since, court, time, prison

Opinion: The Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony the wrong pictures, the wrong message   38%

The Olympics have started one year after their original date. But the opening ceremony shows the IOC has learned nothing from the pandemic and missed the opportunity to set an important sign, writes DW's Sarah Wiertz.

Russia sends long-delayed module to space station  

The 13m-long, 20-tonne Nauka laboratory is finally going into orbit after a delay of 14 years.

The cheek of it: artists celebrate the bottom in pictures   16%

After they both fell in love with a painting of a man’s bum by Celia Hempton, the British artist-curators Lee Baker and Catherine Borowski realised that the gluteus maximus doesn’t receive enough respect in cultural circles. As founders of Skip Gallery, an installation concept bringing art to unusual places, they decided to right this wrong. The resultant group show, Bums , featuring David Shrigley and Xu Yang among others, is now at Dio Horia gallery, Mykonos, Greece, and in London later this year.

“These are the largest muscles in the body, responsible for posture and weight-bearing,” says Borowski. ‘This is often overlooked because of our obsession with the sexual and silly side of the bottom. Our exhibition is a celebration of the many facets of bums.’

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Former NASA scientist couldn't resist art's call. His business now is booming  

Albert Scaglione opened Park West Gallery in Southfield more than 50 years ago and during the pandemic, he opened 2 more venues.


Detroit area couple skipped wedding, bought a huge boat. Now they're living the dream  

A couple with Michigan roots sold everything they own to sail around the world for two years. This is a bucket list story.


What powered that piece was the love: Young Archies 2021   10%

Self-portraits and images of family dominate this year’s Young Archie awards, the national portrait prize for children and teens held alongside the Archibald.

EU adopts framework for sanctions on Lebanon to aid formation of a government   5%

The European Union said on Friday it had adopted a legal framework for a sanctions regime targeting Lebanese individuals and entities after a year of crisis that has left Lebanon facing financial collapse, hyperinflation and food and fuel shortages.

The EU declares war on money laundering   -6%

Huge sums of money of illegal origin are channeled into the regular economy every year. The EU has now prepared a comprehensive reform in order to crack down on money laundering. Bernd Riegert reports from Brussels.

Fish bones tell tale of ancient migrants to Sea of Galilee  

New arrivals came from the Caucasus region 4,900 years ago and changed the character of a village, study shows

Editorial: They started a deadly fire, but prison isn't the right answer   -1%

Prison time is the wrong response to the recklessness of a couple whose selfish gender-reveal antics caused the deadly El Dorado fire last year. But what kind of sanction is appropriate?

Editorial: From one lawless president to another  

I wrote editorials for 50 years, spanning Nixon through Trump. I'm worried about the future of my craft.

Container vessel that blocked Suez Canal reaches Rotterdam port   12%

The huge container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week earlier this year finally reached the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on Thursday to begin unloading its cargo.As dawn broke

Solskjaer signs new Manchester United deal until 2024   -15%

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has signed a new deal to stay at Old Trafford until at least 2024, with an option for an extra year, the Premier League club said Saturday.

Ethiopian, Yemeni or Ashkenazi? Traditions behind Rosh Hashanah breads   -20%

Whether you like dipping a bit of challah into a bowl of honey or go for the Sephradi bolo, the meaning behind round baked goods connects Jewish communities worldwide on the New Year

In historic first, Israel's national baseball team qualifies for Olympics   -3%

The blue and white will be competing against five other teams in Tokyo next year

New-style anti-mosquito clothing distributed to PLA border troops in Xinjiang   -4%

The Beiwan area in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, located on the north bank of the Irtysh River and bordered by Kazakhstan, is one of the world’s four areas mostly troubled with swarms of mosquitoes. From June to August every year, mosquitoes and midges are infesting the Irtysh River in a radius of a hundred miles. According to the tests of the epidemic prevention department, there are up to 1,700 mosquitoes and 3,500 midges per cubic meter during the peak period, and you can kill more than 100 mosquitoes in one slap.

“Holding meetings in mosquito nets, and patrolling in cotton-padded jackets in summer” is the daily routine of the border defense company assigned to the PLA Xinjiang Military Command stationed in Beiwan area. This year, they have received new-style anti-mosquito suits of the seventh generation.

How COVID-19 made Israelis richer but only in dollars   -25%

A new report by Credit Suisse shows that while global wealth increased during the year of the pandemic, the numbers in Israel tell a more complicated story

Archibald Prize: 100 years of Australia's top portrait honour   25%

Over 100 years, the Archibald Prize has become better at reflecting Australian diversity.

LAUSD to require testing of students, staff regardless of vaccination status  

In a policy shift, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it will require all students and district employees returning to in-person activities for the upcoming academic year to undergo 'baseline and ongoing weekly COVID-testing,' regardless of vaccination status.

Column: In Orange County case, the U.S. is hiding behind claims of 'state secrets'   50%

Ten years after the FBI was accused of spying on innocent Muslims, the Supreme Court will decide whether the case can go forward.

Embarrassing charade: Hawks make a mess of Clarkson exit   26%

The unedifying and messy story of Alastair Clarkson’s last weeks at Hawthorn will become an almost forgotten footnote as the years unfold and just what this legendary coach achieved overcomes the turbulence of his departure. But the context the Clarkson story deserves is not for the now.

Who says vegan latkes arent delectable?   37%

Starring leeks, yams, buckwheat and chard – recipes for vegan pancakes that are great on Hanukkah and all year long

South, North Korea have restored once-severed hotline  

South and North Korea have restored hotlines that were severed last year and the two countries' leaders have agreed to rebuild trust and improve ties, the South's presidential Blue House said on Tuesday.

SolarWinds: Russian hackers broke into email accounts at US attorney offices   11%

  • Department of Justice says 27 prosecutors’ offices breached
  • All four New York offices may have lost sensitive material

Russian hackers behind the massive SolarWinds cyber-espionage campaign broke into the email accounts of some of the most prominent US federal prosecutors’ offices last year, the Department of Justice has said.

Related: The US has suffered a massive cyberbreach. It's hard to overstate how bad it is | Bruce Schneier

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Coronavirus child brides: Bangladesh teens forced into marriage during pandemic downturn   47%

Sharolika Parvin, a 16-year-old from Kurigram, a border district in Bangladesh, enjoyed playing football and took part in tournaments at a national level. Three years ago, she was even named the best player in the Bangamata Gold Cup primary school football tournament. But now, her dreams of graduating from the local college and playing national-level football have all but evaporated. Sharolika’s parents married her off to a 17-year-old motor mechanic earlier this year. Her new in-laws will…

Leg breaks to crowdfunding - Shriever's gold medal story  

Bethany Shriever lost funding in 2017. Four years and one crowdfunding campaign later, she's BMX Olympic champion.

New Zealand moves to outlaw LGBTQ conversion therapy   50%

If passed, the legislation could result in prison terms of up to five years for practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The Feds Favorite Price Index Rose 4 Percent. What Comes Next?  

The Federal Reserve’s inflation gauge popped in June from a year earlier. Economists think it will begin to moderate.

Prestons accidental manager Frankie McAvoy: I thought I would always be in Royal Mail   25%

The Championship club’s manager on his low profile, growing up in Matt Busby’s home town and taking a job he had never craved

“I was fortunate enough that I managed to get a management role fairly early.” The accidental football manager is not talking sporting jobs. Decades ago, he had a post that acquainted him with routes; just not, generally, to the helm of Championship clubs or a touchline date with Pep Guardiola this week.

“I had a fantastic 19 years with the Royal Mail,” says Frankie McAvoy, now head coach of Preston. By his own admission, his reinvention has come as a happy surprise. “I thought I would always be in Royal Mail,” added the Scot. Not since Alan Johnson went from postman to home secretary, perhaps, has a career in the postal service taken such a left-field turn.

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Google revenue jumps 62%, fueled by demand for online advertising   2%

This time last year, Google was starting to feel the early pandemic slump as large parts of the global economy shut down. On Tuesday, the company showed just how far it's come since.

'It feels like we're back in Toronto': Fans flock to stadium for Jays' return   6%

A sea of blue jerseys and T-shirts welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays back to the Rogers Centre on Friday as fans flocked to see the team play at home for the first time in nearly two years.

EU adopts legal framework for Lebanon sanctions   5%

The European Union said on Friday it had adopted a legal framework for a sanctions regime targeting Lebanese individuals and entities after a year of crisis that has left Lebanon facing financial collapse, hyperinflation and food and fuel shortages.

Op-Ed: Everyone should mask up, because kids aren't vaccinated   -30%

The coronavirus remains dangerous to children, even more so if schools drop last year's precautions.

What Does California Owe Its Incarcerated Firefighters?   6%

When I first met Alisha Tapia, in 2017, she was incarcerated in Puerta la Cruz, an all-female fire camp north of San Diego. Tapia was a swamper—a crew leader who relayed instructions from her captain and foreman to 12 other women on the fire line. She’d already worked two fire seasons in collaboration with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in the middle of an extreme drought. We stood in the saw shed, where she was cleaning and arranging tools. She had long brown hair and was about 5 foot 4. She was strong. She seemed cautious. Her crew had just gotten back from an hour-long hike near Bautista Canyon; the day before, they had been called out to the Palomar Divide to help contain a controlled burn that the Forest Service had started. “They lost it,” she said. “But it was only three acres—by the time we got up there, there were no flames.” She seemed disappointed. “We just put in a line to make sure that the fire didn’t jump again.”

She described what being on the front line felt like: “You just feel zapped; it drains you. That heat, that smoke, everything. But then there’s that adrenaline because you’re cutting.” She was a “second saw” during her first season, which meant she was third in the crew line and used a chainsaw to remove brush and potential kindling for the fire. Tapia, a single mother, told me that she couldn’t wait to see her daughter and that she wanted to pursue a career in forestry when she got out. She knew she couldn’t apply to Cal Fire or a municipal crew, because they don’t hire people with criminal records, but she hoped she could apply what she had learned.

When Tapia was released in November 2017, she asked her parole officer whether there were any state-provided services to help former inmates with addiction or mental-health issues. For roughly 15 years, she had been dealing with meth addiction and clinical depression. She says she was told that funding for those support services wasn’t available. Still, in her first three months out of prison, she stayed clean. Tapia lived with her parents, got a job at a Samsung call center, bought a car, and volunteered on a wildland crew through the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority. “Basically, it was the same thing we did in camp,” Tapia told me. “We covered the area from the Santa Monica Mountains to Ventura. We’d maintain upkeep of their facilities, brush clearance, chip a lot of stuff. I stopped right before the summer season started.”

Last fall, she called me from Los Angeles County jail.

On September 11, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference in Oroville, at the site of the North Complex Fire—a series of fires in Northern California that had burned for the previous four weeks straight. He spoke about the 2020 fire season—the 3.5 million acres that had burned and the 7,700 fires that had coursed through the state. “If you do not believe in science, I hope you believe in observed evidence,” Newsom said.

[Read: The trouble with the Gavin Newsom recall]

As a result of the North Complex Fire alone, nine people were dead. The fire had chewed through 252,313 acres of land from several different directions, it was only 21 percent contained, and it was closing in on the scar of 2018’s Camp Fire in Paradise, just a few miles away. Newsom spoke through a bank of brown smoke that made the charred ground, gnarled trees, and his hunting jacket almost indistinguishable from one another. The governor thanked “those prisoners who are out there on the front lines, who actively participated in heroic ways.” Then he signed A.B. 2147, a bill that had been introduced six months earlier by Assemblymember Eloise Reyes to provide a potential pathway to employment for incarcerated firefighters like Tapia. “This bill … will give those prisoners hope of actually getting a job in the profession [in which] they’ve been trained,” Newsom told the cameras. He walked over to a picnic bench, scrawled his name on a piece of paper, and declared the bill official, out loud, to the scrum of reporters.

Four years ago, when I first wrote about the thousands of incarcerated firefighters who compose up to 30 percent of California’s wildland firefighting crews, there was no pathway to a professional career through Cal Fire or municipal fire departments after their release. Despite their experience working on the front lines, sometimes for several seasons, formerly incarcerated people could not qualify for EMT or EMR licenses, which are required in order to be hired on a professional crew. The bill Newsom signed seeks to remedy that by allowing incarcerated firefighters the chance to petition for expedited expungement relief immediately upon release. If their request is granted, they won’t have to wait until they’re off parole to apply for state jobs—not just firefighting jobs, but jobs in roughly 200 different fields that require a state license.

But it’s not enough—formerly incarcerated firefighters put themselves at risk to save a state in peril. The fire-camp program began in 1946, and California continues to rely on more than 1,000 inmates, who are paid $2 to $5 a day in camp and an additional $1 to $2 an hour when they’re on a fire line. The program saves California taxpayers about $100 million a year, according to the corrections department. A.B. 2147 does nothing to reform or recognize the inherent flaws of forcing incarcerated people to risk their life while contending with California’s climate crisis.

[Read: How can we plan for the future in California? ]

Over the course of many phone calls from L.A. County jail last year, Tapia told me what had happened after we first met. She was paroled a week after Thanksgiving in 2017. Her family waited to have a big turkey lunch so they could all celebrate together. “It was hard to see Kayleigh,” Tapia told me, referring to her daughter. “Sitting there at the table, I looked at my grandparents and my daughter, and I just started crying, and I tried to hide. I just felt like I didn’t belong—like I’d been inside too long or something. It was just foreign to me, so I went to the bathroom because I didn’t want my daughter to see me cry. I thought there was something wrong with me, because it was everything I wanted, but I wasn’t happy about it.”

Then she relapsed.

Six months after her release, she was charged with attempted residential burglary. It was her third strike. Within a few months of her conviction, she was sentenced to 36 years to life in prison. Now, because of her life sentence, she’s not eligible for programming, including fire camp. When we talked late last summer, Tapia was waiting to be transferred to state prison—a freeze on moving prisoners had been implemented because of the pandemic.

In jail, there were no COVID-19 tests, and new prisoners who might have been carrying the virus were processed daily. During one of our conversations, Tapia told me, “I don’t want to die in here.” She described watching the burning of the state she used to help protect. On TV, she’d seen Newsom declare a state of emergency on September 6 in Fresno, Madera, and Mariposa Counties because of the Creek Fire and in San Bernardino County because of the El Dorado Fire. “I feel so stupid; I wish I was out there on the fires,” she said.

As we talked that day, I wondered whether A.B. 2147 would have helped her if it had been in effect when she was released.

First, she would have had to get a certificate from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recommending her for expungement. Next, she would have had to go before a judge for approval of her expungement application. And even if a judge had granted her application, a district attorney could have opposed it. Another judge would then have had to hear that argument. And finally, Cal Fire, or whichever hiring agency was in charge of the interview process, would have had to choose to hire an individual with a criminal record, which will still appear in background checks, even after a successful petition for expungement. (Many municipal firefighting agencies get 300 applicants for every firefighting position, and often point to that statistic as the reason an individual isn’t hired.) The bill Newsom signed—though progress by any measure—provides no mechanism to monitor any of these steps. It makes no formal attempts to gather data on whether it will actually benefit formerly incarcerated firefighters. Even if A.B. 2147 had been in effect, and applied as progressively as possible, when Tapia was released, she would have had to navigate reentry while negotiating several stages of legal petitions to expedite an expungement of her record. And the law still doesn’t guarantee an offer of employment.

Last October, Tapia was finally transferred to Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, 40 miles north of Fresno. “I’ll find out in the next couple weeks if they’re making me a violent third-striker or nonviolent; my counselor thinks I’ll be nonviolent since no one was hurt,” Tapia told me. There was optimism in her voice, but then it dropped. “I’m eligible for parole board in 2037. And they said my parole date is 2042.” As fall became winter, my calls with Tapia became shorter and less frequent—she was new at Chowchilla and had less seniority with the phones. When we talked, she seemed rushed. On January 9, she ecstatically shared some news with me: Her crime might be considered nonviolent, which, she told me, meant she’d probably serve about five years. She explained why she was tired and hadn’t spoken with Kayleigh or anyone else in weeks. The prison had a COVID-19 outbreak—at least 100 women had tested positive, she said. The entire facility was on lockdown with no yard time.

Inmates with COVID-19 were quarantined to one building on C Yard. Her neighbor across the hall was sick. The kitchen staff was sick. Tapia volunteered for kitchen duty, working 16-hour shifts, seven days a week. It was exhausting and terrifying. By mid-January, 175 incarcerated people and 16 CDCR staff members had died of COVID-19. The next month, Tapia tested positive. She was sick for a month in isolation before recovering. ​​Many women told me they avoided medical and dental care in prison as much as possible—for good reason. CDCR has a long history of substandard care. In 2005, a federal court pronounced that the facility’s medical care of inmates violated the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment—a judge found that California’s prisoners were subject to barbaric medical conditions in some prisons, resulting in the preventable deaths of as many as 64 inmates a year and injury to many others—and this was before COVID-19.

Climatologists predict that the best-case scenario for the American West is decades of megafires and destruction. The state recorded its worst fire season last year, with more than 4 million estimated acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. A severe drought coupled with the human-induced climate crisis set the stage for a 2021 fire season that has already seen three times more land burned in California this year than during the same time span last year—as of mid-July, more than 200,000 acres have burned in the state, compared with 40,000 last year. Inmate crews are working, arguably, the most difficult and dangerous job in California right now. Several fires are active near Chowchilla, where Tapia is imprisoned. If she had her choice, she’d go back to fire camp for as much of her sentence as possible.

[Read: The most important number for the west’s hideous fire season]

Dozens of current and former inmate firefighters, including Tapia, told me about the benefits of the program and how it changed their life. But imagine if, instead of being part of a prison camp, those who qualified were part of an apprenticeship that paid competitive wages, one that led to jobs. It could be a forestry camp run through the California Conservation Corps and Cal Fire, eliminating the presence of correctional officers altogether. Imagine if these fire camps included social services.  

“Sometimes I get very depressed here, and I think I’m never going to go home. I went through all that—I fought fire. But sometimes I think about suicide,” Tapia told me. “I should have made better choices, and I think about what my captain would say. I know he would have been very disappointed.”

A.B. 2147’s shortcomings and Newsom’s half-hearted recognition of incarcerated firefighters reminded me of something David Fathi, the director of the ACLU National Prison Project, told me when I was first reporting on this issue: ‘‘I think one important question to ask is, if these people are safe to be out and about and carrying axes and chainsaws, maybe they didn’t need to be in prison in the first place.’’

This article has been adapted from Jaime Lowe’s new book, Breathing Fire: Female Inmate Firefighters on the Front Lines of California’s Wildfires.

BioNTech wants to 'eradicate' malaria with mRNA vaccine  

After developing a coronavirus vaccine in record time, the German pharmaceutical company aims to start trialing a malaria shot next year using the same breakthrough mRNA technology.

Republicans poised to rig the next election by gerrymandering electoral maps   -6%

A supreme court justice described the last round of gerrymandering as ‘dishonoring US democracy’. Another round is about to start – will this be another ‘political heist’?

Ten years ago, Republicans pulled off what would later be described as “the most audacious political heist of modern times”.

It wasn’t particularly complicated. Every 10 years, the US constitution requires states to redraw the maps for both congressional and state legislative seats. The constitution entrusts state lawmakers with the power to draw those districts. Looking at the political map in 2010, Republicans realized that by winning just a few state legislative seats in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, they could draw maps that would be in place for the next decade, distorting them to guarantee Republican control for years to come.

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Hydropower in Turkey lags behind growth in renewables   6%

The share of wind and solar electricity generation in Turkey in the first half of the year has steadily grown to 12.9 percent, ranking Turkey 17th among European countries, a new report from Ember, a London-based think tank said

Who is Adam Peaty? The British swimmer who has won breaststroke gold at Tokyo 2020  

Breaststroke specialist continues to dominate discipline five years on from triumph at Rio Olympics

Jeff Bezos loses $13.5 billion as Amazon share price plunges  

Share price tumble vanishes 80 per cent of gains made this year by world’s richest person