Friday, May 5, 2017

Gigantic Sandstorm Blankets Beijing - Again

Hola everyone!

Well, not a good way to start off the morning, but I had to report this as I don't know how many of you read The New York Times daily like I now have the luxury of time to do (since being retired).  This is just frightening to me.

And when I consider that if Orange One (Donald J. Trump, our illegitimate *president), gets his way, the United States could very well look like this in just a few years when he guts the Environmental Protection Agency and sells off our national heritage to big multi-nationals while slashing environmental protections for all Americans.

Dust Storms Blanket Beijing and Northern China
By Gerry Mullany May 5, 2017

The central business district in Beijing on April 25, left, and on Thursday, after a dust storm swept through. Such storms have become increasingly common for the region as China’s deserts expand.CreditNicolas Asfouri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
HONG KONG — Dust storms enveloped parts of northern China for a second day on Friday, reducing visibility in cities like Beijing and threatening the health of millions of people.
Such storms have become an increasingly common phenomenon for the region, as China’s deserts expand by gobbling up roughly 1,300 square miles a year. A half-century ago, such storms happened every seven or eight years; now they are an annual occurrence.
The storms typically happen in the spring, as strong winds send soil and sand from the Gobi Desert over northern China and even the Korean Peninsula.
This week’s dust storms led to the cancellation of scores of flights and caused pollution in northern China to soar. Beijing’s air-quality index hit a dangerous level of 623 on Thursday; the United States government rates readings above 200 as “very unhealthy” and 301 to 500 as “hazardous.”
Experts tie the problem to the rapid urbanization of northern China, deforestation and climate change. The government has spent billions of dollars to plant forests to stop the creeping desertification, but some experts have questioned whether it has been effective enough in doing so.
The state news media in China said that children and the elderly should stay indoors during the storms. On both Thursday and Friday, the storms were at their worst in the morning, with cities like Beijing clearing later in the day.
Sand and dust storms take place when hot air over the desert destabilizes the lower atmosphere, whipping up strong winds that send huge amounts of sand hundreds or even thousands of miles. The storms have been linked not only to respiratory illnesses but also to lethal epidemics because of the spread of potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and fungal spores.
The dust storms typically hit northern China after the region is afflicted by high wintertime smog, which is caused by coal-burning power plants, factories and vehicle emissions.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Islamic Rules Kick 12 Year Old Female Player Out of Chess Tournament

Are you effing kidding me?  Nope - it really happened.  Other news outlets have reported on the event, which happened at the National Scholastic Chess Championship of 2017 held April 14, 2017 at Putrajaya.   Here's the scoop from The Washington Post:

‘We are disgusted’: Youth chess coach says student kicked out of tournament for ‘seductive’ dress

Marissa Payne, April 29, 2917

Quoted from the Facebook post (includes photo above):

I heard the most disturbing incident from one of my student’s mother.
At the National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017, in Putrajaya, one of my student, who is a 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL felt harassed and humiliated by the actions of Tournament Director and Chief Arbiter.
In the middle of Round 2, (without stopping the clocks) Chief Arbiter informs my student that the dress she wore was improper and have violated the dress code of the tournament. It was later informed (by Chief Arbiter) to my student and her mother, that the Tournament Director deemed my student’s dress to be “seductive” and a “temptation from a certain angle far, far away”.
We found this statement completely out of line!
Please see attached photo of what she was wearing! Completely ridiculous!
After some discussion, Chief Arbiter had conceded and apologised to my student, personally assuring her that there was nothing wrong with her attire, but due to Tournament Director’s decision, he could not allow this dress to be worn by my student in the tournament. This discussion happened at around 10pm and Chief Arbiter gave them a choice to go to the mall nearby to buy a long slack for the next day 9.00am round. Due to the timing of this incident, it was impossible to get another attire in time for the 9.00am round next day, as all shops were already closed and wouldn’t be open in time.
Before the morning round next day, my student’s mother called Tournament Director regarding this matter, initially he had replied that he was not aware of the situation but after a brief discussion, it was realized that he knew all the details on this incident prior to this phone call. He promised to return the call upon discussion with Chief Arbiter, but this did not happen. He would further not answer or return any calls of my student’s mother.
This situation had led to the inevitable decision of withdrawal from the tournament all together.
We are absolutely DIGUSTED by the treatment of Tournament Director to a 12-year-old girl and her mother. This incident has resulted in loss of time and money which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, travelling, accommodation and other incurred cost.
This bright young girl was recently the champion of her district in MSS Kuala Lumpur and has shown tremendous potential in Chess. This incident has left her extremely disturbed, and embarrassed.
I have been playing chess in Malaysia for almost 2 decades and I have never heard this type of issue ever in any tournaments in Malaysia. This should be the first and last time this kind of issue ever appears, I or anyone of us should never accept this in our Chess Community.
We demand a public apology from Tournament Director of National Scholastic Chess Championship 2017. In the event, we do not receive a public apology in the next 5 days, we shall have no choice but to resort to legal proceedings.
Kaushal Khandhar
A Malaysian Chess Player & Coach

A 12 year-old chess champion in Malaysia was forced to withdraw from a youth tournament in the country after tournament organizers deemed her knee-length dress too “seductive,” the girl’s coach said.
The tournament director of the National Scholastic Chess Championship held April 14-16 made the call personally, the coach noted, after finding the dress to be “temptation."

"We found this statement completely out of line!” youth chess coach Kaushal Khandhar wrote on Facebook.

He said the incident left his student feeling “extremely disturbed, and embarrassed."

Dress codes in chess are not unusual, as FIDE, world chess’s governing body, allows tournament organizers to set them before their events to ensure participants maintain a “dignified appearance.” In certain Muslim-majority countries, such as Iran, organizers may require female participants to follow local customs, including covering their hair with headscarves.

Malaysian women, however, do not face the same restrictions, and skirts or shorts that extend to the knee are commonly worn in public spaces.

"I have been playing chess in Malaysia for almost two decades and I have never heard this type of issue ever in any tournaments in Malaysia,” Khandhar added.

Making matters worse, the coach said, was the timing of the incident. The girl apparently was able to play in the dress without incident in the first round of the tournament but was pulled aside in the middle of the second round Thursday and told her attire didn’t conform with the dress code.

Khandhar said tournament organizers gave the girl the option to go purchase a pair of slacks and return to the event the next day, however, Khandhar said by the time that offer was made it was past 10 p.m., and all the shops had closed. They would not open again in time to meet the next day’s call time of 9 a.m., meaning the girl had no choice but to withdraw.

"We are absolutely DISGUSTED by the treatment of Tournament Director to a 12-year-old girl and her mother,” Khandhar continued. “This incident has resulted in loss of time and money which was invested before, during and after the tournament on coaching, registration fees, traveling, accommodation and other incurred costs."

Khandhar said the girl and her family are hoping for a public apology.

The unnamed tournament director has not commented on the allegations specifically, but told the Malay Mail Online on Friday that the would be lodging a police report.  [What?  A police report - for what?  And who, exactly, is allegedly going to be or has already filed this 'police report?'  The word typed in the article is "THE would be lodging a police report."  Is this supposed to be HE - or THEY? And if it is THEY, who is THEY, specifically?]

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Chess Federation told the paper an investigation of the incident is underway. A spokesman for the governing body said it had already reached out to the girl’s mother, whose statement on the incident did not exactly match the coach’s.

"The claim [Khandhar] posted is different from the official complaint [from the mother],” the MCF told the Malay Mail Online, noting it could not comment further due to legal concerns. “We will take action once the report comes out."  [How is Khandhar's claim different?  Why hasn't anyone asked?  What does this mean - we will take action once the report comes out?  What report - their OWN 'investigation?'  A police investigation?  And what do the police have to do with something like this in the first place?  NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!]

WTF?  There's more - DISGUSTING...
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