Cody High School Urged to Keep Acclaimed Book in School Library

New York, NY 11/30/2017- Cody District Public Schools will convene a committee in early December to determine whether Tanya Stone’s acclaimed novel,A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, will remain in the Cody High School library after a single parent complaint led to an appeal for its removal. The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and co-signing organizations are urging Tim Foley, Assistant Superintendent of Cody District Public Schools, to keep the novel on library shelves. Allowing the views of one parent to influence what books belong in the school library privileges the subjective beliefs of one over the education of all and threatens students’ First Amendment rights.

In early November, a single parent complained about sexual content in A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girland demanded its removal from Cody High School Library. The school district plans to convene a complaint committee to review the book. NCAC and the assembled coalition of literary and educational organizations have sent a letter to Mr. Foley, as well as the Cody District Public Schools Governing Board, in advance of the upcoming committee meeting to offer guidance on their review of the book.

Decisions about what books to offer in school libraries should be based primarily on pedagogical principles and the expertise of trained educators, not the personal beliefs of community members. The educational and literary merits of a challenged book must be carefully considered. In this case, the novel in question has appeared on distinguished literary lists from the American Library Association, New York Public Library and School Library Journal.

As NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program Manager, Abena Hutchful, explains, “Literature holds a unique place in helping young people cope with the challenges of growing up and books like A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl can provide a safe space to explore those challenges and develop empathy for others facing similar problems.”

While not every book is right for every reader, the role of school libraries is to allow students and parents to make choices according to their own interests, experiences and family values.  However, no parent, student or community member may impose their views, values and interests on others by restricting an entire community’s access to particular books.

NCAC has offered support and guidance to Cody District Public Schools in addressing this current attempt to censor student reading and in setting clearer guidelines for handling such book challenges in the future. The removal of this novel from the Cody High School library would limit student access to a necessary voice for many readers based on the disapproval of a vocal minority, setting a dangerous precedent for ignoring students’ First Amendment rights in the district.

United States v. Michael T. Flynn, defendant: The Document and Statements

United States v. Michael T. Flynn, defendant

Violation: 18 U.S.C. 1001 (False Statements)


The Special Counsel informs the Court:

Count One

On or about January 24, 2017, defendant MICHAEL T. FLYNN did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, to wit, the defendant falsely stated and represented to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in Washington, D.C., that:

(i) On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia’s Ambassador to the United States (“Russian Ambassador”) to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request; and

(ii) On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described to FLYNN Russia’s response to his request.

Original Court Document Filed 11.30.17:

Official Statement Michael Flynn after Guilty Plea 12.1.17:

After over 33 years of military service to our country, including nearly five years in combat away from my family, and then my decision to continue to serve the United States, it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of “treason” and other outrageous acts. Such false accusations are contrary to everything I have ever done and stood for. But I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions.

Official Statement Ty Cobb, White House Legal Team after Guilty Plea 12.1.17:

“Today, Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,” Cobb said in a statement.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year. Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the special counsel’s work demonstrates again that the special counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion.”

Winter Olympics Torch Relay, Preparations Underway: Photo Highlights

The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will run from Feb. 9-25 in the alpine town and nearby cities of Jeongseon and Gangneung in South Korea.

Preparations for 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games under way
This aerial photo, taken Nov. 30, 2017, shows the Alpensia Biathlon Center, the Cross-Country Skiing Center and the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium, where artificial snow is being made, in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games that will run from Feb. 9-25 in the alpine town and nearby cities of Jeongseon and Gangneung. (Yonhap)/2017-11-30 
100-day countdown to PyeongChang Paralympics
Dignitaries and guests including Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan and Lee Hee-beom, head of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, take part in a ceremony at a training center for disabled athletes in the city of Icheon, south of Seoul, on Nov. 29, 2017, to unveil a clock tower showing the 100-day countdown to the first Winter Paralympics in South Korea. PyeongChang, an alpine resort town 180 kilometers east of Seoul in Gangwon Province, will host the Winter Paralympic Games from March 9 to 18 next year, under the slogan “Passion. Connected.” The event follows the Winter Olympic Games, scheduled from Feb. 9 to 25. (Yonhap)/2017-11-29 

Olympic Village:

Torch Relay:

Torch relay for PyeongChang Olympics at taekwondo arena
Kim Sung-tae (L), head of the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, and the foundation’s practitioners of the Korean traditional martial art taekwondo pose for a photo at a taekwondo arena in the southwestern town of Muju on Nov. 30, 2017, as they take part in the relay of the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The Olympic torch relay in South Korea, which began Nov. 1, will cover 2,018 kilometers — the same number as the year of the games. (Yonhap)/2017-11-30 
PyeongChang Olympics torch relay
Kim Sang-joo (C), a resident of the southwestern city of Gwangju, carries the torch for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics at the May 18th National Cemetery in the city on Nov. 25, 2017. The Olympic torch relay in South Korea, which began Nov. 1, will cover 2,018 kilometers — the same number as the year of the games. (Yonhap)/2017-11-25 
PyeongChang Olympic flame
Seo Ki-won, an Army helicopter pilot, carries the Olympic flame for the 2018 PyeongChang Games in Jindo, South Jeolla Province, on Nov. 21, 2017. (Yonhap)/2017-11-22 

More highlights from the Torch Relay still in progress:



Door Still Open to North Korean Figure Skaters to Compete in Winter Olympics


IOC President met with N. Korean Olympic chief in Switzerland: VOA


SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) — International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has met with North Korea’s Olympic body chief in Switzerland, a U.S. broadcaster said Saturday.

Bach had a meeting with North Korea’s Olympic Committee President Kim Il-guk at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Friday, according to Voice of America (VOA). VOA was citing an e-mail from the IOC’s public affairs office.

The IOC, however, didn’t elaborate on what the two officials discussed, VOA said, adding that it was a meeting for them to get to know each other after Kim became North Korea’s new Olympic body chief earlier this year.

The meeting came amid speculation that Bach might visit North Korea to discuss the communist nation’s participation in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, next year.

The South Korean government and the organizers of the PyeongChang Games have been asking the IOC to support North Koreans competing at the Winter Olympics south of the border, which will be held from Feb. 9-25.

The IOC previously said it is willing to cover all costs for North Korean athletes if they participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

This photo taken by the EPA shows International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach speaking at a press conference after an executive board meeting of the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Dec. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)This photo taken by the EPA shows International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach speaking at a press conference after an executive board meeting of the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Dec. 6, 2017. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) — North Korea has missed the deadline to enter its figure skating pairs team for next year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea, a report claimed Friday.

NBC Sports said North Korea’s Olympic committee missed an Oct. 30 deadline to confirm whether it would send its qualified figure skating pairs duo, Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-ik, to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February.

Ryom and Kim clinched their Olympic spot at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany in September.

According to NBC Sports, the International Skating Union (ISU) has not received any word from North Korea.

The non-action casts further uncertainty over the prospect of North Korea competing at a Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea for the first time. North Korea did not participate in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics.

In this Associated Press file photo taken Sept. 29, 2017, North Korean pairs figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok (L) and Kim Ju-sik perform their free skating routine during the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. (Yonhap)In this Associated Press file photo taken Sept. 29, 2017, North Korean pairs figure skaters Ryom Tae-ok (L) and Kim Ju-sik perform their free skating routine during the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. (Yonhap)

But the doors are still open for North Korea. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) may grant select North Korean athletes wild card entries. IOC President Thomas Bach has repeatedly stated that the IOC has invited North Korea to participate in PyeongChang 2018 and that it has offered support if necessary.

North Korea did not compete at the 2014 Sochin Winter Olympics.

Last month, North Korea skipped the final leg of the ISU World Cup Short Track in Seoul, which doubled as the last Olympic qualifying event. North Korea only competed at the first two World Cups, and the Olympic quotas were filled based on the three best performances by skaters out of four World Cups.

The organizing committee for PyeongChang is taking a wait-and-see approach on the North’s participation. An official there said Olympic participation is apparently a sensitive issue in Pyongyang as well.

S. Korea, U.S. not considering any military measures against N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

Official White House Photo. South Korea and US Presidents and First Ladies, November, 2017.

2017/12/01 12:28

SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States have not discussed any military options, including a naval blockade, against North Korea, an official from South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

The remarks came hours after President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held their second telephone conversation in just two days to discuss ways to rein in North Korea’s evolving missile technologies.

“The issue of a naval blockade was never mentioned in the phone call with President Trump,” the official told reporters, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

The possibility of a naval blockade surfaced immediately after North Korea launched a believed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the wee hours of Wednesday, ending its 75-day hiatus in provocations.

Many experts said the idea is the only possible option available as Seoul and Washington have long been maintaining what they called “the strongest” sanctions and pressure against North Korea under bilateral and international efforts.

The Cheong Wa Dae official noted the countries continue to move toward maximum sanctions and pressure but said there are many other options left, such as a complete cut off of oil supplies to the communist state as suggested by Trump.

“I may not discuss every detail of the call between the two leaders, but I can confirm that there were no suggestions or discussions about military steps or a naval blockade,” he said.

The official also insisted the North’s latest missile provocation may not warrant a military action despite Pyongyang’s earlier claim that the launch was successful and that it marked the completion of building what it called a “state nuclear force.”

“We and the United States do not accept North Korea’s declaration of being a nuclear state itself,” the official said, adding the president, too, has stressed the need to first verify the North’s claimed success in its latest missile test.

In his second telephone call with Trump, the South Korean leader was quoted as saying the North’s claimed completion of developing an ICBM has not been confirmed.


War Games vs. Winter Olympics: South Korea Concerned

Minister concerned about timing of S. Korea-U.S. war games

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s point man on North Korea expressed concern Thursday about the expected overlap between the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and annual South Korea-U.S. war games that Pyongyang has long protested with provocative acts and rhetoric.

“As the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the South Korea-U.S. military exercise happen to coincide with each other, how to resolve this situation is an important task,” Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said at a Seoul forum.

If the North provokes again at a time when the Olympic Games are imminent, he added, it may deal a “fatal” blow to the mood for the sports festival, which will be held in South Korea from Feb. 9-25 in the mountainous resort town of PyeongChang, 80 kilometers south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The Paralympics are scheduled from March 9-19 in the same location.

“What’s most important is to host the PyeongChang Olympics in a stable atmosphere,” he said.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon is seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon is seen in this file photo. (Yonhap)

The allies have not announced the start date for the major exercises, named Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, but they usually kick off the war games in late February or early March.

The North has long described the drills as a rehearsal for invasion and used them as an excuse for provocations.

Defense sources said earlier that South Korea may request that the U.S. postpone the training to avoid an overlap with Olympic events.

The minister was doubtful about the secretive communist nation’s claim that it has completed the nuclear weapons development.

Emboldened by the successful launch of what it claims to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday, the North announced that it has completed the establishment of the country’s “nuclear force.”

Cho said the government’s view is that it might be a “hasty” declaration.

“Until recently, there were indications that North Korea has faced limits in connection with atmospheric re-entry technology, guiding and sending (an ICBM) to an intended point, and blowing up (the warhead) at a timing it wants,” he added.