Insight News

Mar 01st


Velma Korbel named Minneapolis Civil Rights Director

Velma Korbel named Minneapolis Civil Rights DirectorCommissioner Velma Korbel of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has been selected by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak to serve as the next director of the City of Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

“Velma Korbel is a strong manager with a long record of successfully and efficiently enforcing civil-rights laws and mandates. She will bring new energy and focus to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. She is immensely qualified to lead the department and I am very pleased to nominate her for the job,” said Rybak.

Korbel has worked in the field of human rights for over 20 years. Since 2003, she has served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, where she has led the department through several improvements in case management, quality control, alternative-dispute resolution and outreach. Highlights of Korbel’s accomplishments include:
Of 2,209 new charges filed with the Department from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2009, 98.5% — or all but 35 — were resolved within the legally mandated one-year window. Of those 35 remaining charges, all were resolved within 54 weeks of original filing.

Obama's American agenda benefits Black America too

WASHINGTON, DC — President Obama’s historic status as the nation’s first Black president hasn’t spared him criticism from some Black commentators and members of Congress, who claim that the president ought to have a bona fide “Black agenda.”

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus have chastised Obama for, they claim, doing little to address the unemployment rate among Black workers, some six to seven points higher than the overall rate of just under ten percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last month, talk show host Tavis Smiley’s annual “Black Agenda” conference included a panel which heavily criticized Obama for failing to directly address a range of difficult social problems which still plague Black America. Indeed, Smiley has become a consistent critic.

Census day has passed, so now what?

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - Census Day, April 1, has passed but that doesn't mean it's too late to turn in your 10-question Census form. The Census Bureau will continue to accept 2010 Census questionnaires by mail through mid-April.

For households that fail to mail back their forms, census workers will begin making door to door visits beginning May 1, and will continue doing so until mid-July. 
Census data determines crucial dollar allocations and political representation within communities. The data determines the apportionment of congressional seats to states. It also determines the distribution of more than $4 trillion dollars in federal funds to local governments and communities over the next decade and lays the groundwork for what community services will be provided.

Still, only 54 percent of the nation's estimated 145 million households mailed back their census forms on April 1, reports the U. S Census Bureau. April 1 was the official deadline day to reply to the Census so that the federal government can begin conducting the nation's decennial headcount, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.  
The 2010 U.S. Census will cost taxpayers almost $12 billion, according to a 2008 budget request submitted by the Department of Commerce, making it the most expensive count ever.

The interdependence behind bilateral political tensions: Economic realities affecting Venezuela – U.S. relations

The interdependence behind bilateral political tensions: Economic realities affecting Venezuela – U.S. relationsVenezuela – U.S. Research File 

In January 2006, the sixth gathering of the World Social Forum, during which Hugo Chávez as well as other left-leaning and socialist leaders fiercely criticized imperialist practices, was held in the Caracas Hilton Hotel. As James Surowiecki noted in an article for The New Yorker six months before the conference opened, a meeting sponsored by the Venezuelan Ministry of Finance took place at the same hotel. The aim of the aforementioned meeting was meant to promote American investments in Venezuela. How can one explain such a paradox? Are Venezuela and the United States only rhetorical political foes? Or, is there an underlying economic relationship between these two countries that renders them important trading partners?


Rwanda diplomat during genocide alive and well in Alabama

Rwanda diplomat during genocide alive and well in AlabamaApr. 6 (GIN) – A former ambassador to the U.N. during the horrific days of the Rwandan was discovered living quietly in Alabama working in a plastics factory.

Jean Damascene Bizimana, the country's 36-year-old ambassador in the spring of 1994 when close to a million people were killed in a so-called ethnic war, defended the regime while in his U.N. post and opposed an arms embargo which all other members of the Security Council endorsed.

Bizimana assured the world’s diplomats that his government was not to blame as over 800,000 people were massacred. Then he vanished and remade his life in middle-class America according to research by American University Prof. David L. Bosco in a Washington Post article.

Former U.N. Chief's climate change forum goes broke

Former U.N. Chief's climate change forum goes brokeApr. 6 (GIN) – Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan announced that his Global Humanitarian Forum, dedicated to addressing climate change, will close due to a lack of financial support.

The Ghanaian diplomat who sits on many boards including the United Nations Foundation, heads the Panel of Eminent African Personalities which addressed civil unrest in Kenya, and is chancellor of the University of Ghana, among many other posts and citations, acknowledged that the organization he founded in 2007 was unable to raise enough cash to stay afloat.

“It is a great disappointment to all of us that this promising project had to end this way,” Annan said. Its most concrete project was to install weather data collectors on mobile phone towers in Africa to provide better climate data to impoverished communities.

Annan singled out Switzerland for creating the forum and then failing to provide enough support to keep it alive.

White supremacist leader dead, new one is named

White supremacist leader dead, new one is namedApr. 6 (GIN) – The leader of a notorious far-right separatist movement was killed this week, over his alleged failure to pay two farmworkers he employed since December.

Eugene Terreblanche, 69, was found Saturday, bludgeoned to death at his farm house in North West province. A 28-year-old farm laborer and 15-year-old casual worker were charged with theft, unlawful entry, and killing Terreblanche. Reports from the scene say he had refused to pay them their monthly pay of $41.

President Jacob Zuma remarked: “We strongly condemn such acts of violence. People should use legal and peaceful means to resolve differences of any nature including labor disputes. We should uphold the right to life that is enshrined in the Constitution and abide by the rule of law at all times.”

National health care advocate passes

National health care advocate passesApr. 6 (GIN) – A passionate advocate for national health care in South Africa has passed. Dr. Molefi Sefularo died tragically in a car accident in Pretoria West on Monday.

Accolades for the 53-year old Deputy Health Minister poured in all week. Frans Baleni of the National Union of Mineworkers noted that Sefularo had been a hope for many hopeless, poor and marginalized South Africans… ... particularly as champion of the National Health Insurance which stands to benefit many poor South Africans.”

ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga agreed the country has been robbed of a dynamic and talented leader with a passion for social justice and a deep care for the poor. The Inkatha Freedom Party expressed its condolences, saying Sefularo's death had left the country poorer.

Sefularo held diplomas in tropical medicine, public health and health service management from the university and had lectured in the department of community health.

Sefularo leaves a wife and 3 daughters, Bonolo, Masechaba and Ipelang, and one son, Chere. 

A new poll tax?

Measure would disenfranchise many

The Minnesota Voters Alliance and Citizens for a Better Minneapolis are heading a petition for a photo ID requirement of anyone who wishes to vote because they are concerned about the potential for voter fraud in Minneapolis city elections.

These two groups and their supporters would like to see a photo ID requirement for all elections in Minnesota, but they are starting with a push in the state’s three biggest cities: Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth.

Opponents of the petition argue that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is essentially creating a poll tax, which are illegal because it limits who has the ability to vote. In the event that the proposal becomes law, the State of Minnesota will be compelled to issue individuals at or below the poverty level an ID card for free.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund commends President Obama on strengthening Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

WASHINGTON, March 29  -- This weekend President Obama announced a number of recess appointments of critical nominees whose confirmations had been stalled in the Senate. Among these appointments were three commissioners and the general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Jacqueline Berrien, Associate Director Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is being appointed as Chair of the EEOC. The Legal Defense Fund commends the President for taking action to fill these critical positions.

Grim employment report highlights increasing need for bold federal action on jobs

NEW YORK -- Slow job recovery revealed in today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforces the need for legislation that funds direct job creation and training for the chronically unemployed, National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said.

"The economy remains weak and we’re clearly in a jobless recovery," Morial said.  "Private job creation  is stuck in neutral, with little clue on where and when a surge in job creation might begin.

While the overall unemployment rate of 9.7% remained unchanged in March, black unemployment rose from 15.8% to 16.5%. Most of the increase is due to the rise in black male unemployment -- 19% from 17.8%.  Unemployment among black women rose to 12.4% from 12.1%.

"There are people ready & willing to work, but no jobs are available for them," Morial said. "The demand for labor is not rising fast enough to absorb the large number of people looking for work.  There are still 15 million unemployed people and the ranks of the long-term unemployed continue to rise as well."
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