European Space Agency ignores Inuit concerns launches hydrazine loaded rocket

first_img-with files from the Canadian Press APTN NewsThe European Space Agency ignored concerns from Inuit leaders around the world and launched a rocket loaded with a toxic fuel that could end up in waters between Nunavut and Greenland.The Sentinel 5P was launched at 5:27 a.m ET from a site in northern Russia.“We condemn Russia’s actions and demand that this launch be halted,” Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna told the Canadian Press. “Our people rely on the marine ecosystem to support our families, communities, and livelihoods.”The Inuit Circumpolar Conference, an organization that represents Inuit around the world, also protested the satellite launch.Watch the launch here: Sentinel 5POttawa had told the European Space Agency it was unhappy about plans to launch a satellite that would drop a rocket stage likely to contain highly toxic fuel in some of the most ecologically productive waters of the Canadian Arctic.“Canada is in the process of engaging the European Space Agency to express concerns regarding potential environmental effects of launches on the sensitive Arctic ecosystem,” Brianne Maxwell, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, said Thursday.The comment came after the government of Nunavut added its voice to protests over the launch.“The prime minister has been in contact with the premier’s office on this issue,” Maxwell said.Territorial officials raised concerns with the Prime Minister’s Office this week after Premier Peter Taptuna complained about the launch.“We are calling on Canada and Denmark to take swift action at the international level to dissuade these activities and move forward with protecting this area locally and internationally,” Taptuna said Oct. 6, the day after Russia notified Canada of its intentions.The European Space Agency, of which Canada is an affiliate member, launched the Sentinel 5P satellite to monitor trace gases in the atmosphere.A second launch of a similar satellite is planned for 2018.The Sentinel 5P, along with the planned launch in 2018, use Soviet-era rockets fuelled by hydrazine.Hydrazine is so toxic that almost every space program in the world, including Russia’s, has moved away from it.The second stage of the rocket, containing up to a tonne of unburned hydrazine, is expected to splash down in water between Greenland and Baffin Island.That area falls within Canada’s exclusive economic zone and is within the jurisdiction of the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.The North Water Polynya is an 85,000-square-kilometre ocean that is free of ice year-round. It shelters most of the world’s narwhal, as well as about 14,000 beluga whales and 1,500 walruses.Bowhead whales, polar bears, and four types of seals swim in its waters. Tens of millions of seabirds teem in its skies.Inuit communities in Canada and Greenland routinely hunt animals that depend on the North Water Polynya.Global Affairs Canada has previously said that Canada “continues to express concerns to Russia” over potential environmental impacts.The Europeans maintain all the toxic fuel burns up on re-entry.Academic research points out there has been no study of what happens to fuel released over marine ecosystems. As well, previous studies in Russian launch zones suggest some fuel does reach the water’s surface.Nunavut acknowledges the risk is low but argues it shouldn’t be there at all.Contact APTN National News here: news@aptn.calast_img read more

Read More

Opposition to federal bill C58 ramping up ahead of AFN meeting

first_imgTodd Lamirande APTN News As chiefs from across the country get set to meet in Gatineau, Que. for the annual special chiefs assembly, opposition to changes to C-58, the federal access to information act is gaining momentum.“In my view, Bill C-58 is certainly a gift from the ghost of Christmas past,” said Bob Chamberlin, Vice-president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.The main concern about amendments to the access to information laws is that requestors will need an exact date – rather than a time period to get information from the government.“So this government’s pursuit now of having very specific asks be in the requirement leaves it for a greater opportunity for the rejection of the access to information,” Chamberlain. “And by rejecting that access rejects the opportunity for reconciliation and justice to be realized for First Nations people in Canada.”Several leaders joined NDP MP Murray Rankin at the news conference and condemned the proposed legislation.“Despite the profound effect that this bill will have on First Nations ability to get information about claims, disputes and grievances, they were not consulted,” said Rankin.Neskonlith First Nation Chief Judy Wilson said no changes at all would be better.“So if I’m trying to settle a claim they’re going to put up more barriers, bureaucratic barriers that my claim will not be settled,” she said. “I will not get access to that information.“They have put more of a tiered process into limiting that access to information. So that’s why it’s actually worse than the status quo.”Chamberlain said the bill must not go ahead.“Bill C-58 is a regressive piece of legislation that needs to be abandoned,” he said.The bill is going into third reading in the House of Commons before going to the Senate.“We’re going to be putting all our efforts into the Senate level to actually call for withdrawing or killing this bill,” said Wilson.Wilson said she’d introduce a resolution opposing C-58 at the special chiefs assembly.tlamirande@aptn.calast_img read more

Read More

PayPal makes 500mn investment in Uber Report

first_imgSan Francisco: Global online payments system PayPal is investing $500 million in Uber ahead of the highly anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO), the media cited the ride-sharing major updated S1 filing. “I don’t think you spend that kind of money unless it’s part of a global strategy to enable these new super-platforms,” Ryan Gilbert, Partner at Venture Capital Firm Propel Ventures was quoted as saying by the CNBC. “PayPal needs to step on the growth gas pedal and these investments will buy the company access to millions of global customers.” Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra Earlier in March, the payments major had invested $750 million in Argentina’s e-commerce giant MercadoLibre. PayPal has been working with Uber providing payment services since 2013 and is its lead processing partner in the US and Australia (but not the only one globally), according to the TechCrunch. Notably, this is the second big pre-IPO investment that Uber has announced this month. The self driving unit of the global ride-sharing major announced a $1 billion investment from Japanese conglomerate SoftBanks Vision Fund, car manufacturer Toyota and automotive component supplier Denso last week. Uber officially filed its IPO process last week with the public filing of its prospectus. It would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “UBER”. According to market sources, the company may provide a price range for its shares later in April and would go public in May.last_img read more

Read More

New Childrens Library Opens in the Heart of Fez

Fez – Many reports indicate a poor reading average in the Arab world. Morocco is no exception; thirty-three percent are illiterate.  Adding injury to insult is the lack of public libraries (only 313 in the entire country), a detriment to the Kingdom’s project to fight illiteracy and increase economic opportunities.The New Page Foundation conducted a survey in 2007, and found that fifty-one percent of Moroccans are nonreaders and seventy one percent of them never entered a library.In Fez, libraries are nearly non-existent, though youth desperately need them to brush up their knowledge and also quench their thirst for science. To fill this void, The Fez Association of the Children of the Medina (Association) has created a children library (Check their Facebook page here) in the medina’s heart to encourage and create awareness about the importance of reading and providing activities, such as art workshops. Suzanna Clarke, the author of “A House in Fez” is the library’s co-founder. She has spared no energy in bringing the project to life in hopes of benefitting many children and brightening their future. “Reading will open their minds to other possibilities and ways of living and will enable them to find out how they can get information,” said Clarke in an interview with Morocco World News.Suzanna Clarke, the author of “A House in Fez” is the library’s co founder (R). Cathy Bellafronto, co-owner with her husband of Riad Laaroussa (L).The original idea came from Cathy Bellafronto, co-owner with her husband of Riad Laaroussa. The couple noticed a lack of green spaces and playgrounds in the old Medina where children could spend time.  She wanted to help children find alternative outlets, outside of the tedious routine of going to school and then watching TV at home.Cathy discussed the idea with Suzanna Clarke who did not hesitate to get on board with the project although initially she had some concerns like whether children would be interested in coming to the library and read stories. When the library opened, many children wanted to take part, and families were thrilled.Aicha Morelli, one of the daily volunteer story readers.Safae, the librarian, said that the children are very enthusiastic to have a way to unwind. Children sit in a circle and listen to stories told by the librarian and want more. Khadija, 8, who comes daily to the library, said that she is happy to be there because she can read and listen to stories which will help her get good grades in school.The library is mostly financed by the owners of Riad Laaroussa  and The View From Fez, and the Association hopes that many people will contribute to keep the project ongoing and expanding.Currently the library cannot cater to the large number of children who want to attend. “Right now we are turning away many children and only 10 are given access in a time, said Bellafronto. “They stay only for one hour to give other children a chance to benefit.”The children also take part in workshops and draw beautiful portraits inspired by the stories they read and hear.Aicha Morelli, one of the daily volunteer story readers.The library is just a start for the Association, which plans to help the Medina become cleaner by turning empty lots into public spaces and playgrounds. But it needs financial support from both citizens and the city council. According to Bellefronto, if people help each other in cleaning the medina and creating projects for children, more people will go back to live there, and the significance of the medina of Fez will be revived.The Medina Children’s Library in Fez. Photo: MWNThe Medina Children’s Library in Fez. Photo: MWN© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Read More

Pakistani returnees receive first food rations from UN agency

1 July 2009The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing regular food rations to families returning home to tribal areas in Pakistan’s northwest that they had fled after the upsurge in violence in the region over the past year. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing regular food rations to families returning home to tribal areas in Pakistan’s northwest that they had fled after the upsurge in violence in the region over the past year.Monthly rations are being distributed from a hub in the Bajaur area of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), WFP reported today, and enough supplies have been pre-positioned to feed 2,000 families.The agency said the distribution process is being closely coordinated with local authorities and is taking place through a local partner non-governmental organization (NGO).Wolfgang Herbinger, WFP’s country representative in Pakistan, said the agency was “providing a lifeline to those who have been forced to abandon their homes due to heavy fighting.“We began to feed them at the start of this crisis when they fled their villages, and for those who feel ready to go back to their homes, we’re providing the assistance they need to bring stability back to their lives.”Only small numbers of the estimated 2 million people who have fled their homes as a result of deadly fighting between Government forces and militants in north-western Pakistan have begun to return to their former villages.The focus of WFP’s relief work remains those people living in camps or with host communities, and so far the agency has been able to reach 100,000 people each day through a series of humanitarian hubs and distribution points.In total, the agency has provided rations to about 1.5 million people since the start of last month, and it says it has enough supplies to last another two months despite a steep funding shortfall. read more

Read More

March Madness Crib Notes For Sundays Games

While Saturday’s top-billed matchups (specifically, Arizona-Ohio State and Kentucky-Cincinnati) looked sexier on paper than any in store on Sunday, day No. 2 of the round of 32 offers some solid games of its own — as well as fewer sleepers. Keep a particular eye on the trio of 2-versus-7 matchups, each of which should be reasonably competitive by the standards of this round.Here’s what else to look for:South RegionalGame to watch: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 8 San Diego State (a harmonic mean of 88.0) at 2:40 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 7 Iowa (27 percent win probability) vs. No. 2 Gonzaga at 7:10 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHDuke (85 percent win probability) vs. San Diego StatePlayer to watch: Jahlil Okafor, DukeAfter taking care of Robert Morris with ease in its opener, Duke moves on to face the slow-paced, defensively focused Aztecs. San Diego State has a tall team that ranks among the nation’s best at limiting opponents’ shooting efficiency and keeping them from getting to the line. But watch for Duke’s offensive rebounding (spearheaded by All-Everything center Jahlil Okafor) to offset some of SDSU’s defensive advantage. And when the Aztecs have the ball, scoring might be an ordeal. Neither of San Diego State’s two go-to guys on offense — Winston Shepard and Dwayne Polee — could even match the Division I average for efficiency when they ended an Aztec possession, a trend that figures to continue against a solid Blue Devils defense. Midwest RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 7 Wichita State (87.6) at 5:15 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 West Virginia (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Maryland at 8:40 p.m. EDT on TNTIN DEPTHKansas (57 percent) vs. Wichita StatePlayer to watch: Fred VanVleet, Wichita StateWichita State’s offense clicked in the second half of its victory over Indiana on Friday, but the points may not come as easily against a strong Kansas defense that ranks ninth nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s schedule-adjusted ratings. The game may come down to whether Wichita State can execute its pick-and-roll — according to Synergy Sports, the Shockers’ pick-and-roll ball-handling efficiency ranked in the 93rd percentile of Division I schools; the Jayhawks’ defense was in the 85th percentile at stopping the play. At the other end, it’s worth watching whether the more interior-focused Kansas offense can adapt to take advantage of a Wichita State defense that dares opponents to move the ball around and shoot from the outside. West RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Oregon (87.3) at 7:45 p.m. EDT on TruTVIN DEPTHWisconsin (87 percent) vs. OregonPlayer to watch: Frank Kaminsky, WisconsinOregon’s offense — far and away the strength of the team — came to the rescue against Oklahoma State in the round of 64 as the Ducks shot 55 percent from the floor to outgun the Cowboys in a 79-73 win. But securing enough stops to beat Wisconsin might be a struggle for the defensively challenged Ducks. According to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Wisconsin easily owns the best offense in the country, a unit primed to take advantage of Oregon’s weak shot defense and inability to force turnovers. The Ducks also lack the risky traits that sometimes help heavy underdogs chance their way into upsets. But one path the Ducks might navigate to victory is to force the tempo and make the Badgers play at their pace. Oregon had the 33rd-fastest offense in the country this season (as measured by seconds per possession), while Wisconsin had the third-slowest. East RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 7 Michigan State (89.5) at 12:10 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 Northern Iowa (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Louisville at 9:40 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHVirginia (72 percent) vs. Michigan StatePlayer to watch: Anthony Gill, VirginiaVirginia didn’t exactly look dominant against a stubborn Belmont team Friday, and now the Cavaliers must face an even tougher opponent in Michigan State. The Spartans have the talent to stick with Virginia — they’d have a 37 percent chance of the upset here if we based our prediction on preseason ratings alone — and their coach is familiar with deep tournament runs. Plus, Virginia operates its offense at a veritable crawl, slowing down the game and inviting the kind of variance that can prove deadly for a favorite. But other than their snail-like pace, the Cavaliers play a sturdy style as upset-proof as any, relying primarily on two-point shooting, ball security, rebounding, and an old-fashioned big, tough interior defense. It all makes for a team with few clear weaknesses, something Michigan State will likely learn the hard way.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Read More

Bill Papastergiadis I pressed the Greek ministers to resolve the issue of

first_imgMany Greek Australians fly to the motherland in July, trading the Australian wintertime for some days under the much-lauded Greek sun. Few of them try to combine island-hopping with business meetings but this year, one worked really hard. Bill Papastergiadis, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria, took some time off from his vacation and met with a series of Greek officials: ministers, members of parliament, and stakeholders in an effort to push forward some of the pressing issues of the Community. He even spoke to the Parliament, presenting the work of the GCMV to a room full of parliamentarians. In an interview with Neos Kosmos the President of the GCMV discusses the outcome of these meetings. How did you get to set up these meetings? The Greek Community took a proactive approach towards its dealings with the Greek government; some three months ago, along with the Australian Ambassador to Greece, we organised a luncheon, whereby senior government ministers and senior bureaucrats, as well as key industry representatives would be present so we could further discuss the relations between Greece and Australia and enhance those relationships, not only from a business perspective, but equally from a cultural and educational. Because from our angle, these are cornerstone issues and we need additional rapport and additional exchange to ensure that our culture and education product is relevant and interesting and current. So we worked with the Ambassador in formulating a list of 16 people that would be present and it was a terrific success. Was this luncheon paid for by the Community? Absolutely not. I have to stress that all the expenses regarding this luncheon as well as any other meeting that I had while in Greece were paid out of my pocket, and during my vacation time. No-one should assume that this was a trip paid for by the Greek Community. What is the measure of success for such an event? This luncheon was a success, in the sense that it led to over 15 other meetings being organised, because of the exchange of information that took place. One of the officials present at the luncheon was Alexandros Triantafillidis, who is a Syriza MP for Thessaloniki and the chairman of the Hellenic Parliament’s Committee for the Greek Diaspora. He came and said: “We were largely unaware of the actions and the activities of the Greek Community of Melbourne, we’re astounded at its product and its commitment and its effort and we need to share it with the Parliament”. So, he invited me to address the Parliament and I gave a five-minute presentation, after which I was again approached by MPs from Nea Dimokratia, Syriza, and the other parties, who largely articulated that they were unaware of our activities. They were highly impressed both by the Greek Centre and the level of relationship that the Community has with the government, the broader community, and the educational sphere. From that we agreed to organise a number of meetings with key government ministers to deal with and discuss some of the key issues in front of us. Bill Papastergiadis with the Greek Minister for Internal Affairs, Panagiotis Kouroublis.Which cabinet members did you meet? The first meeting was with Theodosis Pelegrinis, the Deputy Minister of Education, Research, and Religious Affairs (and former Rector of the University of Athens). I put to him four issues: the exchange program for students from year six to year twelve, another program for the placement of children from Australia to summer camps in Greece (including educational field trips), the further strengthening of the program of teachers from Greece appointed to Australia, and programs to re-educate our own teachers to ensure that their output is appropriate and current. He was very enthusiastic and assured me that the Greek government is prepared to initiate these requests. After that I had a meeting with Panagiotis Kouroublis, the Minister for Interior Affairs and Administrative Reconstruction. We discussed the issue of voting rights for Greek Australians. I had the opportunity to express to him our position, that the right to vote should be granted, at the very least, to the thousands of migrants who came across to Australia from Greece in recent times. They should be afforded the opportunity to continue participating in Greek life, because maybe one day they will return. This is not a difficult issue, every European country affords that right, even FYROM. But the same right should be afforded to everyone who has Greek citizenship, who holds a Greek passport. This is a matter to contemplate, because the issue of engagement becomes more pressing when someone has a vote. We see it ourselves with our own political parties in Australia. We generally have good relationships with the government and the political parties, but when elections come around, it becomes enhanced, and it becomes a time for them to reflect upon the specific outcomes that are needed and to make electoral promises. The matter of voting is something that affects the relationships of Greece with the diaspora; so far, all we have is dialogue, without action and nobody is accountable. We don’t have a member of the Parliament, or anyone, really that we can approach and say: ‘what have you done about it?’ There is also the matter of taxation that has many people in the community concerned… I did have the opportunity to address this issue in the Parliament, but also to discuss it with both Kouroublis and Euklid Tsakalotos, the Finance Minister. Greece is one of the few European countries where there is not a bilateral tax agreement. In this modern age, you have people engaged in commerce who are taxed in both countries; that needs to be dealt with quickly and appropriately. We’ve had a long discussion on taxation with Tsakalotos, as it is a matter that affects the prospect of investments in Greece. We also discussed the trade relationships with China; this is an issue in which I have a lot of experience, as I deal with trade relations with China in my law firm, and he was very interested in my viewpoint. Another issue I got to discuss with both Kouroublis and Tsakalotos was the prospect of relocating the Greek Consulate to the Greek Centre, which would make much financial sense, it would save a lot of money for the Greek government. Were they open to these issues? They were all very enthusiastic and very interested in our story. What these meetings did reveal, though, is that the relationship between Greece and our community is not as deep and strong as it should be. Do you have a time frame for the implementation of those agreements? I’m going back there again in late September and continue to press the points, in order to get some concrete responses and actions. But within the next twelve months we’re going to be in a position to show progress, at least as far as the educational programs are concerned. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Read More

Ric Flair reacts to his daughter Charlottes debut on RAW

first_img Becky Lynch Now Playing Up Next Google+ Pinterest Twitter Becky Lynch Announces Replacement to Face Ronda Rousey Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles New stipulation added to Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan this Sunday at Clash of Champions Jason Namako RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Ronda Rousey WWE Female Superstars Get Green Light To Bounce Between Brands Videos Articles Now Playing Up Nextcenter_img Now Playing Up Next Charlotte Flair Asuka, Becky Lynch, And Charlotte In Triple Threat Title Match WWE Clash of Champions Results – 9/15/19 (Rollins vs. Strowman, Kingston vs. Orton) Charlotte Flair And Becky Lynch Involved In Brawl At An Unlikely Location Courtesy of WWE.com:Ric Flair emotionally reacts to Charlotte’s Raw debutATLANTA — The Raw debut of three of WWE NXT’s women’s division standouts was an emotional moment for many members of the WWE Universe. There was one man, however, who had a special stake in watching history unfold.Ric Flair, whose daughter Charlotte was one of the three Divas in question alongside Becky Lynch and NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, was backstage at Raw to witness his daughter’s debut, and WWE cameras caught a glimpse of the emotional “Nature Boy” as Charlotte made her entrance. The video is short, but the 16-time World Champion visibly wells up at the sight of his daughter stepping onto Raw’s stage. The moment resonated for more reasons than one: Charlotte made her debut in the same area where Flair himself began to build his own career during the territory era of sports-entertainment. As one generation of Flair watched another stake her rightful claim on “Flair Country,” the emotion of the NXT Divas’ long-awaited trip to the main roster extended far beyond what happened in the ring.Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipWWE Female Superstars Get Green Light To Bounce Between BrandsVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:34/Current Time 0:06Loaded: 100.00%0:06Remaining Time -0:28 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list WWE Royal Rumble Card Update For 2019 Videos Articles WWE United States Championship match added to Clash of Champions this Sunday in Charlotte WhatsApp Facebook Now Playing Up Nextlast_img read more

Read More

Trump wins Michigans 16 electoral votes state board says

first_imgWASHINGTON — Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Michigan officials certified Monday that Donald Trump won the state by 10,704 votes out of nearly 4.8 million to claim all of its 16 electoral votes. There’s more wrangling to come, though, on the final vote count for this oh-so-contentious campaign.Jill Stein’s Green Party served notice that it would petition for a Michigan recount even as her party pushed forward with recount efforts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where Trump won by somewhat wider but still small margins.Should the results for Trump hold in all three states, as expected, the president-elect would have 306 electoral votes to 232 for Democrat Hillary Clinton. It takes 270 to be elected president.Only if the results were overturned in all three states would Clinton have a claim on the presidency, and that is widely considered to be out of the question.If it’s any consolation for Clinton — and it’s probably mighty little — she’s winning the national popular vote. With some votes still being counted, she is ahead by more than 2 million, about 1.5 percent of the total counted so far.last_img read more

Read More

Alaska Legislature Passes Budgets Ends Extended Session

first_imgThe operating budget included $10 million above what Walker proposed for the University of Alaska. It included funding for additional prosecutors and law enforcement positions and for 20 positions to address a backlog in public assistance applications. Despite running long, the session lacked the drama of the past several years, which were marked by drawn-out special sessions and bitter fights over the budget and taxes. The budget bills now go to Walker for review. The end of session merited a “fist pump in the air for everybody,” Edgmon said. Senate discussion on the budget included hopefulness about a recent rise in oil prices and the positive impact that could have on the budget. North Slope oil was about $77 a barrel on Thursday. It was around $50 a barrel at this time the past two years. Saturday started slowly, with lawmakers meeting behind closed doors and trying to reach final agreement on what would be needed to finish up. Floor sessions scheduled for the morning started hours late. The operating budget that was ultimately approved Saturday would be paid, in part, using Alaska Permanent Fund earnings, an outcome lawmakers were essentially forced into after years of drawing down on savings to fill a budget deficit that has persisted amid slumping oil revenues. When Edgmon announced on the House floor Saturday that it would be last day of work, it drew a smattering of hands pounding on desks — the legislative equivalent of applause. The package also includes another $28 million for Medicaid, though Walker’s budget director Pat Pitney said that falls short of what is needed and could lead to delays in provider payments. Lawmakers chose to cap dividend checks at $1,600 for this year, a level Gov. Bill Walker has said he supports. The dividend calculation in state law already had been ignored the past two years amid gridlock over how best to fill the deficit. Legislation passed, too, setting up a raffle to benefit schools, which Alaskans could enter using all or a portion of their Permanent Fund dividend checks. Seventy-five percent of entry dollars would go toward public schools and a new education endowment. The remaining 25 percent would go toward a prize fund. Legislative leaders have said there was insufficient support this year to pay out a full dividend under that calculation, which would have been about $2,650. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska lawmakers ended the extended legislative session early Sunday after passing state spending plans and a flurry of other bills in the waning hours.center_img Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche said lawmakers wanted to complete their work and get back to their districts. He said he wasn’t happy with the outcome but said compromise was needed — and demanded by Alaskans tired of gridlock. Lawmakers also passed a flurry of other bills, including a statewide smoke-free workplace bill that had languished for months in the House despite widespread support. Walker told reporters he had no plans to call a special session, which he said was a testament to the work lawmakers accomplished. On the House side, Republican critics of the budget said the package was too large and unsustainable. The permanent fund is a nest egg, seeded with oil money, which has grown through investments. The fund’s principal is protected, but fund earnings can be spent. Use of earnings in the past, however, has been limited to things like paying out dividends.Lawmakers also agreed to use money from the constitutional budget reserve, a state savings account, to help fill the deficit. Lawmakers worked past the 90-day, voter approved-session limit in mid-April. They finished within the constitutional time limit; the constitution permits sessions of up to 121 days, a limit that would have been reached Wednesday. The measure calls for a withdrawal of $1.7 billion from Permanent Fund earnings to help pay state government costs and another $1 billion for the yearly dividend checks residents receive from the oil-wealth fund. House Speaker Bryce Edgmon said legislators in both chambers decided they would have to trust one another, work together and compromise “in order for us to get out of here in an orderly manner.”The Senate has a Republican-led majority. The House majority coalition is composed largely of Democrats. The capital budget, which emerged from House Finance late Saturday, isn’t solely an infrastructure package. It also includes health and safety projects and school funding — an additional $20 million for public schools for the fiscal year starting July 1, and $6 million over two years for pre-kindergarten programs. Heading into the day, the major unresolved pieces were the operating and capital budgets. A tentative agreement had been reached on the operating budget earlier in the week but needed House and Senate approval. The capital budget was being worked on in the House Finance Committee. The capital budget also puts money toward two projects Walker had previously halted: a bridge over Knik Arm to provide another way of connecting Anchorage to the state’s fastest-growing area and a project to help connect Juneau to the road system.last_img read more

Read More

Pikes Peak COG Seeks Consultant for JLUS for Colorado Springs Region

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments is seeking a consultant to prepare a joint land use study (JLUS) for Colorado Springs to provide guidance for addressing incompatible land uses to installations, communities and the private sector.For the Colorado Springs Regional Joint Land Use Study to successfully identify the issues and appropriate strategies to resolve them, a robust public process is critical. Transparency in developing community plans and a concerted effort to identify and address the concerns of all stakeholders is critical to building mutual trust and gaining buy-in for the ultimate product.The RFP can be found on the PPACG website.Questions concerning the RFP will be accepted until 12 p.m., March 9, and should be sent to Angela Essing, JLUS Program Manager, aessing@ppacg.org. Questions will be answered within 24 hours and posted on the website.Submissions must be received by 12 p.m. on March 14 to Angela Essing.last_img read more

Read More

Refined Fuel Tax Measure Heads To Governors Desk

first_imgThough discussion of new revenues hasn’t gone far in the Legislature this session, the Senate on Friday passed a measure taxing refined fuels.Download AudioSen. Peter Micciche speaks on the floor of the Alaska Senate, Feb. 10, 2014. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)The bill updates how the state saves money designated for oil spill prevention and response. In the past, taxes were collected by the barrel and placed into a fund. Under House Bill 158, though, about one cent per gallon of gasoline is charged at the point of sale.Soldotna Republican Peter Micciche says that while the 1989 Exxon-Valdez disaster casts a long shadow, most of the spills the state pays to clean up are small, involving refine gasoline products.“I hope you can support this environmental surcharge, it’s less than a penny per gallon, less than a penny per day per Alaskan, and the effort is about keeping Alaska clean and spill free,” Micciche said.The measure received opposition from some senators over unfairly collecting a tax from customers who may never spill fuel. Chugiak Republican Bill Stoltze says the measure plays favorites by levying a new tax burden on consumers, but not the aviation or commercial fishing industries.“I am going to try to exercise a discipline of not creating new revenues and protecting bureaucracies at a time when we’re still nowhere near finished,” Stoltze said. “I’m not trying to make a hard-fast line in the sand, but it’s a line in the sand that I certainly just don’t want to rub off when it’s convenient.”The bill passed the senate with a vote of 13-7 and now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.last_img read more

Read More

Offshore leasing plan leaves door open to Arctic drilling – for now

first_imgThe Obama Administration today released its draft plan for offshore oil and gas drilling over the next five years.The proposal keeps the door open to more drilling in the Arctic Ocean — for now.But one option the administration is considering would offer no new leases at all.Download AudioShell’s Polar Pioneer leaving Dutch Harbor on Monday, Oct. 12, heading for Washington State. (Photo: John Ryan, KUCB)The Department of the Interior plans for offshore oil and gas leases in five-year cycles; the current proposal covers 2017 – 2022. The draft includes three potential lease sales in Alaska: two in the Arctic – in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas – and one in the federally owned part of Cook Inlet.On a call with reporters, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the proposal takes a “balanced approach” to oil and gas development.The priority, she said, is “focusing potential lease sales in areas with highest resource potential, greatest industry interest and established infrastructure, while removing certain areas for consideration that we know are not appropriate for leasing.”So far, the administration isn’t removing any areas in Alaska from potential oil and gas drilling. But in a statement, the Department said it is considering several alternatives, including one that would offer no new leases.The draft proposal also identifies several “environmentally important areas” that may be singled out for more protection. Jewell said those areas were chosen, in part, after input from North Slope communities.“Over the course of this last comment period, we heard from several communities along Alaska’s North Slope who were concerned about oil and gas activities impacting their traditional subsistence practices,” Jewell said. “This administration is keenly aware of that issue.”In late 2014 and early 2015, the Obama administration permanently removed almost 10 million acres of the Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas and all of Bristol Bay from oil and gas leasing.Sarah Erkmann, external affairs manager for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, said the draft proposal sends a “mixed message.”“On the one hand, we’re glad to see that the three areas we were concerned about were included in this last proposal,” she said. “On the other hand, there’s no certainty they will stay there. And uncertainty is what ends up killing projects.”Right now there aren’t any offshore projects planned for the Arctic — except Hilcorp’s near-shore Liberty Project. That’s been true since Shell abandoned its efforts in the Chukchi Sea last September.But, Erkmann said, if the administration pulls the Arctic from its plans, that will send the wrong message.“If the government were to not hold a lease sale, that would only accelerate the pullback from the Arctic,” she said.Conservationists had a different response.“There is no good reason to sell additional leases in the Arctic Ocean,” said Michael LeVine, of the environmental group Oceana.  “Companies have not been able to explore the leases that they bought in the 2000s, and in fact some are walking away from those investments.”There has been no offshore lease sale in the Arctic since 2008. The Interior Department had scheduled sales for the current cycle, but canceled them this past fall, saying there was not enough industry interest.The public has 90 days to comment on the proposal before it is finalized.last_img read more

Read More

Comilla arson attack case against Khaleda can continue SC

first_imgBNP chairperson Khaleda Zia being taken to jail. File PhotoThe Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a High Court order that stayed an arson attack case against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and 77 leaders and activists of the 20-party alliance for killing eight people.Chamber judge Hasan Foez Siddique passed the order after hearing a leave to appeal by the state.He sent the petition to the regular bench of the Appellate Division for hearing on 29 March.Attorney general Mahbubey Alam was state counsel.He said the High Court stayed the activities of one of two arson attack cases with Chauddagram police station following a writ petition by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.Mahbubey Alam said the chamber judge stayed the High Court order and sent the petition to the regular bench of the Appellate Division for hearing.So there is no bar to continue the activities of the case, he added.On 3 February 2015, two cases under the special power act were filed with Chauddagram police station against former prime minister Khaleda Zia and leaders and activists of the 20-party alliance.The murder case in connection with the incident continues.    The HC stayed the activities of another case filed in explosives substance act.Following a controversial and one-sided election of 5 January 2014, the BNP-led 20 party alliance launched an anti-government movement and continued for three months.During the anti-government agitation, on 2 February 2015, eight people were killed and 20 others injured in an arson attack on a passenger bus at Jogmohanpur area of Chaudagramme upazila of Comilla.last_img read more

Read More

Handy tips to enjoy adventure sports

first_imgFrom riding a wave to jumping off a cliff, the thrill that an adventure sport gives you is unmatched. However, when you attempt an extreme sport like cliff jumping and base jumping, you put your life at risk. Be mentally prepared and listen to instructions carefully to be safe, say experts. Here’s a checklist shared by experts that you must go through if adrenaline rush is on your mind:4The most important thing is to be mentally prepared and excited about the sport you are attempting. Ask yourself if you actually want to do it or is it just peer pressure. Go ahead only if you are confident. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf4If you suffer from vertigo, acrophobia, asthma or any heart disease, refrain from attempting such sports. Make sure that you are in pink of health and in case of minor ailments, take your doctor’s advice.4Follow everything that your trainers say to avoid any unforeseen situation. Ensure that you are not making too much noise and the trainer is audible enough for everyone.4At times of sudden thrust or fall, you may temporarily injure your knees, elbows and other body parts. Ensure that you are wearing proper safety gear. Don’t forget your helmet. Wear appropriate protective padding if possible. This could include knees pads, elbow pads and wrist pads. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive4Take a lesson. It’s important to see others doing the sport and practice it to feel more confident. Do your research before attempting a sport and get as many tips and instructions as possible.4A proper warm-up is needed to keep muscles and joints flexible. Be sure to warm-up the muscles you’ll be working.4Don’t wear clothes that have chances of tearing or that may be uncomfortable while doing the sport.4Don’t take pictures while doing the sport. It can be extremely dangerous. Focus on what you are there for and make the best out of it.ianslast_img read more

Read More

Gesy meeting with President cancelled

first_imgWednesday’s meeting at the presidential palace to discuss employment issues under the upcoming hospital autonomy has been cancelled until a study on the issue is completed, head of state doctors’ union Pasyki, Soteris Koumas said on Tuesday.Pasyki and other doctors’ unions met President Nicos Anastasiades last month to discuss their concerns as to the reform in the health sector, which would see the introduction of a national health scheme (Gesy). The first step toward Gesy is to render state hospitals administratively and financially autonomous so they can compete with private hospitals after the health scheme kicks in.The study into hospital staffing under autonomy was commissioned by Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis last October and is expected to be completed within the month.“At the moment, we are talking about understaffing of state hospitals. We are expecting the study, which should have already been completed,” Koumas said.Earlier in the day he said the two sides were not far from reaching an agreement over pay, but they had agreed the study results might affect what has been laid down so far and that it would be best to wait for it to be completed.Commenting on whether this would delay tabling of bills on hospital autonomy and Gesy to the plenum for a vote, Koumas said that just because timeframes were set, it does not mean that the union should rush to agree to something that would prove to have shortcomings.“It is better to delay a bit than leave gaps in the name of the reform. This is health we are talking about,” he told the Cyprus Mail.Earlier in the month, Pamporidis said political leaders agreed they would like to see the two bills that were sent to the House in mid-October be voted on by June 1.Koumas said the health ministry is to blame for any delays as it has yet to present the techno economic analysis model of the autonomous hospitals, which is part of the study, and that it had also delayed in submitting its proposals on labour relations.Following last month’s meeting between the unions and Anastasiades, Pamboridis said the president had asked the unions to come up with an agreement within the framework he had provided.The government admitted that state doctors’ salaries required review and adjustment and that good doctors should be given incentives to remain in the public health sector.Pamboridis had said it was necessary to match state doctors’ salary demands with those practices that would be adopted under hospital autonomy to increase productivity and improve the quality of healthcare.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppTake Online Privacy on a whole New levelFigLeaf Beta AppUndoMarie Claire | HanacureMeet The Beauty Equivalent To TIME’s Person Of The Year AwardMarie Claire | HanacureUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionType in your name and wait 8 seconds. It’s crazy what this site reveals about people.TruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Read More

Nicosia hosts fifth Trilateral Summit between CyprusGreeceEgypt

first_imgThe fifth trilateral Summit between Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt will be taking place in Nicosia on Tuesday.President  Nicos Anastasiades , Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will hold talks, which will mainly cover the energy sector and their cooperation as well as the geopolitical developments in the region.After the talks, the three leaders will sign a Memorandum of Cooperation and will make statements to the Press.A working lunch is also scheduled in honour of President Fattah el -Sisi and Premier Tsipras.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoSecurity SaversWindows Users Advised To Do This TodaySecurity SaversUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoOur View: Argaka mukhtar should not act as if he owns the beachUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Read More

Rep Hughes bill providing college credit for military service advances to Michigan

first_img27Mar Rep. Hughes bill providing college credit for military service advances to Michigan Senate Tags: #SB Categories: Hughes News,Newscenter_img Rep. Hughes, Vice Chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, stood alongside her Chairman and Vice Chairman, Reps. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) and David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti), encouraging their colleague’s support of this important piece of legislation.Bi-partisan legislation sponsored by state Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, providing men and women who honorably and heroically served their nation in uniform with university credit for their military experience, unanimously passed the Michigan House of Representatives Thursday.House Bill 4060 would require Michigan’s public universities to inform veterans who apply to attend the school that they could receive college credit for their past military service, and also require that the universities review a veteran’s Joint Services Transcript.Rep. Hughes, Vice Chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, stood alongside her Chairman and Vice Chairman, Reps. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) and David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti), encouraging their colleague’s support of this important piece of legislation.“I am proud that I could stand with Vice Chair Hughes and Vice Chair Rutledge to support this bill that helps our service members pursue their education goals,” said Barrett.“Representative Tom Barrett has served two tours of duty in Iraq and continues to serve our state and nation in the Michigan National Guard.  There is no doubt that Tom is a man of character and always has our veterans’ best interests in mind,” said Hughes.  “I appreciate Rep. David Rutledge always standing with our veterans and with me today.  He’s a statesman that can always be counted on when it comes to our veterans.”“Rep. Hughes has been a relentless champion of this important legislation that will offer an educational benefit to the veteran men and women of our state,” said Rutledge.  “Having served as an Air Force officer, I understand the need for legislation, and I am pleased to add my enthusiastic support to it.”Passage of this bill followed Rep. Hughes powerful testimony, thanking her colleagues who served and all lawmakers for their commitment to support Michigan veterans.“When you serve our country in the military, your experience and hard-work should be recognized when you transition back into civilian life,” added Hughes.  “Our veterans shouldn’t be taken advantage of by charging them twice and forcing them to take classes over again.  In states that have implemented similar legislation, veterans have seen significant savings, sometimes upwards of $30,000 and a year’s worth of college courses.”House Bill 4060 passed the House 110-0 and will now be considered in the Michigan Senate.###last_img read more

Read More

Rep Hughes schedules January coffee hours across Muskegon County

first_img Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, has scheduled three coffee hour events for Monday, Jan. 11, in Norton Shores, Whitehall and Egleston Township, continuing her strong tradition of representing throughout Muskegon County.“Although I work in Lansing, Muskegon County has always been home,” said Rep. Hughes. “I always appreciate representing our community, working together to get a lot done in 2015 and look forward to talking with people throughout the area as we start 2016.”The Jan. 11 coffee hours will take place at:9:30-10:30 a.m. – Toast N’ Jams, 3462 Henry St., Norton Shores11 a.m.-noon – Mr. Quick, 5501 East Apple Ave., Muskegon12:30-1:30 p.m. – Gary’s Restaurant, 906 East Colby St., WhitehallPeople unable to attend the coffee hour events can schedule an appointment or share their thoughts by calling Rep. Hughes’ Lansing office toll-free at 877-633-0331. Rep. Hughes can also be contacted by email at hollyhughes@house.mi.gor or mail at N-1195 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909. Categories: Hughes News,News 18Dec Rep. Hughes schedules January coffee hours across Muskegon Countylast_img read more

Read More

Rep Bellino Line 5 tunnel best option for Michigan families job providers

first_img11Dec Rep. Bellino: Line 5 tunnel best option for Michigan families, job providers Categories: Bellino News,News Representative supports plan forming new tunnel oversight panelState Rep. Joe Bellino said a plan approved today in the Michigan House with bipartisan support is a key step toward energy security for Michigan residents and the creation of thousands of jobs for Michigan workers.Bellino, of Monroe, said agreements with Enbridge Energy to build a multi-use utility tunnel will allow for the decommissioning of the current Line 5 segment in the Straits and greatly reduce the risk of an oil spill between Michigan’s peninsulas. It will also provide energy security for Michigan families and businesses.“The Great Lakes are critical to our economy and way of life in Michigan. Ensuring families and businesses have access to safe, reliable energy is also essential,” said Bellino, a member of the House Energy Policy Committee. “This solution makes Line 5 safer while it continues to deliver resources to heat Michigan homes and power our economic growth.”The plan laid out in Senate Bill 1197 creates a new, independent authority to provide oversight and take ownership of the proposed tunnel. The new body will be called the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority.Bellino said Enbridge, not taxpayers, will pay for 100 percent of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel. Once the company reaches an agreement with the newly created Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority, the authority would own the tunnel and provide proper oversight, including a public, transparent process for ongoing operation of the tunnel.“The tunnel project will put people to work, protect our natural resources and heat Michigan homes and businesses – and taxpayers won’t pay a dime for the construction,” Bellino said. “This is a win-win-win for Michigan families, workers and businesses.”###last_img read more

Read More