Nazi Salutes End In Arrests For Chinese Tourists In Berlin

Two Chinese tourists were arrested outside Berlin’s Reichstag building after making Nazi salutes.

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Two Chinese tourists posing for cell phone pictures in front of the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament building, wound up under arrest Saturday for making the Heil Hitler gesture, according to multiple media reports citing German police.

The two men, ages 36 and 49, have been released after each posting close to $600 bail.

Hate speech and symbols are largely verboten today in Germany. The Nazis, who ruled between 1933 and 1945, used such methods to help whip up support, allowing millions of Jews and other minorities to be systemically slaughtered.

After World War II, the Nazi party was banned and strict rules against hate speech and symbols were designed to protect vulnerable people.

On Saturday, the Chinese men were charged under Germany’s criminal code prohibiting the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations,” including “flags, insignia, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting.”

Breaking the law is punishable by fine or up to three years in prison.

The Reichstag holds powerful significance to Germans. It burned down in 1933; the Nazis blamed communists and exploited the blaze to increase the police state and restrict freedoms of speech, press and assembly throughout the country. The Reichstag was rebuilt after the war.

The New York Timesreports Germany has seen a surge of Chinese tourists in recent years, after the European Union was approved as a travel destination. Approximately 2 million Chinese visitors come to Germany each year. And while Germans are familiar with the legacy of World War II and the laws forbidding Nazi gestures, it is less certain that foreign tourists are aware of the rules.

A police spokeswoman told The Times, she didn’t know whether the tourists were still in Germany.

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Venezuelan Leaders Say They Squashed Attempted Uprising At Military Base


Questions about the Venezuelan army’s support for President Nicolás Maduro are gaining urgency, after a video posted to social media showed a group of armed men in military uniform claiming to be staging a rebellion against a “murderous tyranny” Sunday.

El Pais reports some men attacked the Fuerte Paramacay military base in the northern city of Valencia and were able to make off with weapons, while forces loyal to Maduro used megaphones to urge the rebels to lay down arms.

But the counter punch was swift.


Jesús Suárez Chourio, Commander of Venezuela’s Army said in a video from the base, “we found a paramilitary group who took advantage of the current situation and assaulted us. But immediately, they were repelled. They were defeated.”

At least one person died and another was injured in the attack, says El Pais.

On Twitter, Diosdado Cabello, the number two in the ruling socialist party labelled the incident a “terrorist attack” and tweeted that the situation was under control.

Seven people have been captured, according to Remigio Ceballos, a commanding chief of the armed forces.

Of the video calling for an uprising, NPR’s Philip Reeves reports, “the footage shows a man identifying himself as a captain demanding a transitional government and the restoration of constitutional order.”

The man says his name is Juan Caguaripano and is clear to point out that the group is not waging a coup.

The Associated Press reports Caguaripano has a history of rebellion:

“In 2014, while a captain in the national guard and amid a previous wave of anti-government unrest, he released a 12-minute video denouncing Maduro. He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to dissatisfaction within the ranks over Venezuela’s demise.

“He returned to Venezuela to lead Sunday’s uprising, said Giomar Flores, a mutinous naval officer who said he is a spokesman for the group from Bogota, Colombia.”

In a country that has been rocked by turmoil for months, NPR’s Reeves urged caution in weighing competing claims around the supposed uprising.

“There is a very intense propaganda war going on in Venezuela at this time,” reports Reeves.

Amid a collapsing economy and food shortages, anti-Maduro protests have been a near constant in Venezuela since April.

More than 100 people have died in clashes between security forces, and protesters and more than 500 people have been detained, reports the AP.

But with last week’s vote to create a constituent assembly, which critics labeled a sham governing body to consolidate Maduro’s power, the crisis has been escalating.

Two days after the vote, Venezuelan security agents arrested two main opposition leaders in midnight raids, making good on Maduro’s vow to crack down on dissent.

And on Saturday, when the newly-elected assembly held its first session, it voted to oust a chief prosecutor and major Maduro critic.

Javier Giribet-Vargas contributed to this report.

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Nursing Mom Makes The Breast Of It After Museum Tells Her To Cover Up

A pulpit for Pisa Cathedral by Italian sculptor Giovanni Pisano, showing a woman breastfeeding, was on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in October 2016. This weekend, a breastfeeding museum visitor says she was told to cover up, which the museum says violates its own policies.

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The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has apologized to a breastfeeding visitor who says she was told to cover up.

Flashed a nanosecond of nipple while #breastfeeding and was asked to cover up in @V_and_A courtyard. Am perplexed….

— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017

The woman, who posts on Twitter as @vaguecher, says she had “flashed a nanosecond of nipple” in the museum’s courtyard when she was told to conceal her breasts. Instead of bearing that in silence, she busted out her phone and started tweeting.

She ribbed the V&A, pointing out that the museum seemed totally fine with some bare bosoms — as long as they were made of stone instead of flesh.

‘I will throw you out of this museum with your naked breasts!’ ‘But I’m made of marble!’ ‘Oh sorry you’re fine then’

— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017

She tweeted an image of herself beside “Peasant woman nursing a baby,” with the comment, “am perplexed.”

‘Excuse me madam, would you mind covering your breasts with this mask while you feed?’

— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017

She tweeted images of “Mankind,” “The Rape of Proserpina” and “Vertumnus and Pomona,” among other pieces in the V&A collection, all of which prominently featured nude female breasts.

‘All these naked breasts are putting people off their food’

— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017

The museum responded to apologize, saying that “women are welcome to breastfeed in the museum.”

The director of the museum also spoke up, saying the museum’s policy clearly says breastfeeding mothers “[should] not be disturbed.”

The woman in question told the BBC that she appreciated the apologies and the widespread support she received.

“That said, clearly not everyone is aware of the legal protection that women are afforded when feeding in a public space,” she told the BBC. “Policies are important, but they only work if staff are supported to understand and carry them out.”

Still, the incident didn’t totally ruin her trip to the museum.

She said she had a fine time “exploring depictions of breasts through the ages and making lovely mammaries.”

On the upside, I had a lovely day at @v_and_a exploring depictions of breasts thru the ages and making lovely mammaries. I mean memories.

— Vaguechera (@vaguechera) August 5, 2017

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This School District Asked Real-Estate Agents To Help Rekindle Its Reputation

Housing, school scores and Real Estate

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Brian MacDonald was looking for a new home several years ago in the wealthy city of Pasadena, Calif. He says when he told the real-estate agent he had five school-aged children, she told him not to enroll in Pasadena’s public schools.

That what pretty surprising to MacDonald. He’s the school district’s superintendent.

“Her recommendation was Arcadia, or even Glendora,” two nearby cities, he says. “She thought that it was OK to tell me that I should put my kids in another district. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. My jaw dropped.”

A contentious desegregation order decades ago has helped turn Pasadena into a city with big divisions in education. Nearly half of the area’s kids attend private school or a school outside the district – more than any district its size in the country.

The National Association of Realtors advises agents not to tell clients whether schools are good or bad. That may steer them away or toward a particular community — which could be a violation of federal Fair Housing laws. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

And in MacDonald’s view, the agent’s recommendation is part of an outdated view that the city’s public schools are poor quality — a point of view that persists today.

Just ask Lauren Lofton. When considering a move to Pasadena, she looked into the public schools for her 4-year-old daughter. Despite home price tags near or above a million dollars, Lofton found low standardized test scores.

“It doesn’t make sense,” she says. “You can have these great homes, great values, great for raising families, but everyone is saying you have to go to private school.”

She says may of those recommendations came from friends and family.

“I think if your house is worth a lot of money in good neighborhoods, you should be able to go to the neighborhood school.”

Loften’s agent, Del Lile, grew up here, but moved away when he had kids, in part because of the poor school reputations. That was years ago.

Lile says relying on hearsay, or doing a quick internet search, doesn’t tell you the whole picture about a school district.

“So often people just look at a score from GreatSchools or whatever,” says Lile. “And that really doesn’t tell the story.” He says those numbers can be skewed for a variety of reasons.

When working with Loften, he made sure to include information about Pasadena’s bilingual programs, new magnet programs and its growing college admissions at one of the high schools.

Lile says his opinion on the district turned around after he joined something called the Realtors’ Initiative, a program created a couple years ago by the school district’s independent fundraising foundation.

The goal of the program is to give real-estate agents up-to-date information about new programs and results in the district — and to ask them what schools could do to attract families like the Loftons.

After all, Pasadena graduation rates have been improving faster than the state average and enrollment isn’t dropping as fast as it was four years ago.

School officials met with hundreds of agents at their offices, asked them to volunteer in the schools, and pulled the curtain back on decision-making in the school district. There’s even a monthly Lunch with the Superintendent.

At one meeting, Shawn Bird, Chief Academic Officer, explained the latest in school improvements.

“We have magnet schools, we have several magnet schools, which I’ll talk about in a few minutes, and we have signature program schools, which are primarily dual-language programs.”

Unlike the city as a whole, Pasadena’s public school population is predominately black, Latino and low-income. Superintendent Brian MacDonald says the program, “is a part of our desire to attract a more diverse group of kids into our school system.”

By diverse, he means the type of families who’ve turned away from Pasadena schools for decades: professionals, white, Asian families. Those student populations have been growing in recent years.

MacDonald says there’s another sign that the initiative is working: He’s looking for a new home — and this time, the realtor recommended Pasadena public schools.

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Japan Calls For Denuclearized World On 72nd Anniversary Of Hiroshima

Sunday marked 72 years since the U.S. dropped one of two atomic bombs on Japan. On the eve of the anniversary, organizers of a peace event lit up torches on floats on the Motoyasu River next to the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima.

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On Sunday, Japan marked 72 years since the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, destroying a portion of the city and its inhabitants, and heralding the end of World War II.

About 50,000 people, including representatives from 80 nations, gathered for an annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Sunday, reportsThe Japan Times.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for global cooperation to end nuclear weapons.

“For us to truly realize a world without nuclear weapons, the participation of both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states is necessary,” he said.

Last month, the United Nations reached its first agreement to ban nuclear weapons. But Japan, along with the nine nuclear-armed nations, including the United States, refused to take part in the negotiations and the vote.

Critics of the treaty, including the United States, say it does nothing to counter the “grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program.” Member states can sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons next month; if ratified, it will be put into effect 90 days later, reportsThe New York Times.

Japan already adheres to a policy of not possessing, producing or allowing nuclear weapons on its territory. It is the only country to have ever come under nuclear attack.

72 years ago

On Aug. 6, 1945, the atomic bomb dropped by the Enola Gay Boeing B-29 detonated, killing an estimated 140,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki, killing an estimated 75,000. Within weeks, Japan surrendered.

Last year, then-President Obama became the first U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where he called for an end to nuclear weapons. That visit provoked the ire of then-candidate Trump.

“Does President Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he’s in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost,” Trump tweeted.

So far, the Trump administration has focused on a denuclearized North Korea over a denuclearized world.

In February Trump told Reuters that “if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

Sanctions appear to be the current international tool of choice for taking on North Korea.

A day before the Hiroshima anniversary, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to impose new sanctions on North Korea over last month’s long-range missile tests.

On Sunday, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a message calling for the United States and other nuclear-armed countries to do more to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“(O)ur dream of a world free of nuclear weapons remains far from reality. The states possessing nuclear weapons have a special responsibility to undertake concrete and irreversible steps in nuclear disarmament.”

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