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Yom Kippur in recovery | The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle –

Posted: September 24, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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As September creeps on, the High Holidays remind us of the sweet taste of a new year and the chance to improve ourselves for the future. Many people begin to dread the annual Yom Kippur fast 25 hours without food or water marking the promise to be a better person in the coming year. Yet I prepare for a different sort of promise a covenant with myself to begin feeding my soul and my body, to recover from the disordered eating Ive struggled with the past six years.

Since high school, Ive been lost in a cycle of bingeing and restricting, eventually leading to a year of self-correction by counting less than a thousand calories a day. I went from eating too much to eating not enough, from one side of the spectrum to the other. I was only ever too full or too empty; if I was merely satiated, I was not content. Fasting on Yom Kippur is traditionally intended to be an act of self-punishment as repentance for past sins or a quest for clear-headedness leading to enlightenment. For me, fasting on Yom Kippur will never again be about asking for repentance or seeking enlightenment, but will rather become a preparation for my real act of penitence and healing: choosing to break the fast safely.

Two years ago, I would have broken my fast by eating too much at the break fast, mentally justifying it by thinking of how I hadnt eaten all day. I would have lost all sense of control, only stopping when the embarrassment of eating so much in front of others overpowered my desire to have it all. Then I would have come home and eaten still more because I would not have felt whole until every crevice within me was filled, leaving no room for self-doubt or shame to dwell within. And thats exactly what I did for five years.

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If I had broken my fast two months ago, I would have eaten nothing at the break fast, giving in to the voice in my head telling me that if I only made it a little longer without food it would be a perfect day, with zeros on all the registers and nothing to feel guilty for. I would have reveled in the worried looks and accusatory questions of Arent you hungry? Then I would have come home and eaten still nothing because I would not have felt whole until there was too much empty space within me, opening an abyss to swallow the self-doubt and shame. And thats exactly why I lost 15 pounds this past summer.

Fasting is no longer a challenge when youve been willingly training for starvation, when being hungry has become your hobby. Hunger pangs have alternatively been white flags in the battle for my self-control and victory trumpets in a war of friendly fire. I have used them as permission to eat everything I had been restricting and I have used them as a source of twisted pride in just how much I could restrict. They have simultaneously been my salvation and my damnation, both the life vest keeping me barely buoyant and the waves calmingly pulling me under.

This year, Yom Kippur for me is about revitalization and rebirth. Our fates are sealed in the Book of Life and it is decided who will live and who will die in the new year, but I know a part of me has already died over the past six years as I have abused my body and dimmed my soul. This coming year, as I step gently into recovery, I hope the rest of me may be reborn a renaissance of body, spirit and soul, my most holy, most personal, most worthy temples.

When I break my fast this year, I will eat to satiety, sealing my promise to properly nourish my body and soul in the new year. I will enjoy the company of those around me and be thankful that I have fresh, nutritious food to eat every day. Then I will come home and maybe eat more, or maybe not, because I trust my mind and my body and I know that I have no reason to doubt myself and nothing to be ashamed of.

I have spent enough time fasting over the past six years to fill decades of Yom Kippurs. It is time for me to break my fast, once and for all.PJC

Dionna Dash, originally from Philadelphia, attends the University of Pittsburgh, where she studies communications and linguistics and serves as the vice president of Pitt Hillels student board.

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Yom Kippur in recovery | The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle -

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September 24th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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Phil Jackson Sent Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss A Photo Of Him In A Team Sweatshirt To Cheer Her Up – Sports Illustrated

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After the Lakers lost to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday, 114-106, Phil Jackson reached out to Jeanie Buss.

Jackson led the Lakers to five NBA championships when he coached the team from 1999 to 2004 and again from 2005 to 2011.

He knew Buss, the Lakers' governor, needed some words of encouragement to cheer her up. So he texted her a photo of him wearing a team sweatshirt with some words of wisdom.

"Knowing I was feeling a little down today Phil texted me this picture and some words of inspiration to lift my spirits," Buss wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. "He said it was ok to share the photo. 'Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.' His point is stay focused on the task at hand rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. He said it many times over the years."

The Lakers, who have a 2-1 series lead over the Nuggets, are competing for their first championship since 2010, when Jackson led the team to their last title. Game 4 is Thursday at 6 p.m. PST on TNT.

Buss, who dated Jackson for 17 years, called the 11-time champion coach the "most influential man (outside of my family) in my life" on his 75th birthday on Sept. 17.

After receiving his note, Buss went on to try and inspire Lakers fans.

Even though the Lakers are playing inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World, she encouraged fans to stay just as engaged as if they were cheering for the team in person.

"But what can I do to help?" Buss asked. "Be there for the team. So Laker fans, lets bring our energy for tomorrows game, like we always do but lets be a little bit louder, a little bit more focused. Light a candle at game time. Wear something purple or gold or both. Lets be present together but socially distanced. This we can do. "

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Phil Jackson Sent Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss A Photo Of Him In A Team Sweatshirt To Cheer Her Up - Sports Illustrated

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September 24th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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PLU French professor receives a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities – The Suburban Times

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By Rosemary Bennett 21, Marketing & Communications

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently awarded Pacific Lutheran University Professor of French Rebecca Wilkin, a $133,333 grant under the Scholarly Editions and Translations interest area.

Wilkin and her collaborator Angela Hunter, an English professor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, received the grant for their ongoing project titled An Edition and Translation of Selections from Louise Dupins Philosophical Treatise, The Work on Women.

The project aims to present the work of Enlightenment French Feminist, author, and philosopher Louise Dupin to a wide audience for the first time by translating and editing a selection of her most important political and philosophical ideas in an approachable anthology.

We are confident that our editionLouise Dupin, Work on Women: Selections will appeal to students and scholars of history, philosophy, literature, and feminist and gender studies, said Wilkin.

Wilkin became interested in Dupin in 2012 while working on a student-faculty collaborative research project with Sonja Ruud 12 who is assisting the ongoing project as a r esearch associate and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

In the Humanities, we educate students to engagecreatively, critically, and empatheticallywith what it means to be human across the sweep of history, in diverse cultures and environments.

Pacific Lutheran Universitys Departments of English, Languages & Literatures, Philosophy, and Religion comprise the Division of Humanities.

Wilkin and Ruud began assembling the Work on Women by obtaining copies of manuscript from the Municipal Library of Geneva; the Houghton Library (Harvard); the Beinecke Library (Yale); the University of Illinois Rare Books library; and from the Clark Library (UCLA). The two were joined on the project by Hunter in 2017 after Hunter and Wilkin met through their shared research subject, as the two professors were among very few scholars researching the long-neglected work of Dupin.

Making Dupins work more accessible to a new generation of students and scholars is a fantastic feeling! said Wilkin. In the humanities, we deal with subjects of universal human import, so we need to be able to explain to people what our scholarship is about and why it matters. Yet that can be hard, especially when we work on historical material or contexts people have little familiarity with.

The project, when completed, is to be published in an upcoming volume with the New Histories of Philosophy series at Oxford University Press.

The Edition and Translation of Selections from Louise Dupins Philosophical Treatise, The Work on Women has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

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PLU French professor receives a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities - The Suburban Times

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September 24th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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Bodh Gayas Mahabodhi temple to reopen from September 21 with restrictions – Hindustan Times

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Lord Buddha is said to have found enlightenment while sitting under a Peepal tree at the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya.(PTI Photo/File)

Visitors will soon have access to the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya as the temple management committee has decided to reopen the shrine from September 21 following the guidelines issued a few weeks ago by the Union home ministry regarding reopening of monuments along with many other institutions.

Mahabodhi, the first world heritage site of the state at Bodh Gaya, was closed in March this year due to Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown and though it opened for some time between June and July (from June 8 to July 15, 2020), entry of general visitors was stopped again to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

From Monday, when the temple will reopen, use of masks and sanitizers will be mandatory for visitors and while only 10 people will be allowed inside the Garbha Griha or the sanctum sanctorum of the temple at a time, the temple premises too, will not have more than 100 visitors/pilgrims at a time.

Besides, visiting hours to the temple too will be limited, from 6 am to 9 am in the morning and from 3 pm to 6 pm in the evening.

Mahabodhi temple is the site where Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under a Peepal tree.

This arrangement will continue till September 30 and from October 1st, the visiting hours will be restored to the original routine, that is from 6 am to 9 pm, N Dorje, BTMC (Bodh Gaya temple management committee) secretary, said.

Also Read: On eve of polls, Bihar parties underline importance of ecological issues

But all the protocols of the Covid-19 pandemic will be strictly followed, he added.

Things seem to be getting back on track after a long time. Due to Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, the Budh Purnima festival was turned into a low-key affair. Only the rituals were performed at the temple while the devotees in different countries could attend it virtually on Mahabodhis Facebook page. Hope things will remain stable this time, he said.

Rakesh Kumar, president of the tourist guide association, said the reopening of Mahabodhi temple has raised hopes of better days in the coming months. Tourism season is to start from October and though foreign tourists may not come here as international flights from Gaya airport have remained suspended, domestic tourists may turn up, he said.

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Bodh Gayas Mahabodhi temple to reopen from September 21 with restrictions - Hindustan Times

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September 24th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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CULTURE Autumn 2020 exhibitions at the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti – The Florentine

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Editorial Staff

September 24, 2020 - 14:51

The autumn looks bright at the Uffizi Galleries with three inspiring exhibitions focusing on Raphael and the restoration of the portrait of Pope Leo X, a look at the role of women in Ancient Rome, and the enlightenment of science in Joseph Wright of Derbys painting An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump.

These three initiatives fit well within the Uffizis exhibition philosophy, explained Uffizi Galleries director Eike Schmidt in a press release. The Roman women exhibition marks the tenth show dedicated to womens art in recent years, while the Leo X show focusing on the technical implications of a ground-breaking restoration and the magnificent painting by Joseph Wright of Derby, which outlines the wonder derived from an experiment, connect with the theme of research and natural science, with a multidisciplinary approach that benefits humanistic knowledge.

Joseph Wright of Derbys 1768 masterpiece An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump comes to Italy for the first time thanks to a loan agreement with Londons National Gallery. The candle-lit painting quickly became an icon in the history of science. Now, in these months of the pandemic, the work takes on additional significance in the light of scientific discoveries and peoples reactions. The show will run from October 6, 2020 to January 24, 2021.

Following the paintings restoration at Florences Opificio delle Pietre Dure and subsequent display at the start of the major exhibition at Romes Scuderie del Quirinale to mark the five hundredth anniversary of Raphaels death, the Portrait of Pope Leo X with cardinals Giulio de Medici and Luigi de Rossi returns home to the Uffizi. The show documents the restoration and conveys the scientific analysis of the work. The subtle differences between the various shades of red, textures of the fabrics and the artists introspection in portraiture can now all be noted. The exhibition will run at Palazzo Pitti from October 27, 2020 to January 31, 2021.

This Uffizi exhibition compares opposing models that typify the depiction of women in Roman times and is separated into three sections: negative female examples, positive examples and the public role of the matrona. Sculptures, epigraphs, gems and drawings, mostly belonging to the Uffizi Galleries and others loaned from institutions, illustrate a widely documented span of time, the golden age of the empire, from the rise of Augustus to the death of Marcus Aurelius. The show will run from November 3, 2020 to April 11, 2021.

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CULTURE Autumn 2020 exhibitions at the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti - The Florentine

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September 24th, 2020 at 3:56 pm

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Interview: I like to be reminded that literature has the power and mystery of a dragon, says Australian-Iranian… – Hindustan Times

Posted: September 13, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Female leftist students chant anti oppression slogans while standing in rows with piles of newspapers and cardboard ready to burn in case of tear gas attack by Revolutionary Guards, before street clashes with Hezbollah forces broke outside Tehran university campus, on the occasion of Cultural Revolution, 21st April 1981. The Cultural Revolution (1980-1987) was a period following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran where the academia of Iran was purged of Western and non-Islamic influences to bring it in line with Shia Islam. The official name used by the Islamic Republic is "Cultural Revolution." Directed by the Cultural Revolutionary Headquarters and later by the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, the revolution initially closed universities for three years (1980-1983) and after reopening banned many books and purged thousands of students and lecturers from the schools. The cultural revolution involved a certain amount of violence in taking over the university campuses since higher education in Iran at the time was dominated by leftists forces opposed to Ayatollah Khomeini's vision of theocracy, and they (unsuccessfully) resisted Khomeiniist control at many universities. (Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images)

The literature that has always fascinated Australian-Iranian author Shokoofeh Azar, 48, is the kind that has the pulse of its time in its hand. The kind that grabs my heart, slaps me in the face, captures my soul, wakes me up from ignorance and reminds me that literature has the power and mystery of a dragon, says the Melbourne-based author, whose own novel, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree (Europa Editions) does exactly this as it captures the zeitgeist of Iran following the establishment of an Islamic state.

Set in Tehran during the first decade of the 1979 Islamic Islamic Revolution, Azars novel is a fine example of the ingenious use of magic realism. Narrated by the ghost of a 13-year-old girl, Bahar, it tells the story of an intellectual family of five compelled to flee their home in Tehran for Razan, a remote village, in the hope that they will be spared the religious madness engulfing the country. They eventually succumb to the atrocities perpetrated by the fundamentalist regime.

Peopled by the living and the dead, humans and jinns, fireflies and dragonflies, spirits and soothsayers, magical creatures and mermaids, the novel opens with Roza, the mother, attaining enlightenment atop the tallest greengage plum tree in the grove of their house on a hill overlooking the 53 houses of the village. She does that at the exact moment on August 18, 1988, when her son, Sohrab, blindfolded and with his hands tied behind his back, is hanged without a trial after being in captivity for many months. The next day, he is buried with hundreds of other political prisoners in a long pit in the deserts south of Tehran, without any indication or marker lest a relative come years later and tap a pebble on a headstone and murmur there is no god but God. As the novel progresses we discover how the familys destinies are deeply entangled in the events that unfold over the decade and get a glimpse into the reign of terror unleashed by the mullahs at the behest of Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who came to power after overthrowing Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Pahlavi dynasty.

Ayatollah Khomeini ( Getty Images )

A month after the end of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, in the summer of 1988, more than 5,000 opponents of the Islamic regime were executed in the prisons without trial or by speedy and unfair trials. From that date until today, the regime has never officially acknowledged the massacre. And, due to censorship, it has never been a part of the Iranian literature, says Azar, underlining that wrong political systems take more lives than the corona virus.

Written in Persian but never published in Iran though it is available on some websites, the novel captures the tumultuous social and political realities of Iran through a delicate blend of its classic storytelling styles myths, legends and folk traditions. It was translated into English and published in Australia in 2017 by a small publisher, Wild Dingo Press. After it was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize, the US, UK and Italy rights were sold to Europa Editions and the book was published overseas in January this year.

This is the first time that an Iranian author has been nominated for the International Booker Prize. However, it is unlikely that the novel will ever be published in Iran. The American translator of the novel, who often travels to the country, has chosen to remain anonymous. Azar, who worked as a journalist in Iran and covered social affairs, was put behind bars several times until she was compelled to flee the country and move to Melbourne in 2011. For Azar who is also the first Iranian woman to have hitchhiked the entire length of the Silk Road, the Booker International nomination was a dream come true. And though the award eventually went to Marieke Lucas Rijnevelds The Discomfort of Evening, the novels availability and recognition in the West means English readers will discover afresh the depth and significance of Irans rich history of classic literature and culture.

Azars focus is on highlighting the fate of humans under dictatorial regimes. For the novel, she drew on the stories of many of her friends who lost several family members and it is full of incidents and scenes that describe the atrocities of the regime in gruesome detail. In a paragraph following Sohrabs hanging, Azar writes: In the following days, the number of people executed increased so much that corpses piled high in the prison back yard and began to stink, and Evins ants, flies, crows, and cats, who hadnt had such a feast since the prison was built, licked, sucked and picked at them greedily. Juvenile political prisoners were granted a pardon by the Imam if they fired the final shot that would put the condemned out of their misery. With bruised faces, trembling hands, and pants soaked with urine, hundreds of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds, whose only crime had been participating in a party meeting, reading banned pamphlets, or distributing flyers in the street, fired the last shot into faces that were sometimes still watching them with twitching pupils.

For the mothers, just like Sohrab was to Roza, their sons were the culmination of heartbeats, desires, loves and hopes that they had endured their entire life only to lose them in the end. When Sohrab is hanged, the family sees a sense of hopelessness seeping into the very cells of their being. Their father, Hushang, asks them to write anything to come to terms with the tragedy. But with each word they commit to paper, they understand that, contrary to what their father believed, culture, knowledge, and art retreat in the face of violence, the sword and fire and for years after remain barren and mute. Bahar tells us: It had happened many times before, during the years following the Arab conquest of Persia in the seventh century, for example, a period the scholar Abdolhossein Zarrinkoub called the two centuries of silence.

Azar says that a small minority in Iran, including her own family, believes that the Shahs regime was much more reformist, modern, and patriotic than the Islamic regime. History has practically proved the same to the Iranian people, she says, adding how, for the past 20 years, since the first large-scale demonstration, known as University Dormitory Demonstrations (Kouy-e Daneshgah) in 2000, people across the country have held thousands of peaceful demonstrations against injustice, discrimination, politicised Islam, economic corruption, political corruption, repression of dissidents and censorship. But not even in one case has the regime responded positively to these protests and the peoples share of these protests has been only arrest, imprisonment and execution, she says.

In the novel, Azar intended to be a narrator of a tiny percentage of Iranian dissidents in the 1979 revolution who voted No to the Islamic Republic in the 1980 referendum; the families that were very similar to her own. These families opposed Islam, Khomeini, and the Revolution, and considered the Islamic Revolution as an irreparable deviation in the development of modern Iran, she says. Even the dissidents, who were later arrested and executed in the summer of 1988, had voted Yes to this regime in the 1980 referendum. She says: If this novel had been written in the 1980s, a large population of Iranians would have opposed the story. But, today, 40 years after the regime formation, nearly 90 percent of Iranians have understood that the Islamic Revolution was an irreversible mistake in the process of development and democracy of Iran.

Author Shokoofeh Azar

In the novel, the fictional Khomeini is tortured by the ghosts of those executed, imprisoned in the palace of mirrors they force him to build. Trapped in the palace, the dictator meets his ugly end, having been forced to understand that while delivering monologues he may have been a fierce ruler, but in dialogue he was nothing but a bearded, illogical little boy, stubborn and pompous. The dictator whispers a single sentence in his last moments: It took 87 years to understand that the intellectual and formal rules of the monologue are fundamentally different from those of dialogue.

Azar, whose novel has brought the story of the political excesses of the Islamic regime in Iran to the attention of readers in the West, feels that there is a linguistic disconnect between the intellectual and literary products of Iranians and the world. Excellent books, mainly non-fiction, have been published in Farsi (inside and outside Iran), but have never been translated into another language. Thus, the West has little idea of the evolution of Iranian thought, she says.

Magical realism gives Azar the possibilities that realism does not. In my opinion, the best style to show the height and depth of real human feelings and emotions is magical realism. In this novel, I have tried to present that fantasy and magic in magic realism can be used in the service of factual events. Therefore, the magic realism in this novel has been used to document the real political, social and religious issues in Iran. That is, magic serves realism in this novel, she says.

It was magic realism that helped her write the kind of novel that Azar herself likes to read: one that belongs to the category of literature that reminds us of human conscience and morality amid the collapse of social morality; literature that believes in humanity; literature that comes from reckless, exploratory, critical, creative and pioneer minds. It is the kind of writing that has shaped Azars own mind and writing, as it has the minds and work of many other Iranian theatre writer-directors, mythologists, philosophers, music composers and painters.

Nawaid Anjum is an independent journalist, translator and poet. He lives in New Delhi.

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Interview: I like to be reminded that literature has the power and mystery of a dragon, says Australian-Iranian... - Hindustan Times

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Akwa Ibom to partner royal fathers on COVID-19 protocol enlightenment and enforcemen – Daily Sun

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Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong is set to partner traditional chieftains on enlightenment and enforcement of COVID-19 protocol.

The commissioner made this known on Friday during an advocacy visit to the State Traditional Rulers Council along Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo.

Comrade Ini Ememobong who was accompanied by his counterpart in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Frank Archibong said, as Royal Fathers whose subjects look up to for direction, their actions will impact greatly on the people and pledged to partner them on COVID-19 enlightenment and enforcement.

He urged the traditional chieftains to continue to lead by example in complying strictly with COVID-19 protocols so that the people in their different domain can key in.

Disclosing that, so far COVID-19 has no cure, the state Spokesman urged the traditional rulers to join hands with Governor Udom Emmanuel Emmanuel in the fight against the spread of the dreaded pandemic with increased awareness on the NCDC/WHO/AKSG COVID-19 protocols.

The traditional rulers expressed appreciation to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong for paying homage to the traditional institution and commended him for his readiness to partner the traditional institution in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Royal fathers used the occasion to thank Governor Udom Emmanuel for the appointment of Comrade Ini Ememobong and Hon. Frank Archibong as members of the State Executive Council.

The Traditional Rulers council comprising of all the 31 Paramount Rulers in the state, is headed by a Chairman of the Council who is the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium and Okuibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk.

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Akwa Ibom to partner royal fathers on COVID-19 protocol enlightenment and enforcemen - Daily Sun

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and – Locus Online

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Clarkesworld 6/20 Lightspeed 7/20 6/10/20, 6/17/20

Junes Clarkesworld leads off with The Iridescent Lake from regular D.A. Xiaolin Spires. Yunhe, who is dealing with the death of her son, works as a security guard at an ice skating rink where the ice has truly fantastic properties. Scientists have been studying it, but there are many active smuggling attempts that she must guard against and perhaps participate in. With How Long the Shadows Cast, Kenji Yanagawa brings us a slowly evolving story. Shunzo is a researcher of an alien language, and also an alcoholic dealing with the tragic and personally damning death of his partner. Hes been on one expedition to space and is hoping to maintain his spot on the next when a stranger comes into his life, camped out on his front doorstep. Shes a physics researcher with some esoteric interests. They fall in love, and he has many choices to make and hard truths to face. Shunzos character is nicely three dimensional, and the length of the story gives all the character and plot elements room to breathe.

M.l. Clarke continues to expand the world that we first saw in To Catch All Sorts of Flying Things. In this issue Nine Words for Loneliness in the Language of the Umau shows us a space station in orbit around the planet weve visited so far. Awenato is the sole survivor of a diplomatic mission to the station just as they were disembarking they were attacked by terrorists, and his mate as well as the rest of the party were killed. Now he must deal with recovering from his injuries, grieving, navigating the station when he doesnt speak the languages very well, dealing with other alien species with very different attitudes, and trying to get some measure of justice for his fallen comrades. Clarks inventiveness and attention to detail in building up these alien societies and characters continues to shine.

In a post-collapse future, the world is largely controlled by a panopticon AI called the Jade. In Optimizing the Path to Enlightenment by Priya Chand, Anju is a technician who begins furtively exploiting gaps in the Jades coverage in order to enjoy some mild hedonism, like drinking fruit juice. Even as she is starting to widen those gaps intentionally, she has some doubts about the wisdom of sabotaging the system, wondering what could be unleashed. Finally, she has an encounter with the Jade itself, placing her on a very different path to enlightenment. Own Goal by Dennard Dayle gives us the journal of an ad man struggling with the death of his mother and all the feelings that invokes, as his family goes through the grief and funeral process. He also has to keep up with his advertising job, in this case making a pitch for branding a particular weapons system. Then the space station he lives on gets caught up in the war. The ending could have been a bit punchier if the story had been a little more focused, but I had no problem enjoying it throughout.

Ray Naylers The Swallows of the Storm in Julys Lightspeed is the latest in a very productive run of short fiction lately. Dr. Nino is a Georgian researcher who has spent her whole life chasing a mystery perfect holes that show up in seemingly random places in the environment, taking chunks out of dirt, plants, animals, and sometimes unlucky humans. We meet her during a Congressional inquiry, when these holes have become too much to ignore. We get her testimony and also the perspective of her research assistant Harlan. The mystery is resolved in a nicely SFnal way, and I very much appreciated the denouement as well.

Kristina Tens Baba Yaga and the Seven Hills is very entertaining. Baba Yagas famous hut has gotten fed up with her and walked off, so she travels to San Francisco. Hilarity ensues as she rents a room and must put up with housemates, as she talks to waitresses and pot dealers, who have their own magic, and venture capitalist wizards speaking a completely different language. The concept and execution are great, but the story seems to almost stop dead instead of coming to a full resolution. Mari Ness continues mining rich veins of older stories to create her own: in Great Greta and the Mermaid she imagines scholars reconstructing a story about Greta, a pirate marooned on Peter Pans island, and how an encounter with a Lost Boy led to a much sexier encounter with a mermaid. The style of an academic continually interrogating different sources will work better for some readers than others, but the denouement fleshes out the story quite well.

I saw two stories in in June. The first is Were Here, Were Here by K.M. Szpara. It imagines a near-future revival of the boy band phenomenon, and we focus on Tyler, a transgender man living his dream of being a boy band singer. During one performance Jasper kisses Tyler on stage, which sets off a tizzy in the management, not because of gay/trans issues but because they want Tylers image to be the wholesome, available one and dont want fans constantly shipping Tyler and Jasper. But Tylers had a crush on Jasper and this raises all kinds of intense feelings in him, feelings he can barely give voice to. He is again rendered voiceless when the management asserts control over his speech implant, but the boys of the band pull together. Its a very sweet story.

Two Truths and a Lie by Sarah Pinsker starts off in a relatively mundane way. Stella has returned home because a childhood friends odd brother has died. She feels guilty that the friendship had faded, and offers to help clean out the brothers house. He was a hoarder and, after first being just gross, things take a strange turn when Stella invents what she thinks is a lie about an old local TV kids show, and instead finds videos of it in the brothers house. The Uncle Bob Show featured a man telling strange stories directly to the camera while children played on the set, and it turns out that most people remember the show even if Stella doesnt. As she researches more, she starts to see connections between the stories creepy Uncle Bob was telling and the fates of some of her childhood friends, and the story continues to get weirder from there. The ending is nicely underplayed.

Recommended Stories

Nine Words for Loneliness in the Language of the Umau, M.L. Clark (Clarkesworld 6/20) The Swallows of the Storm, Ray Nayler (Lightspeed 7/20) Two Truths and a Lie, Sarah Pinsker ( 6/17/20) How Long the Shadows Cast, Kenji Yanagawa (Clarkesworld 6/20)

Karen Burnham is an electromagnetics engineer by way of vocation, and a book reviewer/critic by way of avocation. She has worked on NASA projects including the Dream Chaser spacecraft and currently works in the automotive industry in Michigan. She has reviewed for venues such as Locus Magazine, NYRSF, Strange Horizons,, and Cascadia Subduction Zone. She has produced podcasts for and, especially SF Crossing the Gulf with Karen Lord. Her book on Greg Egan came out from University of Illinois Press in 2014, and she has twice been nominated in the Best Non Fiction category of the British SF Awards.

This review and more like it in the August 2020 issue of Locus.

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and - Locus Online

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

Posted in Enlightenment

This isnt the time to forget Benjamin Franklin – Grand Island Independent

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Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man wealthy, healthy and wise, is a saying of Benjamin Franklins, meaning he must have gone to bed early. Now, members of a Washington, D.C., governmental committee, wanting to defriend him sometime soon, cant even find their own beds. Maybe they are wealthy and healthy, but when they say they dont want any public building in the city to have his name on it, they are judgmentally impaired.

There I go, searching out euphemisms for these cancel-culture demons (not a euphemism) who think America is nothing to brag about, that our whole history is something akin to a Ku Klux Klan march. In D.C. right now, they have put together a list of some pretty extraordinary human beings whose duty is to disappear. What these foes of patriotism want is to disallow the names of all kinds of ex-presidents and founders on public office buildings, public schools and the like if they had anything to do with slavery.

And look, its true that, before he became an abolitionist also serving the sick, the uneducated, those whose houses were on fire and a revolution that likely would have fizzled without him, Franklin owned slaves. He gave them up as he then gave in to excelling in everything from chess to athletics and turning the world around for the better.

What may not be as well-known about him is that he was one of the foremost scientists of the 18th century, the Enlightenment. Just about everyone knows the tale of his flying a kite in a lightning storm and of his later inventing the lighting rod, but do people know how he worked with others in investigating electricity to the extent of better enabling modernity to become modernity, of surrounding us with electricitys endless civilizational benefits?

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This isnt the time to forget Benjamin Franklin - Grand Island Independent

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

Posted in Enlightenment

Joe Rogan’s ‘Inner Voice’ Hack Could Be The Secret To True Workout Zen – DMARGE

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Snoozing alarms, a pale ale with mates or just a simple Ill go tomorrow: all common excuses for passing on the gym. If you disagree and were to tell us youve never skipped lifting weights to curl a couple of schooners, wed look up into the sky and expect to see some pigs.

Like it or not, your inner voice can have a tremendous (if somewhat unintentional) effect on your daily goals, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not to go to the gym.

Its something celebrity podcaster Joe Rogan seems to suffer from on occasion too, and hes recently taken to Instagram to regale his story and to provide worldly advice so that you never let yours take control of you again.

Move over Buddha; though a little rough around the edges, this could be true enlightenment

Speaking of his inner [wimp] and how it put up a hell of a fight today, Joe says he nearly did skip the gym in favour of enjoying the morning and just drinking coffee and relaxing instead of the workout that I planned.

His story didnt end there, however. Instead Joe got after it and completed his workout, much to his benefit. Im so happy I did, he tells his fans.

He then parts some advice, Its amazing how procrastination and laziness can sneak up on you some days, and how, much like inspiration, its got weak days and strong days.

I think the key is to never give yourself that option. Ever.

Today was close, though, but ultimately I got it in, and I feel so good because I did.

Its not just Mr. Rogan: taking this non negotiable approach with yourself is something renowned self-help coach Tony Robbins is a huge advocate of too (see him try to explain the concept to a hilariously indisciplined Russell Brand here).

It seems Joes words have resonated with several Instagram users, with comments such as:

Needed this today, got the class done.

Thats it, Im working out today

Even Hollywood actor Josh Brolin found Joes words useful: Yes! Did the same today and so glad I did it. My lungs dont want to expand right now and I will fight through it until they do. Time to break through to next level conditioning.

Summoning the motivation to work out, or to lose weight and gain muscle, is a trait shared by many. But as weve previously seen from this Redditthread, simply looking at guys around you, or accepting that youre going to have low times not to mention taking heed of Joes advice to not let your inner voice get the better of you is all the motivation you could need.

The weights await.

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Joe Rogan's 'Inner Voice' Hack Could Be The Secret To True Workout Zen - DMARGE

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September 13th, 2020 at 11:54 am

Posted in Enlightenment

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