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This week in history: July 19 to 25

25 years ago: bombing of LTTE train kills dozens of workers in Sri Lanka

On July 24, 1996, a bomb attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Dehiwala station outside Colombo killed 64 commuters. 400 other people were injured. LTTE agents placed suitcase bombs containing more than 200 pounds of explosives in four cars during the height of the rush hour. The act deliberately targeted workers going to the suburbs of Sri Lanka’s capital. The train, which was due to leave Colombo Fort station after 5 p.m., was supposed to take city workers home after the day shift. The train was known as the “office train” and was extraordinarily crowded. More than 2,000 people were on board the day of the attack.

Sri Lankan soldiers and spectators stand near the exploded train in Dehiwala. (AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena)

The Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee and forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party, issued a statement condemning the brutal attack by the LTTE on the working class, while explaining that the incident was the direct result of the racist war. against the Tamil people, stepped up by the Sri Lankan government.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s “People’s Alliance” consisted of her own Sri Lanka Freedom Party, one of Sri Lanka’s two main bourgeois parties, along with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, which broke with Trotskyism. in 1963-1964, and the Stalinist Communist Party. Sri Lanka Party, as well as several small bourgeois-populist parties. While using populist language, the Peoples Alliance pursued a chauvinistic policy towards the Tamil minority, which fueled support for the LTTE, and carried out vicious attacks on poor workers and farmers.

The link between the war and attacks on working class conditions was illustrated on the same day as the bombing when Kumaratunga addressed a meeting of small tea growers. She declared her government’s determination to remove economic subsidies and threatened to fire workers who are fighting for wage increases. “Lethargic civil servants and teachers who continue their old wars without being aware of the needs of the moment and of changes in society will face heavy penalties, including dismissal,” she said.

The RCL urged workers not to get drawn into the racist anti-Tamil campaign that was unleashed following the bombing by the ruling class. The party called on workers to establish their own independent defense committees to organize the safety of workers and their families. He urged them to oppose the government’s racist war and the government’s growing militarization.

The bombing, a previous bombing of Central Bank employees, and the continued harassment of Sinhala peasants in the Tamil-populated northern and eastern provinces demonstrated the LTTE’s opposition to the unity of the Sinhalese and Tamil masses. The LTTE sought to prevent the development of a movement of workers and the oppressed against the Sri Lankan regime.

50 years ago: failed Communist Party coup in Sudan

On July 19, 1971, the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) attempted a coup against the government of the Democratic Republic of Sudan and ousted the country’s leader, Jaafar Nimeiry, from power. The blow was short lived, less than a week. On July 23, Nimeiry would be released and returned to power.

Years of immense political crisis in Sudan preceded the coup. Following a coup d’état in 1969 by the Free Officers Movement, Nimeiry led the North African country as chairman of the National Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), the ruling junta where all the political power has been consolidated.

Initially, the SCP had given some support to the RCC government after the 1969 coup. However, fearing the development of a revolutionary movement among Sudanese workers, the RCC began an anti-Communist crackdown in March 1971. Nimeiry had announced the creation of a state-controlled political party called the Socialist Union of Sudan, which would essentially dissolve all parties, including the SCP, into a tightly-run organization. The RCC also forcibly seized control of the unions, where the SCP gained most of their support.

Many SCP leaders went underground, with most of the party’s operations going underground in the spring and early summer of 1971. Under these conditions, the SCP began to prepare for the coup. Status as of July 19. Under the leadership of the Stalinist bureaucracy in Moscow, the SCP turned not to the working class, but to its supporters within the nucleus of Sudanese military officers. The most prominent of this layer was Major Hashem al-Atta who would lead the coup and briefly serve as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces after surrounding the presidential palace with tanks and arresting Nimeiry.

Coup leader Hashem al-Atta

The SCP was the largest communist party in the Arab world, but its coup met with hostility, not only from the RCC in Sudan, but from all surrounding nations. Egyptian Anwar Sadat and Libyan Muammar Gaddafi opposed the SCP coup and supported Nimeiry and his return to power. These bourgeois nationalists, who balanced themselves between the Soviet Union and the imperialist powers, feared that the establishment of a Stalinist-led government in the region would destabilize their own fragile regimes.

Outside of members of the SCP itself, which had been substantially shattered by Nimeiry’s repressions, the coup had little popular support. Atta was unable to bring the army under his control, with the vast majority of generals and other officers continuing to support the RCC.

After a few days, forces loyal to Nimeiry released him from prison and arrested Atta and the other coup plotters, who were court martialed and shot. In the process, Nimeiry intensified his persecution of the SCP, arresting and executing its leaders and banning all unions and other communist-led organizations.

75 years ago: Zionist Irgun group bombs King David hotel in British Palestine

On July 22, 1946, the Zionist organization Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in British-controlled Palestine, killing 91 people and injuring 46 others. The terrorist attack was part of a series, based on the prospect of forcing Britain, or other great powers, to approve the creation of a Jewish state in the region. Among those who died were 41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Jews and members of several other national groups.

British forces in Palestine

The attack received wide international coverage, not only because of the large number of casualties, but also because the King David Hotel was the seat of the British mandatory authorities who oversaw the occupation of Palestine. It was conceived as a retaliation for a security crackdown carried out by the British authorities against militant Zionist organizations.

Well-organized Irgun agents planted bombs in the hotel’s basement, as well as in a cafe next door and on a nearby street. Some spectators who gathered to see the aftermath of the explosion at the latter location were touched by the detonations that followed. While members of the Irgun claimed that a warning was sent to the hotel nearly half an hour before the attacks, details were disputed and no evacuation was carried out.

The attack had apparently been discussed beforehand within the wider Zionist community. However, its aftermath and the international response resulted in the breakdown of the alliance between the Irgun and several other groups, including the Haganah, the military wing of the Labor Zionists, which took a nominally leftist stance.

Unlike some of the other Zionist organizations, the Irgun only began hostilities against the British after it was clear that the Allied Powers would be victorious over Nazi Germany. His perspective was not based on any form of anti-colonialism, but included scathing denunciations of the “Arabs,” including calls to expel them from the region or to subdue them.

At the time of the bombing, the Irgun was led by Menachem Begin, who would later become Israel’s sixth prime minister, from June 1977 to October 1983.

100 years ago: Major military defeat of the Spanish in occupied Morocco

On July 22, 1921, the Berber rebels (known as the Rifis after the Rif mountain range), led by Abd el-Krim, inflicted a major defeat on the Spanish imperialist troops at Annuel in the northeast of the Morocco, triggering the Rif war. The Spaniards, who controlled areas along the coast including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, sought to push inland and east, ignoring Abd el-Krim’s warnings.

Abd-el Krim on the cover of TIME magazine

A Spanish general, Manuel Fernández Silvestre, had occupied the village of Annual in January with several thousand Spanish soldiers. Silvestre’s lines of communication were poor, and his army ran out of ammunition in the summer. Five thousand Spanish soldiers clashed with 3,000 irregular fighters from the Rif on July 21.

The Spaniards began a retreat, which turned into a rout. Spain sent reinforcements but these were also defeated by the Rifis. In total, Spain lost more than 20,000 soldiers as well as large quantities of arms and ammunition. Abd el-Krim reportedly remarked: “In one night, Spain provided us with all the equipment we needed to wage a great war. Silvestre was reportedly killed, although his remains have never been definitively identified. Abd el-Krim established a Republic of the Rif.

The Rif War has its origins in more than 20 years of aggression in North Africa by the imperialist powers, which was a source of persistent inter-imperialist conflict. During the Algeciras conference of 1906, France and Spain had claimed Morocco and distributed the areas of influence. Despite attempts to modernize its army, the Sultanate of Morocco, which had ruled a unified state since the 17th century, collapsed under European incursions and retained control of only six cities.

Germany also had claims on Morocco, which almost led to a war between the great powers after the Agadir crisis of 1911, when a German gunboat entered a French-held port on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. and raised the possibility of war. The incident sparked mass anti-war protests in Europe led by social democratic parties. The crisis was part of a series of inter-imperialist skirmishes that led to World War I.

In 1912, Spain established, with French and British agreement, an official protectorate in Morocco.

After World War I, Spain and France both renewed their colonial ambitions in Morocco, sparking the rebellion of Abd el-Krim.

The Rif War of 1921, which the French joined, lasted another five years. In a retaliatory war for the defeat of Annual, the Spanish indiscriminately used chemical weapons against civilians. Some Berber organizations claim today that the residues of these weapons still poison the inhabitants of the region. The war ultimately ended with the defeat and capture of Abd el-Krim, who died in exile in Cairo in 1963.


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Oregon legislature’s resume under scrutiny before explosive resignation

Nate Monson, bottom left, addresses lawmakers at a hearing in April.

Screenshot / OPB

When he resigned last month, making explosive allegations upon his exit, the official responsible for handling harassment complaints in the Oregon Legislature had reason to believe he would be out of office any longer. .

Lawmakers and human resources officials had recently learned a number of concerning things they missed when hiring Nate Monson, according to documents released by the state legislature on Thursday.

This included the fact that Monson had distorted his work history and offered misleading references. He had also quit a former job in Iowa over concerns about harassment and financial mismanagement which were not communicated to officials in Oregon until nearly two months after Monson began working here in as Interim Legislative Fairness Officer.

“I am deeply disturbed by the information shared with me today,” wrote Jessica Knieling, Acting Director of Human Resources at the Legislative Assembly, in a June 8 memo released to the OPB and officials. from the Capitol. “Frankly, when I got the first email today, I had hoped it was just a misunderstanding.”

Nothing in the memo contradicts Monson’s claims when he resigned on June 15. In his own note to lawmakers, Monson detailed a history of unpaid legal bills, delayed investigations, unethical contracts, sloppy record keeping and lax responsiveness to the Office of Legislative Fairness. d resumed. The office, established in 2019, is a kind of clearinghouse for complaints about harassment, retaliation and other misconduct.

Related: In flashy outing, former Capitol Hill official expresses top concerns about how Oregon is handling harassment

“We want you to know that we take his allegations relating to the state of the office very seriously, ”wrote the four lawmakers who chair the Joint Conduct Committee, Monson’s direct supervisors, in an email sent to Capitol Hill Thursday. “We are now taking the time to gather all the relevant facts to verify the veracity of the allegations …”

But recently released records provide more context for Monson’s sudden departure, suggesting he knew he had little future on Capitol Hill as scrutiny intensified.

Monson declined to comment on the note on Friday, citing advice from legal counsel.

It is not known what due diligence the legislative administrators performed when hiring Monson. Records released this week show that they emailed at least one of his referrals. But a simple Google search would have detected a gap much earlier in the hiring process.

Officials began to learn much more about their new recruit in June, after a fact various city his resume claim that he worked for six months at the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change.

That was not true, as a call and email made clear to legislative administration officials from Coalition Executive Director Luana Nelson-Brown. According to the memo, Nelson-Brown explained that she had been “friendly colleagues” with Monson, and that “they spoke of him coming to work for the coalition, but never anything close to what he wrote down. on his curriculum vitae “.

Nelson-Brown further explained that his board would not allow him to hire Monson because of the “problems” he encountered while working for Iowa Safe Schools, an affiliate organization that Monson had led for 13 years before she was fired in 2020. According to the memo, Nelson-Brown suggested that Monson’s “oversight and racism” had become a concern in this role and that a financial audit by the attorney general’s office Iowa was underway.

“Nate might be good for certain roles in the Legislature, but Equity is not one of them,” the note said, summing up what Knieling reported hearing from Nelson-Brown.

As he delved into the matter, Knieling learned that not all Monson’s references were what they appeared. He had listed a reference as a board member of the Iowa Safe Schools, not pointing out that this person was a high school student who acted as a student representative, but had no supervisory authority.

Another reference, listed by Monson as a board member of the Iowa Coalition for Collective Change, had never been on that organization’s board of directors, a fact Knieling said he discovered with research. Google months after Monson was hired. In fact, the person had served on the board of directors for the Iowa for Safe Schools, she wrote.

As part of its investigation in June, Knieling also spoke with current leaders of Iowa Safe Schools, who said the organization severed ties with Monson in November 2020, but declined to provide many details. . Knieling learned, she said, that Iowa Safe Schools had “discovered financial irregularities,” but gave no details.

“The [ISS] The chairman of the board said she would have serious concerns about him in such a role, ”Knieling wrote in the June 8 memo, referring to Monson’s work as head of legislative fairness. . “I asked if he had engaged in unlawful harassment or discrimination. She said she wouldn’t say illegal, but that had been very inappropriate.

In interviews while considered for the role on Capitol Hill, Knieling wrote, Monson told officials he “intentionally quit” his job with the Iowa Safe Schools.

Knieling’s memo was written a week before Monson submitted his resignation. Monson’s direct supervisors, the chairmen of the Joint Steering Committee, suggested in their email Thursday that he was aware that concerns had arisen that would prevent him from moving from an “interim” role to a permanent one.

“Given the level of trust and integrity required by the LEO position, we, as the Co-Chairs, have decided to schedule a meeting of the Joint Steering Committee to review Mr. Monson’s employment in light. of this new information, “the lawmakers wrote. , the senses. Floyd Prozanski and Chuck Thomsen, and Representatives Julie Fahey and Ron Noble. “Mr. Monson has been advised of the plan to schedule a meeting and has chosen to tender his resignation.”

The substantive concerns Monson alerted lawmakers to on his way remain – and have sparked a great deal of interest in a legislature still grappling with how to handle harassment.

“When I started, there were no records, electronic documents, scheduled training, and unpaid invoices, resulting in investigations averaging 10 months in the past year.” Monson wrote in his June 15 resignation letter. “There have been outstanding cases where individuals have tried to file a case but have received no response. The gravity of the situation means that justice is not being served to those who have come forward and can cost taxpayers millions of lawsuits due to the liability of not having proper procedures, documentation and oversight. “

In their email to officials and staff at the Capitol, the chairmen of the Joint Steering Committee said they had “taken action” to address one of Monson’s concerns: that financial constraints had driven investigators stop work, delaying harassment investigations. They also suggest that the unpaid bills had not resulted in work stoppages, as Monson claimed.

The two outside investigators who do contract work for the legislature did not answer questions from the OPB about Monson’s claims.

The email sent Thursday suggests that the chairmen of the joint steering committee were widely releasing the note on Monson in light of media requests. The documents communicated to the OPB are more complete than what has been requested.

Despite the difficult end of his term, at least one of Monson’s former supervisors has positive things to say.

“I thought Nate Monson was the right fit for the job,” Rep. Ron Noble, R-McMinnville, told OPB last week. “There were some things he obviously felt he needed to move on.”

In a job that demands confidentiality – and whose activities are often shielded from lawmakers because of it – Noble has said he believes Monson is capable of acting as an auditor of some sort for the way the office was managed before his tenure.

“I don’t think the system is broken,” Noble said. “I think Nate’s arrival exposed some of the weaknesses in the logistics of the post and the supervision of the post.”

Lawmakers are in the process of seeking Monson’s replacement.


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Socrates Sculpture Park welcomes new ruler as search for permanent director continues – QNS.com

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Socrates Sculpture Park has a new leader – for now.

Suzy Delvalle has been appointed interim executive director, succeeding John Hatfield, who held the position for almost a decade before stepping down in October 2020. The search for a new director is underway.

The Artist Oasis on Vernon Boulevard was created by a coalition of artists and community members who transformed an East River landfill and illegal landfill into an open studio and exhibition space in 1986.

“John Hatfield has grown the organization in countless ways over his nine years here, including doubling the operating budget and staff size, and opening new exhibitions that have been critically acclaimed,” said declared Delvalle. “I look forward to working with the rich family of artists, staff and collaborators of Socrates, as well as the surrounding community. “

Delvalle was most recently President and Executive Director of Creative Capital, a national non-profit organization that supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, advice, gatherings, and career development services. She is known as an “ardent defender of art and artists”.

With over 20 years of leadership experience in the cultural sector, Devalle has dedicated his career to improving the impact of mission-based organizations and creating opportunity and equity in the arts.

“The board is delighted that Suzy is taking on the role of interim director during this important time for the organization,” said Ivana Mestrovic, secretary and treasurer of the board of directors of Socrates. “Suzy brings a wealth of experience working with artists and communities, and we have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead Socrates as we continue to seek a permanent executive director.”

As the second director in the history of Creative Capital, Delvalle has overseen some of the most dramatic changes in the organization’s two-decade history. Under his leadership, Creative Capital increased its annual budget by 20% and expanded the board of directors with 12 new active members while creating a National Advisory Board. It has also expanded its services to artists by instituting Creative Capital Awards and annual retreats.

“Suzy has been a valued colleague in the field for many years, and I am delighted to hand over the reins to her,” said Hatfield. “I am extremely proud of the progress of the organization over the past nine years and of all that the board, staff and I have accomplished together.

Hatfield will be joining NYU faculty in September to teach a course for their graduate program in Museum Studies.

While exploring other activities, he will continue to serve in an advisory capacity on the Socrates Capital Project to build a permanent structure in the 5-acre park, which sits on the ancestral land of the Lenape, Canarsie and Matinecock peoples.


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“Everyone thought I was going to come and tear up this organization”

Behind Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Chicago Bulls won the 1996 Championship against the Seattle SuperSonics in six games, closing a historic season. They went 72-10 in the regular season, which at the time was the best record in NBA history.

Several pundits did not believe the Bulls would win the championship in 1996 due to the polarizing decision they made before the start of the season. Rodman was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs, and it was a profession that has not been rated well by critics and some Chicago fans since the Worm misbehaved with the Spurs and was part of the most hated team in Bulls history, the “Bad Boys”.

However, Rodman was instrumental in helping the Bulls win 72 games and defeat the SuperSonics, and he made sure to call out his enemies.

Dennis Rodman was proud to do his job

After the Bulls defeated the SuperSonics in Game 6 of the ’96 Finals, Rodman called out his critics perfectly for doubting he could help Jordan and Pippen win a title.

“Everyone thought I was going to come and tear this organization apart,” Rodman said. “There is a lot about me that people don’t know. I am a competitor. I stepped up and got the job done, and I’m proud of it.

Rodman was such a force on the boards in the ’96 final that SuperSonics head coach George Karl hinted Rodzilla could have won the final MVP title against Jordan: They have extra possessions and additional opportunities.

Against the SuperSonics, Rodman averaged 7.5 points and 14.7 rebounds. He took 11 offensive rebounds in Games 2 and 6 and 20 overall in Game 2. It was the same type of production Rodman had during the regular season as the Bulls won 72 games.

Dennis Rodman led the NBA in rebounds per game in 1995-96

Rodman appeared in 64 games during the Bulls’ 72-10 season. He averaged 5.5 points and 14.9 rebounds while shooting 48.0 percent from the field. The two-time defensive player of the year has led the NBA in rebounds per game, a feat he has accomplished seven times in his career.

Several Bulls fans and reporters feared Rodman might not get along with Jordan and Pippen since he was one of the Detroit Pistons who played badly against Chicago. However, Dennis the Menace fits in perfectly with MJ and Pip. In fact, Jordan called Rodman one of the smartest players he’s ever played with in The last dance docuseries, while Pippen said the rebound machine played its part perfectly and knew how to impact victory.

Rodman’s three-year run with the Bulls was historic. Although he was not on an all-star team while playing in Chicago, he added other accomplishments to his resume.

Demolition Man won three rebounding titles and three championships with the Bulls

Rodman played 199 games with the Bulls. He averages 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds and is the franchise leader in rebounds per game. The Hall of Famer won three rebounding titles and three championships alongside Jordan and Pippen.

The Bulls have not removed Rodman’s No.91 jersey. It’s surprising since he’s won three rings and is the best rebounder in franchise history. It will be interesting to see if President Jerry Reinsdorf ever decides to honor Rodman and put his jersey in the rafters of the United Center alongside Jordan and Pippen.

Rodman ended his NBA career averaging 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and is arguably one of the greatest rebounders of all time. The New Jersey native is 12th in NBA history for rebounds per game.

Statistics courtesy of Basket-Reference.

RELATED: Michael Jordan & Dennis Rodman Never Speaked in Public Even though They were at the Same Restaurant


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U.S. Muslim Leaders and Activists Tackle Opposition to COVID-19 Vaccines

Shaikh Rahman, business systems analyst in Chicago, was not a supporter of COVID-19 vaccines because he did not believe that credible information about them was being disseminated effectively and distribution appeared rushed.

“Our faith says to investigate a matter before passing it off as the truth,” he said.

But Rahman’s sentiment changed after his local imam, Shaykh Jamal Said of the Foundation Mosque in Bridgeview, Illinois, began suggesting that those who were not vaccinated could be barred from entering the mosque.

Rahman was concerned about this potential restriction on prayer services and he considered getting the vaccine. He had tested positive for the virus prior to this potential restriction. So he decided to get the vaccine to boost his immunity after the Mosque Foundation organized a Pfizer vaccination campaign.

“With the country reopening, I don’t want my family or loved ones to risk being exposed through me,” Rahman said.

While vaccine hesitancy trends continue to evolve Across the United States, a change is also underway in some Muslim communities. Vaccination rates among Muslims had been among the lowest in the country during the first months of the pandemic. But the outreach programs of mosques, community organizations and cultural centers that work with immigrant communities help dispel misinformation and promote immunization.

As they hear from trusted figures, such as imams, some Muslims are now choosing to be vaccinated.

Virtual meetings

Among the organizations making an impact is the Somali Family Service of San Diego (SFS). It has a program called the Ihsan Health Initiative, which includes a team of community health workers who provide direct outreach through events such as virtual town hall meetings.

“The virtual town hall meetings have helped to combat some of the skepticism by allowing us to invite respected community leaders, such as doctors, nurses and Masjid imams,” says Balqiso Hussein, a community health worker of SFS, which works primarily with Somalis. population. “When we were presented with scientific evidence in a culturally competent manner, we saw changes in ideologies regarding the vaccine. Many in the community even scheduled vaccine appointments for the same day.”

SFS has hired community health workers who speak Arabic, Swahili and Somali. There are plans to reach out to the Afghan community.

“Using the same [native] language to speak to my clients, coupled with Friday khutbahs [sermons] issued by local imams, had a significant impact in trying to change the mindset of people in their willingness to be vaccinated, ”said Aous Alhabbar, a health worker who engages with the Iraqi community. “While there was a lot of fear at the start of the pandemic, that is slowly changing thanks to awareness. “

Part of the hesitation stems from the racism experienced during medical visits.

“Many feel that the health care system is not working to promote their well-being,” says Hussein. “Many members of the community, especially the older groups, felt very hesitant when the vaccines were fully administered nationally. Much of the reluctance comes from personal experiences with healthcare professionals who have failed to welcome community members due to language and cultural barriers. “

Religious beliefs have also been a factor for some who are still reluctant to get vaccinated. The question of what is halal, or permitted under Islamic law, has been raised repeatedly in the Muslim community.

“At first I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure about the science, and validity was a question of the ingredients,” says Shaykh Amin Kholwadia, a Muslim scholar and founder of Darul Qasim, an institute of Islamic teachings. Traditional based in Glendale Heights, Illinois.

Following reports that at least one of the vaccines used cell lines derived from fetal tissue, many Muslims questioned whether it would be halal to be given the vaccine. Kholwadia signed a statement issued by his organization that said, “The use of cell lines, originally developed from aborted fetuses, to develop vaccines is against Islamic bioethics. Muslims cannot take vaccines that are developed in this way given the permitted alternatives. “

Kholwadia explained that under Islamic law, “No part of the human body (including fetuses) can be used for the purpose of experimentation.”

While the ruling by the Darul Qasim organization legitimized the reluctance of some Muslims, especially for vaccines related to the first vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson, it also served as an incentive for vaccinations developed by others. companies.

“Why wouldn’t I prefer mRNA vaccines, especially if it’s not go put my akhira [afterlife] in danger? ”asks Akber Ali, attending physician at an Illinois hospital, who works with Darul Qasim.

Persistent doubts

Not everyone is convinced.

Bint Aden, a recent graduate from Southern California who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, says she and her family still have questions about the vaccine’s ingredients and whether they’re halal.

“Although mosques have authorized the vaccine, with my roots in Somalia, it is not clear what is authorized,” she said. “We believe in qadr [fate], what is supposed to be is destined to happen by the work of Allah (God), which involves both disease and health.

“I always want to wait and see,” Aden says. “I still don’t feel comfortable taking the vaccine. “

The National Geographic Society, committed to illuminating and protecting the wonders of our world, funded Tasmiha khanwork. Learn about the Society’s support for explorers who work to inspire, educate and better understand human history and cultures.



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Why Haiti is still in despair after $ 13 billion in foreign aid

The streets of Haiti had been crowded for months with angry protesters who burned tires, stormed banks and robbed stores. Gangs, sometimes with the tacit permission of the police, have kidnapped nuns, fruit sellers and even schoolgirls for ransom.

And then on Wednesday, the country sank deeper into turmoil, when a convoy of armed men brazenly rumbled to the home of the president, Jovenel Moïse, in the middle of the night and shot him dead.

Almost every time Haitians think their situation cannot get worse, it seems the nation takes another disturbing turn and is now on the brink of a political vacuum, with no president, no parliament, or no functioning Supreme Court.

The country’s quagmire has for decades placed it at the top of the list of nations, like Afghanistan and Somalia, which have captured the world’s imaginations for their level of desperation. In the shadow of the richest country in the world, people wonder: how could this happen in Haiti?

Haiti’s troubled history runs deep into its roots as a former slave colony of France which gained independence in 1804 after defeating Napoleon’s forces, and then suffered more than two decades of a brutal dictatorship, which ended in 1986.

Then, after a powerful earthquake that devastated the country in 2010, an influx of foreign aid and peacekeepers only aggravated the woes and instability of the country.

Haiti’s failures did not happen in a vacuum; they have been aided by the international community, which has injected $ 13 billion in aid into the country over the past decade. But instead of the nation-building that money was supposed to achieve, Haiti’s institutions have hollowed out even more in recent years.

When the president let Parliament’s term expire last year, he left Haiti with 11 elected representatives – Mr. Moïse and 10 senators – for its population of 11 million, drawing strong condemnation but little repercussions from from Washington. For a year and a half, until his assassination, Mr. Moïse increasingly ruled by decree.

Haiti is less of a failed state than what one analyst has called an “aid state” – which lives by relying on billions of dollars from the international community. Foreign governments were unwilling to turn off the taps, fearing they would let Haiti fail.

But the money served as a complicated lifeline – leaving the government with little incentive to carry out the institutional reforms needed to rebuild the country, as it bets that whenever the situation gets worse, international governments will open their coffers, according to Haitian analysts and activists. .

The aid has supported the country and its leaders, providing vital services and supplies in a country in desperate need of large amounts of humanitarian aid. But it also allowed corruption, violence and political paralysis to go unchecked.

Although they deny it, Haitian politicians, including the government, have traditionally relied on gangs to influence elections in their favor and expand their political reach. In the last three years of Mr. Moïse’s tenure, more than a dozen massacres perpetrated by gangs linked to the government and police forces have killed more than 400 people in anti-government neighborhoods and displaced 1.5 million of people, yet no one was held responsible for the crimes.

When a political or human rights scandal erupts, the US government issues convictions similar to paper tigers.

Instead of embracing the long road of reforms and creating a system that works, supports Haitian civil society leaders, the United States has supported strong men and tied the nation’s fate to them. Many Haitians have repeatedly denounced US support for Mr. Moïse but said they had little power to stop him.

“Since 2018, we have been calling for accountability,” said Emmanuela Douyon, a Haitian political expert who testified before the US Congress earlier this year, urging Washington to change its foreign policy and its approach to assisting Haiti.

“We need the international community to stop imposing what it thinks is correct and instead think about the long term and stability,” Ms. Douyon said in an interview.

The United States must make aid to Haiti conditional on the cleansing and reform of the country’s institutions by its leaders, Douyon and other analysts said. And powerful figures must be held accountable for the violence and corruption that permeates all aspects of the country.

“There will be a lot of calls for international intervention and for the sending of troops, but it is important that we take a step back and see how the international intervention has contributed to this situation,” said Jake Johnston, researcher associated with the Center for Economic and Policy. Research Washington, which coined the term “state aid”.

“Billions of dollars have already been spent on what is called nation-building in Haiti, which has only contributed to the erosion of the state and the politicization of these institutions,” he said. Mr Johnston said. “Saying now that we need to do more, well, that won’t work. “

The assassination of Mr. Moïse on Wednesday marked a new chapter in the country’s violent decade. The assassins who raided Mr. Moïse’s compound killed a president who came to power in 2016, winning the election with just around 600,000 votes. Only 18% of voters voted, and there were numerous accusations of fraud.

Still, the United States backed the unpopular and controversial leader, backing Mr. Moïse amid calls for his ouster in 2019 when it was discovered that international aid to the government had disappeared.

Mr Moïse insisted in February that he would stay one more year as president because he had been barred from holding the post for so long while accusations of electoral fraud came under scrutiny. investigation. Despite demands from civil society leaders to step down, Washington backed him up. Critics said his retention in office was unconstitutional and anger spilled over into the streets, plunging the capital Port-au-Prince into more uncertainty and violence.

Another American nation-building failure was played out thousands of miles from Haiti, Afghanistan, where the United States tried for 20 years to wrest control of the country from the Taliban before leaving the country. country. The Afghan army either abandoned its bases or surrendered en masse to the Taliban as the United States withdrew its troops. There, the international community has provided more than $ 2 trillion in aid since 2001.

The nation-building exercises that the United States and its international partners have undertaken in Haiti and around the world have done little to create functioning states, instead creating a system where dubious actors with little national support – like M. Moïse – are supported. , the easiest way to achieve short term stability.

In Afghanistan, the United States has relied on warlords and strongmen to achieve its objectives, who often politicize and undermine institutions, leaving a vacuum when they are inevitably assassinated or overthrown.

Civil society leaders in Haiti and Afghanistan have both urged the United States to help these countries strengthen their institutions and ensure the rule of law, creating democratic systems that outlast any political leader. and ensure long-term stability.

With continued support from the United States, Mr. Moïse had become increasingly autocratic, passing an anti-terrorism law late last year so broad it could be used against his opposition.

Earlier this year, he said he would draft a new constitution, giving broad powers to the military and allowing future presidents to run for a second consecutive term. He has scheduled a referendum on the constitution and a national election for September, despite warnings that holding an election amid so much violence would suppress voter turnout and bring to power the same politicians who helped provoke the struggles. from Haiti. Yet the United States supported Mr. Moïse’s plans.

“It is difficult to see the present moment as an opportunity because it will probably create more chaos,” said Alexandra Filippova, senior lawyer at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, an organization that provides legal representation to victims. of human rights. abuses.

“If the United States and other international partners really want to help Haiti,” added Ms. Filippova, “they must listen to Haitian civil society and take the difficult road: build a real foundation for democracy.


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Continuity is the key to success | Business

Like most of us, park administrators have had to rotate in their roles as volunteers for the organization and in their roles as businessmen. Board meetings were spent in person remotely, budgets had to be adjusted and the group had to roll with terms of reference coming and going.

Last month, five directors who served during this tumultuous time were awaiting reappointments and several candidates competed for these positions. Galveston City Council actually re-elected these trustees – Spencer Priest, Will Wright, David Jacoby, Steven Creitz and Jason Worthen. They will join directors Maureen Patton, David Collins, Marty Fluke and Jason Hardcastle.

The list of officers also remains the same. Priest is president, Wright is vice president, and Jacoby will serve another term as secretary. This continuity of leadership, especially as the organization emerges from a pandemic, will help make the park’s board of directors a more effective organization.

The council’s work did not stop during the pandemic. In fact, the administrators and staff of the park’s board of directors have been successful in developing long-term strategic and sustainability plans and securing funding for major improvements and projects, to name a few. .

Now that it looks like Galveston and the rest of the country are heading towards a next normal and the tourism industry is experiencing a strong rebound, the park council has a lot of work to do. The administrators in place can move forward with the institutional knowledge necessary to make prudent decisions with the residents and visitors of the island in mind.

At a recent meeting to formally appoint directors and elect officers, Patton stressed that continuity of leadership on the board is an important trait.

“This group knows the history and has the experience and understanding of what the organization has done and plans to do,” said Patton. “It is important to keep the leaders in place on local boards and committees. I also see it at the national level.

At last month’s city council meeting to nominate trustees, Galveston Mayor Craig Brown praised Priest for his hard work and dedication to the organization, especially during the pandemic.

“I know Spencer has a demanding schedule in the hospitality industry,” Brown said. “As a former administrator myself, I know how much time spends on the park board, and I commend Spencer for his dedication. “

Meetings of the park board are usually held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 601 23rd St. in Galveston.

Mary beth bassett is the director of public relations for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the park board of directors.


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Criminally indicted Trump CFO steps down as director of Trump Organization golf club

A week after being hit with more than a dozen criminal charges and the prospect of more than a decade in prison, Allen Weisselberg, longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, stepped down as chief executive of Donald trumpfrom the Scottish Golf Club. In a thursday deposit, the company mentionned that Weisselberg was no longer “a person with significant control” over Trump International Golf Club Scotland, which, according to Bloomberg, is “the first sign that Trump’s longtime CFO has stepped down after being indicted alongside the Trump Organization, “both of whom pleaded not guilty to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indictment of 15 counts Cyrus Vance Jr., which detailed how Weisselberg and his employer allegedly avoided taxes on benefits worth $ 1.76 million, including an apartment, cars and tuition at a private school.

At the moment, it’s unclear what Weisselberg’s resignation means in terms of Trump’s chances of not getting out of prison. Is the company trying to distance itself from Weisselberg and set the stage to claim that he acted alone? In view of Trump long the story to pretend not to know people who could get him in serious trouble, it is quite possible! Is Weisselberg preparing to retire from the company and denounce his former boss? This could obviously also be the case. The news might also have nothing to do with the recent charges against Weisselberg and the company, although it seems somewhat unlikely.

Either way, if Trump is generally not concerned at the moment, he certainly should be. Prosecutors have been working for months to tip Weisselberg, and although he has so far remained loyal to the ex-president, there is no such thing as the possibility of many years in prison to bring a person to rethink his situation. As a former federal prosecutor Cynthia alksne Told MSNBC earlier this week, “The jury will hate [Weisselberg]. It’s not going to have a jury of people going to MAGA rallies, it’s going to have a cross section of people who live in Manhattan, who pay taxes in Manhattan, who don’t get free Mercedes, who don’t have anyone else. ‘other to pay for their children’s education and not have tax consequences for it. So I think he’s going to be a much hated defendant, Mr. Weisselberg, and I’m sure his lawyers have told him that. The former US prosecutor also weighed on the financial director’s situation. Preet Bharara, who tweeted, “I am optimistic that he will be doomed. The law is pretty clear on what is income and what is taxable. It is a sophisticated setting; the error is implausible. The company recorded much of it as income. And juries hate wealthy tax evaders.

All of this leaves Trump in a worrisome situation if there is any fear of spending his twilight years behind bars. After the indictment was unveiled, Bloomberg noted that Weisselberg’s cooperation “could lead to a broader case against the company and raise the prospect of a historic and politically charged prosecution of a former president.” With a trial unlikely before next year, the CFO will have months to decide whether to fight the charges or plead guilty and possibly strike a deal with prosecutors. A Trump executive for four decades, Weisselberg has a unique insight into the former president’s finances and trade deals.

In other words, he knows where all the bodies are buried (and has basically pointed this out in the past, describing himself as Trump’s “eyes and ears” in the business). Like her ex-daughter-in-law Jennifer Weisselberg, who reportedly handed over numerous boxes of financial documents to prosecutors this spring, said in April: “Trump doesn’t care about Allen, but Allen knows all the bad things he’s done.” And while Weisselberg remains loyal, some people think the government will still have a case against Trump:

Michael Avenatti will have plenty of time to think about what he’s been up to

The old one Stormy Daniels lawyer who once considered running for president before being arrested and charged with attempting to extort more than $ 20 million from Nike Inc., and separately accused of embezzling a customer’s money and defrauding a bank, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Through the the Wall Street newspaper:

Avenatti, 50, was sentenced after a jury trial in February 2020 on the three counts he faced: extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extortion and wire fraud. The case arose out of Mr Avenatti’s threats to expose alleged corruption in Nike’s elite basketball program, unless the clothing giant pays him to conduct an internal investigation. Before pronouncing the sentence, the United States District Judge Paul Gardephe called Mr Avenatti’s conduct outrageous and said he was acting as though the laws that apply to everyone do not apply to him. “Mr. Avenatti had gotten intoxicated with the power of his platform,” Justice Gardephe said in a Manhattan federal courtroom.

Thursday’s conviction only crowns one of Mr. Avenatti’s legal battles. He also faces a litany of tax and banking burdens in California with a lawsuit scheduled to begin next week in federal court in Santa Ana, California. A trial in New York is scheduled to begin next year on federal charges that he embezzled Ms. Daniels’ money. Mr. Avenatti pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing.



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Nunes, CHS graduate, ends softball career at Concordia

“It’s a fitting way to end a remarkable career,” said Rosenthal. “She’s going off as one of the greatest in CUI softball history and this list is tough to make. I am proud of her for everything she has done and who she is. I will miss her on this pitch, but I’m so grateful that she chose to be an eagle.

Nunes was 77-15 at the pitcher with a 1.21 earned-run average, 717 strikeouts, 54 full games, 26 shutouts, six no-hitting and 11 saves during his four-year career at the l ‘Concordia University.

She ranks in the top 10 in more than 20 different categories in the Eagles’ record books.

Nunes set program records for career strikeouts (717) and career saves (11). Nunes is the only player in team history with over 700 career strikeouts.

She ranks second in career wins, shutouts and no-strike, and is tied for third with former teammate Grayson Harvey for most complete games (54).

Nunes has been named PacWest Pitcher of the Week 12 times, the second-highest total for a pitcher in conference history.

She won the NFCA Freshman of the Year and D2CCA West Region Pitcher of the Year awards in 2018.

Nunes led all of the NCAA Division II pitchers with 33 wins in the Eagles’ historic 2019 season, when Concordia University achieved its first-ever No.1 ranking in the D2 era. She totaled 266 strikeouts, posted a 1.34 ERA and threw four hits.

Nunes was an annual NFCA All-America varsity athlete and an All-PacWest academic laureate.

“We’ve been fortunate to have great teams every year, to have great pitchers, great shots all around,” Nunes said.

Nunes played three seasons of varsity softball at Ceres High.

She helped propel the Bulldogs to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III crown during her junior year in 2016, ending a 21-year drought between titles.

Nunes and third-seeded Ceres High were 5-1 in the playoffs.

She’s gone 20-3 with a 1.14 ERA, 239 strikeouts, two no hitting and 10 shutouts this year.

Nunes was 20-3 with a 0.52 ERA, 291 strikeouts, one hit and 11 shutouts in his last season with the Bulldogs.

She placed fourth in the state in strikeouts.

Ceres High qualified for the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year and won their fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference championship.

Nunes won the WAC Pitcher of the Year award for the second time.

She was selected to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Middle Schools First Team.

Nunes was 51-13 in his career with 686 strikeouts, four without a strike and 26 shutouts.


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Why Kaseya ransomware attack worries experts

The frenzy of a cybercriminal gang over the weekend of July 4 ended up infecting more than 1,500 organizations worldwide with ransomware, according to cybersecurity firm Huntress. But it’s not the number of victims that keeps experts from sleeping at night.

The gang used a level of planning and sophistication closer to high-level, government-backed hackers, rather than a simple criminal operation, they say.

The hackers behind the madness, the Russian-speaking ransomware gang REvil, have adopted two new tactics previously not used by ransomware gangs that continually hack targets around the world, but particularly in the United States. Most concerning is that they even deployed a zero day, a cybersecurity term for a vulnerability in a program that software developers are unaware of and therefore have not had time to fix.

And they didn’t target a single victim, but rather a company with a small but key role in the internet ecosystem. This gave them access to potentially tens or hundreds of thousands of victims.

“What we are seeing here are the tactics of more sophisticated adversaries, like nation states, that trickle down to these less sophisticated and more financially motivated criminal ransomware groups,” said Jack Cable, researcher at the Krebs Stamos Group. , a cybersecurity consulting firm. .

REvil, possibly best known for hacking JBS, one of the world’s largest international meat vendors, has been active since at least early 2019. Like a number of other Russian-speaking ransomware gangs, REvil has made its fortune in recent years. by hacking into individual organizations. , locking down their computers, stealing their files, and demanding payment to fix things and not disclose what they stole.

REvil has previously tried to deploy its ransomware through a so-called supply chain attack, which exploits the way internet services are interconnected. In 2019, the group succeeded pirate TSM Consulting Services, a small managed service provider in Texas that manages web services for organizations that don’t want to do it themselves. Soon 22 of the company’s customers, all from cities in Texas, were infected with the REvil ransomware. The state and federal government jumped at the deal, however, and cities were finally able to get back online without paying the ransom.

Over the weekend, however, REvil took this kind of supply chain hacking to the next level. Instead of hacking a single organization, or even a single managed service provider, they hacked into Kaseya, a company that specializes in managing software updates for hundreds of different vendors. This gave them access to a significant body of victims, potentially larger than any known criminal hack in history, according to three cybersecurity experts who spoke to NBC News.

So far, it appears that REvil has not had a major impact on American life, although it has crippled several small American businesses, caused a large Swedish grocery store to close for more than 24 hours and infected 11 schools in New Zealand. But that could be a dodged bullet, as cybersecurity experts find supply chain hacks particularly worrisome, as they can quickly give hackers incredibly wide access.

The United States discovered in late 2020 that Russian intelligence agency SVR had hacked into U.S. company SolarWinds, potentially exposing some 18,000 client organizations to elite hackers from a foreign intelligence agency. It was quickly seen as one of the biggest supply chain hacks in history. Even after it became clear that the number of confirmed casualties was likely much lower, the Biden administration berated Russia for the scale of the operation.

While the potential reach of the SolarWinds hack was enormous, there is no evidence that Russia used it for anything other than conventional espionage. The fact that REvil doesn’t appear to be directly driven by a government chain of command means its supply chain attacks could be even more dangerous, Cable said.

“The difference here is that REvil is financially motivated. They are criminals, so in many ways they have fewer limits,” he said. “Ransomware groups don’t follow the same rules, and in some ways we could see this has a bigger impact.”

It is also extremely worrying that REvil was able to deploy a zero-day vulnerability to hack Kaseya, said Brett Callow, analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. While there is no solid evidence as to how the gang acquired it – whether they discovered it, stole it from researchers, or bought it from a broker – it does show that the gang has the ability and intend to acquire and deploy elite tools to orchestrate huge hacking campaigns.

“The Kaseya incident is truly a landmark event. It shows that cybercriminals are capable of acquiring and using zero-day vulnerabilities and using them to cause disruption on an absolutely massive scale,” he said. he declares.

“Because companies keep paying millions of dollars in ransoms, so we have cybercriminals who are more determined and better endowed than ever before,” he said. “It creates predators at the top.”


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