Wanted: Pagan leaders for prisoners (seriously, & it pays £29k)

Experienced practitioners of what is said to be one of the world’s oldest religion are wanted to “act as faith advisor in the establishment providing advice, pastoral care and spiritual welfare to prisoners, staff and their families as requested,” according to the advert.

Prisoners have the right to see a chaplain of their faith for one hour per week. And, it wouldn’t be right to deny the Pagans, would it? The person selected to “provide for the religious care of prisoners and staff in the Pagan faith tradition” is set to be paid £29,176 (US$40,000) pro rata.

The Ministry of Justice recognizes Paganism, including Wicca, Druidry and Odinism, as a religion and has guidance for prison staff and management on how to cater for Pagan prisoners. The job description on the government website asks for incumbents who can work in the Isle of Wight and in Winchester, Styal, Hindley, Manchester, and Risley, and in Erlestoke and Guys Marsh.

However, the right candidate must possess “the confidence and expertise to lead open ritual, officiate in Rites of Passage, and run workshops for mixed Pagan traditions within the prison system.” Ministry of Justice figures show there are 1,605 prisoners with faith outside of the major religions. There are around 40 prison chaplains whose faith is “unknown” working in the prison system.

Odinists, who worship Germanic and Nordic gods, are delivered private sermons in prison. Ralph Harrison, director of the Odinist Fellowship, told the Daily Telegraph his organization deals with around 12 individuals. However, he thinks the job ad is too vague.

“There is a tendency to lump together historic pagan beliefs with modern traditions and witchcraft-based beliefs, which obviously will help simplify things for the prison services, but is not really in keeping with our religious outlook.

“We do offer a limited chaplaincy service, or a support service, for a small number of Odinists who are in prison or who have become Odinists while in prison. We have concentrated on making sure that they have Odinist literature, especially the Eddas, which are equivalent to the Bible or the Koran which are made available to Christian or Muslim prisoners and are not always available in prisons to Odinists.”

Chaplains inside prisons need incense, pentagram necklaces, crystals, a chalice and a flexible twig for a wand to work. Prisons are currently understaffed and are being subjected to funding cuts.

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service said: “We recognize the importance of faith and the positive impact that it can have on the lives of offenders, which is why there are multi-faith chaplaincy teams in every prison.”

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منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/uk/420062-prison-pagans-job-advert/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Homicide, narcotics trafficking & dishonesty – Florida Sheriff’s Office has history of failure

With the dust not yet settled on the recent attack, Sheriff Scott Israel claims he has demonstrated “amazing leadership” throughout his tenure at Broward County. The string of accusations aimed at him and his colleagues over the last six years tells a different story and has left many suggesting that the department’s failures are not limited to their handling of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks ago.

The list includes accusations that Israel’s deputies and other employees are responsible for drug-trafficking, armed kidnapping, falsifying records, battery, assault and more.

One of the investigations in question is the shooting of Jermaine McBean, an African-American IT engineer who was killed by officers in 2013 when they received a call saying he was walking around with a gun. It later transpired that the weapon resting on his shoulders was an unloaded air-rifle that he bought that afternoon. Two years later, photographs of the victim revealed that McBean had been wearing headphones when he was shot, which explained why he did not react to warnings from police. At the time of the incident, however, those same headphones were said to have been found in the victim’s pockets, which has lead to suspicions of an attempted cover-up.

The details outlining the broader failures by the Sheriff’s Department have been brought to light by David Schoen, the attorney representing McBean’s family, who accuses Israel of trying to shift blame, saying “the buck never stops with him.”

Court records filed against Sheriff Israel by Schoen reveal the extent of the accusations being made.

Approximately 66 BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) deputies and other employees, including supervisory personnel were arrested for, charged with, and/or convicted of crimes that run the gamut from Armed Kidnapping, to Battery, Assault, Falsifying records, Official Misconduct, Narcotics trafficking, and other crimes involving dishonesty and violence in the years immediately proceeding [sic] 2013 when Jermaine was killed. Most of the offenses on the list occurred in the years 2012-2013.

Schoen goes on to outline that the cases are often resolved by “guilty pleas resulting in short or no period of incarceration and a chance for the criminal record to be cleared after a period of time.”

The major source of criticism for the embattled sheriff has come in the light of apparent failures following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14. Israel is accused of not taking responsibility for the fact that his deputies did not attempt to stop the shooter sooner and that they prevented paramedics from treating victims at the scene. There are also concerns that the Sheriff is hiding important information in his refusal to release footage that might shed light on what exactly happened during the shooting.

It has also been demonstrated that his department received no less than 23 calls relating to the possibility that the shooter was a risk to the community, two of which referred specifically to his intention to attack a school.

Furthermore, accusations of racism at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office are emerging on Twitter as users point to news stories in the past where it had been alleged that the department was using women to entrap black men into committing crimes and that deputies had been asked to wear ski-masks and disrupt hip-hop events.

منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/usa/420061-florida-sheriff-miscinduct-charges/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Inside the world’s largest automated package facility

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منبع مطلب : http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/cnn_freevideo/~3/9iR-lnnszVc/index.html

Brexit today – as it happened: May and Corbyn in angry clash amid row over Johnson's Ireland border comments

Victims of sexual assault in Parliament may be discouraged from coming forward due to the threat of legal action, MPs have heard.

Labour’s Jess Phillips raised concerns that wealthy men in powerful positions could “frighten” victims with legal letters.

Speaking in the Commons, she said: “The leader of the House said that both parties would be entitled to representation which is absolutely as it should be and fair in every system in the land, whether that’s trade union representation or legal representation.

“I do have a concern about how we will make sure in this place that there is an equality of arms in that representation.”

The Birmingham Yardley MP added: “If you are a case worker working in one of our offices and somebody sexually harasses you and the person who sexually harasses you is a very wealthy peer, for example, I worry that one person has really good representation and can frighten people with legal letters and I have received some myself in these past few months.

“That worriers me greatly that there will be an unfair imbalance.

“If the Weinstein issue teaches us anything it is that rich men know how to use the law to get away with murder.”


The motion has now been approved by Parliament.

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-today-live-updates-eu-customs-union-john-major-may-corbyn-wales-northern-ireland-border-a8232076.html

Eastern Ghouta: Desperate civilians choose to stay in basements rather than risk Russian humanitarian corridors

The streets of eastern Ghouta are growing quieter and quieter, Dr Hamza Hassan says.

Food prices are soaring so people are staying away from markets, leading many to close up shop completely. Rubble and other air strike debris is now blocking many roads. Families have now been huddling in basements for 11 days, leaving them weak and ill from the damp conditions. 

“I’ve been doing visits to people’s houses, as well as the hospitals,” he said over the phone. “No one should be living like this. The children have fevers and colds. They need sunlight.”

Russia said on Wednesday that al Qaeda linked rebel factions operating in the besieged rebel enclave of small towns and farms have shelled the humanitarian corridors leading out of the area for a second day, meaning no civilians have left and no aid has got in. 

Rebel spokespeople, of course, said the shelling came from government forces.  

At the same time, ground fighting has intensified in Hawsh al-Dawahra on the eastern edge of the rebel-held area. Government forces have pushed slightly forward, but suffered heavy losses, a war monitor said. 

Four days since the UN demanded an immediate 30-day ceasefire across Syria and two days after Syrian ally Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered daily pauses in the fighting, it is clear neither is working.

Dr Hassan said ten people died at Arbeen Hospital on Wednesday morning – five succumbing from wounds sustained the day before and five killed in fresh strikes. 

The death toll in the ferocious assault now stands at more than 600, by local counts, in what has quickly become one of the worst episodes of violence in seven years of civil war. 

The Damascus suburb has been besieged by government forces since 2012 and was also the scene of a sarin and chlorine gas attack in 2013, one of the worst chemical incidents in modern history.

In recent months, however, Bashar al Assad’s government has tightened the siege, leaving its estimated 400,000 civilians struggling with dwindling food and medical supplies. At the same time, it has stepped up the military campaign. 

The violence unleashed in the area since a new wave of Russian-backed bombing began on 18 February has been unprecedented.  Activists on the ground report the use of illegal barrel bombs and chlorine gas – claims the Syrian army has repeatedly denied.

Such reports are fabricated by the rebels themselves, both Syrian and Russian government sources have said. The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said last week that the international community was suffering from “mass psychosis” over the situation in eastern Ghouta.

But the civilian suffering in pictures and video – viewed by several verification specialists such as Bellingcat –  is undeniable.

“It is bad, the ceasefire is useless,” resident Wassim Khatib said. “How can we defend ourselves against this?” he asked, sending a picture of a huge smoke cloud towering above his already decimated neighbourhood after the latest air strike. 

Ghouta is one of four supposed de-escalation zones created in a May 2017 agreement brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran to quell fighting between rebel forces and the regime – but Damascus and Moscow say the rebel forces fighting there are extremist groups and therefore not covered by the deal.

Al Qaeda linked factions are thought by monitors and Western intelligence to have a small, but not insignificant, presence in the area.

The tactics currently being employed in eastern Ghouta echo the Assad playbook in several other urban battles in Syria’s war, including Homs, Daraya and Aleppo. 

A senior US general speaking to Reuters on background accused Moscow of acting as “both arsonist and firefighter” by failing to rein in Mr Assad. 

In neighbourhoods of Damascus where dozens have died in heavy rocket fire from Ghouta, many people are also weary of bloodshed.

Hundreds of people there have taken to social media with anonymised posts asking the government assault to stop to “Save Ghouta”.

Others are willing the offensive on. “Burn Ghouta, and let’s make shawarma out of its children’s bodies,“ one widely circulated post from a government supporter read. 

منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/eastern-ghouta-latest-updates-syria-assad-civil-war-rebels-damascus-aid-escape-civilians-a8233436.html

University strikes: Students set to receive 'direct compensation' over lectures missed due to action, minister says

At least one university is “looking at direct compensation” for students facing disruption due to ongoing strike action, universities minister Sam Gyimah has revealed.

Tens of thousands of students have signed petitions demanding refunds for lost university lectures and classes. 

Now universities minister Sam Gyimah has said that the Department for Education (DfE) is looking at the issue “closely” with universities.

He told The Independent that King’s College London was looking at directly compensating affected students.

Mr Gyimah said: “I think this is absolutely essential. It is something we are going to be pursuing.”

His comments came as university staff strike action over planned changes to pensions entered its fifth day.

University staff are staging 14 days of action over four weeks in protest at changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

At the launch of the Office for Students, the new higher education regulator, Mr Gyimah said universities should “step up to the plate”. 

“If this had happened in Freshers’ Week nobody would be worried, but this is at a vital time of the academic year. People are preparing for exams,” he added.

The universities minister suggested that there were a number of ways that students could be compensated.

He said: “One is making sure that, where lectures are missed, they should make them up.

“They should find ways of making it up for students on non-strike days – that would be a form of compensation.

“Secondly, I know some universities are looking at putting the money that they save from not paying striking staff into student support funds.”

Mr Gyimah added that he expected University College Union (UCU) to suspend the industrial action – which could disrupt students’ end-of-year exams if no resolution is found. 

Last night, Universities UK (UUK) and the UCU agreed to hold further talks in a bid to end the strikes which have seen staff walk out of more than 60 UK universities.

The universities minister said: “Ultimately it is those students that are paying the salaries of the striking staff and I don’t want them to suffer any more than they need to in terms of their education.”

Speaking to universities at the launch event in Westminster, the minister said the “age of the student” was upon them – with a greater scrutiny on vice-chancellors pay and value for money.

He said: “Some in the sector see this as a sort of annus horribilis for higher education, a storm to be weathered in the hope of calmer times ahead.

“I think this is a mistaken reading. This is not a blip. To paraphrase one Conservative Prime Minister, we are once again experiencing the “winds of change” in the university sector.

“Gone are the days when students venerated institutions and were thankful to be admitted. We are in a new age – the age of the student.”

Four more universities –  King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, Edinburgh and Stirling universities – joined the strike action this week.

More than 3,000 people have signed a King’s College London (KCL) student-led petition calling for tuition fee refunds for disrupted lectures.

On plans to offer student compensation, a spokesperson for KCL said: “King’s will not accrue any financial benefit from the industrial action by UCU and any salary savings will be ring-fenced as a fund which we can use to offset the impact of the strike on our students.

“Once the nature and scale of disruption has become clearer, we will develop a mechanism for considering cases for any further compensation that may be warranted in light of cancelled classes.”


منبع مطلب : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/university-strikes-compensation-lecturers-students-sam-gyimah-direct-minister-latest-a8232746.html

The moon formed inside a cloud of Earth’s vaporized rock

Feb. 28 (UPI) — Scientists have a new theory for how Earth got its moon. According to their analysis, the moon was born inside Earth before Earth was a solid planet.

At the time of the moon’s formation, Earth was a spinning, donut-shaped cloud of vaporized rock — what’s known as a synestia.

Scientists detailed their new theory in a paper published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

“The new work explains features of the Moon that are hard to resolve with current ideas,” Sarah Stewart, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Davis, said in a news release. “The moon is chemically almost the same as the Earth, but with some differences. This is the first model that can match the pattern of the moon’s composition.”

The most popular theory for the moon’s formation holds that the satellite was birthed by a collision between Earth and a Mars-size rock called Theia. Rock and metal fragments sprayed into space by the collision coalesced to form the moon.

The new model suggests both the Earth and moon formed from the same giant collision. Scientists hypothesize that early in the infancy of the solar system, a pair of planet-size bodies collided, creating a synestia, a cloud of vaporized rock.

As the rock vapors condense into the liquid form, the cloud shrinks and then trasforms into a molten planet. Scientists at UC Davis and Harvard University believe a glob of vaporized rock escaped during impact, expelled beyond the pull of the condensing synestia. As a result, the seed for what would become the moon began orbiting the newly condensed planet.

“Our model starts with a collision that forms a synestia,” said Simon Lock, a graduate student at Harvard. “The moon forms inside the vaporized Earth at temperatures of four to six thousand degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of tens of atmospheres.”

Scientists say one of the advantages of their model is that it is versatile, as a synestia can form a variety of ways. The Theia theory relies on a collision of just the right size at just the right time.

Because the Earth and moon formed from mostly the same vaporized material, the theory explains the two bodies’ similar composition. However, the theory also explains why the moon is slightly different, as it would have lost the most easily vaporized materials during its expulsion from the synestia.

منبع مطلب : https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/02/28/The-moon-formed-inside-a-cloud-of-Earths-vaporized-rock/5381519837155/

IOC returns Russia’s Olympic membership after negative doping tests

Feb. 28 (UPI) — The International Olympic Committee reinstated Russia’s membership on Wednesday, after the conclusion of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

“Today, we received a letter from the IOC on the reinstatement,” Alexander Zhukov, Russian Olympic Committee president, said Wednesday. “The ROC’s reinstatement comes as the examination of doping tests from the Pyeongchang Olympics has ended.

“The IOC may confirm that the other results [of examination of Russian athletes’ doping samples] are negative,” he added. “This means that the ROC’s rights have been fully reinstated.”

The IOC released a statement notifying that all remaining test results from the Olympic Athlete from Russia delegation were negative.

“Therefore … the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee is automatically lifted with immediate effect,” the Olympic body said.

The IOC in December banned the Russian Olympic team from the South Korea Olympics over the doping scandal.

Because of the ban, qualifying Russian athletes were forced to compete neutrally under the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and, if any of the athletes won a gold medal, the Olympic anthem played instead of the Russian anthem.

“I would like to thank our athletes who were able to perform well even despite the provocations,” Zhukov said. “I thank the fans who did not cross the line and what could result in sanctions. Today’s IOC decision is very important for us. The ROC is an absolutely full-fledged member of the Olympic family.”

During the Pyeongchang Winter Games, Olympic officials found two Russian athletes guilty of doping when women’s bobsleigh team member Nadezhda Sergeeva and curler Alexander Krushelnitsky failed drug tests.

منبع مطلب : https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/02/28/IOC-returns-Russias-Olympic-membership-after-negative-doping-tests/3601519835527/