Film documents tiny coastal NS villages relentless battle with Ottawa

first_imgHALIFAX – They feared being swallowed by ocean, but the 78 residents of Gabarus, N.S., never waved a white flag before the federal government.For decades, a seawall made of timber and rock protected the tiny 300-year-old fishing village in Cape Breton from the punishing waves of the Atlantic.But as the 70-year-old structure started to crumble, the very existence of Gabarus was under threat — and governments were not helping, each level claiming the wall was not its problem.The plight of Gabarus sparked a years-long battle with Ottawa and kindled a community spirit that has banded together life-long residents with newcomers who settled in the scenic town for its beauty and simplistic way of life.Their story is chronicled in a new documentary titled “Only 78,” set to screen at the Atlantic International Film Festival on Sunday in Halifax.“The people of Gabarus are remarkably resilient and inspiring,” said Toronto filmmaker Jawad Mir, the film’s creator. “They’ve shown that it doesn’t matter how small you are, you can fight. You just have to go for it.”Residents of Gabarus have long argued that Ottawa, which built the seawall in the 1940s, owns the structure and is responsible for maintaining it. But the Fisheries Department has repeatedly said the wall sits almost entirely on Nova Scotia-owned land and is therefore a provincial and municipal responsibility.“Who cares who owns it? We need to have responsible people step forward and say that this isn’t right. We need to have it fixed… The Atlantic Ocean doesn’t give two hoots about us, but our elected representative really should care,” Gabarus resident Heather Hayes said during a public meeting in Sydney, N.S., that is shown in “Only 78.”If the wall was breached, it would put at risk the local fishing industry — its only economy — as well as road access to the village, and many homes. It failed before in the 1980s and was fixed by the federal government, according to research compiled by Gabarus residents.A powerful storm in 2010 that battered the seawall made matters worse, adding to the urgency.Tim Menk, 64, and his partner Gene Kersey, 71, moved to Gabarus from the United States in 2008 and realized the community was “under existential threat.”Armed with hundreds of documents and the blessing of the village’s elders, Menk and a small group of residents set out to fight for funding to repair the seawall.The Friends of Gabarus Society was born and claimed to have evidence that the seawall was the federal government’s responsibility — a notion outright rejected by Ottawa on many occasions.“Those of us who arrived found ourselves enchanted by this place and by its lovely people who were so welcoming… It didn’t matter that we were biracial gay couple from the States. And we felt we owed something to the community because they have given so much to us,” said Menk.“But the attitude was that the government is going to do what the government’s going to do. So we were driven by a sense of moral outrage that the government wasn’t doing the right thing here.”Mir said he was drawn to the story of Gabarus after reading a newspaper article in April 2013. He self-funded the film, travelling to Cape Breton several times over four years on his own dime, inspired by the relentless advocacy in Gabarus and aiming to help their cause.“There are many communities across Canada under similar threat, so I thought it was important to tell their story,” said Mir. “I’m always about the underdog.”After eight years of meetings, media interviews and even a complaint filed with the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner’s office, Gabarus eventually won repairs for its seawall in early 2014 through a $700,000 shared-funding agreement with three levels of government.It served as a catalyst for continued community activism in the historic fishing village. Gabarus also won funding to move its 125-year-old lighthouse away from a cliff’s edge to escape coastal erosion, and its residents raised money to expand the local firehall — all of which gained tiny Gabarus a community spirit award from the lieutenant-governor.Menk said he hopes the story of Gabarus inspires other small communities to take on governments, noting that “Only 78” also touches on the experience of Little Anse, N.S., which has lobbied Ottawa — so far, unsuccessfully — to fix its breakwater.“We’re in the same leaky boat together in these coastal communities,” said Menk. “Row in the same direction. Unless we do that, we have little chance of survival in the long term.”Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.last_img read more

Culture impacts the way Aboriginal children express experiences of pain study

first_imgAPTN National NewsA groundbreaking study reveals a surprising difference between Aboriginal children and non-Aboriginal children.The new research indicates culture can affect how children express their experiences of pain.APTN’s Trina Roache has the story.last_img

Moroccan Energy Invention Receives Four International Awards

Rabat – Moroccan technology excels once again in the international world of innovation. Majid El Bouazzaoui, President of Morocco’s OFEED Association, recently received four separate awards at four international innovation fairs for his “automatic orientation system of photovoltaic panels” invention.The award-winning innovation “avoids the accumulation of dust and sand on the surface of photovoltaic panels, owing to this automatic change of orientation, to ensure a high level of energy efficiency in the long term, to save enormous quantities of drinking water and to preserve the environment against pollution,” the Moroccan association OFEED Morocco and the International Federation of the Inventors Associations (IFIA) told Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).El Bouazzaoui won the gold medal in the environmental protection-energy category at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, the Inventarium-Science Trophy in Portugal, a TIIAWA (Taiwan International Invention Award) gold medal in Taiwan, and a silver medal at the International Archimedes Fair in Moscow. In 2017, El Bouazzaoui received six more gold medals for the same invention in China, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Poland and South Korea.OFEED’s technology innovation has presented Morocco with the opportunity to sign 14 memoranda of understanding with Russia, Germany, India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Levanon, Poland, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Taiwan, Malaysia, Romania and Finland.The association’s success also enabled Morocco to organize “Let’s Challenge 2.0”, an innovation competition held in Kenitra with the participation of 19 countries.El Bouazzaoui is an engineer in electronics specializing in networks and telecommunication. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA).In 2017, El Bouazzaoui won an Inpex Award of Merit during the INPEX International Exhibition of Inventions, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Majid El Bouazzaoui, President of Morocco’s OFEED AssociationKing Mohammed VI also awarded El Bouazzaoui his Wissam Al Istihkak Al Watani (medal of national merit) of 2nd Rank on Throne Day in 2016. read more

Security Council extends UN mission in Western Sahara for 3 more months

In its resolution this morning, the 15-member body asked Mr. Annan to keep it informed of all significant developments in an interim report by 15 January 2002 and to provide an assessment of the situation by 18 February 2002.The decision followed a meeting of the Council yesterday evening, during which the members heard a briefing on Western Sahara by a top UN peacekeeping official, Hédi Annabi. In a statement to the press after the meeting, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, which holds the body’s rotating presidency for the month of November, said Council members called on the parties to refrain from action that could aggravate the situation, and expressed concern at the humanitarian situation, calling on the parties to resolve outstanding issues in this regard.The statement also voiced the Council’s support for the efforts of James Baker III, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, to find a solution acceptable to the parties concerned, and for the work of the Secretary-General’s outgoing Special Representative, as well as his successor. read more

Strongly condemning murder of missing Israeli teens UN chief urges calm on

In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, the Secretary-General condemned “in the strongest terms” the murder of the three Israeli teenagers abducted on 12 June in the West Bank. According to news reports, the Israeli military said it found three bodies northwest of Hebron earlier today. “There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians,” said the statement, noting that Mr. Ban hopes Israeli and Palestinian authorities will work together to bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice, and extends his deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.The statement said the UN chief believes this heinous act by enemies of peace aims to further entrench division and distrust and to widen the conflict, and must not be allowed to succeed. “He calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under international law and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate this highly tense situation,” it concluded.Just yesterday, ahead of farewell meeting in New York with outgoing Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Secretary-General underscored the United Nations strong solidarity with Israel and stressed the need to avoid an escalation of tensions in the wake of the abductions. read more

WI domestic stint will boost USA – Coach

USA coach Pubudu Dassanayake has labeled USA’s upcoming tour of the Antigua for the West Indies Regional Super50 tournament as the team’s “most important preparation” for their upcoming tournaments this year, including the start of the qualifiers for the World Twenty20 in 2020, and the ICC WCL Division Three.USA squad stands for the playing of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ (Peter Della Penna/ ESPNCricinfo)“When you are playing those kind of tournaments, you have to play proper cricket and learn from those 20 days and you don’t get that opportunity for Associate players all the time,” Dassanayake told ESPNcricinfo following the news last week that USA will be a part of the ten-team competition this season.“If you take [sic] Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands especially, they benefited from being a part of the English system. Namibia continuously played in the South African first-class system. Afghanistan players individually have gotten to play in the Pakistan first-class system.“All of these things have really contributed for those countries. When we’re trying to develop as a country, neighbouring Full Member countries are important. If you can be a part of their first-class system, that’s the fastest way to develop a country,” Dassanayake said.Since the team returned in early December from their tour of the UAE and Oman, Dassanayake has been holding weekend camps with subgroups of the USA squad in Chicago as well as at his home base just outside of Toronto, with players traveling into Canada to meet him in preparation for the upcoming trip. Though the overall results were not great – USA beat Nepal but then lost four matches to Kenya and Oman – Dassanayake focused on the silver lining of building more cohesion and identifying more defined roles as a playing group while in the Middle East.“I’m happy about the bigger picture where we are playing as a team,” Dassanayake said. “I liked some of the plans that the captain and the bowlers are using. We have confidence slowly building on our fielding. We know if we put runs on the board then we are competitive at that level. [The batting] is an area we need to work on for the coming tour.”Dassanayake coached the combined ICC Americas squad at last year’s Super50 tournament which included players from USA, Canada and Bermuda. The idea behind a combined squad was to have strengthened quality by picking the best from each country. However, the squad lacked chemistry and Dassanayake says it was a challenge juggling selection at times taking into consideration the sensitivity of satisfying each country’s development interests.“We were not competitive because of the dynamic of the team with three countries’ players playing but of course it was a good experience for the individuals,” Dassanayake said. “There’s always pressure to give everybody opportunities because its three different countries, but the best performers were given opportunities to continuously play. The rotation was happening mainly with players who were not performing. But I was obligated to give opportunities to everyone.”Dassanayake also felt that the dangling carrot for squad members, a chance at being one of six players drafted by a CPL franchise team through good performances, was good for individual players but at times undermined team results. Even though it was a 50-over tournament, Dassanayake felt that the lure of the CPL draft, however well intended, influenced some players to play in T20 mode with an eye toward future opportunities rather than stay focused on the task at hand. It’s another reason why he feels being in charge of just the USA squad this time around will lead to better results.“When you get a combined team, to have the focus being on the team rather than a future with a T20 cricket [franchise] – it wasn’t easy,” Dassanayake said. “More than anything what hurt [team results] was that mainly the players were taking the tour as an entry for the CPL and the focus was on T20-type cricket [to get drafted], and we were not really looking to play as a team to win games and be more competitive. We got through games and were able to win one. I thought we could have won two or three more if we had been playing basic cricket right. But I think going as the USA team is going to have big value especially when we can play as a team.”USA’s squad for the Super50 is expected to be named over the weekend. They will depart for Antigua in the last week of January for four to five days of preparation locally ahead of their first match on January 31 against Leeward Islands. (ESPNCricinfo) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedUSA’s Ali Khan in the fast lane to T20 stardomSeptember 7, 2018In “latest news”‘Ultimately we want success’ – Jimmy AdamsJanuary 25, 2017In “latest news”Ashraful eyes Bangladesh return as ban comes to an endAugust 10, 2018In “latest news” read more

State Continues Work To Reduce High Recidivism Rates

first_imgAccording to a reentry plan instituted in 2015 by the DOC, successful prisoner reentry is important state public safety policy. For every returning citizen who does not reoffend, means one less victim and no additional public defender, prosecutor, court, law enforcement and ADOC costs. That individual becomes a productive wage earner contributing to his/her family and to the economy, building healthier stronger Alaskan communities. Governor Walker’s legislation aims to increase funding and resources to assist with programs the DOC currently has in place. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Governor Bill Walker introduced legislation aimed at furthering the state’s goal of rehabilitating prisoners by increasing access to rehabilitation and reentry programs. Preventing recidivism is a critical part of reducing the overall crime rate in the state of Alaska, and ensuring incarcerated individuals have the necessary resources to continue their recovery will augment efforts already underway in the Department of Corrections. Megan Edge, DOC Spokeswoman: “Within DOC that focus is ‘what do we need to do to make sure these people never come back to prison, how do we lower that recidivism rate’.”center_img Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-state-works-to-reduce-recidivsm.mp3VmJennifer-on-state-works-to-reduce-recidivsm.mp300:00RPd One new program launched the first of the year is the Pretrial Enforcement Division. However, according to Edge, the real work to reduce recidivism happens within the facility: “Pretrial, what happens inside of our prisons, and what happens when you leave our prisons are all crucial to reducing the recidivism rate.” Reentry programs and reentry courts are designed to help returning citizens successfully “reenter” society following their incarceration. Edge: “It would be ludicrous to think that you could send somebody away for that long, not give them any programming, and expect them to be a more constructive member of society.”last_img read more

Turning Content Curation into Dollars

first_imgContent curation and aggregation are part of just about every publisher’s digital strategy today but a new service from “content logistics platform” Vertical Acuity offers publishers the chance to not only automate the process but turn it into a revenue opportunity as well. Vertical Acuity has two goals: help publishers become more of a “point of discovery” for content–a role that has largely been given up to search and social media–and offer more business options for content sharing deals. Publishers are able to extend invites to potential partners within the Vertical Acuity network similar to the connections being made on the largest social networks (the company claims 450 million content pages on its cloud network). “We provide a platform underneath the process of doing business development on the web, which usually includes getting your content out in exchange for some kind of value,” says Joe Fiveash, president and chief revenue officer. “That process goes on every day all over the web but it’s being done the same way it was 15 years ago-with manual, one-off deals. With Vertical Acuity you do those same deals but it’s as easy as friending someone on Facebook.” Publishers can use Vertical Acuity in two ways–pushing their content out to other sites within the Vertical Acuity network (with or without packaging advertising with that content), or accepting other third party content onto their own site. Vertical Acuity works outside the publisher’s existing CMS and publishers create a dedicated page to accommodate partner content, which appears as a series of thumbnails on the bottom of related articles. Users who click on those thumbnails see content branded from other sources, but remain within the host site. “That page has the publisher’s header on it and depending on how they’re using the system, an ad could be on the right,” says Fiveash. “The page has a tag that pulls content into the designated space just like tags pull ad creative in other areas.” Database Decisions, Not ‘Gut Decisions’Participants also receive metrics to gauge how their content is performing on other sites, as well as assess potential content partners within the network. “The metrics dashboard offers actual results for different types of distributions so they can make more intelligent decisions, database decisions rather than gut-based decisions,” says Fiveash, who says that in tests of the system, publishers displaying recommendations for other content received an average of 15 percent more page views than publishers not displaying recommendations. Rodale is currently using Vertical Acuity for its Prevention brand, which in July launched the Healthy Living Group, a digital advertising network of niche health sites. The publisher is pushing its content (and often advertising) out to other sites such as Organic Authority, as well as accepting original content from partners.”We view this as a two-way street: outbound and inbound,” says Michael Kuntz, associate vice president of digital sales with Rodale. “Inbound will really be owned by the edit team. If they make the choice to bring in third-party content, that’s something they’re going to vet. This allows us to create niche, high value content on the fly without having to tap into our editorial resources.”From the business side, Rodale is able to offer extended audience reach to advertisers by integrating advertiser messages with Prevention content appearing on other sites. Partner sites can decide to accept content without ads, and pay the originator of that content on a CPM basis. Sites that decide to accept another publisher’s advertising along with their content get paid on a CPM basis. Additional page views created from recirculation are free. “We all know there’s hundreds of vertical ad networks out there, and typically they go to a publisher and say, ‘Hey Mr. Publisher, give us x amount of ad inventory and we’ll give you whatever effective CPM, and in return you’ll make more money,” says Kuntz. “I think that pitch has become stale. With our brand and the advertisers we work with, if you work with us, not only will you generate money on the advertising side but you’ll get usage of our premium content. In many cases we’re dealing with publishers that don’t have a 20-person edit team and being able to get daily updates on their site is huge.”last_img read more

NKorea seeks equilibrium with US military power

first_imgNorth Korea said Saturday it was seeking military “equilibrium” with the United States as leader Kim Jong-Un vowed to complete Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, which he said had “nearly reached the terminal”.North Korea successfully fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, responding to a new round of UN sanctions over its sixth nuclear test with its furthest-ever missile flight.“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” leader Kim said, according to a report carried by the official KCNA news agency.Kim said the country was close to the goal of completing its nuclear ambitions and should use all power at its disposal to finish the task, saying it had “nearly reached the terminal”, the official KCNA news agency reported.Kim said Friday’s launch, which it described as a drill rather than a test, had increased the North’s “combat power of the nuclear force”, KCNA reported.“We should clearly show the big power chauvinists how our state attains the goal of completing its nuclear force despite their limitless sanctions and blockade,” Kim said, according to KCNA.The UN Security Council condemned Friday’s launch as “highly provocative” and US President Donald Trump scheduled talks with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to address the crisis.“As Kim Jong-Un’s most recent launch demonstrates, this is one of the world’s most urgent and dangerous security problems,” US National Security Advisor HR McMaster said.Equilibrium ‘unrealistic’The US Pacific Command confirmed Friday’s rocket was an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) and said it did not pose a threat to North America or to the US Pacific territory of Guam, which Pyongyang has threatened with “enveloping fire”.Seoul’s defence ministry said it probably travelled around 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometres.Yang Uk, an analyst with the Korea Defence and Security Forum, told AFP that Kim’s stated ambition of achieving a military balance was some way off.“It’s too unrealistic for North Korea to reach equilibrium in nuclear force with the US even if it’s true that the North has been making a rapid progress in its nuclear drive,” he said.The North has raised global tensions with its rapid progress in weapons technology under Kim, who is regularly pictured by state media overseeing launches and visiting facilities.“The latest launch, which was apparently made from a TEL (transporter erector launcher or missile vehicle) instead of a makeshift launch pad, means the North is now ready to deploy the IRBM Hwasong-12 for combat purposes,” he said.The North’s previous missile launch, a Hwasong-12 IRBM just over two weeks ago, also overflew Japan’s main islands and was the first to do so for years.“Within three to five years, the North is expected to be capable of operating nuclear missiles as deterrence,” Yang Uk added.Calls for talksRussian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron jointly appealed for talks with North Korea, saying this was the only way to resolve tensions over its nuclear programme.The crisis requires resolution “exclusively through political and diplomatic means, by restarting direct negotiations”, a Kremlin statement said following a phone call between the leaders.The appeal was directed at the United States and Japan, countries calling to ramp up pressure through sanctions rather than pin hopes on talks.Russia and China, North Korea’s main ally, on Monday backed a US-drafted resolution at the Security Council to impose fresh sanctions on Pyongyang—but they maintain dialogue is key to defuse the crisis.Washington has rejected as “insulting” a proposal from China to kick-start talks with a freeze on North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests in exchange for a suspension of US-South Korean drills.The sanctions imposed on Monday banned the North’s textile trade, stopped new work permits for its labourers, and imposed restrictions on shipments of oil products, among other measures.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tokyo could “never tolerate” what he called a “dangerous provocative action that threatens world peace”.In response to Friday’s launch, South Korea’s military immediately carried out a ballistic missile drill of its own, with the defence ministry saying it took place while the North’s rocket was still airborne.President Moon Jae-In told an emergency meeting of Seoul’s national security council that dialogue with the North was “impossible in a situation like this”.last_img read more

Remote Russian Island Invaded By Unwanted Guests

first_img A Russian Arctic archipelago is under siege by … polar bears?Novaya Zemlya, a Soviet nuclear test base with a population of about 3,000, declared an emergency situation following a weeks-long “invasion” of the aggressive animals.Since December, locals have reported a “large accumulation” of polar bears across the isle; a whopping 52 bears were seen in the southwest village of Belushya Guba alone.The Russian government also described cases of “aggressive behavior,” including attacks on people and forced entry into residential and office buildings.“People are scared, afraid to leave the house, their daily activities are disrupted, parents are afraid to let their children go to schools,” Alexander Minaev, deputy head of the local administration, said in a translated press release.In an attempt to safeguard residents, additional fences were erected near kindergartens and military personnel and workers were driven to service in secure vehicles.But the bears, driven out of the warming ocean by climate change, appear to be acclimating to their new on-land lifestyle, no longer frightened by bright lights and loud noises. Attempts to drive them away using patrol cars and dogs have been futile, according to officials.“I have been on Novaya Zemlya since 1983, but never before has there been such a massive invasion of polar bears,” according to local administration head Zhigansha Musin.At least five maritime bears were spotted on a local military garrison, “literally chasing people” and entering residential buildings, he said in a translated press release.Though classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “vulnerable,” Russia considers polar bears an endangered species, and bans the hunting of them.Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Nature Management has refused to issue licenses to shoot the most aggressive of the lot. Instead, a task force will be sent to the archipelago to “assess the situation and take measures to prevent the polar bears from attacking people,” the press release said.If the government can’t rid the island of these animals, a cull may be the only option.Novaya Zemlya will remain in emergency mode “until the security of the local population is ensured.”More on Cute Polar Bear Cub Opens Eyes for First TimeWWF: Human Consumption to Blame for Declining Wildlife PopulationsAmazon Warehouse Workers Hospitalized in Bear Repellent IncidentTurns Out Yetis Are Really Just Bears Stay on target FaceApp Responds to (Mostly Unfounded) Privacy ConcernsStar-Studded Cast Perform Live Reading of Mueller Report last_img read more

Many Americans disapprove of Trumps LGBTI policies poll finds

first_img‘Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to know someone who is transgender, though a large majority of Democrats – two in three – don’t know someone personally who has transitioned or is transitioning.’‘Veterans and those 65 and older are among the least likely groups to know a transgender person (only 11% of veterans and 13% of those 65 and older say they do). Most of those with an opinion don’t think having transgender troops has any impact on military effectiveness. However, one in four say it has made effectiveness worse. That belief is especially true among those who make up the President’s base: Republicans and conservatives.’‘There is relatively little difference between the general opinion about transgender troops and opinion about the President’s specific decision to ban them. The overall assessment of the President’s action is negative – except among Republicans.’Anything else?Overall, 43% of respondents claim to have a very unfavorable opinion of Donald Trump.Aside from discussing the trans military ban, the poll also asked questions regarding America’s relationships with countries like China and Iran, the subject of gun control, the issue of fake news on social media, and other hot-button topics.Got a news tip? Want to share your story? Email us . The poll was conducted between 25 March and 27 March and surveyed 1,500 American adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.The Results71% of respondents said they personally knew someone who is gay. Only 23% personally knew someone who is transgender.31% of respondents said they strongly support letting trans people serve openly in the US military. However, 23% oppose it strongly.Yet, 45% of respondents don’t think letting trans people serve in the military has made much difference in terms of military effectiveness. 35% strongly disapprove of Trump’s trans ban.‘23% of American adults know someone who is transgender. Knowing someone increases support for transgender troops: by more than two to one, those who know a transgender person favor letting them serve,’ writes CBS News polling consultant Kathy Frankovic for the YouGov blog. Donald Trump in 2011 (Photo by Gage Skidmore) eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Celebrities, politicians, and more respond to Trump’s transgender military banThe most surprising LGBTI stats and facts from around the world45 senators urge block of Trump’s trans military banRead the full article on Gaystarnews:  : Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… GAYSTARNEWS- A poll conducted by The Economist and polling organization YouGov found that many Americans disagree with President Trump’s policies regarding LGBTI people.last_img read more

Nigerian troops who fled Boko Haram now have them on the run

first_img YOLA, Nigeria (AP) — A year ago, a dozen Nigerian troops fighting about 200 Boko Haram militants in the town of Chibok exhausted their ammunition and ran, leaving the road open for the abduction of nearly 300 girls.Today, Nigerian soldiers are rescuing hundreds of kidnapped girls and women from the last forest stronghold of the Islamic insurgents.The reason for the unimaginably swift shift in fortunes?In the last three months, military forces from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon have joined the battle. In addition, Nigerian troops are finally receiving better arms and weapons, as well as hazard pay that they had not received until this year. Comments   Share   In the war zone, self-defense civilian groups patrol markets with homemade weapons, looking out for suicide bombers — but also for strangers buying large amounts of food, indicating they could be Boko Haram members or suppliers. While the group still has the ability to carry out bombings and isolated attacks, it would be difficult for it to surpass last year’s carnage.Nigeria and its African partners say they want to eradicate Boko Haram. A more realistic goal may be to reduce it to what it used to be: a terror group with no control over territory — still able to launch attacks but not on as large a scale as before.Soldiers on the battlefront around the hills and caves of Gwoza, which Boko Haram had declared the capital of its caliphate, told The Associated Press this week that many improvements have led to the turnaround against the insurgents. Among them:— Troops this year began receiving the daily hazard pay of 15,000 naira ($75) for the first time.— Some battle-weary troops who had been on the front lines for two years recently have been allowed to stand down.— The forces have received new weapons and ammunition. Previously, there were reports that troops going into battle had only 30 rounds of ammunition each, with corrupt commanders diverting resources into their own pockets. Last year’s toll of people killed by Boko Haram was estimated at 10,000 — more than in all the previous four years of the insurgency combined. The group carried out cross-border attacks with impunity, seized a swath of northeastern Nigeria the size of Belgium and created a wave of 1.5 million refugees fleeing the self-declared Islamic caliphate.President Goodluck Jonathan did not take a strong stand until this year — too late to save him from losing re-election in March as disgusted voters in Africa’s biggest democracy opted instead for Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator.Jonathan also was slow to act when the group last year abducted the more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok — initially denying it had even happened and losing precious weeks in the mass kidnapping that sparked worldwide outrage and a campaign for their freedom under the hashtag of #BringBackOurGirls. It is still unclear if any of the Chibok girls are among the 700 freed from Boko Haram in the past week.Buhari had crushed another Islamic uprising in the 1980s, and he has vowed “to rid this nation of terror” after he becomes president on May 29. A retired major general, he describes himself as a convert to democracy, and showed it by taking power through the ballot box. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober 5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center Since democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999, civilian governments have deliberately kept the armed forces weak to ensure that soldiers could not mount any more of the coups that kept the West African nation subjected to military dictatorships for decades. Boko Haram has forced a change in that strategy.Africa’s biggest oil producer has bought helicopters, drones, armored personnel carriers, tanks, rocket launchers and other armaments. This includes helicopter gunships that are being used in the Sambisa Forest to scatter the militants and drive them away from their captives, according to video released Monday by PR Nigeria, an agency that disseminates government information.“What we never had, we now have,” the government spokesman on the insurgency, Mike Omeri, told the AP in a recent interview. “We have drones, we have aircraft, we have APCs, and so on, and we are getting to where we should be to rebuild the armed forces, returning it to its glory.”Buhari will be tested on whether he can revive the economy in the northeast, which has been decimated by the uprising. Hundreds of thousands of farmers have been driven from their lands, some of the biggest cattle markets on the continent no longer exist and many investors have abandoned the region. Rebuilding the hundreds of thousands of structures razed by Boko Haram will cost many millions of dollars. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies In this photo made available by the Nigerian Military taken Wednesday, April 29, 2015, a Nigerian soldier speaks to woman and children that were allegedly rescued by the Nigerian Military after being taken by Islamic extremists in Sambisa Forest, Nigeria. Scores more women and children have been rescued from Islamic extremists in the remote Sambisa Forest, Nigeria’s military said amid reports that some of the women fought their rescuers fiercely. (Nigerian Military via AP) The stakes are high for landlocked Chad as well, since many of its trading routes have been closed by the insurgency.Economic strife has been one of the root causes for the rise of Boko Haram, which has exploited the feelings of exclusion among the unemployed and disaffected men in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria.Buhari also has promised to address corruption, another reason for the group’s growth. Corruption sapped the military of its strength and has deprived front-line troops of weapons and vehicles. Unless Buhari can root it out, it will affect the military’s capability to prevent the rise of another group like Boko Haram.___Associated Press writer Ibrahim Abdulaziz contributed to this report from Yola, Nigeria.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Top Stories As a result, Boko Haram’s supply lines are being cut off, creating conditions for the security forces to deliver a potential knockout blow to the extremists who have created havoc in northeastern Nigeria for years.Nigeria’s military has announced that it has recaptured all major towns seized by the insurgents and that Boko Haram’s main fighting force is hemmed into the Sambisa Forest, where it is being pounded by air raids and attack helicopters. While the government forces are stronger, Boko Haram is growing weaker by the day.Women rescued in recent days from forest camps said that now it is the insurgents who are running out of ammunition, along with food and fuel. That could explain why — when the captives refused to follow fleeing Boko Haram members last week — the militants did not shoot them. Instead, they stoned the girls and women, killing several of them.Last year, Boko Haram fighters were able to escape across Nigeria’s borders to evade capture. Now, they are blocked by the troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon. With Nigeria’s permission, Chad and Niger have even sent their forces inside Nigeria to pursue the extremists.Routes used by Boko Haram to transport fuel and ammunition have been reclaimed by the military. On Sunday, military intelligence officers arrested a man who allegedly supplied fuel and food to Boko Haram, reported Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade. Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories 3 international destinations to visit in 2019last_img read more

World Expeditions has launched a suite of special

first_imgWorld Expeditions has launched a suite of special itineraries designed for food lovers keen to immerse themselves in their chosen destination through foodie experiences and walking. The new trips – Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, Peru and Morocco – follow the very successful Food Lovers series operated through the company’s European brand, UTracks, that combine culinary experiences with walking exploration of regional cultural and gastronomic highlights.Whether you’re exploring the local delicacies like ceviche in Peru, diving head first into a fiesta of flavours in Mexico, or treating yourself to the sweet, salty and savoury flavours of Sri Lanka, these culinary tours are sure to tempt your taste buds.“Discovering destinations by taste is a stimulating experience, giving you a deeper understanding of the destination while the outdoor activities provide opportunities to see first hand the landscapes that yield the local produce and to learn about the traditional processes that define the region’s cuisine,” Tsays World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari.“As you move through the country in the company of our expert leaders in cuisine and culture, you’ll participate in behind-the-scenes cooking classes and visits to the best local kitchens, markets and growing areas in the region,” she said. “By pairing the adventurous and authentic World Expeditions travel style with a hands-on experience of culinary traditions, travellers are on track for a unique perspective in their destination of choice.”The 12 day Food Lovers Morocco departs Casablanca on 1 October, 2018 and costs $3,190.The 13 day Food Lover’s Peru departs Lima on 15 October 2018 and costs $4,390 per person.The 15 day Tastes of the Rainbow Nation, departs Port Elizabeth on 30 April 2018 and costs $6,190 per person.The 12 day Food Lover’s Vietnam departs Hanoi on 8 September 2018 and costs $2,690 per person.Local markets in Vietnam/ Richard I’AnsonThe 13 day Food Lover’s Japan departs Tokyo 8 October 2018 and costs $6,690 per person.The 14 day My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita departs 19 February and 5 October 2018 and costs $7,490 per person.In addition to these foodie adventures is the European range, operated by European active adventure brand, UTracks, where foodies can join Australian author and Francophile, Mary Moody, on the Food Lover’s French Way of St James, which departs Le Puy en Velay on 13 May and 30 September, 2018.The 15 day Food Lover’s Spanish Camino takes a unique approach to this classic pilgrimage route, combining history, beautiful surrounds and a passion for good food and produce. The trip departs Bilbao on 19 May and 8 September 2018 and costs $5,990 per person.The 14 day Food Lover’s Francigena Way takes in the region’s best walks and regional delights along Italy’s Via Francigena, departing Parma on 19 May and 22 September 2018 and costs $5,490 per person.Combine Catalonia’s cutting edge gastronomy scene with coastal walks in the footsteps of Salvador Dali and the mountainous trails of the Pyrenees on the 9 day Food Lover’s Catalonia, which departs Barcelona on 13 May, 24 June and 16 September 2018 and costs $2,990 per person. culinaryfoodWorld Expeditionslast_img read more

LISTEN Steve Keim AZ Cardinals GM

first_imgLISTEN: Steve Keim, AZ Cardinals GM 0 Comments   Share   Part of the reason why there was a target on Bowles when he arrived in Arizona was the way the Eagles defense performed after he took over the reins from Juan Castillo, who was fired by the team last October after a 3-3 start.Philadelphia’s defense struggled mightily the rest of the year, yielding an average of 350.6 yards per game in a 1-9 finish.“He was put in a tough situation, he wasn’t running his defense and didn’t have time to install the defensive philosophy he had,” Keim said. “But he’s had some time here and feel we can continue to grow and get better on that side of the ball.“Schematically, what he’s been able to do and the pressure he’s been able to put on opposing quarterbacks has been fantastic.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Your browser does not support the audio element. If there was a perceived downside to the hiring of Bruce Arians as the Arizona Cardinals head coach last January, it was that it meant Ray Horton would no longer be with the organization.The coordinator, who turned the Cardinals’ defense into one of the better units in the league, was passed over as head coach and wasn’t asked to stay on to guide the D. Instead, Arians tabbed former Philadelphia Eagles coordinator Todd Bowles to run the defense while Horton moved on to the Cleveland Browns. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires With Bowles at the controls, there’s been no drop-off. In fact, the Cardinals are allowing seven yards less per game than they did a year ago. In a 27-24 win over the Houston Texans Sunday, the Cards allowed just 235 yards, with only 41 of those coming in the second half.“Defensively, we continue to step up,” Arizona general manager Steve Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 620. “One thing I want to do is give a lot of credit to Todd Bowles, because if you think about last year and the way our defensive football team played, a lot of credit went to Ray Horton — and I know our fan base, in particular, was obviously pretty disappointed to lose Ray, and Ray’s a good coach, I don’t want to take anything away from him.“But hiring Todd Bowles, there was obviously a bulls-eye on his chest the minute he walked in the door and we lost some defensive personnel and replaced them some younger guys. Todd has really stepped up to the plate and done a fantastic job for us, I really do want to give a lot of credit to Todd and his staff.”Bowles’ defense has allowed fewer than 300 yards in each of the last two games and has forced at least one turnover in every contest this season. In all, their 33 takeaways rank third in the NFC behind only Chicago (44) and the New York Giants (35). Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

House approves Rep Hughes bill to protect bicyclists on Michigan roads

first_img21Mar House approves Rep. Hughes bill to protect bicyclists on Michigan roads Motorists to maintain a three-foot distance when passing a bicyclistThe Michigan House today approved state Rep. Holly Hughes legislation to require motorists to maintain at least a three-foot distance to increase safety when passing a bicyclist.Over 39 states have some type of provisions in law regarding safe passing of bicyclists.“Requiring motorists to maintain a safe distance while passing a bicyclist ensures safety for both the cyclist and motorist,” said Rep. Hughes, of Montague. “The number of bicycle fatalities is on the rise and this legislation is an attempt to reverse that trend.”According to a report by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, 38 bicyclists were killed on Michigan roads in 2016. The number is up from 33 fatalities in 2015 and 21 fatalities in 2014.A 2014-15 MDOT study showed that bicycling provides nearly $700 million in economic activity for the state.“Whether they are riders in one of Michigan’s many bike tours, racers, out on a regular group ride or a family riding to get ice cream at one of our hometown ice cream shops, we must do more to protect Michigan bicyclists. This legislation promotes safety and helps to encourage even more people to hop on a bike for exercise, commuting, touring and recreation,” said Hughes.House Bill 4265 now moves to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Hughes Newslast_img read more

Rep Webber to lead House Regulatory Reform Committee

first_img Legislator will chair panel during 2019-2020 legislative sessionState Rep. Michael Webber of Rochester Hills will chair the House Regulatory Reform Committee for the 2019-2020 legislative term.Webber is currently in his third term representing the 45th House District, which includes Rochester, Rochester Hills and part of Oakland Township.The Regulatory Reform Committee will be responsible for deliberating various regulatory issues in Michigan, including lottery, gambling, liquor, occupational licensing, administrative rules, construction and other issues.“Having served on the Regulatory Reform Committee last term, I look forward to expanding my knowledge and experience within the regulatory spectrum by working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle the most burdensome regulations facing the state,” Webber said. “We have our work cut out for us, but I believe through a collaborative effort, we can accelerate our state’s growth and bring more Michiganders into the workforce.”Rep. Webber also has been appointed to serve on the House Committees on Insurance, Tax Policy, and Oversight during the 2019-2020 legislative session. 17Jan Rep. Webber to lead House Regulatory Reform Committee Categories: Webber Newslast_img read more

Penn States Sandusky Penalties Get Reduced

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 8, 2014; ESPNThe Penn State football team won handily over the University of Akron this past weekend and squeaked by the University of Central Florida the week before in the season opener. This week, though, Penn State football squeaked out a victory over the National College Athletic Association, which dropped its ban on Penn State’s potential participation in postseason bowl games, a ban that had been one of the penalties for university’s role in the scandal of former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse conviction for molesting 10 children.Originally under a four-year ban on post-season play, Penn State’s steps toward restoring its integrity and complying with a binding consent decree that NCAA had imposed on the school led an independent monitor to issue a report highlighting the stellar performance of the school’s football program. The independent monitor, former Senator George Mitchell found evidence of progress across the board and recommended to the NCAA immediate elimination of the postseason ban and restoration of lost football scholarships, the latter to be fully restored by the 2015-2016 season. There are still fines to be paid by Penn State and the forfeiture of 111 wins under the late coach Joe Paterno, but the rapid return of Penn State to the college football bowl games, should it qualify, makes “the Nittany Lions…suddenly relevant again,” according to ESPN writer Adam Rittenberg.Aside from the family of the late coach, which is still pursuing litigation against the NCAA (ostensibly to restore Joe Paterno’s reputation and good name), there are a lot of happy “players” in this situation. With an almost audible sigh of relief, the NCAA quickly accepted Senator Mitchell’s recommendations for reducing the penalties. Various sports writers applauded the lifting of the postseason ban, including ESPN’s Brian Bennett, who declared, “Enough was enough.”When the NCAA originally announced its penalties on the Nittany Lions, observers pronounced them “worse than the death penalty”—an unfortunate turn of phrase, given that the target at hand happened to be a college football program. Obviously, Penn State’s football program hardly went under due to the penalties. Even with reduced scholarships, Penn State came back to prominence last year with a 7-5 record, though it wasn’t allowed to play in a bowl.The issue may be the question of how much culpability Penn State ultimately deserves for the horrific crimes of its assistant coach. Clearly, Sandusky used his child welfare nonprofit, Second Mile, as the recruitment vehicle for his perfidy, but he used Penn State as the venue for a significant portion of his criminal actions—with both Second Mile and Penn State officials turning a blind eye to his misdeeds for much of the duration of his abusive practices. How much of a penalty should an institution have to pay for the crime against Sandusky’s innocent young victims?In an odd confluence of events, the Penn State release from its Sandusky-related sanctions occurred at roughly the same time as, in professional football, Baltimore Ravens halfback Ray Rice found himself in more trouble. Rice’s act of domestic violence against his fiancée had initially earned him a two-game suspension. Once TMZ released the video footage of his knockout punch and his subsequent dragging of Janay Palmer (now his wife) out of the elevator, that got him sacked by the Ravens and an indefinite suspension imposed by the NFL. In a press conference, Ravens coach John Harbaugh addressed the Rice situation, dodging most of the questions about why it took the Ravens and the NFL so long to come to grips with Rice’s act. (He claimed, like the NFL brass, that the team hadn’t seen the full video, containing his two vicious punches followed by his subsequent treatment of the unconscious, disheveled Palmer.) Harbaugh expressed sympathy for Rice and his wife, hoping they would work things out successfully (as though she had been partially responsible for having herself beaten unconscious by a professional football player). Harbaugh’s press conference was objectionable for having treated the Rice incident in football terms, rather than as a particularly horrific crime of domestic abuse of women, a crime not just against Janay Palmer, but against the community at large.At what point in professional football—and in nearly professional Division I major college football—does the nature of the crime rise above the interests of sports institutions and command a level of punishment that goes beyond the loss of some football scholarships and the opportunity for playing in postseason bowl games? –Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Diluting the Vote Redistricting Violations Threaten the US Election System

first_imgShare12Tweet12Share4Email28 SharesNo machine-readable author provided. Leridant~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 2.5, LinkAugust 1, 2017; New York TimesWhile chaos and staff turnover at the White House have been receiving national attention, Texans have been tuning into preparations for the 2018 mid-term elections. Those preparations could include redrawing the Congressional district map, for which Texas came under fire after a federal court ruled that the 2011 map was in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution. The map drawn by the Republican-majority Texas legislature was found to be discriminatory against Black and Latin@ voters, particularly in two districts, South and West Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which have significant Black and Latin@ populations.Some say the map was created to intentionally diminish the voting power of Democratic minority voters in favor of Republican White voters, while others, including one judge prevailing on the case, felt the map was partisan-biased but not racially driven. Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said, “The court’s decision exposes the Texas legislature’s illegal effort to dilute the vote of Texas Latinos. Moving forward, the ruling will help protect Latinos from manipulation of district lines in order to reduce their political clout.”How the state will move forward after this is unclear, but what is definite is that Republican House seats are potentially under threat. Demonstration plans have been released that indicate how Republicans will fare depending on who draws up the Congressional map. Republicans presented a worst-case scenario “Armageddon” map that shows the party would stand to lose half a dozen seats. It’s possible that a court-drawn map would just remedy the two districts found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act in 2011. A third district, in the San Antonio area, was later found to be in violation, and a court-drawn map could potentially fix this issue as well, leading to a lost seat for that district, too. Additionally, there has been talk about adding a new “minority opportunity district” to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the goal would be for ethnic minorities to elect a candidate of their choice—the likely result being another lost seat for Texas House Republicans.While this issue may seem contained to Texas, how the federal court handles this case and how redistricting ends up will have real implications for the rest of the country. In a previous article, aptly titled “Protecting the Integrity of our Elections—and Not Just from Russian Hackers,” NPQ discussed how redistricting and new voter laws in North Carolina served not only to dilute the impact of Democratic voters but also restrict Black voters altogether.Meanwhile, at the federal level, the commission charged with unearthing the elusive millions who robbed Trump of the popular vote grinds on, impressing no one with its understanding of the law and, at the core of its existence, acting as one more mechanism for voter suppression.—Sheela NimishakaviShare12Tweet12Share4Email28 Shareslast_img read more

Femicide Is On the Rise and Hidden in Plain View

first_imgShare21TweetShareEmail21 SharesFrank Schwichtenberg [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia CommonsDecember 3, 2018; VOA, October 5, 2018; Vox, and October 6, 2018; GuardianIn October, Nadia Murad became the first Iraqi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Her advocacy has resulted in a UN resolution into Iraqi war crimes. But the silence surrounding her efforts speaks to a widespread and underlying problem.The Nobel Peace Prize is given to people “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity [sic] between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”Murad herself was an Islamic State sex slave for many months and experienced sexual atrocities. Describing her journey to freedom and leadership, she writes,Attacking Sinjar [in northern Iraq] and taking girls to use as sex slaves wasn’t a spontaneous decision made on the battlefield by a greedy soldier. Islamic State planned it all: how they would come into our homes, what made a girl more or less valuable, which militants deserved a sabaya [sex slave] as incentive and which should pay. They even discussed sabaya in their glossy propaganda magazine, Dabiq, in an attempt to draw new recruits. But Isis is not as original as its members think it is. Rape has been used throughout history as a weapon of war.Murad is Yazidi, which Vox’s Alexia Underwood describes as “a religious community of about 400,000 people who mainly live in the northern part of Iraq.” She continues, “Murad and about 3,000 other Yazidi women were kidnapped and sold into sex slavery by ISIS in 2014, as part of the terrorist group’s genocidal campaign to wipe out the religious minority.”Murad notes, “For at least the past ten years, since Iraqis had been thrust into a war with the Americans that started in 2003, then spiraled into more vicious local fights and eventually into full-fledged terrorism, the distance between our homes had grown enormous.”Murad is clear about what she seeks: “My hope is that all women who speak about their stories of sexual violence are heard and accepted, that their voices are heard so they feel safe.”Since escaping IS in 2015, Murad has been telling her story to raise awareness of human trafficking and advocating for the UN to bring IS to justice. And she has been successful. VOA News reports, “The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in September 2017 to bring those responsible for Islamic State group war crimes to justice—a cause championed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.”The UN team has been in Iraq since October, preparing the ground for the investigative probe, which is scheduled to begin in 2019. Much of the preparation seems to be focused on ensuring cooperation from Baghdad. In addition to the reported sexual crimes against women and girls, the UN is describing the massacre of Yazidis as a genocide. According to the Daily Star, reprinting a story from AFP, “More than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 bodies have been recently discovered in Iraq, providing evidence of war crimes by IS.”“But,” Daily Signal’s Kelsey Harkness writes, “Nadia’s story is falling on deaf ears. Because being ‘heard’ requires others to listen.” Though AFP reports that the US will provide $2 million for the investigative work, the World Tribune notes that news of Murad winning the Prize, “barely registered on the American media radar screen.”A new documentary on Murad called On Her Shoulders, filmed and directed by Alexandria Bombach, seeks to change that. It focuses not only on bringing Murad’s story to light, but to refocus it on her campaign—both its victories and what remains to be done. At least 1,000 women and children are still enslaved by IS.Bombach says, “So much of what had been done to Nadia had been about her captivity, versus talking about her work now.” She describes Murad’s efforts as “a non-stop campaign to ‘push for justice for the Yazidis against ISIS members and also to rebuild Sinjar, (The main city of the Yazidi region in Iraq) making it safe, and it’s just been an endless amount of things that she’s trying to accomplish.’”The devaluing of women’s lives and bodies is the wider context for this story, as well as how we respond to it.A new UN report on global homicide finds that, “Around 87,000 women were killed around the world last year, some 50,000—or 58 per cent—at the hands of intimate partners or family members. This amounts to some six women being killed every hour by people they know.”In Puerto Rico, there is an effort underway to declare a state of emergency over the increase in what is being called “intimate terror,” or “a massacre of gender.” There have been 23 such murders of women in 2018.El Nuevo Día writes,The murder of women is the most extreme in a chain of verbal or physical aggressions, explicit or overlapping, that are repeated in all the scenarios of our work with the shameful consent of a large part of society. They are abuses based on unworthy customs that assign women a lower status. Transforming this absurdity requires firm will and comprehensive actions.It further notes, “The problem is acute in Puerto Rico. That three of the murders that occurred here this year were perpetrated by police demonstrates that something is wrong with the State’s own power structures.”Women have been taking to the street in San Juan to protest, shouting “Not one more!” Police have responded with repressive measures, including tear gas. As the article notes, protesting is a legitimate form of participatory democracy. To date, Governor Rosselló holds that an increase in the incidence of sexist crimes does not warrant a state of emergency response. He also argues that addressing it is not the sole responsibility of government.El Pais’ Elena Reina, Centenera Sea, and Santiago Torrado write that, according to UN Women, “Latin America is the most lethal place for them outside a war zone.”The refugees traveling to our southern border—the so-called “migrant caravan,” a contested label—are doing so for many reasons that make their lives at home unbearable, but one that, though mentioned, has been overlooked is femicide: “the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.”The Boston Globe’s Stephen Kinder writes, “In recent years this plague has reached dramatic proportions.” Among countries that are technically not at war, the three countries with the highest rates of femicide are Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—the same ones from which the refugees flee.Kinder explains, “In Honduras, which is the size of Ohio, a woman is murdered every 16 hours. El Salvador has reached an even grimmer position on the hour list: world’s highest rate of femicide…The attorney general of Guatemala, where the murder of women is a daily occurrence, estimates that half of the victims had been lured or forced into sex trade.”He continues, “Women in Central America who escape the clutches of criminal gangs often face violence at home…A UN representative in El Salvador recently called the sexual abuse of children there a ‘very profound, difficult, and serious’ problem.” In fact, the daughter of Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has “accused him of sexually abusing her for more than a decade beginning when she was eleven.”Further, women at the forefront of social movements. Kinder again, “They have given a distinctly feminine face to political protest, turning political repression into another form of gender violence.”He sums it up: “These threats to Central American women—assault at home, abuse at the hands of criminal gangs, and violent punishment for those who protest—propel many to flee…As these women take the unarmed road of flight, they risk another form of abuse. They are easy prey for predators on both sides of the law.”When Tarana Burke spoke at last month’s Facing Race conference, she talked about how the #MeToo movement started with her working with youth in an after-school program and learning that the majority of the girls were sexually abused. She began to see it as a community issue, rather than a family issue. But the prevailing response to her attempts to get the community to see it as an issue and address it was the assertion that it was dangerous for the men in the black community to be held accountable because of racism.Burke also spoke about the need to move beyond intersectionality. She said, “Allyship is beautiful, but we’re talking about black and brown girls. If these people get what they need, white women will get what they need.”Harkness’s aforementioned article is headlined, “A Rape Survivor Just Won the Nobel Peace Prize. ‘Feminist’ Are Nowhere to Be Found.” She notes that, “Nadia is a lonely voice in the fight against ISIS genocide.” Harkness, who appears white, compares the response to the one towards Christine Blasey Ford in the Kavanaugh hearings. She writes, “it’s our job as feminists to look beyond ourselves and realize that Nadia’s fight is our fight.”How do we, nonprofits and social movements, address the devaluing of women and the feminine—the source of many of the social issues on which we work—including in our own work? Further, how do we prioritize the design of solutions for those most impacted? It will take many small (and large) steps on our part to get there.—Cyndi SuarezShare21TweetShareEmail21 Shareslast_img read more

Mississippi House Advances Bill to Allow Electric Coops to Build Broadband Networks

first_imgShare2Tweet2ShareEmail4 Shares January 15, 2019; Jackson Clarion-LedgerCould cooperatives bring high-speed internet to rural counties of Mississippi? That day may have just gotten a little closer, as a bill sponsored by Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn to enable rural electric co-ops to offer broadband service passed on an overwhelming 115–3 vote, reports Luke Ramseth in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.The measure is highly popular and, while anything can happen in politics, passage by the state senate and approval by the governor seems likely. Ramseth explains that, “A new Millsaps College and Chism Strategies poll shows 86 percent of Mississippi voters support allowing cooperatives to provide high-speed internet, with six percent opposed. The state’s 26 cooperatives voted unanimously to support the legislation, and many have already studied financing options. Dozens of cities and counties have passed resolutions backing the change.”Why is the measure so popular? Long story short, there is a desperate need for better broadband options. As Ramseth points out, “In a world where jobs, education, health care, and leisure are increasingly based online, rural Mississippians are falling behind…the state as a whole ranks 49th for average speeds and availability, beating only Montana.”The challenge in Mississippi may be extreme, but Mississippi is hardly the only state where rural residents lack high-speed broadband. A little over a year ago in NPQ, we noted that while 96 percent of urban Americans have high-speed broadband access, only 61 percent of rural Americans do. At the time, we highlighted research from the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance titled Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America, which argued the rural communities could close this gap by leveraging existing rural electric co-op networks. This is the precisely the route now under consideration in Mississippi.As Ramseth explains, “House Bill 366 and a similar version in the Senate would allow electricity cooperatives—which deliver power to about 85 percent of the state—to also offer broadband services.” This is the bill that just passed the state House. A second complementary bill, House Bill 170, would set a goal for the state by 2027 “to have certain broadband speeds available everywhere and lays out funding avenues to accomplish it.”Ramseth notes that House Bill 366 overturns a 1942 law that bans nonprofit, member-owned power cooperatives from providing anything but electricity.“This policy has come under fire in recent months,” Ramseth notes, “as cooperatives in other states successfully entered the internet business—building high-speed networks in areas overlooked by companies such as AT&T and Comcast.”“The current law we’ve got right now is a gatekeeper,” Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley tells Ramseth. “This is about giving the consumer a chance.”About a year ago, Presley tells Ramseth, he learned about a cooperative in Alabama that was starting to offer fiber-optic internet to customers, and a “light bulb went off.” The Alabama co-op was even able to obtain $3 million in federal funds to help with the buildout of the fiber network.“It just becomes real when you see this small little operation changing the lives of rural Alabamians, while Mississippi is handcuffed from doing it because of a 1942 law,” Presley reportedly said in a recent interview.If the legislation passes, Ramseth explains that Mississippi cooperatives could apply for some of the $600 million in grants and loans recently offered by the US Department of Agriculture to improve rural broadband.“The goal of this bill is that the house at the end of the dirt road will have as good of internet service as is in downtown New York City,” Presley explains. “They deserve it. They’re just as good as anybody in New York.”Delta Electric is one of the co-ops that might invest in broadband if the law passes. The co-op’s general manager, David O’Bryan, says better internet is desperately needed across the Delta.“This is an economic development issue,” O’Bryan says to Ramseth. “It’s a quality of life issue for the people in our service territory. This will enhance economic development, telemedicine, education, workforce—it just touches every segment of our society.”—Steve DubbShare2Tweet2ShareEmail4 Shareslast_img read more