Democrat rep. criticizes Pelosi for not accepting GOP stimulus deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:10 PM PT – Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A House Democrat has claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a mistake by refusing to accept Republicans’ offer on a COVID-19 stimulus relief bill.

In an interview on Tuesday, Rep. Max Rose (D-N.y.) said this is the most relief Republicans have offered during negotiations.

He suggested Pelosi had a perfect opportunity to accept the deal before the election but she fumbled in order to play politics.

Rep. Max Rose (D-N.y). (Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

“The Republican party…two months ago did not want to do anything…and now because of the sheer force of our argument, as well as the obvious pain of the American people, they have moved up to $2 trillion,” Rose stated of the stimulus bill. “It is a tremendous bipartisan framework for action that is commensurate with the scale of the crisis that we are facing.”

Even though he criticized Pelosi, Rose distanced himself from comments made by Democrat senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va). Manchin has suggested getting new negotiators in the House to push for a stimulus deal.

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U. of Chicago English Program Only Accepting ‘Black Studies’ Grad Students

The English doctoral program at the University of Chicago announced recently that it will only accept Ph.D. candidates that are specialized in “Black Studies” this year. According to a statement published online, the decision was motivated by the department’s commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to a report by Campus Reform, the University of Chicago announced recently that incoming Ph.D. candidates in the English Department will be required to focus their research on “black studies.”

The university’s decision was highlighted on Tuesday by Cornell Ph.D. candidate Phillipe Lemoine in a tweet that went viral. “This is wild, ” Lemoine wrote.

“For the 2020-2021 graduate admissions cycle, the University of Chicago English Department is accepting only applicants interested in working in and with Black Studies,” a statement on the university website reads. “We understand Black Studies to be a capacious intellectual project that spans a variety of methodological approaches, fields, geographical areas, languages, and time periods.”

In the statement, the English department said that its commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement inspired their decision to restrict the area of study for incoming Ph.D. candidates.

The English department at the University of Chicago believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks matter, as do thousands of others named and unnamed who have been subject to police violence. As literary scholars, we attend to the histories, atmospheres, and scenes of anti-Black racism and racial violence in the United States and across the world. We are committed to the struggle of Black and Indigenous people, and all racialized and dispossessed people, against inequality and brutality.

Breitbart News reported in August that students at the University of Chicago had called on administrators to cut ties with the Chicago Police Department. In response, Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown said that his officers would continue to reduce violence in the area surrounding the university’s campus.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.

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Montaigne tells Kurt Fearnley on One Plus One about accepting Eurovision 2020’s cancellation due to coronavirus

If the world hadn’t been hit by a literal pandemic, Jess Cero (AKA singer-songwriter Montaigne) would have been performing on one of the world’s biggest stages this year: Eurovision.

Except, coronavirus did happen.

And the month after she won Australia Decides, Australia’s selection contest for Eurovision, the song contest-proper was cancelled.

Montaigne wouldn’t describe herself as a “big” Eurovision fan, she tells Kurt Fearnley on ABC’s One Plus One, Sydney’s Lyric Theatre their backdrop.

The 25-year-old clarifies: “I’ve never been a [Eurovision] obsessive in the way that I see it in a lot of people. I really like the theatricality, the melodrama and the over-the-topness.

“And it’s also like the World Cup of music … I like the idea of everyone communing around this thing they love and sharing it, and supporting art that they love.”

World’s biggest Eurovision fan or not, a lot of work went into creating Montaigne’s winning 2020 song, Don’t Break Me, and the performance behind it.

All this to say, when Eurovision was cancelled, it hurt.

Montaigne tells Kurt Fearnley, right, she was devastated when Eurovision was cancelled.(ABC)

Heres how Montaigne got over Eurovision being scrapped

“I was quite devastated for the first sort of three hours,” she says.

“It would have been a super wonderful opportunity … but at the end of the day I also really love being at home and I love having a home life and I also cherished the opportunity to rest and not do anything for a while as well.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Montaigne performs an at-home concert for Eurovision.

“I have three housemates who I get along with and my partner, who I’ve also been visiting, has four housemates … so I’ve had people around me.”

And at a time when many artists are struggling financially due to a lack of gigs, Montaigne says she’s doing well in terms of money — even without work.

But there’s more on the horizon.

A few weeks after it was announced Eurovision 2020 was cancelled, Montaigne was confirmed as Australia’s 2021 entrant.

If she doesn’t end up getting to take to the Eurovision stage in 2021, Montaigne says she “won’t be in despair”.

“I’m very fine with it at this point. I accept that the world has just changed trajectory forever … so, if it doesn’t happen next year then I feel quite grounded about it.”

The notion of being grounded is a recurring theme for the 25-year-old.

So how did a self-described introvert whose Instagram postings often consist of her gardening endeavours turn into a pop singer by another name?

How Jess Cerro became Montaigne

Born to a mother from the Philippines and a father from Argentina, Montaigne spent the first four years of her life in Malaysia, where her dad played soccer professionally.

The sport has had an incalculable influence on her life — hence the “Eurovision is kind of the World Cup of music” line.

But music was always there too, Montaigne says.

Montaigne looks slightly to the right and smiles as she rests her arm on a sofa. She wears football gear, her hair is short.
Montaigne, pictured here as a child, was born in Malaysia, where she lived for the first four years of her life.(Supplied: Jess Cerro)

“My parents love music and I always heard it around the house and they were always very encouraging,” she explains.

She credits her heritage for the undercurrent of unbridled emotion often found in her songs.

“And also a certain loudness and a certain boldness maybe comes from [that], because Argentinians and South Americans are pretty ‘heart on sleeve’ people, and so are Filippino people for sure,” she contemplates.

The stage name, meanwhile, came from philosopher Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy — a book she read barely into adulthood.

Performing pop while staying true to her roots

Montaigne recognises how far she is from the stereotype of someone who performs pop music. As a “small-scale local celebrity”, she feels the pressure to conform to it, too.

Having been raised by parents who didn’t allow her to go out drinking and partying, Montaigne says she simply didn’t understand that world before entering it.

A school-aged Montaigne smiles as she stands in front of a microphone in her blue uniform.
Montaigne says her parents kept her from partying when she was a teenager.(Supplied: Jess Cerro)

“And then when I did finally get to that world when I was an adult and I was living out of home, I didn’t enjoy it, but that’s because I’m an introvert.”

Instead of attempting to adhere to notions of what a pop artist “should be”, Montaigne says she hasn’t tried to change.

She hasn’t shied away from making very public political statements either — both loud and subtle.

More blatant?

The decision to scrawl calls to action on her bare skin at the ARIA awards in both 2016 (“people over profit”) and in 2018 (“stop Adani”).

A woman speaks into a microphone while holding an aria award. On her chest is written people over profit.
Montaigne’s “people over profit” 2016 ARIA Awards statement was followed by a “stop Adani” message at the 2018 iteration of the event.(AAP: Paul Miller)

The clown ruffle at her neck in Don’t Break Me, meanwhile, lays bare Montaigne’s desire to find and create meaning in even the smallest of details in her work.

“It can mean a fool … and then there’s also the art of clowning … and then the other layer is supposed to represent the everyday person and the way the elite saw workers and labourers,” Montaigne explains.

“I ended up just settling for feeling silly in a relationship that you thought was good and healthy and now it’s sort of falling apart and there’s a communication breakdown and you don’t feel like you’re being listened to.

“And being a clown who was a woman was a good way to take on that full imagery, but also to subvert the notion of what a woman should look like and be.”

Why Montaigne’s art and activism collide

Despite having been so publicly political, speaking out about the injustices she perceives in the world is something Montaigne grapples with.

“I’m always evaluating how best to be an activist as a public-facing person,” she says.

For a time, she was also dealing with a lot of anger.

“[I was] just being indignant about the state of the world … And I think it is good to be aware of those things, but it’s empty to put out that anger and awareness without following it up with action.

Montaigne wears blue as she stands next to her partner, Pat, who holds a bag and a glass of wine. They both look into the camera
Montaigne, pictured with her partner, right, who works in political activism.(Supplied: Jess Cerro)

“I still don’t know what the best way [is].”

But Montaigne still believes there’s power in having conversations. And she’s committed to being publicly open about her queer identity.

“You can only be what you can see,” she says.

“If queer people don’t have representation and visibility in public spaces, they’re going to feel invalidated, because the dominant narrative throughout history is that straight, cis, white men rule, and are the norm, and white women by extension.”

Watch the full interview with Montaigne on One Plus One on ABC iview.

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Former halfway house employee jailed, fined for accepting bribes from residents

SINGAPORE: A former employee at a halfway house was sentenced to 11 weeks’ jail and fined S$980 on Friday (Sep 11) for accepting bribes from residents undergoing rehabilitation, in exchange for showing leniency when they broke the rules.

Roy Evan Rajoo, 60, was charged with 20 counts under the Prevention of Corruption Act on Jun 3.

The offences were committed between November 2018 and May 2019, when Roy Evan was an operations staff at Teen Challenge (Singapore) (TCS). The halfway house provides rehabilitation for inmates from the Singapore Prison Service assigned to community-based programmes.

“His duty was to check on the residents and ensure that they do not contravene the Teen Challenge (Singapore) rules prohibiting the consumption and possession of cigarettes and alcohol during their stay,” said the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in a news release.

His job scope included conducting smokerlyser and breathalyser tests on residents when they return from work or visits, and to put up an incident report if there had been any violations.

CPIB found that he had received S$3,000 worth of bribes in the form of loans from 12 residents. In return, he would not conduct the required tests or fail to put up incident reports when they were caught violating the rules.


The bribes ranged between S$10 and S$500, according to court documents. 

In one case, Roy Evan had caught a resident smoking in December 2018. He told the resident that he would let him off without an incident warning, but that he must repay the favour.

A few days later, he asked the resident for a S$250 loan. In January 2019, he asked the resident for another S$250 loan.

In May that year, Roy Evan confiscated four packets of cigarettes from another resident’s bag when the latter returned from a medical appointment and filed an incident report. When the resident offered him S$50 in return for letting him off, he refused as there was a CCTV nearby.

However, when the resident later asked him to put in a good word with the assistant centre director to “alleviate any penalty” he might receive for the packets of cigarettes, Roy Evan asked for a S$70 loan in return. The resident agreed and gave him S$80.

Court papers showed that he has repaid five of the residents the amounts he owed them.

“The accused’s actions perverted the purpose of TCS, which was to rehabilitate ex-offenders,” said the prosecution.

“By corruptly extracting gratification from the residents in exchange for, essentially, allowing them to flout the rules of TCS, the accused incentivised the very attitudes that the residents were meant to turn away from. 

“This undermines the perception of TCS as a rehabilitative institution in the eyes of its residents, if not the eyes of the general public.”

Anyone convicted of a corruption offence could be jailed for up to five years, fined up to S$100,000 or both. 

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