Browsing articles from "September, 2015"

Hungary Declares Emergency As It Blocks Migrants At Border

Sep 15, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Hungary Declares Emergency As It Blocks Migrants At Border

A young man and his son lean on a border stone after he was stopped by Hungarian soldiers at the border exit between Serbia and Hungary in Asotthalom near Roszke, southern Hungary, Tuesday.i

A young man and his son lean on a border stone after he was stopped by Hungarian soldiers at the border exit between Serbia and Hungary in Asotthalom near Roszke, southern Hungary, Tuesday.

Matthias Schrader/AP


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A young man and his son lean on a border stone after he was stopped by Hungarian soldiers at the border exit between Serbia and Hungary in Asotthalom near Roszke, southern Hungary, Tuesday.

A young man and his son lean on a border stone after he was stopped by Hungarian soldiers at the border exit between Serbia and Hungary in Asotthalom near Roszke, southern Hungary, Tuesday.

Matthias Schrader/AP

With new border control laws taking effect in Hungary, the country has sealed its border with Serbia. Processing areas that were packed with more than 9,300 refugees and other migrants Monday now stand empty.

Hungary declared a crisis in two southern counties Tuesday, as crowds of migrants were halted in Serbia, having missed the midnight deadline before the new and stricter laws took effect.

The new laws require people to enter Hungary only with passports and at official border posts — a requirement bolstered by a 110-mile fence along the Serbian border. Asylum cases are to be reviewed by courts.

Today, the scene along that border is starkly different than on many recent days. Around 200,000 refugees and migrants have crossed into Hungary this year; many of them are among of the more than 4 million people who have fled violence in Syria since 2011.

Describing the scene at one former processing area in southern Hungary, Lauren Frayer reports for our Newscast desk:

“Aid agencies are dismantling huge tents. Cleanup crews rake trash into piles. Portable toilets are loaded onto trucks.

“Thousands of migrants who’d slept rough in this corn field for days have been bused to the Austrian border. The Serbian border here is sealed. People can only cross through official border posts. The railway tracks where they had streamed into Hungary by the tens of thousands are now blocked with barbed wire.

“New laws make it illegal to tamper with that new fence, or climb over it — punishable with up to three years in prison.”

Lauren says that the authorities detained 16 people after midnight, when the new laws took effect.

The move to stiffen border controls comes one day after Hungary sent police and soldiers to form a human chain along the border ahead of the midnight deadline for the new law to take effect, as the Two-Way reported yesterday.

The tightened border has created a new problem for people hoping to cross Hungary and find a new life in the European Union.

The BBC reports:
“Around midday there were tense scenes as hundreds streamed towards the fence, some searching for a way through and others starting a sit-down strike, throwing down food and water in protest at not being granted passage.”

Songs We Love: Moving Panoramas, ‘One’

Sep 15, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Songs We Love: Moving Panoramas, ‘One’

Moving Panoramas' debut album, One, comes out Oct. 2.i

Moving Panoramas’ debut album, One, comes out Oct. 2.

Shelley Hiam/Courtesy of the artist


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Shelley Hiam/Courtesy of the artist

Moving Panoramas' debut album, One, comes out Oct. 2.

Moving Panoramas’ debut album, One, comes out Oct. 2.

Shelley Hiam/Courtesy of the artist

Simplicity is the biggest governing influence on Moving Panoramas. The Austin trio understands how to leave space for the listener. You instinctively lean into the sparseness, trying to tease out what makes the songs tick.

Moving Panoramas, One (Modern Outsider)

Moving Panoramas, One (Modern Outsider)

Courtesy of the artist


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Courtesy of the artist

Guitarist Leslie Sisson honed her songwriting chops with the Wooden Birds, another Austin group that used simplicity like an instrument. Here, she teams up with bassist Rozie Castoe (her former student at the School of Rock) and Black Forest Fire drummer Karen Skloss. The trio’s debut album, One, kicks off with not a bang so much as a spark, lighting the fire that burns slow and steady. The title-track opener takes its cues from bands like Galaxie 500, Low, or Cocteau Twins, delivering hooks through harmonies, atmosphere, and Sisson’s snaking guitar lines. The biggest draw, though, isn’t musical; it’s universal. “One is how we all came in / One is how we all will go / We all know one is the number we all fear the most,” sings Sisson. The ingredients and the sentiment might be simple, but the outcome is disarmingly complex.

One is out Oct. 2 on Modern Outsider.

Report: America’s Aging Voting Machines Could Present Election Problems

Sep 15, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Report: America’s Aging Voting Machines Could Present Election Problems

A voter fills out her ballot in Las Vegas in 2004. A new report finds several states, including Nevada, have voting machines more than 10 years old which makes them more likely to fail.i

A voter fills out her ballot in Las Vegas in 2004. A new report finds several states, including Nevada, have voting machines more than 10 years old which makes them more likely to fail.

David McNew/Getty Images


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A voter fills out her ballot in Las Vegas in 2004. A new report finds several states, including Nevada, have voting machines more than 10 years old which makes them more likely to fail.

A voter fills out her ballot in Las Vegas in 2004. A new report finds several states, including Nevada, have voting machines more than 10 years old which makes them more likely to fail.

David McNew/Getty Images

Voting machines around the United States are coming to the end of their useful lives. Breakdowns are increasingly common. Spare parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find. That could be a serious problem for next year’s presidential elections.

Allen County, Ohio, election director Ken Terry knows how bad things can get. In the last presidential election, he had to replace the Zip disks — a 1990s technology — in the main machine his county uses to count votes. The disks are no longer made. And when he finally got some from the voting machine manufacturer:

“They actually had a coupon in them. They were sealed and everything. And the coupon had expired in … 1999,” he said.

And, to make matters worse, Terry said his voting machines use memory cards that hold only 250 megabytes of data — a tiny fraction of what you can store today on $6 thumb drive. “You know by today’s standards that’s just absurd,” he said.

And Allen County is by no means alone dealing with antiquated voting equipment. In Michigan, optical scan machines purchased in 2005 are breaking down at an increasing rate. That can be frustrating for voters and election workers, Oakland County election director Joe Rozell said.

“We’ve all become experts with cans of compressed air, trying to clear any debris or any pieces of paper that may have jammed the ballot path,” he said.

Michigan is trying to get new machines for next year’s elections. But that’s not the case in Ohio, and most other states with aging equipment. According to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, 43 states will use some voting equipment next year that’s at least 10 years old.

“We’re not saying that all the systems are going to fail on Election Day — most systems will work. But the closer you get to this end of projected lifespan, the more likely you’re going to see problems,” said Larry Norden, one of the report’s authors.

Problems such as vote flipping — that’s when a voter presses one candidate’s name only to have the opponent’s name light up. It happen when the glue on touch screen machines gets old and erodes. Norden said everything’s coming to a head at once because almost every state bought new computerized voting equipment right after the disputed 2000 election, using $2 billion in federal aid. But he says now there’s neither the money nor the same sense of urgency.

“More than one official has said to me [that] legislators [and] county funders are waiting for a disaster, which I think is crazy,” he said.

Although disaster does seem increasingly possible. Earlier this year, the state of Virginia realized that machines used in 20 percent of the state were vulnerable to hackers and immediately ordered them replaced.

“It’s not a cheap endeavor. You know we’re talking, probably $10-12,000 a precinct,” said state election commissioner Edgardo Cortes. That means hundreds of thousands of dollars for some counties, he said.

He worries that while rich counties will be okay, poorer ones will struggle — especially after the legislature rejected the governor’s request for $28 million to buy new voting equipment statewide.

Some local governments, he said, just “can’t afford at this point to put out that kind of money.”

And the Brennan Center found a similar pattern in other states, where wealthier counties are getting new equipment, while poorer ones are not.

Cortes and other election officials said they’re not really worried about losing votes — most systems have paper ballot backups — but they do worry about maintaining voter confidence if broken machines mean longer lines and confusion at the polls.

Cortes said voters need to be confident “that the democratic process is working and that elections are as easy as possible to participate in for all our eligible citizens.”

That’s a challenge, given that so many voters already say they’ve lost faith in the political process.

North Korea Says It’s Ready To Launch Satellites Aboard Rockets

Sep 15, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on North Korea Says It’s Ready To Launch Satellites Aboard Rockets

North Korea said Monday it is ready to launch multiple satellites aboard long-range rockets to mark the ruling communist party’s anniversary next month, a move expected to rekindle animosities with its rivals South Korea and the United States.

The North’s state media quoted the head of the national aerospace agency as saying the country has been making “shining achievements” in space technology ahead of the 70th birthday of the Workers’ Party. It said scientists were pushing forward on a final development phase for an earth observation satellite for weather forecasts.

“Space development for peaceful purposes is a sovereign state’s legitimate right … and the people of (North Korea) are fully determined to exercise this right no matter what others may say,” the Korean Central News Agency said, quoting the agency director who was not identified by name

The world will “clearly see a series of satellites soaring into the sky at times and locations determined” by the Workers’ Party, it said.

The launches, if made, are certain to trigger an international standoff, with Seoul, Washington and other neighboring countries condemning past launches by North Korea as disguised tests of its long-range missile technology.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the launch would represent a “serious” violation of U.N. resolutions, but added it had not detected any signs indicating North Korea was preparing such a launch.

North Korea has spent decades trying to perfect a multistage, long-range rocket. After several failures, it put its first satellite into space with a long-range rocket launched in late 2012. The U.N. said it was a banned test of ballistic missile technology and imposed sanctions. Experts say that ballistic missiles and rockets in satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technology.

An angry North Korea then conducted its third nuclear test in February 2013, inviting further international condemnation and sanctions.

Washington sees North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as a threat to world security and to its Asian allies, Japan and South Korea.

North Korea says it has already built a nuclear warhead small enough to be loaded on a long-range missile that can threaten the United States. Analysts are skeptical of that claim but believe a fourth nuclear test would put the North a step closer toward its goal of manufacturing such a miniaturized warhead.

he North’s announcement Monday also raised doubt about recent signs of easing animosities between the rival Koreas, which have agreed to hold reunions next month of families separated by war. The two Koreas previously threatened each other with war in August in the wake of mine explosions blamed on Pyongyang that maimed two South Korean soldiers earlier in that month.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea.

At Least 400 Homes Destroyed By New California Fire

Sep 14, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on At Least 400 Homes Destroyed By New California Fire

Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire Sunday, near Middletown, Calif. The fast-moving fire has consumed 50,000 acres after growing 40,000 acres in twelve hours and is currently zero percent contained.i

Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire Sunday, near Middletown, Calif. The fast-moving fire has consumed 50,000 acres after growing 40,000 acres in twelve hours and is currently zero percent contained.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images


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Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire Sunday, near Middletown, Calif. The fast-moving fire has consumed 50,000 acres after growing 40,000 acres in twelve hours and is currently zero percent contained.

Firefighters monitor a backfire as they battle the Valley Fire Sunday, near Middletown, Calif. The fast-moving fire has consumed 50,000 acres after growing 40,000 acres in twelve hours and is currently zero percent contained.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

An unusually fast-moving wildfire in Northern California’s Lake and Napa counties has destroyed at least 400 homes since it started Saturday, officials say. The fire is 0 percent contained; it has injured four firefighters, and authorities are investigating reports of a civilian death.

Thousands of people were placed under evacuation orders after strong winds helped the so-called Valley wildfire explode to 50,000 acres in just one day. It’s burning in an area about 100 miles north of San Francisco and just below the southern tip of the Mendocino National Forest.

Several hundred evacuees in Northern California spent last night at emergency shelters at fairgrounds and other facilities. In Calistoga, Calif., an area resident described the profound loss to Danielle Venton of member station KQED.

“Donna Clevenger is one of the thousands affected and says the loss is mind boggling,” Venton reports.

“All that’s left of the house is the chimney. It’s devastating. It’s devastating,” Clevenger says. “I’m 56 years old and I’ve been out on my own since I was 18 and I’ve accumulated almost 40 years of stuff and it’s gone. Overnight.”

As the Two-Way reported Sunday, “California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency as firefighters in the state’s north battling expanding wildfires, intensified by a prolonged drought.”

You can follow current fire conditions in California with member station KPCC’s Firetracker tool.

Kim Davis Back At Work, But Remains Defiant

Sep 14, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Kim Davis Back At Work, But Remains Defiant

Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is back to work today – but in a statement in front of her office says she will stand firm on her convictions and refuse to defy God’s definition of marriage.

First Listen: Mac Miller, ‘GO:OD AM’

Sep 14, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on First Listen: Mac Miller, ‘GO:OD AM’

GO:OD AM comes out September 18.i

GO:OD AM comes out September 18.

Brick Stowell/Courtesy of the artist


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Brick Stowell/Courtesy of the artist

GO:OD AM comes out September 18.

GO:OD AM comes out September 18.

Brick Stowell/Courtesy of the artist

It’s a new day for Mac Miller. In just a few years the 23-year-old rapper from Pittsburgh has gone from teenage Internet sensation to top-selling—albeit critically-maligned—indie artist to accepted and respected oddity. In that time he’s learned that the byproducts of fortune and fame at a young age can be depression and addiction. Now, emerging from a dark period—a long night if you will—he presents GO:OD AM (a stylized play on the greeting “good morning”), his major label debut, and evidence that he has entered the next phase in his life and career.

The album starts off with the dreamy calm of the Tyler, The Creator-produced “Doors.” Over sleepy strings and playful piano Miller sings instead of raps: “Ain’t sayin’ that I’m sober, I’m just in a better place.” And throughout the album it seems true. He’s not the dark, drug-addled Mac Miller of his 2014 mixtape Faces, but he’s also not the wide-eyed kid who made the platinum hit “Donald Trump” anymore. On GO:OD AM, he’s a young man who ruminates on life and its contradictions (“Perfect Circle/ God Speed”) but is finally comfortable enough to revel in his success instead of lamenting its drawbacks (“100 Grandkids”).

With a balanced new perspective comes a well-balanced variety of sounds. Longtime Mac Miller collaborators ID Labs contribute the bulk of the album’s diverse production, providing lush soul-stirring organs and a rich bass line on “Brand Name,” bombastic percussion on “When In Rome” and the ethereal synths of the album’s closing cut “Festival,” which features Little Dragon. Miller matches the range well, whether it’s crooning in his nasal Pittsburgh drawl on “ROS” or nimbly twisting words on “Cut The Check.” Not to be outdone on the aforementioned song, guest Chief Keef delivers clever one-liners like “I was posted with the hammer, y’all was telling’ po-lice / now I wrestle with the racks, b****, I’m Mick Foley.”

The most surprising, yet appropriate, guest appearance comes from Internet prophet Lil’ B on “Time Flies.” While Miller reflects on his experiences in the verses, the Based God waxes philosophic on the song’s choruses, pondering time and our place in it: “As we keep livin’ and keep bein’ positive, all we can do is hold on to these memories.” He’s right: time moves forward and moments are fleeting. For the new and improved Mac Miller we can only hope that his newfound clarity and moment in the sun will last a long time.

Ferguson Commission Shines Light On Racially Divided St. Louis

Sep 14, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Ferguson Commission Shines Light On Racially Divided St. Louis

Members of the Ferguson Commission, including co-chairman Starsky Wilson, second from right, listen at a recent hearing of the Ferguson Commission. After months of deliberation, the commission is releasing a report laying bare racial and economic inequalities in the St. Louis region, and calling for change.i

Members of the Ferguson Commission, including co-chairman Starsky Wilson, second from right, listen at a recent hearing of the Ferguson Commission. After months of deliberation, the commission is releasing a report laying bare racial and economic inequalities in the St. Louis region, and calling for change.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio


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Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the Ferguson Commission, including co-chairman Starsky Wilson, second from right, listen at a recent hearing of the Ferguson Commission. After months of deliberation, the commission is releasing a report laying bare racial and economic inequalities in the St. Louis region, and calling for change.

Members of the Ferguson Commission, including co-chairman Starsky Wilson, second from right, listen at a recent hearing of the Ferguson Commission. After months of deliberation, the commission is releasing a report laying bare racial and economic inequalities in the St. Louis region, and calling for change.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

When Michael Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last August, his death set off riots and violence — and posed deep questions about race relations in America. The Ferguson Commission, appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, was tasked with finding some answers.

The commission set out to examine racial and economic gaps through the St. Louis region, and come up with policy recommendations. In their final report, the commission provides an unvarnished look at how a racially divided St. Louis underserves the African-American community.

The report provides a host of recommendations to transform how the region polices and educates itself – and its most vulnerable citizens. And in many cases, the suggestions would require the backing of a state legislature that may well balk.

In all of this, Starsky Wilson, the co-chairman of the commission, knows he’s venturing into familiar territory.

A Long History Of Failed ‘Riot Commissions’

During the commission’s final meeting last week, Wilson, a St. Louis religious leader, talked about the work of political scientist Lindsey Lupo, who penned a book examining nearly one hundred years of “riot commissions” set up after American rebellion and unrest.

Many of these commissions failed, Lupo argued, because they failed to tackle latent racial tensions and systemic discrimination.

But Wilson and his fellow commission members are taking another path. Wilson looked to places like Cincinnati where residents dealt head-on with their community’s inequities — not just settling for “accommodation and quiet.” And the Commission’s final report, set to be publicly released today, pulls no punches about the underlying causes behind last year’s unrest.

“We have not moved beyond race,” the final report states.

“St. Louis does not have a proud history on this topic, and we are still suffering the consequences of decisions made by our predecessors. …We are not pointing fingers and calling individual people racist. We are not even suggesting that institutions or existing systems intend to be racist.

“What we are pointing out is that the data suggests, time and again, that our institutions and existing systems are not equal, and that this has racial repercussions,” the report continues. “Black people in the region feel those repercussions when it comes to law enforcement, the justice system, housing, health, education, and income.”

To change that status quo, the report points to several dozen “signature priorities.” They include changes to law enforcement practices, economic development strategy and education policies. While many of the ideas could be implemented without governmental actions, some of the big proposals will require the blessing of a state legislature that’s been hesitant to back overhauls of law enforcement.

The changes wouldn’t be easy or comfortable — but the commission’s leaders say the need is compelling.

A Focus On Criminal Justice

At the heart of the report are suggested changes to the region’s law enforcement agencies and municipal courts, including:

  • Bringing in Missouri’s attorney general as a special prosecutor for police-involved killings. The report also recommends using the Missouri Highway Patrol as an investigative agency.
  • Setting up a public database keeping track of police-involved killings from around the state.
  • Expanding the amount of police officer training, particularly on interacting with residents, handling demonstrations and dealing with minority communities.
  • Creating municipal and county review boards of police departments.
  • Consolidating municipal police departments and municipal courts.
  • Treating nonviolent offenses as civil violations – and collecting municipal court debts similarly to collecting civil debts.
  • Creating “Community Justice Centers” that would provide “case management and social work services,” giving judges and prosecutors “a broad range of alternative sentencing options.”

During an interview on St. Louis on the Air last month, Ferguson Commissioner Dan Isom said Missouri badly needs a law enforcement policy shift — especially when other states are making more progress.

“If we look at ourselves in comparison to other states, we’re behind the curve on police professionalism, accountability and oversight on the state level,” Isom, who is a former St. Louis police chief, said last month. “The reality is we’re going to have make the case that this is important for our community. … It’s important just on a human level for this. But it’s also important for the success for our region and our state.”

The report also includes a host of recommendations to improve St. Louis’ schools, including changing school discipline policies; establishing school-based health centers that provide “access to mental health, case management and reproductive health”; and expanding early childhood education.

It also suggests that the legislature adopt broader statewide policies, including expanding Medicaid eligibility, raising the minimum wage, cracking down on unscrupulous lenders and bolstering the amount of low-income housing.

“The response we have seen to the process says that people in St. Louis want to make a difference, and they believe that the region can be better,” the report states. “It also says they want to work together to do it. This report, and the policy changes we have called for, will be part of the legacy of the Ferguson Commission.”

With Prominent Opposition, Will Report ‘Gather Dust’?

The commission, which conducted roughly nine months’ worth of public hearings and other inquiries, doesn’t have the power to implement any of the recommendations.

In fact, many would require the backing of a GOP-controlled Missouri General Assembly that almost certainly will be hostile to some of the suggestions — especially expanding Medicaid or raising the minimum wage. Republicans may also balk at some of the law enforcement proposals – especially when they didn’t adopt some of them during the last legislative session.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who has long been skeptical of the commission, openly questioned if the report would vanish into history like other studies – such as the Kerner Commission report, which came about after racial riots in the 1960s.

While praising individual commission members for their work, Kinder last week challenged whether the Missouri Legislature would embrace the proposals. He’s also raised issues with the Commission’s costs, including paying managing director Bethany Johnson-Javois nearly $140,000 for her role. (Kinder notes that’s more than what the governor makes in a year.)

“I certainly hope that it will not be another commission report that gathers dust,” Kinder said. “But it was reasonable, I think, at the outset of this to have that suspicion and to question the budgetary outlays, which have … made this process very, very expensive.”

It’s not just Republicans who could be hostile to the proposals. St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch gained national attention for examining Brown’s shooting death. Many called for him to step aside from the inquiry because they felt he was too friendly with law enforcement.

But earlier this summer, he sharply criticized proposals to bring in special prosecutors for police shootings – calling them impractical and misguided.

“We elect prosecutors in the state of Missouri. And we elect them to do the job, and that includes investigating and prosecuting every case within that jurisdiction,” McCulloch said. “And if you don’t trust the prosecutor to do that, then don’t elect them. Or throw them out at the next election when it comes.”

At least one outside observer worries the Commission’s bully pulpit isn’t strong enough to engender policy change.

Al Gerhardstein is a Cincinnati attorney who helped facilitate a legally-binding agreement in his city after a rash of police shootings. Without the blessing of a court order, Gerherdstein isn’t sure that the Ferguson Commission’s suggestions will go anywhere.

“Blue-ribbon commissions generate reports that go into nice bound documents and then go on shelves,” he said. “We spent 20 years, probably 13 different reports, and never got anything accomplished.”

Optimism And ‘Natural Energy’

Still, some commissioners remain optimistic that their proposals will find favor with the public.

Gov. Nixon says he’ll use his last year in office to push for some of the Commission’s recommendations. While he faced immense criticism for how he handled the aftermath of Brown’s death, the governor says the lessons learned from the past year are too important to ignore.

“I do think that the splinter point was whether or not, with what happened last summer and into the fall, whether as a state we were going to back up and say ‘Problems don’t exist and we’re going to ignore them,’ ” Nixon said last week. “Or whether we’re going to lean forward and work together to move our state forward.”

Johnson-Javois said earlier this year that many people who provided suggestions to the commission are prepared to incorporate them — without legislative action — into schools, police departments and individual communities.

“People are getting excited about … how to implement,” Johnson-Javois said. “And that natural energy that’s built up is what’s already sustaining this beyond an individual, a leader or commission.”

While the commission’s charge is set to expire at the end of the year, Wilson said the individual members could go back to the corporate, educational, law enforcement and governmental realms to push for the policy changes in the report.

And while the report itself acknowledges that its recommendations may not be the complete answer for what ails St. Louis, it goes onto say “we believe to be the best starting point, the beginning of a path toward a better St. Louis.”

“We expect that as we travel, the path will change, and we’ll find ourselves navigating places we couldn’t have imagined,” the report states. “That is the nature of efforts like this.”

The Powerful Photos That Rocked Getty Images’ First Instagram Grant

Sep 13, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The Powerful Photos That Rocked Getty Images’ First Instagram Grant

Saju Talukdar had worked at  the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory before it collapsed. Having a job is important for a person and his family, he says. Our condition will never be as great as it was before. Previously my wife and I both worked and earned 18-20,000 takas per month. But now my income has decreased to only 6,000 per month.

Saju Talukdar had worked at the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory before it collapsed. “Having a job is important for a person and his family,” he says. “Our condition will never be as great as it was before. Previously my wife and I both worked and earned 18-20,000 takas per month. But now my income has decreased to only 6,000 per month.”

Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

People use Instagram to share all kinds of images online — taking selfies and posting photos of brunch, of course, but also discovering raw talent or telling stories that might not otherwise get attention.

That’s exactly what many photojournalists use Instagram for: posting photos to draw attention to issues they’re passionate about. And visual media giants like Getty Images have taken notice.

This past week, Getty Images awarded a $10,000 grant to three photographers — Ismail Ferdous of Bangladesh, Adriana Zehbrauska of Brazil and Dmitry Markov of Russia — for using Instagram to highlight stories from underrepresented communities around the world. The award, called the Getty Images Instagram Grant, is the first of its kind, and was created to recognize emerging talent on new digital platforms. The winners intend to use their grants to continue their work in photojournalism.

There were 1,200 entrants from 109 countries. A panel of documentary photographers judged the quality of their images, photographic technique, and most important, their storytelling ability within the small-screen constraints of Instagram’s platform, which Ismail Ferdous calls the “modern-day Polaroid camera.”

Adriana Zehbrauskas focused on the families of the 43 college students who went missing from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers School last fall in Mexico and were declared dead early this year, murdered by a drug gang. Dmitry Markov showcased snapshots of the orphaned children in Pskov, Russia, where he lives. And Ismail Ferdous took portraits of relatives of workers who died in the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh.

We asked each photographer about their winning images.

Adriana Zehbrauskas, a Brazilian-born photographer currently residing in Mexico City, has covered issues related to the Mexican drug war, migration and religion and is a regular contributor to The New York Times.

How has Instagram changed the way you take your photos?

“In the beginning, Instagram was a place for more personal photos, a bit of an extension of the new regained freedom I found shooting with my phone. Naturally it evolved to a place where I could post images from stories I was working on and that wouldn’t necessarily find a space in print.”

Angel, 8, tries to grab the star balloon his aunt had just brought home from work. Angel's dad is one of the missing 43 students

Angel, 8, tries to grab the star balloon his aunt had just brought home from work. Angel’s dad is one of the missing 43 students

Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient


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Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient

Oh, look! There's a donkey in my living room!!! was the photographer's Instagram caption.i

“Oh, look! There’s a donkey in my living room!!!” was the photographer’s Instagram caption.

Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Oh, look! There's a donkey in my living room!!! was the photographer's Instagram caption.

“Oh, look! There’s a donkey in my living room!!!” was the photographer’s Instagram caption.

Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Family Portrait After Church. Don Bernabe, left, and Dona Delfina, third from left, are the parents of missing Mexican student Adan Abrajan de la Cruz. They're posing with their godson, Marcos, and his mother, Dona Rosa.  i

“Family Portrait After Church.” Don Bernabe, left, and Dona Delfina, third from left, are the parents of missing Mexican student Adan Abrajan de la Cruz. They’re posing with their godson, Marcos, and his mother, Dona Rosa.

Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Family Portrait After Church. Don Bernabe, left, and Dona Delfina, third from left, are the parents of missing Mexican student Adan Abrajan de la Cruz. They're posing with their godson, Marcos, and his mother, Dona Rosa.

“Family Portrait After Church.” Don Bernabe, left, and Dona Delfina, third from left, are the parents of missing Mexican student Adan Abrajan de la Cruz. They’re posing with their godson, Marcos, and his mother, Dona Rosa.

Adriana Zehbrauskas/@AdrianaZehbrauskas/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Dmitry Markov is from Pskov, a town about 12 miles from the Estonian border, where he works with disabled children and volunteers for organizations providing support services to orphans. Markov describes his own childhood as “directionless” until he discovered his passion for journalism at age 16.

Tell us something surprising about your winning photos.

“I like taking pictures of kids in their late teens, since it’s the hardest thing to do. Teenagers are socially more closed. To take a picture of teenagers, you have to establish some contact and build trust. I like photographing people with animals — when a cat or a dog appears next to a person, they behave differently; they become more natural.”

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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Dmitry Markov/@dcim.ru/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Ismail Ferdous is an award-winning photojournalist from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Aside from his work on the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse, he has documented the effects of climate change, HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Guatemala.

What was the most challenging thing about taking these photos?

“It’s not an easy process approaching the people I’m photographing. I treat them gently because I feel most of them are still very fragile with their traumas. The majority of them appreciated me. They never would have thought someone would come to their door after two years to hear their stories.”

Rahela Begum lost her son at the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse: Whenever I go in front of Rana Plaza, I feel like my son will come back suddenly. My elder son told me to change our house but I denied him. I told him this house is attached with my son's memories and I will not leave this place at any cost.

Rahela Begum lost her son at the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse: “Whenever I go in front of Rana Plaza, I feel like my son will come back suddenly. My elder son told me to change our house but I denied him. I told him this house is attached with my son’s memories and I will not leave this place at any cost.”

Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Sujon Mia is a survivor of the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse: Everything around me changed after the collapse. If I want to visit someone, I need a separate car and someone to help me move. I cannot move like a normal person anymore. When I walk, I have the pressure of my whole body on the crutch which is really tiring. Our life is really hectic these days.

Sujon Mia is a survivor of the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory collapse: “Everything around me changed after the collapse. If I want to visit someone, I need a separate car and someone to help me move. I cannot move like a normal person anymore. When I walk, I have the pressure of my whole body on the crutch which is really tiring. Our life is really hectic these days.”

Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015


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Ismail Ferdous/@afterranaplaza/Getty Images Instagram Grant Recipient 2015

Explore the #GettyImagesInstagramGrant Instagram feed to see submissions and nominations to the grant around the world. Share your favorites with us on Twitter at @NPRGlobalHealth or in a comment below.

Hispanics May Think They Can’t Get Skin Cancer, But They’re Wrong

Sep 13, 2015   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Hispanics May Think They Can’t Get Skin Cancer, But They’re Wrong

U.S.-born Hispanics are more apt to have misconceptions about skin cancer, compared to non-Hispanic whites.i

U.S.-born Hispanics are more apt to have misconceptions about skin cancer, compared to non-Hispanic whites.

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U.S.-born Hispanics are more apt to have misconceptions about skin cancer, compared to non-Hispanic whites.

U.S.-born Hispanics are more apt to have misconceptions about skin cancer, compared to non-Hispanic whites.

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Hispanic Americans are more apt to be diagnosed with skin cancer in its later stages, when it’s more likely to be fatal. One reason is the misconception that people with darker skin are immune from skin cancer, researchers say. Another is that public health campaigns tend focus on lighter-skinned people, inadvertently reinforcing that belief.

“There is an idea among Hispanics that ‘People like me don’t get skin cancer,’ ” says Dr. Elliot J. Coups, a researcher and resident member at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “It’s true that they’re at lower risk, but they’re still at some risk — it’s not zero risk. Hispanic individuals can be diagnosed with skin cancer.”

The lifetime risk for being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is just 0.5 percent for Hispanics, compared to 2.4 percent in non-Hispanic whites and 0.1 percent in blacks, according to the American Cancer Society. But 26 percent of Hispanic patients with melanoma aren’t diagnosed until the cancer has progressed to the late stages, compared to 16 percent of white patients. That vastly increases their risk of death.

It’s not because people from Latin American countries don’t realize they need to protect themselves from the sun, Coups says. Instead, his research has found the opposite – that as Hispanic people assimilate to mainstream U.S. culture, they’re more likely put themselves at risk, with behaviors including lower use of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.

Add that to the fact that the vast majority of public health campaigns link skin cancer risk to skin tone, and it’s no wonder many Hispanics think they needn’t worry, says Jennifer Hay, a behavioral scientist and clinical health psychologist who treats melanoma patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

In 2014, Hay and her colleagues looked at skin cancer education practices in Albuquerque, N.M., where 40 percent of the city’s population self-identifies as Hispanic. She found that U.S.-born Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report misconceptions like, “People with skin cancer would have pain or other symptoms prior to diagnosis.”

They were less likely to have gotten skin-cancer screening from a physician and less likely to wear sun-protective clothing, but as likely to use sunscreen and seek shade as were non-Hispanic whites.

There needs to be an increase in culturally relevant skin cancer prevention campaigns that target ethnic minorities, Hays says. Her current research, conducted in Spanish Harlem in New York City, has found that people do want information on preventing skin cancer.

“What we found is that people are really receptive to this kind of information, but they have not had the kind of access to it that we would like to see,” says Hay. “That behooves us as public health researchers to find vehicles and channels to get this information out to more populations who could benefit from it.”

That’s not to say that skin tone doesn’t matter; lighter-skinned people still do face a greater risk. “Latinos have a wide range of skin types,” says Hay. “That range of skin type is much more important than whether one self-identifies as Latino or Hispanic. You can self-identify as Latino and still have very light skin.”

But Dr. Henry W. Lim, president of the American Academy of Dermatology and chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, says everyone, no matter their skin tone, should practice sun safety. “We should go out and enjoy outdoor activities, but we should try to seek shade and we should wear appropriate clothing to cover up.”

Ellie Hartleb is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

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