In 1939, Billie Holiday performed the song “Strange Fruit” in protest of the escalating levels of racism that were prevailing in the United States which saw mostly black men being lynched and badly beaten by white Americans as the struggle for civil and equal rights gained momentum there.The song which was originally a poem speaks to the many injustices committed against black Americans who most times could not benefit in any way from the then crooked and unfair justice system which favoured whites and worked against minorities and immigrants of colour.In short, the song which has been covered countless times by black activists and celebrities makes the point that ‘Black Lives Matter’ as it encouraged a reshaping of not only divisive, unfair and racist politics in the US but championed the need for judicial reform and social justice.The song along with many other artistic works, and the voice as well as actions of many civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King led the struggle for equality, justice and an end of racism in the US for decades with significant progress being recorded at various points in the movement.Sadly, the progress recorded has not been enough for there to be a permanent resolution to the problems which have been eating away at the moral and social fabric of the American society.The recent shooting to death of two black Americans – Alton and Philando – by Police have brought the issue of racism in the US back into sharp focus.After all, statistics show that for 2016 over 123 blacks have been killed by police so far and the figures may very well climb over the remaining months if there are no significant reforms or a complete shift in psyche of White Americans and those who propel the notion of ‘race supremacy’.Already, the outrage is growing following these shootings and with the US Presidential Race in full swing, issues related to gun violence, police brutality and killing of blacks for minor offences and immigration are taking centre stage.In fact, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been forced to address the shootings and recent acts of domestic terrorism in the US.The truth is, there is need for systemic change in the US that promotes higher levels of religious tolerance, racial equality and national unity. The laws there need to be changed to end the protectionism of police and other public servants who continue to take the lives of innocent black men and women because of perceived fears about their culture and intent whenever there is an encounter.It is therefore necessary for blacks rights activists and politicians to place pressure on those States within the US that continue to use discriminatory and archaic laws to marginalise blacks, Muslims and people of colour in a bid to protect the interests of whites.All lives matter and at the end of the day, the US must live up to its reputation of being a country which is the land of “opportunities” for all. The framers of its legislative and judicial polices must understand the importance of equity and social justice and its implications on the notions of inclusivity and freedom.Many other countries will be looking to the US for examples as to how to deal with the recurring issue of racism in this modern age, especially small Caribbean countries like Guyana which have been grappling to put an end to its own problems related to racial divisiveness.While there is a different brand of racism taking place within this hemisphere, countries like Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago can ill afford to miss the lessons from the American experience as they seek to devise laws and other constitutional remedies that could result in an improvement in the race relations between East Indians, Africans and their Indigenous counterparts.In conclusion, America cannot afford to return to the period where “strange fruit” was in abundance nor afford to continue the senseless shedding and wastage of the blood of her black citizens. The earth must not be enriched by the blood of humans who are cut down in their prime because of the inaction of others and their refusal to listen to the voices of those who are minorities and being marginalised.
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission will partner with the Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) to study and document the dynamics of free movement and migration in the ECOWAS region and Mauritania. A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the ECOWAS Commission and its partners launched a call for proposals for Non-State Actors (NSAs) on June 30, 2015 at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria. The exercise sought to promote an active engagement of NSAs and collaborating local authorities in information and protection activities for the benefit of migrants and cross-border populations in West Africa.In launching the project, the ECOWAS Director for Free Movement and Tourism, N’Fally Sanoh, said that NSAs were important to the study, because they were best placed to reach out to migrants and cross-border populations in West Africa.Mr. Alan Munday, on behalf of the Delegation of the EU to ECOWAS, disclosed that the EU has been supporting civil society’s action in protecting the rights of migrants in the amount of 11.5 million Euros to help protect migrants and eradicate human trafficking across West Africa.Also speaking, the IOM’s Chief of Mission, Ms. Enira Krdzalic, said that the NSAs Fund will provide grants up to 100,000 Euros to successful civil society organizations and other NSAs to implement projects based on the Call for Proposals in ECOWAS member states and Mauritania.For her part, the FMM West Africa Representative Coordinator, Ms. Taibatou Sidibe, encouraged participations from all 15 West African countries and Mauritania to apply. She said the first step in the application process was the submission of a Concept Note on themes on free movement and migration in the ECOWAS region.FMM West Africa would invite applicants with successful Concept Notes to submit full proposals. The deadlines for Concept Notes and Proposals are July 31 and September 30, 2015, respectively. Grant Agreements will be signed this November, while selected projects will begin in January, 2016.According to Ms Sidibe, eligible applicants to receive grants from the Fund must be legally registered NSAs in one of the 15 ECOWAS Member States or Mauritania. Interested applicants can download the Guidelines for Applicants and templates for the project proposals at the FMM West Africa website (www.fmmwestafrica.com ).Eligible NSAs include non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social partners (trade unions, employer’s organizations), business groups (corporations and business/trade associations), traders and transporters syndicates, media organizations and migrants associations. Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals in partnership with local authorities. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
0Shares0000FIFA president Sepp Blatter is photographed while banknotes thrown by British comedian Simon Brodkin hurtle through the air during a press conference following the extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee at the headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, July 20, 2015. PHOTO/AFPZURICH, December 17 – Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter appeared before the world body’s ethics judges Thursday to answer corruption allegations as Switzerland announced it has frozen tens of millions of dollars in accounts linked to football bribes.Blatter, who with vice president Michel Platini faces a long suspension, arrived at FIFA’s base in Zurich in a black Mercedes with his lawyer. He made no comment as he entered. Before the hearing, Blatter, 79, wrote a letter to FIFA’s 209 members calling the FIFA ethics commission’s investigators “the inquisition”.As the hearing went ahead, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, whose country will host the 2018 World Cup, said Blatter should be a Nobel Peace laureate.“That is someone who should be given the Nobel Peace Prize,” Putin said. “His contribution to the global humanitarian sphere is colossal.”Blatter is under criminal investigation in Switzerland over a two million Swiss francs ($2 million/1.8 million euros) payment made to Platini in 2011 for work carried out about a decade earlier.Platini’s case will be heard on Friday, but he has said he will boycott the tribunal. His lawyers will go however.Platini has said the verdict has been decided in advance and his lawyers say FIFA’s ethics committee has recommended a life ban for the French football legend.Blatter and Platini deny any misconduct.– Decision next week -The ethics committee chamber is expected to announce its verdict next Monday. Appeals to a FIFA appeal committee and the Court of Arbitration for Sport are then possible.FIFA has been plunged into several corruption scandals this year, which played a key role in Blatter’s announcement in June that he would stand down when a new election is held in February.Platini was considered favourite to take over but his campaign has been frozen since he and Blatter were suspended in October over the payment which they insist was legal.The United States asked Switzerland to freeze about 50 accounts in Swiss banks linked to its massive inquiry into football corruption, a federal prosecution spokesman told AFP.Federal justice spokesman Folco Galli said “funds in the high tens of millions (Swiss francs) are blocked.”The Tages Anzeiger newspapere said the figure was between 50 million and 100 million Swiss francs ($50-100 million/46-92 million euros). Galli declined to comment on the total.The action involved about 50 accounts in 10 Swiss banks. Numerous FIFA members are known to have accounts in the country.Nicolas Leoz, a longtime head of the South American confederation, CONMEBOL, had 12 accounts in Switzerland, the Swiss television programme Eco said, quoting details from the US request.The United States has charged 39 individuals, including Leoz, and two companies over bribes of more than $200 million paid for football marketing and television rights deals.Twelve have so far pleaded guilty.Galli said that because of the scope of the US inquiry, the FIFA case is “one of the biggest cases of foreign help that we are dealing with.”The UBS, Credit Suisse, Pictet, BSI and Julius Baer banks have all received requests for account details.The federal justice office looks at each request case by case and if suspicious information is confirmed hands details to the United States.But appeals are possible against the decisions and Tages Anzeiger said it could take years to get all the cases completed.Germany has also asked Switzerland for judicial help over its inquiry into allegations that bribes were paid to secure the 2006 World Cup finals.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Homeless for more than a year, Tamanika Crenshaw has relied on the kindness of friends to provide a roof over her head and a safe place to sleep for her and her 4-month-old son, Marketh. Now, the soft-spoken 27-year-old single mom is hoping a Section 8 affordable housing voucher will be the beginning of a new life. “With the income I have, to find a home, work and child care, I couldn’t do it,” Crenshaw said Friday, cradling Marketh in her arms while trying to fill out paperwork. “This will help me to be stable and start working.” Crenshaw’s was one of 2,500 families invited to the Los Angeles Convention Center to apply for Section 8 assistance, in which poor families pay 30 percent of their income for a rental. The government pays the rest of the monthly lease. More than 24,000 families are on the list for Section 8, and some families have waited five, eight, even 15 years to get a voucher. For some, the voucher means no more moving from cheap motel to cheap motel. No more sleeping in the car. No more cramming two families into a single apartment. “There’s always been demand for the program,” said Lourdes Castro-Ramirez, who heads the Section 8 program for the city’s Housing Authority. “I think with rising rents and diminishing affordable housing, the pressure is getting worse for families.” Rising rents The average rent in Los Angeles County rose by nearly $200 in the last four years, and is now $1,470 a month. The city’s housing authority manages about 45,000 vouchers but was ordered to stop issuing new ones in 2004 after the federal Housing and Urban Development agency found financial mismanagement with the program. Since then, new management has made changes, and the authority began giving out vouchers again in December. To work through the Section 8 waiting list, it began holding daylong application and registration sessions in March. Families are invited based on how high they rank on the waiting list – 75 percent of applicants are extremely low income, meaning a family of four earns $22,000 a year or less. The average family enrolled in the Section 8 program earns $13,500 a year. Inside a convention center hall Friday, dozens of small tables were staffed by Housing Authority personnel who helped each applicant fill out form after form. Assistant Manager Irma Irving-Burr walked Crenshaw through the process and nodded knowingly when the young mom talked about her desire for a stable home. “You can do it. I’ve been there. You just have to have your priorities,” Irving-Burr said. “This is the best thing that can happen to someone with a baby that needs to become stable. You have your house, it’s affordable. You have your food. And if you budget right, your options are unlimited.” Retiring with dignity For other applicants, the Section 8 sign-up Friday offered a chance to retire with dignity. Vernita Dixson, 57, has sought an affordable home ever since she became disabled by degenerative bone disease and had to quit her job as a preschool teacher. Recently, she’s been living with relatives. After 15 years of trying to secure Section 8 and hassling with government bureaucracies, she was prepared for the worst. “I was geared up to come into a madhouse. I’m recovering from a heart attack in April and I was ready to take my nitro,” Dixson said. “But everyone here was so pleasant and treated you with such respect. I’m so thankful.” In about a month, Dixson and Crenshaw should know if they will receive Section 8 vouchers. It takes a month to check financial data and run background checks before the vouchers are approved. The program is open to undocumented immigrants if members of their family are U.S. citizens, but the subsidy is less. In previous sign-ups, the housing authority staff helped 6,800 families apply for vouchers. Of those, 1,300 families have gotten them, found homes and signed contracts with landlords. But the voucher isn’t a guarantee of affordable housing. Families have 120 days to find a rental and they must come up with a deposit. Plus, fewer landlords are willing to accept Section 8 tenants. “It’s challenging to find a unit,” Castro-Ramirez said. “We really rely on property owners making units available.” Still, getting so close to securing a voucher had some families daydreaming about a new life in a new home. Luis and Marlene Funes and their five children now squeeze into a single-room apartment downtown that costs $525 a month. Luis works in construction and Marlene takes care of the children, two of whom are disabled. “It’s very difficult,” Luis Funes said. “There’s no room for everyone’s shoes. There’s nowhere to put everyone’s clothes.” But with a voucher, they could afford a home with more rooms so their children wouldn’t have to share beds. “The children would be happier with more space for the family,” Luis Funes said, smiling. firstname.lastname@example.org (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
By Doug Padilla STAFF WRITER Scot Shields left a closed-door meeting Monday looking less than thrilled after the Angels decided on some drastic measures to help their struggling right-handed reliever. Manager Mike Scioscia confirmed that Shields will throw a simulated game today and then sit out until Thursday at the earliest. Shields has been hit and mostly miss in the second half. His latest round of trouble came Sunday when he couldn’t protect a one-run lead in the eighth inning. Shields gave up a one-out grand slam to Hank Blalock that put the Texas Rangers in front for good. “He’s a huge part of our bullpen, but right now to get Shields back to where he needs to be we definitely need to take a half-step backward here,” Scioscia said. “I think it served some benefit about a month or three weeks ago when we did it. But we need it again and he needs to work on a couple of things he can bring into a game.” Shields, who declined all interview requests, has given up 15 earned runs in his last 12 outings for an 11.91 ERA over that stretch. Since the All-Star break, Shields has an even 10.00 ERA after posting a 1.70 mark before the break. Shields got some moral support following the closed-door meeting, that included Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher, bullpen coach Orlando Mercado and bullpen catcher Brenton Del Chiaro. John Lackey put his arm around Shields as the two walked into a back room to talk. “It happens to all of us eventually,” said Lackey, who lost a chance at his 17th victory when Shields gave up the grand slam. “He’ll figure it out. He’ll get it going again. We have all the confidence in the world in him. “I think everybody needs a little support every now and then. I think he’s aware we have confidence in him. Telling him might help a little bit, too.” Scioscia said that Justin Speier will pick up any available setup outings that occur until Shields regains his form. The Angels continue to say that nothing is bothering Shields physically and his issues have more to do with his mechanics. As of now, they are dismissing the thought that his major league-leading 349
Inter Milan could send Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City target Gabriel Barbosa on loan to Las Palmas to get him firing again.The 20-year-old striker only arrived at Inter during the summer window but, as talkSPORT told you this week, his agent has revealed Barbosa is not happy.Despite arriving from Santos with a big reputation, the man dubbed ‘Gabigol’ has played just 16 minutes of Serie A action and has already been linked with a move away from the club.Arsenal, Chelsea and City are said to be keeping an eye on the situation but now Inter may ship him out on loan in a bid to lift his spirits with more regular first-team football.And reports in Italy have revealed that Spanish club Las Palmas are hopeful of landing him on a temporary deal when the window opens next month.The Gran Canarian club are currently tenth in the Spanish top flight after claiming 20 points from their first 14 games. Gabriel Barbosa is unhappy with his lack of game time at Inter Milan 1
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – A registered sex offender who was linked by DNA to the 1999 slaying of a Lancaster prostitute was sentenced Tuesday to 27 years in prison. Ronald Lynn Rook pleaded no contest last week to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Twila Ann Martin, who was found beaten to death on a desert dirt road. Citing insufficient evidence, prosecutors agreed to drop murder charges as well as kidnapping, sexual assault and robbery charges involving four other women who worked as prostitutes along Sierra Highway from 1999 to 2003. Rook, an ex-convict who got out of prison in 1997 after serving a sentence for assault with a firearm, was linked to Martin’s slaying in 2004 by an ongoing check of a DNA database containing samples from convicted felons. Rook’s DNA was found under her fingernails. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts. email@example.com (661) 267-5744
In a country as diverse as South Africa, it is natural for there to be differing views and vigorous contestation, writes Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe. So it would be a mistake to assume the fracas in parliament during the State of the Nation Address on 12 February meant our democracy was on the edge of an abyss. A frame from a news report on the State of the Nation Address in parliament on 12 February. (Image: YouTube/ECNA) Minister in the Presidency Jess RadebeIt’s all too easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of perceptions and to lose sight of the true state of play. It’s human nature to be consumed by the bluster of the here and now. Since the unprecedented fracas during the State of the Nation (SoNA) our national discourse has been ablaze.Were one to judge the state of our nation on the headlines that followed SoNA alone, the appearance would be that South Africa stands on the edge of an abyss.It is indisputable that the disturbing scenes in parliament last week were not in keeping with the spirit and conventions of our democracy. The government is appalled by the disruptive actions of those who were intent on demeaning the importance of the address.However, to assume that what unfolded in parliament is a portent of the end of our democracy is incorrect. Democracies are by their nature defined by lively dialogue and differences over policy direction.In a country as diverse as South Africa, it is natural there will be differing views and vigorous contestation. Indeed, this has been the hallmark of our democracy since 1994.Democratic parliaments all over the world are robust in their nature and there have been many recorded incidents of disorder. It is, therefore, unfortunate some would seek to define our democracy on the strength of one incident. Any democracy is tested by the resilience of its institutions during turbulent times, and our parliament has passed the test. Our parliament still remains our beacon of democracy.It is equally regrettable that the many policy interventions announced by President Jacob Zuma were overshadowed by the disturbance. The president unveiled an ambitious nine-point plan to stimulate growth and create jobs. He also addressed the interventions needed to stabilise the current energy challenges.South Africa, like any other country, has its challenges and frustrations. That said, few would dispute that we have come a long way since 1994. Out of the ashes of apartheid has risen a nation recognised the world over for its commitment to the values of freedom and democracy.Our Constitution stands as one of the pillars on which we have built a new society that serves all its people. I would like to believe that most fair-minded South Africans would concur that our democratic institutions are strong and functioning. The supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law as stipulated at the birth of our young democracy remain untouched. Courts continue to function without fear or favour in accordance with the law. Furthermore, the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land, continues to safeguard our democracy.The importance of the Constitution cannot be overstated. It is the cornerstone of our democracy and guides us in all our endeavours. Its significance, as our moral compass, was underscored during Zuma’s response to the debate on the State of the Nation address when he said: “We also have a responsibility to promote the constitution, which is the blood and soul of our democracy.”The separation of powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary also remains steadfastly in place. The architects of our Constitution cleverly built in the separation of powers to prevent a situation where one institution or arm of government would have absolute power. Most people would agree with me that these are the hallmarks of a fully functional democracy.
Are you an aspiring writer at the beginning stages of your career? If accepted to AFF’s Writing Fellows Program, you’ll:Get one-on-one mentoringNetwork with well-known D.C. writersLearn how to get publishedImprove your writing skills in policy, journalism, and more!Sessions are held Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30pm and include featured editors and writers in small group writing workshops. The spring fellowship runs from Feb. 8 through March 22 (with a break on March 8). Food and beverages are provided during the sessions.There will be a celebratory happy hour on March 24, open to the public.The ideal applicant is someone already in a full-time job that requires writing blogs, articles, op-eds, or press releases. Attendance at all six evening sessions is mandatory.Writers attend the sessions in Washington, D.C., but now we are welcoming potential fellows who live outside the Washington-area to apply and attend via webcam.Applicants should submit the following form, along with:A resumeA cover letter that mentions one skill the applicant hopes to improve in the program (op-ed writing, interviewing, reporting, etc.)Two published writing samples (no more than 1,000 words each)A letter of recommendation may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, but is not required.Past speakers and guests have included:Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The FederalistTim Carney, commentary editor at the Washington ExaminerPhilip Klein, managing editor at the Washington ExaminerAlexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics White House CorrespondentAnneke Green, Senior Director at White House Writers GroupPeter Suderman, features editor at Reason MagazineBen Domenech, founder and publisher of The FederalistRomina Boccia, research fellow at the Heritage FoundationJulian Sanchez, senior fellow at the Cato InstituteAccepted applicants will be notified after the application deadline. Additional questions should be directed to email@example.com.“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. Thanks to a connection I made while networking in the program, I was hired as a commentary writer at the Washington Examiner. Within two years, I was promoted to an editor’s role. AFF’s Writing Fellows Program helped me develop the skills and confidence necessary to write better, more persuasive pieces, and it’s continued to help me form invaluable connections in Washington, D.C. Whether you’re working in journalism, think-tanks, public relations or a legislative office, I highly recommend the program if you want to become a better writer.” — Writing Fellows Program Director Jason Russell