Tag Archives: social issues

Google founder will get New Zealand residency, elevating questions

[ad_1]

Google co-founder Larry Web page has gained New Zealand residency, officers confirmed, stoking debate over whether or not extraordinarily rich folks can primarily purchase entry to the South Pacific nation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Google co-founder Larry Web page has gained New Zealand residency, officers confirmed Friday, stoking debate over whether or not extraordinarily rich folks can primarily purchase entry to the South Pacific nation.

Immigration New Zealand stated Web page first utilized for residency in November underneath a particular visa open to folks with a minimum of 10 million New Zealand {dollars} ($7 million) to speculate.

“As he was offshore on the time, his utility was not capable of be processed due to COVID-19 restrictions,” the company stated in a press release. “As soon as Mr. Web page entered New Zealand, his utility was capable of be processed and it was authorized on four February 2021.”

Gaining New Zealand residency wouldn’t essentially have an effect on Web page’s residency standing within the U.S. or another nations.

New Zealand lawmakers confirmed that Web page and his son first arrived in New Zealand in January after the household filed an pressing utility for the son to be evacuated from Fiji as a result of a medical emergency.

“The day after the appliance was acquired, a New Zealand air ambulance staffed by a New Zealand ICU nurse-escort medevaced the kid and an grownup member of the family from Fiji to New Zealand,” Well being Minister Andrew Little advised lawmakers in Parliament.

Little advised lawmakers the household had abided by relevant virus protocols after they arrived.

Web page’s residency utility was authorized about three weeks later.

Immigration New Zealand famous that whereas Web page had grow to be a resident, he did not have everlasting residency standing and remained topic to sure restrictions.

Nonetheless, the company on its web site touts the “Investor Plus” visa as providing a “New Zealand life-style,” including that “you might be able to carry your automotive, boat and home items to New Zealand, freed from customs prices.”

Some native information organizations reported that Web page had since left New Zealand.

Google didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Forbes on Friday ranked Web page because the world’s sixth-wealthiest particular person, with a fortune of $117 billion. Forbes famous that Web page stepped down as chief government of Google’s father or mother firm Alphabet in 2019 however remained a board member and controlling shareholder.

Opposition lawmakers stated the episode raised questions on why Web page was authorized so shortly at a time when many expert staff or separated relations who have been determined to enter New Zealand have been being turned away.

“The federal government is sending a message that cash is extra vital than docs, fruit pickers and households who’re separated from their youngsters,” ACT deputy chief Brooke van Velden stated in a press release.

In 2017, it emerged that Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel had been capable of achieve New Zealand citizenship six years earlier, regardless of by no means having lived within the nation. Thiel was authorized after a high lawmaker determined his entrepreneurial expertise and philanthropy have been precious to the nation.

Thiel didn’t even have to depart California for the ceremony — he was granted citizenship throughout a personal ceremony held on the New Zealand Consulate in Santa Monica.

[ad_2]

Supply hyperlink

Cambodia, China, problem US over sanctions on Chinese language agency

[ad_1]

Cambodia and China are rejecting U.S. allegations {that a} Chinese language state-owned firm is responsible of human rights abuses and corruption in its acquisition of land in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia and China on Wednesday rejected U.S. allegations {that a} Chinese language state-owned firm was responsible of human rights abuses and corruption in its acquisition of land in Cambodia.

The U.S. Treasury Division’s Workplace of Overseas Belongings Management introduced Tuesday that it’s imposing sanctions below U.S. legislation on China’s Union Growth Group Co. Ltd. for its actions in Cambodia.

It charged that the corporate “compelled Cambodians from their land and devastated the setting, hurting the livelihoods of native communities, all below the guise of changing Cambodia right into a regional logistics hub and vacationer vacation spot.”

A spokesman for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian Individuals’s Social gathering stated Wednesday that whereas the U.S. authorities had the precise to impose sanctions, its allegations have been baseless.

Sok Eysan stated the federal government allowed the challenge to proceed solely after its grasp plan was reviewed and authorised by the state Cambodian Growth Council, and that the Chinese language firm was working in line with that plan.

The U.S. Treasury Division stated in an announcement asserting the sanctions that the Chinese language firm in 2008 acquired a 99-year lease from Cambodia’s authorities for the event of the Dara Sakor challenge overlaying virtually 20% of Cambodia’s shoreline by forming a neighborhood firm to turn out to be the leaseholder. The corporate later reverted to Chinese language possession, the Treasury Division stated.

It charged that Cambodia’s navy used violence to assist clear the land, and that then-armed forces chief of workers Kun Kim benefited financially from the association. Kun Kim and his shut members of the family have already been focused with U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spelled out broader issues in a separate assertion Tuesday.

“There are credible stories that the coastal growth challenge at Dara Sakor could possibly be used to host PRC (China’s) navy property, and in that case would go towards Cambodia’s Structure and will threaten Indo-Pacific stability, probably impacting Cambodia’s sovereignty and the safety of our allies,” he stated.

U.S. officers have beforehand recommended a Cambodian naval base on the coast was being ready to be used by China, and an airport being constructed on the Chinese language firm’s land gave the impression to be designed to accommodate navy plane in addition to civilian planes.

Hun Sen has denied repeatedly that he would enable any overseas energy to make use of Cambodian territory for a base.

Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated Wednesday that Washington “has repeatedly used unwarranted allegations that China’s related challenge in different nations could possibly be reworked into navy bases to discredit and assault our regular cooperation with related nations.”

“Nevertheless, the US itself has tons of of navy bases in additional than 150 nations world wide. This hypocritical and double-standard follow by the US is despicable,” Wang stated.

The U.S. sanctions, imposed below the Magnitsky Act, block the Chinese language firm’s entry to any property it has in the US, and U.S. residents and firms are barred from conducting any monetary or different transactions with it.

Distinguished Cambodian environmentalist Ouch Leng stated the U.S. motion got here too late, after a land rights protest chief died, forest and different pure assets have been exhausted and other people’s livelihoods suffered, leaving them fearful and with out first rate jobs.

He charged that different Chinese language corporations are finishing up actions dangerous to the setting and hurting individuals’s livelihoods.

———

Related Press author Grant Peck in Bangkok contributed to this story

[ad_2]

Supply hyperlink

Relocated Isle Royale wolves kind teams, scale back moose herd

[ad_1]

Scientists say grey wolves that have been taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale Nationwide Park to rebuild its almost extinct inhabitants are forming social teams, staking out territory and apparently mating

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Grey wolves that have been taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale Nationwide Park to rebuild its almost extinct inhabitants are forming social teams, staking out territory and apparently mating — promising indicators regardless of heavy losses from pure causes and lethal fights, scientists mentioned Monday.

They’ve additionally achieved a main purpose of the reintroduction initiative by decreasing the park’s moose herd, which has develop into too large for its personal good, researchers with Michigan Technological College mentioned.

“They’re having no bother discovering and preying on moose, and that is actually important,” mentioned wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson, who has spent many years finding out the connection between the 2 species on the Lake Superior island chain. “The indicators are all optimistic, I believe.”

Knowledge from radio-transmission collars worn by transplanted wolves and pictures from distant cameras counsel pups have been born the previous two years, though the quantity is unsure, researchers with the park and State College of New York mentioned.

Wolves are believed to have made their solution to Isle Royale by crossing ice bridges from Minnesota or the Canadian province of Ontario within the mid-20th century. After turning into established, their numbers averaged within the 20s earlier than declining sharply up to now decade, primarily on account of inbreeding.

The Nationwide Park Service introduced plans in 2018 to restore the inhabitants, which had fallen to 2. Crews took 19 wolves from Minnesota, Ontario and Michigan’s Higher Peninsula to the island in a sequence of airlifts. Some have died and not less than one wandered again to the mainland.

A report launched Monday by the Michigan Tech analysis workforce, which tallied dwell wolves throughout low-altitude flights final winter, mentioned 12 had been noticed. Two others that had been seen beforehand have been unaccounted for, that means the inhabitants might be as excessive as 14.

Researchers counted 15 dwell wolves in 2019, when the primary pup was believed to have been born to the brand new arrivals. It might have been conceived earlier than its mom was taken to the island, Peterson mentioned.

In a separate report, the park service and SUNY scientists mentioned photos from distant cameras on Isle Royale in 2019 indicated a feminine wolf relocated from Michipicoten Island, Ontario, had probably given start to not less than two pups. Pup-sized scats have been collected from two websites this summer season, and pup-sized tracks have been noticed. Genetic evaluation of the scats could assist decide what number of have been born on the island.

4 social teams seemed to be taking form, displaying indicators of courtship and willingness to mate, though they weren’t sufficiently structured to be thought of packs, the Michigan Tech report mentioned.

Two have staked out territories on reverse halves of the 45-mile-long (70-kilometer-long) park’s foremost island, whereas the others have been making an attempt to determine safe areas to wander and hunt, spending appreciable time on smaller islands.

“The wolf scenario on Isle Royale stays dynamic as these wolves proceed to work out their relationships with each other,” mentioned Mark Romanski, a park service biologist coordinating the introduction program. “It’s anticipated that social group must cool down, however then once more, wolves do not at all times abide by human expectations.”

The plan requires 20 to 30 wolves to be taken to Isle Royale over three to 5 years, however the coronavirus pandemic has put extra relocations on maintain, spokeswoman Liz Valencia mentioned.

The Michigan Tech workforce’s moose census, additionally primarily based on aerial observations, estimated the inhabitants at 1,876. That’s 9% smaller than the 2019 rely of two,020 animals, which scientists now say might need been too excessive.

Both means, it seems the wolves’ presence has halted a growth that noticed moose numbers bounce by about 19% yearly from 2012 by way of final 12 months. The wolves have been averaging one moose kill each different day through the winter examine interval.

The moose explosion has broken the park’s vegetation, significantly balsam fir, their meals of alternative throughout lengthy, snowbound winters. They’ve killed off lots of the mature bushes. Final winter, moose munched nearly all the brand new development that had poked above the snow in a single monitored part.

[ad_2]

Supply hyperlink

South Korea pastor tests positive amid virus spike at church

[ad_1]

A conservative South Korean pastor who has been a bitter critic of the country’s president has tested positive for the coronavirus

SEOUL, South Korea —
A conservative South Korean pastor who has been a bitter critic of the country’s president has tested positive for the coronavirus, health authorities said Monday, two days after he participated in an anti-government protest in Seoul that drew thousands.

More than 300 virus cases have been linked to the Rev. Jun Kwang-hun’s huge church in northern Seoul, which has emerged as a major cluster of infections amid growing fears of a massive outbreak in the greater capital region.

Officials are concerned that the virus’s spread could worsen after thousands of demonstrators, including Jun and members of his Sarang Jeil Church, marched in downtown Seoul on Saturday despite pleas from officials to stay home.

Jang Shi-hwa, a disease control expert in Seoul’s southern Gwangak district, said Jun was tested Monday morning at an area hospital, which reported to her office that he had tested positive but did not exhibit any symptoms. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Jun was being transferred to a hospital for isolated treatment.

South Korea reported 197 new cases of the virus on Monday, the fourth straight day of triple-digit increases. Most of the new cases in the past few days have come from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people.

Churches have been a constant source of infections, with many failing to require worshipers to wear masks, or allowing them to sing in choirs or eat together.

Health workers have so far linked 319 infections to Jun’s church after completing tests on about 2,000 of its 4,000 members. Police are pursuing some 700 church members who remain out of contact.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip urged anyone who participated in the weekend protest to come forward for testing if they experience fever or other symptoms. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there’s concern that the outbreak at the church could spread nationwide through its members’ activities.

“We believe we are in the early stage of a major outbreak,” she said.

President Moon Jae-in’s government has strengthened social distancing restrictions in the Seoul metropolitan area — a move it had resisted for months out of economic concerns — and urged residents to avoid visiting other parts of the country for two weeks.

Jun’s church has become South Korea’s second-biggest virus cluster, behind a branch of the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu that was tied to more than 5,000 cases following a surge of infections in the region in late February and March.

The country managed to stabilize the outbreak in the Daegu area by April after bringing medical resources and personnel to the region from other parts of the country. Health workers were able to quickly ramp up testing and aggressively trace contacts by extensively using cellphone location data and credit-card records.

But the resurgence of the virus in the greater capital area — which has 10 times more people than Daegu — has been a rude awakening for a country that had been eager to tout its gains against the virus.

While health workers were able to contain the outbreak in Daegu, where infections were mostly tied to the Shincheonji church, they’re now struggling to track transmissions and predict infection routes in the Seoul region, where clusters have been popping up from churches, restaurants, schools and other places.

Moon’s government is pressing charges against Jun for allegedly disrupting disease-control efforts by ignoring orders to self-isolate, discouraging worshipers from getting tested and under-reporting the church’s membership to avoid broader quarantines.

Jun’s lawyer, Kang Yeon-jae, denied the accusations during a news conference Monday, insisting that he only received self-isolation orders after returning home from Saturday’s rally.

During Saturday’s protest, Jun, who is known for provocative speeches that are often filled with bizarre claims, said the outbreak at his church was a result of an attack, accusing an unspecified opponent of “pouring” the virus onto the church.

Prosecutors pushed for Jun’s arrest, asking a Seoul court to revoke his bail.

Jun was indicted in March on charges of violating election laws ahead of April’s parliamentary elections by allegedly asking participants at his rallies to vote against Moon’s party, which would be illegal because the official campaigning period hadn’t yet started. Jun’s bail was granted on condition that he doesn’t take part in rallies that could be related to his pending case.

Shincheonji’s 88-year-old chairman, Lee Man-hee, was arrested earlier this month over charges that the church hid some members and under-reported gatherings. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they’re cooperating with health authorities.

[ad_2]

Source link

China’s Uighurs trapped in manufacturing unit toiling for tech titans

[ad_1]

NANCHANG, China —
In a vigorous Muslim quarter of Nanchang metropolis, a sprawling Chinese language manufacturing unit seems pc screens, cameras and fingerprint scanners for a provider to worldwide tech giants corresponding to Apple and Lenovo. All through the neighborhood, girls in headscarves stroll via the streets, and Arabic indicators promote halal supermarkets and noodle outlets.

But the principally Muslim ethnic Uighurs who labor within the manufacturing unit are remoted inside a walled compound that’s fortified with safety cameras and guards on the entrance. Their forays out are restricted to uncommon chaperoned journeys, they don’t seem to be allowed to worship or cowl their heads, and so they should attend particular courses within the evenings, in accordance with former and present staff and shopkeepers within the space.

The connection between OFILM, the provider that owns the Nanchang manufacturing unit, and the tech giants is the newest signal that corporations exterior China are benefiting from coercive labor practices imposed on the Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group, and different minorities.

Over the previous 4 years, the Chinese language authorities has detained greater than one million folks from the far west Xinjiang area, most of them Uighurs, in internment camps and prisons the place they undergo compelled ideological and behavioral re-education. China has lengthy suspected the Uighurs of harboring separatist tendencies due to their distinct tradition, language and faith.

When detainees “graduate” from the camps, paperwork present, many are despatched to work in factories. A dozen Uighurs and Kazakhs instructed the AP they knew individuals who had been despatched by the state to work in factories in China’s east, often known as inside China — some from the camps, some plucked from their households, some from vocational colleges. Most had been despatched by drive, though in just a few circumstances it wasn’t clear in the event that they consented.

Staff are sometimes enrolled in courses the place state-sponsored lecturers give classes in Mandarin, China’s dominant language, or politics and “ethnic unity.” Circumstances within the jobs fluctuate when it comes to pay and restrictions.

On the OFILM manufacturing unit, Uighurs are paid the identical as different staff however in any other case handled otherwise, in accordance with residents of the neighborhood. They aren’t allowed to depart or pray – in contrast to the Hui Muslim migrants additionally working there, who’re thought of much less of a menace by the Chinese language authorities.

“They don’t allow them to worship inside,” mentioned a Hui Muslim lady who labored within the manufacturing unit for a number of weeks alongside the Uighurs. “They don’t allow them to come out.”

“When you’re Uighur, you’re solely allowed exterior twice a month,” a small enterprise proprietor who spoke with the employees confirmed. The AP just isn’t disclosing the names of these interviewed close to the manufacturing unit out of concern for potential retribution. “The federal government selected them to return to OFILM, they didn’t select it.”

The Chinese language authorities says the labor program is a approach to practice Uighurs and different minorities and provides them jobs. The Chinese language Ministry of Overseas Affairs on Monday known as concern over potential coerced labor beneath this system “groundless” and “slander.”

Nonetheless, specialists say that just like the internment camps, this system is a part of a broader assault on the Uighur tradition, breaking apart social and household hyperlinks by sending folks removed from their houses to be assimilated into the dominant Han Chinese language tradition.

“They assume these persons are poorly educated, remoted, backwards, can’t communicate Mandarin,” mentioned James Leibold, a scholar of Chinese language ethnic coverage at La Trobe College in Melbourne. “So what do you do? You ‘educate’ them, you discover methods to remodel them in your individual picture. Bringing them into the Han Chinese language heartland is a approach to turbocharge this transformation.”

OFILM’s web site signifies that the Xinjiang staff make screens, digital camera cowl lenses and fingerprint scanners. It touts prospects together with Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, HP, LG and Huawei, though the AP had no approach to monitor particular merchandise to particular corporations.

Apple’s most up-to-date record of suppliers, revealed January final 12 months, consists of three OFILM factories in Nanchang. It’s unclear whether or not the precise OFILM manufacturing unit the AP visited twice in Nanchang provides Apple, but it surely has the identical tackle as one listed. One other OFILM manufacturing unit is situated about half a mile away on a special road. Apple didn’t reply repeated requests for clarification on which manufacturing unit it makes use of.

In an e mail, Apple mentioned its code of conduct requires suppliers to “present channels that encourage staff to voice considerations.” It mentioned it interviews the workers of suppliers throughout annual assessments of their native language with out their managers current, and had carried out 44,000 interviews in 2018.

Lenovo confirmed that it sources screens, cameras, and fingerprint scanners from OFILM however mentioned it was not conscious of the allegations and would examine. Lenovo additionally pointed to a 2018 audit by the Dependable Enterprise Alliance by which OFILM scored very nicely.

All the businesses that responded mentioned they required suppliers to observe strict labor requirements. LG and Dell mentioned they’d “no proof” of compelled labor of their provide chains however would examine, as did Huawei. HP didn’t reply.

OFILM additionally lists as prospects dozens of corporations inside China, in addition to worldwide corporations it calls “companions” with out specifying what product it provides. And it provides PAR Expertise, an American gross sales methods vendor to which it most lately shipped 48 cartons of contact screens in February, in accordance with U.S. customs knowledge obtained via ImportGenius and Panjiva, which monitor delivery knowledge.

PAR Expertise in flip says it provides terminals to main chains corresponding to McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Subway. Nonetheless, the AP was unable to substantiate that merchandise from OFILM find yourself with the quick meals corporations.

McDonald’s mentioned it has requested PAR Expertise to discontinue purchases from OFILM whereas it launches a right away investigation. PAR Expertise additionally mentioned it could examine instantly. Subway and Taco Bell didn’t reply.

OFILM confirmed it obtained AP requests for remark however didn’t reply. Its web site says the corporate “answered the federal government’s name” and went to Xinjiang to recruit minorities, as a part of an effort to drag them from poverty and assist them “examine and enhance.” It recruited greater than 3,000 younger women and men from Xinjiang beginning in 2017.

A report Sunday from the Australian Strategic Coverage Institute, researched individually from the AP, estimated that greater than 80,000 Uighurs had been transferred from Xinjiang to factories throughout China between 2017 and 2019. The report mentioned it discovered “situations that strongly recommend compelled labor” in line with Worldwide Labor Group definitions.

The AP additionally reported a 12 months in the past that Uighur compelled labor was getting used inside Xinjiang to make sportswear that ended up within the U.S.

[ad_2]

Supply hyperlink

US ‘honor roll’ of historic places often ignores slavery

[ad_1]

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. —
Antebellum Southern plantations were built on the backs of enslaved people, and many of those plantations hold places of honor on the National Register of Historic Places – but don’t look for many mentions of slavery in the government’s official record of places with historic significance.

The register’s written entries on the plantations tend to say almost nothing about the enslaved people who picked the cotton and tobacco or cut the sugar cane that paid for ornate homes that today serve as wedding venues, bed-and-breakfast inns, tourist attractions and private homes — some of which tout their inclusion on the National Register like a gold star.

The National Register of Historic Places lists more than 95,000 sites that are important to the story of the United States. From some of the most famous places — such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate — to scores of lesser-known plantation homes in the rural South, register entries often ignore the topic of slavery or mention it only in passing, an Associated Press review found.

Experts blame a generational lack of concern for the stories of black people and, in many cases, a shortage of records. While some narratives have been updated to include information about enslavement, such changes aren’t mandatory and many have not.

The National Register’s entry for Mount Vernon, approved in 1977, doesn’t use the word “slave,” although more than 300 enslaved black people worked the first president’s fields, cooked his food and cleaned the house where tourists now roam.

The entry for Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop home, Monticello, notes that the third president owned as many as 200 slaves. Yet it generally avoids discussing them or the details of their ownership by the author of the Declaration of Independence.

The same is true for plantation after plantation across the former Confederate states.

Those omissions likely contributed to the loss of slave housing and other structures linked to the economy of enslavement because no one deemed them important, preservationist Ashley Rogers said.

“The problem is, the damage has been done,” said Rogers, executive director of the Whitney Plantation Museum near New Orleans.

The Whitney, which documents slavery at a pre-Civil War plantation near New Orleans, draws tens of thousands of visitors annually and is known for discussing topics that other tourist plantations ignore. Yet even its entry in the National Register, completed in 1992 before the current owner purchased it, doesn’t mention the slaves who toiled there.

Similarly, visitors to Mount Vernon or Monticello in Virginia can now hear stories and see exhibits about slave life — but those features were added long after the landmarks became some of the first sites listed in the National Register.

The National Register’s incomplete stories reflect the way the public ignores the topic of enslaved people, said Hasan Kwame Jeffries, an associate professor at Ohio State University who specializes in areas including African American history.

“It’s telling us what we have been valuing as a society and how we understand slavery,” Jeffries said.

Congress established the National Register of Historic Places under a 1966 historic preservation act aimed at coordinating preservation work and highlighting the nation’s most historic sites.

Along with bragging rights, a listing on the National Register can help property owners financially. More than $160 billion has been invested in preserving 44,000 historic places nationwide under a tax credit program approved in 1976, according to the National Park Service, which oversees the program.

Property owners, local groups and government agencies nominate sites for inclusion on the National Register, noting architectural features, historic significance and other information. State preservation offices review the nominations and submit them to the Park Service for a final decision.

Those nomination forms, available on government websites, make up the bulk of information that’s publicly available about places listed on the register, the Park Service said. And they often ignore the enslaved people who provided the labor on antebellum plantations.

Magnolia Grove, a state-owned antebellum plantation home dating to 1835 in Greensboro, Alabama, has a slave cabin that tourists can visit, plus displays about enslaved people, yet its 1972 entry on the National Register doesn’t mention slaves.

The state-operated Kingsley Plantation near Jacksonville, Florida, was home to slaves, yet its National Register entry doesn’t say who they were or how they were forced to work in the Southern heat. Instead, it describes tabby — a kind of concrete made of oyster shells — and the “colorful” slave trader Zephaniah Kingsley, who gets credit for having “carefully trained” enslaved people to farm his cotton.

A historian who has researched the antebellum South, Clifton Ellis, said many National Register entries reflect a time when neither African American history nor the cultural importance of buildings were emphasized.

“You might see that there’s a relation between lack of information and when they were written,” said Ellis, of Texas Tech University. “It was only during the ‘70s that historians were beginning to look at slavery more closely. That took time to work its way through the academy.”

Many plantation owners also kept poor records of slave life and did little to preserve reminders of it — another reason for the information void.

The civil rights movement drew attention to the need for inclusive history, Ellis said, and nominations have improved with time. Property owners and historical groups are allowed to update National Register entries with new information. Some have done so with information about slaves.

Today, any new nomination of an antebellum site that doesn’t discuss its ties to slavery would be rejected for more work, said Sarah David, who oversees the National Register program for North Carolina.

“You can’t talk about something that was built before the Civil War without talking about enslaved people,” she said. “They were just in it. They may have built it.”

The historical blindness about slavery and enslaved people isn’t limited to plantations in the National Register.

The entry for Alabama’s white-domed Capitol details its role as the place where delegates established the Confederate States of America in 1861, but doesn’t cite slavery’s role in the rebellion or Horace King, a onetime slave credited with building the elegant, curved stairways in the building’s main entrance.

Joe McGill routinely sleeps in old slave homes as part of The Slave Dwelling Project, which seeks to tell the forgotten stories of enslaved people. Sketchy accounts of slavery are a product of a decades-long period when white male historians primarily told the stories of white males, he said.

“It needs to be corrected because it coincides with an incomplete narrative,” said McGill, who has slept in about 150 slave dwellings in 25 states in the South and the North.

But updating all that outdated history would be daunting, historians said.

With hundreds of old plantations listed on the National Register and many preservationists focused on saving endangered sites rather than updating information about existing ones, rounding out the history of antebellum farms could take years.

“It would take a massive effort,” said Ellis.

[ad_2]

Source link

3 additional Iranian students challenge removal from country

[ad_1]

Three more students from Iran attending New England colleges have filed civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, saying they were mistreated and illegally denied entry into the country

BOSTON —
Three more students from Iran attending New England colleges have filed civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, saying they were mistreated and illegally denied entry into the country.

The complaints follow similar ones filed by an Iranian student seeking to begin classes at Northeastern University and a graduate student at Harvard University.

Pegah Karimi said in her complaint filed earlier this month that she was denied entry at Boston’s Logan International Airport in August despite having a student visa to attend graduate school at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

Mohammad Moradi said in his separate complaint filed this month that he had a student visa to pursue a doctorate degree at Northeastern in Boston.

He said he was denied entry in October as he returned from a conference in Paris, where he presented an academic paper.

Moradi said officials denied him entry even though he’d been admitted to the U.S. three times prior that year, including after two brief trips to Canada to visit relatives.

And Behzad Rezaei said in his complaint that he had a student visa to pursue a doctorate degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute but was denied entry in August.

Homeland Security spokespeople didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

The five students who have filed complaints to Homeland Security say they were detained for hours and subjected to harsh questioning by federal officials at the airport.

They say the officials wrongly determined they planned on staying in the country longer than their temporary student visas allowed. The students maintain they had no intention of overstaying and that federal officials provided no proof supporting their conclusions.

The five students are among at least 10 Iranians denied entry into the U.S. since August, the start of the academic year at most colleges. Seven of those had flown into Boston’s airport.

[ad_2]

Source link

For-profit firm seeking to run .org names makes concessions

[ad_1]

A private equity firm seeking to buy rights to operate the internet’s

LOS ANGELES —
A private equity firm seeking to buy rights to operate the internet’s .org suffix said Friday it will cap price hikes and create an advisory board with veto powers to ease concerns from the nonprofit community.

Ethos Capital has offered $1.1 billion to buy the Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit corporation that runs the databases containing more than 10 million .org names registered worldwide. Organizations ranging from the Girl Scouts of the USA and Consumer Reports to the American Bible Society have opposed the sale, warning of potential price gouging and censorship. California’s attorney general has also requested information to evaluate a deal’s potential impact to nonprofits.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the concessions are enough to satisfy critics. The cap on price hikes, for instance, will expire in eight years, and most of the advisory board’s initial members will be appointed by the Public Interest Registry’s board.

Domain names such as apnews.com have historically been used by computers to find websites and send email, and their value grew as companies and groups adopted them for branding. The Associated Press, a nonprofit, also uses a .org domain, ap.org.

Though domain names are less prominent these days as more people reach websites using search engines and apps, they are still important for email addresses, billboards and other non-digital advertising.

The Public Interest Registry is currently owned by the Internet Society, a nonprofit founded by many of the internet’s early engineers and scientists. In that role, the registry collects annual fees of about $10 per .org registration. The Internet Society uses some of that revenue to fund advocacy and administrative programs, which include creating technical standards for the internet.

A sale to Ethos Capital wouldn’t immediately affect existing .org names or the websites that use them. Although .org is often associated with nonprofit organizations, it can already by registered by anyone, including for-profit corporations and individuals. That won’t change if it gets a for-profit owner.

But some critics fear that future policies could reduce protections for domain name owners. For instance, websites can suddenly become unreachable if whoever owns the registry suspends a .org name at the urging of a government or business rival, without giving the website a chance to plead its case. Critics are particularly worried that authoritarian countries could target human rights groups and other nongovernmental organizations this way.

Critics are also worried that financial pressures on a for-profit company could result in price hikes.

To address concerns, Ethos agreed Friday to limit price hikes to an average of 10% per year for eight years. The Public Interest Registry had a binding 10% cap that expired in June, though that restriction wasn’t an average and didn’t allow for higher hikes in some years.

Ethos said it will also let an advisory body, known as a stewardship council, veto proposed modifications to registry policies on censorship, freedom of expression and use of .org registration and user data. The council won’t have any veto on price.

Ethos also said it expects the registry will contribute $10 million to a new fund to support unspecified initiatives benefiting .org registrants.

Ethos said it will make its promises binding by amending an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Los Angeles-based organization that oversees domain names.

“We have been listening closely to stakeholder feedback – both positive and negative – and have been working diligently to address these specific issues head on,” said Erik Brooks, Ethos founder and chief executive. “We are taking these actions to show that we stand firmly behind the commitments we’ve made – and most importantly – behind the registrants and users.”

ICANN was expected to rule by mid-February on Ethos’ bid. But Ethos said the registry has granted the organization an extension to March 20.

———

AP Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this report.

[ad_2]

Source link

Zuckerberg meets EU officials as bloc’s new tech rules loom

[ad_1]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has met top European Union officials on a visit to Brussels

LONDON —
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met top European Union officials on a visit to Brussels on Monday, days before the bloc is expected to release new proposals on regulating artificial intelligence.

The billionaire social network founder is the latest U.S. tech executive to make the trip to the headquarters of the EU, which is becoming an increasingly important player in technology regulation. Zuckerberg’s visit came as the company warned that potential regulation risked stifling innovation.

Zuckerberg met Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s powerful executive vice president in charge of making Europe “fit for the digital age.” He also had audiences with Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market, and Vera Jourova, vice president for values and transparency.

Vestager is set on Wednesday to release the first draft of the EU’s proposed regulations on artificial intelligence, including facial recognition, and a digital strategy, which could have major implications for tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple.

The EU has already pioneered strict data privacy rules and issued multibillion-dollar antitrust fines against the likes of Google.

In an op-ed published in the Financial Times, Zuckerberg said big tech companies such as Facebook need closer government supervision.

“I believe good regulation may hurt Facebook’s business in the near term but it will be better for everyone, including us, over the long term,” he wrote. He said new rules should be clear and balanced and it shouldn’t be left up to individual companies to set their own standards.

Also Monday, Facebook released a “white paper” on content regulation outlining challenges and principles for authorities to consider when drawing up new rules on how to deal with harmful material such as child sexual exploitation or terrorist recruitment.

Well-designed frameworks for regulating harmful content can outline clear ways for governments, companies, and civil society to share responsibilities and work together, the company said. “Designed poorly, these efforts risk unintended consequences that might make people less safe online, stifle expression and slow innovation.”

Facebook said tech companies shouldn’t be punished for publishing illegal speech, because it would be impractical to require internet platforms to approve each post. “Retrofitting the rules that regulate online speech for the online world may be insufficient. New frameworks are needed,” the paper said.

The company’s recommendations include requiring companies to set up “user-friendly” channels to report harmful content and regularly release enforcement data. It suggested that governments should define what illegal content is.

Speaking after their meeting, Jourova said Zuckerberg was coming around to the European approach on regulations. But it’s unfair for the company to shift all the burden to authorities, she added.

“Facebook cannot push away all the responsibility,” because regulations will never solve every problem, she said. “It will not be up to governments or regulators to ensure that Facebook wants to be a force of good or bad.”

[ad_2]

Source link