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Name: Kathy Hinsman
Gender: Female
Hometown: Pittsburgh PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Pittsburgh
Member since: Sat Feb 18, 2017, 02:16 PM
Number of posts: 24,184

Journal Archives

Corsa Coal exec charged in Egyptian bribery scheme

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2022/03/31/western-pennsylvania-coal-company-exec-charged-in-egyptian-bribery-scheme/stories/202203310119

A former top executive of a Western Pennsylvania coal company was arrested today as part of an FBI bribery investigation involving millions in bribes paid to Egyptian government officials to secure and maintain $143 million in coal shipment contracts. The investigation had previously yielded a guilty plea from another coal company executive who is awaiting sentencing in Pittsburgh.

Charles Hunter Hobson, 46, former vice president of Washington County-based Corsa Coal Corp., was charged in Pittsburgh with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, laundering money and receiving kickbacks following an investigation by the FBI in Washington, D.C.

Prosecutors said Mr. Hobson, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., received kickbacks as part of a scheme to bribe Egyptian officials in connection with contracts with an Egyptian state-owned company, Al Nasr Company for Coke and Chemicals.

A grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted Mr. Hobson under seal on Tuesday. The case was unsealed today after his arrest. He was due to make an initial appearance in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

- more at link -

"The case is being prosecuted by Justice Department trial lawyers along with Eric Olshan, an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh."

Are ANY of the coal companies clean? I doubt it.

Pres. Zelenskyy placed a phone call yesterday

(found on Reddit)

Ukraine-based employees of Pittsburgh nonprofit go from making music to giving aid

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/world/2022/03/28/music-in-world-cultures-pittsburgh-nonprofit-ukraine-russia-invasion-dnipro/stories/202203250101

Photo caption: Valentin Dunduchenko, left, a camp counselor at Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Music in World Cultures' Ukraine summer camps, leads a worship service at his church in Dnipro, Ukraine, on March 22. Refugees from Ukraine have taken shelter at the Dnipro church where Mr. Dunduchenko once taught children to play music. (Music in World Cultures)

Valentin Dunduchenko returned to his church in Dnipro, a city in eastern Ukraine, to find that most of his fellow musicians had fled. Other than a piano player, the church where Mr. Dunduchenko once taught children to sing and play guitar was now filled entirely by refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

Music and faith are central to Mr. Dunduchenko, who works in Ukraine on behalf of Music in World Cultures, a Pittsburgh-based organization. In recent weeks, the group led by Duquesne University professor Steve Benham has seen its employees in the country transform.

Once music-makers and summer camp counselors, Mr. Dunduchenko and other MIWC associates are now delivering food and sheltering refugees, having made the tough decision to remain in the country while rallying behind their fellow citizens.

Mr. Dunduchenko is a native Ukrainian who speaks Russian and talked with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette through a translator, MIWC affiliate Oxana Mudrenok. Raised as an orphan near Kyiv, Mr. Dunduchenko has loved music since he was young. For the past four years, Mr. Dunduchenko has taught children to play instruments at summer camps organized by MIWC and at the Dnipro church.

- MUCH more at link -

The Pittsburgh connection is the nonprofit organization Music in World Cultures funded through Duquesne University for international music education, and their outreach to Ukraine. They are now helping refugees of the war, and it appears that some of the children are orphans. It's a fascinating story and there's way more than I can put into this post.

Is anyone watching the Oscars show tonight?

I have it on, but I'll admit I'm not paying much attention. One thing I've noticed is they are WAY overdoing the racial diversity thing this year. I think they're still embarrassed over the "Oscars too white" show a few years ago.

2022 BAFTA Winners - full list

BAFTA stands for British Academy of Film and Television Arts. They issue annual awards similar to the Oscars or Critics' Choice Awards, however some (not all) of their categories are restricted to British citizens.

So here's their list of winners for 2022, based on last night's awards program:

Best Film
"Don't Look Up"
"Licorice Pizza"
* "The Power of the Dog" *WINNER

Outstanding British Film
"After Love"
"Ali & Ava"
* "Belfast" *WINNER
"Boiling Point"
"Everybody's Talking About Jamie"
"House of Gucci"
"Last Night in Soho"
"No Time to Die"

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
"After Love" -- Aleem Khan (Writer/Director)
"Boiling Point" -- James Cummings (Writer), Hester Ruoff (Producer)
* "The Harder They Fall" -- Jeymes Samuel (Writer/director) *also written by Boaz Yakin *WINNER
"Keyboard Fantasies" -- Posy Dixon (Writer/Director), Liv Proctor (Producer)
"Passing" -- Rebecca Hall (Writer/Director)

Film Not in the English Language
* "Drive My Car" *WINNER
"The Hand of God"
"Parallel Mothers"
"Petite Maman"
"The Worst Person in the World"

"Becoming Cousteau"
"The Rescue"
* "Summer of Soul" *WINNER

Animated Film
* "Encanto" *WINNER
"The Mitchells Vs the Machines"

"After Love" -- Aleem Khan
"Drive My Car" -- Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
"Happening" -- Audrey Diwan
"Licorice Pizza" -- Paul Thomas Anderson
* "The Power of the Dog" -- Jane Campion *WINNER
"Titane" -- Julia Ducournau

Original Screenplay
"Being the Ricardos"
"Don't Look Up"
"King Richard"
* "Licorice Pizza" *WINNER

Adapted Screenplay
"Drive My Car"
"The Lost Daughter"
"The Power of the Dog"

Leading Actress
Lady Gaga -- "House of Gucci"
Alana Haim -- "Licorice Pizza"
Emilia Jones -- "Coda"
Renate Reinsve -- "The Worst Person in the World"
* Joanna Scanlan -- "After Love" *WINNER
Tessa Thompson -- "Passing"

Leading Actor
Adeel Akhtar -- "Ali & Ava"
Mahershala Ali -- "Swan Song"
Benedict Cumberbatch -- "The Power of the Dog"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "Don't Look Up"
Stephen Graham -- "Boiling Point"
* Will Smith -- "King Richard" *WINNER

Supporting Actress
Caitríona Balfe -- "Belfast"
Jessie Buckley -- "The Lost Daughter"
* Ariana Debose -- "West Side Story" *WINNER
Ann Dowd -- "Mass"
Aunjanue Ellis -- "King Richard"
Ruth Negga -- "Passing"

Supporting Actor
Mike Faist -- "West Side Story"
Ciarán Hinds -- "Belfast"
* Troy Kotsur -- "Coda" *WINNER
Woody Norman -- "C'mon C'mon"
Jesse Plemons -- "The Power of the Dog"
Kodi Smit-McPhee -- "The Power of the Dog"

Original Score
"Being the Ricardos"
"Don't Look Up"
* "Dune" *WINNER
"The French Dispatch"
"The Power of the Dog"

"Boiling Point"
"The Hand of God"
"King Richard"
* "West Side Story" *WINNER

* "Dune" *WINNER
"Nightmare Alley"
"No Time to Die"
"The Power of the Dog"
"The Tragedy of Macbeth"

* "No Time to Die" *WINNER
"Licorice Pizza"
"Summer of Soul"

Production Design
* "Dune" *WINNER
"The French Dispatch"
"Nightmare Alley"
"West Side Story"

Costume Design
* "Cruella" *WINNER
"The French Dispatch"
"Nightmare Alley"

Make Up & Hair
* "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" *WINNER
"House of Gucci"

* "Dune" *WINNER
"Last Night in Soho"
"No Time to Die"
"A Quiet Place Part II"
"West Side Story"

Special Visual Effects
* "Dune" *WINNER
"Free Guy"
"Ghostbusters: Afterlife"
"The Matrix Resurrections"
"No Time to Die"

British Short Animation
"Affairs of the Art"
* "Do Not Feed the Pigeons" *WINNER
"Night of the Living Dread"

British Short Film
* "The Black Cop" *WINNER
"The Palace"
"Three Meetings of the Extraordinary Committee"

EE Rising Star Award (Voted for by the Public)
Ariana Debose
Harris Dickinson
* Lashana Lynch *WINNER
Millicent Simmonds
Kodi Smit-McPhee

I wish I could karaoke this good


(It's not available for streaming unfortunately. Checked for viruses, this is SAFE to download!)

Gov. Wolf to fleeing Ukrainians: 'You are safe and welcome here'

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2022/03/07/ukrainian-refugees-pennsylvania-governor-tom-wolf-pa-refugee-funding-support-russia-ukraine-war/stories/202203070094

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf wants displaced Ukrainians to know Pennsylvania stands ready to welcome them.

He said the commonwealth will help those fleeing Ukraine find safety here. He also is asking the General Assembly to provide $2 million to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to help support Ukrainians displaced by the conflict with Russia.

“That funding would allow us to support community-based resettlement agencies across the commonwealth as they provide services to Ukrainian refugees, providing faster and more flexible ways to get services to the people who need them,” Mr. Wolf said at a Capitol news conference on Monday where the American, Pennsylvanian and Ukrainian flags were on display.

“Ukrainian people need our help and they need it now,” Mr. Wolf said. “It’s incumbent on all of us to step up, work together to provide the support they need.”

- more at link -

Hopefully the Ukrainian refugees are here only temporarily, until it's safe to return to their native land. But Gov. Wolf wants them to feel welcome while they are here. The Governor pledges that Pennsylvania will help with legal and resettlement issues, language familiarity, temporary funding (since persons with 6-month visas are not permitted to take employment), and other issues.

There are lively communities of permanent Ukrainian immigrants living in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and other PA cities. Ukrainian churches are already reaching out with fund-raising activities to benefit the refugees.

Remembering March 16, 2020

Where were you when the lockdown was announced? I was on an Amtrak train, on my way home to Pittsburgh from a weekend in New York City.

Ukrainian refugees expected to come to Pittsburgh, despite backlog, local agencies say

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/03/06/immigrants-ukraine-immigration-jewish-family-and-community-services/stories/202203030159

Natalya Shisman remembers the image of her mother, a respected engineer in Ukraine, sleeping on a park bench in Italy. The woman who held multiple degrees and lived in the northeastern city of Kharkiv was now homeless, negotiating with street criminals for protection throughout the night. In a nearby church, her two daughters slept safely.

Ms. Shishman, 38, recalls little else from 1989, the year the Soviet Union dissolved and the concept of home became elusive. Months of traversing across European borders would, by way of a refugee resettlement agency, lead to relocation in Pittsburgh.

As a reported 1 million Ukrainians are now fleeing the country as a result of the Russian invasion that began last month, some lawmakers and the public are calling for the United States to take in refugees from the crisis. Like the Shishmans decades ago, Ukrainians could again find a home in Western Pennsylvania.

Immigration experts say it could be months before decisions by the U.S. government make the process a viable option for those fleeing the war. Still, refugee resettlement agencies in Pittsburgh are readying for the possibility. One such agency, Jewish Family and Community Services, employs Ms. Shishman as an immigration services worker.

“I know for a fact there’s millions of people trying to come, and more,” Ms. Shishman said last week. “There’s equally as many trying to help bring those people here.”

On Thursday, JFCS announced it would commit to resettling Ukrainians, although legal options for that process are still being considered. Right now, visas are available for those with family members already living in the United States or for those who had applied before the war broke out.

- more at link -

Pittsburgh has a rich history of immigrants coming from Central and Eastern Europe. Many come here because they are sponsored by relatives who are already here. However many more come because their passage and legal issues are being managed by volunteer agencies such as Jewish Family and Community Services. Pittsburgh welcomes Ukrainians with open arms!

Editorial: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission needs a light to be shined on it

(link) https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2022/03/03/Shine-a-light-on-Turnpike-Commission/stories/202202260033

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 3, 2022

It’s time for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to stop operating in the dark.

In June 2020, the commission voted to lay off nearly 500 toll collectors with no public debate, angering the state legislature. Last year, also without public discussion, commissioners approved more than $430 million in credit and spending agreements in a meeting that lasted less than 15 minutes and increased tolls for the 14th year straight. Pennsylvania’s Turnpike Commission operates in virtual secrecy while leading the nation in costs for drivers.

State Rep. Anthony M. DeLuca has announced plans to introduce much-needed legislation requiring it to submit annual reports to the General Assembly, detailing money collected, as well as the amount of uncollected tolls. The plan follows news of a staggering $104 million in uncollected funds from June 2020 to May 2021.

DeLuca’s bill would take an overdue step toward better oversight; legislators should pass it quickly, ideally with bipartisan support.

In response, the Turnpike Commission argues, weakly, that the lost revenue represents only 7% of the revenue it should have collected — $1.2 billion — which falls well within industry standards. The commission also notes it already is seeking remedies and ways to crack down on drivers who refuse to pay tolls, mostly Toll-By-Plate drivers who ignore the bills they receive in the mail.

- more at link -

PA drivers get taken to the cleaners, while many out-of-state drivers pay nothing on our toll roads.

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