Mexican journalist killed in Sinaloa

(CNN)Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Crdenas, who reported extensively on drug trafficking, was killed on Monday in Sinaloa, officials said. He is the fifth journalist to be killed in Mexico this year.

Riodoce, the weekly publication Valdez founded and worked for, reported he was shot to death. Valdez was a well-respected journalist in Sinaloa and published several books on drug trafficking, crime, and its effects on communities.
Speaking Monday at the crime scene in Culiacn, Sinaloa state Prosecutor Juan Jos Ros Estavillo vowed his department would provide more protection for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 40 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992.
    Mexico President Enrique Pea Nieto tweeted out his condolences to the family and friends of Valdez. “I reiterate our commitment to freedom of expression and the press, which are fundamental to our democracy,” Nieto said.
    The Committee to Protect Journalists awarded Valdez the 2011 Press Freedom Award. “In a country where widespread self-censorship is the consequence of violence by drug syndicates and criminal gangs, Valdez still covers sensitive issues,” CPJ wrote in its announcement of the award.
    In September 2009, Riodoce published a series on drug trafficking. Days later, its offices were damaged by a grenade, according to CPJ.
    In his acceptance speech in New York in 2011, Valdez spoke about the message in two of his books, “Miss Narco” and “The Kids of the Drug Trade,” “I have told of the tragedy Mexico is living, a tragedy that should shame us. The youth will remember this as a time of war. Their DNA is tattooed with bullets and guns and blood, and this is a form of killing tomorrow. We are murderers of our own future.”
    Valdez was also a correspondent for La Jornada in Sinaloa and worked with news agency AFP.
    “We lament this tragedy and send all condolences to Javier’s family and those close to him. We call on the Mexican authorities to shed all possible light on this cowardly murder,” AFP’s Global news director, Michle Lridon, said in an official statement.
    In an interview with CNN in February 2013, Valdez told CNN’s Gary Tuchman he thought Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaqun “El Chapo” Guzman was not only alive, but continuing to do business.
    At the time of the interview, Riodoce was one of the only papers that continued to cover El Chapo and the Sinaloa cartel. Valdez told Tuchman that his staff lived in fear, but his paper would not back down on its coverage.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/americas/mexican-journalist-javier-valdez-killed-sinaloa/index.html

    Gringo By Dan “Tito” Davis

    Story Summary:

    Dan “Tito” Davis comes from a town in South Dakota that’s so small everyone knows their neighbor’s cat’s name. But once he got out, he made some noise. While at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he started manufacturing White Crosses, aka speed, and soon had the Banditos Motorcycle Club distributing ten million pills a week. After serving a nickel, he got into the weed game, but just when he got going, he was set up by a childhood friend. Facing thirty years, Davis slipped into Mexico, not knowing a word of Spanish, which began a thirteen-year odyssey that led him to an underground hideout for a MedellIn cartel, through the jungles of the Darien Gap, the middle of Mumbai’s madness, and much more.

    https://www.amazon.com/Gringo-Life-Edge-International-Fugitive/dp/1938812840

    Tito has lived a fascinating life, one well worth reading about, and I was enthralled by every page. Tito’s ambition and know-how lead him far past his humble Midwestern beginnings, and his rise and fall made a tale well worth reading, one which I would recommend to anyone.

    5 Stars San Francisco Book Review – http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/gringo/

     

    Gideon: The Sound and The Glory

    Story Summary:

    Unsung heroes and murderous villains, hidden forever in ancient shadows, now leap to life – blazing onto the pages of revelation. Gideon, a lowly woodcutter, is blessed by an angel to be the savior of all Israel. He does not know why or how and shrinks from this dangerous mission. The commandment to conquer the Midian Empire as one man seems all but impossible. But Gideon’s confidence grows as God guides his every step until he stands fearless and faithfully fulfills his destiny as, “A mighty man of valor.” The fierce warriors, burning towers and devastated cities contained in Gideon’s Journey, are but silver threads that weave into a sweeping tapestry of ancient intrigue. Running through and stitching together the entire saga is The Lord of the Covenant, or The Baal-Berith, also known as Gideon’s mysterious Ephod of Gold.

    Seattle Book Review – 4 Stars
    https://seattlebookreview.com/product/gideon-the-sound-and-the-glory/

    Warriors and violent battles are present throughout Biblical times and beyond. Fueled by hatred of other tribes, the struggles for land, treasure, and resources permeate the landscape. The warrior Barak wages a vicious battle to take the village of Ophrah. With a little help from a female warrior named Jael, the tide of the battle turns. He is successful, but casualties are many. The casualties include the brothers of Gideon, a smart, unassuming woodcutter. Nothing much is expected of him; he is married to a woman who his father picked out. He is enamored of a young woman he encounters in his village named Drumah. She is set to be sacrificed to the God Baal. Gideon is visited by an Angel with a message from God. Gideon destroys the altar and saves Drumah from certain death. Gideon is chosen to fight for the Israelites. Gideon assumes command of his fellow people in battles against the people from the East such as the Midianites, who have fought for land in many pitched battles. Gideon is motivated by his brothers’ brutal deaths. He fights despite hunger and refuses help from cowering tribes. Gideon and his rag-tag group emerge victorious in their skirmishes. He takes vengeance on those who refused to help, emerging as a hero in his village. He takes Drumah as his concubine, along with many women he saved as well as widowed. He also sires many offspring, but his victory comes at a price that will echo throughout the coming years and decades with the Ephod of Gold. The worship of a new idol curses the family of Gideon, where one son engages in tyrannical rule. The son’s reign is typified by fear and power plays which include the wholesale slaughter of many brothers. By the time of the emergence of the underdog David, will the curse of this idol be broken?

    Gideon: The Sound and the Glory is a vivid and violent take on the religious strife that spanned the BC era. Greed, paranoia, jealousy, and lust are the overwhelming characteristics running through the veins of the men who highlight this book. Violence is seen as a necessary means to an end, whether in war or in power-grabs. The false idol that is worshiped only brings about doom and destruction to the worshiper. An interesting historical fiction read that will make a companion read to the Bible. A-!

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4LNPMU

    New Curtis Sittenfeld novel will imagine Hillary Clinton’s life without Bill

    As-yet untitled novel will tell the story of Hillary Rodham and her life after she turns down marriage proposal from Bill Clinton once and for all

    Curtis Sittenfeld has signed a book deal to write a novel about Hillary Clinton that will imagine how the former secretary of states life would have panned out if she had not married Bill Clinton.

    According to publisher Random House, the as-yet-untitled novel is told from the point of view of Hillary Rodham, in which (as she did in real life) she turns down marriage proposals from Bill Clinton, then ultimately turns him down once and for all, and how her life spins out from there.

    A spokeswoman for the publisher said the book would be out in 2019. The novel is part of a three-book deal for Sittenfeld.

    Random House (@randomhouse)

    We’re so excited about @csittenfeld‘s next fiction project! https://t.co/1lSX0Nnw3p

    May 8, 2017

    Sittenfeld has form when it comes to writing about the lives of former first ladies. In 2008 she penned the acclaimed and bestselling novel American Wife, a fictionalised account of the life of Laura Bush.

    News of Sittenfelds new novel comes after it was announced that Bill Clinton was writing a political thriller with James Patterson. The President is Missing is due out in 2018.

    Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is writing her own collection of essays that will reflect on her life and the presidential election. The book will include quotations she has used to get through battles with political opponents including Donald Trump, the media, her husbands high-profile sex scandals. It is due in out September from Simon & Schuster.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/may/09/new-curtis-sittenfeld-novel-will-imagine-hillary-clintons-life-without-bill

    Health report links antibiotics to risk of miscarriage

    Canadian study finds taking the drugs raises chances of having a miscarriage by between 60% and 100%

    Many common antibiotics may double the risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy, research has shown.

    A Canadian study has found that taking the drugs raised the chances of having a miscarriage by between 60% and 100%.

    The link was seen with several classes of antibiotic including macrolides, quinolones, tetracyclines, sulphonamides and metronidazole. However, nitrofurantoin, often used to treat urinary tract infections in pregnant women, had no effect on miscarriage risk. Nor did the widely used antibiotic erythromycin.

    The researchers looked at data from almost 9,000 cases of miscarriage at an average time of 14 weeks into pregnancy, involving girls and women aged between 15 and 45.

    The study leader, Dr Anick Brard, from the University of Montreal in Quebec, said: Infections are prevalent during pregnancy. Although antibiotic use to treat infections has been linked to a decreased risk of prematurity and low birth weight in other studies, our investigation shows that certain types of antibiotics are increasing the risk of spontaneous abortion, with a 60% to two-fold increased risk.

    Women who miscarried were more likely to be older, living alone, and to have multiple health issues and infections. But all these factors were accounted for in the analysis, whose findings are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

    Dr Brard added: The increased risk was not seen for all antibiotics, which is reassuring for users, prescribers and policymakers.

    The researchers identified a total of 182,369 pregnancies from the Quebec pregnancy cohort, a large population group from the province providing data for ongoing studies. Of these, 8,702 (4.7%) ended with an early miscarriage.

    Writing in the journal, the team concluded that there was a link between some antibiotics and an increased risk of miscarriage, but added: However, residual confounding by severity of infection cannot be ruled out.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/02/health-report-links-antibiotics-to-risk-of-miscarriage

    Elmina’s Fire by Linda Carleton

    Book Summary

    What happens when a troubled young woman dares to follow the stirrings of her soul in turbulent times? Elmina begins life with a troubled childhood in a medieval French town―a childhood that turns her into a spiritually seeking young woman who dares to follow the stirrings of her soul. Her idealism and love lead her to leave a Cathar school and follow the man who will become Saint Dominic. As the world around her erupts into the Albigensian Crusade, Elmina finds herself complicit in its horror, and her spiritual and emotional life begins to unravel. With the aid of the counsel of her wise prior, Brother Noel, Elmina learns to paint her experiences within a sacred circle―a practice that helps her discover the origins of her lifelong fears and wrestle with questions that are as divisive today as they were eight centuries ago: the nature of God, the purpose of creation, the nature of evil, and the possibility of reincarnation.

    Available at Amazon – http://amzn.to/2qfb4eA

    5 Star Good Reads Review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1975193677

    Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance author dies aged 88

    Book telling the father-son story of a motorcycle trip across the western United States was published in 1974 and quickly became a best-seller

    Robert Pirsig, author of the influential 1970s philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has died at the age of 88.

    Peter Hubbard, executive editor of his publisher William Morrow & Co, said in a statement that Pirsigs wife Wendy had confirmed his death at his home in Maine after a period of failing health.

    Published in 1974 after being rejected by more than 100 other publishers, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was the father-son story of a motorcycle trip across the western United States. Loosely autobiographical, it also contained flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

    The book quickly became a best-seller. Pirsig said its protagonist set out to resolve the conflict between classic values that create machinery, such as a motorcycle, and romantic values, such as experiencing the beauty of a country road.

    Born in Minneapolis, Pirsig had a high IQ and graduated high school at the age of 15. He earned a degree in philosophy and also worked as a technical writer and instructor of English before being hospitalised for mental illness in the early 1960s.

    His philosophical thinking and personal experiences during these years, including a 1968 motorcycle trip across the US West with his eldest son, Christopher, formed the core of the narrative of the novel.

    Pirsig worked on the sequel, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals for 17 years before its publication in 1991. The story traced a sailboat journey taken by two fictitious characters along Americas eastern coast.

    Pirsig lived the last 30 years in South Berwick, Maine and is survived by his wife Wendy, two children and three grandchildren. His son Chris died in 1979.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/25/robert-pirsig-zen-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-maintenance-author-dies-aged-88

    She Came From Afar

    Story Summary: After a stirring dream, Courtney Lindberg was inspired by the voice of God to go to Africa and adopt a baby. This is the story of a family’s evolution, beginning with a decision to push the boundaries of their comfort zone out of the country-literally. But She Came From Afar is much more than a tale of international adoption. It’s about trusting that God will lead you out of the desert and fill you with purpose, ultimately fulfilling the deepest desires of your heart. This book tells the story of their inspirations and challenges, their search for answers, and the loving family they created in the process.

    Kirkus Review – https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/courtney-b-lindberg/she-came-afar/

    An American mother recalls the arduous process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.

    5 Stars From San Francisco Book Review – https://sanfranciscobookreview.com/product/she-came-from-afar/

    Each family is different, and this is especially true for families who have adopted children. Not only do they have to deal with all the typical struggles of raising a child (sometimes from infancy), but they also need to face questions from the people around them and from their own children. It is a trial, but a common enough one that there are many adoption stories, several of which are beautiful and filled with the grace of parents who manage to pass through the trials and keep their heads held high. She Came From Afar is one such story.

    Amazon Link – http://amzn.to/2rP6mWe

    Bahia Shehab: 1,000 ways to say no in Arabic

    (CNN)In 2011, when the revolution swept through Egypt, Bahia Shehab stood on the streets of Cairo with a spray-can in her hand determined to deliver one message: No. A thousand times no.

    No to military rule. No to violence. No to dictatorship. And no to beating women.
    On walls across Cairo she spray painted a series of quotes objecting Egyptian authorities.
      The Egyptian artist, designer and Islamic art historian became interested by how the word “no” is portrayed in Arabic calligraphy in 2010 when she was invited by theKhatt Foundation to participate in an exhibition commemorating 100 years of Arabic art in Europe.
      She created a series of graffiti images that were inspired by 1,000 different ways “no” — which is written as ” in Arabic — had been stylized.
      Since then, her artwork has appeared in galleries and on streets across the world. Now, she’s become the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab culture.
      Established in 1998, the prize rewards two laureates each year who have used their work to “disseminate a greater knowledge of Arab art and culture.” The other winner this year is French artist eL Seed.
      Its international jury says Shehab’s street art “plays as a fresh tool for the young to build networks for active change and to voice their objections.”
      Prior to the award ceremony, CNN caught up with Shehab.

      What inspired your project “No, A Thousand Times No”?

      I looked through a very big database (of) material to come up with a thousand nos. I looked through museum archives, buildings, books, materials from different places around the world to be able to collect that data. It took me a year.
      It was actually surprising. I thought it was going to be really difficult to find a 1,000 (nos) in different forms, but then you stop at 1,000 and then you’re surprised that there’s so much more — and this is what was amazing for me.

      Can you remember the first time you spray-painted in the streets of Cairo?

      It was one of the best moments of my life. It’s still vivid now in my head. It felt so liberating. I felt like I was actually screaming.
      I really admire these strong women who would stand in rallies and raise their call and be the first ones to call. I was so jealous because I could never do that and then I had the spray can and I said “Yes! This is my place, this is my medium.”
      (It) was extremely liberating as a form of expression.
      For somebody who doesn’t have a very loud voice, my voice was my spray can.

      How does it feel to win the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture?

      I didn’t think (“No, A Thousand Times No”) would get me a UNESCO prize, I wasn’t expecting that.
      (The work) was important to me as a cultural bank … and it made me feel very proud of my heritage. (But) I feel like we still have a lot of work to do. I am honored, of course, but what I’m really happy about is that they’re honoring street art and I’m receiving it with a very, very dear friend of mine, eL Seed (which) is an even a greater honor as we both work on the street.
      It’s a form of recognition of street art in the Arab world as an important art form.

      What do you say to people or governments who try to prevent you spray painting?

      We are finding other outlets. If Cairo is not my canvas, then the world is. There are other cities that will welcome my message (and) we have the internet now — the physical space is no longer important.
      When I don’t get a visa, I go on Skype and I give my presentations and the idea gets there. I don’t need to physically be in a place anymore.

      What are you working on?

      I am still painting in different cities. I’m painting poetry and I think this is what’s helping me deal with our current situation. Many activists are either in prison or exile or they’ve committed suicide and this is unfortunately the state of events. So for me to deal with the trauma of our current state I paint words all around the world, of poetry (and) of our dreams.

      What walls have you painted?

      The first wall I painted was in Vancouver and (the text is) all by the same Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, and says “stand at the corner of the dream and fight” and then I painted in New York, Madison, in Marrakesh, Tokyo, Istanbul and Beirut and each poem has a different message — either related to the city where I’m painting or just about the state of the Arab world, in general.
      For example on Kefalonia — the Greek island — I painted for the refugee crises of the people who are drowning and I painted the poem “Those Who Have No Land Have No Feet.”
      So each poem is also a bit site specific.
      The above interview has been edited for brevity.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/17/arts/bahia-shehab-arabic-thousand-times-no-unesco/index.html

      Tiny, family-run Iowa newspaper wins Pulitzer for taking on agriculture companies

      Art Cullen owns the 3,000-circulation Storm Lake Times with his brother John. His wife and son also work at the paper

      A small-town Iowa newspaper with a staff of 10 people – most of whom are related to each other has won a Pulitzer Prize for taking on powerful agricultural companies over farm pollution.

      Art Cullen, who owns the Storm Lake Times with his brother John, acknowledged it wasnt easy taking on agriculture in a state like Iowa where you see hundreds of miles of farm fields in every direction. The Cullens lost a few friends and a few advertisers, but never doubted they were doing the right thing.

      Were here to challenge peoples assumptions and I think thats what every good newspaper should do, he said.

      Among the other staff members at the Storm Lake Times is John Cullens wife Mary, Arts wife Dolores and their son, Tom. The familys dog, Mabel also hangs out at the newspaper offices most of the time, Poynter reports.

      Kevin Pang (@pang)

      Here’s the masthead of the Storm Lake Times, a 3,300-circ paper that just won the Pulitzer in Editorial Writing https://t.co/DRSoQHuICx pic.twitter.com/UNkdQMYoJ5

      April 10, 2017

      Cullens writing was lauded by the Pulitzer committee for editorials fuelled by tenacious reporting, impressive expertise and engaging writing that successfully challenged powerful corporate agricultural interests in Iowa.

      As well as hard-hitting news and editorials, the paper also includes local stories. On Monday, a front-page story told of how a second-grader found a four-leaf clover in the field behind her school.

      Cullen told the Washington Post that he knows what readers like. We strive to have a baby, a dog, a fire and a crash on every front page, so, yes, we do pander, he said.

      But it was the papers dogged coverage of farming issues affecting the state that won them the coveted journalism prize.

      Buena Vista county, where the 3,000-circulation, twice-weekly newspaper is based in north-west Iowa, was one of three counties sued by Des Moines Water Works for allowing too much nitrogen to be released through farm drainage systems into rivers from which the utility draws its drinking water. The counties fought the federal lawsuit using money provided by undisclosed sources.

      The newspaper worked with the Iowa Freedom of Information Council to force the release of documents showing funding came from the Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups.

      Anyone with eyes and a nose knows in his gut that Iowa has the dirtiest surface water in America, Cullen wrote in a March 2016 editorial.

      Iowa map

      It is choking the waterworks and the Gulf of Mexico. It is causing oxygen deprivation in Northwest Iowa glacial lakes. It has caused us to spend millions upon millions trying to clean up Storm Lake, the victim of more than a century of explosive soil erosion.

      Cullen, 59, says he feels vindicated that the information was released.
      A judge, however, dismissed the water utilitys lawsuit last month, giving the farm groups and counties a clear victory.

      Cullen is proud that the Pulitzer committee recognised his small newspapers efforts alongside those of larger papers. The two other finalists in the editorial writing category were from the Houston Chronicle and The Washington Post.

      Weve always believed that the Storm Lakes Times should be as good at covering Storm Lake as the New York Times is at covering New York, he said. Theres no reason why an editorial written in Iowa shouldnt be as good as an editorial written in Washington.

      Associated Press contributed to this report

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/11/tiny-family-run-iowa-newspaper-wins-pulitzer-for-taking-on-agriculture-companies