“In a world where already over half the population lives in urban areas, the human future is largely an urban future. We must get urbanization right, which means reducing greenhouse emissions, strengthening resilience, ensuring basic services such as water and sanitation and designing safe public streets and spaces for all to share.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
On the left is Karial slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka.
One billion people-one out of three urban dwellers-are living in slum conditions.
2014: Leading Urban Transformations
On 27 December 2013, the UN General Assembly (by resolution A/RES/68/239) decided to designate 31 October, beginning in 2014, as World Cities Day. The General Assembly invites States, the United Nations system, in particular UN-Habitat, relevant international organizations, civil society and all other relevant stakeholders to observe and raise awareness of the Day, and stresses that the costs of all activities that may arise from observing the Day should be met from voluntary contributions.
The General Assembly recognizes the significance of equitable and adequate access to urban basic services as a foundation for sustainable urbanization and therefore to overall social and economic development.
The United Nations encourages Governments and Habitat Agenda partners to use planned city extension methodologies to guide the sustainable development of cities experiencing rapid urban growth, in order to prevent slum proliferation, enhance access to urban basic services, support inclusive housing, enhance job opportunities and create a safe and healthy living environment.
Where, When, and How to See Mercury
The innermost planet is well known for its speedy motion around the Sun, but you can spot it early in November hovering over the eastern horizon before sunrise.
Tour November’s Sky: The Saga of Cassiopeia
As the evening sky wheels around in late autumn, a mythic drama plays out in the stars above. Taking center stage, almost directly overhead at nightfall, is Cassiopeia, the Queen.
A hate crime charge is being added to others filed against an Illinois man who was arrested last week after he allegedly targeted a synagogue with extensive vandalism and anti-Semitic graffiti.
John White, 40, of Westmont, Ill., is being held under $5 million bond in the DuPage County Jail. He is charged with a hate crime at a place of religious purposes; institutional vandalism; illegal possession of a firearm, criminal damage to property and illegal possession of marijuana.
White was arrested on Oct. 21 after police responded to a report of a man driving a vehicle recklessly, damaging landscaping on the grounds of Etz Chaim Synagogue in Lombard, Ill. Moments earlier, seven windows at the synagogue had been broken and graffiti was written on an exterior wall.
DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney Enza LaMonica told a judge on Friday that the suspect left a hatchet, a machete, an ax and a knife at the front entrance of the synagogue, the Chicago Tribune reported. Inside the suspect’s car, police found gun targets, rat poison, brass knuckles and a hateful note, the prosecutor told the court.
After White was arrested, police served a search warrant at his home in Westmont, Ill., where he lives with his mother. She told authorities her son, who as a record of drug arrests, has suffered from mental illness, the newspaper reported.
In the home, police located and seized “thousands of rounds of ammunition, and recovered a rifle, shotgun and four handguns.”
State Attorney Robert Berlin issued a statement calling the charges “extremely serious.”
“DuPage County is built on the strength of our communities, and an attack on a religious institution is considered an attack against the entire community,” the prosecutor said.
Rabbi Andrea Cosnowsky issued a statement saying Congregation Etz Chaim “condemns the recent act of vandalism on our congregational building and the apparent bigotry behind it.”
Other places of worship are offering support.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Sabet Siddiqui, a representative of Masjid-Ul-Haqq Mosque in Lombard, said: “We stand together with Congregation Etz Chaim with respect and condemn these acts of hatred and antagonism against any religion.”
Eileen Maggiore, a pastoral associate at Christ the King Church in Lombard, expressed sorrow of such hate crimes. “It’s a terrible shame that this still happens in our world. We are grateful no one was hurt and we stand in solidarity with our neighbors at Congregation Etz Chaim,” she said.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) works with organizations, governments and communities promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27 each year. Activities and events include:
Competitions, such as a logo contest, to promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
Local programs organized as a joint effort between national film archives, audiovisual societies, television or radio stations, and governments.
Panel discussions, conferences, and public talks on the importance of preserving important audiovisual documents.
Special film screenings.
Countries previously involved in observing the day included (but were not exclusive to) Canada, Denmark, Thailand, and the United States.
The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is a global observance and not a public holiday.
Many sound recordings, moving images and other audiovisual material are lost because of neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence. Organizations such as UNESCO felt that more audiovisual documents would be lost if stronger and concerted international action was not taken. A proposal to commemorate a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was approved at a UNESCO general conference in 2005. The first World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was held on October 27, 2007.
The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage aims to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken. It also focuses on acknowledging the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.
UNESCO’s logo features a drawing of a temple with the “UNESCO” acronym under the roof of the temple and on top of the temple’s foundation. Underneath the temple are the words “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. This logo is often used in promotional material for the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
Ali Mazrui, a scholar and prolific author who set off a tsunami of criticism in 1986 by writing and hosting “The Africans: A Triple Heritage,” a public television series that culminated in what seemed to be an endorsement of African nations’ acquiring nuclear weapons, died on Oct. 12 at his home in Vestal, N.Y. He was 81.
His family announced the death without specifying a cause.
Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, where Professor Mazrui was born, said at the time of his death that he was “a towering academician whose intellectual contributions played a major role in shaping African scholarship.”
His books and his hundreds of scholarly articles explored topics like African politics, international political culture, political Islam and globalization. He was for many years a professor at the University of Michigan, and since 1989 had held the Albert Schweitzer chair at Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Reflecting his habit of provocation, Professor Mazrui wrote an article in 2012, posted on Facebook, accusing Dr. Schweitzer, the revered medical missionary in pre-independence Gabon, of being “a benevolent racist.” He wrote that Dr. Schweitzer had called Africans “primitives” and “savages,” and had treated Africans in a hospital unit that was separate from, and less comfortable than, one for whites.
Professor Mazrui’s courage transcended ideas. When he was a political-science professor in Uganda in the early 1970s, the country’s brutal dictator, Idi Amin, invited him to be his chief adviser on international affairs — “his Kissinger,” Professor Mazrui told The New York Times in 1986. Instead, he publicly criticized Amin and fled Uganda.
“The Africans,” a nine-part series that was originally broadcast by the BBC and later shown on PBS, portrayed Africa as having been defined by the interplay of indigenous, Islamic and Western influences. Professor Mazrui had acquired the perspective by growing up speaking Swahili, practicing Islam and attending an English-speaking school in Mombasa, Kenya.
“My three worlds overlapped,” he said in the interview with The Times.
The series glorified the Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, saying he inspired Africans to have a sense of destiny and become actors on the world stage — a stance that set off storms of criticism. In the last episode, Professor Mazrui predicted a “final racial conflict” in South Africa that would end with whites’ shrinking from using nuclear weapons for fear of killing themselves and then being defeated in an armed struggle, ending apartheid. Victorious blacks, he said, would then inherit “the most advanced nuclear infrastructure on the continent,” and nuclear weapons would become a bargaining chip in a worldwide black-white struggle.
He told The Los Angeles Times that he was “uneasy” that the United States and the Soviet Union could start a nuclear war, without Africa having the same capability. “I want black Africa to have the bomb to frighten the system as a whole,” he said.
The National Endowment for the Humanities, which had contributed $600,000 toward the making of the series, was so upset with Professor Mazuri’s message that it removed its name from the credits. Lynne Cheney, the chairwoman of the endowment, called the series “worse than unbalanced,” noting that it included no interviews giving divergent views.
Professor Mazrui’s answer to Mrs. Cheney was that he had intended from the beginning to represent the views of one African — “a view from the inside,” he called it. “There are many parts that are anti-imperialist,” he told The New York Times. “Africa is concerned with past domination and afraid of redomination.”
Reviewing the series for The Times, John Corry called its scholarship “empty” and said it was “a vehicle solely for Mr. Mazrui’s feelings.”
But Clifford Terry, writing in The Chicago Tribune, suggested that this personal perspective was in fact a strength: “It is obvious, through it all, that here is a man who deeply cares about what he likes to call a ‘remarkable continent.’ ”
Tom Shales of The Washington Post applauded the shows’ abrasiveness. “The alternative,” he wrote, “would be an innocuous, safely ‘balanced’ documentary on Africa that made no ripples, provoked no discourse.”
Ali Al’Amin Mazrui was born on Feb. 24, 1933, in Mombasa. His father was an eminent Muslim scholar and the chief Islamic judge of Kenya.
As a boy he was not a good student and studied typing at a technical school. He stayed on at the school as a clerk and kept unsuccessfully applying to university, he said in a 2009 interview with The Observer, a Ugandan newspaper.
The Observer reported that the governor of Kenya had heard him give a speech on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and had been impressed. That led to a series of interviews and a scholarship to finish secondary school in England. He ended up earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Manchester, a master’s from Columbia in New York and, in 1966, a doctorate from Oxford.
The next year he published three books on African politics. In 1973, he began teaching at Makerere University in Uganda. When he fled Uganda, he went to the University of Michigan to teach political science. In addition to teaching at Binghamton, he held an at-large professorial appointment with Cornell and lectured at many schools around the world.
He was president of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists of North America and president of the African Studies Association of the United States. He advised the United Nations and the World Bank.
Professor Mazrui’s marriage to the former Molly Vickerman ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Pauline Uti; his sons, Jamal, Alamin, Kim, Farid and Harith; his daughter, Grace Egbo-Mazrui; three grandchildren; and a sister, Alya.
In editing “The Africans” for American television, Professor Mazrui deleted his description of Karl Marx as “the last of the great Jewish prophets” because producers feared it might be taken as anti-Semitic.
In Britain, where the line was used, he had worried that Marxists might be offended by the reference to Marx as a prophet.
“My life,” he once said, “is one long debate.”
Correction: October 24, 2014
An earlier version of this obituary referred incorrectly to the person who was impressed by a speech Mr. Mazrui gave on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, leading to new educational opportunities. It was the governor of Kenya, not the governor of the technical school where he was working as a clerk.SOURCE
Oscar de la Renta, the doyen of American fashion, whose career began in the 1950s in Franco’s Spain and sprawled across the better living rooms of Paris and New York, and who was the last survivor of that generation of bold, all-seeing tastemakers, died on Monday at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82.
His death was confirmed by his wife, Annette de la Renta. The cause was complications of cancer.
Though ill with cancer intermittently for close to eight years, Mr. de la Renta was resilient. During that period his business grew by 50 percent, to $150 million in sales, as his name became linked to celebrity events like the Oscars. Amy Adams, Sarah Jessica Parker and Penélope Cruz were among the actresses who wore his dresses.
Recently his biggest coup was to make the ivory tulle gown that Amal Alamuddin wore to wed George Clooney in Venice.
Determined to stay relevant, Mr. de la Renta achieved fame in two distinct realms: as a couturier to socialites — the so-called ladies-who-lunch, his bread and butter — and as a red-carpet king. He also dressed four American first ladies, but it was Hollywood glitz, rather than nice uptown clothes, that defined him for a new age and a new customer. Just as astutely, he embraced social media.
Many high-end designers had bigger businesses. Some were more original. But very few were fearless enough to adapt to a cultural shift. Mr. de la Renta did it twice in his career, the first time in 1980.
Normally he didn’t dwell on the subject of his legacy. In an interview in 2009, at his home in Punta Cana, in his native Dominican Republic, he said of fashion: “It’s never been heavy. Somebody might ask, ‘What is Oscar de la Renta?’ And you could say, ‘It’s a pretty dress.’”
Instead he preferred to joke, or talk about his vegetable garden in Kent, or dish the dirt. He rarely shied from controversy or calling someone out.
Three years ago, he chided Michelle Obama for wearing foreign labels. (He insisted that his comments were not made because she never wore his things. Eventually, this month, she did.) Once, in a speech, he offered to send three-way mirrors to certain editors who wore miniskirts.
But then, all his life Mr. de la Renta loved being where the action was — whether a gala, a dominoes table, or in his various homes entertaining talented and influential friends.
“He notices everything,” John Fairchild, the retired publisher of Women’s Wear Daily, said a few years ago. A telephone call from Mr. de la Renta might begin with a familiar bit of flirtation: “How are you, my darling? Tell me the gossip.”
In 1980 he and his first wife, a former editor named Françoise de Langlade, posed for the cover of The New York Times Magazine, with the headline “Living Well Is Still the Best Revenge.” By then, Mr. de la Renta had lived in New York for 17 years — less time than his rivals Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene.
The article, which described the stylish couple’s uninhibited social ascent — and the array of people who came to their “salons,” ranging from Norman Mailer to Henry Kissinger — was a kind of watershed moment. Fashionable people had long been part of the city’s social scene; that wasn’t news. But, as a point of contrast, when Truman Capote held his Black and White Dance in 1966, only a tiny fraction of the 540 guests were dress designers. They became more visible during the 1970s, but the Times Magazine article, by Francesca Stanfill, now put their money and status out in the open.
As Alexander Liberman, the editorial director of Condé Nast, said, “Designers have become the new tycoons.” Mr. de la Renta soon embarked on the next phase of his career: as a designer to first ladies, beginning with Nancy Reagan.
Though he never took his job lightly, he always gave the impression that his life mattered more. He had enormous zest, displayed in his fashion — the vibrant colors, the airy sleeves, the Turkish delight numbers that so appealed to his greatest champion, the editor Diana Vreeland.
But where he really revealed himself, his hospitable nature, was in the Dominican Republic, where he was regarded as an unofficial ambassador (he held a diplomatic passport anyway). He built two homes there. The first, in Casa de Campo, featured thatched roofs, rattan furniture and hammocks, and images of the de la Rentas’ informal gatherings often appeared in W in the 1970s.
The second home, in Punta Cana, though imposing in the Colonial style, with wide verandas (and its own chapel on the grounds), also had a relaxed feeling. Mr. de la Renta built the house with his second wife, the former Annette Engelhard Reed, whom he married in 1989, after the death of Francoise, from cancer, in 1983.
In addition to his wife, Mr. de la Renta is survived by a son, Moises; three sisters; three stepchildren; and nine step-grandchildren.
At holidays, the de la Rentas filled their house in Punta Cana with relatives and friends, notably Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, and the art historian John Richardson. The family dogs had the run of the compound, and Mr. de la Renta often sang spontaneously after dinner. First-time visitors, seeking him out in the late afternoon, were surprised to find him in the staff quarters, hellbent on winning at dominoes.
A man of the world, he was at ease everywhere — though he once said, “To me, home is wherever Annette is,” then added with a droll laugh, “She could be unbelievably happy without me.”
Oscar Aristedes de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo on July 22, 1932. The youngest of seven children and the only boy, he often recalled that he usually got what he wanted from his family. He finished high school in Santo Domingo, and although his father preferred that he join him in the insurance business, young Oscar persuaded his mother to send him to Madrid to study art.
At 19, he left for Spain on a passenger ship.
Besotted by postwar Madrid and his new freedom, Mr. de la Renta was soon spending more time in the cafes and nightclubs, meeting flamenco dancers, than in class. As well, he acquired a “señorito” wardrobe, he told the writer Sarah Mower, which consisted of custom-made suits from the tailor Luis Lopez, high starched collars and a carnation of deepest red in his buttonhole. The $125 his father sent each month paid for fancy clothes and in a sense his broader education afoot in Spain.
For extra money, he drew clothes for newspapers and fashion houses. He later admitted that his drawings were not technically accomplished or original. Nonetheless, some of his sketches were seen by Francesca Lodge, the wife of John Davis Lodge, then the United States ambassador to Spain. In 1956, she asked Mr. de la Renta to design a coming-out dress for her daughter Beatrice. The dress and the debutante appeared on the cover of Life that fall.
He was soon working in the Madrid salon of Cristobal Balenciaga, perhaps the greatest couturier of that period. Mr. de la Renta’s job was to sketch dresses to send to clients. But when he asked Mr. Balenciaga to transfer him to the main studio in Paris, the couturier told him he wasn’t qualified yet and to wait a year.
Spacecraft Observe Comet Siding Spring
Although flight controllers were worried that Mars-orbiting spacecraft might be harmed by the comet’s close approach, nothing happened – and unique scientific observations are now streaming back to Earth.
Dark Skies for 2014’s Orionid Meteor Shower
The Orionid shower is a long-lasting display of meteors that peaks about October 21st. With moonlight not a factor, an observer under clear dark skies might see an Orionid every 5 minutes in the hours before dawn.
This is somewhat remarkable, considering that Bakari is African-American. Rather than run away from Bundy’s reputation as a racist — well earned, after his widely publicized remarks about race in the immediate aftermath of Bundy’s showdown — the two of them went on the offensive, attacking his critics for their “political correctness,” which Bakari says is “bad for America.”
But none of it is as remarkable as the exchange between the two men, in which Bundy complains that “a man ought to be able to express himself without being called names”, and adds: “It’s almost like black folks think white folks owe them something.”
The ad opens with a clip of U.S. Attorney General Eric holder, commenting in 2009 on the state of race in America: “In things racial, we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”
The ad then segues to Bundy and Bakari in western cowboy garb with their horses at a hitching post, as spaghetti-western music plays in the background.
BUNDY: Did he just call me a coward?
BAKARI: No, he just called all white folks cowards.
BUNDY: He must not know me.
BAKARI: You mean if someone called you a racist, you wouldn’t drop your head and be all scared and sad and run around here apologizing like them billionaire ball team owners did a little while ago?
BUNDY: No, I wouldn’t, and I’m sick and tired of people that act like that.
BAKARI: Cliven, you know that political correctness, that’s bad for America. A man ought to be able to say whatever you want to say.
BUNDY: That’s exactly right. I know black folks have had a hard time with slavery and you know, the government was in on it. And the government’s in on it again. I worked my whole life without mistreating anybody. A man ought to be able to express himself without being called names.
BAKARI: I hear you, Cliven, I believe you. A brave white man like you might be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness in America today.
BUNDY: Don’t sell yourself short. You’re taking a chance just being in my company.
BAKARI: I know. I’m as sick as you are. I feel ashamed when I hear black folks whining about “white folks this,” “white folks that.” Always begging.
BUNDY: It’s almost like black folks think white folks owe them something.
BAKARI: I know, I’ve got an idea. Let’s call Eric Holder up.
BUNDY: What do you mean?
BAKARI: Tell him you’re a white man that’s not scared to talk to him about race. And you know a black man that will stand with you.
BUNDY: I like that idea. Mr. Eric Holder, this is one white man that’s not scared to talk about race. I dare you to come to Las Vegas and talk to us.
BAKARI: And don’t give us that “you’re too busy” stuff. You weren’t too busy to go to Ferguson, Missouri.
As the Washington Post notes, Bakari is a fringe candidate who has virtually no change of unseating the incumbent, Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, in Nevada’s 1st District.
“BUNDY: That’s exactly right. I know black folks have had a hard time with slavery and you know, the government was in on it. And the government’s in on it again. I worked my whole life without mistreating anybody. A man ought to be able to express himself without being called names.”
Newsflash, Bundy: it was not just the U.S. government that “was in on it”. So too were the White people of this nation who had not the guts, backbone, nor conscience to stand up against the wrongs perpetuated against Black people. No. They just went along with the program and racism is still with us.
“BAKARI: I know. I’m as sick as you are. I feel ashamed when I hear black folks whining about “white folks this,” “white folks that.” Always begging.”
Hey, when did this memo get passed out? It’s news to me. You mean all this time I have been working for what I have, earning a paycheck, paying city/county/state/federal taxes, and being a good citizen, I was supposed to have been “whining” and “begging”?
Damn, I guess I have a lot of time to make up for. It’s going to be exhausting whining and begging; gonna have to take more vitamins to build my strength up.
And to think that poor beautiful horse had to stand there and suffer through the indignity of these two antediluvian atavistic throw-backs to the Pre-Cambrian Epoch.
As for Uncle Ruckus…um, I meant Bakari;
….entertains the delusion that many people will vote him into office.
I find it very funny that Uncle Ruckus/Bakari is standing near the end of the horse—-especially when the horse raises his tail to drop some shit.
These two missed their true calling in life. They both gave out-of-this-world standup comic routines that George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, and Richard Pryor would have killed for.
Both of these creatures talked shit that had me rolling on the floor.
BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS · A BLOGSITE FOR THE PRAISING OF ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL AND SUBLIME IN HONOR OF ALL BLACK WOMEN. "ONLY THE BLACK WOMAN CAN SAY WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER, IN THE QUIET, UNDISPUTED DIGNITY OF MY WOMANHOOD, WITHOUT VIOLENCE AND WITHOUT SUING OR SPECIAL PATRONAGE, THEN AND THERE THE WHOLE. . .RACE ENTERS WITH ME." ANNA JULIA COOPER, 1892