The members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Saturday arrested eight people from Dhanmondi area in the capital as they allegedly pretended to be members of the Detective Branch (DB) of police, reports news agency UNB.RAB sources said they also recovered foreign pistol, vehicle, and other materials from their possessions.
Santu Larma addressing a press conference on Saturday. Photo: Prothom AloThere has been no remedy to the violation of human rights of the indigenous communities, said president of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma.”The state’s irresponsibility and hostility towards them have broken all previous records. The existence of the indigenous people is threatened,” alleged Santu Larma while addressing a press conference at a hotel in the capital on Saturday.The press conference was organised on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.The leader of indigenous people said the government claims that the country has seen a wave of development, but millions of people, including ethnic people, poor farmers and labourers, are being washed away by this so-called development, he added.He said the government did nothing despite in landslides killing 131 people and affecting 20,000 families in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.Santu Larma said around 15000 people were starving in Sajek of Khagrachhari, 10000 tonnes of rice was needed, but the government remains indifferent.Santu Larma announced various programmes to mark 9 August. He said educationist professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal will inaugurate the main event at Central Shaheed Minar while civil aviation and tourism minister Rashed Khan Menon will attend it as chief guest. Functions to mark the day will be organised in the districts where the ethnic people live.Oikya NAP president Pankaj Bhattacharya alleged that an attempt was on to wipe out the existence of indigenous people from the country. He terms this attitude as a collapse in the spirit of democracy and the spirit of the liberation war.Researcher columnist Syed Abul Maksud said, “Not only indigenous people, no one is in fine, except pro-Awami League people. The country does not only belong to the pro-AL people. We fought together to liberate the country.”Professor of Dhaka University Mesbah Kamal said the state does not recognise the existence of indigenous people. The election commission declares regional political parties will not be allowed to participate in the election, he said, adding that in the neighbouring country such parties participated in the elections and formed the government.Kamal called upon the EC to allow all parties including Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity to participate in the election.Indigenous Peoples’ Forum member secretary Sanjib Drang moderated the press conference addressed by human rights activist Numan Ahmed Khan, and organising secretaries of indigenous peoples’ forum Saktipad Tripura and Rabindra Saren.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina. File PhotoPrime minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in Quebec on a four-day official visit to Canada to attend the Outreach Leaders Programme of the G7, the group of seven countries with advanced economies in the world.A flight of Air Canada, which left Toronto Pearson International Airport at 12:00pm (local time), arrived at Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport at 2:00pm on Friday local time (12:00am on Saturday Bangladesh time).Bangladesh high commissioner in Canada Mizanur Rahman received her at the airport.Earlier, an Emirates Airlines flight carrying the prime minister and her entourage landed at Toronto at 9:30am local time (7:30pm Bangladesh time).Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau invited 12 world leaders, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to take part in a special outreach session of the G7 Summit.The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.During her visit, the prime minister will join the outreach session at Quebec City on 9 June.On the next day, she will hold a bilateral meeting with her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in Quebec in the morning and join a views-exchange meeting with Bangladesh expatriates in Toronto in the evening.Sheikh Hasina will also have a meeting with Canada’s special envoy on Rohingya crisis Bob Rae in Toronto on 11 June.The prime minister is expected to return home on 12 June.
.Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a rights body, has urged the government to investigate the attacks on the quota reformists by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists and to release Rashed Khan, joint convener of Bangladesh General Students Rights Protection Council immediately.It made the demand in a statement issued on Sunday.The statement signed by ASK executive director Sheepa Hafiza said, “On Saturday morning, at least 10 leaders of the central committee of the council were injured in an attack by some BCL men on the DU campus. Police arrested Rashed in a case filed by a BCL leader which is very regrettable.”It also criticised the silence of the Dhaka University (DU) administration over the attack and its failure to control it.Terming the BCL attack on students ‘unacceptable’, the rights body asked the government to identify the attackers immediately and mete out exemplary punishment to them.
Map of SylhetTwo unidentified young men crushed to death under the wheels of a train at Sylhet railway station on Saturday night.The age of the youths is around 20 years, said Jahangir Alam, officer-in-charge of Sylhet GRP police station, reports UNB.The duo fell down while trying to board Dhaka-bound ‘Upoban Express’ around 10:00pm while it was leaving the platform and crushed to death under the train’s wheels.The victims used to push rickshaws on the Keane Bridge area in the city, the OC added.
Ruhul Amin HawladerJatiya Party’s former secretary general ABM Ruhul Amin Hawladar filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking acceptance of his nomination paper, reports UNB.Lawyer AF Hasan Arif filed the petition on behalf of the Jatiya Party leader in the morning.The hearing on the petition is likely to be held at the bench of justice Tariq ul Hakim and justice Md Shohrowardi in the afternoon.The election commission on Friday rejected the petition of ABM Ruhul Amin Hawladar on the 2nd day of hearing petitions filed against rejection and acceptance of nomination papers by returning officers.Jatiya Party chairman HM Ershad on Saturday appointed its presidium member Ruhul Amin Hawlader as his special assistant giving him the second in command position in the party.The new development came just four days after Hawlader was removed from the party’s secretary general post.
Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that a planned historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could be delayed, saying the summit “may not work out for 12 June.”Trump raised the possibility that the meeting could be pushed back during a White House meeting with South Korea president Moon Jae-in as the two leaders sought to coordinate strategy as concerns mounted over ensuring a successful outcome for the North Korea summit.Trump told reporters: “If it doesn’t happen, may be it happens later,” reflecting recent setbacks to bring about reconciliation between the two Koreas. The North pulled out of planned peace talks with the South last week, objecting to long-scheduled joint military exercises between U.S. and the Republic of Korea forces, and it threatened to abandon the planned Trump-Kim meeting over the U.S. insistence on denuclearizing the peninsula.Moon said in the Oval Office that the “fate and the future” of the Korean Peninsula hinged on the talks, telling the U.S. president that they were “one step closer” to the dream of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.”There are certain conditions that we want,” Trump said. He added if they aren’t met, “we won’t have the meeting.” He declined to elaborate on those conditions.
jahangirnagar universityA faction of Jahangirnagar University teachers on Monday staged a token ‘sit-in’ programme in front of vice chancellor’s office demanding academic council election for unelected and date-expired posts, reports UNB.The teachers under the banner of ‘Shommilito Shikkhak Shomaj’ also demanded the election of Jahangirnagar University Central Students’ Union (JUCSU) after ensuring congenial atmosphere on the campus.They took up positions in front of the VC’s office at 11am and staged the ‘sit-in’ until 1pm.Leader of the anti-VC alliance, professor Kamrul Ahsan said, “According to the university act, VC is compelled to hold elections of different unelected posts. VC professor Farzana Islam earlier decided to hold the elections within 6 May after discussing with the authorities. But, now she is delaying process by showing cause of her sicknesses.”Addressing the function, convener of the teachers’ unity and president of Jahangirnagar University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) professor Ajit Kumar Majumder said they want that the university authority would ensure the congenial democratic atmosphere on the campus and would follow the university acts.”We are not demanding the resignation of JU VC,” he added.Professor Jamal Uddin Runu, JUTA secretary professor Sohel Rana, professor Shamsul Alam Selim, professor Koushik Saha, professor Farid Ahmed, professor Khabir Uddin, professor Kamrul Ahsan and professor Mafruhi Satter, among others, spoke at the programme.Another faction of teachers backed by the VC – ‘Bangabandhur Adarsher Shikkhak Parishad’, termed the demands as inhuman and illogical.JU VC professor Farzana Islam has been on leave since 6 March due to illness.
Unfortunately cruelty also has its various forms. Members of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) have showed that when they tortured a Bangladeshi youth by removing the nails of his fingers along the Patari border early Saturday.The victim is Azim Uddin, 20, son of Kabir Uddin of Tulsidanga village in Sapahar upazila.Locals said Azim went to India along with some other cattle traders on Friday night to bring cattle.BSF men from Rangamati camp under Bamankhola district chased them while they were returning home along with cattle, said commanding officer of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Battalion-16 Lt Col Tuhin Mohammad Masud.The border force caught Azim and took him to their camp, he said.The BSF members tortured him inhumanly and extracted the nails from all the fingers of the youth, the BGB official added.As Azim fell unconscious following the torture, they left him at the Zero Point of the Purnavora river. Around 5:00am, a patrol team of the BGB battalion spotted unconscious Azim and took him to Upazila Health Complex, said Masud.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the crowd as he arrives in Medininagar on 5 January 2019, during a campaign sweep through Jharkhand state to inaugurate development projects. Photo: AFPIndia prime minister Narendra Modi’s government announced plans Monday to set aside a quota of government jobs for poorer members of India’s upper caste, months before what looks set to be a challenging re-election bid.India already “reserves” jobs for impoverished and disadvantaged lower castes for civil service jobs and college places, but this has caused resentment among other communities, who say it is unfair and freezes them out.Modi’s plans would help households with an annual income of less than $11,000, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The change would require a change to the constitution, which caps the number of reserved jobs and college places at 50 per cent.The plans were approved by Modi’s cabinet on Monday. They require approval from both houses of parliament.Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to power in 2014, but late last year it suffered painful defeats in three key state elections to the opposition Congress party led by Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.Abhishek Singhvi, a Congress spokesman, said on Twitter that the latest move was an “election gimmick” and “proof positive” of Modi’s “fear” of losing power in the vote, which is due to take place by May.Caste-based quotas are meant to provide equal opportunities for India’s poorest and most marginalised groups. Nearly one in four Indians still lives on less than $1.25 a day.Demands for quotas for highly sought-after government jobs and university places have escalated in recent years as unemployment has risen and conditions in rural areas have worsened.In 2016 at least 10 people were killed when thousands of Patidars, a relatively well-off caste of farmers and traders, took to the streets in the western state of Gujarat to demand they be included in those quotas.Similar protests by upper caste groups have been witnessed in other states including Maharashtra and Haryana.
French president Emmanuel Macron (R) accompanies out british prime minister Theresa May after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on 9 April. Photo: AFPThey call it the Trojan Horse strategy: Brexit supporters furious at their government’s failure to leave the EU on time are aiming to undermine the European Parliament following elections next month.The Greek myth about the hollow wooden horse Odysseus used to sneak his men into Troy to capture it from within was invoked by Conservative MP Mark Francois ahead of Wednesday’s critical EU summit.”If we were to be held in the EU against our democratically expressed will because some in the EU hope against hope that we will change our mind, then they will live to regret it,” Francois told a Brexiteer conference in the heart of London.”We will become a Trojan Horse within the EU and utterly derail all their attempts to pursue a more federalist project,” he said from a lectern bearing a portrait of Margaret Thatcher — a premier whose views on Europe grew darker with time.Francois warned EU leaders meeting in Brussels later Wednesday to consider the UK government’s request for another Brexit delay that “they will need to bear all these inconvenient truths in mind”.As difficult as possibleThese inconvenient truths were first raised in a tweet last Friday by Jacob Rees-Mogg — the leader of a rightwing insurgency tearing at prime minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party.”If a long extension leaves us stuck in the EU we should be as difficult as possible,” Rees-Mogg wrote moments after May asked Brussels to push back Britain’s departure to keep it from crashing out.EU leaders’ expected approval will put Britain in the paradoxical situation of having to take part in European Parliament elections on 23 May — nearly three years after voting to chart its own course.Rees-Mogg said Britain should make best use of its predicament by vetoing “any increase in the (EU) budget, obstruct the putative EU army and block (French President Emmanuel) Macron’s integrationist schemes”.Francois pointed cheerfully to a response to Rees-Mogg’s tweet from the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt that also went viral.”For those in the EU who may be tempted to further extend the Brexit saga, I can only say, be careful what you wish for,” Verhofstadt wrote.”Who am I to put try and put it better than Guy Verhofstadt,” Francois chortled.FireworksRees-Mogg and Francois voted against the Brexit deal that May struck with the EU all three times it came up for a vote. They view it as too EU-friendly.Only 26 of the 314 Conservatives in parliament joined them the last time around — a shrinking group that May hopes will grow even smaller by the time she tries to get her pact through on the fourth attempt.Her ability to do this quickly could still keep Britain from having to actually fill its 73 seats when a new European Parliament opens its doors in July.Some of the current places have in any case been reassigned.Yet the level of Conservatives’ anger with May seems to be rising as the possibility grows of Brexit being pushed further out of reach.Ninety-seven Conservative MPs voted against a measure Tuesday aimed at averting a no-deal scenario. It prevailed by a 420-110 margin.Veteran EU foes such as Nigel Farage — a poster boy of the pro-Brexit campaign who once headed the nationalist UKIP group — hope the groundswell of discontent will carry his new Brexit Party to big gains in Europe.”If we have to fight those European election on 23 May, we’ll fight them because it’s time we taught them a lesson,” Farage says in a video campaign message.And even those not running themselves sound tempted by the idea of Britain making a nuisance of itself in European halls of power.Asked whether he might consider running in the European elections, veteran Conservative MP William Cash told parliament this week: “I must admit that if I were to, there would be quite a lot of fireworks in the European Parliament”.
File photo of LightningAt least four people were killed and 12 others injured in lightning strikes in Baliadangi and Ranisankail upazilas of Moulvibazar on Tuesday, reports UNB.Three people were killed on the spot and 12 others were injured after being struck by lightning while working in a mango orchard in Baganbari village of Baliadangi at 2:30pm, said officer-in-charge of Baliadangi police station Mosadderul Haque.The deceased are Nurul Islam, 35, son of Bappa Mohammad; Rabiul Islam, 27, son of Abdul Karim; and Abdul Zabbar, 45, of Jagadal village in Ranisankail upazila.The injured were taken to the Upazila Health Complex.In a separate incident, a teenager was killed on the spot after he was struck by lightning while collecting ducks from a pond in Alsia village of Ranisankail upazila.The deceased is Abu Sayeed,13, son of Mansur Ali, said Abdul Mannan, OC of Ranisankail police station.
Despite that promise, an infrastructure bill hasn’t even been introduced — or pushed by the White House, for that matter.What’s more, Trump has so far gotten no major legislation through Congress — not a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act, not a tax overhaul.But he appears to have a long leash with his base, which is willing to blame others — Democrats, Republican leaders — but not the man they voted for for president who is trying to, in their view, “drain the swamp.”Part of that long leash could be because cultural grievance was more important to his victory than economic issues.The Atlantic, citing data from the Public Religion Research Institute, reached that conclusion in May: “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals,” Trump said. “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.” “In the wake of Trump’s surprise win, some journalists, scholars, and political strategists argued that economic anxiety drove these Americans to Trump. But new analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found something different: Evidence suggests financially troubled voters in the white working class were more likely to prefer Clinton over Trump. Besides partisan affiliation, it was cultural anxiety — feeling like a stranger in America, supporting the deportation of immigrants, and hesitating about educational investment — that best predicted support for Trump.“This data adds to the public’s mosaic-like understanding of the 2016 election. It suggests Trump’s most powerful message, at least among some Americans, was about defending the country’s putative culture.” Why cultural grievance is so salientLook no further than the NPR poll — 55 percent of whites said they believe discrimination exists against whites, generally.That is even though just 19 percent said they have personally experienced discrimination in applying for jobs.Even fewer whites said they have personally experienced discrimination when it comes to promotions, college acceptance, interactions with the police, or housing.There are major political divisions among whites.Three-quarters (74 percent) of white Republicans said discrimination exists against whites. But when it comes to Democrats, it’s less than a third (28 percent).That is an almost 50-point gap.There are also big splits when it comes to how well-off financially a white person is.The more money a white person makes, the less he or she thinks discrimination against whites exists generally. In some cases, they are also less likely to say that they’ve personally experienced discrimination or that it happens often in their neighborhoods.Roughly two-thirds of whites without a college degree and whites who live in rural areas, however, believe discrimination against whites exists. And those whites are also more likely to say they’ve experienced that discrimination personally.And those are exactly the kind of people who are in Trump’s base.That is very different from nonwhitesNonwhites believe discrimination exists against their groups by even wider margins than whites. (Of course, many would argue that nonwhites face real rather than perceived racism — as the numbers bear out.)Here is what nonwhites said about whether discrimination exists against their group:African-Americans: 92 percentLatinos: 78 percentNative Americans: 75 percentAsian-Americans: 61 percentAnd much higher percentages of nonwhites say they have personally experienced discrimination.For example, a third of Latinos say they have experienced discrimination when it comes to applying for jobs, getting paid equally or looking for housing.The gap between whites and African-Americans is even larger.Half or more African-Americans said they have been discriminated against personally when applying for jobs, getting paid fairly and in interacting with police. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesWhen his back is against the wall, President Trump goes back to where he derives energy — his base. That includes a large percentage of whites without a college degree.Donald Trump won the votes of whites without a college degree by a bigger margin than any Republican presidential candidate since 1980. And there is reason for that. He gave voice to a group of people who have felt left behind.“Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential,” Trump said in his election night victory speech, one year ago this week. “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”At nearly every rally and campaign event, populated largely by whites, Trump spoke to their cultural grievances — and he has continued to do so as president.But what has also been clear is that nonwhites, many of whom have felt like targets of Trump’s nationalist and protectionist tendencies, are also aggrieved. A survey by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that majorities across racial lines, including whites, said discrimination exists against their group.It does seem that in America today, it is something of a golden age of grievance.One year laterIt may be hard to believe, but this week marks one year since Trump was elected president of the United States. And it hasn’t been the easiest go of it for the 45th president.As a candidate, Trump had the lowest favorability ratings of anyone ever elected since polling began. And since his ascendancy to the presidency, he has continued along a similar pattern — with the lowest job-approval rating of any president in modern polling.According to an average of the polls, Trump stands around 39 percent. That is about where he has been throughout his first 10 months in office. He peaked around 46 percent in early February, just after his inauguration, and he has never dipped below 37 percent, which he hit in mid-August.That was right around the time Trump faced widespread criticism for his response to racial violence and protests in Charlottesville, Va.All about that baseIt has been clear that when his back is against the wall, Trump goes back to where he derives energy — his base.For example:One of his first moves was to institute a travel ban that has been held up in the courtsover whether it discriminates against Muslims.He tried to ban transgender people from serving in the military. That is also held up in the courts.Trump has taken a hard-line, nationalist approach on immigration endorsing a plan to cut legal immigration in half and make it “merit-based.” He also called for an end to the diversity visa lottery program after the terrorist attack that killed eight people in New York last week.Again and again, Trump has criticized political correctness.“We have to get much tougher,” he said after the New York attack, echoing a line from the campaign trail. “We’re so politically correct that we’re afraid to do anything.”His base is holding mostly firm. There is some evidence of a softening of support but not enough that shows his people abandoning him.Art of the deal?Rhetorically, Trump certainly hasn’t abandoned his base, but what about on policy?The next lines of that election night speech, after noting the forgotten men and women were these: Share
Dogs rescued from floodwater wait to be transferred to a shelter after torrential rains pounded Southeast Texas following Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey on Sept. 3, 2017 in Orange, Texas.Author Peter Zheutlin never wanted a dog, let alone a rescue. He had always believed, as a lot of people do, that rescue dogs are damaged goods.Now Zheutlin can’t imagine life without a dog, and he’s become so driven by the issue of stray dogs that he’s written two books about it. He tells Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins the number of stray dogs has “cascaded out of control” in some parts of the U.S.“People are often very often surprised when I tell them that the picture … of dogs running on highways and so forth, this is not just a third world problem — that exists here in the United States,” says Zheutlin, author of the new book, Rescued: What Second-Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living with Purpose, Loving with Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things. There are more than 200 million stray dogs worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates about 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters every year.While Zheutlin makes the case for adopting dogs that are abandoned, he also acknowleges there is no easy answer to the problem. He says the supply of stray dogs greatly outweighs the demand.In Houston, Texas, alone, there are more than 1 million stray dogs, according to the city’s pet shelter, BARC. After Hurricane Harvey hit this summer, thousands of dogs were rescued from floodwaters.“These shelters, they’re dealing with an incredibly difficult problem where they may have a shelter that can hold 100 dogs, and every week a hundred more strays are coming in,” Zheutlin says. “And where do they go?”The no-kill movement has contributed to the population growth, as the number of dogs and cats that are euthanized has decreased from 20 million to 3 million each year. As NPR previously reported, there are nearly 14,000 shelters and pet rescue groups in the U.S. that acquire almost 8 million animals each year.Stray dogs also present safety issues when they roam in packs, causing traffic accidents, attacking residents and spreading disease. WHO estimates nearly 55,000 people die from rabies every year.Spay and neuter laws that vary by state have also driven the increase of abandoned dogs, especially in more rural, southern states.“The South still has a lot of work to do with spay-neuter laws, and getting people to feel that pets are more companions and parts of their family than yard dogs or that kind of thing,” Laurie McCannon, director of Northeast Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, told NPR in 2015.Several city and local governments have adopted mandatory spay-neuter ordinances, but Zheutlin points out that the stray animal issue is low on the priority list for some cash-strapped cities.“This problem has escalated to the point where it would take decades of a concentrated spay-neuter program in a city like Houston to begin to reduce the numbers,” he says. “The shelters are not often high priorities for governments either when they’ve got competing demands from the school department, the police department, the fire department, parks, sanitation. Who speaks for the dogs?”According the ASPCA, approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted from U.S. shelters each year, but 34 percent of dogs obtained as pets still come from breeders.Many adopted dogs come from difficult circumstances, Zheutlin says, which means they could suffer from separation anxiety, barking and a lack of socialization skills. Critics of the no-kill movement say some dogs are just not fit for adoption.“At some point, you begin to adopt out animals that have serious health issues or serious temperament issues that you should not,” Patti Strand, director of the National Animal Interest Alliance, an organization that represents dog breeders, told NPR in 2014.While rescue dogs can present challenges, rehabilitation programs have led to an increase in the percentage of animals adopted, according to the ASPCA. Zheutlin suggests obtaining references before working with a rescue organization.“Those organizations work hard to make sure these dogs are socialized and ready to be placed in a home,” he says. “In the vast vast majority of cases they are so ready to be loved, and to love back dogs, I think, draw us out of our own heads and [can] help us to live more in the moment.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Illustration by Todd WisemanTexas RepublicansTexas Republicans, with as big a political advantage as any party in the country, are eating their own tail.In House districts where the Democrats haven’t been putting up a fight, they’re running Republican challengers against Republican incumbents — with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott endorsing some of the challengers.And a couple of incumbent Republican senators are battling challengers being advised by political consultants affiliated with the Texas Senate’s own presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. It almost failed at the executive committee level — the measure needed a two-thirds vote. But “in a sincere effort to foster unity,” the party’s top two officials — Chairman James Dickey and Vice Chairman Amy Clark — voted to kick Straus on his way out.They expressed some misgivings about it, but they voted for censure anyway. “Please know, we do not do this lightly and it does not reflect any personal opinion on particular details in this discussion,” Dickey said in a statement posted on the Republican Party of Texas website. “This is us being committed to supporting the convention, the delegates, Republican voters across Texas in unifying our party to move forward. We must win in 2018. We’ve got to put this this behind us.”That censure vote is more a reflection of the GOP’s activists and big donors than of its rank-and-file voters. The party chiefs are hollering, but the bigger body of Republicans in Texas — the voters — don’t seem to be worried about it when they vote in congressional and legislative races.House Republicans, who are elected from 95 of the 150 House districts in the state, have voted time and again to keep Straus in the corner office. His original sin, for some in the party, came in his first election, when fewer than two-dozen Republicans joined with most of the House’s Democrats to overthrow Craddick and put Straus in charge. In each of the four elections since — in 2011, 2013, 2015 and last year — Straus won reelection with the support of almost all of the House’s Republicans. They’re presumably reflecting the will of the voters who put them in office.Republicans could hardly be more dominant in Texas government than they are today — than they have been, in fact, for the last decade. They’ve passed a remarkable amount of remarkably conservative legislation. And to think they did all of that with a legislative leader that the purists call a RINO — a “Republican in Name Only.” The Republican Party of Texas added its official institutional punctuation to the GOP’s purist purge last weekend, when the State Republican Executive Committee voted to censure the more moderate Republican House Speaker Joe Straus. Texas has only had two Republican speakers since Reconstruction — Straus and Tom Craddick of Midland — and Straus is one of only three speakers who’ve been elected to the job five times.But the Texas Legislature is measurably more conservative than it was when Straus was elected. Leaders in the party blame him — or credit him, if you prefer — for flushing the “bathroom bill” and some less-famous measures favored by Patrick, Abbott and others during the 2017 regular and special legislative sessions.At a time when Republicans hold all of the statewide offices in Texas, overwhelming majorities in the congressional delegation, the Legislature, and a slew of judgeships and local offices across the state, populist conservatives in the GOP are working hard to overthrow the party’s moderates.It’s a case of self-styled true believers vs. those they’ve labeled as apostates — a political version of the purebloods and mudbloods in Harry Potter’s world. That seemingly ancient idea of pulling everyone together into a “Big Tent” — remember Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush? — seems to be off to the recycling bin.The Texas GOP certainly has all of the diversity required for a big-tent party, with every possible flavor of conservative. They’re just having a hard time getting everybody to sing from the same hymnal.The Straus flap should be old news by now. He announced last year that he wouldn’t seek another term as speaker, or even as a state representative. For now, he’s going back to San Antonio. But the party in his home county still voted to censure him in December and pushed the idea up to the state party for consideration. Share
Marco Krohn, Wikimedia CommonsA mining farm of Genesis Mining located in Iceland. The picture shows mainly Zeus scrypt miners.The business with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is ever growing, including here in Houston.CenterPoint Energy is noticing that too.About six months ago, the company started seeing a dramatic increase in power demand in residential areas, where it turns out people built high tech rigs to mine cryptocurrency.“A typical residence will use about 1,500 to 2,000 kilowatt hours per month,” Julienne Sugarek, vice president for CenterPoint’s power delivery department, said. “And we’ve seen loads ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 kilowatt hours a month.”CenterPoint has identified 38 such mining operations in Greater Houston.The company is asking people to call its customer service line before building one, so they can adjust to the increased energy demand. X Listen 00:00 /00:50 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share
Share maxboot.netConservative columnist Max Boot is the author of “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right.”Longtime conservative stalwart Max Boot knows the exact moment he stopped being a Republican.“That moment was the night that Donald Trump won the presidency,” he said. “I re-registered the very next day because I could not stay part of a Trump-ified Republican Party.”He says the GOP has become very different than the party of Ronald Reagan that he joined in the 1980s, citing many members’ willingness to align with a President who maligned minorities, mocked John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war, and who wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country – among other things.“I was viscerally and instantly opposed to Donald Trump from the moment that he started running for office castigating Mexicans as rapists and murderers,” Boot said. “That was just so outrageous and so out of line. And he continued to outrage me on an almost daily basis.”Boot now sees himself as a center-right independent and writes about his dissatisfaction with his former party in his book The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right. He speaks at an event tonight with the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston.In the audio above, he talks with Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty about his decision and where conservatives like him go from here.
Share Currently, a federal injunction is keeping TPS in effect for people from El Salvador and Haiti, but not Honduras. Those three countries make up 94% of immigrants with these protections. If parents can’t stay in the United States legally, some will leave their families and return to their home countries, according to the report’s author Nicole Svajlenka.“We know that separating children from their families has a lot of repercussions ranging from emotional distress to economic turmoil and all of these are really lasting for young children’s development,” said Svajlenka.She said other parents may opt to stay in the country illegally and could be deported at any time, which would also cause emotional stress for children. Svajlenka also said Texas children have the most to lose if TPS is ended.“Texas is actually the state with the largest number of US citizen children that would be impacted,” she said.TPS has allowed hundreds of thousands of people escaping natural disasters or conflict to work and live legally in the United States for decades. TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti have lived in the United States an average of 22 years. More than half of the 49,000 TPS holders living in Texas from those three countries live in the Houston area. X Listen Photo courtesy of Teodoro Aguiluz (CRECEN)Joel Gómez (right), with the Center of Central American Resources (known as CRECEN by its acronym in Spanish), assists Martir Velasquez (left) with his paperwork to re-register as a recipient of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS).A total of 49,000 Texas children have a parent with Temporary Protected Status from El Salvador, Honduras or Haiti, according to a study by the Center for American Progress.The parents of those children could lose their immigration status if federal courts side with the Trump administration’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the vast majority of those protected. 00:00 /00:59 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:
Sheila Brooks, moderator, William Von Hoene, senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Exelon; Bridget Reidy, senior vice president and chief supply officer, Exelon; Emmett Vaughn, director of Diverse Business Empowerment, Exelon; and Calvin Butler Jr., CEO, BGE. (Photo by Rob Roberts)More than 150 minority business owners serving Washington, D.C. residents had details of the proposed merger of Chicago-based energy company Exelon and parent company of D.C.-based utility Pepco shared with them on Oct. 7, at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square in Northwest. The forum was co-hosted by The President’s Roundtable and Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council.The $6.8 billion merger consists of Exelon’s 3 utilities – BGE, ComEd and PECO – and Pepco Holdings Inc.’s (PHI) 3 utilities – Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco, which will create a leading mid-Atlantic electric and gas utility. Since the announcement that the two companies signed a definitive agreement in April, skepticism has surfaced about the benefits of the merger to minority-owned businesses. “Any time businesses come together, you always worry about a shrink in the market,” Larry McKenney, CEO of Laurel Radiology Services, told the AFRO during the event.The forum’s message, however, enforced the corporations’ commitment to the inclusion of varied suppliers. “Diversity is a core value of PHI,” said Reginald McCauley, director supply of chain at PHI during his opening statement. “We have the ability to make sure that opportunities for diversity happen.”In 2013, Exelon spent $906 million with certified diverse suppliers and PHI’s Pepco utility spent $80.1 million on diverse supplier procurement, yearly increases for both companies.During the event, minority entrepreneurs benefited from face-to-face access to Exelon and PHI leaders as opposed to less intimate dialogue via phone and internet that have become popular in this age. “It’s a part of business relationships that are being lost,” said McKenney.The corporations’ leaders were able to share information about approaches to working with diverse businesses in the D.C. metropolitan area. “We are challenging [to our partners], but everyone perceives their business as better because we challenge them,” Emmet Vaughn, director of diverse business empowerment at Exelon.Not only will vendors and the communities they serve benefit from partnering, but the Exelon and PHI expect the same rewards. “The reason that this is important to us is because we are better when we bring people to the table with different perspectives and vantage points,” said William Von Hoene, senior executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Exelon during a panel discussion that included senior leaders at Exelon. “Our obligation is to do our business in the best way possible.”The panel also dove into strategies for how to successfully compete for contracts and partner with the companies, as well as answered questions related to vendor promotions, providing support to the merger and expectations related specifically to District businesses.The merger is expected to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2015 and the corporations will continue to actively engage with minority businesses, said Melissa Sherrod, vice president of corporate affairs at Exelon, “If we haven’t knocked on your door yet, we’re coming.”