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Harvey Milk picture book teaches children about LGBTQ history

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Sanders, who has been writing picture books for children since 2012, said he relied on history books, news footage, documentaries and podcasts in order to conduct research for his book. Through this research, he learned that it took many volunteers from the community to bring Baker’s iconic design to life.

“Volunteers came, dyed the fabric by hand, cut and stitched it together,” Sanders explained, saying the flag didn’t just suddenly appear. “A group of people had their hand on it, [and it] symbolizes the way the community is today. That it really does take different parts to form the whole.”

Sanders stressed that it is important to share the stories of historical figures like Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in November 1978, and Gilbert Baker, who died just last year, to a new generation to ensure the impact of such individuals isn’t lost or forgotten.

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“I think it’s important for kids to learn about history in general, and that our history as the LGBTQ community is part of that history, and this needs to be recognized,” Sanders said. “History is history, and we need to know and be informed about it.”

Jean-Marie Navetta, director of learning and inclusion at PFLAG, one of the nation’s largest organizations for LGBTQ people and their families, said representation matters when it comes to telling stories and helping all children grow up to be confident and strong.

“Teaching inclusive history isn’t just important — it’s critical work,” Navetta told NBC News. “On the most basic level, a complete story of what happened is the story we should be telling each time, and that means including the real stories of the people who made history, many of whom are LGBTQ-identified, although often​ that part of their story is left out.”

Navetta noted that California is the only state that mandates the inclusion of LGBTQ people in history and social science curricula in schools. Like all topics, she said it is important LGBTQ history lessons be approached in a way that is age appropriate.

“Be sure to present these stories like you would any other story, noting that this is another person who made history, and their life had lots of aspects, including the one about their sexual orientation and gender identity, which is a part of their story, but not the whole story,” Navetta said.

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Stuart Milk, co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation and nephew of the organization’s namesake, said he is glad his uncle’s story will be introduced to a new generation of young people and believes the core message of his uncle’s life was one of authenticity and visibility.

“Uncle Harvey had a dream for our community, which was to be widely accepted, an acceptance that he was able to envision, but we, those who have come after him, have actually made it a reality in many parts of the world,” Stuart Milk said.

He said he hopes this new children’s book will allow young people to be inspired by the legacy of his uncle and Gilbert Baker.

 A page from “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.” Courtesy of Random House Children’s Books

“As a children’s book, it presents both an inspiring, age appropriate overview of Uncle Harvey, his dream for us all and the power of collaboration,” he added. “In terms of basic understanding, it has the ability for young children, not just LGBT kids but those who may just feel different, to be hopeful.”

It is a feeling of hope that the author of “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” wants children to take away from reading the book.

“There are four words repeated throughout this book: equality, pride, hope and love,” Sanders said. “That’s a message I would like for kids to grab a hold of, that those four words are what Harvey and Gilbert and the flag are about, and that’s what we as a community are still striving to have.”

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Taiwan invasion unlikely for now – but there are other ways China can turn the screw | World News

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The good news is that there are only five months when weather conditions are good enough to mount an invasion of Taiwan, according to Ian Easton, the author of The Chinese Invasion Threat. 

The bad news is that two of them are April and May.

So when Taiwan reported that 25 Chinese air force aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) this week, fears of attack are front of mind.

It was the largest incursion by the Chinese military to date.

US Admiral Philip Davidson – Washington’s top military officer in the Asia-Pacific region – recently said he was worried China could invade Taiwan in the next six years.

Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan’s new defence minister, responded: “His evaluation says six years, but my concerns include six hours.”

The foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said this month that in the event of an attack Taiwan would fight “to the very last day”.

The famous Taipei 101 in the capital
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It’s unclear how far the US would go if the threat to Taiwan reaches a new level

There is belligerence from the Chinese side. A defence ministry spokesperson said that a declaration by Taiwan of independence “means war”.

Hu Xijin, the editor of a nationalistic Chinese tabloid, said that the Chinese military could fly directly over the island of Taiwan itself, and if Taiwan fired at those planes, China would attack.

Hu’s attention-seeking provocations should always be taken with a pinch of salt but they show how the conversation around Taiwan is evolving.

But although the intensity is increasing, in many ways we are still in the status quo that has existed for decades.

China’s constitution, adopted in 1949, says Taiwan is part of its “sacred territory” and details the “inviolable duty” of “reunifying the motherland”.

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On the question of “Taiwan independence”, China as far back as 2005 passed a law that formally authorised military force if Taiwan was “separated” from China.

Taiwan has its own constitution and a highly functioning democracy – rated above Japan and South Korea by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 led to an escalation in pressure from China. What we’re seeing now is best viewed as the latest development in that continuous period.

A pilot prepares to take off on a F-CK-1 Ching-kuo IDF at an Air Force base in Tainan
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Taiwan spent $900m scrambling jets to intercept Chinese planes last year

And as China has increased its attrition strategy, the US has increased its ties with the island, which in turn leads to more Chinese pressure.

That pressure is designed to take a psychological and logistical toll on Taiwan.

In 2020, Taiwan spent some $900m scrambling fighters to meet Chinese sorties and said it would no longer dispatch jets to meet every incursion, instead tracking Chinese aircraft with land-based missiles. Expect that pressure to continue.

But a full-scale invasion by China remains unlikely in the short term. That would require a massive build up of forces, easily detectable by US and Taiwanese monitoring.

There are options short of invasion that are still worrying.

China could blockade the island economically, or seize some of its outlying territory. The Kinmen Islands, administered by Taiwan, are barely a mile from China.

Any such move would be a test of the US resolve to defend Taiwan, perhaps analogous to Russia’s seizing of the Crimean Peninsula.

Would an aggressive Chinese move, short of full invasion, prompt the US to respond militarily?

Right now, no one knows. That means it would be hugely destabilising.

For all the pressures of the current moment, it at least fits a known, established pattern – and is far preferable to an escalation, the consequences of which would be difficult to predict.

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COVID-19: World Health Organisation calls for ban on sale of live wild mammals in food markets | World News

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The sale of live wild mammals at food markets should be suspended as an emergency measure, the World Health Organisation has said.

The statement comes after a WHO team visited Wuhan in China to investigate the origins of COVID-19.

The most likely scenario is that the virus originated in bats, was spread to another unidentified animal, and then passed on to humans, a WHO report said in March.

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The organisation said in a separate report on Tuesday that animals, “particularly wild animals”, are the source of more than 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans.

They added many of these are caused by novel viruses – a virus that has not previously been recorded.

The report states: “Wild mammals, in particular, pose a risk for the emergence of new diseases. They come into markets without any way to check if they carry dangerous viruses.

“There is a risk of direct transmission to humans from coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, mucus, faeces, or other body fluids of an infected animal, and an additional risk of picking up the infection from contact with areas where animals are housed in markets or objects or surfaces that could have been contaminated with such viruses.”

The WHO said “traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods ” around the world.

It added that banning the sale of live wild animals would help to protect the health of both shoppers and workers.

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WHO: Lab leak COVID origin ‘unlikely’

The closest-related viruses to COVID-19 have been found in bats in southwest China.

The intermediate host is more elusive: mink, pangolins, rabbits, raccoon dogs and domesticated cats have all been cited as a possibility.

The WHO team said that a theory the virus was leaked from a lab was “extremely unlikely” but it has not been ruled out.

The call for a ban of the sale of wild animals comes as the the WHO said the global coronavirus pandemic is at a “critical point”.

It added that people need a “reality check” as restrictions are eased.

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Dr Maria van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s technical response, told a news conference vaccinations alone are not enough to combat COVID-19.

Coronavirus restrictions were eased in parts of the UK on Monday, with shoppers returning to high streets and drinkers visiting pub gardens in England, and non-essential retailers reopening in Wales.

Dr van Kerkhove, speaking on Monday afternoon, urged caution, saying: “We need headlines around these public health and social measures, we need headlines around the tools that we have right now that can prevent infections and save lives.

“We are in a critical point of the pandemic right now, the trajectory of this pandemic is growing.”

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Facebook takes down official page for French town called Bitche | Science & Tech News

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Facebook has been criticised after taking down the official page for the French town of Bitche.

Local broadcaster Radio Melodie reported that the page was taken down, forcing the municipal communications officer to create a new one under another name.

Ms Valerie Degouy said the new page was named after the town’s post code, Mairie 57230, as reported by Politico.

Ms Degouy said: “I tried to reach out to Facebook in every possible way, through different forms, but there’s nothing [I could] do,” she said, adding she had “already had issues when I first created the page”.

Another of the commune’s towns, Rohrbach-les-Bitches, renamed its page Ville de Rohrbach out of caution.

In a post explaining the change, the account holder said: “Far from us the idea of denying the name of our beautiful village… [but] Facebook seems to be hunting the term associated with Rohrbach…

“We let you imagine the reason,” they added with a winking and laughing emoji.

As Politico reports, this is not the first time that the town’s name has caused upset for Americans.

Back in 1881, the US embassy was located on the Place de Bitche in Paris, named in honour of the town.

The then ambassador, Levi Parsons Morton, complained about the name as it appeared to be embarrassing on the embassy’s letterhead and Parisian authorities renamed the square Place des Etats-Unis.

A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed to Sky News that the page was removed in error, and had since been “swiftly restored this morning, when we because aware of the issue”.

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