Two boys die, bicycle and van collide in St. Catherine, Jamaica Related Items:Carol Saunders-Hammond, jamaica, pica Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKINGSTON, Sept. 10 (JIS): The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) is advising the public that the renunciation of Jamaican citizenship can only be done by submitting an application to that agency.“There is an official process through the Ministry of National Security and PICA, for facilitating all applications for the granting of citizenship as well as the renunciation of Jamaican citizenship,” Director of Citizenship Services at PICA, Carol Saunders-Hammond, told JIS News.She stressed that Jamaican citizenship cannot be renounced by the mere submission of a letter certified by a Justice of the Peace, Notary Public or other public official. Outlining the process, she pointed out that “one who wishes to give up their Jamaican citizenship must complete the declaration of renunciation in duplicate and must satisfy the basic qualifications, which include the grant or the promise of citizenship to the adopting country.”She further stated that persons must also prove that they are Jamaicans by submitting evidence such as their birth certificate or Jamaican passport, be at least18 years of age, and of sound mind.“With these qualifications being satisfied, the application is considered and goes to the Minister of National Security for his consideration. When he agrees, the register is effected with the person’s name, and they are informed that they are no longer considered a Jamaican as at the date indicated,” the Director explained.“So, one cannot merely make a statement written or oral, that they have renounced citizenship and we make it a point of duty to ensure that persons, who wish to give up citizenship, are not left stateless, so there must be an adopting country or the promise that upon the loss of Jamaican citizenship, such a person will be adopted by another country,” she explained.Persons engaging in the renunciation of Jamaican citizenship are charged a fee of J$50,000; CAN$1,100; US$1,000; £625 or €700.“If persons are considered by us to have given up Jamaican citizenship then they would no longer be entitled to bear a Jamaican passport. At the port of entry they would be treated as the citizen of the country whose passport they now bear; they would also be expected to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labour if they intend to work in Jamaica…they would be treated as a national of the country that they have adopted and all the other requirements to remain here legally would apply,” Mrs. Saunders-Hammond pointed out. For further information regarding the renunciation of Jamaican citizenship as well as the application form, persons may visit the agency’s website at www.pica.gov.jm. Recommended for you Bahamas DPM Turnquest, as IDB Governor, Talks Technology and Climate Change Resilience at IDB Conclave Jamaica’s Senate Begins debate on National Identification and Registration Bill
SIPT Wraps up, Court on Break til February 15 Related Items:Gordon Kerr, Helen garlick, Sipt, Timothy O’Sullivan TCI: Judge rules there is ‘a case’; all nine defendants will go to trial in September Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 03 Jul 2015 – The outcome of the trial alleging that Timothy O’Sullivan and Gordon Kerr tried to rob the government of $1.5 million in stamp duty did not bring the results the Helen Garlick led prosecution or SIPT had hoped for; and it again raises questions about the team, which six years after being introduced as hired by the UK has still not netted the kind of results for which some had hoped. Timothy O’Sullivan in a media statement yesterday said the nightmare he has lived for the last three years is over with the not guilty verdict handed down yesterday in the SIPT case against him and another attorney, Gordon Kerr (Misick & Stanbrook). The two have been vindicated with the return of not guilty on all three charges of trying to cheat the government of $1.5 million dollars in the sale of Emerald Cay. The case started three years ago and O’Sullivan was thankful to staff, clients, associates and friends for standing by him throughout the trial. “Timothy O’Sullivan would like to thank the seven Belongers who sat on the jury for the care and time they took to reach the proper verdict of not guilty.” The partner in Miller Simons O’Sullivan law firm says he leaves the case behind with his reputation intact. Today, O’Sullivan and Kerr will head to court to make application for reimbursement of their legal fees. Misick & Hanchell question allegations going global
See at Amazon Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) $999 Comment Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Best Buy 1 I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. $520 at HP Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express $60 at Best Buy Share your voice HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Read the AirPods review Mobile,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Turo $999 Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Comments DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Sarah Tew/CNET TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Sarah Tew/CNET Read DJI Osmo Action preview $6 at Tidal Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. See it $155 at Google Express See It Sarah Tew/CNET $210 at Best Buy See at Turo Noah Berger / AFP/Getty Images Apple News Plus reportedly roped in more than 200,000 subscribers in its first two days.The iPhone maker unveiled Apple News Plus, its $9.99 per month subscription service, last week. Users can read articles from various publications, including more than 300 magazines. The service is free for the first month, which may have given users a nudge in signing up. Apple News Plus has reached more subscribers than Texture, a magazine app Apple bought last year, had at its peak, according to a Tuesday report by The New York Times. Following the launch of its premium news service, Apple said it would retire Texture on May 28.Before the launch of Apple News Plus, some publishers were reportedly hesitant about participating in the service because Apple reportedly would keep half the subscription revenue. The New York Times and The Washington Post ultimately didn’t participate in the news service. See It Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Tags Rylo Read the Rylo camera preview Sarah Tew/CNET What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). 7 Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Read Google Home Hub review Chris Monroe/CNET DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. $59 at eBay Sprint Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Tags The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. Boost Mobile See It JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) $999 Apple iPhone XS Angela Lang/CNET $999 Share your voice $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $299 at Amazon Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) The Cheapskate Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Amazon
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the civilian use of the XSTAT Rapid Haemostasis System, which can stop the bleeding from an open gunshot wound in 15 seconds.The device had already been in use by the military after being approved for use in the battlefield in 2014. William Maisel, MD, MPH, acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDAs Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said: It is exciting to see this technology transition to help civilian first responders control some severe, life-threatening bleeding while on the trauma scene.The XSTAT 30 is for use with patients who have life-threatening haemorrhagic shock, when emergency medical care cannot be found in minutes. The treatment uses a syringe-style applicator to puts tablet-sized cellulose sponges into the wound to absorb blood and stop the bleeding.Each XSTAT 30 syringe has 92 sponges that can each absorb a pint of blood. The dressing is effective for up to four hours, while the patient seeks further medical attention. Up to three applicators can be used on an individual patient. The sponges have radiopaque markers so an X-ray can pick up any sponges to help in the process of extraction. Close
Shahid Kapoor in Kabir SinghTwitterShahid Kapoor has finally responded to the backlash that his movie Kabir Singh has been getting. Although his movie is having a superb run at the box office, the film is being highly criticised by a section of people, who found it misogynistic.Kabir Singh has left the nation divided. While a lot of people have been going gaga over Shahid’s performance in the film, many others have been slamming him for picking up such a “misogynistic” character.However, Shahid said that he is not affected by such criticisms as he is focused on the “larger picture”. The versatile actor said that he has been in the industry for about 15 years, and such comments do not bother him anymore.”I don’t look at my filmography or my work as an actor anymore as individual performance. I have grown over that,” he told Bollywood Hungama.The actor further said that he is more concerned about the wider picture, and backed his argument by saying that people started to talk about his performance in Jab We Met only after he did dark movies like Haider and Udta Punjab.”When you come in the beginning you are affected by people’s comments on your every performance. I have been doing this for 15-16 years now. I have done about 30 films. For me now it is to put back a body of work behind so that when people see that, they see a variety of work. The larger picture is important. Am not affected by ek mahine, do mahine ke liye jo comments aate hai that is not important,” he told the entertainment portal.Meanwhile, Kabir Singh has crossed Rs 100 crore mark at the Indian box office in just five days of its release. The film shows no sign of slowing down at the commercial circuits and has already emerged as Shahid’s biggest hit.
A boy, who fled from the violence in Mosul, stands near tents in a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.Reuters FileThe business of America is business, after all. Former CIA director and US General, David Petraeus, just burnished that American credential when he said the Kurdish people can have their independent country when they start producing 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day.American statecraft has always been burdened with accusations, mostly true, of treating political destinies of peoples with an eye on the pie.Rudyard Kipling’s 1889 poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’ illustrated the imperialist worldview that saw colonies as a burden and a drain on resources. Colonies have ceased to exist but America’s business of statecraft has thrived.Kurdistan is a state in the birth throes. Almost 30 million Kurds in countries such as Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran hope to be a nation one day. That’s obviously a far cry, but the Kurds in Iraq, who make up 20 percent of the country’s population, are so close to that goal.But it’s just that they don’t produce enough oil — at least not enough to matter in the grand scheme of American statecraft.”We calculated at one point – the CIA – that they needed to export about 800,000 barrels of oil at US$105 per barrel. They are only producing 800,000 barrels on a really good day and exporting a subset of that now in the forties per barrel. So, they still need some of what they get from Baghdad,” Petraeus said.Kurds don’t have an official homeland and the land they inhabit doesn’t produce enough oil. That’s too bad. Er, they do produce 800,000 barrels a day but they have to export all of that to be eligible to statehood. Yet the General concedes the Kurds have a right to independence.”I think, ultimately, they probably do have a right to an independent state and an independent people, but again they’re going to have to get a good deal,” the general said, Bas News reported.On a serious note, yes, Kurds are seriously in trouble. The oil-rich city of Kirkurk, which the Kurds call their Jerusalem, has almost three percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. And this city, from where they were systematically pushed back over decades, doesn’t come under the purview of the proposed independence referendum.The independence vote will take place in the regions of Erbil, Dohok and Suleimaniah, which make up the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).Yes, the question of Kirkurk is complicated, with so many other ethnic groups laying claims to it. It’s also a fact that the KRG now depends a lot on the central Iraqi government for the funds to govern the region. The referendum on September 25 will almost certainly return a yes vote but that doesn’t make the creation of an independent Kurdistan a certainty. For Iran and Turkey, who the KRG depends on in the oil trade, also vehemently oppose the statehood. Tehran and Ankara have plenty of reasons to worry about as they have large Kurdish minorities.The General hasn’t explained the math — how the export of 800,000 barrels per day will strengthen the Kurdish hand in this context. Maybe the Americans will qualify that statement and offer a closer glimpse into how statecraft works.Like, of course, the way the Calvin Coolidge phrase — the business of America is business — got airbrushed later on. Interpreters argued that the 30th president was misquoted on this. The actual quote, according to them, was: “The chief business of the American people is business.”
Share Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APPresident Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence (left) and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, pauses while speaking at the Homeland Security Department in Washington, D.C.1. FRANCE SAYS ELECTION SECURITY MEASURES “FULLY MOBILIZED” AFTER SHOOTINGThe Paris prosecutor’s office leading the investigation of the Champs-Elysees attack on police officers says investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the gunman’s car.2. ARKANSAS CARRIES OUT FIRST EXECUTION SINCE 2005Ledell Lee’s lethal injection capped a chaotic week of legal wrangling that left Arkansas scrambling to salvage any part of its attempt to execute eight men before one of its drugs expires at the end of April.3. CHILDREN FATHERED BY RETREATING ISLAMIC STATE FOREIGN FIGHTERS ARE IN LIMBOOne young Tunisian orphan, 2-year-old Tamim Jaboudi, has been in a prison in Tripoli, Libya, for well over a year.4. WHO WILL WORK TO SMOOTH OVER US RELATIONS WITH AUSTRALIAVice President Mike Pence will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday more than two months after President Donald Trump got into a spat with the Australian leader.5. VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION AIMS TO BUILD MOMENTUM OF MASS PROTESTSThe anti-government movement is planning sit-ins on roads, silent marches a day after tens of thousands of protesters were met by curtains of tear gas and rubber bullets.6. WHY A JAILED PALESTINIAN LEADER IS BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHTBy organizing a mass hunger strike by hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, Marwan Barghouti has solidified his standing as a likely successor to President Mahmoud Abbas.7. WHERE PROGRESS OVERCOMING THE STIGMA OF DEPRESSION IS SLOWChina adopted its first mental health law five years ago but change is coming slowly within a society that traditionally viewed symptoms such as anxiety as isolated physical problems.8. SOUTH KOREA ACCUSED OF TARGETING GAY SOLDIERS FOR PROSECUTIONA watchdog group said the army’s effort began after a video of two male soldiers having sex was posted on the internet earlier this year.9. SUSPECT IN FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, MASS SHOOTING TO MAKE COURT APPEARANCEKori Ali Muhammad is charged with killing unarmed security guard Carl Williams at a Motel 6 in Fresno.10. HOW FANS WILL MARK ANNIVESARY OF PRINCE’S DEATHAt Paisley Park, a full four days of events are on tap, including concert performances by Prince’s former bandmates. Fans who can’t afford those high-priced tickets can head to a street party outside First Avenue.
APFILE – In this Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017, file photo, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks at a news conference in New York. Schneiderman, who had taken on high-profile roles as an advocate for women’s issues and an antagonist to the policies of President Donald Trump, announced late Monday, May 7, 2018, that he would be resigning from office hours after four women he was romantically involved with accused him of physical violence in accounts published by The New Yorker. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating allegations of violence against women by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned just hours after accounts of abuse by four women.It was a swift and stunning fall for a Democrat who held himself out as a champion of women and a liberal foil to President Donald Trump and who pledged to use his office to hold others accountable for abusing their power.The women described being slapped and choked, verbally abused and threatened by Schneiderman. Some also described him as a heavy drinker.The abuse often happened during what were supposed to be romantic encounters, but the women said the violence was not consensual.Schneiderman, 63, implied in a statement that his conduct was either welcomed by the women, or was not as they described.“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” he said.Danny Frost, a spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said in a statement late Monday that prosecutors would look into the claims.It’s an unusual twist: Schneiderman’s office had been tasked with investigating the Manhattan District Attorney’s office over its handling of a 2015 sex assault probe involving Harvey Weinstein that resulted in no criminal charges.NYPD officials said they had not received any complaints, but would investigate thoroughly should anyone come forward.The state’s Solicitor General, Barbara Underwood, will serve as acting Attorney General. She has a long history of legal work including serving in the Eastern District of New York and in the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens district attorney offices.Schneiderman capitulated quickly after fellow Democrats in New York, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called for his resignation.“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” he said in a statement late Monday. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time.” He said he would resign at the close of business on Tuesday.Two women who spoke to The New Yorker on the record, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, both said the physical abuse escalated over time. The Associated Press is identifying the women because they agreed to tell their stories publicly.“After the most difficult month of my life-I spoke up. For my daughter and for all women. I could not remain silent and encourage other women to be brave for me. I could not,” Manning Barish wrote on Twitter after the story was published.Manning Barish said she was involved with Schneiderman from mid-2013 through the end of 2014. Selvaratnam said she was involved with him from the summer of 2016 until fall 2017.Manning Barish said Schneiderman became violent a few weeks after they began dating. She said she confided in friends, including novelist Salman Rushdie.Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, said Schneiderman started calling her his “brown slave” and made her say that she was “his property.”“After I found out that other women had been abused by Attorney-General Schneiderman in a similar manner many years before me, I wondered, who’s next, and knew something needed to be done,” Selvaratnam said in a statement to the AP.Schneiderman has been a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement. He filed a lawsuit in February against Weinstein and the Weinstein Co. following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. Schneiderman said the company broke New York law by failing to protect employees from “pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation and discrimination.”He launched a civil rights probe into the New York City-based company in October after The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed allegations of sexual assault and harassment spanning decades. The company later fired Weinstein.The women accusing Schneiderman said seeing him speak out on these issues was part of what prompted them to come forward.The former state senator became attorney general in 2010 and had been running for re-election this year. He also has been a longtime critic of Trump, and has been part of several efforts to push back against some of his actions in the White House, like the rescinding of protection for immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.Last month, he urged state lawmakers to close a loophole that he said could be used to fight state charges by anyone who has received a federal pardon for similar federal charges.On Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. offered pointed commentary. He showcased one of Schneiderman’s tweets from last year saying that he would remind President Trump that no one was above the law, with Trump Jr. adding, “You were saying???” Share
Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas TribuneU.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, speaks to his Gainesville supporters at the Historic Santa Fe Train Depot in Cooke County on June 9, 2018.It’s the most backhanded of compliments.U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke‘s campaign for U.S. Senate has caught so much fire throughout the state that the new favorite betting game in Texas politics is “How close can he get to Ted Cruz in November?”The implication in the question’s phrasing is that O’Rourke’s loss remains a given.Despite the high enthusiasm the El Paso congressman’s campaign has drawn among Democrats, Texas has not elected a Democrat statewide in over 20 years. An informal round of interviews with well over a dozen political players involved in Texas and national politics suggests that Cruz is expected to extend that streak with a re-election victory in the high single digits.While such a margin would amount to significant progress for Democrats from past statewide performances, a loss is a loss and Cruz’s win would likely ensure GOP control of the U.S. Senate for another two years.Even so, O’Rourke’s 18-month statewide tour could still help significantly rebuild a flagging state party apparatus. The term being thrown around quietly among Democrats is “losing forward.”In that sense, the stakes are much higher for both parties than a single race.How this very strange match up of Cruz, a former GOP presidential runner-up, against O’Rourke, a rank-and-file-congressman-turned-political-sensation shakes out could set the trajectory of the next decade in Texas politics.“Not an ordinary cycle”The latest sign of O’Rourke’s momentum came over the weekend, in the wake of Cruz releasing several television ads Friday, including three attacking O’Rourke.“The biggest challenge I have in this race … is complacency,” Cruz said Saturday at a conservative conference in Austin. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, come on, it’s a Texas re-elect. How could you possibly lose?’ Well, in an ordinary cycle, that might be true. But this is not an ordinary cycle.”O’Rourke’s campaign, meanwhile, set an ambitious goal of raising $1 million over the weekend to help counter Cruz’s attack, and easily blew past that target, announcing Monday morning it had raised more than $1.25 million through more than 30,000 donations.More than one operative from both parties brushed off the O’Rourke excitement with a pervasive phrase — “This is still Texas” — a nod to the state’s recent history as the most populous conservative powerhouse in the union.The enthusiasm for O’Rourke — his bonanza event attendance and record-breaking fundraising, in particular — is something the state has not seen in modern memory. But there remain open questions over whether the three-term congressman can take a punch when the widely expected fall advertising blitz against him begins, whether he can activate the Hispanic vote and whether he can effectively build his name identification in a such a sprawling and populated state.“We’ve never been in a situation where November matters at a statewide level,” said Jason Stanford, a former Democratic consultant, about the uncertainty of the fall.So what would a moral victory be, if O’Rourke is unable to close the deal outright? Operatives from both parties suggest a five- to six-point spread — or smaller — could send a shockwave through Texas politics.Such a margin could compel national Democrats to start making serious investments in the state and force local Republicans to re-examine how their own party practices politics going forward.But that kind of O’Rourke performance could also bear more immediate consequences, potentially scrambling the outcomes of races for other offices this fall.Only a handful of statewide surveys on the race are floating around the Texas political ether. But one increasing point of alarm for Republicans is what campaign strategists are seeing when they test down-ballot races.Often campaigns for U.S. House or the Texas Legislature will include statewide matchups in polling it conducts within a district. Sources from both parties say some of those polls show Cruz underperforming in some state legislative and congressional races — particularly in urban areas.In effect, O’Rourke could come up short but turn out enough voters in the right communities to push Democrats over the line in races for the Legislature and U.S. House.Cruz’s pollster, Chris Wilson, countered that Cruz’s coattails are an ideal for turning out the party’s base.“What Cruz does that is unique from what any other statewide official can do — it’s to motivate the presidential-year voters to turn out,” he said. “He’s a candidate who engenders enthusiasm among the Republican base. It would be myopic to think the Republican base would turn out without someone like him on the ballot.”Former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, a Democrat, pointed to the other race at the top of the ticket — Gov. Greg Abbott‘s bid for re-election against Democrat Lupe Valdez — which is expected to be a blowout given Abbott’s popularity. While that arguably makes O’Rourke’s task even harder, it could force habitual straight-ticket Republicans to split their votes between him and Abbott. Barnes argues such a scenario could open the door for Texas voters in GOP strongholds to consider Democrats for races down ballot.“It’s pretty dismal, the chances of a Democrat, but I think Beto has done a good job in maybe changing the politics of rural Texas,” he said. “He will run a good campaign and get a lot of votes. I think Beto is going to make people split their tickets.”Moving the goalpostsIronically, those most wary of this chatter about O’Rourke’s potential are some of his fellow Democrats.Since Republicans took control of the state government in the 1990s, a new statewide Democratic candidate has burst onto the scene every few years, drawing the mantle of the party’s new great hope. And repeatedly, that candidate has come up far short.Former state Sen. Wendy Davis’ campaign was the latest incarnation of this in 2014, and her 20-point loss did much to dampen future enthusiasm and fundraising in the state.Since 2002, a series of Democrats running for governor or U.S. Senate garnered similar hype and sometimes, money, for bids aimed at breaking the party’s statewide drought. They include former Houston Mayor Bill White and banker Tony Sanchez – both of whom lost bids to unseat then-Gov. Rick Perry – and former state Rep. Rick Noriega and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk — both of whom lost to current U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Most lost by double digits. For Democrats, it’s a nightmarish lather, rinse, repeat of loss. In recent years, many shifted their focus to low-level races with an aim to build the party’s bench for the future.And then came O’Rourke, who seemingly out of nowhere has prompted the kind of excitement and expectations that some Democrats now fear are once again doomed to lead to disappointment.But whether these Democrats like it or not, the goalposts have already moved.One national Democratic consultant who is involved in Texas races suggested that simply doing better than Davis’ 2014 performance against Abbott is not enough — any O’Rourke loss in the double digits would significantly deter any potential enthusiasm among national Democrats that Texas could be competitive at the statewide or presidential level in the near future.There is also some clear anxiety about the U.S. Senate race in some Republican circles, but it’s not as widespread.Some GOP insiders — even those who are not keen on Cruz — shrug off any scenario in which this race could portend a long-term threat to Texas Republican power.While Cruz had a difficult landing after his failed presidential bid, confidence remains high that he will run a technologically organized campaign on par with his presidential and 2012 Senate campaigns.At the same time, Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are postured to tap their hefty war chests to provide tens of millions of dollars of support to the rest of the ballot.But also, in this Republican worldview, these two Senate candidates are too unique and, with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the times are too tumultuous to extrapolate any grand prognostications of the future of Texas politics. Cruz is a uniquely polarizing force in state politics, while O’Rourke has proven so far to be a Democrat with rare charisma.A better barometer, these Republicans argue, is how Cornyn performs in his widely expected bid for re-election in 2020.And even if O’Rourke pulls off an historic upset, many caution against any sweeping conclusions that Texas will become a central battleground in national politics. Back in 1961, John Tower defied low expectations in a special election for U.S. Senate, becoming the first Republican to win a statewide seat in Texassince Reconstruction. The GOP’s path to eventually sweeping every statewide office would take another 37 years.In that regard, some Democrats view any talk that an O’Rourke loss by a certain number of points could be spun into a long-term victory as absurd. For them, this remains a zero-sum game.“The only winning is winning,” Stanford said. Share
It was the proverbial ‘end of an era’ for Python as Guido van Rossum stepped down as the Python chief, almost 3 decades since he created the programming language. It came as a shock to many Python users, and left a few bewildered. Many core developers thought this day might come, but they didn’t expect it to come so soon. However, looking at the post that Guido shared with the community, does this decision really come as a surprise? In this article, we dive deep into the possibilities and the circumstances that could’ve played a major role in van Rossum’s resignation. *Disclaimer: The views presented in this article are based purely on our research. They are not to be considered as inputs directly received from the Python community or Guido van Rossum himself. What can we make of Guido’s post? I’m pretty sure you’ve already read the mailing list post that Guido shared with the community last week. Aptly titled as ‘Transfer of Power’, the mail straightaway begins on a negative note: “Now that PEP 572 is done, I don’t ever want to have to fight so hard for a PEP and find that so many people despise my decisions.” Some way to start a mail. The anger, disappointment and the tiredness is quite evident. Guido goes on to state that he would be removing himself from all the decision-making processes and will be available only for a while as a core developer and a mentor. From the tone of the mail, the three main reasons for his departure can be figured out quite easily: Guido felt there were questions around his decision-making and overall administration capabilities. The backlash on the PEP 572 is a testament to this. van Rossum is 62 now. Maybe the stress of leading this project for close to 30 years has finally taken a toll on his health, as he wryly talked about the piling medical issues. This is also quite evident from the last sentence of his mail: “I’m tired, and need a very long break” Guido thinks this is the right time for the baton to be passed over to the other core committers. He leaves everything for the core developers to figure out – from finalizing the PEPs (Python Enhancement Proposal) to deciding how the new core developers are inducted. Understanding the backlash behind PEP 572 For a mature language such as Python, you’d think there wouldn’t be much left to get excited about. However, a proposal to add a new feature to Python – PEP 572 – has caused a furore in the Python community in the last few months. What PEP 572 is all about The idea behind PEP 572 is quite simple – to allow assignment to variables within expressions. To make things simpler, consider the following lines of code in Python: a = b – this is a simple assignment statement, while: a == b – this is a test for equality With PEP 572 comes a brand new operator := which is available in some other programming languages, and is an equivalent of the in-expression. So the way you would use this operator would be: while a:=b.read(10): print(a) Looks like a simple statement, isn’t it? Keep printing a while it is in a certain range of b. So what’s all the hue and cry about? In principle, the way := is used signifies that the value of an expression is assigned and returned to whatever code is using it, almost as if no assignment ever happened. This can get really tricky when complex expressions are involved. Ideally, an expression assignment is useful when one needs to retain the result of that expression while it is being used for some other purposes. The use of := is against this best practice, and has therefore led to many disagreements. The community response to PEP 572 Many Python users thought PEP 572 was a bad idea due to the reasons mentioned above. They did not hide their feelings regarding this too. In fact, some of the comments were quite brutal: Even some of the core developers were unhappy with this proposal, saying it did not fit the fundamental Python best practice, i.e. preference for simplicity over complexity. This practice is a part of the PEP 20, titled ‘The Zen of the Python’. As the Python BDFL, van Rossum personally signed off each PEP. This is in stark contrast to how other programming languages such as PHP finalize their proposals, i.e., by voting on them. On the PEP 572 objections, Guido’s response befitted that of a BDFL perfectly: Some developers still disagreed with this proposal, believing that it deviated from the standard best practices and rather reflected van Rossum’s preferred style of coding. So much so that van Rossum had to ask the committers to give him time to respond to the queries. Eventually the PEP 572 was accepted by Guido van Rossum, as he settled the matter with the following note: Thank you all. I will accept the PEP as is. I am happy to accept *clarification* updates to the PEP if people care to submit them as PRs to the peps repo, and that could even (to some extent) include summaries of discussion we’ve had, or outright rejected ideas. But even without any of those I think the PEP is very clear so I will not wait very long (maybe a week). Normally, in case of some other language, such an argument could have gone on forever, with both the sides reluctant to give in. The progress of the language would be stuck in a limbo as a result of this polarity. With Guido gone now, one cannot help but wonder if this is going to be case with Python going forward. Could van Rossum been pressurized less if he had adopted a consensus-based voting system to sign proposals off too? And if that was the case, would the proposal still have gone through an opposing majority of core developers? “Tired of the hatred” It would be wrong to say that the BDFL quit mainly because of how working on PEP 572 left a bitter taste in his mouth. However, it is fair to say that the negativity surrounding PEP 572 must’ve pushed van Rossum off the ledge finally. The fact that he thinks stepping down from his role as Python chief would mean people would not ‘despise his decisions’ – must’ve played a major role in his announcement. Guido’s decision to quit was rather an inevitable outcome of a series of past bad experiences accrued over the years with backlashes over his decisions on Python’s direction. Leading one of the most successful and long running open source projects in the world is no joke, and it brings more than its fair share of burden to carry. In many ways, CEOs of big tech companies have it easier. For starters, they’ve a lot of funding and they mainly worry about how to make their shareholders happy (make more money). More importantly, they aren’t directly exposed to the end users the way open source leaders are, for every decision they make. What’s next for Guido? Guido van Rossum isn’t going away for good. His mail states that he will still be around as a core dev, and as a mentor to other budding developers for some time. He says just wants to move away from the leadership role, away from all the responsibilities that once made him the BDFL. His tweet corroborates this: Call him a dictator if you will, his contributions to Python cannot be taken away. From being a beginner’s coding language to being used in enterprise applications – Python’s rise under Van Rossum as one of the most popular and versatile programming languages in the world has been incredible. Perhaps the time was right for the sun to set, and the PEP 572 scenario and the circumstances surrounding it might just have given Guido the platform to ride away into the sunset. Read more Python founder resigns – Guido van Rossum goes ‘on a permanent vacation from being BDFL’ Top 7 Python programming books you need to read Python, Tensorflow, Excel and more – Data professionals reveal their top tools