The Latest: Aggressive China, Fukushima Wastewater, Spanish Beach Lessons

While many Britons opted for a haircut or a pint after the UK partially eased lockdown restrictions, these folk chose to visit the Alton Towers theme park in England.
While many Britons opted for a haircut or a pint after the UK partially eased lockdown restrictions, these folk chose to visit the Alton Towers theme park in England.

Welcome to Tuesday, where Japan is set to release Fukushima wastewater into the sea, Prince Harry remembers his grandpa and Spanish children swap classrooms for lessons on the beach. We've also gone on a world tour of the most random livestreams.

• "Record number" of China jets enter Taiwan air zone: The Taiwanese defense ministry has said that 25 Chinese military jets flew into its air defense zone on Monday. The U.S. has recently warned against an "increasingly aggressive China."

• Japan to release Fukushima wastewater: The Japanese government has announced it will release over 1 million tons of treated contaminated water from the shattered Fukushima nuclear station into the ocean over the next two years. Neighboring countries have expressed "grave concern." This announcement comes ten years after an earthquake and a tsunami destroyed the nuclear facility.

• 42 migrants drown off East African coast: Sixteen children are among the 42 people killed after a boat carrying migrants capsized off Djibouti, the small nation in the Horn of Africa.

• Dozens arrested in new round of Minneapolis protests: At least 40 people have been arrested in Minneapolis in a second night of unrest over the police shooting of a black man. Police said Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot after an officer mistook her gun for a Taser during a traffic stop. The incident comes during the second week of the trial in the same city for the police killing of George Floyd.

• New Year festivities cancelled, silent protests held in Myanmar: Pro-democracy protesters have cancelled traditional new year festivities. Small protests were also held in several cities where people showed plancards reading "Save Myanmar" in silence.

• German far-right group on trial for "terror plot": The trial of 11 suspected members of a far-right ‘terror" group starts in Stuttgart. They were arrested in February over accusations of planning attacks on migrants, Muslims and politicians, aimed at sparking a civil war.

• Spanish pupils to get beach lessons: Barefoot and mask-wearing Spanish students are having school at the beach as part of a teaching project to create better air quality for children during the pandemic.

Indonesian daily The Jakarta Post reports on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fasting month of Ramadan, which is being restricted for the second year in a row.

From astrophysics to zebras, a world tour of weird livestreams

COVID-19 lockdowns and curfews have pushed us into a new, suspended period that Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot calls "hypertime," where some have kept calm and carried on by baking bread as others sink deep inside the Netflix catalogue. But with our collective cabin fever now over the one-year mark, the number of at-home pastimes to occupy us seems to be dwindling. That leaves us time (eternity?) for the internet's ultimate time suck and virtual link to the outside world: the livestream. Here is a round-up of some of the most random real-time feeds from around the globe:

Stop Sign Cam

WHERE: Salem, Massachusetts, USA

WHAT: A Twitch channel devoted to one camera hanging at a street intersection in Salem, Massachusetts, where viewers watch cars as they approach a stop sign. What makes the livestream enthralling to viewers is the astounding number of vehicles that roll right on down the street, blatantly disrespecting driving etiquette.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: Road rage, an unexpected predilection for rules and order.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Las Vegas Cams, another outlet for watching people make scandalous decisions as the livestream includes a view of the famous Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.

Naledi Dam Webcam

WHERE: Kruger National Park, South Africa

WHAT: A camera that rotates 180 degrees located at a waterhole where the local fauna, from zebras to jaguars, refresh themselves.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: The feeling your household pets are slightly subpar.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Brooks Falls Brown Bears webcam that records these Alaskan beasts in their native habitat.

International Space Station on UStream

WHERE: Outer space

WHAT: Real-time footage of brave astronauts floating about their daily lives at the International Space Station.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: The sudden realization that you are but a finite speck in a vast and senseless universe, and that astrophysics is much more fun in practice.

IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Northern Lights Webcam, which monitors the aurora borealis live from Churchill, Canada.

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Average global daily TV consumption stood at 2 hours and 54 minutes in 2020 — a six-minute increase compared with 2019, according to a report by Glance (Global Audience & Content Evolution). The pandemic and national lockdown are believed responsible for the first increase since 2012, boosting the interest for television all around the world, with the exception of North America (- 8 minutes), where viewers have increasingly switched to the SVOD platforms such as Netflix or Disney+.

He was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right "til the end.

— Prince Harry said in a statement, paying homage to his grandfather Prince Philip, who died at Windsor Castle last week at the age of 99. The televised royal funeral for the Duke of Edinburgh will take place on Saturday.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet & Emma Flacard

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Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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