Belles celebrate freedom

first_imgIn honor of the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s ratification yesterday, the Center for Academic Innovation at Saint Mary’s College hosted “Constitution Day 2012: Reflections on the Letter and the Spirit of the U.S. Constitution.” Associate professor of communication studies Michael Kramer coordinated the day, including a panel in the Haggar College Center that featured veteran reporter and communication studies professor Susan Baxter, history professor Edith Miguda and political science professor Sean Savage. Baxter reflected on the importance of the Constitution in terms of her experiences as a reporter. Baxter said it was the right of the public to be present at city council meetings unless certain requirements and processes are followed to close the session. Baxter said at one meeting she refused to leave, and the mayor told her the next time she refused she would be arrested. “I told [the mayor] to prepare the sheriff because I’m not leaving,” Baxter said. “I thought ‘Wow, I’m going to jail for the Constitution.’” Baxter said the right to be present at public meetings is important to the freedom of speech. “Many times these public meetings are not important, but when they are, people need to know,” said Baxter. Miguda also emphasized the importance of protecting the Constitution. “The spirit of the Constitution is the spirit that lets us defend it,” Miguda stated. “The U.S. Constitution is exemplary in how we [Americans] defend it.” Savage spoke about how Americans have different ways of interpreting the document. “No matter how Americans differ [the constitution] is supposed to be the one thing that we have in common,” Savagedsaid. “It unites the U.S. in a basic document but it sustains an ongoing debate.” Savage said the Constitution is strong and that unlike the United States, other countries will often go through and review the wording of their respective constitutions. “We, [the United States], don’t do that,” Savage said. “We only added about 17 amendments since [the Bill of Rights]. …Maybe [the Constitution] unites us because we are always disagreeing about what it means.” Contact Sarah Swiderski at [email protected]last_img read more

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Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy newspaper, arrest owner

first_img‘Prepared for prison’ The security law was introduced in a bid to quell last year’s huge and often violent pro-democracy protests, and authorities have since wielded their new powers to pursue the city’s democracy camp, sparking criticism from western nations and sanctions from the United States. Lai’s Apple Daily and Next Magazine are unapologetically pro-democracy and critical of Beijing. Few Hong Kongers generate the level of personal vitriol from Beijing that Lai does.China routinely calls him a a “traitor” and a “black hand” behind last year’s protests.Allegations of Lai colluding with foreigners went into overdrive in state media last year when he met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence.Lai spoke to AFP in mid-June, two weeks before the new security law was imposed on Hong Kong.”I’m prepared for prison,” he said.He described Beijing’s new security law as “a death knell for Hong Kong” and said he feared authorities would come after his journalists. He also brushed off the collusion allegations, saying Hong Kongers had a right to meet with foreign politicians. Journalists working at Lai’s Apple Daily took to Facebook to broadcast dramatic footage of police officers conducting the raid, and the newspaper’s chief editor Law Wai-kwong demanding a warrant from officers.”Tell your colleagues to keep their hands off until our lawyers check the warrant,” he was filmed saying.Apple’s staff were ordered to leave their seats and line up so police could check their identities as officers conducted searches across the newsroom.At one point Lai was present, in handcuffs and surrounded by officers.  Police said the search was conducted with a court warrant which was shown to staff.Chris Yeung, president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, described the police action as “shocking and terrifying”. “This is unprecedented, and would be unimaginable only one or two months ago,” he said.Apple editor Law later sent a note to staff, seen by AFP, telling reporters to “stand by their posts” as he vowed to get the latest edition printed despite the raid. Sweeping new law Beijing’s new law targets secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.Both China and Hong Kong have said it will not affect freedoms and only targets a minority.But its broadly worded provisions criminalized certain political speech overnight, such as advocating sanctions, greater autonomy or independence for Hong Kong.Critics, including many Western nations, believe the law has ended the key liberties and autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong could keep after its 1997 handover by Britain. Washington last week responded by imposing sanctions on a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials — including the city’s leader Carrie Lam.The law’s introduction has coincided with ramped up police action against democracy supporters.About two dozen — including Lai — have been charged for defying a police ban to attend a Tiananmen remembrance vigil in early June. Lai and many others are also being prosecuted for taking part in last year’s protests.Last month a dozen high-profile pro-democracy figures were disqualified from standing in local elections for holding unacceptable political views.The banned opinions included being critical of the security law and campaigning to win a majority in the city’s partially-elected legislature in order to block government laws.Shortly after the disqualifications, city leader Lam postponed the elections for a year, citing a surge in coronavirus cases.center_img Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai was arrested Monday and led in handcuffs through his newspaper office as police raided the building, part of a sweeping crackdown on dissent since China imposed a security law on the city.Lai, 71, was among seven people detained on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces — one of the new national security offences — and fraud in an operation targeting the Next Media publishing group. It was the latest police operation against dissidents since Beijing imposed the law on Hong Kong at the end of June. Two of Lai’s sons were among those detained, a police source told AFP. Topics :last_img read more

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Officials Arrest Suspect in January I-4, I-95 Vehicle Shootings

first_imgThe Volusia County Sheriff’s Office says they have their suspect in last January’s string of BB gun shootings involving 19 vehicles along I-4 and I-95.Officials have charged 21-year-old Deon Anthony Jones with 19 counts of shooting into an occupied vehicle and felony criminal mischief. Deputies explain that Jones was already in custody for other charges in the Duval County Jail when detectives arrested him on Tuesday.They add that 22-year-old Tiyana Anderson is believed to be the person who was driving the vehicle during the shootings. She is also wanted on principal charges in connection to each of Jones’ charges.Deputies say they responded on New Year’s Day to several reports of shots fired at cars traveling along I-4 and I-95 in Volusia County. “Each of the victims’ vehicles had damage consistent with BB projectiles,” the sheriff’s office said in a press release. “Similar incidents were also reported across Seminole, Flagler, and St. Johns counties around the same timeframe.”One of the victims provided a tag number and suspect vehicle description to authorities. It states: “The tag reported in St. Johns was assigned to a vehicle registered to Jones’ grandparents, and that vehicle was soon located by FHP troopers in Jacksonville. There were BBs visible on the floorboard, and the passenger side mirror was broken in a way that appeared consistent with being shot by someone inside the vehicle.”Deputies confirmed that Jones used a BB gun to randomly shoot at the 19 vehicles while Anderson drove. The total property damage was estimated to be about $12,000.Jones reportedly has a lengthy criminal history that includes armed robbery, possession of firearm by a convicted felon, and dealing in stolen property. He is being held on $100,000 bond.Anderson is not in custody at this time.FHP Tracks Down Vehicle Possibly Involved in Shooting 13 Cars on Central Florida’s I-4last_img read more

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