Worst President In History?

first_imgA reputed historian, representing a profession that is usually very circumspect about making sweeping judgments, recently speculated that President George W Bush could go down as the worst president in U.S. history.Sean Wilentz, a professor of history at Princeton University, wrote that great presidents, “Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.”By contrast, “Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Herbert Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off.”Current public opinion, which is notoriously fickle, seems to reflect Wilentz’s view. Bush’s favorability ratings have been hovering around 30 percent. According to Gallup Poll, which has measured presidential job approval ratings since the 1940s, only four presidents, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and the first George Bush, have ranked lower and none recovered.During his 1980 presidential bid, Ronald Reagan posed a dramatic question that resonated with the electorate and crucified then Pres. Carter. “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” A recent poll found that a resounding two-thirds of the American public believes the country is worse off than when Bush assumed office. Some 70 percent think it is on the wrong track; more than half consider Bush dishonest and untrustworthy.Gross ineptitude, reckless politicking even with national security, nepotism, cronyism and sleazy corruption are at the root of Bush’s failed presidency. The administration politicized national security after 9/11 by stoking fear for the sole objective of mobilizing public opinion. Shallow and incompetent political cronies, hucksters, personal friends and business associates were rewarded with plush appointments and contracts by the Bush administration.Disastrous as Bush’s incompetence and nepotism have been and the terrible price the country has paid as a result in precious resources and lives in the politicized war on terror and the misadventure in Iraq, Bush’s most dangerous legacy is the erosion of America’s vaunted traditions of civil rights and liberties, which served as a beacon around the world.The first decade of the 21st century will go down in ignominy with the Red Scare of the McCarthy era, the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798 and the persecution of dissenters in World War I and World War II. The Bush administration has used terrorism in this decade, much as McCarthy used communism.In the name of the war against terrorism, the Bush administration has engaged in unconstitutional and criminal abuses, including kidnapping people, torturing suspects or rendering them to other countries for torture, holding prisoners without trial and sometimes without even access to attorneys and family in Guantanamo Bay and other secret gulags, and warrantless tapping of emails and telephones of U.S. citizens.These egregious abuses have been made possible because the Republican majority in the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives failed in its constitutional oversight responsibilities. With two-and-a-half years still remaining of the Bush term, the prospect that we are living under an incompetent and unchecked president in such perilous times ought to be sobering.Fortunately, the American public will get an opportunity later this year for some damage control during the midterm Congressional elections. We hope that they will restore some semblance of checks and balances on a reckless, inept and constitutionally unrestrained chief executive by electing Democratic majorities in both houses so that proper investigations can be undertaken and constitutional speed breakers installed until the long Bush nightmare comes to a welcome end in 2008. Related Itemslast_img read more

Family of Indian American Teen Shot Dead in California Seek Transparency

first_imgThe family of an Indian American teenager, who was wanted on a felony firearms possession warrant and was killed on April 5 by police officers in Fremont, California, after he allegedly fired at them, seek transparency about the incident.The Fremont Police Department released a report on April 19 saying that Nathaniel ‘Nathan’ Prasad, 18 years, had pointed a gun at the police officers. He was shot by seven Fremont police officers near a traffic stop at Fremont Boulevard and Nicolet Avenue the evening of April 5, East Bay Times reported.A resident of Hayward, California, he was wanted on a felony firearms possession warrant, a felony probation warrant, and a misdemeanor evading arrest warrant for fleeing from a Fremont school resource officer on March 22.“Two patrol officers responded to the area, activated their emergency lights and siren, and stopped the suspect vehicle. The driver of the vehicle stopped and Prasad fled from the right passenger side of the car on foot,” the police report stated. One of the police officers followed the 18-year-old.“Prasad pulled a firearm from his waist area and it appears that he fired one to two shots in the direction of the officer. The officer drew his duty weapon, returned fire and broadcast over the police radio that the suspect had a gun,” the police report added. The police said that this interaction was captured on video surveillance and was corroborated by statements of the involved officer and witnesses at the scene.Prasad started running again away from the police officers and at one point used his firearm again to fire at the police. “In response to Prasad’s fire, officers shot in the direction of Prasad, striking him several times, causing him to fall,” according to the police report. On the ground, Prasad still had the weapon in his hand and officers fired additional rounds,” the report stated.The six officers involved in the incident have all been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the police report. Meanwhile, the family of the high-school graduate called for transparency from authorities.“We keep seeing what’s written about him and it does not seem to fit how he was,” said Prasad’s father, Danny Prasad. He said that his son graduated from high school after independent study and was “waiting for his gown” while looking at colleges.“The police, they’re saying ‘These are the type of people we need to take off the streets,’ and all those other hurtful comments,” Danny Prasad said adding, “He was just a scared little kid.” A civil rights lawyer John Burris, who has been hired by the family, said that the police video of the incident should be released to the family.  Related ItemsIndian Americanlast_img read more

PAOK Plays Off Penalty Points

first_imgATHENS – The PAOK soccer team, which was penalized three points for fan hooliganism, erased it with a 3-0 victory over Atromitos in playoff action, but Panathinaikos is still favored to win the tourney after beating Asteris Tripolis, 3-1, to take a three point lead.Panathinaikos got goals from Viktor Klonaridis, Mehdi Abeid and Tasos Lagos, and by Markus Berg go along with stellar play from goalie Stefanos Kapino.The appeals committee of the Hellenic Football Federation rejected the appeal of PAOK against the penalties imposed on it for riots at the Cup game with Olympiakos, and has deducted three points from the PAOK’s tally in the mini-league as well as slapping a two-game stadium ban plus a fine.The Thessaloniki squad had to play Atromitos in an empty stadium but came through, led by Bibras Natkho’s penalty shot and goals from Miroslav Stoch and Zvonimir Vukic.With three games left to play in the Super League tournament, Panathinaikos has seven points, PAOK and Asteras have four and Atromitos has three. On May 11, Atromitos hosts PAOK and Asteras travels to Panathinaikos.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Knicks Game for Lee on Oscar Night

first_imgNEW YORK — Instead of going to the Academy Awards, Spike Lee has other plans: “I’m going to the Knick game,” he said Wednesday on “Good Morning America.”Lee gave his first interview after announcing Monday that he would not go to this year’s Oscar ceremony because of pervasive diversity problems in the movie industry. Lee clarified that he never used the word “boycott,” but he’s simply not going despite being this year’s honorary lifetime achievement honoree.Lee reiterated that he believes the larger issue is Hollywood’s hiring practices, saying the focus on the Oscars “is a misdirection play.”Instead, he argued for a version of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which stipulated that a minority coach must be interviewed for any head coaching vacancy.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Timberwolves Beat Lakers 121-104 for First Christmas Win

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves got their first-ever Christmas victory, and with the way things are coming together, it could be the first of many showcase wins.Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-104 on Monday night.“I’m happy to be part of history for the franchise, but this won’t be the first and the only one that we ever win,” Towns said. “We’ll have a lot more opportunities I’m banking on to do this again and again and again.”Former Southern California standout Taj Gibson had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won four straight. Jamal Crawford added 19 points off the bench.Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma scored 31 points, joining LeBron James in 2003 as the only first-year players to score at least 30 points on Christmas Day in the last 30 seasons.Jordan Clarkson had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Julius Randle had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost three in a row and six of seven.Minnesota pulled away when Towns and Crawford combined to score all 16 points during a 16-1 run after Randle put Los Angeles up 84-83 with 11:14 to play.The Lakers cut the deficit to 105-99 with 4:30 remaining, but Gibson knocked down a hook shot and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to restore a double-digit lead.“He just has a knack of coming up with big plays when you need it the most,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. “What he has brought to the team and what Jimmy has brought to the team has really changed everything for us.”While the Timberwolves have been able to jumpstart their development with the addition of Butler, Gibson and Crawford, the Lakers showed their potential, even without Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Ball sprained his left shoulder against Portland on Saturday, and Ingram missed his second straight game with quad injuries.Kuzma scored 10 of the Lakers’ first 14 points, and kept a short-handed bunch in the mix. The Timberwolves led by 10 with 7:42 left in the second quarter, but the Lakers closed the half on a 22-13 run. Kuzma hit a 3 with 1:07 left to give Los Angeles its first lead before Butler hit a spinning layup to put Minnesota in front 53-52 at the break.“I like what he’s about, how he likes to compete,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Kuzma, who is averaging 30 points during his last five games. “For us and the way we want to play, we want it to come organically to him, so we’re not just running plays for him every time.”TIP-INSTimberwolves: Towns had 18 points in the second half. … F Nemanja Bjelica had one point and two rebounds in six minutes after missing 15 games with a sprained left foot.Lakers: Los Angeles missed out on a chance to break a tie with the New York Knicks for most wins on Christmas Day, dropping to 22-22. The Lakers played on Christmas Day for the 19th consecutive season.LOOK INTO THE FUTURE?Even without Ingram and Ball, the Lakers’ youth invited comparisons to where the Timberwolves were last season. Thibodeau understands why the parallels are being made and expects Los Angeles to be even more of a pest as the season goes on.“I’ve watched their Warrior games, they’re all hard-fought games,” Thibodeau said. “I think the future is bright, and when you have young guys it takes a little bit of time. A big part of learning is the trial and error of going through games.”SPEED IT UPDespite barbs from analyst Charles Barkley and the TNT crew about their methodical tempo on offense, the Timberwolves scored 38 points in the fourth quarter.“We pushed the pace. They were really pushing their pace on us early on and we weren’t playing with the energy that we needed,” Towns said.UP NEXTTimberwolves: Host Memphis on Wednesday night.Lakers: Host Denver on Wednesday night.—DAN GREENSPAN, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Valverde blasts lack of VAR in La Liga

first_imgBarcelona First Messi, now Suarez – Barcelona boss Valverde fumes over ‘absurd’ lack of VAR in La Liga Matthew Scott 18:58 12/18/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Suarez - cropped Getty Images Barcelona Primera División Ernesto Valverde Luis Suárez Deportivo La Coruña Barcelona v Deportivo La Coruña Real Madrid Luis Suarez looked to have been denied a legitimate goal against Deportivo La Coruna, much to the frustration of his manager at Camp Nou Ernesto Valverde says it is “absurd” that La Liga officials are not backed up by technology after Luis Suarez appeared to be denied a legitimate goal in Sunday’s romp over Deportivo La Coruna.Suarez scored twice as league leaders Barca hammered Depor 4-0 at Camp Nou, but was denied a hat-trick after seeing an incredible ‘rabona’ finish from a narrow angle ruled not to have crossed the line late in the first half.Replays seemed to justify Suarez’s mystified response to a goal not being given. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player La Liga is the only one of Europe’s major leagues not to use goal-line technology or Video Assistant Referees (VAR) and Valverde was equally baffled at the lack of assistance given to officials in Spain’s top flight.He told reporters: “I didn’t see it, but with the help of technology, you’ll know if the ball has gone in or not, regardless of whether the VAR is used or not.”I don’t know why it is not used in La Liga.”The equipment must be very expensive, but it’s absurd that we don’t have it. We’re late and it shows.”The Royal Spanish Football Federation last month confirmed VAR technology will be implemented in La Liga from the start of next season. That, though, is of little consolation to Barca, who have already seen Lionel Messi denied a perfectly good goal this term during a top-of-the-table clash with Valencia.The Argentine forward saw an effort fumbled by Los Che goalkeeper Neto in November, but none of the officials in charge of the contest spotted that the ball had crossed the line.last_img read more

Porsche will race into the Los Angeles show with the track-bound Cayman GT4 Clubsport

first_imgPorsche will travel to the Los Angeles Motor Show that will throw open its doors next month to introduce a new model dubbed Cayman GT4 Clubsport. The Clubsport is essentially a track-only version of the street-legal Cayman GT4 (pictured) that was unveiled earlier this year in Geneva.Full details are being kept under wraps until the beginning of the Los Angeles show, so what the Clubsport will look like inside and out is anyone’s guess for the time being. All we know so far is that it will boast a naturally-aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six engine tuned to deliver 385 horsepower. The six will spin the rear wheels via a dual-clutch automatic transmission controlled by shift paddles and a locking rear differential.Performance specifications haven’t been published yet. For what it’s worth, the street-legal GT4 — which is presumably a lot heavier than the 2,866-pound track-spec Clubsport — can sprint from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and go on to a top speed of 183 mph.To help pilots make the most of the Clubsport’s power on the track, Porsche has fitted the coupe with front suspension components borrowed from the 911 GT3 Cup, an upgraded racing brake system, a full roll cage and a bucket seat with a six-point safety harness.Related: 2017 Porsche Cayman and Boxster to get a flat-four engineThe Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport is scheduled to go on sale nationwide shortly after it’s fully unveiled in the City of Angels. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet.Starting next year, the GT4 Clubsport will be eligible to participate in a long list of race series around the world, including the Pirelli World Challenge, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, and the Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Additionally, owners will be able to participate in races organized by the Porsche Club of America.This was originally a post on our brother site, Digital Trends. Editors’ Recommendations All 21 Six Flags Parks in the U.S., Ranked 6 Fastest Cars in the World Right Now What It’s Like to Drive a NASCAR Race Car (and Where You Can Get Behind the Wheel) A Breakdown of All the Major Types of Car Racing Watch This Bugatti Chiron Shatter a World Speed Record at More Than 300 MPH last_img read more

Linkage between Tourism and Agricultural Sector to be Increased

first_imgGovernment is seeking to increase business between the tourism industry and the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, in a bid to boost the economy. Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says the linkages will boost local production and help to reduce the country’s import bill. Dr. McNeill was speaking at a stakeholders’ consultation at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Thursday, February 28, where the linkages between the tourism and agricultural sectors were explored. A consultation with the manufacturing sector was held last year. The Minster noted that everyone was looking to tourism as the driver of economic growth in the country, but greater effort has to be made to ensure that “our homegrown produce and manufactured goods are used in the sector to ensure that the country retains more of what it earns.” To ensure this happens, a Task Force has been created with representatives from Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Jamaica Agricultural Society, Jamaica Manufacturers Association and other entities to work together in a bid to better serve the various sectors. Dr. McNeill also reported that there will be a unit established within the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment that will facilitate the linkages. “We are going to pull all the discussions we have had with agriculture and manufacturing, with other areas, such as entertainment and transport, and what we will be doing is putting in place a policy document that deals specifically with deepening the linkages between tourism and all the other areas of our society,” he said. Speaking on behalf of the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), President, Senator Norman Grant, welcomed the initiative, calling it a “game changer” and a huge opportunity to grow the economy by engaging the large and small farmers. The Senator pointed out that the tourism sector’s current overall consumption of local fresh produce, fruits and meats is at 10 per cent. He proposes an incentive to the hotels that use locally grown produce. Senator Grant noted that the Jamaican farmers have the capacity to produce a substantial amount of the $1.5 billion worth of food that is imported in the country.last_img read more

Police and Judges to be Trained in Child Diversion Programme

first_img Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says police officers and judges will be trained as part of the proposed implementation of the Child Diversion Programme. Child diversion is the process of implementing measures dealing with children who are alleged, accused or recognised to have infringed the law, without resorting to formal judicial proceedings. Story Highlights Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says police officers and judges will be trained as part of the proposed implementation of the Child Diversion Programme.This, he said, will help in preparing them to determine when and how best to utilise the measures under this intervention.Child diversion is the process of implementing measures dealing with children who are alleged, accused or recognised to have infringed the law, without resorting to formal judicial proceedings.Training is among the measures that will be undertaken as the Government seeks to introduce child diversion to the criminal justice system.Minister Chuck, while closing the debate on the Child Diversion Bill during the sitting of the House on Wednesday (May 9), said the legislation seeks to enable the implementation of child diversion measures in dealing with children who come into conflict with the law.The Minister explained that the process will begin with the police, who can first decide to release the child with an informal warning if it is a minor offence that was committed.He noted, however, that where it is a more serious offence, or the child is very unruly and refuses to accept the advice, then a formal warning will be given. The parents of the child will also be brought in and interviewed to ensure that they participate in assisting the child to steer from a life of crime.“The child and parents will be told what offence has been committed and why we are utilising the warning to avoid taking the child to court. So, if the warning is adhered to, and the child accepts that everything is okay and (agrees to) go straight, then there is no need to go further,” he said.Mr. Chuck further explained that the child diversion committee would be informed of the case, and will then observe the behaviour of the child over a period of time. He noted that if the conditions of the warning are adhered to, then the case ends, but if the child continues to misbehave, then the matter may have to go to court.“Once the child has been charged or convicted, if the continuing Child Diversion Programme is carried out, then the sentence would not be imposed and the child would be released. But if the child fails to complete the programme, he will be brought back to court and will be sentenced, which could be incarceration,” he explained.The Minister pointed out that if the child is convicted, before sentencing the child will be given another opportunity to “go straight”.“We will be doing everything to assist the young wrongdoers in our society to go straight. It is not our intention that the wrongdoers should just be charged, prosecuted and incarcerated. We want to do everything in our powers to ensure that, at every stage, we give the child as much assistance to lead on a straight and narrow path,” he said.Among the main objectives of the Child Diversion Bill are (a) ensuring that every child in conflict with the law is treated in a manner that recognises and upholds human dignity and worth; (b) diverting the child away from engaging in deviant and delinquent behaviours; and (c) instilling in the child respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.The Bill will also see to the establishment of a child diversion office; child diversion committees; and a child diversion oversight committee. It also addresses the structure of the Child Diversion Programme, the circumstances under which a child is to be referred, among other things.The Bill was passed with 33 amendments. It will now be sent to the Upper House for approval. Minister Chuck, while closing the debate on the Child Diversion Bill during the sitting of the House on Wednesday (May 9), said the legislation seeks to enable the implementation of child diversion measures in dealing with children who come into conflict with the law.last_img read more

RBI approves Rakesh Makhija as Axis Banks new chairman

first_imgNew Delhi: Axis Bank Monday said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved appointment of Rakesh Makhija as chairman of the bank. The board of the bank in March had approved appointment of Makhija as chairman subject to RBI clearance. “We would like to inform you that RBI vide its letter dated 3151 May 2019 has approved the appointment of Rakesh Makhija (DIN: 00117692), independent director as the non-executive (part-time) chairman of the bank, for a period of 3 years, with effect from July 18, 2019, up to July 17, 2022 (both days inclusive),” Axis Bank said in a regulatory filing.last_img read more

Senior UN political official meets with Zimbabwean President

Haile Menkerios, Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, arrived in Harare yesterday for a five-day visit to Zimbabwe, which has been beset by deadly political violence since the first round of the presidential election on 29 March.Mr. Menkerios discussed the current political climate with Mr. Mugabe, according to a UN spokesperson. He also held talks with Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and he is expected to meet with leaders of other political parties and stakeholders during the remainder of his visit.In the run-off race, scheduled for 27 June, Mr. Mugabe will face Morgan Tsvangirai, a candidate from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), after the two men polled the highest number of votes in the first round.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour expressed shock late last month at reports that many MDC activists have been killed or injured in recent weeks and that human rights defenders and staff with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been harassed.UN humanitarian officials have also called on Zimbabwean authorities to rescind a decision to suspend all field operations by NGO aid groups. 17 June 2008A senior United Nations political envoy has held talks with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the start of his visit to the Southern African country, aimed at reducing political tensions ahead of the run-off round of the presidential election later this month. read more

Worlds people must unite to address all extremism Annan tells Islamic summit

In remarks written for delivery to the summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Mr. Annan said, “There is in too many places a feeling of rising hostility between Islam and the West. This is ugly, dangerous and wrong.” Mr. Annan was detained in New York “for very important discussions relating to Iraq, in which he is intimately involved,” a UN spokesman said. His remarks were delivered by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “Violence has no place in any of the word’s great religions,” he said. “Therefore all governments must promote a continuing dialogue among civilizations – a dialogue based on the premise that diversity is a precious gift and not a threat, because diversity expresses the very wisdom of God.” Mr. Annan’s message to the ministerial-level meeting of the 57-member body also pointed to a history of distinguished achievements in politics, scholarship, philosophy, theology, literature, architecture, art, astronomy, medicine, mathematics and other sciences. “This rich history proves that there is nothing natural or inevitable about the sad state in which so much of the Islamic world finds itself today. The Muslim peoples are capable of much greater things – and they know it,” he said. “I am not a Muslim. But, like you all, I am a child of Abraham. I believe in and worship the same almighty God that you do…I care deeply about the fate of the Muslim people. I wish to speak to you with great respect, but directly, and from the heart.” He said that “Muslims are dismayed by the apparent inability of Islamic states to do much about problems” facing the Islamic world. “But we know that only when Muslims enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms, only when the Holy Quran is understood as enjoining education for all, and when the creative talents of so many Muslims, including women, is harnessed to develop the Muslim communities – only then will the Islamic world be able to assert its influence in shaping world events for the better,” Mr. Annan said. “The Islamic world has been traumatized, particularly in recent years, by the suffering of Muslims in many places,” he said. “Nowhere is that suffering more acute than in Palestine, where thousands have been killed. Muslims – and their Christian brothers and sisters too – suffer under a harsh and prolonged occupation, replete with collective punishment, the use of disproportionate military force, destruction of houses and crops, unjust expropriation and closures, illegal settlements and a fence being built on land that does not belong to the builders. “However,” he said, “suicide bombings, in which hundreds of Israeli civilians have been indiscriminately killed, are not acceptable. These acts of terrorism, abhorred and rejected by all of you, defile and damage even the most legitimate cause. They must be condemned and must be stopped.” read more

DR Congo Ban deplores expulsion of UN rights officer

“By impeding the United Nations human rights work, the Government is failing to uphold its obligations. Doing so can only be harmful for the country’s progress,” said Mr. Ban, according to astatementreleased by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson today. Respect for human rights is “absolutely essential” for long-term peace and stability in the DRC, Mr. Ban added, expressing deep concern for recent threats made against other staff of the Joint Office, in connection with their human rights work. The decision to declare Scott Campbell, the director of the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO), persona non grata, or “unwelcome person”, was initially made public by the Ministry of the Interior on Thursday, a day after the release of a UN report detailing serious human rights violations by Congolese security forces, for which the Ministry is responsible. The decision was officially confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, despite a concerted effort by Martin Kobler, the Head of the UN mission in DRC (MONUSCO), which compiled the report jointly with the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), to persuade the Government to reconsider its decision. The UN chief today recalled how the Congolese people have suffered grave human rights violations. The Joint Office has, over the years, helped to document those crimes as it sought to promote and protect their rights, while strengthening justice and accountability. In keeping with the Human Rights Up Front Initiative – which seeks to prevent genocide and human rights violations– the Secretary-General reiterated that UN staff “must never be threatened or sanctioned for doing their work”. Their work in the country is based on the United Nations Charter and, in this instance, mandated by the Security Council. Expressing his full confidence in Mr. Campbell, the UN chief urged the Government of the DRC to reconsider its position on the expulsion and to take urgent action to address the threats against other staff. On Sunday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, also condemned the decision to order his top official in the country to leave within 48 hours and called for the threats against other human rights staff to end. “Not only has my highly experienced and respected representative in DRC, Scott Campbell, been told to leave, but two other staff working in his team have been seriously threatened in recent days. This is unacceptable,” declared Mr. Zeid inpress release. “With these acts of intimidation and reprisal, the Congolese authorities risk setting back years of strenuous efforts by UN human rights staff and some sectors of the Congolese authorities to assist victims of human rights violations and strengthen the rule of law,” Mr. Zeid added. According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), Mr. Campbell left the DRC on Friday for long planned holidays. read more

Yemen Ongoing humanitarian crisis adding to migrants woes says UN migration agency

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), up to 12,000 migrants, every month, are arriving onto the shores of the Gulf of Aden country with hopes of making their way to Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had reported that, as of mid-November 2016, some 105,971 people – migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees – had arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa. Most of those coming were from Ethiopia (88,667) and Somalia (17,293). Women and children were at particular risk of sexual violence and human trafficking.Among its efforts to support both the internally displaced as well as migrants in Yemen, IOM has been running direct assistance programmes for displaced children, providing them with psychosocial support to ease the stress and effects of the conflict.It has also been running health clinics as well as operating mobile health teams in various locations in the country to deliver primary health care and provide referrals. These clinics also provide psychosocial support to those suffering from displacement and war traumas.In the midst of the situation in the conflict-affected country, a high-ranking IOM delegation recent visited Yemen to take stock of the conditions on the country.Speaking on the significance of the visit, IOM Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Carmela Godeau, said: “It is of utmost importance for IOM to understand the prevailing situation in the country, to help IOM at the global level to advocate for more assistance to the people suffering in Yemen.”The delegation also visited a settlement of displaced Yemenis in the capital Sana’a and met with organizations working to support them as well as held meetings with authorities.The agency said that the meetings led to a broader understanding of the situation, which in turn will facilitate preparations of its action plan for 2017. The visit also came ahead of the official launch of the UN Humanitarian Response Plan for the country, on 8 February 2017 in Geneva.The delegation’s visit to Sana’a was followed by a visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where the head of IOM’s operations in Yemen, Laurent de Boeck, briefed officials and the donor community on IOM activities in Yemen. read more

UN Human Rights Council discusses situations in DPRK Iran Myanmar and Burundi

INSIDE THIS NEWS STORYNo ‘quick fixes’ in Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaVictims and people of Myanmar ‘deserve to know the truth’‘Near-complete impunity’ enjoyed by those responsible for rights violations in BurundiIran judiciary ‘neither independent nor free from influence’During the dialogues, member countries of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council – the highest intergovernmental forum on human rights within the UN system – discuss rights situation with delegations from a particular country on the Council’s agenda, as well as other Council members, officials of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts.The dialogue includes a presentation or a briefing on a report by the rights experts followed by discussions. No ‘quick fixes’ in Democratic People’s Republic of KoreaOn the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Special Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana highlighted that there were no “quick fixes or instant solutions” to tackle human rights abuses of the scope and nature that have been reported in the country for a long time. “The focus on developments in the political and military arenas should not shield ongoing violations from the scrutiny of this Council,” he said. “Nor should it prevent it from taking a leading role on inspiring and coordinating international action on this situation of great concern.” The rights expert also expressed particular concern over continuing escalation in hostilities on the Korean peninsula, including nuclear tests and missile launches, and underlined that such tensions only further isolated the country. RELATED: Latest ballistic launches by DPRK raise risk of regional arms race, Security Council warnsDrawing attention to last month’s killing of DPRK leader Kim Jong Un’s brother, Kim Jong Nam, in Kuala Lumpur, he urged all parties to cooperate in carrying out a transparent, independent and impartial investigation, as well as to observe guidelines regarding witness protection. “Should the investigation confirm the involvement of State actors, Mr. Kim Jong Nam would be a victim of an extrajudicial killing and measures would need to be taken to assign responsibilities and protect other persons from targeted killings,” he said. The rights expert also spoke of the humanitarian situation in the country including in response to the typhoon last year, the situation of migrant workers and labour issues, and on DPRK’s engagement with UN human rights mechanisms. The Special Rapporteur’s briefing was followed by an update from the Group of Independent Experts on Accountability designated pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 31/18 on the country. Victims and people of Myanmar ‘deserve to know the truth’Also today, Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar called for prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into killings and other serious human rights violations in the country.In particular, she raised alarm over multiple cases in which civil society actors and human rights activists were killed for their work, including many who were killed in recent months, and that cases remained unresolved for years. A number of such cases related to vested commercial interests or the military, she said, underlining: “No stones must be left unturned. The alleged victims, as well as all the people of Myanmar, deserve to know the truth.” Further, recalling harrowing testimonies she heard from individuals who fled violence in Rakhine state, the UN rights expert called for a Commission of Inquiry into events that occurred there and continue to surface “increasingly and persistently”. In a report last month, OHCHR documented the violence in Rakhine and said that the widespread human rights violations against the Rohingya population by the security forces in the indicated the very likely commission of crimes against humanity. RELATED: UN report details ‘devastating cruelty’ against Rohingya population in Myanmar’s Rakhine stateIn her briefing, Ms. Lee also spoke of escalating conflict in Kachin (in Myanmar’s north-east) and Shan (in the east of the country) states and the resulting impact on civilians, and expressed concern that the UN and other international organizations have been “systematically denied” authorization to deliver vital since May 2016. Concluding her statement, the expert also welcomed some positive developments in the country, including increasing representation of women in discussions making up the peace process and called for the minimum level of 30 per cent across all groups to be reached at the next conference. Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, at a press briefing. UN Photo/Kim Haughton (file) Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran . UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file) ‘Near-complete impunity’ enjoyed by those responsible for rights violations in BurundiIn a separate dialogue, Fatsah Ouguergouz (Chair), Reine Alapini Gansou and Françoise Hampson, members of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Burundi presented their first oral briefing to the Council today, during which the experts expressed concern at “the scale and gravity of the human rights violations and abuses that have been brought to our attention.” On the basis of a first series of interviews held with a range of sources, they said the trends observed in 2015 and 2016 appear to be continuing, including persistent allegations of violations of the right to life and physical integrity, notably an increase in enforced disappearances. Arrests, particularly of people suspected of participating in opposition groups, continue to be reported, as do allegations of torture.The exercise of some civil liberties continues to be obstructed, especially following the adoption of restrictive new laws on non-governmental organizations. Most journalists, members of civil society and opposition parties who had fled in 2015 are still in exile, they added, also drawing attention to the practices of extortion and ransom, which appear to have increased following a weakening of the rule of law in the country. “We are particularly concerned by the near-complete impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these violations. Even when victims or witnesses are able to identify suspected perpetrators, cases of prosecution of State agents, or those who appear to have their support, are rare,” they stated and reiterated their call to the Burundi Government to cooperate with the Commission. Protestors raise their hands in front of police in the Musaga neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi. Photo: IRIN/Phil Moore (file) Iranian judiciary ‘neither independent nor free from influence’In her briefing on the rights situation in Iran, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir underlined the importance of the independence of lawyers and legal professionals to protect human rights and ensure a fair administration of justice. “[However] the judiciary in Iran is neither independent nor free from influence from the executive,” she said, noting concern that recent developments in this field, including a Bill, introduced last July, which, if adopted, could further undermine the independence of the lawyers. “Broad and vague definition of certain offences, disrespect for the right of any accused to be promptly informed about charges against them, preventing the accused from freely choosing their legal representation are all contributing factors to violations of the right to fair trial and due process of law,” she added. The Special Rapporteur also voiced concern over the use of torture and ill treatment, which remains legally condoned as well as a number of recent arrests of journalists, writers, social media activists and human rights defenders, in particular women’s rights activists, and called on the authorities take corrective measures. “I am disturbed by the level of fear of those who try to communicate with me. Several interlocutors living outside and inside the country expressed fear of reprisals against them or their family members living inside the country,” said Ms. Jahangir. RELATED: Halt imminent execution of juvenile offender, urge UN human rights experts In her briefing, the rights expert further spoke of a high number of executions in the country, including of juveniles executed once they turned 18; violence and harassment on religious grounds; and restrictions to women’s labour rights, sexual and reproductive health care services and their freedom of movement. UN Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. read more

UN human rights chief fears world has grown numb to Syrian carnage

16 July, Maar Shurin, Idlib  21 July, Urum al-Jawz and Kafrouma, Idlib 24 July, Ariha, Muhambal and Tabish, Idlib,The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has documented the killing of at least 450 civilians, including the 91 by airstrikes over the past ten days, since the latest campaign by the Government and its allies in north-west Syria began more than three months ago. Ms. Bachelet said her staff is also continuing to gather information on three recent attacks, resulting in at least 11 civilian casualties, carried out by non-State armed groups on Government-controlled areas, in the town of Masyaf, in Hama on 21 July, and in the al-Hamadaniya and al-Jamiliya neighbourhoods of Aleppo city on 22 and 24 July.,Despite being the subject of the 2017 de-escalation agreement, and the 2018 de-militarized zone agreement, “Idlib and surrounding areas are witnessing a grave military escalation with dire human rights and humanitarian consequences for the millions of civilians trying to survive there,” according to Ms. Bachelet. She urged “influential parties”, including those that agreed to reduce hostilities as part of the de-escalation agreement, to “urgently use their influence” to halt the current military campaign and “bring the warring parties back to the negotiating table”. “It is essential that there is a cessation of hostilities in order to give the on-going political negotiations room to breathe”, the High Commissioner concluded. “The alternative is just more mindless death and destruction in a war without end.” 22 July, Saraqib, Idlib  “Despite repeated calls by the United Nations to respect the principle of precaution and distinction in their conduct of hostilities, this latest relentless campaign of airstrikes by the Government and its allies has continued to hit medical facilities, schools and other civilian infrastructure such as markets and bakeries,” said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 🇸🇾 #Syria: Increasing airstrike casualties are being ignored.“This is a failure of leadership by the world’s most powerful nations, resulting in tragedy on such a vast scale that we no longer seem to be able to relate to it at all” – @mbachelet.🔗https://t.co/Goy7sNKFCP pic.twitter.com/XwgFBK6B7z— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) July 26, 2019 Drawing attention to the death toll caused by a succession of airstrikes in Idlib and other parts of north-western Syria, she pointed out that “these are civilian objects,” and given the persistent pattern of such attacks “it seems highly unlikely” that they were all hit by accident.“Intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes, and those who have ordered them or carried them out are criminally responsible for their actions,” underscored the High Commissioner.As a result of airstrikes over the past 10 days alone, eight locations in Idlib and two in rural Aleppo have witnessed civilian casualties, resulting in at least 103 civilian deaths, including some 26 children. Ms. Bachelet expressed concern that the continued carnage in Syria “is no longer on the international radar.”“Several hundreds of thousands of children, women and men have been killed in Syria since 2011,” she flagged. “So many that it is no longer even possible to give a credible estimate.” During the early years of this “murderous conflict”, when the casualties were in the tens, then hundreds, then thousands, the human rights chief said that “the world showed considerable concern about what was happening.”  “Now, airstrikes kill and maim significant numbers of civilians several times a week, and the response seems to be a collective shrug, with the Security Council paralyzed by the persistent failure of its five Permanent Members to agree to use their power and influence to stop the fighting and killing once and for all,” Ms. Bachelet bemoaned, saying this “failure of leadership by the world’s most powerful nations” has resulted “in tragedy on such a vast scale that we no longer seem to be able to relate to it at all.”,Recent attacks 22 July, Ma’arat al-Nu’man, Idlib  read more

Mens basketball Ohio State pulls out ugly win over NC Central Tate

OSU junior forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) looks for an open teammate during the Buckeyes home opener against North Carolina Central. The Buckeyes won 69-63. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team opened up its 2016-17 home schedule on Monday night against the North Carolina Central Eagles out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. In front of a crowd that seemed to be less than the 9,787 reported people in attendance, the Buckeyes underwhelmed in what many thought would be an easy blowout victory.OSU won Monday night’s affair versus the Eagles 69-63 in what was a flashback to the 2015-16 team that strung together several games of uninspired play. OSU was still able to come away with a victory in a game that looked similar to last season’s early losses to Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech. However, there were hardly any positives other than it was a win. The performance was so discouraging that junior forward Jae’Sean Tate offered an apology to the Buckeye faithful after the game.“We didn’t come ready to play today,” Tate said. “This one is on us, as the players. We didn’t come out like we had practiced. I apologize to Buckeye Nation and we’re going to try our best to go out there on Thursday and play as hard as we can.”After Friday’s season-opening victory in Annapolis, Maryland, against Navy, OSU coach Thad Matta said that there were times in which he could tell his players weren’t “thinking the game.” Monday at the Schottenstein Center was a bit more concerning to Matta, who said he couldn’t pinpoint the reason behind the absence of a competitive mindset.“We, for whatever reason, we weren’t thinking. Some things happened that I’ve never seen happen before in terms of 38 practices,” he said. “We weren’t mentally and physically very tough. We obviously got to get that corrected.”In the Navy game, the Buckeyes struggled at times to figure out the Midshipmen’s zone defense. Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams, sophomore point guard C.J. Jackson and redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson all came off the bench and provided a spark that ignited a sluggish offense.On Monday against NC Central, the difficulties against a zone were still present, but the bench was not there to boost the OSU attack. Williams scored 23 points in the first game of the season, including 5-for-6 from 3-point land. It took him until 6:24 remaining in the second half for him to cash in his first 3-point bucket of the game. He scored just nine points in 31 minutes.Thompson grabbed seven rebounds and scored six points in 17 minutes and was a factor in the second half. However, the amount of dispassionate play on defense left much to be desired after 40 minutes.Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop followed up his 14-point, 14-rebound game against Navy with just nine points and two rebounds on Monday night. After the game, Matta said that Bates-Diop had been out of practice for the past two days with an illness, which contributed to his lack of production.Without Bates-Diop and senior forward Marc Loving, who sat with foul trouble for much of the game, OSU couldn’t produce a lot of offense against several zone and man-to-man looks NC Central threw at the Buckeyes.“We did some things that were so uncharacteristic … we never had that flow,” Matta said. “We got work to do.”With OSU up 12, Jackson made a steal off of an inbounds pass and patiently waited for Williams to dart down the lane. Williams bobbled the pass and his shot was blocked, which turned into a transition three on the other end. NC Central guard Patrick Cole then hit another three on the next possession, trimming the lead to six for OSU. Cole torched the Scarlet and Gray with 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting.Another major factor was free-throw shooting. OSU shot just 11-for-23 from the line, including 1-for-4 down the stretch.Jackson played more minutes than sophomore starting point guard JaQuan Lyle for a second straight game. Lyle had a minus-six plus-minus rating while Jackson had a plus-three. Jackson had eight assists compared to just two from Lyle.Matta said that before Thursday’s game against Providence, there could be a few changes in the lineup. For Tate, he knows that OSU can’t win many games based on its play on Monday.“We just got to make sure it’s not a repeat of last year. We can’t be lackadaisical. We got to be the first team to punch the other in the mouth.” read more