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Emmett Till Civil Rights historical marker vandalized in Mississippi, again

A historical marker for Emmett Till[1] has been vandalized, less than a year after receiving bullet holes in October. The marker, which contained information on and pictures of Till, was erected in honor of the black teenager who was kidnapped and lynched in 1955. The Associated Press reports that according to Allan Hammons, whose public relations firm constructed the marker, someone scratched it with a blunt tool in May and now the vinyl panels have been peeled off the back.

“Who knows what motivates people to do this?” Hammons told AP. “Vandals have been around since the beginning of time.”

The metal marker was unveiled in 2011 as a part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a series of state-funded markers at significant civil rights site to highlight the state’s African-American history. The murder of Till further inspired the Civil Rights Movement after Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, held an open-casket funeral for her son in Chicago. She wanted to show how her 14-year-old son had been abused while visiting the Mississippi Delta.

The marker stands within yards of the infamous Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, where white shopkeeper Carolyn Bryant alleged that Till whistled at her. The teenager was later kidnapped, beaten and killed for allegedly offending Bryant. The 21-year-old’s husband, Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law, J.W. Milan, were acquitted by a white jury in the case of Tull. NBC News[2] reports the two later confessed to the killing in a paid interview with Look magazine. IN 2008, Carolyn Bryant, now Carolyn Donham, revealed to Duke University scholar Timothy B. Tyson that she falsely testified against Till. According to Hammons, the Freedom Trail marker cost more than $8,000 and repairs will cost at least $500.


  1. ^ Emmett Till (
  2. ^ NBC News (

Trudeau says no security risks in Chinese takeover of Canadian satellite firm

OTTAWA Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to assuage public fears and political complaints Tuesday that the Liberal government s decision to allow the Chinese takeover of a Canadian satellite technology company would compromise national security at home and abroad. Hytera Communications Co. Ltd. is set to take over Norsat International Inc., which manufactures radio transceivers and radio systems used by the American military and Canada s NATO partners. The private Chinese firm first made a bid for the Vancouver-based technology company in 2016, triggering a review under federal law to ensure Canadian interests weren t harmed in the foreign takeover.

It was only earlier this month that the results of the review were made public when the company said it had been informed that a formal security review wouldn t be required. Trudeau said an initial government review of the takeover, required under the Investment Canada Act, unearthed no significant national security concerns and didn t require any further reviews. The national security agencies involved in the review recommended the deal to be allowed to proceed, he said.

The review they did was adequate to give them confidence that there was no risk to national security. Therefore, their recommendation to the minister was to allow it to proceed. So we did.

Trudeau insisted that his government would never approve any foreign takeover if there is even a hint of concern that it would harm national security.

We would not move forward with approving investments under the Investment Canada Act if we were not assured and comfortable that there is no risk to national security, period, he told a news conference.

It doesn t matter what country it s from, it doesn t matter what deal it is, if there s a risk to national security, we won t move forward. The deal has been the focus of a debate over national security risks and the federal government s willingness to approve a Chinese takeover of a Canadian technology company. It also comes as the Liberals and China pursue exploratory free trade talks; Canadian government is aiming at opening up the Chinese market to domestic producers in the face of Donald Trump s America First policy on trade.

The ongoing dialogue included an agreement last week where the two countries agreed not to engage in state-sponsored hacking of each other s trade secrets and business information. Opposition MPs have repeatedly raised concerns about the Norsat takeover, there is unease among congressional representatives in the United States about allowing the Chinese firm to have access to sensitive defence technology. The Globe and Mail reported Monday that the U.S. Department of Defence is reviewing all its business dealings with Norsat as a result of the deal.

Norsat makes satellite communications systems used for national security and defence purposes. It has a number of government customers in both Canada and internationally, including the Canadian Coast Guard and the Pentagon. Trudeau said Canadian security agencies consulted American officials as part of their preliminary security screen. Last week, Norsat security holders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the takeover bid. The deal is still subject to approval by the B.C. Supreme Court as well as other regulatory approvals and certain other closing conditions. Norsat was scheduled to apply Tuesday for a final court order to approve the deal.

Pennsylvania defends choice of a medical marijuana grower

HARRISBURG Pennsylvania health officials are defending their decision to award a coveted medical marijuana grower s permit to a firm whose affiliate in Minnesota had two former executives charged this year with smuggling a half-million dollars worth of the drug across state lines. Pennsylvania Medical Supply in Scranton was one of only 12 companies to win a permit last week to grow medical marijuana in the state. Records show the firm is run by Vireo Health. In February, Minnesota officials charged two ex-employees of its affiliate there with illegally transporting medical cannabis oil while they worked for the company. State officials in Maryland last month suspended preliminary licenses for Vireo s medical marijuana affiliate in that state, citing the company s failure to turn over documents including records related to its Minnesota facility, according to a published report.

Pennsylvania Health Department officials on Monday stood by their decision to award a permit to Pennsylvania Medical Supply. A spokeswoman said the Minnesota charges were filed against individuals who no longer work for the company, not the company itself. Vireo has not been sanctioned by any government agency, Health Department spokeswoman April Hutcheson said.

Remember, the permits are given to business entities, not people, she said. In a statement, Vireo spokesman Andrew Mangini said: We re proud to have been awarded a license in Pennsylvania through a highly competitive process, and look forward to joining the Keystone business community and to providing medical cannabis products to patients suffering from serious and debilitating conditions. While we re aware of allegations against two former employees of our Minnesota affiliate, those individuals have no role in our application or in the management of our company.

Amid fierce competition, Pennsylvania Medical Supply beat out dozens of firms for the grower s permit here. Industry experts say such permits could be worth millions of dollars. In announcing the first round of awards last week, Pennsylvania officials said 177 entities paid a nonrefundable $10,000 application fee a total of $1.77 million for a shot at growing medical cannabis under lights and in highly-secured warehouses. By this week s end, the state is expected to announce awards for 27 more permits to dispense medical marijuana.

State health officials have been tight-lipped about key details in the selection process. Although they posted the winning 12 grower applications online, large swaths of the applications were redacted from public view. Scorecards released after the winners were announced revealed how the firms rated in specific areas such as security, training, and diversity, but officials have not explained how some scores were reached. Pennsylvania Medical Solutions application shows that a number of its principals, financial backers, and employees are executives at Vireo Health LLC, which, in addition to its medical marijuana facility in Minnesota, has a location in New York. Last year, Maryland officials awarded one of Vireo s affiliates, MaryMed LLC, a preliminary permit to grow and dispense medical marijuana. Last month, those permits were suspended, and it is unclear when or if they will be reinstated.

A commissioner on the state s medical cannabis board told the Baltimore Sun that despite numerous requests, MaryMed had not turned in documents related to Vireo Health and its operations in New York and Minnesota. According to court records in Wright County, Minn., the two former Vireo Health facility executives were charged in February with smuggling $500,000 worth of marijuana oils in late 2015 from the company s facility in that state to its growing plant in Otsego, N.Y. The pair who held the titles of chief medical officer and chief security officer allegedly used an armored truck to illegally transport the oils to help Vireo s New York subsidiary, which faced a product shortfall ahead of New York s January 2016 launch of legal sales. The two allegedly entered fake information into a database that tracks shipments of medical marijuana to cover their tracks. Investigators unearthed a December 2015 email from a New York facility employee that one of the two executives is here today with Christmas presents from MN.

The case is pending, court records show.