Nicole

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  1. Emmanuel Thomas l Thursday, January 19, 2017 MOSCOW, Russia – The Appeal Court in Moscow, Russia has granted Russian Prosecutor the leave to liquidate activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses(JW) in Russia after branding them extremist group. The JW had appealed the decision and tried to establish that the accusations of “extremist activity” are based on fabricated evidence and false statements that have been manufactured by local authorities to portray sincere worship as criminal activity. In the October 12, 2016, hearing, Judge M. S. Moskalenko of the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow did not allow testimony or video that exposed the illegal actions of the local authorities who are bent to ensuring that JW do not exist in Russia. However, on January 16, 2017, the Moscow City Court dismissed the Witnesses’ appeal that challenged the legality of the Prosecutor General’s warning issued against their national headquarters. The three-judge panel rejected all arguments filed by the Witnesses’ attorneys and rendered its decision after a 10-minute recess. The decision upholds the October 12, 2016, Tverskoy District Court decision that ruled in favor of the Prosecutor General’s Office.The warning, dated March 2, 2016, is now enforceable. Speaking before the hearing, International human rights lawyer James Andrik spoke of the implication. “If the Moscow City Court dismisses the appeal, the Prosecutor General’s Office could act on its threat against the Administrative Center. It could liquidate the Administrative Center and further harass the religious communities of Jehovah’s Witnesses and restrict their worship throughout Russia. If, on the other hand, the court upholds the appeal, it would be a breakthrough for justice”, he said. However Jehovah’s Witnesses are a peaceful group who hold their worship in the open and denounce all sorts of religious extremism. They believe in the Bible which also encourages them to respect secular authority. It is now left to the world to appeal to President Vladimir Putin to halt this attempt to wipe out witnesses from Russia http://starconnectmedia.com/2017/01/19/russia-gets-go-ahead-to-liquidate-jehovahs-witnesses-organisation/
  2. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain had sought a review of a Charity Commission order to hand over documents relating to its statutory inquiry into the charity The body that oversees Jehovah’s Witness congregations in Britain has dropped its application for a judicial review of a Charity Commission order. The move brings to a close a two-and-a-half-year legal dispute between the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain and the regulator, which opened a statutory inquiry into the organisation in May 2014 because of safeguarding concerns. As part of that investigation, the commission issued the charity a production order, requiring it to hand over certain information to assist the inquiry. The WTBTSB requested separate judicial reviews against the inquiry and the production order. In August the Supreme Court ruled that the charity could not stop the inquiry going ahead, but it had already won the right to apply for a judicial review of the order in March. Today, the commission announced it would be dropping the production order and, in return, the WTBTSB had agreed to withdraw its application for a judicial review. In a statement, the commission said: "The charity has now provided a response to the production order by making certain documents available for inspection by the commission and, since the production order was issued, the commission has obtained additional information from the charity and other sources. "The commission has therefore decided to revoke the production order and the charity has agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review." The WTBTSB confirmed it had supplied the documents and had agreed to withdraw the review. A spokesman for the charity said: "Watch Tower will now work with the commission to explore the issues that are the subject of the statutory inquiry and to address the commission’s regulatory concerns." The commission’s inquiry into the WTBTSB remains ongoing. In its statement, the commission said: "With the legal proceedings now settled, the commission will continue to work with the charity to establish the facts and understand the charity’s safeguarding policy, procedures and practices in order to explore the issues that are the subject of the ongoing statutory inquiry and address the commission’s regulatory concerns." The withdrawal of the judicial review application marks the end of legal proceedings over the inquiry into the WTBTSB as a whole. But the charity is still fighting to block a separate statutory inquiry into the Manchester New Moston Congregation, opened at the same time as the one into the WTBTSB. These came after it emerged that victims of sexual abuse by a former trustee of the charity’s Manchester New Moston congregation had been required to meet and answer questions from their abuser, who had just been released from the prison sentence he was given for abusing them, according to tribunal documents. WTBTSB lost an appeal against the New Moston inquiry in the first-tier tribunal in April 2015, but has appealed to the upper-tier tribunal against the first-tier tribunal’s ruling, and the case is expected to be heard on 2 March. http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/jehovahs-witnesses-drop-application-judicial-review/governance/article/1421445
  3. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain had sought a review of a Charity Commission order to hand over documents relating to its statutory inquiry into the charity The body that oversees Jehovah’s Witness congregations in Britain has dropped its application for a judicial review of a Charity Commission order. The move brings to a close a two-and-a-half-year legal dispute between the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain and the regulator, which opened a statutory inquiry into the organisation in May 2014 because of safeguarding concerns. As part of that investigation, the commission issued the charity a production order, requiring it to hand over certain information to assist the inquiry. The WTBTSB requested separate judicial reviews against the inquiry and the production order. In August the Supreme Court ruled that the charity could not stop the inquiry going ahead, but it had already won the right to apply for a judicial review of the order in March. Today, the commission announced it would be dropping the production order and, in return, the WTBTSB had agreed to withdraw its application for a judicial review. In a statement, the commission said: "The charity has now provided a response to the production order by making certain documents available for inspection by the commission and, since the production order was issued, the commission has obtained additional information from the charity and other sources. "The commission has therefore decided to revoke the production order and the charity has agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review." The WTBTSB confirmed it had supplied the documents and had agreed to withdraw the review. A spokesman for the charity said: "Watch Tower will now work with the commission to explore the issues that are the subject of the statutory inquiry and to address the commission’s regulatory concerns." The commission’s inquiry into the WTBTSB remains ongoing. In its statement, the commission said: "With the legal proceedings now settled, the commission will continue to work with the charity to establish the facts and understand the charity’s safeguarding policy, procedures and practices in order to explore the issues that are the subject of the ongoing statutory inquiry and address the commission’s regulatory concerns." The withdrawal of the judicial review application marks the end of legal proceedings over the inquiry into the WTBTSB as a whole. But the charity is still fighting to block a separate statutory inquiry into the Manchester New Moston Congregation, opened at the same time as the one into the WTBTSB. These came after it emerged that victims of sexual abuse by a former trustee of the charity’s Manchester New Moston congregation had been required to meet and answer questions from their abuser, who had just been released from the prison sentence he was given for abusing them, according to tribunal documents. WTBTSB lost an appeal against the New Moston inquiry in the first-tier tribunal in April 2015, but has appealed to the upper-tier tribunal against the first-tier tribunal’s ruling, and the case is expected to be heard on 2 March. http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/jehovahs-witnesses-drop-application-judicial-review/governance/article/1421445
  4. Richard “Dick” Tector, 84, of Charles City, passed away Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the 11th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City. A memorial service for Dick Tector will be held Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mr. Dennis Brock will officiate. Family will greet friends one hour prior to the service. Richard James Tector, the son of William and Harriet (Bell) Tector, was born August 2, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended school in the Chicago area receiving his Bachelor of Science Degree from Northwestern University in Electrical Engineering and his Master of Science Degree from the University of Illinois. Dick was united in marriage to Mary Joan Rithmiller on August 27, 1955 at Park Ridge, Illinois. The couple moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where Dick worked for Collins Radio with his good friend, Wayne Hansen. They then moved to Charles City in 1959. Dick was self-employed in electronics (two-way radios and PA systems) and KCHA as an engineer for the local radio station. Dick was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witness on March 9, 1957 and was an elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He loved teaching others the Bible and sharing his faith. He and Joan loved their many travels with fellow Witnesses. They left a trail of friends worldwide…not the least of which were their work mates in Honduras. Dick will be very much missed by his family and many, many wonderful friends. Living family members include two sisters-in-law: Jean Wescott of Belle Haven, Virginia and Kitty Tector of Saukville, Wisconsin; nieces and nephews: Kevin Tector, Denise Tector-Rutherford, Kariann Thon, Michelle Maclay Herndon and Nathaniel Wescott; along with numerous friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Joan on June 23, 2013; and brother, David Tector. Hauser Funeral Home, (641) 228-2323, in Charles City, is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.hauserfh.com. http://kchanews.com/2017/01/19/richard-dick-tector-84-charles-city/
  5. The man who signed as an assistor for more than 60 mail-in ballots while volunteering for councilman Shahin Khalique’s campaign could not identify the gender of one resident he claimed to have assisted. Foyes Ali, the assister, said he helped Isidro Amarante with her mail-in ballot at her house. He told former councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman’s attorney Susan Champion she signed the mail-in ballot in front of him. “Do you think Isidro is a her?” asked Champion. “You just said her house.” Isidro Amarante is a him. Ali thought the name Isidro belonged to a female. He quickly began to change her to him. Isidro Amarante and his wife Grecia Amarante, both Jehovah’s Witnesses, testified last week that it is against their religion to vote. Both have Ali listed as their assistor on their mail-in ballots, but neither knew him. The wife said she did not know she was voting until her son told her after the fact; the husband said he did not know voting was possible through the mail. Under questioning, the husband at one point said: “I guess I have [voted].” Shahin Khalique’s attorney John Carbone used the last statement by the husband to question Champion’s mode of questioning Ali. The attorneys and judge Ernest Caposela compared notes to figure out whether the husband admitted to voting. The couple said they signed the mail-in ballots to “support the community” rather than to cast ballots. In all, Champion questioned Ali about 10 voters who said they neither voted in the 2ndWard election nor knew their assistor. She began by asking him whether he recalled assisting Miriam Tatis with her mail-in ballot. “I don’t remember. It happened a year ago,” replied Ali (pictured). He was shown the mail-in that had his signature listing him as the assistor. He then said he did indeed assist her with her mail-in. “Are you aware Miriam testified she did not vote?” asked Champion. “No,” replied Ali. He identified many of the voters he claimed to have assisted as family friends or his neighbors. Champion asked if he assisted Tahmeed Chowdhury with his mail-in. He said he knew Chowdhury from playing soccer. He said he had tea at Chowdhury’s home prior to assisting him with the mail-in. When told if he knew Chowdhury testified he neither voted nor knew Ali, he said: “I didn’t know.” Some of those he assisted were his mother’s friends and his uncle Jashim Uddin’s customers. He said his uncle runs a store that is patronized by many of those he assisted. An employee at a Dunkin’ Donut, Ali at times appeared offended when asked whether some of those he assisted were his friends. Ali is listed as an assistor for Grecia Amarante. Champion asked if he exchanged pleasantries with her prior to assisting her with her mail-in. Ali responded in the affirmative. “Do you speak Spanish?” asked Champion. Grecia Amarante testified through an interpreter. “No,” responded Ali. He later said he speaks a little bit of Spanish. The judge reasoned a person using an interpreter is comfortable in a language other than English, but this does not mean the individual cannot speak some English. “Are all of those people lying?” asked deputy attorney general Alan Stephens to Ali. Carbone objected to the question. The judge had him rephrase the question. “Were they not being truthful?” Stephens asked Ali about the 10 voters. “I don’t know. They were probably nervous,” said Ali, who though calm at the witness stand was biting his nails. The judge also heard testimony from two other witnesses. Asad Afrooz testified he was registered out of 102 Sherman Avenue when he voted in the 2nd Ward election. He did not say that he was evicted from the home on June 8th, 2015. Champion showed him an eviction document. He said he moved to 408 Union Avenue in the same month after the eviction. He then moved to 124 Albion Avenue in the 1stWard sometime in 2016 prior to settling at 424 McBride Avenue. “You were served at 124 Albion Avenue?” asked Champion trying to establish he lived in the 1st Ward during the election. “Yes,” replied Afrooz. “It was a holiday. I was at my parent’s house,” he said. He said his in-laws reside at 124 Albion Avenue. It is common in Bangladeshi culture to refer to in-laws as parents. Asked if he knew which ward 124 Albion Avenue was in, he replied: “I have no idea.” He said he was working two jobs and was too busy to change his address from the home from which the landlord evicted him. Afrooz said when he submitted his mail-in ballot using 102 Sherman Avenue he was living at 408 Union Avenue. He told the judge people have been telling him he could face punishment for voting from the home from which he was evicted. “People are telling me I’m being locked up. I can’t even get into a coffee shop without being harassed,” Afrooz told the judge. “You’re not getting locked up,” Caposela told Afrooz. Totowa resident Nasrin Younus, a student at Montclair State University, voted from 197 Preakness Avenue. She told the court her family moved from Paterson to Totowa on May 15th, 2016. Younus said her father continues to own the property. She said he rented the apartment the family occupied. In a questionnaire she completed for investigators from the Passaic County Superintendent of Elections Office days after the election, Younus wrote she has been living at 52 Washington Place in Totowa for the past five months. The deputy attorney general asked if the answers on the questionnaire was accurate. “Because it was rushed I can’t say everything is accurate,” she said. She said investigators visited the Totowa home days after the election, blocked their driveway, and had them complete the domicile questionnaires. “We had no choice but to sign those papers,” said Younus. She said the investigators “pressured” her and her brother to complete the forms. “So that’s not accurate?” asked Stephens. “That’s not accurate,” replied Younus. She said her family purchased the Totowa home in December, but did not move in until May 2016. The 2nd Ward election fraud trial has been ongoing since September. Champion said she is close to resting her case. The judge expects her to call the rest of her witnesses to the stand by early February. The trial will resume on January 27th, 2017 at the Passaic County Courthouse. Email: jay@patersontimes.com http://patersontimes.com/2017/01/19/khalique-campaign-worker-grilled-by-lawyers-in-patersons-2nd-ward-election-fraud-trial/
  6. “Breakfast congee” with maple granola, blueberries,and poached strawberries. Photo: Melissa Hom Australians have contributed many things to the New York coffee shop, flat whites and avocado toast among them. And as of next week, the Good Sort brings something new to the category: sweet and savory congees, the rice porridge commonly consumed in China for breakfast. This makes sense, since the shop is co-owned by Australian expat Eddy Buckingham and his Chinese-born partner Jeff Lam, and is adjacent to their restaurant, Chinese Tuxedo. There’s a turmeric-and-coconut congee with Champagne-poached cranberries; a mushroom congee with braised shiitake and jicama, served with the Chinese cruller called youtiao; and even “Aunt Kate’s pear crumble congee.” There are also Chinese teas, espresso drinks, and come spring, fresh juices, all categorized by color. Another innovation: Everything is vegan, including the pastries and the “milks” (oat, coconut, almond) in the lattes. Clockwise from top left: Aunt Kate’s pear crumble congee with poached pears. Turmeric-and-coconut congee with Champagne-poached cranberries. “Breakfast congee.” Not a congee: pandan tapioca with kaffir-and-palm-sugar caramel, lychee, pineapple, and puffed rice. Photo: Melissa Hom Color-coded vegan lattes, made with non-dairy “milks” and no coffee: Red (beet), Black (sesame and activated charcoal), and Gold (turmeric). Photo: Melissa Hom Algae-enhanced Blue latte. Photo: Melissa Hom The Green Latte, with matcha. Photo: Melissa Hom Prior to becoming a Sino-Australian vegan coffee shop, the space was a Chinatown liquor store. The espresso machine is Italian; the Vittoria coffee beans come from Australia. Photo: Melissa Hom The shop is next to Chinese Tuxedo on Chinatown’s most atmospheric block. Photo: Melissa Hom The name refers to Aussie slang for “a person you like and would like to spend more time around,” according to co-owner Eddy Buckingham. Photo: Melissa Hom http://www.grubstreet.com/2017/01/at-this-new-vegan-coffee-shop-porridge-takes-center-stage.html
  7. Gb stands for governing body. These men are the anointed leaders of Jehovah’s witnesses worldwide. They sent a letter.. Not just to Nigerian congregations but to congregations worldwide. I attended our weekly meetings today and a letter warning against any ponzi schemes was read. Can’t say everything in it sha but the details were: 1. Trust God for all your financial needs 2. If you’re not sure whether the scheme would crash or not, don’t introduce it to your brothers 3. Never be driven by the love of money 4. Satan is looking for ways to drive Christians into his court. Try to be vigilant At the end of the letter, Hebrew 13: 5 and 6 was read. Thank God i didn’t go mmm or anyone http://amibor.com/governing-body-of-jehovahs-witnesses-warns-against-ponzi-schemes/
  8. It has been five weeks since a Shell gas station clerk in eastern Shasta County was set on fire and killed while he was behind the register at his job. David Wicks, 54, was a likable fixture at the gas station in Johnson Park, but questions hang over the small community in eastern Shasta County on the outskirts of Burney. Why was Wicks set on fire that night by a person dressed in a yellow rain jacket, black hoodie and gloves on Dec. 21 just before 7 p.m.? A still image of the attacker was released by the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office from surveillance footage at the gas station. The gas station remains closed, according to store owner Devinder Sahota. “We want to give the community and employees time to cope with the event,” Sahota said. Wicks' wife, Sonja Wicks, also works at the gas station as a manager. Sahota said repairs need to be made inside the store, but the layout might be changed in the future. “So the horrible memories of it are not there anymore,” Sahota said. "It's a small community and the employees of the store are like family." A memorial service will be held for Wicks at Burney High School on Saturday at 2 p.m. The community remains on edge, said Jennifer Luck, office manager with the Burney Chamber of Commerce. “This is a small community and it’s the type of place where people go into the local supermarkets and talk to each other about topics,” Luck said. “If you stopped to get gas in town you knew him,” Luck said of Wicks. Shasta County Sheriff’s investigators say leads to Wicks’ killer are still being pursued and a number of witnesses were interviewed in the days after the murder. “The case hasn’t gone cold,” Lt. Troy Clegg with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said on Wednesday. No arrests have been made. Crickett McNealy manages the Lamplighter Mobile Village down the street from the Shell gas station and spoke with Wicks on a regular basis. “He was a good Christian man,” McNealy said. “He joked with everyone and was just a good human being.” The fact that such a small community would not know who committed such a crime baffles McNealy and she is surprised no one has come forward with more information about the attacker's identity. Clegg with the Sheriff’s Office shares the same sentiment. “I was expecting more tips to be called in,” Clegg said. “We evaluate every tip and if it’s an emergency we respond, even the anonymous tips.” Clegg encourages residents in the area to call the Sheriff’s Office with any information on the case. Wicks and his wife, Sonja Wicks, were Jehovah’s Witnesses in Johnson Park, according to an obituary written by his friends. He met his wife in 2001 while playing in a band at a club in Burney. They married in 2002 and were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2006. He preached to his neighbors and met with strangers as part of ministry work that was a large part of his life. The Jehovah’s Witness congregation meets off Highway 299 in Johnson Park, down the street from where Wicks worked. He is survived his mother, Karen Deriso, sons Justin and David Wicks, daughter Megan Wicks, stepdaughter, Yvonne Hand, and grandchildren. http://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2017/01/18/friends-honor-david-wicks-man-killed-december/96706620/
  9. Ice in the Arctic Ocean’s Chukchi Sea region. “What’s going on in the Arctic is really very impressive; this year was ridiculously off the chart,” said Gavin A. Schmidt, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. CreditEsther Horvath Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. In 2015 and 2016, the planetary warming was intensified by the weather pattern known as El Niño, in which the Pacific Ocean released a huge burst of energy and water vapor into the atmosphere. But the bigger factor in setting the records was the long-term trend of rising temperatures, which scientists say is being driven by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Continue reading here
  10. Jehovah’s invited to assembly JEHOVAH’S Witnesses from the South Coast and inland are invited to attend the English Circuit Assembly at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre on Sunday. The assembly is themed “Increase your faith in Jehovah”, and admission is free. Lower South Coast News Service representative Alan Theron said all are welcome and no collection will be taken. The assembly is going to have two segments - the first session starts at 9.30am until 12pm and the second session from 1.10pm to 4pm. “There will be a public talk in the afternoon session themed ‘True faith — what is it, and how is it shown?’ and the assembly will conclude with the talk ‘Reap the rewards of genuine faith’,” said Theron. The principal speaker will be the “Travelling Overseer” Errol Charters. There will also be demonstrations, interviews and soliloquies and a question and answer programme. For more information, go to jw.org http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/Local/South-Coast-Fever/jehovahs-invited-to-assembly-20170118
  11. Jehovah's Witnesses (from left) Terry Tuckle, Lynn Sanders and Alicia and Russell Hamilton from Kokstad will be interviewed at the assembly in Izotsha this weekend to explain how their faith has enabled them to follow Jesus’ footsteps closely after being baptised. JEHOVAH’S Witnesses from the South Coast, from Port Edward to Scottburgh and as far inland as Matatiele, will hold their English circuit assembly at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre in Izotsha this Sunday, January 22. The theme is ‘Increase Your Faith in Jehovah!’ based on Hebrews 11:6. All are welcome, admission is free and no collection will be taken. The public talk on Sunday afternoon focuses on ‘True Faith – What is it and how is it shown?’ and the assembly will conclude with the talk ‘Reap the rewards of genuine faith’. Travelling overseer Errol Charters will be the principal speaker. The assembly will consist of talks, demonstrations, interviews and soliloquies. The printed programme will contain five questions that will be answered during the assembly and which the audience can complete and keep as a reminder of what they have learned. http://southcoastherald.co.za/183608/witnesses-to-assemble-in-izotsha-2/
  12. The tech industry has long been famed for its luxe work environments—free lunches, ping pong tables, green juice on tap—but there's a lot more than perks that goes into creating a workplace employees love. To bring you this list, Fortune partner Great Place to Work to surveyed more than 42,000 employees of U.S. technology companies. The two resulting rankings are grouped by company size, one for large tech companies and one for small and medium-sized ones. You can read more about the list, and the role that diversity and innovation plays in these businesses, here. LARGE COMPANIES 1. ULTIMATE SOFTWARE Employees say: "Management and HR are aligned to make sure the culture is protected so that everyone feels supported in this work environment. I believe this feeling of safety and culture of support is what drives our innovation, creativity, and drive to succeed as a team." "Take care of the 3,300 families in the organization, be the best, and the company will unequivocally support me and my family forever." Industry: Online Internet Services HQ location: Weston, Fla. Employees: 3,126 2. Intuit Employees say: "I feel very blessed to work at Intuit. It provides me with every opportunity to do my best work. I have received 100% support to create a vision for the company regarding sustainability. Intuit walks the talk regarding its values and that makes my job a joy." "The company has a culture of truly caring for each other as employees, for the wellbeing of our customers, for the betterment of individuals, and for the health of our community as a whole. Ultimately, we fundamentally believe that we can make a difference in the world." Industry: Software HQ location: Mountain View, Calif. Employees: 6,216 3. Salesforce Employees say: "Salesforce truly cares about the success and happiness of its employees as well as making a positive impact on the community. Seeing our organization respond to actions against the LGBT community and Women's rights over the past year has made me incredibly proud to work here." "Working at Salesforce is more than just a job. I feel like our mission is really to make the world a better place both in business and in life. It's not just a software company. We have a greater mission." Industry: Software HQ location: San Francisco Employees: 14,410 4. Zillow Group Employees say: "It's a creative and collaborative work environment that allows for exploration in different areas that are maybe not entirely related to the specifics of the job. During our "Hack Week," for example, we had a team of employees design a Zillow-related puzzle room to foster team collaboration, morale, and creative thinking in a fun, relaxed environment." "This is one of the most diverse and amazing companies I have ever worked for. I think that has to do with the fact that we have all types and all kinds here to make this a better place to work. Whenever you walk in it feels like home!" Industry: Online Internet Services HQ location: Seattle Employees: 2,603 5. Workday Employees say: "Every day you are given the opportunity to learn in so many different ways. A webinar here. A seminar there. On-demand learning over here. It's understood here that if you work hard, your options are almost endless." "I have never worked for a company that succeeds so well at keeping their clients and employees happy by sticking to its core principles." Industry: Software HQ location: Pleasanton, Calif. Employees: 4,557 6. SAP America Employees say: "SAP genuinely cares about people and impacting society through its innovations for the greater good of humankind. For its' employees, striving to provide a fair, equitable and respectful workplace and a culture which values the uniqueness of every individual." "The company has continued to reinvent itself to stay a leader in the market. I tell new people joining us that we create a mess because we need to; we clean it up; and then we create another mess and clean that up. By embracing a constant change and the need for a little chaos in order to innovate, it makes our environment very exciting." HQ location: Newtown Square, Penn. Employees: 13,548 7. World Wide Technology Employees say: "We have strong core values and we see the positive impacts of them on a daily basis. Most places I’ve previously worked at had values, however, managers followed them when necessary, a common 'do as I say, not as I do' type of mentality. Working at WWT has shown me there are companies out there that still practice what they preach." "The culture of innovation and collaboration is very impressive at our company. With the diverse experiences of our employees, our culture encourages reaching out to others to solicit new ideas and solutions to problems. It is encourages people to experiment and when failure happens, learn from it and try something new." Industry: Hardware, Software, Online Internet Services, IT Consulting, Storage/Data Management HQ location: St. Louis Employees: 3,766 8. SAS Institute Employees say: "Because this company provides such a great work environment and offers great work life balance, most employees give very much in return. In contrast to other companies I've worked for, it's a comfortable work environment with minimal politics, and allows employees to give much greater focus to innovation, creativity, and detail." "There is an understanding that we're all creating something together, and we want it to be solid, so we do our best wherever we can. There's an excitement to that." Industry: Software HQ location: Cary, N.C. Employees: 7,191 9. Adobe Systems Employees say: "This is the best place I've ever worked. This is a company that promoted me two weeks before maternity leave with my second child to make sure I was excited to return and excited about my role. It's also a company that let me chart my own path and create a new program. It's empowered me to take my ideas and work to incredible places and work with some of the most creative and innovative people of my career." "Nobody at Adobe has to worry about fitting into a mold as they walk into the doors—everyone is encouraged to be themselves and it really helps people feel part of something bigger." Industry: Software HQ location: San Jose, Calif. Employees: 6,995 10. Hyland Employees say: "The company as a whole firmly embraces diversity. We've found strength through that diversity, and attribute much of our success to the wisdom that comes from a variety of backgrounds and demographics." "Management is willing to listen and sincerely understand different opinions on projects. ... This helps our company of thinkers and innovators understand, accept, and apply new understanding to the business in the future." Industry: Software HQ location: Westlake, Ohio Employees: 2,075 Continue reading
  13. Bet you can't name the three races of avocados! The history of the avocado is a long and storied one: ancient Central and South Americans were eating them twenty-five hundred years ago; Europeans discovered their buttery appeal in the sixteenth century; Americans started growing them commercially in the 1900s. There are more than one thousand varieties (such as Zutano, Choquette, and Bacon, to name just a few) cultivated around the world from Mexico to New Zealand to Israel. But it’s the Hass, first grown in Los Angeles County in 1926 and patented in 1935, that took the avocado from regional specialty to international stardom. Why? Because it was a solid bearer of fruit, people liked its rich taste, and it had a longer shelf life than other varieties. The past twenty years have ushered in an era of unprecedented avocado fanaticism in the United States, with domestic consumption growing from one billion avocados in 2000 to more than four billion in 2014. The Los Angeles market consumes the most avocados in the country, which makes sense, considering the harvest the Golden State produces each year. “California fruit is the top of the line,” says Paul Romero, a district manager at Calavo Growers, a company that began in 1924 as the California Avocado Growers Exchange. He argues that because “the Hass avocado was developed right here in California, genetically it’s set up for California conditions.” Romero, who’s been in the avocado industry since 1978, told me that California avocado folks don’t really retire from the business, they “get old in it”—even in the face of droughts like the one that has recently plagued Southern California. We’ve all heard the health claims—avocados are packed with potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats—and experienced how they make mediocre things taste more delicious, but what else is there to know about the alligator pear? 1. There’s record of an ancient folk recipe that used the avocado pit in rat poison, but modern health blogs encourage grating it over salads or blending it into smoothies for the added fiber and antioxidant benefits. 2. Avocados are classified into three races: West Indian, Guatemalan, and Mexican; the Hass variety is a Mexican-Guatemalan crossbreed. 3. The first-recorded avocado tree was grown in California in 1848. But it wasn’t until 1911, when budwood from the best avocado trees in Mexico was planted in California, and later still in 1913, with the surviving Fuerte variety, that we saw the rise of the California avocado industry. 4. The Hass avocado accounts for 95 percent of the American avocado market and 80 percent of global demand. Around 90 percent of domestically grown avocados come from California. 5. An avocado is a fruit, more specifically a single-seeded berry. 6. Avocados were known by the Aztecs as ahuacatl, meaning “testicle,” for their shape and supposed aphrodisiacal qualities. 7. Avocados can freeze during a cold snap, which forces the cells in the flesh and stem to collapse and then explode when the temperature warms, killing the fruit. 8. Avocado trees are evergreen and never go dormant, and while different varieties are harvested at different times of the year, Hass avocados are typically harvested from late February to late October and early November. 9. Avocados mature on the tree but only ripen once picked. It can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks for an avocado to ripen naturally at room temperature. A ripe avocado will keep in the refrigerator for seven to ten days. 10. A just-ripe avocado should have a little purplish blush to it and a gentle yield when pressed. If it’s pitch black, very shiny, smooth, and soft, it’s overripe. 11. Like humans, avocados can get sunburned, causing the skin in those spots to peel away and rancidity to spoil the outermost flesh. 12. Much like bay leaves, avocado leaves (hojas de aguacate), particularly those of the Mexican race, are used as a seasoning in Mexican cuisine. They’re available fresh or dried and impart a subtle anise-like flavor. 13. The darker green flesh nearest the skin is the most nutritious. Peeling off the skin, rather than scooping out the flesh, will get you the most phytonutrients. 14. The calories of an average Hass avocado are about 82 percent fat, making it one of the fattiest fruits in the world, up there with olives, which have about 80 to 90 percent calories from fat. 15. An avocado seed suspended over a glass of water with toothpicks will sprout a stem and roots in a few weeks. Once sprouted, the seed can be transferred to a pot and left to grow into a small plant. Once the plant is grown, it can be transplanted into the ground to grow into a tree. It may take years (five to thirteen) for the tree to flower or bear fruit, but it’s more likely that it won’t produce recognizable fruit at all without cross-pollination from another tree. Grafting (splicing a scion of a mature tree with the rootstock of a seedling until it forms a new growth) is how professional avocado growers replicate their crop, and it encourages flowering and fruit bearing sooner, usually within three to four years. 16. A well-tended avocado tree will grow to about thirty or forty feet tall, but an unpruned wildling avocado tree can grow up to eighty feet tall. http://luckypeach.com/guides/16-things-didnt-know-avocados/
  14. Chelsea Manning's Commutation: What It Means Before President Obama granted clemency, Manning was serving 35 years in prison, the longest sentence for a leak in U.S. history On Tuesday, President Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the soldier sentenced to 35 years in prison after pleading guilty to providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning, who has spent seven years in military prison, will now be released in May of this year. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to grant various forms of clemency to individuals convicted of crimes. While the number of pardons granted by Obama has been called "abysmally low," he has issued a historically high number of commutations. The bulk of Obama's commutations were granted to drug offenders who would not have received such lengthy sentences under current law, due to bipartisan sentencing reforms. Commuting an offender's sentence doesn't imply that he or she wasn't culpable, but that he or she has been sufficiently punished. And whether you think what Chelsea Manning did was heroic or harmful, there's plenty of reason to believe she's suffered enough. Prior to her conviction, Manning was subjected to solitary confinement and other treatment that legal scholars explained violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, and the Fifth Amendment's prohibition of punishment without a trial. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture found that Manning's treatment constituted "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" in violation of the Convention Against Torture. The judge who ultimately sentenced Manning agreed she had received excessive treatment, but only reduced her sentence by 112 days. After her conviction, Manning, who is a transgender woman, struggled psychologically in an all-male military prison and attempted suicide on multiple occasions. For years, she was denied medical treatment and accommodations recommended by doctors treating her gender dysphoria. And there was reason to fear new mistreatment under a Trump administration that has suggested it will reverse recent reforms protecting transgender people in the military. White House officials stressed that Manning took responsibility for her actions and received an excessive sentence. To be sure, the size of the trove of documents she leaked was unprecedented, but 35 years is still wildly disproportionate to the one- to two-year sentences typically handed down. Even with an uptick in leak prosecutions during the Obama years, leakers seldom face criminal prosecution at all. Obama made another notable clemency grant on Tuesday, pardoning General James Cartwright, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his role in confirming U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran's nuclear program to the press. Taken together, these clemency grants represent a much-needed return to a long tradition in the U.S. of not fully enforcing our overbroad laws against those who leak classified information. We don't throw the book at them because we recognize that leaks can be essential for keeping the government accountable. As we enter a Trump era likely to be characterized by lawlessness and lack of transparency, it's imperative that those in government expect they'll be treated fairly if they have to break the law to blow the whistle. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/chelsea-mannings-commutation-what-it-means-w461542
  15. Digging for Spiritual Gems: (8 min.) Spiritual Gems Isaiah 34-37 Isa 35:8—What was “the Way of Holiness,” and who qualified to walk on it? (w08 5/15 26 _4; 27 _1) Jehovah foretold that his people who were in Babylonian exile would be restored to their homeland. The prophecy of restoration contained this guarantee: “There will certainly come to be a highway there, even a way; and the Way of Holiness it will be called.” (Isa. 35:8a) These words show that Jehovah not only opened the way for the Jews to get home but assured them of his protection along the way. In 537 B.C.E., the returning Jews had to meet an important requirement. Regarding those qualified to walk on “the Way of Holiness,” Isaiah 35:8b states: “The unclean one will not pass over it. And it will be for the one walking on the way, and no foolish ones will wander about on it.” Since the purpose of the Jews’ return to Jerusalem was to reestablish pure worship, there would be no place for those who had selfish motives, lacked respect for sacred things, or were spiritually unclean. The returnees needed to maintain Jehovah’s high moral standards. Those desiring God’s favor today need to meet the same requirement. They must pursue “holiness in God’s fear.” (2 Cor. 7:1) What unclean practices, then, ought we to shun? Isa 36:2, 3, 22—How did Shebna set a good example of one who accepted discipline? (w07 1/15 8 _6) 36:2, 3, 22. Though dismissed from serving as a steward, Shebna was allowed to continue in the king’s service as a secretary to his replacement. (Isaiah 22:15, 19) If we are removed from a position of responsibility in Jehovah’s organization for some reason, should we not continue to serve God in whatever capacity he permits? Isaiah-34-37.pdf
  16. Date: January 16, 2017 Source: Taylor & Francis Summary: One in five young people regularly wake up in the night to send or check messages on social media, according to new research. This night-time activity is making teenagers three times more likely to feel constantly tired at school than their peers who do not log on at night, and could be affecting their happiness and wellbeing. 1 in 5 young people regularly wake up in the night to send or check messages on social media, according to new research published today in the Journal of Youth Studies. This night-time activity is making teenagers three times more likely to feel constantly tired at school than their peers who do not log on at night, and could be affecting their happiness and wellbeing. Over 900 pupils, aged between 12-15 years, were recruited and asked to complete a questionnaire about how often they woke up at night to use social media and times of going to bed and waking. They were also asked about how happy they were with various aspects of their life including school life, friendships and appearance. 1 in 5 reported 'almost always' waking up to log on, with girls much more likely to access their social media accounts during the night than boys. Those who woke up to use social media nearly every night, or who didn't wake up at a regular time in the morning, were around three times as likely to say they were constantly tired at school compared to their peers who never log on at night or wake up at the same time every day. Moreover, pupils who said they were always tired at school were, on average, significantly less happy than other young people. "Our research shows that a small but significant number of children and young people say that they often go to school feeling tired -- and these are the same young people who also have the lowest levels of wellbeing. One in five young people questioned woke up every night and over one third wake-up at least once a week to check for messages. Use of social media appears to be invading the 'sanctuary' of the bedroom." Said author Professor Sally Power, Co-Director (Cardiff) Wales Institute for Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD). The study findings support growing concerns about young people's night-time use of social media. However, because of the complex range of possible explanations for tiredness at school, further larger studies will be needed before any firm conclusions can be made about the social causes and consequences of sleep deprivation among today's youth. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170116091419.htm
  17. By: @bow_tie_bros_comics Selfie-Centered: Blue Bow helps Green Bow see why he shouldn't be taking selfies while doing Public Witnessing. Philippians 2:4-"as you look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others."
  18. Three Jehovah's Witnesses, two Baptists, and a bookseller have each been fined three to four months' average wages. Their "offences" include discussing beliefs, offering religious literature, and meeting for prayer. And an unlicensed mosque has been raided and had allegedly "superstitious" items confiscated. In early January 2017, a higher court rejected the appeal by three Jehovah's Witnesses from Goranboy District in western Azerbaijan against large fines, imposed for discussing their faith with others and offering religious literature. The accused were not allowed to prepare a defence or speak in court (see below). Two Baptists in the northern Zakatala [Zaqatala] District were fined in December 2016 for leading worship services without state permission after a large police raid two weeks earlier. The Saturday morning raid on an "illegal" meeting for prayer resulted in the detention of more than 30 adults and children present, after which 16 women and 10 men were questioned at the local police station until 10 pm at night. Police sent confiscated religious literature to the capital Baku for alleged "expert analysis". "Everything was done well," police Major Amil Muradov told Forum 18 before putting the phone down (see below). Also, a Baku court fined local resident Elnara Qasimova for selling religious materials without the compulsory permission from the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations and the local administration. However, on 17 January 2017 Baku Appeal Court cancelled the fine and sent the case back to the lower court for a new hearing (see below). It appears that Qasimova's prosecution was a result of raids by State Committee officials as well as police officers on at least five shops selling religious literature in Baku's Sabail and Nasimi Districts, announced on 2 December 2016. Officials said five shops were selling religious literature "illegally" (see below). The three Jehovah's Witnesses, two Baptists and Baku bookseller Qasimova were each fined about three to four months' average wage. (The State Statistics Committee gives the average monthly wage for those in work between January and October 2016 as nearly 494 Manats.) Also, officials in Baku confiscated 59 religious books, 19 videotapes, 27 DVDs and 80 CDs which they claimed had not passed state censorship, adding that unspecified items "included elements of khurafat [prejudice or superstition]". This term does not appear in published law. The confiscation followed a December 2016 raid on a Shia Muslim community operating without state permission (see below). Fined for discussing faith Trouble began in mid-November 2016 for two Jehovah's Witnesses in Goranboy District, Jaarey Suleymanova and Gulnaz Israfilova. The two women had been visiting a woman "who had enjoyed their Bible discussions for many months", Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. Subsequently, the Goranboy District Police charged the two women under the Code of Administrative Offences' Article 515.0.4 ("Religious associations operating away from their registered legal address"). The fine for individuals for this "offence" is between 1,500 and 2,000 Manats (see F18News 2 June 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2184). Police handed the case to Goranboy District Court. On 17 November 2016, Judge Ismayil Abdurahmanli handed them each the maximum fine of 2,000 Manats, more than four months' average wages for those in work, according to court records. Suleymanova and Israfilova lodged appeals against the fines to Gyanja [Gäncä] Appeal Court. However, on the afternoon of 5 January 2017, Judge Fikrat Aliyev rejected their appeals, according to court records. Goranboy District Police brought exactly the same charges against another local Jehovah's Witness, Ziyad Dadashov. "Four men from his village testified that Ziyad Dadashov had spoken of his beliefs and offered Bible literature," Jehovah's Witnesses told Forum 18. Police handed the case to Goranboy District Court. On 2 December 2016, Judge Shirzad Huseynov found Dadashov guilty under Administrative Code Article 515.0.4. The Judge fined him 1,500 Manats, more than three months' average wages for those in work, according to court records. Dadashov similarly appealed against the fine to Gyanja Appeal Court. However, on the morning of 5 January 2017, Judge Badal Aliyev rejected his appeal, according to court records. "In neither case did the defendants have the opportunity to prepare their defence, nor did they have the opportunity to speak during court hearings," Jehovah's Witnesses complained to Forum 18. Reached on 17 January, an official of Goranboy District Police refused to discuss anything with Forum 18 and put the phone down. Meeting for prayer raided On the morning of Saturday 26 November 2016, about 10 uniformed police officers and several men in plain clothes (including local State Committee representative Mehman Ismayilov) raided the home of a Baptist leader in the village of Aliabad in Zakatala District. They arrived about half an hour after a regular prayer meeting had begun in the home of Hamid and Hinayat Shabanov, fellow Baptists told Forum 18. About 30 adults and several children were present at the prayer meeting. The officers ordered Hamid Shabanov and his fellow Baptists to halt the prayer meeting, "saying it was illegal because of the lack of state registration". An Interior Ministry statement on the day of the raid said State Committee representatives accompanied Zakatala Police on the raid. The statement did not identify the community as Baptist, speaking only of "an illegal religious gathering aimed at spreading a religious sect banned under the law". It added that 16 items of religious literature had been confiscated and sent for "expert analysis" to the State Committee in Baku. Alleged "expert analysis" is used to justify the stringent imposition of state censorship (see Forum 18's Azerbaijan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2081). Colleagues of Zakatala State Committee representative Ismayilov told Forum 18 on 17 January 2017 that he was not in the office. They refused to comment on the raid on the Baptists. Over several hours on 26 November 2016, officers held those present for the prayer meeting in a room in Shabanov's home. They allowed individuals out only to go to the toilet, one at a time. Officers wrote down the names and identity document details of all those present. They also compiled a list of all the religious literature they could find belonging to the church or its members, Baptists complained to Forum 18. Police then took 26 church members (16 women and 10 men) to the District Police Station, where officers demanded that they each write a statement. Police had already confiscated several of the individuals' phones. By 10 pm officers had released all 26 of those detained. Only on 29 November did police return the confiscated identity documents to the church members. The same day the investigator announced that charges were being brought against church members for meeting "illegally" without state registration. The investigator did not say how many cases had been prepared and when they would be handed to court. Against international human rights law, all exercise of freedom of religion and belief by more than one person without state permission is banned (see Forum 18's Azerbaijan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2081). All those detained during the raid signed an appeal to the State Committee in Baku for their Church to be allowed to worship freely, Shabanov told Forum 18. The Church has received no response. Two fined, church banned from meeting Police summoned to Zakatala Police Station on 12 December all 26 church members who had been detained during the 26 November raid. Police had prepared records of an offence against two church members, Hamid Shabanov and Mehman Agamammadov under Administrative Code Article 515.0.2 ("Violating legislation on holding religious meetings, marches, and other religious ceremonies"). The fine for individuals for this "offence" is between 1,500 and 2,000 Manats (see F18News 2 June 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2184). The cases were handed to Zakatala District Court. There in a 15-minute hearing on 12 December 2016, Judge Arif Ismayilov found both Shabanov and Agamammadov guilty and fined them each the minimum fine, 1,500 Manats, the Judge told Forum 18 from the Court on 17 January. Judge Ismayilov claimed to Forum 18 that both men had admitted their guilt in court. Shabanov denied this. "I told the court it was not our fault, as we applied but they won't give us registration," he told Forum 18. Judge Ismayilov insisted that Shabanov and Agamammadov had been given the court decisions in writing, though he refused to say when or how. However, Shabanov denied this. "We rang the court and visited it, but they wouldn't send or give us the decision," he told Forum 18. "We had 10 days to appeal against the fine but that's now gone. But they haven't demanded the money either." On 15 December 2016 officials returned all the confiscated books to the church. "The State Committee in Baku looked at them and could find nothing wrong with them," Shabanov told Forum 18 However, police and the Judge told the Church that it is illegal for church members to meet for worship. They were warned that if they do so they will be fined. One Zakatala Police officer who prepared the prosecution materials in Agamammadov's case for the court, Major Amil Muradov, refused to discuss the ban on the church's activity or the raid. "Everything was done well," was all he would tell Forum 18 on 17 January 2017 before putting the phone down. History of raids, fines, imprisonments, registration denial Shabanov's church and a fellow Baptist congregation in Aliabad have been seeking state registration since the mid-1990s. However, state officials have consistently refused to process the applications, including the most recent application the Church submitted in 2010 after changes to the Religion Law (see Forum 18's Azerbaijan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2081). State officials have repeatedly harassed Aliabad's Baptists since the 1990s, with repeated police raids on worship meetings and confiscation of religious literature. Several church members were sacked from their jobs because of their faith, including a nurse from a hospital and the head of the local kindergarten. Baptists were banned from using the collective farm's agricultural machinery for their plots, and from receiving state subsidies provided to other farmers, Ilya Zenchenko, the head of the Baptist Union, complained to Forum 18 from Baku. Officials have in the past denied registration to children of local Baptists who had chosen Biblical names for their new-born children (see eg. F18News 25 February 2010 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=1414). One of the Church's pastors, former prisoner of conscience Zaur Balaev, was imprisoned on false charges from May 2007 to March 2008 (see F18News 19 March 2008 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1102). Another pastor of the Church, former prisoner of conscience Hamid Shabanov, was held in pre-trial detention from June to November 2008. In February 2009 he was given a two-year suspended sentence on charges he and his fellow-Baptists insisted were also fabricated to punish him for exercising his freedom of religion and belief (see F18News 12 February 2009 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1254). "Despite all this they continue to meet to this day," Pastor Zenchenko noted, "under the leading of their hearts – which love God – and in accordance with Azerbaijan's Constitution guaranteeing freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of conscience and religious belief." But Baptists feel angry that police action had violated the alleged 2016 Year of Tolerance declared by President Ilham Aliyev. The regime uses claims of its alleged "religious tolerance" to camouflage its multiple human rights violations (see Forum 18's Azerbaijan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2081). Police and religious affairs officials raid Baku bookshops State Committee officials and police officers raided at least five shops selling religious literature in Baku's Sabail and Nasimi Districts, the Interior Ministry and the State Committee announced on 2 December 2016. State Committee officials said five shops were selling religious literature and other religious items "illegally". Police confiscated 433 different religious titles being sold without the compulsory hologram sticker showing that the books had the required permission from the State Committee to be sold. Officers drew up records of an offence in each case. The latest Baku bookshop raids appear to be a continuation of earlier raids. Police and officials of the State Committee raided at least 26 shops and six homes across Azerbaijan in October and early November 2016 to seize religious literature being distributed without the compulsory state permission. Some book sellers were then punished. All the literature confiscated from shops appears to have been Muslim (see F18News 16 November 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2231). Religious literature and other materials can be sold or distributed only at specialised outlets which have been approved both by the State Committee and the local administration (see Forum 18's Azerbaijan religious freedom survey http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2081). In addition, all religious literature produced in, published in (including on the internet) or imported into Azerbaijan is subject to prior compulsory censorship. When the State Committee does give permission to publish or import a work it also specifies how many copies can be produced or imported. All religious materials sold must have a sticker noting that they have State Committee approval. State officials have repeatedly denied that this represents censorship (see F18News 1 October 2015 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2107). The stickers from the State Committee cost religious communities or bookshop owners 0.02 Manats each. However, acquiring them can be difficult. Jehovah's Witnesses complained that between April and October 2016, the State Committee told them that it had run out of stickers. This meant that even publications the State Committee had given Jehovah's Witnesses permission to import could not be distributed without fear of punishment (see F18News 16 November 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2231). Fined for religious literature, but fine overturned One case is known to have been brought to court in Baku's Sabail District, though it remains unclear if this was as a result of the raids. On 28 December 2016 Judge Rauf Ahmadov of Sabail District Court fined local resident Elnara Qasimova 2,000 Manats for selling religious items without the compulsory permission from the State Committee and the District administration, the court told Forum 18 on 16 January. Qasimova was fined under Administrative Code Article 516.0.2 ("Selling religious literature (printed or on electronic devices), audio and video materials, religious merchandise and products, or other religious informational materials, which have been authorised for sale under the Religion Law, outside specialised sale outlets established with the permission of the relevant government authority distributing religious literature, religious objects and information material without State Committee permission"). Punishments under Article 516.0.2 entails confiscation of the literature, merchandise and products or other materials concerned. Additional punishments under Article 516 are: for individuals fines of between 2,000 and 2,500 Manats; for officials fines of between 8,000 and 9,000 Manats; for organisations fines of between 20,000 and 25,000 Manats; and for foreigners and stateless persons fines of between 2,000 and 2,500 Manats with deportation from Azerbaijan (see F18News 2 June 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2184). Qasimova's appeal against her punishment was handed to Baku Appeal Court on 11 January. On the morning of 17 January Judge Ilqar Murquzov partially upheld Qasimova's appeal. He cancelled the fine, but sent the case back to the lower court for a new hearing, according to court records. The official who answered the phone of the Baku city representative of the State Committee on 17 January, who refused to give his name, refused to answer any of Forum 18's questions as to why officials raided the bookshops, confiscated religious literature or brought a case to punish Qasimova. Baku Muslim community raided State Committee officials, together with officers of the police, State Security Service (SSS) secret police and officials from Baku's Sabail District local administration raided a Shia Muslim community, State Committee officials told the local media on 8 December 2016. They claim to have been responding to information that the community in Badamdar in south-western Baku was functioning "in violation of procedures governing the activity of religious organisations". The Muslim community is not one of the four mosques the State Committee allows to function in Sabail District. The regime has a policy of closing mosques operating without state permission and without a leadership the State Committee has appointed. Sunni mosques are especially severely targeted for forcible closure (see eg. F18News 20 September 2016 http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2216). During the raid, State Committee officials confiscated 59 religious books, 19 videotapes, 27 DVDs and 80 CDs which they claimed did not have the required State Committee permission. Officials added that they found unspecified items "which included elements of khurafat [prejudice or superstition]". They claimed to have then launched an investigation. Azerbaijan's legal database does not include the term "khurafat" in any law or legal document. It remains unclear why State Committee officials think the unspecified confiscated items are illegal. (END) http://www.forum18.org/archive.php?article_id=2247
  19. The CVS Pharmacy along West Liberty Avenue in Dormont. By Patricia Sabatini / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Taking a stab at breaking the market dominance of Mylan’s EpiPen allergy shot, CVS Pharmacy announced it has begun selling a similar auto-injector at a fraction of the cost. The nation’s biggest drugstore chain said the generic version of Adrenaclick — a tiny EpiPen competitor — was priced at $109.99 per two-pack. That compares with $649.99 a pack for the EpiPen and $339.99 for the generic EpiPen that local drug giant Mylan launched last month, CVS said. “We recognized the urgent need for a less-expensive epinephrine auto-injector, and are proud to offer a low-cost option,” CVS said in a statement. The Rhode Island-based company has some 9,600 stores nationwide. The generic Adrenaclick, owned by Impax Laboratories in California, contains the same medication to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions as the EpiPen, but uses a slightly different delivery system. The brand-name version of Adrenaclick is no longer manufactured. A year ago, the device held a tiny 4 percent market share, according to Impax. Since then, its share has risen to around 9 percent amid growing outrage over the spiraling cost of the EpiPen, spokesman Mark Donohue said Thursday. CVS had been selling the device for around $200. Mr. Donohue said he couldn’t provide any projections for capturing additional market share at the lower price. Although the Impax device is assembled by hand, the company has been keeping up with demand, he said. “CVS will have product in all of their stores,” he said. Impax plans to automate the process by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018, he said. Mylan, which is run from executive offices in Cecil but is incorporated in the Netherlands, did not respond to emails seeking comment. South Park resident Jill Piel, who relies on auto-injectors to protect her 11-year-old son with peanut allergies, called CVS’s announcement great news for her family. She used to buy three boxes of EpiPens to have at school, at home and in her purse. Last summer, she “almost had a stroke” when her pharmacy told her each set would cost $500. Even though she’s never had to use one, the EpiPens have to be replaced annually because they expire. “I went home and broke down,” she said. “You need it. And at the time, I thought [EpiPen] was my only choice.” After doing some research into alternatives, she got her son’s allergist to write a prescription for the generic Adrenaclick, which cost her around $175 a box. “That was such a relief,” she said. She said CVS offering the two-pack for $110 was “more good news.” CVS said patients should speak with their health care provider about possibly switching to the generic Adrenaclick. “The provider can then write a prescription for ‘epinephrine auto-injector’ to ensure the lowest cost product is filled,” the company said. The $109.99 price tag applies to cash-paying customers and those covered by insurance, lowering their out-of-pocket costs, CVS said. Impax also offers a coupon program for qualifying patients that can cut the cost even more, the company said. Skyrocketing drug prices have become a growing concern among consumers and on Capitol Hill. As furor grew late last summer over the cost of the EpiPen, which has soared some 500 percent in recent years, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch was called to testify before a House committee hearing during which lawmakers blasted the company for what they considered corporate greed and price-gouging. In his first news conference as president-elect, Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked drug makers for their price hikes, saying they were “getting away with murder.” Mr. Trump’s comments immediately sent drug stocks lower, with Mylan shares losing $1.67 on Wednesday. Shares gave up another 51 cents Thursday, to close at $36.77. Patricia Sabatini: PSabatini@post-gazette.com; 412-263-3066. http://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2017/01/12/CVS-generic-competitor-to-EpiPen-sold-at-a-6th-the-price-Mylan-pittsburgh/stories/201701120177
  20. Bennett Mitchell Collier, 93, of Radford, passed away Sunday, December 11, 2016. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ballard and Elizabeth Collier; his wife, Marie Hobbs Collier; and two sons, Michael and Tony Collier. Survivors include his daughter-in-law, Linda Collier of Radford; sisters, Lavina Eggert of Cape Girardeau, Mo. and Irene Wood of Oak Harbor, Ohio; 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at the Pulaski Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1110 Tyler Avenue, Radford, with Mr. Owen McKinney IV officiating. The Collier family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com https://nrvnews.com/collier-bennett-michell/
  21. By DENISE MAYCOCK #Tribune Freeport Reporter #dmaycock@tribunemedia.net #JEHOVAH’S Witnesses from the United States are in Grand Bahama helping their fellow members who were affected by Hurricane Matthew. #Volunteers from Florida and other parts of the US were out with local members in Freeport helping with roof repairs to homes damaged by the storm last October. #Misael Morales, who is from the Miami area, said that teams of volunteers are in The Bahamas working between Nassau, Freeport, Exuma, Long Island, and Andros. #“We have about over 330 homes of our brothers and sisters that were affected by Hurricane Matthew, and JW do a lot of disaster relief. When we heard that our friends needed assistance here, literally folks from around the US were asking when can they go to help,” he said. #The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has coordinated extensive relief efforts following the passage of Hurricane Matthew to assist its members in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, and the southeastern US in early October 2016. #Mr Morales said that volunteers have been coming from the US weeks at a time to assist with relief efforts in The Bahamas. #“Some are here for a few months…and about 120 at any given time are working between Freeport, Nassau, Exuma, Long Island, and Andros. We have seen typical hurricane damage - roof damage and interior damage from storm surge,” he said. #In Grand Bahama, the team will be working on about 60 to 65 homes in Freeport. The three Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Halls also sustained roof damage and will be replaced. #Mr Morales expects the team to be finished its work by the end of March. They will work on six to seven homes per week in Freeport. #He said that wherever there is a need Jehovah’s Witnesses are willing to help. #“We consider this part of our ministry. JW is well known for our door to door work, that is our core competency to educate others about God. We also feel that it is not just helping people to get to know God, but to understand that this is how He takes care of His people,” he said. #Mr Morales said the volunteers have taken time off work to help their fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses in The Bahamas. #“They paid their way to come here to go work on someone’s roof they don’t know just because they say they are Jehovah’s Witnesses as well - that is love,” he said. http://www.tribune242.com/news/2017/jan/16/jehovahs-witnesses-help-hurricane-aftermath/?news