‘Water Is Life’: Unexpected Rainfall Revives Iraq’s Historic Marshlands

CHIBAYISH MARSHES, Iraq—This time last year, most of Iraq’s historic marshlands were dry, desiccated by upstream damming and a chronic lack of rainfall.

Now, local farmers are counting their blessings after unexpected heavy rainfall at the end of 2018 caused the dams to overflow by early January and water came gushing back to the wetlands in southeastern Iraq.

For Yunus Khalil, a farmer raising water buffalo in the central marsh, the lack of water meant he had to sell most of his herd at a loss last year.

“We were terrified the water wouldn’t come back,” Khalil said. “It would’ve been the end for us.”

The marshes, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2016, are experiencing their highest water levels since they were reclaimed in 2003, said Jassim al-Asadi, southern director of local NGO Nature Iraq and a native of the marshlands, which stretch to the Iran border.

“God knows how much we suffered last year,” Khalil said. “He protected us.”

Saddam Hussein accused the area’s inhabitants, the Marsh Arabs, of treachery during the 1980-1988 war with Iran and later drained the marshes—which before then had stretched across more than 3,700 square miles (9,583 sq km)—to flush out rebels.

Iraqi Marsh Arab girls walk near buffaloes at the Chebayesh marsh in Dhi Qar province, Iraq April 13, 2019. (Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)

Many residents fled, but after Saddam’s overthrow in 2003, parts of the marshland were reflooded and around 250,000 Marsh Arabs have cautiously trickled back.

Many had moved to farmland in nearby provinces, or went to live in exile in Iran. Their years away brought a change to the vibrant local culture, residents say, and more conservative norms, particularly regarding the role of women who have long worked alongside men in the marshes.

“You used to hear women singing as they pushed their boats through the marshes at dawn,” said Taher Mehsin, a fishermen in his late 60s. “Now, some of the men won’t let their women out of the house.”

New Problems

The area has been home to the Marsh Arabs for millennia, and water is essential to maintaining their way of life.

Though many were eager to return home after two decades away, life in the marshes is tough and revolves around fishing and raising water buffalo. The few schools and government-run health clinics are miles away from the open water, where many people live without electricity.

Residents have to make daily trips on long wooden boats to buy bottled water for themselves and their families—as the surrounding waters are too salty to drink.

An Iraqi Marsh Arab man rides a boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Dhi Qar province, Iraq April 14, 2019. (Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters)

Years of low water levels have caused other problems, including less tall grass for the buffalo to graze on, and a drop in the variety of fish.

The local carp, previously local fishermen’s best seller, hasn’t been seen in the waters here all year. Instead, the fishermen and women now catch just one type of small fish which most don’t recall having seen until recently.

After casting their nets the previous night, they haul their take at dawn to local buyers, who are currently paying around $2.50 (3,000 dinars) a kilo after haggling—a 50 percent drop in price compared to 2017.

“What else can we do?” said Mehsin as he pushed his boat out from the shore, having netted $10 (12,000 Iraqi dinars) for his day’s take.

“Water is life here. Fish and animals can’t live without it, and neither can we.”

By Raya Jalabi

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Author: Reuters

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P&G Operating Margin, Grooming Product Sales Dip on Strong Dollar; Shares Drop

Procter & Gamble Co. reported a decline in its third-quarter operating margin on April 23 and said a strong U.S. dollar hurt sales of its grooming products, sending shares of the maker of Tide and Gillette products down as much as 3.3%.

Soaring commodity and transportation costs have eroded margins across the consumer goods industry over the past year. P&G said its core operating margin declined by 60 basis points to 19.9%, and was hurt by foreign exchange fluctuations.

This was considerably below the estimates of some analysts. Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj, for example, forecast an operating margin of 20.9%.

“Expectations were quite high and operating margin was more sour than people thought, which raises questions of P&G having to increase investments to grow topline growth,” Dibadj said. “It’s an industry problem but I think they’re doing what they can.”

The world’s no.1 maker of personal care goods, which gets more than half its sales from outside North America, has tried to offset the higher costs by upgrading several products and then raising their prices.

Indeed, price hikes on P&G’s skincare and detergent lines, which include Tide, Olay, and SK-II, helped the Cincinnati-based company beat revenue and profit estimates.

“We’re pricing to recover the costs not to recover the margin, and so we typically see margin compression,” Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said on a call to discuss earnings. Moeller said he expected P&G’s operating margin to grow again “going forward.”

Higher prices are often met with resistance from retailers, but Moeller said the rises had stuck so far.

P&G, which also makes Pampers diapers and Febreze air fresheners, reported a 5 percent rise in organic sales, a keenly watched metric that excludes the impact of currency changes and mergers and acquisitions. Price hikes contributed 2 percentage points to organic sales growth.

Some rivals, too, have benefited after raising prices. Kimberly Clark Corp., which makes Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, said on Monday it beat first-quarter earnings and revenue estimates by hiking prices and cutting operating costs to offset a stronger dollar and higher raw material costs.

Still, the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations dragged organic sales down by 1% at P&G’s grooming business, which makes Gillette razors, gels and foams, some of the company’s best-selling products in international markets.

 

Organic sales from fabric and home care, P&G’s biggest unit, surged 7%. The beauty business saw a 9% rise in organic sales, helped by the premium SK-II brand.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said that while she approved of the price hikes and sales growth in beauty, she was concerned about weak sales at P&G’s grooming and baby care businesses.

Net income rose to $2.75 billion, or $1.04 per share, in the quarter ended March 31. Excluding items, the company earned $1.06 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.03 per share.

Net sales rose 1.1 percent to $16.46 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $16.37 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

By Richa Naidu & Soundarya J

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Author: Reuters

Trump’s Policies Lift Lockheed Martin’s Profit, Shares Surge

Lockheed Martin Corp. reported better-than-expected quarterly profit on April 23 as President Donald Trump’s looser policies on foreign arms sales boosted demand for missiles and fighter jets.

The Pentagon’s biggest weapons supplier is the first major defense company to report quarterly earnings this week, which Wall Street expects to be higher than a year ago as global demand for arms rises. Trump’s administration has proposed an increase in U.S. defense spending for the next fiscal year.

Lockheed shares rose nearly 7 percent in their best one-day percentage rise since October 2016. Investors bet on similar results from the whole sector, pushing Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co., and General Dynamics Corp. shares up more than 2.7 percent.

Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business, which makes missile defenses like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), was one of its best-performing units.

On April 1, in a deal that was partially brokered by Trump, the unit was awarded a THAAD interceptor missile contract worth $2.4 billion, many of which are slated to be delivered to Saudi Arabia.

Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Possenriede told investors on a post-earnings conference call that profits for the unit for the rest of the year would not be as strong, “a little north of 13 percent margin,” because of investments in future programs.

Overall, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said its earnings rose to $1.70 billion, or $5.99 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.16 billion, or $4.02 per share, a year earlier. That was partly helped by a $75 million dollar boost from additional tax deductions on foreign military sales, part of Trump’s tax cut that came into effect last year.

Excluding that one-time gain, Lockheed reported $5.73 per share profit, well ahead of the $4.34 per share that Wall Street had expected, on average, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company had a 12.4 percent tax rate in the first quarter but Possenriede said he expected its 2019 tax rate to be 15.5 percent.

Lockheed’s overall net sales for the quarter rose 23 percent to $14.34 billion. The company’s sales backlog grew to $133.5 billion, up 3 billion over the quarter.

 

Jet Sales Up

Operating margins at the aeronautics division, Lockheed’s biggest, fell to 10.5 percent in the first quarter from 10.8 percent a year earlier, but sales were up 27 percent to $5.5 billion on demand for the F-35 jet and some classified contracts.

The United States is considering expanding sales of Lockheed-made F-35 fighter jets to five new nations including Romania, Greece, and Poland as European allies bulk up their defenses in the face of a strengthening Russia, a Pentagon official told Congress in early April.

The F-35, a key program for Lockheed, suffered a setback earlier this month when a Japanese F-35 stealth fighter crashed in the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan. The aircraft was less than a year old and was the first F-35 assembled in Japan.

The company highlighted some risks in its earnings report, including U.S. “government actions to prevent the sale or delivery of the corporation’s products” to Turkey.

The U.S. Congress recently introduced several bipartisan resolutions targeting Turkey, calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions or prohibit the transfer of F-35 fighter aircraft.

By Mike Stone

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Author: Reuters

Leader of US Citizen Border Patrol Group Attacked in Jail

SUNLAND PARK, N.M.—The leader of an armed group that spent two months detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border was hospitalized after he was attacked in jail, his lawyer and authorities said.

Larry Hopkins, 69, also known as Johnny Horton was in a hospital with broken ribs after being attacked on April 23 at the Dona Ana County Detention Center in Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, his attorney, Kelly O’Connell, said.

The detention center confirmed on Wednesday that Hopkins, a federal detainee, was “the alleged victim” of a Tuesday night attack and that the incident was under investigation.

“Hopkins was given medical attention for non life-threatening injuries,” county spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said in an email, adding that Hopkins had been transferred out of the jail under the direction of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The attack occurred the same day Hopkins’ United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) group abandoned its border camp near Sunland Park, New Mexico, where they had spent two months detaining thousands of illegal migrants.

O’Connell said he had spoken with Hopkins by phone.

“This guy is very high-profile. So, if he gets put into jail and is immediately attacked after his first hearing just a few days after being put in there, can Dona Ana County correctional protect high-profile defendants?” O’Connell asked.

O’Connell said he did not know why Hopkins had been targeted. But a spokesman for his UCP paramilitary group said he believed it was because of his activity at the border.

“They put him in a pod cell with a group of people and they had just got done watching the article about the ACLU writing about him being racist, and as a result of that he was attacked,” UCP spokesman Jim Benvie said in a video posted online.

Hopkins is being held without bail at least until an arraignment and detention hearing on Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a judge will decide whether he will have the opportunity to post bail, O’Connell said.

Benvie said the UCP was moving to another campsite in a couple of days and would continue to support the U.S. Border Patrol, which has said it does not support private citizens acting as law enforcement.

Flood of Illegal Aliens in New Mexico

Larry Mitchell Hopkins was arrested on April 20 in Sunland Park, New Mexico, on a federal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, according to a statement by the FBI.

“We’re not worried about it, he’s going to be cleared,” said Benvie, a spokesman for the UCP, an armed civilian group that has detained more than 5,600 illegal aliens in past two months.

Benvie blamed the arrest on political pressure from New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who ordered an investigation into the group after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused the UCP of illegally detaining the illegal aliens.

The ACLU advocates for a range of far-left causes, including the defunding of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Hopkins is the “national commander” of the UCP, which has had about a half-dozen members camped out on a rotating basis near Sunland Park since late February.

The UCP describes itself as a “patriot group” that helps the U.S. Border Patrol cope with record numbers of Central American families crossing the border seeking asylum.

“We are here to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America. We uphold this cause against all enemies both foreign and domestic, which shall infringe upon the rights of the citizens given by the Constitution,” states the group’s description on Facebook.

UCP members dress in camouflage and carry rifles for self-defense.

Videos posted online by the group show members telling migrants to stop, sit down, and wait for agents to arrive.

Crowdfunding sites PayPal and GoFundMe on April 19 barred the group from collecting donations, citing policies not to “promote hate or violence.” The ACLU, without evidence, called the UCP a “fascist militia.”

Despite having funding sources cut off, Benvie said the group’s online support had swelled since it came under attack this week. Its Facebook followers have more than doubled since April 17 to almost 5,000 people.

Benvie said the group would probably leave if told to by state police; however, if the order violated the group’s constitutional rights, the UCP would sue the state of New Mexico.

“There’s not going to be any standoffs, this isn’t the Bundy Ranch,” Benvie said, in reference to a 2014 armed confrontation in Nevada.

By Julio-Cesar Chavez. The Epoch Times Reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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Author: Reuters

Ex-Christie Aide Gets 13-Month Sentence in Bridge Scandal

NEWARK, N.J.—A onetime aide to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was resentenced on April 24, to 13 months—down from 18—for her role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal.

Bridget Kelly, dabbing her eyes with a tissue at points during the resentencing hearing in federal court in Newark, cried as she asked the judge to consider the impact on her children and impose a sentence of home confinement.

“I do ask you today to consider what my four children have been through over the past five years,” Kelly said in court.

She and co-defendant Bill Baroni were convicted in 2016 in what prosecutors and a co-conspirator said was a plot to cause traffic jams near the bridge to punish a mayor who wouldn’t endorse Christie’s reelection.

Kelly’s attorney Michael Critchley asked the court to consider the emotional and psychological effects the trial had on Kelly and her family, saying that that amounted to punishment.

“The shrapnel of Bridgegate that affects the Kelly family is embedded. It’s gonna be there forever,” he said.

He also questioned why Christie, Wildstein and two other former officials, whose names came up during the trial but who went unindicted, seemed to face no punishment.

“The boys of Bridgegate are doing fine,” he said. “Reputationally, they’re doing fine.”

Assistant United States Attorney Vikas Khanna argued that a sentence of 13 to 18 months was necessary to send a message to the public that the wrongdoing Kelly was convicted of is unacceptable.

U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton, who presided over the trial, opened Wednesday’s proceedings by noting that she was “extremely familiar” with the facts and added later that the underlying facts before the court had not changed.

Bridget Anne Kelly, left, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, walks with her lawyer Michael Critchley, right, and an associate while arriving at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse for a re-sentencing hearing, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Kelly was convicted in 2016 in the alleged plot to cause traffic jams to punish a mayor for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Last fall, a federal appeals court threw out some of the counts against Kelly and Baroni but upheld the most serious ones.

Baroni had his sentence reduced from 24 months to 18 months in February and has begun serving his term.

Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months. She and Baroni both have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of their convictions.

After the resentencing, Kelly spoke briefly, saying that she would not “remain quiet any longer.” She called Christie a bully and said “the days of you calling me a liar and destroying my life are over.”

Christie, who wasn’t charged and denied wrongdoing, responded in a statement on Wednesday.

“As I have said before, I had no knowledge of this scheme prior to or during these lane realignments and had no role in authorizing them. No credible evidence was ever presented to contradict that fact. Anything said to the contrary is simply untrue,” he said.

Kelly was Christie’s deputy chief of staff in 2013 when, prosecutors alleged, she, Baroni and David Wildstein conspired to close access lanes to the bridge over four days to create gridlock in the town of Fort Lee, whose Democratic mayor had declined to endorse Christie, a Republican.

Bridget Kelly, left, the former deputy chief of staff for former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, walks with her lawyer Michael Critchley while leaving the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Courthouse after a re-sentencing hearing, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Newark, N.J. Kelly, who was convicted in 2016 in the alleged plot to cause traffic jams to punish a mayor for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid, was re-sentenced to 13 months for her role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal. Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Kelly authored the infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email the month before the lane realignment went into effect.

Baroni, a former New Jersey state senator, was appointed by Christie as deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge as well as tunnels, airports, ports and the World Trade Center.

Wildstein, a high school acquaintance of Christie’s who worked for Baroni at the Port Authority, pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution. He was sentenced to probation and currently publishes a website on New Jersey politics.

Kelly and Baroni were convicted of wire fraud, conspiracy and civil rights counts. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the civil rights counts in November, ruling that a right to intrastate travel is not guaranteed under current federal law.

Though Christie wasn’t charged, he was contradicted by several witnesses who testified during the trial. The ensuing publicity helped derail Christie’s efforts to be the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee.

Kelly’s attorneys have argued in court filings that while the actions of their client and Baroni may have been ethically questionable, they weren’t illegal because neither derived personal benefit and the bridge was still being used for a public purpose.

They’ve also contended the trial judge erred when she ruled jurors didn’t have to believe the lane realignment was for a political purpose in order to find the defendants guilty.

By Mike Catalini

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Author: The Associated Press

FAA Paves Way for Alphabet Unit to Make First US Drone Deliveries

WASHINGTON—Alphabet Inc.’s Wing Aviation unit on April 23 got the okay to start delivering goods by drone in Virginia later this year, making the sister unit of search engine Google the first company to get U.S. air carrier certification, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

This means Wing can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes, which includes flights beyond visual line of site and over people, the FAA and Wing said. Wing Aviation plans to start commercial package delivery in Blacksburg, Virginia, later this year.

Wing partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech as one of the participants in the Transportation Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.

“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy. Safety continues to be our Number One priority as this technology continues to develop and realize its full potential,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The certification is good for two years, the FAA said. One pilot can operate up to five drones at once and only during the day. Drones cannot carry hazardous materials or hover over people, the FAA said.

The FAA said Wing demonstrated that its operations met the agency’s safety requirements, based on extensive data and documentation, as well as thousands of safe flights conducted in Australia. Wing plans to reach out to the local community before it begins a food delivery trial in order to gather feedback, the FAA said.

Wing has recently begun commercial air delivery service in the north of Canberra, Australia, and is also about to begin its first trial in Europe, delivering to homes in Helsinki, Finland.

Wing said its data shows a lower risk to pedestrians from drone deliveries than the same trip made by car.

In May 2018, Chao announced approval for 10 projects to help assess how to regulate drones and integrate them safely into U.S. air space. The United States has lagged other countries in experimentation with drones, something the program hopes to correct.

In January, the FAA proposed rules that would allow drones to operate over populated areas and end a requirement for special permits for night use. The FAA is also considering moving ahead with additional rules in response to public safety and national security concerns as it works to integrate drones with airplane traffic.

 

By David Shepardson

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Author: Reuters

Taiwan’s Advances in Digital Healthcare

This year marks the 24th anniversary of Taiwan’s implementation of universal health coverage. Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) covers the full spectrum of essential and high-quality health services, from prevention and treatment to rehabilitation and palliative care.

The provision of preventive and primary healthcare is the most cost-efficient approach to achieving universal health coverage. Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has developed tools utilizing artificial intelligence and cloud computing to access the massive databases it has built over the past 24 years. For instance, the MediCloud system was launched to enable healthcare providers to query patients’ medical records within the NHI system, while the PharmaCloud system provides prescription drug information to physicians and pharmacists. Currently, through digital cloud tools, community-based primary care providers in Taiwan can retrieve test reports―including CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, gastroscopies, colonoscopies and X-rays―from secondary and tertiary institutions and receive prescription information.

These digital health technologies have enhanced care services in many ways. They have improved the quality of care and reduced costs, in terms of both time and money, by properly matching health services with the locations where these services are provided. They have also lowered the potential risks arising from repeated examinations. Related systems are patient-centered, meaning that they are organized around the complex needs and expectations of patients and communities, helping realize the concept of good hospitals in the community and good doctors in the neighborhood.

Taiwan has learned how to utilize its competitive advantages in information technology and medicine to deliver better care and enhance the health of the overall population. In response to the goals set by the Health Workforce 2030 of the World Health Organization (WHO), Taiwan has also provided scholarships for in-service programs and higher education to thousands of people, both Taiwanese and foreign nationals, in fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, healthcare administration and public health.

At a time when achieving universal health coverage has never been more urgent and important, Taiwan has actively sought to share its first-rate experience in healthcare reform. Regrettably, political obstruction has deprived Taiwan of the right to participate in and contribute to the World Health Assembly―WHO’s decision-making body. In the past two years, WHO has denied Taiwanese delegates, who represent the 23 million citizens of a democratic and peaceful country, access to the assembly. Nevertheless, Taiwan remains committed to enhancing regional and global health cooperation, sharing its experience and capacity in healthcare reform with countries in need, and making universal health coverage a reality by 2030.

Against this backdrop, we urge WHO to respond favorably to the widespread calls for Taiwan’s inclusion in the World Health Assembly and related technical meetings, mechanisms and activities. WHO should abide by its own principles of inclusiveness and universal participation. Taiwan is a worthy and reliable partner that can help countries around the world achieve the meaningful goal of universal health coverage by 2030.

By Shih-Chung Chen, Minister of Health and Welfare, Taiwan

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Author: Letters to Editor

Interior Designer Praises Shen Yun’s Costumes, Sets for Enhancing Storytelling

COSTA MESA, Calif.—The design behind every costume displayed in Shen Yun Performing Arts is the result of countless hours of hard work and dedication to showcase authentic Chinese culture on stage. This was something interior designer Lisa Holt was able to see when she experienced the traditional dance and music performance.

“The costuming and the set is amazing. I mean it’s really quite extensive, and very impressive,” Holt said. “The way people move in the costumes is spectacular. … It’s coming off quite well because I know it’s meant to be a storytelling venue and the stories are nice, they’re simple of course, but what’s really coming off is the beauty of the design intention that went into creating all of it.”

Holt saw Shen Yun at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, on April 24. The New York-based company has a mission to revive China’s 5,000 years of semi-divine culture through performing arts.

As a designer herself, Holt said she understood the effort and commitment required to create designs that consummate a stage effect.

“I’m always so respectful of the work involved because I know, I have to do it as well, so I know what it’s like to get the … skirt the right length and the hem and the way the sleeves moves when they dance,” Holt said.

“I mean those are all incredibly important details because if they don’t come off the right way they won’t come off on the stage,” she added.

According to Shen Yun, traditional Chinese attire has its origins in the heavens. The ancient Chinese believed that immortals from celestial paradises reincarnated on earth as humans to play an important role in shaping China and its culture.

When they came down, they brought with them divine gifts to mankind—the wisdom of sages, skills, and inventions that allowed dynasties to prosper. And among these divine gifts was celestial garb.

This connection to the divine was what made historical Han clothing so multifaceted and rich in design, the company explains on its website.

A Culture That is Nearly Lost

Holt said it was sad that China lost significant portions of its culture and traditions in the last several decades.

During this time, China has experienced many movements aimed at eradicating 5,000 years of civilization and traditional culture. From cultural sites and temples to ancient relics and people’s beliefs, much of China’s history and spirit were destroyed after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power.

The interior designer said it was important for people to preserve the forms of traditional art as they tell stories about their origins and their identity.

“All these forms of traditional arts like this are important both to tell stories about where people came from and who they were as a people then. It’s very important to know about and to preserve the history that way and it also makes you understand it; there is not a big difference between any of us,” she said.

Moreover, she added that she was able to relate to the ancient Chinese’s connection to the divine as she believes the arts are divinely inspired.

“I think all the arts are inspired divinely, I think that all creativity comes from a source or a resource that’s outside of ourselves and then we express it. So I think that is not unique to China,” she said.

“But Chinese obviously had many thousands of years to refine their expression which is great.”

With reporting by Yaning Liu.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.

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Author: Epoch Newsroom

Missing Calif. Mom Found Dead With Ex-Pro Hockey Player in His Home

A California mother of two, missing since April 19, was found dead with an ex-pro hockey player in his Newport Beach condominium on Sunday.

Newport Beach police got a 911 call on Sunday night from a man who returned after the Easter holiday to his condo to find his roommate, Darren Partch, 38, dead with a woman, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The man didn’t recognize the woman who was later identified by the Orange County coroner as Wendi Miller, 48, of Costa Mesa.

Police are investigating it as an active homicide but have not provided any further information about how the two died. Miller’s son, Luke Carpenter, however, posted on Facebook and said that his mother was shot.

“She had been shot and it was told to us that she did not suffer. The police are still investigating all the details,” Carpenter said.

First of all I want to say thank you for all the love and support from everyone. It’s way more than I could ever hope…

Posted by Luke Carpenter on Monday, April 22, 2019

Miller was the chief executive officer of Wings for Justice, a non-profit that protects children in the Family Court system and advocates for change. She also supported people who suffered from domestic violence.

Carpenter described Miller as a loved person. “I have no doubt in my mind that she was loved on earth and I’m happy that she gets to be loved even better in heaven. I love you mom,” he said.

Miller had gone to a Laguna Beach bar that Friday night, and afterward said she would give a ride home to Partch, who lived a few blocks away from her house.

Posted by Luke Carpenter on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

“She was a Christian and a really sweet lady who would do anything for you,” Miller’s neighbor Terri Rawson told LA Times. “It’s shocking and heartbreaking that she won’t be with us. I’m really going to miss her because she’s a great neighbor.”

Miller lost custody of her children eight years ago in a family court in Ottawa County, Mich.

Carpenter said that some people are using the situation to harass his dad. “There have been a few people that have used this time to push an agenda or to harass my dad and I just want to remind everyone that it is so important to respond to a time like this with love. In this time it’s hard to find words to express my sadness but I know my words are better and mean a whole lot more when they come from a place of love. Both of my amazing parents taught me that,” he wrote in his post.

Hi everyone. I want to express how grateful I am for the amazing amount of support my family has gotten. I hope you all…

Posted by Luke Carpenter on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

People expressed sadness and shock at Miller’s death on Carpenter’s Facebook.

“Your mom was an amazing person. She helped so many people in our court system. She will be sadly missed. Our prayers are with you and your family,” wrote D Smlls McCracken.

“So sorry for your loss. I live three blocks away and feel devastated. Just horrible. If I can do anything for your family and you, please let me know. My heart feels heavy for you,” wrote Jeanie Quenneville Thomas.

At the time of his death, Partch was working as an account executive after playing hockey for various leagues for many years around the country.

Posted by Luke Carpenter on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

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Author: Venus Upadhayaya