Improvements Coming to Highway 106

first_imgDrivers in Pictou County will soon see more road improvements. The province has awarded a contract for almost $1.1 million torepave a section of Highway 106, from Pictou Rotary to the ferryterminal, about 6.7 kilometres. “This project is another in a series of improvements for PictouCounty,” said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and PublicWorks. “The province is pleased to continue its commitment to thepeople of Nova Scotia for safer and better roads.” The contract was awarded to Dexter Construction. Work is expectedto be completed by the end of October. The Department of Transportation and Public Works highwaysdivision manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia. It maintains an inventory of 3,800 bridges and operatesseven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from districtoffices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney. -30-last_img read more

Pimicikamak Cree begin mediation to end hydro dam occupation

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe occupation of a hydro dam in northern Manitoba continues.The Pimicikamak Cree met with a provincial mediator in Cross Lake Thursday.It’s seen a major set toward solving the long-standing dispute.But not everyone attended the meeting.APTN’s Tim Fontaine has the story.last_img

Yukon government vows to improve jail conditions for inmates struggling with mental

first_imgShirley McLeanAPTN NewsAlmost four years after a group of inmates launched human rights complaints against a correctional centre in Whitehorse, the Yukon government is now pledging to improve conditions for inmates with mental health issues.That’s according to a new settlement agreement the Yukon government has signed with the territory’s human rights commission.Shirley McLean reports.last_img

Bankrupt energy companies cant abandon old wells Supreme Court rules

first_imgTHE CANADIAN PRESSThe Supreme Court of Canada says the trustee for a bankrupt Alberta energy company cannot simply walk away from unprofitable wells on agricultural land without having to clean up.The high court’s 5-2 ruling overturns an Alberta Court of Appeal ruling that upheld a 2016 decision in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench that effectively allowed a bankrupt energy company to sever its connection with unprofitable and unreclaimed wells when the company’s assets were sold off to creditors.The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the bankruptcy trustee, Grant Thornton Ltd., cannot walk away from its end-of-life obligations to render abandoned wells environmentally safe.The ruling turned on the conflict between federal bankruptcy law and provincial jurisdiction over the environment and energy sector.Chief Justice Richard Wagner, who wrote of behalf of the majority, said that a key section of the federal bankruptcy law “does not empower a trustee to walk away from the environmental liabilities of the estate it is administering.”Wagner said Parliament might want to re-examine the provision “given the confusion caused” in this case.Alberta’s provincial energy regulator ordered the trustee for Redwater Energy Corporation to comply with end-of-life requirements to render the abandoned properties environmentally safe.The company’s trustee did not comply, and filed its own counterclaim that included a challenge to the regulator’s action, citing the paramountcy of federal bankruptcy law.Since the case went to court, an estimated 1,800 wells representing more than $100 million in liabilities have been abandoned.Alberta’s energy regulator and the Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded group that cleans up wells that have been left unreclaimed, appealed the ruling to the high court.A group with the support of thousands of farmers also wanted to see the high court reverse the decision.The Action Surface Rights Association intervened in the case because it believes rights of landowners have been overlooked in the case.last_img read more

Security Council briefed on work of UN mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Briefing Council members on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s most recent report on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said such an operation should be solid enough to maintain the accomplishments of the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) and bring to fruition ongoing projects. According to the report, UNMIBH is expected to complete its core mandate by December 2002, as envisaged in its implementation plan. Mr. Annabi noted that not all projects contained in the plan would be fully completed by the end of 2002, since they were designed to establish ongoing mechanisms and structures, such as those for minority recruitment or for inter-entity and regional police cooperation. Those structures would require post-UNMIBH nurturing, he said, which called for continued monitoring and assistance in order to preserve what had been achieved by the UN over the last six years. Further, some of UNMIBH’s projects, such as the State Border Service, depended on securing additional financial assistance. Noting that it would be desirable for a follow-up mission to combine responsibilities for the police, judiciary and penal system, Mr. Annabi cited assessments that such a task could be carried out by a smaller police force of approximately one-quarter of UNMIBH’s present staff — perhaps 450 police officers.In the ensuing debate, which involved delegates from all 15 members of the Security Council, the representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mirza Kuljugic, said that the accomplishments reflected in the report were part of the overall improvement in his country. After the general elections, he said, a multi-ethnic government had been established that was committed to working with the international community to building a multi-ethnic State. Emphasizing that progress achieved so far was only part of the process of bringing the country closer to Europe, he said the report was a good opportunity to emphasize the most important issues and the long-term economic transition.UNMIBH, which comprises the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) and a UN civilian office established by the Council in December 1995, exercises a wide range of functions related to the law enforcement functions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It also coordinates other UN activities in the country relating to humanitarian relief and refugees, demining, human rights, elections and rehabilitation of infrastructure and economic reconstruction. read more

Afghanistan Security Council consults on new UN mission aims to act soon

After meeting in closed-door consultations on the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the establishment of a new United Nations assistance mission in the country, members of the Security Council today expressed hope to act soon on a draft resolution submitted by France. Following the informal session late Wednesday afternoon, the Council President, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, told the press that the 15-member body had held “a useful discussion” on the draft, which, he said, “we hope can be adopted shortly.” Acknowledging the importance of maintaining security in Kabul, Council members also expressed their intention to extend the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond the current 20 June expiration date, Ambassador Kolby said.

Dallas police and fire pension in crisis retirees concerned

Dallas police and fire pension in crisis, retirees concerned by Claudia Lauer, The Associated Press Posted Sep 26, 2016 6:31 pm MDT Last Updated Sep 26, 2016 at 7:29 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email FILE – In this June 15, 2015 file photo, Dallas Police Chief David Brown briefs the media about a shooting at Dallas Police headquarters in Dallas. Still recovering from the July sniper attack that left five law enforcement officers dead, the Dallas Police Department is facing a new crisis as its pension fund approaches insolvency and scores of officers, including Brown announced their retirement. Brown will retire Oct. 22 after 33 years with Dallas police. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) DALLAS – Still recovering from the July sniper attack that left five law enforcement officers dead, the Dallas Police Department is facing a new crisis as its pension fund approaches insolvency and scores of officers, including Chief David Brown, announce unexpected retirements.The crisis comes as the Dallas Police Department negotiates with City Hall to raise pay and build its ranks, which union leaders say have been depleted by low pay and poor working conditions. There are currently 3,355 officers in a department that once had 3,600.Problems with the Dallas Police and Fire Pension system have been simmering for years and were coming to a head when the July 7 sniper attack temporarily united the city. But, in recent weeks, the pension crisis has boiled up again because of fears about the system’s viability and pleas for calm from fund administrators.Brown, who received national acclaim for his handling of the sniper attack, surprised the city on Sept. 1 by announcing his retirement, effective Oct. 22. He then moved up his retirement date to Oct. 4, saying he wanted to take advantage of “time-sensitive opportunities.” He did not elaborate.The head of the department’s largest police union did elaborate on his pension concerns when he announced his retirement, also effective Oct. 4.“I wanted to make sure that I was able to move it and get it invested somewhere safe,” the outgoing president of the Dallas Police Association, Ron Pinkston, told local TV. “I don’t know anything anybody else doesn’t know that has been doing their homework. And hopefully everybody that’s in my position, that’s thinking about it, is doing their homework, is checking their numbers.”In a statement, Pinkston also accused city leaders of “running off talented officers” with bad pay and benefits and warned that “Dallas is on a dangerous path toward a future marred with fear and violence.”The police and fire pension fund spent almost a decade basing its financial health on artificially inflated asset values from risky real estate investments, according to its executive director. After devaluing those assets to reflect actual worth, the plan is about 45 per cent funded and projected to run out of money in less than 15 years, Texas Pension Review Board numbers show.More than half of the system’s $2.5 billion in assets are in deferred retirement funds, according to Kelly Gottschalk, who took over in 2015 after the fund’s previous executive director resigned over the investment scandal.Pension leaders expected some retirees to withdraw their deferred retirement funds early when proposed plan fixes were announced, Gottschalk said, but the numbers have been greater than expected.“People are reading a lot into the chief moving his date up. Mr. Pinkston deciding to retire … then saying he did it to move his money certainly isn’t going to help the situation,” Gottschalk said.But in a statement issued after a special meeting Monday, the police and fire pension board appealed to plan participants to “not take actions that in total will ultimately cause further damage to the fund and your long-term benefits.”“As more people withdraw funds from the (pension) system, our long-term solvency will become much more challenging,” the statement said.Since Aug. 11, “when proposed plan amendments were first discussed,” about $220 million in deferred retirement option plan payments have been made with an additional $82 million requested since last Wednesday. In a typical month, plan officials might expect to process 14 retirements. In the month leading to the Oct. 13 board meeting, more than 80 retirements are expected, according to the board statement.Deferred retirement plans, in general, allow employees who are eligible for retirement to continue working while diverting a portion of their income to a tax-protected fund. They were created to offer incentives to departments’ senior officials to continue working a few extra years to allow for a more stable workforce and time to train replacements.But the Dallas department designed its deferred plan differently, allowing members to work as long as they wanted and guaranteeing 8 to 10 per cent interest. With hundreds of officers participating, that makes the program one of the largest threats to keeping the pension system financially stable, Gottschalk said.Jean-Pierre Aubry, who studies public pension plans as associate director of State and Local Research at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, said the low level of funding of the Dallas police and fire pension plan was worrisome.“The funded ratio for the local plans we have information for was 66 per cent on average,” Aubry said. “Forty-five per cent is very low in absolute terms.”Plan administrators are hoping ongoing negotiations with the city will result in financial solutions.“These are complicated problems that did not happen overnight, and solutions will not happen overnight,” city spokeswoman Sana Syed said.In a Sept. 16 letter to members, board Chairman Sam Friar urged calm and asked members “not to act rashly.”Still, about a dozen former and current officers stood in the pension system’s lobby one day last week, waiting to submit their retirement papers or transfer their deferred retirement funds to outside accounts. Several said they were concerned about access to those funds being frozen; others mentioned the cue from top officials.Gottschalk said people were misreading Brown’s intentions. She said the chief told her that he only wanted to move up his retirement date to hit the Oct. 4 deadline to start receiving pension checks in November.“I really do believe people who are rushing to retire or are rushing to move their money are going to regret that in the future,” she said. read more

Ohio State baseball shows competitive toughness in win against Illinois

The Ohio State baseball team won its rubber match with Illinois, 7-3, after splitting the first two games of the weekend series. OSU wore camouflage uniforms for Sunday’s game to pay tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. They were originally going to wear them for Tuesday night’s game against Akron, but the game was rained out. A bombing took place at the Boston Marathon April 15, which led to three deaths and more than 180 injuries. One suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed and the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured over the weekend. The Fighting Illini struck first in the top half of the first inning with two RBI singles by redshirt junior left fielder Jordan Parr and senior third baseman Brandon Hohl, giving them an early 2-0 lead. OSU responded with a big inning in the bottom of the second, when it added six runs of its own including a three-run home run by redshirt senior second baseman Ryan Cypret. The three-run shot was Cypret’s third home run of the season. “We stayed confident,” Cypret said. “High fastball first pitch, then just a low curveball that somehow the stars aligned and I hit it out.” In the following inning, Illinois was able to get one run back on an RBI single by senior center fielder Justin Parr, trimming the Buckeyes’ lead to 6-3. The Buckeyes knocked freshman pitcher Ryan Castellanos out of the game in the bottom of the fifth when freshman third baseman Jacob Bosiokovic hit a one-out RBI double, making the score 7-3. Senior right-hander Brett McKinney replaced senior pitcher Brian King in the top of the seventh with two outs. King allowed three runs and eight hits in 6.2 innings. In the top of the ninth, the Buckeyes brought sophomore closer Trace Dempsey into the game in a non-save situation to get some work. Dempsey retired the Illini in order and ended the game with a strikeout to give OSU its 25th win, 7-3. The Buckeyes improve to 25-13 overall and 9-6 in Big Ten play. Illinois falls to 24-12 on the year and 6-6 in conference competition. King was the winning pitcher and improved his record to 6-4 with a 2.50 ERA. Castellanos took the loss and falls to 2-1 with a 5.20 ERA. Although King struggled in the first inning, when the Buckeyes were able to give him a comfortable lead, he knew he was going to be able to settle in. “I could put my fastball where I wanted it,” King said. “They picked me up so I knew I needed to pick them up for the rest of the game.” OSU coach Greg Beals was pleased with the way the Buckeyes have played the last two games, and even happier that they have won two Big Ten series in a row. “We’ve done it two weekends in a row,” Beals said. “This should be a learning experience for them and learning how to win and what it takes to win games. It really speaks a lot in terms of their competitive toughness.” The Buckeyes don’t play again until Friday, when they are set to open a weekend series with Penn State at Bill Davis Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. read more

Teck goes for RCT teleremote solution at Coal Mountain in British Columbia

first_imgRCT’s ControlMaster® Teleremote solution has been selected by Canada’s largest diversified mining company, Teck Resources, for use at one of its steelmaking coal operations in British Columbia’s Elk Valley region.The ControlMaster Teleremote solutions were installed on a Cat D11T dozer and a Cat 390D hydraulic excavator, operating at the open-pit steelmaking coal truck and shovel operation at Teck’s Coal Mountain Operations.The technology supports safe production at the operation, as equipment can be operated remotely in areas that are deemed unsafe for human operators, RCT says. The solutions also help increase productivity and profitability on site.RCT, which recently announced a broadening of its automation offering, integrated a communication network into the Teck’s existing wireless network to facilitate the remote functions of the machines. In addition, the RCT Custom department played a part in the project as it was the first excavator of this model the company has completed an install on.RCT’s VP of Business Development for Canada, Vern Deveau, said the solution provided to Teck met the client’s requirements and operators were impressed with the custom teleremote solutions.In addition, RCT’s solutions “effortlessly connected” to Coal Mountain’s network infrastructure, making the remote features seamless, he said.The project and training were delivered ahead of schedule with positive feedback received from Teck staff on site, RCT added. Customer support will be provided locally by RCT’s Ontario branch, which will carry out servicing and any support required by Teck going forward.RCT says Teck is also assessing the viability of implementing the same technology at other operations.Teck’s Coal Mountain Operations produces metallurgical coal, which it exports by sea to the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere. The current annual production capacities of the mine and preparation plant are approximately 2.7-3.5 Mt of clean coal, respectively, Teck says.last_img read more

Katie Sfetikidis enters the race for the seat of City of Melbourne

first_imgThe by-election for Lord Mayor of Melbourne just took an artistic – and Greek – turn. Visual artist and lighting designer Katie Sfetkidis announced her candidacy on Monday, promising to use her campaign to promote the arts and intersectional feminism.“I guess I have always been really passionate about politics and I felt frustrated that our voice, the artistic community’s voice, wasn’t being heard, so I decided to run,” she said in an interview posted in ArtsHub, an online platform connecting artists and other creative industry professionals.“The arts [are] a place where serious political issues around diversity, equality, Aboriginal sovereignty, affordability and sustainability are being discussed every day in our communities and institutions,” she explained, promising to use this paradigm as a strategy to bring structural changes to the City’s Council.In her fruitful career as a lighting designer, Katie Sfetkidis has worked with some of the most significant theatre companies in Melbourne and Sydney, but she’s also had a parallel career in contemporary art, employing video, performance and role-play as tools for social critique.As an independent candidate with limited financial resources, she knows that her chances of winning are very dim, but her main aim is to instigate dialogue and bring attention to a series of issues, such as accessibility, homelessness and affordability. Bringing as an example the number of independent, artist-run galleries, which have been forced to move from the City, due to gentrification and high costs, she raises an issue of importance to her: “I don’t want the city to just be for the rich,” she says.Given both her limited means and her artistic background, as well as her determination to use this campaign to make a statement for the environment, Katie Sfetkidis will refrain from the traditional methods of campaigning, which include large quantities of printed material sent out through the mail. Instead, she chose to run a campaign through social media, although a series of posters, designed by local artists, will be released over the coming weeks.Katie Sfetkidis is the 16th candidate to run in this election, following forerunner Sally Capp,  Gary Morgan, Rohan Leppert, Sally Warhaft, Alex MacDonald, Allan Watson, Qun Xie, Jennifer Yang, Nathalie Nicole O’Sughrue, Michael Burge, Ken Ong, Bruce Poon and Luke Downing.The byelection for lord mayor is being held via postal ballots and concludes on 12 May. It is being held to replace Robert Doyle, who resigned after two councillors accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Doyle continues to deny the allegations. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Heres Why Chameleons Actually Change Color Its Not for Camouflage

first_img If cartoons and movies like Disney’s Tangled are to be believed, chameleons are the master of disguise, able to blend into any background — no matter how complex or colorful — whenever they need to escape danger. But the reality is, chameleons don’t change color to camouflage themselves. (And no, they can’t make themselves match fancy floral patterned backgrounds on plant pots whenever they feel like it, like Pascal does in Tangled.)Of course, it is true that chameleons, lacking defenses like a dangerous bite or poisonous skin, aren’t very well protected against predators, so staying hidden does help them survive. In fact, chameleons can naturally blend into their surroundings very easily without requiring them changing color very much, or even at all. In their relaxed state, they’re usually shades of brown, grey or green, which allows them to blend into the leaves and trees of their natural habitat. They can — and do — sometimes adjust to how bright and dark their skin appears to match the light outside, but this requires only slight changes in the hue of their skin — no fancy color displays needed.A spiny chameleon (Furcifer verrucosus) at Mandraka Reserve near Moramanga, Madagascar. (Photo Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)Instead, the bright color-changing abilities we know them for are less about protecting the chameleons from danger and more about communication. Bright colors help chameleons communicate how they are feeling, kind of like that mood ring that you wore in middle school was supposed to broadcast how you were feeling. In other words, if a chameleon is angry or fearful, its colors tend to darken, but if it is trying to establish dominance, its colors will brighten.For example, male chameleons are very territorial so when two males run into each other, they will have a color standoff until one of them (generally the smaller or less dynamically-colored) concedes. At that point, he will “turn off” his color display, letting the dominant male know that he gives up. In fact, according to a study in PLOS One, some males will even use their colors to impersonate females (who are generally less brightly colored) to sneak by other males so that they don’t have to compete with them during mating season.Changing colors is also very important during chameleon mating season. Research shows that male chameleons will change bright colors as a courtship display to attract and impress a female. And in turn, a female will change colors too — usually to a less vivid color — to let a male know if she is, indeed available.All these color changes happen thanks to the unique cells found in a chameleon’s skin. According to a study in the journal Nature, chameleons have two layers of iridescent cells, called “iridophore cells” in their skin, and these iridophore cells contain guanine nanocrystals of different sizes, shapes and organizations. So, when chameleons relax or get excited, they can move and change the structure of these special iridophore cells, which in turn changes how the nanocrystals reflect different wavelengths of light.For example, when a chameleon’s skin is relaxed, the nanocrystals in the iridophore cells are very close together, reflecting short wavelengths of light, such as blue. But when the chameleon is excited — i.e. when a male is trying to establish dominance — the distance between the crystals in those cells is increased, causing the crystals to selectively reflect longer wavelengths, such as yellow, orange or red.Female and colorful male Panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) at Mandraka Reserve near Moramanga, Madagascar. (Photo Credit: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)Scientists also believe that chameleons change colors for another reason too: to help them regulate their body temperatures. Because chameleons are ectotherms (otherwise known as “cold-blooded”), they’re unable to generate their own body heat. Instead, they warm up by basking in the sun. Since dark colors absorb more light — and therefore heat, while lighter colors reflect light, scientists believe that chameleons also change color depending on their body temperature. In other words, if they’re cold, they’ll get darker. If they’re warm, they’ll turn a lighter color.While chameleons might not the masters of disguise we imagine them to be in popular culture, the reality is that these color-changing creatures are still pretty impressive. The fact that they they can change these bright colors at all in such a unique way — and do so pretty quickly too — makes them pretty unique in the animal kingdom. No wonder they capture our imagination.More on Geek.com:Why Do Turkeys Have a Flap of Skin Hanging From Their Face?How Do Spiders Survive the Winter?Why Are Pigeons So Good at Surviving in Cities? Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ Stay on targetlast_img read more

Trial in death of WWII veteran pushed to March

first_imgSPOKANE — The trial of two Spokane teenagers accused of beating a World War II veteran to death has been pushed back to March 17.The trial was originally set for Nov. 4.But the attorney for 16-year-old Kenan Adams-Kinard asked a Spokane County judge on Friday to delay the trial.Adams-Kinard and 16-year-old Demetruis Glenn both face charges of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery. They could face life in prison if convicted.Both teens are charged in the beating death of 88-year-old Delbert Belton in his car outside the Eagles Ice Arena in Spokane on Aug. 21. Belton was a survivor of the Battle for Okinawa during World War II.last_img

Transgender rights activists march down Las Olas

first_imgFORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Activists marched down Las Olas Boulevard, Friday night, in order to rally for transgender rights.Members of the Trans and Queer Liberation Now Movement rallied for transgender rights on East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.This comes after the Trump administration lifted Obama-issued protection for transgender students that allowed them to use school bathrooms and locker rooms based on the gender they identify with.Miami-Dade and Broward County school officials have said they will keep the protections in place.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img

After Layoffs McGrawHill Media Profits Up

first_imgThat division—in part due to the staffing reductions—saw the biggest gain, reporting $92.1 million in operating profit, up 45 percent in 2008.The company said growth in information services and products helped increase revenue by 4.1 percent to $954.8 million in the division’s business-to-business group, which includes BusinessWeek, Aviation Week, McGraw-Hill Construction, J.D. Power and Associates and Platts. BusinessWeek saw ad pages fall 16.1 percent in 2008, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. For BusinessWeek publisher McGraw-Hill, cost containment was a major priority in 2008 and will be into 2009, president and CEO Harold McGraw III said in year-end financial statement released today. Last year, McGraw-Hill managed to lower expenses 2.5 percent, or $126.2 million, due in part to continued staff restructuring.The savings, however, weren’t enough to mitigate advertising declines and the overall affects of the recession. The company reported $799.5 million in net income for 2008, down 21.1 percent from 2007. Revenue in 2008 declined 6.2 percent to $6.4 billion.Last year was “a challenging year,” and 2009 should “also be challenging, given the tight credit markets” and “a weak advertising market,” the company said in the statement.McGraw-Hill’s year-end results include a pre-tax restructuring charge of $73.4 million. Earlier this month, the company said it planned to eliminate 375 positions company-wide during the fourth quarter with 70 coming from its information and media division. During the third quarter, the company said it slashed 270 jobs—140 coming from the information and media division (a total of 210 positions were eliminated in the division in 2008, resulting in a pre-tax restructuring charge of $19.2 million).last_img read more

Trump travel ban takes effect

first_imgInternational travellers arrive on the first day of the partial reinstatement of the Trump travel ban, temporarily barring travellers from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the US, at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on 29 June, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: AFPUS president Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and travellers from six mainly Muslim countries went into effect late Thursday, after a Supreme Court decision allowed it to go forward following a five-month battle with rights groups.The Trump administration says the temporary ban is necessary to block terrorists from entering the country, but immigrant advocates charge that it illegally singles out Muslims.The 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and a 120-day ban on refugees, will allow exceptions for people with “close family relationships” in the United States.But activists said the government has defined that too narrowly, excluding relationships with grandparents and grandchildren, aunts and uncles and others.And many were concerned about a possibly chaotic rollout of enforcement of the ban, like that in January when it was first announced.Immigration rights activists and lawyers were waiting to help arrivals at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and other airports to be sure those from the six countries with valid US visas were allowed in after the ban went into effect at 8 pm Thursday Eastern time (0000 GMT Friday).The Department of Homeland Security, which was heavily criticized for mishandling many arrivals when the ban was first attempted in January, promised a smooth rollout this time.It stressed that anyone with a valid visa issued before the ban begins would still be admitted, and that all authorized refugees booked for travel before July 6 will also be allowed.“We expect business as usual at the ports of entry starting at 8 pm tonight,” said a DHS official. “Our people are well prepared for this.”The Trump administration insists the ban was necessary to protect the country from terror threats, and to give immigration authorities more time to tighten vetting of travelers and refugees.“As recent events have shown, we are living in a very dangerous time, and the US government needs every available tool to prevent terrorists from entering the country and committing acts of bloodshed and violence,” a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.Trump claims political victory -But implementing it, even with exceptions, was also claimed as a political victory by Trump, after federal appeals courts twice blocked his order saying it violated constitutional protections of religion and overshot his own presidential powers.Immigrant rights groups and Democrats in Congress continued to label Trump’s order “illegal” and said the exemptions provided in a Supreme Court ruling on Monday remained unfair.According to guidelines issued by the State Department, people with “close family relationships” would be exempt from the ban. It defined that to include parents, spouses, children, sons- and daughters-in-law, siblings and step- and half-siblings.But “close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-laws and sisters-in-law, fiances and any other “extended” family members, the guidelines say.People with formal relationships with a US entity—who have for instance been offered a job or been accepted to study or lecture at a university—will also qualify for visas during the ban. But a hotel reservation, even if already paid for, does not qualify.Even as travel officials across the US were making final preparations for putting the ban into place, opponents were preparing new legal maneuvers.Late Thursday, Hawaii asked federal district Judge Derrick Watson to clarify the scope of the travel and refugee bans in the Pacific island state—and who, specifically, the ban refers to when stating that only an immigrant’s close family members can travel to the US.“In Hawaii, ‘close family’ includes many of the people that the federal government decided on its own to exclude from that definition. Unfortunately, this severely limited definition may be in violation of the Supreme Court ruling,” Attorney General Douglas Chin, said in a statement.‘Redefining family’ -Democratic legislator Bennie Thompson blasted the government for a “lack of preparation and transparency” in putting the ban into place.“Just hours before the president’s unconstitutional and misguided travel ban takes partial effect tonight, administration officials briefing Congress were unwilling or unable to provide meaningful answers about how they determined whom the ban would affect,” said Thompson, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.Rama Issa, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said the government is redefining what a family is.“I was raised by my grandparents, so the idea of grandparents not being part of a family is very foreign to me,” she said at Kennedy International, preparing to help arrivals after the ban takes effect.“I’m engaged to get married. I have family who lives in Syria today—not only my father, but my aunts and uncles who I would love to be at this wedding, and unfortunately are not going to be able to be here.”last_img read more

Ramy Youssef Flips The Narrative On Children Of Immigrants

first_imgHuluComedian Ramy Youssef stars in the series Ramy on Hulu. Listen 00:00 /11:29 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: center_img Share Comedian Ramy Youssef is making a name for himself as a comedian, appearing on the likes of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and now with his own 10-episode comedy series on Hulu, called Ramy.He’s of Egyptian descent and plenty of his stand-up centers around his experience as a young Muslim in America.The TV series is along the same lines, with the main character navigating the typical pressures of a 20-something life while also grappling with his faith.To promote the show, Youssef has been doing free stand-up performances around the county with his co-star and fellow comedian Dave Merheje. And that included a show at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall.While they were in town, Youssef and Merheje stopped by Houston Public Media where, in the audio above, they tell Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty how they got into comedy and what kinds of stories they’re trying to convey in the series.This week, Hulu announced Ramy was renewed for a second season.– / 4 Xlast_img read more

Aspiring to be amongst worlds top 200 universities

first_imgAn overcast sky, breeze in the air, sprawling green gardens and a state of the art university standing tall amidst its environs beckoned us into O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonepat. In a conversation with the Vice Chancellor, C. Raj Kumar, we discovered that the fresh air that surrounds the university also pervades inside; it is palpable in his ideas, approach towards education and a vision to build a globally recognized private university in India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Considering in India we all have a very condescending view of our private universities, even you happened to mention it, what was your motivation behind establishing Jindal University?The inspiration for me was Harvard, Yale, Stanford, NYU and MIT. All these world’s great private universities reinforce my belief in private higher education. I was consciously looking at how to replicate a similar model in India. But I was also mindful of the institutionalised private education in India that started somewhere in late 1980s. In that process, we didn’t end up creating great private universities, but education largely became a mediocre endeavour. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixFrom the standpoint of an educator, if I identify why it happened, the heart of it lies in taking up educational ventures as a business itself without any vision for education in India. Our model focuses on the best practices from around the world in a bid to connect them to the challenges that India is facing. And how did you get involved in the project and go about implementing your ideas, back in 2009? Share the impediments that you have faced during this journey. Envisioning a global university, we laid down the foundation of our university that comprises five schools now – Law, Business, International Affairs, Public Policy and Liberal Arts & Humanities.  It is a philanthropic initiative by an Indian billionaire, Naveen Jindal. It’s not a family run institution and I am not related to Jindals. I come from Kanyakumari and Naveen Jindal is from Haryana. It is an important model for private initiatives in India because most of the private initiatives in India are either not philanthropic or are family-run, which has many adverse consequences. That model promotes nepotism and internal breeding, undermining academic freedom that is critical for growth. The institution building in this case was important from this point of view.In India, private universities are pejoratively talked about. The best Indian institutions have been public institutions and there is a prestige that comes with history. In that context, establishing a private university and keeping it away from the concept of other run of the mill private universities; hiring faculty and giving them the aspiration of a great university is the biggest challenge in institutional building. We overcame that challenge as outstanding Indians and global faculty live on campus here as we have been able to provide them an intellectually stimulating experience. In a sea of mediocre private institutions, it was a challenge to convince parents and students to come here. But that was only limited to the first year. With the reputation of our faculty, the vision of our university and through the word of mouth, we have created a strong impresssion among people in the last four years. What sets Jindal University apart?The central distinguishing aspect of our university is our strongest commitment to providing the best quality education through the most outstanding faculty members who are committed to maintaining the highest standards in teaching and research. We have a residential campus that provides an ecosystem for the growth of our students and faculty. I have my own memories of hostel life in Oxford, Harvard and DU; there’s a lot of freedom coupled with responsibility that comes with a hostel life. We wanted to give that experience to our students.Besides, we collaborate with universities around the world including, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Michigan Cornell, and UC-Berkeley in a range of collaborative programmes including, faculty and student exchanges, joint teaching and research, joint conferences, joint publications, and double degree programmes. Our faculty members are from around the world. While 20% of our faculty are foreign nationals, almost all of them are globally trained – either by way of education or work or both. We ensure a globally oriented education in our campus. It’s not just a foreign identity that we look for, our idea is to get people who have gained education abroad and have come back to India to work and people who have attained professional working experience in multiple countries- in short, to have a world class faculty on board that has greater sensitivity towards global practices, celebrate diversity and, of course, recognize and appreciate the process of globalization. These our tumultuous times for education in India as a premier university in the country goes for an overhaul in its system. What is your take on it and does it impact you anyway?I welcome the Delhi University’s four year programme for a number of reasons. One can agree or disagree upon whether sufficient time was allotted to the consultative process or if the courses have been structured in the right way or not, that is a separate, yet an important debate. But, in principle, I am in favour of a four year long degree. To start with, educators across the country understand that the range of options in liberal art courses or for that matter courses in sciences and other disciplines are not enough that a university ought to provide. In fact, in universities around the world, one needs to learn subjects beyond one’s core discipline as well as related disciplines. For instance, I wish I had the opportunity to study a bit of political science, history, philosophy while I did Commerce degree (B.Com) in Loyola College, Madras but almost all my courses were connected to economics, accountancy and commerce. The curriculum and the pedagogy didn’t provide for it. The time span of three years couldn’t provide the opportunity, hopefully the four-year programme can. One can argue if the DU exit model will create a new pool of people with different levels of inferiority and superiority in education, we need to be mindful of that. DU system should not create superiority -not just in terms of qualification, but also in terms of perception and standards. If we can take special efforts to overcome this, I do believe that this will be a paradigm shift in our efforts to strengthen the undergraduate education in India. We are launching our four year integrated programme in the newly established Jindal School of Liberal arts and Humanities in 2014. Here a student is expected to study two years here and two years outside the country leading to two degrees.What is the road ahead for the university?As an educator, one of the challenges for us in India is the growing recognition that India doesn’t have a single university in the top 200 in the world. Our policymakers, educators, ministers, and even President and the Prime Minister have been talking about it frequently. We have about 625 universities in India and 35,000 colleges but none of them are globally regarded as world class institutions of excellence. We would have to dream high and fulfil our aspirations to become one of the leading institutions of excellence in the years to come. We want to prepare ourselves in the next decade, essentially to be a better university in Asia if not the world.last_img read more

Flash mob to promote VA2 charity sale

first_imgFlash mob helps bring in many performers together for an impromptu synchronised dance, which is always successful in gathering attention. This method will be used by The Angel’s Network to promote the upcoming Vintage Affaire 2 charity sale which will be held on April 16-17.  Over 100 people will be participating in the flash mob which will be held on Friday at 6:30 pm. Presently the group has enrolled over 100 donors of all ages and from all walks for life to participate in the flash mob.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The participants who will appear as unassuming shoppers at the mall, will “spontaneously” break out in a high energy choreographed Bollywood dance routine in courtyard of the mall, donning pink “Angels Network” baseball caps, to surprise and delight the mall passersby. Participants have voluntarily donated Rs 500 and Rs 1000 to be a part of this flash mob. 100 per cent of the proceeds will be donated to two causes: The Earth Saviours Foundation and Dukh Bhanjan. Select Citywalk and Crush Fitness India have partnered with the The Angels Network to make this happen.   Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe event is set for April 8 followed by a 15-minute Pop dance party with Crush Fitness India to generate excitement and spread awareness about the Vintage Affaire 2 Charity Sale.  Some of the designers who have leant their support so far: Shantanu & Nikhil, Gauri & Nainika, Siddharth Tytler, Shivan & Narresh, Raw Mango, Namrata Joshipura, Akaash Agarwal, Jyoti Jain Chibber, Ruh, Elisha W, Rabani & Rakha and UK based RI2K London.last_img read more

IntelliMime Drives Down Costs and Increases Efficiency

first_img in Headlines, journal, News, Technology Concentrance Consulting Group, Inc., a small minority-owned business founded in 2000, has rolled out a new version of its technology that automates the compliance review process of MBS Issuers who collectively hold over $1 trillion in outstanding issuance.The compliance-as-a-service technology, powered by IntelliMime, ensures step-by-step guide review consistency, and enables real-time government agency management complete with a browser view of each compliance review while in process. The system does all of this in a hosted, cloud-based, data-secure environment consistent with Federal Government requirements.“The technology has a depth to it that is unique,” said Allen Jones, Principal of Concentrance, who went on to say, “IntelliMime takes very complex routines and automates them with reporting, analytics, and dashboards. The system is user friendly and scalable and through workforce optimization can drive down costs and create efficiencies.”The premise of IntelliMime is to “think-in-sync” so that your best employee’s work is replicated by software in a codified, methodical manner that ensures consistency, protects data security, and enables the optimization of workforce management.In building out the IntelliMime system, Concentrance envisions a workforce of talented and aspiring employees who may not be presently employed in financial services. With limited training, the IntelliMime technology can offer an entrée to a broader and more diverse workforce.The Concentrance management team has a 2020 goal to launch its first full production office in Memphis, Tennessee, near both public housing and the home where Concentrance President Karmen Carr was raised.While Carr succeeded in building a successful career in mortgage finance in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she intends to launch a workforce in Memphis using the IntelliMime software.“When you have the opportunity to achieve success and then return to your roots and help others gain financial skills they might not otherwise have had access to—well, it’s very rewarding,” said Carr.Carr went on to say, “Our work for private sector clients and the federal government is just beginning. We have big goals and our software is applicable to any industry. Give us your most complex process and your most talented employee and we’ll codify and productionalize it. We can then manage it or license the software.” IntelliMime Drives Down Costs and Increases Efficiency Sharecenter_img January 14, 2018 579 Views Company News Concentrance Consulting Group IntelliMime 2018-01-14 David Whartonlast_img read more

Emirates has revamped its corporate loyalty progra

first_imgEmirates has revamped its corporate loyalty programme, Emirates Business Rewards, to provide greater value and added features for customers. The new programme has been simplified and made more competitive to allow for easier redemptions and upgrades even on last minute bookings.One of the biggest features in the newly improved programme is the ability to use Business Rewards Points to book any commercially available seat at any time giving members cash-like convenience. Emirates is the first and only airline in the region to offer such flexibility as part of its corporate loyalty programme – improving cost-effectiveness for business travel.Emirates recently commissioned an independent survey on the perception and habits of over 800 business travellers and decision makers of business travel in the UAE.  The key findings reiterate the need for cost effectiveness and flexibility in corporate travel which resonates with the new features of Emirates Business Rewards. According to the survey, the top three factors considered for airline selection were fare (30 per cent), flight timings (26 per cent), and value for money (23 per cent).Emirates Business Rewards will satisfy customer needs and provide value-added benefits catered to organisations of any size, charities and clubs. In addition to allowing redemptions for any seats, there is also greater flexibility when it comes to earning and redeeming the Business Rewards Points.According to the survey, respondents most commonly book business travel online directly with the airline (29 per cent). Smaller organisations were even more likely to conduct bookings directly online with more than 50 per cent of their corporate travel booked this way. With less reliance on third party booking agents, Emirates Business Rewards has enhanced user-experience with easy-to-use customer dashboards. These include tools to manage and book services for employees, and monitor the savings accumulated so far on the programme.Enrolment has also been simplified regardless of organisation size. The introduction of the ‘Guest Traveller’ function means that organisations can include non-company persons, such as consultants, or clients who travel on behalf of the organisation, and still earn Business Rewards Points.While the programme will continue to provide value and service to key industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Trading and IT, the simplified system and unlimited employee enrolment will also allow other industries with a large labour force, such as the construction industry to benefit from the programme.last_img read more