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Fact-checking Donald Trump’s comments about Colin Kaepernick’s NFL career

first_imgThere has been a crescendo of voices calling for Kaepernick’s return to the NFL amid a global movement against racial injustice in recent weeks. Which is why Trump on Wednesday was asked whether he thinks Kaepernick should get another shot in the NFL.MORE: The six best fits for Colin Kaepernick in 2020″If he deserves it, he should,” the president responded. “If he has the playing ability. He started off great, and then he didn’t end up very great as a player. He was terrific in his rookie year. I think he was very good in his second year, and then something happened. So his playing wasn’t up to snuff.””Absolutely I would,” support @Kaepernick7 getting a 2nd shot in the @NFL — @POTUS in my interview today on racism, policing, statues & yes–sports. #ColinKaepernick— Scott Thuman (@ScottThuman) June 17, 2020Let’s address these comments one at a time:”He was terrific in his rookie year.” This is not true. Kaepernick, who was selected by the 49ers out of Nevada in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, played in just three games as a rookie while backing up Alex Smith. He completed three of five pass attempts for 35 yards on the season.”He was very good in his second year.” This is absolutely true, and perhaps an understatement. Though Kaepernick spent the first half of the season playing sparingly as a backup, he took over for Smith in Week 10 when the latter suffered a concussion, and he never looked back. He started the last seven games of the season and led San Francisco to its second straight playoff berth after an eight-year drought.In the playoffs, Kaepernick was something special. He terrorized the visiting Packers in the divisional round to the tune of 263 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 181 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in a 45-31 win. He followed that up with a 233-yard passing performance (79.2 completion percentage) in a road win over the Falcons in the NFC title game. The 49ers fell just a few yards shy of beating the Ravens in the Super Bowl, a game in which Kaepernick threw for 302 yards and rushed for another 62 with a pair of touchdowns.”And then something happened. His playing wasn’t up to snuff.” This is notably vague, and it’s where the memories get hazy (ignorantly or otherwise) for most. Kaepernick had a great 2013 season, which began with the first 400-yard passing game for a 49ers QB in almost a decade. He was equally strong in the playoffs as San Francisco toppled Green Bay and Carolina in the first two rounds. The 49ers lost to the Seahawks and fell short of a second straight Super Bowl appearance thanks to the now-famous Richard Sherman play against Michael Crabtree.That offseason, Kaepernick was rewarded with a six-year contract extension worth up to $126 million. He had another strong year statistically, but the 49ers slipped to 8-8 in 2014, and coach Jim Harbaugh after the season left for the job at Michigan. That’s when things started to unravel around Kaepernick.MORE: A complete Colin Kaepernick timelineThe 49ers hired Jim Tomsula to replace Harbaugh, and the experiment was a disaster. Kaepernick’s play crumbled along with that of the entire team. He was benched midway through the season and eventually placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Tomsula was fired after just one season and replaced (surprisingly) by Chip Kelly, who we thought might give Kaepernick’s career a new hope. Instead, with Kaepernick coming off of three offseason surgeries (shoulder, knee, thumb), Blaine Gabbert was named the 49ers’ starter to begin the 2016 season. Kaepernick eventually took back the job in Week 6 and for the most part played well, but the 49ers won just two games, leading to another coaching change. Amid such organizational dysfunction, Kaepernick restructured his contract so he could opt out after the 2016 season, which he did.In Kaepernick’s last season in the NFL, he played in 12 games, threw 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions with a 59.2 completion percentage and managed a passer rating of 90.7. (He added 468 yards and a pair of scores on the ground.) For reference, Tom Brady’s passer rating last season was 88.0.So yes, his play was still plenty “up to snuff.” Donald Trump’s recollection of Colin Kaepernick’s football career should not matter considering the 74-year-old clearly and understandably does not closely follow sports.But in the context of an NFL career that was halted prematurely in an intersection of sports and politics, words from the president of the United States carry significant weight. This is especially the case when so many use perceptions of Kaepernick’s six seasons in the league as ammunition when arguing whether he should or should not be on an NFL roster in 2020, almost four years after he began sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem at games in protest of racial injustice and police brutality.last_img read more

Despite Risks, Trump Says He’s Taking Hydroxychloroquine

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said he is taking a malaria drug to protect against the coronavirus, despite warnings from his own government that it should only be administered for COVID-19 in a hospital or research setting due to potentially fatal side effects.Trump told reporters Monday he has been taking the drug, hydroxychloroquine, and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.”Trump has spent weeks pushing hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure or prophylaxis for COVID-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medical professionals. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients and has not been shown to combat the new coronavirus.Later, in a move that could have far-reaching medical impact during the pandemic, Trump tweeted a letter he had sent to the World Health Organization threatening to permanently drop U.S. funding unless WHO commits to “substantive improvements” over the next 30 days. The U.S. provides $450 million a year to the organization.Trump has accused WHO of giving “bad advice, terrible advice” and favoring China. In the letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Trump said “the only way forward” is if WHO can “demonstrate independence from China.” Before releasing the letter Trump had said he was considering cutting U.S. funding by more than 90%.WHO announced Monday it would launch an independent probe into how it managed the international response to the coronavirus, as most of its member states have requested. It did not commit to investigating the origins of the virus, another point of contention between Trump and China.At the White House, Trump said his doctor did not recommend hydroxychloroquine to him, but that he requested it from the White House physician.“I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” Trump said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”The White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a statement released through the White House press office that, after “numerous discussions” with Trump about the evidence for and against using hydroxychloroquine, “we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.”The Food and Drug Administration warned health professionals last month that the drug should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of hospital or research settings, due to sometimes fatal side effects. Regulators issued the alert for the drug, which can also be used to treat lupus and arthritis, after receiving reports of heart rhythm problems, including deaths, from poison control centers and other health providers.Trump dismissed reports of side effects, saying, “All I can tell you is, so far I seem to be OK.”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN, “He’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and his, shall we say, weight group … morbidly obese, they say.”Trump is 73. At his last full checkup in February 2019 he passed the official threshold for being considered obese, with a body mass index of 30.4. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a BMI of 40 or above is considered “severe” obesity, which some also call “morbid” obesity.Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called Trump’s remarks “dangerous.”“Maybe he’s really not taking it because the president lies about things characteristically,” Schumer said on MSNBC. He added: “I don’t know whether he is taking it or not. I know him saying he is taking it, whether he is or not, is reckless, reckless, reckless.“At least two White House staffers tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, sparking concerns about the steps taken by the administration to protect the president and sending Vice President Mike Pence and other officials into varying forms of self-isolation.The White House has since mandated that those in the West Wing wear face coverings and has introduced daily testing for the virus for the president, vice president and those they come in close contact with. Trump says he continues to test negative for the coronavirus.Trump last underwent an “interim” checkup in a November visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that was not noted on his public schedule. His last complete physical took place in February 2019.Several prominent doctors said they worried that people would infer from Trump’s example that the drug works or is safe.“There is no evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective for the treatment or the prevention of COVID-19,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association. “The results to date are not promising.”People should not infer from Trump’s example “that it’s an approved approach or proven,” because it’s not, said Dr. David Aronoff, infectious diseases chief at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.Hydroxychloroquine can cause potentially serious heart rhythm problems even in healthy people, but “it’s hard to infer” that Trump’s artery plaque, revealed in tests from his 2018 physical, makes the drug especially dangerous for him, Aronoff said.White House officials did not say whether any other administration officials were also taking the drug.Trump said he took hydroxychloroquine with an “original dose” of the antibiotic azithromycin. The president has repeatedly pushed the use of the drug with or without the azithromycin, but no large, rigorous studies have found them safe or effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.Two large observational studies, each involving around 1,400 patients in New York, recently found no benefit from hydroxychloroquine. Two new ones published Thursday in the medical journal BMJ reached the same conclusion.U.S. prescriptions for hydroxychloroquine surged roughly 80% in March to more than 830,000 compared with same period in the prior year, according to data tracking firm IQVIA. That jump in prescribing came before the federal government accepted nearly 30 million doses of the drug donated to the strategic national stockpile by foreign drugmakers. Since then, millions of those tablets have been shipped to U.S. hospitals nationwide for use treating patients with COVID-19. read more

BREAKING — 2020 Iowa high school football season revised to seven-week season, expanded playoffs

first_imgDATEWEEKSCHEDULE The following below is from a release from the Iowa High School Athletic Association 2020 Scheduling PlanREGULAR SEASON: A seven-week regular season will be conducted. Teams will have the option of scheduling five, six, or seven games within those seven weeks.POSTSEASON: All teams in all classes will qualify for the postseason. Brackets will consist of six rounds for each classification. The IHSAA will determine postseason pairings with geography, quality, and team availability as primary considerations. This is intended to be a one-time measure for postseason formatting.OPTIONAL DATES: Week 1 and Week 2 will be optional game dates. Opponents, locations, and participation may determined by member schools in 11-player football.RPI FORMULA: With all teams allowed entry into the postseason, the Ratings Percentage Index will not be utilized in 2020 to determine at-large berths or seeding.DISTRICT GAMES: Teams in Classes 3A, 2A, 1A, and A will play their scheduled district games in the previously established order. This change means the prior Week 5 becomes Week 3, Week 6 becomes Week 4, etc., in this revised plan.CLASS 4A: Participating schools will schedule their own regular season games. The previously announced group format and success model will not be implemented in 2020. The IHSAA encourages conferences to collaborate in creating their schedules.EIGHT-PLAYER: Teams will play Week 3 through Week 9 of their previously announced schedules in what is now Week 1 through Week 7. Due to the number of teams in the classification, Eight-Player has opponents scheduled on the optional dates of Week 1 and Week 2. Teams in Eight-Player may opt out of those contests, but may not change opponents or locations unless an agreement is reached with all participating teams and the IHSAA.MISSING GAMES: Due to the potential of positive COVID-19 cases forcing players and teams to miss games in the 2020 regular season, the revised plan does not penalize teams with a loss or forfeit due to state, county, or local health department determinations. A missed game due to COVID-19 will be considered a “no contest” and will not be made up. Teams may work with the IHSAA and new possible opponents should they have open dates due to scheduled opponents missing games.OUT OF STATE GAMES: Teams with scheduled games against out of state opponents may attempt to reschedule those contests during the optional Week 1 or Week 2.TEAM PARTICIPATION: Providing for start dates as currently scheduled, the IHSAA requests member schools state their intent to participate in football’s regular season and postseason by August 17. Nov. 13-15Semifinals Sept. 11Week 3District Games (3A-8P) – Selected Game (4A) Oct. 23Second RoundRound of 32 – Member School Site Nov. 20-21Finals Sept. 4Week 2Optional (All) – Scheduled Game (8P) Sept. 25Week 5District Games (3A-8P) – Selected Game (4A) Oct. 9Week 7District Games (3A-8P) – Selected Game (4A) Aug. 27Week 1Optional (All) – Scheduled Game (8P) 2020 Football Datescenter_img PREVIOUS DISTRICTS Oct. 30Third RoundRound of 16 – Member School Site PREVIOUS SCHEDULES To better prepare for the 2020 varsity football season, the IHSAA developed a revised schedule plan which allows for member school adjustments due to COVID-19. Football remains the only Iowa high school sport with regular season schedules and postseason qualifying managed by the IHSAA. The revised plan considers flexibility for school return concerns, geography, postseason qualifying, transportation, and possible COVID-19 cases as rationale for changing previously announced varsity football schedules.The first practice (August 10) and first competition (August 27) dates are currently unchanged in this revision, as are the weeks for state semifinals (November 13-15) and finals (November 20-21).This revised plan was approved by the Board of Control on Friday. The IHSAA plans to release further fall season and sport-specific guidance next week. Team schedules will be compiled and released when available. Oct. 2Week 6District Games (3A-8P) – Selected Game (4A) Nov. 7QuarterfinalsRound of 8 – Member School Site Oct. 16First RoundRound of 64 – Member School Site Aug. 10–First Practice Date Sept. 18Week 4District Games (3A-8P) – Selected Game (4A) Playing dates listed are Fridays, but subject to change for Thursdays or Saturdays depending on host school and site availability.last_img read more

LIVE: George Floyd Memorial Service

first_imgBlack man dies after encounter with Minneapolis police “I can’t breathe” The first in a series of memorial services honoring George Floyd is scheduled to begin at about 2 p.m. ET on Thursday.Friends, family, guests gather in North Central University in Minneapolis to honor him.Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver a eulogy at the service, while civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, will deliver a “National Statement” for loved ones.last_img

Seb Coe gets into golf during Paralympic tour

first_img6 Sep 2012 Seb Coe gets into golf during Paralympic tour Sebastian Coe – the man behind London 2012 – had a go at golf when he visited the free sports arena on Weymouth Beach, close to the Paralympic sailing events. Golf will again become an Olympic sport in 2016 and Lord Coe teed up during a tour of arena, which offers taster sessions in a range of accessible Paralympic sports to people of all abilities. Dee Wood, the Dorset county development officer and organiser of the Get into golf stand, said: “He told me his sons played golf but that he didn’t – so I offered him a golf lesson! I think he enjoyed it – he spent about 10 minutes hitting balls and was very serious and focussed.” PGA tutor Pete Ball of Yorkshire gave Lord Coe his lesson, starting with a giant club and soft balls before moving on to other equipment. The hazards facing the chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, included a gallery of press photographers who took up position inside the inflatable net to record the action! The golf stand daily attracted hundreds of enthusiastic visitors, both disabled and able bodied. They were offered an introduction to the game by Pete Ball and fellow PGA tutor Steve Scott Bowen of The Bristol – who are both experts in disability coaching – and by local PGA professionals, Des Lochrie of Weymouth and Dave Parsons of Bridport. Dee Wood was supported by Gloucestershire county development officer Debbie Casling and a host of volunteers. “It’s been great,” said Dee. “We have had so many visitors – and one lady has been back time and time again. “I think golf clubs are going to see a great influx of people who are keen to take up the game.” The Get into golf campaign was also represented at the Weymouth beach arena during the Olympic Games, in an exercise that involved all six of County Golf Partnerships in the South West: Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. The national Get into golf campaign aims to inspire people to take up golf. It is run by the England Golf Partnership (EGP) through its network of County Golf Partnerships. Together, they work to grow the game and to achieve the EGP’s vision of making England the world’s leading golf nation by 2020.last_img read more

Do you know that the SAR also removes words from the dictionary? These are some of them

first_imgThe Royal Spanish Academy, better known as RAE, has been for years the cultural institution that is dedicated to the linguistic regularization of Spanish with different standards to ensure its proper use. His work also includes, in addition to creating linguistic regulations, updating the Spanish dictionary over time, including new words that have been created or have extended its popularity, and even removing words that are no longer used today.It can be difficult to think what words may be those that according to the Royal Spanish Academy, are no longer worthy of being in the Spanish dictionary, but we can assure you that some of them are so rare, that the strange thing is that once they had been included. To them: Keys Ahogaviejas: Quijones Asgo: Disgust Snails!: Caramba! Cadascuno: Each Camasquince: Melee Demoñejo: Demon Enguria: Wrinkle Bloodied: Distressed Galdrufa: Top Gelo: Ice Wink: He who beckons with his eyes Guzpatarero: Thief holing and drilling the walls Muhammad: Sloppy and lounging man Marcellin: Pertaining to march Mege: Doctor Mercadantesco: Mercantile Yoglar: Minstrel Xion: Yes Some of the words removed are frankly rare The Royal Spanish Academy is responsible for updating the dictionary from time to time Image: iStockcenter_img Castilian, although it is an official language, may sound differently depending on the area in which one is. For example, if in one area a small child eats potatoes, in another a small child eats potatoes. These small differences at the time of speaking although they are different, are totally correct and there is an institution in charge of verifying it: the Royal Spanish Academy.last_img read more


first_imgThings that cannot be known have a big attraction. No wonder that Paul Julien, as many other researchers, was fascinated by the secret societies in Liberia in particular and West Africa in general. What follows are fragments of an article in a Belgian magazine and a radio talk written after his travel through Liberia in 1932 and should not be read as necessarily factual, but as an account of what was available to Julien as a visitor to Liberia at the time. And of course it is also a testimony to the doors that stayed closed to him since he, being a strongly religious Catholic, never considered being initiated, however big his interests were.“How large the number of the different societies is cannot be stated with certainty. In Liberia and its immediate neighbors there are at least about a dozen, but probably more. Of these organizations the Porobond is the most important one. Even though the negro is extremely reluctant to talk about them to strangers, specially white people, some information about the bond has leaked, which allows us to get a general idea of it, even though no European knows it by experience. While still in Monrovia, the Catholic mission had a servant, a boy about 25 years old, if I remember correctly, member of the Bassa tribe. I knew that he was part of the Poro, or at least used to be, so I asked him: ‘Hey Grebo, you are Poroman, tell me, where was your Poro-forest and what were you doing there?’“This unexpected question unsettled the boy completely. His face went dark, his eyes scanned the environment to make sure nobody was listening in to this conversation and then hastily whispered: ‘Bad question, massa, bad question!’ And as soon as he saw the chance he walked away, scared that I would repeat it. The rest of the day he did his best not to walk into me again. It was clear that he was not willing to talk about this subject and even the missionaries who were very intimate with their servants, never got him to share something of his previous life, where it concerned the Poro society. And yet this young man had been a Christian for years, and not a bad one.”Later, when on the road Julien tries again.“When the pipe went from mouth to mouth, I asked my cook in a casual way: Tell me Moses, is there a Poro-forest in the area?”‘No Massa!’‘Moses, I am sure, because at sunset I saw the entrance in the forest. I saw twigs that were bound together over the path, I know what the entrance to a Poro-forest looks like.’ No answer. ‘Are the villages in the area holding a Poro-forest?’ No answer. ‘Is it a Sande-forest then?’ Again silence, but now I noticed that the full circle of porters was focused on what I was saying. They understood enough English to know what it was about and I saw in their eyes an expression, a strange and cynical flickering, threatening in such a way that I didn’t dare to mention another word about the subject. So what is this Porobond, which existence is covered in so much secrecy? The only proper answer to that question is: it is a community of initiated people, that most men of a tribe are part of and that first of all has an educational nature.With seven year intervals – I am now speaking of the Poro of the Kpelle tribe – the most prominent members of the society meet and decide that it is time for a Poro-forest, which means that the parents decide that their sons from about six years of age will be part of an initiation to become full members of the community. Far from the village, in the middle of the forest, trees are taken down, the place cleared and some rough huts are built for the future Poro-students and the Poro-master, who is called bush-devil by the Liberians, but under the Kpelle he is known under the name Namoe, which means something like ‘Master’.None of the children knows who the devil is. The start of the Poro-forest is preceded by a big feast that lasts for about a month. After that the boys go either voluntarily or with force into the forest, to the Namoe, the devil and his helpers.The first thing that happens in the forest is the circumcision, to which the scarification-tattoos on chest and back follow. Without a scarification–tattoo the initiation is not possible. One can tell whether an individual is part of such an organization by these scars that the Negro tries to cover if possible. With a knife a large number of carves is made in the boy’s chest and back. I estimate the number as 50 to 200 pretty deep cuts, 1.5 to 2 cm. long. Sometimes the boys will be anaesthetized, sometimes they are not, but under death threads they cannot show a sign of pain during this torturous practice. Biting medicines are rubbed into the wounds and the boys are put with their backs onto hot leaves to stimulate the healing and scarification processes, which can take months. It is certain that some children do not survive this treatment.We are not sure what happens after this in the forest. People guess that the boys are taught in the secrets and the crafts of the tribe. They learn here how to build huts, how to make leopard traps, how plant crops; they learn all the characteristics of their tribe; maybe some individuals are also taught traditional magic, but no white man has ever witnessed daily life in the forest, so nobody knows exactly what happens there. The few accounts that over the years have been published by so called eye-witnesses are either based on fiction, or on misguidance by the blacks, who noticed the presence of an outsider, and put up a fake show and this way left the observer with the idea that they experienced the Poro rituals.The boys stay in the forest for four years and cannot be seen at all by the villagers during this period. They do not see the devil without his mask; they never hear him speak; with undefined sounds from his throat he expresses his will.The family in the villages of course shows a lot of interest in the fate of the children in the forest and tries to find out whether they are still alive and how they are doing, but everything is kept secret.And then finally, when the four years are over, the young men return from the forest. On a dark, moonless night, after the rainy season, far outside of the village a long howl sounds, a warning that the devil is on his way and that all women should hide. A procession, accompanied by screaming flutes, approaches the village. The flutes sounds like people in pain, lasts for long periods and represents the pain of the Poro devil, because the people believe he suffers labor pains and is delivering the new members of the community.Under the screaming flutes the procession walks through the nightly dark village and the next morning, under the immense expectations of the villagers, specially the mothers, the announcement is made which boys stayed behind in the belly of the Namoe, meaning, which boys passed on in the Poro forest. The boys behave as though this environment is completely new to them and they do not remember it at all. The do not recognize their family members and only after a celebration, that involves excessive consuming of food and drinks, the boys return, now as full members of the community, in the daily life.Something similar happens to the girls, but it should be noted that the same area never has both a Poro and a Sande (as the female version is called) forest at the same time.The Sande forest lasts three years and is probably not as tough as the Poro, all females of the community take part in it. A girl that has not been to the Sande forest cannot marry.The rituals sketched are applicable for the tribe of the Kpelle. For other tribes there are differences, but things are more or less the same throughout the Guinea-coast, from Ivory-coast up to the Gambia-river. Where the contact between Europeans and natives gets intense the influence of this initiation diminishes.The meaning of the Poro school in the native’s lives is enormous. It creates the bond between the members of the community that cannot be torn down by an individual, and it is this connection, this invisible net of tribal rituals, of traditions dating back thousands of years, that complicates the implementation of other ideas of other people that work their way through the forests of West-Africa.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Zubin’s Debuts at Cannes: ‘The Last Face’

first_imgLiberian documentary maker Zubin Cooper has wrapped up his first Cannes Film Festival appearance, having starred in ‘The Last Face’, a movie that spans four countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and South Africa. Having joined the project as an advisor, Zubin ended up making his acting debut in the role of ‘Dr. Mousa.’Written by Erin Dignam, directed by 2-time Oscar award winner Sean Penn and shot entirely in South Africa, the story spans some 13 years, starting with the current crisis in Sudan at a U.N. mission base, where for the first time in its history, the organization allowed an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp to be contained within the base. It then flashes back to the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia in 2003 where Dr. Miguel Leon (Javier Bardem) and Dr. Wren Petersen (Charlize Theron) first meet and fall in love, and intermingle this with Wren’s current day work at the U.N in Geneva and where they rekindle their love affair.The movie is about the intimacy of the relationship between two people, amidst the chaos and terror of what was going on at the time.“Cooper was identified as a valuable advisor to the production,” said the producers of the film. “The Liberian national had worked directly with the U.N. military mission and other international NGOs in that country during its peace transition, and later worked on the Discovery Channel’s 2003 documentary: Liberian Civil War.“Having seen the best and the worst of Liberia, Cooper was able to give a first-hand account of the war and offer the filmmakers vital guidance from accents and places, down to detail of license plates to wardrobe.”The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, France. During the press conference about the film, the cast was asked how easy it was to act surrounded by such a reality, considering that some scenes in the film were shot like a documentary. South African actress, Charlize Theron, said working with aceEnglish cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, whose ability to “melt into the environment… made it very easy for the actors. We had several cameras rolling at a time and it was strange. You never really felt like there was a camera crew or camera department… or anything like that. I felt like we were all just on this kind of hike through the jungle together and maybe that is what documentary film making is – I don’t know, I can’t say that from personal experience. But it… made for a very effortless shoot.” “It was surreal at times – it would give you flashbacks,” said Cooper, responding to the same question. “Becasue the sheer brutality, the gruesomeness, the feel of it, the atmosphere was so dark and heavy. And to see… everybody adapting to that without ever having lived that reality, it was surreal. But that’s what gives the movie the weight and tenor that makes it so haunting and realistic that, when you see it, it will touch your soul.”Zubin Cooper is a media professional and is an avid follower and proponent of African culture and its impact on new media. A self-proclaimed bon vivant, born in Monrovia, Liberia and currently living in Monrovia, Liberia, not far from the beach, Zubin has lived in the US, Spain, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and visited many other African and European nations. Zubin is currently involved in the running of omuahtee AFRICA media, an African Media company and in the execution of different projects. He’s filmed, co-produced and participated in many projects most centered on his beloved continent in the West African sub-region. He believes that media professionals, journalists and filmmakers are modern day Griots; living historians and storytellers with a duty torecord and share what they see, hear and believe.The motion picture “The Last Face” is brought to the screen by a group of filmmakers and actors who coincidentally all happen to be humanitarians in their own right and unquestionably this resonance was their motivation to work with very the difficult material.It is not a didactic documentary, or war story. At the center of this mayhem is the extraordinary love of two individuals that have made their lives a career in humanizing the human condition, and how they keep their love alive in the atrocities that their work takes them to.Well, at least that’s from the directors and producers’ point of view. Hollywood went abuzz on twitter over the weekend during the film premiere, however, dismissing the film for focusing more on the romantic aspect of the story than the real humanitarian issues that the film claimed to champion. Owen Gleiberman, Chief Film Critic of the Variety newspaper, a very influential entertainment publication in Hollyood, faulted Penn for spending so much time on the love story between Theron and Bardem. “No matter how ‘well-meaning’ a director may be,” he said, “there’s something inherently eye-rolling about being asked to care about the tragedy of African children through the POV of two lovelorn glamour pusses.”“The Last Face – Lots of powerful images, but Sean Penn cannot direct at all. So cheesy, laughably bad, utter trash. Seriously awful, awful,” said Alex Billington (@firstshowing) said on Twitter. When asked at the press conference about the poor reviews the film received, Penn said, “I stand by the film as it is, and everyone is going to be entitled to their response. I’ve finished the film so it’s not a discussion I’d be of value to,” adding, “I am surrounded at this table by performances that I’d pay to see 100 times.”Commenting on his experience shooting the film from a prepared statement, Cooper said, “To all of you who have liked, shared and otherwise embraced and expanded my joy and sense of the moment. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul. It is due to the inherent greatness and indomitable spirit of Liberia, West Africa, Africa and humanity that we can assume a common sense of accomplishment and pride. I may be a cast member of the film, ‘The Last face,’ but I stand in the gap as a representative for us all.” He also thanked “a great director and visionary filmmaker,” Mr. Sean Penn, for offering him a wonderful opportunity and being a good friend. Zubin said Penn showed faith, understanding and vision in not just casting him, but in his direction and portrayal of the story. “The testimony of which is what I believe is a film true to its subject matter in tenor and form, beautifully shot and conceived,” he added.“I also thank Ms. Charlize Theron for being what she is and doing what she does best – being arguably the greatest actress of her generation and a wonderful caring human being. Mr. Javier Bardem, a great actor, man and just an all around nice guy. Jean Reno, who I’ve idolized for so many years, an actor’s actor; a thespian of renowned and great talent.” He went on to thank the rest of the cast and crew of the film.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

SARA Deputy Director clarifies remuneration

first_imgAfter it was disclosed in the National Assembly during the consideration of the estimates and expenditure for the 2019 National Budget, that the top officials of the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) earn millions in salaries, the Agency’s Deputy Director has come out to defend the monies spent.Attorney General Basil Williams on Monday told the National Assembly that SARA’s Director, Professor Clive Thomas earns almost $4.7 million while its Deputy Director, Aubrey Heath-Retmeyer earns over $3 million in remuneration.During the Legal Affairs Ministry’s consideration, the sum of $285 million allocated under line item 6321, ‘subsidies and contributions to local organisations’ stood out and caused former Attorney General Anil Nandlall to pounce on it. Asked toSARA Director,Dr Clive Thomasexplain which organisation the money was going to, Williams revealed that it is earmarked for SARA. He noted that $10 million of the amount was for capital expenses, while the remaining would be for current expenditure.“The post of Director, the salary and benefits is $4.7 million per month,” Williams revealed. “The special assistant, that amount is $3.3 million; Executive Assistant, $1.86 million; Deputy Director, $3.3 million.”Williams also noted that another Executive Assistant was earning $688,000, while the Chief Administrative Officer was carrying home $2.5 million. In addition, SARA’s Legal Adviser earns $3 million, while a lawyer in the agency earns $1.4 million and an Administrative Officer, $679,000.SARA’s Director, Professor Thomas has held several posts in the coalition Government, some of which included Guyana Sugar Corporation Chairman and Presidential Advisor after the coalition Government came to office in 2015.ClarificationAt a press conference on Tuesday, SARA’s Deputy Director, Aubrey Heath-Retmeyer however clarified some of benefits included in the overall package and not monthly as was stated by the Attorney General.“The figures that were read (in Parliament by the Attorney General) included in addition to the monthly salary vacation allowances, gratuity and a number of other things which combined to give that column 6116. I am sure that some seniorSARA Deputy Director Aubrey Heath-RetmeyerMinisters do not make $4 million a month. I do not see how someone could think that the Director of SARA and his Assistant could make $4 million and $3 million respectively. Our monthly earnings are listed for the public to see… the basic salary for the Director is $1 million per month with added allowances, he moves up to $1,080,000. The Assistant is $700,000 and with some allowances he moves up to $780,000 per month,” he said.He noted that the revelations by the Attorney General about their earnings are correct but clarified by saying that “gratuity, vacation allowance and other allowances combined to give that column, it was not the monthly figure that was released.”It was just recently that audit firm Ram and McRae suggested SARA be scrapped altogether and its functions transferred to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), in its published ‘budget focus’ review of Budget 2019.The firm had listed some qualms with SARA, including the Agency’s failure to have its annual plan and Code of Practice tabled in the National Assembly. Pointing out that the $285 million the agency is set to receive in 2019 is an increase from last year’s amount, Ram and McRae was critical of this lapse.last_img read more

Eagles, Pacesetters demolish opponents

first_imgBanks DIH/GABA LeagueThe Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association/Rainforest Waters/Malta Supreme League continued on Wednesday night at the Burnham hard-court with two thrilling matchups that left the well-attended spectators stunned.Another night at the hard-court began with the Under 23 division having Pacesetters and Pepsi Sonics on show. For the Pepsi Sonics, it was a bad day at the office, as Pacesetters showcased their might, trouncing them by 45 points.On the winning side, Zion Gray and Troy Davids both netted a game high 18 points, with their teammates Shaquan Gill (15) and Kwesi Roberts (13) contributed to the mountainous score of 91.Pepsi Sonics’ Lemuel Grant (12) and Kelmar Carmichael (10) were not enough of a match, coming up short with 51 points.Speaking after his team’s win, Pacesetters Coach Clement Brush declared he was not surprised by the spectacular performance, since “Pacesetters are the biggest basketball club in the country.”His team is well poised to go all the way to the finals, since the under-23 division will have a new champion in 2018 because of Bounty Colts’ non-participation in this particular division. The Colts are, however, contesting in the first division.After soaring to a scintillating win in their previous matchup, the Eagles proved why they are among the best, as the edged past Vikings Basketball Club on Wednesday. Playing their usual well composed game, the Eagles were in control for most of the matchup, having a seven-point lead by the fourth quarter.Belgrave had a quiet night, while his teammate Sherland Gillis took over the reins. Gills netted 30 points for his team, and his dominance was clear, given that Nickosie Allicock was the closest scorer with eight points.The matchup intensified in the fourth quarter when an unexpected three-pointer from Osafa Johnson and unforced turnovers brought their opponents, Vikings, to level scores. What followed next was a movie finish:- with the scores locked and the seconds flying by, Gillis managed to pull out another brilliant shot to secure the winning points via a layup. The Eagles have now won 2 of three games.For the Vikings, Kevin Dey hooped 18 points, skipper Shayne Joseph scored 15, and Jeffrey Wilkinson netted 12 in a losing cause.The action will continue this weekend at the same venue. On Saturday evening, Eagles will come up against Kobras under-23 division at 18:30 hrs, while the first division will see reigning champs Bounty Colts challenge the Plaisance Guardians at 20:30 hrs.The following day, Plasaice Guardians will clash with Pacesetters; then, later on, Kobras and Eagles will meet again in the first division tournament.last_img read more