Welcome to The Roundup!
Every Friday, James brings you stories from the week that you may have missed while they lingered in the shadows of the bigger headlines.
Man oh man oh man! What is going on out there?! A particularly tumultuous week this week, and that’s not even counting COVID-19. Notwithstanding riots, racially aggravated murder and rising global COVID-19 deaths, there was also a lot of other important news this week that you may have missed:
I’m sure by now you have seen the riots currently raging in the USA after footage emerged of police brutality used against a 46 year old black man, George Floyd, who later died in police custody.
Riots have spread across the country and show no signs of abating as looting, fires and police shooting tear gas into crowds have filled the headlines for the past two days.
But within that, a startling and potentially unprecedented event took place as a CNN reporter, notably a black man who was calmly and correctly reporting the riots, was arrested by state police in Minneapolis for an as of yet unknown reason.
For a nation that covets its freedom of speech laws, this is a big moment.
For one, it shows perhaps the scale of the riots and the fear that is running through the troops deployed to deal with it – the police know the press are allowed to freely report anything in the public interest.
But it also perfectly encapsulates a Trump administration whose eagerness to shut down the truth – which was demonstrated twice this week – is obviously filtering through to the ground level.
In this week’s episode of ‘Donald Trump’s loose association with the truth and any kind of facts’, his most beloved tool of spewing utter garbage forth on the world, Twitter, fought back against his campaign of misinformation.
Twice now they have thwarted his capacity to freely use that tiny orange thumb to send tweets that no one should send, let alone a world leader.
Firstly, Twitter applied a “get the facts about mail-in ballots” button to Trump’s tweet that tried to claim that mail-in votes could open up the electoral process to fraud. Not only is this not true, debunked by Twitter, it is a blatant attempt by Trump and the Republicans to suppress voters who may vote against them.
Twitter fight round two is connected to the riots taking place in the USA, mentioned above. Trump invoked the words of a former Miami police chief, words strongly believed to have led to race riots in Miami in the 60s, by telling protestors “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Thankfully Twitter took exception to this and labelled the tweet as an incitement of violence and removed the option to retweet it.
Even more bizarrely, once this took place, Trump deleted the Tweet containing these words and soon after the White House Twitter account tweeted the exact same words, breaching a traditionally held separation of the president and the White House, before Twitter also labelled that tweet as violent.
Did Trump order the White House to become involved and back him up or is someone at the White House fucking with him by making sure history remembers his call to violence?
Either way, Trump has reacted by signing an executive order that would open social media companies up to legal action over the methods they choose to police content on their sites. Trump claiming the methods violate that freedom of speech I was talking about before, guess it all just depends whose speech it is!
SO LONG HONG KONG
The demonstrations and protests in Hong Kong that filled the news last year have been reignited after China’s parliament backed a security legislation that would make it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in the territory.
A new wave of protests have erupted in Hong Kong as residents fear an end to the territory’s unique status.
An additionally worrying and ludicrous legislation was debated by Parliament that would make it illegal to disrespect the national anthem.
After enduring months of violent and oppressive police presence during the protests last year, the residents of Hong Kong are faced with an historic removal of their rights, putting them on a par with those living on mainland China.
THE BIGGEST HIMAPLAYERS
As if China didn’t have enough on their plate, an all-out conflict could be on the horizon as a border dispute with India has escalated further.
In early May a small skirmish broke out between the two nations along the border near the Indian state of Sikkim but both nations downplayed its significance.
But since then both nation’s armies have encroached further on disputed territories in a moment that threatens to revive tensions rooted in the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
About 80 to 100 tents have sprung up on the Chinese side, and nearly 60 on the Indian side, according to Reuters and at least 10,000 Chinese soldiers are now believed to be camping on what India claims to be its territory.
With COVID-19, the protests in Hong Kong and much needed economic recovery, China is not in a strong position to engage in a dispute with a nation of India’s size.