As FOLIO: first reported, National Geographic is fighting a copyright case against a former photographer in 11th Circuit Court of Appeals over the Complete National Geographic, a pioneering CD-ROM project the magazine released in 1997. In that case, now entering its 11th year of litigation, a Florida judge awarded the photographer $400,000 in damages in 2004—a decision National Geographic appealed.The amended version of the PRO-IP bill is now under consideration by the full Judiciary Committee. The MPA says there is “always the possibility that a similar statutory damages provision could be introduced at some point in the future.” The House Judiciary subcommittee voted unanimously last week to send an amended version of a bill to the full judiciary committee, striking a section that would have changed the civil penalties for copyright infringements in compilations to allow each work in a compilation to count as a separate infringement. In a note to members, the Magazine Publishers of America called Section 104 of the H.R. 4279 PRO-IP bill a “very damaging provision for the magazine industry.” The bill would have allowed plaintiffs to collect multiple awards of statutory damages, the possibility of which, the MPA says, would likely have kept magazine publishers from putting complete editions of a magazine on DVD.The MPA and other groups, including the Digital Media Association (representing Microsoft, Google and Yahoo) and the Printing Industries of America, have fought a vigorous campaign to remove that section from the legislation. In January, the MPA met with House and Judiciary Committee leadership to discuss the case, and last month “blitzed” key committee members’ Congressional offices.
2017 is ending with a bang in magazine media. Maybe even a metaphorical big bang, as the wave of consolidation this year is forecasting a future of change that is unprecedented for this industry. In other words, magazine media as we’ve known it for more than 100 years may never look the same after the Time Inc. and Meredith’s merger becomes official in 2018.By now everyone has heard the news, the 96-year-old Time Inc., the purported largest magazine publisher in the U.S., is being sold to The Meredith Corporation, for $2.8 billion. But the road for these companies arriving to this intersection is a long and interesting story that could certainly fill a multi-part documentary.To quickly summarize that history: Time was founded by Henry Luce in 1922 and grew into a company that published some of the most prolific and successful titles in magazine media with Time, Sports Illustrated, Life and Fortune. It also launched its fair share of titles and acquired many that are still successful, like Southern Living. It became part of the larger conglomerate Time Warner in 1989 (also up for sale), but spun off and formed its own publicly traded company in 2014. Meredith, on the other hand, grew out of much simpler roots 20 years earlier in 1902, with Edwin Meredith’s launch of Successful Farming. From there, it too had a number of successful launches and acquisitions, and built out a very profitable network of local TV stations. For nearly 25 years straight the company has paid its shareholders a dividend, a feat that’s commendable.While all of that history is interesting, what’s more significant is the potential impact this deal will have on the brands these companies own, as well as the industry as a whole. After all, this isn’t the first major acquisition this year in magazine media. Us Weekly was sold to AMI for $100 million, and then a few weeks later it also bought sister brand Men’s Journal from Wenner Media. Wenner Media isn’t done though; it’s also put its flagship brand Rolling Stone on the market and intends to sell off the remaining 51 percent it owns after moving 49 percent off last year to BandLab. But the even bigger transaction this year saw the sale of the 87-year-old Rodale to Hearst for an undisclosed sum. So with all this consolidation, we’d be remiss to not ask around to find out what all of this means, and where things might go from here. What It Means for Time Inc. and MeredithObviously before you think big picture, we should probably boil down what each of these companies gain or lose from this merger. Because Time Inc. is publicly held, its financial woes are no secret. And things weren’t turning around quickly enough to make investors comfortable. For Meredith, who has weathered the difficult storm of industry-wide print advertising declines and falling revenues, this deal gives the company even more scale, and legacy brands that fit into its portfolio, but it also brings some challenges.“This deal will offer Meredith some valuable assets and some toxic assets, and will slightly postpone Time Inc.’s steady march into financial and cultural irrelevance,” Bob Garfield tells us. The co-host of NPR’s “On the Media” goes on to say: “This will come at a cost: Titles will be folded. Jobs will be lost. Journalistic resources, already drastically diminished, will be cut to the bone and deeper.”Pretty bleak, but not an unfair assessment given how these things work. And Garfield isn’t the only one we spoke to who thinks Meredith isn’t interested in the entire Time Inc. portfolio. “In a year or two Meredith will probably be able to sell the weeklies [Time, Sports Illustrated and People] for more than they paid,” Samir Husni, professor at the University of Mississippi and director of the Magazine Innovation Center, says. He adds that “People magazine is what saved Time Inc., not any of its other brands. It could bring as much as this whole deal is worth if Meredith is able to change the business model.”Former editor-in-chief of Folio:’s sister publication min and industry analyst for more than 30 years, Steven Cohn, takes Husni’s speculation a step further by suggesting the benefactors of this deal — the Koch Brothers — who bankrolled more than a half-billion dollars to Meredith to get this done, might be future players in divestment opportunities. “Perhaps the Koch Brothers have first dibs,” he ponders. “Controlling Time would be a huge prize because of its legacy, and the thought of Time matching their conservative politics has to be tempting.” That idea has been expressed by many media and political pundits prior to this deal getting done, but Meredith has said the Koch’s will have no involvement under the current structure and are merely in this as an investment opportunity.Of course, Garfield is skeptical. “I used to think the Koch brothers were smart,” he says. “But if they have indeed backed this deal without a seat on the board, much less operational control, they have just set fire to a very large pile of money.”Husni disagrees with that assessment, however. “These people are not fools. They know there is still money to be made here, and that’s why they got in.”Todd Krizleman, CEO and founder of MediaRadar, has a similar mindset to Husni, in that this is a smart buy for Meredith, a great deal for Time Inc. shareholders and a positive sign of things to come for magazine media. “I do think it is very encouraging to see the valuation, which is an 80 percent premium from the $10 stock price at the close of day on Nov 8,” he says. “Time Inc. has been improving its performance and so the price is a strong endorsement of the shifts in the business.” What It Means for Magazine MediaCEO of Trusted Media Brands, Bonnie Kintzer, sums up the big picture outlook pretty well. “Consolidation whether through mergers or acquisitions will continue to shape the industry in the year ahead as more media companies pursue opportunities to expand their offerings to consumers and marketers on all platforms,” she says. “This consolidation reflects the need for media companies to invest in emerging platforms either by adding or acquiring new assets or resources such as staff or technology.”While Time Inc. may have been reeling from print losses and a bloated infrastructure that CEO Rich Battista was constantly trying to fix, it had also been making a slew of smart, savvy investments in digital media. In many ways it’s years ahead of the industry. Particularly when it comes to data, in thanks to its acquisition of Viant, but also in video and custom content. So Meredith wasn’t just buying a stable of brands here, and this is perhaps one of the most important takeaways for everybody in magazine media. It was also buying technology, talent and other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that will make up the future of magazine media. Any publisher in today’s world that isn’t thinking like this is doomed to fail.“We never really had a magazine problem, we had a business model problem. Companies like Hearst and Meredith have invested a lot in digital without ignoring print,” Husni says. This could suggest that dual investment strategy hasn’t been ubiquitous across magazine media.Naturally, Garfield sees it slightly differently. “A wave of consolidation will be triggered in which a few companies snap up dozens of data-rich properties that operate unprofitably at scale,” he says. “So we are re-entering an era of media concentration — except that the new titans will be titans of bad businesses turning out bad products. In short, we are witnessing a supernova. A huge, bright, energetic, explosion of a dying star.”Krizelman, on the other hand, is much more optimistic when it comes to this particular transaction, but does suggest it’s part of a much more significant trend, with uncertain outcomes. “I don’t think this single acquisition will create a new ripple effect, he says. “I do think it is part of a generational change in ownership of media companies. The Bancroft family sold the WSJ to News Corp in 2007. Martha Stewart sold her media business to Meredith in 2015. Mort Zuckerman sold The Daily News to TRONC. And now there’s even rumors that News Corp will sell itself.” What It Means for PrintAs Husni, who goes by the trademarked moniker “Mr. Magazine” loves to say, “If it’s not paper and ink it’s not a magazine,” so we can’t ignore the 600-pound gorilla in the room—magazines. Yeah, the things that built all of these companies.It’s no secret that Time Inc. didn’t have a lot of faith in the future of print. The company was continuing to scale back expenses that were largely due to the bloated nature of print media. Paper is expensive. Shipping is expensive. People are really expensive, and making a magazine requires a lot of them. So as Time Inc. was investing in its digital future it was also cutting way back on its print. However, what’s interesting here is Meredith has repeatedly exhibited a commitment to the medium. It has in fact cut frequency in some publications, but rate bases for several of its brands have grown. Plus, not only did it invest in Martha Stewart’s print holdings just a couple years back, it has also launched a new print title within the past year, with The Magnolia Journal, a magazine inspired by home improvement celebrities Chip and Joanna Gaines.A former industry executive who competed with both companies is equally optimistic for the future of print in light of this deal. “I hope that it’ll be good for the industry in that a publisher that’s doing very well in print is taking over one that seems to be denying they’re in the print business,” the unnamed source says.Jim Elliott, founder of James G. Elliott Co., an outsourced media ad sales company, shared with us a similar sentiment. “I think Meredith is a best-in-class publisher,” he says. “What I think this means is they see value in print and always have. And they see value in a print brand. I think that’s a good thing. I think it sets a tone.”–While nobody we talked to has a crystal ball that can see into the future, most agreed that consolidation is inevitable for economies of scale, and this particular transaction, while massive and potentially game changing, is nothing more than another sign of the times. Where things go from here is still anybody’s guess, but one thing is certain: More change is coming.
https://twitter.com/OfficialSting/status/1121033350607720448 “I’m thrilled to announce that my brand-new Las Vegas residency ‘Sting: My Songs’ will be opening at the legendary Caesars Colosseum in May of 2020!” the musician saidJennifer VelezGRAMMYs Apr 24, 2019 – 11:48 am GRAMMY-winning singer and musician Sting has announced that he is headed to sin city for his own residency.Sting will launch his Las Vegas stay at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in May 2020. The show, titled “Sting: My Songs,” will be a 16-night run, but it may add additional nights if ticket sales are high, Rolling Stone reports. Currently, the show has dates set May 2020 through early Sept. Twitter Sting Announces Las Vegas Residency At Caesars Palace News Email “I’m thrilled to announce that my brand new Las Vegas residency ‘Sting: My Songs’ will be opening at the legendary Caesars Colosseum in May of 2020!” Sting tweeted. The Las Vegas residency has gone through a kind of transformation that has made room for major names in music, more recently including Cardi B, Drake and Lady Gaga, among others. Tickets for the shows go on sale May 3 at 10 a.m. PT. For more information, visit Sting’s website. Viva Las Vegas: Why Sin City Residencies No Longer Signify A Long Farewell Facebook Sting Announces Las Vegas Residency sting-announces-las-vegas-residency-caesars-palace
8:24 Close up with the Galaxy Fold screen, notch and hinge P30 Pro and Galaxy S10 cameras compared Share your voice 5G speeds could happen; a two-tiered approach is bestPhones with 5G support are inevitable, and Samsung clearly wants to get ahead. Making the Galaxy Note 10 a 5G phone make sense. Even better would be if there are both 4G and 5G options, as with the poor Galaxy Fold. The 4G version would help keep costs in check for Note fans who aren’t ready to be 5G guinea pigs as those networks find their feet. There are several other reasons why being the earliest 5G adopter isn’t a great idea, one of which is that today’s 5G chip inside the phone, which takes up space and locks the phone to a single network. Qualcomm, which makes the 5G chip as well as the Snapdragon 855 processor inside the Galaxy phones, is launching an upgrade later this year that will make 5G phones sleeker and also able to cruise multiple carrier networks. It’s possible the Note 10 will be the first phone to use it. 37 Samsung is well aware of the competition and has been said to be working on its own take, however, it’s unclear how much of a patch this will be versus a complete solution that can generate similar results as Huawei and Google, if not better. The Note 10, which has traditionally been Samsung’s pinnacle release before Back to School and holiday shopping kicks in, would be an appropriate, launch pad, if not a belated one. And how about boosted video quality? Let’s dish some of that up, too.Read: Could the Note 10’s camera really flip up?Let’s not forget about camera zoomHuawei’s P30 Pro also earn top marks for their incredible zoom ranges: 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid zoom. The results are incredible. The Galaxy S10 Plus, meanwhile, has a 2x telephoto lens, which is certainly convenient. Photos are “good,” but you’re not getting the same astounding quality as Huawei’s upper crust lens with “periscope” zoomOther phones, like the Oppo Reno 10, are getting in on the act with 10x hybrid “lossless” zoom. If Samsung doesn’t pump the gas, it’ll get left in the dust. Angela Lang/CNET An accurate in-screen fingerprint sensorThe ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus is, in theory, a wonderful application of ultrasonic technology (think ultrasounds) to securely unlock your phone and authenticate mobile payments. In practice, it’s a little slow and largely inaccurate, requiring multiple attempts to unlock the phone. It also doesn’t work as well as promised if you’ve got wet or greasy fingertips. And one of the biggest security claims, that you can’t trick it with a fake fingerprint, has just been challenged by someone claiming they have.The Note 10 is another chance to tweak the software, or work with Qualcomm, which supplies the ultrasonic tech, on some other fix. We tested Verizon’s new 5G network Now playing: Watch this: 5G Google Huawei LG Microsoft Samsung Verizon In a reversal nobody expected in February when Samsung announced its first-ever foldable phone, it could be the rumored Note 10 and not the Galaxy Fold that becomes the highlight of Samsung’s six Galaxy phones for 2019. After Samsung delayed the Fold after five early review units malfunctioned, the Fold is no longer the brightest star in Samsung’s galaxy. The Note is usually the height of Samsung’s smartphone efforts, but 2019 was supposed to be different, with the Note 10 taking a backseat to the $1,980 Fold as this year’s splurge device. But with the Galaxy Fold undergoing scrutiny as Samsung gets to the bottom of issues that affected at least five review units, it’s the Note 10 that could put Samsung back on the right track amidst a flurry of phone releases.You might ask where the Galaxy S10 5G falls into all of this. The 5G version of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Plus arrives on Verizon May 16 for $1,300 before heading to other carriers. It’s already made headlines with one battery issue in South Korea.Yet, I don’t see it as major Note 10 competition. Expensive, it doesn’t have a stylus and will only be as fast as the 5G network it’s riding on. The other “extras” — a larger screen and battery, and depth sensing cameras on the front and back — don’t do much yet to justify the price. Note fans, however, have long been cited as Samsung as being the most loyal, the power users who crave maximal storage space and flexibility through the S Pen.Read: The Galaxy Fold needs an S Pen. Here’s why it can’t have one 5:41 Now playing: Watch this: Mentioned Above Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (128GB, prism black) How To • How to take badass car photos with your Galaxy S10 Plus While the Galaxy Note 10 lacks the Fold’s sex appeal, it should have everything the S10 5G has and more — including plenty of competition from Apple’s next iPhone and phones like the OnePlus 7 Pro. Here’s how Samsung can make the Note 10 a winner.Read: Samsung’s best way out of the Galaxy Fold mess: Suck up to buyersFix the screen ‘eyeball’ notch If wallpapers of robots and basketball players don’t make you chuckle, you might be ready to see Samsung experiment with a different design for that front-facing camera. On the S10 phones, the selfie camera takes the form of a circular cutout shifted to the right side of the screen, or a horizontal oval, in the case of the Galaxy S10 Plus.While it won’t get in the way most of the time, it is noticeable when the screen is white. Notch cutouts and cameras that pop up are other solutions, but they’ve also got their share of critics and proponents.Embrace the one-eyed camera. Angela Lang/CNET Still, the Infinity-O display that offsets this hole-punch design isn’t universally loved, which gives Samsung a chance to try again.Read: What the Galaxy Fold’s screen crease, notch and air gap are really like to use Deliver secure 3D face unlockSamsung’s secure iris scanner predated the iPhone’s Face ID, but now that Samsung’s removed it from Galaxy phones, you have the in-screen fingerprint reader as your only biometric…and after months with the Galaxy S10 Plus, it’s more miss than hit for me. We know that Samsung is at least flirting with the idea of a 3D face unlock secure enough for securing mobile payments, because it gave the Galaxy S10 5G a 3D sensor on the front and back. What’s it for? Not face unlock, at least not yet. Samsung said it’s there for AR purposes and maybe some improved depth photography, as with the new Huawei P30 Pro, which has a time-of-flight sensor (TOF) on the back.Samsung took the iris scanner out of the S10 phones. Andrew Hoyle/CNET Rumor has it that Android Q could fold in this technology — after a month with Android Q, we haven’t seen this yet, but it’s typical for Google to hold back some surprises until the final launch in fall. If that happens, the Galaxy Note 10 would be perfectly positioned to be Samsung’s first phone to incorporate secure face-scanning software baked in. Remember that Android’s default face unlock is there for convenience, but isn’t secure enough for mobile payments.We need a real standalone night mode cameraThe main camera is Samsung’s Galaxy phones uses a dual-aperture lens that automatically changes apertures to let in more light when it detects you’re in a darker environment. In my experience, which dates back a year to the Galaxy S9, results are ok, but the clarity and details produced by the Pixel 3 and Huawei’s P30 Pro are in another league entirely.Samsung said there’s a Bright Night Shot mode in the Galaxy S10 Plus, but it kicks in automatically. That’s not a bad thing on its own, but it means you can’t control when you get those dramatically bright night shots. It also means that Samsung isn’t using the same approach to capture and process those shots, which requires up to five seconds. Sprint $999 Why the Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader matters News • Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus to be used to film entire Tonight Show episode See It CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags 60 Photos Phones What about a foldable design with S Pen support?I can speculate with absolute certainty that the Galaxy Note 10 won’t be a foldable phone like the Galaxy Fold. But it’s worth thinking about how the S Pen, Samsung’s digital stylus, could work with a foldable screen. Especially since that feels like a foregone conclusion for a future Samsung device. What if your Note 10 did this? CNET On the one hand you have the Note, whose S Pen takes advantage of a large screen by allowing for navigation, writing and drawing. On the other, the foldable design opens up the largest screens on a cellular device.The nature of the foldable screen as an expansive surface with Android support for up to three active windows at a time, makes it a fertile ground for a digital pen.Whether a future foldable Note would be called the Galaxy Fold Note or simply a Galaxy Fold with S Pen support, it could provide extra utility along the lines of Apple Pencil support for the iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface pen. An S Pen on a foldable Note would also differentiate it from other foldable phones such as the Huawei Mate X or a future foldable iPhone.What’s on your Galaxy Note 10 wish list?Originally published April 8. Update, May 2: Adds new commentary. Abt Electronics See It Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Now playing: Watch this: $833 Best Buy $999 2:48 See it Comments $999 See It Review • Galaxy S10 Plus braces for Galaxy Note 10 impact
A housewife died from electrocution at Kadakati village in Ashashuni upazila on Friday. Quoting local people, Shahidul Islam Shahin, officer-in-charge of Ashashuni Police Station, said Moina Khatun, 28, wife of Afaz Uddin, came in contact with live electric wire while cleaning a refrigerator with a wet cloth in the morning, leaving her dead on the spot. Police recovered the body and sent it to local hospital morgue.
Bogra rape victim sent to safe home, mother to victim support centre A Bogra court on Monday asked the authorities to place a Bogra rape victim in a government safe home and her mother, who was also tortured, in a victim support centre for their safety and security.Additional District and Sessions Judge Court-1 judge Imdadul Haque gave the order after police brought the rape victim and her mother before the court seeking its decision regarding the safety and security of the victims.Tufan Sarker, the Bogra town unit convener of Sramik League, the workers wing of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL), raped a girl on 17 July. He took the girl to his house at Badurtala in the district town of Bogra, promising to arrange her admission to a local college.Tufan’s wife Asha Sarker, her sister Marjia Aktar Rumki – also a councillor –, and mother Rumi Begum allegedly beat the girl and her mother with sticks and shaved their heads on 28 July when they sought justice from the councillor.Public prosecutor for the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-1, Naresh Mukherji, said the court has asked the police to send the raped girl to the Rajshahi divisional safe home and her mother to a /the victim support centre.Earlier in the day, the victims were released from Bogra Shahid Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital.The hospital’s surgery department head, Abdul Mottaleb Hossain, told Prothom Alo that thevictims had been released from hospital as both of them were physically well.Read more: 7 of Tufan’s relatives on remand over Bogra rapeTwo cases were filed in connection with the rape and subsequent torture of the rape victim and her mother.The case Investigation Officer, Abul Kalam Azad, told Prothom Alo that the prime accused, Tufan Sarker, and ten others, including his sister-in-law and councillor Marjia Aktar Rumki, were in jail in connection with the two cases.
Rupa KhatunA Tangail court has directed the authorities concerned to exhume Rupa Khatun’s body and hand over the corpse to the victim’s family.The victim, Rupa Khatun, 27, an employee of Unilever Bangladesh Limited, was killed after a gang rape on a running bus on her way to home in Mymensingh from Bogra on Friday night. The rapists abandoned her body at Tangail’s Madhupur forest area. Police recovered the body around 11:00pm in the night and buried it in Tangail’s central graveyard as an unidentified one on Saturday morning.Senior judicial magistrate Golam Kibria of the court handed down the exhumation order following an appeal filed by the victim’s family members.Modhupur police station officer-in-charge Shafiqul Islam said victim Rupa’s brother on Wednesday appealed to the police to bring the body of his sister back. Later, the police submitted the appeal before the court on Thursday morning.The OC also said the district magistrate then directed the district’s judicial magistrate to hand over the body to the victim’s family.Tangail Sadar upazila’s executive magistrate Abdur Rahim Shujan said Rupa’s body will be exhumed from the Tangail graveyard today (Thursday).Meanwhile, the police have arrested five people from Mymensingh over the killing of the master’s student of Bogra Azizul Haque on a bus at Tangail’s Madhupur upazila.
JhenaidahAn upazila chairperson was reportedly arrested with 12 bombs while devising subversive acts from a house in Kutchadpur upazila of Jhenidah on Tuesday, reports UNB.The arrestee is Nazma Khatun, acting upazila chairman of the upazila.Acting on secret information, police conducted a raid at the house around 7:00pm while the chairman along with her men was planning subversion and recovered 12 bombs from the house, said officer-in-charge of Kutchadpur police station Biplob kumar Saha.Nazma became senseless seeing the law enforcers at her house and later she was sent to the Kutchadpur Upazila Health Complex for her treatment, said the OC, adding that Nazma is serving as secretary of Kutchadpur Upazila Jamaat Female unit, the OC added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks on visa travel at the US Customs and Border Protection Press Room in the Reagan Building on 6 March, 2017 in Washington, DC. Photo: AFPUS Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Monday that President Donald Trump’s renewed ban on travellers from six Muslim-majority countries is “a vital measure for strengthening our national security.”“With this order, President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe,” Tillerson said, after Trump signed a revised version of an order that had previously been thrown out by US courts.The original order triggered chaos and protests at US airports as travellers with previously issued visas were turned away—including Iraqis who had worked alongside the US military in combat.The new version of the plan retains a 120-day freeze on all refugee arrivals and temporarily halts the granting of new visas for Syrians, Iranians, Libyans, Somalis, Yemenis and Sudanese citizens.Tillerson said his department had worked with Iraq to identify “multiple new security measures” that would be imposed to ensure that extremists are weeded out during the US visa process.“Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS, with their brave soldiers fighting in close coordination with America’s men and women in uniform,” Tillerson said.Tillerson was appearing alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security chief John Kelly. None of them took questions from the news media after their brief statements.
Logo of arrestPolice arrested four people, including a leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), while they were allegedly consuming yaba pills in Chaitannogoli area of Chattogram on Friday night.The BNP leader is Tinku Das, office secretary of Chattogram city unit of the BNP, reports news agency UNB.The other arrestees are Firoz Alam, 32, Md Shahjahan, 50 and Md Baki, 39.On information, a team of police conducted a raid on the rooftop of a house in the area and caught them red-handed around 9:00pm, said Kotwali police station officer-in-charge Mohammad Mohsin.The law enforcement team also recovered 60 yaba tablets from their possession, he added.A case was filed against the detainees under the Narcotics Control Act, the OC added.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty ImagesAttorney General Jeff Sessions testifies during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump, and, in turn, help Trump.But the attorney general, an early Trump supporter, revealed little in the congressional hearing about the ongoing Russia saga or Trump’s role in possibly trying to quash the investigation looking into it.Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning — and that may be exactly how the White House wants it.Sessions showed flashes of anger rarely seen from the 70-year-old Alabamian, calling any suggestion that he colluded with Russia to interfere in the U.S. presidential election a “detestable lie.”The tactic — combined with the earlier testimony of high-ranking Trump administration officials, who also deemed it inappropriate to divulge conversations with the president — may have given a road map for the White House to keep its secrets without the public-relations blowback of invoking executive privilege.Sessions wanted this open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee so he could respond to fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey — a man whom, it was revealed Tuesday, Sessions wanted gone before Day 1 — intimated in testimony last week that Sessions’ potential conflicts went deeper than were originally known.Sessions denied all of it and shielded his boss from any potential damage.Silence is golden?It became obvious from the get-go Tuesday that Sessions would not disclose conversations between himself and the president. That cut off lines of inquiry about the exact circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing, what may have happened in the Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting in which Sessions was asked to leave so Trump could speak one-on-one with Comey, as well as Trump’s reaction to Sessions’ recusal.Sessions’ legal rationale for his silence was muddled, at best, and deliberate interference at worst, something Democrats accused him of.“My understanding is that you took an oath,” said New Mexico Democrat Martin Heinrich in some of the sharpest questioning of the day. “You raised your right hand here today, and you said that you would solemnly tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And now you’re not answering questions. You’re impeding this investigation.”Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon was even more blunt. “I believe the American people have had it with stonewalling,” he said.Sessions shot back: “I am not stonewalling. I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice. You don’t walk into hearing or committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with the president of the United States, who is entitled to receive conventional communications in your best judgment about a host of issues, and have to be accused of stonewalling them.”Sessions did not invoke “executive privilege.” As he acknowledged to Heinrich, “I’m not able to invoke executive privilege. That’s the president’s prerogative.”And yet, he told Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who asked if Sessions could “speak more frankly” in a closed session with senators, as Comey did: “I’m not sure. The executive privilege is not waived by going in camera or in closed session.”Sessions repeatedly clung to vague reasoning for not answering many of the senators’ questions. He could not point to specific Justice Department language, even though Sessions said he had consulted with department attorneys before the hearing.Senators got just five minutes each to ask questions (the chairman and vice chairman got 10). When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked about Sessions’ recollection of meetings with Russian officials or businessmen, he complained, “I’m not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous.”When Republican Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina interjected and noted that “the senator’s time has expired,” a wide grin swept across Sessions’ face, as he looked up at the chairman and former colleague.Round and round it went. And all of it probably made Sessions’ boss very happy.“He thought that Attorney General Sessions did a very good job,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, including NPR’s Tamara Keith, traveling on Air Force One on Tuesday night. She added that Sessions “in particular was very strong on the point that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.”Can’t recallSessions’ silence kept a lid on important details that could have illuminated much more of the Russia story. He said he couldn’t “recall” 18 times. It reminded Washington of another attorney general who testified 10 years ago, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales said that he couldn’t “recall” some 60 times in a hearing about the dismissal of federal prosecutors, accusations of coordination with the White House and overall Justice Department leadership.Ironically, Sessions was one of the senators questioning Gonzales that day and expressed frustration with Gonzales’ faulty memory.“Well, I guess I’m concerned about your recollection, really, because it’s not that long ago,” Sessions said. “It was an important issue. And that’s troubling to me, I’ve got to tell you.”Other attorneys general, of course, have evaded congressional questions. Eric Holder, President Barack Obama’s attorney general, was held in contempt of Congress for invoking executive privilege and not turning over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation.But if questions coming into Tuesday’s hearing were, “How would Sessions respond to fired FBI Director James Comey’s intimation that there was something else — something classified — about Sessions to be concerned about?” or “What more do we know about President Trump’s role in firing Comey or putting pressure on officials to drop the Russia investigation?” there wasn’t much light shed on them.Having it in for Comey from the beginningWhat was learned, though, was that Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, now deputy attorney general, may have always been looking for a reason to fire Comey — and so was Trump.Sessions revealed that he and Rosenstein discussed before they were even confirmed getting rid of Comey. They wanted a “fresh start,” Sessions said.But Comey was kept on for months after they were both confirmed. And, like Trump, Sessions didn’t exactly criticize Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the presidential campaign. When Comey came forward saying he was reopening the investigation in October of last year, Sessions praised him.“Now, he’s received new evidence,” Sessions said on Fox Business. “He had an absolute duty, in my opinion, 11 days or not, to come forward with the new information that he has and let the American people know that, too.”He added that Comey, after being uncomfortable with the airplane meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, had “stepped up and done what his duty is, I think.”Sessions was critical of the investigation, but seemingly only because it didn’t “get to the bottom” of what happened.“I think it should have used a grand jury,” he said. Sessions wanted people put under oath. “So you have to grill them, and people will surprise you how sometimes they’ll just spill the beans when they’re under oath like that.” He then pointed out that with the “new evidence,” Sessions thought the investigation was “back on track again.”All that seems to undermine the rationale for Comey’s firing that Sessions says he relied on — Rosenstein’s memo that charged Comey acted inappropriately in the handling of the Clinton email investigation.It wasn’t until the stars aligned, as the Russia investigation was heating up, that Sessions and Rosenstein could pull the plug, with at least Trump’s blessing. Sessions also admitted that neither he nor Rosenstein, Comey’s direct supervisor, ever talked to Comey about his job performance.And Trump himself undercut the reasoning for firing Comey that Sessions and Rosenstein had presented, saying he was going to fire Comey anyway “regardless of recommendation.”In Mueller’s courtThe questions will continue, especially of everyone who steps before Congress, but Trump allies have proved that even going under oath won’t shed light on the full details surrounding the Russia investigation and whether Trump pressured high-ranking officials to drop it.That is something that may have to be determined by Special Counsel Robert Mueller when he eventually releases his findings.And Trump allies have already been trying to insulate themselves and the president by attempting to delegitimize whatever Mueller comes up with.The irony, of course, is that if the president has done nothing wrong, as he has insisted all along, Mueller is the one guy in Washington who has the credibility to clear him.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Katherine Streeter for NPRLight therapy helps some people with seasonal affective disorder feel better. Now it’s being tested as a treatment for bipolar disorder.As the months grow colder and darker, many people find themselves somewhat sadder and even depressed.Bright light is sometimes used to help treat the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Researchers are now testing light therapy to see if it also can help treat depression that’s part of bipolar disorder.It’s unclear how lack of light might cause the winter blues, although some suggest that the dark days affect the production of serotonin in the skin.The idea with light therapy for depression is to replace the sunshine lost with a daily dose of bright white artificial light. (Antidepressants, psychotherapy and Vitamin D help, too, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.) The light box is actually more like a screen, the size of an average desktop computer. Some people call it a “happy box.”To test its usefulness in treating bipolar disorder, researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University enrolled 46 patients who had at least moderate bipolar depression. Half of participants were assigned to receive bright light therapy. The other half received a dim red placebo light. They also kept taking their regular medication.In an effort to ensure lack of bias, the placebo group was instructed not to search for information about light therapy and not to discuss the appearance of their light with anyone else in the study.All participants were told to place the light box about 1 foot from their face for a 15-minute session to start. Every week, exposure was increased until it reached a dose of 60 minutes per day. Patients didn’t have to stare at the box, says psychiatrist Dorothy Sit, lead author of the study, published last month in the American Journal of Psychiatry. They simply had to be in front of it. “They could read the paper, a journal, or look at their bills,” she says.Patients with SAD typically do their light therapy first thing in the morning, when they wake up. But earlier research by Sit found that early morning light therapy could switch people with bipolar disorder into a manic phase. So in the new study, she decided to have patients engage in light therapy midday, between noon and 2:30 p.m.After four to six weeks, Sit found 68 percent of patients using bright white light therapy achieved remission of depression compared to 22 percent of patients who received the placebo light. For the bright-light patients, “they returned to work, they were able to look after things at home, they were functioning back to their normal selves again,” says Sit.Sit and other researchers say it’s important that people with bipolar disorder not try light therapy on their own.First, the results in this study are “intriguing, but highly preliminary,” according to Al Lewy, a psychiatrist and professor emeritus at Oregon Health and Science University who was one of the pioneers of light therapy to treat SAD.And given that light therapy can trigger hypomania, Lewy says that the therapy should be conducted under a doctor’s supervision, preferably a psychiatrist. “If there’s the slightest chance that a patient will switch into a manic episode, then their doctor can be there to treat them.”Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. About 3 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from the disorder.This study “offers a glimmer into a new pathway for treatment,” says psychiatrist Ken Duckworth, medical director of the patient advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness. That’s needed, he says, because “bipolar depression is one of the most difficult types of depression to treat.” Medications such as mood stabilizers can help treat the manic phase of bipolar disorder are not effective in treating the depressive phase, Duckworth says. And people with bipolar disorder “spend most of their time on the depressive end of the spectrum.”Sit says it’s important to see her findings duplicated in future research, which should also investigate how the light affects the body’s circadian rhythms at different times of day, and how that affects bipolar symptoms.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share
Thursday, September 13, 2018City set to apply for home buyout fundingAl OrtizA volunteer working with the group Operation Blessing helps clean up a Rosenberg home located close to the Brazos River that got flooded.Houston’s housing department is ready to ask the state for more than $23 million for home buyouts. Houston city council approved an application for disaster recovery funds from the Texas General Land Office. The money would be used to buy homes that repeatedly flooded in 2016. Southeast Harris County expected to see bulk of rainHarris County officials are urging residents to monitor the weather because of the system that’s moving into the Gulf of Mexico and to use extreme caution if they venture out into rainy conditions.As of Wednesday morning, bayous, creeks, and tributaries were expected to remain within banks. However, roadways and streets may become impassable, according to the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD). Dinardo accused of ignoring abuseAs U.S. Catholic leaders head to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis about a growing church abuse crisis, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo –who is leading the delegation– has been accused by two people of not doing enough to stop a priest who was arrested this week on sexual abuse charges.The two people told The Associated Press that they reported the priest and met with Cardinal DiNardo, of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. One of them says she was promised in a meeting with DiNardo, several years after she first reported abuse, that the priest would be removed from any contact with children, only to discover that the priest remained in active ministry at another parish 70 miles away. ‘Harvey effect’ shows in real estate numbersReal estate analysts say current market conditions in Houston are healthy, but due to Harvey last year, measurements used to track those trends have been thrown off. The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) announced home sales rose 37% in August compared to last year because Harvey virtually stopped most home sales in the last week of August of 2017. HAR calls it “the Harvey effect” and expects numbers to continue to be distorted through September. Cruz attacks O’Rourke vote on tax reliefMarjorie Kamys Cotera: O’Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: CruzU.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso (left), is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.Senator Ted Cruz is once again charging his Democratic opponent, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, with opposing tax relief for victims of Harvey.The legislation, which Cruz co-authored, allowed people to deduct the cost of Harvey-related home damage from their taxes. It also allowed homeowners to dip into their retirement savings, without incurring a tax penalty, in order to pay for storm-related repairs.O’Rourke says he voted against it because the bill did not include reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which was about to expire. Share
Enrollment among students in the District of Columbia’s public and public charter schools spiked for the eighth consecutive year to 90,061 students for the 2016-17 academic year. Officials primarily attribute this increase to robust growth in the city’s charter schools.Public Schools in D.C. have experienced an enrollment hike for the eighth year. (Courtesy image/logo)Audited numbers for the 2016-17 school year released by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education March 7, show enrollment in the District’s public charter schools shot up to 41,506 students, a gain of 2,601 students from the previous year.Charter school growth was acutely felt in the fourth and ninth grades, Tomeika Bowden, director of communications for the Public Charter School Board told the AFRO. Both Bridges Public Charter School (PCS) and KIPP DC Spring Academy PCS added a fourth grade this school year, while Washington Leadership Academy and Goodwill Center PCS opened and added freshmen.That meant fourth grade growth increased by 11.2 percent, while ninth grade saw 11.1 percent gains. Data from the District of Columbia Charter School Board shows 75.7 percent of its charter school students are Black and nearly 78 percent are low income.Meanwhile, enrollment in traditional D.C. public schools gained 116 students, for a total of 48,555 students for the 2016-17 school year, per the data.In response to the growth, District of Columbia Public Schools will add additional grades to MacFarland Middle School and Ron Brown College Prep High School next year, Janae Hinson, deputy press secretary for DCPS told the AFRO. In past few years, DCPS responded to the demand by adding about a half-dozen schools, she noted. “One of DCPS’ top priorities is ensuring that students have an opportunity to attend a great school that they love,” Hinson said via email. “Our student satisfaction rate is 82 percent because of the incredible learning opportunities we provide.”Public school enrollment numbers are up nearly 3 percent from the previous school year, with the charter and traditional public school systems adding a total of 2,717 new students. The school system’s enrollment reached a high of roughly 146,000 students in 1967, before dropping precipitously over the next decades, according to The Washington Post.School officials said the continued upward swing proves the city’s investment in improving public education has paid off, and families recognize it as a new day for public education in the District.“The District is becoming an attractive place to live and people from across the country are moving here and sometimes they start families and they begin looking for educational options,” Fred Lewis, a spokesman for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, told the AFRO. “And through the diligent work of both the school sectors — the DCPS and the public charter schools — they are seeing that the quality of education is improving, they want to be part of that movement and they also want to become involved.”David Pickens, executive director of D.C. School Reform Now, told the AFRO that multipronged levers have fueled the growth in both systems over the years. For one, the D.C. Public Charter School Board has added schools with existing track records of success and jettisoned those that are low performing, Pickens said. Existing charter schools also offer students a wealth of educational options and choice, which generates excitement as well.Moreover, the District’s streamlined application process that lets students apply online to 12 schools in one swoop has helped bring more kids to public and charter schools, he said. “The city’s done a very good job in just instilling confidence in the public sector,” Pickens said.