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News Round Up [July 17, 2017]

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With more than 150 Alaska communities excluded from jury service, can village residents get a fair trial?

Alaska Dispatch News by Lisa Demer

BETHEL — In remote villages all over Alaska, no one ever gets called for state jury duty. To save money, Alaska intentionally excludes people from trials in more than 150 communities, some on the road system but most not: Ambler and Anaktuvuk Pass, Cantwell and Chevak, Whittier and Willow.

The state says it's saving money, but advocates say the practice results in blacklisting of communities and jury members who are not cultural or racial peers of some defendants. The system is now being challenged by a village resident who says that, in a hallucination brought on by "hysteria," he shot two strangers who he believed could have been mythical tundra creatures.

Other reviews have found the same thing.

Concern over jury travel costs "has resulted in effective blacklisting of many Alaska communities and their citizens from participation in the jury process," said a 1995 report by the Alaska Public Interest Research Group cited by AVCP and its lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska Foundation and the Native American Rights Fund.

Far-away courts and exclusion from juries contribute to feelings of isolation and distrust of the criminal justice system, the Alaska Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Fairness and Access concluded in 1997 after spending 20 months investigating various inequities.

"Many state residents see the court system as a remote, intimidating and unfathomable institution," the committee said. The full committee urged that presiding judges figure out how to include as many residents as possible for jury duty.

Ten years later, a follow-up review found no real improvement. [Read the rest]

Tennessee man finds his calling on the shores of the Inside Passage

Posted by Emma Atkinson

Greg McMillan, a self-professed country boy from Tennessee, has found that in Alaska he can do something other than farm the land – he can farm the ocean.

McMillan owns Keta Seafoods, a seafood farm in Craig. He originally came to Alaska to work for the Forest Service in the early 2000s. He said he scored the Forest Service internship largely because of his ability to play the banjo.

“I guess they need more musicians up here, apparently,” he laughed. “So that’s one of those interesting things.”

He returned home to Tennessee for a few years to start a construction company.

But McMillan couldn’t stay away from Southeast Alaska.

In 2009, he returned to Alaska. He knew he was interested in the commercial fishing industry, and shellfish in particular. So he attended the Alaska Shellfish Association meeting in 2010. That, he said, was when he knew it was what he wanted to do. [Read the rest]

Haiti Official Who Exposed The Clinton Foundation Is Found Dead


Eberwein was a former Haitian government official who was expected to expose the extent of Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week.

He has been found dead in Miami at the age of 50.

The circumstances surrounding Eberwein’s death are also nothing less than unpalatable. According to Miami-Dade’s medical examiner records supervisor, the official cause of death is “gunshot to the head.“ Eberwein’s death has been registered as “suicide” by the government. But not long before his death, he acknowledged that his life was in danger because he was outspoken on the criminal activities of the Clinton Foundation.

Eberwein was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, for three years. “The Clinton Foundation, they are criminals, they are thieves, they are liars, they are a disgrace,” Eberwein said at a protest outside the Clinton Foundation headquarters in Manhattan last year. Eberwein was due to appear on Tuesday before the Haitian Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission where he was widely expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors. But this “suicide” gets even more disturbing…

Eberwein was only 50-years-old and reportedly told acquaintances he feared for his life because of his fierce criticism of the Clinton Foundation. His close friends and business partners were taken aback by the idea he may have committed suicide. “It’s really shocking,” said friend Gilbert Bailly. “We grew up together; he was like family.”

During and after his government tenure, Eberwein faced allegations of fraud and corruption on how the agency he headed administered funds. Among the issues was FAES’ oversight of the shoddy construction of several schools built after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. But, according to Eberwein, it was the Clinton Foundation who was deeply in the wrong – and he intended to testify and prove it on Tuesday. [Source]

Top UK university replaces portraits of bearded white scholars with ethnic minorities and women


The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience is planning to have more BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) portraits, replacing depictions of white faculty staff members in the main entrance hall.

Professor Patrick Leman, the institute’s dean of education based at King’s College London, said this was aimed at preventing current teaching from being too “intimidating” for ethnic minorities.

The dean added that the portraits were “almost entirely white middle-aged men” and more up-to-date scholars would replace them, making the educational establishment less “alienating” for students from a diverse cultural background.

Professor Leman denied that the original busts would be disposed of. “It’s not that we’re throwing anything into the bin,” he told the The Daily Telegraph. Rather, these portraits would be moved and rehung in less prominent college locations.

The move was attacked by Sam Barrett, president of the King’s Conservative Association, saying it was “political correctness gone mad”. [Story]


It Has Begun: DHS Now Scanning Americans’ Faces at Airports


The Department of Homeland Security is implementing a new plan that will give Americans even less privacy while traveling abroad. Under the new system, Americans leaving the country will be forced to pass through biometric scanners that will scan individual faces.

While this program has not yet been fully implemented, there are already at least six airports that are currently running the program, and some of them have been using it for several months. The airports where you can currently expect to get scanned are in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C. However, the Department of Homeland Security has been very clear that they hope to roll this program out nationwide by January 2018.

Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University, said that this program was initially only targeted at people entering the country, not leaving. However, DHS allegedly decided to broaden the scope of the program and target even more people, including Americans leaving the country.

“Congress authorized scans of foreign nationals. DHS heard that and decided to scan everyone,” Bedoya said. “That’s not how a democracy is supposed to work.” [Full Article]


Hitler’s Mein Kampf returns to Japanese schools as ‘teaching material’


Japan has okayed using Mein Kampf, Hitler’s autobiography and Nazi manifesto, in schools for educational purposes just weeks after the similarly controversial Imperial Rescript on Education was approved as “teaching material,” according to media reports.

Although the Japanese government approved Hitler’s infamous book as “teaching material” for schools on Friday, using it to promote racial hatred will lead to a strict response from regulators, according to the Japan Times report.

The decision came weeks after the controversial Imperial Rescript on Education in schools was approved for the same purposes.

According to many historians, the Rescript, which focuses on patriotism and loyalty to the Japanese Emperor, was one of the primary sources promoting obedience and moral certitude that helped militarism to grow in Japan.

It was issued in 1890 to expound the government’s policy on teaching the Japanese Empire’s guiding principles and it was subsequently distributed to all of the country’s schools, along with a portrait of Emperor Meiji. Schoolchildren were obliged to learn and recite it from time to time.

Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the World War II, American occupation authorities banned formal reading of the Rescript.

“Use of the Imperial Rescript on Education as teaching material cannot be denied,” Japan’s cabinet said in a statement on March 31 this year.

The Imperial Rescript came into the limelight earlier this year after a video emerged showing three- to five-year-old pupils at an Osaka kindergarten reciting the long-defunct document. The video sparked heated discussion in Japanese society and angered the Chinese, who suffered the most at the hands of Japan’s imperial forces. China lost between 15 and 20 million people during the war, the majority of whom were civilians. [Source]

TIL Thomas Jefferson kept a shetland sheep at the White House. It attacked several people, killed a small boy, and was eventually called "this abominable animal"

A notorious Shetland sheep was a ram kept by United States President Thomas Jefferson for several years in the early nineteenth century. Unlike modern Shetlands (but like some related breeds) this ram had four horns. He was kept with about 40 other sheep on President's Square in front of the White House. In the spring of 1808, it attacked several people who had taken shortcuts across the square, injuring some and actually killing a small boy. Having been moved to Jefferson's private estate at Monticello, the ram was eventually killed after having killed several other rams: it was described by Jefferson as "this abominable animal". Such aggressive Shetland rams, however, are unusual.

In North America, the original Jefferson flock of Shetlands did not persist. Other importations were made at the beginning of the twentieth century most notably to Mrs. W.W. Burch of Coopersville, MI (wife of the Editor of the American Sheep Breeder at the time), and Mr. L.V. Harkness of the Walnut Hall (the same of Standardbred Horse fame). There is record of these flocks surviving until 1916, and also record of another flock in Illinois in 1917. By 1921, it was recorded that Shetlands could not be bought in the U.S. (The Sheep Breeder, 1921). It was not until the mid-twentieth century that Shetlands were imported into Canada, and then from Canada into the United States in the 1980s. Since then, a North American Shetland Sheep Registry has been established, and there are now thousands of the breed in the region. [Source]

Read More: Hollis School is Looking for Old Globes to Up-Cycle

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