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Canadian army

Ministers of Veterans Affairs and National Defense mark 10th anniversary of end of Canada’s combat mission

Canada has joined the International Security Assistance Force led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and authorized by the United Nations. Canada has provided nearly $ 3.7 billion in international assistance since 2001 and continues to support security, development and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan. Canada remains committed to upholding the security, development and human rights gains of the past two decades, in particular the rights of women and girls.

The combat phase of Canada’s mission ended in July 2011, when it shifted to a training mission focused on curriculum design and the development of instructional skills in military and military training institutions. Afghan police officers. The Canadian Armed Forces would continue these efforts until the end of our military mission in Afghanistan in March 2014.

More than 40,000 Canadians have served in the theater of operations in Afghanistan. Canada’s first contributions came from the deployment of warships to the waters off Southwest Asia in October 2001, followed by elements of Joint Task Force 2 and the Canadian Army, which moved in. deployed to Afghanistan in December to support efforts to overthrow the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda. Additional Canadian troops would soon be sent to Kandahar province in January 2002.

From 2003 to 2005, Canadians were primarily stationed in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, before returning to the more volatile Kandahar region. From 2005 to 2011, the Canadian Armed Forces assumed command of international efforts to secure Kandahar Province, working with civilian colleagues to help restore stability to the Southern Province of Afghanistan while supporting major efforts. humanitarian and nation-building organizations throughout Afghanistan. In Kandahar, Canadians engaged in heavy fighting, most notably during Operation Medusa in September 2006, which was launched to oust the Taliban from Panjwai District. With the participation of over 1,000 Canadians, it was Canada’s largest combat operation in over 50 years.

A total of 158 members of the Canadian Armed Forces died in Canadian service in Afghanistan, along with seven Canadian civilians, including a diplomat, four aid workers, a government contractor and a journalist. Thousands more returned with physical and psychological injuries.

Canadians recently had the opportunity to view and share their thoughts on the five proposed designs for the National Monument to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan. When completed, this new monument in Ottawa will recognize the commitment and sacrifice of those who served and the support they received from home.

This 10e anniversary of the end of the combat mission is an opportunity to reiterate our gratitude for the efforts that Canadians have made to bring greater stability to Afghanistan and to strengthen peace and security in the world.

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“For nearly a decade, Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan was the longest in our military history, and we all have a duty to remember the bravery displayed by all Canadians who served there,” both military and civilian. Today we pay tribute to the 165 Canadians killed in Afghanistan and thank the more than 40,000 people who answered the call to serve for peace and security in Afghanistan.

The Honorable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense

“This month we remember the courage and resilience of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed in Afghanistan. We honor those who paid the ultimate price during and after the mission. And we are thinking of all who have borne the physical and mental wounds of the battle to this day. On this tenth anniversary of the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan, we are reminded of the real costs of war and the price of freedom. We are grateful today and every day for the selflessness and bravery of the Canadian military.

The Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defense


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International headquarters

In recognition of his remarkable efforts to promote friendship between peoples and his influential fight against hatred

Muslim World League leader Dr Mohammad Al-Issa receives honorary doctorate from UN – SPA

From the United Nations Headquarters based in Geneva and in the presence of its Deputy Secretary General, Academic Honor for Dr. Al-Issa of UPEACE

UN Under-Secretary-General: Dr Al-Issa is widely regarded as a leading international figure representing religious and intellectual moderation

President of UPEACE: Dr. Al-Issa is globally respected for his commitment to educate the whole world on true religious values

Dr Al-Issa:

This UN honor means a lot and stimulates more work in the service of peace

UPEACE has made remarkable global contributions to world peace … and bases its programs on shared human values

Geneva – MWL

The United Nations, through its University for Peace, awarded an honorary degree to His Excellency the Secretary General of the World Muslim League, Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, at a major celebration held at its headquarters in Geneva, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and President of the International Civil Service Commission, Mr. Larbi Djacta, and several European religious, intellectual, political and parliamentary leaders . The justifications were that this international academic honor for Dr Al-Issa through UPEACE came in recognition of his remarkable efforts to support international diplomacy, promote friendship and cooperation among peoples, and his influential struggle against hatred.

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His Excellency Sheikh Al-Issa delivered a speech in which he expressed his thanks and appreciation for this honor which stimulates more work in the service of peace, as it comes from a prestigious university which has made remarkable global contributions to the service of world peace, in addition to this, it was established in accordance with an international treaty specifically for this noble purpose.

Dr Al-Issa praised the university’s great role in the service of peace, benefiting from its international weight.

For his part, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Larbi Djacta, delivered a speech in which he welcomed the wide recognition of His Excellency Dr. Al-Issa as a leading international figure representing religious moderation and intellectual, continuing to work hard to get the message of moderate Islam and peaceful coexistence all over the world, and to make efforts to educate Muslim minorities.

Mr. Djacta added: “Dr. Al-Issa is a unique figure who led the largest Muslim delegation to visit the Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

In turn, Dr. Francisco Rojas, Rector of UPEACE, stressed that the awarding of an honorary degree to Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa comes in recognition of his individual contributions and his humanitarian efforts in the field of peace. , conflict resolution and the promotion of harmony.

He pointed out that UPEACE, since its inception, has awarded this honorary degree to a group of eminent personalities, including five former heads of state and others of different nationalities and faiths.

He added: “UPEACE is honored to bestow an honorary degree on Dr Mohammad Al-Issa, who is widely recognized as the global voice of religious moderation, and for his commitment to educate the entire world on the religious values ​​represented in compassion, understanding and cooperation among humanity. Dr Mohammad Al-Issa has played a pioneering role in creating partnerships between societies, religions and nations.

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It should be noted that UPEACE enjoys international prestige. It was established by treaty to the United Nations General Assembly in 1980, with a main campus in Costa Rica and offices in Rome, Addis Ababa, New York, Geneva, The Hague, Manila, Beijing and other. Its main mission is to serve humanity with a prestigious international higher education institution, with the aim of promoting the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among humanity, and working to remove obstacles on the way. path to world peace in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. It provides unique international contributions to studies on peace and conflict, dispute resolution, international law, human rights, environmental protection and security. Masters and doctorates in these programs are awarded to practitioners and policy makers who constitute the target group. In addition, it has a worldwide mandate to issue scientific degrees recognized by all member countries of the General Assembly, and is chaired in an honorary capacity by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


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History organization

Why Kaseya ransomware attack worries experts

The frenzy of a cybercriminal gang over the weekend of July 4 ended up infecting more than 1,500 organizations worldwide with ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Huntress. But it’s not the number of victims that keeps experts from sleeping at night.

The gang used a level of planning and sophistication closer to high-level, government-backed hackers, rather than a simple criminal operation, they say.

The hackers behind the madness, the Russian-speaking ransomware gang REvil, have adopted two new tactics previously not used by ransomware gangs that continually hack targets around the world, but particularly in the United States. Most concerning is that they even deployed a zero day, a cybersecurity term for a vulnerability in a program that software developers are unaware of and therefore have not had time to fix.

And they didn’t target a single victim, but rather a company with a small but key role in the internet ecosystem. This gave them access to potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of victims.

“What we are seeing here are the tactics of more sophisticated adversaries, like nation states, that trickle down to these less sophisticated and more financially motivated criminal ransomware groups,” said Jack Cable, researcher at the Krebs Stamos Group. , a cybersecurity consulting firm. .

REvil, possibly best known for hacking JBS, one of the world’s largest international meat vendors, has been active since at least early 2019. Like a number of other Russian-speaking ransomware gangs, REvil has made its fortune in recent years. by hacking into individual organizations. , locking down their computers, stealing their files, and demanding payment to fix things and not disclose what they stole.

REvil has previously tried to deploy its ransomware through a so-called supply chain attack, which exploits the way internet services are interconnected. In 2019, the group succeeded pirate TSM Consulting Services, a small managed service provider in Texas that manages web services for organizations that don’t want to do it themselves. Soon 22 of the company’s customers, all from cities in Texas, were infected with the REvil ransomware. The state and federal government jumped at the deal, however, and cities were finally able to get back online without paying the ransom.

Over the weekend, however, REvil took this kind of supply chain hacking to the next level. Instead of hacking a single organization, or even a single managed service provider, they hacked into Kaseya, a company that specializes in managing software updates for hundreds of different vendors. This gave them access to a significant body of victims, potentially larger than any known criminal hack in history, according to three cybersecurity experts who spoke to NBC News.

So far, it appears that REvil has not had a major impact on American life, although it has crippled several small American businesses, caused a large Swedish grocery store to close for more than 24 hours and infected 11 schools in New Zealand. But that could be a dodged bullet, as cybersecurity experts find supply chain hacks particularly worrisome, as they can quickly give hackers incredibly wide access.

The United States discovered in late 2020 that Russian intelligence agency SVR had hacked into U.S. company SolarWinds, potentially exposing some 18,000 client organizations to elite hackers from a foreign intelligence agency. It was quickly seen as one of the biggest supply chain hacks in history. Even after it became clear that the number of confirmed casualties was likely much lower, the Biden administration berated Russia for the scale of the operation.

While the potential reach of the SolarWinds hack was enormous, there is no evidence that Russia used it for anything other than conventional espionage. The fact that REvil doesn’t appear to be directly driven by a government chain of command means its supply chain attacks could be even more dangerous, Cable said.

“The difference here is that REvil is financially motivated. They are criminals, so in many ways they have fewer limits,” he said. “Ransomware groups don’t follow the same rules, and in some ways we could see this has a bigger impact.”

It is also extremely worrying that REvil was able to deploy a zero-day vulnerability to hack Kaseya, said Brett Callow, analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. While there is no solid evidence as to how the gang acquired it – whether they discovered it, stole it from researchers, or bought it from a broker – it does show that the gang has the ability and intend to acquire and deploy elite tools to orchestrate huge hacking campaigns.

“The Kaseya incident is truly a landmark event. It shows that cybercriminals are capable of acquiring and using zero-day vulnerabilities and using them to cause disruption on an absolutely massive scale,” he said. he declares.

“Because companies keep paying millions of dollars in ransoms, so we have cybercriminals who are more determined and better endowed than ever before,” he said. “It creates predators at the top.”


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Canadian army

John Wilkinson: Puslinch’s Forgotten Hero of a Forgotten War

John Wilkinson was a decorated victim of a long forgotten conflict that contributed in many ways to the region

On January 6, 1903, a special reception was held at Guelph City Hall in honor of two distinguished soldiers.

One of them was Corporal John K. Minchin of Milton, paralyzed by a gunshot wound to his leg. The other, and the horseman who was truly the man of the hour, was King Sergeant John A. Wilkinson, who had lost his right arm and his right eye. Like their comrade-in-arms John McCrae, also present at the reception, they had fought in the South African War (aka the Boer War).

The South African War of 1899-1902 was not exactly Britain’s best hour. Even though the British won the war, the tough Afrikaner fighters gave the armed might of the British Empire all it could take. But it was the first foreign war in which Canadian soldiers fought. Over 7,000 men from communities across Canada, including Guelph, volunteered to fight for the crown, and 284 of them died. 252 others were injured.

In the words of Lieutenant-Colonel William Nicoll of Guelph, they stood up for the dignity of the empire and showed the world the true courage of Canadians. They were national heroes, and none more than Wilkinson.

John Wilkinson was born circa 1874 to a pioneer family in Puslinch. He grew up on a farm and attended Killean School. At fifteen, like so many other Canadian teenagers, he enlisted in the militia. Wilkinson enlisted in the “A” Battery of the Guelph First Field Artillery Brigade.

Wilkinson had clearly found his vocation in the army, especially as an artilleryman. He took an artillery course in Kingston and then won a silver medal in an artillery competition there. He was promoted to sergeant and was part of the Canadian artillery team that traveled to England in 1896 to compete for the Queen’s Prize. The Canadians won by beating teams from across the British Empire. They traveled up the Thames on the Royal Yacht Britannia to Windsor Castle where they had lunch with Queen Victoria.

By the time the South African War broke out, Wilkinson had been promoted to sergeant major. In 1899 he enlisted in the Canadian Mounted Rifles and volunteered to serve overseas. His regiment left Halifax for Durban on January 14, 1900.

Wilkinson participated in several engagements, including the Battle of Harts River, also known as the Battle of Boschbult. It was one of the last major engagements of the war, but also one of the bloodiest. On March 31, 1902, a British column of 1,800 men which included a company of Canadians faced a force of 2,500 Boers. The outnumbered British took up defensive positions around some farm buildings. In a battle that lasted over four hours, a group of 21 Canadians broke away from the main British force. Wilkinson and Minchin were with them.

Eighteen of these 21 soldiers were killed or wounded. Wilkinson received 10 bullets. An exploded bullet shattered his right arm below the elbow and a fragment of it blinded his right eye. He also lost hearing in his right ear. Wilkinson continued to fire his rifle until he ran out of ammo. Then he threw the bolt on his rifle so that it would be useless to the enemy if captured. He lay injured on the battlefield in cold rain for hours before being finally picked up by British stretcher bearers.

A doctor amazed that Wilkinson was still alive operated on him in a bell tent. The surgeon had no hot water and was working by the light of a lantern. Wilkinson and the other injured men stayed in this tent for eight days, then endured three days and two nights in mule-drawn wagons transported 98 miles to a military hospital.

In June 1902, Wilkinson was sent to Netley Military Hospital, England. There he received the visit of Queen Alexandra. Wilkinson was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, which ranked second in prestige after the Victoria Cross. On Lord Kitchener’s recommendation, he was presented to King Edward VII who awarded him the rank of king’s sergeant. Wilkinson was the only Canadian to receive this honor during the South African War.

Wilkinson returned home and in 1909 married Hattie Mae Bailey of Galt. Over the years, he served on the Puslinch Council, as Reeve of Puslinch Township and as Auditor of Puslinch and Nassagaweya Townships and Wellington County. The Wilkinson family eventually moved to Guelph, residing on Glasgow St., then Home St. and finally Mont St. They belonged to St. George’s Anglican Church. In 1938 Wilkinson opened the Wilkinson Insurance Agency on Douglas Street in downtown Guelph.

Wilkinson was introduced to royalty again on June 6, 1939, when King George VI and Queen Mary visited Guelph. After Wilkinson’s death on May 15, 1947, his widow received a letter of condolence from the King and Queen. Flags were hoisted at half mast at Guelph City Hall and Wellington County buildings in honor of the decorated South African War Veteran.


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International headquarters

Turkish strongman’s western charm offensive was born out of desperation

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, Turkey’s economy was in a crisis marked by high inflation, rising unemployment and a relentless decline in the value of the lira.

Since the failed coup in mid-2016, the national currency has lost more than 220% of its value against the euro. According to official figures, annual inflation hovers around 17% and the unemployment rate was recorded at almost 14% in May, which is 1% more than the previous month.

However, experts believe the real data on Turkey’s economy is much worse and the government is manipulating the numbers to create a better picture.

The severe effects of the pandemic and the loss of significant tourism revenues for the second year in a row have exacerbated a poor economic situation.

Karol Wasilewski, senior Turkey analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, PISM, in Warsaw, says the economy is behind Ordogan’s “charm offensive” against the West.

“I see this offensive as a tool to help the heavily damaged Turkish economy by calming the waters of Turkish foreign policy and showing investors that Turkey has decided to be a predictable international player again, which can be trusted. “Wasilewski told BIRN.

As part of this charm offensive, Turkey began to support NATO interests with new military deals directed against Russia, despite the controversial purchase of Russia’s high-tech S-400 missiles.

In recent months, Turkey has sold armed drones to Ukraine and Poland to counter Russia’s military presence in Eastern Europe, and Erdogan recently offered to protect Kabul airport and all Western diplomatic missions after the total withdrawal of NATO allies from Afghanistan.

Following an initial meeting with its US counterpart Joe Biden, the White House announced that the two sides had agreed to work together to ensure that the Turkish mission is established before the 9/11 deadline for the withdrawal of states- States of Afghanistan.

Turkey is also now trying to ease tensions with NATO ally Greece after years of military escalation in the eastern Mediterranean over maritime areas and sharing of energy wealth.

“These are tools to support Turkey’s narrative … about the country’s contribution to the Alliance’s deterrence policy towards Russia, and that it is the only ally that effectively balances Russia in the neighborhood of the Europe.

“This narrative is an instrument designed to convince the United States that Turkey, despite many misunderstandings, is still a reliable ally and that it is in the best interest of the United States to mend the relationship,” observed Wasilewski.

A marriage of necessity


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Non profit living

Chicago Palestinians have connection to distant homeland

Every time Fidaa Elaydi buys fresh falafel for $ 3.99 a dozen from a bakery in Palos Hills, she gives her three children a Palestinian cooking lesson.

Elaydi remembers longing for his father every time he eats sesame bread from Jerusalem, as it reminds him of his own childhood, when he sold loaves of this bread while living in the Gaza Strip.

“I try to make accessible to my children here the parts that were not accessible to my parents in the refugee camp, while helping them understand the nuance,” said Elaydi, 33, a Palestinian refugee from the refugee camp. third generation and an immigration attorney who lives in the southwestern suburb of Justice.

When she tells them about their Palestinian identity, she focuses on the beauty of the area her parents told her stories about when she was growing up – the oranges of Jaffa, the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea and eating figs and pomegranates. directly on the trees.

“I’m just trying to tie everything together … to strengthen their bond with their homeland,” she added.

Fidaa Elaydi with her daughter at one of the recent pro-Palestinian protests in Chicago.
Courtesy photo

This continued connection to their homeland was brought to light recently, when hundreds of people took to the streets of the Loop to show their support for the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel.

the Arab America website estimates that 85,000 Palestinians live in greater Chicago, representing 60% of Chicago’s Arab population.

The community is scattered throughout the metropolitan area, but Arabic road signs are so common in some southwestern suburbs – around Bridgeview, Oak Lawn, and Worth – that the area has been called “Little Palestine.”

“The Palestinians kind of settled in this area, and they chose to stay with each other and build this tight-knit community. If you drive into South Harlem you will see bakeries, dessert shops, jewelry stores, and small grocery stores – anything that cites the names of cities in Palestine, ”Elaydi said.

the Arab-American Action Network, a non-profit community center established in 1995 on the southwest side, is one of several centers for the community. Social services, advocacy work, education, engagement of women and youth, and cultural events are some of the outreach services and programs offered by the network.

This community is linked by a history of conflict and displacement. The region the Palestinians call home includes much of today’s Israel. American Palestinians living in Chicago are just one part of a larger network of Palestinians living in the United States and around the world who connect to their struggle through storytelling, activism, justice social and sometimes simply by existing.

Elaydi’s four grandparents were forced to leave their homes in 1948, a date known to some as Israel’s War of Independence but to others as the “Nakba,” in Arabic for disaster.

They ended up in a refugee camp in Gaza, where Elaydi’s parents grew up until his father, accompanied by his mother, moved to the United States as a student.

“Because Palestinian history is inherently a story of dispossession, displacement and exile, I never believed that my connection, or my Palestinian identity, was less than a Palestinian living between [Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Mer, ”she said.

Ahlam Jbara immigrated to Chicago in 1974 when she was two months old. She returned to the West Bank with her family in 1986. But the following year, six months after the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, her family returned to Chicago.

“I always say that the two years I lived there shaped who I am today,” said Jbara, 47.

Ahlam Jbara speaks at an event organized by the Palestinian American Center at Oak Lawn in 2019.

Ahlam Jbara speaks at an event organized by the Palestinian American Center at Oak Lawn in 2019.
Provided

This 73-year conflict continues today and resumed earlier this year in Jerusalem, where Palestinians faced brutal Israeli police tactics at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in April.

This, combined with threats to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers, was followed by the Hamas group firing long-range rockets into Jerusalem and launching Israel from it. heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, and 1,710 people were injured, according to the Gaza health ministry. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were killed.

The 11-day explosion of violence ended on May 20, with a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.

During the conflict, American Palestinians and their supporters took to the streets of Chicago and around the world.

The sense of community connection here reflects decades of organization and institution building, said Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.

Abudayyeh, the son of Palestinian immigrants, is also national president of the US Palestine Community Network – a grassroots group that is also part of the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, an umbrella organization for pro-Palestinian groups in the region, including including American Muslims. for Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine.

“We were able to react like we did with masses of people because we have institutions. Because we’ve established a tradition and history of community organizing in the city and in the United States as a whole for a long, long time, ”said Abudayyeh.

Coalition rallies closed parts of the loop as protesters demonstrated outside the Israeli consulate, waving Palestinian flags.

Aviv Ezra, Israel’s consul general in the Midwest, said the latest situation was not about the situation in Sheikh Jarrah, but rather the actions of Hamas, which he said “used every pretext … State of Israel.

Protesters hold up a banner for the Coalition for Justice in Palestine during a march through the loop on May 12, 2021. The coalition is an umbrella organization for a number of pro-Palestinian groups in the Chicago chapter.

Protesters hold up a banner for the Coalition for Justice in Palestine during a march through the loop on May 12, 2021. The coalition is an umbrella organization for a number of pro-Palestinian groups in the Chicago chapter.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

In mid-June, the ceasefire was tested when hundreds of Israeli ultra-nationalists, some chanting “Death to the Arabs,” marched through East Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s capture of the region in 1967. The Palestinians then sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel, causing several fires in parched farmland. Israel carried out airstrikes and more balloons followed.

About a week later, there were clashes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in an area of ​​Jerusalem where settler groups are trying to evict several Palestinian families, officials said last week.

Thousands of people demonstrate in favor of Palestine and march through the loop, Wednesday evening, May 12, 2021.

Thousands of people demonstrate in support of Palestine and march through the loop on May 12, 2021.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

The growing awareness of systemic racism in the United States sheds a different light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for some Americans, says Wendy Pearlman, professor of political science at Northwestern University.

“This language of rights and equality also ties into Black Lives Matter and social justice protests in a way that, at least in the American context, people are starting to see in a new light that puts rights. of man in the foreground and it is difficult for Israel and its allies to delegitimize, ”she added.

Tarek Khalil, a member of the Chicago branch of American Muslims for Palestine, said the rallies are “cries for justice, liberation and equality.”

“It is worth it that I am an activist here, because the government that represents me is the same government that provides the same entity that is the source of the oppression of my people – $ 3.8 billion a year in financial, military and diplomatic assistance, ”said Khalil, 36, who grew up in Chicago and lives in Bridgeview but spent four years of his childhood living in the Silwan neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

“It’s personal but also political,” Khalil said. “It is essential that we pressure our government to formulate policies that are not contrary to the values ​​we preach every day.

Contribution: Associated Press

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History organization

Texas AFT: mourn the loss of our union’s “happy warrior”

“While education negotiation remains elusive, we will have to thank Sharon’s years of training as an activist and steward at Texas AFT when we finally reach our goal of a negotiated contract.

AFT Texas President Zeph Capo

Sharon Cole

Sharon Cole, one of the early formators of what we then called the Texas Federation of Teachers, recently passed away. Sharon was the spark plug that sparked much of the organizing in our union by teaching new staff the nuts and bolts of union membership registration and guiding local union leaders. Our friend Ed Sills, communications director of the AFL-CIO of Texas, wrote him this fitting tribute.

The AFL-CIO of Texas is saddened to learn of the passing of Sharon Cole, who played an extraordinary role in the success of the Texas American Federation of Teachers.

Sister Cole and her husband, John Cole, a longtime president of AFT Texas, were one of the great couples in Texas labor history. As a reporter covering the Legislative Assembly in the 1980s and early 1990s, I witnessed this with my own eyes: John chaired press conferences and served as the public face of the union, but reporters poured in. to Sharon for more details and everything in between the lines the union could afford to disclose. It was a Mr. Outside and Ms. Inside vibe characterized by superb communication skills and determined advocacy. While Sharon Cole is formally responsible for leadership development and training, her portfolio encompasses all of AFT’s Texas operations. As the communications director of Texas AFL-CIO, I have also had the honor of attending some of the leadership training conferences Sharon has hosted at Texas AFT, and I can say from experience that these operations have been ( and are) valuable, efficient and enthusiastic. received.

The Coles’ tenure included nationally significant battles over educational reform and school financial justice – the latter a historic civil rights battle that conquered rugged hills. Their participation in the fair fundraising movement for public schools came after a setback in the United States Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Texas Supreme Court made some important court decisions and the legislature moved in the direction of funding parity for schoolchildren in the state.

Sharon Cole

Although some local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers in Texas are older, AFT Texas was founded in 1974, at a time when public sector unions were beginning to play a much larger role in the labor movement. The AFT state was a newcomer to a state that has four organizations seeking to represent teachers and other public school employees. Two of these organizations can be qualified as non-union and / or anti-union. The third, our friends from the Texas State Teachers Association, joined with AFT of Texas to organize meetings and conferences in a number of large school districts; TSTA was founded in 1880. Under the leadership of John and Sharon Cole, Texas AFT has grown, both in number and efficiency.

A succession of Texas AFL-CIO presidents have proudly noted that the Texas AFT is the largest or the second largest union in the state federation, depending on which day you count members alongside the American Federation. government employees. The union went from “being able to meet in a closet” to the 66,000 members it has today by shamelessly declaring that the Texas AFT is a union through and through, seeking collective bargaining, opposing the a law known as the “right to work” and engaging in the kind of concerted activism expected from unions across the country. Sharon Cole was instrumental in laying the foundation for the union’s rise to power.

In addition to creating an organizational culture, the Coles have set another standard that applies to AFT Texas to date: They have excelled at recruiting staff, hiring some of the government’s best advocates. State and cultivating their talents. To this day, Texas AFT is making a mark that goes way beyond its numbers.

“Sharon Cole was a true emissary of labor sent from Ohio to guide new activists to the promised land of collective bargaining and empowering teachers and school workers here in Texas,” the president said. ‘AFT from Texas, Zeph Capo. “While education negotiation remains elusive, we will have to thank Sharon’s years of training as an activist and steward at Texas AFT when we finally reach our goal of a negotiated contract.

Any memory of Sharon Cole cannot fail to mention that the Coles were the mainstays of Corpus Christi, having started their work in Texas (after meeting while organizing in Ohio) at the local AFT branch. . (The Corpus Christi affiliate would produce another revered Texas AFT president and Cole protégé, the late Linda Bridges.) The conditions in Corpus Christi schools and the realization that other school districts were in the same situation prompted the Coles to take their activism to the state level. For years, the Coles made personal financial sacrifices as they strengthened the foundations of the union.

“It was my chance to work with and get to know Sharon Cole,” said Becky Moeller, former president of the AFL-CIO of Texas, another historic labor activist from Corpus Christi. “In addition to her advocacy for schoolchildren, she has devoted herself to educating union activists. His continuing education programs within AFT and work in general were legendary.

“John Cole and Sharon Cole were a dynamic duo,” said Moeller. “They complemented each other professionally and personally. Many members of the labor movement have been touched by Sharon’s activism and love for her work.
Sharon Cole personally recruited former AFT Texas president Louis Malfaro to join AFT Texas during his first year as a teacher.

“Sharon called me cold the same week I received a letter from an anti-union teachers’ organization that said, ‘We think strikes should be for the big old game of baseball,’” Malfaro said. . “I was livid. When she called me I asked, “Is this a real union? She assured me that Texas AFT was affiliated with the AFL-CIO and really a real union. She was at my classroom door the next morning with a membership card, convinced she had one online.

Malfaro said Sharon Cole’s belief in systemic organizing has influenced AFT affiliates across the country. He adds that she was a joy to work with: “Her saucy sense of humor, her easy way to connect with just about everyone she met and the hoarse laughter that spilled out in the halls of the hotel. AFT office in Texas are forever etched in my memory. “

Eric Hartman, the longtime legislative director of AFT Texas recruited by John Cole, described Sharon Cole as a “happy warrior”. He said the couple were “a real partnership, a team that has served the members very well.”
Hartman said Sharon Cole’s versatility was extraordinary, especially given the union’s years of being a family operation, with minimal staff. “She was the one who could do it all,” Hartman said.

Jerry Quinones, a retiree who has worked for AFT locally, state and nationally, said Sharon Cole’s role in the union’s growth is vital. “She lit up a room,” Quinones said. “She was always upbeat and positive, with so much energy and so much motivation.” Quinones said this personality carried on in the summer and winter leadership training sessions which were widely emulated and became national role models for the union.

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said Sharon Cole had played an important role in the history of the state’s Federation of Labor. “Sharon Cole was at the heart of the movement to improve public education in Texas,” Levy said. “His commitment to training, leadership development and organizational strength has left a legacy across the labor movement and has helped make Texas AFT a leader not only in education policy, but also in education policy. the full range of problems affecting working families. She will be deeply missed.

The Texas AFL-CIO offers its sincere condolences to John Cole, the Cole family and the Texas AFT. Arrangements are private


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International headquarters

Apollo Impact will acquire approx. 67% stake in the RDM Group,

Transaction followed by a public delisting offer for the RDM group

RDM, leader in the circular economy, represents Apollo’s first investment from its Impact platform

NEW YORK, July 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO) (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo” or the “Company”) announced today that certain funds managed by its affiliated companies (the “Apollo Funds”) have entered into definitive agreements to acquire a majority stake in Reno De Medici SpA (“RDM”, or the “Company” or “the Issuer” (BIT: RM / BME: RDM), a leading producer of recycled cardboard in Europe.

Apollo Funds will acquire approx. 67% stake in RDM of the two main shareholders of the Company, Cascades inc. (TSX: CAS) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec at a price of 1.45 EUR per share (without adjustment, except as detailed below), i.e. a participation of 24% premium to the 90-day volume-weighted average. The transaction, which is subject to the customary closing conditions detailed below, is expected to close by the third quarter of 2021. Upon closing, Apollo will launch a mandatory takeover bid for the remaining shares, in the aim to withdraw the Company.

RDM is the leading producer of coated recycled cardboard in Italy, France and the Iberian Peninsula, and the second largest producer in Europe. With 100% of products made from recycled materials, RDM plays a central role in increasing sustainability and contributing to a circular economy by minimizing waste, emissions and consumption of raw materials and water. This year, the RDM group acquired factories in Spain, which just closed last week, and agreed to acquire factories in the Netherlands which, at closing, will expand its operations to nine factories and five specialized centers of cutting and laminating across Europe and the United States. Apollo expects the RDM Group to continue to benefit from increasing changes in consumer preferences and EU-wide regulations supporting the use of sustainable recycled fibers.

“Already one of the main European leaders in recycled cardboard, RDM is well positioned for continued growth as more companies replace plastics with sustainable packaging. We see RDM as a proven platform for inorganic growth and look forward to working with Michele and the leadership team as they evolve the business for greater positive environmental impact, ”said Marc Becker, Partner principal and co-leader of Apollo Impact. “As an inaugural investment led by the Apollo Impact platform, RDM reflects our strategy of finding good companies where we believe we can generate financial and impact performance to increase their beneficial effects on society and the planet. “

“We are delighted to be working with Apollo throughout this next phase of growth for RDM. Over the past five years, our exceptional team has made significant progress in scaling our platform and optimizing our operations across Europe ”said Michele Bianchi, CEO of RDM Group . “Looking ahead, we are also excited about Apollo’s shared commitment to the circular economy, of which we are both contributors and beneficiaries. We look forward to building on our ambitious Sustainable Development Goals to shape a better future for all of our stakeholders. “

Andrea Moneta, Apollo Senior Advisor for Italy, added: “RDM highlights the important role Italy plays in building a more sustainable global economy and Apollo’s commitment to working with the best companies , Italian entrepreneurs and management teams to support their long-term growth.

About the operation

Rimini BidCo Srl (“Rimini”), a newly formed company owned by the Apollo Funds, and the two principal shareholders of RDM, Cascades Inc. and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, have entered into sale and purchase agreements which provide for the purchase by Rimini of a total of 251,974,385 RDM ordinary shares, corresponding to approximately 67% of its share capital, at a price of EUR 1.45 per share, this price will not be subject to ” adjustments, except in the event of potential impairment losses (such as possible dividends, returns of capital or other similar distributions of profits or assets to sellers or, to the extent applicable, other potential leaks, better identified in share purchase agreements), provided that RDM’s 2020 dividend that was paid to shareholders in May 2021 will not be considered a leak (the “Price Per Share”).

The completion of the transaction (the “Closing”) is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions precedent, as better described in the share purchase agreements, concerning, among other things: (i) obtaining the necessary antitrust authorizations , and (ii) the absence of orders in force by any competent government authority prohibiting the transaction. The closing is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2021.

As indicated above, at the Closing, Rimini will hold 251,974,385 Shares, i.e. approximately 67% of the Issuer’s share capital and, therefore, in accordance with Articles 106, paragraph 1 and 109 of the TUF, will be required to launch a compulsory takeover bid. (the “Mandatory Offer”) on all remaining RDM shares at the highest Price Per Share paid to one of the sellers.

The subject of the Binding Offer is the delisting of the Issuer. In the event that the delisting should not be carried out following and as a result of the Mandatory Offer, the delisting may also be carried out by a merger of the Issuer with Rimini or another company controlled by the Apollo Funds.

Rimini will finance the transaction, including any potential refinancing of the Issuer’s existing debt, through a combination of its own cash resources and fully committed debt financing from leading international banks.

Finally, it is specified that there are 241,114 convertible savings shares of the Issuer not listed on a regulated market which, in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association of the Issuer, are convertible into ordinary shares at the request of the holders concerned in February. and September of each year. In the event of the launch of the Mandatory Offer, the Mandatory Offer will also include all ordinary shares resulting from the conversion of the aforementioned convertible savings shares (insofar as these shares are converted before the expiration of the Mandatory Offer) .

Allen & Overy and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal advisers for Apollo. Jones Day acted as legal advisor and Rothschild & Co. acted as financial advisor to Cascades Inc. Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

About Apollo Impact

Launched in 2020, the Apollo Impact platform draws on the expertise of the firm’s main private equity franchise. Apollo Impact seeks to differentiate itself in the market by seeking large-scale impact through opportunities in late-stage companies in five key areas: economic opportunity; education; health, safety and well-being; industry 4.0; and climate and sustainability. Apollo has a long history of ESG screening and engagement spanning over a decade. The platform is led by co-directors Marc Becker and Joanna Reiss and Impact president Lisa Hall. Earlier this year, the firm announced the creation of the Apollo Impact Advisory Board, made up of 12 diverse professionals with expertise and experience in impact investing and / or the platform’s strategic focus areas.

About Apollo
Apollo is a high growth global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients with excess return at every step of the risk-return spectrum, from investment grade to private equity, by focusing on three business strategies: return, hybrid and opportunistic. Through our investing activity on our fully integrated platform, we meet the retirement income and financial performance needs of our clients, and we deliver innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative and knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, the companies we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact on, to expand opportunities and drive positive results. As of March 31, 2021, Apollo had approximately $ 461 billion in assets under management. For more information, please visit www.apollo.com.

About the RDM Group
The RDM group is the second European producer of recycled coated board, the largest in Italy, France and the Iberian Peninsula. The group is currently listed on the Star segment of Borsa Italiana SpA and the Madrid Stock Exchange. The RDM group’s headquarters are in Milan but it has a strategic international presence thanks to its manufacturing plants, sheet metal centers and a sales network active in 70 countries. The RDM group’s product portfolio mainly consists of recycled cardboard, used primarily for packaging and folding boxes in all major product sectors.

Apollo contact details

For investors
Peter Mintzberg, Head of Investor Relations
Global management of Apollo, Inc.
+1 (212) 822-0528
[email protected]

For the media
Joanna Rose, Global Head of Corporate Communications
Global management of Apollo, Inc.
+1 (212) 822-0491
[email protected]


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Non profit living

Joint Fundraiser for Aloha United Way Introduces New Bath and Body Collection

Image courtesy of MANAOLA Hawai’i website.

Hawaiian Electric and luxury Hawaiian fashion label MANAOLA Hawaiʻi have launched presales of a new environmentally conscious bath and body collection as a fundraiser for Aloha United Way.

Five gift options from “Lei Puakenikeni” from MANAOLAcollection – priced at $ 22 to $ 56 – is available for pre-order on the Mākeke pop-up website through July 31 and orders processed in October.

“All proceeds from sales will go to AUW’s ALICE Fund, which brings together people, resources and sustainable solutions to help make the community stronger and more resilient.”

the Lei Puakenikeni The collection uses only sustainably and ethically sourced ingredients, natural fragrances and biodegradable packaging for the special line made in Hawaii, which is also cruelty-free and vegan. Product samples will be available at MANAOLA stores in Ala Moana and Pearlridge shopping centers and pre-sale orders will also be taken in-store.

Fundraising items include a coconut and soy candle ($ 22), a bath set with shampoo and conditioner bars ($ 26), a home diffuser with bamboo reeds ($ 44 ), a gift set with a bath soap and shampoo and conditioner bars in a burlap bag ($ 50) and a gift set with a bath soap, moisturizing body lotion and a candle in a burlap bag ($ 56).

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“We’re always looking for new and creative ways to support AUW and our community, and we researched MANAOLA because they embrace the same commitment to communities, Hawaiian culture, sustainability, and customer service that we also value,” said said Bob Krekel, Hawaiian Electric. Director of Business Processes and Continuous Improvement and Chairman of the Employee Fundraising Committee. “MANAOLA is also known for their high quality and innovation and we are proud to collaborate with them on a new product launch and fundraising. Together, we hope for a successful campaign that will uplift our community through these trying times and help build a resilient Hawai’i. “

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The launch of a bath and body collection by MANAOLA marks a new venture for the innovative fashion house known for its indigenous art and an opportunity to support a small local business on the island of Hawai’i while giving back to the community. The new line also elevates the exotic and fragrant puakenikeni flower which holds deep meaning for the brand’s founder, Manaola Yap.

“The collection was inspired by fond memories of his tūtū and acts of kindness, generosity, love and aloha, which is our way of life,” said Zachary Pang, CEO of MANAOLA Hawaiʻi. “When Hawaiian Electric reached out to MANAOLA to collaborate on creative ways to kāko’o (support) our local community through Aloha United Way, the answer was simple, together is the only way to thrive as a community. It is especially important for us to support the Native Hawaiian community and through the ALICE initiative we are able to reach the non-profit agencies that serve these community members through programs that honor culture, strengthen skills and increase access to resources.

The ALICE initiative refers to employed people with limited income and limited assets who are hard-working, full-time Hawaiian residents, sometimes many jobs and still living on paychecks. Funds raised will benefit programs designed to help residents with increased income potential and / or reduced household expenses; better access to social service delivery and community resources; and the development of financial capacities and “soft skills”.

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“These are often the first steps a family can take towards a more solid economic foundation. If we are to rebuild our communities to be better and more equitable than before, we believe it is important to help those who are struggling to make ends meet and living on the brink of poverty, ”said Emmaly Calibraro , Vice President of Resource Development and Donor Relations at AUW. She noted that before the pandemic reached Hawai’i, 42% of the population were ALICE or lived in poverty. Estimates put that number at 59% post-pandemic.

“We would like to thank Hawaiian Electric and MANAOLA for creating this fundraiser that will ultimately benefit those who need it most. We continue to be encouraged by the creativity of each organization and their total commitment to building the communities of Hawai’i, ”Calibraro added.

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History organization

All-time leaders in franchise history

NOT SPECIFIED – CIRCA 1969: (Photo by Focus on Sport / Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals have been blessed with excellent quarterbacks in their 50+ years as an organization. Six of their former quarterbacks threw for more than 10,000 yards and, in some teams, would find themselves higher on the all-time passing yard list.

Let’s take a look at the passing Bengals leaders.

Cincinnati Bengals All-Time Leaders – No. 15: Greg Cook (1865)

Bengals Quarterback 1969-1973

In 1969, the Bengals entered their sophomore year in the NFL and found their quarterback with the No.5 pick in that year’s draft. They went with Cincinnati’s own Greg Cook, who grew up in Ohio and played for the Bearcats in college.

There was a lot to like about Cook during his college days and he gave big numbers when you consider how different the game was back then. The Bengals have decided to leave John Stofa, their quarterback in their inaugural season, and have moved on to the Greg Cook era.

Sadly, the Cook era never really saw the light of day as shoulder injuries undermined what could have been a promising career for the Ohio native. He started 11 games as a rookie in 1969 while throwing for 1,854 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, but could not start again until 1973 due to the severity of his injury.

When all was said and done, Cook’s career was a disappointment, but Bengals fans who were alive to watch him play have always wondered what could have been.


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