Archive | November, 2010

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Stigma of Cervical Cancer Puts Ethnic Women at Risk


NATION — Susan Carrillo of Redlands, Calif., remembers how her husband reacted when he found out she had cervical cancer soon after their second child was born. She was 23 at the time.

“He just flipped out when my doctor told him it was a sexually transmitted disease,” recalls Carrillo, who is now 32 and divorced. “Then he began abusing me. After I was cured, he once said, ‘I wish the cancer had killed you.’”

The shame and stigma associated with cervical cancer is what makes this disease, usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), so difficult to eradicate despite the development of vaccines that are effective and widely available. That was the takeaway message at a conference on the disease organized by the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation in Sacramento earlier this month.

“There’s a certain stigma about cervical cancer that doesn’t exist with other cancers,” says Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater, director of the UC Davis Cancer Outreach Research and Education Program.

Friederichs-Fitzwater was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 38, when she was a journalist at the Los Angeles Times. After she was cured, she changed careers and began educating medical students about cancer prevention.

Speakers agreed that more parents would be willing to get their daughters vaccinated if the embarrassment surrounding the cause of cervical cancer were reduced.

“Let’s make the cervix equal partners with the breast,” urged Jennifer S. Smith, director of the Cervical Cancer-Free Initiative at the University of North Carolina. She said cervical cancer should not be characterized as a sexually transmitted disease.

The CMA Foundation has launched a cervical cancer education and prevention campaign targeted at women who are at greatest risk, including those with low rates of screening and prevention.
Cervical cancer is the tenth-most common form of cancer among California women, according to figures from 2008, the first year statewide data was available. Each year, about 400 women in California die from the disease, says Dr. Eileen Yamada, a public health officer at the California Department of Public Health.

In the United States, about 30 percent of sexually active 14- to 19-year-olds are infected with HPV at any given time. In some girls and women, persistent HPV can eventually lead to cervical cancer. If diagnosed early—for example, with a Pap smear—cervical cancer is almost completely curable, but if caught at the most advanced stage the five-year survival rate plunges to as low as 15 to 20 percent.

Hispanic women in Los Angeles, Riverside and Fresno counties have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the state, says Sara N. Cook, CMA Foundation’s Cervical Cancer and HPV project director.
In Los Angeles County, older Korean women also have a high incidence of the disease, consistent with rates in South Korea, says Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

The HPV virus is highly infectious, experts say. Vaccines marketed in the United States protect against four strains of the virus, only two of which are associated with cervical cancer.

The L.A. County Public Health Department’s cervical cancer prevention initiative, launched in 2000, has proved highly successful, notes Dr. Rita Singhal, medical director of the department’s Office of Women’s Health. The initiative’s toll-free number, with a multilingual staff, has fielded around 25,600 calls so far.

Such public health programs have reduced the incidence and mortality rates of cervical cancer in the state. But cancer rates remain higher in black and Hispanic women, says Dr. Gary A. Richwald, a clinical virologist and communicable disease expert in Los Angeles.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that 11- and 12-year-old girls be targeted for the vaccine, before most are sexually active and, therefore, before they have been exposed to HPV.

“Incidence is highest in women in their 20s,” Richwald, says adding: “No one knows why there is a solid decrease of the disease after age 30. Our guess is women have fewer sex partners after that age.”

Although studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is safe and effective, just one-third of teenagers and young women who start the vaccine process receive all three doses, and almost three-quarters don’t bother to get vaccinated at all, according to data recently presented at the American Association of Cancer Research.

Yet despite the vaccine’s effectiveness, experts warn that patients and health professionals should not place too much confidence it. Pap screening is just as important, they note.

Detection remains a challenge, as most HPV infections have no obvious symptoms, Richwald notes. That was the case for Carrillo.

She learned she was infected with HPV at age 19, during a routine examination by her ob-gyn to find out if she was pregnant. Because the doctor told her the virus would go away, “I didn’t think it was a big deal and didn’t do anything about it,” she says.

She had no clue that the cancer was growing in her cervix, until she had a Pap screening four years later.

Now cured and healthy, she has joined the National Cervical Cancer Coalition in Los Angeles. She is determined to educate young women, especially immigrants, about how they can protect themselves.
“‘Go and get your Pap,’ I tell them. Cervical cancer is preventable.”

“I also tell women: ‘Just because you got it, doesn’t mean you’re a piece of s – – t.’”

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JetBlue Launches Flight to Florida, Caribbean


HARTFORD –Greater Hartford residents wanting to travel from Bradley International Airport to Florida and the Caribbean now have a another choice in low-cost airline: JetBlue Airways.

JetBlue launched its first flight from Bradley today to Fort. Lauderdale.

Spokesperson Alison Croyle said the option to international airlines is then offered on line and only selected destination in the Caribbean are offered.So far, travelers can get direct flights from Bradley to Ft. Lauderdale and then get a connecting flight to the Bahamas, and several Latin Caribbean countries, including San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Bogota, Colombia; and Cancun, Mexico.

For now, the airline has two daily nonstop service from Bradley to both Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport  and Orlando International Airport.

“We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with our JetBlue partners,” said Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey Parker. “Anytime we can expand our offerings to travelers, everyone profits, and so does Connecticut’s economy.”

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Police Group To Host Thanksgiving Dinner


HARTFORD — This Sunday, the Hartford Guardians, Inc., a social organization of the Hartford Police Department, will host a free Thanksgiving dinner for the public.

The dinner will be Nov.  21 between the hours of 12:00 and 5:00 p.m., at the Red Rock Tavern located at 369 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT.

Turkey and all the trimmings will be served!

The Guardians invite the public to stop by and enjoy the company of fellow neighbors while eating a festive meal and celebrating the holiday.

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Gov Rell Announces ‘See Something, Say Something’ Campaign


HARTFORD — Gov. Jodi Rell today  announced the start of an aggressive, statewide security awareness campaign urging residents – especially users of public transportation – to be alert and prepared to report suspicious activity.

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign aims to empower people to monitor their own environment for suspicious objects or behavior on trains or buses, stations and other public places. The state Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security operates a 24-hour homeland security tip line,  1 (866) HLS-TIPS.

“It is simple – but it is so effective,”  Rell said during a kickoff news conference at Hartford’s Union Station.

State officials are asking public transporation users to be aware of their surroundings, be on the lookout for suspicious objects or behavior on trains and buses or at stations like this one.

Rell said this campaing is “not about starting a panic.”

The campaign is being conducted by the state Departments of Transportation and Emergency Management and Homeland Security and funded through the federal Transit Security Grant Program.

DEMHS Commissioner Peter J. Boynton commented on the Times Square attempted bombing,saying ” terrorism can strike very close to home.”

“What this incident also showed is that the public is an important partner in emergency management and homeland security,” Boynton said. “I want all of our 3.4 million residents to know that they are a vital part of our team and will continue to play an integral role.”

The campaign includes television, radio, online, print, billboards and more. The goal is to encourage as many Connecticut residents as possible to maintain awareness and remind them to remain vigilant.

For more information, visit www.keepctsafe.com .

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Airey-Wilson Supporters Put Group ‘On Notice’


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — About 40 people filed into City Hall last night and spoke out against plans to urge City Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson’s resignation.

The group prompting this turn out was not present. And City Council Committee members had no letter before them to consider. But that didn’t stop Airey-Wilson’s supporters from voicing their concerns about a plan to eject her from office, with less than a year to finish her eighteen-year reign as the most visible West Indian politician in the state.

“We’re here to put [the group] on notice,” said one speaker. “We’re not going to stand by and watch this happen.”

Garfield Mills, a 27-year resident of Hartford, added: “She’s not a stranger in our community. She doesn’t just pop up during election. We want her to finish her term. We’re not going to accept her being railroaded.”

At least one person in city hall didn’t see it that way.

“I understand the Councilwoman got a get-out-of-jail card, but she should resign,” said Ken Krayeske.

Krayeske, who ran unsuccessfully to replace Congressman John Larson, was at city hall to speak in favor of an ordinance to curtail racial and religious profiling in the city. But he muscled his way before the group to interject that comment.

Members of Airey-Wilson’s supporting audience booed him. And he quickly exited the room.

The group planning this move is the African-American Alliance. When reached this morning, its president Clarke King said the group wanted to send a message to young people, especially to those like his nephew who just got out of jail and cannot get a job. He mentioned Ben Andrews, former 30-year president of the state NAACP and a part of State Treasurer Paul Silvester and then Gov. John Rowland’s inner circle. All were convicted of corruption in early 2000s and served time in federal prison.

He also mentioned former State Senator of Bridgeport Ernie Newton, Newton was released in February to a Halfway house in Waterbury after serving four years for accepting a $5,000 bribe, using campaign contributions for personal business and evading taxes.

Another person on the group’s radar, King said, was Alexander Aponte.  Aponte was recently appointed to the city council after Mayor Pedro Segarra vacated his council seat.

But the group on Saturday only voted on whether to urge Airey Wilson to resign.

“Why should they be able to get a job,” King asked. “We’re sending out a message…Besides, I don’t think she is going to be effective during the rest of her term. How is she going to talk to people about what’s right.”

King said the letter aimed at Airey-Wilson and the court of common council is being drafted and the plan is to submit it soon.

Wilson is serving her 18th year on the city council and is in the middle of her three-month probation for corruption charges.

The Chief State Attorneys’ office arrested and charged Airey Wilson with fabricating evidence—writing a check out to the city contractor, Carlos Costa, to show payment — for work done on her kitchen pantry.

In September, she applied for special program that would allow her record to be expunged after three months. Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey approved her request.

A Republican, Airey-Wilson was a candidate in 2008 against Sen. Eric D. Coleman, a Democrat who has served in the Senate since 1995.

During that campaign season, Airey-Wilson’s house was searched as a part of the state’s corruption case against former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez. A six-member jury found Perez guilty in June of five felony charges including taking bribes and attempted extortion. He was sentenced to three years in prison and is now appealing the verdict.

The same contractor who worked on Perez’s home also worked on Airey Wilson’s home. The cost of the job, Costa said on the witness stand, was about $500.

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Group To Urge Councilwoman To Resign


HARTFORD — Some residents are expected to urge City Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson to resign tonight.

Wilson, who is serving her 18th year on the city council, is in the middle of her three-month probation  for curruption charges.

The Chief State Attorneys’ office arrested and charged Airey-Wilson with fabricating evidence–writing a check out to the city contractor, Carlos Costa, to show payment — for work done on her kitchen pantry.

In September, she applied for special program that would allow her record to be expunged after three months. Hartford Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey approved her petition.

A Republican, Airey-Wilson was a candidate in 2008 against Sen. Eric D. Coleman, a  Democrat who has served in the Senate since 1995.

During that campaign season, Airey-Wilson’s house was searched as a part of the state’s corruption case against former Hartford mayor Eddie Perez. A six-member jury found Perez guilty in June of five felony charges including taking bribes and attempted extortion. He was sentenced to three years in prison and is now appealing the verdict.

The same contractor who worked on Perez’s home also worked on Airey-Wilson’s home. The cost of the job, Costa said on the witness stand, was about $500.

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Latino Firewall Helped Save Senate for Democrats


New America MediaElena Shore

Latino voters may have saved the Senate for the Democrats, even as Latino candidates gained a record number of congressional seats on the Republican ticket.

Political observers say these seemingly contradictory outcomes make one thing clear: Latinos – as candidates and as voters – played a decisive role in Tuesday’s election.

Ironically, the party that was accused of using anti-immigrant rhetoric gained victories for Latino candidates. Republican Susana Martinez was elected New Mexico’s first Latina governor and Brian Sandoval became Nevada’s first Latino governor. Latino Republicans won five new House seats, and one new Senate seat, giving Latino Republicans a record total of eight seats in both houses of Congress.

Latino voters also made the difference in Western states like California, Colorado and Nevada, where they warded off Republicans in key races, demonstrating Latinos’ “rejection of anti-immigrant campaigns,” according to Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

“The Latino firewall in the West actually helped save the Senate for Democrats,” Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice in Washington, D.C., said during a press conference Wednesday.

A Latino Decisions poll of Latino voters in eight states, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California, found that “the GOP wave stops in California. There was virtually no evidence of a GOP wave in the state with the largest Latino population,” according to pollster Gary Segura.

In California, Vargas said, Latinos helped defeat Republicans Meg Whitman, who took a tough on immigration stance during the primary, and Carly Fiorina, who opposed immigration reform.

“Latinos may well have saved the Senate. They certainly saved Harry Reid,” said Segura. Latinos accounted for 10 percent of the vote in Nevada, according to Latino Decisions, and Reid won by only 5.4 percent.

Senate Majority Leader Reid was a vocal supporter of the DREAM Act, while his opponent, Republican Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle, used images of immigrants during her campaign that many Latinos found offensive.

In Arizona, Democrat Terry Goddard “destroyed” Republican Gov. Jan Brewer among Latinos, according to Segura, although the governor who signed the controversial immigration law SB 1070 triumphed in the overall vote. Sen. McCain, who also kept his seat in the election, received dismal support from Latinos in Arizona, who preferred his Democratic rival by a 4-to-1 margin.

Latino voters also played key roles in electing Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, accounting for 6 percent of the overall vote, and Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, where they made up more than 4 percent of the vote in a race whose margin was less than 1 percent.

“The Colorado results may be the highlight of the night for Latinos,” said Segura, noting that Latino voters helped defeat conservative Tom Tancredo in his bid for governor.

Even when Latino Republicans were on the ballot, Latinos trended Democratic, Segura said, suggesting that the candidates’ positions on the issues trumped their ethnicity. Brian Sandoval lost badly among Latinos in Nevada, and Susana Martinez got only 38 percent of the Latino vote in New Mexico.

Cuban-American Marco Rubio, who won the Senate race in Florida, enjoyed the support of the Cuban-American community there. But according to Latino Decisions, among non-Cuban Latinos, he lost by 60-to-40 percent.

“Some may have anticipated that Latino voters would vote for candidates simply because they were Latino,” said Clarissa Martinez de Castro of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). “That was clearly not the case.”

Immigration reform advocates cautioned that simply putting Latino candidates on the ticket was not a valid long-term strategy for the GOP.

The candidates’ positions on the issues were what mattered most, Martinez said, and Latino voters used a candidate’s stance on immigration as a barometer to gauge his or her attitudes toward the Latino community.

When asked why they went to the polls, the plurality of Latinos (47 percent) said they were there to support and represent the Latino community. Fifty-three percent said anti-Latino or anti-immigrant sentiment influenced their decision to vote.

“Latinos turned out to vote for respect,” said Martinez of NCLR. “Parties that demonize or take Latino voters for granted are doing it at a great risk if not at their peril.”

“The message from Latino voters was clear: We reject the politics of fear and demonization,” said Martinez.

If Republicans hadn’t used anti-immigrant rhetoric in their campaigns, she added, “they could have captured the Senate.”

Meanwhile, immigrant advocates say the results of Tuesday’s election do not bode well for the passage of immigration reform.

“With Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) in charge of immigration politics for Republicans, we can expect them to pursue what can only be described as a mass deportation strategy,” said Sharry of America’s Voice. “Just as Latinos served as a firewall for Senate Democrats, we want Senate Democrats to serve as a firewall to the proposals being pushed by the House.”

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Tea Baggers in the Black Caucus—What’s the Point?


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The question of who should or shouldn’t be in the Congressional Black Caucus only came up when new Tea Party–backed n GOP congressmen Allen West (R-Florida) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) were asked whether they intended to join.

The short answer to the question who should be a CBC member is: any African-American who sits in Congress. The name is the Congressional Black Caucus, not the Congressional Black Democratic Caucus. CBC chair Barbara Lee unhesitatingly tossed out the olive branch of membership and said West and Scott are more than welcome to join.

But in fact, there are several reasons the issue is muddy. Scott and West have sent mixed signals about whether they want in. West says yes. Scott has virtually said no, citing his allegedly rancorous experiences with black Democrats while he was a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus.

But ruffled personal feelings are just part of the equation. There’s the issue of party affiliation, ideology, and the even larger question of what most African-Americans expect from their representatives.

Scott and West are not merely political outsiders. They are firmly committed to pushing the Tea Party’s agenda in Congress, as they have promised in countless political speeches, pep rallies, and Tea Party confabs. They see nothing wrong in being—and, in fact, take great pride in their role as—the desperately needed black face and voice of the Tea Party and of GOP ultra-conservatives in and out of Congress.

Tea Party leaders have made no effort to mask their one overriding aim: to do everything politically possible to ensure that the Obama presidency is failed, flawed, and one-term.

Scott and West share that goal. This makes them diametrically opposed to the political and philosophical goals of the current CBC membership.

The CBC, counter to the widespread impression, is not a political monolith of knee-jerk, reflexive liberals. Its ranks also include moderates and even conservatives. At times its members have split votes on legislation.

But no matter what their political differences, on some issues, they march in lockstep in support of President Obama and health care reform; affirmative action; increased government spending on education, jobs, and social programs; tight reins on Wall Street and the banking industry; an end to Bush tax cuts for the rich; a massive urban reconstruction program; and a wind-down of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. GOP leaders and the Tea Party stand for the exact opposite of those goals.

Then there’s the CBC’s mostly black constituency. True, many African-Americans voice frustration, displeasure, and even anger at the Democratic Party for taking the black vote for granted and for saying little (and doing less) on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to the education crisis in inner-city schools. But black voters have been the bedrock of the Democratic Party for a half-century. They will not break ranks with the party at this juncture for two good reasons. The Democrats are still the only political game in town when it comes to giving political voice to their needs.

The GOP, despite occasional lip service to diversity, has shown in word and deed that it is cold, indifferent, and hostile to black interests. Its bread-and-butter constituency for five decades has been white conservatives in the Deep South and heartland, as well as seniors, blue-collar worker, rural voters, and—at times—ultra-conservative Democrats and independents.

GOP leaders have long known that these voters can be easily riled up by the emotional wedge issues: abortion, family values, gay marriage and tax cuts. During the yearlong debate on health care reform and in the months since the bill’s passage, they whipped up their hysteria and borderline racism against the new law. This was glaringly apparent in the ferocity and bile spouted by the shock troops that GOP leaders, in consort with the Tea Baggers, brought out to harangue, harass and bully Democrat legislators on the eve of the health care vote. These are the very same voters that GOP politicians—Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and W. Bush, McCain, as well as legions of governors, senators and members of Congress—have called on to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance for decades.

Scott and West will say and do nothing to change this situation. Their goal is to do everything to return the GOP to power in all areas of government. Should the two new congressmen be invited to join the CBC? Of course. Will they accept the invitation to join? More than likely not. The two men are more than just a bad fit with the CBC. They represent everything the CBC is against.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.  Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

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Nation Celebrates Veterans Day This Weekend


The President marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War and celebrated the nation’s veterans in Seoul, South Korea.  Below is a transcript of his speech given at the Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul.

We are so proud to have with us U.S. and Republic of Korea vets of the Korean War who are here.  And we are greatly honored by their presence.  (Hoaa!)  (Applause.)

And I want to make special mention of one of them — Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Hector Cafferata, Jr.  Please give him an extraordinary round of applause.  (Applause.)

It is an enormous honor to be here at Yongsan Garrison.  As President of the United States, I have no greater privilege than serving as Commander-in-Chief of the finest military that the world has ever known.  (Hoaa!)  And on this Veterans Day, there’s no place I’d rather be than right here with U.S. Forces Korea.  (Hoaa!)

We’ve got the 8th Army in the house.  (Hoaa!)  We’ve got members of the 7th Air Force. (Hoaa!)  We’ve got U.S. Navy Forces Korea.  (Hoaa!) We’ve got just about every Marine in South Korea here today.  (Oorah!) (Laughter.)  Happy birthday, Marines, by the way.  (Oorah!)  And we’ve got a whole lot of DOD civilians, too.  So we are very proud of you.  (Applause.)

It’s good to see some spouses and family members in the audience.  You bear the burden of your loved one’s service in ways that are often immeasurable –- an empty chair at the dinner table or another holiday where mom and dad are someplace far away.  So I want you to know that this nation recognizes the sacrifices of families, as well.  And we are grateful for your service, as well.

Now, on this day, we honor every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States of America.  We salute fallen heroes, and keep in our prayers those who are still in harm’s way -– like the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (Hoaa!)

We recall acts of uncommon bravery and selflessness.  But we also remember that honoring those who’ve served is about more than the words we say on Veterans Day or Memorial Day.  It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year.  It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home.  It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.

This has been one of my highest priorities since taking office.  It’s why I asked for one of the largest increases in the VA budget in the past 30 years.  It’s why we’ve dramatically increased funding for veterans’ health care.  It’s why we’re improving care for wounded warriors, especially those with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury.  It’s why we’re working to eliminate the backlog at the VA and reforming the entire process with electronic claims and medical records.  It’s why there are fewer homeless veterans on the streets than there were two years ago.  (Hoaa!)

That’s why there are nearly 400,000 veterans and their families who are going to college because of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.  (Hoaa!)  (Applause.)

So I want all of you to know when you come home your country is going to be there for you.  That is the commitment I make to you as Commander-in-Chief.  That is the sacred trust between the United States of America and all who defend its ideals.

It’s a trust that’s been forged in places far from our shores:  from the beaches of Europe to the jungles of Vietnam, from the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to the peninsula where we stand today.

View video below:

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New America Now: New Wave of Republicans and Obama’s Travels


Complete Show


MP3
Khalil Abdullah and Valeria Fernandez join us for Ethnic Media Watch this week, discussing the enormous amount of money in remittances that comes into the US from abroad and the African-American Republicans elected to office last week.
Stories discussed this week:
Newly Elected Black Republicans—Where Will They Fit?
Estados Unidos recibe cuantiosas remesas


MP3

Aziz Haniff of India Abroad talks with Sandip about Obama’s trip to India: why Obama went, what he hoped to accomplish, and what the Indian news is saying about his visit.
Related Reading:
Rediff scooped the Obama-UN story on Oct 15! – Rediff.com India News

MP3

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig discusses her play Lidless and how the generation after Guantanamo deals with the trauma of that experience. In a daring leap of imagination, we peer into the life of Alice, a former army interrogator, when she comes face to face with a man she interrogated.


MP3
Roxana Saberi chats with Sandip about her time held captive in Iran while she was a journalist reporting there and her book “Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran.” Roxana Saberi will be speaking Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto on November 15 at 7pm.


MP3

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