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Archive for February Monday, 2016

Harper Lee dies, age 89

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Celebrated author Harper Lee died at the age of 89 in her beloved hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ remains one of America’s most culturally significant novels

Lee remained, to the end, immune to the blandishments of worldwide fame, which enveloped her in 1960 with the publication of her first novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has sold more than 30 million copies in English, remains in print (selling more than a million copies a year) and in every school in America, and, until last year, was her only book.

To Kill a Mockingbird was the Huckleberry Finn of the 20th century,” said Charles J. Shields, author of a 2006 biography, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. “It redirected American’s gaze after WWII and the excitement of the 1950s back to the enduring problems of racism and injustice in this country.”

Her endearing and enduring novel, set in 1930s Maycomb, Ala. (the stand-in for Monroeville), is the story of upstanding lawyer Atticus Finch, who defends a black man falsely accused of rape in a time and place when that could get a man killed.

The story is told through the eyes of Atticus’ small tomboy daughter, Scout, and features, among many memorable characters, her neighbor pal, Dill, a stand-in for Lee’s childhood friend, the writer Truman Capote, who spent his early years in Monroeville, prompting the town to refer to itself today as the “Literary Capital of Alabama.”

President Obama, who presented her with the National Medal of the Arts in 2011, issued a statement :

“What that one story did, more powerfully than one hundred speeches possibly could, was change the way we saw each other, and then the way we saw ourselves. Through the uncorrupted eyes of a child, she showed us the beautiful complexity of our common humanity, and the importance of striving for justice in our own lives, our communities, and our country.

“Ms. Lee changed America for the better. And there is no higher tribute we can offer her than to keep telling this timeless American story — to our students, to our neighbors, and to our children — and to constantly try, in our own lives, to finally see each other.”

riots in north India caste crisis

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Fresh rioting and arson erupted in a north Indian state Sunday in caste protests that have left at least 12 people dead, and New Delhi faced a water crisis after mobs shut down a key supply.

Thousands of troops with shoot-on-sight orders were deployed on Saturday in Haryana state after week-long protests turned violent, with rioters setting fire to homes and railway stations and blocking highways.

At least 12 people have been killed and about 150 injured in the state since Friday, up from an earlier toll of 10, Haryana additional chief secretary P.K Das told reporters.

One person was killed in firing on Sunday and another died in a clash between two protesting groups, he said, without giving details.

The Jat rural caste is leading the protests, demanding quotas be set for Jats for highly sought-after government jobs and for university places. Caste members say they are struggling to find places despite India’s strong economic growth.

India reserves places for lower castes to try to bring victims of the country’s worst discrimination into the mainstream. But the policy causes resentment among other communities, who say it freezes them out.

The Indian capital’s water supplies were hit after media reports said mobs forced the shutting of a canal in Haryana which takes water to the neighbouring capital’s treatment plants.

“A mob attacked the police post in Kalanaur town and set it on fire. Twenty shops adjacent to the post and a school were also gutted,” local police officer Hari Om said in Kalanaur in Haryana’s Rohtak district, the epicentre of the violence. The clashes are ongoing and we had to use firearms to break up the protesters,” the officer told AFP . Protesters maintained blockades of roads into Haryana, television footage showed. Hundreds armed with sticks halted vehicles along one key route which was also blocked with fallen trees.

Jats are the single largest community in Haryana, with nearly eight million members, and are traditionally a farming community. They have been angered by comments in recent weeks by a BJP leader who opposed reservations for them.

The latest protests echo caste violence that swept the western state of Gujarat in August last year, leaving several dead.

That state saw weeks of protests by the Patidar or Patel caste, who demanded the same treatment afforded to lower castes.

What is Brexit?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

What does “Brexit” stand for?

The term is a commonly-used abbreviation for British exit from the EU.

How will it be decided?

The decision hangs on the result of a national referendum, currently being prepared by the government.

When will the referendum be held?

The referendum looks likely to be held as early as June 2016 although it could be put back to the Autumn if David Cameron does not reach a deal before the February 19 meeting of EU leaders.

What will the question be?

The question will ask: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’

What happens next?

David Cameron’s Bill on the EU referendum has been passed by Parliament.

Meanwhile, he is trying to secure a better deal from the EU by negotiating with fellow European leaders on issues such as migrants’ access to welfare

What is the expected result?

Most polls show the British public is roughly evenly divided about the country’s future in the EU, with a slight bias towards staying

Boris Johnson backs Brexit

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Boris Johnson today says that Britain has a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to vote to leave the European Union as a way of securing an entirely new relationship with Brussels based around the single market.

He says that “EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says No”.

 

He calls for Britain to have a deep and co-operative relationship with the EU “on the lines originally proposed by Winston Churchill: interested, associated, but not absorbed; with Europe – but not comprised”.

His decision will electrify the referendum campaign and came as a major blow to David Cameron just one day after the Prime Minister called the June 23 vote.

Brexit

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Brexit – what would happen if Britain left the EU?

Growth, trade, immigration, jobs, diplomacy: what would the impact be if a 2017 referendum pushed UK towards the exit?

Starting with the estimates that leaving would be a net loss to the UK economy, one analysis often cited is from researchers at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in 2004. They found an exit from the EU would permanently reduce UK GDP by 2.25%, mainly because of lower foreign direct investment. the UK could suffer income falls of between 6.3% to 9.5% of GDP, similar to the loss resulting from the global financial crisis of 2008-09. That is under the researchers’ pessimistic scenario, in which the UK is not able to negotiate favourable trade terms. Under an optimistic scenario, in which the UK continues to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, losses would be 2.2% of GDP. Those most passionately opposed to a Brexit, meanwhile, say leaving the EU would shut the UK out of its most important market (the EU) and from other markets around the world that have trade agreements with the EU (but not with the UK in isolation). More than half of businesses (57%) believe that remaining a member of the EU, with more powers brought back to Westminster, would be positive. However, 28% of firms also view withdrawal combined with a formal UK-EU free trade agreement as a positive scenario. But only half that proportion, 13%, view withdrawal without such an agreement as positive. In The Trouble with Europe, Bootle tries to assess what this all means for the UK economy. Looking at goods and services exports as well as what the UK earns on overseas investments, the proportion of total receipts from abroad that come from the EU is just over 40%, Bootle says. Although this probably exaggerates the true importance of the EU in British trade, says the economist, given distortions to the figures from factors such as UK companies exporting to ports in the EU only to re-export beyond the region.

Jeb Bush never really had a chance.

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Despite all his money, despite his family name, despite his endorsements, Bush’s presidential bid ran afoul of the anti-establishment “outsider” politics that have dominated the 2016 campaign and produced the phenomenon of Donald Trump.

He announced late Saturday he would suspend his campaign.

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who’s still in for the republicans ?? link here

Carson

Cruz

Kasich

Rubio

Trump