Daily Archives: March 14, 2015

City election to test Ferguson, Missouri's faith in the ballot

(Reuters) – After months of race-fueled street protests, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, will have a chance next month to press their demands in a different way: at the ballot box.

Eight candidates including four African Americans are vying for three available seats on Ferguson’s city council, promising change on a body that will be expected to introduce broad local reforms in a city shaken by the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer last August.

Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman for Ferguson Township who is running a voter education program ahead of the April 7 election, said the vote is an important opportunity for the city’s residents to take their demands to a new forum.

“Some people try to make the discussion about whether protests are more effective than voting, but I know that it takes both,” she said. “What some people don’t recognize is that protesting alone will not get the people you want into office.”

Ferguson has been in turmoil since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown seven months ago set off street protests that escalated in November when the officer was cleared of wrongdoing. The Ferguson case sparked demonstrations around the country over unfair police treatment of minorities.

Tensions flared again this month with the release of a U.S. Justice Department report detailing what it called systemic racial bias in the police force, and a court system that disproportionately levied steep fines on Ferguson’s black residents. Ferguson’s police chief, Thomas Jackson, resigned after the report’s release, and calls are growing among activists for Mayor James Knowles to go as well.

The election promises more changes.

Some two-thirds of Ferguson’s 21,000 residents are black, but the city has only ever had two black council members, both of whom were initially nominated to their positions. The current six-member council has one black member, Dwayne James, whose seat is not up for grabs. The election could triple that representation.

In Ferguson’s Ward 3 voting district, which includes Brown’s neighborhood and the sites of some of the worst clashes between protesters and police last year, two black candidates are vying for the same seat: municipal judge Wesley Bell and retiree Lee Smith.

VOTER APATHY

But some residents of the area were nonplussed by the prospect of a black representative.

“Just because they’re black doesn’t mean they are good,” said Carmie Hubbard, 40, who grew up with Brown. “There are a lot of prejudiced people, and dangerous people, on both sides. It boils down to morality.”

Hubbard said that, while she is registered to vote, she does not expect to cast a ballot next month.

“It just feels useless to vote.”

Ernest Eugene Bell, a 30 year-old record producer from the neighborhood, said he feels more optimistic.

“Without participating in elections, you’ll never get the change you want.” He added that he feels the protests have stopped being useful, particularly after last Thursday when two police officers were shot at the end of a protest rally.

Two black and two white candidates are vying for a seat in Ferguson’s Ward 1, while two white candidates – including former Mayor Brian Fletcher – are vying for the seat in the upscale Ward 2 voting area.

For activist Bynes, it is important to engage residents in the election. She said that she was using volunteer college students, free on spring break, as part of a program to educate voters.

“Like everywhere, municipal elections tend to draw a very small number of voters. It would be great to change that here and now,” she said. “We have never had a voter registration problem. The issue is turnout.”

Active registered voters in Ferguson rose by 4.6 percent to 12,698 voters in the past 9 months, in line with the rest of St. Louis County, said Eric Fey of the St. Louis County Election Board. Voter turnout in Ferguson for local elections, meanwhile, has tended to run between 10 and 40 percent, according to county records, spiking to 75 percent for presidential elections.

(Additional reporting by Edward McAllister and Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Blackberry launches new secure tablet

The Blackberry sign is pictured in Waterloo June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

The Blackberry sign is pictured in Waterloo June 19, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch


<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – Seeking to extend its range of secure mobile devices, BlackBerry Ltd said on Saturday it was launching a high-security tablet, developed with International Business Machines Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The SecuTABLET, based on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and being presented by BlackBerry unit Secusmart at tech fair CeBIT 2015 in Germany, reflects the Canadian company’s stress on secure connections for governments and businesses as it seeks to preserve a niche market after a drubbing in recent years at the hands of emerging smartphone makers such as Apple Inc.

“Security is ingrained in every part of BlackBerry’s portfolio, which includes voice and data encryption solutions,” said Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, chief executive officer of Secusmart GmbH, in a statement on the new device.

The device was undergoing certification by the German Federal Office for Information Security for secure rating, the statement said, adding that the new tablet used the same security technology as the Secusmart Security Card.

“Working alongside IBM and Samsung, we have added the last link in the chain of the Federal Security Network. Subject to certification of the SecuTABLET, German government agencies will have a new way to access BlackBerry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world,” Quelle said.

(Writing by Frances Kerry; Editing by Marguerita Choy)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

Miami hosts first Formula E electric car race in U.S.

(Reuters) – Thousands of fans turned out on
Saturday for the first Formula E electric car race in the United
States, with organizers saying the event along downtown Miami’s
bayfront would help boost more energy efficient mainstream
automobile technology.

“Formula E will pioneer technology which will be used on
normal road cars,” British entrepreneur Richard Branson, the
Virgin Racing team owner, told a press conference before the
race.

“I hope 10 years from now the smell of exhausts from cars
will be a thing of the past as much as the smell of cigarettes
in restaurants,” added Branson, whose Virgin Group sponsors a
two-car team.

Miami is the fifth of 10 cities around the world to host
races for the inaugural year of the Formula E championship,
launched in Beijing in September 2014.

So far, Formula E has offered the same, albeit quieter,
thrills as the popular Formula One events, with low-slung,
open-wheeled cars capable of speeds up to 136 miles per hour
(219 kilometers per hour).

The cars give off a high-pitched whistling sound, a bit like
a dentist’s drill.

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which
organizes the races and also oversees Formula One, has attracted
sponsors such as tire maker Michelin and courier
service DHL, hoping the series will help the
development of mainstream electric cars.

“The technology improves unbelievably once these large
companies start investing in research,” said Pier Luigi Ferrari,
the managing director of DHL motorsports.

All the cars have an identical chassis and drivetrain, as
well as a massive lithium ion battery that makes up one third of
the car’s weight. The limited battery life forces drivers to
change cars mid-race into a second, fully charged car.

The series will become an open championship next year,
allowing eight manufacturers to pursue their own designs. They
will be limited at first to the drivetrain; the e-motor, the
inverter, the gearbox and the cooling system.

All other elements will remain the same to prevent costly
competition over aerodynamic design.

Branson said he was excited by the technology advances that
he predicted would come out of Formula E, such as increased
battery energy density, more efficient drive trains, and
wireless “inductive” charging systems.

“Every team next year will be working hard to beat each
other and all that manpower, finance and energy will produce
breakthroughs and make a big difference to normal battery-driven
cars,” he said.

Saturday’s race was won by e.dams-Renault driver Nicolas
Prost, a Frenchman and son of former Formula 1 great Alain
Prost.

(Additonal reporting by Zachary Fagenson and Ben Gruber;
Editing by Paul Simao)


Source: Newsjyoti

At least 10 Americans being flown to U.S. after possible Ebola exposure

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – At least 10 Americans possibly exposed to the deadly Ebola virus were being flown to the United States from Sierra Leone for observation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday.

They will be transported by non-commercial air transport and will be housed near the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, or Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the CDC said.

All of the individuals who are being flown back to the United States are free of symptoms, the CDC said.

A U.S. healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola while in Sierra Leone arrived at the NIH on Friday and was in serious condition, the NIH said.

It is not clear how the person became infected with Ebola, CDC said.

While the virus has killed about 10,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, only a handful of cases have been seen in the United States, Spain and Britain.

CDC spokesman Thomas Skinner said 10 people who may have been exposed to the unidentified Ebola patient or who had a similar exposure to the virus as the patient were being flown to the United States. But he said the investigation was continuing and there may be more Americans evacuated from Africa.

A CDC statement said the 10 individuals will follow the center’s recommended monitoring and movement guidelines during the 21-day incubation period.

If someone shows symptoms, they will be transported to an Ebola treatment center for evaluation and care, the CDC said.

On Friday, CDC sent a team to Sierra Leone to investigate how the healthcare worker became exposed, and determine who might have been in contact with the infected person.

CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes did not know where all of the patients would be sent, but he said the CDC is working out a plan with the U.S. State Department to determine who is coming back and where they will be sent.

The CDC said one patient was being sent to Emory University Hospital’s special isolation unit, where several Ebola patients have already been treated.

Four others are being sent to Nebraska Medical Center to be near their special isolation unit in case they develop Ebola symptoms.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Paul Simao)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

In New Hampshire, Jeb Bush goes 'up close and personal'

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush speaks to the media after visiting Integra Biosciences during a campaign stop in Hudson, New Hampshire March 13, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


(Reuters) – Republican Jeb Bush’s initial foray into New Hampshire has shown that he may have learned from the mistakes his father and brother made in losing the state that will be crucial for him should he run for president in 2016.

Not that this is going to make it easier for him.

The state’s voters are notoriously fickle and want candidates to appear personally again and again to make their case. Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, never spent the time needed and lost here in 1992. His brother, George W. Bush, had the same fate in 2000.

Keenly aware of that history, the 62-year-old Jeb Bush found himself on Friday night in the kitchen of a state politico’s home with potential supporters crowded around him, snacking on hors d’oeuvres. A battery of TV cameras recorded his every utterance.

This kind of one-on-one politicking was a different experience for the former Florida governor thus far in his exploration of a run for the Republican presidential nomination. His public appearances so far have mostly involved speeches to sizeable groups of people.

“This is kind of up close and personal,” Bush chuckled as the crowd pressed around him at the home of Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

“Welcome to New Hampshire,” laughed Cullen’s wife, Jenny.

If Bush is going to be successful, he will need to make many similar appearances in New Hampshire, a state whose first-in-the-nation primary is significant for him since it comes right after the first nominating contest early next year, the caucuses in Iowa, where he faces a stiff challenge.

It took 2008 Republican nominee John McCain 100 town hall meetings in New Hampshire to win over the state.

While McCain had Mitt Romney to deal with in 2008, Bush has a host of rivals led by Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who is increasingly putting Bush in his sights.

Walker leads Bush in Reuters/Ipsos’ current five-day rolling average of polls of likely Republican voters, with 20.4 percent support to 14.9 percent for Bush.

In his New Hampshire appearances, Jeb Bush stressed his conservative beliefs in limited government and, pressed by a variety of questioners, explained why his moderate views on education and immigration fit into that.

He said he sees no need for a national increase in the minimum wage, and said he would repeal and replace Obamacare while retaining its popular parts, like the requirement that people with pre-existing health problems be granted insurance.

On his controversial support for Common Core education standards, Bush said whatever those standards are should be decided at the local, not national, level but that he would not back down from on an issue he has long prioritized.

Many Republicans at the Cullens’ home liked what they were hearing.

“Jeb is more of a centrist, and that’s important to us,” said Bob Decolfmacker of Dover.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Frances Kerry)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Kerry says unclear whether interim Iran deal within reach

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference in Sharm el-Sheikh March 14, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder


(Reuters) – On the eve of fresh talks with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said it was unclear whether an interim agreement over its nuclear power program was within reach.

“I can’t tell you whether or not we can get a deal, whether we are close,” Kerry told a news conference on Saturday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he attended an Egyptian investment summit.

“The purpose of these negotiations is not just to get a deal, it is to get the right deal,” he added.

The United States and five other major powers — Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia — will resume negotiations with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, from Sunday. They hope to clinch a framework agreement by the end of the month.

The two sides would then seek to negotiate by June 30 a final agreement to would curb Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years. In exchange, sanctions on the Islamic Republic would gradually end.

Kerry expressed concern again that a letter to Iran last week from Republican senators may have undermined the talks. The letter warned Iran that any deal made by President Barack Obama might last only as long as he remained in office — a highly unusual intervention in U.S. foreign policy-making.

Kerry said he would assure Iranian negotiators and Europeans allies during the upcoming talks that Congress did not have the authority to change the deal.

“As far as we’re concerned, Congress has no ability to change an executive agreement,” Kerry said, adding that “important gaps” still remained between the sides.

The letter followed a speech to Congress earlier this month by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned that Obama was negotiating a “bad deal” with Iran. Republicans invited Netanyahu to speak about Iran without consulting the White House or Democrats.

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS

With Israel preparing to elect a new government next week, Kerry said the United States hoped that whatever the outcome it would help push forward the peace process with Palestinians.

Opinion polls show Israel’s center-left opposition is poised for an upset victory in the parliamentary elections over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party.

“President Obama remains committed to a two-state solution,” Kerry said, adding “he remains hopeful that whatever choice that people of Israel make, that there will be an ability to be able to move forward on those efforts.”

He declined to elaborate on the prospects of resuming the talks, with an election just days away.

Peace talks broke down in April 2014 after nine months of negotiations led by Kerry, with the long-standing goal of a two-state solution no closer.

Kerry met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday on the sidelines of the investment conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. The meeting included Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Abbas has steered clear of taking a position on the Israeli election, saying only that he was ready to work with who wins.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Larry King)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Would-be 2016 Republican candidate Walker makes first New Hampshire trip

Governor Scott Walker (R-WS) speaks to supporters after a Republican organizing meeting in Concord, New Hampshire, March 14, 2015.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter


(Reuters) – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker brought his message of limited government to New Hampshire on Saturday in his first visit to the state as a prospective Republican Party presidential candidate in 2016.

Walker made his appearance in New Hampshire, a launching pad for presidential election campaigns because its primary is the first in the country, a week after signing a so-called “right-to-work” bill. The law prevents labor unions in Wisconsin from forcing workers to pay dues, but opponents contend its underlying goal is to undermine organized labor.

Walker has embraced the issue of limiting the power of unions as his signature cause, making him the target of a failed recall campaign three years ago.

Before Walker’s speech at Concord High School, union members protested outside, holding signs that said, “Stop the war on workers,” and “Scott Walker: stop trashing the middle class.”

Speaking in a full auditorium, Walker said he would not be cowed by those who disagreed with him.

“They seek to intimidate,” Walker said. “But we never lost focus. We did what we had to do, and that’s what’s needed in America today.”

The “right-to-work” issue has been contentious in New Hampshire. Legislators have sponsored several bills to make union membership optional, but the legislation failed to clear both chambers and would have faced certain vetoes by Democratic governors.

Walker joins a field of prospective Republican presidential candidates who have made tracks to New Hampshire in recent weeks.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and brother and son of former presidents, this weekend also made his first trip to the state since he announced he was seriously weighing a 2016 bid.

In his speech, Walker called for more state and local control over education, a position that distinguished him from Bush, who has backed the controversial Common Core national standards.

Walker also called for a stronger U.S. foreign policy, calling “radical Islamic terrorism” the greatest security threat facing the United States.

Walker also took aim at Democratic President Barack Obama and polices he said measured success based on how many people were dependent on the government.

“We should measure success on just the opposite, on how many are not dependent on the government,” Walker said.

Maurice Tandy, 81, a resident of the nearby town of Franklin, said Walker’s message resonated with him. “He wants to bring government closer to the people, back to the towns and cities.”

(Editing By Frank McGurty and Grant McCool)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Harper Lee's agent 'surprised' by elder abuse allegations

(Reuters) – The literary agent for Harper Lee said
he was surprised someone had told Alabama authorities that the
88-year-old author might be the victim of elder abuse and
manipulated into the publication of her second novel.

In a statement issued Friday through publisher
HarperCollins, agent Andrew Nurnberg said Lee was delighted
about the publication of “Go Set a Watchman” scheduled for July,
55 years after her classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

“I was surprised to hear that someone had, anonymously,
approached the authorities in Alabama to suggest that Harper Lee
was being subjected to ‘elder abuse,'” the statement read.

“Having spent quality time with her over the last couple of
years, I can categorically state that she is in full possession
of her mental faculties,” Nurnberg said.

On Thursday, the Alabama Securities Commission said it had
closed its investigation into an unspecified complaint of elder
abuse, first reported by The New York Times, tied to the
publication of Lee’s second novel.

“We made a determination that Ms. Lee, based on our
interview with her, was aware that her book was going to be
published,” said Joseph Borg, who heads the commission. “She
wanted it to be published. She made it quite clear she did.”

Nurnberg said the reclusive Lee, who has not spoken to the
press in more than 50 years, “was surprised when the manuscript,
which she had presumed long lost, was found last August.

“She is both delighted and enthused that it will now be
published,” his statement said.

“Go Set a Watchman” was written before “To Kill a
Mockingbird,” which won a Pulitzer Prize after its 1960
publication. The novel sold more than 30 million copies and was
adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

The new book features lawyer Atticus Finch 20 years after
the action of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” as his adult daughter,
Scout, returns to visit him in the fictional town of Maycomb,
Alabama.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere and Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing
by Grant McCool)


Source: Newsjyoti

REFILE-Bangladesh seeking police on duty when US blogger was killed

(Refiles to add dropped words in 7th paragraph on suspect in
custody)

By Serajul Quadir

(Reuters) – A government adviser on Saturday
asked the chief of Bangladesh police to identify the officers
who failed to act when a U.S. blogger was attacked and killed
last month in Dhaka.

“Identify the black sheep among the force and bring them
under law and justice to uphold your image,” said H.T. Imam,
political adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Imam directed the remarks to AKM Shahidul Hoque, the
inspector general of Bangladesh police, while addressing a
meeting on “Image of Bangladesh Police” held at Dhaka
University.

It was at the university that Avijit Roy, an engineer of
Bangladeshi origin, was killed by machete-wielding assailants as
he and his wife were returning from a book fair last month. His
wife, Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a
finger. She later returned to the United States for treatment.

“While Avijit and I were being ruthlessly attacked, the
local police stood close by and did not act,” Rafida told
Reuters on Tuesday. “Now, we demand that the Bangladeshi
government do everything in its power to bring the murderers to
justice.”

Hoque, the chief of police, told the meeting that the
allegations were under investigation. He also said the
university campus will now be covered by closed circuit
television.

On Saturday a court allowed one suspect in the killing,
Farabi Shafiur Rahman, to be remanded in custody for another
five days. He had already been held for 10 days, during which he
denied killing Avijit but said that he was glad the blogger was
attacked.

Rahman had previously been jailed for his ties to the
extremist Hizbut Tahrir Islamist group.

Avijit’s killing follows a string of attacks on secular
bloggers in recent years in the Muslim-majority nation. Media
group Reporters Without Borders rated Bangladesh 146th among 180
countries in a ranking of press freedom last year.

Rafida urged the government to “stop a legal culture of
impunity, where writers can be killed without the killers being
brought to trial”.

(Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Larry King)


Source: Newsjyoti

USDA reports virulent strain of avian flu in Kansas poultry

(Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified the first infection of a virulent strain of avian flu in poultry in Kansas, confirming the virus has spread into a migratory bird route that runs through the center of the country.

The discovery of the H5N2 flu strain in a backyard chicken and duck flock in a county just outside Kansas City, Kan., is certain to lead to expanded restrictions on U.S. poultry exports from top trading partners like Mexico and Canada.

The infection, confirmed on Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the first case in an established migratory bird route, known as the central flyway, that stretches roughly north-south from Montana to Texas.

Kansas officials quarantined the infected property in Leavenworth County, and birds there will be culled to prevent the spread of the disease. A quarantine zone will be established for miles around the site to limit the movement of poultry.

“We are dedicated to providing the necessary assistance and precautions to avoid any possible spreading of the disease,” said Bill Brown, Kansas’ animal health commissioner,

The USDA will inform international trading partners and an international animal health organization of the infection. Major buyers of U.S. poultry have already restricted imports from other states that have recently been infected with the same flu strain.

Last week, the USDA identified the first case in Arkansas, in the heart of the U.S. poultry-producing region.

Molecular testing has shown the virus found in recent infections is nearly identical to viruses isolated in migratory ducks. But some wildlife experts are skeptical of suggestions that wild birds are responsible for spreading the flu in the Midwest.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from highly pathogenic flu infections in wild birds and poultry to be low, according to the USDA statement.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Alison Williams)


Source: Newsjyoti Health