Ethics committee calls for expulsion of Sen Don Meredith over sex with

first_imgOTTAWA – The Senate ethics committee has recommended that the upper house take the unprecedented step of expelling disgraced Sen. Don Meredith for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.It’s now up to the full Senate, which has never before expelled a member, to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation, which also calls on the chamber to declare Meredith’s seat vacant.“He has brought disrepute to himself and to the institution,” the committee said in a scathing report released Tuesday.“Your committee is of the opinion that Sen. Meredith’s misconduct has demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a senator. His presence in the chamber would in itself discredit the institution.“No lesser sanction than expulsion would repair the harm he has done to the Senate.”Meredith must be given five sitting days in which to respond to the report, should he wish, so a vote on his fate can’t occur before next Tuesday at the earliest.Meredith’s lawyer, Bill Trudell, said the senator was with his family and had no immediate comment on the report. The senator has a right to speak to the Senate and a right of final reply and will decide in the next few days whether to exercise those options, he added in an interview.Trudell said he’s troubled by aspects of the report, although he would not specify exactly what those were.“What they call for is a unique, never-used-before power to expel,” Trudell said. “What they are saying is that there is no other alternative and that’s precedent-setting. I suggested there were alternatives.”According to the report, Meredith’s lawyer proposed that the senator be suspended without pay for one or two years. But the committee concluded that “a suspension would reinstate only temporarily the Senate’s dignity and integrity, which would again be compromised when Sen. Meredith would resume his seat.”The Senate has undisputed authority to suspend senators and did so recently with senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau while they were under investigation for allegedly filing fraudulent expense claims.Its power to expel is less clear.The committee ultimately accepted the legal opinion of the law clerk and parliamentary counsel to the Senate that the Constitution confers on the upper house the same privileges enjoyed by the United Kingdom’s House of Commons. Since the U.K. Commons can permanently eject a member, so too can Canada’s Senate.Trudell said he was not in a position to comment on the legality of expulsion.“Constitutional experts will want to weigh in and I’m sure that the Senate itself will want to be satisfied that the work of the committee can be adopted,” he said.The committee’s recommendation follows an explosive report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.She concluded that Meredith, a 52-year-old, married, Pentecostal minister, had failed to uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator” and acted in a way that could damage the Senate itself.According to Ricard, Meredith began a relationship with the girl when she was just 16; it progressed from flirtatious online chats to fondling and sexually explicit live videos and, eventually, to sexual intercourse — once shortly before the teen turned 18 and twice after. She also found that Meredith had abused his position as a senator to take advantage of the teen.Meredith has called the affair a “moral failing” but insists he did not have intercourse with the girl until after she turned 18 and has rejected fellow senators’ near-universal demand that he resign.Sen. Raynell Andreychuk, chair of the ethics committee, received a standing ovation from most senators after summarizing the report — a telling sign that Meredith’s fellow senators seem keen to force him out since he won’t go voluntarily.Meredith has publicly apologized to his family, his fellow senators, the woman in question — known only as Ms. M — and to all Canadians, hoping the contrition would be enough for him to hold on to his seat.“As a human being, I made a grave error in judgment, in my interactions. For that I am deeply sorry,” he said in a March interview with The Canadian Press.But while the committee acknowledged that Canadians would “undoubtedly be willing to accept that senators are human,” it found Meredith’s misconduct too egregious to excuse. The report notes that this was not an isolated incident but a case of an inappropriate relationship that lasted for two years.Moreover, the committee said it was troubled by the fact that Meredith has never acknowledged that he “failed to uphold the dignity and public trust bestowed on him” or that his actions have damaged the institution.“The committee could have considered suspension as appropriate had he taken immediate action to repair the prejudice his breach of the (ethics) code has caused but, after due consideration, the committee rejected this option as Sen. Meredith had taken no steps towards restoration.”In addition to Ms. M case, Meredith is under separate investigation by the Senate ethics officer for allegedly sexually harassing and bullying members of his staff.— with files from Colin Perkel in Torontolast_img read more

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Quebec lawmakers pass controversial law obliging citizens to uncover their faces

first_imgMONTREAL – Calling it a North American first, the Quebec government passed legislation Wednesday forbidding anyone from receiving or giving a public service with their face covered — and even while riding the bus.The opposition said the law doesn’t go far enough, while members of the province’s Islamic community said it targets Muslim women and violates their fundamental right to express their religion as they see fit.“This has been a debate that’s been tearing Quebec apart for the past few years,” Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters. “We need to hail this exercise. We need to remind people we are the only jurisdiction in North America to have legislated on this issue.”Bill 62 is the Liberal government’s attempt to enshrine into law what is considered to be a fundamental Quebec value that the state should not promote religion of any kind.Due to the historical omnipresence of the Roman Catholic Church in the lives of Quebecers, some activists in the province see the movement for secularism — including laws banning religious expression in public institutions — as the natural evolution of modern Quebec.The Liberals’ bill is not as strict as the values charter tabled by the Parti Quebecois but which did not become law because the Liberals swept the sovereigntist party from power in 2014.Bill 62 has two basic components: it bans the wearing of face coverings for people giving or receiving a service from the state and it offers a framework outlining how authorities should grant accommodation requests based on religious beliefs.Couillard said he expects some people to challenge the law, but he defended the legislation as necessary for reasons related to communication, identification and security.“The principle to which I think a vast majority of Canadians by the way, not only Quebecers, would agree upon is that public services should be given and received with an open face,” he said.“I speak to you, you speak to me. I see your face. You see mine. As simple as that.”In Ottawa, the Bloc Quebecois asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Commons whether he could categorically state his government would not challenge the law.Trudeau responded by saying he would “continue to work to make sure Canadians are protected by the charter (federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms) while at the same time respecting the choices made by various parliamentarians at different levels.”“But here, at the federal level, we defend the rights of all Canadians.”Trudeau later tweeted a link to a speech he gave in 2015 condemning face-covering bans, adding that his position hasn’t changed.“It is a cruel joke to claim you are liberating people from oppression by dictating in law what they can and cannot wear,” he said in the speech.How the new law will be enforced is still unclear, particularly for bus drivers who fear becoming the fashion police.Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, who tabled the bill, said guidelines on how the law would be enforced would be phased in by next June 30, after consultations.She told reporters the law also affects women who choose to use public transit while wearing Islamic face coverings, such as the niqab or burka.“The obligation to uncover your face is for duration of the public service rendered,” she said. “Not just for the veiled woman, but think also of hoods or tinted glasses.”Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he remains uncomfortable with the legislation, especially as it applies to the city’s public transit.“What does it mean? We have niqab police as bus drivers?” Coderre asked. “Will we refuse to provide them (women wearing face coverings) services if they are freezing with their children?”A spokesman for the union representing Montreal bus drivers, ticket takers and subway employees says it isn’t interested in enforcing the law.“Bus drivers don’t want to have the responsibility of applying Bill 62 at this time,” Ronald Boisrond of the Canadian Union of Public Employees said in an interview.Andre Lamoureux, political scientist and spokesman for a Quebec-based movement for secularism, said the niqab or burka “has no place — not even on the bus.”His group was one of many who testified during the legislative hearings into Bill 62.“(The niqab) is not a religious sign,” Lamoureux said. “It’s a political symbol of the enslavement and de-empowerment of women that is supported by the most repressive regimes on the planet.”Eve Torres, a spokeswoman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the face veil itself is not the issue.“Whether it pleases Mr. Lamoureux or me — that’s not the question,” she said. “The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms allows women to express their way of interpreting their religion.“Whether I’m OK with it or not is not the point.”Lamoureux said the majority of Quebecers are against the niqab and the burka due to historical considerations.“Before the 1960s there was terrible social pressure on women, on couples,” he said. “The church was against abortion, controlled women’s bodies. When women went to the confessional, the priest would demand they get pregnant. The church was everywhere, in the schools. Even my hockey coach was a Jesuit.”He said Quebecers don’t care if people practise their religion in private, but they are sensitive to signs that religiosity is re-entering public institutions.Torres said the government has switched roles with the church.“The government has passed a law forcing women to uncover a part of their body against their will,” she said.“I am aware of the past, but the past also tells us that women have come a long way but there is still a lot of work to do. This law does not add anything to the advancement of women in society.”Another spokesman with the National Council of Canadian Muslims said the organization is “looking at its options” with regards to a possible court challenge.Fo Niemi of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations said the law could eventually be challenged in front of the United Nations.“It is foreseeable…the law will end up before the UN because it can be deemed to be a violation of certain rights protected by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,” Niemi said.Vallee said she believes her bill passes the legal test.“In every piece of legislation, there’s a risk of it being contested by those who don’t agree with it,” Vallee said. “We consider that this bill is solid, it’s strong, it’s a bill that’s respectful of civil rights.”last_img read more

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Kosovo duo facing trial at UN tribunal over alleged intimidation of witness

28 April 2008Kosovo’s ex-minister for culture, youth and sport and a former newspaper editor will appear tomorrow before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after being charged with contempt of court for allegedly trying to intimidate a witness in a war crimes trial. Astrit Haraqija and Bajrush Morina are accused by prosecutors – in an indictment filed in January and made public by the ICTY on Friday – of attempting to persuade a protected witness with the codename PW not to testify against Ramush Haradinaj, the former prime minister of Kosovo.Mr. Haradinaj, who was a prominent commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the conflict with Serb forces in 1998-99, was acquitted by the ICTY earlier this month of a series of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture, abduction, cruel treatment, imprisonment and the forced deportation of Serbian and Kosovar Roma civilians.When they announced the verdict, the judges said the tribunal had encountered many difficulties in securing testimony from witnesses during the trials of Mr. Haradinaj and his two co-accused.The indictment released on Friday states that Mr. Haraqija, a former minister of culture, youth and sport in Kosovo, was one of the three co-founders of the “Defence Committee for Ramush Haradinaj.” Mr. Morina was his employee, working as a political adviser, and then also as a part-time editor at Bota Sot, a Kosovo newspaper.PW was granted protective measures in 2005 and early last year his unredacted witness statements were disclosed by prosecutors to the defence teams of Mr. Haradinaj and his co-accused.The indictment alleges that after learning of the identity of the witness last July, Mr. Haraqija instructed Mr. Morina to travel to PW’s country of residence to persuade him not to testify, and that Mr. Morina met with the witness on 10-11 July in a trip paid for by the ministry.PW eventually did testify at the trial, according to the indictment.Meanwhile, a former senior Bosnian Croat figure, Jadranko Prlić, facing trial on war crimes charges has been granted temporary provisional leave by the ICTY on humanitarian grounds. On Friday the tribunal agreed to release Mr. Prlić until the start of his defence case, scheduled for Monday.Mr. Prlic and five other co-accused, all former high-level leaders in the Bosnian Croat wartime entity known as Herceg-Bosna, stand accused of war crimes committed in 1992 and 1993 against Bosnian Muslims and other non-Croats in south-western and central Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the municipalities of Prozor, Gornji Vakuf, Jablanica, Mostar, Ljubuški, Stolac, Capljina and Vareš.The many charges include murder, rape, unlawful deportation, imprisonment, cruel treatment, unlawful labour, the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds. read more

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UN honours victims of Chernobyl nuclear accident stresses need to help region

26 April 2011The United Nations marked the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl today by honouring the victims of the worst nuclear accident in history and stressing the need to do more to help communities in the affected areas of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. More than 300,000 people were displaced and roughly six million were affected by the accident that took place at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986, which contaminated a swathe of territory half the size of Italy. “The Chernobyl anniversary is an occasion both to remember the human cost of the disaster and to take stock of the many problems that still linger,” Ambassador Maria Rubiales de Chamorro of Nicaragua, the Acting President of the General Assembly, said at a special commemorative meeting held by the 192-member body.“But it is also a time to look ahead and seek solutions that hold promise for the affected communities and renew our commitment to a safer future,” she added, noting that the affected communities require assistance in areas such as investments and socio-economic development.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the anniversary is a time to remember the heroism of the firefighters and other emergency workers, as well as the plight of millions of people who were uprooted from the contaminated regions and those still living in the affected areas.“Their sacrifices must never be forgotten; their suffering must never go unaddressed,” he said in a statement to mark the anniversary.He told the meeting of the Assembly that Chernobyl “cast a radioactive cloud across Europe and a shadow around the world,” but it also highlighted international solidarity.“Chernobyl was not a problem for Ukraine, Belarus or Russia alone. Chernobyl was our problem – a shared challenge for the world,” said Mr. Ban, who last week became the first UN Secretary-General to visit the site of the disaster.He added that the anniversary, as well as the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant last month, calls for reflection and robust global debate on how to achieve the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and maximum safety.Mr. Ban has outlined a five-step plan to enhance nuclear safety, beginning with “a top to bottom review” of current nuclear safety standards, both at the national and international levels. The plan also strengthening the work of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), putting a sharper focus on the nexus between natural disasters and nuclear safety, undertaking a cost-benefit analysis of nuclear energy, and building a stronger connection between nuclear safety and nuclear security. “With the memory of Chernobyl and, now, the disaster in Fukushima, we must widen our lens,” Mr. Ban wrote in an opinion piece published in the International Herald Tribune. “Henceforth, we must treat the issue of nuclear safety as seriously as we do nuclear weapons.”In a message to the opening of a photo exhibition in New York on the occasion of the anniversary, Mr. Ban pledged his determination to keep nuclear safety at the top of the international agenda.“By working to ensure that nuclear power is used peacefully and safely, we can honour the memory of Chernobyl’s victims and its lost heroes.”The Secretary-General will convene a high-level meeting on strengthening the international nuclear safety regime when world leaders gather at the UN in New York in September. read more

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Middle East Annan calls for urgent steps to stem violence build confidence

A spokesman for Mr. Annan said in a statement that the Secretary-General urged Israel to end its six-month old blockade on Palestinian areas and transfer all outstanding revenues to the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Annan also called for the full implementation of the understandings reached at last year’s Sharm El-Sheikh Summit.In making his call, the Secretary-General warned that the current violence “threatens to get out of control with unpredictable consequences.” He emphasized that security measures alone would not halt the unrest and reiterated his strong conviction that the current crisis could only be resolved through the resumption of political negotiations.Meanwhile, in a letter released today at UN Headquarters, the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People urged the Secretary-General to remain actively engaged with the parties in an effort to end the violence and resume the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.Ibra Deguène Ka also said that the UN could take steps to help protect Palestinian civilians, such as setting up a protection mechanism in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.”The Committee is of the view that, in the circumstances, the parties may need outside assistance in order to break out of the vicious circle of violence,” wrote the Chairman. “A more assertive approach may be considered – one that would benefit both sides and help restore calm.” read more

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Locusts pose threat in Sudans strifetorn Darfur region UN agency reports

The locust situation continues to be serious in western Sudan where hopper bands and groups of immature adults of the crop-devouring creatures are present in Darfur, a region already afflicted by civil strife, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its latest update today. Although survey and control operations are in progress, many areas cannot be accessed in the region, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced during two years of fighting between the Government, allied militia and rebels, it added. In Eritrea, small groups of hoppers have formed on the Red Sea coast near the border with Sudan where local breeding occurred after unusually good rainfall and control operations are now under way, FAO reported. Control operations were also carried out recently against hopper infestations in western Tigray province in northern Ethiopia. Scattered adults are also breeding in the interior in Yemen.In West Africa, where infestations two years ago sparked fears of a potentially worse crisis than the last plague nearly 20 years ago, only low numbers of immature and mature solitary adults are present in parts of southern Mauritania, northern Mali and Niger, where earlier damage caused by the locusts has exacerbated a food crisis. Although ecological conditions are unusually favourable for breeding within a large portion of the northern Sahel region bordering the Sahara, no hoppers have been found so far. Nevertheless, intensive surveys must continue to detect any signs that locust numbers might be increasing, FAO said.On the other hand, local breeding has occurred west of Tamanrasset in southern Algeria where scattered late hoppers and immature adults were treated. Breeding is in progress and scattered adults are present in Kanem, Batha and Wadi Fira regions in Chad but the situation remains rather unclear because of unconfirmed reports of swarms in some of these areas. read more

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Federal Court upholds 2014 ruling that CN failed to provide enough grain

EDMONTON – The Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a ruling that found Canadian National Railway breached its level of service obligations to a Prairie grain shipping company during a bumper crop two years ago.The case focused on a complaint filed by Calgary-based Louis Dreyfus Commodities Canada Ltd. with the Canadian Transportation Agency.Dreyfus said CN (TSX:CNR) failed to provide enough rail cars to some of its grain elevators in Alberta and Saskatchewan to ship the record 2013-2014 crop.The agency ruled in favour of Dreyfus and, at one point, ordered CN to supply rail cars to grain facilities in Glenavon, Sask., Aberdeen, Sask., Joffre, Alta., and Lyalta, Alta.CN filed an appeal, arguing the agency did not take into account the exceptional size of the grain crop, the effect extreme cold weather had on the rail transportation system or demands from other grain companies.CN also took issue with how the agency evaluates railways and said that it failed to treat it with procedural fairness.A panel of three justices dismissed CN’s appeal in a ruling handed down in Ottawa.“There is no merit in CN’s argument that it was denied procedural fairness,” Justice Wyman Webb wrote.Webb noted that during one six-week period of the crop year, CN failed to provide any grain shipping cars to the four elevators.“CN submitted to the agency that it ‘quickly ramped up its grain capacity after winter relented around the first week of March’, therefore, it is difficult to understand how the harsh winter could be a justification for not delivering any cars to LDC (Dreyfus) during weeks 30 to 35.”It’s not clear if CN faces any kind of penalty for breaching the service agreement with Dreyfus.The transportation agency ordered CN to comply with the terms of its confidential agreement with the company in 2014 but details of the order were blacked out.Dreyfus officials declined to comment on the appeal court ruling.The railway said it does not intend to appeal.“CN is disappointed with the Federal Court of Appeal decision given the huge grain crop and severe winter conditions that significantly affected its operations in 2013-14,” Mark Hallman, a CN spokesman wrote in an email Thursday, declining to discuss whether the rail company faces penalties.The Canadian Transportation Agency did not respond to a request for comment.Court documents cited in the case say the 2013 grain crop was 77 million tonnes compared to a previous five-year average of 57.2 million tonnes.The Saskatchewan government said in July it warned the major rail companies and the federal government to be prepared to deal with another large crop this year.Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said the province stressed the importance of ensuring the grain handling and transportation system is prepared to move this crop in a timely manner.Stewart said grain farmers who were affected by the rail bottleneck in 2013-14 eventually recouped some of their losses when the crop was finally delivered, but he said transportation delays hurt customer confidence.CN and Canadian Pacific (TSX:CP) have both said they have plans in place to transport the grain. by John Cotter, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 22, 2016 2:50 pm MDT Last Updated Sep 22, 2016 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Federal Court upholds 2014 ruling that CN failed to provide enough grain cars read more

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INTERVIEW Policing is about the passion to serve people UNAMID Police Commissioner

Ms. Makotose, a Zimbabwean national, has a wealth of experience in policing and management, with a policing career that spans more than 30 years.  Within the UN system, she has had a taste of peacekeeping operations before her current posting: she was among the officers who served in the UN Mission in Liberia, (UNMIL) in 2005. In an interview with UN News Centre, Ms. Makotose explains the critical role played by UN Police components in peacekeeping and other UN missions, especially in helping to enhance the policing abilities of local police in host countries to serve the communities better. Priscilla Makotose: Usually, the UN police are deployed in conflict or post-conflict environments. In most cases, in conflict or post-conflict areas, the local police would have lost their operational ability, and the UN police come in to re-establish them. If they have not lost their operational ability, their capacity to reach out to the rest of the population might have declined. This decline in capacity could also apply to their ability to provide the required police services. Sometimes, they may have lost their credibility with the population. We help them to rebuild that and to reintegrate them, so that they are able to work for the community; that they’re responsible for the population’s safety and security, as well as being accountable to the population as civil servants. UN News Centre: How different is your work from that of domestic police and other law enforcement.We are mandated to monitor and report on gender-based violence and sexual violence. Also, because the presence of the police is not in all the areas, we also get other reports like murder, robbery, petty thefts and assaults.Priscilla Makotose: Different UN missions deploy according to the mandate that they are given by the United Nations Security Council. So what they do is guided by the UN Security Council Resolution. For example, in UNAMID we are there for the protection of civilians. In some missions, UN Police may have capacity building and mentoring roles, while in other peacekeeping missions, they may even have executive powers, where they actually act as the local police, providing services to the local community and the population. The UN police do not go into a host country to replace the local police; unless it does not exist at all. If there is a resolution that gives executive powers to them to act as local police, carrying out crime prevention and detection tasks, including carrying out arrests. In most of the missions we are just there to support the local police: to enhance their capacity to serve their communities. UN News Centre: Are there times when your roles clash with the roles of domestic police and other law enforcement agencies? Priscilla Makotose: In our roles, as defined, there is no conflict. Of course, from time to time we have some disagreements about the way things should be done. Sometimes, the host police do not admit that their way of doing things is wrong, but as UN, we say: let’s operate in a democratic and standard way of policing- which may be absent in the local police practices. We also sometimes come into disagreements when we get denied access to certain areas. And again, we need to work on our relationships, and to make the host police understand that our roles are different, we are there to support them and the communities. UN News Centre: What kinds of crimes do you deal with in Darfur? Priscilla Makotose: There are so many different crimes that occur in Darfur – and these may be found in any other country – but as UNAMID, we are mandated to monitor and report on gender-based violence and sexual violence. Also, because the presence of the police is not in all the areas, we also get other reports like murder, robbery, petty thefts and assaults; a whole spectrum of crimes that one would find in any other country. Our role in those cases would be to coordinate with the local police so that they take the reports, investigate them, and make sure that the perpetrators are prosecuted. We also help them to ensure that they have preventive mechanisms in place – usually through proactive patrols – and help them to come up with community policing initiatives, while emphasising that the community should also play a part in their protection, through knowing what their rights are, what the crimes are, and being able to take the correct action when reporting cases, because that is critical for their own safety. That would ensure that the offenders are apprehended and dealt with according to the laws of the host country. Priscilla Makotose (centre), Police Commissioner of the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), briefs the Security Council during its meeting on United Nations peacekeeping operations. On the left, Hervé Ladsous, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas Speaking to the UN News Centre, UNAMID Police Commissioner Priscilla Makotose urged the police contributing countries to deploy more female police officers. The other challenge we face is that there are very few local female police officers. We have some female police officers in the townships, but in there are not many in the remote areas. So we have undertaken an initiative with the host country police to try and establish family and children protection units, which would then be responsible for receiving women and taking their reports, and ensuring that these reports are managed correctly. We have also been in talks with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to try and increase the number of female officers in the remote areas. Right now, there are about 600, which, compared to male officers, is less than 5 per cent. That’s very low. But we are trying to work on it, and increase the number of women that can be deployed in the remote areas. There is also a challenge of women not wanting to join the police for the fear of being removed from their families, because they know that since they are national police, they can be transferred anywhere. So we are trying to find a solution. We have had this discussion with our counterparts, and police for international cooperation. We are trying to work out a solution.I would like to urge the women to take up the challenge, and come out and join the peacekeepers, so that together we are able to serve and make a difference. There is a need for female peacekeepers. UN News Centre: As a high-ranking police officer, what would you say to women or female police officers in order to motivate them to join peacekeeping operations like you did?  Priscilla Makotose: Policing is about the passion to serve people. There is a lot of gratification you get when you see that you have made a difference in another person’s life. I would like to urge the women to take up the challenge, and come out and join the peacekeepers, so that together we are able to serve and make a difference. There is a need for female peacekeepers; in UNAMID we have only 18 per cent of women among the deployed staff. We are in great need of women for the people in the internally displaced camps who need the services of females because, for cultural reasons, the interaction between men and women is not encouraged or easy. If we have more female police officers, we also hope to serve as role models for the women to know that they can also join the police, interact freely and give their reports. I am asking the police contributing countries to deploy more female police officers. I am not saying that the environment is easy; it’s a bit difficult, but it is just a matter of attitude, commitment, and knowing that you are doing something good, and serving for the peace of other people who really need it.Priscilla Makotose (centre), Police Commissioner of the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). UN Photo UN News Centre: You did mention gender-based and sexual violence; as a woman, how difficult or easy is it for you to deal with sexual and gender-based violence?Ms. Makotose: Cases of gender-based and sexual violence are never easy; they are very difficult cases. Sometimes they occur within families, and that makes it even more difficult to deal with them. In Darfur, these crimes are more prevalent when the women go about their livelihood activities, like going to collect grass and firewood; they often report that they are raped and abused. So as UNAMID, we do fire-collection patrols, the water-collection patrols- just to accompany the local women and ensure their safety. We have also had to come up with other initiatives to try and help women so that they don’t go fetching firewood all the time. We have introduced efficient stoves, where they don’t use so much firewood; whatever firewood they have lasts longer, because these stoves are fuel-efficient. The abused women tend to be very traumatized and, unfortunately, with the proliferation of small arms and ammunition, the people who normally abuse women when they are going about their daily activities or on the farms, use guns, which makes it even more traumatic, and very difficult for the women. It’s also in the culture that women do not so much report cases to the men. The interaction between the women and the men is very limited, so when they are abused, or they face such crimes, it is important to have the necessary support systems for them to freely go and make their reports. And UNAMID is trying to create an environment where women would go freely and make their reports, and have a full investigation and prosecution of the offenders. It is required that UNAMID has a number of female police officers serving, so that the interaction between the local women and female officers is much easier than if these women were to report to male officers. I know that sometimes people feel that it’s difficult, and are scared to take up positions of leadership or decision-making roles. Every person can make a mistake, but what is important would be to learn from your mistakes and move forward. There is no way I could be a perfect police commissioner; one day I will make a mistake, but what is important is that I am not making the mistake intentionally; it can happen, but I am being diligent to do the correct thing. And sometimes when you are diligent, when you work with other people around you, you minimize the incidents of mistakes, because there is a collective responsibility or teamwork, and a variety of ideas at your disposal to enable you to implement whatever mandate you might have. So I would say: ladies, do not be discouraged; it’s possible, we can do it. Come, let’s do it together. I am really asking for more female police officers. Even in the leadership positions, we need to see more females, in line with the gender policy, and it would be a good day to see that we achieve this and move on to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of Planet 50-50. If we accept the status quo, we will not move, but we have to keep on challenging each other, and helping each other, and supporting each other, and doing what we have to do. The world needs us, and there are many conflicts – there are about 80 missions – and the need is there. The most affected people in conflicts are women and children, and the female officers do make a difference in policing interactions in these conflicts. UN News Centre: Your mandate as UN Police is definitely not going to last forever in Darfur. If you were to leave Darfur now, would you say the domestic police force is ready to effectively take up the policing role from UN Police?Priscilla Makotose: Yes, there is a kind of willingness to engage and to be effective. But, there are so many limitations. Firstly, the police are not even in all the sectors and all the areas of Darfur. There are certain areas where they are not present, and it would be good to see them working there. Then there are also many challenges such as lack of necessary infrastructure. We have done a lot of training in capacity-building community policing, but there is still more to be done. My own personal view is that there is a little bit more to be done, and also to give them the opportunity to perform effective policing duties. But the issue of us leaving now is not in our hands; that is determined by the Security Council. As police we are always ready; we always have contingency plans in place on how to react in every situation. For now, I think we are doing well, we are cooperating well. We now have interaction committees at the federal level, at the sectoral level, and we have certain undertakings in terms of priorities, on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the Government of Sudan Police, which we want to implement. We even have training programs, which we have been requested to carry out. So we still feel that we have a little bit of work to do, and I am sure that with time we will get there. But certainly there is willingness from the host police to learn, and to take up their responsibilities of providing safety and security to the population or community. UN News Centre: Lastly, how does it feel to be the only female UN Police Commissioner, and what would you say to girls aspiring to be in your role? Priscilla Makotose: It’s certainly great to be a female Police Commissioner but it also requires a lot of hard work, especially now that I am the only one; there are so many tasks to fulfil. Nonetheless, my background has also prepared me to be able to interact, and to manage so many situations. As for other ladies who want to be Police Commissioners: the sky is the limit, ladies. Anybody can be Police Commissioner. I don’t have anything special about me; it’s just my willingness to work, my commitment, my passion for the job, and I have a lot of support. That’s what makes it so much easier. I have a team that is very supportive, that is willing to work with me, and to respect my decisions, and I think we are doing great. read more

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Paul Most agree 30day sentence not enough for attacker

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says most people would think the attack he suffered from a former neighbor should be punished by more than 30 days in prison.The Kentucky Republican went on WLAP radio Tuesday to comment on a federal appeals court’s decision vacating the sentence given to his attacker, Rene Boucher.- Advertisement – The court on Monday found “no compelling justification” for a sentence so far below guidelines as 30 days.Boucher tackled Paul in anger over a lawn maintenance issue along their property line, breaking six of Paul’s ribs. Paul suffered bouts of pneumonia and underwent surgery to remove part of his damaged lung.Federal prosecutors said 21 months would be a more appropriate sentence after Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. read more

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Increased financial pressures placed on Australian mining

first_imgThe Australian mining industry is operating in a less certain external and more expensive environment which is placing increased financial and operational pressures on the sector, one of Australia’s most experienced resources industry chiefs, OZ Minerals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Terry Burgess, believes. The growing popularity of Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) rosters to many remote mining sites, very high standards of facilities at these and other sites, and increasing costs of plant, equipment and wages are making many mining companies “walk a fine line” in relation to softening commodity prices.The comments were made when delivering the 38th annual Essington Lewis Memorial Lecture – one of the most prestigious lectures on the South Australian resources industry calendar – in Adelaide this week.“Over the past couple of years, the mining industry has been a bit like the wedding industry,” Burgess said. “If you were to organise a nice dinner for a group of family and friends, you may get it for a reasonable price. Mention it’s a wedding and you should expect to pay much more! As an industry, we now want to pay for the nice dinner – not the wedding or mining premium.“Having said this, we do not do it without being realistic. Our industry operates to an increasingly high standard, and in some cases this does mean that things cannot always be done at the lowest cost.“We are hearing a lot about productivity in Australia today and this has been because costs have escalated with the pressure of the resources projects with goods, services and people in relative short supply.“There is a strong view from many parts that this has gone too far. Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has said that miners have become ‘fat and lazy’ and CEOs of major companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are calling to their contractors for costs to be reduced.”Burgess said the resources industry had reacted to the situation over the past few years by trying to obtain the needed goods and services, and to retain people almost at any cost to meet the demands of their enterprises.He said the sector now needed to review this environment to determine what the best sustainable option is for this cyclical industry.“Overall, there needs to be a different way of thinking about the business to prevent the boom/bust cycle from which no one benefits,” Burgess said. “Technological investment – particularly in IT and control systems – is one way of succeeding in this.“It is unlikely there will be major changes to the mechanics of mining and processing, but the use of cleverer technology and automation of equipment is an attractive option for a country such as Australia.”In a wide ranging lecture, titled Modern Mining – New Directions, Burgess also spoke about:How China’s insatiable appetite for a better quality of living standard – or urban regeneration – is the “new” global driver of copper demandOnly by Government, industry and local communities working together over the long term will South Australia reap long term sustainable benefits from the mining industryBHP-Billiton’s decision to delay the expansion of its Olympic Dam mine had brought some relief for much smaller operators like OZ Minerals in terms of availability and affordability of quality and skilled people, and specialised equipmentThe global copper industry is struggling to keep up with global demand with an estimated 800,000 t shortfall likely this year – eight times the annual production of OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia.“We have just seen a period of pretty phenomenal demand for commodities over almost ten years, particularly for iron ore and coking coal – the ingredients of the Chinese steel mills and the raw materials for infrastructure of this rapidly growing economy – but also for copper,” Burgess said.“While urbanisation is still occurring in China at a rapid rate, urban regeneration – where people are moving from the older style urban dwellings in the ‘old city’ areas to more modern high-rise living spaces in the ‘new towns’ – is now a bigger driver of copper demand.“This demand will continue for some time to come, and that is good news not only for Australia, but also South Australia, which is very fortunate to have the Gawler Craton – considered to be one of the most highly prospective regions of the world for copper – in its own backyard.”last_img read more

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Berties potential comeback What happens now

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Bertie’s potential comeback: What happens now? His local branch in Dublin wants him back. Why did he leave, and what happens next? 19,307 Views By Daragh Brophy http://jrnl.ie/3110432 75 Comments Short URL Share130 Tweet Email Nov 30th 2016, 11:30 AM IT’S BEEN AN unusual political year, to say the least.The news last night that Bertie Ahern could be about to make a comeback to the political scene with Fianna Fáíl was another unexpected development.However, the move is not completely out of the blue. TDs with the party have been lobbied by die-hard supporters of the former Taoiseach to allow him back into the fold ever since he left in 2012.And the former leader, who led Fianna Fáíl to three successive general election victories, has remained close to his support base in Drumcondra since leaving the party – maintaining an office on the main street, and hitting the trail in support of local candidates.So why did Bertie Ahern and Fianna Fáil part company in the first place? And what happens now?Your questions, answered:Why is Bertie in the news?His local branch has asked the former Taoiseach to rejoin the party, Dublin Central chairman Brian Mohan told TheJournal.ie last night, after a motion was unanimously backed at a meeting.About 30 people were at the meeting and the motion was voted on after “a deep, meaningful discussion,” he said. It’s understood two party members in their 80s kicked off the discussion.Mohan said he expected a letter to be drafted at Fianna Fáil headquarters this morning, which would be delivered to Ahern.He added that while Ahern is “controversial in some people’s eyes” he had been nothing but loyal to Fianna Fáil and deserved a second chance.Why and when did he leave the party anyway?Ahern resigned from Fianna Fáil in March 2012 following the publication of the Mahon tribunal report that month. He stepped down as Taoiseach in 2008 and as a TD in 2011.The tribunal (officially the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments) found that he did not truthfully account for payments of IR£165,000 made to accounts connected to him.It was scathing in its treatment of the former Taoiseach, rejecting much of the evidence he provided in connection to a substantial number of lodgements made in the 1990s.Although the tribunal did not make findings of corruption against Ahern, it proved hugely damaging to his reputation. He has disputed the findings. Source: TheJournal.ieTendering his resignation from the party four years ago, he said it was merely a “political” move, not an admission of anything.Writing in the Sunday Independent at the time, he said he was deeply saddened by a motion to expel him proposed by his successor, Micheál Martin.“I appreciate the support that party members have pledged to me unprompted in the past week,” he said. “I have decided the best way that I can now serve Fianna Fáil is to tender my resignation as a member of the party.”Martin said that Ahern had betrayed the trust placed in him by the country.What’s he been up to since?Ahern still has a strong reputation as a negotiator and mediator among the international political community, as a result of his involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process.He’s been involved in conflict resolution and peace processes in several countries in recent years – and spoke of his roles in Ukraine and Spain in an interview with RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan last year.In the same interview, he said he had had some “horrendous mail and threatening calls” and that one person had sent him a noose in the post.He wouldn’t be drawn, at the time, on whether he would be interested in getting back into politics, but said he believed Micheál Martin was doing a good job as party leader.He’s been involved in local campaigns, despite not being a member of Fianna Fáil any longer, and has been out canvassing in advance of elections.More recently, he’s been making more media appearances as a commentator – including a turn on the panel on Marian Finucane’s RTÉ Radio 1 show a few weeks ago, where he weighed in on the US election, public pay and other issues. Ahern during a canvass for a FF candidate in the local elections in 2014 – after he had left the party. Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall IrelandWhat happens now?It’s expected a letter will be drafted by Fianna Fáil HQ informing Ahern of the local branch motion.According to a person familiar with the process, it would then be up to the former Taoiseach to send in an application to join, much like any other member of the public.The application would be first accepted, and if there was any issue with it, that would then be addressed by the party. Considering the application is from a figure as high profile as Bertie Ahern, it’s likely the issue will be dealt with by the National Executive.Speaking on RTÉ’s Late Debate, Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív said the issue will “come to the national executive, and it’ll be debated there”, adding: “I’ll make my views known at the national executive debate.” Bertie Ahern canvassing in 2007. Do they really want him back?Fianna Fáil HQ has yet to respond to last night’s developments – but it’s unlikely there’ll be much appetite among the leadership to have Ahern back on the scene.Martin and his team have spent the years since their disastrous 2011 election showing attempting to rebuild and rebrand the party – occasionally adopting policies from left-wing rivals.The former Taoiseach, for many voters, is a figure linked with the excesses of the Celtic Tiger and the financial crash – not a period Fianna Fáil want to remind people of.- With reporting by Orla Ryan Read: Fianna Fáil branch to ask Bertie Ahern to rejoin party >Read: Bertie Ahern says he received a rope and noose in the post after leaving office > Wednesday 30 Nov 2016, 11:30 AM Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Irelandlast_img read more

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In the cold North Sea the Shetland Islands flirts with independence from

first_imgIn an ideal world we would be a British overseas territory. We would be to Britain what Faroe is to Denmark.The Faroe Islands lie about 320 km northwest of Shetland and have autonomous status within the Kingdom of Denmark.They have an almost identical landmass to Shetland but twice the population, and many Shetlanders envy the archipelago’s independent parliament and vast sovereign waters.The Faroe Island will hold a referendum in April 2018 on a new constitution that would give the territory the right to self-determination.Power to the people A plane takes off from an airport in Shetland. Source: PA Archive/PA ImagesTavish Scott of Scotland’s Liberal Democrat party, who represents Shetland in the Scottish Parliament, said he understood the desire for autonomy.“Shetland certainly explored — and I think again will explore — what kind of constitutional future it wants,” he said.But Scotland’s nationalist government is keen to retain Shetland as a jewel in the economic crown of an independent Scotland. The Sumburgh area in Shetland. Source: David Cheskin/PAMaree Todd, a Scottish National Party lawmaker, told AFP that the party could discuss Shetland’s sovereignty, but that she believed it would be better off as part of an independent Scotland.“Of course I think it is worth discussing,” she said, adding that islanders are not “entirely sceptical” about the prospect of Scottish independence.“We want power to come back to Scotland, not just to Edinburgh but to the people of Scotland,” she said.© – AFP 2017Read: ‘We will never turn our back on Europe’: Scottish parliament rejects Brexit >Read: ‘The clock is ticking’ for Scotland to call a second independence referendum > In the cold North Sea, the Shetland Islands flirts with independence from Britain (and Scotland) Brexit has forced the islands to think again about their situation. Share217 Tweet Email4 17,084 Views Saturday 18 Feb 2017, 3:02 PM By AFP Short URL 20 Comments Image: PA Archive/PA Images The town of Scalloway on Shetland Islands. The town of Scalloway on Shetland Islands. Image: PA Archive/PA Images Feb 18th 2017, 3:02 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article https://jrnl.ie/3243324 OF ALL THE ramifications of the Brexit vote, the fate of the Shetland Islands in the North Atlantic and their oil fields and fisheries may not top the list for negotiators in London and Brussels.But the prospect of a new bid for Scottish independence as Britain leaves the EU is making some residents of these rugged islands think again about whether they would be better off alone.“It would be wonderful,” Andrea Manson, a Shetland councillor and a key figure in the Wir Shetland movement for greater autonomy, told AFP at the guesthouse she runs, the Mid Brae Inn.The movement’s name means “Our Shetland” in the local Scots dialect, a derivation of Middle English which has replaced the islands’ original Germanic language, Norn.The remote archipelago, already fiercely independent in spirit, is geographically and culturally closer to Scandinavia than to Edinburgh, and politically more aligned with London and Brussels.In the past 1,300 years, Shetland has been overrun by Scandinavian vikings, pawned to Scotland as a wedding dowry by Denmark, subsumed into the United Kingdom in 1707, and dragged into the European Economic Community against its will in 1973.The Shetlands were the only part of Britain, along with the Western Isles of Scotland, that voted against EEC membership in a 1975 referendum. The Shetland Islands are located in the North Sea and are closer to Norway than Edinburgh. Source: Shetland.org- ‘Control of the seabed’ -Many Shetlanders are sceptical of Scottish separatism.In the final tense days of the 2014 independence referendum, the local MP Alistair Carmichael, who was minister for Scotland at the time, said the islands could try to remain part of Britain if the rest of Scotland left.In the end, 55 percent of Scots voted to stay in Britain. The unionist vote in the Shetlands was 63.7 percent — one of the highest levels in Scotland.Now Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that a second independence referendum is “highly likely” following the Brexit vote — and Shetland is once again considering its position.“We would like control of the seabed around us, the fishing ground around us, and the freedom to get rid of some of the bureaucracy that comes down from the EU, Westminster and the Scottish parliament,” Manson said. Shetland’s latitude is his is as far north as St Petersburg and Alaska. Source: PA Archive/PA Images“Our seas are being plundered by foreign boats. We also contribute an enormous amount of money to the national economy through taxes, through the oil revenues, and yet we don’t get back our fair share.”Scotland has around 60% of the EU’s oil reserves and the second-largest volume of proven natural gas reserves, most of it located around Shetland.The islands also land more fish than ports in England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.“I don’t suppose we would ever be allowed full independence,” Manson said, adding:last_img read more

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Residents taking shelter in community centre as homes evacuated after suspicious object

first_img Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article By Cliodhna Russell Share Tweet Email1 http://jrnl.ie/3210754 11,907 Views Jan 28th 2017, 4:18 PM 8 Comments AROUND 20 HOMES have been evacuated in Northern Ireland after a “suspicious object” was found in a park.Police are currently at the scene in Derry where they’ve declared a security alert.Part of Earhart Park has been closed following the discovery of a suspicious object in the area.The Shantallow Community Centre has been opened for any evacuated residents who require shelter.Read: Theresa May signs €117m fighter jet deal with Turkey> Saturday 28 Jan 2017, 4:18 PM Residents taking shelter in community centre as homes evacuated after ‘suspicious object’ found in Derry park Police are currently at the scene. Short URLlast_img read more

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Ireland drops three places in list of best countries

first_img Mar 8th 2017, 8:56 AM By Rónán Duffy Wednesday 8 Mar 2017, 8:56 AM Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 40 Comments Ireland drops three places in list of ‘best countries’ We’re maybe not as great for foreign students as we like to make out. IRELAND HAS DROPPED three places on a list that seeks to rank the “best countries” in the world.Ireland came in 21st place in the annual survey which is carried out by US News & World Report, Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.The overall winner in the list was Switzerland which came in ahead of Canada, the UK, Germany and Japan.The survey ranked 80 countries across a range of categories before making the overall list.The 20 categories included areas like adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage and raising children.Out of all the categories, Ireland’s best results were in the categories marked ‘best countries to travel alone’, where we came in 9th place,  and ‘best countries for raising kids’, where we were 12th.Interestingly given the focus on in it, Ireland performed poorly in terms of being a good destination for international students.Ireland was ranked in 47th in the ‘study abroad’ category, our second lowest ranking behind ‘power’ where we were 51st.In its overview of Ireland, the survey makes reference to the country’s economic reliance on foreign multinationals and the historic influence of the Catholic Church:Long considered a traditional, even conservative society, Ireland’s social norms are evolving, causing clashes between younger generations and the Roman Catholic Church. In 2015, Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote.Read: Donald Trump is yet to select an Irish ambassador but a Texan is keeping the seat warm >Read: A writer for the London Times has questioned Ireland’s ‘tenuous claim to nationhood’ >center_img http://jrnl.ie/3276180 Chin up, 21st out of 80 isn’t the worst. 24,328 Views Chin up, 21st out of 80 isn’t the worst. Image: Chris Radburn Share105 Tweet Email1 Image: Chris Radburnlast_img read more

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Done deal

first_imgGreece successfully closed a bond swap offer aimed at reducing its colossal debt pile and averting a chaotic default that would pitch the euro zone into a fresh crisis. Officials said take-up had clearly surpassed the minimum threshold required for the deal to go through, despite early fears that it could fall apart and derail a broader rescue package that Athens desperately needs to stave off bankruptcy. The biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history will see bond holders accept losses of some 74 percent on the value of their investments in a deal that will cut more than 100 billion euros from Greece’s crippling public debt. Results from the offer were expected to be announced officially late last night (AEST) and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was to hold a news conference before a call with euro zone finance ministers in the afternoon. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, said take-up of bonds regulated by Greek law, the most significant part of the overall debt, would surpass 85 per cent. Another official said the take-up had neared as high as 95 per cent. He said the figure referred to the voluntary take-up of the offer, however a third official said it assumed the activation of collective action clauses (CAC) that would impose the deal on all creditors holding Greek law bonds. The European Union and International Monetary Fund have made successful completion of the so-called private sector involvement (PSI) deal a pre-condition for final approval of the 130 billion euros bailout agreed last month. Athens had said it would enforce the deal on all its bondholders, activating the collective action clauses on the 177 billion euros worth of bonds regulated under Greek law. That may trigger payouts on the credit default swaps (CDS) that some investors held on the bonds, an event which would have unknown consequences for the market. The situation is potentially more complicated for some 18 billion euros in bonds regulated under international law, which have different conditions and which may be subject to legal challenges from hedge funds and other investors. OPTIMISM Despite the apparent success, the deal will not solve Greece’s deep-seated problems and at best it may buy time for a country facing its biggest economic crisis since World War II and crushed under debt equal to 160 per cent of its gross domestic product. However, financial markets rose strongly in the run-up to the deadline with global stocks enjoying their best day in more than two months on Thursday as the threat of an immediate and uncontrolled default receded. “This does not mean the debt situation in Greece is resolved, and this is not the last time we will be hearing about this. But it is a relief that it didn’t go the other way. It could have been a lot worse,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in New York. Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.5 per cent to a seven-month high on Friday while the Australian and New Zealand dollar rallied on news that Greece was cruising towards the finish line on the bond swap. Athens must have the funds in place by March 20 when some 14.5 billion euros of bonds are due, which it cannot hope to repay alone. Greece has staggered from deadline to deadline since the crisis broke two years ago and several of its international partners have expressed open doubts about whether its second major bailout in two years will be the last. Underlining the severe problems facing Greece after five years of deep recession – data on Thursday showed unemployment running at a record 21 per cent in December, twice the euro zone average, with 51 per cent of young people without a job. There has been growing resentment among ordinary Greeks over the austerity medicine ordered by international creditors, which has compounded the pain from a slump which has seen the economy shrink by a fifth since 2008. Source: Reuters Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Boy 6 dies days after South Carolina school shooting

first_imgCOLUMBIA, S.C. — A 6-year-old boy who was critically wounded in a school shooting died Saturday, days after a 14-year-old boy opened fire on a school playground, authorities said.Jacob Hall had been fighting for his life at a hospital after a bullet struck him in a main artery in his leg, causing him a major brain injury due to a “catastrophic” loss of blood, his doctor said. Jacob died about 1 p.m. Saturday, and an autopsy will be done Sunday, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said. Authorities say Jacob, another student and a first-grade teacher at Townville Elementary were wounded by the teenager, who had just killed his father at their home. After the slaying, the teen — who is not old enough to have a driver’s license — drove a pickup truck about 3 miles down a country road, crashed at the school and started firing with a handgun, authorities said.The wounded were struck as a door opened for recess. Another teacher who heard the first gunshot was able to get other students safely inside, school officials have said. The other wounded student and the injured teacher, Meghan Hollingsworth, were treated and released from a hospital.Jacob’s parents, Renae and Rodger Hall, thanked the nurses and doctors who cared for Jacob and Hollingsworth, “who put her life on the line to try to protect and save Jacob.”last_img read more

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ASA Writes to House Leadership in Opposition to Means Testing for Crop

first_imgAlong with other major farm groups, ASA has reached out in a letter this week to House leadership asking them to oppose any provisions in the upcoming farm bill conference that would impose adjusted gross income (AGI) means testing for the federal crop insurance program. In their letter, the groups note the critical role crop insurance plays in the survival of farms and ranches, and asked House leadership and the House conferees to oppose resolutions that undermine strong crop insurance protection.A copy of the letter is available here.[gview file=”https://soygrowers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/House-AGI-Letter-October-2013.pdf”]last_img

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AAA Texas Nationwide Retail Gasoline Prices Up This Week

first_img Share Photo via Offutt Air Force BaseAAA experts say drivers can expect gasoline prices to continue declining into the end of the year.Texas and nationwide retail gasoline prices are up this week.AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide rose 7 cents to reach an average $2.42 per gallon. Gasoline prices across the U.S. jumped 8 cents this week to average $2.65 per gallon.The association survey found San Antonio has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at an average $2.30 per gallon. Drivers in Midland face the highest gasoline prices in Texas at an average $2.61 per gallon.AAA experts say gasoline prices have increased with the arrival of spring and as the market begins to transition from winter-blend gasoline to summer-blend, which is usually more expensive to produce.last_img read more

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Bite into this hard candy

first_imgThe Capital just swayed to the heady tunes of DJ Helen Swan (one half of the famous DJ duo Hard Candies). Elena Lebedeva, a musician and remixer, loves doing what she’s best  – making the crowd dance. Pangeae partied the night away but we stole a chance to get candid with her. Read on…Tell us about yourselves. How did you guys come together/start off?We are from Ukraine, Kyiv. We used to work before our DJ career. Before DJ DUO Hard Candies came together, I used to play alone and I was a resident DJ in couple of clubs in Kyiv. And I knew Natalie from a long time and she was also obsessed with music and that’s how Hard Candies came into being. So we decided to combine  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Fashion along with high quality DJing.What was the first big break for you guys?Our most interesting gig after which we became recognizable in Ukraine took place at UEFA EURO 2012  and after this we started to perform at various fashion shows and parties in Ukraine. This allowed us to become the Resident DJane’s of one of the best Ukrainian Radio-Station DJFM 96.8 with Lets Go Radio-Show.How would you define your musical philosophy?A DJ never should forget that he/she plays for the people/crowd. And you have to combine your favorites with the peoples favorite tracks even if it’s not our style of music. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHow easy (or difficult) is it to make a mark in the music scene? What do you think about the main issues are?In India, the people are more hungry for music and parties and this makes it easier for and artiste/DJ to reach out and communicate with the crowd via music.Tell us a bit about your music, what do you think defines you guys?As sound producers we create more big room sounds but like every DJ we also want to create something new and interesting so waiting for our new releases.  What/Who inspires you?There are many on the list, but the first artiste who came to our mind is Fat Boy Slim. He is an example to us that inspires us that there is no limit for music. Even today he has immense energy and can keep the energy level of a party at its max.Tell us about your best tracksTo be honest, we think that if a DJ says his/her track is perfect, it means the end of his career because, one must keep improving all the time. And even if all the people tell us our track is amazing, we still feel that we can and have to do better.What songs top your playlist right now?It is always a difficulty answering this question for us, because if you are a DJ, you have to listen to many tracks in order to make a perfect playlist, in short, every track is good.What suggestions/advice would you have for newbies in music?Listen to your heart and never be afraid of trying something new. How has Delhi been for you guys?Delhi has been very kind to us and we love the, thank you for the love and support.last_img read more

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PWD takes stock of progress of work

first_imgKolkata: The state Public Works Department (PWD) has directed engineers from all its divisions to submit reports immediately and has convened three meetings next week to take stock of the progress of work.The move on the part of the department comes with the aim to fast-track work for a permanent building of Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench, the Kurseong campus of Presidency University and some other ongoing projects. According to an official in the PWD department, Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamatathe chief engineers, superintending engineers and executive engineers of the north, south and west zones of all the divisions have been asked to attend the meeting at Nabanna Sabhaghar on June 18, 19 and 20 respectively. The permanent building of Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench, which became operational in March, is being constructed in Paharpur. The bench is presently functioning from Dak Bunglow. The Kurseong campus of Presidency University is coming up in Dow Hill. A non-residential and a residential building are being set up. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIt may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the setting up of this campus at a cost of Rs 30 crore, where subjects like astrophysics and space sciences, Himalayan ecology and biodiversity and Himalayan geology and tectonics among other subjects will be taught, both at the under graduate and post-graduate levels. Progress of projects like multi-level car parks at Alipore and K S Roy Road and construction of Baitarini cremation ground will be reviewed as well. Fire safety of multi-storeyed buildings, hospitals and auditoriums will be discussed in detail to ascertain whether necessary infrastructure has been put in place. Principal Secretary, PWD, Arnab Roy will also take stock of the roads and bridges in a district-wise manner. “All the PWD divisions, namely roads, mechanical, electrical and social, have been asked to update and upload their status reports on the website by Wednesday. Non-compliance of the same will be viewed seriously,” said the official.last_img read more

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