Snowden: El ataque con el virus extorsionador Petya se realizó utilizando un 'exploit' de la NSA   
Snowden: El ataque con el virus extorsionador Petya se realizó utilizando un 'exploit' de la NSA
El virus logró atacar multitud de países utilizando una herramienta de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional estadounidense, aseguran Edward Snowden y otros expertos en seguridad…

          Air Canada va inaugurer le vol Montréal-Alger ce samedi   
Le premier vol direct d’Air Canada entre Montréal et Alger sera inauguré demain à partir de l’aéroport Pierre Elliott Trudeau, annonce la compagnie canadienne par voie de communiqué. « Air Canada est ravie de proposer un service sans escale au départ de Montréal et à destination d'Alger, une nouvelle destination attrayante qui renforce la place de l'aéroport Montréal-Trudeau en tant que plaque tournante stratégique pour l'ensemble de l'est du Canada et du nord-est des États-Unis, a affirmé Benjamin Smith, président – Transporteurs de passagers d'Air Canada. Misant sur le succès du service d'Air Canada Montréal–Casablanca maintenant assuré toute l’année, le service à destination d'Alger sera le seul vol sans escale exploité par un transporteur canadien entre Montréal et cette ville d'Afrique du Nord, établissant Air Canada comme un acteur de premier plan dans le marché important et grandissant entre le Canada et l'Algérie. Ce sera notre deuxième destination en Afrique, ce qui fait d'Air Canada l'un des rares transporteurs internationaux qui exploitent des vols à destination des six continents habités. » « Grâce à ce nouveau vol saisonnier, il sera maintenant possible de voyager et de transiter par Alger sans escale. Cela permettra d’élargir l’éventail d’opportunités des voyageurs, en plus de faire rayonner le Québec à l’étranger. En effet, je suis certaine que ce vol aller-retour favorisera l’attraction touristique vers notre belle métropole montréalaise. Finalement, ce vol est une bonne nouvelle pour les gens d’affaires et facilitera les relations commerciales, entre le Québec et l’Algérie, a déclaré Lise Thériault, vice-première ministre, ministre responsable de la Condition féminine, ministre responsable des PME » « L'horaire des vols est prévu de façon à optimiser les correspondances à la plaque tournante d'Air Canada à Montréal », selon la même source. La nouvelle liaison saisonnière sera assurée par Air Canada Rouge, la filiale low cost de la compagnie canadienne. La desserte se fera au moyen d’appareils Boeing 767-300ER de 282 places avec trois options de confort, selon la même source : la classe économique;  la place Préférence, offrant plus d’espace pour les jambes; et Premium Rouge, offrant plus d’espace personnel et un service supérieur.  A rappeler qu’Air Canada dessert déjà Alger à partir de Montréal via Francfort (Allemagne) en partenariat avec Lufthansa. De son côté, Air Algérie a une ligne directe depuis juin 2007.  
          Football : L’équipe de de Palestine ne fera pas de stage en Algérie   
L’équipe de football Palestine n’effectuera pas de stage en Algérie, comme c’était prévu dans le programme de cette sélection. Les dirigeants de la Fédération palestinienne de football avaient sollicité leurs homologues algériens pour un stage en Algérie. La Fédération algérienne de football (FAF) et le ministère de la Jeunesse et des Sports (DJS) avaient donné leur accord, selon une source palestinienne, et il ne manquait que le feu vert du ministère des Affaires étrangères. Les Palestiniens l’ont longuement attendu avant de déchanter. La sélection que dirige notre compatriote Noureddine Ould Ali devait être dans nos murs le 1er juillet (demain). Il n’y a pas eu de réponse du côté du plateau des Annassers. Déçus, les Palestiniens ont décidé, la mort dans l’âme, de chercher un autre lieu de regroupement pour leur sélection. Il y a quelques semaines, le Maroc avait accueilli avec faste l’équipe nationale pour un regroupement dans le royaume avec une prise en charge totale de son séjour. Pourquoi l’Algérie n’a pas fait de même ? Y a-t-il un problème ? Autant de questions auxquelles doivent répondre les parties concernées par ce dossier. L’occupant israélien ne manquera pas d’exploiter cette affaire pour monter l’opinion palestinienne contre l’Algérie.
          13 Minnesota Children Have Vanished So Far in 2017 [Video]   
It's amazing to think, but sons and daughters disappear every day. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says over 2,000 in the United States go missing daily. Here in Minnesota, we need your help finding 13 children who cannot be found since January 1st. Continue reading…
          Exclusive: India presses Microsoft for Windows discount in wake of cyber attacks   

By Euan Rocha

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India is pressing Microsoft Corp to offer a sharply discounted one-time deal to the more than 50 million Windows users in the country so that they can upgrade to the latest Windows 10 operating system in the wake of ransomware attacks.

Microsoft officials in India have "in principle agreed" to the request, Gulshan Rai, India's cyber security coordinator, told Reuters over the phone on Friday.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft in India declined to comment on the matter. Officials at the company's headquarters in the United States and regional headquarters in Asia also declined to comment.

If Microsoft agreed to such a discount, it could open up the global software giant to similar requests from around the world. Rai said the government was in talks with Microsoft management in India. It is not immediately clear whether any other countries were seeking similar deals.

Rai said India began talks with Microsoft after the WannaCry ransomware attack last month, noting that both WannaCry and this week's attack, dubbed by some cyberexperts "NotPetya", exploited vulnerabilities in older iterations of the Windows OS.

"The quantum of the price cut, we expect some detail on in a couple of days," Rai said, adding the Indian government expected the company to offer the software at "throw-away prices."

"It will be a one-time upgrade offer to Windows 10 and it will be a discounted price for the entire country," said Rai, who was hand-picked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the country's first cyber security chief.

Rai declined to be more specific, but said he was confident that it would be "less than a quarter of the current price."

Rai, who has over two decades of experience in different IT areas including cyber security, said his team began coordinating with government agencies and regulators to push for OS upgrades soon after the WannaCry attack began on May 12.

The government's quick action helped minimize the impact of the NotPetya attack, which affected two of India's container port terminals, he said.

The government has also worked with banks to ensure that some 200,000 of the more than 240,000 ATMs in the country, most of which run on older Windows XP systems, have been upgraded with security patches released by Microsoft following the WannaCry attack, Rai said.

This is just an interim solution, however, said Rai, because although the patches fix vulnerabilities in older OS versions, they retain the limitations of those versions.

"New OS versions have different architecture, much improved architecture and much more resiliency," said Rai.

PRICE-SENSITIVE

Windows 10 Home currently retails for 7,999 rupees ($124) in India, while the Pro version of the software typically used by large companies and institutions costs 14,999 rupees ($232).

Roughly 96 percent of an estimated 57 million computers in India currently run on Windows, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple- and Linux-based systems account for the rest.

Given that only a small minority of Windows users in India already have Windows 10, Microsoft could be forgoing several billion dollars of potential revenue if they agreed to sell just the more widely used Home version of Windows 10 at a quarter of its current Indian retail price.

In the price-sensitive Indian market, people using computers in households or small businesses often do not upgrade their OS given the steep costs. The wide use of pirated Windows OS versions, which would not automatically receive security patches, exacerbate the vulnerabilities.

In light of the attacks, Rai said, the government "wants to incentivise the common man to upgrade their systems".

The WannaCry attack in May affected a state-run power firm in western India, while the NotPetya attack this week crippled operations at two port terminals in India operated by shipping giant AP Moller Maersk, which was affected globally.

($1 = 64.5175 Indian rupees)

(Additional reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in Mumbai, Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco and Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)


          Commentaires sur Le RDV Tech 215 – Amazole Foods par ToToR65   
Bonjour @notpatrick. Comme @yohannt l'avait fait habilement remarquer tu as parler des nouveaux format AZERTY et PEBO dans le dernier RDVTech. Donc je me suis empressé d'aller l'écouter et je n'ai pas été déçu ;) Mon sentiment là dessus est mitigé. D'abord la joie et la fierté d'avoir été cité au RDVTech, ça n'a pas de prix. Dans n'importe quelle circonstance (même si là j'ai l'impression de passer pour un emmerdeur :D ). Le second sentiment, je ne saurai pas le définir pour l'instant. Donc je vais écrire ce qui m'a fait tiquer et peut-être la définition du sentiment ira de soi. Tu as utilisé pendant ces toutes petites 10 minutes sur le sujet un mot, à 4 reprises il me semble. Programmeur. Et du coup je l'ai pris en plein coeur. Et j'ai repensé à notre discussion sur Twitter, à propos de @ et de |. J'ai l'impression que nous défendions chacun notre point de vue, et c'est bien normal, mais du coup je comprends maintenant que tu partais du postulat que je défendais la profession des programmeurs. J'ai même l'impression que de ton point de vue tous les informaticiens sont des programmeurs. Et ça, ça fait mal. Voilà le sentiment, la douleur, de ne pas être considéré. Tout d'abord, je pense que ce terme sort des entrailles des années 90, puisque j'ai l'impression que de nos jours on parle plus de développeurs (mais après je connais mal ce milieu j'avoue). Et ensuite, non nous ne sommes pas tous des programmeurs. J'irai même plus loin. A titre personnel, j'ai appris quelque langage de programmation à l'école et la conclusion que j'en tire c'est que je déteste programmer/développer. Mais il en faut et j'admire leur travail (qui est bien plus dur que le mien je pense). Ne t'inquiète pas, tu n'es pas le seul à faire l'amalgame informaticien et programmeur, j'aimerai donc te sensibiliser à cet aspect. La branche de l'informatique à laquelle j'appartiens (enfin dont j'en ai fait le métier), c'est l'administration (non pas la maison qui rend fou de Astérix, l'admin informatique). Je dis bien admin informatique car il y a énormement de sous-branches de ce merveilleux métier. Pour être plus précis, je suis administrateur système. Quel est mon rôle ? Administrer un système d'exploitation et voici une liste non exhaustive des tâches que j'effectue : - installer/désinstaller des programmes - tenir à jour les programmes - tenir à jour le système d'exploitation - maintenir la sécurité du système d'exploitation Et plein d'autres tâches qui sont inhérentes au fait que je ne gère pas une seule machine mais quelques milliers. Par contre, quand on regarde d'un peu plus près ces quelques tâches que j'effectue au quotidien, on peut se rendre compte d'un chose... Nous sommes TOUS des administrateurs système. Quelque soit le système, on installe tous des applications, ainsi que les autres tâches plus accessoires (oui la sécurité, par les temps qui courrent, osef ;) ). Par conséquent, quand je défends le |, je ne le défends pas en tant que programmeur (ce que je ne suis pas) mais en tant qu'admin, le | est un outil de tous les systèmes d'exploitation (oui tous). Exemple : Sous Windows, allez dans le menu démarrer, taper cmd dans la recherche (ou dans Cortana), lancer l'invite de commande et taper ça : net statistics server | find "since" ou (si vous avez Windows en français) net statistics server | find "depuis" (cf https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/555737/how-to-find-windows-uptime) Et vous aurez l'uptime de votre système. Donc je ne dis pas que tout le monde utilise le |, mais tout le monde pourrait l'utiliser car c'est une commande de n'importe quel outil informatique sur lequel vous pourriez travailler. Et je ne parle pas des milliers de techniciens qui pourraient venir dépanner votre PC qui l'utilise au quotidien. C'est pour cela qu'il doit reste sur les claviers (pas forcément accessible, mais il est utile parce qu'il est lié au fonctionnement de votre outil informatique). J'espère qu'à l'avenir vous saurez faire la différence entre les développeurs (ces artistes créateurs) et les administrateurs (ces artisan de l'ombre, que nous sommes tous au final). Merci de votre attention et bonne journée. Peace.
          Presentation: How to Backdoor Invulnerable Code   

Josh Schwartz takes a look at the real tactics, with examples, used to compromise and backdoor seemingly secure products by exploiting the humans and systems that create them.

By Josh Schwartz
          Ingénieur Systèmes et Réseaux - Secteur Bancaire H/F - Alten - Paris   
ALTEN SI, Réseaux & Télécom réalise des projets de conception et d'études pour les Directions des Systèmes d'Information des grands acteurs du marché et recherche dans le cadre de son développement un Ingénieur Systèmes et Réseaux (H/F). Vos tâches seront les suivantes : Administration et exploitation des serveurs Mettre en place les firewalls Etre le garant du processus de contrôle d'intégrité Gérer les alertes de sécurité Filtrer les paquets Déployer et effectuer la...
          Ingénieur Réseau Support LAN-WIFI - Lutessa - Marseille et Boulogne-Billancourt   
Lutessa recherche pour l'un de ces clients, 2 Ingénieurs Réseaux Support LAN-WIFI : Exploitation et Support de niveau 1 et 2. 1 poste dans la Région PACA (proche de Marseille) 1 poste dans la Région de l'Ilde de France (proche de Boulogne Billancourt) Poste adéquat pour un Ingénieur, avec 1 an d'expérience, qui aimerait monter en compétence techniquement
          Ingénieur Sécurité Exploitation (H/F) - Lutessa - Monaco   
Lutessa recherche un Ingénieur Sécurité Exploitation : Le callaborateur aura pour mission : Travailler sur l'exploitation et le support sécurité chez l'un de nos client. Firewalls IDS/IPS Load Balancer Reverse Proxy Qualités Requises : Expérience en Sécurité informatique Anglais technique demandé Certification appréciée
          Confirmed: Gays Are Using Snapchat’s New Snap Map Location Feature To Hunt Down Straight Men And Turn Them Gay   

Moles within the gays community confirm that gays have used their technological prowess to exploit Snapchat’s new Snap Map feature to hunt down straight men and groom them into homosexuality. Earlier in the week, reports arose nationwide that straight fathers taking innocent morning strolls or late night jaunts to the supermarket were making up missing, only to be found hours later exhausted and with spent sweat, the ‘look of homosexuality’ raging within their eyes. Scientists from the CDC found that […]

The post Confirmed: Gays Are Using Snapchat’s New Snap Map Location Feature To Hunt Down Straight Men And Turn Them Gay appeared first on ChristWire.


          Shadow Brokers hike prices for stolen NSA exploits, threaten to out ex-Uncle Sam hacker   

Also starts mysterious VIP service for $130,000

The Shadow Brokers is once again trying to sell yet more stolen NSA cyber-weapons, raising the asking price in the process. And the gang has threatened to out one of the US spy agency's ex-operatives that it claims hacked Chinese targets.…


          TS262: Thanksgiving, Konni Burton, Dr. Phil, Guest Orlando Soria   
  This week Bryan whips up Oprah’s favorite turkey recipe while Erin shares her hatred for the holidays. Also Texas Senator Konni Burton proposed a law that would require schools to out LGBTQ students to their family, and Dr. Fraud (aka Dr. Phil) filmed an extremely exploitative interview with a very ill Shelley Duval, anything for the ratings! Plus, Guest Orlando Soria is here to discuss the true meaning of eau de toilette, his lifestyle blog Hommemaker, and being the Creative Director for Homepolish. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
          DÉVELOPPEUR JAVA FULL-STACK (H/F) - ON-X - Ontario   
Système d'exploitation/ virtualisation ( Linux, Windows, VMware, Docker ). En qualité de Développeur Full-Stack , vous réaliserez les missions suivantes :....
From ON-X - Thu, 06 Apr 2017 07:41:27 GMT - View all Ontario jobs
          lagos: day two + three   































On my second Lagos day I saw more of the city walls, more of the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira, and also visited the Mercado dos Escravos. The Mercado dos Escravos - or Slave Market Museum - used to be the first slave market in Europe. It was quite cool, fascinating and fairly informative, I did like the style of exhibition and incorporation of new technology, and would recommend going if you're in Lagos. Yet, to me it felt as if it was less condemning of the past and instead a bit exploitative. Then again, I don't know what would be the best way of exhibitioning slavery, I've only barely scratched the surface of the subject of slavery in my studies of history, and platitudes of saying slavery was awful aren't really that helpful.

Just like I merely touched upon the subject now, after my visit to the museum I obviously went to the beaches again. Most of the beach photos here are from Praia do Camilo that I only visited on my second day. It's a bit further away, but it's my favourite. I think it's become clear that I'm a fan of a good beach. (I mean, aren't most people?) On my third day, I woke up early to go for a swim and sadly had to head back to Faro quite soon afterwards, from where I even more sadly headed back up north.

That's the last of my Algarve posts - and I already miss it. Doesn't it sound and look pretty decent, though? And if you've not seen it yet, you can find my firt post on Lagos here.
          Can VMware exploit its VRealize refresh?   

Battle beyond terrible packaging

Sysadmin blog VMware's VRealize suite for management and orchestration recently received its bi-annual refresh for hybrid-cloud wranglers.…


          Daughters of Darkness   
Sitting at the intersection of the European art film, exploitation horror and ’70s porn chic, Daughters of Darkness is definitely …

Continue reading


          Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors   
Despite a title that practically shrieks “Exploitation horror!” Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors is a smoothly crafted, entertaining, occasionally witty …

Continue reading


          Systems Specialist, Global IT Infrastructure   
NJ-Linden, - Global End User Services team - Supporting and problem solving complex issues in a dynamic enterprise desktop environment - Exploit latest Microsoft technologies for improving Windows desktop environment for reliability and end user effectiveness - Contribute effectively to projects and initiatives within and outside of the Infrastructure service teams. Client Details Chemicals industry Descript
          You May Wear Pants   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Cardinal George Pell is the third-most powerful official in the Catholic Church as head of the Vatican’s finances. And he’s just been charged multiple sexual assaults in his native Australia. I think it’s time to play this song again.

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky signs into law a bill allowing Bible classes in public schools. I’m sure that not far behind are classes on the Qu’ran, the Bhagvat Gita, Dianetics, and the Books of Bokonon. Any day now.

ProPublica reveals “a trove” of Facebook’s internal documents showing its secret guidelines for determining what is and is not hate speech, and thus able to be censored. And some of it is frankly disturbing:

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men. ... White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected. 

Adi Robertson at The Verge notes that Facebook’s task is more or less impossible:

If the company decides to promote a positive social environment without taking clear political sides, it will trend toward a faux neutrality where “hate” is any negative opinion, punishing people who criticize the status quo. But if it admits to an ideological bent, it will have to start formulating political stances on which groups worldwide deserve the most protection from hate. The more social responsibility it accepts, the more liable it is for failing to police its users, and the more power it has to control speech — not just comments to other users, but personal timeline posts or photographs. 

Oh, hey hey hey, make sure you dig the latest Cause & Effect newsletter. It’s got international news, SCOTUS news, and not all of the news is bad!

CFI’s Benjamin Radford is on the panel for a discussion about psychics (along with a bunch of alleged psychics) on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show.

Another “psychic,” Michelle Marks of Dixon, Illinois, is arrested for “exploitation of an elderly person and multiple weapons charges.” Wow she was busy!

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain wanted to see if atheists in Western Europe were more or less closed-minded than the religious. And that’s what they found, more or less:

Atheists tended to show greater intolerance of contradiction, meaning when they were presented with two seemingly contradictory statements they rated one as very true and the other as very false. They also showed less propensity to be able to imagine arguments contrary to their own position and find them somewhat convincing.

A group of scientists and other figures sign on to an initiative called Mission 2020, intended to get greenhouse gas emissions to “curve downward” by 2020, because failing that, the goals of Paris become unattainable. While it’s noble, I am skeptical. Especially after my Point of Inquiry interview with Elizabeth Kolbert earlier this month.

Undaunted by my kind of despair, a “global covenant of mayors” pledging to meet the goals of the Paris accord has brought on board more than 7400 cities.

Cleve Wootson at WaPo introduces us to Michael Tate Reed, the guy who keeps ramming his car into Ten Commandments monuments, as he did in Arkansas yesterday:

[In 2014] He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and released under an agreement that required him to continue treatment. He sent a rambling letter to the newspaper apologizing and describing the voices in his head and his attempts to recover from mental health issues. 

Speaking of which, Joseph Frankel at The Atlantic looks at how the phenomenon of “hearing voices” in one’s head—which is sometimes what makes people think they’re psychic, and others say they’re psychotic—may be more common than once thought, and also may be more controllable:

These experiments suggest that auditory hallucinations are the result of the mind failing to brand its actions as its own. Watching what the brain does during these hallucinations may clarify how that works, and what differences in the brain create these experiences. ... Drawing a parallel with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the [researchers] are interested in the extent to which the psychics they saw “might occupy the extreme end of a continuum” of people who hear voices. 

The Mormon Church is taking bold strides into the latter half of the 20th century, offering paid maternity or parental leave to church employees and (hold on to your butts) allowing women to wear pants.

A California health department report says that 111 people have chosen to take their own lives in the first six months of the state’s right-to-die law. 

Uranus isn’t just odd because its name makes you chuckle (which is why I must pronounce it “YURen-uss,” not, you know, the other way). It’s on a crazy 98-degree axis, and its magnetic shield is all wobbly.

When there’s somethin’ strange…in the neighborhood…who you gonna call? The Royal Thai Police Force! They ain’t afraid o’no phi pob. 

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is a fun, scientific, educational museum experience for the whole family! Oh wait, the city wants them to pay a “safety assessment fee”? I meant to say, it’s a ministry. So, sorry. Exempt. Phew! I mean, “amen.”

My home state of Maine gets its first case of measles in 20 years. Oh god I hope it’s not me! 

Quote of the Day:

I’m just gonna give this one to Colbert:

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Image by Chris&Rhiannon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)centerforinquiry.net!

News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta

 


          Technicien h/f   
Description du poste Métier EXPLOITATION / MAINTENANCE - Technicien de maintenance Intitulé du …
          SilverBow Resources Testing Unexploited Eagle Ford Gas with New Completions   
Eagle Ford-focused SilverBow Resources (ticker: SBOW), formerly Swift Energy, moved onto the New York Stock Exchange in May, 2017 when it changed its name to SilverBow. The company has achieved an average production rate of 135.6 Mmcfe per day in Q1, 2017. SolverBow revised its 2017 capital expenditure guidance to between $190 and $200 million—allowing the company to complete 26[Read More...]
          Top Of The Table – The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire   

Dozens of tabletop games over the years have alluded to the mobster world of The Godfather, and a few have even offered an actual licensed take on the classic film of New York mafia, with its devastating betrayals and family intrigue. But until Corleone’s Empire, I’ve never played a game that so perfectly captures the mood and themes of that memorable movie. Designer Eric M. Lang has been behind some of the most thematically rich and rewarding tabletop games of recent years, and publisher CMON has an eye for stellar production values. Add in some truly evocative art from Karl Kopinski, and The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire nails the setting and tone of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, while simultaneously offering a rousing and fast-paced game of strategy and sudden, devastating treachery. 

Corleone’s Empire is a game of worker placement and area control. Two to five players each take on the role of a New York crime family, working to shake down businesses across the boroughs, complete jobs like extortions and backroom deals, and bribe allies into cooperation with your nefarious activities. Don Corleone looms over your criminal projects as the Godfather of organized crime in the city, and you must be careful to launder and hide away your money, as the excess will go in tribute to him at the end of each act. Along the way, it’s your acquisition of illegal goods like guns, booze, blood money, and eventually, narcotics, which fuel your illicit affairs. Turf changes hands all the time, new businesses open for exploitation, and minions are murdered in violent car bomb explosions and drive-by shootings; figures regularly move from the board spaces into the Hudson River after they meet an untimely end. The theming is richly imagined and appropriately tied up in crime and sudden dramatic turns of fate that reshape the contours of the session.

CMON has established a reputation for its great miniatures and top-notch art, and both are in full evidence throughout Corleone’s Empire. The rulebook and cards are filled with brooding character art of the city’s mid-20th century criminals and civic officials. Individual uncolored miniatures are detailed and varied, offering up different visuals for each family Don, Consigliere, and Heir. A horse-head token indicates first-turn status. Every player even has a literal metal suitcase that holds laundered money away from prying eyes. And the New York board map is thoughtfully designed and attractive, appropriately appointed without ever feeling crowded, even in the game’s later busy turns. Everything reinforces and recalls the film. I’m also a big fan of the board’s use of shapes tied to the bases of individual minis and components; even newcomers to the game can quickly grasp where each piece should be played, from hexagonal control markers to square spots that match your family’s thug minis.


Corleone's Empire supports two to five players, but plays best with four or five

The clever nods to the movie would be for naught without a solid game framework. Behind the mafioso concept, smartly structured and briskly paced gameplay unfolds. Split into four roughly similar acts, the game layers on complexity through the gradual introduction of new figures, businesses, allies, and resources. Reach Act II, and your Consigliere mini joins the team. Bid more than your opponents, and perhaps you can lure the Mayor to aid your family in Act III. Risk entry into the dangerous world of narcotics in the late game, and you’ve got a new flexible resource that can help fuel any job. 

In the most important phase of each act, players take turns deploying their miniatures onto designated spots across New York City, shaking down businesses like the Barbershop, Korean Laundry, and Gun Dealership, and acquiring the designated resource. Have the most figures in an area, and you gain control of that borough in the subsequent turn, meaning you get a piece of the action every time a player hits up that business in the future. Gathered resources let you complete jobs, which usually offer both concrete rewards and a way to screw over your opponents; you gain money (or launder it) while potentially killing off opponent pieces in key locations across the board. Your own carefully laid plans can be shattered by an opposing player’s machinations. If that sort of messing with each other angers you, Corleone’s Empire is likely to frustrate almost constantly. For me, the sudden changes in fortune communicated a delightful nod to the precipitous and dramatic turns of the movie.  In the end, it’s a combination of acquired money, control exerted around the city, and jobs completed that determine the crime family that will rule New York and win the game.

For a game with so many interlocking systems of resources, control points, and different paths to money and victory, I’m impressed by the ease of play. Down time between turns is very low, as each figure’s placement on the board has a clearly marked consequence and acquisition. In my experience, the game is at its best with four or five players, as interlocking webs of alliances accrue, and players in the lead are suddenly ganged up upon by other players who feel threatened. The abrupt and disastrous falls from a hard-won lead are painful, but bearable since the game completes in a moderate playtime; a two-hour session is enough to finish one game, and for most player groups, that might even be enough to try a second run on the same evening of play, allowing new alliances and grudges to form.  


Each player called a small tin "metal suitcase" to store their money and completed job cards

Strangers to The Godfather may be stymied by the constant references to the movie. But it’s clear that’s a sacrifice that the designer is willing to make, foregoing overt explanations about things like the taking or leaving of canolis, for instance, and instead letting players recognize narrative flavors and moments wherever they can find them. The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire does justice to its inspiration, and the dip into gangster fantasies is a welcome change of pace from more fantastical settings. 

If Corleone’s Empire sounds like a good fit for your friends, you won’t have long to wait to track down a copy; pre-orders are available now, and official launch is July 28th of this year. If you’re looking for something of a different flavor than tommy guns and restaurant assassinations, make sure and click on the Top of the Table banner below and check out some other recent recommendations. If you’d like some additional personal recommendations or advice on tabletop games, feel free to drop me a line via email or Twitter – I’m always happy to share some suggestions to find the perfect gaming fit for your group.  


          Israel's Illegitimate Tactics Against Palestinian Armed Resistance...   

Israel, a rogue state if ever there was one , pursues its "security" as a Jewish Zionist entity on all of Mandate Palestine through demonizing Palestinian Arabs, whom it has long subjected to a racist campaign that defines their resistance, both violent and non-violent, as anti-Semitism on the one hand and as terrorism on the other. Thankfully, Israel's cover for its exploitation of anti-Semitism to serve unconscionable Zionist ends has finally been blown .


          Propriétaire exploitant (broker) classe 1 – lieu: Pointe - Trimac - Quebec   
Généralement 3 jours mais si plus de temps s’avérait nécessaire, le chauffeur devra s’organiser avec le département des Opérations.... $270,000 a year
From Trimac Transportation - Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:28:41 GMT - View all Quebec jobs
          Commence Industrial CRM Profiled by Manufacturing Journalist TR Cutler in Manufacturing & Logistics IT   

Commence Industrial CRM Profiled by Manufacturing Journalist TR Cutler in Manufacturing & Logistics IT

Tinton Falls, NJ -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/27/2006 -- According to Thomas R. Cutler, Manufacturing Journalist, in a recent issue of Manufacturing and Logistics IT, Industrial CRM is experiencing huge growth. The article may be read in its entirety at http://www.logisticsit.com/absolutenm/templates/article-manufacturing.aspx?articleid=2428&zoneid=2.

Commence offers industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

According to Larry Caretsky, CEO of Commence Corporation, "CRM for manufacturers must streamline sales processes by ensuring sales opportunities are tracked and closed consistently and efficiently with customizable workflow rules that automate stages in the selling process." As part of the lean manufacturing initiative, effective industrial CRM solutions will reduce errors by creating and modifying accurate quotes for prospects and existing clients using a full-featured product catalog that supports complex pricing levels, units of measure and discounts. The technology must allow quotes to be converted to orders, as well as modifying and saving orders until they are ready to be billed as invoices.

Caretsky suggested that another advantage of sector specific CRM is, "The ability improve demand management with sales pipeline visibility allows manufacturers to implement a sales forecasting process that delivers objective insights on sales activity, rather than subjective guessing."

Decreased client response times are also achieved when there is heightened visibility to manufacturing order status, inventory quantities, and current pricing; this empowers customer service staff with critical customer information.

Aftermarket sales are driving significant industrial CRM technology solutions because manufacturers recognize the value-added profit opportunities available with increased service and aftermarket sales. Only when the minutia of industrial customers' content is detailed in a CRM system can aftermarket sales opportunities be effectively exploited.
Understanding the idiosyncratic nature of manufacturing processes, industrial enterprises, and lean manufacturing principles mandates that CRM technology solutions recognize these unique sector traits to realize optimal benefits.

In an effort to help industrial distributors and manufacturers thrive, Commence Corporation presents Practices That Pay: Leveraging Information to Achieve Industrial Selling Results, a compendium of smart practices from the leading industrial sales and marketing experts and organizations that are growing in today's challenging environment.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/release-9331.htm

Media Relations Contact

Larry Caretsky
President
Commence
Telephone: 732-380-9100
Email: Click to Email Larry Caretsky
Web: http://www.commence.com/mfg/


          Kendall & Kylie apologise for using Biggie & Tupac’s images on their T-Shirts   

Biggie’s mother has slammed them for “exploiting” her son and Tupac's death


By: Alice Howarth

Continue reading...
          6/30/2017: SPORTS: Young talent power Germany past Mexico and into final   
SOCHI, RUSSIA— Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire early goals on Thursday as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 to reach the Confederations Cup final. Exploiting Mexico’s defensive frailties, Joachim Loew’s inexperienced squad was 2-0 up within 10...
          Walter Turner Follows Up With 3rd Max Cantu Thriller   

To fans who cannot get enough of the exploits of Max Cantu, rejoice! Walt Turner has published “The Laguna File: A Max Cantu Novel” (iUniverse, 2008). This explosive thriller invites readers to get a taste of the Golden State's beach culture. -   - In “The Laguna File,” private investigator Max Cantu takes on his third major case. He is asked to investigate a home invasion of a once famous, but now reclusive movie star who has tucked herself away in a secluded mansion on the seaside cliff...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=210104


          Former Navy Shares His Story of a Life Well Lived   

Life is one constant battle between wanting to be alone, but not wanting to be lonely. - A very fitting line for the story as told by author Harold Allen Corzine. Readers will follow a story of life filled with colorful memories and challenging exploits. The author at one point in his life pondered on the thought that he was feeling not necessarily sad but was feeling really empty. He pointed out that part of his life where loneliness and sadness created a void. A painful memory of so long...

Read the full story at http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=210017


          Gérant de Magasin Sans-Fil - OSL Retail Services Inc - Burlington, ON   
Alors OSL est fait pour vous. Chez OSL, nous savons comment récompenser nos employés. Walmart Canada s'est associé à OSL pour exploiter ses 350 magasins sans...
From OSL Retail Services Inc - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:21:38 GMT - View all Burlington, ON jobs
          Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Accused of Exploitation, Apologize for T-Shirts   
The sisters recalled their “vintage” T-shirts, which had their images superimposed over musicians like Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G. and the Doors.
          Local miners leverage existing infrastructure to extend operations   
As a result of financial constraints, South African gold miners are looking to exploit their existing infrastructure to mine licensed blocks adjacent to existing operations, says mining engineering consultancy Ukwazi Mining. Ukwazi underground engineer Hans Dippenaar notes that, in this way, miners will be able to increase production and revenue without amassing large capital expenditure costs, highlighting that the consultancy is working on such a project for gold miner Harmony Gold.
          Of a organic compound    
Influenced by utilization proponents on all sides United States, the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. introduced Resin baptism coding policy. It was in 1988 when this strategy of separating (or group) integrative rosin types to kind it easier for recyclers to kind them out and to have a more than regular surplus control system, was introduced.Guidelines in the Use of Recycling NumberThe Society of the Plastics Industry in joint effort with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) united on the behind guidelines in exploitation the code:Post ads:record call palm centro / free spy softwares for mobiles / nokia 2700 spy call software / use mobile hidden camera android / spy cordless phone recorder / ww2 listening devices kent / spy bug remote listening device / download free phone call recorder / java program record keystrokes / sms spy software free trial / reverse phone records lookup / mobile phone with best voice recording / remote desktop spy v4.0 download / phone cassette recorder radio shack / how record incoming call in iphone 3gs / i cheated on my spouse how do i fix it / logiciel counterspyThis complies beside the torah in 39 states wherein the opinion essential be nearly new on bottles and narrow containers. This is utilized to determine organic compound (a genre of integrative) happy solely. The code, spell it helps in useless direction and utilisation activities, must not be rank so as to affect sales of a goods.
          Of those you status people    
You can do this by done delivering on the gossip you have for your souk. This will musical your prospects that you are an proficient and a someone meriting of approving. Online, laurels is the lonesome uninominal situation that can abet you to receive marvelous figure of gross sales all month.Now the one and only way you can get that is by exploitation a all right designed mangle folio that has an opt-in form exact in the in-between of it beside bulleted points for the benefits of a dispense distant that can be
          Bill Bruford The Autobiography   
What do you expect when you pick up an autobiography of a rock musician? Sex? Drugs? Rock-n-roll exploits with a chainsaw and a gallon of baby oil at the Ramada? Scandalous stories of band-mates and sundry hangers-on? You get virtually none of that in Bill Bruford The Autobiography. It’s much better. Insightful, entertaining, and well-written,…
          Propriétaire exploitant (broker) classe 1 – lieu: Pointe - Trimac - Quebec   
Généralement 3 jours mais si plus de temps s’avérait nécessaire, le chauffeur devra s’organiser avec le département des Opérations.... $270,000 a year
From Trimac Transportation - Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:28:41 GMT - View all Quebec jobs
          Comment exploiter les contenus francophones dans l’espace numérique?   

Extrait du panel tenu dans le cadre de l’événement de Culture Montréal : Le français dans l’espace numérique : atout ou obstacle?

Ce billet Comment exploiter les contenus francophones dans l’espace numérique? a été publié d'abord Comment exploiter les contenus francophones dans l’espace numérique?.


          NIGERIA: Many Of Those Calling For Restructuring Are Opportunists, Irresponsible – El-Rufai   
Many Of Those Calling For Restructuring Are Opportunists, Irresponsible – El-Rufai
El-Rufai, while speaking on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily said President Buhari’s administration has done far more in practical terms than past administrations and that many of those calling for a restructuring rather see it as a means of opportunism. He stated that some of the practical steps taken towards restructuring included the fact that state governors are now more than ever, involved in economic policy making at the national level. According to him, things that have always been hidden from state governments are now much more open as they are now more involved in investigations of finances of the excess crude account, among other things. “We meet every month under the auspice of the National Economic Council and working together with the Federal Government we chart directions of economic policy and that is part of shifting the federal- state balance. “A lot of the talk about political restructuring is political opportunism and irresponsibility in my opinion “It is popular and people that have presidential aspirations think there is a platform upon which they will exploit this. As I said, if you look at the APC manifesto, all the elements to divulge power to the state to change the balance in the federation are there and we are committed to that as a party. “The National Chairman of our party will restate that commitment and we are discussing it and as I said President Buhari and Osinbajo’s government has taken very concrete steps rather than rhetoric to actually move in that direction and we are going to move in that direction but we do not believe that the basis for it is rhetoric and opportunism, we do not believe that the 2014 CONFAB report is a sensible basis to even begin. “We all know the circumstances in which the so-called CONFAB was put together, we all know the composition, how lopsided it was, how important stakeholders were not taken to account, how even the composition and numbers do not reflect the demographics and the diversity of this country and we took a position as a party not to participate but to encourage our state governors to be there at the table.”

SOURCE


          The Man Within My Head – Pico Iyer   
When I saw that Pico Iyer had written a self-examination of his long fascination with and links to Graham Greene, I knew I’d have to read it. Iyer’s work evokes Greene for me sometimes—the outsider’s adventures in extreme and theatrical cultures are the stuff of movie swashbuckling or gritty documentaries. But the exploits cast another […]
          Woods legacy will be about more than golf   

For all the victories and accolades Tiger Woods receives for his golf exploits, his work outside the ropes is his greatest passion. The Tiger Woods Learning Center is one way he will leave a legacy that extends far beyond golf.


          Siemens Patches Critical Intel AMT Flaw in Industrial Products   

Siemens patched a recently disclosed vulnerability pertaining to systems with specific Intel processors. If exploited, the flaw could let an attacker gain system privileges.


          Free EternalBlue Vulnerability Scanner Released   

A free tool that can scan networks to discover computers that are vulnerable to the NSA-linked EternalBlue exploit is now available.
read more


          Sooze Orman Has A Change Of Heart   

Has the Sooze had a Road-to-Damascus Experience?

We haven't heard much from the Sooze lately.  Maybe her "You're Approved" program lost its appeal (EDIT: It was cancelled, and the successor program is in limbo - and controversial, apparenty).  Whatever the reason, she's apparently decided to go back to her roots and offer some common-sense advice.  Maybe it's because so many financial advisors now these days are encouraging self-indulgence that going against the flow would get her some attention get her back in the Press.

Or maybe she is just whoring for publicity to sell at $54 online course on finances.  Maybe.  I guess since she can't make money selling "FICO kits" anymore, this seemed like a good deal.

Whatever the reason, it's time to give the Sooze a big hug (at arm's length, with one hand on our wallet, just to be safe) because she's saying something rational for a change, even if she is attempting to personally profit from it.  In a recent CNBC article, she counsels people to spend less money on convenience transactions and points out that these little indulgences cost little by themselves, but  over time they add up to an awful lot of money missing from your bottom line.

Whether is getting takeout food instead of preparing your own meals, or stopping off at Starbucks for a three-dollar coffee, or at leasing a car instead of buying one and taking care of it, the incremental cost of these conveniences can really break the budget of a middle-class person.

I get a lot of flack from people who defend this type of behavior.  They don't believe that not indulging yourself in tiny little luxuries will make a big difference in your life.  After all it's only a dollar here, two dollars there, ten dollars here, or a hundred dollars there.  How could that add up to a million dollars over time?

This also plays into the mentality that if you can't be a billionaire in 10 seconds or less, why bother trying?  You might as well just spend all your money to entertain yourself and wallow in self-pity. And to some extent we all do this, it is a part of human nature.

But having been at both ends of this transaction, I can see how it plays out over time.  When I was very young, I squandered a lot of money on self indulgence and it was pretty stupid.  I did manage to save some money, and over period of thirty years this morphed into a sizable retirement nest egg.  My only regret is not cutting back even just slightly on my self-indulgence in my earlier years and put more money aside, is it would have meant how much larger nest egg at this point in my life - not to mention the option of retiring even earlier.

And we're not talking about extreme sacrifices either.  I get emails from people saying "I don't want to eat ramen noodles to rest of my life" or some such thing.  For some reason, raman noodles get picked on a lot by people who wanted to disavow any kind of frugal lifestyle.  I'm not sure why they pick on ramen noodles.  They probably are not good for you - very high in carbohydrates, and also that powdery flavoring packet that comes with it is usually loaded with salt and MSG.

That is the nature of the "logic" that people use.  It's either caviar or ramen noodles and there's nothing in-between in their mind.  You either go out and have a good time or you live like a monk. There's nothing between these two extremes.  And of course, we call this a straw man argument.  You set up a straw man and then you knock him down which is easy to do because he's made of straw.

But the reality is, if you just cut back by a little bit, you can save an awful lot.  For example if you go out to lunch several times a week at work, consider brown-bagging it for one of those days. The amount of money you save might not be a lot - maybe five to ten dollars or so, but over time, it is going to add up to a significant amount in your retirement account.  When you get comfortable this, think about maybe brown-bagging it two days a week and so forth.  You might also find ancillary benefits in that going out to lunch with your co-workers can being emotional drag and also make you look like a slacker to your superiors - as usually these lunches extend for more than an hour.

Or take leasing. Many young people are lured into leasing a car because the monthly cost is lower. However the overall transaction cost is far higher, something most people realize when they try to turn the car in at the end of the lease and are socked with a lot of back-end charges.  All cars are used cars the moment you buy them.  So why not consider buying a two- to three-year-old car that is off-lease that some other idiot paid all the depreciation on and drive that instead?

A two- to three-year-old car looks just like a new car. I remember when I was at the Patent Office I bought a second-hand Camry from Avis.  I'm not necessarily recommending you buy a used rental car, but for me it was so much cheaper deal than a brand new car.  And all of my neighbors thought I had a brand new car, so if you're looking for bragging rights there really is no difference.  And realize that usually buying a new car is nothing more than bragging rights.  Just get over that and acknowledge your own human frailty - we all have the same problem.

But getting back to the Sooze, maybe this is a dawn of a new era from Ms. Orman.  Maybe from now on she'll start offering practical advice instead of going on television and telling people they're "approved" to buy things.  Quite frankly she lost me when she started going down that road.  She went from offering frugal advice to saying "you're approved" to buy a Sea Ray boat or a Buick car, after those companies sponsored her and paid her to endorse the products.

On the one hand, I don't blame her for going after the money, as we all need to make a living in this world and it's very hard to avoid the temptation of being corrupted by commercial influences.  We live in a capitalist society and you have to exploit your opportunities when they arise.

Corporate sponsorships can be a double-edged sword, as perhaps she is finding out.  Many people come including myself, criticized her for taking all these sponsorship deals as well as her "You're Approved!" television show as cheapening her overall message and reputation.

Sadly, it seems that most people just don't get this, or at least the television people think that we don't get it.  The shouting guy on the financial Channel still screams buy and sell for various sketchy stock deals which usually end up being a raw deal for the small investor.  The other Financial channels just hype the stock price and never talk about anything else such as profitability, P/E ratios, and least of all, dividends.  You would think from watching television that the only thing that matters about a company is its market cap.  The reality is of course, that market cap really needs nothing and if you were using that as a metric for evaluating a company, you have a broken compass.

So here's to the "new" Suze Orman.  Let's hope she is going back on track to her old advice and echewing the corruption of our secular world.  And hopefully, maybe she'll find an audience for this good advice.  But I would not pay $54 for it.

But given the feedback I've received from some readers, I think that she would be better off telling people what their approved for, is that seems to be when people like.  No one wants to hear hard truths - that's not marketable!

Serial NumberReg. NumberWord MarkCheck StatusLive/Dead
1 87452104 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRLIVE
2 87452087 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRLIVE
3 87017215 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRLIVE
4 86691437 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRDEAD
5 85493139 SUZE ORMANTSDRDEAD
6 85300264 4276421 PEOPLE FIRST, THEN MONEY, THEN THINGSTSDRLIVE
7 85117452 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRDEAD
8 85117401 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRDEAD
9 78759146 3158360 YF&BTSDRDEAD
10 78757479 YF&BTSDRDEAD
11 78757448 YF&BTSDRDEAD
12 78757413 YF&BTSDRDEAD
13 78731959 SUZE UNIVERSITYTSDRDEAD
14 78731943 SUZEUTSDRDEAD
15 78731931 SUZE UTSDRDEAD
16 77591323 3653822 CAN I AFFORD IT?TSDRDEAD
17 77970033 DNA LIFELINETSDRDEAD
18 77970009 THE MONEY CLASSTSDRDEAD
19 77572529 THE SUZE CLUBTSDRDEAD
20 77061212 3477279 THE SAVE YOURSELF PLANTSDRDEAD
21 77031286 3468566 SAVE YOURSELFTSDRDEAD
22 77034601 SAVEYOURSELFTSDRDEAD
23 76417707 2816191 SUZE ORMAN'S PROTECTION PORTFOLIOTSDRLIVE
24 76383162 2845688 PROTECTION PORTFOLIOTSDRLIVE
25 76417712 2781364 PEOPLE FIRST, THEN MONEY, THEN THINGSTSDRDEAD
26 76604790 START SMARTTSDRDEAD
27 76604789 START SMARTTSDRDEAD
28 76604468 CLICK, CORRECT AND SAVETSDRDEAD
29 76604467 CLICK, CORRECT AND GET AHEADTSDRDEAD
30 76604466 CLICK, CORRECT AND GET AHEADTSDRDEAD
31 76604465 CLICK, CORRECT AND SAVETSDRDEAD
32 76588413 SUZE OTSDRDEAD
33 76588412 SUZE OTSDRDEAD
34 76588411 SUZE OTSDRDEAD
35 76588410 SUZE OTSDRDEAD
36 76588409 HELPING YOU HELP YOURSELFTSDRDEAD
37 76588408 HELPING YOU HELP YOURSELFTSDRDEAD
38 76588407 HELPING YOU HELP YOURSELFTSDRDEAD
39 76588406 HELPING YOU HELP YOURSELFTSDRDEAD
40 76574219 THE LOOK OF MONEYTSDRDEAD
41 76417711 2781363 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY TO PROTECT YOUR TOMORROWSTSDRDEAD
42 76417710 WHAT YOU NEED TODAY TO PROTECT YOUR TOMORROWSTSDRDEAD
43 76417709 2781362 THE FORMS YOU NEED TODAY TO PROTECT YOUR TOMORROWSTSDRDEAD
44 76417708 PROTECTION PORTFOLIOTSDRDEAD
45 76414966 SUZE SAYSTSDRDEAD
46 76290262 2769811 SUZE'S CHOICETSDRDEAD
47 75612268 2542073 SUZE ORMANTSDRLIVE
48 75879603 2601884 ASK SUZETSDRDEAD
Somebody's been a busy little beaver at the Patent & Trademark Office!

          Research Management Tools | Monitor your Business Status   
Either you are a small or large business firm it will effective exploiting Research Management Tools built by Analec, the ranked one platform worldwi

          #4: Windows 10 Edition Famille – Système d’exploitation 32/64bits – Version complète   
Windows 10
Windows 10 Edition Famille – Système d’exploitation 32/64bits – Version complète
de Microsoft Software
Plate-forme: Windows 7 / 8
(76)

Acheter neuf : EUR 134,99 EUR 104,99
20 neuf & d'occasion à partir de EUR 79,90

(Consultez la liste Meilleures ventes Logiciels pour des informations officielles sur le classement actuel de ce produit.)
          Automation Manager (Automation, Cloud, Data Analyst, ITIL) - Cloud Del / HM Revenue and Customs / Telford, Shropshire, United Kingdom   
HM Revenue and Customs/Telford, Shropshire, United Kingdom

Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL) - Cloud Delivery Group

Salary: Competitive

Location: Telford

With 60000+ staff and 50m customers HMRC is one of the biggest organisations in the UK, running the largest digital operation in Government and one of the biggest IT estates in Europe. We have six modern, state-of-the-art digital delivery centres where multiple cross functional agile teams thrive in one of the most dynamic and innovative environments in the UK. We are expanding our Cloud Delivery Group and are recruiting into a number of posts within the Revenue & Customs Digital Technology Service in Telford.

Background

This is an exciting opportunity to join HMRC's Cloud Delivery Group (CDG) where you will be working across one of the biggest IT estates in Europe and supporting a large scale and radical transformation that will have a profound impact for both the customers and the staff of HMRC. As part of the Development, Test and Operate (DTO) Directorate, the Cloud Development team is responsible for translating overarching IT strategy into the technical architecture for CDG. This is a unique opportunity for an experienced Technical Architect to work within HMRC's Cloud domain during a time of significant change and transformation as HMRC drives the focus of IT delivery away from product centric solutions and fully exploits the opportunities that Digital Services and Data Analytics can provide. This position will play a key role in supporting Delivery Groups with the creation and execution of technology roadmaps that will drive HMRC's hugely complex IT estate towards a smaller set of strategic systems whilst decommissioning a large proportion of the legacy.

Role Requirements for the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL) role

• The Cloud Automation and Orchestration team are responsible for developing and continually evolving a cloud brokerage framework enabling cloud offerings to be easily available and consumed by other teams within the IT department.

• The Cloud Automation and Orchestration team will also be responsible for developing Enterprise architecture templates (archetypes) via the Cloud Brokering platform to enable the standardisation of infrastructure design across HMRC.

We are therefore looking for a seasoned Lead Technical Manager with a hands on background in Hosting and Cloud technology. Candidates should have experience working on large enterprise estates designing and implementing Cloud automation tooling and processes as well as designing and developing templated Cloud environments.

This is a dynamic and changing environment and so we're looking for someone who's up for working in an ever changing technology landscape that is centred on Cloud.

Accountabilities of the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL):

• Managing a team, a IT specialist

• Manage the teams' personal development and training.

• Lead the development of new Cloud Brokering capabilities as defined by Product Owner.

• Manage the development and delivery of hosting templates archetypes (creation improvement and de-commission) using automation tooling such as Ansible and terraform.

• Ensure the suitable technical resources are available to deliver the automation of archetypes.

• Ensure the development of archetypes that deliver value for money.

• Ensure archetypes and associated assets conform to HMRC technical standards.

• Identify opportunities for continual optimisation of archetypes and make recommendations to the Product Owner.

Tasks of the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL):

• Lead the continual professional development of your team.

• Lead regular reviews of personnel performance.

• Lead continual service improvement in your area.

• Conduct knowledge transfer and mentoring of CDG staff.

• Ensure collaboration between Automation and Orchestration in delivery of Cloud archetypes.

• Maintain knowledge of the underpinning product and tooling roadmaps.

• Lead on the design and development of archetypes.

• Prioritise workload for archetype delivery.

• Lead on the compliance of HMRC technical and security standards within your area.

• Work closely with Cloud Broker Product Owner to ensure development activities are aligned with Cloud Broker operations and that new developments are transitioned appropriately.

• Engage in personal development to maintain and enhance knowledge.

• Deputise for Head of Cloud Development as required.

Essential Criteria for the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL)

You will need to demonstrate within your application the following essential experience -

• Working knowledge of Public Cloud offerings (AWS, Azure etc.) and building enterprise environments on them.

• Working knowledge of the following tools: Puppet, Ansible, Jenkins, and Terraform.

• A good understanding or working knowledge of Container technologies such as Docker

• A good understanding or working knowledge of Cloud Brokering technology and tools.

• Demonstrate an ability to communicate across IT disciplines to get the best solution and ensure nothing gets overlooked that could jeopardise performance or the integrity of the existing IT estate.

• Proven experience in developing Technical Capability within an organisation. Including empowering, supporting and developing staff to achieve the highest performance standards.

• Able to work effectively in pressurised situations and can be relied upon to deliver, irrespective of circumstances.

• Able to work in highly ambiguous situations and without supervision

• The successful applicant for this role will need to be eligible for and willing to undergo SC clearance following appointment in to the post.

Desirable Experience for the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL) role

• Experience of working in an agile environment and experience with agile methodologies such as TDD, Scrum, Kanban.

• Experience or awareness of ITIL ways of working

Key leadership behaviours of the Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL):

• Changing and Improving

• Leading and Communicating

• Delivering at Pace

• Delivering Value for Money

To apply for the role of Cloud Automation and Orchestration Manager (Automation, Manager, Data Analyst, ITIL), please click the 'apply now button'.

Employment Type: Permanent

Pay: 58,187 to 64,312 GBP (British Pound)
Pay Period: Annual
Other Pay Info: £58,187 - £64,312

Apply To Job
          Systems Engineer (Cloud, ITIL, AWS, Linux) / HM Revenue and Customs / Telford, Shropshire, United Kingdom   
HM Revenue and Customs/Telford, Shropshire, United Kingdom

Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux) - Cloud Delivery Group

Salary: Competitive

Location: Telford

With 60000+ staff and 50m customers HMRC is one of the biggest organisations in the UK, running the largest digital operation in Government and one of the biggest IT estates in Europe. We have six modern, state-of-the-art digital delivery centres where multiple cross functional agile teams thrive in one of the most dynamic and innovative environments in the UK. We are expanding our Cloud Delivery Group and are recruiting into a number of posts within the Revenue & Customs Digital Technology Service in Telford.

Background

This is an exciting opportunity to join HMRC's Cloud Delivery Group (CDG) where you will be working across one of the biggest IT estates in Europe and supporting a large scale and radical transformation that will have a profound impact for both the customers and the staff of HMRC. As part of the Development, Test and Operate (DTO) Directorate, the Cloud Development team is responsible for translating overarching IT strategy into the technical architecture for CDG. This is a unique opportunity for an experienced Technical Architect to work within HMRC's Cloud domain during a time of significant change and transformation as HMRC drives the focus of IT delivery away from product centric solutions and fully exploits the opportunities that Digital Services and Data Analytics can provide. This position will play a key role in supporting Delivery Groups with the creation and execution of technology roadmaps that will drive HMRC's hugely complex IT estate towards a smaller set of strategic systems whilst decommissioning a large proportion of the legacy.

Role Requirements for the Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux)

The Cloud Systems Engineering team are responsible for the development of Cloud tooling and environments for the Cloud Delivery Group that make up service offerings consumed both internally (within the boundaries of CDG) and externally (service offerings made available to the rest of the IT Department). We are therefore looking for a seasoned Systems Engineer with a solid background in Hosting and Cloud technology. Candidates should have experience working on large enterprise estates designing and implementing physical and virtual infrastructure, associated management and deployment tooling.

This is a dynamic and changing environment and so we're looking for someone who's up for working in an ever changing technology landscape that is centred on Cloud.

Accountabilities of the Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux):

• Design and develop tooling, products and solutions for the Cloud Delivery Group at the direction of the Product Owners.

• Liaise with CTO and Product Owners to deliver engineering roadmaps showing key items such as upgrades, technical refreshes and new versions;

• Review and ensure conformance of tooling test plans to meet expected quality standards;

• Work as part of a technical team in a collaborative and innovative way, developing CDG products and services;

• Be accountable for personal development and training.

Tasks:

• Work with Senior Systems Engineer to develop tooling design.

• Develop knowledge of cloud provider roadmaps and maintain proficiency in industry technologies and trends.

• Implement new capabilities into the CDG offerings and service catalogues.

• Advise on engineering standards, procedures, methods, tools and techniques.

• Contribute to reviews and audits of projects from an engineering perspective.

• Contribute to the assessment and validation of engineering risk.

• Engage in knowledge transfer across CDG

• Engage in continuous improvement to improve CDG performance.

• Conduct personal professional development to keep up to date on new technologies.

Essential Criteria of the Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux) role

You will need to demonstrate within your application the following essential experience -

• A good understanding and working knowledge of Public Cloud offerings (AWS, Azure etc.).

• The ability to script and automate all activities in Hyperscale Cloud.

• Solid experience of working with Linux and Microsoft Server Operating Systems.

• Domain and Administration technologies (Active Directory) and designs.

• Backup, Anti-Virus, Monitoring (ELK, Splunk, Grafana etc.).

• Demonstrate an ability to communicate across IT disciplines to get the best solution and ensure nothing gets overlooked that could jeopardise performance or the integrity of the existing IT estate.

• Able to work effectively in pressurised situations and can be relied upon to deliver, irrespective of circumstances.

• Able to work in highly ambiguous situations and without supervision

• The successful applicant for this role will need to be eligible for and willing to undergo SC clearance following appointment in to the post.

Desirable Experience for the Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux)

• A good understanding or working knowledge of Container technologies such as Docker.

• A good understanding or working knowledge of the following tools: Puppet, Ansible, Jenkins, and Terraform.

• Experience of working in an agile environment and experience with agile methodologies such as TDD, Scrum, Kanban.

• Solid experience of developing DNS across Cloud providers.

• Backup, Anti-Virus, Monitoring (ELK, Splunk, Grafana etc.) specific to Hyperscale Cloud.

• Experience or awareness of ITIL ways of working.

Key leadership behaviours of the Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux)

• Changing and Improving

• Leading and Communicating

• Delivering at Pace

To apply for the role of Cloud Systems Engineer (Design, Developer, ITIL, AWS, Linux), please click apply now button.

Employment Type: Permanent

Pay: 49,875 to 55,125 GBP (British Pound)
Pay Period: Annual
Other Pay Info: £49,875 - £55,125

Apply To Job
          Parents shocked as North Carolina school cop arrested for kidnapping and raping student   
Bond has been set at 2.5 million dollars for a Durham North Carolina school resource officer accused of kidnapping a child and having sexual relations with her. Deputy Christopher Kelly, 40, was charged with, Statutory Sex Offense with a Child, First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Second Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, Indecent Liberties with a Child, Sex Acts with a Student, and Second Degree Kidnapping. He is currently being held for "safe keeping" in prison. Kelly, who was fired at the end of April as a result of the charges, was the school resource officer at Northern High School in Durham. "I think like anyone else he's nervous, he's scared and he's wanting to have his day in court," said Daniel Meier attorney for the former officer who was allegedly supposed to have been protecting the students from someone like himself. The teenage victim's father said Kelly approached him, and much like an Uncle/niece type of relationship wanted to mentor his daughter. "It seemed appropriate at the time," the father said discussing the relationship with reporters from Eyewitness News 11.
          PAYDAY 2: Crime Spree - New Modifiers, Rewards and more...   


The police will be stepping up its war on crime with new challenges for any heister that is trying to commit a Crime Spree in their city. Any heister that wish to claim the new rewards added to the cosmetic item pool will surely have a challenge ahead of themselves. There will be new abilities and buffs for existing enemies and even some new unit variants to be deployed against them.

The Spree system has also gotten a bit of an update. The initial buy-in cost is gone for a level 0 Crime Spree. That means you only need to pay when skipping levels in the Spree.

The modifier selector is also different with the new update. After the update there will be three modifier intervals to work with.

Loud Modifiers every 20th Crime Spree Level
Stealth Modifiers every 26th Crime Spree Level
Forced Loud Modifiers every 50th Crime Spree Level.

Stealth and Loud Modifiers will have the player choose from a set of old and new modifiers that will change the gameplay in different ways. Forced Modifiers will always increase the enemies health and damage and will be automatically applied to the Crime Spree when the appropriate level is reached.

The heist selector will no longer be divided in long, medium and short heists like before. The choice will now be stealth, short or long heists. The stealth heist may be long or short.

Attention:
When downloading this update your current Crime Spree will disappear, we highly recommend claiming your rewards before downloading the update. Any unclaimed rewards will be lost when the update is installed.



Now it’s time for some good old fashioned lawbreaking.
OVERKILL_Tobias
OVERKILL - a Starbreeze Studio.


Update size: 129.1MB

The Desync Beta will be deactivated until we release a new beta update.

General
  • Made a slight visual update to Jacket
  • Fixed so that items will show their DLC lock again instead of "Ultimate Edition"
  • Players can no longer be downed while in casing mode
  • Fixed some advanced video options not resetting when defaulting video options
  • Players can no longer select "loud" tactic on stealth only heists like The Yacht Heist
  • Fixed players being refunded cash when default weapon parts were removed from their weapons during weapon validation
  • "Fixed some visual issues with the Beanies masks on lobby characters
  • Fixed an issue where Continental Coins on the end of heist screen wouldn't use thousand separators correctly while counting
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when switching profiles fast in the inventory

Levels
Aftershock
  • Fixed a portal issue
  • Fixed some floating graffiti
  • Fixed enemies running through the wall before you blow it up
  • Fixed a spot where the truck could get stuck
  • Moved a tent so that the player can't get stuck behind it
Biker Heist
  • Fixed host players being able to give the Mechanic the chrome skull, soda, or tools, even if somebody else was holding it
Diamond Store
  • Fixed so that cops can no longer shoot you through the wall in the alley
Election Day
  • The player can no longer grab the drill from another room in Breaking Ballot
  • Fixed some floating objects in Breaking Ballot
  • There are no longer 2 escape zones at the end of Breaking Ballot
  • Players can no longer get stuck between desk and chair behind the voting machines on Breaking Ballot
Framing Frame
  • Fixed so that the player can not throw a bag where he can't reach it
Goat Simulator
  • Fixed a crash when kickstarting the saw on day 1
Golden Grin Casino
  • Fixed so that there is cash in the vault on Mayhem and One Down
Hoxton Breakout
    Fixed a crash if Hoxton was on the bridge when it was blown up on day 2
New Safe House
  • Fixed so that the Goat trophy does not appear until you finish the trophy
  • Fixed a blue box in Scarface room on Tier 1
  • Fixed a sniper that would not shoot at the player during a raid
  • Fixed a lamp that was clipping with the wall in Scarface room
  • Fixed some floating money in Scarface room on Tier 2
  • Fixed so that players can no longer throw bags up on the roof
  • Fixed so that the butler no longer gets stuck
  • Fixed an issue where Dragan’s hands were clipping with the floor when he was doing push ups
  • Fixed so that Bonnie is no longer floating when she is next to the roulette wheel
  • Fixed a hole in wall between Sokol and Bodhi's rooms
Panic Room
  • Fixed an issue where one sniper could end up in a position where the player could not kill him
Scarface Mansion
  • Fixed a portal issue inside of the mansion
  • Fixed the HP of the Scarface boss
The Diamond
  • Fixed an exploit where 3 players could stand in one spot and let 1 player do the objectives without enemies
  • Fixed a floating camera

Skills
  • Fix incorrect ammo & stability values with akimbo skill and hitman perk deck

Skins
  • Fixed the icon for the "Spacegoat" skin for the Kross Vertex
  • Fixed an issue with the Santa's Helper skin on the Lebensauger
  • Fixed both barrels and the extra mag for Barbwire skin for Chimano 88 Pistol
  • Fixed so that the Donald compensator changes color depending on the skin being used
  • Fixed some issues with the color of the Flying Pelican Skin

Weapons
  • Fixed an issue with the RPG rockets sometimes not being accurate for clients

          ENQUÊTE: PROCÈS SUR BIEN MAL ACQUIS: L'ONG SHERPA, N'EST PAS CE QUE LES "PANAFRICANISTES" NOUS FONT CROIRE. vient de traduire en justice, une des grandes Banques françaises. Voici pourquoi?   
https://www.espacemanager.com/sites/default/files/field/image/bien-mal-acquis.jpg 
SHERPA, N'EST PAS CE QUE LES "PANAFRICANISTES" NOUS FONT CROIRE.
SHERPA, association luttant contre les crimes économiques, vient de traduire en justice, une des grandes banques françaises, pour complicité de génocide au Rwanda. Cette banque aurait, pendant le génocide contre les tutsi, financé les achats d'armes qui ont permis de massacrer les Tutsi et les Hutu modérés, alors que le Rwanda fût en ce temps là sous embargo
C'est le lieu d'envoyer un camouflet à ceux qui intoxiquent les africains, que cette ONG, qui fait saisir les Biens de certains dirigeants africains seraient le bras armé de l'Etat français. Ces manipulateurs des consciences, oublient de dire, que SHERPA a plus de dossiers contre la France que ceux des africains. Quelques exemples :
SHERPA poursuit Sarkozy pour financement illicite venant de Lybie .
SHERPA poursuit TOTAL, pour des malversations financières en Birmanie.
SHERPA poursuit Bollore pour exploitation des ouvriers au Cameroun.
SHERPA poursuit le cimentier LAFARGE, pour financement de terrorisme en Syrie. ....etc.
Organiser les tables rondes rien que pour faire croire que C est l'Etat Français qui veut nuire à Obiang, Bongo, et Sassou, relève d'une malhonnête intellectuelle.
Par  Jules Marie Kemajou



          Facebook passe la barre des deux milliards d’utilisateurs   
Mark Zuckerberg a fondé Facebook en 2004.
Le plus grand réseau social du monde a atteint mardi un nombre inégalé d’utilisateurs actifs par mois. En France, les chiffres les plus récents font état de 33 millions d’utilisateurs actifs par mois.

Deux milliards : c’est le nombre d’utilisateurs actifs que revendique, mardi 27 juin, Facebook. Un chiffre astronomique, comparé à la population mondiale, évaluée à 7,4 milliards de personnes. Concrètement, un utilisateur actif est un utilisateur qui se connecte au moins une fois par mois sur le plus grand réseau social du monde, lancé en 2004 par un étudiant d’Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg. En France, les chiffres les plus récents, datant du mois dernier, font état de 33 millions d’utilisateurs actifs par mois, 25 millions par jour.

Conçu comme un réseau social pour les étudiants de Harvard, « The Facebook » – comme il s’appelait initialement – s’est rapidement étendu à d’autres universités, atteignant un million d’utilisateurs l’année même de sa création. Deux ans plus tard, Facebook, qui a abandonné son « The », est rendu accessible à tous les internautes, le début d’une expansion phénoménale : en 2010, le réseau social compte 500 millions d’utilisateurs, avant de passer la barre du milliard d’utilisateurs en 2012.
Le site multiplie les innovations qui feront son succès : introduction du « poke », qui permet de faire signe à un ami, du « mur », qui permet de suivre l’actualité de ses contacts, du « like », qui permet de marquer son intérêt pour une publication. Au point d’être devenu un symbole célèbre tout autour du monde.

Le cinquième homme le plus riche au monde

Alors que le nombre d’utilisateurs grandit, l’entreprise également : introduite en Bourse en 2012, elle compte aujourd’hui plus de 18 000 employés avec des bureaux dans une cinquantaine de villes à travers le monde. C’est que Facebook n’est plus uniquement Facebook : au fil des années, l’entreprise a absorbé d’autres entreprises et services, comme l’application Instagram, la messagerie WhatsApp ou encore Oculus, à l’origine du casque de réalité virtuelle Rift. Facebook rachète et copie les innovations des autres services à succès : la vidéo en direct de Periscope, par exemple, les hashtags de Twitter ou encore les fonctionnalités de l’application Snapchat, très prisée des adolescents.
Il n’est donc pas étonnant qu’en treize ans d’existence Facebook ait fait la fortune de son fondateur, Mark Zuckerberg, devenu le cinquième homme le plus riche du monde, à seulement 33 ans, selon le dernier classement Forbes. Certains observateurs le soupçonnent même d’ambitions politiques, l’homme se positionnant publiquement de plus en plus régulièrement sur de grands sujets de société.
Petit à petit, le service s’est imposé dans le quotidien de 2 milliards d’utilisateurs, au point de devenir un acteur de la société dont l’influence surprend et inquiète parfois. C’est vers Facebook que les internautes se tournent désormais pour donner de leurs nouvelles, discuter avec leurs proches, s’informer, organiser leurs soirées, mais aussi signaler qu’ils sont bien en vie, depuis la vague d’attentats qui frappe les pays occidentaux.

Une image sérieusement écornée

Le tout en produisant chaque mois des milliards de données personnelles : textes, photos, vidéos, « likes », qui sont collectés, analysés et exploités par le réseau social pour mieux vendre de la publicité et se monétiser. Ce qui a commencé à susciter des inquiétudes parmi les utilisateurs, et des réticences parmi ceux qui se refusent toujours à s’inscrire sur le réseau social, le jugeant trop instrusif. Facebook a d’ailleurs été épinglé à plusieurs reprises par les autorités de protection des données personnelles, comme la CNIL française, pour avoir enfreint certaines règles en la matière.
Mais le réseau social doit affronter depuis plusieurs mois d’autres critiques, encore plus féroces, venant à la fois des utilisateurs et des Etats. L’image du sympathique réseau social a été sérieusement écornée par la prolifération de contenus de propagande terroriste sur la plateforme. Malgré sa politique de modération – ces contenus sont interdits, et si les internautes les signalent, Facebook promet de les supprimer – de nombreuses publications de toute évidence illicites ne sont jamais censurées, ou tardent à l’être.
Plusieurs gouvernements, notamment en France, en Allemagne et au Royaume-Uni, ont fini par hausser le ton, menaçant parfois de légiférer afin de pouvoir infliger de lourdes sanctions en cas de modération trop laxiste. La difficile question de la modération s’est aussi compliquée avec l’introduction des vidéos en direct, qui ont parfois servi à montrer des meurtres ou des suicides, sans que Facebook n’intervienne.
L’entreprise a aussi été attaqué de toute parts aprè la victoire de Donald Trump : des fausses informations circulant sur le réseau social, dévalorisant son adversaire, y ont été partagées des centaines de millions de fois. Alors que l’influence du réseau social n’a jamais été aussi grande, elle semble parfois lui échapper. Aujourd’hui, Facebook doit plus que jamais faire face à ses responsabilités.

Source: lemonde.fr


          Atiwa Bauxite Can Be Explored Without Harming Birim – Osafo Maafo   
The Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo, has downplayed degradation concerns with the Atiwa rainforest reserve in Kyebi, stemming from Ghana's decision to leverage bauxite deposits on a deal with China, that could see $15 billion pumped into the economy. Critics have warned that the deal to exploit the about-$460 billion worth of bauxite in the are ...
          Akufo-Addo Congratulates Prempeh College On 2017 NSMQ Exploits   
President Nana Akufo-Addo has congratulated Prempeh College on winning the 2017 National Science and Maths Quiz competition. In an Instagram post Friday, the President said the now four-time champions were always favourites to win the trophy contested by 135 senior high schools across the country. Prempeh College survived a late scare from St ...
          Albi. Guy Mercadier réussit son pari et franchit le Cap nord en catamaran sans assistance   
Il a réussi son pari. Guy Mercadier, aventurier albigeois, amoureux de la mer, a réussi à franchir le Cap nord en catamaran et en solitaire. Un exploit réalisé jeudi vers 20 h 30.Le navigateur nous a envoyé un message pour raconter son exploit réalisé sans assistance dans des conditions périlleuses.« A 20 h 30, j’ai franchi le Cap nord sur mon catamaran. En solitaire et sans assistance. En mer de Barents, depuis 10 jours que j’attendais,...
          Quantifying the Interaction and Contribution of Multiple Datasets in Fusion: Application to the Detection of Schizophrenia   
The extraction of information from multiple sets of data is a problem inherent to many disciplines. This is possible by either analyzing the data sets jointly as in data fusion or separately and then combining as in data integration. However, selecting the optimal method to combine and analyze multiset data is an ever-present challenge. The primary reason for this is the difficulty in determining the optimal contribution of each data set to an analysis as well as the amount of potentially exploitable complementary information among data sets. In this paper, we propose a novel classification rate-based technique to unambiguously quantify the contribution of each data set to a fusion result as well as facilitate direct comparisons of fusion methods on real data and apply a new method, independent vector analysis (IVA), to multiset fusion. This classification rate-based technique is used on functional magnetic resonance imaging data collected from 121 patients with schizophrenia and 150 healthy controls during the performance of three tasks. Through this application, we find that though optimal performance is achieved by exploiting all tasks, each task does not contribute equally to the result and this framework enables effective quantification of the value added by each task. Our results also demonstrate that data fusion methods are more powerful than data integration methods, with the former achieving a classification rate of 73.5 % and the latter achieving one of 70.9 %, a difference which we show is significant when all three tasks are analyzed together. Finally, we show that IVA, due to its flexibility, has equivalent or superior performance compared with the popular data fusion method, joint independent component analysis.
          Inhumans Movie / Show - News, Casting, Speculations, and Rumors   





Marvel Studios /TV has announced that Inhumans will be a new show appearing on ABC and will premiere in fall of 2017.  The series first 2 episodes will be shot in Imax Cameras and will debut in movie theaters across the country.


Trailer 1:
There are still a few things that worry me about this.  However they do look better in motion.  I am not seeing much use of Powers either and I think that would be something you would sneak into the trailer.  I also think they need address why Blackbolt can't speak.  Yes, many of Toylab's readers are experts on Blackbolt but he is still pretty unknown outside of Marvel fanboys.


Synopsis:
The Inhuman Royal Family remains isolated in their amazing technological city of Attilan.  Attilan is capable of flying and has remained hidden from human eyes by resting on the Moon.  The powerful and silent ruler of the Inhumans Black Bolt is challenged by his brother Maximus.  Maximus wants the Inhumans to go to Earth and take their rightful place as its rulers.  When denied by Blackbolt, Maximus leads a coup that sees Black Bolt and a close group of followers hiding on Earth where they find a new purpose.


Cast and Characters




Background:
The series will not focus on the Inhuman characters in Agents of SHIELD (Though it would not surprise me if they appeared).  Instead the show will focus on the classic Inhuman characters of the Inhuman Royal Family.  The show will be set in the modern day and will be set both on Earth and the Moon.  The addition of the Moon as a set means that Attilan and the Blue Side of the Moon will very likely be a setting for the show.

The show / film showing with Imax will be the first time that a show and Imax have joined in such away.  The Marvel press release as posted on Marvel.com states:

ABC, IMAX and Marvel Television also intend to work together to create a joint marketing and promotion plan for the series across their proprietary media platforms--which would be the first such cross-platform marketing launch of a television series. Today’s agreement also marks IMAX’s first time as a financing participant in a TV pilot and series.

Major news in the Marvel press release was on the focus of the series:
Marvel’s "The Inhumans" will explore the never-before-told epic adventure of Black Bolt and the royal family.
This should mean that all of the Inhuman characters will be on the table for Agents of SHIELD and this new Inhumans show.

I think it is safe to say that Inhuman's film has officially been canceled and this show is a replacement to tell some of the same story that was planned for the film.  There has been speculation building for years on what Marvel will end up doing with the Inhumans and now we finally know.

What do you think?  Are you excited?  Disappointed?  Please let me know.

Pictures
The first picture of the Cast was released fans noticed that Black Bolt did not have his mask which is his iconic look.  A user of ComicBookMovie.com named Seon.  Created this edited version of the picture.  I think this looks so much better and there is not reason why Marvel vs ABC could do something similar.





Teaser Video:
First teaser does not show any characters but we do hear the voices and learn about the issues that the group will face.  It sounds like some of the series Inhuman (After terregenisis cloud) storylines could be mined here.  Though it will be different because Blackbolt left the Royal Family during that storyline and here he is very much in place as the ruler of the group.
The voices in the narration are one male and one female.  The male is certainly Maximus the Mad as seems to be plotting the overthrow of his brother and calls for the Freedom of all Inhumans.  He talking to a female who says what he is saying is treason.  I doubt that is Medusa, my guess is that it is Crystal.
Overall really like this teaser, its very short but sets the mood.  Really wish they had just gone this route instead of the stiff looking Entertainment Weekly shoot.



Pictures and Posters from Series:





Actual Casting Call Notes for Inhumans:
http://x.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/mg/d/30/522658e603080/standard_fantastic.jpg
From the Hashtag show the Casting notes for the Inhumans has been released.  Keep in mind that the names for the characters coded.  However, if you know anything about the Inhumans its pretty easy to decode.

Source: The Hash Tag Show

It generally looks like they will be sticking to the classic looks of the characters:  Toylab Bloggers added the suspected character names to the character descriptions so that those are not official.

Black Bolt

Broderick: Male. 30-40. Caucasian. Can say volumes with just a look. Strong, thoughtful and private, he’s unaccustomed to being questioned or feeling a need to answer to anyone, to an extent that can verge on arrogance. Series regular.


Medusa:

Marjorie: Female. 30-40. Caucasian. An elegant and intelligent advisor to her husband, she struggles to find her place outside of their relationship, as others tend to view her as just a pretty face. Strong and resourceful, she’s not afraid to break the rules when the situation demands it. Series regular.


Maximus the Mad:

Marty: 30-40. Caucasian. Broderick’s younger brother; he is intelligent, charming, and articulate. He comes across as a man of the people but secretly covets power. Series regular.


Karnak:

Kevin: Male. 30-40. Open. Slight of build, his mind is his greatest asset. Always prepared with a plan, his outlook on life is the glass is always half-empty and often cracked and dirty as well. Though his outlook can be grim, he has a droll, dry sense of humor. Series regular.

Gorgon:

Grady: Male. 25-35. Open. Impetuous and brash, he has serious impulse control issues which frequently get him into trouble whether its women, booze, or fighting. He loves life and lives in the moment for better or worse. Series regular.

Crystal:

Christine: Female. 18-25 to play 18. Caucasian. Soulful but still learning the ways of the world, she has the arrogance of youth. Impetuous and independent she is also deeply devoted to her family. Series regular.

Triton:

Timothy: Male. 25-35. Open. SFXMU required. Supremely athletic. The ultimate picture of cool. He’s calm under pressure and willing to do anything to get the job done.



Sir Kent's thoughts on the Inhumans
Thoughts on the Inhuman Show and Casting from our infamous Guest Blogger Sir Kent!

#SIRKENTSAID #TOYLAB #THEINHUMANS

The Internet and comic geeks alike were all abuzz this week over the MOSTLY confirmed news that MARVEL is planning a GARGANTUAN (LOVE using such words) and ambitious introduction for a group that had been first reported to be D.O.A. The news of THE INHUMANS FINALLY getting not only a big screen, I-Max only treatment but, being tied into a T.V. series was not only enough to make me fuck a duck but about as overdue as this month's Netflix membership is from me (Don't worry bitches, I’ll get to you!). Speaking of ducks, a very brief history of The Inhumans. They were created by way back in 1965. Until recently, they never really had a long running comic of their own. They just kinda showed up at major events throughout Marvel history and much like the Terrigen Mist that gives them their powers, disappeared again. They were originally genetically enhanced humans that had been experimented upon by an alien race called The Kree.

(If you don't know who they are, you ain't a fan! And SHAME ON YOU!) The Kree created the Terrigen Crystals as a way to not only bring out and modify any hidden ability each person may have had but, the ultimate goal was to have them blend into different races throughout the galaxy and wait for orders to try and take over. Which explains their unique and individual appearance. I could go on and on because of their sudden resurgence of popularity thanks to A.O.S. (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

But I will spare you that because the BIGGEST question of the week is HOW IS THIS GOING TO WORK??? Marvel...by the way BRA-F'BEEP'IN’-VO MARVEL! This is an endeavor that has NEVER been done before and if executed correctly, could spell a new way of movies and T.V. for years to come. Marvels plan is to have The Inhumans have a big screen run only only I-Max or I-Max 3-D screens. THEN spin that into a T.V. series.

This is simply GENIUS and ballsy thinking but, the story, the writing and the casting has got to be about as balls on as it was for DEADPOOL! Which brings me to the gist (Dirty but proper English term! Ya GOTTA love those, don't you?) WHO WILL PLAY THE ROYAL FAMILY??? This in it of itself is a HUGE problem because you have a bunch of start who think they are “TOO GOOD” to appear on the small screen! I said it once before and I’ll say it again.

If the great Samuel muthuf'BEEPin’ Jackson can appear TWICE on A.O.S. then NONE of you muthuf'BEEPa’s have an excuse! Except for being dick’s...thats always an excuse. Here is what I'm thinking should be the short list of consideration for the key members of The Royal Family (Of Inhumans. Not THAT Royal Family. DIPSH'BEEP!)

For the role of KING BLACKBOLT the first that comes to mind would be Vin Diesel BUT that dumbfuck probably would be one of those dicks that wouldn't do T.V.! I could see that so my next choice would be
Jessie Williams of GREY’s ANATOMY fame. Just because, physically, he fits the role to a t. It adds a certain level of color so that this won't turn into FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. (Or as I call it, The Oscars all over again! HAH! Could there BE a cast anymore white? Oh wait...trump. I’m sad again)

Photo:

My choice to play CRYSTAL would be Gillian Jacobs of COMMUNITY fame because HELLO. I mean LOOK AT HER! SHE IS CRYSTAL! Put her in something skin tight, add special effects and BOOM!


Photo:

My choice for QUEEN MEDUSA would be Christina Hendricks of
BAD SANTA 2 and MAD MEN. Tits, ass and red hair. Need I say more?

Photo:

An obvious choice to stay on that “Not too white” line of thinking is my boy KARNAK. Interesting note about Karnak. He wasn't introduced to the terrigen gas like everybody else. His mother wanted him to build his abilities naturally. So she sent him away to a monastery where he mastered his sensory abilities and martial arts prowess. Now, he can see weakness and flaws in anything and exploit it with his skills.

He is a natural tactician as well. My choice to play him could only be
Daniel Wu of INTO THE BADLANDS fame. If you ain't checked out this
A & E series, you really need to.

Photo: Daniel Wu as Sunny - Into the Badlands _ Season 1, Gallery - Photo Credit: James Minchin III/AMC

An easy pick for GORGON who is arguably the second strongest of the group would have to be Jason Momoa of STARGATE ATLANTIS and JUSTICE LEAGUE fame. He would play the shit of of a guy who could cause seismic tremors with his cloven hooves.

Photo:

So there you have it. There is my bright ideas for who would fill out this cast well and hopefully wouldn't act like a bunch of dicks making the transition from the big screen to T.V. What do you think?



Inhuman's Shop
Toylab is a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program and is able to bring our fans the best deals on Inhuman Merchandise directly from Amazon.





Here is the information on the prior Inhuman Movie.


Inhumans Movie - News, Casting, Speculations, and Rumors

Scheduled Release date:  Nov 2nd, 2018

Description:
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was quoted saying this about the movie:
“November 3, 2018 will introduce dozens of characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe," ... "We really do believe the Inhumans can be a franchise or a series of franchise unto themselves. They have dozens of powers and an amazing social structure. With our 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we wanted to continue to refine what that universe is about."
Source Marvel.com 

Inhumanslogo
Update Oct 9, 2015:
No More Inhumans Movie?

There is a rumor circulating NYCC and has been reported by Bleedingcool news that the Inhumans film may no longer be on Marvel's slate.
Some speculate that has to do with a disagreement between Marvel's film and TV divisions.  Others conclude that this means that Marvel may be working on a deal with Fox to bring over the X-Men franchise.
For the moment this is all very much rumor and speculation.  Bleedingcool does insist though that it has reliable sources to this rumor.
It would be unclear if true what this would mean for the plot of Agents of SHIELD.  Agents of SHIELD has built up the ideas of Inhumans for the past 3 years.  Would this give the show free reign introduce the Royal Family or does it put their future seasons in a quagmire?

Update: Oct 12, 2015
Devin Faraci addressed the rumor circulating from the BleedingCoolNews article.  According to him there is no delay or cancelation of the Inhuman film.

He also questioned Bleedingcool's claims on the Iron Fist TV show:


Want to learn more about the Inhumans?  Go to:
Inhumans CheatSheet for Agents of SHIELD fans

Current Marvel Logo for the Inhumans movie

News:
Will Vin Diesel be Blackbolt?

Agents of SHIELD build up of Inhumans 
Inhumans CheatSheet for Agents of SHIELD fans
Is Skye an Inhuman?
Skye's Full Origin by Toylab 
Inhuman #8 why did Marvel double orders? 
Hunting for the Mysterious City in Agents of SHIELD
Who are Skye's parents? 
Did Agents of SHIELD jus introduce Skye's Mom?
Is Skye's Father Maximus the Mad?

Characters:
Who are the Inhumans?
Who is Blackbolt? Why is he so powerful?
Who is Maximus the Mad? 
Who is Medusa?
Who is Karnak?
Who is Crystal?
Who is Triton? 
Who is Gorgon?

Important Places: 
What is Attilan? 
What is the Temple of Randac? 

Ancient Inhumans
Who is King Randac?

Nova Worldmind - Cosmic Races and Cosmic Map
          Can the Linux Stack Clash Vulnerability Affect Containers?   
The recently discovered ‘Stack Clash’ vulnerability in Linux-based systems is another critical security issue like Dirty Cow, but can the stack clash vulnerability affect containers, and what could an attacker do? The short answer is yes, an attacker could exploit the vulnerability to gain root privileges within a container, but not necessarily be able to […]
          Comment on Abolish Wage Labor by 2027: Is such a movement possible? by Jehu   
<strong><blockquote>- Communism arises as the working class is no longer able to provide its labor to the exploiters</blockquote></strong> I have never heard this particular formulation before. Perhaps you can rephrase it. <strong><blockquote>Communists believe this occurs when a vanguard party seizes the government and governs benevolently, legally prohibiting exploitation of the workers and thereby destroying the profits and power of the ruling class.</blockquote></strong> Anarchists are communists also. They believe nothing like this. Moreover many Marxists do not subscribe to the idea of a vanguard. Finally, even Leninists do not believe that a vanguard seizes the government and governs benevolently. You may want to find out what communists actually believe before you go criticizing my views. <strong><blockquote>Jehu believes this occurs as an advanced technological economy renders labour superfluous.</blockquote></strong> Partially correct. Jehu believes that eventually <strong>capital</strong> renders labor superfluous to the production <strong>of material wealth</strong> <strong><blockquote>If black people are no longer at the back of the bus, it is only because it was politically feasible. Unless you have a different reading on the civil rights movement.</blockquote></strong> Your understanding of what is meant by the term 'politically feasible' is flawed. Certainly you will concede that the end of segregation could not have been obtained at the ballot box in 1957. The same is true for the abolition of wage slavery today. <strong><blockquote>How else does one abolish the state except through a political movement. Otherwise, the state will collapse when it is no longer even able to sustain control over production and wage labor.</blockquote></strong> One abolishes the state through a direct action movement on the part of the working class to limit its hours of labor until the surplus value necessary to finance the state is no longer being produced. <strong><blockquote>Your citation of Dr. King on the topic direct-action and demanding freedom from an oppressor who never surrenders it voluntarily, can not but be described as examples of political vanguard movement.</blockquote> </strong> It was not a political movement. Rather, it was a classical example of a direct action movement by the working class to put an end to its servitude. Most notably, this took the form of hundreds of rebellions by the black working class in cities across the United States. <strong><blockquote>I am interested in why you seem to suddenly be impatient that Corbynism or Sanders socialism is a kind of redirection of energies that could be better put to use ending labour entirely. When it is clear that there is no political solution, why are you only demanding political thinking from your fellow socialists out there, in la-la land, who never read Capital and like to go to marches demanding things.</blockquote></strong> I am not "suddenly" interested in criticizing SocDems. I have been following and critiquing them at least since SYRIZA became visible. Further, I am not demanding political thinking. I am instead demanding direct action from communists for the explicit purpose of putting an end to wage slavery by our own independent direct action.
          Comment on Abolish Wage Labor by 2027: Is such a movement possible? by intersectional   
- Communism arises as the working class is no longer able to provide its labor to the exploiters Communists believe this occurs when a vanguard party seizes the government and governs benevolently, legally prohibiting exploitation of the workers and thereby destroying the profits and power of the ruling class. Jehu believes this occurs as an advanced technological economy renders labour superfluous. "Second, there is the objection that the idea is not politically feasible. This would be a reasonable objection if we were running for office, but we are not. Why would communists care that abolition of wage labor is not politically feasible? [...] To give an analogy, if we based our positions on what is politically popular, black people would still be sitting in the back of buses. " If black people are no longer at the back of the bus, it is only because it was politically feasible. Unless you have a different reading on the civil rights movement. "Absent this sustained and aggressive intervention by states wage labor would collapse right now." How else does one abolish the state except through a political movement. Otherwise, the state will collapse when it is no longer even able to sustain control over production and wage labor. Your citation of Dr. King on the topic direct-action and demanding freedom from an oppressor who never surrenders it voluntarily, can not but be described as examples of political vanguard movement. Although you may be correct that wage labour is already obsolete, that the state sustains it through fiat money and that a political sea change is immidiately possible, your usual critique focuses on problematizing the welfare-state version of socialism sold by contemporary socialists and allies and on the technological change that is proving their strategies obsolete. I am interested in why you seem to suddenly be impatient that Corbynism or Sanders socialism is a kind of redirection of energies that could be better put to use ending labour entirely. When it is clear that there is no political solution, why are you only demanding political thinking from your fellow socialists out there, in la-la land, who never read Capital and like to go to marches demanding things.
          Cross Tidal Kites   
Tidal energy is an enormous sustainable resource. The challenge is to harvest this energy. It is offshore, which makes it one of the harshest environments. It needs large investments. It bears significant risks.  The company Minesto from Gothenburg in Sweden has developed a new green technology to exploit this energy in places where conventional techniques […]
          How To Know What You're Talking About, 101   
To the critics of our First Lady (many of whom are uninformed and capricious). Here are a few things you ought to know:
She's the first foreign-born First Lady since John Quincy Adams's wife, Louisa Adams; the only First Lady to be born and raised in a communist country. Most likely, as the Washington Post put it, the most "linguistically gifted" first lady (she is fluent in four languages).
Focused and hard-working from the start, she became a successful model at age five and did her first commercial at 16. She has co-hosted The View with Barbara Walters and is also active in philanthropy and has been a Goodwill Ambassador for the American Red Cross and an active member of the Police Athletic League (PAL).
She's been featured in the pages of Allure, Self, Vanity Fair, ELLE, and more. 
Do you know what it takes to be successful in such endeavors? It's grueling work. Very few make it to the top. VERY few.
"She's not gossipy at all, not bitchy and just really nice, though I know that's not exciting to hear," said Robert Janjigian, fashion editor for The Palm Beach Daily News. And the famous photographer Harry Benson says of Melania: "She is a very quiet and nice person"
"She's a really nice person and a fabulous mother," said Terry Allen Kramer, the Palm Beach socialite and veteran Broadway producer, echoing a point reiterated by many who know Melania.
She's known to have her own mind about things and doesn't hesitate to correct the President or steer him in the right direction. Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone said, “She’s very private and she’s very smart. Anyone who thinks she’s a mannequin doesn’t get it. She has excellent instincts into who is trying to exploit their influence with [the President]."
Kind. Focused. Self-assured. Hard-working. Gracious. Beautiful. Worldly. Smart.
A successful professional and savvy, well-informed person in her own right. A fine wife and exceptionally devoted mother.
I think she's a WONDERFUL First Lady. 
Wonderful!

          La jeunesse africaine, un atout démographique à exploiter (PAPIER GENERAL)   
Le premier forum panafricain de la jeunesse, qui se tient dans la capitale tchadienne sous l'égide de l'Union africaine, planche sur les problèmes de la jeunesse du continent qui constitue un dividende démographique dont il faut tirer véritablement profit.
          Top 10 discoveries about waves    

Gravitational radiation reminds science of its debts to the physics of waves

Context
surfer on a wave

CATCH A WAVE Physicists are the surfers of science, with a long history of fascination with waves.

Physics fans are a lot like surfers. Both think waves are really fun.

For surfers, it’s all about having a good time. For physicists, it’s about understanding some of nature’s most important physical phenomena. Yet another detection of gravitational waves, announced June 1, further reinvigorates the world’s science fans’ excitement over waves.

Waves have naturally always been a topic of scientific and mathematical interest. They play a part in an enormous range of physical processes, from heat and light to radio and TV, sonograms and music, earthquakes and holograms. (Waves used to even be a common sight in baseball stadiums, but fans got tired of standing up and down and it was really annoying anyway.)

Many of science’s greatest achievements have been discoveries of new kinds of waves or new insights into wave motion. Identifying just the Top 10 such discoveries (or ideas) is therefore difficult and bound to elicit critical comments from cult members of particular secret wave societies. So remember, if your favorite wave isn’t on this list, it would have been No. 11.

10.  Thomas Young: Light is a wave.

In the opening years of the 19th century, the English physician Young tackled a long-running controversy about the nature of light. A century earlier, Isaac Newton had argued forcibly for the view that light consisted of (very small) particles. Newton’s contemporary Christiaan Huygens strongly disagreed, insisting that light traveled through space as a wave.

Through a series of clever experiments, Young demonstrated strong evidence for waves. Poking two tiny holes in a thick sheet of paper, Young saw that light passing through created alternating bands of light and darkness on a surface placed on the other side of the paper. That was just as expected if light passing through the two holes interfered just as water waves do, canceling out when crest met trough or enhancing when crests met “in phase.” Young did not work out his wave theory with mathematical rigor and so Newton’s defenders resisted, attempting to explain away Young’s results.

But soon Augustin Jean Fresnel in France worked out the math of light waves in detail. And in 1850, when Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault showed that light travels faster in air than water, the staunchest Newton fans had to capitulate. Newton himself would have acknowledged that light must therefore consist of waves. (Much later, though, Einstein found a way that light could in fact consist of particles, which came to be called photons.)

9. Michelson and Morley: Light waves don’t vibrate anything.

Waves are vibrations, implying the need for something to vibrate. Sound vibrated molecules in the air, for instance, and ocean waves vibrated molecules of water. Light, supposedly, vibrated an invisible substance called the ether.

In 1887, Albert A. Michelson and his collaborator Edward Morley devised an experiment to detect that ether. Earth’s motion through the ether should have meant that light’s velocity would depend on its direction. (Traveling with the Earth’s motion, light’s speed wouldn’t be the same as traveling at right angles to the direction of motion.) Michelson and Morley figured they could detect that difference by exploiting the interference phenomena discovered by Young. But their apparatus failed to find any ether effect. They thought their experiment was flawed. But later Einstein figured out there actually wasn’t any ether.

8. James Clerk Maxwell: Light is an electromagnetic wave.

Maxwell died in 1879, the year Einstein was born, and so did not know there wasn’t an ether. He did figure out, though, that both electricity and magnetism could be explained by stresses in some such medium.

Electric and magnetic charges in the ether ought to generate disturbances in the form of waves, Maxwell realized. Based on the strengths of those forces he calculated that the waves would travel at the fantastic speed of 310 million meters per second, suspiciously close to the best recent measurements of the speed of light (those measurements ranged from 298 million to 315 million meters per second). So Maxwell, without the benefit of ever having watched NCIS on TV, then invoked Gibbs’ Rule 39 (there’s no such thing as a coincidence) and concluded that light was an example of an electromagnetic wave.

“It seems we have strong reason to conclude that light itself (including radiant heat, and other radiations if any) is an electromagnetic disturbance in the form of waves propagated through the electromagnetic field,” he wrote in 1864. His “other radiations, if any” turned out to be an entire spectrum of all sorts of cool waves, from gamma radiation to radio signals.

7. Heinrich Hertz: Radio waves.

Not very many people took Maxwell seriously at first. A few, though, known as the Maxwellians, promoted his ideas. One physicist who had faith in Maxwell, or at least in his equations, was Hertz, who performed experiments in his lab in Karlsruhe, Germany, that successfully produced and detected radio waves, eventually to be exploited by propagandists to spread a lot of illogical nonsense on talk radio.

His success inspired much more respect for the equations in Maxwell’s theory, which Hertz found almost magical: “It is impossible to study this wonderful theory without feeling as if the mathematical equations had an independent life and an intelligence of their own, as if they were wiser than ourselves,” Hertz said. His prime experimental success came in 1887, the same year that Michelson and Morley failed to detect the ether. Hertz died in 1894, long before his discovery was put to widespread use.

6. John Michell: Seismic waves.

Michell, an English geologist and astronomer, was motivated by the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 to investigate the cause of earthquakes. In 1760 he concluded that “subterraneous fires” should be blamed, noting that volcanoes — “burning mountains” — commonly occur in the same neighborhood as frequent earthquakes.

Michell noted that “the motion of the earth in earthquakes is … partly propagated by waves, which succeed one another sometimes at larger and sometimes at smaller distances.” He cited witness accounts of quakes in which the ground rose “like the sea in a wave.” Much later seismologists developed a more precise understanding of the seismic waves that shake the Earth, using them as probes to infer the planet’s inner structure.

5. Wilhelm Röntgen: X-rays.

Roentgen's first x-ray of his wife's handWhen Hertz discovered radio waves, he knew he was looking for the long-wavelength radiation foreshadowed in Maxwell’s equations. But a few years later, in 1895, Röntgen found the radio wave counterpart of the opposite end of the electromagnetic spectrum — by accident.

Mysterious short-wavelength rays of an unknown type (therefore designated X) emerged when Röntgen shot cathode rays (beams of electrons) through a glass tube. Röntgen suspected that his creation might be a new kind of wave among the many Maxwell had anticipated: “There seems to exist some kind of relationship between the new rays and light rays; at least this is indicated by the formation of shadows,” Röntgen wrote. Those shadows, of course, became the basis for a revolutionary medical technology.

Besides providing a major new tool for observing shattered bones and other structures inside the body, X-rays eventually became essential tools for scientific investigation in astronomy, biology and other fields. And they shattered the late 19th century complacency of physicists who thought they’d basically figured everything out about nature. Weirdly, though, X-rays later turned out to be particles sometimes, validating Einstein’s ideas that light had an alter ego particle identity. (By the way, it turned out that X-rays aren’t the electromagnetic waves with the shortest wavelengths — gamma rays can be even shorter. Maybe they would be No. 11.)

4. Epicurus: The swerve.

Not exactly a wave in the ordinary sense, the swerve was a deviation from straight line motion postulated by the Greek philosopher Epicurus around 300 B.C. Unlike Aristotle, Epicurus believed in atoms, and argued that reality was built entirely from the random collisions of an infinite number of those tiny particles. Supposedly, he thought, atoms would all just fall straight down to the center of the universe unless some unpredictable “swerve” occasionally caused them to deviate from their paths so they would bounce off each other and congregate into complex structures.

It has not escaped the attention of modern philosophers that the Epicurean unpredictable swerve is a bit like the uncertainty in particle motions introduced by quantum mechanics. Which has its own waves. 

3. Louis de Broglie: Matter waves.

In the early 1920s, de Broglie noticed a peculiar connection between relativity and quantum physics. Max Planck’s famous quantum formula related energy to frequency of a wave motion. Einstein’s special relativity related energy to the mass of a particle. De Broglie thought it would make a fine doctoral dissertation to work out the implications of two seemingly separate things both related to energy. If energy equals mass (times the speed of light squared) and energy equals frequency (time Planck’s constant), then voilà, mass equals frequency (times some combination of the constants). Therefore, de Broglie reasoned, particles (of mass) ought to also exist as waves (with a frequency).

That might have seemed wacky, but Einstein read de Broglie’s thesis and thought it made sense. Soon Walter Elsasser in Germany reported experiments that supported de Broglie, and in America Clinton Davisson and coworkers demonstrated conclusively that electrons did in fact exhibit wave properties.

De Broglie won the physics Nobel Prize in 1929; Davisson shared the 1937 Nobel with George Thomson, who had conducted similar experiments showing electrons are waves. Which was ironic, because George’s father, J.J. Thomson, won the 1906 Nobel for the work that revealed the existence of the electron as a particle. Eight decades later Ernst Ruska won a Nobel for his design of a powerful microscope that exploited the electron’s wave behavior.

2. Max Born: Probability waves.

De Broglie’s idea ignited a flurry of activity among physicists trying to figure out how waves fit into quantum theory. Niels Bohr, for instance, spent considerable effort attempting to reconcile the dual wave-particle nature of both electrons and light. Erwin Schrödinger, meanwhile, developed a full-fledged “wave mechanics” to describe the behavior of electrons in atoms solely from the wave perspective. Schrödinger’s math incorporated a “wave function” that was great for calculating the expected results of experiments, even though some experiments clearly showed electrons to be particles.

Born, a German physicist and good friend of Einstein’s, deduced the key to clarifying the wave function: It was an indicator of the probability of finding the particle in a given location. Combined with Werner Heisenberg’s brand-new uncertainty principle, Born’s realization led to the modern view that an electron is wavelike in the sense that it does not possess a definite location until it is observed. That approach works fine for all practical purposes, but physicists and philosophers still engage in vigorous debates today about the true physical status of the wave function.

1. LIGO: Gravitational waves.

graph of gravitational wave detectionSoon after he completed his general theory of relativity, Einstein realized that it implied the possibility of gravitational radiation — vibrations of spacetime itself.  He had no idea, though, that by spending a billion dollars, physicists a century later could actually detect those spacetime ripples. But thanks to lasers (which maybe would have been No. 11), the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory — two huge labs in Louisiana and Washington state — captured the spacetime shudders emitted from a pair of colliding black holes in September 2015.

That detection is certainly one of the most phenomenal experimental achievements in the history of science. It signaled a new era in astronomy, providing astronomers a tool for probing the depths of the universe that are obscured from view with Maxwell’s “other radiations, if any.” For astronomy, gravitational radiation is the wave of the future. 

Follow me on Twitter: @tom_siegfried


          Past Misdeeds: Evil Face (1974)   
aka The Hand That Feeds The Dead

Original title: La mano che nutre la morte

Through the transformation of the glorious WTF-Films into the even more glorious Exploder Button and the ensuing server changes, some of my old columns for the site have gone the way of all things internet. I’m going to repost them here in irregular intervals in addition to my usual ramblings.

Please keep in mind these are the old posts without any re-writes or improvements. Furthermore, many of these pieces were written years ago, so if you feel offended or need to violently disagree with me in the comments, you can be pretty sure I won’t know why I wrote what I wrote anymore anyhow.


(Not to be confused with Le Amanti Del Monstro aka Lover of the Monster made in the same year, by the same director, with mostly the same cast, shared footage and even shared character names; don't ask, it's the Italian exploitation industry at the absurd height of its power, so everything's possible).

Ye Olden Days. Mad scientist Professor Nijinski (Klaus Kinski) has quite an interesting household. His wife Tanja (Katia Christine) is the daughter of his former mentor Ivan Rassimov (yes, exactly like the actor), and has been disfigured in a fire that killed her dad. Normal medicine can't help Tanja get her old skin back, but fortunately, daddy was a pioneer in skin transplantation, alas a rather primitive kind that for some inexplicable reason not only takes skin but also all of a donor's blood to work. Fortunately for Tanja, her husband does not have too many scruples, and his assistant, a lame, slightly hunchbacked mute named Vanja (the great Turkish bad guy actor Erol Tas) does have even fewer. Vanja's enthusiasm for the work might have something to do with him and Tanja having an affair behind Nijinski's back - that is, when Tanja isn't just torturing Vanja's ears with a tuning fork. Anyway, with two strong mad men on her side, there are always enough young women to go around to build a new skin for her.

In a fit of cleverness, Nijinski has even paid off sexual adventuress Sonia (Stella Calderoni) to stay at their mansion, quite possibly so that there's a skin donor around should he need one on very short notice. Apart from Sonia, there's also the writer Katja Olenov (Marzia Damon) staying at the house. Officially, she's there to research a book about Rassimov, but in truth the young woman suspects Nijinski of being responsible for the disappearance of her sister and is trying to find concrete evidence for her theory. Somehow, she manages not to notice all the murders going on around her.

To make matters more complicated, newlyweds Alex (Ayhan Isik) and Masha (Katia Christine) have a coach accident nearly in front of the Nijinskis' mansion. The Professor is only too happy to take the couple in and help get the hurt Masha on her feet again once he's taken a look at the young bride's face and realizes that she looks exactly like his wife did before her accident. And as luck will have it, Nijinski has left the necessary skin transplants on his wife's face for last. Will anyone notice that something is very wrong in his house before it's too late?

Sergio Garrone's gothic exploitation movie Evil Face is a bit of a difficult film to enjoy. The movie's first half consists of way too many bland scenes setting things up, and way too few scenes in which interesting things happen in interesting ways. For every minute of Erol Tas stumbling through the mansion's garden to reach his mistress before her tuning fork will drive him completely insane, and for every second of Nijinski's fantastic lab (Look at all that brass! And the red, bubbling liquid! The blinking lights! Truly, this is a place where scientific work is being done!), for every moodily framed shot, there are ten minutes of bored, stagey dialogue sequences that just go on and on and on. For some reason, nearly all of the film's big exploitational values - action, breasts, lesbian sex, blood, a premature burial, a deeply unpleasant rape scene, stolen faces etc. - are pushed into the film's last third, a point when it's still possible to appreciate the movie's sudden ruthlessness and interest in keeping its viewers awake, but quite impossible to care too much.

Weirdly enough, even Evil Face's if not action-packed, so at least occurrence-packed final third, has a strange feeling of slowness about it. On paper, there's a whole lot of stuff happening at once, but the pacing still feels leaden and unsure, even for the not exactly sprightly genre that is the Italian gothic horror film.

It's also a bit of a disappointment how little use the film makes of Kinski. It's obvious that the great madman wasn't paid for as many shooting days as his co-stars, so there are quite a few scenes where Nijinski's character disappears nearly completely, or where the back of a stand-in takes Kinski's place. However, even when Kinski is on screen, he isn't completely there. Seldom have I seen the actor this disinterested and bored for the duration of a whole film, with nary a blip of his usual charisma and intensity. Perhaps Garrone should have given him a scene or two with a naked lady not on an operating table?

Because Kinski's never there, most of the physical acts of evil are left to Erol "Dr. Satan" Tas, and the Turkish actor does take the opportunity to show off his special brand of physical overacting, so full of grunting, limping, jumping and eye-rolling that every scene with him is pretty much a winner (or, in the case of the short rape sequence, pretty much as horrible as it should be).

The rest of the actors are decent, attractive, and quite believable as a bunch of characters totally incompetent in everything they do. Actually, I'd suggest that Garrone might be trying to make a point on the ineffectualness and painful blandness of the usual heroes and (sometimes) villains of gothic horror - especially the male ones - here, by leaving two women this sort of film would usually side-line as the involuntary instigator of a villain's deeds and victim number two - the utterly heartless Tanja, and the frequently traumatized yet still courageous and intelligent lesbian Katja - as the characters among the film's cast actually doing more than just going through the motions, making them the film's real villain and hero, respectively. Given the state of the rest of the film, I somehow doubt Garrone did this on purpose, though.


But, purpose or not, I'm happy for every hint of actual thought going into a movie. It's not enough to recommend the film to anyone not as deeply into this sort of thing as I am, but since "this sort of thing" in this particular case includes gothic horror, Klaus Kinski, Erol Tas, and possible genre-bending, quite a few of you might still want to take a look at Evil Face.
          250232-2017: Pologne-Łódź: Services d'exploitation d'installations sportives   
Date de publication: 30/06/2017 | Date limite: | Document: Avis d'attribution de marché
          Lac de Graviers – Luke Moffatt Lake – Lac privé – Département de la Côte d’Or (21)   
Le lac de Graviers est niché dans un coin calme de Dijon, à Brognon. c'est une ancienne gravière exploitée pour son gravier jusque dans les années 90. Aussi appelé lac Luke Moffatt, il a été ouvert en 2002 à la pêche à la carpe. Le lac de Graviers fait parti des 3 lacs privés de France qui produisent des carpes d'un poids exceptionnel. Le record serait à ce jours de 99 livres !
          DÉVELOPPEUR JAVA FULL-STACK (H/F) - ON-X - Ontario   
Système d'exploitation/ virtualisation ( Linux, Windows, VMware, Docker ). En qualité de Développeur Full-Stack , vous réaliserez les missions suivantes :....
From ON-X - Thu, 06 Apr 2017 07:41:27 GMT - View all Ontario jobs
          Un drift trike électrique made in Vendée   
Le drift trike, c'est ce tricycle de l'extrême, souvent sans freins, que les passionnés utilisent pour dévaler les routes de montagne un maximum en dérapages. Quand on visionne les vidéos qui retracent leurs exploits, on ne peut que craindre une sortie de trajectoire fatale. Alors motoriser un tel engin, c'est forcément augmenter la dangerosité de la pratique, n'est-ce pas ! Eh bien non,...
          Le Summer EV Music Tour porte la bonne parole électromobile   
Vincent Cherrier, président d'eRoadTrip, participait au Vendée énergie Tour avec un des Nissan e-NV200 qui doit assurer cet été le Summer EV Music Tour, un petit périple qui le mènera de festival en festival. Sur place, mais aussi sur une page Facebook dédiée et un site Internet prochainement ouvert, il témoignera de l'intérêt d'exploiter la mobilité électrique, tout en apportant des services aux...
          In The Future Our Current Views Of Personal Data Will Be Shocking   

The way we view personal data in this early Internet age will continue to change and evolve, until one day we are looking back at this period and find we are shocked regarding how we didn’t see people’s digital bits as their own, and something we should respect and protect the privacy and security of.

Right now my private, network shared, or even public posts are widely viewed as a commodity, something the platform operator, and other companies have every right to buy, sell, mine, extract, and generally do as they wish. Very few startups see these posts as my personal thoughts, they simply see the opportunity for generating value and revenue as part of their interests. Sure, there are exceptions, but this is the general view of personal data in this Internet age.

We are barely 20 years into the web being mainstream, and barely over five years into mobile phones being mainstream. We are only beginning to enter even more immersions of Internet in our lives via our cars, televisions, appliances, and much more. We are only getting going when it comes to generating and understanding personal data, and the impacts of technology on our privacy, security, and overall human well-being. What is going on right now will not stay the norm, and we are already seeing signs of pushback from humans regarding ownership of their data, as well as our privacy and security.

While technology companies and their investors seem all powerful right now, and many humans seem oblivious to what is going, the landscape is shifting, and I’m confident that humans will prevail, and there will be pushback that begins helping us all define our digital self, and reclaiming the privacy and security we are entitled to. When we look back on this period in 50 years we will not look favorably on companies and government agencies who exploited human’s personal data. We will see the frenzy over big data generation, accumulation, and treating it like a commodity, over something that belongs to a human as deeply troubling.

Which side of history are you going to be on?


          Working To Understand The Digital World Around Us   

My partner in crime Audrey Watters and I recently rebranded our umbrella company as Contrafabulists, and along the way, we worked with our friend Bryan Mathers to help us develop some graphics that would help define our work. Bryan quickly developed a logo for Contrafabulists that I think represents what we do--embedding ourselves within the gears of the machine, pushing back on the daily stories from the technology sector.

Bryan has a unique approach to conducting his work. He spent time wth us on a video call discussing our vision, listening to both of us speak, while also applying some of what he already knew of Audrey's Hack Education work, as well as my API Evangelist and Drone Recovery work. From this discussion, he created a banner image, that we use as the banner for the Contrafabulists website -- providing another great visualization of our work.

I love staring into the eyes of the owl, which stares back at you with its mechanical gaze, forcing you to ask the hard questions about how you are using technology. Maybe you are complicit in the stories coming out of the technology sector, or maybe you are just a listener or narrator of these stories being--either way, the owl's eyes quickly get to work understanding you, and what defines you from a technical view.

After we launched the Contrafabulists website, Bryan was listening to our podcast, where Audrey and I rant about the week and he produced an image that was unexpected and resonates with me in some powerful ways. Bryans work illustrates where we are at when it comes to defining who we are in the digital world unfolding around us, while the machines are all learning about us as well.

I do not know which conversation inspired Bryan's work, but I'm assuming it was our discussion around what machine learning technology can do, and what it can't do. Machine learning is a very (intentionally so) abstract term that is being used across the latest wave of rhetoric coming out of the technology sector, that often invokes magical visions in your head about what the machines are learning. Understanding more about what is machine learning is, and what it isn't, is a significant portion of my work as API Evangelist, overlapping with Audrey's work on Hack Education--Bryan's work is extremely relevant and continues to help augment our storytelling in an important way.

There are three significant things going on in his image for me. At first glance, it feels like a representation of what the machine sees of us, when trying to interpret a photo of us using facial or object recognition, defining our face, the space and context around us, while also linking that to other aspects of our social and digital footprint. Then I'm overwhelmed with feelings of my own efforts to define who I am, with each blog post, social media post, or image uploaded--in which the machine is working so hard to understand in the same moment. Then there is the intersection of these two worlds, and the struggle to understand, connect, find meaning, and deliver value--the struggle to define our digital self, something we either do ourselves, or it will be done for us by the technological platforms we operate on.

As I process these thoughts, I would add a fourth dimension to this struggle, something that is very API driven--the role 3rd parties play in defining us, and the world around us, in an increasingly digital world. Our world is increasingly being shaped by platforms, and the 3rd parties who have learned how to p0wn these platforms, whether for ideological or financial gain. Our understanding of the immigration debate is perpetually being shaped by platforms like Twitter or Facebook, and a small group of 3rd party influencers who have learned to shape and game the algorithm.

As we are learning, the machine's are also learning about us, something that is being used against us in real-time, by those who understand how to manipulate the algorithms to achieve their objectives. Helping people understand what we mean when we mean when we say machine learning is difficult--this is because machine learning is technically complicated, but it is also designed to provide a smoke screen for any exploitation and manipulation that is occurring behind the scenes. Machine learning is designed to be understood by a handful of wizards, leaving everyone else to bask in the glow of the personalization and convenience it delivers, leaving no questions regarding the magical capabilities of the machine.

Machine learning is increasingly defining us in the online world, watching everything we do on Facebook, Instagram, Twiter, and via search engines like Google, but it is also beginning to define how we see the physical world around us, helping shape how we see other cities, countries, and places we may never actually visit, and experience in person--algorithmically painting a picture of how we see the world.

Audrey and I are dedicated to understanding the stories coming out of the tech sector, cutting through the marketing, hype, and storytelling accompanying each wave of technology. Machine learning is just one of many areas we work to understand, in an increasingly complex landscape of magic and wizardry being sold via the Internet and applications that are infiltrating our mobile phones, televisions, automobiles, and every other corner of our personal and professional lives. 

I'm thankful to have folks like Bryan Mathers along for the ride, assisting us in crafting images for the stories we tell. I feel like our words are critical, but it is equally important to have meaningful images to go along with the words we write each day. Amidst the constant assault of information each day, sometimes all we have time for is just a couple seconds to absorb a single image, making the photo and image gallery an important section in our Contrafabulists toolbox. I imagine using Bryan's machine learning photos in dozens of stories over the next couple of years, and I'm hoping that eventually, it will continue to come into focus, helping us better connect the dots, and see our digital reflection in this pool we have waded into.


          Sitges 2016 | Resumen de lo más destacado   

Sitges 2016

Casi todo el mundo coincide en que este año ha sido una de las ediciones más potentes del festival de Sitges. Algunos apuntan que está por debajo de la anterior en cuanto a títulos realmente impactantes, pero en general, aunque ninguna obra brille por encima de las demás, en mi opinión la calidad general y la relevancia de los títulos estrenados, independientemente de si han acabado siendo mejores o peores, ha sido espectacular.

Un palmarés justo

En primer lugar, repasemos lo que ha dado de sí el palmarés, bastante ajustado en algunos de sus elecciones pero totalmente extraviado en su premio principal. La mejor película es uno de los ejercicios de infantilismo indie más irritantes de los últimos años. ‘Swiss Army Man’ (2016) es la típica bromita de estudiantes pijos de escuela de cine que pretenden copiar a Spike Jonze y les sale un quiero y no puedo, de actores sobreactuados y guión desacompasado, que quiere parecer brillante sin conseguirlo.

Otra cosa es la mención especial del jurado, justo reconocimiento para un acercamiento al género sin máscaras ni disculpas con ‘La autopsia de Jane Doe’(The Autopsy of Jane Doe, 2016) un procedural forense con vuelta de tuerca lleno de intriga y terror clásico. Una sorpresa para público y crítica que requiere entrar en el cine sin saber nada. Huid de titulares hasta entonces. Incomprensible, sin embargo, el premio a mejor guión para ‘Pet’(2016) unánimemente considerada una de las peores muestras del festival.

Autopsyofjanedoe Still 02

Premio a la major actriz para la niña Sennia Nanua, por su niña semizombie en ‘Melanie. The girl with all the gifts’(2016), una especie de secuela de ‘28 semanas después’ (28 Weeks Later, 2007) que empieza muy bien y se pierde cuando no sabe si ser la tercera de la saga Mad Max o ‘Soy Leyenda’ (I am Legend, 2007). El gran premio del público recayó en ‘The Handmaiden’(2016), un drama erótico de época de Park Chan-wook que reformula 'Las Diabólicas' (Les Diaboliques, 1955) con grandes giros, menos intriga y un tono demasiado ligero para los oscuros temas tratados en su desproporcionado metraje.

Corea manda

Y hablando de cine coreano y zombies, la sensación de género (premio a la mejor dirección y Fx) fue ‘Train to Busan’ (2016) un ‘Pánico en el transiberiano’ (1972) revolucionado y moderno que eleva al género zombie a la categoría de drama de catástrofes, tal y como lo erigió su creador George A. Romero. El premio a la mejor fotografía y mejor película Focus Asia fue para ‘El Extraño’ (The Wailing, 2016), sin lugar a dudas, la mejor película del festival. Un thriller policíaco que se convierte en terror filosófico puro.

Raw

Premio a dirección novel y del jurado carnet jove a ‘Grave (Crudo)’ (Raw, 2016) una película de iniciación salvaje y caníbal con ecos de ‘Yo fui un hombre lobo adolescente’ (I was a Teenage Werewolf, 1957) y su versión moderna y femenina ‘Ginger Snaps’ (2000), aunque la licantropía sea figurada. Mención especial se llevaría ‘The Lure’ (2016), un musical polaco que se podría definir como una versión gore de la sirenita en una disco after decadente, con señores pedófilos setenteros y olor a cenicero, brummel y alcohol de garrafón.

El premio Noves Visions fue para la iraní ‘Under the Shadow’ (2016), terror con carga social que se olvida de su carácter fantástico hasta muy entrado su metraje, correcta pero para nada la nueva ‘Babadook’(2014), como se había vendido, sino más bien una nueva versión del ‘Dark Water’ (2002) de Hideo Nakata con detalles casi calcados. En panorama fantástic brilló ‘I’m Not a Serial Killer’ (2016) una especie de versión indie de Dexter con vuelta fantástica reminiscente a ‘Noche de miedo’ (Fright Night, 1985) con pulso de mumblecore bien entendido y más sólida de lo que parece a primera vista.

Neon

Precedida por la polémica en Cannes, dejó división de opiniones pero buena aceptación y premio de la crítica ‘The Neon Demon’(2016) el nuevo delirio visual de Nicolas Winding-Refn, que pese a su desvarío necrofilésbico de su último tercio en una obra con un discurso claro y todo su poderoso artefacto estético de neogiallo se encarga de complementarlo. Hace buena pareja con ‘The Eyes of my Mother’ (2016), otro ejercicio de estilo estético con un tono más seco y realista, pero con un retrato perturbador sobre la psicopatía muy loco.

Asia, terror y ciencia ficción

Corea también nos dejaba ‘The Age of Shadows’ (2016), un notable de Kim Ji-Woon tras su penosa aventura americana pero en el terreno Japonés me quedaría con ‘Shin Godzilla’ (2016), una puesta al día del kaiju clásico como reflejo del Japón herido postfukushima con un cóctel ideológico salvaje que navega entre la sátira socioeconómica y el patriotismo subyacente. Sin embargo el resto de ofertas del país decepcionaba con un exploit de ‘Saw’ (2004) llamado ‘Museum’ (2016) y las nuevas obras de Miike, ‘Terraformars’(2016) y Kurosawa, ‘Creepy’ (2016).

El cine de terror ha brillado con ‘The Void’ (2016), junto a ‘El extraño’, lo mejor del festival, un proyecto de muy bajo presupuesto que recupera al mejor Carpenter para narrar una aventura lovecraftiana en su acepción más cósmica, como pocas veces se ha visto. ‘Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl’ (2016) resamplea con éxito ‘La gota de Agua’ de Mario Bava con ‘La maldición de los Bishop’ (Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, 1971) y ‘Pesadilla Diabólica’ (Burnt Offerings, 1976). Por otra parte, ‘Somnia’ (Before i Wake, 2016) es un bello cuento de hadas oscuro muy alejado del remedo de James Wan que algunos esperaban de ella.

Void

La ciencia ficción en buena forma con la muy interesante ‘Colossal’ (2016) de Nacho Vigalondo, que consigue que su alocado punto de partida funcione y su atrevido discurso feminista te deje pensando horas. También destacable es el actioner en primera persona ‘Hardcore Henry’ (2016), cuyo tono paródico y ultraviolento te agarra y no te suelta hasta su explosivo clímax. Un spin off anfetamínico de ‘Robocop’(1987). La sesión sorpresa fue la esperada ‘The Arrival’ (2016) que maravilló a los críticos que pudieron asistir al pase.

Neo Westerns y decepciones

Fuera del fantástico, el neo western ‘In a Valley of Violence’ (2016) de Ti West divirtió con su mezcla de humor y violencia. ‘Hell or High Water’ (2016) es un thriller fronterizo también con toques de western que fascinó incondicionalmente. Menos ruido en el pase de ‘Desierto’ (2016) de Jonás Cuarón, que resultó ser un muy efectivo survival en el desierto con un Jeffrey Dean Morgan preparándonos para odiarle como Negan interpretando a un Zaroff moderno con más odio a los mexicanos que Donald Trump.

Blair

También hubo decepciones sonadas, principalmente con los nuevos trabajos de Rob Zombie y Adam Wingard. ‘31’ (2016) es un justito ‘Perseguido’(The Running man, 1987) con payasos asesinos al que le sobra media hora y primeros planos mientras que ‘Blair Witch’ (2016) es casi un remake (no confeso) ruidoso y facilón de la original que dejó frío hasta a los seguidores más acérrimos de la bruja. Poco se habla de ‘Inside’ (2016),el remake de la sangrienta película francesa que abrió la gala de inauguración y que no gustó a nadie. Quedan muchas en el tintero, pero esto es a grandes rasgos lo esencial de la 49 edición del festival de cine fantástico más importante de Europa.


          World: General Assembly Approves Appropriation of $6.8 Billion for 14 Peacekeeping Operations in 2017/18   
Source: UN General Assembly
Country: Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Western Sahara, World

GENERAL ASSEMBLY PLENARY
SEVENTY-FIRST, 89TH MEETING (AM)
GA/11927 30 JUNE 2017

Approving the appropriation of $6.80 billion for 14 peacekeeping operations for the 2017/18 fiscal period, the General Assembly today adopted 21 resolutions and one decision contained in reports from its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). (See Press Release GA/AB/4239.)

Appropriating funds for peacekeeping operations from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, the Assembly adopted resolutions on missions in Abyei, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Darfur, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Golan, Haiti, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, South Sudan and Western Sahara.

All texts were adopted without a vote, with the exception of the resolution setting out budgetary arrangements for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which it adopted by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with no abstentions.

The Assembly also adopted related drafts on the support account for peacekeeping operations, and financing for the account; on the triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment; and on the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, and Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda.

As well, it adopted a resolution on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, by which it requested the Secretary-General to immediately inform Member States concerned of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, and called upon Member States — including those deploying non-United Nations forces authorized by a Security Council mandate — to investigate such cases, hold perpetrators accountable and repatriate units where there was credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse.

Also adopted was a text on the United Nations financial reports and audited financial statements on peacekeeping missions, as well as the Board of Auditors’ reports on them.

Finally, the Assembly adopted a draft decision by which it deferred, until the second part of its resumed seventy-second session, consideration of reports from the Secretary-General, and related reports from the Advisory Committee, regarding closed peacekeeping missions.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly took action on the draft resolutions contained in reports from its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), which were introduced by Committee Rapporteur Diana Lee (Singapore).

First, it adopted a resolution contained in the budget Committee’s report on financial reports and audited financial statements, and reports of the Board of Auditors (document A/71/702/Add.1), accepting the financial report and audited financial statements of United Nations peacekeeping operations for the period ending 30 June 2016. It endorsed the recommendations in the corresponding reports of the Board and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), and asked the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation. It went on to ask the Secretary-General to indicate an expected time frame for implementation, and to give, in his next report, a full explanation for delays in implementation of the Board’s outstanding recommendations, the root causes of recurring issues and measures to be taken.

It then turned to the report on administrative and budgetary aspects of financing peacekeeping operations (document A/71/708/Add.1), adopting five resolutions contained therein.

First, it adopted resolution I on the financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda, by which it approved the amount of $33 million for the maintenance of the Centre for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Then it adopted resolution II on the financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, by which the Assembly would approve the cost estimates for the Base in the amount of $81 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018.

Next, it adopted resolution III on the support account for peacekeeping operations. By its terms, the Assembly decided to approve the support account requirements of $325.80 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $25.04 million for the enterprise resource planning project, $821,500 for information and systems security and $868,500 for the global service delivery model. It also approved the requirement of 1,357 continuing and 3 new temporary posts, as well as the abolishment, redeployment, reassignment and reclassification of posts, as set out in annex I of the text; and 77 continuing and 3 new general temporary assistance positions and 59 person-months, as set out in annex II, as well as related post and non-post requirements.

The Assembly went on to adopt resolution IV on the triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment. By doing so, it took note of the report of the 2017 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment and the report of the Secretary-General. It also endorsed the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report of the ACABQ.

Finally, it adopted resolution V on special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. By its terms, the Assembly welcomed the Secretary-General’s determination to fully implement the United Nations policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as his determination to fully enforce the newly promulgated policy of whistle-blower protection. It requested that he immediately inform Member States concerned of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, and called upon Member States — including those deploying non-United Nations forces authorized by a Security Council mandate — to investigate such cases, hold perpetrators accountable and repatriate units where there was credible evidence of widespread or systemic sexual exploitation and abuse.

Turning to reports on peacekeeping missions, the Assembly first adopted a text on financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) (document A/71/945), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNISFA the amount of $285.12 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $266.70 million for the maintenance of the Force, $13.49 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $3.38 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $1.56 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Turning to a report on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) (document A/71/946), the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Mission $943.77 million from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $882.80 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $44.65 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $11.16 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $5.16 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Assembly then adopted a text on financing of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) (document A/71/715/Add.1). By its terms, the Assembly, recalling Security Council resolution 2284 (2016) extending the mission mandate for a final period until 30 June 2017, decided that, for Member States that had fulfilled their financial obligations to the Operation, shall be credited with their respective share of $65.22 million, comprising the unencumbered balance of $48.68 million and $16.54 million of other revenue in respect of the financial period ending 30 June 2016.

It then adopted a resolution on financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) (document A/71/947). By its terms, it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNFICYP $57.41 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $54.00 million for the maintenance of the Force, $2.73 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $682,900 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Next, it adopted a report on financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) (document A/71/948), appropriating to the Special Account for MONUSCO $1.22 billion for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $1.14 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $57.74 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $14.44 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.67 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Assembly then adopted a resolution contained in the Committee’s report on financing of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) (document A/71/933) by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for that Mission $5.69 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017, including $4.55 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $1.14 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Next, the Assembly adopted a resolution on financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) (document A/71/950), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMIK $40.29 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $37.90 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $1.92 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $479,200 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

It then adopted a resolution on financing of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) (document A/71/951). By its terms, it appropriated to the Special Account for UNMIL $116.95 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $110.00 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $5.56 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $1.91 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution on financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) (document A/71/952), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MINUSMA $1.12 billion for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $1.05 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $53.00 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $13.25 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.12 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Under its agenda item on financing of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East, the Assembly took action on resolutions contained in two reports.

It first adopted a draft on the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (document A/71/953), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the Force the amount of $61.30 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $57.65 million for the maintenance of UNDOF, $2.92 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $729,100 for the United Nations Logistics Base.

The representative of Syria said his delegation had joined consensus on the resolutions on United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East. However, it believed that it was Israel’s responsibility to pay for those Missions.

The Assembly then turned to a resolution contained in the report on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) (document A/71/954).

By a recorded vote of 85 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with 53 abstentions, the Assembly adopted preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13.

Taking action on the draft resolution as a whole, the Assembly adopted it by a recorded vote of 137 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States) with no abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNIFIL the amount of $513.53 million, for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, inclusive of $483.00 million for the maintenance of the Force, $24.43 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $6.11 million for the United Nations Logistics Base.

Also by the draft, the Assembly expressed deep concern that Israel had not complied with previous resolutions on UNIFIL, and requested that the Secretary-General take the measures necessary to ensure the full implementation of their relevant paragraphs.

The Assembly then adopted a resolution on financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) (document A/71/955), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for UNMISS $1.14 billion for the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $1.07 billion for the maintenance of the Mission, $54.16 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $13.54 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $6.26 million for the Regional Service Centre.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution in the report on financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (document A/71/956), by which it decided to appropriate to the Special Account for MINURSO $55.59 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $52.00 million for the maintenance of the Mission, $2.63 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $657,600 for the United Nations Logistics Base and $303,800 for the Regional Service Centre.

It then adopted a resolution on financing of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (document A/71/957), by which it appropriated to the Special Account for UNAMID $33.56 million for the period of 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $24.58 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $6.15 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $2.84 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Taking up the report on financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009) (document A/71/958), the Assembly decided to appropriate to the Special Account for the United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) $622.19 million for the period 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, including $582.00 million for the maintenance of the Office, $29.43 million for the support account for peacekeeping operations, $7.36 million for the United Nations Logistics Base and $3.40 million for the Regional Service Centre.

Finally, acting on the Committee’s report on review of the efficiency of the administration and financial functioning of the United Nations (document A/71/717/Add.2), the Assembly deferred until the second part of its resumed seventy-second session consideration of the reports of the Secretary-General and the ACABQ on closed peacekeeping missions.


          Systems Specialist, Global IT Infrastructure   
NJ-Linden, - Global End User Services team - Supporting and problem solving complex issues in a dynamic enterprise desktop environment - Exploit latest Microsoft technologies for improving Windows desktop environment for reliability and end user effectiveness - Contribute effectively to projects and initiatives within and outside of the Infrastructure service teams. Client Details Chemicals industry Descript
          Dealers ringing up commissions via false registrations   
PETALING JAYA: The practice of exploiting personal information has been a common occurrence in the telecommunications industry for a long time, a former industry insider said.
          POV Cumshots From Exploited College Girls   
Watch POV Cumshots From Exploited College Girls at free fuck and porn video site
          On the Gazelle Pattern Matcher   

Gazelle's pattern matcher is used extensively in programs because it is the default mechanism of performing cond-like computations and function argument destructuring. The macro language for Gazelle is currently Emacs Lisp (it will be self hosting eventually) and uses Shadchen for argument destructuring/matching. Gazelle's pattern matcher is similar but not identical to Shadchen, primarily in an attempt to make the Gazelle pattern matcher consistent with the types and idioms of Javascript. This document highlights the differences.

Gazelle's matcher also differs under the hood: except for an enclosing function call for each branch, match expressions generate unnested code. This makes the generated Javascript easier to read, though not simple, given the terseness of pattern matches relative to expanded code.

Lists vs Arrays

In Shadchen, the pattern

(list p1 p2 p3)

Matches a list of three elements recursively, checking if the value is a list, checking if it has a car, and if that car matches p1 and then matching the cdr of the list against (list p2 p3), recursing again, and finally checking that the cdr is nil.

There are not native lists in Javascript, so Gazelle has an array pattern, denoted either (array p ...) or as

[: p1 p2 p3]

This is consistent with the array constructor syntax in Gazelle, which one may write as either (array v1 v2 v3) or [: v1 v2 v3]. Unlike the list pattern in Shadchen, the array patterns are checked first by checking that an array value is indeed being matched against (by looking at the object's prototype), and then checking the lenght is equal to the number of patterns, and then checking that each pattern matches.

Tails

In Shadchen, one matches the tail of a list in one of two ways:

(list-rest p1 p2 p-tail)

or

(list p1 p2 (tail p-tail))

Where the pattern p-tail matches the tail of the list (possibly empty). In Gazelle one matches the tail of an array:

[: p1 p2 (tail p-tail)]

This is the only valid way of matching the tail for parsimony's sake. In Shadchen, the tail value is coerced to a list before subsequent matches, but there are no lists in Gazelle, so the tail is an array. Gazelle refers to the Array.prototype during array pattern matches and so may be used to match against the Javascript arguments object.

Lists where indexing out of range is "meaningful"

Indexing out of range in Javascript results in an undefined value rather than an error. This is used, more or less, to support optional arguments to the extent that we can view the arguments object as a kind of benighted array. That is, sometimes you want to say

[: p1 p2 p3]

And you want p3's to be matched against undefined if the input array has length 2. Gazelle's pattern matcher provides a non-strict array match of the form

[:- p1 p2 p3]

This form does not check the length of the list, and matches patterns against undefined if they index outside of the input array.

Often you want to combine these behaviors: certain elements must be within the array length and others may not be. One can do this using the patterns we've already discussed:

[: r1 r2 (tail [:- u1 u2])]

Where the r patterns are required to be within the array and the u patterns may not be within the array range, and match against undefined if not. There is a short hand for this, the utility of which we will see later:

[: r1 r2 :- u1 u2]

Which is semantically identical, and indeed expands, to the pattern above. You wish to occasionally provide a default value for such optional parts of lists. You may do so with opt:

[: r1 r2 :- (opt u1 default-value) (opt u2 default-value2)]

If index 2 is out of range against the incoming array, u1 is matched against the defaul-value of its opt form.

Objects

Gazelle provides patterns for matching against objects. The first such pattern is {}, written for reasons associated with the Emacs Lisp reader, as:

({} key1 p1 key2 p2 ...)

The keys are not patterns, and must be identifiers refering to identifiers which are actually defined in the table. The patterns are matched against the values at those keys in the table and the match succeeds only when all such patterns match.

It is common in Javascript idiom to assign meaning to the existence of a key whose value is undefined, for instance in the case where you wish to use an object as a store house for keyword arguments. In these cases, the requirement, as above, that the keys refer to defined values is onerous. One may use a non-strict object match in the following way:

({}- key1 p1 key2 p2)

This pattern will match regardless of whether the values at key1 or 2 are defined, as long as p1 and p2 do not depend on their being defined as well. You can think of {} as expanding to {}- in the following way.

({} key1 p1 key2 p2 ...)

Becomes:

({}- key1 (defined p1) key2 (defined p2))

Where the defined pattern, also unique to Gazelle, asserts first that the object is defined before performing matches against is argument.

Function Argument Destructuring

The above features provide everything you need to do relatively idiomatic function argument destructuring. This is because the non-primitive function forms in Gazelle, lambda and define treat their argument list (or lists, if multiple bodies are indicated) as array/arguments patterns and so can exploit the full pattern matcher to destructure their arguments.

Suppose we have a function which takes a single mandatory argument and one that may or may not be provided:

(define (f1 mandatory :- optional)
 (if (undefined optional)
     ...)
 ...)

This function will issue an error if called with no arguments, but will execute if one is passed in. This is a bit nicer than Javascript, which does not even enforce the number of arguments.

It is common to pass an object to a function whose keys represent keyword arguments to that function. In Gazelle, we can write:

(define (f1 ({}- k1 v1
                 k2 v2
                 ...))
 body ...)

To destructure. However, we often want to provide default arguments in the case that a key is missing. We can do that with the pattern matcher using the defined-or pattern

(define (f1 ({}- k1 (or (defined v1 ) 
                        (let v1 default1))
                 k2 v2
                 ...)))

But this is a bit verbose. The Gazelle matcher provides an options{} pattern just for this purpose:

(define (f1 (options{} (id default-val)
                        (id2 default-val2)))
 body ....)

the forms (id default-val) must be an identifier and a value expression, where id is used to index the object and to bind the value in the local scope. What if the user wishes to match the value at a key in the object against a more complex pattern while still furnishing a default? One may write:

(define (f1 (options{} (id pattern1 default-val)
                        (id2 pattern2 default-val2)))
 body ....)

Where the pattern is matched against the value at id in the incoming object, or, of that is undefined, then against the default-val. One may even allow the user to pass in an optional options list using the following combination of pattern matcher functionality:

(define (f1 :- (opt (options{} ...) default-options))
  body ...)

This ensures that the user can call f1 without any arguments, or with a single argument that is an options table.


          On Lisps   
My recent release of Gazelle, a Javascript Lisp dialect, has, unsurprisingly, produced some commentary about my choice to implement the system in Emacs Lisp. Coincidentally, this also comes on the tail of a long (and mostly civil, I might add) discussion I had in the Lisp sub-reddit about the merits of including in our rhetorical ecosystem discussion about unusual Lisp dialects like Newlisp and Picolisp, in which I argued that its useful to discuss and even program in these dialects. Many people express strong opinions to the contrary, and while some of the objections relate to aspects of Newlisp's implementation, like One Reference Only Memory Management, to which, as a dabbler in language implementation, I cannot speak, a lot of the distaste for these dialects, and for Emacs Lisp, seems to relate to their use of dynamic scope.

Now, in general, I like my Lisps static. A lot of what I fiddle with in Lisp has to do with emulating features I like in Haskell (poorly), and Haskell hews pretty close to orthodoxy on the scope issue. My favorite Lisp is probably Racket, and the only support it provides for dynamic-like bindings is through parameters. In short, I am no fan of dynamic binding, and was delighted as anyone when Emacs Lisp began to support lexical binding natively, and would be happy to program without it in any language.

However, I do not view dynamic scope as the kiss of death like many people seem to, especially when programming in Lisp dialects. Of which more later. I'd like to make the case that perhaps, just maybe, we should think of default dynamic scope in a Lisp as a wart, rather than language nullifying feature.

Why do I feel this way?

 Well, it has something to do with Concatenative Languages.

What?

Consider the following diagram:
------------------------------------------------------
dynamicish                                   lexicish
+--------+  +--------+      +-----------+   +--------+
|factor  |  |picolisp|      |common lisp|   |haskell |
|        |  |        |      |           |   |        |
+--------+  +--------+      +-----------+   +--------+
 +--------+    +---------+        +-------+
 |joy     |    |newlisp  |        |scheme |
 |        |    |         |        |       |
 +--------+    +---------+        +-------+
Where the left hand side of each box indicates the position of the language inside on a sloppily conceived of axis going from "dynamicish" to "lexicish", ideas which we will try to pin down as we go. (If, by the way, any actual computer scientists are reading this, I apologize in advance for the conceptual butchery I am no doubt in the process of committing.)

One thing this diagram reflects is the intuitive degree to which we can depend on the nature of binding in the language - Picolisp and Newlisp here obviously favor dynamic binding, Common Lisp supports both well, Scheme favors lexical bindings somewhat more than Common Lisp, and a language like Haskell is pretty much straight lexical binding. (Exceptions abound of course, given the power of these languages to add features.)

What is interesting is that if we change the above diagram by relabling the axes:
------------------------------------------------------
code is simple data            code is not simple data
+--------+  +--------+      +-----------+   +--------+
|factor  |  |picolisp|      |common lisp|   |haskell |
|        |  |        |      |           |   |        |
+--------+  +--------+      +-----------+   +--------+
 +--------+    +---------+        +-------+
 |joy     |    |newlisp  |        |scheme |
 |        |    |         |        |       |
 +--------+    +---------+        +-------+

We don't really need to move the boxes around very much. This is particularly true if we make ourselves clearer and say that code is data when the "official" result of evaluating a piece of "code data" that represents a piece of code is encodable in that data in a simple form. Examples will clarify that horrible monster of a sentence, hopefully.

Concatenative Languages and Quotations

Put aside for the moment the oddness of concatenative languages, and questions which may be appearing in your mind about why anyone would want to program in one. The point here isn't to convince you of their merits. The point is that concatenative languages (except Forth), as it lacks quotations) provide an example of languages where "code is data" is particularly true, and where that data is particularly simple while still retaining a consistent meaning.
Concatenative languages are based on the composition of functions which map one stack onto another stack (usually). Because all functions in such languages have the same interface, one writes a concatenative program as a list of functions, as in this piece of Factor code:

1 1 +

Which evaluates to "2" and is read from left to right as "take the stack and return it with 1 pushed onto it", do that again, and then "take the stack, return a new stack with the result of the first two items removed and added together". Note the utter absence of variable bindings (functions do have names, of course). This (arguably punishing) simplicity makes evaluation unusually simple: begin at the left with an empty stack, and call each "word" on the stack until you run out of functions. We can represent a program as a flat list of lexemes, each of which denotes a function. So the representation of code can be a list and its meaning is simple.

Here is what is interesting about these languages to me: they lack a notion of variable binding, and so you might think they they lack anonymous functions, which they do, strictly speaking. However, because code is easily represented as a list, lists serve the same role as anonymous functions and in languages like Factor, these fragments of code (called quotations because they are introduced via something like quote in Lisps) are constantly exploited to perform the equivalent of "functional programming" idioms in Factor. For instance, to add one to each number in a list of numbers, one writes in Factor:

{ 1 2 3 } [ 1 + ] map

Or, less succinctly, but more evocatively:

{ 1 2 3 } 1 [ + ] curry map

Where I have just shown that one can curry, really, partially apply, and compose (not illustrated) quotations.

The question one must ask is what do we really need for functional programming? We must be able to apply functions, compose them, and partially apply them. Many, but not all, uses of lexical scope in more lexical languages reduce transparently to these operations. We might write in Scheme:

(map (curry + 1) (list 1 2 3))

For instance, with (a simple) curry being implemented as:

(define (curry f a)
  (lambda (b) (f a b)))

Where we are exploiting the lexical scope introduced by curry to stick two values into the lambda.
In a dynamic Lisp, we might say instead, as I often say in Emacs Lisp when I don't want to engage the machinery of the old lexical-let implementation in cl.el:

(defun curry (f a)
 `(lambda (b) (funcall #',f ,a)))

Code is Sort of Data

Factor uses a special data type called a quotation for its, um, quotations, but this has more to do with type safety and compiltion than with the semantics of what a quotation is. It is still basically a list, so let us imagine that the implementation of the curry word is:

: curry ( item quotation -- quotations ) cons ;

That is, effectively, curry is cons. It adds an element to the front of a list.
Now, the dynamic, Emacs Lisp version

(defun curry (f a)
 `(lambda (b) (funcall #',f ,a))) ; thanks to coroi on reddit 
for pointing out an error 
                                  ; here. 

Has something in common with the Factor version. They both operate on and return a simple representation of code, a list. The extra complexity of Emacs Lisp lies in its evaluator. For instance:

(funcall (curry #'+ 1) 1)

is evaluated in the following way: the call to curry is evaluated, returning a list. 1 evaluates to 1, of course, and then funcall does the following. The evaluator can see that the first argument is a lambda because its head is lambda. That means that it extends the dynamic environment with a binding of 1 to b, and then recursively evaluates the body. That means the evaluator is carrying around an environment which it needs to resolve the meaning of code. Still, its pretty simple: just (conceptually) a list of stacks for each possible variable binding with the latest binding on the tops.

The Scheme code, in contrast:

(define (curry f a)
 (lambda (b) (f a b)))

Doesn't deal with any simple data structure. f is a procedure, and its representation is complex, hidden and has a lot to do with compiling the Scheme code, probably. The return value, as the result of a lambda expression, is also a procedure, and similarly inscrutible. The compiler probably does some efficient fiddling to encode in the lambda itself where the references f and a point to: in all likelihood, the compiled code removes the mention of specific symbols entirely. Even though the lambda represents a piece of code in some sense, as it is executable, its representation is now quite complicated. We can still say "Code is data" of Scheme lambda expressions, but it is not very transparent or interesting data.

What about Quotations?

In Factor, quotations and lambdas are the same thing, because there are no symbols to bind in any scopes. Higher order functions and macros are basically the same!
In Emacs Lisp quotations are pretty close to lambdas too: if they happen to have as their head a lambda, then they are, subject to some constraints, actually lambda expressions. If not, you can still call eval on them and if all of their free symbols are located in the dynamic environment that you call eval from, then you get a "meaningful" result. In picolisp, where this philosophy is entirely embraced, one can write higher order functions that do the same thing as macros because they can inspect code passed in.

In Scheme, a quotation introduces syntax, primarily because you want to use quotation during macro construction and hygienic macros need to know more than just the list-structure of the code they work on to ensure hygiene. So already the representation of code in just a quotation is more complicated. This is the primary reason that Scheme is "more staticy/lexical" than Common Lisp, in which a quotation really does produce just a regular list. Scheme wants to ensure macro hygeine, and for that reason static or lexical concerns must even enter into your primary code represantation. In Common Lisp there is a macro system which is distinct from the function system, but allows you to use regular list operations to build the generated code. In Scheme the macro system is somewhat more cumbersome conceptually, with special operations on "syntax" objects to enforce lexical hygeine. Complexity has crawled deep into the language.

Finally, in a language like Haskell, you don't really have quotations at all. The representation of any kind of code has become fairly complex and generally not worth fiddling with (template metahaskell aside).

What does this mean?

The point of the above discussion is twofold:
  1. Languages lie on a continuum between dynamic and static and that positions on that continuum have complexity and flexibility payoffs and penalties. The very dynamic languages pick up a lot of flexibility (which is good and bad) and the static languages pick up a lot of complexity, but get certain conceptual guarantees and speed in exchange.
  2. Especially in Lisps, which provide facilities for meta-programming, this distinction isn't extremely important. Heck, even Factor has an implementation of lambda with lexically scoped variables that compiles down to stack code. Emacs Lisp has a lexical-let form that gets you 99% of what you want. Specific features of closures that you need at any given moment can easily be built in dynamic lisps. If you want to program functionally, for instance, you can whip up good curry and compose operations in any of these languages and away you go.
I can't find the reference at the moment, but I recall reading from one of the Factor maintainer's that they use lexical variables in less than ten percent of the Factor code base. I suspect if you examine any large Lisp project you will find that for the most part the actual use of the semantics of lexical scope is small.
There is absolutely an argument to be made that dynamic scope introduces certain kinds of hard to find bugs, and I agree with that assessment. I don't think dynamic scope is optimal by any means, but the case against it is somewhat overstated. A dynamically scoped Lisp is still extremely powerful and in some ways more flexible than an efficiently compiled lexical lisp.

Actual Code

I work hard on making my Emacs Lisp code readable and clear, and so I wanted to show a bit of the implementation of Gazelle here, to drive the point home that in a Lisp the exact feature set under the hood doesn't make as big of a difference as it might seem.

(defun-match- prim:transcode ('_false)
  (prim:insert "false"))

(defun-match prim:transcode ('_true)
  (prim:insert "true"))

(defun-match prim:transcode ('_null)
  (prim:insert "null"))

(defun-match prim:transcode ('_undefined)
  (prim:insert "undefined"))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((non-kw-symbol s))
  (prim:insert (prim:mangle s)))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((keyword k))
  (prim:insert "\"")
  (prim:insert (prim:mangle (prim:kw->symbol k)))
  (prim:insert "\""))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((number n))
  (prim:insertf "%s" n))

(defun prim:transcode-string (string)
  (prim:insert "\"")
  (loop for character in (coerce string 'list) do
        (match character
               (?\n (insert "\\n"))
               (?\t (insert "\\t"))
               (?\" (insert "\\\""))
               (?\\ (insert "\\"))
               (else (insert else))))
  (prim:insert "\""))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((string s))
  (prim:transcode-string  s))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((list '_var (non-kw-symbol s) expr))
  (prim:insert "var ")
  (prim:transcode s)
  (prim:insert " = ")
  (prim:transcode expr))

(defun-match prim:transcode 
       ((list '_return 
              (list (and which 
                    (or '_for '_while '_try '_var '_=)) (tail body))))
  (recur `(,which ,@body)))

(defun-match prim:transcode 
       ((list '_return 
              (list 
               (and which (or '_throw '_continue '_break)) expression)))
  (recur `(,which ,expression)))

(defun-match prim:transcode ((list '_return expression))
  (prim:insert "return ")
  (prim:in-parens 
   (prim:transcode expression)))

This is a small excerpt from the prim module, which converts a primitive representation of Javascript in s-expressions to Javascript source code. That transcoder consists of one large function definition, split up into several invocations of defun-match (the initial defun-match- clears previous function bindings to the provided function name), each of which matches its pattern against the input and executes when the match succeeds. Matches are tried in the order in which the defun-match forms are compiled, in most cases from top to bottom. defun-match allows you to tail-recur to the same function without growing the stack, so in many cases (two shown above), prim:transcode calls itself to perform the actual transcoding.

I can only ultimately speak for myself, but I find that this code is clear, readable (once you get used to the pattern matching) and self documenting. If you can write code like this in Emacs Lisp, is it really such a crime to do so?

And given that by really thinking about the different ways to program in different Lisp and Lisp-like languages we can learn a great deal about programming, even in our favorite dialects, is it really useful to stifle conversation and development in alternative Lisps?
I really don't think so.
          While Cyprus Awaits Gas Future, It Explores Shorter Term Solutions   
Still years away from exploiting its own natural gas potential, Cyprus is now reviving efforts to nail down import options to help the country meet its climate targets through liquefied natural gas projects.
          Wikileaks: La CIA desarrolla un malware para el Sistemas Operativos basados en Linux   

Wikileaks está desvelando en el programa Vault 7 en su página web todos los detalles sobre los cientos de herramientas de hackeo que tenía (y tiene) la CIA en su poder para todo tipo de dispositivos. Mientras que ayer conocimos Elsa, un malware para geolocalizar a usuarios a través del WiFi, hoy se ha desvelado Outlaw Country, el malware de la CIA para ordenadores con Linux.
 

Outlaw Country: utilizado para manipular paquetes de red de manera oculta en Linux

Mientras que prácticamente todo lo que Wikileaks ha desvelado de la CIA tiene que ver con malware para ordenadores con Windows, es especialmente destacable que Outlaw Country sea la primera herramienta pensada explícitamente para Linux, que como todos sabemos es mucho más seguro que otros sistemas operativos y parchea mucho más rápido sus vulnerabilidades.
 
Outlaw Country permite redirigir todo el tráfico saliente de un ordenador objetivo a ordenadores controlados por la CIA con el objetivo de poder robar archivos del ordenador infectado, o también para enviar archivos a ese ordenador.

El malware consiste en un módulo de kernel que crea tablas netfilter invisibles en el ordenador objetivo con Linux, con lo cual se pueden manipular paquetes de red. Conociendo el nombre de la tabla, un operador puede crear reglas que tengan preferencia sobre las que existen en las iptables, las cuales no pueden verse ni por un usuario normal ni incluso por el administrador del sistema.
 
Relacionado:https://www.adslzone.net/2017/06/01/es-realmente-mas-seguro-linux-que-windows/
 
Y es que Linux es muy utilizado en servidores, por lo que es un objetivo prioritario para la CIA, que busca infiltrarse de cualquier manera en redes ajenas para realizar labores de espionaje, como hemos visto con otras herramientas como Brutal Kangaroo o Pandemic. 
 
Outlaw Country permite redirigir todo el tráfico saliente de un ordenador objetivo a ordenadores controlados por la CIA con el objetivo de poder robar archivos del ordenador infectado, o también para enviar archivos a ese ordenador.
 
El malware consiste en un módulo de kernel que crea tablas netfilter invisibles en el ordenador objetivo con Linux, con lo cual se pueden manipular paquetes de red. Conociendo el nombre de la tabla, un operador puede crear reglas que tengan preferencia sobre las que existen en las iptables, las cuales no pueden verse ni por un usuario normal ni incluso por el administrador del sistema.
 

El último documento del malware data de 2015

El mecanismo de instalación y persistencia del malware no viene muy bien detallado en los documentos a las que tuvo acceso Wikileaks. Para poder hacer uso de este malware, un operador de la CIA tiene que hacer primero uso de otros exploits o puertas traseras para inyectar el módulo del kernel en el sistema operativo objetivo.
 
 
La versión de Outlaw Country 1.0 contiene un módulo para el kernel de la versión de 64 bits de CentOS/RHEL 6.x. La primera versión de esa rama fue publicada en 2011, mientras que la última fue lanzada en 2013, siendo la última disponible hasta verano de 2014 cuando llegó la versión 7. El módulo sólo funciona con los kernel por defecto, y además, la versión 1.0 del malware sólo soporta DNAT (Destination NAT) a través de la cadena PREROUTING.
 
La versión del documento que Wikileaks ha revelado tiene como fecha el 4 de junio de 2015. En ese mismo documento aparece referenciado como requisito utilizar la versión de CentOS 6.x o anterior, y que tenga como versión de kernel 2.6.32 (del año 2011) o inferior. No se sabe si la herramienta contaba con una versión más actualizada para versiones más recientes.
 
https://www.adslzone.net/2017/06/29/outlaw-country-wikileaks-desvela-malware-de-la-cia-para-linux/
 
------------

          How the 2017 Arkansas legislature made life worse for you   
But it wasn't as bad as it could've been at the Capitol.

Arkansas's legislators were locked and loaded when they arrived for the 91st General Assembly this year, determined to get more guns into public places and take away voting and abortion rights, their evergreen attacks.

Thanks to the legislature, concealed weapons soon may be carried just about everywhere except Razorback games and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Unemployment benefits were cut, whistleblowers were silenced and charter schools were given advantages over regular public schools. Other legislation was symbolic but ugly, such as an act authored by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that aims to stop Sharia, or Islamic ecclesiastical law, from taking over Arkansas's court system.

Some of the silliest bills went nowhere, such as efforts by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) to wipe Bill and Hillary Clinton's names off the Little Rock airport, to indefinitely delay implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program and to call a convention of the states to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Anti-immigrant legislation that would have penalized colleges and cities with so-called "sanctuary" policies withered in committee. Rep. Smith, the sponsor of the bill targeting universities, warned that rogue professors might hide undocumented immigrants in their offices and then dump their human waste on campus in the dark of night; surprisingly, this argument did not persuade his colleagues. Rep. Kim Hendren (R-Gravette) proposed banning cell phones from public schools; later, he filed a bill prohibiting teachers from using books authored by leftist historian Howard Zinn. Neither gained traction.

What was good? A little. Conservatives tried to circumscribe the medical marijuana amendment with bans on smoking and edible products, among other roadblocks, but the worst of the anti-pot legislation stalled. Evidently reassured by Governor Hutchinson's promises to make the private option more conservative (read: stingier) down the line, the annual appropriation for Medicaid passed without a major fight — a relief for the 300,000-plus Arkansans receiving health insurance through Obamacare. Pushed by Hutchinson, the ledge directed some of Arkansas's tobacco settlement proceeds to expand a waiver program for the developmentally disabled, opening the door to services for some 500 to 900 desperate families stranded for years on a waitlist. At long last, the state will stop its reprehensible practice of celebrating Robert E. Lee's birthday simultaneously with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a symbolic but important step forward that was championed by the governor.

Here's our survey of the damage:

GUNS
In Glock we trust

The biggest gun-related news this session was the passage and signing of House Bill 1249, now Act 562, which creates a new "enhanced carry" permit that will allow gun owners who have undergone eight hours of additional training — including active shooter training, with a curriculum still to be worked out by the Arkansas State Police — to carry a concealed handgun in many places previously forbidden under the state's concealed carry law, including the state Capitol, public colleges and universities, bars, churches and courthouses. Concealed carry in prisons, courtrooms and K-12 schools is still forbidden, and private property owners, including bars, churches and private colleges, can still prohibit firearms if they choose.

Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), the bill was a far piece from where it started by the time it was signed. Originally, Collins' bill would have solely mandated that public universities and colleges allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns. It was an attempt to push back against the state's public colleges and universities, which have steadfastly rejected Collins' and his colleagues' attempts to institute "campus carry" in the past. Amendments to HB 1249 soon pushed it several clicks further toward the broad "guns everywhere" approach favored by the National Rifle Association, and far beyond a potential shooting iron in a well-trained professor's briefcase. Now, anyone with the enhanced permit will be able to carry on a college campus, including into sometimes-contentious student and faculty disciplinary hearings and raucous college dorms.

The passage of the bill spawned some last minute scrambling when the Southeastern Conference expressed concerns about fans coming to college football games carrying heat, resulting in Act 859, a cleanup effort that prohibits concealed carry in college athletic venues. Also exempted by Act 859 were daycares, UAMS and the Arkansas State Hospital, an inpatient facility for the mentally ill. The bill also allows private businesses and organizations to ban concealed carry without posting a sign to that effect. If a private business decides to ban concealed carry without posting a sign, anyone caught carrying a concealed weapon on the premises can be ejected or told to remove their gun if they want to come back. If the concealed carrier repeats the infraction, they can be charged with a crime. Even after the purported cleanup, that still leaves a lot of places open to concealed carry unless those places set a policy forbidding the practice, including most hospitals, mental health facilities and off-campus high school and middle school sporting events. At the signing ceremony for HB 1249, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said, "We believe that if you have a legal right to be somewhere, and you're a law-abiding person, you ought to have a legal right to defend yourself." For the NRA, that means the right to be armed everywhere, any time, as long as you don't have a criminal record. Notice Cox didn't say anything about pesky permits or training.

Speaking of law-abiding persons, also of concern when it comes to concealed carry is Act 486. Under the law, the Arkansas State Police is now prohibited from establishing or amending any administrative rule that would revoke or suspend a concealed carry permit unless the holder of the permit was found to be in violation of a criminal offense. While not penalizing a person if they haven't committed a crime sounds like a good idea, the problem is that people can and do go off the rails for a multitude of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with a violation of the criminal code. Before the passage of Act 486, the State Police had broad latitude to revoke or suspend concealed carry permits for a number of reasons, including serious alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous mental illness, or a mental health professional's determination that a permit holder might be a threat to himself, his family or the public. With the passage of Act 486, though, a concealed carry holder who suffers a complete mental breakdown to the point of visual hallucinations can keep on packing right until the moment he or she is admitted at the State Hospital (thanks Act 859!), even if the person's family or a doctor asks the State Police to pull their permit. Ditto with people suffering from substance abuse issues, elderly dementia patients and those who hint they might be capable of suicide or homicide. Under the law, a permit can still be revoked or suspended if the person is caught carrying into a prohibited place like a courtroom or jail, but as seen above, the list of places where handguns are prohibited is dwindling by the year. Otherwise, thanks to Act 486, we just have to wait until that person commits a crime. By then, it's too late.

In the What Could Have Been column, we have HB 1630, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), which would have created the misdemeanor offense of "negligently allowing access to a firearm by a child" if an owner failed to secure a loaded gun or left it in a place a child could easily access. Though the bill had exemptions for hunting, sport shooting and use of firearms on a farm and had a sliding scale of penalties, with incidents involving the death or serious injury of a child at the top of the list, it went nowhere.

EDUCATION

Traditional schools took licks, but the worst was kept at bay.

The single worst education bill passed in 2017 was probably Act 542, sponsored by Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), which requires school districts to sell or lease "unused or underutilized" facilities to competitor charter schools. Charters already had right of first refusal in the event a district decides to sell a building — but after Act 542 goes into effect this summer, a charter can force a district to sell or lease a building, even if the district doesn't want to do so. If a different entity — a nonprofit, say, or a clinic or a business — wants to buy an unoccupied school building instead, that's too bad. Act 542 requires a district to hold on to unused buildings for two years, just in case a charter comes along and wants the facility for itself.

Clark pointed to a situation a few years ago in which the Helena-West Helena School District refused to sell a vacant elementary to KIPP Delta, a charter. But there are good reasons why a district wouldn't want to hand over an asset to a direct competitor: Charter networks tend to weaken districts by bleeding away higher-performing students and public money, and they often enjoy advantages their traditional public school counterparts do not. As some opponents of the bill pointed out, the new law is tantamount to forcing Walmart to sell a store to Target. That's why school superintendents across the state fought the bill and convinced no small number of Republicans to join Democrats in opposing it. In the end, though, it passed the House on a 53-32 vote. Republican legislators also rejected proposals by Democrats Sen. Joyce Elliott and Rep. Clarke Tucker — both from Little Rock, which is seeing unchecked charter growth at the expense of traditional public schools — to impose fairer rules on charters.

Thankfully, the legislature turned down an even worse proposal. HB 1222 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) proposed a convoluted scheme to divert millions of dollars away from the public coffers (by means of a tax credit to wealthy donors) and toward private schools in the guise of "education savings accounts" to be used for student tuition. A school voucher plan in all but name, the bill would have been devastating to public education. Dotson eventually scaled back the legislation to a pilot program with a four-year sunset, allowing a Senate version of the bill to win passage in that chamber — but many Republicans remain fond of their local school districts, and it narrowly failed in the House.

Meanwhile, legislators expanded an existing voucher program, the Succeed Scholarship. Created in the 2015 session, it uses public tax dollars to pay private school tuition for a limited number of K-12 students with special needs. Parents are required to waive their child's civil rights protections under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In the past, the scholarship was open only to kids with an Individualized Education Program, or IEP; now, foster children living in group homes will also be eligible, thanks to Act 894 by Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton). Act 327 by Rep. Carlton Wing (R-North Little Rock) will allow a nonaccredited private school to participate, as long as the school has applied for accreditation. And, the appropriation for the Succeed Scholarship rose from $800,000 to $1.3 million — an increase of 63 percent — potentially allowing as many as 200 students statewide to participate.

That bump is especially notable alongside the meager 1 percent increase in the state's overall K-12 education budget for the next two years — far less than the 2.5 percent boost recommended by legislative staff tasked with determining what constitutes "adequate" school funding. A bit more money will be directed to teacher pay and special education, and pre-kindergarten will see an overdue $3 million increase, so the money situation could be worse. Still, with state revenue squeezed hard by tax cuts, and private and charter schools knocking at the door, traditional public schools are clearly not the General Assembly's top priority.

On other fronts, school legislation was a mixed bag. Elliott's Act 1059, will limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in grades K-5 — a much-needed reform — but her bid to end corporal punishment failed in committee. (Rural Arkansas still loves the paddle.) One of the better education bills to pass this session was Elliott's Act 1039 which gives teeth to a 2013 law (also by Elliott) requiring dyslexia screening and intervention. Its reporting requirements and enforcement mechanism hopefully will force districts to deliver better reading interventions to dyslexic students. A major accountability bill developed by the state Education Department, Act 930, will overhaul how schools are monitored by the state, though it's too soon to say how the changes will play out. Act 478 by Rep. Bruce Cozart (R-Hot Springs), will require high school students to pass a civics test before graduating; an attempt by Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) to impose the same requirement on legislators and state agency heads received a cold reception. A bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle), now Act 910, will end September school elections and require them to be held concurrent with the November general or spring primary election date. That could spell trouble for future millage votes.

Finally, there's higher education: "Campus carry" dominated the news, but a major change in funding may be just as consequential. Act 148, which originated with the governor's office, creates a funding formula for colleges and universities that ties state money to metrics like graduation rate. HB 1518, now Act 563, a worthy bill by Rep. James Sturch (R-Batesville) requires the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create an action plan for addressing sexual assault on college campuses.

Benjamin Hardy

TAXES

Some help for the working poor and lots of punting.

Give modest credit to Governor Hutchinson. In the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions, Republican legislators pushed a massive cut on taxes on capital gains and reduced the income tax burden on all but the working poor. This session, Hutchinson provided some relief at the lower end of the tax bracket. Hutchinson pushed through a $50 million tax cut, directed at households with a taxable income of less than $21,000. The cut is misleading, though, as it targets taxable income, which is often far less than salary or adjusted gross income. In fact, Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families pointed out that 48 percent of the overall $50 million cut will go to taxpayers in the top 40 percent of earners, while only 5 percent will go to those making less than $18,000 per year.

Establishing a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit, tied to the federal EITC, would have been considerably more beneficial to the lower 40 percent of Arkansas earners, who often have no income tax liability, but pay a large share of their income in sales tax. An EITC would have provided a more substantial boost to the working poor at less cost than Hutchinson's cut. Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) were behind the EITC proposal, which historically has bipartisan appeal, but they couldn't get support from Hutchinson or enough other legislators.

Hutchinson also supported legislation that exempted all military retirement pay and survivor benefits from state income taxes. The first $6,000 of military retirement pay had been exempt previously. Since most veterans aren't career soldiers and eligible for a pension, the exemption will leave out many veterans (again, an EITC would have been a better avenue). But few politicians on either side of the aisle were going to stand in the way of helping veterans — even though Hutchinson unconscionably larded the measure with unrelated tax hikes. The legislation offset the eventual $13.4 million cost of the exemption by raising the sales tax on candy and soda. Completely unrelated to veterans' retirement income, the bill provided a $6 million tax cut on soft drink syrup, which it paid for by taxing unemployment benefits and digital downloads. So, veterans with pensions got a bump and corporate interests got significant help, while folks downloading books and movies, as well as people in between jobs, got screwed.

In the "could have been worse" column, more credit for Hutchinson: He held at bay lawmakers from his party such as Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) who wanted to cut $100 million or more in taxes — threatening essential state services in the process — by creating a commission to consider the future of tax policies in the state.

The commission will have to consider two issues the General Assembly punted on. A bill that would have required out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by Arkansans stalled in the House, with several Republicans decrying the proposal as a tax increase even though Arkansans already are required to pay the tax by law (few do because it requires self-reporting.) Still, Amazon said it would voluntarily begin collecting sales tax on Arkansas customers beginning in March. Another bill that merely would have referred to voters a proposal to increase the tax on gas to pay for bonds for highway construction failed on similar anti-tax grounds.

Lindsey Millar

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Atual reform

Act 423, "The Criminal Justice Efficiency and Safety Act," might be the most consequential piece of good legislation the General Assembly passed. It's a sprawling, omnibus law, with three primary components.

Most consequentially, it introduces swift and certain sanctioning, which means parolees and probationers who commit minor violations of the terms of their supervision will be sent for 45 to 90 days to Arkansas Community Correction facilities, where they will receive rehabilitative programming, instead of being sent to prison for significantly longer stints. Arkansas in recent years has had the fastest growing prison population in the country, fueled largely by parole violators returning to prison. Swift and certain sanctioning is expected to free up as many as 1,600 prison beds and save the state as much as $30-$40 million.

The law also seeks to divert people who commit nuisance offenses because they are high on drugs or having a mental health crisis in public from jail or prison. It establishes Crisis Stabilization Units, regional facilities where people in crisis could go to receive treatment for several days. The law mandates the creation of three such units, but $5 million earmarked in the state budget for the operation of the facilities, paired with significant additional federal money the state expects to draw from Medicaid, could allow for several more CSUs to open. The locations of the CSUs have not yet been selected, but Craighead, Pulaski and Sebastian counties are thought to be leading candidates. Finally, Act 423 also requires law enforcement officers to receive crisis intervention training to help them de-escalate interactions with people amid behavioral health episodes.

The law is the product of 18 months of study and presentations by the nonprofit Council of State Governments, which reported to a Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force that bill sponsor Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) co-chaired. Hutchinson, co-sponsor Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) and CSG say the new law will save the state money, which can be reinvested in effective criminal justice policies. CSG's justice reinvestment program has successfully been implemented in states across the country.

Of course, whether it's successful here will depend on policymakers seeing the reforms through. One potential stumbling block: CSG recommended that the state hire 100 new parole and probation officers to better supervise the nearly 56,000 people on parole and probation. Current supervision officers handle on average 125 cases. Governor Hutchinson's budget didn't provide for funding to hire 100 new officers, though it did make temporary funding to Arkansas Community Correction permanent, which will at least allow the department to retain the 60 officers it had hired since 2015. That's not enough, Sen. Hutchinson (who is the governor's nephew) said. He hopes a future General Assembly will approve additional funding for more officers using some of the savings generated by Act 423.

A perennial stumbling block for any criminal justice reform is the inevitable violator who commits a serious crime. A significant portion of Arkansas's recent prison growth spike came because of punitive parole policies enacted in the wake of the 2013 murder of a teenager in Little Rock by a serial parole violator. It's natural to think that locking up people who commit crimes for long stretches reduces crime, but research shows it's just the opposite, Sen. Hutchinson said.

"I've had the luxury of studying this for years now. It's hard to wrap your brain around sometimes," Hutchinson said. "Longer sentences do not, in fact, result in lower crime rates. The longer [people are] incarcerated, the greater chance of recidivism they have."

Hutchinson chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and many of its members, chief among them Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest), were hostile to the idea of moving away from incarceration in certain situations. King introduced the tough-on-crime Senate Bill 177, which would have required anyone with three stints in prison to serve at least 80 percent of any subsequent sentence. Arkansas already has a two-strikes law: After someone commits a second serious violent or sexual crime, he's required to serve 100 percent of his sentence. So King's measure would have mostly targeted low-level property and drug crimes and at huge cost. According to an impact statement, it would have added 5,499 inmates at a cost of $121 million in 2026. The total 10-year cost to the state would have been $692 million, and that's not including the significant cost of building new prison housing. King let the bill die in the House Judiciary Committee after Governor Hutchinson forcefully spoke out against it.

Three other positive new laws: Act 566, sponsored by the odd couple Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) and Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), has Arkansas opt out of a section in President Clinton's sweeping 1996 welfare reform law that prevents anyone who has been convicted of a felony drug offense from receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Act 1012, from legislation sponsored by Tucker and Hutchinson, allows someone on probation or parole for an offense that did not involve the operation of a motor vehicle who has a suspended drivers license because of unpaid fines or fees to continue to drive to work or school. Act 539, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (R-Springdale), prevents minors from being sentenced to life without parole. Before they become eligible for parole, the new law requires minors sentenced to life terms to serve 20 years for nonhomicide offenses, 25 years for first-degree murder and 30 years for capital murder. Of course, the Parole Board could repeatedly deny parole requests and force someone sentenced to a life term as a minor to spend his life in prison.

The heartbreaker of the session in criminal justice was the failure of Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's proposal to require racial impact statements for new criminal justice legislation. The impact statements would have provided research on whether proposed legislation would have a disparate impact on minority groups. Similar bills failed in 2013 and 2015, and this one was substantially amended to merely provide the impact statements as an option, but it died on the House floor. It was another reminder that for many white people, there is no greater insult than suggesting that they or something they do might be racist, even if the bias was unintended. One opponent, Rep. Ballinger, said he did not believe in systemic racism.

Lindsey Millar

ABORTION

Risking women's health

Women and their bodies were subjected to serious new insults this year by Arkansas legislators practicing medicine without a license.

Among the most egregious laws was the so-called "dismemberment abortion" bill, now Act 45, whose chief sponsors were Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) and Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock). The bill prohibits doctors from performing what doctors believe is the safest method of second trimester abortion: dilation and evacuation. The alternatives would be something akin to a Caesarean section, in which the belly is cut open to remove the fetus, or an induced abortion, which requires the woman to go into labor to expel a fetus killed by an injection of salt water, urea or potassium chloride into the amniotic sac. Those procedures are what doctors call "high morbidity" — meaning they have a high risk of making patients sick.

Dilation and evacuation is recommended by the World Health Organization, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association. The difference between those organizations and the Arkansas legislature is that one group does not believe women should receive the best health care possible.

But Mayberry and Sanders and their co-sponsors think D&E, which uses a vacuum, is tantamount to butchery. But hysterectomy and induction abortions accomplish the same end as a D&E and are far less safe.

There is no exception for incest or rape in the law. And, like previous laws passed by legislators who think their particular religious beliefs give them the right to control women, the law particularly harms women who can't afford to travel to a more broad-minded jurisdiction to exercise a legal right.

Another evil of the law is that it allows a spouse, parent or guardian to bring a civil suit against the abortion provider if the woman has "received or attempted to receive" dilation and evacuation. That means, according to abortion rights activists and Mayberry himself, a husband can stop an abortion. He may have committed rape. A parent may have committed incest. Doesn't matter.

Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) brought us the bill that became Act 733, the so-called "sex-selection abortion ban." Despite the fact that there is zero evidence that Arkansas women are dashing into abortion clinics because they've determined the sex of their fetus and don't like it, the bill has the potential to create an huge burden on the doctor provider.

Say a woman has had prenatal tests to see if her fetus has a genetic disorder. She learns there is a disorder and, by the way, the sex of the fetus. Her doctor must ask if she knows the gender of the fetus. If she answers that she does, the abortion must be delayed, because this new state law requires the doctor to "request the medical records of the pregnant woman relating directly to the entire pregnancy history of the woman." No abortion may be performed until every chart for every pregnancy generated by the woman's ob-gyn (or ob-gyns) and staffs and hospitals, every record generated during every trip to the ER she may have had to make, is supplied and reviewed by the abortion provider. Not only could that take a lot of time and generate a mountain of paperwork — what if the woman already had five children? — but it would also notify, perhaps against the woman's will, her doctors and their staffs that she is seeking to obtain an abortion.

The bill does not state what information in those records would suggest that the woman was hell-bent on not having another boy or girl.

"Why are physicians and the clinic made to be an investigative party into a woman's motives to have an abortion?" asked a spokesman for Little Rock Family Planning, the state's only clinic that offers abortion up to 21 weeks.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals), like Mayberry and Sanders, introduced what's called a model TRAP law (targeted regulation of abortion providers) meant to end abortion by imposing stricter inspection regulations on clinics. The bill allows the state Department of Health to make yearly trips to inspect clinic records and "a representative sample of procedures"; to regulate all aspects of the clinic "without limitation," and to collect an annual fee of $500.

While purporting to be a bill to protect women's health, the new law, Act 383, is designed to let the state shut down a clinic for facilities violations not spelled out in the legislation. It's not clear what violation would close the clinic. Towel on the floor? Out of paper towels? Scoop left in the break room freezer's icemaker?

As it happens, Little Rock Family Planning is inspected frequently, more than the once every year that the law already called for. The health department inspected the clinic four times in 2016, citing such things as discolored ceiling tiles and a chair with rips. The clinic's spokesman said some inspections are instigated by complaints from the anti-abortion protesters that picket outside.

The vague language of Act 383 "has potential for abuse. We don't know if we would be singled out and treated differently, if our license could be suspended for even minor paperwork violations," the spokesman said.

— Leslie Newell Peacock

TRANSPARENCY

The public's right to know took one step forward, two steps back.

Arkansas's robust Freedom of Information Act came under assault in 2017 as never before, with legislators proposing at least a dozen new exemptions to the open records law. Thanks to SB 131, now Act 474, by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), security plans of the State Capitol Police are no longer disclosable to the public; Stubblefield's reasoning was that someone seeking to do violence at the Capitol might request such plans, but the law is written so broadly that virtually any record of the Capitol police could fall under the new exemption. Stubblefield's SB 12 (Act 541) created a similar exemption for schools, including colleges and universities. HB 1236, now Act 531, by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), prevents the disclosure of a body-cam or dash-cam recording of the death of a law enforcement officer.

Thankfully, though, many anti-FOIA bills failed. The most significant was SB 373, by Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), which proposed exempting attorney-client communications and work product from the FOIA if the client is a public entity. The force behind the bill was the University of Arkansas. The problem with this idea — aside from the fact that attorney-client communications can already be shielded on a case-by-case basis, by order of a judge — is that a public entity could declare almost any record exempt simply by emailing that record to its attorney. Had it passed, this loophole could have swallowed the entire FOIA.

On the bright side, Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) managed to pass HB 1427, now Act 318, to require candidates to file their monthly finance reports electronically, rather than on paper. HB 1010, now Act 616, by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) extends the same requirement to political action committees and other groups. This matters because a searchable electronic database will make it much easier for the public to track contributions made to candidates and PACs, as well as their expenditures.

However, the legislature quashed an effort to shine a light on the darkest regions of campaign finance when it rejected HB 1005, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock). The bill would have required disclosure of "electioneering" spending, meaning advertisements by independent organizations, nominally unaffiliated with any candidate, that dodge ethics laws by scrupulously avoiding the use of phrasings like "vote for" or "vote against." A growing number of states recognize that such ads — which have proliferated tremendously in recent years and comprise hundreds of millions of dollars in spending nationwide — are de facto campaign commercials and require them to be reported as such. Not Arkansas.

Benjamin Hardy

ANTI-LGBT

Threats stalled.

The legislature still shows animus toward people who don't fit its definition of normal, but Arkansans lucked out when three anti-LGBT bills failed. Two so-called "bathroom bills" that targeted transgender children and adults and another that would have let doctors refuse to perform a procedure if it offended their "deeply held beliefs" did not make it into law.

But the legislature also blocked a bill that would have corrected an injustice. SB 580, by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), would have provided for the automatic listing of both parents' names on the birth certificates of children of married same-sex couples, an important factor in establishing inheritance and other matters. In a marriage between a man and a woman, the names of both parents are listed on a child's birth certificate, even in cases of surrogacy or artificial insemination. Arkansas is the only state that treats children of same-sex parents differently in this regard, seemingly in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that struck down bans on gay marriage nationwide. Elliott's bill would have fixed the problem, but when SB 580 came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, vice-chair Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) said same-sex parents could make a will if they wanted to ensure their kids get an inheritance.

Besides the children of same-sex couples, Collins-Smith doesn't much like transgender people, either. She introduced SB 774 to require that people had to use public bathroom or changing facilities that corresponded with the sex as listed on their birth certificates, and that the governing body of the public entity had to make sure the law was enforced. Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau director Gretchen Hall and Verizon Arena General Manager Michael Marion told Collins-Smith in a hearing on the bill said they could not see how it would be possible to know what was on the birth certificate on the thousands of people who might answer the call of nature at an event. "It's your job to find a way," Collins-Smith snarled. Collins-Smith pulled down the bill when she realized it was not going to pass.

The House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), who also had his mind on bathroom use, to expand the state's indecent exposure law. State law already says it is a crime to expose one's genitalia with intent to gratify sexual desire; Ballinger's bill would have made it a crime simply to expose genitalia in front of a person of the opposite sex. (Maybe it's common practice to inspect genitalia in bathrooms up in Berryville.) Though the House vote for the bill was 65 to 3, the bill went down the Senate Judiciary Committee drain, as Collins-Smith's did.

Governor Hutchinson, who did not want Arkansas to suffer economically as North Carolina did when it passed its "bathroom bill" (since partially repealed), was relieved.

Another ugly bill was introduced by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro): the Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act, which would have allowed doctors to refuse to administer health care services that offended their "deeply held beliefs." Smith had in mind both reproductive rights and transgender reassignment surgery. There was no support for the bill from medical professionals, and state Surgeon General Dr. Gregory Bledsoe spoke against it, saying, "If you're a member of any sort of minority group ... these sorts of bills send a message that threatens you."

Leslie Newell Peacock

AVERAGE ARKANSANS 

Workers, consumers and other enemies of the state got a raw deal.

Governor Hutchinson deserves some recognition for passing a modest income tax cut for working people this session, even if it wasn't quite the boost for the poor that he claimed (see Taxes, page 15). But in almost every other way, the average Arkansan got screwed by the 2017 session.

Start with Act 986, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs), which will outlaw private class-action lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act — a cornerstone of consumer protection law. Such suits are a powerful deterrent against businesses that intentionally scam customers in various small ways, such as false advertising or misleading promotional offers. Preventing consumers from bringing claims as a class gives the unscrupulous a freer hand to prey on the unsuspecting.

Act 606, by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio), provides a boon to corporations by allowing an employer to sue a worker who records a video or takes photos in the workplace "and uses the recording in a manner that damages the employer." In other words, it will stop whistleblowers from documenting unethical or illegal practices, such as animal abuse at factory farms. Animal rights organizations refer to it as an "ag-gag" bill.

Maybe the biggest prize for big business, though, was the "tort reform" measure that was referred to the 2018 ballot, Senate Joint Resolution 8. Sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home), it proposes a new amendment to the state constitution that would place ceilings on the noneconomic and punitive damages that may be awarded to a claimant in a civil suit. Attorney contingency fees would also be capped, at one-third of the net recovery. In short, this would sharply limit the ability of someone who was grievously harmed by an act of medical malpractice to seek compensation in court. SJR 8 sparked a bruising fight in the legislature, with a few Republicans breaking ranks to speak forcefully against abridging the right to a trial by jury. But business interests — especially nursing homes — have been pushing tort reform for years, and the measure proved unstoppable. Unless Arkansas voters reject it in 2018, that is.

Speaking of abridged rights, the legislature also referred a proposed amendment that would enshrine a voter ID requirement in the Arkansas Constitution. The hard truth is that House Joint Resolution 1016, by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs), will likely pass in 2018 given the state's electoral trends. Never mind that proponents of voter ID can't cite any documented instances of voter impersonation in Arkansas, and never mind the evidence that such measures elsewhere have resulted in voters being disenfranchised — voter ID has become gospel to Republicans, aided by President Trump's falsehoods about rampant fraud in the 2016 election. Redundantly enough, the legislature also passed a voter ID bill in addition to the referred amendment, Act 633 by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle).

Arkansas's status as the worst state in the nation for renters went unchallenged. A bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), now Act 159, softened but preserved the state's unconscionable, one-of-a-kind criminal eviction statute, which courts in several counties have deemed unconstitutional. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Arkansas Realtors Association, Arkansas also remains the only state in which there is no minimum habitability standard for rental property. HB 1166, by Hot Springs Republican Rushing, purported to address that deficiency, but the bill's proposed standards were pitifully weak — limited to electricity, water, sewer and a roof — and it may have limited renters' meager rights in other ways, so it's best it failed.

Legislators' sympathy for landlords didn't translate to protecting small property owners railroaded by the oil industry. House Bill 2086, an effort by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) to more carefully examine the use of eminent domain by pipeline companies, was drafted in response to the construction of the Diamond Pipeline, which will carry crude oil across the length of Arkansas from Oklahoma to Memphis. It failed to get out of committee.

Currently, unemployment benefits in Arkansas cover workers for a maximum of 20 weeks, which is a shorter span than any surrounding state except Missouri (also 20 weeks). Act 734 from Rep. Lundstrum will soon reduce that coverage time to 16 weeks ... and reduce weekly benefits checks paid to laid-off workers. This is despite the state's unemployment trust fund having amply recovered from the recession (it now contains around $500 million) and unemployment levels at record lows. So why trim benefits now? Simple: Employers want more money for themselves.

There was at least one good piece of consumer legislation, though, sponsored by none other than Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway). Act 944 aims to close a loophole exploited by payday lenders, which were driven out of Arkansas some years ago by a ban on high-interest loans but recently have been creeping back into the state by charging astronomical "fees" in place of interest.

And some bad measures failed, the most obnoxious probably being HB 1035 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville). The bill would have prohibited SNAP recipients from using food stamps to purchase items the state Health Department deems unhealthy, such as soda; it stalled in the face of opposition from grocery stores and others. House Bill 1825 by Rep. John Payton (R-Wilburn), which went nowhere, would have seized lottery winnings from citizens who have received public assistance from the Arkansas Department of Human Services. And, efforts to chip away at workers compensation failed this time around. Got to leave something for 2019.

Benjamin Hardy



          Cosmopolitan thinks vegans are basically invincible   
Relish in the side effects of not partaking in animal exploitation, but make sure your veganism is about fighting for the victims, the animals.
          Notorious BIG's mom,Voletta Wallace attacks Kylie and Kendall Jenner for BIG t shirt   
Notorious B.I.G's mom slams Kylie and Kendall Jenner's use of her son's image on their new T-Shirt line

Notorious BIG's mom,Voletta Wallace is not at all happy with the Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner.The sisters apparently made some t shirts with the picture of her son and 2pac for sale.
Voletta slammed the two sisters for not taking permission from her or the estate and exploiting her son and 2pac's legacy.
But i really don't see all the fuss.Just sue them.It's easy as ABC.That's a GUARANTEED PAY DAY
FOR THE ESTATE.
          École d'automne sur l'Union européenne 2016 - L'Union européenne et les données personnelles, entre exploitation et protection   
none
          Germany beats Mexico 4-1 to reach Confederations Cup final   

SOCHI, Russia — Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire early goals on Thursday as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 to reach the Confederations Cup final.

Exploiting Mexico's defensive frailties, Joachim Loew's inexperienced squad was 2-0 up within 10 minutes.

Loew is using the squad to assess his pool of talent, and this one could end the tournament with more silverware for the world champions if it beats Chile on Sunday in St. Petersburg.

All three German scorers in the southern Russian resort of Sochi were players making their tournament debuts. After Goretzka netted in the 6th and 8th minutes, Timo Werner and Amin Younes scored in the second half.

Despite the convincing score line, Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was kept busy. There were 25 shots on goal but he only conceded in the 89th minute when he was beaten by Marco Fabian's long-range swerving shot.

Mexico will now head to Moscow to play Portugal in the third-place match on Sunday after paying the price for affording Germany too much space to cut through its ragged defense.

"We didn't have a good start of the game, and they took advantage," Fabian said. "We have to acknowledge that we dared to play as equals.

"Sometimes adrenaline plays a trick on us. Sometimes we make mistakes that they take advantage of. We have to learn to be effective and take advantage of their mistakes."

It was a misplaced header by captain Hector Moreno that freed Goretzka to launch the attack that he completed to put Germany in front. Goretzka seized possession around the halfway line, passed to Benjamin Henrichs on the right flank and accelerated to receive the ball back and sweep in a low shot from 20 yards (meters).

Mexico was jolted and had not regrouped when its defense was shredded again inside two minutes. Werner threaded the ball through for Goretzka to slot under the legs of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa at the near post and claim his third goal of the competition.

Rather than being a platform to build on, Germany eased up and squandered the opportunity for a third goal when Werner struck straight at Ochoa.

And soon Ter Stegen was being repeatedly called into action, using his outstretched right leg to clear a shot from Giovani Dos Santos and diving to block the follow-up from Jonathan Dos Santos.

Mexico had an even better chance to pull one back. The ball broke for Javier Hernandez and the striker only had Ter Stegen to beat but the shot was lifted too high.

Raul Jimenez was thwarted by Ter at the start of the second half before Germany extended its lead in the 59th minute. A flowing move saw captain Julian Draxler and Jonas Hector combine to set up the unmarked Werner to pass into an empty net.

Germany looked set for its first clean sheet of the tournament until a quickly-taken free kick left the defense unprepared to close down Fabian, who unleashed the long-range strike that Ter Stegen could not stop.

But Germany still had the final say, with Younes released by Emre Can and striking across the face of goal into the net.

___

Rob Harris is at www.twitter.com/RobHarris and www.facebook.com/RobHarrisReports

More AP Confederations Cup coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/ConfederationsCup

Author(s): 

Articles

Blog Posts

178c2f12ce214fd29130455d45490861.jpg

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa fails to save the ball as Germany's Leon Goretzka, left, scores his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Germany and Mexico, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

847d5cc3a31740db8df98281c7af118c.jpg

Germany's Leon Goretzka celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Germany and Mexico, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

f52cb87bef26430d82967fe5bc22b6b6.jpg

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa fails to save the ball as Germany's Leon Goretzka, left scores the opening goal during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Germany and Mexico, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

73494363b9304b66b6d242abe9bff792.jpg

Germany's Leon Goretzka heads the ball during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Germany and Mexico, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

f38f79d9706146cc8e135fcbeb9b57c4.jpg

Germany's Leon Goretzka, left, celebrates with Benjamin Henrichs after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Germany and Mexico, at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Thursday, June 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Source: 
AP

          A quirky miasma of art and cheap thrills ...   
Movie reviews and images from the seedy underbelly of world cinema. May Definitely does contain offensive language, sex scenes, graphic violence, drug use, horror, gratuitous nudity, and/or traces of nuts.
The Virgin Psychics. Japan, 2016
The Virgin PsychicsThe Virgin Psychics from Sion Sono is a mish-mash of crazy ideas - a preposterous sci-fi/supernatural premise exploited to its fully perverted potential with an abundance of upskirts, dick jokes, and insane situations ... Read more
The Click. France, 1985
The ClickWhat if you had a remote control that could turn any woman into a shameless nympho at the turn of a dial? That is the central conceit of Le Declic, a film based on the erotic comic by highly regarded Italian illustrator Milo Manara ... Read more

Madame de Sade. Japan, 1986
Madame de SadeFor a film containing such highly sexual ideas and situations - the story, acting and cinematography is of a remarkably high order. For those who enjoy some titillation in their movies, but cannot put up with the cinematic dross so often exemplified by most adult entertainment, I can most certainly recommend ... Read more
Erotic Diary of an Office Lady. Japan, 1977
Erotic Diary of an Office LadyWhat's interesting about this film is that, as the name suggests, it is told from a woman's perspective. So while at first we thought these women were your typical sexual fantasies (and with a title like that, who can be blamed!) - Konuma masterfully exposes the viewer to the flipside of the coin ... Read more
Himiko. Japan, 1974
HimikoAs an introduction to the legend of Himiko, the film fulfills it's purpose, and with no small amount of style. The cast is terrific, and the visuals often amazing. It is however a product of its time - experimental, arty, and very different to modern Hollywood fare ... Read more
Zero Woman 5: The Hunted. Japan, 1997
Zero Woman 5This direct to video release is the 5th entry in the Zero Woman franchise, one of the better known and certainly most prolific in the abundant Japanese Girls with Guns genre. The basic storyline will be familiar to anyone who has seen the various incarnations of Nikita ... Read more
The Sorcerer and the White Snake. China/HK, 2011
The Sorcerer and the White SnakeI guess The Sorcerer and the White Snake is the Chinese equivalent of a blockbuster. Big name stars, melodramatic romance, talking animals. Usually not my bag at all. But this is one amazing-looking spectacle and as far as blockbuster entertainment goes you could do a lot worse ... Read more

The Evil Dead. USA, 1981
The Evil Dead Unfairly referred to on release as a 'video nasty', it's far better than that description might suggest, and is a highly accomplished genre film that pushed the creative envelope in many directions, despite its low-budget origins ... Read more

Cold Fish. Japan, 2011
Cold FishIt was with much anticipation that I caught Sion Sono's latest flick at a Film Festival this weekend. I was expecting something surreal and gory, and I knew it was based on a real-life serial killer. But what I didn't expect was the funniest movie I've seen this year... Read more

The Raquel Welch Project. One Million Years B.C, 1966
One Million Years B.C.While the search for a good Raquel Welch movie continues, I had a pretty good idea this was not likely to be one of them. Nevertheless, this is the movie that launched her as an international sex symbol, and the source of the infamous loinskin bikini ... Read more

The Hokusai Manga aka Edo Porn. Japan, 1981
Edo PornAn Academy Award-winning film that features Tentacle Porn? Not likely right? Well, it is when its the Japanese Academy Awards! This historical drama about famed artist Katsushika Hokusai is a quality historical drama with its fair share of titillation ... Read more

Braindead aka Dead-Alive. New Zealand, 1992
BraindeadBefore Peter Jackson won Oscar glory with Lord of the Rings, he was the Splatter King of B-Movies. This balls-out orgy of zombie mayhem may well be the single greatest achievement in B-grade zombie cinema, and incredibly funny for those with a twisted sense of humor ... Read more

Enter the Void. France, 2009
Enter The VoidA twisted, visceral, mind-blowing experience with huge ambitions that no doubt will prove far too edgy for the Oscars, even though its now firmly in front-running for my movie of the year. Hallucinogenic, sexy, transcendent, experimental, in-your-face, and brutal by turns - its not for everyone ... Read more

Angst. Austria, 1983
AngstFor fans of true crime, and anyone seeking a more authentic psycho killer experience this surely rates as one of the most successful of its type. It's nasty, it's seedy, it's disturbing - just like the crime itself. What was the film's biggest downfall is also its greatest asset - it's honesty ... Read more

XX: Beautiful Hunter. Japan, 1994
XX: Beautiful HunterFrom famed Japanese Pinku director Masaru Konuma comes this mid-90's Girls with Guns genre piece, fully stocked with guns, sex, blood and a touch of S&M-themed torture thrown in for good measure ... Read more

Vanilla Sky. USA, 2001
Vanilla SkyThe film that Vanilla Sky is based on, Alejandro Amenabar's Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) is one of my all-time favourite films. And amazingly enough, so is this. Cameron Crowe took the opportunity to not only remake the movie, but to try and improve upon it as well. I still can't decide which of the two films I like better. Read more

School of the Holy Beast. Japan, 1974
School of the Holy BeastNunsploitation. What the fuck, right? It makes me laugh just to say it! But if you're looking for the Rolls-Royce of exploitation films, then this surely must be it. Despite the gorgeous visuals, the story doesn't shirk the exploitation factor, and has all the gratuitous and lurid content you could hope for. Read more

Candy, USA 1968
CandyAs a naive and trusting coed with a heart of gold, Candy is unaware of the effect she has on men, and seems like a bewildered Alice, in a Wonderland populated with sleazy, horny men. Light-hearted bawdy fun, and a worthwhile cinematic trip back to the 60's.
Read on

Boxer's Omen, Hong Kong 1983
Boxer's OmenI've seen more than my share of utterly bat-shit movies in my time, but this may be one of THE most twisted movies I've ever seen. Starting out as a martial arts movie, it segues into a triad theme, introduces a supernatural ghost-monk, and cuts to a gratuitous sex scene ... all within the first 15 minutes!
Read on

Black Dynamite, USA 2009
Black DynamiteA hilariously cheesy throwback to the golden era of 70s blaxploitation - complete with the requisite sexism, racism, macho posturing and kung fu! Some jive turkey has killed his brother and its up to Black Dynamite to find out who is responsible!
Read on

Thirst, Korea 2009
ThirstWhat can one of the most exciting directors in Asia bring to the well-established, and frequently all too predictable, vampire genre? Well rest assured there's loads of sex and blood, and the odd bit of ultra-violence thrown in for good measure ...
Read on

Angel-A, France 2005
Angel-AThe stunning cinematography around picturesque Paris, combined with the decision to film in black and white lends the film an artistic and classy aesthetic, however the delivery is anything but pretentious. Instead director Luc Besson has delivered a mature and sexy comedy/fantasy that is enjoyable from start to finish ...
Read on



          The Virgin Psychics   
Original title: Eiga: minna! Esupâ da yo!
Japan, 2016
Director: Sion Sono
Starring: Shota Sometani, Erina Mano, Elaiza Ikeda, Anna Konno, Mizuki Hoshina, Megumi Kagurazaka, Airi Shimizu, Ken Yasuda, Motoki Fukami, Ai Shinozaki
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy, Ecchi, Manga Adaptation
IMDB: 5.1

From Wikipedia ...

Fan service (ファンサービス fan sābisu), is material in a work of fiction which is intentionally added to please the audience. The term originated in anime and manga fandom but has been used in other mediums. It is about "servicing" the fan - giving the fans "exactly what they want." Fan service usually refers to "gratuitous titillation" ...

The Virgin Psychics is based on the original manga All Esper Dayo! by Kiminori Wakasugi (also known for Detroit Metal City). But is more closely related to the 2013 TV Tokyo adaptation directed by Sion Sono and featuring much of the same cast. (Check it out here, it's a lot of fun)

Sion Sono has often pushed the envelope beyond the bounds of good taste, whether it's the incest of Strange Circus, the upskirt voyeurism of Love Exposure, the teen suicide of Suicide Club, or the Eroguro of films such as Cold Fish and Guilty of Romance .

Here Sono has taken the concept of "fan-service", and taken it way over the top.

Mitsuko (gravure idol Anna Konno) leans over the desk for no discernible reason
Set in a high school in the small but vibrant city of Toyohashi, Yoshiro (Shota Sometani) has one thing on his mind - saving the world so that he is worthy of his one true love, who he hopes is his classmate Sae (Erina Mano).

At the same time, there has been a mysterious outbreak of superpowers, currently being investigated by two ESP researchers from Tokyo, Professor Asami (Ken Yasuda) and his assistant Ms. Akiyama (Megumi Kagurazaka).

Ms. Akiyama is a precog, she can see the future of anyone who stares at her breasts. I guess that's why the professor can't take his eyes off them ...

The Professor activates Ms. Akiyama's superpowers, for "research" purposes
Yoshiro has the ability to hear people's thoughts, but he's not the only one. Classmate Miyuki (fashion model, Elaiza Ikeda) also has this ability, which means she constantly hears men's dirty thoughts about her. Which is quite disturbing, considering the whole town seemingly has only one thing on its mind.

This is another mystery for the researchers to uncover - why has the city suddenly become sex crazy? Girls are robbing banks dressed only in bikinis. Random stripteases occur on the top of buildings. A lesbian ferry driver is hypnotising local girls. And why does that teleporting dude want to show everyone his dick?

Makoto Sports mimes his appreciation for Ice Coffee
The cast is packed with sexy actresses and models - and generally in very short skirts or bikinis. In Love Exposure, Sono had at least *some* justification for pointing the camera up those skirts - it was part of the story - but here it's done purely in the service of the fans - blatantly, repeatedly, and pretty much non-stop from start to finish.


The Virgin Psychics is a mish-mash of crazy ideas - a preposterous sci-fi/supernatural premise exploited to its fully perverted potential with an abundance of dick jokes, outrageously sexy women, and insane situations. As a comedy it works well, especially in the first half where Sono's pitch-perfect pacing keeps things moving with a high density of ideas.

The acting is about what you'd expect from this kind of movie - not particularly demanding. Shota Sometani overdoes the "geek schoolboy" role a little, and along with Motoki Fukami ensure the tone is often silly schoolboy humour. Erina Mano is cute as the aloof school hottie, and the bevy of models and idols excel at looking good, without being required for much more. Elaiza Ikeda impresses, as her character has a bit more to work with, as does Makita Sports (strange name) who is hilarious as the perverted cafe owner. Sono's wife and frequent collaborator Megumi Kagurazaka is always great (see Guilty of Romance and Cold Fish), and the interplay between her and Ken Yasuda is another highlight.

But ultimately the movie drags due to the hokey underlying story arcs which are basically a twisted version of the fight between good and evil, along with that eternal staple, the search for true love. But if you watch this expecting a masterpiece you're in the wrong cinema!

This is Sono lite - a sex comedy that is worth your time, if only for the exuberantly flagrant fan service. Despite the multitude of sexy women in revealing outfits, this is much more a comedy than a sexy movie. For that, I'd recommend Sono's more (relatively) sophisticated films such as Guilty of Romance or Cold Fish.

Rating: 6.5/10
An exuberant and completely over-the-top sex comedy. By no means a masterpiece, but a whole heap of fun. If you like this, check out the TV series which explains more of the back story and is even funnier.

Miyuki (Elaiza Ikeda)


          The Click   
Original title: Le déclic
aka The Turn-on
France, 1985
Directors: Jean-Louis Richard, Steve Barnett
Stars: Florence Guérin, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Bernie Kuby
IMDB: 4.4

What if you had a remote control that could turn any woman into a shameless nympho at the turn of a dial? That is the central conceit of Le Declic, a film based on the erotic comic by highly regarded Italian illustrator Milo Manara.




Set in New Orleans, we meet a yuppie type who calls himself Dr. Fez (Jean-Pierre Kalfon). He hates his boss, but sticks around because he has a thing for the Boss' hot young wife, Claudia, even though she clearly can't stand him.

Claudia (softcore Eurosleaze starlet, Florence Guerin) is uptight and frigid, believing that sex is for animals. Fez, on the other hand is convinced that everyone has a bit of the animal inside, even her.

Claudia Christiani (Florence Guerlain)Dr. Fez (Jean-Pierre Kalfon)
Fez spends his nights drinking at the local strip club with his buddy Jackson, who has a theory that his favourite stripper is a mindless automaton controlled by the strip-club owner. Because as you might have guessed, the owner is a professor, who conducts mind-control experiments, on rats, in the basement.

(!)

Of course Fez thinks he has a better use for that technology, so he steals it. The technical details of his method are obviously too advanced to explain to the lay-person, but it involves splicing together poly-rhythmic sex grunts into a hypnotic brand of dance music. Once recorded onto cassette tape (this is the '80s) he surreptitiously switches it into Claudia's walkman (yep still the '80s).

Upon listening to the tape she quickly falls unconscious, allowing Fez to briefly abduct her and implant a receiver capable of activating hypnotic arousal commands via remote control. What's really impressive, from a scientific perspective, is that the modified handheld radio controller (special price, $8.95) has a dial allowing fine-grained control of the arousal level, along with a bunch of snazzy flashing lights to boot. All in all, a pretty awesome piece of kit for 1985.

Claudia is hypnotisedDr. Fez turns up the heat
Now that we've got the ridiculous preamble out of the way, the movie settles into its real raison d'être, which is to show Florence Guerin naked for Fez to subject Claudia to all manner of sexual degradation via remote control.

The device, once activated, causes Claudia to masturbate in a changing room, suck off the salesman, and proceed to fuck whoever is on hand. Fez runs the gamut in his opportunistic exploitation of the young woman, but it really makes you wonder. It's all quite voyeuristic and mean-spirited, what's wrong with him? Surely he'd rather employ the device to his own benefit. Of course ... but first she must be brought down off her high-horse, until she no longer feels she is better than him.

Only then can Fez make his move.

Claudia gets caught masturbating
Claudia gets horny in the changing room

Let me be honest, the movie is not exactly saturated with quality in any of it's core components. There are brief strokes of visual aestheticism, but given the artistry of the source material, I would've expected much more. The acting is average, the story unfeasible. It tries to be part comedy, part thriller, failing at both.

The saving grace for a flick of this type is the debauchery and eroticism. Compared to the original comic, the debauchery has been toned down considerably for this theatrical presentation. But understandably so - I can't imagine many actresses outside of the Porn industry would consent to committing some of the original's deviant acts on camera ...

Excerpt from Milo Manara's original comic



So it's a saucy concept to be sure, but at the end of the day the film's debauchery is too cartoonish (ironic given the comic is less so) to seriously compete with a myriad of superior Euro-sleaze contenders.

What will ensure this film continues to garner fans, however, is Florence Guerin who looks fantastic naked - and is by turns sweet, classy, and diabolically sexy. It's a rare breed of actress (especially these days) who has what it takes to bare all in erotic roles without crossing the line into base slapperdom. It's her presence here that makes the film worth the time of any self-respecting sleaze-hound.

And to that end, the pictures tell it better than I.





Rating: 5.5/10
A unique concept with a great lead actress, but average realisation.

PS: If you're at all curious about well illustrated adult-themed comics, do check out Milo Manara's original works.

I'll leave the last words to Claudia and her husband ...




          Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City   
Japan, 2010
Original title: Zeburâman: Zebura Shiti no gyakushû

Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Shô Aikawa, Riisa Naka, Tsuyoshi Abe
IMDB: 7/10

Long-time fans of director Takashi Miike may regard the first Zebraman film as marking the end of the Miike golden period. Coming shortly after a rapid-fire sequence of surreal genre pieces (Gozu, Visitor Q, Happiness of the Katakuris) and hyper kinetic Yakuza epics (Ichi the Killer, Dead or Alive, Deadly Outlaw Rekka) ... it was a time when Miike was arguably the most exciting director on the world stage, at least for those of us inhabiting the more twisted fringes of the world cinema spectrum.

Consequently expectations were high, and Zebraman (Part 1) while able to ride on the Miike buzz, ultimately disappointed. It's not that it was a bad film, just that the films which preceded it were so good, and the paradigm shift to a less adult, and more commercial reality was somewhat at odds with his previous work, even considering the eclectic range of his output.

So its interesting that Miike has chosen 6 years later to revisit the franchise, based on the manga from Yamada Renji. This time around, perhaps due to adjusted expectations, the result seems more impressive. It's still firmly entrenched within a commercial framework, and targeted towards a younger demographic - but just maybe I've come to terms with that. The fact it reunites him with veteran Sho Aikawa (Zebraman, Gozu, Dead or Alive trilogy) and comes stocked with an array of leather-clad vixens is more than enough reason to check it out.




Zebraman 2 is an alien invasion movie set in a dystopian Tokyo future, with its central theme being the time honoured struggle between good and evil, in this case symbolically depicted as a fight between 'black and white'.

Taking the idea one step further, the film cleverly plays with the inherent visual dichotomy of the Zebra, its black and white stripes signifying the good and evil within us all and, more specifically, within Zebraman himself. This plot point is an opportunity to ramp up the sexiness, exploiting the decadence of the black side of the stripe.




Ostensibly a superhero movie, the film plays like a combination of Cutie Honey, Tokyo Gore Police, and Godzilla-sized monster mayhem. All of which unfolds with Miike's typical irreverence and disregard for linear plot exposition. The abundance of crazy ideas thrown into the mix makes for a somewhat confusing first half-hour ... but hang in there, it all makes sense in the end (however absurd).

Tokyo 2025 has been renamed 'Zebra City', complete with a striped force-field defining its boundaries, and a tacit acknowledgment of the need for both good and evil within. Those in power are permitted to commit crimes for 10 minutes each day with impunity, a thinly-disguised attempt to thin the population via survival of the fittest.




Mayor Aihara Kozou, complete with bowler hat and mascara a la Clockwork Orange, enforces his dictates with the aid of stormtroopers and a select personal guard called the Zebra Police, or as he calls them 'The miniskirts'. As the name suggests, they are decked out in leather miniskirts, heels and fishnets (all black, of course), a darker version of Japan's legendary Miniskirt Police.



Which brings us to the Zebra Queen, Aihara Yui played by fashion model Riisa Naka - formed from pure evil by her creator Mayor Aihara who tweaked her appearance by specifying "larger breasts" and a "tighter ass" if you please!

A psychotic sadist, being pure evil after all, Riisa hams it up as a nasty little bitch. Her day job is as a J-pop artist, cavorting lasciviously in black leather and lingerie, spreading her own sexy brand of debauched propaganda and mind control. Obviously she looks the part, and with an eye-popping selection of clothes and wigs makes for a super-sexy villain.




Although the film comes across at times like a family-style blockbuster ... Miike never seems quite able to reign in his twisted ideas long-enough to call the film truly family-friendly - at least not what would be considered as such outside of Japan.

So while we have a cute young girl as the damsel in distress, we also have sly scenes of perverse sexuality ... a nurse tweaks the nipples of a male doctor as he pours hot wax on a patient, our titular hero gives the blowjob of the century to dispose of a menacing alien, and the Zebra Queen has quite the propensity to end up with her legs spread at any given opportunity. And that's not to mention the director's little joke as one scene threatens to enter tentacle-porn territory, only to smoothly segue into innocent playfulness.




While Miike has always operated within the limited budgets that most Japanese movies strain under compared to their Hollywood counterparts, this in no way reigns in his ambition ... which often seems many times the budget he has available. How good the film looks is testament to his skill at stretching his Yen - although whatever budget he has seems never quite enough to fully realise the richness of his vision.

Maybe lacking the budget for reshoots, tweaks or fine-tuning, he turns budget shortfalls into an opportunity for B-grade schlock. The occasional cheapo effects are played for laughs, and not incongruously with the tone. Miike films it and moves on - and this is much of the charm of his movies. They're dense bursts of creativity, generally uninhibited by restriction - be it money, good taste or common filmic convention.



Film connoisseurs might well describe the film as silly and inane, not without justification, but fans of this absurdist Japanese style will know that's exactly the point. I'd personally have preferred a more adult tone though. The sex is throttled back to multiplex-friendly allusions when my preference would've been more exploitative ... but that's just my admittedly twisted personal viewpoint.

In recommendation, I enjoyed it a lot and laughed often. It won't be showing up in many best-of lists ... but where else will you see a godzilla-sized cutesy green alien stomping through Tokyo and blowing enemies away with well-directed blasts of flatulence! Yes its that kind of movie, and it deserves to be seen, at least once.

Rating: 7/10
          XX: Beautiful Hunter   
Japan, 1994
Original title: XX: Utsukushiki karyuudo

Director: Masaru Konuma
Starring: Makiko Kuno, Koji Shimizu, Johnny Okura, Katsuo Tokashi
IMDB: 4.5

In a culture where women are traditionally demure and reserved, its surprising how many Japanese movies feature strong-willed women kicking ass! This lethality combined with femininity is a potent combination, and perhaps goes some way to explaining the increasing popularity of Japanese exploitation.

The rampant nudity doesn't hurt either, of course ... something notably missing from most Hollywood action flicks (which is kinda strange given that males must surely be the target audience). But that's another story ... here we have a Japanese exploitation flick that ticks all the right boxes for its intended audience. And what might that be? Well, take a closer look at the DVD cover above...

Masaru Konuma was a prolific director of Pinku films in the 1970s, including titles such as (the original) Flower & Snake, and Wife to be Sacrificed, often with an S&M theme and highly sexualized. This direct-to-video action film from 1994, towards the end of the director's career, retains a sexy and perverse aesthetic that will be of interest to genre fans, and in particular Girls with Guns aficionados.

The film opens inside a convent, where the young orphan Shion is forced to execute a man at the prompting of the Father (Koji Shimizu) - part of her training to become a Holy Warrior. Exactly what the Holy Warriors are supposed to be fighting for or against, is never really explained - although the Father's modus operandi seems closer to the Yakuza than the Holy Roman Church, perhaps indicating that the church is itself little more than a Yakuza front.



Cut to 10 years later, and Shion (Makiko Kuno) has grown up. The director's method of visually portraying this fact is the epitome of elegant simplicity ... the gratuitous boob shot! And we only had to wait 4 mins and 43 seconds.



She is now the group's most accomplished assassin, and it's during one of her jobs that photographer Ito (Johnny Okura) secretly captures her on film executing one of his colleagues. Shion quickly realizes the threat he poses and hunts him down intending to kill him. However, a chance remark from Ito exposes the vulnerable and needy side of the young woman ... she has never had a boyfriend. And she's horny!

Ito-san is a smooth dude with a penchant for white suits, and while kneeling at her feet begging for his life, he manages to save himself through the remarkable technique of ripping her clothes off and administering a little oral gratification! Poor Shion is in two minds ... she knows she needs to kill him, and her boss is insisting upon it ... and yet it seems she has fallen in love.



On returning home her mind wanders back to Ito as she proceeds to masturbate with her gun. While this may seem like a cheap and gratuitous excuse to show more nudity, this subtle scene actually contains many shades of allegorical meaning that poignantly foreshadow Shion's change of heart.

In addition to being a cheap and gratuitous excuse to show more nudity!




However, as previously foreshadowed, Shion decides to follow her heart and goes on the run with Ito to escape her boss. Said boss however, is not likely to let her off that easy.

If you thought the film was freaky enough up to this point, well that's just the first half hour. What follows are more killings, more sex, more nudity, and some fairly exploitative S&M-based torture featuring foreign objects and the indiscriminate placement thereof.





All in all its a good time. Which is not to say that its a great film. Other reviewers have noted that without the beautiful Makiko Kuno in the title role, the film has little to offer. Admittedly, Makiko is a total sex-bomb and is often naked - elevating the film considerably with her looks alone.

But to say that the film would suck without her, would be equally unfair. This is a competent action flick - while not overly deep, how many action flicks are? It also features some creative photography - with certain scenes featuring fantastic Girls with Guns imagery.

 

On the downside, its quickly apparent that this is a film from the 80s, despite being made in 1994. The music, the clothes, the hair - all seem quite dated. But give yourself 15 minutes to settle into the groove and you won't really be noticing.


6.5/10

More screenshots (click to enlarge)


          Spanking Love   
Japan, 1995
Director: Shoji Tanaka
Starring: Toshio Kakei, Yoshiko Yura, Kumi Shiraishi, Renji Ishibashi
IMDB: 4.3

Japan seems to crank out a fair few BDSM-themed movies which is perhaps a reflection of a less repressed sexual culture. While I've never been tempted to explore this lifestyle myself, I love the visuals of it all ... the leather, the heels, the fishnets. Simply put, the dominatrix archetype is sexy!

Which is why I initially picked this one up without really knowing what to expect. The cover features an artfully photographed leather-clad vixen, with the effect spoiled by a terribly amateur choice of font for the film's title. This one could go either way...



Previous forays into Japanese exploitation have revealed not a small amount of artistry mixed with their erotica (See School of the Holy Beast, Tokyo Decadence), and so it is here.

The story is in effect a drama, set within the Japanese BDSM underworld. Mr Okunogi (Renji Ishibashi) is a rich businessman with masochistic desires - Ie: he gets off on being dominated into submission by sexy young women. However, he utilises his wealth and power in a sadistic manner to force his "Queens" to stay around. This is an irony he recognises, noting that sadism and masochism are two sides of the same coin.



And so it is that we meet Ryo (Toshio Kakei), an S&M movie director and his girlfriend Mayumi (Kumi Shiraishi) who also happens to be Okunogi's current Queen. Mayumi is desperate to escape Okunogi's control after seeing another girl driven to commit suicide after being raped at the club.

Ryo and Mayumi hatch a plan to make some money and escape to Hawaii, after Okunogi develops an obsession with Ryo's newest starlet Yumie (Yoshiko Yura). He had filmed her taking a vicious spanking, all the while retaining an enigmatic twinkle in her eye, and enjoying the experience immensely. Okunogi saw something in those eyes, and had to have her as his new Queen. What's more, he was prepared to pay top dollar if Ryo could get her down to the club.




What follows is a character-driven drama with some artistic set-pieces livening up proceedings. Much of the action takes place in an S&M themed club populated with various chains/ restraints, a fat guy in a cage, naked dancers, a bunch of half naked male submissives, and of course the dominatrixes strutting about with their whips.

The dancers were a highlight and do a few expressionistic dances, but overall the club felt more like a cheaply-staged set.



On the plus side, Yoshiko Yura is gorgeous and Renji Ishibashi puts in a fine performance. Extra points are awarded for the attempt to raise the film from cheap exploitation, with some very stylish visuals and a storyline that aims for more deeply realised characters. But ultimately the lack of budget lets it down.

Spanking Love may be of slight interest to BDSM enthusiasts, but everyone else should skip it.

Rating: 5/10 (but nice try)

Note: Wikipedia mentions that Issei Sagawa (Japan's notorious cannibal) features in this movie in what seems a dubious casting decision, to say the least.





          News   
Scroll down to view the trailers or click any cover to go direct.

Sion Sono's Cold FishBig Tits Zombie 3DMutant Girls SquadGothic and Lolita PsychoAnd Soon DarknessA Night in Nude 2Wildcats in Strip Royale

Cold Fish - Sion Sono

I've been a fan of Sono since his film Suicide Circle, consider his following film Strange Circus to be a masterpiece, and his most recent 4hr epic Love Exposure was a fan hit worldwide. Now we have his latest flick, Cold Fish, based on the true story of a psychotic tropical fish shop owner. This one has already picked up numerous awards and sounds like it will be another remarkable entry in the director's catalog.



Big Tits Zombie 3D

Retro grindhouse comes to Japan! This has got to be my favorite exploitation movie title of the year ... big tits, zombies, 3D! What's not to love? Great trailer too. Film stars Sola Aoi, Risa Kasumi and a bevy of other assumedly well-endowed J-Idols.



Mutant Girls Squad

"The story is sort of a spoof of X-Men. [Yumi] Sugimoto plays Rin, a bullied teenager who discovers her arm has mutated into a razor-sharp weapon on her 16th birthday. A shadow government organization immediately begins hunting her down, slaughtering her parents in the process, but Rin is saved in the nick of time by a super-powered being called 'Hiruko'. Soon, mutants from all over Japan are gathered together and begin militant training to overthrow the government. Meanwhile, Rin is fitted with a special iron mask and begins her life as a 'battle girl', utilizing both her mutant powers and acrobatic abilities to fight against mutant-hunting special forces.". O......K




Gothic & Lolita Psycho

The film stars actress and gravure idol Rina Akiyama as Yuki, a girl who lives at home in peace until one day a unit of assassins breaks in and slaughters her mother. In order to reveal the truth behind the seemingly senseless murder, Yuki transforms herself into a demon of vengeance by donning gothic lolita clothing, wielding a parasol as a deadly weapon, and executing the guilty in the name of God. With special effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police and most of the other recent films in the new wave of Japanese Gore confection).



And Soon the Darkness

A remake of the 1970 British cult thriller. Two American girls set out on a bike-riding trip in a remote part of Argentina. When one goes mysteriously missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realised. I've got no legitimate reason for looking forward to this aside from the fact that it stars two upcoming starlets we saw this year, Odette Yustman (The Unborn) and Amber Heard (The Informers). To be honest, the best I'm hoping for is a worthy addition to the 'hot bikini chicks in peril' sub-genre ... but you never know!



A Night in Nude 2

Teruo Ishii's sequel to his acclaimed pinku.



Raped by Satan - 18 Feb 2010


Wow, here's a new horror flick from Indonesia that sounds a lot nastier than the trailer would indicate. Actually looks to be a fun horror movie, but what a title!!



Kain Kafan Perawan (Shroud of the Virgin)


Released 25 Feb 2010. Rasty and her friends are making a home made video clip in a railway station. While shooting the video, something happens and they found demons appearing in the video.



Suster Keramas


J-idol Rin Sakuragi plays a pornstar in this new horror from Indonesia. Can't tell you too much more about it yet.



Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan (The Menstruating Puncak Ghost)


Another indonesian sex horror, starring actress Andi Soraya and dangdut singing group Trio Macan. Seems to have caused a bit of a furore in muslim circles in Indonesia, and was banned.

“The movie contains porn, which can trigger lust and, based on our research, it also contains violence,” Amirsyah Tambunan from the MUI told Kompas.com.



Secret Undercover Agent: Wildcats in Strip Royale

Starring Japanese gravure idols Kadena Reon and Morishita Yuri fighting crime in skintight catsuits, and featuring strippers, schoolgirls and acres of ludicrously hot women. What's not to love?

This is a sequel to Secret Undercover Agent: Honey & Bunny (Himitsu Sennyuu Sousakan).

Check out the awesome trailer.


          Enter the Void   
Enter the VoidFrance, 2009
Director: Gaspar Noe
Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Nathaniel Brown
IMDB: 7.4

I'm going to cut straight to the chase. Enter the Void is a downright masterpiece, it simply pushes all the right buttons ... for me. I could say your mileage may vary, but I'll go a step further. Your mileage WILL vary, and I'll explain why shortly. Enter the Void is an edgy, experimental, visceral, mind-blowing experience that will more than polarise audiences, so uncompromising is director Gaspar Noe in his vision.

Anyone familiar with Noe's last film Irreversible will be aware he is not one to shy away from shocking the viewer - in fact its something that he strives for. It's safe to say he has not chosen to change his ways here! This is a truly adult movie ... and anyone with hangups about sex, drugs, or violence should stay well away. An open adult mind is a prerequisite.

The film wastes no time in establishing the impact it intends - right from the get-go the opening titles slam into the screen in rapid-fire succession accompanied by a suitably pounding soundtrack. These were impressive enough to be followed by excited applause at the festival premier I attended. The crowd were in high spirits, ready to laugh and interact with the movie in true festival tradition. But it wasn't long before everyone was deadly silent as they were gripped by the intensity of what was unfolding.

Enter the Void is based in Tokyo, and centers around siblings Oscar and Linda. After losing their parents at a very early age the two become extremely close, and Linda makes Oscar promise never to leave her. Nevertheless, they are fostered out to separate homes, and when we first meet Oscar he is living in Tokyo, desperately trying to raise the money to allow his sister to join him.



Being a bit of a drug fiend, its not long before he hits upon the obvious way to raise a bit of quick money - dealing drugs. In the seedy underbelly of Tokyo, in a country notoriously anti-drugs ... this is a dangerous proposition.

The first major scene of the movie involves Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) getting high on DMT. The sound, visuals and atmosphere of this scene are the most impressive translation of a hallucinogenic experience that I have ever seen in a movie. Noe has stated that his inspiration for the film's neon look came from his experimentation with the drug DMT / Ayahuasca - and for what its worth, he compares the effect to the movie Tron.

And its Noe's extraordinary success in representing this state of mind that will turn off many viewers. It's all a bit vague, blurry, and disorienting ... the film fully immerses you in the trip, and is in no great hurry to bring you back down again.

The viewer is taken on a wonderfully psychedelic joyride both inside and outside of Oscar's mind, and into and out of The Void. The visuals are spectacular, thanks in part to the design input of Marc Caro (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), and the camera takes an almost first person perspective being firmly located just behind Oscar's head for most of the film's run time.



The plot makes use of concepts from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, a text that describes the state of consciousness after death, and explicitly compares the experience to the effects of the drug DMT (a well-known effect of the drug). To say more will require entering spoiler territory, suffice to say that this metaphysical idea is fully explored as a major concept of the movie.

Once Linda (Paz de la Huerta) arrives in Tokyo, she soon discovers the easiest way for an attractive young foreign woman to earn a living in a city where western women are very popular. The neon visuals of the strip bar she works in segue seamlessly into the previously mentioned psychedelic motif, and the leggy lead actress throws all modesty to the wind in an extremely brave performance.



Which brings us to the sex. There is quite a lot of it, and its reasonably explicit. Explicit enough to warrant a hefty adult rating anyway. Especially when Noe's swooping camera travels room to room through a love hotel, an idea that would have been utterly exploitational and voyeuristic were it not for the integral plot detail that it served.



As mentioned earlier, Noe is no stranger to hitting the viewer between the eyes with visceral and explosive violence. Some scenes had the impact, almost literally, of being hit in the face with a sledgehammer. This is an aspect of the movie that would surely be best experienced in a theater.

Noe takes his trademark floating camera aesthetic to new heights of excellence here, in combination with some remarkable CGI. This technique caused a lot of excitement when used in Irreversible, but here is used to much greater effect, especially as this time its not just a method but perhaps the best way to portray the story. Some scenes are absolutely breathtaking in scope, and while I was too busy enjoying the ride to bother with technical analysis, I am quite certain that some of these scenes were actually impossible. No doubt the eventual DVD will explain how it was done, and would be fascinating in itself.

The sound of the movie likewise fits the surreal and psychedelic tone, but more in the way David Lynch will use sounds to engender an emotional response without the explicit use of songs per se.

I've not wanted to give too much away in this review, but I hope it comes across just what an ambitious film this is. Noe takes the viewer on a roller-coaster experience in more ways than one, and here 'experience' is the key word. The only criticism I could make of the movie is that at times it is slow and occasionally repetitive. But in this regard it is worthwhile to note that one of Noe's biggest influences for this movie was Kubrick's 2001. Another movie with lengthy non-verbal sequences. It seems quite experimental in nature - you need to let it wash over you, immerse yourself in the alternate realities it presents.

To quote Hunter S. Thompson ... "Buy the ticket, take the ride" and catch it on the big screen if at all possible.

34% of viewers on IMDB rate Enter The Void a 10/10 ... I'm one of them.

Postscript: To learn more about Noe's influences for the film, I highly recommend checking out the documentaries DMT: The Spirit Molecule, and Tibetan Book of the Dead narrated by Leonard Cohen.

Get another opinion


@ Axe Wound. A great review with more details of the plot.
@ The Playlist. For the opposing viewpoint (beware, spoilers)


          Today's MD2B is Megan Beck for her Efforts to Help Providers Identify Victims of Human Trafficking   
    By Dr. Samir Desai     There is a perception that human trafficking isn't as much of a problem in the U.S. as other parts of the world but the numbers tell a different story. According to statistics compiled by the Polaris Project, it was estimated that nearly 250,000 American children were at risk of child sexual exploitation in 2000.   In a KevinMD article, Dr. Alberto Hazan reminds clinicians to be on the lookout for these victims, and offers us some signs to help us identify potential
          Sticking it to The Man . . .   
. . . if The Man is American Express.

I got one of these

(except mine was only for $25) for Christmas from some parents at the school where I work. I used it a few times for a few small things. Then, I went to Mervyn's and bought a sweatshirt @ $30 and a t-shirt @ $9. I gave the cashier the gift card thinking I'd have a balance to pay off after using it up, but she just handed me my receipt and my bag. I thought, "Hmm, maybe I used a different gift card to buy those other things, but still my purchase was over $25 . . ." I didn't think too much about it. Then, a few days ago I went to use the gift card again and it was declined. I decided to go online and check the balance: $-11.37. HA! I stuck it to The Man, er, American Express . . .


I wonder if this was just a fluke, or a true exploitation of the system.I think I might start trying to purchase everything this way, get a prepaid gift card, then use it for over the amount I purchased it for.


UPDATE: I just looked a little bit further into this matter and found out:

"Can my Card have a negative balance?
Attempts to make purchases in an amount greater than your available funds will almost always be declined at the point of sale. Occasionally, however, a merchant may not pre-authorize the sale and this may result in a negative balance.
By using a prepaid Card, you agree to be responsible for any negative balances that may occur. To repay a negative balance, you may use a certified check, money order, or an American Express Card. Unfortunately, we cannot accept other types of credit cards to repay negative balances.

To pay with an American Express Card, please call the toll-free number on the back of your Card. All other types of payments shall be made payable to:

Attn: Prepaid Card Collections, Mail Code 02-04-07
4315 S 2700 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84184-0407"

I guess this means I should be mailing my payment to American Express right now, but I'm not, and I'm never gonna. I wonder how much money they loose because of people like me. I wonder if by posting this on the Internet, they are gonna come after me for the $11.37 I (supposedly) owe them. I wonder . . .

          Νέο κύμα τεράστιας κυβερνοεπίθεσης από τransomware   
Σύμφωνα με νέες πληροφορίες, ransomware βρίσκεται ελεύθερο στο διαδίκτυο με τους υπεύθυνους αυτού να έχουν στοχοποιήσει μεγάλους οργανισμούς και την όλη κατάσταση να θυμίζει μια επανάληψη του καταστροφικού WannaCry. 
Με σημείο μηδέν τα συστήματα της Ουκρανικής κυβέρνησης, όπως τράπεζες και το δίκτυο ηλεκτρισμού, ο ιός έφτασε να μολύνει υπολογιστικές κατασκευές των κολοσσών Saint-Goabain στη Γαλλία και Rosneft στη Ρωσία. Συγκεκριμένα, όπως μαθαίνουμε από την εταιρία κυβερνοασφάλειας Symantec, το Petya ransomware χρησιμοποιεί την ίδια ευπάθεια που χρησιμοποιούσε ο WannaCry, εν ονόματι “EternalBlue exploit”. 
Ο ιός αφού εισχωρήσει στο σύστημα κρυπτογραφεί όλα τα αρχεία του χρήστη, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και κάποιων ζωτικών για τον ίδιο τον υπολογιστή και ζητάει λύτρα $300 σε bitcoin. Γίνεται, επίσης, γνωστό ότι ο ιός κατάφερε να προκαλέσει χάος στο αεροδρόμιο του Κιέβου, στο δίκτυο του μετρό, καθώς και στο σύστημα παρακολούθησης ραδιενέργειας στο σημείο του Chernobyl. 
Η Ουκρανική κυβέρνηση διαβεβαιώνει τους πολίτες ότι όλα βρίσκονται υπό έλεγχο, αφού οι τεχνικοί δουλεύουν ασταμάτητα για να επιλύσουν το πρόβλημα. Μέχρι στιγμής έχουν γίνει 12 πληρωμές λύτρων στον λογαριασμό bitcoin που χρησιμοποιούν οι δράστες. Οι εταιρίες security συνιστούν στους χρήστες να είναι επιφυλακτικοί και στις εταιρίες να συμβουλευτούν τους ειδικούς με τους οποίους συνεργάζονται.
          La régulation des subventions agricoles et le commerce du cuivre au Chili: publication de deux thèses en droit international   
C'est avec fierté que notre collègue Richard Ouellet annonce la sortie de deux ouvrages tirés des thèses d'Hervé Agbodjan Prince et deMarie-Claude Lévesque, qu'il a dirigés pendant leurs études au doctorat en droit international: Agbojan Prince, Hervé : Le droit de l'OMC et l'agriculture. Analyse critique et prospective du système de régulation des subventions agricoles. Montréal, Éditions Thémis, 2012. Lévesque, Marie-Claude : Investissement direct étranger, souveraineté nationale et développement : l'exploitation et le commerce du cuivre au Chili. Montréal, Éditions Yvon Blais, 2012Cet ouvrage a remporté le Prix Minerve 2011 Professeur titulaire à la Faculté de droit, Richard Ouellet a été directeur des programmes des HEI pendant trois ans. Au cours de son mandat, l'équipe des HEI a pu mesurer le soutien qu'il apporte aux étudiants qu'il dirige. Félicitations à notre collègue et à ses deux étudiants! Pour en savoir plus sur les ouvrages, voire les commander, cliquez sur le titre : il vous amènera sur le site de l'éditeur.
          Le règlement NORDREG du Canada est-il conforme au droit international de la navigation?   
Le Canada a imposé en 2010 le règlement NORDREG pour encadrer la navigation dans l’Arctique canadien afin que celle-ci s’effectue en toute sécurité. La navigation augmente en effet, que ce soit pour la pêche, pour les services aux communautés inuit ou en relation avec l’exploitation des ressources naturelles. Le règlement impose aux navires d’informer les autorités de leur plan de navigation dans toute la zone canadienne de l’Arctique, ce qui suscite de la contestation. Selon Kristin Bartenstein (Faculté de droit), cette réglementation est conforme aux obligations internationales du Canada et, en particulier, n’entrave pas indûment la liberté de navigation; elle est au contraire compatible avec les compétences exceptionnelles du Canada sur les eaux couvertes de glace. Mais d’autres stratégies existent pour rendre la navigation plus sécuritaire pour les navires et l’environnement, et elles méritent d’être explorées. Kristin Bartenstein (Faculté de droit) et Frédéric Lasserre (Département de géographie) ont fait le point sur ce sujet à l’occasion de l’International Polar Year Conference de Montréal en avril dernier. Ce colloque qui rassemblait plus de 2000 chercheurs de toutes les disciplines et des quatre coins du monde spécialisés en recherche arctique et antarctique a clôturé en quelque sorte l’Année polaire internationale.
          Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath: How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe   
How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
Avi Shlaim, The Guardian, 7 Jan 2009

Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions

The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration's complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.

I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.

Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza's prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion's share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism.

In August 2005 a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral Israeli pullout from Gaza, withdrawing all 8,000 settlers and destroying the houses and farms they had left behind. Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement, conducted an effective campaign to drive the Israelis out of Gaza. The withdrawal was a humiliation for the Israeli Defence Forces. To the world, Sharon presented the withdrawal from Gaza as a contribution to peace based on a two-state solution. But in the year after, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank, further reducing the scope for an independent Palestinian state. Land-grabbing and peace-making are simply incompatible. Israel had a choice and it chose land over peace.

The real purpose behind the move was to redraw unilaterally the borders of Greater Israel by incorporating the main settlement blocs on the West Bank to the state of Israel. Withdrawal from Gaza was thus not a prelude to a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority but a prelude to further Zionist expansion on the West Bank. It was a unilateral Israeli move undertaken in what was seen, mistakenly in my view, as an Israeli national interest. Anchored in a fundamental rejection of the Palestinian national identity, the withdrawal from Gaza was part of a long-term effort to deny the Palestinian people any independent political existence on their land.

Israel's settlers were withdrawn but Israeli soldiers continued to control all access to the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air. Gaza was converted overnight into an open-air prison. From this point on, the Israeli air force enjoyed unrestricted freedom to drop bombs, to make sonic booms by flying low and breaking the sound barrier, and to terrorise the hapless inhabitants of this prison.

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel's propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antisemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics and that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity.

Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel, however, refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas.

It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s, Israel had supported the nascent Hamas in order to weaken Fatah, the secular nationalist movement led by Yasser Arafat. Now Israel began to encourage the corrupt and pliant Fatah leaders to overthrow their religious political rivals and recapture power. Aggressive American neoconservatives participated in the sinister plot to instigate a Palestinian civil war. Their meddling was a major factor in the collapse of the national unity government and in driving Hamas to seize power in Gaza in June 2007 to pre-empt a Fatah coup.

The war unleashed by Israel on Gaza on 27 December was the culmination of a series of clashes and confrontations with the Hamas government. In a broader sense, however, it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people, because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agree to a new ceasefire on Israel's terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.

The timing of the war was determined by political expediency. A general election is scheduled for 10 February and, in the lead-up to the election, all the main contenders are looking for an opportunity to prove their toughness. The army top brass had been champing at the bit to deliver a crushing blow to Hamas in order to remove the stain left on their reputation by the failure of the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006. Israel's cynical leaders could also count on apathy and impotence of the pro-western Arab regimes and on blind support from President Bush in the twilight of his term in the White House. Bush readily obliged by putting all the blame for the crisis on Hamas, vetoing proposals at the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire and issuing Israel with a free pass to mount a ground invasion of Gaza.

As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted - a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, "crying and shooting".

To be sure, Hamas is not an entirely innocent party in this conflict. Denied the fruit of its electoral victory and confronted with an unscrupulous adversary, it has resorted to the weapon of the weak - terror. Militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad kept launching Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli settlements near the border with Gaza until Egypt brokered a six-month ceasefire last June. The damage caused by these primitive rockets is minimal but the psychological impact is immense, prompting the public to demand protection from its government. Under the circumstances, Israel had the right to act in self-defence but its response to the pinpricks of rocket attacks was totally disproportionate. The figures speak for themselves. In the three years after the withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.

Whatever the numbers, killing civilians is wrong. This rule applies to Israel as much as it does to Hamas, but Israel's entire record is one of unbridled and unremitting brutality towards the inhabitants of Gaza. Israel also maintained the blockade of Gaza after the ceasefire came into force which, in the view of the Hamas leaders, amounted to a violation of the agreement. During the ceasefire, Israel prevented any exports from leaving the strip in clear violation of a 2005 accord, leading to a sharp drop in employment opportunities. Officially, 49.1% of the population is unemployed. At the same time, Israel restricted drastically the number of trucks carrying food, fuel, cooking-gas canisters, spare parts for water and sanitation plants, and medical supplies to Gaza. It is difficult to see how starving and freezing the civilians of Gaza could protect the people on the Israeli side of the border. But even if it did, it would still be immoral, a form of collective punishment that is strictly forbidden by international humanitarian law.

The brutality of Israel's soldiers is fully matched by the mendacity of its spokesmen. Eight months before launching the current war on Gaza, Israel established a National Information Directorate. The core messages of this directorate to the media are that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements; that Israel's objective is the defence of its population; and that Israel's forces are taking the utmost care not to hurt innocent civilians. Israel's spin doctors have been remarkably successful in getting this message across. But, in essence, their propaganda is a pack of lies.

A wide gap separates the reality of Israel's actions from the rhetoric of its spokesmen. It was not Hamas but the IDF that broke the ceasefire. It di d so by a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas men. Israel's objective is not just the defence of its population but the eventual overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza by turning the people against their rulers. And far from taking care to spare civilians, Israel is guilty of indiscriminate bombing and of a three-year-old blockade that has brought the inhabitants of Gaza, now 1.5 million, to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash. After eight days of bombing, with a death toll of more than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis, the gung-ho cabinet ordered a land invasion of Gaza the consequences of which are incalculable.

No amount of military escalation can buy Israel immunity from rocket attacks from the military wing of Hamas. Despite all the death and destruction that Israel has inflicted on them, they kept up their resistance and they kept firing their rockets. This is a movement that glorifies victimhood and martyrdom. There is simply no military solution to the conflict between the two communities. The problem with Israel's concept of security is that it denies even the most elementary security to the other community. The only way for Israel to achieve security is not through shooting but through talks with Hamas, which has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders for 20, 30, or even 50 years. Israel has rejected this offer for the same reason it spurned the Arab League peace plan of 2002, which is still on the table: it involves concessions and compromises.

This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.

Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford and the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and of Lion of Jordan: King Hussein's Life in War and Peace.
          After winning 13 year court battle, Malaysian human rights activist plans to run for parliament   
When it comes to persecuting activists, the Singapore government is no different from their Malaysian counterparts. Just to mention some very recent examples, see my posts here, here and here.


Rights Champion Seeks Political Career
By Baradan Kuppusamy


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 (IPS) - After winning a gruelling 13-year court battle to avoid being jailed on charges of maliciously publishing false news, Malaysia's best-known human rights champion seeks a political career to continue defending migrant workers and other vulnerable sections of society.

"I refused to yield, I was focused and relentless and in the end won," said Irene Fernandez, executive director of Tenaganita, a leading human rights non-government organisation (NGO) that has a reputation for defending migrant workers against ill treatment and exploitation.

"It is also a major victory for human rights activism," she told IPS in an interview. "The authorities now know that we will fight and fight good and hard and will not be cowed."

Fernandez now plans to run for parliament. "It’s important that I have the opportunity to be a member of parliament, to be a voice for the communities that I have been working with," she said.

It was widely believed by diplomats, the political opposition and human rights organisations that Fernandez was targeted by the authorities for her persistent efforts to protect and champion legions of Asian migrant workers from mistreatment and exploitation by employers, a vigilante force called ‘RELA’ and other enforcement agencies.

Her ordeal began in 1996 when she was charged under Section 8A (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, with publishing "false news" -- a serious crime in Malaysia punishable with a mandatory one year in prison.

That year she had circulated a memorandum to the media, foreign missions and international human rights organisations in which she drew attention to deplorable conditions in overcrowded detention centres and the shoddy treatment meted out to migrant workers.

She alleged, in the memorandum, that migrant workers were mistreated, poorly fed, abused and regularly beaten.

The memorandum, based on research conducted by her staff and other experts, sparked an international outcry that severely embarrassed the government, but brought immediate relief to depressed migrant workers.

The government took steps to improve camp conditions, provide more nutritious food and medicine and assure the international community but charged Fernandez in court.

After a long and harrowing trial and despite international objections, she was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to the mandatory one year in jail.

She appealed the sentence immediately but for five years she was dragged from one court to another as her appeal suffered numerous delays and postponements.

On Nov. 24, eight years after she filed her appeal, the Attorney General finally made the decision to withdraw the charge on the grounds that the appeal record was incomprehensible.

At one point in the appeal the court was informed that notes of evidence of important prosecution witnesses were missing. Later the notes were miraculously found but not legible. Further delays occurred after a computer virus wiped out notes required for the trial.

"The trial and sentence were hanging over me like a sword for 13 years," Fernandez said. "I suffered hugely but remained unbowed."

"The 13-year long trial was a heavy burden. I could not travel, stand for elections, raise funds or even speak at some forums," Fernandez,62, recalled. "This is a case of political persecution designed to force me to give up on my campaigns and retire."

By persecuting her the authorities had wanted NGOs to do charity work and leave advocacy and political activism alone, Fernandez said.

"They wanted to cow human rights activists by making an example out of me," she said. "They wanted to show the people that rights activism is dangerous and dirty work and anti-national."

She has vowed to step up her work helping migrant workers, women and HIV/AIDS campaigns.

"The struggle is far from over...there is a significant rise in the number of cases of sexual and physical abuse, torture of migrant workers," she said. "Conditions at detention centres and prisons remain deplorable."

"In fact the struggle has just started with the world economy in turmoil and millions of migrant workers on the front line of unemployment," she said adding that nearly four million -- legal and undocumented-- Asian migrant workers in Malaysia might end up being jobless if the turmoil persist.

In 2005 Fernandez won the Right Livelihood Award -- the alternative Nobel Prize -- in recognition of her wide-ranging human rights activism. "Migrants are human beings. They have the same rights as all of us.’’

"It is bad that Fernandez had to suffer for 13 years before justice was finally granted,’’ said Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan. "The ordeal is over for her but for the Malaysian judiciary the journey ahead is long to regain its lustre as an equal and capable branch of a democratic government."

"If Malaysia had respected rights, freedom, democracy and an independent judiciary the system would have never charged her in the first place," said Brad Adams, Asia director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"It is a trial where freedom of expression was challenged, where human rights defender is criminalised and where there is absolute disregard for the rights of detainees and minorities like migrant workers and refugees," he said.
          Can America's Spies Be Trusted With Cyber Hacking Tools?   
Both the WannaCry and Petya-variant attacks were based on exploiting software vulnerabilities revealed by leaks from the NSA.
          A Twitter Hashstorm: The Alt-Right Controversy at the Southern Baptist Convention   
from: http://www.sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc17/photo/271/
"Southern Baptists overwhelmingly pass a resolution June 14 condemning
the racism of the alt-right movement. Photo by Adam Covington"


The Southern Baptist Convention first rejected then resurrected a resolution against the alt-right and white supremacy. This occurred at their annual meeting held in Phoenix, AZ, a couple weeks ago in June, 2017. Click here for a sequence of events. There are many different ways to understand this process, and it stirred quite a controversy.

An Outsiders Perspective

It was a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. I stand not as a member of the SBC but as a very interested observer from the Catholic Church who cares deeply about race. My colleague (a Roman Catholic priest) and I attended the Convention as representatives of the US Catholic Bishops in Christian friendship.

I spent much of the Convention glued to my Twitter feed, and I'm not typically an avid Twitter user.

News of the proposed resolution against the alt-right and white supremacy broke before the Convention. Twitter was chock full of some of the nastiest, most vile messages against it. Yet, I sensed something was awry. SBC pastors and leaders, as well as most church folks, are some of the most polite people I have ever met. They have a very Southern way of being indirect about grievances and disagreement. While they are also not shy about engaging in debate, what I saw on Twitter did not match the tone or timbre of what I have come to know as the SBC.

I suspect the #sbc17 hashtag was being rigorously trolled by alt-right activists. The vile, pornographic language and level of aggressiveness in the tweets signaled the work of outsiders. The language was so consistent in these tweets, actually, that it could have been the work of just a few (or even a single individual) using continuously new, anonymous accounts making it seems like the outcry was bigger than it really was. 

However, there were also few voices competing with these, before the Convention started. The glaring silence of others in the SBC worried me. Were there no contrary opinions? Were feelings against racism too weak or afraid of the alt-right to speak out? Was the SBC so weary from backlash against repudiating the Confederate Flag last year that it no longer had will to stand up to white supremacy this year? I wondered.

A lot has happened in one year. The campaign of Donald Trump has been associated with a significant increase in violent actions and rhetoric along racial lines. Trump received 81% of the white Evangelical Christian vote--which would soundly describe most SBC members. In the wake of Trump, many in our culture--like myself--were left wondering where do white Evangelicals--like many in the SBC--really stand on racism? Were all the apologies in the past just lip service? Most Americans understand that voters had only a couple choices for president and complex political issues had to be boiled down to a single vote. We get that. But what has been noticeably absent is  white Evangelicals holding Trump accountable since the election. They could be saying to Trump: "Yes, we voted for you, but that was in spite of--and not because of--the racist rhetoric, and we condemn that rhetoric." That outcry has been pretty minimal from the white Evangelical community, which comes across as an endorsement.

When the alt-right resolution failed to be brought to the floor on Day one of the two-day Convention, and when the messengers failed to keep any semblance of it alive after that, Twitter just blew up. It blew up in a way that raised my spirits.

I was so wound up I could barely sleep that night as tweets poured in.

I was so encouraged by the groundswell of support. SBC members simply did not want to leave Phoenix with the world unsure about where their denomination stands on the alt-right and white supremacy. It wasn’t just one Twitter account leading the charge, although there were key leaders in this effort. It was dozens and dozens of formerly silent Twitter accounts erupting all at once. At least one group organized a meeting to draft a new resolution with the resolution's original author, Texas pastor Rev. Dwight McKissic. The Resolutions Committee itself sought to find a way to remedy this. Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, had a hand in drafting the revised version. 



I was grateful to witness this.  It was a pure blessing to see both the Twitter messages appearing one after the other in rapid succession and being part of conversations in the convention center hallways. Dozens and dozens of pastors and SBC members entered the fray.

It will be hard to walk away from SBC 2017 without at least a shadow of a doubt as to where the membership stands. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary, remarked that the SBC has indeed gotten a "black eye."  

Yes, the SBC stumbled and fell here. It may be hard to wash all the dirt off.  But the stumble created a moment that allowed the SBC to mobilize to make it right.  That movement was pure blessing to watch. I am not a voting member, but as a fellow Christian who cares deeply about what happens here, my heart was with the SBC every step of the way. I am optimistic about the health of the SBC after this.


My assessment: Those who want to put racism behind them are sincere and passionate. There is also a gap between SBC leadership and the membership as well as a generational gap among pastors. When the SBC messengers voted last year to repudiate the Confederate Flag, once person spoke on the Convention floor that it was a fine resolution for pastors but it may be difficult to explain to churchgoers back home. A lot of people want to believe that the SBC has put its racist past behind it, but its rank-and-file membership seems divided as to the necessity of these resolutions and the relevance of symbols like the Confederate Flag.

Some members of the SBC were upset with the headlines coming out the Convention. Those headlines may--or may not--have been unfair. Still, I would urge the SBC not to spend a lot of energy feeling like victims of sensationalistic journalists trying to exploit a controversy for juicy headlines. The hesitation of the SBC over this issue opens real wounds and makes real people wonder where the SBC really stands.  I saw African-American pastors and families shed tears on the Convention floor in shock over what they thought would be a routine denouncement of racism that was instead killed in committee--at a time when our nation cannot afford to be neutral on race.  These are sincere questions that deserve answers.

While I believe SBC senior leaders are sincere in wanting to put racism behind them, they may be guilty of tone deafness here. They underestimated what message it would send by avoiding this topic. Case in point: Alt-right groups were initially declaring this a victory for white supremacy. Perhaps SBC leaders simply wanted to avoid a difficult topic, but sometimes the best way to attract controversy is by attempting to avoid it. Still, those fighting passionately for racial equality and reconciliation are an impressive bunch, and they give the SBC a bright future.

          Buratai: Decoding the True African General   
By: Karen Goulding

Africa suffers artificial drought of hardcore and outstanding professionals in every field. This plaque has become more visible with Africans joyful acceptance of the neo-colonial erroneous, biased and destructive verdict of Africa as a continent of failures.
 
And each time, these alien forces descend their imperial knives on the precious skins of Africans and Africa, it deposits far-reaching consequences. Africans exceptionally gifted are held back in giving out their best. They suffer a psychological inhibition based on these polluted verdicts imposed on people of the continent.

But Africans are equally and competitively, very intelligent like the white-skinned people. How Africans prefer to celebrate their foolery, instead of positive assertion of themselves is really a riddle. Nonetheless, as time ebbs, more courageous Africans have overcome these mental barriers and are steeping out to prove to the whole world the real substance or worth of an African.

No one can deny brilliance and intelligence of African people in every chosen field of human specialization. Nigerians in particular have carved a niche for themselves in their preferred careers. They are celebrities in academics’, science and indeed, in all professions.

As the largest black nation on earth, the conspiracy of foreign nations against Nigeria is really subject of a whole thesis. The blackmail of compelling the people to think more in failure and destruction, than progress has impinged on the psyche of Nigerians retardation. It has gone to sublime levels that optimal exhibition of skills is most times impeded in some people because of this belittlement.

As determined as ever, Nigerians are gradually breaking these barriers to demonstrate their excellence to the world. That’s why Nigerians are usually elated, anytime a Nigerian displays uncommon exploits or accomplishments in his career, especially in exceptional professions.
 
It explains why Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s embodiment of professionalism, perfection, discipline and courage in the war against terrorism excites the people. Upon leading the counter-insurgency war that humbled Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), Nigerians feted him with celebrations and Africa picked it up and expanded it. Today, Gen. Buratai is celebrated around the world, as an exceptional professional soldier of high esteem

To many, the Nigerian Army Chief is indescribable. Also, a peep into his persona does not provide easy insights either. What is however certain is that his personage undulates with unrivalled zeal for exceptional exploits and successes. He has an extremely infectious aura.

But what has worked more for this African Army General is his flair for professionalism, discipline, uprightness in leadership, selflessness, courage, transparency, principle of inclusiveness and hard work. And all these have been seared in the passion for positive results in all endeavors; which have made him a worthy assert to Nigeria, Africa and the world. Beyond flattery, Gen. Buratai is admittedly a special specie of humanity. By the dictates of his profession, he ought to be tough  and rugged; but to the contrary, he is amiable and humane in dealing with fellow men. It’s scarce to find such qualities and virtues buried in a single soul in the military, particularly in Nigeria.

Africans have seen Gen. Buratai as both a leader and soldier in the trenches, much as in the administrative boardroom of his vocation, bearing all risks, good or bad.  He does not chase shadows and nothing distracts his focus and concentration.

True to his type, Gen. Buratai personifies the Christ-like motif of troops under his command. He positions himself to feel their pains, sufferings, agonies; the heat in the trenches, the dejections and the defeats. He is not bossy, so shares the victories and joys of his troops in the same measure the least among troops would feel. It’s not unusual to see him spend Sallah or Christmas celebrations with troops in the battlefield, where he personally lights the candle of bonfire carnivals. This is a mark of leadership, very scarce nowadays.

Understanding the strength behind the modus operendi of Gen. Buratai has proven to be no easy path to walk. But suffice it to say, in achieving efficiency and effectiveness on targets, the COAS utilizes his unique talents  to create the needed impact. He is feted in Africa and beyond because Gen. Buratai extensively tapped and improvised on the wisdom, vision and intellectual prowess of men or globally acclaimed war veterans, upon his appointment as the ombudsman of the counter-insurgency war in Nigeria.

It gave birth to the reforms and innovations Buratai brought to bear on the Nigerian Army. Suddenly, Nigerian soldiers’ adjudged as weaklings, who could shamelessly bid an effeminate retreat in the battlefield became courageously, gallant soldiers to confront terrorists and defeat them.
Therefore, having prepared his house, this Soldier-General courageously broke new grounds and unimaginable records in terrorism warfare. It has continued to draw the inspiration of the world to his convictions, tactics and strategies.
As earlier hinted, there is no iota of doubt that Gen. Buratai must have drawn inspiration from great men, such as the famous English novelist, Ernest Hemmingway, author of the popular, “Old Man And The Sea.” Author Hemmingway timelessly asserted that “Once we have a war, there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat, brings worse things, than any that can ever happen in war.”

For this Nigerian Army Chief, the wise counsel of this author was his conviction and guiding principle. It compelled him to face the lethal Boko Haram terrorism war in Nigeria without flinching. He feared more the consequences of defeat, than the difficulties of surmounting the hurdles, some deliberate, on the battlefield to ensure victory.

And the wisdom, tactics and strategies of Chinese war veteran and father of the Chinese revolution, Mao Tse Tung was also of immense assistance to him, as leader of the counter-insurgency campaigns in Nigeria.  Mao Tse believed thus;
“Imaginative, intelligent, and bold leadership is absolutely essential.

 Commanders and leaders at every echelon must be selected with these specific qualities in mind. Officers and NCOs who are more than competent under normal conditions will frequently be hopelessly ineffective when confronted with dynamic and totally different situations.”

The unfaltering Nigerian Army Chief and Commander of the anti-terrorism war in Nigeria imbibed enough of these virtues and effectively applied them.  So, he risked advance on enemy troops, where his predecessors dreaded; he trailed insurgents and their agents, dynamically in tactics, from battlefield encounters to cyberspace terrorism manifestations and matched action for action.

He suffocated enemy forces' sources of food and ammunition supply.   He endured and ignored all manner of distractions back home to focus on his assignment to earn the victory today savoured by the whole world.

And in all instances, he moved centuries in thinking, ahead of the localized thoughts and strategies of enemy forces- the Boko Haramists. This Army General slept once in two weeks, always awake to strategize and personally supervise field operations. He left nothing to chance; while terrorists slept every day in their hideouts with the delusion of courage and invincibility.

So, he conquered them and their agents in the trenches, caves, cyberspace propaganda and everywhere. They scattered in confused directions, as his troops chased them to the point of conquer or surrender.
 
After the defeat of Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian Army Chief also deployed the wisdom of Mao Tse in cleansing communities in  Northeast, Nigeria of remnants’ of Boko Haram terrorists. He commanded his troops to embark on “Operation Crackdown.” Mao Tse’s thoughts in this direction were that;
“After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns; they are bound to struggle desperately against us, and we must never regard these enemies lightly. If we do, nor now raise and understand the problem in this way, we shall commit the gravest mistakes.”

Today, Nigeria has regained her freedom. The world stands up in stupefying relish of Buratai’s exploits and victories over terrorism warfare in Nigeria within the shortest possible time.

This Nigerian Army General perceived defeat in the eyes of troops, but meticulously inspired them into self-confidence, greatness and victory;  he triumphed over their disunity and inclination  for  mutiny and made them converts  of the new order of professionalism,  discipline, comradeship  and pursuit of the common agenda of defeat of enemy forces against Nigeria.

No doubt, Gen. Buratai strikes as an angel to civilians in his operational jurisdictions; but a very venomous snake to enemies of state. For Nigerians and millions of Africans, this Army Chief is simply one of the best Africans in recent times. This is attested or gleaned from the flurry of unsolicited awards and recognitions showered on him across the globe in the last few months. The Republic of Brazil recently feted and decorated him with the country’s highest military honour in global recognition of his battle against terrorism in Nigeria and the world.

Thus, Gen. Buratai can be described as a gentlemen soldier, a great soldier of repute, a hero of international dimensions, the conqueror of terrorists in Nigeria and environs.   He has replicated history in Nigeria and the world, by religiously deploying and improvising on the military wisdom of those before him to attain the unimaginable victories in war against terrorism.

Consequently, the world is prodded to utilize his wealth of wisdom to surmount the global monster of terrorism. This would be a step palpably illustrative of the global agenda on collective action against terrorism, a reality now, than yesterday and likely tomorrow. But if treasured masters of the game, like Buratai are factored into this global collaborative action against terrorism, the world may likely experience respite.

Goulding, a security expert writes from 199 Watford Way, Hendon, London, United Kingdom.
          The head of one of San Francisco's most famous startup farms is no longer running his firm after being accused of sexual harassment   

Dave McClure

The founding partner of 500 Startups, Dave McClure, is no longer in charge of the startup incubator's day-to-day operations, after being accused of "inappropriate behavior with women," The New York Times reported.

In its story, the New York Times named one particular woman, Sarah Kunst, who told the paper McClure harassed her after she talked with him about a job at 500 Startups. McClure did not dispute the account, according to the Times.

“After being made aware of instances of Dave having inappropriate behavior with women in the tech community, we have been making changes internally,” 500 Startups told the Times. “He recognizes he has made mistakes and has been going through counseling to work on addressing changes in his previous unacceptable behavior.”

Christine Tsai, co-founder of 500 Startups, is now CEO. Tsai wrote in a statement published Friday that she took over the role a few months ago, a detail that the company had not previously announced. 

"Dave’s role has been limited to fulfilling his obligations to our investors as a General Partner. In addition, he’s been attending counseling to work on changing his perspectives and preventing his previous unacceptable behavior," Tsai wrote.

The website still listed Tsai as a managing partner and McClure as a general partner as of Friday afternoon.

McClure is a big name in the San Francisco startup world. His company, which provides funding to young companies and helps them get off the ground, has backed CreditKarma and Twilio, among other successful startups.

Many of the businesses that work with 500 Startups are early in their development, when the entrepreneurs that created them might be more desperate and eager for funding — and potentially more vulnerable to behavior that exploits an imbalanced power dynamic. 

The sidelining of McClure is only the latest example of how a growing awareness of gender inequality and sexual harassment in tech is shaking up the industry.  

Justin Caldbeck, a co-founding partner of Binary Capital, resigned last week following a similar report in The Information. Meanwhile, reports of poor treatment of women at Uber prompted an investigation that led to CEO Travis Kalanick's resignation, the departure of numerous other executives, and the firing of more than 20 employees.

The Times story also named Chris Sacca, the Shark Tank judge and recently retired venture capitalist. On Thursday, in a preemptive response to the article, he published a post on Medium called "I Have More Work To Do" in which he apologized and said that he had "personally contributed" to making the tech industry "inhospitable for women."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Everything you need to know about Gal Gadot before she becomes the #1 action star in the world


          Confederations Cup: Germany advances to final with 4-1 rout of Mexico   

Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire early goals on Thursday as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 to reach the Confederations Cup final.

Exploiting Mexico's defensive frailties, Joachim Loew's inexperienced squad was 2-0 up within 10 minutes.

Loew is using the squad to assess his pool of talent, and this...


          Guide to Disaster: How The Tech Team Handled WordPress Security Flaw   

By now, the news has spread rapidly in security circles and on mailing lists about an exploit to the WordPress software less than or equal to version 2.1.3. To give you some background, we had held off on upgrading to version 2.2 that came out last week due to bugs in the software that we …

The post Guide to Disaster: How The Tech Team Handled WordPress Security Flaw appeared first on Technosailor.com.


          Reining in China – India must collaborate with Japan, US & EU to counter Chinese influence   
“It is now time for India to work with Japan, the US and the EU to coordinate their efforts to actively promote alternatives to Chinese economic exploitation in Asia and Africa. Moreover, Russia needs to be coopted bilaterally and through funding by institutions like the BRICS Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, for constructing […]
          Exploitation Of Minorities In Pakistan   
Youtube
          Napoleon Bonaparte   
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, the son of Carlo and Letizia Bonaparte. Through his military exploits and his ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I, Empereur des Francais (Emperor of the French). He is both a historical figure and a legend—and […]
          Tom Cruise ‘Top Gun’ Sequel Gets Release Date From Paramount   

A sequel to Tom Cruise’s fighter pilot classic “Top Gun” will hit theaters two summers from now.

Paramount will release the film on July 12, 2019. The film will go head-to-head with Disney’s live-action take on “The Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau.

While the project has been in active development at the studio for some time, Cruise himself let the cat out of the bag in May on the press tour for Universal’s “The Mummy.”

Cruise told an Australian morning show that the film was “definitely happening,” and that he would “start filming it probably in the next year.” The original 1986 action movie followed the exploits of a Naval flight academy and its students.

There have been several attempts to bring a “Top Gun” sequel to life, but interest from key players appeared to increase in recent years.

Speculation that the project was on — finally — picked up late last year after Val Kilmer, who played Cruise’s rival Iceman in the original film, said on Facebook that he’d been offered a role in a sequel.

In January, producer Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted a picture of himself with Cruise, saying “just got back from a weekend in New Orleans to see my old friend Tom Cruise and discuss a little Top Gun 2.”

Cruise will next be seen in Doug Liman’s “American Made,” opening this September.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Is It Time for Tom Cruise to Do TV?

'The Mummy' Review: Tom Cruise Kicks Off Universal's 'Dark Universe' With Epic Monstrosity

Tom Cruise Teases There 'May Be a Volleyball' in 'Top Gun' Sequel


          Kelly Osbourne Totally Flips Out Over Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s Vintage T-Shirt Disaster   

Listen up, Kendall and Kylie Jenner; a little birdie has something to tell you.

Kelly Osbourne decided to do some finger-pointing after the Jenners appropriated her father Ozzy Osbourne’s image for their line of vintage-style T-shirts.

Osbourne chose to point her finger skyward, letting Kendall and Kylie know exactly what she thought of their fashion faux pas.

In an Instagram post published Thursday, Osbourne parodied the Jenners’ T-shirt line, which included a shirt featuring one of the Jenners’ faces slapped over Ozzy Osbourne’s image. The spoof consisted of a mock-up T-shirt depicting the younger Osbourne giving the finger superimposed over the Jenners’ faces.

“#CurrentMood,” Osbourne captioned the image.

Kelly’s dig followed a similarly disgusted remark from her mother, Sharon Osbourne, who tweeted Thursday, “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know … lip gloss.”

The Jenner sisters yanked the line of T-shirts and apologized for them on Thursday, after drawing widespread criticism and claims that they hadn’t obtained permission to use various artists’ likenesses.

Voletta Wallace, the mother of slain rapper Biggie Smalls, tore into the reality TV duo on over a T-shirt featuring Kendall Jenner’s face superimposed over an image of her deceased son.

“I am not sure who told @kyliejenner and @kendalljenner that they had the right to do this,” Wallace wrote on Instagram. “The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me.”

“I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my Son Christopher to sell a t-shirt,” Wallace continued. “This is disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!”

Shortly thereafter, the Jenners issued an apology and vowed to stop selling the shirts.

“These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists,” the social-media mea culpa read. “We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway [sic]. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed.”

#CurrentMood

A post shared by Kelly Osbourne (@kellyosbourne) on

Related stories from TheWrap:

Michael Rapaport Trolls Kendall, Kylie Jenner With Shirt Design of His Own

Kendall and Kylie Jenner Pull Tupac, Biggie T-Shirts After Backlash

Biggie Smalls' Mother Shreds Kendall and Kylie Jenner Over 'Disgusting' T-Shirt Featuring Her Son


          Kendall and Kylie Jenner in Legal Hot Water Over T-Shirts   

Kendall and Kylie Jenner have been hit with cease and desist letters for their new T-shirts featuring their faces superimposed over images of living and dead musicians.

The T-shirts, selling for $125, featured images of the Kendall sisters superimposed over rappers Tupac and Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G., Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne, and members of the bands Metallica, Pink Floyd, Kiss and Led Zeppelin.

Kendall and Kylie, the youngest sisters of the Kardashian-Jenner family, yanked the T-shirts from their websites on Wednesday after receiving cease and letters and scathing public criticism.

Lawyers for the estates of Jim Morrison and Notorious B.I.G. sent cease and desist letters to Kendall and Kylie Jenner, accusing the sisters of using the names and likeness of the musicians without permission, according to Rolling Stone.

Jeff Lampol, manager for the estate for Doors frontman Morrison, accused the sisters of violating Morrison’s right of publicity. “The superimposing of a selfie of Kendall Jenner over the iconic ‘Lion’ portrait of the late Jim Morrison is offensive and remarkable for its failure to recognize the rights of the estate of Mr. Morrison to control the use of his likeness,” Lampol said in a cease and desist letter to the sisters.

“The Doors have recently learned that Kendall + Kylie are selling shirts using the Protected Property without the Doors’ authorization or consent,” the letter said.

“Your use of the registered trademarks in commerce is likely to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive consumers into believing that the Kendall + Kylie apparel was authorized by the Doors when no such authorization was sought or provided by the Doors,” the letter said.

Lampol demanded that Kendall and Kylie Jenner recall the T-shirts from all stores and provide information about all the money they made on the Doors T-shirts by Saturday, July 1.

A lawyer for Violetta Wallace, mother of Notorious B.I.G., also sent a cease letter to the sisters accusing them of using the likeness of the rapper without permission.

Wallace called the T-shirt featuring her son “disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst.”

Ozzy Osbourne’s wife, Sharon Osbourne, tweeted, “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know … lip gloss.”

Kendall and Kylie Jenner apologized in identical Twitter messages on Wednesday.

“These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists,” the sisters said on Twitter. “We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway [sic]. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and again, we are very sorry.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kendall Jenner 'Felt Really Awful' About Protest-Themed Pepsi Ad, Kim Kardashian Says (Video)

Triple-Threat Kendall Jenner's Brand Faces Triple Threat

Kendall Jenner Gets Shredded on Social Media for Promoting Fyre Festival


          Michael Rapaport Trolls Kendall, Kylie Jenner With Shirt Design of His Own   

Michael Rapaport, actor and podcaster, doesn’t like the Kardashians. He especially doesn’t like it when they put photos of themselves on T-shirts alongside musical icons like KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Biggie Smalls and Tupac.

So he made a shirt design of his own.

Rapaport expressed his disdain for Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s T-shirts on Twitter before even announcing his shirts were for sale. The pair were raked over the coals for the design that featured images of deceased rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

The Jenners apologized for the shirts and said they would no longer be sold after the collective internet freak out.

“These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists,” the sisters posted on social media. “We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway [sic]. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed.”

The apology didn’t sway Rapaport at all, who went on a rant later (NSFW language at the link).

Related stories from TheWrap:

Kim Kardashian Responds to 'Blackface' Allegations: 'I Have Learned From It'

Jerry Seinfeld Shreds the Kardashians: 'These People Are Not Doing Anything Interesting'

Kendall Jenner 'Felt Really Awful' About Protest-Themed Pepsi Ad, Kim Kardashian Says (Video)

'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' Ratings Are Anything But Keeping Up


          Cosmopolitan thinks vegans are basically invincible   
Relish in the side effects of not partaking in animal exploitation, but make sure your veganism is about fighting for the victims, the animals.
          Comprueba si eres vulnerable al exploit EternalBlue con Eternal Blues   

Si debemos hablar de los dos eventos informáticos más importantes de lo que vamos de 2017 sin duda hablaremos de WannaCry, el ransomware que llegó a infectar a millones de usuarios de todo el mundo, y de NotPetya, un wiper que ha borrado los discos duros de millones de usuarios. Sin embargo, estos dos software maliciosos

El artículo Comprueba si eres vulnerable al exploit EternalBlue con Eternal Blues se publicó en SoftZone.


          Wayang ends in a Bazaar Twist   

11/07/08

Long Running Cumbrian Show ends in a ‘Bazaar’ Twist


The Musical Stonemason – A Cumbrian Wayang




A unique theatrical show which tells the true Cumbrian story of how the unique instruments known as ‘The Musical Stones of Skiddaw’ were built has now come to the end of its successful 11 month tour.

The show has been performed 9 times in 7 different towns and cities right across England, including the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Sage Music Centre in Gateshead and twice in Keswick itself; where the story of the show originates. The final show was performed on Sunday 6th July to some of the 1,000 visitors at the Cultural Bazaar at Trinity School, Carlisle.

This exciting community arts project was a creative collaboration between the musicians of the Egremont Community Gamelan led by Chris Stones, puppeteers led by artist and master puppeteer Ali McCaw, and writer David Napthine and Jamie Barnes, Curator of Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. The show is presented as a Wayang. Wayang is an ancient Indonesian dramatic art bringing together shadow play and music from the gamelan – the famous Indonesian percussion orchestra. The idea behind The Cumbrian Wayang was to create a unique art work drawing inspiration from Indonesian traditions but with a distinctly Cumbrian flavour. The result was a Wayang like no other, combining puppets that play instruments, colourful shadow imagery and the amazing Musical Stones of Skiddaw, all tied together by the magical sound of the gamelan.

The inspiration for the story ‘The Musical Stonemason’ comes from the famous Musical Stones of Skiddaw – an extraordinary instrument known technically as a lithophone which is made from a rare ‘hornfels’ rock and is housed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. The instrument creates a striking musical parallel for the gamelan, and boasts an intriguing history which formed the basis of the story. The peculiar resonant properties of the rocks from which the instrument is made are something of geological mystery. They were first discovered in 1785 by Peter Crosthwaite, founder of the first Keswick Museum, who incorporated them into his new cabinet of curiosities. It was Joseph Richardson though, 55 years later, who fully exploited the musical potential of the Skiddaw stones. A local stonemason and amateur musician, Richardson toiled away for 13 years to create the massive instrument now housed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. When Joseph finished the instrument in 1840, with his three sons they became something of a musical sensation, touring the country and playing three times for Queen Victoria! The story of the Wayang tells of Richardson’s obsession with the Skiddaw stones, and imagines a fictional meeting of Richardson and Crosthwaite somewhere on the slopes of Cumbria’s musical mountain. You can learn more about this true story and download free Musical Stones music at www.myspace.com/musicalstones.

The Musical Stonemason – A Cumbrian Wayang was very well received in all the venues it was performed. A total of 800 people have seen the show. It is now hoped the Wayang will be produced as a professionally-made film, which will incorporate filming outside on the side of the Skiddaw itself. This would mean that this unique part of Keswick’s heritage will be preserved forever. It is also hoped that this unique collaboration between Chris Stones - Egremont Community Gamelan/Soundware, Ali McCaw – Changeling Productions and Jamie Barnes - Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, will continue in a new education project for schools using the life and work of Peter Crosthwaite for inspiration.
          Famous Keswick Stones perform in London after 150-year break   










'The Musical Stonemason' – A Cumbrian Wayang








Keswick Museum and Art Gallery's popular stone xylophone – 'The Musical Stones of Skiddaw' have once more been delighting audiences with their unique sound, but this time in the capital city. The Musical Stones are the basis of a new theatrical show which was the result of a unique three-way collaboration. This exciting community arts project is a creative collaboration between the musicians of the Egremont Community Gamelan led by Chris Stones from Soundwave, puppeteers led by artist and master puppeteer Ali McCaw, writer David Napthine (Changeling Productions), and Jamie Barnes of the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. Wayang is an ancient Indonesian dramatic art bringing together shadow play and music from the gamelan – the famous Indonesian percussion orchestra. The idea behind this Cumbrian Wayang was to create a unique art work drawing inspiration from Indonesian traditions but with a distinctly Cumbrian flavour. The result is a Wayang like no other, combining puppets that play instruments, colourful shadow imagery, amazing Musical Stones, and all tied together by the magical sound of the gamelan. The inspiration for the story 'The Musical Stonemason' comes from the famous Musical Stones of Skiddaw – an extraordinary instrument known technically as a lithophone and housed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. The instrument creates a striking musical parallel for the gamelan, and boasts an intriguing history which forms the basis of the story. The peculiar resonant properties of the rocks from which the instrument is made are something of geological mystery. They were first discovered in 1785 by Peter Crosthwaite, founder of the first museum in Keswick, who incorporated them into his cabinet of curiosities. It was Joseph Richardson (pictured above) however, 55 years later, who fully exploited the musical potential of the Skiddaw stones. A local stonemason and amateur musician, Richardson toiled away for 13 years to create the massive instrument now housed in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery. With his sons they became something of a musical sensation, touring the country and playing three times for Queen Victoria! The story of 'The Musical Stonemason' tells of Richardson's obsession with the Skiddaw stones, and imagines a fictional meeting of Richardson and Crosthwaite somewhere on the slopes of Cumbria's musical mountain. The 13-strong cast of 'The Musical Stonemason' went on tour with the show throughout September, beginning with a world premiere to a capacity crowd in Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, then on to the prestigious Royal Festival Hall in London's South Bank for two dates as part of an international Wayang Festival. The first leg of the tour then finished up with a performance in the futuristic Sage music centre in Gateshead. It is believed that the last time the Musical Stones of Skiddaw were played in London was in 1865 by the Richardson sons themselves. Jamie Barnes, the manager of Keswick Museum and Art Gallery said 'It was a great thrill to bring the Musical Stones down to London, knowing how much they had delighted audiences in the capital in the mid-nineteenth century'.

          Lena Waithe talks writing for 'Master of None,' why #RepresentationMatters, and more   

Out writer, actor, and producer Lena Waithe is blowing up right now! She has received heaps of well deserved praise for the "Thanksgiving" episode from the second season of the Netflix hit series Master of None. Inspired by Waithe's own coming out story, "Thanksgiving" takes place over the course of two decades of Thanksgivings, and tells the story of Denise's (Waithe) coming out, bringing dates to family dinner, and her relationship with her family. The episode, co-written by Waithe and show creator Aziz Ansari, is a beautiful and personal look at the often overlooked stories of queer women of color.

Waithe is writing and executive producing the upcoming Showtime drama The Chi, a coming of age drama set in the South Side of Chicago. She is also set to star in Steven Spielberg's upcoming film adaptation of Ready Player One. Check out what she had to say about writing "Thanksgiving," the first queer character she saw herself in, and more.

GLAAD: Tell us about how the idea for "Thanksgiving" came about, and the process of writing and acting in something so close to home? 

LENA WAITHE: I went to hang out with the writers and tell them stories about my life and somehow how I came out came up. Alan and Aziz were really intrigued by the way I was telling my story and they decided to center an episode around it. The process of writing it was amazing. Aziz and I wrote it in London in a few days. I got a chance to reminisce about my childhood and what it was like to come out to myself, my friends, and ultimately, my mother. Looking back on it you realize how brave you have to be to come out. It's a humbling thing - to come out to the people you love. Living through it was tough the first time around - but the second time around, it was a blast. 

GLAAD: "Thanksgiving" did an excellent job of showing coming out as a process as opposed to just one event. What inspired the idea to have it stretch over 20 years of Thanksgivings?

LW: That was the writers' room. I've heard Aniz (Aziz's brother) came up with the idea of telling the story over a series of Thanksgivings. And then Aziz and I ran with it. It was the perfect way to cram a lot of story into one thirty minute episode of television. 

GLAAD: The episode has received rave reviews, as well as having a deep individual impact. What feedback have you gotten that's stuck with you the most?

LW: Honestly, my queer people of color have reached out and said that for the first time they really saw themselves on TV. And that's the greatest compliment I could get. I would never want to misrepresent us. Our images are too scarce to do that. 

GLAAD: As "Thanksgiving" demonstrates, there's something very powerful in getting to tell your own story. Are you optimistic about more queer writers of color getting the opportunity to do this?

LW: I am optimistic. My mission is to help as many writers as I can and make sure that they get to tell their stories without it being filtered through a mainstream lens. That's when we all lose. 

GLAAD: Do you remember the first time you saw a queer woman, or a queer woman of color specifically, on television who had an impact on you?

LW: Shug Avery leaning in to kiss Celie in The Color Purple was a huge moment for me. Even though they weren't defined with labels in the film - it showed me the power two black women could have just by being intimate and joyful. It showed me myself before I even knew who I was.  

GLAAD: Can you share anything about your upcoming Showtime series The Chi, and what your hopes are for the series?

LW: I hope we make a show that humanizes the people of the south side of Chicago rather than exploit them. We've been exploited for far too long. It's time to tell a story about the people that are thriving and those that are fighting to keep their heads above water.

Check out Master of None on Netflix now!  Keep up to date with Lena on her Twitter, @LenaWaithe.

June 29, 2017

          B/R Experts: Germany vs. Chile, Confederations Cup Final Predictions   

Germany face off against Chile in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday for the Confederations Cup crown.

It's sure to be a tight affair, and with that in mind our experts have been poring over the form book in a bid to point you in the right direction.

     

Adam Digby

Back-to-back Copa America winners Chile will meet World Cup holders Germany in this clash on Sunday, with both teams looking to add further silverware to enhance their recent successes.

The South American side needed penalties to defeat Portugal but will take a huge mental boost from that semi-final. Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo—who saved no fewer than three spot kicks in that shootout—have been the key men, and they possess the intensity and experience necessary to secure another triumph in Russia.

For their part, Germany's new-look squad will be buoyed by their 4-1 rout of Mexico to reach the showpiece match, but it may prove a bridge too far for the European side. Their defensive frailties have been exposed throughout the tournament, and Juan Antonio Pizzi's men will almost certainly be ready to exploit that.

Prediction: Germany 1-1 Chile (Chile win)

First goalscorer: Arturo Vidal

     

Dean Jones

It's so difficult to separate these sides because of the strong mentality they both have.

On one hand Chile's experience could prove so crucial in this final. They showed great will to win their penalty shootout against Portugal and have come from behind so many times in this tournament.

On the other hand, Germany's fearless youngsters have nothing to lose and have just hammered Mexico 4-1.

I'm going to say these sides cancel each other out...and Germany eventually lift the trophy.

Prediction: Germany 1-1 Chile (Germany win on pens)

First goalscorer: Julian Draxler

      

Karl Matchett

This is the rightful final in terms of which teams have impressed the most. Chile have been exciting and aggressive in attack, albeit without a cutting edge at times, while Germany have simply impressed all over the pitch with their depth, variance of play and ability to score goals throughout the team.

Chile's all-action defence might be the biggest test that Germany could come up against, given their physicality (if not actual size) and relentless running and blocking. That non-stop movement will be critical in attempting to shut down the off-the-ball movement that the German front line has, particularly from Timo Werner dropping deep and Leon Goretzka or Julian Draxler surging from the centre to beyond the defensive line.

The question marks are in a similar area of the pitch too. Can Chile score when Alexis isn't quite on top of his game or is being somewhat greedy as he has been in this tournament, not releasing passes at the right time? And, can the German defence find a 90-minute performance of resilience and concentration? They've lost it at times and had spells in matches where they look vulnerable, even though the midfield plays extremely well.

It's a fantastic matchup, but Germany's mentality and variety in attack might win out.

Prediction: Germany 3-1 Chile

First goalscorer: Timo Werner

      

Sam Tighe

With so many games squashed up in such a tight schedule, the nature of the two semi-finals could be key in determining how the final goes. Chile found putting Portugal to bed an incredibly tough task that required 120 minutes and a penalty shootout to do so, while Germany made short work of a depleted Mexico side, scoring twice before the 10-minute mark and never having to leave first gear.

That extra 30 minutes Chile went through put them on the back foot—particularly given Joachim Low's men did not have to exert themselves at all on Thursday. We're talking five games in 14 days; no one is feeling fresh, but Germany will be by far the fresher.

On paper it's so close a call that fitness feels like it will decide this one.

Prediction: Germany 2-1 Chile

First goalscorer: Timo Werner

Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com


          Howard Hodgkin’s 50 years of travels to India revealed in Hepworth Wakefield show   
An installation view of Howard Hodgkin's From the House of Bhupen Khakhar (1975-76) at Hepworth Wakefield
When Howard Hodgkin died in March this year, he had already helped plan his exhibition Painting India (1 July-8 October) at the Hepworth Wakefield in great detail. The country that inspired the paintings in the show was of enormous significance to him; and the exhibition seems to have gained a corresponding importance. It is the first to gather a broad range of his paintings capturing his Indian memories and experiences.

Hodgkin had given detailed instructions to Eleanor Clayton, the shows curator. These included how to hang the pictures. He came to see the Stanley Spencer show which I also curated, which had about twice as many paintings, she recalls, and perhaps thats why one of the first things he said to me was: You will make sure that the paintings have enough space. He said that when the paintings are too close together they fight with each other.

Hodgkin had also expressed delight at the light-filled rooms in the David Chipperfield-designed building and urged Clayton to exploit their luminosity. He had pointed her and her team in the direction of his best Indian-themed works, some long unseen, one even suspected to be lost. And he had promised to deliver recent works made in Bombay. That the Hepworth has followed his wishes to a T and created a beautiful, revelatory show makes it all the more heart-breaking, as the Hepworths director Simon Wallis puts it, that Hodgkin could not see the results. 

Hodgkin said that he painted representational pictures of emotional situations and no other location inspired as many of these memories as Indiahis website lists 111 paintings triggered by dozens of journeys there. It was a place so close to his heart, Wallis says, and we were very surprised to find that no one had done a show that was exploring something that was so central to him.

Hodgkin collected Indian paintings from his teens and Wallis says that the painter had allowed a couple in here, in a small but fascinating archival space. But Hodgkin was insistent that the show should focus on his own paintings made over 50 years, from Mrs Acton in Delhi, begun in 1967, three years after Hodgkin had first visited India, to Over to You, one of six paintings completed in Mumbai in January this yearHodgkins final works. 

Wallis hopes that the show prompts similar epiphanies in visitors to the one he experienced at Hodgkins retrospective at the Hayward Gallery in London in 1996. But he argues that the famed colour in Hodgkins work is only part of the story. They are so redolent with a really strange set of emotional registers: you have to spend time with these works, you cant just have a superficial scoot by, thinking that it looks chromatically interesting, he says. Thats not what Hodgkin is after; its the emotional resonance, that sense of place, the essence of the spirit of the people he is engaging with or particular situations, picking up on that intriguing interactivity and social energy that we bring to living in the world with other people or with particular places that mean something to us. 

The particularity of Hodgkins Indian experiences is highlighted in tantalising glimpses of his diaries made there in 1970 and 1975, full of gossipy flourishes but also imagery suggesting paintings forming in Hodgkins mind: To Secunderabad, he wrote on 15 April 1970. Gin and lime at lunchtime. Rain in the afternoon with exactly matching Golconda skiesnavy blue and white lined with receding pink.

The subjects are typically diverse, from atmospheric evocations of landscapes and gardens, sea and sand, even food in Indian Veg (2013-14). And there are numerous paintings inspired by encounters with people. Perhaps the most affecting is From the House of Bhupen Khakhar (1975-76), an abstracted portrait of the Indian artist and close friend. When Hodgkin and Clayton were choosing the works, the portrait of Khakhar was a picture they were really excited about, but Hodgkin thought it was lost, Clayton says. He had no idea where it wasin the catalogue raisonn its pictured in black and white, there was no image of it in colour. And so we started trying to find it.

Via Hodgkins old gallery, Kasmin, a researcher at the Tate, a New York Times obituary, a publisher of a book on a collection of Native American art and an antique shop, Clayton was led to the family of A.J. Hirschfield, the name listed in Kasmins archive. It turned out that they were the right Hirschfields, and not only that, they still had the painting, she says. It was in their log cabin in Wyoming. Hodgkin never saw the painting again in the flesh but Clayton showed him a photograph of it in situ on the log-cabin wall.

Hodgkins final works possess a similarly poignant charge. Over to You (2015-17), completed in January, was inspired by the Stevie Smith poem Mr Over, which begins: Mr Over is dead / He died fighting and true / And on his tombstone they wrote / Over to You. While it obviously reflects Hodgkins sense of mortality (he had been unwell for some time), Clayton feels the painting is symbolic of much more. I thought Over to You was quite relevant to the way Howard would paint, she says. Hed make these paintings of personal moments but present them publicly, and he was so interested in people seeing his work, as well: he really wanted people to see it and have their own emotional responses to it. So it captures a lot about his practice, as well as being really beautiful.

Howard Hodgkin: Painting India, Hepworth Wakefield, 1 July-8 October
          Klay Thompson is having the time of his life missing dunks, dancing and losing in arm wrestling in China   
Klay Thompson is loving life touring China. (Getty)

As free agency heats up and players are scrambling around recruiting new teammates, Klay Thompson is on the other side of the world having more fun than anyone. Golden State’s All-Star shooting guard has been on a long vacation in China, and his exploits there have been hilarious.

Officially, Thompson is there promoting his shoe deal with Anta, a China-based sportswear company. Unofficially, he’s there to unwind after a long NBA season, celebrate his second championship and experience all that China has to offer. And his goofiness is what’s taken social media by storm.

First came footage of his failed 360 dunk.

This one wasn’t even close. It’s not like Thompson lost the ball while going up or threw it off the back iron. He got rim-stuffed. No matter, though. It’s not as if Thompson’s a prolific dunker, and when you’re a world champion, you’ve got (almost) nothing to be embarrassed about. Fresh off his second ring and averaging a career-high 22.3 points per game this season, Thompson is living the life.

Then came his hilarious dancing at a club, as captured by many a camera and plastered all over the internet.

Klay having the time of his life in China

A post shared by Warriors World (@officialwarriorsworld) on Jun 28, 2017 at 10:53am PDT

Even teammate Steph Curry had a good laugh with this one, and Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum gave Thompson some good-natured trash talk as well.

And now we have footage of Thompson arm-wrestling — and losing — to a fan who might have gotten away with some help from her left arm.

One thing’s for certain: There’s not a player in the NBA having more fun than Thompson right now. The NBA couldn’t be any father from his mind as he promotes his shoe and tours China. It’s good to be a Warrior, better to be a champion and best to be Klay Thompson.

More from Yahoo Sports:


           Tregs restrain dendritic cell autophagy to ameliorate autoimmunity    
Design of efficacious Treg-based therapies and establishment of clinical tolerance in autoimmune diseases have proven to be challenging. The clinical implementation of Treg immunotherapy has been hampered by various impediments related to the stability and isolation procedures of Tregs as well as the specific in vivo targets of Treg modalities. Herein, we have demonstrated that Foxp3+ Tregs potently suppress autoimmune responses in vivo through inhibition of the autophagic machinery in DCs in a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4–dependent (CTLA4-dependent) manner. Autophagy-deficient DCs exhibited reduced immunogenic potential and failed to prime autoantigen-specific CD4+ T cells to mediate autoimmunity. Mechanistically, CTLA4 binding promoted activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis and FoxO1 nuclear exclusion in DCs, leading to decreased transcription of the autophagy component microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3β (Lc3b). Human DCs treated with CTLA4-Ig, a fusion protein composed of the Fc region of IgG1 and the extracellular domain of CTLA4 (also known as abatacept, marketed as Orencia), demonstrated reduced levels of autophagosome formation, while DCs from CTLA4-Ig–treated rheumatoid arthritis patients displayed diminished LC3B transcripts. Collectively, our data identify the canonical autophagy pathway in DCs as a molecular target of Foxp3+ Treg–mediated suppression that leads to amelioration of autoimmune responses. These findings may pave the way for the development of therapeutic protocols that exploit Tregs for the treatment of autoimmunity as well as diseases in which disturbed tolerance is a common denominator.
          Role reversal gone wrong   
Beth Mathison is a Tasmanian businesswoman and the new face of a domestic violence campaign here in Australia. She is being presented as a victim of "financial abuse" by her former partner:
But for 20 years, she was financially trapped, controlled by her abusive partner. It was this relationship which ultimately led to her losing everything.

But what are the details of her case? She admits that she grew up "in a bubble of private schooling and scholarships." So no financial abuse there. She then quickly became successful in business:
I lived in a very beautiful castle, where I had staff working seven days a week looking after my personal needs while I also ran a game park business. I worked intensely seven days a week, had everything I wanted.


Her Scottish castle


She lost the castle when interest rates rose and her business collapsed. Looking back she believes she was a victim of abuse by her partner of the time:
"My motivators were my natural entrepreneurial spirit and a driving desire to take on new challenges, and it was these motivators that Bob used to great effect to control me," she explained.

"They always resulted in me being the only one who worked, often seven days a week.

Bob, it seems, did not go out to work and so did not contribute to the finances. According to new guidelines on domestic violence, this makes him an abusive partner.
The guide lays out what constitutes financial abuse -- a wide spectrum which includes refusing to help with household expenses

(In the guide to "financial abuse" one of the indicators of abuse is "refuses to contribute financially to their partner".)

Further blame is heaped on Bob because after Beth divorced him she had to pay him spousal maintenance:
It took Beth five years to find a better job and divorce her ex-husband, which also cost her $150 a week in spousal maintenance because he refused to work.

I hope readers know where I am going with this. If you are a man you will be scratching your head because usually it is men who are in Beth Mathison's position. Usually it is a wealthy husband who buys the grand home, has a so-called trophy wife who doesn't go out to work and who therefore doesn't contribute to the finances, and it is usually the husband who, on divorce, has to pay the wife large sums in alimony and child support.

What Beth Mathison discovered is that the masculine role in life is not as privileged as she might have imagined it to be. A man can go out to work, earn the money and yet look back on a marriage or relationship feeling that he was the one who was exploited.

The response to Beth Mathison's situation is confusing. How can "not contributing to the finances" be defined as domestic violence? This would put the traditional family outside the law. And why is there only sympathy when a woman like Beth Mathison is put in the same position as tens of thousands of men?

In other words, if we are supposed to sympathise with Beth Mathison, shouldn't we then sympathise with what the majority of men go through when they are divorced by their wives?
          Sidetrade acquiert C-Radar, un nouveau pilier pour doper la prospection client   
Dans le segment du marketing prédictif, Sidetrade rachète Data Publica, qui exploite la plateforme C-Radar pour identifier des prospects qualifiés plus vite.
          Cisco Warns of Serious Flaws in IOS Software   

“Cisco has warned users that devices running the company’s IOS or IOS XE software are affected by several high severity vulnerabilities that can be exploited for remote code execution and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.” Source: Cisco Warns of Serious Flaws in IOS Software | SecurityWeek.Com Via OODA Loop

The post Cisco Warns of Serious Flaws in IOS Software appeared first on FedCyber.com | Information Security Event & Community.


          How to Protect Against Petya Ransomware in a McAfee Environment   

This post has been updated with information about McAfee Enterprise Security Manager and McAfee Web Gateway (June 28, 14:20 Pacific time). A new variant of the ransomware Petya (also called Petrwrap) began spreading around the world on June 27. Petya is ransomware that exploits the vulnerability CVE-2017-0144 in Microsoft’s implementation of the Server Message Block protocol. This ransomware …

The post How to Protect Against Petya Ransomware in a McAfee Environment appeared first on McAfee Blogs.


          Scott Pruitt goes beyond blocking climate change data—will use EPA to build new arguments for denial   

Scott Pruitt is taking the EPA past simply refusing to act on climate change, and acting as an idea factor for climate change deniers.

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal initiative to challenge mainstream climate science using a "back-and-forth critique" by government-recruited experts, according to a senior administration official.

The program is designed to discover “vulnerabilities” in the scientific argument that can be exploited by climate change deniers.

The program will use "red team, blue team" exercises to conduct an "at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science," the official said, referring to a concept developed by the military to identify vulnerabilities in field operations.

Pruitt needs new ways to attack climate change, because he wants to go back to court and challenge the finding that rising levels of carbon in the atmosphere represent a danger that the EPA must address. The EPA is now engaged in spending millions to destroy its court-ordered function.

Executives in the coal industry interpret the move as a step toward challenging the endangerment finding, the agency's legal foundation for regulating greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and other sources. Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said Pruitt assured him yesterday that he plans to begin reviewing the endangerment finding within months.


          OVH obtient 593 M$ auprès de banques   
L’entreprise d’hébergement infonuagique affirme prévoir utiliser ce financement « afin de soutenir sa stratégie d’expansion globale ». OVH, une entreprise française fondée en 1999 qui exploite notamment un centre de données d’une capacité totale de 360 000 serveurs à Beauharnois près de …
          OBSERVATIONS, SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON “SOME INPUTS FOR DRAFT NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2016”*   
OBSERVATIONS, SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON “SOME INPUTS FOR
 DRAFT NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2016”*

By Niranjanaradhya.V.P., Ph.D-Education Fellow and Programme Head
Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education Programme 
Centre for Child and the Law 
National Law School of India University 
Nagarbhavi,Bengaluru-560 242


 The Government of India has initiated the process of formulating a New National Education Policy. Initially, discussions were held at the Panchayat, block/cluster, district and state levels on the proposed New Education Policy by the Centre. However, these discussions were all stereotypical based on superficial questions that did not address the core and systemic issues in the education system. A lapse was seen throughout the process in effectively following a bottom-up approach and constructively collecting the public opinion by restricting the discussions to defined thematics. Subsequently, a committee under the able chairmanship of Mr. T.S.R. Subramaniam was constituted to come up with its recommendations and formulate a draft policy on education. Again, the Government of India lapsed in the democratic process by not sharing the report of the T.S.R.Subramaniam Committee in the public domain. Instead, the Ministry of Human Resources Development has released a document titled “Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016” and has sought observations, suggestions and recommendations from the public on the same latest by 31st July, 2016. 

In this background, the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, which has been continuously working for universalisation of equitable quality school education for all children up to 18 years of age for the past two decades, has come up with the following observations regarding the document released by the Ministry.

ABOUT THE DOCUMENT “SOME INPUTS FOR DRAFT NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY 2016” The inputs given by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India clearly indicate that the Government accepts that complete revamping of the existing education system is the need of the hour. While this is a much needed step, the direction in which this revamping process is to proceed and what should be the basis of the newly built system of education has been completely misplaced. The inputs not only aim to but also * By Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University – Drafted by Ms. Krithika. B. S., Ms. Shruthi Raman, Research Assistants, Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU under the guidance of Dr. Niranjanaradhya. V. P., Fellow and Programme Head, Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education Programme, Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU. confine the entire educational goal to the development of human resource and the holistic approach to education is not made. Though there exist certain major flaws in the inputs, few measures like the implementation of ICT, revamping of teacher education, making teacher education accountable for the quality of education, inclusive education etc., are to be acclaimed. However, in the fervour to build a modernised education system accessible to all, the Ministry has unfortunately favoured privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of education to a large extent. Education as a fundamental right of all is not emphasised upon. Instead education is made a privilege by handing over the onus to private sector. The proposed inputs also deviate from the recommendations of the Education Commission of building a National Education System based on the principle of Neighbourhood School which was later reiterated in the previous National Education Policies of 1968 and 1986/92 and further re-emphasised in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Neither the international commitment nor the Indian Constitutional values are seen to be adhered to in the present provisions given in the form of inputs. Hence, much needs to be changed in essence with respect to the current inputs and the proposed provisions of the National Education Policy. In this direction, the Centre for Child and the Law, would like to put forth the following observations and recommendations with respect to the Ministry‟s document “Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016”.
    
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS CHAPTER 1 - PREAMBLE Preamble is the introductory part of a document which explains the purpose and the underlying philosophy of the document. When it comes to an Educational Policy, the preamble to the policy should ideally state the essence of education by explaining what is education and why education is of significance with a holistic view. Later a brief account of the previous efforts made in the direction of building an education system by the Government and the challenges faced in implementing them and the gaps in those efforts which lead to the need for formulating a new policy are to be provided. The present document gravely falls short in this aspect. The Preamble to the document while gives a very good account of the past efforts of the Government in building a strong education system in the country, misleads that the present education is almost close to perfect with not much issues and problems. One may say that the issues and challenges in the current education system are dealt with in a separate chapter altogether and hence, an account of the same has been provided. Though this might be said to be true, the Preamble lacks the explanation as to what necessitated the formulation of a new education policy to replace the already existing policy, which is the very purpose of writing a preamble. All the more, the Preamble nowhere makes even a mention of the essence of education, its meaning and necessity. The need to build a system of education based on egalitarian values and in conformation to the Constitutional values is not given due importance. Instead, the Preamble misplaces facts by depicting that education has throughout been equally accessible to all strata of the society. Since the ancient era, education in India has been the privilege of elite classes, which is why the demand for a fundamental right to education for all was made an important component of freedom struggle. It is saddening that even to this day, the struggle continues as education has still not become a right of the masses in reality. In the words of Mr. J. P. Naik, “Children and youth learnt by living and participating in the activities of the home and society. It was not education for living but education through living; and there was no difference between the process of socialization and education. Gradually, as quantum of available knowledge and the need for specialized skills began to grow, some persons began to specialize. This led to apprenticeship and later on to some regular forms of non-formal education. Even today, this is the only form of education received by numerous children who never enter schools.” [Naik, JP, „Some perspectives on non-formal education‟ (Allied publishers, New Delhi, 1977) at pg 6] Issues like stratification of education system, privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of education hamper the very notion of education being a social good. Instead education is perceived as a profit-making business. Hence, to understand education in its true essence and build a system of education based on Constitutional principles to achieve the formation of an egalitarian society is exceedingly significant. This needs to be effectively reflected in the Preamble of the National Education Policy as the Preamble forms the foundation for the implementation of any policy or legislation.

CHAPTER 2 – KEY CHALLENGES IN EDUCATION SECTOR While the chapter recognises considerable number of challenges in the present education sector, few aspects seem to be either misplaced or missed out. The observations in this regard include the following: The issue of access and participation in education system does not give an account of the inequalities and discriminatory practices leading to reduced access to education system by the masses. Education still remains a privilege and has not yet become the right of the masses. While reduced GER is one aspect of the issue, retention of students is another major challenge. The document fails to identify this issue. The document assumes the existence of a full-equipped pre-school education system provided by government and wrongly states that it is not helping students to be ready for formal schooling. The Anganawadi Centres are centres of care and cannot be considered as a pre-school. The document fails to account for the failure of the Government in raising the standards of all the Government schools to that of the Schools run by the Central Government like that of Kendriya Vidyalayas etc. Various researches assert the fact that the Central Government run Schools in India are among the best educational institutions. Though the document recognises commercialisation as a major challenge persisting in the present education system, it has ignored that increasing privatisation in the sector is adversely affecting the quality of education. The document not only ignores but to a certain extent favours privatisation of education to a certain extent. The recognition of privatisation of education sector as a dangerous development and one of the key challenges is very crucial. Effort to identify and discuss the causes leading to the failure of Government flagship programmes like Operation Blackboard, SSA etc., in achieving universalisation of quality education is not made. It is imperative to identify these ensuing challenges and deal with the same. While the failure to allot the recommended budget to educational sector is recognised, the reasons behind the same are not identified and discussed. It is pertinent to recognise these challenges and make efforts to allot the necessary budget for education. In the process of recognising the failure in the fulfilment of the global commitments with respect to education, the target of universalisation of quality education is pushed further to 2030 much to the transgression of the initial Constitutional mandate of 1960 and the subsequent national as well as global commitments.

CHAPTER 3 – VISION, MISSION, GOALS AND OBJECTIVES Vision A clear cut vision is essential for the effective implementation of any policy document. The vision of the proposed National Education Policy confines education for the development of human resources and the holistic approach is mislaid. Thus, following suggestions are made: The Vision of the National Education Policy should be drawn from the core values of the Constitution of India. The Vision should be in consonance with Article 39 of the Constitution which emphasises upon the healthy development of children and their protection from exploitation. Education is the ideal way of ensuring holistic and healthy development of children under the conditions of freedom and dignity. The Vision should be in the lines of building a national education system based on the Common School System and the neighbourhood school principle as recommended by the Education Commission (1964 – 1966) and reiterated by the earlier educational policies to build an egalitarian society based on the core values enshrined in the Constitution of India and the Preamble. The vision should be such as to ensure inclusive quality education and lifelong learning to all and not limit to ensuring opportunities for the same. Mission The mission of the Policy, just like the vision, lays emphasis on acquisition of skills for improvement in employability by completely ignoring the holistic approach and the broader implications of education. It is of much significance that the mission of the National Education Policy should be to achieve the broader goals of education of building an egalitarian society based on the core principles of the Constitution. In this bearing, the Mission of the National Education Policy should be directed towards: Achieving the larger purpose of education as connoted by the UN in its 1966 report submitted under the chairmanship of Mr. Jacques Delors. According to the United Nations, the following four pillars of learning are the fundamental principles for reshaping education: i. Learning to know: to provide the cognitive tools required to better comprehend the world and its complexities, and to provide an appropriate and adequate foundation for future learning. ii. Learning to do: to provide the skills that would enable individuals to effectively participate in the global economy and society. iii. Learning to be: to provide self-analytical and social skills to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential psycho-socially, affectively (emotionally) as well as physically, for an all-round complete person. iv. Learning to live together: to expose individuals to the values implicit within human rights, democratic principles, inter-cultural understanding and respect and peace at all levels of society and human relationships to enable individuals and societies to live in peace and harmony. Fulfilling the international commitments of India with regard to the Sustainable Development Goals, Education for All etc., and paving way for global citizenships. Building an education system that is beyond the mere development of human resources for the gain of financial benefits. Goals and Objectives The goals and objectives are set based on the vision and mission of the Policy. Just like the Vision and Mission of the National Education Policy should focus upon the holistic development of individuals, the objectives of the Policy should also be set in this direction. Accordingly, following recommendations are being put forth: The overall goal of education should be to achieve holistic development of individuals and should not be confined to the improvement of employability. Learning has to be seen as a process as opposed to defining minimum levels of learning in the form of learning outcomes. Pre-school education is to be seen as a continuum of early childhood care and education. Emphasis is to be laid on early childhood education based on the mandate of the Constitution of India under Article 45 and in lieu with the ECCE Policy, 2013. Non-formal learning modalities are to be a mere support system to the formal education and should not be a parallel system of education. It is an unhealthy practice to engage in non-formal learning by totally discounting the formal education system. Thus, cessation of the non-formal education system is to be carried out and the provision of non-formal learning to enable the avoiding of formal education is to be discouraged.

CHAPTER 4 – POLICY FRAMEWORK Pre-School Education While the prioritisation of pre-school education is a welcome measure, the reduction of age to 4 to 5 years is a contested provision. As envisaged by the ECCE Policy, 2013, the first six years of life are fundamental to the development of an individual and early childhood care and education encompasses the inseparable elements of care, health, nutrition, play and early learning within a protective and enabling environment. 0 to 6 years needs to be seen in a continuum. As recommended in the 259th Law Commission Report, with a view to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, it is necessary to mandate the provision of free pre-school education to all children in the age group of 3 to 6 years. The pre-school education is to be integrated with the primary education and the component of care, nutrition and protection as provided by Anganawadi Centres. For this, these centres are to be located within the school premises. The option of situating them near schools should not be given. The Anganawadi Centres are to be converted into community crèches to assist the working parents in lines with the recommendations of the 259th Law Commission Report which provides that “every child under six should have an unconditional right to crèche and day care, which is provided, regulated and operated by the State”. (Point 6.19) The components of pre-school education should be in accordance with the Early Childhood Care and Education Policy, 2013 and pre-school education shall be managed in coordination with the Ministry of Women and Child Development. A time period is to be specified for the transition from Anganawadis to pre-primary school. Providing the discretion of determining the same by the State Governments will lead to confusion and ultimately result in ineffective implementation. Protection of Rights of the Child and Adolescent Education Protection of Rights of the Child A Child Protection Policy shall be formulated by all schools based on the framework and guidelines for ensuring school safety and the same is to be implemented by all schools. This shall be made a mandate for recognition and registration of schools. If subsequently any norms are flouted, stringent action shall be taken against the school authorities. A Child Rights and Security Cell is to be constituted in each school to deal with the issues within the school pertaining to protection and other rights of the children. Such Cells are also to be constituted at the District level as subsequent level. Rules and provisions relating to these Cells shall be determined. The awareness of Child Rights related laws, Acts, Rules, Regulations, etc., should be made a component in the teacher education curriculum to enable teachers to gain knowledge regarding the same in an effective manner. Adolescent Education The classification between children and adolescents is highly inappropriate and in violation to the principles of UNCRC which defines, everyone below the age of 18 years as a child. The classification corroborates the latest amendment to the CLPR Act which is facing wide-spread staunch criticism from the public. 0 to 18 years is to be seen in a continuum and the entire period is childhood as elucidated by the UNCRC. Learning Outcomes in School Education The provision for “alternate schools” is strongly contested. The concept of alternate schools not only leads to increased discrimination but is in violation of the fundamental right of all children to quality education. Instead mainstreaming of migrant children and other out of school children through additional training is to be carried out. The “No Detention Policy” is to be extended up to X standard. In other words, provision is to be made so that no child can be detained in the same class until he/she reaches X standard. The rationale behind such a provision is best explained in the document “Clarification of Provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act” which states as follows: “The ‘no detention’ provision is made because examinations are often used for eliminating children who obtain poor marks. Once declared ‘fail’, children either repeat grade or leave the school altogether. Compelling a child to repeat a class is demotivating and discouraging. Repeating a class does not give the child any special resources to deal with the same syllabus requirements for yet another year. Parents and friends of such children also tend to view them as being ‘fit for failure’, thereby reinforcing the perception which the school has already used for declaring a child ‘fail’. The ‘no detention’ provision in the RTE Act does not imply abandoning procedures that assess children’s learning. The RTE Act provides for putting in place a continuous and comprehensive evaluation procedure – a procedure that will be non-threatening, releases the child from fear and trauma of failure and enables the teacher to pay individual attention to the child’s learning and performance. Such a system has the best potential to improve quality, rather than punishment, fear of failure and detention. Consistent with the arguments provided under section 13 that each child has the same potential for learning, a ‘slow’, ‘weak’ learner or a ‘failed’ child is not because of any inherent drawback in the child, but most often the inadequacy of the learning environment and the delivery system to help the child, realise his/her potential, meaning thereby that the failure is of the system, rather than of the child. This requires addressing the improvement of the quality of the system rather than punishing the child through detention. There is no study of research that suggests that the quality of the learning of the child improves if the child is failed. In fact, more often than not the child abandons school/ learning altogether.” Hence, the amendment to the RTE Act should be in the direction of extending the “No Detention Policy” up to X standard. Learning is a continuous process and connoting education to achieve desired outcomes by defining minimum levels of learning in the form of learning outcomes is in contradiction of the very notion of education. As time and again emphasised by the UNCRC and other international and national documents, education and learning are directed towards the development of an individual's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. Thus, confining education to achievement of defined learning outcomes is pitiful. School Education By making provision for merger of schools, the proposed inputs support the closure of Government schools thereby paving way for privatisation. Instead of taking a drastic step of shutting down government schools for lack of facilities, measures are to be taken for attending to the fundamental issue of infrastructure and provision of funds allotment and necessary support is to be made to improve infrastructure and other facilities in these schools. It is strongly recommended that the Policy should in no way legitimise the closure of Government schools. The amendment of RTE Act to extend Clause 12(1)(c) to government-aided minority institutions is a welcome measure. While the amendment of RTE Act to extend up to secondary education is a desired modification, it seems to be premature at this point of time owing to the poor implementation of the existing RTE Act. Thus, it is necessary to identify and address the relevant issues and cautiously implement the same. However, to make education up to secondary level a fundamental right and the mandate of the State is much needed. Proper definition of the term appropriate age in the provision to amend RTE Act to cover secondary education is to be given. Open schooling facilities to provide for non-formal education is extremely contested. Such a provision tends to increase child labour wherein more and more children get engaged in labour as they have the option of obtaining non-formal education without having to attend full-time formal schools. This defeats the very notion of universal education to all and violates the fundamental right to education of children. The provision also infringes the Constitutional values and principles of protecting children from exploitation and ensuring their overall development under the conditions of freedom and dignity. Curriculum Renewal and Examination Reforms Curriculum should be so as to achieve holistic development of children and not to attain skills and knowledge for employment. The curriculum should be designed in conformation to the National Curriculum Framework, 2005. More emphasis needs to be given to sports and games, physical education and development of life skills and moral and ethical values. The assessment of students needs to be made based on their overall development and not based on only their academic achievements. Inclusive Education and Student Support Equity and inclusiveness should be based on constitutional values. Issues like providing equal access, subsiding OoSC and improving retention cannot be achieved until the standards of government schools are improved by providing the necessary facilities. For this, the required funds are to be allotted in time. The Policy should not confine itself to quantifying the measures. Quantification of supportive measures like that provided in the document (National Fellowship Fund for 10 lakh students) can be set as a short-term goal but those are not to be made a part of the Policy document. Inclusion of children in the formal education system is to be realised in such a way that these children are not subjected to labelling either in the schools or in the society. Precautions should be taken in these directions. Skills in Education and Employability Confining education to be a mere means of securing employment is the most disastrous connotation that can be made. While employment can be said to be one of the fruits of education, it cannot be made the one and only objective. The purpose of education is to attain self-development in a holistic manner. As emphasised by the UNCRC and other international documents, education should be directed towards the development of an individual's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential along with the preparation of the individual for a responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all people, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin with utmost respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms. As stated in the document Education for International Understanding, Peace, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, General Recommendation, adopted on 19 November 1974 by the UNESCO General Conference, “The word „education‟ implies the entire process of social life by means of which individuals and social groups learn to develop consciously within, and for the benefit of the national and international communities, the whole of their personal capacities, attitudes, aptitudes and knowledge. The process is not limited to any specific activity.” The National Education Policy should be formulated in consonance with these principles and lay emphasis on attainment of life skills, moral and ethical values along with vocational skills in order to facilitate the overall development of the individual. Use of ICT in Education Use of ICT in education as a supportive tool for aiding and assisting teachers is a progressive measure and is supported. However, it cannot be taken as the only means for providing education and ICT alone is not the solution to all problems. Teacher Development and Management Measures like attractive salaries and benefits are to be implemented to attract the meritorious populace to the teaching profession in lieu with the system followed in Finland. Four-years integrated Teacher Education Programmes based on the Delhi model are to be developed and conducted all over the nation. Child rights and child development related concepts and the related laws and policies are to be made a component of the teacher education curriculum to enable teachers to gain knowledge regarding the same in an effective manner. More and more educational experts are to be inducted in institutes like SCERT, DSERT, DIET etc. The teacher education and training programmes are to be oriented in the direction as to achieve the goals of an ideal education system. Teacher Education Programme is to be made accountable for the success of the education system. Language and Culture in Education Mother-tongue is to be made the medium of education for primary school as reiterated by UNESCO time and again. Educationally, the child learns more quickly through it than through an unfamiliar linguistic medium. (International Opinion on Language Issues by Dr. Joga Singh, 2013) A child‟s mother tongue provides facilities for the acquisition of early cognitive skills and provides a foundation for learning. The mother tongue is the first language of the child that helps him/her formulate thoughts and give direction to action. (Amy Tsui & J. W. Tollefson, Language Policy and the Construction of National Cultural Identity Language Policy, Culture, and Identity in Asian Contexts, 2007) Learning the mother tongue properly enhances learning of other languages. Studies have shown that reading and writing in the mother tongue is beneficial to the student in acquiring other subjects and there is no bar on acquiring another language by the same student. ("Techniques for functional literacy in indigenous languages and the national language” by Sarah. C., 1967) In the modern world, education is not always in the mother tongue and this is claimed to be detrimental to the cognitive abilities of a child by various researches as this amounts to an imposition of an alien language whilst subverting the naturally acquired language. (Mother Tongue and the Right to Choose the Medium of Instruction in Primary Education: A Constitutional Basis by Suprotik Das) As opposed to the three-language formula, multi-lingual education shall be introduced by removing the barriers between different languages. NOTE – Refer Chapter 9 of the Annexure for further information on mother tongue as medium of education and multi-lingual education and the proposed policy provisions. Self-Development through Comprehensive Education Emphasis on co-scholastic activities in school education is a much desired provision. However, in this notion, encouraging public-private partnerships is strongly objected to. Co-scholastic activities are to be made part of the curriculum and should be directed towards the holistic development of children as opposed to a means of maintaining good health. School Assessment and Governance More responsibilities and powers are to be given to the School Management Committees in ensuring good quality education in the school and overseeing availability and efficient maintenance of all facilities in the school. School Management Committees should be extended to Private Schools also (both aided and unaided). Training on right to education, child rights and related topics are to be provided not only to the elected members of the SMCs but to the parents of all children studying in the school. The funds for the school are to be allocated on the basis of the School Development Plan as mandated in the RTE Act. At present however, the School Development Plan is being designed based on the funds allocated. This practice needs to be discontinued immediately. Additional school grants are to be allocated to the SMCs in order to promote more decentralised decisions with respect to finance pertaining to the school and enable intime fulfilment of needs. Financing Education The measure to allot at least 6% of GDP to education is a progressive step. However, the 6% of GDP measure was as calculated in the late 1960s and recommended by the Education Commission (1964 – 1966). This measure does not hold good for the current period. Hence, this needs to be reviewed and the allocation of funds for education needs to be drastically increased and should be way more than 6% of GDP. Inviting private sectors to invest in education leads to more and more privatisation of education. Education is the responsibility of the State and should be state-funded. It is essential that the Policy refrains from legitimising privatisation of education. Private funding of educational institutions adversely affects their accessibility. CHAPTER 5 – IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING Community participation in education is to be emphasised upon. More emphasis needs to be laid on the coordination and convergence of various Government departments for the effective implementation of child rights within a human rights-based framework.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of education is to be strictly forbidden through the National Education Policy. The Policy should provide for building a national education system based on the common school system and neighbourhood school principle. Inappropriate language like referring students as products of education, using terms like handling of cases of children with disabilities are to be avoided in the Policy document. Children are to be treated with dignity. The National Policy of Education is to provide for a system of education within a human rights based framework that enables the overall development of individuals.

CONCLUSION The National Education Policy is the fundamental document that forms the founding stone of the education system of the country. Therefore, it is of extreme significance that the Policy is based on constitutional values and aimed at building an egalitarian society within the framework of fundamental human rights. It is with this perception that the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University has put forth the above suggestions and recommendations in relation to the Policy. Also, the Centre has come up with a draft referral policy document on school education which is hereby annexed to this document. We hope that the MHRD takes into consideration the holistic development of the child and not just promote development of skills and vocations aiming to increase the GDP of the nation. We have not come to a situation where we need to increase our economic status by making our children work and by stealing their childhood. Let us be that society and Government who realise and cherish children and their childhoods in our country.

          “Lack of education lead to lack of wisdom"   


“Lack of education lead to lack of wisdom,
Which leads to lack of morals,
Which leads to lack of progress,
Which leads to lack of money,
Which leads to the oppression of the lower classes,
See what state of the society one lack of education can cause!”
•Jyotiba Phule

This was in response to a mail by Dr. Satish Jha
Shaheen Ansari

Private  & Public schools
Government schools DO NOT offer education…”
Dear Satish,
I have been following the debate very closely and reading all the postings.

I believe there  are two kinds of members at this forum- one who thinks government school are not performing, hence private players must enter and provide so called ‘quality education’. And the 2nd kind of members are those who think government school must perform. Hence stop trade in education.

Your posting Government schools DO NOT offer education. Anyone who even thinks education happens there needs to take time off to rethink what education is or should be in the times we live in.” dated March 18th at Arkitect India- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arkitectindia/message/15939clearly give indication that you are one of those who think the government schools don’t perform.  Many people like you have given end number of examples to support government withdrawal from the school and offering it to Education Business Houses. And I am sure you may have ‘solid’ facts and figure to support it.  I sincerely believe that the following may be the reasons behind your thoughts. [Note: when I  say you or your, I am addressing the whole group of people who believe that the government schools are not-performing, hence private players are the only solution. So the ‘you’  is not a personal to one person. It is just because I am responding to your mail. ]. Probably one or two of the following points may be the basis of your arguments.  
  1. You may have read reports like The Birla Ambani Report on education. We know why they want government to withdraw from education ‘market’
  2.  You may have information about ‘non-performing’  schools (including govt. schools) but not able to develop these information  into a knowledge. Information to Knowledge to  Wisdom. It is a long debate. I  am not expecting wisdom but I do expect right knowledge- that is why these schools are not performing.     
  3. or you may have only read the last line or last paragraph of a report which says govt schools are not performing and missed the whole body of report which says why some government schools are performing well and some government schools are not performing well or not performing at all.
  4. or

In villages (I belong to Kataila village, Ghazipur, Eastern UP) it is said that neem hakeem, khatre jaan” (half knowledge is always dangerous).  Like some people are quoting “government schools are not performing” without understanding the whole context and politics of trade in education, I was also often quoting “religion is opium of masses”. I heard this from some friends in JNU and I got convinced without questioning or probing it.

Many years I only knew Marx’ this sentence “ Religion is the opium of masses”. I would always quote this phrase to defend my childish/ amateur thinking about religious criticism- be it Islam, Christian, Hinduism or any religious believe. But I thank to JNU  culture of Post Dinner Talk in which I was corrected and told to read some articles (probably in 1990 or 1991). In the next post dinner talk a student gave me a xerox copy of an article .  I read that article several times.

  It was there I realized that I was reading the last sentence of a paragraph. It gives different meaning if we read along with the paragraph and different meaning if it is read separately.      According to Marx, religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice. Thus, problems in religion are ultimately problems in society. Religion is not the disease, but merely a symptom. It is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited. This is the origin of his comment that religion is the “opium of the masses” — but as shall see, his thoughts are much more complex than commonly portrayed. The full quoate is “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”


This is a long debate and I will leave it here to proceed with the original issue- the government schools are non-performing institutions, hence go for private school.

The purpose of above argument is to make the point clear that many of us are picking of the last sentence of the thesis/ article which says that the government schools are not performing. We have to read the whole issue in proper context- the thesis in support of trade in education so that selected few can get “quality education” and the rest…

The government schools (read institutions, because the next target is other organs of the govt.) are not This is 100 % wrong statement and understanding. People who support private players in education  or trade in education points two things-
[1] They don’t understand the dynamics degrading government institutions or
[2] They


What is the vision of education?
 



The full quote from Karl Marx is: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."

The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man – state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

Many years I only knew Marx this sentence “ Religion is the opium of masses”. I would always quote this phrase to defend my childish/ amateur thinking about religious criticism- be it Islam, Christian, Hinduism or Sanati any religious believe. But I thank to JNU’s culture of post dinner talk in which I was corrected and told to read some articles.  It was there I realized that I was reading the last sentence of a paragraph. It gives different meaning if we read along with the paragraph and different meaning if it is read separately.      According to Marx, religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice. Thus, problems in religion are ultimately problems in society. Religion is not the disease, but merely a symptom. It is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited. This is the origin of his comment that religion is the “opium of the masses” — but as shall see, his thoughts are much more complex than commonly portrayed.

This is a long debate and I will leave it here to proceed with the original issue- the government schools are non-performing institutions, hence go for private school.

The purpose of above argument is to make the point clear that many of us are picking of the last sentence of the thesis/ article which says that the government schools are not performing. We have to read the whole issue in proper context- the thesis in support of trade in education so that selected few can get “quality education” and the rest…

The government schools (read institutions, because the next target is other organs of the govt.) are not This is 100 % wrong statement and understanding. People who support private players in education  or trade in education points two things-
[1] They don’t understand the dynamics degrading government institutions or
[2] They


What is the vision of education?

========++++++=======
Satish Jha

Government schools DO NOT offer education. Anyone who even thinks education happens there needs to take time off to rethink what education is or should be in the times we live in. Only those who went to government schools and ended up getting a government job may think it works.

Imagine this: even the government sets 33% as a bare minimum pass mark. How many children going to government schools end up knowing how to write correctly in their own mother tongue even after a B degree like a BA etc?

Did you not see the results that less than 1 percent teachers with a B Ed degree could pass the governments test in Delhi?

EI has found a niche for itself that is good while being a century out of date. But india is growing a century behind if you take the weighted average of its collective knowledge anyway!

Twitter:@satish_jha
+1 301 841 7422
Sent from my iPhone5


          Right to Equitable Education for all   

History of the efforts for the universalization of modern education may be traced back to the nineteenth century, when, for example, Jotirao Phule voiced this demand while appearing before the Indian Education Commission chaired by WW Hunter in 1882-83. Subsequently, G.K. Gokhale and some other nationalist leaders also strived for compulsory free elementary education for all children in 1910-12 onwards. 
On the other hand, going beyond the question of expansion, following the trajectory of his views already powerfully expressed in Hind Swaraj, Gandhiji (along with Zakir Hussain) presented his scheme of basic education in late 1930s. It was qualitatively different from the then prevalent models of education. It powerfully symbolized the disillusionment with existing education system and the need for reclaiming knowledge and reconstructing education in order to build a more humane and egalitarian society. With some obvious differences, similar Alternative views on education were also put forward, experimented or practiced by other personalities like Gijubhai Badheka, Aurobindo Ghosh and Rabindranath Tagore in India. 
Education meant to these thinkers and practitioners not only textbook learning, but also values and skills. Further, they realized the pedagogic and epistemological significance of the real life experiences in the learning process of students. They thought that education should help individuals to plan for their career as well as play a useful part in building a better society. In other words, education should become a motor of progressive change in the lives of individual as well as that of the entire community.

They understood that education is crucial for building a democratic, egalitarian, secular, inclusive and humane society, both at the national and transnational levels. It should promote universal human values while, at the same time, inculcate respect for India and its peoples. Education should promote socio-economic justice, political liberty, freedom of thought, equality of status and opportunity, dignity of the individual, integrity and independence of the nation and universal piece. Hence, for them, education was a means for unleashing the full human potential, for serving the larger public interest, as well as the path to social development with equality and social justice. Education for them was not a commodity or service that can be sold and bought in the market, because, as a public good, or more correctly as an instrument of liberation, it had a larger goal to accomplish in society than the commercial motives of colonial state and its allies.

But none of these efforts could yield much fruits owing to colonial Government’s indifference to these alternative thoughts which appeared to it as quite different from the normative Western pattern they considered to be essentially progressive and useful. Added to this was colonial states unwillingness to spend a substantive part of its proceeds on education. More importantly, the above-outline vision could not be materialized due to the apathy of upper castes and classes of Indian society towards the education of children traditionally excluded from the sphere of formal education; and their fear of the ideas perceived to be dangerous for the continuance of their hegemonic position in Indian society.

Even the Framers of constitution were forced in such circumstances to provide merely (but crucial) a directive principle on elementary education with the expectation of its realization by Indian state within 10 years. But the post independance Indian state also did not adopt any fundamentally ground-breaking measures for the universalization and reconstruction of education, despite occasional but significant recommendations by the commissions and committees set up by the state itself. (For instance, Kothari Commission’s recommendation for the establishment of “common school system based on the concept of neighborhood schools–CSS-NS).

Nevertheless, education as a fundamental right of every child could be recognized in clear legal terms in 1992 through judicial interpretation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution by Supreme Court. It was further detailed (but at the same time in many ways curtailed) by 86th constitutional amendment in 2002 and the farcical Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act) in 2009.
In this process, the above-outlined philosophical vision of education emphasizing the need for reclaiming knowledge and reconstructing education was glossed over. 

Otherwise, at least before 1970s, a period when the neo-liberal tendencies had just begun to negatively influence the state’s commitment for education; and surely before 1990s, when the influence of neo-liberal ideology on the state became clearly evident, these alternative visions (though never seriously championed) were not discredited by the state and its attended class interests. Now, in the garb of economic liberalization, globalization, public private partnership, self-financed courses and foreign funding, education and knowledge are being brutally transformed as marketable commodities all over the world. It has been quite well documented that not merely the capitalist class interests, but also neo-conservative forces in collaboration with neo-liberal state comprise the vanguard of this historic transition. State is increasingly relinquishing its social commitment in the hands of these illusory private service providers and neo-conservative forces, which are left almost free to enjoy maximum fruits produced by oppressed classes and thereby accelerating even greater inequalities in the social order.

Therefore, in this context, the necessity of launching a news letter through an adapted version of a historic call to “educate! Agitate! Organize!” and continue struggle for ‘reclaiming knowledge, reconstructing education’ is nothing but obvious. Notwithstanding above-mentioned philosophical disillusionment with the prevailing model of education and various other scholarly treatises pointing out its orthodox and complicit nature, Babasaheb Dr. B.R. Ambedkar obviously perceived liberating potentials of the modern/colonial/western education if it could be provided to oppressed people In an environment, where even the basic skills of literacy were monopolized by a traditionally dominant, but very small minority of people, who disallowed its expansion to others. He therefore advised the oppressed people to grab their share of education to use it as an instrument for building their agitation and organization to continue struggle against all forms of their exploitation. However, Ambedkar’s clarion call cannot be restricted to Dalits alone. It must be viewed as a call for liberation of the oppressed masses, irrespective of their caste, gender, linguistic, cultural, religious or ‘challenged’ body identity. At the same time, in the neo-liberal economic order, we need to transcend Ambedkar and struggle to ‘reclaim knowledge, reconstruct education’ which, in Ambedkar’s times, may have been validly (or as an interim strategy) perceived as a liberative force.  

(By Dr. Vikas Gupta, Delhi University, New Delhi) 

          Politics of Low Cost Schooling and Low Teacher Salary   
Politics of Low Cost Schooling and Low Teacher Salary
Manish Jain
Sadhana Saxena
Source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arkitectindia/message/7585

We have been following with interest and concern the debates generated by the writings of Jain and Dholakia in (2009; 2010). For some of us, it may be difficult to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the authors as the world views seem to be fundamentally different. For instance, in Jain and Dholakia’s world view most important concerns are ‘cost effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ as understood in the context of market. For them, education means achieving competencies in mathematics and language. Crucial though they are, learning of social and physical sciences or the larger aims of education like issues of equality and justice are not their concerns. More importantly, from the paradigm within which proposals are made it is clear that the authors are not interested in questioning the new economic order. On the contrary, economic order is considered as given or may be desirable or inevitable and the readers are being persuaded, through mathematical maneuvering, to fit in education with in this blatantly unjust order. The order in which priorities are decided by the demands of the market, the education of the marginalized has to be squeezed in through rampant privatization and the state facilitates handing over of the public resources to the private bodies in the name of PPP. Disturbingly PPP shamelessly proposes myriads ways of entering into contracts, a system where the private contractor can get away with exploitative conditions as the state ceases to be the employer. In fact, HRD minister has made it clear that what private schools pay to the teachers is not his concern.

To understand the proposals and arguments of these writings, following questions need to be asked: From what location in contemporary politics of education and the emerging research and funding networks, do they launch these economic reflections and gain legitimacy? What are the historical and theoretical roots of these proposals and economic choices? How do they visualize education, teaching and teacher and what are their silences? What are the ramifications of their suggestions?

Parental choice, promotion of private budget schools, PPP, cost effectiveness, and thus reform of public schooling along managerial lines form key issues in global educational policy discourse and research supported by multilateral agencies like WB. International management consultants, education businesses, researchers and research networks, policy think tanks, advocacy groups, partnerships between local and global actors, corporate philanthropic and charity foundations together form a strong interest group promoting these reforms (Nambissan and Ball: forthcoming). Thus, locating this intermeshing of agencies and their policy prescriptions is critical to understand the embeddedness and circulation of the emerging ‘research’ and advocacy networks. Nambissan and Ball (forthcoming) have shown that James Tooley with a firm grounding in think tanks in USA and UK and financial support from rightwing foundations supporting the philosophy of free market and even World Bank, has been able to operate in/with a complex network of research, advocacy and funding involved in promoting discourse of parental choice and advocating private schooling. Thus, use and defense of Tooley’s work by Jain and Dholakia is not simply a matter of learning from each other. That Jain was the World Bank’s nominee in the most recent Joint Review Mission of SSA reveals more about convergence of ideas and location.

Resource crunch?
Jain and Dholakia argue that even if allocation to education in budget is raised to 6% GDP, hiring ‘permanent regular school teachers’ in government schools and paying them salary recommended by the 6th pay commission would be ‘insufficient to ensure universal school education’. Paying such salaries is possible only if budget has a fiscal deficit of 22-23% or to ‘increase the tax revenues by more than double’. Shouldn’t we be asking, even if sounds clichéd: why not tax the rich and finance school education and pay decent salaries to the qualified teachers instead of promoting budget schools run by poorly paid and unqualified teachers, and largely funded by the deprived sections ?

The budgetary calculations, economic decisions and policy choices are not neutral but political in nature. Defining and redefining the poverty line and hairsplitting debates on APL and BPL depending on the way minimum nutritional requirements for different segments of the society are defined, is a good example of statistical jugglery. To answer the repeatedly asked question- from where to generate the funds, it would be instructive to look at some of the budget figures.

In the year 2008 and 2009, the adjusted revenues foregone in the central budgets were Rs. 2,85, 052 crores and Rs. 4,18,095 crores respectively and constituted 48.16% and 68.95% of aggregate tax collected (Chandra 2010: 46). In the recent budget, ‘over Rs. 500,000 crore in write-offs, direct and indirect’ have been gifted to the corporate. In last three budgets, direct tax concessions to corporate tax payers has been of the order of Rs. 2,08,000 crores (Sainath 2010). In 2005 the Ministry of Finance estimated a loss of central taxes due to SEZs ‘at Rs. 1,02, 600 crore in the next 4-5 years against the projected investment of Rs. 1,00,000 crore’ (Chandra 2010: 46). In Tamil Nadu ‘together with subsidized land (and direct VAT reimbursements), government is estimated to have paid Nokia Rs. 645.4 crore’ (Dutta 2009). Compare this tax relief granted to the rich and powerful with Rs. 1,71,000 crores, the total estimated amount required in next five years for the implementation of the Right to Education Act (Tilak 2010).

Thus, by questioning the studied silence of the authors about the large concessions granted to the richer sections and the corporate world and calculating these since 1991 may put the arguments made by Jain and Dholakia about budget deficit and increasing tax revenues in perspective.

History, politics and location of the proposals
Jain and Dholakia propose that ‘the only remaining alternative’ is ‘public-private partnership (PPP) in which low cost providers of school education, who pay much lower salary, cover a significant part of school education’ (2009: 41, 2010: 80). They argue that private sector, NGOs and hiring of para-teachers under different programmes like the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS), Shiksha Karmi and Alternative School/Centres under SSA have shown viability of this option.

Not just recognition but celebration of the policy of hiring teachers at low costs to justify its intensification by the duo itself indicates their agreement with the neoliberal policies pursued in education since 1990s. Decentralization of appointment of teachers and contract appointments were seen as an effective way of dealing with the teacher’s collective opposition to the reform process (Govinda and Josephine: 2005). Weakening of government school system and increasing privatization of education happened simultaneously in these reform years. Drawing from human capital and public choice theories, WB tried to promote an integrated world economy that operates by rules of market (World Bank 1995).

In the neoliberal ethos, deregulation of education and imposition of market discipline were seen as necessary to discipline the unjustifiably privileged middle class professionals like teachers and contain or reduce the educational expenditure. Concern about privileging the state employees and the high ‘compensation paid to civil servants’ was also expressed by World Bank (2003). It calculated that the ‘wages for selected categories of staff are consistently higher than they could expect to make in the private sector’. In comparison to 39 Asian countries where teacher’s salaries were 1.7 to 1 with reference to per capita GDP, in India it was 5 to 1 (World Bank 2003: 36). It was argued that ‘more emphasis needs to go to local market comparators’ (ibid: 37). Jain and Dholakia also argue that ‘the salary of a school- teacher in the private sector is almost 25% to 35% of the cost of government salary’ (2009: 41). They also calculate that primary teacher salaries in India exceed per capita GDP by seven times (2010: 79). If the GDP/teacher salary ratio in all other cited countries is taken as a norm, then the primary teacher’s monthly salary in India must range from Rs. 2129 to Rs. 4344.

In this perspective, paying this salary without benefits of security of job, pension and health related facility is not seen as exploitation but introduction of market discipline in the period of globalization. Clearly, different set of market rules apply to the CEOs of the India inc and fresh management graduates as instead of inviting concern for increasing the economic divide, their fat salary packages and raises are glorified by the media. Salaries of the upper echelons of bureaucracy also do not cause any alarm. One needs to ask when nearly 80% of the workforce in the unorganized sector earns less than Rs. 20 per day or less, who can afford the fee of Rs. 300/pm in private schools that may ‘outdo’ government schools (Jain and Dholakia 2010: 79). Clearly, free and compulsory education is not the agenda of the authors.

Education, Teachers and Teaching
Jain and Dholakia (2010: 78-79) admit Sarangapani’s (2009) criticism that Gyanshala is a model of non-formal education for three hours but stay shy of answering if such model fits well with continuation of child labour. Instead they assert that better performance of children, adherence to state/national norms of curriculum, learning environment and development opportunities result in delivery of good education ‘even with non-formal teachers’. To understand the Gyanshala model and its defence, we need to ask what connects these untrained teachers, better learning and supervision together.

With globalization, human capital theory and efficiency became predominant models to decide and evaluate the purpose, (economic) worth, processes and outcomes of education. Efficiency translated as cost effectiveness and ‘measurable student achievement’ became a key marker to define education and educational outcomes to plan, predict, measure and compare the role of education in enhancing the economic growth of different national economies. Deeper engagement in education for creating new types of citizens, for justice and equality, and education as human right are deemed economically irrelevant and thus unimportant to policy makers. Both state and non-state agencies began to measure, publish and circulate student achievements in reading and numeracy to compare private and public schools. Public choice theory and efficiency doctrine views teachers as merely a rent-seeking agent. With large labour and unemployed surplus, teachers are seen as an easily available human resource, a replaceable cog, as one input among many whose purpose is defined with reference ‘to quantifiable outputs, namely the learning achievement of students’ leading to greater workplace productivity (Welmond 2002: 41-42).

The management model of education adopted by Gyanshala treats teachers as workers in the education assembly line who perform the teaching/learning tasks decided by the management. In it, teacher lacks any training and agency to deliberate on curriculum, to conceive, plan and design teaching and learning strategies for specific groups and individuals. The curriculum supervisors break the ‘complex jobs into specified actions with specified results’. The ‘management controls both pace of work and skill’ of teachers to attain specified learning goals set for students (Apple 1995: 128-133). Thus, an attempt to look for any possibility of the personal, intellectual or professional growth of the teacher in this model that exploits teachers is bound to cause disappointment. This economic and management model and discourse inspired by neoliberal ethos has no space to conceive teacher and teaching in a holistic manner where it is not just the salaries, but also the autonomy, academic excellence/support, intellectually stimulating environment and recognition of the work that sustains interest in education and ensures quality teaching.

Gyanshala model may achieve greater success with its students in problem solving tasks, in producing citizens who are technically skilled and accept the existing social and political structure but whether it can lead to classroom discussions based on critical theories of education and pedagogy that question the neoliberal path of development remains doubtful. Art, music, drama, sports and other co-curricular activities have no space in its conception of learning tasks in three hours of education. One wonders if this minimal education to the children of the marginalized qualifies as adherence to state/national curriculum, as claimed by Jain and Dholakia.

Given the needs of first generation school goers, there is even greater need and urgency to appoint qualified teachers in government schools for reasons of equity, justice, rights and democratic citizenship. This would require intensive training inputs; rethinking on the existing models of pre-service and in-service teacher trainings; creation of work environment where teachers are part of wider deliberations on meaning and functions of education in an inegalitarian society. But would a teacher who is unskilled and low on pay as recommended by Jain and Dholakia, have the necessary qualification, confidence, self-image and motivation to undertake such effort? To paraphrase Erich Fromm, can a servile and docile teacher create independent learners. The economics of justifying state support for privatization and NGOisation of education indulged by Jain and Dholakia has serious political ramifications.
References
Apple, Michael W. (1995). Education and Power. New York: Routledge.
Chandra, Nirmal Kumar (2010). ‘Inclusive Growth in Neoliberal India: A Façade?’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 45, No. 8, February 20, pp: 43-56.
Dutta, Madhumita (2009). ‘Nokia SEZ: Public Price of Success’, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 44, No. 40, October 3, pp: 23-25.
Govinda, R. and Josephine, Y. (2005). ‘Para-teachers in India: A Review’, Contemporary Education Dialogue, Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring, pp: 193-224.
Jain, Pankaj S. and Dholakia, Ravindra H. (2009). ‘Feasibility of Implementation of Right to Education Act’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 44, No 25, 20th June, pp: 38-43.
Jain, Pankaj S. and Dholakia, Ravindra H. (2010). ‘Right to Education Act and Public-Private Partnership’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 45, No. 8, February 20, pp: 78-80.
Nambissan, Geetha and Ball, Stephen J. (Forthcoming). Advocacy Networks, Choice, and Schooling of the Poor in India.
Sainath, P. (2010). ‘And Yet another Pro-farmer Budget’, The Hindu, 1 March.
Sarangapani, Padma (2009). ‘Quality, Feasibility and Desirability of Low Cost Private Schooling: What is the Evidence?’, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 44, No. 43, 24 October, pp: 67-69.
Tilak, Jandhyala B.G. (2010). ‘Education in the Union Budget’. The Hindu. March 6.
Welmond, Michel (2002). ‘Globalization Viewed from the Periphery: the Dynamics of Teachers Identity in the Republic of Benin’, Comparative Education Review, Vol. 46, No. 1, February, pp: 37-65.
World Bank (1995). Priorities and Strategies for Education: A World Bank Review. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
World Bank (2003). India: Sustaining Reform, Reducing Poverty. Delhi: OUP.
          Right to Education Debate on Arktiect India   
Practical Stuff: For those who are not private school owners/publicists:

"India’s education sector currently offers an estimated US$40 billion market. This spans the kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) segment (US$20 billion) (905 billion INR), private professional colleges (US$7 billion) and tutoring (US$5 billion), vocational training (US$1.4 billion), test preparation (US$1.7 billion), and preschools (US$1 billion)."

This quote is from a market analysts's article.

School education budgets have been hiked to 31,036 crores. A whole range of private interests like the one below see this public fund as one more source of private income. The ready-made, publicly available criticisms of government schools come in handy to create a market buzz. Private education managements bar all public scrutiny so we don't really know (unless it is first-hand as children) what goes on inside a low-cost private school. Here are some trends:
1. Parents have reported a 160% hike in fees over an 8 year period, with High Court notices being slapped against schools for such increases.
2. Teachers and school employees are not passed on these benefits, with the real profits going to school owners.

While there is no doubt that there are certain private schools upholding the highest values of quality teaching, transparency and commitment to children's best interests at low costs, the value of government schools which are free, publicly managed, and come with midday meals is irreplaceable.

Why 'low price' when Education is free, like the Right to Life?

I end with a lesson from someone who has become a star footballer. Till a few years ago, she was a child labourer. She joined a school and fought bullying there to reach State levels in football (Yes, all is not well with schools, whether they are government or not). The point? The school she went to was a government school. Ergo: It was free. Because if it was paid, it would simply mean stars like Shakti would never be allowed an education.
+++++++++
I thought that your questions were already answered, but let me make another try. Please see answers in parenthesis, following each of your question.

Warm regards.
Pankaj
Hi Mr. Jain,
Couldn't help notice that you have uploaded a ppt about your position and chosen to ignore some critical questions on WHY the GoI should fund private schools to meet India's education needs. Your ppt makes your position very clear so am selecting some key points to raise here. Am re-articulating my questions of my earlier email in simple terms:
1. How does paying taxpayer's money to private schools ensure quality education? {Tax paper's money for education is meant to give education to children. Who ever provides this education better deserves to get this. Private schools are also manned by Indian citizens. Tax payer's money is not to give salary to only Govt. employees, but to meet national social goals.}
2. On what grounds are teachers replaceable by para-teachers? How would you justify poor quality teaching? {The payment to schools are to be linked to measurement of learning outcome tested by an agency appointed by the Govt., so the quality of education better than those of Govt. schools is ensured.}
3. How does making public schools weaker by channeling the public's money to private schools justify India's long-term eductaion goals? {India's long term goal is not served by dependence on public sector alone. More efficient private/ NGO/ Coop sector are better for citizen than public sector for long term benefit of Indian citizen. The examples of AMUL in dairy sector, telecommunication, airlines, sectors prove this.}
4. Are you really saying that parents and children's rights should be curtailed further by putting the responsibility of eductaion in private hands? Private schools have no democratic school management committees. {Children are empowered by having freedom and choice and not dependence on unresponsive bureaucracy of Govt. schools.}
5. If private schools are the answer, why hasn't UK stopped funding its public schools? Why won't the UK public and its MPs allow it? {Slowly, most western countries are now introducing private/ charter school in preference to Govt. schools, and this might happen in UK too. Anyhow, we need our own solutions, not blind copying of UK.}
+++++++
Many education activists have argued/ held that Government is not spending enough on school education and paying less attention to school education.

In this regard, it is useful to know the following uncontested facts:

1. Official salary level of school teachers in India is highest in the world, in comparison to their country's per capita income. Most countries pay to teachers between 1.2 to 2 times their average per capita income, but under the latest Pay Commission, this has been pegged above 7 of per capita income in India.
2. The teacher qualification standards, mostly graduation+B.Ed. is again amongst the highest in the world, as in most countries, teacher qualification is pursued after school, not graduation.
3. The provision of on the job continuous training of 20 days/ yr. under SSA is highest in the world.
4. The structure of academic support to school teachers, in the form of DIET, BRC/CRCs is most elaborate and extensive in the world.
5. Provision of free text books, which are periodically revised by the concerned SCERT, is one of the most liberal in the world.
6. The current cost of school education as per official salary level is so high that covering all children in Govt. funded school facility, a right under RTI, will require an education budget equal to more than 20% GDP, (See a paper by Jain & Dholkia in EPW, June 20, 2009) while all countries in the world have ensured universal govt. funded school education at merely 3.5 (China & Singapore) to 6% of GDP as education budget.

All these measures are already existent and funded in the state and central budgets.

You can decide if the poor performance of school system is because Govt. spends less money or pays less attention, or because Govt. run school have become essentially platforms for Govt. education department employees to obtain high salaries without Govt. schools doing their basic task..

It seems that the only practical way for the nation to honor RTI commitments is to rely in low cost private schools, and link any payment to them with their performance in ensuring required learning levels among children, specifically those from poor and backward communities/ groups. If only 25% of education budget is devoted to this, by leaving 75% to non-performing inefficient govt. schools, India could still obtain universal govt. funded and regulated school education for all its children.


Pankaj Jain
++++++
The "Uncontested facts" on the Indian Government's expenditure on school Education, as produced by Mr Jain, appear fallacious and at times, just poor assertions.
As a rule, numbers/figures should be read cautiously as they can be interpreted in several ways; each interpretation will have specific political meaning/s. Mr Jain may want to consider the following queries, for instance:
- what is the significance of linking up salary with per capita income? what sense will it have if a substantial percentage of Indians is forced to survive on less than half a dollar/day?
- what will change if we went by the Gross Domestic Product numbers?
- and, what will happen if we bring in the, so called, Growth Rate to determine the salary structure? Should we not?
- The Teacher Qualification Standard (B.Ed), let's assume, is among the best in the world, but the fact is that over 6 million teachers in this country are under-paid, contractual, and severely lack in skills and training.
- Some say that today the country needs over 1.2 million teachers, the number will go up if 1:30 teacher-pupil ratio is enforced. How many teacher training institutes are there? 450. Of which, over 150 should be closed straight away, so poor is their standard, as per the admission of the NCERT itself. So, the 300 TTIs will give us the number we need?
- Why do you need 20% of the GDP today to ensure universalization of education? Why does China need 3.5% only of its GDP? The answer rests in your desire to look into comparative investments patterns of these countries since 1952.

As far as the overall performance of the Indian State is concerned, it has more than met its target in the field of education: It has ensured education to 10-15% of the populace that matters to it; the rest struggles to get basic numeracy & literacy.

Partnership with Private bodies to secure universalization of Education can be considered, of course. The same goes to Health and Food as well. There is just one condition, however: People should not be forced to pay taxes to a National government, for there won't be either a Nation or its moral legitimacy to collect taxes. Isn't it? This is what will happen if Fundamental Rights are conflated with Market Rights, after all. One should then be allowed to lease out defense, finances, laws as well. Say, some arms producing American company... his CEO as your Defense Minister! That would be some departure! It may be a good way to dismantle the nation state and to realize the true Global Village,don't you think?

Arun Kumar
++++++++++++++++++
Sir,

In all critical responses to our paper, our facts/ computations have never not been contested. You too are not giving any information to establish that the fact outlined by me are fallacious, as you have branded them to be, but are rightfully demanding reasonable explanations. So, let me try to provide some.

1. Per capita income comparison is the only way to make fair economic comparison of policies related to relative income in different countries.
2. Changing GNP with GDP as the comparative base would not materially affect the ratios. 3. The EPW paper already gives detailed consideration to the annual growth in income and its impact.
4. You would need 20% of GDP to cover all children because the main cost of a school program is staff/ teacher salary, which in India is 3-4 times the international trends, when seen in respect to those countries' per capita GDP. That is the reason other countries could cover all children with roughly 1/3rd of budget required in India as % of GDP.
5. The current salary of teachers in China has nothing to do with their historical attainment of universal literacy. It has to do only with China's (and most other countryies') current policy to pay its teachers what can be justified by its current income and its current goal to provide universal school education to all its children.

I share many of your concerns about the distortions in the overall political priorities of the country and the government, but school education policy should be only to educate the children, not to balance/ correct/ compensate the imbalances/ injustices elsewhere.

Let us fight political battles separately, and use education policy and budget only to educate children. Let us not use the money which rightfully should be spent on children's education to correct the implication of India's poverty on one of its section, i.e. teachers.

I would also share your concern that involvement of private-public partnership in education delivery should be guided by the social goal of ensuring quality education to all children from poor families, not only a small section that might get 25% seats in a few elte private schools, which are discussed in our TV/ media debates

Warm regards.

Pankaj Jain
++++++++++++++++++++

Hi Mr. Jain,
I was wondering where the conclusion of supporting low-cost private schools is coming from. Has your paper explored in what ways are low-cost private schools that
- pay their teachers meager salaries
- charge money for fees from parents
- offer very poor quality of teaching and
- retain the profits as unaudited accounts, by the school management,
....superior?

The other conclusion, missing from your paper, of improving the quality of government schools.

Is the solution for mismanagement of funds by GoI's schools, private schools? I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, without an emperical data of the kind you quote on how these schools are superior. Because in a country where purchasing power is as low as ours (38% BPL according to the limited re-definition of India's BPL by the Suresh Tendulkar Committee), expecting parents to bear the cost of school education (which happens to be a RIGHT - not a 'product' to be purchased) is just plain illogical and wrong.

Would request you to rethink your argument form the point of view of children. Couldn't agree more with you when you say, keep politics (and vested interests) out, just bring in the children's point of view: Should a child be expected to pay for what should come free to her?

Bidisha
++++++++++++

I feel compelled and drawn to this discussion as the issues raised are important. The idea of nation State and its role is not an uncontested one and so is not the role of education. Even in a domocracy, education and educational thought can not be left to the purview of the Government. It is important to distinguish between the Government and the State. There is often this confusion as we still live in times where the State was feudal and therefore the relationship of people to the State was that of a subject being governed by the State. The king and and the king's key officers decided who would be a part of the decision maker and how things would proceed. They also decided many other things including the rights people would have. Inspite of the fact that we are not a democracy in practice and have not given up our feudal governance sensibilities there is an alternative conception that has been formulated by the constitution that governs us. We need to think of the State in the context of what we pledged in the preamble and then think about what the State includes and what it would leave out to limit the notion of the State to the Government may not be sufficiently explanatory?

When I look at the arguments of Mr Arun Kumar I am stuck by his sympathy with the people in the education system but perhaps he is not saying that. I may have missed the point and he maybe saying that all this is an irrelevant discussion. I maybe misreading his letter as an concern about quality. (Problem with satires is that dumb like me fail to grasp the full meaning. I will ask forgiveness and continue) I am also impressed by the argument that people should not live below the half a dollar expense that they are able to make now and that they should have more. The point is that the gross domestic product is a number that gives you an idea of the amount of exchange in the economy and that would indicate what would be available to the entire population in the country. ( I am dimly aware that this is not strictly correct but the figures would not be different by a large amount, please excuse this as i am not an economist) So if you have a large segment of the available resources distributed to a specific section, namely the govt employees or the corporate employees here then it is obvious that unless these lead to a proportionately higher increase in the economy the available resources for the rest would decline. Therefore there is an argument in relating the expense to the GDP. In health and in education the expenditure is said to be critically important as it would lead to more completeness in life but perhaps there is expectation that it would also lead to economic growth as the people are healthier and more capable.

So where does that lead us, we live in a country that claims that it wants to be moving towards democratic equality of opportunity and choice. (Nice words) and we have a large space that we want to be available for the initiative of the people. We are not a State that is autocratic or a State that is totalitarian. I think the RTE and some of the implications of it and the rules that are being formulated for it need to be looked at in that context. they have also to be looked at in the context of the Governance mechanisms available and the how rules are implemented. To me there is a lot of sense in including people's concerns in education and as in the time of independence struggle encourage those interested in providing liberal education within the norms of Indian constitutional framework to run their educational institutions. There is exploitation all around, clerks are exploited, workers are exploited and there is wide spread disparity of compensation for apparently similar roles. The reason for being so concerned about the salaries of only Govt employees and of teachers in private schools seem to be disproportionate to their numbers and the extent of exploitation. A daily wage worker is not even confident of a useful role and not confident of regular employment is not the matter of same concern as the teacher is. The budget in the economy is a sharing of resources and to say 20% of that should go to education and that we do not care where it comes from is denying the role as a responsible democratic citizen in my view.

I of course do not know the answer but do know that closing private schools or forcing them to cheat and issue false salary slips in connivance with the monitoring mechanisms would further compound the problem. There are private schools that get poor children and where the teachers are paid low are part of the family. they fulfill the needs of people who send their children to them then there are also social interveners who may not be substantial but are significant. They are also creators of ideas and extend education. Their existence and survival, thought, autonomy and innovative spirit has been critical to development of educational ideas in the country in many ways. It is not clear why we want to close down the options for all these citizens initiatives and close down open schools that provided opportunity to those who the schools could not bring in.

The RTE discussions and the arguments of its promoters have in them a ring of the touching faith in the system that they criticize voiciferously. There is no comment on Governance and how it would allow space and autonomy. There is on the other hand further monitoring proposed by a system that has not functioned. The system for its faliures has held the teachers and the community responsible and the present formulations are in the same direction. We can only see theMore later 'identical boxes' production syndrome that RTE seems to push towards. The only points about Governance are a demand for more budget, more centralization and stronger monitoring. It is almost assumed that only those who would be in bureaucracy or formulating rules for them and with them know what is to be done and are responsible and quality conscious. The fact that education is a dialogue and no monitoring can ensure that the dialogue be meaningful as the meaningfulness of that would also have to be determined in the context of children and the community as well as the teacher does not seem to be reflected in the design. Forming rules that take away initiative, flexibility and explorations can not improve education, which is a process of releasing human thought.

Yes we need to strengthen and improve the Govt system but not by forcing the alternatives to close. You can not prove your line longer by erasing the other persons line. How do we enlarge the quality line of the Govt schools is something we need to address and that is an issue of governance. we need to read the NCF 2005 that the RTE endorses and the spaces that NCF wants to encourage and increase and the path that of openness, autonomy and multiple explorations that it proposes.

More later. Ready for the brick bats
Hardy

++++++++++++
1. There is some/ considerable evidence of low cost privately managed schools delivering better than Govt. school education. Some is cited in my paper, but much more exists. There is almost no evidence that average Govt. school is doing better than a private school whose cost is more than Rs. 200-300/- per child / month.

2. I do not support private schooling provision where poor parents have to pay. I argue for the Govt. contracting out delivery of service to privately managed but publicly regulated low cost schools that can be held accountable to meet socially preferred goals, so that children get their due, which they are not getting from very expensive Govt. managed schools. Many NGO schools are examples of this. Currently, Govt. would have to spend more than 8000-9000/- per child per year in its schools if it pays 6th Pay Commission salary to all its teachers. By paying Rs. 3500/- to privately managed schools, the same Govt. could ensure much better education to children, by linking payment to school with exam results.

3. I do not have reliable remedies to improve govt. schools, this task must be undertaken by those who support Govt. managed schools and payment of salary to teachers in these schools at the rate prescribed by the 6th Pay Commission.

Warm regards.

Pankaj
++++++++++++++
Just responding to the points raised:
1. There is considerable evidence that govt school education is doing very well: you only have to see the Navodaya schools, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Sainik Schools. If the problem is mismanagement of funds, i can see the point about bringing accountability - still cannot see how this makes a case for paying teachers less.

Many other government employees fall under the 6th Pay Commission raise. How will paying them lesser help?

Also I wouldn't agree that low-cost teachers are all India's children deserve and you really need to look at the motivation behind such a thought. All children deserve fully trained, qualified teachers because the work of teachers is serious and they need to be equipped to handle this, like any other profession.

Isn't the answer creating accountability among teachers? And talking about those lakhs of schools where a government teacher teaches diligently, often balancing 3-4 classes, due to personnel shortages?

2. The crux of the argument is that education is the state's business because it is a RIGHT, one it cannot outsource to private parties, by either footing the bill of private school fees or by expecting private schools to reserve 25%. If the state gives up this responsibility by quoting the poor state of teaching, it might as well start giving up its other responsibilities too - notably security (nobody will agree to that!).

Why are we arguing about cost-saving in something as basic as schools? Countries that do spend on public education are the UK and France - countries where the level of civic awareness is relatively high. Spending on public services ups the ante as far the overall level of the citizens go - and no one can deny education is among the most fundamental of public services. And the people in charge of something as fundamental as education need just pay.

3. In summary, there is no alternative for working on improving accountability. If we dissolve public schools, we hand over public accountability permanently to private players. If by international standards India is paying its teachers well that is something to uphold, not dilute, by arguing that we can get teaching 'cheaper'.

(Have you considered puchasing power parity in your analysis -
What people get paid and what it affords them are two different stories)

+++++++++++++
I only have a small comment on the costing. The provision suggests not more than 30 children per teacher. This implies a cost that would be more than the Rs 8000-9000 cost worked out by Mr Jain. I am not sure if he accounted for the text books and the learning materials, teacher development & support and administeration and the monitoring.
I also do not see the advantage of linking payment with exam results that is suggested by Mr Jain.
Hardy
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
I wish to make four points.
First Point:
It looks logical that allocations will depend on the size of the pot.
And yet we are drawing different conclusions.
The economy of a country may or may not reflect the nature of its investment priorities. This is so because priorities are often determined by political expediencies. Consider Bangladesh, for instance, a poorer economy that has far greater investment in education, compared to India. How much is okay to shell out for education may be a viable economic decision only in the long run – which governments invariably choose to ignore. A State must not.
An economic argument is also a political concern (and the other way). My queries were emanating from this location.
I assign Mr. Hardy’s following supposition to precisely this location: “The budget in the economy is a sharing of resources and to say 20% of that should go to education and that we do not care where it comes from is denying the role as a responsible democratic citizen in my view”. The responsible citizenry would also ask why the requirement has become 20% today. The Universalization of Education is at least a five decade old promise to the people. School buildings, provisions, teachers, teacher training institutes, etc, are not suddenly-arrived emergencies. In the post-1990 Structural Adjustment show, the World Bank and its functionaries, nation states included, came up with MDG and how we all have begun pushing for EFA has actually become part of modern folklore.
Second Point:
Holding the State responsible for what is ensured as Rights by the Constitution is not to make the State the sole arbiter in deciding what education is or should be. Bidisha makes this point clearly. There can’t be disagreement with Mr. Hardy’s following remark - Even in a democracy, education and educational thought can not be left to the purview of the Government. [I would go a step further and say that it must not be left even to the purview of the State]. What is being underlined is that the responsibility to provide infrastructure, system and mechanism belongs to the State. The public sphere should and will continue to play a role in challenging, sharpening, researching, innovating issues related to education, its meaning and content.
This brings me to my third point.
In several write-ups of late, one senses a slip up between non-government and market, between people and private. This linguistic corruption, for the lack of a better term, if what I feel has any substance, is the marker of how market has invaded our senses. Of course, private schools too are about people, so often also about poor people, students and teachers, and their ideas and thoughts. The moot question, however, is: are all of them there because the government schools can’t function properly? Should the question of poor functioning of government institutions be addressed by market solutions? Is there a difference between Public-Private Partnership and Government-Market tie up? Is the market today becoming all-powerful institution because the State is weak? Or, is the State actually facilitating the stronger role for the market? There is neither need nor feasibility to shut all private schools. But, while saying this we must make it clear that we are not advocating privatization of school/education. Else, there always will be a follow-up question: why not privatize the nation-state itself. And, this is not a polemical point or satirical statement.
Just for the record, asking for greater budgetary provisions for Education, I hope, does not necessarily make one a supporter of the current Right to Education Act.
Finally, the question about bringing up other concerns, issues, struggles to the field of Education and budget. If I got it right, I do not quite know how else to address it. For me and many others, they are not separate. The specifics of Education may belong to educationists, but the political-economy of Education is everybody’s concern. A mazdoor woman who survives on 20 rupees/a day is also the one who didn’t get quality education. Nor are her children likely to get it.
Regards,
Arun

Arkitect India
New Delhi
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arkitectindia/
          Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ACT 2009 in Schools in the NCT of Delhi   
Report of the Committee
on
Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ACT 2009 in Schools in the NCT of Delhi


Report


March 3, 2010

National Council of Educational Research and Training
Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi

Report of the Committee
on
Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ACT 2009 in Schools in the NCT of Delhi

Contents


Page
Acknowledgments
3-4
Introduction and Terms of Reference
5-7
Recommendations related to:
8-22
Chapter II: Right to Free and Compulsory Education

Chapter III: Duties of Appropriate Government, Local Authority and Parents

Chapter IV: Responsibilities of Schools and Teachers

Chapter V: Curriculum and Completion of Elementary Education

Chapter VI: Protection of Right of Children

Summary of main recommendations
23-25
Annexure – List of documents 26


Acknowledgement
Ashok Agarwal
Advocate
Chairperson Report of the Committee
on
Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ACT 2009 in Schools in the NCT of Delhi


March 3, 2010


The development of policy perspectives is an important task for National Level Resource Institutions, and in the context of education an initiative was taken by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi to constitute a committee to develop a policy framework on the important issue of the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, using as an example the context of the NCT of Delhi. On behalf of the Committee, I would like to express gratitude and appreciation to Prof. Krishna Kumar, Director, NCERT, for setting up this committee and extending all the help that made it possible for this Committee to complete its assigned task in the stipulated time. On behalf of NCERT, the Committee was facilitated in its deliberations through the good offices of Prof. A.K. Srivastava, (Prof. and Head, DERPP, NCERT), and Dr. N.K. Gupta of the same department, and we are indeed grateful to them for their support.
The task of this Committee was completed only through the active involvement, participation and deliberation of its members. I would like to thank Prof. Nargis Panchpakesan for keeping the discussion going, both inside and outside of formal meetings. Dr. Siddiqui and Mrs,Indira Yadav with their experience of heading education in MCD and Ms. Leena Ratti as a teacher in an MCD school provided invaluable knowledge and insights. I am indebted indeed to Prof. Nalini Juneja for her initiative in giving structure to the report and preparing the all important first draft for further discussion.
After all this work, I can only hope that the recommendations given in this report, will be seriously considered by the Government of NCT of Delhi, in framing its rules to the Act, as well as in its implementation.


Sd/-
Ashok Agarwal
Chairperson
M-09811101923
Sd/-
Sh Ashok Agarwal, Advocate

Sd/- Sd/-
Prof. N. Panchapakesan Prof. Nalini Juneja

Sd/- Sd/-
Smt. Leena Ratti Dr. M. N. Siddique

Sd/- Sd/-
Mrs. Indira Yadav Dr. N. K. Gupta

Sd/-
Dr. A. K. Sirvastava

Dated 03.03.2010

Report of the Committee
on
Development of a Policy Framework for Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education ACT 2009 in Schools in the NCT of Delhi

INTRODUCTION

Article 45 of the Constitution of India was originally incorporated in chapter IV dealing with the Directive Principles of State Policy which provided that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all the children up to the age of 14 years within ten years. The realisation of this provision remained elusive. In 1993, the Supreme Court in Unnikrishnan case interpreting Articles 21 and 45 of the Constitution held that the right to education is a fundamental right and children up to the age of 14 years are entitled to free education and the State shall have no defense to deny the said right. Though the decision in Unnikrishnan case led to debate and filing of cases in the courts to some extent, the realization of right to education has remained unrealized. Whatever achievements the government may claim, the state of public education in reality is dismal.

The Indian Parliament enacted the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 amending the Constitution thereby inserting Articles 21-A and 51-A(k) and amending Article 45 in the Constitution. Article 21-A directs the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine. Article 51-A (k) casts a duty on every citizen who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years. The amended Article 45 provides that the State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years. The Central Government has issued notification dated 16th February 2010 under Section 1 (2) of the Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 appointing the 1st day of April 2010 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force.

As a follow up legislation in terms of Article 21-A of the Constitution of India, the Indian Parliament enacted Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The Central Government has issued notification under Section 1(3) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 appointing the 1st day of April 2010 as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force.

In terms of the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Government of Delhi is required to frame Rules. The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has prepared Model Rules under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and sent the same to the States including the Government of NCT of Delhi to frame and notify the Rules to enable the Act to function. Certain provisions of the Act need urgent attention by the State Governments as the same contain a time frame of implementation of the same.

The NCERT has constituted a group of experts consisting of Shri Ashok Agarwal (Legal Expert) Chairperson, Prof. N. Panchpakesan; Prof. Nalini Juneja, (NUEPA); Smt. Indira Yadav; Dr. Naseem Siddiqi; Smt Leena Ratti, MCD school teacher; Dr. N.K. Gupta, Reader, DERPP; and Prof. A.K. Srivastava, Head, DERPP (Convener) to suggest a policy framework for implementation of the RTE Act 2009 in the NCT of Delhi.

Terms of Reference

1. To examine the arrangements for school education in NCT of Delhi
2. To examine the capacity of the MCD/ Delhi Government to meet the challenges presented by the RTE Act with focus on quality education
3. To recommend measures for implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 in the NCT of Delhi


Methodology of the Work of the Committee

The Committee held three meetings to deliberate upon the contentious issues raised by the learned members of the committee and another two meetings of a subcommittee to evolve a first draft of its recommendations. At the final meeting, they came to a unanimous decision on the recommendations submitted herein for the implementation of the RTE Act, 2009 in schools in National Capital Territory of Delhi.


Brief Report of deliberations and decisions of the Committee

The recommendations of this committee are focused on improving the ‘quality of education’ and its enjoyment by all children fully, equally and equitably. We are happy to note that the same is the objective of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, as may be seen in the Statement of Objects and Reasons that accompanied its placement as a Bill before the Parliament of India in 2008. This statement speaks of ‘strengthening the social fabric of Democracy”; of ‘provision of equal opportunities to all’; of the belief in the values of equality, social justice, and democracy and the creation of a just and humane society – only through inclusive education for all. The committee shares with Statement of Objects and Reasons its emphasis on the right of every child to free & compulsory education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain standards and norms.

It is in order to guide the Government of the NCT of Delhi to achieve these very objectives, that the following recommendations are being submitted by this committee.


Chapter II: Right to Free and Compulsory Education

1.1 The committee noted that the right of the child to a ‘formal’ (recognised) school is clearly stated in the Act in Section 3 and the ‘full time’ nature of such school becomes more than apparent when this Section is read with the Schedule to the Act, which at serial No. 4 specifies 45 working hours for each teacher per week; which for a six day week works out to 7.5 hours per day . If each school would now be required to remain open at least for a normal eight hour working day, then:

a. All double shift schools would need to be forthwith converted to single shift schools, with the teacher pupil ratios as specified in the Schedule.

b. The distance and accessibility norms will have to be adhered to and arrangements made to address any cases of difficulty anticipated or experienced.

c. Supplemental instructions to children, including children with disabilities who have been (age appropriately) enrolled in classrooms will have to be carefully monitored, (and arrangements created for the same) in order to ensure that teachers are child friendly, and the teaching learning environment remains free from anxiety.

d. All alternative modes of education such as for example ‘bus schools’ and other para formal schools would have to be replaced by full time formal schools.

e. The needs of children with disabilities (Section 3) will need to be addressed through inclusive classrooms in accordance with the provisions laid down in Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (2008) as ratified by the Government of India.

f. The right of all children to equal opportunities at this stage would render the ‘Pratibha Vikas Vidyalayas’ and their mode of selective admission as contrary to the spirit of the Act, at least till the end of class eight.

1.2 The admission plan of the Delhi Government for the transition to the upper primary/secondary classes is already a model.

1.3 Private schools- The rights of equitable access to private schools will also have to be strictly monitored by the Government of NCT of Delhi in order to ensure that children with disabilities are not discriminated against in their access to the school, nor are their parents asked to pay more fees because they have ‘special needs’. Sample checking and research is recommended to ensure equal opportunities in all schools for children with disabilities.

1.4 As per orders dated 10.09.2009 of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in W.P.(C) No. 6771 of 2008 entitled Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, An Action Plan for education of children with disabilities was prepared. This committee recommends the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the RTE.

1.5 Attendance officers- Posts of ten ‘attendance officers’ existed in the MCD and at one time were expected to deal with admission, and truancy in relation to compulsory education. Similar posts need to be created, and renamed for the implementation of the RTE. This committee also recommends that in view of the expansion of number of schools, and enrolment, the number of officers may be increased adequately. These posts may rightly be renamed as ‘Right to Education Protection Officers’ and as part of their duties they should:

 constantly ‘walk their beat’ especially at construction sites, garbage dumping grounds, urban villages etc. looking for children who should be in school;
 enable out of school children to secure admission;
 coordinate between home and school for children
 coordinate with community groups, especially mothers
 ensure issuance of transfer certificates
 respond to reports of violation of child rights
 serve to support admission and retention of children in government and private schools
 all tasks related to service as a ‘nodal officer’ for right to education

1.6 Road Marshals through Volunteers of NCC/ NSS/ Scouts etc. Delhi is a city state, and despite the best of planning, children will need to cross roads in order to reach schools, and in many places this is a risky exercise. Therefore, in order to literally facilitate access to schools, this committee recommends that traffic marshals be deployed at points at which children cross roads on the way to schools. Giving right of way to school goers will not only make the right to education ‘visible’, but will also give a new Delhi/ urban specific task to the NSS/ NCC volunteers to do. Coordination between school and the traffic police personnels is also recommended to ensure safety of the school going children.

1.7 Incentives for children identifying out of schoolchildren It is recommended that children be used to search for and identify children who are for some reason not in school. An incentive of about Rs. 50/- could also be given to children who identify a child who could be brought to school.


Chapter III: Duties of Appropriate Government, Local Authority and parents

2.1 In the context of the provisions of this chapter of the Act, the committee had detailed discussions regarding the right of all children who choose to attend state provided schools to receive equitable quality of education– whether the schools are run by the Government of NCT of Delhi, the NDMC, the MCD, or the Cantonment Board, or even through unaided private and private aided schools.

2.2 It was brought to the notice of the committee that even in this very academic year (2009-10) itself, ad hoc decisions were apparently taken in the MCD resulting in for example i) mid session change of primary school textbooks; ii) mid session introduction of English medium classes in selected MCD schools; iii) mid session transfer of teachers.

2.3 These discussions lead the committee to note that eventualities of this nature were more frequent in MCD schools than in state government schools, perhaps because of the absence of a ‘buffer zone’ of professionally and managerially qualified personnel who could guide the expert implementation of policy decisions (and also serve to prevent ad hoc interferences).

2.4 The committee also discussed the difference in infrastructural provisioning, administration and monitoring and teacher facilities and supports in the different types of state provided schools in Delhi. The committee noted that while decentralisation and devolution to local bodies, and private (aided) managements should not per se be seen as a drawback, (quite the opposite in fact); the attendant differences in outcomes however cannot be condoned as they are contrary to the letter and spirit of the RTE Act.

2.5 The committee also noted the lack of availability of information about school education in Delhi on any one website. The various service providers of ‘state’ provided education, i.e. the Government of the NCT of Delhi, MCD, NDMC etc. by giving more importance to their separateness, with their separate websites, make mockery of the service of education being provided, and show little concern for the public who is expected to sift from one site to another in attempting to piece together fragments of a picture from different sources.

On the basis of the discussions on this subject, the committee recommends:

• All state provided EE / school education whether through State government as provider of EE through Sarvodaya, Pratibha, and Government schools having classes 6-8, MCD, NDMC, or DCB be administered by one single body, perhaps the Government of the NCT of Delhi, but on the basis of a set of non negotiable guiding principles.
• This body should also accord approval to all proposed academic changes, such as of textbooks, pattern of evaluation, medium of instruction etc. It should also be referred to for closure of any schools.
• A unified website for school education in Delhi with all information about all kinds of schools with a report card for every school.


2.6 In view of the number of children who continue to be not enrolled, or who have dropped out, children of migrants seeking enrolment, etc. the reported closure of almost one hundred MCD Schools in the past decade appears to be incomprehensible, and this committee recommends:

 Independent investigation of the reasons thereof, and of the steps that were taken to re allocate the children attending the closed schools.

 Govt of NCT of Delhi to deal in future with all such issues, to prevent extraneous reasons from operating to close down schools, or to resist encroachment of the school land for commercial purposes. (land in urban areas such as Delhi has high property value, and schools attended by the children belonging to economically weaker sections can fall prey to such designs).

 If for some reason, there are no children available to attend a particular school, then the school building shall be used for other purposes related to education only, such as for a residential camp for migrant children etc.

2.7 Supports for completion of EE- the state is required by Section 8(c), Section 9(c), Section 8(e), Section 9(e), to ensure completion of elementary education especially children of weaker sections, disadvantaged, and migrants. This committee was of the opinion that in the case of Delhi, there is a need to point out to the ‘urban disadvantage’ experienced by weaker sections, disadvantaged and migrants, especially in the case of smaller children and girls. In urban areas, mothers of these children are, more often than not, working to supplement the family income, and at the same time, lack the supports towards child care usually provided by extended families in rural areas. The second urban disadvantage, relates to the security of women and girl children in particular, and is reflected in the case of Delhi through one of the highest rates of reported crime against women. It is therefore recommended that schools provide after school care and protection to children, especially girls, as one of the means of ensuring their continued attendance at school.

2.8 Pre-school education – The RTE Act 2009 in Section 11 suggests that the state government may make arrangements for pre school education. However, the committee is of the view that in the case of Delhi, and in view of the urban disadvantage, the provision of early childhood care and pre-school education should be treated as mandatory.

2.9 Therefore, related to the previous recommendation of care arrangements and in addition to it, the committee recommends the formulation of a ‘workable’ scheme of early childhood care and its convergence with pre school education in such a way that the needs of parents, (rather than merely the needs of the parameters of a scheme) are met. The committee notes that in state schools, it shall be the SMC that shall hence forth be a major player in the site based management of schools. It is recommended that the SMC may design the manner of provision of early childhood care arrangements, and of pre school arrangements. On case to case basis pre school centers may be provided within the school or in smaller centers nearer to the homes of children.

2.10 Appointment of heads of schools and Strengthening of SCERT and DIETs in Delhi- Heads of schools in Delhi tend to be appointed by seniority and very often with only a short time to go before retirement. In such cases, they have little administrative experience (or interest), they are looking forward to retiring peacefully, without ‘audit objections’. In such a situation, dynamic and vibrant leadership can hardly be expected. The committee discussed this problem and suggested:

a. Firstly, the selection of 75% of the heads of schools through direct selection processes, and only 25% through limited departmental examination.

b. The strengthening of the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and DIETs in Delhi which will work towards the development of a cadre of educational management professionals for management of schools provided by the state. These institutions should also be engaged in full time policy research related to management of education in Delhi

2.11 Inclusion of Private schools in Training Programmes Workshops, Evaluation and Election Duties: Private schools are seldom perceived to be belonging to the same ‘system’ and their teachers and heads of schools are hardly ever included in seminars, trainings and workshops organised by the state providers of education in Delhi. They are also treated differently in relation to the participation of teachers in invigilation and evaluation duties of board exams and for duties related to elections. This committee recommends the proportionate inclusion from private schools for all the above mentioned functions.


Chapter IV: Responsibilities of Schools and Teachers

3.1 In respect of the provision made in this chapter of the RTE Act, the committee took into consideration data, research studies, reports of committees, court cases and other material related to these aspects before making the following recommendations:

3.2 EWS admission and support- The committee noted that Delhi is perhaps the only state with the advantage of having experience in implementation of the rule recommending inclusion of children from EWS in its regular classes. However, this committee noted that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court by an interim order in Writ Petition No. 3156 of 2002 has permitted to the schools under obligation to provide free seats to the extent of 15% instead of 20% to the children belonging to the economically weaker sections but even that is not being honored by the schools.

3.3 Now, however, the obligation of all private recognised schools stands at 25 per cent and the Delhi government is advised to ensure that the problems experienced in the past do not hamper the inclusion of the children of the EWS. The recommendations of the Krishna Kumar Committee and of the Janaki Rajan Committee, 2006 may be referred to in this regard, since they are all the more relevant, and it is imperative that a climate of ‘true inclusion’ is fostered in schools.

3.4 Needless to say, it is expected that wide publicity shall be given to this provision, and rules shall be framed to enable, the eligible parents to take advantage of the choice offered to them.

3.5 Issuance of Birth certificates- Birth certification is a right of the child, and it is recommended that it be ensured that those children who enter state provided schools without a formal birth certificate are provided a certificate through the school. The government, if necessary, may bring amendment in the Birth and Death Registration Act thereby creating an obligation on the State to provide birth certificate to the school children without subjecting them to difficult procedure. This should be made a duty of the school. It also supports the UID project of the central government.

3.6 SMC , School Development Plan, capacity and information needs- The RTE Act 2009 mandates an SMC for each school at the elementary stage. In Delhi, there are no elementary schools. There are primary schools, or middle schools having classes 6-8, or composite schools having both primary and upper primary classes, and secondary schools having upper primary classes. Delhi will need to work out a mechanism to ensure that the children in classes 1 to 8 have the benefit of a school management committee and a school development plan prepared by the committee.

3.7 The committee noted that Delhi will need to replace its nominated Vidyalaya Vikas Committees, at least at the elementary stage, with statutory School Management Committees having wide ranging powers.

3.8 This committee discussed concerns about the awareness building and capacities of these committees, and felt that these areas represent spaces for proactive action, both by the government and the civil society. Orientation and Training of School Management Committees (SMCs) needs to be taken up as an ongoing exercise. This work could be shared among Community based voluntary organisations, SCERT, DIETs, universities and colleges (as part of their ‘extension’ responsibilities)


3.9 One of these measures could be the public display of the School report card since every school already has a DISE ‘School Report Card’. It is further recommended that:

i. a ‘public version’ (i.e. excluding details of SC, ST, minority, repeater, status of children) of this card be displayed in each school. (perhaps on a 3 by 4 ft. Flex sheet)
ii. details of funds received (and date of sanction and receipt) also be displayed, (as also details of fees charged from students and salaries paid to teachers)
iii. SMC members should be informed through easy to read graphs (prepared by DIETs, / colleges of education/ students of statistics of class eleven in government schools) showing progress of educational indicators related to the school (indicators could be enrolment, attendance, gender parity, teachers attendance, school facilities etc.). The state EMIS cell could even generate graphical pages for each school, which may be downloaded, and explained to the parent members of the SMC. Assistance of government secondary school students is recommended here both for the sake of making statistics come alive for these students, as well as for the sake of transparency. Past students of the concerned primary elementary school should be preferred.


3.10 Teachers’ salaries & Recognition of small schools It was discussed that all schools have, and by law can only exist if they are philanthropic, non-commercial, non-profit and community service, and existing recognised schools need to pay their teachers at scales approved by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi. However, the RTE Act 2009 opens up possibilities for the existence of another category of schools – the hitherto unrecognised schools running perhaps in small premises but now fulfilling the requirements of the schedule of the RTE Act 2009, and of its rules and perhaps with trained (as is required) but underpaid teachers.

3.11 At present, the law is silent on the matter of teachers’ salaries in schools recognised under the RTE Act 2009. While this fact will surely enable a number of small, but otherwise eligible schools to become recognised, it also opens up the possibility of this lacuna being exploited by elementary schools that will now prefer recognition under this Act, precisely in order to exploit a situation in which aspiring but qualified teachers may be willing to trade salary for ‘teaching experience’ in a recognised school. It may well lead to existing schools bifurcating themselves into an elementary stage recognised under the RTE Act 2009, (with no need or state salaries for teachers) and a secondary stage recognised under the Delhi Schools Education Act, 1973 (where teachers are paid state salaries) thus reverting again to the very conditions existing not so long ago when teachers in private schools were exploited by their school managements.

This committee recommends that this issue be seriously considered in the case of Delhi, since the Delhi is yet to frame rules under this Act. While small, unrecognised schools might be fulfilling a real need in some areas of the country, it is doubtful if such is the case for most areas of the city of Delhi, and it may be more advisable to adhere to norms that protect teachers’ salaries even in schools recognised under the RTE Act 2009. However, this committee also recognizes the existence of some exceptional schools run by NGOs which although fulfilling real but un/under served needs, may not be able to subsist on fees charged from students. In such cases, it is recommended that the Govt. consider aiding these schools towards payment of salaries of the teachers.

3.12 Where the neighbourhood Govt / MCD / NDMC School is witnessing declining enrolment, PTR lower than 1:30; this fact should be taken into consideration before giving recognition to another (unaided private) school within one km radius.

3.13 Teacher’ duties- The committee discussed at length the report submitted by a member of the committee on the clerical duties performed by the teachers in MCD schools. It was pointed out that the MCD teachers in the absence of any clerical support in schools have to do the following tasks:

Maintain records of details of expenditure on all funds provided to the school; maintain the staff pay bills, calculate income tax, maintain records of DA, CPC, ACP, GPF, CPF , pre sanctions, quotations, bills, receipts, and post sanctions etc.; maintain leave records, and obtain sanction for maternity leave, earned leave, compensatory leave, child care leave, and special leave; maintain school property register of items bought by school or donated to the school; maintain registers of consumable and non consumable articles; maintain records of teachers details, monthly attendance records of students (average attendance, total number of admissions, withdrawals, minority, SC, ST, total students) answer RTI queries; get books from Kamala Nagar and distribute them and maintain records class wise; distribution of stationery; measure, cut and distribute school dress material; fill different forms for minority/ SC/ST students getting above 50%; work related to Laadli scheme such as filling forms, verifying them, and submitting them at Rohini office; daily, weekly and monthly records of mid day meal; maintaining library records, old records, and providing other sundry details required for EMIS such as grades of students in different subjects according to categories (minority/ SC/ ST, girls, boys etc.) The committee was also informed that these tasks were performed by clerks using computers in Schools run by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi.

3.14 The committee discussion related firstly to the disparity in conditions of service in schools in Delhi, and secondly to the fact that almost all the tasks mentioned in the paragraph have been declared under the RTE Act 2009 as tasks for which teachers should not be responsible. Other solutions will need to be found for these administrative tasks, and under the model rules it has been made the duty of the SMC to ensure that teachers are not burdened with such tasks. The committee recommends that these model rules be adopted for Delhi.

3.15 However, committee also noted that as in all cases wherein the ‘culture’ of an organisation has to undergo a change, there will need to be a change towards a culture devoted to the teaching learning process. This may need steps for example regarding:

 Guidelines regarding the work that is required of a teacher of classes 1-5, outside the four hours of classroom instruction.
 Deployment of administrative staff, (or volunteer workforce of NGOs/ PPP mode personnel etc) for administrative tasks with which the teacher was earlier engaged.
 Capacity building of both teaching and administrative staff in the new roles etc.


3.16 ‘Leave substitute’ teachers- The absence of a teacher violates the right of the child to education. Therefore, in order to ensure that a class is at no time deprived of a teacher, it is recommended that about 10% extra teachers are selected and placed on a reserve panel to be tapped whenever there is need for a substitute teacher.



Chapter V: Curriculum and Completion of Elementary Education

4.1 Govt. of NCT of Delhi will also ensure continuous and comprehensive evaluation of all children in all state provided schools in Delhi, in such a manner that children are not subjected to anxiety but it becomes clear, which teachers are making efforts and which teachers are not engaging with their pupils (for reasons of their being deployed at other tasks or otherwise). The CCE should be supported with:

 ‘pupil level’/ ‘class level’ monitoring cards on the website (restricted access)
 Communication of progress to parents in a manner designed to encourage their continued interest in education, rather than to shift responsibility for ‘disciplining’.


Chapter VI: Protection of Right of Children

5.1 Child line as in model rules to RTE- Again, in the model rules to the RTE Act 2009, this aspect has been dealt with and it was the view of the committee that a mechanism such as recommended in the model rules be adopted for Delhi. The system should be transparent and should enable cross check by NGOs, with Delhi legal services authority, by independent lawyers & by law colleges, in addition to the other safeguards provided. It is recommended that the model rules circulated by the MHRD in this regard be adopted by Delhi.

5.2 Awareness creation about rights against punishment and harassment- It is recommended that the model rules circulated by the MHRD in regards to a child helpline coupled with an alert and action mechanism be adopted by Delhi. Since this right relates to a school, and every school has a unique ID code number, it is suggested that the online mechanism should be linked using this unique ID code to the page of the school – so that all the details of the school are immediately at hand, and the complaints are recorded against a page related to the school. Linkage with NGOs, lawyers, legal services authority is also recommended.

5.3 Discrimination, what constitutes discrimination in this context and Complaints mechanism should be given wide publicity


Miscellaneous

6.1 It is recommended that part-time instructors for art, music, health and physical education be also provided for the children of classes I to 5 in addition to the general teachers to develop potentiality, knowledge and talent.

6.2 No fee in any kind or form should be charged from the students of elementary school.

6.3 Government of NCT of Delhi may issue notification in terms of Section 1(d) bringing ‘children with disabilities’ within the ambit of “child belonging to disadvantaged group” as defined in Section 1(d) of the Act.

Summary of Main Recommendations

Administrative Changes

1. State provided School Education should be administered by one unified body-i.e. Government of NCT of Delhi and its schools managed with due regard to decentralisation of responsibility; this body should also accord approval to all proposed academic changes, such as of textbooks, pattern of evaluation, medium of instruction etc. It should also be referred to for closure of any schools (2.5)
2. Strengthening of SCERT and DIETs for policy level research and training of teachers and administrators for implementation of RTE (2.10)
3. Direct recruitment of 75% of Heads of Schools (2.10a)
4. Appointment of ‘Protection of RTE Officers’ (1.5)
5. Inclusion of Private schools in Training Programmes Workshops, Evaluation and
Election Duties (2.11)

Legislative Action

Delhi rules to RTE Act 2009 should specify:

1. Inclusive education of children with special needs in common classroom (1.1e)

2. Protection of state salaries for teachers in private schools recognised under RTE Act and consideration in exceptional cases of grant in aid for payment of salaries of teachers (3.11)

3. Information about Fees charged by Schools and salaries paid to its teachers should be placed in the public domain i.e. on the Delhi Schools website and also on the ‘school report card’ of each school (2.5)


Measures for Accountability and Voice

1. There needs to be a unified website for all state and state recognised schools in Delhi with School Report Cards and reporting on child progress on measures of continuous and comprehensive evaluation supplemented with remarks of the SMC (2.5, 5.2, 4.1)
2. Information dissemination about RTE to children in schools and Child line as in Model Rules (5.1, 5.3)
3. Orientation and Training of School Management Committees (SMCs) needs to be taken up as an ongoing exercise. This work could be shared among Community based voluntary organisations, SCERT, DIETs, universities and colleges (as part of their ‘extension’ responsibilities)


Supportive Measures

1. Pre school arrangements either in schools or near to communities (2.10)
Crèche and after school care arrangements to facilitate education of girls (2.9)
2. For admission of economically weaker section children in private schools, implement recommendations of Krishna Kumar Committee Report 2006 and Janaki Rajan Committee Report 2006 (3.2, 3.3)
3. Implementation of Action Plan for Education of Children with Disabilities prepared by Department of Education, Delhi Administration pursuant to the orders of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in CWP 6771/2008 (1.4)

Leading initiatives

1. Road marshals (NCC / NSS) could be enlisted for helping children cross road to and from schools in addition to the deployment of traffic police personnel (1.6)
2. Birth certificates could be arranged for all children in state schools (3.5)
3. Incentive for each child identifying child out of school (1.7)

4. Establishment of Police beats (with lady police constables) at girl schools to ensure safety and security to the girl students.

5. Government of Delhi should exempt stamp duty on the affidavit regarding date of birth of the child to be submitted to the school for the purpose of admission.

6. Government of Delhi should authorize head of the school to attest the affidavit regarding date of birth of the child to be submitted to the school for purpose of admission

7. School education should be totally free. No fee in any form or under any head should be charged from any student in state funded schools.


List of Documents in Appendix


i. Order dated 29.08.2000 in CWP 3956
ii. . Affidavit dated 25.08.2000 in CWP 3956 (2000)
iii. Order dated 31.10.2002 in CWP 5982 (2002)
iv. Delhi Primary Education Act 1960
v. Order dated 3.03.2003 in CWP 7027 (2001)
vi. Status Report of the GNCT of Delhi dated 16.12.2009 in CWP 6771 (2008)
vii. Status Report of the GNCT of Delhi dated 18.12.2009 in CWP 6771 (2008) with final Action Plan for Education of Children with Disabilities
viii. Order dated 20.01.2010 in CWP 6771 (2008)
ix. Letter dated 15.12. 2009 to DCPCR regarding closure of MCD Schools

Source: Arkitect India: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arkitectindia/message/7112
          Parasite Carbohydrate Vaccines.   
Related Articles

Parasite Carbohydrate Vaccines.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2017;7:248

Authors: Jaurigue JA, Seeberger PH

Abstract
Vaccination is an efficient means of combating infectious disease burden globally. However, routine vaccines for the world's major human parasitic diseases do not yet exist. Vaccines based on carbohydrate antigens are a viable option for parasite vaccine development, given the proven success of carbohydrate vaccines to combat bacterial infections. We will review the key components of carbohydrate vaccines that have remained largely consistent since their inception, and the success of bacterial carbohydrate vaccines. We will then explore the latest developments for both traditional and non-traditional carbohydrate vaccine approaches for three of the world's major protozoan parasitic diseases-malaria, toxoplasmosis, and leishmaniasis. The traditional prophylactic carbohydrate vaccine strategy is being explored for malaria. However, given that parasite disease biology is complex and often arises from host immune responses to parasite antigens, carbohydrate vaccines against deleterious immune responses in host-parasite interactions are also being explored. In particular, the highly abundant glycosylphosphatidylinositol molecules specific for Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, and Leishmania spp. are considered exploitable antigens for this non-traditional vaccine approach. Discussion will revolve around the application of these protozoan carbohydrate antigens for vaccines currently in preclinical development.

PMID: 28660174 [PubMed - in process]


          Côte d’Ivoire: UN Peacekeeping Mission Ends    

A convoy of United Nation peacekeepers are seen outside Bouake during an army mutiny in which disgruntled Ivorian soldiers seized control of the city. January 6, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters
(Abidjan) – As the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) comes to an end on June 30, 2017, the Ivorian government should redouble its efforts to address the serious rights issues at the root of past political violence, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) and the Ivorian League for Human Rights (LIDHO) said today.

Côte d’Ivoire has enjoyed more than six years of relative peace and security since a devastating post-election crisis in 2010-2011. But the government’s inadequate progress in addressing a longstanding culture of impunity, reforming the security forces, and strengthening rule of law institutions threaten the country’s long-term prospects for peace and development.

“Côte d’Ivoire has distanced itself from the violence and conflict that blighted so many lives and tore communities apart, but it’s too early to say whether the recovery is sustainable,” said Drissa Traore, Vice-President of FIDH. “The peace dividends that the United Nations has contributed to could be reversed unless the Ivorian government addresses pervasive immunity and the army’s lack of discipline.”

Beginning with the deadly clashes that followed the 2000 presidential election and later the 2002-2003 armed conflict, international and Ivorian human rights groups have documented abuses committed during the political and inter-ethnic violence that haunted Côte d’Ivoire until the conclusion of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. A decade of conflict and instability was punctuated by horrendous human rights violations, including widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and targeted sexual violence by government forces, government-linked militia, student groups, and rebel forces alike.

The UN mission was established in April 2004 to monitor a cease-fire agreement after the 2002-2003 armed conflict, with peacekeepers monitoring a “zone of confidence” that separated the government-controlled south from the rebel-held north. This stalemate continued until the 2007 Ouagadougou peace accords, which set the stage for presidential elections in 2010 and, in the aftermath, the 2010-2011 post-election crisis.

Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the peacekeeping mission, said in June that “demonstrable progress has been made on all fronts.” The UN rightly cites peaceful 2015 presidential elections and 2016 legislative elections as evidence of improved security. And a 2016 constitutional referendum removed a divisive nationality clause that had fueled decades of ethnic and political tensions, although the vote was criticized for its lack of transparency.

Despite this progress, the government of President Alassane Ouattara has not fully addressed key human rights issues that have contributed to past political violence and conflict.

During the decade of unrest that culminated in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, the culture of impunity that allowed those responsible for atrocities to escape justice was a key factor in perpetuating abuses. Former President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, a former militia leader, are on trial before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. And yet, the vast majority of the commanders and leaders implicated in a decade of serious human rights violations – on both sides of the military-political divide – have not been held to account.

The Ivorian government has made some progress in strengthening the justice system following years of neglect. But the deeply flawed trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes of former first lady Simone Gbagbo raises doubts about the Ivorian justice system’s ability to fairly and effectively try serious human rights cases. And the promotion in January of several army commanders suspected of involvement in abuses during the post-election crisis raises concerns about potential political interference in investigations.

The lack of accountability for human rights abuses is indicative of a wider failure to address a longstanding culture of impunity within the army. Mutinies in January and May, in which soldiers seized control of the country’s second largest city and neighborhoods in several other towns, reflect a wider perception that the army is “above the law.”

The peacekeeping mission has conducted extensive training for the security forces, including on compliance with human rights, and the army has reduced human rights abuses by soldiers against civilians. But the government has repeatedly failed to hold soldiers accountable for criminality, from the atrocities of the post-election crisis, to the illicit exploitation of natural resources by army commanders, to checkpoint extortion by rank-and-file soldiers. A March 2016 United Nations Group of Experts report found that former rebel commanders “who occupy key roles in the Ivorian security apparatus, continue to have access to private assets, financial resources and weapons.”

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Yacouba Doumbia, President of MIDH. “The government’s failure to reduce soldiers’ illicit economic activities, and their commanders’ access to private wealth and weapons, makes it more difficult to hold them accountable for other abuses.”

The discovery by mutinying soldiers in May of an arms cache in Bouake underscored the failure of Côte d’Ivoire’s disarmament process to secure weapons hidden in private arsenals. The government has opened a judicial investigation and said it will seek to locate arms hidden in other locations.

Many of the underlying tensions that drove past ethnic violence also remain unresolved, notably an incomplete national reconciliation process and continued competition over land. Although land conflicts may have gradually become less prevalent, they remain a key driver of local violence, as illustrated by intercommunal clashes in March 2016 in Bouna that killed dozens of people and displaced thousands more. At the same time, as it moves forward with implementation of a 1998 land law, the government should strengthen local government capacity to find fair and durable rights-based solutions to tensions over land.

The peacekeepers’ departure, and the recent mutinies, underscore the need to intensify efforts to address longstanding impunity and professionalize the security forces. This should include a strengthened military justice system and improved internal military disciplinary mechanisms.

The authorities should also follow through on the promise to prosecute individuals – including members of the security forces – implicated in atrocities during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. This requires the government to provide the judiciary with adequate support to complete their investigations, as well as to finish the exhumation of victims in western Côte d’Ivoire. Holding accountable high-level perpetrators, including those who fought for Ouattara during the crisis, would send the message that those who resort to violence and human rights abuses in moments of political tension will face the consequences.

“With the UN peacekeeping mission’s departure, Côte d’Ivoire’s government now bears the sole responsibility for addressing the human rights challenges that threaten long-term stability,” said Jim Wormington, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This means tackling impunity and addressing the root causes of political and ethnic tensions.”


          6/30/2017: News: Girl, 15, is silent on gun   
A GIRL of 15 was “exploited” by a gang member into hiding a shotgun and ammo in her bedroom, a court heard. The teenager, who cannot be named, was spared jail yesterday despite refusing to tell anyone who gave her the Magnum shotgun. She was handed a...
          500 Kids Have Gone Missing In DC In 2017 — Sex Trafficking Fears Have Officials Asking FBI For Help   
A total of 501 juveniles have been reported missing in D.C. since the beginning of the year. This startling number has forced the hands of several officials who’ve written a letter to call on special help from the Justice Department in investigating the matter.
The letter, obtained by the Associated Press, asked FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.” It was signed by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents D.C. in Congress.
“Ten children of color went missing in our nation’s capital in a period of two weeks and at first garnered very little media attention. That’s deeply disturbing,” Richmond’s letter said.
As the AP reports, the District of Columbia logged 501 cases of missing juveniles, many of them black or Latino, in the first three months of this year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, the city’s police force. Twenty-two were unsolved as of March 22, police said.
The Twitter profile for the DC police department is quite literally riddled with images of missing young Black and Latino girls. In spite of the officials’ concern and the posts on Twitter, police are assuring the public that there is nothing out of the ordinary.

“We’ve just been posting them on social media more often,” said Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Rachel Reid.
“We can’t focus on the numbers,” said Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation. “If we have one missing child, that’s too many.”
Police then went on to dispel talk of these girls being kidnapped and sold into slavery by human traffickers.
“We have no indication to believe that young girls in the District are being preyed upon by human traffickers in large numbers,” said police commander Chanel Dickerson, leader of the Youth and Family Services division, according to NBC News 4.
Notice how Dickerson said “in large numbers” as a qualifier, meaning he didn’t rule out the fact that there are human traffickers in the area preying on young girls.
As the Free Thought Project pointed out on several occasions, some of these traffickers have already been caught in D.C. — and some of them have been cops.
Linwood Barnhill Jr., a veteran of the D.C. Police Department, was exposed by the Free Thought Projectfor running a child sex ring out of his house. In 2014, in an early morning search warrant issued for his Southeast D.C. apartment found a 15-year-old girl who had previously been reported missing by her parents.
When police rescued the girl she told officers that she had met six other girls inside the Southeast D.C. apartment who told her they were also being prostituted, including with ads posted on backpage.com. Barnhill also took naked photos of the girls, purportedly for use in advertisements for sex.
Marijuana, condoms and a large mirror were also seized from the apartment; law enforcement officials say that the seized mirror had the names of other females who were being trafficked written on it.
Around that same time, another cop in the area was also exposed and arrested for trafficking teens. Lamin Manneh, 32, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to traveling across state lines and using a telephone and internet to operate a prostitution business using two teens he prostituted out over 300 times.
According to the AP, Wilson also said she is concerned about whether human trafficking is a factor, citing the case of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, who has been missing since she vanished from a city homeless shelter in 2014. A janitor who worked at the shelter was found dead of apparent suicide during the search for the girl.
“They prey on the homeless, they prey on low-income children, they prey on the runaways, they prey online,” Wilson said.
“Whether these recent disappearances are an anomaly or signals of underlying trends, it is essential that the Department of Justice and the FBI use all of the tools at their disposal to help local officials investigate these events, and return these children to their parents as soon as possible,” Richmond said.
According to the anti-Human Trafficking group, Polaris, located in D.C., the number of trafficked humans in the US is startling.
Sadly, the US government appears to spend far more time looking for an illegal plant or for Tom Brady’s jersey, than they do on missing children.
Matt Agorist is the co-founder of TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been


          President Magufuli, ban sexual violence, not teenage mothers from school   

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is facing widespread criticism from human rights organizations following comments he made last Thursday at a public rally that girls who become pregnant should not be allowed to return to school.

President Magufuli was quoted as saying:

"In my administration, as long as I am president ... no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school. We cannot allow this immoral behaviour to permeate our primary and secondary schools ... never.”

"After calculating some few mathematics she’d be asking the teacher in the classroom ‘let me go out and breastfeed my crying baby’... After getting pregnant, you are done! 

“If we were to allow the girls back to school, one day we would find all girls in Standard One going home to nurse their babies.”

These worrying statements were backed up this week by Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister, Mr Mwigulu Nchemba, who warned civil society organisations advocating for teenage mothers’ education that they would be deregistered if they continued campaigning on this issue.

Tanzania's ban on pregnant girls attending state primary and secondary schools dates back to 1961, and according to a 2013 report by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), more than 55,000 schoolgirls have been expelled from school over the last decade for being pregnant.

Although some more affluent families have been able to pay for their daughters to attend private school, the majority of girls have had to miss out on the rest of their education.

Civil society organizations including Equality Now argue that denying girls who have become mothers access to education is a violation of their human rights, and is a form of discrimination as highlighted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in their recent report: Realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl.

The right to education plays a pivotal role in development, both of the individual and society. It opens up access to information on protection, opportunities and other fundamental rights, and is highly linked to personal, social and economic empowerment.

Barring teenage mothers from education not only perpetuates discriminatory gender norms, but is also an indication of government failures to address the root cause of widespread sexual violence against adolescent girls.

Efforts to eradicate violence against girls and women in Tanzania need to be increased, and laws against perpetrators of sexual violence have to be better enforced. More needs to be done also to alleviate the stigma and discrimination endured by pregnant girls and survivors of sexual violence and exploitation.

Girls’ human rights to health, life and right to equality and non-discrimination must be guaranteed by providing them with quality education, and to sexual and reproductive health care information, services and goods. 

The Tanzanian government and President John Magufuli should ensure that all school settings across the country are free from sexual violence and that holistic programming is in place to prevent and address sexual violence as outlined in the Global Guidance to Address School Related Gender Based Violence.

Description: https://ci6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/RnNZfQn2o2xpggJQqefCOervMbPIci5mujDPJnvl43kv6Rtxjyh5gHN_JKVzeU-aaGz3pePFgxfoAAtZJZNx8mveVTc-11j98EfuAJVcumUenA=s0-d-e1-ft#https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifEducation is key to eliminating poverty and denial of education is counter to any proposals aiming to improve society. Around one in four females in Tanzania are illiterate and the country’s illiteracy rate rose by one per cent to reach 23 per cent in 2015. By only punishing pregnant girls and denying them their education, the government is penalizing them on the basis of gender and is curtailing their futures so they are likely to remain trapped in a cycle of poverty.

Providing access to child care for girls who become mothers should be a state priority, as should the provision of other vital support services so that they can return to school.  Of particular urgency is guaranteeing girls’ right to access post-rape healthcare information and services including those necessary to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as ante-natal care.

President Magufuli’s comments go against the Tanzanian government's own policy and contradict the 2015 General Election campaign pledge of the ruling political party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi. They are also directly at odds with the commitments that Tanzania has already made by signing up to various regional and international pieces of legislation. These include the Maputo Protocol, which guarantees the rights of women and girls in Africa including their rights to education and training, and the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which clearly states that girls who get pregnant should be given an opportunity to access education.

People wanting to join the conversation on social media can use the hashtags #ArudiShule and #StopMagufuli, which are trending since last week. Many are urging President Magufuli to withdraw his damaging statements, lift the ban on teenage mothers accessing schools, and take all necessary steps to ensure the wellbeing and future prospects of all girls across Tanzania.

ENDS

Notes to Editor: For media enquiries and interview requests please contact Equality Now Media Relations Manager Tara Carey at tcarey@equalitynow.org; +44 (0)20 7304 6902; +44 (0)7971 556 340.

About Equality Now:

Equality Now is an international human rights organization that works to protect and promote the rights of women and girls around the world by combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy. Our international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters achieve legal and systemic change by holding governments responsible for enacting and enforcing laws and policies that end legal inequality, sex trafficking, sexual violence, and harmful practices such as child marriage and FGM. Equality Now is dedicated to creating a more just world where women and girls have equal rights under the law and full enjoyment of those rights. For details of our current campaigns, please visit www.equalitynow.org.

To follow and engage with us online go to: Twitter: @equalitynow. Facebook:  facebook.com/equalitynoworg Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/equalitynoworg/?hl=en

Christa Stewart is Program Manager, End Sexual Violence, and Justice for Girls. She is a lawyer experienced in working with adolescent girls and on issues of human trafficking, sexual assault and immigration. Twiiter @c_stewart_esq

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to [email=editor@pambazuka.org]editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org[/email] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Issue Number: 
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Equality Now

          CARICOM deals a blow to US plans for regime change in Venezuela    

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, recently tweeted that the “US State Department deployed its ambassadors in the region to attack Venezuela. We come with renewed vigor to defeat them at the OAS.”

So said, so done. The US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, spewed the US false narrative regarding Venezuela in our local newspapers. US ambassadors in a number of other Caribbean countries did the same. It was a coordinated attempt to mislead the people of Guyana and the region about what is really happening in Venezuela, and to apply pressure on members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and the OAS (Organization of American States) to succumb to US calls for intervention, with the aim of overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

US diplomats in Guyana, and for that matter throughout the Global South, are not diplomats in the strict sense of the word, and can be better described as political activists. They are constantly meddling in the internal affairs of the country they are stationed in, giving directives to the compliant neo-colonial regimes and actively undermining and destabilizing independent and anti-imperialist governments, such as the government in Venezuela.

This latest US psych-ops came just after the May 31st meeting of the OAS in Washington DC and just prior to the June 19th OAS meeting in Cancun, Mexico, where CARICOM member states took a firm and united anti-interventionist position in relation to the current situation in Venezuela, delivering a resounding defeat to the interventionist approach advocated by the US, Mexico, Peru and Panama,

Following the June 19th OAS meeting, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, said: “Today we come with the strength of our people who took to the streets to denounce the interventionism of the Organization of American States, we come with the force of the rain of our commander Hugo Chavez. Independence and sovereignty triumphed today over the United States of America, with its brutal pressure, with its gross extortion, with its maneuvers…”

She added that the call for intervention encourages the “most violent, anti-democratic factions in our country,” and she thanked the Caribbean nations for their “deeply principled stand.”
In his letter and articles, US ambassador, Perry Holloway, had the temerity to lecture Guyana and other member-states of the OAS about their obligation to democracy and human rights. He stated that: “The diverse family of nations in the Americas recognizes democracy is a part of our collective DNA. Sixteen years ago in Peru, we underscored this principle with the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, affirming the right of the peoples of the Americas to democracy and obligating our governments to defend that right.”

I suggest that before US diplomats in the Caribbean and the Americas offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any member-state of the OAS on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Trump lays bare sham democracy

The only positive aspect of Trump’s presidency is that it is exposing, once and for all, the sham that parades as US democracy and concern for human rights. The entirely undemocratic nature of US internal and foreign policy is clear to all in 2017. Even that minority of citizens on this planet who still held out some hope that the US resembled anything close to a democracy, have now seen through the façade. American political philosopher, Sheldon S. Wolin, in his brilliant work, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, renders a devastating critique of US democracy and is a vital read for anyone who wishes to understand the latent fascism that underpins the politics of this Empire.

Former US Attorney-General, Ramsay Clark, had this to say: “We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.” He compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, and is on record as saying at the outset of the US invasion of Iraq, that it “will be genocide again,” adding that “the greatest crime since World War Two has been US foreign policy.”

As I watch the hue and cry over Trump’s actions, it reminds me of Adolph Hitler’s response to Europe’s criticism of his policies. He told them: “I am only doing out in the open what you have been doing behind closed doors for centuries.”

A meme that was circulated at the end of Obama’s presidency said it best: “Only in shallow, self-absorbed, privileged America could a leader drop 26,000 bombs on seven countries in a single year, and have citizens mourn the end of his term because he looked and sounded classy while doing it.”

The illusion highlighted in this meme picks up on the public relations stunt that has become a hallmark of the US establishment, and which Sheldon Wolin identifies as a major feature of the “inverted totalitarianism” that exists in the US today. He describes “inverted totalitarianism” as a state of affairs where a small ruling elite (the 1%) have established an authoritarian society which benefits them exclusively. In this society, corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy, and natural resources and labor are seen as mere commodities to be exploited for huge profits.

This status quo is maintained by a sophisticated propaganda machine that lulls the majority of people into apathy. Central to reinforcing this hegemon is a tightly controlled corporatized media, a mouthpiece for the establishment, that is constantly spinning fake news and false narratives, and emphasizing rabid consumerism, individualism and the politics of personality and sensationalism. Wolin, like Clark, compares modern day USA to Nazi Germany, pointing out that the form is different but the essence, that is, fascism, is the same.

Friendly fascism

Tirty-seven years ago, political scientist, Bertram Gross, coined the term “friendly fascism” and predicted the Orwellian reality we are witnessing today in the US. His thesis converges with the conclusions reached by Wolin, Clark and others.

In his farewell address at the end of his presidency in 1961, Republican Dwight Eisenhower, warned the American people about the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex”, the control it exerted and its ability to, in his words, “weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.” This has surely come to pass.

So, before US diplomats such as Perry Holloway attempt to discredit the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, initiated by one of the most revered freedom fighters in the Americas, the late Hugo Chavez, and led today by President Nicolas Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela with the support of the majority of the people of Venezuela, they would do well to take a long and hard look at the crisis of democracy in their own country.

Let Mr. Holloway explain to Guyanese and the citizenry of all member-states of the OAS why, in 2017, Africans in the US continue to be gunned down in the streets on a regular basis.
Let him explain to us why the US has the largest number of persons imprisoned per capita in the world, and why the prisoners are disproportionately made up of Africans, Indigenous and other people of color, before he points the finger at a revolution that has lifted African and Indigenous Venezuelans out of debilitating discrimination and poverty.

Let Mr. Holloway address the situation of US political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin (formerly Rap Brown), Leonard Peltier and so many others who are languishing in US prisons before he speaks of Venezuela’s human rights record.

Let the US Ambassador focus on the shocking poverty and illiteracy statistics emerging from his own country, before he points the finger at the Bolivarian revolution which has made unprecedented gains in eradicating poverty and illiteracy amongst the masses of Venezuela’s poor. Anyone who visited oil rich Venezuela prior to the Bolivarian revolution can testify to the abhorrent conditions and the repressive measures used to subjugate the majority of Venezuelans, and in particular, African and Indigenous Venezuelans.

Does the Ambassador truly believe that his letters and articles, full of the usual delusional and empty rhetoric, would convince any of us that his government is concerned about democracy and human rights in Venezuela, or anywhere in the world for that matter, after we have witnessed the apocalyptic events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on?

Does Mr. Holloway think we have forgotten our own history in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the US orchestrated coups that overthrew the democratically elected governments of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, President Salvador Allende in Chile, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop in Grenada, President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras and the constitutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil? What about the removal at gunpoint of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by US military personnel in Haiti?

There is not the space in a single article to even list the US crimes in our region. Just to chronicle them warrants a book. If we were to list US crimes against the whole of humanity, we are looking at a library of books. The US Empire and the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Empires that preceded it, have been without doubt the worst examples of terrorism in all of human history.

In his letter and article, Mr. Holloway advises that “when a government breaks with democracy, we must act in solidarity with its people, not through intervention or interference, but with diplomacy and mediation among all parties to help find a peaceful, democratic, and comprehensive solution.” Tell us Mr. Holloway: Are the examples listed above your idea of diplomacy and mediation?

These governments were not removed because of their lack of democracy or abuse of human rights. They were removed, like countless others throughout the Global South, because they were attempting to free their country from the clutches of the Empire, and liberate their wealth and resources so that they might benefit the masses of their people. Our own founding fathers in Guyana, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, were subjected to the same destabilization tactics at the hands of the US government and its CIA.

Empire loses its grip

The US and its diplomats need to understand that with the advent of the internet and the availability of information in this day and age, the Empire has lost all credibility. There is no one left on earth who can be misled by their hollow and hypocritical rhetoric. Do not be fooled by those who dare not speak openly -- they are afraid of losing their visas and even worse reprisals. Regardless of their cowardice and silence, everyone knows that the Emperor is naked. Behind closed doors, even those satraps who publicly profess their allegiance, such as the Saudis, snigger and jeer at the hideous state of affairs in the United States of America.

As the US Empire crumbles, its vampires, who have sucked the blood of the sufferers for so long, are in panic mode because, despite their descent into blatant authoritarianism and fascism, they continue to lose their grip on the terrifying world they have created, as it spins more and more out of control. The ugly death squads such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, the very Frankensteins of their own making, are turning right back on them. As Malcom X observed so long ago, the chickens must come home to roost. One cannot keep up with the number of attacks in the US and Europe.

One of the vampires, largely credited with creating Al Qaeda, a former US National Security Advisor, and founder of the Rockefeller-controlled Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a speech to British elites at Chatham House in 2008, spoke volumes when he said:

“…new and old major powers face still yet another novel reality, in some respects unprecedented, and it is that while the lethality of their power is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low…I once put it rather pungently, and I was flattered that the British Foreign Secretary repeated this… namely, in earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”

The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela.”
The current US administration, like its predecessors, whether Democrat or Republican, is involved in just that, killing millions of people all over the world in its bid to control, and trying desperately to convince us of the absurd notion that that they are doing this in the name of democracy and human rights. Trouble is, no one is buying it? The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela. The playbook is old and tired. Donald Trump just tied up an arms deal worth 350 billion US dollars with the corrupt and entirely undemocratic regime of Saudi Arabia, a regime that is without doubt the main proliferator of the ideology of Wahhabism and the movements intent on imposing this ideology worldwide, such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Nusra Front and ISIS. All these weapons to a government that is funding terrorism worldwide and committing genocide in Yemen.

And, when the power struggle between the Saudis and the Qataris surfaced, Trump paid lip service to the manufactured war on terror by publicly condemning Qatar’s support for terrorism, and days later sold the Qataris US military hardware worth 12 billion dollars. In light of this hypocrisy and blatant disregard for the victims of these rogue states and their global terrorist network, can you really expect us to believe that your concern with Venezuela is about lack of democracy and human rights?

No shame
Finally, to Mr. Holloway and his cohorts throughout the region, your expressed shock and horror about the so-called spillover from Venezuela’s current predicament was perhaps the most shameful part of your missive: “The spillover effects from Venezuela’s crisis are serious and growing, whether it is irregular migrant flows to countries in our region or the increasing flow of arms and criminal activity that affect the Caribbean in particular.”

This is rich coming from the people who illegally invaded Libya, murdered the Libyan leader and freedom fighter, Muammar Qaddafi in the street, and in so doing, destroyed the most prosperous and democratic nation on the African continent, causing a migration crisis of a magnitude never seen before. Your government handed over the nation of Libya to a conglomerate of thugs, criminals, terrorists and reactionary warlords, and this spillover continues to wreak havoc throughout Africa and the Arab Region six years on. Before you concern yourself with any spillover in the Caribbean, please deal with the spillover from your criminal invasion of Libya, a spillover that only this month reached Manchester, England.

In Guyana, the Americas and throughout the Global South, the masses of people are sick and tired of the same old playbook -- the one that is in fact the cause of the current situation in Venezuela. But then, that is part of the devil’s own script, cause the problem and then come to us as savior, with a solution. It plays like this: the US, through its infamous web of security agencies, NGOs, Aid Agencies, think-tanks and other Trojan horses, destabilize, sow confusion and do everything in their power to overthrow any government and subjugate any people that refuse to obey Empire. Recently, more than 300,000 Venezuelans took to the streets in support of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution.

The opposition held a demonstration that attracted 50,000. Of course, in your United States, the corporate media is reporting just the opposite. By the admission of your own president they are the purveyors of fake news and this is just another example of your country’s lack of democracy. The bottom line is this Mr. Holloway: your country and its government is no way fit to point the finger at anyone when it comes to infringement of democracy, democratic values and human rights.

In your letters and articles you ask: “If these things were happening in our own countries, would we not want the rest of our American family of nations to speak out, and reach out, to help restore fundamental democratic freedoms and respect for constitutional institutions?”

In your own words you proclaim that: “The Organization of American States has for decades provided a forum to discuss our greatest challenges and take action together to address them. The challenge before us today is the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela.”

What you say in the two quotes above is correct except for one thing, the challenge before us today is not the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela, it is the death spiral of democracy in the United States and an evil Empire spinning out of control.

You are right -- the OAS should take immediate action to prevent further terrorism and turmoil because the spillover worldwide from the crisis in the United States is serious and growing.

* GERALD A. PERREIRA is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) and an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. This article previously appeared in Black Agenda Report.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to [email=editor@pambazuka.org]editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org[/email] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Issue Number: 
Article Image Caption | Source: 
AVN

          The Canadian who helped conquer 150,000 sq. km for King Léopold II   
Sub-Title: 
Reflections on Canada’s 150th anniversary are incomplete without this dark chapter of their history

Canada’s 150th anniversary offers a unique opportunity to shed light on some darker corners of the country’s history. One of the dustier chapters is our contribution to one of the most barbarous regimes of the last century and half.

In a bid to extract rubber and other commodities from his personal colony, Belgian King Léopold II instituted a brutal system of forced labour in the late 1800s. Individuals and communities were given rubber collection quotas that were both hard to fulfill and punishable by death. To prove they killed someone who failed to fulfill a quota soldiers from the Force Publique, the colonial police, were required to provide a severed hand. With Force Publique officers paid partly based on the number collected, severed hands became a sort of currency in the colony and baskets of hands the symbol of the Congo Free State.

Between 1891 and 1908 millions died from direct violence, as well as the starvation and disease, caused by Leopold II’s terror. A quarter of the population may have died during Leopold’s reign, which sparked a significant international solidarity movement that forced the Belgian government to intervene and buy the colony.

Halifax’s William Grant Stairs played an important part in two expeditions that expanded Leopold II’s immensely profitable Congolese venture. The Royal Military College of Canada trained soldier was one of 10 white officers in the first-ever European expedition to cross the interior of the continent and subsequently Stairs led an expedition that added 150,000 square kilometres to Leopold’s colony.

In 1887 Stairs joined the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition, which was ostensibly designed to “rescue” the British-backed governor of Equatoria, the southern part of today’s South Sudan. Scottish merchant William MacKinnon asked famed American ‘explorer’ Henry Morton Stanley to lead a relief effort. At the time of the expedition Léopold II employed Stanley, who had been helping the king carve out the ‘Congo Free State’. Seeing an opportunity to add to his colony, Leopold wanted Stanley to take a circuitous route all the way around South Africa, up the Congo River and across the interior of the continent.

One of ten whites, Stairs quickly became second-in-command of the three-year expedition. Read from a humanistic or internationalist perspective, the RMC graduate’s diary of the disastrous expedition is incredibly damning. Or, as Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke put it, “Stairs’ account of his atrocities establishes that even Canadians, blinded by racism, can become swashbuckling mass murderers.”

Stairs’ extensive diary, which he asked to be published upon his and Stanley’s death, makes it clear that locals regularly opposed the mission. One passage notes, “the natives made a tremendous noise all night and canoes came close to us, the natives yelling frantically for us to go away” while another entry explains, “the natives destroyed their food rather than let it fall into the hands of the invaders.”

Stairs repeatedly admits to “ransacking the place”. A December 11, 1887 diary entry notes: “Out again at the natives, burned more houses and cut down more bananas; this time we went further up the valley and devastated the country there. In the afternoon [white officer, A. J. Mounteney] Jephson and I went up to some high hills at the back of the camp and burnt all we could see, driving off a lot of natives like so much game. I managed to capture some six goats and yesterday I also got six, which we gave to the men. The natives now must be pretty sick of having their property destroyed in the way we are doing, but it serves them right as they were the aggressors and after taking our cloth, fired on us.”

On a number of occasions the expedition displayed mutilated bodies or severed heads as a “warning” to the locals. Stairs notes, “I often wonder what English people would say if they knew of the way in which we go for these natives; friendship we don’t want as then we should get very little meat and probably have to pay for the bananas. Every male native capable of using the bow is shot. This, of course, we must do. All the children and women are taken as slaves by our men to do work in the camps.”

Stairs led numerous raiding parties to gather “carriers”, which were slaves in all but name. According to The Last Expedition, “[the mission] routinely captured natives, either to be ransomed for food, to get information, or simply to be used as guides for a few days.”

To cross the continent the expedition relied on its superior firepower, which included the newly created 600-bullet-per-minute Maxim gun. Stairs describes one battle, stating that his men were “ready to land and my Maxim ready to murder them if they should dare to attack us.” On another day the firearm aficionado explained, “I cleaned the Maxim gun up thoroughly and fired some 20 or 30 rounds at some howling natives on the opposite bank.” Twenty months into the mission Stairs coyly admits “by what means have we traveled over 730 miles of country from the Congo to the lake? Why by rifle alone, by shooting and pillaging.”

Beyond the immediate death and destruction, the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition opened new areas of the African interior to Arab slave traders and it is thought to be the source of a sleeping sickness epidemic that ravaged the region. The expedition was also devastating for its participants. With little food and much abuse from the white officers, only 253 of the 695 African porters and soldiers who started the mission survived. Additionally, hundreds of other Africans who became part of the expedition at later stages died as well.

There are disturbing claims that some white officers took sex slaves and in one alarming instance even paid to have an 11-year-old girl cooked and eaten. This story scandalized the British public.

For his part, Stairs became almost pathologically inhumane. His September 28, 1887 diary entry notes: “It was most interesting, lying in the bush and watching the natives quietly at their days work; some women were pounding the bark of trees preparatory to making the coarse native cloth used all along this part of the river, others were making banana flower by pounding up dried bananas, men we could see building huts and engaged at other such work, boys and girls running about, singing, crying, others playing on a small instrument common all over Africa, a series of wooden strips, bent over a bridge and twanged with the thumb and forefinger. All was as it was every day until our discharge of bullets, when the usual uproar of screaming of women took place.”

Even with some criticizing the expedition in Britain, Stairs’ efforts were celebrated in Canada. An honouring committee established by the mayor of Halifax decided to give him a sword made in London of Nova Scotia steel and the city organized a reception attended by the Lieutenant-Governor with a military band playing “Here the Conquering Hero Comes.”

Within two years of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition Stairs helped King Leopold II conquer the resource-rich Katanga region of the Congo. Suggested to Leopold by British investors and having already impressed Stanley with his brutality, Stairs headed up a heavily armed mission that swelled to 2,000.

The goal of the expedition was to extend Leopold’s authority over the Katanga region and to get a piece of the copper, ivory and gold trade. Stairs’ specific objective was to get Msiri, the ruler of the region, “to submit to the authorities of the Congo Free State, either by persuasion or by force.” In his diary Stairs says more or less as much, writing that his goals were “above all, to be successful with regard to Msiri ... to discover mines in Katanga that can be exploited ... to make some useful geographic discoveries.” Investigating the area’s suitability for European settlement and for raising domestic animals were other aims of the mission.

As leader of the mission Stairs prepared a daily journal for the Compagnie du Katanga. It details the terrain, resources and inhabitants along the way as well as other information that could assist in exploiting the region. It also explains his personal motivations for taking on the task despite spotty health. “I wasn’t happy [garrisoned with the Royal Engineers in England] in the real sense of the word. I felt my life passing without my doing anything worthwhile. Now I am freely making my way over the coastal plain with more than 300 men under my orders. My least word is law and I am truly the master.” Later, he describes his growing force and power. “I have thus, under my orders, 1350 men — quite a little army.”

Stairs admitted to using slaves even though Leopold’s mission to the Congo was justified as a humanistic endeavour to stop the Arab slave trade. He wrote about how “the anti-slavery society will try and jump upon me for employing slaves as they seem to think I am doing… however, I don’t fancy these will disturb me to a great extent.” The RMC graduate also regularly severed hands and reportedly collected the head of an enemy.

The expedition accomplished its principal objective. Stairs had Msiri killed and threatened Msiri’s brothers with the same fate unless they accepted Leopold as sovereign. After securing their submission Stairs divided the kingdom between Msiri’s adopted son and brothers.

Stairs used a series of racist rationalizations to justify conquering Katanga. He describes the population as “unfortunate blacks who, very often, are incapable of managing their own affairs” and asked in the introduction of his diary: “Have we the right to take possession of this vast country, take it out of the hands of its local chiefs and to make it serve the realization of our goals? … To this question, I shall reply positively, yes. What value would it have [the land he was trying to conquer] in the hands of blacks, who, in their natural state, are far more cruel to one another than the worst Arabs or the wickedest whites.”

At another point Stairs cites another standard colonial justification: “Only rarely do the natives think of improving their lot — that’s the great weakness among the Africans. Their fathers’ ways are theirs and their own customs will be those of their sons and grandsons.”

While Stairs died in the Congo his exploits were lauded in Ottawa when Senator W.J. Macdonald sought to move “a parliamentary resolution expressing satisfaction for Stairs’ manly conduct.” There’s a Stairs Street in Halifax and two brass plaques honour him at the RMC (one for Stairs alone and another dedicated to him and two others). The main plaque reads: “William Grant Stairs, Captain the Welsh Regiment. Born at Halifax Nova Scotia 1 July 1863. Lieutenant Royal Engineers 1885-91. Served on the staff of the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition 1887 under the leadership of H.M. Stanley and exhibited great courage and devotion to duty. Died of fever on the 9 June 1892 at Chinde on the Zambesi whilst in command of the Katanga Expedition sent out by the King of the Belgians.” Another plaque was erected for Stairs (and two others) at St. George Cathedral in Kingston, Ontario. And a few hundred kilometers to the southwest “Stair’s Island” was named in his honour in Parry Sound.

Stairs was one of hundreds of Canadians who helped conquer different parts of Africa in the late 1800s. Accounts of Canada’s first 150 years are incomplete without this chapter in our history.

* YVES ENGLER author of, Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to [email=editor@pambazuka.org]editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org[/email] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Issue Number: 
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Wiki

          Canadian PM Trudeau is not a friend of all God’s children   

Trudeau’s first cabinet was Africanless. Africans in Canada, from the continent and here questioned this move.  Many felt that the younger Trudeau took us for granted because his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau (October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000) “opened” the doors for immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. Eventually he did appoint Somali Toronto MP Ahmed Hussen to the federal cabinet as immigration minister.

Trudeau did appoint Indian-born Sikh Harjit Sajjan, MP for Vancouver South, minister of defence. Sikhs have a significantly different history in Canada than Africans.  The Sikh community is represented in all professional fields: medical, legal, technological, academic. Africans came kicking and screaming to the Western Hemisphere. Recently he has been questioned about “fibbing” about being the leader of a battle in Afghanistan. Sajjan said yearly defence spending will swell by more than 70 per cent, from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27. He promised $62.3 billion in new spending over 20 years.

Bardish Chagger is another India- born Canadian politician who is the current Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.  Chagger was elected as a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada in 2015.  She is the first female Leader of the Government in the House of Commons by Trudeau.

Amarjeet Sohi is an Indian-Canadian politician, currently the Member of Parliament for Edmonton and the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in the federal cabinet. He narrowly beat out strong community advocate Nigerian-born Chinwe Okelu.

Maryam Monsef is an Afghan Canadian politician, a Liberal member the House of Commons in 2015. She was previously the Minister of Democratic Institutions and president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada until January 10, 2017.

Monsef has not had an easy ride. According to Wikipedia: “Monsef has been criticized for stating that she was born in Afghanistan, when in fact she was born in Iran. When this was revealed in September 2016, some commentators pointed out that this could lead to revocation of her Canadian citizenship and potential deportation, while others have criticized the absurdity of the present law or decried the importation of birtherism into Canadian politics. In an interview at that time, former MP Dean Del Mastro said that political workers in the 2014 municipal and 2015 federal campaigns knew she was not born in Afghanistan, but chose not to make an issue of it.”

Navdeep Singh Bains, the new minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is a Canadian born Indian.

Canada’s role in Haiti should never be forgotten. Back in the day I discussed Haiti on the Black Commentator in an article: “Canada's Crimes Against Haiti” in   the October 27, 2005 issue. After reading Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton’s  volumeCanada in Haiti’, I pointed out: “The chapter ‘Responsibility to Protect or A Made in Ottawa Coup?’ points out the coup against Aristide was actually planned on Canadian soil. From January 31-February 1, 2003, Canada’s Secretary of State for Latin America and La Francophonie, Denis Paradis, played host to a high-level roundtable meeting dubbed, The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti. Surprise, surprise, no representative of Haiti’s elected government was invited. However, Otto Reich, then President George W. Bush’s appointee as Assistant Secretary State for the Western Hemisphere, was in attendance. Paradis leaked the fact that this meeting took place to journalist Michael Vastel, who reported the meeting in the March 15, 2003 edition of L’Actualite magazine. Another chapter, ‘Using NGOs to Destroy Democracy and the Canadian Military Connection’ exposes the shameful role played by many Canadian NGOs.”

Trudeau is a self-proclaimed “feminist”. The court is still out on this matter. A recent article in the British based Guardian newspaper questioned the Canadian Prime Minister: “A slight note of exasperation crept into Justin Trudeau’s voice, suggesting that this was a topic he had broached many times before. ‘I’m going to keep saying loud and clearly that I am a feminist until it is met with a shrug,’ he declared to an audience at the United Nations in New York.”

His words sparked delight around the world. But one year on, Trudeau’s heady promises have run into the realities of government, prompting the question: has electing a self-described feminist to helm of the country translated into real change for Canadian women?

Canada’s prime minister is moving the Great White North further to the right on foreign affairs. Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau opened the doors to draft resisters including myself who refused to fight against the Vietnamese people. I saw Africans in America and the Vietnamese as colonial subjects. Africans in the United States were colonized by Uncle Sam and the Vietnamese by the French. Wiki pointed out: “While Canada had previously participated in military action against Iraq  in the Gulf War of 1991, it refused to declare war against Iraq without United Nations approval.

The Iraq War began with the United States-led 2003 invasion. The Government of Canada did not at any time formally declare war against Iraq, and the level and nature of this participation, which changed over time, was controversial.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said on 10 October 2002 that Canada would, in fact, be part of a military coalition to invade Iraq if it were sanctioned by the United Nations. However, when the United States and the United Kingdom subsequently withdrew their diplomatic efforts to gain that UN sanction, Jean Chrétien announced in Parliament on 17 March 2003 that Canada would not participate in the pending invasion.”

However, this is not the full story. The “Big White Folks” as Paul Robeson called them speak with forked tongues. “Nevertheless, he offered the US and its soldiers his moral support. However, according to classified U.S. documents released by Wikileaks, a high-ranking Canadian official may have secretly promised to clandestinely support the invasion. Two days earlier, a quarter million people in Montreal had marched against the impending war. Major anti-war demonstrations had taken place in several other Canadian cities.” Chrétien’s moves had more to do with the growing opposition to the invasion than his political morality.  

The not so great white north has a checkered history in the African continent. Canada joined the imperialists and played with the white checkers. They played a significant role in the assassinations of Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Mpolo, and Joseph Okito on January 21, 1961. Ottawa came up on the wrong side of history on the question of the Congo. Yves Engler author of the illuminating volume, Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation, pointed out: “Siding with Washington, Ottawa promoted ONUC) and UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold’s controversial anti-Lumumba position. ONUC was established in July 1960 to ensure the withdrawal of Belgian forces. 1,900 Canadian troops participated in the UN mission between 1960 and 1964, making this country’s military one of its more active members. There were almost always more Canadian officers at ONUC headquarters than those of any other nationality and the Canadians were concentrated in militarily important logistical positions including chief operations officer and chief signals officer.”

Canada opposed anticolonial struggles in Africa, supported apartheid South Africa and Idi Amin’s coup against Milton Obote (December 28 1925- October 10, 2005) who had led Uganda to independence in 1962 from British colonialism. He was overthrown by Amin in 1971. Canada played a role in the ousting of Lumumba in the Congo by the CIA, Belgium and Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga aka Joseph Mobutu and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.

The Great White North pressed African states to follow neoliberal policies, which have benefitted Canadian corporations. The Canadian International Development Perform points out: “Canada is a global mining giant and a leading player in Africa’s mining sector. 70% of the equity capital raised globally by the mining industry was raised on the Toronto (TSX) and Venture (TSXV) exchanges. Of the $10.3 billion in equity raised for mining on the TSX and TSXV in 2012 $1.9 billion or 18.5% was for projects in Latin America while another $1.7 billion or 16.5% was for projects in Africa.”   Canada played a role in the violence the Congo, Rwanda and Somali.  

Canada does have a Black Radical Tradition. However, we cannot expect Corporate Canada or the Black Misleadership Class to tell the story. That is on us on the Black Left.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to [email=editor@pambazuka.org]editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org[/email] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Issue Number: 
Article Image Caption | Source: 
File

          Some notes on white monopoly capital: Definition, use and denial   

“The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes” - Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.

“Today, the main task of the working class is to abolish the white monopoly of power, to carry out the national democratic revolution for the liberation of African and other oppressed people”- Augmented Meeting of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party, 1970.

“We have in the past defined the forces which the NDR sought to defeat as the white ruling class, represented by monopoly capitalism and including other class and social strata within the white community, all whom had an objective interest in the continuation of white minority rule”, ANC Discussion Document, Umrabulo 8, 2000.

1. Context

A narrative is now gaining momentum that the concept “white monopoly capital” is an invention of some public relations firm called Bell Pottinger, which was founded in 1987, and that it does not exist in the literature of the national liberation movement.

Some have continued to maintain that “white monopoly capital” does not exist, while others acknowledge that it exists but, fearing for their positions in white monopoly establishments, their deals and careers, they say it is harmful to investment to keep on referring to “white monopoly capital”.

But, is it really true that the concept, “white monopoly capital”, does not exist in the annals of the South African revolution?

In his recent Open Letter, Justice Pitso says something very profound, “…where the fundamental principles of our scientific revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism are concerned, the question of who is right or wrong cannot be judged necessarily on the basis of the view of the majority”.

In these notes, we show that the claim that the concept “white monopoly capital” cannot be found in the literature of the national liberation movement is not true. As we have said before in our input titled: “Concerning the Current Situation”, which appeared on 7 April 2017, this narrative which seeks to deny the existence of white monopoly capital, or white monopolisation of South Africa, is aimed at ideologically confusing black people in general, Africans in particular.

This is done so as to hide the real class force that wields power in South African society, the class force which is responsible for much of the poverty, starvation and suppression of talent that is experienced by black people.

Others have decided to give up on the real situation and lurch on to idealism. We are now informed that we should suppress the facts and ignore the national character of monopoly capital in South Africa. All of a sudden, monopoly capital has turned colourless as pure water. This is revisionism.

Writing in the New Age, Nelson Mandela had this to say: “The system of white supremacy has its roots in the cheap labour need of the major economic groups in the country. South Africa’s economy is dominated by giant monopolies in the gold mining industry linked with big financial and farming interests whose tentacles reach also into secondary industry. These groups have been responsible for the reserve system, migratory labour, the low wage policy. These groups own and control the national wealth of our country and determine the basic structure of the South African state ...”

Mandela continued to say: “If tomorrow every discriminatory law on the statute book were repealed, but the mineral wealth, monopoly industry and financial empires were not transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole, the system of white superiority would in its basic essentials be perpetuated for many generations.”

We are exactly where Nelson Mandela warned us we would be, if we did not transfer the basic wealth to the ownership of the people as a whole. As Mzwakhe said, “the people’s patience is not endless”!

Needless to say, the concept “white monopoly capital” is an invention of the South African Communist Party. It emerged in revolutionary literature for the first time in the SACP 1962 programme, The Road to South African Freedom. That was way before the founding of Bell Pottinger.

2. The motive forces: some critical thoughts on the National Democratic Revolution

Some time ago, in 2002, I wrote a paper titled “The motive forces: Some critical thoughts on the NDR”, which was published in Umrabulo Number 14, inspired by the SACP 1962. In that paper, I attempted to scientifically outline the alignment of class forces in the NDR. I sought to define what the class forces of the national democratic revolution are and the forces of the enemy.

At that time in 2002, as it is now, there was confusion on the issue that was peddled by the neoliberals in the ANC. The neoliberals, worked hard to empty the ANC of its revolutionary theory. There was a dominant tendency, as it is to this day, that made the ANC to rapidly depart from a consistent class analysis in the formulation of the Strategy and Tactics document.

When the question “who is the enemy of the NDR?” kept on being asked by ANC activists, we were constantly told that “the enemy of the NDR is poverty, unemployment and inequality”. When we responded by saying that the ANC has defined the enemy to be “white monopoly capital”, we were told, “that was in the past”, now we have to “fight poverty, unemployment and inequality”.

This was obviously unsatisfactory. As young people in the ANC-led movement, we started searching for answers; we felt as though our elders were hiding a “family secret”, because the answer they gave did not make sense.

Another reason that set me off to write that paper was what I perceived to be an error that some of the comrades were committing. They postured in a way that meant the black bourgeoisie as a whole was not part of the motive forces. They ridiculed and rejected the concept of a “patriotic bourgeoisie”. I still think it is wrong to reject this concept.

The issues that were at stake then are still at stake today. In a way, one could argue that, substantially at the theoretical level, the ANC has come full circle to the old debate which we hoped would animate theoretical discussion and change the contents of subsequent Strategy and Tactics documents. Alas, the paper failed to catch the attention of comrades.

In that paper, I stated that: “South Africa's social formation was characterised in the historical papers of the movement as a colonialism of a special type (CST). Because the concept of colonialism does not specify the nature of class relations it was important to move beyond the form of the social formation to its content. Colonialism of a special type was found to be perpetrated by a capitalist class. This class came to be known as "white monopoly capital".

I continued to assert that, “The movement characterised the principal contradiction in SA as between apartheid colonialism led by white monopoly capital on one side, and national liberation led by the black working class on the other side”.

In fact the whole paper is replete with the concept “white monopoly capital”. That was in 2002. My confession is that I had no idea that I was pushing a Bell Pottinger concept which was invented more than ten years later, after 2012!

  1. White monopoly capital: Definition

One of the most disturbing tendencies to emerge from the debate about white monopoly capital is that some contenders claim that white monopoly capital has not been defined. These contenders express their ignorance.

Here we begin with how the national liberation movement defined the main opponent of the South African revolution and the idea of “white monopolisation” of South Africa.

3.1 The South African Communist Party

3.1.1 Extracts from “The Road to South African Freedom, 1962”

“The three million Whites hold a monopoly of political rights and economic opportunities. They alone can vote for and be elected to Parliament and other governing bodies. They are fortified behind a wall of privilege in the civil service, in jobs and professions, in educational opportunities and a hundred other fields. 87 per cent of the land is reserved for White ownership, and White capitalists own and control the mines, factories and banks and most of commerce. Their government inculcates a lying and insulting doctrine of race superiority”.

“Effective economic domination in South Africa is thus exercised by an alliance of local White monopoly interests in mining, industry and agriculture, together with foreign imperialists and representatives of state monopoly capitalism. These interests have conflicts among themselves, which are reflected in the main White political parties and groupings. But they find common ground in the perpetuation of the colonial-type subjugation of the non-White population”.

“In fact, however, real power is in the hands of the monopolists who own and control the mines, the banks and finance houses, and most of the farms and major industries. The gold and diamond mines are owned by seven mining-financial corporations and controlled by a handful of powerful financiers. These seven corporations are closely linked with British and American imperialist interests. They control capital investment in mining alone of R490 million, and employ almost 500,000 workers. In addition, they dominate large sections of manufacturing industries. They are linked with the main banks, two of which control assets of over R2,000 million, mainly in the form of loans to industry, commerce and estate.

They own vast tracts of arable land and mining rights in almost every part of the country. In agriculture, too, monopoly dominates. 4 per cent of the farms make up an area amounting to almost four-tenths of the total White-owned farmland. Thus, in mining, industry, commerce and farming, monopolists dominate the country’s economy. They are also closely linked with state monopoly capital ventures, such as Iscor (Iron and Steel), Escom (Electricity) and Sasol (Petrol).

These monopolists are the real power in South Africa. The special type of colonialism in South Africa serves, in the first place, their interests”.

“All positions of economic strength and influence are held as the jealously guarded monopoly of members of the White group alone”.

Whites have a monopoly of the best paid jobs, and of entry into skilled trades”.

“The once powerful Labour Party is dead. The White trade unions — with a few honourable exceptions — collaborated in the implementation of apartheid in industry and job reservation. In fact, most of these unions have become little more than societies to preserve a White monopoly of skilled jobs. For the most part, the White workers of this country support their capitalist rulers and exploiters in the maintenance of White supremacy and colonialism”.

3.1.2 Extracts from the African National Congress

Extracts from the Green Book, 1979

“The  principal  enemy of our revolution  is   the South   African ruling   class, which  is  distinguished  by  a  combination  of  several  key             characteristics. Like     its counterparts in other    capitalist countries, its power  is  rooted, in the first instance,  in         its        ownership       and      control of         the basic    means  of  production.  But  in South Africa, the  system  of  economic  exploitation  is  reinforced  and  deepened  by the national oppression of the black majority.  Thus, capitalist exploitation and racial oppression operate together and reinforce one another”.

To  maintain this system and safeguard         its        control, the       ruling   class    operates through         a            state    apparatus        whose  political           institutions      and instruments   of repression  -  the army,   police force,   civil            service,  judiciary etc.      -  protect            the existing      relations of         production                  and,     at  the  same            time, the race      rule      which excludes all who     are       not       within  the white   minority group   from    political    rights and        civil     liberties           in         the       land     of  their  birth.  Real  liberation  is  inconceivable without  the overthrow  of  the  economic  and  political   power  of this      class    and      the total destruction of its state apparatus.                                       

Extracts from “The Nature of the South African Ruling Class, 1985”

“But the war had also defined the future relationship of Britain and South Africa: economically, South Africa would be a satellite of British imperialism, an outlet for the export of capital and a source of raw materials; politically, the local ruling class would be allowed autonomy and could even be granted sovereignty. By the terms of Vereeniging, Milnerian policy and finally the terms of Union, this ruling class was to be exclusively white. Thus the `small group which owns South Africa`s wealth` is drawn from one racial community, the whites”.

“The ruling class does not rule on its own, since it is a minority within the white minority. In order to secure its position, it has had to come to terms with other class forces; make deals and reach compromises with class forces and fractions whose interests temporarily intersect with its own. From such alliances has emerged what we can refer to as a bloc led by the ruling class, which wields power. The matrix that holds this bloc together is the ideology of white supremacy which projects the particular interest of the ruling capitalist class as the general interest of all whites”.

“This type of democratic state we envisage is spelt out in the ten clauses of the Freedom Charter. Though we place equal weight on the separate clauses, the first five, setting out the most pressing political, economic and social reforms a democratic state will have to embark on, can be said to be its core. The enactment of these measures will place political power in the hands of the black masses and transform South Africa from a country belonging to and exploited by a small class of white capitalists and their imperialist [backers], into a country belonging to all who live in it, black and white”.

Extracts from “Apartheid South Africa: Colonialism of a Special Type, 1987”.

“This is why the ANC has always considered the two economic clauses of the Freedom Charter: "The People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth" and "The Land Shall Be Shared Among Those Who Work It" to be the very core of its programme. These clauses envisage the seizure of economic assets, presently owned and controlled either by individual capitalists or capitalist companies drawn exclusively from the white minority or trans-national corporations”.

“This hierarchy of oppression was devised as a tool of divide-and-rule, as an expression of the warped minds of the white racist ruling clique and as a tactic to buttress the forces which would have a stake in the system of apartheid to defend”.

Extracts from “Strategy and Tactics, 1997”

“Over time, the policies of government and the tactical sensibilities of some white monopolists, have precipitated a situation in which some of the black propertied classes are expanding their positions within important sectors of the economy”.

“However, the improvement in Black and female ownership and control of wealth and access to management and many professions is still limited, with overall proportions which are inversely related to the country`s demographics. This is more starkly reflected in terms of land ownership. As such, while progressive forces have attained political power, economic power remains largely in the hands of the white minority.”

4. White monopoly capital: Use

In this part of the notes, we show the use of the concept as such. The point to demonstrate is that those who say the concept “white monopoly capital” does not exist in the documents of the national liberation movement are wrong.

4.1.1 Extracts from the South African Communist Party

“At the same time, in order to guarantee the abolition of racial oppression and White minority domination, the Freedom Charter necessarily and realistically calls for profound economic changes: drastic agrarian reform to restore the land to the people; widespread nationalisation of key industries to break the grip of White monopoly capital on the main centres of the country’s economy; radical improvements in the conditions and standards of living for the working people”- The Road to South African Freedom, 1962. [This is the first time the phrase “white monopoly capital”, appears in the literature of the national liberation movement].

“The form of domination developed by the Union of South Africa also perpetuated the racialised economic structures of the pre-Union period. There was a white monopoly of capitalist means of mining, industrial and agricultural production and of distribution. There was also a virtual white monopoly of skilled and supervisory jobs in the division of labour”- Path to Power, 1989.

“The struggle for national democracy is also an expression of the class contradiction between the black and democratic forces on the one hand, and the monopoly capitalists on the other. The stranglehold of a small number of white monopoly capitalists over the great bulk of our country`s wealth and resources is based on colonial dispossession and promotes racial oppression. This concentration of wealth and power perpetuates the super-exploitation of millions of black workers. It perpetuates the desperate plight of millions of the landless rural poor. And it blocks the advance of black business and other sectors of the oppressed. This reality, therefore, forms the basis of the antimonopoly content of the national democratic programme”-Path to Power, 1989.

“This is not to argue that the economic dominance enjoyed by white-dominated monopoly capital with its strong international links should be ignored. The SACP, in evaluating the first decade of our democracy, came to the conclusion that in economic terms white-dominated monopoly capital was the single biggest beneficiary, at the direct expense of the working class, which experienced casualisation, a job loss bloodbath and outsourcing. Therefore the first decade of our democracy, in economic terms, became the decade of the white-dominated bourgeoisie, joined by a small black elite”-The South African Road to Socialism.

“White monopoly capital in South Africa has, in fact, been the principal beneficiary of the post-1994 period. There is stabilisation and restored profitability, and many of our major corporations have used the period to trans-nationalise, some locating their head-quarters outside of South Africa, others re-locating major share-listings to foreign stock exchanges”. (Two steps forward…two steps back…SACP perspectives on the ANC’s draft Strategy and Tactics 2007, Bua Komanisi Volume 6 - Issue 1, May 2007).

“This central tenet is quite distinct from the core perspective of what we might call the “1988 class project” – we are referring to the strategic agenda of white monopoly capital that evolved primarily in the late 1980s”. (Seeing Double, SACP contribution to the debate on the ANC’s “Economic Transformation for a National Democratic Society” discussion paper).

“By the second half of the 1980s, the apartheid-colonial state and its deepening crisis had, however, indeed become an impediment to sustained growth for white monopoly capital”.

“The continued presence of this 1988 white monopoly class project within our own thinking is visible in parts of the current ANC policy discussion document”.

“Leaving aside the passing reference to a “democratic and redistributive state” which has its own problems and to which we will return below, it is obvious that, in the key concepts it evokes, this paragraph is located within the “liberate the market from apartheid constraints” paradigm of the 1988 white monopoly class project”.

“Clearly in the very last years of apartheid, white monopoly capital experienced regional and global mobility challenges – and, while removing mobility constraints on capital may or may not be one of our tasks, it can hardly be the central strategic task of the NDR to help white monopoly capital to recover its regional and global mobility”.

“But to rise to the challenge of that vision we will have to finally banish the ghost of the 1988 (white monopoly capital) class project from our imaginations, from our practice and…from our discussion papers!”

 “This impact has been deepened by the assiduous cultivation by white monopoly capital of a tiny stratum of ANC-linked black shareholders and board-members in the name of “black economic empowerment”.

“The two allies resolved to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, together with the ANC, in the struggle to deepen our national democratic revolution, to end the national oppression of the majority, the super-exploitation of workers by white monopoly capitalism and the triple oppression faced by women, in order to create a new non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa” (SACP-COSATU Bilateral, 3 April 2012).

We can thus see that the concept “white monopoly capital” is integral to the revolutionary theory of the national liberation movement. It originated from the classic SACP 1962 programme, and has since been used in various versions to explain the nature of South African society.

5. Leaders who used the concept

Several leaders of the national liberation movement emphasised white monopolisation and the dominance of white monopoly capital in the South African economy. In this part of the notes, we highlight a few instances where white monopoly and white monopoly capital were used explicitly. Here we just highlight a few instances to demonstrate the point.

Nelson Mandela 1990

“Our discussion on Strategy and Tactics began by recognising that the ANC and the De Klerk government approach the issue of negotiations with opposed agendas. The government`s aim is to reform the apartheid system out of existence while carrying over into the future the accumulated privileges and advantages the white monopoly on power” ( Speech by Nelson Mandela at an ANC rally after the close of the National Consultative Conference, 16 December 1990).

Joe Slovo 1988

“The immediate primacy of the struggle against race tyranny flows from the concrete realities of our existing situation. The concept of national domination is not a mystification to divert us from class approaches; it infects every level of class exploitation. Indeed, it divides our working class into colour compartments. Therefore, unusual categories such as 'white working class' and 'black working class' are not 'unscientific' but simply describe the facts.

We will come back to the need for immediate steps to be taken in the post-apartheid period to break the economic stranglehold of the monopolies and to transform a major portion of wealth from private into social property. Suffice it to say that such measures will, of necessity, result in an immediate sizeable contraction of the private sector. Ninety nine per cent of this sector is presently owned and controlled by white capitalists; a race monopoly which constitutes the key instrument of national domination.

In the world as a whole, capitalist exploitation does not necessarily involve race domination. But the historically-evolved connection between capitalist exploitation and race domination in South Africa creates a link between national liberation and social emancipation. In our conditions you don't have to be a doctrinaire Marxist to conclude that a liberation which deals only with a rearrangement of the voting system and leaves undisturbed the race monopoly of 99% of our wealth, is no liberation at all” (Joe Slovo, The South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution, 1988).

Blade Nzimande

“The call for only organised workers to make sacrifices, without calling for the same from white monopoly capital, is essentially a reactionary call for the maintenance of the super-exploitation of the black working class.” (Blade Nzimande, Address to COSATU Congress, September 18, 1997)

“The single biggest obstacle to the development of the SME and co-operative sector is the lack of finance. In the South African context we have a financial sector that is structured and geared towards supporting white monopoly capital”, (Blade Nzimande, Address to NAFCOC AGM, 4 October 2007 - Durban International Convention Centre).

“The above might appear to be just skirmishes, but in essence they are a reflection of the dominant and suffocating power of the monopolistic white finance capital in the South African economy, and the extent to which our own government is unwilling to confront this power”, (Blade Nzimande, The financial sector charter is on the brink of collapse, Umsebenzi Volume 6, No. 21, 21 November 2007).

“One thread that runs through all the groupings that have broken away or engaged in factionalist activity in our liberation movement is their anti-communism and anti-worker attitude, often expressing itself in exactly the same way as that of the apartheid regime and white monopoly capital”, (Blade Nzimande, The good boys and girls, the boss-class instruments’: The 2008 dissidents in their historical context, Umsebenzi Online 5 November 2008).

Jeremy Cronin

“In 1979 SASOL was privatised by the apartheid regime, with shares being sold at a discount to (white) monopoly capital, particularly in the mining sector” (Jeremy Cronin, Address to the SACTWU 12th Congress, 22 August 2013).

Sdumo Dlamini

“As COSATU, we are now moving forward to build unity of the federation on the ground through activities which takes us closer to the members and position us to heighten our battle against employers and white monopoly capital which is our primary enemy”, (Sdumo Dlamini, COSATU President, Address to the COSATU Gauteng Provincial Congress, 4 August 2015).

Mbhazima Shilowa

“As I  have  indicated  in  the past,  we  need to send     a clear message  that   the time for  white  monopoly  capital  to  pay  lip service to economic transformation and empowerment,  especially      for  women,  is  past     and      will  not  be rewarded  in Gauteng” (Mbhazima Shilowa, Address by Premier Mbhazima Shilowa at the Gauteng BBBEE Strategy launch, 18 April 2006).

Zwelinzima Vavi

“Economic power is still in the hands of white monopoly capital. The aspirant and vocal black bourgeoisie remains numerically small and depends heavily on the state and white business for its survival”, Zwelinzima Vavi, COSATU General Secretary at the SACP Special Congress, 08 April 2005).

Fikile “Slovo” Majola

“Using the superficial banner of our Constitution, the strategic opponent of the NDR – white monopoly capital which includes bourgeois monopoly media houses and its global imperialist connections – is increasingly setting itself on a political collision course with the ANC as part of this wider anti-majoritarian offensive” (Fikile “Slovo” Majola, Joe Slovo Memorial Lecture in North West, 27th January 2013).

Jacob Mamabolo

“But we also said at that Special National Congress that the momentum, pace and character of the NDR is deeply and severely constrained by the pain inflicted on the working class by the persistent and reproduced legacy of the Colonialism of a Special type. The working class in our country continues to suffer the pain inflicted by the many years of the crisis of white monopoly capital and its private accumulation of wealth. (Jacob Mamabolo, Acting Gauteng SACP Provincial Secretary, Message of Support to the 11th Gauteng Provincial Conference, 6-8 May 2010).

We can therefore see that this concept is standard in the language of the national liberation movement. Our own submission is that the concept of white monopoly capital simultaneously implies colonialism of a special type. The two concepts are theoretically inter-twined, one cannot exist without the other. To fail to mention the racial character of monopoly capital is to fail to acknowledge the colonial character of South Africa and the special nature of that colonialism.

6. White monopoly capital: Denials

It is to Hillary Joffe’s credit, in her article “Share ownership can be force for change”, published in the Business Day on 22 March 2017, to note that “We’re told UK’s public relations agency Bell Pottinger crafted the white monopoly capital narrative. Whoever did so seems sadly unfamiliar with Marxist texts from which the notion of monopoly capital comes”. We agree!

However Joffe then makes an unwarranted statement: “…in its original form monopoly capital could not, strictly speaking, have been white, black or any other colour. It was, rather, a particular stage of capitalism, and who owned the means of production didn’t have much to do with it”.

Now this is the problem of failing to express actual relations which arise from the historical movement going under our very eyes.

As Pitso correctly mentions in his Open Letter, it was Lenin who first elaborated in detail the idea of monopoly capitalism as a stage in the development of capitalism. However Lenin’s approach was concrete and historical, in that he understood the importance of identifying who owns the means of production in this stage because he was not just interested in interpreting the world, he wanted to change it.

That is why to us to specify who owns and controls monopoly capital, because our lived experiences, under our very eyes, dictate to us who is responsible for poverty, starvation and marginalisation, so that we can devise proper strategy and tactics to change this situation. Baran and Sweezy as well, did not elaborate the concept of “monopoly capital” in purely abstract terms, they in fact based their study on the concrete history of the United States, and they hinted that some of their conclusions may in fact apply in South Africa.

Baran and Sweezy’s concrete and historical articulation of the concept of monopoly capital leads them to dedicate a whole chapter (Chapter 9), on monopoly capital and race relations, which makes them also mention South Africa. In this chapter they show that “all the forces we have been discussing…are deeply rooted in monopoly capitalism and together are strong enough to account for the fact that Negroes have been unable to rise out of the lower depths of American society”.

Who owns and controls the means of production under monopoly capitalism mattered to Baran and Sweezy, because they would not have dedicated a chapter specifically dealing with the suppression and marginalisation of the Negroes, if the demographic composition of American monopoly capital was non-racial.

Furthermore, the fact that Baran and Sweezy criticise American monopoly capital on the “Negro question”, does not mean that they posit “Negro monopoly capital” as a solution to the “Negro problem”, as some of our intellectually dishonest detractors like to do. In other words, when we criticise white monopoly capital, we do not posit black monopoly capital as a solution. Instead, we posit democratic state monopoly of the strategic sectors under working class leadership as the solution.

But then, despite this repeated clarification, our detractors continue to deny the concept. For instance Jeremy Cronin, First Deputy General Secretary of the SACP, now claims:

“There is a world at play in the slippage between a consistent Marxist perspective and the illusions that arise from adding one small word "white" to "monopoly capital". And it is in this small slippage that you will find the ideological bed on which the Polokwane "marriage of convenience" was consecrated. When the "new tendency" and its demagogic vanguard rail against "white monopoly capital" what they are hearing is "white" and what they are thinking is "it`s our turn now". And while populist demagogues might scream about "imperialism" and "monopoly capital" – the threats to carry out nationalization and expropriation simply increase (as they are meant to) the length of the queues of wealthy supplicants outside their office doors, the numbers of sponsorships, the gifts of whisky and helicopter trips they are offered from the very monopoly capital they are threatening!” (Thinking about class - Part One: What were they doing in BUSA in the first place?, Bua Komanisi Volume 10 Number 15, 20 July 2011).

Thus to Cronin this concept derives its ideological basis from the “Polokwane marriage of convenience”, which was in 2007. But we all know that there was no “Polokwane marriage” in 1962!

In his response to Fikile Mbalula, Trevor Manuel writes:

“If you also took the trouble to read the Economics Resolutions of each ANC Conference since the 49th in 1994, you will not find the language of 'White Monopoly Capital' in any of them. This is because WMC is not part of the lexicon of terms used in ANC policy. It was conjured up as a red herring to obscure the misdeeds of the Guptas and those who benefit from their patronage network” (Fikile, do you remember the tears you shared over the Guptas? Daily Maverick, 09 June 2015).

This statement is very revealing. We can only underline the words “each ANC Conference since the 49th in 1994”. What about the ANC before 1994? What is it about the year 1994 which made the concept “white monopoly capital” to disappear?

Then Manuel makes the claim:

“I stand by what I said at the Nelson Mandela Foundation: the term "White Monopoly Capital" was conjured up by Bell Pottinger on behalf of the Guptas, and filtered into the political discourse to serve their agenda” (Fikile, do you remember the tears you shared over the Guptas? Daily Maverick, 09 June 2015).

In his rebuttal, Fikile Mbalula quoted the article I wrote, which he incorrectly attributes to the ANC. But the point he makes nevertheless remains valid, the concept was there long before the current talk about Bell Pottinger; it was not conjured up by Bell Pottinger.

Trevor Manuel has yet to sustain his argument.

As we have noted, a variation of the concept appears to have mistakenly slipped through into the 1997 ANC Strategy and Tactics, where the ANC spoke about “white monopolists”, or in 2000, where the ANC spoke about “the white ruling class, represented by monopoly capital and including other class and social strata within the white community”.

In his address to the SACP Imbizo held in 2017, the Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe said:

“There is an attempt to vulgarise monopoly capital debate; today vocabulary talks about white monopoly capital. It is vulgarisation of the revolution. We then use that vulgarised terminology to deal with each other”.

We all know that the SACP 1962 programme was not a vulgar programme and neither was the SACP 1989 programme vulgar Marxism.

The General Secretary of the SACP, in his address to the COSATU Central Committee in 2017, claimed:

“There is a new phrase that we do not have by the way…white monopoly capital. It’s not anywhere in the documents of the movement. I am challenging you to go. This thing is Gupta-inspired by this public relations company Bell Pottinger by the way, that is now in the emails that are being spoken about…”

But on several occasions he used the concept.

The SACP created this concept in its programme of 1962.

* CHRISTOPHER MALIKANE is Associate Professor of Economics, Wits University.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

* BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Please do not take Pambazuka for granted! Become a Friend of Pambazuka and make a donation NOW to help keep Pambazuka FREE and INDEPENDENT!

* Please send comments to [email=editor@pambazuka.org]editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org[/email] or comment online at Pambazuka News.

Issue Number: 
Article Image Caption | Source: 
Fred Chartrand

          Sassinak (Planet Pirates, Bk 1)   
From Publishers Weekly



The first in the Planet Pirates series, this science fiction yarn offers a vivid universe inhabited by cardboard citizens. Sassinak, the heroine and the only developed character, steps straight from a formula: When she is 12, pirates raid her native colony, enslaving her and g murdering her family. Abe, a fellow captive, befriends her and, when they are emancipated by Fleet (the military), becomes her guardian until he is slain in a barroom brawl. Intelligent and daring, Sass joins Fleet, seeking vengeance on her enemies. She becomes the classic fictional commander: a loner whose entire life is subsumed by the military. Fortunately, Sass's exploits are so expertly recounted that their intrigue and adventure compensate for the hackneyed plot line. Cleverly drawn aliens, supporting characters here, allow the authors to explore various aspects of prejudice. Sass's appraisal of men, however, verges at times on sexist. Hugo winner McCaffrey's works include Dragonsdawn ; Moon is the author of Oath of Gold.
          Aqui au Salon du Bourget : Zoom sur CPK Consult   
La société CPK Consult, c'est Christophe Chambras et Philippe Kociemba, installés à l'Aéropoarc Bordeaux Technowest, membre d'Aérospace Valley et du cluster Aérocampus. Leur métier, « améliorer la capabilité ». Un langage que les industriels comprendront, tout comme ils comprendront à quoi réfère CPK. Pour les autres, Christophe Chambras explique : « CPK, c'est un indicateur de performance de processus de fabrication industrielle ». La société CPK Consult se donne donc comme mission de développer la performance opérationnelle dans les entreprises de leurs clients. En d'autres termes, optimiser les processus industriels, mais aussi garantir une continuité d'exploitation, le tout doubler d'une activité de formation des équipes de l'entreprise où la société intervient. CPK en effet, n'oublie jamais de « mettre l'humain au centre » insiste Christophe Chambras.
          A Lumiere Brother on the Future of Cinema around 1900   

My invention, (the motion picture camera), can be exploited… as a scientific curiosity, but apart from that it has no commercial value whatsoever. Auguste Lumiere

The post A Lumiere Brother on the Future of Cinema around 1900 appeared first on FilmmakerIQ.com.


          India Smart Cities Mission shows IoT potential for improving quality of life at vast scale   
The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer Internet-of-Things (IoT) transformation discussion examines the potential impact and improvement of low-power edge computing benefits on rapidly modernizing cities.

These so-called smart city initiatives are exploiting open, wide area networking (WAN) technologies to make urban life richer in services, safer, and far more responsive to residences’ needs. We will now learn how such pervasively connected and data-driven IoT architectures are helping cities in India vastly improve the quality of life there.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Get the mobile app. Read a full transcript or download a copy.

Here to share how communication service providers have become agents of digital urban transformation are VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President and Head of the Internet-of-Things Business Unit at Tata Communications in Chennai area, India, and Nigel Upton, General Manager of the Universal IoT Platform and Global Connectivity Platform and Communications Solutions Business at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). The discussion is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Tell us about India’s Smart Cities mission. What are you up to and how are these new technologies coming to bear on improving urban quality of life?

Shridhar: The government is clearly focusing on Smart Cities as part of their urbanization plan, as they believe Smart Cities will not only improve the quality of living, but also generate employment, and take the whole country forward in terms of technologically embracing and improving the quality of life.

So with that in mind, the Government of India has launched 100 Smart Cities initiatives. It’s quite interesting because each of the cities that aspire to belong had to make a plan and their own strategy around how they are going to evolve and how they are going to execute it, present it, and get selected. There was a proper selection process.

Many of the cities made it, and of course some of them didn’t make it. Interestingly, some of the cities that didn’t make it are developing their own plans.
IoT Solutions for Communications Service Providers and Enterprises from HPE
Learn More
There is lot of excitement and curiosity as well as action in the Smart Cities project. Admittedly, it’s a slow process, it’s not something that you can do at the blink of the eye, and Rome wasn’t built overnight, but I definitely see a lot of progress.

Gardner:Nigel, it seems that the timing for this is auspicious, given that there are some foundational technologies that are now available at very low cost compared to the past, and that have much more of a pervasive opportunity to gather information and make a two-way street, if you will, between the edge and central administration. How is the technology evolution synching up with these Smart Cities initiatives in India?

Upton:I am not sure whether it’s timing or luck, or whatever it happens to be, but adoption of the digitization of city infrastructure and services is to some extent driven by economics. While I like to tease my colleagues in India about their sensitivity to price, the truth of the matter is that the economics of digitization -- and therefore IoT in smart cities -- needs to be at the right price, depending on where it is in the world, and India has some very specific price points to hit. That will drive the rate of adoption.

And so, we're very encouraged that innovation is continuing to drive price points down to the point that mass adoption can then be taken up, and the benefits realized to a much more broad spectrum of the population. Working with Tata Communications has really helped HPE understand this and continue to evolve as technology and be part of the partner ecosystem because it does take a village to raise an IoT smart city. You need a lot of partners to make this happen, and that combination of partnership, willingness to work together and driving the economic price points to the point of adoption has been absolutely critical in getting us to where we are today.

Balanced Bandwidth

Gardner:Shridhar, we have some very important optimization opportunities around things like street lighting, waste removal, public safety, water quality; of course, the pervasive need for traffic and parking, monitoring and improvement.

How do things like a low-power specification Internet and network gateways and low-power WANs (LPWANs) create a new foundation technically to improve these services? How do we connect the services and the technology for an improved outcome?

Shridhar:If you look at human interaction to the Internet, we have a lot of technology coming our way. We used to have 2G, that has moved to 3G and to 4G, and that is a lot of bandwidth coming our way. We would like to have a tremendous amount of access and bandwidth speeds and so on, right?

Shridhar
So the human interaction and experience is improving vastly, given the networks that are growing. On the machine-to-machine (M2M) side, it’s going to be different. They don’t need oodles of bandwidth. About 80 to 90 percent of all machine interactions are going to be very, very low bandwidth – and, of course, low power. I will come to the low power in a moment, but it’s going to be very low bandwidth requirement.

In order to switch off a streetlight, how much bandwidth do you actually require? Or, in order to sense temperature or air quality or water and water quality, how much bandwidth do you actually require?

When you ask these questions, you get an answer that the machines don’t require that much bandwidth. More importantly, when there are millions -- or possibly billions -- of devices to be deployed in the years to come, how are you going to service a piece of equipment that is telling a streetlight to switch on and switch off if the battery runs out?

Machines are different from humans in terms of interactions. When we deploy machines that require low bandwidth and low power consumption, a battery can enable such a machine to communicate for years.

Aside from heavy video streaming applications or constant security monitoring, where low-bandwidth, low-power technology doesn’t work, the majority of the cases are all about low bandwidth and low power. And these machines can communicate with the quality of service that is required.

When it communicates, the network has to be available. You then need to establish a network that is highly available, which consumes very little power and provides the right amount of bandwidth. So studies show that less than 50 kbps connectivity should suffice for the majority of these requirements.

Now the machine interaction also means that you collect all of them into a platform and basically act on them. It's not about just sensing it, it's measuring it, analyzing it, and acting on it.

Low-power to the people

So the whole stack consists not just of connectivity alone. It’s LPWAN technology that is emerging now and is becoming a de facto standard as more-and-more countries start embracing it.

At Tata Communications we have embraced the LPWAN technology from the LoRa Alliance, a consortium of more than 400 partners who have gotten together and are driving standards. We are creating this network over the next 18 to 24 months across India. We have made these networks available right now in four cities. By the end of the year, it will be many more cities -- almost 60 cities across India by March 2018.

Gardner: Nigel, how do you see the opportunity, the market, for a standard architecture around this sort of low-power, low-bandwidth network? This is a proof of concept in India, but what's the potential here for taking this even further? Is this something that has global potential?
IoT Solutions for Communications Service Providers and Enterprises from HPE
Learn More
Upton: The global potential is undoubtedly there, and there is an additional element that we didn't talk about which is that not all devices require the same amount of bandwidth. So we have talked about video surveillance requiring higher bandwidth, we have talked about devices that have low-power bandwidth and will essentially be created once and forgotten when expected to last 5 or 10 years.

Upton
We also need to add in the aspect of security, and that really gave HPE and Tata the common ground of understanding that the world is made up of a variety of network requirements, some of which will be met by LPWAN, some of which will require more bandwidth, maybe as high as 5G.

The real advantage of being able to use a common architecture to be able to take the data from these devices is the idea of having things like a common management, common security, and a common data model so that you really have the power of being able to take information, take data from all of these different types of devices and pull it into a common platform that is based on a standard.

In our case, we selected the oneM2M standard, it’s the best standard available to be able to build that common data model and that's the reason why we deployed the oneM2M model within the universal IoT platform to get that consistency no matter what type of device over no matter what type of network.

Gardner: It certainly sounds like this is an unprecedented opportunity to gather insight and analysis into areas that you just really couldn't have measured before. So going back to the economics of this, Shridhar, have you had any opportunity through these pilot projects in such cities as Jamshedpur to demonstrate a return on investment, perhaps on street lighting, perhaps on quality of utilization and efficiency? Is there a strong financial incentive to do this once the initial hurdle of upfront costs is met?

Data-driven cost reduction lights up India

Unless the customer sees that there is a scope for either reducing the cost or increasing the customer experience, they are not going to buy these kinds of solutions.
Shridhar: Unless the customer sees that there is a scope for either reducing the cost or increasing the customer experience, they are not going to buy these kinds of solutions. So if you look at how things have been progressing, I will give you a few examples of how the costs have started constructing and playing out. One of course is to have devices, meeting at certain price point, we talked about how in India -- we talked that Nigel was remarking how constant still this Indian market is, but it’s important, once we delivered to a certain cost, we believe we can now deliver globally to scale. That’s very important, so if we build something in India it would deliver to the global market as well.

The streetlight example, let’s take that specifically and see what kind of benefits it would give. When a streetlight operates for about 12 hours a day, it costs about Rs.12, which is about $0.15, but when you start optimizing it and say, okay, this is a streetlight that is supported currently on halogen and you move it to LED, it brings a little bit of cost saving, in some cases significant as well. India is going through an LED revolution as you may have read in the newspapers, those streetlights are being converted, and that’s one distinct cost advantage.

Now they are looking and driving, let’s say, the usage and the electricity bills even lower by optimizing it. Let’s say you sync it with the astronomical clock, that 6:30 in the evening it comes up and let’s say 6:30 in the morning it shuts down linking to the astronomical clock because now you are connecting this controller to the Internet.

The second thing that you would do is during busy hours keep it at the brightest, let’s say between 7:00 and 10:00, you keep it at the brightest and after that you start minimizing it. You can control it down in 10 percent increments.

The point I am making is, you basically deliver intensity of light to the kind of requirement that you have. If it is busy, or if there is nobody on the street, or if there is a safety requirement -- a sensor will trigger up a series of lights, and so on.

So your ability to play around with just having streetlight being delivered to the requirement is so high that it brings down total cost. While I was telling you about $0.15 that you would spend per streetlight, that could be brought down to $0.05. So that’s the kind of advantage by better controlling the streetlights. The business case builds up, and a customer can save 60 to 70 percent just by doing this. Obviously, then the business case stands out.

The question that you are asking is an interesting one because each of the applications has its own way of returning the investment back, while the optimization of resources is being done. There is also a collateral positive benefit by saving the environment. So not only do I gain a business savings and business optimization, but I also pass on a general, bigger message of a green environment. Environment and safety are the two biggest benefits of implementing this and it would really appeal to our customers.

Gardner:It’s always great to put hard economic metrics on these things, but Shridhar just mentioned safety. Even when you can't measure in direct economics, it's invaluable when you can bring a higher degree of safety to an urban environment.

It opens up for more foot traffic, which can lead to greater economic development, which can then provide more tax revenue. It seems to me that there is a multiplier effect when you have this sort of intelligent urban landscape that creates a cascading set of benefits: the more data, the more efficiency; the more efficiency, the more economic development; the more revenue, the more data and so on. So tell us a little bit about this ongoing multiplier and virtuous adoption benefit when you go to intelligent urban environments?

Quality of life, under control

Upton:Yes, also it’s important to note that it differs almost by country to country and almost within region to region within countries. The interesting challenge with smart cities is that often you're dealing with elected officials rather than hard-nosed businessman who are only interested in the financial return. And it's because you're dealing with politicians and they are therefore representing the citizens in their area, either their city or their town or their region, their priorities are not always the same.

There is quite a variation of one of the particular challenges, particular social challenges as well as the particular quality of life challenges in each of the areas that they work in. So things like personal safety are a very big deal in some regions. I am currently in Tokyo and here there is much more concern around quality of life and mobility with a rapidly aging population and their challenges are somewhat different.
IoT Solutions for Communications Service Providers and Enterprises from HPE
Learn More
But in India, the set of opportunities and challenges that are set out, they are in that combination of economic as well as social, and if you solve them and you essentially give citizens more peace of mind, more ability to be able to move freely, to be able to take part in the economic interaction within that area, then undoubtedly that leads to greater growth, but it is worth bearing in mind that it does vary almost city by city and region by region.

Gardner:Shridhar, do you have any other input into a cascading ongoing set of benefits when you get more data, more network opportunity. I guess I am trying to understand for a longer-term objective that being intelligent and data-driven has an ongoing set of benefits, what might those be? How can this be a long-term data and analytics treasure trove when you think about it in terms of how to provide better urban experiences?

Home/work help

Shridhar:From our perspective, when we looked at the customer benefits there is a huge amount of focus around the smart cities and how smart cities are benefiting from a network. If you look at the enterprise customers, they are also looking at safety, which is an overlapping application that a smart city would have.

So the enterprise wants to provide safety to its workers, for example, in mines or in difficult terrains, environments where they are focusing on helping them. Or women’s safety, which is as you know in India is a big thing as well -- how do you provide a device which is not very obvious and it gives the women all the safety that is there.

So all this in some form is providing data. One of the things that comes to my mind when you ask about how data-driven resources can be and what kind of quality it would give is if you action your mind to some of the customer services devices, there could be applications or let’s say a housewife could have a multiple button kind of a device where she can order a service.

Depending on the service she presses and an aggregate of households across India, you would know the trends and direction of a certain service, and mind you, it could be as simple as a three-button device which says Service A, Service B, Service C, and it could be a consumer service that gets extended to a particular household that we sell it as a service.

So you could get lots of trends and patterns that are emerging from that, and we believe that the customer experience is going to change, because no longer is a customer going to retain in his mind what kind of phone numbers or your, let's say, apps and all to order, you give them the convenience of just a button-press service. That immediately comes to my mind.

Feedback fosters change

The second one is in terms of feedback. You use the same three-button service to say, how well have you used utility -- or rather how -- what kind of quality of service that you rate multiple utilities that you are using, and there is toilet revolution in India. For example, you put these buttons out there, they will tell you at any given point of time what’s the user satisfaction and so on.

So these are all data that is getting gathered and I believe that while it is early days for us to go on and put out analytics and give you distinct kind of benefits that are there, but some of the things that customers are already looking at is which geographies, which segment, who are my biggest -- profile of the customers using this and so on. That kind of information is going to come out very, very distinctly.

The Smart Cities is all about experience. The enterprises are now looking at the data that is coming out and seeing how they can use it to better segment, and provide better customer experience which would obviously mean both adding to their top line as well as helping them manage their bottom line. So it's beyond safety, it's getting into the customer experience – the realm of managing customer experience.

Gardner:From a go-to-market perspective, or a go-to-city’s perspective, these are very complex undertakings, lots of moving parts, lots of different technologies and standards. How are Tata and HPE are coming together -- along with other service providers, Pointnextfor example? How do you put this into a package that can then actually be managed and put in place? How do we make this appealing not only in terms of its potential but being actionable as well when it comes to different cities and regions?

Upton:The concept of Smart Cities has been around for a while and various governments around the world have pumped money into their cities over an extended period of time.
We now have the infrastructure in place, we have the price points and we have IoT becoming mainstream.

As usual, these things always take more time than you think, and I do not believe today that we have a technology challenge on our hands. We have much more of a business model challenge. Being able to deploy technology to be able to bring benefits to citizens, I think that is finally getting to the point where it is much better understood where innovation of the device level, whether it's streetlights, whether it's the ability to measure water quality, sound quality, humidity, all of these metrics that we have available to us now. There has been very rapid innovation at that device level and at the economics of how to produce them, at a price that will enable widespread deployment.

All that has been happening rapidly over the last few years getting us to the point where we now have the infrastructure in place, we have the price points in place, and we have IoT becoming mainstream enough that it is entering into the manufacturing process of all sorts of different devices, as I said, ranging from streetlights to personal security devices through to track and trace devices that are built into the manufacturing process of goods.
That is now reaching mainstream and we are now able to take advantage of this massive data that’s now being produced to be able to produce even more efficient and smarter cities, and make them safer places for our citizens.

Gardner:Last word to you, Shridhar. If people wanted to learn more about the pilot proof of concept (PoC) that you are doing there at Jamshedpur and other cities, through the Smart Cities Mission, where might they go, are there any resources, how would you provide more information to those interested in pursuing more of these technologies?

Pilot projects take flight

Shridhar:I would be very happy to help them look at the PoCs that we are doing. I would classify the PoCs that we are doing is as far as safety is concerned, we talked of energy management in one big bucket that is there, then the customer service I spoke about, the fourth one I would say is more on the utility side. Gas and water are two big applications where customers are looking at these PoCs very seriously.

And there is very one interesting application in that one customer wanted for pest control, where he wanted his mouse traps to have sensors so that they will at any point of time know if there is a rat trap at all, which I thought was a very interesting thing.
IoT Solutions for Communications Service Providers and Enterprises from HPE
Learn More
There are multiple streams that we have, we have done multiple PoCs, we will be very happy as Tata Communications team [to provide more information], and the HPE folks are in touch with us.

You could write to us, to me in particular for some period of time. We are also putting information on our website. We have marketing collateral, which describes this. We will do some of the joint workshops with HPE as well.

So there are multiple ways to reach us, and one of the best ways obviously is through our website. We are always there to provide more important help, and we believe that we can’t do it all alone; it’s about the ecosystem getting to know and getting to work on it.

While we have partners like HPE on the platform level, we also have partners such as Semtech, who established Center of Excellence in Mumbai along with us. So the access to the ecosystem from HPE side as well as our other partners is available, and we are happy to work and co-create the solutions going forward.


          Journeyman Electrician - Lane Valente Industries - Hudson, MI   
We exploit new technology and embrace client feedback to constantly improve our entire product range. Lane Valente Industries offers a broad range of solutions...
From Lane Valente Industries - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 16:05:41 GMT - View all Hudson, MI jobs
          Teenage Boy Exploiting Girlfriends Shaved Pussy   
Watch Teenage Boy Exploiting Girlfriends Shaved Pussy at free fuck and porn video site
          Les hackers ont recolté 3.874 bitcoins … C’est moins de 10 000 $!   

Quelques jours après l’attaque du ransomware Petya, les analyses des différents éditeurs de sécurité commencent a sortir. A l’heure actuelle, il est identifié que le ransomware infecte les ordinateurs en utilisant les vulnérabilités déjà exploitées par les pirates lors de l’infection des ordinateurs à grande échelle par le ransomware WannaCry. Ainsi, lors de son démarrage [...]

La entrada Les hackers ont recolté 3.874 bitcoins … C’est moins de 10 000 $! aparece primero en Globb Security FR.


          Eternal Champion Exploit Analysis   
Recently, a group named the ShadowBrokers published several remote server exploits targeting various protocols on older versions of Windows. In this post we are going to look at the EternalChampion exploit in detail to see what vulnerabilities it exploited, how it exploited them, and how the latest mitigations in Windows 10 break the exploit as-written....
          MS SharePoint et Office Consultant (H/F) - Karesources - Région Parisienne    
MS SharePoint et Office Consultant (H/F) Nous cherchons pour notre client, une ESN à taille humaine certifiée Microsoft Partner située en région Parisienne, un Consultant MS SharePoint et Office 365. Notre client est une entreprise en pleine croissance et cherche à renforcer son équipe avec des compétences Office 365 et Microsoft SharePoint. Ses équipes interviennent notamment sur des projets de migration et d'exploitation pour le compte d'entreprises de renoms (y compris grands...
          WP-Slimstat vulnerability exposes WordPress websites to SQL injection attacks   
(LiveHacking.Com) – A recent security advisory from Sucri has revealed that the popular WordPress plugin WP-Slimstat is vulnerable to SQL injection attacks because of a weak secret key. If exploited fully the bug could allow hackers to use SQL injection attacks to download sensitive information from a susceptible site’s database, including username, and (hopefully) hashed passwords. According to Sucri […]
          Shellshock: Code injection vulnerability found in Bash   
(LiveHacking.Com) – A code injection vulnerability in the Bourne again shell (Bash) has been disclosed on the internet. If exploited then arbitrary commands can be executed, and where Bash is used in relation to a network service, for example in CGI scripts on a web server, then the vulnerability will allow remote code execution. The problem resolves […]
          13 Minnesota Children Have Vanished So Far in 2017 [Video]   
It's amazing to think, but sons and daughters disappear every day. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says over 2,000 in the United States go missing daily. Here in Minnesota, we need your help finding 13 children who cannot be found since January 1st. Continue reading…
          Germany whips Mexico in semis   
Leon Goretzka scored two quick-fire early goals on Thursday as Germany beat Mexico 4-1 to reach the Confederations Cup final. Exploiting Mexico’s defensive frailties, Joachim ...
          Nu ook strenge regels voor elektronische sigaret zonder nicotine   
Nu ook strenge regels voor elektronische sigaret zonder nicotine

Vanaf 1 juli 2017 is het verboden om reclame te maken voor de elektronische sigaret zonder nicotine en gaat ook het verbod in op het verstrekken van deze variant aan jongeren onder de 18 jaar. Deze nieuwe regels gelden ook voor kruidenmengsels  voor de waterpijp. Staatssecretaris Martin van Rijn (VWS) stelt dit verbod in om te voorkomen dat jongeren gaan roken en hen te beschermen tegen de schadelijkheid van rookwaren. Uit de laatste cijfers bleek dat een derde van de jongeren tussen 12 en 16 jaar ooit een elektronische sigaret heeft geprobeerd. Bij leerlingen uit groep 7 en 8 van de basisschool is dat  1 op de 10 (peilstationonderzoek).

Geen shisapen meer op de kermis
Ook exploitanten van kermisattracties mogen door het verbod geen reclame meer maken voor shishapennen. En de elektronische sigaret mag niet meer als prijs worden weggegeven. De NVWA zal vanaf 1 juli gaan controleren op de nieuwe regels.

Regels gelden voor shisa-pen, vaporiser en de waterpijp
Voorbeelden van een elektronische sigaret zonder nicotine zijn de shishapen en vaporizer. De regels zijn ook van toepassing op de vloeistoffen (niet-nicotinehoudende) voor de elektronische sigaret. Voorbeelden van een voor roken bestemd kruidenproduct zijn een kruidensigaret of een kruidenmengsel voor de waterpijp.

Met ingang van 1 juli gelden de leeftijdsgrens van 18 jaar en het reclameverbod voor alle rookwaren, met of zonder tabak.


          Sleeping Drunk Stepmom Gets Secretly Exploited By Nerd Teenager   
Watch Sleeping Drunk Stepmom Gets Secretly Exploited By Nerd Teenager at free fuck and porn video site
          When Will The U.S. Catch Up With Global Trend On Prostitution Laws?   
Sexually exploited girls are frequently detained or manipulated by the police -- those who are theoretically supposed to safeguard them from harm.
          The Philippines a Century Hence   
(by José Rizal Translated by Charles E. Derbyshire)

NOTE: This famous essay of Rizal entitled "Filipinas de cien años" was first published in La Solidaridad, Madrid, between September 30, 1889, and February 1, 1890

PART ONE: Following our usual custom of facing squarely the most difficult and delicate questions related to the Philippines, without weighing the consequences that our frankness may bring upon us, we shall in the present article treat of their future.

In order to read the destiny of a people, it is necessary to open the book of its past, and this, for the Philippines may be reduced in general terms to what follows.

Scarcely had they been attached to the Spanish crown than they had sustained with their blood and the efforts of their sons the wars and ambitions, and conquest of the Spanish people, and in these struggles, in that terrible crisis when a people changes its form of government, its laws, usages, customs, religion and beliefs; the Philippines was depopulated, impoverished and retarded -- caught in their metamorphosis without confidence in their past, without faith in their present and with no fond home of the years to come. The former rulers who had merely endeavored to secure the fear and submission of their subjects, habituated by them to servitude, fell like leaves from a dead tree, and the people, who had no love for them nor knew what liberty was, easily changed masters, perhaps hoping to gain something by the innovation.

Then began a new era for the Filipinos. They gradually lost their ancient traditions, their recollections, -- they forgot their writings, their songs, their poetry, their laws in order to learn by heart other doctrines, which they did not understand, other ethics, other tastes, different from those inspired in their race by their climate and their way of thinking. Then there was a falling-off, they were lowered in their own eyes, they became ashamed of what was distinctively their own, in order to admire and praise that was foreign and incomprehensible; their spirit was broken and they acquiesced.

Thus years and centuries rolled on. Religious shows, rites that caught the eye, songs, lights, images arrayed with gold, worship in a strange language, legends, miracles and sermons, hypnotized the already naturally superstitious spirits of the country but did not succeed in destroying it altogether, in spite of the whole system afterwards developed and operated with unyielding tenacity.

When the ethical abasement of the inhabitants had reached this stage, when they had become disheartened and disgusted with themselves, an effort was made to add the final stroke for reducing so many dormant wills and intellects to nothingness, in order to make of the individual a sort of toiler, a brute, a beast of burden and to develop a race without mind or heart. “Then the end sought was revealed, it was taken for granted, and the race was insulted, an effort was made to deny it every virtue, every human characteristic, and there were even writers and priests who pushed the movement still further by trying to deny to the natives of the country not only capacity for virtue but also even the tendency to vice.

Then this which they had thought would be death was sure salvation. Some dying persons are restored to health by a heroic remedy.

So great endurance reached its climax with the insults, and the lethargic spirit woke up to life. His sensitiveness, the chief trait of the native, was touched, and while he had the forbearance to suffer and die under a foreign flag, he had it not when they whom he served repaid his sacrifices with insults and jests. Then he began to study himself and to realize his misfortune. Those who had not expected this result, like all despotic masters, regarded as a wrong every complaint, every protest, and punished it with death, endeavoring thus to stifle every cry of sorrow with blood, and they made mistake after mistake.

The spirit of the people was not thereby cowed, and even though it had been awakened in only a few hearts, its flame nevertheless was surely and consumingly propagated, thanks to abuses and the stupid endeavors of certain classes to stifle noble and generous sentiments. Thus when a flame catches a garment, fear and confusion propagate it more and more, and each shake, each blow, is a blast from the bellows to fan it into life.

Undoubtedly during all this time there were not lacking generous and noble spirits among the dominant race that tired to struggle for the rights of humanity and justice, or sordid and cowardly ones among the dominated that aided the debasement of their own country. But both were exceptions and we are speaking in general terms.

Such is an outline of their past. We know their present. Now what will their future be?

Will the Philippine Islands continue to be a Spanish colony, and if so, what kind of colony? Will they become a province of Spain, with or without autonomy? And to reach this stage, what kind of sacrifices will have to be made?

Will they be separated from the mother country to live independently, to fall into the hands of other nations, or to ally themselves with neighboring powers?

It is impossible to reply to these questions, for to all of them both yes and now may be answered, according to the time desired to be covered. When there is in nature no fixed condition, how much less must there be in the life of a people, being endowed with mobility and movement! So, it is that in order to deal with those questions, it is necessary to presume an unlimited period of time, and in accordance therewith try to forecast future events.

PART TWO: What will become of the Philippines within a century? Will they continue to be a Spanish colony?

Had this question been asked three centuries ago, when at Legazpi’s death the Malayan Filipinos began to be gradually undeceived and, finding the yoke heavy, tried in vain to shake it off without any doubt whatsoever the reply would have been easy. To a spirit enthusiastic over the liberty of the country, to those unconquerable Kagayanes who nourished within themselves the spirit of Mgalats, to the descendants of the heroic Gat Pulintang and Gat Salakab of the Province of Batangas, independence was assured, it was merely a question of getting together and making a determination. But for him who, disillusioned by sad experience, saw everywhere discord and disorder, apathy and brutalization in the lower classes, discouragement and disunion in the upper, only one answer presented itself, and it was: extend his hands to the chains, bow his neck beneath the yoke and accept the future with the resignation of an invalid who watches the leaves fall and foresees a long winter amid whose snows he discerns the outlines of his grave. At the time discord justified pessimism -- but three centuries passed, the meek had become accustomed to the yoke, and each new generation, begotten in chains, was constantly better adapted to the new order of things.

Now then, are the Philippines in the same condition they were three centuries ago?

For the liberal Spaniards the ethical condition of the people remains the same, that is, the native Filipinos have not advanced; for the friars and their followers the people have been redeemed from savagery, that is, they have progressed; for many Filipinos ethics, spirit and customs have decayed, as decay all the good qualities of a people that falls into slavery that is, they have retrograded.

Laying aside these considerations, so as not to get away from our subject let us draw the brief parallel between the political situation then and the situation at present, in order to see if what was not possible at that time can be so now, or vice versa.

Let us pass over the loyalty the Filipinos may feel for Spain; let us suppose for a moment, along with Spanish writers, that there exist only motives for hatred and jealousy between the two races; let us admit the assertions flaunted by many that three centuries of domination have not awakened in the sensitive heart of the native a single spark of affection or gratitude; and we may see whether or not the Spanish cause has gained ground in the Islands.

Formerly the Spanish authority was upheld among the natives by a handful of soldiers, three to five hundred at most, many of whom were engaged in trade and were scattered about not only in the Islands but also among the neighboring nations, occupied in long wars against the Mohammedans in the south, against the British and Dutch, and ceaselessly harassed by Japanese, Chinese, or some tribes in the interior. Then communication with Mexico and Spain was slow, rare and difficult; frequent and violent the disturbances among the ruling powers in the Islands, the treasury nearly always empty, and the life of the colonists dependent upon one frail ship that handled the Chinese trade. Then the seas in those regions were infested with pirates, all enemies of the Spanish name, which was defended by an impoverished fleet, generally manned by rude adventurers, when not by foreigners and enemies, which was checked and an expedition of Gomez Perez Dasmariñas, which was checked and frustrated by the mutiny of the Chinese rowers, who killed him and thwarted all his plans and schemes. Yet in spite of so many adverse circumstances the Spanish authority had been upheld for more than three centuries and, though it has been curtailed, still continues to rule the destinies of the Philippine group.

On the other hand, the present situation seems to be gilded and rosy -- as we might say, a beautiful morning compared to the vexed and stormy night of the past. The material forces at the disposal of the Spanish sovereign have now been trebled; the fleet relatively improved: there is more organization in both civil and military affairs; communication with the sovereign country is swifter and surer; she has no enemies abroad; her possession is assured and the country dominated seems to have less spirit, less aspiration for independence, a world that is to it almost incomprehensible. Everything then at first glance presages another three centuries, at least, of peaceful domination and tranquil suzerainty.

But above the material considerations are arising others, invisible, of an ethical nature, far more powerful and transcendental.

Orientals and the Malays, in particular, are a sensitive people: delicacy of sentiment is predominant with them. Even now, in spite of contact with the Occidental nations, who have ideas different from his, we see the Malayan Filipino sacrifice everything -- liberty, ease, welfare, name for the sake of an aspiration or a conceit sometimes scientific, or of some other nature but at the least word which wounds his self-love he forgets all his sacrifices, the labor expended, to treasure in his memory and never forget the slight he thinks he has received.

So the Philippine peoples have remained faithful during three centuries, giving up their liberty and their independence, sometimes dazzled by the hope of the Paradise promised, sometimes cajoled by the friendship offered them by a noble and generous people like the Spanish, sometimes also compelled by superiority of arms of which they were ignorant and which timid spirits invested with a mysterious character, or sometimes because the invading foreigner took advantage of internecine feuds to step in as the peacemaker in discord and thus after to dominate both parties and subject them to his authority.

Spanish domination once established, was firmly maintained, thanks to the attachment of the people, to their mutual dissensions, and to the fact that the sensitive self-love of the native had not yet been wounded. Then the people saw their own countrymen in the higher ranks of the army, their general officers fighting beside the heroes of Spain and sharing their laurels, begrudged neither character, reputation nor consideration; then fidelity and attachment to Spain, love for the fatherland, made of the native encomendero and even general, as during the English invasion; then there had not yet been invented the insulting and ridiculous epithets with which recently the most laborious and painful achievements of the native leaders have been stigmatized; not then had it become the fashion to insult and slander in stereotyped phrase, in newspapers and books published with governmental and superior ecclesiastical approval, the people that paid, fought and poured out its blood for the Spanish name, nor was it considered either noble or witty to offend a whole race, which was forbidden to reply or defend itself, and if there were religious hypochondriacs who in the leisure of their cloisters dared to write against it, as did the Augustinian Gaspar de San Agustin and the Jesuit Velarde, their loathsome abortions never saw the light, and still less were they themselves rewarded with miters and raised to high offices. True it is that neither were the natives of that time such as we are now: three centuries of brutalization and obscurantism have necessarily had some influence upon us, the most beautiful work of divinity in the hands of certain artisans may finally be converted into a caricature.

The priests of that epoch, wishing to establish their domination over the people, got in touch with it and made common cause with it against the oppressive encomenderos. Naturally, the people saw in them learning and some prestige and placed its confidence in them, followed their advice, and listened to them in the darkest hours. If they wrote, they did so in defense of the rights of the native and made his cry reach even to the distant steps of the Throne. And not a few priests, both secular and regular, undertook dangerous journeys, as representatives of the country, and this, along with the strict and public residencia then required of the governing powers, from the captain-general to the most insignificant official, rather consoled and pacified the wounded spirits, satisfying, even though it were only in form, all the malcontents.

All this has passed away. The derisive laughter penetrates like mortal poison into the heart of the native who pays and suffers and it becomes more offensive the more immunity it enjoys. A common sore the general affront offered to a whole race, has wiped away the old feuds among different provinces. The people no longer have confidence in its former protectors, now its exploiters and executioners. The masks have fallen. It has been that the love and piety of the past have come to resemble the devotion of a nurse, who, unable to live elsewhere, desires the eternal infancy, eternal weakness, for the child in order to go on drawing her wages and existing at its expense, it has seen not only that she does not nourish it to make it grow but that she poisons it to stunt its growth and at the slightest protest she flies into a rage! The ancient show of justice, the holy residencia has disappeared; confusion of ideas begins to prevail; the regard shown for a governor-general, lie La Torre, becomes a crime in the government of his successor, sufficient to cause the citizen to lose his liberty and his home; if he obeys the order of one official, as in the recent matter of admitting corpses into the church, it is enough to have the obedient subjects later harassed and persecuted in every possible way; obligations and taxes increase without thereby increasing rights, privileges and liberties or assuring the few in existence; a regime of continual terror and uncertainty disturbs the minds, a regime worse than a period of disorder for the fears that the imagination conjures up are generally greater than the reality; the country is poor; the financial crisis through which it is passing is acute, and every one points out with the finger the persons who are causing the trouble, yet no one dares lay hands upon them!

True it is that the Penal Code has come like a drop of balm to such bitterness. But of what use are all the codes in the world, if by means of confidential reports, if for trifling reasons, if through anonymous traitors any honest citizen may be exiled or banished without a hearing, without a trial? Of what use is that Penal Code, of what use is life, if there is no security in the home, no faith in justice and confidence in tranquility of conscience? Of what use is all that array of terms, all that collection of articles, when the cowardly accusation of a traitor has more influence in the timorous ears of the supreme autocrat than all the cries for justice?

If this state of affairs should continue, what will be come of the Philippines within a century?

The batteries are gradually becoming charged and if the prudence of the government does not provide an outlet for the currents that are accumulating, some day the spark will be generated. This is not the place to speak of what outcome such a deplorable conflict might have, for it depends upon chance, upon the weapons and upon a thousand circumstances which man cannot foresee. But even though all the advantages should be on the government’s side and therefore the probability of success, it would be a Pyrrhic victory, and not government ought to desire such.

If those who guide the destinies of the Philippines remain obstinate, and instead of introducing reforms try to make the condition of the country retrograde; to push their severity and repression to extremes against the classes that suffer and think they are going to force the latter to venture and put into play the wretchedness of an unquiet life, filled with privation and bitterness, against the hope of securing something indefinite. What would be lost in the struggle? Almost nothing: the life of the numerous discontented classes has no such great attraction that it should be preferred to a glorious death. It may indeed be a suicidal attempt -- but then, what? Would not a bloody chasm yawn between victors and vanquished and might not the latter with time and experience become equal in strength, since they are superior in numbers to their dominators? Who disputes this? All the petty instructions that have occurred in the Philippines were the work of a few fanatics or discontented soldiers, who had to deceive and humbug the people or avail themselves of their powers over their subordinates to gain their ends. So they all failed. No insurrection had a popular character or was based on a need of the whole race or fought for human rights or justice, so it left no ineffaceable impressions, but rather when they saw that they had been duped the people bound up their wounds and applauded the overthrow of the disturbers of their peace! But what if the movement springs from the people themselves and based its causes upon their woes?

So then, if the prudence and wise reforms of our ministers do not find capable and determined interpreters among the colonial governors and faithful perpetrators among those whom the frequent perpetrators among those whom the frequent political changes send to fill such a delicate post; if met with the eternal it is out of order, preferred by the elements who see their livelihood in the backwardness of their subjects, it just claims are to go unheeded, as being of a subversive tendency; if the country is denied representation in the Cortes and an authorized voice to cry out against all kinds of abuses, which escape through the complexity of the laws; if in short, the system, prolific in results of alienating the goodwill of the natives, is to continue, pricking his apathetic mind with insults and charges of ingratitude, we can assert that in a few yeas the present state of affairs will have been modified completely -- and inevitably. There now exists a factor which was formerly lacking -- the spirit of the nation has been aroused and a common misfortune, a common debasement has united all the inhabitants of the Islands. A numerous enlightened class now exists within and without the Islands, a class created and continually augmented by the stupidity of certain governing powers, which forces the inhabitants to leave the country, to secure education abroad, and it is maintained thanks to the provocation and the system of espionage in vogue. This class, whose number is cumulatively increasing, is in constant communication with the rest of the Islands, and if today it constitutes only the brain of the country in a few years it will form the whole nervous system and manifest its existence in all its acts.

Now, statecraft has various means at its disposal for checking a people on the road to progress; the brutalization of the masses through a caste addicted to the government, aristocratic, as in the Dutch colonies, or theocratic as in the Philippines; the impoverishment of the country; the gradual extermination of the inhabitants; and fostering of feuds among the races.

Brutalization of the Malayan Filipinos has been demonstrated to be impossible. In spite of the dark horde of friars in whose hands rests the instruction of youth, which miserably wastes years and years in the colleges, issuing therefrom tired, weary and disgusted with books: in spite of the censorship which tries to close every avenue to progress; in spite of all the pupils, confessionals, books, and missals that inculcate hatred toward not only all scientific knowledge but even toward the Spanish language itself; in spite of this whole elaborate system perfected and tenaciously operated by those who wish to keep the Islands in holy ignorance; there exist writers, freethinkers, historians, philosophers, chemists, physicians, artists, and jurists. Enlightenment is spreading and the persecution it suffers quickens it. No, the divine flame of thought is inextinguishable in the Filipino people and somehow or other it will shine forth and compel recognition. It is impossible to brutalize the inhabitants of the Philippines!

May poverty arrest their development? Perhaps, but it is a very dangerous means. Experience has everywhere shown us and especially in the Philippines, that the classes which are better off have always been addicted to peace and order, because they live comparatively better and may be the losers in civil disturbances. Wealth brings with it refinement, the spirit of conservation, while poverty inspires adventurous ideas, the desire to change things and has little care for life. Machiavelli himself held this means of subjecting of a people to be perilous, observing that loss of welfare stirs up more obdurate enemies than loss of life. Moreover, when there are wealth and abundance, there is less discontent, less compliant and the government, itself wealthier, has more means for sustaining itself. On the other hand, there occurs in a poor country what becomes in a house where bread is wanting? And further, of what use to the mother country would a poor and lean colony be?

Neither is possible gradually to exterminate the inhabitants. The Philippine races, like all the Malays, do not succumb before the foreigner, like the Australians, the Polynesians and the Indians of the New World. In spite of the numerous wars the Filipinos have had to carry on, in spite of the epidemics that have periodically visited them, their number has trebled, as has that of the Malays of Java and the Moluccas. The Filipino embraces civilization and lives and thrives in every clime, in contact with every people. Rum, that poison which exterminated the natives of the Pacific islands, has no power in the Philippines, but rather, comparison of their present condition with that described by the earlier historians, makes it appear that the Filipinos have grown soberer. The petty wars with the inhabitants of the south consume only the soldiers, people who by their fidelity to the Spanish flag, far from being a menace, are surely one of its solidest supports.

Three remains the fostering of internecine feuds among the provinces.

This was formerly possible, when communication from one island to another was rare and difficult, when there were not steamers or telegraph lines, when the regiments were formed according to the various provinces, when some provinces were cajoled by awards of privileges and honor and other were protected from the strongest. But now that the privileges have disappeared, that through a spirit of distrust the regiments have been reorganized, that the inhabitants move from one island to another, communication and exchange of impressions naturally increase, and as all see themselves threatened by the same peril and wounded in the same feelings, they clasp hands and make common cause. It is true that the union is not yet wholly perfected, but to this end the measures of good government, the vexations to which the townspeople are subjected, the frequent changes of officials, the scarcity of centers of learning, forces of the youth of all the islands to come together and begin to get acquainted. The journeys to Europe contribute not a little to tighten the bonds, for abroad the inhabitants of most widely separated provinces are impressed by their patriotic feelings, from sailors even to the wealthiest merchants, and at the sight of modern liberty and the memory of the misfortunes of their country, they embrace and call one another brothers.

In short, then, the advancement and ethical progress of the Philippines are inevitable, are decreed by fate.

The Islands cannot remain in the condition they are without requiring from the sovereign country more liberty. Mutatis mutandis. For new men, a new social order.

To wish that the alleged child remain in its swaddling clothes is to risk that it may turn against the nurse and flee, tearing away the old rags that bind it.

The Philippines, then, will remain under Spanish domination, but with more law and greater liberty, or they will declare themselves independent after steeping themselves and the mother country in blood.

As no one should desire or hope for such an unfortunate rupture, which would be an evil for all and only the final argument in the most desperate predicament, let us see by what forms of peaceful evolution the Islands may remain subjected to the Spanish authority, with the very least detriment to the rights, interests and dignity of both parties.

PART THREE: If the Philippines must remain under the control of Spain, they will necessarily have to be transformed in a political sense, for the course of their history and the needs of their inhabitants so required. This we demonstrated in the preceding article.

We also said that this transformation will be violent and fatal if it proceeds from the ranks of the people, but peaceful and fruitful if it emanates from the upper classes.

Some governors have realized this truth, and impelled by their patriotism, have been trying to introduce needed reforms in order to forestall events. But notwithstanding all that have been ordered up to the present time, they have produced scanty results, for the government as well as for the country. Even those that promised only a happy issue have at times caused injury, for the simple reason that they have been based upon unstable grounds.

We said and once more we repeat, and all will ever assert, that reforms, which have a palliative character, are not only ineffectual but even prejudicial when the government is confronted with evils that must be cured radically. And were we not convinced of the honesty and rectitude of some governors, we would be tempted to say that all the partial reforms are only plasters and salves of a physician, who, not knowing how to cure the cancer, and not daring to root it out, tries in this way to alleviate the patient’s sufferings or to temporize with the cowardice of the timid and ignorant.

All the reforms of our liberal ministers were, have been, are, and will be good -- when carried out.

When we think of them, we are reminded of the dieting of Sancho Panza in this Barataria Island. He took his seat at a sumptuous and well-appointed table “covered with fruit and many varieties of food differently prepared,” but between the wretch’s mouth and each dish the physician Pedro Rezio interposed his wand, saying, “Take it away!” The dish removed, Sancho was as hungry as ever. Truth is that the despotic Pedro Rezio gave reasons, which seem to have been written by Cervantes especially for the colonial administrations. “You must not eat, Mr. Governor, except according to the usage and custom of other islands, where there are governors.” Something was found to be wrong with each dish: one was too hot, another too moist, and so on, just like our Pedro Rezio on both sides of the sea. Great good did his cook’s skill do Sancho!

In the case of our country, the reforms take the place of the dishes, the Philippines are Sancho, while the part of the quack physician is played by many persons interested in not having the dishes touched, perhaps that they may themselves get the benefit of them.

The result is that the long suffering Sancho, or the Philippines, misses his liberty, rejects all government and ends up by rebelling against his quack physician.

In this manner, so long as the Philippines have no liberty of the press, have no voice in the Cortes to make known to the government and to the nation whether or not their decrees have been duly obeyed, whether or not these benefit the country, all the able efforts of the colonial ministers will meet the fate of the dishes in Barataria Island.

The minister, then, who wants his reforms to be reforms, must begin by declaring the press in the Philippines free and by instituting Filipino delegates.

The free press in the Philippines, because their complaints rarely ever reach the Peninsula, very rarely, and if they do they are so secret, so mysterious that no newspaper dares to publish them, or if it does reproduce them, it does so tardily and badly.

A government that rules a country from a great distance is the one that has the most need for a free press more so even than the government of the home country, if it wishes to rule rightly and fitly. The government that governs in a country may even dispense with the press (if it can), because it is on the ground, because it has eyes and ears, and because it directly observes what it rules and administers. But the government that governs from afar absolutely requires that the truth and the facts reach its knowledge by every possible channel so that it may weigh and estimate them better, and this need increases when a country like the Philippines is concerned, where the inhabitants speak and complain in a language unknown to the authorities. To govern in any other way may also be called governing, but it is to govern badly. It amounts to pronouncing judgment after hearing only one of the parties; it is steering a ship without reckoning its conditions, the state of the sea, the reefs and shoals, the direction of the winds and currents. It is managing a house by endeavoring merely to give it polish and a fine appearance without watching the money chest, without looking after the servants and the members of the family.

But routine is a declivity down which many governments slide, and routine says that freedom of the press is dangerous. Let us see what History says: uprisings and revolutions have always occurred in countries tyrannized over, in countries where human thought and the human heart have been forced to remain silent.

If the great Napoleon had not tyrannized over the press, perhaps it would have warned him of the peril into which he was hurled and have made him understand that the people were weary and the earth wanted peace. Perhaps his genius, instead of being dissipated in foreign aggrandizement would have become intensive in laboring to strengthen his position and thus have assured it. Spain herself records in her history more revolutions when the press was gagged. What colonies have become independent while they had a free press and enjoyed liberty? Is it preferable to govern blindly or to govern with ample knowledge?

Someone will answer that in colonies with a free press, the prestige of the rulers, that prop of false governments, will be greatly imperiled. We answer that the prestige of the nation is not by abetting and concealing abuses, but by rebuking and punishing them. Moreover, to this prestige is applicable what Napoleon said about great men and their valets. Who endure and know all the false pretensions and petty persecutions of those sham gods, do not need a free press in order to recognize them; they have long ago lost their prestige. The free press is needed by the government, the government which still dreams of the prestige which it builds upon mined ground.

We say the same about the Filipino representatives.

What risks does the government see in them? One of three things, either that they will prove unruly, become political trimmers, or act properly.

Supposing that we should yield to the most absurd pessimism and admit the insult, great for the Philippines but still greater for Spain, that all the representatives would be separatists and that in all their contentions they would advocate separatist ideas; does not a patriotic Spanish majority exist there, is there not present there the vigilance of the governing powers to combat and oppose such intentions? And would not this be better than the discontent that ferments and expands in the secrecy of the home, in the huts and in the field? Certainly the Spanish people does not spare its blood where patriotism is concerned but would not a struggle of principles in parliament be preferable to the exchange of shot in swampy lands, three thousand leagues from home in impenetrable forests, under a burning sun or amid torrential rains? These pacific struggles of ideas, besides being a thermometer for the government, have the advantage of being cheap and glorious, because the Spanish parliament especially abounds in oratorical paladins invincible in debate. Moreover, it is said that the Filipinos are indolent and peaceful -- then what need for government fear? Hasn’t it any influence in the elections? Frankly speaking, it is a great compliment to the separatists to fear them in the midst of the Cortes of the nation.

Now then, if the real objection to the Filipino delegates, is that they smell like Igorots, which so disturbed in open Senate the doughty General Salamanca, then Don Sinibaldo de Mas, who saw the Igorots in person and wanted to live with them, can affirm that they will smell at worst like powder, and Señor Salamanca undoubtedly has no fear of that odor. And if this were all, the Filipinos, who there in their own country are accustomed to bathe every day, when they become representatives may give up such a dirty custom, at least during the legislative session so as not to offend the delicate nostrils of Salamanca with the odor of the bath.

It is useless to answer certain objections of some fine writers regarding the rather brown skins and faces with somewhat wide nostrils. Questions of taste are peculiar to each race. China, for example, which has four hundred million inhabitants and a very ancient civilization, considers all Europeans ugly and calls them “fankwai”, or red devils. Its taste has a hundred million more adherents than the Europeans. Moreover, if this is the question, we would have to admit the inferiority of the Latins, especially the Spaniards, to the Saxons, who are much whiter.

And so long as it is not asserted that the Spanish parliament is an assemblage of Adonises, Antoniuses, pretty boys and other like paragons, so long as the purpose of resorting thither is to legislate and not to philosophize or wonder through imaginary spheres, we maintain that the government ought not to pause at these obligations. Law has no skin nor reason nostrils.

So we see no serious reason why the Philippines may not have representatives. By their institution many malcontents would be silenced, and instead of blaming its troubles upon the government, as now happens, the country would bear them better, for it could at least complain and with its sons among its legislators, would in a way become responsible for their actions.

We are not sure that we serve the true interests of our country by asking for representatives. We know that the lack of enlightenment, the indolence, the egotism, of our fellow countrymen, and the boldness, the cunning and the powerful methods of those who wish their obscurantism, may convert reform into a harmful instrument. But we wish to be loyal to the government and we are pointing out to it the road that appears best to us so that its effort may not come to grief, so that discontent may disappear. If after so just, as well as necessary, a measure has been introduced, the Filipino people are so stupid and weak that they are treacherous to their own interests, then let the responsibility fall upon them, let them suffer all consequences. Every country gets the fate it deserves and the government can say that it has done its duty.

These are the two fundamental reforms, which properly interpreted and applied, will dissipate all clouds, assure affection toward Spain, and make all succeeding reforms fruitful. These are the reforms sine quibus non.

It is puerile to fear that independence may come thorough them. The free press will keep the government in touch with public opinion, and the representatives, if they are, as they ought to be, the best from among the sons of the Philippines, will be their hostages. With no cause for discontent, how then attempt to stir up the masses of the people?

Likewise inadmissible is the obligation offered by some regarding the imperfect culture of the majority of the inhabitants. Aside from the fact that it is not so imperfect as is averred, there is no plausible reason why the ignorant and the defective (whether through their own or another’s fault) should be denied representation to look after them and see that they are not abused. They are the very ones who most need it. No one ceases to be a man, no one forfeits his rights to civilization merely by being more or less uncultured, and since the Filipino is regarded as a fit citizen when he is asked to pay taxes or shed his blood to defend the fatherland why must this fitness be denied him when the question arises of granting him some right? Moreover, how is he to be held responsible for his ignorance, when it is acknowledged by all, friends and enemies that his zeal for learning is so great that even before the coming of the Spaniards every one could read and write, and that we now see the humblest families make enormous sacrifices to the extent of working as servants in order to learn Spanish? How can the country be expected to become enlightened under present conditions when we see all the decrees issued by the government in favor of education meet with Pedro Rezios who prevent execution whereof because they have in their hands what they call education? If the Filipino, then, is sufficiently intelligent to pay taxes, he must also be able to choose and retain the one who looks after him and his interests, with the product whereof he serves the government of his nation. To reason otherwise is to reason stupidly.

When the laws and the acts of officials are kept under surveillance, the word justice may cease to be a colonial jest. The thing that makes the English most respected in their possessions is their strict and speedy justice so that the inhabitants repose entire confidence in the judges. Justice is the foremost virtue of the civilized races. It subdues the barbarous nations, while injustice arouses the weakest.

Offices and trusts should be awarded by competition, publishing the work and the judgment thereon, so that there may be stimulus and that discontent may not be bred. Then, if the native does not shake off his indolence he can not complain when he sees all the offices filled by Castilas.

We presume that it will not be the Spaniard who fears to enter in this contest, for thus will he be able to prove his superiority by the superiority of intelligence. Although this is not the custom in the sovereign country, it should