Labor in France confronts President Macron, tool of the oligarchs

first_imgParis, April 8 — Since the beginning of March, France has plunged into social turbulence. Dissatisfaction is rising everywhere. Demonstrations multiply, as do strikes, notably in public transport — from railway to Air France workers, among sanitation workers, and also in the mass retailing sector. Workers in the French supermarket group Carrefour, the country’s largest private employer, struck after the announcement of the closure of hundreds of stores and the loss of thousands of jobs, despite a billion euros in profits recorded last year.This is, at last, the first real confrontation of labor with Emmanuel Macron since his election as head of state almost a year ago.But the question is: Who is French President Macron? He’s called handsome, elegant, brilliant. At just 39 years of age, he was elected president of the republic in May 2017, after a meteoric political rise. He also impressed Donald Trump, whom he invited to Paris last July 14 to celebrate a national holiday and attend a military parade on the Champs Élysées.This is the first time France has a president who speaks English so well and smiles “like an American.” That should be no surprise: He was a member of the “Young Leaders” of the French-American Foundation, an institution responsible for “strengthening ties between France and the United States.”Nevertheless, Macron’s electoral base is very narrow. Although he led the first round of the presidential elections in April 2017, he received only 24 percent of the vote — 8.66 million votes — only slightly more than the far-right-wing National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, who received 21.3 percent, or 7.68 million votes. His other opponents, François Fillon on the right with 20 percent and Jean-Luc Mélenchon on the left with 19.6 percent, trailed him by a bit less.Running against the far-right candidate in the second round, Macron played it smooth: France is not racist; it is a well-known fact. Macron was elected by a landslide, with 66.1 percent of the voters, but with more than 25 percent abstaining.Sure of himself, he celebrated his victory the evening of the first round by holding a reception in a luxurious Parisian restaurant, surrounded by powerful jetsetters like Jacques Attali, former adviser to President François Mitterrand and great friend of the establishment, and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, former leader of the May 1968 student revolt, who later became a loyal servant of European big capitalists.Product of high financeMacron is a pure product of high finance. After having been a public auditor, he declined a proposal from his boss’s boss, Laurence Parisot, to accept the post of general manager of the employers’ association, Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), preferring to work as an investment banker at Rothschild, where he became a managing partner.President François Hollande, who was elected as a member of the Socialist Party, first appointed him deputy secretary general of the Elysée (2012) and later minister of Economy and Industry (2014). Choosing a banker to run industry, what could be more logical? The “Macron Act,” which was forced through Parliament in 2016, made the labor market even more “flexible,” allegedly to “unblock” the French economy by eliminating laws that protect workers’ rights.Macron’s success can largely be explained by the decline of the country’s two traditional governing political parties: the classic right, currently called the Republicans, and the formerly left Socialist Party, which has become the new right, as it no longer defends workers’ rights at all.With the presidencies of Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-12) and Hollande (2012-17), Republicans and “Socialists” had indeed modified their historical trajectories and bowed down before finance, becoming its faithful servants. That was quite new in France. And this is the main cause of the collapse of these two main parties, which shared power before Macron, both holding executive power without providing alternative programs.Macron is nothing more than the repolished and rejuvenated synthesis of a fundamental trend in French political life: abandonment of national sovereignty and absolutely lamentable submission of the state. It is no surprise that the pro-U.S. imperialist line oriented to NATO and North America is strengthened at the same time.It was enough to get him elected. His election campaign, orchestrated by an obsequious and unanimous media under orders from a handful of oligarchs, sold him like a commodity. With the allure of an airport novel to boot: his spouse, Brigitte Macron, was his high school drama teacher!That’s because in this deteriorating democracy, they needed a talented actor to make the French population forget that their country is no longer sovereign but governed by high finance. However, the play whose performance is announced was not written in advance. Social unrest is growing.Herrera is a Marxist economist, researcher at Centre National Recherche Scientifique, working at the Centre d’Économie de la Sorbonne, Paris. WW Contributing Editor G. Dunkel translated.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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UK: Adjournment of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing considered amidst coronavirus concerns

first_imgNews UK: At the start of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing, RSF renews calls for his release RSF_en News Receive email alerts United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Covid19ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment Help by sharing this information Follow the news on United Kingdom to go further United KingdomEurope – Central Asia Covid19ImprisonedFreedom of expressionJudicial harassment February 23, 2020 Find out more RSF Index 2020: UK ranking declines following the murder of journalist Lyra McKee April 27, 2020 UK: Adjournment of Julian Assange’s US extradition hearing considered amidst coronavirus concerns April 20, 2020 Find out more Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team has requested adjournment of his US extradition hearing to allow for adequate preparation of his defence, amidst concerns for his health as COVID-19 reportedly spreads at Belmarsh prison. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates the need for Assange’s immediate release before his health is further jeopardised, and calls for the extradition hearing to be postponed until lockdown conditions are lifted. February 28, 2020 Find out more UK: Legal arguments during the first week of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing highlight lack of US evidence On 27 April, a hearing took place at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to consider the application of Julian Assange’s legal team to adjourn his US extradition hearing. The full hearing had been scheduled to resume on 18 May, when three weeks of evidence were expected to be heard, following the presentation of legal arguments in February. District judge Vanessa Baraitser presided, and was joined in the courtroom by legal counsel. Assange was expected to attend via videolink, but he did not take part, and his lawyer Edward Fitzgerland QC reported that he had received medical advice that it would not be safe for him to be taken to the video room at Belmarsh prison. Assange also did not participate in the last hearing on 7 April, as his lawyers reported he was unwell.“We are alarmed by the continued disregard for Julian Assange’s health, particularly now with the added risk of his being exposed to coronavirus in detention. He should be immediately released before his health is further jeopardised, and the court must ensure that he is able to participate fully in future hearings”, said RSF UK Bureau Director Rebecca Vincent.The defence argued for adjournment of the full extradition hearing to allow for sufficient time to adequately prepare Assange’s defence, noting that his lawyers did not currently have access to him in prison, and could not fulfill their professional obligations to him in these circumstances. They also sought to ensure his participation in proceedings, and to allow for open justice through ensuring access to the press and other observers.The judge acknowledged that in light of the continued coronavirus lockdown, the scheduled 18 May date for the resumption of the full extradition hearing would be “uncertain at best”. She agreed to vacate that date, and scheduled an administrative hearing on 4 May to set a date to resume the full hearing. She noted that the next period the Woolwich Crown Court would be available for three consecutive weeks would be starting 2 November.RSF observed the fifty-minute hearing via teleconference, which was also the access option provided to the media. The telephone connection did not allow for adequate monitoring of the hearing, which was difficult to hear — an issue which required the judge’s attention and interrupted proceedings.“Today’s experience attempting to remotely observe proceedings in Julian Assange’s case was extremely frustrating, and shows that resuming the full extradition hearing in such conditions would not allow for open justice. This case is of tremendous public interest, and the press and NGO observers must be able to scrutinise proceedings. We call for the full hearing to be postponed until lockdown conditions are lifted”, said Vincent.Assange’s legal team had previously applied for his release on bail due to health concerns, as his pre-existing medical conditions could make him more susceptible to contracting coronavirus. Judge Baraitser denied the bail application on 25 March. COVID-19 is now reportedly spreading in Belmarsh prison, where one inmate has so far been reported to have died from the virus. The UK is ranked 35th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index, having dropped two places since 2019, in part due to Assange’s disproportionate sentencing for breaking bail, and his continued detention. News Organisation Newslast_img read more

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“A book is not a bomb”

first_img April 28, 2021 Find out more Organisation April 2, 2021 Find out more Open publication – Free publishing – More reportReporters Without Borders urged the Turkish government today to prove it supports the media freedom it proclaimed during the recent election campaign.The appeal came in a report called “Media and justice in Turkey – mistrust and repression” after recent fact-finding visits by the worldwide media freedom organisation to investigate the hounding and prosecution of journalists by the country’s police and courts. Despite significant advances in freedom of expression, journalists are still arrested and tried for doing their job or expressing an opinion, their documents seized and their sources tracked down, the report said. Journalistic principles are still poorly guaranteed by law while a wide range of legislation continues to prevent many topics being reported.The few guarantees that do exist are too often swept away by the judiciary’s repressive habits and paranoia. Journalists have also been victims of the sharp political polarisation during the election campaign and the present fierce struggle for control of all state institutions.“On Saturday, investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener will have been in prison for 100 days. Major demonstrations to support them are planned, showing that media freedom is not just an election slogan. Turkish civil society is protesting as never before that these violations of freedom are very serious. The protests call for an immediate response from the government,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities are politically responsible for the judiciary’s hounding of journalists. This undermines the government’s claim to be a regional democratic model. The authorities therefore need to start a frank and open dialogue with journalists and with the country’s international partners.”At a press conference in Istanbul on 19 April, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard pointed to a number of taboos for which journalists are being prosecuted if they violate them. Unfortunately, this has continued, with plenty of examples in just the past two weeks.The longstanding taboo of discussing and reporting on the armed forces has eased but the judiciary and police are still out of bounds for journalists, especially as these institutions are both judges and interested parties. Reporting of legal matters is thus the main cause of prosecution of journalists, based on the Penal Code’s article 285 (legal confidentiality) and 288 (trying to influence the result of a trial). Journalists Nedim Sener and Hasan Cakkalkurt (of Milliyet) and Aysegül Usta (of Hürriyet) appeared before the second chamber of the magistrates court in Bakirköy (Istanbul) on 2 June for “violating legal confidentiality.” It is the ninth trial for Sener, who has been in prison since 3 March in connection with the wide-ranging Ergenekon case.Criticism of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is tolerated less and less, as shown by the trial of Ahmet Altan, director of the daily Taraf, that began on 9 June. He faces two years and eight months in prison for “offending the person of the prime minister” after criticising him in two articles in January for ordering the destruction of an unfinished statue symbolising the rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia. He described Erdogan as “a shallow person.” The Kurdish issue is still the hardest one for journalists to tackle because of the judiciary’s repressive reliance on the outdated Anti-Terror Law and repressive articles of the Penal Code. Follow the news on Turkey The country’s only Kurdish-language daily, Azadiya Welat, was suspended again (for the ninth time) on 13 June for 15 days and all copies ordered seized for supposedly printing “propaganda for a terrorist organisation.” The paper’s former editor, Vedat Kursun, was sentenced on appeal to 10 and a half years in prison for this offence on 9 June. He has been imprisoned in Diyarbakir for the past two and a half years and had been sentenced by a lower court to 166 years in jail. Ercan Atay, of the paper Batman Gazetesi, was sentenced to 37 days in prison on 7 June for quoting in an article a statement by a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This was described by the court as “praising a criminal” and resembles many cases cited in the present report. Reporters Without Borders calls on the Turkish judiciary to study urgently the lists of imprisoned journalists complied by the Freedom for Journalists platform (GÖP) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and release immediately and unconditionally all those only jailed for doing their job. Reporters Without Borders has identified at least five such cases and there are undoubtedly many more but the secrecy of the judiciary makes it hard to identify them.The Anti-Terror Law and the repressive articles of the Penal Code must be abolished or thoroughly revised to comply with international agreements ratified by Turkey that guarantee freedom of expression. The judiciary must change its attitude to the media, stop lumping together journalists and “terrorists” and allow the media to regulate itself more.“Turkey is at a crossroads,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Progress towards democracy over the past decade has been impressive but is incomplete and fragile. The latest attacks on journalists show that a return to the past is possible at any moment. The ruling JDP/AKP’s easy election victory should reassure the country’s leaders and show them they have nothing to fear from allowing freedom of expression. The government must now prove it is still determined to carry out the democratic reforms demanded by Turks.” Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Related documents Download the report (turkish)PDF – 2.6 MBDownload the report (english)PDF – 7.84 MB News June 16, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “A book is not a bomb” TurkeyEurope – Central Asia to go furthercenter_img Reports Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law Receive email alerts TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Help by sharing this information RSF_en April 2, 2021 Find out more News Newslast_img read more

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Fire Station 33 Open House Planned

first_img Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday 0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website  Make a comment Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Community News Subscribe More Cool Stuff EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m.center_img Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Top of the News Business News First Heatwave Expected Next Week HerbeautyWeird Types Of Massage Not Everyone Dares To TryHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyYou Can’t Go Past Our Healthy Quick RecipesHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Special Massage Techniques That Will Make You Return For MoreHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyWhat Is It That Actually Makes French Women So Admirable?HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHere Are Indian Women’s Best Formulas For Eternal BeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyThese Are 15 Great Style Tips From Asian WomenHerbeautyHerbeauty The public is invited to the first in a series of Fire Station Open House events planned by the Pasadena Fire Department that will first start at Fire Station 33, 515 N. Lake Ave., 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 22, 2015. Free parking will be available at the Lake Avenue Church, off Villa Street.Fire Chief Bertral Washington said the Station 33 Open House will kick-off a series of similar events showcasing all eight fire stations. Other open house events will be announced in the near future. Fire apparatus displays, station tours and live demonstrations will be highlighted along with the opportunity to meet the men and women of the Pasadena Fire Department.Each open house will highlight a different theme related to the City and its Fire Department, Chief Washington said. “Disaster Preparedness” is the theme for the Aug. 22 event during which the Department will announce details of the City’s new “Disaster Information Sites” program for the public. Other City Departments and community partners will be at the Aug. 22 open house to highlight additional disaster preparedness-related programs and services.The City is designating Disaster Information Sites to be located outside each Pasadena Fire Station to distribute emergency public information when other traditional means of communication become unreliable after a major disaster or emergency.Currently, Stations 33, 34 and 38 are equipped as Disaster Information Sites and other stations will be ready later this year. The sites will also help provide a way for neighborhoods to relay local information to the City’s Emergency Operations Center when it is activated.For further information, please contact Lisa Derderian at (626) 744-7276. Public Safety Fire Station 33 Open House Planned On Saturday, August 22 Published on Tuesday, August 11, 2015 | 11:22 am faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPasadena Water and PowerPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Community Newslast_img read more

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Republicans use Texas power outages to spread false claims about green energy

first_imgMlenny/iStockBY: JULIA JACOBO, ABC NEWS(WASHINGTON) — Republican politicians are using the widespread power outages in Texas to place false blame on renewable energy sources, but clean energy isn’t what was fueling the majority of power plants that failed.Millions in the state were without power following a massive winter storm that brought snow and freezing temperatures to the region as a second storm loomed nearby.Republicans soon after began casting renewable energy as unreliable.On Tuesday, Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines retweeted a picture of a wind turbine being defrosted, arguing this is a reason to oppose Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland, who has supported wind energy in the past, as interior secretary.Former Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who served under the Trump administration, appeared Tuesday on a Fox News segment that contained the chyron, “Storm Shutters Green Energy,” where he stated that the current situation in Texas are the reason why fossil fuels should continue to be the main energy source.Brouillette described renewables as “intermittent to sometimes unreliable,” adding, “… the technology is not ready for primetime.”Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott attributed his state’s crisis to the 10% of power plants that are powered by renewables and even went as far as to describe the Green New Deal, a climate proposal by House Democrats, as “deadly” in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday.“Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis,” he said.Abbott later acknowledged in a press conference Wednesday that coal and natural gas played a role in the outages.“Those coal and natural gas power generating facilities either froze up or had mechanical failure, and we’re incapable of adding power to the power grid,” the governor said. He also noted that one of the power outages was at the South Texas Project, a nuclear power plant.The politicians are “misleading the public,” Daniel Cohan, associate professor of environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston, told ABC News.“The tiny piece of it that’s true is that wind turbines, like every other major piece of the Texas power supply, produced less power than we expected it to under these arctic blast conditions,” he said. “What is not true is that that is anywhere near in the top five list of the problems that have caused millions of homes to lose power this week and have caused life-threatening conditions across the state.”During winter months, the “vast majority” of energy in Texas, more than two-thirds, is supplied by fuel, coal and nuclear sources, Cohan said. The crisis is not so much that the power plants are failing, but that they don’t have enough supply, especially of fuel, he added.“The crisis has shown us the mutual vulnerabilities of our power and natural gas systems to each other when we are so over-reliant on natural gas for our power and heating needs at the same time,” Cohan said.Neil Chatterjee, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also said on CNBC Wednesday that the power outages seem to be a combination of the extreme weather event coupled with a spike in demand for electricity, stating that he thinks “people are so quick to view things through partisan lenses.”“I am confident that if we take the politics out of this and let the engineers and the economists and the experts examine what went on here, we will figure out ways to continue the energy transition that’s taking place in Texas and around the country while maintaining the reliable affordable grid that really sets Texas and the United States of America apart from the rest of the world,” Chatterjee said.The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees the state’s electric grid, started rolling blackouts earlier this week to conserve power.CEO Bill Magness told ABC News the power systems are not designed to withstand extreme cold. While the storm was the “central cause” of the power outages, he said there were outages caused by generation of coal and natural gas, as well as wind and solar, he said.“So, you know, I think what this storm does is expose the vulnerabilities perhaps of all different kinds of power making generation on the system,” Magness said.ERCOT stated in November in its planning document for winter that it had well over 10,000 megawatts of surplus power but that just 8% would come from wind and solar. The power company ended up losing more than 30,000 megawatts in supply, Cohan said.“I think what the politicians are missing, and what they’re misleading the public about, is the fact that average conditions are different from peak conditions, and the way we need to plan for extreme events is to realize that the needs on the coldest days are different than the needs on the hottest day, which are different than the needs on the mildest days throughout the year,” Cohan said.The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation will open a joint federal inquiry into the grid operations during the storm.ABC News’ Tom Dunlavey and Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Independent sandwich firm reaches central London

first_imgCook & Garcia, an artisan food-to-go retailer, is to open its second shop as it gains some presence in the capital.The deli-style café will open in Monument in May, and is known for its artisan sandwiches and hot roast wraps.This follows the opening of its first outlet in Richmond High Street in 2012.Janet Cook, who co-founded the business with her husband Richard Garcia, said: “It’s a cracking spot right at the base of Monument. We are really excited to be in the city, and hopefully we can make our name there.”After this, the firm will look to open three more sites, taking it to a total of five, should this launch go well.The company has been approached by Oakfield Capital Partners to help it with investment.Now it is in the city, Cook said that the new site would provide a faster service by keeping a fresh stock of products, instead of making all sandwiches and wraps to order, like it does at its Richmond site.Bread for the company is currently supplied by The Bread Factory and Café Deli.The company has won ‘Best Independent Sandwich Bar in the UK’ at the British Sandwich Industry Awards two years in a row for 2013 and 2014. The new shop is nearly ready to openlast_img read more

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Watch Marcus King Band’s Superb Phish And Gov’t Mule NYC After-Show On 12/30/2016

first_imgOn December 30th of last year, on the eve of New Year’s Eve, Marcus King travelled to New York City’s Cutting Room, playing an energetic after-show following Phish’s performance at Madison Square Garden and Gov’t Mule’s performance at the Beacon Theatre. The Marcus King Band, which in addition to King is comprised of Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (bass), Matt Jennings (keys, organ), Dean Mitchell (sax), and Justin Johnson (trumpet, trombone, backing vocals), put on an excellent show for attendees who made it out, treating the crowd to their patented and increasingly popular soulful, stylized, and psychedelic southern rock.The Marcus King Band Reintroduce Themselves With Stellar Self-Titled Second Album [Review/Stream]With King’s powerful voice and soaring guitar riffs at the center of the performance, the group played through two hours of their material, primarily focusing on music off The Marcus King Band, the group’s second album that came out late last year and catalyzed the group’s steadily upward trajectory. The audience—which included Warren Haynes (who worked with King on their latest album and stopped by following his own New York performance that night with Gov’t Mule), Chris Robinson of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and fourteen-year-old young guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who were seen amongst the crowd, checking out the lauded band endorsed by Soulive and Lettuce’s infamous guitarist Eric Krasno—eagerly and unsurprisingly devoured the music.The Road To Rooster Walk: Marcus King Discusses SongwritingLuckily for those of us who weren’t able to catch the show, you can watch the Marcus King Band’s full performance below, courtesy of Youtube user LondonSoulsHistorian. You can also head over to the Marcus King Band’s website, for more information about the young rock star including their upcoming summer tour dates, including performances at festivals such as Rooster Walk, Summer Camp, Peach Fest, and LOCK’N.[Photo: Emily Butler]last_img read more

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Philanthropy class allocates funding to local non-profits

first_imgAmong the many unique courses offered by Notre Dame, only one is accompanied by a grant worth tens of thousands of dollars to be awarded to nonprofits in the Michiana area.Notre Dame professor Jonathan Hannah is teaching “Philanthropy and Society” for the first year it is offered at the University. The funding, he said, comes from an outside group.“The class is interesting in that it’s sponsored by a nonprofit called the Philanthropy Lab. They’re an organization based in Texas. We’re about one of 20 partner schools that offer this class,” he said. “This lab, they grant us between $50,000 and $70,000 to give to the community. The students get to sort of create their own mini-foundation and decide ‘What is the best place to invest this money in our local community?’”The Philanthropy Lab has worked with over 29 other U.S. colleges and universities to offer similar courses, giving, along with their donor partners, over $9 million since the group was founded in 2011. Hannah said deciding where the money is awarded is entirely up to the students.“I really don’t influence the grantmaking at all,” he said. “It’s totally on the students. The students get to decide which nonprofits to visit, and then over the next two weeks we’re going to have votes and decide where this money is going to ultimately go.”Though the class is taught through the political science department and the Hesburgh Public Policy program, it is open to all students. Senior Laksumi Sivanandan said she was drawn to the course after a summer internship at the University’s development office.“I worked as an intern for Notre Dame’s development office this summer. As a result, I became really interested in fundraising and philanthropy,” Sivanandan said in an email. “I wanted to learn more about philanthropy through lenses other than higher education, and this class has certainly helped with that.”Senior Evan DaCosta — another student taking the class — was motivated to take the class after reading about how bad actors can abuse the philanthropy process.(Editor’s Note: DaCosta is a former news and sports writer for The Observer.) “It was two things,” he said. “One, it fit my schedule well. Two, it was right at the time when all of the [Jeffrey] Epstein stuff was coming out and people were talking a lot about his philanthropic activity — because he had donated a lot of money to Harvard, MIT and all these schools — so people were criticizing philanthropy at that time as a way people could cover their tracks. … It was topical and newsworthy at the time, so I thought it would be interesting. I didn’t realize at the time that we would be getting money to actually do stuff with.”While the class focuses somewhat on general philanthropic principles, much of the instruction time is spent on hands-on activities as students decide how the money is ultimately going to be awarded, student and sophomore Ciara Donovan explained.“The structure of the class and the way Professor Hannah runs things is really different than any class I’ve ever taken,” she said. “Basically, about 60% of our class days are normal lectures in which we talk about varying topics under the category of philanthropy. But the other classes are what we call ‘board meetings’ and every member of our class together acts as a board of directors for our nonprofits. We each have different roles on the board. During these board meetings, we get to vote on issues, and it’s cool because I know the issues we’re voting on will have a real impact on my immediate community.”At the beginning of the semester, the class — which Hannah said has 25 students — self-sorted into groups based on interest areas. They then compiled a list of potential nonprofits to work with using sources such as the Center for Social Concerns and word of mouth, among others. The groups then narrowed their respective searches to two local nonprofits, which they then visited. DaCosta and Donovan are in the same group, which has worked with an immigrant resettlement program called Neighbor to Neighbor as well as a conservation group called the Shirley Heinze Land Trust. Sivanandan’s group has worked with children’s hospital A Rosie Place for Children, as well as The Logan Center, an organization that assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.As the semester wraps up, the class will gather in a board setting to allocate the money to five nonprofits. The amount of money the group will ultimately receive from the Philanthropy Lab varies, for example Hannah said the class receives $2,000 per student enrolled up to the twenty-fifth student. Another incentive involves the attendance of a respective school’s top official: if University President Fr. John Jenkins attends the award ceremony — due to be held Dec. 5 — the Notre Dame group will receive a further $10,000 to award.The president’s office originally declined the class’ invitation for Jenkins to attend the ceremony, DaCosta said.“The Philanthropy Lab … offers an extra $10,000 incentive if you get your university president to come to your award ceremony when you give the groups the money,” DaCosta said. “When we first asked him, his secretary wrote back and said he is too busy with travel and everything to come. Then the team that’s responsible for planning the award ceremony reached out again and have not heard anything back from him.”However, Hannah said in a follow-up email he had heard from Jenkins that the university president’s attendance at the event is still a possibility.“Actually, Fr. John just wrote us this weekend and he’s trying to make the awards ceremony — but not confirmed yet,” he said.Sivanandan expressed hope that Jenkins could attend.“It is a pretty low-stakes commitment, as he does not have to speak or present the awards, so hopefully he is able to attend for about 30 minutes or so,” she said.While the class has many potential applications, DaCosta said he has learned a lot about the often-complicated nature of philanthropic work.“It’s a much larger world than I thought it was at first,” he said. “I always thought it was pretty straightforward — you just pick a group and a cause that you like and give money to them. It’s a lot more than that. You have to be able to analyze how efficient a group is, if their executives are being paid more than they should be … there’s a lot that goes into choosing a group that will do actual good with your money rather than just kind of squandering it.”For her part, Sivanandan said the class provides an excellent opportunity to get real-world experience.“The fact that we have at least $50,000 to award to local nonprofits is insane. Who would ever trust college students with that much money? Being in such a hands-on class is so illuminating and empowering, as we are essentially acting as grantmakers,” she said. “This class provides a great education on the intersection of philanthropy, business, and nonprofit organizations that students probably would not receive without work experience in the nonprofit world.”Moving forward, Hannah said he will offer the class again next fall. In the meantime, the class is looking for a donor to allow the Notre Dame course to become financially independent, as the Philanthropy Lab reallocates funding to other schools so they can start up their own programs.“The Philanthropy Lab basically awards grants to certain universities with the intent of teaching college-aged students the importance of philanthropy, kind of under the idea that no amount of giving is too small, whether that’s time or money,” Donovan said. “Obviously, they have given us a pretty large sum of money with which we can make what I believe to be a pretty big difference with certain nonprofits. But the Philanthropy Lab’s hope is that eventually, schools become self-sufficient and get funded by an independent donor so the lab can redirect their funds to another school, and allow more students to have the opportunity to give. Something that’s important to our class is to get eventually, in the next few years, a donor to back the class, so that we can continue having such an incredible opportunity for students but also so that other schools can experience the same thing.”Tags: Michiana, philanthropy, Philanthropy and Society, Philanthropy Lab, University President Fr. John Jenkinslast_img read more

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Bolivia Drug Cop Says Cocaine Processing On Rise

first_imgBy Dialogo April 21, 2009 Cocaine production is on the rise in Bolivia as Colombian and Mexican cartels hire intermediaries to process locally made coca paste there rather than simply exporting it, according to Bolivia’s top anti-drug officer. Cartels are contracting a growing group of middle men to process the paste into cocaine in Bolivia, saving time they would otherwise spend processing it themselves, Bolivia’s anti-drug police chief Oscar Nina told The Associated Press Thursday in an interview. “There is more interest and investment in purifying coca paste here and exporting it, rather than sending it to Colombia for purification” as in years past, Nina said. Police have raided three modern cocaine labs in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in recent months, arresting two Colombians at one jungle factory that was discovered when police intercepted a small plane carrying 660 pounds (300 kilograms) of cocaine in March. While no Colombians were found at the other two labs, there were signs of a Colombian presence, Nina said, giving few other details. The shift mirrors a pattern seen in Peru in the mid-1990s, when anti-drug police say local groups began making cocaine from coca they’d previously sent to Colombia for processing. Bolivian coca is largely harvested by local families. Some crush its leaves into paste and sell to intermediaries from Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia, Nina said. Those middle men then process the paste into cocaine at labs across eastern Bolivia, and fly it out from hidden jungle airstrips or have so-called human mules carry it into Brazil and Peru on foot, Nina said. Bolivian police say they busted 3,000 such labs last year, seizing a record 27 tons of cocaine from largely small operations. So far this year, they report seizing 9 tons of cocaine and making 992 drug-related arrests. Bolivia is the third largest producer of coca and cocaine after Colombia and Peru. Much Bolivian coca is legally grown for use in teas and herbal remedies in the country’s central Chapare region, where President Evo Morales began his political career as head of a coca-growers union. Morales acknowledged for the first time last December that some Bolivian coca ends up as cocaine, blaming “drug addiction” in foreign countries for the shift. But he also said he considers drug trafficking a betrayal of Bolivia and warned coca producers he would send state security forces to the region if they participated in the drug trade. A gram of cocaine may sell for about $2 in Bolivia, but more than $100 in the U.S.last_img read more

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Tampa’s Rice to lead the Young Lawyers Division

first_imgTampa’s Rice to lead the Young Lawyers Division April 30, 2000 Associate Editor Regular News Tampa’s Rice to lead the Young Lawyers Division Mark D. Killian Associate Editor Helping young lawyers strike a balance between work and home and strengthening the division’s signature Practicing with Professionalism program will be the focus of Liz Rice’s administration when she assumes leadership of the Young Lawyers Division.Tampa’s Rice, who becomes only the second women to lead the YLD, defeated Adam Kohl of Jacksonville at the young lawyers’ January meeting in Ponte Vedra. She will be sworn-in as president-elect in June at the Bar’s Annual Meeting in Boca Raton and will serve as YLD president in 2001.YLD President Greg Coleman said Rice is the “perfect choice” to lead the YLD and noted she has paid her dues over the past five years.“Liz has been active in our modernization of the Practicing with Professionalism program, improving our relations with our statewide affiliates and increasing the division’s sensitivity toward gender and diversity issues,” Coleman said. “Liz is extremely intelligent, hardworking and approachable — her leadership will be noticed.”“There is no one on the board that has done more and been as productive and more of an organized contributor than Liz,” said Stuart Ratzan, the YLD’s current president-elect. “She is going to be a dedicated and conscience leader of the Young Lawyers Division.”Rice, who concentrates her practice in commercial litigation and bankruptcy with Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, said the division needs to turn some of its attention to quality of life issues.“We have a lot more lawyers wanting to take on flex time schedules and work on a contract basis, and I want to see if there is anything that our division can do as far as support for people who want to pursue that type of a career path,” said Rice, 36, who chaired the Hillsborough County Bar’s Future Trends in the Legal Profession panel.“People are wanting to have quality in their lives, spend more time with their families and have interests outside of their lives as lawyers.”Rice said recent law school graduates interviewed by her future trends committee indicated “they are not driven by the dollar and don’t want to do the 2000-hour billable year anymore.” Rice said she also is distressed that many of her peers from law school are leaving the profession for more flexible careers.Rice wants the YLD to develop a support system for people who want to approach their employers about setting up a nontraditional work schedule. She said the YLD needs to develop a database of information about those who are now using flex schedules, how they work, and if they are succeeding.“I think a lot of employers think when you approach them with [flexible schedules] they are reluctant to do it because they think everybody will want to do this,” Rice said. “Statistically, which is not the case.” ProfessionalismRice also wants to improve the division’s CLE programs, with a particular emphasis on the mandatory Practicing with Professionalism seminar.The Supreme Court requires new Bar members to attend Practicing with Professionalism, which replaced the Bridge-the-Gap seminar, and is designed to help ease the transition from law school to the practice of law. It features one day of practical skills presentations and one day of interactive discussions concerning issues of ethics and professionalism.Rice, who now co-chairs the YLD’s Practice with Professionalism Committee and has helped put the seminar on in the Tampa area for the past five years, said the division will put forth renewed effort to attracting quality speakers and assembling outstanding materials for the participants.“We really have an obligation to our constituents to make that the best seminar possible,” Rice said. Bar Work Rice became involved in Bar work after she graduated from the University of Florida law school in 1989 and was hired by Hill, Ward & Henderson. She said former Bar President Ben Hill instilled in her the importance of providing service to the community and profession. And that commitment also is honored by her present firm, which she has been with since 1994.“I appreciate Stearns Weaver Miller for its support of my Bar work, which requires a substantial commitment of time,” Rice said. “The firm understands the importance of civic and professional involvement.”Rice was recently honored at an awards banquet for the first 40-Under-40 Rising Stars presented by The Business Journal Serving Greater Tampa Bay and Junior Achievement of West Central Florida. The award was presented to Rice for her business, civic and personal contributions toward making the Tampa Bay area a better place to live.Rice also is a member of The Florida Bar Business Law Section’s Bankruptcy/UCC Subcommittee and a member of the YLD Executive Committee. Active in the YLD since 1995, Rice also currently chairs Local Affiliate Outreach Committees and serves as liaison to the ABA’s YLD. In Tampa, Rice serves as an ex officio member of the Hillsborough County Bar’s Young Lawyers Division. In recognition of her contributions to the local and state Bar, she received the 1997-98 Most Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the association’s YLD. Finding Her Place Rice came to the law almost accidentally. She was engaged to her now husband, Edwin G. Rice, when she graduated from UF with an undergraduate degree in geology in 1986 and Edwin, who was enrolled in the UF law school, encouraged Liz to pursue a law degree so they could be together for the next three years.She did, but still did not plan on practicing until she became enamored with law during a summer internship at Hill, Ward and Henderson.That, however, does not mean she has lost her love for things geologic.“I love to take trips where we get to see interesting geological facets,” Rice said, noting a recent ABA event provided her an opportunity to take in the Columbia Plateau in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, Rice said, Florida has very little in the way of fascinating geological features.Rice and her husband have two girls, Alex, 2½, and Aaron 9 months.last_img read more

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