The Flaming Lips Want To Press Vinyl Albums With Miley Cyrus’ Pee

first_imgOver the past few years, The Flaming Lips have made some interesting choices in how they create their vinyl albums. In 2012, for Record Store Day, the packaging for their album included the actual blood of contributors to the project, including Kesha and Erykah Badu. While that’s pretty hard to top, in 2018, the band continued their trend of weird vinyls, with the band pressing their album using a custom Dogfish Head beer. However, in an interview with NME, the Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne, has another absurd idea up his sleeve, and it involves Miley Cyrus’ pee.Coyne told NME that he hoped to have a record pressed with Miley Cyrus’ urine, adding,You can’t really up the ante too much from human blood. … The beer was made especially for the Flaming Lips and has our influence in its taste and color. That’s not as insane as having a little bit of Erykah Badu, and Chris Martin’s blood in your records. Probably not as insane as that, but still pretty great. The next record we were talking about releasing was the Miley Cyrus and the Dead Petz record. We’d get a good amount of Miley’s pee and mix it with some glitter and put that in. I think that would up the ante. Don’t you?However, this collaboration, while certainly fucking insane, are not as unobtainable as you might imagine. In the past, Coyne has spoken highly of the pop princess gone rogue, telling Billboard in 2017 that he spoke to Cyrus “all the time.” Cyrus also was featured on the Flaming Lips’ Oczy Mlody track “We a Famly“, which was released in 2017,  and she contributed to With A Little Help From My Fwends, the Flaming Lips’ tribute to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that was released in 2014.[H/T Billboard]last_img read more

A siren call to action

first_imgFamily and friends describe them not as radicals, but as well-behaved and diligent students at a London private high school. So it came as a shock when the three British girls slipped their passports into handbags, casually walked out of their homes, and boarded a flight to Istanbul to join the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria last month. British authorities believe that the teenagers, who disappeared last month, were likely aided by Aqsa Mahmood, a young woman originally from Scotland who helps recruit for the extremist group.The trio’s highly publicized defection to Syria, as well as the apprehension of three young British males in Istanbul this week as they headed to join ISIS, are just the latest among a growing number of teenagers and young adults from middle-class, educated, often suburban backgrounds in Britain, the United States, Canada, and various European nations who have been enticed to abandon their comfortable lives and join the Islamic State since last summer. In late February, the Washington Post identified “Jihadi John,” the masked man seen in several ISIS videos beheading hostages, as a college-educated computer programmer from a well-off family in West London. Although a precise figure isn’t known, Lt. Gen. James Clapper, director of U.S. national intelligence, told Congress last month that an estimated 3,400 citizens from Western countries have traveled to Iraq and Syria, presumably to join ISIS. Jessica E. Stern, Ph.D. ’92, is a fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and a lecturer in the Government Department at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). She serves on the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law and was a member of the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. Stern has written extensively about terrorism and violent extremists. Her latest book, “ISIS: The State of Terror,” co-authored with J.M. Berger, will be released March 24. Stern spoke with the Gazette about how and why ISIS has been increasingly effective in luring young Westerners to its side.GAZETTE: We know that the so-called Islamic State is extraordinarily media-savvy. What social-media platforms have been most effective in reaching Western recruits?STERN: There’s been a lot of activity on Twitter. Aqsa Mahmood is a good example. She’s been accused of enticing the three young women from London who apparently left their homes to join the Islamic State. She’s also known as Umm Layth, which means “mother of the lion.” She spoke to them on Twitter, and then they ended up moving to an encrypted platform to continue their discussion, which is a common recruitment tactic. [Mahmood] also answers questions on Ask.fm. Somehow her postings are attracting young women, some of them very high-achieving, to leave home to join the jihad.There’s a big debate about what should be taken off Twitter and whether Twitter is inadvertently facilitating terrorist recruitment. Twitter’s automated list of “who to follow” makes it easy for a person interested in ISIS to rapidly find additional ISIS supporters. Sometimes, ISIS accounts are suspended, but often, shortly afterward, a new account with a new name appears, which serious followers can find.There’s a debate among those who think we should allow those accounts to remain active, and those who think that Twitter should be suspending terrorist accounts. Those who say that the accounts should be left alone argue that they’re a good way to gather intelligence, and that removing them would only result in recruiters moving to a less-transparent platform. Those who want the accounts shut down say that private companies should not allow ISIS and other groups to use social media to recruit followers, and that terrorists’ use of social media to promote violence does not constitute protected speech. Twitter recently suspended over 2,000 ISIS-related accounts. ISIS has now declared war against Twitter, threatening the lives of its staff.GAZETTE: What is the pitch to male and female potential recruits?STERN: For the men, it’s, “Come and fight if you can fight; if you can’t fight we also need doctors, we need social-media experts, engineers … We’re running a state, and so if you feel you can’t handle fighting, we can still use you.” The women are often recruited to marry jihadists: “You can participate in the jihad by marrying. You can be the mother of the next generation.” It is a fairly traditional female role.There are tremendous social benefits for recruits: You’re making a world a better place, or so the group claims, which provides a kind of spiritual reward. There’s financial reward for the fighters. ISIS actually pays the fighters, gives them free housing, offers to provide them wives. Hence, the need to recruit young women. There’s also the tremendous lure of extreme fundamentalism. I think we can all understand the appeal: Wouldn’t it be nice to have easy answers to every morally complex question? Inside a group like ISIS, life becomes morally simple. The rules are clear. Good and evil come out in stark relief.GAZETTE: What’s the psychological profile of those people most susceptible to their message?STERN: We don’t have a profile of the Westerners joining ISIS yet because there haven’t been large studies. But I can tell you that [British intelligence agency] MI5 did a study of Westerners who were involved in or closely associated with extremist activity, prior to ISIS’s recent recruitment drive. They found that a surprisingly high number of them were converts to Islam. Many in the MI5 study were relatively ignorant of Islam, even if they were Muslim. Umm Layth is a good example. She grew up in a secular Muslim family and went from relative ignorance about Islam to recruiting for ISIS.An important factor seems to be the desire to forge a new identity, an identity with dignity. I interviewed terrorists for many years and I can tell you that identity is often absolutely key. We also know that there is a higher rate of mental illness among so-called lone wolves, people who are inspired (often online) to commit terrorist actions without physically joining an extremist group. Studies of Westerners joining jihadi organizations, prior to ISIS’s recruitment drive, have shown that foreign fighters tend to be alienated or marginalized within their own societies; they may have had a bad encounter with police or distrust local authorities. They tend to disapprove of their nation’s foreign policies. If they’re living in an ethnic enclave, they’re likely to be alienated from people living alongside them, as well as the country as a whole, whether it’s the United States, or the U.K. or elsewhere in the West. For those who join ISIS, I think that there’s got to be an element of thrill-seeking as well, perhaps even an attraction to violence. It’s hard for me to imagine that anybody who gets recruited today doesn’t know about ISIS’s extreme brutality.GAZETTE: Is the impulse to join the Islamic State very different from, say, the idealistic impulse of young people to join the Peace Corps or a nongovernmental organization, or any global organization they believe is doing important and uplifting work?STERN: Many of the people who join terrorist organizations believe they are making the world a better place. They see pictures of [Syrian leader Bashar] Assad’s brutality against his own people, and they feel the desire to help. That sense of righteousness is a very appealing aspect of joining a terrorist group, for some. But I would say in some ways it’s more like joining the Weather Underground than the Peace Corps. At this point, it’s hard to imagine anyone joining without knowing that they’re going to be involved in real atrocities.GAZETTE: But in their minds, those actions are righteous.STERN: Absolutely.GAZETTE: How effective is Mahmood as a recruiter, and what makes these Western recruiters so successful? Do they tend to be true believers or mere cynical mercenaries?STERN: She is very effective. My guess is that it’s partly because she knows how to relate to young women like herself. She knows their lives. ISIS is using Westerners to run the social media campaign to recruit Westerners.GAZETTE: The State Department has recently announced that it has stepped up its counter-messaging efforts. What are they doing, and is that likely to be sufficient, given the sophisticated and prolific nature of the Islamic State?STERN: They have a program called “Think Again Turn Away,” and if you look at what they’ve been doing and compare it with what ISIS has been doing, it’s so boring. ISIS has professional cameramen. …GAZETTE: The ISIS production values are quite high. It’s not like the old al-Qaida training videos we used to see.STERN: No, it’s not. If you look at what the State Department puts out, sadly, you can tell that they didn’t have a lot of money. But the guy who ran that program told me, “Look, I know we can’t compete with the video imagery showing, ‘Here’s your chance to create this very pure state, and you’re going to get to kill infidels and Shiites.’”GAZETTE: They can’t compete on the messaging or on the production values?STERN: Both. ISIS has made an enemy of the entire world, other than those who join it. I hope that we’re going to get much more serious — we outside the government — to find ways to respond. There is a program that I’d like to bring to Harvard. I’ve been advocating for years to have young people design counter-messaging programs, rather than State Department employees or Madison Avenue. There is an organization, EdVenture Partners, that created a curriculum for students around the world to compete to create the most effective counter-messaging. The students will create digital platforms to amplify the messages of clerics who can argue against ISIS’ interpretation of Islam, or of former members of ISIS who turned against the organization. Those are just two examples; there are all kinds of things that can be done. The initiative is called “P2P: Challenging Extremism.” I would love to get students from across the University, students in engineering, students in political science, students who speak languages, or who are very good at communications … ideally we want a completely interdisciplinary group. I’m just so excited about this.GAZETTE: Besides better coordinating the State Department’s fragmented messaging efforts, I wonder if that’s ever going to be sufficient compared to the prolific nature of ISIS. I understand they’re sending out as many as 200,000 social media messages per day.STERN: No. It’s never going to be enough. I think the private sector has to get involved. I’m hoping Harvard alumni will be inspired to get involved.GAZETTE: What is the Islamic State’s end game? Is it to provoke global Armageddon, or does it want to control the world and have everyone live under its terms?STERN: They want to establish a worldwide caliphate. The dream is to take over the world. They are also obsessed with the Apocalypse. Although ISIS claims to justify its actions by referring to religious texts, ordinary Muslims have no idea what ISIS is talking about. The Quran is not an apocalyptic book, so ISIS has to borrow from different apocalyptic narratives. Their online English language magazine, it’s called Dabiq, which is the name of the town where ISIS believes the final battle of the Apocalypse will take place.They believe that sexually enslaving women who are from religious minorities is a good thing; it’s a sign that the End Times are coming. They also justify sexual slavery as a way of avoiding the sin of adultery or premarital sex, because if you have sex with a slave, it’s not really sex, or so they claim. They can be pedophiles.GAZETTE: Why is religion such a useful framework or pretext for terrorism, subjugation, and genocide?STERN: ISIS is a millenarian movement. They want to create a new human being the same way the Soviets wanted to create a new human being. They want to recreate humanity, and they want to create a purified world. It’s a cosmic battle to them. It’s not totally different from communism or other ideologies, but God is a pretty compelling citation.GAZETTE: Does religion give it a patina of righteousness or defuse any accusations that this is a mere power grab?STERN: I think religion is often a patina or marketing strategy for terrorists to accomplish more worldly goals. In the case of ISIS, many of the leaders are former Baathists, the secular political party that ruled Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. [Abu Bakr al-] Baghdadi, the “caliph” of the Islamic State, recruited former military and intelligence personnel from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. They have important, useful skills. ISIS’s religious agenda is clearly intermingled with its more secular goals. ISIS is capitalizing on the feeling among Sunni Muslims that they are under threat in the new Iraq, and that ISIS is the only protection they have from the Iraqi leadership’s anti-Sunni, sectarian policies.GAZETTE: In human history, where does ISIS rank in terms of what they’ve been able to accomplish — their lethality and their organizational strength — in such a brief amount of time?STERN: Compared with modern terrorist organizations that we know, they rank very high. However, compared with the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists, they rank pretty low both in terms of their accomplishments and even in terms of their brutality. We’ve seen much worse. ISIS is not just a terrorist group; it is also an insurgent army. While it’s shocking to see how much territory ISIS acquired so quickly, we’re comparing it with terrorist groups that weren’t necessarily trying to acquire large amounts of territory. The ideology, the brutality of this group — I have to think they’re going to self-destruct before they manage to spread as far as, say, the communists or the Nazis. The Nazis weren’t advertising their atrocities; ISIS is publicizing its atrocities, flaunting its brutality. It’s part of the End Times narrative that ISIS hopes to spin.This article has been lightly edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

Club Fever owner reflects on club’s legacy as it closes

first_imgIn the narrow alley off South Michigan Street in downtown South Bend, Dee Davis watched as hundreds of students jostled their ways to the front of the line, funneling into the fortified wooden fence he put up himself.He made the fence out of farm gates. They were built to hold back 3,000-pound bulls, Davis said, but they occasionally failed to contain a mob of college students.It was a scene he’d witnessed countless times before. Girls in wedges and skirts huddled together for warmth. Guys held their cash in one hand and IDs in the other, ready to present them to the bouncer when the moment finally arrived. Cabs and Ubers dumped loads and loads of passengers, and the crowd grew larger and larger.But this Thursday was different than all the other ones. Davis had announced the pending sale of his building on social media. Club Fever was closing down.For Davis, the night — the “final Feve” — was bittersweet.“We’ve been through a lot,” he said. “It’s kind of the end of an era. We just all said we’re going to try really hard not to cry.”Davis put the building up for sale in December 2014, with an asking price of $1.79 million, according to the South Bend Tribune — partially because his other business, which makes products for the RV industry, is requiring more of his time.And also partly because the club has never been very profitable, Davis said. Especially in the last year or two.“Three years ago, we averaged about 1,300 people on a Thursday,” he said before the club’s final night. “We haven’t broken 100 yet this year. They’ve lost interest.”A club with historyThe third floor of Club Fever, closed to patrons, is a graveyard of old equipment, furniture and decorations.“It’s where barstools and pool tables go to die,” Davis said.The third floor is wide open, with light from three massive semi-circle windows — windows that came out of the Hancock building in Chicago — illuminating the spoils of years of business in the entertainment industry. It’s the largest single space in the building — which has three levels, each about 16,800 square feet. Katie Galioto | The Observer On the third floor of Club Fever, which is closed to customers, large semi-circle windows eclipse the entire front wall. Club owner Dee Davis said the windows are made of glass from the Hancock building in Chicago and have been used in photo shoots by many local bands designing their album art.Davis asked students to bring photos of their own memories of Club Fever on Thursday night. By the early hours of Friday morning, a large white banner hanging by the entrance was covered in snapshots and scribbled notes from patrons.“It’s hard,” he said. “My staff, we’ve gone through a lot of good times and a lot of hard times together — almost like a family.”Davis’s next step is to host a sale — which he’s calling the “Bizarre Bar Bazaar” — to get rid of all of Club Fever’s furniture, decorations and other collectibles this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.Then he’ll close the sale of the building in the coming weeks. It’s being sold to a local group, he said, that is going to completely gut and repurpose it.But first, for one last time, Club Fever opened its door to students. Davis was joined by his mother and aunt, who’d been there the night the club opened 13 years ago.Over the course of Thursday night, the club let in 1,120 attendees.“It was a good night,” Davis said. “It was about like what it used to be last year and the year before.”They swarmed the bars and flooded the dance floor. They took photos to commemorate the club — photos by the logo, photos in the bathroom mirrors, photos by the picture of Kurt Cobain hanging at the top of a staircase that one of Davis’s bartenders painted long ago.And the crowds stayed until the music turned off and the lights came on in the wee hours of the morning, some still reluctant to leave even then.“It was nice to see the place full,” Davis said. “For one last time.”Tags: Club Fever, Downtown South Bend, Feve, Nightclub Katie Galioto | The Observer Club Fever, a three-story nightclub in downtown South Bend, announced its pending sale two weeks ago. The club opened for the last time Thursday night.There are signs of Club Fever’s predecessors everywhere. Western cowboy decorations from when the club was Heartland, a country-music dance hall, before Davis bought the place in 2005. A fresher-looking slab of concrete, marking the spot a three-story escalator used to be when the building was a JCPenney.“In 1937, the day it opened, 26,000 people came through this door,” Davis said. “And James Cash Penney was actually here for the grand opening.”When a mall came to South Bend in the ‘70s, the department stores left downtown. JCPenney became Vogue Beauty College. Vogue Beauty College turned into a nightclub called Doc Weeds that didn’t last too long. Doc Weeds was converted to Meanwhile at the Disco, a club open for several years before it was transformed into Heartland.The landscape of downtown South Bend has changed simultaneously, Davis said.“When I started out 20 years ago, there were at least six — maybe seven — large clubs in South Bend,” he said. “But evidently it wasn’t lucrative enough because they all went away, one at a time. This is the last one.”‘Blood, sweat and tears’Davis purchased Club Fever at age 42 because he wanted to be a landlord.He took care of almost all the building’s remodeling and maintenance. With the help of friends and family, he laid 17,000 tiles on the dance floor to cover up the massive Texas flag on it, a relic from the club’s Heartland days. He came in on weekends with his daughter and son-in-law to paint the walls. Each of the six bars, he built by hand.Now, at age 55, not much had changed. Davis trekked out to the club from his Elkhart home Tuesday evening to fix the drain in the women’s restroom before closing night.“There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into this place,” he said.Davis used the skills he’d learned from years working in factories, he said.Take the dance box in the middle of the dance floor. He welded together pieces of farm equipment he’d purchased at the same time he bought the gates for the entrance.“All these years, girls have been dancing in a cattle feeder,” he said with a chuckle.center_img Katie Galioto | The Observer Club Fever’s dance floor hosted 1,120 students Thursday, the establishment’s final night in business. Club owner Dee Davis built and remodeled most of the building himself — including the dance stage, which he fashioned out of a cattle feeder.Davis named the venue after the Little Willie John song, “Fever,” which has been covered by hundreds of artists over the years. He’s always liked music.“My biggest interest, as far as running this place, was always the concerts,” he said. “I have no musical talent whatsoever — but I promoted 196 concerts.”Club Fever has hosted the whole gamut of musical acts over the years. Grammy winners and local bands. Something from pretty much every genre — rock, country, pop, rap, jazz. A famous 99-year-old blues piano player took the stage once, Davis recalled.“That’s one of the things I’ll miss the most,” he added. “Promoting the shows. And seeing a thousand students in here.”The ‘final Feve’Since he helped turn the State Theater into a nightclub in 1998, Davis has helped host “Thirsty Thursday’s” for students. The tradition moved with him to Club Fever.The club picked up a moniker: “Michiana’s hottest nightclub.” Somewhere along the road, “Fever” got shortened to “Feve.” Sometime later, “Feve” became a verb in the vernacular of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s — “feveing” refers to the act of going to the club on a Thursday night.“We never could, no matter what we did, get the students to come down on a Friday or a Saturday,” he said. “We just couldn’t do it.”Over the years, Davis and his staff have come to know the student populations well.“I’ve got on my phone the numbers of probably 10 NFL players and at least half a dozen NBA players — guys who used to text me before they came out,” he said. “A couple got engaged right on stage — we’ve had many do that. And then we’ve had many people who have engaged in other things here.”Yes, running a nightclub certainly gives you a stockpile of stories, Davis said.“I’ve seen things that you would never believe,” he said.last_img read more

Honor Bound, Starring Anthony Laciuera, Opens Off-Broadway

first_img Set against the bonds of baseball and moving between 1968 and 1992, Honor Bound tells the story of an ambitious young reporter who tries to uncover secrets about a respected, retired doctor. Related Shows Laciuera is joined in the cast by Ross DeGraw, Christine Marie Heath, Justin R.G. Holcomb and Nicole M. Carroll. Honor Bound View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 19, 2014 The New York premiere of Albert J. Repicci’s drama Honor Bound celebrates its official opening night on May 14 at St. Luke’s Theatre. The play stars Boardwalk Empire’s Anthony Laciuera and is directed by Josh Iacovelli.last_img

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s Bright Star Shoots for Great White Way After D.C.

first_img View Comments Bright Star Bright Star, the musical collaboration of Emmy and Grammy winner Steve Martin and Grammy winner Edie Brickell, will play a limited engagement in Washington, D.C. later this year. Walter Bobbie directs the production, which previously lit up San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre in 2014. The show is expected to head to Broadway in spring 2016.D.C. performances will run from December 2 through January 10, 2016 at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theatre, with a cast to be announced shortly. No word yet on dates or theater for the subsequent Great White Way engagement.The musical, which features music by Martin and Brickell, lyrics by Brickell and a book by Martin, is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and travels between 1945 and 1923. Billy Cane, a young soldier just home from World War II, meets Alice Murphy, the brilliant editor of a southern literary journal. Together they discover a powerful secret that alters their lives.The Old Globe production starred Carmen Cusack as Alice and A.J. Shively as Billy, along with Stephen Lee Anderson, Stephen Bogardus, Patti Cohenour, Wayne Duvall, Hannah Elless, Jeff Hiller, Kate Loprest, Wayne Alan Wilcox and Libby Winters. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on June 26, 2016last_img read more

Poptab Cash

first_imgFor the past 13 years, seventh- and eighth-grade Georgia 4-H’ers have collected the tabs from aluminum cans to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. This year, 13,181 pounds of tabs were collected, and $5,425 was donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia.To date, junior-level Georgia 4-H’ers have donated a total of $93,462 for the charity by collecting and selling 157,317 pounds of tabs. The community service project is one of many that culminates each year at the Georgia 4-H Junior Conference. This year’s conference was held Nov. 14-15 at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia.The 4-H’ers also conducted community service projects focused on helping U.S. military troops and their families. Coupons were collected to send to overseas military personnel through the Coups for Troops program, $569.87 was donated to the Pets for Vets program and 6,299 items were donated to fill Christmas stockings for military troops who will spend the holiday away from home. Georgia 4-H’ers also collected 113 coats for needy children in Ben Hill County, Georgia.“These service projects, which were designed by 4-H’ers, provided participants with the opportunity to exhibit generosity and benevolence,” said Lori Bledsoe, program development coordinator for Georgia 4-H’s Northwest District. The students also attended workshops during the conference that were focused on building leadership, learning science and engineering, and preventing distracted driving. Junior 4-H’ers also heard from guest speakers, including 4-H alumni who are interning in Washington, D.C., and Col. Tom Torrance, a retired U.S. Army officer and former Georgia 4-H’er who shared how 4-H impacted his 30-year military career. For more information about the Georgia 4-H program, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.last_img read more

Tuxtla Group Will Seek to Coordinate Police and Prosecutors in Anti-Drug Fight

first_imgBy Dialogo October 27, 2011 The Tuxtla Group, made up of Central America, Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, will seek to modernize and coordinate their police and prosecutors in order to combat organized crime, especially drug trafficking, according to an agreement reached at a ministerial meeting on October 24. Foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers from the countries belonging to this Mesoamerican dialogue mechanism concluded a meeting in the Mexican city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez (Chiapas, southeastern Mexico), where they established the terms of the document they will take to the organization’s thirteenth presidential summit, to be held in early November. Among the projects that will be debated at the summit are “modernizing and coordinating the police, the prosecutors at the regional level, intelligence, and exchange of information,” the Salvadoran deputy foreign minister, Carlos Castañeda, said at a press conference at the end of the meeting. The Guatemalan foreign minister, Haroldo Rodas, for his part, declared that the presidents will analyze 8 projects selected from a group of 22 debated at the International Security Conference held two months previously in Guatemala. “They’re projects that are already prepared with their financial costs. The presidents are going to be informed about the results we have,” Rodas said, stressing that the issue of “drug trafficking and organized crime is one of the most important in the region.” Drug trafficking in Central America, Rodas added, has had a renaissance because it is no longer only a transit area, but also the site of different events that make this set of problems affecting the region “much more complicated.” The Mexican foreign minister, Patricia Espinosa, specified that “actions combating transnational organized-crime groups in the areas of drug trafficking, chemical precursors, money laundering, and arms trafficking” will be debated. Upon opening the meeting, Espinosa had emphasized that organized crime represents a “threat” to the region’s institutions and its democratic consolidation. The governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines, proposed creating a document that would enable Central Americans to enter Mexico, making it possible to combat human trafficking and restrain the abuses suffered by thousands of immigrants who attempt the crossing. “The commitment is to be able to have a joint agreement and that they (the Central Americans) also issue a document and that a visa should not be a pretext to keep them from entering the country,” Sabines told the press. This would respond to a “security problem for Mexico and a human-rights issue,” he added. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Costa Rica, Enrique Castillo; Nicaragua, Samuel Santos; and Panama, Roberto Henríquez. Belize, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Honduras were represented at the level of deputy foreign ministers. The Tuxtla Group, which has had various names and which the countries of the region have joined over time, was created in 1991 as a forum for articulating shared projects to benefit the Mesoamerican peoples. At the previous summit, held a year ago in the Colombian city of Cartagena, the communiqué was also dominated by the issue of drug trafficking, especially condemnation of the United States as the world’s chief consumption market.last_img read more

No Syrian Refugee ‘Tent City’ Coming To Long Island, Insists Local Aid Group

first_img“While I do not support current resettlement efforts for Syrian refugees in the U.S., I do want to voice my support for overseas activities to provide humanitarian aid for these migrants,” King told his fellow Republican. The United States, a country founded by immigrant colonists, has a long history of accepting refugees—taking in nearly 70,000 annually, according to the U.S. Office of Refuge Resettlement, with more than 4,000 resettling in New York State. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees, according to the independent nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. The organization found that only three of those refugees—less than half a percent—“have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible.” MPI stresses that the resettlement process is so arduous, it’s unlikely a terrorist would hide among refugees to enter the United States. “The most common arguments against resettling more Syrian refugees, made by some Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress, is that the resettlement program could be a path for infiltration into the United States by ISIS or other terrorists,” states MPI. “But the refugee resettlement program is the least likely avenue for a terrorist to choose. Refugees who are selected for resettlement to the United States go through a painstaking, many-layered review before they are accepted. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and national intelligence agencies independently check refugees’ biometric data against security databases. The whole process typically takes 18 to 24 months, with high hurdles for security clearance.” Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rashed Mian and Christopher Twarowski[dropcap]A[/dropcap] Catholic nonprofit that helps war refugees, sex trafficking victims, and the oppressed resettle on Long Island says there are currently no plans to bring Syrian refugees to the region. Not only are there no plans to bring Syrian refugees to LI, but there are currently zero applications for resettlement in Nassau and Suffolk counties, says Umberto Mignardi, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Catholic Charities, a ministry of the Diocese of Rockville Centre that provides basic care to immigrants, the poor, and other destitute individuals. His emphatic response comes amid growing trepidation among local residents, fueled by emails warning friends about a supposed “tent city” being constructed in Amityville to aid those fleeing the war-torn country, Mignardi tells the Press.Since the coordinated terror attacks in Paris that killed 129 and injured more than 300 people across the City of Lights last Friday, Catholic Charities, a national agency, has been flooded with phone calls from residents and elected officials concerned about Syrian refugees coming to Long Island. Europe has been besieged by an unprecedented number of refugees and migrants attempting to escape conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, with hundreds of thousands applying for asylum or embarking on perilous and often fatal treks across land and sea to various countries’ borders, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. The Obama administration announced earlier this year that it would welcome up to 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States, a tiny fraction of the more than 12 million displaced and estimated 4 million refugees who’ve fled the four-year civil war and related atrocities there committed by the self-declared Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including mass killings, executions, beheadings, bombings, torture, abductions, mutilations, massacres, crucifixions, slavery and systemic rape. A June 2015 report by the United Nations’ refugee agency, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, puts the number of people displaced by war and persecution worldwide at nearly 60 million—the most since World War II. Half of those displaced are children.In the wake of Friday’s attacks, more than two dozen governors across the country and countless lawmakers have come out publicly against the White House’s plan to resettle Syrian refugees. One of the most vocal opponents has been Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who penned separate letters to President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) Tuesday expressing “serious concerns” about how federal officials plan to vet these refugees before they settle here. Others outspoken opponents include Republican presidential hopefuls New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—who told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that he wouldn’t even admit “orphans under 5″—and Donald Trump, who warned on Twitter Tuesday that “refugees from Syria are now pouring into our great country. Who knows who they are—some could be ISIS. Is our president insane?” (For the record, King told MSNBC he’d allow young orphans into the country, reports CNN.)Christie’s counterpart in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, blasted Republicans as playing politics amid the presidential campaign season.“This is an election season, so the silly season has started and the governors can say, ‘I will refuse to let the refugees in,’” Cuomo said Tuesday. “How? How? Where does it say in the state constitution you can refuse a person placed by the federal government? What are you going to [do?] Have your militia fight the federal government at the borders of your state? It’s a pure political statement.”“We have to protect Americans and not lose our soul as America in the process. Right?” he added. “The day America says, ‘Close the gates, build the wall,’ then I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you’ve gone to a different place.”On suburban Long Island, which consistently ranks among the top of “Most Segregated” lists in the country and where affordable housing for its own residents has remained a charged issue for decades—with even the hint of such a project drawing fervent reactions—the prospect of Syrian refugees in Nassau and Suffolk has incited fierce, impassioned rhetoric, with many taking to social media to vent.“Save the puppies!!! Send the refugees home,” spewed a man on News 12 Long Island’s Facebook page beneath a story about more than 100 puppies recently arriving at Port Washington’s North Shore Animal League for adoption.“Soooo how long before the Syrian ‘refugees’ can move into wyndanch rising complex?” snickers another beneath a breaking news piece about Russia’s disclosure it was a terrorist act that brought down a passenger plane over Egypt last month, killing 224 people—Wyandanch Rising being the Town of Babylon’s long-awaited $500 million public/private redevelopment and revitalization project for the primarily minority hamlet. In the wake of the Paris attacks, it’s been Catholic Charities that’s had to field calls—and debunk hysterics—about the rumored refugee encampment in Amityville.“We’ve been getting calls all day about a ‘tent city’ going up in Amityville,” says Mignardi, adding: “I keep telling people we have zero applicants in Nassau and Suffolk county.”Catholic Charities’ two offices on LI—Amityville and Hicksville—received about 100 phone calls Monday and Tuesday from people worried about refugees, he says. Some have been from lawmakers and elected officials who themselves inquired about the tent city rumors; others ask about the agency’s security protocols. Catholic Charities’ mission is to provide clients with essential care, not scrutinize their background, explains Mignardi, adding that the responsibility to screen refugees falls on the federal government. “We’re not the State Department,” he continues, “we don’t interview them.” Although there are no applications for Syrian refugees to come to LI, Catholic Charities has been told by the feds that, if refugees are resettled here in the future, it can expect no more than 15 families. Mignardi says the refugee resettlement process is rigorous, echoing sentiments from various relief agencies assisting refugees. Anyone coming to the United States would go through several layers of security, including more than a dozen background checks.“You have to have interviews at the embassy of your origin,” he explains. “You have to have a family here sponsor you who ultimately is responsible for you, so that you’re not coming here and you’re homeless…it’s a difficult thing to establish.”The entire process could take anywhere from 18 to 24 months, he continues. Syrian refugee children in a Lebanese school classroom. (Photo credit: Russell Watkins/ UK Department for International Development)If the federal government does decide to place any refugees on Long Island, the mostly likely scenario is that they wouldn’t get here until 2017, adds Mignardi. According to the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, there have been 36 Afghanis, Iraqis and Pakistanis who’ve resettled on Long Island since 2010. Zero Syrians. But the backlash against refugees—Syrians, especially—has erupted on both sides of the Atlantic since the Paris attacks, fueled by reports that one of the gunmen was carrying a Syrian passport and entered Greece within a deluge of other refugees. In recent days, the authenticity of the passport has been scrutinized, and Agence France-Presse reports it may have belonged to a deceased Syrian soldier.Though U.S. and European lawmakers have been raising objections to refugee resettlement plans for months out of concern that ISIS could use the humanitarian crisis as a cover to infiltrate and carry out an attack, it’s reached a fevered pitch in the aftermath of the bloodbath in France. King, chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism, wrote to Obama Tuesday, requesting he “immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States.” “I have serious concerns with recent statements you and officials in your Administration have made regarding security vetting for the Syrian refugee population,” he warned, asserting that until a “top to bottom” review of the current vetting process is complete, the White House must suspend acceptance of refugees. In his letter to Ryan, King threw his support behind the speaker’s plan to establish a task force to address “security threats inherent within this refugee population.” View image | gettyimages.com In France, President Francois Hollande on Wednesday pledged to welcome in 30,000 Syrian refugees, just days after the country was attacked. “France will remain a country of freedom,” he said, as French authorities continued to hunt Wednesday for the alleged mastermind and other accomplices—with a raid in northern France that killed fugitive ISIS commando Abdelhamid Abaaoud. New York-based International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian group tasked with resettling refugees, was forceful in its rebuke of governors who want to close their states’ borders to refugees. “Refugees are the most security vetted population who come to the United States,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday. “Security screenings are rigorous and involve the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Defense.” “Banning Syrian refugees will not make America safer; it will make refugees more desperate. Syrian refugees are fleeing violence—including by ISIS—and are seeking safety for themselves and for their families,” continues the statement. “We deplore the insinuation in the recent banning orders against Syrian refugees that either they are terrorists, or that it is impossible to separate them from those seeking to come here to commit terrorism.”That plea was reiterated by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, who, standing Tuesday among the thousands of daily refugees entering Presevo, Serbia, deemed it “absolute nonsense” to blame them for terror attacks, stressing they were instead its “first victims.”“It is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism. It is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees,” he stressed.(Featured Photo Credit: Russell Watkins/ UK Department for International Development)last_img read more

Beyond containment, eradication and recovery – What’s next when you’re the victim of a breach

first_imgThis has been a tough month for the industry in terms of data breaches. The most significant incident was the Capital One breach, in which over 100 million consumers were affected. Most businesses have a plan to contain the damage, eradicate the malware and recover the business to a normal state after a breach occurs. However, a critical step is often missed as the business continues to deal with fallout and other issues related to the breach.Learning and improving is a critical, but often neglected phase of incident response. At the very least, every business should hold and document a “lessons learned” meeting with representatives of all parties involved with or affected by a breach incident. It’s not uncommon to find response teams that are so happy to have production running again, that they rest on their laurels and skip this step.This is all about continuous improvement. In the 80s, a tool was developed which is still in use today; it is commonly called the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. The key here is that every time you use the plan, you should identify the strengths and weaknesses and make changes as necessary. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Moto G9 Power With 6,000mAh Battery Launched: Price, Specifications

first_imgDetailing specifications, the Moto G9 Power runs on stock Android 10 and features a 6.8-inch HD+ (720×1,640 pixels) IPS display. Under the hood, it is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC paired with 4GB RAM. Internal storage is listed to be at 128GB with the option to expand it further using a microSD card (up to 512GB).The Moto G9 Power has a triple camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor (f/1.79 aperture), a 2-megapixel macro sensor (f/2.4), and an additional 2-megapixel depth sensor(f/2.4). Up front, the phone has a 16-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture for selfies and video calling.As the name suggests, the biggest highlight is possibly that the Moto G9 Power packs a 6,000mAh battery that supports 20W fast charging. The company touts that the battery can last up to 60 hours. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth v5, NFC, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack, and 4G LTE. The phone weighs 221 grams and is 9.66mm thick.- Advertisement – Moto G9 Power has launched as the latest smartphone offering by the company. This phone is said to be the last in the Moto G9 family, which includes the Moto G9, Moto G9 Plus, and Moto G9 Play. The Moto G9 Power has launched in Europe, and it packs a large 6,000mAh battery to keep the phone running longer. It is equipped with a triple camera setup at the back with a 64-megapixel main camera and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC.Moto G9 Power price, saleMotorola UK tweeted to announce the Moto G9 Power. The phone is priced in Europe at EUR 199 (roughly Rs. 17,400) for the lone 4GB RAM + 128GB storage option. The phone has launched in shades of Electric Violet and Metallic Sage. It will be available in selected countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East in the coming week. There is no clarity on whether the Moto G9 Power will launch in India or not.Moto G9 Power specifications- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more