Category: xoesf

Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Billy Strings, Tears Up NYC [Photos]

first_imgLoad remaining images Friday night saw the Greensky Bluegrass and Billy Strings’ tour land in New York City after a week that also saw “casual Weggendsday” stop in Albany and a gig in Boston. Already this year, the traveling circus of progressive bluegrass maestros has managed gigs in Colorado, Tennessee, and Indiana, and they don’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping. As GSBG has really broken through into being able to sell out larger venues in recent years, it seems they’re taking a lesson from the band that they all met following, Phish, and are committed to squeezing as many shows into a tour as is humanly possible, and hopscotching around the country to make it happen.Fans arriving early got the treat of watching Billy Strings picking on some originals. While the Billy Strings show is necessarily hamstrung by his dearth of overall material to work with, the brief early set gave fans a sense of just how hot his licks can get, and the potential that that band really has, with a mandolin player who can rip the same 128th notes right in tune with Billy. With Playstation Theater’s back seats closed off, the more intimate space really gave fans a sense of being close to the action, more reminiscent of a mountain town bar than Times Square’s lavish basement venue.At around 9:20, Greensky Bluegrass hit the stage and came out of the gates roaring with ‘Burn Them,’ a real party-starter of a number that heated up the crowd. After showing off their barn-burning chops, the group settled in and put some of their more composed songwriting chops on display with ‘Worried Man.’Next up was ‘Living Over,’ featuring what was probably the first proper jam of the night, as Paul Hoffman stretched out a mandolin solo before nodding over to Anders Beck on dobro to take over the lead. Beck’s yearning, exploratory tone at the outset played itself out with gusto, developing into quicker and quicker loops with his licks seeming to chase themselves around the rabbit hole, before finally returning to the song’s chorus, the same lyrics they were singing as they rang in 2018 just a little less than a month ago now. A slowdown was in order after the revelation that was ‘Living Over,’ and the more conventionally bluegrass number ‘Room Without A Roof’ fit the bill. With barely a pause following the ballad, the defining banjo riff of ‘Just To Lie’ rang out from Michael Arlen Bont and the group launched into the set’s real meat.The song’s early solo ended and bled into its more improvisational section as it came back to the lyrics, “I told you that I loved you, just so I could lie beside you,” before repeating the lyric “I told you,” with an echoing reverb. This section almost seemed like trance-fusion, as the group played with the pulsating rhythm of the open space in the song instead of letting the intergalactic jam drift—though, Greensky snapped the fans back into their surroundings with the first verse of ‘Hold On,’ whose “shouted, written down, and quoted” lyric resonates enough that the group named a whole album after it. With a smoking banjo solo there, the band pressed their segue further into The Louvin Brothers’ ‘Great Atomic Power,’ whose lyrics they changed from “for your soul will fly to safety and eternal peace and rest” to “enjoy life’s pleasures like drugs and sex.” That more rock ‘n’ roll lyric got a great reaction from the crowd, as the band finally found their way to the end of a wild ride.After a minute of conferring, the band simmered the crowd down from that rolling boil with the heartwarming singalong ‘Tied Down,’ and then inviting Billy Strings to join them onstage for a pair of tunes. The first was ‘I’d Probably Kill You,’ whose lyrics the group fudged to “I’d probably Bill you,” and “I’d burn your house down, if I somehow knew Billy Strings was in it,” giving the younger Billy a bit of good-natured ribbing from some older souls who are rightfully impressed with (and maybe a little envious of) the remarkable speed and dexterity that Billy brings to the stage. Next up of ‘Miss Maggie,’ which each band member got to take for a ride, and then a well-deserved setbreak.After the jump, the band returned with the same inspired lyricism that the crowd knows them for, coming out with ‘Just Listening’. Next up was ‘Train Junkie,’ whose far out and meandering mandolin intro spent a bit of time heating up by riffing on The Grateful Dead’s ‘The Other One’. ‘Wheel Hoss’ followed the high energy ‘Train Junkie’ as the band continued to demonstrate their ability to mix in traditional bluegrass standards with their own, less conventional bluegrass originals.As the band worked its way into the heart of the set, they brought the emotion in the room to a soaring peak with ‘Dustbowl Overtures’ and ‘Handle Me With Care,’ two songs that really demonstrate the band’s ability to summon the better angels of their audience’s nature and well up real feeling from every open ear in the house. After the band’s classic ‘200 Miles From Montana,’ they returned to the world of traditionals with ‘Hit Parade Of Love,’ first made famous by Jimmy Martin. Finally, the set closed with two of Greensky’s best-known originals, ‘Forget Everything’ and ‘Leap Year’.Watching them play songs like those, that they so obviously adore, it becomes clear to even the most casual fan that if this band wasn’t performing on a stage in New York City, they might just as well be picking on their own numbers in their Crazy Creeks at a Phish festival somewhere. There’s just such a radiant joy in every person on-stage, they really look like there’s nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing. Before sending their fans out into the cold, they gave them one last treat: Rayland Baxter’s ‘Yellow Eyes,’ a rarer cover whose use as an encore gave folks something to hum as they bundled up and headed for the subway, looking forward to another night of the same great music on Saturday.You can check out a gallery of photos below, courtesy of Andrew Scott Blackstein.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018Set One: Burn Them (1), Worried Man, Living Over, Room without a Roof, Just to Lie > Hold On > Great Atomic Power, Tied Down, I’d Probably Kill You (2), Little Maggie (2)Set Two: Just Listening, Train Junkie (3), Wheel Hoss (4), Dustbowl Overtures, Handle with Care, 200 Miles from Montana, Hit Parade of Love, Forget Everything, Leap Year Encore: Yellow Eyes(1) w/ Guido Batista & Luke Milanese (tambourine)(2) – w/ Billy Strings(3) – Other One tease(4) – Macarena dance by PaulGreensky Bluegrass | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 1/26/2018 | Photo: Andrew Scott Blacksteinlast_img read more

Body of double murder suspect found at Tennessee lake

first_imgTIPTONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The body of a double murder suspect was found at the same Tennessee lake where two duck hunters were fatally shot. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says the body of David Vowell was recovered Saturday in Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. The TBI says an autopsy is planned. The agency says Vowell was wanted on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting deaths of Zachery Grooms and Chance Black. The Weakley County residents were shot at the lake Monday. The Jackson Sun reports a third man who was with Grooms and Black told investigators that Vowell shot the men before driving away.last_img

Man Back Behind Bars After Escaping From The Cattaraugus County Jail

first_imgWNY News Now Stock Image.LITTLE VALLEY – A City of Salamanca man is back in behind bars after escaping from the Cattaraugus County Jail this month.The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office says 36-year-old Matthew Krysick allegedly escaped custody while in a sally port at the jail in Little Valley on December 21.After a foot chase, deputies say Krysick was located hiding in a storage closet at the nearby HomeCare and Hospice.Krysick is charged with first-degree escape and third-degree criminal trespass. Deputies say he was arraigned in Cattaraugus County Court and remanded to the jail on $10,000 bail for his original charge. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img

Peru Petitions for Equidistant Border with Chile

first_imgBy Dialogo December 05, 2012 As always, there is no willingness to find solutions, through organizations like OAS and the diplomacy among the Nations themselves grows when solutions are needed, through the diplomatic relations, the questions concerning each of their Countries. We shall not forget that Latin America is a fraternity. Yes, we are all brothers and sisters. Big hugs to all my brothers and sisters in Latin America the ones I know, and who I do not know. In 1954 and in 1969 Peru signed some agreements with Chile, granting CHILE the right to FISH, ONLY TO FISH in the area of the 200 PERUVIAN NAUTICAL MILES. Chile claims that those agreements also grant territoriality, AND IT AIMS TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO IT, that’s why the HAGUE RULING WILL BE FAVORABLE TO PERU for supporting its right of property with reliable documents. CAPISH!!! On December 3, Peru petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a “fair solution” regarding the maritime border demarcation in the Pacific with Chile, by means of an equidistant line of both coasts. “The Peruvian cause claims that the demarcation was never set, so the border must be determined by the Court,” the Peruvian representative and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Allan Wagner, stated in The Hague while requesting an even-handed solution for both nations. In a session where some judges were wearing wigs and others ermine, Allen presented arguments on behalf of Peru, which continued on December 4 in the same room adjacent to the Peace Palace, closed temporarily for renovation. On December 6 and 7, Chilean representatives will appear before court, prior to an argument session for each country that will start on December 10. The ICJ will then proceed to set the borders between both countries on a date that has not been determined. Peru submitted a 302-page document with maps and annexes detailing its position, and explaining that “the starting point of the analysis is the axiomatic principle that Peru is entitled to have an area of 200 nautical miles.” The trial attracted further attention after the same court passed a ruling over a maritime border between Nicaragua and Colombia. As a result, Bogotá walked away from the ICJ jurisdiction after considering the ruling unfair. Chile believes that the limits were determined by two agreements signed in 1952 and 1954, which demarcated the current border, respected by both countries, especially for fishing purposes. Perú is debating that the projection line towards the Pacific is demarcated based on a parallel, and not an equidistant line, a median, more perpendicular to the coast, as indicated by the 1982 U.N. Convention of the Sea. For some historians, the dispute is the last pending remnant of the Pacific War, in which Chile, Peru and Bolivia were involved, and after which the Chileans extended their northern coastal line up to 400 km and their continental territory by 8,000 km2, annexing provinces that used to be Peruvian and Bolivian. last_img read more

Destroyer Missile Launchers Used in the War against Drug Trafficking

first_img General John Kelly, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, explained that in 2012, just the naval operations that intercepted 200 tons of cocaine cost the U.S. $600 million, a fraction of the money spent during the fiscal year’s exercises in the regional fight against drug trafficking. At almost 20 knots per hour, the guided-missile frigate USS Thach sails through the equatorial Pacific, a calm sea which is almost a cobalt color at dawn. Eight days ago, the Thach left Balboa, Panama, with a 240-member crew and an AFP journalists’ team on a new mission of Operation Martillo, the counter drug multinational maneuver launched in January 2012 by the United States, European, Caribbean and Central American countries. Time may go by slowly for Sailors at sea; long navigation journeys with nothing to do but patrol. To pass the time the crew performs rescue exercises, tests weapons or follows the old military recipe of painting the boat, which is bashed by saltwater, over and over again. “We board these ships and try to determine if they are carrying smuggled cargo. We search every corner and we try to confirm that there are no secret compartments, since drugs are generally hidden there,” Watkins said. The fight against drug trafficking is considered a “crucial element for the 21st century” by Washington’s Joint Staff, while generals advocate for their budgets in Congress. Men under Eric Watkins’ orders, the Coast Guard chief onboard the warship are tense. From the command position, an officer gives brief orders through loudspeakers. The team reviews their radio equipment and their 9-mm pistols on their waists. Then we feel “less anxious about being away from home, because we know we are doing something positive to protect our families,” James Holm, who has just signed his second four-year contract in the (war) Navy, states. Among other military assistance programs in Central America – where 90% of the cocaine consumed in the United States comes from -, Operation Martillo is one of the most ambitious efforts ever put forward by Washington in the fight against cartels. Suddenly the general alarm goes off: gunners take their positions and a Coast Guard special team prepares a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) to intercept a boat suspected of carrying cocaine. The suspicious vessel was detected a few hours earlier by patrol aircraft. As the Thach approached, the smugglers threw the drugs overboard and escaped into international waters. The Navy had the consolation of intercepting another 70 kilos of cocaine. center_img “It makes sense to have such a strong presence south [of the Pacific]”, states Commander Hans Lynch, officer in charge aboard the Thach. He explains that the goal is to intercept the drugs from its departure before it is lost in regional routes. By Dialogo April 04, 2013 However, when the “phase 1 alert” signal goes off, the ship goes into war alert in less than half an hour. “They use fishing speedboats or ultra fast vessels with one or two engines, capable of transporting up to a ton of cargo. They come from Ecuador or Colombia and make routine stops on the littoral on their way north,” Coast Guard Officer Watkins said. Only the Coast Guard can search intercepted boats: sometimes freighters, sometimes pleasure cruises, fishing boats, or even home-made submersibles made by cartels. Since 2006, Mexican cartels changed their modus operandi: they are now using Central America as a stopover, where the weather and some corrupt authorities, allow them to keep several safe havens. With the budget cuts, “all those drugs will reach U.S. shores,” said Kelly. The Pacific and the Caribbean are under the surveillance of four U.S. ships and six aircraft, as well as units from other countries, especially from Europe (France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands) in Caribbean waters. Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), thinks that operations like Martillo are a “good tactic: the closer to the sources the drugs are intercepted, the higher the seized amounts,” he concluded.last_img read more

Is the law of the body a body of law?

first_img Is the law of the body a body of law? June 1, 2004 Regular News James W. Martin I remember studying Florida Jur for answers to mundane questions that budding probate lawyers ask. Questions such as who owns a deceased person’s body? I recall Florida Jur saying nobody owns a dead body, but the next of kin have a right to decide how to dispose of it. It cited a case or two, but no statute. There was not much of a body of law for the law of the body back then.Today, as aging baby boomers watch the Schiavo case on national news and ponder their own end-of-life decisions, the question of who owns a deceased person’s body begs for the black-letter law of statute. The 2004 Florida Legislature has answered their pleas by enacting SB 528, effective October 1, 2005, to amend F.S. Ch. 470 and 497 governing the funeral and cemetery industries. Under the new law, a “legally authorized person” will be empowered to instruct funeral directors on disposition of dead bodies.SB 528 adds a definition of “legally authorized person” to F.S. §497.005 by listing a series of persons of various priorities. The first person in the list of priorities is the deceased person himself or herself. Probate lawyers call this person the decedent. Since no longer living, the new law empowers the decedent by recognizing “written inter vivos authorizations and directions provided by the decedent.” This makes sense: If someone goes to the trouble of visiting a funeral home and writing out instructions for disposition of his or her body after death, their instructions ought to be followed.Unfortunately, the new law does not say whether a direction in a will is allowed for this purpose. Many people, lawyers and judges included, would expect the will to be a logical place for someone to state their post-death body disposition wishes. However, a will is testamentary in nature and is not effective until death, so it is arguable that it is not inter vivos. Since the new law requires an inter vivos direction, a direction in the decedent’s will concerning disposition of his or her body after death might not be valid under this new law. This would, perhaps, be contrary to legislative intent. It would certainly be contrary to existing case law which at least implies that a decedent has a testamentary right to decide on disposition of the body. (See below.)The second “legally authorized person” in priority is the surviving spouse, and the third in priority is a son or daughter who is at least 18 years old. This is interesting because the Florida Probate Code provides that the heirs of a deceased person who dies intestate (without a valid will) are generally the surviving spouse as to half the estate and the lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) as to the other half. Thus, the surviving spouse shares the decedent’s property equally with the children under the Florida Probate Code. The new law treats disposition of the decedent’s body differently by clearly stating that the surviving spouse alone is the “legally authorized person” to decide on disposition of the body if the decedent left no written inter vivos authorization or direction.However, there is a twist that favors the children and will surely give their lawyers room for argument. The new law adds a subsection to F.S. §406.50 (unclaimed bodies) that says, “In the event more than one legally authorized person claims a body for interment, the requests shall be prioritized in accordance with [Florida Statutes] §732.103.” You might think this is the statute that says the spouse gets half and the children get the other half. That is probably what the legislature thought. But it’s not. F.S. §732.103 says: “The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under §732.102… descends…[t]o the lineal descendants of the decedent.” Thus, the new law has the effect of saying that if more than one legally authorized person claims a body, the spouse is not counted in determining priority, and the children are the ones who get to decide, which is directly in conflict with the new law’s definition of “legally authorized person.”Was all of this really necessary? Was it important for the Florida Legislature to try to codify the law of the dead body? Was it attempting to change case law?Well, I went back to the old cases and here is what I found. It was way back in 1950 that the Florida Supreme Court cited Am.Jur., Dead Bodies, and said: “It is well settled that, in the absence of testamentary disposition to the contrary, a surviving spouse or next of kin has the right to the possession of the body of a deceased person for the purpose of burial, sepulcher or other lawful disposition which they may see fit.. . . And the invasion of such right by unlawfully withholding the body from the relative entitled thereto is an actionable wrong, for which substantial damages may be recovered.” Kirksey v. Jernigan, 45 So. 2d 188 (Fla. 1950).As everyone knows, possession is nine-tenths of the law, so recognition of a right to possession might be a form of property right. It is at least such a strong right that the Florida Supreme Court held its invasion to entitle the relatives to substantial damages. But is it a property right in the same way that owning a car or a house is a property right?The Florida Supreme Court examined this question at length in 2001 and concluded that it was kind of like a property right. The court said, “Based upon these statutory rights of the next of kin in their dead relatives’ bodies, along with the case law on this issue, we conclude that in Florida there is a legitimate claim of entitlement by the next of kin to possession of the remains of a decedent for burial or other lawful disposition. We also find that referring to the interest as a ‘legitimate claim of entitlement’ most accurately describes the nature of the interest.” Crocker v. Pleasant, 778 So. 2d 978 (Fla. 2001). The court earlier in the opinion noted that, “This conclusion is consistent with the approach of other courts that have found that this right constitutes a legitimate claim of entitlement or a quasi-property interest.”The Crocker court explained a quasi-property interest by quoting Lawyer v. Kernodle, 721 F.2d 632 (8th Cir. 1983): “In the sense in which the word ‘property’ ordinarily is used, one whose duty it becomes to bury a deceased person has no right of ownership over the corpse; but, in the broader meaning of the term, he has what has been called a ‘quasi property right’ which entitles him to the possession and control of the body for the single purpose of decent burial. If the deceased person leave [sic] a widow, such right belongs to her….”Of course, the Crocker court noted in footnote 10: “Unlike other traditional property interests, however, there is no recognized right to possess the remains of a deceased relative for commercial purposes.”Well, perhaps the cases are a bit confusing and do take some time to read. They do not set out in black and white in one place a list of persons who have the actual quasi-property right to decide the disposition of a deceased person’s body. It would probably be helpful to funeral directors if the cases or statutes had such a list that was clear and not ambiguous. While the new law is a step in that direction, it appears to have some glitches that a future legislature will need to address. James W. Martin is a corporate, real estate, and probate lawyer in St. Petersburg, who has written for Florida Bar Journal and News , ALI-ABA Practical Lawyer, and West Publishing, and has more information on his Web site, Is the law of the body a body of law?last_img read more

Planting Fields Breaks Ground on Sensory Garden

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Officials held a ground breaking ceremony for a new sensory garden at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay on Thursday.Officials broke ground Thursday novel sensory garden at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park that will be center of a new entrance pavilion under construction at the Oyster Bay orchard.Sensory gardens are designed to enhance the park-going experience, leave behind background noise and connect with visitors, including people with disabilities that may not normally get to fully enjoy interacting with nature.“We want people to smell the roses, literally,” said Peter Tilles, trustee of nonprofit Planting Fields Foundation dedicated to preserving and enhancing the arboretum in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “This will be a place for people to relax, contemplate, to feel and touch.”The park, which is celebrating its centennial, is set on the 409-acre former Gold Coast estate of the late industrialist William Robertson Coe.Tilles helped raised nearly $1 million for the project, which he said has been in the works for nine years. The goal is to raise $1.3 million to complete the work.“We need to make sure parks aren’t taken out of the budget,” Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state parks department, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is where people go in tough economic times.”Once completed, the garden will feature Herbaceous plants, shrubs and an interactive touch pool. Signs will be in Braille and the paths will be wide and smoother for wheelchair access. Plant beds will be raised so they’re within not only sight and smell, but also touch of visitors.John D. Kemp, president of The Viscardi Center and Henry Viscardi School in Albertson for children and adults with disabilities, praised the development.“This accessible sensory garden allows children and adults with disabilities, many of whom use powered or wheeled mobility, to experience nature from a whole new, up close perspective – the way those without disabilities do,” he said. “We applaud the Planting Fields Arboretum for taking the initiative to create an inclusive garden setting that all visitors can enjoy.”George Gorman, the Long Island regional director for the state parks department, noted that the coming enhancements will allow both improved visitor experiences and exciting photographic opportunities.“Your tax dollars are well used in these parks,” Gorman said.last_img read more

Who’s Afraid to See “Kill the Messenger”?

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]B[/dropcap]efore I read the reviews or heard from my peers, I knew I had to see the new political thriller, “Kill the Messenger,” starring Jeremy Renner as the tragic investigative reporter Gary Webb, who uncovered a connection between Nicaragua’s Contras, crack cocaine and the CIA. As an ink-stained wretch myself, I also knew it was my duty to see this quasi-indie film in a movie theatre, an obsolescent venue fated to disappear just like newsprint.Now I want everybody to see this requiem for my profession, this homage to the orneriest heroes of the Fourth Estate who fight for the truth against all odds. And I want Renner, who’s been an Oscar nominee twice—for the lead role in “The Hurt Locker” and for his supporting role in “The Town”—to get the Hollywood statuette he deserves. You gotta love him.As David Denby wrote in The New Yorker, “Renner’s Gary Webb is an ebullient creation… He makes Webb a hot-tempered, explosive, slam-bang guy, bright, impatient, explosive and wounding.”I was deeply affected by his portrayal of a journalist driven to the brink of despair, whose marriage collapses when his wife loses faith in him after his editors and publisher have buckled under and undercut him. I know how disruptive it can be to your home life when a story gets a hold of you and won’t let go. And I’ve seen the arrogance of editors clashing with the ambition of reporters, and the incessant conflict between gatekeepers and gatecrashers. It takes courage to speak truth to power. Usually mediocrity and banality win out. It’s: “How did we let that get in the paper?” Not: “Let’s go with what we’ve got.”In Webb’s case, he went up against the weight of the CIA, the violence of drug smugglers and the collusion of America’s top three dailies. Writing a three-part series for the San Jose Mercury News in 1996 called “Dark Alliance,” he chronicled how the Contras trafficked in cocaine to fund their fight against the Sandinistas in the 1980s while the agency looked the other way, even if the coke ended up in the hands of “Freeway” Ricky Ross, a notorious crack dealer in South Central L.A.The Los Angeles Times had called Ross the “one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles’ streets with mass-marketed cocaine.” But when Webb’s series came out in San Jose, California’s top paper assigned 17 reporters and published 20,000 words to rebut it. The Los Angeles Times was joined by The Washington Post in debunking his reporting while The New York Times raked over his entire career to portray him as a reporter reckless with the facts. Getting scooped by a second tier media outlet had really gotten them hot under the collar, and the top brass suspended their skepticism when their sources at the CIA told them what they were only too willing to hear.Screenwriter Peter Landesman based the movie on Webb’s own 1999 book, “Dark Alliance,” which has just been reissued, and Nick Schou’s “Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb,” which came out in 2006, two years after Webb’s suicide.It was directed by Michael Cuesta, a Long Island native, whose resumé includes many episodes of Showtimes’ “Homeland,” and it was filmed by Sean Bobbitt, the cinematographer for “12 Years a Slave.” Add those credits to the roster of top-notch actors who did their own star turns in this movie—Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Ray Liotta, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, and Oliver Platt—and it’s not hard to understand why it deserves to be widely seen.I find myself feeling so proprietary about this movie that I can barely tolerate any criticism of it, even though I know that it is far from perfect, because I immediately think the critic is doing the same thing the big three papers did once before: destroy the reputation of a good American journalist by pointing out his character flaws. Fortunately, I have company.Calling it “the best newspaper movie since ‘All the President’s Men,’” the Daily News’ Denis Hamill pulled no punches about “how a few of the elite weasels of my own business conspired with CIA smear merchants to destroy a terrific reporter’s life… They deconstructed and attacked his reporting. They dug into his past sex life. They destroyed his marriage and wrecked his career, and he wound up dead with two bullets in his head, which authorities ruled a suicide.”In his review, Denby concluded with a sentence that one of my former colleagues dubbed the best last line of the year:“Even his skeptics would have to admit that he must have been a very strong-willed man to shoot himself in the head twice.”Schou’s book depicts the downward spiral that Webb, who’d been fighting depression all his adult life, took until he reached his own demise. Schou, who’s been an investigative reporter at OC Weekly in California, doesn’t believe anyone else but Webb fired those two shots. He makes a compelling argument in his epilogue.“There wasn’t any assassin’s bullet, nor was there any need for one,” Schou writes. “It was Gary Webb’s controversial, career-ending story—and the combined resources and dedication of America’s three largest and most powerful newspapers—that killed his career as a reporter and set the stage for his personal self-destruction. Without exception, those who knew Webb well believe he killed himself.”The introduction to Schou’s book was written by Charles Bowden, an author and acclaimed journalist based in New Mexico whose “most notable work,” The New York Times said in his obituary last month when he died at the age of 69, “cut through debates about drug wars and immigration” on the Rio Grande border. Bowden met Webb when he was deep into his book about the drug trade. “He was the best investigative reporter I’ve ever known. But that hardly matters if you mess with our government’s secret world without its consent,” Bowden wrote.And now when our republic is reeling from fear fanned by the irresponsible for political gain, and from the lingering recession prolonged by those who profit from inequality, our citizens could use a lot more courageous reporters like Gary Webb to cut through the bullshit and shine light on the darkness. And it’s a national tragedy that even our greatest newspapers are a shadow of their former selves as they too struggle against austerity to do the toughest job our democracy demands.last_img read more

China virus toll passes 1,000 as Xi visits frontline hospital

first_imgAt a hospital treating infected patients in Beijing, Xi on Monday called the situation at the epicenter “still very grave” and “more decisive measures” to contain the spread of the virus, said state broadcaster CCTV.Xi has largely kept out of the public eye since the virus outbreak spiraled across the country from Hubei province to infect more than 42,000 people.He appointed Premier Li Keqiang to lead a group tackling the outbreak and it was Li who visited ground zero in Wuhan last month.On Monday, Xi put on a blue mask and white surgical gown to meet doctors at Beijing Ditan hospital, observe the treatment of patients and speak via video link to doctors in Wuhan, state media said. He then visited a residential community in central Beijing to “investigate and guide” efforts to contain the epidemic, said CCTV.Video footage showed Xi having his temperature taken with an infrared thermometer then speaking with community workers and waving at smiling residents leaning out of apartment windows.The outbreak has prompted unprecedented action by the Chinese government, including locking down entire cities in Hubei as well as cutting transport links nationwide, closing tourist attractions and telling hundreds of millions of people to stay indoors.The sweeping measures have turned cities into ghost towns — but there were some signs of normality returning as many went back to work this week.’We’re worried’ Roads in Beijing and the financial hub of Shanghai had significantly more traffic, while the southern city of Guangzhou said it would start to resume normal public transport.However, many of those returning to work were uneasy.”Of course we’re worried,” said a 25-year-old man surnamed Li in a Beijing beauty salon that reopened Monday.”When customers come in, we first take their temperature, then use disinfectant and ask them to wash their hands.”The Shanghai government suggested staggered work schedules, avoiding group meals and keeping at least one meter (three feet) away from colleagues.Many were encouraged to work from home and some employers simply delayed opening for another week.State media reported that passenger numbers on the Beijing subway were half that of a normal working day.Large shopping malls in the capital were deserted and many banks closed.One bank employee in Shanghai was heading to work for a half-day, with other workers due to take over in the afternoon.The rest of the day he would work from home.”It makes our work more difficult,” he told AFP.Schools and universities across the country remained shut.The toll has overtaken global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic when China drew international condemnation for covering up cases, though Beijing has drawn praise from the World Health Organization this time.’Go back’ An advance team for a WHO-led international expert mission on the virus arrived in China late Monday, headed by Bruce Aylward who oversaw the organization’s 2014-2016 response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.Ahead of the team’s arrival, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned there had been some “concerning instances” of cases overseas in people with no travel history to China.”We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he tweeted.Aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan, another 65 people were diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the health ministry said, bringing the total number of known infections on the ship to 135.The Diamond Princess has been in quarantine since arriving off the Japanese coast early last week after the virus was detected in a former passenger who disembarked last month in Hong Kong.Beyond Asia, Britain recorded a doubling of cases to eight, and the government warned the outbreak of novel coronavirus was a “serious and imminent threat”.And US President Donald Trump said he expected the outbreak would disappear in April due to hotter weather, despite top US health officials warning against commenting on the epidemic’s trajectory. The toll from China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak passed 1,000 on Tuesday after President Xi Jinping called for more “decisive” measures to tackle the outbreak in a rare visit to a frontline hospital.The Chinese president donned a facemask and had his temperature checked while visiting medical workers and patients affected by the deadly coronavirus that has killed at least 1,011 people.The fatalities soared after hardest-hit Hubei province — the epicenter of the outbreak — reported another 103 deaths on Tuesday, the highest single-day toll since the virus emerged.center_img Topics :last_img read more

​UK Coal scheme lodges legal complaint over Towers Watson advice

first_img“It is alleged that the currency hedge has caused a substantial loss to the Scheme, quantified at £47,500,000, for the period August 2008 to October 2012,” the filing by the consultancy said.The manager is still employed to oversee part of the scheme’s emerging market strategy, according to an interview with Stefan Dunatov, CIO of Coal Trustees, in the November issue of IPE.Discussing the fund’s view of currency risk, he said at the time: “Our belief is that if you buy into the general thesis, then you will want to own the asset and the underlying currency exposure that comes with it.“You either have to believe that the underlying currency exposure will help your long-term total returns as exchange rates converge as consumption grows and these economies become more services-oriented than goods-oriented, or you have to accept that it’s very difficult to forecast currency returns.”Towers Watson was created in 2010 in a merger between Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin.A spokesman for the consultancy said: “Towers Watson disputes the allegations brought by the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme and intends to defend the matter vigorously.”The Coal trustee body could not be reached for comment. The British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme has lodged a legal complaint against Towers Watson, alleging precursor Watson Wyatt provided “negligent” investment advice.The scheme’s trustee body, which manages £20bn (€25bn) in assets for both the sector-wide funds for the former nationalised industry, brought a professional negligence claim against the consultancy in September 2014, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.The claim, initiating a resolution procedure that precedes a court hearing, alleges Watson Wyatt provided “negligent” investment consulting advice relating to a currency hedge.The hedge was put in place due to the industry-wide scheme’s £250m commitment to a BlueBay Asset Management emerging market debt fund.  last_img read more