The ‘Spycops’ bill undermines the rule of law and gives a green light to serious crimes

The so-called culture wars are not just about race and gender. They encompass a barrage of attacks on progressive or “woke” values to distract attention from catastrophic pandemic management in both Washington and Westminster. On closer inspection, some of the targets in the crosshairs are actually rather conservative; a case in point being the rule of law.



text, whiteboard: Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo


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Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo

If the prime minister and the home and defence secretaries are anything to go by, lawyers are the new enemies of the state. But as these ministers are not averse to employing briefs in their own causes – both personal and political – I rather suspect it’s the message, not the messengers, that they are trying to destroy.

Related: David Greene: Condemning lawyers for doing their jobs is inherently dangerous

It is now well over a decade since former master of the rolls Tom Bingham published his seminal book The Rule of Law. The most glittering legal and judicial career notwithstanding, he wanted to make this vital constitutional principle more readily accessible to the people it is designed to protect. He asked me to endorse his book and chair his discussion of it at the Royal Society for Arts. The greatest jurist of my lifetime was also incredibly good at plain English. He set out eight tests for the rule of law with a succinct clarity that any pundit or politician would envy.



text, whiteboard: Banners outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the judge-led public inquiry into alleged misconduct of undercover police officers who spied on hundreds of different political groups.


© Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo
Banners outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the judge-led public inquiry into alleged misconduct of undercover police officers who spied on hundreds of different political groups.

Bingham’s third rule was that “the laws of the land should apply equally to all” . His fifth was, “the law must afford adequate protection of fundamental human rights”. At the time, we thought the former incontrovertible and the latter slightly contentious. Ten years on, both values are in peril.

Two bills currently before the House of Commons would undermine these principles. The overseas operations bill would make it much harder to prosecute British personnel for serious crimes – including torture – overseas, and immunise the Ministry of Defence from claims by the very veterans it has neglected.

The second, the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill, is arguably even more abhorrent. It grants a host of state agencies the power to licence its agents and officers to commit grave crimes in advance, even here in the United Kingdom.

To be clear, I believe many undercover operations to be essential. Yet it was always ridiculous that, while judicial warrants were required for the searches of premises, they were not needed for the far more intrusive and dangerous placing of spies in people’s homes, offices, trades unions, friendship circles and even bedrooms. These remain a matter of administrate discretion for security services, police forces and a host of other state agencies, without the need for any external authorisation.

Related: The UK government is attempting to bend the

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TikTok inks multi-year licensing deal with Dutch collecting Society Buma/Stemra

TikTok has signed a multi-year deal with Dutch Collecting Society Buma/Stemra, securing royalty payments for the songwriters, composers and publishers represented by the organization.

The agreement follows last month’s news of TikTok’s 100 million monthly active user milestone in Europe in addition to a similar number in the United States.

As part of the deal, according a press statement, TikTok will work with Buma/Stemra’s members to deepen their “understanding of the platform and the opportunities it presents to those creating and also performing music”.

Buma/Stemra’s members include Dutch EDM stars and TikTok users such as Fedde Le Grand and Tiësto, as well as Martin Garrix, whose hit Ocean featuring Khalid has been used in over 1.4m video creations and Summer Days the soundtrack to 1.2m creations.

In addition, prominent Dutch artists, songwriters and producers Kris Kross Amsterdam, Broederliefde, Duncan Laurence, Sam Feldt, Quintino and Nicky Romero also use the platform.

“This deal with Buma/Stemra secures royalty payments to the Dutch song-writing and publishing community and underlines TikTok’s commitment to paying creators when their music is used.”

Ole Obermann, TikTok

Ole Obermann Global Head of Music at TikTok, said: “This deal with Buma/Stemra secures royalty payments to the Dutch song-writing and publishing community and underlines TikTok’s commitment to paying creators when their music is used.

“Through our platform, a global audience can appreciate and explore their own creativity, using the musical talent of renowned producers, DJs and songwriters from The Netherlands.

“I’m delighted we’ve built on our existing relationship and put this multi-year deal in place.”

“This is good news for our authors and publishers, especially in these days where our members income has diminished in other markets.”

Bernard Kobes, Buma/Stemra

Bernard Kobes, CEO at Buma/Stemra, added:: “We are very happy that the intense but constructive negotiations with TikTok have brought us this agreement.

“This is good news for our authors and publishers, especially in these days where our members income has diminished in other markets.

“We look forward developing this partnership deal further with TikTok and our members”.

 Music Business Worldwide

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Government loses credibility as coronavirus goalposts keep moving

I’ve repeated this often over the last few months. We have lost sight of the goal. I think it’s reasonable for everyone to take a step back and say how did we end up here? How did we go from we need to flatten the curve for the month of April, to “we are going to shut your business down in September and October if you decide to stay open?”

In California, the goalposts continue to move. At the beginning, the goal was to make sure we had enough hospital beds, make sure we had enough PPE equipment, make sure we weren’t having to choose between who could live and who couldn’t. Thankfully, because of the people of San Diego and the great work from our local public health officials, we never had any of those problems.

Now though, the goal has changed. In California, we have a flawed color-coded system and that doesn’t even have a green tier with full openings. Businesses are going to limited in capacity for an indefinite period.

We’ve been told that life won’t get back to normal until there’s a vaccine. So, if the goal truly is to keep everyone locked down until there is a vaccine, we have to start being honest. An Axios/Ipsos poll was done last week that said only 13 percent of Americans would be willing to try the vaccine when it comes out.

Trust is decreasing, and now more and more people are becoming suspicious of what is coming out from the government. Almost all business owners set goals, whether it’s financial or other factors. They set goals as a way to look towards the future.

I look to Governor Newsom and Sacramento and I wonder, what is the goal? Is it hospital capacity? Is it a vaccine and extinction of the virus?

Yes, we should be working on a vaccine, but we should not base our economic future solely on it. We need to learn to live with this virus. If a vaccine is the goal, we need to win the trust back of the public. We need to let them get back to a life as normal as possible. We need to give them the facts.

The facts are, if you are under the age of 50 you have a 99.98% chance of surviving COVID-19. If you are below 70 you have a 99.5% chance. In San Diego County, 6% of our hospital beds are COVID-19 patients, and we have thousands of open hospital beds available in case of an increase. Those are the facts.

We need to quit playing with the emotions of business owners and with flawed color-coded systems. We need to start being honest when it comes to the goals for dealing with COVID-19, because we are quickly losing the trust of the people.

Jim Desmond is a San Diego County supervisor.

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Mothers are the ‘Shock Absorbers’ of Our Society

Without school, the calculation implodes. If you can even get child care, the high expenses continue, and during this pandemic, there is more housework to be done and more child-related tasks to complete. (For example, I spent at least 15 minutes last week trying to log into Seesaw — a string of words that would not have even made sense to me before March 2020.) Because men tend to outearn women, it is economically the more rational decision for some proportion of mothers to leave their jobs.

But that does not mean they’re happy about it, or that it’s good for marriages or long-term financial security. “Sacrificing market skills to help your family comes at a really big cost,” said Stevenson. “And potentially causes tensions in marriages, and when you put those two together, a generation of women may be pretty badly scarred by Covid.”

Calarco has been conducting a survey of over 100 Indiana mothers as part of the Pandemic Parenting Study since April, and she found that almost 40 percent of her respondents are reporting increases in pandemic-related frustrations with their partners, and child care is a major source of strife. Rather than ask their spouses to step up their domestic contributions, “mothers blame themselves for these conflicts and feel responsible for reducing them, including by leaving the work force, beginning use of antidepressants, or ignoring their own concerns about Covid-19,” Calarco and her co-authors noted in a pre-print of a new paper using data from their study.

As Muthulingam put it, women are the “shock absorbers of our system, and the poorer and more precarious you are, the more shock you’re expected to absorb.” She recognizes how lucky she is to even be able to cut down on work — something single mothers, like Jamie Brody, 38, of Boynton Beach, Fla., cannot do.

Brody has a 3-year-old daughter, and she lost her job as an account executive for an insurance company in May, which she described as “quite traumatic.” When she was unemployed and without consistent child care, she would spend all day teaching and playing with her kid. Then after she put her daughter to bed, Brody estimated that she spent three to five hours each night scouring job sites looking for work.

She finally found a job selling data visualization software, which she started two weeks ago, and Brody’s daughter is back in preschool, which makes her feel anxious. “I feel like I’m choosing between health and financial security,” she said. That’s a choice that no parent should have to make.

P.S. Follow us on Instagram @NYTParenting. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for the NYT Parenting newsletter here.

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SAfrican cricket in danger of ban as government intervenes

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa is in danger of being banned from international cricket after its government said Wednesday that it intended to intervene in the affairs of the sport’s national body following revelations of serious misconduct by senior officials.

The statement from sports minister Nathi Mthethwa said he had informed the International Cricket Council of the intended action. The ICC’s constitution forbids government interference and the punishment is normally a ban from international games for the country’s teams until the national cricket body is operating independently again.

The tension between the South African government and Cricket South Africa relates to a long-running investigation into the affairs of the cricket body, which resulted in the firing of CEO Thabang Moroe for serious misconduct in August.

But Cricket South Africa refused to make the report by independent investigators public and also resisted an attempt by the government-aligned South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to conduct its own investigation into CSA.

CSA ultimately relented and publicly released a summary of the forensic investigation’s findings this month, more than two months after it received the report. CSA was also forced to hand over the full report, nearly 500 pages long, to a committee of South African lawmakers last week after they demanded to see it.

The parts of the report that have been publicly released revealed serious misconduct and possible acts of corruption and implicated Moroe and former chief operating officer Naasei Appiah in the wrongdoing. But lawmakers who saw all the documents questioned Tuesday why other executives and board members at the body were not investigated, and if CSA was trying to hide wrongdoing by others.

They called it a “a one-sided report.”

CSA is currently operating with an acting president and an acting CEO, and the board has been severely criticized for failing to act to stop the misconduct during Moroe’s tenure.

On Wednesday, Mthethwa said a series of meetings with CSA “to try and assist CSA to stabilize its governance matters” had come to nothing and accused the cricket body of being uncooperative.

“I have now reached a point where I see no value in any further engagement with CSA,” Mthethwa said.

The sports minister gave cricket officials until Oct. 27 to argue why he shouldn’t intervene.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Don’t blame the government for its handling of Covid. It’s our fault, apparently

At the weekend I went to Broadway Market in east London for the first time in seven months, because – and you don’t need to know this, but I’m telling you anyway – I became semi-obsessed with some walnut saucisson I saw tagged there on Instagram, and emerged blinking and pale from my hole just to find some. I’m glad I did, because the entire venture felt like a normal-world autumnal thing to be doing: shuffling round a food market in a long coat, holding a slightly overpriced latte someone made with an imported Japanese machine, marvelling at small, aesthetically bred pedigree dogs, looking at a vintage trinket stall and considering if I want to have a copper diving helmet in my house (no): revelling in that gorgeous early Saturday afternoon ritual of slowly deciding that you want a pint.



a person holding a sign: Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock


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Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

For a moment I felt normal, and then I gazed out over the crowd and the intrusive thought came back into my head: “Guh, they should all be at home! Covidiots!”

That phrase, GTSABAH! C!, has been in my brain more or less on a loop since April, when the first clench of lockdown loosened just an inch, and people went tentatively to the park, and other people – let’s be honest, snitches – took photos of them there, and tweeted those photos and sent them to the newspapers, which then presented small clusters of people quietly eating a 99 on a park bench in the same way you or I might regard a war crime. Ever since then I’ve been careful not to find myself in too big a crowd out in public, because it only takes one person with a wide-angle lens and there I am, trapped in the same nonchalant, angular pose as Bigfoot in that photo, a super-spreader criminal with a rapidly melting Feast halfway up to his nose, damned online for ever. So mostly, I’ve stayed indoors.

This would be fine if the public didn’t still blame me for, well, coronavirus. As YouGov found this week, the wider public – ie the victims of, and necessarily the spreaders of, coronavirus – predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not – random example – the government that has overseen a succession of calamitous cronyism and policy failures on a thrice-weekly basis since March. Of 1,972 adults surveyed, 53% hold the public (that is: themselves) responsible for the rise in coronavirus cases over the past month, with only 28% pointing their (freshly washed, for 20 seconds or more) finger at the government. Split that data by voting intention, and 78% of Conservative voters blame the public, with only 7% mad at the government. Labour voters went 29% public, 55% government. As for leave voters, 71% said public, 14% government, while remain went for the most balanced split: 42% public, 43% government.



a person holding a sign: ‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the crisis and not, random example, the government that has overseen a succession of policy failures.’


© Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock
‘YouGov found that the wider public predominantly blame each other for the

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Sunak Urged to Protect Indebted Poor Nations With New Law

(Bloomberg) — U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak could free the poorest nations to fight the coronavirus pandemic by protecting them from “unscrupulous” private creditors, the opposition Labour Party said.

With English law governing a significant share of the sovereign debt issued by developing nations, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called for legislation to protect those countries from being sued for debt recovery by private lenders. It’s time, she said, for the government to show leadership on debt forgiveness in the way successive U.K. governments did a decade ago following the financial crisis.



a man wearing a suit and tie: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents 'Winter Economy Plan'


© Bloomberg
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents ‘Winter Economy Plan’

Rishi Sunak

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Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“A global debt crisis would not just undermine the fight against the virus, but drive up poverty, increase political instability and hamper efforts to address climate change,” Dodds wrote in a letter to Sunak ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers on Wednesday.

The Treasury said Britain is pushing international partners to reach an agreed approach on debt reduction with “comparable” reductions from private creditors.

Some 73 of the world’s poorest nations could potentially benefit from $11.5 billion of savings under a program called the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, agreed by G-20 nations in April, according to World Bank estimates. The program runs through the end of the year, and the U.K. is among nations that support extending it beyond then.

“To protect the poorest countries’ ongoing access to international markets, the G-20 agreed that the private sector should take part in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative voluntarily,” the Treasury said in a statement. “We continue to strongly encourage private creditors to participate whenever requested by borrowers.”

Showing Leadership

Under the DSSI, eligible countries can ask private creditors for the same freeze as they have with sovereign ones, but only a handful have done so out of fear they could fall into default and be locked out of debt markets for years.

Labour, citing International Monetary Fund data, said English law governs 46% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds. That proportion rises to 90% of debt issued by the nations benefiting from the forgiveness program, according to the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“A powerful show of leadership would be for the U.K. to bring forward legislation that amends English law, temporarily limiting the ability of private creditors to sue for debt recovery for the 73 countries covered by the DSSI,” Dodds said.

She pointed to existing laws introduced by Labour and passed by the Conservative-led government that succeeded it in 2010, covering the debt of 45 nations issued before 2004.

“Similar legislation for the current crisis, brought forward after consultation, would provide a lifeline for some of the world’s poorest countries and prevent so-called ‘vulture funds’ profiteering from the economic distress caused by the pandemic,” Dodds said.

(Updates with Treasury comment starting in fourth paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Asia Society Hong Kong Thanksgiving Virtual Gala

This October 2020, Asia Society Hong Kong (ASHK) will celebrate its 30th anniversary.  We will hold a virtual Thanksgiving Gala on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. ASHK will take this momentous occasion to honor 12 visionaries who have been instrumental in the establishment of Asia Society in Hong Kong. We are delighted to honor Sir Q.W. Lee, Robert B. Oxnam, Jack Tang, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Robert and Chantal Miller, Mochtar Riady, Burton Levin, Nicholas Platt, Tung Chee-hwa, Chien Lee, Mary Lee Turner, and John S. Wadsworth Jr.

To show our appreciation at this time of giving, we will showcase ASHK’s diverse contribution to the city: Fireside chats with inspiring leaders of Hong Kong (12 highly respected honorees), in-depth and timely political discussion on the future of the Sino-American relationship under the new U.S. administration, and some special music performances. To conclude the evening, we will welcome guests to an after party from 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. True to our mission, we promise to inspire, unite and connect!

2020 has been challenging for Hong Kong, and ASHK is not immune to its effects. Despite the adversities, we continue to steer ahead and provide you with different programs and events in innovative ways. Proceeds from this gala will contribute significantly to our mission of educating people about the countries and culture of Asia and global issues that impact the region.

Please find more details on table sponsorship and ticket purchase here. Any donation will be matched 1:1 thanks to a matching initiative from the ASHK Board of Trustees.


Fireside Chat: The Future of U.S.-China Relations

At Asia Society Hong Kong Center, our mission is to promote mutual understanding and strengthen partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions in Asia and the West. Being nestled in Hong Kong, a global city and geopolitical hotspot where East meets West, U.S.-China relations remain front and centre. As we come together for a revered American tradition to celebrate togetherness, join us for a dialogue for which we unite high-ranking U.S. and Chinese diplomats for an engaging conversation on the future of the Sino-American relationship under the new U.S. administration.


Menu

Thank you for considering supporting our gala. ASHK has partnered with a number of local Hong Kong restaurants. Acknowledging how hard they have affected by Covid-19, we hope to provide some much needed support to the Food and Beverage Industry while providing diverse dinner options for our guests.  


2020 Asia Society Hong Kong Gala Honorees

FOUNDERS

  • Sir Q.W. Lee (in memoriam)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VISIONARIES

 

 

 

  • Robert and Chantal Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 


STATESMEN

  • Burton Levin (in memoriam)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BUILDERS

 

 

 

 

 

 


Partners:


Sponsorship:

  • Table Sponsorship           HK$38,000
  • Individual Ticket               HK$4,000

For further information, please contact Ms. Anjali Grover, Head of Strategic Development at [email protected] or (852)2103-9536.

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Evelyn Mullen named American Nuclear Society Fellow | US Department of Energy Science News

13-Oct-2020

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory

Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.


LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 13, 2020–Evelyn Mullen, chief operating officer for Global Security at Los Alamos National Laboratory, was named a fellow of the American Nuclear Society for her leadership in nuclear national security and ensuring the nation’s experimental capability in nuclear criticality.

“For more than 25 years, Evelyn Mullen has displayed outstanding leadership in nuclear and radiological threat response,” said Nancy Jo Nicholas, associate Laboratory director for Global Security at Los Alamos. “She has provided intellectual leadership for planning and executing science and technology for nuclear nonproliferation, detection, render safe, and attribution; foreign nuclear weapon analysis; and nuclear detonation response and recovery issues. Being named an ANS Fellow is a well-deserved honor for someone who has contributed so much to the field.”

Mullen was instrumental in developing plans for new diagnostic capabilities for subcritical plutonium-integrated experiments at the Nevada National Security Site that will become operational in 2025. Furthermore, she currently leads a major effort for recovery from a radiation source accident in Seattle, Wash.

Mullen joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1992. She holds bachelor and master of science degrees in nuclear engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the State of New Mexico. She currently serves on the Army Science Board. Mullen has volunteered with the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation on the scholarship and grants committees for many years and is a founding member of the Legacy Society. Mullen is also a founding member of the Los Alamos Community Foundation and has been recognized by the Los Alamos Engineering Council with their community service award.

Established in 1954, the American Nuclear Society is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 9,500 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities, and private industry. ANS’s mission is to advance, foster, and spur the development and application of nuclear science, engineering, and technology to benefit society.


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About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.

 

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Firm hire: Former NI Law Society president leads BLM offices | News

Insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM has appointed former president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland John Guerin as head of both the Belfast and Derry offices. 

Guerin commented: ‘Our clients’ needs are complex and have been compounded by the evolving environment in which we are all operating. I am honoured to be leading such a dedicated team that have our clients’ full confidence.’

John_Guerin

Legal expert Cormac Fitzpatrick has also been promoted to the firm’s strategy setting executive board. Fitzpatrick has overall leadership of the firm’s Irish offices working closely with the operations board, managing partner Vivienne Williams and senior partner Matthew Harrington.

The new leadership team follows the April appointments of partners Sinead Connolly and Olivia Treston as joint heads of office for Dublin.

Fitzpatrick commented: ‘As BLM and the wider law and business sectors adapt to the current challenges of the pandemic, our innovations and new leadership team position us strongly to deliver great outcomes for clients in the coming months and years.

‘Undoubtedly there have been operational challenges, however, our talented workforce has embraced our digital transformation strategy and we are confident that we will maintain momentum and our exceptional service provision across the island of Ireland in the period ahead.

BLM has seen significant business growth in its Northern Ireland office since a merger with Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors in 2014.

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