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Edmonton women scramble to save brother from hiding in Afghanistan

Two Edmonton sisters were unable to sleep or eat as they hope their family will be selected under an Afghan resettlement program announced by the federal government last week.

CBC News has agreed to identify them only by first name for the safety of their families.

Malali and Maska say their brother worked for NATO and the US military, which now puts him and the rest of the family at risk.

According to Malali, they have been in hiding for about two weeks.

“The whole family – my brother and my mother and my two sisters and four brothers – they all live in the same house. And all of their lives are in danger because of this brother who worked with the US military,” he said. she declared.

“The 20,000 Afghan refugees they announced they would bring, I want my family to be one of those 20,000.”

Malali, a woman from Edmonton, became emotional as she spoke of the danger her family currently faces in Afghanistan. (Jamie McCannel / CBC)

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last week as the United States and its allies withdrew their troops after a 20-year war.

The sisters have appealed to the Canadian and US governments for help, they said on Sunday. They received no response.

The women say they feel helpless to be so far away, knowing how their families in Afghanistan are struggling and knowing that supplies are running out – for their families and in the country in general.

“He risked his life for seven years for these people and they left him behind,” said Malali. “Without any help or anything. He is very desperate. The situation is very desperate. We don’t know what to do.”

Federal ministers provided an update on the situation in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said the government understands how desperate Afghans are to flee the country and Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has vowed to speed up resettlements.

The Canadian military airlifted about 1,100 people – mostly Afghans – out of the country, Mendicino said. So far, 12 flights have left the country.


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International headquarters

Conservatives offer alternatives to optimistic demolition

Georges Nikolajevich

At its July 26 meeting, the City of St. Louis Preservation Council heard testimony regarding the proposed demolition of the Optimist International Headquarters building (s) located at 4490-4494 Lindell Boulevard in the Historic District of Central West End, where developers are looking to develop a 150-unit building.

The hearing was an appeal against the rejection of the demolition project by the Bureau of Cultural Resources. In 2013, the CRO commissioned a survey and appraisal of 2,300 Mid-Century Modern (1945-1975) buildings in St. Louis, 50 of which were deemed highly significant. The original part of the Optimist property, located at the corner of Taylor Avenue and known as the “Pavilion”, which was built in 1961 according to plans drawn by the famous St. Louis firm of Schwarz & Van Hoefen, was listed in the 2013 Survey as a High Merit Building that is individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and
was among the 25 most important of the 2,300 buildings studied.

Following lengthy testimony at the July 26 hearing, the question was put, first on a motion upholding Cultural Resources’ refusal, followed by a motion to allow the appeal and authorize the demolition, which was not passed. Both motions were tied up, and the matter was postponed for further deliberation at the next Preservation Council meeting on Monday, August 23.

The architectural context along Lindell Boulevard, particularly in the three-block section between Newstead Avenue and the Kingshighway, is rich, diverse and unique and must be respected. Notable examples of the wide variety of high quality buildings of various types and eras in the immediate vicinity of the Optimist site include: 4401 Lindell-Cathedral Basilica St. Louis (1908, Barnett, Haynes & Barnett); 4440 Lindell-Pierre Chouteau Apartments (1929, C. Odenwald); 4445 Lindell-Chancery of the Archdiocese of Saint-Louis (1962, WA Sarmiento); 4501 Lindell-Lindell Terrace (1965, Gyo Obata); 4510 Residence of Archbishop Lindell (1891, C.
Jungenfeld); 4545 Lindell (2010, Louis Sauer); 4600 Lindell-Saint Louis Woman’s Club (1895, Grable, Weber & Groves); 4625 Lindell- City Bank Building (1971, Wedemeyer, Cernik & Corrubia); 4931 Lindell-Chase Apartments (1921, Preston J. Bradshaw); 4943 Lindell-Chester Apartments (1921, Preston J. Bradshaw); 4950 Lindell-St. Regis Apartments (1908, George H. Kennerly); 212 N. Kingshighway-Chase Hotel (1921, Preston J. Bradshaw); and 114 N. Taylor-Grant Medical Clinic (1938, Harris Armstrong)!

Georges Nikolajevich

Our aim is not to thwart new development activities, but rather to encourage a more sensitive design that would both preserve buildings of merit and contribute to the rich architectural heritage and distinguished character of Lindell Boulevard. and the center-west. Thus, the supporters of the preservation of the “Pavilion” proposed an alternative approach to the redevelopment of the Optimist site which would allow the corner building to be preserved by integrating it into the base of a new structure, while allowing the development of 150 apartment units in a new tower on the eastern part of the site. This suggestion was summarily rejected without consideration by the potential promoter.

Georges Nikolajevich

The question boils down to the question of whether the well-documented justification supporting the preservation of the architectural heritage of Saint-Louis will prevail in this case, or will it be discarded to accommodate the development of a generic building of the type proposed? This important decision rests with the members of the Preservation Council. We think the answer is clear… the building must be preserved.

Georges Nikolajevich

James Dwyer
Chairman, Central West End Association Planning and Development Committee

John C. Guenther, FAIA, LEED AP
President, Society of Architectural Historians, St. Louis Chapter

Michael R. Allen
Director and Architectural Historian, Preservation Research Office
Senior Lecturer, Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, Washington University

Andrew B. Weil
Executive Director, Landmarks Association of St. Louis

Illustrations by George Nikolajevich, retired Cannon Design alumnus.

NextSTL – Optimist replacement comes before Preservation Council

Lux Living’s proposal to replace the Optimist buildings in Lindell and Taylor.


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Non profit living

The Recorder – Regina Curtis is retiring as GCC executive. director of institutional promotion

GREENFIELD – Regina Curtis has amassed a 48-pound stash in thrift stores. From September 1, she will have more time to read them.

Curtis is retiring as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Greenfield Community College on August 31, after 16 years on the job. She coordinated the school’s legislative affairs and oversaw its grants office in addition to being the executive director of the GCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the college.

“Community college students stay in their community. They end up living and working within a 25 mile radius, usually. So we are really educating the workforce in this community, ”she said. “This college is exactly where it needs to be.”

Curtis, 62, said she turned legislative affairs over to her colleague Keith Bailey and new recruit Alexis Page took on other responsibilities. She said their abilities reduced her natural anxiety about quitting the job she had been heavily involved in for so long.

She previously worked for State Representative Stephen Kulik and plans to follow her former employer’s advice on retirement – don’t make any additional commitments for at least a year. She intends to continue serving on the board of directors of Rural Development Inc., a nonprofit organization created by the Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, but wishes to spend more time walking, hiking, kayaking and visiting her son in North Carolina and her daughter-in-law. in Idaho. She would also like to relearn Spanish and knitting.

Curtis grew up in the Detroit area, but has lived in Franklin County his entire adult life. Warwick has been his home for decades.

She worked at the college for 16 years, serving on the Board of Trustees of the GCC Foundation for six years previously, including two as President. Prior to that, she was a campaign volunteer for the school. But that was not his introduction to college. She received her associate’s degree in commerce in 1986 at the age of 28, after taking evening classes for five years while working full time. The average age of a CCG student is around 27, she said.

Curtis then transferred to North Adams State College (now Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) for another five years to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduating while pregnant with her son. She waited four years before pursuing her Masters of Business Administration in five years.

“I know women who… worked full time and went to school in the evenings with me and had a baby, but I couldn’t… think about that. So I waited until he was 4, then I started at Fitchburg State College (now the University) because, ”she said,“ I only attend public higher education institutions. from Massachusetts that are next to Highway 2. It’s like my jam.

“I never worked full time during all of this,” she added. “It’s just that the career trajectory was made possible thanks to the degrees I acquired along the way, which was possible thanks to GCC. … It is definitely the mission to make higher education accessible to all who want to learn. This is not the case for many colleges.

Curtis also said that many CCG students are, like her, first generation students. She said 48% of them transferred to four-year colleges and 25% were from Hampshire County.

“I’ve always wondered if there is a magical way to survey every employer in Franklin County and find out how many GCC employees (there are),” she said, adding that a third of Greenfield Savings Bank employees are GCC graduates. “It’s quite remarkable.”

Curtis also said that GCC will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.

“GCC and I are about the same age. Funny – I never thought of it that way, ”she said. “We kind of grew up together. ”

Contact Domenic Poli at: [email protected] or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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History organization

The Sheldon Museum of Art opens its exhibitions in the fall semester | Announce

Works by Ron Gorchov, Dan Christensen and Anish Kapoor are exhibited at the Sheldon Museum of Art in the exhibition “Point of Departure”.

The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has opened four new exhibitions for the fall semester. Each draws on the museum’s collection of nearly 13,000 objects to provide a thematic presentation that fosters inquiry, discovery and opportunities for students, faculty and staff, alumni and visitors to engage with. art and with each other.

Until December 31, Sheldon presents the exhibitions: “Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present”, “The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds”, “Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” and “Sheldon Treasures. “

“Point of Departure: Abstraction 1958 – Present” examines the evolution of abstraction from the late 1950s – after the first wave of artists associated with Abstract Expressionism – to the present day.

The title of the exhibition is taken from a 1958 jazz recording by Andrew Hill that both illustrates and defies its time. Hill’s music has its roots in a post-Monk, hard-bop style, pushing it to the edge of free jazz and, as the title suggests, into new territory. Abstraction in the visual arts, like Hill’s music, continues to evolve.

Abstraction is one of the strengths of the Sheldon collection. The founding funds of early Modernism in America inspired key postwar acquisitions of works associated with Abstract Expressionism. With perseverance, this concentration has continued until now. Recent additions to the collection offer an inclusive presentation of diverse voices and perspectives that lead to deeper and more focused discussions of abstraction. To this end, Point de Départ includes six recent acquisitions and four loans from local collections.

“The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds” presents a holistic investigation of waste streams, examining works of art that draw inspiration from our scraps, leftovers, trash, rubbish, scarcity and ruins. With subjects ranging from 19th-century ragpickers to today’s eco-critical practices, the works highlight the complex relationship of waste to colonialism and industrial production.

This exhibition was curated by Katie Anania, Assistant Professor of Art History at the School of Art, Art History & Design. Support for the exhibit is provided by the Hixson-Lied Endowment, the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, the Sheldon Art Association, and the Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Framing a Legacy: Gifts from Ann and James Rawley” is a celebration of the artwork donated to the museum by longtime supporters Ann and James Rawley. This not only underscores their affinity for the collection of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, but also Ann’s meticulous practice of framing.

James Rawley (1916-2005) was Carl Adolph Happold Professor Emeritus of History here at the university. He has taught courses and published books in his areas of specialization: the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the Atlantic slave trade. His significant contributions to the study of American history are recognized by the James A. Rawley Prize (OAH), awarded in his memory by the Organization of American Historians for the best book on race relations, and the James A Prize. Rawley (AHA), awarded by the American Historical Association for the best Atlantic history book.

“Sheldon Treasures”, an ongoing exhibition that changes every semester, highlights some of the museum’s most important and well-known objects. The works presented in the fall 2021 edition of “Sheldon Treasures” demonstrate the breadth of approaches taken by artists to represent the human figure. Throughout art history, the representation of the human form has provided expressive possibilities for stylistic innovation, social commentary, and storytelling.

For more information on the museum’s exhibits and programs, visit sheldonartmuseum.org.

More details on: https://sheldonartmuseum.org/


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International headquarters

We Make History in Natchez – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Historic economic development in Natchez – it’s time to say it.

Time to print it: Based on current economic indicators, Natchez is now one of the state’s fastest growing economies, and quite possibly the fastest growing per capita.

Consider only the last days:

  • This week we received our July sales tax payment of over $ 500,000. We’ve now passed $ 500,000 four straight months – a city record and quite possibly the state’s strongest per capita sales tax performance.
  • On August 11, we announced that a large Southern energy company, Delta Fuel, was moving its headquarters to downtown Natchez – more than 50 well-paying jobs. They are now embarking on a multi-million dollar renovation of the historic Callon building.
  • On August 16, we kicked off the million dollar renovation of the historic Broadway Depot, which will soon become the best farm-to-table restaurant on the cliffs of the Mississippi River.
  • On August 19, we celebrated the announcement of a $ 24 million renovation of the historic Eola Hotel in the heart of downtown Natchez, to include a parking garage, new retail space downtown and the development of new restaurants by renowned restaurateur NOLA Dickie Brennan.
  • Also on August 19, we met in Jackson with Governor Tate Reeves, his economic development team, and the CEO and vice-president of Velocys, an international technology company, to discuss an agreement that is currently underway to build a $ 1.5 billion biorefinery. -Belwood Industrial Park Plant – one of only two such facilities built in America to produce sustainable aviation fuel using timber resources.

Additionally, this week we had a very important meeting with one of the country’s leading consulting firms, the Horne Group, to discuss the final details of the MED Natchez marketing plan. Medical Economic Development, promoting Natchez as a regional ‘health center’, is about to take place, with a public reveal in September where we will release details of this sweeping plan.

We also met with officials from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture this week to discuss international timber exports using the Port of Natchez. A follow-up meeting will be held on August 30 with a visit to Natchez by Port of New Orleans Executive Director Brandy Christian and his staff. Working closely with Natchez Harbor Manager Anthony Hauer and the Adams County Supervisory Board, great projects and opportunities are ahead.

If we add to the fact that over the past year we have experienced record employment growth (nearly 700), record real estate sales (nearly 600), record growth in new business (more of 70) and new record building permits (over 250 worth over $ 40 million), these facts tell a historic story. Natchez is booming. And as previously stated, we are now among the fastest growing economies in Mississippi.

Words are insufficient to express my gratitude. So many individuals, groups, entities and businesses came together to make it all possible. And I truly believe that God’s favor is on our city because we make it a priority to work together and love each other.

Well done Natchez! Let us commit to maintaining this momentum.

Natchez deserves more.

Dan M. Gibson is mayor of the city of Natchez.


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History organization

Maine Gardener: Why Maine Audubon added non-native plants to its sale

When I read on the Maine Audubon Society website that the organization had started selling non-Maine plants, I was surprised.

I was sure the environment mainstay hadn’t given up on its commitment to the plants that Maine’s birds, insects, and other species need to survive. But I wondered what caused the change.

The added non-natives are good plants. One of them, Liatris scariosa or the northern flaming star, is native to York County but not the rest of the state, by the standards used by Audubon. Audubon had therefore previously excluded him from the sale of plants.

Eric Topper, explaining the change, said some birds, insects and other animals, as well as some plants, have extended their historical range, mainly north and east as the climate has warmed. So why wouldn’t Audubon sell plants whose historical range is somewhat south and west of Maine.

The change was not an instant decision.

“Since we’ve been in the world of native plant restoration six or seven years now, we’ve struggled to define our definition of native plants,” Topper said in a telephone interview.

When sales began, Maine Audubon opted for the list, also used by state officials, called BONAP, the Biota of North America program, which has long studied native plants. Audubon also consulted with state officials, and if the state thought a factory shouldn’t be on the list, it was removed, Topper said.

As a result, the list of native Maine Audubon plants for sale (mainenativeplants.org) was among the most restrictive of the native Maine listings.

Over the years, with real life experience, those in charge have started to question boundaries. Audubon staff have noticed how much hummingbirds love Monarda didyma, with the common names scarlet bee balm or red bergamot.

While working in greenhouses to water the plants, bumblebees (which are native) cover and worship Liatris spicata.

So, Audubon added these plants, which are not strictly native according to the definition she chose to use, because of their enormous benefits to birds and other wildlife that Maine Audubon’s mission is to protect.

Topper said his organization did not make the decision without outside help. He received help from Dan Jaffe, now a horticulturist at the Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Massachusetts, who co-authored the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens” while with the Native Plant Trust.

In addition to Liatris spicata, Monarda didyma, and Liatris scariosa, other non-native plants added to Audubon are Echinacea purpurea or purple coneflower, and Coreopsis lanceolata or lanceleaf coreopsis – both native to the northeastern United States but not Maine.

Buyers seem to have agreed with Audubon’s choice. Scarlet Bee Balm, Spearleaf Coreopsis, and Purple Echinacea are already sold out for this year.

Topper encourages people to research these species – not cultivars of those species, which would have a brand name with single quotes at the end – at local nurseries, and plant them.

I asked Topper if selling plants that might not be strictly native to Maine amounted to assisted migration. There has been some concern, which I spoke about in 2018, that plants might go extinct because their natural habitats are getting too hot for them to live. And these plants cannot naturally migrate as fast as climate change moves their ideal climate further north.

Topper said the sales could help with the migration, but that was not the group’s intention. He thinks the species got to Maine anyway, because people love them and planted them in their gardens.

One thing Topper said towards the end of our interview surprised me. Despite Maine Audubon’s emphasis on native species, he realizes that non-natives also have a great advantage in wildlife. He had just spent a week in the heart of nature, places where the forest has taken over from abandoned farms. Apple trees – native to Kazakhstan – in these woods still thrive and are a huge boon to wildlife, he said, giving just one example.

By the way, the Maine Audubon plant sale has gone well this year, and although three of the new introductions have sold out, there are still many good native plants in stock.

And he says, and I agree, that September and early October are great times to plant shrubs and perennials in Maine. Plus, buying them will help Audubon staff.

“We don’t want to take care of these plants in the winter,” he said.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer who gardens in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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Canadian army

Victory is not always on the battlefield, says father whose son was killed in Afghanistan

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why (Kevin) left, ”says Fred McKay

With Afghanistan now under Taliban rule, Canada’s involvement in this war-torn country is commemorated, celebrated and questioned.

Perhaps more than by the Silver Cross mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers who served with honor.

When the Canadian soldier and native of the Barrie region Pte. Kevin McKay was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 13, 2010, he died knowing he had made a difference in a country that needed all the help it could get.

“The reason Kevin wanted to go to Afghanistan was so the kids could go to school,” says his father, Fred McKay. in a telephone interview from Perth in the Ottawa area. “He wanted them to at least have a glimpse of what life could be like if they could go to school and reject Taliban ideology.

“The Taliban are not afraid of guns and bombs; they are afraid of school children with textbooks. That’s why he left. “

Kevin McKay, who grew up in the Horseshoe Valley of Oro-Medonte Township and attended WR Best Public School and Barrie’s Eastview Secondary School, was 24 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device during of his last night patrol, just two days before the end of his tour of duty.

Fred McKay (pronounced “mac-eye”) says the village his son was assigned to at one time was a hotbed of Taliban activity.

“When our troops reached the village and were able to tell the elders that it was safe for the children to return to school, Kevin volunteered for the first patrol which started in the morning at 6 a.m. He said. “He wanted to do the first patrol because he wanted to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they returned to school after a long absence, or for the first time.

“It is the key to the future in Afghanistan, it is to give an education to the children. He had this little personal victory and could see the smiles on the children’s faces, and this magical moment of feeling of accomplishment and mission accomplished.

As distant as they seem now, there have been some victories, and others not so small.

“The Canadian military has built 55 schools and most Canadians don’t know it,” says McKay. “They built clinics and helped farmers with pumps and generators and a bit of know-how. That’s how they conquered the people, but you can’t keep the soldiers there forever.

So what kind of legacy is left?

“It’s not just Kevin, it’s the Canadian military and all NATO troops,” McKay says. “They got this country 20 years of education for children. It’s a generation.

“See it all go down now when the troops have retreated …” he said with a pause. “My question for the Canadian government, the Afghan government and NATO is, ‘What did you think was going to happen?’

“Donald Trump wanted to be the great peacemaker, so he made a deal with the devil (the Taliban as opposed to the Afghan government) I think… and he covered his tracks.”

Before Trump, however, there were years of NATO-led training of Afghan soldiers.

“Our soldiers did their best to train the Afghan army. They had 300,000 trained and equipped soldiers, but they stopped engaging with the Taliban, ”McKay said. “They are afraid of the Taliban because they are ruthless.

“But if they are not going to fight for their country, then I don’t think it is appropriate that we fight for their country for them,” he adds. “We taught them how to do it and we equipped them. You can lead a horse to the watering hole, but you cannot force it to drink. They trained the Afghan army and I think it was the Afghan government that dropped the ball. They did not take advantage of this training and the education that the children received.

Recognizing that coalition forces could not stay in the country forever, McKay says he maybe like many, many other Canadians I would have liked to see a different result.

“They should have stayed until the job was done,” he said of the coalition forces. “They are soldiers. They wanted to be there. Kevin wanted to be there. They went there to help, not to hurt.

“They were crippled by the rules of engagement where they weren’t allowed to search and destroy the enemy,” McKay adds. “Instead, they did other things. Better things, in fact.

Does he think Kevin died in vain?

“Not for a second. We are very proud of what Kevin and all the soldiers have done. It was because he wanted to see the looks of those Afghan children when they returned to school that he went there, ”McKay says. “As we know, there will be no victory day in Afghanistan when the enemy is defeated and the good guys have won. It’s just going to go on and on.

“But at least for a while then there were a lot of kids going to school. So it was a victory. “


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Non profit living

Can humor, laughter and AI reduce stress for women living with cancer? | New

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON and PALO ALTO, California, August 11, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Sounds like the opening of a classic joke: “Cancer survivor, scientist and doctor walk into bar,” but it’s more of a groundbreaking 8-week study on the mindset and metastatic cancer research using artificial intelligence to study personalized stress reduction strategies for women living with advanced cancer. This study is the result of Saranne Rothberg, a stage IV cancer survivor and founder of the ComedyCures Foundation.

Want to have fun ? Sign up for this groundbreaking study on mindset and metastatic cancer research.

“Humor, laughter, play, meditation, yoga, breathing and visualization techniques were essential in reducing my stress, giving me more energy and hope as I battled three surgeries against the cancer, 44 radiotherapy treatments and more than two years of chemotherapy starting in 1999, “says Rothberg, who no longer has cancer.

As part of this study, she invites other people living with a metastatic diagnosis to create an individualized stress management and relaxation plan, informed by artificial intelligence, to improve their quality of life. Rothberg enlisted the help of Dr. Catherine Grill, neuroscientist and co-founder of Neolth, an award-winning digital health platform from Silicon Valley. Dr. Grill explains, “Mental health is often overlooked when clinicians create treatment plans for cancer patients. I wanted to make mental health support more accessible to patients. We are excited to add Saranne’s expertise and fun strategies, along with original ComedyCures content, to our Neolth platform as part of this important study. ”

Neolth’s chief medical officer, Dr. Claire Wheeler, integrator and psychologist specializing in stress management and author of “Pocket Therapy for Stress” will also supervise the collaborative study as co-principal investigator. Dr Wheeler says, “Women with cancer who participate in stress management and emotional support programs have significant improvements in quality of life, immune markers and even improve their survival rates.”

Rothberg happily describes: “Each participant will be invited to use the Neolth platform via a mobile device, tablet and / or desktop computer to create their own personalized self-care plan with the help of proprietary technology. from Neolth and many experts. A free subscription to Neolth will be provided to every woman through an innovative cancer and behavior research grant awarded to our ComedyCures Foundation by the Willow Foundation. In previous years, the foundation grant was awarded to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

Co-founder of the Willow Foundation and survivor of stage IV cancer Lea Evert confirms: “Because the pandemic has put even more isolation, health risks and stress on people living with cancer, the Willow Foundation felt that this year’s grant should go to the ComedyCures Foundation in because of his track record of positively impacting the lives of others. in the event of a mental, emotional and / or physical crisis. “

Evert adds, “As a cancer and COVID-19 survivor, Saranne’s authentic vision to seek an immediately scalable and affordable health solution integrating artificial intelligence, technology, as well as the award-winning ComedyCures and Neolth programs, has made the funding of this mindset research very compelling. “

In addition to the many relaxation practices offered by the study, participants will have the opportunity to attend three live online sessions with Rothberg and several of his ComedyCures comedians. Please see the Study FAQs for more information and to register immediately.

ABOUT THE COMEDYCURES FOUNDATION

The ComedyCures Foundation is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit, here 24/7 to tickle fun bones. Through award-winning digital programming and live events, ComedyCures entertains, educates and helps patients, caregivers and frontline workers develop their superpowers of laughter, hope, joy, play and perspective. comical. https://www.ComedyCures.org @ComedyCures

ABOUT NEOLTH

Neolth provides stress and mental health support by providing personalized care on demand through its self-guided platform. This includes relaxation practices, self-care and mental health monitoring, as well as mental health videos. Neolth presents a variety of original content from the ComedyCures Foundation to support people living with cancer. All participants in the ComedyCures study will have free access to Neolth for an extended period. https://www.Neolth.com @Neolth

ABOUT THE WILLOW FOUNDATION

The Willow Foundation (United States) supports research efforts that help link behaviors to better outcomes for patients with advanced and advanced cancer.

https://www.willow.foundation/goals

ABOUT SARANNE ROTHBERG

From the patient with stage IV cancer to the CEO of ComedyCures, Saranne Rothberg is a thought leader, speaker, patient advocate, and health and happiness expert. She started the ComedyCures foundation from her chemo chair in 1999 and is cancer free today, helping over 1 million people at over 1,800 live and digital events around the world to rediscover their funny bones. , their mojo and their lens. https://www.saranne.com @sarannelive

View original content to download multimedia: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-humor-laughter–ai-reduce-the-stress-of-women-living-with-cancer-301353265. html

SOURCE The ComedyCures Foundation


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International headquarters

Vast Conquests Test America’s Hopes for a More Moderate Taliban

Officials in the Biden administration have maintained the optimistic claim that a desire for international approval could influence the actions of the Taliban. They reject criticism from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Who opposes the withdrawal and rejects what he calls “diplomatic carrots.”

“If the Taliban claim to want international legitimacy, these actions will not give them the legitimacy they seek,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday in one of several warnings from the administration.

US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to Qatar on Tuesday to make the point directly to Taliban officials, telling Voice of America that if the Taliban take control of Afghanistan by force, ” they will become a pariah state ”.

Whether or not the Taliban heed this warning, Biden shows no signs of slowing down or reversing a decision to withdraw from the war.

The United States ends its nearly 20-year combat mission in Afghanistan on August 31 as part of an agreement President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in 2020 plotted the September 11 attacks. He overthrew, along with Afghan allies, the Taliban government which had refused to surrender Osama bin Laden.

Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have recognized the former Taliban government. The inward-looking rulers applied the strictest interpretation of Islamic law. They banned singing, flying kites and watching television, and held public hangings at Kabul’s main sports stadium.

Mullah Mohammed Omar, then Taliban leader, made a gesture to the international community before September 11 by ending the heroin poppy cultivation, which UN officials have verified. But Omar told his ruling council that he believes there is nothing his government can do to end the international condemnation.

Members of Omar’s Taliban council at the time admitted that the financial sanctions were causing suffering.

For today’s Taliban, US talks about things like international inclusion, aid, and money for reconstruction might have mattered more if they had come a few years ago, a said Andrew Watkins, senior Afghanistan analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Today’s Taliban have been emboldened by the US withdrawal. Hopes of capturing all or part of Afghanistan, along with all the import fees at the border and other income a country offers, make international support less essential.

During the talks in Qatar, “the political representatives of the Taliban have expressed a genuine interest in international legitimacy and all the benefits that flow from it,” Watkins said. such global recognition or financial support, he said.

Trump and Biden officials hoped that the prospect of ending its former pariah status would moderate the behavior of the fundamentalist Pashtun ethnic group in various ways: negotiating its place in the Afghan power structure rather than taking it over, dealing with the Afghan minority groups with humanity and prohibit Islamic extremist groups from using the country as a base to attack on a regional or global scale.

Yet the Taliban’s political and military wings often seem at odds with Taliban representatives in Qatar, who negotiate as Taliban field commanders roll over the territory at home.

While political leaders speak of compromise and power sharing, Pakistani officials accustomed to private talks with the insurgent movement say they want full power.

They also envision a strict religious government, allowing girls to go to school and women to work, but only under their Islamic injunctions. Pakistani officials spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Some European diplomats are more skeptical than Americans that international opinion can influence the Taliban. The Afghan president too.

“Yes they have changed, but negatively,” Ashraf Ghani, who rushed to Balkh province, already surrounded by Taliban-held territory, told his cabinet this month to seek help to repel the insurgents.

The Taliban have become “crueler, more oppressive” and would only share power if they were forced to do so on the battlefield, Ghani said.

Scenes of black-turbaned Taliban officials signing the US withdrawal agreement with officials Trump himself have given the Taliban new legitimacy. The same is true of Trump’s praise of the enemies of the US Taliban on the battlefield as “very tough, very smart.”

Eager to maintain regional and even global trade and economic ties, Taliban officials appealed to Central Asian governments and diplomats in Russia and China, assuring the Taliban would be good neighbors.

The Taliban have largely honored at least part of their deal with Trump, repelling attacks on the withdrawal of US forces.

The deal’s core requirement for Americans says that the Taliban cannot again allow al-Qaida or anyone else to use Afghanistan to threaten the United States or its allies.

But an April Pentagon report said the Taliban had “mutually beneficial” relations with groups linked to al-Qaida, and felt the militia was unlikely to take substantive action against them.

Overall, “I don’t think the United States will get what it hoped for,” said Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh, researcher in Afghanistan and former head of US development in Central Asia. .

The Taliban “don’t really have any incentives,” unless their governing plans have changed, and it is not clear that they have changed, she said. “I think there was a lot of wishful thinking that the Taliban had changed, you know, in the fundamental sense of the word.”


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How the US withdrawal from Afghanistan threatens Russia

The departure of the United States from Afghanistan marks the culmination of the long turbulent period that began with the Soviet invasion of 1979. During this time, the Afghan Islamists became the adversaries of the United States and the USSR. Russia, and the discord between them helped them survive and persevere. While some Russian observers might view the US withdrawal as a defeat and a weakness, this development could lead to more problems for Moscow than benefits.

The US-led war in Afghanistan began in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks organized by Al Qaeda. Photo: internationalaffairs.org.au.

US-Russian competition and the emergence of the Islamic threat

The consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan must be understood in the context of the history of Moscow-Kabul relations. Afghanistan has been a volatile place for a long time. In 1973, following a Rebellion organized by pro-communist rebels, the monarchy, led by Mohamed zahir shah, the only legitimate force accepted by most Afghans of diverse ethnicities, was overthrown, sparking a civil war. As internal fighting ravaged the country, Moscow first observed from a distance, but then decided, in 1979, to intervene in what became the USSR’s first foreign invasion outside its sphere of influence. . The ensuing guerrilla warfare lasted for years, with Afghanistan turning into a “bloody wound” for the Soviet Union, in the words of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev.

It is generally assumed that the Soviet invasion was doomed, as the British had been before and the Americans after. This was not the case. Unlike the United States and even the British Empire, the USSR was prepared for a conflict that spanned several generations. It should be remembered that it took almost a hundred years for the Russian Empire to conquer the Caucasus, while the Soviet war with Basmachi, the Islamic rebels of Central Asia, lasted more than a decade, until early 1930s. But Gorbachev’s unexpected rise to power weakened the Soviet state, and by 1989 Soviet troops had left Afghanistan.

In the context of the Cold War rivalry, the United States was understandably content with the Soviet situation and actively supported the Afghan resistance, portraying its members as heroic freedom fighters. But with the departure of Soviet troops and the Afghan government left to its own devices, the Taliban, an Islamist movement and a military organization, have taken control of the country. In 1995, the Talibs enter Kabul, assassinate the Afghan president Mohamed najibullah, and created the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Since Najibullah was installed by the Soviets, Washington was not disturbed by his demise, and the Taliban did not subsequently emerge as a problem for the American political establishment, for various reasons. This perspective, however, was primarily defined by the United States’ relationship with post-Soviet Russia. Undoubtedly, some American policymakers and observers believed that Russia would transform into a democratic capitalist state, marking this Francis Fukuyama called “the end of the story”. But, paraphrasing George orwell, “All ‘endings of the story’ are equal, but some are more equal than others. In this sense, Russia’s “end of history” in the form of the Soviet collapse differs greatly from that of the United States. resistance, even if some of its members were Islamists, in the Chechen wars for independence, on the assumption that they were the enemies of Russia. At the same time, the Russian elite have continually tried to extend an olive branch to Washington, even as the geopolitical honeymoon seemed over, especially after the 1999 attack between the United States and the United States. NATO against the former Yugoslavia.

The “Scythian” grievances of the West and Russia

Vladimir PoutineRussia’s succession to the presidency in 2000 did not bring about an immediate change in Russian attitudes: the new elite was not yet ready for a direct confrontation with adversaries and underestimated the danger of Islamism global. When he came to power, Putin sent mixed signals to the United States. On the one hand, he hinted that Russia would be more assertive, visiting North Korea and canceling a Chernomyrdin-Gore Commission deal that had cut off Russian arms sales to Iran. On the other hand, he was the first foreign leader to express full support for Washington after 9/11. He also made no objection to US bases in Central Asia, likely expecting geopolitical rewards. When none followed, Putin’s position hardened.

In his Munich speech in 2007, the Russian president accused the United States of striving for unchecked world domination, referring to its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. By then, Russian-American cooperation had waned and Moscow was pushing Kyrgyzstan to close American bases in Manas. Still, Putin did not want to completely sever ties. In 2012, for example, he agreed that the United States could use the air base near the Russian city of Ulyanovsk as a “multimodal” transit facility to “transport goods and personnel to and from Afghanistan” .

Perhaps one of the best glimpses of Russia’s position on Afghanistan comes from a 2010 editorial for the New York Times co-written by the general Boris Gromov, former Soviet commander in Afghanistan, and Dmitry Rogozin, then Russian Ambassador to NATO. The article suggested that the United States and Russia should work together, as the two countries have a lot in common, at least when it comes to jihadists. The authors noted that Soviet troops in Afghanistan had defended “Western civilization,” which was, in a way, a reference to an idea first expressed in 1918 by the Russian seminal poet. Alexandre blok in his poem “The Scythians”.

In the poem, Blok explains metaphorically that the “Scythians” or Russians, while having “slanted eyes” to Asians, were in fact closer to Europeans, their “white brothers”, than to Asians. The “Scythians” had protected their “white brothers” for centuries from the “Mongols”, the barbaric Asian hordes, and expected gratitude. But instead, the “white brothers” waged endless wars against the “Scythians” (Russians). As such, the “Scythians” launched a final appeal to their “white brothers”, calling on them to make peace and unite together, otherwise they would simply let the countless hordes of “Mongols” and “Huns” pass. to Europe. and attack their “white brothers”, who, despite their technological advances, would not be able to resist these multitudes. If that were to happen, the “Scythians” (Russians) “will not budge” when the “frenzied Huns… roast their white-skinned fellows alive”.

In a way, these ideas were reflected in the thinking of a considerable section of the Russian elite, not just General Gromov and Rogozin, who hinted in the editorial that America should reconsider its views on Russia, and if the former were to follow his advice. , Moscow would help him deal with Afghanistan. The Kremlin was clearly prepared to compromise with the United States in the name of visible geopolitical cohesion, but nothing was achieved. In addition, with the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Donbass War, US-Russian relations deteriorated almost to the level of the Cold War era, and any hope of cooperation between the two countries faded. practically extinct – even direct conflict could not be ruled out. Marking a new low, last year it was reported that members of a Russian military intelligence unit (GRU) offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters to kill US and Allied soldiers in Afghanistan.

“Defeat” of the United States and Russian fears

Yet after the president Joe biden announced in April 2021 that US troops would withdraw from Afghanistan to end a war that had lasted around two decades – a move that sparked heated discussions over America’s crushing ‘defeat’, the Kremlin changed of your. Moscow probably realizes that it was the “white brothers” who protected Russia from the Asian hordes and Islamic extremists, and not the other way around. With the US withdrawal and the emergence of a power vacuum, these hordes could potentially spill over into Central Asia and head further north, to the borders of Russia, reactivating radical Islamism in the Caucasus regions of the North and the Volga.

This is an old Russian fear, envisioned in the 1990s by the late general Alexandre lebed, which at one point was considered Boris Yeltsinthe successor of. While the Taliban assures everyone, including Russia, that it has no appetite for overseas expansion – and the Taliban elite might in fact say it – the movement cannot control all of them. its factions: some of them surely dream of a world Islamist revolution. To add to the concerns of the Russians, there are groups of radicalized Tajiks and Uzbeks currently operating in Afghanistan who may attempt to bring extremist ideas back to their home countries, near Russian borders. Finally, the very vision of the Taliban beating the powerful “infidel” – America – could incite Islamists everywhere, including in the backyards of Russia. If history is any indication, the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War spurred revolutionary movement around the world. All these factors alarmed not only the Russian leadership, but also the countries of Central Asia. In May, the Tajik president Emomali rakhmon arrived in Moscow for consultation and assurance, becoming the only foreign leader to participate in the annual Russian Victory Day parade in 2021.

The decline of the Roman Empire opened the doors for hordes of barbarians to invade unprotected territories and destroy Rome’s traditional enemies in the process. After (and even before) the January 6 Capitol uprising in Washington, some observers have drawn parallels between the United States and the declining Roman Empire. There is an analogy to be drawn: a decline in resources and social cohesion has led to the withdrawal of Rome (and now Washington) from the periphery of the empire. In both cases, many tribes and nations initially applauded this release. But let’s not forget that the end of Roman rule did not lead to universal peace, but to the long dark ages, strewn with chaos and subsequent decline.

Surely the Kremlin realizes that this scenario is likely to happen. And if chaos ensues after the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, the American imprint in that country and the Middle East may well be remembered with nostalgia, as Roman rule once was in a darkened plunged Europe. in the dark ages.


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