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Al Gore Believes Climate Crisis Solutions Are Available Now

first_imgDespite that the current US president pulled out of the Paris climate accord earlier this year, former vice president and current activist, Al Gore, still says he comes down on the side of hope.Following his 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, about the effects of global warming, Gore released a follow up documentary last month called An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, which speaks to the human ingenuity that is behind his hope.In an NPR interview, Gore said that with the fossil fuel industry financing an industry of climate denial through pseudo scientists and pseudoscientific reports, enough doubt was created so that the sense of urgency about solving the crisis was lost. “But because Mother Nature has a more persuasive voice than any of us,” he says, “they’re losing this battle. The Paris agreement was truly a historic breakthrough, illustrating that all around the world, opinions are getting stronger and stronger in favor of solving the climate crisis.”He cites other signs of hope as well. “Electricity from the sun and the wind is now in many regions much cheaper than electricity from dirty fossil fuels,” says Gore. “Electric cars are becoming affordable. Batteries are coming down very quickly in cost and, coupled with renewable energy, will utterly transform the world’s energy systems.“And along with sustainable agriculture and forestry, we now have a chance to use these tools to really solve the climate crisis in time to avoid the catastrophic consequences that would otherwise fall upon us.”The question is, will we?.Copyright ©2017Look to the Starslast_img read more

Between Drake videos helping us save MuchFACT DirectorX sat down with Coveteur

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: In your career so far, what was the most unexpected experience?“It has to be ‘Hotline Bling’— it was really surprising in its reaction. The way it took off virally, the memes, and the jokes, and…I have a clip of Donald Trump dancing to ‘Hotline Bling’ from Saturday Night Live. They did a parody, and Donald Trump is in there dancing. It was just one of those ‘What the hell? How the hell?’”Was he a good dancer?“No, of course not [laughs].” To state the obvious, music videos are the visual representation of the song. And when it comes to bringing that vision to life, everyone from Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Drake to Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne (and the list goes on) trust Toronto-based Director X to bring it to fruition. Not only that, but Director X makes it go viral. When he stopped by our portrait studio during TIFF, we sat down to talk “Hotline Bling”’s unexpected success (and the Trump dancing video that exists), his venture into full-length film direction, the experimental fringe science series he’s working on for Viceland, and the advice that fueled his success.So tell me, how did you decide on your name?“It’s an evolution from Little X. When I was a teenager, it was the time of like X Clan, and Malcolm X, and Public Enemy, so all hip-hop was very conscious with lots of X’s [Laughs]. For whatever reason, I really like the X names, so [my name] became Little X. Once I hit my 30s, Little X wasn’t sitting well with me—it felt like it was time to switch it up, so it evolved to Director X.” Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

Traffic movement unhindered in city despite PMs rally

first_imgKolkata: Traffic movement in the city was more or less normal with the Kolkata Police making arrangements in advance to restore normalcy in traffic, keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Brigade Parade Ground. “The movement of goods vehicles in the city from 12 noon to 8 pm, along with some restrictions in parking in and around the meeting venue augured well for us and traffic flow was more or less normal,” a senior police officer of the Traffic department of Kolkata Police said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe police did not allow any sort of parking in and around Victoria Memorial, Kidderpore Road, Hospital Road, Queens way, Cathedral Road, Casuarina Avenue and Lovers Lane. Senior officials of Kolkata Police were on the road and made necessary diversions as and when required. Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma had instructed the traffic wing to make all necessary arrangements to ensure that common people are not inconvenienced by any means.last_img read more

Global stocks sink on trade war jitters economic data

BEIJING — Global stock markets were retreating again Tuesday amid anxiety the U.S.-Chinese trade war will hurt already slowing global economic growth.Market benchmarks in London and Frankfurt fell, while Shanghai and Tokyo closed down. Hong Kong’s main index lost 2.1% as pro-democracy protesters crowded into the territory’s airport for a second day. Wall Street futures pointed to a slightly lower open.Investor anxiety has also been fed by weak economic data in Germany and economic jitters in Argentina.“The global economy is perched precariously, hoping for a positive inflection, but braced for a stumble,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report.In midday trading, London’s FTSE 100 lost 0.4% to 7,195 and France’s CAC 40 was 0.4% lower at 5,287. Frankfurt’s DAX retreated 0.8% to 11,584 after a survey of investors’ view of the German economy fell to its lowest since December 2011. Investors’ concerns included the U.S.-China trade conflict, the chance of a disorderly Brexit and a possible competition among countries to devalue their currencies.U.S. President Donald Trump has promised 10% tariffs on some $300 billion in Chinese imports that haven’t already been hit with tariffs of 25%. The new tariff would go into effect Sept. 1 and more directly affect U.S. consumers.Last week, Trump said he’d be “fine” if the U.S. and China don’t go ahead with a meeting next month, dampening investors’ hopes for a resolution.On Wall Street, futures for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average were off 0.1%.In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6% to 2,797.26 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.1% to 20,455.41. Seoul’s Kospi lost 0.8% to 1,925.83 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gave up 0.3% to 6,568.50. Markets in Japan, India and Southeast Asia were reopening following holidays.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sank as protesters crowded into Chek Lap Kok airport. The airport cancelled all remaining departing flights for a second day after protesters took over the terminals. Flights were also cancelled Monday after protesters who are demanding the resignation of the territory’s leader and more democratic freedoms filled its main building.Investors were rattled by a Chinese government statement Monday saying the mostly nonviolent Hong Kong protests “show the sprouts of terrorism” and were an “existential threat” to the population.Beijing’s use of the term terrorism “triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets,” said Stephen Innes of VM Markets in a report.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 17 cents to $54.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 43 cents on Monday to close at $54.93. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 11 cents to $58.46 per barrel in London. It added 4 cents the previous session to $58.57.CURRENCY: The dollar fell to 105.16 yen from Monday’s 105.30 yen. The euro gained slightly to $1.1217 from $1.1214.___Ott reported from Washington.Joe McDonald And Matt Ott, The Associated Press read more

SNC warned of US move slashing workforce if no plea deal documents

OTTAWA — SNC-Lavalin warned federal prosecutors last fall about a possible plan to split the company in two, move its offices to the United States and eliminate its Canadian workforce if it didn’t get a deal to avoid criminal prosecution, newly obtained documents show.The documents, part of a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Canadian Press, describe something called “Plan B” — what Montreal-based SNC might have to do if it can’t convince the government to grant a so-called remediation agreement to avoid criminal proceedings in a fraud and corruption case related to projects in Libya.Under that plan, SNC would move its Montreal headquarters and corporate offices in Ontario and Quebec to the U.S. within a year, cutting its workforce to just 3,500 from 8,717, before eventually winding up its Canadian operations. SNC-Lavalin CEO says job losses were never cited in push for remediation agreement SNC-Lavalin reshuffles leadership ranks, restructures amid poor performance SNC-Lavalin ‘appalled’ and ‘surprised’ as Chilean miner Codelco cancels $260-million contract “The government of Canada needs to weigh the public interest impact of the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin,” the presentation reads.“We must humbly ask whether the public interest is served to prosecute SNC-Lavalin, and to try to achieve a guilty verdict. Such a decision would effectively lead to the end of SNC-Lavalin as we know it today and has been for more than 100 years.”Of all the options for the future of the company, the plan in the presentation was the “most obvious” to follow and “well advanced” in terms of planning, say the documents, which the Privy Council Office confirmed receiving in late September, at the same time as prosecutors.The company’s board and senior management were prepared to quickly bundle parts of the business that had no role in the Libya case into a new entity, putting the “trio of possibly convicted entities” into another organization that would operate “on a reduced business level in Canada or heading into eventual wind-up,” they read.The details appear to contradict public statements by chief executive officer Neil Bruce, who has denied both that the company threatened to move its headquarters, and that the company cited its some 9,000 Canadian jobs as a reason the construction giant should be granted a remediation agreement.The company walked back the comments days later in a statement, saying a remediation deal was the best path to protect its Canadian workforce.SNC-Lavalin spokesman Nicolas Ryan confirmed the authenticity Thursday of what he called a “confidential document” that was submitted to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to allow the director of public prosecutions to consider the company’s request for an agreement.“We have always been transparent with our various stakeholders about the importance of the public interest argument/case for Canada in having a globally competitive SNC-Lavalin as part of Canada, headquartered in Montreal,” Ryan said in a statement.A remediation agreement remains “the best way to protect and grow the almost 9,000 direct Canadian SNC-Lavalin jobs, as well as thousands of indirect jobs,” the statement continues.“We have also said that we have a fiduciary duty to our shareholders and employees, and as such is our responsibility to look at all our options available…. this does not mean that we have chosen one option or that a decision has been taken on which option we will pursue, simply that there are various possibilities we must consider.”The presentation, which was delivered by mail to The Canadian Press anonymously and without a return address, also suggests the end of seven-figure donations and sponsorships for various community causes, hundreds of millions more in lost tax revenues, and the loss of spending on research positions at universities.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has held up the threat of job losses as the main reason he and others pressed former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to look into the prosecutor’s decision.Wilson-Raybould told the Commons justice committee last month she came under “consistent and sustained” pressure — including veiled threats — from Trudeau, his office, the Privy Council Office and Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s office to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.The ensuing political fallout has cost Trudeau two cabinet ministers — Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, who said she had lost confidence in the government’s handling of the affair — as well as one of his top aides, Gerald Butts, and Michael Wernick, clerk of the Privy Council, who will leave his post as the top federal civil servant before the fall election.Bruce and Wernick met on Sept. 18 about the company’s legal troubles.Notes taken at the meeting, tabled as evidence with the House of Commons justice committee, show that Wernick told Bruce to take the public interest argument to the director of public prosecutions, adding the company “will want to get it right.”Wernick testified earlier this month that he spoke with Wilson-Raybould the next day where the former attorney general appeared “very firm in her mind” that the prosecutor’s decision to not negotiate a deal with SNC-Lavalin was final. Wernick said Wilson-Raybould told him the only option for the company was to make public interest arguments through its lawyers.A spokeswoman for the prosecution service said any discussions or documents in the case are confidential. read more

TSX likely to move lower after US housing data mixed commodities

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TSX likely to move lower after US housing data, mixed commodities by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 19, 2012 8:58 am MDT TORONTO – The Toronto stock market looked ready to move lower on Wednesday as U.S. housing starts data fell short of expectations and traders remain focused on discussions over the looming “fiscal cliff” deadline.The Canadian dollar was down 0.11 of a cent to 101.34 cents US.The U.S. Commerce Department said that builders broke ground on fewer houses in November likely in part due to Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast. The report says builders began construction of homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 861,000. That’s three per cent lower than October’s annual rate of 888,000, which was the fastest since July 2008.“Keep in mind that growth in housing starts was extremely strong in the prior three months, so some giveback is not a concern at this point, especially given what permits did in November,” BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavcic writes in a note.The potential budget deal in the U.S. has grabbed the focus of traders in recent sessions, and while a compromise hasn’t been reached between the White House and Congress, sentiment has improved.Markets appear to be confident that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders agree a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” a series of automatic tax hikes and government spending cuts that will start coming into effect at the start of next year and have the potential of derailing the U.S economic recovery.Wall Street was poised for a steady opening, with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.3 per cent. Nasdaq futures are flat.Meanwhile, Canadian bank CIBC is forecasting “very mediocre” domestic growth next year, blaming weakness in the world economy and an absence of key economic drivers at home. CIBC says it now expects economic growth of only 1.7 per cent in 2013, down from its previous estimate of two per cent.In commodities, oil prices gained traction as the January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 47 cents to close at US$88.40 a barrel.March copper declined about half a cent to US$3.66 a pound while February gold bullion moved down 80 cents to US$1,669.90 an ounce.In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 per cent at 5,972 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 per cent at 7,676. The CAC-40 in France was 0.5 per cent higher at 3,667.Earlier in Asia, stocks did well too, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index up 0.6 per cent to 22,623.37 and Shanghai’s main index of Chinese shares closing flat at 2,264.30.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was the start turn, surging 2.4 per cent to close at 10,160.40, the first time the benchmark has closed above 10,000 since April 3.The stock market advance came three days after a landslide election victory by the Liberal Democratic Party. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, head of the LDP, has pledged to keep the yen from strengthening and take measure to boost the deflation-mired economy. read more

Worst in NHL last season Sabres are surging after 90 run

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres are on such a roll, captain Jack Eichel was having difficulty recalling the last time they lost.“Um, was it Calgary?” Eichel said Monday, before being reminded the 2-1 overtime defeat to the Flames was three losses ago.“Yeah, Rangers, in New York,” he said, finally recalling a 3-1 loss on Nov. 4 that dropped Buffalo’s record to 7-6-2.Nine games — and nine wins — later, the Sabres are the NHL’s biggest surprise two months into the season.A year after going 25-45-12 and becoming the league’s first team to finish 31st following the addition of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, the surging Sabres (16-6-2) have 34 points and sit one back of league-leading Tampa Bay and Nashville.“Just to think of where we came from a year ago, and to be winning games and doing this, obviously it’s great,” Eichel said.Even Phil Housley could crack a smile when asked to reflect on the troubles he and his underachieving team endured last season, his first as coach.“I try to tend to forget last year,” Housley said.The Sabres were so bad a year ago, they didn’t register their 16th victory until Feb. 10, and won consecutive games four times, including a season-best 3-0 run in late January.Buffalo’s nine-game streak is the NHL’s longest since Columbus won 10 straight in March, and it’s one short of matching the Sabres’ franchise record set twice and most recently when they opened the 2006-07 on a 10-0 run. The Sabres would match that if they beat San Jose on Tuesday night.“Extremely proud of this team,” Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula wrote in a text to The Associated Press.“Everyone is contributing in multiple ways, and when that happens anything is possible,” she added. “There’s still plenty of hockey left to play, but we are encouraged by the foundation that is being built and look forward to seeing the development continue.”Buffalo’s turnaround is the result of a series of moves and soul-searching sessions that took place over the summer in a bid to spur a team that was the worst in the league in three of the past five seasons.It began with Housley, who took action at the end of last season after center Ryan O’Reilly went public in saying a losing mentality had crept into the locker room. Housley challenged his leadership group with a summer-long series of frank discussions that allowed players to air their differences and raise concerns.“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I think the guys made a huge commitment in the summer. We talked about change,” Housley said. “It started with our leadership group leading in the right way.”Forward Kyle Okposo credited everyone for buying in.“It’s pretty powerful what you can do if you get everybody on the same page, and people are willing to admit what they have to do to be better and then actually do it,” Okposo said. “It feels like a team. It’s pretty amazing.”General manager Jason Botterill followed by overhauling the lineup through a series of trades that included sending O’Reilly to St. Louis. He also acquired Conor Sheary from Pittsburgh and Jeff Skinner from Carolina, and upgraded his goaltending by signing Carter Hutton in free agency.Skinner’s 18 goals rank second in the league, while Hutton is third with 11 wins.And then came the addition of rookie No. 1 draft pick Rasmus Dahlin , whose effortless skating and deft playmaking ability have energized what had been a plodding group of defensemen.Dahlin’s two goals and 13 points are tied for second among NHL rookies. And he’s part of a defensive group that has already contributed 12 goals after managing just 19 last season.The 18-year-old shrugs off the Sabres’ hot start.“Of course it’s awesome to lead the league, but for me, I like to win, and I’m pretty used to it,” Dahlin said. “I’m so happy that everyone is so glad in the locker room.”One major change has been the Sabres’ performance in close games. Buffalo has a league-best 9-0-2 record in games decided by one goal, a year after going 11-11-12. The Sabres are also 9-6-1 when tied or trailing after two periods, a year after going 9-44-7.During their nine-game run, the Sabres won after trailing six times, including overcoming a 4-1 deficit in a 5-4 overtime win at Pittsburgh on Nov. 19. And the game-winning goals have been scored by nine different players.Forward Jason Pominville, in his second stint with Buffalo, is the lone holdover from the 2006-07 team that won 10 in a row. He’s suddenly feeling rejuvenated.“How can you not? It’s been a lot of fun,” said Pominville, who can recall the Sabres playing to loud, sold-out home crowds, as opposed to a sometimes half-empty building last year.The next step for Buffalo: ending its franchise-worst seven-year playoff drought.“It’s nice for the guys that have been here for a while to finally see what this city is all about when you win,” Pominville said. “Hopefully, they can get a chance to see the next level of this.”___More AP NHL: and Wawrow, The Canadian Press read more

Pump Solutions Group gets Chinese green light for pumps in mining

first_imgPump Solutions Group (PSG), a business unit within Dover Corporation and a leading manufacturer of positive displacement pumps and related technologies, has announce that its Wilden Turbo-Flo Z air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps have received the Safety Certificate Approval for Mining Products, which certifies that the pumps can be used in mining operations in China. The certificate was presented from the Mining Products Safety Approval and Certification Centre, which has an accreditation process that involves the review of technical documents, on-site assessment of the manufacturer’s facility qualifications of technical capability, production equipment and testing instruments, and testing of the certified product.“PSG is proud to receive this important certificate, confirming the safe use of our leading Turbo-Flo Z AODD pumps in China mining operations,” said David Wang, PSG Vice President of Asia-Pacific. “At PSG, safety is one of our core beliefs and this certificate is an example of the safe products we are providing the marketplace.” Turbo-Flo Z pumps have no electrical components or motors, which improves safety. The company adds: “The pumps also feature the longest mean time between repairs (MTBR) as well as simple assembly and disassembly. Turbo-Flo Z pumps also feature large solid transfer, a critical element in mining operations. Turbo-Flo Z pumps provide lube-free operation, are non-stalling and easy to maintain. They feature dry-run, deadhead and self-priming capabilities for superior performance and efficiency.”last_img read more

48 children die of thirst in Niger desert

first_imgItaly mounts large-scale patrol of migrant boats after deaths>Up to 50 migrants dead as boat sinks off Sicily> RESCUERS HAVE FOUND the decomposed bodies of 87 migrants in the harsh Niger desert.The victims, nearly all of them women and children, had been trying to reach neighbouring Algeria but are believed to have died of thirst when their truck broke down, according to a senior security source in Niger.Almoustapha Alhacen, from local aid organisation Aghir In’man, gave a graphic account of the grim discovery on Wednesday about a dozen kilometres from the Algerian border.Bodies“The corpses were decomposed; it was horrible,” he said.“We found them in different locations in a 20-kilometre radius and in small groups, often under trees, or under the sun. Sometimes a mother and children, but some lone children too.”Among the 87 bodies were 48 children, 32 women and seven men, the security official said, adding to the bodies of five women and young children found earlier.Some of the bodies were “devoured by jackals or other wild beasts,” said Alhacen.Sahara desertAll died in early October after a failed attempt to reach Algeria across the inhospitable Sahara desert that covers about 80 percent of Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries.The bodies were buried according to Muslim rites as and when they were found, added Alhacen.Nigerien officials had said on Monday that dozens of migrants, most of them women and children, had died of thirst in the Sahara desert earlier this month.Two vehicles were carrying the migrants when they broke down, one about 80 kilometres from the northern city of Arlit where they had set off from and another about 160 kilometres away, the security source said.“The first vehicle broke down. The second returned to Arlit to get a spare part after getting all the migrants it was carrying to get off, but it too broke down,” said the source.Search for water“We think that the migrants were in the desert for seven days and on the fifth day, they began to leave the broken down vehicle in search of a well,” said the source.However, 21 people survived, the source said, including a man who walked to Arlit and a woman who was saved by a driver who came across her in the desert and took her to the same city.Nineteen others reached the Algerian city of Tamanrasset but were sent back to Niger, the source added.Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries and has been hit by successive food crises.Libya, rather than Algeria, is more frequently the favoured country of transit for west Africans making the journey across the continent, many of whom aim to travel on to Europe.The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that at least 30,000 economic migrants passed through Agadez, northern Niger’s largest city, between March and August of this year.- © AFP 2013last_img read more

Comet ISON may have survived its brush with the sun

first_imgA COMET THAT gained an earthly following because of its bright tail visible from space was initially declared dead after essentially grazing the sun. Now, there is a sliver of hope that Comet ISON may have survived.New images, basically faint smudges on a screen, being analysed today, showed a streak of light moving away from the sun that some said could indicate it’s not game over just yet.“It certainly appears as if there is an object there that is emitting material,” said Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer at Queens University in Belfast.Basically a dirty snowball from the fringes of the solar system, scientists had pronounced Comet ISON dead when it came within 1.6 million kilometres of the sun yesterday.Some sky gazers speculated early on that it might become the comet of the century because of its brightness, although expectations dimmed over time. But it wouldn’t be all bad news if the 4.5-billion-year-old space rock broke up into pieces, because some scientists say they might be able to study them and learn more about comets.SurpriseThe European Space Agency, which had declared ISON’s death on Twitter late Thursday, was backtracking early today, saying the comet “continues to surprise.”Comet ISON was first spotted by a Russian telescope in September last year, and became something of celestial flash in the pan this week for its vivid tail — visible by the naked eye — and compelling backstory of impending doom.The comet was two-thirds of a mile wide as it got within 1.6 million kilometres of the sun, which in space terms basically means grazing it.NASA solar physicist Alex Young said yesterday the comet had been expected to show up in images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft at around noon eastern time, but almost four hours later there was “no sign of it whatsoever.”Images from other spacecraft showed a light streak continuing past the sun, but Young said that was most likely a trail of dust continuing in the comet’s trajectory.However, instead of fading, that trail appeared to get brighter Friday, suggesting that “at least some small fraction of ISON has remained in one piece,” US Navy solar researcher Karl Battams wrote on his blog. He cautioned that even if there is a solid nucleus, it may not survive for long.LovejoyTwo years ago, a smaller comet, Lovejoy, grazed the sun and survived, but fell apart a couple of days later.“This is what makes science interesting,” said Fitzsimmons, who specializes in comets and asteroids. “If we knew what was going to happen, it wouldn’t be interesting.”ISON’s slingshot toward the sun left astronomers puzzled and excited at the same time.Made up of loosely packed ice and dirt, the space rock came from the Oort cloud, an area of comets and debris on the fringes of the solar system.Read: Comet ISON will brush past the Sun at half 6 this evening, but will it survive?>last_img read more

Final Mobility Allowance installment payment due on 26 June

first_imgTHE HSE HAS sent letters to people receiving the Mobility Allowance, informing them that they will receive their final payment on 26 June.The HSE said that the Mobility Allowance ended to new applicants with effect from close of business on 26 February. The Mobility Allowance is a monthly payment, and persons who were in receipt of it will continue to do so for four months from February.Payments will cease from 26 June. Fresh applications that were received by the HSE on or before 26 February will be processed. If the applicants are found to be qualified after their assessment, they will be paid the allowance from the date of the application up until 26 June.The HSE is informing each recipient of the Mobility Allowance of these facts. Letters were issued on an individual basis from local health offices.It was announced in February that the government is to axe the Mobility Allowance and Transport Grant and intends to devise an alternative scheme to meet people’s needs.In total, 4,700 people receive a Mobility Allowance and 300 people a year receive a Motorised Transport Grant. However, Junior Health Minister Kathleen Lynch said that the government had no option but to axe both payments.This follows a finding by the Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly that the exclusion of people over the age of 65 from the scheme was illegal and breached equality law. The government says that it would cost up to €300 million to widen the scheme.Read: Oireachtas committee ‘concerned at difficulties between Health Dept and Ombudsman’>Read: ‘Every other option was illegal’ – Minister defends disability payments cut>last_img read more

50 jobs lost as Citi Bank announce Waterford office closure

first_imgUP TO 50 jobs are to be lost following the announcement today that Citi Bank is closing its hedge fund office at the IDA industrial estate in Waterford.It is understood that half of the Waterford employees will be offered redeployment to its Dublin office. The bank says the decision is part of wider global restructuring.The bank, which operates in over 160 countries, employs 2,200 people in Dublin. They state they remain committed to its operations in Ireland.Waterford TD, John Deasy told that he had written to IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary this lunchtime stating: Considering the IDA’s recent involvement with Citibank – and I presume an investment to go with it – I feel the IDA should contact the company directly and ask that all employees be offered redeployment, not merely half.He said this was the “least the IDA could do to try to salvage something from this situation”.He said that the job losses would have a significant impact in Waterford, a city he says has an unemployment rate of 20 per cent and “is still reeling from what’s occurred within the local economy in recent years”.Read: 40 new jobs to be created in newly-formed E-drive Group>Read: Up to 54 jobs lost as nine Xtra-vision stores to close in Republic>Column: 15 tips to help you get a job>last_img read more

Column Straight talk on Bosnia has been sadly lacking during Irelands EU

first_imgLAST WEEK, THE EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton visited Bosnia and Herzegovina for the second time in less than a year.The country’s political leaders have been unwilling to agree on how to implement a European Court of Human Rights judgment that requires them to amend the country’s constitution to allow all citizens an opportunity to run for the presidency and the upper chamber of parliament.Affiliation needed to stand for electionAt present, one must declare affiliation with one of the “constituent peoples” – Bosniaks, Croats, or Serbs – to be eligible to run. Ashton said she was “really disappointed that no real progress has been made since [she] last came,” blaming politicians for adhering to party or ethnic interests rather than the public interest.The EU delegation in Bosnia, along with the European Commission’s Directorate for Enlargement, has increasingly expressed desperation for a deal – any deal – that would allow them to proclaim progress. Whether that progress is real seems a secondary concern.Irish legislators have been more attentive than most of their counterparts in the EU to the deteriorating situation in Bosnia – and the demands of justice for the 100,000 who were killed in that country’s 1992-1995 war. The forthright inquiry of TDs and Senators from across the political spectrum on Serbia’s lack of full cooperation in the hunt for Srebrenica massacre architect Ratko Mladic played an important role in Serbia’s decision to finally “find” him two years ago.War crimes grillingWe have punched above our weight in the EU on these matters by remaining true to our principles. The grilling that Irish parliamentarians gave then-Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on the war crimes accountability issue surprised and gratified Bosnians, who applauded such seriousness and directness.Such straight talk on Bosnia has been sadly lacking during Ireland’s EU presidency. Ireland is merely going with the flow, as defined by Berlin and Brussels. European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton stated that she wanted to inject some momentum into the enlargement process in the Western Balkans. But in Bosnia’s case, the momentum is all in the wrong direction.For seven years, the EU has had the undisputed lead in directing international policy toward Bosnia. The failure to get what the EU has termed “credible effort” toward enacting the European Court’s ruling should signify the bankruptcy of the current approach.Joining the EUThat approach is based on the assumption that Bosnia’s politicians actually want to join the EU – and that their citizens can hold them accountable if they fail to deliver. After all, that’s the way it worked in Central Europe. But Bosnia’s peace agreement, which also includes its constitution, was built around the wartime power brokers. Warlord politics is institutionalised, albeit with a pseudo-democratic veneer. This narrow stratum runs everything in Bosnia – politics, business, organised crime, media, and academia – and holds the levers of both patronage and fear.There is little to no upward mobility. I have numerous constituents who, while proud Irish citizens, would love to go home at least part time to try to build their homeland’s future. Yet they typically return demoralised, seeing no avenues to make an honest living or prospects for their children. The idea that this political elite would willingly abandon the prerequisites of power for the good of the country is naive. But that remains the EU’s policy. Irish taxpayers are going along for the ride as the EU attempts to postpone with money what it will not prevent with sound policy.Holding politicians accountableNow is an opportune time for a fundamental rethink of how the EU should deal with Bosnia. We have interests there – Croatia’s membership as of July will give the Union a 1000 km border with Bosnia. We can’t wish it away; containment will only come back to bite us. Luckily, the interests of EU and Bosnian citizens completely coincide. By protecting our own interests and resources, we can better enable Bosnians to hold their politicians accountable.Only external actors can negate the ambient fear that permeates all issues in Bosnia today. Doing so would be simple and relatively cheap – and certainly less expensive than allowing Bosnia to continue to slide toward violence. No new tools or institutions would be required; only a new strategy of how to marry the EU’s soft power instruments to the hard power tools that exist to prevent collapse – the international High Representative and the executive EU for military mission.Addressing the problemThe elephant in the room is that the carrot of EU membership will not address Bosnia’s problems alone. All EU foreign ministries know it, but don’t want to address it since they are implicated. So they instead tell their political masters they have things under control, and that any problems owe to Bosnia’s (predictably self-serving) political class. Short-term bureaucratic self-preservation and careerism within the EU is the biggest hurdle to changing the dynamic in Bosnia.Ireland can no longer afford, financially or morally, to go along with the EU’s current hopeless policy in Bosnia. A reassessment of the EU’s Bosnia policy and the development at long last of a coherent international strategy, the goal of which would be a Bosnia which could serve its citizens and ultimately meet the EU’s legitimate conditions for membership, is long past due. Maintaining the current policy is untenable; it will not survive honest scrutiny. For our own interests and values, Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore must demand this discussion with his EU peers.Patrick Nulty is Labour TD for Dublin West. Column: The EU need not look beyond its own borders to see widespread poverty>Read: Free Audis ‘only used to bring ministers to hotels’ during EU Presidency>last_img read more

We asked a master crêpier to make us a Valentines pancake

first_imgWe asked a master crêpier to make us a ‘Valentine’s pancake’ It’s both Pancake Tuesday and Valentine’s Day this week so we asked a master crêpier asked for something sweet and savory using aphrodisiac ingredients of his choosing. By Andrew Roberts Monday 12 Feb 2018, 8:30 PM 9 Comments IT DOESN’T HAPPEN particularly often – but this year, Pancake Tuesday and Valentine’s Day are happening in the same week.What better way to mark this quirk of the calendar than to whip up a romantic pancake or two for your other half?Okay, there may well be far better ways to mark Valentine’s Day… Nevertheless, we asked master crêpier Redmond Kennedy to cook us both sweet and savoury pancake dishes using aphrodisiac ingredients of his choosing.You can view the sweet version, prepared at Voici Crêperie & Wine Bar in Rathmines, above. And if you’re on the hunt for something to make a meal of – check out the video below… Source: Source: Subscribe for more videos Share23 Tweet Email14 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 16,995 Views Short URL Feb 12th 2018, 8:31 PM last_img read more

Labor leader Kevin Rudd concedes defeat

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Kevin Rudd, leader of the Australian Labor Party, has conceded defeat.Moments ago, he called leader of the Liberal Party Tony Abbott, and conceded defeat, and welcomed Mr Abbott as the new prime minister of Australia. In his speech, Mr Rudd says he “gave it [his] all” but it wasn’t enough in the end. Mr Rudd, at this stage, looks set to retaining his seat in Queensland, Griffith. In closing he added that he will stand down as the leader of the opposition.last_img read more

Hermit crabs use anemones as bodyguards transfer them when upgrading shells

first_imgHermit crabs have a pretty good thing going. They make their home in discarded gastropod shells, and when they outgrow it, they just hop into a bigger one. This affords the crab protection from ocean predators, but some species have taken this a step further and adorn their shells with anemones. The two species have formed a symbiotic relationship. So, what happens when the crab needs to switch shells? That’s when it gets really cool.Having sea anemones living on its shell gives the crab an active defense against predators. All it has to do is retreat into the shell and let the stinging tentacles of the anemone ward off an attacker. Riding around on the crab’s shell is advantageous for the anemones too. The two animals share food, and being mobile allows an anemone to disperse its offspring more efficiently.When the time comes to swap shells, the hermit crab brings its old shell close and hops into the new one. It won’t leave the anemones behind, though. The video above shows the process of moving the anemones to the new shell. The crab tugs on the anemone and peels it off the old shell. Then it places the anemone on the new shell and it attaches itself with its adhesive foot, known as a basal disc. It will only detach from a shell when coaxed by a hermit crab.The species of hermit crabs that do this are toward the larger end of the scale, but are still only a few inches across. They’ve got room for between two and three small anemones at most. That’s still enough to scare away many of the crabs natural predators. Symbiosis is fascinating.last_img read more

Parents Send Teenagers Off On College Tour With Despedida

first_imgLaura IsenseeDozens of families give their teenagers a ‘despedida’ or send-off for a five-day college campus tour in New England with the nonprofit, EMERGE.Before she left home, Hera’emperatrize “Trize” Gipson gave her three younger siblings a big hug goodbye. Then her dad took her to HISD headquarters to meet up with dozens more Houston teenagers headed on a five-day college tour in New England.“This is my first time going on an airplane, so I’m, like, really nervous,” Trize said, as she clutched a fuzzy blue stuffed dolphin – her pillow pet – and her Tweety Bird blanket. “I kissed all of them and let them know I love them and everything, like, ‘Ok guys! I’m really nervous but I’ll let you know about the trip once I get off!’”At HISD headquarters, Trize, her dad and all the other families had a second goodbye. It’s called a despedida in Spanish.“Despedida, it means send-off, congratulations,” said Trisha Cornwell, director of EMERGE, a college advising nonprofit that connects high achieving students from low-income communities to top tier colleges. Research shows that these students are often overlooked in the admissions process.Cornwell said that they want to include parents in their kids’ college journey way before graduation and also create a community among parents going through the same experience. For many of the students, a summer college tour is their first time away from their families, outside the state or on a plane. In some ways, it’s practice for what’s coming.“We know that if we’re going to convince more students to test out schools outside the city, we have to think of this as a family decision and not a student decision,” Cornwell said.That’s why EMERGE started holding despedidas for teenagers headed on college tours last summer.This past Sunday, dozens of parents and family members lined the hallway of HISD’s headquarters.They cheered and held up handmade signs with messages like ‘We Love You’ and ‘Good Luck’ as their kids rolled their suitcases down the hallway to the white bus waiting in the parking lot to take them to the airport.Trize’s dad Broger Gipson gave her one more hug. He said that he’ glad she’s getting this experience, but had mixed feelings, just like his 16-year-old daughter.“I’m a bit nervous because she’s going far from me and anytime she goes far from me I’m always worried,” Gipson said. “I’m hoping that she gets a chance to learn something, that’s not only just educational for herself, but for schools and different other things … Of course, when she comes back she’s going to tell me every full detail, from day one to day last.”Maybe in two years, Trize, who’s a junior at Kashmere High School, will go to college in New England, instead of her current top choice of Texas A&M University.Laura Isensee/Houston Public MediaFor most students in the EMERGE college advising program, this summer’s college tour outside of Texas marks the first time they’ve been outside Texas or on an airplane. X 00:00 /01:25 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Listenlast_img read more

Wall Delivers DC Residents Thanksgiving Turkeys Through Bright Beginnings

first_imgBy MARK F. GRAY, AFRO Staff WriterThe most successful point guards in the NBA are driven to deliver.  They make the team around them better setting them up for success even when the team is not at its best and they aren’t playing at full strength.Despite an ailing quadricep that made it difficult to stand for long stretches, Washington Wizards guard John Wall brought smiles to a soggy Southeast D.C. community who came to see their hometown superstar, whose foundation is working with a local organization trying to make this holiday season easier for them.John Wall gives away a turkey to a family at Bright Beginnings in Southeast, D.C. on Nov. 15.John Wall and the John Wall Family Foundation (JWFF) partnered with Bright Beginnings and Giant Foods, to distribute turkeys to homeless families who reside in underserved communities in Washington, D.C.  The five time NBA All-Star and representatives from the Wizards organization visited the Congress Heights community for an afternoon of festivities while the families who arrived left the event with the main dish for the Thanksgiving meal.“It’s important for me to give something back to the people who support me,” Wall told the AFRO.  “I know what it’s like to have it tough when you’re growing up.  It makes me feel good to be out here and meet people. You never know how you can impact the lives of people in the community.”Bright Beginnings is a non-profit organization that serves children under the age of six and their families who are experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C. The mission is to provide children with a safe, nurturing educational environment that prepares them to enter kindergarten ready to learn.  They also support parents in stabilizing their home lives and becoming self-sufficient. Bright Beginnings is recognized for its free, developmentally-appropriate early childhood education programming.John Wall gives away turkeys in the snow at Bright Beginnings in Southeast, D.C. on Nov. 15.When evaluating potential community partnerships, the JWFF found their missions were similar.  Wall established his foundation to strives to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged families and to impact the lives of at-risk youth through mentorship, education and physical activities.  With the two mission statements representing similar philosophies, the collaboration has paid big dividends.“We’ve been in collaboration with [JWFF] in a really robust way about four years.  We got a phone call one day and his team wanted to come out to see what we do.  They came out, they did a lot of due diligence, they found out who we were, what we do, what we’re about. We got another phone call and John Wall showed up with a check- a huge check of support,” Bright Beginnings Executive Director Dr. Marla Dean told the AFRO.“After my assistant and I did a background check we knew [Bright Beginnings] was the kind of organization that we could partner with,” Wall said. “Their mission falls in line with what I believe in.”The event was another extension of the Wall Foundation’s commitment to local charities that impact the lives of homeless and destitute families around the D.M.V.  This was an extension of the charitable organization’s sponsorships that directly impact children and their families, which is something that Wall is all too familiar with.“Whenever you build a bond or form a partnership with a team, organization or charity, it becomes like a family,” Wall said.  “I stand for loyalty over royalty when I believe in what an organization does in the community.  They do that here.”A steady stream of residents made their pilgrimage through torrential freezing rains and braved wind chill temperatures in the teens to receive 12-pound fresh turkeys that were provided by Giant Foods.  Wall greeted the families – though in obvious discomfort from an ailing thigh injury – for almost two hours standing on his feet.  He posed for selfies with fans of all ages and some weren’t overly impressed by the NBA All Star I their neighborhood.Wall, who is now being represented by the same firm as LeBron James, takes his motivation from the three time NBA champion regarding community outreach.“That’s where I’m trying to be,” Wall said.  “Watching what he does in the community makes me want to do more.  I’m hoping that one day I can impact he does”.last_img read more

Murshidabad looks to boost income of farmers

first_imgKolkata: Murshidabad district administration has taken up a unique initiative to increase the income of the farmers, thereby giving them an opportunity to be economically stronger.The district administration has started buying paddy directly from the farmers. The farmers have started selling their produce at various rice mills designated by the district administration. The initiative has created a platform to ensure that the paddy farmers get better price. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSenior administrative officials of the district have already held a meeting to spread awareness among the paddy cultivators, about the move made by the state government. The district administration has set a target of buying more paddy this year. It has been learnt that various women involved with the self-help groups in the district would be deployed for the buying and selling of paddy. The administration has been engaging women from various self-help groups at every block of the district. The officials have already held meetings with the rice mill owners, urging them to buy paddy directly from the farmers. The district administration will also keep a tab on the entire exercise. The farmers involved in paddy cultivation throughout the district have been informed to sell their produce directly to the government. A control room will be thrown open soon to disseminate information among the farmers. A rice mill has also been constructed at Berhampore through the initiatives of the district administration, where a huge amount of paddy can be stored. Earlier, the farmers had to sell their produce for lower cost due to scarcity of go-downs in the district. All the mill owners have been asked to buy paddy from the farmers, at a rate that has been fixed by the government.last_img read more