Mask Mandate Reimposed on Afghan Women


A Kabul market on Sunday.


Ebrahim Noroozi / Associated Press

No one should be surprised that the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan looks a lot like the old Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Kathy Gannon reports for the Associated Press from Kabul:

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Saturday ordered all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public – a hard line that has clearly confirmed their worst fears. rights activists and would certainly complicate the Taliban’s dealings with an already distrustful international community.

The decree says that women should only leave the house when necessary, and that men’s relatives will face punishment – starting with summons and climbing to trials and prison sentences – for breaking the law. regulations on women’s clothing.

Meanwhile communist regimes in China are doing what communist regimes do — making policy with no regard for individual liberties. Winni Zhou and Martin Quin Pollard report to Reuters today on conditions in Shanghai and Beijing:

China’s two largest cities tightened COVID-19 curbs on Monday, sparking public outrage and even questioning the legitimacy of their uncompromising battle with the virus that has ravaged the economy. second largest economy in the world…

Although there has been no official announcement, residents in at least four of Shanghai’s 16 districts received notices over the weekend that they would not be allowed to leave their homes or receive deliveries, leading to a call. scrambling to hoard food… “It’s like a prison,” said Coco Wang, a Shanghai resident living under the new regulations. this “.

… The curbs have also prompted rare expressions of public anger, fueled by recent online accounts by Shanghai authorities forcing the neighbors of the cases to test positive. COVID must quarantine and ask them to hand over the house keys to be disinfected.

A video showed police unlocking locks after a resident refused to open the door… Responding to a Reuters question about the latest restrictions in Shanghai, city authorities there said they “must be resolute.” regulate the flow and control the movement of people. And each county is allowed to tighten measures according to its situation.

Reuters reported on Sunday from Shanghai:

Accounts from residents in some counties as well as social media posts show that the city government of 25 million people is accelerating and expanding efforts to transfer close contacts of positive cases to other districts. central quarantine center.

Many residents said they were asked to move to such facilities, despite testing negative, after cases were found in their building, causing frustration… On Saturday, Authorities in Putuo and Changning districts have issued notices stating that residents of housing complexes classified as city’s lowest-risk “prevention” zones can no longer leave contracts. their substance.


America revealed
Now that Americans are generally free to return to the office, there is an argument that young workers may particularly benefit from returning to the workplace. The Journal’s Kathryn Dill and Lindsay Ellis recently reported from Texas:

Companies across the country are struggling to get employees back into the office, but not in Austin.

Today, the city’s workforce is spending more time in offices than those in any other major U.S. metro area…

“It’s a good way to go out there and meet people,” said Rohit Ravichandran, a 27-year-old cybersecurity officer.

Mr. Ravichandran moved to Austin in July and has been in the office five days a week for the past few months despite his company’s flexible working policy. Office meetings and lunches with colleagues have made the 9 to 5 year old feel “as close to normal as possible,” he says.

Now Megan McArdle chooses in the Washington Post:

I don’t need to run through the benefits of remote work for anyone. But there are also dangers. And those dangers tend to be most dangerous for young people who need to build their human capital now: acquire skills, learn about their industry, make professional contacts. with people who can help them find their next or next job. All of that is harder to do via email or Zoom.

Humans are a social species, developed for face-to-face interaction. Anyone who has worked or gone to school remotely during the pandemic knows the limitations of turning to videoconference. The awkward, unnatural pace of conversation suppresses spontaneity, and distractions in the home make it easy for people to check in, even when they want attention. You never meet someone before a meeting and memorize quick questions you want to ask, and don’t catch up afterward about kids and pets and recent vacations.

Over time, those deficits build up. You have not made friends or built goodwill with the managers and colleagues who will get you through the difficulties (I regret to inform new graduates that there will certainly be difficulties). You haven’t heard rumors about competitors that could warn you of an opportunity – or warn you of similar mistakes. You haven’t heard war stories that teach you how to handle difficult situations, or get caught up in an interesting project because you’re chatting with the right person at the coffee machine. When you depart, you are not a fond memory, but just a smaller tile on the Zoom screen.


Ban on unpopular plastic bags
State and local bans on plastic products are becoming more common in the US, although when pressed about the problems they are supposed to solve, advocates often describe overseas processing failures. A ban on so-called single-use plastic bags favored by many supermarket shoppers just went into effect in New Jersey, and the policy looks set to become a lead-free plastic balloon.

Bill Bonvie of the Pine Barrens Tribune reports on his survey of consumers in the southern part of the Garden State:

“I will do that survey,” one respondent, Laurie Benton, of the Mystic Island section of Little Egg Harbor, when asked what she thinks of the ban, replied: “I like plastic bags and use them for many purposes. “

“I put my can in there and used it to make diapers and even put my kids uniform in a plastic bag,” she added.

As for whether banning them would help the environment, Benton feels it won’t help at all, given that “there’s a lot of other plastic out there” and “so many other important things to consider.” worry in this world other than plastic bags”.

Jose Ramos, of Whiting, is also “displeased” with the bags being removed from circulation, making a habit of using them to line trash cans and clean up after his pets. Other interviewees expressed similar views, for whom the designation “disposable” is not necessarily correct… they often reuse these disposable bags in many ways. for example, to shovel kittens or when walking the family dog. …

“Don’t even get me started (on that topic),” said Nancy C. King, of Browns Mills, owner of two cats who were among those surveyed at Medford ShopRite, and who made it clear that she Soon she will have to use part of her Social Security increase to order sanitary bags from

Scott Fallon of the Record newspaper in northern New Jersey reported:

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, volunteers from Bergen County’s longstanding charity Family Promise have distributed 150 hot meals in plastic bags a day to hungry people who can no longer afford it. ability to eat at the county homeless shelter.

But the charity’s organizers say the program is in jeopardy after they were denied an exemption from the statewide plastic bag ban by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection… received a six-month extension and is now scrambling to get lawmakers to write a new bill that would exclude charities like their own.

“We were ignored when this bill was written,” said Paul Shackford, chairman of the Family Promise board. “You are exempted for newspaper bags and dry cleaning bags. I suppose the bags to deliver meals to the homeless are well worth it. “


What would we do without experts?
In the New York Times, David Leonhardt mentioned the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

On the surface, Ukraine looks like another cause of loss at first. Its military is much smaller and less equipped than Russia’s, and Western experts predict the Ukrainian government will fall within the next few days.

Mr Leonhardt linked to a CNN dispatch from February, citing unnamed people “familiar with the latest intelligence” and reporting:

The initial US assessment from before the invasion – which predicted that the Ukrainian capital would be knocked down within 1 to 4 days after a Russian attack – remained the current prediction, the sources said.


James Freeman is co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China, and America’s Resurgence”.


Follow James Freeman on Twitter.

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