Daily Archives: Apr 30, 2018

Frank B. Mesiah, who died Friday, April 27, 2018 at Buffalo General Medical Center at the age of 89, stepped to the forefront of the fight against racial discrimination in Buffalo after hearing a talk by Malcolm X in the early 1960s.

That wasn’t why he went to hear Malcolm X speak, though. As only the 13th African-American to wear a Buffalo police uniform, then-Officer Mesiah was assigned to go undercover to check out a speech by the Black Muslim leader on East Utica Street.

“It was like a whole new awareness, a real awakening to discrimination,” Mr. Mesiah told Buffalo News reporter Tom Buckham in 1986. “Malcolm helped me look at what was going on everywhere. … It was like you’re trying to put out all these fires, and suddenly you look up and see what’s causing them.”

Mr. Mesiah already had been facing up to racism for the better part of a decade, beginning with his challenge to blockbusting real estate agents in his Humboldt Parkway neighborhood. He squelched it by organizing a letter-writing campaign.

“White realtors would pull up to a house and knock on the door pretending they were looking for someone else,” he said in 1997 and an event honoring him for his community service upon his retirement. “Then they would tell them blacks are moving in down the street. They would panic whites to sell their house for less than it was worth.”

His next major battle – a protest of the location for the former Woodlawn Junior High School because it perpetuated racial separation – was unsuccessful, but it laid the groundwork for his biggest battle, the lawsuit that led to Judge John T. Curtin’s ruling to integrate the Buffalo schools.

Until then, Buffalo schools were little different from schools in the South, he told News reporter Robert McCarthy in 2016.

“Black kids went to one school and white kids to another school,” he said. “And there were no black teachers.”

He joined with other black and white residents to wage the campaign through the Citizens Council on Human Relations, which tackled a number of discrimination issues. In the beginning, he received bomb threats by phone and death threats to his family.

“What they did was give me energy,” he said in 1997. “To have that many people upset at me, I thrived on that. I figured I must be doing something.”

He went on to push for a downtown campus for Erie County College, to eliminate school dropouts, to open Buffalo police and firefighter positions to minorities, and to include African-Americans, women and other groups in planning the area’s economic future.

During the past year, Mr. Mesiah campaigned to make Buffalonians aware of President Millard Fillmore’s “role in maintaining slavery” by signing the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. Fillmore was from Western New York.

“He was a quiet leader, until he had something to say,” Buffalo Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen said Saturday. “That type of leadership will be missed. There’s not many people who can live through some of the most segregated times and yet not become bitter. But he just wanted the world, he wanted the country to be better, especially Western New York.”

Born in Buffalo, Mr. Mesiah grew up on the West Side, attended School 77 and graduated in 1946 from Grover Cleveland High School.

“It’s truly a great loss,” said former Common Council President George K. Arthur, who first knew Mr. Mesiah as a star football player at Grover Cleveland. “The community — not only the black community, but the Buffalo community at-large — has lost one of its real pillars.”

Mr. Mesiah’s first jobs were as a laborer at Bethlehem Steel and as a janitor and later a machine operator in the Chevrolet engine plant in the Town of Tonawanda.

He served in the Army, attaining the rank of sergeant first class, and became a Buffalo police patrolman in 1954, serving for 13 years.

While with the police, he attended Buffalo State Teachers College, earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1961 and a master’s degree in administration and supervision in 1969. He later studied for a doctorate in educational administration.

He became a sixth-grade teacher in the Buffalo schools before becoming media coordinator and assistant director of school integration. He also served as president of the Black Educators Association.

Mr. Mesiah went on to become an educational planner with Erie 1 BOCES and then took a position with the State Department of Labor, handling discrimination cases for 20 years. He was regional administrator of the Office of Affirmative Action Programs when he retired.

He also was a part-time instructor in the Sociology Department at Canisius College and the Cornell University Buffalo Labor Studies Program, teaching Managing Diversity, Sexual Harassment Prevention and other courses.

Mr. Mesiah advocated for the concerns of the black community from many platforms, most prominently as president of the Buffalo Branch NAACP, a post he held for 20 years before stepping down in 2016. He also served as vice president of the New York State NAACP.

In a statement Saturday, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “My prayers & condolences are with the family of Frank Mesiah, who served the community for more than two decades as President of the Buffalo NAACP. The positive impact he made on the city of Buffalo will never be forgotten.”

He hosted a biweekly hour-long radio show, “The NAACP Speaks,” on WUFO for many years and helped arrange a special appearance by renowned soprano Kathleen Battle with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1976, he challenged incumbent State Sen. Joseph A. Tauriello in the Democratic primary, losing by fewer than 1,500 votes.

Gov. Mario Cuomo named him to his Advisory Committee on Black Affairs in 1985. He was appointed to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, the city’s financial control board, in 2009.

He served as a member of the board of directors of the Greater Buffalo Development Foundation, vice chairman of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Corp., vice president of BUILD, secretary of the Black Leadership Forum, secretary of the Afro American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier and vice president of Everywomen’s Opportunity Center.

He was project director of the Black American Museum & Cultural Center in Niagara Falls and a board member of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Erie County Medical Center, the YMCA of Greater Buffalo, the Parkside Community Association, the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, the Buffalo FBI office’s Citizens Academy Foundation and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

Also a board member of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, he chaired the committee that mounted an exhibit on notable black aviators. He received the society’s Red Jacket Award for community service in 2002.

He also was honored with the NAACP Medgar Evers Award, the Evans-Young Urban League Award, SUNY Buffalo State’s Outstanding Alumni Award, the Erie County Bar Association’s Justice Award, the YMCA Greater Buffalo Award and the New York State Employees Brotherhood Award. He was a Buffalo News 1986 Citizen of the Year.

His portrait appears on the Freedom Wall at Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street.

Mr. Mesiah met his wife, Ulrica A. “Rica” Caldwell, a reading teacher in the Buffalo schools, by chance when she was attending Buffalo State. Needing a ride home from a picnic, she asked his sister for a lift. When the car arrived, Mr. Mesiah was behind the wheel. They were married in 1950. She died on Dec. 17.

Survivors include three daughters, Leza M., Nicolette F. and Francesca; and a brother, Clarence.

For his skill in street badminton, he earned the nickname “Champ” from the neighborhood kids, many of whom he would later help register to vote, said his daughter, Francesca.

“He always said that we’ve come a long way but there’s an awful lot of work still to be done,” she said. “He would recognize the accomplishments, but he always said ‘There’s still work to be done.'”

Funeral services were incomplete Saturday.

Rohaní manifiesta que su país no aceptará ninguna restricción más allá de sus compromisos firmados, y que la conducta de Washington es una “una violación explícita” del pacto

Por: EFE

El presidente iraní, Hasan Rohaní, advirtió a Estados Unidos (EU) que el pacto nuclear no es “negociable” y aseguró que Irán no aceptará ninguna restricción más allá de sus compromisos recogidos en ese acuerdo.

En una conversación telefónica con su homólogo francés, Emmanuel Macron, Rohaní subrayó que “el JCPOA (siglas en inglés del acuerdo nuclear) y cualquier otro tema bajo esta excusa no son de ninguna manera negociables”, según un comunicado de la Presidencia iraní.  “Hemos considerado una variedad de respuestas para cualquier decisión que EU tome el 12 de mayo”, dice la nota.

El presidente estadounidense, Donald Trump, anunciará el 12 de mayo si Washington abandona o no el JCPOA, firmado en 2015 entre Irán y el Grupo 5+1 (EU, Rusia, China, Francia, Reino Unido y Alemania).

Rohaní advirtió de que aunque EU decida permanecer en el JCPOA “mientras continúe con la forma en que ha estado funcionando en los últimos dos años, no será aceptable” para Irán.

En su opinión, la conducta actual de Washington implica “una violación explícita” del pacto y crea una incertidumbre y miedo a sanciones que dificulta las inversiones y los negocios de las empresas extranjeras en Irán.

Además, la semana pasada, Trump y Macron abrieron la puerta a negociar un nuevo pacto multilateral con Irán para bloquear la actividad nuclear de Teherán “a largo plazo” y limitar tanto su sistema de misiles balísticos como su influencia en la región.

Sobre el primer punto, Rohaní indicó que el futuro del JCPOA después de 2025 estará determinado por las regulaciones internacionales.

En cuanto a la situación regional, se limitó a decir que Irán siempre ha demostrado estar abierto a “negociar para garantizar la estabilidad y seguridad regional, en particular para combatir el terrorismo”.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as Kim leaves after a farewell ceremony at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean trust in North Korea has surged since last week’s feel-good summit at which their leaders declared an end to hostilities and to work towards denuclearization of the peninsula.

A survey taken on Friday, the day North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in, showed 64.7 percent believe the North will denuclearize and keep peace. Before the summit, only 14.7 percent of those polled said they did, research agency Realmeter said on Monday.

Many South Koreans were struck by the live TV images during the summit of a smiling and joking Kim. Never before had they seen a self-deprecating and witty side to him, admitting that his country’s train system was inferior and promising he wouldn’t wake up Moon any more with early morning missile launches.

Kim seemed markedly different from former North Korean leaders – his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung, people on the street in Seoul said on Monday.

“Denuclearizing is definitely possible,” said 41-year-old Kim Jin-han. The North Korean leader “talked about his country’s weaknesses, such as the infrastructure. He was very open about that. This is very different from the previous leaders. So I think he is ready to wholly give up nuclear weapons.”

Kim’s comments about bringing Pyongyang-style cold noodles to the summit banquet clearly captivated many in the South, prompting some to add his face to the photo of a popular app for a food delivery service, holding a bowl of noodles under his arm.

One social media post getting attention said that with a successful summit, South Korea should brace for an onslaught of North Korean beer as the first wave of “cultural aggression”. A parody showed a South Korean news announcer reporting that Kim complaining about watery South Korean beer compared to Taedonggang Beer featured in the background.

South Korea’s stock market got a boost on Monday, lifted by shares of construction companies and train and steel manufacturers on hopes for joint economic projects.

NEXT SUMMIT

A euphoric mood also enveloped the presidential Blue House on Monday as Moon was greeted by cheers and a standing ovation by scores of aides and staff.

“I am confident a new era of peace will unfold on the Korean peninsula,” Moon told his aides, asking them to quickly follow up on the agreements made in Friday’s declaration.

The two sides are technically still at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty.

Moon’s approval rating after the summit rose to 70 percent, Realmeter said, its highest since mid-January.

Moon also told aides that U.S. President Donald Trump deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end the standoff with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, a South Korean official said.

“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. What we need is only peace,” Moon told aides, according to a Blue House official who briefed the press.

In January, Moon had said Trump “deserves big credit” for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, saying it may have come from “U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”

Friday’s final declaration, however, leaves many questions unanswered, particularly what “denuclearization” means or how that will be achieved. Much hinges on Kim’s upcoming summit with Trump, who said it could happen in the next three to four weeks.

Any deal with the United States will require that North Korea demonstrate “irreversible” steps to shutting down its nuclear weapons program, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

A flurry of diplomacy is unfolding in the lead-up to that meeting, with China saying it will send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to North Korea on Wednesday and Thursday this week. China is the North’s main ally.

And over the weekend, South Korea’s spy chief visited Tokyo to brief Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

NO MORE SPEAKERS

In initial small steps towards reconciliation, South Korea said on Monday it would remove loudspeakers that blared propaganda across the border, while North Korea said it would shift its clocks to align with its southern neighbor.

South Korea turned off the loudspeakers that broadcast a mixture of news, Korean pop songs and criticism of the North Korean regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit. It will begin removing the speakers on Tuesday.

“We see this as the easiest first step to build military trust,” South Korean defense ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said. “We are expecting the North’s implementation.”

North Korea will shift its time zone 30 minutes earlier to align with South Korea, starting May 5, state media reported on Monday.

The KCNA dispatch said the decision came after Kim found it “a painful wrench” to see two clocks showing different times on a wall at the summit venue.

The northern time zone was created in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule after World War Two. South Korea and Japan are in the same time zone, nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Kim also told Moon during the summit he would soon invite experts and journalists from the United States and South Korea when the country dismantles its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, the Blue House said on Sunday.

North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests at the site, a series of tunnels dug into the mountains in the northeastern part of the country. Some experts and researchers have speculated that the most recent – and by far largest – blast in September had rendered the entire site unusable.

But Kim said there were two additional, larger tunnels that remain “in very good condition” beyond the existing one, which experts believe may have collapsed.

Additional reporting by Ju-min Park in SEOUL and Matthew Miller in BEIJING. Writing by Malcolm Foster. Editing by Lincoln Feast and Nick Macfie

ANKARA (Reuters) – Iran’s supreme leader on Monday hit out at the United States a day after new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh, accusing Washington of trying to stoke a “regional crisis” by provoking its ally Saudi Arabia to confront Tehran.

In remarks broadcast on state television, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated longstanding calls for the United States to “leave” the Middle East, which he called Iran’s home, and said any power seeking to challenge Iran would be defeated.

“One of the ways to confront Iran is to provoke inexperienced rulers of the region,” he said, in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Americans are trying to provoke Saudi Arabia against Tehran … Their aim is to create more regional crisis … to push Muslims to fight against Muslims.”

“If these governments gain more wisdom, they will not confront Iran. If they confront Iran, they will be defeated.”

Khamenei’s remarks were aired a day after Pompeo met Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on a flying visit to the region.

Pompeo said on Sunday that the United States was deeply concerned by Iran’s “destabilizing and malign activities” in the Middle East.

Appearing to address those remarks, Khamenei said Iran had no intention of limiting its influence in the Middle East.

“Americans are the ones who should leave … The Middle East, the west of Asia and the Persian Gulf is our home,” Khamenei said.

Tehran and Riyadh have long been locked in a proxy war, competing for regional supremacy from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon to Yemen. U.S. President Donald Trump has strongly backed Saudi Arabia in its efforts to counter Iran’s influence.

SANCTIONS RELIEF

Iranian state TV quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying Tehran would keep on backing its friends in the region despite U.S. pressure to curb its influence.

“The cooperation between America and Saudi Arabia will further destabilize the Middle East and will lead to more crisis in the region,” Qasemi said. “Pompeo’s remarks about Iran are baseless and repetitive … As long as the legitimate governments of the regional countries need our help, Iran will remain in those countries.”

In Riyadh, Pompeo reassured Saudi Arabia that the United States would exit Iran’s 2015 multinational nuclear deal, unless European signatories of the accord “fix” it.

Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to “fix the terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran.

Under Iran’s settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be put to developing atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

Khamenei has warned that Tehran would stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respected it, but would “shred” the deal if Washington pulled out.

Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union say Washington cannot unilaterally cancel an accord enshrined by a U.N. resolution. But they have called on Iran to curb its regional influence and ballistic missile program.

Trump accuses Iran of supporting terrorism and says the 2015 deal does not do enough to block its path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran says it does not seek nuclear arms, and blames Washington and its allies for stirring Middle East tension.

Iranian officials on Monday reiterated that Tehran had no intention of suspending its defensive missile capability.

“By accusing Iran, Americans want to justify their presence in Iran and to sell weapons to the regional countries,” Tasnim news agency quoted deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Hossein Salami as saying.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi, Editing by Alison Williams, Editing by William Maclean

SYDNEY (Reuters) – World stocks are set to notch up a positive month for the first time since January, as a slew of positive earnings from U.S. technology firms and marquee M&A deals help soothe memories of February tremors.

A seemingly successful Korean summit between the leaders of the North and South on Friday added the icing on the cake, pushing Asian bourses higher on Monday.

MSCI’s all-country index of global equities .MIWD00000PUS is up 1.3 percent for April ahead of another torrent of first quarter earnings, with Apple (AAPL.O) the standout report on Tuesday.

This after strong earnings reports from Facebook (FB.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) gave tech stocks across the world a shot in arm last week.

Reports of large M&A deals, led by T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint in the U.S. and the Sainsbury’s and ASDA merger in the UK, also kept global stock markets firmly in the spotlight.

“Large M&A news shows that confidence is there for making big deals. And while I would suggest not all of the recent deals are positive, the ASDA-Sainsbury’s one looks particularly good and the stock price reactions seems to bear that out,” said Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) shares shot up 20 percent at the open after the retailer agreed a 13.3 billion pound merger with Walmart’s ASDA, and the news shook up retail stocks in Europe.

Overall, the pan-continental STOXX index rose 0.1 percent while Germany’s DAX .GDAXI gained 0.3 percent, buoyed by investors’ improved risk appetite.

This after Asian shares extended gains on Monday as tensions in the Korean Peninsula eased and first-quarter earnings shone, although some investors were cautious about the outlook amid the backdrop of a simmering U.S.-China trade dispute.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed one percent, adding to a similar rise on Friday. The index is now poised for a modest rise this month after two consecutive losses.

South Korea’s KOSPI index .KS11 jumped 0.8 percent and is set to end April more than 2.5 percent higher following record profits from tech giant Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and after a successful inter-Korean summit.

On Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un agreed to end hostilities and work toward “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.

“The direction of travel is more positive that it was at the end of last year and geopolitics is now not the concern it was in the beginning of April,” said Hewson of CMC Markets.

“But the potential for trade wars would be the main issue for me going forward, that’s the clear and present danger and what effect it may have on oil prices,” he added.

Oil prices eased from recent highs with Brent crude futures LCOc1 off 94 cents at $73.70 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 lost 67 cents to $67.43.

The dollar meanwhile held steady just below its strongest level since mid-January against as basket of currencies .DXY as traders awaited U.S. consumer spending numbers to see whether the greenback can continue its recent run of gains.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also due to meet this week, and while no rate hike is expected, investors will look for clues on the future pace of hikes.

“There might be a tweak to the inflation language acknowledging the move towards two percent on year-on-year inflation rather than ‘have continued to run below two percent’”, Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said in a note.

The U.S. payroll number is also due Friday.

German inflation numbers are also set to be reported later on Monday, with investors expecting the continent’s largest economy to record consumer price rises of 1.6 percent.

The question is whether this will translate to a push for euro zone inflation towards the European Central Bank target of just below two percent.

Euro zone bond yields have remained well below the year’s highs. Germany’s 10-year government bond yield was up a basis point on Monday but still firmly below the 0.60 percent mark. DE10YT=RR

Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan, Editing by William Maclean

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