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Voices in Focus: An International Scoop For a Local Publication

April 11, 2012 11:52 am Leave a comment By A+ / A-

* The New York-based Black Star News saw unprecedented site traffic when it first published an editorial critical of the viral “Kony 2012″ video. Now the site has followed up with an investigative scoop that has gotten the local investigative outfit even more attention:

Invisible Children, makers of KONY2012, provided an intelligence tip to Uganda’s security apparatus leading to arrests of several suspected regime opponents, according to U.S. embassy cables posted by WikiLeaks.

The San Diego-based group has since 2008 acted in concert with the Ugandan government in coordinating public relations campaigns to promote a military solution against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), while keeping the U.S. administration informed.

* As we have noted, street vendors face all kinds of challenges in New York City. But one former street vendor discovered that running a brick-and-mortar food business can be a struggle too, DNAinfo reported:

Judith Ruano (Photo by Patrick Wall/DNAinfo)

A few years ago, when Judith Ruano still sold tacos and tamales out of a shopping cart, her biggest concerns were fending off tickets from police officers as well as threats from rival street vendors, who sometimes overturned her cart.

Those concerns have faded since she opened her own small restaurant, Alfa Centro America, in Hunts Point in 2010 — but a host of new concerns plague her behind the counter: health codes, payroll and revenue, to name just a few.

The article chronicles Ruano’s efforts to make her business profitable, with the advice and support of several local organizations dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.

* DNAinfo also reported on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s appointment of 40 new community board members who are under 40, including a banquet cook at the Waldorf-Astoria and a 23-year-old who mentors young Mexican-American women. Stringer himself was 16 when he first joined a community board, DNAinfo noted.

Many new members own small businesses, including Wilson Tang, 33, who runs the  90-year-old Chinatown fixture, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, which has been in his family for decades.

Tang, who grew up in Chinatown, said that he first encountered the local community board when he submitted his application for a beer and wine license.

“I thought it was pretty cool that there was something like that,” he said of the panel that scrutinized his application. “That was pretty eye-opening.”

* A group of elected officials are demanding an investigation into allegations that Jewish women faculty at Brooklyn College have faced discrimination, The Jewish Daily Forward reported. In a letter to the chancellor of the City University of New York, the officials alleged that Brooklyn College’s provost, William Tramontano, discriminated in faculty hiring and promotion.

Brooklyn College spokesman Jeremy Thompson disputed the accusations against the provost.

“To suggest that anti-Semitism is pervasive on campus is untrue, and to suggest that Provost Tramontano is working against the hiring and promotion of Jews is absolutely untrue,” Thompson said.

While the elected officials’ letters did not cite by name any of the alleged victims of discrimination, an article in the New York Post on Tuesday named several Jewish academics who it said had been recommended by the school’s business department for jobs or promotions but had been rejected by the administration.

“Jews are having a problem with this provost,” said Hershy Friedman, the business department’s deputy chairman, according to the Post. “He’s making it harder and harder to bring in Jews. He doesn’t want Jews.”

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