Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to whoop it up at Calgary Stampede

first_imgIf you’re heading down to the Calgary Stampede Saturday, you might catch a glimpse of the prime minister. Justin Trudeau will be in Calgary to meet with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and make several stops around the city. He will get his fill of pancakes at the Parkdale Community Stampede Breakfast with Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr at about 9:15 a.m. Then he is off to the grounds where Trudeau and Hehr will make an appearance at the Indian Village.Trudueau will finish up his Calgary tour by taking in the rodeo at Stampede later in the afternoon.last_img read more

Read Full Article

UN refugee agency says as many as 65 dead or missing in

15 September 2009The United Nations refugee agency said today that 16 people lost their lives and 49 others are missing and presumed dead in three separate smuggling incidents in the Gulf of Aden over the last two days. “UNHCR staff in Yemen report an increasing number of larger smuggling vessels making the journey across the Gulf of Aden, which puts more lives at risk,” Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva.A host of reasons from civil war, political instability, famine and poverty in the Horn of Africa have led thousands to make the perilous voyage to Yemen in smugglers’ boats every year. So far this year, a total of 860 boats and 43,586 people have made that journey, Ms. Fleming said, adding that some 273 people have drowned or are missing at sea and presumed dead.According to survivors of the first incident, which took place early Sunday off the coast of Radfan in Yemen, one person was reported to have suffocated in the engine room of the boat while others were reportedly beaten and threatened by the smugglers. The vessel, which left from the Somali town of Elayo last Thursday, capsized as the smuggling crew jumped overboard after being unable to fix an engine failure. Ms. Fleming said 98 people managed to swim ashore while 43 others are missing and presumed dead. The second incident involved a boat reportedly carrying 112 Africans, of whom three were reportedly beaten to death by the smugglers and another 10 died due to asphyxiation. The boat reached Yemen on Sunday morning after having left Somalia last Thursday.In the third incident, a European Union warship rescued 38 people from a small boat that was sinking in deep waters. The boat was originally carrying 46 people, according to survivors. Rescue helicopters launched from the EU vessel spotted two bodies in nearby waters. Another six people are missing and presumed drowned.The rescued passengers were allowed to disembark this morning at the Yemeni port of Mulkalla, said Ms. Fleming. Meanwhile, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay today said the millions of people who risk their lives and safety in order to cross international boundaries in search of a better life present one of the most serious human rights problems in the world today.“Countless migrants fall prey to human traffickers who prosper the most where government scrutiny is at its weakest,” she told the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “States have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil a wide range of human rights of all individuals under their jurisdiction, including all migrants, regardless of their immigration status.Ms. Pillay accused authorities and ships of violating international law when they reject or ignore the pleas of migrants stranded at sea. “In many cases, authorities reject these migrants and leave them to face hardship and peril, if not death, as though they were turning away ships laden with dangerous waste. Their fate is thus sealed as they try to cross the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Aden, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and other stretches of water.“In clear violation of international law, they are abandoned and rejected without proper check of whether they are fleeing persecution. All too often migrants and refugees encounter the same callous rejections at land borders,” she noted. read more

Read Full Article

UN mission in DR of Congo condemns killing of human rights activist

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) has strongly condemned the murder of a human rights activist in the eastern region of the country and appealed to the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly. In a release issued today, MONUC Deputy Spokesman Mamadou Bah described the recent murder of Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi in Bukavu as a cowardly killing. The victim was working for a non-governmental organization (NGO) called “Héritiers de la justice,” he said. Mr. Bah extended condolences to Mr. Kibembi’s family and appealed to the Congolese authorities “to initiate a swift and effective investigation and to bring to justice those found guilty and punish them accordingly.” With regard to the eastern region of Ituri, MONUC military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Hubert said, the situation was calm allowing 23,363 electors to register. Meanwhile, MONUC has set up five quick response elements to deal with any potential threat of a logistical or security nature. Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) for the DRC William Swing was scheduled to go to Ituri tomorrow, stopping in Bunia, Aru and Kpandroma, MONUC said. During his trip he would visit voter registration centres “to encourage the population and to applaud the high interest they have shown in the electoral process.”Some 100 peacekeepers conducted a cordon and search operation on 27 July in the villages of the Mukembo collectivity, about 65 kilometres southeast of their base at Mahagi, after hearing that members of the Front for National Integration (FNI) militia had attacked Ndawe village and killed many people on 30 June, MONUC said.When the troops arrived there they were told that about 100 FNI militia members had gone on a rampage and killed 10 villagers, it said.MONUC’s medical team also set up a temporary medical camp to treat 315 patients, most of whom were suffering from skin diseases, and later handed it over to the Red Cross.Meanwhile, the mission gave Kindu’s 67-year-old Central Prison beds, tables and kitchenware as part of its humanitarian quick impacts programme (QIPS). MONUC said over the weekend that a local non-governmental organization (NGO), the Nyoka Agro-Pastoral Development Programme, handed over the items, valued at $4,200. read more

Read Full Article

UN starts flying in emergency aid for displaced in Myanmars Rakhine state

The United Nations refugee agency today announced it has started an aid airlift for those displaced by the recent inter-communal violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The two flights that will leave from Dubai this weekend are bringing 3,500 family-sized tents for some 17,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs). “The existing relief camps are overcrowded and host families are struggling to support themselves,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, told reporters in Geneva. “Some people are living on the sites of their burnt-out homes, while others are sleeping on boats or taking refuge on islets. The displaced population is in urgent need of a safe place to stay.” The north of Rakhine state has been the site of inter-communal violence over recent months. The violence first began in June, with clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, which eventually led the Government to declare a state of emergency there. That bout of violence reportedly left at least a dozen civilians dead and hundreds of homes destroyed, while internally displacing some 75,000 people. Since then, at least 89 people have been killed and 36,000 displaced in the wake of a renewed upsurge in violence, beginning in late September, which also left more than 5,300 houses and religious buildings destroyed, according to UN estimates. The new airlifts follow an appeal by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for an additional $41 million to cover humanitarian needs in the affected areas. Since the unrest erupted, UNHCR has distributed over 500 tents from in-country stocks and 700 tents donated by the Korea International Cooperation Agency. However, “the shelter needs are immense,” Mr. Edwards said. UNHCR and its partners are also working to rebuild homes in the northern township of Maungdaw, to support the return of people affected by the June unrest. In the state capital, Sittwe, UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) are providing temporary shelters for 4,000 families who cannot yet return home amidst ongoing inter-communal tensions. The refugee agency has also provided relief items such as plastic sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, jerry cans and kitchen sets, as well as clothing and hygiene materials to more than 50,000 IDPs. “While we work to deliver urgent humanitarian aid, the protection needs of the affected population remain a priority for us,” Mr. Edwards said. “Since the June unrest, we have seen increased restrictions on movement, which is affecting people’s livelihoods and food security. Access to basic services has also been difficult. If not addressed, these problems could trigger further displacement.” Mr. Edwards emphasized that a long-term solution lies in promoting community reconciliation and addressing the underlying causes of inter-communal tensions in Rakhine state, namely the lack of citizenship which is affecting a significant number of the population. UNHCR is ready to support the Government and to provide expertise on issues relating to citizenship laws, Mr. Edwards added. read more

Read Full Article

Ohio State womens basketball hoping to slow down Illinois

Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston (14) takes a shot during a game against Michigan State Jan. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 82-68.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorIn a competitive year for the Big Ten conference, there is no room for a letdown.That is exactly what the Ohio State women’s basketball (13-10, 3-4) team look to avoid Thursday when it takes on a reeling Illinois (9-11, 2-5) squad that has lost six of its last eight games.Despite the poor record of Illinois, OSU coach Kevin McGuff said Illinois is a more than capable team.“Illinois is really talented. They have played really well at times,” McGuff said. “Quite frankly, I am a little surprised at their record because I know they are very well-coached and have some talent.”McGuff said he is worried about the threat coach Matt Bollant and the Illini can pose with their speed.“They are not big, but they are fast,” McGuff said. “Hopefully some of our size around the basket can bother them.”That size, of course, comes from 6-foot-5-inch Ashley Adams and 6-foot-2-inch Darryce Moore, the senior Buckeye centers who could be poised for a big game despite struggling in the team’s last game against Michigan State, with Moore scoring eight and Adams failing to score.“We have a pretty big team, as far as our post players,” sophomore guard Ameryst Alston said. “Our post players should have a field day.”Illinois leads the Big Ten in steals (225) and turnover margin per game (+6.05), something which Alston said the Buckeyes have to notice.“They do play this funky zone,” Alston said. “They do a good job of turning other teams over. Limiting our turnovers will be a difference in the game.”Figuring out the defense of Illinois has been the focus this week for the Buckeyes as Alston and junior guard Raven Ferguson were the first two into the locker room for film study, something Alston said is common.“We spend a lot of time with each other off the court,” Alston said with a grin. “We have so much chemistry and I think us being close off the court helps on the court.”Alston and Ferguson have led the Buckeyes for most of the season in the scoring column, but sophomore guard Cait Craft ended her scoring struggles Sunday against Michigan State with 12 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. It was Craft’s first game notching double digits in points since a victory over Purdue Jan. 2.“I struggled the last couple of games after our Big Ten opener,” Craft said. “With the constant support of my teammates and constant encouragement, it is easy to get back in the flow.”Craft is tied for third on the team with both Moore and senior forward Martina Ellerbe with an average of 8.8 points per game.The Buckeyes know the matchup with Illinois will not be easy, Craft said.“Their style is a lot different, but they are still a very good team,” Craft said. “Any given night, anybody can beat anybody.”The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Illini Thursday at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. read more

Read Full Article

Two women killed after being knocked down crossing the road

first_img Share25 Tweet Email Monday 16 Jan 2017, 10:36 PM TWO WOMEN IN their 60s have been killed in a traffic collision in Louth.The women were struck by a vehicle around 6.30pm at Hunterstown, south of Ardee. The women are believed to have been crossing the N2 to their car after stepping off a bus when the accident happened.The bodies of the two women were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital where a post-mortem is scheduled for tomorrow. The driver of the car was uninjured.The road is currently closed to facilitate an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators and local diversions are in place. The road is expected to remain closed overnight.Gardai wish to appeal for witnesses to contact Ardee Garda Station on 041-6871130, the Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda station. By Paul Hosford Image: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie 10 Comments 29,453 Views Jan 16th 2017, 10:36 PM center_img File photo. File photo. Image: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie Two women killed after being knocked down crossing the road The bodies of the two women were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. http://jrnl.ie/3190192 Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Read Full Article

David Bradley to Return as First Doctor in Audio Adventures

first_img HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster Stay on target There are certain perks that come along with resembling a famous dead actor: For David Bradley, they include an ongoing Doctor Who gig.Set to reprise his role as William Hartnell as the First Doctor, Bradley will lend his voice to a series of Big Finish audio tales.Volume one, starring the First Doctor and his iconic companions Ian Chesterton (Jamie Glover), Barbara Wright (Jemma Powell), and, of course, granddaughter Susan (Claudia Grant), launches in January.“The adventures of the First Doctor are all about discovery,” writer Matt Fitton said in a statement. “Finding out what this infinite universe contains, and also who our fellow travellers are.“As we journey with Ian, Barbara, Susan, and the mysterious Doctor,” he continued, “we come to see what they are capable of when confronted with the strange, the unjust, and the dangerous.”Written by Matt Fitton and Guy Adams, and directed by Nicholas Briggs, “The First Doctor Adventures Volume 1” pays homage to the dawn of BBC’s global sci-fi phenomenon.“No one can replace the brilliance of those original performance,” Briggs said. “What we’re presenting here is a kind of reinvention of that era, completely in the spirit of the original. They are new but entirely faithful interpretations of these characters.”Two of the four launch stories focus on pre-1963 Earth—a way of remembering Doctor Who‘s educational roots, when it used time travel to explore scientific ideas and moments in history.Big Finish executive producer Briggs (a.k.a. voice of some of Doctor Who‘s most famous villains) may have dropped a hint about this year’s highly anticipated Christmas special.“Having worked with David twice now on TV, it’s great to be working with him again,” he said in a statement.The two shared the screen in An Adventure in Space and Time, a dramatization of the early years of Doctor Who, in which Bradley first put on Hartnell’s famous frown, and Briggs portrayed Peter Hawkins, original voice of the Daleks and Cybermen.But was the second time in season 10 finale “The Doctor Falls” (featuring a brief cameo by Bradley and Brigg’s monotonous Cyberman tones), or will we see the return of classic creeps this holiday season?Only three months left to find out.Tune in to BBC or BBC America on Dec. 25 to see Ben and Polly, Bill, maybe Clara, and a couple of regeneration-reluctant Time Lords save the world in “Twice Upon a Time.” Also, stock up on tissues, and look out for an appearance by Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker.“The First Doctor Adventures: Volume 1,” meanwhile, is available now to pre-order from Big Finish via CD (£20/$31) or download (£20/$27); listeners can also bundle Volume 2, coming in July, for a total of £45/$61 on CD and £40/$54 as a digital download.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Read Full Article

Jail inmate who died of suicide identified

first_imgLee Evan Dow TThe Clark County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who committed suicide on Saturday in the Clark County Jail as Lee Evan Dow, 25, of Vancouver.Dow died by hanging himself, a press release said.He was booked into the jail on April 24 on suspicion of tampering with a witness — domestic violence; second-degree assault — domestic violence; assault– domestic violence; fourth-degree assault; and fugitive of justice.The sheriff’s office said Dow also was accused of possession of a controlled substance — cocaine — in Clackamas County, Ore.An investigation continues.It was the second suicide in the jail in the past week. On July 1, Shawn Rahier, 42, hanged himself in the jaillast_img read more

Read Full Article

Wincanton drivers for Argos to strike over holiday back pay

first_imgMembers of trade union Unite who work for logistics and supply organisation Wincanton and are based at Argos’ national distribution centre are to undertake strike action in a dispute over holiday back pay.The drivers at Argos’ flagship national distribution centre in Staffordshire are to strike for 72-hours from 20 December 2016 after 83% of Unite members voted for strike action and 95% voted for industrial action short of a strike.The dispute revolves around holiday back pay. Wincanton has changed the way in which this is calculated to include overtime for the first 20 days of annual leave each year.The organisation has offered to provide backdated holiday pay from April 2016, however Unite and its members argue that holiday pay should be backdated to cover at least the last two years. This back pay would amount to approximately £700 per driver.Rick Coyle, regional officer at Unite, said: “The drivers have patiently tried to resolve this matter for over two years. Now they would like the money they are owed in time for Christmas, which is not unreasonable.“It is very difficult to understand why Wincanton has allowed this saga to get out of hand because this strike by our members will cause havoc and mayhem to deliveries to Argos shops in the run-up to Christmas. Strike dates are only being announced as a last resort and Unite’s door is open 24/7 to try and settle this long-standing dispute.”A spokesperson at Wincanton said: “We are disappointed with Unite’s announcement given that at Unite’s request we already have a meeting scheduled tomorrow morning with Acas to resolve the issue. This follows Wincanton’s announcement to change its holiday pay calculations to include overtime for the first 20 days of annual leave entitlement taken in each holiday year. “The change to holiday pay applies to all employees who receive overtime payments and therefore exceeds Wincanton’s obligations in line with recent holiday pay rulings and statutory guidance. We are committed to ongoing dialogue with Unite. No other Wincanton operations are affected.”An Argos spokesperson said: “We would like to reassure our customers that we have a robust contingency plan in place and all Argos deliveries will continue as normal this Christmas.”last_img read more

Read Full Article

Yes Bank gets inprinciple approval to commence custodian services

first_imgYes Bank, a private sector lender in India, said on Thursday that it has received an in-principle approval from capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to undertake custodian services. The approval comes after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) gave permission to the Mumbai-based lender to act as custodian of securities.Yes Bank said it will establish the framework for the custodian business within 12 months. A custodian of services offers services such as trade settlement, safe-keeping, benefit collection, reporting and accounting of capital market transactions to domestic and foreign market participants across asset classes comprising debt, equity and money market instruments.Rana Kapoor, managing director of Yes Bank, said the new business will “complement” the bank’s existing capital market services. He also said the bank will gear up to the new business.”We intend to build state-of- the-art technology driven infrastructure, integrated with best-in- class human capital to offer the finest quality custodial services to our capital market clients,” Kapoor said in a statement.There are 19 registered custodians of securities, according to the SEBI. They include Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, DBS Bank, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank AG, Edelweiss Custodial Services, Kotak Mahindra Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., among others. The steady growth being witnessed in the size of the custodian business in India and the various changes being made in the capital markets industry augur well for Yes Bank and “makes it an attractive business proposition,” according to the bank.Yes Bank’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 2016 was Rs. 702 crore, up 27.4 percent, while net interest income rose 27.1 percent to Rs. 1,241 crore. The full year net profit climbed 26.6 percent to Rs. 2,539 crore and net interest income increased 30.9 percent to Rs. 4,567 crore.Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) and net NPAs stood at 0.76 percent and 0.29 percent, respectively. The bank declared 100 percent dividend for the financial year 2015-16.On Monday, Yes Bank applied to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) seeking approval to enhance total foreign ownership limit to 74 percent, with full fungibility for investments by FIIs/ RFPIs under the PIS. The request has been sent to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approval.Stocks of Yes Bank closed at Rs. 912.30 on the BSE on Thursday.last_img read more

Read Full Article

Land building owners of FR Tower on 7day remand

first_imgWreckage of the burnt building is seen in Dhaka on 29 March 2019, a day after flames tore through the 22-storey FR Tower. Photo: AFPA Dhaka court on Sunday put Tasvir Ul Islam, one of the owners of FR Tower, and SMHI Faruque, the land owner of the building, on seven-day remand in connection with a case filed over Thursday’s inferno that killed 26 people and injured 70 others.Dhaka metropolitan magistrate Sadbir Yasir Ahsan Chowdhury passed the order, as investigation officer (IO) and inspector of detective branch (DB) of police Jalal Uddin produced the duo before court and pleaded for 10 days of remand.Tasvir, also a leader of BNP, and Faruque have been blamed for collusion in causing loss of lives and properties with evil intention, causing loss of lives, severe injuries and damage to properties in fire caused by severe negligence, in the case.Banani Police Box in-charge sub-inspector Milton Dutta filed the case with Banani Police Station yesterday against Tasvir and Faruque and Rupayon Group chairman Liyakat Ali Khan Mukul.The case later transferred to DB for investigation. Tasvir and Faruque too were arrested last night from different areas of the capital.last_img read more

Read Full Article

Hip Hop Diplomacy

first_imgAmerican University’s School of International Service is hosting an event by the Next Level group, a diplomacy group that aims to use hip-hop as a diplomatic tool. The event will showcase DJ and rap performances and a discussion on diplomacy. The event will be held at American University. 4400 Massachusetts Avenue N.W. on April 1 from 3 p. m.  – 4:30 p. m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit:dc.linktank.com/event/hip-hop-diplomacy-at-au-sis.last_img

Read Full Article

Heavy rainfall warning in 5 Bengal districts

first_imgKolkata: The meteorological department on Monday warned of “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in five northern districts of West Bengal for five consecutive days till June 29. “Heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-20 cm) will occur in most places of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts from June 25-June 29, caused by an upper-air cyclonic circulation over West Assam and sub-Himalayan West Bengal,” a bulletin from the Met department said. It said several south Bengal districts would also be affected by incessant rainfall over the next three days and issued an alert for North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. “Rainfall in most places likely over south Bengal districts due to a cyclonic circulation that lies over northwest Bay of Bengal,” the bulletin added.last_img read more

Read Full Article

New study links extreme weather to climate change

first_imgRelated posts:Climate change to create unprecedented temperatures in San José by 2037 World Bank turns to hydropower to square development with climate change Tico hikers to trek coast-to-coast to draw attention to climate change Region to pay hefty price of climate change WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scientists said on Monday they have identified a physical mechanism behind the extreme weather that has plagued many parts of the world in recent years – and that it is tied to climate change.Since 2010, for example, the United States and Russia have each suffered scorching heat waves, while Pakistan saw unprecedented flooding.Scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have traced the events to a disturbance in the air currents in the northern hemisphere, in a new study out Monday in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“An important part of the global air motion in the mid-latitudes of the Earth normally takes the form of waves wandering around the planet, oscillating between the tropical and the Arctic regions,” lead author Vladimir Petoukhov said in a statement.“During several recent extreme weather events, these planetary waves almost freeze in their tracks for weeks. So instead of bringing in cool air after having brought warm air in before, the heat just stays,” he said.In an ecosystem ill adapted to long periods of extreme heat, the stress can be disastrous, with high death tolls, forest fires and agricultural losses.For instance, during Russia’s 2010 heat wave – the worst in its recorded history – wildfires spread out of control, killing dozens of people, burning down thousands of houses and threatening military and nuclear installations.Global warming, despite its name, is not uniform across the planet. At the poles the bump in temperatures – amplified by shrinking snow cover and ice – is greater than in the swathes between, the scientists said.This reduces the temperature differences between the Arctic and the middle latitudes, which affects the flow of air around the globe.In addition, continents heat and cool more rapidly than large bodies of water, the scientists said.These two factors “result in an unnatural pattern of the mid-latitude air flow, so that for extended periods the slow synoptic waves get trapped,” Petoukhov said.Fellow author and PIK director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber cautioned that the 32-year period used in the study is too short for definitive conclusions.“The suggested physical process increases the probability of weather extremes, but additional factors certainly play a role as well, including natural variability,” he added.Nevertheless, he called the new research “quite a breakthrough,” that helps explain the relationship between the spate of weather extremes and climate change. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Read Full Article

Rep Barrett supports more class career choice for students

first_img Categories: Barrett News 04Apr Rep. Barrett supports more class, career choice for students A Merit Curriculum bill package was recently approved by the state House of Representatives, giving students and their families added options toward graduation and post-high school career preparation.“This legislation gives more control to students while also helping our state gain more professionals in skilled trades and information technology,” said Rep. Tom Barrett, who is a co-sponsor of the four bills. “On a student-by-student basis, our education system is based on preparing high school students for life after graduation. This legislation helps make that a reality while allowing more choices for classes that qualify for graduation.”The four bills in the legislative package will allow statistics, computer coding and a certified safety program course to count toward graduation requirements, and give students an option to fulfill a 21st Century Skills requirement by completing a combination of career/technical education (CTE) or visual/performing arts courses.“Career options have changed a lot over the past 10 years, just as the demand for young professionals prepared in vocational education classes has increased, so our education system must adapt to that demand,” said Barrett, of Potterville. “This legislation will expand the path to graduation for many high school students by adding options to the required curriculum. My vote was to help our students today prepare for what’s available to them tomorrow.”House Bills 4315-4318 advance to the Senate for consideration.#####last_img read more

Read Full Article

Rep Leutheuser votes to eliminate driver responsibility fees

first_img Legislation also forgives all outstanding debt State Rep. Eric Leutheuser today voted for bipartisan legislation that ends driver responsibility fees and forgives outstanding debt.Leutheuser, of Hillsdale, said he voted for the eight-bill package because the 2003 law establishing the fees was flawed, doing nothing to improve driving skills and sending families throughout the state deep into debt.“Driver responsibility fees were contrived by a previous administration as a way to fill a shortfall in the state budget and were never intended to correct dangerous driving habits,” Leutheuser said. “It left people without driving privileges, which often led to unemployment and dependency on public assistance.”Leutheuser said the fees will be eliminated on Oct. 1, 2018. In the meantime, those owing fees can work off their payments by participating in community service or workforce development programs.“People who have been unable to go to and from work have a chance to have driving privileges restored,” Leutheuser said. “Then they can go back to work and provide for their families, taking part in the state’s economic comeback.”The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.#####The bills are House Bills 5040-5046, 5079 and 5080. Categories: Leutheuser News,Newscenter_img 02Nov Rep. Leutheuser votes to eliminate driver responsibility feeslast_img read more

Read Full Article

Canada Restricting SLAPP Suits but First in Personal Freedom Whats the Connection

first_imgShare13TweetShare2Email15 SharesNovember 6, 2015; Canadian UnderwriterLast week, the Legatum Institute, a British think tank, released its 2015 “Prosperity Index” ranking the world’s most prosperous nations—Norway on top, followed by Switzerland, Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden (the U.S. ranked 11th). Particularly interesting is the country ranking 6th on the list: our northern neighbor, Canada.In the multi-issue scale used by Legatum, Canada ranked first in terms of “personal freedom” with the following variables: “tolerance for immigrants, tolerance for minorities, civil liberty & free choice, [and] satisfaction with freedom of choice.” Canada ranked first in tolerance toward immigrants (ahead of Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, and Ireland), fifth most tolerant of ethnic minorities, and fifth in terms of the feelings of citizens “that they have the freedom to choose the course of their own lives.”Remember that this scale was compiled during the long term of office of conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Tories were recently booted from office in the Canadian national elections held October 19th. Contrast Canada’s ranking on the personal freedom sub-index with this country’s at 15th, presumably because of the continuing controversies around government monitoring of citizens’ emails and telephone communications. How did Canada grab the title of “land of the free” and what does it do to keep it, especially since on governance, Canada also ranks ahead of the U.S.—seventh internationally, compared to eleventh?This columnist’s recent visit to Canada indicates that Canadian nonprofits are quite attentive to the personal freedoms of their constituents and stakeholders. One example is the recent enactment in Ontario of an anti-SLAPP bill. The legislation—the Protection of Public Participation Act—would identify lawsuits that “unduly restrict free expression in the public interest.”Most SLAPP suits are really intended to simply scare off or otherwise shut up critics. This bill would give the courts some ability to “deal with” SLAPP suites, according to Yasir Naqvi, the province’s Liberal Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister, last March. “These [SLAPP] cases have little or no merit,” said Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur in the Canadian Underwriter article on the bill. “Most are dropped before the lawsuit goes to trial, sometimes just weeks later. Meanwhile, the damage is done. Financially and emotionally drained, the target of a strategic suit is effectively silenced.”Nongovernmental associations had promoted this legislation, having suffered the negative impact of SLAPP suits. “On our shoestring budget, we’ve been forced to pay a huge sum for liability insurance, just in case a SLAPP suit should occur,” testified Sandy Buxton, president of the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, at an October 1st legislative hearing. “Some of our most generous donors have requested anonymity, fearing an attack of some kind by the developers.”“The Protection of Public Participation Act will put a stop to the growing use of lawsuits used to silence and dissuade individuals from freely expressing and broadly participating in matters of public interest,” added Eileen Denny, president of the Teddington Park Residents Association. “It provides a defined purpose and a quick review process for identifying and dismissing lawsuits via motion. The act also proposes cost consequences that discourage strategic lawsuits from starting.”Canadian attorney Derek J. Bell thinks the PPA could have some “real teeth.” If a defendant in a potential SLAPP suit invokes the PPA, the court must hear the defendant’s motion within 60 days, during which time all other activity in the case is suspended. If the court rules that the case is a SLAPP suit, the defendants could get more than court costs on the motion, up to “full indemnity” on the entire SLAPP action itself, and potentially even require the initiator of the SLAPP suit to pay damages.In the U.S., 28 states have anti-SLAPP laws, but many are quite restrictive regarding the circumstances under which an anti-SLAPP action might be brought. Twenty-two have none at all. Think this isn’t a real issue? Monika Bauerlein, the CEO of Mother Jones, and Clara Jeffrey, the editor-in-chief, wrote last month about a suit SLAPPed against the magazine lodged by Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot. Mother Jones had alleged that VanderSloot and his company, Melaleuca, had made substantial donations to Mitt Romney’s 2012 election super-PAC and had had trouble with regulators. One of Romney’s national finance chairs, VanderSloot filed a defamation suit against Mother Jones and specifically against the reporter of the story, Stephanie Mencimer, and Bauerlien, the latter because she tweeted about the Mencimer coverage. Mother Jones won in court that its statements were true, but that still left the magazine with $650,000 in costs that it had incurred in fending off the litigation. The reason? Partly, it is because the case was filed in Idaho, which doesn’t have an anti-SLAPP law.The lesson of Canada’s personal freedom ranking in the Legatum Institute’s “Prosperity Index” is that you can’t simply assume that personal freedom is a given. A society has to fight for it, protect it, shore it up against attacks from special interests that would be better off if citizens were quiescent and inconsequential. It looks as though in Canada, personal freedom has for some years running been a core value that inspires much of the work of that nation’s nonprofit sector. In the U.S., we could compete for the “land of the free” title if personal freedom were ratcheted up the priority list of nonprofits engaged in public policy at the state and national government levels. Perhaps it’s time for a federal anti-SLAPP law (perhaps along the lines proposed by Texas Republican Blake Farenthold whose 27 co-sponsors on the SPEAK FREE Act of 2015 include 19 Democrats). Maybe the U.S. might become a little freer as a result.—Rick CohenShare13TweetShare2Email15 Shareslast_img read more

Read Full Article

Opioid Pill Dumping by Distributors Likened to a School of Sharks at

first_imgShare14Tweet3ShareEmail17 SharesBy Adam from UK (Temazepam 10mg tablets-1) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMay 9, 2018; The Washington PostFrom criticism of the Sackler family who owns the Oxycontin manufacturing Purdue Pharma, to government agency lawsuits, and the lackluster federal response, NPQ has covered the gamut of the opioid crisis. Throughout this coverage what remains clear is a gamut of failures that has led to an opioid epidemic that has claimed over 200,000 deaths so far. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies and distributors continue to try to shift blame, while government agencies and nonprofits are left to pick up the pieces.Fingers have been pointed at physicians, manufacturers, and pharmacists, but distributors are also coming under fire. A colossal “pill dumping” case out of West Virginia has shed light onto companies who distribute opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. The distributors appear to exhibit, at best, an amazing lack of oversight that has helped West Virginia’s rate of opioid overdose deaths to soar until it is among the highest in the country. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia suffered 52 deaths per 100,000 for drug overdoses in 2016, more than twice as a high as the national average—itself a record—of 19.8 deaths per 100,000.Recently, executives from the wholesale pharmaceutical distributing companies McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and Miami-Luken were summoned to testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss their roles in the epidemic. These distributors stand accused of skirting Drug Enforcement Agency suspicious activity reporting requirements, resulting in the distribution of millions of pills. These reporting requirements explicitly state: “The registrant shall inform the Field Division Office of the Administration in his area of suspicious orders when discovered by the registrant. Suspicious orders include orders of unusual size, orders deviating substantially from a normal pattern, and orders of unusual frequency.”Aside from their obvious failure to exercise common-sense judgment and their ethical responsibility to exercise care and keep narcotics out of non-prescribers’ hands, pharmaceutical distributors have a clear legal responsibility to alert the DEA of suspicious orders, such as the sale of 39,000 pills in the span of two days to two West Virginia pharmacies within walking distance of each other.At the hearings, one executive, Joseph Mastandrea, chairman of Miami-Luken, responded “yes” when committee chair Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), asked if he believed that his company had contributed to the widespread opioid problem.The other four executives denied that their companies had any role in the opioid epidemic. Gregory Barrett, chairman of Cardinal Health, at least tried to sound contrite: “With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we had moved faster … I am deeply sorry we did not. Today, I am confident we would reach different conclusions about those two pharmacies.”A Pulitzer-winning piece of investigative journalism by Eric Eyre shows that pill dumping in West Virginia goes beyond suspicious activity to downright negligence on the part of distributors. Eyre’s research found that “AmerisourceBergen, the nation’s third largest drug distributor, shipped 60.9 million hydrocodone pills and 26.6 million oxycodone tablets to West Virginia. That’s 33 hydrocodone pills and 15.5 oxycodone pills for every man, woman and child in West Virginia.” The article goes on to detail the sheer number of pills distributed by different companies to mom-and-pop pharmacies in West Virginia, driving home the point that the number of pills distributed to this region was far greater than the amount that could be reasonably consumed if used as prescribed.Delegate Don Perdue of West Virginia said, “The distribution of vast amounts of narcotic medications to some of the smallest towns and unincorporated rural areas of our state should have set off more red flags than a school of sharks at a crowded beach.”Echoing this sentiment, Michigan Representative Tim Walberg said, “The sheer number of opioids dumped into small towns is just baffling and simply incomprehensible.” In other words, the companies distributing hydrocodone and oxycodone to the region almost certainly had to know what they were doing. In fact, distributors Cardinal Health and McKesson continued to dump pills into West Virginia despite getting slapped with fines of $30 million and $13.2 million, respectively, as far back as 2008. It would certainly appear that these distributors recognized suspicious orders and blatantly disregarded federal reporting requirements to chase down huge profits.—Sheela NimishakaviShare14Tweet3ShareEmail17 Shareslast_img read more

Read Full Article

Philadelphia Seeks 500 Million Shift in Eds and Meds Spending to Local

first_imgShare7TweetShareEmail7 Shares November 26, 2018; Philadelphia InquirerPhiladelphia Anchors for Growth & Equity, or PAGE, is a new citywide initiative that seeks to significant boost local purchasing by 13 city universities and hospitals, writes Diane Mastrull in the Philadelphia Inquirer.“This is a unique collaboration between the city, a nonprofit, and all of our major eds and meds institutions.… They’re all lined up to figure out how to use their purchasing power to create more jobs,” says Jeff Hornstein, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, the nonprofit that founded and is leading the PAGE initiative.The Economy League seeks, over the next 8–10 years, to “localize $500 million in contracts at 13 city hospitals and universities for goods and services—such as office supplies, lab equipment, food, video production, and web design,” Mastrull explains. If the League succeeds, that level of redirected purchasing could generate as many as 5,000 living-wage, middle-skill jobs for Philadelphia residents. The scale of the effort is audacious. But there is precedent. As NPQ reported earlier this year, in Great Britain, a buy-local effort in Lancashire (county seat: Preston) shifted nearly £200 million in spending (about $255 million at current exchange rates) and is estimated to have generated 1,600 local jobs in four years.Harold Epps, Philadelphia’s commerce director, notes that, “We have a lot of power in where and how we spend our dollars.” Along with the Commerce Department, the other participating anchors are Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Temple University, Temple University Health System, all of which provided seed funding. Also participating are Salus University, Community College of Philadelphia, Einstein Healthcare Network, La Salle University, St. Joseph’s University, and University of the Sciences.Hornstein, before directing the Economy League, had worked for the city of Philadelphia as director of financial and policy analysis. Hornstein was project director for a 2014 Controller’s Office report that found that a 25 percent increase in local spending by area institutions would mean 4,400 new jobs and create an additional $14 million in annual tax revenue for the city. A little over a year ago, in May 2017, Philadelphia voters approved a ballot question that gives small businesses a better shot at nonprofessional services contracts with the city by allowing that work to be awarded based on “best value” rather than lowest price.PAGE’s public launch follows a report by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. Titled Local Procurement: An Evaluation of Barriers and Solutions from the Business Perspective, that called on “city government and local anchor institutions (especially hospitals and universities) to buy more goods and services locally in order to promote a ‘vibrant, equitable, and resilient economy.’”The PAGE effort also borrows lessons learned from similar (if smaller) efforts in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. Mariya Khandros, who is director of shared services at the Economy League and is leading the PAGE project, observes that, “We are pioneers in certain strategies to do this work, but we are following in the footsteps of several successful initiatives.”Kurt Sommer directs the Baltimore Integration Partnership, one initiative that has inspired PAGE. The initiative Sommer leads has worked the past eight years to support job opportunities for low-income, predominantly Black residents of Baltimore.“The work is hard, without a doubt,” Sommer concedes. “We’re taking large institutions that typically compete with each other…slowly through the years, [we] have built a table of trust…where there are common goals of supporting community needs in Baltimore…by recognizing there’s more to gain by working together in certain areas.”Key tactics have included vendor fairs, workforce development, and small-business capacity-building. “This work is as much of an art as a science,” Summer says. “You’re working to take things institutions do at ease, going against the grain and trying to carve out intentional approaches to support local economic needs.”Supra Office Solutions Inc. in West Philadelphia is one business that could benefit from PAGE. Lin Thomas, president of Supra, notes that small businesses face many obstacles to obtaining contracts.“It’s been difficult to be much in the game when customers are looking to keep things with one vendor or one or two primary vendors for simplicity for billing and receivables and payables,” Thomas explains.  Ken Carter, who is a partner at Supra, also notes that the firm routinely faces the misconception that “smaller enterprises are not savvy enough to work with the larger institutions.”But these obstacles can be overcome. Already Thomas says PAGE has helped a subsidiary business of Supra which produces medical lab supplies to get a foot in the door and ultimately land a “major dollar” contract with Penn. The new contract is expected to increase the company’s annual sales to the university to between $17 million and $25 million, up from $500,000.—Steve DubbShare7TweetShareEmail7 Shareslast_img read more

Read Full Article