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EU power grab: Brussels demands flying EU flag at Tokyo 2020 Olympics ceremony

European Commissioner Margaritis Schinas and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa wrote a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach asking for the Slovenian team to carry the EU flag.

Slovenia is currently holding the EU Council’s rotating presidency. The two chiefs said that carrying the EU flag at the Olympics opening ceremony would “render Slovenian athletes ambassadors for European unity and the values underpinning our Union, which match those of the Olympic movement”.

They wrote that the flag could stand as a “symbol of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and solidarity”.

They added: “We will fully support you in any way you see appropriate in introducing this special and historical gesture.”

They added that the gesture could “serve as a powerful representation of how unity and peace must be celebrated through this event, fundamental as they are to both the European and Olympic spirit”.

“We believe that, as two organisations united by these shared values, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee are uniquely positioned to promote peace and understanding at a time when the world needs it most”, Mr Jansa and Mr Schinas wrote.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to run from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

It is not the first time the EU has made such a demand.

In 2004, then European Commission President Romano Prodi called for athletes from EU member states to showcase the EU flag as well as their own national flag during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

The idea was praised by France’s Europe Affairs Minister Clement Beaune.

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He wrote: “Full support, dear Schinas.

“A beautiful symbol, in addition to our national flags.”

With just four days before the opening ceremony in Tokyo, 68 percent of respondents in an Asahi newspaper poll expressed doubt about the ability of Olympic organisers to control coronavirus infections, with 55 percent saying they were opposed to the Games going ahead.

Three-quarters of the 1,444 people in the telephone survey said they agreed with a decision to ban spectators from events.

As COVID-19 cases rise in Tokyo, which is under a fourth state of emergency, public concern has grown that hosting an event with tens of thousands of overseas athletes, officials and journalists could accelerate infection rates in Japan’s capital and introduce variants that are more infectious or deadlier.

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International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said he hopes the Japanese public will warm to the Games once competition begins and as Japanese athletes begin winning medals.

“We will continue to co-operate and work closely with organisers such as Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo 2020, and the IOC to ensure we have a safe and secure environment for the Games,” government spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a regular briefing.

Games officials on Sunday reported the first COVID-19 case among competitors in the athletes’ village in Tokyo where 11,000 athletes are expected to stay during the Games.

Since July 2, Tokyo 2020 organisers have reported 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists.

Any major outbreak in the village could wreak havoc on competitions because those either infected or isolating would not be able to compete.

Olympic officials and individual event organisers have contingency plans to deal with infections among athletes.

A Tokyo 2020 spokesperson said the village was a safe place to stay, adding the infection rate among athletes and other Games-related people visiting Japan was nearly 0.1 pct.

On Sunday six British track and field athletes along with two staff members were forced to isolate after someone on their flight to Japan tested positive for COVID-19.

“Many athletes may have parties or ceremonies before they go to Tokyo where there may be cheering or greeting. So they may also have a risk to get infected in their own countries,” said Koji Wada, a professor at Tokyo’s International University of Health and Welfare and an adviser on the government’s coronavirus response.

The latest surge in cases in Tokyo comes after four earlier waves, the deadliest of which was in January.

New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo reached 1,410 on Saturday, the most since the start of the year, with new infections exceeding 1,000 for five straight days.

Most of those new cases are among younger people, as Japan has succeeded in getting most of its vulnerable elderly population vaccinated with at least one shot, although only 32 percent of the overall population has so far received one.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: World Feed

Why Russia’s name, anthem and flag are banned from Tokyo Games

Russia is serving a 4-year competitive ban for doping.

Russia is competing under another new name at the Tokyo Olympics, the latest fallout from the Games’ longest-running doping saga.

You won’t see the Russian flag above any podiums but the national colors are on the uniforms.

Doping cases old and new still cast a shadow over the team. Two swimmers from the Tokyo team have been suspended for cases dating back years and two rowers tested positive last month.

REBRANDING RUSSIA

This time it’s not Russia, or even the Olympic Athletes from Russia. It’s the Russian Olympic Committee.

Officially the athletes will represent not their country, but the ROC, and Russia’s name, flag and anthem are banned. Critics point out that it will be hard to spot the difference when Russian teams are wearing full national colors.

The new rules — an evolution of the “OAR” restrictions used at the 2018 Winter Olympics — are a confusing patchwork of dos and don’ts.

Russian red, white and blue on uniforms are fine — the blocks of color on the official tracksuits form one big flag — but not the word “Russia,” the flag itself or other national symbols. The artistic swimming team said it’s been blocked from wearing costumes with a drawing of a bear.

Official Olympic paperwork and TV graphics will attribute Russian results to “ROC” but won’t spell out the Russian Olympic Committee’s name in full. Gold medalists will get music by Russian composer Tchaikovsky instead of the country’s national anthem.

NEARLY AT FULL STRENGTH

Despite the name change, Russia will have a nearly full team at the Olympics after sending depleted squads to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

This time, only track and field and weightlifting will impose limits on Russian squad size. They are the two sports with the largest numbers of doping cases — from Russia and elsewhere — in recent Olympics. Russian officials have selected a 10-person track team that includes three world champions.

Russia is sending more than 330 athletes to Tokyo, with the exact number still unclear because of uncertainty surrounding the rowing team. That’s about 50 more than in 2016, when the doping-related restrictions hit harder across multiple sports, but still the second-lowest number since the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. The team ranges from 16-year-old gymnast Viktoria Listunova to 56-year-old dressage rider Inessa Merkulova.

The ROC team is targeted to finish third in the medal count and gold medals are expected in Russia’s usual strongest sports like gymnastics, artistic swimming, wrestling, fencing and judo.

Only Russian athletes in track and field have had to undergo special vetting of their drug-testing histories or possible involvement in past cover-ups. World Athletics has its own sanctions against Russia, including an “authorized neutral athlete” certification program. Only athletes with that status were eligible for Tokyo.

Weightlifting has its own system of doping sanctions, restricting team sizes based on past misdeeds. Russia can enter one male and one female lifter for Tokyo, but avoids the outright bans from Olympic weightlifting imposed on the most persistent offenders like Thailand and Romania.

DOPING DISPUTES

The latest rules on Russia’s name and image were set last year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a ruling that satisfied almost nobody.

As so often with Russia, the sanctions aren’t as much about doping as about the cover-up.

Just when Russia was patching up relations with the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2019 by allowing it access to the Moscow anti-doping lab’s files, WADA investigators spotted strange anomalies in the data. Evidence had been deleted and spurious information added, including fake messages designed to tarnish the name of WADA’s star witness, former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov.

WADA said the edits were made while the lab was sealed off by a Russian law enforcement body. Russia denied wrongdoing.

The CAS ruling was hailed as a partial victory in Russia, which had its initial four-year sanction cut to two. It was criticized by some anti-doping figures who wanted neutral-color uniforms at the Olympics and stricter vetting to ensure doping suspects couldn’t compete.

NEW CASES

Russia was back to court ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, but on a smaller scale than its big legal battles from 2016 and 2018.

Swimming governing body FINA had provisionally suspended swimmers Alexander Kudashev and Veronika Andrusenko because of evidence from WADA’s investigation of the Moscow lab data. But CAS on Sunday cleared both swimmers to compete at the Games.

Last week, Russia cut two rowers from its Tokyo squad after revealing they both tested positive for the banned substance meldonium in June. That prompted Russia to withdraw from the men’s quadruple sculls competition when it became clear a substitute boat was not competitive.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Italy’s new flag carrier ITA to take off in mid-October – ministry

Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), Italy’s new flag carrier, will replace the troubled national airline Alitalia and will be fully operational from Oct. 15, Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance said, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

The announcement came after the Italian authorities reached an agreement with the European Commission on the transition of Alitalia’s assets to ITA without a public tender.

The ministry said the deal would enable the start of capital increase procedures and “creates the conditions for signing a memorandum of understanding on the transfer of some activities from Alitalia to ITA.”

According to previous statements from the ministry, the new airline was originally expected to begin operations in June or July in order to make the most of the summer tourism season. However, the talks between Rome and the European Commission continued even after a preliminary deal was struck in May on the economic discontinuity between the new company and the old airline as required by European legislation.

Italy sought to avoid a public tender, which might have prolonged the transition from the old company to the new one or have landed ITA in the hands of non-Italian stakeholders.

“ITA will be able to answer to the new needs of air transport in an increasingly integrated framework with rail transport and will pay great attention to sustainable development,” Italy’s Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility Enrico Giovannini stated after the deal was announced.

He added that the new airline will concentrate on innovation and digitalization “in line with the EU principles underlying the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.”


According to ITA’s industrial plan 2021-2025, which was approved on Thursday, the airline will initially operate a fleet of 52 aircraft with 2,750-2,950 employees.

The fleet would grow to 78 aircraft in 2022 and to 105 aircraft by 2025, some 77 percent of which should be new generation planes.

The new company said it plans to employ up to 5,550-5,700 people by the end of the current industrial plan (2025), which would be a little more than half the 10,654 employees who worked at Alitalia in mid-2020.

Alitalia has long been in financial trouble and has been under state administration since 2017. It kept operating mainly through the injection of public money by the Italian government and suffered a final blow during the pandemic.

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This post originally posted here Trend – News from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey.

NFL FLAG, EVERY KID SPORTS TEAM UP TO HELP MORE YOUTH ATHLETES PLAY FLAG FOOTBALL

BEND, OREGON, UNITED STATES, July 14, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — NFL FLAG today announced a partnership with Every Kid Sports, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to help make NFL FLAG more accessible and affordable to athletes from income-restricted families across the U.S.Starting in Fall 2021, Every Kid Sports will pay all NFL FLAG registration fees for qualifying athletes.

Every Kid Sports removes the financial barrier of youth sports participation by covering the cost of registration fees for athletes from income-restricted families, so they can experience the positive benefits of playing sports.

Through their signature program, the Every Kid Sports Pass, Every Kid Sports covers recreational youth sports registration fees up to $ 150, four times a year, per child aged 4-18, and is available to families who qualify for SNAP, WIC, or Medicaid.

“We look forward to helping income-restricted families get the same opportunity to play NFL FLAG as families of means,” states Every Kid Sports Co-Founder and Executive Director, Natalie Hummel. “We believe in the power of sports to transform lives and giving these kids the chance to experience the joy of playing flag football is why we exist. It will be wonderful to see how many kids and leagues we can support through this partnership.”

The partnership has already launched in select markets across the U.S. and will continue to rollout throughout the country to support young athletes in all 1,600 locally operated NFL FLAG leagues. Current markets include Dothan, AL, Birmingham, AL, Flint, MI, and Detroit, MI

“With the launch of NFL FLAG Alabama and the World Games in 2022, Alabama was the obvious choice to kick off this partnership with Every Kid Sports,” said NFL FLAG Executive Director and RCX Sports CEO Izell Reese. “NFL FLAG has been committed to improving the accessibility and inclusivity of the game of flag – especially among girls. Every Kid Sports will allow us to expand even further and help create opportunities for all athletes to play – no matter what their financial situation.”

Flag football is a growing sport with regular participation of more than 3 million youth and adults in the United States. NFL FLAG is an NFL licensed property of over 500,000 youth athletes ages 5-17 across all 50 states. NLF FLAG is operated by RCX Sports.

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ABOUT NFL FLAG
NFL FLAG is an NFL-licensed property of more than 1,600 locally operated leagues and over 500,000 youth athletes across all 50 states. NFL FLAG is a fun and accessible non-contact program available for girls and boys ages 5-17. Players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football as well as lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. RCX Sports is the official operator of NFL FLAG.

ABOUT RCX SPORTS
RCX Sports is the premier youth-sports experiences business, running and operating leagues, camps, combines, tournaments and events.

RCX works with professional leagues, national governing bodies, sports-centric businesses and brands to reimagine youth sports experiences. RCX produces events with world-class partners including the NFL, Jr. NBA, NAIA, Rivals.com and the 2022 World Games.

RCX is committed to improving the accessibility and inclusivity of sports by enhancing the youth sports experience and creating opportunities for all athletes to play. We believe sports have the power to transform lives and that every athlete should have the opportunity to experience the value of sports. For more information, visit www.rcxsports.com.

ABOUT EVERY KID SPORTS
Headquartered in Bend, Oregon Every Kid Sports is a national 501(c)(3), a 2021 GuideStar Platinum Transparency awarded nonprofit organization that has worked since 2009 to provide a variety of sports-related opportunities designed to remove the financial barriers that typically prevent kids from being active through sports. Every Kid Sports has been recognized by The Aspen Institute as a 2019 Project Play Champion, as well as a recipient of the 2019 Beyond Sports Collective Impact Award for Reduced Inequalities. Partners in their work have included Nike, T-Mobile, Little League International and the National Basketball Players Association Foundation.

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Every Kid Sports
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This post originally posted here The European Times News

Navy blazers, stripes and flag scarves for Team USA in Tokyo

Ralph Lauren built a personal air conditioning system into a white jacket for flag bearers at opening ceremonies of the Olympics and Paralympics.

NEW YORK — The Team USA flag bearers in steamy Tokyo will likely be the coolest members of their packs.

Ralph Lauren has built a personal air conditioning system into a roomy white jacket to be worn by the yet-unannounced athletes who will have that honor during opening ceremonies for the Olympics and Paralympics, the company said Wednesday.

The technology disperses heat from the wearer’s skin through a fan device at the back of the neck, with a lightweight personal battery controller stashed inside. It’s akin to how large computers are kept cool.

“The more we can think about our personal space and personal thermal dynamics, that’s the future that we’re all going to have to think about,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s son, vice chairman of the company’s board, and chief branding and innovation officer.

The rest of the team will walk in tailored navy blazers made of U.S.-grown wool, a red Olympic patch on one breast and the company’s Polo Pony emblem on the other.

They’ll wear a horizontal blue-and-white striped T-shirt dyed in a process that uses less water, chemicals and energy, slim blue denim pants and a flag-print scarf.

The athletes’ striped belts are made of recycled plastic water bottles. A patch on the back of the pants is a nod to leather alternatives, this one made of plant-based materials and agricultural byproducts free of synthetic plastics.

And Ralph Lauren didn’t forget the masks. They’ll be solid navy in cotton with a tiny American flag on one side.

The company went for crisp white looks with red and blue accents for closing ceremony uniforms to be worn by more than 600 Olympic athletes, along with the Paralympians.

Team USA organizers wanted the athletes to “feel red, white and blue” at the world’s coming out party, Lauren told the AP ahead of the formal unveiling.

The sentiment comes amid growing concern over the spread of COVID just days before the Games open July 23. The Paralympics are set to begin Aug. 24.

“They wanted products that were completely sustainable, completely future-oriented and completely about innovation,” Lauren said via Zoom.

The parade uniforms were made in the United States. Ralph Lauren has been outfitting Team USA since 2008.

At a downtown Polo Ralph Lauren store in New York City, Olympians Daryl Homer and Peter Westbrook recently showed off the Tokyo looks for the AP, stressing comfort and recalling the thrill of their past marches with the American teams during the Parade of Nations.

Homer, a silver-medal-winning sabre fencer, will be making his third Olympic appearance in Tokyo. In 1984, Westbrook was the first African American to win a medal (bronze) in the sport and served as flag bearer. He now trains Olympic fencing hopefuls.

Westbrook recalled his Olympic walk as an overwhelming feeling of unity and pride.

“And then, the creme de la creme, you have to fight one another. With love,” he said. “It’s the most beautiful thing one can experience.”

Homer called the uniforms “very comfortable, very breathable,” though the much-discussed beret each American athlete received for the London Opening Ceremony in 2012 was one of his favorite Olympic pieces.

“I think this is my second favorite,” he smiled.

It was at the London Games where Ralph Lauren took some heat for decking out the U.S. athletes in uniforms made in China.

Team attire — but not the cooling element in the flag bearer jacket — is available at select Ralph Lauren stores, department stores, and online at RalphLauren.com and TeamUSAShop.com.

Homer tried on the flag bearer jacket and loves the concept.

“If you can cool yourself, why cool a room? I think that’s a really cool thing,” he said.

The five-year stretch rather than the usual four between Olympics has been challenging for Homer, along with the pared-down fanfare and pandemic protocols planned for Tokyo, he said.

“Everyone’s really anxious to get out there to compete,” he said. “One of the positives is the next Games in Paris is three years, in 2024. But right now I just want to be present where I am.”

Associated Press video producers Joseph B. Frederick and Alicia Rancilio in New York contributed to this story.

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This post originally posted here CBS8 – Sports

Austin couple asked to take down Pride Flag, facing possible fines from neighborhood's HOA

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Newly-wed couple David Colligan and Alonzo Rivas were beaming with pride, as they hung up their colorful flag.

“It’s pride month!” Colligan said. That excitement quickly turned into shock after they received a notice from property management to take it down. According to management, those are the rules of the neighborhood’s Home Owner’s Association, which it enforces.

The Pride Flag that was on display at David Colligan and Alonzo Rivas’ home in south Austin. (Photo: David Colligan and Alonzo Rivas)

That notice from property management — which the couple shared with KXAN — states their HOA only allows American, armed forces and State of Texas flags to be hung.

The couple lives in the Town Court Condominium, which is a small neighborhood in south Austin.

“Being told that this flag doesn’t reflect integrity, and it’s something that diminishes the value of the community — is just ridiculous,” Colligan said.

The notice they received did state property management isn’t questioning the worthiness of the flag, or the message, writing it respectfully asks them to take it down. 

Still, the two feel the language of the notice was offensive. They also feel the HOA specifically, doesn’t understand the meaning behind the flag.

“It was compared to sports memorabilia, holiday flags and there’s a lot more resemblance behind the flag, than just a sports team,” Rivas said. “There’s been a lot of sweat, tears and even lives lost, to develop these rights.”

The husbands told KXAN they’ve rented their home for over five years, and decided this year, they wanted to teach their daughters about Pride. They hung the flag as a family.

David Colligan and Alonzo Rivas with their family. (Photo Courtesy: David Colligan and Alonzo Rivas)

Now the couple plans on asking neighbors to sign a petition, with hopes of being able to change the rules to be more supportive and inclusive.

They have also asked for a formal review of the rules.

“We don’t have any interest in breaking the rules, but we do have interest in changing the rules,” Colligan said.

They feel it’s their duty to advocate for other LGBTQ neighbors, and educate those who they feel don’t understand what the flag truly represents.

“We’ve been nothing but great residents — we shoveled snow and ice for elders during the winter storm, we’ve baked treats for our daughters to hand out during the holidays and we are always kind during dog walks,” Colligan said. “Seems very un-Austin of a neighborhood that upholds or enforces rules that discriminate.”

KXAN reached out to the neighborhood’s HOA president, who directed us to property management. We’ll add their response to the couple seeking to change rules, once we hear back.

Per the property management’s notice, Colligan and Rivas will have until June 25 to take the flag down, or could otherwise face fines.

But they told KXAN they plan to keep their flag flying bright, inspite of the consequences. 

“C’mon, it’s 2021, we need to move in the right direction,” Rivas said.

Author: Jala Washington
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Take it down! Scots demand removal of Union Jack flag – 'year-round poppies' also mocked

The Airdrie for Independence group will voice their disgust at the flagpole in West End Park, North Lanarkshire at 1pm on Monday. This comes an hour before Scotland kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against the Czech Republic.

Ahead of the protest, independence activist Jim Cassidy even claimed that the flag had “political and sectarian connotations”.

He vocally complained to North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) about the Union Jack replacing the Saltire around two weeks ago.

The council owns the land which is maintained by the voluntary group Friends of West End Park.

The group has yet to comment publicly, but in a leaked letter seen by The National, they said it was apolitical and, “very saddened and surprised” that their upgrade to the flagpole was “somehow associated to a political/national cause”.

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The flagpole is adjacent to the town’s war memorial, which is also maintained by the group.

In the letter they said they had received several requests from ex-service personnel, veterans and their families, indicating “they felt it would be right that we gave consideration to a British flag”.

Mr Cassidy, who described himself as a former British serviceman, dismissed their reasoning and called on the Saltire to be reinstated.

Writing on his Facebook page, he said: “I contacted the Labour leader of North Lanarkshire Council Jim Logue, who was very helpful and who informed me that having spoken to someone representing ‘Friends of West End Park’ group … that our national flag would be replaced as soon as one could be sourced.

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“I was therefore disappointed to be contacted yesterday by someone who had written to the group, who made me aware that they had reneged on the agreement with North Lanarkshire Council and had decided to keep the British flag flying instead.

“Having seen the letter they sent, I have to say that I was concerned at their actions and am unconvinced as to the motivations behind their decision.”

He added: “They state that the group is non-political and non-sectarian, but that doesn’t mean that you can be blind to the political and sectarian connotations linked to the British flag, and one would have had to be living under a rock to have missed them.

“The Saltire which flew there was something all our community had no argument over, and its removal coincides with British Government attempts to rebrand much of Scotland with the British flag in a programme of ‘Union-Jackery’, so it is understandable why people cannot simply accept this is simply an innocent misunderstanding.

“As a former member of the armed forces who used to parade every year with the Royal Engineers on Remembrance Sunday, I do not believe that the wishes of a few veterans and their families should be given greater consideration than the entire community of Airdrie.

“The British Nationalist community does have a particular focus on a few key areas, such as the flying of the British flag, year-round poppy displays and veterans’ causes, so the decision to remove the Saltire and replace it with the British must be viewed in that context.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Friends of West End and Centenary Park is a voluntary community organisation run by an independent committee who do a fantastic job looking after the park for the benefit of the local people and visitors.

“Flying the Saltire or Union Flag is at the discretion of the committee.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the Friends of West End Park for comment.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Police called to school after headteacher says Palestinian flag 'call to arms'

Mike Roper, headteacher at Allerton Grange Secondary School in Leeds, has faced an outpouring of criticism after he described the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” and said that the flag could be seen as a “message of support of anti-Semitism”.
Mr Roper made the comments during an assembly after several pupils were reprimanded for wearing Palestinian flag lanyards.

In the assembly, Mr Roper began by saying he had spoken to the pupils wearing the lanyards and that they were “so articulate in how they felt about innocent people in the Middle East and how they were being treated”.

He added: “But the problem is by using a symbol such as the Palestinian flag that message is lost because for some people they see that flag and they feel threatened, they feel unsafe.

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“They worry because for other people that flag is seen as a call to arms and seen as a message of support of anti-Semitism, for being anti-Jewish and it was never meant to be like that in the first place.”

Footage of the assembly was then shared on social media and sparked a furious reaction.

Police were stationed outside the school on Monday afternoon as around 20 pro-Palestine activists slammed his comments as “inflammatory”.

Yasmin Ahmed, 30, who attended the demonstration, told the Telegraph: “The kids at that school were displaying the Palestinian flag in a peaceful way to make a statement about how they felt about what is happening over there, and to display their anger and their solidarity.

“It was in an attempt to address those tensions that I gave an assembly to all students on Wednesday morning. 

“I am deeply sorry that a particular example I used in that assembly, referring to the Palestinian flag, has caused such upset within the community. That was never my intention.

“The full message shared with students last week praised our students’ passion for their views and beliefs. It set out how we want to work through the issues highlighted with our students in an informed and respectful way.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Corbyn speaks at rally where the Israeli flag was set on fire and Hitler placards spotted

The Israeli flag was burned at the protest, which organisers claimed was one of the biggest in support of Palestine in British history. They claimed 180,000 people gathered near London’s Victoria Embankment and proceeded to march on Hyde Park.

Here they listened to speeches including by Mr Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

However, there was outrage on social media after some placards referenced the Nazis or the Holocaust.

One said: “Stop doing what Hitler did to you!”

Another described Israel’s actions as “Holocaust Part 2”.

Video posted online showed flags of Israel, the world’s only Jewish majority state, being burned.

The protest went ahead despite the beginning of a ceasefire in Gaza which ended 11 days of conflict.

At least 230 militants and civilians in Gaza were killed by Israel air strikes whilst 12 civilians died in Israel from rocket attacks.

Violence saw militants launch thousands of rockets towards Israel from Gaza whilst the Israeli’s responded with artillery and air power.

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“We have considered the rights of the group to protest and also our duty to keep the wider community safe.”

Other British cities also saw pro-Palestine protests including Manchester, Nottingham and Edinburgh.

A number of prominent writers spoke out following reports of anti-Semitic imagery at some demonstrations.

Dan Hodges tweeted: “OK, I’m going to ask this again.

“When are we going to start treating the racism of the pro-Palestinian campaign groups in the same way we would treat the racism of organisations like the EDL and the BNP?”

Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard said: “It is perfectly possible to have a pro-Palestinian rally that isn’t full of antisemitic hate speech.

“It’s just that whenever there is one, it is.

“Those who organise the rallies never, ever do anything to stop this.”

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organised Saturday’s march, has said anti-Semitism is not welcome at its demonstrations.

Earlier this week, following reports of anti-Semitic incidents, Mr Corbyn tweeted: “Those who use human rights abuses as licence for antisemitic hate only undermine their cause.

“I have always condemned antisemitism & will continue to.”

Jeremy Corbyn and the event organisers the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been approached for comment.

Mr Corbyn MP and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been contacted by Express.co.uk for comment.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

Netflix criticized by Chinese online over use of Taiwan flag

Netflix joins a growing list of companies that have been attacked online in China over Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, human rights and other politically charged issues.

BEIJING, China — Chinese nationalism on the internet has a new target: Netflix and its popular Thai drama “Girl from Nowhere.”
Comments online Wednesday complained the series’ Facebook page showed the flags of Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by the ruling Communist Party as part of its territory, and of Hong Kong, where the party is trying to crush pro-democracy activism.
Netflix joins a growing list of foreign retailers, airlines, hotels and other companies that have been attacked online in China over Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, human rights and other politically charged issues.
Some comments complained the flags show support for “splitting China,” or promoting formal independence for self-ruled Taiwan. The flags, with the those of Singapore and other markets, appear beside “Thank You” in local languages for the series’ popularity. The advertisement says nothing about whether they represent countries.
“This is a (profanity) split!” said a comment signed Tang Sugar Sugar Tang 123 on the popular Sina Weibo social media service. “Does China need to say thank you for this? Bah! This is a blatant split!”
“Nanno I like you a lot, but sorry, you crossed my line. Goodbye,” said another comment on Sina Weibo signed Huadu, referring the series’ main character. “Think clearly about what kind of country China is before getting benefits from us.”
Netflix didn’t respond to questions left on its website.
The outcry highlights China’s unusual mix of nationalism and pervasive censorship.
The ruling party increasingly demands global companies conform in public to Beijing’s political positions, including on websites abroad that the ruling party’s internet filters block most people in China from seeing.
Facebook can be seen in China only by people with virtual private network software used to evade the filters.
“Girl from Nowhere” can be seen in China on bilibili.com, which allows users to upload their own videos. It doesn’t appear on other services that show movies and TV series approved by Chinese censors.
It wasn’t clear how many people have watched “Girl from Nowhere,” but Douban.com, a website where users leave reviews, says more than 60,000 people have commented on the first season and 30,000 on the second. The average rating is 8.4 points out of 10, which is unusually high.
The Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling party, showed the offending advertisement on its website but that image didn’t appear on other Chinese sites or in the newspaper’s Chinese-language edition.
The ruling party says Taiwan must unite with the mainland and has threatened to invade if it tries to make its independence official. Beijing has menaced the island this year by sending fighters and bombers on flights close to and around Taiwan.
In Hong Kong, the party is trying to crush pro-democracy sentiment following protests that began in 2019. Advocates including tycoon Jimmy Lai, whose company publishes the pro-democracy Apple Daily tabloid, have been sentenced to prison.
In March, the ruling party lashed out at H&M, Adidas, Nike and other foreign retailers and shoe brands in an attempt to pressure them into rejecting reports of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang in China’s northwest.
State media called for a boycott of H&M after the ruling party’s youth wing publicized the Swedish retailer’s statement from early 2020 saying it no longer would use cotton from Xinjiang.
AP researchers Fu Ting in Bangkok, Chen Si in Shanghai and Yu Bing in Beijing contributed.

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment