Providence, Sept 22 (AP/UNB) — Researchers are exploring whether a shipwreck off the coast of Rhode Island could be the vessel that 18th-century explorer Capt. James Cook used to sail around the world.
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, which is leading the search effort, and the Australian National Maritime Museum identified the vessel. It's one of 13 shipwrecks that have been known for years to be in the harbor near Newport, Rhode Island.
Archaeologists met Friday in Newport to talk about their recent fieldwork.
"Early indications are that the team has narrowed the possible site for the wreck of HMB Endeavour to one site, which is very promising," said Kevin Sumption, director and CEO of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project described the site as promising but said it'll still take a lot more work and money to identify it.
Nearly 250 years ago, Cook ran aground on Australia's Great Barrier Reef during a voyage to the South Pacific. His ship was the Endeavour, an awkward little vessel that improbably helped him become the first European to chart Australia's east coast. He used the Endeavour to claim Australia for the British during his historic 1768-1771 voyage.
Vice Adm. Michael Noonan, chief of the Royal Australian Navy, said he dove at the Rhode Island site with researchers.
He measured one of the cannons so the dimensions can be compared to historical records, and they took samples of the wood. He's hopeful the wreck is the Endeavour.
"Certainly it's a very exciting discovery in absolute terms," he said Friday. "They're very, very confident that the Endeavour is in the site."
The Endeavour was also part of the fleet of 13 ships the British scuttled during the Revolutionary War in 1778 to blockade Newport Harbor from the French. It was listed in the records under a different name, the Lord Sandwich.
The nonprofit Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project located documents in London identifying the groups of ships in that fleet and where each was scuttled. It has been studying the wrecks in Newport Harbor since 1993, and has been ruling out ones that could not be Cook's ship. It announced this week that it had narrowed the search for Endeavour to one, or possibly two, archaeological sites.
"We've been at this 25 years and this is the first time we've been really willing to say we think we're closing in on having the Endeavour," project director Kathy Abbass said at a news conference Friday. "This is science. It's not a documentary. It's not something that will be over in 50 minutes. And we've got a lot more work to do."
They're hoping to excavate the most likely site in time for the 250th anniversary celebrations of Cook claiming of Australia, which is in 2020.
"We will be celebrating the arrival of Cook and Australia in 2020. Finding the wreck of the Endeavour at this point in time and being able to authenticate that is an extraordinary achievement, said Peter Dexter of the Australian National Maritime Museum. "That'd be fabulous."
Dhaka, Sept 21 (UNB) - A solo musical programme “Jannat Gaise” by third gender (hijra) artist Jannat was held in the city’s Green Road area on Friday evening.
The programme was organised under the project of ‘development of the standard of lifestyle and good behaviour’ in association with the social welfare department and ‘Rethink’, a platform works for the hijra community, a neglected portion of the society.
As part of the project, third gender artist Jannat was trained for six months on a different genre of music for Jannat’s keen interest in music.
Jannat said, "I feel honoured that I can sing in front of people without any hesitation and people have started accepting us."
Another third gender Opshora Prokash said the platform helped them explore their talent which was hidden.
“Please do not neglect us. We want to walk, sing and live together with all others. Do not treat us as a joker or a dangerous one. Accept us as we are the part of the same society," she added.
One of the leaders of the third gender community Shahanewaz Shaila said, "We want all-out cooperation and assistance to stand up and flourish our talent. If we get a platform to work, our community will be changed.”
‘Rethink' Director Lulu-Al-Marjan delivered the thanksgiving speech saying that the purpose of the programme was to nurture their (hijra) talent and increase cultural engagement.
She urged other people to invite the third gender people for performing in cultural programmes which will help them engage in the mainstream society.
The organisation is regularly holding many cultural sessions in the city with the participation and performance of transgender people (hijra).
Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) – Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor said on Thursday Bangladesh needs more photographers to go all over the places capturing photographs of country's cultural history.
While inaugurating a photography exhibition of eminent photographer Nasir Ali Mamun, the minister described him as a 'Chhabial', a nomadic photographer, and said, country needs more nomadic photographers like Nasir Ali Mamun who has captured the faces of those who changed the society.
The 58th solo photography exhibition and a book launch by Nasir Ali Mamun titled ‘S.M Sultan- The Cosmic Journey of a Fugitive’ was organised at Alliance Francaise in Dhaka.
Asaduzzaman Noor said, through his works, Nasir Ali Mamun has combined history and culture together.
Nasir Ali Mamun said, this exhibition and the book launching is the occasion to celebrate the life of the eminent artist S M Sultan, who has painted the pictures of country's agriculture and the farmers as well as presenting them in front of the entire world through his works.
The book was published by Delvistaa Foundation.
Mustapha Khalid Palash, Co-founder of Delvistaa Foundation said, the book holds a larger image of the artworks of SM Sultan.
To protect art and establish it as a profession, people have to exercise the practice of buying paintings and photographs, he added.
Professor Moinuddin Khaled, an art critic said, while S M Sultan lived a very strange life, Nasir Ali Mamun followed the life of the artist with his camera lens.
Many lost artworks of Sultan can be found in the photographs of Mamun, he added.
Marie Annick Bourdin, Ambassador of France to Bangladesh, Mario Plama, Ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh and Artist Monirul Islam also spoke on this occasion.
Dedicated to Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin, the exhibition showcases 27 photographs by Nasir Ali Mamun.
The exhibition will continue till October 5. It will remain open to all from 3 pm to 9 pm from Monday to Thursday and from 9 am to 12 am and 5 pm to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday. The exhibition will remain closed on Sunday.
Las Vegas, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — A glass bong taller than a giraffe. Huggable faux marijuana buds. A pool full of foam weed nuggets.
Las Vegas' newest attraction — and Instagram backdrop — is a museum celebrating all things cannabis.
Nobody will be allowed to light up at Cannabition when it opens Thursday because of a Nevada ban on public consumption of marijuana, but visitors can learn about the drug as they snap photos.
It's a made-for-social-media museum where every exhibit has lights meant to ensure people take selfies worthy of the no-filter hashtag.
The facility — whose founder says has a goal of destigmatizing marijuana use — will likely land among the talking points officials and others use to try to draw gambling-resistant millennials to Sin City.
It will welcome its first visitors almost 15 months after adults in Nevada began buying recreational marijuana legally, with sales far exceeding state projections.
"Our goal when people come out of this is that they don't fear the cannabis industry if they are not believers in the industry," founder J.J. Walker told The Associated Press. "Cannabition is not about just serving people that like marijuana, it's about serving the masses that want to learn about cannabis and or just have fun and go do a cool art experience."
Guests will wander through 12 installations with rooms like "seed," where people can lie down in a bed shaped like a marijuana seed, and "grow," which features artificial plants in sizes ranging from inches to feet tall placed under bright lights to represent an indoor cannabis grow facility.
Photo ops are also available under a glow-in-the-dark tree, next to a giant marijuana leaf meant to represent an edible gummy and by a 24-foot-tall (7-meter-tall) glass bong that's dubbed "Bongzilla" and billed as the world's largest.
There is a space with taller-than-you faux buds representing different strains and another room with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson's famous "Red Shark" Chevrolet Caprice.
This museum in Las Vegas' downtown entertainment district is not the Smithsonian of marijuana, but it has some educational components. Guests get an introduction from museum guides and some graphics on walls explain how concentrates are made and the differences between indica and sativa cannabis strains.
Museums always evolve with the times to remain relevant, and audience engagement is an important goal for the facilities today, said Gwen Chanzit, director of museum studies in art history at the University of Denver. For those who remember very traditional, no-photography-allowed museums, she said, "that ship has sailed."
"Once cellphones became ubiquitous, the culture of museum visiting changed," Chanzit said.
Many of the facility's exhibits are sponsored by cannabis companies, with their logos prominently displayed. It is common for museums to receive the support of corporations and to place their logo on a wall.
Only adults 21 and older will be allowed at Cannabition. The tour is designed to last up to an hour.
Walker, the founder, has invited reality TV stars, models and other influencers to Las Vegas for the weekend with the charge of spreading the word about the facility.
As for those who buy a ticket but their Instagram followers are only in the dozens or hundreds, Walker said, "you're still an influencer to your friends."
Ramallah, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — As the teacher pointed to the large touch screen, her first-grade classroom came alive. With the click of a link, an animated character popped up on the screen, singing and dancing as it taught the children how to read.
The day's lesson was the Arabic letter "Raa," and the screen displayed cartoon pictures of objects that contain the letter — desert, chair and pomegranate — as the teacher asked the children to come up with other words. The students smiled and sang along.Just a few years ago, such scenes were unthinkable in most Palestinian classrooms. Like elsewhere in the Arab world, schools in the Palestinian territories have traditionally emphasized memorization and obedience over critical thinking and creativity.
With an eye to the future, some Palestinian educators now hope the use of technology and the arts will create new opportunities in a society that has produced large numbers of unemployed college graduates.
"The students don't need to memorize things. They need to understand first," said Ruba Dibas, the principal of the Ziad Abu Ein School in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "Then they need to express their understanding through writing, speaking, drawing, acting."
Ziad Abu Ein is one of 54 "smart teaching schools" introduced last year. This year, the number tripled. By 2020, all 1,800 public schools in the West Bank are to be part of the program.
Dibas said the goal is to eliminate testing from the classroom. Instead, she said students need to enjoy the learning process to absorb information.
On a recent day, her school was buzzing with activity.
In a fifth-grade classroom, each child had a tablet and the teacher guided them through an Arabic lesson, using her own tablet to give assignments. Third-grade students went to the smart board, playing a game to learn the multiplication table.
In other classes, students drew cartoons to learn the physics of how airplanes fly. An English class did a project about evaporation.
Four third-graders recently learned about self-esteem in a lesson called "learning by drama." They performed a short skit about a shy girl who discovers a passion for journalism and grows up to become a successful reporter.
Their teacher, Sawsan Abdat, said the children learned an important lesson that day — that they need to find what they are good at.
After initial skepticism from parents last year, enrollment at the school has nearly doubled. This year's first grade has nearly tripled to 43 students.
"I love the school," said Malak Samara, a 9-year-old fourth grader. "We learn and enjoy. We learn and play."
These techniques are a radical departure from a system in which generations of students were forced to memorize information and cram for exams under the stern watch of an authoritarian teacher who in some cases would beat them with a stick if they could not complete their work.
But with the unemployment rate for new college graduates hitting 56 percent, according to the Palestinian Statistics Bureau, officials realized that something had to change.
Education Minister Sabri Seidam also introduced vocational training in grades seven, eight and nine last year to meet the needs of the market.
"Society needs singers, carpenters, cleaners, athletes, sergeants," he said. "We can't just produce engineers and doctors."
Youth unemployment, particularly among university graduates, is a major problem across the Arab world. It was considered a driving force behind the Arab Spring revolutions that rocked the region in 2011.
Arab governments used to absorb new graduates, often in civil service jobs, but they can no longer afford to do that, in part because of the region's "youth bulge."
The private sector offers limited opportunities, leaving large numbers of young graduates unemployed throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
"There is no greater challenge facing the MENA region in its efforts to build a future based on inclusive growth than job creation," the International Monetary Fund said in a report early this year. It noted that 60 percent of the region's population is under 30, the world's second-youngest after sub-Saharan Africa.
"Pressures on the region's labor markets are rising. In the past five years, the region's working-age population increased by 50.2 million, and 27.6 million people joined the labor force. Yet employment increased by only 25.4 million," it said.
Others in the Mideast have tried to make similar changes. In Egypt, the largest Arab country, the Education Ministry this year is providing students with tablets, along with a new curriculum that enhances critical thinking.
The ministry said it is also trying to improve the level of instruction by increasing training and wages for teachers, building more classrooms and creating a more modern classroom through digital learning facilities. The government this year secured a $500 million loan from the World Bank to help fund the reforms.
For now, it appears too soon to say whether the reforms can make a difference.
The region's authoritarian governments might encourage education reforms as an economic necessity but could balk in the future at efforts to nurture a new generation versed in critical thinking. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, governments in the region have increasingly stifled expression.
Schools across the Arab world face other obstacles as well. A 2015 study by the U.N. culture and education agency UNESCO talked about chronic underfunding, a lack of qualified teachers and increased class sizes throughout the region.
Syrian schools have been devastated by a seven-year civil war, while many schools in neighboring Lebanon have been overwhelmed by Syrian refugees. U.S. cuts in funding to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees have jeopardized the school year for some 500,000 students, most of them in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And Israel's half-century occupation of the West Bank, along with a decade-long blockade over Gaza, continues to stifle the Palestinian economy.
"Education in the Arab world is in a very bad condition. The salaries of teachers are very poor, the classes are overcrowded, and schools lack the essential infrastructure," said Saeda Affouneh, director of the E-Learning Center at al-Najah University in the West Bank.
She praised the changes taking place in Palestinian schools.
"But this new system faces real challenges in the Palestinian schools," she warned. "They need to train the teachers and to provide the proper resources."