Umphrey’s McGee | House of Blues | Boston, MA | 6/29/18 | Photos: Kevin Cole On Saturday night, Umphrey’s McGee continued their young 2018 summer tour with a rock-solid performance on the Jersey Shore at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony SummerStage.Umphrey’s kicked things off at full throttle “Nipple Trix” and “Roctopus”. A soothing “Pequod” was up next, but the show got back to rocking hard in a hurry with an extended “Andy’s Last Beer”. it’s you track “Seasons” came next, making just its third appearance in the Umphrey’s McGee live repertoire. Another newer live debut, “It Doesn’t Matter”, followed, with it’s not us ballad “You And You Alone” close on its heels. Finally, “Remind Me”, the it’s not us track that’s been part of the Umphrey’s live canon since 2015, closed the first frame.Set two leaned heavily toward the prog/metal end of the characteristically broad Umphrey’s spectrum, bookended by set-opening and set-closing readings of the instrumental rocker “Wizard Burial Ground”. After the opening portion, the band moved into the infrequently played, over-the-top metal quickie, “Sludge & Death”.A pair of newer tunes followed in “Xmas at Wartime (it’s you) and “The Silent Type” (off it’s not us). From there, the band led into a rendition of the Allman Brothers Band‘s “Jessica”, which saw them adhere impeccably to the original before spiking it with a dose of Jake Cinninger-crafted metal guitar as they neared the song’s end. A pairing of “Cemetary Walk” and “Cemetary Walk II” came next, before fading into distortion. After asking lighting designer Jefferson Waful to illuminate the beachside sightlines so the band could take in their surroundings, they launched into a sprawling “August”, expertly extending it into a number of distinct sonic spaces before building to a raging peak. The whole show is replay-worthy, but this “August” rises to the top as a fine improvisational highlight. Finally, after nearly 17 minutes, “August” gave way to the set-closing reprise of “Wizard Burial Ground”.After opening their encore with “Kula”, the band paid tribute to Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, who passed away this past week, with their debut of “Walk”. As they explained from the stage, “What’s up, New Jersey? Put your fists in the air! When we come to New Jersey, we come to kick f*ckin’ ass and play rock and roll. We lost a good one, we lost Vinnie…He’s up there with Dimebag [Darrell]. Pantera meant a lot to me growing up. Rest in peace, we’re gonna play some non-sissy type of music. Let’s have some fun.” Watch fan-shot footage of the end of the show, including the Pantera cover, below:Umphrey’s McGee – “Wizard Burial Ground” (pt. 2, partial), “Kula”, “Walk” (Pantera cover)[Video: rdeal1999]Next up for Umphrey’s McGee is their highly awaited three-night run at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. For a full list of Umphrey’s McGee’s upcoming tour dates, or to purchase your tickets for any of the shows, head to the band’s website here.Below, you can check out full galleries of photos from Umphrey’s McGee’s Asbury Park performance courtesy of Andrew Blackstein. You can also check out a gallery of photos from their performance at House of Blues Boston the previous night, June 29th via Kevin Cole.You can listen to a full soundboard recording of Umphrey’s McGee’s show at The Stone Pony here.Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Stone Pony SummerStage | Asbury Park, NJ | 6/30/18 | Photos: Kevin ColeSet One: Nipple Trix, Roctopus, Pequod, Andy’s Last Beer, Seasons, It Doesn’t Matter, You and You Alone, Remind MeSet Two: Wizard Burial Ground, Sludge & Death, Xmas At Wartime, The Silent Type, Jessica, Cemetery Walk, Cemetery Walk II, August, Wizard Burial GroundEncore: Kula, WalkSetlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Stone Pony SummerStage | Asbury Park, NJ | 6/30/18 | Photos: Andrew Blackstein Load remaining images Load remaining images
In a conversation that ranged from the recent parliamentary elections to the ongoing sexual abuse of women to a new wave of journalists, panelists at the Feb. 2 Harvard Kennedy School Forum on Egypt expressed both fear and hope for a country still in the midst of a revolution.“What we’ve got happening in Egypt right now is a transition, a transition from a dictatorship maybe to another dictatorship … maybe to a democracy,” said Tarek Masoud, assistant professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. “In transitions, they are inherently uncertain and you can’t judge them on a minute-by-minute basis. You really have to take a kind of long view.”Masoud noted that a year after the revolution in Tahrir Square, Egypt is run by the military. “This is not what the people died in Tahrir Square for,” he said. Additionally, the economy is worsening, and the country’s recent parliamentary election failed to produce a parliament reflective of the people’s ambitions for a more liberal and pluralistic country. Instead, he noted, the new parliament is dominated by Islamists who include not only the Muslim Brotherhood but the new, more radical and conservative Salafis.“At the same time, ” Masoud said, “it was a freely elected parliament. This is the first time in Egypt’s modern history that you had a parliament that actually represents the will of the Egyptian people. If we compare where we are now to where we were in the dark days of Hosni Mubarak, “there are real reasons for us to be cautiously optimistic.”Journalist Mona Eltahawy said that Egyptians finally have a chance to say “What we want, to go out and demonstrate when we want, and to acknowledge that these elections were not great, they were not free and fair, they were a mess. But they were our mess, and the next time around they will be a better mess. That’s our hope.”Eltahawy condemned the gender-based violence against women that is on the rise at all levels of Egyptian society. It began in 2005, she said, with the government’s systematic campaign of sexually assaulting and intimidating female activists and journalists. “When the regime attacks women and holds no one accountable, it sends out a signal that women are fair game. When the street then attacks women and the police stand by and do nothing, that continues,” she said.A columnist for the Toronto Star, The Jerusalem Report, and the Politiken, Eltahawy said a recent survey conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights showed that more than 80 percent of Egyptian women face sexual harassment, groping, and unwanted sexual attention. With casts on both arms as a result of an attack she suffered last fall by security forces, an attack that included sexual assault, Eltahawy said this is a problem the Egyptian people must not hide from.“This is an opportunity in Egypt now to say, ‘Look, women are attacked by the regime, women are attacked by the street, women are attacked.’ There is something about gender-based violence in Egypt that is horrific. We have to look it in the eye and we must speak out about it, not just when it is the regime that is doing it to us, but when it’s our fellow Egyptian men on the civilian level who are doing it to us.”Charles Sennott, co-founder of GlobalPost, an online news company focusing on international news, and of Global Post’s-Open Hands, an initiative that brought together 16 reporting fellows from Egypt and the United States, noted that Egypt’s young journalists are making an important contribution to the country’s revolution.“What we found are extraordinary young people who [are] part of this heroic movement,” he said. “I came away so hopeful about this generation of journalists.”The event, co-sponsored by the Middle East Initiative, the Open Hands Initiative, and the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, was moderated by Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and Newsweek.
By Lorena Baires / Diálogo February 18, 2020 The Dominican Republic strengthened its borders to counter transnational crime, with troops from the Army, Navy, and Air Force joining the Border Fence Task Force (FTCF, in Spanish), an elite group created to bolster security and curb narcotrafficking and smuggling.The unit now has more checkpoints and increased patrols. According to the Dominican Drug Control Directorate (DNCD, in Spanish), interagency efforts have helped the country seize more than 30 tons of drugs in 2019.“We guarantee border security and control by increasing the number of checkpoints, as well as short- and long-range patrols, in coordination with FTCF and the other government agencies,” Dominican Minister of Defense Army Lieutenant General Rubén Darío Paulino Sem told Diálogo. “Border areas will be safeguarded around the clock.”FTCF was created in mid-2018, and currently has 1,200 elements to protect the 994 miles of land and maritime borders. “This unit, coordinated by the Army, consists of three important teams: Alfa, Bravo, and Charlie. Our personnel rotates every 21 days,” Major General Estanislao Gonell Regalado, commander of the Dominican Army, told Diálogo. “Interagency work is key, and that’s why we included agents of the National Civil Police’s Counter-narcotics Central Directorate.”Elements of the Border Fence Task Force inspect traders arriving from the Caribbean Sea at a pier in Enriquillo municipality, in southeast Dominican Republic. (Photo: Dominican Republic Ministry of Defense)Narcotrafficking networks in the Caribbean Sea operate differently from those in the Pacific Ocean. “It’s not very common to see semisubmersibles here, as most drugs are taken in ultra-fast vessels or arrive through the piers,” Army Brigadier General Santo Domingo Guerrero Clase, head of Joint Operations for the Dominican Ministry of Defense, told Diálogo. “Marijuana enters through the west, from Caribbean countries, while cocaine enters via the south, coming from Venezuela and Colombia. This is because we are among the countries that are closer to the United States and the European Union by sea.”FTCF consists of interagency task groups that cover every province in the country, “with cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure to combat crime,” Maj. Gen. Gonell said. “For example, in Enriquillo municipality, in the southeast part of the island, we built a pier and a heliport with sophisticated technology for maritime and air operations.”Interagency forces also work in seven other cities. “But Enriquillo is a benchmark in the organization and modernization of checkpoints and interdiction posts, in the fight and prosecution of illicit operations, especially narcotrafficking,” Lt. Gen. Sem added.On January 20, between the cities of Boca Chica and La Romana, in Santo Domingo province, DNCD dismantled an international narcotrafficking ring that recruited foreigners to use them as mules. The next day, authorities conducted operations in 212 locations, where they detained 323 people and seized drugs, weapons, and vehicles.“We recognize the ongoing support of U.S. Southern Command,” said Maj. Gen. Gonell. “Especially for providing equipment and training in different areas to counter international narcotrafficking networks and their operations.”