I generally survey a number of news sites around the world and country, choose around 15 articles I can quote, and a few links. Tonight I am leaning toward social justice. Sometimes I editorialize. I also tend not to cover the headlines, but look for smaller stories.
I am so pleased that our country has re-elected Barack Hussein Obama and I love the overlap of these historic dates. Yes We Did Again.
It’s not about glamorizing people, it’s about honoring imperfect people who made a sacrifice for us. Jeff Johnson (@JeffsNation)
Newsworks: Solomon Jones
There Would Be No Obama Without King
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” King wrote in one of the more familiar passages. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial ‘outside agitator’ idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
As I read King’s brilliant argument for direct action against injustice, I saw more than a man who lives only in old footage. I saw a father fighting for a better future for his children. I saw a man who was not willing to wait for change. I saw myself.
King wrote of seeing “the vast majority of … twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” When I read that I saw Philadelphia, a place where 28 percent of the population-many of them African American-live in poverty while surrounded by wealth.
King went on to write of tears welling up in his six year old daughter’s eyes as he explained to her that she couldn’t go to the amusement park because of segregation. He wrote of the concerns that any husband and father would have for his family, and at that moment I saw King for who he truly was-a man.
AROUND THE WORLD
Sydney Morning Herald: Heidi Vogt
Afghan prisoners still tortured, says UN
THE United Nations says Afghan authorities are still torturing prisoners, such as hanging them by their wrists and beating them with cables, a year after the UN first documented the abuse and the Afghan government promised detention reform.
The report shows little progress in curbing abuse in Afghan prisons despite a year of effort by the UN and international military forces in Afghanistan.
They were beating me for some time like one hour and were frequently telling me that ‘You are with [the] Taliban and this is what you deserve’.
The report also cites instances where Afghan authorities have tried to hide mistreatment from UN monitors.
The slow progress on prison reform has prompted NATO forces to once again stop many transfers of detainees to Afghan authorities out of concern they would be tortured.
In a letter responding to the latest report, the Afghan government said its internal monitoring committee found ”the allegations of torture of detainees were untrue and thus disproved”.
Hindistan Times: AP
A handful of people control politics: Rahul condemns elitism
“For me, the Congress party is my life. The people of India are my life and I will fight for them,” Gandhi, a 42-year-old lawmaker, said in his acceptance speech on Sunday in Jaipur, a day after he was appointed the party vice president, a position behind his mother Sonia Gandhi, who is the Congress party president.
Reflecting on his eight years while working for the party organization, Rahul Gandhi said country’s governmental system was struck in the past and the answer lay in completely transforming it.
“A handful of people control the entire political space” he said to cheering party workers.
“It doesn’t matter how much wisdom you have. If you don’t have position, you have nothing. That’s the tragedy of India,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi also said youths are angry because they have been excluded from the political class.
South China Morning Post: Ernest Kao
‘Beijing cough’ is called an insult to China’s capital
Giving a chronic respiratory problem the name of China’s capital city is an “extreme insult”, the top doctor at Peking University’s School of Public Health said.
Beijing has seen a recent surge in residents seeking medical help for what is being called the “Beijing cough” – and it’s not because of the flu.
Hazardous air pollution has engulfed northern China for weeks, with no sign of going away. At the same time, a rise in respiratory problems has been seen across cities such as Beijing.
Professor Pan Xiaochuan, of the university’s Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, said the so-called Beijing cough has not entered official medical lexicon yet and is a term made up by expatriates.
“Before you can find clear evidence of this [causal link], using the term ‘Beijing cough’ is an extreme insult to Beijing,” Pan told the Economic Information Daily.
The human right to clean air? In China and Utah?
Asian Times: Syed Fazl-e-Haider
Qadri calls off Islamabad sit-in
A four-day sit-in outside Parliament House in Islamabad has ended after the protest leader, Islamic cleric Tahirul Qadri, and the government reached agreement over the implementation of the protesters’ four demands.
Qadri signed the Islamabad Long March Declaration after several hours of negotiations with a government delegation. The deal, ratified by Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, led thousands of demonstrators to cheer and dance in the streets.
“I congratulate you,” Qadri told his supporters as his announced on January 17 he was calling off the protest. “Allah has given you victory. Today is the day of victory for the people of Pakistan. You should go home as peacefully as you came here.”
Pakistan seems to be holdings its collective breath, waiting for news from the judges, possibly.
A suicide car-bombing followed by several other explosions and gunfire rocked western Kabul around dawn on Monday, police and witnesses said, as Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.
A large pall of smoke was rising from the vicinity of a police complex on the road to the parliament and the road had been sealed off, residents in the area told AFP.
A local police official told AFP the first large explosion was a suicide car bomb and was followed by several other blasts and gunfire.
“A group of terrorists, two o
r three or four, tried to enter the traffic police building, Kabul CID Chief Mohammad Zahir said.
“Two of the bombers were shot dead at the entrance and one has likely entered the building and is shooting sporadically. Our security forces are in the area.” A witness said the top floor of the building was on fire.
Mail & Guardian: Ray Ndlovu
Scramble to fund voter registration in Zimbabwe
The delay in registering voters could further delay the election date.
Last week Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held an emergency meeting with the deputy chief of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Joyce Kazembe, and registrar general Tobaiwa Mudede in an effort to address the delay.
“The meeting was called by the prime minister to discuss the way forward because he was concerned that voter registration has been delayed,” said Theresa Makone, the acting finance minister.
ZEC officials say they need $21-million to carry out voter registration over a two-month period, but the funding shortage has stalled the process. The commission’s responsibility is to carry out media awareness campaigns, set up registration booths in rural and urban areas and clean up the voters’ roll once the required funds are made available by the treasury.
Looks like someone learned some tricks from the GOP: The right to vote in our democracies should be fully funded!
Al Jazeera: Agencies
Japan warns China over ‘airspace violations’
Japan has said it may fire warning shots to keep foreign aircraft from violating the airspace over a set of dispuated islands, in the latest verbal exchange between Tokyo and Beijing.
Japanese officials made the comments after Chinese fighter jets recently tailed its warplanes near the islands in what is believed to be the first scrambling of Chinese air force jets since the tensions began to rise last spring.
According to Chinese media, a pair of J-10 fighters was scrambled after Japanese F-15s began tailing a Chinese surveillance plane near the disputed islands in the East China Sea.
China has complained the surveillance flight did not violate Japanese airspace and the F-15s were harassing it.
By air or by sea, the tensions continue.
Mercopress: No writers credited 🙁
Santos could seek popular approval for any peace and political accord with FARC
Talks to bring an end to Latin America’s longest-running insurgency began in Cuba in November, when the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, sat down for the first round of a five-point peace agenda.
Ivan Marquez, head of the Marxist oriented FARC negotiating team, has called for a national assembly to change Colombia’s constitution and ensure any agreements would be set in stone.
The drug-funded group, which has fought successive governments since 1964 and killed tens of thousands, reiterated their demand on Tuesday. But Santos rejected the idea.
“It’s very possible that we could find a way to seek popular approval for any accord,” Santos said during an address in the Norte de Santander province. “That’s still to be discussed. But I want it to be very clear that we will not end these agreements with a national assembly.”
Der Spiegel: Janko Tietz
Women in the Boardroom: German Firms Scramble to Meet Quotas
Brigitte Lammers has been traveling a great deal lately. She’s been crisscrossing Germany, stopping in Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf and Hamburg, but also heading abroad. And all of these trips have the same purpose: Lammers is looking for women, as many and as talented as possible.
Lammers, 49, is head of the Berlin office of the headhunting firm Egon Zehnder International. Her clients include many major companies listed on Germany’s blue-chip DAX index, all of which have the same problem: For years, they’ve put little effort into advancing the women within their ranks, and now they’re trying to remedy the shortage of women in senior positions and on their boards.
In November, the European Commission approved a directive championed by European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding stipulating that, by 2020, 40 percent of the seats on the non-executive boards of large, publicly traded companies should be held by women. With the directive and its serious sanctions now in place, German companies are realizing this is a serious matter — and scrambling to hire a segment of the workforce that they used to care little about.
Diversity is more than gender.
New Zealand Herald: Paul Harper
Kiwis perform poorly on Aussie citizenship test
Kiwis hoping to become Aussies don’t appear to know our neighbours’ country well, with New Zealanders among the worst performers in the Australian citizenship test.
While applicants from Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, France and Switzerland average over 97 per cent in the test, New Zealanders applying for citizenship average only 72.6 per cent, according to information released to Adelaide’s The Advertiser under the Freedom of Information Act.
Applicants face questions about Australian culture, history and political system. Test questions on the Department of Immigration and Citizenships website include “what do we remember on Anzac Day?”, “what is the role of the Governor-General?”, “what happened in Australia on January 1, 1901?”, and “what are the colours of the Australia Aboriginal flag?”.
Times of India: Pratiksha Ramkumar
Surrogate moms swell in number, but get a raw deal
Kanimozhi, 28, a mother of two, is gearing up for her second round of surrogate motherhood. Her reason is simple: Her auto driver husband died two months ago, leaving behind two children and a debt. The first time she became a surrogate mother three years ago, she was promised Rs 3 lakh, but got only Rs 2 lakh which she spent on treating her alcoholic husband and clearing debts. “This time I will spend on my children’s education,” says Kanimozhi, who will bear someone else’s child at a city fertility clinic soon.
The surrogacy market in Chennai has swelled tremendously – from a couple of clinics with a few surrogate mothers 10 years ago to some 13 hospitals with about 150 surrogates now – but many of the women who come from small towns and villages remain in the lurch.
The first surrogate delivery in the city was performed in 2001 at the Chennai Fertility Research Centre. As the number of surrogates grew with the clinics, childless couples from across the country and abroad started flocking to Chennai. In the absence of government rules, fertility experts say they follow the guidelines prescribed by the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), a body of medical practitioners. “Since the government does not have a registry of fertility clinics or surrogate mothers, no one can be held responsible,” says Dr Priya Selvaraj, fertility expert at GG Hospitals.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Las Vegas Sun: David McGrath Schwartz
Assemblyman in jail, accused of threatening fellow lawmaker
Another Democratic source with knowledge of the situation said Brooks publicly threatened to harm Kir
kpatrick because he was unhappy with the committee assignments given to him by Kirkpatrick. The 2013 Legislature begins Feb. 4.
Kirkpatrick was selected to lead the Assembly by the Democratic caucus, but she was expected to face divisions. Her caucus was split between her and Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, after the presumed incoming speaker, Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, lost his re-election bid. That threw the caucus into turmoil.
Brooks had told lobbyists and other lawmakers that he had expected to become chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, a powerful committee that oversees changes to the governor’s proposed budget. Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, was selected for the position.
So it’s not just Republicans who are stoopid with guns.
Miami Herald: AP, by JANET McCONNAUGHEY
Science conference focuses on Gulf oil spill
Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who was in charge of cleaning up BP’s 2010 oil spill, will be the keynote speaker at an international scientific conference about the Gulf of Mexico.
His speech Monday in New Orleans kicks off hundreds of scientific presentations through Wednesday. They range from socioeconomic effects of the spill to developments in dispersant science and technology.
On Tuesday, a public forum is planned on the Gulf’s ecosystems and prospects for recovery – with a chance to ask questions of spill investigators Donald Boesch and Steven Murawski.
Moderated by the National Science Foundation’s David Conover, they’ll cover topics including what has happened to the oil, impact on the food chain and effectiveness of the oil spill response.
Many of the studies were undertaken with some of the $500 million that BP provided for research.
HERE IN UTAH (Non-Sundance News)
Salt Lake Tribune: Dave Montero
Utahns dare federal government to enforce gun control
Republican Brian Greene drew some of the biggest cheers from the 1,500-strong crowd, saying he would unveil legislation next week giving local sheriffs the power to arrest any federal agent attempting to seize firearms from Utah residents.
The Utah Sheriffs’ Association also pushed back on President Barack Obama’s proposal last week seeking to restrict the size of magazines, reinstitute the assault weapons ban and provide tougher background checks on gun buyers.
“No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights – in particular our Amendment II – has given them,” the association’s letter dated Jan. 17 read. “We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
Greene called the letter “brilliant” and said it hewed closely to his proposed measure.
This is just the highlight of the week in how utterly embarrassing it is to live in Utah right now. This article has 159 pages of comments. Oh, and the legislature opens Tuesday.
City Weekly: Eric S. Peterson
UT Shortchanging Obamacare?
But the possibility that politics could interfere with Utah’s ability to run its exchange does concern Hilman. She worries that the conservative Legislature’s allergic reaction to federal grant money that would help administrate the program could mean struggles in enforcing penalties against the young immortals-and worse, that the state won’t invest in employees and infrastructure needed to do the important work of getting Utahns signed up with Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance.
She points out that Massachusetts, the original pilot state for health-care reform, has 40 full-time employees administering its exchange.
“We have three [in Utah],” Hilman says. “I’m all for lean government, but let’s make sure we have the necessary resources and infrastructure to make it work.”
By 2019, Utah will be expected to have 77 percent of its population on private insurance or Medicaid. According to a 2012 study by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid & the Uninsured, by 2019, Utah will also have enrolled 78,284 new Medicaid consumers who had previously been eligible but uncovered.
Health care as a human right, or not.
Edmund Owen Barlow Obituary Polygamist Obit. In case you’ve never seen one before.
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