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Daily Archives: May 7, 2020
Posted: May 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Daily fantasy and online poker are some of the biggest games in Americas Cardroom due to public demand and clamor for these games.
Poker has been a classic game in the casinos that both the gentlemen and the occasional gamblers play often. It is a game of skill, strategy and calculated bluffing. It is preferred by a lot of people because you can take a calculated risk instead of relying only on luck and instinct. People of all ages usually play this for a long time wherein some would even have the tradition to have a poker event every now and then.
Daily Fantasy has been big since the rise of fantasy sport games, especially among the millennials and game enthusiasts. Competitions in different daily fantasy games are very popular in many countries with event tournaments highly anticipated by a lot of fans. Unlike poker that would demand a certain professionality to it, playing sport games can start out as an individual hobby before going into competitions with your own team. It has grown so big that people become professional athletes in sports games and they get a chance to represent their country or flag in international events.
Daily Fantasy sports have been dubbed to be the next Poker so it can be safe to say that Poker is one of the original games that made casinos and gambling what they are today. Poker can be played both online and land-based and this is one of the key differences. You can only play fantasy sports online, but you also have choices with that too. You can either be a part of a virtual team where members are in different places or you can have members in your locality which you can be with physically as you play.
The origin of Poker dates back to the 19th century, while daily fantasy sports have only begun when the internet started booming in the 1990s. This is fairly a new sub-game in online casinos when it was legalized to be a part thereof. Often with Poker, you can play with people you have just met and just occupy a vacant seat every time a new game starts. With fantasy sports, you should be able to gather teammates by drafting and recruiting. Unworthy members can be replaced.
Some avid online players make the transition to go from one kind of game to another. They are relatable to each other and a lot of players in the DFS industry have prior online Poker experience. The truth is, most gamblers whether online or land-based have experiences with Poker but not all are interested to try their hand at other online games specially the relatively new ones.
Both games are highly skill-based. You need to have great decision making skills and strategies when playing against other players and teams. These are games that should not be played on a whim, especially if money is at stake.
Both have perks, especially when trying for the first time as most websites give bonuses and other promotions to new sign ups. If you are eligible for one, you can get this bonus code at Americas Cardroom so you can enjoy playing while having extra credit. This will enable you to have a great start should you choose to transition from one game to another. Since both online Poker and DFS are highly popular and in demand, you have the opportunity to master them given the privilege brought about by the bonuses.
Who can play in these games depend heavily on a persons interest. If you have been a fan of online Poker, you can try out daily fantasy sports for a change of scenery. This is especially true if you are participative in group plays and you can be an asset team player. Daily fantasy sports participate heavily in tournaments so each member of a team should be on the same page in order to attend one. Formulating a game play is also absolutely essential. As such, coordinating and strategizing would require all members to contribute and comply. If you are willing to do all these, you can play these sports online.
Online Poker can be played mostly by anyone, especially those who are more introverted and want to peacefully play and earn money. Chances are, those who have resolved to play online must have prior experience playing in land-based casinos. Some may still continue to do so. Whatever the case is, online Poker can be played by anyone who wants the privacy and aloneness the game can give a player.
In playing both online Poker and Daily Fantasy sports, players should be in the right age. Legal age of players depends on the country of origin, so proof of identity and personal information is required for all players.
Online Poker and Daily Fantasy sports can be played anywhere there is a computer and internet. It can be in the confines of your homes or offices. One key difference here is that sometimes there would bespecialty internet cafes that host tournaments for groups where team members can be physically together.
Americas Cardroom also warns about illegal or fraudulent gaming websites because these sites would just want to extort money from players of poker and daily fantasy sports. The players of these games are often targeted because of the higher money people are willing to put on the line. There are also more people who play these games so there can be more victims that can fall into their trap. Be wise in choosing a site and go only to the legitimate ones.
Sometimes the popularity of a certain game has so much impact on the decisions of people. Most people would try anything that is popular, hyped, and financially rewarding. When you try these online games, you should be prepared to know whats compatible with your preferences and style.
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Posted: at 1:45 pm
Sundays episode 6 of ESPNs The Last Dance docuseries on the Chicago Bulls focused on Michael Jordans legendary gambling habits, from the golf course to the team plane to casinos. According to Jordan, he never had a gambling problem, he merely had a competition problem, and those who gambled with Jordan say he wouldnt quit until he had won.
In an interview with Scott Van Pelt, Charles Barkley recalled the nightly poker games he played with Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Magic Johnson. According to Barkley, Jordan would regularly make huge bets in the game to try and take down the pot, simply because he had more money to burn than Barkley or Pippen did and he knew it.
Every night not one night, not two nights, not 10 nights. Me, Magic, Scottie and [Michael] played cards every single night. But Michael tried to buy the pot every single night. It was really awesome. Like, first of all me and Scottie dont have as much money as Michael and Magic, but we knew that no matter what the cards were, at the end of the night, or three or four times a night, Michael was always gonna try to buy the pot, and just like he always says, whats your breaking point of going all in.'
Posted: at 1:45 pm
Tim TheTrooper97 Watts is something of a curates egg both on Twitter and on YouTube, where the popular poker YouTuber puts out around four videos per week. Watts has a family-based lifestyle and yet trawls Las Vegas looking for entertaining ways of bringing poker to the masses, so what is it that makes Watts so successful? Lets subscribe and mash that like button.
Having been making poker videos since the very beginning of 2012, Wattss watchword is clearly consistency. Hes built a small yet fiercely loyal viewership of 38,500 subscribers that typically view each of his videos between 5,000 and 10,000 times between them. Occasionally, watts stumbles on something a bit more viral, but well come to that later.
I play poker and drink a lot of coffee.
Tim Watts is not a man for over-explaining what he does, and that has reached a consistent audience, with the middle-marker of those 5,000 and 10,000 views-per-video reflected by his 8,000 Twitter followers. Keeping it simple yet being entertaining is the holy grail of YouTube videos, but pretty much any content everywhere, be it on television, the radio or in film, so Watts has mastered a niche skill. His knack of dialing this up into highly watchable videos is something that is harder to qualify, but well try.
In the U.K., there is a popular comedian by the name of Karl Pilkington, who has made a very good living as a social commentator on some of lifes frustrating or entertaining squirks. Glitches in the matrix that dont have a good enough explanation are giving a going over by Karl and his charm lies in his ability to highlight these yet never really solve them, leaving the problem to be explored in the minds of his fans.
There is a feeling of Karl Pilkington about watching Tim Watts after a while. Hes nowhere near as silly and frivolous as Pilkington, but his videos have some similar qualities. Both men are clearly very smart about what they are offering, and Watts started adult life playing Video poker at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Its his wide-eyed way of loving the Las Vegas lifestyle that draws you in. Hes a low-limit player, so he appeals to how others might choose to play.
If you were already a very good poker player, you might be pointed in the way of Brad Owen, Andrew Neeme or Johnnie Vibes to find out how to document it so that other poker players would aspire to be you. Poker fans more likely aspire to play poker at a more basic level and Watts has a way of making that very accessible. You might very well ask whats stopping you doing this at the end of a marathon of watching his videos.
The answer is simple nothing except the dedication to keep filming no matter what. A coffee and some home-made pizza? Its on camera. Las Vegas is closed? Get the tripod out and shoot it. This is the collection of a life documented to the nth degree. As you can probably tell, were on the fence as to whether this is a good thing or a bad one.
Tim Watts might have plenty of thoughts on that subject, but if he has, you can rely on him expressing them. It doesnt seem like he has a thought that isnt expressed, and his many fans will hope that continues for a very long time.
You can browse the Tim Watts collection of YouTube videos right here.
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Posted: at 1:45 pm
Late last year developer HexiGames launched a new mobile game called Play 21 which combined elements of Blackjack with elements of Solitaire and wrapped it all up in a package where you could play for the opportunity to win real money against other players. While the real money gambling aspect can be polarizing, the actual gameplay in Play 21 was really entertaining, and if you didnt care about trying to win money you could simply play for the sake of playing. Now HexiGames is back with their newest release which does something similar to what Play 21 did with Blackjack and Solitaire but this time they do it with Poker. Its called 5-Hand Poker, and as the name implies it has you playing 5 different hands of poker at a time in a way thats possible to do all by yourself like in Solitaire.
The way they do this is very similar to how things work in Play 21, where you were playing 4 vertical hands at a time and trying to get as close to 21 as possible in each one. In 5-Hand Poker, youre playing 5 vertical hands at a time. Each game starts with a random card dealt as the first card in each hand, then you flip the top card in the deck and play it to one of those 5 hands. The tricky part is that you have to finish off each horizontal row of cards before you can move down and start placing new cards in another row, so theres a lot of strategizing involved instead of putting each and every card you flip over into whichever of the 5 vertical hands is most ideal. To help you out with this you can place a card into a Hold" position up to 3 times per game, similar to how you can hold onto a certain block in Tetris and then play it when the situation is just right.
The entire gameplay concept is built around the head-to-head multiplayer aspect of 5-Hand Poker. Each player will play the exact same deck to see who can make the most high-value Poker hands out of the five available, and opponents are matched up based on their in-game skill level. As was the case in Play 21, you can play against other players in casual matches using the in-game currency of HexiCoins, which are given out for free at set intervals. These are more or less practice matches and dont require you to risk any real money.
If you ARE interested in the prospect of winning real money, those matches range from 60 buy-ins with the opportunity to win $1 all the way to a $55 buy-in where the winner takes home $100. Those real money payouts also come with an award of Skill Points, the amount of which depends on which tier of game youre playing and how high you get your multiplier number through playing games, and those Skill Points can also be converted into real money in your account. Its kind of like a rewards system in a casino. Another new feature in 5-Hand Poker is the ability to directly challenge a friend by sending them a link to the same game that you already played.
As I mentioned before, real money gambling through an app isnt for everyone, and in fact there are some states in the US where skill-based cash gaming with cards still is not legal. If thats the case where youre at, youre still free to download 5-Hand Poker and play the free games using the in-game HexiCoins system. In fact, even if youre not interested in the real money aspect at all, Id suggest downloading the game and trying out the free games just because this is such an interesting blend of Poker and Solitaire. You can find 5-Hand Poker on the App Store for free right now and you can find out even more information over at the official HexiGames website.
This article is sponsored content written by TouchArcade and published on behalf of HexiGames to promote the launch of their real money gaming app 5-Hand Poker. For questions or comments, please email [emailprotected]
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The growth of the gambling industry in the United Kingdom is an incontestable success story and it has been a significant portion of the economies there. Since this sovereign state has applied more persuasive gambling laws and regulations, this entertaining activity has become the most seductive there.
Historically, gambling has been the Britons main leisure activity since the 1500s and in the beginning, horse racing was their preference. The poker was introduced around the mid-19th century and since that time; this game has become a phenomenon. With the rise of online gaming, online poker is completely legal in the UK and there are regulations associated with this game. What are the laws applied to land-based and online poker games in the United Kingdom?
The Gaming Act of 1960 legalized first the UK gambling and only the games of skill and betting sectors are permitted to operate there. After the gambling legalization, nearly 10,000 betting premises were created across the territory. With the Gaming Act of 1968, the betting shops became legalized and different types of betting products were available including poker games. Moreover, when the Gaming Act 1968 was replaced by the 2005 Act, online gambling was regulated and sports betting seduced the British gamblers.
However, a huge selection of gambling options began to invade the internet gambling including live poker. This new and strict act enabled the customers to have a large selection of gambling options and allowed them to bet safely and responsibly. The Act of 2014 is the recent enhancement of the gambling legislation in the sovereign state. In this new bill, the remote betting operators that are offering services within the UK citizens must be licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
Playing online poker is perfectly legal in the UK since 2005 but online poker rooms that operate there must be licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. This poker legislation is similar to Gibraltar in which the poker operators who hold licenses from the UKCG have to pay taxes and respect the laws.
Besides, this updated gambling tax law is applied to all the licensed gambling premises. In this statute, both onshore and offshore betting firms are required to pay a 15% tax fee. According to the rules, there is no limit on the stakes and prizes when playing poker at home and this game can be played in and outside the casino.
In addition, players are protected by Gamstop self-exclusion system. But despite this fact, CasinoGap says that there are still some non Gamstop poker sites in the United Kingdom that allow gambling even while being self-excluded. Nevertheless, the pokers rules depend on the place you play. Therefore, there are various places to play poker such as in a casino, at home, in a pub, at work, in a club, poker for charity, online poker sites, during the tournaments, and many others.
At first, the poker players had a concern that they would no longer be allowed to access the international platform. They worried to not play against players in other nations as well. Nonetheless, this law required the providers to get a license from the UKGC so that they can run their businesses within the UK area. There are also some alternatives to UKGC licence that bring to players good services.
In addition, these poker casino platforms have also to improve their security measures by including the well-reputed security systems like the SSL encryption and others. Hence, the UK based players would be able to play poker against players in other countries as well as take advantage of the various perks offered by the poker sites.
The gambling laws are also applied to the offshore poker platforms in which they are required to pay the 15% tax fee on all deposits. This regulation, obviously, permits the poker players to join any licensed sites they want and enables them to play safely and securely.
The United Kingdom is one of the countries that have really developed gambling regulations and laws over the centuries. Since gambling is a subject of crimes, the UK has to apply strict laws to protect the players against these possible illegal activities. As the poker has become a part of British entertaining activities, appropriate regulation has been implemented by the UK Gambling Commission.
In this game, remote gambling sites can be operated in this sovereign state as long as they respect the laws related to this game. All in all, the future of land-based and online poker in the UK will be bright provided that every poker premise promotes responsible gambling.
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Posted: at 1:45 pm
Jason Koon has cashed for more than $30.9 million in live poker tournaments over his career. As a result he now sits in ninth place on pokers all-time money list.
Back in 2012 Card Player TV caught up with Koon back during the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker main event at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino for a video interview. At that point, Koon had yet to rise to the super high roller scene that he is now a staple of and had just $2.7 million in live tournament cashes under his belt.
In the video, Koon discusses some common mistakes novices make when first getting into playing heads-up no-limit holdem sit-and-gos.
With beginners, theyre often defending way too much out of position. I would recommend making tight folds out of position and being very aggressive when in position, offered Koon as a starting point.
Also, be very selective about what ranges you decide to re-raise your opponent with. I feel that beginners often get themselves in trouble by not having a polarized three-betting range, continued Koon. So theyd three-bet a hand like ace-jack, get four-bet, and not know what to do with it. So, make sure that whenever you are re-raising someone, you know if you are bluffing or if you are doing it for value and are comfortable playing for stacks.
You can check out the rest of Koons advice by watching the full video below:
To learn more about how to play poker, check out more strategy videos on Card Player TV.
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Posted: at 1:45 pm
Alleged poker cheat Mike Postle is again accused of having dodged legal service, this time in the lawsuit filed in Nevada by Stones Live! participant Marle Cordeiro. Las Vegas attorney Maurice Mac VerStandig filed a motion on April 27 on behalf of Cordeiro, seeking sanctions against Postle for his failure to acknowledge or respond to summons in the civil case.
Postles alleged failure to comply with the legal summons mirrors the early court developments in the larger case involving Postle in California. That case involves 88 separate plaintiffs who have sued Postle, the parent company of Stones Gambling Hall, and Stones employee Justin Kuraitis. Cordeiro was eligible to join that complaint, but instead opted to file suit in Nevada, her home state, while alleging that she was recruited across state lines to play in a live-streamed cash game allegedly cheated by Postle.
VerStandig is also the primary attorney in the larger California case, which seeks $10 million in damages from Postle and the other defendants, with a racketeering claim that could swell a possible judgment to $30 million.
This weeks motion in the Cordeiro case includes numerous details about several weeks of unsuccessful efforts to serve legal notice to Postle, who lives in greater Sacramento. The primary motion asking for sanctions against Postle includes an additional 15 appendices. Those appendices detail the history of the failed attempts by a Sacramento process server, plus a recap of the similar happenings in the California matter, which delayed the beginning of that other case by over two months.
The appendices also include e-mail exchanges between VerStandig and Postles mother, Rose Postle, who also lives in Sacramento. Rose Postle filed a revised defense statement on her sons behalf in California, thus serving as an officer of the court. In the Cordeiro case, she agreed to notify her son of VerStandigs attempt at contact, and thus of Cordeiros lawsuit. Mike Postle, according to the filings, ignored all those attempts.
The filing also includes a proposed court order approving four alternate modes of communication and legal service. Instead of using the US postal service or an in-person server, which Postle has evaded to date, VerStandig hopes the court will approve service via FedEx, two email addresses known to be actively used by Postle, and his account on Twitter (@Mike_Postle).
The motion for sanctions is likely to be addressed at the first scheduled hearing for the case, on June 1, 2020 in Las Vegas.
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GOP lawsuit to block Tony Evers’ order to stay home in hands of Supreme Court – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Posted: at 1:43 pm
A lawsuit brought by Republican lawmakers against Evers and Department of Health Secretary Andrea Palm seeking to strike down the order is now in the hands of the state's highest court. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers and his administrationcame under fire Tuesday by conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, one of whom compared his order to close businesses and schools amid the coronavirus outbreak to government oppression.
"Isn't it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people to be imprisoned for going to work among other ordinarily lawful activities?" asked Justice Rebecca Bradley, who later questioned whether the administration could use the same power to order people into centers akin to the U.S. government's treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Justice Rebecca Grassl Bradley listens during a 2018 Wisconsin Supreme Court session.(Photo: Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
A lawsuit brought by Republican lawmakers against Evers and Department of Health Secretary Andrea Palm seeking to strike down the order is now in the hands of the state's highest court, which is controlled by conservatives.
Evers and his attorney said Tuesday the lawmakers' lawsuit could upend life-saving measures and needlessly put more residents' health and their lives at risk.
"Everyone understands such an order would be absolutely devastating and extraordinarily unwise," DOJ attorney Colin Roth said. "If safer-at-home (order) is enjoined with nothing to replace it, and people pour out into the streets, that the disease will spread like wildfire and we'll be back in a terrible situation with an out-of-control virus with no weapon to fight it no treatments, no vaccine, nothing."
In response to Bradley's questioning, Roth said the order does not give Palm unlimited power. ButBradley questionedwhether the law set limits to the actions it allowed.
Live updates: The latest on coronavirus in Wisconsin
Daily digest: What you need to know about coronavirus in Wisconsin
Evers issued a public health emergency on March 12, a week after the coronavirus began to spread in the state following outbreaks in China, Europe, and on the coasts of the United States.
The governor in late March issued an order to shut down scores of businesses, bars and restaurants, and schools leading to more than 500,000 unemployment claims since then.
That order was set to expire in late April but Evers and Palm extended it by a month as cases of the virus continued to climb a move that prompted GOP lawmakers to sue.
Arguments in the suit were held virtually on Tuesday a rule adopted by the court because of the order it now will decide should continue.
The lawsuit is the latest battle between the Democratic governor and Republicans who control the state Legislature that could again reshape how state government works for Wisconsin.
At issue is whether Evers andDepartment of Health Secretary Andrea Palm acted lawfully when Palm signed the order extending restrictions on business operations and schools until May 26.
Palm signed the order using powers in state law that allow the health secretary to take sweeping actions to shutdown public lifeduring a virus outbreak like the current pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who is running for Congress in the 5th District, and Speaker Robin Vos argue the Evers administration cannot act on its own in perpetuity and instead want a long-term plan to be crafted through the Legislature's rulemaking process.
"This case is not about whether a lockdown is a good idea,"Ryan Walsh, an attorney representing the lawmakers, said Tuesday. Instead, he argued, the case is about whether state law provides Palm with the ability to close down daily life.
Roth argued state law is clear and that if conservative justices or GOP lawmakers are unhappy with her powers, they should find a solution through legislation to change the law that he says provides those powers.
If the court sides with Fitzgerald and Vos, a legislative committee with three of the most critical lawmakers of the Evers administration's response to the virus outbreak will have veto power over the new rules.
The GOP leaders argue lawmakers should have a say in broad restrictions moving forward. Evers argues the process will bog down decision making that needs to be nimble to react to an unpredictable virus that has infected more than 8,000 people in Wisconsin in two months.
Walsh argued DHS had the authority to issue orders for certain areas of the state, but not the state as a whole, while Roth disputed that and said DHS' orders supersede less-stringent orders of local governments.
Roth noted while the majority of cases were once in Madison and Milwaukee, Brown County now has the second-highest number of cases a change that occurred within a couple weeks.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack dismissed the idea that the outbreak was community-wide and could be replicated elsewhere.
"(The surge) was due to the meatpacking that's where Brown County got the flare," Roggensack said. "It wasn't just the regular folks in Brown County."
Three meatpacking plants in Brown County have been tied to outbreaks, pushing the county to have the second-highest number of cases in the state.
JBS Packerland shut down its Green Bay plant last weekafter the virus had sickened nearly 300 workers, about a quarter of the company's local employees.
Even with the microscope on food processing plants, Brown County officials have emphasized that those facilities aren't solely driving the increasein cases.
Claire Paprocki of Brown County Health and Human Services said the recent uptick stemsin part from people who don't practice social distancing, show up to work sick or continue to gather with family andfriends.
Haley BeMiller of the Green Bay Press-Gazette contributed to this report.
Contact Molly Beckat email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MollyBeck.
Posted: at 1:43 pm
Chinese Christians have welcomed a damning US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report but said religious oppression in China is more severe than what is reported.Christian leaders say the space for religious freedom has severely shrunk in the past two decades, with the communist regime implementing a series of policies aiming to eradicate religion from society.The US State Department has considered China "a country of special concern" since 1999, following the USCIRF recommendation. The recent 2020 report of the commission kept China among the global worst performers in terms of religious freedom.But some religious scholars told UCA News that the most serious but often overlooked form of religious suppression in China is to make Christians sign a declaration rejecting religion under the threat of denying them government benefits such as pensions. Since 2018 in areas such as Zhejiang province, Christian teachers in schools and colleges have been forced to sign such documents, without which they are denied pensions. The oppression continues subtly, blocking people from practicing their faith, said a religious leader who requested anonymity.The USCIRF report, released on April 28, said that "the state of religious freedom in China has continued to deteriorate" over the last year, with authorities using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to monitor religious minority groups. Series of violationsIndependent experts estimate that between 900,000 and 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyzstans and other Muslims are being held in more than 1,300 concentration camps in Xinjiang, the report said.It also referred to attacks on Christians, saying that authorities had raided or seized hundreds of Christian house churches. They released members of the Autumn Rain Covenant Church in December 2018, but a court last December charged its priest, Reverend Wang Yi, with "subversion of state power" and sentenced him to nine years in prison.The report also explicitly mentioned Auxiliary Bishop Guo Xijin of Fujian Mindong Diocese and Coadjutor Bishop Cui Tai of Hebei Xuanhua Diocese. Authorities harassed and jailed them for refusing to join the official state-sanctioned church.It also alleges that various local governments, including Guangzhou, are offering cash incentives to people who report underground church groups.In addition, crosses from churches across the country have been removed, people under 18 are banned from participating in religious liturgies, and images of Jesus or Our Lady are replaced with those of President Xi Jinping.The report recommended that the US government again designate China as a country of special concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.It wanted the US to impose targeted sanctions on institutions and officials that commit serious violations of religious freedom by freezing the property of the individuals involved or barring them from entering the United States.They also suggested that if the Chinese government continues to suppress religious freedom, US government officials will not participate in the Winter Olympics hosted by Beijing in 2022.The report also asked for intensified efforts to fight back against the Chinese government's attempts to exert influence in the United States to suppress information or propaganda about religious freedom violations.'China defends freedom'Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responded to the report at a regular press conference. He said the US committee was biased against China and has published reports over the years "denigrating China's religious policy."He claimed that China has nearly 200 million people of all kinds of religious communities, more than 380,000 religious staff, about 5,500 religious groups and more than 140,000 religious activity sites registered by law.Geng reiterated that China would never allow anyone to engage in illegal criminal activities under the guise of religion.He also urged the US to respect basic facts, reject arrogance and prejudice, stop the misguided practice of releasing reports year after year, and stop using religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.But a Chinese religious scholar who wished to remain anonymous argued that the report was "basically telling the truth."Chinese authorities have been increasingly cracking down on religion in recent years, with the worst crackdown on Christianity in Henan province in 2018.More severe than the demolition of crosses and churches is the "coercion of citizens to sign declarations rejecting religion under the threat of denying them benefits," he said."It is a serious violation of human rights and contempt for the law, causing regression of the legal system in society," he added. Religious oppression as cultural revolutionThe scholar said suppression in Henan province is like a rehash of the Cultural Revolution, which will cause major social trauma and great stimulation to people's minds, triggering mutual hatred and creating a social group psychological distortion."After all these years since the Cultural Revolution, people have just regained a little bit of sanity, but they didn't expect to go back all of a sudden, which is a disaster," he said.He pointed out that just 10 days before Geng Shuang responded to the report, the cross of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Anhui province was removed. On the following day, the cross of Yongqiao Catholic Church in Suzhou City was also removed."But the Chinese communist authorities did not produce any legal documents for their action," said the scholar.Chinese official Geng Shuang was lying, said Cebu parishioner Paul Li. "The officials accused this US report of denigrating China's religious policy. Is it China's religious policy to tear down the crosses of churches? And to spend public money to demolish crosses despite churches' objections,?" Li asked.Father Thomas Wang, who has been following the developments, said authorities have never responded positively to these accusations of religious persecution, "either dodging them or outrightly evading them, or accusing others of interfering in internal affairs."Father Wang said the Chinese side sees it as a domestic fight. "I beat my wife and children behind closed doors; it has nothing to do with you, I just beat them to death, it's our family business, it's none of your business."Maria Li in Guangdong said China is no longer worried about international pressure and condemnation."They have bribed a lot of small countries and organizations; even international agencies like the World Health Organization defended it.So what are they worried about?" she asked.However, she wanted the international community to pay attention to the religious and human rights situation in China."If more countries unite and put pressure on China, authorities will desist from blatant oppressions, which will help the Church to breathe," she said.
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Posted: at 1:43 pm
San Salvador, El Salvador: A soldier guards the city as part of preventive measures. Camilo Freedman/Zuma Press/PA Images
The big issue of the coronavirus in Latin America is hunger says the head of Cafods Latin America Department. Clare Dixon toldThe Tabletthis week that of course its a health crisis but it is also a social catastrophe one of hunger, and also human rights, inequality and violence against women.
Draconian clampdowns in El Salvador and Guatemala mean that people are allowed out only once a week to buy food but, as Clare reports, they say we dont live week by week but day by day and they would rather risk catching the virus on the streets and earn an income than die of hunger. In both countries, soldiers patrol barrios during strict lockdown, and thousands have been detained.
Cafod partners working with young people in an area of San Salvador afflicted by gang violence report families having trouble accessing food. Some subsidies are provided by the governments, but many poor people cannot access them because they do not have bank accounts.
In health terms, social distancing is difficult where several generations of the same family live in one or two rooms. El Salvadors hospitals are ill-equipped and Cafod supports a clinic set up by the Jesuit Refugee Service which has been co-opted into the national system to tackle the virus, and personal protection equipment has been provided. Cafod was already supporting the Church in challenging the government plans to privatise water which would push up its price and make it less accessible for poor communities. In Guatemala, Cafod supports community-based radio projects which provide virus information, an SOS service and information about food distribution.
In Brazil, Clare highlighted Cafod's support for the urban poor in Sao Paulo by funding womens groups taking the lead in distributing food.
It is also working with rural groups, such as the Pastoral Land Commission, to link farmers to city dwellers needing their produce.
In Manaus, the largest city in Amazonas where the virus is causing mounting deaths, Archbishop Leonardo Steiner of Manaus is spearheading calls of bishops of the Amazon region to protect the poor and indigenous communities. Cafod is providing food and health resources to the most vulnerable families and measures to help indigenous tribal people protect themselves from the virus brought into their traditional lands by loggers and mining companies. The urban poor are suffering the worst impacts of the virus through hunger and, in many countries such as Colombia and Bolivia, the crisis has brought human rights abuses Clare reports.
Columban missionaries in Peru also report that food security is a huge problem in the barrios during the eighth week of lockdown. From Lima, Fr Ed OConnell reports that while the governments response to the virus has been compassion and not repression measures taken to help the poor have left many hungry.
A lot of people not included in the censuses of 2013 and 2017 fell outside of the official lists and many of the municipalities have not had the capacity to distribute food stocks to the most needy. Seventy per cent of the people get their income in the informal sector but have no work.
Around 42 per cent of Limas families are without an income and the most desperate are leaving Lima and walking back to their home towns: along the coast both north and south; up to the Andes mountains and some down the other side into the jungle. Columbans are supporting San Benito, a barrio on the northern side of Lima, helping 60 families with essentials who have had no money and no work for seven weeks. Fr Ed says, it is a drop in the ocean but to those who do receive it it means everything. Meanwhile, there are rising numbers of virus infections, with hospitals already full, in a population already coping with TB, HIV, Dengue and Malaria.
Venezuelas prolonged social, political and economic crisis has only been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, the archbishop emeritus of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, said last week. While the cardinal acknowledged the lockdown has prevented the spread of the virus, he pointed out that informal workers are barely surviving, and only with the help of family members, social organisations and the Church. The cardinal felt the government has used the quarantine as an opportunity to strengthen its social and political control.
In South Africa, the government lockdown has been effectively observed, with support from religious leaders. Archbishop William Slattery, Emeritus of Pretoria, toldThe Tabletthis week that informal settlements or ghettos around townships have faced greatest health risks with the virus and lockdown. People are thrown together and it is hard to observe social distancing he said; and, yes, people are hungry and much of our work at the moment is trying to help them. He reported that, mobile phones are being utilised to identify those in need of food parcels and there is an emergency fund to draw on.
Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg toldThe Tabletthat although there have been just over 100 deaths recorded in South Africa until we ramp up very substantially the number of people being tested, we will not really know the extent of the infections in a country of 56 million people. He warned that prevention strategies also highlight the reality of South Africa. How can the millions of poor people who live in one-room shacks as in this Diocese be expected to maintain social distancing, stay at home, and wash their hands frequently when there is no readily available water?
The social situation in South Africa is increasingly tense, especially for both immigrants and South Africans living in townships", according to Scalabrinian missionary Fr Pablo Velasquez. I receive messages almost every day from desperate immigrant workers, with nothing to eat, among them Mozambicans who are victims of exploitation here in South Africa" he reports. Hundreds came daily to the gates of his parish of St Patrick, south of Johannesburg, to get food parcels, despite the police trying to disperse them. Fr Pablo reports that among the people queuing in front of the parish, many say "it is better to die of coronavirus than starvation".
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the coronavirus emergency exacerbates economic crisis. The government has sent the army to enforce lockdown but, according to Jesuit Fr Brian MacGarry, forcing people working in the informal sector to stay at home means condemning them to death and I fear there will be riots to which law enforcement agencies will respond with violence". The health system is collapsing, with a lack of personal protective equipment for health staff. Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare has announced that 55 Catholic health institutions have been offered to the government for use in the fight against the pandemic. In Bulawayo, ongoing drought has depleted reservoirs and some neighbourhoods are facing months cut off from the municipal water supply. Regular washing of hands is impossible in a city of two mission people, despite cases of infection.
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