UPDATE


Miami U. ranks among nation’s best

Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 8:59 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 @ 8:59 AM

Miami University ranks third in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2014 for commitment to teaching.

Only Dartmouth and Princeton ranked higher than Miami for teaching.

Among public national universities overall, Miami ranked 31st, up from 37th last year.

U.S. News & World Report used a variety of factors in creating the rankings, including undergraduate academic reputation, student retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving rate.

“Two areas in which Miami reported gains to U.S. News are in the areas of student selectivity and actual versus predicted graduation rate,” said Denise Krallman, director of institutional research, in a released statement. “It has been a university wide effort to continually improve the quality of the incoming class and to provide them with the experience and support to help them graduate successfully. These gains coupled with already strong scores in other areas likely strengthened our standing.”

Miami also tied for 30th in the category of Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs, where the highest degree is a bachelor’s or master’s, up five spaces from last year.

Miami’s Farmer School of Business is ranked 47th, up from 56th for Best Undergraduate Business Programs.

Commissioners set to name acting Montgomery County court clerk

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:16 PM

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED
Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. Villelli said she is not seeking the job permanently. The county’s Democratic central committee has a month to name a replacement. SUBMITTED

Montgomery County Commissioners are expected to appoint Connie Villelli acting Montgomery County Clerk of Courts when they meet Tuesday to accept the resignation of Greg Brush, an elected Democrat. Villelli is currently director of compliance and special projects in the clerk’s office.

RELATED: Longtime county court clerk Greg Brush to retire

As acting clerk, Villelli will serve for up to 30 days until the vacancy is filled by the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s central committee.

Villelli, 62, of Englewood said her time as clerk will be solely transitional.

“It’s temporary just to hold down the fort,” Villelli said. “I have no interest in pursuing an elected position, so I’m not in the mix. I think that’s why Greg (Brush) recommended me to the county commissioners.”

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Brush is retiring to take a new job which he won’t reveal until he starts it on Nov. 1, he said earlier this month. He was re-elected in 2016 to a term that runs through 2020.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said people have time to reach out to the party and express interest in the permanent clerk’s position before the central committee convenes in mid-November to select a replacement. An election would be held in November 2018 to fill the final two years of Brush’s term.

The clerk oversees a budget of about $7 million and a staff of 92 employees. The office is responsible for receiving, docketing, indexing, certifying and preserving court pleadings, orders and other legal documents, including auto titles.

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Villelli, who also served as the Clerk of Courts chief deputy, has been with the office for 12 years. Prior to that she managed Montgomery County Common Pleas Court processes for 25 years.

Brush’s annual salary was $111,000. Villelli was paid $77,418 in 2016, according to county records.

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The courts and public will see little change in the operation of the office during the time Villelli is acting clerk, she said.

“We have an extremely talented management team that’s very good at handling the day-to-day operations,” she said. “We don’t think there will be issues we have to address. We have to have someone who can legally sign auto titles and legally sign authenticated judgments, so that will be my signature during this interim period.”

Who are the Rohingya Muslims? 7 things to know about the 'world’s most persecuted minority'

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

Thousands of members of various Indonesian muslim groups demonstrate in support of Myanmar's Rohingya population in front of the Myanmar embassy on September 6, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Myanmar has reportedly laid landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days as nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)
Ed Wray/Getty Images
Thousands of members of various Indonesian muslim groups demonstrate in support of Myanmar's Rohingya population in front of the Myanmar embassy on September 6, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Myanmar has reportedly laid landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days as nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence erupted on August 25. (Photo by Ed Wray/Getty Images)(Ed Wray/Getty Images)

Updated Oct. 23, 2017

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled a brutal military crackdown in the Buddhist majority country of Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and reportedly face an array of human rights abuses, to seek refuge in Bangladesh.

>> Read more trending news

But many other Rohingya refugees have been turned away, leaving thousands stranded at sea.

Almost 40 percent of all Rohingya villages were empty last month, a Myanmar government spokesperson confirmed.

Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, has called what's happening to Rohingya in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

A report published by global rights group Amnesty International detailed evidence of mass killings, torture, rape and forcible transfers of the Rohingya,  Al-Jazeera reported.

Who are the Rohingya and where do they live?

In this Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, photo, Rohingya refugee Muhammad Ayub shows off a picture of his grandfather allegedly killed during recent violence in Myanmar, in Klang on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Recent violence in Myanmar has driven hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. There are some 56,000 Rohingya refugees registered with the U.N. refugee agency in Malaysia, with an estimated 40,000 more whose status has yet to be assessed. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan)(Daniel Chan/AP)

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group living primarily in the Buddhist nation of Myanmar (or Burma). There are approximately 1.1 million Rohingya living in the country.

According to Al Jazeera, the Rohingya have been described as the “world’s most persecuted minority,” and have faced systematic persecution since Myanmar’s independence in the late 1940s.

Most Rohingya in Myanmar reside in the Rakhine State on the country’s western coast.

Rakhine State is regarded as one of the country’s poorest areas and lacks basic services in education and health care.

The Rohingya’s history in Myanmar

According to historians, the group has been residing in Arakan (now Rakhine State) since as early as the 12th century, Al Jazeera reported.

When the British ruled between 1824 and 1948, they administered Myanmar as a province of India and, thus, any migration of laborers between Myanmar and other South Asian countries (like Bangladesh) was considered internal. The majority of the native Myanmar population did not like that.

After gaining independence in 1948, the Burmese government still frowned upon any migration that occurred during the period of British rule, claiming it all to be illegal.

In fact, many Buddhists in Myanmar consider the Ronhingya to be Bengali, or people from Bangladesh.

The discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law officially prevented them from obtaining citizenship.

And according to a Human Rights Watch report from 2000, this is the basis the Myanmar government uses to deny Rohingya citizenship in the country.

Over the years, military crackdowns on the Rohingya have forced hundreds of thousands to escape.

According to the HRW report, Rohingya refugees reported that the Burmese army had forcibly evicted them. Many also alleged widespread army brutality, rape and murder.

Between 1991 and 1992, more than 250,000 Rohingya refugees fled to southeastern Bangladesh. But with the influx of refugees, the Bangladeshi government insisted the refugees return to Arakan (Rakhine State).

By 1997, according to the HRW report, some 230,000 refugees returned.

That same year, the Burmese government said it would not accept any more returning refugees after Aug. 15, 1997, leading to a series of disturbances in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

The Human Rights Watch has called the crisis a deadly game of “human ping-pong.”

What’s happening to the Rohingya now?

Myanmar, a Buddhist-majority country, continues to deny the Rohingya citizenship, freedom to travel, access to education and the group still faces harsh systematic persecution.

In October 2016, the Burmese government blamed members of the Rohingya for the killings of nine border police, leading to a crackdown on Rakhine State villages in which troops were accused of rape, extrajudicial killing and other human rights abuses — all allegations they denied.

Satellite images have also shown Rohingya villages burning — at least 288 villages so far.

And most recently in August, violence erupted after a Rohingya armed rebel group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvatian Army (ARSA) attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine, Al Jazeera reported.

ARSA has reportedly killed a dozen Burmese security personnel in the past. And according to the Washington Post, it’s unclear how much support the rebel group, which seeks an autonomous Muslim state for the Rohingya, actually has among the Rohingya.

Following the August event, civilians began paying the price for ARSA’s small insurgency as Burma’s military launched a “clearance operation,” which U.N. commisioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” the Washington Post reported.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh to escape the aforementioned allegations of human rights abuses such as rape, murder and arson, according to the United Nations.

Women, children and the elderly made up the bulk of that group.

Approximately 40,000 have also settled in India and 16,000 of which have obtained official refugee documentation.

But severe flooding in Bangladesh and India have made conditions in refugee camps even worse and according to National Geographic, there have been reports of cholera outbreaks, water shortages and malnutrition.

Over the past three years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have tried to escape by boat to neighboring countries that refuse to let them in.

Approximately 8,000 migrants have been stranded at sea.

Why won’t other countries take them in?

Many of Myanmar’s neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and Thailand, refuse to take them in.

The Thai navy has actually turned them away.

Lex Rieffel, an expert on Southeast Asia at the Brookings Institution, told NPR in 2015 that the Buddhist-majority nation of Thailand has been battling an Islamist insurgency for decades and has "no stomach" for bringing in more Muslims.

“Where will the budget come from? That money will need to come from Thai people's taxes, right?” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters in 2015.

Malaysia and Indonesia, despite being Muslim-majority nations, have also prevented Rohingya from entering their countries, citing “social unrest.” And Indonesia worries about “an uncontrolled influx.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar told The Guardian in 2015. “We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this.”

What is Aung San Suu Kyi saying?

In this Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi delivers an opening speech during the Forum on Myanmar Democratic Transition in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Suu Kyi has canceled plans to attend the U.N. General Assembly, with her country drawing international criticism for violence that has driven at least 370,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims from the country in less than three weeks. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo, File)(Aung Shine Oo/AP)

The crisis has drawn worldwide criticism of Myanmar's government and its leader, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi

Most human rights activists have denounced Suu Kyi for not publicly condemning the Myanmar military’s treatment of the Rohingya.

According to the BBC, Suu Kyi said “a huge iceberg of misinformation” was distorting the crisis.

“We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection,” she is quoted as saying to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a recent statement. “So, we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as ... not just political but social and humanitarian defence.”

But the misinformation or “fake news” is possibly generated by the Burmese government’s decision to deny media access to its troubled areas, BBC’s Tn Htar Swe said.

"If they allowed the UN or human rights bodies to go to the place to find out what is happening then ... misinformation is not going to take place.”

Condemnation of Suu Kyi’s inaction and response have led to calls for the rescindment of her Nobel Peace Prize, which she won in 1991 as a result of her long fight for democracy in Burma. According to the Washington Post, the Nobel Committee said that will not happen.

How is the world reacting to the Rohingya crisis?

Bangladesh, which is facing the largest influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the international community to intervene.

International aid to much of Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been suspended, leaving more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims without medical care, food and other vital humanitarian assistance, the Human Rights Watch reported last month.

“The United Nations, ASEAN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation need to ramp up the pressure on Burma, and provide more assistance to Bangladesh, to promptly help Rohingya and other displaced people,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy diretor for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch.

The U.S. State Department also announced plans last month to dispense about $32 million in humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya ethnic minority facing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“Through this support, the United States will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to over 400,000 displaced persons in Burma and in Bangladesh,” according to the press release.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world's largest Muslim body, also issued a statement urging Muslim countries to work together to help the Rohingya refugees.

Earlier this year, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved an investigative mission, but was denied entry into Myanmar in June. And when an envoy entered in July, the visit was met with protests.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council condemned the violence, its first unified statement on Myanmar in nine years, the New York Times reported.

But, according to the New York Times, the U.N. is unlikely to act against Myanmar.

China also blocked Egypt’s efforts to add language for Rohingya refugees to be guaranteed the right to return to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

Both China and Russie hold veto power in the U.N. Security Council and can block efforts to sanction Myanmar.

More at NYTimes.com

Who is helping the Rohingya?

Aid groups continue efforts to reach Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and send aid to refugee camps.

The United Nations has pledged roughly $340 million and according to Mark Lowcock of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.N. and its partners are seeking $434 million to help the Rohingya Muslims through February.

According to the Indian Express, India sent an aircraft with the first shipment of humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees last month.

Bangladeshi citizens themselves are also among those providing aid and shelter to the many starving Rohingya refugees in their country.

Jordan’s queen, Queen Rania, said last week after visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh that she was shocked by the refugees’ limited access to basic support and health care, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

“It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding, largely ignored by the international community," she said. "The world response has been muted. I urge the U.N. and the international community to do more to ensure we can bring peace to this conflict.”

According to the Human Rights Watch, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team announced a military-led investigation of security forces in the Rakhine State.

“We want to go home and we want peace. But I believe the world is watching our crisis and that they are trying to help us,” Rahimol Mustafa, a 22-year-old Rohingya Muslim told Al Jazeera in an interview.

Read Mustafa’s story on AlJazeera.com   

Mustafa fled Rakhine State a few weeks ago and is currently safe at a refugee camp in Bangladesh, but with “no shelter and no future.”

Brother could face death penalty in Warren County woman’s killing

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:55 PM
Updated: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:10 PM


            Christopher Kirby, 38, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.
Christopher Kirby, 38, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

The adoptive brother of a South Lebanon woman beaten to death on Sept. 15 at her home has been indicted on eight charges, including her murder, and could face the death penalty.

Christopher Kirby, 38, was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, murder, attempted murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

Deborah Power, 63, of South Lebanon, was pronounced dead from head injuries Sept. 15 at her home in South Lebanon. Newcomer Funeral Home in Dayton is handling the arrangements.

Her husband, Ronnie Power, was also badly beaten in the attack and remained in serious condition, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

“It’s still to early to determine what type of recovery, if any, he’s going to have,” Fornshell said.

If convicted, Christopher Kirby could face the death penalty in connection with his sister’s beating death.

The grand jury “found probable cause that two capital specifications were satisfied, specifically (1) Kirby committed the aggravated murder of Debra Power as part of a course of conduct involving the purposeful attempt to kill two persons, and (2) Kirby was the principal offender in the aggravated murder of Debra Power while committing the offense of aggravated robbery. Therefore, Kirby could face the death penalty if he is convicted on the aggravated murder count, and either of the two capital specifications,” according to Fornshell.

RELATED: Warren County couple held on murder charges in relative’s beating

Kirby’s wife, Jacqueline Kirby, 30, is charged with tampering with evidence, receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards, but not with the more serious murder charges.

“There was insufficient evidence as to her involvement,” Fornshell said Monday.

Both Deborah and Ronnie Power were beaten with a baseball bat that has been taken into evidence, the prosecutor added Monday.

MORE: 2 arrested in South Lebanon; Woman killed, man in critical condition

The Kirbys were living with the Powers and other people in the house at 59 W. Broadway in South Lebanon. Christopher Kirby was Deborah Power’s adoptive brother, according to Fornshell.

The Kirbys are accused of beating the Powers during a robbery undertaken to steal a purse with debit cards the Kirbys could use to buy heroin, according to Fornshell.

Deborah Power had changed the pin numbers, suspecting the Kirbys were using them, Fornshell said Monday. The tampering with evidence charge alleges they threw away the cards when they were unable to access the bank accounts.

MORE: Indictment issued in Franklin stabbing

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Deborah Power was found under a blanket on Sept. 15 and “cold to the touch with blood underneath” by sheriff’s deputies called to a home just before midnight, according to a search warrant.

The Kirbys remained in the Warren County Jail, awaiting their arraignment at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Neighbors make sure 95-year-old WWII is comfortable during daily walk

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 3:09 PM

Neighbors Offer Support and Rest For WWII Veteran

Harvey Djerf , a 95-year-old World War II veteran, doesn’t let his age stop him from taking his daily walks.

He takes the sojourns twice a day, all year long, and he’s been doing it for 65 years, Inside Edition reported.

But his neighbors are keeping an eye out for Djerf.

>> Read more trending news

Every so often, a random chair has been left out for Djerf to take a load off when he’s out for his walks.

“People saw me stopping and catching my breath,” Djerf told KARE. “They figured maybe Harvey needs a place to rest.”

Tom and Melanie Heuerman saw Harvey taking a break in other neighbors’ chairs. That’s when they added another one to his route.

The winter doesn’t stop Djerf, either, and his neighbors make sure Djerf can get safely to his seat by shoveling a path to his chairs, KARE reported.

Djerf said his walks keep him going and give him something to do since his wife, 95, suffered a stroke last year and has been living at an assisted living facility, Inside Edition reported.