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UN and Lebanon review winter needs of growing number of Syrian refugees

“The coordination between the government, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations in addressing the needs of the refugees is close,” the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Derek Plumbly, told reporters after his meeting with Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut, the Lebanese capital. More than 300,000 refugees have so far fled to neighbouring countries to escape the violence in Syria, where over 18,000 people, mostly civilians, have died since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 19 months ago. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced last week that it was rolling out a winterization programme, along with its partners in Lebanon, to provide refugees and vulnerable Lebanese with heating fuel, mattresses, blankets and clothes as well as refurbished accommodation in preparation for the colder months. But, the refugee agency warned, the scattered nature of the refugee population in Lebanon is posing challenges in providing assistance in remote areas. Mr. Plumbly noted that the United Nations recently launched an updated financial appeal for nearly $488 million to assist the rapidly increasing numbers of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. An earlier appeal in March projected an estimated 100,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2012 – but the latest UNHCR estimates project that the number could now reach 700,000. “We are of course deeply concerned at the extent of the current violence in Syria,” the Special Coordinator said. “Lebanon is honouring its humanitarian obligations and winning great credit thereby. The United Nations has been clear in its condemnation of the recurrent violations of the country’s borders.” He added, “We have been equally clear in our support for the efforts of the President, the Prime Minister and the country’s leaders collectively to distance Lebanon from the worst effects of the crisis. Against the backdrop of recent events I would like to take this opportunity to underline again the need for all concerned to commit to this and to give absolute priority to keeping Lebanon safe.” The ongoing violence in neighbouring Syria has fuelled sectarian tensions across Lebanon and raised concerns that the country could plunge back into the internecine violence it endured during its 15 year civil war, which ended in 1990. The last weeks of August witnessed fighting between supporters and opponents of the Syrian Government in Beirut, while tensions also increased in other parts of the country, such as the northern city of Tripoli. Moreover, a series of kidnappings also contributed to escalation in tensions. Mr. Plumbly and Mr. Mikati also welcomed the calm that has held along the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, following Israel’s month-long war with the Lebanese Hizbollah group in the 2006. read more

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Defeating Ebola a fearsome elusive enemy requires scaling up response on the

Addressing an informal briefing the Assembly on the international community’s Ebola response to the outbreak, Anthony Banbury, the head of the UN emergency health mission tasked with coordinating the effort, known as UNMEER, drew particular attention to the “grim milestone” of more than 5,000 confirmed deaths from the disease, “with the real numbers likely to be much greater.”He also observed that during his recent trips to frontline countries in hard-hit West Africa, the respective Governments had repeatedly stressed the devastating impact the outbreak has had on every aspect of their societies, injecting fear into communities, “upending their way of life” far beyond the “human toll” ¬– leaving numerous orphans in its wake, as well as skyrocketing food prices, school closures, empty markets and collapsing Government revenues.At the same time, he underlined that “many good things” are also happening, he said, noting first and foremost that some of the early predictions regarding the sustained exponential increase in victims had not materialized. Indeed, there have been “significant improvements” in many of the dramatically hit areas, such as Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, as well as “tremendous progress” towards the stated UN goal of managing and treating 70 per cent of Ebola cases and making safe 70 per cent of burials by 1 December. The percentages, he explained, were now 55 and 80, respectively, although there were still many unknown and unreported cases. Community-level action is one of the main reasons for the progress, Mr. Banbury continued, praising “those local communities that have taken action, that have changed their behaviour in order to protect themselves their members, and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit.” In addition, national-led responses, in coordination with international partners, were also making a difference, he continued, noting that the Governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are taking a serious leadership role in driving the response, built around strengthened Ebola treatment facilities, contact tracing and diagnostic capabilities, safer burials, and social mobilization. The UNMEER chief also praised his Mission’s nimble approach to tackling the challenges in West Africa and pointed out that the UN, overall, has responded to Ebola in an “unprecedented way across bureaucratic barriers in record time” – a feat, he said, that everyone “can rightly be proud of.”Yet he also voiced apprehension over the tasks that lay ahead, confessing that he feared he had “not done enough and that collectively we must do more and do it faster.”“Ebola is a fearsome enemy and we will not win by chasing it. We must get ahead of it,” Mr. Banbury continued. “We need more staff to be deployed to the districts where the disease is. In terms of the broader response, we need more Ebola treatment facilities, more community care centres, more partners on the ground to staff these centres. We need greater mobility for the teams. And we need money to pay for it all.” At a media stakeout following the briefing, Mr. Banbury reiterated his point that the UN strategy against Ebola was “working” but that the principal challenge facing the response efforts was that the disease had spread so much geographically. “We need a much greater geographic dispersal and much faster mobility,” he told reporters. “This is happening now thanks to mobilization of resources but we need to do more and do it faster.”Echoing Mr. Banbury’s call for a scaled-up, agile response to the outbreak, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, told the General Assembly he was “humbled” by the efforts made in combatting the disease and reiterated his claim that Ebola remained one of the most troubling challenges that the world could face. He cited the positive efforts made by local communities in changing the way they live and behave to reduce their likelihood of contracting the disease and said he was “impressed” by the “unprecedented” global response coalition which was developing and functioning as a joint community.“The long-term is now,” he concluded, as he called on the international community to accelerate its response efforts. “Let us continue to provide the maximum possible support to the governments.”Opening an informal briefing, UN General Assembly President, Sam Kutesa, confirmed the “important improvements” made on the ground following recent frontline reports from Guinea and Liberia suggesting significant decreases in infection rates. But, he warned, while the number of new cases was slowing down, the total number across the region still remained perilously high. “The resounding message from those in the hardest hit areas is that while we are making encouraging progress in combatting Ebola, we have not yet won the war,” Mr. Kutesa said. “We must do more to ensure that the momentum is sustained and that critical resources reach those in urgent need without delay.”The UN system has been accelerating its Ebola response, including ramped up on-the-ground medical assistance for local governments in affected areas via UNMEER; providing financial support for the countries hardest hit by the socio-economic consequences of the disease through the World Bank; and monitoring the urgent laboratory testing of an experimental Ebola vaccine which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), could be distributed across West Africa as early as January 2015.Nevertheless, the General Assembly President explained that the Ebola epidemic was “far from contained” and urged the international community to “stay vigilant and committed to stopping this scourge.” Susanna Malcorra, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Chef de Cabinet, agreed as she conveyed Mr. Ban’s appreciation to Member States for their “strong response” to his appeal for increased financial, technical and human support. Speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General, who is currently on official visit to Southeast Asia, Ms. Malcorra noted, however, that Ebola presented a stark challenge for the international community as it is “an elusive disease,” constantly moving, never standing still in any one geographic location. A comprehensive response, she said, would require responders to adjust and adapt to the shifting reality on the ground. The elusive nature of the disease, in fact, remains one of Ebola’s most insidious characteristics, as it risks slipping away from the grip of health workers and responders labouring in the most affected districts and flaring up again in neighbouring areas and countries. In its latest situation report on the Ebola response, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) described a “mixed picture” on the ground with case incidences no longer increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia while “steep increases persist in Sierra Leone.” In addition, the WHO notes, there have been four reported confirmed and probable cases and four deaths in Mali. read more

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Cornelius scores 26 No 21 Miami women top Buffs 7358

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Laura Cornelius hit four 3-pointers and scored a career-high 26 points, Beatrice Mompremier added 15 and No. 21 Miami handed Colorado its first loss 73-58 on Sunday.Cornelius hit a jumper in the final minute of the first half to give the Hurricanes (7-2) at 31-29 lead. The Buffaloes (6-1) took a one-point lead early in the third quarter before Cornelius hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 10-0 run that proved to be the separation Miami needed.With the opening basket of the third quarter, Colorado pulled within 51-44 but got no closer.Cornelius was 8 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 6 behind the arc and made all six of her free throws. The Hurricanes went 8 of 16 from distance and shot 53 per cent overall.Peanut Tuitele led Colorado with 15 points and Alexis Robinson added 13 to surpass 1,000 for her career. Kennedy Leonard had 13 assists.The Associated Press read more

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Barclaycard PayTag sticker enables contactless payments on any phone

first_imgOne of the latest features a number of new smartphones carry is the ability to use them as a contactless payment device. This is made possible by the inclusion of near-field communications (NFC), which allows for secure communication between devices at very short range. The advantage being, you can leave your credit card in your pocket and don’t have to touch anything.The only issue with contactless payment systems is that you require a compatible device, which usually means upgrading your handset or having a new credit card. However, Barclaycard has just launched a new system that allows any phone to be used to make such payments.The system is called PayTag, and provides each user with a small credit card (around a third of the size of a standard card) that sticks to the back of your phone or wallet. You can then hold your phone over a contactless terminal and the stick-on card will be recognized for payment.For the moment, PayTag looks to be limited to the UK and has a transaction limit of £15 imposed ($24) (rising to £20 ($32) in June). It’s not a high limit, but it’s enough to pay for your coffee in the morning, and means less worry about your bank account being emptied if your phone gets stolen.Barclaycard is offering the card completely free to customers, so it doesn’t cost anything to try it out. And if you are worried about security then Barclaycard seems to have thought of that too. If several contactless payments are made in quick succession then you will be asked for your PIN. If your phone gets stolen, Barclaycard has promised to refund any fraudulent transactions.By introducing PayTag Barclaycard is fixing a temporary problem. Contactless payment terminals are starting to appear in more stores, but without a large user base to take advantage of them it may not seem like a wise investment for smaller retailers. However, if you allow millions of customers without the required hardware to easily start using such a payment method, it instantly becomes a more cost effective solution to adopt.Read more at Barclays, via BBC Newslast_img read more

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Greeks look to Australia for salvation

first_imgA reflection of the dire economic situation in Greece, over 700 Greek skilled workers wanting to migrate to Australia packed into the Hilton Hotel in Athens last weekend to participate in the Skills Australia Needs expo and information sessions provided by the Australian Industrial Systems Institute (AISI). The Skills Australia Needs expo was organised by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) Following the two-day event, a spokesperson for DIAC told Neos Kosmos that 773 individuals were invited and attended the Skills Australia Needs sessions, and that the event was over-subscribed. The spokesperson did not have information on how many online registrations expressing an interest in attending had been received. Neos Kosmos understands that some 10,000 people may have expressed an interest in attending the expo. “All the feedback seems to be it went pretty well,” said the DIAC spokesperson. “Five information sessions were held over the two days and around 150 skilled workers attended each session. The overall attendance was 773 skilled workers.” DIAC confirmed that four exhibitors took part in the Athens event: the South Australian government, the Victorian government, WA Health and Fronditha Aged Care. Fronditha Care was the only private organisation to attend. Mike Zafiropoulos, president of Fronditha Care told Neos Kosmos that his “understanding is [DIAC] extended invitations to other employers and only Fronditha accepted”. Zafiropoulos said he felt it was important for Fronditha Care to be present at the expo because the organisation found it difficult to recruit nurses with a Greek background in Australia. “We got quite a few people that would be potentially appropriate employees,” said Zafiropoulos, “so we will be looking at the applications in the next few days and will be taking the appropriate steps to see if we can bring the best to join Fronditha.” As a Greek migrant, and the only exhibitor with a Greek background, Zafiropoulos was able to discuss aspects of the Greek community in Australia with those attending. He said many were asking about bilingual schools, orthodox churches, newspapers, and community groups. AISI ran its own information seminars, independent of the DIAC expo last weekend. The institute, represented by managing director and CEO Roula Tsiolas, and marketing and business development officer Pana Tsiolas, along with migration experts, gave information to potential migrants on study courses and migration information. Tsiolas told Neos Kosmos that AISI’s seminars “were most successful. Not only by way of enrolments and future enrolment prospects for AISI, but more so because we provided the people of Greece with a quality service of information, as we were able to answer all their queries concretely, factually, and as related to their individual needs”. However, Tsiolas was quick to point out that nothing could have prepared the AISI team for the stories they heard while in Athens regarding the plight of potential migrants. Mike Zafiropoulos echoed this sentiment. “The experience was quite overwhelming,” he said. “I am a migrant who came to Australia at the age of 18 so the migration experience is still very fresh in my mind. “When I see these highly educated people, with PhDs, MBAs and many of their degrees were obtained overseas like London and New York – people who have studied at very good universities, very qualified people – you can imagine were quite frustrated with the situation. They had quite personal questions, like what will happen to their family, will my spouse be able to migrate, will my child be able to go to kindergarten?” “One could see the desperation on their faces… There was anxiety and stress and desperation in the way they were expressing their desire to come to Australia.” DIAC’s spokesperson told Neos Kosmos that given the over-subscribed nature of the expo, “the department has undertaken to ensure all those who applied will have appropriate information on migration pathways to Australia and what is required”. Fronditha’s president has said he will continue to stay in touch with the Australian embassy and DIAC to ensure those who were unable to attend the sessions will receive appropriate information. For its efforts, AISI was congratulated by the Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitrios Dollis, who invited AISI to continue to visit Athens to help the information flow regarding studying in Australia, education pathways and student visas to continue. Two days before the Athens sessions, DIAC ran similar sessions in Berlin, where only 93 potential skilled migrants attended an identical expo. The exhibitors in Germany were the same as in Athens, but also included the Western Australia government and the Australian recruitment firm Navitas. It remains to be seen exactly how many of those who attended the Athens expo will now apply to migrate to Australia. In recent years the number of Greek migrants to Australia has been consistently low. According to DIAC, just over 100 Greek nationals migrated to Australia between July 2010 and June 2011. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Awardwinning NK journo

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Neos Kosmos’ own Maja Jovic has been awarded a Multicultural and Indigenous Media Award for her news feature entitled ‘Family Violence Confronted’.Published on June 14, the leading front page article aimed to show the high level of unreported family violence cases experienced by newly arrived migrant families, in particular in the Greek community, and rightfully deserved recognition.The article also exposed the lack of alternative treatments for violent men after evidence showed that behaviour change programs did not necessarily work.The award came as quite a shock for Maja, who was even reluctant to enter the competition, modestly doubting her chances.“The award – as they usually do – came as a surprise, even though I believed that the article had a strong point to prove and was putting an important new-old issue on the map of the Greek Australian community,” she says.The lack of awareness and the tendency for the community to brush the topic under the rug pushed her to write the article. It was written under strict time restrictions and was very challenging to research and write.“With domestic violence highly unreported in CALD communities as a whole, what I found unsettling and surprising, and what the article draws special attention to, are the new Greek migrant families who are facing these issues at present,” Maja explains.She says the recent influx of Greeks migrating to Australia has alarmingly shown that those members of the community show increased levels of family violence.Facing settlement issues, like adapting to a foreign environment, language and culture, puts pressures on the family dynamic that can lead to violence. It’s a tough but necessary issue to address, and shocked many of our readers.Maja thrives on that type of journalism. Just last year she was the finalist in the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Media Awards for the best feature of the year on a story describing the battle of living with a child with autism.Her approach to her work is much-admired and coming from this journalist, working alongside Maja and learning from her has been invaluable. Always a great storyteller, it’s the way she strives for the truth and her attention to detail that makes her the archetype of a great journalist.Maja was born in Montenegro. After commencing her journalism degree in Greece, she came to Australia three years ago to continue her studies. She started at Neos Kosmos shortly after, initially writing for the Greek edition, and moving to the English edition after a couple of months.Amazingly, English is Maja’s third language, showing just how talented the multilingual journalist is. Maja joins an elite group of journalists at this year’s Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards. Greek Australian Gerry Georgatos took out the editorial reporting award alongside Dr Woolombi Waters for the National Indigenous Times. Taking out Journalist of the Year was Malarndirri McCarthy for NITV and Kumud Merani of SBS Radio’s Hindi Program. Photographer of the year went to Romeo Cayabyab (The Filipino Australian) and Freedy Handa (The Indian Telegraph), the community affairs award went to Lok Hei (Feemi) Lai (Sing Tao Daily) and the online news coverage award went to Mohamad Taha from the ABC.The Multicultural Hall of Fame 30 year’s award went to Paolo Rajo of La Fiamma.From everyone here at Neos Kosmos and from the wider Greek community, we want to say a big congratulations Maja. Next up, a Walkley!last_img read more

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Greece gets more prescriptions filled than EU peers

first_imgSome 65 million medical prescriptions for a total of 200 million packets of medication are issued every year in Greece, along with 100 million referrals for medical tests, several times more than in fellow European Union states, according to data released by the country’s main healthcare provider, EOPYY, and the European Healthcare Fraud and Corruption Network, EHFCN.The number of prescriptions issued in Greece are virtually at the same level as those in Spain, which has a population five times the size of Greece’s.As for CAT and MRI scans, more than 1.5 million referrals were issued in Greece over the last year – 100 per cent above the average rate in Western European countries.However, the scope for cutbacks in Greece is clear. The enforcement of new guidelines for health professionals resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in the number of referrals for CAT and MRI scans last month while the amount by which spending on prescription medicines was overshot dropped by 71.5 per cent in October.In a related development, Health Minister Makis Voridis said the budget for state hospitals would be trimmed next year by 160 million euros, to 1.61 billion euros from 1.45 billion euros.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Man gets 3 years for Clark County Jail escape attempt

first_imgA man who grabbed a sheriff’s deputy’s stun gun in the Clark County Jail during an ill-conceived escape attempt in January 2018 will spend more time behind bars than he would have otherwise due to the incident.Ricky I. Younger, 35, was sentenced Thursday in Clark County Superior Court to 37 months, or a little more than three years, in prison.Judge Scott Collier said the imposed sentence was appropriate under the goals of the state’s sentencing system and given the work of the attorneys, and Younger’s desire to resolve the case.Younger apologized for his actions.“I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. I was acting impulsively. I just want the officers to know I’m sorry. I never acted this way,” he said.“I’ve struggled with drugs,” he added, alluding to the fact that he was detoxing from heroin, benzodiazepines and alcohol at the time of the incident.Younger pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree robbery, disarming a corrections officer, five counts of third-degree assault and attempted second-degree escape.He no prior felony convictions, just misdemeanors. He was in jail for a pending case for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.Jail surveillance footage that captured the incident shows Younger get up from a bench in the booking area about 8:40 p.m. Jan. 19, glance at Deputy Brenda Bullard’s equipment and then lunge at Bullard, pushing her in the chest. The two briefly struggled over a stun gun that Younger grabbed, but he disarmed the deputy as she fell back into the booking room. The stun gun discharged during the scuffle at Bullard and two other deputies in the booking room, according to an affidavit of probable cause.last_img read more

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Maradona denies his criticism against Lionel Messi

first_imgAfter his explosive criticism against Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona claims that the interview was doctored and he never attacked the Barcelona star.A few weeks back from his comfortable job as the Sinaloa Dorados manager, Diego Maradona made some incendiary comments about Lionel Messi’s lack of commitment in the Argentine National Team.The statement was very clear and it didn’t look doctored at all, he basically conveyed the same message that millions of Argentineans have been saying about the Barcelona star.Since he began playing for his country, Messi hasn’t won a single trophy with the first squad and he has always struggled to win the heart of many of his compatriots.When the Mexican press asked Maradona about Messi’s role in the squad, Diego’s response was very aggressive and it made a huge echo around the world.This was not the first time that the idol came after Messi for not being able to win trophies for Argentina, he has already stated that Leo has no leadership and basically dissed him several times in front of the press before.But during this new interview for Marca Claro, Maradona’s first response was to deny anything he said and insinuate that the video from that interview was doctored by Fox Sports Mexico.Maradona: “Me hubiese encantado una oportunidad en el Real Madrid. Me sobran espaldas para ello. Pero bueno, las cosas se dieron así. Hoy estoy en Dorados y soy feliz” https://t.co/3yIrBfhDR0— MARCA (@marca) November 14, 2018“It’s all lies. Leo is my friend and I would never attack one of my friends. In any case, I would tell him what I think right to his face. I would never tell him anything like that through an interview,” said Maradona on Marca.“All I’ve ever said about Leo is that he is a football phenomenon and that’s it. I also said that 20 Argentina players went to the bathroom instead of playing a crucial match, but I wasn’t referring to Messi.”“On the contrary, what Leo wanted during the 2010 World Cup was to change clothes quickly so he could step on the pitch and ask for the ball, which is something that many players didn’t want to do.”“A lot of those players wanted to hide from the ball. I am… not tired, but I do want to tell all those people that what Leo and I have is unconditional. I frankly don’t know why they have that obsession with him and I.”David Villa, FC BarcelonaTop 10 players who played for both Barcelona and Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to talk about the best players who represented both Barcelona and Valencia, prior to their La Liga encounter at Camp Nou this evening.“People could’ve compared Leo with Ronaldinho for example, ‘Dinho’ really made it “rain” in Barcelona and nobody wants to remember him. Barcelona has that characteristic. They tend to forget their idols pretty quickly.”“You can ask for Rivaldo there, after that goal he scored against Atletico Madrid, or ask about the bicycle kick goal he scored against Valencia.”“Nobody will remember him. You already know what all the papers from Barcelona are like, they will always want me and Leo to get in a fight. But I will go on a barbecue with Leo, we play foot-tennis and we are happy.”“Maybe the people think that we will need to meet with our wives and wearing suits but no, quite the opposite actually. We could easily meet wearing shorts, with no shoes and wearing a casual shirt. No problem man,” he concluded.Messi cada vez que le dicen que Maradona habla de él pic.twitter.com/hILIReDzzJ— ivar arnaldo suarez (@arnaldosuarezlo) November 14, 2018Maradona somehow believes that making these statements will make Lionel Messi forget everything he has already said, but the reality is that Diego has already lost all his credibility with contradictory statements like this.Since the first statements that Maradona made about Lionel Messi a few weeks back, there still hasn’t been any response from the player’s camp and it’s very likely that they will remain quiet about the whole ordeal.This latest Maradona attempt to extend an olive branch is just a feeble attempt to cover up a terrible mistake that may have messed with their friendship and there may not be a way back anymore.🗣 Maradona: “There are players that go to the bathroom 20 times but I never referred to Messi. What I wanted from him at the 2010 World Cup was to change, go on the pitch, look for the ball. I want to say that what I have with Leo is unconditional.”— FC Barcelona Fl 🏆 (@FCBarcelonaFl) November 14, 2018What do you think about Diego Maradona’s contradictory statements about Lionel Messi? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

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Police to rescue illegals from TCI cay

first_img ALERT # 2 ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE NINE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT 9 PM EDT #MagneticMediaNews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, December 28, 2016 –  A rescue operation of illegal migrants had to be activated by Police Tuesday after word came of an illegal landing on one of the TCI cays.   Magnetic Media was informed since Christmas Day of an illegal vessel making it to shore, but details were scant then and they remain sketchy today as officials have still not confirmed what is happening.  What is said is that there was a landing on one of the cays and that there are people believed stranded on the uninhabited cay and that those there will have to be brought into the mainland.  There is no word on how many people may be on the tiny island; it does appear though that the illegals are suspected to be of Haitian origin.  A wooden sloop has been found.  It is almost tradition for migrants from nearby Haiti to try to make landfall during the Christmas season; The Bahamas has reported two apprehensions so far during these holidays. Related Items:#magneticmedianews Recommended for youcenter_img The Luxury of Grace Bay in Down Town Provo Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Electricity Cost of Service Study among the big agenda items at September 11 Cabinet meetinglast_img read more

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Alaska News Nightly March 30 2015

first_imgStories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn.Download AudioAPD Stops Short Of Calling Weekend Vandalism Incident A Hate CrimeZachariah Hughes, KSKA – AnchorageAn incident over the weekend in Anchorage has alarmed members of an immigrant community, but officials are stopping short of calling it a hate crime.Haines Pot Grower Proposes Cannabis Exchange In Light Of New Law Emily Files, KHNS – HainesIn Haines, the borough assembly has decided to wait until the state finalizes legislation before taking any action on local rules on marijuana use and sales.But some residents aren’t waiting on the legislature.Alaska Senate Rejects Effort To Preemptively Ban Marijuana ConcentratesAlexandra Gutierrez, APRN – JuneauWhen Alaskans voted to regulate marijuana, a discrepancy was created where possession of small amounts of the drug was legal and where possession of larger amounts meant higher level felonies. The Alaska Senate has passed a bill to bridge the gap. And in the process, they rejected a controversial effort to preemptively ban marijuana concentrates.Report: Ship Trouble in the Arctic on the Rise Liz Ruskin, APRN – Washington DCA new report says that as Arctic ship traffic has increased, so has the number of Arctic ship mishaps.Army Corps Of Engineers Preps For Summer SeasonLori Townsend, APRN – AnchorageThe Army Corp of Engineers are gearing up for the summer season of projects around the state.Homer Takes First Step Toward Deep Water Dock ExpansionQuinton Chandler, KBBI – HomerThe City of Homer is taking its first step towards a long planned expansion of the city’s deep water dock. Earlier this month, the Homer City Council chose to award R&M Consultants of Anchorage the contract for a study to evaluate the project’s merits.Legislature Diving Into Anchorage’s Violent Crime, Potentially Bringing New Funds Zachariah Hughes, KSKA – AnchorageWith a spike in shootings and homicides in Anchorage since the start of the year, legislators in Juneau heard testimony on Friday about why violent crime appears to be rising. A local problem may bring new state funding for solutions.Strong King Salmon Catch Means Early Closure For Southeast TrollersJoe Viechnicki, KFSK – PetersburgSoutheast Alaska’s commercial salmon trollers are heading back into port now that the winter season has closed. Thanks to strong catches of king salmon on the outer coast near Sitka.Indigenous Leaders Adapt Western-Style Government While Retaining Traditional ApproachesDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksNorthern indigenous people have adapted to western style government while retaining a traditional cooperative approach to leadership. That’s the finding of Quebec based political anthropologist Caroline Herve’.‘There’s Nothing Left to Cut’: Fairbanks Assembly Gives School District $800K BoostTim Ellis, KUAC – FairbanksThe Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved a measure that allows the area school district to keep $800,000 rather than give it back to the borough. As KUAC’s Tim Ellis reports, Assembly members say the action was a small step toward helping the district cope with cuts that district officials have proposed to deal with an $11 million state funding shortfall.last_img read more

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Alaska hatches plan for vast road network across the Arctic

first_imgPotential transportation corridors to communities and resources are indicated in red on the state’s map outlining the ASTAR project. (Courtesy Alaska Department of Natural Resources)Citing tough economic times, Alaska lawmakers and the governor slashed funding for several huge, controversial projects this year, including the Knik Arm bridge and the Juneau Access road.Listen nowBut Gov. Bill Walker’s administration is now envisioning something new. This year’s capital budget includes $7.3 million in funding to plan the construction of a vast network of roads across the Arctic.It’s being sold as a lifeline for both oil development and remote communities, but it’s already facing criticism.There’s no denying that if the Arctic Strategic Transportation and Resource Project, or ASTAR, comes to fruition, it would be a massive undertaking.“It’s a big project — it’s a megaproject,” Dean Westlake said. Westlake represents the North Slope in the legislature.ASTAR would mean a network of roads stretching across the Arctic. If built, you could potentially take a road trip from Nuiqsut, a community near the mouth of the Colville River, to Point Hope, more than 400 miles to the west.Westlake said the road system would help people in remote North Slope villages where, most of the time, the only way to get from one place to another is to buy a plane ticket.“It is expensive, a lot of times prohibitively so,” Westlake said. “You have people who want to go to the clinic out there, to the hub, that can’t afford to. And shipping goods to the village — if you lived in rural Alaska, you’d know what I’m talking about.”The idea also has support from North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower; in May, Brower wrote a letter to the legislature in support of the project.But connecting isolated Arctic communities isn’t the only thing Alaska’s leaders have in mind. On Alaska Public Media’s Talk of Alaska program last month, this is how Gov. Walker responded to a question about why this year’s capital budget included a late addition of $7.3 million for ASTAR:“We aren’t going to find another 1.6 million barrels of throughput without drilling more wells and having more access,” Walker said.Walker argued that a network of permanent roads would make finding and developing oil fields in the Arctic a lot easier. The ASTAR project would crisscross one of Alaska’s most promising oil development regions — the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. One road could lead straight to Smith Bay, where oil company Caelus claims it’s discovered 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil.The state is hoping the project will hit a sweet spot: it will benefit communities and someday lead to more oil in the pipeline. Andy Mack, who heads Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, argues that’s why this megaproject makes sense when others don’t.“Frankly it’s where we have oil plays, and there’s a lot of excitement…and those things are very, very important as we look at our future budgets,” Mack said.The state also wants to get the project moving during today’s favorable political climate — the industry-friendly Trump administration is now reviewing its management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve. Mack hopes Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be open to the idea of permanent roads across the Arctic.“When Secretary Zinke visited Alaska, he came with a very open mind about what the possibilities were for development in the Arctic,” Mack said.But there are some big questions that still need to be answered. First, how much will it cost, and who will pay for it? In a letter to the Trump administration asking for support for infrastructure projects this spring, Walker suggested the road from Nuiqsut to Utqiaġvik alone could cost more than $300 million. In addition to federal money, another idea to help pay for the project is to charge industry a toll to use the road.Some key stakeholders are still trying to figure out what the project might mean to them. That includes ConocoPhillips, which is doing a lot of the oil exploration in the region.“It is too early in the process to understand how the proposed road system might affect us,” Natalie Lowman, a spokeswoman for ConocoPhillips, said in an email. “We have not been involved with its development.”Lois Epstein of the Wilderness Society questions why the state is funneling millions into another megaproject that she thinks is unlikely to be built.“Why are we spending, as a state, lots of money to study projects that have no viability at all? These megaprojects are already being canceled in the most recent capital budget, and at the same time, the ASTAR project is being added,” Epstein said.Bernadette Demientieff, who leads the Gwich’in Steering Committee, is also against the project. The Gwich’in Steering Committee has long opposed oil development in the Arctic Refuge because of potential impacts to caribou herds. Dementieff said she’s worried a network of roads across the Arctic would threaten subsistence resources.“The way we look at is they’re looking to do more development. And for us, this is our homeland, these are our children’s birthright to continue to survive off of these areas,” Demientieff said.As it’s currently envisioned, the ASTAR project wouldn’t connect to any Gwich’in communities.Amos AguvlukNashookpuk is office manager for Wainwright, a North Slope community that could get its first road out if ASTAR moves ahead. He said a road would reduce the cost of everyday essentials like food and medication — it would even make it easier for Wainwright’s students to travel to basketball games.“This will help our residents and I hope that one day, it comes true,” AguvlukNashookpuk said.The state aims to start consulting with communities on the project this winter.last_img read more

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Mainul shown arrested in Digital Security Act case

first_imgFormer adviser to a caretaker government Mainul Hosein being taken to the jail.Former adviser to a caretaker government Mainul Hosein was shown arrested on Thursday in a case filed under the Digital Security Act for defaming journalist Masuda Bhatti during a TV talk show on October 16, reports UNB.Additional chief metropolitan magistrate Muhammad Asaduzzaman Noor passed the order after sub-inspector Ziaul Haque of Gulshan Police Station, who is also the investigation officer of the case, submitted a petition to show Mainul as arrested.After the hearing, the court also fixed November 29 for submission of the police report.On October 24, Sumona Akhter Lily, Awami League’s youth and sports sub-committee member, filed a case against Mainul under the Digital Security Act with Dhaka cyber tribunal judge Ash-Shams Jaglul Hussein under sections 25 (2) and 29 of the act.After hearing the statement of the complainant, the court also ordered Gulshan Police Station to list the case as FIR.On October 22, a team of Detective Branch (DB) of police arrested him from the capital in a defamation case filed in Rangpur district. He was sent to jail the following day.During the talk-show ‘Ekattorer Journal’ on private TV channel Ekattor TV, on September 16, Masuda Bhatti asked Mainul, “You say you’re there in the Jatiya Oikya Front as a citizen of the country but in social networking sites, many people are saying you’re there as a representative of Jamaat.”Angered by the comment, Mainul said, “I’m thanking you for your audacity and I want to believe you as ‘characterless’. There’s no question about Jamaat link’s with me and what question you have asked is embarrassing for me.”last_img read more

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MayorforLife Gets His Due

first_img“He was the mayor-for-life and built a foundation for Black people in D.C.,” said Anise Jenkins, the executive director for Stand Up! for Democracy, an advocacy organization that supports statehood for the District. “He was a wonderful mayor who empowered Black people and empowered all people.”The late Marion Barry will be honored with a statue at the John A. Wilson Building on March 3. (Courtesy photo)Jenkins is referring, of course, to Marion Barry, a larger than life figure that dominated the D.C. political scene from the 1970s until his death in 2014. Barry will be honored with the unveiling of his statue March 3 in front of the John A. Wilson Building.The ceremony will start at 11:30 a.m. at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. and there will be seating for the event at Freedom Plaza, which is located across the street. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and the members of the D.C. Council are expected to attend, along with members of the Commission to Commemorate and Recognize the Honorable Marion Barry Jr., and former mayors and council members.Barry came to the District in 1965 as the city’s main Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s organizer. In the next few years, Barry co-founded Pride, a job training program for unemployed Black men and the Free D.C. Movement that focused on the District getting a vote and self-determination from the U.S. Congress.Barry was elected to an at-large position on the school board in 1971 and was seated in 1972. He served as president of the board before he was elected as an at-large member of the D.C. Council in 1974 and was re-elected in 1976.In an event that made national news, Barry was shot on March 9, 1977 by members of the Hanafi Muslims at the District Building. Barry recovered two days later and became a hero in the eyes of many Washingtonians.In 1978, Barry challenged then District Mayor Walter Washington and defeated him and D.C. Council Chairman Sterling Tucker in the September Democratic mayoral primary and won overwhelming in the November general election.Barry became mayor in 1979 and led the District until 1991. During his tenure he is credited for creating the summer youth jobs program, mandating that 35 percent of all District government businesses go to minority (African American) firms and creating jobs and contracting opportunities that strengthened the city’s Black middle class.“Everyone in Ward 4 that has a decent house and who has retired from the District government have Marion Barry to thank for that,” Kathy Henderson, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 5 and a candidate for the Ward 5 D.C. Council seat, told the AFRO. “He broke that glass ceiling in the District government.”On Jan. 18, 1990, Barry was arrested for crack cocaine use and possession in a FBI sting operation. In August 1990, there was a trial in which Barry was convicted of a single cocaine possession count and was ultimately given a six-month sentence by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson.Barry didn’t run for re-election in 1990 but opted for the D.C. Council at-large race as an independent.He lost the November 1990 general election to the Statehood Party’s candidate Hilda Mason. It was the only loss of his political career.Barry began serving a six-month sentence at a correctional facility in Petersburg, Va., and also served part of that time in a Loretto, Pa. facility. He was released in April 1992.That year, Barry challenged D.C. Council member Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8) for her position and won the September Democratic primary decisively, with 70 percent of the vote. After representing Ward 8 residents on the council for two years, Barry launched his bid to defeat the incumbent mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.Barry defeated Kelly in the September 1994 Democratic primary and went on to win the November general election. Barry served as mayor—his fourth term—from 1995-1999.Jenkins said she heard that some representatives and senators weren’t happy with Barry being the mayor again.“That’s why the Congress gave D.C. its control board,” she said, referring to the body of unelected officials who controlled the District’s finances from 1995-2001 and was created because the city was hundreds of millions of dollars in the red. “The members of Congress wanted to punish us for having the gall to re-elect Marion Barry.”Jenkins said that many members of Congress were mad at Barry “because he didn’t know his place.”Barry left public service after his fourth term as mayor ended in 1999.In 2004, Barry ran for re-election to the D.C. Council, taking on longtime friend and ally, D.C. Council member Sandy Allen and defeated her for re-election in the September Democratic primary. He won the 2004 November general election and served on the council until his death at the age of 78 in November 2014.D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser set up the Barry Commission to explore ways to honor the four-term mayor. One of the ways to honor him, according to the commission, was with a statute of him at the Wilson Building.The likeness, known as the Marion Barry Jr. Commemorative Bronze Statue, is eight-feet tall and is in bronze, according to photos of it that have been publicly revealed. Steven Weitzman of Weitzman Studios did the statute.Henderson said she will definitely be at the event in recognition of Barry’s work.“I essentially became an adult in the city under Marion Barry,” she said. “I worked on his 1994 council campaign and it was amazing to watch him work.”She did confess her unhappiness with “all the things that he did” but never questioned his commitment to everyday people.“His service to people was a higher calling,” she said.last_img read more

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Emirates Set to Double Flights to Barcelona

first_imgEmirates, a connector of people, places and economies, has announced plans to offer a double daily service to Barcelona, less than three years after its initial launch to the city.From 2nd May 2015 Emirates will add a further 3724 seats per week to Barcelona increasing overall capacity by 51 percent. The extra service will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR in a three class configuration, complementing the airline’s already successful daily A380 service. Timings for the new flight have been scheduled to create and facilitate more effective connections between Barcelona and key cities in the Far East, Middle East, Australia and Africa, via Emirates’ Dubai hub.“Barcelona continues to be a huge success story for Emirates. In less than three years we have not only launched a new service but also added significant capacity in order to keep up with customer demand. This extra daily flight is a major boost to our operations and firmly underscores our commitment to the Spanish market,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West.“Customers love the Emirates product and repeat usage continues to play a key role in our success. Our onboard product and service is second to none and we are committed to offering seamless connections for our customers both in and out of Barcelona. It’s no surprise that we have been able to increase capacity on this route so quickly,” added Mr. Frach.Barcelona frequently tops the must see destinations in Europe with over 7.3 million tourists visiting annually, making the city the 11th most visited destination in the world.The introduction of a Boeing 777-200LR will also add significant cargo capacity to the route with just over 230 tonnes per week to be added by Emirates SkyCargo. This additional capacity is expected to further support the movement of clothes, one of Catalonia’s main exports to the Gulf.The new flight will offer eight luxurious First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 216 seats in Economy Class. Emirates customers in all classes will enjoy over 2000 channels of inflight entertainment on ice in addition to gourmet cuisine and a generous baggage allowance of 50kg in First Class, 40kg in Business Class and 30kg in Economy Class.EK 188 will depart Dubai at 1545hrs and arrive at Barcelona El Prat Airport at 2100hrs. EK 189 will take off daily from Barcelona at 2245hrs and land in Dubai at 0725hrs the following day.In addition to Barcelona, Emirates also operates a double daily service to Madrid. Emirates first launched flights to Spain in 2010 and now offers a total of 21,042 seats per week to and from the country.Source = Emirateslast_img read more

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Rep LaFave holds multiple local office hours throughout the south central UP

first_img State Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain will hold local office hours and meet with residents to discuss matters of state government.“Holding office hours gives me the opportunity to talk with the people of the Upper Peninsula and listen to their thoughts and concerns,” Rep. LaFave said. “As your representative, I am here to make Lansing more responsible to the people. That’s why office hours are a top priority of mine.”The schedule for office hours is as follows:Dickinson County:Monday, April 3 at Breitung Township Hall, 3851 Menominee St. in Quinnesec from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST; andMonday, April 10 at Breitung Township Hall, 3851 Menominee St. in Quinnesec from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST.Delta County:Tuesday, April 4 at Escanaba City Hall, 410 Ludington St. in Escanaba from 2 to 2:50 p.m. EST.Menominee County:Wednesday, April 5 at Menominee City Hall, 2511 10th St. in Menominee from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST; andTuesday, April 11 at Stephenson City Hall, W628 Samuel St. in Stephenson from 3 to 3:50 p.m. CST.Residents also may contact LaFave at his Lansing office at (517) 373-0156 or BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov. Categories: LaFave News 03Apr Rep. LaFave holds multiple local office hours throughout the south central U.P.last_img read more

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Rep Wentworth applauds end to driver responsibility fees

first_imgState Rep. Jason Wentworth today voted in favor of a package of bills that brings an end to ineffective driver responsibility fees and forgives all outstanding debt associated with them.Wentworth, of Clare, said he voted to end the fees because they never accomplished – nor were they intended to – better driving skills for people forced to pay them.“This was a bad law that was enacted only to resolve a budget shortfall in 2003 that was caused by reckless spending of taxpayer money,” Wentworth said. “People who were forced to pay the fees also often lost their jobs since they had no transportation, and turned to public assistance to care for their families.”Under the legislation passed by the House today, the fees will be eliminated on Oct. 1, 2018, and all debt will be forgiven.The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables them to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.The bills now go to the governor for consideration.##### Categories: News,Wentworth News Lawmaker votes for repeal, debt forgivenesscenter_img 14Feb Rep. Wentworth applauds end to driver responsibility feeslast_img read more

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Runestad Universities could be subject to new legislative oversight

first_img The House Oversight Committee today approved a joint resolution offered by state Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake that amends the state’s Constitution, allowing the Legislature to make laws governing the protection of free speech on Michigan’s public university and public community college campuses.“The expression of diverse viewpoints is foundational to the process of growth and discovery and expands the education of all people in a free society.” Runestad said. “Abuses over many years by numerous institutions necessitates that the Legislature must be permitted to intervene for the protection of civil liberties of students at universities receiving taxpayer money. These cases, seen over many years, demonstrate that without legislative oversight many of these institutions restrict the rights of students, staff, and faculty. We have no way of knowing just how many students have considered lawsuits over the years, only to walk away because they don’t have the money to defend their rights.”Proponents of the legislation state that public universities and community colleges have frequently failed to follow the Constitution by not providing for the protection of free speech while discriminating on the basis of political viewpoints. Free speech violations that are cited include limiting student assembly to “free speech zones” on campus, deciding who is approved to post on student bulletin boards, choosing which student clubs are funded with mandatory student activity fees and picking which speakers are allowed on campus.House Joint Resolution P now moves to the full House for further consideration.Photo Information: State Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake testifies in support of his Michigan Constitution amendment before the House Oversight Committee today. 15Feb Runestad: Universities could be subject to new legislative oversight Categories: Runestad Newslast_img read more

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Rep Calleys resolution to name March as Reading Month adopted

first_img28Feb Rep. Calley’s resolution to name March as Reading Month adopted Categories: Calley News State Rep. Julie Calley of Portland introduced a resolution on Wednesday to name March as Reading Month in the state of Michigan. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives.“Reading opens doors in many ways,” Rep. Calley said. “It is a cornerstone of education, leads to lifelong learning, and is crucial to assist students in reaching their individualized potential. I applaud all of the families, educators, librarians, and community members who support strong literacy skills.”Each year during the month of March, students across Michigan celebrate Reading Month by participating in contests and literacy events. The goal is to motivate kids to read every day of the year.Rep. Calley is scheduled to read in school classrooms across the 87th district throughout March. Teachers or administrators who would like to have Rep. Calley read in their classroom may contact her Lansing office at 517-373-0842 or by email at JulieCalley@house.mi.gov.last_img read more