Tag Archive | "March 23"

Full Broadcast – March 23, 2012

Click here to listen to our full broadcast from Friday, March 23, 2012:

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Newscast – Top of the Hour

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News at 4 p.m. brought to you by Leanna Orr.

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Impacting Elections in New York City

New York City Council members observe the debate on term limits at City Hall. Photo by Frank Franklin II/AP

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HOST INTRO: New York’s next elections for mayor and city council are still a year and a half away. But last week, the city Campaign Finance Board passed a new set of rules that could have a big impact on how those races are run. Nat Herz has the story.

NAT: You know that Supreme Court decision, Citizens United? The one that has turned the presidential election upside down by loosening federal campaign finance laws? Well, up until last week, some of New York City’s laws were even looser.
Here’s city Campaign Finance Board Spokesman Eric Friedman.

IC: “There was no requirement at all at the city level…”
OC: “…for outside parties to disclose what they’re spending in city elections.”
Time: 0:08

NAT: At the federal level, groups supporting a candidate generally have to say where they’re getting their cash, and how much they’re spending on ads and mailings. That’s never been the case in New York. To put it another way, says Laurence Laufer, former counsel for the city’s Campaign Finance Board, New York had a loophole that doesn’t exist at the federal level.

IC: “New York City has had a campaign finance law for 25 years…”
OC: “…those were simply outside of the disclosure regime.”
Time: 0:12

NAT: The disclosure gap applied to any so-called independent efforts, which could be backed by labor unions, corporations, even wealthy individuals.  Groups didn’t have to say who they got their money from, or where it was going. For example, several 2009 city council races were influenced by a $500,000 independent campaign backed by real estate companies. Only after the race did citizens get the details—too late to inform decisions at the polls. Voters passed new disclosure rules in a citywide ballot measure in 2010. After revisions and public comments, they were approved by the Campaign Finance Board last week. Friedman says the rules are an improvement.

IC: “We have the disclosure so that voters…”
OC: “…going to help them determine who they vote for.”
Time: 0:08

NAT: In recent mayoral races, independent money has played only a small role.  Laufer, the campaign lawyer, says that’s because of the unique situation of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has bankrolled his own campaigns.
IC: “The story of the last decade has been spending…”
OC: “…who’s going to do something similar.”
Time: 0:13

NAT: Bloomberg’s absence will likely increase the clout of the independent groups in November, 2013. In both city and federal races, there are rules forbidding coordination with a candidate’s campaign. In national elections, though, groups like Super PACs have a lot of leeway. It’s a point driven home by satirist Steven Colbert, who has been running for presidential.

IC: “Nation, so much to get to tonight…”
OC: “…if in any way those ads can be traced back to me.”
Time: 0:20

NAT: The Federal Election Commission hasn’t gone after Colbert for those shenanigans. But it’s unlikely he could get away with it in New York—the city’s definition of coordination is more expansive. That means that independent groups will have to tread carefully if they opt to spend in the 2013 elections. Something for Colbert to keep in mind if his presidential bid flops and he decides to run for mayor.

Nat Herz, Columbia Radio News.

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MTA Employees Cope With Deaths on Tracks

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Around 7 percent of New Yorkers who take their own life do it in a subway-related way. Many lie on the tracks, or jump in front of oncoming trains. The MTA code for it is 12-9. John Light reports that memories of these incidents stay with train operators throughout their careers.

Around seven percent of New Yorkers who take their own life do it in a subway-related way. Many lie on the tracks, or jump in front of oncoming trains. The mta code for it is 12-9. John Light reports that memories of these incidents stay with train operators throughout their careers.

It was early on an August morning, about two years ago, when Jermaine Dennis had his first 12-9. He was driving an A train, approaching the Aqueduct Subway platform, near JFK airport.

As I was coming into that station, um, a lady had jumped right in front of my train. And I applied the emergency breaks on the train. Four cars went over her. I was in a state of disbelief at the time. I couldn’t believe what had occurred.

Dennis stepped from the train. The woman was still alive. He asked some people on the platform to speak with her.

She said to leave her alone and let her die in peace …After watching her being taken up from underneath the train and then hearing about her passing in the hospital… it took a toll.

The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported last month that around 40 New Yorkers kill themselves this way every year. They looked at other methods of suicide as well. More than 400 people hanged themselves, poisened themselves, shot themselves, or jumped from a building – but subway-related suicides were the only method that had an unwilling participant. After a 12-9, subway drivers often take a few months off and seek psychological treatment. Psychologist Howard Rombom runs a practice on Long Island that has treated hundreds of mta workers after 12-9s.

We need to understand that these kinds of trauma undermine the patient’s fundamental sense of safety and predictability. We try to help train operators understand that they didn’t really kill anyone themselves, the train did.

Rombom says that in most cases, train operators suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Acute Stress Disorder – both of which have the same symptoms. Train operators also tend to feel isolated after a 12-9 — Rombom tries to help them ovecome that.

One of the things we have our patients do is sort of push themselves into social situations and also explain themselves to their family and friends, so the family and friends don’t perceive it as much as being rejection as much as this is what’s happening to me because of this.

Jermaine Dennis said he too felt isolated. He drifted away from family events, like evening game nights with his wife and six kids. But Dennis also had recurring dreams.

During my sleep she would come in a white gown, the lady who had jumped in front of my train. She would come in a white gown. Especially when there’s lightning, moreover, that’s when I would see her. So that was something I had to cope and get over with the psychologist who helped me.

Rombom says that most mta employees are able to return to work after a few months, and have recovered from post-traumatic stress disorder within a year. On Dennis’s first day back at work, he said he approached stations very, very cautiously – and he still does. It ended up being helpful a year later, when another person laid down on the tracks in front of his train. Dennis stopped in time. John Light, Columbia Radio News.

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Republicans Try to Woo Youth With Social Media

Republican candidates turn to social media to try to connect to voters. Photo by Timur Emak, DAPD

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HOST INTRO: The Republican presidential candidates are having a tough time generating enthusiasm among young voters. In the Illinois primary earlier this week, only four percent of voters were under 30. That’s down from 12 percent in 2008. Mississippi and Alabama have also seen a decrease. The candidates have been trying to take a page out of President Obama’s 2008 campaign by using social media to attract the younger crowd. Rachel Rogers reports. TIME: 0:20

William Palumbo is a twenty-seven year old republican who’s been following the GOP nomination race through social media.  On a recent evening he checked his iPhone for updates.

“I’m gonna pull up my twitter application. There’s a lot of feeds in it, so I’ll switch to my own…
TIME: 0:05

He zoomed in on one candidate’s tweets and immediately noticed an error.

…Alright so I’m looking at Rick Santorum’s twitter feed. Ok so the first thing I note is a misspelling.
TIME: 0:08

Palumbo says social media is great for learning about a campaign’s policies. But it doesn’t say much about the candidates as people.

“The candidate’s personality comes out when they talk in person and it seems relatively obvious that whoever’s running their twitter account is not them.”
TIME: 0:08

But the GOP candidates have been trying to use social media platforms to reach out to constituents on a personal level. Donald Green is a political science professor at Columbia University. He says that people like one-on-one contact.

“The things that seem to work best are heart felt, authentic communications that are made face to face.”
TIME: 0:07

Campaigns have been using social media to try to create that kind of intimacy on a mass scale. Social media analysts say some campaigns do it better than others. The Meltwater Group is a firm that advises clients on how to monitor their own Internet presence. Earlier this year the company gave out GOP Social Media Awards. Kimling Lam writes for Meltwater’s election 2012 blog. She says the firm looked at how the candidates interact with the public.

“We’re talking about engaging, getting people and constituents to actually participate in conversations for example on a Facebook wall.”
TIME: 0:08

Meltwater awarded Texas Congressman Ron Paul the best Facebook and YouTube awards. The company gave Former Massachusetts’s Governor Mitt Romney awards for best use of twitter and Best Overall Social Media Engagement. Lam says that Romney has effectively used twitter to counteract claims that he’s out of touch with average Americans.

“He tweets photos when he meets constituents along the campaign trail, and he really uses twitter to show off his everyday guy persona.”
TIME: 0:11

But it isn’t clear that any of this actually works. Columbia political scientist Donald Green says it’s next to impossible to do research because of privacy restrictions. One thing researchers do know is that social media tends not to reach voters with deep pockets.

“Fundraising tends to be disproportionately focused on older voters and so that’s why it’s unclear whether the input and output of social media investments really pays off”
TIME: 0:13

Those investments may not be paying off. Today on twitter not one of the top ten trending topics in New Orleans was related to politics, even though 46 delegates are up for grabs tomorrow in Louisiana’s primary. Rachel Rogers, Columbia Radio News.

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Hugo Chavez Faces Tough Presidential Challenge

Hugo Chavez waves to supporters from a balcony at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. Photo by Ariana Cubillos, AP

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It is an election year in Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez has been in power for 13 years and is facing a tough challenge from a united opposition. Chavez’s government also tends to identify the press as a principle adversary. Lawyer Oswaldo Mackenzie Issler talks to Cali, who works for the organization Espacio Publico, which defends freedom of expression and advocates for public information. Cali says Chavez has created a variety of obstacles for opposition media.

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Bloomberg Going Global Against Smoking


The School of Public Health is a no smoking campus, much like the rest of New York City. Photo by Acacia Squires

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Host: Smoking is the world’s number one preventable cause of death. For the past 10 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made it his personal mission to prevent some of these deaths. His administration has rolled out one initiative after another to prevent smoking right here in the city. Now, he’s expanding his campaign internationally. Acacia Squires takes a look.

Squires: This week health advocates from around the world are gathering in Singapore at the 15th annual World Conference on Tobacco. One of the advocates there is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He took the opportunity yesterday to announce a sizeable donation.

Bloomberg: We just committed another 220 million dollars over the next four years to help work and convince governments to help raise taxes because if you raise taxes, kids stop smoking, and if kids don’t smoke as kids, they won’t smoke as adults and they will live a lot longer and healthier lives.

Squires: Raising taxes on cigarettes was one of Mayor Bloomberg’s first initiatives after he took office in 2001. Back then, the tax was just eight cents. Now, with city and state combined, smokers in the big apple pay five dollars in taxes, swelling the total cost of some brands to fifteen dollars a pack.

Smoker Warren Duncan is standing outside of work on Broadway and one hundred sixty eighth street, taking a drag.

Sound: 168th Street and Broadway

Squires: This sidewalk is one of the last places where Duncan can publically smoke in the city. In 2010 Bloomberg banned smoking in bars and restaurants, and in 2011 he banned it in parks and on beaches. He says the heavy cigarette taxes don’t deter him.

Squires: How much do you pay for a pack of cigarettes?

Duncan: I pay eight bucks a pack.

Squires: Okay, I won’t ask you where you get your cigarettes (laughs).

Duncan: Chinatown, Chinatown, everything is in Chinatown.

Squires: This is still a problem in the city. Some retailers sell cigarettes they import illegally. Despite that, Dr. Barron Lerner at the Mailman School of public health says Bloomberg’s campaign has been successful in New York City.

Lerner: I think what’s happened in New York City was a total success. I mean the rates of smoking went way down. The numbers of tobacco related deaths in the City have estimated to have fallen dramatically. Rates of smoking have gone way down.

Squires: He says Bloomberg taking his anti-smoking tactics abroad is a great idea.

Lerner: Bloomberg hopes that it can be transported overseas on an international basis where similar strategies can be used.

Squires: Zandra Feather started smoking when she was just twelve years old. Bloomberg is helping to catch kids like her, before they’re hooked. She’s walking to class at Columbia University.

Sound: 116th and Broadway St Street.

Squires: By the time Feather was twenty-two, she decided it was time to quit. Now she applauds the crackdown.

Feather:  Here’s the thing, I don’t have a problem with smokers smoking. But I do have a problem when I am in a park, trying to enjoy my day and someone is smoking next to me and I am inhaling their cigarette smoke.

Squires: So, what did she think when Bloomberg the outdoor smoking measure last year?

Feather: Well, I was thrilled, but it’s not like there’s any enforcement measures so I haven’t really experienced an effect.

Squires: She’s right, New Yorkers are supposed to report smokers they see in city parks and on beaches, but the fifty dollar fine seems to be rarely imposed. Bloomberg hopes his charitable donation will  lead to similar initiatives abroad.  Acacia Squires, Columbia Radio NewsS


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Exhilaration Before ‘The Hunger Games’ Premiere

"The Hunger Games" premiered at midnight on Friday. Photo by Paul Smith

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INTRO: As Harry Potter’s magic fades and the lifeblood trickles from the Twilight series, there’s a new teen franchise to get excited about. The big screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games, opens today.

PAUL SMITH, REPORTER: The novel has been a New York Times bestseller for three years. And the movie’s predicted to shatter box office records. But the story is violent, perhaps too violent for a young audience. The plot centers on teens killing teens in a brutal quest for survival. Paul Smith staid up past his bedtime for a midnight screening. Two hours before the movie opens, there’s a line snaking round AMC Loews Lincoln Square cinema. People clutch kindles and dog-eared paperbacks. And many are in costume – pink wigs, sparkly blazers, some are carrying fake bows and arrows. These diehard fans look slightly older than Harry Potter or Twilight nerds. Elizabeth, a NYU student, is dressed from head to toe in pink, in homage to character Effie Trinket. She says she’s read the novels ten times and just spent her spring break reading them again.

ELIZABETH: As much as I love Harry, it’s nice to have a woman hero for once.

The bravery and resilience of Katniss Everdine appeals to both girls and boys. And being a teen movie, there’s an angsty love triangle too, which entices super fan Kyle.

KYLE: Like Twilight, there’s like team werewolf and team vampire. Hunger Games, Paul, is team Peta or team Gale. Personally, I’m team Gale because he’s so sensual and masculine and quiet and you fall in love with that man.

PAUL SMITH: But wait a minute, let’s rewind. The story is set in a bleak future, when 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to fight in the annual Hunger Games, a humiliating public spectacle, intended to punish the innocent.  The contest makes Katniss a celebrity. But to be the winner, teens must methodically kill each other off.  Tonight, all the Lowes Theater’s multiple screenings sold out, starting at 12.01, 12.02, and so on.  Literary crossovers on this scale are pretty rare says Laura Miller, a cultural critic for salon.com.  The Hunger Games’s  success, she says, is partly literary clout, but also has to do with word of mouth, shrewd marketing campaigns, tantalizing cliffhangers and a not-so-secret allegory for older readers.

LAURA MILLER: What adults respond to is this vulture like voyeurism of highly mediated eea not just reality tv but paparazzi all this stuff the idea that we just consume other peoples lives in a heartless way.

PAUL SMITH: And in a gory one. Kids impale kids with spears. Or they get set on fire.  Or attacked by killer bees. The movie’s struggled to earn a PG-13 rating.  Beth Puffer runs the Bank Street Bookstore on the upper west side, specializing in children’s literature. She’s been shifting plenty of copies lately, but with a warning.

BETH PUFFER: We do have parents of younger children coming in wanting to read it because they’ve heard about it and we discourage them because we’re very honest about what it’s about and that it can be very troubling to a younger child.

PAUL SMITH: Some moviegoers found it troubling too. At 3.am, the crowd trickled out of a screening downtown, including Dan Walsh.

DAN WALSH: It was a lot more disturbing than I originally thought. When you’re reading it you don’t think about teenagers killing each other but now it’s so blatantly obvious.

PAUL SMITH: Disturbing or not, it’s already hit. Advanced box office sales have pulled in more than $100 million dollars.


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Newscast – Bottom of the Hour

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Jacqueline Guzman brings us the news at 4:3o p.m.

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Background Check of Job Applicants on Facebook

ACLU of Maryland wants a law prohibiting employers from logging in to job applicant’s facebook pages.

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The ACLU of Maryland is working with that state’s legislature to pass a law prohibiting employers from logging in to job applicant’s Facebook pages. The bill has passed the state senate, and is being considered by a committee in the house. John Light spoke with Melissa Goemann, the legislative director of the ACLU of Maryland. Light asked her, first, to explain the scenario that peaked the ACLU’s interest in social media privacy. Goemann told him the story of a man named Robert Collins.

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Harlem Honors First African-American Military Air Division

A flight of Curtiss P-40 fighter planes manned by the U.S. Air Corps Task Force in 1942. AP Photo/Army Signal Corps

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Host: As of today, the 100th Street bus depot in Harlem has a new name. Sarah Laing was at ceremony dedicating the transit hub in honour of the ‘Tuskeegee Airmen’, the first African American military air division.

Laing: The Tuskeegee airmen were legendary fighter pilots. They’ve been hailed as civil rights warriors. So it’s not obvious why the New York Transit Authority re-christen a bus depot with their name. The explanation for this incongruous matching lies in the story of men like Conrad DeSandies. His son, Andre, is here for the unveiling of a plaque that bears his father’s name…almost by accident.

DeSandies: He was originally from Trinidad, and when he came to New York, he lived in Harlem, and he got drafted almost immediately.

Laing: Conrad DeSandies found himself at an air force base in Alabama, part of the Tuskeegee Airmen. In the second world war, the official line was that African Americans could not serve as pilots in a segregated army. The black flying unit was created after some pressure by civil rights group as an ‘experiment’. That experiment produced one of the most successful fighter squadrons of the war. But when members of the unit returned home, it was as if they had never served at all – no matter how skilled they were as mechanics or technicians.

De Sandies: They couldn’t get jobs in the air industry… you know, Jim Crowe was alive and well.

Laing: One of the few places that would hire them was the then-private New York Transit authority. DeSandies settled down to life as a mechanic for the MTA buses, after he spent the war fixing P-40 Mustang fighters. Andre DeSandies wasn’t even aware of his father’s distinguished service record until very recently.

De Sandies: What’s interesting is that I found out he was a Tuskeegee airman, a very famous one, and I talked to the other Tuskeegee airmen’s families, and they said we didn’t know. And I said how come you didn’t know, and they said we just didn’t talk about it, we keep a low profile. We just did our job. So they just accomplished it, did their time, walked proud, as they still do, and they didn’t talk too much about it.

Laing: At today’s dedication one of the 12 Tuskeegee airmen who worked for the MTA, one of the Tuskeegee Airmen did speak. Reginald Brewster worked as a clerk for the transit agency while going to law school.

Brewster: I am immensely proud and happy to be here today. At 94 years old, I’m the oldest guy in the room. And I am a living testimony that the colour of your skin does not determine your mental capacity or your character.

Laing: Brewster is one of only two of the Tuskeegee Airmen who worked at the MTA left alive. Over 130 buses will leave the Tuskeegee Airmen bus depot each day – each bearing a decal of a Red Tailed plane, the enduring legacy of these pioneering fliers.

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Former Rebel Leader Found Guilty of Using Child Soldiers

Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, center, awaits his verdict in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. Photo by Evert-Jan Daniels/AP

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Host Intro: This month, the International Criminal Court delivered its first decision. It convicted former rebel leader Thomas Lubanga [Lu-BANG-a] of using child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Human rights activists hope the decision will deter military leaders from employing this tactic. For decades, as my co-host Mackenzie Issler reports, rebel groups and governments have used child soldiers to fight their wars. Mackenzie Issler reports.

The Mozambique Civil War ended in 1992, after 16 years of fighting. Reporter John Fleming covered the United Nations intervention after the conflict that left about a million dead. Fleming talked to children who had served as soldiers and learned the horrors they faced.  (14:5)

Fleming: Sometimes, they would be made to kill family members in the presence of rebels, sometimes they were forced to watch the executions of others that were close to them.  (13:5)

That was 20 years ago. But, this practice remains rampant in areas of conflict and instability. Military leaders who used child soldiers have gone mostly unpunished. Fleming is the editor of the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange and continues to cover issues in Africa. He was in Sudan about a year ago and met a family who had been raided by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is led by Joseph Kony. Kony was the source of the recent viral video Kony 2012.

Fleming: The man and woman managed to escape with their sons, but their daughter was kidnapped and is now still a slave of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  So, these things continue to go on. (13:3)

In the March 14th decision, the ICC found Lubanga for recruiting and enlisting boys and girls under the age of 15, which is a violation of international law. He used child soldiers, some as young as 7, in the Ituri district in the Congo during 2002 and 2003.

Geraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, of Human Rights Watch, said the judges’ decision helped clarify what makes someone a child soldier. For example, the judges described the use of child soldiers as a continuous crime. This means the crime starts when a child was enlisted or conscripted and doesn’t end until he or she turns 15 or is released from the armed activities. The judges also examined how the children were enlisted.

Mattioli-Zeltner: In the case of Lubanga, a lot of children were given by their families as an effort to war. A lot of them joined voluntarily. The judges found this factor does not matter. The crime is still committed. (22:1)

Also, children are considered soldiers even when they engage in non-violent activities like scouting, spying and sending messages, the judges said. The verdict did come under some criticism, however, for the way it dealt with the issue of girl soldiers. Lubanga’s group recruited and abducted both boys and girls and evidence presented in the trial showed that often the girls were sexually abused and used as sex slaves. But the judges decided that these gender offenses are separate from the use of child soldiers. And, Human Rights Watch agreed.

Mattioli-Zeltner: We do believe they should stay separate, because the sexual use of children, even though it was very prominent in Congo, is not a feature that exists everywhere in the world.

Human rights activists believe this case could help change legal attitudes and practices throughout the world. Other international courts, like those in Sierra Leone and Rwanda, have tackled similar crimes. But the ICC, an independent institute joined by 120 nations, could have a bigger impact because of its broad mandate and scope. But activists, like the executive director of Child Soldiers International Richard Clarke, say they know there is still long road ahead of them to stop the recruitment of children.

Clarke: I think the Lubanga verdict is an important step toward ending impunity for these crimes. But I will also say, there is some way to go until there is a patent of accountability, until there is effective criminalization of such activity. There is always the risk renewed recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Human rights activists and organizations want to see more people prosecuted for these crimes, like Lubanga’s co-accused, Bosco Ntganda. He is currently a general in the Congo army in Goma, eastern Congo. Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and his lieutenant Okot Odhiambo, are also wanted on arrest warrants by the ICC for abducting children and forcing them to participate in hostilities in northern Uganda.

The United Nations estimates tens of thousands of child soldiers are still fighting in conflicts from Africa to Asia and Latin America.

The prosecutor of the ICC said a day after the trial that he will ask for a sentence “close to the maximum” for Lubanga. Under the court’s founding document, the Rome Statute, the maximum sentence available to judges is 30 years or life imprisonment.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for later this year. Mackenzie Issler, Columbia Radio News.

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Brooklynites Gradually Accept Barclays Sports Arena

Barclays Sports Center in Brooklyn will open on Sept. 28 with a Jay-Z concert. Photo by Hristina Tisheva

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HOST INTRO: The Barclays Sports Center in Brooklyn is the future home of the New Jersey Nets. Many Brooklynites–even sports fans–have complained about the project since it was first announced in 2003. But now that it’s opening in September, some of the arena’s neighbors are looking forward to the jobs it will create. Hristina Tisheva reports.

Tony Delpino just finished basketball practice in a park at Bergen and 6th Avenue… around the corner from the sports center. Bouncing the ball, he passes the construction site but doesn’t even look at it. Delpino doesn’t think it should be there.

SOUND: Basketball bouncing

DELPINO: You move so many people out of the area who lived there their whole lives, so maybe they don’t know anything besides that section of Brooklyn. I can imagine it was hard for them.

Delpino is referring to hundreds of people that the developers, Forest City Ratner, relocated. They got the support of New York’s Supreme Court, which ruled Ratner could use eminent domain — that’s seizing private property without owners’ consent, but compensating them. Even Delpino’s aunt was moved to a neighborhood of her choice – Bensonhurst. He says she was unhappy in the beginning but got over it. Elizabeth Gold is not over it.

GOLD: There also wasn’t even the slightest effort made to think about making this into something special and just another ugly thing.

Gold wasn’t relocated. But she’s lived nearby for 15 years. She hated the way the developers just built whatever they wanted.

GOLD: Some attention to the make up of the neighborhood would have been nice.

A lot of people share Gold’s view. A series of documentaries called The Battle for Brooklyn followed residents’ efforts to stop the project.

DOCUMENTARY: This fight gets ugly at times because you have a community that is at war with itself and you have no adults in the room. It’s left to a corporate entity and a community.

But all the movie did was delay construction for six years. Now rent in the area is up. And some business can’t afford it. One of them is Triangle Sports across the street from the venue at 5th and Flatbush avenues. Ashante Brulan has worked there for 8 years. But he’s not worried about finding new work.

BRULAN: Once they build it, they’re going to need to staff it. So it’s going to create jobs that way. I heard they’re going t hire Brooklyn residents. So, that’s a good thing.

Right now, about 650 people work daily in and around the arena.

SOUND: Fading up and down sound of construction work going on.

Barclays says it will have about 1,000 jobs to fill when it opens at the end of September. It’s not clear how many will go to Brooklyn residents says Barclays vice president of marketing, Elisa Pedilla..

PEDILLA: I can tell you that Barclays center will be an equal opportunity employer so there will be jobs for anyone who is qualified for the positions that we’re going to be posting.

But Brooklyn food vendors will get special treatment. Barclays is already accepting applications online. Some people are still wondering what the fuss is about– including David Philip, who’s been a Brooklyn resident for 25 years.

PHILIP: The space’s been there. It’s been a train yard for years. Nobody complained about a train yard being there. Now because it’s a building, everybody has a problem with that. But it’s a big thing for Brooklyn. It puts Brooklyn back on the map.

Philip says he’s planning to go see a game. And so is everyone interviewed for this story. Even Elizabeth Gold, who resents the project.

SOUND: People playing basketball.

They say they’ll watch the Nets because…they’re right in their backyard. Hristina Tisheva. Columbia Radio News.

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Facing Stereotypes as a Southerner in New York

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Intro: As a native of the Pacific Northwest, commentator Jackie Mader heard plenty of stereotypes about Southerners. They were hunters with shotguns, superficial debutantes, or racists. But she had to rethink that when she moved south of the Mason Dixon line.

In 2009, I got my dream job through Teach For America, teaching middle school special education. I was living in Los Angeles, and when I told my friends the job was in Charlotte, North Carolina, they did all they could to make the transition easier. My best friend made a card and drew what she labeled  “Southern Jackie” on the front. In the picture I was eating at a place called “Bojangles,” with a man my friend said was my new southern boyfriend. He was wearing a pastel colored polo shirt.

In Charlotte, I could barely understand people’s accents. The girls I met during training seemed like caricatures. Most of them had been in sororities at huge southern schools and only talked about the South.

So I clung to my west coast culture. I turned up the grunge music while my roommates listened to Kenny Chesney. When we went out, they wore colorful dresses, I wore jeans. One girl gently asked me if I was really going to wear that. I insisted there was no reason to wear a dress to a bar, just like there was no reason to fry every single food you could find.

I stuck out even more when I started teaching. I was a white, blonde 22-year-old Northerner in a mostly African American Southern school. My colleagues let me know they expected me to quit. They assumed most white Teach For America recruits came from money and weren’t invested in the kids.

But my students were the first Southerners I’d met who were excited to learn about me, and their immediate acceptance was humbling. In getting to know them, I saw the effects of decades of poverty and segregation. Many of my middle schoolers couldn’t read, but were eager to learn about the world outside their own neighborhoods. I wanted to know everything about them, and started using what I learned. For starters, I began saying ‘yes m’am’ and ‘no sir’ to the other teachers and parents. I realized it was an important sign of respect, especially when speaking to someone older than myself. I started asking more questions. I also started saying y’all, because honestly, it was just more efficient. The stereotypes I had grown up with were extreme, but I started to understand the history behind them.

As I  felt more accepted by my colleagues, I noticed other things. I was lingering by the dress section in boutiques, and casually asking the girls I trained with, now my friends, where we were going to watch the Alabama football game. They were ecstatic that a Yankee like me was “turning southern,” as they called it.

When I left Charlotte last July and moved to New York, I found myself missing certain things. Sitting on a porch in the heat, watching fireflies, and eating fried food.
Now, when I hear the song “Country Roads”  I even miss pretending to hate it.

But I have made it a point to keep the manners I picked up. Calling people ma’am and sir has become my secret weapon. New Yorkers instantly soften, and then give me a curious, confused smile. And when they ask me if I’m visiting from the South, I couldn’t be prouder.

Back Announce: Y’all can find Jackie Mader sitting next to you on the subway, secretly blasting country music.

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