Hong Kong bid makes Gay Olympics cut.


(Fr. Orthohippo –  Somehow I missed that there was a Gay Olympics. Huh. I thought today’s Olympics had no restrictions against gays.)

Successful bid could mean estimated HK$1 billion economic boost from giant international sport and cultural event

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 9:36am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 11:26pm

Hong Kong is to join Guadalajara in Mexico and Washington DC in the United States in contesting for the right to host the “gay Olympics” after making the final shortlist for the 2022 event.

Ahead of the announcement in November, a delegation from the Federation of Gay Games, the guardians of the quadrennial sports and cultural festival, will arrive in May to conduct a site visit to assess Hong Kong’s feasibility as a host city.

In the autumn, the bid team will head to Paris, hosts of the 2018 games, to make its final pitch in front of the federation’s delegates.

Organisers hope that bringing the games to Hong Kong will challenge the stigma and cultural barriers faced by LGBT groups across the region. Their case is strengthened by the fact that no Asian city has hosted the games since their inception in 1982.

“Hong Kong is the perfect city to represent Asia,” Dennis Philipse, co-chair of the Hong Kong bid team, said. “Asia is home to an estimated 221 million LGBT+ people, but also where there is an ongoing struggle to overcome homophobia and gain acceptance.”

The bid has received backing from the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Tourism Board and father of Lan Kwai Fong and entrepreneur Allan Zeman.

The city would receive a boost to the tune of HK$1 billion, due to the 15,000 athletes estimated to participate and the 40,000 visitors expected to attend.

The city’s pitch for the games features 36 events including local favourites trail running and dragon boat racing alongside traditional track and field events. Taking advantage of existing facilities, the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, Victoria Park swimming pool, and the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal are all listed as key venues.

The 2022 games would not require taxpayer funding, instead supported through corporate sponsorship, private donors and generated revenue.

Bid team co-chair Benita Chick said: “The Gay Games is much more diverse than an ‘Olympics’ per se as it is also a ­festival that includes arts and ­culture and a conference.”

“The mission is to further promote diversity and inclusion by welcoming participants regardless of their ability.”

First hosted in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games went on to become the largest global sport and cultural gathering open to all, regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origin or HIV status.

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ROME Pope Francis called out Christians in a sermon Thursday,


Pope Francis suggested it would be better to be an atheist than to lead a double life, exploit people or manage a greedy business.   “So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others,” Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, CNN reported, quoting Vatican Radio. “How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — ‘But to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that: scandal.”   “But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another.” The Vatican later issued a note clarifying that the pontiff was simply saying that God’s grace is free to all, even atheists, CNN reported. Francis’ sermon was an extension of Thursday’s Mass readings, which include a passage from the Gospel of Mark. In it, Jesus says it is better to be drowned than to cause others to sin. Drawing on that passage, Francis gave a blunt example. He said he imagined a wealthy Christian knocking at the gates of heaven and saying, “Here I am, Lord! … I went to Church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this … Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?” To which Jesus may reply, according to Francis: “Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.’ That will be Jesus’ response to these scandalous people who live a double life.” It is not the first time Francis has referenced atheists. In 2013, he said that heaven is open, potentially, to all people. “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” he said. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone

MY TAKE
My Take
by

A lesson in bad manners from the University of Hong Kong

An undignified public feud between two top officials is a poor reflection on our top seat of learning, but sadly typical of our divided society

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am

Alex Lo
24 Jan 2017

The internet and politics bring out the worst in people. Consider the latest public spat at the University of Hong Kong between council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung and William Cheung Sing-wai, head of the Academic Staff Association.

A fine example these two academic leaders have offered their students in manners and etiquette! Or is it that they are taking after their own rebellious and insolent pupils? Either way, it does not reflect well on Hong Kong’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.

In an open email exchange, Cheung accused Li of being “a liar” for failing to deliver a review of governance standards at the university, and said he should quit as a favour to everyone. Despite Cheung’s rudeness, Li might have taken the initiative to clarify whether or not he planned to deliver the review. Instead, he fired back a sarcastic reply in which he implied Cheung had “no intelligence or rationality”.

“After all, stupidity has no cure,” he wrote.

Cheung wrote back, suggesting Li himself suffered from the incurable condition and would make sure everyone knew about it.

Chairman of the HKU Academic Staff Association Dr William Cheung Sing-wai have made his disapproval of Authur Li very public. Photo: Nora Tam

Not long ago, such expressions of contempt among scholarly gentlemen would have been communicated behind closed doors. What is disturbing is the casual manner in which two academic leaders openly exchanged mutual disdain for all their staff and students to see. That’s something you usually associate with trolls in internet forums. But then, that is characteristic of political discourse in Hong Kong these days, and radical HKU students have been at the forefront of localist politics.

It’s now perfectly okay to express raw feelings and hate, unmediated by rational considerations, in the legislature, in public forums and on television.

That is perhaps to be expected given the bitterly divided state of our society. Our political conflicts have become so nasty and intractable that any once-held standards of social behaviour and tolerable opinion have been thrown out of the window. Civility is only possible when we all implicitly acknowledge social and political norms.

Nowadays, those very norms are being contested.

Still we expect our political and academic leaders to behave themselves – or at least show more wit when they insult each other.

Posted in church, faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Some Pacific Islanders Have DNA Not Linked To Any Known Human Ancestor


By Michael Gardiner on February 10, 2017

Researchers have now uncovered the DNA of a previously unknown group of hominids.

Papua New Guinea

Most everyone knows that the islands of the South Pacific are some of the most remote and unique places on Earth, but a new study reveals just how unique they really are.

According to a report from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers have found traces of a previously unknown extinct hominid species in the DNA of the Melanesians, a group living in an area northeast of Australia that encompasses Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands.

A computer analysis suggests that the unidentified ancestral hominid species found in Melanesian DNA is unlikely to be either Neanderthal or Denisovan, the two known predecessors of humankind to this point.

Archaeologists have found many Neanderthal fossils in Europe and Asia, and although the only Denisovan DNA comes from a finger bone and a couple of teeth discovered in a Siberian cave, both species are well represented in the fossil record.

But now genetic modeling of the Melanesians has revealed a third, different human ancestor that may be an extinct, distinct cousin of the Neanderthals.

“We’re missing a population, or we’re misunderstanding something about the relationships,” researcher Ryan Bohlender told Science News. “Human history is a lot more complicated than we thought it was.”

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HomePoliticsIran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests Iran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests ConsPatriot February 10, 2017 Iranians commending the Islamic Revolution of 1979 held signs praising against Trump dissidents amid the yearly encourages in Tehran, The Washington Post reports. The signs at the encourages are allegedly affirmed by government authorities, flagging the administration’s support. One such sign read, “Americans are welcome and welcomed to visit Iran,” and another read, “because of American individuals for supporting Muslims.” Iran’s leader said the social affair swarm communicated something specific that the U.S. necessities to “address the Iranian country with deference.” The exhibits likewise included smoldering American banners, individuals droning “passing to America” in Farsi, and blazed President Donald Trump in representation. “America and Trump can’t do a damn thing. We are prepared to give up our lives for our pioneer,” a young fellow disclosed to Iranian state TV, reported Daily Caller. Iran is incorporated into Trump’s impermanent suspension of movement from seven nations recognized by his Oval Office forerunner as potential wellsprings of psychological oppressor dangers to the U.S. The movement suspension started far reaching challenges crosswise over airplane terminals in the U.S. also, outside the White House. Trump has taken a harder line position on Iran than previous President Barack Obama. Trump required overwhelming assents against the Islamic republic on Feb. 3, after the nation led a ballistic rocket test infringing upon an UN determination. Trump has likewise censured the past organization for seeking after the 2015 atomic arrangement, which he accepts encouraged the nation’s forceful conduct.


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Iran Shows Support To Anti-Trump Protests

Iranians commending the Islamic Revolution of 1979 held signs praising against Trump dissidents amid the yearly encourages in Tehran, The Washington Post reports.

The signs at the encourages are allegedly affirmed by government authorities, flagging the administration’s support. One such sign read, “Americans are welcome and welcomed to visit Iran,” and another read, “because of American individuals for supporting Muslims.” Iran’s leader said the social affair swarm communicated something specific that the U.S. necessities to “address the Iranian country with deference.”

The exhibits likewise included smoldering American banners, individuals droning “passing to America” in Farsi, and blazed President Donald Trump in representation. “America and Trump can’t do a damn thing. We are prepared to give up our lives for our pioneer,” a young fellow disclosed to Iranian state TV, reported Daily Caller.

Iran is incorporated into Trump’s impermanent suspension of movement from seven nations recognized by his Oval Office forerunner as potential wellsprings of psychological oppressor dangers to the U.S. The movement suspension started far reaching challenges crosswise over airplane terminals in the U.S. also, outside the White House.

Trump has taken a harder line position on Iran than previous President Barack Obama. Trump required overwhelming assents against the Islamic republic on Feb. 3, after the nation led a ballistic rocket test infringing upon an UN determination. Trump has likewise censured the past organization for seeking after the 2015 atomic arrangement, which he accepts encouraged the nation’s forceful conduct.

Posted in Iran, Shia, Uncategorized, US | Tagged | Leave a comment

Romania Reverses Decision to Weaken Corruption Law


 

 After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses.
By DAPHNE RUSTOW on Publish Date February 4, 2017. Photo by Robert Ghement/European Pressphoto Agency. Watch in Times Video »

BUCHAREST, Romania — After five straight days of spirited mass protests, and predictions that a half-million or more people might take to the streets on Sunday, Romania’s month-old government backed down Saturday and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses.

“We will hold an extraordinary meeting on Sunday to repeal the decree, withdraw it, cancel it,” Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said late Saturday evening.

It was a remarkable and rapid turnaround for a government that had shown every sign of holding firm against the protests.

As recently as Thursday, Mr. Grindeanu said, “We took a decision in the government and we are going to press ahead.”

Continue reading the main story

“I feel a bit better, but it isn’t enough,” said Mihai Saru, 20, a student. “They lost our trust when they released this emergency ordinance in the night. How do we know it won’t happen again in two weeks, a month? But tonight is a little victory.”

Chants mixed with blaring horns as protesters listened to the prime minister’s announcement on their phones. “Thieves!” many yelled. In a show of patriotic solidarity, the crowd broke into the national anthem, but the demonstrations continued into the night.

“This doesn’t change anything,” said Diana Popescu, 42, an economist. “They still lied. This government isn’t honest. We don’t want to be represented by a government of liars.”

The combination of the mass protests, which showed no signs of abating, and growing international condemnation seems to have weakened the government’s resolve. Even the Romanian Orthodox Church, normally a solid supporter of the government, criticized the decree.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the government of Romania’s recent measures that undermine rule of law and weaken accountability for financial and corruption-related crimes,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said on Thursday.

The first cracks in the government’s resolve appeared Saturday afternoon, when Liviu Dragnea, the president of the governing Social Democratic Party and its most powerful figure, told a local news outlet that the decree could well be withdrawn in an attempt to avert civil conflict. Mr. Dragnea said he was not sure he could “keep in check” his own party’s supporters.

“Romania needs peace and stability in order to move towards prosperity, development and democracy,” he said.

Mr. Dragnea is ineligible to serve as prime minister because he was convicted last year of electoral fraud, an offense for which he received a two-year suspended sentence. He is also facing a trial on abuse-of-power charges tracing back to his time as a local council president in a poor county southwest of Bucharest.

The governing party, which won a decisive victory in December, assumed office in January and quickly proposed a law to pardon those serving sentences of five years or less for certain crimes, a move the party said was intended to ease prison overcrowding.

Photo

Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu announced on Saturday that the government will cancel a controversial new decree reducing some penalties for corruption. Credit Andrei Pungovschi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It was unclear whether Mr. Dragnea himself would be in line for such a pardon, which would make him eligible again to be prime minister, but many on the streets believed he would have been. It was enough to inspire protests the past two Sundays.

The current round of protests began late Tuesday night when the government surprised opponents by enacting an “emergency decree,” which does not require a parliamentary vote. Among other things, the decree decriminalized cases of official misconduct in which the financial damage is less than 200,000 lei, or about $47,000.

There was no question that this would have benefited Mr. Dragnea — saving him from a potential prison sentence — as the charges against him involved an amount of money below that limit.

Within an hour of the decree’s enactment on Tuesday, despite the late hour, more than 10,000 protesters spontaneously gathered in Piata Victoriei, or Victory Square.

By Wednesday, the protests had spread across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people denounced what they viewed as a humiliating setback in the country’s fight to end endemic government corruption.

“In Romania, the political cleavage is not left against right, as it is in Western Europe,” said Sorin Ionita, a political analyst for the Expert Forum in Bucharest, a research group. “It is corruption versus anti-corruption.”

Posted in corruption, cultural blinders, political corruption, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

How much of the World Sees LBGT (if you are willing to allow such folk their Opinion)


 http://nation.lk/online/2017/01/28/why-indecent-hurry-over-lgbt-rights.html

WHY THE GREAT HURRY OVER LGBT

There has been much brouhaha over an attempt to give legal recognition to those with different sexual orientations. Critics have accused some sections of the government of making surreptitious attempts to legalise homosexuality and lesbianism and so on.

These matters fall into the wide area usually referred to as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights. The accusation is that moves to recognise these rights have come as a part of the so-called conditions imposed by the European Union for re-granting of the once withdrawn GSP Plus facilities for our exports.

It is not surprising that western countries often attempt to impose their cultural values upon the countries in the third world. The culture of any country is subject to change and as cultures change over decades what is not acceptable to the people at one point of time may become acceptable at some stage later. However, the western world has no right to impose their values on any other country particularly those in the third world when the people are not ready to accept them.

The other point is that so-called gay rights were officially accepted even in the liberal west not long ago. In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country to permit same-sex marriages. Since then it has spread into many countries in the Americas and Western Europe.

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed its first resolution recognizing LGBT rights which was followed up with a report from the UN Human Rights Commission documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people.

Following up on the report, the UNHRC urged all countries which had not yet done so to enact laws protecting basic LGBT rights.

On the other hand, in most parts of Asia and Africa gay rights have not been accepted while some thirty countries have passed expressed constitutional amendments banning a variety of same sex unions.

Societal attitudes towards homosexuality vary greatly in different cultures and different historical periods. All cultures have their own values regarding appropriate and inappropriate sexuality; some sanction same-sex love and sexuality while others may disapprove of such activities in part.

There seems to be broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia.

The acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Research has found that age is also a factor in several countries, with younger respondents offering far more tolerant views than older ones.

In any country some ideas are not discussed openly because of cultural inhibitions, however as the number of people supporting that particular view increases the matter becomes a subject of public discussion. That is how ideas should progress in the democratic world and this theory should apply to acceptance of LBGT rights as well.

When such rights were recognized in the west they did not do so under the influence of any other external power. Therefore the democratic west should understand that these developments should take place in a similar manner in the poorer democracies as well.
No external power has a right to impose any value system upon a country when its people are not in a mood to accept it. Neither should our politicians be in an indecent hurry to implement such ideas when there is opposition from the majority of the people. There is no point in creating a new controversy when there are enough issues that truly deserve their attention.

Posted in cultural blinders, cultural shifts, culture differences, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

   A lesson in bad manners from the University of Hong Kong


An undignified public feud between two top officials is a poor reflection on our top seat of learning, but sadly typical of our divided society

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 January, 2017, 2:27am

The internet and politics bring out the worst in people. Consider the latest public spat at the University of Hong Kong between council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung and William Cheung Sing-wai, head of the Academic Staff Association.

A fine example these two academic leaders have offered their students in manners and etiquette! Or is it that they are taking after their own rebellious and insolent pupils? Either way, it does not reflect well on Hong Kong’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.

In an open email exchange, Cheung accused Li of being “a liar” for failing to deliver a review of governance standards at the university, and said he should quit as a favour to everyone. Despite Cheung’s rudeness, Li might have taken the initiative to clarify whether or not he planned to deliver the review. Instead, he fired back a sarcastic reply in which he implied Cheung had “no intelligence or rationality”.

“After all, stupidity has no cure,” he wrote.

Cheung wrote back, suggesting Li himself suffered from the incurable condition and would make sure everyone knew about it.

Chairman of the HKU Academic Staff Association Dr William Cheung Sing-wai have made his disapproval of Authur Li very public. Photo: Nora Tam

Not long ago, such expressions of contempt among scholarly gentlemen would have been communicated behind closed doors. What is disturbing is the casual manner in which two academic leaders openly exchanged mutual disdain for all their staff and students to see. That’s something you usually associate with trolls in internet forums. But then, that is characteristic of political discourse in Hong Kong these days, and radical HKU students have been at the forefront of localist politics.

It’s now perfectly okay to express raw feelings and hate, unmediated by rational considerations, in the legislature, in public forums and on television.

That is perhaps to be expected given the bitterly divided state of our society. Our political conflicts have become so nasty and intractable that any once-held standards of social behaviour and tolerable opinion have been thrown out of the window. Civility is only possible when we all implicitly acknowledge social and political norms.

Nowadays, those very norms are being contested.

Still we expect our political and academic leaders to behave themselves – or at least show more wit when they insult each other.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment