Pacific Piano Performance Posts

Kristine Ming


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  • Trump’s Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan Demands Sudan Stop Demolishing Churches

    (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)Baraka Parish church at Hajj Yusuf, on the outskirts of Khartoum, Sudan, February 10, 2013.

    A high-ranking U.S. State Department official has demanded that the Sudanese government put an end to the systematic confiscation and demolition of churches and mosques.

    Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan reportedly said during a speech last Friday in Sudan’s second largest city that in order for relations between the oppressive nation and the United States to improve, the county must do a better job of protecting free speech and religious expression.

    “The government of Sudan, including the federal states, should also immediately suspend demolition of places of worships, including mosques and churches,” AFP quoted Sullivan as saying in a speech at Al-Koran Al-Karim University in Omdurman.

    As Sudan ranks as the fifth-worst county in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA, its government has gained a reputation for arresting Christians who have refused to give up control of their church properties to the government. A number of the churches in question have been destroyed by the government.

    According to World Watch Monitor, Sullivan explained that the 2017 State Department International Religious Freedom report highlighted “instances of the arrest, detention, and intimidation of religious leaders,” as well as “the denial of permits for the construction of new churches; restrictions on non-Muslim religious groups from entering the country; and the censorship of religious material.”

    Most recently in October, five Christian leaders were arrested because of their refusal to give over control of the church. In August, seven other Christian leaders were detained.

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    (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Jasso)U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the Organization of American States (OAS) 47th General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico on June 20, 2017.

    Sullivan’s comments occured during his two-day visit in Sudan in which he met with Sudanese officials and called for an improvement to the human rights situation in the predominantly Muslim country.

    Sullivan’s visit comes as the Trump administration formally lifted two-decade old economic sanctions against Sudan last month, a move that was criticized by many. Sullivan is the first member of the Trump administration to visit Sudan since the Sanctions were lifted in October.

    Human rights and religious freedom advocates from around the world have long called out Sudan for its poor human rights record under President Omar al-Bashir. Activists have accused Sudanese authorities of not only detaining pastors and religious leaders but also political dissidents, human rights activists and journalists.

    “The Islamic Republic of Sudan is waging genocidal war against the black, African marginalized people groups in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile State, and in the Nubian areas of North Sudan,” Faith McDonnell, the religious liberty programs director at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute on Religion Democracy, warned in a statement issued before the sanctions were lifted.

    The New York Times reports that Sullivan said last Thursday that the U.S. is also weighing whether to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sudan was designated a state sponsor of terror in August of 1993. However, such a move is dependent upon the Sudanese government cooperating with U.S. officials.

    According to The New York Times, Sullivan said the Trump administration’s policies on Sudan are simply a continuation of the strategy carried out by the administration of former President Barack Obama and that the U.S. government will continue to work with Sudan toward the eventual removal of its designation as a state sponsor of terror.

    In her statement, McDonnell warned that “the Obama policy has been one that has cast the regime’s persecutors as morally equivalent with the persecuted and their defenders.”

    In a tweet, McDonnell warned that the U.S. would be foolish to remove Sudan as a state sponsor of terror.

    “And the Islamist Republic of Sudan says it is ‘ending’ its relationship with the DPRK! And we are fools enough to believe them and John Sullivan at State fool enough to talk about taking them off the terror list!” she tweeted.

    According to The New York Times, Sullivan explained that the Sudanese government has taken “positive steps” over the past year-and-a-half.

    “There will need to be substantial progress on those matters, including political freedom, press freedom and religious freedom — those freedoms that are so important to us as Americans,” Sullivan said.

    Sullivan’s trip to Sudan was part of a tour of foreign nations that lasted from Nov. 14–21 in which he was scheduled to visit France, Tunisia and Nigeria.

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  • Konohana Kitan’ Episode 8 Spoilers: Yuzu to Meet New Human Friends?

    Tokyo MX Official SiteKey visual art for the Japanese anime series, “Konohana Kitan (Strange Tales of this Flower)” based on the manga series by Sakuya Amano.

    After Yuzu’s first summer festival almost turned into a tragedy of sorts, how will the young fox girl’s experience with an incoming transient guest go on the next episode of the Japanese slice-of-life anime series, “Konohana Kitan”?

    Since Yuzu has never been to a real summer festival, and has only ever heard about it from her guardian, Bikuni, her co-workers at the Konohana-tei decided to take her to the ongoing Yoimiya Festival downtown. However, Kiri could only allow them to go in two separate batches so as to not lose attendants at the hotel.

    Yuzu, Satsuki, and Sakura were first to go, taking in as much of the summer festival as they could and creating summer memories like what Kirit told them to do. Yuzu, for one, had what could well be one of the most memorable incidents of her life when, upon participating in the Bon Odori, she ended up accidentally joining a line of spirits who were on their way back to the afterlife.

    It’s a good thing that the Ghost she has helped in an earlier episode showed her the way back as a return favor for the kindness Yuzu has previously shown her.

    But with such naive propensity for getting herself into trouble, without knowing that she is in fact in trouble until it’s almost too late, is Yuzu about to get in deep water, yet again, when she meets a new friend by the shore on the next episode titled, “The Transient Guest”?

    The preview of the episode shows what looks to be a human girl who has been washed up on the shore. It also seems like Yuzu will be helping her new acquaintance look for her companions. But is this girl really a friend, or will she, in her natural curiosity, end up causing trouble for Yuzu down the line?

    Aside from this girl, Yuzu, with help from Urinosuke, will also chance upon a child crying and seemingly lost in the woods. And since it is in Yuzu’s nature to help this child without second thoughts, is the fox girl about to lead herself to more than one potential trouble in a day, or will her acts of kindness end up giving merit to the Konohana-tei in the most unexpected ways?

    “Konohana Kitan” airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. JST on AT-X and at midnight JST on Tokyo MX. It also airs on Thursdays at midnight JST on BS11 and late night at 2:25 a.m. JST on Kansai TV. Information on other broadcast schedules and online resources can be found on the series’ official site. Episodes are also streamed in selected regions outside Japan via Crunchyroll.

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  • TsukiPro The Animation’ Anime Spoilers: Next Episode to Feature Four-Man Idol Unit, Growth

    Tokyo MX Official SiteKey visual art for the Japanese musical anime series, “TsukiPro The Animation,” featuring the idol groups under the management of the fictional talent agency TsukiPro: SolidS, QUELL, Growth, and Soara.

    The twins from Quell, Issei and Ichiru Kuga were able to triumph over their worries and inhibitions regarding a new project, but how will their fellow idol unit, Growth, fare through theirs on the next episode of the Japanese music-themed anime series, “TsukiPro The Animation”?

    In the previous episode, the twins — Issei and Ichiru — were chosen to be part of the musical play, “Grimm the Stories,” written and directed by award-winning director, Nomoto Shinya. Aside from the fact that this was their first venture into the musical theater, the story they were assigned to brought on concerns over its seeming similarities to their own lives.

    The two of them grew up in an orphanage in Hokkaido, and they have made some wonderful memories there. However, in the play, the part where they were supposed to play Hansel and Gretel showed a stereotypical image of an orphanage as a place of sadness and loss.

    This image was rectified in the end after the director saw the effort that the twins were giving their parts. The Kuga twins may have had a tough time internalizing their scenes, which felt unrealistic to them, but after the final revisions on the script, their story became one of courage and hope, and performing their parts became quite natural for them.

    On the other hand, the next episode titled “Parallel Lineage” will reportedly feature the four-man idol unit, Growth, which is also being managed by Tsukino Talent Production. The group consists of the leader, Koki Eto along with Kensuke Yaegashi, Ryota Sakuraba, and Mamoru Fujimura, who is known for having a deeply unique outlook in life, having been jobless and homeless at one point in time.

    What kind of challenge will these four idols be facing and what will this reveal about their personalities individuals and their dynamics as a group?

    “TsukiPro The Animation” airs on Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. JST on Tokyo MX and at 11 p.m. JST on KBS Kyoto. It also airs on the same day late night at 12:30 a.m. JST on Sun TV and late night at 1:30 a.m. JST on BS 11. AT-X also airs a new episode on Fridays at 8 p.m. JST on AT-X. Information on other broadcast schedule and online resources can be found on the series’ official site. Episodes are also simulcast in selected regions outside Japan via Crunchyroll.

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  • Dynamic Chord’ Anime Spoilers: apple-polisher Vocalist Gets in an Accident; TBS to Air Two New Episodes This Week

    TBS Official SiteKey visual art for the Japanese music-themed anime series, “Dynamic Chord,” featuring the lead vocalists of the bands Kyohso, rêve parfait, Liar-S, and apple-polisher.

    A major catastrophe is about to befall the four-man idol unit apple-polisher on the next episode of the Japanese music-based anime series, “Dynamic Chord.”

    The preview for the upcoming episode, titled “Autumn Breeze,” reveals that apple-polisher’s vocalist, Narumi Amagi, will be getting into an accident on his racing bike. And with an incapacitating accident such as this, the upcoming end-of-the-year concert that would feature the idol groups under the Dynamic Chord agency will also be put in jeopardy.

    And with this possibility hanging over their heads, the other members of the group — Shinobu Kurosawa, Yuuki Aoi, and Yuusei Otoishi — are thrown into turmoil. And their growing worries may also bring them into an argument with Aki Kashii from rêve parfait.

    However, it also seems that the group will be able to come up with a plan to set things straight. But it remains unknown whether this plan will impact the whole agency as well as their own idol group in a good or bad way.

    Could apple-polisher be thinking of withdrawing from the upcoming concert? Or will they decide to push through with rehearsals despite Narumi’s injuries? Whether it’s one or the latter, will their decision eventually fix things or will it end up only making matters worst?

    “Dynamic Chord” episode 7 will reportedly air at a special time on TBS on Wednesday, Nov. 22 late night at 2:37 a.m. JST, while the subsequent episode 8 will air on Thursday, Nov. 23 late night at 2 a.m. JST.

    On the other hand, the series will air at its regular timeslot of Fridays late night at 3:09 a.m. JST on CBC, and Saturdays late night at 1 a.m. JST on BS-TBS.

    Information on other broadcast schedules and online resources can be found on the series’ official TBS page. Episodes are also simulcast in selected regions outside Japan via HIDIVE.

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  • 5 Crazy Things Said in Defense of Judge Roy Moore

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    (Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)Judge Roy Moore speaks as he participates in the Mid-Alabama Republican Club’s Veterans Day Program in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, U.S., November 11, 2017.

    Once considered the guaranteed winner to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated U.S. Senate seat, the allegations against Roy Moore have given new hope for Democrat opponent Doug Jones.

    While both supporters and opponents of Moore have brought up valid arguments for and against the claims of the women, some have made over the top arguments in his defense.

    Here are five crazy things said in defense of Moore. They range from awkward biblical comparisons to inaccurate assumptions about people’s backgrounds. (Click arrow above image)

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  • Pro-Family Republican Politician Resigns After Claims He Led Secret Gay Life, Fondled 18-Y-O Teen

    (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)The U.S. Capitol building is seen before President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2015.

    A conservative Ohio state lawmaker resigned last week after admitting to “inappropriate behavior” with a man in his state office in Columbus. Allegations were that he led a secret gay life for years, including an instance where he fondled an 18-year-old teenager. reported on Saturday that Wesley Goodman led a pro-family platform defending the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, but revelations have shown that he sent salacious texts and emails with gay men on Capitol Hill.

    “We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life,” Goodman announced last week. “That has been true for me, and I sincerely regret that my actions and choices have kept me from serving my constituents and our state in a way that reflects the best ideals of public service.”

    House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger added in a statement last week following Goodman’s resignation: “It became clear that his resignation was the most appropriate course of action for him, his family, the constituents of the 87th House District and this institution.”

    The married 33-year-old politician was elected in 2016 to the 87th district seat and had aspirations to run for Congress, but now several people who knew him when he worked in Washington D.C. have stepped forward with controversial stories about the lawmaker.

    “Wes never sexually harassed me — we both knew what we were doing and we were both fine doing it,” said Johnny Hadlock, a former staffer for another GOP congressman, who said that he engaged in phone sex with Goodman, who he met in 2010.

    Hadlock said that the various messages and online exchanges between them happened without the knowledge of Goodman’s wife.

    One anonymous conservative described as having “Ohio ties” added that Goodman engaged in “predatory behavior toward younger men,” sending them “inappropriate material and propositioning them via text message and Facebook messenger.”

    The man accused Goodman of targeting college kids who reached out to have him as a mentor, but were too afraid to report his sexual advances.

    The Washington Post reported on Friday that allegations have also swirled around Goodman fondling an 18-year-old without the latter’s consent.

    The incident apparently occurred two years ago at a conference at Ritz-Carlton hotel near Washington to raise funds for the Ohio politician.

    “Hours later, upstairs in a hotel guest room, an 18-year-old college student who had come to the event with his parents said the candidate unzipped his pants and fondled him in the middle of the night,” the article describes.

    “The frightened teenager fled the room and told his mother and stepfather, who demanded action from the head of the organization hosting the conference.”

    Tony Perkins, president of the Council for National Policy and the Family Research Council, received an email from the stepfather regarding the incident on Oct. 18, 2015.

    “If we endorse these types of individuals, then it would seem our whole weekend together was nothing more than a charade,” the note read.

    Perkins replied: “Trust me . . . this will not be ignored nor swept aside.”

    He added: “It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.”

    In December, Perkins asked Goodman to drop out of the race, and suspended him from the CNP. In a direct letter he said that he will “continue to pray” for Goodman’s journey to “spiritual and emotional wholeness.”

    “Going forward so soon, without some distance from your past behavior and a track record of recovery, carries great risk for you and for those who are supporting you,” Perkins wrote at the time of Goodman’s political aspirations, however.

    Perkins added that he was encouraged that Goodman admitted responsibility for his behavior, but warned that he “only began the process of restoration.”

    As the WP noted, CNP, which was founded in early 1980s, includes several prominent figures in the conservative movement, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

    The effort did not stop Goodman from continuing his campaign, however. The lawmaker went on to defeat two fellow Republican candidates in primary elections on his way to winning a district seat.

    The Christian Post reached out to FRC and Perkins for comment, but was told the organization will not be releasing a statement on the issue.

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  • Trump Says Basketball Players Should’ve Stayed in China Prison After LaVar Ball Wasn’t Nice to Him

    (Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One upon his return to the White House in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2017.

    “I should have left them in jail!” President Donald Trump said, responding to remarks by Lavar Ball, a media personality and the father of one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting, that the president had little to do with the release of the students.

    “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “I should have left them in jail!”

    Later, the President tweeted again: “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!”

    When ESPN asked Ball about Trump’s role in the release of his son, he asked, “Who?” and added, “What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

    Responses to Trump’s tweets are pouring in.

    “The President of the United States says he would leave you in a foreign jail if he’s mad at your dad,” wrote Matt Walsh of The Blaze on Twitter. Then he again wrote, “If Obama ever said anything even remotely close to this, the Right would scream about it for the next 3 decades.”

    Bill Kristol, editor at large at Weekly Standard, mocked Trump, writing, “Trump: If Americans won’t express fulsome gratitude to me personally, I don’t see why I should bother doing what a president should do.”

    “Trump’s failure to distinguish between himself and the office he holds is almost the definition of not understanding a constitutional republic,” he added.

    Eric Erickson, who writes for Resurgent, tweeted, “Advice I give my children: do what’s right and never expect thanks. You do it because it is right, not to get in good with others.”

    Fox News host Todd Starnes thought Trump’s tweet was presidential, however, writing, “Thank you, @realDonaldTrump, for not leaving American citizens behind in China — even if they are no-account criminals. #presidential.”

    The three players have since been suspended indefinitely from the team.

    “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine,” Ball told ESPN. “I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.’ I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing.

    “Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long. That’s not me. I handle what’s going on and then we go from there.”

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  • Elementary’ Season 6 Spoilers: Sherlock Too Late to Win Back Joan’s Trust?

    Facebook/ElementaryCBSPromotional image for ‘Elementary’

    Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) may just be too late to salvage his friendship with Joan (Lucy Liu) in the upcoming season of “Elementary.”

    In an interview, executive producer Rob Doherty hinted bigger struggles for the two friends in the new installment. During the last finale, Joan was convinced that Sherlock hated her. First, he did not attend Shinwell’s (Nelsan Ellis) funeral. She was also sure that her friend was hiding something big from her.

    However, the truth was that Sherlock just received shocking news from the doctors. He was informed that he might have a brain tumor. According to the EP, Sherlock would soon explain what he had been going through, but it might be a tad too late.

    “He will indeed,” Doherty said. “He knows by now that problems like these are best addressed with help from friends. The question will be, has he waited too long to confide in her?”

    Meanwhile, more spoilers indicate that the duo’s partnership may indeed be coming to an end. Aside from their existing problems, another hurdle will surface that could be the final straw for Joan: an important someone in her life will reportedly pass away.

    This person warned her in the past about the dangers of associating with Sherlock, so Joan will seriously reflect on whether she would be better off without the consultant in her life. The season may be the one where viewers will see them going their separate ways. If this happens, Sherlock will have no one to blame but himself.

    “… It’s going to give her cause to look at choices she’s made and choices that she has right in front of her: Might she be a more complete person if she weren’t in a partnership with Sherlock Holmes?” the EP teased.

    “Elementary” season 6 is rumored to air in 2018.

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