Democratic groups condemn Kevin Beisers alleged conduct described in lawsuit

first_img SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Two local political groups called Tuesday on San Diego Unified School Board District B Trustee Kevin Beiser to resign, and the county Democratic Party was mulling whether to do the same, in response to allegations that he sexually abused a local political consultant from 2013 to 2018.A lawsuit filed Monday, naming Beiser and his spouse, Dan Mock, as defendants, alleges that the educator and the anonymous alleged victim first met in 2013, when the latter was an intern for Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego.The suit alleges that Beiser, at various times over a five-year period, date-raped the plaintiff, solicited oral sex from him, groped him multiple times and made increasingly aggressive and physically abusive attempts at seduction. Mock failed to help the alleged victim when he was at the couple’s home, according to the complaint.San Diego Democrats for Equality issued a statement calling for Beiser to resign, saying the organization is “deeply disappointed and offended.” The organization also affirmed that it will not accept or tolerate sexual harassment and assault of any kind.The San Diego County Democratic Party also swiftly moved to condemn Beiser’s alleged actions, stating that it will consider a resolution Tuesday evening to formally call for Beiser to resign.“Our party will move quickly to ensure the safety of our members, to secure justice for survivors, and to hold accountable any public official who would seek to use their power to abuse others,” said party Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy.RELATED STORY: San Diego Unified Trustee sued for alleged sexual assault, harassmentThe Republican Party of San Diego County suggested that rumors have percolated for years about Beiser’s activities and called on him to resign immediately if any of the lawsuit’s allegations are accurate.“The sheer number of, and graphic details in, the accusations against Kevin Beiser are shocking,” said Tony Krvaric, chairman of the county Republican Party. “We call for a full and immediate investigation and urge anyone with additional information to contact San Diego Police Department.”Beiser has yet to publicly respond to the lawsuit in any form, and district representatives said they had no comment on the allegations.Beiser, who was elected to the school board in 2010, is currently listed as a math teacher at Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista and has filed to run for San Diego City Council next year in District 7. KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, Posted: March 19, 2019 March 19, 2019 Democratic groups condemn Kevin Beiser’s alleged conduct described in lawsuit Categories: Local San Diego News, Politics FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Way before Avengers Endgame the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a huge risk

first_imgFrom Infinity War to Black Panther to Captain Marvel, Marvel movies keep smashing box office records. As Avengers: Endgame opens to widespread critical acclaim and monster ticket sales, it could become the biggest movie event of all time. Yup, we seriously can’t get enough of Marvel movies.But although superhero adventures now seem like the surest of sure things, it seems strange to remember the very different origins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has expanded to 22 films, reinvented serialized movies, and made more than $18.6 billion at the global box office — but when it began a decade ago it was actually quite a gamble.Cast your mind back years before Endgame, before Thanos and the Infinity War snap, before the Avengers assembled…  Now playing: Watch this: The best moment from every Marvel Cinematic Universe… 18 Photos 4:23 Now playing: Watch this: Sphero Spider-Man 3 3:13 Inspired by the Marvel model, other studios have tried to create money-spinning cinematic universes of their own. Universal brought their classic monsters back from the grave with dubious success in The Mummy, while Marvel’s comic industry rival, DC, attempted to fast-track its own crossover with Justice League. But none has managed to capture the magic of the MCU.Marvel foreverAfter the success of the better-known names in the Avengers lineup, Marvel could have stuck to churning out Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk sequels. “A lot of studios would love to have four franchises they can keep doing sequels to,” as Feige puts it. “We specifically didn’t want to do that, because we wanted to keep bringing new characters to the forefront.” marvel-newsletter-signup-articlesClick here to sign-up for our new guide to all things Marvel.And so the Avengers paved the way for even riskier titles. Even among comic fans, who could name a single Guardian of the Galaxy before that movie came out? But by then, the Marvel brand was known as a mark of quality, even if you hadn’t heard of the heroes in question. As each new film dropped, left-field directing choices such as James Gunn, the Russo brothers and Taika Waititi turned out to be pretty smart gambles. When Black Panther exploded into theaters in 2018, it quickly rocketed past a billion dollars and become a genuine cultural phenomenon. Not the most obscure comic hero but not the best-known either, Black Panther was just the latest example of Marvel banking on a character that might have been considered a gamble 10 years ago.In March, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel became Marvel’s first female lead, and there are plenty more popular comic characters where she came from. Namor, Ms. Marvel, Nova, Moon Knight and many others have yet to appear on the big screen. And after Spider-Man’s entry to the MCU, other well-known characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four could be brought back into the fold following Disney’s deal with Fox.For now, Endgame brings the curtain down on the first decade of the MCU, causing us to bid fond farewell to some of the franchise’s founder members. Whatever happens next, let’s hope Marvel isn’t done taking risks.This article was first published in May 2018. 10 years ago today, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began. #IronMan pic.twitter.com/yKgEnCiyST— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) May 2, 2018 Preview • Sphero’s new voice-activated Spider-Man toy sure is chatty TV and Movies Watching the MCU movies in the perfect order I am Iron Man2008’s Iron Man, the first MCU film, was far from a guaranteed hit. For starters, the Iron Man character had never appeared in a movie or live-action TV show, putting him behind the likes of Spider-Man and the Hulk in terms of general public awareness. And the big thing at the box office back then was the gritty and grounded Dark Knight series, which self-consciously played down Batman’s more comic book-y elements. Colorful and fantastic movies like Green Lantern and Ang Lee’s Hulk were just as likely to flop as they were to hit big.As if that wasn’t enough, Marvel brought in two guys to head up Iron Man who were definitely unknown quantities. “In the late 1990s Robert Downey Jr. was uninsurable,” says box office analyst Stephen Follows, “making him unemployable to any production which wanted to get a completion bond.” Despite being an Oscar-nominated actor, Downey had never fronted a blockbuster like this — and neither had director Jon Favreau, the guy from Swingers, whose main directing experience was Christmas comedy Elf and a largely overlooked Jumanji semi-sequel.Multiple writers worked on drafts of the screenplay, only for Favreau to encourage Downey and the cast to improvise. The lack of a definite script didn’t initially impress co-star Jeff Bridges, who only relaxed when he decided to view the chaotic production as a “$200 million student film.”Troubled star Robert Downey Jr. and director Jon Favreau teamed up for the first MCU movie, released in 2008. Elisabetta Villa / Getty Images Ah yes, the money. Marvel had spent decades farming its comic characters out to other companies for TV and film adaptations, with mixed results. Even when a character hit big at the movies, Marvel didn’t necessarily see big returns. Spider-Man was off making money for Sony hand-over-webshooter, while the X-Men were raking it in for Fox. So in the 2000s, the folks at Marvel’s movie arm clawed back the film rights to their characters and borrowed a chunk of money from Merrill Lynch to make their own movies.Iron Man was the first of this new series of Marvel-made movies. “I really don’t know how people are gonna react to this thing,” Favreau admitted shortly before the film’s release. “This could be anything from a flop to … something beyond people’s expectations. You never know.” Share your voice Stan Lee dies at 95: A look back at his most iconic characters on screen As it turned out, Downey’s insouciant charm carried the movie. Premiering on April 18, 2008 in Australia and May 2 in the US, Iron Man delivered a combination of humor, spectacular visual effects and unapologetic comic book action that made it a sensation with fans and critics.More MarvelStill, Marvel movie boss Kevin Feige had an even bigger gamble in mind. In Iron Man’s final scene, Samuel L Jackson turned up as comic book superspy Nick Fury. Not only did this begin the trend for postcredits scenes, but it also set the stage for Marvel’s other superheroes to follow Iron Man onto the big screen.The Marvel Cinematic Universe was born.But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Just weeks later, in June 2008, the second MCU movie The Incredible Hulk, opened to a lukewarm reception. According to Box Office Mojo, it remains the MCU’s weakest performer — and this was a character that mainstream moviegoers might actually have heard of. avengers253d1a1bcebbe6.jpgSolo outings for Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) paved the way for the Avengers to team up. Jay Maidment As Marvel’s disastrous 1986 Howard the Duck movie proved, Marvel’s comics are full of characters who could be just a little too out there for mainstream audiences. Even the most devoted superhero movie fan might have been puzzled to see familiar caped crusaders fighting alongside viking god Thor or mustachioed magician Dr Strange —  and that’s before you get to the real weirdos like Ant-Man, Groot and Rocket Raccoon.Hollywood often appears a bit embarrassed about the characters it brings from page to screen — look at all the black body armor replacing capes and tights in the X-Men and Dark Knight films, for example. But Marvel went all in on the colorful capers of its superheroes, from Captain America’s World War II origins to, well, just about everything in Guardians of the Galaxy.Marvel continued to perfect the MCU’s colorful, boisterous tone in 2011’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. “God forbid those films had [flopped],” Feige told Entertainment Weekly, because each solo outing primed audiences for the next big gamble: bringing the heroes together.Avengers assembleIn 2012, the various heroes of the MCU met in The Avengers, shepherded by writer and director Joss Whedon. Crossover stories uniting multiple characters are common in comics, but rare in the movies — at least in recent years. “In the last couple of decades, traditional Hollywood studios have increasingly relied on sequels, reboots and remakes in order to provide what they hope will be sure-fire hits,” explains Stephen Follows. “What we’re seeing with Marvel is something else. They’re similar to a model Hollywood loved 80 years ago: the film series’ of the 1930s and 1940s.”nullThe Avengers line-up expanded until Infinity War starred more than 30 major characters. Marvel Of course, the bubble could burst at any moment. Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp all hit screens in 2018, followed by Captain Marvel, Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. Plus, theatres are crowded by superhero shenanigans like DC’s Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam!No wonder critics like James Cameron warn of superhero fatigue. Marvel has a way to go to beat the most prolific film series of the past, however: There were 64 films featuring the Durango Kid between 1945 and 1952, an average of more than 9 a year.Even if superheroes do start to lose their luster, the general industry trend of growing global box office spreads the risk of each new super-outing. “The first crop of MCU movies relied heavily on the domestic market,” Follows says. “But as time has progressed, the international market has increased in importance.” While Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 made half their money in the US and Canada, by the time Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok hit screens two-thirds of their money came from overseas. Tags Comments Black Panther Marvel Thor Captain America Iron Man Filmmakerslast_img read more

Will Baahubali actress Anushka Shetty appear on Weekend with Ramesh 4

first_imgAnushka Shetty.PR HandoutThe fourth season of Weekend with Ramesh was kicked started last weekend and Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari, Dr Veerendra Heggade was the first guest of the show. Now, the audience are curiously looking forward to see who will be the next celebrity to appear on Ramesh Aravind-hosted show.The channel had already announced that they would try to bring in the likes of Rajinikanth, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, SS Rajamouli, Rahul Dravid among many others, this season. But one star who the fans of the Kannada show would like to see on the show is none other than Baahubali actress Anushka Shetty.Like the aforementioned other celebrities, Anushka Shetty has her roots in Karnataka as she was born and brought in the state. After entering Telugu and Tamil films by chance, she went on to become a successful actress. Today, she is one of the most sought after actresses in South India. Hence, people want to know about her successful journey on Weekend with Ramesh 4. The 37-year old has not acted in Sandalwood film yet and appearing on a Kannada show will only double their joy.Rumours are rife that the channel has approached the actress, but it is still unclear whether she will be part of the show this season. Weekend with Ramesh is a show that tells the story of successful people from Karnataka. Sudeep, Darshan, Upendra, Shivaraj Kumar, Upendra, Ambareesh, SP Balasubramanyam, Ananth Nag, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, Kashinath and many other people from Sandalwood have occupied the hotseat on the show.Not just people from film industry, but former Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah among many others from different spheres who have been part of the show.It has to be noted that even commoners, who have made notable achievements in their fields, have  occupied the hotseat on Weekend with Ramesh. Weekend with Ramesh 4.PR Handoutlast_img read more

Glaxo Auro Pharma and Dr Reddys to report better topline in December

first_imgGlaxosmithkline Pharmaceuticals (Glaxo), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) and Aurobindo Pharma are expected to post a growth of 13 percent to 20 percent in their December quarter revenues, brokerage firm Angel Broking said in a note on Tuesday.Shares of the three companies were trading in the red at around 1:05 pm, while the S&P BSE Sensex was down 320 points, or 1.33 percent, at 23,967.86.GlaxoThe Indian arm of British drug company GlaxoSmithKline Plc is expected to post sales of Rs 730 crore for the December quarter, an increase of about 13 percent from Rs 646.2 crore in the corresponding quarter last fiscal, led by price hike and volume growth, said Angel Broking. Operating margin is likely to be around 18 percent while adjusted net profit is pegged at Rs 102.70 crore, up 55 percent from Rs 66.1 crore in the year-ago period.The company will be declaring its December quarter results on 10 February.DRLDr Reddy’s Labs is likely to report a topline of Rs 4,420 crore for the third quarter ended December 2015, as against Rs 3,843 crore in the corresponding period last year, a growth of 15 percent, driven by both domestic and US sales. Operating margin is expected to be around 27 percent, up from 23 percent, year-over-year. The adjusted net profit is expected at Rs 746 crore, up 30 percent from Rs 574 crore, year-over-year.The Hyderabad-based company will be declaring its December quarter results on 9 February.Aurobindo PharmaThe company’s third quarter revenues are estimated at around Rs 3,800 crore, an increase of 20.9 percent over the year-ago period revenues. The operating margin is expected to come at 53.1 percent, up from 51 percent in the third quarter of FY2015, the Angel Broking report highlighted. Aurobindo Pharma’s adjusted net profit is likely to come at Rs 613.4 crore, as against Rs 399 crore in the third quarter of FY2015, an increase of 53.7 percent. The company will be declaring its third quarter results on 10 February.Glaxo was trading at Rs 3,260, down 0.94 percent, DRL  at Rs 3,010, down 1.96 percent and Aurobindo Pharma at Rs 729.35, with a loss of 2.30 percent.On 5 February, Lupin Pharma reported its quarterly net profit at Rs 530 crore, down 11.82 percent from Rs 601 crore in the year-ago period, while net sales inched 6 percent higher to Rs 3,358 crore, from Rs 3, 145 crore in the third quarter of last fiscal.last_img read more

2 schoolgirls killed in road crash

first_imgRoad accident LogoAgitated people vandalised six buses and blocked the Daulatdia-Khulna Highway for hours after two schoolgirls were killed in a road crash in Kenalghat area of Dauladia, reports UNB.The deceased are Chandni Aktar, 15, daughter of Salam Pramanik of Jodu Fakirpara area in Dauladia union and Jakia Aktar Keya, 15, daughter of Jamal Bepari of Mollapara of same union, students of Dauladia Model High School.The accident took place when a Jashore-bound bus of ‘Eagle Paribahan’ hit them while they were crossing the highway, leaving Chandni dead on the spot and injuring Keya severely, according to witnesses.Later, Keya died at a local hospital.After the accident agitated mob blocked the highway and vandalised six buses and torched a bus of ‘Golden Line’ injuring a number of its passengers.Later, members from local Fire Service and Civil Defence station rushed there and doused the flame.last_img read more

8yearold girl raped in city

first_imgAn eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped in the city’s Sabujbagh on Friday, reports UNB.Police arrested a 50-year-old man, Alam alias Forma Alam, over the incident, said Mafizul Alam, inspector (Investigation) of Mugda police station.Victim’s mother claimed that their neighbour Rob, 50, seduced her daughter for going to his rented house at Dakkhingaon in the area around 9:00am where he raped her with the help of Alam.The victim narrated the brutality to her mother when she asked her as she was bleeding profusely.The girl was first taken to Mugda Hospital and later shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Mafizul said, adding that they were trying to arrest the rapist, Rob.last_img read more

North Korean leaders slain halfbrother was a CIA informant WSJ

first_imgKim Jong Nam arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, China, in this photo taken by Kyodo on 11 February 2007. Photo: ReutersKim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who was killed in Malaysia in 2017, had been an informant for the US Central Intelligence Agency, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.The Journal cited an unnamed “person knowledgeable about the matter” for the report, and said many details of Kim Jong Nam’s relationship with the CIA remained unclear.Reuters could not independently confirm the story. The CIA declined to comment.The Journal quoted the person as saying “There was a nexus” between the CIA and Kim Jong Nam.”Several former US officials said the half brother, who had lived outside of North Korea for many years and had no known power base in Pyongyang, was unlikely to be able to provide details of the secretive country’s inner workings,” the Journal said.The former officials also said Kim Jong Nam had been almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s, the Journal said.Kim Jong Nam’s role as a CIA informant is mentioned in a new book about Kim Jong Un, “The Great Successor,” by Washington Post reporter Anna Fifield that is due to be published on Tuesday. Fifield says Kim Jong Nam usually met his handlers in Singapore and Malaysia, citing a source with knowledge of the intelligence.The book says that security camera footage from Kim Jong Nam’s last trip to Malaysia showed him in a hotel elevator with an Asian-looking man who was reported to be a US intelligence agent. It said Ki’s backpack contained $120,000 in cash, which could have been payment for intelligence-related activities, or earnings from his casino businesses.South Korean and US officials have said the North Korean authorities had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule. Pyongyang has denied the allegation.Two women were charged with poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Malaysia released Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, in May, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah in March.According to the Journal, the person said Kim Jong Nam had traveled to Malaysia in February 2017 to meet his CIA contact, although that may not have been the sole purpose of the trip.US president Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore last June, seeming to build personal goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift US sanctions in exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.last_img read more

Most senior Catholic charged with child sex abuse convicted in Australia

first_imgRod McGuirk Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email News By: Rod McGuirk Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The most senior Catholic cleric ever charged with child sex abuse has been convicted of molesting two choirboys moments after celebrating Mass, dealing a new blow to the Catholic hierarchy’s credibility after a year of global revelations of abuse and cover-up.Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ top financial adviser and the Vatican’s economy minister, bowed his head but then regained his composure as the 12-member jury delivered unanimous verdicts in the Victoria state County Court on Dec. 11 after more than two days of deliberation.The court had until Tuesday (Feb. 26) forbidden publication of any details about the trial.Pell faces a potential maximum 50-year prison term after a sentencing hearing that begins on Wednesday. He has foreshadowed an appeal.The revelations came in the same month that the Vatican announced Francis approved the expulsion from the priesthood for a former high-ranking American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for sexual abuse of minors and adults.The convictions were also confirmed days after Francis concluded his extraordinary summit of Catholic leaders summoned to Rome for a tutorial on preventing clergy sexual abuse and protecting children from predator priests.The jury convicted Pell of abusing two 13-year-old boys whom he had caught swigging sacramental wine in a rear room of Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in late 1996, as hundreds of worshippers were streaming out of Sunday services.Pell, now 77 but 55 at the time, had just been named the most senior Catholic in Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne.The jury also found Pell guilty of indecently assaulting one of the boys in a corridor more than a month later.Pell had maintained his innocence throughout, describing the accusations as “vile and disgusting conduct” that went against everything he believed in.His lawyer had told the jury that only a “mad man” would take the risk of abusing boys in such a public place. He said it was “laughable” that Pell would have been able to expose his penis and force the victim to take it in his mouth, given the cumbersome robes he was wearing.Both he and Chief Judge Peter Kidd urged the jury of eight men and four women not to punish Pell for all the failings of the Catholic Church, which in Australia have been staggering.“You must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell,” Kidd told the jury.Along with Ireland and the U.S., Australia has been devastated by the impact of the clerical abuse scandal, with a Royal Commission inquiry finding that 4,444 people reported they had been abused at more than 1,000 Catholic institutions across Australia between 1980 and 2015.Pell’s own hometown of Ballarat had such a high incidence of abuse — and, survivors say, a correlated higher-than-average incidence of suicide — that the city warranted its own case study in the Royal Commission report.As a result, Pell’s trial amounted to something of a reckoning for survivors, with the brash and towering cardinal becoming the poster child for all that went wrong with the way the Catholic Church handled the scandal.The conviction capped a year that had been so dominated by revelations of high-ranking sex abuse and cover-up that analysts openly speak of a crisis unparalleled since the Reformation. In addition to Pell, the allegations against McCarrick of groping a minor in the 1970s and of sleeping with adult seminarians became public.As a result of the scandal, Francis’ approval ratings have tanked in the United States, and his standing with conservative Catholics around the world — already on shaky ground over his outreach to divorcees — has plunged.Up until the verdict, Pell’s lawyers had appeared confident that they had established a reasonable doubt and had expected quick verdicts of not guilty.When the jury chairman delivered the first guilty verdict, Pell’s hands slipped from thearm rests of the chair where he sat in the dock at the back of the courtroom. His head bowed after the second verdict, but he restored his composure for the final verdicts.Pell, who walked to and from court throughout his monthlong trial with a crutch under his right arm, was released on bail to undergo surgical knee replacements in Sydney on Dec. 14. Prosecutor Mark Gibson did not oppose bail, saying the surgery would be more easily managed outside the prison system.The first four offenses occurred at the first or second Solemn Mass that Archbishop Pell celebrated as leader of the magnificent blue-stone century-old cathedral in the center of Melbourne. Pell was wearing his full robes — though not his staff or pointed bishops’ hat — at the time.The now 34-year-old survivor told the court that Pell orally raped him, then crouched and fondled the complainant’s genitals while masturbating.“I was young and I didn’t really know what had happened to me. I didn’t really know whatit was, if it was normal,” the complainant told the court.The other victim died of a heroin overdose in 2014 without ever complaining of the abuse, and even denying to his suspicious mother that he had been molested while he was part of the choir.Neither boy can now be identified.Pell was initially charged with orally raping the second boy. But that charge was downgraded to indecent assault when the complainant testified that from his vantage point he couldn’t see Pell’s penis enter the second boy’s mouth.More than a month later, the complainant testified that Pell pushed him against a cathedral corridor wall after a Mass and squeezed the boy’s genitals painfully before walking away in silence.“Pell was in robes and I was in robes. He squeezed and kept walking,” the complainant told the jurors. “I didn’t tell anyone at the time because I didn’t want to jeopardize anything. I didn’t want to rock the boat with my family, my schooling, my life.”The complainant testified that he feared that making such accusations against a powerful churchman would cost him his place in the choir and with it his scholarship to prestigious St. Kevin’s College.Pell pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and four counts of willfully committing an indecent act with or in the presence of a child under 16 in late 1996 and early 1997.He did not testify at his trial. But the jury saw a video recording of an interview he gave Australian detectives in Rome in 2016 in which he stridently denied the allegations.Pell grimaced, appearing incredulous and distressed, waved his arms over his head and muttered to himself as the detectives detailed the accusations that his victim had leveled against him a year earlier.“The allegations involve vile and disgusting conduct contrary to everything I hold dear and contrary to the explicit teachings of the church which I have spent my life representing,” Pell told police.Richter, Pell’s lawyer, told the jury that the prosecution case compounded a series of improbabilities and impossibilities.He told the jury that Pell could not have “parted” his robes as the complainant had described.The jury was handed the actual cumbersome robes Pell wore as archbishop. Over his regular clothes, Pell would wear a full-length white robe called an alb that was tied around his waist with a rope-like cincture. Over that, he would drape a 3-meter (10-foot) band of cloth called a stole around his neck. The outermost garment was the long poncho-like chasuble.More than 20 witnesses, including clerics, choristers and altar servers, testified during the trial. None recalled ever seeing the complainant and the other victim break from a procession of choristers, altar servers and clerics to go to the back room.The complainant testified that he and his friend had run from the procession and back into the cathedral through a side door to, as Gibson, the prosecutor, said, “have some fun.”Monsignor Charles Portelli, who was the cathedral’s master of ceremonies in the 1990s, testified that he was always with Pell after Mass to help him disrobe in the sacristy.The defense argued that Pell’s usual practice was to linger at the cathedral front steps talking to members of the congregation after Mass. But Gibson said there was evidence that Pell didn’t always chat outside and had the opportunity to commit the crimes.The lifting of the gag order comes after Francis charted a new course for the Catholic Church to confront clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, a scandal that has consumed his papacy and threatens the credibility of the Catholic hierarchy at large.Opening a first-ever Vatican summit on preventing abuse, Francis warned 190 bishops and religious superiors last week that their flocks were demanding concrete action, not just words, to punish predator priests and keep children safe. He offered them 21 proposals to consider going forward, some of them obvious and easy to adopt, others requiring new laws.But Francis went into the meeting even more weakened and discredited after one of his top advisers was convicted of the very crime he has now decided is worth fighting on a universal scale.Pell’s downfall will invariably tarnish the pope, since Francis appointed Pell economy minister in 2014 even though some of the allegations against him were known at the time.In October, Francis finally cut Pell loose, removing him as a member of his informal Cabinet. Pell technically remains prefect of the Vatican’s economy ministry, but his five-year term expires this year and is not expected to be renewed.(Associated Press writer Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.) Share This! Share This! News • Photos of the Week Share This! Catholicism Share This! Rod McGuirk,Load Comments,Jews and Muslims say Belgian animal cruelty law trammels religious freedom Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 By: Rod McGuirk TagsAustralia clergy sexual abuse George Pell homepage featured Roman Catholic Church and Mormons,You may also like Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! United Methodist committee rejects One Church Plan, which would allow LGBT clergy Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts By: Rod McGuirklast_img read more

Cardinal Pells appeal verdict due but may not be final word

first_imgRod McGuirk Share This! Instagram apostasy stirs controversy over Christian ‘influencers’ August 30, 2019 Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The most senior Catholic cleric found guilty of sexually abusing children will learn the outcome of his appeal on Wednesday (Aug. 21) though the verdict still may not be the final word on his convictions for molesting two choirboys in an Australian cathedral more than two decades ago.The Victoria state Court of Appeal heard arguments from Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers and prosecutors in June. In recognition of the intense public interest, the court is taking the unusual step of livestreaming its judgment on his appeal.The 78-year-old former Vatican finance minister would walk free if the three judges acquit him of the five convictions. They also could order a retrial, in which case Pell would be released on bail, or they could reject his appeal.Pell has been in a Melbourne prison since March, when he was sentenced to six years for convictions on charges that he orally raped a 13-year-old choirboy and indecently dealt with the boy and the boy’s 13-year-old friend in a rear room of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in December 1996. He was also convicted of squeezing one of the boy’s genitals in a cathedral corridor in February 1997.Pell had become archbishop of Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, months before his crimes are alleged to have taken place and had set up a world-first compensation arrangement for victims of clergy sexual abuse. He was described at his trial as the Vatican’s third most senior cleric.Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli told Australian Broadcasting Corp. last week that had he visited Pell in prison two months ago and described his state as: “a bit like a calm in a storm.”Comensoli said Pell’s imprisonment — being held in protective custody as a convicted pedophile and spending 23 hours a day alone in his cell — “takes its toll.”“There’d be a psychological agitation about waiting for what’s going to be the outcome of the appeal, but I found him strong … spiritually and calm and very conversive,” Comensoli said.Prison authorities announced two weeks ago they were investigating whether Pell had breached rules by writing a letter dated Aug. 1 that was circulated by his supporters on social media. Prison rules forbid prisoners from posting on social media, using the internet or asking others to post on their behalf.“My faith in our Lord, like yours, is a source of strength,” the two-page handwritten letter said, thanking supporters for between 1,500 and 2,000 letters Pell had received in prison.“The knowledge that my small suffering can be used for good purposes through being joined to Jesus’ suffering gives me purpose and direction,” the letter added.The Department of Justice and Community Safety did not respond to a request on Monday for an update on the investigation into the suspected breach.Some observers suspect the long wait for a verdict after the appeals court heard Pell’s case on June 5-6 means the judges were taking time to ensure as best they can that their ruling won’t be overturned in the High Court, Australia’s final arbiter. Both sides can appeal under Australian law, so consideration in the High Court is likely.Many supporters have urged the public to withhold their judgment of Pell until the result of the appeal is known.“If we are too quick to judge, we can end up joining the demonizers or the apologists, those baying for blood or those in denial,” Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher told a congregation.The Australian Catholic University said its Pell Center at its campus in Pell’s hometown of Ballarat would not be renamed until the appeal process was completed, angering academic staff.But Patrick’s College, the prestigious Catholic school where Pell was educated in Ballarat, renamed a building named after him and removed his name from the school honor board.“The jury’s verdict demonstrates that Cardinal Pell’s behaviors have not met the standards we expect of those we honor as role models for the young men we educate,” headmaster John Crowley said.But the school said it could change its decision after the appeal.Pell’s lawyers had to prove to the appeals court that the jury that unanimously convicted him in December must have held a reasonable doubt about his guilt. An earlier trial had ended in a deadlocked jury. An 11-to-1 majority decision to either convict or acquit could have been accepted, but at least two jurors held out.Prosecutors replied that the evidence of more than 20 priests, choristers, altar servers and church officials showed there were “possible hindrances” to the prosecution case, but did not preclude the jury from being satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of Pell’s guilt.Pell’s lawyers argue the events in 1996 as described in the prosecution case were “improbable and even impossible” to have happened quickly and in part of the cathedral where altar servers and priests were likely to walk in at any moment.One of the choirboys, identified by the sentencing judge as J.J., was the key prosecution witness. His friend, identified as M.R., died of a heroin overdose in 2014 at the age of 31 without ever complaining he had been abused.Pell did not testify at either of his trials. But both juries saw a video of a police interview of him in Rome in 2016 in which Pell rejected the allegations as “absolutely disgraceful rubbish” and a “deranged falsehood.”Clerical sexual abuse and the Catholic church’s handling of such cases worldwide have thrown Pope Francis’ papacy into turmoil.In a little more than a year, the pope has acknowledged he made “grave errors” in Chile’s worst cover-up, Pell was convicted of abuse, a French cardinal was convicted of failing to report a pedophile, and a third cardinal, former U.S. church leader Theodore McCarrick, was defrocked after a Vatican investigation determined he molested children and adults. Photos of the Week August 30, 2019 Share This! Catholicism TagsAustralia clergy sex abuse scandal George Pell homepage featured legal cases Melbourne Roman Catholic bishops Vatican,You may also like Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email,About the authorView All Posts By: Rod McGuirk Java still a no-no for Mormons despite fancy coffee names By: Rod McGuirk News • Photos of the Weekcenter_img By: Rod McGuirk Share This! As Amazon burns, Vatican prepares for summit on region’s faith and sustainabilit … August 30, 2019 Share This! Rod McGuirk,Add Comment Click here to post a comment News Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.,Young activists push interfaith gathering to act on climate change, justice Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Email Share This! Facebook Twitter Pinterest LinkedIn ReddIt Emaillast_img read more

Venezuelans Pour into Streets in AntiMaduro Protest

first_imgAssociated Press information was used for this story. Video Playerhttps://cdn.hpm.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/11121322/Venezuela-Unrest.mp400:0000:0003:02Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Venezuela’s government fired tear gas and rubber bullets at some of the thousands of opponents of President Nicolas Maduro who poured into the streets of Caracas Saturday amid a weeklong protest movement that shows little sign of losing steam. The demonstrations in the capital and several other cities came a day after Maduro’s government barred top opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years. The ban capped a tumultuous 10 day-crackdown that saw pro-government groups rough up several opposition leaders and another seek refuge in a foreign embassy to escape arrest.z Share The protests were triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to gut the opposition-controlled legislature of its last vestiges of power, a move that was later reversed amid widespread international condemnation and even dissent within Maduro’s normally disciplined socialist leadership. “Nobody can disqualify the Venezuelan people,” an emotional Capriles said from a stage Saturday as he called on protesters to march to the ombudsman’s office downtown.Que de la vuelta al mundo: En la Policlínica Las Mercedes es afectado bebe por el ataque al lugar! Allí adentro se encontraban pacientes. pic.twitter.com/YjhRERwg0u— Alexandra Belandia (@abelandia) April 10, 2017 As the sea of protesters approached the headquarters of state-run PDVSA oil company, they were met by rubber bullets and a curtain of eye-scorching tear gas, some of it a never-before-seen red color. Mayhem ensued, with riot police racing down windy streets, dodging objects thrown from tall apartment buildings as they deployed to squash the unrest. Later, a small group of youths unsuccessfully tried to set fire to a Supreme Court office building. The violence was condemned by the opposition leadership, who nonetheless blame Maduro’s obstinacy for fueling the unrest. They called for another protest Monday. But with Caracas shutting down for the Easter holiday — which Maduro extended by decree for three extra days — they appeared to be saving their strength for a major demonstration called for April 19. At least 17 people were treated for injuries, according to Ramon Muchacho, a Caracas-area mayor where the demonstration took place. Around most of Caracas, checkpoints were set up to search cars and frisk bus passengers even miles away from the clashes. As night fell, many streets still reeked of tear gas and a small group of youth burned trash and tore down street signs at busy intersections in eastern Caracas. As the most dominant figure in the opposition over the past decade, Capriles has been at the forefront of the protests, the most combative since a wave of anti-government unrest in 2014 in which dozens of people were killed, many at the hands of security forces. The almost-daily churn of events in what the opposition calls an “ongoing coup” by the government has energized and united the normally fractious opposition. While opposition leaders have insisted on peaceful protest, frustration built up over 17 years of polarizing socialist rule in Venezuela is running high on both sides. As Saturday’s march began, protesters snatched a camera from crew members working for pro-government state broadcaster VTV, chasing them away from the crowd with kicks and insults. Police, meanwhile, made social media posts of mugshots of protesters taken undercover and asked for information on the unidentified “generators of violence.” Leaders in the ruling socialist party have accused the opposition of trying to provoke a bloodbath and its own coup. The protesters on Saturday included 26-year-old Victoria Paez, who sported a baseball cap bearing the slogan “There’s a Way!” from Capriles’ 2012 presidential run against the late Hugo Chavez. “Every day, the government gives us more reasons to leave our homes and protest,” said Paez, who earns less than $20 a month as a chemical engineer. She said she’s thinking about joining a sister and scores of college friends who have left the South American country seeking a better future.– / 11 While she said she was hopeful the world is beginning to see there are injustices in Venezuela, her father, Carlos Paez, was more pessimistic. “Unfortunately, if there has to be bloodshed for the government to change, it won’t be the first time in history,” he said. The protest movement’s immediate goal apparently is to force Maduro to call elections. Authorities last year cancelled an opposition campaign to hold a recall referendum on Maduro and no date has yet been set for gubernatorial elections that were supposed to take place last year. The government earlier jailed another major opposition figure, hardliner Leopoldo Lopez. With both seemingly out of the running, the government may be trying to manipulate the electoral playing field to leave the opposition with less viable options should the government bow to pressure and call elections before they’re scheduled in 2018, analysts said. “However, it is a risky strategy that will probably backfire,” Eurasia Group said in a report Friday. “The opposition is clearly fired up and this will further their cause.”last_img read more

Depth Of Russian Politicians Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed

first_img Share Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty ImagesRussian politician Alexander Torshin, standing next to then-Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, attends a ceremony at the Kremlin in 2011. Torshin is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and says he met Donald Trump through the group in 2015.Updated at 10:25 p.m. ETA prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association, and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain access deeper into American politics, NPR has learned.Russian politician Alexander Torshin claimed his ties to the National Rifle Association provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and by sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he’s a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin’s relationship to the group.These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January.In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate intelligence committee, the NRA denied any wrongdoing and suggested the FBI is investigating Torshin, not the NRA. Neither the NRA nor Torshin responded to inquiries from NPR.Investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice have revealed that the Russian government has sought to sharpen political divisions among American citizens by amplifying controversial social issues. Investigators have expressed concern about Russian links to the NRA, one of the most politically polarizing organizations in the U.S.Torshin is a former Russian senator and served as the deputy speaker of Russia’s parliament for more than a decade. Known as a Putin ally, he also spent time on Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, a state body that includes the director of Russia’s internal security service and the ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs.15 лет я езжу в США с официальными делегациями,а чаще – частным порядком. За это время я НИ РАЗУ НЕ СЛЫШАЛ НИ ОДНОГО ПЛОХОГО СЛОВА О РОССИИ! pic.twitter.com/NKfwX7E2se— А.П. Торшин (@torshin_ru) November 13, 2016Translation of November 2016 tweet: “For 15 years, I’ve traveled to the US with official delegations, and more often – privately. In this time, I NEVER HEARD ONE BAD WORD ABOUT RUSSIA!”Torshin’s use of NRA connections to open doors, and his 2015 claim to know Trump through the organization, raise new questions about the group’s connections with Russian officials — at a time when the organization is being roundly criticized by its opponents, and at times the president himself, for opposition to gun control.The president has also defended the group in recent days as the gun debate has reemerged in the wake of a Florida school shooting, including a tweet calling the group’s leaders “Great American Patriots.”The NRA has been a key part of Trump’s conservative base. After a meeting with lawmakers in which Trump angered many conservatives for entertaining proposals for gun control, the president tweeted that he had another meeting with NRA leaders in the Oval Office on Thursday night.Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018On his verified Twitter account, Torshin talked about how he knew Donald Trump through the NRA, citing a connection at the group’s 2015 convention. Responding to a tweet about comedian Larry David accusing Trump of being a racist, Torshin said he knew the businessman through the NRA, and defended him.@aavst Комик и должен смешить людей! Правильно? Вот он и старается! Знаю Д.Трампа (по NRA). Приличный человек.— А.П. Торшин (@torshin_ru) November 8, 2015Translation of November 2015 tweet: “A comedian should make people laugh! Right? So he is trying! I know D. Trump (through NRA). A decent person.”“I saw him in Nashville” in April 2015, Torshin added later, the date and site of the NRA’s 2015 convention. Trump gave a speech at that convention, the outlines of which would become familiar as his stump speech throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment by NPR, but denied Trump has ever met Torshin to Bloomberg News in 2017.Among his tens of thousands of tweets, Torshin also documented his attendance at every NRA convention between 2012 and 2016, only some of which have been previously reported.Torshin’s attendance at the NRA convention in 2016 is where he reportedly met with Donald Trump, Jr.Torshin had made repeated attempts to meet with Donald Trump himself at that convention during the presidential election year, but there is no evidence of this occurring. A conservative activist with ties to Torshin aide Maria Butina reached out to the Trump campaign in 2016, saying that Russia was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would try to use the NRA convention to make “first contact,” the New York Times reported.“Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” the activist, Paul Erickson wrote. “He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election.” Erickson has business ties to Butina, having started an LLC with her in South Dakota.Torshin has used his repeated trips to NRA conventions to cultivate relationships with top NRA officials. And his Twitter account documents that he has personally met with every person who has been president of the NRA since 2012.On Twitter, Torshin portrayed these meetings as more than merely casual encounters. In 2017, he tweeted that he was bringing a gift to then-NRA President Allan Cors, and suggested he was familiar with Cors’ hobbies.Купил в подарок Президенту NRA Алану Корсу. Танки – его любимая тема! pic.twitter.com/aLdCJImQEO— А.П. Торшин (@torshin_ru) January 15, 2017Translation of January 2017 tweet: “Bought a gift for NRA President Allan Cors. Tanks are his favorite topic!”Cors is the founder of the Virginia Museum of Military Vehicles, according to its website.In a public DropBox album that Torshin linked to from his Twitter account, he’s seen meeting with former NRA president Jim Porter, as well as former NRA president David Keene.His tweets suggest a longtime relationship with Keene, who repeatedly appears in photos as Torshin documents his visits, suggesting that their meeting was not merely coincidental. Keene did not respond to a request for comment.Torshin has also met the current president of the NRA, Pete Brownell. Brownell was part of an NRA delegation that visited Moscow in 2015.These relationships that he cultivated appeared to open another door. Torshin came to the United States in 2012 as an international election observer, and watched as ballots were cast during the Obama-Romney presidential contest in Tennessee. This was possible, he wrote, due to his NRA links.@satcraft @kononenkome Я был на последних выборах Обамы! Карточка NRA мне как наблюдателю от России открывала доступ на любые участки.— А.П. Торшин (@torshin_ru) January 20, 2015Translation of January 2015 tweet: “I was there at Obama’s last election! The NRA card, to me as an observer from Russia, opened access to any [polling] station.”“Tennessee resident Kline Preston requested Mr. Torshin to be an international observer in November 2012,” Adam Ghassemi, a spokesman for the Tennessee Secretary of State, told NPR. The Washington Post reported last year that Preston, a Tennessee lawyer, was the one who originally introduced Torshin to former NRA president David Keene back in 2011.The heat is on the Russian politician, who was alleged by Spanish police to have directed financial transactions for the Russian mob. Not only is the FBI reportedly investigating him — the bureau declined to comment for this story — but lawmakers involved in congressional investigations have also expressed interest in Torshin.Both the Senate and House intelligence committees are currently engaged in investigations into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and a member of the Senate intelligence committee, has demanded the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network hand over documents related to Torshin and the NRA.“The NRA and its related entities do not accept funds from foreign persons or entities in connection with United States elections,” NRA General Counsel John Frazer wrote in response to a request from Wyden to turn over documents related to transactions between the NRA and Russian citizens. “NRA political decisions are made by NRA officers and executive staff, all of whom are United States citizens. No foreign nationals are consulted in any way on these decisions.”Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told NPR this week that the committee’s members have asked relevant witnesses about the NRA through the course of their investigation.“I can’t go into what we’ve been able to learn thus far on that issue. I can tell you it’s one of deep concern to me and to other members of the committee, that we get to the bottom of these allegations that the Russians may have sought to funnel money through the NRA,” Schiff said. “It would be negligent of us not to investigate.”Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of research firm Fusion GPS, alluded to Torshin and the NRA during his closed-door testimony before the House intelligence committee in November.“It appears the Russians, you know, infiltrated the NRA. And there is more than one explanation for why,” Simpson told lawmakers. “But I would say broadly speaking, it appears that the Russian operation was designed to infiltrate conservative organizations. And they targeted various conservative organizations, religious and otherwise, and they seem to have made a very concerted effort to get in with the NRA.”Not only are congressional investigators interested in the NRA’s relationship with Russia, but this inquiry comes as the NRA is receiving additional pressure from groups hoping to pass additional gun restrictions into law, and as dozens of American companies have cut ties with the NRA in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting last month.“These revelations suggest that for years the NRA courted a top Putin ally who is now reportedly attracting scrutiny from the FBI,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told NPR. “NRA leaders still haven’t explained their close relationship with Russian officials in Putin’s orbit. Until they do, people will continue to wonder what the NRA is hiding.”NPR’s Alina Selyukh and Audrey McNamara contributed to this story.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A chapter on Changes

first_imgCellphones, is a must for everyone now, especially in India. This gadget which came to the country more than a decade ago is now an important part of all the Indians. The advent of this phones in India marked certain changes in the Indian society and its economy too. What are the changes, what is the extent of the change- to get the answer of this questions COAI in association with IIC presents the lecture session on Cellphone Nation- How mobile phones changed India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Robin Jeffrey, who has studied the effects of mobile phones on Indian society and economy will take back the audience to the India’s history as how the communication from Mughal Era to British Raj changed the course of history. From there to the nostalgia of telephony in 60s, 70s, 80s and a big bang of mobile phones in 90s onwards, Jeffery will be touching upon every aspect of Indian life. Jeffery’s lectures will also include the negative aspects of cheap, handheld, communication devices.When: 30 April Where: India International Centre, 40 Max Mueller MargTiming: 6:30 pmlast_img read more