High romance Cannabis compatibility looks to reshape dating scene experts say

first_imgFor Steven Bisson, an ideal date night consists of a quiet night at home, a bag of Doritos and some cannabis to set the mood.Bisson, a 50-year-old medical marijuana user in Toronto, said his partner had little exposure to cannabis when they first met two years ago. His romantic interest seemed keen to experiment, but initially harboured hesitations about dabbling in drugs.It was an issue that had doomed several of Bisson’s past relationships. He said he had broken up with partners, and been dumped himself, over what he perceived to be a lack of tolerance regarding his cannabis use — a quality he deems essential in a potential mate.“I’m going to smoke regardless,” he said. “If my partner has a problem with it, then that won’t be my partner.”In his current relationship, however, Bisson said sparking up with his significant other on weekends brought them closer together — in more ways than one.“You can be a little bit more open, and that could lead to a better relationship,” said Bisson. “The sex, he loves. Without going into any detail, he says sex is so much better on marijuana than without it.”As legalization looms on Oct. 17, experts say cannabis compatibility may take on a larger role in the world of romance, as singles navigate the hazy rules of a marijuana-infused courtship and couples consider shaking up their routine with a new substance.Florida-based cannabis-friendly social networking app High There!, which has been touted as the “Tinder for tokers,” is looking to expand its digital footprint in Canada to cater to what founder and CEO Darren Roberts sees as an underserved cohort of eligible 4-20 enthusiasts.On traditional dating sites, said Roberts, cannabis use is often considered a romantic non-starter — much like how some singles swear off dating cigarette smokers, but compounded by the stigma of decades of prohibition.High There! offers cannabis users a judgment-free platform where they can make all kinds of connections, be it finding a smoke buddy, that special someone or even a spouse, said Roberts. (Illegal transactions between dealers and buyers, however, are strictly prohibited, he said.)The app also ensures a “comfort level” among cannabis users by immediately establishing a common interest, he said, as bud buffs trade notes on their consumption habits.Charlottetown-based couple Vanessa-Lyn Mercier, 28, and Sean Berrigan, 29, credit their shared passion for cannabis with allowing their partnership to flourish in both love and business.In addition to working together as wedding photographers, Mercier and Berrigan also co-curate the @Highloveclub Instagram account, which largely features gauzy glamour shots of the pair smoking up on the rust-stained beaches of P.E.I.Their relationship wasn’t always so picturesque, the couple admits. When they first met four years ago, Mercier said she frowned on Berrigan’s use of medicinal cannabis. But about a year into dating, she began facing her own health issues, which were taking a toll on their relationship, so she took her first puff.Mercier said she went from being couch-ridden with pain to dancing around her living room, and soon got her own medical marijuana prescription. The plant also stoked her creative passions, she said, and she decided to abandon her career in the pharmaceutical industry to follow Berrigan in pursuing photography.“We both kind of bonded over our love of photography and cannabis. It kind of helped pave the way to where we are now,” said Berrigan. “If cannabis wasn’t there … I don’t know if we’d even be together.”There can also be benefits of bringing bud into the bedroom, said Antuanette Gomez, the Toronto-based founder and CEO of Pleasure Peaks, which offers cannabis products aimed at improving women’s sexual health. The potency of cannabis as an aphrodisiac traces back to the millenia-old practice of tantric sex, said Gomez, and she hopes that more Canadian couples discover its pleasures on both a physical and emotional level.“We all react to cannabis very differently, but when we’re sharing that together, it really does heighten your sense of arousal … and also compassion and closeness, so you can really feel that with your partner,” she said. “I think that mind and body connection is the beautiful part that cannabis really touches.”But bringing any substance into a relationship comes with romantic risks and benefits, said University of Alberta sociology professor Geraint Osborne, and the potential impacts of cannabis largely overlap with those posed by alcohol.In a 2005-2006 survey of 41 Canadian cannabis users, Osborne found that bud can lead to mixed success in the bedroom, particularly when appetites turn towards the fridge, sending stoners to sleep with a full stomach. In some cases, said Osborne, it has even been known to cause “performance anxiety,” and studies have linked excessive cannabis use to lower levels of testosterone.If used responsibly, cannabis can lead to better understanding among couples by helping each partner put themselves in the other’s shoes, said Osborne. But when it comes to cannabis abuse, he said the consequences for a relationship can be severe.“If they are spending all of their time just getting high, and thinking about how to get cannabis to get high, then they’re just not focusing on the important parts of their life, including relationships.”Even without abuse issues, a difference in attitudes towards cannabis can put immense strain on a relationship, said Osborne, and not all couples make it.Like most aspects of a relationship, said Gomez, a couple’s chances of success will come down to their ability to “compromise.”“When it comes to cannabis, and since we’re legalizing it so quickly, there will be a definite shift,” she said. “I believe that relationships, true relationships, will have the communication to figure that out.”last_img read more

The fight to stop drilling in the Gulf of St Lawrence grows

first_imgAPTN National NewsA First Nations alliance says legal action may be the only way to stop oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.The Innu, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Alliance is teaming up with other coalitions.They met Thursday to brainstorm ways to continue their fight to protect what scientists call an ecologically sensitive area.APTN’s Trina Roache has the story.last_img

Refugee children winners in FC Barcelona Manchester City football game – UN

24 August 2009Refugee children were the winners in last week’s highly anticipated match-up between top football teams Manchester City and FC Barcelona, with the latter’s members sporting jerseys emblazoned with the logo of a campaign backed by the United Nations refugee agency. The MÉS campaign – an alliance between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), FC Barcelona and Nike – was launched last year to raise money for sports and education projects for young and vulnerable refugees. More than 94,000 fans turned out for the 19 August pre-season 44th Joan Gamper Trophy, named after the founder of the Spanish team. By wearing the jerseys, FC Barcelona players, who lost to Manchester City, of the English Premier League, 1-0, sought to raise awareness of the plight of the 42 million forcibly displaced people around the world, more than half of whom were receiving protection of assistance from UNHCR at the end of last year. The club’s partnership with the UN agency “is what makes us different from our competitors,” said FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta. “It means commitment and solidarity, and Barcelona’s solidarity is now a reality.” Only 1,899 – corresponding to the year the team was founded – of the new jerseys will be produced, and those worn by the players in last week’s game will be auctioned off next month to raise more funds for UNHCR projects worldwide. Last year, FC Barcelona signed a three-year agreement to assist UNHCR’s “ninemillion.org” campaign to reach its goal of providing education, sport and technology to all refugee children by 2010. read more

Stock markets close higher as strong employment data competes with fiscal cliff

TORONTO — North American stock markets closed higher Friday amid much better than expected job creation data in Canada and the United States.But gains were limited on another day of worries about the U.S. plunging over the fiscal cliff.The S&P/TSX composite index added 8.64 points to 12,159.77 while the TSX Venture Exchange gave back 0.64 of a point to 1,186.06.Shares in energy giant Nexen Inc. tumbled in a volatile final hour of trading ahead of an expected announcement by the federal government after the close on dealing with foreign takeovers of domestic resource firms. Nexen fell $1.58 or 6.35% to $23.29 on heavy volume of 3.6 million shares. Shares also fell on speculation Prime Minister Stephen Harper would also announce a decision on whether Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company can go ahead with its $15.1-billion friendly bid for Nexen.China’s CNOOC and Malaysia’s Petronas received the OK from the government as part of a wide-ranging update of foreign takeover rules.Statistics Canada reported the economy added 59,000 jobs last month, while the jobless rate dropped by 0.2 of a point to 7.2%.Economists had expected a smaller increase of about 10,000 jobs, following a minimal 1,800 job gain in October.The Canadian dollar rose 0.01 of a cent to 100.91 cents US.The news was equally surprising in the U.S., where economists had expected a lacklustre report with job creation impacted by superstorm Sandy.But the U.S. Labor Department said the economy cranked out 146,000 jobs in November while the jobless rate decreased 0.2 of a point to 7.7%. On a less positive note, job gains for the previous two months were ratcheted down by 49,000.Traders later took in other data that showed “fiscal cliff” worries are affecting consumer confidence.The Dow Jones industrials ran ahead 81.09 points to 13,155.13 after the widely-watched University of Michigan’s measure of consumer confidence fell to a four-month low of 74.5 in December, from 82.7.“I think the change in sentiment is all sentiment and it’s not based on fundamentals at all,” said Philip Petursson, director of institutional equities at Manulife Asset Management.“I think what we’re seeing as far as the University of Michigan is concerned is just a reaction to all the negative press that has been surrounding the fiscal cliff and I think that weighs on confidence of Americans.”The Nasdaq dipped 11.23 points to 2,978.04 and the S&P 500 index edged 4.13 points higher to 1,418.07.The “fiscal cliff” is the name for a situation that would arrive at the end of December if substantial tax increases and spending cuts are triggered. The worry is that the moves would immediately cut into economic growth, likely sending the U.S. into recession and taking other world economies along with it.Indexes fell further late in the morning after House Speaker John Boehner accused President Barack Obama of wasting another week in trying to arrive at a deal.The Republicans are resisting tax hikes but Obama has made it clear that taxes will have to go up for the top two% of taxpayers.The TSX registered a small loss, down 79.59 points or 0.65%, led by a drop of about four% in the gold sector as the price of bullion traded at or below the psychologically important US$1,700 level. And energy stocks lost ground while demand concerns pushed oil down for the past four sessions.The Dow industrials had a better week, up 129.55 points or 1%.Also on Friday, traders took in a strong earnings report from Bank of Nova Scotia. Net income jumped 31% from a year ago to $1.5 billion, while the bank’s adjusted earnings came in at $1.21 a share, three cents better than estimates. Its shares slipped three cents to US$55.53 as the bank narrowly missed revenue estimates.The Scotiabank results capped a string of generally positive earnings reports from the big banks. TD Bank and CIBC lost ground Thursday as their reports showed that adjusted earnings beat expectations but those banks also missed on revenue forecasts while National Bank matched forecasts.The gold sector led TSX advancers Friday, up about 0.7% while February bullion gained $3.70 to US$1,705.50 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. climbed 43 cents to C$36.91.The base metals sector led decliners, down almost one% with March copper ahead two cents at US$3.66 a pound. Teck Resources gave back 40 cents to $34.60 while Lundin Mining shed 24 cents to $5.01.The energy sector was down 0.64%. Oil prices slipped back into negative territory after demand concerns helped push oil down for the previous three sessions, with the January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange down 33 cents to US$85.93 a barrel for a loss of three% this week. Imperial Oil was down 79 cents to C$42.75.Telecoms were also weak as Telus Corp. shed 64 cents to $64.26.In other corporate news, the $6.1-billion takeover of Viterra Inc. by Swiss commodity trader Glencore International has been approved by China’s ministry of commerce. It’s the final regulatory step required for Glencore to buy Viterra, a Canadian company with major grain handling operations in Australia. As a result of the final approval, Glencore expects the effective closing date of the deal to be Dec. 17. Viterra shares were up 35 cents to $16.20.SNC-Lavalin shares gained 90 cents to $37.75 as it announced an oil services contract in the Persian Gulf region. Details of that deal weren’t disclosed. The engineering firm also said its AltaLink subsidiary has received approval for a $1.5-billion transmission line extension in Alberta.The contracts cap a week in which SNC-Lavalin consortia were selected to build the $2.1-billion light transit rail line in Ottawa and a power plant that will produce 463 megawatts of power in Poland.The Canadian Press read more

UN envoy discusses Fallujah fighting with Iraqi president

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi also discussed preparations for national elections scheduled for late January, and efforts to create a political and security environment conducive for holding a credible and comprehensive poll.The meeting came a day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour voiced deep concern over the situation of civilians caught up in the fighting in Fallujah, which US forces have seized from insurgents.She said all those guilty of violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws – including deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, killing of injured persons and the use of human shields – must be brought to justice, “be they members of the Multinational Force or insurgents.” She also voiced concern about poor access to humanitarian aid.The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has been closely monitoring the situation in Fallujah, and has provided medical and other essential supplies to the civilian population in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and Iraqi ministries.Mr. Qazi has been meeting with various Iraqi officials and political and civic activists to explore means by which the United Nations can contribute to advancing the political process in Iraq. read more

Philippines over 30000 targeted in UNsupported polio measles vaccination campaign

The Philippine Department of Health, backed by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and partners, plans to vaccinate more than 30,000 children under five years of age against polio and measles. They also received Vitamin A drops to help boost their immune systems.“Disease is a silent predator, but we know how to prevent it and we will do everything that we can,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Coordinator for the Emergency Response in Tacloban.UN staff carried supplies by hand from the capital, Manila, to Tacloban, coordinated teams to give the vaccines and trained them on how to do it under these difficult circumstances.“It is virtually unprecedented that within two and a half weeks of a disaster of this scale, with this level of devastation and these logistical challenges, that a mass vaccination campaign is already rolling out,” said Dr. Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines.The first phase that began yesterday is part of a wider campaign aimed at strengthening the health of young children in typhoon-affected areas.Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is warning that without immediate assistance for Philippine farmers, the country faces a double tragedy.The agency today called on the donor community to urgently provide more than $11 million to help rural communities clean and clear agricultural land and de-silt irrigation canals in the typhoon-aftermath.This call is in addition to the $20 million already requested by FAO to help typhoon-affected farmers plant, fertilize, irrigate and maintain crops to ensure the next harvests in 2014.“We are in a race against time,” said Rodrigue Vinet, Senior Officer in charge of FAO’s programme in the Philippines. “There is an immediate need for resources to help farmers clear their land and plant their crops. Therefore, we need to make the required purchases now and provide substantial resources directly to farmers to help them through this period.”The Philippine Department of Agriculture has also requested that FAO support this cash-for-work scheme, covering more than 150,000 hectares and some 80 kilometres of communal irrigation canals. Food is still a priority in the country three weeks after the typhoon hit, killing over 5,230 people and affecting more than 13 million others, nearly 3.5 million of them left homeless.Meanwhile, the deadly disaster in the Philippines and the increasing frequency of natural disasters is the focus of a three-day meeting that began today at the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand.The Third Session of the Committee on Disaster Reduction brings together policymakers and experts to discuss strategies for building resilience so that countries can better withstand, adapt to, and recover from such shocks.In opening remarks, ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer acknowledged that the Asia-Pacific experience has shown that natural disasters should be expected in greater numbers, and greater strength, in years to come. “However, hazards become disasters in the absence of development, and without adequate investment in risk reduction,” Ms. Heyzer said. “For greater resilience to become a reality, governments need to make disaster risk reduction an integral part of longer-term development plans, across multiple sectors.”During today’s discussions, participants also marked the transfer of ownership of the seismic station in Sittwe to the Government of Myanmar. The station was built in 2009-2010 through a project financed by the ESCAP Trust Fund for Tsunami, Disaster and Climate Preparedness and implemented by the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES). read more

Newcomers spark Ohio State mens basketball in home opener

OSU freshman guard D’Angelo Russell (0) dribbles past a UMass-Lowell player during a Nov. 14 game at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 92-55.Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editorSeason-opening games in college basketball can, at times, be a bore. But Friday night at the Schottenstein Center, there was something to get excited about: five-star recruit D’Angelo Russell was making his Ohio State regular season debut.With many eyes on him, the first question posed to the freshman guard after the game was straightforward. Was he nervous?“No, sir. Not at all.”As if anyone needed confirmation of that. Russell led the No. 20 Buckeyes (1-0) in scoring with 16 points, in steals with three and added four rebounds and six assists in the team’s 92-55 victory over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (0-2). With the addition of Russell, OSU coach Thad Matta has now brought nine five-star recruits to Columbus in his 11-year tenure. After Friday’s game he said his young playmaker, of whom much is expected, is already someone he trusts.“I’ve always said this about him: I don’t exactly know what position he is. But he’s a guard. You see his vision, he’s got that unique pace about him and sort of how he sees things is unique, especially for a freshman playing his first college game,” Matta said. “Having the ability to use him as much as we possibly can, you feel comfortable when the ball’s in his hands and he’s making decisions.”Those decisions started right from tip-off, as Russell was seemingly everywhere. He grabbed his team’s first rebound, points, assist and foul, all within the game’s first two-and-a-half minutes. Roughly two minutes later, Russell was in the thick of things again, this time with a flurry of activity that would make former OSU guard Aaron Craft proud. Russell first nabbed a steal before assisting a Sam Thompson alley-oop, and he then got a layup for himself after a River Hawk turnover. All of this in a 14-second span. Thompson, a senior forward with the most playing experience of any member of the team, said the entire group of Buckeye debutants — Russell, Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Keita Bates-Diop and Anthony Lee — did their part in what was a convincing win.“I think the newcomers did a great job. We wanted to play fast, we wanted to have our defense translate to some offense, we wanted to get some easy buckets. I think we did a good job of doing that,” Thompson said. “Anthony did his thing on the offensive boards, finishing around the rim. D-Russ is always good at pushing the ball in transition, making plays for himself, making plays for everybody else so I think we did what we wanted to do today. It’s the first game of the season, there’s a lot of room to improve but I’m happy with where we are.” While Russell had a hand in every facet of the contest, the other new faces contributed in different ways. Lee, a redshirt-senior transfer from Temple, hit all five of his field goal attempts to help him rack up 13 points. Freshman forwards Tate and Bates-Diop each had four points, with the former adding five rebounds on the defensive glass. Like his highly touted backcourt teammate, redshirt-freshman guard Williams also made an impression. The Baltimore, Md., native played only 13 minutes but had 12 points in that time, one of five OSU players in double-digits. Williams went one for six from the field on Nov. 9 in OSU’s exhibition victory over Walsh. Following Friday’s game, Matta said Williams’ improvement was because of the work he put in during the week. “I was very happy for Kam, because he’s a hard-working kid and he’s very hard on himself at times,” Matta said. “He knew he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well on Sunday, he’s in here getting extra shots, he’s watching film. And when you see that type of preparation, it makes you excited as a coach to see a kid play well.”Thompson also commented on Williams’ scoring ability.“Kam’s always been a guy who can score the basketball. He can shoot, he can get to the rim, he’s a great athlete. He really hunts buckets and that’s just what he does. He knows his job on this team is to put the ball in the basket,” he said. “Like I said earlier, when we’re doing our job, it’s when we’re at our best. He did a good job of coming in and just playing his game.”But for all the other strong efforts, the scene still came back to Russell. Considering the game against UMass-Lowell was the first time in 148 competitive games that OSU took the court without the aforementioned Craft, that focus is understandable.At the moment, though, that reliance doesn’t seem to be a factor. Russell said that he agreed with Thompson’s assertion that the team’s strength is in its scoring depth, with everyone contributing to the collective.“Like Sam said, it’s five that happen to get in there,” he said. “It could be any five guys, we’ve got a good group of guys that can fill it up any night.”The Buckeyes’ next attempt to fill up the scoreboard will come on Tuesday night at home against Marquette. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. read more

Demo reconstruction of St Roses High School to commence in August

The demolition and re-construction of the St Rose’s High School is slated to commence during the August holidays, while school is out.St Rose’s High SchoolThis is according to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon on Thursday, who asserted that in addition to the $16.9M contract which was awarded to PD Contracting for the demolition of part of the age old structure earlier this year, another sum of $352M has been granted to Courtney Benn Constructing Services Limited for the re-construction.“I believe, because it’s a school, these works most likely will commence during the August holidays so that it does not interfere or interrupt the actual school work that is taking place…As you know, St Rose’s is still an active secondary school and therefore work which has to be done… on this contract will be facilitated by the previous contract which was awarded for the demolition of the building,” he explained.In February of this year, Cabinet had approved the lump sum to be paid to PD Contracting for a section of the High School to be demolished.The school’s Board of Governors Chairman, Kenrick Thomas, in a letter, had indicated that the demolition would be limited to the aged, wooden section of the building facing Church Street since it was in a state of disrepair.“This decision was taken only after extensive consultations over many years to determine the viability of retaining this edifice because of its historical importance and architectural integrity. After much deliberation and with the primary goal being to provide a safe, up-to-date and innovative building for the development of our students, and only after exploring every option to preserve the building was the decision unhappily taken to demolish the structure,” Thomas had stated.He noted that given that it was almost entirely made of wood – some portions being up to 100-plus years old- the building was now structurally incapable of providing a safe environment for the more than 700 students that utilise the facility.As such, he added that the auditorium has not been used as a general meeting hall for the past five years and the building was evacuated completely during the past year to ensure that there would be no mishaps.Nevertheless, the Chairman assured that the replacement structure would incorporate many aspects of the original design and would integrate the design of the Marion and other wings on the property, including retention of the green space courtyard area, a unique feature of the school.This demolition exercise was expected to have been conducted during the Easter holidays, last.Nevertheless, the reconstruction is intended to take place immediately following the demolition and the project is expected to last for approximately 24 months. (Ramona Luthi) Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPhotos: St Rose’s High demo underwayJuly 10, 2018In “latest news”Demolition of St. Rose’s High School to commence on MondayJuly 6, 2018In “latest news”Amicable solution reached between St. Roses High, St. Agnes PrimarySeptember 18, 2013In “Local News” read more

HIQA are looking for comments on referral thresholds for gastrointestinal procedures

first_imgTHE THRESHOLDS THAT should be met before people are referred for gastrointestinal procedures are up for discussion.The Health and Information Authority is asking for comments on draft recommendations.HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment, Dr Máirín Ryan, said:“Despite significant increased activity by general surgery and gastrointestinal services over recent years, demand continues to exceed resource availability, with consequent pressure on waiting lists.”He explained how because of this the Health Technology Assessment wants to ensure “that the right patients receive referral and treatment at the right time”.HTAs aim is to ensure, in particular, that unnecessary referral is avoided in those people who are unlikely to get additional benefit from intervention over other treatment options.On RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, Kieran Keeley, who received a gastric sleeve operation – where a certain part of the stomach is removed to restrict the size- spoke about his experience.He explained how he was 37 stone and almost bed bound. As a father of two – he said family life was really difficult:I wouldn’t have gone to school plays or to see them play football. I was too embarrassed and worried about what might be said to them.He explained that since the surgery, “I have no interest in food, the addiction to food is gone”.Kieran lost over 20 stone and said the weight is still coming off.I can lead a normal life. I don’t have to be scared anymore, I don’t have to be scared of people.He also explained how it can be very difficult for someone who is obese to get the money together for the surgery themselves:Obese people can’t get loans out because we are too high of a risk.Consultation Doctor Ryan said, “It’s intended that these reports will provide clarity around referral for GPs, other referring doctors and their patients.Public and healthcare professional consultation on the draft recommendations is therefore important and we will revise the reports as appropriate based on feedback received.The consultation on these draft recommended referral thresholds for scheduled gastrointestinal procedures will run until 29 August 2014.The reports, along with details on how to take part in the consultation, are available from www.hiqa.ie.Read: Taoiseach accused of ‘insulting’ morbidly obese people>Read: What can be done to tackle rising obesity in Ireland?>last_img read more

Irish Navy rescues over 700 people off Libyan coast

first_img Share186 Tweet Email1 Jun 17th 2017, 6:36 PM 11,263 Views Saturday 17 Jun 2017, 6:36 PM Irish Navy rescues over 700 people off Libyan coast A baby girl was born on the LE Eithne. 72 Comments http://jrnl.ie/3450061 By Garreth MacNamee Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Short URL THE LÉ EITHNE yesterday rescued over 700 migrants who got into trouble after they left the Libyan coast in search of Europe.Defence Forces personnel located and rescued people from five inflatable boats which got into trouble around 83 kilometres off the northwest coast of Tripoli.Once LÉ Eithne arrived on scene, itwas designated the on scene coordinator for a large scale rescue operation involving three NGO ships and ten platforms in distress (PIDs).The rescue operation took place throughout the day, as well as migrants being transferred from two NGO vessels to LÉ Eithne, where it completed operations with 703 migrants on board.The people on board received food water and medical treatment where required.A spokesman for the Defence Forces said: LÉ Eithne are now tasked by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to move the migrants to the designated ‘Port of Safety’ of Catania, Sicily, where it is estimated that they will be handed over to the Italian authorities tomorrow morning.“Last night, en route to Catania, a baby girl was born on board LÉ Eithne with Defence Forces Medics assisting in the delivery. Both mother and baby are healthy and well.”Read: Manspreading is now banned on buses in Madrid >Read: Limerick farmer charged after allegedly shooting neighbour after a row over a ‘right of way’ >last_img read more

La Trobe conference on Cavafy and Kazantzakis

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Greek Studies Program and the Centre for Greek Studies of La Trobe University are organising a conference to celebrate the year of Constantine Cavafy and the 130th anniversary since the birth of Nikos Kazantzakis. The conference, to take place on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 November, will be officially opened on 21 November, from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm. Keynote speaker of the conference, Dr Anthony Dracopoulos from the University of Sydney, will give a lecture entitled ‘C. P. Cavafy and the Poetics of ‘Openness”. In an attempt to promote and recognise the writers of the community, The Greek Studies Program and the Centre for Greek Studies of La Trobe University will hold a reception to honour the poet and painter Nikos Nomikos for his contribution, both in poetry and painting. Nikos Nomikos was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1934. He studied at the French High School of St Mark, where he studied painting, while apprenticing next to Alexandrian painter G. Gogos and Fine Arts Professor J. Rouvrier. He then studied design engineering at the Technical College of Alexandria. He continued his studies in Athens, where he settled in 1960. In 1965 he migrated to Melbourne, where he lives with his family. He has published seven collections of poetry. Most of his works were published in Melbourne and Thessaloniki. Many of Nomikos’ poems were published in various magazines and his work is included in different anthologies. Apart from poetry, Nikos Nomikos was honoured and awarded for his painting. On the second day of the conference, Friday 22 November, from 10.00 am to 6.30 pm, sessions on both Cavafy and Kazantzakis will be held. The last session will include readings of works written under the influence of Cavafy and Kazantzakis. Speakers at the conference include Dr Anthi Baltatzis (Education Office, Greek Consulate), Dr Chris Fifis (La Trobe University), Mr Yiannis Georgiou (Kazantzakis’ Society), Mr Dimitri Gonis (La Trobe University), Dr Nikos Mathioudakis (Demokriteio University), Dr Tom Petsinis (Victoria University), Dr Nick Trakakis (Australian Catholic University), and Professor Michael Tsianikas (Flinders University). Keynote speaker on Kazantzakis will be freelance writer and lecturer Mr Howard Dossor. Conveners of the conference are Professor Chris Mackie and Dr Maria Herodotou. For further details, contact Dr Maria Herodotou, m.herodotou@latrobe.edu.au The conference will take place at La Trobe University (city campus), 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne (next to the Queen Victoria Market), Room FS104. The conference will be held in English and Greek. Entrance is free.last_img read more

Mauro Icardi fuels transfer talk after flying to England

first_imgInter Milan striker Mauro Icardi has fuelled transfer talks after he was reported to have flown to England after recent links to Chelsea and Real Madrid.The Argentine has been in an impressive run of form in Italy scoring nine times this term in the Italia Serie A.The 25-year-old was on target for Inter Milan last weekend after scoring the winner from a spot kick to gift the Nerazzurri three points and keep them third in Serie A table.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.A current release clause for the Italian is set at €110 million (£98 million) and that is affordable for most of Europe’s biggest clubs  and with the exit of Inter in the Champions League group stage, Icardi could be on his way to one of the teams hoping to lift the coveted Champions League trophy, according to the Mirror.The January transfer window could spring up surprises across Europe as a number of clubs look to strengthen their team.last_img read more

Quad Cities to Lead Effort to Map States Defense Assets

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The University of Illinois has been awarded a $5.5 million grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment to support defense manufacturers and other contractors in five communities coping with cuts in DOD spending.The university will conduct Illinois’ first statewide supply chain analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s defense sector, reported the Quad-City Business Journal. Those results will be used to develop strategic plans for the targeted communities — Quad Cities, Rockford, Peoria, Metro East (St. Louis) and Chicago.Much of the work will focus on the Quad-Cities region, which is responding to the loss of 1,500 workers at the Rock Island Arsenal over the past three years. The Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, which helped secure the grant in partnership with the University of Illinois, will assess the scope of the region’s defense contracts.“We’ll be identifying Arsenal contractors, subcontractors, workforce training and college assets to help us understand the layout of the defense-related assets,” Paul Rumler, chief economic development officer for the chamber, told the Journal.Some Quad-City companies rely solely on defense work, while defense contracts account for only a small portion of other companies’ operations.“This will allow us to see who has remained in that business, what they make, what amount of the personnel is reliant on that and how do we help them … so they are not totally reliant on defense work,” he said. “We need to identify what might be vulnerable so we know who to help.”The Quad-City region — made up of four counties in northwest Illinois and Southeastern Iowa — will serve as a pilot program “for Illinois communities on how to do outreach and as a model community across the country on how to help Department of Defense-impacted areas,” Rumler said.While nearly $4 million of the grant will support work focused on the Quad Cities, he said, the results will benefit the entire state.last_img read more

Tear gas and pellets greet thousands as protests rock Kashmir

first_imgPolice used tear gas and pellets to fight back at least 10,000 people protesting Delhi’s withdrawal of special rights for Jammu and Kashmir in its main city of Srinagar on Friday, a police official and two witnesses said. The demonstration soon after Friday prayers was the largest since authorities locked down the revolt-torn region five days ago, cutting off telephone and internet services and detaining more than 500 political and separatist leaders. Also Read – Enforcement Directorate summons Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar Advertise With Us It comes after the government scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s right to frame its own laws and allowed non-residents to buy property there. Regional leaders have warned of a backlash in the area, where militants have been protesting for nearly 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 50,000 people. A large group of people gathered in Srinagar’s Soura area, a police officer said, in violation of orders that prohibit the assembly of more than four people. Also Read – Fresh restrictions imposed in Kashmir Valley Advertise With Us The crowd was pushed back by police at Aiwa bridge, where a witness said tear gas and pellets were used against them. “Some women and children even jumped into the water,” a witness said at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where pellet victims were admitted. Delete Edit PreviousNext “They (police) attacked us from two sides,” another witness said. The police officer said 12 people had been admitted to two hospitals in the city after receiving pellet injuries at Soura, taking the total injured in the protests this week to at least 30. Advertise With Us “There were around 10,000 people at the protest in Soura,” the police officer said. “This was the biggest so far.” Thousands of extra paramilitary police were deployed across Kashmir just before the sweeping measures were announced on Monday to prevent large-scale protests. Addressing the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had acted in Kashmir to help develop the region and that he hoped it would lead to investment and more job opportunities. The BJP has long campaigned for abrogating Kashmir’s special privileges in the constitution, which it sees as an appeasement to Muslims and a hindrance to its own development. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, played down the unrest, which he suggested was temporary. “Just outside Srinagar things have really come back to normal,” he said. Kumar added, “People are going about their business, vehicles are plying normally. If we are confident of maintaining the law and order, I think those restrictions will be relaxed, I’m quite sure.” But the police officer, who requested anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that political detentions in the wake of the Modi government’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s special rights were continuing. “Over 500 people are now arrested since Sunday,” he said, including former chief ministers, ministers, lawmakers and leaders and workers from political parties and separatist groups. PM Modi’s party and even some top opposition leaders have welcomed the decision to absorb Kashmir fully into India, and it has brought him support across the country. Within Kashmir, officials are hoping anger will die down. On Friday, they eased restrictions to allow residents to offer prayers in neighbourhood mosques and said they were making arrangements for Eid, that falls on Monday. The top administrative official of the Kashmir Valley, Baseer Khan, said that essential commodities including food, grains and meat, would be trucked into villages by Sunday. Khan also said authorities would set up public phone booths covering every district, since communications lines have been severed by the government anticipating widespread protests. “More than 300 phone booths will be established in a day or two at landmark points,” he said. Khan added that all medical services in the valley were working normally, although when Reuters visited two major hospitals and a smaller facility, officials said that doctors and staff were having difficulties reaching work. On the other hand, Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with India and suspended trade in anger at the Kashmir move. On Friday, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said China was gravely concerned about the situation in Kashmir, the cause of two of three wars between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. Wang met Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Beijing and assured him that China would continue to support Pakistan to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. However, in a statement, an MHA spokesperson said that the reports of protest involving 10,000 people in Srinagar was completely incorrect.last_img read more

Final tally shows over 10000 Rohingyas killed

first_imgThe ruins of a market which was set on fire are seen at a Rohingya village outside Maugndaw in Rakhine state. Photo: ReutersMohib Bullah is not your typical human rights investigator. He chews betel and he lives in a rickety hut made of plastic and bamboo. Sometimes, he can be found standing in a line for rations at the Rohingya refugee camp where he lives in Bangladesh.Yet Mohib Bullah is among a group of refugees who have achieved something that aid groups, foreign governments and journalists have not. They have painstakingly pieced together, name-by-name, the only record of Rohingya Muslims who were allegedly killed in a brutal crackdown by Myanmar’s military.The bloody assault in the western state of Rakhine drove more than 700,000 of the minority Rohingya people across the border into Bangladesh, and left thousands of dead behind.Aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières, working in Cox’s Bazar at the southern tip of Bangladesh, estimated in the first month of violence, beginning at the end of August 2017, that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed. But the survey, in what is now the largest refugee camp in the world, was limited to the one month and didn’t identify individuals.The Rohingya list makers pressed on and their final tally put the number killed at more than 10,000. Their lists, which include the toll from a previous bout of violence in October 2016, catalogue victims by name, age, father’s name, address in Myanmar, and how they were killed.“When I became a refugee I felt I had to do something,” says Mohib Bullah, 43, who believes that the lists will be historical evidence of atrocities that could otherwise be forgotten.Myanmar government officials did not answer phone calls seeking comment on the Rohingya lists. Late last year, Myanmar’s military said that 13 members of the security forces had been killed. It also said it recovered the bodies of 376 Rohingya militants between 25 August and 5 September, which is the day the army says its offensive against the militants officially ended.Rohingya regard themselves as native to Rakhine State. But a 1982 law restricts citizenship for the Rohingya and other minorities not considered members of one of Myanmar’s “national races”. Rohingya were excluded from Myanmar’s last nationwide census in 2014, and many have had their identity documents stripped from them or nullified, blocking them from voting in the landmark 2015 elections. The government refuses even to use the word “Rohingya,” instead calling them “Bengali” or “Muslim.”Now in Bangladesh and able to organise without being closely monitored by Myanmar’s security forces, the Rohingya have armed themselves with lists of the dead and pictures and video of atrocities recorded on their mobile phones, in a struggle against attempts to erase their history in Myanmar.The Rohingya accuse the Myanmar army of rapes and killings across northern Rakhine, where scores of villages were burnt to the ground and bulldozed after attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents. The United Nations has said Myanmar’s military may have committed genocide.Myanmar says what it calls a “clearance operation” in the state was a legitimate response to terrorist attacks.Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village. Photo: ReutersName by nameClad in longyis, traditional Burmese wrap-arounds tied at the waist, and calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace & Human Rights, the list makers say they are all too aware of accusations by the Myanmar authorities and some foreigners that Rohingya refugees invent stories of tragedy to win global support.But they insist that when listing the dead they err on the side of under-estimation.Mohib Bullah, who was previously an aid worker, gives as an example the riverside village of Tula Toli in Maungdaw district, where – according to Rohingya who fled – more than 1,000 were killed. “We could only get 750 names, so we went with 750,” he said.“We went family by family, name by name,” he added. “Most information came from the affected family, a few dozen cases came from a neighbour, and a few came from people from other villages when we couldn’t find the relatives.”In their former lives, the Rohingya list makers were aid workers, teachers and religious scholars. Now after escaping to become refugees, they say they are best placed to chronicle the events that took place in northern Rakhine, which is out-of-bounds for foreign media, except on government-organised trips.“Our people are uneducated and some people may be confused during the interviews and investigations,” said Mohammed Rafee, a former administrator in the village of Kyauk Pan Du who has worked on the lists. But taken as a whole, he said, the information collected was “very reliable and credible.”Sprawling projectGetting the full picture is difficult in the teeming dirt lanes of the refugee camps. Crowds of people gather to listen – and add their comments – amid booming calls to prayer from makeshift mosques and deafening downpours of rain. Even something as simple as a date can prompt an argument.What began tentatively in the courtyard of a mosque after Friday prayers one day last November became a sprawling project that drew in dozens of people and lasted months.The project has its flaws. The handwritten lists were compiled by volunteers, photocopied, and passed from person to person. The list makers asked questions in Rohingya about villages whose official names were Burmese, and then recorded the information in English. The result was a jumble of names: for example, there were about 30 different spellings for the village of Tula Toli.Wrapped in newspaper pages and stored on a shelf in the backroom of a clinic, the lists that Reuters reviewed were labeled as beginning in October 2016, the date of a previous exodus of Rohingya from Rakhine. There were also a handful of entries dated 2015 and 2012. And while most of the dates were European-style, with the day first and then the month, some were American-style, the other way around. So it wasn’t possible to be sure if an entry was, say, 9 May or 5 September.Aerial view of a burnt Rohingya village near Maungdaw. Photo: ReutersIt is also unclear how many versions of the lists there are. During interviews with Reuters, Rohingya refugees sometimes produced crumpled, handwritten or photocopied papers from shirt pockets or folds of their longyis.The list makers say they have given summaries of their findings, along with repatriation demands, to most foreign delegations, including those from the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, who have visited the refugee camps. A legacy for survivorsThe list makers became more organised as weeks of labour rolled into months. They took over three huts and held meetings, bringing in a table, plastic chairs, a laptop and a large banner carrying the group’s name.The MSF survey was carried out to determine how many people might need medical care, so the number of people killed and injured mattered, and the identity of those killed was not the focus. It is nothing like the mini-genealogy with many individual details that was produced by the Rohingya.Mohib Bullah and some of his friends say they drew up the lists as evidence of crimes against humanity they hope will eventually be used by the International Criminal Court, but others simply hope that the endeavour will return them to the homes they lost in Myanmar.“If I stay here a long time my children will wear jeans. I want them to wear longyi. I do not want to lose my traditions. I do not want to lose my culture,” said Mohammed Zubair, one of the list makers. “We made the documents to give to the UN We want justice so we can go back to Myanmar.”Matt Wells, a senior crisis advisor for Amnesty International, said he has seen refugees in some conflict-ridden African countries make similar lists of the dead and arrested but the Rohingya undertaking was more systematic. “I think that’s explained by the fact that basically the entire displaced population is in one confined location,” he said.Wells said he believes the lists will have value for investigators into possible crimes against humanity.“In villages where we’ve documented military attacks in detail, the lists we’ve seen line up with witness testimonies and other information,” he said.Spokespeople at the ICC’s registry and prosecutors’ offices, which are closed for summer recess, did not immediately provide comment in response to phone calls and emails from Reuters.The US State Department also documented alleged atrocities against Rohingya in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity, US officials have told Reuters. For that and the MSF survey only a small number of the refugees were interviewed, according to a person who worked on the State Department survey and based on published MSF methodology.MSF did not respond to requests for comment on the Rohingya lists. The US State Department declined to share details of its survey and said it wouldn’t speculate on how findings from any organization might be used.For Mohammed Suleman, a shopkeeper from Tula Toli, the Rohingya lists are a legacy for his five-year-old daughter. He collapsed, sobbing, as he described how she cries every day for her mother, who was killed along with four other daughters.“One day she will grow up. She may be educated and want to know what happened and when. At that time I may also have died,” he said. “If it is written in a document, and kept safely, she will know what happened to her family.”last_img read more

Texas Train Derailment Knocks Out Power Hampers Travel

first_imgTwitter via @FortWorhPDA train derailment in Fort Worth has knocked out power and closed a major artery for rush-hour traffic.About 40 train cars were traveling north of downtown early Wednesday when the derailment occurred, causing about 25 cars to slide off the tracks.The cause of the derailment isn’t known and it is not clear which rail company was operating the train. BNSF Railway is based in Fort Worth.The train was carrying lumber and other materials. No one was hurt.#PHOTOS N Main St – between Terminal Road and Meacham Blvd – closed in both directions.Train derailment. No estimate of re-open, but it’s expected to be lengthy. pic.twitter.com/xmWUk4oUE1— Fort Worth Police (@fortworthpd) May 2, 2018The derailment occurred near Meacham International Airport but there has been no disruption to flights.Power lines were pulled down in the accident and electricity was cut to the area as a precautionary measure.Authorities say it could take most of the day, if not longer, to clear the cars. Sharelast_img read more

Monarch Academy Introduces College Culture to Baltimore Kids

first_imgMonarch Academy, a Baltimore charter school, has begun working with Morgan State University in order to introduce its students to higher education. With two programs, ASHE and College Explorers, Monarch provides its students with emotional and academic support while also exposing them to positive example of higher education.Students at Baltimore’s Monarch Academy work with mentors from Morgan State University. (Photo by Janneh G. Johnson)Yoeanna Ambrose, a teacher at Monarch Academy and the program coordinator, spoke to the AFRO about her relationship with the program. Monarch Academy is a series of charter schools in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. operated by TranZed Alliance, a Baltimore based non-profit focused on kids with special needs. The Morgan State University Office of Community Service coordinates the College Explorers and ASHE with Monarch Academy. Brittany Laws is Morgan’s program coordinator.“Morgan currently offers a program called College Explorers to our students which takes place four times a week. Morgan buses students to and from Monarch Academy and the students visit Morgan to get academic support and shadow a student. ASHE is for the students who can’t go to Morgan State for various reasons so that the mentors can be brought to them.”The College Explore program began earlier this year and the students who have been a part of it have experienced less behavioral and academic issues while also exposing students to the realities of college life and sparking an interest in higher education, according to Ambrose.The average ASHE day includes 2 hours where the students are tutored by their mentors in either math or reading and time for the students to discuss other things as well, such as personal problems or other academic subjects.“A lot of my kids learn lessons from their mentors that effect their performance, like one of my eighth-grade girls had a conversation with her mentor about the school to prison pipeline and how standardized testing plays a part in negative stereotypes and funding and she said that she wanted to put her best foot forward on the state exams so it wouldn’t be said that Baltimore students can’t read or aren’t intelligent due to a lack of effort.”Kai  Innam, a senior at Morgan State who has worked with the ASHE program plans to continue mentoring even after graduating.“I’ve been working with the program for about ten weeks and I’m so hopeful that this will impact the kids in a positive way because this is something I want to do past my graduation. I want to keep helping these kids because they’re amazing, they just need to have someone by their side showing them support. That one on one attention boosts their confidence and that helps their performance,” Innam told the AFRO.“It’s a give and take experience. I’ve learned patience and I’ve learned to be more understanding and I really have a new appreciation for teaching kids at the middle school level.”Myonna Simpkins, an eighth-grade student enrolled at Monarch Academy, plans to pursue her Doctoral degree, and become an OB-GYN and believes that this program will help her do so.“I’ve learned a lot about the positive parts of college and the do’s and don’ts. Our mentors aren’t that much older than us so I’ll be going through the same things they’re going through. I want to become the same things that they want to become,” Simpkins said.last_img read more

Ministers Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity Celebrates 110 Years

first_imgThe Ministers’ Conference of Baltimore and Vicinity kicked off its 110th Anniversary celebration with song, prayer and the word on Monday, March 5.The Rev. A.C.D. Vaughn was part of the Ministers’ Conference of Baltimore & Vicinity 110th Anniversary celebration kick-off. (Courtesy photo)Over 100 members of the Conference sat inside New Shiloh Baptist Church, their regular meeting place, in West Baltimore to honor the past, celebrate the present and envision the future of the Conference. President Bishop J.L. Carter addressed the audience.“In this room, there is a true spirit of excellence,” he said, before Rev. Cameron Carter began his sermon.Dr. A.C.D. Vaughn, past eight-term president of the Ministers’ Conference and pastor at Baltimore’s Sharon Baptist Church, took the microphone later in the program to remind attendees of the Conference’s rich history. Vaughn detailed the Conference’s beginnings under Dr. G.R. Waller of the Trinity Baptist Church and its early mission to support education. President Carter gave the benediction and promised more events in the near future.This is the first event of at least three to precede the Conference’s 110th Anniversary Banquet Celebration on Sept. 20.For more information contact Dr. Sandra Conner at REVDRCONNER@GMAIL.COM.last_img read more

Conviction That Led to Chiefs Firing Overturned

first_imgBy Stephen Janis, Special to the AFROIn December of 2015, Pocomoke city resident Gerry Fitch was summoned from her jail cell in the Worcester County Detention Center by investigators for Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt.Fitch was serving time for drug possession.  So, she was uncertain as to why detectives who normally probe corruption with the state officials were interested in speaking to her.But when they started asking her about an alleged relationship with the former and first African-American chief of Pocomoke City, Kelvin Sewell, she said she was confused.Kelvin Sewell, a former Baltimore homicide detective, was fired when he was police chief of Pocomoke City in Worcester County, Md. The Maryland Court of Appeals recently overturned the conviction in a case in 2016 that led to his firing. (AFRO Photo)“It was an urban myth, they said, that I was supposedly pregnant by chief Sewell when I was arrested,” Fitch said in an interview with the Real News Network.“But It wasn’t true.”The interview was part of a wide-ranging investigation against Sewell after he was fired by the Pocomoke city council without explanation.The ongoing saga added a new twist last week, when the Maryland Court of special appeals overturned his conviction of misconduct in office by a Worcester jury in 2016.The charges were brought by Davitt based upon an investigation of a 2014 accident involving two parked cars in which prosecutors convinced a nearly all-White jury Sewell should have charged the driver.But in an opinion issued Nov. 29, the court ruled that Worcester County judge’s decision to bar Sewell from calling expert witnesses prejudiced the jury.In an explosive dissenting opinion Judge Dan Friedman said there was not enough evidence to prove Sewell had committed misconduct, and state prosecutor Emmet Davitt should be barred from trying to case again.“It is my view that the State has failed to prove any intent at all, let alone a corrupt one,” Friedman wrote.Despite the setback, in an email to the AFRO, Davitt said his office is more than likely to retry the case.“After reviewing the appellate court decision and speaking to the victims of the accident, it is very likely that we will retry case. Just need to double check availability and status of witnesses,” Davitt said.However, he would not commit or confirm on Fitch’s recounting of her encounter investigators.The possibility that Davitt may retry the case prompted criticism from State Senator Jill P. Carter.“The entire case smacks of racism and retaliation.  I hope the state prosecutor will not expend any more state funds trying to secure a conviction on such flimsy evidence,” State Senator Jill P. Carter told the AFRO.The court’s high-profile decision casts doubt on an investigation into Sewell, which initiated after he had filed EEOC complaints against the city of Pocomoke and Worcester County State’s Attorneys’ office. It also adds weight to the accusations of retaliation that have surfaced since Sewell was fired by the Pocomoke City Council in 2015 after he refused to terminate two Black officers who had also filed EEOC complaints.State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt indicted Sewell in 2016 for failing to charge a driver who had struck two parked cars in 2014.The charges allege Sewell had failed to cite Pocomoke resident Doug Matthews for leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors alleged Sewell had let Matthews go because both were members of an African-American Masons chapter on the Eastern Shore.But the court ruled that Sewell and Matthew’s membership “was not competent to prove that Sewell acted with corrupt intent.”  A lack of evidence the judges argued made the expert witness testimony critical to Sewell’s case.During the trial Sewell sought to call two policing experts to refute Davitt’s assertion his decision to charge Matthews was unusual. But the judge ruled that expert testimony would confuse the jury and barred Sewell from calling them.But a main point of contention during the trial was the involvement of the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office in the investigation.  In court filings Sewell’s attorneys argued the case was retaliation for filing EEOC discrimination complaints against Worcester County.As proof, his defense cited emails between Davitt’s office and Worcester County prosecutors which revealed the case against Sewell originated with the same Worcester County agency he had filed an EEOC complaint against.The murky origin of the charges and the court’s decision is already prompting calls for Davitt to drop the case.One group, The Caucus of African-American Leaders, plans to send an open letter to Davitt asking him not to retry the case.“What we hope would look at the entire the circumstance and take into account that race and racism has played a factor in this case and they will drop the case as a result of it,” said Carl Snowden, who works with the group.(full disclosure this reporter co-wrote a book with Sewell).last_img read more

Google Relaunches Google News App Adds Paid Subscriptions

first_imgGoogle launched the new Google News app, which is replacing its old Google Play Newssstand app, on Android, iOS and the web in 127 countries Tuesday. The company also added in-app subscriptions to allow consumers to directly subscribe to the digital editions of select newspapers and magazines. Google announced a relaunch of its news app at its annual Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, Calif. Tuesday. The new app, which is now simply called Google News, will use machine learning to customize news results for consumers, and summarize news stories with a new format Google is calling newscasts.Google CEO Sundar Pichai framed this relaunch as a key effort to strengthen media organizations. “In times like this, it’s more important than ever to support quality journalism,” he said. “It’s foundational to the way democracies work.”The new Google News app will automatically curate five stories for custom-tailored to every consumer every day, and then let them dive in deeper on subjects with the help of timelines and other context from the web. The app is also integrating videos from YouTube and other sources, but Google didn’t announce any publishing partners for this video integration Tuesday. Popular on Variety center_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more