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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW (March 31st, 2021)

MEDIA-OCRITIES OF THE WEEK

Beijing Targets American Business: Matt Pottinger, WSJ, Mar. 26, 2021

“There are people who believe that communism is an unattainable hope, or even that it is beyond hoping for—that communism is an illusion. . . .  Facts have repeatedly told us that Marx and Engels’s analysis of the basic contradictions in capitalist society is not outdated, nor is the historical-materialist view that capitalism is bound to die out and socialism is bound to win. This is an inevitable trend in social and historical development. But the road is tortuous. The eventual demise of capitalism and the ultimate victory of socialism will require a long historical process to reach completion.”

Trump and the Failure of the Expert Class:  Barton Swaim, WSJ, Jan. 22, 2021

quoting Timothy Snyder, historian of Nazism at Yale, one of many academics, intellectuals and journalists predicting former President Trump’s election meant the advent of fascism:

“Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authorities at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire [used by Hitler to install his dictatorship]”.

                     WEEKLY QUOTES

“I only kept Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx on because they worked for the U.S. government for so long—they are like a bad habit!” – Former US President Donald J. Trump.  In an op-ed he criticized infectious disease specialists Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx, who he called “self-promoters trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations.”  He adds. Their “bad policies would have left our country open to China and others, closed to reopening our economy, and years away from an approved vaccine—putting millions of lives at risk.”  (Newsmax, Mar. 29, 2021)

“The biggest single concern that Western citizens … have about big tech is about power. It’s about privacy, it’s about surveillance, it’s about the use of personal data. The entire Chinese technology system is designed for that purpose.” – former Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper to the Conference of Defence Associations Institute’s Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence in a keynote discussion with his former national security adviser Richard Fadden. (Epoch Times, Mar. 13, 2021)

“… Yang doesn’t allow himself to forget the brutality of the regime he has left behind. “China,” he says, “is the worst capitalism plus the worst socialism.  On the treatment of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang, which US secretary of state Antony Blinken has called genocide, Yang says: “The real trouble here is actually between the dictatorial power and all the people. If you look back to the past, we all have been pressed down and killed by the autocratic power. We all need to be fighting for the rights of our cultures.”

On Hong Kong, he regrets that the British did not do more to safeguard democracy before the 1997 handover. But, he says, “it is never too late” for a strong, united response from governments across the globe. “If there’s no strong reaction, the Taiwanese people will be next, and the southern Chinese, and so on. There will be a dark future for the world.” But first, he warns, the West should clear up its hypocrisy when it comes to criticizing human rights in China while handing out contracts that benefit from forced labor. “The autocratic power of China has purposely made workers very, very cheap. It uses this type of slave labor. And then almost all of the major western companies came to China“If you want to find two words to paint a portrait of the world,” he adds, “a) selfish and b) cynical. The problem is not elsewhere, the problem is under our own feet here. “ — Etan Smallman interviews Swiss-born Chinese dissident and poet Yang Lian.  (The Telegraph, Mar. 26, 2021)

“In an internal memo from “the Standards Center,” the AP told staff, “The current event in the news — a sharp increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors — is a problem for border officials, a political challenge for Biden and a dire situation for many migrants who make the journey, but it does not fit the classic dictionary definition of a crisis.”

A “crisis,” it explained, might be a “decisive or crucial time” or “a time of, or a state of affairs involving, great danger or trouble, often one which threatens to result in unpleasant consequences…. Biden’s reversal of his predecessor’s policies has led to a surge at the southern border, with 16,500 minors in custody as of Wednesday, including 5,000 in Border Patrol detention-like facilities not meant to house children. Most kids are held longer than the three-day legal limit. Those aren’t “unpleasant consequences…This newspeak is becoming a habit for the once-venerable news agency: In 2013, it forbade reporters from using “illegal immigrant,” instead telling them to call those crossing the border illegally “undocumented.” … Only in AP stories is that not a crisis. The liberal media think if they change language, they change reality. They’ve gone full George Orwell.” (NY Post, Mar. 26, 2021)

“It is not in the order of nature or the university that students should ever presume the right to ‘instruct their professors’. Any young person’s only real identity, while attending a university, is not sexual, ethnic, religious or racial. It is student.” — Columnist Rex Murphy offers a guide to understanding today’s universities.  It begins, he writes, with the acceptance that “as far as [one’s] intellectual competence goes, there are very slender grounds to distinguish your thinking from that of a turnip. (National PostMar. 25, 2021)

 

   SHORT TAKES

ISRAEL’S ELECTIONS: THE FINAL COUNT IS IN (Jerusalem)

With 100% of votes tallied for the 24th Knesset election, the official results are in. To form a government, a coalition must have a total of at least 61 seats. Here is the breakdown by party: Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud – 30 Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid – 17; Shas – 9; Benny Gantz’s Blue and White – 8; Yisrael Beiteinu – 7; Yemina – 7; Labor – 7; United Torah Judaism – 7; Gideon Saar’s Tikvah Hadashah – 6; Zionist Judaism – 6; Meretz – 6; The Joint List – 6; Raam – 4.  Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scored his largest electoral victory, he shows no clear path to forming a government majority. At the time of this writing, it appears that Israel may be headed this summer for an unprecedented 5th election in 2 years. (AFS, Mar. 30, 2021)

 IRANIAN MISSILE HITS ISRAELI-OWNED CARGO SHIP IN ARABIAN SEA (Tehran)

An Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Arabian Sea that was making its way from Tanzania to India. The ship – owned by XT Management, which is chaired by Israeli Udi Angel – carried on to its destination amid the damage it suffered. (Haaretz, Mar. 26, 2021)

BAHRAIN APPOINTS FIRST-EVER AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL, PREPARES TO OPEN EMBASSY (Manama)

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa appointed the first-ever Ambassador to Israel from his nation, as the country prepares for the historic opening of its embassy in the Jewish State. Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with his Bahraini counterpart, Foreign Minister Abd al-Latif al-Ziyani at the end of the first holy day of the Passover holiday to discuss the arrangements. (Jewish Press, Mar. 30, 2021)

JORDAN REVEALS NEW DEFENSE PACT WITH US, ALLOWING MORE OPEN MILITARY ACCESS (Amman)

Jordan released a new defense agreement with the United States that allows free entry for U.S. forces, aircraft and vehicles. “The agreement does not authorize American forces to carry out combat actions within the kingdom,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi told lawmakers, adding that the United States grants Jordan $425 million per year in military aid. (Jewish Press, Mar. 22, 2021)

 STATE DEPT REPORT CONFIRMING PA TERROR FUNDING DOESN’T STOP BIDEN FROM SEEKING TO RENEW AID TO PALESTINIANS (Washington)

 The US State Department has acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not “terminated payments for acts of terrorism,” according to a non-public report to Congress, as the Biden administration has said it intends to restart aid to the PA cut by former President Donald Trump. The March 18 report’s findings raised questions about how the Biden administration will resume US aid to the PA while complying with the Taylor Force Act (TFA), passed in 2018, which restricts such aid as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to make payments to terrorist prisoners. (United With Israel, Mar. 25, 2021)

FORMER NBA STAR AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE TALKS PASSOVER PREP, DAILY TALMUD STUDY IN GQ INTERVIEW (NY)

 Six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire shared his Passover eve preparations and details of his daily study of Jewish texts in a photo-packed interview with GQ magazine.  Stoudemire spent 14 seasons in the NBA, and later played professionally in Israel as he grew closer to his Jewish roots and became more observant — ultimately completing an Orthodox conversion and becoming an Israeli citizen. He detailed his daily religious practice to GQ, which usually includes a 6:45 am Talmud lesson before morning prayers, an 11 am prayer study, a 1 pm study of the Shabbat laws, a second Talmud lesson at 2 pm and a Hebrew language session at 3 pm. (Algemeiner, Mar. 30, 2021)

 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA STUDENTS VOTE TO ADOPT LEADING DEFINITION OF ANTISEMITISM AFTER CONTENTIOUS DEBATE (Minnesota)

At the campus-wide referendum — submitted by Minnesota Hillel and Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and which took place on March 22 through March 26 — more than 1,700 students, or 58%, voted to adopt the IHRA definition, which has been adopted by 31 states around the world, including the US State Department, and a growing number of universities. (Algemeiner, Mar. 30, 2021)

FORMER CELEBRITY CHEF TURNED ANTISEMITIC AGITATOR FLEES TO TURKEY TO ESCAPE GERMAN ARREST WARRANT (Germany)

Attila Hildmann — a self-described “ultra right-winger” of Turkish origin who was brought up by German adoptive parents — was widely-known in Germany for his vegan recipe books and frequent appearances on TV food programs over the previous decade. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Hildmann became one of the leaders of the protest movement opposed to social distancing and other public health measures that has won huge support on the German far right.  A former celebrity chef who turned into one of Germany’s most vocal antisemitic agitators has fled to Turkey to escape an arrest warrant issued by German authorities last week. (Algemeiner, Mar. 30, 2021)

ASIO BOSS MIKE BURGESS SAYS AGENCY IS DITCHING ‘ISLAMIC’ AND ‘RIGHT-WING’ TAGS, WILL NOW REFER TO ‘RELIGIOUS’ OR ‘IDEOLOGICAL’ VIOLENCE (Cambara)

Delivering his Annual Threat Assessment, director-general of security Mike Burgess declared ASIO, Australia’s domestic intelligence agency, will follow its Five-Eyes intelligence partners in changing the language it uses towards violent extremist threats. Instead ASIO will now use the umbrella terms of “religiously motivated violent extremism” and “ideologically motivated violent extremism” to describe those seeking to do harm. (ABC News, Mar. 17, 2021)

POWER FOR POWER’: NORTH KOREA RETURNS TO A SHOW OF FORCE (Pyongyang)

North Korea issued warnings for more than a week swearing that the Biden administration would pay a “price,” accused it of raising “a stink” on the Korean Peninsula and called Washington’s effort to open a channel of communication a “trick,” vowing to deal with the United States “power for power.” On Thursday it delivered its latest warning by launching two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast — the first such test by the country in a year and its first significant provocation against the United States under President Biden. (NY Times, Mar. 24, 2021)

WHO REPORT DISMISSES COVID LAB-LEAK HYPOTHESIS (Geneva)

A joint report by Western and Chinese scientists contracting with the WHO urges exploration of every COVID-origin hypothesis except for that of the lab-leak, the Associated Press reported.  The report was based on the findings of an investigative team that traveled to Wuhan in February and suggests that bat to human transmission is the most likely origin. (National Review, Mar. 29, 2021)

AFTER SHIP FINALLY FREED FROM SUEZ CANAL, PROBE BEGINS ON HOW GROUNDING HAPPENED (Suez Canal)

Experts boarded a colossal container ship that had been stuck for nearly a week in the Suez Canal before it was freed as questions swirled about the grounding. The Ever Given was anchored in the Great Bitter Lake, a wide stretch of water halfway between the north and south ends of the canal, after salvage teams succeeded in finally freeing the skyscraper-size vessel on Monday afternoon. The ship, stuck sideways in a narrow stretch of the canal, had halted billions of dollars a day in maritime commerce. (Global News, Mar. 30, 2021)

 CANADIAN GOVERNMENT REFUTES “SHAMEFUL” CLAIM OF “8,000 JEWS” MASSING AT BORDER (Montreal)

Canada’s federal government is refuting a claim made by a Quebec television network news program that reported “8,000 Jews” had arrived at the border to attend Passover seders in Quebec. When asked for a comment on the report by TVA News in which Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the customs workers union, alleged 8,000 mostly Jewish people had come through the Lacolle border post in the last 48 hours, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said he was worried about any gathering that would be taking place in upcoming days for both Passover and Easter. On Friday, TVA News created advertisements for the interview with a banner that read “8,000 Jews in 48 hours at the border.” Condemnation on social media was swift, with comments accusing the news program of anti-Semitism. (Arutz Sheva, Mar. 30, 2021)

CANADA TO GET EARLIER DELIVERY OF 5M PFIZER VACCINE DOSES BY END OF JUNE (Ottawa)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced speedier deliveries of another five million doses of the Pfizer vaccine this spring — one day after provinces suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine for anyone under 55. The AstraZeneca news prompted by concerns rare blood clots might be a side effect soured Tuesday’s arrival of 1.5 million AstraZeneca doses released by the United States. Trudeau and his procurement minister, Anita Anand, outlined a new schedule for Pfizer doses that will see the company deliver one million doses each week throughout April and May, increasing that to two million doses weekly through June. That means by the end of June, Canada will receive five million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine that were initially scheduled for later in the summer. Those, along with Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines scheduled for delivery, will supply a total of 44 million vaccine doses by the end of June. (Toronto Star, Mar. 30, 2021)

       FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

Linoy Ashram wins two gold medals at gymnastics world championship: Tobias Siegel, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 28, 2021

Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram won two gold medals and a bronze in the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup taking place over the weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria.

WATCH: Trudeau says climate change ’emergency’ has been ‘made worse by the pandemic’:  Roberto Wakerell-Cruz, Post Millennial, Mar. 29, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau virtually attended a United Nations meeting focused on international debt architecture and financial liquidity on Monday, where he expressed concerns over the financial woes being faced by emerging economies.

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