As part of a class exercise to commemorate Earth Day/Week/Month, second-graders at Trowbridge School of Discovery and Technology made creatures entirely out of recycled materials. The students in Mr. Koney’s class learned how recycling can impact the environment and wrote a report about their projects and how their families recycle. One student created a life-size replica of her Great Dane (far right)! The creatures will be on display at the school through Math and Science Night on May 9.
Pictured above are the “Central Park Five” during their trial.
(New York, NY) – Florentine Films filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon issued the following statement in response to a subpoena from the City of New York requesting notes, outtakes and other materials related to their new film, “The Central Park Five,” the story of the five young men who were wrongfully convicted for the 1989 rape of a jogger in Central Park.
“We have long expected the subpoena,” said Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon, the film’s directors. “For the last ten years the City has refused to settle the civil rights lawsuit brought by these young men. This strikes us as just another effort delay and deny closure and justice to these five men, each of whom was cleared of guilt even though they served out their full and unjustified terms.
“As you can imagine, we strongly believe in the media’s right to investigate and report on these and other issues and that this process, including the reporting notes and outtakes, come under the New York reporters’ shield law. The government has an exacting burden before it can obtain these and other materials.”
“The Central Park Five” examines how the legal system’s rush to judgment—fueled by a city racially divided and fearful of crime—resulted in false confessions and no reassessment of the charges as conflicting evidence came in. This left a brutal rapist on the streets and robbed five innocent kids of their youth, all of whom served out their full terms. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, after directing a thorough re-investigation when the actual rapist came forward and confessed, and realizing his office’s mistakes, joined with the defense to request that the convictions be vacated, which was instantly granted by Judge Charles Tejada.
In a letter to the City’s Law Department, John Siegal, the attorney retained by Florentine Films, explained that the subpoena was “overbroad,” since it seeks all materials the filmmakers collected in the course of researching, shooting and editing the film. “The subpoena served by your office is neither appropriate nor enforceable under the governing law for subpoenas served on professional journalists exercising their right of independent free speech and comment on a matter of public importance,” Mr. Siegal wrote.
“Florentine Films has carefully considered the subpoena and is sensitive to the important work performed by your office and the issues involved in the case. But, due to a deeply held belief that its future ability to make films about matters of public interest would be compromised by complying with the subpoena, Florentine Films respectfully intends to invoke its constitutional and statutory rights and withhold the unpublished materials sought by your office.”
In the letter, Mr. Siegal explained as well that Florentine Films has had no financial relationship with those interviewed in the film, nor with any of their representatives.
Eight years ago Ethiopia’s Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu decided to sell cool colourful shoes made of recycled materials, including car tyres.
The company which she started, SoleRebels, would soon become the planet’s first fair trade green footwear firm – certified by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) – and is now one of Ethiopia’s most thriving businesses.
At the moment it sells its products in 55 countries, mostly through individual retailers, and its biggest markets are in Austria, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and the United States. The shoes are also sold online.
“My mum and my father have been working hard. I grew up watching them,” she told the BBC series African Dream.
“My father is an electrician and my mother works in a hospital. They have really been building us to work with whatever we have. So I watched my parents; they’re a model for me to follow in their steps.”
Having trained as an accountant, she decided to venture into the shoemaking business when she realised that many talented artisans in her neighbourhood were unemployed.
“They had skills but they didn’t have any opportunities to work,” she said.
She also knew that there was an appetite abroad for eco-sustainable products.
“The idea of making things by hand was here, and using local materials by local people. Therefore, the platform for SoleRebels is to build our own brand from here and sell outside. That’s the model that we follow,” she explained.
She started the company with an investment of less than $10,000 (£6,400), put together by her immediate family.
They use old tyres, natural fibres and hand-made fabrics – all locally sourced – to manufacture sandals and other shoes which are inspired in the traditional Selate and Barabasso tyre footwear once worn by Ethiopian rebels.
Their designs, however, are modern and seem to take into account the trends followed by consumers in the West.
They make around 800 pairs of shoes a day which are sold at a price of – on average – between $35 and $95.
“We are doing well. We are trying to do $2m this year. In 2016, we are planning to do $20m. So that’s why we are working hard and we are trying to expand our working facility,” Mrs Bethlehem said.
“The demand is here. It’s up to us to take that advantage and to make it happen,” she added.
But this does not mean that they will do business with any retailer abroad.
“We are really selective because we need this brand to stand out for Ethiopia and Africa so that’s why we are taking our time,” she said.
She also complained that sometimes foreign companies try to get their products at unfair prices.
“Since we are a fair trade organisation people want to buy fair trade shoes from us but they want to buy at cheap prices. That I don’t understand.
I don’t get enough sleep. But I really enjoy it”
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Currently, her staff are paid up to four times Ethiopia’s average wage.
“I don’t get enough sleep. But I really enjoy it,” the entrepreneur said.
“I know that running a business is not that easy and there is always a threat, there is always a risk that we are going to take, but I love it.”
In 2011 Mrs Bethlehem was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and her firm was one of the winners of the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship in Nairobi, Kenya.
Then in January 2012 she was listed by the US business magazine Forbes as one of Africa’s most successful women and a few weeks ago she received the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa which this year took place in Ethiopia.
She now plans to build a bigger manufacturing plant where she hopes to employ up to 300 people.
The factory will be totally ecological as SoleRebel wants to continue building on its reputation of being the world’s first fair trade green footwear company.
African Dream is broadcast on the BBC Network Africa programme every Monday morning, and on BBC World News throughout the day on Fridays
Every week, one successful business man or woman will explain how they started off and what others could learn from them.