Democratic National Convention Kicks off in Philadelphia

Philadelphia – The Democratic National Convention kicked off Monday in Philadelphia.Presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton is expected to formally accept the party’s official nomination during the four-day event.Big names are set to take the stage each night, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will headline the convention’s first night. Following a tumultuous primary race, Sanders eventually endorsed Clinton about a month after she garnered enough delegates for the nomination.Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced Sunday that she will resign at the end of the week after thousands of emails leaked over the weekend. Sanders and his supporters have continuously accused Wasserman Schultz of being unfairly biased for Clinton.With MAP read more

Canadian Utilities selling Canadian fossil fuelbased power assets

CALGARY — Canadian Utilities Ltd. says it has signed agreements to sell its entire Canadian fossil fuel-based electricity generation portfolio for approximately $835 million.Under a deal with Heartland Generation Ltd., an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners, the company will sell 11 partly or fully owned natural gas-fired and coal-fired electricity generation assets in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.Canadian Utilities has also signed an agreement to sell its 50-per-cent stake in the Cory Cogeneration Station near Saskatoon to SaskPower International.The sales do not include Ashcor Technologies, the Oldman River Hydro Facility or any international projects.Canadian Utilities says that following the sales it will have approximately 250 megawatts of electricity generation assets in Canada, Mexico and Australia.The company, which is an Atco Ltd. subsidiary, says the sale concludes a strategic evaluation announced last year. Companies in this story: (TSX:CU, TSX:ACO.X)The Canadian Press read more

UNESCO unveils winners of three prizes for science

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), presented the prizes in Budapest, Hungary, where the three-day World Science Forum has opened.The annual Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science has been jointly awarded to Yash Pal of India and Trinh Xuan Thuan of Viet Nam, UNESCO said in a press release.Professor Pal was recognized for his participation in many Indian television programmes that deal with popular science, including Turning Point and Science is everywhere. He also helped establish the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune and the Centre for Educational Communication in Ahmedabad.Professor Trinh is a world-renowned astrophysicist who in 2004 discovered the youngest known galaxy in the universe. He has written more than 200 academic articles on galaxies and authored a series of books, including an illustrated history of the Big Bang and a dialogue with the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard.Mr. Matsuura announced that the Great Man-Made River International Water Prize for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones, awarded every two years, has been given to Bellachheb Chahbani.Dr. Chahbani has spent more than 25 years at the Institute of Arid Regions in Médenine, Tunisia, and his research has helped improve water management and optimize irrigation systems by reducing evaporation and run-off.The Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation, handed out every two years on the recommendation of the Bureau of the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’S Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, has been issued to Spain’s Autonomous Authority for National Parks (known by its Spanish acronym as OAPN).The authority, which falls under the Spanish ministry of environment, rural and marine areas, runs the national park system and promotes international cooperation on the management of protected areas. 5 November 2009An Indian professor, a Vietnamese professor, a Tunisian expert in water management and the organization responsible for Spain’s national park system are the winners of three awards announced today by the head of the United Nations agency tasked with promoting science. read more

Geek Pick Transformers Generations Studio Series 18 Bumblebee

first_img Geek Pick: Shure MV88+ Is An Excellent, On the Go Microphone KitGeek Pick: Amazon Smart Plug Puts Alexa in Your Walls I have a confession. I haven’t watched the last three Transformers movies. I might see Bumblebee, though, because it looks like they’re using sick G1 designs instead of Bayformers garbage. That means Soundwave, Shockwave looking like actual Cybertronians that become devices instead of weird piles of metal twisting into other piles of metal. It also means Bumblebee becoming a Volkswagen Beetle, which is just a better look for him than a Camaro.Anyway, this is the new Bumblebee action figure, for the movie, in the Transformers Generations line. Hasbro’s newest, for the movie. And it looks great.This is a deluxe-class Transformer, so it’s about the size of a six-inch Marvel Legends or Star Wars Black Series action figure. Which is pretty standard for Bumblebee. As a robot, he looks pretty much in line with his other movie versions, but with more rounded chest parts. He can be posed in a lot of different stances, and fairly reliably stands up in most of them.Bumblebee doesn’t come with a lot of accessories, but he gets a few. His face pops off for replacing it with a goofy battle mask, his right hand can be switched with a gatling gun, and a chainsaw sword thing snaps onto his left hand. Not a bad combination of extras for making Bumblebee look fearsome. Well, as fearsome as a robot named Bumblebee can look.None of that matters, because his robot form isn’t the best part of this figure. His vehicle form is a Volkswagen Beetle. That’s all you need to know. He becomes a cute little yellow Beetle! Just like G1 Bumblebee! He looks downright adorable as a Beetle.I’ll level with you, this isn’t a great figure. His plastic seems to have two slightly different shades of yellow, his leg and hand joints pop out easily, and he just feels like fairly cheap plastic (which has been a problem for Hasbro’s Transformers, even their Generations ones, for a while). He’s no Binaltech or Masterpiece Bumblebee, but that’s fine, because at $20 he costs a fraction of either of those. So he’s a good choice if you want a Beetle robot on your desk and don’t want to spend much money! He’s the Funko Pop version of Bumblebee to the much more expensive Nendoroids of import and MP Bumblebees.For more geek stuff you can buy, check out an unwieldy-but-necessary Nintendo Switch Online subscription, or the Legend of Zelda Hyrule Shield Backpack. And remember, Bowsette is a thing.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on targetlast_img read more

1017 NXT UK Highlights Dunne vs Dar Storm vs Samuels and Andrews

first_imgFacebook Twitter WWE posted these highlights after yesterday’s debut NXT UK episode. Wrestleview Live #65: Reviewing and discussing WWE Clash of Champions from Charlotte WhatsApp Google+center_img Adam Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Pinterest Live Podcast: Reviewing and discussing WWE Clash of Champions from Charlotte Video: Watch the live WWE Clash of Champions Kickoff Show from Charlotte tonightlast_img read more

Excise Tax On Tobacco Products Taken Off The Table

first_imgBusiness owners on the Kenai Peninsula spoke out against the ordinance during the meeting last night. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly unanimously voted down a proposal for a borough-wide excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products during their assembly meeting last night. Currently the state has an excise tax, or ‘sin’ tax, that are flat per-unit taxes that must be paid directly to the state government by the merchant before the goods can be sold. The proposal was for an excise tax of $0.05 on each cigarette brought into the borough beginning on January 1, 2019. Also, an excise tax of 10 percent of the wholesale price levied on other tobacco products effective January 1, 2019. Assemblywoman Kelly Cooper: “The people in the room told us what we need to hear. When we’ve tried to look at taxes, we at this table say we don’t want to target a small group, but the people in the room are small businesses and they are saying quit targeting small groups.”  Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce: “We may not need this, and yet, we are getting ready to pass a tax policy on individuals that we may not need. I appreciate the desire to balance budgets, and pay for costs going forward, but I’ll also have you know that we are going to continue making cuts and look for savings along the way.” Even though excise taxes are collected from businesses, virtually all merchants pass on the excise tax to the customer through higher prices for the taxed goods. The state collects an average of $474 in yearly excise taxes per capita, higher than 54% of the other 50 states.last_img read more

Paris Auto Show opens doors amid decline in sales

first_img Comments   Share   Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Top Stories How men can have a healthy 2019 PARIS (AP) – Carmakers are sure to turn on the charm as the Paris Auto Show prepares to open, in hopes of convincing buyers despite a steady decline in sales around Europe.The country’s carmakers will be aiming for the mass market with their launches at the auto show, which has its media preview Thursday. The show opens to the public this weekend.France’s Peugeot, Citroen and Renault see the event as a chance to show off their latest models to a hometown crowd. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvementcenter_img France produced 2.2 million cars last year, compared to 3.5 million in 2005. The industry employs 30 percent fewer people in France than it did 10 years ago.European data show new passenger car registrations dropped 8.9 percent in August, the 11th consecutive monthly decline.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

German Parliament to wipe part of IT system amid hack attack

first_img Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall A ship passes by the Reichstag building which is reflected in the windows of another building of the German parliamentary complex in Berlin, Thursday, June 11, 2015. German lawmakers are mulling whether to replace their entire computer system after a sophisticated hacking attack against the Parliament’s IT network. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop) BERLIN (AP) — The speaker of Germany’s Parliament said Thursday that parts of its information technology system will need to be wiped and reinstalled to deal with an ongoing hacking attack on the network used by thousands of lawmakers and aides.Norbert Lammert announced the move after meeting with lawmakers to discuss the extent of the attack that was first discovered in early May.Lammert said there was no indication that computers would need to be replaced. In a letter to lawmakers he also said that, contrary to German media reports, no data appeared to have been syphoned out of Parliament’s IT system in the past two weeks. Comments   Share   Top Stories Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies How do cataracts affect your vision? But a parliamentary official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly, told The Associated Press that hackers could have gained access to administrator passwords that would allow them to intercept sensitive communication.The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said the attack may have been the work of foreign spies. German news agency dpa reported that Hans-Georg Maassen didn’t indicate which country he suspected, but said that his agency had repeatedly warned in the past of the sophisticated cyberattacks carried out by Russia’s intelligence agencies.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories Early signs of cataracts in your parents and how to help Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving soberlast_img read more

Windstar wins Top Luxury Cruise honour

first_imgSource = Travel the World (TTW) Windstar Cruises receives multiple cruising accolades in 2010Windstar Cruises, which operates a three-ship fleet of luxury yachts that explore hidden harbours and secluded coves of the world’s most treasured destinations, has been recognised by Islands magazine in the United States as having the “Top Luxury Cruise” for its Rome to Rome itinerary on Wind Surf.Islands magazine ranked the best cruises based on unique island itineraries focused on local culture, following recommendations from editors, contributors, local experts and readers.  The full top 10 list of cruises is featured in the December 2010 issue of Islands magazine and on the magazine’s.Wind Surf’s 7-day Rome to Rome itinerary visits the picturesque islands off the coast of Italy. Guests can partake in the lush beauty of the volcanic island of Ischia, journey to the famous Blue Grotto on the island of Capri, view the stunning Amalfi Coast, discover the ancient city of Pompeii, explore charming Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica, see the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visit Florence just outside of Livorno. The 312-guest Wind Surf sails the Rome to Rome itinerary on 15 May 2011, with cruise rates starting at AU$3,359 per person, double occupancy. Wind Spirit sails a similar 7-day Rome to Rome itinerary departing 1 October 2011, with cruise rates from AU$3,078 per person, double occupancy. In addition to Islands magazine’s honour, Windstar Cruises has been recognised by some of the most notable names in the travel and lifestyle world in 2010. Celebrated Living, American Airlines’ prestigious publication for first class passengers,named Windstar Cruises “Best Small-Ship/Mid-Ship Cruise Line” on their Platinum Listfor the fourth time in a row. Windstar Cruises was also recognised by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the “Top Small Ship Cruise Lines”listed on theirannual Gold List of “Best Cruise Lines” and all three Windstar yachts were honoured in the “Best Small Ships” Reader’s Poll. Windstar was recently named “Most Romantic Cruise Line” by Porthole Cruise Magazine and was also selected by Travel + Leisure as one of the top five “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Lines”. Wind Surflast_img read more

A Big Bang with an even stronger more powerful an

first_imgA Big Bang with an even stronger, more powerful and further evolved design: the King Power – a timepiece with a complex dial made of several layers in a sober and powerful aesthetic concept, housing a split-seconds foudroyante chronograph movement.—has debuted from Hublot.The timepiece’s strength lies both in its tradition and faithfulness to the design of the popular Big Bang, as well as in its avant-garde modernism. All its components have been redesigned: the case has been shaped with sharp angles and straight sides, and features raised end pieces and screws. On the case edge, the push pieces stand out more, with the decorative tubes inserted in the black composite resin. The bezel has acquired a new look thanks to the rubber molding around the ceramic. The dial is made of several layers and ten extra elements in addition to the powerful black index markers. The Chronograph and Foudroyante hands are completely new and made on two levels, with two different types of finish.TECHNICAL DATA:Case “King Power” diameter 48 mm in microblasted black ceramicBezel Black microblasted ceramic with black rubber moulding, with 6 blackPVD-coated titanium raised H-shaped screwsCrystal Sapphire crystal with interior/exterior anti-reflection treatmentBezel lug Black composite resinLateral inserts Black composite resinBack Black microblasted ceramicCrown Black PVD titanium with black rubber insertPush-pieces Black PVD titanium with black rubber insertWater-resistance 100 m or 10 ATMDial Multi pieces with matt black microblasted additional counters andflange; appliqué markers with black nickel treatment; blackSuperLuminovaT transfersHands Brilliant black nickel chronograph hand; brilliant black nickel with blackSuperLuminovaT hours and minutes hands; brilliant black nickel withblack SuperLuminovaT split-seconds hand; brilliant black nickel withblack SuperLuminovaT foudroyante handMovement Self-winding mechanical split-seconds foudroyante chronograph,Hublot HUB44 RTF calibre developed with La Joux-PerretBridges Polished, satin-finish with chamfered edgesScrews Black PVDOscillating weight Tungsten carbide with dimpled surface coated with black PVDBottom plate Sand-blasted; rhodium-platedBarrel With reinforced springEscapement Glucydur balance springPower reserve 42 hoursStrap Adjustable jointed black rubberClasp Black microblasted ceramic and black PVD steel deployant claspLimited Edition 500 numbered pieces 01/500 – 500/500www.hublot.comlast_img read more

Beaches should be put under junior tourism ministry

first_imgBeach administration should be placed under a junior ministry for tourism and all relevant legislations must be reviewed and consolidated, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said on Tuesday.Petrides said three ministries were now involved in the administration of the island’s beaches, nine separate bodies, and a series of laws and rules, without any coordination, and their one thing in common was the lack of knowledge on beach management.“Beach administration must be placed under the junior ministry for tourism,” he said. “The interior ministry has no specialization on the subject. All these laws must be consolidated into one, through their review, so that they can serve contemporary needs.”You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Isolated showers expected Thursday afternoon

first_imgIsolated showers may be seen in the southeast of the island on Thursday afternoon and more rain is possible on Sunday, the Met office announced although summer conditions will persist elsewhere.Some clouds will gather in the afternoon along the coast, but it will be mostly sunny, with temperatures topping 34C inland, 30C to 32C in coastal areas and 26C in the mountains.Temperatures are forecast to remain the same during the weekend. In the evenings they will drop to around 23C in most areas and 14C in Troodos.Sunny weather will prevail on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday isolated rain and storms in the mountains and Nicosia area are expected.You May LikeBusinessBuzzo7 Reasons an MBA Is a Waste of Time and MoneyBusinessBuzzoUndoZoLearn7 Most Luxurious Vehicles In The World You Never Knew! | its.zolearn.comZoLearnUndoSmallBizDaily.comSurviving the First 3 Years in Business – SmallBizDailySmallBizDaily.comUndo Mayors lobbying president to prevent local govt mergersUndoFilms and food at RialtoUndoTwo of serial killer’s victims buried in PhilippinesUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Bumstead invites veterans to April 7 town hall meeting in Hart

first_img State Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, invites local veterans to attend a town hall meeting in Hart where veterans can learn about benefits and resources offered by the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs. Senior Policy Advisor Jason Allen, will share a brief presentation and be available for questions regarding veteran services.“There are plenty of benefits and services available to Michigan veterans, so I’m hosting this town hall meeting to make sure everyone is aware of these opportunities,” Bumstead said. “This is a great opportunity to ask questions, and I encourage local veterans to attend.”Veterans Town Hall5-7 p.m., Monday, April 7Hart VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars)802 S. State St. Hart, MI 49420Veterans who have questions or cannot attend the town hall meeting may contact Rep. Bumstead’s office toll free at 1-877-999-0995, by email at or online at 26Mar Bumstead invites veterans to April 7 town hall meeting in Hart Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Griffin Priorities include car insurance reform job training better roads and

first_img21Feb Rep. Griffin: Priorities include car insurance reform, job training, better roads and broadband State Rep. Beth Griffin this week announced priorities for the 2019-20 term including lower car insurance rates, improved mental health services and skilled trades training, and investments in road repairs, rural broadband and drinking water systems.Griffin joined House Republicans in unveiling priorities for the two-year term in an action plan called “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan.” Griffin, from Mattawan, was a member of the special committee that helped select the priorities.“My focus continues to be on what matters most to families and taxpayers in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties,” Griffin said. “I will fight to help families keep more of their hard-earned income while investing in top priorities including job growth, schools and the systems our communities need to protect residents and function at their best. This plan will help lead to solutions making our daily lives better and our future brighter.”Griffin’s priorities include:Lower car insurance rates. Griffin supports reforms to drive down costs for Michigan drivers, who now pay the highest average premiums in the nation.Investments to improve schools and skilled trades programs. Griffin continues to support increasing investments in K-12 education, with a heightened emphasis on helping students and workers gain skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing economy.Road and bridge repairs. Michigan is spending more than ever before on road repairs, which Griffin supports along with efforts to maximize the return on taxpayer investments.Safe drinking water systems. Michigan is a national leader in efforts to detect and eliminate PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water. Griffin supports these efforts and is fighting for permanent solutions to provide clean drinking water in affected communities such as the City of Parchment and Cooper Township.Expanded broadband access in rural areas. Griffin continues to advocate for technology upgrades to boost communication and internet access for students, job providers and families across Michigan.Improved mental health services. Building on a special House task force from last year, Griffin will push for policies expanding access to mental health services – particularly for students and senior citizens – so they may live happier and independent lives.The House action plan is available at is in her second House term representing the 66th District. #####center_img Categories: Griffin News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Mueller Park officers must be allowed to enforce marijuana laws

first_img Categories: Mueller News 20Jun Rep. Mueller: Park officers must be allowed to enforce marijuana laws State Rep. Mike Mueller recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of his plan to allow parks and recreation officers to enforce provisions of the new recreational marijuana law in state parks, forest land and waterways.Mueller, of Linden, said officers commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) already have the ability to enforce a number of laws, including violations involving alcohol.“These officers are tasked with protecting the people who visit our parks and safeguarding the sanctity of our state lands and waterways. We must give them the tools they need to do their jobs effectively,” Mueller said.Mueller, a retired sheriff’s deputy, noted that parks and recreation officers previously had the authority to enforce marijuana-related violations on state lands, but that changed after the voter-initiated law legalizing recreational marijuana took effect.“Recreational marijuana was legalized last year, but the law has clear restrictions – including a ban on smoking in public,” Mueller said. “This solution will simply allow park officers to enforce the new marijuana regulations.”House Bill 4693 remains under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.###last_img read more

Doctors Without Borders Declares Airstrike on Hospital a Potential War Crime

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesOctober 4, 2014; ReutersClearly, the Afghanistan government and its NATO allies were upset by the surprise loss of Kunduz to the Taliban. The government of Afghanistan promised a major effort to retake the northern city after Afghan military forces did their imitation of Iraqi forces in Ramadi, cutting and running in the wake of the Taliban offensive.It appears to all observers that it was a U.S. air strike that hit a hospital in Kunduz run by Médecins San Frontières—in English, Doctors Without Borders. The airstrike killed 22 doctors, nurses, and patients. MSF has declared the airstrike a “war crime” and called for an independent investigation as opposed to an internal investigation by the U.S. military. MSF General Director Christopher Stokes issued a statement that said, “Relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”There is good reason for questioning the legitimacy of an internal investigation. The U.S. and Afghanistan governments, trying to carve out improved bilateral relations after the deterioration that occurred under President Hamid Karzai, might be loath to acknowledge that a major coalition effort to reverse the Taliban’s victory in the city turned out to be a humanitarian disaster of major proportions. The Afghan defense ministry has already charged that the Taliban was using the hospital building as a “human shield,” but that has been firmly contradicted by MSF.The horror of the bombing is evident in this heart-rending account by an MSF nurse named Lajos Zoltan Jecs, worth quoting at length to remind readers of the devastating of war when innocents are involved:It was absolutely terrifying.I was sleeping in our safe room in the hospital. At around 2am, I was woken up by the sound of a big explosion nearby. At first I didn’t know what was going on. Over the past week we’d heard bombings and explosions before, but always further away. This one was different, close and loud.At first there was confusion, and dust settling. As we were trying to work out what was happening, there was more bombing.After 20 or 30 minutes, I heard someone calling my name. It was one of the Emergency Room nurses. He staggered in with massive trauma to his arm. He was covered in blood, with wounds all over his body.At that point my brain just couldn’t understand what was happening. For a second I was just stood still, shocked.He was calling for help. In the safe room, we have a limited supply of basic medical essentials, but there was no morphine to stop his pain. We did what we could.I don’t know exactly how long, but it was maybe half an hour afterwards that they stopped bombing. I went out with the project coordinator to see what had happened. What we saw was the hospital destroyed, burning. I don’t know what I felt, just shock again.We went to look for survivors. A few had already made it to one of the safe rooms. One by one, people started appearing, wounded, including some of our colleagues and caretakers of patients.We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.We looked for some staff that were supposed to be in the operating theater. It was awful. A patient there on the operating table, dead, in the middle of the destruction. We couldn’t find our staff. Thankfully we later found that they had run out from the operating theater and had found a safe place.Just nearby, we had a look in the inpatient department. Luckily untouched by the bombing. We quickly checked that everyone was OK. And in a safe bunker next door, also everyone inside was OK.And then back to the office. Full, patients, wounded, crying out, everywhere.It was crazy. We had to organize a mass casualty plan in the office, seeing which doctors were alive and available to help. We did an urgent surgery for one of our doctors. Unfortunately he died there on the office table. We did our best, but it wasn’t enough.The whole situation was very hard. We saw our colleagues dying. Our pharmacist…I was just talking to him last night and planning the stocks, and then he died there in our office…Some of my colleagues were in too much shock, crying and crying. I tried to encourage some of the staff to help, to give them something to concentrate on, to take their minds off the horror. But some were just too shocked to do anything. Seeing adult men, your friends, crying uncontrollably—that is not easy.I have been working here since May, and I have seen a lot of heavy medical situations. But it is a totally different story when they are your colleagues, your friends.These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people…and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable…What is in my heart since this morning is that this is completely unacceptable. How can this happen? What is the benefit of this? Destroying a hospital and so many lives, for nothing. I cannot find words for this.The preferred method of engagement for the American military appears to be bombing at a distance, which the public imagines as precision bombing, hitting targets with little X’s on them like in a computer game. The reality is that precision bombing is largely a myth. In recounting the history of imprecision in modern warfare, one article noted that in the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, some aerial bombs missed Iraq entirely, landing in Turkey and Iran. (Compare that to the heavy bombers in World War II, which managed never to miss the country in which they intended their ordnance to land.)MSF has since closed the hospital in Kunduz. A dozen of the casualties were MSF staff, suggesting that they were doing whatever they could to protect innocent, defenseless patients from the bombing. Another 19 staff were wounded, along with 37 civilians or patients. It wasn’t one errant bomb that hit the hospital, but a sustained hour-long attack. For that reason, even the United Nations has expressed a concern that this attack could be a war crime and merits a “full and transparent investigation,” something that U.S. and Afghani forces may be unlikely to do in fear of compromising military secrets.President Obama expressed his condolences to the families, friends, and coworkers of the MSF staff who lost their lives in the bombing. In light of the civilians and aid workers who lost their lives in this incident, like so many who have lost their lives in bombings in Iraq and elsewhere, U.S. reliance on aerial bombing unfortunately reduces many otherwise innocent people to collateral damage. It is the horror of war; it is an immense challenge to humanitarian aid organizations like MSF who stand up against that horror, sometimes with their lives at stake.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Wisconsin Innocence Project Mulls Avery Case 9 Years Too Late

first_imgShare28TweetShare9Email37 SharesImage Source: NetflixJanuary 5, 2016; WISC-TV (Madison, WI)It’s the case that everyone is talking about for all the right reasons. By now, you have likely seen or heard about Making a Murderer, the unprecedented 10-hour documentary on Netflix that showcases what it’s like to be on trial in America and what it takes to defend an accused person. While the filmmakers intended to start a discussion about the adequacy of the justice system, many viewers instead came away with a singular sense of purpose: helping Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey out of prison.This is a very complicated case, and we urge readers to review the documentary and transcripts in their entirety to understand how Steven Avery has captured international attention. In short, after having been wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault in 1985 and serving 18 years in prison, Steven Avery could potentially have been wrongfully convicted a second time for the murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach, a photographer, in 2007. In Avery’s defense, as portrayed in the documentary, there is compelling evidence he was framed for the murder by some of the disgruntled police officers who helped wrongfully convict him in the rape case.The reality of the situation for many viewers has been too much to bear. Avery has been in prison now—potentially wrongfully convicted—for almost nine years, in addition to the 18 years from his first conviction. He has exhausted his post-conviction appeals but still has the possibility of a federal habeas corpus petition and U.S. Supreme Court appeal. However, it’s quite possible he will spend the rest of his life in prison. Since the documentary was released, two jurors have also come forward, one of who insists he or she was “intimidated” into voting “guilty” for fear of his or her safety.In these moments, the country has turned to the Wisconsin Innocence Project (WIP), part of the University of Wisconsin Law School, which helped overturn Avery’s initial 1985 conviction for rape by testing the DNA in the case. The DNA did not match Avery, but matched another criminal in the CODIS database, proving that he did not commit the rape for which he served 18 years. It was a major victory for the WIP, as is every exoneration. However, since Avery’s conviction in Halbach’s murder, the WIP has largely turned their backs on Avery. On its website, where it lists its exonerees, the WIP tries to distance itself from Avery’s case: “In 2007, Steven Avery was convicted of murdering 25-year-old Theresa Halbach and sentenced to life in prison. The Wisconsin Innocence Project did not represent him in that case.” The documentary notes that despite Avery’s repeated appeals to take on his case, the WIP has refused for the last nine years, until now.For the first time since Avery’s conviction, the WIP’s founder Keith Findley has said he is talking to Avery’s attorneys, who valiantly represented him in trial, and thinks it’s possible the case can be re-opened if there is evidence of juror misconduct.As is to be expected, WIP has inspired the ire of the Internet, particularly because an overwhelming number of people have come away from the documentary believing at the very least Avery was wrongfully convicted. Understandably, Avery’s case is any wrongful conviction center’s worst nightmare: to exonerate a client only for him to be accused and convicted of murder. Largely relying on individual and private donations, the WIP and most nonprofit organizations would want to protect the integrity of its brand.But it shouldn’t have taken the release of a documentary eight years later to make the organization reconsider if it should have heeded Avery’s calls for help. Reading the transcript of the trial, there are several points where one will find serious lapses of justice, such as the use of discredited scientific tests and testimony. While the Innocence Project has certain criteria that have to be fulfilled before taking a case, namely whether the defendant can be exonerated through DNA evidence, were those justifications for refusing to consider his case, or was it the publicity? If it was for publicity, should the possibility of losing donations supersede the mission of the organization?The American Civil Liberties Union faced a similar organizational dilemma in the ’70s when it took on the defense of a group of Neo-Nazis who wanted to march through a neighborhood in Skokie, Illinois, comprising a significant proportion of Holocaust survivors. Donors were outraged. According to David Goldberger, the legal director of the Illinois ACLU at the time, the overall organization lost close to 25 percent of its overall membership. In Illinois, 2,000 of the 8,000 ACLU members resigned because the organization stayed true to its mission: protecting Americans’ civil rights despite the heinousness of their ideas.However, the WIP’s decision not to review Avery’s case cannot be viewed in a vacuum. It should be noted that the documentary does not include every detail and facet of the case, as would be difficult to do. The WIP likely felt similarly to the rest of Wisconsin when Avery was accused and convicted of murder—that he was guilty.At this point, Avery would surely appreciate any help he can receive. Whether there is anything anyone can do is another story. Many have signed petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon Avery, but the president does not have the authority to do so. The only person that can pardon Avery is Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, who has refused. There is also a high burden to prove juror misconduct and none of the recent revelations from this week would meet those requirements at this time. Could Avery’s appeals have been successfully litigated had he the aid of experienced attorneys that helped him before?—Shafaq HasanShare28TweetShare9Email37 Shareslast_img read more

TMinus 11 Days until Women Allies Mobilize in Washington

first_imgShare80TweetShare4Email84 Shares6th ANNUAL WOMEN’S HOUSING MARCH / Caelie_FramptonJanuary 6, 2017; USA TodayWith less than two weeks before Inauguration Day, women and their allies are finalizing logistics for a huge march on the Capitol and a series of marches across the country and the world to take place on January 21st. No matter how many women show up, this increasingly unified movement will need to agree on next steps and how to best use the momentum that began with a Facebook post.The women’s march effort has faced multiple setbacks and controversies but is poised to be the biggest inauguration demonstration in history. More than 150,000 people registered, according to the Washington Post, in the two months since a red tide rolled through the country on Election Day, November 8th. President-elect Donald Trump is poised to take office with a Republican majority in both the Senate and House—the first Republican trifecta in more than 10 years.The grassroots movement has recently gained some of the nation’s top progressive nonprofit organizations as official partners for the march. Among them are dozens of organizations with household names, including Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, GLAAD, Oxfam, and NAACP.This conforms to the “canary in the coalmine” construct mentioned yesterday in relationship to Planned Parenthood and to comments made by Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, about the emergence of a new informal coalition of cause:I will say, I’ve been doing this work a long time, not always at Planned Parenthood but in various progressive organizations. If there is one thing that his election did for the progressive community, it served as an enormous bonding experience. Over the last month, we’ve had meetings of some of the major progressive organizations. Folks recognize that our issues, our organizations and frankly our activists are all connected. Planned Parenthood patients are immigrants, they’re Muslims, they’re LGBT folks, they’re single parents, they’re students. And all of the attacks that folks are anticipating going forward are ones that are already engaging our activists as well. We feel a particular responsibility to stand with those who’ve stood with us as we’ve been under attack these many years.Meanwhile, the Washington Post Express, a free daily newspaper, had to correct a story on the women’s march last week when it mistakenly used the symbol for men instead of women to illustrate the cover.—Anna BerryShare80TweetShare4Email84 Shareslast_img read more

Florida Restores Voting Rights to Over 1 Million Residents

first_imgShare35Tweet3ShareEmail38 SharesUser:SPUI [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsJanuary 8, 2019; CBS Miami, CNN, Pensacola News Journal, and WUFT“More than one million Floridians with felony convictions get back their right to vote Tuesday,” notes Joan Murray for the Miami affiliate of CBS. Proposition 4, which passed with 64.5 percent of the vote, restores voting rights to over one million formerly incarcerated Floridians who have completed their sentences. It was, as NPQ noted last November, a bright spot for expanding voting rights in an election often marred by voter suppression.Now, as Emanuella Grinberg of CNN explains, “Returning citizens…will be able to register online or in person to vote just as any other Floridian would.” Floridians seeking to have their voting rights restored, she adds, need “to make sure they have completed all the terms of their sentence so they can honestly declare on a voter registration form that their right to vote has been restored.”Grinberg notes that, “In recent weeks, civil rights groups have ramped up outreach and education efforts to encourage those with felony convictions to register to vote. Completion of a sentence includes any period of incarceration, probation, parole, and financial obligations imposed as part of a person’s sentence, according to the coalition of groups that endorsed the legislation and is coordinating voter registration drives.”A number of accounts relate stories of people who went to their county registrar on Tuesday, the first day when their rights were eligible to be restored. In Miami, Murray notes, “Several applicants went to the Dorothy Bendross Social and Economic Institute in Miami to register.”“So many people have fought for this right and that’s why I’m here today,” Louis Irving told Murray.In Alachua County, which includes the college town of Gainesville, Cat Gloria of WUFT writes about Rhonda Shephard, who said to her, “Girl, I’m going to go outside and scream,” after she became one of about 50 people to register to vote in Alachua County on Tuesday. Gloria notes that Shepherd had served a one-year sentence for credit card fraud and was released from prison 15 years ago, but she only got her voting rights restored this week.The lines pleased Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Kim Barton. Barton said to Gloria that, “Voting is one of the most precious rights we have and should never be taken for granted. So, to see people come in the office today and be so excited about the opportunity to register is awesome.”In Pensacola, one person who registered to vote on Tuesday was Tranassa White. Speaking to Kevin Robinson of the Pensacola News Journal, she encouraged others to follow her example. “Go out there. Register. Have your voice heard in the public, because this is going to change futures for us,” White said.White, who is 33, Robinson writes, “overcame a history of childhood neglect, but around the age of 21, she ran afoul of the law, and in 2006 she was sentenced to five years in state prison for charges including battery, resisting an officer and drug possession.”White, Robinson adds, says “she didn’t receive any rehabilitation in prison, but instead changed her life because of a support network. She is now holding down a steady job, raising a son, and working toward a bachelor’s degree after earning an associate degree at Pensacola State College.”The best estimate of how many are eligible in Florida to have their voting rights restored is 1.4 million, a significant number in a state that currently has 13.4 million registered voters. If all 1.4 million registered, Florida’s voting rolls would expand by 10 percent, a window into the impact that mass incarceration has had in the state.It is estimated that 10,000 of those 1.4 million live in Alachua County. With 50 registering on day one, that still leaves about 9,950 to go. Alachua County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler told Gloria that she plans to hand out voter registration forms. “We want to make sure people realize that they are still a part of this community,” Wheeler said. “There are a whole lot of people who have been so demoralized over the years, that they take some encouragement to get there to register.”—Steve DubbShare35Tweet3ShareEmail38 Shareslast_img read more

Minneapolis Aims to Diversify Its 70 Neighborhood Associations

first_imgShare15Tweet9ShareEmail24 Shares February 3, 2019; Star TribuneLike many US cities, Minneapolis is changing rapidly. Two months ago, as noted in NPQ, its city council approved Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive planning document that makes Minneapolis the first large city in the US to abolish single-family zoning—a term that sounds innocuous, until one realizes that the tool has often been used in big cities across the country to support de facto housing segregation. Adoption of Minneapolis 2040 passed on a 12–1 vote, but no one should mistake the final margin with a lack of controversy.Now, the city is taking on another major issue: neighborhood associations. Minneapolis has many of them; the city’s 84 neighborhoods are served by 70 associations. Typically, members of neighborhood associations are civic-minded people looking out for the best interests of their neighborhoods. They often wield considerable influence; an article in NPQ in 2015 noted that 56 percent of city council members in the nation’s 50 largest cities reported meeting with neighborhood associations in the preceding month, significantly more than those who reported meeting with business associations or nonprofits.But these associations are often less than fully representative, and Minneapolis is no exception. Near the end of January, the city’s department of Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) released a report called Neighborhoods 2020, that sets forth a series of recommendations for the city to achieve more inclusive neighborhood governance. As Miguel Otárola reports in the Star Tribune,The city is considering tying municipal funding to the diversity of the associations’ leadership boards, which have been disproportionately made up of white homeowners.If they don’t hit representation benchmarks for renters, people of color and other demographics, associations could lose out on critical funding.The city is also asking associations to set bylaw requirements and term limits for board members, increase outreach and collaborate with other associations to save money.It surely will surprise few that not all of the city’s neighborhood associations are taking kindly to the proposed changes. Controversy was anticipated; beginning in 2016, NCR underwent an extensive community engagement process, forming work groups responsible for developing recommendations in three areas: a) programming and funding, b) governance and structure, and c) citywide community engagement. According to the resultant report,The work groups consisted of representatives from neighborhood organizations, cultural groups, those with equity/undoing racism experience, and representatives appointed by City Council and the Mayor. The work groups met twice a month from August through December 2018, committing over 900 volunteer hours to the Neighborhoods 2020 initiative. In addition, city staff engaged the public in five community conversations with over 400 people discussing what they would like to see for their neighborhoods moving forward.Despite the extensive consultation, some neighborhood associations, particularly the Northside Neighborhood Council, a collective of neighborhood associations in North Minneapolis, have voiced displeasure with the recommendations and claims that the process did not fully conform to the standards of an internationally recognized public participation framework adopted by the city. In a statement released on Monday, the group calls for several changes to the proposed recommendations, including creating an elected NCR board and funding for programs and staff. And then, of course, there are those diversity requirements.David Rubedor, director of engagement for NCR, explains the city’s reasoning, “We want our neighborhood organizations…to really reflect the diversity of their community. Not only in the programming and the activities that they do, but also in their leadership.” Under the plan, associations with boards that do not reflect neighborhood demographics would be put on a diversity action plan. Created in partnership with NCR, neighborhood organizations would be expected to outline strategies and tactics to recruit members of diverse gender, race, age, income, and homeowner/rental status. Failure to develop a plan or meet goals could mean eliminated or reduced funding.Steve Fletcher, a city council representative for downtown and parts of northeast Minneapolis, tells Jessica Lee in MinnPost that “the council’s newly elected members are committed to broadening the type of people who interact with City Hall,” citing Neighborhood 2020 as a key example of the city’s new approach.Fletcher adds, “There’s going to be that tension [from] people whose voices have been heard—they’ve been at table—they’re losing power. We saw that expressed in the debate around 2040 plan. We’re seeing it in the Neighborhoods 2020 conversation. [There’s] legitimate anxiety about what does that change mean….We are creating healthy tension in the community.”Not all neighborhood leaders oppose the report’s recommendations, however. A feedback period is now under way and will hopefully allow robust discussion of how to meet the needs of Minneapolis neighborhood organizations while also opening the associations up to the full diversity of their neighborhoods. Vanessa Haight, executive director of Elliot Park, states, “I think the right pieces are being put out there. I want to see neighborhoods be effective and to do that they can’t be burdened with a lot of contract requirements and funded poorly.”—Chelsea Dennis and Steve DubbShare15Tweet9ShareEmail24 Shareslast_img read more