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Stocks faced another session of wild swings as traders assessed the latest geopolitical developments amid worries about a Federal Reserve policy mistake.
After a few rebound attempts, the S&P 500 notched its third straight drop. The gauge still closed off its session lows, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100finished higher. Treasury yields climbed — with shorter maturities leading the increase. The move kicked in a resumption of curve flattening, with the gap between two- and 10-year rates narrowing. West Texas Intermediate crude topped $95 a barrel for the first time since 2014.
Hundreds of protesters descended upon New Zealand’s parliament building to fight against COVID-19 vaccine mandates – and they were met with the smooth sounds of Barry Manilow.
Police blasted a 15-minute loop of Manilow’s upbeat pop songs, as well as the Macarena and other music, to try and disperse the protesters, according to BBC News.
The tactic was the brain child of Parliament Speaker Trevor Mallard, who decided to blast music after using sprinklers to discourage the protesters didn’t work, BBC News reports.
When sprinklers were turned on, the protesters dug trenches and create makeshift drainpipes to avoid the flowing water, according to the Associated Press.
The protesters, who call themselves the “Convoy for Freedom,” converged on the building last week, blocking streets in the nation’s capital, Wellington. The demonstration and name is inspired by the “freedom convoy” that clogged the streets of Ottawa, Canada last week, as truckers partially blocked a border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in protest over vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions.
The New Zealand crowd had dwindled to about a dozen Wednesday, but were back in full force over the weekend, BBC News reports.
After resorting to Manilow hits like “Mandy” and “Could It Be Magic,” Mallard took to Twitter to suggest another song. “What do people think of this ???” he wrote. “My Heart Will Go On – Recorded By Candlelight by Matt Mulholland.”
Singer James Blunt heard about the unique strategy and offered his own music. “Give me a shout if this doesn’t work,” he tweeted to the New Zealand police.
Using loud, annoying music has been used to discourage people in several situations. The tactic is reminiscent of the blaring music once used by American interrogators to torment prisoners in the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
In 2019, officials in Florida’s West Palm Beach blasted “Baby Shark” to keep homeless people from laying around the city’s Lake Pavilion. Nearby Lake Worth once tried using classical music to drive homeless people away from the city’s Cultural Plaza — but they ended up liking the songs.
Thanks to strict regulations, New Zealand has only reported 21,575 COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins. Lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic and later vaccine mandates have helped keep their cases low. About 80% of the country is vaccinated, but the vaccine mandate and other restrictions are fueling resentment and protests – even though vaccines are proven save and effective, according to the CDC.