Monday, February 12, 2024

A fire wreaked havoc and left thousands of people homeless — but it barely made the news

The Rohingya are certainly in a bad way but what is not mentioned below is that they largely have themselves to thank for it. Under British rule in Burma, many Indians migrated to Burma for economic reasons. When Burma became independent, however, the Muslim Rohingya minority began to make nuisances of themselves in the usual Muslim way.

The Burmese are however Buddhist so have hit back at their rebellious Rohingya residents. So many Rohingya have returned to their ancestral India, to Bangladesh in particular. India is however poor and already heavily populated so has no room for them. If they were smart, the Rohingya would convert to Christianity, a much less troublesome religion than Islam. Missionaries Ahoy!

During the early hours of January 7, inside a sprawling community of around 1 million people, a fire started. It jumped from one structure to another, quickly becoming a massive blaze that engulfed hundreds of properties.

Photos and videos of the inferno show people desperately trying to save homes, using the limited equipment on offer.

But, as advocates point out with a mix of frustration and sadness, most people around the world didn’t notice.

Because this fire happened in a Rohingya refugee camp.

“It’s been really heartbreaking,” says Noor Azizah, the co-founder and director of the Rohingya Maìyafuìnor Collaborative Network.

In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, scores of Rohingya refugees continue to live in ever-worsening conditions.

But the passage of time combined with a string of other international crises has seen the world turn its gaze from the Rohingya, with the latest fire receiving little, if any, media coverage in Australia and elsewhere in the world.

“It occurred at a time when people were deeply asleep,” says Mohammed Aziz, a Rohingya refugee who lives in nearby Camp 1.

Rows of cramped, makeshift shelters were soon ablaze, with families, elderly people and children making panicked escapes.

“The fire spread and got bigger so fast that most of the people couldn’t save any of their belongings,” Mr Aziz says.

Rohingya refugees photographed the January 7 fire as it jumped from shelter to shelter. Supplied: Mohammed Kayas via UNHCR
He describes how the camps’ lack of proper firefighting resources and bad roads meant the fire could “continue its devastation” into the night.

“Because of the camps’ congested infrastructure, fires pose a big danger.”

It burned for two to three hours and, according to UNHCR, around 800 shelters were destroyed and 7,000 Rohingya left homeless.

In a statement, the UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh Sheldon Yett said 3,500 children were impacted, with 20 learning facilities destroyed in the fire.

Advocate Ms Azizah has a close connection to these communities — she’s a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar (also known as Burma) with her family and resettled in Sydney in 2003.

She’s visited the Cox’s Bazar camps and says the dire conditions mean they’re a tinderbox when a fire starts.

“The shelters are made out of wood and the roofs are made out of plastic … [There can be] families of 10 living in one small tent.”

And the January blaze is the latest in a series of major fires, including one in March 2023 that left around 10,000 people homeless.

A Bangladesh panel investigating the March 2023 fire found it was a “planned act of sabotage” and there are suggestions the January fire could also be arson — indicative of how lawless and unsafe the camps have become.

The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who have lived in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar for generations.

For decades, they have faced extreme persecution there. A 1982 law denied them citizenship, and wave after wave of violence has meant many Rohingya have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

In 2017, the Myanmar military enacted a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, which multiple countries including the US have labelled as genocide.

The violence saw hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh in what the International Crisis Group called “one of the most catastrophically fast refugee exoduses in modern times”.

A sprawling Rohingya community formed over the Myanmar border in Cox’s Bazar, with the temporary living conditions largely unchanged over the years.

When asked about the dangers in the camp aside from fires, Mr Aziz provides a long list. This includes “natural disasters … landslides, floodings, cyclones”, along with the “health concerns” that accompany these threats.

Then there are “man-made disasters” like “the state of being overcrowded and congested, limited access to clean water, gangs, conflicts, murders, criminal activities, corruption and arbitrary arrests”.

Without the right to work in Bangladesh, the Rohingya are reliant on humanitarian funding, which has been cut as other international crises have occurred.


Mail-In Ballot Fraud Study Finds Trump ‘Almost Certainly’ Won in 2020

A new study examining the likely impact that fraudulent mail-in ballots had in the 2020 election concludes that the outcome would “almost certainly” have been different without the massive expansion of voting by mail.

The Heartland Institute study tried to gauge the probable impact that fraudulent mail-in ballots cast for both then-candidate Joe Biden and his opponent, President Donald Trump, would have had on the overall 2020 election results.

The study was based on data obtained from a Heartland/Rasmussen survey in December that revealed that roughly one in five mail-in voters admitted to potentially fraudulent actions in the presidential election.
After the researchers carried out additional analyses of the data, they concluded that mail-in ballot fraud “significantly” impacted the 2020 presidential election.

They also found that, absent the huge expansion of mail-in ballots during the pandemic, which was often done without legislative approval, President Trump would most likely have won.

“Had the 2020 election been conducted like every national election has been over the past two centuries, wherein the vast majority of voters cast ballots in-person rather than by mail, Donald Trump would have almost certainly been re-elected,” the report’s authors wrote.

The new study examined raw data from the December survey carried out jointly between Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports, which tried to assess the level of fraudulent voting that took place in 2020.

The December survey, which President Trump called “the biggest story of the year,” suggested that roughly 20 percent of mail-in voters engaged in at least one potentially fraudulent action in the 2020 election, such as voting in a state where they’re no longer permanent residents.

In the new study, Heartland analysts say that, after reviewing the raw survey data, subjecting it to additional statistical treatment and more thorough analysis, they now believe they can conclude that 28.2 percent of respondents who voted by mail committed at least one type of behavior that is “under most circumstances, illegal” and so potentially amounts to voter fraud.

“This means that more than one-in-four ballots cast by mail in 2020 were likely cast fraudulently, and thus should not have been counted,” the researchers wrote.

A Heartland Institute research editor and research fellow who was involved in the study explained to The Epoch Times in a telephone interview that there are narrow exceptions where a surveyed behavior may be legal, like filling out a mail-in ballot on behalf of another voter if that person is blind, illiterate, or disabled, and requests assistance.

However, the research fellow, Jack McPherrin, said such cases were within the margin of error and not statistically significant.

What Are the Implications?

In addition to reassessing the likely overall degree of fraudulent mail-in ballots in the 2020 election, Heartland analysts calculated the potential impact that fraudulent mail-in ballots might have produced in the six key swing states that President Trump officially lost.

This, then, was used to determine the impact of potentially fraudulent mail-in ballots on the overall 2020 election result.

First, the researchers analyzed the electoral results for the six swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—under the 28.2 percent fraudulent mail-in ballot scenario that they estimated based on the raw survey data.

Then they calculated the electoral results in the six states under the different scenarios, each with a lower assumed percentage of fraudulent ballots, ranging from 28.2 percent all the way down to 1 percent.

For each of the 29 scenarios that they assesses, the researchers calculated the estimated number of fraudulent ballots, which were then subtracted from overall 2020 vote totals to generate a new estimate for vote totals.

Overall, of the 29 different scenarios presented in the study, the researchers concluded that President Trump would have won the 2020 election in all but three.

Specifically, they calculated that the only scenarios that would affirm the official 2020 election result, namely that candidate Biden won, were mail-in ballot fraud levels between 1 and 3 percent of ballots cast.

Mail-in ballot fraud rates higher than 3 percent would, according to the study, mean more fraudulent Biden votes that should be subtracted from the total, putting President Trump ahead.

For example, the adjustment to the vote tallies under fraud percentage rates between 13 and 6 percent would mean President Trump would have won Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, though he would have still lost in Michigan and Nevada.

Under such a scenario, President Trump would have won 289 Electoral College votes compared to candidate Biden’s 249.

In scenarios of 5–4 percent fraud, each candidate would have received 269 Electoral College votes, but President Trump would likely still have won because Republicans controlled more state delegations and, under a tie scenario, Congress would have voted based on the number of delegates.

However, the researchers expressed confidence in their overall assessment that the level of mail-in ballot fraud was over 25 percent, indicative of an actual Trump win.

“We have no reason to believe that our survey overstated voter fraud by more than 25 percentage points, and thus, we must conclude that the best available evidence suggests that mail-in ballot fraud significantly impacted the 2020 presidential election, in favor of Joe Biden,” the paper’s authors wrote.


Unforeseen Consequences of ‘Defund the Police’: High Crime, Low Morale, Hiring Woes

M. Douglas Scott

Having served as the chief of police for three suburban law enforcement agencies just outside of Washington, D.C., I have watched with concern—though not surprise—as crime in the nation’s capital has skyrocketed over the past year, even as the number of police officers serving with the city’s Metropolitan Police Department has dropped to a half-century low.

Amid that alarming backdrop, it’s no wonder that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council have changed their tune since the start of the “defund and defame the police” movement in 2020—just like so many other politicians in cities nationwide.

The knee-jerk reaction in the District of Columbia and in most other major cities after George Floyd’s death in May 2020 was to cut police funding, demonize the officers serving, and enact soft-on-crime policies. In its aftermath, crime has soared to levels not seen in decades, and we now have the fewest number of police officers in America per resident than at any time in more than 25 years.

Now, with the public in an uproar, those same elected officials in the District and elsewhere are reversing course. They now want more officers who are properly equipped and trained, and they want tougher penalties for criminal behavior.

In other words, they want things the way they were before the “defund and defame the police” movement.

Better late than never, I suppose. But, for retired law enforcement leaders like me who were sitting on the sidelines while our profession was being vilified and scapegoated over the past few years, it was easy to be bitter and frustrated.

In 2019, our nation had never been safer. The violent crime rate had steadily and dramatically declined since peaking in 1991. The policing ranks were full. Our officers were well-qualified. They were better educated, better equipped, and better trained than ever before. Policing had earned a reputation of trust and professionalism, and the prevailing philosophy among law enforcement leaders was “we want to do even better.”

Before 2020, I know from experience, there was great pride in wearing the badge, and officers knew they had the support of the public, their elected leaders, and police officials. Now, after more than three years of “defunding and defaming,” I am afraid law enforcement’s rank and file are suffering from an understandable crisis of trust and confidence.

Most rightly feel they are on an island when it comes to political, media and, yes, even internal scrutiny of any serious use-of-force case. They not only worry about potential internal sanctions, they fear criminal prosecution for simply doing their job.

One officer who left the profession explained it this way: “We are one bullet away from death and one mistake away from indictment.”

We have all seen rogue, unqualified prosecutors winning local elections based upon promises not to get tough on criminals, but to more aggressively prosecute police officers.

It’s no wonder that we saw a 47% increase in officer resignations from 2019 to 2022, along with a 19% rise in retirements during that same period.

According to a Police Executive Research Forum survey, the number of sworn officers dropped nearly 5% between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2022. That’s a loss of some 40,000 officers nationwide.

The police shortage crisis that we are now facing is the most glaring unintended consequence of the “defund the police” movement, and it’s jeopardizing public safety and placing added stress on a police workforce already stretched thin.

To fill vacancies, police chiefs have convinced elected officials of the need for hiring bonuses—some as high as $75,000.

Meanwhile, many agencies have significantly reduced—or even eliminated—their hiring standards to attract a larger applicant pool. The latter is both reckless and dangerous. While desperate times require desperate measures, we must be careful that only those who are committed to policing and fit for the job are given a badge.

I have been told by police academy instructors and field training officers that they basically cannot “fail” a poorly performing recruit. And veteran officers understandably do not want to work side-by-side with a new officer that is substandard and incapable of making split-second life-or-death decisions.

The future of our profession—and public safety—is at a crossroads. Increased police funding and tougher penalties for criminal acts will help right the ship. But if we fail to reestablish clear and strong support from the public, our police leaders, and our elected officials for officers who want to do their job without fear of wrongful condemnation, termination, and prosecution, we will lose many more of the good men and women needed to serve and protect our communities.

The stakes are high. It’s time to wake up to this crisis of trust and confidence within policing.


Women prefer flings with muscular men, but they don't want to marry them

My own experience reflects this. I have always been physically average but, like most high IQ people, I have a very lively sense of humour. I was always a bit peeved to hear women say that they want someone who makes them laugh. Is the ideal partner a clown? But I was a beneficiary of it so I didn't complain. So the article below is right in noting how attractive to women that is. Over the last 60 years, I have had many relationships with fine women, including four marriages

They say nice guys finish last, but it turns out the truth might look a little different. New research shows that while women are more attracted to muscular men for short-term flings, traits like kindness and humour are more important for long-term relationships.

When it comes to pop culture and societal norms, it’s a well-known truth that certain appearances are deemed more desirable than others.

Men with large muscles, and women with large breasts, are often ranked at the top of the physical pecking order – and those who fit the mould are seen as the model for who we should aspire to be, and aspire to date.

By and large, this not-so-subtle marketing works; it influences purchasing decisions, social hierarchies and dating app swipes, and it’s been more or less the same for the last hundred years.

However, a new study shows that while these archetypes are attractive on a surface level, we may be drawn to them when it comes to steamy flings and short-term affairs – what we want changes significantly when we’re looking for a long-term partner.

Professor Mitch Brown from the University of Arkansas was curious about the correlation between physical attributes and dating and surveyed 384 heterosexual women about their thoughts on dating.

The research, published in the Personality and Individual Differences academic journal, showed that when it came to a short-term physical relationship like a one-night stand or casual hookup, women were more inclined to prefer a man with a muscular physique, over their lankier counterparts.

This is not altogether surprising, as the pro-muscle mentality is drilled into us on a daily basis online and in brand marketing everywhere. But it’s also an evolutionary instinct too that harks back to our animal brains – females are biologically drawn to males who look like they can protect and provide.

However, where the research gets interesting is what we look for in long-term relationships, and how our bucket list for a perfect partner changes when longevity is involved.

When searching for a life partner, women were more inclined to prioritise other traits like kindness, humour and the willingness to contribute to a family.

“Women associate muscles with being fit and healthy,” said Brown in the report. “However, in a long-term context, it was important to find a kind person who will support his family” – in more than just a physical sense.

Humour was one trait that rose significantly in importance, though only if the jokes aren’t at the woman’s expense.

“Nice guys who make friendly jokes can actually finish first when it comes to attracting a woman looking for a long-term relationship,” said Brown.

Turns out all we want is to be with someone who doesn’t make us feel like crap. Wild.

The study builds upon a 2007 piece of research by the University of California, Los Angeles that examined the number of sexual partners for muscular versus thinner men. The results concluded that the more physically large men “were twice as likely to have over three sex partners than their less-muscular peers”, per the New York Post.

One of the study’s authors, David Frederick, said “Most research is focused on what men find physically attractive in women…Much less research is devoted to what women find attractive.”

It’s great to see that 16 years on, that research has been carried out. And the results? At the end of the day, when it comes to lasting love, we don’t care so much about looks. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.




No comments: