We speak with professional chiptunes musician, Nullsleep, on how he creates electronic music from synthesized sounds of old-school gaming systems like Game Boys and NES classic consoles
We speak with professional chiptunes musician, Nullsleep, on how he creates electronic music from synthesized sounds of old-school gaming systems like Game Boys and NES classic consoles
There was no shortage of tips about who killed Pamela Pitts, a rowdy but compassionate 19-year-old whose body was found burned beyond recognition in a pile of trash in 1988. In it, Harmon's father said she never told him what actually happened.
"I support everybody in this town," Captials forward Alex Ovechkin said in joining a growing list of celebrities who've become part-owners in women's soccer franchises.
May 9—BEMIDJI — Vitalant hosted a community blood drive on April 27 at the Evangelical Free Church of Bemidji, which helped collect a total of 44 units of blood products for patients in need. A total of 45 individuals volunteered to donate blood, 37 of which were able to donate at the blood drive. A total of seven donors also came forward to donate Power Red Cells, which collects two units of ...
MUTUAL FUNDS WEEKLY Don’t miss these top money and investing features: Why you should worry about the flood of new cash into U.S. stock funds Gold has rebounded — and investors are now close to being ...
May 9—SHEVLIN — The Clearwater County Historical Society will host two events during the month of May, including a clean-up day on May 13 followed by an open house on May 16, at the history center located at 264 First St. in Shevlin. The History Center Cleanup Day will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 13. Volunteers are needed for the one-day cleanup. General cleaning in ...
Billionaires, celebrities and athletes can’t get enough of the crypto craze. Should you jump in on the mania, too? Here's what financial experts say.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz vowed on Sunday to raise the minimum wage after national elections in September, hoping for support from about 10 million low-paid workers to help his Social Democrats (SPD) avoid a bruising third place. Scholz made the promise in a speech to SPD delegates who voted for him as their centre-left party's candidate for chancellor. His party is lagging both the Greens and Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in polls and is forecast to suffer its worst ever election result.
Police said the body of the newborn baby was found in the Grand Union Canal in north-west London on Sunday afternoon.
Yona Shemesh, 24, was born in Los Angeles, but he moved to Israel with his family at age 9. In July 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was raging, he booked a ticket to Los Angeles to visit his grandparents in June 2021, knowing that he would have nearly an entire year to renew his American passport, which had long since expired. Eight months later, he was still trying to get an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem to do just that. About 9 million U.S. citizens currently live abroad, and as the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel finally appears, immigration lawyers estimate more than 100,000 can’t get travel documents to return to the United States. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Despite the State Department making headway on a massive backlog of passport applications in the early months of the pandemic, many consulates and embassies abroad, plagued by COVID-19 restrictions and staffing reductions, remain closed for all but emergency services. Travel is restarting, but for American expats who had a baby abroad in the past year or saw their passport expire during the pandemic, elusive appointments for documents are keeping them grounded. “It’s a real mess,” said Jennifer Minear, an immigration attorney and the president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It’s a giant, multilayered onion of a problem and the reduction of staff as a result of COVID at the consular posts has really thrown the State Department for a loop.” Michael Wildes, the managing partner of the law firm Wildes & Weinberg, PC, which specializes in immigration law, estimates that the number of stranded Americans abroad is in the hundreds of thousands. “Our offices have been inundated,” he said. “We’ve been getting at least 1,200 calls a week on this, which is about 50% more than last year. The problem is more robust than people realize, and this isn’t how a 21st-century society should work.” Ballooning backlog, endless delays In Israel alone, the U.S. Embassy has a passport backlog of 15,000 applications, according to The Jerusalem Post. American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy organization for U.S. expats, sent an official request to the State Department in October 2020 to prioritize Americans’ access to consular services abroad, “but people are still experiencing delays,” said the organization’s executive director, Marylouise Serrato. In Mexico, which is believed to have more American expats than any other country, a recent search on the appointment database for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City showed zero available appointments for passport services, even with emergency circumstances (appointments from July onward have not yet been released). At the U.S. Embassy in London, the availability of appointments for both in-person passport renewals and obtaining an official record of a child’s claim to U.S. citizenship, known as a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, plummeted when Britain went back into lockdown last fall. Amanda Brill, a London-based U.S. immigration attorney, said that since November, appointments have been nonexistent for both. “You can imagine that if you’re a U.S. citizen and you’ve had a baby in the past six months, it is frustrating at best and incredibly stressful for citizens returning to America,” she said. And as of early April, 75% of U.S. consulates abroad remained at least partially closed. The State Department will not release numbers on how many Americans are awaiting passport appointments around the world, but the size of the backlog for interviews for approved U.S. immigration visas — which are also handled by the State Department and have been affected by the same slowdown — gives a sense of the challenge. In January 2020, there was a backlog of 75,000 immigrant visas for those wishing to come to the United States; as of February 2021, the backlog had ballooned to 473,000. Vicious mix of politics and the pandemic State Department officials would not offer specifics on wait times for appointments and passport services at their embassies, but they said in a statement that Americans should expect delays when applying for nonemergency passport or citizenship services, and that operating hours vary significantly between embassies, as each is facing different COVID-19 restrictions. Stateside, adult U.S. citizens can renew an expired passport by mail, a process which is currently taking 10 to 12 weeks, according to State Department officials. But in many countries abroad, citizens must apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the same service. Even in the countries where U.S. passport renewals are available by mail, travel documents for minors or for those whose passports expired before age 18 still need to be requested in person. The situation, said the immigration attorney Jessica Smith Bobadilla, was created by a vicious mix of politics and the pandemic. “The combination of Trump-era travel bans and the COVID-19 restrictions still in place seriously impacted the visa and passport-processing time frames and procedures by the Department of State like never before in recent history,” Bobadilla said. Appointments for sale Shemesh, the dual citizen living in Israel, spent months logging onto the U.S. Embassy’s website daily at 10 a.m., which he heard on Facebook was the moment that appointments were released each day, to try to grab one. He repeatedly walked the two blocks from his Jerusalem apartment to the U.S. Embassy to ask the guards if they knew of any openings, and he sent multiple emails to consular officials. Everyone told him he simply needed to wait. Finally, with the deadline for his trip looming, he heard about a third-party broker in Israel who promised he could book him an appointment within weeks in exchange for $450. The State Department prohibits such practices, but the issue of bootleggers selling access to U.S. embassies is widespread enough that on Jan. 14, the Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a notice to registered passport courier companies warning them of consequences for pay-to-play offerings for appointments. David Alwadish, the founder of ItsEasy Passport & Visa, a passport-and-visa-expediting service, said that many of them are so small that they’re nearly impossible to track. “Since there is an online appointment system, anybody can log on, stockpile these appointments and resell them,” he said. “In the United States, they can be sold for $200 or $250, but out of the country they can charge much more.” Shemesh got the broker’s phone number and transferred the money, and in one day, he had a confirmed appointment. “I tried for eight months to get an appointment, and it was really a bummer because my money is something I have to work hard for. I paid more to renew my passport than I did on the ticket to Los Angeles. It felt like blackmail.” Desperate Americans in other countries have considered paying for other services, as well. Conner Gorry, 51, an American journalist who lives in Cuba, spent several frantic weeks trying to renew her expiring passport earlier this year. The U.S. Embassy in Havana is closed for all but emergency services. For six weeks, she tried to book an appointment, and received no response. Gorry grew so stressed that she developed gastritis, and at one point, she contemplated spending more than $13,000 to charter a plane from Havana to Miami, where she knew she would be able to renew her passport by mail. She eventually found a flight out of Havana, and flew to the U.S. with one week left on her passport. She is unsure of when she will return to Cuba. The situation, she said, made her furious. “The COVID thing is one thing. But the U.S. has citizens all over the world, and a diplomatic corps all over the world. What are they doing to protect and attend to us?” Documents for American citizens within the United States are also getting stuck in the backlog. When Dayna and Brian Lee, who are Tony Award-winning producers of “Angels in America,” had twin baby girls in early April, the bureaucratic headaches started before they even brought their newborn daughters from the hospital to their home in New York City, where they have lived for several years. The couple is originally from Toronto and their daughters, Emmy and Ella, are eligible for dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship but are currently without passports from either country. The infants must have American passports first so their parents can travel with them to Canada, where the girls will be able to also receive their Canadian passports. But for weeks after the girls were born, the Lees were unable to book appointments at any U.S. passport office within a three-hour drive of New York City. They ended up turning to an immigration lawyer for help. “It’s so inexplicably stressful, mixed up with the overwhelming joy of having these two beautiful lives in front of you,” Brian Lee said. “But we’ve made the decision that come hell or high water, we will be with our families this summer.” Elizabeth Goss, an immigration attorney based in Boston, said she expects delays and scheduling headaches for both visas and U.S. passports to last another year. “It’s like a cruise ship that needs to readjust,” she said. “It’s not a speedboat.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Manchester United put Manchester City's Premier League title celebrations on hold after coming from behind to win 3-1 away to Aston Villa on Sunday.
Harvard astrophysicist: ‘An ocean re-entry was always statistically the most likely. It appears China won its gamble. … But it was still reckless.’
Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit has tested positive for a banned substance, trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday, and could ultimately be disqualified, according to multiple media reports Sunday.
LOS ANGELES — Ana Paredes paced back and forth in anxious anticipation, her eyes on the escalator disgorging passengers into the baggage claim area. When the little girl emerged, Paredes rushed forward to clutch and caress her. But 10-year-old Melissa, the daughter she had not seen for seven years, at first embraced her only halfheartedly. Before boarding the flight to Los Angeles, the girl had fretted on the phone about whether she would find her mother at the airport. “Will I recognize you?” she asked. Her arrival on April 2 marked the end of a 2,500-mile journey that began in Guatemala in February, progressed over land through Mexico and then ended in a hazardous raft trip across the Rio Grande into Texas. She spent several weeks in a government-contracted group home before being allowed to join her mother and two older siblings in California. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times When Paredes left Melissa in Guatemala in 2014, her daughter had been a cheerful toddler, just starting to learn colors and talk in complete sentences. Now, she walked off the plane with her thick black hair gathered in a bun, her air mature and aloof, carrying her own luggage. Over the past six months, nearly 50,000 migrant children like Melissa have crossed the southwestern border on their own, an extraordinary new wave of immigration that has left authorities scrambling to open shelters and locate family members in the United States. Unlike the migrant children separated from their families at the border under the Trump administration, many of the children arriving now were left behind years ago in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador by parents who traveled north to find work. Their parents were encouraged to send for them by President Joe Biden’s more welcoming approach to immigration. The arrivals are creating joyous reunions across the country but also posing challenges for parents like Paredes, who paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to ferry her child to the United States and now must help her daughter ease into a new, unfamiliar life. “I did it because I had to,” Paredes, 36, said of her decision to leave her children behind in Guatemala. She had hoped that her family of rural sharecroppers would benefit from the money she was able to send home. “Growing up, we walked barefoot; we were so poor,” she said. “I wanted better for my children.” A New Life in California Paredes, a single mother, had left behind not only Melissa, who was then 3, but her two older children, ages 9 and 6. She told them she would return in five years. Joining an older brother in Oxnard, California, she found work packing cosmetics for a company owned by the Kardashian family by day and washing dishes at a restaurant by night. She lived in a converted garage. “From the first month, I was sending as much money as possible to my mother and children,” said Paredes, who sent back about $600 a month. Over the years, she helped her mother add a kitchen to her hut, buy appliances and cover the cost of doctors’ visits and medicine to treat her heart and liver ailments. For her children, the money she sent went to clothes, toys and education-related expenses. She bought a modest house a block away from her parents, hoping to live there one day with her family. But as time passed, she began to feel more settled in the United States. In 2019, she managed to put together $15,000 to send for her oldest children, Kimberly, 15, and Yeison, 13. “I thought Melissa was still too young to make the trip,” Paredes said. To ensure she had time for her children, she decided to work one job, in the berry fields, starting and ending her days early. Back in Guatemala, Paredes’ mother’s health deteriorated; when she died months later, Melissa was forced to move in with an uncle in another town. He was “really strict,” Melissa said. After that, the little girl refused to take calls from her mother. Early this year, with a new president in the White House and news that families with young children were not being turned away at the border, Paredes’ brother decided to bring his daughter, son-in-law and 9-month-old granddaughter to Oxnard. Melissa could accompany them, they said. Paredes agreed to pay $3,400 to a smuggler. On Feb. 14, the four set out from Guatemala with other migrants heading north. Women and children squeezed into the back seat of the truck. Men traveled in the cargo bed. “We went hungry,” Melissa said. The baby, Andrea Samantha, cried because her mother’s milk dried up. In the filthy stash houses where they spent each night, everyone slept on the ground. “There were so many ants,” Melissa said. About 10 days into the trip, they reached Mexico’s border with the United States, family members said, and were locked up with about 100 other migrants awaiting orders to cross the Rio Grande. Many days passed. The baby was fussy and famished, Paredes’ sister-in-law, Marlin Paredes, said. “I cried. They wouldn’t let us set foot out of that place, and I felt like running away.” By the time it was their turn to go, Melissa said, she had replayed over and over in her head what she was supposed to do. Once on U.S. soil, she was to distance herself from her relatives and surrender to Border Patrol agents. She was to say, “I came alone — I don’t know any of the migrants.” If asked whether she had family in the United States, she was to share her mother’s name, the city where she lived and her cellphone number, which she had memorized. The separation tactic, she was told, would help assure that she would be allowed to remain, even if the adults in the party, as often happens, were expelled. It was pitch black when Melissa, her relatives and another eight migrants followed a guide, only his flashlight illuminating the path to the river’s edge. As they boarded an inflatable raft, the guide instructed them to kneel, four to a row, with arms against their bodies. “We had to keep still like this,” Melissa said, bending down to demonstrate. “My shoes got all wet.” Not long after they disembarked on the other side, the Border Patrol arrived. Within hours, Melissa boarded a van with several teenagers. They were dropped off at a massive tent structure in Donna, Texas, where unaccompanied minors were being processed. Melissa remembered her mother’s phone number, and an agent called Paredes in Oxnard to inform her that her child was safe. It was March 4. Much of the backlog has been cleared at Donna, but at the time, more than 1,000 young people were crammed into pods partitioned with clear plastic sheets. Some slept on blue metal benches because there was not enough room on the floor. Melissa said she shared a mattress on the ground with two other girls. To keep warm, everyone got a Mylar blanket, a wafer-thin metallic sheet that fit in the palm of Melissa’s hand when she folded it. During several days at the center, she saw the sky twice — when the girls had to vacate their pod for cleaning. “When they let us outside, they made us walk in circles on fake grass,” Melissa said. The food was not bad, she said, but it was not enough. At snack time, she sometimes grabbed an extra packet of Oreo cookies when no one was looking. After several days, she was sent to stay with about five other children in a foster home in Corpus Christi, Texas. There, Melissa shared a room with a 13-year-old from El Salvador and a 10-year-old from Honduras, with whom she became fast friends, she said. The woman running the home, who spoke Spanish, took them to a store, where Melissa picked out a pink hoodie with a rainbow. They visited a playground. One Sunday, they went to church. Back in Oxnard, Paredes prepared the paperwork required to regain custody of her child. On the phone, Melissa told her mother that she was well, though bored with the Disney princess movies that kept playing on the TV. But when her daughter underwent a mental health assessment, Paredes was devastated to learn that Melissa had said she sometimes wished she could die. Paredes joined a Zoom session offered by a nonprofit group for parents and others preparing to receive young migrants, hoping for advice on how to cope with lingering trauma. In late March, Paredes was informed that she had satisfied all the requirements, including a background check. All she had to do was pay $1,400 for a one-way airline ticket for Melissa and an escort to accompany her. On a call, Melissa asked her mother whether she would recognize her. “How old was I when you left? I can’t remember you.” “You will recognize me,” Paredes told her daughter. “We will make up for lost time.” A Homecoming With Balloons In Oxnard, Melissa was warmly greeted by her brother and sister, as well as her cousin, who had made the journey from Guatemala with her. Colorful balloons and a poster scrawled with a message — “Welcome, Little Sis. We Love You Very Much” — covered one wall. Melissa had something to show them as well: She had sneaked out a memento from her stay at the Border Patrol camp: not just one, but two Mylar blankets. Melissa shared a double bed with her mother. One night, Paredes mustered the courage to ask her daughter why she had stopped talking to her after her older siblings left Guatemala. “I thought you had left me forever; I thought you would never bring me,” Melissa replied. “I never meant to abandon you,” Paredes said. Like other unaccompanied minors entering illegally, Melissa has been placed in removal proceedings. Her family hopes she will win a reprieve. School officials said it was best to wait until the fall for Melissa to start classes, but Paredes signed her up for a soccer league so she could begin making friends. At a recent practice, she kept a distance from the other players when they lined up for drills, fiddling nervously with her hands. When it was over, Melissa walked to the sideline, where her mother was sitting. Paredes pulled her daughter onto her lap, gave her a tight embrace and pressed her lips on her cheek. On April 15, Melissa turned 11. After arriving home from the fields, Paredes changed and dashed out to pick up pizza, barbecue chicken and a tres leches cake. Soon, family and friends began pouring into the apartment. But all the attention embarrassed and overwhelmed Melissa. “This is her first birthday party,” her mother explained in private. Paredes had to push her to stand in front of the cake as the group serenaded her in Spanish, and then broke into “Happy Birthday.” She blew out all 11 candles on her first try, smiling. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Tesla’s CEO may be giving his mother the digital currency for Mother’s Day, as he suggested on Saturday Night Live, but it will be worth a lot less than the price before his opening monologue on the show.
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