2024年5月30日 星期四

Scottish Hate Crime Law Takes Effect as Critics Warn It Will Stifle Speech 蘇格蘭仇恨犯罪法生效 遭批箝制言論自由

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2024/05/31 第487期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Scottish Hate Crime Law Takes Effect as Critics Warn It Will Stifle Speech 蘇格蘭仇恨犯罪法生效 遭批箝制言論自由
Ocean Heat Has Shattered Records for More Than a Year. What's Happening? 海洋高溫屢破紀錄 原因不僅是氣候變遷
Scottish Hate Crime Law Takes Effect as Critics Warn It Will Stifle Speech 蘇格蘭仇恨犯罪法生效 遭批箝制言論自由
文/Sopan Deb

蘇格蘭仇恨犯罪法生效 遭批箝制言論自由

A sweeping law targeting hate speech went into effect in Scotland on Monday, promising protection against threats and abuse but drawing criticism that it could have a chilling effect on free speech.


The law, passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2021, expands protections for marginalized groups and creates a new charge of "stirring up hatred," which makes it a criminal offense to communicate or behave in a way that "a reasonable person would consider to be threatening, abusive or insulting."


A conviction could lead to a fine and a prison sentence of up to seven years.


The protected classes as defined in the law include age, disability, religion, sexual orientation and transgender identity. Racial hatred was omitted because it is already covered by a law from 1986. The new law also does not include women among the protected groups; a government task force has recommended that misogyny be addressed in separate legislation.


J.K. Rowling, the "Harry Potter" author who has been criticized as transphobic for her comments on gender identity, said the law was "wide-open to abuse by activists," and took issue with its omission of women.


Rowling, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, said in a lengthy social media post Monday that Scotland's Parliament had placed "higher value on the feelings of men performing their idea of femaleness, however misogynistically or opportunistically, than on the rights and freedoms of actual women and girls."


"I'm currently out of the country, but if what I've written here qualifies as an offense under the terms of the new act," she added, "I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment."


On Tuesday, police in Scotland said that while Rowling's post had generated complaints, the author would not be facing criminal charges.


The new law has long had the support of Scotland's first minister, Humza Yousaf. Yousaf was asked directly Monday about the criticism from Rowling and others who oppose the law.


"It is not Twitter police. It is not activists, it is not the media. It is not, thank goodness, even politicians who decide ultimately whether or not crime has been committed," Yousaf told Sky News. He said it would be up to "the police to investigate and the crown, and the threshold for criminality is incredibly high."


Ocean Heat Has Shattered Records for More Than a Year. What's Happening? 海洋高溫屢破紀錄 原因不僅是氣候變遷
文/Delger Erdenesanaa

海洋高溫屢破紀錄 原因不僅是氣候變遷

The ocean has now broken temperature records every day for more than a year. And so far, 2024 has continued 2023's trend of beating previous records by wide margins. In fact, the whole planet has been hot for months, according to many different data sets.


"There's no ambiguity about the data," said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "So really, it's a question of attribution."


Understanding what specific physical processes are behind these temperature records will help scientists improve their climate models and better predict temperatures in the future.


Last month, the average global sea surface temperature reached a new monthly high of 21.07 degrees Celsius, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a research institution funded by the European Union.


"March 2024 continues the sequence of climate records toppling for both air temperature and ocean surface temperatures," Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, said in a statement.


The tropical Atlantic is abnormally warm, helping set the stage for a busy hurricane season, according to an early forecast by scientists at Colorado State University. Higher ocean temperatures provide more energy to fuel stronger storms.


Global temperatures are rising long-term because the burning of fossil fuels adds greenhouse gases, which warm the planet, to the atmosphere. So far, climate change has raised the global average temperature by about 1.2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial average temperature. And because it takes more energy to heat up water than air, the oceans have absorbed the vast majority of the planet's warming from greenhouse gases.


But the "massive, massive records" set over the past year are beyond what scientists would expect to see even considering climate change, Schmidt said.


What's different now, compared with this time last year, is that the planet is dealing with the effects of an El Niño event that began in July. El Niño events are natural climate patterns associated with elevated temperatures.


"The temperatures that we're seeing now, the records being broken in February and March, are actually much more in line with what we would expect," compared with those of last year, Schmidt said. "Let's see what happens by the summer."


El Niño is weakening and expected to dissipate soon. What happens to global average temperatures then would help shed light on the temperatures of 2023, he said.


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