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Latvia probes store disaster as hopes dim of finding survivors

first_imgIt was dark but still light enough to see the exit. I ran out. The doors were open, but a lot of rubble fell in front of them — I think that’s why some people couldn’t get through.Riga mayor Nils Usakovs said five people were feared trapped inside but it was unclear how many were still believed to be missing on Saturday.Police investigators could be seen sifting through the rubble alongside rescuers today. The latest body was hauled from the mass of tangled steel and concrete at 6am (4am GMT).Speculation has centred on the extra weight created by a rooftop garden and playground and on the possibility that building regulations may have been bent.Maxima spokeswoman Olga Malaskeviciene told AFP the company had launched safety checks at its 140 other stores in Latvia and plans similar reviews in Lithuania and Estonia.“The cause remains a mystery, but it must be discovered. Obviously if a mistake was made it was a massive one,” said Marite Straume, spokeswoman for the Re&Re firm that did the building work.The strange thing is at the time of the collapse we were replacing the heavy rocks that had been there for two winters with much lighter materials to make the garden. The roof was actually getting lighter. A photograph published by Latvia’s Diena daily showed an aerial view of the roof prior to the collapse, covered in soil, shrubbery, a children’s playground and construction material.Passers by react outside the collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia. Pic: AP Photo/Mindaugas KulbisPart of the roof at the two-year old supermarket crashed down during peak shopping hours around 6pm on Thursday, in the Zolitude district of the Latvian capital.A second collapse crushed to death the rescuers who had already entered the building.Thousands of glowing candles and heaps of flowers decked the perimeter crash barriers surrounding the site, placed by a constant stream of shell-shocked residents.Flags were being flown from houses across the country with a black sash attached as Latvia began a three-day period of national mourning.Just days after November 18 independence celebrations, the tragedy snuffed out an upbeat mood in Latvia, with 2014 set to mark its entry into the eurozone and showcase Riga as the European capital of culture.Child Protection Inspectorate director Laila Rieksta-Riekstina told Latvian Radio Saturday that “16 children lost one parent and one child has unfortunately lost both parents” in the tragedy.A view of collapsed Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia. Pic: AP Photo/Mindaugas KulbisThe state fire and rescue service website paid tribute to the three firefighters who died, describing them as “more like family members than colleagues”.Books of condolence have been opened at Latvian embassies abroad including Britain, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Poland and the USA while world leaders have also expressed sympathy.The central government, Riga city council and the Maxima retailer have promised compensation to victims and charities are also raising cash.- © AFP, 2013Read: Death toll in Latvia supermarket roof collapse doubles> LATVIAN INVESTIGATORS AND rescuers combed the ruins of a Riga supermarket for clues and bodies today after its roof crashed down on shoppers, killing at least 52.Hope was dwindling of finding any survivors two days after the roof of the Maxima supermarket caved in and the small Baltic state began mourning the victims of its worst disaster since independence in 1991.As horrific accounts of the tragedy emerged from some of the 40 people known to have survived, anger and suspicion mounted over the causes of Europe’s third deadliest roof collapse in 30 years.A woman lights a candle near the collapsed shopping centre in Riga, Latvia. Pic: AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis“I was queueing at the cash desk when the roof suddenly caved in. It all happened within a few seconds,” 19-year-old Antons Ryakhin, saying “about 100 people” had been inside with him.last_img read more

Australian police force poaching trained gardaí

first_imgTHE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN Police force is hoping to hire “a significant number” of trained officers from the UK and Ireland in a recruitment drive over the next six months.It is currently seeking applications from serving gardaí with between three and seven years service to fill vacant roles in the region.The application process opened last month and there has been a “number of enquiries from Irish police officers”, a spokesperson for WA Police told TheJournal.ie.“However, [we] are yet to receive any applications from Irish police officers.”Last year, six members of An Garda Síochána emigrated to become officers in Australia and are now being considered for permanent residency visas.A source from within the Gardaí told TheJournal.ie that the link to WA Police’s recruitment website has “gone viral” among rank-and-file members as tensions with senior management grows and concerns over possible pay cuts rise.GRA President John Parker said the situation for gardaí here is getting more frustrating, adding it wasn’t just about pay but also conditions in stations.When asked about the Australian scheme he said he was “cognisant of the fact that some people have reached rock-bottom and want to give something else a chance”.“Any reductions in numbers would be worrying…in the overall scheme of things, our own Minister would want to start recruiting by the end of the year.”Australia is looking for already-trained officer because of a skills shortage across the whole region. Those interested should be under 50 years old and need to meet a number of other requirements, including physical fitness and vision standards.Successful applicants will undergo a 13-week transitional training course at an academy in Joondalup. On graduation, the pay scale begins at $64,077 (€49,597) per year and increases on the third year of service. By the fifth year, salaries have reached over $70,000.It is understood that the force picked Ireland for the drive because gardaí are already well-trained and speak English.The recruitment process comes as rank-and-file gardaí threaten industrial action. They plan to “turn off the goodwill tap” from 22 February if the government refuses to budge on pay cut proposals.Read: Garda Commissioner to meet GRA as plans for industrial action get underwaylast_img read more

Wild Night Out at the San Diego Zoo

first_img Posted: June 10, 2019 June 10, 2019 Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Wild Night Out at the San Diego Zoo Night time Zoo comes back June 16th!! Always so fun to hang with their animal ambassadors @sandiegozoo @KUSINews @KUSI_GMSD pic.twitter.com/8H17IBMQZH— Allie Wagner (@alliewagnertv) June 10, 2019center_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Guests are invited to enjoy a special preview of the Zoo’s Nighttime Zoo celebration, without the kids and the crowds for one night only.During Wild Night Out beginning at 6 p.m. added perks include unique talks with keepers, up-close animal ambassador presentations, a complimentary beverage (choice of beer, wine, soda or water) and more, according to zoo organizers.Upon entering, the San Diego Zoo said guests will be greeted by our loveable Zoo characters before embarking on a fun evening of festivities and live entertainment—including toe-tapping musical stylings from Zoo favorites. KUSI Newsroom KUSI Newsroom, last_img read more

MiamiDade SRT officer involved in crash in SWMD

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – Officers temporarily closed a road in Southwest Miami-Dade after a Miami-Dade officer was involved in a crash.Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue responded to the scene at 200th Street and 123rd Place, Wednesday, after an officer and a civilian were involved in a collision.According to police, the officer was part of the Special Response Team and was not responding to a call at the time.Officers temporarily blocked off 200th Street in both directions to investigate. The road has since reopened.Police said no injuries were reported.Officials have not determined who was at fault.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Alaska News Nightly Tuesday May 31 2016

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 @aprnDownload AudioLegislature votes to dip into budget reserve to pass state budgetAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauThe Legislature is poised to pass a state budget that would prevent layoff notices going out to state workers tomorrow. But the budget could draw three billion dollars from the state’s piggy bank, the constitutional budget reserve. And it’s not clear how Governor Bill Walker will respond to a spending plan that doesn’t address Alaska’s long-term state fiscal imbalance.Father, son die in Glacier Bay capsizingAssociated PressAccording to The National Park Service, a father and son died when a boat capsized at Glacier Bay National Park.Several fires plague Mat-Su over Memorial Day weekendEllen Lockyer, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageThree new fires in the Matanuska Susitna Borough were sparked over the long weekend. On Monday, fire crews were called out to two fires in the Palmer area.  Despite the area being under a burn suspension, both of the fires were human caused on private land, when residents chose to burn debris piles. Forestry crews from Palmer responded to those fires, which were declared contained.Real winners in pot bonanza? Security companiesZachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageOne IT security firm estimates 80 percent of its business is consulting on surveillance and data storage to bring cannabis companies into compliance with state rules.Despite federal changes, ‘Eskimo’ still in use in Western AlaskaEmily Russell, KNOM – NomeThe term “eskimo” is divisive across much of the arctic, but it’s still being used in western Alaska. Some identify with it, while others want to see change.Former Wrangell Institute property could see another boarding schoolAaron Bolton, KSTK – WrangellWrangell could see another boarding school in the next five years. ANSEP, an accelerated high school program based on University of Alaska Anchorage campus, is interested in building a 400-bed facility on the former Wrangell Institute property.Former UAF shooter prepares for his 4th OlympicsDan Bross, KUAC – FairbanksFormer University of Alaska Fairbanks shooter and 2004 Olympic champion Matt Emmons is in top form heading toward his 4th Olympics this summer in Rio.Fairbanks’ largest care facility to be operated by Greater Community Hospital FoundationRobert Hannon, KUAC – FairbanksThe Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation is planning to operate the community’s largest care facility and private employer. The decision follows in the wake of failed negotiations with Providence announced earlier this month. The Foundation is confident it has the management group in place to succeed.Unalaska ambulance inherited by ChignikGreta Mart, KUCB – UnalaskaOne of Unalaska’s former ambulances will soon be taking a ferry ride to the Alaskan Peninsula town of Chignik. Chignik is an incorporated city in the Lake and Peninsula Borough, home to about 60 permanent residents and hundreds of seasonal workers.last_img read more

Interglobe shares plunge on weak Q2 numbers of IndiGo revealed while declaring

first_imgInterglobe Aviation, which owns IndiGo, announced its third quarter results on Thursday and its shares plunged on Friday by about 20%, sending other aviation stocks such as Jet Airways and SpiceJet to nosedive.Though Interglobe Aviation reported a 24% rise in its third quarter net profit at Rs 657 crore, its second quarter profit at a low of Rs 112.6 crore caused the sharp correction on the BSE.At around 2.15 pm, the Interglobe Aviation stock was trading at Rs 991.75, down 17.18% and off from the day’s high of Rs 1,180.The company that owns India’s biggest air carrier by market share, earned Rs 4,273.39 crore in revenues from operations during the third quarter, up 11.3% from Rs 3,838.09 crore from the corresponding quarter last fiscal.Its second-quarter financial results were not available till Thursday since the company got listed only in November last year and initiated its IPO activities a month prior to it.The company raised Rs 3,010 crore through its IPO, issuing equity shares at Rs 765 per share. The shares listed at a premium on the stock exchanges.IndiGo’s market share in domestic air traffic was 35.6% in December 2015, marginally up from 35.5% in the previous month. “IndiGo’s nine-month performance in FY16 was much below estimates due to a sharp fall in profitability in the second quarter, where net profit declined to Rs 110 crore from Rs 640 crore in the first quarter,” said Kotak Securities, reports NDTV.The second quarter is seasonally weak for air carriers forcing them to resort to steep discounts, which in turn hits profit margins.SpiceJet reported net profit of Rs 23.77 crore in the second quarter, down from Rs 71.84 crore in the first quarter.Shares of SpiceJet and Jet Airways were trading with losses in the range of 6 to 7% at around 2.30 pm. The S&P BSE Sensex was up 497 points, or 2.08% at 24,459.87.last_img read more

Meet the first Kashmiri woman to scale Mount Everest

first_img23 year old Nahida Manzoor will become the first Kashmiri woman to scale the Mount EverestFacebookFacebook23 year old Nahida Manzoor would become the first Kashmiri woman to scale the Mount Everest. Nahida who lives in Zevan area of Srinagar outskirts had earlier sought public support through crowdfunding campaign online so that she would be able to achieve this feat. Nahida had urged the people to come out and support her dreams as she belongs to a middle class family which has financial constraints.But Nahida is already on her way to conquer world’s highest peak after scaling almost every mountain in the Kashmir valley. She has held a record for climbing the 3,966 metre high Mahadev peak in the valley and would now 5,975 metre high Swargarohini peak during the expedition. She was also the first Kashmiri female mountaineer to undertake  a two months long expedition course with the NCC.””It was my childhood dream to climb Mount Everest. Mountaineering is a very expensive sport and the expedition to the Everest costs Rs 30 lakh. After failing to get sponsors, I resorted to crowd-funding. I have climbed Mount Deo Tibba, Manali; Friendship Peak, Himachal Pradesh; Srinagar’s highest peak Mount Mahadev; and Mount Tatakooti in Pirpanjal Range besides others. During my first hike as a 10-year-old, I had promised myself that one day I will climb the highest peak of the world,” Nahida  told The Tribune.She said that she started scaling mountains at a very young age which was partly due to the reason she lived near them. She climbed the nearby peaks without any gear and was almost sucessful in all her attempts. Finally, she got enrolled in a professional mountaineering course which has made it possible for her to pursue her dream.She later went on to conquer Mount Deo Tibba-Manali with a height of 6001 meters and Friendship Peak of Himachal Pradesh with a height of 5289 meters. Nahida has received plenty of support from the local tourism officials who said that they are tracking the team which also comprises Reeza Ali, the youngest mountaineer from Kashmir to be scaling the world’s highest mountain.Reeza said that through his achievements he wants to establish a foundation which can raise awareness on climate change and environment. His love for climbing mountains also dates back to his childhood days when he would scale small peaks around his village for fun. Nahida Manzoor and Reeza Ali are the young Kashmiris who are on their way to conquer Mount EverestTwitterlast_img read more

Russia slams Trumps Cold War policy on Cuba

first_imgRussia’s foreign ministry on Sunday said it regretted US President Donald Trump’s policy reversal on Cuba, calling it reminiscent of the Cold War era.”The new line towards Cuba announced by US President Donald Trump takes us back to already half-forgotten rhetoric in the style of the Cold War,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.Trump vowed Friday to overhaul his predecessor Barack Obama’s deal to restore ties with Cuba, promising instead to support the Cuban people against Raul Castro’s government.Moscow said Trump’s policy changes showed that “anti-Cuban discourse is still widely in demand. This cannot but cause regret.”It said that easing of sanctions under Obama was a “well-thought-out political decision in which there were no losers except marginal Castro opponents.”Russia said it was reaffirming its “unshakeable solidarity with Cuba.”Cuban President Raul Castro visited Russia in 2015 while President Vladimir Putin visited the island on a tour of Latin America in 2014, meeting both the president and the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died last year.last_img read more

Chaos erupts at NRS over stone pelting MSVP principal tender resignations

first_imgKolkata: Fresh tension was triggered at NRS Medical College and Hospital on Thursday afternoon, after some people pelted stones on junior doctors from outside the hospital campus.The junior doctors, who have been continuing agitation at NRS Medical College and Hospital, alleged that the local councillor had led the attack. It was alleged that the junior doctors were sitting in agitation inside the main gate of the hospital, when some people threw stones and bottles at them from outside. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe incident caused chaos to erupt inside the hospital again. The junior doctors alleged that police personnel posted at the hospital have failed to catch the miscreants. Subsequently, a heated altercation also broke out between the junior doctors and the policemen. The junior doctors alleged that some outsiders with hockey sticks in hand stormed into the hospital campus and tried to attack them. They claimed that it was a deliberate attempt by some people to disrupt their movement. The junior doctors closed the main gate of the hospital following the incident. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateA huge contingent of police rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. The main gate remained shut and police later allowed staff members of the hospital inside after checking their identity cards. Meanwhile, MSVP of NRS Medical College and Hospital Professor Saurabh Chattopadhyay and principal Saibal Kumar Mukherjee submitted their resignations to the Director of Medical Education, for their failure to handle the prevailing situation.last_img read more

Labour claims MPs punishment for gay slur is confidential

first_imgLabour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary has refused to discuss what action was taken against an MP who used “racist and homophobic” language.Lesley Laird, the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, was quizzed by the BBC about the action taken against Scottish Labour MP Hugh Gaffney.  PINK NEWS- eTN Chatroom for Readers (join us) Scottish National Party officials have since called for him to be sacked.The SNP’s Humza Yousaf said: “This is utterly awful. A simple apology and diversity training does NOT cut it! In fact it is a slap in the face to suggest this absolves him.“Hope [Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard] takes serious action against Hugh Gaffney. At very least he should be suspended from the party & whip withdrawn.”Labour official Anas Sarwar added: “[This] is sadly another example of why we need to recognise that everyday racism is a reality.“I published an 8-point plan yesterday on how Scottish Labour can lead by example… Deeds not words.”Labour was recently forced to suspend another MP who made homophobic comments.Jared O’Mara, the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam, had made the posts on a music forum in the early 2000s.Jared O’MaraA user known as ‘gingerjared’ referred to gay people as “fudge packers” and “poofters”, also alluding to anal sex as “driving up the Marmite motorway”.Labour initially refused to suspend Mr O’Mara over his comments.After his comments were reported, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, who was previously Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said she would be “happy” to sit alongside Mr O’Mara.Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, she claimed that there are “many” people and voters with similar views.She said: “Yes, I am happy to sit alongside him, because those comments he made 15 years ago.“I’ve met many people in my life that had had homophobic, misogynistic and even racist views, quite frankly, I’ve knocked on doors where that’s been the case.“Jared has said he held those views 15 years ago, but he changed his views because he recognised those views were absolutely abohorrent and wrong. He changed those views, and he is not the Jared who made those comments 15 years ago.“I think it’s important for listeners as well, because people do change those views at times.“It’s important that they recognise that, they apologise, and they correct that behaviour.”O’Mara was eventually suspended when a string of other comments and allegations about his behaviour came to light. He remains an MP, sitting as an independent.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Hugh Gaffney, the Member of Parliament for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, was rebuked by officials over remarks he allegedly made to a Labour Students Burns Night gathering.According to sources, the 54-year-old is reported to have made a joke about Robert Burns not being “bent”.He said of Burns: “He started off being a farmer/But he really was such a charmer/Going for ales he frequent/Telling the lads and lassies he was not bent.”The MP also used a slur to refer to Chinese food, joking that he could “be at home having a Ch**ky”.The party said the MP would face disciplinary action over the comments – but Ms Laird refused to discuss what form they would take.Pressed on the issue, she claimed it was “confidential”.She said: “The facts of the case are known, the matter has been dealt with, and the matter is now closed. I won’t be adding anything further.“We’ve already acknowledged that Hugh will be attending diversity training… I’m not going to get into discussing individual situations.”Pressed further during the interview with BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, she said: “As I confirmed last week, the matter is closed, and I think most people would recognise that from a disciplinary point of view, these matters are considered confidential.“The matter of the event is known. It has been dealt with, and is now closed.”Asked what action Jeremy Corbyn had taken, she said: “I’m not going to disclosed any further. I’m here to discuss a matter that is live in my constituency.”She added: “From my perspective, the facts are known, it has been dealt with and the matter is closed.”Gaffney has since apologised for the comments.He has since apologised for the comments.In a statement, Mr Gaffney said: “Last week I attended a Labour Students Burns Supper In Edinburgh.“At that event I used certain language relating to the Chinese and LGBT communities that was wrong and completely inappropriate.“I want to offer my unreserved apologies for what I said; my remarks were deeply offensive and unacceptable.“I will be taking part in equality and diversity training at the earliest opportunity.“I will do everything possible to make amends with both the Chinese community and the LGBT community.”A Labour party spokesperson said: “Hugh Gaffney MP has been reprimanded for using inappropriate and offensive language.“He has apologised unreservedly and referred himself for equality and diversity training. The Labour Party is clear that this language is unacceptable.”last_img read more

Qantas rejigs frequent flyer program

first_imgFrequent flyers have reacted strongly on social media, with one tweeter saying that the program had become only focussed on high-earning high-flyers. “‘A lot of consumers who are looking for discounted air-fares and seeking to get a benefit from signing up to a rewards program will have to think twice before looking at Qantas,’’ Mr Godrey said. Under the new scheme, new routes will also attract bonus points. Consumer lobby group, Choice spokesperson, Tom Godfrey, said the news is not good for consumers. The changes will take effect from 1 July and mean that customers will earn points and status credits when they book more “flexible rates”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Qantas has defended the overhaul, saying that the changes would make earning points “simpler” and “fairer” for all flyers. Customers who regularly used the old scheme were assured by Qantas that their points are still redeemable. Qantas has revamped its frequent flyer program so that regular travellers will now earn points based on how much they spend, rather than how far they fly. Source = ETB News: Tom Nealelast_img read more

State getting tough on alcohol sale to under18s

first_imgOne of the anti-drugs council’s (ASK) top priorities is tackling underage drinkers’ easy access to alcohol by increased checks and stricter application of the law, a senior official from the council said on Wednesday.According to ASK executive secretary, Ioanna Yiasemi, the organisation, which takes part in the Safer Tourism Platform, last year promoted measures to monitor the sale of alcohol particularly during the summer season.These include training staff of establishments selling alcohol “on the responsible sale and service of alcohol and dealing with emergencies”.  A pilot scheme ran in all five districts.Measures also include increased checks on businesses selling alcohol to ensure they apply the legislation, and stationing an ambulance in areas where there are many pubs and clubs to provide first aid if necessary.ASK also promoted legal amendments that have facilitated police checks on places selling alcohol and by introduced harsher penalties on businesses caught serving alcohol to under 18s. The new regulations provide for up to a €3,000 fine.“The new measures that were incorporated into the legislation aim at enhancing compliance of vendors with existing legislation and hence reducing the accessibility and availability of alcohol among children and young people,” Yiasemi saidThe Safer Tourism Platform – which consists of 42 social partners – is a collaboration between the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the UK high commission. Its goal is to make Cyprus an even safer holiday destination with fewer incidences of violence.One of the measures adopted was the amendment of legislation, restricting the legal alcohol intake to 9 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath for drivers who have under three years’ driving experience.The CTO said earlier in the year that recent online surveys rank Cyprus among the top safest small countries, while the UK high commissioner congratulated the stakeholders and said that the initiative is now considered an international best practice. You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoYahoo SearchResearch Compact SUVs. New SUVs May Make You Want To Trade Yours In Today – See For Yourself!Yahoo SearchUndoE Commerce Platform I Search AdsSelling Online Has Never Been Easier. Search The Best E Commerce PlatformE Commerce Platform I Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Michigan House approves Rep Alberts bill to further improve school employee retirement

first_img The Michigan House today unanimously approved Rep. Thomas Albert’s legislation to build upon recent reforms improving the financial prospects of the school employee retirement system.Albert’s legislation provides a more stable and predictable method of paying into the system to erase debt and preserve retirement benefits for teachers. He said it’s an important step to follow changes signed into law last year.“We have made significant and positive changes to improve the retirement system, and brighten the financial future of our schools and our state,” said Albert, of Lowell. “The legislation we’re talking about today is the next logical step in that evolution. It’s also a necessary step to build the better Michigan we want for our children and grandchildren.”Albert said his proposed changes will greatly enhance the chances of truly eliminating the retirement system’s $30 billion debt by 2038, which is the current goal.“The legislation would eliminate a flawed and unpredictable methodology now used to project the state’s debt payment schedules,” Albert said.Payment projections are now based on an assumption that school payroll will grow by 3.5 percent annually – but payroll has been declining for more than a decade, which means payments to offset unfunded liabilities have fallen short and debt has continued to rise.Albert’s plan calls for gradually reducing the payroll growth assumption over time until it reaches zero. Debt then would be paid off along the lines of a fixed-rate home mortgage, with “level dollar” payments that remain the same year to year.“If we don’t make this change, we could wind up in serious trouble,” Albert said. “We could be facing a mountain of debt we cannot climb, with payments too large to make. The good news is this legislation offers a solution.”Albert’s legislation affecting the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System is House Bill 5355. The bill advances to the Senate for further consideration.### 27Feb Michigan House approves Rep. Albert’s bill to further improve school employee retirement fund Categories: Albert News,Newslast_img read more

House approves LaSata plan to help victims of sexual assault

first_img Categories: LaSata News,News Bills will help Michigan residents report illegal behaviorState Rep. Kim LaSata today announced the state House has approved her plan to expand the 24-hour OK2SAY hotline to include reporting on sexual abuse, assault and rape.“Survivors of sexual misconduct need options for reporting this despicable behavior,” said LaSata, who co-chaired a House inquiry into the recent Larry Nassar scandal. “The over 300 girls and young women Nassar brutalized needed more advocates and opportunities to report his actions. OK2SAY is yet another option.”The program was originally introduced as a method of confidentially reporting criminal activity in schools, but has expanded its reach to include threats of suicide and drug-related offenses. Prior to the Jan. 1, 2018, the tip line has received 10,734 reports, including 2,471 involving incidents of bullying on school property.LaSata’s legislation is part of a 28-bill bipartisan package approved by the House to increase protections to Michigan’s residents in the wake of the Nassar sex abuse scandal.“We need to open the lines of communication between our children and the proper authorities on sexual-based offenses, but that’s just part of making Michigan safer,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “There were medical professionals, subject experts, Nassar survivors, university administrators and retired judges who all came forward over 19 hours in committee testimony. What the House approved today is a thorough solution to protect our children, while strengthening punishments against anyone who engages in sexual misconduct.”House Bill 5539 advances to the Senate for its consideration. 24May House approves LaSata plan to help victims of sexual assaultlast_img read more

Rep Farrington Pilot program will help veterans looking for jobs address medical

first_img04Oct Rep. Farrington: Pilot program will help veterans looking for jobs, address medical staff shortage Categories: Diana Farrington News The House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee today approved state Rep. Diana Farrington’s plan creating a pilot program allowing military medical personnel to practice under the supervision of a licensed physician.Under Farrington’s plan, military members who were honorably discharged and are transitioning into civilian life will be able to utilize the skills they learned during their service to obtain gainful employment.“This pilot program is designed to expedite job placement for our military heroes upon returning home,” said Farrington, of Utica. “Veterans will have the opportunity to be employed within the health care field while they work to achieve their education and required medical credentials.”In an effort to help veterans obtain valuable employment opportunities and address the health care employee shortage, the state of Virginia created the Military Medics and Corpsmen (MAAC) program in 2016. In response to the pilot program’s success, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation making the MAAC program permanent in June 2018.“Other states have been taking this initiative and have reaped the benefits,” Farrington said. “We too have veterans looking for employment opportunities and a medical staff shortage in Michigan that need to be addressed, and I wholeheartedly believe this program helps solve that.”Under the plan, licensed physicians will maintain primary responsibility for the care of the patient and specific tasks entrusted with military medical professionals must be consistent with their level of training and experience.House Bill 6056 now moves to the full House for consideration.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Diana Farrington, of Utica, testified Tuesday before the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in support of her plan allowing military medical personnel to practice under the supervision of a licensed physician.last_img read more

US Education Faces Growing Backlog of School Building Repairs

first_imgShare3Tweet2ShareEmail5 SharesBroken School Road Signage / Christopher SessumsMarch 23, 2016; Washington Post and Education WeekIf we don’t fix crumbling walls and leaking roofs, or make sure the water is safe to drink, will it really matter if we have the best teachers with the best curricula for our children? Recent stories about the conditions of schools in Detroit and other major cities illustrate questions that should be front and center for those leading our public schools. A new study, State of Our Schools: America’s K–12 Facilities, tells us that we are not going to like how they have been ensuring we will like the answers to those questions.Rachel Gutter, coauthor of the report, told the Washington Post that the study shows consistent and persistent underinvestment in our nation’s schools. “Communities want to resolve these issues, but in many cases the funds simply aren’t there.” The study, a joint effort of the 21st Century School Fund, the National Council on School Facilities, and the U.S. Green Building Council, sought to take the first comprehensive look at school buildings since a study completed by the GAO in 1995. Its findings were based a comparison of the annual rate of spending over the three last years and the levels projected needed to properly maintain existing facilities, complete necessary upgrades, and develop new facilities. It was not comforting to find that they estimate we are underfunding the capital needs of our schools by $46 billion per year!The Nation Underinvests in Public School Facilities         K–12 FACILITIESHistoric SpendingModern StandardsProjected Annual GapMaintenance & Ops$50bn  $58bn$8bnCapital Construction $49bn$77bn$28bnNew Facilities$10bn$10bnTOTAL$99bn$145bn$46bnBeyond putting a dollar figure on the funds that will need to be found, the study tells us that the impact is not shared equitably across the nation. Districts serving low-income populations have the greatest gap between what is needed and what they are actually spending on the facilities: “A study of more than 146,559 school facilities improvement projects from 1995 to 2004 found that the projects in schools located in high-wealth zip code areas had more than three times more capital investment than the schools in the lowest-wealth zip code areas.” This disparity between rich and poor is made greater when the cost of the borrowing is added to the cost equation. Districts in high wealth communities can borrow at lower rates, while those in low wealth districts pay higher rates if they can borrow funds at all.The impact of this funding shortfall hits directly on the effectiveness of the overall educational program of our schools:Research shows that high-quality facilities help improve student achievement, reduce truancy and suspensions, improve staff satisfaction and retention, and raise property values. They also are integral to ensuring equity in educational offerings and opportunities for students. Even so, no comprehensive information about school building conditions or funding is available at the national level, nor in the majority of states, despite the importance of this infrastructure and the enormous investments made by U.S. taxpayers.Responsibility for this situation heavily rests on political decisions that placed responsibility for paying for facility costs primarily on local school districts rather than on the state or the federal governments.Because the large majority of capital construction is funded by local taxpayers, the ability of school districts to pay for major renewals or new construction is tied to the wealth of their community, perpetuating inequity in school facility conditions. Additionally, while funding to support facilities M&O combines local, state, and federal sources, M&O competes with other essential aspects of school district operations, such as salaries and instructional equipment, which also need to be paid for through the same general operating budget. Therefore, school districts, especially those low- wealth districts that have not been able to spend needed capital construction funds to make major repairs to their buildings, are put in a position where they must stretch their general operating funds to try to make up the difference.Mary Filardo, the executive director of the 21st Century School Fund put the described the challenge posed by the study’s findings in an interview with Education Week. We have to be able to plan; we have to set priorities to make sure we are doing what’s most important first. And what we know is that you don’t get equity without planning. The people who have access and power will get things for their communities that they need, and those without access to power will not. We do need new public dollars; there aren’t enough public dollars out there. The pie itself needs to be bigger.The report adds another layer to the challenge of making public education systems equitable and responsive—and not to only those with the most resources. A growing body of knowledge is telling us that to improve our educational systems, we need to do more than break teachers’ unions, narrow the curriculum, and test our students. Will those who have not been listening be willing to listen now?—Martin LevineShare3Tweet2ShareEmail5 Shareslast_img read more

Placemaking in the Aftermath of a Police Shooting The Naming Argument in

first_imgShare31TweetShareEmail31 Shares“Angel Oscar Grant,” Thomas HawkDecember 11, 2018; The RootShould public places be transformed into memorials to help reclaim community in the wake of tragedies? That’s the issue at the heart of a petition by the family of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old black man fatally shot nearly 10 years ago by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer. The young man was shot at BART’s Fruitvale station in Oakland, California, and with the anniversary of his death approaching, Grant’s family is asking BART and the city to memorialize the crime by naming the building as well as a side street after him.BART already has commissioned a $30,000 mural for the west exterior wall by the bus stop, below the platform where Grant was shot in the back by former officer Johannes Mehserle while pinned down by a second officer. The entire incident was caught on video by passersby with mobile phones.However, Grant’s family and some BART directors say a mural is not enough.“[Renaming the building] would be an atonement, it would be part of BART saying yes this happened here, we vow that it won’t happen again and we vow to work with the communities and ensure that all people are treated equally,” Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, says.BARD board member Robert Raburn, whose district includes Oakland, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I don’t know that a mural really solves it all. Fruitvale Station will always be known for this tragic incident.”This is in part because little has changed in the institutions blamed for Grant’s death. A report found that more than half of BART use-of-force incidents in 2017 involved black men. Yet black people made up just 12 percent of BART ridership in 2015.However, the renaming of the station is unlikely, since most BART officials say they can’t (or, rather, won’t) change their policy of naming stations after their location. And that decision is backed by some in the community for less-than-admirable reasons. When BART Director Debora Allen tried to spark a dialogue on the issue on Facebook, it incited a stream of racially charged comments.The US Institute for Peace (USIP) explains the range of reactions to such proposals by noting that “memorialization is a process that satisfies the desire to honor those who suffered or died during conflict as well as serves as a means to examine the past and address contemporary issues. It can either promote social recovery after violent conflict ends or crystallize a sense of victimization, injustice, discrimination and the desire for revenge.”Places serve as natural vehicles for memorialization; psychologists hypothesize that we lock in memories of significant events by linking them to a where, and that integrating many stimuli together helps us remember. They call this process ”episodic memory formation,” or the association of ideas and objects to a single place and time. Thus, for example, it’s no coincidence that, when recalling a tragedy, we often instinctively ask where someone was. (“Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?”)The USIP observes that “memorialization is often not recognized as an important tool of transitional justice initiatives. National and international actors involved in transitional justice—especially in tribunals and truth commissions—have largely missed the opportunity to incorporate memorialization. This repeated failure to deal with memorials (whether ad hoc or sanctioned) and their potentially negative impact can imperil transitional justice efforts and peacebuilding.”Liz Sevcenko, director of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience, explains this sometimes-deliberate oversight by observing that “in every society emerging from a traumatic past there are efforts to suppress memory in an effort to ‘move on’ or ‘put the past behind us.’ Yet remembering is a basic human instinct, and memory cannot be imprisoned—it will usually come out in one form or another. The challenge is to find ways to harness memory to learn lessons from the past in an effort to avoid repeating it.”However, there can be a negative side to memorialization as well. Hassan Mneimneh of the Iraq Memory Foundation notes that it can be used to fan the flames of ethnic hatred, consolidate a group’s identity as victims, and demarcate the differences among identity groups. That’s what happened in Durban, South Africa.Durban’s postcolonial leaders naturally desired to give some of the area’s avenues and landmarks names honoring the architects of democratic South Africa. But the very understandable intentions became an intense political debate.“It was very badly handled,” Mary de Haas, an anthropologist who has tracked political and racial violence in KwaZulu-Natal for decades, said in an interview. “The whole thing has been provocative. People want reconciliation. They don’t want to reopen old wounds.”In fact, on one day, at least 6,000 marchers paraded through the city’s downtown, protesting proposals to give new names on as many as 180 major streets and buildings. The demonstrators packed in front of city hall to complain—not necessarily about the idea of renaming landmarks, but about the new names themselves. Specifically, they complained that some names seemed chosen not to honor modern South African heroes, but to heap glory on the African National Congress, one of the main political parties.That’s why the USIP notes that the process of determining what form a memorial should take and how the space should be used is essential—more important, ultimately, than the physical edifice itself. In addition, to be truly a memorial, efforts should be taken to encourage visitors to explore contested memories of the past and engage in critical thinking. While the Grant family is pushing for the mounting of a plaque on the station building along with the renaming, an accompanying exhibit or display would do more to achieve a long-lasting impact.“The memorials that have the most positive effect are those that promote ‘dynamic performances of civic engagement or democracy,’” notes USIP. “Memorials that merely list the names of victims without providing education about the past or a place for interaction run the risk of being either ignored or amended by others who perceive the memorials as frozen in the past.”—Pam BaileyShare31TweetShareEmail31 Shareslast_img read more

The EBU has signed a deal with European football b

first_imgThe EBU has signed a deal with European football body UEFA to deliver programming on its Eurovision network.Under the contract, all audiovisual UEFA programmes will be distributed around the world exclusively on the Eurovision satellite and fibre network. This includes all Champions League and Europa League matches for the 2012 to 2015 seasons, and the national team matches of the European Qualifiers for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.Separately, UEFA has awarded Bulgarian media rights to the 2012-15 Champions League to BTV and 2012-15 Europa League media rights to BNT and BTV.Each Champions League match night, one live match will be broadcast on free channel BTV Action, followed by a highlights programme. A second live match will be broadcast on pay channel Ring.BG each match night.Public broadcaster BNT will broadcast the best Europa League match each match week, as well as the weekly highlights programme on BNT1. BTV has been awarded the rights to all remaining live matches and will broadcast one live match on BTV Action and one live match on Ring.BG each match week.last_img read more

UK pay TV operator BSkyB will offer live Premier L

first_imgUK pay TV operator BSkyB will offer live Premier League football matches on its internet TV service Now TV by the end of November, DTVE understands.The operator had planned to offer sports coverage on Now TV from November 14 but that date is likely to be pushed back by a few days.DTVE understands that Now TV will offer access to sports coverage, including football and Formula 1, for less than £10 (€12.50) per day.When contacted, a Sky spokesperson said that sports content would be added to Now TV by the end of the year with a different pricing model to that found on Sky’s DTH service.Sky’s new internet TV platform Now TV launched in July as a premium movie service. Available to non-Sky subscribers, the platform targets the 13 million UK households that don’t currently pay for TV services. Now TV currently gives access to the entire Sky Movie collection for £15 per month, with customers also able to access over 1,000 catalogue titles on a pay-as-you-go basis, with movies starting at £0.99 and rising to £3.49 for the latest releases. When the service launched, Sky said it would add content from its Sky Sports channels by the end of the year, with programming from Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Arts following next year.last_img read more

Russian service provider VimpelCom is considering

first_imgRussian service provider VimpelCom is considering splitting its fixed and mobile businesses, according to local reports.Sources close to the company told Vedomosti that VimpelCom was looking at a split because the yields from the fixed and mobile arms were different, with the former characterised by low margins and intense competition. The only significant value-added service for the fixed business is IPTV, while mobile customers pay for a range of services.The source said that the next step following a split could be a move to sell the fixed line business. However, the source said that no decision had been taken on this.last_img read more