Posts Tagged ‘Israel grossman’

Modi Galvanizes Indian Diaspora On U.S. Visit

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 30 2014

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The new prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, is on his first visit to United States since winning the election last spring. Tonight he is dining with President Obama at the White House. It’s a small, private dinner – a stark contrast to last night when Modi headlined at Madison Square Garden.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Modi, Modi, Modi.

MARTIN: Modi entered the arena to a rock star’s welcome.

(CHEERING)

MARTIN: Those are the cheers of thousands of Indians and Indian Americans who packed into the Garden to see the new leader of the world’s largest democracy and a man whose promise to realize India’s potential as an economic powerhouse.

For more on how Narendra Modi plans to recast his own political party and reframe U.S.-Indian relations, we’re joined by Mitra Kalita. She’s a journalist with the online magazine Quartz and Quartz India. Thanks so much for being with us.

MITRA KALITA: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: Mitra, I understand you were at the Garden last night. You were there taking in that scene. Indian Americans seem to be uncharacteristically enthusiastic about this new Prime Minister – why?

KALITA: So Narendra Modi came to office at a really interesting time in India’s economy. For the last 15 years or so the story very much has been one of rapid growth, but over the last few years a lot of that growth slowed. And so Modi comes in under this era of great promise – of returning India to the growth of that was, and that was very much the chords that he struck yesterday at Madison Square Garden.

MARTIN: Today, Prime Minister Modi has been meeting with a long list – a who’s-who of American corporate executives – Google, Pepsi, a host of other big names. What might he be looking for from those meetings?

KALITA: So he’s looking for investment. And part of the Modi promise is that he’s going to make it easier for companies to enter India – to do business in India. What I think he’s also pushing for is some sense of an alliance with India that’s truly legitimate. And, perhaps, in this trifecta of India, China and the U.S., is it more powerful to defeat the so-called threat of China under an alliance between the United States and India?

The problem with India is that it’s repeatedly hobbled by red tape, getting things done, really poor infrastructure. And a part of Modi’s calculation here has to be, I will fix that which I can in India, but you have to believe me and put some money in that dream as well.

MARTIN: How much of this trip, though, is about burnishing his image and the image of his party, the BJP, back home in India? This is, after all, the Hindu Nationalist Party. It’s a party that has a very polarizing past.

KALITA: I think it’s fairly significant. I mean, Indians leaving India and coming back to India with ideas and vision is not a new thing, and I think Modi realizes this. Also, just in this era of increased communication via WhatsApp and Facebook and so many other mechanisms from the blue era grams (ph) that my family traded back and forth in the 1970s, there is this awareness and this feeling of belonging that we perhaps didn’t have before. And Modi needs to appeal to that because after all NRIs, as we’re known – nonresident Indians – are among a big source of investment for him.

MARTIN: As we mentioned, Prime Minister Modi is meeting with President Obama this evening. Does he have any specific asks? What does he want or need from his conversation with President Obama on this trip?

KALITA: I think Modi would like some assurance that indeed – on the China issue, that the U.S. sides with India. In exchange, I think Obama might be asking Modi for involvement in the affairs of the world. India’s been quite reticent to step into issues of Iraq or Syria, for example.

And I think a lot of sitting down with Obama tonight is going to be psychologically good for relations between the two countries and, again, an assurance that in this relationship among China, India and the U.S., that it might be the U.S. siding with India that makes them a lot stronger than the alternative.

MARTIN: Mitra Kalita writes for the online journal Quartz. Thanks so much for talking with us.

KALITA: Thank you for having me.

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Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/29/352538402/modi-galvanizes-indian-diaspora-on-u-s-visit?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Spanish Court Blocks Catalonia’s Independence Vote

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 30 2014

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Pro-independence Catalans protest in front of a Spanish government delegation in Barcelona Monday, after Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended an independence referendum called by Catalonia.

Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images


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Pro-independence Catalans protest in front of a Spanish government delegation in Barcelona Monday, after Spain's Constitutional Court suspended an independence referendum called by Catalonia.

Pro-independence Catalans protest in front of a Spanish government delegation in Barcelona Monday, after Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended an independence referendum called by Catalonia.

Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Two days after the region’s president announced a November vote on whether Catalonia should break away from Spain, the nation’s highest court has suspended that plan, making it illegal to continue organizing the referendum. It’s not clear whether the region’s leaders will abide by the ruling.

Spain’s central government in Madrid had appealed to the court to stop the vote, which was approved with strong support from Catalonia’s parliament and local governments. In accepting the appeal today, the court automatically suspended the referendum.

From Madrid, NPR’s Lauren Frayer reports:

“Catalonia’s parliament and president have already set a Nov. 9 vote on independence from Spain. They’ve outlined rules, and are setting up polling stations.
“But Spain’s central government says the vote is illegal. And the country’s Constitutional Court has now backed that claim, suspending Catalonia’s plans while it weighs their legality.
“‘It’s not illegal,’ Catalan President Artur Mas said in a televised statement. He suggested the vote would still be held.
“Meanwhile, pro-independence protesters have flocked to the streets of the Catalan capital, Barcelona.”

Earlier Monday, Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the poll isn’t allowed under the country’s constitution. which doesn’t allow regions to opt out. He said that he was defending the rights of all Spaniards, including Catalans.

“Nothing and nobody, whether power or institution, can break this principle of single and indivisible sovereignty on which our coexistence is based,” Rajoy said, according to Euronews. “In other words, no one person or group has the right to deprive all the Spanish people of the right to decide what their country is.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/09/29/352545972/spanish-court-blocks-catalonia-s-independence-vote?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

European Activists Say They Don’t Want Any U.S. ‘Chlorine Chicken’

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 30 2014

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A poultry processing plant in France. Europe banned treating chicken carcasses with chlorine in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.

Christophe Di Pascale/Corbis


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A poultry processing plant in France. Europe banned treating chicken carcasses with chlorine in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.

A poultry processing plant in France. Europe banned treating chicken carcasses with chlorine in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.

Christophe Di Pascale/Corbis

Mute Schimpf doesn’t want to eat American chicken. That’s because most U.S. poultry is chilled in antimicrobial baths that can include chlorine to keep salmonella and other bacteria in check. In Europe, chlorine treatment was banned in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer.

“In Europe there is definitely a disgust about chlorinated chicken,” says Schimpf, a food activist with Friends of the Earth Europe, an environmental group.

The chlorine vs. no chlorine debate has come up a lot recently in the context of a massive trans-Atlantic trade agreement. This week, negotiators from Europe and the U.S. are meeting in Washington for a seventh round of talks aimed at creating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

The agreement would create the world’s biggest free-trade zone and touch everything from banking to agriculture. But there’s a lot of opposition to TTIP in Europe, where some fear it would degrade their food standards. And activists have found the perfect symbol for their fight in chlorinated American chicken.

On the German equivalent of The Daily Show, called the Heute Show, American poultry has become a running joke. In one skit, a reporter is in the White House kitchen eating a chicken nugget.

“You can’t be mad at someone who makes such a tasty chlorinated chicken,” he quips. “Mmm, it has a slight aroma of kiddy pool.”

But the chlorine isn’t really a public health concern, says Scott Russell, a professor of poultry processing at the University of Georgia. “Most of these concerns about chemical use and those kinds of things are blown up in the media to become a problem that really doesn’t exist,” he says.

American processors use about a cap full of chlorine per gallon, or 50 parts per million, in a water tank that chills the chicken carcasses. That chlorine, he explains, is used to disinfect the poultry. He says it gets washed off and poses no health threat to consumers.

But the EU takes a different approach — it operates on the precautionary principle, a kind of abundance of caution when it comes to any substance that enters your body.

“In Europe, their efforts to control foodborne illness is all in the live bird. For example, the grandparent stock, the breeder stock that makes the egg of the chicken we eat eventually — all of those flocks of chicken are tested regularly for salmonella,” Russell says. If any of these chickens test positive, farmers have to get rid of the entire flock.

With this method, Europeans have reduced salmonella in their chicken to just 2 percent, Russell says, but the process took 20 years.

Europeans have pushed for some of the toughest food-safety standards in the world. They want to eat fresh chicken that’s air-chilled rather than dumped in chlorinated water tanks, says Cees Vermeeren, who manages the European Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade.

“The main principle of the European food policy is a farm-to-fork approach, and you may say that is fundamentally different from what’s happening outside Europe in many places,” Vermeeren says.

That strict food policy makes poultry production more expensive. A study by Wageningen University in the Netherlands found it takes about a dollar in Europe to produce a pound of chicken, compared with less than 80 cents in America.

Over 120 countries accept the U.S. processing method, says James Sumner, the president of the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council. It’s cheaper, he says, and Europe doesn’t want U.S. competition. “If the truth were to be known, that’s the real reason they don’t want is there, and chlorine is a convenient excuse,” he says.

For activists like Mute Schimpf who are trying to sway the public to reject a big treaty that’s full of legal jargon and complicated regulations, the chicken argument works. “Very often the chlorinated chicken is used as a symbol of what European citizens and consumers don’t want to have as an outcome from the trade talks,” she says.

Besides changes in chicken production, activists are also fighting the possibility of hormone-treated beef and genetically engineered crops entering the European market if TTIP succeeds.

Though the talks between the U.S. and the EU are held in secret, any agreement needs approval from the European parliament, which is elected by a public that worries a lot about its food supply.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/09/30/351774240/european-activists-say-they-dont-want-any-u-s-chlorine-chicken?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Europe Wins The Ryder Cup Behind A Star And A Rookie

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 29 2014

The tone was set by Rory McIlroy, the best player in the world. The winning shot came from Jamie Donaldson, a Ryder Cup rookie.

Europe added another layer to its Ryder Cup dominance on Sunday by leaving no doubt who had the best team, if not the best players. Behind two early comebacks that showed its resolve, Europe clinched the cup with four matches still on the course.

With a 16½-11½ victory, Europe kept that gold trophy for the eighth time in the last 10 tries.

McIlroy played some of his best golf this year – even for a guy who won the last two majors – by trouncing Rickie Fowler to put the first point on the board. Donaldson finished off the Americans with a 9-iron that settled 18 inches from the cup on the 15th hole at Gleneagles and set off the celebration.

“It came down to me to close it out,” Donaldson said. “But it’s all about the team.”

That concept appeared lost on the Americans.

Not long after the closing ceremony, Phil Mickelson said the Americans have strayed from the winning formula at Valhalla in 2008 under Paul Azinger – their only victory in these matches dating to 1999. Even with U.S. captain Tom Watson sitting six seats away, Mickelson said that American team was invested in each other, which was different from Watson’s style of doing it his way.

It was an awkward way to end another bad week for the Americans in the Ryder Cup.

Watson defended his philosophy, though he conceded he might have erred in using some players who were too tired, leading to a 10-6 deficit going into Sunday singles.

“The bottom line is they kicked our butts,” Watson said. “They were better players this week.”

Watson said he had a pit in his stomach watching the Americans blow a 10-6 lead two years ago at Medinah. The PGA of America brought him back as captain – at age 65, the oldest in Ryder Cup history – hopeful he could repeat some history. Watson was the last captain in 1993 to win on European soil.

It might not have mattered where this was played.

Graeme McDowell rallied from 3 down after five holes to close out his match against Jordan Spieth on the 17th hole. Justin Rose was 4 down after six holes when he won four straight holes with birdies against Hunter Mahan, and got up-and-down for birdie on the 18th to give Europe a half-point.

Rose went unbeaten for the week at 3-0-2.

That set the stage for Donaldson, a 38-year-old from Wales playing in his first Ryder Cup. He seized control over Keegan Bradley at the turn, and then it was a matter of when Europe could pop the champagne. Donaldson was so locked in on his task that he was unaware that he had retained the cup for Europe when he was 4 up with four holes to play. From 146 yards in fairway, he fired a 9-iron at the flag and let the club twirl through his hands.

It was close to perfect.

Watson walked over and shook his hand, and then put his arm around McGinley as they headed to the green. Bradley got onto the putting surface, and as soon as he saw Donaldson’s ball next to the cup, he removed his cap and shook hands.

McGinley talked all week about a template of European success. The message was to embrace their role as the favorites, and to be proud that they had earned it. And the final instruction was to avoid complacency. Europe won the Sunday singles session for the second straight Ryder Cup.

“I didn’t execute the plan. All these guys sitting at this table did,” McGinley said with the 17-inch trophy on display. “I know how difficult it is to play in a Ryder Cup. I know when your heart is jumping out of your chest how incredibly excited and nervous you are. But we relish this challenge. We did it with a smile on our face, which is so important. And we did everybody proud.”

The Americans had a few bright spots.

Patrick Reed went unbeaten as a rookie. Reed and Spieth had to settle for a half-point Saturday afternoon, in part because Reed missed a 2-foot putt. The gallery heckled him before he teed off against Henrik Stenson, and it inspired him. Reed rallied from an early deficit, putting his finger against his lips to hush the crowd, and he won the point on the 18th hole when Stenson missed a 4-foot putt. Reed went 3-0-1 and earned the most points for the Americans.

The three American rookies – Spieth, Reed and Jimmy Walker – contributed nearly half of the points for the U.S. team.

Going into the Ryder Cup, Watson had singled out Ian Poulter as the European with the best record and the man to beat. Poulter wound up playing only three matches and he didn’t win any of them, settling for two halves.

It wasn’t about Poulter, though. It was about Europe, a formidable team.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/29/352379620/europe-wins-the-ryder-cup-behind-a-star-and-a-rookie?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Sober And Sold-Out: Dance Club In Sweden Cuts Booze For A Night

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 29 2014

Breathalyzers were placed in the doorway of a nightclub in Stockholm this weekend, with an unusual purpose: to ensure no guests had been drinking alcohol. It was all part of a plan for a booze-free night out called Sober, where staff were also on the lookout for anyone who seemed to be on drugs.

The plan for a club in a hip Stockholm neighborhood to host a monthly alcohol-free night created a buzz, if you will, when it was announced by comedian Mårten Andersson last month. And it seems to have been a hit, with nearly 900 people packing the sold-out venue to hear DJs on two separate dance floors and sip boozeless cocktails, faux beer and sham Champagne.

According to a reporter who went to the club Friday night, the Sodra Theatre filled up early, with an eclectic crowd checking out music by Zoo Brazil, the Bee Gees and others.

“The crowd was much more diverse than you get at most European club nights,” Maddy Savage writes for Sweden’s The Local, “with curious teenagers joining former alcoholics in their fifties, clean-living yogis and breastfeeding mothers in their thirties.”

Speaking to Vice about Sober last month, Andersson explained that he got the idea for Sober after he stopped drinking. He wanted more people to try it — particularly in Sweden, where he said people spend too much time getting hammered.

“I’ve been sober for six months,” Andersson said. “It’s great — I’ve never felt better. I’m so much calmer these days. I feel better, I look better, and my self-esteem has never been this high. I’m proud of myself in a way I’ve never been before.”

In The Local, Savage reports that while many people seemed to be having fun, at least a few people were having second thoughts.

“People don’t usually dance when they are sober, so it is like an awkward social experiment,” a young man named Maximillian said.

“A lot of guys here in Sweden are kind of shy when they are not drinking,” his friend Hampus added.

Perhaps those guys will benefit from the type of contemplation Andersson encourages.

“The idea of SOBER is not only that there should be a club where you do not drink alcohol but something deeper than that,” Andersson wrote in a blog post on the event’s website. “We want to ultimately get people to drop their autopilot and take the time to stop and think about what you actually want out of life.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/09/28/352279829/sober-and-sold-out-dance-club-in-sweden-cuts-booze-for-a-night?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Who’s Buried In The ‘Magnificent’ Tomb From Ancient Greece?

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 29 2014

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Archaeologists inspect a female figurine inside a recently discovered, fourth-century B.C. tomb, in the town of Amphipolis, northern Greece on Sept. 7. The occupant of the tomb is unknown, but there’s speculation that it could be someone who was closely linked to Alexander the Great.

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Greek Culture Ministry/AP

Archaeologists inspect a female figurine inside a recently discovered, fourth-century B.C. tomb, in the town of Amphipolis, northern Greece on Sept. 7. The occupant of the tomb is unknown, but there's speculation that it could be someone who was closely linked to Alexander the Great.

Archaeologists inspect a female figurine inside a recently discovered, fourth-century B.C. tomb, in the town of Amphipolis, northern Greece on Sept. 7. The occupant of the tomb is unknown, but there’s speculation that it could be someone who was closely linked to Alexander the Great.

Greek Culture Ministry/AP

Early last month, on a hill outside a tiny, windy village of almond and tobacco farmers in northeastern Greece, veteran archaeologist Katerina Peristeri announced that she and her team had discovered what is believed to be the biggest tomb in Greece.

The “massive, magnificent tomb,” Peristeri told reporters, is likely connected to the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia, which, in the fourth century B.C. produced Alexander the Great.

Shortly after Peristeri’s announcement, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras held his own press conference at the site — known as Amphipolis — declaring it an “exceptionally important discovery” from the “earth of our Macedonia.”

And since then there have been daily reports in the Greek media, even though Peristeri and her team have refused interviews. They release each tidbit of news — each discovery of a caryatid, sphinx and other impressive artifacts — in press releases through the Greek Ministry of Culture.

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Tourists visit the Lion of Amphipolis on Aug. 18. The large tomb, its occupant unknown, was found nearby. But Greek authorities have not yet allowed the public to visit the site of the tomb.

Haris Iordanidis/EPA/Landov


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Haris Iordanidis/EPA/Landov

Tourists visit the Lion of Amphipolis on Aug. 18. The large tomb, its occupant unknown, was found nearby. But Greek authorities have not yet allowed the public to visit the site of the tomb.

Tourists visit the Lion of Amphipolis on Aug. 18. The large tomb, its occupant unknown, was found nearby. But Greek authorities have not yet allowed the public to visit the site of the tomb.

Haris Iordanidis/EPA/Landov

Speculation over who is buried in the tomb has drawn a steady stream of visitors to nearby Mesolakkia, where the village’s president — Athanassios Zounatzis, a silver-haired, retired tobacco farmer — now doubles as a tour guide.

“We’ve seen tour buses full of German tourists, the Dutch have gone, even a few American families,” he says. “And they all ask, ‘Where is the tomb?’ But they leave disappointed, because they don’t even get a glimpse.”

That’s because Greek police have set up a roadblock to the excavation, which left Bernard Boehler, an art historian from Vienna, looking longingly at a grassy hill obscuring the site.

“Needless to say, we are more than curious to see a little bit more, but we realize there is heavy surveillance and we can’t come closer,” Boehler says.

Archaeologists say the secrecy and security surrounding the tomb is about keeping the facts straight. They’re also worried that visitors could get hurt at the partially excavated site.

But retired sanitation worker Giorgos Karaiskakis, who has visited the roadblock to the site three times, says he suspects the measures are also related to the conflict with neighboring Macedonia — the former Yugoslav republic — over who owns Alexander the Great. This discovery, he says, is just more proof that Alexander belongs to Greece.

“This great discovery doesn’t get us out of the crisis, because if you don’t have money, what are you going to do?” he says. “But it shows one more time that Macedonia is here, OK? Not up there with the Slavs.”

Regardless of where Macedonia is, the tomb likely doesn’t hold its most famous son, Alexander, who died at age 32 in Babylon, now in modern-day Iraq. It also doesn’t likely hold his immediate family, such as his son Alexander IV, who is likely buried at one of the royal tombs in Aigai, the ancient first capital of Macedonia which is located near the present-day northern Greek city of Vergina, and also likely contains the remains of Alexander’s father, Philip II.

So who might be buried there?

Robin Lane Fox, a noted historian at Oxford University and an expert on ancient Macedonia, says the existing scholarship suggests the tomb might belong to a top admiral in Alexander’s empire-expanding Macedonian army, someone such as Nearchus, Alexander’s best friend since childhood.

In Plutarch’s Life of Alexander, another important friend of Alexander’s — Demaratus of Corinth — was honored with an individual grave mound over his burial site that is comparable in size to the one at Amphipolis, Lane Fox says.

“So my suspicion is that this is a very high-ranking companion in Alexander’s former army, who has returned back or has been returned back as a body to his home in Amphipolis,” he says.

But Olga Palagia, an archaeologist at the University of Athens, suspects that the Amphipolis tomb might not be Greek at all — but Roman.

“Nobody has realized that Amphipolis was a very significant place in the first century B.C. because it was the headquarters of a huge Roman army led by Marc Antony and Octavian when they were fighting Brutus and Cassius, who had killed Julius Caesar,” she says.

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Athanasios Zournatzis heads the village of Mesolakkia near the tomb. Though the public has not been allowed to visit the tomb itself, he says he’s seen a steady stream of international visitors since the discovery was announced. “We were just a sleepy village of tobacco and almond farmers,” he says. “Now, suddenly we’re a tourist attraction.”

Joanna Kakissis for NPR


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Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Athanasios Zournatzis heads the village of Mesolakkia near the tomb. Though the public has not been allowed to visit the tomb itself, he says he's seen a steady stream of international visitors since the discovery was announced. We were just a sleepy village of tobacco and almond farmers, he says. Now, suddenly we're a tourist attraction.

Athanasios Zournatzis heads the village of Mesolakkia near the tomb. Though the public has not been allowed to visit the tomb itself, he says he’s seen a steady stream of international visitors since the discovery was announced. “We were just a sleepy village of tobacco and almond farmers,” he says. “Now, suddenly we’re a tourist attraction.”

Joanna Kakissis for NPR

Palagia, an expert in ancient sculpture, hasn’t visited the site, but says the Amphipolis sculptures look Roman, not Greek. If the tomb is a monument to Roman generals, she says, it won’t mean much to Greece.

“Modern Greeks are very insular, inward looking and extremely traumatized by the financial crisis,” she says. “I think they will feel really cheated if it’s not Greek.”

Peristeri, the lead archaeologist in Amphipolis, insists that the site is Greek, beyond a doubt.

That’s also the sentiment back at Mesolakkia, where the townspeople remember a Greek archaeologist named Dimitris Lazaridis, who first discovered the Amphipolis mound in the 1950s but ran out of money to excavate it. Lazaridis said he also suspected that the tomb contained a major Macedonian tomb.

“He was sure of it,” says Alexandros Kochliariades, who worked for 30 years as a guard for Lazaridis, who excavated other sites in the area. “Now, so many years later, his hypothesis is turning out to be true.”

Kochliarides sips coffee at a gas-station cafe near Mesolakkia, the village which has now become ground zero for what one archaeologist called “Amphipolimania.” The retired guard says he understands why the tomb means so much to Greeks right now, who have suffered a psychological as well as economic beating during the four years of the debt crisis.

“It reminds us that we are rich, in history at least,” he says. “And that Amphipolis was once the apple of an empire.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/09/29/350658131/whos-buried-in-the-magnificent-tomb-from-ancient-greece?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

Air Campaign Against ISIS Continues As Rebels Look To Regroup

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 28 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

For nearly a week now, airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies have pounded targets in Syria. The goal is to weaken the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled across the Turkish border in the past week. Yesterday, the Obama administration said it was considering establishing a no-fly zone along the border in an attempt to protect civilians. We’ll talk in a moment about how the strikes are affecting the fight against ISIS in Iraq. But first, we go to NPR’s Middle East correspondent Deborah Amos, who’s just back from the border. Hi, Deb.

DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: Hi.

RATH: So Deb, earlier this week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the airstrikes were targeting the financial heart of ISIS – oil refineries. How is the strategy affecting ISIS’s progress on the ground?

AMOS: You know, the momentum against ISIS is building, but so far it really hasn’t slowed them down. And in one particular fight you can see it, and that’s in the town of Kobani. It’s on the Syrian-Turkish border. I talked to one Syrian activist. His son is fighting there. And he called and said dad, I might die here. The fight points to some of the contradictions of the U.S. airstrikes. You know, the fighters have been begging for strikes. ISIS is less than six miles from town. Now finally today, for the first time, there were strikes. A reporter tweeting from Kobani wrote a few hours ago that it has silenced some artillery positions, but one cannon is still shelling. At the same time, the government-controlled news agency in Damascus had a very curious tweet from a nightclub, advertising the last roof party of the season. Damascus is portraying itself as the normal partner for this war against ISIS. At the same time, they are barrel-bombing neighborhoods in rebel positions in the North. So what you have is Damascus bombing some of the rebel groups that were vetted by the United States and given weapons.

RATH: Now, you’ve spoken with some of the civilians, the Syrian civilians there in Turkey. How do they feel about the U.S.-led airstrikes?

AMOS: You know, Syrians inside Syria protested against these airstrikes on Friday. They are focused on barrel bombs dropped by the regime. I spent some time tonight with an activist and a writer. His name is Yassin Haj Saleh and he’s often called the conscience of the revolution. He wrote this piece called “We Are Trapped Between Three Monsters: The Regime, ISIS And The U.S.” He is concerned that the Assad regime will take advantage of what is happening with these strikes. They continue to strike at the rebels. He says that U.S. intervention isn’t about justice for these terrible crimes of the regime. It’s about one particular group that the United States is after. And they are concerned that everything they fought for in the last three years simply goes under the table as the world focuses on ISIS.

RATH: NPR’s Deb Amos in Istanbul. Deb, thank you.

AMOS: Thank you.

RATH: And NPR’s Leila Fadel is in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. Leila, the airstrikes there have been going on much longer. And they started partly in reaction to ISIS targeting the ethnic Yazidi minority in Sinjar. Is there any progress toward retaking that region?

LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Well, what the airstrikes in Iraq really have done here, they’ve blunted ISIS advances in northern Iraq. But it really hasn’t rolled them back. So they’re still pretty much in control in the Sinjar area, in the city of Mosul, parts of Anbar, really a third of this country. They’re holding hostage women and children from that ethno-religious minority – the Yazidi community. So the airstrikes have stopped them from advancing in certain areas, but it’s not really wresting control from them.

RATH: When ISIS first swept into Iraq, it seemed that many Iraqi Sunnis tentatively embraced them as better than a central Iraqi government that had sidelined them. Are you seeing a change in how the Sunnis are viewing ISIS?

FADEL: Yeah, you are. It’s been months now that they’ve had to live under ISIS. And at first, ISIS gave a face that they were better than this Iraqi government, that they would treat the civilians better. But now you’re seeing brutal killings in the street, public executions. And so a lot of the Sunni community is starting to say well, I guess this is a huge danger. We need the world to fight them. Now that doesn’t mean everybody has turned and the concerns over this government have changed. There’s just – it’s just become untenable in certain areas. And they are looking for a quick solution.

RATH: And now the political situation’s changed. There’s a new prime minister in Baghdad. Also, a new coalition – a growing coalition – that President Obama hoped would help in the fight against ISIS. What has been the role though of the Iraqi military in this?

FADEL: Well, the Iraqi military has really disintegrated in the face of ISIS. Just last week, we saw in Anbar province in an area called Saqlawiyah, outside of Fallujah, they were starved out. They ran out of ammunition. Baghdad didn’t get them anymore. And ISIS totally took that division headquarters.

This is not an army that can really move offensively if airstrikes create a pathway. In the Sunni-Arab communities, tribal leaders there are saying we need to fight ourselves. People have a little bit more faith in this new prime minister. But as one Sunni leader told me this week, we’ve been living on promises so far. We haven’t seen any change yet. And so they’re a bit skeptical of Baghdad, still skeptical of this Iraqi army. And so those who are willing to fight want to fight themselves, not depend on Baghdad.

RATH: NPR’s Leila Fadel in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil. Leila, thank you.

FADEL: Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/27/352064456/air-campaign-against-isis-continues-as-rebels-look-to-regroup?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

How Is Fujifilm Helping In The Fight Against Ebola?

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 28 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

The international community is mobilizing on an unprecedented scale to try to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Speaking to the United Nations on Thursday, President Obama called the virus a threat to regional and global security, pledging additional supplies and personnel to the region. In addition, China, Great Britain and other countries are coordinating military and civilian teams to join the U.N. mission for Ebola emergency response. Last month, Japan offered a supply of the experimental drug, Avigan, an antiviral drug some believe could help treat Ebola symptoms. The company behind the offer, the maker of Avigan, is Fujifilm. Joshua Hunt writes about Japan for The New Yorker and looked into why a photography company is getting into the drug business.

JOSHUA HUNT: In Japan, where one quarter of the population is aged 65 years or older, it’s one of the few growth industries really – is medicine and health. Fujifilm first got into patent medicines, over-the-counter medicines and cosmetics. They did that in 2006. And then two years later, they acquired Toyama Chemical, which is the pharmaceutical company that developed this drug Avigan.

RATH: Obviously in this instance, they’re not going to make money by giving away drugs for free. Is there a bigger business strategy behind developing these antiviral drugs?

HUNT: You know, Japan is a country that really does actually care about its international image quite a lot. You know, Fujifilm can afford to give this drug away, even in pretty large doses, without incurring a significant loss. It’s already been developed. It’s already got a market scale. It’s been produced for a mass-market and is sort of ready to go.

RATH: Well, given how digital photography and camera phones have really undercut the film and camera business, can you imagine a time when Fujifilm almost is totally out of the photography business and focusing more on these more profitable areas.

HUNT: You know, it’s really difficult to imagine that kind of scenario. Beginning around 2000, Fujifilm saw its business in film producing go from representing about two-thirds of its profit to virtually none of them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t produce any kind of profit at all. Fujifilm markets a line of cameras called Instax, which work a bit like an old Polaroid. And the thing about that is Fujifilm’s able to sell those cameras, which are becoming very very popular, very cheaply. And then they’re able to get people hooked on the film, which is quite expensive actually.

RATH: You know, Joshua, this makes me think of another big Japanese company, Sony, where they’ve been losing money on their electronics. They only seem to make money on movies and locally in Japan on insurance. Is this going to be a technique that company’s like Sony might say this is the way to go?

HUNT: You know, actually a lot of Japanese companies now are getting into the pharmaceutical market. Fujifilm did it sooner. And so they’re going to benefit from that. But like I said, in a rapidly aging country like Japan, pharmaceuticals and healthcare in general is one of the few growth industries. So you’ll see more and more companies moving into it.

RATH: Joshua Hunt writes for The New Yorker. Joshua, thanks very much.

HUNT: Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/27/352064491/how-is-fujifilm-helping-in-the-fight-against-ebola?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

How Is The Arab Press Covering Its Own Crisis?

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 28 2014

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Arab countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have joined the U.S.-led airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State, which got us wondering, how is the war on ISIS being covered in Arab countries? Lina Khatib is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. I asked her first how news media in Arab countries are dealing with the problem of what to call the terrorist group – ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State?

LINA KHATIB: There is one name that is basically the abbreviation of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which in Arabic becomes (speaking Arabic). And in Arabic, Syria and the Levant are more or less the same name. So everybody just calls it ISIS basically.

RATH: So obviously a lot of the coverage in the West about ISIS has focused on the fate of several Western hostages who were recently murdered. What is the coverage like of ISIS in the Arab news media, as much as you can generalize?

KHATIB: There is consensus amongst the Arab news media, regardless of their country of origin or ideological leaning, that ISIS is a terrorist organization. ISIS does not have a single ally in the Middle East – not Iran, not any Arab country, not even, you know, Turkey. Everybody unanimously calls ISIS a terrorist organization in their coverage.

RATH: And are there any dramatic differences in coverage among Arab countries?

KHATIB: The dramatic differences are not about ISIS itself, but about the current attack by the coalition against ISIS. The different ways in which these channels are covering ISIS have more to do with the political position of each channel.

RATH: So can you run through say, like, the Syrian state media and the other media? Have they been supportive of the U.S. airstrikes?

KHATIB: Yes. They are broadly supportive. However, in the beginning, the Syrian state media was critical of the coalition’s airstrikes, saying that they threaten Syrian sovereignty. But now we are seeing a shift in coverage. Al Mayadeen, for example, which is a TV station that reaches the whole of the Arab world but that is affiliated with the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the Assad regime, talks about how Assad is basically helping the United States in this campaign by also bombing ISIS targets. The station wants to validate the role of Assad as a counterterrorism partner for the West.

RATH: Interesting. And what about the coverage from countries that are anti-Assad?

KHATIB: Qatar, for example, hosts Al Jazeera and it’s a very vocal channel that is anti-Assad. And this channel is very much supportive of the coalition. And here we see a very blatant coverage of the brutality of ISIS. And there’s a lot of coverage in other pan-Arab media, from countries affiliated with the coalition that present the Arab forces helping the U.S. in this campaign in a very positive light.

RATH: There were photographs released by Saudi Arabia of some of the pilots involved in the campaign. Also, we heard about a female pilot that was involved from the United Arab Emirates. I’m curious how that’s played out in the media.

KHATIB: Both of these sets of images are about presenting Saudi Arabia and UAE as modern, progressive states. And also – especially in the case of the Saudi fighter pilots – trying to get Arab audiences to have heroes to identify with, which would counter the attraction of ISIS leaders, you know, when they appear in the media and their kind of exalted status that’s meant to attract recruits. So this is definitely part of the propaganda against ISIS, using, in a way, similar strategies to ISIS itself.

RATH: Lina Khatib is the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Thanks very much.

KHATIB: Thank you.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR’s prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/2014/09/27/352064463/how-is-the-arab-press-covering-its-own-crisis?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world

The Ebola Survivor Who Works In An Ebola Ward

Uncategorized | Posted by Israel Grossman Attorney
Sep 27 2014

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Patients recovering from Ebola at the Kenema treatment center must remain behind white plastic fencing until they are officially discharged.

Peter Breslow/NPR


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Peter Breslow/NPR

Patients recovering from Ebola at the Kenema treatment center must remain behind white plastic fencing until they are officially discharged.

Patients recovering from Ebola at the Kenema treatment center must remain behind white plastic fencing until they are officially discharged.

Peter Breslow/NPR

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Survivor Dauda Fullah now works in the Ebola ward in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Here he emerges soaking wet from his shift inside the stifling ward, where he wears full body protection.

Peter Breslow/NPR


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Peter Breslow/NPR

Survivor Dauda Fullah now works in the Ebola ward in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Here he emerges soaking wet from his shift inside the stifling ward, where he wears full body protection.

Survivor Dauda Fullah now works in the Ebola ward in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Here he emerges soaking wet from his shift inside the stifling ward, where he wears full body protection.

Peter Breslow/NPR

Dauda Fullah works in the tent where he faced his own death.

The skinny 23-year-old was an Ebola patient at the treatment center set up at Kenema Hospital in Sierra Leone.

Fullah’s father had contracted the disease a few months ago and died a few days later. He helped bury his dad; that night he came down with a fever.

“I had to run fast to the hospital, because I knew that I have been with my dad,” he recalls. He tested positive for Ebola and was admitted to this clinic. Then, the rest of his family fell ill and joined him inside the tent: his stepmother, his younger brother and sister, his grandmother.

Fullah recovered. But one by one, his family members passed away, just a few yards from his bed.

Before he fell ill, Fullah had worked as a lab technician in a hospital. When he got better, he asked if he could work at the Ebola ward. He was hired to draw blood.

He feels it’s a way of helping out, just as other helped him when he was ill, “going in, sacrific[ing] their lives to fight for mine. So I have to do the same. I have that humanitarian feeling for those admitted here now.”

He provides more than medical support. Helena Makeni, a nurse who cared for Fullah, says that he encourages the patients who are really struggling. He goes up to them and says, “Look, I’ve been through this, and I survived. Just do what the doctors say, and keep fighting.” And they listen.

To Makeni, who’s seen 37 colleagues contract Ebola and die, it makes sense to hire survivors like Fullah. She believes “they are more safer than us.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s unclear if Ebola survivors have long-term immunity to the disease. There are no known cases of Ebola survivors getting reinfected, and monkeys remain immune for years. But there’s not enough data on humans to be certain.

Nonetheless, the CDC and other health organizations are planning to train survivors to work in Ebola treatment centers and provide home care. As a precaution, protective gear is provided. Fullah wears a plastic suit, goggles and rubber gloves.

The job is brutal in many ways. “It’s really hot,” he says, emerging from a shift soaked in sweat. “Very much difficult to work in there because you don’t have fresh air around you.”

Then there’s the emotional stress. “It’s very, very hard seeing people die. Really, I don’t want to talk about it.” But he says he’ll stand by the doctors and nurses, who are now like family to him.

“Every day I pray for my colleagues,” he says, “so that this Ebola thing, the Almighty will just take it far away from the world.”

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/26/351735172/the-ebola-survivor-who-works-in-an-ebola-ward?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=world