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Hong Kong pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai arrested for 'illegal assembly' over 2019 protest – CNN



A police spokesman said that three men aged 63 to 72 have been arrested for “illegal assembly” in relation to a protest march on August 31, 2019.
Mark Simon, assistant to Jimmy Lai, owner of media company Next Digital, confirmed to CNN that his boss was among those arrested early Friday morning.
Lai is also facing one additional charge of “criminal intimidation,” a police spokesman said. The three will appear in court May 5,and if convicted could face up to five years imprisonment.
Tam Man-kei, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said in a statement that their arrest for taking part in a largely peaceful process was “unjustifiable.”
“It continues the pattern of the authorities using politically motivated charges to suppress opposition voices,” Tam added. “With the six-month anniversary of the 31 August protests due to be marked by activists this weekend, this merely appears to be the police’s way of intimidating anyone planning to take part.”
Police had refused to issue a permit for a protest march due to take place that day, but unauthorized demonstrations went ahead anyway. Though mostly peaceful at first, as night fell they turned violent. Police fired tear gas, water cannons and two live-round warning shots, while protesters responded with petrol bombs.
Video footage from Prince Edward subway station in Kowloon showed officers charging into a train and hitting individuals with batons as they made the arrests. The incident has since become a major rallying cry for protesters, and a source of conspiracy theories after the subway operator and police delayed in releasing CCTV footage.
“This continued assault on freedom of expression and assembly in Hong Kong only underlines the urgent need for an independent inquiry into the heavy-handed tactics used by police against protesters since last year,” Tam said.

Newspaper mogul

A former clothing magnate, Lai founded Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper in 1995, two years before Hong Kong was handed over from British to Chinese control. Modeled visually on USA Today, the paper caused a minor revolution in the city’s media landscape, sparking a price war and drastically changing how rivals operated as they struggled to keep up with Lai’s flashy tabloid sensibilities.
While focusing on celebrity gossip and other tabloid fare, since the handover the paper has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of the local government and its Beijing masters. It has openly supported the pro-democracy movement and anti-government protests, printing flyers and posters in its pages that people can cut out and take to marches.
This drove the 70-year-old Lai to a place of prominence within the opposition movement, and made him a figure of loathing for pro-Beijing politicians and media in the city.
Though his media influence has arguably waned in recent years, along with that of the traditional pro-democracy parties, his profile has if anything grown, thanks to a concerted campaign by Chinese state media to paint him as one of a “gang of four” behind anti-government protests which broke out last year.
Lai’s closeness to right-wing politicians in the United States — he met with US Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then National Security Adviser John Bolton in July last year — has been used by Chinese state media to paint the entire protest movement, along with Apple Daily and similar media, as US-controlled.
The People’s Daily — the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party — claimed Lai was part of a quartet of “secretive middlemen and modern traitors,” as Beijing tried to blame the unrest in Hong Kong on foreign forces.
Joseph Wu, minister of foreign affairs for Taiwan — where Apple Daily operates a successful franchise — wrote Friday that “we are saddened to learned about Jimmy Lai’s arrest.”
Apple Daily “is a symbol of press & speech freedom in #HongKong & will stand tall despite repeated assaults by evil forces,” Wu said on Twitter.

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Per usual, social media gets it all wrong with Cameron Smith ruling – Golf Channel



MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Not that the wasteland that is social media should be any kind of guide – let’s face it, there’s no room in that hellscape for anything approaching an educated or nuanced conversation – but the vitriol created by Cameron Smith’s internet-bending rules violation at the FedEx St. Jude Championship requires some housekeeping.

The Rules of Golf can be confusing and overly complicated, but the avalanche of incorrect and distorted opinions over Smith’s two-stroke penalty for playing a shot from a hazard requires some addressing:

“The red [hazard] line is pretty stupid to begin with. Guys [already] taking a drop. Garbage like this and DJ’s penalty in 2010 PGA Championship just makes me want to root for LIV to succeed!”

Not exactly sure of the logic in the above tweet text, but Smith’s penalty – like all penalties – are based on the Rules of Golf, which are written and maintained by the USGA and R&A, not the PGA Tour.

After starting the day at 11 under and two shots off the lead, Smith was informed that he was four back after violating Rule 14.7.

In fact, many in this same Twitter thread pointed out that longtime former Tour rules official Slugger White is now LIV Golf’s vice president of rules & competition management, and the Saudi-backed league also plays by the same Rules of Golf.

There are plenty of problems with the Rules of Golf, but they have nothing to do with the PGA Tour.

“I think they need to have unlimited time to address a violation. Even 5-10 years from now they could detect an error and DQ a player for failing to handle it properly and ask that prize money be returned. The round was over, it wasn’t handled.”

Also incorrect. While Tour officials regularly review possible violations and circle back around the next day to clarify things, like they did with Smith, when the final putt drops and a winner is crowned, the competition is closed. There is no going back at that point.

“Would they have done this to Rory or JT if they were in contention? Absolutely no way. PGA is officially a joke.”

We know conspiracy theories range from absurd to just troll jobs, but this is ridiculous to the extreme. In fact, most argue the game’s stars are held to a higher standard because they are more often shown during broadcast and are therefore under more scrutiny than a player who finishes well outside of contention.

There are countless examples of top players being penalized, but Rory McIlroy’s incident with officials at the 2019 Northern Trust, which was that season’s playoff opener, is a solid comp.

The Northern Irishman was penalized two shots during the second round for touching what he thought was a rock in a bunker but turned out to be a clump of sand. He was three shots off the lead at the time. That penalty was later rescinded by the rules committee after a more in-depth review of the new definition of the rule.

“Couch fan called it in and of course the [PGA Tour] accepted that rules officials word and reviewed it. There was a rules official with him at the time that didn’t rule it. [Tour] failing again.”

It’s a common misconception that there’s a rules official with every group. That is not correct. There was an official “in the area” who could have been called in to help Smith better understand the rule, and that’s always an option. It’s also worth noting that Ryan Palmer, who was paired with Smith on Saturday, even suggested he call an official for clarity if he wasn’t sure, but Smith did not.

Full-field scores from FedEx St. Jude Championship

Also, officials stopped taking call-ins for potential violations years ago. It was an on-site rules official who was watching Saturday’s re-air who suggested the committee take another look at the drop, and it was Smith who admitted that his ball was on the line.

“Masters winner Scheffler is a strong opponent of LIV. And in the first round in Memphis, the American blatantly walked across the putting line of his playing partner Smith on the 12th green before a birdie attempt. The Aussie looked at him in disbelief.”

Scottie Scheffler is a supporter of the PGA Tour in the ongoing rift with LIV Golf and he did walk by Smith during Thursday’s opening round, but he did not walk across or through his line. Scheffler told reporters that when he realized what he’d done he tracked Smith down to apologize for any slight, either real or perceived.

The two even jokingly concocted a plan to have a “stare-down” during Friday’s second round, but neither could keep a straight face long enough to pull it off.

There’s enough animosity between those loyal to the Tour and those who have bolted for LIV Golf, but neither the penalty nor Scheffler’s snafu had anything to do with the start-up league.

“Really tough break. It was the right call. He handled it very well, classy guy.”

This one is actually correct. Smith did handle the news well and it was the right call, regardless of what many on social media might think.

“[Smith’s] answer to me is, ‘The rules are the rules,’” said Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s chief referee. “He just accepted the two-stroke penalty … he very calmly left the office and he’s just going about his business for the day.”

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Three Syrian soldiers killed in Israeli missile attacks: Report – Al Jazeera English



At least three Syrian soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in “multiple” Israeli missile attacks on Syria, according to state media.

The SANA news agency said on Sunday that the missile attacks took place at 8:50pm (17:50 GMT) and targeted “some points” in the countryside near the capital, Damascus, and the coastal province of Tartous.

Syrian air defence forces confronted the “aggressions” and downed some of the missiles, SANA said, citing an unnamed military source.

“The aggression led to the death of three soldiers, the wounding of three others,” it reported.

The attacks on Damascus were carried out from a direction southeast of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, while the attacks on Tartous came from the Mediterranean sea.

In addition to the deaths, the attacks caused some “material damage,” the military source told SANA.

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air raids inside the country, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters. Israel rarely comments on individual raids in Syria, but the Israeli military has defended them as necessary to prevent Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, also reported on Sunday’s attacks, saying the raids targeted an air defence base in Tartous province, where Iranian-backed groups are active.

The site in Tartous is located 8km (5 miles) from a Russian base, said the monitor, which has a vast network of sources in Syria.

It said ambulances had rushed to the scene of the raids in Tartous.

It added that two missiles also struck a Syrian government military site in the Al-Qutayfah area of the Damascus countryside.

Other recent reported Israeli attacks in Syria include a raid near Damascus that killed three Syrian soldiers last month. The Syrian Observatory said that attack targeted a military facility and an “Iranian weapons depot”.

Civilians have also been wounded in the Israeli raids.

Syria’s defence ministry said in early July that an Israeli raid carried out from the Mediterranean Sea near the town of Al-Hamadiyah, south of Tartous town, had wounded two civilians.

State media also reported that Israeli shelling on Friday had wounded two civilians in southern Syria near the occupied Golan Heights.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said Israel has also recently struck a port in the coastal city of Latakia as well as the airport in Damascus, deeming the runway there unusable for weeks.

“For Israel, the biggest goal is to prevent Iran from creating a base on its border with Syria, the way that Iran’s ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah has,” she said. “Israel also wants to stop any transfers of sophisticated weapons from Iran to Hezbollah.”

She added, “such attacks are often confined, but the risk of further escalation is there.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was able to turn the tide of his country’s civil war, with crucial help from Iran’s proxy groups and with Russia’s military intervention in 2015.

The conflict started with the brutal repression of peaceful protests for democracy and has killed nearly half a million people since 2011.

Half of the country’s prewar population have also been forced from their homes.

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Local media highlight Coyote media day – University of South Dakota Athletics




Bryan Boettcher, USD Sports Information

South Dakota football held its annual media day Thursday which included a morning practice, 1-on-1 interviews with players and coaches, and a press conference featuring Coyote team captains and head coach Bob Nielson.
The Coyotes are fortunate to have several talented journalists throughout the region who cover the team on a regular basis. Links to the work they provided during media day are listed below:
Nielson Excited About ’22 Coyotes – Eric Bean, Yankton Press & Dakotan
South Dakota football braces for tough start to 2022 season – Bailey Zupke, Sioux City Journal
Camp’s experience leads hopeful Coyotes – Zech Lambert, Mitchell Republic
USD football ready for bigger and better year in 2022 – Mark Ovenden & Zach Borg, Dakota News Now
Coyotes eager to get rolling for 2022 football season – Alex Northcutt, KMEG
Yotes host football media day – Austin Tanner & Jayson Moeller, KTIV
Coyotes motivated to bounce back after last season’s playoff loss, Anthony Mitchell, KCAU
In addition to his coverage yesterday, Michael McCleary of the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls continues to post position previews on the team. His most recent posts are listed below:
South Dakota tight ends group trying to replace Brett Samson in receiving game
South Dakota’s offensive line returns four starters and looks to build on last season
South Dakota football will have new faces in wide receiver group, but should have a similar feel
South Dakota football’s running back room still strong despite breakout star’s injury
USD football enters 2022 with perhaps best quarterback room in MVFC
John Thayer, the voice of Coyote football, has posted recent interviews with Travis Theis and Carson Camp.


And check out this article from Randy Dockendorf of the Yankton Press & Dakotan featuring Sara Wieseler, who has been with the program since 2007 and was recently promoted to director of athletic facilities.

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