Shastris advice to flex my knees while batting helped my batting Vihari

first_imgKingston: Hanuma Vihari has credited his success in the second Test against the West Indies here to Ravi Shastri, saying the India head coach’s advice not to stay upright but flex the knee while batting helped him notch up his maiden century. Vihari (53 not out and 111) was adjudged the Man of the Match in India’s 257-run win over the hosts in the second Test on Monday. Asked what did Shastri tell him after his first innings, Vihari said: “He (Shastri) was talking about flexing my knees a little bit, I was a little upright in the first innings, so flexing my knees meant I could move my foot both on front and back foot. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh “It worked out very well and a lot of credit should go to him,” Vihari told India fielding coach R Sridhar during an interview, the video of which was posted by BCCI on its website. The 25-year-old emerged as India’s top run-getter against the West Indies in the two-match Test series with 289 runs. “I relish batting under pressure because that is the challenge you have to accept as a batsman and these situations brings the best out of me,” said the Andhra batsman, who had scored a 93 in the first Test in North Sound. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later “I feel I try to focus on what the situation is, and have a certain game plan and I was fortunate enough to have good partnerships with Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane). He batted beautifully as well.” Vihari said he was confident of a good outing during the two-match Test series against the West Indies as he had spent enough time on these pitches during the last two months with the India A team. “I was in really good space. I have been in Caribbean for last two months, I have been practicing and playing matches on this wicket,” he said. “So I was really confident and I think I played well in the practice match and it gave me that extra boost. I was looking forward to this series and I am happy it went well.” In his first year in international cricket, Vihari has played six Tests but he seemed to have lost a bit of hair, got married and has also scored 6000 plus first class runs despite being just 25 years of age. “I started my first class cricket quite early and that’s why I could score 6000 runs. I don’t know about the hair, may be too much batting from childhood,” he said with a laugh. “… That experience will count, batting for nine years in first class cricket, and it helped me in pressure situation.”last_img read more

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SP-rank officer to lead CRPF convoys in J&K

first_imgNew Delhi: CRPF convoys moving to and from the Kashmir Valley will now be commandeered by a higher SP-rank officer and a single motorcade will not have more than 40 vehicles at any point of time, the paramilitary force has ordered in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 troops during a similar movement. A set of new standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the force headquarters in Delhi for vehicle-mounted movement of troops in Jammu and Kashmir, and it has also been ordered that the ‘passenger manifest discipline’ for each vehicle in the convoy be strictly adhered to. Amongst the first set of changed SOPs is the move to depute a second-in-command rank officer (equivalent to Superintendent of Police rank) of the force to lead the convoy instead of the current practice of a junior Assistant Commandant-rank (Assistant SP) officer heading the entourage. This is to ensure that the convoy is led by an experienced and senior officer who will have a better understanding and strategy to manoeuvre the convoy to and from the Kashmir Valley which is operationally very sensitive due to terrorist acts and IED threats, official sources said.last_img read more

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Tunisia’s Jomaa, technocrat PM tasked with ending crisis

first_imgTUNIS- Tunisian premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa, tasked with forming an interim government of technocrats and overseeing fresh elections, is a political newcomer who faces mounting social grievances and the persistent threat of Islamist violence.He was picked on December 14 as the consensus candidate to head the caretaker administration and resolve Tunisia’s festering political crisis, nearly three years after the uprising that toppled former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.The little-known former industry minister has since avoided making any public statements or appearances, with Tunisia’s political climate dogged by mistrust between the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and the mainly secular opposition. Jomaa now faces the daunting task of forming a non-partisan government within 15 days and organising elections this year amid a rise in strikes and protests that often degenerate into violence, driven partly by the country’s economic malaise.Unemployment and regional inequality were driving factors behind the revolution that unseated Ben Ali, inspiring protests across the Middle East and North Africa that toppled leaders in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.After his appointment, Jomaa said his mission was to “favour the appropriate conditions for transparent and credible elections, the security of Tunisians and promote the economy with the aim of emerging from the crisis”.His political career began only in March this year when he was appointed to the cabinet.The 51-year-old father of five, who has no stated political affiliations, graduated from the National Engineering School of Tunis in 1988 before taking a higher degree in mechanics.He then went on to a career in the private sector, and headed a division of Hutchinson, the aerospace unit of French conglomerate Total.Jomaa became industry minister in the new government of his predecessor Ali Larayedh, formed in March in the wake of the crisis caused by the assassination of key opposition figure Chokri Belaid a month earlier.Since then, he has stayed aloof from political jockeying and focused on his portfolio.In particular, he has lobbied European firms to invest in the country, plagued by economic woes since the January 2011 revolution.But he has also taken the unpopular step of backing a decision to raise fuel prices this year, with Tunisia under pressure to reduce its unaffordable subsidies.Mahmoud Baroudi, of the Democratic Alliance, an opposition movement critical of Ennahda, believes Jomaa “is competent and independent enough to take on the post of premier”.But his lack of political experience, particularly on security matters, puts him at a disadvantage in confronting one of Tunisia’s most pressing problems — the threat posed by armed jihadists.The opposition repeatedly accused the Ennahda-led government of failing to rein in militants, who have mounted a wave of attacks since Ennahda was elected in October 2011, and of failing to stimulate an economic revival.If Jomaa manages to form a new government of independents, it will be indirectly due to the political crisis triggered by the killing in July of opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi, which was also blamed on Islamist militants.Another possible thorn in his side will come from the influential opposition party Nidaa Tounes, which rejected the idea of a premier from the outgoing government.Issam Chebbi, a leader of the party, said Jomaa would “not be a prime minister of consensus”.But the fact his roots are not hard set in the fractious world of Tunisian politics could prove his doubters wrong.last_img read more

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Vanderbilt athletic director David Williams to apologize to Gene Smith

Vanderbilt University announced Thursday that it was canceling its football program’s 2013 trip to Columbus to play Ohio State because of scheduling reasons. OSU athletic director Gene Smith didn’t approve of way Vanderbilt canceled the game – by letter – but he was promised an apology. David Williams, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletic director, said he takes full responsibility for informing Smith of the cancelation in a letter and plans to apologize by text, phone call or email. “I apologize to (Smith) for that. I’m sorry that he’s disappointed. Gene’s a good friend and a good (athletic director) and I’m sorry it was handled that way,” Williams told The Lantern. “I take all of the blame for that.” With less than a year until the teams’ originally scheduled Aug. 31, 2013, meeting at the Horseshoe, Smith and the OSU athletic department must seek a new opponent for the opening game of its 2013 season. Vanderbilt was to receive $1.2 million for its visit to Ohio Stadium, but coach Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus without a bowl ban will have to begin against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. In a statement provided to The Lantern earlier on Thursday, Smith said the communication between the two schools could have been better. “I am disappointed that we find ourselves in this position. I would have preferred a phone call from the administration at Vanderbilt,” Smith said in the statement. “Nevertheless, we will work diligently to find a replacement opponent for the 2013 season.” Williams explained that the decision to inform OSU through a letter was a matter of record keeping. “I do understand (Smith’s) disappointment and I apologize for that, but if you cancel something by phone, then you don’t have record for it,” Williams said. “It may just be my legal training that we cancel by paper. We make deals by letters and we cancel by letters. I understand his disappointment and it would have been nice if I talked more about it. “That’s on me. That’s my bad and I apologize for that.” Rod Williamson, Vanderbilt’s director for athletic communications, said the cancelation of the OSU-Vanderbilt fixture came about as a result of the need to accommodate the Southeastern Conference’s addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. Vanderbilt also canceled its 2013 home game against Northwestern. The cancellation of the OSU and Northwestern games were “casualties” of that process, Williamson said. OSU’s current home schedule for the 2013 season includes Florida A&M (9/7), Buffalo (9/14), Wisconsin (9/28), Iowa (10/19), Penn State (10/26) and Indiana (11/23). The Buckeyes are scheduled to continue play in the 2012 season Saturday against Purdue at the Horseshoe. Kickoff is scheduled for noon. read more

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AGDC Port MacKenzie not feasible For LNG terminal

first_imgThe new analysis of Port Mackenzie will be incorporated into FERC’s environmental impact statement for the proposed Alaska LNG project. The Mat-Su Borough does not accept AGDC’s analysis, writing to FERC on July 20 that the borough “has already identified several aspects of AGDC’s response with which it disagrees.” Nikiski was identified as the preferred site location over four years ago, after more than two dozen possible locations were analyzed. The Mat-Su Borough filed a complaint on January 9, with the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) stating that the project and regulators “improperly and intentionally excluded” the borough’s Port MacKenzie as a “reasonable alternative” for the proposed liquefied natural gas plant. According to Alaska LNG project updates prepared by Larry Persily, former federal coordinator for Alaska North Slope gas line projects: “The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC) responded to federal regulators July 13 that it would not be possible to build and operate the LNG plant and marine terminal at Port MacKenzie “without constraining either existing or planned uses of the complex, or of the proposed LNG facility and its marine terminal.””center_img The deadline to provide the information is September 1. FERC is scheduled to release its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project on March 8, 2019. The borough did not provide any details in its one-page letter but said it “intends to file substantive comments to highlight the incorrect information.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has confirmed that Nikiski is still the preferred site for the AK LNG liquefaction facility.last_img read more

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Governor Signs Bills To Honor 911 Victims And First Responders

first_imgGovernor Walker will also sign HB 235 today, creating the North Star Medal, which Alaskan Governors can award to first responders who die or are seriously injured in the line of duty while protecting their fellow Alaskans. Governor Bill Walker:“The tragic events of September 11, 2001 are seared into our collective memory. I hope Alaskans will join me today in observing a moment of silence to reflect on the souls taken from us that day, and the first responders who put themselves in danger to run to the aid of others. September 11 is a time for us to renew our commitment to our American values of freedom, service, and courage.” Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享In honor of the 2,996 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, all Alaska state flags have been ordered to be flown at half-staff, today.  The law also includes a measure to establish June 27 each year as Post Traumatic Stress Injury Awareness Day. It encourages Alaskans to reach out to friends and family who struggle with PTSD. Earlier this year, the Alaska State Legislature passed Senator Kevin Meyer’s SB 152, establishing September 11 each year as Patriot Day. Governor Walker will sign SB 152 into law today at Anchorage Fire Department Station #1 at 100 East 4th Avenue at 4:00 p.m.last_img read more

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Public money spent on dev propaganda ahead of polls

first_imgWith the elections around the bend, the government will be apprising the people of the rural areas about its achievements in the development sector over the past several years. And, as usual, public money will be used for the purpose.As part of this campaign, the directorate of mass communication, under the information ministry, has taken up a project for strengthening publicity for the development of rural communities, at a cost of around Tk 600 million. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project on 3 April.This project includes campaigning on the development achievements of the government over the last few years, aimed at giving the ruling party an upper hand in the election race. Under the project videos on development will be projected in every union. This will be accompanied by concerts, women’s meetings and free meals.Director of the mass communication directorate Jasim Uddin has said the project will be implemented fully from July.The main programme is entitled ‘Egiye Jachhe Bangladesh’ (Bangladesh is advancing).The 10 initiatives of the prime minister being highlighted under the project are ‘Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar’ (one farm for every household), Asrayan, Digital Bangladesh, education assistance programme, electricity for all, community clinics and child development, social security and more.Achievements of the government at home and abroad over the last eight years will also be highlighted in the campaign through film shows, folksong sessions, women gatherings, Facebook posts, YouTube, as well as radio and TV broadcasts.The project is of three years, spanning from November 2017 to November 2020. According to the project documents, Tk 535 million or 90 per cent of the total budget will be spent between 2 and 19 of June.Commenting on the relevance of the project, former advisor of the caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam said there is no justified basis for such projects. No development is achieved through such projects. He added, such projects are taken up with the election in mind, to win votes from the people.Taking up projects before the polls is nothing new.In the current fiscal, three projects have been passed for constructing schools, colleges, mosques and temples, according to the demand of the concerned MPs. Three more such projects are in the pipeline, awaiting allocations for constructing madrasas, public toilets and market places in other relevant constituencies.The MPs of these constituencies had been allocated Tk 30 million to 50 million for road construction in their areas over the last eight years. The development campaign project is the latest inclusion.Films on the development of every union will be presented. A thousand leaflets on development will be distributed and over four and a half million leaflets will be printed at a cost of Tk 100 million.Jasim Uddin went on to say, before the commencement of the project, appointments will be made, premises will be rented and other preparations will be completed.LED screens will be set up on pickup trucks in each of the 4,554 unions to screen the films.A school compound from each union will be selected for the film shows. And 20 teams will be employed to screen the films across the country. Every day at least one show will be held, at least 20 shows in each district per month.In all, 21,360 shows will be screened. Five films costing Tk 100,000 each will be produced. Two-thirds of the total budget, that is Tk 380 million, has been allocated for this purpose.Local popular folk music like bhawaiya, gombhira, jari-sari will also be performed.A total of 9,792 events will be held across the country. The events will cost Tk 20 million. Each of the folk singer will be paid Tk 700 per programme, bringing the total cost to Tk 30 million for this segment.A woman gathering will be held at each upazila. Budget for the banner, stage decoration, participators is Tk 15,000.And those watching the development campaign films will be treated to good food, with Tk 20 million allocated for their treat.AB Mirza Azizul Islam said, people can see development for themselves if it takes place. It doesn’t require further campaigning. Moreover, there is the TV and the radio for broadcasting development. Local leaders involved with the ruling party will benefit from this project, he observed.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin.last_img read more

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German prosecutors seek Catalan leader Puigdemont extradition

first_imgThis file photo taken on 6 December 2017 shows Catalonia`s former leader Carles Puigdemont during a press conference in Brussels. Photo: AFPGerman prosecutors on Tuesday asked a court to order the extradition to Spain of Catalonia’s ousted president Carles Puigdemont on a rebellion charge following his arrest in Germany last month.The request comes after protests by independence supporters at the weekend in Berlin and Catalonia calling for Puigdemont’s immediate release.”The prosecutor’s office of Schleswig-Holstein state applied for an extradition arrest warrant against former Catalonian regional president Carles Puigdemont from the superior regional court,” it said in a statement.It was not immediately clear when the court would rule on Puigdemont’s possible extradition.Puigdemont was arrested by German police on March 25 as he was travelling from Finland back to Belgium, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since Catalonia’s failed independence bid last October.The detention came two days after a Spanish judge issued European arrest warrants for Puigdemont and other fugitive separatist leaders.They have been ordered to stand trial for rebellion, misuse of public funds and disobeying the state for organising last year’s referendum on Catalan independence, which Madrid deemed illegal.Puigdemont’s arrest has sent tensions soaring at home, triggering a wave of protests in the wealthy northeastern Spanish region.- Matches ‘treason’ charge -German judges have ordered Puigdemont to remain in custody in the northern town of Neumuenster as they mull Spain’s request for him to be handed over.They have 60 days to make a decision.German media say the request has been complicated by the fact that rebellion, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail in Spain, is not a crime under German law.However the prosecutor’s office said that “after intensive review” it concluded that the rebellion charge “contains in essence the accusation of calling an unconstitutional referendum despite violent riots that could be expected,” thus matching the German charge of “treason”.”Word-for-word conformance between the German and Spanish criminal codes is thus not legally required,” it said.The superior regional court confirmed it had received the request, adding that it was “undetermined when a decision on the application can be expected”.The court must first decide if there is a legal basis to put Puigdemont in pre-extradition custody by reviewing the written request from Spain. It will then rule on the extradition bid itself.He can appeal an order of extradition to a German federal court, a course his lawyers have said they will pursue.- ‘Isolated’ violence -Puigdemont has already filed an appeal in Spain against a decision to prosecute him, arguing the rebellion charge against him is not justified.The 85-page appeal, seen by AFP on Monday, asks that the Spanish Supreme Court’s “actions” be declared “null” 10 days after Judge Pablo Llarena said 25 Catalan separatist leaders — including Puigdemont — would be prosecuted over the region’s secession bid.In the appeal, Puigdemont’s lawyer Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas demands that the court drop the charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds against Puigdemont and another of his clients — former regional minister Clara Ponsati.Both fled Spain for Belgium after the failed independence push. Ponsati then left for Scotland where she was detained after Spain issued European arrest warrants against fugitive separatist leaders, and freed on bail.Alonso-Cuevillas also wants the court to drop charges of misuse of public funds and disobedience against another client, former regional minister Lluis Puig.The appeal states that under Spanish law, the rebellion offence, which can carry up to 30 years in prison, implies there was a violent uprising.But it maintains that if there was any violence before or on October 1, the day when an independence referendum was held in Catalonia despite a court ban, it was “isolated” and did not justify the rebellion offence.last_img
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Will A Texas Law That Overturns Convictions Based on Bad Science Save

first_img Share Shelby Knowles for The Texas TribuneRobert Roberson in court for the review of his 2003 conviction in the death of his two-year-old daughter, Nikki Curtis, in Palestine on August 14, 2018. His attorneys are asking for a new trial based on new scientific evidence.Robert Roberson shuffled into a courtroom this week wearing a striped gray jumpsuit and handcuffs, his life once again hanging in the balance.After 15 years on death row, his face has grown gaunt, and patches of dark hair shoot up from his balding head. But he has maintained during his time in prison that he didn’t kill his sickly two-year-old daughter, Nikki Curtis, though he was convicted of that crime.He says that Nikki fell from the bed where they were sleeping in their home in this small East Texas town, and he awoke hours later to find her unresponsive. But as doctors and nurses struggled to revive her blue, limp body in the emergency room that morning, suspicions of child abuse quickly arose — they said a short fall wouldn’t have caused such damage.At his trial, doctors testified that her injuries were consistent with what is often referred to as “shaken baby syndrome,” a now-questionably diagnosed condition his attorneys say helped jurors opt for the death penalty.But instead of facing the state’s death chamber — which he narrowly avoided two years ago — Roberson was back in court Tuesday, again fighting against his conviction and for his life, thanks largely to a relatively new state law that allows courts to overturn a conviction when the scientific evidence that originally led to the verdict has since changed or been discredited.“The only reason Mr. Roberson is still alive today is because the state of Texas passed a rather trailblazing statute,” his attorney, Gretchen Sween, declared to the courtroom.The law, often referred to as the “junk science law,” was the first of its kind in the nation and passed with scant opposition in 2013. In pushing for its passage, state Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, listed infant trauma as one of several examples of faulty science the bill was meant to target.Since its passage, multiple death penalty cases have been sent back to court for further review, and it has been cited in cases like that of the “San Antonio Four,” where women convicted on faulty sexual assault evidence were exonerated after nearly 15 years in prison.In June 2016, Roberson became one of the first death row inmates to have his conviction set for reviewed under the law — a decision the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals made just days before his scheduled execution. The court was instructed to decide whether Roberson would have been convicted if new scientific evidence — like new views on fatal short-distance falls and shaken baby syndrome injuries — were available at his original trial.In the last decade, experts have become divided on shaken baby syndrome, where an infant is killed from being violently shaken back and forth. Many doctors strongly stand by the diagnoses, but others, including the doctor who is first credited with observing the condition, think it is used too liberally in criminal cases — that deaths are labeled as murder without considering other possibilities and medical histories. The Washington Post reported in 2015 that 16 shaken baby syndrome convictions had been overturned since 2001.Roberson’s attorneys argue in part that new scientific evidence has suggested it is impossible to shake a toddler to death without causing serious neck injuries, which Nikki did not have, and has linked the symptoms used to diagnose shaken baby syndrome to other conditions as well, including short-distance falls.“There has been a tremendous amount of new scientific evidence,” said Gary Udashen, board president of the Innocence Project of Texas. “Biomechanical engineering studies have shown that you can generate enough force from a short-distance fall to cause serious head injuries.”Robert Roberson’s attorneys showed this picture of him and his daughter, Nikki Curtis, during a hearing reviewing his conviction in her death.“A watershed moment”Over time, science has become an increasingly present part of criminal proceedings, but it’s always evolving — what may have been thought of as irrefutable scientific evidence 15 years ago could be balked at today. And scientific “experts” who testify in cases sometimes lack any true expertise.The origins of the junk science law, and Roberson’s renewed chance at an appeal, began to take form as the state’s skepticism of forensic science grew with the science’s prevalence — think DNA — and after several high-profile cases involving “bad science” emerged.Perhaps the most well-known is the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a Corsicana man executed in 2004 for the deaths of his three young daughters, despite scientists discrediting the earlier fire examination and finding no reason to call the house fire that killed his children arson.But while state lawmakers passed other bills related to forensic science, like creating a statewide investigatory commission, it took several tries for the junk science law to make it out of the Capitol in Austin. Whitmire filed similar bills in 2009 and 2011, but neither piqued much interest, and some prosecutors said an already well-established appeals process made the bill unnecessary.That changed with Neal Robbins and Cathy Henderson. Both were convicted in infant deaths after the medical examiners who testified at their trials later recanted their certainty that the deaths were homicides. But their appeals based on those recantations produced opposite results.In 2011, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Robbins’ appeal on the claim that his conviction and life sentence were based on bad scientific testimony — the medical examiner had changed her original conclusion that said his daughter’s death could only be murder. Though she originally thought the child’s injuries couldn’t have been caused by the reported attempts at CPR, she later said her increased knowledge made her unable to determine a cause of death.The next year, the same court tossed out Henderson’s conviction and death sentence after scientific advancements conflicted with the medical examiner’s original testimony that dropping a baby from her arms onto the floor couldn’t have caused the fatal brain injury.“In Robbins, this Court chose finality over accuracy; in Henderson we did the opposite, and in 2013, the Texas Legislature also chose accuracy over finality,” wrote then-Judge Cathy Cochran in 2014 after the court, under the new law, overturned Robbins’ conviction. He was released from prison in 2016.Robbins’ appellate attorney, Brian Wice, said the blowback from the court’s first ruling created the support to eventually pass the bill.“It was a watershed moment, not just in Texas but nationally, because Texas was really the first state to enact a provision that was able to unlock the courthouse door to defendants like Neal Robbins,” he said.Another delay of justiceFor Roberson, the junk science law has extended his life, but it hasn’t saved him yet. His court-ordered examination finally began in what was assumed to be at least a week-long hearing Tuesday. But it was again delayed after several hours when it was announced that long-lost evidence, including Nikki’s brain scans, was suddenly found in the basement of the local district clerk’s office.Sween, his attorney, said in court that they ultimately want a new trial for Roberson, one that would include the changes in science on shaken baby syndrome and short-distance falls, as well as a deeper look into Nikki’s previous illnesses and history of breathing problems. The child had previously suffered spells where she’d stop breathing and turn blue, and she had been at the hospital only days before with a violent illness that included a 104.5-degree temperature, according to court documents. The review is also looking at whether the original accusation that Roberson sexually assaulted Nikki, which was dropped mid-trial when the evidence couldn’t be corroborated, affected his conviction. She said she’s optimistic Roberson can be given a fair shot.“All we have to do is show that the science that was presented at trial and the science that was available now … has changed in ways that more likely than not, might have changed the jury’s verdict,” she said in court.But the prosecution said it isn’t conceding anything, saying in court that the evidence was “clear and convincing” that Roberson killed his daughter.“The science has not changed as much as [Roberson’s attorneys] say,” said Anderson County Assistant District Attorney Scott Holden in his opening statement. “There was no explanation except for the intentional death of Nikki Curtis.”Shelby Knowles for The Texas TribuneSeen in court, Matthew Bowman, center, has no doubt that Roberson killed his sister, Nikki Curtis.For now, Roberson’s case is up in the air. With the discovery of the lost evidence Tuesday, the judge put it up to the county and Roberson’s attorneys to let her know after they’ve properly evaluated it. After the court does reconvene again, the judge will make a recommendation to the Court of Criminal Appeals on whether a new trial should be granted, which the higher court can either order or reject.Likely, it will be a lengthy delay, and the wait isn’t welcome news for Nikki’s older half-brother, Matthew Bowman. He still carries the weight of his sister’s death and has no doubt that Roberson killed her. He was 4 when she died, and the 20-year-old sitting in the courtroom Tuesday was in visible anguish listening to Sween proclaim Roberson’s innocence, often shaking his head with a clenched jaw. He shook and wiped tears from his eyes when an emergency room nurse on the witness stand described her lifeless body.“I do believe that all the science that’s coming up is B.S., and we shouldn’t even be here right now,” he said during a break outside the courtroom. “I think everything should have been done and taken care of a long time ago.”last_img read more

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Of wilderness and abstractions

first_imgCurated by Kiran Pundir and Artsaroma, Beanstalk is holding a solo show, titled Flow of Life by artist Nandini Verma. Through her work, Verma, who hails from Chattisgarh traces her roots back to the place, where semi-arid jungles, native tribes, rural rustic villages, industrial suburbs and small towns create a landscape full of colours, culture and life. She says: “This vivid canvas of life kindled my curiosity and drew me into exploration of various arts and crafts to capture it. I started experimenting with various abstractions, while enjoying ethnic and folk painting inspired by the nature and culture of Chhattisgarh. Painting semi-abstract depiction of themes, colours and textures fascinate me the most.” She further adds: “I am actively exploring the interplay of nature and influence of human settlement because this is the most critical issue that I’m confronted with all the time”.last_img read more

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Soon new arboretum for mangrove species of Sunderbans

first_imgKolkata: State Forest department is coming up with a new arboretum for showcasing the wide variety of mangrove plants that exist in the Sunderbans. The arboretum will come up adjacent to Sudhanyakhali Watch Tower, which is deemed as a prime location for wildlife spotting.”There are around 54 species of mangroves among which 34 species are found in the Sunderbans. No other mangrove forest in the country has so many species of mangrove as the Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve. We feel that the tourists, who visit the Sunderbans, will be interested in gaining knowledge about the mangrove variety,” a senior official of SBR said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe official further said they will take the help of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) for the purpose of labelling the species of mangroves.The state Forest department also has plans to develop its existing arboretum at Bakkhali to make it more interesting for the tourists.The department has also taken up a study of the socio economic impact of the various schemes undertaken by them for the upliftment of the village folk in the Sunderbans.We have 65 Joint Forest Management Committee (JMFC), which work for developing the social and economic condition of the people living there, through different schemes. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”They have taken up activities like creating irrigation channels, brick paths, pond jetties, Self-Help groups, piggery, goat rearing, poultry etc. The study will assess the impact of the work of the JFMC’s and accordingly plan the future course of action that is to be undertaken,” a senior official of the Forest department said.The department hopes to complete the study by March 2019 and come up with a report in April.The study will be carried out by a team of experts from prominent educational institutes in the country, who are adept in such impact study.last_img read more

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Microsoft Office for Mac Gets an Update

first_img Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 2 min read This story appears in the February 2011 issue of . Subscribe » Is it time to upgrade the business software on that Apple Mac of yours? Microsoft is certainly hoping so. In October, the company gave its flagship software package, Microsoft Office for Mac, a ground-up makeover ($150 for Home and Student 2011, $279 for Home and Business 2011).”Office for Mac has just reached its 25th anniversary,” says Gavin Shearer, program manager for the Macintosh business unit at Microsoft. “We felt it was time to rebuild the product to take advantage of new small-business options available in later-generation Apple technologies.”Here’s a look at how the update measures up:The Good Office for Mac 2011 is all about being easier to use in the real world of PCs. It offers better integration with PC-based versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, plus improved speed, new graphical features, web support, plenty of bells and whistles–and, most important, the debut of Outlook as the legitimate Mac-based calendar and e-mail tool. (Yes, Entourage, the long-debated e-mail program, is officially dead.) And for those businesses that can afford Microsoft’s beefier collaboration server tools such as Exchange and SharePoint, Office for Mac offers an unmatched enterprise-level, state-of-the-art collaborative and document security experience.The BadMac or not, this is still Microsoft Office, which means there’s a heck of a steep learning curve. Template galleries are bloated with layouts you will never use. The controversial ribbon, which is located on top of all files and displays available functions, remains the same irritating exercise in rote memorization. Expect to take Bill Gates’ name in vain regularly.The Bottom LineMac users definitely should give the software suite a test drive. The new wild card is pricing: The Home edition, at $150, compared with $79 for Apple iWork, carries real value. And at $279, full-on versions of Office for Mac are now cheaper than Office for PCs. So, if you’re careful, you can get a Mac-based small-business solution for about the price of a similarly configured PC.  January 25, 2011 Register Now »last_img read more

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Think air travel is a pain now 82 billion passengers by 2037

first_img Travelweek Group Share GENEVA — The number of airline passengers travelling by 2037 could double from today’s levels, to 8.2 billion in less than 20 years, according to just released stats from IATA.An increasing shift eastwards in the centre of gravity of the industry is behind the continued strong growth, says IATA, in its latest update to its 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast.Over the next two decades, the forecast anticipates a 3.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), leading to a doubling in passenger numbers from today’s levels.IATA warned that growth prospects for air transport, and the economic benefits driven by aviation, could be curtailed if protectionist measures are implemented by governments.“Aviation is growing, and that is generating huge benefits for the world. A doubling of air passengers in the next 20 years could support 100 million jobs globally,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.He adds: “There are two important things that stand out about this year’s forecast. Firstly, we are seeing a geographical reshuffling of world air traffic to the east. And secondly, we foresee a significant negative impact on the growth and benefits of aviation if tough and restrictive protectionist measures are implemented.”The Asia-Pacific region will drive the biggest growth with more than half the total number of new passengers over the next 20 years coming from these markets.China will displace the U.S. as the world’s largest aviation market (defined as traffic to, from and within the country) in the mid-2020s, according to IATA’s data. It says the rebalancing of China’s economy towards consumption will support strong passenger demand over the long term.More news:  Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJIndia will take third place after the US, surpassing the UK around 2024.Indonesia is also forecast to be a standout performer, climbing from the world’s 10th largest aviation market in 2017 to the fourth largest by 2030.Thailand is expected to enter the top 10 markets in 2030, replacing Italy which drops out of the ranking.No matter which growth scenario comes to pass, aviation faces an infrastructure crisis, says de Juniac. Governments must work closely with the industry, to be more ambitious in developing efficient infrastructure, fit for purpose, and offering value for money.“The world stands to benefit greatly from better connectivity. However, at this rate, airports and air traffic control will not be able to handle demand. Governments and infrastructure operators must strategically plan for the future. Decisions made now will have an impact on the value created by aviation for their regions,” said de Juniac.He adds that the aviation industry remains committed to its goals of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 onwards and cutting CO2 emissions to half 2005 levels by 2050.Here’s a look at the fastest growing aviation markets in terms of annual additional O-D (origin-destination) passengers from 2017 to 2037:China: 1 billion new passengers for a total of 1.6 billionU.S.: 481 million new passengers for a total of 1.3 billionIndia: 414 million new passengers for a total of 572 millionIndonesia: 282 million new passengers for a total of 411 millionThailand: 116 million new passengers for a total of 214 millionMore news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaRegional growth in 2037Routes to, from and within Asia-Pacific will see an extra 2.35 billion annual passengers by 2037, for a total market size of 3.9 billion passengers. Its CAGR of 4.8% is the highest, followed by Africa and the Middle East.The North American region will grow by a CAGR of 2.4% annually and in 2037 will carry a total of 1.4 billion passengers, an additional 527 million passengers.Europe will grow at a CAGR of 2%, and will see an additional 611 million passengers. The total market will be 1.9 billion passengers.Latin American markets will grow by a CAGR of 3.6%, serving a total of 731 million passengers, an additional 371 million passengers annually compared to today.The Middle East will grow strongly with a CAGR of 4.4% and will see an extra 290 million passengers on routes to, from and within the region by 2037. The total market size will be 501 million passengers.Africa will grow by a CAGR of 4.6%. By 2037 it will see an extra 199 million passengers for a total market of 334 million passengers. Think air travel is a pain now? 8.2 billion passengers by 2037, says IATA Tags: IATA, Statisticscenter_img Posted by Wednesday, October 24, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

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The Rise of MillionDollar Home Markets

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Headlines, journal, News, Origination August 10, 2018 573 Views The Rise of Million-Dollar Home Markets Real estate website Zillow is predicting that within a year it will add 23 new metros, mostly in California, to its “$1 Million City List.” That means two dozen cities with a median home value of $1 million or more will be added to the 197 that already exist.Zillow reported that U.S. home values are expected to rise 6.6 percent over the next year, leading to home-value appreciation in the double digits in some areas, like California. The San Francisco metro alone could gain seven $1 million cities by next June. The metro already has 46 $1 million cities, which is more than any other metro area in the country. The Los Angeles metro is expected to gain five new $1 million cities in the next year, while Seattle and San Jose will each add two, Zillow reported. Across the country, the New York metro is expected to gain three new million-dollar cities, while Boston should join the list.”The number of million-dollar cities has doubled over the past five years. These markets tend to be affluent and exclusive suburbs with very strict building restrictions in communities adjacent to finance and tech hubs,” said Aaron Terrazas, Zillow senior economist. “Although home value growth is expected to slow over the next year, particularly at the high end of the housing market, the number of cities where more than half of homes are valued in the seven digits is expected to jump to a new all-time high over the next 12 months.”But, according to Zillow, pricey cities aren’t the only places experiencing rapid home-value growth.“Over the past year,” the report stated, “U.S. home values rose over 8 percent, to $217,300.” That escalation is so much so fast that the 66 percent of renters who say they often think about owning a home also cite saving for a down payment as one of the key impediments holding them back.Still, the march towards million-dollar metros continues. Biltmore Forest, N.C., in the Asheville metro, is forecast to be the first $1 million city in North Carolina. Likewise, Anna Maria, Fla., in the Sarasota metro, is expected to become the first $1 million city there. Properties in both cities are just shy of $1 million, median, as of August. Zillow expects these markets to grow steadily through next year to the $1 million mark.center_img 2018-08-10 Kristina Brewer Sharelast_img read more

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MGM is looking to sign up a strategic partner for

first_imgMGM is looking to sign up a strategic partner for its Epix pay TV service, according to a report by The Information, citing unnamed sources.According to The Information, MGM chairman Kevin Ulrich is working with investment bank LionTree to find a potential partner, and has approached entertainment companies about a possible tie-up, which would most likely involve taking a stake in Epix.According to the report, MGM would aim to retain control of the channel.MGM paid over US$1 billion in 2017 to take control of the 81% of Epix that it did not already own from Lionsgate and Viacom, following Lionsgate’s acquisition of Starz.MGM this week launched Epix Now, a new OTT TV streaming service featuring the full Epix library of original programming and movies for US$5.99 a month. US viewers who receive Epix as part of their pay TV package can already log in with these credentials to access content online and via the Epix app.Last year, MGM chief operating officer Chris Brearton said that the company would “reposition and expand” what was seen as an underperforming service, adding that Epix’s original programming line-up was not significant enough to compete with rival services.last_img read more

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A total of £100000 is available in the new Change

first_imgA total of £100,000 is available in the new Change Something Fund where grants from £200 to £3,000 will be available to young people aged 13-24 who submit applications. ​‘Change Something’ activities can be any project or initiative that is important to you and that will make a difference in your local community.The first open call for the Change Something Fund has been launched this week following the training of a 14-strong judging panel made up of 13-24 year olds who will take funding decisions on the grant applications submitted.Welcoming this week’s launch, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle said: “I’m delighted to see the launch of the first open call for the Change Something Fund – and would encourage young people throughout the City and District to apply! THE first open call for applications to the new ‘Change Something Fund’ has been launched this week – and organisers are encouraging young people aged 13-24 throughout the Derry City and Strabane District Council area to apply for grants.The Change Something Fund is your chance to change something in your local community by awarding grants to young people’s projects. It is part of Youth 19 and is funded by Council in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, and is being delivered by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund. “This really is a fantastic initiative which allows young people to take a lead role in bringing positive change to their community.“It will not only allow our young people to be the change they want to see in their communities, but also take ownership of Youth 19 by turning imaginative proposals into reality!”Magali Wing, one of the young judging panel members, added: “I have really enjoyed working as a team to develop the criteria for the Change Something Fund. “The key criteria includes ensuring that your application compliments the themes of Youth 19, the activity must take place in the Council area and during 2019. “I’m also really looking forward to hearing what young people want to change in their community and how this fund will support them to do it”.To apply to the new Change Something Fund visit youth19.com/change_somethingThe closing date for the first open call for applications to the Change Something Fund is 5pm on 7th November 2018.For further information and updates on the Change Something Fund visit youth19.comGrants now available for young people to ‘Change Something’ in their community was last modified: October 17th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: Change Something FundDerry and Strabane CouncilGrants now available for young people to ‘Change Something’ in their communityYouth 19 ShareTweetlast_img read more

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A NIAS spokesperson confirmed that they responded

first_imgA NIAS spokesperson confirmed that they responded to a call shortly before 12 pm.Two A&E crews, one rapid response vehicle and one paramedic officer were dispatched to the incident.Following assessment and treatment at the scene by the crew, two patients were taken to Altnagelvin Hospital for further treatment.The road, which was closed between Benview Estate and Whitehouse Roundabout, later reopened to traffic. Two people treated in Altnagelvin Hospital after four vehicle crashTWO people have been taken to hospital following a four vehicle crash in Derry.Police and the NI Ambulance Service attended the scene on Buncrana Road Updated news: Two people treated in hospital after four vehicle crash in Derry was last modified: January 18th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet ALTNAGELVIN HOSPITALAMBULANCE SERVICEBUNCRANA ROADPSNIUpdated news: Two people treated in hospital after four vehicle crash in Derrylast_img read more

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One technology stock that many analysts and market

first_imgOne technology stock that many analysts and market commentators are very high on is the Chinese Internet search company, Baidu (BIDU). According to data provided by Thomson First Call, 22 out of 29 analysts currently rate BIDU either a “buy” or a “strong buy.” The median price target among all the analysts covering the company is $142 per share… an extraordinarily high 46% above its recent share price of $97. One analyst sees BIDU going to $215 per share in the next 12 months. That represents roughly a 125% increase from current levels. Many market commentators at the most popular financial websites are similarly bullish. One of the commentators in a recent article called Baidu “the biggest bargain in big tech.” Another claims that Baidu is “the best stock for 2013.” A quick evaluation of Baidu makes it easy to understand the reason for all the optimism. First of all, Baidu – with roughly an 80% search-engine market share – is well positioned to benefit from the rapid Internet adoption rate in the lucrative Chinese market. Second, BIDU sports an incredibly strong balance sheet, with a current ratio of 3.6, long-term debt to equity of 0.15, and intangibles to total assets of 0.17. From a valuation standpoint, BIDU looks very attractive, with a forward PEG ratio of 0.53. But a closer look reveals a very important – and largely ignored – risk that investors should consider before jumping on the Baidu bandwagon. That is the risk associated with the company’s VIE structure. The VIE Structure When you purchase shares of Baidu, you’re not assuming direct ownership of the company, as you would if you purchased shares in a US company like, let’s say, Google or Apple. Rather, you’re buying shares in what the legal minds at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi refer to as “an offshore holding company or shell company whose entire viability hinges on the soundness of its contracts with its Chinese operating company counterpart.” This is what is known as a “variable interest entity” (VIE) structure; it is commonly used by Chinese companies as a way to sidestep China’s ban on foreign investment in certain economic sectors (e.g., the Internet, media, and telecom). Some of the more familiar names that have adopted the VIE structure include: Yoku.com, RenRen, New Oriental Education, Sina, and 21Vianet Group. One major flaw with the VIE structure is that the various contracts and legal agreements between the shell company and the wholly owned Chinese operating company may not be enforceable under Chinese law. And this – as the law firm Robins et al. points out – “exposes foreign investors to the risk that Chinese VIEs may readily breach their contracts with their U.S.-listed counterparts if this serves the VIE’s interests, because Chinese courts will not enforce these contracts against the VIE anyway.” It may happen infrequently, but VIEs do sometimes breach their contracts with the holding company. Once the market becomes aware that a holding company has “lost control of the VIE,” shares go into a tailspin, giving shareholders little time to react. So in a sense, VIE stocks can be a ticking time bomb. Cautionary Tales In early 2008, shares of the PRC seed producer Agria Corporation sank roughly 50% in a matter of days when it was announced that Agria was losing control of its Chinese VIE. The issue was with a Chinese executive at the VIE who became disgruntled at not having received certain compensation for services to the holding company that he believed was owed to him and his management team. The dispute was eventually resolved (and the VIE remained intact) when Agria essentially met the demands of the executive by granting him and other members of management “a significant amount of shares in the offshore parent as well as cash compensation for services rendered to the company.” But shareholders didn’t fare so well; Agria shares never recovered, presumably because investors lost confidence in the company’s corporate structure. Another high-profile example of loss of control over a VIE involved GigaMedia. In early 2010, GigaMedia decided to part ways with a Chinese executive who ran (and largely controlled) its VIE. In an act of defiance, the Chinese executive – emboldened by the fact that he would probably face no legal repercussions – refused to surrender his personal ownership of the Chinese operating licenses for the VIEs… licenses essential to GigaMedia’s business in China. Despite suing the executive in multiple jurisdictions, including in China, GigaMedia wasn’t able to fully regain control of its VIE. GigaMedia shares lost more than half their value as a result. It is important to note that the scenarios above are less likely to happen to Baidu, which has certain safeguards in place to somewhat minimize the risk of losing control of its VIEs. For example, the Chinese executive Yanhong Li, who largely controls Baidu’s VIEs, also has a significant stake in the offshore holding company (BIDU). This serves to align his interests with that of the foreign shareholders, making for a more solid VIE structure. But even with that structure in place, there can be a contagion effect when other companies experience problems with their VIEs. For instance, in May of 2011, Baidu shares fell nearly 30% following the announcement that Alibaba had lost its VIE. The threat of contagion pales in comparison to the threat that Chinese regulators can at any time decide to shut down a VIE. This is what happened to Buddha Steel in March 2011, when it abruptly canceled its proposed public offering in the United States, citing that the company “was advised by local governmental authorities in Hebei Province that [its VIE structure contractual control arrangements] contravene current Chinese management policies related to foreign-invested enterprises and, as a result, are against public policy.” Some have speculated that Buddha Steel was targeted merely because it competed against state-owned steel companies. But others see something more ominous – a potentially broad Chinese government crackdown on the whole VIE structure. Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: the Buddha Steel case exposed the vulnerability of the VIE structure whenever it faces regulatory scrutiny in China. Our Final Take on Baidu Ultimately, the Baidu bulls’ claims that shares will surge from current levels may prove to be correct. But because of its VIE structure, Baidu is decidedly not the kind of blue-chip stock many are touting it as. Instead, it’s a far more speculative investment, and it should be treated as such. In Big Tech, we tend to shy away from such speculative and potentially disastrous investments as Baidu. Instead, we focus on the rock-solid stocks that can be counted on to deliver 20%+ annual gains. And sometimes, in our quest to find these stocks, we hit one out of the park, as we did with one company that has returned nearly 150% since we first recommended it. Bits & Bytes Robotic Arm: Mind-Controlled Limb Closer than Ever to Real Human Limb (Huffington Post) This is a fascinating and heartwarming article that found its way into my inbox the other day. It’s about a technology that restores movement for paralysis victims. Will Big Data Get Too Big for the Metric System to Handle? (MIT Technology Review) Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, believes that global IP traffic will surpass the current limit of measures by the end of the decade. Hedge Funds’ Hail Mary: Bet on Tech (BloombergBusinessWeek) Recent SEC filings revealed that the smart money placed some aggressive bets on technology stocks in the most recent quarter. A Devastating Report for Amazon’s Kindle Business (Business Insider) Bad news for Amazon as Pacific Crest analyst Chad Bartley projects sales of the Kindle Fire will come in lower than previously expected for 2013.last_img read more

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It is an interesting historical fact that people w

first_imgIt is an interesting historical fact that people who take part in rebellions tend to coin their own money – not when the rebellion concludes, but as it starts. There is good evidence that silver half shekels, like the one pictured above, were actually minted on the Temple Mount during the Jewish Rebellion against Rome in 66-70 AD. (The wonderful Biblical Archaeology Review ran an article on the subject.) And this case is hardly unique; there have been many rebellions that promptly issued their own currency. Here is Massachusetts currency from 1776, issued early in the American Revolutionary War: The primary reason that rebels create their own currency is that monetary control is far more of a force than people realize. Baron Rothschild was not being overly flamboyant when he said, “Give me control over a nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” Being able to manipulate a money supply is a fantastic power, affecting every part of an economy. If you know in advance that the money supply will go up (diluting its value) or contract (concentrating its value), you immediately gain a massive advantage over everyone else – and you can target this advantage to help or hurt almost any group you choose. Because of this, a rebel group that is tied to their opponent’s money has nearly lost before the battles begin. Serious rebels learn this quickly. The Modern Rebellion The rebellion that we’re all part of is not an armed rebellion, but a moral rebellion. And, interestingly enough, our rebellion understood very early on that money was a primary factor in our enslavement. The roots of our rebellion go back as far as the first oppressed man or woman who thought clearly about morality, whenever that was. In modern times, however, we can trace our rebellion back to the 1940s – a time in which Mises had already been examining the foundations of money, Hayek was interested in competing currencies, and Rand was examining the morality of money. (I’m passing over very many good people in the above paragraph. May they forgive my brevity.) In our lifetimes, we’ve had David Chaum’s work on digital cash, Orlin Grabbe’s work (both theoretical and practical), e-gold, Pecunix, networks of exchangers, subsidiary services, and, most recently, crypto-currencies, beginning with Bitcoin. Our moral rebellion is not slowing down. What matters about all of these currencies (and many more I haven’t mentioned) is that they are all rebel currencies. Sure, a few criminals and Ponzi operators have made use of our technologies, but that’s simply unavoidable. How many crooks use government money? (Answer: all of them.) Rebel Morality I think it’s important to make a few points about this moral rebellion of ours: We must treat our fellow men and women with respect, even if they are wrong. If they want to be ruled by a state, that’s their choice, and we have no right to rip it away from them. (If it crashes without our coerced “support,” that’s not our problem.) If we think that people are being stupid to choose state serfdom, we should convince them that other ways are better, but we cannot force them to live our way and still call ourselves moral. This is not about attacking anyone or even attacking the current systems of oppression. Yes, every individual has the right to self-defense, but what we’re after here is not to lord it over anyone else, but being left alone to live as we wish.center_img Our rebellion money has actually done a fine job of supporting these two moral points. The supposed failures of these currencies were primarily that they couldn’t withstand coercive and violent attacks. In other words, they worked very well; their “problems” were attacks from the status quo: a system of coercion and violence, masquerading as justice. What we are now seeing is a moral awakening. Young people are questioning the systems that supposedly sustain them but actually use them as slaves. When people begin to see the world in moral terms, they quickly perceive the deep immorality of the status quo – a system that is utterly dependent upon coercion and deception. If there is a root to the continuance and success of honest, rebel money, this is it. In the end, our battle is this: morality versus coercion and deception. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

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Through all of my life there has been an odd and p

first_imgThrough all of my life there has been an odd and persistent bias on the part of otherwise honest Americans: What America does overseas is always good and right. We do not speak against it. The protests against the Vietnam War were an exception to this, of course, but that break from tradition involved less than half the country. Those people were quickly brought back into the mainstream, And they have supported more or less all subsequent US wars. This belief – that US foreign actions are always good – is falling apart as we watch. I take this as a good thing, as one should not believe in Santa Claus forever. The Polarization Trick But before I explain how this great American fantasy is failing, let me explain the trick that has kept it going: There is a polar opposite to the fantasy of angelic foreign affairs – the demonization of US soldiers. Americans generally see in polar opposites: Either the military is sacred, or else it is wholly evil. Once you get people strongly polarized, they’ll stay that way – always opposing the other side and never seeing the truth in the middle. So, nothing I say here today should be taken as an indictment of individual American soldiers. As with any group of people, some are better and some are worse. Some became soldiers with good motives (to protect people). Some few joined with bad motives (to kill and dominate). But the majority joined for a mundane reason: They needed a job. And more or less all of them joined when they were quite young. So, aside from a few monsters, I am not going after soldiers. They’ve got plenty to deal with on their own and I’m not interested in making things harder for them. It’s time to step away from this false polarization and to start looking for the truth. And, as I say, I think the great American fantasy is falling apart. Here are my reasons: Reason #1: The military-industrial complex is too troubling to ignore. Americans still remember that President Eisenhower warned them about the military-industrial complex killing their freedoms. And while many of us try not to think about it, we all know. The US government has troops in most of the countries in the world. Very few of us, myself included, can name all of the wars we are currently involved with. On top of that, we know that the military – and hundreds of private companies that work for them – are spying on all of us at all times. We may try to pass it off with cheap slogans, but we know the truth. To cap it off, the US government has now given itself the right to permanently jail and even kill US citizens, without a trial, so long as they first call them terrorists. Reason #2: We’ve seen the government start wars. Those of us old enough will remember that the State Department suckered Saddam Hussein into the first Gulf War. I won’t recount all the details, but they used a diplomat named April Glaspie to set it up. The story has been confused since then (four versions of the crucial transcript now exist), but lots of us saw it in real time. We know from WikiLeaks revelations that that there were US Special Forces in Syria a year or more before last year’s almost-war, arming the rebels and training them to fight. There can be no question that the US stands behind the current troubles in the Ukraine. If this YouTube recording is to be believed, we have US diplomats deciding who should be in power after the takeover… a takeover they staged during the Olympics when Putin would be restrained. This is no defense of Putin, of course, but it is obvious that the US Department of State is setting up and tearing down governments. That’s a very dangerous line of work. Reason #3: The Intimidator State lives among us. The line between military and police in America is all but gone. Police departments sport military equipment and are filled with former soldiers. They use military tactics. The public increasingly sees cops as dangers, not as friends. A young man recently commented to me, “Cops are bullies,” and he had good reason to think so. Being assaulted by a cop erases a thousand episodes of cop-worship TV. A few honest and helpful police officers do still exist, but they are steadily disappearing, at least in my field of view. Police=Threat is reality to a huge number of Americans, and not without cause. Merge that with the military, and the image of the soldier-saint fails. In The End… I think we have to admit that foreigners are not crazy to see the US government as a threat. Some of them may be stuck in the polarization trick, but they are not wrong to think that our political class is dangerous. We think that too. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

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