IN REMEMBRANCE: 2-12-2017

BUCHI EMECHETA, NIGERIAN NOVELIST

Buchi Emecheta in 1985. Her books, she said, “are about survival, just like my own life.” Credit George Braziller Inc.

Buchi Emecheta, a British-based Nigerian writer who, in “Second-Class Citizen,” “The Joys of Motherhood” and other novels, gave voice to African women struggling to reconcile traditional roles with the demands of modernity, died on Jan. 25 at her home in London. She was 72.

The cause was dementia, her son Sylvester Onwordi wrote in the British magazine New Statesman.

Ms. Emecheta (pronounced BOO-chee em-EH-cheh-tah) came to the attention of British readers in the early 1970s when New Statesman began running her accounts of the travails of a young Nigerian woman in London. Adah, a thinly disguised version of the author, lived in a dreary apartment, worked menial jobs to support her young children and abusive husband, studied at night and weathered the slights meted out by a racist society. Buoyed by ambition and pluck, she remained undaunted.

“In the Ditch,” a novel based on those columns, appeared in 1972.

With the publication two years later of a second Adah novel, “Second-Class Citizen,” critics in Britain and the United States hailed the arrival of an important new African writer. Like her immediate predecessor Flora Nwapa, Ms. Emecheta revealed the thoughts and aspirations of her countrywomen, shaped by a patriarchal culture but stirred by the modern promise of freedom and self-definition.

“Scarcely any other African novelist has succeeded in probing the female mind and displaying the female personality with such precision,” the Sierra Leonean scholar Eustace Palmer wrote in African Literature Today in 1983.

In several novels set in Nigeria, including “The Bride Price” (1976), “The Slave Girl” (1977), “The Joys of Motherhood” (1979) and “Double Yoke” (1983), Ms. Emecheta dramatized, in often harrowing detail, the dire poverty and tight web of family obligations that thwarted aspiring women, their worth determined by the number of sons they could bear.

“Emecheta’s women do not simply lie down and die,” The Voice Literary Supplement wrote in 1982. “Always there is resistance, a challenge to fate, a need to renegotiate the terms of the uneasy peace that exists between them and accepted traditions.”

She was born Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta on July 21, 1944, in Yaba, near Lagos, to Jeremy Nwabudinke and Alice Okwuekwuhe. When she was 9, her father, a railway worker, died of complications of combat wounds he had suffered in Burma during World War II.

After being kept at home while her younger brother went to school, in accordance with tradition, Florence won a scholarship to Methodist Girls’ High School at 10. Her mother died a year later, and she was passed from one distant relative to another in Lagos while she attended school. One day she was beaten in front of her class when she announced that she wanted to be a writer.

It was a cherished dream, born when she visited the family’s ancestral village, Ibuza, and listened to a blind aunt telling stories about their people, the Ibo.

“I thought to myself, ‘No life could be more important than this,’” Ms. Emecheta told The Voice Literary Supplement. “So when people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I told them I wanted to be a storyteller — which is what I’m doing now.”

At 16 she married Sylvester Onwordi, a student to whom she had been engaged since she was 11. When he went to Britain to study accounting she followed, with their two children in tow. Three more children would follow in rapid succession.

Mr. Onwordi, a failure at school, took out his frustrations on his young wife, whose early attempts to write he regarded with suspicion. When asked to read the manuscript of her first novel, “The Bride Price,” he burned it. After painstaking reconstruction, it was published after her Adah novels.

Much to her husband’s astonishment, Ms. Emecheta left the marriage and, from 1965 to 1969, worked as a library officer at the British Museum. Aided by a government grant, she studied nights at the University of London while working as a youth counselor for the Inner London Education Authority. She received a sociology degree in 1972.

As her novels attracted critical attention, Ms. Emecheta began lecturing at universities in the United States. In Nigeria, she was a visiting professor of English at the University of Calabar in 1980 and 1981.

Ms. Emecheta said that editors had cut a large section of the book without her permission. It was based on research she had carried out surreptitiously after taking a job as a cleaning woman at Sandhurst, the royal military academy, for that purpose. She and her son Sylvester started their own press, the Ogwugwu Afor Publishing Company, whose first title was “Double Yoke,” in 1983.

That year she received a publicity coup when the literary journal Granta listed her among the 20 best young British novelists, placing her alongside such rising stars as Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie.

Ms. Emecheta took an experimental leap with the postcolonial fantasy “The Rape of Shavi” (1984), about an airplane carrying Western passengers that crashes in a mythical sub-Saharan country. Once repaired, the plane returns to Europe, carrying with it the king’s son. Disaster ensues.

With “Gwendolen” (1989), published in the United States as “The Family,” Ms. Emecheta returned to more familiar fictional territory, telling the story of a Jamaican girl sexually abused in Jamaica by her uncle and in England by her father, whose child she bears.

Through the female protagonist of “Kehinde” (1994) and the male protagonist of “The New Tribe,” Ms. Emecheta explored the predicament of Nigerians with their feet in two cultures.

“My books are about survival, just like my own life,” she told the Nigerian magazine The Voice in 1996.

Ms. Emecheta, who received the Order of the British Empire in 2005, wrote a memoir, “Head Above Water” (1986), and several books for children, including “Tich the Cat” (1979) and “The Moonlight Bride” (1981).

In addition to her son Sylvester, survivors include another son, Jake Onwordi, and a daughter, Alice Emecheta.

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AL JARREAU, SINGER WHO SPANNED JAZZ, POP, AND R&B WORLDS

Al Jarreau in 1986: “I try to be receptive and to be listening, and to not be afraid to try something new.” Credit David Corio

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who sold millions of records and won a string of Grammys for his work in pop and R&B as well as his first love, jazz, died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 76.

His death was announced by his manager, Joe Gordon, who said that Mr. Jarreau had been hospitalized for exhaustion two weeks ago. On the advice of his doctors, he had canceled his tour dates and retired from touring.

Mr. Jarreau did not begin a full-time musical career until he was nearly 30, but within a few years he had begun attracting notice for a vocal style that was both instantly appealing and highly unusual. Critics were particularly taken by his improvisational dexterity, in particular his virtuosic ability to produce an array of vocalizations ranging from delicious nonsense to clicks and growls to quasi-instrumental sounds.

Although he made his initial mark in the jazz world, Mr. Jarreau’s style, and his audience, crossed stylistic barriers. His music incorporated elements of pop, soul, gospel, Latin and other genres. It was a mark of his eclecticism that he won six Grammys across three different categories: jazz, pop and R&B. He was also among the performers on a Grammy-winning children’s album, “In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.”

If Mr. Jarreau’s highly accessible, intensely personal style defied easy classification, that very accessibility — and, perhaps, the mere fact of his considerable commercial success — left some jazz purists skeptical.

Mr. Jarreau performing last year at the 50th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Credit Anthony Anex/European Pressphoto Agency

Reviewing a concert by Mr. Jarreau at the Savoy in New York in 1981, Stephen Holden of The New York Times encapsulated what many saw as both the pros and the cons of Mr. Jarreau’s singular style:

“Al Jarreau may be the most technically gifted singer working in jazz-fusion today,” Mr. Holden wrote. Of the evening’s performance, however, he continued: “Mr. Jarreau’s concert lacked the emotional range of great jazz. He is such a prodigious talent that the absence of even the slightest blues inflections kept his music from cutting deeply.”

But critics’ reservations never deterred Mr. Jarreau, who prided himself, as he told The Los Angeles Times in 1986, on his “jazz attitude,” which he defined as “the idea of being open to each and every moment as a chance to create something different.”

Alwin Lopez Jarreau was born in Milwaukee on March 12, 1940, into a musical family. His father, a minister, was a fine singer; his mother played the piano in church. Young Al began singing at 4, harmonizing with his siblings. As a youth he sang in church, as well as with street-corner harmony groups and local jazz bands.

Mr. Jarreau earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin in 1962, and a master’s in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Iowa in 1964. Afterward he moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a rehabilitation counselor for people with disabilities.

But Mr. Jarreau found he could not resist the pull of jazz and before long was singing in local nightclubs. By the late ’60s, he had quit his day job and embarked on a nightclub career, first on the West Coast and eventually in New York.

He reached a national audience with the album “We Got By,” released by Warner Bros. in 1975 to critical praise and commercial success.

Though advertised as his debut, it was actually his second album. A decade earlier, Mr. Jarreau had quietly recorded an album, later released on the Bainbridge label under the title “1965.” Though Mr. Jarreau took legal action, without success, to block its belated release in 1982, it is esteemed by jazz connoisseurs today.

Appearances on “Saturday Night Live” and other television shows raised his profile, as did extensive touring. In 1981 he had his biggest hit with the song “We’re in This Love Together,” which reached No. 15 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

Al Jarreau – We’re In This Love Together (Official Video) Video by RHINO

He won his first Grammy in 1978, for best jazz vocal performance, for his album “Look to the Rainbow.” He won his last in 2007, for best traditional R&B vocal performance; the award was shared by Mr. Jarreau, George Benson and Jill Scott for their collaborative performance “God Bless the Child.”

In between, in 1982, Mr. Jarreau earned a Grammy for best pop vocal performance by a male artist for the title track of his album “Breakin’ Away.” That year, he also received the Grammy for best jazz vocal performance by a male artist, for his version of Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo à la Turk,” from the same album.

Among Mr. Jarreau’s best-known recordings was the theme song for the long-running television series “Moonlighting,” for which he wrote the lyrics to Lee Holdridge’s music. He appeared on Broadway as a replacement in the role of the Teen Angel in the 1994 revival of “Grease.”

Mr. Jarreau’s first marriage, to Phyllis Hall, ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Susan Player; a son, Ryan; two brothers, Marshall and Appie; and a sister, Rose Marie Freeman.

Mr. Jarreau canceled a number of concert dates in 2010 after experiencing heart and breathing problems during a European tour. He was hospitalized for 11 days but resumed his touring schedule after his release, and had continued to perform until recently.

Shortly after his 2010 hospitalization, he said in an interview that his health problems had not been as serious as reports suggested, but joked that he appreciated the attention they received in the media because it proved that he was a celebrity. “I figured,” he said, “‘Yeah, maybe I have arrived.’”

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE: FEBRUARY 11, 2017

 

 

“On this International Day, I urge commitment to end bias, greater investments in science, technology, engineering and math education for all women and girls as well as opportunities for their careers and longer-term professional advancement so that all can benefit from their ground-breaking future contributions.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Unfortunately, women and girls continued to be excluded from participating fully in science. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%.

In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 (draft A/70/474/Add.2) declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

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SKYWATCH; COMET MAKES CLOSE EARTH FLYBY, LUNAR ECLIPSE TONIGHT, AND MORE

LATEST NEWS

Best Evidence Yet for an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole

Sky & Telescope

An intermediate-mass black hole might be lurking within a dense stellar cluster – a discovery that could point toward how these oddities form.

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Two Pulsars Blowing in the Wind

Sky & Telescope

New images of two pulsars show beautiful, complex clouds of charged particles that illustrate the power dynamics in and around these spinning neutron stars.

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Juno Swoops Past Jupiter’s South Pole

Sky & Telescope

NASA’s Juno spacecraft continues to give us amazing views of Jupiter, now from its fourth perijove pass.

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Black Hole Feeds on Star for a Decade
Sky & Telescope
Unlucky stars serve as brilliant but short-lived snacks when they wander too close to supermassive black holes. But one such black hole is still gnawing on its stellar meal after a decade.

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OBSERVING HIGHLIGHTS

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, February 10 – 18
Sky & Telescope
The Moon wanes away from full this week, opening a window of dark-sky observing in the evening.

Look up…

Green Comet Makes Close Earth Flyby

Sky & Telescope

Green-glowing 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will make an unusually close pass by Earth on Saturday. Watch it boogie across the morning sky this week!

Grab your binos…

February’s Deep Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Sky & Telescope

North American observers can watch the Moon flirt with Earth’s shadow on the evening of February 10th.

Clear skies…

Tour February’s Sky: How To Find Monoceros
Sky & Telescope
Download our monthly astronomy podcast to spot Venus and Mars in the west – and a celestial unicorn hiding in plain sight among the stars.

Tune in…

Last Call for S&T’s 2017 Astronomy Tour in Chile

Sky & Telescope

Don’t miss the chance to see world-class observatories by day and the amazing southern sky by night during next month’s stargazing and astronomy tour in Chile.

Read more…

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COLORLINES: GROUNDHOG DAY: THE RACIALLY CHARGED SUPER BOWL FELT LIKE A RERUN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

How the Super Bowl Became a Battle for America’s Soul

The subtle—and not-so subtle—roles race, xenophobia and Islamophobia played in Super Bowl LI.

Shonda Rhimes is Turning Luvvie Ajayi Book Into a Comedy Series

Rhimes’ Shondaland production company acquired the rights to Ajayi’s book, “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” and will develop it as a scripted comedy for ABC Studios.

Army Files Court Papers to Greenlight Dakota Access Pipeline

“Trump and his administration will be held accountable in court,” said an attorney for the Standing Rock Sioux.

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Federal Court Judge in Michigan Dismisses Flint Residents’ Lawsuits

 

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HATEWATCH: HEADLINES FOR 2-9-2017

February 09, 2017

There’s a kind of underreported terrorism; ‘Bowling Green’ nearly was a real massacre; 39 white terrorists for Duffy; and more.

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Media Matters: One type of terrorism really is underreported – from the radical right.

Raw Story: Georgia white supremacist under FBI investigation after police find evidence of ricin in his car.

ProPublica: When the government really did fear a Bowling Green massacre – by a white supremacist.

Slate: Here’s a list of 39 white terrorists for the Wisconsin congressman who challenged CNN to name more than two.

Right Wing Watch: Donald Trump keeps promoting Alex Jones’ conspiracy theories.

Associated Press: Twitter broadens its campaign against hate and abuse by identifying key offenders.

Think Progress: Congress moves to restrict public input on planning for land use in the West.

KEYE-TV (Austin, TX): More and more Texans are digging their bomb shelters deep as they prepare for doomsday.

Courier-Journal (Louisville, TN): Heimbach’s plans for Traditionalist Worker Party gathering at state park create a stir.

CBS New York: Connecticut residents find ‘Make America White Again’ supremacist fliers in their neighborhoods.

Reuters: Idaho man pleads guilty in brutal beating death of gay man lured to remote location.

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO TOLERANCE FOR FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: FEBRUARY 6, 2017

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a United Nations (UN) campaign held on February 6 to stop genital mutilation to girls and women.

Many girls are unfortunately affected by female genital mutilation. This photo is used for illustrative purposes only and the model is not directly associated with the article.
©iStockphoto.com/MissHibiscus

Celebrate International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Various activities and events are held on February 6 each year to promote the UN’s campaign to raise awareness and educate people about the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Public conferences and forums often feature FGM survivors who are invited to share their personal experiences. Other activities include photo essays and round-table discussions on making policies and laws to end FGM.

Public Life

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is a global observance and not a public holiday.

About International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

About 120 to 140 million women have been subject to FGM and 3 million girls are at risk each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). FGM relates to all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. This practice is an abuse of human rights and causes serious health complications, including fatal bleeding.

The UN first officially commemorated the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation on February 6, 2003. It continues to fight against FGM through a range of activities in addition to the observance.

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Sat Feb 6 2010 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Sun Feb 6 2011 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Mon Feb 6 2012 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Wed Feb 6 2013 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Thu Feb 6 2014 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Fri Feb 6 2015 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Sat Feb 6 2016 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Mon Feb 6 2017 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Tue Feb 6 2018 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Wed Feb 6 2019 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance
Thu Feb 6 2020 International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation United Nations observance

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WORLD CANCER DAY: FEBRUARY 4, 2017

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is a global observance that helps raise people’s awareness of cancer and how to prevent, detect or treat it. This event is held on February 4 each year.

There are different symbols that help promote awareness of different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon symbolizes breast cancer awareness.
©iStockphoto.com/ rocksunderwater

What Do People Do?

People, businesses, governments and non-profit organizations work together on World Cancer Day to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, how to watch for it, treatments and preventative measures. Various activities and events include:

  • Television, radio, online and newspaper advertisements and articles that focus on the fight against cancer.
  • Nationwide campaigns targeted at parents to help them minimize the risk of cancer within their families.
  • Breakfasts, luncheons or dinners aimed at raising funds for cancer research or projects that help to fight cancer. Many of these events feature keynote speakers or video presentations.
  • Public information booths featuring information kits, fact sheets, booklets, posters and other items that promote the cancer awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and treatment.

Some countries use World Cancer Day to promote campaigns on various cancer issues, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and cancer in children. Much focus goes towards awareness and risk reduction.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the United Nations’ (UN) directing and coordinating health authority, works with organizations such as the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) on this day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer. Recurring themes over the years focus on preventing cancer and raising the quality of life for cancer patients.

Public Life

World Cancer Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, according to WHO, which estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. Low-income and medium-income countries are harder hit by cancer than the high-resource countries. It is essential to address the world’s growing cancer burden and to work on effective control measures.

World Cancer Day is part of the World Cancer Campaign, which responds to the Charter of Paris adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium on February 4, 2000. It called for a strong alliance between researchers, health-care professionals, patients, governments, industry partners and the media to fight cancer.

The Charter of Paris designated February 4 each year as World Cancer Day. UICC is responsible for coordinating World Cancer Day globally. It receives support from various partners and organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international bodies. UICC organized the first World Cancer Day in 2006.

Symbols

There are different symbols that are used to help promote the fight against different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon is a global symbol of breast cancer awareness, while the orange ribbon is associated with child cancer awareness. Another example is the daffodil, which the American Cancer Society sees as a symbol of hope that people share for a future where cancer is no longer a life-threaening disease.

2016-2018 Theme: ‘We can. I can’

World Cancer Day Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Thu Feb 4 2010 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Fri Feb 4 2011 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Sat Feb 4 2012 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Mon Feb 4 2013 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Tue Feb 4 2014 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Wed Feb 4 2015 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Thu Feb 4 2016 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Sat Feb 4 2017 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Sun Feb 4 2018 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Mon Feb 4 2019 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Tue Feb 4 2020 World Cancer Day United Nations observance

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