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Europe’s Soccer Championship Ends Investigation Into Whether Player’s Rainbow Armband Is “Political”

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The Union of European Football Associations will continue a probe into potential discrimination at its matches in Hungary, which passed a major anti-LGBTQ+ bill last week.


Pride Armband Isn’t Political, UEFA Says

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has agreed that a rainbow armband worn by German soccer player Manuel Neuer is not political in nature, according to the German Football Association (GFA).

Neuer wore the band at two official matches during UEFA’s Euro 2020 Championship and once during a friendly match with Latvia to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride month.

Sunday, multiple outlets reported that UEFA was investigating Neuer’s armband as potentially political, possibly because LGBTQ+ rights have become somewhat of a flashpoint topic since the start of the tournament. Since UEFA does not allow players and teams to participate in “political demonstrations” at events, there were concerns the GFA could be hit with a fine. 

Later Sunday, the GFA said UEFA would consider the armband “a sign of support for diversity and thus for ‘good cause,’” and because of that, the team would not face any disciplinary action.

Discrimination Investigation at Hungary Games

The same day outlets reported the investigation into Neuer’s armband, they also reported that UEFA was investigating two matches in Hungary for potential discrimination.

At the first match, an anti-LGBTQ+ banner was spotted in the crowd. At the second, Hungarian fans marched with banners that called on players to stop kneeling to protest racism. 

Both events come as Hungary passed a bill against “LGBT propaganda” last week. Notably, that law bans the promotion or portrayal of homosexuality and gender reassignment. 

In protest of Hungary’s new law, Munich’s mayor has asked the UEFA to allow the city to light up its stadium in rainbow colors on Wednesday when the German and Hungarian teams square off.

See what others are saying: (ESPN) (The Athletic) (Mirror)

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International

Netanyahu Ousted by Ideologically Loose Coalition in Israel After 12 Years in Power

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Naftali Bennett will take over as Prime Minister until September 2023, when Yair Lapid will take on the position as part of a power-sharing agreement.


Close Vote to Oust Netanyahu

Sunday night marked the end of an era in Israeli politics after Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly lost a No Confidence vote in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and was ousted from power.

Netanyahu managed to stay in power for 12 years, the last couple of which were because no parties could actually form a government, thus maintaining his position as Prime Minister. That same dilemma nearly happened Sunday when Netanyahu lost the No Confidence vote of 60-59, with one abstention.

Taking over in power is an extremely ideologically diverse coalition of parties that will see far-right leader Naftali Bennet serving as Prime Minister in a power-sharing deal. If the coalition holds together, Bennet will remain Prime Minister until September 2023, at which point he’ll hand over power to his deputy Yair Lapid, head of the largest centrist party Yesh Atid.

In addition to a far-right party and centrist party, there is a far-left party. For the first time, an Arab party was also included in the ruling coalition.

While Israeli politics is known for its fair share of odd partnerships, this coalition has some of the most opposed groups coming together. Among the biggest ideological wedge in the coalition is Palestine. Bennet supports the building of settlements and all-out annexation of the West Bank. Most of his allies support the creation of a sovereign Palestinian State. Despite this, the groups had two goals they cared about more than anything else: removing Netanyahu from power and avoiding the fifth election in just two years.

Problems Flare Already

Instead of tackling the hot-button issues, the coalition plans to avoid these topics and instead vowed to focus on rebuilding Israel’s economy and infrastructure, but those issues aren’t letting themselves be ignored. One of the first big issues the new coalition will face is an upcoming march by far-right, pro-settlement Israelis into Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Similar marches were cited by Hamas as a reason for launching hostilities between Gaza and Israel recently.

A week ago, Netanyahu approved the march, which is set to happen on Tuesday; however, there is now pressure that Bennet is in power to reroute or cancel the march. Bennett has a long history pushing for Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, but his allies want the march canceled or rerouted. Canceling the march could be seen as caving to pressure from Hamas, which has vowed to “respond” if it takes place.

This first test could mean the end of the coalition, especially as Netanyahu has railed against the new government by calling it a “dangerous coalition of fraud and surrender” and promising to “overthrow it very quickly.” He doesn’t need to do much to possibly make that happen. Only one or two Yamina or Yesh Atid members switching over could bring another No Confidence vote, another election, and possibly Netanyahu back in power.

If the current government’s loose coalition can last long enough, there’s a possibility that the constitute parties won’t have to worry about Netanyahu.

The former Prime Minister has been plagued with corruption charges and is currently navigating a series of trials for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust charges. If found guilty, he’ll be barred from holding office.

See what others are saying: (BBC) (The New York Times) (Axios)

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Politics

Senate Committees Release Most Detailed Report on Insurrection to Date

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The first congressional report on the Jan. 6 attack shows that Capitol Police had additional intelligence about the threat earlier than previously known to the public.


Senate Inquiry Published

Two bipartisan Senate committees released the first congressional report on the Jan. 6 insurrection on Tuesday, marking the most comprehensive, detailed account to date of the numerous security failures and miscommunications.

The probe shows that U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and other agencies had collected much more intelligence — and much earlier intelligence — than previously known.

Perhaps most significantly, the 127-page report revealed that the authorities had specific intelligence as early as Dec. 21 that supporters of former President Donald Trump planned an armed insurrection of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

That included information from the Capitol Police intelligence unit that pro-Trump demonstrators planned to “bring guns” and other weapons to the Stop the Steal rally, which precluded the attack, and use them against law enforcement officers.

Some of those individuals also shared maps of the Capitol complex and tunnels online, discussing the best ways to enter and seal lawmakers inside, the Senate report stated.

Despite those alarming indications, USCP failed to widely circulate its own internal intelligence. In fact, two separate security assessments from Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 made no mention of the findings.

The USCP was not alone in its failure to take key intelligence seriously. An F.B.I. memo from the day before the insurrection that warned there were people traveling to D.C. for “war” at the Capitol also never made its way up to top law enforcement officials.

Unclear Path Forward

The report also stated that the failure of law enforcement officials to take the threats seriously was coupled with a dysfunctional Capitol police force that lacked the resources, capacity, and training to properly deal with the attack.

As part of their findings, the two committees outlined 20 recommendations for the Capitol Police, including calling for better planning, training, and intelligence gathering.

In a statement Tuesday, the agency that it welcomed the Senate analysis, but defended its response and claimed there was a lack of information regarding a threat.

“The USCP consumes intelligence from every federal agency,” the statement read. “At no point prior to the 6th did it receive actionable intelligence about a large-scale attack.”

While the new report comes from three months of interviews, reviews, and testimonies, it was limited in scope because Republicans refused to ask questions about Jan. 6 that could result in the publication of unflattering information about Trump or other members of the party .

Notably, the committees did not outline any of Trump’s actions, motivations, or make any conclusions about if he was responsible for the insurrection. In fact, it does not even describe the event as an “insurrection,” despite the general use of the term by Republicans in the months following the attack.

This report, however, is likely the closest Congress will get to a bipartisan effort to study the insurrection. Previously, key committee leaders in both parties had drafted legislation for an independent commission to study the events of Jan. 6 and make recommendations to prevent future attacks.

While that proposal had been crafted jointly with Republican lawmakers, top GOP leaders who had previously sanctioned the deal voiced last-minute opposition, and hopes for the commission were ultimately struck down in the Senate.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (NPR)

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