APPROXIMATELY 9 MILLION cigarettes with a retail value of €4.3 million were seized by Gardaí and customs officials in Co. Louth this morning.The seizure was made when officers from the Revenue’s Customs Service, in conjunction with the Criminal Assest Bureau and An Garda Síochána, stopped a truck and a 4 x 4 vehicle at a service station on the M1 motorway near Castlebellingham.Officials believe the cigarettes had arrived into the state through Dublin Port from Malaysia and had a potential loss to the exchequer of €3.7 million.Four men aged between 36 and 44 were arrested at the scene and are currently detained at Drogheda and Dundalk garda stations.A number of business premises and private residences were searched following the seizure and officials say investigations are continuing.The Revenue Custom’s Service say ongoing invetigations have led to the seizure of 35 million cigarettes so far this year.Read: 1.2 million cigarettes seized in Dublin Port >Read: Cigarettes, tobacco and counterfeit vodka seized in €1.5 million sting operation >
Read: Crumlin Children’s Hospital contacts families after contamination scare> A LITTLE GIRL in Dublin who has been diagnosed with a rare form of children’s cancer is getting support from some of Ireland’s best known actors and sportspeople.Colin Farrell, Peter Coogan and Katie Taylor have all wished Merryn Lacy well and donated prizes that are up for auction to raise funds for Merryn.At the end of July, Merryn and her family were in London for a few days visiting friends. Her parents said that Merryn “just wasn’t herself” and that she was unusually tired and was complaining of a sore tummy.Cancer When they returned home they went to the doctor and didn’t expect to end up in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin at 2am that Saturday morning.Following scans, Merryn was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma – an aggressive childhood cancer of the nervous system.So far, Merryn has had eight treatments and is currently undergoing front line treatment which will last approximately 18 months.However, her family say that the fight will not stop there, as there is a possibility of relapse. Their hope is to travel to Europe or the US where there are more treatment options, but this comes at a sizable cost.Just like any little girl her age, her parents said that Merryn loves her dolls and to dress up like a princess. “She knows she has a lump on her kidney and will ask questions and listen intently when doctors or nurses are talking to us. How do you explain these things to someone so young? Although it’s unfair and we’ve been angry, we know that we owe it to Merryn to give this battle everything we’ve got,” they said.Love/Hate’s Fran wished Merryn and her family well with this message while Colin Farrell said he was sending all his love to Merryn from a “chilly California” but said he knew that she was up for the fight ahead of her.Colin Farrell sends a video to Merryn to wish her all the best. (Via Robbie Doyle)A charity night was orgnanised by family friend, Robbie Doyle last week. However, fundraising is still ongoing and items are still up for auction which include Katie Taylor’s boxing gloves which are signed and a signed Leinster jersey.Last week, the Aer Lingus Regional Santa Express, operated by Aer Arann, departed Dublin Airport with Merryn and over 60 passengers including including children, parents and hospital staff from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin to visit Santa.(Maxwell Photography)For more information on fundraising for Merryn, visit her Facebook page here and here is the online auction page.Read: Celebs bring Christmas cheer to sick kids at Crumlin hospital>
Kevin McPartlan works with Glenevin, an Irish consultancy which spent most of 2012 on a project with the Government of Uganda to improve the country’s international reputation. He was in charge of the communications team that coordinated Uganda’s official response to the Kony2012 viral video. He says:We were hired to help improve the global perception of Uganda. We began by analysing news and social media content and comment concerning the country. With the help of Irish media analysis firm O’Leary Analytics; we were able to identify the most common reasons for which the government was criticized. Then we looked at which were fair and which were not.Improving engagement by the authoritiesIt was clear the vast majority of negative coverage in the international media related to the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and, in particular, to failings in the way it managed public order situations. We told the government the only way to improve how the global press reported on UPF was to improve the behaviour and performance of its officers.We brought a team of police trainers out from Ireland and worked with the UPF’s public order units to give them the skills to de-escalate situations and to respond in a measured and restrained manner.To respond to unfair criticism, it was necessary to improve the way in which the government engaged with the media. We improved Ministers and officials’ interviews skills and trained press officers to operate in way that would be more effective with international audiences.A grave threat to Uganda’s reputationWe had been working on the project for about four months when Invisible Children launched Kony2012 on YouTube. It seemed to explode across social media but, in truth, our media monitoring alerted us to it well before the likes of Oprah Winfrey got involved. We had a bit of a head start but it was clear to us it was going to get very big, very quickly.We watched the video and realised immediately that it posed a grave threat to the reputation of Uganda. It suggested the government was ignoring Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA); that it was standing idly by while young boys were being forced to take up arms and girls were forced into sex-slavery. It also painted the country as war-torn and unstable. None of this is true.In fact, the Ugandan military (UPDF) has been fighting the LRA for many years and has reduced the fighting force from upwards of 30,000 to its current strength of about 200. Joseph Kony has not set foot in Uganda since 2006 because UPDF troops forced the LRA to flee across the border into what was then southern Sudan. Since then, they have commanded an African Union task force that has continued to pursue Kony across international borders. It was the current Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi who sought the indictment of Joseph Kony by the International Criminal Court.The enormous power of social mediaI alerted the Prime Minister to the Kony2012 campaign and advised him to use the same social media channels to respond. It was a tough sell initially. He considered the claims of Invisible Children to be so inaccurate as to be unworthy of response. I argued that this campaign had the potential to define the reputation of Uganda for an entire generation of people in Europe and North America. Ultimately, Mr Mbabazi agreed to reply through YouTube.The Prime Minister recorded a video in his Kampala office soon after Kony2012 went viral. He thanked the people who had watched Kony2012 for their interest in, and concern for, Uganda and corrected the false impression which it created.He recognised that many younger people receive “news” not through traditional print or broadcast media but on YouTube, Facebook and other social networks. He is very aware of the power of social media – regularly engaging critics and supporters through Twitter. Mr Mbabazi personally tweeted celebrities involved in Kony2012 including George Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Jay Z and invited them to visit Uganda and see the facts for themselves.Within a couple of days the Prime Minister’s video had been watched over 200,000 times. His decision to use social media to directly connect with young people was reported in more than 2,500 news reports across the world.The only real criticism of the video related to the poor production values. What people didn’t realise was that due to poor ICT infrastructure in Africa, it took over 27 hours to upload it even in such a compressed form and low resolution.Kony 2012: deeply racist and politically motivatedI found Kony 2012 deeply racist and very politically motivated. It was tied up in a particular branch of American right-wing Christian fundamentalism, and played on the negative ideas we often have of Africa and suggested Africans need the “good oul’ US of A” of to point out right from wrong.It was deeply patronising. Offensive, actually.The release of the Kony 2012 video was not the first time the Government of Uganda had heard about Kony. They didn’t need a slick, well-produced viral video to inform them this man was evil. They had been fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army for years in an effort to bring Kony and his lieutenants to justice. They have had remarkable successes and continue to be engaged in the long process of rebuilding the villages and communities the LRA decimated.The ‘West’ must be more respectfulIt is important African nations are represented accurately to the western world. I consider the way some people view African countries to be inherently racist. The different ways in which Africans communicate or behave are not in any way inferior. I believe we in “the West” must be more respectful and willing to compromise.There are issues in Uganda that need to be dealt with. But, while it is essential to address the fair criticisms by raising standards and addressing abuses of power, the Ugandan’s have a right to point out when criticism is unfair too.Many reports about Uganda are grossly distorted or simply not true. An excellent example is the way The Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently before the Ugandan parliament is being reported. It is widely described in very reputable news media as the Kill-the-Gays Bill. While it does outlaw homosexual acts, it does not make provision for the death penalty.Don’t get me wrong, I strongly oppose this Bill but surely our distaste for the proposed legislation does not excuse the media from its obligation to tell the truth?Cultural differences lead to misunderstanding and suspicionThe Government of Uganda hired Glenevin because there is a very different style of communicating in Africa. Africans can be extremely direct but the style of debate – especially in politics, is not what we are used to.Serious politicians often will not defend or argue their point of view if challenged. Rather they will personally attack their critic or question their bona fides. That looks shifty to us; as though the politician has something to hide, but it is simply a cultural difference.As the world changes, the key audiences for African leaders now include their international counterparts. We taught Ugandan Ministers and officials how to communicate with audiences in Europe and in the US more effectively and persuasively.Joseph Kony’s global profile may have waned over the last year, but the victims cannot forget the suffering caused by the LRA. In recent weeks the UPDF has made significant arrests of Kony’s lieutenants. His troops have diminished in number; a terrorist gang rather than an army, but they haven’t gone away. Some say Kony may be dead already, but the Government of Uganda will not stop fighting until the LRA has been entirely defeated and its leaders brought to justice.Kevin McPartlan works with Glenevin, an Irish risk and security consultancy which primarily works with governments and multinationals. He was in charge of the communications team that coordinated Uganda’s official response to the Kony2012 viral video. You can contact Kevin by email email@example.com or on Twitter @kevmcp.
No one eligible for status will be barred from re-entering the UK when free movement ends.They encouraged EU citizens and their families to apply to the scheme as soon as possible, but added: “For those who haven’t applied when free movement ends, they will still have the same entitlements to work, benefits and services and will be able to prove these in the same way as they do now.”Employment rights In terms of employment rights, the spokesperson said: The law is absolutely clear that employers must not discriminate on the grounds of nationality both as a current and a prospective employer. “Employers should continue to conduct right-to-work checks in the same way as they do now in compliance with the current statutory codes of practice,” they added, referencing the December 2020 deadline to apply to the scheme. The spokesperson said arrangements for EU citizens and their families who arrive in the UK after free movement ends will be outlined by the Home Office soon.Of the one million-plus people who have been granted status through the resettlement scheme by 31 July, two-thirds received settled status, generally as they had been resident in the UK for five years or more, with one-third being granted pre-settled status.Up to the end of last month, 958,000 applications had been received from England, 51,600 from Scotland, 15,600 from Wales and 12,900 from Northern Ireland.Pre-settled status is granted to people who confirm that they been in the country for less than five years. This aligns with EU law whereby someone receives permanent residence status after five years.Once EU citizens and their families have five years’ residence in Britain, they can apply for settled status, which grants them leave on an indefinite basis.“Nobody has been granted pre-settled status without first being offered, and declining, the opportunity to submit evidence that they qualify for settled status,” the Home Office spokesperson said. They added that, up to at least the end of June, no one who applied for status had been refused. As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox: File photo Sep 1st 2019, 7:31 AM Source: Nora Mulready/Twitter Sunday 1 Sep 2019, 7:30 AM Mulready said she was also told that if an EU citizen is out of the country if and when a no-deal scenario happens, “it will not be easy for them to come back into Britain”.When asked about these claims, a Home Office spokesperson said “some inaccurate reporting has suggested that, once freedom of movement ends after Brexit, EU citizens resident in the UK will be left in ‘legal limbo’”.“EU citizens and their families are welcome to stay and there are no changes to the deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme,” a statement noted.The spokesperson said an EU citizen who already lives in the UK but is abroad if and when free movement ends, “would still be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme” (as would their family). Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article File photo Image: Shutterstock/Fasttailwind Image: Shutterstock/Fasttailwind 35 Comments By Órla Ryan Short URL Share40 Tweet Email5 52,801 Views What will happen to EU citizens living in the UK after 31 October? Concerns have been raised about the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on the status of European citizens living in Britain. THE HOME OFFICE has denied claims that the deadline for EU citizens who live in the UK to apply to remain there post-Brexit has changed.Britain is due to leave the European Union on 31 October, with or without a deal.Concerns have been raised in recent days about the impact a no-deal scenario could have on the future status of European citizens living in the UK. Through the EU Settlement Scheme, EU, EEA (EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Swiss citizens can apply to remain in the UK after Brexit. People who were born in the UK but are not a British citizen can also apply.Irish citizens, individuals with ‘indefinite leave to remain’ status, and people who are exempt from immigration control such as foreign diplomats, do not need to apply.More than one million of the 3.5 million EU citizens living in the UK have applied to the scheme to date and been granted settled or pre-settled status. This means their rights are secured under UK law. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the British government has said. The scheme made headlines during the week after a government ad was banned from the airwaves because the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that it was “misleading”.The radio ad stated in April that in order to apply to the scheme people just required a passport or an ID card.As part of the application process, people need to prove their identity and address, show how long they have lived in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.‘Legal limbo’ Meanwhile, some people seeking information about the scheme say they have been given conflicting information about deadlines and their right-to-work post-Brexit. A spokesperson for the Home Office told TheJournal.ie the above deadlines remain in effect.Nora Mulready, a former Change UK MEP candidate for London, said she was recently told by the EU Settlement Scheme office that the rights of EU citizens who had not applied to the scheme before 31 October “could not be guaranteed” from 1 November onwards.Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier this month said that freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will end overnight on 31 October, despite previous plans for a transition period, in the event of a no-deal scenario.Mulready said she was told all EU citizens should aim to apply to the scheme by 31 October as, if freedom of movement is ended, “they’ll find themselves in difficulty”. https://jrnl.ie/4786991 .@ukhomeoffice response to me was essentially ‘everything will be fine’, but they’ve *still* (10 days later) not said *how.* How will EU citizens who have not applied for Settled Status by 31st Oct prove they are entitled to live & work in Britain if FOM ends on 1st Nov. How? https://t.co/WUwUMpwuys— Nora Mulready (@NoraMulready) August 29, 2019
Samsung has tried everything when it came to its explosive Galaxy Note 7, but now it’s moving on to Plan Z: offering to buy consumers who don’t want to leave the brand another Samsung phone up to a $100 total bill credit.The electronics giant also said it would offer customers who want to exchange their Note 7s for a refund or smartphone from another manufacturer a $25 total bill credit.The company expanded the original recall issued on Sept. 15 on Thursday, which was voluntary, to all owners, including those who already received replacement devices. This followed a permanent cancellation of the phablets after a new round of alleged fires, which the company is still investigating.“We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right,” Tim Baxter, president and COO of Samsung Electronics America, said.It was thought at first that the phone fires were due to a faulty battery, so Samsung shipped a round of replacements. However, when reports surfaced that those were causing fires as well, the company decided to halt manufacturing altogether. There may have still been hope for the phone, but the reputation was too tarnished for Samsung to continue.So customers who stick with the Samsung brand are offered greater incentives. Samsung’s other flagship phones, the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge, haven’t been recalled yet and older Note models are still on sale. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Not DIY FriendlyGalaxy Note 7, Fan Edition ‘Same Phone’ with Different Batte… Stay on target
Everyone has goals. Jack McNee’s was to earn the Guinness World Record for longest videogame marathon on a virtual reality game system.Congratulations, Jack.On April 2, McNee broke the world record (and then some) during a 36-hour stint inside the virtual world of Tilt Brush.(via VR Designers/YouTube)The 3D painting program from Google lets users paint life-size, three-dimensional masterpieces using the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.Holed up at Sydney-based arcade VR Corner, McNee strapped on a virtual reality headset and proceeded to spend the next day and a half drawing everything from the famed Simpsons couch gag and Wilson the volleyball to Adventure Time and Pokemon characters.(It is unclear whether his bill—which, according to the online price list, should have totaled $2,448—was waived for the event.)Jack live-streamed the whole event (via VR Designers/YouTube)One of the requirements for the record is to use a single VR app: McNee wisely chose Tilt Brush for its freedom; during the event’s live-stream, he was able to play rounds of Hangman and Pictionary with viewers.Aside from a few quick bathroom breaks, gameplay continued for a whopping 36 hours, two minutes, and 16 seconds; dedicated friends and volunteers hand-fed McNee pizza and other food while he composed in thin air.The brains behind YouTube account LPVR, McNee handily stole the Guinness title from UK tech journalist Georgie Barrat, who previously held the record of 25 hours, 24 minutes, and 18 seconds.McNee beat her by roughly 11 hours. Because why not?36 hours later… (via VR Designers/YouTube)Aside from breaking a world record, a secondary goal of collecting donations for local youth non-profit The Reach Foundation resulted in A$400 (US$305).It’s going to be hard to beat McNee’s impressive (if not completely bonkers) maximum. But Guinness has plenty of untested titles: Why not try for the largest virtual reality cave tour? Or, if you’re a real go-getter, you can attempt to outdo Facebook for the most expensive VR acquisition. Stay on target British Airways Tests VR Entertainment on Select First-Class Flights’Doctor Who’ Returns This Fall With Interactive VR Game Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
It’s one of the tastiest mash-ups of myth in all musical history: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart either was poisoned, impoverished or simply overworked to death at the tragically young age of 35. Aware he was dying, he struggled but failed to finish a monumental Requiem Mass in time for his own funeral.In the movie “Amadeus,” it’s Mozart’s musical rival, the insanely jealous Antonio Salieri, who drives the young genius to an exhausted grave through labor on the Mass — pushing him to compose himself literally to death in 1791. It’s the perfect artistic crime.It’s also fiction. But the actual facts are also pretty mysterious: a Viennese aristocrat whose wife died young secretly commissioned the Mass, meaning to pass it off as his own work. Mozart’s health was already failing — an actual malady has never been identified, but it’s known he had a high fever — and after he died, his widow hired a pupil to finish the Mass in its original style. She also hid the fact that the final product wasn’t entirely her late husband’s, because that would have hurt publication and concert ticket sales; while she was at it, apparently, she also invented other myths that have surrounded Mozart’s final work, and final end, ever since.Despite all that, you can shrug off any reservations about the piece’s provenance. Even the ghost-written music in the Requiem very likely originated in Mozart’s own brain; while the plot of “Amadeus” is fiction, what’s known fact is that the composer really did finish and polish vast quantities of music inside his head before ever bothering to write it down. Any wonder that he’d inspire jealous rage, whether fictional or real, in other musicians?Choir steps upYou can consider these mysteries while hearing the Vancouver USA Singers and a 21-piece orchestra perform this true masterpiece of choral music March 11 and 12.
DMV building in Hillcrest renovations to get pushed back 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsHILLCREST (KUSI)- The Department of Motor Vehicles pushed back the plans to renovate the Hillcrest office.Originally the DMV was planning on building a smaller new facility to replace the old one.Now after the community persuaded the DMV to reconsider the plans the building will be renovated into a new, vibrant center to reflect the Hillcrest community.“The DMV is going to back to the drawing board and draw up some proposals and what i believe will actually result in a better project.” said State Assembly Member Todd Gloria.The new plan is expected to improve user experience at the DMV and save tax payers money.Demolition on the building has been pushed back so city officials can perfect the new plan. KUSI Newsroom, Posted: December 5, 2018 Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter KUSI Newsroom December 5, 2018 Updated: 1:53 PM
The Cotai properties affected include those operated by Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment Group and Melco Resorts but there are also reports that some IRs on the Macau peninsula have also been affected. Notably, the crackdown has been limited to those shops operating inside large resorts – pawnshops and jewelry stores located on the streets still have their POS terminals and are still offering Union Pay services.Analysts described the crackdown as unusual given the lack of information provided by authorities.“When ATMs were ordered to undergo KYC enhancement, the process was well explained and orderly implemented with no real impact to using such devices,” said Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong, Cathy Huang and Kelsey Zhu.“Consequently, the move is likely broader and trying to make it more difficult for customers to utilize Union Pay in this manner directly in casinos. The shops operating at casino premises have largely been doing so not within the spirit of the law in Macau which does not want such transactions occurring within the casinos.”In a note seen by IAG, JP Morgan’s DS Kim said most shops “do not seem to have a clear understanding of why or when they’ll get their Union Pay terminals back.”However, Morgan Stanley’s Praveen Choudhary and Jeremy An referred to a statement by China’s central bank promising to work closely with law enforcement agencies to crack down on irregularities in internet finance, underground banks and illegal foreign exchange trading, adding that Chinese banks were simply upgrading their POS terminals at Macau pawn shops.Pointing to this statement, Bernstein commented, “The coordinated effort is focused on reducing shady financial transactions that occur with no government oversight or transparency. The recent actions in Macau may be part of the broader China government strategy.“If the government broadens the effort to reduce outflows through Macau by further limiting Union Pay capabilities and/or going after underground banking channels, the headwind to Macau GGR would be more negatively impacted than currently contemplated.” RelatedPosts JW Marriott at Galaxy Macau named venue and Galaxy Entertainment Group named Venue Sponsor for 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 Black Tie Gala Dinner Load More Galaxy offers first glimpse of new Galaxy Macau convention center ahead of 2021 launch Melco International Development grants Evan Winkler HK$269 million share options Macau authorities have embarked on a new crackdown on the use of Union Pay cards, removing Union Pay POS terminals from pawnshops inside a number of Cotai integrated resorts.According to reports, the crackdown has been implemented by the government in conjunction with ICBC (Macau) and the Bank of China (Macau) although it is not yet known whether the removal is permanent or simply part of an exercise to replace older terminals with updated versions offering enhanced KYC technology.
ADC AUTHOR A key House Democrat said this week she will not support adding military construction funding in fiscal year 2020 to backfill projects delayed to build a southern border wall ordered by the president.“If the administration follows through and steals money from previously approved projects, the chairwoman’s mark will not provide funding for backfill. I am not joking,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who chairs the Appropriations Committee’s milcon panel, referring to the version of the bill the committee will eventually consider.House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is trying to block a shift of $1 billion in excess money from the Army’s recruitment budget to build a wall, Politico reported.Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz at Naval Surface Warfare Center-Panama City. Navy photo by Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Taylor Baxley
Mugshot of 40-year-old James Dale Ritchie. Ritchie was posthumously determined by police to be responsible for five killings over the course of last summer. (Photo courtesy of Anchorage Police Department)Police in Anchorage say they’ve determined that a single person was responsible for a wave of killings over the summer.Listen nowIn a statement today, the department said homicide detectives have “sufficient probable cause” to conclude James Dale Ritchie murdered five people picked largely at random with the same gun. Ritchie died during an early morning shoot out with an APD officer in November after a routine stop on a downtown street.APD says Ritchie is suspected in the homicides because of his ownership of a Colt .357 Python revolver used in all five murders.Both the APD and FBI refused to comment further today on the case. Neither agency will say whether Richie is thought to have committed other homicides, specifically how they reached the conclusion that he committed all five homicides and whether there will be any follow up.In a statement, APD spokesperson Renee Oistad said APD and the FBI do not want to discuss or compromise their investigative techniques.The investigation involved multiple law enforcement agencies as well as a huge effort to gather information from the public.For months, police and elected officials in Anchorage declined to say whether a rash of random overnight killings were connected. Two victims were found by a trail near Post Road. One young man was shot riding his bike on the East side of town. And in August, another two victims were discovered near one another on a popular stretch of trail in Valley of the Moon park.
Share Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APThis file photo shows Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaking to the media during a briefing at the White House. Nielsen says the proposed rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration.The Trump administration said Thursday it plans to circumvent a longstanding court agreement that governs how children are treated in immigration custody, in part to detain families longer as a way to deter migrants from crossing the Southwestern border illegally.The Homeland Security Department announced proposed regulations that would terminate the so-called Flores agreement that requires the government to keep children in the least-restricted setting and required their release generally after 20 days in detention.The 1997 case that spawned the agreement will almost certainly land back in court. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee rejected a request by administration lawyers this summer to allow for longer family detention.The agreement became an issue during a “zero-tolerance” policy enforced at the border to criminally prosecute anyone caught crossing illegally.More than 2,900 children were separated from their parents, prompting international outrage and scathing criticism over what many said was inhumane treatment of migrants. Officials said children couldn’t be in criminal custody with their parents, and were limited in how long they could detain families because of the agreement.The government currently has three operational family detention centers, but most are at capacity.However, Homeland Security asked for space to house 12,000 beds for families, plus space to house 20,000 unaccompanied minors. That process is moving forward; the Defense Department has completed legal and environmental requirements needed but they’re still working on the legal framework for the use of Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas for immigrant families.The Department of Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children crossing illegally, has not yet formally requested space for the minors, which it must do in order to set up the use.The rules proposed Thursday would allow the government to hold families until their immigration cases were completed, a move that government officials contend makes cases go much faster than if families are released.“Today, legal loopholes significantly hinder the department’s ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “This rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration and allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress.”Immigrant advocates have opposed any effort to detain children longer than the agreement allows.
Bollywood films are seeing cuts and beeps by the censor board, musicians are facing flak and being misinterpreted, actors are being judged on the basis of their religion. So, is stand up comedy the only platform devoid of interference from “moral policing”? In stand-up comedy, artistes take bold pot shots at politicians or comment on social issues like the beef ban – yet most of them feel that people in India are not quite ready to be criticised or mocked. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfStand-up comedian Appurv Gupta, who has more than 200 shows to his credit, says “online trolls are making sure that even comedians won’t say what they want to say”.”These days, everyone is getting hurt over even small things and if we say something that affects them emotionally or forces them to think about their past decisions, then they can go to any level – especially on internet – and they make sure that either they win the argument, or you stop arguing with them,” Gupta said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”I, as a comedian, think twice before writing a small tweet and think about the consequences; so I doubt whether I have freedom of speech, specially at this point of time. Things were different 2-3 years back. I don’t know whether this change is good or bad for everyone, but, yes, freedom of speech is facing a struggle in India,” he added.On the other hand, Amit Tandon, who has done more than 700 shows in India and on foreign shores, feels stand-comedy is “one of the voices” against the negativity escalating in the country, but he believes that “other people are doing better jobs than comedians, like RTI (Right To Information) activists, NGOs, etc”. “In fact, stand-up comedy shows you that there is still freedom of speech because, despite all the FIRs, no comedian has actually gone to jail. It shows that it is okay to speak against the government,” Tandon quipped.On a positive note, Neeti Palta, who gives a female point of view on a variety of subjects, from Indian idiosyncrasies, to daily irritants, to current affairs – all the while poking fun at men, pointed out that since the time of “Akbar and Birbal, comedy has always been used as a tool to sugarcoat hard truths and make them more palatable. And so is the case today”.”It reflects the ethos of the era it exists in. Be it a poking fun at intolerance or a bunch of idiots who are all too easily offended, or the current political scenario, or even the alter lives we lead in cyber space. Everything is rich ground for material,” she said.Arjun Anand, co-founder at Punchliners, a stand-up comedy platform, said that every comedian expresses his perspective through distinct forms of comedy. But he believes that “sensitive issues must be handled sensitively”.Sorabh Pant concurs, saying that he thinks twice about his jokes only when it is related to Indian politicians.”I want to make sure that I am not saying anything that is incorrect. I will criticise (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, (Chief Minister of Delhi) Arvind Kejriwal and (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi, but I am also going to figure out their positive side to keep it balanced because all three of them have quite a vast number of supporters in the country and it is a little unfair to disrespect them,” Pant said.
Ensconced in India’s ageless oral tradition, Kamlesh D Patel – widely known as Daaji, the fourth guru in the Heartfulness lineage – traces a seeker’s journey as he examines the nature of spiritual search. Through a series of illuminating conversations between a teacher and a student, Daaji, through his book ‘The Heartfulness Way’, reveals the core principles of the Heartfulness practice and philosophy to Joshua Pollock, a Heartfulness practitioner and trainer. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfOn January 19, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, in the presence of Union Commerce and Industries Minister Suresh Prabhu, unveiled the book by Daaji. The book promises to be a treat for those who are curious about what Heartfulness is and how it can change our day to day lives. Speaking on the launch the revered spiritual Master, Daaji said, “The Heartfulness Way encapsulates a seeker’s journey while examining the nature of spiritual search within and around us. The books reflect the essence of prayer and yogic transmission aimed at deconstructing and demystifying the act of meditation based on meditation tips. To feel, be a part of and practice Heartfulness is an experience, which aims to seek the essence beyond the form and the reality behind the mere ritual.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveWith over a million practitioners worldwide, Heartfulness meditation (www.heartfulness.org) is a set of practices for self-development that help us find inner calm and stillness in our extremely fast-paced world. Heartfulness is offered at no cost. There is no dogma. The easily adopted practices are appropriate for people from all walks of life, cultures, religious beliefs and economic status over the age of 15. Heartfulness is an approach to the Raja Yoga system of meditation called Sahaj Marg or the Natural Path, founded at the turn of the 20th century and formalized into the Shri Ram Chandra Mission in 1945 in India. Ongoing Heartfulness meditation training can be found at thousands of schools and colleges, and over 100,000 professionals are meditating in corporations, non-governmental and government bodies worldwide. More than 5,000 Heartfulness centres, known as HeartSpots, are supported by thousands of certified volunteer trainers in 130 countries. The meditation practice is offered free of cost across the globe.The Heartfulness Way has already achieved the Number One Best-Seller Status on Amazon with pre-orders flooding the website. On introducing the Book in India, Gautam Padmanabhan CEO, Westland Publications Pvt Ltd said, “We are thrilled to be associated with this book. It’s an honour to publish this illuminating book and I hope the book manages to create a connection with its readers and reaches the length and breadth of the world.”
Theatre lovers in India have a reason to rejoice! The country is set to host the largest international theatre festival – the 8th Theatre Olympics – for the first time, with participation from 30 countries in a series of performances to be held across India. The 51-day-long event will be inaugurated at the majestic Red Fort on February 17 at 6:30 pm by Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu. The 8th Theatre Olympics 2018 will travel to 17 Indian cities with 450 shows, 600 ambience performances and 250 power packed youth forum shows with the participation of 25,000 artists from the globe. The festival will conclude on April 8, with a grand ceremony at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe theatrical extravaganza is being hosted in India by the National School of Drama under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The theme of the 8th Theatre Olympics is “Flag of Friendship” that aims to bridge borders and bring people of different cultures, beliefs and ideologies together through the medium of theatrical art.Since 1993, the Theatre Olympics has been held seven times in the following countries: Japan (1999), Russia (2001), Turkey (2006), South Korea (2010), China (2014), Poland (2016). The festival is considered to be the biggest international celebration of theatre in terms of plays, participants, performances and number of days. During the festival, plays will be held in Agartala, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Imphal, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveParticipants from 30 countries including Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mauritius, Nepal, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and U.S.A. would showcase their acumen in theatre. Theatre and film veterans of the likes of Shabana Azmi, Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Himani Shivpuri, Seema Biswas and Saurabh Shukla will also take part in this grand theatrical treat. “I thank and congratulate the international theatre community for providing India with this grand opportunity. Theatre mirrors our lives and is a strong and powerful medium which intricately and beautifully portrays social issues on a larger platform. India is proud to host the 8th Theatre Olympics 2018 and showcase its cultural strength to the world,” says Union Minister of State for Culture (IC), Dr Mahesh Sharma.Numerous allied activities like seminars, symposia, ‘Interface’ and workshops with well-known academicians, scholars, authors, actors, designers and directors are scheduled to take place across 17 cities. The allied programs would boast of 60 ‘Living Legends’ series and 50 ‘Master Classes’. The 8th Theatre Olympics would also include two international seminars in Delhi and Mumbai with six national seminars in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kolkata and Varanasi. The best way to preserve knowledge is to pass it on. Upholding this spirit, the students of National School of Drama are all pumped up for the theatre festival. Through the youth forum of National School of Drama, “Advitiya 2018”, young voices are being channelled through street plays, music bands, short playwriting and theatre reporting. There will be a competition on short playwriting with cash prizes of Rs 25,000, 50,000 and one lakh. “For the past three years, we had the dream to bring Theatre Olympics to India. The dream that we had seen has come true. Since we began to envision and achieve this feat, Dr Mahesh Sharma and the Ministry of Culture have extended wholehearted support to the idea and have played an instrumental role in making it a reality.Throughout centuries we have seen playwright like Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht becoming a part of Indian theatre, while despite having our own extraordinary playwrights and theatrical figures, we are still to make a similar impact. This is a huge leap towards that direction of putting Indian theatre on the world map,” says Prof. Waman Kendre, Director, NSD.