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Archive for June, 2019

13 June
Comments Off on Spicer: ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons’

Spicer: ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons’

Washington:White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday tried to emphasise the depravity of Syria’s use of chemical weapons on civilians, but the way he did it – by crediting Adolf Hitler with a measure of restraint – struck many journalists as confusing and insensitive.

“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II,” Spicer said. “You know, you had a – someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

After drawing widespreadcriticism, Spicer issued anapology on CNN, and emaileda statement clarifying his remarksto reporters.

Spicer seemed to be suggesting that chemical weapons are so bad that even Hitler wasn’t willing to use them. It was a bizarre argument, however, given Hitler’s extensive use of poison gas to kill millions of Jews and others in concentration camps.

Spicer was presumably thinking of battlefield uses of chemical weapons; even in that case, however, his version of history would be questionable. According to some accounts, the Nazis used poison gas against Russians who failed to surrender after the Battle of Kerch in the Crimean peninsula.

According to the bookIvan’s Warby Catherine Merridale, the Nazis in 1942 deployed poison gas into a cave city in which as many as 3000 Russians were living for months:

Umm… did we just get some Holocaust denial from the White House?

— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) April 11, 2017Just gas chambers, use of human skin, etc https://t.co/QQVe6Vqe2k

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 11, 2017Transcript of Spicer’s commentsSpicer was asked about the US response to Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons in attacks in Syria last week. This is what he said:

Spicer:You look – we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had a, you know, someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

So you have to, if you’re Russia, ask yourself, is this a country that you, and a regime that you, want to align yourself with? You have previously signed onto international agreements rightfully acknowledging that the use of chemical weapons should be out of bounds by every country.

To not stand up to not only [inaudible] but your own word should be troubling. Russia put their name on the line, so it’s not a question of how long that alliance has lasted, but at what point do they recognise that they are now getting on the wrong side of history in a really bad way, really quickly. And again, look at the countries that are standing with them: Iran, Syria, North Korea. This is not a team you want to be on.

Reporter:I need to clarify something you said that seems to be getting some traction right now. Quote: “Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons”. What did you mean by that?

Spicer:I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Ashad [sic] is doing. I mean there was clearly – I understand your point, thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. There was not in the, in the, he brought them into the Holocaust centre, I understand that. But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them, where he went into towns, dropped them down into the middle of towns. So the use of it, and I appreciate the clarification there, that was not the intent.

Washington Post and Fairfax Media

13 June
Comments Off on ‘The most evil slur’: Confusion and ridicule as besieged Spicer apologises

‘The most evil slur’: Confusion and ridicule as besieged Spicer apologises

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New York: White House press secretary Sean Spicer, besieged by widespread condemnation and calls for his resignation, made a televised apology on Tuesday afternoon for a baffling series of gaffes in which he favourably compared Adolf Hitler to President Bashar al-Assad, and claimed the Nazi leader had not used chemical weapons against his own people.

Democrats and the Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect were among those calling for the senior official, already a frequent target of criticism and ridicule for his combative and at times bumbling style, to be dumped from the role.

In making his unreserved apology, Spicer made a further couple of gaffes, mispronouncing the name of the Syrian leader and stating that he didn’t want to distract from President Donald Trump’s attempt to “destabilise the region”.

Spicer’s unforced errors began during a high stakes press conference on Tuesday, in which he was trying to explain the White House’s position on several critical international policy fronts, including the US strikes on Syria, mounting tension with Russia and Trump’s sabre-rattling against North Korea on Twitter that morning.

During an answer on the recent chemical attack in Syria, Spicer framed the depravity of the act using a comparison with Nazi Germany, saying: “You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to chemical weapons.”

Hitler’s regime slaughtered millions of Jews and many others during the Holocaust; many were murdered using the poisonous gas “Zyklon B”, or hydrogen cyanide, in gas chambers.

Asked to clarify his remark by shocked journalists, Spicer gave a rambling answer citing “Holocaust centres” and mispronouncing the name of the Syrian leader.

“I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no – he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Ashad is doing … he brought them into the Holocaust centres and I understand that.

“But I’m saying in the way that Assad used them where he went into towns dropped them down to innocent, into the middle of towns ??? the use of it. I appreciate the clarification there, that was not the intent.”

As the responses drew a fierce backlash on social media, Spicer, who repeatedly mangled the name of the Australian Prime Minister during several press conferences earlier this year, then put out two separate statements trying to clarify what he meant by comparing Assad and Hitler.

“In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. I was trying to draw a distinction of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centres. Any attack on innocent people is reprehensible and inexcusable.”

But within hours, the series of comments sparked confusion, ridicule as well as multiple calls for the press secretary’s resignation.

Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect, went as far as to accuse the press secretary of engaging in Holocaust denial.

“Spicer’s statement is the most evil slur upon a group of people we have ever heard from a White House press secretary,” he said in a statement.

“Sean Spicer now lacks the integrity to serve as White House press secretary, and President Trump must fire him at once.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Spicer must be fired and that the President should disavow his comments.

“While Jewish families across America celebrate Passover, the chief spokesman of this White House is downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.”

Others, without defending the remarks, rejected the suggestion Spicer was denying the Holocaust.

“Spicer is historically illiterate, but he didn’t deny the Holocaust, as his doltish reference to ‘Holocaust Centres’ makes clear,” author Michael Weiss wrote on Twitter.

Spicer later appeared on CNN trying to defuse the anger and fallout over the comments, offering a full apology and withdrawing the comparison between Hitler and Assad.

“I mistakenly used an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust for which, frankly, there is no comparison. For that, I apologise. It was a mistake to do that,” he said.

“I should have stayed focused on the Assad regime and the dangers they have brought to their own people, and the terrible atrocities they did, and to drag any other comparison into this was not appropriate.”

Pressed on whether Trump had pushed him to make the apology, Spicer said he was doing it because he realised he had made a mistake, and “did not want to be a distraction from the President’s agenda”.

But during that interview with Wolf Blitzer, he again mispronounced the name of the Syrian leader, saying “Bashar al-Asee … Bashar al-Assad.”

Blitzer made a curt interjection: “Bashar al-Assad. I know you’ve mispronounced his name a few times.”

During the interview, Spicer also said he didn’t want to distract from Trump’s attempt to “destabilise the region”, when he presumably meant stabilise. Spicer literally just said Trump is trying “to destabilize the region” during his #holocaustcenter apology pic.twitter南京夜网/tWrn1rEODQ??? Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) April 11, 2017This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 June
Comments Off on ‘His last one did alright’: Cleese returning to TV to star in sitcom

‘His last one did alright’: Cleese returning to TV to star in sitcom

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 30: John Cleese attends a press conference ahead of their upcoming tour at the O2 Arena ????????Monty Python Live???????? at the London Palladium on June 30, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images) Photo: Getty ImagesAfter almost 40 years, John Cleese has announced he’s returning to the scene of his greatest triumph: BBC television comedy.

The upcoming sitcom, titled Edith, will be Cleese’s first leading role on a TV series since Fawlty Towers – featuring his iconic turn as bumbling hotel manager Basil – wrapped in 1979.

The six-episode series – co-starring Alison Steadman, who Cleese worked with in the 1985 film Clockwise – follows the widowed Edith (Steadman) and Phil (Cleese), two longtime neighbours who marry and “plan to follow the sun and move abroad”. But their plans are thwarted when Edith’s 50-year-old son Roger (Jason Watkins) moves back home after leaving his wife, kids and job.

The series is being penned by writer Charles McKeown, a satellite member of Cleese’s Monty Python crew, best known for his Oscar-nominated screenplay for Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.

“These are the most enjoyable scripts I’ve been sent in the last 100 years,” Cleese joked in a BBC statement announcing the news.

The announcement marks a major about-face for Cleese, 77, who had recently taken potshots at BBC’s comedy content.

The actor infamously pilloried the network in an interview in 2015, accusing its commissioning editors of having “no idea what they are doing” and saying he would never work for them again.

But last year, when news of the project first floated, BBC’s head of comedy Shane Allen brushed off the criticism, saying Cleese is “a comedy god and the door is always open to him”.

“It’s a huge pleasure to welcome John Cleese back to the land of BBC sitcom – his last one did alright,” Allen offered in yesterday’s press release.

The announcement continues the BBC’s unlikely infatuation with its veteran content and stars. It courted ridicule with its ‘Landmark Sitcom Season’ offerings last year after producing a slate of one-off reboots of its stale classics, including new episodes of Are You Being Served?, Porridge and a prequel to Keeping Up Appearances, titled Young Hyacinth.

Cleese, who’s made the odd TV guest spot since Fawlty Towers in American series including Will & Grace, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Entourage, was in Sydney last year for the debut run of Fawlty Towers Live, a theatrical adaptation of the sitcom that opened to middling reviews.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 June
Comments Off on Players’ big pay break through

Players’ big pay break through

AFL players would get a pay rise this year of almost 25 per cent after the league put forward a revised offer to the players union in protracted pay talks in recent days.

In the first meaningful movement in talks since August last year, the league has discussed an increase of about $45 million for this year in the total player payments, an increase that would represent a rise of close to 25 per cent increase on last year.

Despite the huge jump in year one, the increases in the subsequent five years of the six-year collective bargaining agreement are modest and the players view is that the league’s total offer over the six-year term represents less in terms of a percentage of revenue than they are receiving now. The league is expected to forward the improved pay offer to the AFLPA in writing in coming days. The total player payments increase will also be slightly offset by changes to the veterans allowance.

Some players, including highly prized Adelaide key defender Jake Lever and ruckman Sam Jacobs have put off talks on a new contract until the new CBA is completed.

“In terms of my contract status, I’m sort of waiting for the CBA to be done, but my manager is in constant talks with the club,” Lever said last week.

“With the CBA not being done, it’s almost like you’re building the house without a budget, so you don’t really know what you’re working with.”

Clubs had budgeted for a 10 per cent increase this year. A figure that clubs had been told to budget for in 2017.

The AFLPA will continue to push for significant rises beyond this season.

The players have made a number of concessions in discussions, but are continuing to push for a percentage of key game revenues.

While the AFL and the players are close to reaching an understanding over a mechanism where the players will receive an uplift should AFL revenues exceed forecasts, the two parties have hit a stumbling block over rises for players for an increase in club revenues.

AFL chief executive Gill McLachlan returned last month to the negotiating table.

The two parties are talking regularly, meeting on a weekly basis, with the players determined that their wage rise will come into play in 2017, the first year of the new six-year, $2.5 billion broadcast agreement.

While the players have agreed to set aside some of their demands, the union remains determined to push for two mid-season byes despite the AFL’s opposition and a lack of public support. The AFL is determined to have no mid-year bye and one at the end of the season.

Although the AFL offer represents some progress, clubs fear the two bodies remain significantly apart in terms of the pay increase after the first year and the longer it drags on the harder it is for them to complete deals with valuable unsigned players and oversee significant list-management decisions.

The clubs are taking comfort in the fact the AFL will fund all future rises in the salary cap.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 June
Comments Off on Exciting shows coming to Newcastle

Exciting shows coming to Newcastle

An intriguing, qualityexhibition from the National Gallery of Australia is heading to Newcastle in May.Abstraction: Celebrating Australian Women Abstract Artists, opens on May 20.

Abstractioncasts a wide net with a diverse and broad range featuring 76 works of art by 38 artists including Yvonne Audette, Dorrit Black, Grace Crowley, Anne Dangar, Janet Dawson, Inge King, Margo Lewers and Margaret Preston, through to contemporary practitioners Elizabeth Coats, Melinda Harper and Idiko Kovacs, among others.

Robert Nelson, art critic for The Age, reviewed Abstraction, currently showing at the Geelong Art Gallery. He said, in part, “This fine exhibition covers the great range of approaches. Drawn entirely fromwomenartists from the 1920s to now, it follows a chronological model that locates each artist in her proper historical place.

“It begins with the ghost of cubism, where artists like Margaret Preston, Dorrit Black, Grace CrowleyandAnne Dangar wrestled with forms that simplified or essentialised motifs. There are lovely ceramics by Dangar which, with their graphic robustness, could have inspired Preston’s paintings.

“Then there is the influence ofabstractexpressionism, considered in America to beabstractionin its essence. The movement sought to create inventions in colour that were about nothing but the paint, as if the subject matter of painting was the paint itself. This encouraged a grand manner of gestureandscale, proposing a new sublimity of form.

“This is captured best in Yvonne Audette’s work of the 1950s. Her greyandbrown The flat landscape invites you to see foreground, middleandsky; but you have to unread the painting to understand it.”

The Abstraction show will be followed by The Phantom Show, which celebrates 40 years since the Newcastle Art Gallery exhibitionTheGhost who walks.

The Phantom Show runs June 10 to August 20. It will be curated by Peter Kingston and DietmarLederwasch.

The 1977 exhibition young talentto Newcastle, including Peter Kingston,Richard Larter,Richard Liney, Phillipe Mora, Garry Shead and Martin Sharp.

In 2017The Phantom Show will show from artistsEuan Macleod, Michael Bell, Dallas Bray, Chris Capper, Dino Consalvo, James Drinkwater, Ron Hartree, Aleta Lederwasch, Dietmar Lederwasch, Claire Martin, John Morris, Lezlie Tilley, Peter Tilley, John Turier and Graham Wilson.

In the show: Grace Crowley Abstract painting 1947, NGA.