Episode 66: An Opera For Plants, China's New Domestic Abuse Law, Facial Recognition on the Subway
Home where families connect and memories are made. Find your new home with pen fed a mortgage partner who brings confidence value to your home buying experience they offer low rates and no lender fees, and can even help you find a real estate agent through their trusted partners. Let Penn Fed bring you home, visit Penn Fed dot org slash home or call one, eight, hundred, nine, seven, zero, seven, seven, six, six to receive any advertise product. You must become a member of pen fed insured by NCUA, equal housing lender. Strange News daily is a production of iheartmedia. In a world full of bizarre events, unsolved mysteries and two billion stories from all corners of the globe, some news gets lost in the shuffle. This is your gateway to the stories of the fringe of the mainstream map. These are your dispatches in the dark I'm Ben Bullen, and this is the strange news stable. Our first story, today. And Opera House in Barcelona reopened its doors on Monday for the first time in over three months they held concert, but not for human beings. Instead the audience was loosely plants, nearly two thousand three hundred house plants one in every seat organizers say the intention was to reflect on the absurdity of the human condition in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, which deprives people of their position as spectators, executive producer Eugenia Pujo said. Nature advanced to occupy the spaces. We snatched from it. Can we extend our empathy? Let's begin with art and music integrate theater by inviting nature in. After the concert, which was live streamed the two thousand, two hundred ninety two nursery plants placed on every seat were donated to frontline health workers. This concert for the bio scene was made possible by the ending of Spain state of emergency on Sunday. It featured a string quartet playing Italian composer Jacome Puccini's Chrysanthemum was chosen for its requiem sadness. The. Opera House observed all the usual rituals of regular musical performance with announcements given over loudspeakers when the concert was about to begin, both before, and after the six minute performance for elegantly dressed musicians respectfully bowed to the audience of plants. The. Opera House says it hopes the show will reaffirm the value of art music and nature while serving as a roadmap for returning to normal activity after the pandemic Spain has been one of the nation's worst affected by covid nineteen. As of this week, the country officially has twenty, eight, thousand, three, hundred and twenty three cove, nineteen deaths, and a total of two, hundred, forty, six, thousand, two, hundred and seventy two cases so far. Our second story today a city in eastern China is introducing a new system that will let people getting married if their partner has a history of abuse. The town of you who is launching this inquiry service, and it will be available to residents starting this July. People who are ranging to get married will soon be able to fill out a form to see if their partners have any history of violence, either between family members, or during times of cohabitation. All they need to do to access. This information is to produce a form of ide- as well as personal information on the person. They're planning to marry. One. Person is allowed to make a maximum of two inquiries per year. The Women's Federation in the city welcomes the move, saying the system will help protect people from domestic violence. The domestic violence registered database will begin by using information provided by the courts and public security organs from two thousand seventeen onwards. This system also got approval from academics like law. Professor Han. Who says this system protects a person's right to be informed about the personality of their significant other before tying the knot. The systems also been praised on Chinese social media and many social media. Users are calling for this program to be rolled out across the country. Some, say the new system should also include child abuse, noting that it's geared toward giving transparencies of beatings and physical abuse rather than sexual violence. There have been growing calls in China in recent years to recognize hold accountable people who have a history of domestic abuse before two thousand and one physical abuse wasn't even grounds for divorce. Domestic violence only became punishable by law in March of two, thousand sixteen. Concerns about victims of domestic violence have been growing amid lockdowns during the epidemic. Domestic media sources are Nudie police reports on domestic violence doubled or even tripled in some areas where citizens were under lockdown. And just last month fears about domestic violence grew after China made it more difficult for couples to divorce introducing a new thirty day. Cool off period that was meant to allow both parties time to rethink their decision. Social media users at the time. Reese concerned that this law could lead to some people being coerced into backtracking or that it could deter victims from speaking out or leaving violent relationships. This law which will come into effect at the beginning of twenty twenty one is not applicable to families with a history of domestic violence. However, they're also standing concerns that not all cases can be detected. Will keep an eye on this situation. An update on its progress as the program kicks into gear. Our third story today takes place in New, York City where transit officials are exploring a controversial plan to use AI software to track how many subway riders or wearing face mask and where they're wearing them. This technology is already used in Paris. It's one of a host of ideas presented in a consultant's report released to the public earlier this week. That could help transit authorities measured the level of facemask compliance at specific subway stations. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority commissioned this study inmate. Though forty one page document details, the best practices from transit systems around the world in combating the spread of Covid, nineteen. The list includes things like high tech tools such as thermal scanner temperature checks as well as UV lamps, or even robots, which China has deployed on buses to kill the virus on various surfaces. Andre Behrman a spokesman for the MTA says. We're exploring the feasibility of a wide range of tools and approaches for helping to keep our employees and customers safe. A is one of those tools and will continue to research whether it might be effective, and if so, how it might be deployed in an appropriate manner to continue ensuring best public health practices are followed for the safety of our customers and employees. So. Why is facial recognition controversial? Well? It has strong potential to be weaponized and using this in such a widespread manner will likely continue the debate around privacy and transparency. But. The current debate over a is much more complicated. New! Yorkers are struggling to resume their lives amid the shadow of a pandemic. That's already killed more than twenty two thousand residents of the city. Knicks. As the executive director of the Tri State Transportation Campaign's said. We have to juggle the Chitimia. Privacy concerns and concerns about public safety and public health, according to see as the evidence suggests that the MTA needs to prioritize mask enforcement over arguably more expensive and unreliable technology, I e temperature scans. He says the goal is one hundred percent mass compliance. The public health threat that you pose is certainly much greater than the privacy threat as a noncompliant individual. Supporters say concerns about privacy could be addressed by using anonymous data where the system would remove personally identifiable information. That's what's happening to the Paris metro system. The software is not used to punish individual writers, but instead to collect information. That'll help. City officials anticipate the location future outbreaks. The technology can also be used to measure the level of mass wearing at specific locations, and this could allow transit officials to direct resources to stations with low compliance. Still critics of this surveillance technique remains skeptical in twenty, nine, thousand, nine, the MTA acknowledged a Wall Street. Journal story that it was already running a pilot program to record an identify faces of drivers driving through the Robert F Kennedy Bridge the initial efforts here were not successful. A spokesperson said the information was only being used for security. Albert Fox Foxconn. The founder and Executive Director of Surveillance Technology Oversight Project or stop for short notes that the MTA has a standing trust gap with the Public Cure. Stop recently sued the MTA over its refusal to provide information about video monitor installed time square to detect fare evasion MTA officials said that the camera was not using facial recognition technology, but stopped demanded to see internal agency documents about the cameras installation. In May Supreme Court, Judge ruled that the agency had wrongly denied Fox. Requests without any explanation. Con Warns that the use of surveillance technology could give way to a predictable result or police encounters, more needless arrest and more violence. He pointed out that MTA's cameras were being used by NYPD to locate and remove homeless individuals in subway stations. He also says excessive surveillance is a matter of life and death I am terrified that we will see writers of color singled out by and arrested for not wearing masks. Early on information from the city showed large racial disparities in the social distancing and mass wearing policies of New Yorkers in mid-may Mayor Bill De. BLASIO announce that the in PD would no longer enforce the facemask rule after video of Brooklyn mother getting handcuffed in a subway station for not wearing a mask went viral another challenge here the MTA will soon be managing a growing number of mass transit users as the city continues to reopen, so we ridership past one million on Tuesday June twenty third, and that's a more than one hundred and fifty percent increase since April before the pandemic weekday subway ridership was around five point five million. Sarah Feinberg. Who is the interim head of the New, York, Metropolitan Transportation. Authority recently said the key is going to be masked. Vigilance Danny Perlstein the policy and communications director for the advocacy group Riders Alliance still voices concerns is urged the MTA look more broadly at other solutions like increasing the frequency of service, especially during off peak hours in terms of safety, he said that giving passengers, even just a little extra breathing room would be better than resorting to surveillance technology. Ultimately, he summed it up by saying using machines that can profile riders will make people less comfortable than giving them an extra six inches for their elbow. That's all for now. We've been asking you to Chime in with suggestions for stories. You think your fellow listeners might enjoy to hit us with your best or worst puns and bad jokes, and to tell us about your personal experience, covid, nineteen, the ongoing protests or strange local stories from your neck of the global woods. Let us know tag, Hashtag strange daily on twitter or reach out to me directly I'm APP bullying H. W. on twitter or at Ben Bullen on instagram. Thanks as always to our super producer Dylan Fagin. Our Research Associates Sam tea-garden and. Thanks to you, I'm Ben. Bullet will see you tomorrow until then stay strange. Jetta, Credit, card, that gives you what you need now. A low interest rate on everyday purchases an placed a transfer high interest rate balances the pen fed gold contactless card is our lowest interest rate credit card. You can even earn a one hundred dollars statement credit when you spend fifteen hundred dollars in the first ninety days. Join Penn Fed and together they can help you. Keep more of what's yours visit? Penn Fed dot org slash gold card to receive any advertise product. You must become a member of pen fed insured by NCUA.