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Blackout continues to sell out

Citizens of Jasper County don’t mind paying extra for a specialty license plate.

Ever since Iowa’s “blackout” plates were introduced to the public almost four months ago, staff in the Jasper County Motor Vehicle Department have issued almost 1,200 of the signature black-and-white plates. As of Monday morning, 827 regular blackout plates and 354 personalized blackout plates have been distributed to county motorists.

Throughout the state, demand is high for the change in vehicular aesthetics.

The Associated Press reported in late October the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) issued more than 46,000 blackout plates since July. As a result, the specialty plates have exceeded the more than 30,000 University of Iowa plates in circulation today.

Now, the blackout color scheme is the most popular specialty license plate design choice among Iowans.

Jasper County Treasurer Doug Bishop said he and “everybody in the entire state of Iowa is totally surprised” by the sudden rush of popularity the blackout plates amassed in such a short time period. Even more so since the process is entirely voluntary and costs more than a standard Iowa license plate.

To purchase regular blackout plates, Iowans are typically charged an initial $35 fee with an annual $10 registration fee for renewals. Personalized blackout plates cost $60 and can be renewed for an annual $15 registration fee.

Eligible vehicles for Iowa DOT-registered blackout plates include automobiles, motorcycles, multipurpose vehicles, trucks, sport utility vehicles, motor homes, vans and trailers/travel trailers.

Funds generated from the blackout plates, Bishop said, go directly toward the state’s Road Use Tax Fund, which is the major state funding source for construction, maintenance and supervision of the more than 114,000 miles of roads and roughly 25,000 bridges in Iowa.

“So it’s basically — if you want to look at it this way — a ‘voluntary tax,’” Bishop said. “You’re paying for the option to have the blackout plates, but it’s going to fix our roads and bridges, which is so desperately needed here … This is a new funding stream that nobody ever anticipated was going to happen.”

The county, Bishop clarified, does not make money from the blackout plates.

“Each registration renewal we do we get 4 percent,” the county treasurer said. “That stays here in the county. The rest gets transferred out to the state. We get a little bit of money for a title transfer, but all of the taxation goes to the state for the most part.”

Most folks who already have specialty license plates likely won’t replace them with a blackout variant, based on what Bishop and staff at the motor vehicle department have seen thus far. More than likely, people who are making the transition are switching from a plain, state-issued plate.

“And there’s something to think about: That only started in July. So we have eight more months of people getting their registration notices and saying, ‘You know what? I’m just going to go ahead and get blackout plates on my vehicle.’ So we’re only a quarter or a third of the way through this,” Bishop said.

Created by Iowa Prison Industries and manufactured by inmates, the blackout plates were initially hard to come by due to high demand. Bishop said the Jasper County Motor Vehicle Department was well-prepared Day One of the release. Staff never ran short of plates, but they came very close.

“I preemptively ordered 200. And we got all 200. Some counties didn’t think they would have a good turnout so they ordered 40 to 50 plates, and those were gone in the first three days,” Bishop told Newton Daily News. “So the 200 we initially ordered kept us going until the big shipments came in.”

Heather Ross, a clerk at the motor vehicle department located inside the Jasper County Courthouse, noted she had never seen a reaction from Iowa motorists like this before. Why the sudden shift? Ross speculated it could be the updated design of the standard state plate.

“A lot of people don’t like the new design,” Ross said. “But they like (the blackout plates). They’ll come in and they don’t care if it’s $35. They’ll even pay for two or three sets of plates at a time … I didn’t think it would have made a difference.”

Still, staff are astounded by the response thus far. Bishop could recall a similar reaction when drivers could purchase specialty license plates from some of the state’s smaller colleges. Still, that was only “a trickling of people.” Whereas the demand for blackout plates has “been absolutely amazing.”

Curiously enough, the inspiration for the blackout plates originated from one of those smaller colleges. The license plates featuring the school colors of Dordt University in Sioux Center are similar to the design of the blackout counterpart: white letters and numbers to a black background.

Ross said some drivers covered up or outright defaced their Dordt University plates to cover up the top and bottom areas largely reserved for the white banners depicting the private university’s name. The resulting customized plates very much resembled today’s blackout plates.

Citizens can instead pay for the simply designed plate rather than paying a hefty fine. So far, the idea has been paying off. Last month, the Jasper County Motor Vehicle Department took in $1,066,093 for motor vehicle driver’s license transactions. Of that, the county got to keep about $42,108, while the rest was transferred to the state, Bishop said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or


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can run the ball in the red zone that typica (ingen svar)

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Dopo le dimissioni del premier, la piazza non smobilita in Iraq. E la rivolta è anche generazionale


Iraq, la rivolta e il caos. A un passo dalla guerra civile. Iraq, uno Stato fallito, senza più un’autorità riconosciuta, e da oggi, formalmente senza più un primo ministro, dopo le dimissioni del primo ministro Adel Abdul Mahdi, venute al termine della più cruenta giornata di sangue registratasi in Iraq dal primo ottobre, quando la rivolta è iniziata. Dimissioni accettate oggi dal Parlamento iracheno, riunito in seduta straordinaria. In una nota diffusa dal suo ufficio si legge che Abdul Mahdi ha “sottolineato il principio del trasferimento pacifico di poteri nel sistema democratico, facendo notare che il governo ha compiuto ogni sforzo possibile per rispondere alle richieste dei manifestanti fornendo un pacchetto di riforme”. Il presidente del Parlamento ha dichiarato che ora chiederà al presidente Barham Salih di nominare un nuovo primo ministro. Ma la piazza non smobilita. La rivolta continua. Ed è anche una rivolta generazionale. “Sono i giovani i protagonisti delle proteste dell’ottobre-novembre 2019 rimarca Irene Costantini in un documentato report per l’Ispi - Lo sono stati anche nel movimento del 2011, del 2015-16, e dell’estate del 2018. In un paese dove il 67% della popolazione ha meno di 30 anni, i giovani rappresentano una forza sociale. La descrizione del movimento di protesta iracheno come spontaneo non rende però giustizia al ruolo di una sempre più attiva società civile, organizzata localmente in comitati di coordinamento che attraverso i social network riescono a coinvolgere il più largo pubblico. È vero invece che il movimento rimane senza una chiara leadership, ad esclusione del ruolo della coalizione Saʿirun tra il 2015 e il 2016”. “Abbracciamo e facciamo nostri i sogni degli iracheni. Sono molto colpito dal loro desiderio di vedere nascere un Paese libero, forte, stabile, sicuro, dove il progresso, la giustizia, l’uguaglianza e la cittadinanza sono i segni distintivi. I giovani sono la ricchezza del nostro Paese”, dichiara al Sir il patriarca caldeo di Baghdad, card. Louis Raphael Sako.

“I manifestanti – aggiunge Sako - chiedono riforme, diritti, lavoro, servizi, vogliono giustizia, la fine della corruzione. Ma non c’è altra via che il dialogo. La via della repressione militare scelta dal Governo non risolve il problema, piuttosto lo complica, scatenando la vendetta. In questi Paesi la mentalità di vendetta è forte, per via del sistema tribale. Se qualcuno viene ucciso quelli della sua tribù cercheranno di vendicarsi. Occorre fiducia tra manifestanti e Governo ma è difficile ricrearla in questa situazione”. Difficile quando si contano a centinaia (418 ad oggi) i morti dall’inizio della rivolta, e i feriti superano i 15mila. Ed è ancora più difficile quando ad agire dietro le quinte, nella repressione, è una potenza regionale che considera l’Iraq come un suo feudo: l’Iran. Da Kerbala a Najaf, le due città sante sciite, da Nassiriya a Baghdad: i manifestanti sciiti danno alle fiamme le immagini della Guida suprema iraniana, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei e di Qassem Soulimani, il potente generale che comanda l’unità d’élite Quds dei Pasdaran, l’uomo che tiene le fila, e i cordoni della borsa, del rapporto tra il regime di Teheran e le milizie affiliate in Medio Oriente: da Hezbollah in Libano alla Jihad islamica e Hamas in Palestina, dalle milizie paramilitari irachene agli Houth in Yemen.

“Teheran e i suoi sodali hanno fallito nel tradurre le vittorie militari e politiche in una visione socio-economica. Detto più semplicemente: la narrazione della resistenza dell’Iran alla lunga non ha saputo mettere cibo nei piatti”, sintetizza efficacemente Foreign Policy.A giovani che cercano lavoro, la nomenclatura sciita al potere risponde con la vecchia narrazione khomeinista che non fa più presa nelle nuove generazioni. La piazza allarma i vertici di Teheran perché è una piazza che non può essere eterodiretta o orientata, come in passato, contro l’Occidente e il “nemico sionista”. Tasto su cui, invece, continua a battere la Guida suprema dell’Iran, l’ayatollah Ali Khamenei, che incolpa Stati Uniti, Israele e alcuni paesi occidentali per le proteste in corso in Iraq e in Libano. Una retorica complottista che non fa più presa, non mobilita piazze alternative. E allora è meglio affidarsi a una repressione più pervasiva ed efficace: di massa e al tempo stesso selettiva. E allora ecco entrare in scena l’uomo forte del regime iraniano. Stando a quanto riferisce la Associated Press, il generale Soulimani, è volato a Baghdad dopo lo scoppio della seconda ondata di proteste nel paese, e ha presieduto un incontro con gli ufficiali di sicurezza iracheni durante il quale ha spiegato come il regime iraniano ha saputo domare le protestate. “In Iran sappiamo come affrontare le proteste – avrebbe affermato Soulimani – Cose di questo genere sono accadute in Iran e le abbiamo messe sotto controllo”. Un controllo che ha lasciato dietro di sé una lunga scia di sangue e carceri piene di oppositori.

Negli ultimi anni l’Iran è riuscito a ottenere grande influenza nella politica irachena, ma non solo. Le milizie sciite presenti nel Paese – legate aa Teheran e diventate ancora più potenti grazie alle vittorie militari contro l’Isis– hanno costruito una specie di impero economico: hanno preso il controllo dei progetti di ricostruzione postbellici e hanno sviluppato innumerevoli attività illecite. Le dimissioni del premier iracheno non sono solo il portato della rivolta popolare che dal primo giorno di ottobre si è scatenata in tutto il Paese per denunciare la carenza di posti di lavoro, la mancanza di servizi e la corruzione del governo.

Alla base c’è anche, e per certi versi soprattutto una resa dei conti nel variegato, e maggioritario, fronte sciita. All’indomani dell’uccisione di decine di manifestanti anti-governativi nel sud dell’Iraq, la massima autorità religiosa sciita irachena, il Grande Ayatollah Ali Sistani, aveva invitato il Parlamento iracheno a togliere la fiducia al governo del premier Mahdi, sostenuto da Iran e Stati Uniti, nell’ambito della crescente tensione politica e di sicurezza a Baghdad e nel sud sciita in rivolta. Nella predica settimanale, tenuta da un suo rappresentante, Ahmed al-Safi, durante la preghiera comunitaria islamica del venerdì nella città santa sciita di Kerbala, a sud di Baghdad, Sistani aveva chiesto al Parlamento di intervenire per cambiare l’equilibrio politico nel paese e ascoltare le pressanti richieste della popolazione del sud del Paese. “Il Parlamento, da cui il governo trae sostegno, deve rivedere la sua scelta riguardo all’esecutivo considerando gli interessi dell’Iraq”, ha detto Sistani, attraverso il suo portavoce. Per un premier già sfiduciato dalla piazza, è stata la mazzata finale. “Lo scontro è totale. Il clerico sciita Moqtada al-Sadr, leader della coalizione al-Sairoon (primo partito in Parlamento), già noto in Iraq per la sua capacità di smuovere le masse e guidare proteste e in questo momento il principale rivale dell’Iran nel Paese, aveva da tempo  invocato le dimissioni del primo ministro, e nuove elezioni sotto l’egida delle Nazioni Unite, dopo avere boicottato i lavori del Parlamento che erano stati indetti per sabato 5 ottobre col fine di discutere, fra le altre cose, un taglio degli stipendi dei funzionari a favore delle fasce più deboli e della disoccupazione.

Le dimissioni di Mahdi sono anche un ulteriore, pesante smacco per l’Iran, grande protettore dell’ormai ex premier. Ma una cosa è certa: per il regime iraniano, e in particolare per lo “Stato nello Stato” iraniano, quello rappresentato dai Guardiani della Rivoluzione, perdere il controllo dell’Iraq rappresenterebbe una disfatta insopportabile, anche per l’effetto domino che potrebbe avere in Siria, in Libano, nello Yemen. Soulimani aveva cercato di ricompattare il fronte sciita a sostegno di Mahdi: missione fallita, ma questo potrebbe aprire la strada ad una guerra civile, come in Siria, e come in Siria altri attori regionali, dalla Turchia all’Arabia Saudita, passando per l’Egitto e gli Emirati Arabi Uniti, entrerebbero in gioco. Oggi anche papa Francesco si è detto preoccupato dalla situazione in Iraq. “Seguo con preoccupazione la situazione in Iraq. Ho appreso con dolore che le manifestazioni di protesta dei giorni scorsi hanno ricevuto una dura reazione, che ha causato decine di vittime”, ha detto, “Prego per i defunti e per i feriti; sono vicino ai loro familiari e all’intero popolo iracheno, invocando da Dio pace e concordia”.



Dal Grand Hotel Scalfari disposizioni per il giornale del futuro

Eugenio Scalfari

Non sarà per niente facile ma il futuro è il 1976. Già, il 1976, che si apre con le dimissioni del IV governo Moro, l’anno in cui Jobs e Wozniak fondano la Apple, divampa la guerra in Libano, l’Argentina fa strage di desaparecidos... l’anno della nube tossica di Seveso, della Viking che tocca il suolo di Marte, di Gheddafi che entra nella Fiat, di Panatta e Bertolucci che vincono in maglietta rossa la Davis nel Cile di Pinochet... l’anno in cui nasce la Repubblica di Eugenio Scalfari. 

Nel 1976 la redazione di «Repubblica» contava sessantacinque persone, il cui compito era riempire trentadue pagine. A parte i nomi di peso che ho citato, il resto si componeva di ragazzi con poca esperienza. Impararono, con il tempo, un mestiere del quale non sapevano niente, e scoprirono che gli piaceva. Cominciammo così, alzando le vele di una piccola nave corsara.

La “nave corsara” citata più volte dal “Grand Hotel Scalfari” di Antonio Gnoli e Francesco Merlo (Marsilio) è metafora e carne e sangue, necessaria - nella visione del Fondatore - per affrontare il mondo di allora, e quello del presente, dove tra tante incertezze, una delle poche certezze sembra essere quella della fine dei giornali. Diffusi  - solo una dozzina di anni fa - all’incirca in sei milioni di copie, venduti oggi in numero ridotto a meno di un terzo. Poco spazio per qualcosa di dissimile da un de profundis. Poco spazio per l’immaginazione se si vuole cercare un colpevole, e, necessariamente, dei complici.

Qualunque impresa che vedesse la propria presenza ridimensionata in questa maniera così drastica non potrebbe non sentire il suono della campana a morto. Le cause di questo drammatico deperimento le conosciamo: internet, la rete, il web. La loro diffusione ha reso il lettore un soggetto instabile e capriccioso, sovente autoreferenziale.

La diagnosi di Scalfari è implacabile, la cittadella è assediata dai “nuovi barbari” con indosso “la veste futurista della tecnologia”, la decadenza “non è solo economica, ma declassamento della libertà di pensiero e della democrazia politica”, la caduta è favorita da generazioni di lettori allo sbando, inermi e privi di punti di riferimento.

Two people read the first edition of

Eppure, come sempre accade, nel buio di un’epoca che sta per chiudersi, una flebile fiammella ancora riluce. Ebbene, quella luce debole che dovrebbe salvare il futuro (dei giornali, ma, a questo punto, non solo dei giornali), non proviene beffardamente da una stella morta anni e milioni di chilometri fa, non è un miraggio spazio-temporale, ma è il chiarore vestalico e reale del mito della fondazione.

Senza troppe perifrasi, la salvezza è nel 1976, nel giornale in cui, fedeli a un modello paternalistico, ma non specchio di un familismo amorale, “tutti dovevano essere felici”, con il modello Grand Hotel o Casinò di Sanremo (e qui siamo alle origini familiari dello stesso Scalfari) dove regna la “contaminazione dei generi”, tra feste da ballo, teatro, sala da tè per le signore, spettacoli leggeri e iniziative culturali, opere di beneficenza, gare sportive... un universo variegato e unitario “che tanto somiglia all’impaginazione” che “portò la vignetta di Forattini in prima pagina, affiancò ai testi le illustrazioni, le fotografie e i disegni, trattò gli spettacoli e la cultura come la politica, impose una scrittura alta ma divertente e divertita, tutto mescolando e dosando”.

In sostanza una fedele rappresentazione della commedia della vita, esercitata nella pienezza ma con dei criteri rigorosi, da nave militare, punizioni incluse, dove la redazione “si recluta”, gli errori si fanno pesare “con giri della chiglia”, “gli animali giornalisti” sono spiriti liberi e complicati “da ammaestrare” e orientare, anche mediante le celebri riunioni di redazione (del lunedì) assurte a vere e proprie “messe cantate”. Un processo continuo che produsse i suoi effetti nei valori che la Repubblica di Scalfari avrebbe portato nel mondo, un mondo peraltro, meritoriamente e artificiosamente ideato.

Noi abbiamo sempre puntato su quella borghesia illuminata e riformista che nel nostro paese era quasi inconsistente: la forza di «Repubblica» è stata quella di inventare un mondo che ci somigliava ma non vinceva mai, era minoritario ma irresistibile, non marxista ma democratico.

Un mondo che, dopo i primi anni a caccia del break even di 130mila copie, si sarebbe materializzato negli anni del terrorismo, dal rapimento Moro a quello del giudice D’Urso, nell′81, quando la “linea della fermezza” adottata e perseguita dal giornale di piazza Indipendenza contribuì a costruire quella che oggi si definirebbe la community dei lettori. In quel rapporto bidirezionale necessario in ogni impresa editoriale (e non) che somiglia tanto a un’Epifania decisiva. Un cambio di stato. 

A lungo ci siamo mossi a tentoni e per chi dirige un giornale è la peggiore tra le condizioni. Ma da questo momento io so che i nostri sono lettori di sinistra, votano Partito comunista, votano socialista, votano in parte perfino per la Democrazia cristiana. So che cosa vogliono e loro sanno che cosa aspettarsi da noi.

“Io so chi sono i nostri lettori”: il sogno di tutti gli editori-direttori di giornali, ma anche la chimera di ogni imprenditore che conoscendo i gusti, le inclinazioni, le idee, i sogni dei suoi clienti può disegnare un prodotto che alimenti il loro immaginario e - nel caso di un giornale - la crescita di presa di coscienza che li porterà a interpretare il reale e a fare le scelte (più o meno) giuste. 

Umberto Eco

Ci sarebbe poi il problemino della verità. Della verità di ogni giornale. Della verità dei fatti, delle notizie, delle interpretazioni. Che Scalfari, a dire il vero, non elude, anzi pone, in un dialogo, a uno dei maestri del genere, un certo Umberto Eco, a cui pone il tema del relativismo, del rapporto che intercorre tra il falso e il vero, e del tradimento del senso ultimo delle cose. 

Perciò non potrò mai affrontare la domanda: che cos’è la verità? Ma so che cos’è la mia verità. È questo il Dna dei giornali. All’«Espresso», che realizzò soprattutto Arrigo Benedetti, ne eravamo consapevoli. So che un giornale – anche il più fedele all’idea di verità – porta una sua versione dei fatti. Mi ricordo quando Lamberto Sechi – il primo direttore di «Panorama» – diceva che i fatti vanno separati dalle opinioni. È una balla. I fatti sono come li vede un giornalista. Sono già influenzati dal suo punto di vista, dalle sue opinioni.

Già, la verità. Alle prese con fake news, velocità di propagazione delle bufale e necessità di imporre la propria idea in agenda, ecco che, per associazione, si torna ai “barbari tecnologici”, alla sfida del giornale “di carta” nel mondo dell’informazione contemporaneo. Qui la visione di Scalfari arriva a formulare delle vere e proprie prescrizioni. Laddove “tutto è raccontato benissimo” dalla rete, dalla televisione, dalla radio, cosa possono ancora raccontare i giornali? Presto detto, il loro compito ”è dare un ordine di priorità” ai fatti iper-raccontati, appunto. Ripristinare quella che in gergo si definirebbe agenda setting, indicare cosa “una determinata notizia implica, quanto approfondimento richiede, quali conseguenze produce”. 

È tutto quello che noi chiamiamo «approfondimento», cioè quel modo di trattare i più diversi argomenti in larga parte precluso alla rete e alla televisione, perché lì vige un altro linguaggio, un altro vocabolario, che è un centesimo di quello normalmente in uso sui giornali.

La carta come strumento capace di ordinare il mondo a un livello superiore. Nell’emergere di una non irrilevante dose di elitarismo, Scalfari vede un’“altra difficoltà”: “Nella navigazione in rete è molto più complicato fidelizzarsi a un sito, perché internet è un mare aperto le cui acque territoriali sono difficilmente perimetrabili”, sostiene il Fondatore, con la consueta capacità di visione ma anche qualche limite di chi si spinge - coraggiosamente - in acque non proprie.

Tornando ai mari che di certo conosce, particolarmente toccante e rilevante, nei contenuti e nelle intenzioni, è il passaggio sul destino della “sua nave corsara”. 

Ho avuto paura che la crisi del giornalismo potesse travolgere la mia «Repubblica». (...) La crisi di «Repubblica» mi spaventava anche perché un’idea che muore produce più fanatismo di un’idea viva. (...) E dunque ogni volta che potevo, senza chiasso, spiegavo agli editori che, se fosse dipeso da me, sarei tornato al 1976 e avrei fatto un altro giornale, il giornale dei maestri, con la bellezza e il divertimento della lingua, ma soprattutto con la straordinaria forza delle battaglie, anche quelle perse. Lo hanno fatto, lo stanno facendo. Non so se, per un’ultima volta, li ha convinti il bastone con il quale ancora traccio segni nella polvere, o se ci sarebbero comunque arrivati da soli.

In pieno stile Scalfari, dove identità collettiva e personale si fondono, necessariamente e spiritualmente, non si può prescindere dal mito di fondazione. Non si scappa dal 1976.

Perché, “se un giornale muore bisogna che quel giornale sia capace di tornare alle origini. Una specie di rivoluzione al contrario. Chiamatele radici, o identità. Per me è l’alba che si ripete a ogni nuovo giorno”. 

Eugenio Scalfari, Bontà loro, 1978



Eugenio Scalfari


"Mia nonna Peggy Guggenheim apparteneva a Venezia. Scoprì Pollock e cambiò la storia dell'arte"

Peggy Guggenheim in gondola, Venezia, 1968

La storia di Peggy Guggenheim è leggendaria. Collezionista, ereditiera, una ragazza della ricca borghesia. Con l’arte e gli artisti aveva un legame particolare: nella sua vita se ne innamora, li insegue, li protegge, li valorizza. In cambio ottiene rispetto, devozione e fama. Peggy stessa disse: “In famiglia mi vedevano come una pecora nera, ebbene credo di averli sorpresi. Perché aprii una galleria d’arte, la Guggenheim Jeune inaugurata nel 1938 a Londra. E la cosa mi costò poco: usai i 450 mila dollari che mi lasciò mia madre”. La sua è una storia così affascinante che si fatica a capire davvero chi fosse. “La mia più grande scoperta artistica? Jackson Pollock”, disse. Già perché fu proprio lei a riconoscerne il valore sin dal 1942, quando l’artista era sconosciuto al grande pubblico e lavorava come tutto fare al museo Guggenheim di New York. 

Peggy diceva “Appartengo a Venezia”. Se ne innamorò. Proprio qui c’è la sua casa-museo che si affaccia sul Canal Grande: Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. A dirigere la collezione è Karole P. B. Vail, che di Peggy è la nipote. Ha ereditato da lei la passione per l’arte e l’amore per la scoperta di grandi artisti. Per celebrare i 40 anni dalla morte della nonna e la sua vita veneziana ha voluto l’esposizione Peggy Guggenheim. L’ultima Dogaressa. Una mostra che scandisce tappa dopo tappa gli eventi che hanno segnato quei trent’anni trascorsi in laguna, dal 1948 al 1979, rivelatisi poi autentiche pietre miliari nella storia dell’arte del XX secolo.


 Karole Vail, curatrice della Collezione Guggenheim



″In occasione di questa commemorazione esponiamo circa il 75% della collezione Guggenheim, tra Palazzo e mostra temporanea”, racconta Karole P. B. Vail ad Huffpost. “Peggy era tra le più grandi collezioniste di arte moderna del Ventesimo secolo. La sua vita privata era davvero collegata alla sua carriera di sostenitrice di artisti. Ha deciso di seguire la propria strada nonostante fosse abbastanza soffocata dalla sua famiglia. E lo ha fatto senza avere grandi mezzi perché non è mai stata ricca come i suoi parenti. Aveva fiuto per l’arte, sapeva sfruttare il momento giusto”.


American art collector Peggy Guggenheim poses between early paintings by Jackson Pollock that are part of her modern art collection at her 18th century palace, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, in Venice, Italy, July 17, 1979.  (AP Photo)


Se Peggy divenne la mecenate che tutti oggi ricordiamo fu grazie anche al suo grande amico Marcel Duchamp: “Ignoravo l’arte moderna, e non avrei potuto realizzare tutto questo senza di lui, ignoravo perfino la differenza tra arte astratta e surrealista”, disse. Lo conobbe a Parigi, a presentarli e a introdurre Peggy nell’ambiente bohémien fu Laurence Vail, un ragazzo dall’accento francese, colto e affascinante. Che ben presto diventerà suo primo marito e padre dei suoi figli Sindbad e Pegeen.  “Duchamp è una figura chiave del museo”, continua a raccontare ad Huffpost Karole Vail. “Dalla mostra è evidente il loro rapporto. Tra le opere esposte a Palazzo Venier dei Leoni per esempio c’è il capolavoro come Scatola in una valigia (Boîte-en-Valise), realizzata dall’artista francese nel 1941Contiene sessantanove riproduzioni e miniaturizzazioni di celebri lavori del poliedrico e dissacrante artista franco-americano”. 

Peggy Guggenheim nel giardino di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, anni ’50. Alle sue spalle Karel Appel, Il coccodrillo piangente cerca di afferrare il sole (The Crying Crocodile Tries to Catch the Sun), 1956.


Karole è la nipote di Peggy, e dalla nonna ha raccolto l’eredità più importante: l’amore per l’arte e la direzione di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. “In questa mostra abbiamo cercato di valorizzare non solo le opere più importanti, ma anche quelle meno conosciute. È il caso di un’artista americana: Grace Hartigan. Faceva parte del gruppo degli espressionisti americani, era del gruppo di Pollock, e oggi è una delle poche opere di una donna in collezione. Il suo è il quadro più grande. Poi c’è un’artista giapponese americano mai esposto: Kenzo Okada. Ma non solo, abbiamo voluto mettere in risalto la collezione di arte cinetica degli anni ’60, come le opere di Manfredo Massironi e Martha Boto. C’è anche tutta la collezione degli artisti veneti che Peggy aveva sostenuto sempre negli anni ’60, Marina Apollonio e Alberto Biasi, e i veneziani Vedova, Bacci e Tancredi. Dal punto di vista curatoriale ho voluto dare questa visione di Peggy: quella di una donna che cambiò la storia dell’arte. Che non solo innovò aprendo le sue gallerie a Londra e New York, ma che ha sempre scoperto talenti anche durante il suo periodo veneziano, quando non aveva una galleria in cui esporre”.

Grace HartiganIrlanda Ireland, 1958Olio su tela / Oil on canvas200 x 271 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia


La Vail scava nelle opere della nonna, ne riscopre il valore. E proprio come Peggy propone gli artisti più interessanti. Un momento curatoriale importante per chi come lei ha un legame affettivo con l’arte esposta. Camminare tra le stanze di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni è suggestivo. Sembra quasi di vedere Peggy che si aggira tra i corridoi, tra un Picasso e un Magritte. 


René MagritteL’impero della luce (L’Empire des lumières)Empire of Light, 1953–54Olio su tela/ Oil on canvas195.4 x 131.2 cm Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia


“In quel palazzo passavo le vacanze. Non mi sentivo sempre a mio agio. Nella camera da letto dove dormivo c’erano delle opere surrealiste e facevo fatica ad addormentarmi. Non erano quadri che aiutavano a rilassarsi. Una cosa bellissima era il giardino, non si poteva davvero giocare ma con mia sorella cavalcavamo la scultura di Arp “Anfora frutto”. Non c’erano tanti giochi in giro, facevamo con quello che avevamo. Il ricordo più bello? Era andare in gondola con lei tra i canali di Venezia. Aveva l’ultima gondola privata. Era speciale” . 


Peggy Guggenheim nella sala da pranzo di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, anni '60. A sinistra, Vasily Kandinsky, Paesaggio con macchie rosse, n. 2 (Landschaft mit roten Flecken, Nr. 2), 1913. In fondo al centro, Umberto Boccioni Dinamismo di un cavallo in corsa + case, 1915. 

La collezione di Peggy Guggenheim venne presentata per la prima volta a Venezia in occasione della Biennale del 1948. Non avendo ancora acquistato una dimora le venne proposto di esporre al padiglione della Grecia. La ricca collezione riscosse grande successo permettendo ai visitatori di aggiornarsi sulle avanguardie internazionali e di conoscere gli artisti americani. “L’arrivo di Peggy a Venezia fu un scossa per la città. Era un’ebrea americana che portava con sé la sua collezione di arte moderna di giovani artisti che allora nessuno conosceva ma negli anni successivi avrebbero dominato al scena. Pollock, per esempio, è uno di questi. La sua era una missione, che però in un primo momento non è stata sempre capita e accettata. Soltanto dopo la città l’ha accolta a braccia aperte: nominandola cittadina onoraria. E oggi sono ben pochi i visitatori che vengono a Venezia senza visitare la Collezione Guggenheim”.



Peggy Guggenheim seduta sul trono nel giardino di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, anni ’60.

Peggy Guggenheim in the garden of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venice, 1960s.


 Anche il legame di Karole con Venezia è molto forte. Qui è arrivata da New York dove è stata curatrice al Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum per 20 anni. “Venezia è cambiata moltissimo come stanno cambiando tutte le città. Ci sono molti più visitatori, e i  quartieri più turistici ne risentono molto. Ci sono molti meno residenti e le botteghe hanno chiuso. È una città fragile e delicata bisogna prendersi grande cura di lei. La amo tanto e per questo penso ci sia urgenza di fare qualcosa subito”. 


Peggy Guggenheim a Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, primi anni '60. Alle sue spalle Fernand Léger, Uomini in città (Les Hommes dans la ville), 1919. Peggy Guggenheim con i suoi terrier Lhasa Apsos sulla terrazza di Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, fine anni '60.Peggy Guggenheim a Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venezia, primi anni '50. Alla parete, Pablo Picasso, Sulla spiaggia (La Baignade), 1937.

Peggy Guggenheim. L’ultima Dogaressa
21 settembre 2019 – 27 gennaio 2020
A cura di Karole P. B. Vail con Gražina Subelytė



Marina ApollonioRilievo n. 505Relief No. 505, ca. 1968Alluminio e pittura fluorescente su MasoniteAluminum and fluorescent paint on Masonite 49,9 x 49,8 cmPiero DorazioUnitas, 1965Olio su tela / Oil on canvas45,8 x 76,5 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Arshile GorkySenza titoloUntitled, estate / summer 1944Olio su tela / Oil on canvas167 x 178,2 cmFrancis BaconStudio per scimpanzéStudy for Chimpanzee, marzo / March 1957Olio e pastello su tela / Oil and pastel on canvas152,4 x 117 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Alberto BiasiDinamica visualVisual Dynamics, 1964PVC su tavola / PVC on board48,6 x 48,6 x 3 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, VeneziaRené BrôAutunno a Courgeron L'Automne à Courgeron, 1960Olio su tela / Oil on canvas187 x 146,5 cmGrace HartiganIrlanda Ireland, 1958Olio su tela / Oil on canvas200 x 271 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Asger JornSenza titolo Untitled, 1956–57Olio su tela / Oil on canvas141 x 110, 1 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Kenzo OkadaSopra il bianco Above the White, 1960Olio su tela / Oil on canvas127,3 x 96,7 cmRené MagritteL’impero della luce (L’Empire des lumières)Empire of Light, 1953–54Olio su tela/ Oil on canvas195.4 x 131.2 cm Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, VeneziaHenry MooreOggetto con spago (Testa) Stringed Object [Head], 1938 Bronzo e spago / Bronze and string7,5 x 5,2 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Pierre AlechinskyVestaglia Dressing Gown, 1972Acrilico su carta montata su tela / Acrylic on paper, mounted on canvas99,5 x 153,5 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Jackson PollockLa donna luna The Moon Woman, 1942Olio su tela / Oil on canvas175,2 x 109,3 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Jackson PollockCirconcisione Circumcision, gennaio / January 1946Olio su tela / Oil on canvas142,3 x 168 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Tancredi ParmeggianiComposizioneComposition, 1957Tempera su tela / Oil on canvas130,4 x 169,4 cmJackson PollockOcchi nel caldo Eyes in the Heat, 1946Olio (e smalto?) su tela / Oil (and enamel?) on canvas137,2 x 109,2 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia Edmondo BacciAvvenimento #247Event #247, 1956Olio con sabbia su tela / Oil with sand on canvas140,2 x 140 cm Emilio VedovaImmagine del tempo (Sbarramento)Image of Time (Barrier), 1951Tempera d'uovo su tela / Egg tempera on canvas130,5 x 170,4 cmCollezione Peggy Guggenheim, Venezia 







Muscat lascerà entro il 18 gennaio: attesa l'incriminazione di Fenech per l'omicidio di Caruana Galizia


È scattata l’ora della resa dei conti, a Malta. Mentre il premier Joseph Muscat dovrebbe lasciare al più tardi il 18 gennaio, per l’imprenditore Yorgen Fenech è attesa l’incriminazione formale per l’omicidio di Daphne Caruana Galizia. Per gli inquirenti è il 37enne erede del Tumas Group, trasformato dal padre in un impero di casinò veri e online, alberghi di lusso, porti privati, condomini esclusivi, il mandante dell’autobomba che il 16 ottobre 2017 uccise la giornalista.

Fenech si è visto respingere tutte le domande di liberazione e grazia. Si avvicina così l’ora in cui anche il premier Joseph Muscat, con la chiusura dell’inchiesta, dovrà rispondere a chi gli chiede di andarsene. Non solo alle migliaia di maltesi che da giorni protestano in massa sotto le sedi del potere alla Valletta (per domani alle 16, l’ottavo appuntamento), ma anche ad una sempre più larga fetta del partito. Con in prima fila la candidata in pole position per la successione, l’eurodeputata Miriam Dalli. Che stamani ha aperto la giornata con un post su Facebook che ha scatenato i social. “Sono arrabbiata e tradita” ha scritto Dalli, aggiungendo: “So che, come me, moltissime altre persone si sentono come me. Quelli con cui ho parlato, laburisti e non, si sentono disorientati. Non è questione di laburisti o nazionalisti. Questa è una questione che riguarda l’intero paese”.
Secondo fonti del partito laburista, tra ieri e oggi sarebbe stata messa a punto la macchina per la scelta del successore di Muscat. L′8 gennaio un primo turno di votazione per scremare la rosa dei candidati. Il 18 gennaio il ballottaggio finale. Quel giorno Muscat dovrebbe passare la mano. Ma i convulsi sviluppi delle indagini, delle proteste, delle pressioni internazionali (Parlamento Europeo e Consiglio d’Europa hanno il caso Malta nel mirino, con molti dubbi sul rispetto dello stato di diritto) non fanno escludere accelerazioni.

Yorgen Fenech, il principale accusato (su cui gravano anche sospetti di collegamenti con mafie italiane, con gli investigatori che hanno fatto sapere di star seguendo con la collaborazione dell’Interpol le tracce dei fornitori italiani della bomba) pochi giorni dopo l’arresto, mentre tentava la fuga in yacht ha puntato il dito contro Keith Schembri, sostenendo che è stato l’ex braccio destro di Muscat l’ideatore dell’omicidio. Fenech ha chiesto anche la grazia in cambio delle sue prove contro Schembri. Ma non è stato creduto. Ieri in tribunale ha dichiarato di avere una foto dell’intermediario, il tassista-usuraio Melvin Theuma che lo ha accusato di essere il mandante, assieme al capo di gabinetto nel suo ufficio all’Auberge de Castille. Ed oggi la foto è puntualmente spuntata in prima pagina sul Malta Today. Prova inconfutabile che i due si conoscevano.
Dal gioco delle accuse incrociate ha cercato di smarcarsi il ministro all’Economia, Chris Cardona, quello che si autosospese nel giorno delle dimissioni di Schembri e Mizzi. In una lettera inviata al presidente del Parlamento ha dichiarato di essere preoccupato per aver appreso che c’è stato almeno un tentativo di “incastrare” il suo nome nell’inchiesta. Cardona fu messo sulla graticola da Caruana Galizia nel gennaio 2017, quando sul suo blog raccontò di una serata del ministro in un bordello assieme al suo assistente durante una missione in Germania.

Cardona fece causa per diffamazione ma la giornalista venne uccisa prima che il caso potesse essere dibattuto.


Di Maio: "Mai detto di voler far cadere il governo"


Il capo politico dei 5 stelle Luigi Di Maio smentisce le ricostruzioni dei quotidiani che parlano di ultimatum sul Mes, il Meccanismo europeo di stabilità la cui riforma sta scaldando la maggioranza, e su cui domani dovrebbe esserci un vertice a Palazzo Chigi. 

Lo precisa lo staff di Luigi Di Maio con una nota.

“Anche oggi sui giornali leggiamo alcuni retroscena caratterizzati da ricostruzioni false, in quanto Luigi Di Maio non ha mai detto di voler far cadere il governo e non è un pensiero riconducibile al capo politico M5S che, al contrario, come già ribadito in più occasioni pubblicamente, crede in questo esecutivo e nei progetti comuni al centro del dibattito politico. In merito al Mes il capo politico M5S sta lavorando insieme al gruppo parlamentare con l’intento di apportare delle modifiche sostanziali. Il tutto con uno spirito costruttivo e di leale collaborazione con le altre forze di maggioranza”.

Pronta la risposta di Franceschini: “Sul Mes in queste ore ci giochiamo la credibilità del Paese, l’andamento dello spread e dei mercati. Non si può giocare con il fuoco. Prendo per buone le parole di Di Maio di questa mattina e da qui a lunedì vedremo se alle intenzioni seguiranno i fatti e i comportamenti, perché ci sono anche i comportamenti in politica”. Sulla questione interviene anche Graziano Delrio: “Siccome non ci sono elementi di merito che mettono in discussione la nostra sovranità nazionale, è molto importante che diamo una dimostrazione di serietà e affidabilità. Io mi aspetto che le legittime critiche del nostro alleato non portino a provocare una crisi di credibilità per il Paese. Questo sarebbe grave, per i cittadini e per la serietà con cui viene visto il nostro governo”.

Intanto si discute sul timing dell’approvazione. Da fonti europee citate dall’Agi trapela che rinviare l’approvazione del trattato sul meccanismo europeo di stabilità è possibile, ma difficile. I leader da tempo si sono dati come scadenza dicembre 2019 per il via libera alla riforma e la posizione dell’Italia complica tutto. In ogni caso, uno stallo sulla riforma del Mes non andrebbe a vantaggio dell’Italia. 


Secondo Bruxelles, la sostanza della riforma del Mes, è vantaggiosa per l’Italia rispetto alle attuali regole del fondo salva-Stati. Il Mes è destinato a svolgere la funzione di backstop (rete di sicurezza) comune se il Fondo unico di risoluzione delle banche dovesse esaurire le risorse finanziarie. La possibilità per un paese in difficoltà di ottenere una linea di credito precauzionale viene inoltre facilitata, in particolare per chi rispetta le regole del Patto di Stabilità. Il bilancio della zona euro inoltre, dovrebbe aiutare i paesi a bassa crescita e che non hanno margini per politiche espansive perchè devono proseguire il risanamento dei conti pubblici.

 A fine giornata interviene sulla questione anche Conte, che assicura sulla tenuta del governo: “No. Ogni volta, a ogni passaggio un po’ delicato, si ragiona sempre del rischio del Governo. Questo Governo andrà avanti”. Lo ha detto il premier Giuseppe Conte rispondendo ai giornalisti che gli chiedevano se le polemiche relative al fondo salva Stati possano mettere a rischio la tenuta del governo. Il governo “andrà avanti - ha ribadito Conte - per un motivo semplice: perché il Paese ha tante urgenze, ha tanti problemi anche strutturali da risolvere”. E ancora: “Noi - ha aggiunto Conte - offriamo delle risposte concrete. Lo abbiamo già dimostrato e lo stiamo dimostrando con questa manovra, finanziaria ed economica. E ancor di più lo dimostreremo appena l’avremo approvata con un piano di riforme strutturali e con un cronoprogramma serrato, molto impegnativo, al quale lavoreremo con tutte le nostre forze dalla mattina alla sera”. “Noi - ha concluso - offriamo un progetto politico, un futuro sostenibile e credibile a questo Paese. È per questo che non andremo a casa”,


La von der Leyen già spegne gli entusiasmi: "Niente scorporo dal deficit per gli investimenti green"


No allo scorporo degli investimenti green dal calcolo del deficit: lo afferma la neo presidente della Commissione europea, Ursula von der Leyen, in un’intervista al Sole 24 Ore e ad altri quotidiani stranieri. La tedesca non apre alla flessibilità di bilancio sugli investimenti verdi perché vi sarebbe “da parte degli Stati la tentazione di fare del green washing”, un ambientalismo di facciata. E aggiunge che già “c’è sufficiente margine di manovra nel Patto a favore degli investimenti”.

La neo presidente della Commissione europea non ha timori per il debito italiano. Lo dice in un’intervista ad Avvenire e ad altri quotidiani stranieri. Alla domanda se siano giustificati i timori di una possibile ristrutturazione futura del debito italiano, la tedesca risponde: “Io posso solo dire che apprezzo e anzi plaudo agli intensi sforzi del governo italiano per lavorare verso finanze pubbliche sane, vedo una grande serietà”


In Iraq si dimette Mahdi, il premier filo-iraniano. Resa dei conti in campo sciita


Iraq, la rivolta in uno Stato fallito. Senza più un governo credibile. Senza più un primo ministro. Il premier iracheno Adel Abdul-Mahdi ha annunciato oggi le dimissioni dopo le centinaia di uccisi nelle proteste, circa 50 solo nelle ultime 24 ore di repressione governativa (408 dall’inizio della rivolta il primo giorno di ottobre). 

lI premier non ha però specificato quando saranno formalizzate le dimissioni, sottolinea la Reuters. Mahdi aveva annunciato già un mese fa le sue intenzioni di lasciare la guida del Paese ma era stato fermato dall’intervento dell’Iran e in particolare dal generale dei Pasdaran Qassem Suleimani, che aveva convinto i principali blocchi sciiti in Parlamento sulla necessità di sostenere il governo e contrastare con la forza le manifestazioni. Dopo il bagno di sangue di ieri, 44 vittime fra Nassiriya e Najaf, la situazione del premier è diventata però insostenibile.

 Le dimissioni del premier iracheno non sono solo il portato della rivolta popolare che dal primo giorno di ottobre si è scatenata in tutto il Paese per denunciare la carenza di posti di lavoro, la mancanza di servizi e la corruzione del governo. Alla base c’è anche, e per certi versi soprattutto una resa dei conti nel variegato fronte sciita. All’indomani dell’uccisione di decine di manifestanti anti-governativi nel sud dell’Iraq, la massima autorità religiosa sciita irachena, il Grande Ayatollah Ali Sistani, ha  invitato il Parlamento iracheno a togliere la fiducia al governo del premier Mahdi, sostenuto da Iran e Stati Uniti, nell’ambito della crescente tensione politica e di sicurezza a Baghdad e nel sud sciita in rivolta. Nella predica settimanale, tenuta da un suo rappresentante, Ahmed al-Safi, durante la preghiera comunitaria islamica del venerdì nella città santa sciita di Karbala, a sud di Baghdad, Sistani ha chiesto al Parlamento di intervenire per cambiare l’equilibrio politico nel paese e ascoltare le pressanti richieste della popolazione del sud del Paese. “Il Parlamento, da cui il governo trae sostegno, deve rivedere la sua scelta riguardo all’esecutivo considerando gli interessi dell’Iraq”, ha detto Sistani, attraverso il suo portavoce.  Per un premier già sfiduciato dalla piazza, è stata la mazzata finale. “Ho ascoltato molto attentamente il discorso della suprema autorità religiosa”, scrive il premier citando un passaggio chiave dell’appello di Al Sistani al Parlamento. “In risposta alla sua richiesta e per velocizzare il più possibile il processo, presenterà alla Camera dei rappresentanti una lettera ufficiale con le mie dimissioni dalla guida dell’attuale governo così che il parlamento possa riconsiderare le proprie scelte nell’interesse supremo del popolo e del paese”, si legge nella dichiarazione di Abdul Mahdi.Lo scontro è totale. Il clerico sciita Moqtada al-Sadr, leader della coalizione al-Sairoon (primo partito in Parlamento), già noto in Iraq per la sua capacità di smuovere le masse e guidare proteste e in questo momento il principale rivale dell’Iran nel Paese, aveva da tempo  invocatole dimissioni del primo ministro, e nuove elezioni sotto l’egida delle Nazioni Unite, dopo avere boicottato i lavori del Parlamento che erano stati indetti per sabato 5 ottobre col fine di discutere, fra le altre cose, un taglio degli stipendi dei funzionari a favore delle fasce più deboli e della disoccupazione.

Le dimissioni di Adel Abdel Mahdi sono anche un ulteriore, pesante smacco per l’Iran, grande protettore dell’ormai ex  premier. Ora si attende la reazione di Teheran. Di certo, gli ayatollah e i pasdaran non staranno a guardare. 


Afghanistan, il "Mullah Donald" e il patto con i Talebani. Storia di un fallimento


Fa uno spot elettorale della serie “ragazzi, tranquilli, presto vi riporterò a casa”, dove quel “presto” sta per prima delle elezioni presidenziali del novembre 20020. E poi sceglie il “male minore”. E poco importa che quel “male” ha rappresentato la ragione dichiarata di una guerra lunga diciotto anni. “Mullah Donald” ha sentenziato che il nuovo Afghanistan, plurale, democratico, de-talebanizzato, è una illusione che non vale più la pena coltivare.

I negoziati con i Talebani sono ripresi dopo l’interruzione nello scorso settembre, ha annunciato Donald Trump, ieri in Afghanistan per una visita a sorpresa nella base militare di Bagram nel Giorno del Ringraziamento. I” talebani vogliono un accordo, e noi li incontreremo e diremo che deve esserci un cessate il fuoco. Loro non lo volevano ma ora sì. Abbiamo compiuto dei grandi progressi”, ha dichiarato Trump al termine di un colloquio con l’omologo afghano Ashraf Ghani.Anche i Talebani si sono detti “pronti a riprendere i colloqui” di pace con gli Stati Uniti e confermano quanto affermato ieri dal presidente statunitense, Alcuni leader del gruppo radicale hanno fatto sapere che stanno avendo incontri con funzionari Usa di alto livello, a Doha.  Ma ciò che più conta, per il tycoon, è mantenere fede su uno dei punti del suo programma elettorale:  quello di riportare a casa i soldati americani dalle guerre infinite, prima tra tutte quella in Afghanistan. Il presidente più volte ha ribadito la sua posizione, così come ha fatto anche in occasione di quest’ultima visita, sostenendo che i soldati americani, “i migliori che ci sono” non possono essere “la polizia del mondo”.   A Ghani , Trump  ha confermato l’intenzione di ridurre al più presto il numero di militari americani, dispiegati nella coalizione internazionale arrivata a combattere i talebani dopo l′11 settembre 2001, a 8.600 unità dagli attuali 13mila. Come primo step. Per arrivare, in piena campagna presidenziale, all’azzeramento della presenza militare Usa in Afghanistan. Obiettivo praticabile, nell’ottica del “Mullah Donald”, visto che nemico di ieri può diventare l’alleato di oggi Paradosso afghano: diciotto anni fa, l’America colpita dall’11 Settembre, muove guerra in Afghanistan ad al Qaeda e al regime che ospitava i campi di addestramento di Osama bin Laden: quello dei Talebani. Migliaia di morti dopo (tra cui 54 militari italiani), l’inquilino della Casa Bianca apre ai Talebani in nome di un nemico comune: l’Isis. Diciotto anni di guerra, ovvero oltre 145 mila morti, tra cui almeno 28 mila civili. A questi si aggiungono oltre 3.500 soldati NATO (di cui 53 italiani, più 650 feriti), almeno 1.700 contractor di varie nazionalità e oltre 300 cooperanti stranieri’. Una guerra costata 900 miliardi di dollari, 7,5 per l’Italia. Nel 2018 secondo l’Onu sono stati uccisi 3800 civili, tra cui mille bambini. Il più alto numero di vittime tra la popolazione in un anno. Quest’anno finora hanno perso la vita 19 militari americani.

I Talebani controllano gran parte delle regionirurali dell’Afghanistan. E rappresentano ancora una minaccia alla pace e alla stabilità del paese, forti ancora di un numero di miliziani stimati tra le 40 e le 60mila persone. Non riconoscono il governo di Ghani, che ritengono essere un “fantoccio” degli occidentali. E vogliono rientrare nella partita per la spartizione del potere. E Trump lo ha accettato. In nome di un nemico comune: lo Stato islamico. Perché a potere e territori  ai Talebani sono i foreign fighters dell’Isis. L’Afghanistan non è l’Iraq o la Siria, dove gli affiliati all’Isis combattono i curdi, i cristiani e gli sciiti. Qui il potere è conteso ad altri sunniti, i Talebani, e più che per conquistare nuovi territori al “califfato”, si combatte per assicurarsi il controllo delle rotte del commercio dei narcotici. La “fabbrica” talebana di oppiacei mantiene salda la prima posizione mondiale, infatti l’eroina afghana raggiunge quasi tutto il globo. 

 Nel gennaio 2017, l’Isis ha annunciato la nascita di una nuova fazione locale in Afghanistan, alla quale hanno velocemente aderito molti fuoriusciti dai talebani: gli afghani di Nangarhar non lo sapevano, ma si trattava proprio dei pakistani rifugiati nelle loro case. Dopo un anno di alleanza con i talebani afghani, in estate, l’Isis è venuto allo scoperto predicando in moschea un islam rigidamente wahabita (lo stesso professato in Arabia Saudita).  A luglio sono cominciati i primi scontri a fuoco tra i talebani afghani e i pakistani, passati all’Isis.   Dopo un mese circa di combattimenti, l’Isis si è impossessato della zona, nonostante gli americani bombardassero sia loro che i talebani. Passando villaggio per villaggio e casa per casa, i jihadisti hanno rubato i mezzi di sostentamento ai residenti, distruggendo scuole e madrasse talebane, imponendo una nuova legge. Le abitazioni dei talebani sono state bruciate e chi veniva sospettato di essere loro alleato è stato rapito e seviziato, Una recente inchiesta della Bbc metteva in evidenza come l’adesione allo Stato islamico fosse divenuta economicamente più appetibile per gli afghani, considerato lo stipendio di 500$ mensili, cui il movimento talebano (in guerra dal 2001) non può sicuramente entrare in concorrenza. Il pericolo di un progressivo sbilanciamento di forze a favore delle bandiere nere era stato denunciato dallo stesso leader Mullah Omar, ora defunto, in una lettera proprio rivolta al Califfo Al-Baghdadi, anche lui passato a miglior vita.  Nella stessa il Mullah intimava il fu Califfo di “non cercare di penetrare in Afghanistan” e che la sua azione stava “pericolosamente dividendo il mondo musulmano. E a rendere ancora più ingovernabile il Paese è la frammentazione etnico-tribale



Kwaśniewski: Hunter Biden został członkiem rady nadzorczej firmy Burisma ze względu na swojego ojca, ale wykazał się kompetencjami

OCEŃ TEN WPIS ! DZIĘKUJĘ ZA OCENĘByły polski prezydent i członek rady nadzorczej ukraińsko-amerykańskiej spółki Burisma poinformował o tym w wywiadzie dla Associated Press. Aleksander Kwaśniewski dodał, że Hunter Biden w firmie Burisma wykazywał się kompetencjami… Czytaj dalej

Correction: Europe-Space story


MADRID (AP) - In a story Nov. 28 about the European Space Agency, The Associated Press provided an incorrect U.S. dollar conversion for the 12.5 billion euros pledged by the agency’s member countries for its three-year budget period. That is about $13.7 billion, not $13.7 million.

A corrected version of ...


Veteran ‘Will & Grace’ actress Shelley Morrison dead at 83

LOS ANGELES — Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” died Sunday, her publicist said. Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83....

Белый дом не будет участвовать в слушаниях по импичменту

Администрация президента Дональда Трампа отказалась от участия в назначенных на среду, 4 декабря, слушаниях по импичменту президента. Соответствующее заявление юриста Белого дома было распространено 1 декабря, сообщает The Associated Press. «Это необоснованное и крайне пристрастное расследование...

Coffee table books are great gifts — even if you don’t have a coffee table | Things to Do - St. Paul Pioneer Press

Mary Ann Grossmann contributed to this story.

Art, architecture, music or travel, take a closer look below by Leanne Italie, Associated Press.

Photo: JumpStory
Art, architecture, music or travel: Coffee table books can fill just the right gift niche, especially when the cost would be budget-busting if you bought one for yourself. Offerings abound at holiday time. 
Some suggestions:
Read more... 

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press


Paging Dr. Robot: Artificial intelligence moves into care | Artificial intelligence - Missouri Lawyers Media

The next time you get sick, your care may involve a form of the technology people use to navigate road trips or pick the right vacuum cleaner online by Associated Press.

In this file photo from May 2, 2019, Cadet Cheyenne Quilter works with a virtual reality character named “Ellie” at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Artificial intelligence is spreading into health care, often as software or a computer program capable of learning from large amounts of data and making predictions to guide care or help patients.
Photo: AP Photo by Seth Wenig
Artificial intelligence is spreading into health care, often as software or a computer program capable of learning from large amounts of data and making predictions to guide care or help patients.

It already detects an eye disease tied to diabetes and does other behind-the-scenes work like helping doctors interpret MRI scans and other imaging tests for some forms of cancer.

Now, parts of the health system are starting to use it directly with patients. During some clinic and telemedicine appointments, AI-powered software asks patients initial questions about their symptoms that physicians or nurses normally pose.
And an AI program featuring a talking image of the Greek philosopher Aristotle is starting to help University of Southern California students cope with stress...

The team that developed Ellie also has put together a newer AI-based program to help students manage stress and stay healthy.

Ask Ari is making its debut at USC this semester to give students easy access to advice on dealing with loneliness, getting better sleep or handling other complications that crop up in college life.

Source: Missouri Lawyers Media


Untempted by the Consequences


“The women are up to something in Convocation,” the dons of St. John’s College, Oxford, were warned. “We have to go and vote them down.”

The women at issue were led by a young philosopher named G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe, who was then a tutor at Somerville, one of the oldest women’s colleges at the University of Oxford. Anscombe had come to Somerville in 1946 on a research fellowship. At that time she was a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who entrusted her with the translation of his Philosophical Investigations, which appeared in 1953, two years after his death. Now, in 1956, Anscombe was opposing the university’s decision to grant an honorary degree to former U.S. President Harry Truman.

Speaking on the floor of Convocation to her colleagues on May 1, 1956, Anscombe said that her opposition to granting Truman’s degree was based on his responsibility for dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. “If you do give this honor,” she asked, “what Nero, what Genghis Khan, what Hitler, or what Stalin will not be honored in the future?” In response, a representative of the Hebdomadal Council, then the university’s chief executive body, argued that Anscombe had overstated Truman’s responsibility. “A great many people were involved in the responsibility of the manufacture and delivery of the bomb,” he told the faculty, “and we cannot select one man as being solely responsible, even if his was the signature at the bottom of the order for the bomb to be dropped.”

Anscombe’s cause was doomed to fail. Reports in the Manchester Guardian and the Times of London claimed that no other faculty echoed her dissenting vote, though subsequent reports indicate that three or four had joined her—and Anscombe later dedicated the pamphlet “Mr. Truman’s Degree,” in which she explained the rationale for her opposition, “with respect, but without permission, to the others who said ‘Non placet.’” In the speech she gave to her colleagues on the day of the vote, she acknowledged that these voices were not going to prevail, saying that she had “no ambition or hope to carry the House with me in this, but my hope is that this honorary degree will not be offered without opposition being expressed.”

Truman received his degree at the university’s Encaenia ceremony on June 20, 1956. In a speech awarding the degree, the Chancellor praised him as “most staunch of allies, direct in your speech and in your writings, and ever a pattern of simple courage.” Anscombe, who had concluded her pamphlet with the warning that she herself “should fear to go” to Encaenia “in case God’s patience suddenly ends,” had kept away from the ceremony, telling the Guardian that she “would spend the day working as usual.”


The influence of Wittgenstein on Anscombe’s philosophical writing is immense, in both substance and style.

The protest against Truman was hardly Elizabeth Anscombe’s first foray into public controversy. As an undergraduate in 1939, just a year after entering the Catholic Church under the tutelage of the Dominican friars at Oxford, Anscombe and her friend Norman Daniel published a pamphlet titled “The Justice of the Present War Examined: A criticism based on traditional Catholic principles and on natural reason.” It presented “the results achieved in a series of open discussions held at Oxford both before and after” Britain’s declaration of war against Nazi Germany in September of that year. Anscombe and Daniel concluded that the war against Germany was unjust, partly because it would involve the deliberate massacre of civilian populations.

“We have it,” they wrote, following Thomas Aquinas, “that no one may be deliberately attacked in war, unless his actions constitute an attack on the rights which are being defended or restored. To deny this will be to assert that we may attack any one anywhere, whose life in any way hinders the prosecution of the war, or in any way assists our enemies; and such a conclusion is as immoral as to be a reductio ad absurdum in itself.”

Anscombe and Daniel’s pamphlet did not receive anything like the attention of her protest against Truman seventeen years later, which was picked up by the Associated Press and covered in newspapers across the United States and other parts of the world. (A report from Reuters, under the headline “WOMAN DON FAILS TO HALT TRUMAN DEGREE TO OXFORD,” mistakenly gave her first name as “Gladys” rather than “Gertrude.”) The pamphlet did, however, make enough of an impact that in 1940 the Archbishop of Birmingham wrote to a priest at Oxford complaining that Anscombe and Daniel had it “printed and brought out without submitting it to ecclesiastical authority,” and inquiring as to whether they were “deliberately taking a line opposed to that of the hierarchy of this country.”

Despite the need for some sort of military action against Nazi Germany, Anscombe and Daniel were clearly right on two very important points. First, the war that Britain actually waged against the Axis Powers did involve attacks that were targeted directly at civilian populations and, second, a war carried out by such means does violate a central principle of the church’s just-war teaching. It is possible that the war could have been fought without deploying these tactics, and it might have been just if it had been. But Anscombe and Daniel were correct in predicting that it would not be waged in that way. Acknowledging that “to some their arguments may seem temerarious,” they aimed in their pamphlet “to make the Christian tradition clear, to examine the mind of the Church in a rational and scientific manner.”

While Anscombe and Daniel’s 1939 pamphlet was addressed exclusively to fellow Catholics and Christians, Anscombe’s protest of 1956 had a quite different audience. Indeed, in writing her pamphlet “Mr. Truman’s Degree,” Anscombe saw that many of her Oxford colleagues were prepared to accept a conclusion that she and Daniel had presented as a reductio ad absurdum. These philosophers endorsed a doctrine that Anscombe came to call consequentialism, according to which there are no kinds of action—such as murder, rape, torture, and adultery, for example—that any person is prohibited from doing regardless of the situation he or she is in. According to this doctrine it can be right to “attack any one anywhere,” as long as the balance of the consequences speaks strongly enough in favor of it. Faced with a group that found this conclusion acceptable, Anscombe needed to try a different tack.


It was as an Oxford undergraduate that Anscombe met her husband, a fellow Catholic convert named Peter Geach, at a Corpus Christi procession in 1938. They married three years later, and during the first few years of marriage they lived apart from one another. Geach worked in a pine forest as a conscientious objector to World War II while Anscombe studied at Oxford and Cambridge. During this time they had two children—the first of seven they would have together, despite often working at universities in separate cities.

Anscombe became a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein shortly after arriving at Cambridge on a research fellowship in 1942, during which time Geach was engaged in forestry work. Wittgenstein was by then a major figure in the world of philosophy, having published his influential Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus two decades earlier. Many students at Cambridge were extremely devoted to him. The Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle would later describe the reverential atmosphere at Wittgenstein’s lectures as “pedagogically disastrous for the students and unhealthy for Wittgenstein himself.” But Anscombe’s own view of this dynamic was quite different. In her remembrances of Wittgenstein, she described the attention he would pay to his students as he helped them work through philosophical questions. “Wittgenstein very often seemed to understand one’s philosophical thought and problems better than one did oneself,” she wrote. “One would say what one thought—then he would amplify it, make it seem more convincing, carry it deeper—and then undo it.”

As a teacher Wittgenstein was notoriously unaccommodating for female students, but he quickly took a liking to Anscombe and would refer to her, affectionately, as “old man.” In his biography of Wittgenstein, The Duty of Genius, Ray Monk writes that on one occasion, when Wittgenstein found that there were no other women students remaining at his lecture, he turned to Anscombe and said, “Thank God we’ve got rid of the women!” A letter that he wrote in 1945 in support of Anscombe’s application for a research fellowship characterized her as “undoubtedly, the most talented female student I have had since 1930, when I began to lecture; and among my male students only eight, or ten have surpassed her.” It was not long before Anscombe would surpass those eight or ten as well.

The influence of Wittgenstein on Anscombe’s philosophical writing is immense, in both substance and style. Both of them attend closely to ordinary speech and other forms of human expression and interaction, and reject the demand that philosophy deliver a theory to resolve the questions that we face. While Anscombe presented arguments for straightforward conclusions in many of her philosophical writings, this was always in a way that gave intense consideration to conceptual difficulties and counterarguments. Meanwhile, others of her writings are like Wittgenstein’s in that they deliver no thesis at all but rather take up a question and simply attack it from all sides. In her remembrances of Wittgenstein, Anscombe wrote that he once reproached her for the tendency they both shared to get stuck in philosophical problems. “You know,” he told her, “you strike me as like a person who is walking along a road and comes to a lamp post which is in his way. And [this person] says: ‘There’s a lamp post. I can’t go on.’ It doesn’t occur to you to walk around the lamp post—I have a prejudice, which is that problems are insoluble.”

Wittgenstein could be critical of Anscombe’s written work to a degree that most academics today could barely imagine. Her notebooks recall how, of some of her writing, “he said, ‘Bought for a farthing’ and ‘Shit on the floor’—though the way he put this latter to me was ‘Not house-trained.’” Her husband Peter Geach once told her that having Wittgenstein come to stay with them “was like having a young atom bomb in the house.” Yet Anscombe also wrote of how “kind and considerate” Wittgenstein was, always prepared to help and advise even when this meant interrupting his work, and of how he “hated meanness” and was not “carelessly amiable or carelessly generous.” (Upon discovering once that Anscombe had no wastepaper basket at her lodging in Oxford, Wittgenstein said “You are a writer, you have to have a wastepaper basket”—and he took her out to buy one.) And she also expressed a wish to capture better in her remembrances of her teacher “how funny he could be—but it is possible that the jokes which came often in his lectures and his talks were just for the moment.”

Anscombe’s attitude toward religious topics stood in stark contrast to Wittgenstein’s. While she was a convert to Catholicism whose earliest encounter with philosophy came in an attempt to formalize a proof of God’s existence, Wittgenstein was raised in a Catholic household but had decided around the age of nine that, as Anscombe put it, “the Christian religion (that Catholic one which they were taught) was all a rubble.” Though some of Wittgenstein’s unpublished remarks from the 1930s show him expressing an openness to Christianity, he is reported to have said, in reference to Anscombe and another Catholic student of his, Yorick Smythies, that “I could not possibly bring myself to believe all the things they believe.” In his posthumous work On Certainty, Wittgenstein described this kind of clash between irreconcilable attitudes as one in which two worldviews are so totally opposed that there is no way to give reasons that can be engaged by the other side. The discovery of having been wrong to such an extent would be such that “the foundation of all judging would be taken away from me.”

Despite all this, at one point in 1950 Wittgenstein asked Anscombe to put him in touch with a “non-philosophical” priest, wishing as Ray Monk puts it “to talk to [the] priest as a priest” rather than “to discuss philosophical problems.” While the priest took this as part of an attempt by Wittgenstein to return to his childhood Catholicism, Anscombe herself reportedly doubted this. There were, however, arrangements made by this priest for Wittgenstein to live the life of a brother in a Dominican priory—a plan that had to be abandoned due to his bad health. When Wittgenstein died in 1951 Anscombe was one of a small group at his side that included Yorick Smythies, who brought with him the priest Wittgenstein had met. It was agreed that, since Wittgenstein had expressed hope that his Catholic friends would pray for him, this priest should be allowed to administer last rites.

Wittgenstein was given a Catholic burial the next morning—a decision that was, as Monk argues, surely improper given his professed lack of faith, even as it reflected the religious intensity with which Wittgenstein had lived.


Anscombe’s Intention is an extraordinarily dense and difficult book, even by the standards of contemporary philosophy.

After her contribution to the pamphlet with Norman Daniel, the earliest of Anscombe’s published writings is from 1948, based on a debate she had with C. S. Lewis, who was then a fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. The debate took place in Oxford’s Socratic Club, and concerned the third chapter of Lewis’s book Miracles, which argues that human thought cannot be relied on “if it can be fully explained as the result of irrational causes.” This argument was supposed to show that the only way to have a reasonable belief in the reliability of human reason is to believe in a supernatural God.

Anscombe criticized Lewis’s argument, claiming that it was based “on a confusion between the concepts of cause and reason.” In evaluating, for example, the quality of the argument in a piece of writing, our concern with whether it expresses good reasoning is not about “the circumstances of its production,” but rather about whether the evidence it offers is sufficient to prove its conclusion. She also argued that the term “explanation” can encompass many different things, and that a causal explanation of human thought and behavior in terms of regular patterns in the universe would not preclude there also being explanations in terms of the reasons why people act and believe as they do. Both of these arguments likely had their roots in Anscombe’s interactions with Wittgenstein, as they mirrored ideas that were central to his Philosophical Investigations, and that Anscombe would develop in her own work of the following decade.

There was for some time a lot of controversy over how Lewis was affected by this episode. Anscombe wrote to Wittgenstein the day after the debate that Lewis had been “much more decent in discussion than I expected, though he was glib and played all sorts of tricks to obscure the issue.” She did add, however, that during the discussion the secretary of the club “started going for Lewis, who had said something about having written the book ‘at a fairly popular level’—he [the secretary] reproached him almost in moral terms, that one should not, for the sake of popularizing, put up a bad argument.” While several of Lewis’s biographers claimed that the debate humiliated him and was the end of his career as a public intellectual, Anscombe later wrote that those who knew Lewis reported no such thing at the time, and noted that Lewis revised the argument of that chapter for the second edition of Miracles, presenting it in a way that she found more appropriate “to the actual depth and difficulty of the question being discussed.”


The closing paragraphs of Anscombe’s pamphlet “Mr. Truman’s Degree” raised the question of “why so many Oxford people are willing to flatter” a man who had approved the massacre of entire cities. “I get some small light on this subject,” Anscombe wrote, “when I consider the productions of Oxford moral philosophy since the First World War, which I have lately had occasion to read.” (While her early research interests had been in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, it was when her Somerville colleague Philippa Foot spent a year visiting in America that Anscombe began reading modern ethicists in order to take over Foot’s course in moral philosophy.) One important strand that Anscombe identified in these philosophers was “a doctrine that it is impossible to have any quite general moral laws.” According to this doctrine:

[S]uch laws as “It is wrong to lie” or “Never commit sodomy” are rules of thumb which an experienced person knows when to break. Further, both his selection of these as the rules on which to proceed, and his tactful adjustments of them in particular cases, are based on their fitting together with the “way of life” which is his preference.… These philosophies, then, contain a repudiation of the idea that any class of actions, such as murder, may be absolutely excluded.

This, again, is what Anscombe would call the consequentialist doctrine that any type of action can in principle be justified by considering its likely consequences. According to this logic, it was because his action ended up saving lives, by bringing an earlier end to the war, that Truman was justified in massacring the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In “Modern Moral Philosophy,” the influential 1958 paper in which she introduced the term “consequentialism,” Anscombe went to greater length in identifying the error that her Oxford colleagues had committed. This followed a BBC radio address given about a year earlier, in which Anscombe had posed the question “Does Oxford moral philosophy corrupt youth?” and answered it in the negative: the youth were not corrupted, she said, since these philosophers only taught the bad moral views that young people held anyway. Anscombe’s 1958 paper began with a whirlwind history in which she dismissed a series of moral philosophers from David Hume (“sophistical”) to Immanuel Kant (“useless”) to John Stuart Mill (“stupid”) to Henry Sidgwick (“dull” and “vulgar”), and then took aim at the “shallow,” “provincial,” and “corrupt” work of her contemporaries. The latter criticism centered on a conception of intentional action that Anscombe located in the work of Sidgwick, according to which a person “must be said to intend any foreseen consequences of [their] voluntary action.” On Anscombe’s reading, Sidgwick used this definition “to put forward an ethical thesis which would now be accepted by many people: the thesis that it does not make any difference to a man’s responsibility for something that he foresaw, that he felt no desire for it, either as an end or as a means to an end.”

Anscombe illustrated the upshot of this thesis with a simple example. According to a view like Sidgwick’s, there is no difference between the responsibility a man has for withdrawing material support from his children if he does this in order to achieve some further end, and the responsibility the same man would have if he was imprisoned for refusing to commit a disgraceful act. In both cases the man foresees that his choice will have the consequence of withdrawing material support from his children. Therefore, according to Sidgwick’s view, in each case the man is responsible in the same way for this outcome.

It is straightforward to extend this analysis to Truman’s decision to bomb the Japanese cities. Truman could foresee that his decision would lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. Yet, his defenders claim, a similar or greater number of civilians would have been killed had he chosen not to drop the bombs. On this analysis, Truman would have been equally responsible for the civilian deaths in either case. So the only thing that matters is whether he made the choice that led to better consequences overall—that is, to fewer total deaths.

Anscombe noted in “Modern Moral Philosophy” how surprising it was that none of the philosophers who accepted this position displayed any awareness of how their conclusions were “quite incompatible with the Hebrew–Christian ethic.” According to this ethic, she wrote, “there are certain things forbidden whatever consequences threaten,” and faced with the possibility of doing these things “you are not to be tempted by fear or hope of consequences.” But she saw that in her context she could not respond to this situation simply by defending traditional moral absolutes. Instead, the way forward was to begin “by banishing ethics totally from our minds,” in order to consider “simply as part of the philosophy of psychology” the concepts that ethical thinking presupposes. Among these she listed “action,” “intention,” and “wanting”—all of which are explored at length in the short book she had published a year earlier under the simple title Intention.


Anscombe’s Intention is an extraordinarily dense and difficult book, even by the standards of contemporary philosophy. It is just ninety-four pages long, comprising fifty-two numbered sections that range in length from a single paragraph to four or five pages. In this space the book treats an exhausting range of topics—and yet it has no obvious structure, no theses introduced at the beginning or stated clearly at the end, and barely any reference to the authors whose work it engages. It baffled several reviewers when it first appeared, and for a while went out of print. Yet when Harvard University Press reissued Anscombe’s book in 2001, the following quotation from the philosopher Donald Davidson appeared on the cover: “Anscombe’s Intention is the most important treatment of action since Aristotle.”

Anscombe would likely have objected that such praise overlooked at least the importance of Thomas Aquinas, whose influence is everywhere in Intention, even though his name appears only in one stray footnote. Anscombe’s daughter, Mary Geach, wrote in 2011 that her mother “drew on [Aquinas’s] thought to an unknowable extent: she said to me that it aroused prejudice in people to tell them that a thought came from him: to my sister she said that to ascribe a thought to him made people boringly ignore the philosophical interest of it, whether they were for Aquinas or against him.” Because of this, rather than repeating Aquinas’s theses and rehearsing his arguments for them—an approach entirely out of keeping with the way Aquinas himself built on the work of philosophers like Aristotle and St. Augustine—Anscombe’s writing appropriates Aquinas’s ideas in a fresh and novel guise, free of scholastic terminology and ready to be engaged by the contemporary reader.

Because of its scope and style, Intention resists easy summary. Anscombe is opposed throughout the book to thinking of intention primarily as a matter of one’s internal psychology—as the objective one has in doing a certain thing, or the willingness to do a thing on a certain occasion. At one point she identifies Wittgenstein as having advanced such a view in his Tractatus: “The world is independent of my will,” Wittgenstein wrote, and so action depends on a “presumed physical connexion” between one’s will and one’s bodily movements. In a notebook that likely dates from the 1950s, Anscombe cited this passage and wrote of feeling “more certain that there is a mistake here than about anything else in the Tractatus.” She continued: “I wish to say that ‘I do what happens’ when I act. The extraordinary thing is that this assumes an air of paradox.” This quoted remark reappeared in the text of Intention, where Anscombe wrote that though “everyone who heard this formula found it extremely paradoxical,” in fact it can be shown to make good sense.

In order to save this remark from paradox, Anscombe argued in her book that we use the concept of intention to describe what happens in most of our ordinary ways of describing human life. Imagine, for example, that you come into Anscombe’s study and find her sitting at her desk, with a pen in her hand that she is moving across the page. What is she doing? Writing, you will answer—and in describing her movements in this way you have already gone beyond a description in terms of physical bodies and forces. Mere physical objects can shatter, rise, and roll down hills, but they cannot write, jump, or walk. To describe a movement with words like these is to describe it as the execution of an intention.

How does this account apply to the case of Truman? The analysis of intention that Anscombe rejected holds that since Truman did not want the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to die—since their deaths were not part of his ultimate objective—they therefore fall outside the scope of his intention. By contrast, Anscombe argues that any sensible description of what Truman did must include the fact that he used these civilian deaths as a means to his end. These deaths were not merely incidental, since it was by killing the civilians that Truman brought the war to a close. Truman had innocent people killed in order to achieve his aims—and to do such a thing is to commit an act of murder.


To do the truth is not merely to grasp or to speak it; it also entails the kind of activism and advocacy that were such a part of Anscombe’s life.

Apart from her scholarly work, Anscombe also wrote and lectured extensively for wider audiences, usually of Catholics, on matters of popular concern. A frequent topic of this popular work is the Catholic teaching on contraception—a topic Anscombe wrote about as early as 1963, in an exchange with the Dominican friar Herbert McCabe in the pages of New Blackfriars. Later on, in an essay from 1972 published in The Human World under the title “Contraception and Chastity,” Anscombe defended what she called the Christian “ideal of chastity” and argued that the use of contraceptives is in conflict with it.

For Anscombe, what made the Christian teaching on sexuality so important was precisely that this teaching was not “traditional”: the teaching put Christians “at odds with the heathen world,” not only in the life of monastics but “as part of the ordinary calling of a Christian.” And, she argued, it is this view of marriage and family life that provides the rationale for the Christian ideal of chastity:

[T]he ground of [Christian] objection to fornication and adultery was that sexual intercourse is only right in the sort of set-up that typically provides children with a father and mother to care for them. If it’s all right to exclude children, if you can turn intercourse into something other than the reproductive type of act (I don’t mean of course that every act is reproductive any more than every acorn leads to an oak-tree but it’s a reproductive type of act) then why, if you can change it, should it be restricted to the married? Restricted, that is, to partners bound in a formal, legal, union whose fundamental purpose is the bringing up of children?

Anscombe’s argument here is supposed to be a reductio ad absurdum of the claim that contraceptive intercourse is permissible: if this is allowed, she says, then all other restrictions on sexual behavior go with it. It seems possible to resist this conclusion by holding that using contraceptives only sometimes would not sever entirely the link between sex and reproduction. Just as a writer lands most of her words in the wastepaper basket, so most of a married couple’s sexual acts won’t result in any children. And what is the difference between using contraceptives and refraining from intercourse during fertile periods in order not to become pregnant?

Questions like these were the focus of two replies to Anscombe’s article that were published in a subsequent issue of The Human World, one by Peter Winch and the other by Bernard Williams and Michael Tanner—all three professional philosophers, the latter two colleagues of Anscombe’s at Cambridge, where in 1970 she had taken up the chair previously held by Wittgenstein. Winch’s reply was short and substantive, arguing that the method of avoiding procreative intercourse does seem to change the character of “an act of intercourse considered as intentional,” in just the same way as taking a contraceptive pill. Williams and Tanner made a similar argument at greater length, and also voiced displeasure with what they called Anscombe’s “offensive” conclusions and spoke of how hard it was “to suppress feelings of outrage at some of her attacks on the spirit of the age, and the relish with which she launches them.”

Anscombe’s reply to these substantive arguments appealed to some simple analogies. In replying to Winch she asked the reader to imagine a man who operates some machinery in the course of doing his job, compared with another who deliberately sabotages this machinery and then manipulates it, perhaps by turning a crank, in a way that is superficially the same as the first man. The “wider context” between the two men’s actions means that there is a difference in what each of them does—since the fact that the second man has sabotaged the machine means that he is not doing his job, or even “operating” the machine in a strict sense at all. So have the contracepting couple “sabotaged” the sex act by preventing it from achieving its natural end. In replying to Williams and Tanner (whom she addressed as “my friendly neighborhood philosophers”) she pointed to the difference between arranging a meeting at a time when one knows a certain person will not be able to come, in order thereby to exclude that person, and physically barring an unwanted person from a meeting. The former, she wrote, “may be correctly describable as doing my organiser’s duties, namely to arrange the meeting.” But in physically barring an unwanted person, “I would be transgressing [those duties] by arranging to refuse him admission.”

This argument raises the question of whether a married couple has any duty toward their would-be children corresponding to the one that Anscombe’s organizer has to his potential guests. That is a question about the end or aim of married life, and such a question cannot be reduced to the casuistic application of moral principles. Here is how Anscombe addressed that wider question in the 1972 essay:

What people are for is to home in on God, God who is the one truth that is infinitely worth knowing, the possession of which you could never get tired of, like the water which if you have you can never thirst again, because your thirst is slaked forever and always. It’s this potentiality, this incredible possibility, of the knowledge of God and of sharing in His nature which Christianity holds out to people and because of this potentiality every life, right up to the last, is infinitely precious. Its potentialities in all things the world cares about may be slight; but there is always the possibility of what it’s for.

In this context, Williams and Tanner’s complaints on behalf of “the spirit of the age,” and their charge that Anscombe was “preaching impoverishment of life,” come into a different light, as she noted in her reply to them: “That one must be prepared to lose one’s life to save it, that ‘being poor in spirit’ is blessed, that what looks like deprivation and mutilation may be the path of life, the alternative death: all this Christianity has indeed taught.” She then added how strange it is “that ordinary chaste and faithful marriage should seem to exemplify” this spiritual poverty: “But that’s what our age is like.”


It is hard to imagine a phrase less descriptive of the life of Elizabeth Anscombe than Williams and Tanner’s charge of “impoverishment.” She was, by all accounts, an astoundingly rich personality, not at all mediocre or ordinary. Her house was filled with children as well as all sorts of visitors. She joked and swore, was famous for smoking cigars and drinking champagne, and loved to eat good food and cook it with her children. One great Oxford philosopher, Sir Anthony Kenny, recalls how in his days as a graduate student it was possible to drop into Anscombe’s house “at any hour of day or night and start discussion of a philosophical problem.” Sir Michael Dummett—who also converted to Catholicism, and who disagreed with Anscombe about contraception—recalls that tutorial meetings with her would last up to three hours rather than the usual one hour.

While not a feminist in any usual sense, Anscombe did keep her maiden name (on aesthetic grounds, apparently—“G.E.M. Anscombe” sounded better, she thought, than “G.E.M. Geach”), and she wore pants exclusively, often under a tunic. This made for some good stories. In one, Anscombe entered a restaurant in Boston where she was told that ladies were not permitted to wear pants, and so she took her pants off. In another, someone at the university told her that ladies had to wear skirts when they were lecturing, and so she began carrying a plastic bag with a skirt in it and then putting it on, over her trousers, just outside the lecture room.

The characteristics that made Anscombe one of the most exhilarating and intellectually formidable philosophers of her time also make most of her scholarly work quite inaccessible to non-specialists. Her popular writings, many of which are collected in Faith in a Hard Ground (2008), are a different story, though these too are not the sort of thing one is used to finding in a popular magazine. Her writing is focused, incisive, uncompromising in its commitment to what she called “doing the truth.” To do the truth is not merely to grasp or to speak it; it also entails the kind of activism and advocacy that were such a part of Anscombe’s life. A remark in one of her notebooks glosses this phrase as equivalent to “acting truthfully”—acting, that is, in such a way that this truth that we long for fills us up entirely as its vessel, animating our life and shining forth through our deeds.

In the final hours before her death, Anscombe was attended by her husband and four of her children, and she died as they finished reciting the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. Anthony Kenny, who had been a student of Anscombe’s and then carried on with her an extensive correspondence via postcard after confessing to her that he was losing his Catholic faith, recently told the story of her burial. Following a funeral Mass in Blackfriars, Cambridge, the mourners processed to the grounds in Ascension Parish where Wittgenstein had been buried some fifty years earlier. Anscombe had secured special permission to be buried next to her teacher, and the grave was dug at double the usual depth, so her husband could be laid to rest above her. Peter Geach followed her there in 2013.



Boston College reportedly fires coach Steve Addazio


Boston College needs a new football coach.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Steve Addazio has been fired after seven seasons and a record of 44-44. He led the school to bowl games in six of his seven seasons.

Wide receivers coach Rich Gunnell will serve as the interim coach while the school searches for a replacement.

Addazio was solid during his tenure, but the Eagles just could not win a big game. He beat just one team ranked in the top 25 by the Associated Press during his seven seasons.

Boston College finished this season 6-6 and 4-4 in the ACC.


From the The Associated Press wire

This good article on The Associated Press today is quite interesting: New Trial for Ex-Qwest Boss Nacchio. An appeals court overturned the conviction of former Qwest Communications International Inc. CEO Joseph Nacchio on Monday, sending the case back to be retried in district court.

Apellate court overturns Joseph Nacchio conviction

The Associated Press has the full story. An appeals court overturned the conviction of former Qwest Communications International Inc. CEO Joseph Nacchio on Monday, sending the case back to be retried in district court.

AP Poll: Gophers Drop To #15 After Being Routed By Badgers

Alabama dropped to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll, snapping the Crimson Tide’s record streak of 68 appearances in the top five.

New wave of abuse suits could hit church like never before

NEW YORK (AP) — A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis. Associated Press interviews with attorneys ... Reported by Seattle Times 4 minutes ago.

Tips Originating From A San Diego Video Production: Pre-Interview Your Subjects

dictionary.comWithin day-to-day of my discovery, a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (via Associated Press) noted that Kroger was creating a majo...

Michigan falls to No. 17 in AP poll, No. 18 in coaches'

Ohio State's 56-27 rout over Michigan on Saturday dropped the Wolverines to No. 17 in the Associated Press college football poll and to No. 18 in the Amway coaches' poll on Sunday.


Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympic Gold Medal Could Fetch More Than $1 Million at Online Auction

One of four gold medals won by American Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympic Games in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany is up for grabs at an online auction taking place now through December 7. The opening bid at is $250,000, but recent history tells us this very special piece of sports memorabilia could sell for $1 million or more.

Back in 2013, billionaire Ron Burkle plunked down $1.46 million for an Owens gold medal from the same Berlin Olympics. It was the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.

Owens’ performance in Berlin was one of the most significant in Olympic history because Hitler was convinced the Games would showcase what he believed was the superiority of the Aryan race. Instead, the 23-year-old son of an Alabama share cropper embarrassed the German dictator by dominating his athletes with decisive wins in the 100- and 200-meter dash, the long jump and as a member of the 4×100 meter relay team.

Of the four gold medals captured by Owens, the whereabouts of two are unknown. The one purchased by Burkle in 2013 had been gifted by Owens to his good friend, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The medal came to SCP Auctions via the estate of Robinson’s wife, Elaine Plaines-Robinson.

The Owens medal being offered by Goldin Auctions was most recently owned by the family of John Terpak, Sr., a weightlifter who met Owens during the 1936 Games. Owens apparently gifted the medal to Terpak in appreciation of his generosity and kindness.

Even though Owens was the first athlete in Olympic history to win four gold medals, his hero status was short-lived. According to Goldin Auctions, racial laws and cultural norms kept Owens from capitalizing on his Olympic triumphs. Because of the color of his skin, there were no corporate endorsements, high paying speaking engagements or coaching offers. Friends, such as Terpak, stepped in to ensure Owens would be financially stable.

As early as 1954, Terpak arranged for Owens to appear at speaking events in his native Pennsylvania, and the legendary Olympian was invited back many times over the next decade. Owens passed away in 1980 and Terpak passed away in 1993.

Owens' 55mm medal features Giuseppe Cassioli’s famous “Trionfo” design, which was showcased on the Summer Olympic medals from 1928 through 1968. The obverse depicts Nike, the Greek Winged Goddess of Victory, holding a palm in her left hand and a winner’s crown in her right, with the Colosseum in the background. The reverse shows a jubilant crowd carrying a triumphant athlete.

"No athletic award carries the same historical weight and value as Jesse Owens' gold medal-winning performance at the 1936 Olympics, for no athlete ever achieved nor proved as much as Owens did during those Games," said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. "Even though we have offered at auction some of the most iconic sports collectibles, it is the highest honor to share this museum-worthy item with the world."

Interestingly, the last Olympic gold medal made of pure gold was awarded in 1912. Starting in 1916, the gold medals were made from gilded silver (92.5% silver, plated with six grams of gold).

Owens’ 1936 gold medal weighed 71 grams. So, at today’s valuations, the precious metal content would be worth less then $40 in silver and about $309 in gold.

Credits: Gold medals courtesy of Goldin Auctions. Long jump photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R96374 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of U.S. Olympic team sprinters (from left) Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe and Frank Wykoff on the deck of the S.S. Manhattan before they sailed for Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympics by the Associated Press [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


Endangered Butterfly Lives on Military Base

  As a large explosion is heard in the distance, a St. Francis Satyr butterfly flies around, ready to lay as many as 100 eggs. At one point, this brown butterfly could be found in only one place: a military base in the American state of North Carolina. An estimated 3,000 St. Francis Satyrs exist. The very small insects are one of the rarest butterfly species in the world. The almost 50-year-old Endangered Species Act protects the St. Francis Satyr along with about 1,600 other American species. However, recent changes to the law have led some to worry that threatened species in the United States may be at increasing risk. The endangered species act – successes and challenges To some experts, the existence of these butterflies means the Endangered Species Act has done its job. More than 99.2% of the species protected by it survive, The Associated Press has found. In contrast, only 39 U.S. species — or about 2% of the overall number — have made it off the endangered list. These include well-known successes such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon and the American alligator. Jake Li is the director for biodiversity at the non-profit Environmental Policy Innovation Center in Washington, DC. He says the condition of many species on the endangered list is worsening. Only eight percent of species are improving, says an organization report. Li said many species will remain on the list.  “And I don’t think that’s a failure of the Endangered Species Act itself,” he added. Political disagreements Lawmakers designed the law to prevent species from disappearing. President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law on Dec. 28, 1973. The measure led to many political conflicts in the 1970s and 1980s. One famous example is the fight over plans to build the Tellico Dam in Tennessee. Now, the law is in dispute once again. In September, the Trump administration changed the endangered species process. Opponents argue that the changes weaken the law. Among them: a change in the rules for species that are “threatened,” the classification just below endangered. Instead of saying that “threatened” species get the same protection as endangered species, the new rules include possible exceptions. Gary Frazer, assistant director of ecological services at U.S. Fish and Wildlife, says the changes improve the situation. He said they permit the government to better protect “things that are important to conservation.” Michael Bean, a former Interior Department official, disagrees. He calls the plan a “step back,” although not “catastrophic.”    Noah Greenwald, with the non-profit Center for Biological Diversity, is more concerned. He calls the changes “a disaster.” The biggest problem, Li and others say, is that new species in trouble are not being added to the list. Meanwhile, scientists across the globe warn of the coming extinction of a million species in the decades ahead. St. Francis Satyr Nick Haddad, a Michigan State University biology professor, is the world’s leading expert on the St. Francis Satyr butterfly. He got permission to go to the animal’s home on the military base. The butterfly appears only twice a year for two weeks each time. When it does, Haddad goes to Fort Bragg and joins a team of Army biologists aiming to improve the butterflies’ living environment. Haddad and his students also walk through the swamp and count the insects. “It couldn’t be better than this,” Haddad says, smiling as a butterfly takes flight. “When I see, every year, just a slight change in the right direction of the butterfly’s conservation, let me tell you, that inspires me.” I’m John Russell. And I’m Alice Bryant.   Seth Borenstein reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   contrast – n. something that is different from another thing classification – n. an arrangement of people or things into groups based on ways that they are alike catastrophic – adj. causing great damage swamp – n. land that is always wet and often partly covered with water inspire – v. to make (someone) want to do something : to give (someone) an idea about what to do or create   We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

Gaza Man Creates Art by Balancing Objects

Whenever Mohammed al-Shenbari sees a new object, he quickly tries to find its “balancing point.” In other words, he tries make it stand in a way that appears to defy gravity. The 24-year-old Palestinian artist says he can balance almost any object. To do this, he uses what he calls a mix of mind and body. On the grounds of his home in northern Gaza, al-Shenbari stood a chair on one leg and balanced a television (TV) on a bottle of Coca Cola. “You just need to know the fulcrum of the object and you get it,” he told The Associated Press. Al-Shenbari is also a physical fitness and bodybuilding coach. He says his healthy lifestyle helped him slowly develop “the great focus” necessary for balancing objects. The internet has been important to al-Shenbari's education. A year ago, he discovered a YouTube video by Korean balance artist Nam Seok Byun. Al-Shenbari liked the way the artist organized layers of rocks. He used small, round pebbles to support each level. Trying to copy his hero, al-Shenbari said he would spend days working on what seem like basic models. Now, it takes him just a few minutes to find out how to build them. The Gaza Strip lies between Israel and Egypt. Israel has restricted movement to and from the area for 12 years since the Hamas militant group took power. Al-Shenbari's skill has made him a popular performer in Gaza. But after years of living under difficult conditions, he, like many young Gazans, wants to leave the territory in search of better opportunities. His dream is to compete on reality TV shows. He also hopes to travel to Asia to improve his skills. I'm Jonathan Evans.   Hatem Moussa reported this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. _______________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   defy – v. to go against (something) fulcrum - n. technical: the support on which a lever moves when it is used to lift something coach – n. someone who trains lifestyle – n. the way of life of an individual or group focus - n. the act of directing something, such as attention, at something opportunity – n. a good chance or likelihood for success We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.

US Colleges Struggle with Increasing Demand for Mental Health Services

More college students are turning to their schools for help with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. The Associated Press, or AP, reports that many students must wait weeks for treatment or find help outside the campus community as school clinics struggle to meet demand. This is just one of the findings from an AP study of over 30 public universities in the United States. Over the past five years, the number of students in the U.S. higher education system has changed little. Yet on some campuses, the number of students seeking treatment for mental health issues has nearly doubled. This increase has been tied to a better understanding of such issues, along with rising rates of depression and other disorders. Universities have expanded their mental health clinics, but that growth is often slow, and demand keeps rising. Long waits have led to protests at schools from Maryland to California, in some cases following student suicides. In addition, campus clinics increasingly require their mental health specialists to do more work. However, this can lead to tired, “burned-out” employees. Jamie Davidson is associate vice president for student wellness at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She told The AP her school struggles with large numbers of students who need mental health help. The university has 11 trained counselors for 30,000 students, but her team still finds the work difficult. “You’re never going to talk to anyone in the mental health field who tells you we have sufficient resources,” Davidson said. The Associated Press requested five years of records from the largest public university in all 50 states. A total of 39 provided year-by-year data from their counseling clinics or health centers. The records show that most universities are working to expand their mental health services, but many are simply unable to meet demand. Since 2014, the number of students receiving treatment at the universities has grown by 35 percent. Yet the total number of students attending those schools rose just 5 percent. By last year, nearly 1 in 10 students were coming for help, but the number of trained counselors changed little. That means one counselor for every 4,000 students on some campuses, including at Utah Valley University. Experts suggest at least one mental health specialist for every 1,500 students, but few of the 39 universities met that benchmark. One student’s experience When Ashtyn Aure sought treatment at Utah Valley’s clinic last year, she was suffering anxiety attacks and had not slept for days. Her mind kept returning to painful experiences from her past. When she asked to see a counselor, one worker told her the wait list stretched for months. She left without getting help. “That was the place I was supposed to go. What do you do after that? Do you go to the hospital? Do you phone a friend?” said Aure. In the end, she turned to her religious group, which helped her find therapy at an off-campus clinic. “If it wasn’t for that,” she said, “I don’t know.” Officials at Utah Valley said they are working to avoid such cases. If officials know a student is having serious problems, they said, a counselor can see that person in a few minutes. But workers have only a brief period to make decisions about treatment. “Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon,” said William Erb, senior director of student health services at Utah Valley. “We train, review and revise these procedures so that situations like this can be avoided as much as possible.” At most universities, students considering suicide or facing other serious issues are offered help right away. Others are asked to make an appointment. For cases that are not urgent, the wait can last from hours to months, depending on the time of year and the design of the clinic. Many schools that provided data to The AP said it takes weeks to get a first appointment. At Utah Valley, students waited an average of more than four weeks last year. At the University of Washington at Seattle, it was three weeks. During busy times at Louisiana State University, wait times stretched to four or five weeks. To some students, waiting is just a minor problem. But it raises the risk that some young people will give up on seeking treatment, possibly leading to a worsening of their condition. At several universities, students have organized campaigns to improve counseling services. But for mental health cases that are not urgent, some argue that waiting is not necessarily bad — and could even lead to better results. A recent study found greater reductions in anxiety and depression at clinics that provide students ongoing meetings with counselors as opposed to a single meeting when conditions worsen. But under this system, the student might have to wait for a therapist’s caseload to open up. The rising demand for campus mental health care has been linked to many things. Public recognition of the issue has improved, leading more students to get help. Disorders that once prevented students from going to college are no longer seen as a barrier. Some people believe social media fuels anxiety, while others say the current generation of students simply has more trouble dealing with stress. Many universities are now rethinking how they provide help, such as offering more short-term treatment programs. More students are being pushed towards group therapy or classes on dealing with anxiety. Counseling centers offer activities like yoga, and many train students to provide emotional help to one another. Rising demand has also opened doors for businesses promising solutions. Some schools work with services that provide mental health therapy over the telephone or through video meetings. Others urge students to try software programs on their smartphones. I’m Dorothy Gundy. And I’m Pete Musto.   Collin Binkley and Larry Fenn reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. We want to hear from you. How do colleges and universities in your country deal with student mental health? Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.   _________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   anxiety – n. fear or nervousness about what might happen campus – n. the area and buildings around a university, college, or school clinic(s) – n. a place where people get medical help counselor(s) – n. a person who provides advice as a job sufficient – adj. having or providing as much as is needed benchmark – n. something that can be used as a way to judge the quality or level of other, similar things therapy – n. the treatment of physical or mental illnesses revise – v. to make changes especially to correct or improve something procedure(s) – n. an established or accepted way of doing something appointment – n. an agreement to meet with someone at a particular time stress – n. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life or work

Warm Waters Prevent Sea Ice Formation in US Arctic

  Climate change has brought a difficult new reality for the U.S. Arctic. Open water -- rather than sea ice – has become normal for the Chukchi Sea in the month of November. Researchers are studying how this “new normal” may affect coastal communities in northern Alaska. The researchers are from the University of Washington. The group is taking its 80-meter-long ship several places and will record observations. One of those places is Utqiaġvik, the northernmost community in America. Jim Thomson is an ocean scientist with the team. He told The Associated Press that the researchers are trying to understand changes to the fall season in the Arctic.   Each day since mid-October, sea ice in the Chukchi Sea has been the lowest on record, said Rick Thoman. He is a climate expert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center. For example, on November 7, the National Snow and Ice Data Center recorded sea ice at about one-sixth of the usual amount for that date from 1981 to 2010, Thoman said. Less ice is a problem for people living on the coast. Communities north and south of the Bering Strait depend on coastal ice to act as a natural sea wall. The ice protects land from erosion caused by winter storms. Sea ice also provides a place from which to catch seafood in Nome, a transportation center between villages in Kotzebue Sound. It also serves as a work area on which to kill walrus near the town of Gambell. Sea ice is one of the most important physical elements of the Chukchi and Bering seas. The cold, salty water underneath ice creates columns that separate Arctic animals from valuable fish catches such as Pacific cod and walleye pollock. When sea ice melts, it creates conditions important for the growth of small organisms at the bottom of the food chain. Sea ice also provides the main living space for polar bears. Female bears use ice as a place to give birth. And walrus mothers use sea ice as a resting place. They follow the ice edge south as it moves into the Bering Sea. The formation of sea ice requires the ocean temperature to be about -1.8 Celsius, the freezing point of saltwater. Historically, ice has formed in the northernmost waters. It gets moved by currents and wind into the southern Chukchi and Bering seas, where it cools the water. This helps even more ice to form, explained Andy Mahoney. He is a sea ice physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute. Mahoney said, “Even at the end of summer you couldn’t get enough heat into the ocean to raise the water temperature” much above freezing. “So it didn’t take much cooling to cool the ocean down to the freezing point.” But high summer temperatures have warmed the water column in the Bering and Chukchi seas. Water temperatures from the surface to the ocean bottom remain above normal. This leads to a delay in ice formation. “We’ve got a cold atmosphere. We’ve got a strong wind. You’d think we’d be forming ice, but there’s just too much heat left in the ocean,” Mahoney said. The water may be warm enough to melt ice moving south from northern areas. “I haven’t seen any direct observations where ice has been transported into the Chukchi Sea and then melted,” Mahoney said. But he says water temperature maps that he has seen are still much above zero degrees Celsius. And even if you bring ice from somewhere else, it will soon begin melting because of the water temperature, he adds. Thomson and other scientists will look at how the changes could affect coastlines, which are already eroding. Less ice and more open water mean a big threat. Ice keeps down the size of waves. Open water increases the distance over which wave-causing winds can blow. “We know from other projects and other work that the waves are definitely on the increase in the Arctic,” Thomson said. That means even more erosion and greater chances of winter flooding in villages. It also means increased danger to hunters in small boats, who will have to travel longer distances to find seals and walruses. I’m Jill Robbins. And I’m Alice Bryant.   The Associated Press reported this story. Alice Bryant adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. ________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   Arctic - n. of or relating to the North Pole or the region around it erosion - n. the gradual destruction of something by natural forces  walrus - n. a large animal that lives on land and in the sea in northern regions and that has flippers and long tusks column - n. something resembling a column in form, position, or function polar bear - n. a large white bear that lives near the North Pole 

South African Gin Is Made With Elephant Waste

  A South African alcohol maker say it is using bodily waste from elephants to make the popular drink called gin. Les and Paula Ansley are the creators of Indlovu Gin. They came across the idea a year ago during a safari. They learned that elephants eat many kinds of fruits and flowers. However, the animals’ bodies only process less than a third of the plant material they eat. Ansley told The Associated Press that, weeks after their trip, his wife woke him up in the middle of the night with the idea. Ansley recalled his wife suggesting, “Why don’t we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?” Ansley noted that elephant waste, or dung, possesses the plant material called botanicals. They are substances often used in gin production to add to the taste. The first load of elephant dung came by mail from the park where the Ansleys had taken their safari. Then the two scientists began searching for the best way to use elephant waste in the gin-making process. Now they collect the dung themselves, using their hands.   They described the gin’s taste as “lovely, wooded, almost spicy, earthy.” The taste, they say, changes a little with the seasons and location. The gin bottles are marked with the date and location of where the elephant dung was collected. “So, you’re able to compare almost different vintages of the gin,” Ansley said. It takes about five large bags of elephant dung to make between 3,000 and 4,000 bottles of the gin. The elephant waste is first dried and broken down into small pieces. Then it is washed to remove dirt and sand. Eventually, only the remains of fruits, flowers and other plant materials are kept. Harmful bacteria and germs are then removed from the botanicals, which are dried again and placed in an airing container. Think of it like a “spice cupboard,” Ansley said. Eventually, the remains are added to the gin.   The Ansleys test the gin on their friends before explaining how they make it. “The initial reaction of most people is, ‘What? There’s no way.’ But most people are very keen to actually taste it,” Ansley said. And once people hear about elephants’ digestive process “it becomes a lot clearer to them, and they accept it very well.” The Ansleys decided to name the gin Indlovu, which means elephant in the Zulu language. They did not say how much of the gin they have sold. A bottle sells for around 500 rand, or about $32. The gin is popular with travelers seeking an unusual gift and a story to tell when they return home. One South African visitor, Elsabe Hannekom, said she felt closer to the animals after touching their waste. “So having a piece of them actually feels … good. An export of the African experience, I would say.” After a drink, another guest, Jade Badenhorst, noted: “Interesting. Very tasty. Very nice. I didn’t expect to be able to drink a gin smoothly.” I’m Pete Musto.   Nqobile Ntshangase reported on this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor. We want to hear from you. What kinds of unusual food and drink does your country produce? Write to us in the Comments Section. _________________________________________________________________ Words in This Story   safari – n. a trip to see or hunt animals especially in Africa spicy – adj. flavored with or containing strong substances and especially ones that cause a burning feeling in your mouth vintage(s) – n. the year or place in which alcohol, especially wine of high quality, was produced cupboard – n. a piece of furniture used for storage that has doors and contains shelves initial – adj. happening at the beginning of something keen ­– adj. very excited about and interested in something

Shelley Morrison, ‘Will & Grace’ Actress, Dies at 83

Shelley Morrison, who played Karen Walker’s sharp-tongued yet endearing maid Rosario Salazar on “Will & Grace” from 1999-2006, has died. She was 83. Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, Morrison’s publicist, Lori DeWaal, told The Associated Press. Rosario, who hailed from El Salvador, was originally […]


Winter weather expected in Poconos

Governor Wolf is urging residents and travelers alike to be prepared for a potentially significant winter storm slated to hit northeastern Pennsylvania Sunday through Tuesday.A powerful storm made its way east from California Friday, bringing wintry weather to the northern Plains states. The storm saw heavy snow, impassable roads, and at least one death was reported, according to the Associated Press. That storm, named Ezekiel by The Weather Channel, is expected to continue east, [...]

Key points from new wave of Catholic abuse lawsuits


NEW YORK (AP) - Key takeaways from Associated Press reporting showing that new laws in 15 states could clear the way for a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church:

- Many of the dozen-plus lawyers and clergy abuse watchdog groups interviewed by the AP expect at least 5,000 ...


New wave of abuse suits could hit church like never before


NEW YORK (AP) - A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis.

Associated Press reporting ...


10 things you need to know today: December 1, 2019



The House Intelligence Committee is moving forward with the impeachment inquiry. Members will reportedly begin reviewing a report on the panel's investigation into President Trump's alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals Monday. They will reportedly have a 24-hour window to sift through the report before it goes to a vote Tuesday. The vote is mainly a formality and is expected to be split along party lines, which means it will likely be approved and then passed along to the House Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee will then begin its own proceedings Wednesday. President Trump's counsel have been invited to attend and participate in the initial hearing, but there is no indication that will happen. [NBC News, Politico]


Nine passengers were killed after a single engine plane crashed near Chamberlain, South Dakota, on Saturday. Among those killed were the pilot and two children. Three passengers survived and were taken to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The plane was headed to Idaho Falls, Idaho. Chamberlain was reportedly in the midst of a winter storm at the time of the crash, though the National Transportation Safety Board is considering weather as just one possible factor in its investigation of the incident; no cause has been determined yet, and a preliminary investigation report is expected to be released within two weeks. The model of plane reportedly can carry no more than one pilot and 10 passengers. [The Associated Press, NPR]


New Orleans Police said 11 people were shot early Sunday in the city's French Quarter, and two people are reportedly in critical condition. Initially, 10 people were taken to two different hospitals for treatment before another person walked into a hospital on their own. Police confirmed they were in the immediate area, just feet away from the shooting, since large crowds were gathered for the Bayou Classic football game between Southern and Grambling State. But the amount of people in the vicinity made it difficult to determine who fired the shots. One person was reportedly detained, but it isn't clear if the individual was involved in the shooting. The investigation is ongoing. [ABC News, NBC News]


Former Vice President Joe Biden launched an eight-day, 18-county bus tour in Iowa on Saturday, as he looks to make progress in the state before the Democratic presidential primary caucus in February. The tour, which has been named "No Malarkey," will reportedly allow Biden to meet face-to-face with Iowans, with a particular emphasis on the state's rural communities. Biden is aiming to appeal to people he meets by showing how his healthcare, agriculture, education, and climate change plans will benefit those communities, but he also reportedly wants to focus on their values, which he said were under attack from President Trump. [The Des Moines Register]


Tens of thousands of pro-democracy, anti-government protesters returned to the streets Sunday in Hong Kong. The latest march was approved by authorities and began peacefully, but eventually ended with police clearing the demonstrators, dispersing crowds with tear gas. Some protesters reportedly veered off the sanctioned paths and and hurled insults at police, whom they have accused of brutality, while carrying vulgar signs. After the march, some masked protesters in the city's Whampoa district damaged traffic lights, blocked roads, and vandalized shops and restaurants believed to have links to mainland China, prompting riot police to arrive at the scene. At least three people were were arrested in the area. [The South China Morning Post, The Washington Post]


A shootout Saturday in the town of Villa Union, a small town near the U.S. border, resulted in the deaths of 10 suspected cartel gunmen and four police officers. Six other police officers were reportedly injured. The governor of the northern state of Coahuila, Miguel Angel Riquelme, said the state acted "decisively" in response to the presence of the cartel members. The heavy fighting reportedly began around noon and lasted for more than an hour. Riquelme said authorities identified 14 vehicles involved in the attack and seized more than a dozen guns. The fighting took place following President Trump's announcement that he was preparing to designate the cartels as terrorist groups, which didn't sit well with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who hopes to avoid direct foreign intervention in Mexico. [The New York Times, Al Jazeera]


Black Friday shoppers reportedly spent $7.4 billion online, making Friday the second-largest online shopping day ever, trailing only last year's Cyber Monday event. Online sales rose by 19.6 percent from last year. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retail fell by 6.2 percent compared to last year, signaling a growing preference for online purchasing. The decline, though, may also be related to growing store traffic on Thursday evening, which increased by 2.3 percent. "There is no longer one way to shop on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday," said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting for ShopperTrak. Estimates for Cyber Monday are as high as $9.4 billion. [CNBC, Reuters]


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is leading a Democrat-only congressional delegation consisting of 13 House members and one senator to Madrid's COP25 summit. "One of the goals we have is to make sure that all of those who are in the Paris Accord know that the Democratic majority in the Congress of the American people are very concerned about the climate issue, understand that we have to set goals and have a plan on how to achieve them, and to talk about some of the things that we have done," Pelosi told Bloomberg Environment before departing for Spain. The Democrats attending reportedly range from members of Congress who support the Green New Deal to those who want to approach Washington's environmental policy more cautiously in the hopes of hammering out legislation alongside Republicans. [Bloomberg, CBS News]


Actor Leonardo DiCaprio denied accusations made by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that he was funding arson in the Amazon. Earlier this week, Bolsonaro alleged DiCaprio was donating money to non-governmental organizations that he alleges contributed to the forest fires that ravaged the rainforest earlier this year. In an Instagram post Saturday, DiCaprio denied Bolsonaro's claims and stated his support for Brazilian groups working to protect the Amazon, but he said he did not fund the groups targeted by the president. Additionally, two major environmental groups protecting the Amazon criticized Bolsonaro's accusations, calling them an attempt to "undermine environmental defenders and distract the general public from policies that directly lead to environmental disasters." [CNN, The Daily Beast]


Free-agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor reportedly was in critical condition following surgery after he was stabbed in the chest and shoulder at his apartment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Friday evening, but he is expected to make a full recovery. An unidentified woman faces an attempted homicide charge, and Pryor also reportedly faces an unknown charge. Pittsburgh Police said they are investigating the incident. A male stabbing victim reportedly walked into the hospital at 4:30 a.m. E.T. on Saturday. Police didn't identify the man, but a source confirmed to ESPN that it was Pryor. The 30-year-old Ohio State alum began his NFL career in 2011 and suited up for the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, and New York Jets through 2018. He hasn't played this season after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in September. [ESPN]


South Dakota plane crash kills 9, injures 3


Nine passengers were killed after a single engine plane crashed near Chamberlain, South Dakota, on Saturday. Among those killed were the pilot and two children.

Three passengers survived and were taken to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, per NPR. The plane was reportedly headed to Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Chamberlain was reportedly in the midst of a winter storm at the time of the crash, though the National Transportation Safety Board is considering inclement weather as just one possible factor in its investigation of the incident; no cause has been determined yet, and a preliminary investigation report is expected to be released within two weeks.

The model of plane reportedly can carry no more than one pilot and 10 passengers. Read more at The Associated Press and NPR.


10 things you need to know today: November 29, 2019



President Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday to spend part of Thanksgiving with U.S. troops. During the visit, Trump's first to Afghanistan, he announced that the U.S. and the Taliban have reopened peace talks. He said he believes the Taliban want a truce in America's longest war. "We're meeting with them," Trump said. "And we're saying it has to be a ceasefire." Trump had cut off talks with the Taliban in September and canceled a secret meeting between Taliban and Afghan leaders after a flurry of violence. During Trump's 3 1/2 hours at Bagram Air Field, Trump also served turkey to U.S. soldiers, who cheered him when he entered the dining hall. About 12,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. [The Associated Press]


Police restored school administrators' control of Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Friday, declaring that there were no pro-democracy protesters left on the wrecked campus after a two-week siege. Police arrested hundreds of protesters during the showdown. On Thursday, a team of about 400 officers conducted a sweep of the university, and found nearly 4,000 firebombs, 921 gas canisters, and 588 containers of chemicals, including acid and other corrosive liquids. The transfer of control back to school officials marked the end of one of the most intense clashes between protesters and police in a month of escalating unrest following the death of a student who fell from a parking structure during a police operation. [The New York Times, South China Morning Post]


North Korea on Thursday launched two short-range projectiles into the waters off its east coast, South Korea's military said. "Our military expresses its strong regret over (the launches) and urges (North Korea) to immediately stop acts that escalate military tensions," said Maj. Gen. Jeon Dong Jin, a senior operations officer at Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missile test came three days after North Korea said its soldiers had held artillery drills near a disputed sea boundary. The latest missile launches were the 13th public weapons test conducted by North Korea this year as Pyongyang pushes for a new U.S. proposal to resume stalled talks on trading nuclear concessions for sanctions relief. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]


The European Parliament on Thursday passed a symbolic measure declaring a "climate emergency." The move raises pressure on member states to take action to curb emissions blamed for climate change ahead of a United Nations climate summit starting Dec. 2 in Spain. In recent months, hundreds of regional and local administrations have approved similar declarations, but Thursday's vote was significant because the European lawmakers who passed the measure represent 500 million people. "Five years ago, no one would have expected the European Parliament to declare a climate emergency, so there's some progress," said Sebastian Mang of Greenpeace. Dissenters in the 429-225 vote objected to the use of the word "emergency," suggesting the use of "urgency" instead. [The Washington Post, Reuters]


The holiday shopping season kicks off on Friday with traditional Black Friday sales. Many retailers got a jump on the competition by getting started with deep discounts on Thanksgiving Day, and analysts forecast data to show that online shoppers spent a record $4 billion on Thanksgiving. The total had already reached $2.1 billion as of 5 p.m. Thursday, a 20.2 percent increase compared to the same point last year. Demand was so high on Thursday that Costco's website and app were briefly hampered by heavy traffic. Black Friday is continuing to evolve, as many stores try to snag a bigger share of holiday sales by cutting prices days or even weeks before what used to be a one-day shopping frenzy. Shoppers are expected to spend up to $731 billion in November and December, roughly 4 percent more than in the same period last year. [USA Today, MarketWatch]


Powerful winter storms hammered parts of the country on Thursday, complicating Thanksgiving travel. Heavy snow forced the closure of Interstate 5, a major highway in Southern California, leaving dozens of vehicles stuck with snow still falling. The highway, which joins Southern California with the rest of the state, was reopened later in the day, but forecasters warned more snow and rain could fall in the area. A so-called bomb cyclone, with a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure, brought up to four feet of snow in some mountainous areas in the Pacific Northwest. The winter storm was expected to move east, bringing snow and high winds across much of the West before continuing toward the Great Plains late on Friday. [Reuters]


Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a key witness in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, on Thursday reiterated his denial of sexual misconduct allegations made by three women in an article jointly published Wednesday by ProPublica and Portland Monthly magazine. In the article, Sondland said the claims were "concocted" for "political purposes." One of the women said Sondland backtracked on plans to invest in her business after she rejected his advances during a tour of a hotel he owns. Another accuser, a work associate, said Sondland exposed himself to her. The third, who is 27 years younger than Sondland, said he forcibly kissed her when they met to discuss a possible job. One of the accusers, Nicole Vogel, owns Portland Monthly. The alleged incidents took place years ago, before Sondland was named as Trump's E.U. ambassador. [The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica]


Thousands of demonstrators rallied in Hong Kong on Thursday to express appreciation for two U.S. laws supporting human rights in the Chinese-ruled semi-autonomous city. President Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Wednesday. It requires an annual review to confirm that the former British colony still has enough autonomy to justify its special trade status. "I guess Trump wanted to give us a Thanksgiving present, and we're glad to accept," said Wong Yiu-chung, a Lingnan University politics professor who attended the rally. Chinese officials on Thursday angrily condemned the U.S. measures as "an epitome of gangster violence," and an act of foreign meddling intended to hurt China's economic growth. [Los Angeles Times]


Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday urged President Trump to avoid commenting on Britain's upcoming election during next week's NATO summit in London. "The best (thing) when you have close friends and allies like the U.S. and the UK is for neither side to get involved in each other's election," Johnson told LBC radio. Johnson pushed for the early election hoping to break a stalemate over Britain's planned exit from the European Union. Trump has already made controversial comments in the vote, saying in October that Johnson should join forces with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and that the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn would be "so bad" for the country. [Reuters]


Acclaimed American free-solo rock climber Brad Gobright died in a fall while on a well-known path on a rock known as El Sendero Luminoso, or the Shining Path, in northern Mexico's Potrero Chico national park, Mexican authorities said. His body was recovered Thursday. Gobright and a climbing partner, Aidan Jacobson, fell about 20 feet to a ledge after their rope got stuck, but Jacobson landed in a bush, which broke his fall. "It was basically a blur," Jacobson, 26, told Outside magazine. "He screamed. I screamed. I went through some vegetation, and then all I remember is seeing his blue Gramicci shirt bounce over the edge." Gobright fell nearly 985 feet to his death, which the State Department confirmed in a statement, saying, "We offer our sincerest condolences to his family on their loss." [CNN, The New York Times]


Playing catch up: Premier League round to air live in UK


Playing catch up: Premier League round to air live in UKBefore Clive Tyldesley clambers up to the Old Trafford gantry and picks up his microphone to be part of a landmark week in Premier League broadcasting, he reminisces about being silenced in stadiums. “Peter Robinson would argue till he was blue in the face that if he gave us the right to commentate on the whole game, it would impact on the attendance at Anfield,” Tyldesley said in an interview with The Associated Press. Some fans in the Premier League’s home territory have watched enviously as the rest of the world gained access to every game live from all 38 rounds, with the value of overseas rights growing 35% to 4.2 billion pounds ($5.4 billion) in 2019-2022.


The Entrepreneurial Spirit

"Why don't we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?" The Entrepreneurial Spirit About a year ago, Les and Paula Ansley of Mossel Bay, South Africa, stumbled upon a novel idea for a new type of spirit, which they call Indlovu Gin, the Associated Press reports. During a safari, they learned that elephants eat a wide variety of fruits and flowers, but digest less than a third.…

New York Proposal Seeks Body Cameras For State Police – CBS New York


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Some lawmakers are proposing to equip state troopers with body cameras in New York, one of few states where the primary law enforcement agency doesn’t have body or dashboard cameras already. A nationwide Associated Press survey found that New York State Police are the largest primary state law enforcement agency not […]

The post New York Proposal Seeks Body Cameras For State Police – CBS New York appeared first on New York city blog.


Sri Lankan Critics Fear a Crackdown is Underway, and Some Flee

Image: Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s newly elected president, center, greeting supporters after his swearing-in ceremony in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, this month.Credit…Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press. A Swiss Embassy employee is abducted and asked about asylum applications an.d investigators are banned from leaving just days after Gotabaya Rajapaksa is elected. By Maria Abi-Habib and Sameer Yasir. Fears of a potential crackdown on [...]

Хафтар, с помощью ЗРПК «Панцирь–С1Э», успешно роняет американские беспилотники

Беспилотник США MQ–9 Reaper, потерянный в районе ливийской столицы Триполи, был сбит российским ЗРПК «Панцирь–С1Э», состоящим на вооружении армии Халифы Хафтара, по ошибке, сообщает 26 ноября The Associated Press со ссылкой на заявление представителя…

Veteran ‘Will and Grace’ actress Shelley Morrison dies at 83


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will and Grace,” died Sunday, her publicist said. Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83. Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the...


Shelley Morrison, Rosario on ‘Will & Grace,’ dies at 83

LOS ANGELES — Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” died Sunday, her publicist said. Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83. Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of “Will & Grace” from 1999 to 2006, becoming part of a […]

Протесты в Ираке: отставка премьер-министра и траур по убитым

Парламент Ирака официально принял отставку премьер-министра Аделя Абдуль-Махди в воскресенье, тем самым положив начало поискам нового лидера на фоне продолжающихся демонстраций по всему Ираку. Демонстранты тем временем вышли на улицы в воскресенье, чтобы оплакать людей, убитых на антиправительственных митингах. Демонстрации затронули даже суннитские районы, где люди ранее избегали присоединяться к выступлениям. По крайней мере один демонстрант был застрелен и 10 ранено силами в Багдаде, сообщили Associated Press представители служб безопасности и здравоохранения. Абдуль-Махди подал заявление ...

Крушение автобуса в Тунисе: более 20 человек погибли

В Тунисе автобус с местными туристами упал с холма, в результате чего погибли по меньшей мере 22 человека и ранены еще 21 человек. Как сообщило в воскресенье министерство внутренних дел Туниса, автобус, принадлежащий частной компании, отклонился от курса после того, как его водитель не смог выполнить крутой поворот в северном регионе Айн-Снусси, и разбился на дне ущелья. Местные СМИ показали кадры места крушения, на которых автобус стоит у подножия холма, а его окна разбиты. Халед Лахьюн, пресс-секретарь министерства внутренних дел, сообщил агентству Associated Press, что автобус направлялся ...

Associated Press Top 25 basketball poll: Jerry Carino's ballot



Montgomery to unveil statue in honor of Rosa Parks

A new statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks will officially be unveiled in downtown Montgomery, Ala., on Sunday. The Alabama city announced that the statue will stand at Montgomery Plaza at the Court Street Fountain, The Associated Press...

Dutch officials say 3 people, including children, injured in Hague stabbing attack



Honolulu Star Advertiser

Dutch officials say 3 people, including children, injured in Hague stabbing attack

By Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -  An assailant stabbed three people Friday night in a busy shopping district in the Netherlands, and police were searching for the suspect, authorities said.

It was the second stabbing incident with multiple victims in a major European city today.

Earlier today in London, a man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people, killing two, before he was tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge, authorities said. Police treated it as a terrorist attack.

A Dutch police spokeswoman said it was too early to say whether a terror motive was to blame for the attack in The Hague.

The victims were all minors. It was unclear whether any of their wounds were life-threatening or whether they might have been hurt when the crowds of holiday shoppers panicked, police said.

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Egypt Hands Down 7 Death Sentences On Terror Charges



Asharq Al-Awsat

Egypt Hands Down 7 Death Sentences On Terror Charges

The Cairo Criminal Court has handed down death sentences to seven people convicted of carrying out attacks that killed 11 policemen in 2016.

The Court on Monday also sentenced 18 others to 10-15 years in prison for the same charges, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Those include attacking security forces, joining a terrorist group and possession of weapons and explosives.

The charges stem from multiple attacks in Cairo, including one that killed eight police in a microbus in the suburb of Helwan.

That attack was claimed by ISIS. The court acquitted seven others.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Responds to the Brazilian President's Accusations


Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro reportedly accused actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio of setting the Amazon on fire. "DiCaprio is a cool guy, isn't he?" the president said to his supporters on Friday, per Page Six. "Giving money to set the Amazon on fire." Now, DiCaprio has responded to these statements.


These accusations stem from Bolsonaro's claims that some nonprofit groups are partly responsible for fires in the Amazon this year. He's having investigations held, and as reported by the Associated Press, police raided the offices of two nonprofits in the state of Pará just this week. Four volunteer firefighters were arrested and being investigated for "allegedly igniting fires to obtain funding from sympathetic donors."


Again, these accusations against the nonprofits is unfounded, and are nothing more than conspiracy theories.


"While worthy of support, we did not fund the organizations targeted," DiCaprio said in his statement to the Associated Press. "The future of these irreplaceable ecosystems is at stake and I am proud to stand with the groups protecting them."


To read more about how to help fight the Amazon fires like Leo, click here.


Photo via Getty


Mountain village embraces its legacy as cure center for TB - The Associated Press

Mountain village embraces its legacy as cure center for TB  The Associated PressView full coverage on Google News

Veteran ‘Will and Grace’ Actress Shelley Morrison Dies at 83

Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will & Grace,” died Sunday, her publicist said. Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83. Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of “Will & Grace” from 1999 to 2006, becoming part of a cast that won […]

world of great players, for him to do the thin (no replies)

KANSAS CITY Chad Henne Jersey , Mo. (AP) — Justin Houston has played long enough for the Kansas City Chiefs to have heard Arrowhead Stadium roaring in victory and silenced in defeat, along with just about every decibel in between.What floated through the crisp December air on Sunday night was something new.It started quietly, grew slowly and finally reached a crescendo: “MVP! “MVP! MVP!”The chant was directed at the sheepish quarterback standing on the Kansas City sideline, the one with the curly Mohawk and easy smile. He was chosen in the first round of the draft to be the long-underachieving Chiefs’ savior, and Patrick Mahomes shattered even the loftiest of expectations while leading the team to a third consecutive AFC West title and No. 1 seed in the playoffs.“First time I’ve ever heard that,” said Houston, who has played his entire eight-year career with the Chiefs, before confidently adding: “I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last with that guy.”The 23-year-old Mahomes capped the finest regular season in franchise history in style, throwing for 281 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-3 blowout of the Raiders on Sunday. The scoring strikes were of 67 yards to Tyreek Hill and 89 yards to Demarcus Robinson , the latter giving the first-year starter more than 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdown throws on the season.Only six quarterbacks have thrown for that many yards in a season Kendall Fuller Jersey , and only Peyton Manning with the Broncos and Tom Brady with the Patriots have thrown that many touchdown passes.Manning is the only one with 5,000 and 50 in the same phenomenal year.Not surprisingly, he was voted the league’s most valuable player that season.Mahomes will have to wait until the night before the Super Bowl to find out whether he took another stride in Manning’s footsteps. That’s when The Associated Press announces the league’s most coveted award. No Chief has won it, though Priest Holmes in 2002 was the AP Offensive Player of the Year.Indeed, there are plenty of worthy MVP candidates.Rams running back Todd Gurley may have been even better than when he won top offensive player last season, running for 1,271 yards and a league-high 17 touchdowns. On the opposite side of the ball, Aaron Donald piled up 19 1/2 sacks for the Rams in one of the best seasons ever for a defensive tackle.Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers also have had superb years.Raiders coach Jon Gruden won’t have a say in the MVP voting — a nationwide panel of 50 media members who cover the league will decide — but he did see the Rams earlier this season and the division-rival Chiefs and Chargers twice apiece. And Gruden was left with his jaw hanging open after watching Mahomes shred his defense in their regular-season finale Sunday.“He’s a trick-show artist. This guy here is an amazing quarterback,” Gruden said. “If you counted the top 20 throws he made at Texas Tech, they were the top 20 throws in the country. He’s an amazing talent and it is a credit to Andy (Reid) for trading up and getting him, and it is a credit to them for letting him watch a guy like Alex Smith for a whole year.”It’s not just that Mahomes has shattered records Eric Murray Jersey , either. It’s that his rare ability — a big arm, sharp intellect, uncanny poise and natural leadership — has helped those around him flourish, many of them setting records in their own right.Tight end Travis Kelce set the Chiefs record with 103 catches this season, topping by one Tony Gonzalez’s mark of 2004. Kelce also broke Rob Gronkowski’s NFL record for tight ends with 1,327 yards receiving, though the 49ers‘ George Kittle topped him later in the day.Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had 101 yards receiving against the Raiders, matching the club record with his sixth 100-yard game. Hill’s total of 1,476 yards easily eclipsed Derrick Alexander’s mark of 1,391 yards receiving, which had stood since the 2000 season.Together Terrance Smith Jersey , Kelce and Hill became the first pair of teammates in NFL history to each total 1,300 yards receiving and at least 10 touchdowns apiece in the same season.“It’s been special: 1-5’s a different guy,” Kelce said of his quarterback. “He’s a special individual. What he does for this team, the community, is unbelievable. It sure has been a pleasure to play with him and to witness the greatness that he’s been able to put out there on the field.”Altogether, the Chiefs became the first NFL team to score at least 26 points in every game, and their total of 565 points represented the third most by any team in history. And the result was a third straight division title for the first time in franchise history, and a potential path all the way to the Super Bowl that runs right through Arrowhead Stadium.The scary thing for the rest of the league? Mahomes is just getting started.“In a world of great players, for him to do the things he’s done is phenomenal,” Reid said, “and he will continue to do that. He still has room to grow. That’s the exciting part and something for Kansas City to be very excited about. His work ethic and everything else is MVP-caliber level. He comes to work with a purpose Xavier Williams Jersey , makes everyone feel a part of it, makes everyone around him better and has done that for our organization, for all of us, his fans and coaches and owner too.” NEW YORK — Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was fined $10,026 by the NFL on Saturday for taunting after he flashed a peace sign at the end of a touchdown catch.Hill was running into the end zone during a 73-yard reception in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 54-51 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last Monday night when he turned back at a pursuing defender and raised two fingers at him — a gesture he has done previously without being fined. He was assessed a 15-yard penalty for taunting.100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaHill was penalized but not fined last week when he jumped into the stands after a touchdown and started operating a television camera.Chiefs safety Eric Murray was docked $26,739 for unnecessary roughness during the opening drive of the game.

Shelley Morrison, Known For Rosario On ‘Will & Grace,’ Dies At 83

Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press.

Chick-fil-A funded homosexual Canadian lobbying firm, Testimony of boy thrown off balcony, Christian group sues NY over abortion law


It’s Tuesday, November 26th, A.D. 2019. This is The Worldview in 5 Minutes heard at  I’m Adam McManus.

By Kevin Swanson

Evangelist killed in streets of Turkey

Christian evangelist Jinwook Kim was murdered last week on the streets of Diyarbakir, Turkey.

International Christian Concern reports this comes as a tremendous shock to the Christian community in Turkey, and it is the first martyrdom since 2007 when three Christians were martyred in Malatya.  It's not yet clear whether this murder was the result of a robbery gone wrong, but Christians are suspecting the murder is tied to Kim’s faith.

Claire Evans, Middle East Director for International Christian Concern, told The Worldview that this is not normal for Christians to be murdered in Turkey.

EVANS: "The murder of Christians is not normal in Turkey.  This doesn't happen.  The last time Christians were killed in Turkey was in Malatya in 2007, and the whole nation grieved so much with Christians when that happened.  Christians don't get killed in Turkey; that's really what it comes down to; this is not normal."

Evans said that the increased Islamization of Turkey has led to more hostility to Christians.  However, she had encouragement for evangelists who are discerning a call to take the gospel to Turkey.

EVANS: "So, for those who are discerning a call to Turkey, it is going to be a very hard field to work in, for sure.  There's just so much complexity to reckon with in the history and in the culture.  But, at the same time, it's exactly where God first called the church to go.  That should be an encouragement to everyone; that this is the country where God started sewing the seeds of the church."

In Revelation 2:8-10, John writes o the church of Smyrna, which is now modern-day Izmir, Turkey.  It is still relevant to the Christian church today.

"And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write. . . Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life."

John MacArthur: Scripture prohibits female pastors

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church further clarified the biblical view of women preachers and pastors in a sermon he gave last week.

MacARTHUR: “Go back to First Corinthians 14.  That Paul's words could be mistaken is impossible. ‘As in all the churches of the saints, the women are to keep silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak. It's disgraceful for a woman to speak.’

“In the face of that, it might be shocking to you to know this, but in a survey conducted in 2017, about 80% of Americans are comfortable with a female pastor.”

MacArthur ended the sermon by noting that the problem is that private revelations are trumping the authority of Scripture, creating chaos in the churches.

Chick-fil-A funded homosexual Canadian lobbying firm

Chick-fil-A is coming under more fire from Christian news and opinion sources for their support of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual Covenant House ministry.

Another source points out that Rodney Bullard, the Executive Director for the Chick-fil-A Foundation, has donated personal money in recent political campaigns to Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Also, the Canadian family values organization called the Institute for Canadian Values, sounded the alarm when Chick-fil-A, the presumably pro-family chicken fast food restaurant chain, began funding the most pro-homosexual lobbying firm in Canada.

Dr. Charles McVety, president of the Institute for Canadian Values, says one clue to a Chick-fil-A's new direction was hiring Navigator, a powerful, international lobbying firm, as part of its expansion in Canada, reports OneNewsNow.

Navigator, which has a Toronto office, is the “number one gay lobbying firm” in Canada, McVety says, and he blames the powerful lobbyist for successfully pushing for homosexual "marriage" at the same time McVety was working with other Christian conservatives to oppose it.

The Toronto Star reported on Chick-fil-A’s business partnership with Navigator in a Sept. 11 story that describes the corporation’s plans to open 15 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area in a liberal climate that was not warming up to the company.

Chick-fil-A used a business news website on Monday to announce a new “charitable giving structure” and to acknowledge it was dropping any partnership with non-profits that are perceived as “anti-LGBT” by homosexual activists.

Hong Kong voters elect pro-Democracy forces by a landslide

It was a landslide.  Some call it a “revolution” in Hong Kong.

The South China Morning Post reports that the freedom-minded, pro-Democracy forces won control of 17 out of 18 district councils in the election held over the weekend. The pro-establishment party had previously controlled all 18 district councils, but now is left with only one.

However, the degree to which democracy can function is in question as the nation’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, was handpicked by China’s communist leaders.  And the Chinese communists have a reputation of squelching uprisings, as when 10,000 protesters were killed in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Billionaire liberal Bloomberg runs for president

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was once a Republican, announced his entrance into the 2020 presidential race for the Democratic nomination, reports the Associated Press.

The 77-year-old billionaire joins an already crowded field of 16 candidates in the running.

Christian legal group sues New York state over abortion law

Alliance Defending Freedom is taking the wildly pro-abortion state of New York to court after Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill 660 into law, reports the Christian Post.

ADF said the law "requires all employers – including churches, religious schools, faith-based pregnancy centers and religious nonprofits – to disavow their beliefs about abortion, contraception, and sexual morality by forcing them to hire and employ those who refuse to abide by the organization's statements of faith."

God has a warning in Proverbs 1:11. “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause.’ My son, do not walk with them.“

Powerful testimony of boy’s healing after thrown off balcony

And finally, that little boy who was thrown over the third-story balcony in the Mall of America in Minnesota last April has healed up well.

His mother updated the GoFundMe account. She says, ”Landen loves life and Jesus! He tells people all the time when they get hurt, ‘Don’t worry! I fell off a cliff, but angels caught me and Jesus loves me.  So, I’m okay and you will be too!”

The GoFundMe account for Landen has topped $1,000,000.


And that's The Worldview in 5 Minutes on this Tuesday, November 26th in the year of our Lord 2019. Subscribe by iTunes or email to our unique Christian newscast at Or get the Generations app through Google Play or The App Store. I’m Adam McManus ( Seize the day for Jesus Christ.



Trump’s Actions Raise Concern About Role in Military Justice

Defense Secretary Mark Esper initially favored allowing the Navy to proceed with a peer-review board which could have resulted in Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher losing his SEAL status, but he said he was obliged to follow Trump’s order. Photo courtesy Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared that President Donald Trump ordered him to stop a disciplinary review of a Navy SEAL accused of battlefield misconduct, an intervention that raised questions about America’s commitment to international standards for battlefield ethics.

Esper’s comments on Monday were the latest twist in the case of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, which led to a conflict between Trump and armed services leaders over military discipline. The dispute peaked over the weekend with the firing of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

Gallagher was acquitted of murder in the stabbing death of an Islamic State militant captive but convicted by a military jury of posing with the corpse while in Iraq in 2017.

Esper initially favored allowing the Navy to proceed with a peer-review board which could have resulted in Gallagher losing his SEAL status, but he said he was obliged to follow Trump’s order. Still, Esper also directed the Pentagon’s legal office to review how service members are educated in the laws of armed conflict and trained to wartime behavioral standards.

“I can control what I can control,” Esper told reporters when asked whether Trump sent the right message to U.S. troops by intervening to stop the Gallagher review. “The president is the commander in chief. He has every right, authority and privilege to do what he wants to do.”

In yet another twist to the Gallagher saga, Esper also made an extraordinary accusation against Spencer.

Esper said Spencer had gone behind his back last week to propose a secret deal with the White House in which Spencer would fix the outcome of the Gallagher review. Esper said this was a violation of the military chain of command and said Spencer acknowledged his misstep.

Through a Navy spokesman, Spencer declined requests for comment on Esper’s allegation. However, in a letter to Trump on Sunday he said he could not in good conscience follow an order that he believed would undermine the principle of good order and discipline in the military — suggesting he had been ordered to stop the peer-review process for Gallagher.

Trump began to get involved in the Gallagher case in the spring after Bernard Kerik, a former business partner to his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, became an advocate for the family and made appearances in conservative media.

The SEAL also changed his defense team to include Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for the Trump real estate company.

The president has tweeted in support of Gallagher, praising the sailor’s service and saying the case was “handled very badly from the beginning.”

Earlier this month, Trump restored Gallagher’s rank, which had been reduced in his military jury conviction.

Trump also pardoned two soldiers — a former Army special forces soldier set to stand trial next year in the killing of a suspected Afghan bombmaker in 2010 and an Army officer who had been convicted of murder for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012, killing two.

Beyond the Spencer firing, the Gallagher case has raised questions about the appropriate role of a U.S. president in matters of military justice. Esper said Trump had a constitutional right to intervene, but others worry that such actions undermine the credibility of American claims to be a leader in ethical and lawful behavior on the battlefield.

“What concerns me the most is the chilling effect this will have on special forces’ willingness to report when they see illegal behavior,” James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral, said in an email to The Associated Press. “That is tragic because in the end what separates us from our opponents on the battlefield is our willingness to follow the rule of law.”

Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee and an Army veteran, accused Trump of “inappropriate involvement” in the military justice system.

“The White House’s handling of this matter erodes the basic command structure of the military and the basic function of the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” Reed said.

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said Trump’s action undercut the military.

“We want to be a standard for the world in terms of rule of law,” he said. “I’m concerned that it undermines our own military; it undermines our standing in the world.”

Trump has said Gallagher was treated unfairly by the Navy.

“I think what I’m doing is sticking up for our armed forces,” he said Monday. “There’s never been a president who is going to stick up for them and has like I have.”

Last week Trump tweeted that Gallagher must be allowed to retire as a SEAL, regardless of the Navy’s intention to review his standing in the elite force. Esper’s comments Monday revealed that on Sunday Trump had given the defense secretary a direct order to make this happen.

Even before receiving that order, however, Esper had decided the Gallagher process should be stopped. He said his rationale was that, “given the events of the last few days,” it was no longer possible for Gallagher to get a fair shake.

“As professional as they are,” he said of the Navy review board members, “no matter what they would decide, they would be criticized from many sides, which would further drag this issue on, dividing the institution. I want the SEALs and the Navy to move beyond this now, fully focused on their warfighting mission.”

In announcing Sunday that he had dismissed Spencer, Esper said he acted after learning of Spencer’s secret plan to “guarantee” in advance the outcome of the review board that was to convene next week.

Spencer had “proposed a deal whereby if the president allowed the Navy to handle the case, he would guarantee that Eddie Gallagher would be restored to rank, allowed to retain his Trident and permitted to retire,” Esper said Monday.

This was “completely contrary” to what Esper and the rest of the Pentagon leadership had agreed to, he said, and contrary to Spencer’s public position that the Navy disciplinary process should be allowed to play out with no interference.

Esper said he had previously advocated for allowing the Navy review to go forward. But when Trump gave him a “verbal instruction” to stop the process, he did so.

Esper did not say explicitly that he disagreed with Trump’s order.

Once Trump gave the order, Esper said he responded, “Roger. I got it.”


Analysis: Espy Says He’s Better Prepared for 2020 Campaign

Democrat Mike Espy anticipates another showdown with Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who defeated him in a November 2018 special election runoff. Photo by Ashton Pittman

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Democrat Mike Espy says he has a clearer strategy to win a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi in 2020 than he had when he ran for the same seat last year.

Espy anticipates another showdown with Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who defeated him in a November 2018 special election runoff.

In announcing his 2020 candidacy Nov. 12, Espy said he wants to build on his base of support from the 2018 race, focusing particularly on increasing the turnout among African American voters. Espy says he also has data showing which Republican-leaning precincts in Mississippi are most likely to flip to Democratic.

The college town of Starkville, for example, is receptive to Democrats. The mostly white Jackson suburb of Madison County had a slight Democratic majority in the Nov. 5 governor’s election.

“We can't win with black votes alone. And I shouldn't,” Espy told The Associated Press. “We have to create a coalition of black voters and white voters all over Mississippi who believe in vision of a more modern Mississippi.”

Espy in 1986 became Mississippi’s first African American congressman since Reconstruction. In 1993, President Bill Clinton named him U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Republicans have solidified their power in Mississippi in the past generation.

Mississippi hasn’t had a Democrat in the U.S. Senate since John C. Stennis left office in 1989. The state’s four-term attorney general, Jim Hood, has been the only Democrat holding statewide office in the past dozen years, and he lost the governor’s race this year to Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

Espy and other candidates scrambled to assemble campaigns in early 2018 when longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran said he was retiring just over midway through a six-year term.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed the state’s agriculture commissioner, Hyde-Smith, to temporarily serve in the Senate, and he set a November special election to fill the final two years of the term.

Espy announced as a special election candidate immediately after Cochran’s retirement announcement, but he said in the recent interview that it took months to create a campaign structure.

“We didn’t get into the field knocking on doors until the end of August,” Espy said. “And even though we raised $7 million, it didn’t come in until October. So, there wasn’t enough time in that political cycle to mount a robust, vigorous campaign that it would take to defeat a Republican.”

Hyde-Smith won with 54% to Espy’s 46%.

“We made some mistakes in 2018,” Espy said.

He added: “We never quit running, really.”

Espy said his campaign hired BlueLabs Analytics, a Washington-based firm that works for Democrats, to evaluate his 2018 performance and set a new approach for 2020.

African Americans are about 38% of Mississippi’s population, but Espy said African Americans made up 32.5% of the people who voted for any candidate in the 2018 Senate race. He said he is aiming to increase that percentage.

“In a presidential cycle in 2020, I think there will be an innate energizing of that vote,” Espy said. “I think that vote’s coming out.”

Espy said he needs to increase the black vote to about 35% of the electorate. He received 18% of the white vote in 2018 and said he needs to increase his share of that.

Espy said research shows the “number one flippable” area is a state House district in northeast Jackson and south Madison County. In the Nov. 5 election, Democratic challenger Shanda Yates unseated 32-year Republican state Rep. Bill Denny. Espy campaigned for Yates, knocking on doors and appearing on some of her campaign flyers.

Hyde-Smith is seeking a full six-year term. It’s unclear whether she or Espy will have opponents during the March 10 party primaries, but Espy’s long-term plan is to face her in the general election.


Wicker Defends Trump, Boosting Russian Ploy to Pin 2016 Attacks on Ukraine

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., claimed he saw "no proof" of Trump's wrongdoing and suggested Ukraine may have interfered in the 2016 election, echoing a Russian propaganda campaign to shift blame for its own efforts to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Photo courtesy Meet the Press/NBC News

Mississippi's senior U.S. senator, Roger Wicker, claimed in an interview on Sunday that he saw no "direct evidence" that President Donald Trump did anything wrong when he pressured Ukraine to open investigations into former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The Republican senator, who is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also helped boost a Russian-planted conspiracy theory despite warnings from U.S. intelligence officials.

"I'm nowhere close to seeing proof" that Trump did anything wrong, Wicker told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd.

At one point, Todd played a clip in which Wicker, then a congressman, argued fiercely for Democratic President Bill Clinton's impeachment after he lied under oath about having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, then a White House intern.

"The rule of law means that the commander-in-chief of our armed forces could not be held to a lower standard than his subordinates," Wicker said in a 1998 clip. "The rule of law is more important than the tenure of office of any official."

Wicker told Todd that the evidence against Clinton "was overwhelming," but in the case of an impeachment inquiry against a president of his own party, Wicker said he is "nowhere close to seeing ... proof." If the U.S. House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate will hold a trial in which Wicker and his fellow senators will serve as jurors, deciding whether or not to ultimately remove the president from office.

In congressional hearings over the past two weeks, current and former members of the Trump administration described a plot in which the U.S. president and his allies sought to hold up congressionally approved military aid unless Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, agreed to publicly announce two sham investigations.

Wicker Claims Call 'Legitimately About Corruption'

The U.S. has been providing Ukraine with significant military assistance since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country in 2014, seizing the Crimea region. He has continued to launch attacks on the country ever since.

One of the investigations Trump wanted was intended to cast doubt on whether or not former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden might be tied to corrupt dealings in Ukraine through Burisma, a company whose board his son, Hunter Biden, sat on. The other would-be investigation was meant to bolster Russia's false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections—and that they did so to help Hillary Clinton, not Trump.

Trump released the Ukraine aid in September, but only after the news of his attempts to pressure Ukraine into helping him broke. Initially, Republicans argued that it would only have been wrong if there was a "quid pro quo," which is Latin for, "a favor for a favor." Then, the White House released its incomplete transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with Zelensky—which Trump's staff had hidden on a secret service after determining it could be damaging.

In the semi-transcript, Zelensky brings up his country's need for the aid.

"I would like you to do us a favor, though," Trump said, explaining the two investigations he wanted Ukraine's new president to launch.

Trump backers claimed the call was about corruption in Ukraine in general—an assertion that subsequent facts have undermined.

"I think the phone call...was legitimately about corruption in Ukraine," Wicker told Todd on Sunday, though Trump never mentions any other instances of "corruption" in the transcript.

'I Think He's Telling the Truth'

Wicker pointed out that Zelensky has denied that he felt "pressured" to initiate the investigations. Reports since, though, indicate he had planned to publicly launch investigations until the story broke.

"Zelensky said he was under no pressure to do anything. He didn't even know the aid was being held up," Wicker told Todd.

But Laura Cooper, a top Pentagon official, undermined the claim that Zelensky did not the aid was being held up in her Nov. 20 testimony. She told Congress that Ukraine sent emails to her staff indicating they knew the aid was being withheld on July 25—the same day as the infamous phone call.

On Meet the Press, Todd pushed back when Wicker appealed to Zelensky's claim of "no pressure." "You don't think he feels pressure ... not to disagree with Trump in public?" Todd asked.

"I think he's telling the truth," Wicker responded. "If you're going to try to remove the president of the United States from office, you need solid evidence. And the other person on the other side of this so-called quid pro quo denies a quid pro quo."

Testimony from multiple officials in the Trump administration contradicted that testimony, too, though. Gordan Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the European Union, testified that he worked with Trump's personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to pressure Ukraine into launching the investigations at Trump's direction.

"I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a 'quid pro quo?' As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes," he said.

Former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who has ties to former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and his lobbying firm, testified on Nov. 20 that Trump's circle "saw the idea of investigating possible corruption involving the Ukrainian company, 'Burisma' as equivalent to investigating former Vice President Biden."

'We're Running Out of Time to Stop Them'

Fiona Hill, another impeachment witness and a former Trump foreign policy adviser on Russia and Europe, warned members of Congress last week against repeating claims that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016 and sought to change the outcome of the election.

"Right now, Russia's security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference," Hill said. "We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests."

Trump has repeated that claim anyway, as have some Republicans in Congress.

"I am not at all surprised that Russia is gearing up, she is correct that Russia tried to interfere in 2016. Ukrainians themselves tried to interfere," Wicker told Todd, after he played a clip of that portion of Hill's testimony.

Republicans in Congress have tried to muddy the waters on foreign election interference by pointing to anti-Trump comments individuals tied to the Ukrainian government made in 2016. That, Todd pointed out on Sunday, is not the same as a foreign government systemically attacking a country's election system, as America's intelligence agencies agree Russia did in 2016 with its hacking and targeting of Americans voters with fake news stories and ads on social media.

"I understand there were individual Ukrainians. ... Is that the same as the Russian government ordering a full-fledged interference?" Todd asked Wicker.

"I'm concerned about both," Wicker said.

Last week, The New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence officials informed senators in recent weeks about Russian efforts to target Americans with disinformation, including the false claim that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

"American intelligence officials informed senators and their aides in recent weeks that Russia had engaged in a yearslong campaign to essentially frame Ukraine as responsible for Moscow's own hacking of the 2016 election, according to three American officials," the Times' Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg reported.

"The revelations demonstrate Russia's persistence in trying to sow discord among its adversaries — and show that the Kremlin apparently succeeded, as unfounded claims about Ukrainian interference seeped into Republican talking points."

Wicker told Todd he was not among the senators who had been briefed on the matter.

At an economic forum in Moscow last week, Putin expressed pleasure at the growing chorus of Republicans in the U.S. who are pinning the blame on Ukraine.

"Thank God no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore," the Associated Press reported him saying. "Now they're accusing Ukraine."

Follow Jackson Free Press State Reporter Ashton Pittman on Twitter @ashtonpittman. Send tips to


85 of the best images from November


A collection of some of the Associated Press' best photos from the month of November, including the Washington Nationals' World Series celebration in D.C., Veterans Day commemorations, the CMA and AMA ...

AP source: Boston #College fires coach Steve Addazio


BOSTON (AP) — Boston College fired coach Steve Addazio after seven seasons in which the Eagles never surpassed seven wins, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Boston College has fired football coach Steve Addazio, source says


BOSTON >> Boston College fired coach Steve Addazio today after seven seasons in which the Eagles never surpassed seven wins, a person with knowledge of the decision told the Associated Press.


AP Top 25: Alabama out of top 5 for first time in 4 years


Alabama dropped to No. 9 in the Associated Press college football poll, snapping the Crimson Tide’s record streak of 68 appearances in the top five.


London Terrorist Attack Puts City on High Alert

U.K. police shot dead a terrorist after he killed two people in a stabbing attack in central London, officials said. Here’s how the incident unfolded on the ground. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/Associated Press

Hobbled Indonesian corruption busters show Jokowi is no corruption buster

After he won re-election last April, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo was eager to emphasise the liberating effects of not having to worry about re-election. In his second and final term, the President told the Associated Press (AP) he wouldn’t face the same ‘political burden[s]’ he had in his first. While those words might have […]

Veteran ‘Will and Grace’ actress Shelley Morrison dies at 83


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shelley Morrison, an actress with a 50-year career who was best known for playing a memorable maid on “Will and Grace,” died Sunday, her publicist said.

Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, publicist Lori DeWaal told The Associated Press. She was 83.

Morrison played Rosario Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of “Will and Grace” from 1999 to 2006, becoming part of a cast that won a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble in a comedy series.

The character, originally written for a single episode, proved so popular in her interactions with co-star Megan Mullaly that she would appear in 68 episodes during the NBC series’ eight seasons... Read More

Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 7:37pm

read more


Ohio State aims for record run against Michigan

ANN ARBOR — Ohio State is two wins away from having a shot at winning a second national championship in five seasons and a third title this century.Michigan is in the way.Maybe.The Buckeyes, ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff and No. 2 in The Associated Press poll, have won seven straight and 14 of 15 against the Wolverines in a dominating stretch that has taken a lot of suspense out of the series.Ohio State is about a double-digit favorite to win [...]

Wilson urges First Lady Kennedy to appeal for peace: 1962


Washington Area Spark posted a photo:

Wilson urges First Lady Kennedy to appeal for peace: 1962

Dagmar Wilson, the Washington, D.C. housewife who launched the group Women’s Strike for Peace that grew to 500,000 members nationwide within a year, is shown at a February 19, 1962 press conference urging First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy to broadcast an appeal for peace.

Wilson had earlier convinced Nina Khrushchev, wife of the Soviet leader, to broadcast an appeal to American women and was asking Ms. Kennedy to broadcast a similar appeal to Soviet women.

The First Lady never made a speech similar to Ms. Khrushchev.

The threat of atomic warfare that would destroy both the U.S., the Soviet Union and much of the world was an immediate and real threat.

Women’s Strike for Peace exploded in influence when it staged its initial protest Nov. 1, 1961 involving 50,000 people in 60 cities across the country.

President Kennedy responded to that demonstration by saying, “I saw the ladies myself. I recognized why they were here. There were a great number of them. It was in the rain. I understood what they were attempting to say and, therefore, I considered that their message was received.”

In her 1963 interview with the Washington Star and three other newspapers, Wilson laughed off suggestions that the group was communist-controlled and instead offered that her group had friendly relations with a women’s committee in the Soviet Union that had been formed in World War II to help children and others displaced by the war and that received no funds from the state.

“We are often told there is no use negotiating with a group in a communist country because it is an instrument of the state. But they are proud of the fact that not one kopeck comes from the government. They raise their funds among themselves and they have been very understanding of the peace movement and almost protective of us. We have signed joint statements with these women.”

When asked if there was any sign of Soviet pressure on these women, Wilson responded:

“The Soviet people are convinced their government is doing everything it can to work for peace. I am inclined to believe the desire for peace is so intense in the Soviet Union that a government that didn’t claim to be working for peace couldn’t survive there.”

Six months earlier the group was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that sought to establish communist-domination of the group.

When asked if she would purge communists from the organization, she responded “certainly not” and if asked if she would make the movement equally open to Nazis and Fascists, she replied, “If only we could get them on our side.”

As each of the previous nine women called to testify refused to answer committee questions, each woman was applauded by the partisan audience. Wilson said at the end of the hearing that, “Solid support of the women for those who took the Fifth [Amendment] is an indication that we are simply not concerned with personal points of view.”

In the 1963 interview she was asked what effect the HUAC hearing had the group’s membership, Wilson responded:

“It had an excellent effect. It strengthened and added to our numbers. A few people withdrew their names from our mailing list, but our mailing list increased quite a bit. If financial support is any indication, this is the first time we are in the black since we began the movement.”

Later in the interview, Wilson vowed to take political action, “…we would be obliged to support any candidate of any party who was the most peace-minded and who backed our goals, which are, of course, peace and general disarmament. We would like to see the two parties competing for the best platform.”

The first of a number of arms limitation and reduction treaties with the Soviet Union was concluded in the autumn of 1963.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) prohibited all test detonations of nuclear weapons except underground. It was developed both to slow the arms race and to stop the excessive release of nuclear fallout into the planet's atmosphere.

The Treaty was signed and ratified by the governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Wilson was an American citizen married to a British embassy officer.

She was both a housewife raising three girls and managing a career illustrating children's books. She eventually had 50 titles to her credit, including the well-known "Poems to Read to the Very Young," published in 1961.

When the philosopher Bertrand Russell was arrested in London for taking part in an anti-A bomb protest the same year, Wilson was outraged and motivated to action.

According to her obituary in the New York Times:

“The next day she began calling every woman she knew. Soon afterward, a small group met in her living room and decided to call themselves Women Strike for Peace and conceived a plan for women to leave their jobs and kitchens for a day in protest of what they believed was impending planetary crisis.

“Word spread through church groups, PTA networks and women’s clubs, and six weeks later tens of thousands of women in 60 cities were mobilized.”

Wilson continued to head Women’s Strike for Peace for rest of the decade until the next generation of women opposed to the war in Vietnam took the reins.

In one of her last public roles, she led a peace mission to Hanoi in North Vietnam as U.S. bombs fell on the city in 1967.

In the book "The Price of Dissent," a 2001 collection of oral histories by Bud Schultz and Ruth Schultz, she described waiting by a bombed-out bridge on a moonlit night and recalling how she had gazed "at the same darn moon" before leaving Georgetown two weeks earlier.

"It just gave me an uncanny, 'one-planet' feeling," she said. "We live together on one Earth. Can we do it in peace? I still cherish that dream."

Wilson died in Washington, D.C. at age 94 in 2011.

For more information and related images, see

The photographer is unknown The image is an Associated Press photograph housed in the D.C. Public Library Washington Star Collection © Washington Post.


iPhone 12(仮)にはAirPods同梱?から5G対応で1億台以上売れる?まで。最新アップル噂まとめ

ASSOCIATED PRESS 中国や香港の次はロシア。アップル製品は世界各国の市場に広く受け入れられていますが、それだけに政治や外交的な事情に巻き込まれやすく、クックCEOの苦慮も深まっていると察せられます。 iPhone 12(仮)にはAirPods同梱?から5G対応で1億台以上売れる?まで、最新アップルの噂をまとめてお届けします。

Five killed in Baghdad explosions: report

Five people were reportedly killed during three explosions across Baghdad on Tuesday.Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that five people were killed and 13 were injured in the incidents. At least three people were killed and five were...

China plans new coal plants, trims support for clean energy - The Associated Press

China plans new coal plants, trims support for clean energy  The Associated PressView full coverage on Google News

AP source: South Carolina demotes OC, fires 2 assistants

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has demoted offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and fired quarterbacks coach Dan Werner and strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Sunday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had not yet made an official announcement. McClendon was in his second season as Muschamp's offensive play-caller and fourth overall with the Gamecocks.

9 people killed, 3 injured in South Dakota plane crash, authorities say


Nine people died and three more were injured when a single-engine plane bound for Idaho crashed shortly after takeoff in South Dakota.

Peter Knudson with the National Transportation Safety Board told The Associated Press 12 people were aboard the Pilatus PC-12 when it crashed about 12:30 p.m. Saturday,...


Top 25: Alabama out of top 5 for first time in 4 years

Alabama dropped to No. 9 in The Associated Press college football poll, snapping the Crimson Tide's record streak of 68 appearances in the top five.The top four teams in the AP Top 25 presented by Regions Bank were unchanged, with LSU at No. 1, followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia.The Buckeyes gained on LSU after their blowout victory at Michigan, receiving 19 first-place votes. The Tigers had 40, down 10 from last week. Clemson received three first-place votes. [...]

Haïti au bord du gouffre: «pour rester au pouvoir, le Président Moïse devra massacrer les gens»


Haïti est à nouveau plongé dans le chaos. Émeutes, écoles et hôpitaux fermés, forces de l’ordre attaquées: une guerre civile pourrait-elle bientôt éclater? Sputnik fait le point avec Frantz Voltaire, directeur du Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-canadienne.

Haïti, ce petit pays antillais de 11 millions d’habitants, s’enfonce de plus en plus dans le chaos et la violence.

Depuis février 2019, des citoyens multiplient les manifestations pour dénoncer la corruption et l’économie en chute libre. Les opposants au Président Jovenel Moïse l’accusent notamment d’avoir détourné des fonds du Petrocaribe, un prêt accordé à Haïti par le Venezuela. Menée par la Cour supérieure des comptes, une enquête a déjà conclu que le Président avait participé à cette fraude.

Signe d’une situation qui empire, un couple de Français a été tué par balles le 25 novembre dernier dans la capitale de Port-au-Prince, où ils venaient d’atterrir. Selon l’Onu, au moins 42 personnes ont été tuées depuis la mi-septembre lors de manifestations organisées contre le Président soutenu par Washington.

Une situation qui se dégrade à vue d’œil 

Selon Frantz Voltaire, si la situation s’est quelque peu calmée récemment dans la capitale, les manifestations pourraient rapidement y reprendre de plus belle. M. Voltaire est le directeur du Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-canadienne, situé à Montréal. En entrevue, il dépeint une situation pour le moins catastrophique, évoquant notamment la fermeture des écoles et des hôpitaux ainsi que les routes bloquées par des gens armés.

«Il y a un début d’accalmie depuis que le Président Moïse a rencontré l’ambassadrice américaine à l’Onu, Mme Kelly Craft. Le fait que les États-Unis aient réitéré leur appui au Président en place a quelque peu calmé la situation. Il n’en demeure pas moins que le niveau d’insécurité atteint des sommets. À Port-au-Prince, la situation s’est un peu améliorée, mais les manifestations se poursuivent dans les autres villes du pays», souligne Frantz Voltaire à notre micro.

Ce grand spécialiste d’Haïti estime que son pays d’origine a très peu de chances de sortir rapidement de cette crise. Incapables de s’entendre, les deux camps tendraient de plus en plus à se «radicaliser». La population serait en grande majorité favorable à la destitution du Président Moïse, alors que ce dernier compterait sur l’appareil étatique et surtout sur le soutien des États-Unis pour mater la révolte. En février dernier, malgré la grande impopularité du Président, l’ambassadrice américaine en Haïti est même allée lui renouveler son appui dans la capitale.

«Il y a une sorte de trêve qui n’est pas très claire: on ne sait pas du tout combien de temps elle va durer. [...] L’opposition n’arrive pas à renverser le Président, tandis que paradoxalement le pouvoir ne gouverne rien... Le Président ne dirige que par la force. Nous sommes dans une impasse et nous ne voyons poindre à l’horizon aucune solution. La radicalisation des positions est telle que les deux camps demeurent incapables de trouver une solution moyenne», précise l’historien et documentariste.

En plus de la pénurie d’essence et des pannes d’électricité récurrentes, M. Voltaire pointe le rôle des gangs criminels sur l’ancienne île d’Hispaniola, certains agissant comme les «milices personnelles» de politiciens. Des politiques sont d’ailleurs eux-mêmes armés. Le 23 septembre dernier, le sénateur Jean-Marie Ralph Fethière tirait à bout portant sur des manifestants ayant pris d’assaut le Parlement. Le sénateur a aussi blessé un journaliste de l’agence Associated Press.

«Il y a de graves problèmes d’insécurité. Dans certaines zones, les gangs criminels imposent leur loi. Dans certains cas, des gangs agissent pour le compte de gens du pouvoir liés au Président ou pour d’autres politiciens et parlementaires ayant leur propre rapport à l’État. Nous sommes dans une situation chaotique. [...] Ces gangs se lient à des gens du pouvoir, car ils n’ont pas encore les ressources nécessaires pour devenir autonomes, comme certains groupes au Mexique», analyse M. Voltaire.

Dans ce contexte, une guerre civile pourrait-elle bientôt éclater? Frantz Voltaire n’en est pas si sûr, car la situation présente «ne ferait pas ressortir deux camps bien définis»:

«Pour rester au pouvoir, le Président Moïse devra massacrer les gens. Dans le contexte actuel, je doute fort que cela puisse se produire. La perspective d’une guerre civile n’est pas un scénario que j’anticipe, puisque la situation est trop chaotique. Une guerre civile oppose clairement deux camps qui sont des groupes organisés. En Haïti, la guerre civile est une hypothèse qu’on ne peut jamais écarter, mais la dynamique actuelle, très complexe, ne s’y prête pas tout à fait», a-t-il conclu.


В США в результате крушения частного самолета погибли девять человек


В американском штате Южная Дакота разбился частный самолет, в результате погибли девять человек. Об этом сообщает Associated Press со ссылкой на представителя Национального совета по безопасности на транспорте США. 


Associated Press releases Week 5 college basketball poll -

  1. Associated Press releases Week 5 college basketball poll
  2. Michigan basketball goes from unranked to No. 4 in AP Top 25 after huge week  Detroit Free Press
  3. Louisville tops AP college basketball poll – and next opponent Michigan is No. 4  Courier Journal
  4. Louisville is new No. 1, unranked Michigan goes to No. 4  Yahoo Sports
  5. BOZICH | Louisville earns No. 1 spot in AP poll on eve of Michigan game  WDRB
  6. View full coverage on Google News


Ohio State Moves Up To No. 6 In Associated Press Top 25 Poll

Ohio State is set for its first top-10 matchup of the season this week.

The Buckeyes moved up from No. 10 to No. 6 in the Associated Press top-25 poll to remain in the top 10 for the third week in a row. The ranking sets up a high-profile road test for them when they head to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face the seventh-ranked Tar Heels on Wednesday night.

Due to Michigan's wins against North Carolina, Gonzaga and Iowa State in the past week, the Big Ten now has four teams in the rankings. The Wolverines leapt into the top 25 for the first time this season, appearing at No. 4. Maryland, at No. 3, and No. 11 Michigan State also remain remain in the rankings, representing the conference.

Villanova, which the Buckeyes beat earlier this year, is ranked No. 23. Ohio State also topped Louisville in a closed exhibition before the season began. The Cardinals are ranked No. 2.

Ohio State will face North Carolina on the road Wednesday night and Penn State at home Saturday afternoon this week.

Rank Team Conference Points
1 Louisville (7-0) ACC 1,599 (48)
2 Kansas (6-0) Big 12 1,497 (3)
3 Maryland (8-0) Big Ten 1,446
4 Michigan (7-0) Big Ten 1,429 (9)
5 Virginia (7-0) ACC 1,424 (4)
6 Ohio State (7-0) Big Ten 1,244
7 North Carolina (6-1) ACC 1,162
8 Kentucky (6-1) SEC 1,096
9 Gonzaga (8-1) West Coast 1,095
10 Duke (7-1) ACC 1,083
11 Michigan State (5-2) Big Ten 964
12 Arizona (9-0) Pac-12 875
13 Oregon (6-2) Pac-12 785
14 Auburn (7-0) SEC 698
15 Memphis (6-1) AAC 652
16 Seton Hall (6-2) Big East 629
17 Florida State (7-1) ACC 562
18 Baylor (5-1) Big 12 466
19 Dayton (5-1) A-10 386
20 Colorado (6-0) Pac-12 371
21 Tennessee (6-1) SEC 331
22 Washington (5-1) Pac-12 222
23 Villanova (5-2) Big East 192
24 Butler (7-0) Big East 165
25 Utah State  (7-1) Mountain West 112


South Dakota plane crash kills 9, injures 3: AP, citing authorities

Nine people were killed and three were injured in an airplane crash in the U.S. state of South Dakota, the Associated Press reported late on Saturday, citing authorities.


Mike Pompeo denunţă continuarea audierilor în Congres în timp ce Donald Trump este în străinătate

Secretarul de Stat american, Mike Pompeo, a criticat, luni, decizia Camerei Reprezentanţilor de continuare a audierilor în procedura care ar putea conduce la demiterea preşedintelui Donald Trump în timp ce liderul de la Casa Albă efectuează deplasări externe, informează agenţia Associated Press.

Event Update For 2019-11-26


The seas, lakes and oceans are now pluming deadly hydrogen sulfide and suffocating methane. Hydrogen sulfide is a highly toxic water-soluble heavier-than-air gas and will accumulate in low-lying areas. Methane is slightly more buoyant than normal air and so will be all around, but will tend to contaminate our atmosphere from the top down. These gases are sickening and killing oxygen-using life all around the world, including human life, as our atmosphere is increasingly poisoned. Because both gases are highly flammable and because our entire civilization is built around fire and flammable fuels, this is leading to more fires and explosions. This is an extinction level event and will likely decimate both the biosphere and human population and it is debatable whether humankind can survive this event.

A. More fires and more explosions, especially along the coasts, but everywhere generally.
B. Many more animal die-offs, of all kinds, and especially oceanic species.
C. More multiples of people will be found dead in their homes, as if they'd dropped dead.
D. More corpses found in low-lying areas, all over the world.
E. More unusual vehicular accidents.
F. Improved unemployment numbers as people die off.

Category: Variety Pack

2019-11-26 - Passenger plane hit by smoke, plane makes emergency landing in the Cayman Islands:

Quote: "Pilots reported hearing a loud noise coming from the outside of the aircraft, according to a source close to the situation. Emergency responders at the airport reported seeing what appeared to be smoke coming from one of the plane’s engines, the source said."

Note: This is the 148th aircraft to smoke/burn/explode in 2019...

2019-11-26 - Underground explosions and fire cause blackouts in Asheville (North Carolina):

2019-11-26 - Recycling center fire breaks out in Melton (Britain):

2019-11-26 - Wildfire grows to 4,000+ acres outside coastal Santa Barbara (California):

Quote: "A wind-driven brush fire that erupted in the Southern California mountains Monday quickly burned more than 4,000 acres by early Tuesday, fire officials said. The 'Cave Fire' jumped a highway near the Santa Barbara city limits, CBS Los Angeles reports, in an area that hasn’t burned in 29 years."

Quote: "The Associated Press said the blaze was threatening homes near the town of Goleta, north of Santa Barbara. A fire in the coastal city destroyed 13 homes last year."

2019-11-26 - Wildfires break out and threaten Mooreland and Fargo (Oklahoma):

2019-11-26 - Magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes near Tirana (Albania), buildings collapse, 20+ killed, hundreds injured:

Quote: "Albanian rescuers searched rubble through the night looking for survivors trapped in buildings that toppled Tuesday in the strongest earthquake to hit the country in decades, with more than 20 dead and hundreds injured."

2019-11-26 - Oil well site rocked by explosion and fire in Missaukee County (Michigan), 2 injured:

2019-11-26 - Boat bursts into flame while docked at marina in coastal Alameda (California):

2019-11-26 - Two boats go up in flames while docked in the Maldive Islands:

Quote: "Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on Tuesday night revealed that a fire occurred aboard an oil boat docked at Vilimale'. MNDF stated that the fire, reported at 22:40, went on to spread onboard a second vessel also docked at the island's harbour."

Note: These are the 950th, 951st and 952nd boats/ships to burn/explode in 2019...

2019-11-26 - Passenger bus bursts into flame at midnight on street in Kanigiri (India):

Note: This is the 570th bus to burn in 2019...

2019-11-26 - Tractor trailer bursts into flame on I-85 in Granville County (North Carolina):

2019-11-26 - Semi tractor, many other vehicles and machine shed destroyed by fire near Beatrice (Nebraska):

Quote: "Many vehicles....many vintage vehicles...there's also a semi tractor located in the building. Everything's a total loss, at this point..."

2019-11-26 - Tractors, machinery and barn destroyed by fire near Stratford (Canada):

Quote: "There were no injuries, but the damage estimate is about $450,000 as machinery, including tractors, and tools were lost."

2019-11-26 - Tractor trailer bursts into flame on the Pacific Highway near Maclean (Australia):

2019-11-26 - Tractor trailer bursts into flame at 6:15 AM on the Hume Freeway in Beveridge (Australia):

2019-11-26 - Tractor trailer bursts into flame on road in Jalan Sungai Sebatang (Malaysia):

Note: These are the 2040th, 2041st, 2042nd, 2043rd, 2044th, 2045th and 2046th tractors/tankers/semis to burn/explode in 2019...

2019-11-26 - Three U-Haul trucks go up in flames while parked at facility in Victorville (California):

2019-11-26 - Box truck bursts into flame on street in Hudson (New York):

2019-11-26 - Van bursts into flame on street in Southwell (Britain):

2019-11-26 - SUV bursts into flame while parked at home on East State Road 44 in Wildwood (Florida):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame at restaurant on Ball Pond Road in Danbury (Connecticut):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame at 12:26 AM on street in Huntington Station on coastal Long Island (New York):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame outside Starbucks on Springwood Road in York (Pennsylvania):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame on Estero Parkway in coastal Estero (Florida):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame on street in coastal Chennai (India):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame on the N40 near coastal Cork (Ireland):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame at 11:30 PM on Crossland Road Park in coastal Blackpool (Britain):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame near recreation center on High Street in Winsford (Britain):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame on the A1301 near Sawston (Britain):

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame at 2:32 AM on Stolford Rise in Tattenhoe (Britain):

Quote: "Tuesday 26 November, 2.32am Car fire, Stolford Rise, Tattenhoe, Milton Keynes. One appliance and crew from Bletchley attended. Firefighters used one hose reel, one set of breathing apparatus and a thermal imaging camera."

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame in layby along the A41 in Aston Clinton (Britain):

Quote: "Tuesday 26 November, 9.37pm Car on fire in layby, A41 southbound, Aston Clinton. Two appliances and crews from Aylesbury attended. Firefighters used one hose reel, one set of breathing apparatus and a thermal imaging camera."

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame at 1:29 AM on the A1(M) near Harrogate (Britain):

Quote: "Time: 01:29 Location: A1M North Junctions 46-47 Crews from Harrogate and Knaresborough attended to reports of a car fire on the hard shoulder. On arrival crews found a small fire confined to the engine compartment of a Peugeot 207. Crews extinguished the fire using 1 hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera. The cause of the fire is unknown."

2019-11-26 - Car bursts into flame in Kirk Smeaton (Britain):

Quote: "Time: 18:48 Location: Kirk Smeaton Crews from Selby and neighbouring brigade Pontefract responded to reports of a car fire. Crews extinguished the car using breathing apparatus, 1 hose reel jet and lighting."

2019-11-26 - Vehicle bursts into flame on I-95 near Christiana (Delaware):

2019-11-26 - RV trailer bursts into flame while parked at home in Sunnyside (Washington):

2019-11-26 - RV trailer bursts into flame while parked at Hide-A-Way Lakes campground in Oswego Township (Illinois):

2019-11-26 - Cars and garage destroyed by fire at home on Glendale Road in Marietta (Ohio):

2019-11-26 - Machine shop damaged by fire in Marathon City (Wisconsin):

2019-11-26 - Barn destroyed by fire in Churubusco (Indiana):

2019-11-26 - Sawmill destroyed by fire on Campagna Road in Highgate (Vermont):

2019-11-26 - Restaurant heavily damaged by fire on Grand Island Boulevard on Grand Island in the Niagara River (New York):

2019-11-26 - Historic church heavily damaged by fire in Milton (Pennsylvania):

2019-11-26 - Mobile home destroyed by fire on East Elaine Circle in coastal West Palm Beach (Florida):

2019-11-26 - Home damaged by fire on Luxemburg Drive in Hermitage (Tennessee), 2 injured:

2019-11-26 - Home heavily damaged by fire at 11:30 PM on Sharmain Place in San Antonio (Texas), nobody there:

2019-11-26 - Home heavily damaged by fire in the wee hours in Tulsa (Oklahoma), 2 injured:

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns vehicle and mobile home in Whitewater (California), 1 killed:

Quote: "Riverside county sheriff's and fire officials are investigating a blaze that ripped through a Whitewater trailer, a vehicle and acres of vegetation on Tuesday morning, killing one person."

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns home just before 2 AM on Ridge Park Avenue in Cheektowaga (New York), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns home at 6:30 AM on East Dewart Street in Shamokin (Pennsylvania), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns apartment building in coastal Bacolod City (Philippine Islands), 6 killed:

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns restaurant on New Falls Road in Levittown (Pennsylvania), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Deadly fire burns home at 12:20 AM on West Paxton Avenue in coastal Tampa (Florida), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Vacant home burns on  South Pinta Avenue in Tucson (Arizona):

2019-11-26 - College student, woman, 20, found dead in dorm room at university in Greenville (North Carolina):

Quote: "This marks the sixth student death this semester."

2019-11-26 - Man in his 60s found dead in lake in MacArthur Park in coastal Los Angeles (California):

2019-11-26 - Man found dead near the Whippany River in Morris Township (New Jersey):

2019-11-26 - Man, 58, found dead in South Fork Rivanna Reservoir in Albemarle County (Virginia):

2019-11-26 - Man, 43, slumps over dead in car at Sam's Club in Canton (Michigan):

2019-11-26 - Man, 49, found dead in his pickup truck in Union County (Mississippi):

2019-11-26 - Person found dead in Joes Creek about a mile north of Bachman Lake in Dallas (Texas):

2019-11-26 - Man found dead in water channel in Minneapolis (Minnesota):

2019-11-26 - Person found dead in the Grand River in Waterloo (Canada):

2019-11-26 - Champion surfer, man, 40, has heart attack while surfing and dies, at beach in coastal Rio de Janeiro (Brazil):

Quote: "The incident took place at the Itauna beach in Rio de Janeiro. According to Brazilian news outlet Waves, Neves had just finished riding a wave before he suffered a heart attack. They claim that he eventually drowned and was unable to be resuscitated."

2019-11-26 - Celebrity chef, man, 59, suddenly sickens and dies in coastal Dubai (UAE):

Quote: "Rhodes was filming a new series in Dubai for Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch TV, the production companies said in a joint statement Wednesday. 'Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards,' the joint statement reads."

2019-11-26 - Boy, 9, dies in Kleinmond Lagoon in the Western Cape (South Africa):

2019-11-26 - Small plane crashes and explodes into flame near Gass Peak (Nevada), 3 killed:

2019-11-26 - Small plane crashes near Desert Center (California), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Passenger bus and truck crash near Higuey (Dominican Republic), 22+ injured:

2019-11-26 - Tanker truck overturns on Budds Creek Road in Chaptico (Maryland):

2019-11-26 - Tractor trailer crashes 80 feet off Conowingo Dam before 2 AM in Cecil County (Maryland), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Van veers over centerline at 6 AM, hits car head-on, fire erupts, near Sierra Vista (Arizona), 1 killed, 1 injured:

2019-11-26 - SUV veers off road at 1:19 AM, crashes into home, on Kent Lane in Pasco (Washington):

2019-11-26 - Pickup truck and car-hauler crash on I-95 near coastal Titusville (Florida), 2 killed:

2019-11-26 - Car veers off road and overturns on I-95 in Colleton County (South Carolina), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Car veers off road, crashes into tree then creek, in Galax (Virginia), 1 injured:

2019-11-26 - Car overturns, bursts into flame, in coastal Dubai (UAE), 1 killed:

2019-11-26 - Man, 26, strips naked in the Russell Senate Office Building in coastal Washington DC:

Quote: "WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington reported that the man is a 26-year-old Capitol Hill resident, according to police records. He had allegedly told the officer who confronted him, 'I am on my way to see God.'"

2019-11-26 - Sinkhole closes road in Herefordshire (Britain):

2019-11-26 - Water main breaks, sinkhole opens, in Swatara Township (Pennsylvania):

2019-11-26 - Magnitude 5.4 earthquake shakes Bosnia:

2019-11-26 - Hail, lightning, wild wind as monster storm smashes through Sydney (Australia), 76,000 lose power:

2019-11-26 - Five more signs that the global economy is careening toward a recession:

2019-11-26 - Russian cows fitted with VR headsets show 'reduced anxiety and improved emotional mood':

2019-11-26 - Police test 'terrifying' robot dogs, prompting questions:


L'ville new No. 1; unranked Michigan leaps to 4

Louisville is the latest team to climb to No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll, and Michigan has matched a record by debuting at No. 4.

Stanford No. 1 in women's poll after Oregon loss

Stanford took over the top spot in The Associated Press poll for the first time in seven years, following losses by Oregon and Baylor.

EEUU restringe visas para instructores de baile de salón


Ningún estadounidense respondió a sus avisos ofreciendo trabajo como instructor de baile, por lo que Chris Sabourin decidió buscar en el extranjero. Pero tropezó con restricciones a la concesión de visas, que están causando grandes dolores de cabeza a los centros de enseñanza de baile de salón en Estados Unidos.

Sabourin finalmente desistió de traer alguien de afuera luego de gastar miles de dólares tratando de conseguir los servicios de una instructora griega para que enseñase en el estudio Fred Astaire de Orange, Connecticut. Esos esfuerzos quedaron en la nada porque la mujer fue detenida en el Aeropuerto Kennedy de Nueva York y enviada de vuelta a su país.

“Sería bueno que nos dejasen saber por qué tenemos tantos problemas”, dijo Sabourin. “Esto afecta nuestro negocio, sin dudas”.

Hay mucho interés en aprender bailes desde el foxtrot hasta el tango, alimentado en parte por el programa televisivo “Bailando con las estrellas”, y los propietarios de estudios de baile como Sabourin dicen que les cuesta mucho contratar instructores extranjeros.

Los propietarios, representantes nacionales de las cadenas de estudios de baile Arthur Murray y Fred Astaire, y abogados dicen que el procesamiento de solicitudes de visa online se demora mucho, en parte porque hay cada vez más requisitos, incluida información redundante y documentos innecesarios.

Un repaso de la información de los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración difundida en enero por la Asociación Nacional de Abogados de Inmigración indica que el tiempo promedio para procesar un caso aumentó un 46% entre el 2016, el último año completo del gobierno previo, y el año fiscal del 2018, de 6,5 meses a 9,48 meses.

La presidenta de la Asociación Marketa Lindt declaró en julio ante el Congreso que en el último año fiscal había 5,69 millones de casos atrasados, un 69% más que en el año fiscal del 2014.

Documentos oficiales revisados por la Associated Press reflejan un leve aumento a partir del 2017 en las negativas iniciales de visas O-1 para individuos con “talentos o logros extraordinarios” --la visa que solicitan muchos instructores de baile-- así como en la reconsideración de visas O-1 que habían sido denegadas.

Representantes del sector dicen que notan un aumento en el tiempo que toma procesar esas visas para no inmigrantes, que permiten a los instructores de baile trabajar por hasta tres años en Estados Unidos. Ahora toma meses esed trámite, no semanas, y no hay garantías de que las solicitudes serán aprobadas.

En un caso, a un instructor ecuatoriano le aprobaron preliminarmente una visa para trabajar en el estudio Fred Astaire de Southbury, Connecticut, pero luego le fue denegada cuando visitó el consulado estadounidense.

José Zuquilanda, de 23 años, esperaba competir, entrenarse, dar clases y aprender cómo manejar un estudio en Estados Unidos.

Zuquilanda visitó Estados Unidos decenas de veces como turista y le aprobaron preliminarmente una visa O-1. Pero en el consulado le rechazaron tanto la visa de trabajo como la de turista.

“No solo perjudican su carrera sino también el estudio Fred Astaire”, dijo su madre, Liliana Serrano, quien vive en Connecticut.

“Estos profesionales en particular, estos artistas, pertenecen a un sector en el que los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración hacen que resulte cada vez más difícil venir legalmente”, expresó la abogada de inmigración de Hartford, Connecticut, Erin O’Neil-Baker, quien representa a diez estudio de bailes de Nueva Inglaterra que patrocinan instructores extranjeros. “Incluso si eres un experto en este terreno, si tienes talentos extraordinarios, te complican las cosas”.

Abogados de inmigración dicen que una de las razones de las demoras es la orden de Trump de “comprar (productos) estadounidenses y contratar estadounidenses”. El objetivo de ese decreto era hacer subir los sueldos y las contrataciones de estadounidenses haciendo “cumplir rigurosamente” las leyes de inmigración.

“En todas las solicitudes hemos notado un significativo aumento en el tiempo que toma procesarlas”, dijo Diane Rish, de la Asociación Nacional de Abogados de Inmigración.

La Oficina de Rendición de Cuentas del gobierno le dijo a miembros del Congreso a fines de mayo que planea investigar las conclusiones del informe.

Mark Krikorian, director ejecutivo del Centro de Estudios de la Inmigración, que promueve controles más rígidos, dijo que comprende los problemas de los propietarios de pequeños negocios, pero que no deben responsabilizar a las políticas inmigratorias por sus dificultades.

“Una cosa es hablar de físicos nucleares de talla mundial. Son muy pocos y los queremos aquí. Todo el mundo comprende eso”, manifestó. “Pero, ¿instructores de baile? Lo siento. Eso es algo que tiene que resolver el mercado. Si no consiguen instructores en los programas de baile de las universidades, tal vez hay demasiadas escuelas. Esto es un asunto de oferta y demanda”.

Una portavoz del Departamento de Estado dijo que “no ha habido cambios de política” en relación con las visas O-1.

Michael Wilder, abogado de inmigración de la primera dama Melania Trump y su familia, sin embargo, sostuvo en un artículo de opinión publicado por The Hill que los abogados de diseñadores de modas, modelos y fotógrafos “tropiezan con un nivel de rechazo sin precedentes de parte de las autoridades inmigratorias”.

Habló de una “marginación generalizada” de gente talentosa y creativa que opta por renunciar a Estados Unidos e irse a París o Beijing.

Los instructores “no pueden esperar tanto”, declaró John Gates, vicepresidente de los Fred Astaire Dance Studios.

Wayne Smith, vicepresidente ejecutivo de los Arthur Murray Dance Centers, dijo que resulta costoso contratar abogados que conozcan a fondo las leyes de inmigración.

“Esto es un problema muy complejo”, expresó. “Invertir tanto dinero no vale la pena a largo plazo”.


Casa Blanca no asistirá a audiencias para juicio político


WASHINGTON (AP) — La Casa Blanca declaró el domingo que no participará en las primeras audiencias para un posible juicio político al presidente Donald Trump en la Comisión de Asuntos Jurídicos de la cámara baja, mientras los demócratas se disponen a aprobar el martes su informe con los argumentos para destituirlo.

La mayoría demócrata en la Comisión de Inteligencia de la Cámara de Representantes afirma que su informe hablará por sí mismo al plantear los posibles cargos de soborno o “delitos graves y delitos menores”, la normativa constitucional para el proceso de destitución.

Después de recibir el informe, la Comisión de Asuntos Jurídicos podría preparar los cargos reales.

La primera audiencia de la comisión está fijada para el miércoles, y según previsiones cuatro expertos jurídicos examinarán cuestiones sobre los fundamentos constitucionales mientras la comisión decide si redacta las justificaciones para un juicio político contra Trump, y si es así, cuáles serán.

La Casa Blanca fue invitada a asistir a la audiencia del miércoles, pero su abogado rechazó hacerlo en una carta vehemente difundida el domingo en la noche.

“Esta investigación infundada y altamente partidista viola todo precedente histórico, los derechos elementales del debido proceso y la imparcialidad fundamental”, dijo el abogado de la Casa Blanca, Pat Cipollone, en una continuación de las críticas de ésta a los procesos para una destitución. Trump tiene previsto asistir el miércoles a una reunión con aliados de la OTAN en las afueras de Londres.

Cipollone se refirió en su carta sólo a la audiencia del miércoles, y exigió a los demócratas brindar mayor información sobre la manera en la que pretenden efectuar las demás audiencias para que Trump decida si asiste o no.

Las reglas aprobadas por la Cámara de Representantes conceden al mandatario y sus abogados el derecho a interrogar testigos y revisar pruebas ante la comisión, pero pocas facultades para presentar a sus propios testigos.

Por su parte, los republicanos desean que el representante demócrata Adam Schiff, presidente de la Comisión de Inteligencia, testifique ante la Comisión de Asuntos Jurídicos, aunque no pueden obligarlo, sumándose al intento de la Casa Blanca de presentar la investigación de los demócratas como una pesquisa sesgada contra el mandatario republicano.

“Si opta por no (testificar), entonces pongo en duda la veracidad de lo que está incluyendo en su informe”, señaló el representante Doug Collins, el republicano de más alto rango en la Comisión de Asuntos Jurídicos.

“Es fácil ocultarse detrás del informe”, agregó Collins. “Pero otra cosa es dar la cara y tener que responder preguntas”.

Schiff ha dicho que no tiene nada que declarar, que él no es un testigo “de hechos” y que los republicanos sólo intentan apaciguar al presidente, y eso no es una buena razón para que intenten convocar a un miembro del Congreso para que testifique.


Los periodistas de The Associated Press Zeke Miller y Jill Colvin contribuyeron a este despacho.


Mueren 22 personas al caer autobús por una colina en Túnez


TÚNEZ (AP) — Un autobús regional cayó por una colina el domingo por la mañana en Túnez, matando a 24 pasajeros que estaban de excursión en la región de Amdoun, en el norte del país, informó el Ministerio del Interior.

El autobús, que pertenecía a una empresa local privada, se desvió de una carretera sinuosa y cayó al fondo de un barranco. Los medios locales mostraron imágenes de un autobús volcado, con ventanas rotas al pie de una colina.

El portavoz del Ministerio del Interior, Khaled Lahyoune, dijo a The Associated Press que el autobús transportaba a 43 personas y que 18 fueron trasladados a los hospitales de Amdoun y Beja con heridas.

El vehículo se dirigía 185 kilómetros (115 millas) al oeste desde la capital Túnez hasta Ain Draham, un hermoso lugar turístico famoso por sus relieves montañosos en la frontera con Argelia.

Ain Draham se encuentra a una altitud de 800 metros (878 yardas) en las laderas de Djebel Bir, una de las montañas de Kroumirie.

   picks 'existential' as word of the year

 Cache has named “existential” as its word of the year for 2019, according to The Associated Press.“In our data, it speaks to this sense of grappling with our survival, both literally and figuratively, that defined so much of the discourse...

Andale Gross named head of AP’s Race and Ethnicity team


The Associated Press has named Andale Gross as the new editor of a team that covers race and ethnicity in America. Gross and the AP's Race and Ethnicity team will be heavily engaged in coverage of the ...

Shelley Morrison dead: "Will & Grace" actress who played Rosario Salazar dies at 83 - CBS News

  1. Shelley Morrison dead: "Will & Grace" actress who played Rosario Salazar dies at 83  CBS News
  2. Remembering Shelley Morrison: Watch the Actress Reflect on 15 Years of 'Will & Grace' (Flashback)  Entertainment Tonight
  3. Veteran 'Will and Grace' actress Shelley Morrison dies at 83  10TV
  4. Actress Shelley Morrison, best known for playing maid on 'Will & Grace,' dies at 83  KABC-TV
  5. ShowBiz Minute: Morrison, Giannulli, US Box Office  Associated Press
  6. View full coverage on Google News


Prepare now for growth in state’s elderly population

Commentary: The story by former Associated Press reporter Barry Massey in 2014 should have served as a warning. The fastest-growing population in the state by age are those 65 and older. There was no growth for those age 18 to 64, according to Census figures, and a decline for those 17 and younger. And, the trend is expected to continue in the coming decades. The state’s birth rate has remained fairly consistent. But the growth in the aging population means more people are dying each year than being born, according to Jeff Baker, a demographer for the University of New Mexico. By the year 2030, nearly half the state’s population will either be older than 65 or younger than 18, Baker said, creating what he referred to as a double dependency - people who need services (schools for the young, health care for the old) but are typically not in the workforce.

India's Controversial Trans Bill Has Sparked Protest In UK As Well As Back Home

Supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community hold placards during a protest against passing of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, in Bangalore, India last week.

A small group of protestors are gathering outside the Indian High Commission in London on Monday with a goal far larger than their numbers suggest: to hold the Indian government to account over a controversial transgender rights bill.

“They have written a bill without any understanding of what it means to be trans,” Jo Krishnakumar, a 24-year-old from Mumbai currently studying in London, told HuffPost UK.

“We want more people to know about the trans bill and hopefully try to put enough pressure on the government of India and let them know people are watching.”

The object of Krishnakumar’s ire is the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, which critics say fails drastically to live up to its name and actually discriminates against and endangers those it claims to protect.

The bill has been passed in both Houses of the Indian government and is currently awaiting the signature of president Ram Nath Kovind, which will make it the law of the land.

India’s transgender community

According to the country’s 2011 census, there are about half a million transgender people in India, though campaigners say the number is much higher. 

In 2014, the Supreme Court of India passed a landmark ruling which declared transgender people as a “third gender” and affirmed their equal rights under the country’s constitution.

It also gave them the right to identify as male, female or third-gender without the need to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Krishnakumar described the Supreme Court ruling as “a really good judgment” on “how trans people should be treated even in public policy”.

“But this bill goes against all of that so it’s technically illegal,” they added.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill

The bill’s stated objective is to protect the rights of trans people, but a number of provisions within it actually create a legal system in which they are effectively second-class citizens.

“If you were to sexually assault a trans woman you’d get six months to two years but if you were to sexually assault a cis woman, you would get seven years to life, which is utterly fucked up,” Krishnakumar said.

“There’s a very clear dehumanisation happening in just that one clause.”

In July last year, Human Rights Watch asked that the government ensure the bill follows the 2014 Supreme Court ruling, saying “its language could be interpreted to mean transgender people are required to have certain surgeries before legally changing their gender”.

The identity certificates

The new bill states transgender people must apply using the sex they were assigned at birth unless they have undergone sex reassignment surgery, and can provide proof. It is a drastic procedure that not all wish to go through.

A person who identifies as a trans man, for example, but does not wish to undergo surgery is not able to apply for an identity card as a male, even though Aadhaar is “de facto mandatory for bank accounts, SIM cards, and school enrolment”, according to a study by consulting firm Dalberg.

Meera Sanghamitra, a transgender woman and activist, told Reuters last December the current bill would make life more difficult for the community, especially by refusing the right to self-determine gender.

“What is between my two legs does not determine my gender. My gender is my experience, my gender is my identity, my gender is my decision and my exclusive decision – and this is not being recognised by this country’s Parliament,” she said.

The protest

At midday on Monday, Krishnakumar joined a protest outside the Indian High Commission in Aldwych, London.

“What we are trying to do is amplify the voices of the Indian diaspora and trans people outside of India,” they said.


Everything We Know About Prince Andrew And Jeffrey Epstein So Far


The storm of controversy surrounding Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein is set to grow today as Panorama airs an interview with one the paedophile financier’s alleged victims. 

Virginia Giuffre claims she slept with the Duke of York when she was a teenager and in her first UK television interview, she will reveal new details about her time with Epstein.

In the 20-second clip, Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, said: “I know what happened and there’s only one of us telling the truth”.

The BBC One investigative programme entitled The Prince And The Epstein Scandal airs at 9pm and has been extended to run for an hour.

Though Epstein took his own life in August in a New York prison cell, where he was detained on charges of sex trafficking teenage girls, the investigation into the charges continues.  

The Prince and the Paedophile, an episode of Channel 4′s Dispatches series, covers the extraordinary relationship between the pair. 

It claims that over the course of 12 years, from 1999, Epstein and Andrew met on at least 10 occasions, with the royal, who is fifth in line to the throne, reportedly staying with him on several occasions.

Private investigator Mike Fisten played a key role in exposing Epstein’s crimes and worked as a lawyer for some of the victims.

He told Dispatches: “When people tell me, I didn’t know what Jeffrey was about, I don’t want to say BS. I’ll just say hogwash. Because if you were around Jeffrey, you were around underage girls. He has no children. He has no nieces… It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something was going on there.”

Why is Prince Andrew involved? 

Prince Andrew, Virginia Roberts (now Giuffre), aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell's townhouse in London, in 2001. 

One of the women caught up in the scandal alleges she was being trafficked for sex to a number of Epstein’s rich and powerful friends and has made allegations of impropriety against the Duke of York, which he continues to deny.

Virginia Giuffre is one of 16 women who say they were abused by Epstein and claims she was forced into three sexual encounters with the Duke of York, in London, Epstein’s New York mansion, and in the US Virgin Islands.

She says she was first forced to have sex with Andrew as a 17-year-old, which is below the age of consent in Florida, where she filed court papers alleging the incidents, but not in the locations of the three alleged encounters.

Her allegations, which Andrew strongly denies, were struck from US civil court records in 2015, after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent.”

In a legal declaration sworn on 5 February 2015 she wrote: “The third time I had sex with Andy was in an orgy on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands. I was around 18 at the time. Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other girls, and I had sex together. The other girls all seemed and appeared to be under the age of 18 and didn’t really speak English. Epstein laughed about the fact they couldn’t really communicate, saying that they are the “easiest” girls to get along with.”

Scotland Yard had previously held an investigation after Giuffre’s allegations, but that probe was dropped in 2015.

Dai Davis, Operational Unit Commander in charge of Royal Protection for the Metropolitan Police in the 1990s, told Dispatches: “I’m mystified, if I’m honest, as to who at Scotland Yard decided, in their wisdom, not to pursue even a preliminary allegation. And if they said we have looked at it, who did they interview? Have they looked at any of the corroborating evidence as I have?”

He continued: “They should question anyone who has the appropriate knowledge and direction in respect of this matter… if we’re alleging this woman is a fantasist, and we’ve seen plenty of those, then fine, but let’s put it to bed once and for all.”

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has faced criticism over his friendship with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein

When asked if he believed there is “a nervousness” around such an investigation, Davis replied: “Oh, without a doubt. You don’t take on the Royal family lightly… but what I’m trying to say is irrespective of who you are, what you are, you should answer to the law.”

Dispatches has obtained medical records from the New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, which support Giuffre’s claims of being abused by Epstein or others, confirming that she was admitted on 9 July 2001 after suffering three weeks of vaginal bleeding. There is no suggestion she was speaking about Andrew.

Epstein, who was said to have a net worth of $559million, with assets including his jet, four homes and two private islands, and Andrew were photographed walking through New York’s Central Park in 2010 following Epstein’s release from prison.

Giuffre during an interview in New York on August 29, 2019

Despite attempts to publicly distance himself from Epstein, Andrew quit his role as UK trade envoy in 2011 after the fallout from the photos.

Footage filmed around the same time emerged in August this year showing Andrew inside Epstein’s $77m Manhattan mansion. Obtained by MailOnline, it shows the duke looking out from a large door of the mansion, waving a woman goodbye after Epstein leaves to get in a chauffer-driven car.

A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

That month the Mail also reported that Andrew had welcomed Epstein to the Queen’s private Scottish retreat Balmoral in Aberdeenshire in 1999. Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on the matter.

It is known that Epstein and his former girlfriend Maxwell together attended a party at Windsor Castle in June 2000 hosted by the Queen to mark Andrew’s 40th birthday, the Princess Royal’s 50th, the Queen Mother’s 100th and Princess Margaret’s 70th.

The celebration was held on Prince William’s 18th birthday, but William did not attend as he was revising for his A-levels.

FBI agents at Little St. James Island, one of Epstein's properties, in August following his death 

In August, Andrew released a statement saying: “At no stage during the limited time I spent with him, did I see, witness or suspect any behaviour of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction.”

He added that he had “tremendous sympathy” for Epstein’s alleged victims, and reiterated that it was a “mistake” seeing the 66-year-old after his release from an 18-month prison term in 2010 for prostituting minors.

According to Fisten, Epstein’s address book contained 13 phone numbers with which he could contact the duke.

Virginia Giuffre (then Roberts) said she was introduced to Epstein, and later Andrew, by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of late publisher Robert Maxwell, in 1999. She was 17, which is under the age of consent in the US state of Florida, where she filed court papers, but over the age of consent in the UK, where it is 16. 

Epstein and Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1997

In an interview broadcast in September, Giuffre alleged meeting Andrew. She said: “The first time in London I was so young. Ghislaine woke me up in the morning and said:  ‘You’re going to meet a prince today’.

“I did not know at that point I was going to be trafficked to that prince, and then that night Prince Andrew came to her house in London.”

Giuffre said she spent a night in Mayfair’s exclusive Club Tramp with Andrew, Epstein and Maxwell.

She continued: “We leave Club Tramp and I hop in the car with Ghislaine and Jeffrey, and Ghislaine said ‘he’s coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein’.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Describing Andrew after the alleged incident, she said: “He wasn’t rude or anything about it, he said thank you and some kind of soft sentiments like that, and left.

“I couldn’t believe that even royalty were involved.

“He denies that it ever happened, and he is going to keep denying that it ever happened, but he knows the truth and I know the truth.”

In response, Buckingham Palace said it had nothing to add to its previous statement: “It is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virgina Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation.”

Friends in high places 

As well as once counting US President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton as friends, Epstein is also said to have had links in British politics.

In 2005, former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson was photographed shopping with Epstein in the US Virgin Islands.

A friend of Epstein’s, who asked to remain anonymous, told the programme he was visiting Epstein while he was serving his sentence for soliciting a prostitute and procuring an underage girl for prostitution when he received a call from Mandelson. Epstein served just 13 months and was allowed out to his office during the day while serving the sentence.

The friend said: “While I was there, he received a call and said, ‘hello Petie’. And he chatted away. And Petie wanted to meet Jamie Dimon, who was then the Chairman of JP Morgan. And by the time he put… He said, yes, I’ll sort it out. Put the phone down. And Petie had turned out to be none other than the Secretary of the Board of Trade, Peter Mandelson … I must say I was astonished that a British cabinet minister at that time, probably the most powerful man other than the Prime Minister, was calling Jeffrey in jail to make an appointment, to seek an appointment with a very powerful banker in New York.”  

Lawyers for Peter Mandelson say he has no recollection of contacting Epstein by telephone in 2009 

When asked if he was aware of how well the two men knew each other, the source replied: “Well you clearly don’t call Peter Mandelson ‘Petie’ if you’re not a close friend.

In a statement to the programme, lawyers for Lord Mandelson said: “Our client has no recollection of a telephone conversation with Mr Epstein in January 2009, ... in which he allegedly requested that Mr Epstein set up a meeting with Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan .... Our client would have no need whatsoever to make such a request.… As Business Secretary ...he met or talked on the phone to bank CEOs on a regular basis, including Mr Dimon. These contacts were all arranged through his government office”

Epstein’s penchant for making friends in high places is explored in Dispatches.

Lady Victoria Hervey, an It Girl of the late 90s, was a friend of Epstein’s and went on a few dates with Andrew.

She told the programme: “Andrew was kind of like newly single. And he meets this, you know, charismatic man…. Jeffrey… collected people. He was almost addicted to collecting important people. He liked to impress people. So, the British royal family, can you imagine? This was his, you know, biggest kind of trophy he could get.”

Last month, the Sunday Times reported that the FBI had expanded its investigation to identify alleged human trafficking victims of Epstein, who could provide information on the Duke.

The paper said the US law enforcement agency expects to interview alleged trafficking victims over the next two months and that Scotland Yard is ready to assist.

Citing unidentified sources from the US Department of Justice, the paper said the FBI are looking to “several” potential victims in the hope they can provide more details about Prince Andrew and his involvement in the Epstein case.

Scotland Yard had previously held an investigation after one of the women caught up in the scandal, Virginia Giuffre, made allegations against the Duke of York, but that probe was dropped in 2015.

Her allegations, which Andrew strongly denies, were struck from US civil court records in 2015 after a judge said they were “immaterial and impertinent”.

The Sunday Times reports the claims by Giuffre that she was ordered to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 are not the only allegations against the royal being reviewed by the FBI.

Prince Andrew has denied all allegations against him as “false” and “without foundation”.

The paper said around 100 sex-trafficking victims are expected to form part of the FBI’s investigation into Epstein, most of whom were aged between 14 and 15 when allegedly trafficked.


Social Media Gives Young Climate Activists A Platform – It Also Brings Out The Trolls

Social media is a critical tool for climate activists.

You would think the right-wing conspiracy theorists upset Jamie Margolin the most. For the last three years, the 17-year-old climate activist from Seattle has been tirelessly campaigning, marching and lobbying to draw attention to the climate emergency, earning herself over 50,000 social media followers along the way. 

You would think she is most hurt when hateful Trump-supporters use online platforms to criticize Zero Hour, the youth activist organization she founded, or send her death threats, or call her a “bitch.” But in reality, Margolin says the worst thing about being a young climate activist with a social media presence isn’t dealing with trolls — it’s the people who are supposed to be on your side. 

“People try to find things wrong with you because there’s this social media culture of performative wokeness, where it’s like, ‘Who can be the least problematic of all time?’” said Margolin, explaining that commenters will criticize her for driving to events.

“It’s so toxic and it’s anxiety-provoking, but it’s also like they lose sight of who the real enemy is and they attack their own for not being the most pure and perfect … It’s like, come on, yeah, I exhale carbon dioxide too, do you want to arrest me for that?” 

Since the Arab Spring protests in the early 2010s, it has been widely accepted that social media is an invaluable tool for activists. While terms like “hashtag activism” and “clicktivism” mock the potential of social media campaigns, the last decade has seen a flurry of revolutionary activity take place online. Movements like #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter allowed marginalized people to make their voices heard, while 2018’s #MarchForOurLives saw teenage survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting organize an unprecedented gun control rally.  

For young climate activists like Margolin, social media is undoubtedly a critical tool. Earlier this year, I met with 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the original climate striker who has since inspired millions of young people to skip school to attend protests around the world as part of the #FridaysForFuture movement. She admitted that “without social media, I don’t think it would have worked.” 

Thunberg first drew attention to her solitary protest outside the Swedish Parliament via Instagram and Twitter posts. After they went viral, more and more children joined her movement, and she now has over 11 million followers across social media. But Thunberg also acknowledged there are limitations when a movement plays out online. “If all the people who followed me on social media did something, then the world would look very different,” she said. 

Online life can be a double-edged sword for young climate activists, who benefit from the reach and community offered by the internet but must also face trolls and death threats. Many of them also struggle with the additional challenge of being female online in misogynistic spaces. It’s hard for anyone — never mind a teenager with all the particular pressures that stage of life brings — to navigate this kind of global exposure and the bullies that come as a package deal. 

People try to find things wrong with you because there’s this social media culture of performative wokeness ... It’s so toxic and it’s anxiety-provoking.Jamie Margolin

Margolin first began using social media to spread her message at the end of 2016. “I didn’t have very many followers … so I posted what I wanted to, and I didn’t feel as restricted and anxious about it as I do now,” she said.

The internet was absolutely pivotal in the teenager’s journey — she founded her coalition Zero Hour with other young people she met on Instagram and later used the platform to organize the Youth Climate Action March that took place in Washington, D.C., in June 2018. After the march, Margolin began to rapidly gain followers online.

“It feels good, obviously, that sort of validation, and the eyes on you, it makes you think you can do so much more and spread the message to so many people,” she said. “So initially it’s a pretty good thing, but the thing with social media is it never feels like enough.”

Just like any other teenager, Margolin feels the pressure to get an ever-increasing number of likes and comments on her posts. When she doesn’t get enough engagement, “a tiny voice” in her head questions whether she “wasn’t that good” or “people don’t care,” but she says she tries to block those voices out.

Margolin says the most impactful moments in her activism often don’t resonate on the internet. “Social media makes you feel like success is the amount of likes and retweets, where in reality I can get likes and retweets for something that’s just a statement or a picture of myself, but a picture of a really important meeting I had or off-camera things that people are never gonna see are way, way, way more important,” she explained.  

The activist constantly reminds herself that social media is not a marker of her success, and says some of her climate activist heroes are “bad” at using the internet but are the people doing “the real work.”

She also says Indigenous activists and people of color receive less attention and praise for their climate work despite their tireless efforts. Success on social media can often rely on privilege; Thunberg first gained attention when her mother, famous opera singer Malena Ernman, shared her posts on Twitter. 

Greta Thunberg, left, talks to Jamie Margolin, right, during a joint hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment Subcommittee, and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Young climate activists hoping to make a splash online can also face one crucial, somewhat simplistic-sounding barrier: social media age restrictions.

Genesis Butler is a 12-year-old animal rights activist from California who advocates veganism for ethical and environmental reasons. This February, her Instagram account was temporarily shut down because the platform’s terms of service say users must be at least 13 years old. “I think that kids should [be allowed to use] social media,” Butler said. “We all have a voice, and we all should use it, and this is really the time where kids can make an impact on the planet.” 

Butler’s Instagram page has since been reinstated after her family clarified that her mother controls the account. “I think social media is very important because by doing one post you could reach so many people and make such an impact,” Butler said. “It’s important because you’re raising awareness by doing so little.” 

Genesis Butler is a 12-year-old animal rights activist from California.

Graham Meikle, a professor at Westminster School of Media and Communication in the U.K., says one of the best and worst things about social media is that it lets “people make themselves and their views visible to others who become visible to them in turn.” 

Meikle says the last decade has proved the power of the hashtag as a call to action (#OccupyWallStreet), a personal declaration (#IllRideWithYou), and even a demonstration of empathy (#JeSuisCharlie). He argues that regardless of the outcome, getting young activists’ voices heard is itself a marker of success. Change often happens locally first, “so we shouldn’t imagine that social media campaigns somehow don’t work just because large global hashtags don’t always lead to an outcome that we can see,” he said. 

Meikle notes that it is the personal element inherent to social media that allows messages to spread so quickly — he says the Parkland survivors personified an issue that would otherwise feel overwhelmingly large. Margolin, who also helps run the official Zero Hour social media accounts, has learned firsthand that personal posts often resonate most. Even though her personal account has fewer followers than the main account, posts there get far more engagement, she said. 

This is a lot of pressure for a young activist — Margolin used the word “anxiety” four times over the course of our 20-minute conversation. Kehkashan Basu, the 19-year-old founder of the Green Hope Foundation, a youth organization that runs conferences and workshops to educate children and adults about sustainable development and undertakes projects such as tree planting initiatives, says her cyberbullying started when she first spoke out about climate at age 10.

“Anonymous messages, malicious content and even threats of physical abuse were hurled at me to derail my work,” the teen based in Dubai said. She later discovered that the father of a girl from her school was sending her hateful messages. 

Kehkashan Basu received the International Children's Peace Prize in 2016 for the work done by her child-run organization Green Hope.

While there are many young male climate activists, academics have found that American climate strikers are overwhelmingly female, and the global faces of the movement are also young women. Studies show that nearly one-quarter of women have experienced online abuse at least once, and women are twice as likely as men to be targeted online because of their gender. 

Thunberg has been targeted by trolls on multiple occasions. Many of these detractors aren’t just anonymous basement-dwellers: Young activists face criticism from powerful older men. This includes a Fox pundit who called Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child” (a comment Fox later apologized for) as well as the president of the United States, who downplayed Thunberg’s concerns by sarcastically saying she looked like a “very happy young girl.”  

In the face of cyberbullying and the psychological pressure of being the figurehead of a movement, some activists are simply logging off. When I tried contacting Anuna De Wever, the 18-year-old leader of the school strike movement in Belgium, I am met with an-out-of-office-like email:

“I’m sailing the Atlantic Ocean to change the world. My boat has no Wifi connection and neither does the amazon forest where I am invited after setting foot in Brasil… In any case I’ll be offline for very long.” 

Basu, however, is glad she stayed online. She says that once she posted openly about the hate messages, they began to die down — she believes that acknowledging the hate openly “scares away the bullies.” 

When asked about the time she got the best response on social media, Basu cites Green Hope’s first global Twitter campaign on mangrove conservation. “During the one hour span of the discussion, Twitter analytics showed that we influenced over 35,000 people which was truly amazing… I was absolutely elated,” she said. 

In a nutshell, this is why young activists continue to share their messages online. Not only can teens reach an unprecedented number of people, but their work can have a direct effect on the political landscape. In February, an environment minister in Belgium, Joke Schauvliege, was forced to resign after she called children’s climate strikes “a setup.” In her apology, she said she overreacted because of criticism she had faced on social media

Young strikers have undoubtedly raised awareness about the climate crisis; the global children’s climate strike in March was covered all around the world after 1.4 million children skipped school, and in September, #ClimateStrike topped Twitter trends worldwide after week-long international strikes. 

We all have a voice, and we all should use it, and this is really the time where kids can make an impact on the planet.Genesis Butler

A 2018 report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that Americans are increasingly certain that global warming is happening, but just over half accept that it is human-caused. Meanwhile, 65% of people say they rarely talk about the issue. 

This is where the youth climate activists’ social media power can help. A 2017 paper from Dr. Ashley Anderson, a scientific communications professor at Colorado State University, found that “personalization” is key to making climate change less abstract in the public mind, and Anderson argued that social media is inherently personal. While more research is needed to determine whether people’s minds are changing because of social media, it is clear that young climate activists are able to get people of all ages talking. Children have now gone beyond raising awareness of the climate crisis: They now make it impossible to ignore.

It’s this kind of impact that means logging off isn’t an option for Margolin, though she sometimes takes short social media breaks. “We can spread the message through social media, but there’s only so much that a few ones and zeros are going to do to change things,” she said when asked about the limitations of social media. “You have to actually go out there and make a real change in your community.”

And Margolin is making that change. Shifting beyond social media, she is taking her message on a #ClimateTour around America, giving talks and promoting her new book “Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It,” out next summer. 

Despite homework and impending exams, the teenager remains dedicated to using her voice to urge politicians to take action on the climate crisis. “In those moments where I do take a social media break, it’s really, really helpful,” she said. “It reminds you what really matters.” 

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K-pop Singers Jung Joon-young, Choi Jong-hoon Sentenced To Prison For Rape

K-pop singer Jung Joon-young arrives to attend a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 21, 2019.

SEOUL— A South Korean court sentenced a K-pop musician to six years in prison on Friday for raping a woman and distributing a video capturing the act in a case that drew attention to the darker side of the country’s lucrative entertainment industry.

Jung Joon-young, 30, was arrested in March. Choi Jong-hoon, 30, a former member of South Korean boy band FT Island, was also sentenced to five years in prison for the rape of the woman.

Both were members of online chat groups that shared secret sex tapes and made jokes about drugging and raping women, the Seoul Central District Court said. 

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Jung’s conviction also includes the illegal distribution of other videos he took secretly while having sex with women. The identities of the victims were suppressed to protect their privacy.

The court also sentenced each man to 80 hours in “sexual violence treatment” education.

Choi Jong-Hoon, aka Jonghoon (Jong Hoon) former member of South Korean boy band FTisland is seen arriving at a Seoul police station for questioning over a sex video scandal among multiple celebrities on March 16, 2019 in Seoul.

“The defendants are well-known celebrities and friends, but the chat they’ve had showed that they simply considered women as objects of sexual pleasure, and committed crimes that were extremely serious,” Judge Kang Seong-soo said as he handed down the verdict.

“Strict punishment is inevitable as the damage inflicted has not properly been recovered and the victims demand harsh penalties.”

Jung admitted distributing the video and others he took, though he argued the sex was in all cases consensual. Choi denied raping the woman, and had argued that he did not remember having sex with her and that if he had, it was likely consensual.

Lawyers for Jung and Choi could not be reached for comment.

Their case was one of several scandals involving sex crimes and other illegal activity that revealed a dark side of an industry at the center of the global K-pop craze.

Lee Seung-hyun, a former member of K-pop group Big Bang better known by the stage name Seungri, is also on trial over accusations he paid for prostitutes for foreign businessmen to drum up investment in his business.


China Furious As Trump Signs Hong Kong Bills


BEIJING (AP) — China reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s signing of two bills on Hong Kong human rights and said the U.S. will bear the unspecified consequences.

A foreign ministry statement Thursday repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will counteract. It said all the people of Hong Kong and China oppose the move.

It’s still unclear, however, how China will respond exactly.

Trump signed the bills, which were approved by near unanimous consent in the House and Senate, even as he expressed some concerns about complicating the effort to work out a trade deal with China’s President Xi Jinping.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

Congress approved the bills last week following months of unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Before Wednesday’s signing announcement, Trump would only commit to giving the measures a “hard look.”

China’s foreign ministry called the laws a “naked hegemonic action” that seriously interfered in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs, violated international law and “fundamental norms of international relations.”

“The U.S. side ignored facts, turned black to white, and blatantly gave encouragement to violent criminals who smashed and burned, harmed innocent city residents, trampled on the rule of law and endangered social order,” the statement said.

The laws’ basic intent is to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability along with the “historical progress of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

It called the measures “extremely evil in nature and dangerous in motive.”

“We advise the U.S. not to act incautiously, otherwise China will be required to counteract resolutely and all the consequences created by this will have to be borne by the U.S. side,” the statement said.

The two countries are currently locked in a trade war and have deep differences over China’s claims to the South China Sea and Taiwan, human rights issues and accusations of Chinese industrial espionage.

The first bill Trump signed mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

Another bill prohibits export to Hong Kong police of certain nonlethal munitions, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannons, stun guns and tasers.

The munitions bill was passed unanimously, while Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky was the sole House member to oppose the human rights bill.

Trump acknowledged last week that he was weighing the ramifications of signing the bill.

“Look, we have to stand with Hong Kong,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox & Friends.” He continued: “But I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy.”

Democratic and Republican lawmakers applauded the signing of the bills. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said it “finally sends a clear and unequivocal message to the people of Hong Kong: We are with you.”

Sen. Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the bills are “an important step forward in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and its repression of fundamental human rights.”

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who sponsored the House human rights bill, said Xi “should understand that the U.S. is not kidding about human rights. Beating, torturing and jailing of democracy activists is wrong and this historic legislation lets China know that respecting fundamental human rights is paramount.”

Activists hailed Trump’s action.

“I know that many people in Hong Kong are happy that the U.S. government has passed a new bill,” said Figo Chan, a 23-year-old Hong Kong protester who was honored with the John McCain Prize for Leadership at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada last weekend.

“No one wants to die and no one wants to be hurt,” Chan said. “I hope that citizens of many different countries can in their own way fight for democracy.”


Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani in Washington and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.


Telangana: KCR's Stubbornness May Cost 48,000 Workers Their Jobs

Left parties activists shout slogans during a protest against the state government's order to sack over 40,000 Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) employees in Hyderabad on November 7, 2019. 

Vijayawada, ANDHRA PRADESH — On Tuesday, when 48,000 workers of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) reported back to work after a 52-day-long strike, they were met by contingents of the state police force at each bus depot. 

Though the strike had been called off, they were prevented from returning to work. Two days later, the stand-off between desperate workers and the police continues. State chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, sources told HuffPost India, is planning to enforce a verbal order he had given on 7 October, which declared the strike “illegal” and the striking workers as having “self-dismissed” themselves from service. 

Later that month, the Telangana high court observed that “self-dismissal” does not have legal standing, but the state has decided to enforce the mass sacking, said the sources, who work in the TSRTC.

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“The workers were given two ultimatums to return to work. They were also told that the strike call given by their unions was illegal. So we cannot take the workers back without following due procedure. The government has not taken an official stand on the matter now,” a senior official in TSRTC told HuffPost India. A decision will be taken only in a cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday, the official said.   

If the state carries out its threat, Telangana will be the first state after Tamil Nadu to sack thousands of workers for going on strike. In 2003, Tamil Nadu’s then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had sacked 1.7 lakh workers including teachers when 80 employees unions went on a strike against cutbacks in benefits, including pension and dearness allowance. The workers were fired by invoking provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1968. While the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in the Centre had given strategic support to the Tamil Nadu state government’s mass-sacking exercise, the Supreme Court of India reinstated the workers in July the same year after hearing petitions filed by worker unions.

Police personnel detain activists during a protest against the state government's order to sack over 40,000 TSRTC employees in Hyderabad on November 7, 2019.

How did it start? 

The transport workers’ strike began on October 5, with three unions putting forth 26 demands to the government. The workers primarily wanted the state to merge the corporation with the government to save the RTC from a debt trap. The demands included higher pensions for retired employees and for the government to set aside 1% of its annual budget for the RTC.   

The government retaliated on Day 2 of the strike with KCR ‘sacking’ the workers without prior notice. Though the workers challenged this verbal order in the state’s High Court, the government started enrolling temporary drivers and conductors to operate corporation-run buses across the state. 

The government also sent out feelers that privatization of the corporation was the only way ahead, claiming that RTC was incurring losses of Rs 5,269 crores per year.

Respite, and then backlash 

In October itself, the workers’ unions were emboldened by favourable observations made by the High Court of Telangana. The court, which took cognisance of the state’s apathy towards workers’ demands, had asked the government to furnish details of fund arrears which it had to pay the RTC. The state government was found to have stalled Rs 2,200 crore that was due. 

The strike also got a shot in the arm as political parties including Congress, Telugu Desam Party and BJP lent support to the workers. in many protest sites at bus depots, the workers’ strike was compared to the militant protests that took place during the struggle for Telangana state formation, led, ironically by KCR himself. In public rallies, Congress and BJP leaders were found invoking memories of Sakala Janula Samme, a mass strike which was staged by government workers including TSRTC unions in 2011, when Telangana was still a part of the bigger state of Andhra Pradesh. 

Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao gave an ultimatum to striking workers to return to duty by November 5 midnight, failing which the government would privatise the rest of the routes. 


The High Court’s intervention and support of other political parties did not go down well with the ruling government, which won a byelection in Huzurnagar constituency by a huge margin while the strike was on.  The government after a cabinet decision privatised 5,100 routes out of 10,100 bus routes. KCR also gave an ultimatum to striking workers to return to duty by November 5 midnight, failing which the government would privatise the rest of the routes. 

The unions did not heed the government’s threat and continued the strike.  

Meanwhile, with uncertainty over their jobs increasing by the day several striking workers died by suicide. Around 11 attempted suicides were also declared in the state. Reports say around 24 workers suffered cardiac arrest due to the uncertainty. As per the count given by workers’ unions under the common banner of TSRTC Joint Action Committee, a total of 54 employees have died during the 52-day-long strike. 

Strike called off 

With the High Court upholding the cabinet decision to privatise half of the RTC routes in November third week, the unions started losing support of workers who were worried about their jobs. KCR’s call for “boycott of unions” also dampened the spirit of striking workers. On November 25, the Joint Action Committee called off the strike as it became clear that the government would neither relent to workers’ woes nor the demands.  

“We surrendered all our demands and asked the government only to give us the salaries for the month of October. This month, all workers were on their job. Now, when the beaten workers who cannot afford a prolonged court battle with the government are returning to work the state wants to shoo them away,” said Thomas Reddy, a representative of the TSRTC Joint Action Committee. 

The workers are now hopeful that the union government, which has 31% stake in TSRTC, would pump in funds to support the corporation. 

“We want all political parties to put pressure on the state and union governments to release funds to the RTC so that the workers can have their jobs back,” Reddy said. Criticising the government, the workers’ unions claimed that KCR does not want to follow “court order and the rule of law”. The unions also claimed that the union government should take a proactive step to support the RTC. 

“Central funding for the RTC stopped in 1993. The arrears should be paid immediately,” Reddy demanded. 

Meanwhile, legal experts pointed out that as the “state government had not issued a dismissal order through proper notice”, the employees cannot be prevented from resuming duties. “A verbal order has no legal standing and the state must clarify why it is now preventing the employees from joining work. The employees can also challenge the state’s action in either High Court or Labour Court,” a legal expert who had appeared on behalf of the employees said. 

A plea which challenged the state government for its apathy towards workers’ suicides is now pending before the High Court. The matter may be heard once the petitioner, P.L. Visweswar Rao, makes an amendment to the interim prayer which had earlier requested the court to direct the government to hold talks with the striking unions. 

The High Court in its last order issued in the third week of November had asked both the state government and the unions to end the impasse by approaching the state’s Labour court.  


How Trump Tactics Are Driving Boris Johnson’s 'Fake News' Election Campaign

President Donald Trump and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, speak to the media before a working breakfast meeting at the Hotel du Palais on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019.

LONDON ― As Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn play out the drama of Britain’s general election, there’s one figure who looms ominously large off stage.

Donald J. Trump is of course not a direct participant in the contest for prime minister of the UK, but his presence has been felt from the moment the race was called.

Last month, Trump took the unprecedented step of intervening in the country’s election to declare that Labour leader Corbyn would be “so bad for your country ... he’d take you into such bad places.”

In a phone call to talk radio station LBC, the president also told Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and one of his closest British confidants, that he should team up with Johnson’s Conservatives in an electoral pact. The pair of them would be “an unstoppable force,” Trump said.

Within days, Farage did indeed agree to target his troops at Labour’s constituencies, while standing them down in Tory-held seats. By focusing attacks on Brexit-backing working-class areas, that decision alone could swing the election toward a possibly historic victory for Johnson.

In a bid to counter the pincer-movement, Labour points out that Trump is so unpopular with voters in Britain (67% have a negative opinion of him, according to YouGov) that anything he says actually helps their cause.

Labour has also seized on the president’s line this summer that the country’s publicly funded National Health Service (NHS) could be “on the table” in any post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and U.S.

Some Downing Street insiders believe that Trump actually didn’t know what the NHS was when he blurted out his remark in a press conference in London in June.

But suspicions that American private health care companies could asset-strip Britain’s prized health service have been fueled by a Channel 4 TV documentary revealing UK and U.S. trade officials discussed drug pricing in private meetings.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during the Anti-Trump protest in London.

Just as dominant as Trump in this election, however, have been Trumpian tactics. Chuka Umunna, a Liberal Democrat candidate, has been among those pointing out Johnson’s refusal to publish a secret report into alleged Russian interference in UK elections, including the EU referendum of 2016.

He said Johnson is “following the Trump playbook.” And after Hillary Clinton called for the report’s publication, his party said the PM is “morphing into Donald Trump more every day.”

Mistreatment of the media is another trait. Just as the president refuses to take questions from reporters like CNN’s Jim Acosta, Johnson has barred the left-leaning Daily Mirror newspaper from his election campaign bus. Ian Murray, executive director at the UK’s Society of Editors, said the ban was “a disturbing development.”

Most of disturbing of all, for many, has been the deployment of disinformation. In an effort to throw everything they can at the Labour opposition, Johnson and his team have repeatedly resorted to “fake news” tricks and dark arts online.

The first hint of things to come was just weeks after Johnson became prime minister. His party ran a Facebook ad that featured the BBC logo and a headline saying his government was giving a “14 billion pound cash boost for schools.” In fact, the BBC story referred to 7.1 billion pounds, half the amount claimed. The independent fact-checking site FullFact said said it was “wrong to misrepresent the work of independent journalists in this way.”

In the election campaign itself, the Conservatives produced a video that doctored a breakfast TV clip to make a Labour spokesman look like he hadn’t answered a question on Brexit. TV host Piers Morgan criticized the Tories for their “fake news” manipulation, but party Chairman James Cleverly defended it because Labour wasn’t “credible” on Brexit.

Yet the aftermath itself generated a huge amount of publicity for the original fake video. Many in Labour were unnerved by what they saw as a deliberate feedback loop by the Tories, exploiting Twitter and Facebook algorithms that effectively push engagement with controversy. The story and its followup ran for days.

The Conservatives were undaunted, and then used a live TV election debate to deploy their latest weapon: changing their official Twitter account name to “factcheckuk.” The falsely named account pushed anti-Labour propaganda and even claimed Boris Johnson had “won” the TV debate.

The move was deliberately designed to tweak the tail of political Twitter, which many Conservatives believe has a pro-Labour bias. A raft of checking websites has sprung up in recent years to offer the public independent verification of political claims. The BBC’s Reality Check, not-for-profit FullFact and fact checking sites on Channel 4 News and the Guardian were all outraged at the tactic.

The Tories defended themselves because they felt they had been for weeks the victims of fake news in the election, arguing Labour’s claims about a Trump takeover of the NHS were plainly false. One Tory official told HuffPost UK: “We felt we had to fight fire with fire.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summed up the mood when he said “no one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust.” He added: “We are not going to be a punchbag for the nonsense put out by the Left that goes unchallenged.”

The Tory

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who helped create the world wide web, described the renaming of a Tory Twitter account as a fact checking body as “impersonation.” “That was really brazen,” he told the BBC. “It was unbelievable they would do that.”

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals sent a letter of complaint to the Tories, accusing them of “state-sponsored misinformation and the deliberate undermining of truth.” Even some Tory MPs felt the trick was a step too far, with former Commons Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans saying “you don’t need to rebrand your Twitter page” to highlight the opposition’s flaws.

Twitter, Inc.’s UK site issued a rare reprimand, warning that any “further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information — in a manner seen during the UK Election Debate — will result in decisive corrective action.”

But for Conservative party officials, the job had been done. And as Tory Chairman James Cleverly stressed, this was not just kids on his digital team going rogue. “The digital team have a remit. I set the remit,” he said.

Johnson himself adopted his usual tactic of appearing not to know what his party had done in his name. When confronted about the fake account, he said, “I haven’t followed this Twitter stuff with the attention you would like. ... I will apprise myself of the detail of this.”

The misinformation still keeps on coming. When Labour launched its manifesto of policies last week, the Tories tweeted a video of one of its former MPs to make it look as if she was saying that same day the party could not stick to its promises. The Conservatives were forced to delete the tweet.

The party also created a fake website to make it look like it was Labour’s official website. It paid Google to promote “,” a site that says Labour wants higher taxes and has no plan for Brexit — toward the top of its results for people searching for the opposition plan.

Conservatives' fake Labour policy manifesto

Originally, the site had in small letters “a website by the Conservative party” and has since changed it to make its origins clearer. European Parliament MP Guy Verhofstadt said the tactic was “dystopian” and reminiscent of communist Eastern European regimes.

The trick also exposed gaps in Google’s own policing. Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at, told HuffPost UK that it appears no one at the company appeared to vet the Tory ad.

“This approve now, remove later approach is used by a lot of social media, ad networks, and user-generated content platforms that deal with a high volume of content,” he said. “Those who abuse these platforms can often reach a significant number of people before they’re reprimanded and their content removed.”

As it happens, real fact-checking websites have been rigorous in pointing out the false claims and over-claims in all the manifestos of all the parties. The Tories’ own plans included a centerpiece announcement that they would hire 50,000 more nurses, but it swiftly turned out that 18,500 of those were existing staff they hoped to persuade not to leave the health service.

Will Moy, the CEO of the fact-checking website FullFact, told HuffPost UK: “What we have not seen is deliberate made-up news created for profit or by people outside the democratic process, as we saw in the U.S. in 2016. The biggest risk to people in the UK right now is being lied to by their own politicians.

“So far in this election we’ve seen false information and dubious campaign techniques from all sides, whether that’s using unjustified figures or publishing misleading campaign material. We are concerned that whatever government gets elected may have forfeited the trust of voters.

“We know that election messaging often ramps up in the last few days before polling day. In the final weeks of the campaign, we’re going to be looking closely at everything from how online ads are being used to what the leaflets being pushed through people’s letter boxes say.”

The official UK government site combating fake news

In one ironic twist, the UK government has its own official “Don’t Feed The Beast” website, which advises the public “just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true.”

“When shared, disinformation can take on a life of its own, and have some serious consequences,” it adds.

In this British election, those words already have a hollow ring to Johnson’s opponents. The only question is whom the beast will eat next.


Maharashtra: NCP, Congress Back Uddhav Thackeray As CM

Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai earlier this month.

After a day of dramatic political developments in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine confirmed that the right-wing party’s chief, Uddhav Thackeray, will be their chief minister. 

Jayant Patil, the leader of NCP’s legislative party, proposed Thackeray’s name at a joint meeting of the three parties at hotel Trident in Mumbai.
The proposal was seconded by the Congress’s legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat.

For the latest news and more, follow HuffPost India on TwitterFacebook, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Thackeray, Sharad Pawar, Ashok Chavan and all the Congress-Shiv Sena-NCP MLAs were present at the meeting.

After days of twists and turns, on Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court ordered the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP, backed by NCP’s Ajit Pawar, to prove its majority through a floor test on Wednesday. Fadnavis resigned as chief minister and Ajit Pawar stepped down as deputy chief minister on Tuesday. Fadnavis said Ajit Pawar had submitted his resignation saying that he couldn’t continue in alliance “due to personal reasons”.

It is still unclear whether Ajit Pawar will go back to the NCP or not.

The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine is likely to demand that Thackeray be sworn in as the next chief minister by Wednesday.  


‘Are We Going To Talk About It?’ Australians Wonder When Climate Change Will Come Up


Australia has been on fire for weeks. Millions of acres have been scorched by an unprecedented spate of bushfires that have killed six people and destroyed more than 600 homes. Upwards of 1,000 koalas — one of the country’s iconic creatures — are thought to have been burned alive.

The fires have been affecting millions in the Sydney region for weeks as residents have woken up to skies darkened by smoke blown in from nearby blazes. The region’s Rural Fire Service has issued advisory after advisory warning of the health risks, and the haze has gotten so bad at points the city has recorded the highest levels of air pollution on record.

At the same time, Australian politicians have been working overtime to minimize those linking the early and destructive fire season with climate change. The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has rejected assertions that the government’s decision to back some of the planet’s biggest fossil fuel projects had impacted the fire season, and even moved to punish environmental protesters with jail time for “denying the liberties of Australians.”

“The suggestion that any way shape or form that Australia, accountable for 1.3% of the world’s emissions, that the individual actions of Australia are impacting directly on specific fire events, whether it’s here or anywhere else in the world, that doesn’t bear up to credible scientific evidence either,” Morrison said last week, per The Guardian. “To suggest that … Australia doing something more or less would change the fire outcome this season — I don’t think that stands up to any credible scientific evidence at all.”

An injured koala receives treatment after its rescue from a bushfire at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on Nov. 19, 2019, in Port Macquarie, Australia. A jogger runs in the morning as smoke haze hangs over the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, on Nov. 21, 2019. 

Scientists, by and large, disagree with Morrison’s assessment and fire officials and environmentalists alike have moved to urge the government to address its lack of climate action. The United Nations has urged countries to dramatically scale back their use of fossil fuel immediately to avert the worst effects of climate change (recent studies have found the world on track to blow past those goals). And while the origin of any natural disaster is complicated, there are clear links between a warming climate and increased bushfire risk.

Earlier this month a group of former fire chiefs declared the latest season the opening of a “new age of unprecedented bushfire danger” and accused Morrison’s government of ignoring climate change because it was inconvenient.

“If we’re not going to talk about it now, when it is happening, when on earth are we going to talk about it?” Phil Koperberg, the first commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, told the Australian Broadcasting Company this week.

“Something is clearly changing,” Richard Thornton, the chief executive of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Center, told The New York Times last week. “And the climate is driving all of that.”

Everyday Australians haven’t shied away from trying to hold their politicians accountable. Alongside images of scorched homes, koalas have become the unwitting icon of this round of blazes. An effort by a local wildlife hospital to raise $25,000 for koalas injured by the fires has blown past that goal by orders of magnitude, garnering nearly $1.7 million.

Students across the country are also planning for a widespread day of climate protest on Friday, in hopes of urging politicians to “treat climate change for what it is — a crisis.”

“Our Government’s inaction on the climate crisis has supercharged bushfires. People are hurting. Communities like ours are being devastated. Summer hasn’t even begun,” Shiann Broderick, the leader of School Strike 4 Climate, the organizer of the protest, said in a statement last week. “But instead of taking real action on the climate crisis, our Government offers ‘thoughts, prayers’ — and more support for coal, oil and gas.”

Despite weeks of effort to contain the spate of fires, there were still 83 burning across the state of New South Wales on Tuesday morning, with thunderstorms on the way that fire officials worried could bring lightning strikes that set off new blazes.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said last weekend the state government stood “shoulder to shoulder with the communities affected by the recent bushfires, not just today, but in the weeks months and years ahead.” She has pledged more than $32 million for fire recovery and rebuilding efforts.


Devendra Fadnavis Resigns As Maharashtra CM, Says BJP Will Be Opposition Party

Maharashtra state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis 

MUMBAI: Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Maharashtra chief minister at a press conference on Tuesday and said the BJP did not want to indulge in horse-trading. The party will function as a strong opposition and not form a government, he said.

Fadnavis said he would submit his resignation to the governor after the press conference, hours after the Supreme Court ordered the BJP government led by him to prove its majority on the floor of the House by 5 pm on Wednesday.

For the latest news and more, follow HuffPost India on TwitterFacebook, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Ahead of Fadnavis’ press briefing, NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar resigned as deputy chief minister. Fadnavis said Ajit Pawar had submitted his resignation saying that he couldn’t continue in alliance “due to personal reasons”.

Senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said,“ Numbers matter in a democracy. The majority is important in a democracy and we had the majority which is why we were demanding  Fadnnavis’s resignation.”

The Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP combine is likely to stake a claim for government formation today and likely to demand swearing-in of the next chief minister by Wednesday. 

At the press conference, Fadnavis said the state election result had been a mandate for the BJP. “We contested elections with Shiv Sena but the mandate was for BJP and I can say that because we contested only 170  odd seats and won 105 seats,” he said.

Most Maharashtra BJP leaders blame Shiv Sena for Fadnavis’s resignation today. “Shiv Sena has insulted the people’s mandate,” party leader Ram Shinde told reporters outside Raj Bhavan.

On Shiv Sena’s demand for the CM post, Fadnavis said that the neither the BJP nor Amit Shah had made the promise.

“Shiv Sena was not even talking to us (after the election)”, he said.

Fadnavis said he doubted the three-wheeler government of Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress would be a stable one and said that the BJP would be the “voice of the people” in the assembly.

“My best wishes to the next government but it will face a burden of divergent ideologies. A government with two wheels runs fast,  but this new government has three wheels and you can imagine what will happen to it,” he said.

Ajit Pawar’s resignation

Minutes before Fadnavis’ statements, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told reporters that Uddhav Thackeray would be the next chief minister of Maharashtra and serve the full five-year term. Raut also said, “Ajit Pawar is with us now”.

Vishal Wakadkar, the president of NCP’s youth wing in Ajit Pawar’s bastion Pimpri Chinchwad near Pune, confirmed to HuffPost India that Ajit Pawar had resigned as the deputy CM of Maharashtra.

A source close to the NCP leader indicated that he might announce retirement from politics.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Supreme Court had turned down the BJP’s request to give it time till December 15 to prove its majority.

Sharad Pawar, during a joint meeting of Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress MLAs in Hotel Hyatt on Tuesday evening, had warned that he won’t let BJP repeat the Manipur and Goa pattern in Maharashtra.




香港交易广场大楼,香港交易所就设于其中。最近的股市动荡突出了金融规章制度的问题。 Kin Cheung/Associated Press

Kin Cheung/Associated Press





杨恒均和妻子袁小靓。他在1月抵达中国后被捕。 Chongyi Feng, via Associated Press

Chongyi Feng, via Associated Press





从纪录片《黑鲸》到动画片《冰雪奇缘》,这些电影的影响力超出了娱乐领域。 Clockwise: Magnolia Pictures; David Bornfriend/A24, via Associated Press; Disney/Lucasfilm; Disney; Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures, via Associated Press

Clockwise: Magnolia Pictures; David Bornfriend/A24, via Associated Press; Disney/Lucasfilm; Disney; Suzanne Hanover/Universal Pictures, via Associated Press



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Poll: Young adults favor experience over degrees for job prep

Hallie Busta, Education Dive Although many teens and young adults say there are payoffs to attending college, slightly more (73%) say on-the-job experience is “a good way to prepare for success” in the workforce compared to degrees or other educational experiences, according to a recent survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Of […]

Poll: Young adults favor experience over degrees for job prep

Hallie Busta, Education Dive Although many teens and young adults say there are payoffs to attending college, slightly more (73%) say on-the-job experience is “a good way to prepare for success” in the workforce compared to degrees or other educational experiences, according to a recent survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Of […]

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