Voice

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas did something extraordinary on Wednesday.

He spoke.

Appearing before the Supreme Court is rather like meeting your spouse’s family for the first time. The questions are relentless, probing and impolite. One hundred questions over the course of an hour-long argument is typical. Attorneys arguing cases can expect an interruption from a justice just moments into their presentation, and it is not unusual for the justices to interrupt one another.

Yet Thomas is generally an observer at the blood sport that is oral argument. Since taking the bench in 1991, he has rarely asked questions of the attorneys arguing before the Court. His silent stretches run so long (he did not ask one question from 2006 to 2016) that the very fact of his speaking is a news event.

The questions he asked Wednesday, in a dispute concerning racism in jury selection, were his first questions in almost three years and his second intervention this decade.

Thomas is alone in this approach to argument among his colleagues. His silence draws curiosity and ire in equal measure, particularly since he is widely regarded as the most gregarious of the justices.

Scholarly treatment of Thomas’s silence is similarly mixed. One 2017 journal article in the Northwestern University Law Review from Professors RonNell Andersen Jones and Aaron Nielson compiled and reviewed every question Thomas has ever asked during oral argument, encompassing his service on the Supreme Court and his prior work on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Jones and Nielson concluded that Thomas is an adept questioner who should intercede more often.

“Reviewing these questions demonstrates that although Thomas has not frequently spoken, when he has posed questions, they have been thoughtful, useful, respectful, and beneficial to his colleagues of whatever ideological stripe,” the study reads.

Jones and Nielson noted Thomas’s questions focus intensely on the text of the law. Following the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, they suggest oral arguments would benefit from a questioner with Thomas’s “laser-like focus on the text.”

“Putting aside the merits of textualism as an ending point, or even as a starting point, in statutory interpretation, the merits of having an active voice in oral argument that demands investigation of and discussion about the statutory language seem incontrovertible,” they write.

“With Justice Antonin Scalia’s departure from the Supreme Court, the need for a justice to ask these sorts of questions is obvious,” they add.

When Thomas does ask questions, Jones and Neilson say, they tend to come near the end of the argument. His Wednesday inquiries came during a brief rebuttal period, only after the attorney asked if there were any remaining questions. The justice himself speculated that his delicate approach to questioning is a function of his southern pedigree during an event at the University of Kentucky in April 2012.

“Maybe it’s the southerner in me,” Thomas wondered. “Maybe it’s the introvert in me, I don’t know. I think that when somebody’s talking, somebody ought to listen.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush's casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Justice Clarence Thomas, at center, awaits the arrival of former President George H.W. Bush’s casket at the Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Others are more harsh in their appraisal of Thomas’s silence. Writing in the Florida Law Review in 2009, David Karp argued Thomas’s approach to oral argument is ultimately self-defeating. (RELATED: Clarence Thomas Clerks Dominate Trump’s Judicial Appointments)

Perhaps more than any other justice in modern history, Thomas is intensely interested in course correction. He does not believe the Court ought to abide by cases which offend his vision of the Constitution, and he regularly invites litigants to bring challenges to foundational decisions he believes are wrong. In February alone he released opinions criticizing and New York Times v. Sullivan (a landmark freedom of the press case), Gideon v. Wainwright (establishing a right to counsel for indigent defendants) and Roe v. Wade.

Thomas is a prolific opinion writer who has pressed his judicial philosophy over dozens of lone dissents and concurring opinions. Karp says Thomas could better advance his own views and enrich the Court’s internal debate by contributing to oral arguments.

“Through his silence, Justice Thomas not only evades the deliberative process, but he also diminishes his own influence,” Karp wrote. “Justice Thomas’s silence allows advocates to ignore him and his views.”

“Because of his willingness to rethink the constitutional order, Justice Thomas would force the Court to reconsider basic premises,” Karp added.

Karp believes the role of oral argument in the deliberative process makes Thomas’s silence especially strange. The justice told Newsweek in 2007 that his views on a given case are well-developed by oral argument. Before arguments he reads legal briefs from both sides, additional filings from interested parties, the decisions below, the record of facts, and discusses his thoughts with his law clerks. As such, in Thomas’s view, the argument is not especially important to the disposition of a case.

But Karp is skeptical of that perspective, arguing that it is unbelievable that even the most gifted jurist could approach the complex work of the Supreme Court without questions.

“It seems unbelievable that Justice Thomas genuinely has no questions to ask about any of the nation’s most difficult cases,” Karp wrote. “Even the most learned judge with well-developed outlooks on the law should have questions.”

The Supreme Court will hear cases through Wednesday touching partisan gerrymandering and the power of federal agencies.

Sarah George and Paul Ingrassia contributed research. 

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Source: The Daily Caller

The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux
The logo of Apple company is seen outside an Apple store in Bordeaux, France, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

March 22, 2019

(Reuters) – Apple Inc is expected to unveil a new video streaming service and a news subscription platform at an event on Monday at its California headquarters.

The iPhone maker is banking on growing its services business to offset a dip in smartphone sales.

While the Wall Street Journal plans to join Apple’s new subscription news service, other major publishers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, have declined, according to a New York Times report.

Apple has also partnered with Hollywood celebrities to make a streaming debut with a slate of original content, taking a page out of Netflix Inc’s playbook.

Below are some of the shows, curated from media reports and Apple’s own announcements, which are part of the iPhone maker’s content library.

SHOWS CONFIRMED BY APPLE:

** UNTITLED DRAMA SERIES WITH REESE WITHERSPOON AND JENNIFER ANISTON

Two seasons of a drama series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston that looks at the lives of people working on a morning television show.

** REVIVAL OF STEVEN SPIELBERG’S 1985 “AMAZING STORIES”

The tech giant has also struck a deal with director Steven Spielberg to make new episodes of “Amazing Stories,” a science fiction and horror anthology series that ran on NBC in the 1980s.

** A NEW THRILLER BY M NIGHT SHYAMALAN

Plot of the story has not been disclosed.

** “ARE YOU SLEEPING?” – A MYSTERY SERIES

A drama featuring Octavia Spencer, based on a crime novel by Kathleen Barber.

** AN ANTHOLOGY SERIES CALLED “LITTLE AMERICA”

Focuses on stories of immigrants coming to the United States.

** AN ANIMATED CARTOON MUSICAL CALLED “CENTRAL PARK”

The animated musical comedy is about a family of caretakers who end up saving the park and the world.

** “DICKINSON”, AN EMILY DICKINSON COMEDY

A half-hour comedy series that is set during American poet Emily Dickinson’s era with a modern sensibility and tone.

** OPRAH WINFREY PARTNERSHIP

Apple in June last year announced a multi-year deal with Oprah Winfrey to create original programming.

SHOWS REPORTED BY MEDIA:

** TIME BANDITS – A FANTASY SERIES

The potential series is an adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy film of the same name, about a young boy who joins a group of renegade time-traveling dwarves, Deadline reported.

https://bit.ly/2FsYJgK

** UNTITLED “CAPTAIN MARVEL” STAR BRIE LARSON’S CIA PROJECT

The new series looks at a young woman’s journey in the CIA, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2H3ymAi

** DEFENDING JACOB – STARRING CAPTAIN AMERICA CHRIS EVANS

This limited series is based on the novel of the same name and is about an assistant district attorney, who is investigating the murder of a 14-year-old boy, according to Deadline.

https://bit.ly/2U84w3u

** “FOR ALL MANKIND” – A SCI-FI SERIES

A space drama from producer Ronald Moore, according to Deadline.

https://bit.ly/2uqPWWg

** MY GLORY WAS I HAD SUCH FRIENDS

A series featuring Jennifer Garner is based on the 2017 memoir of the same name by Amy Silverstein, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2Cy7UuO

** “SEE” – A FANTASY EPIC STARRING JASON MOMOA

The show poses the question about the fate of humanity if everyone lost their sight, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2TUETns

** FOUNDATION – A SCI-FI ADAPTATION

An adaptation of the iconic novel series from famed sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, Deadline reported. The book series follows a mathematician who predicts the collapse of humanity.

http://bit.ly/2CvAMUs

** A COMEDY SHOW BY ROB MCELHENNEY AND CHARLIE DAY

The sitcom comedy based on the lives of a diverse group of people who work together in a video game development studio, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2nqzy4V

** AN UNSCRIPTED SERIES “HOME” FROM THE DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER MATT TYRNAUER

The series will offer viewers a never-before-seen look inside the world’s most extraordinary homes and feature interviews with people who built them, according to Variety.

https://bit.ly/2JwmyIF

** UNTITLED RICHARD GERE SERIES

Based on an Israeli series Nevelot, the show is about two elderly Vietnam vets whose lives are changed when a woman they both love is killed in a car accident, Deadline reported.

http://bit.ly/2uksSsu

** J.J. ABRAMS-PRODUCED LITTLE VOICE

Singer and actress Sara Bareilles is writing the music and could possibly star in the J.J. Abrams-produced half-hour show, which explores the journey of finding one’s authentic voice in early 20s, according to Variety.

http://bit.ly/2TPSf4y

** THE PEANUTS GANG

Apple has acquired the rights to the famous characters and the first series will be a science and math oriented short featuring Snoopy as an astronaut, according to Hollywood Reporter.

http://bit.ly/2YdMagM

** ON THE ROCKS

A feature film, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray, is about a young mother who reconnects with her larger-than-life playboy father on an adventure through New York, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2Hf1Pb9

** LOSING EARTH

Apple has acquired the rights to a TV series based on Nathaniel Rich’s 70-page New York Times Magazine story “Losing Earth”, New York Times reported.

** THE ELEPHANT QUEEN

Apple has acquired the rights to Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s documentary The Elephant Queen, Deadline reported.

http://bit.ly/2HJR53k

** WOLFWALKERS

An Irish animation about a young hunter who comes to Ireland with her father to destroy a pack of evil wolves, but instead befriends a wild native girl who runs with them, first reported by Bloomberg.

https://bloom.bg/2JztBR5

** PACHINKO

Apple has secured the rights to develop Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel, about four generations of a Korean immigrant family, into a series, reported Variety.

http://bit.ly/2FtEIXJ

** CALLS

Apple has bought the rights to make an English-language version of the French original short-form series, according to Variety.

http://bit.ly/2UQCabd

** SHANTARAM

Apple has won the rights to develop the hit novel Shantaram as a drama series, reported Variety.

https://bit.ly/2CAuG5c

** SWAGGER, A DRAMA SERIES BASED ON KEVIN DURANT

A drama series based on the early life and career of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, according to Variety.

https://bit.ly/2RFePbl

** YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT

Apple has ordered a 10-episode, half-hour run of the comedy show, which is an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection by the same name, Variety reported.

https://bit.ly/2HzZt63

** WHIPLASH DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE DRAMA SERIES

According to Variety, Apple has ordered a whole season of a series without first shooting a pilot, but no other details are known about the show.

http://bit.ly/2Fkfd9Q

** Apple may offer cut-priced bundles with video offering – The Information reported http://bit.ly/2HzcSLW on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sonam Rai and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru)

Source: OANN

Adelle Nazarian | Contributor

We all support First Lady Melania Trump’s efforts to highlight education, values and the end of cyber-bullying. Through her “Be Best” campaign, the first lady has been a strong, consistent voice in support of our children. Unfortunately, her recent visit to the “Dove School of Discovery” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has shed light on another important issue facing our nation.

Unbeknownst to the first lady, Dove is one of many charter schools in the United States linked to the “FETO” movement headed by Fetullah Gulen. Gulen lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. With one hand — according to the Turkish government — Gulen directs attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent Turks. On the other hand, Gulen-linked schools receive taxpayer funding.

A 2017 CBS News report revealed that FETO operates about 136 charter schools in 28 states and that since 2010, those schools have received over $2.1 billion in taxpayer dollars. That amount is growing well over $750 million dollars every year. And while the schools paint a beautiful picture of educational discovery and opportunity, most Americans have not seen what else their tax dollars underwrite.

On July 15, 2016, U.S. citizens and the rest of the world saw precisely what that tuition money helps to fund.

On that day, Gulen followers in Turkey undertook a savage coup attempt that killed almost 300 innocent Turkish citizens. The Gulenists hijacked NATO jets and used NATO aircraft to strafe the Turkish Parliament with members of all political parties — majority and minority parties — inside. Gulen’s followers also rolled tanks against the masses of Turkish people who took to the streets in July of 2016 to stand up for their democratically-elected government and to fight back against ideologues and extremists who would subjugate the will of 80 million people to the will of one man living in Pennsylvania. Americans can see and read more about that failed coup here:

Despite the failed coup attempt of 2016, the people of Turkey — representing every party across the political spectrum — fought for their right to self-determination and they won. The coup plotters were overwhelmed, and order restored. Just last year, the people of Turkey again voted to support their democratic way of life, with over 88 percent of Turks going to the polls to cast their votes. International observers and the leaders of the main opposition parties called the elections free and fair. It was a triumph of peaceful democratic systems over the forces of terrorism.

While average Americans may not pay much attention to the internal affairs of Turkey, they should pay close attention to whether their tax dollars are being used to destabilize Turkey. Turkey is a strong and reliable ally in the war on terrorism and serves on the front line in the fight against ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. As NATO’s eastern border, Turkey has played a vital role in helping maintain stability in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East. It is important for Americans to fully understand that an attack on Turkey’s flank is an attack on America’s flank.

The FETO forces in the United States are smooth and know how to present the façade of peaceful education. Yet, behind the façade there is a long trail of financial irregularities hounding the movement. A simple Google search will turn up many instances in which money is allegedly siphoned from these schools for other purposes. In state after state, fraud investigations have been undertaken to determine if and how much taxpayer money has been diverted away from education. Complaints have been filed with the U.S. Department of Education, and there are reports the FBI is investigating the Gulen movement.

First Lady Trump continues serves us well by highlighting the extraordinary role of charter schools as an important part of our educational system. She has displayed her devotion and raised her voice for putting children first. In this instance, she has also done a major service by providing the United States with an opportunity to examine just how the Gulen movement uses its schools and American taxpayers as a funding source for less than reputable activities.

Adelle Nazarian (@AdelleNaz) is a documentary filmmaker. She worked previously as a journalist, including for Fox News.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Female news anchors and other women in New Zealand wore hijabs Friday in solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

They took their cue from a movement within the country to honor the 50 persons killed in the mosque shootings March 15 by wearing hijabs, beginning with Auckland doctor Thaya Ashman. Ashman said she heard about a Muslim woman who was afraid to wear a hijab, thinking it would attract the attention of terrorists, so she decided to wear one in solidarity.

“I wanted to say: ‘We are with you, we want you to feel at home on your own streets, we love, support and respect you,’” Ashman said.

Samantha Hayes, who reports for Newshub, was one of New Zealand’s anchors who wore a headscarf on television.

The trend is spreading throughout New Zealand as women in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch don hijabs.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose reaction to the Christchurch mosque shootings has been widely praised by the media, also joined the movement. Ardern donned a black headscarf when comforting the families of the fallen, and announced a ban on assault rifles in New Zealand six days after the attack. (RELATED: New Zealand Broadcasts Islamic Call To Prayer To Honor Mosque Attack Victims)

A New Zealand policewoman drew attention for wearing a hijab as she guarded a funeral for some of the victims Thursday at Christchurch cemetery.

Though many applauded New Zealand women communally wearing hijabs, others said there are Muslim women who have rejected hijabs as symbols of oppression.

Asra Q. Nomini, a Washington, D.C., professor and former journalist for The Wall Street Journal, took to Twitter to voice her complaints.

“Pls do NOT wear a #headscarfforharmony with Muslims. It is a symbol of purity culture antithetical to feminist values. We have women in jail & dead, for refusing the interpretation of Islam you promote.”

Similarly, an anonymous Stuff opinion piece said Friday the movement was “nothing but cheap tokenism.”

“I don’t normally do this but I couldn’t help myself after seeing this ‘movement’ online where non-Muslim women are being encouraged to wear hijab/scarves to show ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women,” she wrote. “As a Muslim woman myself, I think this is nothing but cheap tokenism. It’s a gimmick and pretty distasteful.”

Meanwhile, a diocesan school in New Zealand is taking criticism for banning its students from wearing hijabs at school, saying it is not compliant with the school’s dress code. The school ultimately said in a statement that students would be permitted to participate only in Friday’s “Scarves for Solidarity” event being celebrated throughout New Zealand.

Follow Mary Margaret on Twitter.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Certain medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may increase the risk of psychosis in young adults, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday found.

The study found that teens and young people taking amphetamines like Adderall and Vyvanse were at a higher risk of developing psychosis than those taking methylphenidates like Ritalin or Concerta, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Psychosis is a severe mental disorder that causes a person to break with reality, causing paranoia and even hallucinations.

Patients taking amphetamines were still at a low risk of developing psychosis, but the finding is “concerning,” the paper’s lead author Dr. Lauren V. Moran said according to AJC. (RELATED: Researchers Who Think Voice Assistants Like Siri Perpetuate Gender ‘Stereotypes’ Have A Genderless Solution)

“The findings are concerning because the use of amphetamines in adolescents and young adults has more than tripled in recent years. More and more patients are being treated with these medications,” Moran said. “There is not a lot of research comparing the safety profiles of amphetamines and methylphenidate, despite increasing use of these medications.”

A bottle of Ritalin sits on the counter of the Post Haste Pharmacy And Surgical Store on June 16, 2003 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A bottle of Ritalin sits on the counter of the Post Haste Pharmacy And Surgical Store on June 16, 2003 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The study examined insurance claims of more than 220,000 ADHD patients between 13 and 25 years old who began taking amphetamines or methylphenidates between Jan. 1, 2004 and Sept. 30, 2015, reported AJC. While only 1 in 1,046 patients who started treatment with methylphenidate developed psychosis, one out of every 486 patients who started treatment with amphetamine developed it.

The National Institutes of Health funded the study.

Moran pointed out that “people who have been on a drug like Adderall for a long time, who are taking the drug as prescribed and are tolerating it well, are not likely to experience this problem (psychosis),” according to AJC. She also would take family history into account when prescribing Adderall and avoid prescribing it for patients who may be at a higher risk of bipolar disorder because of their genetics, reported CBS News.

Medication is not the only way to treat ADHD, which patients can combat with behavioral therapy as well.

The American Psychiatric Association estimates that roughly 5 percent of children have ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. In fact, more than 10 percent of American children had ADHD diagnoses in 2015 and 2016, which is nearly double the amount of diagnoses between 1997 and 1998.

Some researchers say it is not all bad news that the percentage of diagnoses has grown. That is because premature babies are more likely to develop ADHD and an increase in ADHD diagnoses could go hand-in-hand with an increase in premature baby survival.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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EU centre-right lead candidate Weber poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels
Manfred Weber, the centre-right European People’s Party’s lead candidate in the European Parliament elections, poses during an interview with Reuters in Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 22, 2019

By Alastair Macdonald

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans don’t want Britons to vote in May’s EU parliamentary election, the lead candidate for the center-right said on Friday, in part because Nigel Farage and other British euroskeptics would disrupt the Union.

Speaking to Reuters after EU leaders agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May that Britain would elect its own members to a new European Parliament if it has not left before the May 23-26 vote, Manfred Weber of the European People’s Party (EPP) said the summit had provided needed clarity on Brexit.

Leaders hardened their insistence that Britain should be out of the European Union before the election, so as to avoid casting doubt on the EU legislature’s legitimacy.

Weber, who leads the EPP in the chamber and is campaigning to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as EU chief executive, said he was concerned, however, that if Britain took up the leaders’ offer to rethink its Brexit plan, stay until next year and send its own MEPs to the EU parliament, that would spell trouble.

“A possible participation of Great Britain in the EU elections can lead to a big success for the anti-elite parties in Great Britain. So that is my worry,” the German lawmaker said. “When Nigel Farage is back with a lot of MEPs in the EU parliament, that will create big problems for all of us.”

As leader of the UK Independence Party, Farage was a major voice in the campaign for the 2016 referendum that saw Britons vote 52-48 percent to leave. With Brexit still in doubt, he has said he will lead a new party to press for it, and would seek re-election to the European Parliament if Britons end up voting.

Farage and Weber have often clashed verbally on the floor of the chamber in Strasbourg. The EPP leader denied, however, that his party was particularly opposed to Britain returning MEPs because it would also benefit their center-left opponents. May’s Conservative Party quit the EPP a decade ago, meaning British EU elections always leave the center-right bloc empty-handed.

“It’s not about party politics,” Weber said. “It’s about how to manage the situation.

“I cannot explain to anyone in Europe … that a country which is leaving the EU has a big say in the future of the European Union. That is not understandable for people.”

Opinion polls indicate that, even without British votes, euroskeptic parties could increase their share of seats to 14 percent from 10 percent, potentially giving them a greater opportunity to disrupt efforts by the larger groupings in the pro-EU center to promote policies on European integration.

(Additional reporting by Clare Roth; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

Politics has become more important than friends and love, and the latest survey of social media users enraged over Washington proves that anew.

On the heels of reports that politics are breaking up relationships and even families, a new survey has found that a majority of social media users can’t stand the opinions of views of their friends and acquaintances.

1.jpg

A survey for the networking and privacy firm Comparitech found that nearly 52 percent dumped friends over politics and, overall, 44 percent unfriended anybody with opposite opinions.

Said the survey analysis, provided to Secrets:

“Nearly 44 percent of respondents said they deleted someone off their social media due to their political views or posts. Acquaintances were the ones most commonly being axed from social media feeds — 74.8 percent of people who admitted to unfriending someone said the person was an acquaintance. Nearly 52 percent of respondents reported removing friends, and 22 percent said they had unfriended a co-worker.”

Comparitech said that the findings provide a lesson to those on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms — lighten up and maybe listen to others.

“While the same dissenting voice flooding your news feed on the daily can be frustrating, it’s also important to recognize the perils of being selective. Exposing yourself to opinions that don’t mirror your own is a crucial part of being an informed and active member of our social fabric, and welcoming conversations with people whose opinions differ from yours is an important step toward overcoming fear of the other side. Just remember to resist slinging accusations and avoid adopting an attitude of wanting to change your discussion partner’s mind from the get-go,” said the analysis.

2.jpg

But other findings show that may be hard to do.

The new survey found that many like to rage on social media. And while the media is often focused on President Trump’s quick Twitter finger, it’s the Democrats who are rage happy.

The survey, done by digital research firm Fractl, found these key points:

  • Although Trump is well-known for his Twitter rampages, Democrats are actually 47 percent more likely than Republicans to express their political views on Twitter.
  • 38 percent of Democrats said they were more likely to post on social media in the wake of the 2016 election, while less than a quarter of both Independents and Republicans felt the same.
  • Democrats are 38 percent more likely than Republicans to post about social issues, while Republicans are nearly 3x more likely to express their views about national security on social media.

Democrat Party's candidate Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province
Democrat Party’s candidate for Member of Parliament Anwar Salae campaigns at a market in Pattani province, Thailand, March 16, 2019. Picture taken March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Panu Wongcha-um

March 22, 2019

By Panu Wongcha-um

YALA, Thailand (Reuters) – Pateemoh Poh-itaeda-oh, 39, has lost four family members to violence in Thailand’s deep south, where a Muslim separatist movement has fought against rule from Bangkok for 15 years.

Now, she is running for a parliamentary seat in a general election on Sunday, hoping to have a hand in making government policies for the restive region.

Sunday’s vote is broadly seen as a battle between allies of the military junta leader seeking to stay in power and supporters of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunication tycoon whose loyalists have won every general election since 2001.

But that divide has a different dynamic in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, which are 80 percent Muslim, while the rest of Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist.

A separatist insurgency has dragged on since 2004, killing more than 6,900 people. In January, two Buddhist monks were shot dead in a suspected insurgent attack.

In previous elections, the deep south was not much courted by politicians seeking national power. But the arrival of several new parties on the political scene, along with stalled peace talks, have stirred interest in the campaign in the south – and enthusiasm to participate among newly minted candidates.

Pateemoh, a Muslim who is a candidate for the pro-junta Action Coalition for Thailand party (ACT), said she got involved because she felt for the first time there was a chance for the concerns of the south to be heard and – possibly – bring an end to the conflict.

“For a long time many Thais have looked at problems in the deep south as a marginal border issue, but this election I have seen changes,” she told Reuters at her party headquarters in Yala province.

Ending the insurgency is deeply personal to her. Three of her brothers and one sister have been shot dead since 2004 in suspected attacks by insurgents, who often target teachers and local officials for working with central government.

“I really want to be a voice in forming policy and solving the conflict issue in the deep south, and people have to remember that women’s voices need to matter in this process,” she said.

SELF-DETERMINATION

The three provinces, and a small part of neighboring Songkhla, were historically part of a Malay Muslim sultanate annexed by Thailand in 1909. Separatist tensions have simmered ever since.

A peace process between the Thai government and insurgent groups has made little headway, with violence still occurring even though the military has been directly in charge of security in the region for 15 years.

In February, Mara Patani, an umbrella organization representing many insurgent groups, said it has suspended all dialogue with Bangkok until after the election.

For decades, the deep south’s small tally of seats – 11 out of 350 being contested in this election – were seen as a reliable bloc for the Democrat Party, the country’s oldest political party that is officially non-aligned in the campaign but could prove crucial in post-vote coalition-building.

But the fresh attention being paid to the region by new parties has stoked pent-up desire for a say among both the pro-government and pro-autonomy camps there, said Samart Thongfhua, a political analyst at Prince of Songkla University in Pattani.

“Generally, people in the deep south are enthusiastic from all sides because they will feel that they can gain justice through democracy,” he said.

RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

This is the first election that a Malay Muslim from the deep south, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, 74, is a prime ministerial candidate.

Matha, a former house speaker and the leader of Prachachart Party, is a key ally to Thaksin who could help capture votes for the “democratic front” of anti-junta parties in the deep south. Pro-Thaksin parties have in the past performed badly in the region, where he was widely blamed for exacerbating the conflict with harsh tactics when he was in power from 2001 to 2006.

Prachachart has been campaigning greater people’s participation in the region’s governance and peace process.

Analysts predict that no single party will dominate the region, with the Democrats, ACT, Bhumjaithai Party, and two anti-junta parties, Prachachart and Future Forward, all seen as competitive.

All are campaigning for greater autonomy to a varying degree for the restive region, a sensitive issue for the Thai military.

Even talking about greater autonomy alarms the region’s Buddhist minority, and coincides with the emergence on the national stage of the Buddhist nationalist Pandin Dharma Party.

“There is a sentiment that Buddhism is under threat and this has been appealing to many Buddhists here,” Ruckchart Suwan, 54, of the Buddhist Network for Peace told Reuters.

Muslim politicians say more needs to be done to improve relationship between Buddhists and Muslims.

“It is good to hear real grievances from the Buddhists so we can address it properly,” said Worawit Baru, 67, a candidate for Prachachart Party in Pattani province.

“The security forces have brought Buddhists and Muslims together over meals many times and say this represent successful reconciliation,” Worawit said. “These window-dressing approaches must stop and we need the people to speak up.”

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Kay Johnson and Alex Richardson)

Source: OANN

United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI

March 22, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Tim Hepher

ADDIS ABABA/PARIS (Reuters) – At the headquarters of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, a paper sign balanced above room 107 and a threadbare square of carpet welcome a stream of foreign visitors to the Accident Investigation Bureau.

The office – with three investigators and an annual budget of less than 2.5 million Birr ($89,000) – is leading a multi-party, multi-nation probe into what caused an Ethiopian Airlines flight to crash on March 10, killing all 157 people on board.

Brusque foreign investigators in cargo pants and Ethiopians in suits or reflective vests wave away questions from reporters on how their inquiries are progressing.

This modest agency is under intense international scrutiny because the results of its investigation could have far-reaching consequences for the global aviation industry.

If the investigators highlight flaws in the 737 MAX 8 that echo a recent crash of the same model in Indonesia, their report could deal a major blow to Boeing, the world’s biggest planemaker and a massive U.S. exporter.

But if investigators find Ethiopian Airlines fell short in maintenance, training or piloting, that could damage one of Africa’s most successful companies, a symbol of Ethiopia’s emergence as a regional power.

Disagreements have broken out in Addis Ababa between Ethiopian authorities and foreign investigators over issues including the handling of evidence and crash site management, according to several sources close to the investigation.

Kevin Humphreys, a former Irish regulator who founded the country’s air investigation agency, told Reuters the high stakes involved tend to make probes like this one particularly tough.

“There are tensions because it is unrealistic to assume that international protocols are always going to work. There is a potentially important economic impact from such investigations.”

An 18-strong team of American investigators has been sent to aid the Ethiopians with the inquiry, including representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Boeing, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which certified 737 MAX planes as safe.

U.S. and some other foreign investigators are unhappy because Ethiopia is so far sharing only limited information, the sources said.

“There is no opportunity for the international community to benefit and learn from this,” said one of them, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Some foreign officials are also unhappy about the prominent role Ethiopian Airlines played in the probe, suggesting a possible conflict of interests, they said.

But one Addis Ababa-based source said the carrier’s role in the investigation does not necessarily indicate it is trying to exert undue influence. The airline is more likely involved because it is the most well-funded and staffed state enterprise able to help the over-stretched inquiry team, he added.

“When you have a vacuum, someone has to fill it,” he said.

Ethiopian Airlines’ spokesman Asrat Begachew said the carrier was supporting the investigation. “We are not taking the lead,” he added, declining to comment further.

Under global aviation rules, interested parties like airlines and manufacturers are discouraged from speaking publicly about the investigation.

Yet in the first days after the Flight 302 crash, Ethiopian Airlines made all of the public statements, including announcing the black box recorders would be sent overseas for data extraction.

It was not until six days after the tragedy that the Ministry of Transport began briefing the media and public.

Hours after the crash, Ethiopian Airlines tweeted a picture of its CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holding a piece of debris in the crater of the crash site, surprising aviation experts who said the site should have been preserved for investigators.

Musie Yehyies, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport, said the government had been quick to share information about the crash. He denied there was any mistrust between the Ethiopians and other parties.

“Our friendship with the United States is obvious,” he told Reuters. “Plenty of governments have been offering assistance, and some of them have helped practically.”

The ministry did not respond to requests for comment on the airline’s role in the investigation or any potential conflict of interest.

Ethiopia’s Accident Investigation Bureau and civil aviation authority, which fall under the transport ministry, declined to comment on the investigation or any grievances of parties involved.

Boeing, the FAA and the NTSB also declined to comment.

BLACK BOXES

The cockpit voice and flight data recorders were recovered the day after the crash, but it took Ethiopian investigators three days to decide where to send them for the information to be extracted and decoded. Like many fast-growing players, the Ethiopians do not have the technology to perform the task.

In a sign of the distrust between the parties, the Ethiopians turned down an American offer to perform the analysis in the United States, according to two sources.

U.S. authorities declined to comment.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde personally approached German authorities to request to send the black boxes to Germany to have the data extracted there, a separate source with knowledge of matter told Reuters. Airlines are not usually involved in such decisions, according to current and former investigators.

The airline could not comment on the investigation, a spokesman said in response to questions about the incident.

However German officials said they too did not have the most recent software needed to extract the data, so the devices were eventually sent to France.

Partial data from the flight data recorder was shared informally late on Monday with U.S. and French investigators in Paris, but nothing from the cockpit voice recorder, three sources familiar with the matter said.

It is common for the host investigator to closely guard voice recordings to protect privacy but unusual for relatively little data to be available a week after being downloaded.

“As an investigator, it is hard to understand the logic behind withholding safety-of-flight information,” Greg Feith, a former senior air safety investigator with the NTSB, said on Facebook on Thursday.

Ethiopia said on Thursday it had begun analyzing cockpit data and was working with U.S. and European experts.

Following Ethiopian Airlines’ last major crash, outside Beirut in 2010, an investigation led by the Lebanese and to which France contributed blamed crew mismanagement of the aircraft and poor communication in the cockpit.

The airline – led by the same CEO as today – said the report was “biased, lacking evidence, incomplete,” pointing to evidence of an explosion on board.

HIGH STAKES

Most crash investigations end up pinpointing a combination of factors.

For decades, reconstructions by independent investigators have been credited with reducing air accidents to record low levels. The system of co-operation works by sticking to technical details and avoiding blame or other agendas.

Safety experts worry that too many turf battles can cloud the progress of an investigation.

“The sole purpose of an accident investigation is to reduce the chances of something ever happening again,” said Paul Hayes, safety director at the Flight Ascend Consultancy.

The Flight 302 crash triggered the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, wiping billions off the company’s market value. Also on the line are more than $500 billion worth of 737 MAX orders.

Ethiopian Airlines is regulated by the country’s civil aviation authority, but its resources are far more extensive. The carrier’s operating revenue in the 2017/18 financial year was $3.7 billion. This dwarfs the regulator’s budget, which is 360 million Birr ($12.5 million) for this fiscal year.

CRASH SITE

Responsibility for leading the probe fell to Ethiopia because the crash occurred on its soil. Nairobi-bound Flight 302 went down into farmland minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The crash killed people from 35 countries, all of which are also entitled to examine the crash site and join in the investigation. America, China, Kenya, Britain, Canada, Israel, France and other nations have sent investigators.

Some nations were unhappy that Ethiopia was using heavy earth-moving equipment at the site, potentially damaging evidence or human remains, although others said that was the only way to move heavy items such as engines.

Some foreign officials also complained of being unable to access the site in the days after the crash.

After Israel’s team were not given permission to visit the site, the Israeli prime minister eventually called the Ethiopian prime minister on Wednesday, a statement on the Israeli prime minister’s website said. 

A permission letter – from Ethiopian Airlines – was issued late on Thursday for the Israeli ambassador and emergency response unit ZAKA, a source familiar with the incident added.

The European Union’s aviation safety agency, EASA, waited more than a week to be allowed to join the crash investigation.

“The Ethiopian investigation body is very keen to keep a very, very closed circle around the investigation,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky told the European parliament on Monday.

(Additional reporting by Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Katharine Houreld in Nairobi, Georgina Prodhan in Paris and David Shepardson in Washington; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Pravin Char)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A group of researchers who believe tech’s current offering of mainly male and female voice assistants “perpetuates stereotypes” have put money and time into Q, a “genderless” voice assistant.

The artificial intelligence assistant uses a voice with a frequency of around 145 Hertz, which is believed to fall between the frequencies of typical male and female voices, according to Geek.com.

Q’s creators asked that visitors on their website to share the voice assistant with tech companies like Twitter and Apple. The site’s “About” section states:

Technology companies often choose to gender technology believing it will make people more comfortable adopting it. Unfortunately this reinforces a binary perception of gender, and perpetuates stereotypes that many have fought hard to progress. As society continues to break down the gender binary, recognising [sic] those who neither identify as male nor female, the technology we create should follow.

Who are Q’s creators? The voice assistant is backed by a team including Copenhagen Pride and Vice’s creative agency Virtue. They unveiled Q at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on March 11, according to AdWeek. (RELATED: Tech Exec Hired By DNC After Embarrassing Email Leaks Leaves For Social Justice Org Run By Steve Jobs’s Widow)

A man uses 'Siri' on the new iPhone 4S after being one of the first customers in the Apple store in Covent Garden on October 14, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A man uses ‘Siri’ on the new iPhone 4S after being one of the first customers in the Apple store in Covent Garden on October 14, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

“It’s going to become an increasingly commonplace way for us to communicate with tech,” Project Q collaborator Julie Carpenter, a researcher with the Ethics and Emerging Sciences Group, said according to WIRED. “Naming a home assistant Alexa, which sounds female, can be problematic for some people, because it reinforces this stereotype that females assist and support people in tasks.”

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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