TAMARINDO, GUANACASTE – This place is known as a paradise for many because of its beach and the many activities it offers to tourists and residents. One of those activities we enjoyed last weekend was the Ocaso Music Festival, organized to promote a varied selection of local and international underground electronica DJs.For four days, the festival was hosted at various locations throughout the area. On Thursday, Jan. 4, the party began at midday at the Crazy Monkey Bar restaurant, located right next to the Best Western Villas in Tamarindo.There, the pool party went on for about six hours until the festival was officially inaugurated at El Be! Club which faces Tamarindo beach. The attendees could enjoy the music, dance for a while and listen to the sound of the ocean. Some of the visuals during the Ocaso Music Festival in La Senda. Jordi Louzao / The Tico TimesThat day the headliners were Sacha Robotti, Gene Farris, Josh Billings, Nonfiction, Missy B, Jon Lee, Wardo and Miggz. This was only the beginning of four days fully packed with electronica music for a magical experience.As the night finished, people were eagerly waiting for the next day’s venue at La Senda, a farm located in Tamarindo with a cacti labyrinth and two open auditoriums. Here’s where the party achieved the mystical air organizers seek to create.On the second day, people awaited eagerly in line to enter La Senda to be able to listen to Mikey Lion, Lee Reynold, Marbs, Porkchop, Rybo, Rodrígeuz Jr, Andreas Henneberg, Beth Lydi and Faceblind. Attendees enjoyed a main stage designed with geometric shapes where animated visuals were presented throughout the artists’ performances. People got immersed in the music.The third day was also held at La Senda. The stage was the same, but with different artists such as Claptone, Doc Martin, Jay Lumen, Kenny Glasgow, Carlo Lio, Weiss, The Invisible People, Kevin Knapp, Fredo, Alex Orias, Roberto Duran and Scholar. This day fireworks were set off and the beat heat it up.Finally, to finish the festival on Sunday, the artists Hector, Anthony Middleton, Huxley, Tone of Arc, Mobius Strum and Sidartha Siliceo played at Crazy Monkey Bar. The end of the festival was celebrated with a well-deserved pool party after four joyous days Tamarindo with the varied menu of electronica music.The second edition of the Ocaso Music Festival was held from Jan. 4 -7 in the town of Tamarindo, Guanacaste. For more information visit their website or Facebook page. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tamarindo to host underground electronica Ocaso Music Festival Enjoying the vibes from Ocaso Coming soon: Tamarindo’s Ocaso Music Festival How the Tamarindo Labyrinth was created
Related posts:El Salvador court freezes ex-president’s bank accounts Argentina, ‘vulture’ funds end 15-year debt battle African, Cuban migrant children in limbo at Panama-Costa Rica border Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official Argentina’s ex-president Cristina Kirchner was charged with corruption on Monday as a judge asked that her legislative immunity be lifted so she can be detained.She is accused of having accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes in the notorious “corruption notebooks” scandal that has rocked Argentina’s political and business elites.As a senator, Kirchner is protected by lawmakers’ immunity from imprisonment, although not from prosecution.Unless that immunity is lifted, which is highly unlikely, she cannot be jailed, even if found guilty.However, last month the Argentine Senate did vote to partially lift her immunity so that investigators could search her three luxury homes.Kirchner is accused of heading an “illicit association.”She has already been called in for questioning twice by Claudio Bonadio, the judge leading the wide-ranging corruption investigation, and is due to appear again on Tuesday.During her first two hearings she refused to answer Bonadio’s questions, instead submitting a written statement, as is her right.Both Kirchner, 65, and her late husband, Nestor, whom she succeeded as president in 2007, are suspected of having accepted millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen in exchange for public works contracts.‘Collusion’According to Bonadio’s indictment, released on Monday, “between 2003 and 2015, collusion between civil servants and business leaders created a system distributing bribes to civil servants,” in which the company bosses “claimed to have succumbed to official pressure.”In order to gain public works contracts, companies “needed to deliver a percentage of the total amount paid by the state to civil servants designated by Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Kirchner,” added Bonadio.The payments were compiled by ministerial chauffeur Oscar Centeno in meticulous records kept in notebooks.More than a dozen former government officials and 30 elite businessmen are implicated in the case first reported by La Nacion newspaper on Aug. 1.Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli has said a total of $160 million in bribes was handed over between 2005 and 2015.At her last court appearance, Kirchner stressed her “categorical and strict denial” that she “committed any crime” or was involved in “any illicit activity.”Also facing trial in several other corruption cases, she has previously accused Bonadio of carrying out “judicial persecutions” aimed at derailing a possible presidential run next year.Kirchner’s immunity will not be lifted, according to Miguel Angel Pichetto, the head of the Federal Argentina group, the most represented in Congress; Kirchner is a member.Pichetto said immunity can only be lifted “in case of a conviction and not for remand.”However, former president Carlos Menem, who served two terms from 1989-1999, has held onto his senate seat, to which the 88-year-old was re-elected in 2017, despite a seven-year conviction for smuggling arms to Ecuador and Croatia.A dozen other ministers have been remanded in custody, though, including deputy Planning Minister Roberto Baratta, whose chauffeur was Centeno.Planning Minister Julio De Vido and another of his deputies, Julio Lopez, did not need to be remanded in custody as they were already behind bars for other offenses.Lopez’s dramatic arrest in June 2016 gripped the nation as he was caught in the act of trying to hide nine million dollars in a Buenos Aires convent. Facebook Comments
How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation “Leave religion to the people,” said Bagnied, a media professor at Ahram Canadian University, in Cairo’s suburbs.The annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites offers Muslims a chance to reaffirm their faith and root themselves more firmly in their beliefs. It comes at a time when several Arab nations are facing a similar issue on a political level after uprisings that toppled longtime leaders and brought Islamists to greater power: The question of how much a government should be rooted in Islam.Egypt in particular is struggling with that question. Elections since the fall last year of Hosni Mubarak elevated Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, to president. The Brotherhood was vaulted to become the country’s strongest political force, along with even more conservative Islamists known as Salafis, who follow a strict Saudi-style interpretation of Islam.As pilgrims were making their way around the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure in Mecca that observant Muslims pray toward five times a day, and performing an elaborate set of rituals in Saudi Arabia over the past week, Egypt was in a bitter struggle over the writing of the new constitution. For some, it seemed only natural that Islamic law would benefit a Muslim-majority nation, putting aside questions of who would interpret it or implement it.Making his way to midday prayers at Mecca’s Grand Mosque, which houses the Kaaba, Abdel-Muntalib el-Fikky said there is no reason to fear Shariah or the Islamists.“Why are we all here? We are all here for God,” he said of the pilgrims. “Our constitution, God willing, will be good. It will move us forward.”Anwar Saad, a 32 year-old teacher from Egypt’s Beheira province, stood on Jabal al-Rahma in Mount Arafat, in the desert outside Mecca during a rite of prayer on Thursday that many feel is the pinnacle moment of hajj.“The Brotherhood have moderate views. They are not conservative like the Salafis. We hope they will apply a moderate form of Shariah for Egypt,” he said. “We want God to help Morsi succeed … There were 30 years of corruption and this will not be fixed in 100 days. Be patient with the president.”Notably, hajj itself shows the variety in interpretations of Islamic rules. For example, in most of the Muslim world, men and women are segregated during prayers. But in the Grand Mosque, the two sexes pray side by side. For most of the hajj rites, women are not allowed to wear the veil that covers the entire face, even though ultraconservative Muslims insist a woman’s face should be hidden from males not related to her. Salafis are pressing for the document to explicitly root Egypt’s laws in Shariah. That has raised liberals’ fears that it will bring stricter implementation of Islamic law and empower Muslim clerics in a political role, limiting women’s rights and freedoms of worship and expression. The assembly writing the constitution is dominated by the Brotherhood and Salafis.The Egyptians who performed the pilgrimage this year may be united in the importance they give to their faith in their lives. But it doesn’t mean they all agree on the mix of religion and politics. More than 90,000 Egyptians were on the pilgrimage, which largely wrapped up on Monday. They hailed from all segments of Egyptian society, the rich and the poor, and from all corners of the Arab world’s most populous nation.Wearing the seamless terrycloth garments worn by male pilgrims to symbolize equality and unity during hajj, Sayid Zeid said Egypt’s constitution should represent all Egyptians _ and, he added, it must be based on the Quran.How can it be both, given the large Christian minority and the sector of liberal Muslims?“Shariah will be applied by God … It should be applied as it came down from God,” said Zeid, who is a reporter with Egypt’s state TV, though he was performing the hajj, not covering it. Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Bagnied, the media professor, said she does not fear Shariah but those who would try to interpret and apply it.“What kind of Islam do they want to apply? Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia?” she said. Bagnied, who does not wear the headscarf that many Egyptian Muslim women don to cover their hair, said she can resist her family’s urging her to start wearing it. But she worries that an Islamist government will start to apply political pressure as well on such personal choices.She said many people voted for Morsi hoping that because he is a pious Muslim and will apply “God’s law” that their lives will improve.“I think many Egyptians don’t know the content of the constitution,” she said. “Egypt is full of people talking about politics, but there is a large amount of ignorance in the country and you can convince people (by using Islam) that they have to obey their leaders, who are sheiks and politicians.”Ihab Abdel-Aal, 47, is among those who voted for the former Mubarak regime-era official who ran against Morsi in the past summer’s presidential race. Morsi won by just over half the vote. Abdel-Aal has performed the hajj more than 25 times, since he’s a tour operator bringing other Egyptians on the pilgrimage. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project 0 Comments Share Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Associated PressMECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Now that she has finished the hajj and is returning home to Egypt, Magda Bagnied says her family will no doubt try to convince her to put on the headscarf to demonstrate her religiosity after a pilgrimage meant to cleanse her of sin and bring her closer to God.She fully expects that from her parents. But she doesn’t want that kind of pressure from her government or leaders. Top Stories Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix He fears Egypt is turning to a theocracy.“Democracy and freedom are new to Egypt,” he said. “There should be no religion in politics and no politics in religion.”Abdel-Aal, like many who work in Egypt’s vital tourism industry that was hard-hit due to political turmoil over the past year, said he believes Shariah cannot be applied in all aspects of life.“This will tank the economy and other sectors and just won’t work.”Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, who runs a Cairo tourism company, says he has performed hajj more than 30 times. He said the number of Egyptians wanting to perform hajj and umrah, the smaller pilgrimage to Mecca, increased this year.“In any crisis, the first thing a person does is pray to God,” he said. “We are in a crisis.”(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 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Singapore – Fairmont Singapore’s Raffles City Convention Centre (RCCC) outshone a stellar list of competition and added another remarkable laurel to its growing repute as one of Singapore’s finest business events destination, with a major win at the Singapore Business Events Awards, held at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore earlier this evening. RCCC, located at level 4 of Fairmont Singapore bagged the prestigious Business Event Venue Excellence award. This award recognises outstanding business events venues, which have demonstrated unique venue appeal, facilities and versatility in settings as well as excellence in service, elevating the standard of world-class MICE facilities in Singapore.Now into its second year, the Singapore Business Events Awards is organised by the Singapore Exhibition and Convention Bureau, a group of the Singapore Tourism Board. It is focused in the MICE industry, which has been identified as a key segment in driving growth of the tourism industry. “This win is a sweet one for all of us here at Fairmont Singapore. To be recognised for our passion in championing business travel and events in Singapore is a testament to our commitment and the efforts of all our hardworking staff,” says Mr Ian Wilson, General Manager of Fairmont Singapore and Regional Vice President, Asia, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “We are proud and honoured with this outstanding victory,” he added.RCCC is an outstanding, strategically located and internationally-recognised meetings venue equipped with cutting-edge and multi-faceted features, and complemented by a personalised and dedicated Conventions Services team and passionate individuals involved in the day-to-day operations of this sprawling 70,000 square feet venue. Renowned for hosting the 117th IOC Session (6-9 July 2005), this momentous event cemented Singapore’s role as a major player in the world of hosting events of global significance. The seamless and razor sharp precision and execution of the minutest detail in every programme in this historic event’s itinerary enabled all delegates not only elect London to be the host city of the 2012 summer Olympics, but also enabled the delegates to receive a comprehensive update on the progress of future Olympic-related events such as the organisation of the Torino 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 Games.
October 2, 2017“BEYOND FORM” can now be seen through Amazon!Thank you again everyone who made this possible!from Documentary film maker Aimee Madsen.Congratulations!!
Categories: Webber News 03Feb Rep. Webber’s bill gives more local control on gravel roads State Rep. Michael Webber this week introduced legislation that will give municipalities more local control for setting gravel road speed limits. A 2006 law increased speed limits from 25 mph to 55 mph.“Many of these roads in Oakland County that were formally 25 mph roads are residential roads,” said Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “Now, residents can no longer walk, run or ride their bikes safely on their roads because of the increased vehicle speeds. This bill would simply allow local municipalities to adjust certain dirt road speed limits to make them safer for local residents.”House Bill 4067 would introduce more criteria to determine the speed limit on gravel roads than are currently in place. All changes would have to be agreed upon by both county officials and the Michigan State Police.“Public safety is a top priority for me and ensuring that motorists and pedestrians are safe on gravel roads seems like a common sense solution to me,” Webber said.
Categories: Bellino News,Bellino Photos 01Feb Bellino sponsors bill to increase government transparency Bipartisan bills subject governor’s office, Legislature to open records rulesState Rep. Joe Bellino, seated, submits legislation to the clerk for enrollment as a bill. He is joined by colleagues who also sponsored pieces of the 11-bill bipartisan package to increase government transparency.State Rep. Joe Bellino, of Monroe, today introduced legislation as part of an 11-bill bipartisan plan to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan.Bellino joined representatives from both sides of the aisle today in announcing the reform plan to make the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and create a set of similar rules pertaining to state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).“We’re here to serve the public, and people deserve to see what we’re doing so they can hold us accountable,” said Bellino. “Taxpayers are trusting us with their hard-earned money, I don’t blame them for wanting to keep track of how it’s being spent.”The bills are similar to a legislative effort that was approved by the House last session, but did not reach the governor’s desk for consideration.“This legislation is critically important,” said Bellino. “Year after year, Michigan comes in with one of the worst rankings in the Center for Public Integrity’s State Integrity Investigation, and many residents don’t have faith in their state government. It’s time to give the people the transparency they’ve been asking for and restore their confidence in government.”###
Legislation from state Rep. Jim Tedder, which will address Michigan’s shortage of substitute teachers, was approved by the House Education Reform Committee today.“During committee testimony last week, it was revealed over 1,000 Michigan classrooms a day do not have substitute teachers – that’s completely unacceptable” said Tedder, of Clarkston. “If we have educated professionals or students studying in college, we should allow them the opportunity to be in the classroom. Let the districts decide what works best in their own classrooms.”House Bill 4069 will allow school districts to consider substitute teachers who have completed a minimum of 60 college credit hours or have earned an associate’s degree.“The regulations Michigan has in place right now do not work for students or local districts,” Tedder said. “This legislation will go a long way towards filling classrooms with substitute teachers, even if just for a day, and giving students the education they deserve.”The legislation advances to the House for its consideration.##### Categories: News,Tedder News 27Apr Committee approves Rep. Tedder’s bill to address teacher shortage
27Dec Rep. McCready highlights legislative year representing Michigan’s 40th District Categories: McCready News,News State Rep. Mike McCready today commended strides made by the Michigan Legislature in the first year of his third term serving the residents of Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and West Bloomfield Township.McCready serves on House Committees for Commerce and Trade; Families, Children, and Seniors; Financial Services; and Financial Liability Reform. Through House floor votes, he helped approve a 2017-18 budget plan that provides record funding for roads and bridges and the most K-12 school funding in state history. By 2021, $1.2 billion is scheduled to be set aside for road funding annually.McCready also championed a series of 10 bills updating Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws. The bills, passed out of the House in March and currently in the Senate, enact a new Legislative Open Records Act providing for public inspection of legislative records beginning in 2019. The governor, lieutenant governor and their employees will also be subject to FOIA requests.“Transparency within our government is crucial,” said McCready. “A growing number of people in Michigan and around the country demand it of their elected officials and I was pleased to see the Legislature respond to those who we serve. It speaks very loudly when we take 10 consecutive unanimous votes with bipartisan support and shows we are committed to more uniform transparency.”McCready lists additional progress regarding mental health as a goal moving forward. Throughout 2017, a bipartisan House C.A.R.E.S task force explored mental health and ways to provide Michigan residents facing mental health challenges with happier and more prosperous lives. McCready hopes legislation can ultimately result from the task force’s findings.“We need to be committed to providing better services for the state’s mentally ill population so we can promote a better culture of life in Michigan,” said McCready. “I am hoping that we can follow through on that responsibility with legislation that will help residents.”
Categories: Griffin News,News 09Mar Rep. Griffin votes to protect underage victims of sex crimes House approves legislation to safeguard students on school propertyState Rep. Beth Griffin this week voted in support of legislation to help local school districts better protect students who are victims of sex crimes.The three-bill package requires schools to permanently expel students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil enrolled in the same school district; prohibit an expelled student from attending another public school in Michigan unless they go through a reinstatement process; and, if a personal protection order is ordered for the victim of sexual assault, the offender would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school.“We must protect students from the person who sexually assaulted them, especially on a school campus,” said Griffin, of Mattawan. “If a perpetrator and their victims were adults, the law has certain ways to severely limit contact and protect the victims. No teenager should ever have to change schools to avoid riding the bus or being in the same classroom with their assailant.”Currently, a school is only required to expel a student who commits a sex crime on school grounds. The legislation was prompted by a recent Livingston County case where a 16-year-old was convicted of criminal sexual conduct against multiple victims as young as 12.“Victims and the school community as a whole need to be aware of and separated from someone who would commit these kinds of acts,” Griffin said. “As a teacher, I understand that we must provide all students with an environment conducive to learning. We have to work together to ensure we are safeguarding all of our students.”House Bills 5530, 5531 and 5532 advance to the Senate for its consideration.#####
17Jan Rep. Allor continues to serve key role in Michigan’s budget process Categories: Allor News State Rep. Sue Allor has been appointed by Speaker Lee Chatfield to serve on the House Appropriations Committee during the 2019-20 legislative session.Allor, of Wolverine, will chair the House subcommittee charged with setting the budgets of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality.“I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a strong voice for Northern Michigan in the state’s budget process,” Allor said. “Protecting our natural resources and fighting environmental contamination, especially PFAS, continues to be one of my top priorities. I’m looking forward to guiding discussions with my colleagues as we develop a responsible spending plan that prioritizes the issues most important to Michigan families.”Additionally, Allor will serve as a member on the subcommittees for School Aid and Department of Education; General Government; and Health and Human Services.Residents may contact Rep. Allor at (517) 373-0833 or email SueAllor@house.mi.gov.###
State Representative Pauline Wendzel today attended the 12th annual Area Agency on Aging’s Legislative Forum. Rep. Wendzel participated in a panel discussion with her colleagues and engaged local seniors and caregivers about topics such as making Michigan a no-wait state, increasing options for home and community-based long-term care, preventing elder abuse and addressing direct care workforce issues.“Our senior citizens have given so much to our community, state, and nation, and for that, we are eternally grateful,” Wendzel said. “I was glad to participate with my colleagues in this panel and to hear directly from senior citizens and caregivers about the issues they face every day.”The legislative forum took place at the Area Agency on Aging’s Campus for Creative Aging. Those who were unable to attend the forum can call Rep. Wendzel’s office at 517-373-1403, or email at PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov to learn more about issues facing Michigan seniors. Categories: Wendzel News 12Apr Rep. Wendzel attends senior legislative forum
08May Rep. Crawford announces May coffee hours Categories: Crawford News State Rep. Kathy Crawford of Novi will host district coffee hours on Monday, May 20 to meet with residents of southwest Oakland County.“Talking with members of our community is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job as state representative,” Rep. Crawford said. “With the current discussions on the budget, road funding and other issues facing our state, I want to hear your thoughts on what you care about most.”Rep. Crawford will meet with residents at the following time and location:11 a.m. at Lyon Township Public Library, 27005 Milford Road in South Lyon.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Crawford at 517-373-0827 or via email at KathyCrawford@house.mi.gov.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 8, 2014; San Francisco Bay GuardianThe meetings of San Francisco’s board of supervisors (akin to its city council)—and its politics in general—are never boring. A city gentrifying at warp speed and driving out its robust nonprofit community adds to the mix.Nearly 100 nonprofit workers and their supporters, seeking raises, marched through City Hall this week and shouted down the Board of Supervisors at its weekly meeting, according to a report in the Bay Guardian, the city’s progressive alternative weekly. Protesters linked arms across the wooden barricade between the supervisors’ seats and the audience; eleven were arrested for their act of civil disobedience.The nonprofit workers were protesting Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed budget, which gives them a 1.5 percent cost of living increase that, they say, is not enough to offset rising rents, healthcare costs, and other expenses in San Francisco, where the tech boom–fueled cost of living has attracted national attention. For-profit contractors like commercial real estate investors and landlords are getting a three percent boost, which they call a double standard.The paper says that the workers are feeling exhausted and underpaid. “We can’t survive on what we’re paid,” Darien Lomeli, a counselor at Progress Foundation’s Rypins House, told the Bay Guardian. She grew up in San Francisco but was priced out a few years ago. She added that low pay also engenders high turnover in the nonprofit sector, which hurts those she helps.Sup. David Campos told the Bay Guardian that a cost-of-living adjustment for nonprofit workers was on the table during budget negotiations but eventually dropped. But now, he and fellow supervisors Eric Mar and Norman Yee are working on a solution, which one aide called “just a conversation at this point.”They will need to find funding in the budget that could go towards the increases, which Service Employees International Union Local 1021 estimates at around $6.8 million annually. The union, which represents over 54,000 employees in local governments, healthcare programs, schools and nonprofit agencies in Northern California, challenged the board’s budget, as well.The skyrocketing cost of living is just the latest in a series of fiscal hits the nonprofit sector has taken in San Francisco lately. The tech sector boom downtown and in the South of Market area has raised the rents on many local non-profits, leading to the closure of over 1,000 agencies since 2011. Mayor Lee and the board provided $4.5 million in the 2014-15 budget to offset some of those rent increases.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share1TweetShareEmail1 SharesAugust 4, 2015; The GuardianSince December, when Pakistan lifted its moratorium on the death penalty following the Peshawar terrorist attack that killed more than a hundred children, 180 people have been put to death. At that time, Pakistan had suspended the death penalty for seven years. Now, with more than 8,000 people on death row, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has voiced concern over the pace that Pakistan is executing prisoners.The purported reasoning behind lifting the death penalty was to allow the Pakistani government to get tough on terrorists. However, there are clear indications not just that the executions are not restricted to terrorists, but that they are too often the result of a flawed justice system. Human rights organizations and the UN have expressed outrage, but the executions continue unabated.“We’ve seen time and time again that there is immeasurable injustice in Pakistan’s criminal justice system, with a rampant culture of police torture, inadequate counsel and unfair trials,” said Sarah Belal, executive director of Justice Project Pakistan. “Despite knowing this, the government has irresponsibly brought back capital punishment.”One case in point is Shafqat Hussain, who was hanged Tuesday morning for a crime for which he was convicted in 2004. Hussain was found guilty of kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old boy and sentenced to death, but he and his international supporters have maintained for years that he was a teenager at the time and tortured into confessing, a claim of which Pakistani courts remained unconvinced.“Pakistan authorities have never undertaken a proper, judicial investigation into either issue,” said the rights group Justice Project Pakistan, “instead seizing and refusing to release key evidence such as Shafqat’s school record, which could have provided proof that he was under 18 when he was sentenced to death.”Supporters claim that Hussain was only 14 years old when he was prosecuted, a fact which his court-appointed attorney failed to bring forth any evidence at his trial. If it could have been proven that Hussain was a minor, then he would have been ineligible for the death penalty under Pakistani law. The police instead say Hussain was 23 at the time. Although it may seem simple, in a third-world country where records of births and deaths are routinely lost or disorganized, authenticating a birth certificate is easier said than done. In one hearing for Hussain, judges resorted to using pictures to verify his age.Hussain’s execution was postponed four times alone this year, due in part to the controversial nature of his conviction. He quickly garnered support from human rights activists and groups. While Hussain was set to be executed in January of this year, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar called for a stay order to investigate whether Hussain was indeed a minor at the time he was prosecuted. Others similarly advocated for Hussain, including the human rights lawyers that took on his case, the United Nations, such human rights groups as Reprieve and Amnesty International, and the country’s own Sindh Human Rights Commission, which asked for an inquiry into the case.“This is another deeply sad day for Pakistan,” said David Griffiths from Amnesty International. “A man whose age remains disputed and whose conviction was built around torture has now paid with his life—and for a crime for which the death penalty cannot be imposed under international law.”There are deeper issues with the death penalty than those that can be seen in Hussain’s case. Some see Hussain’s execution as reflective of the many other wrongs in an already-flawed legal system that rushes to judgment and dispenses with justice. “The government’s decision to push ahead with the execution despite calls to halt it from across Pakistan and around the world seems to have been more a show of political power than anything to do with justice,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve.—Shafaq HasanShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
Share53Tweet2Share3Email58 SharesApril 12, 2016; Washington PostA letter from Teach for America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard released on Tuesday, April 12th, reveals that applications fell for the third year in a row. From 2013 to 2016, the number of applicants to the program has plummeted by 35 percent, with the fall-off in 2016 being 16 percent. In each of the prior two years, the rate of decline was 12 percent, so this year’s rate has worsened significantly. In real numbers, applications have fallen from 57,000 per year to 37,000 over the three years.This is likely why the organization shrunk its office staff by 15 percent and regional offices may be asked to make “organizational changes” as a part of a reorganization or rightsizing effort.Villanueva Beard’s response is not to question the enterprise model but to redouble efforts. “Our sober assessment is that these are the toughest recruitment conditions we’ve faced in more than two decades,” she wrote. “And they call on us all to reconsider and strengthen our efforts to attract the best and most diverse leaders our country has to offer.”The toxic debate surrounding education—and attacks on organizations that seek to bring more people to the field—is undeniably pushing future leaders away from considering education as a space where they can have real impact.Villanueva Beard admits to being slow to respond to warning signs, such as dissatisfaction among core members. “We missed the cue to take that on as aggressively as we should have, and we’re doing that now,” she said.Everyone’s just taking a fresh look at how to do this work from a local perspective, both in training and supporting our teachers, which is quite different from how we did this previously. The goal is to make sure current corps members are happy and feel like they have the help they need to be successful at what is a very difficult job.This all sounds to us like the organization is fiddling with details while its basic enterprise is failing. While the group has been unfailingly expert at raising money from government and philanthropy, it has not, over 25 years, proven its model as being key to transforming education, as is reflected in this article.Readers may recall the issues we brought up in the examination of the failed FEGS business model. When an enterprise model is failing, the answer is not always to redouble efforts. While TFA, due to its popularity among funders, may not yet be nearing destitution, the erosion of its core resource in the volunteer pool says volumes about its prospects.—Ruth McCambridgeShare53Tweet2Share3Email58 Shares
Share63Tweet25Share28Email116 SharesPexels. Creative Commons 0.September 21, 2017; Market WatchFor those who have faced cancer, toxicity from treatment causing such symptoms as nausea, weakness, and vomiting is expected. What they don’t expect is the toxicity that can come from the huge financial burden of paying for cancer treatment, even when a patient has insurance. The unfortunate reality is that even with expanded coverage, increasing deductibles and copays can force patients to weigh the cost of treatment against their prognosis. For some, it is essentially weighing bankruptcy against death, and 20 percent of patients will choose to end lifesaving treatment due to the high copays.Adding salt to the wound, many cancer patients are forced to leave their jobs as treatment can leave them too weak to work. This is particularly true for those in careers that require physical exertion, like construction or the restaurant industry. A study of cancer patients younger than 65 found that losing the ability to work could negatively impact treatment. Dr. Matthew Banegas, who performed the study, said, “If they have to take time off, they may have to use extended time or extended leave which could impact insurance coverage and impact how cost affects them.”Financial struggles during and after cancer treatment are so pervasive, in fact, that several doctors have dedicated their research to studying the effects of “financial toxicity,” which could be defined as “the toxic effects of financial strain from healthcare costs.” Dr. Yousuf Zafar, a leading researcher in the field, says, “Multiple studies have shown that cancer patients and survivors are at risk for facing treatment-related financial burden, with a small minority at risk for extreme burden in the form of personal bankruptcy.”Recent data indicate that at least 30 percent of cancer patients will go into debt, three percent of whom will file for bankruptcy. Dr. Zafar aptly conveys the situation his patients face: “Patients are frustrated. They believe they’ve got insurance. They believe they paid for insurance and that insurance should fully cover their cancer care.”Although the Affordable Care Act helped alleviate some of the financial burden through increased coverage and eliminating caps on lifetime payouts, these benefits are in jeopardy as the debate over “repeal and replace” rages on. If rollback efforts succeed, we can expect to see an increase in the effects of financial toxicity. Fortunately, the nonprofit sector has stepped in—not only advocating against repeal and replace (although more advocacy is needed), but also by providing financial assistance for cancer patients and their families. Organizations like The Pink Fund, CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation, and the Healthwell Foundation among others help patients and their families navigate and pay for care. But, these measures need to be recognized as stopgaps to help patients in the short term. The high cost of care in the U.S. has convoluted roots in “big pharma” and the privatization of healthcare, systemic issues beyond the reach of the nonprofit sector alone.— Sheela NimishakaviShare63Tweet25Share28Email116 Shares
More than 55% of households with a TV now receive a digital signal, compared to just 30% in 2008, according to new global stats by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).According to the report, 81% of homes in the developed world now receive a digital signal. In the developing world, this figure is now 42% having almost tripled between 2008 and 2012.Pay TV subscriptions reached 728 million by the end of 2012 – a 32% increase over four years. The figure means that 53% of all households with a television have a pay-TV subscription.“The steady decline in analogue TV technologies is being counterbalanced by strong growth of digital technologies. Digital cable subscriptions more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, as did the number of households receiving DTT,” said the study.The ITU noted that traditional multichannel TV platforms like cable and direct-to-home satellite are facing increasing competition from IPTV service providers and digital terrestrial TV channels.“At the same time, TV delivery over the internet is becoming increasingly popular, particularly through over-the-top (OTT) audio-visual content providers such as YouTube, Netflix and China’s PPLive service, as well as the many traditional broadcasting stations that now offer online streaming or downloading of TV and video content,” said the ITU.
Spanish pay TV operator Ono will air the Fight Sports channel after signing a multi-year carriage deal with the network’s parent company CSI Sports. Fight Sports has the rights to live HBO World Championship Boxing, World Championship Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts and multiple Martial Arts tournaments from around the world.The channel launched in December 2012, is present across Europe and the Asia Pacific region and is broadening its European footprint with launches expected in Germany, the Nordics and Eastern Europe soon. CSI Sports also syndicates Fight Sports programming to regional sports networks in the US.In total, Fight Sports now claims to be in two-dozen countries. The high-definition channel broadcasts 24 hours, seven days a week.“Our on-going programming investments in the most high profile live events and original programming continues to benefit the subscribers of our existing and new carriage partners, like ONO in Spainm” said CSI Sports’ co-CEO, Richard Miele.Ono added in a statement: “There is increasing interest in watching fight related sports in Spain and we are delighted to add Fight Sports to give our customers an even wider variety of sports viewing.”
After eight years of litigation over copyright material being made available on YouTube, Italian broadcaster Mediaset and Google have finalised an agreement to collaborate.The deal will see Mediaset and Google develop a joint strategy to protect content rights, while Mediaset will also develop its digital presence by making content available on YouTube.Mediaset filed a suit against Google over copyright infringement in 2008, demanding €800 million and alleging that the US internet company had benefited from making advertising revenue around Mediaset content that had illegally been made available on the site. Mediaset argued at the time that it had identified 4,643 titles to which it owned the copyright that had been made available on the site.