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Joe Biden ‘declining before the eyes of the world’

Sky News host James Morrow says we have heard “virtually nothing” from the press about US President Joe Biden’s recent blunder where he asked if a deceased congresswoman was present at an event.

“Of course, we know how often the press went after Trump and suggested he was mentally unfit and incapable of serving, yet they are all but silent on a man who is declining before the eyes of the world,” Mr Morrow said.


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Joint Jordanian-Kurdish business council to be established…

AMMAN Jordan Businessmen Association (JBA) and Kurdistan Investors’ Union have reached a memorandum of understanding
to launch a joint Jordanian-Kurdish business council to further develop
economic relations.اضافة اعلان

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, said the agreement was signed by JBA President
Hamdi Tabbaa, and President of Kurdistan Investors Union Ahmed Rikany.

A JBA statement said on Sunday that the business council will contribute to
concluding joint trade and investment agreements between business owners from
the two countries, with the aim of expanding bilateral economic activities.

“It will also play a role in encouraging joint cooperation between the
Jordanian and Iraqi business communities, and by exchanging investment
information as well as trade delegations,” the statement added.

The JBA president described the prospective council as an important step toward
advancing bilateral relations at various levels, aiming at supporting the
national economy, enhancing the Kingdom’s investment environment and attracting
investments.

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Celebrated Armagh artist and musician Brian Vallely on life after major heart surgery – Armagh I




Brian Vallely at his studio in Armagh with a copy of the book to mark his 80th birthday

It must be hard not to pick up a paintbrush or a musical instrument when you’ve being doing it almost every day for the past 60-plus years, but Brian Vallely accepts it’s all part of the recovery process.

The celebrated artist and musician is currently recuperating at home in Armagh after open heart surgery, and while he may be curtailed physically for a while, it’s not stopping him organising some of the many events he is involved in.

The 81-year-old, whose distinctive artwork graces walls in homes, pubs, galleries and private collections, admits that finding out he had a heart problem back in Christmas 2019 was a huge shock.

He had never smoked, always kept himself fit and walked six or seven miles every day.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted but apparently the birth certificate has a lot to do with it,” he jokes. “You start disintegrating as you get older.”

However, he has been heartened by a recent phone call with longtime friend, Olympic winner Lady Mary Peters.

“We were in the same gym in Belfast in the 1950s and she had exactly the same operation four years ago. She says she has never felt better,” he explains.

‘A Fiddle and Pipe Tune’

For Brian, whose initials JB stand for John Bernard, there have been three constants in his life – painting, music and athletics – and he is also passionate about Irish language and culture.

An Armagh man through and through, he is a founding member and president of Armagh Pipers Club, which is celebrating its 56th anniversary this year, and Armagh Athletics Club, which he formed in 1967.

And his paintings reflect those interests, with many depicting musicians, sportspeople and sporting events.

At the moment, Brian is putting the finishing organisational touches to an exhibition which will take place in Armagh at the beginning of November and celebrates the centenary of the National Athletic and Cycling Association of Ireland in 1922, with guests expected from as far away as the US, Germany and France.

He is also looking forward to attending the 28th annual William Kennedy Piping Festival, organised by Armagh Pipers Club, which is taking place this November from 17-20, and attracts top musicians from all over the world.

Brian was one of five children brought up in the Grange outside Armagh in a family steeped in music, although he didn’t start playing until he was at art college.

His parents, in particular his father, were supportive, although being an artist was dismissed by many as “not a proper job”.

“Once I got the notion of going to art school when I was a young teenager, I really did deliberately set out to be a painter. I had my first exhibition when I was 17 so when I left art college I had already been exhibiting for years,” he says.

“In the 1950s, no one from Armagh was going to art school. It was not even on the curriculum at school and if you did want to do art it was regarded as an option for the skivers. You had to be very determined.”

The fact that Brain has made a living out of being an artist is not something he takes for granted.

“I don’t know if I could have done it if my wife Eithne hadn’t had a good, steady job,” he says. “People say it must be great to do what you love for a job but it is still a job.”

‘Sailing from Rathmullan’

Brian works out of a studio in a house adjoining the family home, where son Lorcan, also a full-time artist, has his studio and wife Eithne, music director of the Armagh Pipers Club, is based as well.

He has no set routine, sometimes painting late at night or very early in the morning, and before his illness was prolific in his output, painting enough for one or two exhibitions a year.

He has also been teaching music for 50 years and plays the tin whistle, flute and the uilleann pipes.

Both his and Eithne’s love of music has been passed down to their five children. All of them played musical instruments when they were younger, and the three eldest boys – Cillian, Niall and Caoimhin –  are now professional musicians while daughter Moya works in the Barbican Theatre in London.

He also has 10 grandchildren and although only two live in Armagh, the family is very close and he sees them all regularly.

In fact, Irish language TV station TG Ceathair will be showing a programme on the family on Sunday, October 9 as part of a series of six on musical families, and will feature some of Brian’s children and grandchildren playing together.

Brian also has an exhibition opening in November in Dublin, with the work completed last year before his health deteriorated.

Last year, he also enjoyed a very big exhibition of new and retrospective work for his 80th birthday, with an impressive glossy book, JB Vallely@80, published by ABC Council.

‘Covering the Break’

Brian is passionate about following the progress of his pupils and the young people who have been involved in his organisations, whether that be music or athletics.

He is also immensely proud of the Pipers Club, which he, his brother and cousin founded in 1966 and is the longest running music class in Ireland.

“We had a bad setback with Covid but we are nearly back to normal levels,” he says. “On Monday night, we had 153 pupils and over 20 teachers at classes in Armagh.

“A lot of the teachers were pupils themselves and we have people’s children and grandchildren attending now. It is very much deeply embedded in the area and we are grateful for the support it receives from the council and the public who support it,” he says.

Brian is looking forward to returning to painting and teaching music, probably next summer.

Asked about future ambitions, he laughs: “Apart from climbing Mount Everest and sailing around the world, there’s very little”, before adding: “I want to be able to keep painting and playing music for as long as I can.”




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New Jersey Historic Trust recommends grants for historic preservation, planning – Essex News Daily

TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey Historic Trust, an affiliate of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, approved a total of $15,758,315 in grant recommendations from the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund to save and promote historic sites throughout the state, according to a Sept. 28 press release. Sixty-five preservation planning, heritage tourism and capital projects are included in this year’s list of recommendations.

Van Riper House, located in Nutley, has been recommended to receive $64,080.

“The New Jersey Historic Trust is committed to its mission of saving and telling New Jersey’s history,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA commissioner. “This round of grant recommendations for preservation planning, heritage tourism and capital projects will help to preserve historic structures, documents and artifacts that tell the stories of New Jersey’s history to future generations.”

Of the 65 grant award recommendations, 27 will help fund preservation planning projects, such as condition assessments, historic structure reports, archaeological investigations and construction documents; one grant will help fund heritage tourism initiatives to improve the visitor experience at historic sites; and 37 grants will fund capital preservation projects on sites listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. All grants awarded to nonprofit organizations or entities of municipal, county and state governments require a match from the recipient.

“I am grateful that we were able to fund so many worthy projects this year, especially when you consider the challenges our historic sites have endured over the past few years,” New Jersey Historic Trust Executive Director Dorothy Guzzo said. “These projects will create jobs to bolster the economy and sustain our heritage for years to come.”

The grant recommendations, which have been approved by the New Jersey Historic Trust Board, will be presented to the Garden State Preservation Trust at its next meeting and require a legislative appropriations bill and the governor’s approval before funds are made available.


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Biden rollback of student-loan-forgiveness plan pulls up curtain on Potemkin WH

Team Biden’s quiet decision last week to exclude millions of student-loan borrowers from its forgiveness program is the latest evidence that it’s running a Potemkin White House.

Thursday, the Department of Education said borrowers with privately held federal student loans will no longer qualify for President Joe Biden’s one-time loan-write-off program.

Why the change? At least partly because the Bidenites fear legal action, and excluding these borrowers might make it harder for anyone to successfully sue to stop it. But that’s practically an admission the whole program is legally dubious.

Indeed, just a year ago the Education Department admitted it lacked “the statutory authority” to forgive student loans en masse. Yet then Team Biden, under pressure from progressives and hoping to boost Dems’ hopes in the midterms, suddenly announced a huge forgiveness program, claiming it had the authority after all, under the post-9/11 HEROES Act.

That’s nonsense, of course, especially since the “national emergency” Biden & Co. cite to invoke the act is the pandemic, which the prez has (rightly) declared over.

In reality, Biden’s rollout of his forgiveness program, and his touting of it since, is one big charade. As Mark Joseph Stern noted at Slate in a piece rooting for the giveaway, the program only “exists primarily as a series of press releases, fact sheets and FAQs put out by the White House and the Department of Education.” That is, it’s still barely a proposal.

Of course, if the White House does pull it off, it would be terribly unfair to those who don’t have outstanding loans, not to mention ill-timed: With a price tag north of $400 billion, it’ll fuel inflation even further, especially on the heels of the Dems’ $250 billion CHIPS and Science Act, $485 billion Inflation Reduction Act, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Biden’s answer? Simply asserting “we can afford” this giveaway because the feds already gave away so much in pandemic relief, so shut up.

Student loan forgiveness advocates attend a press conference on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 25 August 2022.
The Department of Education said borrowers with privately held federal student loans will no longer qualify for President Joe Biden’s one-time loan-write-off program.
SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The point isn’t just that you’d better not count on a dime in loan relief. It’s that you can’t trust anything Team Biden says it’ll do — or has done.

It claims it’s got the border secured, even as it literally waves in illegal migrants. It boasts how the Inflation Reduction Act will slow price hikes, when every independent analyst says it won’t. It pretends it’s fixing supply chains, lowering gas prices, cutting the deficit — all of it empty noise.

Why lie so repeatedly and brazenly? Because the Bidenites either won’t or can’t deliver on any of these fronts, but hope that denial and false promises can fool enough people to let them muddle through until things improve on their own — or they can pin the blame on Republicans, corporate America, the courts, whoever.

Heck, the White House keeps trying to blame the GOP for rising crime.

The grim bottom line: Nothing they say reflects reality. Then again, when they do act — as in, say, Afghanistan — they botch things royally.

Empty lies might be the best America can hope for from Team Biden.


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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Officially Welcomed

Last Updated on October 2, 2022 by BVN

Breanna Reeves |

Ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s term which is set to begin on Monday, Oct. 3, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson attended a ceremony on Friday where she was welcomed by sitting Supreme Court justices, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Jackson was officially sworn into office on June 30, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer who had previously and formally submitted a letter, signaling his retirement. She was confirmed to the court in April in a 53-47 vote after undergoing rigorous confirmation hearings. She made history as the first Black woman and the sixth woman justice overall to serve on the nation’s highest court.

President Joe Biden attended the investiture ceremony for Associate Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on Friday, September 30, 2022 (Via Twitter).

“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has already brought uncompromising integrity, a strong moral compass, and courage to the Supreme Court. Today, we celebrate her formal investiture. This is a day for all Americans to be proud,” read a tweet from President Biden’s account.

In attendance at the ceremony were former justice Stephen Breyer, who Jackson clerked for, and Anthony Kennedy. Also in attendance were Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who delivered a passionate speech during Jackson’s confirmation hearing.

“You have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American,” Booker said during Jackson’s confirmation back in March.

President Biden pledged to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court back in January and has done so with the confirmation of Jackson. Historically, Black women account for a small percent of federal judges at any level. 

Left: “Mrs. Constance B. Motley, first woman Senator, 21st Senatorial District, N.Y., raising hand in V sign.” Photograph shows Constance Baker Motley making a victory sign two days after her election as the first African American woman to serve in the New York State Senate. Walter Albertin (World Telegram & Sun); restored by Adam Cuerden – Courtesy of the United States Library of Congress; Right: Judge Holly Thomas is the first Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit in CA. (source: ballopedia.org).

According to a Pew Research Center report released in February, only 70 of the 3,843 people — 2% — who ever served as federal judges in the U.S. have been Black women. The first Black woman ever to serve on the federal bench was Constance Baker Motley in 1966 who was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Since taking office, President Biden has nominated 13 Black women to be circuit court judges, eight of whom have been confirmed, including Judge Holly Thomas who became the first Black woman to serve on the Ninth Circuit from California.




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From home business to shelves across the country

MARTHA April was 59 when she started a business making boerseep (farmer’s soap) by hand, using a traditional recipe dating back hundreds of years.

The recipe incorporates tallow, a rendered form of fat from the tail of a sheep or cow. April says soapmaking was never a tradition in her family.

Rather, it was circumstances that drove her to her knees in prayer and which led her to start Martha’s Boer-seep just a month after the dawn of Covid-19 in the country in April 2020.

“As a family, we have very strong faith, but we were hard hit by Covid, so I went to the Lord for guidance and he showed me this business,” April says.

She also credits a friend from Walvis Bay, who also used to make soap and sell it at church bazaars, but who passed away during the pandemic, as a source of motivation.

“She encouraged me to also start with the soap business. I started believing in it because it does what bleaches can’t do. I tested it and saw it is better than Jik,” she says.

Various cultures in Namibia, dating back to the Voortrekkers, grew up making and using the soap, April says, and for many families it was the only soap used at home.

“It was an all-purpose soap and could be used as a cleaning product for the house, for washing clothes, and for cleaning the body. Some even say it works for various skin conditions,” April says.

She sources rendered fat from local butcheries, and uses masks and gloves to handle the corrosive chemicals that form part of the process.

Her recipe has been painstakingly developed through a process of personal testing, trial and error, and experience, until she was happy with the formula, she says.

From the beginning, April says she was determined that Martha’s Boerseep would not be just another home-based business.

“I had a greater vision of the product – to sell it to other businesses.”

She began by making and selling large bricks of soap for N$100 from home.

Soon she and her children and husband started cutting the soap into smaller blocks, which were often skew, as they learned, developed and honed their technique, April recalls.

“The business exploded very quickly. I think it’s the Spirit that was with me when I started it,” she says.

What started in the auspiciously named month of April saw the first blocks of soap on the shelves of Spar at Maerua Mall and Hochland Park in May.

All the while April says she remembered the words God spoke to her: “I am with you.”

“I would recite those words, ‘do not fear’, as I went into shops to secure orders. When I first went to speak to the managers, they didn’t discount me or make me feel unimportant. They received me beautifully,” she says.

From there it spread to other Spars across the country, as well as OK Foods outlets, Woermann Brock, and Metro.

With each new order, April says she made sure to thank the One who made it all possible.

Today, the family works together to make 600 blocks of soap a day, and with a fresh order just in, that number may soon double or even triple. We keep it in the family because we cannot yet afford to pay salaries,” she says.

“When I first started my business, I was interviewed on Kanaal 7 about my soaps when a woman who was listening phoned me. She was very emotional and happy that someone else was also making the soaps,” she says.

The woman, Henna Botha, donated April two huge pots, which she still uses.

“Today we are friends. I always make sure to give her some bricks of soap to thank her, and that is why I believe my business was blessed, because she blessed me.

“I’d like to thank her and my husband and children. All I do is from the hand of God.”

April says she feels incredibly proud to see her products on the shelves of stores.

“It makes me feel so good when deliveries go out across the country.”

To create opportunities for other entrepreneurs, April has created a regular market day event at the Khomasdal Market Place.

“The success of my business has inspired me to help other entrepreneurs.”

The next market day takes place on Saturday, and again on 3 December for a special Christmas-themed edition.

“This is something that is really needed for the community as there are not many platforms or opportunities at Khomasdal, and many people who live here struggle to travel to town for the Boeremark,” she says.

April is pleading for better facilities for entrepreneurs at Khomasdal.

“We would like corporates, the government or municipality to create more platforms for entrepreneurs to sell our products.”

Her advice to other entrepreneurs is: “Don’t be afraid. There will be challenges and low points, but don’t lose hope. Keep believing that your business will be a success.

“And focus. Don’t look to other people, but focus on God.”

Follow Martha’s Boerseep Namibia on Facebook for more information, or call April at 081 257 5774.




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Viola player named first BBC Young Musician 2022 finalist

Viola player Jaren Ziegler has been crowned winner of the strings final of BBC Young Musician 2022, securing himself a place in the competition’s grand final.

The 16-year-old from London is the first finalist to be announced as part of the 2022 edition of the UK talent contest for young classical performers.

The strings final was recorded in early July at Saffron Hall in Saffron Walden, Essex, with highlights of the competition broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday evening.

Ziegler battled it out against four other young musicians in the strings final: violinists 14-year-old Aki Blendi, Clara Sophia Wernig, Dawid Kasprzak and Edward Walton, all aged 16.

The expert panel of judges for the event included two of the UK’s most respected soloists in the strings category: viola player Philip Dukes, and winner of BBC Young Musician 2002, violinist Jennifer Pike.

Dukes and Pike joined organist and director of music at Pembroke College, Cambridge, Anna Lapwood, who is also the chair of all the BBC Young Musician 2022 category final judging panels.

The BBC Young Musician grand final, recorded at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on September 29, is scheduled for broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 on October 9.

The programme’s presenting team will feature saxophonist and 2016 competition finalist Jess Gillam, classical soul pianist and composer Alexis Ffrench and presenter and BBC Young Musician regular Josie d’Arby.

The culmination of the contest will see Ziegler compete against yet-to-be-announced winners from four other categories – woodwind, brass, percussion and keyboard.

Each finalist will perform a concerto with the BBC Philharmonic orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth in front of a jury of experts chaired by Lapwood.

Members of the jury include BBC Radio 3’s editor for live music Emma Bloxham, Southbank Centre’s head of classical music Toks Dada, conductor Ben Gernon, and sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar.

Percussionist Fang Zhang won BBC Young Musician 2020
Percussionist Fang Zhang won BBC Young Musician 2020 (Fabio De Paola/PA)

Following the broadcast of the strings final highlights on Sunday, hour-long programmes of highlights from the four other category finals will also be broadcast on BBC Four over the coming week.

BBC Young Musician 2020 was won by 18-year-old percussionist Fang Zhang, who was awarded the title in May 2021, after the grand final was delayed by the global pandemic.

Also set to return this autumn is BBC Young Jazz Musician, which turns the focus on some of the most talented up-and-coming musicians and singers on the British jazz scene.

The jazz final will take place at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall on November 19 as part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.

During the event, five finalists will compete for the title of BBC Young Jazz Musician, each hoping to follow in the footsteps of the 2020 winner, pianist Deschanel Gordon.




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Remnants of Hurricane Ian bring flooding, scattered power outages


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