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Yoga included in ECA category trials to begin from June 25

first_imgNew Delhi: Students who have applied for undergraduate programmes at DU under the Extra Curricular Activity (ECA) quota will face the priliminary round of trial from June 25. Moreover, the university has included “Yoga” for first time in the ECA category. Students who will qualify in the ECA trial will not be given more than 15% concession/relaxation in academic merit for the last relevant cut-off list. They will also have to fulfil the minimum eligibility criteria of the programme. Up to 5 percent seats are reserved by every college for ECA admissions. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkIn the first phase of the trial, students will not be required to submit any certificate but will have to carry a printout of their registration form. Students who have not registered for ECA trials will not be allowed to perform. Students have been asked to upload one “best certificate” while filling the application form. This certificate will only be verified if they qualify in the final trial. “Weightage of 75:25 will be given to trials and certificates respectively,” said the university. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe applicant must secure at least 50% marks in final trials (38 marks out of 75) to be eligible for the final list of selected candidates. The university said that more weightage is being given to the performance trial instead of marks for certificate so that they will be able to judge the students knowledge and skill level instead of relying on certificates. Professor Rasal Singh, Member, Academic Council said that the varisty has alloted 5 percent supernumeray seats for ECA and sports category but some colleges do not give admission under ECA catergory, therefore, admission committee has instructed every colleges affiliated with the DU to give at least 1 percent of seats under ECA. He also said that it is essenstial to promote the talents of debate, drama, music, dance etc, meanwhile, transparency will also be made in this category so that all deserving candidates can get fair chance and talented students, who perform well can get the opportunity.last_img read more

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InnerCity Arts To Honor Cheryl Hines

first_imgInner-City Arts, a vibrant arts education campus and oasis of learning, achievement and creativity for underserved children in the heart of Skid Row, will host its 2013 Imagine Awards Gala, October 30, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.Honorees include award-winning artist Charles Arnoldi; photographer and former District Attorney Gil Garcetti; actress, producer and director Cheryl Hines; and design innovator/entrepreneur Ralph Pucci. Geoffrey Anenberg and Jay Mangel, Co-Chair; Board member Eric Schotz emcees and R&B legend Maxine Nightingale will perform.World-renowned artist, painter, sculptor and printmaker Charles Arnoldi will receive the Artistic Excellence Award. Arnoldi has had a long and distinguished career in the art world and has exhibited internationally.The Philanthropic Leadership Award will be presented to Gil Garcetti. Since becoming a published photographer in 2002, Garcetti has had numerous solo photographic exhibitions locally and around the world, many of which have benefitted significant causes. Garcetti spent 32 years as a prosecutor in Los Angeles, serving as District Attorney from 1992-2000. He is a producer on the hit TNT television series, “MAJOR CRIMES.”Actress, producer and director Cheryl Hines is the recipient of the Children’s Advocacy Award. She is noted for her work renovating and transforming underserved public schools in Los Angeles. Hines is currently starring in the hit ABC comedy series “SUBURGATORY.”The Creative Innovation Award will be presented to Ralph Pucci, a design innovator and entrepreneur who is internationally renowned for his visionary integration of art and design. Known for his unparalleled work in the mannequin industry, Pucci has contemporary design showrooms in numerous cities, including the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.Founded in 1989, Inner-City Arts is a world-class arts campus in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Under the guidance of professional teaching artists, Inner-City Arts’ students engage in a variety of visual and performing art forms in a real studio setting. Programs include core classes during the instructional day for K-8 students, afterschool and weekend workshops for teens, and professional development training for educators. Inner-City Arts partners with schools from high-need areas in and around downtown Los Angeles to provide a supportive environment for children to explore their creativity, and develop essential life skills.Tickets are $500. Visit www.inner-cityarts.org.last_img read more

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Land deeds presented to 370 beneficiaries in Vavuniya

The 370 beneficiaries who received deeds for their lands are from Katpagapuram and Pompeymadu villages. (Colombo Gazette) Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M Swaminathan presented land ownership deeds to 370 beneficiaries of the Vavuniya divisional secretariat division.The land ownership deeds were presented as another step of the resettlement process initiated by the Ministry.

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Colombo District Organizer of NTJ further remanded

The Colombo District Organizer of the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) Mohamed Farouk Mohamed Fawaz, was today ordered by court to be further remanded until May 21.He was arrested earlier this month over the Easter Sunday bombings which was blamed on the NTJ. Mohamed Fawaz was presented to court after being grilled by the Police for 72 hours under the emergency regulations and remanded till today.

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Insolvent oil and gas producer leaves behind 329M bill to clean up

CALGARY — Junior oil and gas company Trident Exploration Corp. says it is ceasing operations and will turn over care of its 4,700 wells to the Alberta Energy Regulator.In a news release, the privately held Calgary-based company says its abandonment and reclamation obligations are estimated to be $329 million and it doesn’t expect any financial recovery for shareholders or unsecured creditors.It says it terminated 33 employees and 61 contractors on Tuesday.The company blames its demise on low natural gas prices and high lease and property tax bills, along with capacity constraints on TransCanada Corp.’s NGTL gas pipeline system.It says a restructuring and sales process with its lenders failed due to issues it linked to January’s Supreme Court of Canada decision on insolvent Redwater Energy.The high court ruled that energy companies must fulfil their environmental obligations before paying back creditors in the case of insolvency or bankruptcy, overturning lower court decisions that had favoured bankruptcy law over provincial environmental responsibilities.“As many have speculated and we have now unfortunately proven, the Redwater decision has had the unintended consequence of intensifying Trident’s financial distress and accelerating unfunded abandoned well obligations,” the company stated Wednesday.“Without regulatory collaboration and clarity, Trident is unable to address its near-term liquidity needs and has no financial ability to continue operating. We fear that many other companies may falter without clear, sound policy making post-Redwater.”“In the face of this extended uncertainty, lenders and investors may flee Canada and further job losses will occur. Without access to financing, we expect that the Orphaned Well Association may grow exponentially,” the company said.The Alberta Energy Regulator said it ordered the company on Monday to properly manage its approximately 4,400 energy licenses by addressing end-of-life obligations through decommissioning its sites, posting financial security, or transferring the sites to responsible energy companies.It said Trident shut down operations, which are mainly natural gas, without responding to its order.The regulator said it will ensure that the public and the environment are protected and will assess any high-risk sites to ensure there are no immediate risks.“The AER will pursue all options to ensure that Trident’s infrastructure is transferred to responsible operators, safely decommissioned, or, as a last resort, transferred to the Orphan Well Association,” the regulator said late Wednesday in a release.“Many of Trident’s wells were still operating and, once transferred to responsible operators, can still contribute to royalties, keep Albertans working, and deliver value to our economy.”The AER said it will assess all options for possible enforcement.The Canadian Press read more

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UN and Afghan security commission to assess reports of factional fighting

The violence between Jamiat and Jumbesh in three villages of lower Dara-i-Suf in on Friday night and Saturday morning prompted the dispatch today of a mission of the Mazar Multi Party Security Commission, accompanied by the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA).”Although it is now reported that the fighting has stopped and that both sides have pulled back to their respective positions, there are conflicting versions from both factions about the cause of the clashes,” UNAMA spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the press in Kabul. “The mission will therefore verify reports of fighting, ascertain the causes and attempt to resolve the more immediate issues as well as reduce tensions.”Meanwhile, efforts continue to address the country’s severe mine infestation. “Survey teams are being recruited and trained for the start of a year-long project to assess the impact of landmines on communities in Afghanistan,” Mr. de Almeida e Silva reported. The exercise will aim to help improve the process of prioritizing demining work. “Although there is information about where there are landmines and unexploded ordinance in Afghanistan, this survey will deepen this knowledge and enable the demining to target the most needy areas and communities first,” the spokesman noted.The process of ridding Afghanistan of these indiscriminate weapons is expected to last for at least a decade. read more

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FEATURE From Joseph Konys wife to peace advocate – a courageous young

UN News Centre: You were 11-years-old. Is it possible for you to explain what was going through your mind?Evelyn Amony: It was not easy for me that day, because it was the first time [I saw] the LRA and it was also the first time that I had to carry heavy luggage.UN News Centre: Did you try to escape or to get a message to your parents?Evelyn Amony: There was no way for me to communicate with my parents. On the second night with the LRA, I witnessed them kill another abducted child who attempted to escape. That scared me so, so much that I had to let go of the idea of escapingUN News Centre: What went through your mind, watching another child being killed?Evelyn Amony: It wasn’t easy for me because it was the first time to observe someone being killed. I saw how they used a machete to slice the person and ever since that day the picture of how that person was killed has remained on my mind.UN News Centre: What happened when Joseph Kony decided to take you as one of his wives?Evelyn Amony: That was a very terrible day in my life, because the people who abducted me were fighting among themselves over me. They were fighting over who would take me as their wife. I was only 12 years old. The first time I met Kony, I didn’t even know that it was him. I used to hear from my parents and others describing him as a short man with a very long beard. So when I was abducted, I kept looking for a man who looked [like that]. Civilians on the move in eastern Democratic of the Congo, which was affected by the increased Lord’s Resistance Army attacks (2010). Photo: UNHCR/P. Taggart Ms. Amony was rescued by the Ugandan military in 2004 after 11 years of being held captive. A year later, she joined a peace delegation to negotiate an end to the LRA’s 20-year insurgency. The negotiations were not successful.At the launch of her memoir, I am Evelyn Amony: Reclaiming My Life from the Lord’s Resistance Army in New York, an event hosted by UN Women, she spoke about her experiences as one of the more than 60,000 children abducted in East and Central Africa in the 1990s by the LRA.UN News Centre: Can you describe what happened the day you were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army? Evelyn Amony: I was kidnapped on my way back home from school in Atiak in northern Uganda on 25 August, 1994. I met the LRA along the way. I was with about five other children, but only three of us were abducted, because they only wanted young children, they did not want anyone above the age of 15 years.They didn’t tell me why they were taking me; they just told me on the very first day that they were taking me to [Uganda’s capital] Kampala. I asked the men who abducted me if we had to walk through the bush to reach Kampala instead of taking the road. They told me it was the shortest way. Due to attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a large number of Sudanese civilians from communities in Southern Sudan were internally displaced (September 2009). UN Photo/Tim McKulka UN News Centre: How did he treat you? Evelyn Amony: It’s not easy for me to describe, but I will try to. When we reached Sudan, the moment I turned 14 years – that was the point he turned me into his wife. UN News Centre: Do you mean that he forced you to have sex with him? Evelyn Amony: Yes, he forced me to have sex with him, he raped me. I spent eleven-and-a-half years with him. Eventually, I got used to what was happening because I also used to observe other women going to his house to spend the night there. So I adjusted to the situation and had to accept that was how my life was now. UN News Centre: You had three children with Kony? Evelyn Amony: It is true I had children with him. I returned with two children, but the third disappeared and I’m still looking for that child today. I have no idea where that child is, because the child disappeared in a battle. There was a big battle that was happening between a combination of different soldiers from Sudan and Uganda that had joined together to fight the LRA. It was in that battle that my child went missing. In my mind I think that maybe that child was captured by the Uganda People’s Defence Force, but up to [now] I have not found the child. UN News Centre: What type of person is Joseph Kony? Evelyn Amony: It is very hard to understand the character of Joseph Kony, because when you are there, it is not exactly clear that he is the person leading the LRA. It is very hard to understand his qualities because he had certain kinds of spiritual elements in him. Moreover, he used to tell us that if you leave the rebellion to return home, you run the risk of running into bad luck. UN News Centre: Was he capable of kindness? Evelyn Amony: There are three moments of kindness that I saw in him. First he saved my life when I was supposed to be killed. Then at a moment when I was drowning in the river, he came and saved me and took me out of the river. The third moment of kindness that I saw in him was when a number of children were abducted in a place called Palabek in northern Uganda. When some of the child soldiers wanted to kill those newly abducted children he told them that ‘no child 15 years and below should be killed – if any of you dares to do that, you will be killed.’ UN News Centre: How can this ongoing insurgency be resolved? Evelyn Amony: You know it is several years since I was with him; as a rebel leader he keeps changing his tactics. He has very many tactics. So what I can suggest is for everyone to negotiate with him. I would also like to advise that if supporters of Kony and his rebellion can be identified and stopped from giving support in the form of arms or whatever other support they give to keep the rebellion going, then that could help to bring this to a close. The supporters are the ones who continue to encourage him and give him advice on what to do. Yet at the end of the day, he is the one who remains in the bush and who is causing suffering. UN News Center: Do you know what he ultimately wants?Evelyn Amony: It is hard to know what he wants, but what I learned during the peace talks was that he had an interest in negotiating. Maybe he could have even signed the peace deal, but then there were other supporters behind the scenes who reportedly were misadvising him not to engage in the talks. Maybe that could have contributed to the failure of the peace deal.UN News Centre: You’re 33 now, you’ve been through a terrible ordeal, what’s your motivation in life? Evelyn Amony: Thank you very much for that question. Even if I have gone through all that suffering, for as long as I live, for as long as I have my legs and can walk and can see, I can still do great things to bring about change in this world. UN News Centre: And what are those great things you’re planning to do?Evelyn Amony: Some of the great things I can do for instance is writing down my story and sharing it with the world so that they know that war is bad and has very negative consequences for women and children. And I can advocate on behalf of women who have experienced war like myself so that they can find closure. Listen to the interview@media only screen and (min-width: 760px), screen9 {#PhotoHolder3 #PhotoCrop { max-height: 770px; /* sets max-height value for all standards-compliant browsers */ width: 134%; margin-left:-161px; margin-top: -540px;}#story-headline{ font-size: 4.8em; line-height: 1.1em; color:#fff; position: relative; top: 100px; margin-left:9em; text-shadow: 10px 10px 10px rgba(0,0,0,0.8); width:52%;}}#sidebar {display:none;} div#story-content .span8 {width:100% !important} #fullstory p { font-size: 14px; line-height: 1.8em;}strong { font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.7em; xfont-family:Georgia, “Times New Roman”, Times, serif;}li { font-size: 15px; xline-height: 1.7em;}blockquote { font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.5em; font-style:italic;} A man recovers from a gunshot wound sustained during an LRA attack on Ezo, a town in the Western Equatoria state of South Sudan (2009). UN Photo/Tim McKulka read more

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Fight against climate change and poverty will fail without overhaul of global

The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, says that achieving the financing needed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – the UN’s plan of action for peace, planet and prosperity – is not just about finding additional investment, but also building supportive financial systems, and global and national policy environments, which are favourable to sustainable development.At a press conference on Thursday, following the release of the report, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that it delivers a “sobering message”, showing low wage growth, rising inequality and debt distress, and stagnating aid levels.Climate change, said Ms. Mohammed, continues to threaten sustainable development in all regions, and, despite international commitments to limit a rise in global temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions actually rose by 1.3 per cent during the course of 2017.The report also shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult to create conditions to bring about positive change. The reasons include rapid changes in technology, geopolitics and climate, and the inability of national and multilateral institutions to adapt.In addition, increasing inequality has hit many people’s faith in the multilateral system and, in his foreword to the report, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, says: “Our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization.”Recommendations for a sustainable economy, financial systemDespite the many problems and roadblocks outlined in the report, the international organizations involved found that interest in sustainable investment is growing in the finance community, with some three-quarters of individual investors showing interest in how their financial behaviour affects the world.The responsibility rests with governments to recommit to multilateralism, and to take policy actions that will create a sustainable and prosperous future Zhenmin Liu, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social AffairsThe report also contains a number of recommendations for ways to bring about a more sustainable global economy and financial system. These include a shift to long-term investment, and an inclusion of sustainability as a central risk factor; a revamp of the multilateral trading system; and addressing the concentration of markets into the hands of a small number of powerful companies, which are not limited by national borders.The Deputy Secretary-General noted that encouraging longer-term credit ratings, carbon taxes, and meaningful disclosure on the social and environmental costs of doing business, are all examples of incentives aligned with sustainable development goals.Ms. Mohammed continued with a call for better regulation to manage financial technology, commonly referred to as fintech. Whilst fintech has allowed more than half a billion people to gain access to financial services, enabling progress on the 2030 Agenda in developing countries, regulators are struggling to keep pace and, if fintech is allowed to grow in an unsupervised manner, it could put financial stability at risk.In a statement, Zhenmin Liu, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Chair of the Task Force that issued the report said there is a major opportunity to overcome bottlenecks in sustainable financing in 2019, but insisted that “the responsibility rests with governments to recommit to multilateralism, and to take policy actions that will create a sustainable and prosperous future.”Between April 15 and April 18, the UN will discuss the findings of the report at the Economic and Social Forum (ECOSOC) Forum in Financing for Development, where Member States agree on measures necessary to mobilize sustainable financing. read more

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Brock community mourns longtime Dramatic Arts instructor

A woman who dedicated her life to teaching drama to students of all ages is being remembered by her colleagues, family and friends.Helen Zdriluk, who had been an instructor at Brock University for two decades, died Wednesday after a brief illness.“She was extremely dedicated to the power of drama in both teaching and performance,” said Professor Joe Norris, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts. “She lived and breathed drama 24-7 when you consider she taught high school for many years during the day and then came here and taught at least two evenings a week. And she was running an after-school program.”Dramatic Arts Associate Professor and Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts Director David Vivian said the whole school is saddened by the loss.“Longtime colleagues will remember Helen for her joyous and industrious leadership in Drama in Education and Applied Theatre, including her Connections projects in the old Studio theatre.”Norris said DART Connections was a group of education students who rehearsed and performed plays that dealt with social justice and education issues.Zdriluk taught drama at Burlington Central High School and was the owner and artistic director of Centre Stage Theatre School and Productions. In addition to teaching at Brock, she also completed her master’s at the University in 2010.“The drama in education community has lost one of the most talented, dynamic and authentic educators and practitioners we have ever seen,” said former student Rox Chwaluk. “Helen was my mentor, my friend and colleague. She was fierce, hardworking, witty and passionate about her craft. She was instrumental in my education, provided me opportunities to ignite my passions, and solidified many of my values.”Zdriluk is survived by her husband Gerald and children Jennifer and Beth.A visitation will be held at Smith’s Funeral Home on Brant St. in Burlington Monday, May 1 from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held Tuesday, May 2 at 10:30 a.m. Those wishing to make a donation in Helen’s memory are asked to consider the Canadian Cancer Society. read more

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Lesbians flock to home of Sappho for festival

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The island of Lesbos Greece has witnessed huge numbers of lesbians from across Europe who have gathered there for the tenth annual International Women’s Festival. When people from Athens see women sitting together, I see whole families looking strange and shocked, but locals don’t find anything unusual in women holding hands, or even kissing.In the decade since its commencement, attendance at the two-week International Women’s Festival in the village of Eressos has jumped from 30 to hundreds of women – mainly German, British, Dutch and Scandinavian, but also Greek and Italian. The busy programme of events-from Sep 4 to 18, 2010-includes women-only walks and sunset cruises, breathing and drumming workshops, Greek dance classes and lesbian film screenings. “I’ve been blown away, there’s no unease at all,” said Lauren Bianchi, a Scottish woman, who is at the festival for the first time. According to the Sappho travel agency, lesbians now make up 60 per cent of visitors to the village, rising to 90 per cent in September when the festival takes place. “My rooms are full for the next two weeks. We’d usually be dead in September, but now it’s booming,” said Andreas, who runs the Sappho cafe bar and rents rooms on the village seafront. As the economic crisis continues to pinch, he says Greek holidaymakers spent less this summer and he is grateful for the extended season brought by lesbian tourism. “People in the village have got used it, especially the young people, but the old people still discuss it among themselves,” he says. These days it is the “more conservative” visitors from Athens, who fill the village in August, who feel uneasy about the lesbian visitors, says Lena Tzigounaki, a Greek woman who moved to Eressos from the capital more than 15 years ago. Tables from her bar spill out onto the village’s main square in the gaze of a large bronze statue of Sappho, one of three erected in the village in recent years. Like most lesbian-run establishments in Eressos, the rainbow-coloured gay pride flag is on show above the bar. “When people from Athens see women sitting together, I see whole families looking strange and shocked, but locals don’t find anything unusual in women holding hands, or even kissing,” she says. “But there is a limit, of course,” she adds. Source: AFP, ANIlast_img read more

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Alcool des comportements de plus en plus préoccupants

first_imgAlcool : des comportements de plus en plus préoccupantsRoyaume-Uni – L’alcool fait de plus en plus de ravages au pays de Sa Majesté. Une récente étude met en avant des chiffres alarmants concernant la progression des hospitalisations dues à une consommation excessive de boissons alcoolisées.Les conséquences néfastes de l’alcool sont nombreuses, comme en témoigne le rapport du Liverpool John Moores University’s Centre for Public Health. À lire aussiL’étrange maladie qui rend ivre sans boire une goutte d’alcoolChaque jour, 1.500 personnes sont hospitalisées plus ou moins directement à cause de l’alcool outre-Manche, ce qui représente une augmentation de 65% en cinq ans. 15.000 personnes décèdent chaque année des conséquences de l’alcoolisme ou d’un coma éthylique, tandis que 400.000 infractions dues à l’alcool sont relevées.Le tableau est très noir, d’autant que l’on suspecte une réalité plus inquiétant encore que celle donnée par les statistiques. En outre, les chiffres devraient doubler ces 20 prochaines années si les comportements continuent à évoluer dans ce sens. Les scientifiques déplorent ici l’incapacité de la société britannique à regarder la réalité en face et les lois votées par le Labour. Le gouvernement, représenté par le ministre de la Santé, a toutefois promis d’agir. Le 5 septembre 2010 à 18:39 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more

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Stocks end broadly higher on jobs report

first_imgA solid jobs report and company earnings spurred U.S. stocks broadly higher Friday, driving the S&P 500 to its second straight weekly gain.The Nasdaq composite hit an all-time high for the second time this week. The benchmark S&P 500 index closed less than 0.1 percent below the record high it reached on Tuesday.Technology and consumer-focused companies did the most to push the market higher. Stocks in the communications, industrial, financial and health care sectors also notched solid gains as traders cheered surprisingly good earnings from United States Steel, Weight Watchers and other companies.Investors also welcomed the government’s latest snapshot of U.S. employment, which showed that job growth surged in April past economists’ forecasts and unemployment fell to a five-decade low.“Overall, this was a solid report that should assuage fears that the U.S. economy is losing momentum,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.last_img read more

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Oikya Front to seek dialogue with govt

first_imgJatiya Oikya Front leaders addresses media at Gano Forum’s Motijheel office on Sunday evening. Photo: Mosabber HossainKamal Hossain-led Jatiya Oikya Front will send a letter to the government soon urging it to engage in a dialogue with political parties before announcement of schedule for the next general election, reports UNB.The decision was taken at a meeting of the Jatiya Oikya Front senior leaders at Gano Forum’s Motijheel office on Sunday evening.Talking to reporters after the meeting, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) president SM Abdur Rob said they will send the letter to the government with their 7-point demand.He said they will also send a delegation to the Election Commission with the same demands.Rob said their meeting strongly condemned the jailing of BNP standing committee members Amir Khosru Mahmud in a case filed under the ICT Act.He said the Oikya Front leaders demanded the government release Khosru before their scheduled rally in Sylhet on 24 October.Rob said Kamal will address their Sylhet rally as the chief guest while BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir as the main speaker with Sylhet city mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury in the chair.He said the Jatiya Oikya Front leaders will exchange views with civil society members, intellectuals and professionals at a hotel in the city on 26 October.last_img read more

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Rodney Ellis Leaves Texas Senate With Criminal Justice Legacy

first_imgBob DaemmrichRetiring Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, listens to testimony during the Senate Committee on State Affairs hearing on religious freedom on Feb. 17, 2016.HOUSTON — Sixteen years ago, when then-state Sen. Rodney Ellis heard about a man who was accused of raping a University of Houston student and was later cleared of the crime through DNA testing, the lawmaker wanted a meeting.Anthony Robinson was 26 years old in 1987 when University of Houston police pulled him from a car because he matched the description the victim gave police of a man who assaulted her. He was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison, spent 10 of them behind bars and, once on parole, paid for DNA testing that confirmed what he always knew.“He was my poster child. Perfect. Honorably discharged from the military. No priors. He got a master’s degree in sociology while he was in prison,” said Ellis, a Houston Democrat. “I said, ‘I want to try to get a bill passed to increase the compensation for people like you.’”Working with Robinson to frame the issue of DNA testing was representative of Ellis’ approach in advancing criminal justice reform measures throughout his 26-year career in the Texas Senate. The Texas Legislature convenes Tuesday without Ellis, one of the state’s most influential figures on criminal justice issues. Ellis has left the Senate to serve as a Harris County commissioner, and State Rep. Borris Miles is his successor.Before joining the Senate in 1990, Ellis was a three-term Houston City Council member and chief of staff to late U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Houston. Ellis, now a father of four and a cycling enthusiast, earned a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and has worked as an investment banker.In 2001, Ellis’ legislation began increasing compensation for people wrongfully convicted, from $25,000 total — “practically nothing,” he said — to $25,000 for each year in prison. In 2005, he passed a bill that increased compensation to $50,000 for each year and free tuition for four years of college. In 2009, he passed a bill that mandated a lump sum of $80,000 for each year of incarceration and annuity payments based on that same amount. In 2011, he passed legislation that provided health care to exonerees.“The art of lawmaking in a lot of ways is storytelling,” Ellis said. “You got to have somebody who puts a face on the problem. That’s the storytelling part.”Ellis, from when he first entered the Senate, knew the value of a news conference, an editorial and having the right person tell the right story at the right time. Every bill was different, but it was always important to get the news media’s help in setting the tone on issues, he said. Also, Ellis said, it was crucial to find allies from another district to advance legislation. Former state Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, became a reliable partner on some of Ellis’ most high-profile criminal justice legislation.“The art of lawmaking in a lot of ways is storytelling. You got to have somebody who puts a face on the problem. That’s the storytelling part.”— Former state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-HoustonOne such bill was the Michael Morton Act of 2013. The law mandates that prosecutors disclose documents and information that could call into question a defendant’s guilt or affect a sentence.“Senator Ellis had a great ability to challenge your conscience on issues,” said Duncan, now chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. Whether it was Michael Morton, who wrongfully was convicted of murdering his wife, or Timothy Cole, who died in prison while serving a 25-year sentence for a rape he did not commit, stories like theirs were “more than an anecdote,” Duncan said. The faces Ellis brought forth became symbols for their respective issues, he said.Christine Morton was beaten to death in the Williamson County home she shared with her husband, Michael, and their 3-year-old son, Eric, on Aug. 13, 1986. Michael Morton should never have been a key suspect, but a flawed prosecution — which ignored witness accounts and withheld evidence — led to his conviction. He spent 25 years in prison.Morton recalled being in awe of the attention his case garnered from lawmakers. Ellis, he said, “had a great ability to put people at ease,” and Morton was “ready and willing” to help advance discovery reform.“Senator Ellis has been instrumental in trying to right wrongs,” Morton said.Duncan’s work with Ellis helped make the difference for the Michael Morton Act, said Kathryn Kase, executive director of the Texas Defender Service.“It was very powerful for Senator Ellis and Senator Duncan to sit down with the prosecutors and say, ‘Look, this system isn’t working if somebody like Michael Morton sits in prison for 25 years absolutely innocent,’” she said. “I think that was very savvy to partner with Senator Duncan on the bill.”State Sen. Robert Duncan, left, R-Lubbock, listens to State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, during the afternoon session June 27, 2011.Bob DaemmrichInitially, Ellis pushed for “reciprocal discovery,” which would have required defense attorneys and prosecutors to share files. The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association opposed it, arguing that it would be intrusive and that only prosecutors should have to open their files because the burden of proof in criminal cases is on the state.“That was a little too far out there for even my allies, the defense bar,” he said. “So they were mad. I mean, they came up to me, they put letters out. They were against the bill, so we kept working at it. Then I came up with the language we do have.”Ellis also enlisted the help of then-Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, asking him to weigh in with a group of prosecutors and defense attorneys.“I said, ‘Can you go by there in that meeting and just tell them how important this is to you?’” Ellis recalled, chuckling. “So he went up there, opened the door, of course, they all get up, here’s the chief justice in the room, and he said, ‘I’m looking for Senator Ellis. He wanted to talk to me about that discovery bill, and it’s just so important. I was told he was up here.’ We were pushing. We worked that one pretty hard.”A major component of Ellis’ success was building consensus on legislation.“You have to be careful that you don’t just compromise a bill down to it being meaningless, although I’ve done that before, sometimes to make the statement then come back and try and prove it,” he said. “Just get something on the books and come back.”He found himself in that spot when both chambers passed the Fair Defense Act in 1999. Ellis wanted legislation that established standards and funds for indigent defense.“I thought the bill was meaningless,” he said. “I watered it down to get it passed.”“You have to be careful that you don’t just compromise a bill down to it being meaningless, although I’ve done that before, sometimes to make the statement then come back and try and prove it. Just get something on the books and come back.”— Former state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-HoustonThen-Gov. George W. Bush vetoed the bill, giving Ellis another shot. He was successful the next session, passing legislation that funded indigent defense, allowing more people without means to have paid legal representation. The law also mandates that courts have a formal process for providing these lawyers.“So when he vetoed the bill, it came up on the presidential campaign trail, and they talked about it in the debates, and the spotlight that went on the Texas criminal justice system when Governor Bush was running for president was far more than anything that I could have generated,” Ellis said. In 2005 and 2007, lawmakers increased funding for indigent defense, and in 2009, Ellis passed legislation that created the Office of Capital and Forensic Writs, which defends indigent people in death penalty appeals.Michael Morton, at the Williamson County Courthouse on April 19, 2013, stands with state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Ellis’ chief of staff, Brandon Dudley.Bob DaemmrichEllis met future state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, when he was a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and a Leland intern. He was “born old,” Coleman said recently about Ellis.People like Ellis “wear suits before people their age wear suits,” Coleman said. “He carried himself in a way people would have confidence in his abilities.”Coleman, who has bipolar disorder, recalled Ellis reaching out to him.“I was 19,” he said. “It was going on then. He approached me as my boss and asked what could he do. You don’t forget things like that.”Coleman marveled at how Ellis worked with his colleagues, mastered the legislative process and passed major legislation such as when he added an amendment to welfare reform legislation in 1995 that created the Texas Workforce Commission.“Rodney thrives off this,” Coleman said. “It’s who he is. He’s a policymaker. He’s a politician. He’s a business person. But he’s known outside of Texas. He’s probably the most well-known state senator out of any state by people in other states.”Ellis’ career has connected him to former President Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, and groups including the National Black Caucus of State Legislators and the Innocence Project.“Rodney thrives off this. It’s who he is. He’s a policymaker. He’s a politician. He’s a business person. But he’s known outside of Texas. He’s probably the most well-known state senator out of any state by people in other states.”— State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-HoustonWhen he was younger, Ellis was a debate-team competitor who carried a briefcase, he said. He grew up in Houston, where his parents each had two jobs. His father, Eligha: a yard man and nurse’s aide at a Veterans Affairs hospital. His mother, Oliver Teresa: a nurse’s aide and housekeeper.“I always wanted to look like what I wanted to be,” Ellis said. “I always knew I would go to law school. I always knew that if the opportunity presented itself, I’d end up in public office. I knew I would try. Didn’t know if I’d win. My father in particular did a good job of teaching me about hard work but also giving me a sense of the hard work I didn’t want to do.”Ellis realized the height of his power in 2001, when then-Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff appointed him chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Ratliff, a Republican, said he appointed him as a gesture to Democrats, at a time when the Senate — which now has a large Republican majority — was more closely split along party lines.“When I became lieutenant governor, I felt that that was a good lesson to be learned that that body would function better if you made such a gesture,” Ratliff said. “And I knew Rodney would do a good job at it. I also knew that he wouldn’t go off the reservation. That is, he would not try to pass something that I wasn’t in agreement with, and it worked well, as far as I’m concerned. We balanced the budget, and it was a well-done budget.”Ellis also pushed for the creation of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission, which studies wrongful convictions and offers recommendations to prevent them, and the Forensic Science Commission.The James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act passed during the 2001 session, after years of Ellis pushing for it.The hate crimes legislation, many of his colleagues and friends said, was one of the toughest bills for Ellis to pass. It increased penalties for offenses motivated by race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation and national origin or ancestry.“He was tenacious. When he was on a mission, he didn’t back away,” Ratliff said. “He didn’t mind taking three or four years to accomplish it. But at the same time, while being tenacious, he was so friendly about it.”One never knows when an issue will be “ripe,” Ellis said. He first filed a version of the hate crimes bill in 1991.“The issue was always sexual orientation,” he said of critics. “They danced around, but that’s what it was. The tough issues don’t always make it the first time around.”As a Harris County commissioner, Ellis said he will continue to fight for criminal justice reforms. Ellis has said the county relies too much on incarcerating low-level and non-violent offenders.Ellis’ work in his new job could have national implications on criminal justice reform, Kase said.“If you change something in Harris County, if you reform it, you actually have the capacity to affect the rest of the state of Texas, and in fact, given our visibility, you also have the capacity to impact justice systems around the country,” she said.Ellis said his work is not done.“I’m not dead,” he said. “I’m just 62.”Read more coverage of former state Sen. Rodney Ellis:Ellis vied for a Harris County commissioner seat in 2016, opening up his Senate one.An Ellis bill in 2015 expanded access to DNA testing in criminal cases.Ellis backed the 2011 stay of inmate Duane Buck’s execution.As acting governor, Ellis postponed the execution of Hank Skinner in 2011.Disclosure: Texas Tech University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/08/rodney-ellis-leaves-texas-senate-criminal-justice-/. Sharelast_img read more

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first_imgNews | June 09, 2010 Two Top EHR Companies Merge Podcast | Information Technology | June 26, 2019 PODCAST: Why Blockchain Matters In Medical Imaging The technology has some hurdles ahead of it. A nurse examines a patient in the Emergency Department of Cincinnati Children’s, where researchers successfully tested artificial intelligence-based technology to improve patient recruitment for clinical trials. Researchers report test results in the journal JMIR Medical Informatics. Image courtesy of Cincinnati Children’s. News | Artificial Intelligence | July 29, 2019 New AI Tool Identifies Cancer Outcomes Using Radiology Reports Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have demonstrated that an artificial intelligence (AI) tool can perform as… read more Related Content News | PACS Accessories | June 13, 2019 M*Modal and Community Health Network Partner on AI-powered Clinical Documentation M*Modal announced that the company and Community Health Network (CHNw) are collaborating to transform the patient-… read more News | Radiology Business | June 11, 2019 The Current Direction of Healthcare Reform Explained by CMS Administrator Seema Verma June 11, 2019 — Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma addressed the American Med read more News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | July 02, 2019 Konica Minolta Healthcare Partners With DiA Imaging Analysis for AI-based Cardiac Ultrasound Analysis DiA Imaging Analysis has partnered with Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc. to expand analysis capabilities of… read more News | Clinical Decision Support | July 18, 2019 Johns Hopkins Named Qualified Provider-led Entity to Develop Criteria for Diagnostic Imaging On June 30, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the Johns Hopkins University School… read more News | Artificial Intelligence | July 31, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Solution Improves Clinical Trial Recruitment Clinical trials are a critical tool for getting new treatments to people who need them, but research shows that… read more read more Feature | Electronic Medical Records (EMR) | May 30, 2019 | By Larry Sitka and Jef Williams Data Driven Workflows on the Rise as the User Changes Medical imaging and informatics are critical to delivering care and managing wellness. read more June 9, 2010 – Allscripts and Eclipsys, leading providers of electronic health records (EHR) in the ambulatory and acute health care markets, announced today they will merge to create the one company. The deal includes an all-stock transaction valued at $1.3 billion. The combination of the companies will create a major health care information technology company offering solutions for all sizes and settings. Allscripts is a leading provider of clinical software, information and connectivity solutions for physicians, and Eclipsys is a leading enterprise provider of solutions and services for hospitals and clinicians. The combined company will offer a single platform of clinical, financial, connectivity and information solutions. The company’s client base will include over 180,000 U.S. physicians, 1,500 hospitals, and nearly 10,000 nursing homes, hospices, home care and other post-acute organizations. The combined company will be positioned to connect physicians, other care providers in the hospital, in small or large physician practices, in extended care facilities, or in a patient’s home. The merger positions the combined company to help its clients more effectively access the approximately $30 billion in federal funding for hospital and physician adoption of EHRs provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Driven in large part by the ARRA incentives, which begin in 2011, EHR adoption by physician practices is projected to grow from 12 percent to 90 percent by 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) March 2009 report, “Options for Controlling the Cost and Increasing the Efficiency of Health Care.” The CBO report also projects hospital adoption of acute-care EHRs will increase from 11 percent to 70 percent during the same time period. The Eclipsys Sunrise Enterprise and Performance Management solution for hospitals and the Allscripts portfolio of solutions for physician practices currently leverage common platforms, including Microsoft.NET. This will accelerate the delivery of an integrated hospital and physician practice offering. The companies also share an open architecture approach, simplifying the connection to third-party applications across every care setting, resulting in a single patient record. The merger agreement has been approved by the Board of Directors of both Allscripts and Eclipsys. The Board of Directors of the combined company will initially consist of a combination of the current directors of Allscripts and Eclipsys. The merger will be subject to stockholder approvals from both Allscripts and Eclipsys, and other customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including expiration or termination of any applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. For more information: www.allscripts.com, www.eclipsys.com FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 News | Electronic Medical Records (EMR) | August 01, 2019 DrChrono Teams With DeepScribe to Automate Medical Note Taking in EHR DrChrono Inc. and DeepScribe announced a partnership so medical practices using DrChrono EHR can use artificial… read more Feature | Information Technology | May 17, 2019 | Carol Amick 3 Recommendations to Better Understand HIPAA Compliance According to the U.S. read morelast_img read more

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first_imgNews | December 04, 2014 Oxford University and ProNova Partner to Bring First Proton Research Center to the UK Collaboration will establish the Precision Cancer Medicine Institute Feature | August 05, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor Most Popular Radiology and Radiotherapy Topics in July 2019 August 5, 2019 — Here is the list of the most popular content on the Imaging Technology New (ITN) magazine website fr read more December 4, 2014 — University of Oxford, in collaboration with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, partners with ProNova Solutions to incorporate ProNova’s SC360 proton therapy system in Oxford University’s Precision Cancer Medicine Institute (PCMI).The PCMI will be a clinical research facility for the development, testing and implementation of personalized, minimally invasive cancer treatments combined with molecularly targeted agents for diagnosis, imaging and therapy. Proton Therapy will play a key role in the focused research directed to improving curative treatments for patients with early-stage cancer where minimizing side effects has substantial personal, societal and economic benefits.ProNova will equip the new proton center with three treatment rooms including two superconducting gantry treatment rooms and one fixed beam treatment room. Each treatment room will include Fast Scanning IMPT technology with integrated 3-D imaging. This unique solution merges leading edge pencil beam delivery with innovative imaging capability to aid physicians and therapists in minimizing collateral damage to healthy tissue and maximizing dose to the tumor. FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 The MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center expansion is expected to be completed in 2023. Rendering courtesy of Stantec. News | Radiation Therapy | August 16, 2019 Drug Accelerates Blood System’s Recovery After Radiation, Chemotherapy A drug developed by UCLA physician-scientists and chemists speeds up the regeneration of mouse and human blood stem… read more Catalyst PT image courtesy of C-RAD News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 Mevion and C-RAD Release Integration for Improved Proton Therapy Treatment Quality Mevion Medical Systems and C-RAD announced the integration between the C-RAD Catalyst PT and the Mevion S250i proton… read more Following radiation, the bone marrow shows nearly complete loss of blood cells in mice (left). Mice treated with the PTP-sigma inhibitor displayed rapid recovery of blood cells (purple, right). Credit: UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center/Nature Communications News | Radiation Therapy | August 15, 2019 First Patient Enrolled in World’s Largest Brain Cancer Clinical Trial Henry Ford Cancer Institute is first-in-the-world to enroll a glioblastoma patient in the GBM AGILE Trial (Adaptive… read more News | Proton Therapy | August 06, 2019 IBA Signs Contract to Install Proton Therapy Center in Kansas IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) recently signed a contract and received the first payment for a Proteus One solution… read more News | Proton Therapy | August 08, 2019 MD Anderson to Expand Proton Therapy Center The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled plans to expand its Proton Therapy Center during a… read more News | Patient Positioning Radiation Therapy | August 07, 2019 Qfix kVue One Proton Couch Top Validated by Mevion Medical Systems Qfix and Mevion Medical Systems announced that a special version of the kVue One Proton couch top is now both validated… read more News | Radiation Therapy | August 02, 2019 Varian Showcases Cancer Care Systems and Software at AAPM 2019 Varian showcased systems and software from its cancer care portfolio, including the Identify Guidance System, at the… read more Related Content News | Brachytherapy Systems | August 14, 2019 Efficacy of Isoray’s Cesium Blu Showcased in Recent Studies August 14, 2019 — Isoray announced a trio of studies recently reported at scientific meetings and published in medica read more The top piece of content in July was a video interview explaining how Princess Margaret Cancer Center is using machine learning to create automated treatment plans. This was a hot topic at the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) 2019 meeting in July.  News | Radiation Oncology | July 31, 2019 Laura Dawson, M.D., FASTRO, Chosen as ASTRO President-elect The members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) elected four new officers to ASTRO’s Board of… read morelast_img read more

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Canada pushes for border bill as US lawmakers return to work

first_img By: Alexander Panetta Source: The Canadian Press Share Tuesday, September 6, 2016 Canada pushes for border bill as U.S. lawmakers return to workcenter_img WASHINGTON — Canadian diplomats will be pushing for the adoption of border legislation as the current U.S. Congress convenes for its final few months of business.The embassy in Washington wants U.S. lawmakers to deal with border reforms before a new president and Congress are sworn in next January.At issue are pilot projects announced by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where travellers would clear customs in-land in order to lighten traffic at the actual border.Implementing legislation needs to be passed in both countries to begin the experiment, which will seek to replicate for land travel the preclearance system that already exists for travellers to the U.S. in major Canadian airports.Ambassador David MacNaughton said this is the kind of issue with bipartisan support that could get through Congress in the midst of a heated campaign season. But that’s only if lawmakers remember it _ the issue isn’t exactly top of mind in the current U.S. political debate.Funding for Zika research, the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal are some of the high-profile issues facing U.S. lawmakers, who returned from the summer break Tuesday.“We will be working with the proponents in Congress and in the administration … to get (preclearance) done,” MacNaughton said in a recent interview.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish Steps“Because if you don’t bring it up it could just inadvertently not get passed.”He said there’s no actual opposition to the idea in Congress. The biggest challenge is finding the right place and time to get it passed. In the spring, an attempt to stick the item into an unrelated omnibus bill collapsed when the parties began arguing over other add-ons and, in order to save the core bill, they stripped out all the additions including the part on the Canada-U.S. border.“The problem is how do you introduce it; where does it go; does it get attached to another bill,” MacNaughton said. “We’re hoping and expecting that they will pass the legislation by the end of the year.”The overall plan is to extend the early-customs system that has existed for years at large Canadian airports _ applying it not only to new airports in downtown Toronto and Quebec City but also to land travel for the first time, starting with the Montreal train station and the Rocky Mountaineer west-coast rail line. It’s part of the long-term goal of achieving faster border-crossing for different types of passenger and commercial transport.First the countries must pass legislation that would spell out the rights and responsibilities of customs officers operating on their soil.More news:  Visit Orlando unveils new travel trade tools & agent perksIn Canada, a bill recently passed first reading in Parliament.Bill C-23 lets U.S. officers bring their guns into Canada for work purposes; sets conditions for questioning and strip-searches; lets people leave a customs line unless they’ve been detained; allows civil claims against the U.S. government but not against individual officers; and sets rules for the extradition of officers in the case of criminal misconduct.An analyst of Canada-U.S. relations said these bills are a required step toward the next generation of border reforms.“Airport preclearance has existed for many years but the original setup did not envision land, rail and marine entry _ nor the complexities of a post 9-11 world,” said Laura Dawson of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.“The new legislation is essential for establishing a clear legal framework.”As for its prospects in the U.S. Congress, Dawson said the biggest threat to the legislation is neglect and delay: “It’s not likely that there will be opponents… but with so many things competing for attention, it’s not certain that there will be many champions either,” she said.“I am concerned that an important initiative will fall through the cracks.” << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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A cultural anthropologist ponders Cuba before and after Obamas decision

first_imgANN ARBOR, Michigan — I walk a tightrope with Cuba.I’m a daughter of Cuban exiles who’ve pledged not to return until there is political change. Yet I’ve traveled to the island numerous times since the early 1990s; it’s the site of my research as a cultural anthropologist.I never forget that every trip back is an insult to my parents, and that their immigrant labor has made possible my education and my privilege to travel back and forth to my native land. “Be careful, Ruti,” they say. “Don’t talk too much.”When we left in the early 1960s, we were labeled “gusanos,” or worms, of the revolution, and traitors, maligned for choosing to immigrate. Despite all of my trips, my parents’ paranoia is lodged like shrapnel in my memory. I’m an American citizen, but having been born in Cuba I’m required to return to the island with a Cuban passport.I fear Cuban authorities will find a Kafkaesque reason to stop me at the border and not let me out. Still, I return and return. The island was a refuge for my Jewish grandparents in the mid-1920s, at a time when the United States was imposing cruel quotas on European Jewish immigration. And I feel a bond, deep and mysterious, to this place, so small and yet so important to modern history.When I awoke to the news of President Barack Obama’s proposed U.S. policy changes, I immediately thought: Isn’t it amazing that this occurred on Dec. 17? It’s a day of great significance to Cubans, when thousands of them make an annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Rincón to mark the feast day of San Lázaro.The shrine, on the outskirts of Havana, has an exact replica in Hialeah, Florida. Represented as a beggar, whose patrons are sick and poor, this popular saint in Spanish Catholicism is referred to as Babalu-Ayé in the Afro-Cuban religion known as Santería. Americans who remember the “I Love Lucy” TV show will recall Desi Arnaz belting out songs in honor of Babalu-Ayé. Once at Rincón, often getting there on bloody knees, Cubans call to San Lázaro and to Babalu Ayé, asking for relief from their pain and sorrow. It is a moving, wrenching experience to witness, as I have in years past.Santeros will tell you: Nothing happens by accident; everything happens for a reason. All Cubans (even Jewish Cubans like me) share something of Santería in our cosmology, so I take it as significant that Obama made his announcement on that feast day. After decades of official U.S. hostility, Obama is asking Americans to open their hearts to Cuba, the island that has paid a price for daring to act against the will of the great power 90 miles to the north.The Cuban people need to heal from their wounds, too. We need to find ways to communicate despite our differences so Cubans of all generations, social classes, racial backgrounds and political persuasions, on and off the island, can learn to coexist respectfully with one another. This requires acknowledging loss and grief and still moving on. The majority of Cubans have been born since the revolution, and more than anything what they wish for is peace. Cuban pilgrims participate in the Saint Lázaro procession in El Rincón in Havana, on Dec. 16, 2012, during the annual pilgrimage. Yamil Lage/AFPObama’s mother was a cultural anthropologist, and Obama knows something about the importance of cultural symbols.In his speech, he referred to the popular phrase “No es fácil.” Technically, that means “It’s not easy.” But Cubans on the island use this phrase all the time to mean something more — that even though nothing is easy in a country where monthly salaries average $20, people still live their lives with zest, creative ingenuity and the resourcefulness for which Cubans have become famous.Most significantly, Obama cited the words of the beloved Cuban hero José Martí: “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.” Martí, a poet of the late 19th century who admired and translated Walt Whitman, spent most of his adult years in exile in New York, planning Cuba’s war of independence from Spain.He thought of himself as living in “the belly of the beast,” always fearing the United States would steal Cuba’s victory, as in fact it did. Not surprisingly, Cuba is a country overrun with busts and statues of Martí, because it is believed that U.S. interference in Cuban affairs cut Martí’s revolution short. In acknowledging Martí, Obama made clear that the fraught history between both nations cannot be erased but that reconciliation is still possible.It is not too far-fetched to think of the break between the United States and Cuba as a divorce. The two nations once had incredibly close ties; they were like “carne y uña,” as we say in Spanish, like flesh and nail. My mother likes to tell the story of how on her honeymoon in the beach resort of Varadero, in 1956, she and my father struck up a friendship with a couple from Philadelphia, who were there to celebrate their honeymoon, too.“I Love Lucy” epitomized the romance between Cuba and the United States. By loving Lucy, Desi loved the United States. These two extraordinary actors enacted a romance that was an apt metaphor for the political relationship between the two nations. Their painful real-life divorce seemed to foretell the pain of the embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States after the island chose to pursue a path that challenged American power and hegemony.The analogy isn’t perfect. The intransigence between Cuba and the United States has also to do with male pride and male honor. Cuba wasn’t going to bend to America because it didn’t want to be placed in the subservient colonized role again. And the United States wasn’t going to bend to Cuba, because America was, after all, the super power. Rather than a duel, a stalemate was reached that could have gone on forever. Many still wish it would.Obama has had to walk his own tightrope in reaching out to Cuba. Compassionately calling for dialogue and cooperation, he has also emphasized the importance of American values, including democracy, human rights and the free flow of information, commerce and finance.When my mother called on the phone from New York to discuss the news, she was so caught up in the excitement, she told me, “¡Poco a poco, vamos a ir a Cuba!” Little by little, it looks like we’ll be going back to Cuba! But then my father came into the room. Not wanting to argue directly with me, he muttered loudly enough so I could hear in the background, “Get ready for another 50 years of tyranny in Cuba.”Which will it be? Can I hope that one day soon my parents will agree to visit Cuba with me so I can see it through their eyes? I fervently hope so.It is a Cuban custom to bring pennies to San Lázaro, hoping they will translate into miracles. Even my father likes to scatter pennies on the porch of his house in Queens. Once, when I tried to pick them up, thinking he’d dropped them there by accident, he told me, “Don’t touch those pennies.”Right now, I don’t know whose promise of miracles to believe in more — those of San Lázaro and Babalu Ayé, or those of President Obama. Maybe both. Maybe both.Behar, a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, is the author of “An Island Called Home” and “Traveling Heavy,” which tell the story of her return journey to Cuba.© 2014, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Related posts:Obama’s surprise opening to Cuba sparks cautious reaction among US travel execs No opening date for US, Cuba embassies; more talks set As talks with US begin, Cubans anticipate changes in their lives In Cuba, a forgotten symbol of pre-revolutionary relations with USlast_img read more

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Kennels without water for 4 days

first_imgWebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The Animal Anti-Cruelty League battled without water for four days during the course of last week. This was due to a burst pipe opposite the premises.Annamarie and her team from the AACL had to make their own plans for water for the animals. In the heat of the day, it was incredibly difficult for Annamarie to bath and look after the animals. She had to drive everywhere looking for water.uThukela was phoned and they said they would send a water truck to help, but this did not happen.On Thursday morning last week, water supply was returned to the kennels. “It was very difficult and we were all glad when the water came back on, including the animals,” said Annamarie.last_img read more