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- Asylum law favours criminals over victims
Asylum law favours criminals over victims
🌺 Gorgeous gardens | 🤡 A crowd of clowns | Gen Z ❤️ libraries
America’s national security adviser has refused to rule out airstrikes on Iran, after the US launched a series of attacks against Tehran-backed militant groups elsewhere in the Middle East. Jake Sullivan said the strikes in Iraq and Syria – in retaliation for the drone attack that killed three US soldiers in Jordan – was “the beginning, not the end, of our response”. Parisians have voted to raise parking fees for SUVs, says the FT. The plans, which will see charges triple to €18 an hour in some parts of the city, are part of a “growing backlash against large cars that is gaining traction around Europe”. Taylor Swift has become the first musician to win the Grammy for best album four times. The 34-year-old, who used her acceptance speech at last night’s ceremony to announce that she has a new album coming out in April, was previously tied with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.
A bejewelled Taylor Swift at the Grammy awards. Kevin Mazur/Getty
Migrants packed into a small boat approaching Dover. Luke Dray/Getty
Asylum law favours criminals over victims
There’s something truly idiotic about the coverage of the Clapham chemical attack, says Rod Liddle in The Sunday Times. The attacker, Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, arrived here illegally from Afghanistan in 2016, in the back of a lorry. He applied twice for asylum and was turned down on both occasions. Then, in 2018, he was convicted of sexual assault and indecent exposure, and received two suspended prison sentences. Somehow – possibly because he convinced a priest he’d converted to Christianity – his third asylum application succeeded. And last week this “barbaric, medieval pervert” travelled from his taxpayer-funded home in Newcastle to south London, and threw an alkaline corrosive liquid over a woman and her young daughters.
Newspapers and MPs say they are “surprised, shocked even”, that Ezedi was still freely roaming the streets of Britain. But where did they expect him to be? As anyone who reads the papers must know by now, pretty much no one can be deported from this country because we are hemmed in by legislation that has “not the slightest respect or sympathy for the victims of crime”. So it’s impossible to boot out illegal immigrants from the Caribbean who are also drug dealers and rapists; or send economic migrants who wash up on the shores of Dover to Rwanda; or force Ezedi back to Afghanistan, even though, given his misogyny, “he might fit in very well”. By pretending there isn’t a problem, polite liberals “prop up a system that allows the innocent to be maimed”, and ensure we have no way to get rid of those who “hate us but wish to live here”.
Winners of this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year award include pictures of a sunset over a colourful private garden in Suffolk; a purple sunrise in Snowdonia; a misty scene in the Lake District; a squirrel gnawing on grass in Sri Lanka; and a vast wildflower meadow in the Dolomites. A selection of the winning entries are on display at Kew Gardens until 10 March; see them all online here.
Liberals used to mock Donald Trump for his obsession with Fox News, says Axios, but it’s not dissimilar to Joe Biden’s “years-long love” of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He often calls co-host Joe Scarborough to get his take on issues – or just to “vent about media coverage” – and frequently asks his staff whether they saw particular stories, polls or segments from that morning’s broadcast. Aides have become loyal viewers to ensure they’re prepared for his questions. And if they want to push a certain message, they get themselves booked as a guest on the show between 7 and 7.40am – when they know the boss will be watching.
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On the first Sunday in February, clowns from around the world gather in east London for a church service commemorating the life of Joseph Grimaldi, the so-called “father of clowning”. The famous funnyman died in 1837, and the event, which is intentionally held at a time of year when people need cheering up, has been running since 1946.
Candles at a vigil for Jo Cox in 2016. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
MPs are frightened for their lives
Mike Freer, the justice minister and an MP of 14 years, has announced he’s stepping away from politics because of “violent threats made against him”, says The Guardian. Two people have been charged with arson following a fire in a shed behind his office; Ali Harbi Ali, the Islamist terrorist who killed the MP David Amess, visited Freer’s constituency a month before his murderous attack. While Freer thinks he has been targeted in part because of his strong support for Israel, many other MPs have also reported rising levels of threats and intimidation, particularly women and ethnic minorities. Several even wear stab vests to public events. You can understand why: in 2016, Labour’s Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right terrorist; three years later, a neo-Nazi was convicted of plotting to kill West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper.
It’s “deeply disturbing” that long-serving politicians like Freer should be intimidated into standing down. The danger is not just that MPs might suffer physical or psychological harm, but that those “who could contribute greatly to public life” will be deterred from standing for parliament at all. More police help would be welcome – Amess was singled out by his killer because he held his constituency surgery in an accessible place. But “liberal democracy cannot function properly” if our elected officials are afraid to meet with voters and say what they think. The way Freer’s career has ended “should concern us all”.
🚨 I know how Freer feels, says the former Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard in The Sunday Telegraph: I needed “years of police protection” due to threats from Islamists. My family home was subject to “regular and very frequent police patrols, often armed”, and I was given instructions to check if anyone was loitering near me when out and about. “Most chilling of all was when we were told what to do if we opened the front door by mistake to someone threatening: run, with our children, as fast as possible to the back into the garden and then through a gap in the fence.” It’s no way to live.
Gen Zs have fallen in love with public libraries, says The Guardian. A recent US survey found that more than half of those born between 1997 and 2012 had visited one within the past year. But they’re not just there to read. Library-related content does particularly well on #booktok, the bookish – and extremely popular – corner of TikTok. Henry Earls (pictured), a 20-year-old student, racks up millions of views with videos of him studying and reading in front of the “breathtaking beaux-arts backdrop” of the New York Public Library.
Last Thursday, Condé Nast magazines like Vogue and GQ vacated Vogue House, their “legendary” office in Mayfair, says The Sunday Times. The send-off didn’t disappoint. In the afternoon, staff from Claridge’s turned up unannounced with a trolley carrying burgers and champagne. At one point, a champagne bucket was lowered from an upper-storey window, loaded with a bottle and hauled back up. And there was an impromptu “old-school” bash on the second floor, with dancing on the tables and younger staff “photocopying their bums”. “It was like a Bridget Jones office party,” said one Vogueite. “But cooler.”
It’s a giant space parasol, says The New York Times, which some scientists want to erect between Earth and the sun, to block enough solar radiation to counter global warming. A team of Israeli scientists reckon that in order to block 2% of the sun’s rays – enough to cool the planet by 1.5C – the shade would have to measure around a million square miles, or roughly the size of Argentina. They are currently trying to raise between $10m and $20m to build a prototype covering a rather more manageable 100sq ft.
“The problem with putting two and two together is that sometimes you get four, and sometimes you get 22.”
American writer Dashiell Hammett