Princess Dana Firas Meets Italian Culture Minister Over Cooperation

AMMAN  — HRH Princess Dana Firas, president of the dana open Petra National Trust (PNT) and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Cultural Heritage, along with Culture Minister Haifa Najjar, met with Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini on Friday, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The meeting came within the framework of the Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Euro-Mediterranean Region in Naples.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Culture on Saturday, the princess praised Jordan’s participation in the conference, noting that the Italian Ministry of Culture has sought developing partnership and bolstering cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region by merging arts with culture and emphasising the pivotal role of culture in achieving sustainability.

Najjar stressed that Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, always seeks to promote moderation, cooperation and dialogue, even though the Kingdom is surrounded by conflict.

During the meeting, Najjar also invited the Italian Minister of Culture to visit Jordan. 

The Italian minister expressed his appreciation for Jordan’s participation, praising its moderate approach and the richness of its culture which is based on being open to diversity.

Franceschini pointed out that the world has recently been impacted by different situations, expressing hope for issuing the conference declaration, which will be signed by all participants and for bolstering bilateral relations.

The two-day conference, which was held in Naples, Italy, featured a number of culture ministers from the EU and Mediterranean countries as well as representatives of international organisations.

It focused on issues concerning supporting the fields of culture and heritage among the countries of the region, setting policies for cultural development, and fostering industries and creative economies.

Biden Nominates Dana Douglas, Magistrate In New Orleans, For U.S. 5th Circuit Appeals Court

President Joe Biden has tapped U.S. Magistrate Judge Dana Douglas for an open seat on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Douglas, who awaits U.S. Senate confirmation, would become the first minority woman on the federal appeals court that oversees district courts in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

The White House announced Douglas and six other federal judicial nominees on Wednesday, highlighting diversity in the choices. Along with the Douglas, who is Black, the White House said the nominees, if confirmed, will include firsts for a Latino judge on the Washington, D.C. Appeals court, a South Asian person on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and an openly LGBT federal district judge in Puerto Rico.

Douglas was appointed federal magistrate judge in 2019 by the judges of the Eastern District of Louisiana, one of the district courts she will oversee if confirmed to vault across a courtyard along Camp Street to the appeals court.

The New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit — which oversees cases that originate in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi — is “easily” the most conservative of the 13 federal appellate courts, according to Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who often writes about federal judicial appointments.

“Nobody disputes that anymore,” he said.

Of the Fifth Circuit’s 17 active judges, 13 were appointed by Republican presidents, compared to four appointed by Democrats.

Former President Barack Obama had difficulty filling seats on the Fifth Circuit bench: Just three of his nominees are on the court. Former President Donald Trump, though serving just one term in office, managed to place six judges on the Fifth Circuit bench. 

Tobias described Douglas’ nomination as historic, and one that fits with Biden’s push for diversity on the courts. He noted that few Black jurists have ever sat on the Fifth Circuit.

Among those backing Douglas’ nomination to the Fifth Circuit were former Mayor Marc Morial, now president of the National Urban League, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore.

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Douglas, a Loyola Law School graduate, served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle and later joined the Liskow & Lewis firm.

She is a former president of both the New Orleans Bar Association and the Greater New Orleans Louis A. Martinet Society and served on the New Orleans Civil Service Commission. At Liskow & Lewis, she “focused on energy, products liability, and intellectual property litigation,” according to a bio.

Douglas would fill an opening left by Judge James Dennis, a nominee of President Bill Clinton who is 86 and took “senior status” last year, with a reduced caseload. Another vacancy on the Fifth Circuit arrives in August with the resignation of Judge Gregg Costa, one of Obama’s three nominees. Costa chose to leave the lifetime federal post at age 49, still among the Fifth Circuit’s youngest members.

Because federal judicial appointments are for life, presidents from both parties have increasingly emphasized appointing younger judges in order to maximize their party’s political advantage.

“If they have a choice between someone who’s younger and someone who’s not, they just go with the person who is younger,” he said.

Douglas is in her late 40s, though officials declined to provide her exact age Wednesday. If she is confirmed, she’d be among the youngest judges on the Fifth Circuit bench.

With the picks announced Wednesday, the Biden administration has made 105 federal judicial nominations so far, the White House said. It moved quickly to fill vacant judicial posts in Biden’s first year, but new nominations stalled in 2022 as focus turned to confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson for U.S. Supreme Court. 

As of Tuesday, there were 75 vacancies on federal district and circuit courts, with 11 nominations pending. 


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Waterman’s Owner Looking To Open New Restaurant

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By Breeana Greenberg

Though Waterman’s Harbor restaurant has closed, owner Damian Collins is looking to the future and hoping to keep employees on at a new restaurant concept he expects to open in Summer 2023.

Waterman’s Harbor closed its doors on June 1, after Collins felt the restaurant could not offer the same quality of service during the construction and revitalization process of the Dana Point Harbor.

The new restaurant will be a Mexican seafood-based concept that Collins hopes to open in Capistrano Beach. Collins plans to travel from Cabo San Lucas to Mexico City to Baja California, gathering ideas for the food and drink menus.

“We want to emulate some of the dishes that we see on our trip down there,” Collins said. “I think it’ll be a lot different than any of the other Mexican restaurants in town.”

The night before the restaurant closed, staff and vendors gathered for a goodbye party. Together, the staff watched slideshows of the progression in building Waterman’s after taking over the former Jolly Roger restaurant in 2013.

“We watched the slideshows last night of when we started at Waterman’s, how much of a mess that building was, and we basically took it down to the studs, reconfigured everything,” Collins said. “I mean, it was like almost from the ground up. There’s parts where you just kind of—emotionally, it was a tough night.”

However, Collins said that the decision to close Waterman’s was ultimately the best business decision.

“Businesswise, Burnham Ward was really helpful in getting us through all this and playing fair and being good to us,” Collins said of one of the developers involved in the harbor revitalization plans.

Collins said that keeping the restaurant open throughout construction would not have allowed him to offer the best experience for his customers.

“We all want the harbor down there to be the dream that they’ve shown us on paper,” Collins said. “That just wasn’t going to happen with us in that location and going through all the construction and everything.”

“They’re in a tough spot, because they have to build and have their construction that doesn’t always coincide with running a restaurant,” Collins continued. “We just came to a mutual agreement that we would part ways and maybe one day in the future, do another restaurant down there.”

Until the new restaurant is up and running, Collins plans to keep as many of Waterman’s staff as possible employed at his other two restaurants, Stillwater Spirits & Sounds and Sunsets.

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