Discussion highlights conflict in Ukraine

first_imgThe Hesburgh Center for International Studies hosted the event “Dinner and Discussion: The Crisis in Ukraine,” a discussion that focused on Russia, Ukraine and the political and ideological motivations that encompassed them on Tuesday evening.The discussion was led by Russian scholar Alexander Martin and leading international relations scholar Dan Lindley, who are both fellows of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. The pair attempted to explain the historical, political and ideological relationship Russia has with Ukraine, Europe and NATO.Martin said while there are similarities between the crisis in Crimea and the Cold War, there exists a failure to understand the Russian political system.“Russia is not a dictatorship in the sense that you might assume,”  Martin said. “The Russian government is a political machine. It’s a system in which multiple groups have to work together, but that is dominated by a small number of people, particularly Vladimir Putin”.Martin said Russia’s political system is largely influenced by people who occupy positions in the military, police and other occupations relating to defense and security, which is influential in international relations.“The people who dominate the Russian political system are people whose careers have mostly been spent in what Russians call the ‘power ministry,’ [where the] people’s number one concern has been national security. That leads them to view international affairs in terms of threats,” he said.Russia’s history and ideological viewpoint is crucial to understanding the events in Crimea, Martin said, for Russia is not just a nation, but a multinational empire.”[Russia] is a state with a unique purpose and a unique destiny,” Martin said. “Russians see themselves as having a special role or mission that is reflected in Russian orthodoxy and Soviet socialism.”Lindley mainly discussed the relationship between Russia and NATO. NATO created part of the problematic relationship between the U.S and Russia, Lindley said, due to its role in the fall of the Soviet Union.“The U.S looks at events in Crimea and the Ukraine from two main perspectives: liberal internationalism and conservative primacy,” Lindley said.Lindley defined liberal internationalism as an ideology centered on spreading western values and democracy to other countries, while conservative primacy places more importance on America’s relative position of power in the world.  Both views support NATO expansion in countries bordering Russia, yet fail to understand the implications, he said.“Both are wrong and both are dangerous in their approach and explanations to what’s going on.” Lindley said. Tags: alexander martin, Cold War, Crimea, dan lindley, dinner and discussion, Hesburgh Center for International Studies, nanovic institute fellows, nato, power ministry, Russia, russian political system, the crisis in ukraine, Ukrainelast_img read more

Volunteer Lawyers Lend a Hand to Sandy Victims

first_imgBy John BurtonHAZLET – Cathy Keenan and her colleagues see lots of people seeking legal assistance for Super Storm Sandy matters. They know the storm was only the beginning of what has been an overwhelming period as clients look to address a variety issues.“I think this storm has been so devastating to people on so many levels. They have been fighting through so many battles and barriers along the way,” said Keenan about her work with Vol­unteer Lawyers for Justice, an organization that has been conducting legal clinics in Hudson and Monmouth counties and will be shortly holding them in Ocean as well.Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, a Newark-based not-for-profit law firm, has been holding clinics at Brookdale Community College’s North­ern Monmouth Higher Edu­cation Center, 1 Crown Plaza, Hazlet, every other Friday morning for the last few months.During those sessions, conducted by lawyers who donate their time and expertise, she and her colleagues have seen people who have had their homes destroyed or severely damaged from the October storm that ravaged the shore. They are seeing people coming for a variety of legal concerns.“The overwhelming issue is insurance-related problems,” said Keenan, who is the director of pro bono services.What she and other lawyers are hearing is that homeowners are saying insurance companies aren’t paying anywhere near what it will take to rebuild or repair and what is actually covered through homeowners and flood insurance, she said.There are people who are coming to the legal clinics who have had Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deny their claims. Others have landlord-tenant issues, such as difficulty getting back security deposits on apartments tenants were forced to vacate because of the storm and retrieving personal items left in apartments, she said.There are also some people who are complaining about what appears to be unscrupulous workmen or who simply have difficulty understanding contract language.On top of that, the clinic’s lawyers are seeing homeowners who find themselves continually at odds with mortgage companies, a situation that existed before the storm and is now at panic point. “Even before the storm they were to the point where foreclosure may have been close to being their future,” Keenan said, “and now that’s a reality.”As many clients as there are that come to the clinic, held 9 a.m. to noon (the next to be held on May 3), there are different stories and different problems to be addressed. Some of their concerns can be remedied with a lawyer review of insurance policies or FEMA application; others need more detailed legal work, which Volunteer Lawyers for Justice may be able to provide following a review of the potential client’s situation and finances.But the one constant she has found working with people who have had their lives turned upside down is: “Pretty much every single person who comes in has a compelling story,” Keenan said.Louis Ricciardi, a lawyer who works full time for Citigroup and lives in Monmouth County, has begun – with the support of his employer – offering his time to the clinic. “It’s been heart-wrenching to hear their stories,” he said.He spoke of one Ortley Beach man who told of seeing his home destroyed in the storm. The man seemed to be holding up pretty well while detailing the events, but then became emotional as the story unfolded. Ricciardi pulled his chair and sat next to the client offering a willing ear along with the legal advice.“I think it was helpful, not just from a legal standpoint but from a mental anguish standpoint to have someone to talk to,” Ricciardi said.“This is something I wanted to do,” to offer his help for those who live in the same area he lives. “This hit close to home,” said Ricciardi, a Morganville resident.“The vast number of people who are coming in are people who’ve lost everything – and in many cases could barely afford (their home) before the storm – and now have to negotiate their way through a very complicated insurance system,” said Keenan, a Freehold resident.“We have lawyers who are willing to help,” she said.Volunteer Lawyers for Justice has been operating for 13 years, primarily in Essex County, and more recently in the state’s northern counties. Since February it has branched out working with the New Jersey Bar Associ­ation to offer assistance to Sandy victims, through a toll-free hotline (855-301-2525) and through the clinics.Anyone needing additional legal assistance beyond what is offered at the clinic can apply with the organization, which will evaluate the clients’ finances and resources to determine eligibility.For Sandy victims, the organization’s board of trustees has broadened the eligibility to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. That means a family of four earning $71,000 a year, would qualify for assistance, Keenan said.“I would encourage people to err on the side of contacting us,” if they don’t think they will be eligible, Keenan said.“Anyone, regardless of their financial status can walk into the legal clinic and at least get a consultation, some advice and brief legal assistance.”last_img read more

KIJHL grows to 20 teams

first_imgThe Nelson Daily SportsThe Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is getting a little bigger.The league accepted bids by Chase and Summerland at the recent KIJHL meetings.Chase saw its franchise move to Rutland during the summer and applied to the league board for the opportunity to make a return for next season.Summerland also made a bid, but needs B.C. Hockey approval. Both teams will join the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference, bringing the number of teams to 10 and the league to 20.Also at Sunday’s meeting, League governors honoured Doug Birks by re-naming the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference, Shuswap Division to Okanagan/Shuswap Conference Doug Birks Division. Doug Birks passed away this past summer. His death was a major loss to his family, his friends, and the Sicamous hockey community. Birks was a founding member of the Sicamous Eagles Junior Hockey Club along with Wayne March in 1994, and was very proud of the young men who played for the Eagles and went on to become great ambassadors for the community of Sicamous, not only in hockey, but in life.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more