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“Ghosts of Afghanistan” Documentary Reveals Shattered Hopes | Cinema | DW


The documentary Ghosts of Afghanistan, shown at Berlin Human Rights Film Festival, follows Canadian war correspondent Graeme Smith as he returns to Afghanistan and visits various individuals who were involved in rebuilding the country or offers an insider perspective on its social and political background.

The deep divisions in Afghanistan are particularly evident through the perspectives of the various women interviewed in the film. Among them is Shaharzad Akbar, the country’s leading human rights investigator, who denounces abuses by both the Taliban and the government.

Graeme Smith also meets with Frankish students at Kabul University who discuss how the Taliban can threaten their hard-won rights and freedoms.

A particularly stark contrast is also revealed through an encounter with a group of burqa-clad women in Kandahar who live up to Taliban expectations, as opposed to the film’s other interview partner, Farahnaz Forotan, who is one of the more franks of the country. feminists.

Her house, decorated with large self-portraits of Frida Kahlo showing her breasts, would shock many conservatives.

Provocative art in an Afghan woman’s office: feminist Farahnaz Forotan featured in “Ghosts of Afghanistan”

Retrospective revelations

Current developments in Afghanistan make the film very timely, but as it was filmed in 2019, it provides insight into the structures that enabled the Taliban to retake Afghanistan.

As Graeme Smith explained at the Berlin film festival, their initial version of the film offered a hopeful end to a political settlement: modifications, “he said.” We had hoped that the Doha process could lead to a compromise between the Taliban and their enemies. “

Still from the movie 'Ghosts of Afghanistan', women wearing a burqa sitting around a table and drinking tea, a woman wears only a veil and chats with a man at the end of the table.

In the film, these women say they don’t feel threatened by the Taliban

The perspective provided by the documentary is particularly revealing. As director Julian Sher told DW, “A major point of our film is that the Taliban are much stronger than the Afghan government or Western armies would admit.”

Warnings against the Taliban were dismissed

Two interviews in the film express this idea particularly well. In one scene, Rahmatullah Amiri, one of Afghanistan’s most respected political analysts, warns that already in 2019, the Taliban had most of their country “in full control”.

This statement is followed by an optimistic statement from National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib, who says, “We have broken the backs of the Taliban,” and adds, “We have a military path to victory in this conflict.

“This is not true at all,” is Amiri’s reaction to the news. “If the backs of the Taliban could be broken, it would be from 2009 to 2014 where hundreds of thousands of international troops there and billions of dollars poured into building and nation building and everything.” Amiri then correctly predicted that the Taliban “has not yet reached its peak.”

Broken trust

Many people were inclined to believe and put their hopes in the country’s 38-year-old Western-trained national security adviser. Hamdullah Mohib, who had been the former Afghan ambassador to the United States and was considered one of President Ashraf Ghani’s most trusted associates. They both fled the country on August 15.

From the film 'Ghosts of Afghanistan': National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib interviewed by Graeme Smith, a man taking notes on the sidelines.

National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib is interviewed by Graeme Smith in “Ghosts of Afghanistan”

Afghan journalist Khwaga Ghani, who worked as a fixer on Ghosts of Afghanistan, was among those who were deeply disappointed with Mohib, a figure she found particularly inspiring while filming the documentary in 2019.

“I had a totally different perspective and idea of ​​what he was going to do for the country. I thought he could bring about changes in society, in the security situation,” she told DW. “But in the end, he really broke not only my confidence but everyone’s confidence.”

Leaving Afghanistan

Like many others, Khwaga Ghani was forced to leave Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power. As she also worked for various media, including the New York Times, NPR, Vice and National Geographic, she managed to escape Kabul with her family thanks to the intervention of her American colleagues.

It was a complicated process. After four days of hiding in a hotel after the Taliban took control of Kabul, her family were escorted to the airport. Ghani said they had to spend two nights near the runway before being admitted to a plane filled with more than 400 people.

Their first stop was in Qatar, where they spent seven hours stuck on the plane, waiting for buses that would take them to the military base. “Children were passing out inside the plane, there was no oxygen,” she said.

Confront the ghosts

After a second stop at the US Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany, they were finally dispatched to the Fort McCoy Base in Wisconsin, where they are still waiting. Even though Ghani has contacts in the region, she is not allowed to leave the US military facility, where they have been held for 21 days already. They do not know exactly when they will be allowed to leave, as the investigations into the various refugees must be completed.

Ghani and his family plan to eventually go to California, where his brother already lives. She was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies in journalism and human rights.

Like many other Afghans, she intends to face the ghosts of Afghanistan in the future. “I hope my country will be better, so that I can go back,” she said. Meanwhile, she added: “I want to learn things here that will help bring about changes in my country.”


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History organization

Haitians see the history of racist policies in the treatment of migrants


The footage – of men on horseback, appearing to use reins as whips to surround Haitian asylum seekers trying to cross into the United States from Mexico – sparked an uproar. But for many Haitians and black Americans, they are just confirmation of a deeply held belief:

US immigration policies, they say, are and have long been anti-black.

The border patrol’s treatment of Haitian migrants, they say, is just the latest in a long history of discriminatory US policies and indignities faced by blacks, sparking new anger among Haitian Americans, advocates black immigrants and civil rights leaders.

They point to immigration data which indicates that Haitians and other black migrants routinely face structural barriers to entering or living legally in the United States – and often experience disproportionate contact with the United States criminal justice system that can jeopardize their residence or accelerate their deportation.

Haitians, in particular, are granted asylum at the lowest rate of any nationality with a consistently high number of asylum seekers, according to an analysis of Associated Press data.

“Black immigrants live at the intersection of race and immigration and, for too long, have fallen through the cracks of bureaucracy and legal loopholes,” said Yoliswa Cele of the UndocuBlack Network, an organization national defense of the rights of current and former undocumented blacks.

“Now, through the videos capturing the abuses against Haitians at the border, the world has now seen for itself that not all migrants seeking a better future are treated equally when the skin color is involved. “

Between 2018 and 2021, only 4.62% of Haitian asylum seekers were granted asylum from the United States – the lowest rate among 84 groups for which data is available. Asylum seekers from the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, have an equally low rate of 5.11%.

In comparison, four of the top five American asylum seekers are from Latin American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras. Their acceptance rates range from 6.21% to 14.12%.

Nicole Phillips, legal director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said racism has long been the driving force behind the US government’s treatment of Haitian immigrants.

Phillips, whose organization is on the ground helping Haitians in Texas, says it dates back to the early 1800s, when Haitian slaves revolted and gained independence from France, and continued for decades. decades of American intervention and occupation in the small island nation.

She said the United States, threatened by the possibility of its own slaves revolting, both aided the French and did not recognize Haiti’s independence for nearly six decades. The United States also loaned Haiti money so that it could, in essence, buy its independence, collecting interest while plunging the country into poverty for decades.

“This mentality and stigma against Haitians goes back to that time,” Phillips said.

The United States violently occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934 and supported former Haitian dictator François Duvalier, whose oppressive regime left 30,000 dead and forced thousands to flee.

While the United States has long treated Cubans with compassion – largely because of its opposition to the Communist regime – the administrations of George HW Bush and Bill Clinton have taken a hard line on Haitians. And the Trump administration ended temporary protection status for several nationalities, including Haitians and Central Americans.

Time and time again, the United States has passed immigration legislation that excluded black immigrants and Haitians, and promoted policies that unfairly undermined their legal status in the country, advocates said.

When they do manage to enter the United States, black immigrants say they face systemic racism in the American criminal justice system and American police brutality that is endemic for people across the African Diaspora.

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, a national racial justice and immigrant rights group, largely defines black immigrants as people from countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Based on this definition, AP’s analysis of 2019 Department of Homeland Security data found that 66% of black immigrants deported from the United States were returned on criminal grounds, compared to 43% of all immigrants.

BAJI executive director Nana Gyamfi said crimes of moral turpitude, including theft or turnstile hopping, were used as partial justification for denying legal status to black immigrants. “We have people who are being kicked out because of train tickets,” she said.

Leaders of the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of black-led racial justice and civil rights organizations, have highlighted the treatment of Haitians at the border as a rationale for their broader demands for funding from humanitarian organizations. law enforcement in the United States.

Last year, following the murder of George Floyd, the coalition proposed sweeping federal legislation known as the BREATHE Act, which includes calls to end immigration detention, stop deportations due to contacts with the criminal justice system and to ensure due process within the immigration justice system. .

“Often in the immigration debate, black people are erased and black immigrants are erased from the conversation,” said Amara Enyia, policy researcher for the Black Lives Movement.

Ahead of a visit to the Texas migrant camp on Thursday, civil rights leaders called for an investigation into the treatment of black migrants at the border and an immediate end to the deportation of black asylum seekers.

The camp is “a catastrophic and human disgrace,” Reverend Al Sharpton said after an hour-long tour with several black American leaders in Del Rio. “We will continue to come back, as long as necessary. “

At the border and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where hundreds of people had previously been sent on flights from the United States, Haitians said there was no doubt race played a role. major in their mistreatment.

“They catch people, they disturb us, especially Haitians because they identify us by skin,” said Jean Claudio Charles who, with his wife and one-year-old son, had stayed in a camp on the Mexican side. near Texas for fear of arrest and deportation to Haiti.

Claude Magnolie, a Haitian citizen deported from the United States this week, said he had not seen border patrol officers treating migrants of other nationalities like him and others were treated: “C ‘ is discrimination, that’s what I call it, they treat us very badly. “

And in Miami, immigrant rights advocate Francesca Menes couldn’t believe her eyes as she watched images of asylum seekers surrounded by men on horseback.

“My family is under this bridge,” Menes said, referring to a cousin, his wife and their newborn baby who recently met in a small town on the Texas border. It took Menes’ cousin two months to make the trip from Chile, where he had lived with his brothers for three years, to escape the political turmoil, violence and devastation in Haiti.

“It made me sick,” Menes said. “This did not happen with unaccompanied minors. You did not see people riding horses, essentially herding people together as if they were cattle, as if they were animals. . “

Menes’ outrage only grew, as did his fears for his family. When she overheard her mother on the phone with family members this week, Menes said she wanted nothing more than to tell them to return to Chile.

“We actually tried to discourage our families,” she said. “People are looking for a better life. And we kind of try to anchor our families: do you know what it means to be black in America?

____

AP staff members Maria Verza in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, Fernando Gonzalez in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jasen Lo in Chicago, and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed. Morrison reported from New York. Galvan reported from Phoenix. Both are members of the AP Race and Ethnicity team. Follow Galvan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/astridgalvan. Follow Morrison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.



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Non profit living

Haitian group in Houston seeks to help refugees coming from the border – Houston Public Media


Migrants, many from Haiti, wait to board a bus to Houston at a humanitarian center after being released from the United States Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande and turned into asylum seekers, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas.

As the United States orders the deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants crossing Mexico to Texas, a local nonprofit is dealing with those who have already made it to Houston.

Organizers of the nonprofit Houston Haitians United this week called for volunteers to cook and translate Haitian dishes, helping to bridge the linguistic and cultural divide. The organization has looked after relief efforts and recently worked with Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office to organize supplies drives in the wake of the devastating earthquake that rocked Haiti this summer.

HHU is also using its platform to denounce immigration policies aimed at deporting recently arrived Haitians.

“Some people walked two months to come to the United States just to be deported to Haiti and start from scratch,” said James Pierre, president of HHU. “It’s heartbreaking because a lot of money, blood, sweat and tears have been invested in trying to find a better life.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, up to 3,000 additional Haitian refugees are expected to pass through Houston on their way to other destinations in the country. Most or all of those who do will have come from Del Rio, where tens of thousands of migrants were waiting under the international bridge between Del Rio and Mexico.

Florida and northeastern states like New York and New Jersey have historically been stopping places for the Haitian diaspora. There are over 500,000 Haitians living in the United States, nearly half of whom live in Florida.

Pierre is a transplant from Florida who says there are thousands of Haitians in the Houston area alone, and his organization is a way to build a community here.

“When I moved to Houston 18 years ago, it wasn’t around, you know? ” he said. “Haitians have been here since the 1970s. But the reason we created HHU was that they were here, people move here every day.

Buses arrive at a shelter in northwest Houston run by the Mormon Church since Monday evening, with two to three buses of about 65 people each, greeted by HHU volunteers, organizers said.

Rolanda Charles, the group’s secretary, helped coordinate volunteers via social media, posting a call for people who speak Haitian Creole and who can help make large casseroles of comfort food like chicken stew and Diri Kole, Haitian-style rice and beans. plate. Charles also posted the bus arrival times.

“We were there from 6:30 p.m. to almost three in the morning, distributing food, translating, putting people in touch… with their friends and families who are currently in the United States and helping them buy those bus tickets or tickets. ‘plane. to bring them home,’ Charles said.

As of Thursday, the number of Haitian migrants at the Del Rio Bridge had fallen to around 4,000, according to information from the Associated Press. About 1,400 had been returned to Haiti on 13 flights under the pandemic public health authority known as Title 42, while 3,200 others are in U.S. custody and under treatment, several thousand more returning to Mexico, according to the AP.

For those who are allowed to stay in the United States at least for the time being, Charles was hopeful that more organizations would help them along their journey, especially after seeing heartbreaking footage at the border.

“Every person, however they get to the border – whether they stay there or have to go back – must be respected,” Charles said. “They must be treated with respect, dignity and humanity. We are people at the end of the day. We are not animals. We are human beings.

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Canadian army

Sloppy drone strike in Kabul started with the wrong car


[explosion] In one of the last acts of its 20-year war in Afghanistan, the United States fired a missile from a drone at a car in Kabul. It was parked in the courtyard of a house, and the explosion killed 10 people, including Zemari Ahmadi, 43, and seven children, according to his family. The Pentagon claimed Ahmadi was a facilitator for the Islamic State and that his car was filled with explosives, posing an imminent threat to US troops monitoring the evacuation at Kabul airport. “The procedures were followed correctly and it was a virtuous strike. What the military apparently didn’t know was that Ahmadi was a long-time aid worker, who colleagues and family say spent the hours before his death running office errands. and ended his day by stopping off at his home. Shortly after, his Toyota was hit by a 20-pound Hellfire missile. What was interpreted as the suspicious movements of a terrorist was perhaps just an ordinary day in his life. And it is possible that the soldiers saw Ahmadi loading in his car water cans that he brought back to his family, and not explosives. Using images from Ahmadi’s never-before-seen security cameras, interviews with his family, colleagues and witnesses, we will reconstruct for the first time his movements in the hours leading up to his assassination. Zemari Ahmadi was an electrical engineer by training. For 14 years he worked for the Kabul office of Nutrition and Education International. “NEI has established a total of 11 soybean processing plants in Afghanistan. It is a Californian NGO which fights against malnutrition. Most of the time, he would drive one of the company’s white Toyota Corollas, take his colleagues to and from work and distribute NGO food to Afghans displaced by the war. Just three days before Ahmadi was killed, 13 US soldiers and more than 170 Afghan civilians died in an Islamic State suicide bombing at the airport. The military had given lower level commanders the power to order airstrikes earlier in the evacuation, and they were preparing for what they feared was another impending attack. To reconstruct Ahmadi’s movements on August 29, in the hours leading up to his assassination, The Times reconstructed footage from his office’s security camera, with interviews with more than a dozen colleagues and members of Ahmadi’s family. Ahmadi appears to have left his home around 9 a.m. He then retrieved a colleague and his boss’s laptop near his home. It was around this time that the US military claimed to have observed a white sedan leaving a suspected Islamic State refuge, about three miles northwest of the airport. This is why the US military said it followed Ahmadi’s corolla that day. They also said they intercepted communications from the hideout, ordering the car to make several stops. But every colleague who rode with Ahmadi that day said what the military interpreted as a series of suspicious moves was just a typical day in their life. After Ahmadi picked up another colleague, the three stopped for breakfast and at 9.35am they arrived at the NGO office. Later that morning, Ahmadi led some of his colleagues to a Taliban-occupied police station to obtain permission for a future food distribution at a new IDP camp. At around 2 p.m., Ahmadi and his colleagues returned to the office. The security camera footage we got from the office is crucial to understanding what happens next. The camera time stamp is off, but we went to the office and checked the time. We also matched an exact scene in the footage with a timestamp satellite image to confirm it was accurate. At 2:35 p.m., Ahmadi takes out a hose, then he and a colleague fill empty containers with water. Earlier that morning, we saw Ahmadi bring those same empty plastic containers to the office. There was a shortage of water in his neighborhood, his family said, so he regularly brought water from the office to the house. At around 3:38 p.m., a colleague moved Ahmadi’s car further down the aisle. A senior US official told us that around the same time, the military saw Ahmadi’s car enter an unknown compound 8 to 12 kilometers southwest of the airport. This overlaps with the location of the NGO office, which we believe to be what the military has called an unknown compound. At the end of the workday, an employee turns off the office generator and the camera feed stops. We have no images of the moments that followed. But that’s when the military said its drone feed showed four men carefully loading wrapped packages into the car. The officials said they couldn’t tell what was inside. These images from earlier today show what the men said they were carrying – their laptops in a plastic bag. And the only things in the trunk, Ahmadi’s colleagues said, were the water cans. Ahmadi dropped off each of them, then went to his home in a dense area near the airport. He stepped back into the small courtyard of the house. Children surrounded the car, according to his brother. A US official said the military feared the car would pull away and go down an even busier street or to the airport itself. The drone operators, who had not monitored Ahmadi’s house at all that day, quickly swept the yard and said they saw only one adult male talking to the driver and no children. They decided it was time to strike. A US official told us that the strike on Ahmadi’s car was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired a single Hellfire missile with a 20-pound warhead. We found remnants of the missile, which experts said matched a Hellfire at the scene of the attack. In the days following the attack, the Pentagon has repeatedly claimed that the missile strike set off further explosions and that these likely killed civilians in the yard. “Large secondary explosions from the targeted vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.” “Because there were secondary explosions, there is a reasonable conclusion to be drawn that there were explosives in this vehicle.” But a senior military official told us later that it was only likely that explosives in the car caused another explosion. We collected photos and videos of the scene taken by journalists and visited the courtyard on several occasions. We shared the evidence with three weapons experts who said the damage matched the impact of a Hellfire missile. They pointed out the small crater under Ahmadi’s car and the damage caused by the metal fragments of the warhead. This plastic melted as a result of a car fire triggered by the missile strike. The three experts also pointed out what was missing: any evidence of the large secondary explosions described by the Pentagon. No collapsed or blown walls, including next to the chest with suspected explosives. No sign that a second car parked in the yard was hit by a large explosion. No vegetation destroyed. This all matches what eyewitnesses told us, that a single missile exploded and started a large fire. There is one last detail visible in the wreckage: containers identical to the ones Ahmadi and his colleague filled with water and loaded into his trunk before returning home. Even though the military said the drone team monitored the car for eight hours that day, a senior official also said he was not aware of any water cans. The Pentagon did not provide The Times with evidence of explosives in Ahmadi’s vehicle or share what they say was intelligence linking it to Islamic State. But the morning after the United States killed Ahmadi, ISIS launched rockets at the airport from a residential area Ahmadi had passed through the day before. And the vehicle they were using…… was a white Toyota. The US military has so far recognized only three civilian deaths from its strike and says an investigation is underway. They also admitted not knowing anything about Ahmadi before killing him, leading them to interpret the work of an engineer for an American NGO as that of an Islamic State terrorist. Four days before Ahmadi was killed, his employer requested that his family be resettled in the United States. At the time of the strike, they were still awaiting approval. Rather, turning to the United States for protection, they became one of the latest casualties in America’s longest war. “Hello, I’m Evan, one of the producers of this story. Our latest visual investigation began with news on social media of an explosion near Kabul airport. It turned out to be a US drone strike, one of the last acts of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. Our goal was to fill in the gaps in the Pentagon’s version of events. We analyzed proprietary footage from security cameras and combined them with eyewitness testimony and expert analysis on the aftermath of the strike. You can see more of our surveys by subscribing to our newsletter.


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Non profit living

American Dream Center in Tulsa helps families integrate into the United States


The American Dream Center in Tulsa helps families from other countries settle in Oklahoma.

Founder Casey Jones told News On 6 they have helped nearly 100 families this year. Jones grew up in Oklahoma, then began to travel and live abroad.

“I have lived abroad, I have lived in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Ivory Coast,” Jones said.

Friends helped him adjust to life in other countries. When Jones returned home, he realized that there were people moving to Oklahoma from outside the United States who needed the same help and guidance as overseas. , so he created the American Dream Center.

“We are helping immigrants and refugees adjust to America,” Jones said.

The non-profit organization provides immigration legal services, it helps people find jobs, it even provides a translator who does errands, like going to the DMV a bit easier.

“We walk alongside them and help them navigate the ins and outs of our system,” Jones said.

American Dream Center has already helped 90 families this year and hundreds since the doors opened in 2017, including people like Ariana Wilson, who immigrated to the United States with her triplets from Venezuela.

“This country has opened the door to new life,” Wilson said. “Sometimes God sends angels into your life.”

Wilson thinks these angels are at the Dream Center. She said that before moving to the United States, she was robbed several times at gunpoint, would not have electricity for weeks, and could not regularly access the medications her son took. need. Jones and his team helped Wilson and his family gain Temporary Protected Status.

“We can help inexpensively since we’re a non-profit organization,” Jones said. “These people have left their friends and family, their culture, their language to try something new. We have to accept them, welcome them and help them succeed because if they succeed, we succeed.”

The American Dream Center has said it is ready and willing to help Afghan refugees in the coming months, but has not yet been contacted.

For more information, visit the American Dream Center website here.


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International headquarters

John Lennon honored on United Nations stamps to mark International Day of Peace


Legendary musician John Lennon is the subject of new postage stamps issued the same year his iconic song, “Imagine”, turned 50.

On Tuesday, which falls on the International Day of Peace (September 21), the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) is issuing a series of three different stamps in honor of the late and former Beatle. Each depicts a portrait of Lennon from various times in his life illustrated by engraver Martin Mörck.

“We can best honor the International Day of Peace by standing up against acts of hate and spreading compassion, kindness and hope so that the world can ‘live as one’ – just as John Lennon imagined it. . ” UNPA said on its website announcing stamps.

In addition, three souvenir sheets feature a stamp with a black and white photographic portrait of Lennon taken by Bob Gruen, Ian Macmillan and David Nutter. These sheets also contain the words of “Imagine” and the signature of the musician.

As with all UN shipments, clippings for new Lennon stamps reflect the location of UNPA offices in New York (dollars), Geneva (Swiss francs) and Vienna (euros). UN stamps with US denominations can be used as postage if mailed from the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

September 9 marked the 50th anniversary of “Imagine”, the song Lennon co-wrote with his wife Yoko Ono, and taken from the 1971 album of the same name. Considered the rocker’s flagship song, “Imagine” was revived by many artists, including Madonna, Elton John and Lady Gaga, and was recently performed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

“John would have loved it,” Ono said in a recent press release about the song. ““ Imagine ”embodied what we believed together at the time. We’re still together now and we still believe in it. The sentiment is just as important now as it was when it was written and published 50 years ago.

In a Playboy interview with David Sheff from 1980, Lennon Explain from the song: “The Concept of Positive Prayer … If You Can to imagine a world at peace, without religious denominations – not without religion but without it, my God-is-greater-than-your-God – then this may be true … the world Church called me once and asked me: we use the lyrics for “Imagine” and just change it to “Imagine a religion ‘? “This showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole point of the song, the whole idea.

This is not the first time that Lennon has been commemorated on a postage stamp. The United States Postal Service issued a singer’s stamp in 2018 with another photo taken by Gruen, who is known for his classic image of Lennon in a New York City T-shirt that appears on one of the new UN stamps. In May, Britain’s Royal Mail paid tribute to former Lennon Beatles band member Paul McCartney with a series of stamps. The Beatles themselves have appeared on posts in the US and UK before.

“I think my greatest pleasure is writing a song – lyric and lyrics – that will last for more than a few years,” said Lennon, quoted in the 2020 box set compilation. Give me some truth. “Songs that anyone could sing. Songs that will probably survive me. And that gives me my greatest pleasure. This is where I take my kicks.

For more information on United Nations John Lennon stamps, click here.


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History organization

Military historians fight boycott of Texas meeting


The Society for Military History is divided over whether to hold its annual conference in Texas next spring, as long planned, in light of the state’s new six-week abortion ban and other controversial laws regarding abortions. voting rights and transgender youth.

Debate over the location of the conference has intensified in recent days, following a letter to members from Peter Mansoor, company president and general chairman Raymond E. Mason Jr. in military history at Ohio State University. Arguing against moving the conference, Mansoor wrote to his fellow military historians that “there are good reasons to continue on our present course. Moving the conference to this late date would cause serious financial damage to the company, ”up to $ 90,000 in contract cancellation penalties. Hotel workers and local businesses would also be affected, he said.

Beyond the cost, Mansoor wrote: “We are an inclusive organization that includes members of different political views, races, genders, professional jobs, religious views and other attributes. To be truly inclusive, the company must be non-partisan and apolitical and make decisions based on the company’s mission.

“Taking action against Texas law,” he argued, “would take us beyond” the company’s mission of advancing military history, “in politics.”

Mansoor based his opinion, in part, on a policy on public statements that the company’s board of directors adopted under the Trump administration. Prior to adopting this policy, the company’s board signed a statement from the American Historical Association condemning Trump White House’s 2017 travel ban from a number of predominantly Muslim countries. Dozens of other historic organizations have also signed on to the AHA statement. But in the face of criticism from a minority of its members that the company had acted in a politically inappropriate manner, the board voted to limit other public statements to those involving exceptional circumstances, as determined by the board of directors of the company, and only when these circumstances affect the mission of the company.

Mansoor, who declined a request for an interview, said no decision regarding the conference had been made and that the council would meet on Oct. 11 to discuss the matter. Yet some members argued that the publication of a letter on company header expressing a firm opinion against moving the conference suggests that a decision has already been taken. In addition, members have argued in discussions that now spill over to social media. Isn’t Mansoor’s letter a political statement in itself – the kind of statement he argues society shouldn’t make? And isn’t doing nothing to move the conference a political decision?

“By declaring that you will not make a statement about political fighting, you are politically declaring that you find certain points of view acceptable and that you welcome them,” tweeted Adam H. Domby, associate professor of history at the University of Domby. ‘Auburn. organization. “It would have been better not to say anything.

“Military history is women’s history is political,” tweeted another military historian. Another said: “This letter explains how @SMH_Historians is going to lose a generation of young historians.”

Barbara Keys, professor of history at Durham University in Britain and former president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, a sister organization that shares some membership with the Society for Military History, said Inside higher education On Monday, she was “shocked to see that the chairman had sent a letter, on company letterhead, expressing his personal opinion on an issue the board had not discussed.”

If something similar happened elsewhere, Keys explained, “the council would likely ask the president for an apology and retraction and call a council meeting to make the policy choice.”

She added: “It also seems problematic to me that the president is citing a ban on political statements while making what is essentially a political statement. “

Military historian Chris Levesque, librarian at the University of West Florida, questioned the legitimacy of the political statement policy in the first place, claiming in a series of tweets that the company had authorized a fraction of its members – those who were upset by the 2017 incident – to “force a change in its policy by taking even narrow political positions”. This recent “debacle,” he said, referring to the debate and the letter from Texas, “is a legacy of that decision.”

In his letter, Mansoor, a retired US Army colonel, did not rule out influencing the legislation in question. “The council recognizes that there may be ways to explore legislation through the prism of military history, and I encourage submissions from panels or roundtables on these topics,” he wrote. , noting that the company had extended its proposal submission date to accommodate additional ideas. But if Mansoor’s opinion wins, those talks will take place in Texas.

From Mansoor’s perspective on conference travel costs, business organizations tend to sign event space and hotel contracts years in advance, and they risk serious financial losses by canceling them. At the same time, professional organizations in the humanities and social sciences generally do not hesitate to tackle the political questions that their members put forward. The reluctance of society may be influenced by the US military’s tradition of apolitics. Many members have had military careers or worked in military institutions, or both.

At the same time, this type of apoliticalism can risk running counter to society’s goals of inclusion, both in terms of what is viewed and valued as military history and who the members of the military are. group.

Some members are concerned that pregnant women traveling to Texas for the conference could put their health at risk in the event of a medical emergency requiring the full range of reproductive health options. Others object to spending time or money in a state with such laws in place or legislation on the table. Others still see the potential to influence policy. A military history conference, which typically attracts 600 to 700 academics, is very unlikely to make a difference. But a larger conference boycott movement, of which the company may be a part, is another story. The boycott of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of North Carolina, for example, was factored into that state’s repeal of a “toilet bill” that divides transgender people in 2017.

Kara Dixon Vuic, Master Corporal. Benjamin W. Schmidt, professor of war, conflict and society in 20th century America at Texas Christian University and a director and therefore a member of the board of the society, said on Monday that the board wished it could meet earlier than on Oct. 11 to discuss both the issue of conference venue and reporting policy, but that she was unable to respond to busy international member schedules prior to this time.

In the meantime, she said, “We take members’ concerns about these two issues very seriously – as well as the broader issues they have raised related to organizational governance, communication, transparency and inclusiveness. We welcome comments and concerns from our members and look forward to meaningful discussions.

Gregory Daddis, USS Midway Chair in Modern United States Military History at San Diego State University and other administrator and board member, said the ongoing debate “shows how academic societies should be absolutely committed to diversity and inclusion while aspiring to be non-partisan in our hyper-politicized time. He also said it was “incredibly important” to note that many members’ concerns are not just “political” “, but rather” moral and ethical, intensely personal and absolutely legitimate “.

Daddis, who is relatively new to the board, said he was “encouraged by the number of our directors who take the genuine and justifiable concerns of our members seriously and want to do the right thing.” for them. These behind-the-scenes efforts are often lost in the passionate hyperbole of social media. “

For now, Daddis has said he plans to attend the spring conference, but “in a way that highlights the legitimate concerns of our members who think the current wave of Texas laws are against rights. basic human and civilians “.



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Non profit living

Family stranded in Afghanistan returns home to SoCal – NBC Los Angeles


When the Kashefi family first arrived in Southern California in March 2017, it was because Bashir Kashefi had finally been granted a safe exit, after working for the US government for over a decade.

But a summer trip to visit family went very badly for the Kashefi, who arrived in Afghanistan in June with a return trip scheduled just days before the country fell to the Taliban.

In a video sent to NBC4, Bashir Kashefi said he fears for the lives of his family.

“We have tried to leave Afghanistan more than nine times,” he said. “We went to the airport to catch a plane, but unfortunately because there were too many people, it was difficult to get in.

He says repeated attempts by members of the US government have also proved unsuccessful.

And when the American troops withdrew, he says he almost gave up all hope.

“Coping with life right now in Kabul, Afghanistan… it’s so difficult right now and more difficult than ever,” Kashefi said.

Kashefi served as the basis for an April 2017 NBC4 story about a local nonprofit called Miry’s List. Miry Whitehill started the charity to help refugee families resettle in the United States. The Kashefi family were one of the first families Miry’s List helped find an apartment, furnish it, and put them on track to thrive in the United States.

Bashir Kashefi has become the Miry’s List ambassador – an achievement – of what the association is capable of doing, even appearing in a special Belmont Shores TedX Talk, sharing his story of starting over.

Miry’s List announced its Emergency Action Fund in August 2021, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which led to donations from Lady Gaga to help resettle refugee families.

So it’s no surprise that Miry’s List stepped in again to help the Kashefi family return home.

A group of volunteers – they call themselves the Hive – ensured that the Kashefi family did not feel the trauma of returning to the United States as they did when they arrived.

“They’re in a life and death situation one way or another,” says Laurel Felt, a Hive volunteer. “World events conspired against them. They didn’t do anything wrong. They brought nothing on themselves.

The Hive raised funds to cover the costs of living the family overseas and to cover bills at home to keep them up to date when they return.

“We really wanted to make sure the rent was paid, the utilities were paid, certainly the cell phone because that was our lifeline for him,” said Shareef Mustafa, Hive volunteer. “We wanted to make sure that their repatriation to the United States was not filled with the same anxiety as when they arrived in 2017.”

And good news arrived on Monday morning – with the Kashefi family sharing photos from Doha, Qatar. They were out of Afghanistan safe and sound.

“Bashir confirmed that they all slept well last night for the first time in a long time,” Felt said.

The family’s return to Southern California and their home in Anaheim, however, is still unclear. It will likely cost additional money and effort from the volunteers, who hope to see Kashefi in the United States soon.


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“Roe” Balances as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Abortion Arguments in Mississippi on Dec. 1


The United States Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument on December 1, 2021 in the term’s most significant abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Mississippi lawsuit is aimed squarely at the heart of the historical precedent Roe v. Wade who has banned the total ban on abortion in the United States since 1973.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch celebrated the announcement in a Press release today, reaffirming the Mississippi case that the precedent Roe “strings together a view of decades-old facts, so that while science, medicine, technology and culture have all advanced rapidly since 1973,” said Fitch, “With Dobbs, the Supreme Court can return decision-making on abortion policy to elected leaders and enable people to empower women and promote life.

The director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Shannon Brewer, explains that access to abortion is about equity. “A woman who is denied an abortion is more likely to live in poverty even years later. Photo by Ashton Pittman

Shannon Brewer, director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only active abortion clinic in Mississippi and the institution in the crosshairs of this case, wrote in an editorial earlier this year that overthrowing Roe would have the exact opposite effect.

“Abortion is absolutely a matter of racial and economic justice. … The laws are inherently racist and classist; they keep blacks and browns down. And the research is clear: A woman who is denied an abortion is more likely to live in poverty even years later, ”Brewer wrote.

“The right to life through fertilization”

Dobbs will be the first abortion case to go to a formal Supreme Court hearing following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal activist and ongoing abortion rights advocate. Ginsburg’s replacement Amy Coney Barrett has a history of anti-abortion sentiment. In 2006, she signed an amendment of the “right to life from fertilization to natural death”.

The tension around Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Clinic only rose this month when the United States Supreme Court allowed the application of a Texas law which has banned the vast majority of abortions in the state. In response to the Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, the court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the law, which implemented a $ 10,000 bounty for individuals to hunt down abortion providers for litigation, as well as those who “help or encourage ” the procedure.

By allowing the law to come into force while the lower courts continue to argue it, the Supreme Court has ushered in a new era of skepticism about abortion rights. The decision to refuse to urgently suspend the law was 5-4, with Barrett joining the majority.

Lynn Fitch Head
(Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch uses the gestational age law’s 15-week abortion ban to squarely target Roe v. Wade, attempting to end the nation’s ban on restrictions against pre-viability abortions Photo courtesy of Lynn Finch

In 2020, the United States Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana Act of 2014 that would have shut down virtually all abortion clinics in the state, affirming the basic logic under Roe. But the decision was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts agreeing with Ginsburg and the other Liberals on the court. Now even Roberts’ assent would not be enough to stop the conservative wing of the post-Trump court from overturning half a century of precedence.

A federal court initially blocked the Law 2018 in the heart of the Dobbs case, the Gestational Age Act, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. While much of the bill’s wording addresses the development of the fetus in the womb into “human form,” the Mississippi state’s petition to the Supreme Court makes it clear that the goal is to demolish the central principle of Roe, which prevents restricting abortion before fetal viability, occurring around 23 weeks.

“Under the Constitution, can a state ban elective abortions before viability? The state of Mississippi asks in its brief. “Yes. Why? Because nothing in the constitutional text, structure, history or tradition supports an abortion right.… Roe and Casey (v. Planned Parenthood) are dead wrong. The conclusion that the abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history or tradition.

In Roe’s absence, Mississippi has trigger laws that will drastically restrict abortion beyond the 15-week ban in the Gestational Age Act. In 2019, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a fetal heart rate law to ban abortion after six weeks gestation, several months before fetal viability. Judge Carlton Reeves blocked this law, and the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals upheld its ruling, but Roe and Casey’s logic underlies those rulings.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that more over 92% of abortions “were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation,” meaning that the real impact of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban could be a ban on abortions well into the future. beyond the reach of his language.

Without Roe, Mississippi’s precarious abortion access is likely doomed. “Some states, including California and New York, have laws protecting abortion rights,” Brewer wrote. “(But) Mississippi laws are designed to make abortion difficult to obtain and to make clinics like mine more difficult to operate. There are now five states with only one abortion clinic remaining. “


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Global Military Land Vehicle Industry to 2031 with Strategic and Financial Analysis from General Dynamics, Oshkosh, China North Industries Group, BAE Systems, etc.


DUBLIN, September 20, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The “Global Military Land Vehicle Market to 2031 – Market Size and Drivers, Major Programs, Competitive Landscape and Strategic Outlook” report was added to ResearchAndMarkets.com offer.

The global military land vehicles market is valued at US $ 21.9 billion in 2021 and will increase at a CAGR of 3.74% to reach a value of US $ 31.6 billion by 2031. The cumulative global military ground vehicles market is expected to $ 292.8 billion over the forecast period.

The demand for military ground vehicles is expected to be driven by the European region, especially in countries such as France, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The North America region will occupy the second place in the world, showing a steady growth rate during the forecast period with a CAGR of 2.34%. Major military forces around the world are now undertaking modernization efforts to replace their old platforms in the face of modern threats. These efforts will support market growth over the next decade.

Heightened geopolitical tensions, the need to deploy forces to regions around the world and the demands for standardization under alliances such as NATO are some of the reasons that push military forces to acquire military ground vehicles. modern. In addition, the tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe urge other countries in the region and NATO to improve their conventional capabilities with new platforms capable of countering the heavy armored and mechanized formations of the Russian army. In addition, the old Soviet equipment currently in the stocks of the armies of Eastern Europe must be replaced with new platforms, which further stimulates the growth of the market in the region.

The global military land vehicle market is expected to be dominated by Europe. Major European countries have increased their defense budgets and tried to maintain them even during the pandemic. This will allow them to implement large-scale procurement projects without major delays. North America will follow the European market. This growth is attributed to the implementation of a wide range of supply programs by the US Army and US Marine Corps. The most notable programs are the JLTV and the Stryker, which will standardize the country’s vehicle fleet and provide increased protection for its deployed forces. The Canadian military also contributes to regional growth through the implementation of a series of programs covering several market segments.

Highlights

  • The global military land vehicles market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.75% during the forecast period.
  • The global military land vehicle market is expected to be dominated by Europe with a revenue share of 41.1%. Growth in Europe contract is awarded to the expenditure of countries such as the United Kingdom, Russia and France among others.
  • Armored personnel carriers are expected to be the largest segment of the military ground vehicles market during the forecast period.

In particular, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the following:

  • Market size and drivers: Detailed analysis over the period 2021-2031, including highlights of demand and growth drivers. It also provides an overview of spending and modernization patterns in different regions of the world.
  • Recent developments and industry challenges: An overview of technological developments and a detailed analysis of existing military ground vehicle projects being executed and planned around the world. It also presents trends in the changing structure of the industry and the challenges facing industry participants.
  • Regional highlights: Study of the key markets in each region, providing an analysis of the key market segments that are expected to be in demand.
  • Major programs: details of key programs in each segment, which are expected to be executed in 2021-2031.
  • Competitive landscape and strategic perspectives: Analysis of the competitive landscape of the global military land vehicles market. It provides an overview of the main players, their strategic initiatives and financial analysis.

Key topics covered

  • Abstract
  • Global Military Land Vehicle Market Overview
  • Market dynamics
  • Segment analysis
  • Regional analysis
  • Trend analysis
  • Analysis of key programs
  • Competitive landscape analysis
    • General dynamics
    • Oshkosh Corp.
    • China North Industries Group Corp. Ltd.
    • BAE Systems PLC
    • Rostec Corp.
    • Rheinmetall AG
    • Iveco SpA
    • Hyundai Corp.

For more information on this report, visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/4ibhyd

Media contact:

Research and markets
Laura Wood, senior
[email protected]

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SOURCE Research and Markets

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Reuters Global News Summary | Politics


Here is a summary of the news in the world.

Taiwan threatens to take China to WTO in new fruit dispute

Taiwan on Sunday threatened to bring China to the World Trade Organization after Beijing said it would suspend imports of sugar apples and wax apples from the island due to pest concerns, during the last quarrel between the two over the fruit. Relations between Taipei and Beijing, which claim democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, are at their lowest in decades, with China increasing political and military pressure for the island to accept its sovereignty.

Explanation – The Canadian Federal Election: What Happened and What Are the Stakes

Canadians go to the polls on Monday in an election that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called two years earlier, seeking to turn public approval for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic into a new four-year term . WHY NOW?

Stored COVID vaccines must be handed over to poorest countries, says former UK prime minister

A vaccine summit hosted by US President Joe Biden this week is expected to come up with a plan to transfer 100 million stored COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries before they reach their expiration date, said the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Biden is due to convene a virtual COVID-19 summit on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, aimed at boosting vaccinations around the world with the aim of ending the pandemic by the end of 2022.

World leaders return to UN with focus on pandemic and climate

World leaders return to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on stepping up efforts to tackle both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced them last year to send video statements for the annual gathering. As the coronavirus still rages amid an unfair vaccine rollout, about a third of the 193 UN states plan to send videos again, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers of others are expected get to the United States.

Canadian Trudeau hammers his rival on COVID-19 position on the last day of the campaign

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, crisscrossing the country to deliver a final speech to voters ahead of Monday’s election, said on Sunday that only his Liberals can end the COVID-19 pandemic and accused his main rival of adopting the wrong approach. Opinion polls indicate that the political advantage is with Trudeau, who is stepping up attacks on Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole over the pandemic. Trudeau supports vaccination mandates against O’Toole, who prefers testing to control the public health crisis.

Russia’s ruling pro-Putin party wins majority after crackdown but loses ground

Russia’s ruling party United Russia, which backs President Vladimir Putin, has retained its majority in parliament after three days of elections and a widespread crackdown on critics, despite losing about a fifth of its support, have showed partial results Monday. With 33% of the ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia won just over 45% of the vote, with its closest rival the Communist Party at around 22%.

Australia defends cancellation of French submarine deal, Macron and Biden discuss

Australia defended on Sunday its decision to drop a multibillion-dollar order for French submarines and opt instead for an alternative deal with the United States and Britain, saying it had signaled its concerns in Paris months ago. Canberra’s move angered Paris, sparking an unprecedented diplomatic crisis that analysts say could cause lasting damage to US alliances with France and Europe. It has also annoyed China, the main rising power in the Indo-Pacific region.

Netanyahu suggests on Facebook that Biden fell asleep upon meeting new Israeli PM

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in a video posted to Facebook on Sunday that US President Joe Biden fell asleep when he met with new Israeli leader Naftali Bennett last month. A Reuters fact check https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-biden-asleep-idUSL1N2Q00H8 previously debunked the idea that Biden dozed off, after social media users shared a video clip of the US President who they said showed him looking down and falling asleep while Bennett spoke in the Oval Office.

Syrian military leader pays rare visit to Jordan to discuss border security

The Syrian Defense Minister visited Jordan on Sunday to discuss stability at their mutual border, the first such meeting since the Syrian conflict erupted ten years ago when the two neighbors backed opposing factions , officials said. The meeting follows a major military offensive to retake the last rebel stronghold in southern Syria, and after reestablishing control this month over Daraa, a town south of Damascus, as part of a deal brokered by Russia that prevented a full Iranian-led military assault. army units.

France cancels defense meeting with UK over submarine dispute, sources say

France canceled a meeting between Armies Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart scheduled for this week after Australia canceled a submarine order with Paris in favor of a deal with Washington and London, two sources said. close to the file. Parly personally made the decision to drop the bilateral meeting with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, the sources said.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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International headquarters

As leaders meet again at UN, climate and COVID tops list


The UN chief keeps repeating that the world is at “a pivotal moment” and must shift into high gear towards “a greener and safer world”. To do this, leaders must give multilateralism ‘teeth’, starting with joint action to reverse the global failure to fight COVID-19 in 2020 and ensure that 70% of the world’s population is vaccinated. during the first half of 2022.

But as is often the case with the United Nations, it remains to be seen whether the high-level meetings, which start on Monday and end on September 27, actually make progress.

After COVID-19 forced leaders to deliver pre-recorded speeches remotely at last year’s meeting, more than 100 heads of state and government and more than two dozen ministers decided to come to New York this year despite the pandemic. This reflects the unique role of the United Nations as a global public forum for the 193 member countries, whether small or large, weak or powerful.

The annual gathering of assembly world leaders – called the General Debate – has always been a place where presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and other senior officials can discuss local, regional and global concerns in public meetings and functions or private, and during lunches and dinners. . In other words, it creates a space for carrying out the delicate business of face-to-face diplomacy, which is seen as much more productive than online virtual meetings.

Richard Gowan, director of the International Crisis Group at the UN, said the first in-person meeting of the General Assembly since the start of the pandemic – although some 60 leaders have chosen to give pre-recorded speeches – is not only symbolic but an opportunity to “show that the international cooperation is important.”

“For the leaders of the poorest countries, this is also a rare opportunity to speak publicly about the ongoing aftershocks of COVID-19,” he said. “It’s also, frankly, quite fun coming to New York. Many of these leaders are stuck in their capitals.

After four years of Donald Trump representing the United States in meetings, this week Joe Biden will make his first appearance as president when the general debate opens on Tuesday. Gowan said that “the really important question is exactly how he frames relations with China.”

“He won’t be criticizing China as openly as Trump, especially in 2019 and 2020,” Gowan said. “But I think Biden will try to portray China as a country that challenges the rules-based world order and a country that should not be trusted to lead the international system.”

The pandemic is not only something world leaders need to discuss, but also something to deal with on the ground: a key issue ahead of the meetings has been COVID-19 entry requirements for leaders in states – United – and at the UN headquarters itself.

Traditionally, the first speaker after the Secretary General presents his State of the World Report is Brazil. Its president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is not vaccinated, reiterated Thursday that he does not plan to be vaccinated anytime soon. Bolsonaro’s rationale: He had COVID-19 and therefore, he says, he has a high level of antibodies.

Entry into the United States requires a vaccination or recent COVID-19 test, but New York City has a vaccination requirement for convention centers, and it considers the General Assembly Hall – which does not. is technically not American soil – is part of it.

Assembly Speaker Abdulla Shahid said in a letter Thursday that the UN relies only on an honor system. This means that there will be no New York City police to screen people entering the UN headquarters.

Many diplomats say they will keep a close watch on the last scheduled speakers on the last day, September 27, because each has something controversial.

North Korea has just tested new cruise missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons. In Myanmar, generals toppled the democratically elected government in February. The Guinean army overthrew the democratically elected president a month ago. And in Afghanistan, the Taliban seized power on August 15 when the Afghan army did not fight as the last American troops withdrew from the country after 20 years of war.

The credentials of Myanmar’s current ambassador, the country’s ousted democratic government, are challenged by the military junta, but UN officials say the General Assembly’s credentials committee will not meet to hear the protest only after the end of the week’s meetings. And the Taliban have yet to submit a letter challenging the credentials of the previous government’s ambassador.

Among those delivering pre-recorded statements this year are the presidents of Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. French President Emmanuel Macron was supposed to deliver a pre-recorded statement, but the government has said Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will now deliver the country’s speech in person on the last day.

France and China have reacted angrily to the surprise announcement by Biden, alongside Australian and British leaders, of an agreement to supply Australia with at least eight nuclear-powered submarines. Australia had signed a contract of at least $ 66 billion for a dozen French conventional diesel-electric submarines and their construction was already underway.

France, the United States’ longest-serving ally, responded by recalling its ambassadors from the United States and Australia on Friday, and the implications of the dispute for Asian and global security will certainly be hot topics in private meetings this week. .

The action begins Monday morning when the Secretary-General brings together world leaders and global pop group BTS to highlight the 17 UN goals for 2030 ranging from eradicating poverty and protecting the planet to achievement. of gender equality, providing every child with a quality education and ensuring a healthy life for all.

An hour later, around 40 world leaders will take part in a closed-door meeting on climate change co-chaired by Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the run-up to November’s big climate event in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We need urgent progress on money, cars, coal and trees,” British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said. This means raising $ 100 billion to help vulnerable countries cope with climate change and get countries ambitious emission reduction plans, she said.

Louis Charbonneau, UN director for Human Rights Watch, said world leaders must also deal with human rights crises.

“They must be clear that there can be no status quo with perpetrators of serious rights violations and support UN action which will impose real costs,” he said. “Violent leaders around the world need to know that the world is watching them and that they could one day be held responsible for serious violations. “


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International headquarters

Syrian opposition calls for renewed focus on political solution


The leader of the Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK), Salim al-Muslat, on Saturday criticized the international community for focusing only on humanitarian issues and not showing the necessary interest in the political solution process in Syria, which has not progressed.

Al-Muslat, who was elected as chairman of the SMDK at the ordinary general assembly held in Istanbul on July 12, spoke to the Anadolu Agency (AA) about the issues surrounding the work the Constitutional Committee is trying to accomplish, SMDK efforts for the political process, the latest situation in Idlib, the visit of Bashar Assad to Russia and the return of the Syrians to their country.

Regarding the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, which has met five times since October 30, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the political solution process, al-Muslat said the talks ended in failure. because of the uncompromising attitude. and the frivolity of the Assad regime.

Noting that they met with the United Nations envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, in Istanbul on September 14, al-Muslat said: “Pedersen has not yet announced a date for the new round of Constitutional Committee talks. and we’ll wait and see what it’ll do. “

Al-Muslat drew attention to the fact that the drafting of the constitution has not yet started, although it has been almost two years since the start of constitutional studies. “No progress can be made because of the regime’s delays. International delegations and Pedersen must act more seriously on this issue,” he said. “The international community has focused on humanitarian issues rather than on the political solution that the Syrian people need.

He stressed that the international community should stand by the side of the Syrian people, adding that the activities of the WDKD contribute to the process of political solution.

“In this process, we have had meetings with many international organizations. As SMDK, we have visited many circles related to the Syrian question. In fact, we met Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt ÇavuÅŸoÄŸlu ago a few days (September 9). In addition, we had meetings with officials from other countries, “he said.

Stressing that they attach great importance to a political solution to the civil war which has been going on since March 2011, al-Muslat said: “We will have a visit to New York in the coming days before the sessions of the General Assembly of United Nations. have meetings with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and officials from other countries. Our pain is great and there is no more room for compliments. We have to move forward in the political process, which is a strategic choice for us. We are seeing a recession in the countries that must act and take responsibility, we do not want to accomplish something and go back. “

Stating that they are still engaged in talks on Syrian territory, al-Muslat said: “Although our headquarters are abroad, we also have centers in Syria. We want to be partners in decision-making. . This means that we meet people intensively, listening to them and working to end their suffering. “

Turkey’s support

Al-Muslat said SMDK institutions go to great lengths to meet the needs of civilians in Syria – in areas under opposition control.

Emphasizing that the Syrian interim government is doing everything in its power to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, al-Muslat said: “Brother Turkey has never denied us its support. The burden has grown heavy. Turkey has always supported us in the field of education, health and safety. “

Referring to the Syrians in Turkey, al-Muslat said: “Since the beginning of the revolution, the words we have heard from our Turkish brothers and their honorable position… have never changed.

Stressing that everyone is in favor of voluntary return to the country, al-Muslat said: “All Syrians want to return to their country if a safe environment is maintained in Syria. No one comes back to die or be detained. We must obey the laws in the countries where we are. We must obey the rules of settlement and not act against them, and no one will harm those who obey them.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey has supported moderate opposition groups against the Assad regime and has opened its doors to those who had to flee the country for their lives.

Today, Turkey hosts nearly 3.8 million Syrian migrants, more than any other country in the world. The country is also leading humanitarian aid efforts for Syrians in Turkey and in opposition-controlled areas in northern Syria.

“Russia has no respect for the agreements”

Referring to the situation in Idlib, al-Muslat noted that the Assad regime and its supporter Russia continue to violate the ceasefire agreement reached in March 2020.

“There is an agreement between Turkey and Russia in Idlib. However, for months we have been witnessing violations by Russia and the regime by targeting civilians. Russia does not respect any agreement. It is a sensitive subject. There are violations every day. , but the components of the National Army are ready and on alert, ”he said.

In the report released by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) on September 9, he reported that the regime and Russia have launched intense attacks against southern Idlib since June 5. It was reported that a total of 61 civilians, including 33 children and 12 women, were killed in the bombings by Russian forces and the regime from June 5 to September 1.

Regarding the visit of Bashar Assad, the head of the regime in Syria, in Moscow on September 14, al-Muslat said: “The problems that we went through are because of Russia, Iran and the regime. We don’t know the content. of the visit, but maybe there is something on the horizon because there are talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva. We can’t predict anything, we have to see some things.


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Chinese Army General Collaborates With Canada’s Largest Disease Control Lab, Report Reveals | World news


New Delhi: The Globe and Mail, through an excellent investigative journalistic article, uncovered a previously unknown link between a high-ranking PLA officer and the Canadian High Security Infectious Disease Laboratory in Winnipeg. There are reports that Major-General Chen Wei collaborated with former Canadian government laboratory scientist Dr. Xiangguo Qiu on Ebola research and even published cooperative papers in 2016 and 2020.

Dr Qiu is currently under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to determine whether the scientist illegally transferred Canadian intellectual property to China and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Major-General Wei, in particular, is a leading figure in the People’s Liberation Army and, in the recent past, has been publicly commended by Chinese President Xi Jinping for his work in developing China’s unique COVID vaccine. -19 by CanSino. Qiu was a researcher at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and was also responsible for the vaccine and antiviral therapy development section of the laboratory.

In the Ebola research paper where Chen and Qiu collaborated, Wei Chen was credited, but his ties to the Chinese military as his identity as the Chinese military’s top epidemiologist and virologist were not disclosed. The fact that Wei Chen and Major General. Chen’s the same person was first revealed in a book titled “On the Origin of the Deadliest Pandemic in 100 Years: An Investigation” by Elaine Dewar. This fact was also later confirmed by The Globe.

When asked if it is standard practice for level 4 laboratories like the NML to collaborate with high-ranking Chinese military scientists, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) replied that it does not There was no agreement between the LNM and the Chinese military. But he added that Canadian scientists in the past have collaborated with Chinese scientists to advance the cause of science and discover breakthroughs in research.

At this point, it must be remembered that the PLA is very different from other armies in the world. The PLA is the military wing of the Chinese Communist Party and not a national army, it is not subject to the will of the Chinese government or elected representatives. The PLA exists only to maintain the strength of the Party and fulfill its mission. While scientific research and the fight against deadly diseases are important, it is not the prerogative of the PLA. The only reason a high ranking PLA officer like the Major-General. Chen would collaborate with the now disgraced Dr. Qiu if the research and / or work somehow benefited the CCP.

The disgraced Dr. Qiu and her husband were fired from the NML in January, but in reality the couple saw their security clearances revoked in July 2019. It is not even possible to determine whether Major-General Chen visited the lab. Winnipeg because PHAC has declared visitor records to be private.

Commenting on the collaboration, Ward Elcock, a former director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said this kind of collaboration between a high-ranking Chinese military scientist and a Canadian scientist in a Level 4 bio-facility would not have must have been cleared in the first place and would certainly have alarmed him if he was then Director of CSIS. Just months before his security clearance was removed, Dr Qiu was tasked with overseeing the transfer of the Ebola and Henipa viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Three NML scientists who had worked on the Ebola research papers alongside Dr Qiu and Major-General Chen said they had no idea their colleague (Wei Chen) was high on the PLA and was China’s top virologist. The three scientists added that Dr. Qiu did not share this key information.

According to the report, Major General Chen is not an ordinary Chinese scientist, she is a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference which directly advises top CCP leaders. In addition, Chen was congratulated by President Xi Jinping in September 2020 for his work on China’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine which was developed by CanSino Biologics Inc. (backed by the Chinese military). In 2020, the National Research Council of Canada actually granted Can Sino the license to use its biologic to jointly develop a vaccine, but then China suddenly reneged on the deal and even stopped the shipment of vaccines to Canada.

Speaking to the media, retired Lieutenant-General Michael Day, who heads the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said PHAC is sorely lacking in security measures. He added that it was mind-boggling that Canada’s only National Level 4 laboratory failed to properly vet scientists.

During 2020, and even now in 2021, the world has suffered and continues to suffer from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 virus. Even after a year, the world has not been able to determine with certainty the origins of this mysterious virus which first appeared in Wuhan, China. Regardless of its origin, an irrefutable fact remains true that China’s negligence and willingness to hide the spread of the COVID-19 virus allowed the virus to spread much faster and had the effect of catching dozens off guard. of country.

Over time, as Beijing’s relations with Washington and the West have deteriorated, it has become clear that the laboratory leak theory that was initially rejected is not just a conspiracy theory but a real possibility. . The theory says the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is near where the first cases of COVID-19 appeared. Whether his flight was involuntary or a deliberate ploy by Beijing is a whole different matter.

The incidents surrounding COVID-19 as well as recent aggressive actions by China in the Indo-Pacific and on the border with India have opened the eyes of the international community to the extent of the threat that China really poses. . In order to deflect the blame, Beijing even launched a massive disinformation / disinformation campaign on the COVID-19 virus, including outrageous theories such as how the virus left a biological lab in the United States for being smuggled into China via Europe via frozen food. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that China has tried to hide its involvement or the involvement of its staff in scandals surrounding COVID-19 and its vaccine.

Recent revelation that a high-ranking Chinese military officer was in close contact with a scientist at a Level 4 biological lab in Canada exposed security flaws in PHAC and another Beijing ploy . The Chinese government is undoubtedly trying to sweep this newly discovered connection under the rug, but those familiar with China or its ploys are aware that Beijing is not taking any action that does not benefit it.


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Non profit living

Afghans are likely to find Georgia a more welcoming place than former refugees


Heval Mohamed Kelli, 11, believed his family were going on vacation after crossing the Syrian border into Turkey in 1996, when his father paid smugglers to take them to safety in Germany.

He was unaware at the time of the political persecutions his father, a lawyer, was facing in Syria or how life was going to change drastically as they mostly lived in resettlement camps for the next few years in a unknown country.

Kelli eventually settled in Clarkston in 2001, where he and his family still lived in poverty, but the opportunities for better education and professional mobility sparked optimism they did not have in the camps. German refugees. Two decades later, Kelli watches with keen interest as hundreds of thousands of Afghans flee their country after the Taliban declared control when the United States ended its role in the longstanding conflict.

Kelli was 17 when he arrived in America and did not speak English. He now works at Northside Hospital as a cardiologist. It’s a piece of the American dream that started small as a teenage refugee working as a diver to support his family. Now he is inspired to help refugees and others living in underserved communities in the United States.

Heval Kelli, center, a Syrian refugee whose family moved to Clarkston in 2001 watches with keen interest Afghan refugees waiting to find new places to live after US troops withdraw from their home countries. Kelli is a cardiologist at Northside Hospital, Photo credit Emory University

“These Afghan refugees come from a very unfortunate situation, it is so sad to see what is happening,” he said. “They are just happy to be in a safe place for them. But I tell them, I think this is the only country in the world where you could come here. I have lived in the Middle East and I don’t think I would have become who I am if I hadn’t been here.

Approximately 123,000 people have flown from Afghanistan and 50,000 are currently undergoing security screening at military bases in preparation for reintegration into American communities.

Tens of thousands of Afghans who worked directly with the US government started leaving the country a few months ago and many arrived after a August evacuation. The majority of these refugees have special visa status which will allow them to clear basic security hurdles more quickly.

The Associated Press reported this week that officials in the Biden administration have started briefing governors and mayors in 46 states of the number of people from the first wave of 37,000 evacuees to be expected in the coming weeks, including more 1,000 refugees expected to arrive in Georgia.

A coalition of Atlanta nonprofits, including New American Pathways, will likely begin helping individuals and their families find housing, employment and other supports soon, as many relocate. in apartments and rental homes in Georgia, primarily in the Metro Atlanta area.

Larger numbers of refugees will go through an even more complicated process as they have yet to apply for permanent status as they seek to pass a more rigorous background check.

Finding enough affordable housing for those allowed to relocate to the United States will be a major challenge that will also benefit from the kindness of strangers. While resettlement groups typically pay a few months of rent, Airbnb provides temporary housing across the country to 20,000 Afghan refugees.

The Biden administration has asked Congress for $ 6.4 billion for the resettlement of Afghan refugees, with targets of 65,000 by the end of September and another 95,000 by September 2022, according to the AP.

Over 90% of people served by American Pathways and other local groups pay their own expenses within six months. There is a strong system of support from the religious community and beyond in the greater metropolitan area and among ethnic groups that depend on each other, said Emily Laney, director of development for New American Pathways.

“Even before the 1980 Refugee Act, groups were resettling refugees in Georgia,” Laney said. “It’s really so intense. There have been a lot of really traumatic events in the last few weeks, and we have the resources to support them.

“The people who have gone through some of the worst things humanity has to offer, these refugees are strong, resilient and courageous,” Laney said.

The amount of resources spent on refugee resettlement has been slashed under the administration of former President Donald Trump through federal policy changes reducing refugees admitted each year to less than 23,000 in 2018 compared to plans last year. year of former President Barack Obama to admit 110,000.

During Trump’s tenure, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East were among the countries targeted by tighter restrictions hampering the path to a green card.

According to the New American Economy, a nonprofit refugee research organization, Afghans made up less than 2% of the total number of refugees who immigrated to the United States between 2002 and 2018.

The Biden administration has raised its goal of admitting refugees to 125,000 people this year. It’s an unrealistic benchmark due to dwindling resources, but it’s a much better direction than the previous four years, according to Jeremy Robbins, executive director of America’s New Economy.

“It’s our biggest competitive advantage that people want to come here and work hard, but it masks the fact that it’s really hard to do if you don’t speak the language, if you don’t have the network, or if you can find a job by yourself. ” he said.

“Having a big influx of people from Afghanistan right now is something you can expect to have a backlash,” Robbins said. “But one thing that’s different now is that I think the circumstances in which this happened, seeing people who risked their lives to help us win this war all of a sudden hanging on the air libre has really brought about a big change that seems to be very bipartisan. “

Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signaled his willingness to take in controlled Afghan refugees shortly after the Taliban took control of their country last month. This contrasts with the stance taken in 2015 by his compatriot Republican and former governor Nathan Deal against the resettlement of Syrian refugees fleeing a bloody conflict in their country of origin.

Witnessing current events was an overwhelming experience for Muska Haseeb, an Afghan refugee turned American citizen, as the Taliban regained control after two decades of sacrificing American troops and treasures and the dashed hopes of Afghans who sought more help. opportunities in their country.

Haseeb’s family moved to Phoenix in 2012 after spending six years in Pakistan as a refugee to escape the physical abuse her mother suffered in Afghanistan for working as an administrative assistant.


(left to right) Muska Haseeb, sister-in-law Madina Haider, brother Syed Haider, niece Marwaha, nephew Sultan and mother Haseeba Aria. Photo by Kulsoom Rizvi & Andrew Oberstadt / International Rescue Committee

Today Haseb’s mother is a social worker and her 27-year-old daughter runs her own fashion business and will soon be starting school at the University of Texas in a pre-medical program.

“I really wish they could do something about this in the future because nobody wants to stay under Taliban rule,” Haseeb said. “I’m definitely going to want to be a motivation for any new refugee, whether from Afghanistan or any other country. I want them to see that (the United States) is the land of opportunity and that we can certainly pursue our dreams and goals and that we can become something here.

Clarkston from Georgia to welcome remaining Afghan refugees

Clarkston, a town in DeKalb County where more than half of its 13,000 residents were born overseas, is likely to receive an influx of Afghan refugees via New American Pathways and other resettlement agencies in the coming months.

Clarkston became a home town for many refugees, earning it the nickname of Southern Ellis Island. It offers affordable rental housing and is small enough that newcomers can walk to schools or its small downtown area, while still providing enough public transportation to get around Atlanta’s two largest counties. .

Immigrants frequently take on low-paying minimum-wage jobs and other lower-paying positions as they adjust to life in a new country.

For some refugees who settle in Clarkston, this means daily trips to Gainesville to work in the chicken processing plants.

Yet Clarkston’s leadership was not so welcoming to foreign nationals and refugees settling in the city as recently as the past decade.

In 2013, the former mayor of Clarkston helped ban the resettlement of new refugees. A few years later, when Ted Terry was elected mayor, the moratorium was lifted. He has set in motion an attitude of acceptance within government that continues to push the community toward inclusion as more refugees become citizens, vote and run for office.

“I think we finally hit a kind of critical mass of voters who were like, in fact, we think refugees are a positive thing. And we don’t want to go back in the history of Clarkston. We want to look to the future and move forward, ”said Terry, who is now DeKalb County Commissioner.

Refugees are known to contribute to the economy of their new country almost upon arrival. Their crime rate in their community is generally low. And they own businesses or attend college at a higher rate than the average American.

Although Kelli lived in a poorer area of ​​Clarkston while he was finishing his studies, the town offered an enclave that could have been much worse for a Muslim family who had recently arrived in America shortly after 9/11.

“We always say we got scared more than anything,” Kelli said. “I think Clarkston was such a loving community that really offered protection from the harassment we might have faced.

With the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan now complete, Catholic Charities Atlanta will continue to help evacuated families find new homes, as it has done for the past 20 years.

“Rebuilding your life is not easy,” said Vanessa Russell, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta. “These brave families escaped with just what they could take. They are courageous, resilient and optimistic about their future. We will welcome these families with a grateful heart and help them integrate and thrive in their new home here in Atlanta. “


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Canadian army

DVIDS – News – US Army EOD soldiers to participate in Multinational Exercise Ardent Defender in Canada


CANADIAN FORCES BASE BORDEN, Ontario, Canada – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers will train with military and law enforcement personnel from 11 partner nations during Exercise Ardent Defender on 18 September to October 22.

Army EOD technicians from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 192nd Field Artillery Battalion (EOD) will participate in the explosive threat countermeasures exercise with military and law enforcement personnel from the States- United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Colombia, Mexico and Ecuador.

The annual exercise has been held since 2012 at bases across Canada, including the Royal Canadian Air Force Base in Trenton and Fleet Diving Unit Pacific Base in Esquimalt.

Major Atif Rizvi, the Canadian Armed Forces’ principal planner for Exercise Ardent Defender, said Canadian Forces Base Borden is the primary location for the exercise.

“Exercise Ardent Defender enables partner countries to work collaboratively, share best practices and improve their preparedness for current and emerging threats,” said Rizvi. “The unique opportunity to interact with a wide range of local law enforcement agencies and other government departments simulates the complex and real environments expected in high-stake missions. “

Part of the Canadian Air Mobility Fleet, Rizvi is an Aerospace Engineering Officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight Commander from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

“The objective of the exercise is to use a bottom-up approach to ensure that EOD and improvised explosive device training activities continue as emerging threats to counter IED are observed around the world.” , said Rizvi.

Assigned to the 192nd EOD Battalion, Soldiers from the 754th EOD Company based in New York and the 760th EOD Company at Fort Drum, as well as the 55th EOD Company based in Fort Belvoir, Va., Represent the United States during the exercise.

The battalion is part of the 52nd EOD Group based out of Fort Campbell, Ky., And the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Command (CBRNE).

The 20th CBRNE Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Is the United States Department of Defense’s first all-hazards formation.

Based at 19 facilities in 16 states, the soldiers and civilians of 20th CBRNE Command face and fight the world’s most dangerous weapons and dangers.

Maj.Thomas N. Shanahan, operations officers for the 192nd EOD Battalion, said the exercise will provide an opportunity for EOD soldiers to train the way they fight – in a combined, interagency and joint forces.

“Our EOD technicians must be prepared to deploy anywhere on short notice,” said Shanahan, a native of Cecil, Pa., Who served in Iraq. “Ardent Defender gives our EOD soldiers the opportunity to hone their skills and leverage the expertise of our joint, allied and interagency partners.”

Date taken: 09/16/2021
Date posted: 09.16.2021 12:17
Story ID: 405406
Site: BORDEN, ON, CA
Hometown: MISSISSAUGA, ON, CA
Hometown: CECIL, PA, United States

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International headquarters

Businesses flock to this Brickell office tower: Cushman & Wakefield gets last lease from Canadian company


Render of 830 Brickell, a new Class A-plus office tower under development by OKO Group and Cain International. The 55-story, 640,000-square-foot tower, designed by acclaimed architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, will mark the first free-standing Class A office building developed in Miami’s Brickell Financial District in more than a decade after its completion in 2022. Credit: OKO Group / Caïn International.

A leading Canadian asset and wealth management firm is opening its U.S. headquarters at 830 Brickell, a Class A-plus office tower under construction in Miami’s Brickell Financial District.

CI Financial Corp. owns global assets worth $ 254 billion and is the third major company to lease space in the tower in recent weeks. The company joins private equity firm Thoma Bravo, which will occupy 36,500 square feet, and tech giant Microsoft, which will occupy 50,000 square feet in the office tower.

CI Financial has leased a 20,000 square foot office on a full floor. The move solidifies the office tower as the place to be, as several tech and financial companies establish a presence in South Florida.

The 830 Brickell property was represented by Brian Gale of Cushman & Wakefield, Ryan Holtzman and Andrew Trench in Miami. Donna Abood and Mark Robbins of Avison Young represented CI Financial.

“True American Headquarters”

“One of the things that makes this deal most remarkable for the City of Miami is that it marks the establishment of a true US headquarters for such a prominent financial asset management company. Historically, Miami has really been home to large corporations and headquarters in Latin America, but it is one of the first true headquarters in the United States to be established, ”said Trench.

According to Holtzman, CI Financial wasn’t just focusing on Miami and was considering other cities with no income tax before choosing the city.

“Our mayor has been very proactive in helping our new tenants to market here, unlike mayors in other cities. It has really benefited us, ”said Gale.

For the Cushman & Wakefield team, negotiating the recent deals has been exciting.

“While the new sort and it looks like it happened within a week, these are deals we’ve been working on for a long time,” Trench said.

Is the best yet to come?

The team estimates that the third quarter of this year will see more new leases in the market executed than all other quarters combined.

“It’s all happening now, but remember that a lease is signed, and it’s months and months of negotiations, space planning, touring, and it takes a long time to make a deal. Based on what’s going on, I think the third quarter will be a monster quarter for new business execution, ”said Gale.

Holtzman believes that once tenants move in and start enjoying the building, other large companies will start to follow suit.

“Not just because they signed a lease, but because they call their friends in New York, Chicago or LA and say, ‘This is amazing. “ I think there will be a whole new wave of bands next year, ”said Holtzman.

There’s always a challenge with a deal, Gale noted, and with rents up 20% in recent months, it can be difficult for businesses that aren’t paying that much now. Ultimately, the amenities, the lifestyle and the quality of the service and the building are what motivates people to come.

“Renters are willing to pay the rate to get what they want,” Gale said.

The key to facilitating successful transactions, the team said, is to expand your network and build relationships.

“A lot of these companies come from outside the market. Miami is a small city and obviously it’s a plus to be in everyone’s good favor here, but you really have to find a way to connect with the right people, in the right city. My team has made a concentrated effort to do this and has proactively built relationships in the cities we target over the past two years, ”said Trench.

The 55-story tower, a joint venture between OKO Group and Cain International, is expected to be completed in 2022.


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International headquarters

European Sports Betting Company Builds Denver Headquarters | Government


European sports betting company Tipico will build a tech hub in Denver, creating some 440 jobs in the coming years, according to Gov. Jared Polis’ office on Wednesday.

The company was also looking to locate in North Carolina, Georgia or Texas, among a hundred metropolitan areas considered. But economic development incentives from Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade to the tune of $ 7.52 million helped seal the deal.

“The company expects rapid growth as it gains market share in the United States and more states allow online sports betting,” according to official documents.

The company plans to create 441 jobs in eight years, with an average salary of $ 96,315 for jobs such as software and data engineers and customer service. Commissioners approved up to $ 7.52 million in tax credits for job growth.

“We are delighted to announce, in partnership with Governor Polis, our intention to establish a Tipico Sportsbook Technology Center in Denver,” Adrian Vella, US CEO of the Europe-based company, said in a statement. “From world-class universities, to the collaborative tech community, to the high and well-documented quality of life in the state, every step of our nationwide research has taken us straight to Colorado.

“Now that the football season has arrived and our bookie is live in the state, we are confident that Colorado’s vast pool of technological talent will help us take the Tipico brand to the next level in the United States. “

Colorado voters legalized online sports betting statewide two years ago, 51% to 49%, a difference of about 44,000 votes. Voters notably approved a 10% tax on sports betting operations, which legalized gambling.

Colorado allows physical casinos in only three locations: Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek.

Colorado ranks sixth in the country for sports bettors, and the National Problem Gambling Council estimates that more than 102,000 Coloradans, or about 2.4% of the adult population, have a gambling problem, according to a. Fox Report 31 in May. The national average is about 1%, according to the advice.

The WalletHub online data site Colorado 16th class among the states most addicted to gaming, ranking it 28th for industry usability and eighth for number of people versus resources for processing.

OVERVIEW |  Betting on vice might be Colorado's only way to win

“Compulsive gambling is gambling behavior that causes disruption in any major area of ​​life: psychological, physical, social, or work”, the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado explains on his site. “The term ‘problem gambling’ includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as ‘pathological’ or ‘compulsive’ gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by an increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more. ‘money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses and loss of control manifested by continued gambling behavior despite serious and increasing negative consequences. “

ON THE COVER |  The plan for sports betting to be a salvation is thrown a curve

The coalition, however, “maintains a position of neutrality of the game, recognizing that most of the people who gamble do so for leisure and do not suffer from serious problems.”

Colorado Gaming Association, Colorado Lottery and various casinos make up the coalition.

OEDIT said the 17-year-old company currently has 42 employees in Hoboken, New Jersey, and had recently started taking bets in Colorado.

Colorado voters voted to make Colorado one of the first states to legalize sports betting and use the revenues generated to protect our way of life and the precious water resources that support our outdoor recreation economy and our farming community, ”Polis said in a statement. “This decision proves what we already know: Colorado is the best place to live and work and 441 new jobs will be created in Colorado as a result of this decision made by voters.”

Colorado House President Alec Garnett, a Democrat from Denver who carried bipartite legislation to put the enabling DD proposal on the ballot in 2019, equated the games with the physical landscape of the state.

The bill was also sponsored by then-Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, along with Democratic Senator Kerry Donovan de Vail and Republican Senator John Cooke de Greeley.

“It’s great to see Colorado transform our incredible natural beauty and robust work force into one of the best places in the country to start or run a business,” he said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited for Tipico to call Colorado home and jump in. Colorado’s comeback is in full swing, our state attracting new businesses, creating jobs and rebuilding stronger than before. C It’s fantastic to see Tipico betting on Colorado, and I can’t wait to see them grow up in our state.

Online betting went into effect in Colorado on May 1, 2020. The governor’s office said on Wednesday it generated $ 65.9 million in taxes in its first year on bets of around 2.3 billion. of dollars. Game companies have grossed around $ 65 million in profit.

The bill marked $ 100,000 for “” prevention, education, treatment and workforce development … (for) treatment of gambling disorders. “

The decision by gambling company Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. has also been hailed by the expanding gambling footprint.

“We were pleased to support Tipico’s selection process and look forward to helping their team better integrate into the Metro Denver community,” said President and CEO JJ Ament. “And on a larger scale, we recognize that they are poised to make a meaningful impact in our collective efforts to protect Colorado’s water – making it an economic development project that not only creates jobs, but creates life. more sustainable future. For that, we are particularly happy that they chose our State.

Ament Tuesday has been named the new CEO and chairman of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.


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History organization

Do salt substitutes improve your heart health?


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Experts say there are other ways to reduce the salt in your diet than using salt substitutes. Getty Images
  • Chinese researchers say that using a salt substitute can help improve heart health.
  • But experts say the study’s results don’t necessarily apply to the United States because of the different diets and higher consumption of processed foods.
  • They suggest including more fruits and vegetables as a way to reduce sodium intake without using salt substitutes.

Switching from table salt to salt substitutes may help reduce the risk of stroke in people over age 60 with a history of high blood pressure or stroke.

That’s according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research included nearly 21,000 participants and took place in 600 villages in rural areas of five Chinese provinces.

About 72 percent of study participants had a history of stroke and 88 percent had a history of high blood pressure.

Participants were given free salt substitutes (about 75 percent sodium chloride and 25 percent potassium chloride) as a replacement for common salt and were advised to use it for cooking, seasoning and food preservation.

They were also encouraged to use the salt substitute more sparingly than before to maximize their sodium reduction.

Sufficient salt substitute was provided to cover the needs of the entire household (approximately 20 grams per person per day).

Participants from other villages continued with their usual cooking and eating habits.

The project was supported by the National Council for Health and Medical Research.

“This study provides clear evidence of an intervention that could be undertaken very quickly at very low cost… We have now shown that it is effective and that is the benefit for China alone. Salt substitution could be used by billions more with even greater benefits, ”said Dr. Bruce Neal, principal investigator of the study and professor at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, in a report. Press release.

A big question arising from this research is whether it is applicable in the United States and other countries outside of China.

“While I wish I could say yes, it’s more realistic to probably say no,” said Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, FAAC, a Minneapolis-based cardiologist and founder of Step One Foods.

Klodas noted that since the study looked at high-risk populations, the results may not apply to other populations (for example, people without high blood pressure and without stroke).

“This was also a study of a unique genetic / cultural group with specific eating habits / patterns and may not translate to other populations,” Klodas told Healthline.

The biggest obstacle to reducing sodium intake in the United States is that much of our sodium intake is not under our control.

“In rural China, most meals are cooked from scratch, so sodium intake is under the control of the preparer. Americans eat a lot more prepared and processed foods – and a lot of these products have a lot of sodium before we even get in the salt shaker, ”Klodas explained.

Sodium can also lurk almost anywhere, she said.

A plain bagel, for example, can provide 450 milligrams of sodium, before you even put anything in it. The maximum recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams per day, so one bagel is about 20 percent of a full day’s sodium allowance.

“The salt substitute won’t help you much there,” Klodas said.

“Finally, the intake of base salt was very high (assumed to be up to 20 grams of salt per person per day), so the observed effect might not translate to those consuming less salt to begin with,” she added.

Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center, explained that in theory, a salt substitute would improve cardiovascular risk because it would definitely improve high blood pressure, and it comes at a price.

“Potassium chloride as a substitute is a problem. As we age, our kidney function naturally slows down. We measure kidney function by glomerular filtration rate, or GFR.

“Our kidneys are our filtering device. So the natural aging process will slow down GFR, and putting potassium directly on food as a seasoning will negatively affect that, ”Gomer told Healthline.

Ultimately, Klodas said, the answer isn’t how to manipulate the sodium content of what we usually eat, but rather how to change what we eat.

“We never recommend these salt substitutes, but rather beautiful herbs, both dried and fresh, to enhance the taste of food,” Gomer said.

She explained that such a change is an adjustment of the palate.

Because we are used to heavily salty foods and using salt and other high salt seasonings, such as soy sauce, teriyaki and all the various black and Himalayan salts which are now popular, this may take weeks or months to make this adjustment.

“A simple way to reduce sodium in our diets is to deliberately add foods that are naturally sodium-free, including all fresh fruits and vegetables,” Klodas said. “It helps to naturally displace items with higher sodium content. “

She explained that eating fruit before lunch or dinner, for example, can be a way to reduce sodium intake while increasing intake of several beneficial nutrients, including potassium.

“Adding fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables while reducing sodium intake has been shown to be as effective as adding medication to lower blood pressure,” Klodas said.

While it takes some time to make the switch and see the benefits, Gomer said the positives are clear.

“Less bloating, decreased water retention, easier weight loss due to lack of salt stimulation and, more importantly, (rapid) reduction in blood pressure in those who are salt sensitive”, she noted.


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Canadian army

A boon in arms and equipment for the Taliban


There are dozens of key bases around Afghanistan which are now in the hands of the Taliban after the withdrawal of the international armed forces.

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As the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they seized an arsenal of military equipment that in some cases exceeded parts of the inventory of Western armed forces such as the Canadian Forces.

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Taliban fighters staged a victory parade in Kandahar City on Wednesday, showing off dozens of US-made armored vehicles and other weapons they captured in their lightning victory over the Afghan army and police. An American-made Black Hawk helicopter, dragging a Taliban flag, also flew over the city to highlight the insurgents’ ability to use more sophisticated equipment.

As the United States retreated from Afghanistan, it attempted to deactivate at least some of the equipment.

General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the United States Central Command, told reporters that 70 armored vehicles, 27 Humvee trucks and 73 planes were deactivated before the troops left Kabul. “These planes will never fly again,” he said. “They can never be operated on by anyone. “

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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN that the only usable equipment remaining at the airport included fire trucks and forklifts.

But there are dozens of other key bases around Afghanistan that are now in the hands of the Taliban and, with that, tons of military equipment.

The Afghan army operated more than 600 armored vehicles, similar to the tactical armored patrol vehicles of the Canadian Forces. In contrast, the Canadian Forces have approximately 500 APRTs.

The Afghan army also had over 22,000 Humvee, 150 anti-mine vehicles, 8,000 transport trucks, 160 M113 armored vehicles, over 350,000 assault rifles, 64,000 assorted machine guns, 120,000 pistols and over 170 pieces of artillery, according to various reports. Also left behind 33 transport helicopters, over 30 Black Hawk helicopters and 40 other light helicopters. In addition, there were approximately 65 assorted fixed-wing aircraft. The current state of the arsenal is not known.

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The operating time of this equipment is subject to question. The United States spent more than $ 500 million on 16 military transport planes for the Afghan army. But in 2013, planes were abandoned in Kabul due to a lack of spare parts.

A Department of National Defense official said on Wednesday that there were only limited amounts of Canadian equipment left in Afghanistan and that was years ago. This did not include weapons or large vehicles.

But Canada continued to fund Afghan security forces even after the military’s official departure in 2014, earmarking $ 330 million for the initiative.

Canada's former military installation, Camp Nathan Smith, in Kandahar City, was handed over to Afghan security forces but abandoned in late 2013. DAVID PUGLIESE / Postmedia
Canada’s former military installation, Camp Nathan Smith, in Kandahar City, was handed over to Afghan security forces but abandoned in late 2013. DAVID PUGLIESE / Postmedia Photo by David Pugliese /Postmedia

The Taliban also now control large amounts of infrastructure built and paid for by Western taxpayers. Base Kandahar, which once housed thousands of Canadian troops, was captured intact.

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Canada spent about $ 50 million on the Dahla Dam project which the Canadian government declared a success. The dam is still not functioning properly and needs hundreds of millions of dollars to complete.

The Dahla Dam project was one of Canada’s most controversial aid programs in Afghanistan. Some $ 10 million from the budget went to security provided by an Afghan company whose owner was convicted of drug-related crimes and accused of being an interpreter for the Taliban.

When Canadian soldiers withdrew from Kandahar in 2011, they left Camp Nathan Smith – the former base of Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team – to the Americans. A year later, the United States handed it over to the Afghans. At the end of 2013, it was discontinued.

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A similar pattern followed the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan in 1989. The Soviets embarked on a much more ambitious aid program than the United States and NATO, building thousands of kilometers of roads, tunnels, bridges, schools, buildings and military bases.

But, with the Taliban in charge, much of the infrastructure has fallen into disrepair.

One of the bridges is however still intact. In February 1989, the Soviet Army used the “Friendship Bridge” connecting Afghanistan to Uzbekistan to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan. Last week, NATO-trained Afghan National Army troops used the same bridge to escape the Taliban.

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Canadian army

“Catastrophe” in Afghanistan: Canada saves only a fraction of the performers, according to an NGO


“As soon as the Canadians leave, the United States will leave, they will be massacred … It’s a disaster”

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Despite repeated government promises that Canada would save endangered interpreters and other Afghans who worked for that country, only a small fraction of them are airlifted out of Kabul, say advocates for local workers.

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About 90 percent of those flown by Ottawa from Afghanistan are Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Afghan origin, said Dave Fraser, a retired army general with the Veterans Transition Network.

Most performers and other ex-Canadian military and government employees are still waiting for a quickly fading opportunity to flee, he said.

“It’s always absolutely chaotic,” said Fraser, who led Canadian troops on Operation Medusa, that country’s most notorious offensive in Afghanistan. “It’s still incredibly dangerous.”

Chris Ecklund, founder of the Canadian Heroes Foundation, said only 100 of the 1,500 former employees and family members his group helps have made it to Canada. He estimates that the interpreters and their relatives represent only 5 to 10% of the evacuees.

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Meanwhile, the Taliban recently killed several former employees of that country, he said. Although he did not provide any details, such targeted assassinations have long been a hallmark of the organization.

“The government is just not interested in this, they never have been,” Ecklund accused. “We are there now, we have one week left. Are we going to take them all out? The math doesn’t make sense. It does not indicate that.

It’s still absolutely chaotic

Most have not received a visa from Canada and face a dangerous trek from privately funded secure homes in central Kabul to the airport, a trip that may include walking a mile down a sewer. in the open, according to defenders.

Other countries, like the British and the French, brought in hundreds of Afghans from the city in bus convoys.

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Although Canadian government officials told reporters that country’s special forces ventured outside the airport to bring people in, private lawyers say they see little evidence of this happening. produce.

As the August 31 deadline approaches for the departure of foreign forces from Afghanistan, desperation is growing among veterans and other Canadians helping ex-employees.

“It’s a nightmare,” said another Canadian NGO volunteer, who works with government officials and asked not to be named. “It is a disaster of epic proportions.”

Spokesmen for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) could not be reached before the deadline for comment – or to describe who exactly is being evacuated.

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But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that Canada was prepared to stay in Afghanistan to continue evacuation efforts past the August 31 deadline, if possible.

“We will continue to work every day to bring out so many people alongside our allies,” Trudeau told reporters after a virtual meeting of G7 leaders. “The commitment of our G7 colleagues is clear: we will all work together to save as many people as possible.

  1.     In this file photo taken on August 15, 2021, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at Rideau Hall after asking Governor General Mary Simon to dissolve Parliament.

    Trudeau says Canada is ready to stay in Kabul past August 31 deadline after G7 meeting

  2. British and Canadian soldiers stand guard near a canal as Afghans wait outside the foreign military-controlled portion of Kabul airport, hoping to flee the country on August 22, 2021.

    Former Canadian interpreter fears for his life while awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan

However, US President Joe Biden, who set the deadline, has indicated his country will not stay beyond the end of this month.

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Trudeau also said Canada will continue to pressure the Taliban to allow people to leave the country even after the current phase ends.

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a tweet that Canada had flown 500 people out of the country just on Monday, adding to several hundred previously.

But Fraser said his group believed that only 11% of the 1,000 former interpreters and their families followed by VTN had received visas to come to Canada.

Even if they do receive a visa, getting into the airport and boarding a Canadian plane is a major challenge.

IRCC officials are telling Afghans to make their own way to the compound, despite the threat posed by huge crowds and Taliban guards, Fraser said.

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An Afghan-Canadian working for a Canadian NGO at the airport said it took people several days to get from the city to the airport. The quickest route takes them for three hours through an open sewer, where they then have to wait while Canadian authorities check their papers, said the man, who asked not to be named to avoid conflicts with government officials.

A friend who managed to cross and board a plane said he had traveled for several days as his children were injured by barbed wire and then had to wade through the sewers, he said by phone from Kabul.

A Canadian soldier walks through an evacuation checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 24, 2021.
A Canadian soldier walks through an evacuation checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 24, 2021. Photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla / US Marine Corps / Document via Reuters

The NGO worker estimated that about 95 percent of those who board Canadian planes are citizens or permanent residents. Most of the interpreters he knows have not even received a visa.

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Once they make contact with Canadian authorities, the fleeing Afghans face another obstacle. IRCC staff categorically reject any family member – including in one case the widowed mother of a former employee – who does not themselves have a visa, the airport worker and a lawyer said based in Canada.

A former Canadian military interpreter in Kandahar province who immigrated to Canada in 2010 argued that Afghan nationals and their families should in fact be given priority over Canadian citizens. They do not have passports that would allow them to leave the country after the departure of foreign forces, he said.

Khan, who asked that his last name not be released to avoid reprisals against his family in Afghanistan, said the policy should extend to relatives of performers like him who have already settled in Canada, as those relatives are at increased risk of retaliation by the Taliban.

There are over 200 ex-performers in Canada and so far no family member in Afghanistan has made it, he said.

“As soon as the Canadians leave, the United States will leave, they will be slaughtered,” Khan predicted. “It’s a disaster.”

• Email: [email protected] | Twitter:

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International headquarters

Central American Countries Ask: Can Bitcoin Reduce Remittance Costs? | News from banks


Central American countries are eagerly awaiting to see if El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as a parallel legal tender reduces the cost of remittances, a major source of income for millions of people, according to the development bank of the United States. region.

President Nayib Bukele’s allies in Congress have already approved legislation giving cryptocurrency official currency status alongside the US dollar, a world first. The move takes effect in September.

Bukele touted the adoption of Bitcoin as a way to facilitate remittances for Salvadorans living abroad.

“Everyone is watching if everything is going well for El Salvador and if, for example, the cost of remittances drops significantly… other countries are likely to seek this advantage and adopt it,” Dante Mossi, executive chairman of the Bank. Central American economic integration. (CABEI), Reuters news agency said on Wednesday. CABEI is an international multilateral development finance institution headquartered in Honduras.

Mossi called the plan an “extraordinary experiment” to increase financial inclusion in a region where many people do not have access to bank accounts or credit cards and depend on money sent by. parents living in the United States.

Technical assistance

CABEI, the regional development bank, is providing technical assistance to El Salvador for the implementation of cryptocurrency, a major show of support as the World Bank refused to help, citing environmental drawbacks and transparency.

The bank’s technical assistance aims to help El Salvador design a legal framework for the adoption of Bitcoin and ensure that strict international money laundering protocols are followed.

The aid is intended to help El Salvador “navigate waters that have yet to be explored,” said Carlos Sanchez, chief investment officer of CABEI.

Mossi said the Central American countries that receive the most remittances are the ones that prioritize the use of Bitcoin the most and stressed that CABEI has a “fiduciary duty” to support El Salvador in its request for aid.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the countries that stand to gain the most if the adoption of Bitcoin reduces the cost of remittances,” Mossi said.

CABEI participated in a recent meeting of the Central American Monetary Council, which is part of the Central American Integration System (SICA), where participants asked about El Salvador’s Bitcoin plans and discussed expressed interest, he added.

The Central Bank of Honduras referred Reuters to a June 11 statement that the bank does not prohibit, supervise, or guarantee the use of cryptocurrencies as payment methods in the country.

The governments of Guatemala and Honduras did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bitcoin ATMs

El Salvador has started installing Bitcoin ATMs, allowing its citizens to convert cryptocurrency to U.S. dollars and withdraw it for cash, as part of the government’s plan to make the token legal tender.

The government will install 200 ATMs to initially accompany its digital wallet called Chivo, a local slang term for “cool,” President Bukele said on Twitter on Sunday. Transactions will be commission-free, he said, adding that there will also be 50 financial branches across the country to withdraw or deposit money.

Adopting Bitcoin will save Salvadorans $ 400 million a year in fees for receiving remittances from abroad, Bukele said.

According to Autonomous Research, less than 1% of the volume of global cross-border remittances is currently made in cryptocurrencies, but in the future, cryptocurrencies are expected to account for a larger share of the more than $ 500 billion. global annual remittances.

Bitcoin offers, in theory, a fast and inexpensive way to send money across borders without resorting to traditional channels.

Salvadoran Bitcoin law will come into effect on September 7 and Salvadorans will be able to download the government’s Chivo digital wallet, enter their ID number and receive $ 30 in Bitcoin, Finance Minister Alejandro Zelaya said in an interview with local television. The government has created a $ 150 million fund to support Bitcoin to U.S. dollar conversions, he said.


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History organization

The relationship between race and well-being has never been so pressing | At the Smithsonian


This summer, Simone Biles, widely regarded as the greatest female gymnast of all time, shocked the sports world by retiring from the majority of her events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Citing her struggles with “twisties,” a mental block that makes gravity-defying gymnastics movements incredibly dangerous, the 24-year-old has received widespread praise for putting his health first.

Biles later said she took inspiration from Naomi Osaka, the 23-year-old tennis star who retired from Roland Garros and Wimbledon in order to prioritize her mental health. The two women, both black athletes at the peak of their sport, are part of a growing wave of black individuals “publicly [taking] their sanity in their hands in a way never seen before in elite sports, ”as NBC News reported.

Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, says the example set by Biles, Osaka and others has brought the issue of “mental health through the lens of race” to the fore. This topic, along with the broader relationship between race and well-being, looks particularly timely in 2021, as the United States continues to contend with systemic racism and a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color.

“Part of the fight for equity in America is the fight for equitable health care and access to mental health care,” Bunch said.

Race, welfare and wealth will feature prominently in an upcoming forum hosted by the Smithsonian’s Our Shared Future: Reckoning With Our Racial Past initiative. Scheduled for Thursday, August 26 at 7 p.m. EST, the virtually broadcast summit will put Smithsonian academics in conversation with authors, experts and activists. Planned programming includes sessions on the history and impact of race, the link between health and wealth, the role of race in mental health and trauma, and local organizations striving to reinvent a better future.

The Smithsonian announced its Reckoning With Our Racial Past initiative last summer, following the murder of George Floyd and the outbreak of widespread protests against police brutality. Funded with a $ 25 million donation from Bank of America, the goal of the campaign is to “confront race and highlight racism and social justice from a historical perspective,” Ariana said. Curtis, director of content for the initiative. Reckoning With Our Racial Past also seeks to emphasize the relevance of its topic today and to offer ideas on how to move forward as a nation.

The Smithsonian announced the initiative last June, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and widespread protests against systemic racism.

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images)

In addition to virtual and live events, the multi-year initiative will include town halls, digital resources, educational tools, immersive pop-up experiences, storytelling projects, fundraising efforts and more. This week’s event will be the first of three national forums.

“When I became a secretary [in 2019], what was important for me was to recognize that the Smithsonian had a contemporary resonance, that it had an opportunity, really a responsibility, to have value, to say basically: we are going to help the public by giving him tools to grapple with everyday life, from the challenge of climate change to race issues, ”says Bunch.

He adds: “When a nation is in crisis, its institutions must be strengthened. And clearly, this country is in crisis.

The Smithsonian’s collections and researchers represent a wealth of expertise, and its status as a beloved 175-year-old American institution means it is uniquely positioned to bring together people of different backgrounds and experiences.

“Our network includes other museums and cultural centers in the United States of varying sizes and missions, as well as community organizations, academics and activists,” says Curtis. “We are certainly not assuming that the Smithsonian is the first organization to think about these [questions of race,] but thinking of the power we have as a trusted institution to bring these [issues] to a larger and larger audience is really important.

The secretary envisioned the project as a way for the Smithsonian to “do what we do best”: namely, to make complicated subjects accessible to the public, provide a historical and cultural context that illuminates the present, and forge links between people who could not otherwise interact. . With the funded initiative, the Smithsonian could shed “some light” on a moment “fraught with misinformation, hatred and partisanship.”

The team responsible for developing the initiative focused its efforts on six thematic pillars: running and well-being; race and wealth; race and location; race, politics and ethics; race beyond the United States; and race, arts and aesthetics. All of these topics tie in with ongoing Institution-wide work of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Care Package, an online exhibit of creative offerings released at the height of the pandemic, when the crimes of Anti-Asian hatred was in the news across the nation — on the NMAAHC’s Talking About Race portal.

“The term ‘systemic racism’ can seem unwieldy and overwhelming,” explains Curtis, “and so we wanted to think about how to make it knowable? How to make it understandable? How do you make it feel changeable? “

She adds that she wants the forums to give the public a sense of optimism: “We want people to think about a way forward. “

Covid-19 test

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on people of color.

(Governor Tom Wolf via Flickr under CC BY 2.0)

The ongoing pandemic influenced the decision of the organizers to center the initiative’s first forum on race, welfare and wealth. But this week’s event doesn’t just focus on Covid-19. One session will discuss the development of race as a social construct and the lingering consequences of unsubstantiated claims that race is based on biological differences. “[This is] a time when people are trying to go beyond race as an identity and really want to question how race works, what race means, what role race and racism have in our lives today ”, Curtis explains.

Joi Lewis, founder of the Healing Justice Foundation; Monique Morris, President and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color; and Diana Chao, Founder and Executive Director of Letters to Strangers, will lead a separate discussion on mental health and trauma, a topic explicitly linked to public statements made by Biles, Osaka and other black athletes.

“This particular conversation is intergenerational,” Curtis explains. “Younger generations of black women speak openly about their mental health in ways that would not have seemed acceptable or permitted to previous generations. Opening this conversation in public spaces is really important.

To ensure the initiative reaches a large part of the country, the Smithsonian is working with local partners, including cultural organizations, historically black colleges and universities, sports teams, and nonprofits. These groups will help organize pop-up events in cities across the United States, addressing issues through a local lens in recognition of the fact “that the race takes place differently in different places,” according to Bunch.

“It’s less about the Smithsonian saying we have the answers, and more about the Smithsonian as a facilitator,” he adds. “What I hope it will become [is] a driver of possibility, a driver of collaboration that… the Smithsonian can continue to do long after I’m no longer a secretary.

For Bunch, the initiative represents “an opportunity for the Smithsonian to demonstrate that it has value, not only as a place that looks back, but as a place that looks to the future.” He hopes this “will help a nation recognize that it has a common future even though race issues have always divided us.”

The initiative’s first forum, on the theme of race, well-being and wealth, will be held virtually on August 26 at 7 p.m. EST. Join Secretary Bunch and a panel of esteemed experts at oursharedfuture.si.edu.


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Canadian army

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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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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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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World News Roundup: Trudeau Sentences 11-Year Chinese Court in Canada’s Espionage Case; Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister, more


Here is a summary of the news in the world.

Trudeau condemns Chinese court’s 11-year sentence in Canadian spy case

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that a Chinese court’s sentencing of Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage was “absolutely unacceptable” and called for his immediate release. The US Embassy in Beijing also condemned the conviction in a statement, saying the prosecution of Spavor and another Canadian accused of espionage was an attempt to “use human beings as a bargaining chip.”

Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister

New President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday appointed an anti-Western diplomat as foreign minister as Iran and six world powers seek to restore their 2015 nuclear deal. Raisi, a hardline supporter under Western sanctions for allegations of human rights violations while a judge, was sworn in on August 5 with religious leaders in the Islamic Republic facing growing crises at home and abroad.

Taliban could take Afghan capital in 90 days – US intelligence

Taliban fighters could isolate the Afghan capital in 30 days and possibly take control of it in 90 days, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday citing US intelligence as militants took control of an eighth Afghan provincial capital. The Taliban now control 65% of Afghanistan and have captured or are threatening to take 11 provincial capitals, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa de S. Africa says he tried to resist corruption as deputy to ex-president Zuma

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, testifying in a corruption probe on Wednesday, said he chose to “stay but resist” rather than resign as vice president when allegations of widespread corruption surfaced. surfaced under his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa, Zuma’s number two from May 2014 to February 2018, made anti-corruption a mainstay of his presidency, although opposition parties criticized him for not doing enough to stop the rot during his tenure of deputy.

Germany arrests Briton suspected of spying for Russia

German police have arrested a Briton who worked at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of passing documents on to Russian intelligence services in exchange for cash, prosecutors said on Wednesday. German prosecutors said the apartment and workplace of the man, identified only as David S., had been searched and he would be brought before an investigating judge later on Wednesday.

North Korea warns of “security crisis” if US, South Korea escalate tensions

North Korea said on Wednesday that South Korea and the United States had missed an opportunity to improve relations and risked a “serious security crisis” by choosing to escalate tensions as they conduct joint military exercises . Kim Yong Chol, a general and politician who played a leading role in historic summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump, criticized South Korea and the United States for responding to Pyongyang’s goodwill with “hostile acts”.

Belarus calls on US to cut embassy staff by September 1, RIA says

Belarus has called on the United States to cut staff at its embassy in Minsk and revoked its consent to the appointment of Julie Fisher as ambassador in response to the latest Washington sanctions, Russian news agency RIA reported on Wednesday. RIA quoted a spokesperson for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry as saying that Minsk wanted the embassy staff to be reduced to five by September 1.

At least 65 dead in forest fires in Algeria

Forest fires that ravaged forest areas in northern Algeria have left at least 65 dead, state television reported on Wednesday, as some of the most destructive fires in the country’s history continued to rage . The government has deployed the military to help fight the fires, which have ravaged the mountainous region of Kabylia the hardest, and 28 of the dead are soldiers, with 12 others seriously injured from burns.

Analysis-Brazil Bolsonaro deploys tanks to cover weak position

Clouds of black exhaust fumes spewing aging tanks and amphibious vehicles passing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday were a bad smokescreen for a leader whose political support is crumbling and whose re-election is in trouble. Politicians and analysts said this week’s unusual military display outside the Presidential Palace https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazil-military-parade-presidential-palace-rattles-politicians-2021- 08-10 in Brasilia had not revealed the strength but rather the political weakness of a president on the ropes for not having taken Brazil out of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.

Greece says EU “is not ready for another migration crisis”

The European Union is unable to cope with another migration crisis like the one in 2015 and must act to try to prevent people from fleeing the growing conflict in Afghanistan, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Wednesday. . Mitararchi, who last week co-signed a letter with ministers from five other EU countries saying deportations of failed asylum seekers should continue despite the fighting, said ending such returns “would send a bad message ”and would encourage more Afghans to try to reach Europe.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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Forest fires ravage Greece’s forests and cut the big island in two


GOUVES, Greece (AP) – Columns of smoke and ash blocked the sun over Greece’s second largest island and turned the skies orange as a days-old wildfire devoured pristine forests and triggered more evacuation alerts on Sunday, as residents called for additional firefighting. to help.

The fire in Evia, an island of mountains and forested canyons dotted with small coves of crystal clear water, began on August 3 and swept through the popular summer destination from coast to coast, burning uncontrollably for five days. Dozens of homes and businesses have been destroyed and thousands of residents and vacationers have been evacuated.

The fire is currently the most serious of dozens to erupt in Greece following the country’s most prolonged and intense heat wave in three decades, which has raised temperatures to 45 degrees Celsius (113 F) and created conditions of bone dryness.

The Greek Coast Guard said that three patrol boats, four navy ships, a ferry, two tourist boats and numerous fishing and private boats were ready to carry out further potential evacuations from the seaside village of Pefki, in the northern tip of Evia.

About 350 people have already boarded the ferry, the coast guard said, as towering flames cut many evacuation routes from the roads. Evacuation orders were issued for four villages, including Pefki, but some residents refused to leave, hoping to save their properties.

Planes and helicopters dropped water on the flames from above.

“It is already too late, the area has been destroyed,” lamented Giannis Kontzias, mayor of the municipality of Istiaia, north of Evia, on the Greek television channel Open TV. Residents of neighboring villages were urged to travel to Istiatia, a town of 7,000 in northern Evia that firefighters struggled to save overnight.

Villagers and residents of North Evia’s main port, Aidipsos, were urged to close windows, doors and fireplaces to prevent embers from entering homes.

Civil protection chief NIkos Hardalias said conditions in Evia were particularly difficult for planes and helicopters dropping water. Their pilots were facing “great danger” with limited visibility, air turbulence and wind currents from the fire, he said.

“We have a tougher afternoon ahead of us, a tougher night,” said Hardalias. “All the forces that have fought an uphill battle all these days will continue to operate with relentless intensity, with the same selflessness. “

Overnight, coast guards and ferries evacuated 83 people from the beaches of northern Evia. On Friday evening, ferries evacuated more than 1,000 people from beaches and a seaside village in doomsday scenes as flames raged on the hills behind them.

Local officials and residents of northern Evia called for television news broadcasts on Saturday, calling for more firefighters and planes to drop water.

Firefighters said 575 firefighters with 35 ground crews and 89 vehicles were battling the Evia blaze, including 112 Romanian firefighters and 100 Ukrainian firefighters sent to Greece as reinforcements. Four helicopters and three planes, including a huge Beriev-200 leased from Russia, provided air support.

Three other major fires also burned on Sunday in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region, while a massive blaze that ravaged forests, homes and businesses on the northern outskirts of the Greek capital appeared to be in decline. This fire traversed large swathes of a national park on Mount Parnitha, the largest remaining forested area near Athens which still bore deep scars from a fire in 2007.

The reactivation of the blaze north of Athens was a constant concern, Hardalias said, adding that firefighters and the military had patrolled through the night to deal with the situation. A firefighter was transferred to hospital on Sunday after losing consciousness while on patrol, Hardalias said. His condition was not life threatening.

A volunteer firefighter died on Friday from head injuries caused by a fall from a utility pole north of Athens, while at least 20 people were treated for fire-related injuries, including two firefighters who were hospitalized in intensive care.

The causes of the fires are under investigation. Three people were arrested on Friday _ in the greater Athens region, central and southern Greece _ on suspicion of starting fires, in two cases intentionally.

Another person, a 47-year-old Greek, was arrested on Saturday afternoon in the Athenian suburb of Petroupoli for lighting two fires in a grove and setting four dumpsters on fire, police said.

Ten countries have already sent firefighting personnel and equipment such as planes to Greece, while eight others are sending additional reinforcements.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the firefighters’ headquarters in Athens on Saturday and expressed “deep sorrow” for the death of the volunteer firefighter. He then went to the airport from where the firefighting planes take off and thanked the pilots, Greek and French.

Ensuring aid to all those affected by the forest fires will be “my first political priority,” the prime minister said, promising that all burnt areas would be reforested.

“When this nightmarish summer is over, we will turn our full attention to repairing the damage as quickly as possible and restoring our natural environment,” Mitsotakis said.

Greek and European officials have blamed climate change for the large number of fires that have ravaged southern Europe in recent days, from Italy to the Balkans, Greece and Turkey.

Massive fires have also been burning in Siberia in northern Russia for weeks, forcing the evacuation of a dozen villages on Saturday. In total, forest fires have burned nearly 15 million acres this year in Russia.

In the United States, hot, dry and gusty weather also fueled devastating wildfires in California.

About the photo: People use a ferry to evacuate the village of Pefki on the island of Evia, about 189 kilometers (118 miles) north of Athens, Greece on Sunday, August 8, 2021. Columns smoke and ash block sun above Greece’s second-largest island as days-old wildfire is devouring pristine forests and triggering more evacuation alerts. (AP Photo / Petros Karadjias)

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Military will likely need more help with natural disaster response, DND says


With wildfires and flooding raging across the country this summer, hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been called in to help with provincial emergencies – but they will likely need help to keep it going. do, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense told iPolitics this week..

“WWe expect requests for assistance to increase, depending on the availability of provincial emergency resources, ”the spokesperson said in an email response. “This is consistent with the increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters, both at home and abroad.”

Provincial emergency management organizations are the first to respond, but they can call in the military if they are overwhelmed.

“WWe expect that the need for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) support for missions (Operation Lentus) will continue to increase at a constant rate in the medium to long term, which will result in an increased need for resources, ”he said. declared the spokesperson.

Operation Lentus is the CAF’s mission to respond to natural disasters.

While the military expects more deployments to require more resources, it is difficult to know when and how.

As the nature of the missions (of Operation Lentus) is unpredictable, there is no way to say exactly how or when this might impact our resources, ”the spokesperson said. “CAF’s requests for assistance are not predictable and therefore no amount is planned or set aside in advance. “

The cost of disaster relief has fluctuated wildly since 2013, according to figures provided to iPolitics by the Department of National Defense (DND).

In fiscal year 2017-18, thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles were sent across the country to help six provinces deal with ice storms, floods and wildfires, according to a ministry. breakdown. DND spent $ 14 million on incremental costs, which are costs attributable to a specific mission.

In fiscal year 2014-2015, however, natural disaster relief cost the ministry just under $ 150,000.

While DND cannot predict with certainty how much future deployments will cost, it anticipates “more cyclical events,” the spokesperson said. These include the seasons of fires and floods, said Jonathan Vance, former Chief of the Defense Staff, speaking to the House Defense Committee in 2018.

The CAF plans for cyclical events, such as floods and forest fires, including such things as forecasting critical areas and assessing capacity gaps, ”the spokesperson said.

This planning includes “the identification, preparation and pre-positioning of Forces, facilitators and reserves (who) would be required to respond to fire, flood, natural disaster and the routing of goods.” humanitarian aid ”, as well as“ computer simulations, planning conferences, teleconferences, tabletop exercises, field simulations, etc. “Said the spokesperson.

The use of the military for more and more natural disasters is a source of concern, said Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of staff, talk to the canadian press Last year. If this continues to be commonplace, which the ministry said it expects, it could hamper the military’s combat readiness, Eyre said.

Despite the expected increase and four deployments to date in 2021, the CAF is still ready to fight, the spokesperson said..

Although the increase in natural disasters has had an impact on the number of missions (Operation Lentus) performed by the CAF, it has not yet affected our combat readiness, ”they said.

“Mincentives are always in place to ensure that CAF support on the international stage, both for combat and non-combat missions, never suffers, ”the spokesperson said.

“This includes relying more heavily on the Reserve Force for domestic operations, at times, or working with federal and provincial partners to ensure the most efficient use of CAF resources here at home. “

The more frequent use of reserves has not changed the structure of the reserve forces, “nor the way they train or are employed, but simply the frequency with which they are called,” said the spokesperson.

The military response to more natural disasters is also of concern to Adam MacDonald, member of the International Council of Canada, who wrote a test on the subject for the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations.

There is a “growing trend for the military (increasingly responding to national and) localized environmental disasters, which are expected to increase, given climate change,” he told iPolitics.

MacDonald worries “that this is already built into what the military was going to do in the future, without really thinking politically about whether or not we want the military to do it,” he said. declared.

As climate change continues to cause large-scale natural disasters and the military expects the military to continue to assist, MacDonald has suggested two solutions, without explicitly arguing for either. ‘other.

The first is that army reserves play a more active role in emergency management.

“I don’t think it’s realistic for a number of reasons,” he said. “Number 1 is that the reserve is a force of volunteers,” and volunteers might not want to fight fires or other disasters.

The second is that reserves are trained to do the same job as regular forces, so playing a more active role in emergency management could take time compared to training to replace regular forces when deployed overseas. , did he declare.

The other option is to create a new department, similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States, which is explicitly responsible for responding to disasters.

“This is the question, ‘do we need to build capacity and expertise to (deal with) the increasing likelihood of natural disasters and other national problems? ”Said MacDonald.

“This is where the FEMA structure could work, but it could be a bit difficult, given that each province has their own emergency management organization, so there could be (battles) over who is in charge. enough to.”

Helping provinces deal with natural disasters is a core function of the CAF, as defined in the 2017 Defense Ministry report. policy document, “Strong, secure and committed”.

The use of CAF members to help provinces is increasingly common, says analysis by military experts Christian Leuprecht and Peter Kasurak for the Center for International Governance Innovation.

From 1996 to 2006, the CAF was deployed on 12 weather-related missions. Between 2007 and 2016, this number rose to 20.

From 2017 to 2019 alone, the CAF was mobilized for 15 missions.

In a mission last year dubbed Operation Laser, the CAF even helped long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario that were overwhelmed by COVID. Other than this effort, the CAF has only been deployed to the provinces once: to help Newfoundland and Labrador weather a major snowstorm in January 2020.

In 2021, the army has so far been deployed in Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia to fight forest fires, and in the Yukon to help protect against flooding.

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G7: Iran, behind the attack on an oil tanker, “threatens international peace” | Expedition News


Tehran denies being behind a drone attack on an oil tanker linked to Israel, but the G7 says “all available evidence clearly points to Iran.”

G7 foreign ministers said that “all available evidence clearly indicates that Iran” was behind a July 29 drone attack on an Israel-linked tanker that killed a former British soldier and a Romanian national.

“It was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a flagrant violation of international law … There is no justification for this attack,” ministers from the world’s seven most developed countries said in a statement on Friday.

The vessel was a Japanese oil tanker, flying the Liberian flag, operated by the Israeli company Zodiac Maritime.

Iran has firmly denied having any connection to the MV Mercer street attack, which came as tensions rise in the region and talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear program deal stalled .

But European countries and the United States renewed their accusations at a closed-door Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.

“The UK knows Iran is responsible for this attack. We know it was deliberate and targeted, ”said British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward, who added that the evidence was“ clear ”.

“The door to diplomacy and dialogue remains open. But if Iran chooses not to take this path, then we will seek to hold Iran to account and apply a cost to it, ”she told reporters.

The Security Council is due to discuss the incident further at a public meeting on maritime security on Monday.

G7 ministers declared that “ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law” and pledged to “do everything possible to protect all navigation, on which the world economy depends”.

“Iran’s behavior, as well as its support for proxy forces and armed non-state actors, threatens international peace and security,” they said, calling on Tehran to end all activities inconsistent with Iranian resolutions. Security Council.

“Iran will not hesitate to defend itself”

The United States and Israel have singled out Iran for being behind the attack on the tanker, which is led by a prominent Israeli businessman in London.

Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Zahra Ershadi, rejected accusations that Tehran was behind the attack and warned against retaliation: “Iran will not hesitate to stand by. defend and protect its national interests “.

In a separate statement, the US military said explosives experts from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan – which deployed to aid Mercer Street – concluded the drone was produced in Iran.

He said explosives experts were able to recover several pieces of a drone, including part of the wing and internal components that he said were almost identical to previously collected samples from Iranian attack drones.

The US military also suggested the attack may have been launched from the Iranian coast, saying the distance to the scene of the attacks “was within range of documented one-way Iranian drones.”

“Some of the material was transferred to the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, and then to a US national laboratory for further testing and verification,” said Central Command, which oversees US forces in the area. region, in the press release.

Security analysts said the fatal attack raised the stakes in the “shadow war” against ships linked to Iran and Israel.

Iran was blamed again on Tuesday for the alleged hijacking of an asphalt and bitumen tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which prompted further denials from the Islamic Republic.

The tensions came as former head of the hard-line judiciary Ebrahim Raisi took over as Iranian presidency this week following his victory in the June election, replacing Hassan Rouhani who was seen as a more moderate figure.


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The continuation of Kurdish oppression in Turkey


EDMONDS, Washington – The Kurdish ethnic populations have resided in parts of Asia Minor and the Middle East for centuries. Various nations have forcibly drawn lines across their native territories over time. After World War I, the establishment of Turkish borders limited the possibility of a formal and cohesive Kurdish state. In modern times, there are around 30 million ethnic Kurds in the world. This makes the Kurdish people “one of the largest groups of people without […] a nation-state ”or a land of their own. Much of the total Kurdish population resides in Turkey, where Kurds face violence, discrimination and social ostracism.

Kurdish oppression in Turkey

Ethnic Kurds and ethnic Turks have had particularly strained relations in recent history. According to The Kurdish Project, a non-profit rights advocacy and education organization, Turkey’s modern borders run directly through Kurdistan. Kurdistan, a historically Kurdish region that is not a country, has territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Since the founding of Turkey, Kurdish culture, language and expression of identity have come under fierce repression, with tensions having increased dramatically over the past 40 years. In an interview with The Borgen Project, retired US diplomat Fred Lundahl said: “What the Kurds had to face in order to do something, to gain a sense of respect, has always been difficult. Lundahl spent 30 years in embassies around the world for the State Department.

The Turkish government has a history of oppression against Kurdish culture, even suppressing the names Kurdish families give to their children. In 2003, the Turkish national authorities passed a reform law aimed at limiting names using the letters x, q, and w – letters traditionally found in Kurdish names. ” Because they are [Kurds] immediately noticed by their names […] they’ve been fundamentally oppressed all this time, ”Lundahl observed.

In a court case around the same time, authorities attempted to prosecute seven parents in the southern Turkish town of Diyarbakır for giving their children Kurdish names. The prosecution argued that the names were secret codes in a Kurdish terrorist ploy against the Turkish government. Although a judge ultimately dismissed the case, resistance to Kurdish expression continued.

Kurdish reprisals

Continued oppression and exclusion from Turkish political, cultural and social landscapes has resulted in the ostracization of the Kurds. According to Lundahl, “government after government has missed the boat in trying to calm that sentiment. This led to the tensions that still persist today.

The Kurdish oppression exercised by the Turkish government has directly and indirectly generated a committed nationalist movement. This manifestly manifested itself in the form of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the 1970s. Until his capture in 1999, Abdullah Öcalan, a Kurdish Turk, led the PKK, which was widely referred to as an organization. terrorist. Before Öcalan’s capture, the actions of the PKK resulted in the deaths of around 30,000 people. The group initially worked with the goal of establishing a Kurdish region in southern Turkey, although this goal has changed over time.

In its early years, the PKK appealed to many Kurds of all stripes. In particular, he tried to attract Kurds from poor and disadvantaged areas. A major conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government in 1984 resulted in the government’s forced expulsion of around one million Kurds. Mass unrest and the destruction of Kurdish communities accompanied these expulsions. The Kurdish Project suggests that organizations like the PKK provide the Turkish government with the justification to oppress and terrorize everyday Kurds.

The politics of the Turkish majority and the Kurds

Over the past 20 years, the majority political party in Turkey has risen: the Justice and Development Party, or AKP. The AKP’s growing power has led to even fewer attempts at inclusion in Turkey, according to Lundahl. At the forefront of this struggle are the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan, leader of the AKP, and the organization’s conservative values. “What [ErdoÄŸan] in fact, it is to serve the Islamic people, more fundamentalist, in the small towns of central Turkey, it is its base. And this base feels threatened by the Kurds, ”Lundahl said.

Particular movement against the Kurds in Turkey, in addition to political persecution and imprisonment, has come in the form of Turkey’s hydroelectric efforts in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. Since the early 2000s, when the AKP came to power, the government has exercised significant control over a campaign of roadblocks in Turkey’s southeastern provinces. This has disproportionately affected Kurdish communities and infrastructure, as well as neighboring regions heavily dependent on controlled water supplies.

“There have also been major development projects in eastern Turkey that revolve around these dam systems […] for electricity and water for irrigation, ”Lundahl shared. “These projects were peddled because ‘it will bring economic development to the Kurdish regions of Turkey.’ In fact, the Kurds did not take advantage of it. The Kurds lost land, Turkish companies arrived with big agricultural companies. All of these things… are getting worse and worse.

The Kurdish role in the Syrian civil war

Other factors of Kurdish oppression are the war on terrorism and the involvement of the United States in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria. The main US allies in the fight against Islamic extremism, the Kurdish Protection Units, or YPG, have played a crucial role in helping US forces fight groups like ISIS.

Turkey, on the other hand, treats the YPG with significant hostility. When former President Donald Trump withdrew US forces from Syria, the YPG lost significant support and resources that the United States provided, paving the way for Turkish forces in the region to resume their efforts to counter them. Kurds and others in the area.

In Turkey, the conflict in Syria has also shaped the social landscape. According to Lundahl, “He [were]large number of Syrian refugees that the Turks had allowed in, and what was interesting about it was that this was allowed by the [Turkish] government, it was to keep them away from the war zones, which happened to be Kurdish zones.

Lundahl now owns Music for the Eyes, a boutique specializing in cultural objects in Langley, Washington. He recalled his last trip to Turkey to visit suppliers: “Many shops in downtown Istanbul were run by Syrians… so there was a whole other social problem that arose because they were taking the relay of the urban Turks. Lundahl further suggested that Kurdish businesses in Turkey had been affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. It also further ostracized the Kurds.

Outlook

Despite the Turkish government’s best efforts to subdue the Kurds, many still have hopes for cultural, social and political freedom. “We have been following for years the struggle of the Kurds to emerge from their second-class status [… as well as] the wonderful things the Kurds did in Iraq to get their own country, indeed, ”Lundahl said. Kurds in cities in southern Turkey revive the ancient oral practices of Dengbej, a musical storytelling tradition that dates back 5,000 years. His return represents the preservation of heritage in the face of oppression.

Although the situation carries a complex diplomatic weight and serious humanitarian concerns, it is not hopeless either. Organizations like The Kurdish Project strive to make Kurdish oppression, history and struggles known to everyday Kurds. Their work continues to advocate for the rights of Kurds in Turkey and beyond.

– Maddie Youngblood
Photo: Unsplash


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International headquarters

Smart Wires CEO Peter Wells explains his stint at NC


Peter Wells, CEO of energy technology company Smart Wires, believes his business is poised for serious growth in the years to come.

But that growth, according to Wells, would have been difficult to manage in the San Francisco area, where the company has been based since its inception in 2010.

Last week, Smart Wires, which manufactures technology to efficiently manage energy in power grids, announced it was moving its Bay Area headquarters to Durham. It’s a move that will ultimately create some 250 jobs at the Triangle, and North Carolina has offered the company a $ 2.8 million incentive program to make it happen.

In an interview with The News & Observer, Wells said the decision was about access to talent. In California, he said, competition between companies has grown fierce and the cost of living keeps entry-level employees away.

“It’s a little harder to find (and) dear people when you do,” Wells said in a Zoom interview.

And due to the nature of their business, which is designing technologies for power grids, the business often hires highly skilled electrical engineers, many of whom have doctorates. And other companies and industries have constantly tried to pull them off.

“The talent was sort of being harvested by other industries that maybe paying a lot more money than you might see in energy,” Wells said. “It was a challenge.”

As the company was poised to accelerate its growth in the coming months, Wells believed it was time to move the corporate headquarters. And as the company’s lease expires at the end of the year, it has started a nationwide search.

Smart Wires ended up narrowing its search to five cities, Well said, including Austin, Atlanta, Denver, the Triangle and its existing location in Union City, California.

Pierre.jpg
Peter Wells, CEO of Smart Wires Smart wires

The Triangle, Wells said, had the best overall score in its analysis thanks to its cost of living, existing energy technology companies and local universities.

“There are other (power) companies here, like Hitachi ABB,” Wells noted. And “NC State is doing very well in this area. Duke has a very good electrical engineering program. There are other colleges around, and Georgia Tech is not that far. I mean there is a lot going on in the area.

It’s also – at least for now – reasonably priced, Wells said, especially compared to places like Boulder, Colorado and Austin.

“The cost of living and housing is clearly increasing (in the Triangle),” he said, “because companies are coming in and investing… but there is still a long way to go before they reach” the levels Californians.

Wells knows the Triangle well, although a lot has changed since he was last there. He worked at the GE plant in Wilmington between 2003 and 2010, and visited Raleigh often. Since then, he said, the area’s cultural amenities, from bars and restaurants to music and cafes, have improved dramatically.

The company hopes to open its research and development lab in Durham later this year. It is currently targeting space in southern County Durham, near Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Some of the company’s 140 or so employees will relocate to the Triangle, but most of them will either stay in California or work remotely. About 40% of the company’s employees work abroad.

Currently, approximately 15% of Smart Wires’ business is located in the United States. The company is very active in South America, the UK and Australia, where countries are really investing in efforts to modernize their power grids, Wells said.

But Wells believes the US market could be an important area of ​​growth in the years to come, as investment picks up in wind and solar power. Smart Wires technology helps utility providers connect their grids to wind turbines and solar panel farms and helps them efficiently manage the energy that results from them.

Wind turbines and solar panels are often built far from traditional power grids, complicating how utility companies can efficiently manage their energy.

“In England, all renewable energy is produced in Scotland and off the North Sea. But all the demand is in the south of England, “Wells said, adding that most countries have a similar dynamic, including the United States.” You can’t just move electricity. And everyone’s having these issues, so they don’t have enough capacity, and they’re having congestion issues.

Wells said the United States could see increased investment in modernizing power grids across the country, so they can handle more connections to alternative energy. The company is closely monitoring what will be included in an infrastructure bill currently being debated in Congress, and hopes it will provide incentives to modernize power grids.

“Frankly, even without this (infrastructure bill),” Wells said, utilities “are going to have to modernize. They can’t avoid it. So we think that over time, the US market … will probably represent more than 30 to 50% ”of the company’s activity.

This story was produced with the financial support of a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism scholarship program. The N&O retains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; go to bit.ly/newsinnover.

Related articles from Raleigh News & Observer

Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. It covers technology, startups and large companies, biotechnology and education issues related to these fields.


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Non profit living

The logic of Cori Bush’s fight for the moratorium on evictions


Cori Bush knows the violence that can stem from homelessness – and how it so often begins with deportation. Local surveys have found that from 12% to almost half of people living on the streets blame the eviction for their homelessness. Bush, who is now the Democratic Representative of the United States from Missouri, lived in a Ford Explorer with her then husband and two young children for three months after the family was deported in 2001.

It considers the right to housing to be a central principle of environmental justice. Homelessness and housing insecurity, she argued, hamper families’ ability to access the resources – clean water, fresh food, heating and air conditioning – needed to survive. The past year has been particularly deadly for homeless people, as relentless heat waves, poor COVID-19 precautions and unhealthy air quality levels exacerbated by wildfires and pollution have made life on the streets even more dangerous. At the same time, cities across the country have decided to criminalize housing settlements and limit the rights of the homeless.

“I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I’ve been through, ever,” Bush told The Associated Press. So when the White House said last week it couldn’t extend the federal moratorium on evictions – which has banned evictions since March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 – by possibly letting it expire, it took the fight in hand. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 11.4 million adult renters were on the verge of eviction.

For four nights, Bush slept outside the United States Capitol, demanding that President Joe Biden extend the moratorium. In the end, she and her congressional allies won. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, issued a new moratorium on evictions that will last until October 3. which would cover areas where 90 percent of the US population lives. The CDC’s new moratorium comes after the Biden administration claimed it did not have the power to extend the eviction ban – and after some localities have already started resuming evictions. (Despite the moratorium, declining state protections and inadequate legal services have led to at least 450,000 evictions during the pandemic, according to the Princeton University Eviction Lab.)

Representative Cori Bush speaks with supporters outside the United States Capitol to call for an extension of the federal moratorium on evictions on July 31, 2021. Photo by Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

In a column for Time last week, Bush denounced the “consequences of our government’s failure to provide the basic necessities that people need to survive.” On the same day, she introduced a “Homeless Bill of Rights,” which calls on Congress to end homelessness in the United States for good by 2025 by investing in affordable housing, universal housing vouchers and social services for people most likely to live on the streets.

While many environmental activists, including the Sunrise movement, have called the new moratorium a victory for climate justice, Bush and other housing advocates argue that protection is one of many that must be instituted to ensure housing and environmental justice for America’s most vulnerable .

Julian Gonzalez, a water policy lobbyist with nonprofit group Earthjustice, says issues such as unaffordable public services are another front in the fight to ensure housing security. (Disclosure: Earthjustice is a Grist advertiser.)

“The affordability of utilities, especially the affordability of water, is a big part of the housing crisis and environmental justice,” Gonzalez told Grist. “Eventually the moratorium on evictions is going to be lifted and people are going to be grappling with bills, and they are going to have their water and electricity cut off – with that comes displacement and eviction.”

This is especially important, according to Gonzalez, because while there are state and national programs to provide assistance for energy bills, there are none for water. Households across the country face billions of dollars in utility debt, and hundreds of thousands of homes face utility cuts. Earthjustice and other organizations across the country are calling for the inclusion of water and utility assistance programs in the next congressional infrastructure bill, which in its current version only includes a pilot low-income rural water assistance program in 40 towns without authorized funding.

Courtney McKinney, director of communications at the nonprofit Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the United States should create a system that permanently limits the prevalence of evictions. The center is working to create state-based legal aid funds, dubbed the “homelessness prevention fund”. Across the country, only 10 percent of tenants who go through eviction proceedings have legal representation, compared to 90 percent of landlords.

The eviction creates an endless cycle of substandard housing, McKinney argues. According to Princeton’s Eviction Lab, 70% of evicted tenants experience serious quality-of-life issues in the next home they move into.

“Across the country, the climate is making the situation even more dire,” McKinney told Grist. “In the West, in particular, climate change, substandard housing and homelessness are a deadly reality in the future.”




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Non profit living

Jam to Low-Down Blues with Hurricane Jerry Loos at the Westerwood Blueberries and The Blues Concert


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug 4, 2021 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) – The Westerwood Senior Living Community is hosting a Blueberries & The Blues Summer Concert from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Friday August 13, 2021, featuring the local blues artist Hurricane Jerry Loos. Relax in the shade as you listen to soft blues and celebrate Columbus blueberry season with chilled blueberry limoncello cocktails and savory treats created by Chef Marshall of Westerwood.

“We are delighted to welcome Hurricane Jerry and showcase Chef Marshall’s culinary skills,” said Lisa Burkhart, Executive Director. “These events are a great way for us to showcase our great community. Participants will be able to meet residents and team members, and schedule community tours.

RSVP today for The Blueberries and The Blues concert by calling 614-368-1209 or visiting https://www.liveatwesterwood.org/events/. And be sure to enter to win one of four Fresh Thyme Market gift certificates and a basket full of all things blueberries.

Hurricane Jerry Loos began playing guitar in the late 1960s and worked for decades at local recording studios in Columbus Ohio. A versatile guitarist, Jerry has worked with a wide range of independent artists playing styles such as Gospel, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Jerry enjoys many styles of music but plays blues / rock in his band “Hurricane Jerry and Stormfront”

Listen to Hurricane Jerry on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaHC4215onQ.

Westerwood is also hosting a Resident Lifestyle Brunch at 10 a.m. on August 18, 2021. In addition to enjoying a delicious free brunch, residents and the dedicated team will share what makes Westerwood a great place to enjoy. the life. They will also share updates on the exciting new outdoor amenities that are being added to the 23-acre campus! RSVP today by calling 614-368-1209 or visiting https://www.liveatwesterwood.org/events/.

Westerwood, formerly Friendship Village Columbus, is a quaint 23-acre nonprofit retirement community rooted in northeast Columbus. It is minutes from downtown Westerville and the University of Otterbein. The active resident community enjoys lifelong learning, artistic pursuits, exercise, giving back and connecting with nature. Westerwood offers a full continuum of best-in-class care, including a Life Care contract.

This wooded oasis offers restaurant quality cuisine cooked from scratch, wellness classes with a personal trainer, an art studio, carpentry and gardens in a friendly atmosphere where ageless spirits can satiate their curiosity. . Westerwood is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit charitable community. It is classified as a community of choice by the Holleran group in recognition of an exemplary culture of resident engagement. Westerwood is SAGECare Platinum Certified, has received the Columbus CEO Top Workplaces Award six years in a row, and has received the Best of Business: Retirement Community award. Learn more at https://liveatwesterwood.org/.

#SummerConcert #HurricaneJerryLoos #OurCampusYourCanvas #SeniorLiving #ColumbusBlueberrySeason

NEWS SOURCE: Westerwood Life Care Community

This press release was issued on behalf of the information source (Westerwood Life Care community) who is solely responsible for its accuracy, by Send2Press® Newswire. Information is believed to be accurate but is not guaranteed. Story ID: 73980 APDF-R8.2

© 2021 Send2Press®, a press release and electronic marketing service of NEOTROPE®, California, United States.

To view the original version visit: https://www.send2press.com/wire/jam-to-low-down-blues-with-hurricane-jerry-loos-at-the-westerwood-blueberries-and-the- blues-concert /

Disclaimer: The contents of this press release were not created by The Associated Press (AP).


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Non profit living

Bloomington tent residents face ‘eviction’ as restaurant prepares to open


Jamie stands shirtless on a vacant lot on the west side of Bloomington. He is wearing jeans that his brother gave him. Behind him are flattened tents, blankets and clothing sprawled out on an asphalt, concrete and weed floor as the sun dries out these essentials after recent torrential rains.

The Indescribable Lot is what Jamie and about half a dozen other people call home. It will soon house a Panda Express restaurant. Bloomington City Council has approved plans to build the restaurant at the location along West Market Street.

The property runs along a busy highway not far from the highway. It is surrounded by gas stations, restaurants and other shops. It is not a residential area at all, with the exception of this tent city.

Some McLean County social service providers say tent towns have been a problem in Bloomington for decades. Advocates say the plight of the tent dwellers points to a bigger problem that has not been addressed.

As state and federal governments lift moratoriums on evictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, these residents will soon face their own type of eviction.

Jamie is 33 years old. He does not give his last name. He has lived in a tent in this vacant lot for almost three years.

Jamie’s brother checks him regularly and gives him clothes and a place to shower.

“He came over here and (said) ‘Jamie get in the car’, where are we going, Disneyland? ‘ Jamie asked. “No, we are going home. You’re going to get cleaned up.

Jamie said he was staying at the Salvation Army’s Safe Harbor shelter in Bloomington. He said he went to work in Texas and had to come back to Bloomington to help his brother. He said the Salvation Army would not take him back. Jamie has other people looking after him.

Her cousin Chris has been living in the camp for a few weeks. “I came here and found my cousin and I’m not going to leave him alone here,” Chris said.

Chris said he was worried about his cousin’s safety. He said he sent Jamie to the hospital three times due to seizures. Chris said there were always people looking for trouble there. Jamie said he had been doing drywall since he was 14 and believed he had a chance to return to work.

“I have my old boss’s number and he told me that once I got together and got my meds and stuff, he said he would put me back to work,” he said. Jamie said.

Jamie said he was taking medication for the seizures and for his mental health. Now he says his old boss no longer works for himself. Jamie is not optimistic, he will call back.

Jamie said he made do with his father’s monthly Social Security check and all the money he could get by begging. Jamie said he already won $ 80 in 20 minutes.

Bob is basically in the same situation as Jamie. Bob is 58 years old. He stands next to Jamie, sporting a graying beard, a face mask under his chin, and a vintage Chicago Cubs t-shirt. Bob said he had been living in the tent camp for a few years. He has done flooring for a living but cannot access the ground floor of the job market.

“Give me a rug, I can put it up,” beamed Bob, but said he couldn’t find a job either. He said shelters would not take him because of his criminal record. He said he received monthly disability checks. He said he needed a place to clean up for a job interview.

Homeless Services

These services are available at Bloomington-Normal, including from a religious organization that feeds them. Bloomington’s Abundant Life Church delivers non-perishable food weekly to the homeless population of Bloomington-Normal. The church also maintains a pantry and clothing and serves hot lunches daily.

Pastor Roy Koonce said he’s worried about whether those living in Tent City will have a place to go.

“That’s a great question and I don’t have an answer for what they will do,” Koonce said. “I know that if they come here, we’ll do our best to help them.”

Koonce said the church had no shelter but would offer all possible help to anyone who came to its door. Koonce said the church has rules but will not permanently reject anyone.

“I’m 68 and for the first time in my life, I feel like I have my goal,” Koontz said. “I like to do what we do. I like helping people. I like the success rate.

“It breaks my heart when I see someone who can’t.”

Bloomington’s two homeless shelters, Safe Harbor and Home Sweet Home Ministries, have said they don’t reject anyone who needs a place to stay, unless their history or behavior suggests it is. a threat to staff or other residents. But both shelters have had limited capacity for much of the past year due to pandemic restrictions.

Roy Koonce of the Abundant Life Church has said he would like the city of Bloomington to do more to help its homeless residents. He said the police are generally trying to avoid the problem.

“A lot of wanderers and homeless people sleep in the parking lot because they all get some heat to keep the ground from freezing (in winter). The police, all they do is go through there and chase these guys away. They don’t stop them, ”Koonce said.

Police intervention

Koonce suggested that an arrest would help some homeless people begin a process to seek medical attention and other treatment.

Town of Bloomington

Greg Scott

Bloomington Acting Police Chief Greg Scott said officers can’t arrest anyone if homeless residents don’t commit a crime.

“What they’re doing there isn’t specifically illegal,” Scott explained. “The State of Illinois and even the Supreme Court of the United States have made decisions that have said it is their First Amendment right to do these things.”

Scott said homeowners must file a trespass report before police arrest anyone. In the case of the proposed restaurant, Scott said no one had filed a complaint. Scott said the homeless population needs social services, not police intervention.

“It really doesn’t help anything,” Scott said.

Accommodation possibilities

A Bloomington City Council member said he would agree that jail is not the solution for people with no roof over their heads. Jeff Crabill said the goal should be permanent housing. Crabill said he was not sure what the city could do to better facilitate this, other than calling attention to the problem and encouraging more landlords to rent to people through a rapid relocation program.

“They just don’t want to have someone in their apartment or their house who is homeless. There is a stigma to this. I think some owners want to avoid this if they can, ”Crabill said.

Jeff Craybill speaking into the microphone

Emilie Bollinger

Jeff Craybill

The PATH Crisis Center in Bloomington recently launched the relocation program. The association secured funding from the CARES Act to provide short-term housing for people during the pandemic to limit the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

Karen Zangerle recently retired as Executive Director of the nonprofit group. She said tent cities have been around in Bloomington for decades. Zangerle said that there is often a certain culture in these wanderer communities that can make relocation difficult.

“People who live in tent cities like it because they don’t have anyone to tell them what to do, they have no responsibility to follow,” Zangerle said. “It’s a bit like a big camping trip.

Zangerle said PATH has asked outreach workers to meet with tent dwellers and other homeless people to discuss their options for a permanent place to stay. She said some will welcome the aid and some will not.

“What ultimately happens is that a certain group of them will find a new place and they will leave,” Zangerle said, adding that a large part of the tent city’s population is moving to the south when the weather gets colder.

Where to go from here

Bob, a resident of Tent City, said he plans to move soon, regardless of the restaurant’s schedule. “When it’s cold we have to go somewhere,” he exclaimed, but added that he was not sure where he was planning to move.

Jamie said once the proposed restaurant moves in, it will likely end up across the street behind the McDonald’s where he lives.

“It’s the only other place we can go,” Jamie said.

Jamie and Bob both laugh at the feeling that they don’t want help.

“We’ve tried and tried and tried and tried and they avoided us,” Jamie said.

“We’ll get there one way or another,” Bob said.

Where and how they will do it remains an open question. These two tented city dwellers think they’ll have to rely on their experience and survival instinct when their home from the last few years is uprooted for a fast food franchise.

It is not known when Panda Express plans to take over the West Bloomington site to begin construction. The company did not return any messages seeking comment.


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Canadian army

Global Military Land Vehicle Industry Expected to Reach $ 31.6 Billion by 2031


DUBLIN, August 03, 2021– (COMMERCIAL THREAD)–The “Global Military Land Vehicle Market to 2031 – Market Size and Drivers, Major Programs, Competitive Landscape and Strategic Outlook” report was added to ResearchAndMarkets.com offer.

The global military ground vehicles market is valued at US $ 21.9 billion in 2021 and will grow at a CAGR of 3.74% to reach a value of US $ 31.6 billion by 2031.

The cumulative global military ground vehicles market is expected to reach US $ 292.8 billion during the forecast period. The demand for military ground vehicles is expected to be driven by the European region, especially in countries like France, Russia and the UK. The North American region will occupy the second place in the world, showing a steady growth rate during the forecast period with a CAGR of 2.34%. Major military forces around the world are now undertaking modernization efforts to replace their old platforms in the face of modern threats. These efforts will support market growth over the next decade.

Heightened geopolitical tensions, the need to deploy forces to regions around the world and the demands for standardization under alliances such as NATO are some of the reasons that push military forces to acquire military ground vehicles. modern. In addition, tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe are pushing other countries in the region and NATO to improve their conventional capabilities with new platforms capable of countering the heavy armored and mechanized formations of the United States. Russian army. In addition, the old Soviet equipment currently in the stocks of the armies of Eastern Europe must be replaced with new platforms, which further stimulates the growth of the market in the region.

The global military land vehicle market is expected to be dominated by Europe. Major European countries have increased their defense budgets and tried to maintain them even during the pandemic. This will allow them to implement large-scale procurement projects without major delays. North America will follow the European market. This growth is attributed to the implementation of a wide range of supply programs by the US Army and the US Marine Corps. The most notable programs are the JLTV and the Stryker, which will standardize the country’s vehicle fleet and provide increased protection for its deployed forces. The Canadian military also contributes to regional growth through the implementation of a series of programs covering several market segments.

Highlights

  • The global military land vehicles market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.75% during the forecast period.

  • The global military land vehicles market is categorized into different categories; Armored personnel carrier, infantry fighting vehicle, main battle tank, multipurpose armored vehicle, tactical truck, armored support vehicle, armored engineer vehicle and light utility vehicle.

  • The global military land vehicle market is expected to be dominated by Europe with a revenue share of 41.1%. The growth of the European market is attributed to spending by countries such as the UK, Russia and France, among others.

  • Armored personnel carriers are expected to be the largest segment of the military ground vehicles market during the forecast period.

Reasons to buy

  • Determine potential investment areas based on a detailed analysis of global military ground vehicle trends over the next ten years

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the factors underlying the demand for different segments of military ground vehicles in the world’s heaviest spending countries and identify the opportunities offered by each of them

  • Strengthen your understanding of the market in terms of demand drivers, industry trends and the latest technological developments, among others

  • Identify the major channels driving the global Military Land Vehicle market, providing a clear picture of future opportunities that can be exploited leading to increased revenue

  • Channel resources by focusing on ongoing programs undertaken by defense ministries of different countries in the global military land vehicle market

  • Make the right business decisions based on an in-depth competitive landscape analysis consisting of detailed profiles of the major military ground vehicle vendors around the world. Company profiles also include information on key products, alliances, recent contracts awarded, and financial analysis where applicable.

Main topics covered:

  • Summary

  • Global Military Land Vehicle Market – Overview

  • Market dynamics

  • Global Military Land Vehicles Market – Segment Analysis

  • Global Military Land Vehicles Market – Regional Analysis

  • Global Military Land Vehicle Market – Trend Analysis

  • Analysis of key programs

  • Competitive landscape analysis

Companies mentioned

For more information on this report, visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/a6e7e2

View the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210803005491/en/

Contacts

ResearchAndMarkets.com
Laura Wood, Senior Press Director
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History organization

PH lockouts: a brief history


Police checks, like last year’s one, have become commonplace when the lockdown is enforced. FILE PHOTO / NINO JESUS ​​ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — The latest looming lockdown in the National Capital Region (NCR) is believed to be the fourth in the capital, which accounts for more than half of the Philippine economy.

As more than 12 million residents wait for the latest round of restrictions that will begin on August 6 and end on August 20, they are told that limiting their movement is the price to pay to avoid a greater tragedy: coronavirus infections get out of hand.

The measures appear to tilt in favor of one aspect of the crisis – health – and neglect the other: the economy and livelihoods. Some experts say that protecting people from disease and the loss of their livelihood is not necessarily a choice proposition.

Disease experts have shown that keeping people separate is an effective way to slow down the transmission of the virus for one basic reason. Humans are the main carriers of the virus.

“The primary mode by which people become infected with SARS Cov2 is exposure to respiratory fluids carrying infectious viruses,” the United States Centers for Disease Control has said in its numerous COVID-19 advisories.

According to the CDC, people are mainly infected with:

  • Inhalation of microscopic respiratory droplets and virus-carrying aerosol particles
  • Getting the virus into the mouth, nose, or eyes from a splash or spray of virus-laden particles from an infected person
  • Touching mucous membranes or contaminated surfaces

There are still inconclusive studies indicating that the virus is suspended in the air, which could be alarming, but it has not been shown to be certain.

Experts are sure of one thing, however. Close human contact increases the risk of infection, which would make containment an essential weapon in the fight against SARS Cov2.

During one of his briefings on the government’s response to COVID, President Rodrigo Duterte blurted out how difficult it would be to keep people at a safe distance in a place as populated as Metro Manila.

On this point, Duterte was right. Metro Manila is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. In Manila alone, there are at least 71,263 people per square kilometer, according to 2015 census data. In Mandaluyong city, the density is 41,580 people per square kilometer. In Pasay City, it’s 29,815 people per km².

Locking down these densely populated areas could mean keeping people locked in very tight spaces, which could defeat the goal of preventing transmission of the Delta variant.

Delta, who was previously known as Indian, was as contagious as chickenpox, according to the US CDC. To get an idea of ​​how contagious Delta is, a person with chickenpox is 90% likely to pass the infection on to people close to them who are not immune, the CDC said.

Why resort to confinement in places where you cannot separate people like in congested poor urban communities? According to Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua in a statement last year, the lockdown or strengthened community quarantine would prevent 323,262 additional COVID cases, of which 9,698 are serious or critical.

But the blockages have taken place and will happen soon. They are now part of the package against COVID-19 around the world.

NCR lockdown episodes would show numbers that may or may not lead to a conclusion about the effectiveness of restriction of movement as a measure to slow the transmission of the virus.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

When the first lockdown, or Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), was imposed from March 14 to April 30, 2020, according to the World Health Organization, there were 196 cases of COVID on the second day of the lockdown, March 16. On March 23, there were 768 cases. As of March 30, there were 2,019 cases. As of April 6, two days after the expiration of the ECQ period, there were 1,334 cases.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

During the second lockdown, which moved to the modified ECQ (MECQ) from August 4 to 18, 2020, the WHO said there were 2,463 cases of COVID on August 10, six days after the start of the locking. On August 17 or a day before the MECQ expired, there were 29,305 cases.

A third cycle of ECQ was implemented from March 29 to April 4, 2021. On the day the ECQ went into effect, there were 71,606 cases of COVID, according to the WHO. As of April 5, the day after the ECQ expired, there were 69,164 cases.

Graphic by Ed Lustan

It is not yet clear to what extent blockages in the NCR have been successful in achieving its primary goal of protecting people from infection. But it has come at a cost.

Unemployment in 2020 climbed to 17.7 percent, or 7.3 million people, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority’s April 2020 Labor Force Survey.

In the results of a survey carried out in November 2020, Social Weather Stations (SWS) said 48% of the Filipino population considered themselves to be poor. At least 12 million families have declared themselves poor, according to the SWS poll. The striking figure is that 2 million of these families are considered “newly poor”.

This next ECQ from August 6, millions of families are again facing an uncertain outcome. Duterte had asked the Ministry of Budget and Management to identify sources of funds for cash assistance after repeatedly saying in the past that the government lacked funds for this purpose.

The Department of Labor and Employment, quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, has forecast the loss of more than 167,000 jobs.

Senatorial Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and several other senators, call on the government to stop fundraising and simply turn to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflicts (NTF-Elcac), which in 2021 alone gets more than 19 billion pesos in funding.

The task force had already released billions of pesos in villages, supposedly for development projects that would pit communities against communist rebels. An audit of the projects is requested although the Ministry of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which transferred the funds to the villages, has provided a list of project descriptions.

If funding was found, the government planned to distribute P 1,000 in cash per person and up to P 4,000 per family during the two-week ECQ August 6-20.

It was, according to Bayan chief Renato Reyes, misleading to give hope for help but not to be sure of the source of funding.

Meanwhile, people with cash have formed long lines at grocery stores and supermarkets to stock up on supplies. Shopping centers, with the exception of stores considered essential, have turned dark again, restaurant after restaurant closed on August 1.

Millions of people hope there will be light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel.

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REE Automotive to Open US Headquarters in Austin, Texas


Zero-emission technology company REE Automotive has named Austin, Texas, the new headquarters for its US headquarters. The Israel-based electric mobility company is now looking to capitalize on a growing market in North America by opening a headquarters in Lone Star State, alongside an integration center for assembly and testing of its proprietary technologies.

REE Automotive is an electric mobility solutions company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, with additional subsidiaries in the US, UK and Germany.

The company specializes in the development and manufacture of modular EV platforms for B2B transactions in addition to its proprietary REEcorners. This year alone, REE announced collaborations with Magna International and Toyota’s Hino Motors.

Last February, REE announced an ongoing SPAC merger with 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp. ($ VCVC), raking in $ 500 million in gross revenue to accelerate mass production in 2023.

Yesterday, the business combination has been approved by shareholders and officially closed. This morning, REE debuted on the Nasdaq under the ticker $ REE.

REE Automotive is now launching into the running following its approved merger by announcing a new head office on American soil.

A REE corner module / Source: REE Automotive

REE Automotive’s new headquarters will be in Austin, Texas

In A press release this morning, REE Automotive shared plans for a U.S. headquarters in the booming city of Austin, Texas, promising more than 150 jobs over the next few years.

Additionally, Austin will house REE’s first asset light integration center, where it will assemble and test its REEcorner technology and modular electric vehicle platforms.

The new integration center brings REE’s technology to current and future North American automotive partners. REE co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel shares his thoughts on the city:

Establishing our US headquarters in Austin, Texas best positions us for rapid growth and expansion. Austin is fast becoming a global hotbed for elite tech professionals. REE must continue to grow and prosper, and Austin’s drive and entrepreneurial spirit fits perfectly with REE’s culture and values. Our presence in the United States will allow us to capitalize on the incredible opportunities in the United States market and to connect with our customers and partners based in North America, including Magna International and JB Poindexter, as we work together to develop and deliver modular electric vehicles (MEV).

A representative from REE Automotive said Electrek the company will inaugurate the new headquarters and the new integration center this year.

Construction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022 and has an annual capacity of 40,000 modular EV platforms.

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Canadian army

Smoke from wildfires in the west causes air pollution across the country


July 20 (Reuters) – Raging wildfires across the western United States and Canada, including a two-week “monster” fire in Oregon, spewed smoke and soot on Tuesday which blew eastward and caused harmful air pollution to New York City.

In 13 western states, more than 80 large active wildfires have charred nearly 1.3 million acres (526,090 hectares) of vegetation desiccated by drought in recent weeks, an area larger than the Delaware, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho.

Several hundred more fires have burned in western and central Canada. They included 86 classified as uncontrollable on Tuesday in British Columbia alone, which led authorities to declare a state of emergency.

The jet stream and other transcontinental air currents carried smoke and ash thousands of kilometers. Residents of remote towns felt the contamination of the air in their eyes, noses and lungs.

In New York City, where a gray haze enveloped the Manhattan skyline, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for fine particles reached 170, a level considered harmful even to healthy people and nine times higher than World Health Organization exposure recommendations. Philadelphia reached 172.

Other northeastern cities, including Boston and Hartford, Connecticut, had readings in the unhealthy zone above 150. Residents were advised to wear face masks outdoors to limit exposure.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires in Manitoba and Ontario in the United States likely pushed the AQI in Detroit and Cleveland above 125, considered unhealthy for sensitive people, the NIFC meteorologist said, Nick Nauslar. Smoke from forest fires from the western provinces of Canada has reached east to Ontario, triggering broad government air quality warnings.

In the western United States, parts of Idaho and Montana suffered unhealthy levels of air pollution from 40 nearby large fires and smoke from the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon, currently the largest in the United States.

Heavy exposure to smoke from wildfires has been linked to long-term respiratory consequences for firefighters, including a significantly elevated risk of developing asthma, according to a University of Alberta study released this week. week.

The general population also faces serious health effects.

The Bootleg Fire burns through vegetation near Paisley, Oregon, USA, July 20, 2021. REUTERS / David Ryder

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“Exposure to smoke from wildfires (…) increases susceptibility to respiratory infections, including COVID, increases the severity of these infections and makes recovery more difficult,” the Federal Councilor said by email. Margaret Key Air Resources.

THE “MONSTER” FIRE ENTERING THE 3RD WEEK

The forest fires themselves posed a more direct risk to life and property.

The Bootleg Fire has blackened 388,600 acres (157,260 hectares) of dry brush and wood in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest, about 250 miles south of Portland, since July 6. Only three other forest fires in Oregon in the past century have burned more territory.

As of Tuesday, an army of some 2,200 people had succeeded in digging containment lines around 30% of the outskirts of the blaze, as the blaze spread further east and north.

Incident commander Rob Allen said in his daily report that the dry fuels in the fire area “will continue to burn and smoke for weeks.”

“Fighting this fire is a marathon, not a sprint,” Allen wrote. “We’re in there for as long as it takes to contain this monster safely.”

At least 67 houses were destroyed and 3,400 others were listed as threatened, with around 2,100 people ordered to evacuate or to be ready to flee at any time.

Western conflagrations, marking a heavier-than-normal start to the wildfire season, coincided with record heat that has ravaged much of the region in recent weeks and left hundreds dead.

Scientists said the increasing frequency and intensity of forest fires is largely attributable to prolonged drought and increased episodes of excessive heat that are symptomatic of climate change.

The Bootleg fire is so large that it sometimes generated its own climate – towering clouds of pyrocumulus of condensed moisture sucked through the fire’s smoke column from the burnt vegetation and of the surrounding air. These clouds can create thunderstorms and strong winds capable of starting new fires and spreading flames.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; additional reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Merrick Garland blocks federal prosecutors from searching for journalists’ files


WASHINGTON – Attorney General Merrick Garland severely limited the ability of federal prosecutors to obtain tapes of journalists’ contacts when they investigated leaks of sensitive government information on Monday, curbing a long-standing practice that had sparked offenders. criticism in recent weeks, especially from President Biden.

In a note to federal prosecutors, Mr Garland said the agency’s past policies had failed to properly weigh the national interest in protecting journalists from forced disclosure of their sources, saying they needed to such protection “to inform the American people of how their government is working.”

Mr Garland had vowed he would prevent prosecutors from seizing information from reporters after recent revelations that former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department secretly searched for and obtained 2017 phone records from Washington Post reporters , CNN and The New York Times while trying to identify their sources. This sparked outrage from lawmakers, press freedom organizations and Mr Biden, who said he would no longer allow such tactics.

Mr Garland, who as a federal judge has taken a strong stand in favor of journalists ‘rights and First Amendment protections, told lawmakers in June that the new policy would be the “most protective of journalists’ ability to do their job in history “. He has met with information officials to discuss their concerns at least twice in recent weeks.

The new policy includes exceptions for cases involving an agent of a foreign power or a member of a foreign terrorist organization, or where measures must be taken to “prevent an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm,” said the memo.

The three-page memo also said the ministry would support legislation codifying protections for journalists into law, going beyond the efforts of previous administrations, and giving Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco the responsibility of consulting others to develop new regulations on the matter.

Such legislation has not been a priority for lawmakers in recent years and would face an uncertain fate in Congress. Without becoming law, any rules passed by the Justice Department under Mr Garland could be overturned by a future administration.

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Media advocates applauded the decision. “The Attorney General has taken a necessary and critical step to protect press freedom at a critical time,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Journalists’ Committee on Press Freedom. “This historic new policy will ensure that journalists can do their job of informing the public without fear of federal intrusion into their dealings with confidential sources,” said Mr. Brown.

Some former national security prosecutors said that while existing guidelines already made it difficult to subpoena journalists’ files and provided for the tool as a last resort, they expected the new memo to further limit such investigations.

“I think this will make leaks of classified information more difficult to investigate, but it was a compromise the department is prepared to make in order to provide greater privacy protection for journalists and their sources,” he said. said Kellen Dwyer, a former district attorney who was deputy. Assistant Attorney General in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice and now works at the law firm Alston & Bird.

For years, prosecutors have used subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists’ files in leak investigations, often after exhausting other options to identify suspects. Under the Obama administration, for example, the Justice Department used the tool for investigations involving reporting from the Associated Press and Fox News. Several former government employees and senior officials have been sued by the Obama Justice Department.

In one notable case in 2010, former Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the seizure of the phone records and personal emails of Fox News Channel reporter James Rosen, who reported on a secret government report on Korea. North. An FBI search warrant request identified Mr. Rosen as a possible criminal “co-conspirator”.

In response to a backlash from media advocates and others, Holder added in 2013 new hurdles that prosecutors had to overcome before they could get subpoenas and search warrants targeting journalists. The measures included requiring prosecutors to give notice to a media organization before a subpoena could be issued to seize cases, unless the attorney general certifies that doing so would interfere with the investigation.

At the start of the Trump administration in 2017, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged a crackdown on classified information leakers and said the Justice Department would review policies on subpoena news organizations. At the time, Mr. Trump had repeatedly complained about leaks related to contacts between Russia and figures from his 2016 election campaign and the investigation by then-Special Advocate Robert Mueller, on these links. In June 2021, a Treasury Department official was sentenced to six months in prison for leaking sensitive financial information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others.

Mr Trump’s second attorney general, William Barr, continued the practice, tasking a New Jersey federal prosecutor to work on the half-dozen leak cases he inherited.

Unsealed court documents last week show the Justice Department searched the files of three Washington Post reporters on December 22, the day before Mr Barr resigned, in a bid to identify sources in three articles . Prosecutors identified them by their publication dates: a May 2017 article detailing conversations between Mr. Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States at the time; a June 2017 report on the Obama administration’s struggles against Russian electoral interference; and a July 2017 story about conversations between Mr. Kislyak and Mr. Sessions, which had the discussions when he was a United States Senator.

Prosecutors said in their court order request that they believe a member of Congress may have provided the newspaper with details of Mr. Kislyak’s conversations.

Trump’s Justice Department also seized communications records from some Democratic lawmakers in 2018, a revelation that sparked outrage from Democrats. Lawmakers themselves were not the target of the investigation, the Wall Street Journal previously reported, and their records were obtained because they had been in contact with one or more assistants that prosecutors suspected of having. disclosed classified information to the media.

Senior Justice Ministry officials have long questioned how forcefully prosecutors should press for the files of journalists looking for the sources of the leaks. For example, even as Mr. Sessions stepped up investigations into the leaks, behind the scenes some ministry officials rejected a more aggressive stance, the Journal reported.

In 2017, for example, law enforcement discussed with Mr. Sessions whether to relax the requirement that investigators exhaust other options to obtain information as part of prior leakage investigations. to subpoena journalists’ files, the people said. Mr Sessions asked his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, to review the policy, which officials ultimately refused to change.

Telephone recordings

More WSJ coverage of Trump Justice Department policy, selected by editors.

Write to Sadie Gurman at [email protected] and Aruna Viswanatha at [email protected]

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Canadian army

Why Canada Matters to Texas


For over 150 years, Canada has been more than just a neighbor: we are your best customer, your closest security partner and your largest energy supplier. Texas is an important part of all of these mutual benefits.

Texans may think of other countries first when considering international trade and cooperation. We understand that, but we think we should go against the grain and brag a bit about Canada’s contribution to the Texas economy.

Canada is often seen as friendly, polite, and snowy. We own them all, but we also have a fascinating economic and business story to tell in Texas – we are Texas’ second largest export market after Mexico. Texas exported $ 27.8 billion in goods and services to Canada in 2020, and nearly 700 Canadian-owned companies operate right here in Texas. These companies represent nearly 57,000 jobs statewide.

Beyond our common North American geography, we share values ​​and interests, as well as economic ties on many levels. Here are the adjectives I would use to describe our bilateral relationship and the importance of Canada:

Prosperous. Canada and the United States share the world’s largest trading relationship. Our trade is balanced, fair and supports growth and innovation in our two countries. Every day, nearly US $ 2 billion in goods and services cross the Canada-US border. This thriving economic partnership supports well-paying jobs in both countries. More than 5,500 Canadian companies in the United States support nearly 900,000 jobs. We buy more goods from the United States than China, Japan and the United Kingdom combined.

Integrated. Canada and the United States don’t just sell each other, we make things together. Since the start of the pandemic, our countries have worked hard to maintain the two-way flow of goods, especially medical supplies and essential inputs across our borders, while protecting our communities from COVID-19. On average, over 25% of a finished product that we sell to you is US content. Just like most imports from Canada are used in production that puts Americans to work. These long-standing bi-national supply chains have not only kept us secure, they have also kept us competitive globally.

Reliable. Canada’s energy – more than any other country – contributes directly to the economic prosperity, security and environmental goals of the United States. We are your largest and most secure supplier of all forms of energy, transported by 71 oil and gas pipelines and 35 transmission lines across our shared border. We are also investing in new technologies and infrastructure to become a global leader in clean energy and innovation. Canada is developing its energy resources; in a way that creates prosperity and engages communities, while reducing emissions and preserving the environment.

Closed. Canada fought alongside the United States to defend our shared values ​​during World Wars I and II, the Cold War, Korea, the Balkans, the Middle East and Afghanistan. In fact, officers from the Canadian Army, Navy and Air Force are integrated throughout the United States Army and within the Binational North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at all levels – protecting and defending our common continent in search and rescue operations, banning illegal narcotics, intercepting unallied military aircraft, and humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

Canadian tourists contribute millions to the Texas economy every year. Canadian snowbirds, who feel welcome when their neighbors in Texas call them “Winter Texans,” contribute significantly through real estate investments, business sales and tax revenues.

On July 1, as we mark the first anniversary of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Texas businesses continued to access Canada’s duty-free supply chains. Formerly known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the updated agreement preserves key elements of NAFTA, modernizes arrangements to meet 21st century trade challenges, cuts red tape at the border and provides increased predictability and stability for workers and businesses in Texas. .

Being more than 1,000 miles from the tip of the Texas Panhandle may make America’s neighbor to the north forgetful, but our common values ​​and interests, and our deep ties, coupled with powerful economic ties on many levels are certainly reasons for which Canada should be kept in mind as we move forward together towards economic recovery.


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OPEC and allied nations agree to end dispute that has skyrocketed energy prices: NPR


In this file photo from January 8, 2020, UAE Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei attends the UAE Energy Forum 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Al-Mazrouei said on Sunday that OPEC and allied countries had reached a “full deal” after a previous dispute that rocked oil prices.

Kamran Jebreili / AP


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Kamran Jebreili / AP


In this file photo from January 8, 2020, UAE Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei attends the UAE Energy Forum 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Al-Mazrouei said on Sunday that OPEC and allied countries had reached a “full deal” after a previous dispute that rocked oil prices.

Kamran Jebreili / AP

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – OPEC and allies agreed on Sunday to possibly increase production limits on five countries, ending an earlier dispute sparked by the United Arab Emirates that has rocked world prices for energy.

The disagreement, sparked by a demand from the UAE to increase its own production, temporarily disrupted a previous cartel meeting. In a statement on Sunday, the cartel said Iraq, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would see their limits increased.

“What binds us is far beyond what you imagine,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. “We differ here and there but we relate.”

Prince Abdulaziz declined to say how they came to this consensus, saying it would see the cartel “lose our advantage of being mysterious and intelligent”. But he clearly bristled at previous reports on the dispute between Saudi Arabia, long the heavyweight of the Vienna-based cartel, and the United Arab Emirates.

Prince Abdulaziz then referred to the start of a press conference in al-Mazrouei as a sign of respect.

“The UAE is attached to this group and will always work with it and within this group to do their best to achieve market balance and help everyone,” al-Mazrouei said. He hailed the deal as a “full deal” between all parties.

Outside of OPEC, however, tensions persist among neighboring nations. The UAE has largely withdrawn from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, while diplomatically recognizing Israel. Saudi Arabia has also reopened in Qatar after a multi-year boycott, although relations between Abu Dhabi and Doha remain frigid. Saudi Arabia has also aggressively sought an international trade headquarters, which could affect the UAE’s business hub, Dubai.

Abu Dhabi’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the country’s de facto ruler, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have, however, been close over the years. The two leaders will likely meet in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Under the new production limits, the UAE could produce up to 3.5 million barrels of crude oil per day as of May 2022. This is lower than the 3.8 million barrels per day they would have sought. Saudi Arabia’s limit of 11 million barrels per day would increase to 11.5 million, as would Russia’s. Iraq and Kuwait saw smaller increases.

In its statement, OPEC acknowledged that oil prices continued to improve.

“Economic recovery has continued in most parts of the world thanks to the acceleration of vaccination programs,” the cartel said.

Oil prices collapsed amid the coronavirus pandemic as demand for jet fuel and gasoline fell amid lockdowns across the world, briefly seeing oil futures trading in the negatives. Demand has since rebounded as vaccines, while still unevenly distributed across the world, reach guns in major global economies.

Benchmark Brent crude was trading around $ 73 a barrel on Friday.

Once tough enough to stop the United States with its 1970s oil embargo, OPEC needed non-members like Russia to force a production cut in 2016 after prices collapsed below $ 30. $ per barrel in a context of increasing American production. This agreement in 2016 gave birth to OPEC +, which joined the cartel by cutting production to help boost prices.

OPEC + agreed in 2020 to withdraw a record 10 million barrels of crude per day from the market to raise prices. It has slowly added some 4.2 million barrels over time.

Starting in August, the cartel said it would separately increase production by 400,000 barrels per day each month. This will allow it to phase out its current production of 5.8 million barrels of oil by the end of 2022, as provided for in the original agreement.

OPEC member countries include Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. OPEC + members include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, Sudan and South Sudan.

Prince Abdulaziz, praising Sunday’s deal, offered a cheerful assessment of the future despite the recent turmoil.

“OPEC + is here to stay,” proclaimed the prince.


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Canadian army

Taliban will ‘hang’ me: Afghan interpreters ask Canada for help


TORONTO – As Taliban insurgents have made rapid territorial gains across Afghanistan in recent weeks, a chilling new audio from a local performer who has worked with the Canadian Forces illustrates just how much he and others like him face in their own country.

In an audio file posted to YouTube, an interpreter in Helmund province recounts how he and others risked their lives alongside Canadian soldiers to support the mission against the Taliban from 2010 to 2011. He now asks why Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are not moving. faster to get his family to safety.

“Mr. Trudeau, I am a father. My daughter is one and a half years old. From father to father, I beg you to please help me and my family out of Afghanistan before the Taliban don’t find us, ”he said.

“If Canada does not act immediately, my wife, daughter and brothers will be captured by the Taliban. They will hang me, shoot me and cut my head off. They will kill my wife and my daughter. They will kill my brothers … you promised me that my family would one day come to Canada [and] enjoy the peace your family enjoys every day.

Canadian veterans have expressed, with increasing urgency, the need for Canada to assist Afghan translators and interpreters who worked with Canadian soldiers during the war to come to Canada with their families.

Canadian Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino said the government was working on a plan to help families, but did not say when that plan could go into effect.

“We know the Afghans are putting their own lives at risk by helping the Canadian effort in the war there, and we want to do what is right for them,” he said on Friday. “And so we hope to have more to say about it as soon as possible. Near future.”

Sayed Shah is worried about his two brothers who face threats due to his work with the Canadian Forces more than a decade earlier. The Taliban know him well, Shah said, and it is certain that if they take control of Kandahar and Kabul, his brothers will die. He has already lost five family members in 2013 when they were killed by a roadside bomb set off by the Taliban.

“They are in danger because of me, because I worked with the Canadian military,” he said. “I put my family in danger. “

A former battlefield interpreter who worked with the Canadian military between November 2007 and March 2010, Shah was able to come to Canada under the original special immigration program. The soldiers who supported his visa application acknowledged that his bravery under intense Taliban fire had saved Canadian lives. Now that the Taliban is closing in on Kandahar, he is seeking similar protection for his brothers, who are now in hiding.

“If they are not evacuated from Afghanistan, they will be targeted and killed,” Shah said.

Ottawa previously announced the creation of a dedicated refugee stream for “human rights defenders,” including journalists and others who may seek asylum to escape persecution in their country.

As the September 11 departure deadline approaches, other NATO allies have already announced evacuation plans for thousands of Afghans. The United States said this week that flights for eligible Afghan citizens will begin by the end of July.

Interpreters have played a vital role in NATO operations in the Middle East, including the more than 40,000 Canadian troops who have served in Afghanistan. Many Afghans risked their lives helping on the front line.

A special immigration program put in place in 2009 and completed two years later brought some 800 former interpreters and their families to Canada, but thousands have been left behind. Many now face the possibility of being tortured or killed for their role in helping Canadian troops, advocates say.

The sudden withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in early July after nearly two decades of fighting accelerated the movement of the Taliban across the country, with Taliban officials claiming the group now controls more than 85% of the territory – a figure which is disputed by others.

With files from CTV National News Parliamentary Bureau reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver, CTVNews.ca editor Christy Somos and The Canadian Press


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International headquarters

Secrets Alone Won’t Save Us: Providing a ‘Decision Advantage’ on Climate Security


When I was a CIA officer, one thing I could share with my family was a museum tour at Langley headquarters. Visitors would marvel at the cover-up devices and exclaim at stories of derring-do in the name of gathering hidden information. When we got to the Analysis Branch, however, they pretended to be interested. The printed copies of the reports weren’t as interesting as the robotic spy fish exhibit.

The theft of secrets has always captured the public imagination of the intelligence profession, for good reason. Secrets were the claim to fame of the CIA’s predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services. Prior to D-Day, it was “Wild Bill” Donovan’s placement of spies in European ports and behind enemy lines that gathered the information needed to support a successful invasion. As President Dwight Eisenhower said of the Office of Strategic Services: “If (he) had done nothing else, intelligence gathered alone before D-Day would justify its existence.

Of course, the security and intelligence landscape has changed dramatically since Eisenhower’s time. More often than not, “going behind enemy lines” means connecting to a computer, not jumping out of a plane. The risks facing the United States are more complex, involving not only a mix of state and non-state actors, but also systemic factors such as climate change, which the Chief Intelligence Officer ‘s 2021 Global Trends report identified as one of the few trends “setting the parameters” of our future world. This world is a world in which temperatures and sea levels are rising dramatically, and weather conditions are becoming more and more unpredictable and extreme. It is likely that millions of people will be displaced and forced to migrate, tensions will increase within and between states as water and food insecurity increases, and governments will find it increasingly difficult to manage aggravating risks as climatic risks intersect with other stressors. There is not a single current US national security concern that will not be affected in some way by the climate crisis.

What does a security landscape shaped by climate change mean to the way the US intelligence community does business? For some, this suggests a return to first principles. Doubling down on what my family has always found most intriguing about the CIA museum – the collection of secrets – as a way to distinguish the intelligence community from the private sector and the open source world. As Joshua Rovner argued, “the comparative advantage of secret agencies is secret information.” Of course, collecting secrets about governments’ climate policy plans and intentions can be important. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry lamented the lack of climate fundraising at a conference earlier this year. He argued that if climate change is truly an existential threat, then the US intelligence community should do as much effort to collect information on the positions of US adversaries on climate negotiations as it does to pinpoint their positions on nuclear agreements.

Secrets, however, are not enough. To achieve the goal of consistently providing a strategic advantage to the United States, the intelligence community must have the ability to put these secrets into context – analyze and communicate how they intersect with other risk information. for the national security of the United States. The trick is not to give up secrets or try to duplicate what the private sector or academia is doing, but rather to marry clandestine collection with other information from all sources. This is of course not a new concept in intelligence studies. Academics and practitioners have spilled gallons of ink debating the best ways to integrate open source information. The founder of the analyst profession in the United States, Sherman Kent, argued that integrating data and consulting with outside experts was essential to a strong profession. Most of the analysts I have known in my career prided themselves on their in-depth contextual knowledge of the regions they covered – history, academic experts, local news sources, arts and culture.

However, bringing a climate lens to intelligence isn’t as simple as bringing in just one more unclassified source. It’s different because of the type of information to integrate, the skills needed to do it, and the systemic nature of the risk. First of all, it’s hard science in addition to social science. This requires a “climate-savvy” workforce with scientific knowledge. This does not mean creating large teams within the intelligence community that do climate science. This means that intelligence officers are able to regularly understand and integrate climate models and analyzes into their work.

What does it look like in practice? It can be as simple as using references like Climate Central’s “Surging Seas” tool or regularly consulting primary sources and scientific literature. It also means leveraging more complex tools and practices. Advances in machine learning and computing power are leading to new modeling tools that can provide a wealth of relevant information to intelligence analysts. One example is the use of “ensemble assessments”, which are repeated runs of the same climate model, adjusting the starting point conditions each time. Such sets allow scientists to more clearly show a range of potential regional climate trends – important information that analysts need to incorporate into their work when assessing possible future economic, political and conflict scenarios in different parts of the world. Another example is that of “high resolution” climate models, which, thanks to advances in the power of supercomputers, can better represent atmospheric processes on a small scale. These models allow greater precision in risk assessments.

Moving forward, building on existing climate modeling approaches and tools is probably not enough for the intelligence community to truly address climate security risks. As Alice Hill, a former climate adviser to the National Security Council, recently detailed, planners across the United States are desperate for more localized climate data so they can craft better adaptation responses. Intelligence analysts need this kind of information as well, but in regions around the world. For example, although scientists believe Africa will face some of the greatest risks from climate change, accurate climate data on the continent is lacking, inhibiting useful predictive modeling of climate impacts. Without more localized and robust predictive climate models for Africa, intelligence analysts will not have the information they need to answer the kinds of questions they are sure to receive from policymakers in the years to come: the continent’s conflict zones? In which geographic areas will climate impacts and extremist groups overlap to increase security risks? Will US competitors’ infrastructure support offers to African countries withstand extreme events caused by rising temperatures?

While there are opportunities for the intelligence community to partner with the private sector to develop such capabilities, the first stop should be with US government scientists. Congress has given the intelligence community some tools to achieve this by creating the Climate Security Advisory Council, designed to link US government science and intelligence agencies, and the National Academies Climate Security Roundtable, a mechanism that enables actors in the climate science to provide information. to the intelligence community. Both meetings provide a platform for the community to use to encourage and shape the development of new modeling approaches that meet their specific needs. Moreover, intelligence agencies should use these groupings to pursue truly interdisciplinary analytical reports that marry climate science with social sciences. An example of this type of analysis can be seen in a series of reports and story maps published in recent months by the Woodwell Climate Center and the Council on Strategic Risks, detailing how climate change will shape security risks in strategic regions. of the globe.

Fully realizing this type of approach within the intelligence community – a large government bureaucracy – is not easy. I have already described the ways in which new resources, new leadership and new institutional structures can help. To his credit, the Biden administration has taken many steps to make it happen, as evidenced by the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Equally important, however, are the less immediately tangible changes in organizational culture and mindset. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines acknowledged these challenges in a recent interview,

Climate is an urgent crisis, but it is very difficult for various institutional reasons to integrate it into your daily work in a fully successful way i.e. it is much easier to focus on climate negotiations or on what states do in their policies.

She went on to say however that she was starting to see changes, noting that she had been amazed by,

to what extent, in addition to focusing on China and all of our top threats that we talk about in our annual threat hearings, we [in the intelligence community] came to the conclusion that … investing in science and technology and the tools that allow us to be better at what we do, our institutions, our partnerships, our resilience, our ability to integrate that expertise, is what is really important at this critical moment in our history.

Time will tell if this recognition from the leaders of the intelligence community results in long-term change. If so, maybe one day a future president will sing the praises of the director the same way Ike did of “Wild Bill” Donovan and the Office of Strategic Services. As article after article on this month’s record temperatures around the world points out, the climate will only get worse. And the United States can only navigate this hotter world with an intelligence community that collects foreign secrets, but also has the full range of information, tools, and talent it needs to analyze. these challenges.

Erin Sikorsky is Deputy Director of the Center for Climate and Security and Director of the International Military Council on Climate and Security. Previously, she was Deputy Director of the National Intelligence Council’s Strategic Futures Group in the United States, where she co-authored the quadrennial Global Trends report and led the US intelligence community’s environmental and climate security analysis.

Image: US Air Force (Photo by Master Sgt Elijaih Tiggs)


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Canadian army

US soldiers at NT say close contacts


A plane loaded with U.S. military personnel in the Northern Territory was declared to be close contacts after another passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

The infected woman, who is an active member of the US military, arrived in Darwin on Thursday, July 8 before being diagnosed with the virus on Monday evening.

The 22-year-old is one of some 9,000 foreign service members in Australia for the 2021 Talisman Saber military war games, which began on Wednesday.

She was quarantined at the US Navy-leased Bladin Village worker camp 36 km south of Darwin along with around 1,000 other US servicemen when she tested positive.

The woman has since been moved to the red zone at the Center for National Resilience in Howard Springs, with her travel companions now considered close contacts, according to NT Health.

“All personnel who have traveled on the plane with the member of the United States military who tested positive are treated as close contact,” said a spokesperson.

“They are undertaking quarantine procedures at the village of Bladin, including daily checks.”

A defense spokesperson said the woman did not come into contact with the community despite being contagious.

More than 17,000 military personnel from Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea will participate in TS21.

The majority of war game simulations are expected to take place in Queensland and off the east coast of Australia.

British, Canadian, Japanese and Korean service personnel have been quarantined in Sydney. Other foreign troops have been stationed in hotels in Brisbane, a spokesperson said.

All foreign military personnel arriving in Australia for TS21 undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine.

NT Health and Defense declined to respond to the number of service personnel on the affected flight.


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Canadian army

He worked with Canadian soldiers. He helped try to save Captain Nichola Goddard. Now this Afghan interpreter is waiting for the Taliban and fears being sentenced


For over two years, Kohistany served as a combat interpreter for the Canadian Forces in the Kandahar and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan.

He would translate meetings, workshops, trainings and conferences with local elders, the Afghan National Army and the police. He also participated in interrogations and investigations of prisoners and translated documents and intelligence reports from sources on the ground.

When not in combat mode, Kohistany advised his Canadian commanders on Afghan cultural, religious and tribal customs or taught their soldiers the Pashto and Dari languages.

At least twice he and the troops he was with have been attacked by insurgents, most notably in the incident of May 17, 2006, when his convoy commander, Captain Nichola Goddard, was killed in an ambush. by the Taliban. He helped his crew get her out of the turret so the medic could perform first aid.

“I was in a light armored vehicle with about nine soldiers. We’ve all been hurt, some more seriously. I had little shrapnel on my neck and pulled them out right there, ”recalls Kohistany, who worked for the Canadian military in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2007.

Considered “the eyes, the tongue and the ears of the infidels and the occupiers”, Afghans who have worked for foreign governments – and their families – have already been targeted and have received constant death threats.

Now, as the United States and its NATO allies withdraw all ground troops in Afghanistan by August 31, and Taliban insurgents reclaim many territories, Kohistany fears he will be doomed.

“The threat has increased day by day. You can easily see the Taliban slogans on the walls. You can see Taliban flags on the houses, ”said Kohistany, who asked that his full name not be released for his safety. “Targeted assassinations are escalating.”

As he sees other foreign governments such as the US, UK and other European countries making plans to resettle their former Afghan aides, Kohistany said he felt abandoned by Canada.

“If I had known that one day we would be left behind by the Canadian government, I would never have joined the Canadian military to work and fight with them, shoulder to shoulder, against the Taliban and put my life in danger. , ” he sighed.

“I feel very disappointed. “

In a letter last week to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, three retired Canadian Majors Generals called on the federal government to relaunch a resettlement program for Afghan civilians like Kohistany.

“There is an urgent need to ensure the safety and well-being of Afghan nationals who served alongside Canadian soldiers, development officers and diplomats during our intervention,” said the letter signed by the three. former task force commanders Denis Thompson, Dean Milner. and Dave Fraser.

“Many Canadian veterans come into contact with the Afghans who served alongside them, and their stories are poignant. These people are considered “comrades in arms” and their plight affects these veterans, like all Canadians. “

Specifically, veterans are calling on the federal government to immediately reintroduce a special immigration program that helped resettle 780 Afghans and their families to Canada between 2009 and 2011.

The Afghan-Canadian Interpreters – an advocacy group made up mostly of veterans, serving military personnel, and supporters – have identified at least 115 former interpreters, cultural advisers and local staff who they say are in need of the protection of the Canada.

Volunteers contacted them and compiled a list for Ottawa. Time, they say, is running out.

“The Western presence will no longer exist in the country. Therefore, there will be no protection for any of them, ”said group spokesman Dave Morrow, a retired lieutenant who served in Kandahar in 2010 and 2011.

“We don’t have a plan. We don’t have a list other than the one we created as an organization. This is where we fill the void, to hopefully provide some kind of visibility and awareness of this huge humanitarian issue that is unfolding very, very quickly.

Canada’s initial resettlement program was limited to Afghan civilians who provided 12 consecutive months of service to Canadians between October 2007 and July 2011. To be eligible, they also had to provide testimonials from their Canadian supervisors as well as proof that they were in danger in Afghanistan. .

Immigration Minister Mendicino’s office told reporters that Afghan civilians not eligible for the previous program may apply to immigrate to Canada through other immigration programs or on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Morrow says these options are not viable.

“If you were in a war-torn country with no internet access, no cell service, and maybe an iPhone 3 to fill out all your paperwork, no access to printers, paper, or whatever, this statement in itself was disturbing, ”he said. mentionned.

Kohistany went into hiding with his wife and children in Kabul, a relatively safer area where most of the foreign diplomats are located. They moved around several times to avoid detection and threats from insurgents, he said. Just two months ago, two bikers shot at his house with an AK-47.

“There is no option for us. Key roads and borders are all controlled by the Taliban. We are like prisoners. The only option or hope we have is to find or ask someone or a government to come and get us in a safe country, ”said the 36-year-old, a graduate in law and political science.

He was not eligible for the previous Ottawa relocation program because he left the force before October 2007.

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“We are between life and death. The insurgents occupied more territory and found more influence in the big cities and created more threats for everyone. Life has become more dangerous than ever.

Cpl.  Robin Rickards, who served in Afghanistan on three missions before retiring in 2010, says Canadian soldiers would not be able to do their jobs without the help of local interpreters, who saved soldiers' lives at many times.

Retired Corporal Robin Rickards first met Kohistany in 2006 on the first of his three missions in Afghanistan and the two became good friends because they spent a lot of time together on the front lines.

He said the armies would not have been able to do their job without the help of these interpreters.

“The most important thing they did, to save the lives of Canadians, was that they were essential to monitor ICOM radios. All communication between the Taliban elements in the field was by two-way radio, ”says Rickards, who retired in 2010 and now lives in Thunder Bay.

“The interpreters would bring the conversations to us in real time and also add their perspective on legitimacy. … The longer a person is employed by Canadians or Coalition Forces, the better they determine if it is legitimate, but it increases the risk they face in the long run.

Rickards asserts that these civilian employees of foreign governments are considered “apostates” by the Taliban and that Canada has more than a moral obligation to save them. And they should be on the front lines for resettlement in order to save the lives of Canadian soldiers, he added.

Wherever the Canadian military is deployed, they need local translators to serve as cultural and linguistic ambassadors, he said, whether in Ukraine, Latvia or Mali.

“The plight of our interpreters in Afghanistan will be seen by people in other countries,” Rickards warned. “People in these other places where we go in the future will be wary of helping us because they will be wary of the consequences when we go. And that will hamper our ability to be successful in these missions. “

Marcus Powlowski, Liberal MP for Thunder Bay — Rainy River, has been a strong advocate for Afghan civilians.

“They risked their lives for our country,” said Powlowski.

Ottawa has an ambitious goal of welcoming 401,000 permanent residents this year, and in the past the government has resettled tens of thousands of people vulnerable to wars and violence in Syria and Myanmar, he said. he adds. According to him, the Afghan civilians in question are only a drop in the ocean.

Powlowski said his government told him any resettlement plan in Afghanistan was a logistical challenge due to Canada’s limited presence in the country as well as security concerns.

“I don’t think it’s insurmountable at all that we’re doing this in Afghanistan. It could be as simple as sending a plane, letting (in) all the people because a lot of these people are in contact with our office, ”he said.

“Now, I’m not advocating that we do this. But potentially, it could be as easy as sending a plane. There is a source to verify who they are, to make sure they don’t have guns on them, to have them stolen, and to do all the bureaucratic tasks afterward.

Sayed Shah Sharifi, a former Afghan interpreter now in Toronto, says five of his family were killed by the Taliban because of their connection to him.  Threats against former employees to foreign governments are real, he says.

Sayed Shah Sharifi, a former Afghan interpreter resettled in Canada in 2012, knows firsthand how the Taliban treat “infidels” and their families. Five of his family members – his sister and his son; his brother’s wife and two children – were killed by insurgents because of their connection to him.

“These are not just threats. These are real risks, ”says Sharifi, who served alongside Canadian troops in Kandahar between 2007 and 2010 and now works as an electrician in Toronto.

With insurgents making significant gains in recent months, he said, there are growing concerns that they will steal internal Afghan government data to track down these former Western government employees with credentials. personal.

“The Taliban may not have found those in hiding yet, but if they are found, they are dead. “

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter who covers immigration for The Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung



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U.S. Muslim Leaders and Activists Tackle Opposition to COVID-19 Vaccines


Shaikh Rahman, business systems analyst in Chicago, was not a supporter of COVID-19 vaccines because he did not believe that credible information about them was being disseminated effectively and distribution appeared rushed.

“Our faith says to investigate a matter before passing it off as the truth,” he said.

But Rahman’s sentiment changed after his local imam, Shaykh Jamal Said of the Foundation Mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois, began suggesting that those who were not vaccinated could be barred from entering the mosque.

Rahman was concerned about this potential restriction on prayer services and he considered getting the vaccine. He had tested positive for the virus prior to this potential restriction. So he decided to get the vaccine to boost his immunity after the Mosque Foundation organized a Pfizer vaccination campaign.

“With the country reopening, I don’t want my family or loved ones to risk being exposed through me,” Rahman said.

While vaccine hesitancy trends continue to evolve Across the United States, a change is also underway in some Muslim communities. Vaccination rates among Muslims had been among the lowest in the country during the first months of the pandemic. But the outreach programs of mosques, community organizations and cultural centers that work with immigrant communities help dispel misinformation and promote immunization.

As they hear from trusted figures, such as imams, some Muslims are now choosing to be vaccinated.

Virtual meetings

Among the organizations making an impact is the Somali Family Service of San Diego (SFS). It has a program called the Ihsan Health Initiative, which includes a team of community health workers who provide direct outreach through events such as virtual town hall meetings.

“The virtual town hall meetings have helped to combat some of the skepticism by allowing us to invite respected community leaders, such as doctors, nurses and Masjid imams,” says Balqiso Hussein, a community health worker of SFS, which works primarily with Somalis. population. “When we were presented with scientific evidence in a culturally competent manner, we saw changes in ideologies regarding the vaccine. Many in the community even scheduled vaccine appointments for the same day.”

SFS has hired community health workers who speak Arabic, Swahili and Somali. There are plans to reach out to the Afghan community.

“Using the same [native] language to speak to my clients, coupled with Friday khutbahs [sermons] issued by local imams, had a significant impact in trying to change the mindset of people in their willingness to be vaccinated, ”said Aous Alhabbar, a health worker who engages with the Iraqi community. “While there was a lot of fear at the start of the pandemic, that is slowly changing thanks to awareness. “

Part of the hesitation stems from the racism experienced during medical visits.

“Many feel that the health care system is not working to promote their well-being,” says Hussein. “Many members of the community, especially the older groups, felt very hesitant when the vaccines were fully administered nationally. Much of the reluctance comes from personal experiences with healthcare professionals who have failed to welcome community members due to language and cultural barriers. “

Religious beliefs have also been a factor for some who are still reluctant to get vaccinated. The question of what is halal, or permitted under Islamic law, has been raised repeatedly in the Muslim community.

“At first I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure about the science, and validity was a question of the ingredients,” says Shaykh Amin Kholwadia, a Muslim scholar and founder of Darul Qasim, an institute of Islamic teachings. Traditional based in Glendale Heights, Illinois.

Following reports that at least one of the vaccines used cell lines derived from fetal tissue, many Muslims questioned whether it would be halal to be given the vaccine. Kholwadia signed a statement issued by his organization that said, “The use of cell lines, originally developed from aborted fetuses, to develop vaccines is against Islamic bioethics. Muslims cannot take vaccines that are developed in this way given the permitted alternatives. “

Kholwadia explained that under Islamic law, “No part of the human body (including fetuses) can be used for the purpose of experimentation.”

While the ruling by the Darul Qasim organization legitimized the reluctance of some Muslims, especially for vaccines related to the first vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson, it also served as an incentive for vaccinations developed by others. companies.

“Why wouldn’t I prefer mRNA vaccines, especially if it’s not go put my akhira [afterlife] in danger? ”asks Akber Ali, attending physician at an Illinois hospital, who works with Darul Qasim.

Persistent doubts

Not everyone is convinced.

Bint Aden, a recent graduate from Southern California who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, says she and her family still have questions about the vaccine’s ingredients and whether they’re halal.

“Although mosques have authorized the vaccine, with my roots in Somalia, it is not clear what is authorized,” she said. “We believe in qadr [fate], what is supposed to be is destined to happen by the work of Allah (God), which involves both disease and health.

“I always want to wait and see,” Aden says. “I still don’t feel comfortable taking the vaccine. “

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonders of our world, funded Tasmiha khanwork. Learn about the Society’s support for explorers who work to inspire, educate and better understand human history and cultures.



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As the Taliban retake Afghanistan, a disastrous sense of déjà vu


Kabul by Christmas.

This is where we were, Kabul at Christmas 2001, when the Taliban had just been overthrown, driven out by an intense campaign of bombing by American and British forces, along with the brutal regime’s Al Qaeda “guests”. routed and on the run.

As the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached, the United States extricated itself from its longest foreign war – in an unseemly military race for exits – the British and NATO went offline, and Afghanistan is on the precipice of an already disastrous one. seen.

Leaving behind the vast Bagram airfield outside the capital, with thousands of civilian trucks and hundreds of armored vehicles right there. A ghost base, hastily evacuated and handed over to Afghan forces, awaiting search by the Taliban.

Also leaving behind a litany of broken promises – the West’s assurance that Afghanistan would never be abandoned again.

But, just like the Soviets in 1989, dragging their tails between their legs, militarily crippled by a grueling war against the Mujahedin that could not be – or would not be, in the long game tactically waged by the Taliban – won. With President Joe Biden claiming, in a surprising and deceptive way, that the United States has never been in the business of nation building. After some $ 133 billion (US) has been spent on exactly that, most of it on US cents. And more than 2,300 of its soldiers killed.

“I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan without expecting a different outcome,” Biden said on Independence Day.

In the wake of the departure of the United States, the dominoes are falling rapidly.

Hours after the evacuation of Bagram, the Taliban were on the march, increasing and widening their reach, with only the Afghan Air Force to control their advance. They captured hundreds of rural districts in the north and surrounded the capital of Badakhshan, with more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers – demoralized and ill-equipped – fleeing their posts, crossing a river bridge to border Tajikistan. Hundreds more – the Afghan army, police and intelligence services – laid down their arms and surrendered when their positions were overwhelmed.

Badakhshan was once the stronghold of anti-Taliban resistance, the last stronghold of Mujahedeen fighters under the revered Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated on September 9, 2001, a murder allegedly committed on Al-Qaeda’s orders, by two killers pretending to be journalists. Now trade routes and checkpoints to Tajikistan are controlled by Islamist insurgents, who already collect customs revenue.

On Friday, Taliban forces entered Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city, the Pashtun heartland in the south and the birthplace of the Taliban, aided by Pakistani intelligence services. Kandahar Province, which was under the responsibility of the Canadian Forces during the NATO mission, where 158 of our soldiers sacrificed their lives.

The militants first invaded Panjwai – the lush region that Canadians had once cleared and made safe – using it as a springboard for the assault on Kandahar City, a military and metaphorical triumph.

In the western part of Afghanistan, the powerful warlord Ismail Khan, whose vast militia helped US forces topple the Taliban regime, is mobilizing loyalists to defend Herat. “We call on all remaining security forces to resist courageously,” he said over the weekend. “We hope that the men and women of Herat decide at this time to support the resistance front to defend their freedom and safeguard their honor.

Which sounds a lot like a call to arms for another civil war. The latter decimated Afghanistan and turned Kabul into rubble.

While many Western experts claim that it is highly unlikely that heavily fortified Kabul will be seized again by the Taliban by the end of the year, there is little reason to believe in such hissing assurances from the Empire cemetery. Kabul will fall, if not December 31, then quite early thereafter. And the never-ending cycle of conflict will continue in a country that has known nothing but war for the past four decades, from outside and inside.

The only silver lining for the Afghans is that the Taliban will turn out to have undergone some sort of internal reform, less determined to murder civilians and impose draconian interpretations of Islamic law. That there will always be music and schools for girls and civil rights for women and protected rights for ethnic minorities such as the eternally persecuted, predominantly Shia Hazaras bracing for a backlash.

“There are rumors circulating that the Taliban is imposing restrictions or even a total ban on the media, individuals and women in the newly liberated areas,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement released last week. “We reject such propaganda. All schools are fully open, the media are allowed to operate in a free and neutral manner within the framework of Islamic rules, clinics and health centers can work without any constraints. Civil servants, journalists can also live and perform their duties without fear. ”

Right. Pull the other.

It was the fundamentalist regime that banned music and television, forced men to grow beards, executed, threw suspected gays from rooftops, and carried out public executions for those caught breaking Taliban edicts.

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There are reports of schools already burned down and teachers in hiding. The Taliban have been blamed for a wave of killings targeting lawyers, journalists and working women. Dozens of people have been shot or killed in car bombings. The Taliban denies any responsibility.

Reports also indicate that ISIS, what remains of it, is recovering in Afghanistan.

Although the central government still owns most of the country’s major cities, urban areas will inevitably come under siege. The descent into widespread violence seems inevitable and without end in sight. The Soufan Center, which provides analysis of global security threats, revealed that recent US intelligence assessments concluded that the government of besieged President Ashraf Ghani could collapse within the next six months.

As expected when Biden announced earlier this year that the US withdrawal would be completed on September 11, a date chosen for symbolic reasons, although the US exodus was likely to be completed before then, leaving behind only a thousand troops to protect diplomats. missions, the American Embassy and the Kabul airport.

Unacceptable, retorts the Taliban. All foreign troops present on Afghan soil after September 11 will be considered “legitimate targets”.

The Taliban’s territorial gains have been swift and astounding this year. In the past two months alone, they have seized at least 150 districts – they claim many more – in 34 provinces, comprising half the country. In some areas, they have been greeted by war-weary citizens and a corrupt government.

“I don’t like leaving friends in need,” admitted General Austin Scott Miller, commander of US and NATO forces, in a recent interview with ABC, acknowledging that the situation he is leaving behind is disastrous. “War is physical, but it also has a psychological or moral component, and hope really matters. What you don’t want to happen is for people to lose hope. ”

Except that there is no hope for the Afghans. They are doomed to fail, even though the Taliban say they will present a written peace proposal to the government as early as next month during the stalled negotiations in Doha. The United States has repeatedly asked for help from neighboring Pakistan in convincing the insurgents to come up with a written plan. But Pakistan is a traitor. He incubated the Taliban and his regional aspirations have long been based on the Taliban. It is, after all, the country that housed Osama bin Laden, his denials are not worth a fig.

My fixer, driver and friend for nearly two decades, sends desperate texts. “I have to get my family out. They will come first for the interpreters. Please can you help? ”

He has been an interpreter for NATO for years.

Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan ended in 2011, transitioning to a training mission. Ottawa said it would welcome hundreds of vulnerable Afghans, interpreters, embassy staff and their families. The United States has promised to relocate thousands of interpreters by next month. Which could be too late.

I’m sorry Faramaz. I am really sorry.

Rosie DiManno is a Toronto-based columnist covering sports and news for The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno



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Why Haiti is still in despair after $ 13 billion in foreign aid


The streets of Haiti had been crowded for months with angry protesters who burned tires, stormed banks and robbed stores. Gangs, sometimes with the tacit permission of the police, have kidnapped nuns, fruit sellers and even schoolgirls for ransom.

And then on Wednesday, the country sank deeper into turmoil, when a convoy of armed men brazenly rumbled to the home of the president, Jovenel Moïse, in the middle of the night and shot him dead.

Almost every time Haitians think their situation cannot get worse, it seems the nation takes another disturbing turn and is now on the brink of a political vacuum, with no president, no parliament, or no functioning Supreme Court.

The country’s quagmire has for decades placed it at the top of the list of nations, like Afghanistan and Somalia, which have captured the world’s imaginations for their level of desperation. In the shadow of the richest country in the world, people wonder: how could this happen in Haiti?

Haiti’s troubled history runs deep into its roots as a former slave colony of France which gained independence in 1804 after defeating Napoleon’s forces, and then suffered more than two decades of a brutal dictatorship, which ended in 1986.

Then, after a powerful earthquake that devastated the country in 2010, an influx of foreign aid and peacekeepers only aggravated the woes and instability of the country.

Haiti’s failures did not happen in a vacuum; they have been aided by the international community, which has injected $ 13 billion in aid into the country over the past decade. But instead of the nation-building that money was supposed to achieve, Haiti’s institutions have hollowed out even more in recent years.

When the president let Parliament’s term expire last year, he left Haiti with 11 elected representatives – Mr. Moïse and 10 senators – for its population of 11 million, drawing strong condemnation but little repercussions from from Washington. For a year and a half, until his assassination, Mr. Moïse increasingly ruled by decree.

Haiti is less of a failed state than what one analyst has called an “aid state” – which lives by relying on billions of dollars from the international community. Foreign governments were unwilling to turn off the taps, fearing they would let Haiti fail.

But the money served as a complicated lifeline – leaving the government with little incentive to carry out the institutional reforms needed to rebuild the country, as it bets that whenever the situation gets worse, international governments will open their coffers, according to Haitian analysts and activists. .

The aid has supported the country and its leaders, providing vital services and supplies in a country in desperate need of large amounts of humanitarian aid. But it also allowed corruption, violence and political paralysis to go unchecked.

Although they deny it, Haitian politicians, including the government, have traditionally relied on gangs to influence elections in their favor and expand their political reach. In the last three years of Mr. Moïse’s tenure, more than a dozen massacres perpetrated by gangs linked to the government and police forces have killed more than 400 people in anti-government neighborhoods and displaced 1.5 million of people, yet no one was held responsible for the crimes.

When a political or human rights scandal erupts, the US government issues convictions similar to paper tigers.

Instead of embracing the long road of reforms and creating a system that works, supports Haitian civil society leaders, the United States has supported strong men and tied the nation’s fate to them. Many Haitians have repeatedly denounced US support for Mr. Moïse but said they had little power to stop him.

“Since 2018, we have been calling for accountability,” said Emmanuela Douyon, a Haitian political expert who testified before the US Congress earlier this year, urging Washington to change its foreign policy and its approach to assisting Haiti.

“We need the international community to stop imposing what it thinks is correct and instead think about the long term and stability,” Ms. Douyon said in an interview.

The United States must make aid to Haiti conditional on the cleansing and reform of the country’s institutions by its leaders, Douyon and other analysts said. And powerful figures must be held accountable for the violence and corruption that permeates all aspects of the country.

“There will be a lot of calls for international intervention and for the sending of troops, but it is important that we take a step back and see how the international intervention has contributed to this situation,” said Jake Johnston, researcher associated with the Center for Economic and Policy. Research Washington, which coined the term “state aid”.

“Billions of dollars have already been spent on what is called nation-building in Haiti, which has only contributed to the erosion of the state and the politicization of these institutions,” he said. Mr Johnston said. “Saying now that we need to do more, well, that won’t work. “

The assassination of Mr. Moïse on Wednesday marked a new chapter in the country’s violent decade. The assassins who raided Mr. Moïse’s compound killed a president who came to power in 2016, winning the election with just around 600,000 votes. Only 18% of voters voted, and there were numerous accusations of fraud.

Still, the United States backed the unpopular and controversial leader, backing Mr. Moïse amid calls for his ouster in 2019 when it was discovered that international aid to the government had disappeared.

Mr Moïse insisted in February that he would stay one more year as president because he had been barred from holding the post for so long while accusations of electoral fraud came under scrutiny. investigation. Despite demands from civil society leaders to step down, Washington backed him up. Critics said his retention in office was unconstitutional and anger spilled over into the streets, plunging the capital Port-au-Prince into more uncertainty and violence.

Another American nation-building failure was played out thousands of miles from Haiti, Afghanistan, where the United States tried for 20 years to wrest control of the country from the Taliban before leaving the country. country. The Afghan army either abandoned its bases or surrendered en masse to the Taliban as the United States withdrew its troops. There, the international community has provided more than $ 2 trillion in aid since 2001.

The nation-building exercises that the United States and its international partners have undertaken in Haiti and around the world have done little to create functioning states, instead creating a system where dubious actors with little national support – like M. Moïse – are supported. , the easiest way to achieve short term stability.

In Afghanistan, the United States has relied on warlords and strongmen to achieve its objectives, who often politicize and undermine institutions, leaving a vacuum when they are inevitably assassinated or overthrown.

Civil society leaders in Haiti and Afghanistan have both urged the United States to help these countries strengthen their institutions and ensure the rule of law, creating democratic systems that outlast any political leader. and ensure long-term stability.

With continued support from the United States, Mr. Moïse had become increasingly autocratic, passing an anti-terrorism law late last year so broad it could be used against his opposition.

Earlier this year, he said he would draft a new constitution, giving broad powers to the military and allowing future presidents to run for a second consecutive term. He has scheduled a referendum on the constitution and a national election for September, despite warnings that holding an election amid so much violence would suppress voter turnout and bring to power the same politicians who helped provoke the struggles. from Haiti. Yet the United States supported Mr. Moïse’s plans.

“It is difficult to see the present moment as an opportunity because it will probably create more chaos,” said Alexandra Filippova, senior lawyer at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, an organization that provides legal representation to victims. of human rights. abuses.

“If the United States and other international partners really want to help Haiti,” added Ms. Filippova, “they must listen to Haitian civil society and take the difficult road: build a real foundation for democracy.


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International headquarters

Global tax review gathers momentum as G20 backs new levies


“For the United States, this will be a fundamental shift in how we choose to compete in the global economy,” Ms. Yellen said. “Not a competition based on the lowest tax rates, but rather on the skills of our workforce, our ability to innovate and our core talents.”

Policymakers continue to question what the world’s minimum tax rate will be and what exactly will be subject to tax.

A separate proposal calls for an additional tax on the largest and most profitable multinational companies, those with profit margins of at least 10%. Officials want to apply this tax to at least 20 percent of profits exceeding that 10 percent margin for these companies, but continue to debate how the proceeds would be distributed among countries around the world. Developing economies are pushing to make sure they get their fair share.

Mr Bradley, of the House, said the details of a final deal would determine how punitive it would be for business. Representatives from Google and Facebook have been in contact with senior Treasury officials as the process unfolds.

U.S. companies are also concerned that they will be at a disadvantage by a 21% tax President Biden has proposed on their overseas profits, if their overseas competitors pay just 15%. The Biden administration also wants to increase the domestic corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Democrats in Congress are moving forward with legislation to make these tax code changes this year.

“If an American company is trying to compete globally with a significantly higher tax burden because of this significantly higher minimum tax on its operations, it’s a competitiveness issue to be successful,” said Barbara Angus, manager of global tax policy at Ernst. & Young.

Washington and Europe also remain at odds over how to tax digital giants like Google and Amazon.

At the G20 summit, finance ministers expressed optimism that such obstacles could be overcome. In his closing press conference after the deal was concluded, Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, hailed the deal as historic and called on countries that had not yet joined to reconsider their decision.

“Accepting global rules is difficult for every country. Every country must be ready to make compromises, ”said Mr. Franco. “Having global rules to tax multinationals, to tax big business profits is a major change, is a major achievement.”

Liz Alderman contributed to the Paris report, and Eshe nelson from London.


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History organization

Criminally indicted Trump CFO steps down as director of Trump Organization golf club


A week after being hit with more than a dozen criminal charges and the prospect of more than a decade in prison, Allen Weisselberg, longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, stepped down as chief executive of Donald trumpfrom the Scottish Golf Club. In a thursday deposit, the company mentionned that Weisselberg was no longer “a person with significant control” over Trump International Golf Club Scotland, which, according to Bloomberg, is “the first sign that Trump’s longtime CFO has stepped down after being indicted alongside the Trump Organization, “both of whom pleaded not guilty to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indictment of 15 counts Cyrus Vance Jr., which detailed how Weisselberg and his employer allegedly avoided taxes on benefits worth $ 1.76 million, including an apartment, cars and tuition at a private school.

At the moment, it’s unclear what Weisselberg’s resignation means in terms of Trump’s chances of not getting out of prison. Is the company trying to distance itself from Weisselberg and set the stage to claim that he acted alone? In view of Trump long the story to pretend not to know people who could get him in serious trouble, it is quite possible! Is Weisselberg preparing to retire from the company and denounce his former boss? This could obviously also be the case. The news might also have nothing to do with the recent charges against Weisselberg and the company, although it seems somewhat unlikely.

Either way, if Trump is generally not concerned at the moment, he certainly should be. Prosecutors have been working for months to tip Weisselberg, and although he has so far remained loyal to the ex-president, there is no such thing as the possibility of many years in prison to bring a person to rethink his situation. As a former federal prosecutor Cynthia alksne Told MSNBC earlier this week, “The jury will hate [Weisselberg]. It’s not going to have a jury of people going to MAGA rallies, it’s going to have a cross section of people who live in Manhattan, who pay taxes in Manhattan, who don’t get free Mercedes, who don’t have anyone else. ‘other to pay for their children’s education and not have tax consequences for it. So I think he’s going to be a much hated defendant, Mr. Weisselberg, and I’m sure his lawyers have told him that. The former US prosecutor also weighed on the financial director’s situation. Preet Bharara, who tweeted, “I am optimistic that he will be doomed. The law is pretty clear on what is income and what is taxable. It is a sophisticated setting; the error is implausible. The company recorded much of it as income. And juries hate wealthy tax evaders.

All of this leaves Trump in a worrisome situation if there is any fear of spending his twilight years behind bars. After the indictment was unveiled, Bloomberg noted that Weisselberg’s cooperation “could lead to a broader case against the company and raise the prospect of a historic and politically charged prosecution of a former president.” With a trial unlikely before next year, the CFO will have months to decide whether to fight the charges or plead guilty and possibly strike a deal with prosecutors. A Trump executive for four decades, Weisselberg has a unique insight into the former president’s finances and trade deals.

In other words, he knows where all the bodies are buried (and has basically pointed this out in the past, describing himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” in the business). Like her ex-daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg, who reportedly handed over numerous boxes of financial documents to prosecutors this spring, said in April: “Trump doesn’t care about Allen, but Allen knows all the bad things he’s done.” And while Weisselberg remains loyal, some people think the government will still have a case against Trump:

Michael Avenatti will have plenty of time to think about what he’s been up to

The old one Stormy Daniels lawyer who once considered running for president before being arrested and charged with attempting to extort more than $ 20 million from Nike Inc., and separately accused of embezzling a customer’s money and defrauding a bank, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Through the the Wall Street newspaper:

Avenatti, 50, was sentenced after a jury trial in February 2020 on the three counts he faced: extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extortion and wire fraud. The case arose out of Mr Avenatti’s threats to expose alleged corruption in Nike’s elite basketball program, unless the clothing giant pays him to conduct an internal investigation. Before pronouncing the sentence, the United States District Judge Paul Gardephe called Mr Avenatti’s conduct outrageous and said he was acting as though the laws that apply to everyone do not apply to him. “Mr. Avenatti had gotten intoxicated with the power of his platform,” Justice Gardephe said in a Manhattan federal courtroom.

Thursday’s conviction only crowns one of Mr. Avenatti’s legal battles. He also faces a litany of tax and banking burdens in California with a lawsuit scheduled to begin next week in federal court in Santa Ana, California. A trial in New York is scheduled to begin next year on federal charges that he embezzled Ms. Daniels’ money. Mr. Avenatti pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing.



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Canadian army

DVIDS – News – Sea Breeze Sailor Profile: Meet Lieutenant-Commander Elizabeth Eldridge of the Royal Canadian Navy


Lieutenant-Commander Elizabeth Eldridge of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is honored and proud to share her experiences as a Naval Logistics Officer during her deployment as a mentoring staff officer for Exercise SEA BREEZE 21 in Odessa, Ukraine, June 28 – July 10, 2021 SEA BREEZE is an annual multinational exercise co-hosted by the United States Navy (USN) and Ukrainian Navy (UN) with support from the Partnership for the NATO peace, and this year’s Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) participation is part of Operation UNIFIER, the CAF’s military training and capacity building mission in Ukraine.

“As the Navy Logistics Officer, we are responsible for all logistical requirements on board the ship, from administration to finance, food, transport, supply, movement of sailors. and equipment to and from the ship, all types of port services and hospitality, to name a few, ”said LCdr Eldridge. “So we really manage the whole range of logistical support activities that allow the ship’s crew to accomplish our mission,” she noted.

Coming from a military family, LCdr Eldridge had the privilege of living in Ottawa and Halifax. Although she comes from a family spanning several generations of military service, she said, surprisingly, that was not her primary motivation for becoming a sailor. “I wanted to join because I wanted to do everything,” she said. “I first joined the Canadian Army Reserve as a clerk when I was in high school just to get a taste of it and since I’ve always wanted to be a Naval Logistics Officer, I decided to go this route when I pursued my undergraduate studies. at the Royal Military College (RMC), ”she added.

LCdr Eldridge says the most appealing part about going to RMC is that you can pursue a variety of interests and hobbies in addition to earning your degree. “Unlike other universities where students may only have the opportunity to pursue or become interested in a new interest, at RMC you are encouraged and supported to do it all – you have to show leadership. , you have to play sports, you have to do extracurricular activities, you have to do a second language – and for me that was the biggest draw. So the inspiration to join was not really on the family side, but more because of the vast opportunities offered by the military, where you can have the space, time and resources to do so, ”he said. she declared.

A proud Naval Logistics Officer, she said the most rewarding part of being a Logistician is the fact that you can make a difference every day, and you see the immediate results of what you do to support the mission.

“Whether it’s processing a travel expense claim or organizing a hospitality event during a port stopover to represent Canada abroad, you know you always have an impact. positive, ”she said.

A seasoned sailor proudly wearing the gunmetal Maritime Service Badge (SSI), he has been deployed several times in Canada and abroad. Some of its national deployments include Operation NANOOK and Operation NUNALIVUT in the Arctic. Abroad, she participated in RIMPAC in Hawaii and was deployed aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown as part of Operation REASSURANCE ROTO 5 in Europe.

During exercise SEA BREEZE 21, LCdr Eldridge is part of the CAF mentoring team. “As a naval logistics mentor in this exercise, I advise and guide Ukrainian naval logisticians on logistics planning and the importance of looking at logistics from an operational perspective,” she said. “My goal is to provide options and other perspectives in handling logistical issues related to operations. It’s about sharing our best practices and giving advice they can take into account in their problem-solving process.

Asked about her advice to aspiring sailors and those considering joining the RCN, “Logistics is cool! Never discredit the importance of logistics and the importance of the support professions that work for operations – to join the Navy as a supporter you can see and experience so much, while making a tangible difference, ”he said. she declared.

Date taken: 07.08.2021
Date posted: 07.08.2021 11:23
Story ID: 400531
Location: ODESA, UA

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International headquarters

Bach from the IOC arrives in Tokyo; greeted by state of emergency


TOKYO (AP) – IOC President Thomas Bach arrived in Tokyo on Thursday to find Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihde Suga on the verge of declaring a state of emergency, which is expected to result in a ban on fans at the Olympic Games from Tokyo as coronavirus infections spread in the capital.

Bach largely avoided the cameras at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and, on a rainy afternoon, made his way to the Games headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo, a five-star hotel in the center of the city. He would need to self-isolate for three days.

Bach’s arrival comes just two weeks before the opening of the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The IOC and local organizers are trying to hold the games during a pandemic despite opposition from the public and the Japanese medical community.

In a meeting with medical experts Thursday, government officials proposed a plan to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo from next Monday to August 22. The Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23 and end on August 8.

The main focus of the emergency is a request to close bars, restaurants and karaoke lounges serving alcohol. Banning the serving of alcohol is a key step in easing the Olympic festivities and preventing people from drinking and partying. Tokyo residents are expected to face stay-at-home requests and watch the Games on TV from their homes.

“How to prevent people enjoying the Olympics from going out for drinks is a major problem,” said Health Minister Norihisa Tamura.

The current state of emergency ends on Sunday. Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 a week earlier. It was the 18th consecutive day of week-over-week increase and the highest total since 1,010 reported on May 13.

Fans from overseas were banned from attending the Olympics months ago. But just two weeks ago, the organizers and the IOC decided to allow the venues to be filled to 50% of their capacity but that the crowds not exceed 10,000 people. The state of emergency will force them to change their plans again, a decision likely to come later Thursday.

The surge in cases likely means the sites will be fanless, although sponsors and others can access them. The fanless atmosphere could include the opening ceremony at the $ 1.4 billion National Stadium.

The rise in infections has also forced the Tokyo city government to remove the Olympic Torch Relay from the streets of the capital, allowing it to operate only on remote islands off the Tokyo coast. It is not known how the torch will enter the stadium for the opening ceremony.

“The infections are in their phase of expansion and everyone in this country needs to firmly understand the severity,” Dr Shigeru Omi, one of the government’s top medical advisers, told reporters.

He urged authorities to take strict action quickly ahead of the Olympics, as the summer vacation approaches.

Omi has repeatedly called for a fan ban and said it was “abnormal” to hold the Olympics during a pandemic.

Separately, a government advisory group on COVID-19 met on Wednesday and expressed concerns about the continued resurgence of infections.

“Two-thirds of infections in the capital region come from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of infections to neighboring areas,” said Ryuji Wakita, director general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The Olympics are pushing forward against most medical advice, in part because the postponement has blocked IOC revenue streams. It derives nearly 75% of its revenue from the sale of broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion if the Olympics were canceled.

About 11,000 Olympians and 4,400 Paralympians are expected to enter Japan, along with tens of thousands of officials, judges, administrators, sponsors, broadcasters and media. The IOC says more than 80% of residents of the Olympic Village will be vaccinated.

Nationally, Japan has recorded about 810,000 cases and nearly 14,900 deaths. Only 15% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, which remains low compared to 47.4% in the United States and nearly 50% in Britain.

___

More AP: https://apnews.com/hub/olympic-games and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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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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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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Canadian army

C-130 crashes in Patikul, Sulu – Philippine Canadian Inquirer


FILE: The site of the C-130 crash at Patikul, Sulu on Sunday (July 4, 2021). The plane was on a troop transport mission, according to AFP chief General Cirilito Sobejana. (Photo: Bridge Bridge, PTV via Philippine News Agency / Facebook)

MANILA – A Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130H Hercules transport plane crashed Sunday morning in Patikul, Sulu, the Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Cirilito Sobejana confirmed.

In an interview with reporters, Sobejana said the incident happened around 11:30 a.m.

“One of the C-130s, while transporting our troops from Cagayan De Oro, n / A-Mademoiselle nya ‘yung track, trying to regain power, to hindi nakayanan, bumagsak doon sa mai Barangay Bangkal, Patikul, Sulu (One of our C-130s, while carrying troops from Cagayan De Oro, missed the trail, tried to regain power but failed and crashed at Barangay Bangkal , Patikul, Sulu), ”he said.

Sobejana has not identified the runway but the closest and unique airport in the area is at Jolo.

Efforts are underway to rescue passengers from the ill-fated plane.

About 40 passengers were rescued and are currently being treated at the 11th Infantry Division hospital in the town of Busbus.

No further details were immediately available, Sobejana said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said initial reports indicated there were 92 people on board, including three pilots and five crew members.

The rest were army personnel reporting for duty.

“So far 40 wounded and injured have been rescued and 17 bodies recovered,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

The PAF also confirmed the incident.

“A Philippine Air Force C-130 plane with tail # 5125 was the victim of an incident while landing at Jolo,” PAF said.

The plane took off from Villamor Air Base in Pasay en route to Lumbia Airport and then transported personnel to Jolo, PAF spokesman Lt. Col. Maynardo Mariano said.

The aircraft was one of two C-130Hs acquired with a grant from the US government. He arrived in the country on January 29 and was officially welcomed into the PAF fleet at Villamor on February 18.

The cost of acquiring the two C-130H aircraft had previously been estimated at PHP 2.5 billion, with the Philippines contributing PHP 1.6 billion and the United States contributing around PHP 900 million.

it is a four turboprop military transport aircraft originally designed and built by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a personnel carrier, medical evacuation, and cargo aircraft.


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Canadian army

AFP urges CHR to deepen Absalon murder – Philippine Canadian Inquirer


Kieth Absalon (Photo courtesy of Facebook via PNA)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for the Law of Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC) has asked the Human Rights Commission (CHR) to conduct a side investigation into the Masbate incident that killed college footballer Kieth Absalon and his cousin, Nolven.

Brig. General Jose Alejandro Nacnac, director of AFPCLOAC, sent a letter of request to the president of the CHR, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, to investigate the “heinous, despicable and reprehensible” attack perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) June 6, 2021.

“As a vanguard of human rights and international humanitarian law, we call on your office to pursue justice for the Absalons and all the victims of the latest anti-personnel mine (APM) explosions and the protection of civilians from use of MPAs by the NPA and the CTGs (communist terrorist groups). We also ask for your help and support in the government’s overall effort to end the local communist armed conflict, ”the letter dated June 29 reads.

Nacnac condemned the incident, saying NPA rebels must be held accountable for indiscriminate use of PAM and attacks on innocent civilians.

“The continued use by ANPs of anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that kill and maim civilians and soldiers in flagrant disregard and in willful violation of international humanitarian law is worrying and must be stopped,” said Nacnac in a press release on Friday. .

Nacnac noted that “the distinction between civilians and combatants is a cardinal principle” of international humanitarian law, “intended to minimize damage to civilians by making violence a combatant’s business”.

Quoting Article 14 of Republic Law (RA) No. 9851, or the Philippine Law on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, promulgated on December 11, 2009, Nacnac said that the communist leader who orchestrated the violent attacks must also face criminal charges.

“In addition to the other grounds of criminal responsibility for the crimes defined and sanctioned by RA 9851, section 10 thereof provides that NPA leaders like Joma Sison will be criminally responsible as the principal for these crimes committed by subordinates under his effective command and control, or effective authority and control, as the case may be, due to his inability to properly exercise control over those subordinates, ”added Nacnac.

“The responsibility of the leaders of these CTGs for the damage and prejudice that their subordinates inflicted on non-combatants must not go unpunished,” he continued.

In May, the CHR pledged to investigate the 1,506 atrocities and IHL violations committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) -NPA and the National Democratic Front from 2010 to 2020.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (With reports from Priam Nepomuceno / PNA)


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History organization

How the idea of ​​a local “business climate” was created in the 1950s to give businesses leverage equal to the power of unions.


Most states, cities, and local authorities in the United States are concerned with promoting and maintaining a favorable “business climate” in order to attract foreign investment, jobs, and other economic benefits. Using General Electric’s Better Business Climate program as a case study, Caroline hanley notes that the concept was mobilized by a popular conservative political movement in the 1950s as a way to undermine union power. The concept of the business climate, she writes, has since become a way for companies to define their own interests as shared community interests.

Job insecurity has become a hallmark of the contemporary American economy, and it’s not just workers who fear losing their jobs. Job insecurity is also evident at the community level. Shared concerns about a region’s “business climate” and its relationship to job growth inform virtually all areas of local politics in the United States, often through the work of public economic development agencies operating. in partnership with the private sector. Maintaining a favorable business climate to encourage job growth means limiting regulation, offering tempting tax breaks or publicly funded business infrastructure to potential employers, and promising a skilled and enthusiastic workforce (from non-unionized preference).

Large companies that have the opportunity to relocate or expand their business elsewhere wield great power over their workers and the communities in which they operate. Recent successful “right to work” campaigns – measures prohibiting people from being forced to join a union or pay dues to do a certain job – campaigns in Indiana (2012), Michigan ( 2012), Wisconsin (2015), 2016) and Kentucky (2017) discuss how communities aspire to be competitive in order to tackle economic insecurity. The imperative to remain competitive by avoiding measures that harm the local business climate organizes local and state economic governance and limits actions to combat economic inequalities.

Ideas and history of local competition for investment

While nothing I have said so far will surprise most readers, the origins of this story are not well known. Capital mobility and the regulatory “race to the bottom” dynamic it encourages are often seen as unfortunate but inevitable products of globalization. But local competition for investments has deep historical roots, and as an economic geographer, David Harvey wrote in 2001, “the production, reproduction and reconfiguration of space have always been central to understanding the political economy of capitalism”.

What varies over time are the institutions and ideas that support capital mobility. And ideas can be powerful. Like Margaret R. Somers and Fred Block observed in 2005, examining “the ideas, public narratives and explanatory systems by which states, societies and political cultures construct, transform, explain and normalize market processes” is essential for understanding economic organization and social change (p. 264).

As a cultural framework that signals the objectivity and naturalness of the advantages of political economic location, the business climate concept advances the interests of capital by undermining organized labor by obscuring the class bias in this organizational logic of the market. In addition, the institutionalization of the concept in state and local policies, which has resulted in the growth of public economic development offices working in partnership with private groups such as the American Chamber of Commerce– entrench managerial interests as shared community interests.

GE’s “best business climate”

Contemporary politics of the local business climate did not happen by accident. The concept was mobilized by a conservative grassroots political movement in the 1950s as an end around the New Deal job protections. The General Electric Company (GE) led the way by developing a national public relations campaign that presented union support as a threat to economic security and emphasized local responsibility to maintain a favorable business climate .

GE’s Better Business Climate (BBC) program aimed to mobilize local political action in support of the company’s regulatory goals through the use of newsletters with headlines such as “The Community’s Problem in Getting and Keeping Good Employers ”(ER News, 3/6/55); encourage GE leaders to address local civic and political groups with a message favorable to the business climate (anti-union); and the distribution of business climate assessment guides to communities across the country, including potential GM plant sites. These “economic education” materials teach that unions (and pro-union elected officials) are detrimental to local economic health and prosperity and that it is the responsibility of the community itself to maintain a favorable business climate to attract investment. and create jobs.

The BBC’s program material sought to mask the alignment between commercial interests and the search for a favorable business climate. Copies of GE’s newsletters were distributed widely outside the company in response to written requests from community members and through Chamber of Commerce networks. A widely circulated issue, titled “Corporate Political Powerlessness Hurt Everyone,” argued that businessmen need to be more involved in politics, but this imperative is defined as distinct from partisan or partisan politics:

Non-partisan political work – which is not “political” in the old or usual sense of the term – is really economic work and other educational work of a truly informative or “better business climate” type. (ER News 28/5/56; emphasis in original)

A key feature of the BBC program is the way business climate surveys and manager awareness were supposed to work together. Correspondence between GE executives dated November 1956 states:

I think any of us doing public speeches should be sure that it’s clear that others are questioning the climate in a given state… I think we should use the technique I used in California to deduce [sic] that it is the local residents who are examining or criticizing the local business climate, and that we are here just to talk about what people elsewhere are doing trying to correct the shortcomings they have found in their business climate.

The campaign has produced tangible effects on the power of work at General Electric. Even at the height of the post-war deal between capital and labor, the power of GE’s electrical workers was relatively weak due to the inter-union conflict and a “take it or leave it” approach to negotiation. was declared illegal in 1969 after nearly a decade of deliberation and appeals by the National Labor Relations Board. GE management has skillfully used the threat and reality of corporate offshoring as a tool to discipline work throughout its company’s history. But the use of the business climate concept as a discursive strategy to frame the mobility of capital has been used effectively to advance employment restructuring by mobilizing the community against work in the union stronghold of Schenectady.

General Electric, Schenectady, New York State“(CC BY 2.0) through Boston Public Library

Amid GE’s massive post-war expansion, managers deployed the business climate concept to define job losses at Schenectady as requiring greater union cooperation. New local economic development organizations dedicated to promoting the local business climate lobbied Local 301 of the International Union of Electrical Workers (UIE) in Schenectady to break with its national union at two points criticism of a campaign to increase job security. GE’s business climate program reshaped job security policy at Schenectady and helped institutionalize insecurity. In the words of a former employee of Local 301 who resisted calls by the National UIE to strike against breaches of GE’s contract in 1964 and instead voted to accept the company’s restructuring plan. , “We were told to vote either to accept or to co. we would leave town and we would lose our jobs. What else could we have done?

How companies define their own interests as shared community interests

The use of business relocation as a tool for restructuring labor relations became a cornerstone of business strategy following the economic crisis of the 1970s. Today, local business climate policy continues. to undermine union organization and the power of workers to resist job restructuring. This landmark case study of GE’s BBC program draws attention to how the concept of the business climate, as a cultural framework for understanding capital mobility, advances the symbolic power of companies to define their interests as shared community interests. The concept obscures class politics, organizes powerful public-private partnerships in favor of commercial interests, and signals the natural or inevitable nature of what are in reality political economic outcomes.

In this time of heightened inequality and widespread economic vulnerability, it may be time to reconsider how the idea of ​​the concept of local business climate – as a concept taken for granted, habitual and legitimate source of inequality, continues to function as an instrument of job insecurity.

Please read our feedback policy before commenting.

Note: This article gives the author’s point of view, not the position of the USAPP – American Politics and Policy, or the London School of Economics.

Shortened URL for this article: https://bit.ly/3yjDp5V


About the Author

Caroline Hanley – Guillaume and Marie
Caroline Hanley is Associate Professor of Sociology at William & Mary. Professor Hanley’s research examines how income is shaped by local contexts – regional, political, economic, organizational and professional – using statistical and archival methods. She is particularly interested in the causes of the increase in income inequality in the United States since the 1970s, the influence of race and gender on incomes, and how popular conceptions of equity in the economic activity shapes the distribution of economic rewards.


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Non profit living

Summerville teenager helps community members escape homelessness | New

SUMMERVILLE – One of the most obvious priorities in helping someone get out of homelessness is finding a place for them to live.

But what happens when they move into a space with nothing but a crate full of clothes and rent money?

“The difference between having a bed or not really changes all day long,” said John Michael Stagliano, 18, a lifelong Summerville resident.

Stagliano is also the founder of Home Again, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing furniture and household items to families leaving behind their old conditions and moving into new homes.

It all started with Stagliano volunteering at a Summerville homeless shelter, where he learned that residents’ needs don’t end with just leaving the shelter.

Over the past five years, Home Again has supplied the homes of nearly 500 people and helped raise thousands of dollars for local shelters.

Stagliano managed to accomplish all of this before graduating from high school.

“You can always do something to help someone else,” he said.

While acquiring something as simple as furniture may seem small to some people, it has been life changing for those who have benefited from Home Again. Connie Ross, one of these recent furniture recipients, said the organization’s help took a lot of stress away.

“Because I had nothing,” she said. “Not even a chair to sit on.”

Do something right

Ross now has two jobs – one at a local fast food restaurant and another for a cleaning service. She recently moved into a new apartment after being homeless for over a year. Between November and this summer, she was living at Hope’s House, the homeless women’s shelter at Dorchester County Community Outreach.

Before getting a place in the shelter, she had also spent a year living in her car while recovering from drug addiction. She said she still remembers the rainy nights sitting alone in her car, including during the pandemic, which compounded the isolation.

“I’ve had a few nights of crying, but not a lot,” Ross said. “You just have to find your inner strength.”

She became homeless after leaving a space where she lived with others. Ross learned that someone loaded furniture and other items in his name and damaged his credit.

This caused him to spend most of the pandemic in his car.

Summerville sees need for affordable housing options but struggles to find a place

“I had to pay off a lot of debt,” she said.

She was able to keep both of her jobs and save money, enough to eventually afford her own place.

The shelter did not allow women to buy anything because everything was given. “It was a breath of fresh air,” she said.

When Ross was finally able to find a place to stay, she hooked up with Home Again. Stagliano and his team gave him a bed, lamps, crockery, toiletries, a TV and more.

She said that as a black woman it felt good to see someone willing to help her. When looking for apartments after fixing her credit, she said there were times she could see that property managers were disappointed when they found out about her race.

With Stagliano being so young and doing so much volunteer work in the community, it was inspiring, she said.

“He’s doing something right,” she said. “And I think people should support him in any way they can.”

Who gets help

Home Again recipients ranged from people like Ross to entire families and local veterans. Stagliano said what he expects the most in his job is to see the change in personalities in people when they get help.

He remembers helping a veteran who slept on his apartment floor for at least a week.

When they visited him after delivering the furniture, he noticed that he was more social with his neighbors and happier overall. He said he had the same level of excitement when he saw two children jump on the beds his team brought them.






Back home

John Michael Stagliano (left) prepares to prepare a bed for veteran Timothy Hall on June 19, 2021. Stagliano founded Home Again, which helps provide furniture and household items to families emerging from homelessness and moving to new accommodation. Brad Nettles / Staff




It was a sense of accomplishment that Stagliano knew well from having spent much of his childhood volunteering.

Volunteering and giving back to the community is something the Stagliano family know well.

In addition to Home Again, John Michael’s sister Katie founded and runs Katie’s Krops. This is another Summerville nonprofit that creates community gardens to support food drives to end hunger.

This organization was formed after Katie grew a 40-pound cabbage when she was in third grade. John Michael was 4 at the time.

Cabbage then fed nearly 300 people and propelled Katie towards the launch of Katie’s Krops. The nonprofit now spans 31 states across the United States with dozens of community gardens.

Summerville's Katie's Krops reflects on more than a decade of national community garden work

“I think it was just meant to be,” Katie said. “The entire Summerville community as a whole, they have been amazing.”

Years later, while preparing meals at a Summerville homeless men’s shelter called Home of Hope, John Michael began helping residents of the shelter obtain furniture. He and his family would solicit the community for donations. After joining the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and supporting homeless veterans, Home Again was born.

“It really changes lives and helps bring families together,” Katie said. “I couldn’t be prouder to be his sister.”

Without this giant cabbage, the family is not sure the two nonprofits would have taken off. But, they said the enthusiasm for supporting the community would have always been there.

“It’s kind of who we are as a family,” said Stacy Stagliano, mother of John Michael and Katie.

She said she never imagined that any of her children would oversee the organizations. With Home Again, she said she was surprised because John Michael has always been her shy child.

“They just see the possibilities,” Stacy said.

Without the support of the community, she said nonprofits would never have had the impact they are having now.

John Michael agrees.

“I couldn’t do it on my own,” he said.

During the height of the pandemic, Home Again was not receiving many calls. John Michael’s best guess was that, unfortunately, few families were getting out of homelessness.






Back home

John Michael Stagliano (center) and his father, John Stagliano, unload furniture with the help of veteran Timothy Hall on June 19, 2021. John Michael founded Home Again, which helps provide furniture and household items to families who emerging from homelessness and transitioning to new housing. Hall needed a bed and furniture. Brad Nettles / Staff




But recently with vaccines there has been a noticeable increase in awareness. Community support is therefore always welcome and necessary, he said.

Along with Ross, she said she was not only grateful to Home Again, but also to the community of Summerville in general for supporting her so much.

She can’t wait for her turn to do the same for someone else.

To support the association, go to Home Again Facebook page or send an email to [email protected]

Summerville's non-profit community garden Katie's Krops opens its first outdoor classroom

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International headquarters

Florian Hess, Jens Pflüger and Christian Ulrich start on July 1st


Florian Hess, Jens Pflüger and Christian Ulrich already know their missions. In addition to working as a team to direct the fortunes of the cooperative, its subsidiaries and its interests, they also have clearly defined individual responsibilities. As a member of the Fair Management Board, Florian Hess supervises the organization and marketing of exhibitions. He is also responsible for the representative network, the World of Toys international show program and legal matters. Florian Hess joined Spielwarenmesse eG in 2016 as Director of Trade Show Management, where he was in charge of exhibitor activities in all trade show projects and their development. After graduating in Business Administration, he gained extensive experience in overseeing various strategy and change management projects abroad. He has also organized a leading international exhibition for capital goods and was managing director of Hess Consulting GmbH – a service provider for trade fairs such as the Spielwarenmesse.

The responsibilities of finance, human resources and IT fall to the member of the management board Jens Pflüger. He also takes care of the members of the cooperative, digitization and contract management. The graduate in IT and Business Administration started his career as IT and Organization Manager at Göhler Tank- und Industrieanlangen. In 2000 he joined the Spielwarenmesse, making him the longest-serving member of the team at the headquarters of Nuremberg. In his role as IT & Finance Director, he was already in charge of the management and development of the areas of finance, accounting, management control and IT. Jens Pflüger is also CEO of SeG Beteiligungs GmbH.

Christian Ulrich is a member of the Marketing and Public Relations Board of Directors as well as a Board spokesperson. He is responsible for marketing, corporate communication as well as press and public relations. He also oversees the development of new business opportunities. A graduate in business administration, he launched his career as a consultant for the Serviceplan group of agencies. This was followed by a period at Fischer Group, first as Head of Advertising and finally as Head of International Marketing. He joined Spielwarenmesse eG in 2007 as Marketing Director and was in charge of brand leadership, global marketing for all shows and events and creation of special shows. More, Christian Ulrich is managing director of the agency “Die roten Reiter”, a subsidiary of Spielwarenmesse eG.

Even though the pandemic has raised a whole host of new challenges, the three board members see the company’s potential as an important trading hub connecting global industrial networks. “We have made excellent progress in developing innovative concepts that encompass the accelerated introduction of digitization while focusing on the unique and much-needed experience of a physical salon. We will continue to build on more than 70 years of Spielwarenmesse eG success and to live up to the future demands and expectations of all trade fair attendees ”, states Christian Ulrich.

Spielwarenmesse eG

Spielwarenmesse eG is the trade fair organizer and marketing service provider for the toy industry and other consumer goods markets. the Nuremberg company organizes the world leader Spielwarenmesse® in Nuremberg, Kids India in Bombay and Insights-X in Nuremberg. The range of services provided by the cooperative also includes industry campaigns and the international fair program, World of toys by Spielwarenmesse eG, which allows manufacturers to exhibit in pavilions presented in trade fairs Asia, Russia and the United States. Spielwarenmesse eG operates a global network of representatives in over 90 countries. It also has several subsidiaries, including Spielwarenmesse Shanghai Co., Ltd., responsible for the People’s Republic of China and Spielwarenmesse India Pvt. Ltd., covering the Indian market. The cooperative owns a majority stake in the Russian exhibition company Grand Expo, which organizes Kids Russia in Moscow. Die roten Reiter GmbH subsidiary with its registered office at Nuremberg works as a communication agency for the consumer and capital goods industry. The full company profile of Spielwarenmesse eG can be viewed on the Internet at www.spielwarenmesse-eg.com.

SOURCE Spielwarenmesse eG ([email protected])


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Non profit living

Stimulus Check Live Fourth Update: Can It Be Approved In July? Tax Refund, $ 3,600 Child Tax Credit Portal …

How has personal and disposable income changed throughout the pandemic?

With new personal income data released in May by the Commerce Department on June 25, a clearer picture of the economic recovery is starting to emerge.

The Department of Commerce defines personal income as “income received by, or on behalf of, all persons from all sources.” This includes wages, social security, unemployment benefits, etc.

From January to March 2020, before the pandemic really took hold of the United States, personal income in the United States was $ 18.95 billion. For the same period in 2021, this figure was $ 22.1 billion. The largest increase in recent history, largely due to the fact that 70% of unemployed people earned more than when they were workingg.

In April and May, those numbers started to decline, which many economists believe two factors.

The first being that of January and March 2021, revenues hit record highs after sending the second and third stimulus checks.

The second reason is related to the continuous movement of people re-enter the labor market. If the unemployed start working where they earn less than they were when they were receiving benefits, this number will decrease.

Total income from unemployment benefits has fallen in recent months from a high level of $ 556.4 billion, after the federal $ 300 per week topper was first sent, to $ 458 billion in May as the The unemployment rate has plummeted and claims for benefits have reached an all-time high since the start of the pandemic.

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Canadian army

Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World on Wednesday


The last:

Ontario moved to the next step in its plan to reopen on Wednesday, just hours before health officials reported the lowest single-day case count the province has seen since September 10.

The province reported 14 additional deaths and 184 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The update came a day after the province’s top doctor said he would prefer to wait 21 full days before further lifting the restrictions.

“The two to three week cycle is very important to maintain so that we open Ontario in stages, always moving forward and not having to back down,” said Dr. Kieran Moore on Tuesday.

Moore made the comments during his first pandemic briefing since officially taking over as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.

Ontario has exceeded COVID-19 vaccination targets to enter the second phase of its plan to reopen, which will allow more outdoor activities and more indoor services like haircuts. resume Wednesday.

More than 77% of people had received at least one dose of the vaccine by Tuesday morning and 37% were fully immunized.

The province has set 21 days between each stage of its economic reopening to observe public health trends and allow vaccines to take full effect. He brought forward the second stage of the plan a few days based on vaccination rates and other positive trends from COVID-19.

Ontario also exceeded the target to enter the third stage of the reopening plan, which would further increase the capacity of indoor gatherings.

But Moore, like his predecessor Dr David Williams, argued on Tuesday that vaccination is not the only measure. He advised to proceed with caution with the spread of the more infectious delta variant.

Region of Waterloo not moving to step 2

People who have received a dose of the vaccine are less protected against this variant and this has contributed to local spikes in infection in the Gray Bruce and Waterloo region. Waterloo will not reopen with the rest of the province on Wednesday as it manages the increase in infections.

Moore said he is monitoring the impact of the variant locally and internationally and that reopening must be done with caution to avoid losing the progress made in fighting the virus so far.

“He’s a tough opponent. He’s aggressive. He wants to spread quickly,” he said of the variant.

“We have to be careful and we need 21 days to be able to understand the impact of openness on our communities.”

-Based on the latest update from The Canadian Press and CBC News at 10:20 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Masks still matter as Canada faces a more transmissible delta variant, according to an expert:

Masks are our “last line of defense” against the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 as Canada opens up, says pulmonologist Dr Samir Gupta. (Ben Nelms / CBC) 1:39

As early as Wednesday morning, Canada had reported 1,414,746 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 7,400 were considered active. A CBC News death tally stood at 26,274. More than 36.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the country so far, according to the CBC vaccine tracker.

A total of five cases of COVID-19 were reported in Atlantic Canada on Tuesday, including:

No new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Newfoundland and Labrador Tuesday.

In Quebec, health authorities have reported four additional deaths and 71 new cases of COVID-19.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba Tuesday reported no new deaths and 61 new cases of COVID-19. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported two more deaths and 52 more cases of COVID-19.

WATCH | Laina Tuckanow lost her mother and grandmother to COVID-19 and says for her, life will never be normal again:

While many Canadians celebrate a return to normalcy, for many the pain is still too great. Laina Tuckanow lost her mother and grandmother to COVID-19 and says for herself that life will never be normal again. 2:44

In Alberta, health officials on Tuesday reported four deaths and 61 new cases of COVID-19.

“Overall, our numbers are heading in the right direction,” Dr Deena Hinshaw said on Tuesday, before a wider reopening later this week.

“Cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions and our positivity rate are the lowest since last summer, early fall.”

In the North, no new cases were reported in Nunavut or the Northwest Territories Tuesday, as 10 new cases and one additional death were reported in yukonese.

“We are in a new phase of this pandemic, one that we hoped not to see,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Brendan Hanley said in a statement on Tuesday. “But we are here and we will continue to work together to contain this tide.”

British Columbia will move to step 3 of its pandemic reopening plan on Thursday, lifting the provincial mandate of the mask and the government’s declaration of a state of emergency. The news came as British Columbia reported 29 new cases and no new deaths on Tuesday.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated 10:20 am ET


What is happening in the world

A street is seen in Brisbane’s central business district on Wednesday as the city goes silent after a lockdown. Australia is battling outbreaks of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. (Patrick Hamilton / AFP / Getty Images)

As of Wednesday morning, more than 181.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to data released by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The death toll worldwide was over 3.9 million.

In the Asia Pacific region, Australian authorities on Wednesday extended lockdown and physical distancing measures to more of the country, with four major cities already under strict lockdown in a race to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious variant of the delta coronavirus.

Bangladesh is deploying army troops from Thursday to enforce a strict lockdown amid a record spike in coronavirus cases caused by the delta variant first detected in India, the government said on Wednesday.

“No one will be allowed out except in an emergency during this time,” the government said in a statement, warning that army troops alongside law enforcement would be deployed to enforce the lockdown.

In the AmericasDr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the CDC is leaving it up to local authorities to establish guidelines for wearing the mask as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus increases in areas with low vaccination rate.

Walensky said Wednesday on NBC Today show that “we’ve always said that local decision-makers should make policies for their local environment,” but added that CDC guidelines broadly say that those who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks.

Los Angeles County health officials recommend that people wear masks indoors in public places, regardless of their immunization status. Separately, the World Health Organization reiterated its long-standing recommendation that everyone wear masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

In Africa, the Tunisian government extended the hours of nighttime curfew on Tuesday in a bid to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, as the North African country hit a daily record of cases since the start of the pandemic Last year.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a dusk-dawn curfew, banned intercity travel and reduced hours of operation with immediate effect in response to the increase in coronavirus infections.

Roofing Rolling Mills workers fill oxygen tanks which will be distributed free of charge to various hospitals in Uganda at their factory in Namanve, Wakiso, Uganda on Tuesday. The factory is filling 350 to 400 oxygen tanks daily, following an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and lack of oxygen in various hospitals. (Badru Katamba / AFP / Getty Images)

In Europe, Greece will allow people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus inside restaurants without masks, the government said, as part of measures to increase vaccination rates.

Russia will not be able to immunize 60% of its population by fall as planned due to weak demand for vaccines, the Kremlin said, after the country recorded its highest number of daily deaths from the virus.

In the Middle East, Oman has said it is expanding its vaccination campaign to anyone over 18 as it speeds up what has been the slowest rollout in the Gulf.

-From Reuters, last update 8:10 am ET


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Non profit living

Tiger Global leads $ 31.5 million investment in interactive edtech quiz

Quizizz, an Indian startup that makes learning more interactive so that students find it interesting to spend more hours studying, said on Wednesday it had raised $ 31.5 million in a new round funding.

Tiger Global led the five-and-a-half-year-old startup’s Series B round. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang and existing investors Eight Roads Ventures, GSV Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners also participated in the new round.

Quizizz, which concluded its previous funding round in March of this year, has raised $ 47 million to date. The new round puts it at around $ 300 million, I heard earlier this month.

“When we were kids it was so hard to focus on studying. Our thesis is that with children now living in a world with so many distractions, there is a need to make learning more interesting, ”said Ankit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Quizizz, in an interview with TechCrunch.

With Deepak Cheenath, the other co-founder of Quizizz, Gupta began the startup’s journey at a non-profit school in Bangalore, where they built several prototypes. That same year – 2015 – the duo engaged closely with teachers and students in the United States and turned to Quizizz, Gupta said.

On Quizizz, teachers and the community develop gamified courses for students. (Teachers don’t have to build these lessons. For concepts they want to explain to students, if lessons exist, many use them instead. The platform now offers over 20 million quizzes. )

These lessons made the learning more engaging for students, Gupta said. The platform also allows teachers to identify in real time which students are struggling to grasp a concept and then fill those gaps, he said.

The platform covers a range of topics including IT, English, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, and the Creative Arts.

Over the years, Quizizz has grown organically across the world and many classrooms are now using the platform, Gupta said. The platform is now used by teachers in more than 120 countries, with students answering more than 300 million questions on Quizizz every week. In the United States, which is currently Quizizz’s largest market, more than 80% of K-12 schools use the platform, he said.

“During the pandemic, Quizziz made the transition to online education seamlessly. Now that we’re back in the building, I’ve used it almost exclusively. Creating, finding and modifying courses using Quizizz has become almost a hobby for me, ”said Rory Roberts, math professor at Brigantine Community School, in a prepared statement.

“This week, we ran user tests with teachers in California, saw a video of students cheering on their classmates in an auditorium in Kenya, and received a thank you note from a group of teachers wearing t – Quizizz brand shirts in Indonesia. We are incredibly proud of the role our growing team and community of teachers have played in this movement, ”said Cheenath of Quizizz.

The startup plans to deploy new capital to expand its team in the United States and India to keep up with its growth. It is also seeking to forge partnerships to accelerate its international expansion.

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History organization

Nevada pageant winner to become 1st transgender contestant for Miss USA


Kataluna Enriquez, who was crowned Miss Nevada USA on Sunday, will become the first openly transgender woman to enter the Miss USA pageant.

With a platform focused on transgender awareness and mental health, Enriquez, 27, beat 21 other contestants at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

“I haven’t had the easiest trip in life,” she said, according to KVVU-TV. “I have fought against physical and sexual abuse. I have had mental health issues. I haven’t grown much. I had no support. But I’m still able to thrive, and I’m still able to survive and be a trailblazer for many.

After his victory, Enriquez thanked the LGBTQ community on Instagram, writing: “My victory is our victory. We just made history. Good pride.

The Miss Nevada USA organization congratulated Enriquez for his historic victory on social media and shared the hashtag #bevisible.

In March, Enriquez, who had previously entered trans-specific contests, became the first transgender woman to be crowned Miss Silver State USA, the main preliminary for Miss Nevada USA.

During the question-and-answer segment of the contest, Enriquez said that being true to herself is a hurdle she faces on a daily basis.

“Today, I am a proud transgender woman of color. Personally, I have learned that my differences don’t make me less than, it makes me more than, ”she said. Las Vegas Review reported. “I know my uniqueness will take me to all of my destinations and all that I have to go through in life.”

Kataluna Enrique attends the 2nd annual TransNation Festival in Los Angeles on October 21, 2017.Single File Nicole / Getty Images

Enriquez, who is Filipino American, designs her own outfits, including a rainbow sequin dress she wore Sunday night in honor of “Pride Month” and anyone unlucky to ‘flaunt their colors, “she posted. on Instagram.

“The pageantry is so expensive, and I wanted to compete and be able to grow and develop skills and create dresses for myself and for others,” Enriquez said, according to the Journal.

She will represent Nevada at the 2021 Miss USA Pageant, which will be held on November 29 at the Paradise Cove Theater at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Miss Universe pageant system, of which Los Angeles-based Miss USA is a part, began allowing transgender participants in 2012. If she is crowned Miss USA, Enriquez will be the second trans contestant in a Miss Universe pageant, after the Spanish Angela Ponce in 2018..

Miss America, a separate organization headquartered in New Jersey, did not immediately respond to a survey on whether transgender women or non-binary people are allowed to enter its annual competition. In 2018, the competition was only open to “women born naturally”, according to the lawyer.

In February, a federal judge defended the right another organization, Nevada-based Miss United States of America, to ban transgender applicants from its pageant.

To pursue NBC output at Twitter, Facebook & Instagram



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International headquarters

Hydroponics giant Hydrofarm plans new headquarters in Northern California


Becoming a publicly traded company, temporarily moving its headquarters from Petaluma to the east coast, spending $ 343 million to acquire three more companies, preparing to move back to a larger North Bay hub. It’s been a busy seven months for indoor grow equipment manufacturer and distributor Hydrofarm.

On December 14, nearly 10 million shares of Hydrofarm Holding Group began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HYFM”, raising proceeds of $ 182.3 million, according to the annual report of the March, 31st. The company made a follow-up offer of 5.5 million shares that ended on May 3, bringing in an additional $ 309.8 million.

After peaking at $ 92 in mid-February, the stock price was $ 56.96 at the close of trading on Friday.

Then, earlier this year, Hydrofarm moved its corporate headquarters to its distribution center in the Philadelphia area. It is one of nine totaling 900,000 square feet that the 4-year-old company operates in the United States, Canada and Spain. Hydrofarm also has offices in China.

This happened because Hydrofarm was preparing a larger location elsewhere in North Bay, which it had been looking for for a few years.

Hydrofarm had planned to move its corporate headquarters from Petaluma to the 250,000 square foot Victory Station warehouse in South Sonoma, but that deal failed to materialize amid the rapidly cooling demand for real estate from the new industry. legal cannabis, according to real estate sources.

Hydrofarm could not be reached for comment on its plans for North Bay.

As cannabis became a key driver of demand for environmentally controlled agricultural products, Hydrofarm made its debut in Marin County during the catastrophic drought of 1977-1978, the Business Journal reported in 2010. Founder Stuart Dvorin has developed a water-efficient hydroponics crop that has gained traction among gardeners.

The product line has expanded to include energy efficient grow lights and germination kits. Then, Hydrofarm embarked on the manufacture and distribution of indoor gardening equipment for professional growers and hobbyists.

Today, the key markets are producers of cannabis, flowers, fruits, plants, vegetables, grains and herbs. The portfolio now includes 26 exclusive brands developed in-house with around 900 product variants under 24 patents and 60 registered trademarks. The company also owns more than 40 exclusive and preferred brands totaling 900 other storage units.

The company’s brands represent around 60% of sales. The total catalog, which contains products from more than 400 suppliers, includes more than 6,000 references.

“Our revenue mix continues to shift towards exclusive brands as we continue to innovate, improving overall margins,” says the annual report. “In addition, our revenue stream is very consistent as, according to our estimate, we believe that approximately two-thirds of our net sales are generated from the sale of recurring consumables, including growing media, nutrients and supplies. . “

Last year’s net sales were $ 342.2 million, up 45.6% from 2019. The company speculated in its annual report that public health home shelter orders in the event of a coronavirus pandemic have contributed to this increase in sales. The net income of the previous year only increased by 11.0% compared to 2018.

First quarter net sales were $ 111.4 million, up 66.5% from the previous year. The company attributed this to a 59.6% increase in the volume of products sold plus a 6.9% increase in the price and mix of these products.

As a sign of its commitment to stay in North Bay, Hydrofarm was awarded a lease earlier this year for a new 175,000 square foot distribution warehouse at 2225 Huntington Drive in Fairfield. Meanwhile, Hydrofarm founder Stuart Dvorin was preparing to sell the 110,000 square foot Petaluma main facility at 2249 S. McDowell Blvd. Extension, a $ 17.5 million deal struck on June 7.

“We also intend to move our existing distribution operations in Northern California from the existing Petaluma building to a larger distribution center nearby,” the company wrote in its annual report.

Started in Marin County in 1977 under the name Applied Hydroponics, Hydrofarm moved its headquarters to Petaluma in 1994, employing 65 people at the time. It gradually expanded to 150,000 square feet with a workforce of over 150 employees in 2010 and then to 195,000 square feet in the city in 2017. The company employed 327 full-time at all sites at the end of February. , he reported.

In 2017, Hydrofarm made a big expansion in Canada with the acquisition of the wholesale of Eddi and Greenstar Plant Products. The deal helped Hydrofarm become one of the leading suppliers of hydroponic equipment in Canada, the company said.

This year, Hydrofarm acquired three other companies. Los Angeles-area high-end nutrient maker Heavy 16 was bought for $ 78.1 million, and Humboldt County’s House & Garden brand portfolio for $ 125 million. A $ 161 million deal was announced this month for Aurora International Inc. and Gotham Properties LLC, manufacturers and suppliers of organic hydroponic products based in Oregon.

“We see mergers and acquisitions as an important driver of potential growth, as the hydroponics industry is fragmented and ready to be consolidated,” Hydrofarm wrote in its annual report.

Hydrofarm has also fertilized its C suite with insight over the past two years. In early 2019, Bill Toler arrived as CEO, bringing with him over 3 decades of senior executive experience at large consumer packaged goods companies, most recently including seven years as CEO and Chairman of Hostess. Brands. B. John Lindeman arrived as CFO in March 2020 with 25 years of experience in agriculture and finance.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.


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International headquarters

Hydroponics giant Hydrofarm plans new headquarters in Northern California after IPO, 3 acquisitions


Becoming a publicly traded company, temporarily moving its headquarters from Petaluma to the east coast, spending $ 343 million to acquire three more companies, preparing to move back to a larger North Bay hub. It’s been a busy seven months for indoor grow equipment manufacturer and distributor Hydrofarm.

On December 14, nearly 10 million shares of Hydrofarm Holding Group began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HYFM”, raising proceeds of $ 182.3 million, according to the annual report of the March, 31st. The company made a follow-up offer of 5.5 million shares that ended on May 3, bringing in an additional $ 309.8 million.

After peaking at $ 92 in mid-February, the stock price was $ 56.96 at the market close on Friday.

Earlier this year, Hydrofarm moved its corporate headquarters to its distribution center in the Philadelphia area. It is one of nine totaling 900,000 square feet that the 4-year-old company operates in the United States, Canada and Spain. Hydrofarm also has offices in China.

This happened because Hydrofarm was preparing a larger location elsewhere in North Bay, which it had been pursuing for a few years.

Hydrofarm had planned to move its headquarters from Petaluma to the 250,000-square-foot warehouse at Victory Station in South Sonoma, but that deal did not materialize amid the rapid cooling of demand for real estate in the New Zealand. legal cannabis industry, according to real estate sources.

Hydrofarm could not be reached for comment on its plans for North Bay.

As cannabis has emerged as a key driver of demand for environmentally controlled agricultural products, Hydrofarm made its debut in Marin County during the catastrophic drought of 1977-1978, the Business Journal reported in 2010. gardeners.

The product line has expanded to include energy efficient grow lights and germination kits. Then Hydrofarm began manufacturing and distributing indoor gardening equipment for professional growers and hobbyists.

Today, the key markets are producers of cannabis, flowers, fruits, plants, vegetables, grains and herbs. The portfolio now includes 26 exclusive brands developed in-house with around 900 product variants under 24 patents and 60 registered trademarks. The company also owns more than 40 exclusive and preferred brands totaling 900 other storage units.

The company’s brands represent around 60% of sales. The total catalog, which contains products from more than 400 suppliers, includes more than 6,000 references.

“Our revenue mix continues to shift towards exclusive brands as we continue to innovate, improving overall margins,” says the annual report. “In addition, our revenue stream is very consistent as, according to our estimate, we believe that approximately two-thirds of our net sales are generated from the sale of recurring consumables, including growing media, nutrients and supplies. . “

Last year’s net sales were $ 342.2 million, up 45.6% from 2019. The company speculated in its annual report that public health home shelter orders in the event of a coronavirus pandemic have contributed to this increase in sales. The net turnover for the previous year only increased by 11.0% compared to 2018.

First quarter net sales were $ 111.4 million, up 66.5% from the previous year. The company attributed this to a 59.6% increase in the volume of products sold and a 6.9% increase in the price and mix of these products.

As a sign of its commitment to stay in North Bay, Hydrofarm was awarded a lease earlier this year for a new 175,000 square foot distribution warehouse at 2225 Huntington Drive in Fairfield. Meanwhile, Hydrofarm founder Stuart Dvorin was preparing to sell the 110,000 square foot Petaluma main facility at 2249 S. McDowell Blvd. Extension, a $ 17.5 million deal struck on June 7.

“We also intend to move our existing distribution operations in Northern California from the existing Petaluma building to a larger distribution center nearby,” the company wrote in its annual report.

Started in Marin County in 1977 as Applied Hydroponics, Hydrofarm moved its headquarters to Petaluma in 1994, employing 65 people at the time. It gradually expanded to 150,000 square feet there with a workforce of over 150 employees in 2010, and then to 195,000 square feet in the city in 2017. The company employed 327 full-time across all sites in at the end of February, he reported.

In 2017, Hydrofarm made a big expansion in Canada with the acquisition of the wholesale of Eddi and Greenstar Plant Products. The deal helped Hydrofarm become one of the leading suppliers of hydroponics equipment in Canada, the company said.

This year, Hydrofarm acquired three other companies. Los Angeles-area high-end nutrient maker Heavy 16 was bought for $ 78.1 million, and Humboldt County’s House & Garden brand portfolio for $ 125 million. A $ 161 million deal was announced this month for Aurora International Inc. and Gotham Properties LLC, manufacturers and suppliers of organic hydroponic products based in Oregon.

“We see mergers and acquisitions as an important driver of potential growth, as the hydroponics industry is fragmented and ready to be consolidated,” Hydrofarm wrote in its annual report.

Hydrofarm has also fertilized its C suite with insight over the past two years. In early 2019, Bill Toler arrived as CEO, bringing with him over 3 decades of senior executive experience at large consumer packaged goods companies, most recently including seven years as CEO and Chairman of Hostess. Brands. B. John Lindeman arrived as CFO in March 2020 with 25 years of experience in agriculture and finance.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.


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International headquarters

USA Luge presents new starting facility on Olympic Day | News, Sports, Jobs


USA Luge’s head office is located on Church Street in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID – Officials from America’s Luge and the International Luge Federation (FIL) made two important announcements Thursday as part of the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority’s one-day tour of the facilities locations where athletes train for the Olympics.

In order to celebrate Olympic Day, which was Wednesday, stops were also made at the American Olympic and Paralympic Center and the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex, where VIPs and media met with athletes, coaches and managers in the sports of luge, bobsleigh, skeleton, biathlon and Nordic skiing.

Showcasing the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters on Church Street, Claire DelNegro, FIL vice president of artificial sports track, announced that Lake Placid will host a World Cup on December 4-5. It will be the first time in two years that the combined track of Mount Van Hoevenberg has hosted a World Cup; Luge and bobsleigh / skeleton competitions were canceled last winter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy to see all the improvements happening here” said DelNegro, who competed in luge for Great Britain at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. “I would like to invite you all to come and see the toboggan in person on the track. It’s a very exciting sport, and I think you will all become big, big fans.

It was also announced that luge athletes will use Plattsburgh International Airport this winter for the first time. After competing in the World Cup in Whistler, Canada, the entire circuit will travel to Plattsburgh ahead of the Lake Placid World Cup and depart from the same airport as they will head to Europe for the next leg of the tour.

USA Luge Director of Marketing and Sponsorship Gordy Sheer speaks with a host of personalities and media during their Olympic Day visit to USA Luge’s headquarters in Lake Placid on Thursday. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

Thursday’s visit to USA Luge headquarters comes more than a year after an open house was canceled to unveil improvements due to the pandemic. Although it was not an open house, personalities and the media were invited to visit officials such as Jim Leahy, CEO of USA Luge, Gordy Sheer, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship and Mark Grimmette, director of sports programs.

The state’s $ 5 million upgrade reshaped the corporate headquarters. The original 8,400 square foot building was constructed in 1991 and the renovated 15,000 square foot building was completed in 2020. It now includes more office space, a fabrication shop to build sleds inside (instead of under a tent outside the old building), equipment rooms and a state-of-the-art refrigerated start-up facility.

“There is nothing like this installation in the world, and we are extremely proud” said Léahy. “It’s not just for our current athletes, but it’s for athletes for generations to come. Here we have a world class facility with world class work rooms, world class training at the Olympic Training Center. We have added a weight room. So we have all the resources here to ensure the success of our athletes.

The new starting track features two 230-foot ice ramps with four different angles, two down and two up. It is longer than the previous single start ramp, which only allowed athletes to remove the handles and paddle on the ice; that left no room for them to settle into the sled, which is an important part of training. The new ramps are long enough for athletes to get into their sleds. When they finish at the first ramp, they simply head to the second for another descent onto the ice.

Two-time Olympian Summer Britcher said she didn’t realize what she was missing until the new facility opened.

The new departure facility at USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid has two ramps. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

“This new facility is phenomenal. We are very grateful ”, Britcher said. “The longer ramps we have allow us to get the most out of our paddle training, and the ability to get into the sled is huge. For me personally, I have a very powerful pulling part at the start, but I was a bit weaker on the paddle aspect.

When state funding for USA Luge upgrades was announced in 2016, Empire State Development officials also said they would include $ 1 million for marketing, especially for television. World Cup events in Lake Placid.

“One of the things we need to do is provide a TV signal to host the World Cup races here in the United States”, Sheer said. “And New York State was kind enough to help us fund this … by putting out this signal for the rest of the world to see.”

USA Luge athletes began training for their next Olympic season on their new starting ramps in early May. The team are expected to train in Whistler and Europe in September, return to Lake Placid to train in October, and spend three weeks training on the Olympic track at the Yanqing Sliding Center outside of Beijing in November before the start of the World Cup season in November. 20-21.

The World Cup tour then heads to North America for two stops, Whistler and Lake Placid, before heading to Altenberg, Germany, and Igls, Austria, in December. After the Christmas holidays, the tour continues at four European stops: Königssee, Germany; Sigulda, Latvia; Oberhof, Germany; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy, right, chats with former Olympic sports complex manager Tony Carlino on Thursday during a tour of the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held February 4-20 in Beijing, China.

USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy, far right, greets a crowd of VIPs and media on Thursday at the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

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History organization

The AIDS activism of the past still has lessons for us today


As a gay man who grew up after the worst of the AIDS crisis, I was moved by the volume. It allowed me to connect with my queer ancestors – the dead and the survivors – like never before.

The 700-page tome is a strengthening addition to an area of ​​ongoing research and testimony in the history of AIDS, a fix to previous accounts that have elevated some perspectives over others and only clung to to a handful of numbers.

Based on nearly two decades of interviews with nearly 200 members of the AIDS organization ACT UP (the Coalition Against AIDS to Unlock Power), “Let the Record Show” works as a oral history and a brief. Schulman herself was a grassroots member of ACT UP from 1987 to 1992, during which time, as she puts it, “a despised group of people” came together to “force our country to change against their will. “.

The book is also a plan. In fact, its main goal, writes Schulman, “is not to look back with nostalgia, but rather to help contemporary and future activists learn the lessons of the past so that they can organize themselves more effectively in the past. present ”.

ACT UP was successful in part because it used a variety of creative and mind-blowing direct action efforts – like the legendary Stop the Church demonstration – to demand the attention of a society that let down people with AIDS.

To examine ACT UP’s history and enduring legacy, I spoke with Schulman on the racial and social justice movements that shaped ACT UP, the misrepresentations of the group and the lingering trauma of the AIDS crisis.

The following conversation has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

One thing that “Let the Record Show” does is combat the fact that people tend to have a distorted version of the ACT UP story. What is this distorted version?

Americans are trained to believe in the structure of John Wayne – the heroic white individual – where one guy comes in and saves everyone. But it’s not even good in the movies.

In real life, change comes from community, from forming coalitions, some kind of collectivity of people who decide they need change.

Thus, the story of ACT UP has been limited to a handful of individuals, some of whom have done incredible work and are heroic. But to tell activists today that you can transform a whole paradigm with four or five people would be misleading them.

In this book, I speak of 140 of the hundreds of people who created this movement and dedicated their lives to it.

Could you talk about the racial and social justice movements that many ACT UP members have come from and how these movements have influenced the group at large?

ACT UP was a predominantly white gay organization, but it was not a exclusively Organization of white gay men. And that’s a really significant difference. There were so many kinds of influences from so many different communities and individuals. I can break it down into three parts.

The first is that the women and people of color in ACT UP tended to come from earlier political movements. There were older white gay men who came from the gay liberation movement. But many young white homosexuals had never been politically active before. Thus, people from the feminist movement for women’s health, the women’s peace movement, the reproductive rights movement, the Latin American student movement, CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality) and the Black Panthers have had a huge impact on ACT UP.

The second area of ​​influence was that a lot of ACT UP members were born in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I was born in the 50’s. So as gay kids we had no idea what to do with it. ‘a homosexual community or movement. But we’ve seen Black Resistance on TV and in Life and Jet magazines. We watched footage of blacks standing up to police, sitting at lunch counters, and using creative, non-violent civil disobedience. It had a huge impact on us. I think there was an internalization and identification that took place, because when I was researching the book I came back and reread Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Prison” Jr., in which he explains what direct action is. And I realized that was exactly what ACT UP was doing, even though we didn’t realize it at the time.

The third area is that the Monday night meetings at the Lesbian and Gay Center, where there are said to be between 300 and 700 people, were predominantly white and male. Yet many of those in attendance, including many white gay men, were also part of other coalitions with more diverse communities. They worked with homeless people, drug addicts, HIV positive women, HIV positive prisoners, HIV positive mothers, with the Haitian community.

And so, by extension, ACT UP was really part of a huge coalition and served a very wide range of people.

People have often seen the late writer and AIDS activist Larry Kramer as a leader of ACT UP. But part of your book aims to move away from the idea that there was never a single definitive leader of the group.

I interviewed 188 surviving ACT UP members over 18 years, and no one thinks Larry Kramer was the leader of ACT UP. It was a media creation, because he was someone who fit that image of John Wayne, albeit the gay version, and the media at the time was all white and male. The private sector was entirely white and male. The government was all white and male. And the homosexuals who were part of this power apparatus were mostly in the closet.

When these structures watched ACT UP, they tended to see men who looked like them: Ivy League graduates and some type of social background. But there were a lot of other white gay men in ACT UP doing all kinds of work that was never historized. For example, the organization for the housing of the homeless with AIDS, or the people who worked to legalize the exchange of needles in New York.

And then there were a lot of unrecognized women, straight women like Karine Timour, who single-handedly organized this five-year campaign to gain access to insurance for more than 500,000 people living with HIV.

There was an Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, and these members would go to Asian gay bars and do safe sex education using red Chinese New Year lucky paper to wrap condoms for a community that doesn was processed by none of the safes. -sexual programs in the city.

The Latino Caucus was really important. There were four Latino-related committees in ACT UP, and I give the names of about 35 Latino activists in the organization. They went to Puerto Rico and started ACT UP Puerto Rico and were part of everything in the group.

There was Patricia Navarro, who was the only parent of a person with AIDS who joined ACT UP. It was a chicana of the working class of California. Her son was Ray navarro. So there was so much heroism and activity and creativity, and I really wanted people to have access to this information.

What prompted you to structure your book as a plan for activists today?

We are in such a crisis right now in the United States – with the suppression of voters, with the rise of this fanatical right-wing ideological cult in government – and there are many movements of people who are desperate for change. And there are some exciting moves. There is the movement against police violence, the Movement for Black Lives, the very important movement for immigration reform, the movement for solidarity with Palestine, the movement to democratize education.

We are in a time when people really want change, and I think the information that can help you achieve change is crucial. This is why this book is not an act of nostalgia. It’s really about looking to the future, creating a big tent policy for the types of movements that we need right now.

In June 2019, I was in New York for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. I met a gay friend and in my sixties. He spoke of the loss of many friends to AIDS. It made me think about the lingering trauma – how little heed American society about it. How do we start this process?

That’s why I end the book with a conversation with César Carrasco, of the Latino Caucus. He’s a very deep thinker. He’s a social worker in psychiatry. He talks about the myth of resilience. This idea that if you have lived, even if your friends are dead, you are fine, and how false and fragile it is.

Many first generation AIDS survivors had various problems. Many have had lives which, as Caesar says, are meaningless, because they have been abandoned. There is no recognition of what they went through. And I hope trying to tell a bigger story can be part of that recognition.


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International headquarters

UNESCO has always been mired in politics and feuds, but that shouldn’t hurt its work


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef made international headlines this week. This was not good news for the reef, described by David Attenborough as “one of the greatest and most magnificent natural treasures the world possesses”.

A report filed by the UNESCO World Heritage Center recommended adding the reef to the list of 53 other World Heritage sites considered “endangered” – a move the Morrison government suggested was prompted by pressure policies.

The “endangered” classification is important for Australia as the reef is estimated to provide 64,000 jobs and contributes A $ 6.4 billion annually to the economy.

If the World Heritage Committee downgrades the reef as a World Heritage site, it will almost certainly hurt its attractiveness as a tourist destination and therefore Australia’s economic benefits.

But why is such a report from this United Nations agency so important? The reason is that the World Heritage Committee carries considerable weight on the world stage – and politics has indeed been an unfortunate part of its operations since its inception.

The Australian government said it was “blinded” by the UN recommendation to list the Great Barrier Reef as “endangered”.
KYDPL KYODO / AP

“Clearly, there was politics behind that”

UNESCO’s mandate to build peace through international cooperation in the fields of education, science, culture and media freedom derives from its founding principles in 1945 after the Second World War. The preamble to its constitution declares,

… Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be built.

Nations are elected to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee at a biennial conference of the 193 Member States of UNESCO. This committee has significant power – it is authorized to make decisions on behalf of the world. And while UN member states can complain about its decisions, none can challenge the committee’s independence or authority.

The current chair of the World Heritage Committee is China, which adds to the reason why Australia protested so loudly against his recommendation.

Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Foreign Minister Marise Payne immediately phoned UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in Paris to express their deep concerns. Ley said,

This decision was flawed and there was clearly politics behind it, and it thwarted the proper process.

The head of the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program, Dr Fanny Douvere, however, pointed out that the report was a rigorous scientific document with contributions from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and official government reports on water quality – assessed and analyzed by a team of experts from the World Heritage Center.

Moreover, she said, work on the report began years ago and the Chinese government was “unaware” of the recommendations made.

We have yet to see how this altercation plays out, possibly at the next World Heritage Committee meeting in China in July.

How UNESCO is structured

Behind the scenes of UNESCO there is a complex interplay of international politics and UN bureaucratic processes and actions which sometimes influence the work of the agency.

I was appointed to a senior level within UNESCO from 1995 to 2005, working both in a field office and at its headquarters in Paris, and I played a central role in the attempts of the organization to reform and decentralize its operations in the early 2000s. So I have a good knowledge of the beast from within.

The first thing to realize is that there is a gap between the headquarters and the field. Almost all the attention is focused on the UNESCO Headquarters. This is where the ambassadors of the Member States have their offices and where all the important committees are based. Consequently, decisions on international conventions and actions are the responsibility of the Parisian administration.

But this is not where the most effective program action takes place – it is the work of more than 50 field offices around the world. And UNESCO’s field offices are making a real difference.

In my own work in Indonesia, as an example, we reformed the entire basic education system in the country from centralized rote learning to decentralized open classroom exploration. We have also helped the country emerge from total media censorship by helping pass legislation to ensure a free press and have built a radio network of 32 independent stations across the country trained in investigative journalism.

Headquarters provided excellent technical assistance, but the field office put on the show and found the funding.

Much of the criticism leveled at UNESCO focuses on its overly bureaucratic structure and low productivity. This criticism is largely fueled by the attention to what is happening at headquarters in Paris, and not in the field offices in places like New Delhi, Jakarta and Maputo.



Read more: The Australian government has been “blinded” by the UN recommendation to place the Great Barrier Reef in danger. But it’s not a big surprise


Member States withdrawing funding

The second thing to understand about UNESCO is that it is a “technical” agency, not a “funding” organization like, for example, the United Nations Development Program.

Because the funding depends on the Member States, this has real consequences. Sensitive political issues can anger member states, causing them to withdraw from the organization – along with their funding.

For example, after Palestine was added as a full member in 2011, the United States and Israel stopped paying their dues. The United States, which accounted for over 20% of UNESCO’s budget, accumulated some $ 600 million in unpaid dues.

The Trump administration then withdrew the United States completely from the organization after the World Heritage Committee designated the Old City of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage Site in 2017. The United States Ambassador to the United States to the West Bank UN representative Nikki Haley called the politicization of UNESCO “chronic embarrassment.”

Israel and the United States opposed the decision to designate Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site which was also “in danger”.
Bernat Armangue / AP

It was not the first time that the United States had withdrawn. In 1984, the Reagan administration withdrew from UNESCO amid complaints about the way it was run and what one US official, Gregory Newell, called “foreign politicization.” He decried what he perceived as

… An endemic hostility towards the institutions of a free society – especially those that protect a free press, free markets and, most importantly, individual human rights.

Bearing in mind UNESCO’s mandate

UNESCO’s listing of the Great Barrier Reef as “endangered” is at its heart a moral decision concerned with minimizing the effects of climate change and urging Member States to act.

But because it is played out at the headquarters level, there is a whiff of political commitment. It is, after all, that states play the politics of power with their members, their funding and their influence.



Read more: Is UNESCO World Heritage Status for Cultural Sites Killing What He Loves?


But the organization is so much more when you move away from the sparkle of the world’s capitals to the field. Here, the agency’s business is to build trust and connect with communities to make things happen.

This is in line with UNESCO’s mandate, which is important to remember when attention is diverted to self-serving quarrels among its members.


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International headquarters

NATO leaders say China is a global security challenge – The North State Journal


President Joe Biden, center, walks with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, during the US-EU summit at the Brussels European Council on Tuesday June 15, 2021 (AP Photo / Patrick Semansky)

BRUSSELS – NATO leaders said last Monday that China is a constant security challenge and said the Chinese are working to undermine world order.

In a summit statement, the leaders said that China’s objectives and “assertive behavior presented systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to the security of the alliance.”

While the 30 heads of state and government have avoided branding China as a rival, they have expressed concern over what they have termed “coercive policies,” the opaque ways in which it is modernizing its armed forces and its nation. use of disinformation.

They called on Beijing to respect its international commitments and act responsibly in the international system.

President Joe Biden, who arrived at the summit after three days of consultations with the Group of Seven allies in England, pushed for the G-7 statement denouncing what he says are forced labor practices and d other human rights violations affecting Uyghur Muslims and ethnic minorities in Western Xinjiang Province. The president said he was satisfied with the statement, although differences remain between the allies on the force to criticize Beijing.

The new press release from Brussels indicates that NATO countries “will engage with China in order to defend the security interests of the alliance”.

But some allies bristled at NATO’s efforts to speak out on China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said NATO’s decision to designate China as a threat “should not be overstated” because Beijing, like Russia, is also a partner in some areas. China is Germany’s largest trading partner and relies heavily on Russia to meet the country’s energy needs.

Merkel noted that “when you look at the cyber threats, the hybrid threats, when you look at the cooperation between Russia and China, you can’t just ignore China.”

But she added that it was important to “strike the right balance” because China is also a partner on many issues.

“I think it is very important, just as we do in Russia, to always offer political discussions, a political speech, in order to find solutions,” said Merkel. “But where there are threats, and I said they are also in the hybrid realm, then as NATO you have to be prepared.”

French President Emmanuel Macron urged the alliance not to let China distract it from what he saw as more pressing issues facing NATO, including the fight against terrorism and security concerns related to the Russia.

“I think it is very important not to disperse our efforts and not to be prejudiced in our relationship with China,” Macron said.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK issued a statement saying that the G-7 statement “deliberately defamed China and arbitrarily interfered with China’s internal affairs,” and exposed the “sinister intentions of a few countries, such as the United States “.

Biden arrived at his first NATO summit as president as key members said it was a pivotal moment for an alliance. Under the presidency of Donald Trump, who questioned the relevance of the multilateral organization and took steps to ensure that nations bear their share of the costs.

Shortly after arriving at alliance headquarters, Biden spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and underscored the United States’ commitment to Article 5 of the charter of the alliance, which states that an attack on one member is an attack on all and must be fought. a collective response.

“Section 5 which we regard as a sacred obligation,” Biden said. “I want NATO to know America is here.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said Biden’s presence “underlines the renewal of the transatlantic partnership”. De Croo said NATO allies were looking to get past four difficult years under the Trump administration and the infighting among member countries.

“I think we are now ready to move on,” said de Croo.

Trump has regularly berated other NATO nations for not spending enough on defense and even threatened to pull the United States out of the world’s largest security organization.

The alliance has also updated Article 5 to provide more clarity on how the alliance should respond to major cyber attacks – a growing concern amid hacks targeting the US government and businesses around the world by hackers based in Russia.

Beyond extending the potential use of Article 5’s mutual defense clause to space, leaders also broadened the definition of what could constitute such an attack in cyberspace, in a warning to any opponent who might use constant low level attacks as a tactic.

The organization said in 2014 that a cyber attack could be countered by a collective response from the 30 member countries, but on Monday they said that “the impact of significant cumulative malicious cyber activity could, under certain circumstances, be considered equivalent to an armed attack. attack. “

The President started his day by meeting with leaders of the Baltic states on NATO’s eastern flank as well as with separate meetings with Polish and Romanian leaders to discuss the threat posed by Russia and the recent air piracy in Belarus, according to the White House.

Biden’s route to Europe was designed to meet first with G-7 leaders and then with NATO allies in Brussels ahead of his much-anticipated meeting with Putin in Geneva on Wednesday. .

Biden met Turkish President Erdogan on the sidelines of the summit on Monday evening.

Biden, during his campaign, angered Turkish officials after he described Erdogan as an “autocrat.” In April, Biden infuriated Ankara by declaring that the Ottoman-era massacres and deportations of Armenians were “genocide” – a term US presidents have avoided using.

In a brief exchange with reporters, Biden described it as a “very good meeting.” He and Erdogan met in private before being joined by other officials.


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Non profit living

Collaboration Expands Quality Addiction Treatment Services at University of Miami and Across Ohio

DOWNTOWN, Minn .– (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – The nonprofit Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation provides addiction care, as well as recovery, family and educational services to Ohio residents, including students at the University of Miami, with its RecoveryGo ™ telehealth solutions, which are now available to anyone living in the state. A long-standing collaboration with The Haven at College, which has been providing services to the University of Miami since 2018, has helped facilitate Hazelden Betty Ford’s expansion in Buckeye State.

“Our virtual ambulatory care and other telehealth resources and services are proving to be effective and convenient, and have allowed us to expand access and reach more people as addiction problems skyrocket amid the crisis. pandemic, ”said Hazelden Betty Ford, President and CEO Mark Mishek. “Ohio has been at the center of the drug addiction epidemic, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Miami and other partners to help bring healing and hope to more. individuals, families and communities. ”

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of addiction treatment, mental health care, recovery resources, and related prevention and education services, with sites across the country , extensive telehealth solutions and a growing network of collaborators across healthcare.

The Haven at College is a member of the Hazelden Betty Ford Patient Care Network and has provided outpatient drug treatment and recovery support services to students at the University of Miami in Oxford, Ohio, for over two years. Now refocusing resources in her home state of California, The Haven at College worked with officials at the University of Miami to ease the transition to Hazelden Betty Ford’s clinical services and ensure that students encountered no lack of access to professional help.

“It was really important for us to have a smooth transition with a quality treatment provider, and no one is better at substance abuse treatment than Hazelden Betty Ford, so we’re thrilled,” said Sharon Weber, co-founder of The Haven at University. In addition to her high-quality, evidence-based treatment services, Hazelden Betty Ford also provides extensive recovery, family and educational services, meaning Miami students and student service professionals will have access to even more resources than before. ”

Hazelden Betty Ford’s Intensive Outpatient and Insurance-Eligible Virtual Drug Treatment Services are now available for the first time not only to University of Miami students, but also to people from all corners of the world. Ohio, including rural underserved areas.

“No matter where you live in Ohio, if you have commercial health insurance and a computer, you and your family are now eligible to participate in therapy without traveling,” said Laura Adams , Hazelden Betty Ford’s Senior Director of Outreach for Ohio.

Designed to replicate her on-site patient care experience, Hazelden Betty Ford’s Virtual Substance Use Disorder Treatment Services combine group therapy and one-on-one counseling sessions via encrypted law-compliant video technology for more of security. To access Hazelden Betty Ford’s treatment previously, Ohio residents had to go to a facility in another state. Now they can access it directly from their homes.

Other RecoveryGo ™ resources and services now available in Ohio and nationwide include a free one-day virtual family program, available in English and Spanish; a virtual program for children; and many digital recovery support tools, such as mobile apps, podcasts, and an online peer community. In addition, Hazelden Betty Ford prevention experts seek to increase their support for Ohio’s school systems by expanding their services to graduate students; and its professional training consultants, already active in Ohio, are available to collaborate with more treatment centers, hospitals, health systems and recovery organizations, as well as public health leaders. from Ohio who want to implement virtual care and other evidence-based behavioral health solutions.

“By providing more opportunities for quality treatment and ongoing support, and working with others in Ohio who are also committed to reducing the negative impact of addiction, we can bring hope and healing to people.” underserved rural areas and others statewide, ”said James Ahlman, executive director of the East Hazelden Betty Ford region.

An industry leader and long-time provider of telehealth solutions, Hazelden Betty Ford moved all of its “outpatients” nationwide at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to a robust virtual platform that includes a effective virtual drug testing system and other best practices to ensure the highest levels of confidentiality, security and quality. A year later, Hazelden Betty Ford has now provided virtual ambulatory care to thousands of people across the United States.

First results from the Butler Research Center show that Hazelden Betty Ford’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment is working well, with patients discharged “against medical advice” at a significantly lower rate than previous IOP patients on site – a good indicator of positive results in the field. long term results. Based on preliminary results at 1 and 3 months, Hazelden Betty Ford also observed little or no difference between on-site and virtual IOP patients with respect to: reported cravings, mental health symptoms, sobriety, confidence in sobriety, attendance and quality of life support group.

“Virtual drug addiction care is here to stay,” Ahlman said. “More than a stopgap solution during the pandemic, telehealth fills important gaps in the behavioral health care system, allowing many patients to take a first step that they would otherwise have delayed and dramatically expanding access. If these preliminary results hold up for the long term, virtual care is expected to create new transformative opportunities for the thousands of people in Ohio and millions across the country struggling with substance use.

See www.RecoveryGo.org or call 1-800-I-DO-CARE for more details and resources.

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation’s leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient drug treatment and concomitant mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has 17 locations across the country, with extensive solutions. on-site and telehealth and a network of collaborators across health care. With a legacy that began in 1949 and included the founding in 1982 of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today also includes a Graduate School of Addiction Studies, a Publishing Division, a Center for Addiction Research, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical training programs. , school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children growing up in families struggling with addictions. Learn more about www.HazeldenBettyFord.org and on Twitter.

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History organization

Fayetteville Group Celebrates Juneteenth with March at Market House


A local community group honored black American slaves who were sold to the Market House in downtown Fayetteville with a demonstration in the building.

The actors dressed in old clothes and had ankle and wrist chains, while others held signs reading “Slaves Sold Here,” silently marched down Hay Street on Sunday afternoon to perform a slavery reenactment.

Onlookers at restaurants and shops along the street observed that the silent group was led by a white actor with a whip and overalls and another on horseback.

The event, hosted by local nonprofit Let’s Make It Happen Together, was one of many celebrations on June 10 this weekend in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.

Juneteenth is now considered a national holiday to commemorate enslaved black Americans and the end of slavery in the United States.

The Fayetteville Market House:Accounts of slave auctions under the arcades

A controversial historical monument

“I said, if we really want to celebrate Juneteenth, we really have to tell the whole story and tell the truth about it,” said Swan Davis, a community activist. “For us not to do it that way, it means we were afraid of what our ancestors went through.”

Davis, the founder of the organization, said he wanted to tell the story of the Market House and the slaves who were sold there with the show.

The Fayetteville Market House was built in 1832 to replace the old State House, which was destroyed in a fire. It was not built as a slave market, but as a town hall and a market. But records show slaves were sold there at auction.

Let’s Make It Happen Together put on the show in two weeks, and local actors and volunteers performed songs, poems and a play on a stage in front of the building. A large crowd of people attended the event.

Built in 1831, the Market House has been the center of controversy in the city.

Davis has been told by some people that he shouldn’t do this.

“It was just like at the end of the day our ancestors went through this, and it was right that we did it right and tell as much truth as possible about what happened,” said Davis said. “We are just thankful that we were able to do this and we had a lot of volunteers to support as well as our community. “

The re-enactment of slavery, performed by local actors in Fayetteville, told the story of black American slaves who were sold to the Market House between 1820 and 1860.

Davis wanted to challenge claims that the Market House was not a place where slaves were sold and that the conversation about this part of its history should be discussed.

Other speakers at the event included Reverend Christopher Stackhouse, pastor of Lewis Chapel Baptist Missionary Church in Fayetteville.

In his speech, he referred to the bell inside the Market House that rang every night at 9 p.m. signifying a curfew put in place before slavery ended in the city.

“They rang that bell to remind people, black people of Fayetteville, NC, ‘remember your place,’” Stackhouse said. “If you were outside after 9 am, you could be severely beaten if not killed. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was passed, they still rang that bell. “

Stackhouse, whose ancestor was a runaway slave from the city, said the Market House always serves as a reminder that black people in the city have a “place.”

Christopher D. Stack:Fayetteville Market House, where slaves were sold, not as “historic” as its defenders claim

“They always try to act like all of this stuff has been around for so many generations that we don’t need to mention it anymore,” Stackhouse said. “It is not a distant and distant story that no living person has a connection to. It is still relevant today.”

Some people from Hay Street joined the crowd to watch the show. Others verbally expressed their contempt.

“We’re not painting with a pretty brush what happened here,” Stackhouse said. “It is important for all of us to know that souls, people, men, women, boys, girls and babies have been sold in this building here. Market House which is so historic it cannot be out of place, but so historic that you can’t tell its story.

Storytelling and celebration

Raqi Barnett, 49, was one of the actors in the play outside Market House.

Dressed in a long white skirt and a tattered green top, Barnett passionately recited “The Negro Mother” by poet Langston Hughes in which he describes the life and slavery of a black woman.

Actress Raqi Barnett, a resident of Fayetteville, played "The negro mother," a poem by Langston Hughes.

“When I got ready to do the poem, I really wanted them to feel the power of words on how they could make a difference,” Barnett said. “See how you can take what she’s been through and use it to push yourself to do better, think about the story, treat others well. “

Barnett, a theatrical arts teacher at EE Smith High School, said she wanted to be in the mindset of a enslaved person and what she may have been thinking or what she experienced in the moments before. to be sold in the building.

At the end of the event, the crowd danced to a rendition of Frankie Beverly and Maze’s 1981 hit “Before I Let Go” outside the Market House to celebrate June 19, honor the past and look to the future.

“We’ve been through too much,” Davis said. “And we still have walls to tear down. “

Regional corporate reporter Kristen Johnson can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3570.

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