News, June 6th

Hollywood film, TV production to resume June 12

California will allow film, television, and music production to resume from June 12 if conditions permit after months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the governor’s office said on Friday.

Film and television productions in Hollywood have been shuttered since mid-March.

The reopening will be subject to approval by local health officers, the California Public Health Office said.

“To reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers,” it said.

However, it is not clear if major Hollywood studios will be able to resume operations from next week because Los Angeles county is one of the main coronavirus epicenters in California, recording about half the infections and deaths in the state.

To date, more than 125,000 cases and 4,500 deaths have been confirmed in California.

OPEC, Russia meet to extend record oil cuts, push for compliance

OPEC and its allies led by Russia meet on Saturday (June 6) to approve extending record oil production cuts and to push countries such as Iraq and Nigeria to comply better with existing curbs.

The producers known as OPEC+ previously agreed to cut supply by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) during May-June to prop up prices that collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis. Cuts have been due to taper to 7.7 million bpd from July to December.

OPEC+ sources have said Saudi Arabia and Russia had agreed to extend record cuts throughout July although Riyadh would prefer to see cut extended throughout August.

Global benchmark Brent crude, which slumped below US$20 a barrel in April, rose nearly 6% on Friday (June 5) to trade at a three-month high above US$42.

Saturday’s video conferences will start with talks between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at 1200 GMT, followed by a gathering of the OPEC+ group at 1400 GMT, OPEC said on Friday.

OPEC sources said an extension of cuts was contingent on compliance as countries that produced above their quota in May and June must compensate by cutting more in future months.

Iraq, which had one of the worst compliance rates in May, according to a Reuters survey, agreed to additional cuts, OPEC sources said.

It was not clear how exactly Iraq would cut output and agree with oil majors working in the country to curtail production. Nigeria said it would also aim to reach full compliance.

Taiwanese voters oust mayor who sought presidency

Voters in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung on Saturday ousted their mayor, whose failed bid for the presidency on behalf of the China-friendly Nationalist Party earlier this year brought widespread disapproval among residents.

The number of votes to recall Han Kuo-yu far exceeded the 574,996 needed to remove him. Han accepted the result in a statement to supporters and media after the threshold was passed.

But he blamed the media in part for the result, saying he had been subjected to “constant smears, rumors and attacks.” He has one week to leave office unless he decides to appeal.

The success of the recall vote — Taiwan’s first — was hailed by commentators as the latest sign of politicians being held accountable in the island’s robust democracy. It is also a further blow to the Nationalists, who moved their government to the island after Mao Zedong’s Communists swept to power in mainland China in 1949.

The party’s continued association with China’s demand for eventual unification between the sides has continuously hurt it at the polls, but a failure to generate popular candidates has also resulted in recent major defeats.

The measure to remove Han needed the support of 25% of the city’s more than 2 million eligible voters. Just over 22,000 voted to oppose his recall.

Han won a surprise victory in 2018 in what had long been a stronghold of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which rejects China’s demand that it recognize Taiwan as a part of China.

His decision to take a leave of absence to seek the presidency just months after taking office drew heavy criticism and a petition campaign was launched to seek his recall.

Han was blasted for his contacts with China’s ruling Communist Party and lost in January’s presidential election to DPP incumbent Tsai Ing-wen by a whopping 57% to 38%, with a third-party candidate taking the remaining percentage.

Strong Taiwanese disapproval of the heavy crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong and questions about how Han had acquired expensive properties on his modest civil servant’s salary also helped Tsai to the landslide win.

China has shunned Tsai since shortly after her 2016 inauguration, shutting the already diplomatically isolated island out of international forums and stepping up its threat to conquer the island by military force. She has, however, received strong support from the Trump administration amid sharply deteriorating relations between Beijing and Washington.

Trump’s response to Floyd protests has language associated with racial segregationists:  UN experts

US President Donald Trump’s response to protests against the killing of African American George Floyd has included language directly associated with racial segregationists from America’s past, a group of UN human rights experts have said.

There have been widespread protests across the United States as Floyd, 46, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. People from diverse backgrounds have called for justice and have voiced their support to the protests.

In the wake of protests over the killing of Floyd, Trump had tweeted that when the looting starts, the shooting starts.

The response of the President of the United States to the protests at different junctures has included threatening more state violence using language directly associated with racial segregationists from the nation’s past, who worked hard to deny black people fundamental human rights,” a statement issued on Friday by over 60 independent experts of the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council said.

“We are deeply concerned that the nation is on the brink of a militarized response that reenacts the injustices that have driven people to the streets to protest, it said.

A report in The New York Times had said that the phrase “When the looting starts, the shooting starts was used by Miami’s former police chief Walter Headley in 1967. Headley had been long accused of using racist tactics in his force’s patrols of black neighborhoods, the NYT had said.

They said the recent killing of Floyd has shocked many in the world, but it is the lived reality of black people across the United States. The uprising nationally is a protest against systemic racism that produces state-sponsored racial violence, and licenses impunity for this violence.

They noted that following the recent spate of killings of African-Americans, many in the United States and abroad are finally acknowledging that the problem is not a few bad apples but instead the problem is the very way that economic, political and social life are structured in a country that prides itself in liberal democracy, and with the largest economy in the world.

Separately, 28 UN experts called on the US Government to take decisive action to address systemic racism and racial bias in the country’s criminal justice system by launching independent investigations and ensuring accountability in all cases of excessive use of force by police.

Published by jim

Curator of things...

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