first_img…looong shadowYesterday was 35 years since Burnham died on a Georgetown Hospital operating table as two Cuban doctors attempted to operate on a “throat problem”. Whatever you may say about the fella, you have to admit that he’s shed a loooong – and DARK – shadow over our beleaguered country. Back when he was alive, Guyanese would retort to fellow West Indians that while they had humungous disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes – WE HAD BURNHAM! And he was more destructive than all the natural disasters put together!!In fact, we still haven’t recovered from the damage he wreaked on us socially, politically, and most of all economically between 1964 and 1985. Socially, just look around at the divisiveness that stalks the land. That was created when Burnham split the PPP in 1955 because he demanded that he be “leader or nothing” – even though Jagan had been organising the people since 1943!! Granger – who’s sworn to “fulfil Burnham’s legacy” – claimed that “Burnham was the father of social cohesion”!! So you can appreciate that irony is lost upon PNC types!! Some cohesion!!But there is even greater irony in the fact that Burnham never really saw himself as part of the African-Guyanese masses. He strove mightily to live up to the “colourism” that dominated social relations in his day by marrying up (colour wise), educating himself and speaking “proper” – in his case, even cultivating a “Churchillian” accent! While in London during his student days, he joined the “League of Coloured People” rather than any of the Afrocentric groups then sprouting like mushrooms!Politically, of course, Burnham’s most famous for rigging elections starting in 1968…each time finding a new way to do the dirty!! He checkmated the PPP and was only threatened in the 1970’s when the WPA began to mobilise in the African community. He had Rodney assassinated: simple as that! Yet today, the greatest irony is the so-called “comrades” of Rodney are in bed with Granger, Burnham’s successor as leader of the PNC.Economically, Burnham concocted the oxymoron of a “cooperative” republic, while nationalising 80% of the economy to approach the State-controlled communist nirvana of North Korea. Granger insists Burnham worked to “eliminate poverty” when he vowed to “Feed, House and Clothe” the nation in his grandiose 1972-1976 plan! Yet we ended up hungry, homeless and naked by 1979!! We sank by all measures of development to just pip Haiti!!The PNC’s fond of castigating Bharat Jagdeo for all sorts of sins…but they should be eternally grateful to him for wiping out the US$2.1 billion debt albatross Burnham left.Burnham’s legacy is one of misery for the Guyanese people. We got a second emancipation on Aug 6th!!…betrayalBurnham’s most cynical act was to connive with Britain and the US to remove the legally-elected PPP government, which was supposed to lead Guyana to independence. But interestingly enough, in selling his soul for a mess of pottage – imagine US$5000/month to build up the PNC!! – he could never earn the respect of those countries. The Brits called him “a racist who will tack and turn at every opportunity” while the Yanks snickered at his pretentions, such as parading around in a two-star General’s uniform.But above all, Burnham craved the approbation of third world leaders – especially in Africa – and worked overtime to be recognised. But Walter Rodney was the one who earned that respect on the world stage and Burnham could never forgive him for that! Rodney penned several works that became classics – such as “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” – but Burnham, who craved to be recognised as an “intellect”, could never cobble together a book.Rodney was spot on when he tagged Burnham as “King Kong”!! Brute force and ignorance!!…legalismsWhile Burnham had scant respect for Constitutions, he liked to at least observe the forms. He would’ve been scandalised at the PNC’s dependence on Basil Williams for legal advice.Guyana doesn’t permit snap elections? Under which rock has he been living?last_img read more

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Brewerville Declared ‘Rape Prone’ Area

first_imgWith frequent reports of rape cases emanating from Brewerville, the town has now been declared by the Liberian government as a ‘rape prone’ community.Government took the decision last Friday when it launched “Public Awareness Raising and Education on Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV) and Rape in the area with the intention of remembering a 12-year old second grade student, Musu Morris, who was raped to death by a 42-year-old man, Musa Kromah early this year.The exercise, organized by the SGBV Crimes Unit of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), was held in the auditorium of the Ellen Mills Scarborough Elementary and Junior High School in Brewerville.It was the school which the late Musu attended when she was raped to death, a community resident told the Daily Observer.Madam Fatu Morris, the mother of Musu, was among several who spoke at the gathering. She expressed shock about the manner and form in which children continued to be raped, some of them fatally.“What I want to say to our children here today is that you need to be careful with yourselves, because those evil people who raped my daughter to death in this area are still living among us, and if you are not careful, you could be the next victim,” Madam Morris advised the students as she sobbed.Up to the holding of the program over the weekend, a student, Marthaline Wreh, who was a close friend of the late Musu, with tears in her eyes, has yet to believe that her friend was raped to death.“It was surprising to me when a neighbor told me that my friend was raped to death by one Kromah with the nickname, “CDC.” We wonder why he did such a wicked thing to my friend,” student Wreh said in disbelief.“I am still afraid whenever I hear that children are being raped in this our Brewerville Community, and I want for the government to act quickly to protect the girl children from being victims of rape like Musu. Ms. Wreh expressed the need for the government to intervene urgently to stop this terrible problem in the community.Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty Lamin Blamo, who launched the program, called on residents of the community to join the campaign and see it as “their own,” because she believes government cannot do it alone.“We need a collaborative approach in the fight against rape that is gradually destroying the future of our country. The school, parents and you the students, have to help us achieve our objective by making Brewerville a rape-free community,” Cllr. Lamin Blamo pleaded with the audience, majority of whom were students and teachers.“We need to take this campaign very seriously, like what we did with the Ebola virus, because so many children have been sexually abused, and others have died in this one Brewerville area,” Cllr. Blamo added.She said, “I have on a T-Shirt that carries the face of someone who used to be a student in your school. Some of you may have known her when she was a student here. She is no more here with you, because she has died of rape.”Cllr. Blamo reminded the students saying, “Musu is dead because she was raped; this is why we have assembled in your school not just to talk about her death, but to also talk with you because you are alive. And we don’t want you to be the next victim.”“Musu came to school because she wanted to fulfill her dream of becoming a better person in life. She wanted to be someone; she could have become the next government lawyer like me or like President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but she did not live to see her dream come true because someone raped her to death,” Cllr. Blamo said as she wept.She recounted that Musu was not the only child that has died as the result of being raped in the community, adding, “Besides Musu, several other children have been raped to death in this community. If we as a government fail to do something very urgently about this heinous crime, many of you people would die like those who were raped to death before you. We don’t want to hear any more rape cases in this area. That is why we are here to work with the community to protect you from being raped,” Cllr. Blamo assured the community.‘What we want you to do for us is to report those cases of rape, report people, like your teachers, step fathers, male students, who constantly touch your breast and knock on your butt, because this is how they can start to do the bad thing (rape) to you.”She said suspect Kromah was arrested and subsequently put behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison awaiting trial.“Kromah, the man who raped Musu to death, has been detained and is awaiting trial. We are not sitting down; we have already indicted (charged) him,” she said.Cllr. Blamo emphasized that prosecuting rapists was important but it was time for the community and the government to focus on creating more awareness in the area, which she described as “rape prone.”For her part, Atty. Josephine Grose, prosecutor and program officer of the Sex and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Unit at MOJ said, rape has become a very critical issue in the country. She pledged government’s robust action to put an end to the act.Statistically, it was learnt that during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, her agency recorded 134 rape cases. “Out of that figure we were able to prosecute only seven and for this year alone, we have also recorded over 200 rape cases.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Modi to return as PM of India

first_imgDear Editor,Elections concluded on Sunday in India. Counting of ballots is on Thursday. But based on exit polls, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will prevail over Congress Party (INC) led by Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Gandhi dynasty. The BJP contested in a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that it led while the Congress (INC) led the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The NDA is made up of 41 constituent parties while the UPA is made up of 36 parties. A party in an alliance contested the election under its own symbol and name without opposition from members of the alliance.Some dozen exit polls released on Sunday evening put BJP/NDA ahead between 245 seats and 369 seats – a wide distribution. In India, exit polls are not very reliable. The poll showing NDA winning 369 seats could be well off though its outcome is not impossible. The poll showing NDA getting only 245 seats – 27 short of a majority also does not reflect the reality, based on my findings travelling around India. Modi is extremely popular in India – the most popular political figure in the country and people want him to serve another term. His NDA is reliably expected to clear a majority.Some 917 million voters were eligible to cast ballots, but only about 65 per cent actually voted or around 600 million. The counting of ballots is quick – within two hours the results are known unlike in Guyana where it takes at least two days “to count” less than 600 ballots per polling booth. GECOM should consider hiring some election workers from India to help with counting and honesty in managing elections.There has been keen interest in this election by people from Guyana and the wider Caribbean and their diasporas. Several were in contact with me over last month while I was in India on Modi’s chances of re-election. I told them not to worry, Modi would return as PM, though the exact number of seats was uncertain.It is very difficult to make sense of the wide distribution and differences in the exit polls in India. But one commonality among all of them is that the BJP and its alliance partners will form the Government. The opposition Congress party and its partners dispute this conclusion. The Chair of the UPA, Sonia Gandhi, has invited leaders of her alliance and others to dinner on May 23 for a discussion on selecting its prime ministerial candidate and Government formation. There will not be a Prime Minister from the opposition or from “a third front”, an idea that was floated a week ago. Modi will return as PM and his alliance will win a majority.I travelled around several states and from the trends I picked up, BJP will lose seats in the key states of Uttar Pradesh (from where most Guyanese trace roots), Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, and Punjab but make gains in other states that will more than balance off losses. The Congress won state elections with alliance partners in four states last year. There has been simmering discontent in all four states. Congress will see a reversal in all of those states in general election results that could lead to unrest among its elected members and the toppling of at least two of its coalition Governments.The election was a referendum on Modi and he has beaten back critics. He was struggling early in the year to win an election when I was in India in January. But his decision to carry out surgical strikes by Indian air force against terror camps deep inside in Pakistan in February closed the deal for him. Almost every Indian supported the strike. Indians are concerned about national security. There is rising nationalism as India becomes wealthy.As I indicated in a previous write up, the BJP will win around 269 seats (possibly more) and alliance around 40 for a minimum total of 309 (and possibly more). Only 272 seats are needed for Government formation. Last time, BJP won 282 and the alliance 54 seats for a total of 336. Over the last couple of years, alliance partners fell out with BJP and linked up with Congress and new partners joined BJP; new partners boosted BJP’s chances. In addition, there are three parties in southern India, not partnering with BJP, but will support the NDA and that is expected to win around 47 seats.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisram (PhD)last_img read more

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Lack of potable water frustrates Pomeroon residents

first_img– acidity high in riverBY INDRAWATTIE NATRAMCouncillor Vilma Da SilvaPeople’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Councillor Vilma Da Silva noted great concerns at the Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) RDC statutory meeting over the lack of potable water in Pomeroon.According to Da Silva the acidity level in the river is significantly high and persons cannot use it for domestic purposes. This is posing serious challenges as there are no other source of fresh water available neither do persons have containers to store water if they get any.Da Silva described the situation as frustrating and requested the RDC to represent the interest of persons living in the Pomeroon River. She disclosed that some persons do not have any option and are often forced to use the high acidic water which is posing serious health issues.“The people in Pomeroon are forced to bathe with salt water, the crops are dying due to the salt water, we need help due to the dry weather, persons need fresh water and are requesting black tanks from the government,” Da Silva explained.She also reported that children have developed health problems such as rashes and skin infections. Da Silva is of the opinion that the problem could be resolved if the RDC through the REO, Rupert Hopkinson, approve the purchase of black tanks.She also suggested if filled tanks are placed at certain locations then persons can paddle to have access.At that point another PPP\C councillor Brian Persaud supported Da Silva’s call for black tanks to be gifted to the people of Pomeroon to ease their burdens.Persaud said he also received complaints that the water in the Pomeroon has become unsafe for families especially children to consume. The councillors are therefore seeking the RDC’s intervention or Central Government attention into the matter.last_img read more

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YouTube changes the debate picture as Dems challenged

first_imgAsked if Democrats are playing politics with the war, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio said yes. “The Democrats have failed the people,” he said. Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel said U.S. soldiers are dying in vain. No other candidate would go that far. Obama took the opportunity to take a slap at his rivals who voted to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, including Clinton and Edwards. “The time to ask how we’re going to get out of Iraq was before we got in,” he said, without naming Clinton, Edwards and other foes. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico said he’s the only candidate pledging to remove troops within six months. “Our troops have become targets,” he said. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware said Richardson’s goal was unrealistic. Sensing her position was under attack, Clinton bristled as she argued that U.S. troops must be removed from Iraq “safely and orderly and carefully.” On another foreign policy topic, Biden said he would send 2,500 U.S. troops to Darfur to try to end the civil war there. It took three tries to get Clinton to answer the same questions. She finally said U.S. ground troops don’t belong in the fight because they are overextended in Iraq. She also refused to call herself a liberal. “I prefer the word progressive, which has a very American meaning,” she said. Clinton, Obama and Edwards lead in most polls of the Democratic field. The opening question challenged Democrats to do better than the failed leadership in Congress and the White House. “How are you going to be any different?” the voter asked. Obama, a freshmen lawmaker trying to appeal to the public’s thirst for change, replied, “One of the things I bring is a perspective … that says Washington has to change.” Clinton claimed she has a 35-year-record as an agent of change. “The issue is which one of us will be ready from Day One.” The Democratic gathering marked a turning point in political communications. CNN, a landmark all-news cable network when founded 27 years ago, is now part of a media establishment coming to terms with upstarts like the 2 1/2-year-old online video community. The debate aside, YouTube has already left its mark on politics. Republican George Allen lost his Senate seat and a likely spot in the 2008 presidential race after a YouTube video caught him referring to a man of South Asian decent as “macaca” – an ethnic slur in some countries. In the presidential campaign, buzz-worthy video clips have included Bill and Hillary Clinton’s spoof of “The Sopranos” finale, Edwards’ combing his hair to the tune “I Feel Pretty,” and a buxom model professing her crush on Obama. Most of the candidates use social networking tools popularized by YouTube and MySpace.com to draw voters to their sites and create a sense of community. At least two of the Democratic candidates planned to answers supporters’ questions on their sites after the debate. In the spirit of the era, each candidate was asked to produce his or her own video. Edwards’ video poked fun at the attention paid to his pricey haircuts at the expense of more serious issues. Set to the theme from the 1968 musical “Hair,” the video opens with several close-up of hairdos, giving way to less frivolous images including several from Iraq. It ends with a white-on-black slide: “What really matters? You Choose” Clinton’s video-ad ended with the kicker, “Sometimes the best man for a job is a woman.” The debate’s moderator, Anderson Cooper of CNN, asked who took a jet to the debate. Gravel was one of the few who did not raise his hand; he arrived by bus and train.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CHARLESTON, S.C. – Young, Internet-savvy voters challenged Democratic presidential hopefuls on Iraq, the military draft and the candidates’ own place in a broken political system, playing starring roles in a provocative, video-driven debate Monday night. “Wassup?” came the first question, from a voter named Zach, after another, named Chris, opened the CNN-YouTube debate with a barb aimed at the entire eight-candidate field: “Can you as politicians … actually answer questions rather than beat around the bush?” The answer was a qualified yes. The candidates faced a slew of blunt questions – from earnest to the ridiculous – and, in many cases, responded in kind. To Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois: Are you black enough? “You know, when I’m catching a cab in Manhattan … I’m giving my credentials,” he replied. To Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York: Are you feminine enough? “I couldn’t run as anything other than a woman,” she said. Her answer drew a challenge from former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who said he was the best advocate for women on the debate stage. “I have the strongest, boldest ideas,” he said. Posing a question that few, if any, of the candidates had fielded before, one voter asked whether young women should register for the draft as do young men. Clinton, Obama and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut said yes. The debate featured questions submitted to the online video community YouTube and screened by the all-news cable TV network. A talking snowman, two rednecks and a woman speaking from her bathroom were among the odd, 21st-century twists to the oldest forum in politics – a debate. The gathering was held at the military college of The Citadel in South Carolina, site of one of the earliest primaries – Jan. 29. Fittingly, the Democrats skirmished over the Iraq war, as they have before. last_img read more

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Tenor Luciano Pavarotti dead at 71

first_img Pavarotti, who seemed equally at ease singing with soprano Joan Sutherland as with the Spice Girls, scoffed at accusations that he was sacrificing his art in favor of commercialism. “The word commercial is exactly what we want,” he said, after appearing in the widely publicized “Three Tenors” concerts. “We’ve reached 1.5 billion people with opera. If you want to use the word commercial, or something more derogatory, we don’t care. Use whatever you want.” In the annals of that rare and coddled breed, the operatic tenor, it may well be said the 20th century began with Enrico Caruso and ended with Pavarotti. Other tenors – Domingo included – may have drawn more praise from critics for their artistic range and insights, but none could equal the combination of natural talent and personal charm that so endeared Pavarotti to audiences. “Pavarotti is the biggest superstar of all,” the late New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg once said. “He’s correspondingly more spoiled than anybody else. They think they can get away with anything. Thanks to the glory of his voice, he probably can.” In his heyday, he was known as the “King of the High C’s” for the ease with which he tossed off difficult top notes. In fact it was his ability to hit nine glorious high C’s in quick succession that first turned him into an international superstar singing Tonio’s aria “Ah! Mes amis,” in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1972. In the 1990s, Pavarotti’s teaming with Domingo and Carreras became a music business phenomenon and spawned copycats such as the Three Irish Tenors. Pavarotti starred in a film called “Yes, Giorgio” (though its failure scuttled his hopes for a Hollywood career) and appeared in a filmed version of “Rigoletto.” He wrote an autobiography, “I, Luciano Pavarotti,” and made more than 90 recordings. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, people immediately recognized his incandescent smile and lumbering bulk, clutching a white handkerchief as he sang arias and Neapolitan folk songs, pop numbers and Christmas carols for hundreds of thousands in outdoor concerts. His name seemed to show up as much in gossip columns as serious music reviews, particularly after he split with Adua Veroni, his wife of 35 years and mother of their three daughters, and then took up with his 26-year-old secretary in 1996. In late 2003, he married Nicoletta Mantovani in a lavish, star-studded ceremony. Pavarotti said their daughter Alice, nearly a year old at the time of the wedding, was the main reason he and Mantovani finally wed after years together. In the latter part of his career, some music critics cited what they saw as an increasing tendency toward the vulgar and the commercial. He came under fire for canceling performances or pandering to the lowest common denominator in his choice of programs, or for the Three Tenors tours and their millions of dollars in fees. He was criticized for lip-synching at a concert in Modena, Italy, his hometown. An artist accused him of copying her works from a how-to-draw book and selling the paintings. The son of a baker who was an amateur singer, Pavarotti was born Oct. 12, 1935, in Modena. He had a meager upbringing, though he said it was rich with happiness. “Our family had very little, but I couldn’t imagine one could have any more,” Pavarotti said. As a boy, Pavarotti showed more interest in soccer than his studies, but he also was fond of listening to his father’s recordings of tenor greats like Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa, Jussi Bjoerling and Giuseppe Di Stefano, his favorite. Among his close childhood friends was Mirella Freni, who would eventually become a soprano and an opera great herself. The two studied singing together and years later ended up making records and concerts together, according to Elvio Giudici, an Italian opera critic. In his teens, Pavarotti joined his father, also a tenor, in the church choir and local opera chorus. He was influenced by the American movie actor-singer Mario Lanza. “In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror,” Pavarotti said. Singing was still nothing more than a passion while Pavarotti trained to become a teacher and began working in a school. But at 20, he traveled with his chorus to an international music competition in Wales. The Modena group won first place, and Pavarotti began to dedicate himself to singing. With the encouragement of his then fiancee, Adua Veroni, he started lessons, selling insurance to pay for them. He studied with Arrigo Pola and later Ettore Campogalliani. In 1961, Pavarotti won a local voice competition and with it a debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He followed with a series of successes in small opera houses throughout Europe before his 1963 debut at Covent Garden in London, where he stood in for Di Stefano as Rodolfo. Having impressed conductor Richard Bonynge, Pavarotti was given a role opposite Bonynge’s wife, soprano Joan Sutherland, in a Miami production of “Lucia di Lamermoor.” They subsequently signed him for a 14-week tour of Australia. It was the recognition Pavarotti needed to launch his career. He also credited Sutherland with teaching him how to breathe correctly. In the following years, Pavarotti made a series of major debuts, appearing at La Scala in Milan in 1965, San Francisco in 1967 and New York’s Metropolitan Opera House in 1968. Other early venues included Vienna, Paris and Chicago. Throughout his career, Pavarotti struggled with a much-publicized weight problem. His love of food caused him to balloon to a reported high of 396 pounds in 1978. “Maybe this time I’ll really do it and keep it up,” he said during one of his constant attempts at dieting. Pavarotti, who had been trained as a lyric tenor, began taking on heavier dramatic tenor roles, such as Manrico in Verdi’s “Trovatore” and the title role in “Otello.” Pavarotti often drew comparisons with Domingo, his most notable contemporary. Aficionados judged Domingo the more complete and consistent musician, but he never captured the public imagination like Pavarotti. Though there appeared to be professional jealousy between the great singers, Pavarotti claimed he preferred to judge himself only against his earlier performances. In the mid-1970s, Pavarotti became a true media star. He appeared in television commercials and began appearing in hugely lucrative mega-concerts outdoors and in stadiums around the world. Soon came joint concerts with pop stars. A concert in New York’s Central Park in 1993 drew 500,000 fans. Pavarotti’s recording of “Volare” went platinum in 1988. In 1990, he appeared with Domingo and Carreras in a concert at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome for the end of soccer’s World Cup. The concert was a huge success, and the record known as “The Three Tenors” was a best-seller and was nominated for two Grammy awards. The video sold over 750,000 copies. The three-tenor extravaganza became a mini-industry. With a follow-up album recorded at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1994, the three have outsold every other performer of classical music. A 1996 tour earned each tenor an estimated $10 million. Pavarotti liked to mingle with pop stars in his series of charity concerts, “Pavarotti & Friends,” held annually in Modena. He performed with artists as varied as Ricky Martin, James Brown and the Spice Girls. The performances raised some eyebrows but he always shrugged off the criticism. Some say the “word pop is a derogatory word to say ‘not important’ – I do not accept that,” Pavarotti said in a 2004 interview with the AP. “If the word classic is the word to say ‘boring,’ I do not accept. There is good and bad music.” It was not just his annual extravaganza that saw Pavarotti involved in humanitarian work. During the 1992-95 Bosnia war, he collected humanitarian aid along with U2 lead singer Bono, and after the war he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Center in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia’s artists the opportunity to develop their skills. He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as an earthquake in December 1988 that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia. Pavarotti was also dogged by accusations of tax evasion, and in 2000 he agreed to pay nearly roughly $12 million to the Italian state after he had unsuccessfully claimed that the tax haven of Monte Carlo rather than Italy was his official residence. He had been accused in 1996 of filing false tax returns for 1989-91. Pavarotti always denied wrongdoing, saying he paid taxes wherever he performed. But, upon agreeing to the settlement, he said: “I cannot live being thought not a good person.” Pavarotti was preparing to leave New York in July 2006 to resume a farewell tour when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, his manager Robson said at the time. He underwent surgery in a New York hospital, and all his remaining 2006 concerts were canceled. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease, though doctors said the surgery offered improved hopes for survival. “I was a fortunate and happy man,” Pavarotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published about a month after the surgery. “After that, this blow arrived.” “And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness,” he told the newspaper. Fans were still waiting for a public appearance a year after his surgery. In the summer, Pavarotti taught a group of selected students and worked on a recording of sacred songs, a work expected to be released in early 2008, according to his manager. He mostly divided his time between his home town, Modena, and his villa in the Adriatic seaside resort of Pesaro. Faced with speculation that the tenor was near death, Mantovani, his second wife, told Italian newspaper La Stampa in July 2007: “He’s fighting like a lion and he has never lost his heart.” Pavarotti had three daughters with his first wife, Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana; and one, Alice, with his second wife. At his side when he died were his wife, Nicoletta; his four daughters; his sister, Gabriela; his nephews and close relatives and friends, Robson said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ROME (AP) _ Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C’s and ebullient showmanship made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar, died Thursday. He was 71. His manager, Terri Robson, told the AP in an e-mailed statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 a.m. local time. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and underwent further treatment in August. “The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness,” the statement said. For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti’s voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and ’70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his charismatic performances of standards like “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” came to represent what opera is all about. In fact, “Nessun Dorma” was Pavarotti’s last performance, sung at at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February 2006. His last full-scale concert was in Taipei in, December 2005. It was the second monumental loss in the opera world in recent months. American soprano Beverly Sills, whose widespread popularity mirrored Pavarotti’s, died July 2 at her home in New York. She was 78 and suffered from cancer. Instantly recognizable from his charcoal black beard and tuxedo-busting girth, Pavarotti radiated an intangible magic that helped him win hearts in a way Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras – his partners in the “Three Tenors” concerts – never quite could. “I always admired the God-given glory of his voice – that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range,” Domingo said in a statement from Los Angeles. “I also loved his wonderful sense of humor and on several occasions of our concerts with Jose Carreras – the so-called Three Tenors concerts – we had trouble remembering that we were giving a concert before a paying audience, because we had so much fun between ourselves,” he said.last_img read more

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Rate hikes and phone tax are ingredients for trouble

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champVoters are being asked to continue the tax, at 9 percent, on Feb. 5. But pushing through the utility rate hikes in January and asking voters to back a telephone tax a month later seemed to be too much for even the city to try to push. Under the proposal before the council Tuesday, the DWP will return in 60 days – well after the Feb. 5 vote – to further justify the rate increases. Most betting is that both will be reduced somewhat to try to mollify neighborhood councils. Adding to the pressure on new DWP chief H. David Nahai is yet another audit under way by City Controller Laura Chick. Take one part voter anger, a splash of natural suspicion by Neighborhood Councils, then throw in a pinch of consultant cynicism – and you end up with a perfect storm of potential political disaster for city leaders. Such is the thinking behind the decision expected to be officially announced this week by the City Council to push off rate increases for DWP water and power service. Officials from the utility have been pressing for the increases – 9 percent for power over three years and 6 percent for water over two – saying they are needed to improve the utility’s infrastructure and prevent outages like the city has experienced the past two years. But there’s one problem: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council have been talking about another emergency – this one involving the potential loss of $270 million if the city’s telephone users’ tax is ruled illegal. Chick has had a field day with previous DWP audits that have uncovered problems with public relations contracts and other issues. Now, she is conducting a five-year review of the utility required under the City Charter. The audit includes a review by representatives of the Mayor’s Office and the City Council. Early indications are that the review is again focusing on consultants and whether they are delivering the terms of their contracts. It also is looking at whether DWP is being overcharged by any contractors. Two officials of Fleishman-Hillard were convicted in federal court on charges of wire fraud and overbilling. The firm repaid the city $6 million. The audit could end up helping Nahai as he begins to assert control over the agency, allowing him to review all contracts the utility has issued. A report last week that the number of animals dying in city animal shelters is sure to provoke more outrage among activists who already have been busy behind the scenes. Their targets have been Deputy Mayor Jimmy Blackman, who is the mayor’s liaison to the Animal Services Commission, and the mayor’s sister, Debbie Villar. Officials with the various activist organizations said their protests are designed to try to force out Ed Boks, the current Animal Services general manager. Protesters have made themselves a regular presence at Villaraigosa’s home and various events where he appears, much as they did with former Mayor James Hahn. The mayor and Blackman said they would not comment on the protests Reviving a battle most have given up on, the San Fernando Valley Republican Club is trying to reverse popular opinion on car-pool lanes. The organization recently adopted a “Motorist Equality Resolution” calling for an initial effort to open car-pool lanes to all vehicles on election days and eventually leading to a ban on the lanes. Saying the freeways are paid for by all taxpayers, they say it is unfair to set aside the lanes only for carpoolers. The group said it rejects “the separate and unequal Diamond Lane doctrine in its entirety” and that all freeway lanes should be available to motorists. It also argues that diamond lanes are contradictory to the principle of “equal opportunity for all and special privileges for none.” Staff Writer Kerry Cavanaugh contributed.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Around Whittier

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsPICO RIVERA – Montebello Gardens Elementary School is seeking volunteers to come from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 21 to help beautify the school, 4700 Pine St. Volunteers will be asked to paint benches and plant flowers. For more information, call the school, (562) 463-5191. Regional artist displays works LA HABRA – A one-woman art show by Crystal Maes of Yorba Linda is on display at the La Habra Art Association Gallery, 215 Orange St. MONTEBELLO – Montebello Stamping Mavens will hold a Halloween-themed rubber-stamping party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Montebello Regional Library, 1550 W. Beverly Blvd. Members will make artists trading cards and will exchange Thanksgiving Day cards. The meeting is free and open to adults. For more information, call (323) 722-6551, or (323)722-1745. Volunteers needed to spruce up school Her crystal paintings will be on display through Oct. 29. The gallery is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. For more information, call (562) 691-9739. Historian to speak to genealogical club WHITTIER – The monthly meeting of the Whittier Area Genealogical Society (WAGS) will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Whittier Masonic Lodge, 7604 Greenleaf Ave. Fred Andrews, park ranger and interpreter at the Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier, will give a speech on Pio Pico. Visitors are welcome at the meetings. For more information, call (562) 941-3184, or (562)695-5431. Classes forming for little dancers WHITTIER – A five-week youth dance class will begin the week of Oct. 23 at Parnell Park Community Center, 15390 Lambert Road. Ballet, jazz and tap will be taught in the classes for ages 5-8. The fee is $40 for Whittier residents; $45 for nonresidents. For more information, call (562) 464-3430. Antique Faire coming to Uptown WHITTIER – The Whittier Uptown Association will present its annual Antique Street Faire from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Vendors will be in booths along Philadelphia Street, between Greenleaf and Painter avenues. For-sale items will include furniture, art, pottery, jewelry, glassware, quilts, toys, books and memorabilia. Appraisals will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $3 an item. For more information, call (562) 696-2662. Military families program offered WHITTIER – Residents who have family members in the military can apply for the city’s Blue Star Program. They will receive a Blue Star service kit with a flag, lapel pin and window decal for each family member currently serving in the military. Information about those service members are also available on the city’s Web site and at the City Hall lobby. Applications can be downloaded from the city’s Web site: www.whittierch.org. For more information, call (562) 464-3360. – From staff reports160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Gareth Southgate reveals: Three at the back is the way forward for England

first_imgEngland manager Gareth Southgate plans to head into the World Cup with a three-man back line, even if it means good players missing out.Qualification for next summer’s finals was straightforward enough, but the manner of recent performances produced more questions than answers.Southgate is well aware that improvements are needed and, having sat down in the summer with assistant Steve Holland and made a ‘very strong assessment of the squad’, will now move to a three-man defence permanently.Having dabbled with it in the friendlies at Germany and France, qualification with a game to spare allowed the Three Lions to try it again in Lithuania.The upcoming friendlies with Germany and Brazil will be sterner tests of a formation Southgate believes could suit England, with the boss saying ‘some consistency’ was now needed in formation and philosophy in order to help perform under pressure.“I think we have got to focus on a system and really try to hone it, work on it, improve it,” the England manager said, having relied heavily on 4-2-3-1 in qualification.“That might mean we might have to leave some good players out, but I think we have to start to make those decisions over the next couple of camps.”Asked if playing three at the back was the way forwards, he said: “Yes, I think for us it is.“For me, in terms of the way we’d want to play from the back, I think it’s a better option.“At the moment we turn the ball over too much and when we turn it over, we split into two centre-backs, we’re wide open. We were still open (against Lithuania) with three, so it would be a benefit if we didn’t keep turning the ball over.“But I think it gives us good stability and it gives easier solutions for our midfield players as well.“Then what we play in front of it, there is a possibility to switch, maybe get two strikers in certain games.“We felt keep the system as we have used it before, because it is such a quick turnaround of games.“But three in midfield with two forwards also becomes an option, but I think three at the back is what we ought to do.” 1 Gareth Southgate intends to head into the World Cup using a three at the back formation last_img read more

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No points but plenty promise as VAR causes controversy

first_imgNikita Parris converted the penalty and knocked the stuffing out of Scotland.Ellen White made it 2-0 and only goalkeeper Lee Alexander prevented it from being a couple more at half time.The heat began to stifle the atmosphere and just when it looked like the energy was sapping on the pitch, Scotland ignited the crowd.Claire Emslie’s fine finish 11 minutes from time threw them a lifeline – and by the rapturous reception the goal got, it was clear who the neutrals were rooting for. Alas, it wasn’t to be as England held on for victory, but Scotland showed they deserve to be on this World Cup stage. Onwards now to Rennes, and the challenge of Japan. The last time the Auld Enemy met – in the opening clash of the Euros – England cruised to a 6-0 win. Just three players from that side started for Scotland in this game and everyone in the squad vowed that there would not be a repeat. But with just 11 minutes gone, Shelley Kerr’s side were hit with a sucker punch. Referee Jana Adamkova halted play and made that now famous signal to check video technologyEngland’s first goal came in controversial circumstances. SNS GroupThe 13,000 crowd held their collective breath as pictures were analysed to establish whether Nicola Docherty had broken these new, confusing and very controversial handball rules.And to the disdain of those in blue, the answer was yes. The river that runs alongside the Stade de Nice is called Le Var and on hot, sticky days like today it helps cool the city streets.For Scotland, in the media glare of their first World Cup match, ‘le VAR’ sent temperatures through the roof and left them wondering what could have been.From the beaches and cafes along the promenade, the girls’ teams, fully paid up Tartan Army soldiers and young families, all decked out in Scotland colours, descended on the stadium full of excitement about watching their nation in a World Cup – and with just a little bit of hope. In each seat there were mini saltires or St. George’s Cross flags with drinks (all alcohol-free) served in commemorative cups. The MC was charged with keeping noise levels at an eardrum-busting level, and he didn’t miss by much.last_img read more

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