What PB&J Taught This Woman About ‘Being The Only Brown Girl’ At Lunchtime

Journalist and television creator Zarqa Nawaz grew up as one of the only Muslim kids in her Canadian neighborhood. With her long braids and curried chicken lunches, Nawaz didn’t always have the easiest time relating to her peers.

Nawaz has explored the complexities of Muslim identity in the West in various projects, including her sitcom “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and documentary “Me and the Mosque.” Her new memoir, titled Laughing All the Way to the Mosque: The Misadventures of a Muslim Woman, comes out in May and uses humor to shed light on her experience of difference.

In the excerpt below, Nawaz describes her struggle as a child to fit in with the other kids — and the unlikely person who came to her aid.


“Ummi, could you make me a sandwich, like the other kids?” I asked my mother as she wrapped curried chicken drumsticks in aluminium foil for my lunch.

My mother was the reason I was a social pariah. I would watch the other girls eat their neat little sandwiches while my lunch radiated smells like an onion-infused nuclear bomb. After lunch, all the kids at Fallingdale Elementary School went out for recess. The girls skipped rope while I sulked by the brick wall. My oily chicken legs were keeping me from assimilating. No one came near me because I was probably contagious. I wanted to be like Kathleen, with her long, shiny, blond hair, light, airy summer dresses and lunches that smelled like vanilla. Her hair, her clothes, her sandwich. I envied all three. Perhaps I could have one of them.

My poor mother sighed as she listened to my complaints.

“People look at me strangely when I eat those things,” I said, pointing. “No one wants to play with me because of my lunch.” I was a clumsy carnivore among graceful herbivores.

The next day I walked to school armed with my sandwich – white bread, peanut butter and jelly – which smelled like candy instead of cumin. It was the aroma of triumph. I waited anxiously for lunchtime, and when it came I looked over at Kathleen, sinking her teeth into a chocolate doughnut. This was it. It was about to happen. I would open my brown-paper bag, pull out my waxed-paper-wrapped sandwich and suddenly my world would change. I’d be at Kathleen’s house, and she’d let me comb her long blond hair while we talked about planning her ninth birthday party.

“What made you notice me?” I’d ask.

“The sandwich,” she’d say.

As I opened the aluminium-foil package – could my mother never be trained? – Kathleen turned and looked directly at my sandwich. It was working! Kathleen gave a little wave – to the cutest boy in our class, who was right behind me – before turning back to her shiny-haired friends. There wasn’t enough white bread in the world to make me fit in with white kids.

As I sat dejected and hungry (it turns out that curry drumsticks are much more filling than peanut butter) on the carpeted floor with my grade-three classmates, I contemplated my options. The sandwich didn’t work. The golden hair was out of the question. But maybe, just maybe, I could change my clothes. 

I looked different from the other girls. It wasn’t just because I was brown and had long braids. It was the way my mother dressed me. My clothes were odd. I looked over at Kathleen, who was wearing a miniskirt with a halter top. I was wearing brown cords with a matching corduroy shirt. She was the fairy princess and I was the ugly stepsister. But even ugly stepsisters could go shopping. If I could convince my mother to make me a sandwich, how hard could it be to convince her to let me wear a dress? I dragged my beleaguered mother to Kmart and found a white peasant minidress that fell to my knees. It was perfect.

The next morning I ditched the corduroy, put on my beautiful white dress and looked at myself in the mirror. My legs were a little cold, never having been exposed to that much air before, but I looked like a brown princess. My mother had become my fairy godmother, and as I grabbed my sandwich on my way out the door, my metamorphosis was complete.

“You’re not going out dressed like that,” my mother said, staring at my bare legs.

My mother was in traditional Pakistani clothes: the shalwar kameez, a long tunic with baggy trousers. To her, wearing a dress without trousers meant you were half naked, like forgetting to put on your shirt, going to school topless.

I dutifully returned upstairs and put on my cords under my dress. I looked in the mirror again. My fairy godmother was actually a fairy godmonster and had reversed the spell.

When I was five, hanging on to the ears of a giant red rubber ball, happily bouncing down the street in Liverpool, my father had called me over. “We are moving to Canada,” he said.

Now I was eight. I wanted to tell my parents that I didn’t fit in, but I realized they didn’t fit in either. They had left behind their entire lives to make a better one for their children. Being in Canada meant opportunities that a life in rural Pakistan or even in Liverpool couldn’t provide, and for that they were grateful. But I, their only daughter, who’d had no say and had been forced to leave behind, among other things, a giant red bouncy ball, was not grateful at all. I was ugly, and to me that was worse than being a starving child with maimed limbs in Karachi, Pakistan. In Brampton, Ontario, I was the only brown girl in my class.

When I came home for lunch, corduroy pants brushing noisily under my dress, I must have looked extra-sullen.

“Why are you here?” my mother asked. I pulled out the sandwich that had failed to fix everything that was wrong with my life and munched on it sadly. “I’d rather just eat at home.”

“What’s wrong?”

“The kids don’t like me. I have no friends.”

“Did someone tell you that?”

“No one says anything to me, Ummi,” I said. “It’s like I’m invisible.”

“You should try harder,” she said.

I did, I thought to myself. But someone made me wear trousers under my dress.

I knew that my mother’s childhood in Pakistan had been a happy time. Her family’s wealth meant she always dressed in the most fashionable clothes and was one of the most popular girls in her class. If anyone had had the power to be a bully, it was my mother. My father used to tell me that she had servants to wash and iron her clothes and get her ready in the morning. My mother would vehemently deny these stories as horrible exaggerations, but I noticed that every wool sweater of mine that she washed wound up a shrunken scrap of felt.

My mother regarded me, her ugly duckling.

“I’m coming to school with you.”

I looked up to where I thought God must live, thinking, Am I not suffering enough?

Surely if God could create an entire universe in seven epochs, erect mountains and fill oceans full of resplendent creatures, he could find a way to let me wear a dress without trousers. But no, in his limitless glory, God’s solution was to have my mother come to school with me. She was the mothership of uncoolness, and I had unwittingly unleashed her. I assumed I was being punished for complaining.

The playground was full of children, mostly girls with spaghetti-strap tops and short skirts that revealed snatches of brightly patterned underwear when they jumped rope. I could see the shock on my mother’s face. This was not going to help me shed the trousers from under my dress. She stopped in the middle of the playground, surveying the lie of the land with the authority of a general assessing the battlefield. She spotted the leader, Kathleen, my Kathleen, who was wielding the skipping rope.

“Excuse me,” said my mother. “Can my daughter play with you?”

Kathleen looked first at my mother and then at me. She was obviously confused by the sight of a sad, petulant child wearing a summer dress with brown corduroy trousers in the radiating heat, sporting braids that had gone out of style a hundred years ago, standing beside a large Pakistani woman in a long shirt and baggy pantaloons ballooning like sails in the wind. My mother looked like a pirate and I her oppressed first-mate. I mouthed a silent prayer: God, please kill me now.

“Sure, she can play,” said Kathleen, and handed me the rope so I could take over. My mother went home. I learned that until a girl tripped, the rope turners weren’t allowed back into the game, and today nobody was falling down. By a bizarre turn of events, Kathleen too had been freed from bondage.

It turns out that skipping rope in the playground was a meritocracy: so as long as my wrists still worked I was allowed into their circle, even if I was dressed for the wrong century. Apparently all I had to do was ask. God clearly works in mysterious ways.

The next week, as my mother packed my sandwich, I looked at her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Do you want tuna instead of peanut butter?”

“Could you put the chicken drumsticks back into my lunch?” I asked. “I kinda miss them.”

This excerpt was taken from Laughing All The Way To The Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz, to be released in the U.S. in May by Virago Press.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/04/25/zarqa-nawaz-laughing-all-the-way-to-the-mosque_n_9781472.html

Why are suicides among American women rising? | Jamieson Webster

A clinical psychologist reflects on the combination of cultural factors at play in this disturbing trend

Spring is in the air. A fervent energy is palpable. People are out and about, soaking up every splinter of sun in the streets. And yet, contrary to common sense, spring is the time of the year when we are most prone to suicide not winter, not when life feels the most bleak.

Perhaps it was fitting that we were greeted with sobering news from the CDC last week. After a decline in suicide in the United States prior to 1999, the rate is up more than 24% for all populations under the age of 75. Suicide, they report, is now one of the 10 leading causes of death. Given that suicide is often difficult to determine, these statistics may not reveal the full picture.

Many, rightfully, speculate that this has to do with changing economic conditions. Especially since the vulnerable age group isnt the elderly (whose rates of suicide have remained steady, even slightly decreasing) but in fact those between the age of 45 and 65. Namely, the middle aged who are the most severely affected by the vicissitudes of bankruptcy, job loss and foreclosure. Indeed, the greatest number of suicides in the United States historically took place during the great depression.

But there is something even more surprising and strange in this report. The suicide rate has increased for women in particular during this period of time, narrowing the gap in the suicide rate between men and women (men have always taken their lives more often than women). The suicide rate is up 63% for women aged 45-65 and up 200% for girls aged 10-14.

As well, it should be noted that while suicide by firearms and poisoning has declined, suicide by suffocation, usually hanging, increased, making one in four suicides in both men and women attributable to strangulation. Suicide by suffocation is more deliberate than suicide by poison, which is the usual method chosen by women.

What is making women feel so ill at ease today? I have worked with severely depressed and suicidal patients both in in-patient hospital settings and in private practice. Intimately sifting through the details of their lives and history can often give me an x-ray view of the broader cultural pressures that my patients face.

Many patients struggle in their role as women, something that has taken on a particular exigency because of drastic changes in gender dynamics. The women I see are often anxious and cannot reconcile ideas concerning work and family, what it is to be a successful woman and a mother, to say nothing of the demands of maintenance placed on their bodies. They are disappointed and they feel disappointing.

Professional life leaves to the side their desires for children, for family, for love. Women need to contend with a lack of child-care support and maternity leave, as well as male dominance in the workplace. Compounding this is the fact that being a sexual woman is still a series of confused and contradictory images of empowerment that smell of subjugation.

All of this leaves women incredibly vulnerable to shame, which is the outpost at the boundary of depression. These pressures and pains are not easily given voice by either the women or the young girls I see; I often have to pry them from around the edges of what they are saying.

Looking at the report, women are now the most at risk at the beginning and end of their biological cycle as women, namely just before puberty and during menopause. The opening onto sexuality, its spring awakening, and the fall of fertility are the transitional moments when women are increasingly taking their own lives. These are moments when the question of ones identity as a woman needs to be flexible, able to shift and mold itself with the changes that come with age.

The CDC speculates that the 200% increase in young girls taking their lives has something to do with the earlier onset of menstruation, and the susceptibility to depression that comes with puberty. Many women are fighting internal wars that we cannot see, except perhaps when they take their own life out of despair.

Perhaps here it is helpful to remember an image offered by Hippocrates to describe the first female psychological diagnosis: hysteria. The word comes from the Greek hystera, meaning womb. He described the condition as a wandering womb that would suffocate a woman from the inside.

This suffocation continues to this day. It emerges from the silent pain of women, all that they havent said or arent allowed to say.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Hotlines in other countries can be found here.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/26/suicide-rate-rising-american-women-cdc-report

Tories vote against accepting 3,000 child refugees

The amendment to the immigration bill would have allowed thousands of unaccompanied Syrian minors to enter the UK

A high-profile campaign for the UK to accept 3,000 child refugees stranded in Europe has failed after the government narrowly won a vote in the House of Commons rejecting the plan.

MPs voted against the proposals by 294 to 276 on Monday after the Home Office persuaded most potential Tory rebels that it was doing enough to help child refugees in Syria and neighbouring countries.

The amendment to the immigration bill would have forced the government to accept 3,000 unaccompanied refugee minors, mostly from Syria, who have made their way to mainland Europe.

It originated in the House of Lords after being introduced by Alf Dubs, a Labour peer who was a beneficiary of the Kindertransport, the government-backed programme that took child refugees from Germany in the run-up to the second world war.

Following the vote, Labour vowed to continue its efforts to make the government change its mind, tabling a new amendment in the House of Lords asking it to accept a specified number of child refugees from Europe after consultation with local councils.

The Home Office successfully saw off the Dubs amendment in the Commons after arguing it would act as an incentive for refugees to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

James Brokenshire, a Home Office minister, said the government could not support a policy that would inadvertently create a situation in which families see an advantage in sending children alone ahead and in the hands of traffickers, putting their lives at risk by attempting treacherous sea crossings to Europe which would be the worst of all outcomes.

The amendment was backed by Labour, the SNP and Liberal Democrats.

Keir Starmer, a shadow Home Office minister, said history would judge MPs for voting against the plan, saying it was the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the second world war.

It is the challenge of our times and whether we rise to it or not will be the measure of us, Starmer said. We have the clear evidence of thousands of vulnerable children and we now need to act. This is the moment to do something about it, by voting with us this evening.

Only a handful of Conservative MPs voted in favour of accepting the child refugees. One of them, Tania Mathias, said accepting children at risk of harm in Europe was the right thing to do.

The vote effectively kills off the original Dubs amendment because ministers argued it had cost implications and therefore should be exempt from returning to the House of Lords, where it could have been reinstated.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, said he would write to parliaments procedure committee asking for a review of the way the financial privilege system works.

Dubs said the invoking of financial privilege in the House of Commons was shabby parliamentary tactics, meaning Labour peers have had to table alternative proposals.

Before the debate, he told the Guardian: My message to Conservative MPs is that in 1938-39, Britain took 10,000 child refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. We were in the lead then and we could take an important step now. The least we can do is say this is a small number and they should be welcome here.

Yvette Cooper, the chair of Labours taskforce on refugees and a former shadow home secretary, had urged Conservative MPs to take the chance to vote for the Dubs proposals.

After the debate, she said: It is deeply disappointing that the government has rejected the Dubs amendment – albeit with a reduced majority. Thousands of children are sleeping rough in Europe tonight, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and Britain should not be turning its back. Alf Dubs will keep pressing this issue in the Lords as we must do our bit to help.

One teenage refugee from Syria, who met Cooper and Dubs for an event outside parliament, said the government was missing the point when it argued that child refugees were better helped in the region.

The minor, who cannot be named, travelled through 17 countries from Syria before reaching Calais and then the UK. Speaking through an interpreter, he said: Most of the children in the camps do have their families and parents with them but those stranded around Europe and in Calais are very vulnerable because other people could do something to them. That is the fundamental difference between the children in Europe and those in the camps.

At least 95,000 unaccompanied child refugees are estimated to have applied for asylum in Europe last year.

Europol, the EUs criminal intelligence agency, estimated in January that 10,000 children had gone missing after arriving in Europe, warning that many had been taken by criminal gangs.

The Home Office made an announcement last week about providing support for up to 3,000 child refugees from camps in the Middle East, but Save the Children and others said it was merely a repeat of an announcement of aid already promised and failed to offer any help to children already trapped in Europe.

The governments statement appears to have convinced some Conservatives who had expressed concerns about the issue, however, including backbench MP David Burrowes, who said he would vote with the government on Monday.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/25/tories-vote-against-accepting-3000-child-refugees

It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow digested read

John Crace juices Paltrows high-end recipe book down to a more nutritious 800 words

Phew! Made it. Sorry, Im a bit out of breath. Ive just rushed back from my morning pilates class to be with you. Even I can sometimes have trouble keeping things easy. My therapist says its to do with my Fomo. Thats fear of missing out to you. We live in a hectic world where it can be hard to keep up with all the latest yoga trends, source the best Vitamix blender, fit in a pedicure while still finding space for a little me time. And thats where this book comes in. Try to think of it as less of a recipe book and more of a road map. A book that can help you navigate the healing journey from Youseless You to Glorious Gwynnie.

First things first. If youre going to be Marvellous Me, then youre going to have to stock up on a few basics. A kitchen that is without kuru shoots, sumac and zaatar and an Aquaovo Raspberry water filter available at just $1,100 from my Goop website is never going to be an easy kitchen. And if you want to go that extra mile and say Today I really value myself, then allow yourself some toilet paper made out of 24-carat gold. Youll never let anything else near your botty again.

Breakfast is traditionally the first meal of the day, which is why I always like to eat it soon after I get up. As a busy mom trying to make healthy choices, the dish I get my staff to make for my kids before I rush out to my cardio class is a simple bowl of acai and goji berries, topped with chia seeds and some gluten-free granola. Heres a photograph of me in the kitchen trying to look as if I know what all the different gadgets are for. Cute. Heres another photo of me looking wistfully out the window. Please notice how my hair cascades over my baggy pastel sweater. The sweater is available from Goop at a very reasonable $41,999. The hair is all my own.

Gwyneth Paltrow at a Goop event in Chicago this week. Photograph: Startraks Photo/Rex/Shutterstock

In a dream world this book for example Id eat every meal at a table with a cloth napkin and silver cutlery; in reality, Im often spreading almond butter on a rice cake while rushing from a mindfulness class to a soccer ball game. Here are some quick snacks that you can easily knock up in about 40 minutes. My favourite is the bibimbap salad, which will make any fan of kimchi and furikake swoon. Here is a photo of me posing by my bicycle, which has a lettuce and a peony in the wicker basket. Peonies always seem to make my day just that bit easier.

Everybody has a tricky time of day. Mine comes in the afternoon in the lull between conscious uncoupling and unconscious coupling. Its that time of the day when its hard to know if Im actually stressed, hungry or simply under-caffeinated, but my body craves something salty and carby. But then I count to 10 and say to myself: Gwynnie, do you really want to let yourself go and become a total lardo like so many of your readers? Or do you want to carry on being perfect? Sometimes, the route map to easiness involves taking the road less travelled and here are some recipes that make the ideal antidote to a blood sugar dip or a momentary lapse in focus.

Gwyneth Paltrows Its All Easy

Beet chips. Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Grease two baking sheets lightly with olive oil. Use a mandolin to slice the beets. Place one set of beets in the top third of the oven and the other set in the lower third. After 10 minutes, reverse the position of the two sets of beets in the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes while reciting several verses of The Prophet. Then change into your tracksuit (I have several on sale on my Goop website at a knockdown $7,000,001) and jog down to your local delicatessen to buy some cilantro hummus. By the time you get back, it will be time for dinner. In the meantime, heres a picture of me next to a tin of sardines. Crazy.

At the end of another busy, busy day being a role model to stick insects the world over, Im ready for a little downtime. Time to take things even easier than I already have earlier in the day. Its that moment to settle down in front of the TV with a tablespoon of tamari, some Tokyo turnips and a gluten-free sprout souffl.

Digested read, digested: Its all about me.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/24/its-all-easy-by-gwyneth-paltrow-digested-read-goop

Speculation over Prince’s death baffles those who say the artist led a clean life

Friends, colleagues and locals who interacted with him regularly attest to a man who was healthy in his habits, amid rumors about the cause of his death

Healthy in his habits, tireless at work and an energetic creator who friends said avoided alcohol and drugs, Princes death has left investigators piecing together his final hours and mourners grappling with how the musicians life could have come to such a sudden end.

An autopsy was conducted Friday and the body of the musical legend was released to his family, but authorities said it could be weeks before results, pending the completion of a toxicology analysis.

Carver County sheriff Jim Olson said investigators found no indication of suicide, and there were no immediate signs of trauma. Investigators will review Princes medical history, including previous hospitalization and pharmaceutical records, Olson said.

Speculation surrounding Princes death has centered on a sudden cancellation of shows and a medical emergency on Princes private jet last week, en route to Minneapolis. An unconfirmed report from celebrity news site TMZ said the musician overdosed on a painkiller, prompting the flights diversion just an hour outside of his hometown. Olson and a public information officer for the medical examiner declined to comment on the incident.

New details emerged on Friday, however, about the hours leading up to the discovery of Princes body in an elevator shaft at Paisley Park, his residential compound located in the city of Chanhassen, about 20 miles from Minneapolis.

The last time Prince was seen alive was around 8pm Wednesday, when he was dropped off at Paisley Park by an acquaintance, Olson said. Prince is believed to have been alone throughout the night, he added. When Paisley Park staffers couldnt contact him early on Thursday, they went to the compound and found him unresponsive in an elevator on the first floor.

An unidentified male called 911 around 9.43am. Yes, the man said, its Prince.

First responders attempted CPR but failed, and Olson said his deputies are equipped with Narcan, an opiate antidote, but it was not used to try to revive Prince, who was pronounced dead at 10.07am.

For those who caught a glimpse of Prince in recent days, his unexpected death was made even more jarring. On Tuesday, he attended a show at the Dakota jazz club in Minneapolis, a venue he frequented enough to have a private table on the second floor, in a section that would be cordoned off by a curtain a testament to his assiduous privacy.

He was one of our eras greatest musical artists, perhaps the greatest, said Dakota owner Lowell Pickett. He was an international musical treasure whose combined talents only come along in many years.

Pickett said he recently told Prince how overjoyed he was to discover his poignant cover of a Joni Mitchell song, A Case of You. I told him how much we loved finding this song at home this winter and how beautiful it was, Pickett told the Guardian. He said it was so important to him to do justice to Joni Mitchell.

Dakota employees who saw Prince at the show on Tuesday said nothing appeared out of the ordinary with the superstar. He came and went as he always had before: through a side door and up the stairs to his table. On Thursday, a placard that read Rest In Peace Prince was placed on that table along with a purple orchid.

Princes regular table at Dakota jazz Club, in Minneapolis, was adorned with roses to commemorate his death. Photograph: Ryan Felton for the Guardian

Prince had previously said he struggled with epilepsy as a child. In recent years, he dealt with hip problems that reportedly stemmed from a performance. Prince was a committed vegan, and his cousin Chazz Smith said this week that he avoided alcohol and drugs throughout his life.

I can tell you this: what I know is that he was perfectly healthy, Smith told the Associated Press.

Heather McElhatton, a journalist who worked as a set director for Paisley Park video shoots during the 1990s, said Prince had limitless energy and that she never saw him drink or do drugs.

He could shoot for two days straight, without getting tired, it seems, she said. I never saw him eat, like physically eat, anything in 10 years never saw him drink.

In and around his hometown, the music icon was spotted numerous times in public only a day after the emergency flight landing. Last Saturday, Prince stopped by a record store in Minneapolis called Electric Fetus, a shop he highlighted in his last tweet on Monday.

Bob Fuchs, the stores manager, said Prince was dressed head to toe in black and looked normal to me. He shopped for about 15-20 minutes and purchased about a half dozen CDs, Fuchs said, adding that he shook the musicians hand and told him thank you for your support. Prince smiled back: Youre welcome.

He was dressed really nice, Fuchs said. I wouldnt have guessed anything was wrong.

It was pretty low key, he continued. None of us wouldve suspected anything based on the interaction we had.

That afternoon, Prince was spotted riding his bike near a suburban strip mall outside of Paisley Park. In a salon there Julie Reid, 47, was getting a haircut when he rode by. She rushed out the door in hair foils. Prince waved.

Next door, he waited outside for a friend to order a drink from Caribou Coffee, employees said. In perhaps one of his few indulgences, Prince occasionally ordered a coffee from the shop, according to a barista, Alya Al-Hilwani. He preferred a blend: a chocolate cooler, no whipped cream.

Reid said she later posted a photo of him casually riding the bike on Facebook, and wrote: Prince sighting?

Everyone was like: Wait, isnt he sick? she said. Well, clearly he was feeling better.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/apr/23/prince-death-rumors-drugs-alcohol

Bernard Madoff Fast Facts

(CNN)Here’s a look at the life of Bernard Madoff, serving 150 years in prison for running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

Birth date:
April 29, 1938
Birth place: Queens, New York
    Birth name: Bernard Lawrence Madoff
    Father: Ralph Madoff
    Mother: Sylvia (Muntner) Madoff
    Marriage: Ruth (Alpern) Madoff (November 1959-present)
    Children: Andrew, Mark
    Education: Hofstra University, B.A. Political Science, 1960
    Other Facts:
    Started his firm with $5,000 he saved from working as a lifeguard.
    Madoff served as NASDAQ’s chairman in 1990, 1991, and 1993.
    Had many high-profile victims, including director Steven Spielberg, actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.
    In 2008, Madoff controlled billions in investments. In 2013, he earned $40 per month doing prison labor.
    Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities is founded.
    December 10, 2008 Bernard Madoff allegedly confesses to employees of his company that the asset management portion of his firm is actually a large Ponzi scheme. Madoff says the business had lost about $50 billion and that he plans to turn himself in to authorities in a week.
    December 11, 2008 Madoff is arrested on one count of securities fraud for allegedly operating a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme from his investment advisory business. He is released on $10 million bail.
    December 12, 2008 A federal court in Manhattan issues a temporary order freezing Madoff’s assets and appointing a receiver over him and his firm.
    December 17, 2008 Madoff is placed on house arrest. Several bids by prosecutors to jail Madoff are denied by the court.
    February 9, 2009 The SEC and Madoff reach a partial settlement agreement. Under the terms of the deal, Madoff will keep a previously reached agreement to freeze his assets and not to violate any other securities laws. This is separate from the criminal charge Madoff faces.
    March 12, 2009 Madoff pleads guilty to eleven felony charges including: money laundering, perjury, false filings with the SEC and fraud. There is no deal with the government associated with the guilty plea.
    — U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin orders Madoff to Metropolitan Correctional Center following his confession.
    March 20, 2009 – An appeals court rules that Madoff will remain in jail until sentencing.
    April 1, 2009 Federal marshals seize Madoff’s yacht, a smaller boat, and one of his homes in Florida as court-ordered seizures of the financier’s assets begin.
    July 14, 2009 Madoff arrives at Butner Federal Correction Complex in North Carolina to begin serving his sentence.
    October 2, 2009 – A $199 million lawsuit is filed against Madoff’s sons, his brother Peter Madoff and his niece Shana Madoff, who all worked at Madoff’s firm.
    December 11, 2010 Mark Madoff, 46, commits suicide in his Manhattan apartment.
    February 15, 2011 – In an interview from prison, Madoff tells a New York Times reporter that some banks and hedge funds “had to know.”
    June 4, 2011 – Final auction of personal property belonging to Madoff nets $500,000. To date, the total recovery from the Madoffs has been approximately $24 million in property sales and $80 million in cash assets.



      Bernie Madoff’s liquidation trustee team


    September 20, 2012 – Trustee Irving Picard announces that victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme will receive another $2.5 billion in reimbursement of their stolen funds. This brings the total amount returned to investors to $3.6 billion. Approximately half of the victims have been repaid.
    January 22, 1014 – CNBC reports receiving an email from Madoff in which he says he had a heart attack in December of 2013 and that he has stage 4 kidney disease.
    March 25, 2014 – Trustee Irving Picard announces plans to pay out an additional $349 million to Madoff’s victims. Approximately $9.8 billion has been recovered so far.
    September 3, 2014 – Son Andrew, Madoff’s last surviving child, dies of cancer at age 48.
    February 2015 – Another $355 million in recovered funds is distributed to Madoff’s victims. Approximately $10.5 billion has been recovered so far.
    February 1, 2016 – Trustees announce that more than $11.079 billion of the $17.5 billion in principle investment has been recovered to date.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/11/us/bernard-madoff-fast-facts/index.html

    ‘I cried all the way back’: sexual harassment on public transport

    How does it feel to be subject to unwanted sexual attention on your morning commute? Or on your way to school? We asked readers to tell us their stories of sexual harassment on public transport

    This time last year, Transport for London launched a hard-hitting campaign against sexual assault and harassment on its services.

    Accompanied by a harrowing video of a woman experiencing sexual assault on the Tube, the campaign urged anyone who experienced unwanted sexual behaviour to report it to the police. A year on since its launch, with the video boasting more than 4m views, 36% more people have reported such incidents on the London underground.

    But, of course, its not just London which has to deal with this problem. Other cities and transport links across the world struggle with the issue. France launched its own campaigns against sexual harassment on trains last year. More than ten years ago, women-only carriages were introduced in Tokyo, where more than half of women said they had been groped on trains. And last month, a German train operator announced women-only carriages for its route between Leipzig and Chemnitz.

    We asked our readers to tell us about their experiences. Some told us about being followed off trains. Others told us about men trying to sneak a feel of their breasts between shopping bags. Then there were those who witnessed public masturbation, or were just teenagers when they were first subject to unwanted sexual attention. These experiences were not limited to those living within the jurisdiction of Transport for London.

    Here are a selection of their stories.

    They made me feel like it was my fault

    Hamburg has a great public transport system and in most areas very few parking spots, hence it would be silly not to take the trains and buses.

    One day after work I took the U3 across town to get home. This line of the Hamburg underground is one of the most popular with business people and tourists since it runs all the way around the Alster, a lake in the centre of Hamburg.

    Being glad to have found a seat amidst the full carriage after a stressful day at work, I took off my coat and acknowledged the people sitting around me with a smile. I was listening to music and reading a book in English for a while, when I felt the man sitting diagonally opposite of me looking over intensely. He was in his 40s.

    Although I was wearing a buttoned up shirt, showing no cleavage whatsoever, I loosely wrapped my scarf around my neck, also covering my chest. I kept reading, and he kept staring. At the next stop a lot of people got out and even more came in. In between he quickly came over and took the newly empty seat opposite of me.

    Only inches away he started grinning at me. I felt very uncomfortable, my eyes glued to the page. One stop before mine I had to get my coat on again and got up to make my way through the packed carriage.

    Waiting for the train door to open I saw in the corner of my eye the man was still sitting down. I jumped out of the train and walked quickly upstairs, almost running. I still had a bad feeling, so instead of walking the rest of the way home, as I usually did, I turned the corner and went downstairs to another line to catch a different train for one more stop.

    On reaching the platform, the man suddenly turned up next to me, walking along with the same, fast pace.

    Hey, wait! he shouted at me in English. I realised ignoring him would no longer work, so I took out one of my earphones. Without stopping I said to him: You make me feel uncomfortable. Im sure you are a nice person and mean well, but can you please stop following me?

    Hey, you speak English? Its not a bad thing. We can talk. he said with a dirty grin.

    Sorry, but I do not want to talk to you. Please leave me alone! I replied slowing down next to two ladies in their 50s chatting. He was stood in front of me.

    You take this train, too? What direction? We can meet some time.. He touched my arm. I answered: No, I do not want to meet or talk to you. Leave me alone now!

    The train came rattling in. With my heart pumping I firmly walked around the intrusive man, followed the two ladies into the carriage and sat down with them next to the window.

    When the train left the station I couldnt tell if the man was still on the platform. For a while I was afraid he might be in a different carriage. When I got out at the next stop, I stood next to a group of young punks and only then I was brave enough to wait and see if the man was still following me. He wasnt I was alone again. Shaky and sweaty I walked home.

    The next day I told my mostly male co-workers about the incident. They all said: You shouldnt have smiled at him when you first took off your coat.

    I never reported it nor told anyone else about it. They made me feel like it was my fault and that I should be ashamed.

    It was not my fault and I no longer feel ashamed.

    Kira, Hamburg

    I didnt react how I thought I would

    This was in 1993, I was 19. I got on a bus from Bath to Bristol. It was winter and dark. I sat at the front of the top deck. A man sat on the opposite side and masturbated looking at me the entire time. I froze. I didnt react how I thought I would. I could not move. I was terrified. Eventually he got off the bus. I am convinced other passengers could see what was happening as our reflections were in the front window as it was dark outside. No one did anything. One person stopped at the top of the stairs before getting off the bus and hesitated as if they were going to say something to me, but they didnt. I got off the bus in Bristol and burst in to tears in my boyfriends arms. I didnt report it, there seemed no point because I couldnt describe the man (I hadnt looked at him) and it was too dark to see which stop he got off at.

    I never sat on the top deck again.

    Anonymous, Bath

    The worst part about being harassed on public transport is you have no escape

    There was this one time I was taking the bus with my friend. This middle-aged man came and stood right next to where I was sitting. I was busy on my phone so it was a while before I realised that he was pressing up against me. It was the first time something like that had happened to me, since I didnt use much public transport then, and I really didnt know how to react.

    I kept leaning further and further away from him but the guy wouldnt let up! At one point I was sitting in such an awkward position that it would have been fairly obvious to others what was going on. The apathy of others on the bus made me feel like I should be quiet about it too. Even later when I spoke to my friend about this, who was a far more frequent user of public transport, I was really disheartened by her casual response. She had herself probably become habituated and therefore desensitised about such incidents.

    The worst part about being harassed on public transport is you have no escape. At least in public, open spaces, you have the option of shoving them back, which we often do. The norms of public transport are such that it makes us captive victims unable to speak out.

    Adrija, Bangalore

    Photograph: Corbis

    What I thought were my shopping bags pressing against me was in fact someones hand

    I was on the bus on my way home after shopping. It was mid-afternoon and the bus was relatively empty so I went upstairs and sat down not paying any attention to anyone else.

    I placed my shopping bags on the seat next to me near the window and rested my left arm over the bags. As the journey progressed I felt a light, but firm pressing against my left breast. I thought it was my shopping bags pressing against me and took no further notice. But as the journey continued, the pressure against my breast continued to get more intense.

    I thought this doesnt feel right, so I sat really still; not moving and with all my focus on the pressing against my breast. Until I felt a full tender squeeze of my breast. I turned around – so shocked, embarrassed and humiliated into silence.

    Before I could say anything – the middle age man was already half way down the stairs heading for the doors. He had been groping my breast by reaching and sliding his hand through the gap between the seats on the left, next to the window.

    What I thought where my shopping bags pressing against me was in fact a middle age mans hand.

    I had only one stop left of a 30 minute journey.

    Anonymous, South London

    It was the first time a man thought he had the right to touch my body without permission

    I was fifteen or sixteen, in my final year of school and living in a very rural area. I would get the train to school everyday, often on my own. Usually the evening train I was catching would be a train packed with commuters from Manchester, also on their way home. Occasionally it would be so full that people wouldnt even be able to get on a couple of stops after mine.

    Because of the lack of carriages I would often end up standing in the aisles or cramped in doorways. It was on one of those occasions I thought somebodys bag was brushing against my bum, so shifted my body to a different angle. It happened again, only this time, it felt less like a bag and more like caressing.

    I was young and innocent and turned around expecting to see a lots of shopping bags. Instead, I saw the single hand of a man standing behind me. I felt shocked and confused and stood there for a moment telling myself hed probably done it by accident. We were packed like sardines and his whole body was millimeters from mine when it happened a third time.

    I immediately pushed my way through several people and stood on the opposite side of the door way and glared at him. He looked ever so slightly uncomfortable, but mainly sad and disappointed.

    I saw him most days, even when I started commuting on the same train into college. Sometimes I still see him now. I look back, now an avid feminist and wish I hadnt given him that tiny benefit of the doubt. I wish I had said loudly, so the packed train could hear, Can you stop touching my bum? before Id moved away.

    Ive been groped and harassed and had mens hands go inside my underwear in crowded clubs, swimming pools, concerts since and now I always make a point of acting on it. This incident still feels different I was a school child, I was on public transport surrounded by people and it was the first time a man thought he had the right to touch my body without permission.

    Anonymous, Derbyshire

    I felt sick, angry and guilty that I hadnt reacted in the right way

    Early last year, I was on my way to meet a friend after work on the Cologne metro, when I spotted a man masturbating. He was stood behind a young woman, who had no idea what was going on. None of the other passengers did either, but because he was stood diagonally to me, I could clearly see what he was doing.

    I could feel my heart thudding and blood rushing to my head. I didnt know what to do. A million scenarios rushed through my mind. Should I pull the emergency break? Should I call the police? Should I shout out loud and tell the whole train?

    Its ridiculous the thoughts that go through your mind at such a time. I couldnt bring myself to do the latter, I think partly from fear nobody would react and partly because Im not used to causing a scene, as stupid as that sounds.

    In the end, I did speak up. I told him I could see what he was doing and I warned the girl to step away. I got out my phone and wrote down his description and the time. He got off at the next stop.

    I got off the one after that with my hands shaking and tears in my eyes and found a transport worker, who advised me to go to the transport office, but they were absolutely useless. They made me feel worse by saying I shouldve called the police at the time and there was nothing they could do. I left shaking like a leaf and called my boyfriend in tears. I felt like my reaction was silly as I wasnt hurt, or even the victim, but I was just so shocked. I felt sick, angry and guilty that I hadnt reacted in the right way. I decided to go to the police anyway, but they werent able to do anything.

    Then, a year later, just the other week who should I spot on the metro? The same man. At first I thought I was imagining it since the first incident I had often thought Id seen him again and it was always my imagination. Then I realised he was wearing the same clothes.

    Right before my eyes, he walked in my direction and stood directly in front of me, behind another young woman. I stared at his back incredulous. Could this really be happening again?

    Sure enough, he was masturbating behind his open jacket. This time, I felt a surge of anger he was still doing this. I approached him and said loudly and firmly: Hey, I know what youre doing and Im calling the police.

    He immediately moved to the next train doorway trying to get away from me but I followed and got out my phone. As soon as the doors opened, he started to run, so I chased him. He ran in a loop and got back on the same train. Unfortunately the doors closed seconds before I could get back on. So, I tried to warn other passengers through the window and then called the police.

    They took all my details and a description, and told me they had police checking the next station but that I may be called to make a statement. Last week I went through the whole process again and asked to look through just over a hundred photos of men who have been arrested for similar crimes. Once again, I was unable to identify him. They said they will try and identify him from CCTV, but I dont hold out much hope.

    Laura, Cologne

    Photograph: Stephen Hird/Reuters

    I began to get really frightened for my safety

    Getting on the last, packed, train home from a concert, I managed to find a seat next to a window and promptly fell into a light sleep. I was aware of the train making stops and of people getting on and off. As usual, I kept my bag on my lap, wrapping its handle around my wrist to make it harder for anyone to pinch. I was also aware of an older gentleman in a suit, who got on the train and sat next to me, placing his suitcase upright on his lap.

    At some point the train lurched, waking me up with a jolt. I realised that there was a hand on my stomach, hidden to other passengers by my bag. I jumped in shock and felt the hand slide away.

    I thought I was being robbed, so I checked my bag to make sure all the contents were there, then sat and tried to work out what had just happened. It felt as though a hand had been rubbing my stomach. The only person it could have belonged to was the man next to me, who was staring straight ahead as if nothing had happened. I decided I had imagined it, but sat up straighter and kept an eye on the man out of the corner of my eye.

    I watched him, well hidden by his suitcase, as he slowly reached his hand down to his side and gently stroke my thigh with his little finger, then several fingers, then his whole hand.

    The first time this happened I made an exaggerated yawning gesture and pushed him away. The second time, I turned to stare at him. The third time, I began to get really frightened for my safety and started to imagine everyone in the packed carriage was aware of what he was doing and were all part of his scheme.

    At this point, I turned my full body towards him and, in a voice which was meant to carry but which actually came out as a whisper, said: Could you please stop touching me?

    He moved his hand, nodded, and got off the train at the next station.

    I cried all the way back to my final destination.

    Anonymous, West Sussex

    His fingers in my hair and his smile haunted me for days

    I was on the tram, on my way back to my shared flat, when I started to feel the back of my hair moving. At first I thought it was caused by a breeze or the air conditioning, but then I clearly felt fingers playing with my hair. I turned around and I was faced with a man smiling at me. His smile made my blood run cold.

    I did not dare react further as the tram was almost empty – late-night service – and as I had to walk a few minutes to reach my flat once I stepped out.

    He stepped out of the tram one stop before I did, but he took time to look at me. His fingers in my hair and his smile haunted me for days – and still do.

    CeB, Belgium

    Some names have been withheld or changed to protect anonymity. To report anything which makes you feel uncomfortable on transport in the UK, contact the British Transport Police by text on 61016 or call 101.

    Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/21/i-cried-all-the-way-back-to-my-final-destination-sexual-harassment-on-public-transport

    Combing human genome reveals roots of hair diversity

    Study into genes linked to hair types, beard thickness and monobrows paves way for new forensic techniques, as well as more commercial beauty uses

    A haul of genes that underpin the diversity of human hair has emerged from a major study into our follicular foundations.

    Scientists trawled through the genomes of more than 6,000 people to find versions of genes linked to straight hair, curly hair, grey hair, no hair, thick and thin beards, and glorious, arching monobrows.

    The findings provide the deepest insight yet into the roots of human hair types, and pave the way for drugs that slow or prevent certain changes, such as greying, before hairs even appear on the scalp. One gene spotted by the study, known as IRF4, is the first to be linked to grey hair.

    People spend a lot of money changing their hair colour, but all of it goes on bleach or dyes, said Kaustubh Adhikari, a geneticist on the study at University College London. What this shows is that there is a genetic component to hair greying, and that raises the possibility of drugs that act on the hair internally, so it is already the colour you want when it comes out.

    The size of the hair-products market suggests the idea will find many fans, but not everyone is overjoyed at the prospect. I cant help feeling a little disappointed that the wonderful breakthroughs in genetics research are likely to be commercially exploited in the interests of hair colouring (or not), said Mary Beard, the Cambridge classics professor who has become a champion for the act of going grey.

    The illustrations show the seven hair features examined in the study, and the lines connect these features with the genetic regions associated with each trait. Illustration: Kaustubh Adhikari, Emiliano Bellini and Andres Ruiz-Linares

    By connecting particular genes to distinctive hair shapes, shades and patterns, the new information is expected to help forensics specialists work up facial profiles of crime suspects based on DNA they leave behind. Should murder ever strike Sesame Street,for example, a variant of the PAX3 gene found at the scene could be good news for tufty-haired Ernie, but not for monobrowed Bert.

    The story of human migration and evolution is written in hair DNA. In sub-Saharan Africa, genes favour tight, curly hair. But in east Asia, mutations have led to straighter, thicker hair. In Europe, other mutations brought wavy and straw-coloured hair. The changes mirror the different climates and the pressures of sexual selection.

    Adhikari and his colleagues examined the DNA of 6,357 people from Latin America. The region is a genetic melting pot, with populations from European, Native American and sub-Saharan African ancestors. To find genes for different hair types, there can be few better places to look.

    Having made detailed notes about the volunteers hair, including the colour and shape, and for men, the nature of their beards, eyebrows and monobrows, the scientists hunted for genes that might underpin the differences. They describe 18 in total, 10 of which appear to be new, according to a report in Nature Communications.

    The gene for greying hair, IRF4, has a role in making melanin, the pigment that governs the colour of eyes, hair and skin. But the gene alone does not make hair grey, the study found.

    Another gene, named PRSS53, affects the curliness of hair, while others influence balding, beard and eyebrow thickness, and the formation of a monobrow.

    Adhikari said that while no single gene determines hair colour, further work in the area could help scientists understand the more complex pathway that does have an effect. If we can elucidate that pathway, the proteins or enzymes involved could become targets for drugs that control hair colour, he said.

    David Balding, a senior author on the study at UCL, said: Its exciting that we are finally beginning to figure out the nuts and bolts of genetics underlying normal human variation. If that feeds into the cosmetics industry thats just a reflection of the world we live in – it already absorbs a huge fraction of the worlds resources. It will also lead to innovations in forensics: the possibility to predict features of someone who left DNA at a crime scene. I think the new knowledge is exciting and will lead to good outcomes.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/01/combing-human-genome-reveals-roots-of-hair-diversity

    This Happy Pomeranian Getting A Haircut Is Actually The Cutest Thing Ever

    Whoever thought to give a Pomeranian a buzzcut is a f*cking genius. Fluffy and feathery, they were always cute before, but with trimmed looks, they’re a whole new kind of cuddly butterball.

    The Facebook pagePeace & Love posted a video of one little pompom having the time of his life at the salon. As his stylist trims his puffy coat, he blisses out, smiling with his eyes half-closed.He’s so freakishly cute, you may start biting at your screen.

    Who knows when or where this puppy magic occurred, but the video is posted below for your viewing pleasure.

    The cutest customer ever…. LoL

    Posted by Peace & Love on Monday, February 8, 2016

    Subscribe to Elite Dailys official newsletter,The Edge, for more stories you dont want to miss.

    Read more: http://elitedaily.com/social-news/pomeranian-getting-a-haircut/1384604/

    This Hairy Looking Fluff-Ball Is Surprisingly Dangerous

    It looks something like a toupee that blew off on a windy day, but the caterpillar stage of Megalopyge opercularis is a very real insect. Commonly known as the puss caterpillar, due to its resemblance to a fluffy house cat, these little creatures are anything but friendly.

    The reason why it’s so important to know about them is because they look quite cute and it’s quite amusing to watch them wriggle their way up a tree or across the top of a fence. This attraction can pose a hazard to curious children, because those fluffy-looking hairs are actually spikes, loaded with venom.

    Reactions to the venom typically aren’t fatal, but can be quite severe. They cover anything from a localized, itching, burning rash at the site of the stings, to a full-body mess of burning, tingling, chest pains, blisters, headache, nausea, and more! The best thing you can do if you see one is to avoid it and warn others who may be nearby. If you or someone with you has come into contact, the first thing you should do is try to find some cellophane tape, which can be used to remove the venomous barbs. Then, take an antihistamine and seek medical attention right away.

    Be sure to SHARE this important information with your friends and family!


    Read more: http://www.wimp.com/this-hairy-looking-fluff-ball-is-surprisingly-dangerous/