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STATE OFFICIALS SCRAMBLE TO CALM EBOLA FEARS

By Issa A. Mansaray

Contributing Writer

 

As fear grips West Africa with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus wreaking havoc in unprepared countries — Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria — the Minnesota Department of Health is in a race to calm fears of a possible Ebola outbreak in the Twin Cities. At a public information meeting hosted by MDH in Brooklyn Center on Wednesday, Aug. 3, more than 150 people attended to hear various speakers and officials about the current Ebola situation from the four affected African nations and how MDH is monitoring it here. Both Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park are homes to thousands of West Africans that include about 30,000 Liberians and reportedly 6,000 Sierra Leoneans. “Like the community back home, there is a group psychology of fear going on in the West African region,” said Wynfred Russell, director of African Career, Education and Resources Inc., stressing that the task now in the African

community in Minnesota is to provide accurate and scientifically based facts about Ebola. Continue Reading →

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An interview with jazz veteran Billy Cobham

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to www.whosampled.com, Billy Cobham’s music has been sampled over 40 times, including two signature songs “Red Baron” (sampled eight times) and “Heather” (sampled 15 times) first released during the 1970s. A founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, Cobham co-founded his own fusion group in 1969, and then was invited to play on four cuts on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. At age 69, he’s still as strong as ever: Cobham’s current Spectrum 40 tour swings through Minneapolis on October 1 for a one-night stop at the downtown Dakota Jazz Club. “It will be a real pleasure to perform there,” he said during a recent phone interview with the MSR.

On his website, www.billycobham.com, it says that the Panama native, who grew up in New York, got his “first paying gig” when he was only eight years old, then later joined a local drum and bugle corps and attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art — where he studied music theory and drum technique. “I started on the road in [19]63,” recalls Cobham, who later played in the U.S. Army Band as a percussionist during his three years of military service in the mid-1960s. Continue Reading →

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Obama’s African trip showed U.S. ‘commitment’ to the region — Bishop Tutu’s welcome: ‘Your victory is our victory’

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In spite of criticism and skepticism, President Barack Obama’s recent Africa trip has the potential to reap benefits for both this country and the African continent. Prior to the trip, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, during a June 21 conference call in which the MSR participated, briefly addressed the criticism that the trip was too costly. “The costs for these types of trips, as well as any presidential trip” is determined by the Secret Service and the White House Military Office, explained Rhodes. “That’s been the case no matter who is president. “We take this [African] region very seriously,” added Rhodes. Continue Reading →

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