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National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in US: Adventurer Mikah Meyer Opts for Historic Cross-Country Trek in America

Mikah Meyer has recently wrapped up visits to three national parks, a historic battlefield, a peace memorial and a U.S. presidential home with a famous front porch

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The formal declaration of war against "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dependencies thereof," signed by President James Madison on June 19, 1812. VOA

Sept 19, 2016: In celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary this year, adventurer Mikah Meyer is travelling across America with the goal of visiting every one of the more than 400 sites within its jurisdiction.

The young traveller set out from Washington, D.C., in June and has already experienced dozens of sites. And VOA has been following him every step of the way.

He recently wrapped up visits to three national parks… a historic battlefield, a peace memorial and a U.S. presidential home with a famous front porch. All three sites, connected by history, gave Mikah a rare window into America during the 1800s.

The War of 1812 – a short history

In a military conflict that is often referred to as America’s second war of independence against the British, there were no declared winners. But despite humiliating losses for the U.S., especially when the British captured and set fire to much of Washington, including the U.S. Capitol building and the White House, the Americans at the time believed they won the war… and with good reason.

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They had successfully defended their sovereignty against British aggression, British capture of American seamen and British incitement and support of Native American attacks on U.S. citizens along the Northwest frontier. The Royal British navy was shocked by a number defeats at sea in ship-to-ship battles with American frigates.

And the British suffered humiliating losses in the battle of New Orleans, where its army experienced one of its worst defeats in history – at the hands of mostly untrained American volunteers which included blacks and Native Americans.

The war also secured American’s westward expansion – something Britain and Spain were desperately trying to stop.

Ultimately Britain, the world’s foremost military superpower, was forced to settle for a negotiated peace without any territorial concessions. The two sides eventually wound down the war with the signing of a peace treaty in Ghent, Belgium, on December 24, 1814.

Native American defeat

The biggest losers of the war of 1812 were Native Americans, who had aligned themselves with the British to defend their territories.

During the two-year and eight-month-long conflict, they lost their revered Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, who had formed a confederation of tribes to block American expansion into their territories.

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They also lost the sovereignty of their lands in the “Old Northwest” – territory that included the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and the northeastern part of Minnesota.

During the War of 1812, Native American tribes lost sovereignty of their lands across the “Old Northwest,” eventually leading to removals of Indian communities to reservations west of the Mississippi. VOA

The River Raisin National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan, commemorates a series of battles that took place there in the winter of 2013 when it was known as Frenchtown, Michigan.

From January 18–23, the north bank of the River Raisin became a battleground where the Americans and the British fought for control of Michigan and the Lower Great Lakes, and – some say – for the future of Frenchtown, Canada, and Tecumseh’s alliance of Native American tribes. The battles ended with a decisive victory for the British and the indigenous tribes. It took about nine months for U.S. forces to regain their momentum.

Encompassing about 30 hectares (76 acres), River Raisin is one of four national battlefield parks within the national park system and the only one that focuses on the War of 1812.

Atrocities committed on all sides

Mikah said his main takeaway from his experience there was how openly and fairly the National Park Service has handled a battle site where “all sides committed atrocities, including the United States.”

“Usually we talk about ourselves only as the good guys and everything we did was as heroes,” he said. “But they really acknowledge that every side did some really nasty things to each other and they want to make sure that they are telling all those sides of stories.”

To make his point, he gave the example of a painting on display there that depicts Native Americans scalping Americans, which he described as “propaganda by the U.S.”

An 1813 painting by John Blake White that many believe was used as a propaganda tool. The well-regarded artist painted many works depicting military scenes from the War of 1812. VOA

“It was Native Americans scalping Americans but they were holding knives and whisky that was labelled with labels from Britain, so the idea was to try to incite the rest of America into being angry at the British because the British had enlisted the natives to fight for them.”

Mikah got a tour from a park ranger, who told him he had to be careful about his description of the park’s history, “depending on who is visiting – if it’s a native person, if it’s a Canadian or Brit, [Canada was part of the British colony then] or if it’s somebody from the U.S. – because people can get really offended.”

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, so it depends on who’s hearing the story,” the ranger added.

“Remember the Raisin!” became a popular rallying cry during the War of 1812 after the battles in River Raisin. The aftermath of the forced removal of Native Americans from the Northwest Territory at the conclusion of the war continues to influence the United States today.

Battle of Lake Erie

A major turning point in the war came on September 10, 1813, when U.S. Captain Oliver Hazard Perry led a fleet of nine American ships to a victorious battle over six British warships on Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio.

It is considered one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

By winning control of the lake, the Americans were able to cut off British forces, and their Native American allies, from their supply base. It also allowed the Americans to gain control of the Northwest Territory, recover the city of Detroit, which had fallen into British hands, and kill Tecumseh.

This 1865 painting Perry’s Victory on Lake Erie by artist William Henry Powell depicts the moment when Captain Oliver Hazard Perry made his way from the destroyed battleship Lawrence to the Niagara. It inspired the phrase “Don’t give up the ship.” VOA

Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes referred to as the Battle of Put-in-Bay.

Mikah pointed out that the focus of the historic site is not to commemorate the battle itself, but “to celebrate the long-lasting peace among Britain, Canada and the U.S. that still endures,” and also the world’s longest undefended border, about 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles).

“The whole town – and all around the island – they have American flags and British flags, local flags and peace flags,” he said. “So I think as a community, they’ve really taken on this idea of representing this peace that has been lasting since the Treaty of Ghent.”

“Don’t give up the ship”

During his visit to the Peace Memorial, Mikah noticed the recurring phrase “Don’t give up the ship!” posted in various forms throughout the town of Put-in-Bay.

“That was their battle cry,” he explained. “Because the U.S. had nine ships and the British had six – the U.S. lost their flagship right away – the Lawrence – and then ended up transferring the flag over to the Niagara to finish the battle and basically it was this idea of don’t lose this battle.”

A fitting symbol

The park’s centerpiece, a Doric column rising 107 meters (352 feet) over Lake Erie, stands about eight kilometers (five miles) from the U.S.-Canadian border.

A bird’s eye view of the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. VOA

The pillar “is the tallest open-air observation deck in the entire national park system,” Mikah noted, “even taller than the Statue of Liberty.”

It is a fitting tribute, Mikah observed, “that at the base of that peace memorial there are three American sailors and three British sailors buried together in the crypt.”

A two-hour drive along the lakeshore from Put-in-Bay is Mentor, Ohio, home of James Abram Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, who served from March 4, 1881, until his assassination later that year.

His home, at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, stands on what remains of the President’s 65-hectare (160-acre) farm, which includes a Visitor Center in a restored carriage barn built in 1894, a windmill and other buildings.

80 percent of the artifacts and items inside President James Abram Garfield’s home are original. VOA

The most interesting part of Mikah’s visit was learning how hard the National Park Service worked to make the interior appear as it would have when the president actually lived there.

Mikah said there had been many changes made to it both during and after Garfield’s life, and he thought the park service did a “fantastic” job of recreating the rooms to their original state.

“So from that perspective, it was the best-maintained and the best-preserved house site that I’ve been to this whole trip,” he said.

Presidential porch

What Mikah also found interesting was Garfield’s “Birth-of-the-front-porch” campaign. In 1880, he would greet thousands of well-wishers during his presidential campaign as they stopped by his front porch.

“That’s because the train let out in the backyard of his farm, so people would get off the train and they would walk to his front yard and they would set up camp, they’d put up tents and wait for the next day to hear him speak on his front porch.”

Mikah remarked how unlikely that scenario would be in today’s presidential campaigns!

Today, the front porch of President Garfield’s home serves as a gateway to the story of the Garfield family. VOA

Coming attractions

In the coming days, Mikah will be visiting Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo, New York and Niagara Falls, which is not part of the US National Park Service, but will make a fascinating story nonetheless.

To follow Mikah and learn more about the places he’s travelling to, he invites you to visit him on his website. (VOA)

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Donald Trump will soon end the DACA Programme-Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Programme for unregistered immigrants

The DACA programme grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children

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Donald Trump will soon end the DACA Programme for unregistered immigrants
Donald Trump will soon end the DACA Programme for unregistered immigrants. Wikimedia

USA, September 4, 2017: US President Donald Trump has decided to end DACA programme- a programme that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children with a six-month delay, the media reported.

Trump has wrestled for months with whether to do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama in June 2012 to shield hundreds of thousands of undocumented youths from deportation.

But conversations with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who argued that Congress was responsible for writing immigration law, helped persuade the President to terminate the programme, the informed sources told Politico news on Sunday.

In a nod to reservations held by many lawmakers, the White House has planned to delay the enforcement of the President’s decision for six months, giving Congress a window to act, the sources said.

Trump is expected to formally make an announcement on the programme’s termination on Tuesday, and the White House informed House Speaker Paul Ryan of the President’s decision on Sunday

Paul Ryan thinks that ending DACA programme is not a good idea

On Friday, Paul Ryan said that he did not think the President should terminate DACA  programme and that Congress should act on the issue.

According to official documents, approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants are currently benefiting from the DACA programme.

Permits under DACA programme are granted for two years before needing to be renewed.

The latest study by groups that support DACA programme estimated that 1,400 people a day could lose their protections if renewals ended.

Bernie Sanders criticised Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA programme

Former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has condemned the move, reports CNN.

“If Trump decides to end DACA programme, it will be one of the ugliest and cruellest decisions ever made by a president in our modern history,” the Vermont Senator tweeted on Sunday night. (IANS)

 

 

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World Baloch Organisation Activist Azghar Baloch brings Human Rights Violations to the notice of International Community

Forced Kidnappings, abductions, murders, and suppression of any opposition has become common in the lives of Baloch people

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Human Rights Violations, Azghar Baloch
World Baloch Organisation Activist Azghar Baloch brings Human Rights Violations to the notice of International Community, Wikimedia
  • Azghar Baloch is an activist for the World Baloch Organization
  • The activist called for international community to stand with Balochistan due to the numerous human rights violations
  • Balochistan has been heavily impacted by insurgents and Islamist extremism, causing the residents to live under constant threat to life

Balochistan, August 16, 2017: The activist for World Baloch Organization, Azghar Baloch, urged the international community to stand with Balochistan and its people in these times of atrocities.

The World Baloch Forum was set up in collaboration with Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)

Balochistan, a province of Pakistan, has been bearing the brunt of the present of terror organizations and Islamist extremists. Forced Kidnappings, abductions, murders, and suppression of any opposition has become common in the lives of Baloch people.

Additional to the issue of insiders is the issue of orders. The multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative between the two countries neighboring India comes at the cost of the Balochistan region. CPEC is China’s interest to which the Pakistani government has remained blind.

ALSO READ: Balochistan Suicide Bombing: Provincial Government Falsely blames India for the Attack

Azghar Baloch, the activist, urged the support of the international community. He called for the investigation of human rights violations and to bring peace and stability to the region.

This year earlier, exiled Baloch leaders and activists organized an event called “China’s One Belt One Road Initiative – Its Adverse Impact on Balochistan and the Region” in Berlin, Germany.

Efforts have been made to bring the issues to the attention of the international community. As Azghar Baloch puts it rightly, it is a “humanitarian crisis so rarely heard of.”

The suppression and threat to life of Balochistan people comes from its own nation Pakistan.

The activist, speaking from outside the White House, concluded by urging that the powerful leaders step up so that fundamental human rights of the Baloch people must be respected in all walks of life.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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Indian American Lawyer Neomi Rao to lead White House Regulatory Affairs Office

The 44-year-old Rao was confirmed by a vote of 54-41 on Monday and she would lead the White House office overseeing regulation

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Indian American Lawyer Neomi Rao. Twitter

Washington, July 11, 2017:  The US Senate has voted to confirm Indian American lawyer Neomi Rao as the head of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The 44-year-old Rao was confirmed by a vote of 54-41 on Monday and she would lead the White House office overseeing regulation, according to Senate’s official website.

“In selecting Professor Neomi Rao… the President has made an inspired choice. Since first working on my staff many years ago, Director Rao has proven herself to be a sharp and principled public servant,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“She possesses a keen sense for our duty in Washington to help small businesses grow and make lives of Americans easier,” he said.

ALSO READ: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wants Canada to Rein in Radical Sikh Elements

Senator John Hoeven also appreciated Rao for her commitment to work and said that he secured a commitment from her to address benefit and cost analysis for Army corps projects and to ensure fair treatment of public-private partnerships, the American Bazaar online reported.

Rao serves as an associate professor of law and the founding director of the Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

She graduated from Yale University and later attended University of Chicago Law School. Rao clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

She is also a member of the Administrative Conference of the US and the governing council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. (IANS)