The FEI has today received confirmation from the IOC that all five Russian equestrian athletes have been cleared to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio. The news comes following a detailed submission by the FEI, including confirmation that all five had no previous anti-doping rule violations.The five Russian equestrian athletes that are now cleared to compete in Rio are:Eventing: – Aleksandr Markov and the horse Kurfurstin; Andrey Mitin with Gurza; and Evgeniya Ovchinnikova and Orion.Dressage: – Inessa Merkulova with Mister X; Marina Aframeeva and Vosk;Following a meeting on 24 July 2016, the IOC Executive Board (EB) declared that Russian athletes would only be accepted as eligible for the Rio 2016 Games if they met a set of stringent criteria, including individual analysis of each athlete’s individual anti-doping record. The IOC EB also ruled that any Russian athlete that had ever been sanctioned for doping, even if they had served the sanction, would not be eligible to compete in Rio.FEI President Ingmar De Vos welcomed today’s news. “This has been a very difficult time for our Russian athletes, who all have clean anti-doping records under both human and equine testing regimes, so we are very happy to have confirmation today from the IOC that all five are now declared eligible to compete.“Our sport is not implicated in the McLaren Report, we also have confirmation from the IOC that there have been no equestrian positives in the re-testing of athletes from Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and WADA has no cases against Russian athletes in equestrian sport, but obviously we still had to go through the process as outlined by the IOC Executive Board last month.“All five riders have been tested and we did individual analysis of their anti-doping history, which we submitted to the IOC. That documentation has undergone a detailed assessment by the CAS expert and the full process has now been signed off by the Review Panel set up by the IOC specifically to deal with the issue of Russian athlete eligibility.“The good news has come just in time as the Eventing starts tomorrow morning with the first horse inspection at 8.30!” Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! Email* We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews SIGN UP More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business.
iStock/Joerg Drescher (NEW YORK) — Despite there being fewer cars on the road thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, state highway safety officials across the country are reporting a “severe spike” in speeding, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).In New York City and San Fransisco, road traffic is down over 60%, according to transportation analytics company INRIX.GHSA says the emptier streets may be encouraging drivers to engage in more reckless behaviors.On March 27, New York City’s automated speed cameras issued 24,765 speeding tickets — almost double the amount of speeding tickets the city issued daily the month prior. In some streets in Los Angeles, drivers are speeding as much as 30% more.“Now that the streets are empty, the Fast & Furious wannabes really think they’re living in a video game,” New York City Councilman Justin Brannan tweeted. “The sounds of cars and motorcycles racing on the Belt Parkway in Bay Ridge have become a scary lullaby.”Some states are reporting fewer crashes, but more serious ones. In Massachusetts, the fatality rate for car crashes is rising. In Minnesota, motor vehicle crashes and fatalities have more than doubled compared to the same time period in previous years. Half of the fatalities in Minnesota were connected to speeding or careless driving.The nonprofit association that represents the nation’s highway safety offices says being a safe driver is more important than ever during the novel coronavirus outbreak because emergency rooms in many areas are at capacity.“The last thing they need is additional strain from traffic crash victims,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said.The number of pedestrians and bikes on city streets has also increased exponentially as a result of the decline in traffic, according to GHSA, which reinforces the need for drivers to follow traffic safety laws.In Nevada and Rhode Island, state officials are reporting a rise in pedestrian fatalities.“During the past two months, Americans nationwide have shown that we are all willing to do the right thing to protect ourselves and each other,” Pam Shadel Fischer, GHSA’s Senior Director of External Engagement and Special Projects said. “We must maintain that same sense of urgency when it comes to the road.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Josie Desmarais/iStockBy ARIELLE MITROPOULOS and ALEXANDRA SVOKOS, ABC News(NEW YORK) — For the past week, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets — in the U.S. and all over the world — to voice their anger over the tragic death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody with a white officer’s knee on his neck.In several U.S. cities — Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Los Angeles — peaceful demonstrations descended into violence, with some rioters hurling rocks, bricks, glass bottles or Molotov cocktails at police, and setting police cars on fire. Vandals shattered storefront windows and looted stores.In turn, police reacted aggressively, firing tear gas and stun grenades into crowds, while city and state officials deployed thousands of National Guard members and implemented curfews.However, in some of New Jersey’s larger cities, like Newark and Camden, demonstrations have remained relatively peaceful.City officials and residents attribute this to improved community and police relations, political and activist leadership and, for some, the still-traumatic memories of the riots of 1967. Further, the organizers of the protests have been able to keep the focus of the protests on larger issues — systemic racism and injustice.In Newark, civic leaders, police and mayors from surrounding cities in New Jersey participated alongside residents in peaceful protests on Saturday, while members of People’s Organization for Progress circulated throughout the crowd, encouraging orderliness, social distancing and handing out water.Newark is a city that, for decades, has been haunted by simmering racial tensions. The infamous 1967 Newark riots, five days of violent unrest, happened after a black cab driver was arrested for a minor traffic violation and badly beaten by two white officers.Thousands of residents took to the streets, protesting police brutality. The situation quickly escalated, leading to looting and destruction — 26 people died, scores were injured and property damaged totaled tens of millions of dollars.“This city went up in flames, and we are still trying to recover from that 50 years later,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said during a speech to about 3,500 protesters. “My father was beat in the head in the rebellion in 1967. This story is not just a history lesson for me, it is very personal for my family in this community because we were injured in this rebellion.”Lawrence Hamm, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and longtime civil rights activist, and the chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, which organized the event in Newark, credits the relative peacefulness of the protests in Newark to the demonstrators themselves.“I don’t know if ‘peaceful’ is really the right word,” he told ABC News. “People say ‘peaceful protest,’ but a protest is a disturbance of the peace.”“If I had to boil it down to one factor,” Hamm added, “I would say that one of the reasons that the protest has not been destructive is because people want to keep the narrative about the protest, on the issues of justice.”When Hamm spoke to the crowd on Saturday, he pointedly asked, “What do we want the narrative to be tomorrow, about what we did today? … We are here to march and protest the death of George Floyd. If you’re here to do something different, you’re not with us.”The death of Floyd incited tremendous anger because “people saw his death in real time. It was almost as if it was a public execution,” Hamm explained. “People are outraged. People should be outraged. But we should let outrage move us to action for justice. And that is what we are trying to do in New Jersey.”Newark native Bill Davis, a professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University, attended the protest on Saturday.He agreed with Hamm, adding, “The shop owners in downtown Newark are not doing anything to cause issues with people that were involved in the march, so there was no reason to vent our rage toward them. Our rage needs to be channeled toward the systemic racism that we’re there to protest.”Davis, who witnessed the 1967 rebellion, called the protests in memory of Floyd one of “the most historic moments in the history of the country.”According to Hamm, another factor in the peaceful protests was the attitude of the police, who didn’t show up in riot gear, instead setting a relatively passive tone. Overall, he said, because of Baraka’s anti-police brutality policies, “The police have not been that aggressive.”And for the last three years, his organization has frequently protested outside the federal building in Newark.“We’ve had a lot of interaction with the police,” he added. “So when we marched on Saturday, the interaction with police was almost routine.”Demonstrations also were peaceful in Camden, where the city’s white police chief joined with demonstrators.“It’s not us policing the city — it’s us together. It’s community policing,” Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki told ABC News. “I ask my officers every day, with our use-of-force policy, like it mandates de-escalation. Marching with the protesters is a form of de-escalation. It’s a partnership with the community — they have to see that I stand with them. And I do.”“We developed a very progressive the use-of-force policy that mandates the same sanctity of life. Force is a last resort. De-escalation has been mandated, the duty to intervene is a must. We practice what we preach, but it’s not just a policy. We train with it every day,” he added.“I love the relentless commitment to struggle, and to protest and to push and to fight through hell, and at the same time demand that we do better,” Sen. Cory Booker said, in reference to the protests in his home state, during an appearance on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday.However, Davis noted, although peaceful protests are positive, there must be continued action, constructive engagement and organizational changes because “there are so many of these police brutality cases and far too many instances the police are never held accountable.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Previous articleWinona Lake man pleads guilty to aggravated battery, reckless homicideNext articleElkhart County resident who contracted EEE has died Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. By Jon Zimney – October 13, 2019 0 420 (Photo supplied/ABC 57) One person was killed in a two vehicle crash in Osceola.Emergency crews were called to the area of Ash Road and Henry Road around 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.The person who died was one of the drivers, according to 95.3 MNC’s reporting partners at ABC 57.There was no immediate word on how the crash happened or factors into the crash.The St. Joseph County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team is conducting an investigation.This is a developing story. Check back for details. Facebook WhatsApp Google+ IndianaLocalNews One person killed in two-vehicle crash in Osceola Twitter Facebook Pinterest Twitter WhatsApp Google+ Pinterest
The Commission has proposed capping the total budget for developing the EU’s economically backward regions between 2000 and 2006 at 257 billion ecu, equivalent to about 30% of all projected EU expenditure over the same period.Of this, 52 billion ecu would flow eastwards before 2006, either in the form of preaccession aid or pump-priming investment projects in those of the applicant countries which are invited to join.With a further 20 billion ecu committed to the EU’s poorest ‘cohesion’ countries (Greece, Portugal, Spain, and, for the time being at least, Ireland), this leaves just 210 billion ecu to cover all mainstream regional development projects during the first six years of the new millennium.Regional Affairs Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies says that this is equivalent to the 12% reduction in spending levels which would have been possible if the budgetary arrangements for the previous period (1994-1999) had simply been rolled over. But critics of the plan, using different economic assumptions, argue that the true cut in spending is in fact much greater.In order to deflect some of this criticism, the Commission is proposing to introduce a ‘safety net’ to limit the total reduction in funding which regions in industrial decline would have to endure.The level of this safety net remains to be decided, and promises to be one of the more contentious issues during the final round of ministerial negotiations early next year. A major piece of the jigsaw fell into place last week when the EU statistical office Eurostat published the latest figures on how the Union’s wealth is currently distributed between the administrative regions that it officially recognises.These show that if the Objective 1 cut-off point is applied strictly, 11 EU regions that currently hold Objective 1 status would have their previously generous EU handouts phased out from 2000 on, because their average GDP per head is now above 75% of the Union average. The unlucky 11 are substantially the same as those that were illicitly slipped in under the Objective 1 net in 1993.In the final analysis, there will probably be no way around the Commission’s determination to apply the Objective 1 threshold strictly.Just two specific exceptions are likely. The Republic of Ireland, which has until now been considered as a single Objective 1 region but is set to lose this status, may persuade the Commission to recognise nine administrative sub-regions which would continue to qualify for the most generous level of support.The UK may also prolong Northern Ireland’s Objective 1 funding on the grounds that extra investment is needed to shore up the fragile peace process.As a quid pro quo for accepting the strict Objective 1 wealth test, governments are likely to argue successfully that a wider range of criteria than unemployment rates should be considered in deciding eligibility for Objective 2. The Commission announced its detailed plans for achieving the necessary cuts in both areas, which between them account for 87% of all EU spending, a few months later and EU farmers and agriculture ministers have made sure that the political battles over reducing farm expenditure have dominated the headlines ever since.But negotiations over reducing regional development spending will begin to offer the farm discussions some serious competition for media attention as talks enter a crucial phase in the new year.The wheeling and dealing over the Commission’s proposals for trimming the EU’s regional funds holds out just as much promise of explosive political battles as the parallel agriculture talks. Objective 3, originally designed to integrate the young and the long-term unemployed into the work force, would take over all programmes aimed at combating unemployment except for those already provided for under Objectives 1 and 2.Wulf-Mathies hopes to achieve the necessary spending cuts by tightening up the funding eligibility criteria under Objectives 1 and 2, which account for a large majority of EU regional spending.She particularly wants to convince national governments that the 75% cut off point for Objective 1 status, which entitles regions to by far the most generous level of EU funding, must be applied strictly.With regard to Objective 2, she is pushing ministers to restrict eligibility to those regions which have an unemployment rate above the Union average.It is this which is at the heart of the political battle between the member states and the Commission.At the start of the EU’s last major financing package in 1993, things were very different. Enlargement was a barely visible speck on the horizon, there was a relatively plentiful supply of cash, and one of the Commission’s top political priorities was to eliminate economic disparities between regions. But whatever figures are used, it is clear that there will be far less money to go around.Wulf-Mathies’ strategy is to concentrate these depleted funds on the regions that need them most, with the aim of achieving more with less.Even her sternest critics agree that this is preferable to the alternative of spreading the available cash around so thinly that no concrete benefits are felt, although those living in regions which suddenly find themselves deprived of EU grants will probably take a different view.Along with the proposed cuts in development assistance, the Commission is planning a radical simplification of the mechanisms for distributing money from the four ‘structural’ funds which administer EU regional aid. This essentially involves reducing the seven present categories of regions which the Commission uses to set total aid levels for eligible areas to just three.The old ‘Objective 1’ category, made up of EU regions with gross domestic product per head below 75% of the Union average, would remain the same.Objective 2, traditionally reserved for regions in industrial decline, would become a new catch-all category designed “to promote economic and social restructuring”. The highest levels of Objective 2 aid would continue to be directed towards regions in industrial decline, but certain types of project in other regions would also be eligible for funding. In this more profligate atmosphere, national governments managed to slip 11 regions which did not strictly meet the 75% GDP threshold under the Objective 1 net. Objective 2 cash was also flung around far more liberally.Now the Commission is adamant that there can be no exceptions to the Objective 1 cut-off point, and is equally determined that Objective 2 should be used primarily as a tool for combating unemployment.Most national governments, however, are hell-bent on watering down this programme of austerity, either by bilaterally negotiating exceptions to the Objective 1 rule, or by collectively bargaining for an increase in the 75% threshold.Similarly, several economically influential countries which have escaped the worst of the EU’s unemployment crisis are pushing hard for the Commission to use a wider range of criteria in assessing eligibility for Objective 2 status.It will be another four months before ministers reach a final deal, with most commentators predicting that the major decisions will be left until the special EU summit in Brussels on 24-25 March 1999.But the vague outlines of an accord are already discernible. The Commission will probably agree to include economic indicators such as gross national product per head of population in assessing which regions are eligible. This will mitigate the decrease in the proportion of the population which benefits from Objective 2 coverage.There are clear signs also that the Commission will give ground on its so-called efficiency reserve, under which the institution would withhold 10% of the funding allocated to individual programmes until it can be shown by means of a mid-term audit that the money is being efficiently spent.National governments are unanimously opposed to the idea, and Wulf-Mathies said two weeks ago that she was willing to reduce the proportion of withheld cash to 5%. With most member states determined to do away with the reserve altogether, she will probably be forced to make further concessions before she gets up from the negotiating table.
Ministers in charge of space affairs from the 18 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) met in The Hague last week (24-25 November) to discuss new programmes and budget allocations for the coming years. A €10.5 billion proposal had been submitted by the leadership of the ESA. Prior to the ministerial council, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s director-general, had publicly announced that he would be happy if he could get €9.3bn worth of funding from the member states. Eventually he got €9.95bn, a 20% increase on the amount approved at the last ministerial council in Berlin three years ago. To outward appearances, the meeting was a success for the space industry, especially since all ministerial delegations made it clear that the current financial crisis was no reason to reduce space budgets. They declared that it was important to “invest in the future” in such troubled times. Not all previous councils have been this lucky. However, the extent of the success should not be overstated. The ESA’s executive had already scaled down its demands over the last three months from €13bn, to fit with what it might realistically get from the member states. GMES and Ariane continuity Lengthy debate had been expected on one of the newly approved budgets: for Global Monitoring for Environment & Security (GMES), a project gathering scientific data by satellite. In the event a decision was approved surprisingly rapidly to secure the project to 2018: the ESA will spend some €830 million on the next step of the initiative which it co-sponsors with the EU. Part of this sum will be devoted to the manufacturing of more Sentinel satellites to ensure continuity of data beyond the service life of the three spacecraft currently ordered from the industry. Prior to the meeting, some member states had argued that operational satellites were beyond the ESA’s remit and should be funded directly by the Commission. However, this would have postponed the procurement to 2014, much too late to have the satellites ready for launch in 2015, so threatening the continuity of scientific data. Early procurement will give benefits of scale and the current satellites and their successors will be built continuously. By providing a continuous flow of coherent data on a global scale, the ESA’s satellites and their successors are vital to the EU’s ability to monitor climate change and predict its evolution and therefore to adapt its policies accordingly. Any gap in the flow of data would ruin years of measurements and might make digital models useless. Ideally each satellite would have its back-up in orbit to prevent a single failure harming the data flow, but at least an overlap of the series is now ensured. Another vital element of Europe’s autonomy in space also got some extra funding. Over the next three years, €355m will be spent on studies for an improvement of the Ariane 5 launcher, raising hopes that a €1.5bn development budget will be approved by the ESA’s next ministerial council in 2011. The upgraded Ariane 5 could be ready in about 2017. The upgrade has been planned since 1999 but was frozen after a costly launch failure in 2002. Recently, a group of former industry officials close to the programme warned that the current Ariane 5 was not powerful enough to keep launching two satellites at a time, which is essential for its commercial competitiveness that will be threatened over the next nine years as China and Russia will introduce powerful new vehicles. Lack of vision? Both the GMES and Ariane 5 projects have been patched up. But some French space industry executives bemoan the lack of vision from the French government. France was once the driver of European space, but now it is losing jobs and know-how (partly compensated for by technology transfers to Germany and Italy), and Europe is being overtaken in space by China, Japan and, soon, India. For the second time since the inception of the ESA, Germany’s contributions exceed those of France – a repeat of the result in Berlin three years ago. By investing €2.8bn while France limits its spending to €2.3bn, Germany has confirmed its status as the new leader of European space. This will benefit its industry, which will, under ESA’s “fair return” policy, receive contracts in proportion to the country’s investment. Representatives of French industry in The Hague showed bitterness about some newly approved programmes, like the atmospheric re-entry demonstrators and space capsules. “We’ve been pioneers for 40 years in space re-entry, and now that production is about to start, it will be in Bremen or Turin,” complained one Frenchman. Back in 1987, the ESA’s ministerial council was also in The Hague. At that time, the agency had only 11 members, but it was able to launch ambitious programmes that shaped Europe’s current involvement in space: the Ariane 5 launcher, the Columbus laboratory, the polar platform (which became Envisat and Metop) and a world-class science programme that gave scientists the keys to the sun’s interior, brought them into the vicinity of Saturn, launched them into comet-chasing and unveiled the secrets of the violent gamma and X-ray universe. The last mission approved then will be flown next spring. Many space professionals attending last week’s meeting were asking: “Where is the spirit of The Hague gone?” The ESA has kept space programmes alive, but the spirit of adventure is missing. Stefan Barensky is a freelance journalist and space consultant. Fact File €2.8bnThe amount of money invested by Germany, which overtakes France as the top spender in Europe on spaceESA’s satellites and their successors are vital to the EU’s ability to monitor clim
Annual Belgian exports to Canada were worth €2 billion on average over the last decade. About half of products shipped off to Montreal or Halifax are pharmaceutical products, largely from Flanders’ pharmaceutical companies. And a large chunk of imports are diamonds that fuel the diamond industry in Antwerp.Unfortunate spotlightHaving suffered grave reputational damage for its disjointed response to terror attacks in Paris and then Brussels, the country is again in the spotlight.”The general feeling is that Les petits belges can’t agree once again … That’s not good for our image,” said Devos.Traditionally, Belgium has been able to avoid its regional fireworks exploding onto the international stage. When environmental or agricultural issues have caused problems at home, Belgium has simply ducked the decision at the European level.But CETA is different, experts said. “In past cases, Belgium abstained from a vote. But CETA requires unanimity,” said Hendrik Vos, professor in EU studies at Ghent University.Wallonia also epitomizes a wider leftist opposition to the deal. “There is a lot of disgruntlement on the Left about this trade deal,” Vos said. “The divide across Europe [on the deal] is greater than the unanimity amongst the EU countries we see right now.” Ironically, it’s their own fault.For decades, Flemish nationalists have torn Belgium apart, shifting increasing powers to the country’s regions. Now, they are stuck in a federal government immobilized and embarrassed by those very regional powers they fought so hard to win.”It’s pretty embarrassing,” said Carl Devos, politics professor at Ghent University. “If you advocate rights for regions … you can’t just say those rights then need to be violated.”The New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), Belgium’s largest party and Flemish-nationalist powerhouse, is particularly haunted by Wallonia’s obstruction over the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. The party wields the power at the federal level but can’t force the southern region to abide by its wishes.The differences over Canada reveal some of the broader economic faultlines within Belgium. According to figures from the central bank, 83 percent of overall Belgian exports come from Flanders, versus 14.6 percent from Wallonia and 2.4 percent from Brussels. In terms of trade with Canada, the northern region accounts for 90.2 percent of Belgian exports and the south for 9 percent.”Wallonia doesn’t have skin in the game” — Sander Loones “Can Belgium really afford to be blackmailed, and blocked, while the whole EU and the rest of the world watches?” — Gwendolyn Rutten”The only one that needs to commit to this deal today is Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders,” the party’s president Gwendolyn Rutten told public broacaster VRT. “Can Belgium really afford to be blackmailed, and blocked, while the whole EU and the rest of the world watches?”The Liberal party won support from Flemish business leaders. One of the region’s most powerful business lobbies, Voka — a close political ally of the N-VA party, has urged the prime minister to simply sign the deal. “If it leads to an institutional crisis, or some fighting, so be it. We’re making a fool of ourselves,” Hans Maertens, head of Voka, told De Tijd newspaper.The N-VA on the other hand is caught in a Catch-22. Not using their political leverage to push through the deal would mean a loss for their region’s industry and interests. But a power grab at the federal level to overrule the Walloon objection would go against their core values, and core voters’ wishes, of regional autonomy.Following Flemish demands, the country’s international trade policy was split during the country’s fifth reform of the state in 2001. Flanders has since waged a global campaign to attract investment. In Wallonia, a similar effort took place when the government adopted their Marshall Plan for investment in the region in 2005.Betting big on the brand of “Flanders,” the northern region set up so-called Flanders Houses in New York and Japan. Delegations of regional ministers, joined by business leaders, jetted around the world, pitching the Flemish brand rather than the Belgian one. Belgium’s fragmented politics have never triggered such an international frenzy.Europe and Canada can but wait and watch as Belgium’s federal government wrestles to overcome resistance in the French-speaking part of the country that is threatening to sink a landmark EU trade deal with Ottawa.If Belgium cannot sign, the entire accord is liable to collapse, unraveling seven years of painstaking diplomacy between the European Commission and Ottawa. In contrast to the Walloons, the Dutch-speaking Flemish nationalists and their partners in the federal government are robust supporters of free trade, but they are almost powerless. “Wallonia doesn’t have skin in the game,” said Sander Loones, a Member of the European Parliament and vice president of the N-VA party.Belgium’s federal government has to keep one eye on its own impending diplomatic isolation, but another on tensions between the free-trading Flemish and the economically depressed Walloons, which can flare rapidly. So far, the dispute over the CETA accord has not rekindled Flemish frustrations about subsidizing the poorer part of the country. But as Loones puts it, “It doesn’t take much in Belgium to spark a debate on its institutions.”Only themselves to blameWhile the deadlock is frustrating for the federal government, it could also in theory help the Flemish nationalists in the long run. Their premise — that Flanders and Wallonia are better off apart because they can’t agree — seems validated again. The Flemish movement has been pushing for more autonomy for decades.The N-VA party rose to power in the past decade, campaigning tirelessly against the economic transfers to Wallonia. It took power at the federal level in 2014, forging a center-right coalition without Wallonia’s largest party, the Socialists.But the CETA debacle has exposed a painful paradox. “Wallonia’s government is using the sovereignty it got largely because of Flemish demands” for autonomy, said Dave Sinardet, professor in politics and federalism in Brussels. “Nationalists like the N-VA can’t really be against that.”The crisis has triggered other Flemish parties, like the Liberal Open VLD in government, to call on Prime Minister Charles Michel and his government to overrule the Walloon veto. “If the N-VA has to choose the side of the multinationals’ lobby and other interests, they take the multinationals’ side,” the opposition’s Flemish Socialists’ president John Crombez said, raging against the CETA deal.”People pleading for the importance of trade could be right, but that’s really not the point. It’s the clauses,” Crombez said about CETA’s mechanisms for companies to sue governments. “Get those clauses out if you’re really serious about trade.” Also On POLITICO Brussels sketch In defense of the Walloons By Tim King Defiant Wallonia rejects deadline to save EU-Canada deal By Hans von der Burchard and Christian Oliver Wallonia’s Minister-President Paul Magnette has become the Socialist figurehead against trade deals like CETA and the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel (L) and Minister President of Wallonia Paul Magnette | Stephanie Lecoq/EPAFor the French-speaking Socialist Party, it’s smart politics.The party has suffered a decline in polls. The far-left Worker’s Party is nibbling away at their votes. To their right, the Socialists had to concede the elections to the Liberal MR back in 2014 when a 30-year streak in federal government ended.”Their resistance is putting the [French-speaking] Socialist Party on the map internationally — but above all, they need to get back on the map in Wallonia,” said Sinardet.Rallying against multinationals will not hurt their prospects. Wallonia has clashed with multinationals, as their industry declined over the decades and corporate cut-backs sparked job losses.Wallonia’s rebellion is welcomed by a political minority in Flanders too.
Pink Talking Fish founder and bassist Eric Gould sat down with L4LM to discuss his favorite tribute acts in the music scene today. Gould founded Pink Talking Fish in 2013, coming up with the idea and penning a potential setlist fusing the music of Phish, Talking Heads, and Pink Floyd. As he described it in a recent interview, one look at the setlist, and he said to himself, “oh my god, this band has to happen.”Todd Stoops, Grateful Dead Set Added To Pink Talking Fish’s NYC Concert Cruises[Cover photo courtesy of Bryan Lasky]I love performing in a Tribute Act. I engulf myself with music that I value at the highest levels of love and respect. Then I have the pleasure and the honor of performing to an audience who shares my enthusiasm and trusts me to add personal creativity into the mix. It takes a certain personality in a musician to put together a Tribute Show that honors the original acts and transports the audience to that place where they feel most at home. My favorite Tribute Acts have this dedication but also add a slice of originality, giving the audience fresh footprints on the platform of the music they love. The Jam Scene is all about a sense of adventure through music and, therefore, is the perfect place for these unique Tribute Acts to live and thrive.While I haven’t heard every Tribute Band in the jam scene, here are some of the ones that get me excited:10. The Z3 featuring Ed Mann – Funky Takes on Frank Zappa: Led by Tim Palmieri and an allstar cast of characters in the Northeast scene, this group uses the music of Frank Zappa to create funked out jam vehicles. Zappa alum, Ed Mann, adds a classic sound to the flavor of the band.9. DeadPhish Orchestra: “A seamless web of Phish and The Dead to split open and melt your face”: This Colorado quartet combines the jamband giants into one experience. The setlists are creative and bandleader, Ted Tilton, adds to the fun by re-naming combinations like Playin’ in Suzy Greenburg’s Band and YEMberland Blues.8. The Motet: Yes, this band plays original music. However, they have also earned their place in the tribute genre. They have created and brilliantly executed tribute shows such as 1975 Mixtape, Funk Is Dead, Talking Heads, Michael Jackson and more. These guys are one of the few bands that have blurred the lines of category and that is exciting to me.7. Bustle In Your Hedgerow: Instrumental Led Zepplin with an edge! The jam scene needed this one. Paying tribute to the Titans of Rock and Roll while also exploring the jam within makes this outfit a diamond in the rough.6. Start Making Sense: Talking Heads Tribute/HmfO: A Hall and Oates Tribute: When PTF formed I was surprised that the Talking Heads material was the most challenging to pull off. This band masters the simplistic layers that embody the complex whole. It’s a beautiful collective. Classy that they often open for themselves with their Hall And Oates alter ego. Bravo, Gents!5. Melvin Seals JGB: This one is another gray area, since Melvin was a part of JGB for so many years. I want to give him some love here though, because he carries the torch for the JGB sound like none other. The spirit is there. The energy is that perfect mix of feel good soul and vibrant bounce. Life is just a little bit better with JGB around.4. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead: These guys cracked the code: A Grateful Dead show with an X Factor that appeals to the young, fresh and hip audience. The music is alive and full of high energy. The surface of this concept was scratched with Jazz Is Dead about a decade ago but this is the act that is taking it to the streets. Has GD gone metrosexual?!3. Easy Star Allstars: Although this band writes original music, the success of their career has been in the tribute realm. Dub Side Of The Moon is probably the most popular tribute album in the world. The work they have done putting their creative stamp into the music of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, The Beatles and more is an inspiration to artists of all levels. The live show is happening and the media synergy is wildly entertaining.2. Zappa Plays Zappa: I remember the day Frank passed away. Crushing. It makes me happy that Dweezil carried on the family torch. Just like his dad, he has found some of the most ridiculous players alive to perform some of the most ridiculous music ever written. We are a better world with a live show out there that does justice to Zappa’s music.1. Dark Star Orchestra: DSO has many accolades. They have harnessed the sound of The Grateful Dead. They have recreated many and most of the classic setlists from the past. They have performed many more live shows than The Grateful Dead in much less time. These are not the reasons why I picked them as #1. The reason I deem them the best Tribute Act in the Jam Scene is because they pay tribute to more than just the music. They pay tribute to the culture.The fact that DSO is carrying on the spirit and opportunity for the Deadhead culture to continue with the touring experience is a blessing to our scene. Shakedown Street lives on. The ride will continue to be enjoyed. Tour is one of the last great American dreams in existence. The power and adventure in Tour is the richest treasure in this scene. As The Dead perform their final shows together this year, it is a pleasure to say “Thank you, DSO, for keeping the most precious asset of our scene alive and well.”Be sure to check out Pink Talking Fish and ShwiKus Plays P-Funk At Phunk The Winter!, February 7th at the Gramercy Theatre. Here’s a killer “Divided Sky > Pigs (3 Different Ones) > Pigs” from PTF to get you in the mood:Honorable Mentions:Shafty – Portland’s Tribute To Phish: These guys keep current with all the new material that comes out and write setlists like The Disco Biscuits with inverted songs and other tricks. It is always exciting to see what they will do next.California Voodoo – An Honest Interpretation of Widespread Panic: The WSP energy is alive in Kansas City. Close your eyes and you will hear JB through the vocals of Scotty McCormick Jr. KC is a big Panic town and these musicians bring the heat and create a fantastic WSP experience.7 Below – A Tribute To Phish: This band prides themselves on owning the complex Phish material and performing it with precision. Want to hear a flawless Reba? Want to hear YEM>Bowie>YEM>Bowie? Go see 7 Below.Dead Floyd: To combine The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd is to climb a spiritual mountain. Both bands harness an intimate depth and deep power. These gentlemen from Colorado do it justice.
Nina Simone was a singular voice in music. Her intense, grizzled style and stark, unafraid message continue to reverberate throughout both decades and genres, and her work continues to be directly referenced and reimagined in modern music by everyone from Michael Buble to Kanye West.Born in 1933 as Eunice Kathleen Waymon, she changed her name to “Nina Simone” when she began performing regularly in Atlantic City nightclubs. Knowing her mother would not approve of playing the “Devil’s Music,” Simone initially used the stage name to help her fly under the radar. Nina Simone, fondly known as The High Priestess of Soul, went on to record more than 40 albums over the course of her career. In 2018, Simone was officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after receiving her first nomination since the Hall’s first induction year in 1986.Related: Kim Dawson Stresses The Pain & Anger Of Black Women With Nina Simone Cover At Justice Comes Alive [Watch]In addition to being a powerhouse singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, Nina Simone was an influential civil rights activist, often using her music as a platform to draw attention to the violence and hardships facing African Americans. Below, you can hear Simone discuss and perform a pair of her more political songs: “Revolution”, which deals generally with rebelling against oppression, and “Strange Fruit”, a song Billie Holiday made famous but Simone made her own, a chilling rendering of the rampant southern lynchings at that time.Nina Simone – “Revolution” & “Strange Fruit”[Video: LukeK79]Simone’s generally sharp and opinionated consciousness of racial and social discourse was prompted by her friendship with black playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry was the person who inspired Simone to use her music and performances as vehicles for provocative and poignant commentary. One of Nina’s more hopeful activism songs, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, was written within the years following Hansberry’s passing and got its title from one of Hansberry’s unpublished plays. You can listen to Nina speak about Lorraine Hansberry and perform “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” below: Nina Simone – “To Be Young, Gifted and Black“[Video: Nina Simone]Another gem in Simone’s repertoire of activist material (previously referred to as her “first protest song”) is “Mississippi Goddamn”, which she wrote in 1964 amid outrage at the violence being perpetrated against her people. As her bandleader, Al Schackman, explains in a CNN video:We were in a moment in history that we needed to be responsible to. In 1963, in Birmingham, four little girls were brutally murdered in a bombing. Murdered! Four little girls! Nina went crazy. She wanted to pick up a gun, go down south, and shoot Klansmen. Her husband said, “Write about it,” and she did, she wrote “Mississippi Goddamn”. Nina wrote the song, I think, within 24 hours. That was her masterpiece. She was able to define her feelings. People really responded to it…We played that song at the Selma march. We knew we were going there on a mission…You think all these years later, that we’ve come to our senses. But not quite. The fight is not yet over. The young people today have to pick up the baton.Below, watch a video about the creation of Nina Simone’s “first protest song,” “Mississippi Goddamn”:[Video: CNN][Originally published 2/21/19]
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWhen a Liverpool man bought tickets for himself and a homeless guy to go watch their favorite teams score goals, he never imagined the friendly gift would lead to meaningful goals scored off the pitch and a life turned around.Every day on his way to work in England, Rossico Jenkoski would buy a cup of coffee for the homeless man named Darren.GET IN THE GOOD NEWS GAME WITH OUR APP—> Download FREE for Android and iOSDarren had lost his job and apartment after his girlfriend passed away, and depression took hold. One thing he never lost, though: his enthusiasm for the Everton football club endured, even while he lived on the streets.Instead of spending money for “stupid things at Christmas” — as Jenkoski put it — he used part of his holiday budget to buy tickets to a match between Everton and his own favorite team, Liverpool–and chose his homeless friend to be his guest.The simple act of kindness inspired Darren who has since found a job and an apartment.“I posted this story to show you that a little bit of kindness can go so far and help get someone on the right track again,” Jenkoski (pictured, left) wrote on his Facebook page, below. “I used to drink coffee with Darren on the streets, then I did it at Goodison Park, and now we drink it in his flat.”Score One For Kindness! Share This… (Photo: jarmoluk, CC) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore