INDO-PAK DIALOGUE: New trade talks stutter over conditions; hostilities

A new round of talks on commerce and security between South Asian neighbours and bitter enemies India and Pakistan, designed to facilitate links and friendship has ground to a halt over tensions during the high-level government meetings, the Voice of America reported yesterday.

In Pakistan‘s capital Islamabad, the Pakistani delegation called off the talks after the two sides began ‘trading barbs’ over the meeting’s agenda, VOA reports. The national security advisors of both countries were due to meet in India‘s capital New Delhi today and tomorrow, but the reluctance of the two nations to step away from their pre-conditions for the meetings has hampered dialogue.

Jammu, June 25. Pakistan Ranger stands near th...

Jammu, June 25. Pakistan Ranger stands near the flags of India and Pakistan during the ancient shrine of ‘Dalip Singh’ Baba Chamliyal annual fair at zero line international border in RamGarh sector about 45 KM’s from Jammu on Thursday. Pix by Vishal Dutta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Indian position wanted the bilateral talks to focus on cross-border terrorism, in particular incursions of Pakistan-sponsored militants across the heavily fortified border of the disputed region of Kashmir. They wanted assurances that Pakistan would rein in the militants and help maintain peace in the restive northern region. Pakistan however, wanted to also communicate on other issues, in particular resolving the Kashmir dispute which has seen the two neighbours go to war three times since their joint independence in 1947 after the dismantling of the British Raj.

The foreign affairs minister of India, Sushma Swaraj, told her opposite number, NSA adviser Sartaj Aziz that he could only participate in the New Delhi phase of the talks if he was prepared to address the terrorism issue.

“If you want to come, I have two messages for you,” Swaraj told Aziz via a press conference in the Indian capital. “Don’t create a third partner, the talks should be between India and Pakistan. And keep them limited to terrorism. If you do so, you are welcome to come.”

The ‘third partner’ that the Indian foreign minister was referring to are the numerous Kashmiri separatist factions such as the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, who are agitating for complete independence for Kashmir or its annexation to Pakistan. Pakistan itself had originally invited leaders of the region’s separatist factions to meet with Sartaj Aziz before Aziz was to travel to New Delhi to meet the Indians, angering Indian politicians whose patience has been worn thin from separatist agitated violence in the Kashmir area over the past fifteen years or so.

A previous round of meeting with separatists from Kashmir by the Pakistanis caused India to call off talks between their foreign secretaries. Pakistan considers the Kashmiris to be ‘legitimate stakeholders’ in the ongoing debate over their region’s status, and has met with them as a matter of course for many years. India in turn regards the separatists as troublemakers and their position is that Kashmir and the wider Jammu and Kashmir state is an integral part of India without dispute. India regards the meetings between Pakistan and the Kashmiris as a violation of the 1972 Shimla Agreement, a document that implores both sides to bilaterally settle their differences.

The security meeting was a follow-up to a previous Indo-Pak meeting which took place in Ufa, in the Bashkiria region of Russia. On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Council summit, which was taking place at the same time, the prime ministers of the two nations reached an agreement to discuss bi-national security arrangements and issues.

Both sides accused each other of trying to re-interpret that agreement and violating its spirit.

“We were clear that if we say all outstanding issues then Kashmir is included… Ask anyone sitting here what is the biggest outstanding issue between the two countries, everybody will say Kashmir,” Aziz said referring to the joint communiqué issued at the Ufa meeting.

“All outstanding issues will be discussed once violence and terrorism end. This meeting was supposed to discuss how to end those,” Swaraj retorted. The foreign minister also said that Aziz had not referenced the communiqué properly, only referring to what was noted in its preamble, rather than the main actionable body of the document from Ufa. Tensions over the exact agenda of the NSA meeting were further exacerbated by recent incidents of cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops over the Line of Control, which separates Pakistani-occupied Kashmir from India’s autonomous Jammu and Kashmir state.

The good news is that despite the tensions over cross-border terrorism and security concerns, India and Pakistan have said that the talks will still continue, and despite the hard-hitting rhetoric between Swaraj and Aziz, the door has been left open for further negotiations between the Asian subcontinent’s two largest nations. According to Sartaj Aziz, however it is too early to say if the parties will meet again on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session to be held in New York next month.

Swaraj in turn commented of her hope that talks will persist, stating to the VOA that despite the difficult and complicated Indo-Pak relationship, the two sides have had worse falling-outs and was confident the problems could be negotiated.

“In diplomacy, there’s never a full stop, only commas or semi-colons,” she said.

SOURCES:
newsmap, Marcos Weskamp, Newsmap http://newsmap.jp/
“Pakistan: No High-level Talks With India” – Ayesha Tanzeem & Anjana Pasricha, Voice of America – News – Asia (22 August 2015) http://www.voanews.com/content/india-pakistan-trade-blame-as-proposed-talks-falter/2928347.html
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Baba Chamliyal Mela at Indo-Pak international Border, near Jammu.jpg” – Vishal Dutta, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (14 August 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Baba_Chamliyal_Mela_at_Indo-Pak_international_Border,_near_Jammu.jpg

 

THOMAS MULLER: Is he coming to Manchester United?

Aveersingh Gopal (contributor)

Vijay Shah (reporter)

One of the biggest transfer rumours of this new football season is the talk of the town. Reports are coming in of a possible sale of the Bayern Munich forward and German national squad member Thomas Müller to English club Manchester United where he could potentially pocket a hefty £1 million per week. The Red Devils apparently want to put up £60 million for Müller as they seek to capitalise on a recent run of good fortune under the patronage of former Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal. They hope by offering him a significant increase on his current £135,000-a-week wages plus the fact that his former teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger had already moved to Old Trafford, it might be an incentive for him to come over, even if it means Müller making a formal request to leave Bayern and break his contract.

A United source quoted in the Daily Star said: “He is the one the club wants more than anyone else.

“With him in the side, United could genuinely challenge for major honours again and they are willing to break the bank to get him.

“But he will have to force the issue himself and make it clear he wants to leave Bayern. It is all down to him now.”

The Daily Mirror reported on Thursday (20 August) that Müller’s agent had expressed an interest in sending his player over to Old Trafford, who recently signed up new star Memphis Depay from PSV ­Eindhoven. Depay, who was bought for a cool £25 million, has already made his money’s worth by scoring two stunning goals in his first match of play versus Club Brugge in a 3-1 Champions’ League playoff.

Thomas Müller (FC Bayern Munich), german natio...

Thomas Müller (FC Bayern Munich), german national football team (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the Daily Mail however, Bayern are keen to retain their superstar, having previously deflected an offer from Arsenal to acquire the formidable forward, one of the most invincible elements of the German top flight team’s attack formation. Müller, according to the Mail, has said that he has a ‘special relationship‘ with Man. Utd’s boss Louis van Gaal, something which will inevitably make any transition to the red shirt much easier on the 25-year-old, who currently commands a yearly salary of nearly five million euros. Likewise, another report in the Mail’s football section stated that van Gaal is a ‘keen admirer’ of the striker. Van Gaal once managed the player at Bayern and made him a key part of the team during his spell in charge at the club between 2009 and 2011, with Kicker magazine previously describing Müller as Van Gaal’s ‘star pupil’.

More confusingly, van Gaal himself has said that buying another forward is not his priority right now, with two good forwards already in the bag. New signing Depay and Adnan Januzaj are currently holding the fort and their impressive forms could mean there is no need to add more muscle at least this season.

Meanwhile back at Bayern, the rumours are being quashed by the club’s chief executive officer Karl-Heinze Rummenigge. In a message to Bayern’s supporters, Rummenigge stated that he will not let another player leave for Manchester United” after losing Bastian Schweinsteiger to them recently. Rummenigge and other top Bayern officials have also stated that the striker has ‘no price tag’, possibly meaning they are not looking to value him for any possible sale to Man. Utd. or any other team. Müller has in any case still a contract running until 2017 or 2019, depending on the source, and there is no word on whether he has a get-out-early clause in that document.

Eventually, Thomas Müller himself came to the media to talk about the rumours, which have been neither denied or confirmed by Manchester United senior figures. In a report by the Daily Mirror, Müller rubbished reports that United are prepared to spend €100 million on him as ‘crazy’. The claim has originally been reported in the sensationalist German tabloid Bild.

“It’s basically crazy the numbers which are currently kicking around in football – that’s just business,” Muller told German broadcaster Sport1.

Müller also saw the funny side of the endless speculation in the UK tabloids and sports media on this past Monday, when he played in a testimonial match against Dynamo Dresden.

“In Dresden, a fan addressed me with a megaphone: ‘Hey €100m man, what is your playing shirt worth?’ That made me smile,” Müller added.

The keen interest in Thomas Müller from Manchester United has not gone unnoticed by his Bayern teammates. Dutch national Arjen Robben told ESPN sports news channel that he could understand why Müller would be flattered by the attention and could easily be tempted. Robben himself was also a Manchester target by van Gaal, but did not make good on the move.

“First of all, I am not sure if it really is true that Thomas Müller receives such an offer but in general it is always nice for a player when such a big club is interested,” the Netherlands international told reporters. “We’re all human and have feelings.

“Receiving such an offer is flattering but it doesn’t automatically mean that you are leaving the club. I think the players like it here and Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I love it here.

“But it is always nice when other big clubs are interested — you feel honoured. Sometimes then you choose to go, but sometimes you stay.”

If Müller did decide to move to Manchester United, then what would he bring to the team and to the field? Number-crunching journalists at the Trinity Mirror Data Unit decided to look at his vital stats to see if he would become one of van Gaal’s ‘golden boys’. Since the start of the 2012/2013 season, Müller has scored an impressive 41 league goals for Bayern, which makes him the Bundesliga’s fourth highest goalscorer of the past four seasons, behind Robert Lewandowski (62 goals), Stefan Kießling (50) and Alexander Meier (43). He has netted fifteen per cent of the 277 goals Bayern have scored in that time, so a fairly hefty percentage. Eight of those goals have been against sides that finished in the top six of the Bundesliga.

Since the 2012/2013 season, Müller has also set up a further 31 goals, the same as French superstar Franck Ribéry. The figures therefore speak for themselves. Though Manchester have a strong team of world-class players who are doing better and better under Louis van Gaal’s experienced leadership, Müller could well prove to be a valuable asset and a useful tool in the box for United to rise to glory again. His maturity, technique and unorthodox approach to setting up and delivering goals has made him a cult figure in German football and he could well make that magic work cohesively in United’s game formulation.

Thomas Müller was born on the 13th of September 1989 in Weilheim in Oberbayern. He has been praised for his positioning, team work and stamina, and has shown consistency in scoring and creating goals. He has been with Bayern through almost all of his footballing career and came up through their youth team, and became established in the main side when Louis van Gaal was manager in the 2009/2010 season, the same time as he was called up for the German national team where he scored five goals in six appearances. Only two years ago, he had pledged his career to Bayern saying that “there is no club to step up from when you leave FC Bayern … there almost is no better club.

Most of this article was written at Informa’s Knect House in Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, London with additional writing, formatting and layout done at HEM HQ in Plaistow, London.
SOURCES:
“Manchester United news and transfer rumours: Thomas Muller to be offered £1million a month?” – Aaron Flanagan, Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (20 August 2015) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/manchester-united-news-transfer-rumours-6283617
“Manchester United ‘bid £60m for Thomas Muller’ as Germans claim Louis van Gaal tables huge offer for Bayern Munich star” – Matt Morlidge, Mail Online Football/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd () http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3203188/Manchester-United-bid-60m-Bayern-Munich-star-Thomas-Muller.html
“Manchester United set to ramp up Thomas Muller and Sadio Mane moves but Louis van Gaal won’t panic if no more signings arrive” – Mike Keegan, Mail Online Football/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (
“Manchester United target Thomas Muller speaks out over Old Trafford transfer talk” – Samuel Luckhurst, Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (20 August 2015) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/manchester-united-target-thomas-muller-6288425
“Thomas Muller opens up about sensational £71.9m move to Manchester United” – Jonathan Green, Daily Star Sport/Northern and Shell Media Publications (21 August 2015) http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/460444/Thomas-Muller-71-9m-Manchester-United-crazy-money-100m-euros
“Thomas Muller to Manchester United: ‘£60m bid made’ for Bayern Munich forward” – Tom Sheen, The Independent (19 August 2015) http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/transfers/thomas-muller-to-manchester-united-60m-bid-made-for-bayern-munich-forward-10461612.html
“Man United links flattering for Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben” – Stephan Uersfeld, ESPN FC UK Edition/EPSN.com (21 August 2015) http://www.espnfc.co.uk/story/2573653/man-united-links-flattering-for-thomas-muller-arjen-robben
“What would Thomas Muller bring to Manchester United? All the numbers crunched” – David Dubas-Fisher,  Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (21 August 2015) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/what-would-thomas-muller-bring-6293916
“Thomas Müller” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_M%C3%BCller
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Thomas Müller, Germany national football team (07).jpg” – Benutzer Steindy, Wikimedia Commons (3 June 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thomas_M%C3%BCller,_Germany_national_football_team_(07).jpg
 

SUBLETTING: Newham tenant jailed for illegally renting out council house

A tenant living in a council-owned property in east London has been sent to jail after he was discovered to have been illegally renting out his home against council rules, the Newham Mag reported this weekend.

Mubato Nzabi, aged 48, was caught out by council housing inspectors in the borough of Newham, and was subsequently convicted at Wood Green Crown Court in north London of illegally subletting a three-bedroom council house in Ordnance Road, Canning Town, in the south of the borough. He allegedly lied to the council’s housing department and the Department of Work and Pensions, a national government body in charge of benefits and employment services, claiming that he was residing in the property himself along with his daughter.

English: Canning Town: Normandy Terrace, E16 C...

English: Canning Town: Normandy Terrace, E16 Community shops at the southern end of Freemasons Road. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In court proceedings, the judge and jury were informed that in fact, Nzabi had been renting out the property to an unnamed family since April 2013, after moving out of the property into another home, and had failed to notify the council of his change in living situation. Nzabi however continued to claim government welfare benefits, namely housing and council tax benefit, under his name for the Canning Town address despite no longer living there. He had originally moved into the property in 1994.

Nzabi’s con was unravelled after Newham Council‘s housing inspectors turned up at his subletted property for an inspection as part of their regular housing checks made to ensure council tenants are actually living in their assigned homes.

The crown court prosecuted Nzabi for falsely claiming benefits, council tax evasion and illegally subletting under the Fraud Act and the Social Security Administration Act. He was sentenced to nine months in prison at the hearing on July 24th, the Newham Recorder reported.

Mayoral advisor for housing, Cllr. Andrew Baikie, told the Recorder: “This successful prosecution shows that we take illegal subletting very seriously and will take tough action against anyone we catch.

“Illegally subletting council properties unfairly deprives someone else of a council house, who may have been waiting on our register for a long time. It is imperative that our housing stock is distributed fairly.”

Meanwhile, Newham Council, concerned about the large number of illegal sublettings of their homes in one of London’s most crowded areas, are running an amnesty for subletting tenants to turn over their properties without risk of prosecution. The amnesty, which runs until the 1st of September, allows subletters to hand over their house keys and give up their properties without being taken to court.

Cllr. Bailie said of the situation: “We take illegal subletting seriously and will take tough action against anyone we catch”. Newham council tenants wishing to avail of the amnesty are urged to call 020 3373 9370.

According to figures produced by insurance firm Direct Line and the Association of Residential Letting Agents, it is estimated that 3.3 million people are living as unofficial tenants in the UK, amounting to one in every ten rental homes. Almost fifty per cent of surveyed residential lettings agencies have found multiple occupants in homes supposedly registered to single persons or families after carrying out inspections of tenancies, according to the ARLA.

SOURCES:
“Jailed for illegally subletting council home” – The Newham Mag [Issue 322], Newham Council (27 August 2015)
“Canning Town council tenant jailed for illegally subletting flat” – Seema Hakim, Newham Recorder/London24 news network/Archant Community Media Ltd (7 August 2015) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/canning_town_council_tenant_jailed_for_illegally_subletting_flat_1_4185732
“UNAUTHORISED SUBLETTING IS A MAJOR PROBLEM FACING LANDLORDS AND AGENTS” – Association of Residential Letting Agents/National Federation Of Property Professionals (9 October 2014) http://www.arla.co.uk/news/october-2014/unauthorised-subletting-is-a-major-problem-facing-landlords-and-agents.aspx
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Canning Town, Normandy Terrace, E16 – geograph.org.uk – 408315.jpg” – Nigel Cox & geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons (20 April 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canning_Town,_Normandy_Terrace,_E16_-_geograph.org.uk_-_408315.jpg

 

 

OPERATION VALOUR: Newham remembers its fallen soldiers

The London Borough of Newham recently paid respect to police officers from the area who died fighting on the Western Front during the First World War, the Newham Mag reports this week.

In a sombre ceremony of remembrance, wreaths were laid at a memorial to the fallen officers situated at Forest Gate police station on Romford Road in the north of the borough, in the east of London. Attended by local dignitaries and serving police personnel, the memorial, known as the Operation Valour stone, commemorates the 23 police officers who gave their lives for their country in WWI. The officers were members of the old ‘K Division’ which was made up of policemen from what is now Newham and the neighbouring boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham. The Forest Gate memorial established by Operation Valour was laid a year ago.

The K Division of the Metropolitan Police, the police force that covers most of London, was established in the wake of the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 which was the beginnings of a city-wide policing service. Over the next seventeen years, new divisions were created, of which the K Division covered the old county borough of West Ham. The other divisions were also assigned alphabetical letters, with A (Westminster), B (Chelsea), C (Mayfair and Soho), D (Marylebone), E (Holborn), F (Kensington), G (Kings Cross), H (Stepney), L (Lambeth), M (Southwark), N (Islington), P (Peckham), R (Greenwich), S (Hampstead), T (Hammersmith) and V (Wandsworth). These were then followed by extra divisions added in 1865, W covering Clapham, X for Willesden, Y for Holloway and J for Bethnal Green.

As with many other occupations and millions of other men during the First World War, policemen were conscripted to fight against the enemy and many never returned from the battlefields of Belgium and France.

At the ceremony, wreaths were laid by the borough of Newham’s police commissioner Cmdr. Tony Nash, the deputy mayor Cllr. Lester Hudson, council member for Forest Gate Cllr. Unmesh Desai, who is also the Cabinet member for crime and anti-social behaviour and representing the police themselves, PC Imran Uddin, the youngest serving officer in Newham.

Out of the 281 police from the K Division who enlisted to fight, 22 died in combat. The 23rd officer was killed by an explosion at a munitions factory in Newham’s southern district of Silvertown in 1917.

At the ceremony, Cllr. Hudson said: “This memorial stone allows residents (of Newham) to pay their respects as well as giving officers a strong everyday connection to their fallen colleagues”, the Newham Mag quoted.

The Operation Valour memorial, which is carved from simple white marble, bears two inscriptions, one of which reads: “The Glorious Dead – ‘K’ Division’ – The Great War – 1914-1918” and then lists the names and ranks of the fallen police officers in alphabetical order of surname. It was laid last year (2014) as part of celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of hostilities in 1914.

SOURCES:
“Fallen police officers remembered” – The Newham Mag [Issue 322], Newham Council, (14th August 2015)
“Victorian London Research London Police Divisions” – John Hitchcock, GenDocs http://homepage.ntlworld.com/hitch/gendocs/police.html
IMAGE CREDITS:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

DONALD TRUMP: Presidential hopeful and billionaire shut out of meeting for ‘incendiary remarks’

American presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump has elicited a significant controversy in his recent campaign trail for the 2016 elections after making derogatory comments against ethnic minorities, and now the Republican nominee has been banned from attending a leading conservative gathering after rankling organisers with alleged anti-woman comments directed at a current affairs professional, the Associated Press news agency reports in the Christian Science Monitor website yesterday.

Trump’s name was struck off from the list of attendees to the high-profile political gathering of conservative activists after he was said have made a derogatory comment about a moderator on the conservative news TV station Fox News on last Thursday’s first Republican presidential debate. The comments drew ire from not only opponents but also Trump’s own party and the RedState Gathering, which occurred yesterday (Saturday 8th August) also condemned Trump’s utterances, before deciding not to host the philanthropist and businessman.

The RedState Gathering saw appearances by several leading members of the United States’ Republican party, one of two main parties to contest elections there, and which is famed for its highly patriotic, traditionalist and economically and socially conservative outlook. Big name attendees included the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, current governor of Wisconsin state Scott Walker, the senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, who is the brother and son of two former US presidents.

The absence of Donald Trump however threatens to overshadow and divert attention away from the topics under discussion at RedState, the Associated Press reports.

Trump was said to have ‘lashed out’ at Fox News employee Megyn Kelly for questions she posed to him in the debate. She had asked the presidential hopeful to explain himself for earlier comments he was said to have made against women and whether it reflected the “temperament of a man we should elect as president.”

Trump then later made a visit to the offices of CNN, an American non-partisan news channel, where he spoke about his encounter with Kelly in less than complimentary terms, AP reports. In the Friday night interview, Trump commented “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”.

The comment against the Fox News presenter disgusted observers of the presidential race, with RedState’s representative Erick Erickson ordering Trump’s dismissal from the event’s roster of guest speakers. Referring to US politics and the race, Erickson commented: “I just don’t want someone on stage who gets a hostile question from a lady and his first inclination is to imply it was hormonal. It just was wrong,” Erickson wrote on the RedState website. The website gets its name from electoral maps, often shown on television and newspapers, which depict Republican-leaning states in red and Democrat-leaning ones in blue.

Erickson said that “while Mr. Trump resonates with a lot of people with his bluntness, including me to a degree, there are just real lines of decency a person running for president should not cross.”

Trump’s supporters have expressed their displeasure at the latest furore surrounding their political idol. A campaign statement from a pro-Trump source poured scorn on Erick Erickson and his decision to drop Trump and accused RedState organisers of pandering to political correctness.

“This is just another example of weakness through being politically correct. For all of the people who were looking forward to Mr. Trump coming, we will miss you. Blame Erick Erickson, your weak and pathetic leader,”

Even while the gathering was in full swing, Trump’s camp continued to wage a war of words against Erickson, as well as targeting Megyn Kelly, and said the comments made by Trump about Kelly’s blood leaking was misinterpreted. A follow-up statement insisted that Trump has in fact said “blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever”. Observers who viewed the CNN interview however rubbished the statement and said that those words were not used.

The campaign also hinted at alleged RedState activists’ collective disapproval of Erickson’s decision, claiming that 900 attendees at the gathering had made a joint complaint about what they saw as political correctness from Erickson and unnamed others. Some activists who spoke with AP journalists said that they had wanted Trump to still appear at the event to hear what he had to say. “Personally, we need to make up our own minds if someone is stupid,” said Jack Staver, a business consultant from Woodstock in Georgia state. “If someone is going to fall on their face, let them do it for everyone to see. Maybe it will help us make up our minds in a primary like this.” Another activist spoken to by AP however was glad of Trump’s eviction from the proceedings, saying that the wealthy hopeful was ‘a bit crude’ and was a poor fit for a Republican president.

Two of Trump’s rivals, former technology executive Carly Fiorina and the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, said there was no excuse for Trump’s words about Kelly. They said they stood with the journalist.

Trump’s political bosses, the Republican National Committee, meanwhile urged the 2016 presidential candidate to clarify what he meant in the CNN interview on Friday and said it would be ‘highly inappropriate’ if Trump continued to justify his comment, the committee said.

Trump needs “to understand that he is seeking the presidency of the United States now and that words do matter,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told NBC’s Today show on Saturday.

“I’m hoping that Mr. Trump, because he does speak off the cuff, because he doesn’t ascribe to political correctness, was speaking in a way that wasn’t fully thought out,” Spicer said.

Trump’s latest round of derogatory comments could well put his bid for the Presidential office seat in jeopardy, by alienating a large swathe of possible supporters. Many Republicans, embarrassed by his words, have sought to minimise the negative impact on their party’s reputation by distancing themselves in public from him.

SOURCES:
newsmap, Marcos Weskamp (9 August 2015) http://newsmap.jp/
“Trump shut out of conservative meeting after incendiary remarks” – Sergio Bustos & Bill Barrow, Associated Press via The Christian Science Monitor – USA (8 August 2015) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2015/0808/Trump-shut-out-of-conservative-meeting-after-incendiary-remarks
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

SULLEE J: Deen over Dunya

US rapper and master of lyrical poetry Sullee J returns to the mic again to release the latest single from his upcoming mixtape Victory. The new track is entitled “Deen over Dunya” and was produced by AnnoDominiBeats. His latest track is dedicated to the role that his Islamic faith plays in his life. Just as many mainstream rappers past and present referred to ‘Jesus Peace’ and Biblical phrases in their wordplay, Sullee J’s latest single is a statement of his faith’s guiding hand in his life, career, and messages, delivered in his unmistakable flow. Sullee also touches on the history of Islam, a religion that shares many of its prophets and beliefs with other Abrahamic faiths such as the Christianity that has inspired and strengthened many of his fellow musicians in hip-hop.

(c) Sullee J Management

(c) Sullee J Management

Sullee J raps about what being a Muslim means to him as he negotiates and stands above a tough and dark world, a world which often successfully lures in other musicians into the wrong path. The song title says it all. ‘Deen’ means religion in Arabic, while ‘dunya’ means ‘the world’ or ‘worldly things’ in not only Arabic, but also Hindi, Turkish and Urdu. It is Sullee J’s statement for his faith being of more importance than worldly comforts, because the dunya is in his words, a ‘bad deception’. The flyer for the new single drives that message deeper and further as a cartoonified Sullee J straddles the boundaries between the heavenly skies of ‘jannat’ and the tormentous hellfire of ‘jahannam’. Deen over Dunya could well be a defining moment in the new world of American Muslim rap.

“In all sincerity, this is written for your clarity,

This is not a fiction, this is truth for your disparity”

http://www.officialsulleej.com/

 

CORY LEE: Wheelchair-using traveller pens ‘open letter’ to hotels for more disabled access

Twenty-five year old wheelchair user and self-confessed ‘travel addict’ Cory Lee, the blogger behind ‘Curbfree with Cory Lee’ has reignited the controversy around the lack of suitable disability access for wheelchair users in the hospitality industry by penning an ‘open letter‘ encouraging hotel owners to make staying at their establishments easier for their differently-abled patrons, the Half-Eaten Mind blog exclusively reports today.

The letter, which appears on Cory’s blog, was originally published on the 19th December 2014, but the traveller tweeted the article again recently as many hotel firms and owners have yet to make their facilities completely all-inclusive. Lee is highly complimentary towards the many hotels he has stayed at over the course of his travels but then draws attention to what he calls “unique challenges when it comes to navigating even the smallest things”, he writes in the letter.

Wheelchair ramp and disabled parking space

Wheelchair ramp and disabled parking space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blogger then exclaims that he ‘finds it a breath of fresh air’ if he is lucky enough to find a wheelchair-friendly hotel in the places he visits. While he is appreciative of those hotels who already offer good access to wheelchair users, in particular the offering of special ramps, wide paths, decent space for wheelchair access and lifts, he implores hotels to do more to make their stays enjoyable and comfortable for disabled travellers. Lee reminds hotels that the differently-abled community in the United States have a large amount of disposable income, and cites a 2001 issue of the Disability, Inc. publication that states that this community has collectively $220 billion of discretionary spending to tap into, meaning hotels who do not offer disabled-friendly facilities could be missing out on extra income by excluding a community with a lot of money to spend.

In his bid to get hoteliers thinking about improving their disability access, Cory goes on to make some suggestions himself in the letter. He advises big chains and smaller hotels alike to invest in such facilities as stair lifts for people with mobility issues, roll-in showers, and even setting aside special tables with higher legs for disabled restaurant customers, which will not only get the hotels good reviews from disabled guests on popular review sites such as TripAdvisor, but could also increase the hotel’s profit margins as more disabled patrons stay in their rooms.

Lee also offers tips to hotels to help play their part in local disabled tourism, including offering maps of the local area highlighting disabled-friendly top attractions, as well as public transport and restaurants, saying that it would be “a small gesture on your end that is a real kindness to us”.

Cory Lee has travelled all over the globe and has run a popular blog promoting wheelchair travel. His niche blogging has earned him attention from the mainstream media, disability publications and within the blogging community. He has appeared in articles by USA Today, The Huffington Post and in the travel guide series Lonely Planet, and has also made speeches all over the US on disability issues.

While many hotels, particularly the bigger chains such as Ibis, Hilton and Radisson Blu, offer access for wheelchairs as standard, many smaller hotels are unwilling or unable to afford to make the necessary adaptations and install equipment to ease life for their disabled hotel stayers. Lee’s open letter to the hotel world, written from the perspective of a wheelchair user himself and on behalf of many others everywhere, may be that nudge that will open up new experiences for thousands of disabled travellers alongside benefitting the global hospitality industry and making travel a possible option for more.

SOURCES:
The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
WordPress Bloggers, Renate Flynn, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/renate_flynn/lists/wordpress-bloggers
Curb Free w/ CoryLee, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/coryleetweets
“AN OPEN LETTER TO HOTEL OWNERS. FROM WHEELCHAIR USERS EVERYWHERE.” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee (19 December 2014) http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/2014/12/19/wheelchair-accessible-hotel-rooms/
“ABOUT CORY” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/wheelchair-travel-blog/cory/
“CORY IN THE MEDIA”” – Cory Lee, Curbfree with Cory Lee http://www.curbfreewithcorylee.com/wheelchair-travel-blog/cory-media/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:WheelchairRampAt2500AugustineBlvd.jpg” – Niteowlneils & Maksim, Wikimedia Commons (21 February 2005) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WheelchairRampAt2500AugustineBlvd.jpg

GOSSIP: A Turkish proverb

 

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you”

An old Turkish proverb relating the importance of not gossiping and backbiting about other people or indulging yourself in other people’s gossip. It may be riveting and appeal to the darker side of our curiosity, but the proverbial dung can fly in all directions. You may revel in hearing about what the gossiped-about person allegedly got up to, but how do you know the gossip is not spreading your muck around too?

The negative form of gossiping, as opposed to just sharing information around, is in my opinion one of the lowest forms of human communication. Gossips very much trade in bringing other people down and inflating their own smug sense of self-worth. They may be confiding another person’s secrets to you, without that other person’s permission of course, but then what is stopping them from doing the same to you, if say, they fell out with you or if they like stirring crap for crap’s sake. Gossiping encourages bullying and low self-esteem and exacerbates conflicts. It is a poisonous thing to do or get involved with.

Don’t feed the trolls.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Quote Delight, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/QuoteDelight
Quote Mirror, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Quote_Mirror
IMAGE CREDIT:
Quote Mirror, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Quote_Mirror

SULLEE J: Innovative Mind

Article by Sullee J (musician/contributor)

Foreword by Vijay Shah (blogger/editor)

Baltimore-based rap musician Sullee J has consistently wowwed hip-hop fans across the Atlantic and across the seven seas with his amazing musical style, eminent collaborations with the cream of national and local hip-hop talent, and of course, his powerful vocabulary and lyrical expression.

As befitting a blog with the name of ‘The Half-Eaten Mind’, Sullee J has penned a special article that will question your every move and mental conception. In this exclusive piece, Sullee J challenges us to look within ourselves. Do you ever wonder why we do the things we do? What reasons or intentions do we have behind them? Have you ever regretted anything? What is the source behind our justified facts we store in our minds?

This thought-provoking article is a valuable chance for our readers as in one way, it challenges who we are, our viewpoint of the world and also importantly, it is a life altering wake-up call to the mind, body and soul of everyone who imbibes the words of ‘Innovative Mind’. Written in Sullee J’s unmistakable brand of eloquent and catchy language, this is what is needed for us to take a long hard look at ourselves and how we regard and work with others around us.

(c) Sullee J Management

 

 *** “Innovative Mind” by Sullee J ***

 

How in tune is your mind with your soul? How much in doom is your heart from the times you’ve lost self-control? How much has the logic of your mind disregarded the truth from your heart, and afflicted you whole? If you were to rewind the times and paid attention to your blindness, how much would you need to prescribe to unwind the roles? Knots you have made, internal blocks, this whole time you were behind the mind that sewed. Am I wrong? Were you not addicted to your decisions? Do you question all that you dose daily; are you attentive to your prescriptions? Do you dwell on the consequence of your actions? Do you dare make a move in this universe and doubt the formation of a reaction. Have you become so obsessed with your habits, that you have justified your own silly truth? That’s a bit doltish! A fact does not need elaboration, the truth attacks with no emotion at high voltage. Once hit by the tip of its sphere, surely you can’t go back to old notions. Question yourself! Don’t think you’re moving right, just because what you know has kept you in motion.

 

Oh wise one, how wise can one be, for even when his wise peaks, he’s still unaware of what’s beyond his eyes, the unseen. Oh wise one, how wise can one be, when the wisest he has been, has still not allowed him to understand, why one dreams? What degree of truth do you provide, when the conviction you supply comes with an emotional rise? Why do you deny what you deny, and what makes you agree to the clever linguistics of only one side? What is so attracting about the exterior, when putrescent inside? Do you question your connection to all that you connect with? These are questions, and I suggest we keep on reflecting! Do you follow a crowd because of familiarity? Do you know what you know to be the truth, or bond with it just because of similarities? Pfft! Such hypnotherapy! Somnolence is the wrong fuel for clarity! Learn! Knowledge is the best form of charity! I would lead you astray not. I am only dilating the vessels which you have allowed to narrow over time, in order for you to conclude in temerity.

 

Oh sincere ones, from which artery have you pulled your intent out of? What has derived you to commit to such a selfless act? Have you bargained your time and expense for the account of a good deed or a shade of light? From which angle have you approached such presentation? In every journey which you find yourself, do you question your motive? Has it benefited you in any form? And if so, will you deny that all roses come with thorns? Or that all prizes come with surprises. Are you prepared to stay in solidarity with your deed, or is it a mere payment toward a fee from a previous greed? These are indeed questions for the inner self, from the very parts which have been sworn. What is your reason behind the very act you have sprung toward? Is it foolish to be aware of why we do things? What is so attractive about one who has to show less? What is so appealing about promoting the hopeless? What is so exciting about the negativity? Surely, this gossip is the way of the grotesque! Don’t just know what you know, it’s time for an internal protest!

 

Truth is clear, so why do we base it on color? For what reason do we create hate, when the emotion is not an innate trait, it’s a practiced sight. How many of our leaders claim to be magnanimous in character, but they’re the fractured type. This generation worships illusions and attractions, and then wonders why they’re mad at life. What good is your innovation, if it has no clear indication? Why slander another with imputation to justify your own equivocation? How is the tactics of instigating war over seas supposed to be mitigating? This is systematic slavery, this isn’t liberation! What good is your vision, when it contains not precision? What good is your ambition, if it remains with not persistence? How many times do we justify decisions and complain of our condition? Once we are capable of answering our own questions, we will then know the difference. This is the definition of our definite existence!

 

Not only do we seem to neglect the blessings we’ve been granted, we deny the fact that they even exist. Have you bewildered yourself? Have you forgotten the meaning of indigenous? Why has it become a trend to beautify artificial ligaments? Why do we have women running around with fake body parts, degrading their images? Men falling for superficial innocence. This is the face of wickedness. How do you claim to be a righteous king or queen? You don’t even respect your organs! What do I mean? Do you smoke? You’re killing your lungs slow. Do you drink? Your killing your liver, the alcohol allows it to harden and shrink. Do you eat excessively? You’re killing your heart’s entity. Do you engage in negative conversation? You’re killing your mind, beware of your congregations! Do you disregard prayer? You’re killing your soul, are you not aware?! Pick your poison wisely, oh wise ones. You know as much as you know, and you believe it is just enough to know, to make self-adjustable to what one loves, how dysfunctional! This is layman’s for the brains, which find it hard to devour truth and so they claim it strange, how deranged! Oh wise ones, search deep inside before you conclude your horizons. All I ask is to, consult with your results, reason with your reasons, look outside of your outlooks, so you have conviction when you’re speaking! 

 

http://www.officialsulleej.com/

MY JOURNEY THROUGH A LENS: New photography book by Alex Smithson

Alex Smithson, the blogger behind news, photography and music blog Mother Nature has now celebrated nearly a month since the successful launch of his latest published photography project, a book entitled “My Journey Through A Lens”. It is the third such book created by the Croydon College photography student, a firm supporter of the Half-Eaten Mind, and follows the success of his earlier works “My Journey Through Photography” and “A Year in Photography”.

Alex’s third book of his amazing nature and scenery photography had been many months in the making, combining both pictures and articles published on the Mother Nature site, as well as external projects Alex worked on in his free time and also as part of his photography and art course at Croydon College, a further education institute located just south of the UK capital, London.

By March 2015, Alex was already putting the final touches to My Journey Through A Lens, a book chronicling his career as a budding photographer and graphic designer. Like any author, Alex spent much time ironing out spelling and grammar mistakes as he sought to make his third book just ripe for the picking and reading, as well as tackling the inevitable umm and aahs of getting a suitable set of photographs prepared. He also spent considerable time designing the front and back covers of My Journey. He at first went for a simple and minimalistic, yet visually powerful format in design, with his favourite nature photo taking pride of place. Alex prepared two such designs, one featuring plants silhouetted in a sunset sky and the other depicting exploding fireworks taken over the New Year period of 2014-2015. Alex however decided to fire up his graphic design skills for the final choice of cover concept, dispensing with the photography altogether. Alex’s final design is a proud homage to his proficiency with the open source graphical software GIMP. Reflecting a recent re-haul of Mother Nature, Alex chose to adopt the blog’s new colour scheme for the final front and back covers, opting for bold squares of blue and bright orange bordering a white square with the book’s title in bold black capitals. The new cubed logo of Mother Nature, with its slogan ‘Life at the touch of a button’ neatly tucked into one side, also makes an appearance.

Slide1

By March 2015, Alex had crossed the 400-page barrier and was excited at getting the book up-and-running, offering it for free download via cloud service Dropbox. Not only would My Journey showcase Alex’s photography, but also case studies he wrote on key personalities in British history, such as the once prime minister Winston Churchill and notoriously oft married monarch Henry VIII, and musical tributes to Madonna, a favourite singer of Alex and to Ben Haenow, a fellow Croydon resident, who had won the final of UK musical talent show The X Factor in 2014.

By the beginning of this month (July 2015) and after nine months of groundwork and editing, My Journey was ready to hit the virtual bookshelves. In a blog article on Mother Nature, Alex narrates how he was ‘extremely pleased’ to be finally launching the book on July the 4th, American Independence Day. He had originally planned to launch his third book in May, but demands from college studies and exam revision for his GCSE finals put paid to that, forcing Alex to reschedule. By then, the young blogger had now included six historical case studies for educational purposes, detailing historical icons from the 1500s onwards, as well as additional information of Alex’s learning experiences as a fresh-faced A-Level student on his career journey to becoming a professional shutterbug.

On the 4th July, as our cousins across the Pond exploded fireworks, waved the red, white and blue, and generally made merry, My Journey Through A Lens was officially launched at 6:00 pm London time and made available completely free of charge on Alex’s website along with his previous editions. To celebrate the special occasion, Alex published an elated blogpost sharing the good news with subscribers and visitors. In this book, Alex celebrates historical icons such as Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, Guy Fawkes, Mary Queen of Scots, Winston Churchill and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the assassinated US President. Alex also paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, former South African president, humanitarian icon and victor against government-sponsored racism and hatred, who tragically passed away from illness last year. Alex also penned tributes to Croydon lad Ben Haenow, along with musical legend Madonna, the Italian-American ‘Queen of Pop’ whose top slot career in the charts has been going strong since the 1980s and had recently released songs and albums, including ‘Rebel Heart’, ‘Living for Love’, ‘Ghosttown’ and ‘Bitch, I’m Madonna’.

Slide2

Alex certainly has not run out of steam with his sideline hobby of creating and marketing his work as a ‘indie author’ and aspiring professional photographer. On the day of his third book’s release, Alex also hinted that he will be working on a fourth title, although he has not yet revealed any further details at this early stage. While his third instalment will be made available as an e-book, Alex also teamed up with book printers DoxDirect to release a limited run of physical copies of My Journey, which he tweeted.

Alex dedicated his third book to some very special people in his life who have supported and influenced him along the way. The dedications, which appear on the back cover, include a tribute to Ajay Mody. Living in Mumbai, Mody was a passionate member of the WordPress community under the nickname ‘Ajaytao’. Like Alex, he also photographed the natural and bustling side of his hometown, India’s cultural and commercial capital, and was a keen blogger. He sadly passed away on the 10th August 2014, after a cardiac arrest and declining health. Tributes were also paid to actor and presenter Lynda Bellingham, the UK’s much beloved ‘OXO Mum’ who died in October of that year from colon cancer and to cricketer Philip Hughes who passed away after being struck by a ball during play on the 27th November 2014.

Alex also pens a dedication to this blog’s writer, a close friend and supporter, who in Alex’s own words, has “guided me along the way since I began my blogging journey”.

If you would like to obtain a copy of My Journey Through A Lens, or any of Alex Smithson’s previous titles, please visit https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/  and scroll down to the ‘Free Books’ section on the blog’s sidebar on your screen’s right, directly underneath the social media and contact buttons. You will see the title pages of the books and clicking on them will take you direct to the download site.

SOURCES:
“My Journey Through a Lens | Out Soon!!!” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature (29 March 2015) https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/my-journey-through-a-lens-out-soon/
“My Journey Through a Lens: Out Independence Day!!!” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature (3 July 2015) https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/my-journey-through-a-lens-out-independence-day/
“My Journey Through a Lens: Out Now!!!” – Alex Smithson, Mother Nature (4 July 2015) https://asterisk15.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/my-journey-through-a-lens-out-now/
IMAGE CREDITS:
Alex Smithson.

 

 

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