PORT OF Spain, Trinidad, Apr. 7, CMC - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 struck sections of the twin island republic late Monday. According to the Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine campus,...
jamaica-star.com | 4/7/20
James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018
Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.
Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996
James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle.
Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy.
Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.Right and wrong
Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read. He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.
As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.
In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.
After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.
In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.
The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.
In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.
Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."Brent Spar Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995
One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.
When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.
After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.
One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"
With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.
"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."Moruroa
After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.
Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived.
Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.“Moral courage”
Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."
He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised." He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."
He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them." Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle." An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."Well loved hero
Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."
Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.
In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.
In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.
Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.
Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.
feedproxy.google.com | 3/30/20
Netflix is seeing a spike in downloads in Italy and Spain due to millions of people living in self-isolation as the coronavirus spreads, according to new data shared by Sensor Tower on Monday.
In Italy, Netflix app downloads surged 57% over the past seven days compared to the week prior, according to Sensor Tower’s tracking of both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Spain has seen a 34% jump in Netflix app downloads in the last week, as well, the firm said. That means “Love Is Blind” and several other Netflix shows likely saw a European boost this past weekend.
These download figures represent mobile downloads only, and not Netflix viewing on devices like Apple TV and Roku. Of course, it’s understandable that with more people quarantined, more people will be looking to pass the time by watching TV shows and movies. This builds on research shared on Monday from Nielsen, which showed South Korea has seen a 21.4% spike in TV viewing compared to the same time last year.
The coronavirus outbreak has been especially painful for Italy, where the death toll on Monday surpassed 2,100 people. Altogether, there have been nearly 28,000 confirmed cases in Italy, mostly impacting northern cities, such as Milan and surrounding regions. Spain, meanwhile, has essentially been locked down for a two-week emergency period, with all schools, universities, restaurants, bars, hotels and non-essential retail stores closing.
Netflix charges €7.99-€15.99 — or about $9 to $18 — per month in Italy and Spain, depending on the subscription tier.
Sensor Tower did not have a week-to-week comparison for app downloads for Netflix or other streaming services like HBO Now and Hulu in the U.S. as of Monday morning, but expects to have data later this week.
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www.thewrap.com | 3/16/20
The Catalan economist, who teaches at St Andrews University, says she will resist extradition to Spain.
www.bbc.co.uk | 11/5/19
The nominees for this year’s Streamy Awards were announced Wednesday by Dick Clark Productions, Tubefilter and YouTube. David Dobrik leads the way with 11 nominations and murder-mystery reality web series “Escape the Night: Season 4” follows with five nominations.
Lil Nas X and Lizzo are both nominated for the first time.
The awards specifically celebrate the best in online video. This year’s ceremony, the ninth one, will be held Dec. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. It will stream live globally on YouTube.
“Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube, so we’re excited to celebrate and honor their creativity, diversity and hard work,” Jamie Byrne, director of creator partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement. “Together with the Streamys, we’ve expanded our award categories to even more regions around the world to bring fans some of the biggest and most unforgettable moments from the past year, all from the creators they love.”
See the full list of nominees below:
Show of the Year
Action or Sci-Fi
First Person presented by GoPro HERO8 Black
International: Asia Pacific
International: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
International: Latin America
Health and Wellness
Kids and Family
Science and Education
Visual and Special Effects
Company or Brand
Nonprofit or NGO
Branded Content: Series
Branded Content: Video
Social Good Campaign
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www.thewrap.com | 10/16/19
Last May, Cuba's Ministry of Communication (MINCOM) announced resolutions 98 and 99 limiting wireless transmission power and outdoor cables that made community networks like Havana's SNET, illegal. Since SNET was the world's largest community network that did not have Internet access, implementation of the resolutions was postponed for 60 days for negotiations between SNET administrators and MINCOM. The negotiations have ended with a decision to transfer SNET's services and content to ETECSA, Cuba's government-monopoly ISP, and to provide access through Cuba's nationwide chain of 611 Youth Computer Clubs (YCCs), as illustrated by the diagram shown here.
The new regulations authorize people to install WiFi equipment in their homes and businesses in order to access the YCCs, represented by the blue building, and public WiFi hotspots, represented by the sunny outdoor location. The diagram also shows cables running from the YCCs to larger buildings that may represent ETECSA data centers, wireless Internet points of presence, and homes with DSL connectivity.
The government says SNET "will grow with the increased infrastructure" of the YCCs and ETECSA and claims that the intent of Resolutions 98 and 99 is to expand Internet access, but many in the SNET community fear losing access to and control of the assets they have created. You can see their point of view by searching Twitter for the hashtags #YoSoySnet and #FuerzaSnet. The protesters (and I) have many questions about the takeover, like:
SNET was a Cuban success story — a user-owned and operated cooperative that developed infrastructure, applications, and content. SNET and the other Cuban community networks may have connected as many homes as ETECSA's home DSL service, Nauta Hogar. Cuba's community networks also developed human capital — experienced users and technicians who, in the long run, benefit both ETECSA and society.
Skeptics see this takeover as confiscation of community assets rather than an effort to better serve the public. Transparent answers to these and related questions could ease their concerns, and I hope ETECSA and the JCCs can deliver on their promises quickly.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 8/22/19
The new regulations establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks out of business.
New Cuban regulations regarding private WiFi networks went into effect yesterday, and the New York Times and others proclaimed that "Cuba expands Internet access to private homes and businesses." Yes, Cubans can legally import and install WiFi routers in their homes, small cafes, B&Bs, etc., but these regulations will make little difference in Internet access.
For a start, very few homes and small businesses in Cuba have links to the Internet. Furthermore, my guess is that most people in homes that are connected to the Internet have already installed registered or unregistered WiFi routers. (Resolution No. 65/2003 dated June 5, 2003, states the procedure for registering a private data network).
If that is the case, what do these new regulations change?
They establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks, the largest of which is SNET in Havana, out of business. Even if they are not enforced today, they will hang like the sword of Damocles over their heads.
That's the bad news. The good news is that the Ministry of Communication has postponed enforcement for 60 days while they negotiate with SNET.
SNET will remain up during 60 days of negotiation (source).
Why would the Cuban government want to eliminate community networks? Do they see them as economic competitors to the government Internet service provider, ETECSA? Is ETECSA embarrassed by the fact that community networks connect so many people at so little cost? Do they fear clandestine, anti-government communication? I really don't know.
Guifi.net the world's largest Internet-connected community networkIf Cuba aspires to what the International Telecommunication Union refers to as fourth-generation policy, which they characterize as "Integrated regulation — led by economic and social policy goals," they should regard the community networks as collaborators, not competitors. They should legitimatize SNET and the others, subsidize and work with them and provide them with Internet connectivity. SNET is the world's largest community network that is not connected to the Internet. Cuba should follow the lead set by Spain, where they have provided Internet connectivity to Guifi.net, the world's largest Internet-connected community network. Looking to the future, community networkers could play a valuable role in the installation of Cuba's 5G wireless infrastructure.
Cuba proudly proclaims (Trumpets) that they are working toward the computerization of society. The outcome of these negotiations with SNET will shed light on the veracity of that claim.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 7/31/19
Regions around Paris announce school closures as France and Spain expect heat above 40C.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/26/19
Cuba has legalized WiFi access to public Internet hotspots from nearby homes and small businesses, but SNET and other community networks remain illegal under the new regulations. Does this signify a significant policy change?
Soon after ETECSA began rolling out WiFi hotspots for Internet access, people began linking to them from homes and community street nets. These connections and importing the WiFi equipment they used were illegal, but generally tolerated as long as they remained apolitical and avoided pornography. Regulations passed last month legalized some of this activity in a bid to boost connectivity by allowing Internet access from homes and small private businesses like restaurants and vacation rentals that are located close enough to a hotspot to establish a WiFi connection.
The added convenience may generate more revenue for ETECSA, and it will give the Ministry of Communication some small fees and, more important, registration data on the local-area network operators. (If you license a connection, you have the power to rescind the license). It will also generate some additional network traffic, which may strain network capacity. There are two WiFi frequency bands — 2.4 and 5 GHz — and a friend told me that currently only the 2.4 GHz band is being used. The new regulations allow use of the 5 GHz band as well, which will add capacity from homes and businesses to the hotspots, but backhaul capacity from the hotspots to the Internet may become more of a bottleneck and exacerbate quality of service problems.
So much for small networks, but what, if anything, will be the impact of these regulations and their enforcement be on larger, community networks, the largest of which is Havana's SNET? The new regulations bar cables that cross streets and radio transmitter power over 100 mW. SNET uses cables and higher-powered transmitters, so, if these regulations were enforced, they would put SNET and smaller community networks out of business.
However, community networks have been illegal and tolerated since their inception, so it may be that they will continue to be ignored. If that is the case, the new regulations don't really change the status quo, but what if these new regulations foreshadow a policy change? What if ETECSA were willing to collaborate with community networks following the example of Guifi.net in Spain?
If that were the case, ETECSA could take steps like providing high-speed wireless or fiber Internet connections at the locations of the central SNET backbone "pillars" and allowing cables and faster wireless links to and within second-level networks that serve up to 200 users. They could also cooperate with SNET administrators in purchasing supplies and equipment and network management and they could do the same for smaller community networks outside of Havana.
So, which is it — a step backward with cracking down on SNET and other community networks, a slightly positive step adding locations from which one can access a WiFi hotspot, or a positive indication of a policy change and a step toward incorporating community networks into the recognized and supported Cuban Internet infrastructure?
We will know the answer when the new rules go into effect on July 29, but my guess is that it will be the middle choice, a slightly positive step. Cracking down on SNET would be disruptive — eliminating jobs and depriving thousands of users of services they value, and I don't think the government would want those problems. At the other extreme, full cooperation with community networks would mean ETECSA giving up control and the dilution of their bureaucratic and financial monopoly, which seems unlikely. That leaves "meh" — much ado about not much.
But, to end on a more upbeat note — a friend tells me that he has heard that SNET community representatives are talking with the government. Could ETECSA and the Communication Ministry have different views and, if so, who is in charge?
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 6/13/19
Art imitates life in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” which screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the iconic Spanish director reimagines life — his life — as a fantasia borne out of the cinematic vocabulary he’s created over the last four decades.
“Pain and Glory” suggests that Almodóvar’s films were based on the preoccupations that developed when he was a child, but then refracts the life that formed his art through the style of that art. If there’s a house-of-mirrors aspect to this, the trickiness is one of the least important aspects of this lovely, gentle reverie, which has already opened to largely positive reception in Spain.
Antonio Banderas plays a film director named Salvador Mallo, who happens to dress like Almodóvar and live in a house that looks just like Almodóvar’s house. He also has a little bit of Almodóvar’s trademark spiky hair, though it’s not as white or as poofy.
Banderas, who began his career in the early 1980s in a film by Almodóvar and has now appeared in eight of the director’s movies, told TheWrap that at times he found it difficult to wrap his head around what his old friend asked him to do in “Pain and Glory.”
“It’s very complicated,” Banderas said. “Even if he said, ‘It’s not me, it’s my alter ego’ — OK, but it’s in you. It’s not self-biography, but it’s self-fiction.”
Banderas said he never did an imitation, instead drawing from things about Almodóvar that he knew as a friend, notably the writer-director’s solitude. And Salvador Mallo is indeed a solitary figure – a man we first see submerged in a swimming pool, and a man lost in the pain that wracks his body and in the memories that flow through him.
Those memories, the subject of numerous flashbacks, include growing up Catholic with a strong mother (played by Penélope Cruz) and fainting at his sudden sexual awakening when the young Salvador (Asier Flores) sees a workman bathing nude. You can look at them as a CliffsNotes version of what formed Almodóvar — sorry, Mallo — as a director, but they are more essential than that.
Back in the present day, Mallo seeks out an actor, Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), with whom he had a falling out 32 years earlier — he wrote a role for a character he envisioned as a cocaine addict, the actor played him as a heroin addict instead and only now, on the eve of a cinematheque restoration of the film, does Mallo appreciate the performance. The reconnection leads to a theater piece written by Mallo and performed by Crespo, and also to Mallo’s flirtation with smoking heroin, still a regular ritual for Crespo.
The performance also leads to a reunion between Mallo and Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia), old lovers who share the tenderest reconciliation in a film built around a series of reconciliations.
Almodóvar has called “Pain and Glory” the third part of a trilogy that also includes 1987’s “Law of Desire” and 2004’s “Bad Education,” but devotees of the director’s work can find call-outs to much of the director’s filmography. And as always, the film’s look is impeccable; Almodóvar’s fascination with scarlet continues, but he finds a way to make even a doctor’s waiting room look vibrant and alive.
But you wouldn’t use those words to describe the main character. Banderas’ Mallo is weary and subdued, a man looking for peace and too tired to fight. It might be the quietest performance the actor has ever given, and quite possibly the most affecting; as a lion in winter, he makes every sigh matter.
And “Pain and Glory” is, clearly, a film of sighs. Just as the character seeks physical and mental healing, the film is one of the most meditative of Almodóvar’s career. He may have made his reputation with a string of transgressive, jarring and provocative films that helped upend Spanish cinema in the 1980s and ’90s, but with this film passion has given way to mature introspection.
It makes for less energetic and, yes, less exciting filmmaking. But “Pain and Glory” is a beautiful meditation on past and present, a memory piece that will nourish rather than provoke.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/17/19