The Afghan Taliban have released an audio message purportedly from their leader dismissing claims that he was killed in a gunfight during a gathering of several Taliban figures in Pakistan. In a 16-minute message released on Saturday, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor advised his followers not to pay attention to rumours, describing them as “propaganda”. “I have recorded…
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By Alexandra Del Canto
When thinking of a front yard, the first thing many of us envision is a carpet of green grass.
Lush lawns do not occur naturally, therefore a healthy lawn does not happen without much effort from the owner. But what started this craze about homes needing a front lawn?
Lawns originate back to the aristocratic times of the early 18th century. Lawns were a sign of wealth and were popular as the climate was conducive to growing them in the United Kingdom. The trend was adapted throughout history over and over again, although many would argue that owning a lawn is actually hurting the planet.
Well, the EPA estimates that 30-60% of fresh water is used for watering lawns.
Just as certain species of plants do not thrive in particular areas, lawns do not thrive well in certain areas as well. This can mean that depending on the location, lawns may need extra water and certain pesticides to keep them lush and growing.
Both of these elements are detrimental to the environment. On top of the extreme use of water and pesticides, mowers that maintain the lawns emit a large amount of pollutants. The EPA estimates 580 million gallons of gasoline are used for lawnmowers annually.
With severe on going droughts in many part of the world, why are we continuing to waste our natural resources on maintaining a piece of aesthetic and modern comfort?
In many areas, as well as South Florida (where Rise News is headquartered), not “properly maintaining” a lawn is punishable by law. But what if you wish to not have a lawn at all, so you do not have to use the resources to maintain it?
In most areas of South Florida, that’s not okay either, you must maintain a certain amount of lawn on your property.
Here’s an example from the Broward County Code:
(Article VIII, “Landscaping for Protection of Water Quality and Quantity,”):
“For the purpose of this article, native vegetation shall consist of those plant species indigenous to the ecological communities of South Florida, as indicated on lists provided by Broward County. The remainder of the required landscape area shall be landscaped with turfgrass..”
Why is there such an emphasis on growing lawns rather than maintaining native vegetation? The most practical use of personal land would be to benefit the environment and it’s inhabitants. The use of land for growing food rather than lawns should be encouraged rather than discouraged. Think of the consequences of keeping a lawn and the alternative uses of potential space. Besides, beauty is only blade deep.
This article was original published on www.risemiaminews.com.
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By Staff Report
By Aaron Sortal
UPDATED at 12:45 AM, October 15 with student reaction
SYRAC– — USE, NY-Syracuse University was locked down for an extended period earlier this evening after a shooting took place near the campus. The University is no longer under the lock down as local authorities scramble to get a handle on the full extent of the situation.
At 8:29 PM, Syracuse University students received an email, followed by a phone call, from the Department of Public Safety to say indoors and not let anyone into their homes or dorms. What caused the closings was a homicide on Hope Avenue, a street close to the University campus.
A shooter was then thought to go into Oakwood Cemetery, at which point the University was put on lock down.
One person was killed and at least one other wondered in the shooting.
According to Alexa Torrens’s story in the Daily Orange:
“At about 9 p.m., a Syracuse police officer said it is believed at least one person is armed near Oakwood Cemetery, though the officers on the scene are unsure how many people total are in the area.”
Oakwood Cemetery is located directly behind Syracuse University with ESF, Day and Flint Halls closest to the scene.
The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), located on Syracuse’s campus went into lockdown.
Students in Flint Hall were told to “turn their lights off”, according to the Daily Orange.
Other buildings were then encouraged to go into lockdown.
At 10:37 PM, students received an email from Department of Safety to “Be advised the emergency no longer exists and it is clear to resume normal activity. Continue to be diligent and report any suspicious activity.”
Currently it is unclear if the suspects involved were Syracuse students or had any connection to the university’s community.
Students Recount Confusion As Campus Became Aware Of Shooting
At 8:30 PM, Ellen Greene, an undeclared freshman from Massena, NY, was working the desk at Manley Field House, an athletic center near Oakwood Cemetery. It was there that she received the news that the campus was on high-alert.
Greene first didn’t think anything of it until her boss came over and moved her to an area with the rest of the students. “They seemed prepared for the situation,” Greene said of the reaction, which made her feel safe.
Watch: Video From Inside The S.I. Newhouse School of Communication During Lockdown
Across campus, there was miscommunication about what was happening.
Gabriela Robles, a freshman Public Relations major from Queens, New York, was locked in a classroom inside the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
The Syracuse Department of Public Safety (DPS) never called an official campus-wide lockdown, but they placed certain buildings on specific lockdown, for example, Flint Hall and Day Hall located closest to the scene were locked down.
Newhouse was far from the situation, but students inside experienced the miscommunication.
Robles said that Newhouse was “locked in”, meaning that no one could get in but they could leave. Students were then moved to a large space- the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium, with the rest of the people in the building.
Robles said that students were told they were encouraged to stay in certain areas, but were also told they could leave.
“No one knew what to do,” Robles said. “So they just stayed put.”
Watch: Live student TV broadcast coverage of the developing situation
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By John Massey
The highlight of the party’s platform is the desire to hold a referendum on Hong Kong’s autonomy prior to 2047. It is a revolutionary desire in the eyes of the Chinese government and many pro Chinese political figures in Hong Kong.
When RISE NEWS learned about the creation of Demosistō, we reached out to them in order to share their story.
After all, they are some of the most politically influential millennials that the world has seen.
She is also a second year student at Hong Kong Baptist University, studying politics.
Chow first became involved in Hong Kong politics in 2012, after being exposed to Scholarism via Facebook.
The group was founded in opposition to the highly controversial Moral and National Education Curriculum, which was claimed by opponents to be pro Communist Party of China (CPC) brainwashing.
One of the more compelling pieces of evidence to this claim is one of the key seven priorities of the curriculum being “National Identity“, which is to say an identity indistinct from that of mainland China.
Scholarism, and its allied groups were ultimately successful in defeating the Moral and National Education Curriculum, but also in demonstrating that a grassroots movement of millennials in Hong Kong can make political change.
However, Scholarism’s next big outing, as well as other liberal organizations, proved even larger than the opposition to the Moral and National Education Curriculum.
The Umbrella Movement was a mass protest spanning several months in Hong Kong. Thousands of protesters gathered in opposition to constitutional reform imposed by the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). These reforms give a nominating committee, with purportedly strong ties to the CPC, the authority to pre-select a handful of candidates prior to a territory wide election.
The “suffrage” presented by Beijing outraged a tremendous number of Hong Kongers, and in particular, large swaths of young people, many of whom were in secondary school.
In particular the student group Scholarism was the centerpiece of what little international media attention was put on the Umbrella Movement. It was largely out of the ranks of Scholarism that Demosistō emerged.
However, size of opposition did not prove decisive in the Umbrella Movement, as the ultimate objective of the protesters was thwarted.
When asked if the three month event was a failure, Chow told RISE in a Skype interview;
“in terms of political goals, i think it was a failure, but it also had lots of influence on people’s minds.”
Indeed, there is something to be said of the conditions being created in which a handful of university students can exercise a considerable degree of influence in politics.
To those familiar with the Occupy Movement in the United States, the idea of using the political capital gained through the Umbrella Movement to work within a broken system may seem strange or counter intuitive.
“It is difficult to fight some things through the Parliament, or through the Legislative Council, and while I can understand these kinds of feelings, because in our legislative council now half of our council is not democratically elected, because of the Functional Constituency,” Chow said. “I still believe we can enter the Legislative Council, we can do something… because our aim is to not just work within the Council.
“Through the election we want to promote our ideas to more people. What we have to do is connect the Legislative Council and the Civil Society outside.”
The intentions of Demosistō and other liberal actors within Hong Kong has not gone unnoticed.
Earlier this year, Chow brought attention to the abduction of a man selling books that criticized the Communist party, or were otherwise banned in Mainland China.
Chow has also had the shadow of the CPC come upon her as well.
Limits on withdrawals were placed on her bank account which was intended to be used to accept donations on behalf of Demosistō, as they have thus far been unable to register as a company.
This has resulted in Demosistō relying on crowdfunding via Paypal.
We are currently experiencing sudden issues concerning Agnes Chow's bank account. Latest updates at: https://t.co/AvtNfQV80u
— Demosistō 香港眾志 (@demosisto) April 11, 2016
Chow was more concerned with Demosistō’s hurdles in registering as a company. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t like this very much.
” In Hong Kong we do not have the legislation for political parties,” Chow said. “They all have to register as a company instead.”
These financial problems likely do not improve Demosistō’s opinion of the Hong Kong establishment.
” Of course the government and the companies will not support us, because we are opposing the government, and the business sectors are also always standing on the government’s side,” Chow said. “They have to cooperate with the Chinese side.”
Demosistō then will be relying on their proven ability to utilize grassroots tactics to gain wins in the Legislative Council, especially students, but not exclusively.
“We have involved a professor teaching in one of the arts schools… We believe that the new political party, because it’s not a student’ s organization anymore, and it’s important for us to involve more people from the older generations.”
She also notes that for future plans, the party will:
“Try to recruit them [volunteers], through our website, and different forums, and public locations we will try to send our message to Hong Kong People, and hope that they can join us later on.”
Spreading the message of a referendum on Hong Kong’s self determination by 2047, the year the Sino-British Joint Declaration expires, is the clear center piece of Demosistō’s platform, but is far from the only position taken.
Scholarism was deemed ill fitting for elevation to Demosistō’s status as a political party in part due to a lack of political cohesion, according to Chow.
Demosistō heavily invests in individualist language to describe their proposed policies, broken down into the ” Four Selves” :Self Initiating, Self Standing, Self Autonomy, and finally Self Determination. These are intended as steps over a ten year period.
” Self Determination does not mean dissolution of the Social Problems in Hong Kong”
” Even after self determination we still have lots of: education problems, housing problems, property hegemony, etc,” Chow said. “We still have a lot of problems to solve before the self determination of Hong Kong. Resources such as food and water heavily rely on the supply of the mainland China. No matter if it was an independent country or a city under a country, it has to have self sufficiency.”
Not only does Demosistō insist on self sufficiency for the city of Hong Kong, but also an advancement of Hong Kong’s unique identity.
” It is also important to build up the identity of Hong Kong People, so we propose a Hong Kong History subject be implemented,” Chow said in the interview. “Hong Kong people do not really know much about Hong Kong history; in our education system there are only World History and Chinese History.”
This idea of an independent Hong Kong identity seems pivotal in the dispute between Hong Kong and Beijing. As previously noted, establishing a national identity was one of the objectives of the Moral and National Education Curriculum.
Beijing specifically does not want there to be any distinction between China and Hong Kong, and may be trying to begin laying the groundwork for 2047, and end this “salutary neglect” like relationship.
Chow concluded our chat by telling us about her vision of Hong Kong’s identity, saying;
“For me, the identity of Hong Kong people, or the characteristic of Hong Kong, is diversity. We have lots of different kinds of people, who believe in different core values, who came from different countries, who are different races, etc. It’s very important to emphasize the diversity, and not to exclude the others who disagree with us.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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