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both blogs are back online
for adults only
Chinese officials have been stalling meetings on cross-strait cooperation with their Taiwanese counterparts since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May last year, hindering collaboration, officials familiar with the issue said yesterday.
During former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) term, Taipei and Beijing signed 23 agreements to promote collaboration in the areas of travel, air and sea freight, postal services, economy and finance, food safety, nuclear energy and curbing criminal activities, of which 21 took effect before Tsai took office.
Despite Tsai’s pledge to retain the agreements and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun’s (張志軍) statement that no changes would be made, Chinese officials have been delaying meetings that were mandated by the agreements, citing an “unpleasant atmosphere,” said the officials, who declined to be named.
At present, the only agreement that is proceeding normally is the postal service agreement, with the lack of progress a blow for Tsai’s policy of maintaining the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, the officials said.
As Chinese officials have delayed a majority of meetings with their Taiwanese counterparts, the only viable channels for cross-strait communication have become the telephone and the fax, they said.
As a result, they said that officials on both sides have worked out an alternative to addressing issues concerning people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait: Talking to one another on the sidelines of international seminars.
Since Tsai took office, China has been sending lower-level officials to attend meetings held in Taiwan, while the levels of officials tasked by Tsai’s administration with meeting Chinese officials have remained the same as in the Ma administration, sources said.
However, due to a restriction imposed by Beijing, high-ranking officials, such as ministers, deputy ministers and secretary-generals for the central government, are barred from attending meetings in China, sources said, adding that the Mainland Affairs Council bears the brunt of the restriction, as only division heads or lower-ranked officials are allowed to visit China.
Linda Sarsour, one of the organizers behind Saturday’s Women’s March, being held in Washington, D.C., was recently spotted at a large Muslim convention in Chicago posing for pictures with an accused financier for Hamas, the terrorist group.
Sarsour, the head of the Arab American Association of New York and an Obama White House “Champion of Change,” was speaking at last month’s 15th annual convention of the Muslim American Society and Islamic Circle of North America.
While there, she posed for a picture with Salah Sarsour, a member of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and former Hamas operative who was jailed in Israel in the 1990s because of his alleged work for the terrorist group.
Salah Sarsour, who is also a board member of American Muslims for Palestine, served as a bodyguard of sorts at the convention for Sumeyye Erdogan Bayraktar, the daughter of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
While it is unclear if Salah and Linda are related (though they share the same surname, she has suggested in the past on social media that they are not and did not respond to requests for comment), she has other family ties to alleged Hamas operatives. Though she avoids discussing it now, Sarsour has acknowledged in past interviews that she has cousins serving prison time in Israel because of their work for Hamas.
Sarsour has denied having any contact with the terror group. She told The New York Times in 2012 that she would not have been appointed an Obama “Champion of Change” if she had.
The activist has risen to national attention recently. She served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, and she is one of four lead organizers for the Women’s March.
The event is expected to attract 500,000 people and will feature several high-profile progressive speakers. But it has been heavily criticized for excluding pro-life women’s groups. Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group which opposes abortions past 20 weeks, was asked to take part in the event.
Linda Sarsour has close ties to that organization, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terrorism case.
HLF was found to have funneled money to Hamas, which was designated a terrorist group in the 1990s.
Salah Sarsour has ties to that group.
Sarsour was implicated in Hamas activity in the West Bank in the 1990s, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
ADL cited a Nov. 2001 FBI memo detailing information provided by Sarsour’s brother, Jamil, to Israeli investigators in 1998.
“According to statements given to Israeli investigators by his brother Jamil, Sarsour was personally involved in fundraising for Hamas. According to a November 2001 FBI memorandum, Jamil Sarsour was arrested in 1998 for funding Hamas and told Israeli investigators that Salah Sarsour was involved in funding Hamas through his fundraising for the Holy Land Foundation (HLF),” ADL reported.
The FBI memo stated that the Sarsours passed money in $1,000 and $2,000 increments to a Hamas operative named Adel Awadallah through their Milwaukee furniture store.
Awadallah was a commander in the Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ militant wing.
Salah Sarsour met Awadallah in 1995 while serving an eight month prison sentence in Israel for supporting Hamas.
Sarsour has not been charged with any crimes in the U.S. His brother Jamil was arrested and charged in 2003 with money laundering after returning back to the U.S. from Israel. He served a four year jail sentence for his work for Hamas.
Dalmia writes some of the “absurdity” related to the event stems from “the fact that they are billing this event as the voice of women when 42 percent of women (and 62 percent of non-college educated white women) actually voted for Trump.”
She also observes “the almost-comical progressive hysteria over the event’s name.” The initial plan by the “three white women” organizers, she says, was to call the event the “Million Women March,” but the women were criticized for “cultural appropriation” for “allegedly poaching the heritage of the 1997 Million Woman March for black women.”
“Feminists are confusing the issue by making Trump’s threat about themselves,” Dalmia concludes. “If they really wanted to help, they would have kept their powder dry for now, rather than embark on this confused and pointless march.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered a government-wide inquiry into preferential treatment in the hiring of former public servants, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday, after a top bureaucrat resigned over illegally helping secure a cushy post-retirement job.
The top government spokesman told a press conference Abe has instructed Kozo Yamamoto, minister in charge of civil service reform, to carry out the probe of all government ministries and agencies “to alleviate public concern.”
The government on Friday accepted the resignation of Kihei Maekawa as administrative vice minister at the education ministry after a government watchdog released a report concluding the ministry systematically helped a director general land a post-retirement job as a professor at Waseda University in Tokyo.
The Cabinet Office’s Re-employment Surveillance Commission found that not only had the action violated the national civil service law, but officials had also given false statements during the inquiry in an attempted coverup.
The government-wide probe will begin with investigations in each section of government, with suspicious cases subsequently reported to the watchdog, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Koichi Hagiuda said Friday.
Hagiuda, who also heads the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, told a press conference he had instructed the top bureaucrats of key ministries and agencies Friday to strictly observe the rules on re-employment in the wake of the scandal.
Education minister Hirokazu Matsuno said Friday the ministry will slash the salaries of Maekawa and two others, while suspending the work of four and asking the administrative vice minister at the time to return his salary on a voluntary basis.
Matsuno said he will also voluntarily return his salary for the next six months to take responsibility for the scandal.
“It is regrettable that such a matter has occurred in an organization of public servants who must comply with the law,” Matsuno said in apologizing.
According to the panel’s findings, the ministry’s human resources department approached Waseda University in June 2015 about taking the director general in question, Daisuke Yoshida, on and proceeded to lobby the university in an organized fashion, including by sending a resume produced in-house and arranging interview appointments.
The watchdog is now looking into 37 other cases involving senior officials at the ministry, with nine of them suspected of having similarly violated the law, according to the report.
With Maekawa’s resignation, Kazuo Todani, director general at the ministry, will take over its top bureaucrat post.
Yoshida, 61, resigned from his post as a professor Friday, Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata said.
“We regret that our understanding of the re-employment regulations was lacking and we were unable to stop the ministry’s illegal involvement,” Kamata told a press conference.
Kamata maintained the university had not colluded with the ministry and neither sought nor received any inappropriate payoff or advantage for employing Yoshida.
But he did apologize for the university having “temporarily confused the (watchdog’s) investigation” by initially providing a false explanation regarding the ministry’s request.
A teenager was rushed to hospital in Zimbabwe when he attempted to circumcise himself using a machete after his friends mocked his penis.
The teen attempted the DIY circumcision using the nearest sharp object he could find after his friends told him he would not get a girlfriend because he still had his foreskin in tact.
The boy was rushed to St Luke’s Mission Hospital in the country’s Lupane District, where he spent two days recovering from the botched procedure, according to the Daily Mail.
Staff at the clinic also carried out the circumcision operation that the boy had attempted on himself.
A doctor said he did not understand why the boy had tried to circumcise himself as healthcare workers would have visited his house to perform the routine op.
Dr Nyasha Masuka, medical director of Matabeleland North Province, told news website My Zimbabwe: “It seems the other boys were laughing at him for not being circumcised so he used a machete to circumcise himself and he injured himself in the process.’
“He was rushed to St Lukes Hospital where the health staff circumcised him.”
Dr George Mature, medical officer for Lupane district, said other patients at the hospital were ‘shocked’ that the boy had had the courage to take the weapon to his own penis.
He said: “The patients who were admitted with him were wondering how he managed to do it.
“The good thing is that he wounded the outer layer of foreskin. So we had to keep him at the hospital to monitor him as he had used a clinically inappropriate tool so we were worried that it could have caused an infection.”
The incident comes less than a month after a 10-year-old boy had the tip of his penis chopped off after a routine circumcision operation went horribly wrong.
The boy, who has not been named, was rushed to a hospital in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, after the incident at a clinic in a local suburb, which it is believed the surgeon’s laser scalpel might have slipped.