By Alex Lauer Visiting a national park seems simple enough. Pack plenty of water, wear a good pair of shoes and make sure your phone is charged. You get to experience one of America’s natural wonders while supporting the people who work there and the wildlife that exists there. It’s a win-win. Much of the time, unfortunately, that’s not what happens. Anyone who has visited a national park in recent years (or has a Twitter account) knows many Americans still have no clue how to behave. In the past few years, there have been a number of viral incidents involving visitor misbehavior, like that ti...
A 1970 tape of John Lennon singing a hitherto unheard song called "Radio Peace" and expressing frustration at his Beatles image to a group of Danish schoolboys goes under the hammer on Tuesday in Copenhagen.
The 33-minute tape was recorded on January 5, 1970 when the former Beatle spent winter in a remote corner of Jutland in western Denmark with his wife Yoko Ono.
Back then four eager boys, writing for their high school newspaper, braved a snowstorm in the hope of interviewing their idol.
They clinched the interview. The topics ranged from the couple's peace campaign, the Beatles, Lennon's hair and his frustration with his image as part of the "Fab Four".
Lennon and Ono were famous for staging lie-ins and singing songs of peace as the Vietnam War raged.
"We went into the living room and saw John and Yoko sitting on the sofa, it was fantastic. We sat down with them and were quite close to each other," Karsten Hojen, one of the tape's owners, told AFP.
The sellers say Yoko Ono herself could buy the tape AFP/File
"I was sitting next to Yoko Ono and John Lennon was sitting next to Yoko and we talked, we had a good time," said Hojen, who is now 68.
Lennon and his wife arrived in Denmark in December 1969 to sort out the future of Ono's five-year-old daughter Kyoko, who was living with her father in northern Jutland.
By then, the Beatles had recorded their last album, Abbey Road, and even though it was not official, the group had parted ways.
- For a museum or Yoko? -
Although Lennon and Ono spent their first week in Denmark incognito, the press found out and the singer organized a news conference that coincided with the first day of the school term.
Hojen and his friends convinced the headmaster to let them skip class to talk peace and music with the singer, a few months before the Beatles officially disbanded.
The cassette will go under the hammer along with Polaroid photos of the schoolboys and John and Yoko Ida Marie Odgaard Ritzau Scanpix/AFP
Hojen and his friends said they decided to part with the audio cassette because they could not imagine sharing it among their numerous children.
"We would be happy if a museum was interested, or why not Yoko Ono herself?" the cultural consultant said.
The recording is of decent quality.
"You have to sit back and take some time to listen to it and hope for the best," said Alexa Bruun Rasmussen, director of branding at Bruun Rasmussen Auction House which is handling the sale.
"They actually play 'Give Peace a Chance', but with different words," she said.
The recording also includes the unreleased song "Radio Peace", and is "heartfelt" and "unique", Bruun Rasmussen said, adding that the tape and photos could fetch up to 40,000 euros ($46,000).
"John Lennon is talking to young schoolboys, they share the passion of the peace message. And it comes across clearly that there's a connection between them," she said.
Polaroid pictures of the meeting will also be auctioned with the tape Ida Marie Odgaard Ritzau Scanpix/AFP
Although Hojen has recounted that winter day in detail to his children and grandchildren, he will no longer have any trace of it after the sale as the owners have not digitised the recording.
© 2021 AFP
Mexico celebrated the 200th anniversary of the country's independence from Spain on Monday with a commemoration featuring fireworks, theatre, and pyrotechnics in the capital's central plaza.
The event in Mexico City's Zocalo square, once the heart of the Aztec empire, was headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
"What we experienced that day, 200 years ago, marked forever our political separation with Spain," said AMLO, the acronym by which the president is known.
Multiple countries sent congratulatory messages, including US President Joe Biden, who assured that his country "has no closer friend than Mexico."
Portraits of independence heroes were projected onto Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral ALFREDO ESTRELLA AFP
"I look forward to all that our two nations will accomplish together in the years to come," Biden said in recorded video.
Pope Francis' congratulations included an acknowledgment of the Catholic Church's "sins" in Mexico.
Organisers used theatre to illustrate Mexico's pre-Hispanic history ALFREDO ESTRELLA AFP
AMLO has asked the Spanish government and the Vatican several times to apologize for the "massacres and oppression" committed in the name of colonizing and evangelizing the indigenous peoples of Mexico.
"Both my predecessors and I have asked for forgiveness for personal and social sins," Pope Francis wrote.
In a ceremony that limited visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organizers used theatre, multimedia displays, and pyrotechnics to illustrate the country's pre-Hispanic history, including the war for independence.
The staging is part of a series of events organized by the Mexican government to mark the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Aztec capital and the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest.
Actors dressed as Aztecs perform during a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence ALFREDO ESTRELLA AFP
Most Mexicans have mixed European and indigenous ancestry and have contrasting feelings about the violence of the conquest, which imposed culture, language, and religion on the country.
As part of Monday's celebration, Italian general Roberto Riccardi was awarded the Aztec Eagle, the highest distinction granted to a foreigner in Mexico, for his work in the recovery of archaeological pieces.
Since 2018, 5,746 historical artifacts have been repatriated to the country, most of which are archaeological, AMLO said.
© 2021 AFP
A full US economic recovery "will take time to complete," a top Federal Reserve official said Monday, adding that effects from the far-reaching Delta variant of Covid-19 have surfaced in recent data.
"The recovery continues to show solid momentum," John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said in a speech at the New York Economic Club.
But "the direct and indirect effects of the virus continue to shape the way we live our lives," Williams said, adding that the latest Covid resurgence "is affecting consumer spending and jobs."
Fed chair Jerome Powell once again stressed that the recovery depends largely on the course of the virus.
"The Delta variant has led to a surge in cases, causing significant human suffering and slowing the economic recovery. Continued progress on vaccinations would help support a return to more normal economic conditions," Powell said in testimony prepared for delivery Tuesday.
Powell is due to appear with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday to discuss the impact of the massive federal government stimulus spending.
The central bank "took broad and forceful measures" to support the economy, with a series of credit facilities that unlocked more than $2 trillion in funding, the Fed chief explained.
"Those facilities provided essential support through a very difficult year," Powell said, but most have now been closed.
Williams and Powell, along with Fed board member Lael Brainard in separate events, all acknowledged the recent spike in prices but again attributed it largely to pandemic-related factors that will fade over time.
In an appearance before the National Association for Business Economics, Brainard said there are "good reasons" to expect inflation pressures to moderate.
The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, rose at a rapid 4.2 percent pace in July, far above its two percent goal.
But Brainard said, "While inflation has been well above target for the past six months, affecting consumers and businesses alike, it previously spent roughly a quarter-century below 2 percent."
While the constraints, including bottlenecks and hiring difficulties, could "prove to be greater and more enduring than anticipated," Powell said the Fed has the tools to keep the rate around the two percent goal.
Williams also said the labor market still has "a long way to go" to reach the Fed's goal of maximum employment, noting that there are more than five million fewer jobs today than before the pandemic.
Williams, a voter on the policy-setting Federal Open Markets Committee, indicated that the Fed's massive bond buying program could soon be scaled back, echoing the central bank's comments from last week.
But though a "moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted," the Fed's overall monetary policy "will continue to support a strong and full economic recovery," he said.
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