\R Rio De Janeiro, Jul 8 (AFP) A Brazilian appeals court judge on Sunday quashed a fellow judge’s bombshell ruling ordering the release of jailed former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in a day of legal tumult that comes just months before the South American country’s presidential vote.Though he is serving a 12-year sentence for corruption, the wildly popular leftist Lula, 72, continues to lead opinion polls ahead of October’s election and has vowed his name will be on the ballot.In his Sunday afternoon ruling, Judge Pedro Gebran Neto overturned a shock order to free Lula, which dropped just hours earlier from Judge Rogerio Favreto at an appeals court in Porto Alegre — the same one that had ordered the ex-president’s arrest.Favreto, the weekend duty judge, had ruled in favor of several deputies of Lula’s Workers’ Party, who on Friday submitted a habeas corpus application on the former president’s behalf, arguing he had been illegally imprisoned.On the heels of the first ruling, top anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro — who originally sentenced Lula in July 2017 — said Favreto did not have the power to secure the leftist’s release.Gebran Neto followed suit, instructing federal police at a prison in Curitiba to keep Lula behind bars.Lula has been imprisoned since April following his conviction for accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe from Brazilian construction company OAS.He has insisted on his innocence and branded the corruption accusations a political conspiracy aimed at thwarting his electoral aspirations.After ruling Brazil from 2003 to 2011, Lula left office with sky-high ratings following an economic boom and widely praised social programs to reduce poverty.advertisement”Lula free now!” read the popular politician’s Twitter account after Favreto’s order, praising the short-lived hope for “the end of the illegal imprisonment of Lula.” But even if released, Lula could see his candidacy invalidated by the South American country’s electoral court.Brazilian courts have repeatedly stifled his many efforts to secure release.Just last month the South American country’s Supreme Court withdrew Lula’s appeal from its agenda, after a lower appeals court ruled the prison sentence could not be referred to the top bench.The lower court said the top chamber should only handle cases related to possible constitutional violations, a standard which Lula’s request did not meet.Prosecutors in May filed new graft charges against Lula, his ex-economy minister and two other political figures allegedly promised $40 million by the Odebrecht conglomerate, which is also linked to corruption scandals elsewhere in Latin America.The charges are part of operation “Car Wash,” Brazil’s biggest ever anti-graft crackdown. It has targeted several former presidents, current President Michel Temer and politicians from all major parties.Investigators discovered that politicians and their parties were allegedly taking money from Odebrecht and other big companies in exchange for political favors and contracts with state oil company Petrobras.Yet Lula and his supporters remain steadfast in their goal to take back control of Brazil’s executive branch.Just last week the former president — who had been writing football commentary from jail, which a veteran Brazilian sports journalist and leftist sympathizer then read on air — ceased commenting on the World Cup to comply with electoral rules forbidding potential candidates from making television and radio appearances after June 30. (AFP) PMSPMS
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea striker Giroud: I do not accept this situationby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveOlivier Giroud admits he’s unhappy with his situation at Chelsea.The France international, who scored the only goal in Friday’s win over Iceland, has hinted at talks with Frank Lampard but insisted he would never seek to insult his manager.”Accept it? No, I do not accept it,” he told Le Pelerin.”You do not have to be fatalistic in certain situations. I have always been respectful and humble. Even if I do not agree with the coach, I do not criticise him.”But in myself, I cannot accept it because I know what I’m worth on a pitch. Last year, when I felt that I deserved to play, I asked the coach for explanations.”
MOSCOW — The head of the Russian Orthodox Church says the data-gathering capacity of devices such as smartphones risks bringing humanity closer to the arrival of the Antichrist.In an interview shown Monday on state TV, Patriarch Kirill said the church does not oppose technological progress but is concerned that “someone can know exactly where you are, know exactly what you are interested in, know exactly what you are afraid of” and that such information could be used for centralized control of the world.“Control from one point is a foreshadowing of the coming of Antichrist, if we talk about the Christian view. Antichrist is the person who will be at the head of the world wide web that controls the entire human race,” he said.The Associated Press
New Delhi: The government has kept the interest rates on small savings schemes, including NSC and PPF, unchanged for the April-June quarter. Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Savings Certificate (NSC) will continue to carry an annual interest rate of 8 per cent, while Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) will give a yield of 7.7 per cent and mature in 112 months.Interest rates for small savings schemes are notified on a quarterly basis. “The rates of interest on various small savings schemes for the first quarter of the financial year 2019-20 starting April 1, 2019, and ending on June 30, 2019, shall remain unchanged from those notified for the fourth quarter of financial year 2018-19,” the finance ministry said in a notification issued Friday. Interest rate for the five-year Senior Citizens Savings Scheme has been retained at 8.7 per cent. The interest on the senior citizens’ scheme is paid quarterly. Interest on savings deposits has been retained at 4 per cent annually.
Madrid – Benita Ferrero-Waldner, former European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy, said that the adoption of a draft bill on military justice by the council of ministers is a sound decision to uphold human rights in Morocco.Waldner, who held the position of the European Commissioner from 2004 to 2009, told MAP that the draft law, adopted on Friday by the council of ministers under the chairmanship of King Mohammed VI to stop civilians from standing trials before military courts, is a very sound decision to uphold human rights in Morocco.The new military draft bill, prepared in accordance with the Royal guidelines, is meant to ensure the coherence of national legislation with provisions laid in the Constitution and international standards, in order to guarantee the requisites for a fair trial before all courts of the Kingdom.
Wolves coach Nuno Espirito declares side will still have to work harder against Newcastle despite amazing comeback against Chelsea.He adds that the Chelsea thrill last Wednesday where they scored two goals to defeat The Blues will count for nothing when they travel to Newcastle on Super Sunday.“We were doing things pretty well against Chelsea, we were well organized,” head coach Nuno told Sky Sports.“Suddenly there was a deflection and we went behind against a big team.”We start from zero: Nuno Espirito Santo Manuel R. Medina – August 28, 2019 Wolverhampton Wanderers coach Nuno Espirito Santo has told his team to forget its 3-2 first-leg victory over Torino in the UEFA Europa League.“The team felt it, but the reaction was very, very good. If you say this is character, I would agree.”“This is the building of a team that wants to compete against any opponent and has to be ready for all circumstances in the game.”“We still have a long way to go but the way we reacted was very good. We have to be brave and believe that until the final whistle goes there is a moment to compete.”
Carlo Cudicini has described Cesc Fabregas as ‘one of a kind’ after his appearance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.Fabregas has been linked with a move to French club Monaco in the January transfer window and his appearance in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory appeared to be his last for the club.The midfielder came off to a standing ovation by the crowd and his team-mates in the second half and came back on the pitch after the game in tears as Chelsea fans sang his name.“I personally don’t know. If it was his last game it was very good that he played in front of his fans and that he was able to have a nice reception. But I don’t know, so I can’t comment,” Cudicini, standing in on press duties for Maurizio Sarri, told Sky Sports.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“What can I say about Cesc? Five hundred games, he is a player who is unique, he has an unbelievable awareness and vision of where his team-mates are on the pitch.“I think he is one of the few that has the ability to give balls behind the defensive line that are so precise.“He is one of a kind player. He has been fantastic for the teams he played for before us and the contribution he has given this club and to this team has been amazing. Cesc is a top, top player.”
Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, September 4, 2017 – Kingston – Programme Manager for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP III), Simeon Robinson, is imploring more corporate entities to provide job opportunities for vulnerable youth in communities where the programme operates.He noted that while several companies have offered skills training, internships and other job-readiness training “we need more private-sector partners to enable permanent employment for these youth”.He commended entities such as the Shipping Association of Jamaica, the Marriott and Jewel Resorts, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Wisynco Group, Progressive Grocers, Xerox Limited and others for “putting their money where their mouth is” in providing employment opportunities for the youngsters.Mr. Robinson was addressing a function at the Red Stripe headquarters in Kingston on Thursday (August 31), where schools bags were handed over to 50 youngsters who participated in the company’s ‘Summer Bounce’ camp.Red Stripe, through its Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) Foundation, partnered with the CSJP to engage the youth from the De La Vega City and March Pen communities in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, in the four-week camp.Over the period, they were exposed to lessons in art and craft, life skills training, motivational talks, workshops, a field trip and fun day.Mr. Robinson thanked the Foundation for its contribution to positively impacting the lives of the youngsters, aged 10 to 15, some of whom have described the experience as “life changing”.“This summer camp was also a catalyst for a behavioural revolution for many of the participants,” he said, noting that it also provided opportunity for intercommunity bonding.In her remarks, Head, Corporate Affairs, Red Stripe, Dianne Ashton-Smith, said the company was pleased to be involved in the CSJP and National Security Ministry’s efforts to address the high level of crime and violence in vulnerable communities across Jamaica through strategic interventions such as the summer camp. She further pledged the D&G Foundation’s continued support of the youngsters’ development.CSJP is a multifaceted crime-prevention programme of the Ministry of National Security being implemented in 50 communities across eight parishes.It focuses on treating with the root causes of violent behaviour among youth by providing a suite of services aimed at reducing their risk of being involved in crime and violence and increasing their ability to become productive citizens. Among the services are case management, counselling, community justice, and monitoring and evaluation.Since its inception in 2001, more than 20,000 youth have benefited from various services, including an employment internship programme.CSJP is funded by the Government of Jamaica, the Inter-American Development Bank, Global Affairs Canada and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.Phase three, which is the final phase of the programme, will end in 2019.
About 15 staffers were let go at Vanity Fair, reports The Hollywood Reporter, including managing editor Chris Garrett, features editor Jane Sarkin, and deputy editors Aimee Bell and Dana Brown.Meanwhile, Keith Kelly adds that “about five” staffers were let go from Glamour, including creative director Paul Ritter.Both newcomers to Condé Nast, Jones and Barry each took on their new roles within the last two months, and both appointments ended months of widespread speculation—partially due to the stature and longevity of their predecessors. Jones replaced Graydon Carter, whose tenure atop Vanity Fair’s masthead lasted 25 years. Barry succeeded former Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, who had held that role for 16 years. Samantha Barry and Radhika Jones, newly minted editors-in-chief of Glamour and Vanity Fair, respectively, made their presence felt at Condé Nast this week by dismissing a number of print-side staffers at the two magazines, according to multiple reports.“Vanity Fair and Glamour are taking the first steps in reshaping their teams to reflect the new editorial directions of the brands—with new additions and initiatives to be announced shortly,” read a company statement provided by a spokesman. “The priority for each is to create quality and provocative content across all platforms equally, embracing the next generation of readers and viewers.”
WILMINGTON, MA — According to the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds, 19 properties were sold in Wilmington during February 2019:Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related40 Properties Sold In Wilmington In AugustIn “Business”42 Properties Sold In Wilmington In JulyIn “Business”44 Properties Sold In Wilmington In JuneIn “Business”
The High Court issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why three sections (2ga, 3, and 6) of the Organ Transplantation Act-1999 will not be declared unconstitutional.The HC also asked them to explain why the failure of defendant to form rules despite having a provision for formulation of rules in the Act would not be declared as unconstitutional.The Health and Family Affairs secretary and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) have been asked to respond to the rule within two weeks.A two-member bench, led by justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and JBM Hassan, issued the rule following a petition filed by a woman, Fatema Zohora.Barristers Rasna Imam, Reshad Imam, Arefin Ahsraf, Zarif Mohammad Jubayer, Tasnim Ferdous and Narida Nabin Khan stood for the petitioners.As per the act, Barrister Rashna Imam said, the close and blood-connected relatives have been allowed for donating organs. Parents, siblings, uncle (paternal), aunt (paternal), uncle (maternal) and husband-wife have been defined as close relatives.But in the law related to organ transplantation in India, grandfathers, grandmothers (both maternal and paternal ones) and cousins have been included in the list who can donate organs. Besides, in special cases, it had been relaxed that donor need not be close relatives.The petition was filed due to failure in formulation of rules in this regard.
DMCAn inspector of Detective Branch (DB) of police was injured as a group of muggers stabbed him at Mouchak in the city early Sunday, reports news agency UNB.Police said DB inspector Mahbubul Haque was returning his residence from his Mintu Road office riding on a rickshaw in the morning.When Haque reached in front of Sirajul Islam Medical College and Hospital at Mouchak, a group of muggers waylaid him and snatched away his wallet.As the DB inspector tried to resist them, the miscreants stabbed him, leaving the detective injured.Later, he was taken to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said assistant sub-inspectorBabul Miah of DMCH Police Camp.
This story originally appeared on PCMag February 21, 2019 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Register Now » Samsung today announced the nation’s most expensive, and possibly most innovative smartphone: the $1,980 (and up) Galaxy Fold, a 4.6-inch smartphone that expands into a 7.3-inch tablet.”With the Galaxy Fold we are creating a new dimension for your phone and your life,” Justin Denison, Samsung’s SVP of product marketing, said at the company’s Unpacked event in San Francisco.Folded, the Galaxy Fold fits easily in one hand. It unlocks with a fingerprint sensor on the side of the phone. Samsung showed the Fold running a limited selection of standard Android apps on the external screen — including email, Microsoft Office and Google Maps — although it wasn’t clear if all arbitrary Android apps will run on the outside.Samsung showed someone opening Google Maps on the external screen, and then folding the phone open to see the map expand, something the company calls “app continuity.”With the phone open, the Fold can multitask three apps in different windows simultaneously. One appears in a larger window on the left side of the device, while two others appear in smaller windows on the right side.”You can switch between the screens without missing a beat,” Denison said.High-end specsDenison said the Fold has a “7-nanometer” processor, which probably means Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. It has 12GB of RAM, 512GB of built-in storage and support for UFS 3.0, which doubles the phone’s memory read speed. Its two batteries total 4,380mAh, and the phone supports wireless charging. The phone will come in both 4G LTE and 5G versions.Samsung added six cameras to the device. Three of the cameras are on the back (wide-angle, regular, and 2x zoom), two are inside in tablet mode (a standard camera and a depth camera), and one is on the front when in phone mode.The device will come in four colors (black, gold, green and blue), and you can personalize the color of the smartphone’s hinge, which enables it to bend.”The Samsung Galaxy Fold answers the skeptics, who thought innovation was dead in the smartphone space,” Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh said.This isn’t the first dual-screen, or folding, phone we’ve seen. The Kyocera Echo, on Sprint, had two screens in 2011, and the ZTE Axon M arrived in 2017. But both of those devices had persistent bezels between their two screen panels, making using them a much less seamless experience than the Fold’s single, folding screen. And neither Kyocera nor ZTE had the market clout of Samsung to get the Android developer community to embrace folding phones with multiple screens.This year, we have already seen a folding phone from Royole, and we expect to see one from Huawei at Mobile World Congress next week.The Galaxy Fold goes on sale on April 26, and will be available from AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.
Google yesterday announced a new external advisory board to help monitor the company’s use of artificial intelligence for ways in which it may violate ethical principles it laid out last summer. The group was announced by Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, and it includes experts on a wide-ranging series of subjects, including mathematics, computer science, philosophy, psychology, and even foreign policy. Following is the complete list of the advisory council appointed by Google: Alessandro Acquisti, a leading behavioral economist and privacy researcher. Bubacarr Bah, an expert in applied and computational mathematics De Kai, a leading researcher in natural language processing, music technology and machine learning Dyan Gibbens, an expert in industrial engineering and CEO of Trumbull Joanna Bryson, an expert in psychology and AI, and a longtime leader in AI ethics Kay Coles James, a public policy expert with extensive experience working at the local, state and federal levels of government Luciano Floridi, a leading philosopher and expert in digital ethics William Joseph Burns, a foreign policy expert and diplomat The group will be called the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council, and it appears Google wants it to be seen as an independent watchdog keeping an eye on how it deploys AI in the real world. It wants to focus on facial recognition technology and mitigation of built-in bias in machine learning training methods. “This group will consider some of Google’s most complex challenges that arise under our AI Principles … providing diverse perspectives to inform our work,” Walker writes. Behind the selection of the council As for the members, the names may not be easily recognizable to those outside academia. However, the credentials of the board appear to be of the highest caliber, with resumes that include multiple presidential administration positions and stations at top-notch universities spanning University of Oxford, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and UC Berkeley. Having said that, the selection of the Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James and CEO of Trumbull Dyan Gibbens received harsh criticism on Twitter. It has been noted that James, through her involvement with the conservative think tank, has espoused anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on her public Twitter profile: One of the members, Joanna Bryson also expressed astonishing comments on Twitter for being selected as a part of the council. Joanna states, she has no idea of what she is getting into but she will certainly do her best. Google’s history of controversies Last year, Google found itself embroiled in controversy over its participation in a US Department of Defense drone program called Project Maven. Following immense internal backlash and external criticism for putting employees to work on AI projects that may involve the taking of human life, Google decided to end its involvement in Maven following the expiration of its contract. It also put together a new set of guidelines, what CEO Sundar Pichai dubbed Google’s AI Principles, that would prohibit the company from working on any product or technology that might violate “internationally accepted norms” or “widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.” “We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use,” Pichai wrote at the time. “How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right.” Google effectively wants its AI research to be “socially beneficial,” and that often means not taking government contracts or working in territories or markets with notable human rights violations. Regardless, Google found itself in yet another similar controversy related to its plans to launch a search product in China, one that may involve deploying some form of artificial intelligence in a country currently trying to use that very same technology to surveil and track its citizens. Google’s pledge differs from the stances of Amazon and Microsoft, both of which have said they will continue to work the US government. Microsoft has secured a $480 million contract to provide HoloLens headsets to the Pentagon, while Amazon continues to sell its Rekognition facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies. Google also formed a “responsible innovation team” internally that Walker says has reviewed hundreds of different launches to-date, some of which have aligned with its principles while others haven’t. For example, that team helped Google make the decision not to sell facial recognition technology until there’s been more ethical and policy debate on the issue. Why critics are skeptical of this move? Rashida Richardson, director of policy research at AI Now Institute, expressed skepticism about the ambiguity of Google and other companies’ AI principles at the MIT Technology Review Conference held in San Francisco on Tuesday. For example, Google’s document leans heavily on the word “appropriate.” “Who is defining what appropriate means?” she asked. Walker said that Google’s new council is meant to foster more defined discussion. He added that the company had over 300 people looking at machine learning fairness issues. “We’re doing our best to put our money where our mouth is,” Kent said. Google has previously had embarrassing technology screw-ups driven by bias in its machine learning systems, like when its photos algorithm labeled black people as gorillas. It would not be wrong to say that today’s announcement — which perhaps not coincidentally comes a day after Amazon said it would earmark $10 million with the National Science Foundation for AI fairness research, and after Microsoft executive Harry Shum said the company would add an ethics review focusing on AI issues to its standard product audit checklist — appears to be an attempt by Google to fend off broader, continued criticism of private sector AI pursuits. Thoughtful decisions require careful and nuanced consideration of how the AI principles … should apply, how to make tradeoffs when principles come into conflict, and how to mitigate risks for a given circumstance,” says Walker in an earlier blog post. Read Next Google and Facebook working hard to clean image after the media backlash from the Christchurch terrorist attack Google announces Stadia, a cloud-based game streaming service, at GDC 2019 Google to be the founding member of CDF (Continuous Delivery Foundation)
<< Previous PostNext Post >> TORONTO — The winter season can’t come soon enough for Porter Airlines, which will welcome back winter service between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Mont Tremblant on Dec. 8.Service runs until April 2, 2018, operating up to five times weekly and lasting only 70 minutes. Connecting flights to Mont Tremblant via Toronto are also available from a number of Porter destinations.To complement the popular service, Porter Escapes offers flight and hotel packages from $600 per person for a three-night stay. Prices are based on double occupancy, including taxes, fees and airport transfers. Guests can also plan ahead and save on ski lift tickets, rental ski equipment and spa services by adding them to their Porter Escapes package prior to travel.The Mont Tremblant International Airport (MTIA) is sweetening the deal even further with two special promotions this ski season. Passengers receive two free weekday ski lift tickets when they arrive on a Sunday or Monday and depart on a Thursday or Friday. Passengers travelling with children ages 2 to 12 years old are eligible for an airfare rebate courtesy of MTIA airport. Porter to resume winter service between Toronto and Mont Tremblant Share Friday, September 8, 2017 Travelweek Group Tags: New Routes, Porter Airlines, Ski Resorts Posted by
02Apr Rep. Daley reads to North Branch Elementary School class [Photo] Categories: News Rep. Kevin Daley had the honor of spending some time recently at North Branch Elementary School promoting the adventures and fun of reading. Daley is pictured here reading to Ms. Kathy Bailey’s Kindergarten class at North Branch Elementary.To contact Rep. Daley at his Lansing office residents can call 1-517-373-1800, or e-mail the Rep. at KevinDaley@house.mi.gov.
State Rep. Phil Green of Millington today announced his legislative office is open and ready to serve residents of the 84th House District. Sherry Sofia will serve as Rep. Green’s legislative director and Zoe Harness as his director of constituent relations.Rep. Green will have an integral role in the state’s budget process, following the announcement of committee appointments by House Speaker Lee Chatfield this week.Rep. Green will serve as vice chair for an appropriations subcommittee related to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The committee, along with others in the appropriations stable, will be responsible for deliberating on funding plans that impact state budget changes.“As we craft a state budget that reflects the demands of residents and the well-being of Michigan’s economy, it’s important to look at issues that will help the health and well-being of all residents,” Rep. Green said. “I’m honored to hold this position and look forward to the hard work ahead, creating a better Michigan and a government that is working efficiently for its residents.”Rep. Green will also serve on House Appropriations subcommittees related to higher education, agriculture and rural development, and the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality.People can contact Rep. Green by calling (517) 373-0476 or emailing RepPhilGreen@house.mi.gov. Correspondence can also be mailed to S-1188 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909. Residents can view updates from Rep. Green or subscribe to his newsletter by visiting www.RepPhilGreen.com. Categories: Green News 17Jan Rep. Green ready to serve local residents
Behind pea-green curtains in a steamy office in the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui, comic book artist Didier Kassai carefully dips his paintbrush into a nut brown pigment on his palette, wipes it on a scratch sheet then slowly puts it to paper. His brush strokes bring a watercolor to life – itself a scene of death. The brown is used to color the butt of a rebel’s gun in a strip chronicling his country’s spiraling conflict.Kassai is one of a small coterie of comic-book artists in CAR using their work for social good — in a struggling and impoverished country. CAR’s government wields little authority beyond the capital. Armed groups control vast stretches of the country, where roads and phone networks are at best unreliable. Even Bangui — with U.N. peacekeepers everywhere — is not immune from violence. Last week more than a dozen people were killed and scores wounded in clashes in the capital. State services like health-care, meanwhile, are in short supply.That’s why comic strips like Kassai’s have such power: They’re a means of reaching a struggling population with valuable information about navigating daily life and survival in turbulent times.The front page of the local L’Hirondelle newspaper regularly features a comic strip. Aid organizations and U.N. agencies throughout CAR commission comics drawn by Kassai and his colleagues on a range of topics: wound treatment, sexual violence, security, sanitation, health services, how to turn in weapons and more.”They [comics] can transmit a message,” 42-year-old Kassai explains. “The work I’m doing now is to raise awareness. The most important thing is to recount what is happening in CAR.”The Central African Republic has been plagued by conflict since 2013, when a predominantly Muslim rebel coalition overthrew the government. The rebels committed atrocities on their path to power and largely-Christian militias formed to fight back. Thousands died in sectarian violence. While the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping mission helped stem the bloodshed, violence has spiked over the past year. As of the end of February, the number of displaced civilians was 694,000 — the highest since the conflict began.The upsurge in violence comes as more than half the population of around 4.6 million needs urgent humanitarian assistance – with the U.N. calling the situation “dire.” CAR ranks last on the world development index and and the adult literacy rate is just 36.8 percent – meaning that reaching the masses through written messaging isn’t an effective option.”There’s a big struggle with diffusing information here,” Mercy Corps country director Rodolphe Moinaux says. “A lot of people can’t read or write so the images can speak to them.”That’s why aid organizations and other agencies hire artists like Kassai, printing their work as posters, leaflets, billboards and manuals.”[Comics are] easier to understand, you can reach children,” echoes Duccio Staderini, a spokesman for a coalition of international NGOs in CAR. “It works – people are crazy about it.”There was no real comic-book culture when Kassai was growing up near the northern city of Birao. But he was attracted to artistry from a young age, watching his mother decorate curtains for women in their village.The first strips he saw were imports from France – like the “Rangers” series about WWII. Once he flipped those pages, Kassai was hooked.”They told a story,” he says with a broad smile. “It allowed us to know what was happening in another world, a different world.”His father didn’t think an artist’s life was a “good path,” so Kassai drew in the dirt outside his home or secretly in his room.”My father would check my notebooks when I came home from school to see if I had been drawing,” he recalls.When he was older a U.S. missionary saw his talent and hired him to illustrate manuals. Those gigs helped convince Kassai’s father that his pastime paid well – especially once his father lost his job.”Cartoons saved our family,” Kassai explains. And now they might be helping to save others.Medecins Sans Frontieres has hired him for a series of illustrations showing that weapons aren’t allowed in their hospitals, that violent behavior is not appropriate in hospitals and that ambulances need safe passage. They printed 400 posters and 1,000 leaflets to distribute in areas where the organization works.”I needed an illustration that everyone can understand just by looking at,” MSF’s field communications manager Natacha Buhler says. Her colleagues in the northwest – in an area riven by recent clashes – told her they’d seen an armed man notice one of Kassai’s posters outside their health center. He stopped short and put down his gun before entering.”I said wow – we had an impact,” she recalls.Kassai typically arrives at his studio around 8 a.m. The long office is packed with drawings in every stage of completion. Picture frames are stacked on the floor, books are piled behind the work space, which is totally clear save for paint bottles and paper.On a recent Friday morning the studio was already hot but Kassai left his small blue fan off and the radio on in the background, broadcasting calls from listeners about politics and a report about the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.He painted slowly and deliberately, one coat of color at a time to fill in an outline on the page. The scene showed a rebel roadblock set up to collect unofficial taxes. Kassai mixed a blue, dabbed it, then painted in a man’s shirt. Shoulders hunched, he painted steadily for 30 minutes, then paused to check his phone before redipping his brush.While Kassai still does NGO work, he’s also working on a new graphic novel — a follow-up to his first, Tempete Sur Bangui (Tempest in Bangui) — which will continue telling the story of CAR’s struggles. This is his passion, recording his country’s history for future generations. He’s writing the word bubbles as well as doing the drawings.He is drawing gold mines run by armed groups, rebels torching houses. Other scenes show market women carrying their wares and a fisherman carting his catch along the river — all portrayed in meticulous and stunning watercolor.To ensure that the tradition of comics lives on, Kassai has been training young artists.One of Kassai’s proteges, 27-year-old Yvon Gandro, is a ready disciple.”I put everything into my art,” he declares.Gandro lost both parents as a boy and was raised by an aunt. Smiling, he recounts how he’d steal her black eyeliner, eyeshadow and lipstick to draw since he couldn’t afford crayons.”The drawings were my only friend,” he says, voice going soft. “They replaced my parents. It gave me a bit of paradise, a little joy, to create an imaginary world.”When his aunt discovered where her makeup had been going, she wasn’t angry – she was impressed by his talent and devoted herself to supporting his artistry.Gandro did a stint in art school and met Kassai in 2008 at a workshop, where he was introduced to comic strips and watercolor — “so different” from all he’d previously learned.”It was another world,” he recalls. “It was great.”Like his teacher, he has done work for U.N. groups on road safety, first aid, hospital protocols and more.While he doesn’t like depicting violence – “I get sad when I do those” – he believes such images have a greater purpose.”If we don’t do this work, tell the stories, our children won’t understand and they will suffer another violence,” he says earnestly.Take a strip on disarmament that he did for the U.N. At the end of the illustrated sequence, the disarmed rebel gets a job.”It shows that good can happen,” Gandro says. “Maybe it will show that the path of violence isn’t a good one.”That’s why he’s dedicated to continuing his work.With a boyish smile, he observes that his father had wanted him to be a doctor.”I became a doctor with images,” he says, “a healer through images.”Having young artists like Gandro carry on with comic strips in CAR means everything to Kassai.”For someone who is not Central African to tell our story, it won’t work,” he insists. “I want to show the reality [here].”Cassandra Vinograd is a freelance journalist working in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. She previously worked for NBC News, the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal. Reach her @CassVinogradReporting for this story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Campaigners have been left “shocked and appalled” by the government’s decision to hold a workshop on the barriers facing disabled people without inviting a single disabled people’s organisation (DPO) to take part.The Cabinet Office workshop is due to take place tomorrow afternoon (Friday), and its purpose is to “convene leading external experts and officials to discuss the key issues facing disabled people and identify opportunities to address these”.But it has failed to invite representatives from organisations such as the Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) – which represents many leading DPOs – or The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), and then snubbed their requests to take part when they found out about the event.Another disabled-led organisation missed off the list of invitees was Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC).The Cabinet Office did invite Philip Connolly, policy manager for Disability Rights UK (DR UK), but he was invited as a policy specialist and not as a representative of DR UK.Mark Harrison (pictured, left), from ROFA, wrote to the Cabinet Office this week to ask if he could attend the workshop but was told it was “already at capacity” and that it was only “an initial exploratory meeting, including officials from Cabinet Office and the Office for Disability Issues [ODI] and a small group of academics and disability charity representatives”.The civil servant added: “If this initial work develops into a more significant work stream, then we intend to engage with a wide range of disabled person led and smaller groups and will be in touch with details.”Harrison told her he was “shocked and appalled” by the exclusion of DPOs and said this suggested the government had learned nothing from the recent examination by the UN of the government’s record in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).In its “concluding observations”, following the examination, the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities said in August 2017 that it was concerned about the UK government’s “lack of mechanisms to ensure effective participation of all organisations of persons with disabilities, in decision-making processes concerning policies and legislation in all areas of the Convention”.Harrison said he would now write to the UN committee “with this example amongst many others where the UK Government is still failing to comply with the [UNCRPD] which it has signed and ratified”.Sue Bott, DR UK’s deputy chief executive, said her organisations only found out about the event from the University of Bristol.She has been told the workshop will be based on research the university has co-produced with disabled people, including DR UK.Bott told Disability News Service (DNS): “[The university] did not want to attend the event without disabled people who had worked with them and asked if we had had an invitation.“Philip will be making our objections known at the workshop as will colleagues from Bristol University.“We were disgusted with the response given to ROFA from the Cabinet Office. “Either they have no knowledge of the CRPD, which is disgraceful in itself, or have chosen to ignore it and the need to engage with disabled people from the very beginning, not at some point down the line.”She said that DR UK would be happy to sign any joint letter of complaint from the coalition of DPOs – which also includes ROFA, ALLFIE and DPAC – that played a significant role in the review of the UK’s progress in implementing the UNCRPD.DPAC is also set to inform the UN committee of the government’s actions, which it says are an “ongoing and flagrant violation of our human rights enshrined in UNCRPD to which this government are committed to supporting”. DPAC has told the Cabinet Office that it is “horrified and angry” at its behaviour and that of the ODI, and added: “Oh, the irony of holding a workshop to address the barriers faced by disabled people which actually does not include disabled people – only a government department could do this without realising just how appalling it is.”Linda Burnip, co-founder of DPAC, told DNS that the decision to exclude DPOs from the workshop “ironically serves to illustrate the major barriers disabled people face.“This exclusion highlights the ongoing contempt which this government and its officials show towards disabled people and their lives.“It flies in the face of UNCRPD and the findings of the UN disability committee and can only be described as an utter and total disgrace.”Tara Flood, ALLFIE’s chief executive, told DNS she was “really cross” at her organisation being excluded from the workshop.She said: “We are the only DPO working in this area, so who the hell is on this invite list?“Where does this leave article 33 [of the UN convention, which describes how DPOs should be “fully involved” in monitoring the treaty’s implementation] and ‘nothing about us without us’?“If this is genuinely about tackling the barriers that disabled people face, where will disabled children and young people’s barriers fit in that? My feeling is that they are very unlikely to feature.”A government spokesperson declined to answer a series of questions about the workshop and its UNCRPD obligations, but said in a statement: “We recognise that a variety of groups have important insights to offer – and we will shortly be launching Regional Stakeholder Networks, providing forums for a wide range of people to contribute.”Only two months ago, the Department of Health and Social Care insisted that it was complying with the UN convention by consulting on its mental capacity (amendment) bill with non-user-led charities like Mencap and Sense.But the UNCRPD makes it clear that, when developing laws and policies relating to disabled people, governments “must closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations”.It defines “representative organizations” as those that are “led, directed and governed by persons with disabilities”, a definition which the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities included in its “general comment number seven”, which was adopted last September. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
IKEA’s ‘Open Platform’ Embraces Furniture Hacking Reporter at PCMag Dubbed ‘Delaktig,’ the new range of modular goods is expected to launch in 2018. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Register Now » The internet is brimming with ways to turn a regular old IKEA spice rack, plastic bag dispenser or bookcase into a unique DIY project.But soon you won’t have to scour Pinterest for designs: The budget-furniture emporium is launching its own “open platform” household line.The first product in the range — a basic unit shaped like a low sofa or bed frame — is expected to go on sale in early 2018, according to The Verge, which cited a (paywalled) article by The Wall Street Journal.IKEA introduced the program, dubbed “Delaktig” (Swedish for “involved”), in late 2016. Students from the Musashino Art University in Japan and the Royal College of Art in London joined the home goods giant and British designer Tom Dixon to contribute ideas for “an open platform that challenges the traditional concept of comfort.”At its core of this first hackable product will be a durable aluminum profile, made of 40 percent recycled material, which creates a flexible base to build seating or bedding “where comfort and functions can be altered to meet the changing needs in a home,” IKEA said last year.Following the modular approach the tech industry has toyed with, the popular outlet hopes Delaktig will help challenge traditional ways of production.”People hack anyway; we want to encourage that,” IKEA creative lead James Futcher told the WSJ.IKEA did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.In December, the company introduced a new website, “Retail Therapy,” where products are renamed to match common Google searches in Sweden. That simple wood stool is no longer referred to as “Frosta”; it is now a $15 interpretation of “My husband falls asleep on the couch.” And that memo board where you hang your keys is not a “Luns,” but a safe space for someone to compose their feelings.” –shares Stephanie Mlot Next Article IKEA This story originally appeared on PCMag January 30, 2017 Add to Queue Image credit: PCMag 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel.