Creative Room 4 Talk Mon, 21 Jun 2021 22:21:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 Meet the FIU Fulbright Program Champion: Iqbal Akhtar | News from the FIU Mon, 21 Jun 2021 21:30:00 +0000

Since the mid-1970s, CRF academics have received Fulbright rewards and appropriated the Fulbright mission: to increase mutual understanding and to support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Returning Fulbrights develop an affinity for the program throughout their lives and continue to infuse interpersonal diplomacy into their college life, including promoting Fulbright opportunities to their colleagues and students and serving as peer reviewers of Fulbright applications. .

Iqbal Akhtar — an associate professor who holds positions in the Department of Religious studies and Politics and international relations and founding director of Western Indian Ocean Studies as well as program director of Jain studies– was a Fulbright champion long before he even decided to apply for a Fulbright grant.

“I have observed the breadth and depth of scholarships that visiting scholars and Fulbright sponsored students (and other programs) have brought to the Green School of International and Public Affairs and I knew that with a little commitment and coordination, I could harness their knowledge and talents to move our programs forward, ”Akhtar explains. “This became particularly evident to me when I organized an informal session for visiting scholars and students to share their projects and ambitions with us. “

Amit Ranjan was hosted by the Modern Languages ​​Department as Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) for Hindi in 2015-2016. During Ranjan’s time at the CRF, Akhtar noticed his an in-depth knowledge of Anglo-Indian and Hindi literature and a keen interest in engaging with communities on and off campus. “Dr. Ranjan’s expertise was ideal for supporting us in the development of South Asian studies initiatives, and we agreed that we wanted to continue to collaborate,” recalls Akhtar.

This led Akhtar to submit an application for a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) scholarship. The SIR is designed for US institutions to invite a foreign scholar to lecture or lecture and contribute unique knowledge in program development and new programs for a semester or full academic year. Ranjan was thrilled with the opportunity to return to Miami to spend 2019-2020 as the FIU’s first SIR Fulbright. Cut off by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ranjan returned to India in early 2020 but is expected to arrive at the FIU in August this year to complete the second half of his SIR project.

Since then, Akhtar has submitted a second SIR nomination which resulted in the Sri Lankan Senior Researcher Award. As a result, Professor BA Hussainmiya from the Department of Social Studies at the University of South East Sri Lanka joined SIPA in spring 2022. Hussainmiya will support the development of centers for Muslim and Jain World Studies as well as Tamil endowment. He is expected to give public lectures, translate Tamil Islamic manuscripts, and help with federal and local grant applications.

In addition, Akhtar also took the opportunity to host four Fulbright FLTA visitors to teach Hindi, Turkish, Urdu and Uzbek language classes and serve as cultural ambassadors on campus and the local community in the fall of 2021. FLTA will be operated by the Office of Global Learning Initiatives, International Student & Scholar Services, FIU Global and others to help achieve campus internationalization goals.

To further his own research, Akhtar, as an American Fulbright fellow himself, will soon be heading to Pakistan for a project helping to bring Pakistan’s unique history to the international community. Throughout the fall, he will also work with the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan and academics from Lahore University of Management and Technology to develop capacity building by developing grant opportunities with the Department of US state and US Agency for International Development. In addition, he will pioneer the development of the academic study of Jainism with leading universities in Punjab.

The cause of advancing relations with Pakistan and initiating collaborations with academics is close to his heart.

“Pakistan has been closed for a long time but is now experiencing a new opening for international collaboration and exchange,” Akhtar said. “Fulbright gives me a unique opportunity not only to develop my own scholarship, but also to engage one-on-one with professors and students whose interests overlap with ours and to initiate collaborative work.

With champions like Akhtar, the Fulbright program, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is all the more effective in fulfilling its mission of interpersonal diplomacy.

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2020 election lies thrive amid Arizona poll scrutiny Mon, 21 Jun 2021 21:11:25 +0000

Arizona Republicans are still pushing the myth that President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election – a lie that ultimately culminated in the violent Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The lie continues in the review of approximately 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County, Ariz., Launched in April. A report on its findings is expected later this summer. Election experts, both Democrats and Republicans, questioned the legality of the scrutiny of the vote by supporters and said it lacked transparency. They fear it could fuel a new wave of election misinformation.

And yet, Republican politicians from more than a dozen other states have visited the Phoenix Coliseum where ballot inspection is underway – a sign they may pursue similar ballot reviews elsewhere.

Tim Miller, former political director of Republican Voters Against Trump, called the audit a “circus” in an essay for The Rampart. He warned that the audit, promoted by QAnon supporters, could conclude that it was Trump who won and that “the former president and his MAGA media echo chamber will once again fan the flames of the insurgency.” .

Local journalists in Arizona followed the intricacies of the audits. Here are some of the answers they found to common questions, along with analysis from electoral experts.

What Is the Status of Arizona Ballot Inspection?

Biden won Arizona by around 10,500 votes, toppling the state after Trump won it in 2016. Despite the judges’ rejection lawsuits alleging wrongdoing and post-election audits in Maricopa County finding no anomalies, Republican state senators wanted their own audit.

State Senate Speaker Karen Fann with encouragement of Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani, demanded a review of the ballots and sued Maricopa for access.

To lead it, the Republicans of the State Senate hiring a team that included a little-known group called Cyber ​​Ninjas, led by Doug Logan, who promoted “stop the theft” conspiracy theories about the election.

The inspection of ballots began in late April and is largely complete, with a few exceptions including Braille ballots, said Ken Bennett, former GOP Secretary of State and spokesperson for the Republicans in the Senate. The review is now in the phase of a “forensic paper assessment,” which includes examining the authenticity of the ballots.

Workers are investigating whether the ballots were folded, as one would expect with mail-in ballots, or unfolded, as one would expect for in-person ballots, Bennett said .

But election experts say there is nothing suspicious about the presence or absence of the folds.

Jennifer Morrell, a former local election official and national expert on post-election audits, has been asked by the Arizona secretary of state to observe the ballot inspection. She concluded that there were many problems, including the hypothesis among listeners that the folded ballots suggested fraud.

“I almost had to laugh: in my experience, voters bend the ballots all over the place, no matter where they vote or what the ballot asks them to do,” she wrote in the Washington post. “Apply to privacy concerns or individual whims – but no experienced election official would call that suspicious. “

It is wrong to assume that not all Election Day ballots will have a fold, said Tammy Patrick, a former election official from Maricopa.

“The provisional ballots are folded and placed in an envelope for authentication / arbitration,” said Patrick. “The folds mean nothing about the validity of a ballot.”

the Arizona Republic reported that a tech contractor hired by the state Senate made copies of election data and examines it in a “secure lab” in Montana. Bennett told PolitiFact that the tech firm’s findings will be incorporated into the final report on the scrutiny of the poll.

What about claims that the audit showed Trump won?

Social media posts claimed the audit found “250,000 false votes” for Biden and which Trump won by 228,000 votes in Maricopa. Similar lies with the same number have been circulating for months.

Officials involved in the audit say these claims are false.

“There has been no such discovery published,” Bennett said. Bennett told PolitiFact that the report would be completed by the end of July or August.

Organizers have repeatedly stated that they are not releasing partial results. When they complete their review, the organizers will take a few weeks to write a report and submit it to the State Senate. It would then be up to the state Senate to decide whether to forward the findings to the state attorney general.

Claims that a large number of ballots are missing are “all speculation and baseless,” Bennett said. But organizers are looking into what he called “minor differences.” Fann wrote in a May 12 letter to Maricopa officials that there were discrepancies between the logs created by Maricopa that show the number of ballots in a lot and the actual number of ballots in a lot.

But Maricopa Supervisory Board, four of the five members of which are Republicans, said the differences reflected damaged ballots that were sent to be duplicated and tracked separately. Megan Gilbertson, spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department, said the state Senate had not summoned all newspapers relating to duplicate ballots.

Are there really any complaints that some ballots are too sharp?

Bernard Kerik, an ally of Giuliani and a former New York City Police Commissioner who was pardoned by Trump for tax evasion and other charges, said some of the ballots may have been too crisp.

“When I was there one of the listeners showed me an example of a ballot that was flagged as suspect because each oval was perfectly filled, without a single spurious mark – something that would be easy to see. to accomplish for a machine, but which is almost impossible to do by hand, ”Kerik wrote in an article for Newsmax.

Bennett said auditors were examining the ballots and the marks. But again, they haven’t published any results.

Election officials typically see variation in the way voters mark ballots, including how well they fill the oval, Patrick said.

Some voters take great care in marking their ballot as instructed. Meanwhile, other voters are more messy. Morrell, the audit expert, wrote in the Washington post that she overheard an Arizona audit volunteer talk about a so-called “Cheeto finger” staining a ballot.

The claim that a carefully completed ballot is suspect is not unique to Arizona. Republican activist, Georgia poll director, worried about what she said was “perfect” ballots that had a different “meaning” in Fulton County.

Will other states embark on similar audits?

Politicians, election officials and activists from around 17 other states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, visited the Coliseum, according to Bennett.

The trip of the Wisconsin delegation was funded by Votes and votes, a group directed by Bobb and Chanel Rion OAN, the conservative point of sale that has raised funds for the Arizona poll review, according to the report of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a PolitiFact partner.

It is not known how many other states are interested in similar ballot inspections. A group in Georgia is pursuing a review of ballots in Fulton County.

What is the connection with QAnon?

the Arizona Republic reported that the QAnon conspiracy theory looms in the background of the audit.

“QAnon followers have rallied around a theory that the audit itself would trigger the major event long prophesied by Q,” the Arizona Republic wrote. “Some follow each development of the audit on its dedicated channels on Telegram, a messaging app that has grown in popularity as Facebook and Twitter have eliminated users who post misinformation.”

Q is an anonymous internet character who claims to be a government insider with information about a “deep state” plot to work against Trump. Conspiracy theory claims that public figures like Hillary Clinton, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey are Satan-worshiping cannibalistic pedophiles who will one day be brought to justice. Q’s posts on a fringe Internet forum formed the basis of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“The audit is the Great Awakening in the way we have been manipulated by those who want to control us,” user Just Stan wrote on June 2 on the Arizona Audit Watch Chat channel, the Arizona Republic reported.

QAnon was also linked to the conspiracy theory on watermarked secret ballots. Listeners first scanned the ballots with UV lamps to see if there were any watermarks, but quickly abandoned this process.

Is Biden’s Justice Department Taking Action?

Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to the Arizona ballot inspection without naming the state in a June 11 speech on voting rights.

“Some jurisdictions, based on disinformation, have used anomalous post-election audit methodologies that can endanger the integrity of the voting process and undermine public confidence in our democracy,” Garland said.

In May, the Department of Justice sent a letter to Fann from Arizona, suggesting that the audit could violate federal civil rights law, particularly with regard to voter intimidation. The letter prompted Republicans to stop their plans to go door-to-door speaking to voters in Maricopa.

Garland has announced that he will soon double his staff in the Civil Rights Enforcement division. Lawyers are carefully reviewing new election laws and post-election audits, Garland said.

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New Hanover County Schools Obtain Fourth Director of Communications in Two Years Mon, 21 Jun 2021 19:50:00 +0000

New Hanover County Schools reported on Monday that Joshua Smith, who previously worked as a public affairs officer for the US Marine Corps, has been hired as the new district communications officer. Smith is the fourth person to hold this position in the past two years.

Smith replaces Michelle Fiscus, who served for less than two months, from April 12 to June 2 of this year. Prior to Fiscus, Ann Gibson held the position for just under a year, from March 9, 2020 to February 26, 2021.

Valita Quattlebaum served much longer, taking the post in November 2013 and serving until 2019, when she stopped handling communications, but remained on the district payroll until September 2020.

Long-time media coordinator Brandon Shope, who helped ensure some continuity for public document requests and other media inquiries between communications officers, also recently left the NHCS; Shope has taken over the post of communications specialist at the Wilmington Police Department.

Fiscus could not be reached for comment. After deciding to leave the district, Gibson said she was choosing to move to be closer to her family during the pandemic. During his time in limbo, Quattlebaum did not respond to requests for comment.

Quattlebaum’s slow start coincided with a spate of revelations about convicted former teacher and child molester Michael Earl Kelly, a string of resignations – including Assistant Superintendent Dr Rick Holliday former Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources John Welmers, Principal Human Resources Robin Meiers, and General Counsel Wayne Bullard – and the contentious $ 226,000 separation agreement with Superintendent, Dr. Tim Markley.

More on this from Port City Daily: Between public “separations” and discreet resignations, half of the top NHCS administration has left.
The district has not seen a dearth of public crises since then, including resentful debates about closing – and then reopening – schools during Covid-19 and, more recently, debates about teaching fairness and diversity (called “critical race theory” by opponents) and the adoption of a transgender athlete policy allowing college students to compete regardless of what gender they identify with.


Joshua Smith, NHCS new communications director.

Despite the considerable challenges faced by former communications chiefs, the administration appears to have high hopes for Smith.

“Joshua Smith is a seasoned communications professional and an exceptional addition to our leadership team. I look forward to Mr. Smith leading the district’s communications division while using his vast experience to engage with all of our community stakeholders, ”NHCS Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust wrote in a statement released today. .

According to the NHCS, “Smith brings extensive experience in managing strategic communications, public affairs and training activities in the US Marines. He has been responsible for communications strategy at headquarters in Washington, DC for the past two years, having served as a public affairs officer, instructor, and director of communications strategy for the 22nd Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, Carolina North, between 2010 -2019.

Smith officially begins work on Monday, June 28.

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ITS staff member whets appetite for art through collection Mon, 21 Jun 2021 06:09:09 +0000

Darin Leese and her partner were looking for a vacation spot about 20 years ago and settled in the New England area.

They narrowed down their choices to Vermont and Maine, and were particularly drawn to a quaint southern Maine coastal town called Ogunquit.

There, they not only discovered a vacation destination, but started a two-decade love affair with the city’s art history which resulted in a personal collection of paintings that they now share with the community even represented in these works of art.

Leese, a business systems analyst for My LINC via Information and Technology Services, was fascinated by Ogunquit and its history as an artist colony with competing art schools. He was particularly fascinated by the works of women artists from 1900 to 1950 and purchased dozens of paintings over the years.

Darin Leese, Business Systems Analyst for My LINC via Information and Technology Services, poses in front of “Nubble Lighthouse,” a painting by Clarence Chatterton. (Photo by Darin Leese)

From May 1 to July 16, 28 of these paintings are on display at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art as part of an exhibition of 31 paintings entitled “Remember the Ladies: Women Painters in Ogunquit, 1900-1950”.

“There’s that kind of scavenger hunt,” Leese said of collecting paintings from Ogunquit female artists. “A lot of them are not well known, even the best known students are not very well known. It’s this collector’s idea to find the next one.

“The show is the idea that a lot of them have been kind of forgotten in history.”

Leese has worked at university in an IT role for over 20 years, something he never envisioned in his youth.

The youngest of three children, Leese often had fun painting or drawing. Eventually it was just him and his mother on their large ranch, which had a wooden wall in a house full of drywall.

“I was allowed to put thumbtacks in this wall, so every holiday was my big showcase,” he said. “I could do the big Halloween display or the Christmas display of all my stuff on that big wall. She didn’t want hanging holes in the drywall, but the plywood was OK.

He continued his artistic career while earning a Bachelor of Science in Apparel and Textile Technology with a minor in Art from Western Michigan University. At university, he met his partner, Frank Vandervort, now a law professor at UM. In 1998, Leese took on a temporary position as a training facilitator for the MPathways project at UM. Other than about a year, he’s been in IT since then.

“I didn’t expect to do this as a career. I was really interested in art, ”he said. “Back when I came to Ann Arbor I thought I was going to be an artist for the job, but to think you’re going to do it and try to create things to sell is a whole different thing. I decided it wasn’t my thing.

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Risk of forced labor in the garment industry rises due to pandemic and industry response Mon, 21 Jun 2021 05:03:03 +0000

  • The first and only report to interview a large sample of garment supply chain workers (1,200 workers in 302 factories and four countries) found an increased risk of forced labor during the pandemic
  • This risk has been exacerbated by the response of retail companies, and there is little evidence that most have acted in accordance with their social responsibilities to support their supply chain workers, despite having access to funds. recovery in the event of a pandemic.
  • A comprehensive new system was used during the study to look for indicators that a person is vulnerable to forced labor
  • Recovery from the pandemic should include support for supply chain workers to mitigate the deterioration of their living and working conditions

The deterioration in the living and working conditions of workers in clothing supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk of forced labor, according to a new report from the University of Sheffield.

“The uneven impacts of Covid-19 on global clothing supply chains” revealed that workers in Ethiopia, Honduras, India and Myanmar who produce many of the garments that we buy from our favorite brands in the UK and in Europe have been severely affected by the pandemic.

Both those who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs and those who lost their jobs in the past year and found a new job reported a sharp drop in their income and working conditions; and both groups experienced an increased risk of forced labor during this time.

The study is the largest to directly engage the voices of the people employed to make the clothes we buy in the UK during the pandemic, along with interviews with retailers and a review of company documentation. The precedents have focused only on the impact for multinational corporations (MNCs) that own big fashion brands and retailers. It uses a comprehensive new system to look for indicators that a person is vulnerable to forced labor.

Professor Genevieve LeBaron, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield, said: “There is no commonly accepted definition of what constitutes forced labor, and contrary to public perceptions of the modern slavery, people cannot be held against their will. or trafficked without knowing it in their situation.

“They can find themselves in a job that they cannot leave for a number of reasons: false promises and deception to keep a person at work in increasingly difficult conditions, threat of sanctions against the worker or his family. if he left, or sometimes forcing a person into debt to the manufacturer because of poor wages, causing them to struggle to meet their basic needs for housing and food. “

The study found that both groups of workers experienced indicators of forced labor, with the situation clearly deteriorating during the pandemic. He pointed out that many companies fell short of meeting their commitments to good practice; including sourcing sustainable products from manufacturers with fair working conditions, pay and no use of the farm.

Business actions by companies during the pandemic have highlighted how many business models within the garment industry fundamentally contradict these commitments, and that current government regulations do not go far enough to protect workers.

Although the study found that there were examples of companies acting in a way that honored their social commitments, these were mostly companies that directly owned factories or had long-standing partnerships with manufacturers. it was crucial to protect. In these cases, workers were more likely to keep jobs during the pandemic.

Professor LeBaron said: “It appears that many companies in the clothing industry have accessed emergency funding during the pandemic, but have also provided little or no evidence that they have honored the social responsibilities that the Most of the brands we recognize have workers in their supply chains at the same time.

“At the start of the pandemic, millions of pounds of canceled orders forced many manufacturers in places like Ethiopia to lay off staff, who then became vulnerable to exploitation in the desperate search for new jobs. .

Those fortunate enough to keep their jobs said they experienced a deterioration in working conditions and pay, exacerbating the already troubling inequalities between the countries that benefit from their work and the workers themselves. “

Already, some manufacturers are pursuing legal actions against companies that canceled orders worth millions of pounds during the pandemic, and there are growing discussions about whether the conduct of clothing brands during the pandemic was legal.

The report calls on governments to strengthen the governance of supply chains and retailers to address the damage caused during the pandemic.

Professor LeBaron added: “Our report shows that retail companies have tried to offset the potential damage from the pandemic by passing the losses on to their suppliers and workers who could least afford it. Most of these companies have very deep pockets and must act immediately to address the social challenges that their responses to the pandemic have created.

“Prohibit the sale of below-cost manufactured products and forced labor, ensure companies relieve supply chain pressures that lead suppliers to use unfair labor practices and demand brands that they report on the public rescue funds received and how they were used. be a good start in forcing retailers to be more transparent about the way they work; help tackle the growing inequalities faced by supply chain workers who meet our demand for high-end, fast-paced fashion; and help consumers make more sustainable and ethical choices when shopping. “

Jakub Sobik, communications director at the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center (the Modern Slavery PEC), which funded the research as part of his call on the impact of Covid-19 on modern slavery in the world, said:

“This report highlights the uneven impact of Covid-19 on complex business supply chains and the need to do more to protect workers producing clothing sold around the world from exploitation.

“Businesses should think about how their actions can rectify the situation and develop different responses for the future, while working with governments to ensure a level playing field for all businesses, encouraging those that are already applying the right ones. practice.”


On June 30, 2021, a virtual roundtable will be organized to discuss the findings of “The uneven impacts of the pandemic on global clothing supply chains”, you can register and join the team here: https: // /pandemics-uneven-impacts-on-global-clothing-supply-chains-158701637871

Media Contact: Rebecca Ferguson, Media Relations Manager, 0114 222 3670,

Notes to editors

“The Pandemic’s Unequal Impacts on Global Garment Supply Chains” is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield, the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center, the Worker Rights Consortium and the Global Reporting Center at UBC.

To view an embargoed copy of the report prior to publication, please contact the Media Relations Officer.

Main statistics of the report:

Of the 1019 respondents to our survey who are still working:

  • 35 percent reported verbal abuse
  • 34% reported threats and / or intimidation
  • 22 reported unfair payroll deductions or deductions
  • 19 reported that access to things such as water and toilets was restricted
  • 39% said they were forced to work in an environment with a lack of PPE and Covid-19 precautions such as social distancing

Among those whose contracts were terminated during the pandemic:

  • Almost 80 percent have not received part or all of their severance pay
  • More than a third found themselves forced to take new work for lower pay, less job security and more danger
  • 68 percent of workers did not have a contract with their new job

University of Sheffield

With nearly 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the world’s top academics, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, university staff and students are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to be listed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for 2018 and over the past eight years it has been ranked among the top five UK universities for student satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Laureates among former staff and students, and its alumni hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and customers include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as numerous UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The Center for Policy and Evidence on Modern Slavery and Human Rights

The Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Center (Modern Slavery PEC) was established with the investment of public funds to enhance understanding of modern slavery and transform the effectiveness of law and policies designed for it. avoid. With high-quality research it commands at its core, the Center brings together academics, policymakers, business, civil society, survivors and the public on a scale never seen before in the UK to collaborate on the resolution of this global challenge.

The Center is a consortium of six academic organizations led by the Bingham Center for the Rule of Law and is funded by the Art and Humanities Research Council on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Learn more about the Modern Slavery CEP at http: // www.modern slavery pec.organization.


Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labor rights monitoring organization based in Washington DC. The WRC conducts worker-centric surveys to assess working conditions in garment and textile factories around the world.

http: // www.workers’ rights.organization

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Former ASIO boss warns against cyber energy sector Mon, 21 Jun 2021 00:44:55 +0000

Energy experts and a former head of ASIO warned that Australia’s critical energy infrastructure was becoming increasingly complex and vulnerable to cyber attacks, but a commensurate improvement in resilience has not occurred.

Former ASIO Managing Director and current Chairman of the Foreign Investment Review Board, David Irvine, said energy was one of many sectors in Australia that lacked sufficient cyber resilience and that most local organizations do not “care enough” about the new “tool of war”.

Progress is being made but not fast enough, and Australia is vulnerable to sophisticated cyber attacks, Irvine said at an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce business lunch on Friday.

“Nation states are actively working on what we call hybrid warfare; the ability, without actually shooting people, to bring opposing states to their knees. “

Former Managing Director of ASIO and current Chairman of the Foreign Investment Review Board David Irvine

Russia has already deployed hybrid warfare against several countries in Europe, and the tactics now pose a serious threat to Australia, according to the former ASIO boss.

“Now this is a threat looming on the horizon, and we need to really work hard because, as I keep saying, the wars of the 21st century are going to be fought in cyberspace before one hit. kinetic fire is fired. “

These same cyber warfare tools are also increasingly popular weapons for criminal attackers, Mr Irvine said, but Australian industry and governments have been slow to prepare for attacks and how they will respond.

“As a nation, we must have answers,” he said. “And we, as a nation, have been very slow to understand these needs for answers. “

Mr Irvine said boards of directors now understand the threat of cyber attacks, much more than they did in 2009 when he worked as head of ASIO, but most are still “struggling.” with how to handle an attack.

Governments have also improved their cyber posture, but there is still a lot to do, according to Irvine, who is also the non-executive director of the Cyber ​​Security Cooperative Research Center.

He said the Interior Ministry’s Critical Infrastructure Center had asked the Foreign Investment Review Board to “do its part” to improve national cyber-resilience in the energy sector.

“[Australia is] get there but we don’t care enough yet [about resilience]. But the key point … is that until we improve our national security resilience in all segments of the energy sector, from supply to end-user, we will be vulnerable to types of attacks. that we saw.

The Chairman of the Energy Security Council of Australia, Dr Kerry Schott, said the proliferation of internet-connected devices used to manage energy and the increase in the number of sensors required for renewable energy has created a new service of huge threat.

“All of these things are new ways for people who, if they wanted to do horrible things, can now get into the system, which was not there before,” Dr. Schott said.

She said that in Australia, solar power on rooftops and the grid-connected inverters used with them pose a particularly significant threat, with panels now installed in around one or four Australian homes and inverters manufactured by Huawai – the Chinese electronics company banned from 5G rollout in Australia for national security reasons. – are the most popular ways to manage them. Although Dr Schott said Chinese inverters do not pose a “significant risk”.

“We are now in a world with a lot more sensors, a lot more gadgets… and a lot more ways for people to enter and use systems,” she said.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley by email or Signal.

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SCCI strengthens communication with all economic sectors in Sharjah Sun, 20 Jun 2021 15:54:40 +0000

A delegation from the SCCI during a visit to the Sahara Center.

Journalist, Gulf Today

A delegation from the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), led by President Abdullah Sultan Al Owais (SCCI) recently visited the Sahara Center, the ultimate lifestyle destination in the United Arab Emirates, to learn more more on the new expansion project, located in the west wing of the mall.

The visit is part of CSIC’s commitment to strengthen communication with all facilities and economic sectors in Sharjah.

The delegation included Waleed Abdul Rahman Bu Khatir, Second Vice-President of SCCI, a number of members of the Board of Directors of the Chamber, Mohammed Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director General of SCCI, Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO of Sharjah Exhibition Center, and Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing Department, SCCI.

They were received by Akram Ammar, Executive Director of the Sahara Center, and Pierre Semaan, Marketing Director, where they were briefed on the services offered by the new extension, including an exceptional number of points of sale, entertainment spaces and various restaurants.

Abdullah Sultan Al Owais said the visit is part of CSIC’s concern to continuously monitor the affairs and interests of the emirate’s economic sectors. The chamber always seeks to exchange views with the business community in a way that serves their interests and enhances the growth and prosperity of Sharjah’s economy, he added. Al Owais pointed out that Sahara Center is one of the most important commercial and tourist destinations in Sharjah and the United Arab Emirates. He congratulated the management of the Center for the new extension which represents a qualitative addition to the commercial sector thanks to the presence of world famous brands.

For his part, Akram Ammar, Executive Director of the Sahara Center, thanked the Chamber for its continued support to the interests of the shopping center sector, stressing that the center aims, through these renovations, to improve the customer experience through various points of sale and catering.

In addition to housing an exceptional number of points of sale, the new extension also offers new leisure and dining options. It will also feature a dedicated floor for cosmetic and aesthetic related products and services, including spas, beauty stores, salons, perfumeries and cosmetic centers, among others.

The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) recently hosted Lars Pera, Ambassador of Guatemala to the United Arab Emirates, and Jose Bassila, Trade Counselor at the Embassy of Guatemala, to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations and to stimulate investments in food security, waste management and natural tourism fields, among others.

The two sides agreed to organize a coordination meeting with the SCCI counterpart in Guatemala and considered signing a memorandum of understanding to strengthen cooperation at all levels.

Stressing the importance of the meeting to improve the prospects for trade and investment cooperation, Abdullah Sultan Al Owais, Chairman of CSIC, stressed that the Emirate of Sharjah has enormous competitive advantages which make it one of the main business destinations in the region.

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Praise and condemnation of the new Iranian president outright Sun, 20 Jun 2021 10:23:00 +0000

June 19 (Reuters) – Here are some global reactions to Ebrahim Raisi’s election as Iranian president. Raisi, 60, is a hard-line judge loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and subject to US sanctions for alleged human rights violations. Read more


“The election of Raisi is, I would say, the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear deal, and to understand who they are dealing with … A brutal executioner regime must never be. allowed to have weapons of mass destruction. ” Bennett was talking to Cabinet.


“Relations between our countries are traditionally friendly and good neighborly. I hope that your activities in this high post will contribute to the further development of constructive bilateral cooperation in various directions, as well as partnership in international affairs. fully in the interests of the Russian and Iranian peoples, goes in the direction of strengthening regional security and stability, “Putin said in a message to Raisi, according to the Kremlin.


Assad wished Raisi success “for the good and interest of the Iranian people, unwavering in the face of all plans and pressures aimed at breaking their will and undermining their independent decision,” according to a statement from the Syrian presidency.


“Stating my conviction that cooperation between our two countries will be strengthened during your presidency, I am ready to work with you,” Erdogan said in a letter sent to Raisi.


“We wish the Islamic Republic and our bilateral relations stability, continuity and prosperity,” he said in a statement tweeted by the Dubai Media Office.


Sent a congratulatory message, according to state news agency WAM.


Congratulated Raisi on his victory, Oman’s official news agency ONA reported.


Sent a message to Raisi “wishing him success and further development and growth of relations between the two countries,” the state news agency QNA said.


Sent a message to Raisi, “wishing him more success and well-being, as well as the friendly Islamic Republic to continue to progress and prosper,” according to the state news agency KUNA.

MUSTAFA AL-KADHIMI, THE Iraqi Prime Minister congratulated Raisi by phone, according to a Tweet from the Prime Minister’s office, and expressed his hopes for increased cooperation on economic and security issues “in addition to the fight against terrorism , and in a way that enhances the security and stability of both countries and the region. “


“I send you my sincere congratulations and blessings on your election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran … We in Iraq look forward to strengthening our strong relationship with our neighbor Iran and its people.”


“The Iranian authorities paved the way for Ebrahim Raisi to become president through repression and an unfair election. As the head of Iran’s repressive justice system, Raisi has overseen some of the most heinous crimes in recent Iranian history, which deserve investigation and accountability rather than election to high office. . “


“The fact that Ebrahim Raisi took the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme. master in Iran. We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and current crimes under international law, including by states exercising universal jurisdiction. “


“Ebrahim Raisi, the henchman of the 1988 massacre and the murderer of the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI / MEK), is Khamenei’s latest attempt to preserve his regime. Weak, in crisis and shaken by impending uprisings, Khamenei has purged all his rivals to install Raisi as president, one of the vilest criminals against humanity since WWII. “


Sent a congratulatory message to Raisi on his victory, al-Masirah TV reported.


“We congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran on the success of the democratic process, the holding of the presidential election and the victory of Ebrahim Raisi as President of Iran. We wish the Islamic Republic of Iran progress and prosperity Iran has always been a fundamental country and a true supporter of the Palestinian cause and Palestinian resistance. “


“Once again, the Iranian people reiterated their commitment to the path of revolution and its regime. We congratulate the Islamic Republic and the people of Iran on this great achievement.

Report by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; John Irish in Paris Writing by Maayan Lubell Editing by Frances Kerry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Club news: Sing, create, meet, learn Sun, 20 Jun 2021 06:07:05 +0000


The Northwest Arkansas section of the Mutual UFO Network will meet from 9:30 am to noon on June 26 in the conference room at Fayetteville Drake Field. Section meetings are open to members, guests, and anyone with a genuine interest in the UFO phenomenon.

Information: (479) 422-9586.


Camp McPherson, the sons of Civil War Union veterans, will meet at 7 p.m. on June 21 at the Whole Hog Cafe at 1400 SE Walton Blvd. in Bentonville. The group will meet for dinner and socialize at 6 p.m.

The SUV is a patriotic and fraternal organization founded in 1881. Its members are the male descendants of soldiers, sailors and government officials of the United States who served in the years 1861-65. All are welcome to attend the meeting.

Information: (479) 381-6883.


Retired Nurses from Northwest Arkansas will meet at noon on June 29 at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville in Classroom A. There will be a presentation by Comfort Keepers In-Home Care. Lunch will be at 11:00 a.m. and can be purchased in the hospital cafeteria prior to the meeting.

Information: (479) 715-6352 or (316) 644-0472.

Wood carvers

The Bella Vista Woodcarvers Club is a group of local artisans who meet regularly to share works of art, exchange woodworking experiences and stay in touch with members. Due to covid issues, the temporary hangout is at the Bella Vista Assembly of God Church Gymnasium, located at 1771 Forest Hills Blvd., at 1 p.m. every Thursday.

On the third Thursday of each month there is a class on one aspect of carving, wood burning, finishing, or some other interesting topic. Classes are a great way to practice techniques, learn new ways to achieve your goal, and discover your own style.

The aim of the club is to promote the general fields of sculpture, woodcut and woodcarving, and to promote a greater appreciation of wood in artistic expression. The club is dedicated to giving back to the community through activities that teach children and adults the art of sculpture. Visitors are always welcome.

For further information: Jean Visnich, President, at (479) 426-8409 or by email at

Perfect harmony

The Perfect Harmony Women’s Hair Salon Choir meets from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Monday in the Highland Christian Church Community Hall, located at 1500 Forest Hills Blvd. at Bella Vista. (Enter through the north gate.) To attend, you must have received at least the first dose of the covid vaccine. Social distancing and wearing a mask are mandatory. No prior experience or test is required to register. Women of all ages and voice levels are invited to experience hair salon singing.

For further information: Karen Frankenfeld, Director, at (479) 876-7204 or visit

Women’s choir

Northwest Arkansas Women’s Chorus rehearses again. If you enjoy singing, women from Benton, Washington and McDonald counties are welcome to join you. All are welcome, with no testing or experience required. Performances include classical, pop, folk and live tunes for local clubs, schools, health centers and veterans’ centers.

Rehearsals take place at 12:45 p.m. every Monday at the St. Bernard Church Hall in Bella Vista, with plenty of room to spread out and follow Arkansas State covid-19 guidelines.

For further information: Elaine at (918) 857-1675 or visit

Linda Meier, President of the Rogers Noon Kiwanis Club, welcomed Nicole McKellar as a guest speaker. She is a student at Rogers High School and works on the Girl Scout’s highest honor speaking and educating the club about pollinators. She distributed seeds for planting and gave information on the importance of planting and maintaining flower beds that help butterflies, bees, etc. to thrive in our region. (Courtesy photo)

Sue Storey, Rogers Kiwanis, pound gallons of "pop tops" to Dolores Stamps for ERC Northwest Arkansas Aktion Club Springdale.  Club Aktion members have been accumulating spinning tops to support the ARKOMA Ronald McDonald House Charities association for eleven years.

Sue Storey, Rogers Kiwanis, delivers gallons of “pop tops” to Dolores Stamps for the ERC Northwest Arkansas Aktion Club Springdale. Club Aktion members have been accumulating spinning tops to support the ARKOMA Ronald McDonald House Charities association for eleven years.

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Over 5,500 unused fans in various states; Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka’s biggest defaults – The New Indian Express Sun, 20 Jun 2021 02:02:00 +0000

Express news service


  • 85-year-old senior doctor JK Mishra from Swarup Rani Nehru Hospital in Prayagraj (UP) lost his life on April 26 after being unable to find a ventilator bed at the hospital where he had served for 50 years .

  • In Palanpur City, Banaskantha District, Gujarat, Dr Naresh Shah, 79, died on April 22 as his family could not find a ventilator bed.

  • Famous Hindustani classical singer Pt Rajan Mishra died of complications from COVID-19 in a Delhi hospital on April 26. Her son said the family were desperate for a ventilator “but no one supported us” and by the time the PMO reached out, “he had left us”.

The shortage of ventilators during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 claimed many lives. But even as patients suffered from a lack of vital medical equipment, hundreds of machines shipped to various states remained unused.

Until the end of May, more than 5,500 ventilators were collecting dust in warehouses in various states, the Department of Health and Family Welfare informed in its response to a request filed by The new Indian express under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The response revealed a substantial gap between the number of ventilators ordered, delivered and installed in hospitals across the country.

According to the response, the ministry ordered 60,559 ventilators from different manufacturers, of which 46,511 were awarded to the states. The rest was for central government hospitals. According to the ministry, 45,191 ventilators have been delivered, of which 39,640 have been installed by the states through May 25, leaving 5,551 unused.

Unused fans pile up: Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat among biggest defaults

Amid reports of a severe shortage of ventilators even as positive cases saw massive daily peaks in April-May, there has been intense exchange between the Center and some congressional-led states over the shortage as well as the delivery of defective machines.

On April 11, the Union’s health secretary wrote a letter to some states, including the Punjab, to act on the inactive ventilators in their possession. “Failure to commission the ventilators defeats the purpose” of fighting the pandemic, he said in his letter to Punjab chief secretary Viny Mahajan.

According to RTI’s response, however, it was in the BJP-led UP, Karnataka and Gujarat where the maximum number of ventilators was unused. Of the 5,116 machines delivered to Uttar Pradesh, 4,010 were operational until the end of May, while 1,106 had yet to be installed.

Gujarat and Karnataka recorded the delivery of 5,600 and 2,913 ventilators, of which they installed 4,991 and 2,004 respectively. This means that more than 900 ventilators in Karnataka and more than 600 in Gujarat were inactive.

In contrast, the Congress-led Punjab and Rajasthan had only 56 and 29 idle fans, respectively. Among the opposition-ruled states, Jharkhand was the largest defaulter with only 461 of the 1,210 fans installed.

In Madhya Pradesh, even as patients desperately needed ventilation beds, the state government told the High Court earlier this month that 204 ventilators were being kept on reserve as a “safeguard.” . At the height of the second wave in May, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan alleged that ventilators supplied to them under PM-CARES were deemed “defective and substandard” by the hospitals that used them.

There have been dozens of reports from other states, including Maharashtra, of hundreds of machines that had died because they were faulty. In many cases, devices were unpacked because the hospital lacked qualified healthcare professionals to operate them.

Regarding a query about non-functioning ventilators or ventilators returned to manufacturers, the health ministry said in its RTI that “the information is not centrally available.” He revealed he ordered a performance audit after receiving complaints.

“After some reports of unused fans in some states, the ministry ordered a performance audit of the installation / commissioning and operation of the fans provided by the Center to the states / UTs to be performed,” the Ministry said. response from RTI. There was also a huge difference in the prices of ventilators bought by the government from different companies.

While 30,000 machines were ordered from Bharat Electronics at Rs 5,04,640 per unit, 9,500 units were ordered from AMTZ (Basic) at the rate of Rs 1,66,376 per piece. Allied Medical provided 350 pieces of equipment at Rs 8,62,400 per unit.

About 1,000 ventilators were purchased from Sinopharm at Rs 10,89,500 per unit and 771 units were ordered from Hamilton at Rs 10,324,400 per piece, while 15 nits purchased from Draeger cost Rs 17 lakh each.

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