Episode 280 – Agrivoltaics and Misinformation on Masks

In this episode, we discuss the latest satanic stamp discrimination case, agrivoltaics, Labor bowing to religious interests, a misleading Spectator article on masks, Sweden, Pete Evans, and listener John zooms in to discuss the job seeker and job keeper programs.

No Stamps For Satanists

In a seemingly clear-cut case of discrimination, Australia Post has printed customised stamps for the ‘Noosa Church of Christ’ but rejected a similar request from the Noosa Temple of Satan.

Following the rejection of his earlier designs (see previous press release), Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon suspected that his temple was being unfairly discriminated against.

He decided to test Australia Post by requesting customised stamps for two logos. The first was a logo featuring a pentagram for the Noosa Temple of Satan and the second was a logo featuring a cross for a fictitious entity called the ‘Noosa Church of Christ’.

With no explanation, Australia Post rejected the Satanic logo but approved the Christian logo.

“I’m really disappointed and angry,” said Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon, leader of the Noosa Temple of Satan.

“They can’t say they don’t print religious-themed stamps because they had no problem printing them for the Noosa Church of Christ.”

“The only conclusion I can draw is that I’ve been discriminated against on the basis of my religion.”

“This is the fourth Satanic stamp that they have rejected. It’s easier to get a Cartier watch out of Australia Post than a simple satanic stamp.”

Brother Samael wants to see an intervention from the highest level.

“I’m calling on the great defender of religious freedom, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to get involved and protect the rights of every Australian Satanist,” he said.

“It will be easy for him to write a letter of complaint to Australia Post. When the Cartier watch scandal broke, the Prime Minister said he was ‘appalled’ and that the gifts were ‘disgraceful and not on’. He can copy and paste the same words and use the same address. His only problem will be that, for his letter, he won’t be able to use a stamp that celebrates the Noosa Temple of Satan. Well, not yet, anyway!”

Brother Samael is seeking help from some unlikely allies.

“I ask all media organisations to contact the Australian Christian Lobby, Freedom for Faith and other Christian lobby groups and ask for their opinions on this matter,” he said.

“As defenders of religious freedom, I’m sure those organisations will be appalled at how we have been treated and will demand that Australia Post print our stamps – unless, of course, their previous calls for religious freedom were really just calls for Christian freedom.”

We will be seeking an apology from Australia Post, as well as financial compensation and a commitment from Australia Post to issue a Satanic stamp celebrating one of our many holy days.

Hail Scott Morrison! Hail Satan!

Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon

Noosa Temple of Satan.  www.facebook.com/noosatempleofsatan

Agrivoltaics

… is co-developing the same area of land for both solar photovoltaic power as well as for agriculture.[1] This technique was originally conceived by Adolf Goetzberger and Armin Zastrow in 1981.[2] The coexistence of solar panels and crops implies a sharing of light between these two types of production. Sheep and several crops can benefit from these systems, including fruit production.

Blueberries

How the ALP is rebuilding bridges with faith groups

From the ABC

Most of the news about the Labor Party this week has focused on an internal war over coal mining and climate change.

But on another difficult front, the ALP has been quietly rebuilding bridges with a group that – at least reportedly – drifted away at the 2019 federal election.

Labor’s been meeting faith leaders – the result is a broader accommodation of religion in its draft platform.

2020 ALP NATIONAL PLATFORM – CONSULTATION DRAFT

Page 55

41 Labor believes in and supports the right of all Australians to manifest their religion or beliefs, and the right of religious organisations to act in accordance with the doctrines, tenets, beliefs or teachings of their faith. Such rights should be protected by law. Labor recognises that the freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief, or not to have or adopt a religion or belief, is absolute.

  1. Labor believes that no Australian should ever be vilified or subjected to violence or threats of violence because of that person’s religion or religious belief.
  2. Labor will protect and promote the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in accordance with Australia’s international obligations, including our obligations under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Manifest !!

Note the ICCPR

Adoption of ICCPR into Australian law

Despite signing the ICCPR in 1972 and ratifying it in 1980, Australia has never adopted it into domestic law.

 

Article 18

  1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
  2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
  3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
  4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

Trump and Giuliani

Why he’s saying: “In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated,” U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his 37-page opinion.

  • “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. That has not happened,” Brann added.
  • “Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

 

Their problem is they are dealing with courts, not public opinion.

You have to bring an action which complies with established rules.

Rules count. A sympathetic Supreme Court may bend the improbable into plausible but you must start with the basic elements of an action.

“A lot of people are saying” works in media spin but it doesn’t work in the legal system.

The legal system can stop Trump and ask, Who? What Did they say? Where is their Affidavit? Do they know the penalty for perjury?

Here is a good list of the legal challenges and what has happened to them.

https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-constitutions-pennsylvania-87eaf4df86d5f6ccc343c3385c9ba86c

Don’t bother with Facebook fights.

Brandolini’s law, also known as the bullshit asymmetry principle, is an internet adage which emphasizes the difficulty of debunking bullshit:[1] “The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.

Sydney Powell was so wacky that even Trump has had to distance himself.

“Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the President in his personal capacity,” Giuliani and another lawyer for Trump, Jenna Ellis, said in a statement.

From Wikipedia

Powell alleged during a November 19 press conference, without providing evidence, that a communist plot had been engineered by Venezuela, Cuba, China, Hugo ChavezGeorge Soros and the Clinton Foundation to rig the election.[39][40] She also alleged that Dominion “can set and run an algorithm that probably ran all over the country to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to President Biden.”[41] She also repeated an allegation made by OANN, Congressman Louis Gohmert, and others[42] that accurate voting results had been transmitted to the German office of the Spanish firm Scytl, where they were tabulated to reveal a landslide victory for Trump, and that a company server had been seized in a raid by the United States Army.[39] Scytl and the Army stated the allegation was false.[43] Scytl has not had any offices operating in Germany since September 2019.[44][45] Powell suggested that candidates “paid to have the system rigged to work for them.”[46] CISA described the 2020 election as “the most secure in American history,” with “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.

According to The Spectator – Trump won

From Spectator

The Big Steal

There is evidence, actually

Masks

From Spectator

By Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson

Headline: Landmark Danish study shows face masks have no significant effect

Do face masks work? Earlier this year, the UK government decided that masks could play a significant role in stopping Covid-19 and made masks mandatory in a number of public places. But are these policies backed by the scientific evidence?

Yesterday marked the publication of a long-delayed trial in Denmark which hopes to answer that very question. The ‘Danmask-19 trial’ was conducted in the spring with over 3,000 participants, when the public were not being told to wear masks but other public health measures were in place. Unlike other studies looking at masks, the Danmask study was a randomised controlled trial – making it the highest quality scientific evidence.

Around half of those in the trial received 50 disposable surgical face masks, which they were told to change after eight hours of use. After one month, the trial participants were tested using both PCR, antibody and lateral flow tests and compared with the trial participants who did not wear a mask.

In the end, there was no statistically significant difference between those who wore masks and those who did not when it came to being infected by Covid-19. 1.8 per cent of those wearing masks caught Covid, compared to 2.1 per cent of the control group. As a result, it seems that any effect masks have on preventing the spread of the disease in the community is small.

Some people, of course, did not wear their masks properly. Only 46 per cent of those wearing masks in the trial said they had completely adhered to the rules. But even if you only look at people who wore masks ‘exactly as instructed’, this did not make any difference to the results: 2 per cent of this group were also infected.

When it comes to masks, it appears there is still little good evidence they prevent the spread of airborne diseases. The results of the Danmask-19 trial mirror other reviews into influenza-like illnesses. Nine other trials looking at the efficacy of masks (two looking at healthcare workers and seven at community transmission) have found that masks make little or no difference to whether you get influenza or not.

But overall, there is a troubling lack of robust evidence on face masks and Covid-19. There have only been three community trials during the current pandemic comparing the use of masks with various alternatives – one in Guinea-Bissau, one in India and this latest trial in Denmark. The low number of studies into the effect different interventions have on the spread of Covid-19 – a subject of global importance – suggests there is a total lack of interest from governments in pursuing evidence-based medicine. And this starkly contrasts with the huge sums they have spent on ‘boutique relations’ consultants advising the government.

The only trials which have shown masks to be effective at stopping airborne diseases have been ‘observational studies’ – which observe the people who ordinarily use masks, rather than attempting to create a randomised control group. These trials include six studies carried out in the Far East during the SARS CoV-1 outbreak of 2003, which showed that masks can work, especially when they are used by healthcare workers and patients alongside hand-washing.

But observational studies are prone to recall bias: in the heat of a pandemic, not very many people will recall if and when they used masks and at what distance they kept from others. The lack of random allocation of masks can also ‘confound’ the results and might not account for seasonal effects. A recent observational study paper had to be withdrawn because the reported fall in infection rates over the summer was reverted when the seasonal effect took hold and rates went back up.

This is why large, randomised trials like this most recent Danish study are so important if we want to understand the impact of measures like face masks. Many people have argued that it is too difficult to wait for randomised trials – but Danmask-19 has shown that these kind of studies are more than feasible.

And now that we have properly rigorous scientific research we can rely on, the evidence shows that wearing masks in the community does not significantly reduce the rates of infection.

But … if you read the study

Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask WearersFREE

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Objective:

To assess whether recommending surgical mask use outside the home reduces wearers’ risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in a setting where masks were uncommon and not among recommended public health measures.

Results:

A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection.

Limitation:

Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others.

Conclusion:

The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.

… Face masks are a plausible means to reduce transmission of respiratory viruses by minimizing the risk that respiratory droplets will reach wearers’ nasal or oral mucosa … An increasing number of localities recommend masks in community settings on the basis of this observational evidence, but recommendations vary and controversy exists (14). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (15) strongly recommend that persons with symptoms or known infection wear masks to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to others (source control) (16). However, WHO acknowledges that we lack evidence that wearing a mask protects healthy persons from SARS-CoV-2 (prevention) (17)

Observational evidence suggests that mask wearing mitigates SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but whether this observed association arises because masks protect uninfected wearers (protective effect) or because transmission is reduced from infected mask wearers (source control) is uncertain. Here, we report a randomized controlled trial (20) that assessed whether a recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others reduced wearers’ risk …

The best part …

The findings, however, should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. During the study period, authorities did not recommend face mask use outside hospital settings and mask use was rare in community settings (22). This means that study participants’ exposure was overwhelmingly to persons not wearing masks.

The most important limitation is that the findings are inconclusive, with CIs compatible with a 46% decrease to a 23% increase in infection.

… the findings were inconclusive and cannot definitively exclude a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection of mask wearers …

So who are Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson?

Carl Heneghan

From Wikipedia

Professor Carl James Heneghan (born January 1968) is a British general practitioner physician, director of the University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, and a Fellow of Kellogg College.[1][2] He is also Editor-in-Chief of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.[3] Heneghan is one of the founders of AllTrials, an international initiative which calls for all studies to be published, and their results reported.[4] In 2013 he has been voted on to the Health Service Journal’s top 100 England’s most influential clinical leaders.

Tom Jefferson

From Wikipedia

Tom Jefferson is a British epidemiologist, based in Rome, Italy,[1] who works for the Cochrane Collaboration. Jefferson is an author and editor of the Cochrane Collaboration’s acute respiratory infections group, as well as part of four other Cochrane groups.[2] He is also an advisor to the Italian National Agency for Regional Health Services.[2]

His views about the effectiveness of influenza vaccines and his outspokenness about them are also controversial; at a 2007 meeting on pandemic preparedness he was shunned by other vaccine researchers and ate alone.[1] Reviews led by Jefferson have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to show that influenza vaccines reduce mortality or infection rates.[6] He has said that the studies claiming large reductions in mortality rates as a result of the influenza vaccine are “rubbish”,[1] and that “influenza vaccines are about marketing and not science”.[7] He has called repeatedly for placebo-controlled randomized clinical trials to prove the efficacy of flu vaccines, a position that most in the field hold as unethical.[1] His views on flu vaccines are opposed by the medical establishment.[1]

On 5 July 2020, Jefferson claimed in an interview with The Telegraph that the COVID-19 coronavirus may not have originated in China.[8][9] His theory was that a virus may simply lie dormant for years before suddenly emerging. As an example of this possibility, he pointed to the isolation of Western Samoa, which lost 22% of its population to Spanish flu in 1918, and claimed the islands had no contact with the outside world. However, it is well documented that Spanish flu arrived on board the SS Talune on 7 November, 1918, when six infected passengers from New Zealand were allowed ashore.

 

Pete Evans

From SBS

Book publisher Pan Macmillan told The Feed it’s finalising its contractual relationship with celebrity chef Pete Evans after he posted a cartoon that appeared to incorporate a symbol associated with neo-Nazis.

The now-deleted post showed a cartoon of a butterfly with the symbol embedded inside its wings. Gizmodo claimed a reverse image Google search showed the cartoon was recently shared on a Nordish neo-Nazi website.

In the cartoon, a caterpillar wearing a MAGA hat tells a butterfly, “you’ve changed”. The butterfly – which appears to be adorned with a neo-Nazi ‘Black Sun’ symbol – replies: “you’re supposed to”.

“An oldie but a Goldie,” Evans captioned the cartoon.

One user in the comments claimed the butterfly is wearing the ‘Black Sun’ symbol, which was recently used in the manifesto of the Christchurch shooter.

“I was waiting for someone to see that,” Evans replied to the Black Sun comment.

The Black Sun symbol has been associated with the occult and paganism but has also become a symbol used by far-right and neo-Nazi groups.

After a storm of controversy online, Evans apologised on Facebook on Monday afternoon to those who “misinterpreted” the cartoon.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who misinterpreted a previous post of a caterpillar and a butterfly having a chat over a drink and perceived that I was promoting hatred,” Evans wrote.

“I look forward to studying every symbol that have ever existed and research them thoroughly before posting.  Hopefully this symbol ❤️resonates deeply into the hearts of ALL!”

Pan Macmillan told The Feed it “does not support the recent posts made by Pete Evans.”

“Those views are not our views as a company or the views of our staff.  Pan Macmillan is currently finalising its contractual relationship with Pete Evans and as such will not be entering any further publishing agreements moving forward,” the spokesperson added.

“If any retailer wishes to return Pete Evans’ books, please contact Pan Macmillan.”

The company did not answer The Feed’s questions by deadline as to whether it is ending Evans’ contract due to him sharing the neo-Nazi cartoon.

In September, Pan Macmillan defended its decision to publish his latest cookbook “The Complete Keto Cookbook and Lifestyle Guide”, despite the chef promoting anti-vaccine and anti-fluoride views.

But in 2015, the company put aside plans to publish Evans’ paleo diet book for babies following backlash from health professionals.

Activist group Sleeping Giants Oz is campaigning for retailers to boycott Evans’ products which are currently stocked by Coles and Woolworths.

Woolworths, which stocks Raw C coconut water ‘by Pete Evans’, told The Feed it appreciates “the community concern over these comments and will be conveying our own to the supplier.”

Woolworths stocks Raw C coconut water who was previously affiliated with the chef.

Woolworths

Owner of  Raw C, Scott Mendelsohn, says he “absolutely” condemns the cartoon that was shared by Evans.

Mendelsohn told The Feed he’s “horrified” by the cartoon and confirmed the company ended its relationship with Evans many months ago after Evans’ posts about COVID-19.

He added that “it takes two to three months to change the packaging.”

“Pete was associated with the business and we took steps 24 months ago to take him off our packaging. The new packaging doesn’t have his name on it. He hasn’t done any marketing with us since April,” Mendelsohn said.

“To be honest I hadn’t seen the post since I saw your email and I’m mortified.”

However, Coles, which stocks products from Pete Evans’ Wholefoods Range, did not reply to The Feed’s request for comment.

A petition on Megaphone calling on Big W, David Jones and Dymocks to remove Evans’ cookbooks from shelves before Christmas had 2,696 signatures by Monday afternoon.

Falou

From Law and Religion Blog

A vilification case was dismissed but …

49ZT Homosexual vilification unlawful

(1)   It is unlawful for a person, by a public act, to incite hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the homosexuality of the person or members of the group.

The complaint was based on two Tweets from Mr Folau and the text of a sermon he gave to his church. The comments are set out in the judgment, and included

  • a call on those who had committed various sins, including “homosexuals”, to repent because “Hell awaits” (accompanied by the comment that Jesus can save);
  • a comment of a similar nature attached to a news item that the Tasmanian Parliament was going to “make gender optional” on birth certificates;
  • remarks in the sermon suggesting that some of the recent natural disasters in Australia were God’s judgement, in part due to the recognition of same sex marriage contrary to God’s purposes for marriage.

The dismissal of Mr Burns’ claim by the President of the ADB had not been made by reference to how likely his claim was to succeed; it was made because of the perceived motives for his action, and a finding that his claim was “vexatious” and an “abuse of process”

In my view, it is arguable that, objectively assessed, each Comment had the capacity to incite hatred towards, [or?] serious contempt for homosexual people on the ground of their homosexuality. (For an explanation of the elements necessary to establish a complaint of unlawful vilification under the Act, see Sunol v Collier and anor (No 2) [2012] NSWCA 44 at [79]; Jones v Trad [2013] NSWCA 389 at [27]).

At para [55]

Vaccine and SA

With a vaccine seemingly around the corner, Qld will be tempted to hold a tough line over Christmas. Without a vaccine, maybe Palace Chook would have to give in a bit more.

South Australia

Mr Marshall effectively called off the lockdown after it emerged a lie by an infected medi-hotel worker — who was secretly working in a pizza bar — had sparked the move. The medi-hotel worker falsely told health authorities he had simply bought a pizza from the Woodville Pizza Bar at the centre of the Adelaide coronavirus cluster , sparking fears of widespread community transmission over the possibility he contracted the virus by handling a pizza box.

The man, a kitchen hand at the Stamford Hotel, was also working extended shifts as an employee of the pizza bar in close contact with another man who, like him, was working in hotel quarantine as a security guard at the Peppers Hotel. One of the men had infected the other, meaning the entire chain of infection can be traced to close contacts posing no threat to the wider community.

Because of the lie, every person who had bought pizzas from the store between November 6 and 16 had been ordered to self-isolate , more than 4000 people went into quarantine, almost every business and every school was closed, and supermarkets were stripped amid panic buying on Tuesday when the snap lockdown was announced.

Peter Collignon, an Australian National University infectious diseases physician and microbiologist , said medical experts needed to be very careful in relying on one piece of information that was radically different from what was already known, particularly when the consequences were so great.

Before realising a person with the disease worked at the pizza shop and did not simply just buy a pizza there, the state’s chief health officer Nicola Spurrier believed it was taking people 24 hours or less to become infected by the coronavirus . Mr Marshall called it a “particularly sneaky strain” .

Professor Collignon said it was more likely the coronavirus’s incubation period was about five days.

“Based on one bit of information that wasn’t corroborated they basically put two million people into quarantine,” Professor Collignon said.

“To take dramatic actions on something that is well out of the standard scientific evidence, which is what they were doing, you really have to have corroboration.”

Mr Marshall and his police and health chiefs sheeted the blame onto the individual.

“To say I am fuming about the actions of this individual is an absolute understatement,” Mr Marshall said. “The selfish actions of this individual have put our whole state in a very difficult situation . His actions have affected businesses, individuals, family groups and is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

The lying pizza worker cannot be charged with anything as there is nothing in the existing state of emergency legislation that declares his actions an offence.

Mr Marshall said he would look at changing laws so that people could be charged for lying.

On Friday South Australian police formed a taskforce to investigate all of the information provided to the state’s coronavirus tracing teams.

Business groups demanded answers about why the government, health authorities and police acted so swiftly and aggressively on the basis of flawed information.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox declared the “damage and destruction caused by this unnecessary lockdown” incalculable, questioning why it took 10 hours to close South Australia but 36 hours to reopen the state.

He said the debacle showed Australian could not let the economy be run “by a group of unelected officials” who he claimed had no understanding of the pain that had been inflicted on business.

Sweden adds further restrictions on outdoor gatherings as coronavirus cases hit record highs

From ABC

The Swedish Government has announced new restrictions on the size of public gatherings as the country seeks to come to grips with a second wave of the pandemic that has seen record daily numbers of new cases and growing pressure on hospitals.

Key points:

  • The new restrictions come into force on November 24 and will last for at least four weeks
  • The Swedish Government has shunned lockdowns and widespread use of face masks
  • More than 6,000 people with COVID-19 have died in Sweden since the pandemic began

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Swedes were not sticking to coronavirus recommendations as well as they did in the spring and public gatherings would be limited to eight people, down from a previous upper limit of 300.

“This is the new norm for the entire society,” Mr Lofven told a news conference.

“Don’t go to gyms, don’t go to libraries, don’t host dinners. Cancel.”

Mr Lofven said that the situation would get worse and appealed to Swedes to “do your duty” and “take responsibility to stop the spread” of COVID-19.

… At 5,990, the number of new cases reported on Friday was the highest since the start of the pandemic.

A further 42 deaths were also recorded, the most for about three months.

The Swedish Government said last week that it would impose a nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol in bars, restaurants and night clubs after 10:00pm from November 20.

Swedish Interior Minister Mikael Damberg said the new limit on gatherings — far lower the 50 allowed during the spring outbreak — would begin on November 24 and be in place for four weeks but could be extended to run over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Sweden

With three words, Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf captured the panic engulfing his country as it backflips on a controversial herd immunity strategy and coronavirus case numbers explode.

On Instagram, he wrote, simply: “Hold on tight!”

… It signals a complete reversal of a policy that allowed Swedes to govern themselves in the hopes that life could go on as normal.

Life did carry on as normal and it looked like Sweden might be vindicated for its strategy. But in the past few weeks, the country of 10 million has been smashed by COVID-19.

There were 6000 cases in a single day last week and hospitalisations are rising faster than anywhere else in Europe.

… With numbers exploding, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has been forced to swallow his pride and admit that he got it wrong.

At a news conference on Monday, he did just that, telling reporters: “It is a clear and sharp signal to every person in our country as to what applies in the future. Don’t go to the gym, don’t go the library, don’t have dinner out, don’t have parties – cancel!”

And with that, Sweden’s experiment was officially crushed.

USA USA USA

November 22 2020. 175,494 daily cases and 1,486 daily deaths.

US population is 328 million

Australian population is 25 million

So 13 times as big.

If we followed the USA example we would have 13,500 daily cases and 114 daily deaths.

Onion-style Arabic satirical news website launches English edition

From The Guardian

A groundbreaking Arabic satirical news site that skewers the Middle East’s politicians and pieties – dodging the ire of hostile governments and their online supporters – has launched an English language edition.

Al-Hudood (the Limits), with deadpan headlines reminiscent of the US publication the Onion, has rankled authorities in the Arab world since launching in 2013. It gives new audiences a taste of groundbreaking humour that ranges from dry (“Students at local school memorise lesson in independent thinking”) to dark (“Intelligence service corrects beliefs of man who thought he only feared God”) to pitch-black (“Syrian dies of natural causes”).

“People have gone numb to all the horrors that are around us, and we are trying to get them to look at things from a new angle,” said Isam Uraiqat, the website’s London-based editor-in-chief.

 

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