Copenhagen’s popular Little Mermaid statue has been defaced with graffiti that reads “RACIST FISH.”
On Friday, local police confirmed that the iconic monument — established in honor of the 1800s fairy tale’s Danish author Hans Christian Andersen — was the target of a spray painter.
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“We can confirm that The Little Mermaid has been vandalized some time before 9:00 a.m. this morning,” Copenhagen police said in a statement to Agence France-Press (AFP). “An unknown person has written the words ‘Racist Fish’ on it. We are investigating the case.”
The outlet reported that the same statue has been damaged several times before, including in 1964 and 1998 when the central mermaid character’s head was stolen, and also when one of her arms was severed in 1984. Earlier this year, someone tagged the statue with the message “Free Hong Kong.”
According to the Associated Press, no one has yet claimed credit for the vandalism of the more than 5-foot-high bronze sculpture located at the Copenhagen harbor, a major tourist attraction.
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The statue was completed in August 1913 by sculptor Edvard Eriksen, and was commissioned by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen as a gift to the City of Copenhagen, according to tourism site Visit Copenhagen.
Ane Grum-Schwensen, a scholar at the Hans Christian Andersen Center at the University of Southern Denmark, said she’s unsure why The Little Mermaid would be labeled racist.
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“Of course, in general with literary works, you can read them with various glasses,” Grum-Schwensen said, per AFP. “However, I do find it a little difficult to see, what would be especially racist in the adventure The Little Mermaid.”
The instance of vandalism comes as monuments around the world are becoming defaced. Last month, a statue honoring late black tennis legend Arthur Ashe in Richmond, Virginia, was vandalized with spray paint that read “WLM” and “White Lives Matter.”
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A number of longtime U.S. statues are also being removed amid the Black Lives Matter movement, as Americans call for an end to racial injustices.
Monuments that honor Confederate leaders in South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, and elsewhere have been taken away in recent weeks, with local officials condemning the historical injustices represented by the figures.
DOJ, IRS Investigating Crypto Exchange Binance
Binance Holdings Ltd. is facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Officials specializing in tax and money-laundering investigations are probing the world’s largest crypto exchange, according to the report.
Binance operates a sprawling global empire of crypto trading, including derivatives, which are essentially barred from the U.S. market. The Binance brand has attempted to project itself as above-board through recent regulatory hires including former U.S. senator Max Baucus. Former banking regulator Brian Brooks was installed as CEO of Binance’s U.S. affiliate last month.
“We take our legal obligations very seriously and engage with regulators and law enforcement in a collaborative fashion,” a Binance spokesperson said in a statement. “We have worked hard to build a robust compliance program that incorporates anti-money laundering principles and tools used by financial institutions to detect and address suspicious activity.”
She declined to comment on the reported investigation.
Binance CEO “CZ” Changpeng Zhao commented on the Bloomberg article in a tweet:
The CDC director just gave us a dark coronavirus warning
The latest coronavirus update for the US through mid-morning on Thursday shows that, according to the latest data collected by the team at Johns Hopkins University, more than 28.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the US since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, the coronavirus death toll in the US was approaching 519,000 as of the time of this writing.
Nevertheless, two states created an uproar this week when both states (Texas and Mississippi) announced their decision to pull back restrictions and mandates imposed during the pandemic, like max capacity requirements for businesses and statewide face mask rules. President Biden criticized these moves as the product of “Neanderthal thinking,” while CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky actually went farther than that — warning during a White House press briefing this week that the US could lose all of the progress made thus far as a result of the spread of more transmissible coronavirus variants. Spread that would be helped even more by states like these and others that join them pulling back on their coronavirus-related public safety measures too soon.
“Please hear me clearly,” Dr. Walensky said. “At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and to our progress. Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
While there has been a degree of promising news coverage in recent days and weeks, make no mistake: We’re still very much in the middle of a dangerous pandemic. COVID-19 cases, as well as related deaths, are up about 2% compared to last week — and we’re now averaging around 67,000 coronavirus cases per day, along with some 2,000 deaths each day.
Along these lines, and related to the Texas and Mississippi news, former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb had an important insight to share in a CNBC interview this week — namely, that governments and public health experts need to start talking to people about the end of the pandemic and how we get there. Else, we’ll see more people go down this same road, either by feeling like things are hopeless or prematurely easing up on safety measures. “If we continue to be very prescriptive and not give people a realistic vision for a better future, they’re going to start to ignore the public health guidance,” Gottlieb said.
Walensky continued her remarks by noting that an average of less than 70,000 coronavirus cases a day seems good compared to where we were a few months ago. But we “cannot be resigned” to that.
“Please stay strong in your conviction, continue wearing your well-fitted mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work,” she said. “Ultimately, vaccination is what will bring us out of this pandemic. To get there, we need to vaccinate many more people.”
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