese delegation of “grandstanding” for domestic consumption in China and Beijing firing back Friday by saying there was a “strong smell of gunpowder and drama” in the room that was entirely the fault of the Americans.

In unusually pointed remarks for a staid diplomatic meeting, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Communist Party foreign affairs chief Yang Jiechi took aim at each other’s country’s policies. The contentious tone of their public comments suggested the private discussions would be even more rocky.

The meetings in Anchorage, which continue with a closing session on Friday, were a new test in increasingly troubled relations between the two countries, which are at odds over a range of issues from trade to human rights in Tibet, Hong Kong and China’s western Xinjiang region, as well as over Taiwan, China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C), flanked by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (R),



The U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken (C), flanked by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (R), face their Chinese counterparts at the opening session of US-China talks at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska on March 18, 2021.

Blinken said the Biden administration is united with its allies in pushing back against China’s increasing authoritarianism and assertiveness at home and abroad. Yang then unloaded a list of Chinese complaints about the U.S. and accused Washington of hypocrisy for criticizing Beijing on human rights and other issues.

“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said of China’s actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and of cyber attacks on the United States and economic coercion against U.S. allies. “That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.”

National security adviser Jake Sullivan amplified the criticism, saying China has undertaken an “assault on basic values.”

“We do not seek conflict but we welcome stiff competition,” he said.

Yang responded angrily by demanding the U.S. stop pushing its own version of democracy at a time when the United States itself has been roiled by domestic discontent. He also accused the U.S. of failing to deal with its own human rights problems and took issue with what he said was “condescension” from Blinken, Sullivan and other U.S. officials.

“We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world,” he said. “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”

“China will not accept unwarranted accusations from the U.S. side,” he said, adding that recent developments had plunged relations “into a period of unprecedented difficulty” that “has damaged the interests of our two peoples.”

“There is no way to strangle China,” he said.

Blinken appeared to be annoyed by the tenor and length of the comments, which went on for more than 15 minutes. He said his impressions from speaking with world leaders and on his just-concluded trip to Japan and South Korea were entirely different from the Chinese position.

“I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged,” Blinken retorted. “I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

Underscoring the animosity, the State Department blasted the Chinese delegation for violating an agreed upon two-minute time limit for opening statements and suggested it “seem(ed) to have arrived intent on grandstanding, focused on public theatrics and dramatics over substance.”

“America’s approach will be undergirded by confidence in our dealing with Beijing — which we are doing from a position of strength — even as we have the humility to know that we are a country eternally striving to become a more perfect union,” it said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, speaking later in Beijing, said Blinken and Sullivan had provoked Chinese officials into making a “solemn response” after U.S. officials made “groundless attacks” against China.

“It was the U.S. side that … provoked the dispute in the first place, so the two sides had a strong smell of gunpowder and drama from the beginning in the opening remarks. It was not the original intention of the Chinese side,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

A senior Biden administration official said that despite the acrimonious public airing of differences, the initial closed-door discussions had been “substantive, serious and direct” and lasted far longer than the two hours that been planned.

U.S.-China ties have been torn for years, and the Biden administration has yet to signal whether it’s ready or willing to back away from the hard-line stances taken under Donald Trump.

Just a day before the meeting, Blinken had announced new sanctions over Beijing’s crackdown on pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong. In response, China stepped up its rhetoric opposing U.S. interference in domestic affairs and complained directly about it.

“Is this a decision made by the United States to try to gain some advantage in dealing with China?” State Councilor Wang Yi asked. “Certainly this is miscalculated and only reflects the vulnerability and weakness inside the United States and it will not shake China’s position or resolve on those issues.”

Trump had taken pride in forging what he saw as a strong relationship with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. But the relationship disintegrated after the coronavirus pandemic spread from the Wuhan province across the globe and unleashed a public health and economic disaster.

Lee reported from Washington.

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Art Talk—How Egyptian Art Works with Jen Thum



Discover Egyptian art with curatorial fellow Jen Thum as she introduces one of her favorite works of art at the Harvard Art Museums.

TAKE A CLOSER LOOK:

+ “Tomb Relief of the Official Ptahshepses, Also Called Impy,” 2323-2150 BCE, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6, Egypt, carved limestone, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Nanette Rodney Kelekian in memory of George and Ilse Hanfmann,1993.222: https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/collections/object/303779?position=0

+Coloring Ancient Egypt—An Activity Book for Kids of All Ages: https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/article/coloring-ancient-egypt-an-activity-book-for-kids-of-all-ages

+ Art Talk—The Ushabti of Princess Maatkare with Inês Torres: https://vimeo.com/425581617

Speaker: Jen Thum, Assistant Director of Academic Engagement and Assistant Research Curator, Division of Academic and Public Programs, Harvard Art Museums.

This video is part of our https://vimeo.com/channels/1557966 series in which curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students share short, informal videos that offer an up-close look at works from our collections.

© President and Fellows of Harvard College. Video: Jen Thum. For questions related to permission for commercial use of this video, please contact the Department of Digital Imaging and Visual Resources at am_divr@harvard.edu.

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Direct Line to God



**Official selection at the ILMIÖ music & arts festival 2017, Turku Finland**

“Direct Line to God” is a video sculpture piece that explores how we use narratives to organize chaos into a meaningful story. The video is comprised of eight layers of transparent audio and video simultaneously playing one over the other. These videos range from totally innocuous church sermons to apocalyptic predictions derived from western pop culture.

When stories are taken out of their context they become chaotic again, breaking the tenuous narrative. Once narratives are broken out, they begin to conflict with reality. One dominant western narrative is Christianity.

The video is normally presented as part of a sculpture that is based off a real life piece in St.Paul’s church in Israel. The sculpture itself hangs on a wall just above the average person’s line of sight. Participants put on headphones in a darkened room and are left alone with the video and sculpture. They are able to audibly identify different layers, or narratives within the video.

The messages that the audience choose to hear allow for them to uncover their own meaning, and discover the tenuous context that narratives live in. The final scene of the video sees all other videos fade out, leaving behind a singular message.

More info here- https://vimeo.com/144163711

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BLACKPINK – ‘How You Like That’ (React with me)



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♡TURN ON YOUR LIGHTSTICK AND PLAY THE VIDEO♡

BLACKPINK – ‘How You Like That’ (OFFICIAL Lightstick v2 react with me)

DISCLAIMER:
NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.
I do not own any of the songs or instrumental in this video. They belong to the rightful owners

– COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER UNDER SECTION 107 UNDER THE COPYRIGHT ACT 1976, ALLOWANCE IS MADE FOR “FAIR USE”. –

This is reacted thru SPOTIFY since yg didn’t release it on vimeo I don’t know why…

CHECK IT ON SPOTIFY!

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CREDITS TO:
BLACKPINK  :
YG Ent.      :

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Don’t forget to Like, Comment, and Subscribe!

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