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Image of the Day: US Destroyers, USNS Arctic Meet at Sea

first_img Share this article View post tag: meet Authorities View post tag: US The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Farragut (DDG 99) and USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) transit during an underway replenishment with the Military Sealift Command combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8).The operation was conducted on March 16.Forrest Sherman and Farragut are conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.Image: US Navy View post tag: News by topic View post tag: day View post tag: Naval View post tag: Image: Back to overview,Home naval-today Image of the Day: US Destroyers, USNS Arctic Meet at Sea March 20, 2015 View post tag: Navy View post tag: americas Image of the Day: US Destroyers, USNS Arctic Meet at Sea View post tag: sea View post tag: USNS Arctic View post tag: Destroyer’slast_img read more

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The corporation strikes back

first_imgSara-Christine Gemson looks ta the troubles befalling Oxfprd’s small businesses Coming back from the summer vacation, you may have noticed the addition of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Wagamama to the culinary offerings of central Oxford. A stroll down Cowley Road reveals the arrival of a Costa Coffee and the opening of a new G&D’s. Little Clarendon Street, which formally appeared to be a bastion of indie charm (if in appearance only) recently added Strada to the chains to which it plays host. What’s happening to Oxford? Despite its unique architecture that attracts tourists from all over the world, are its commercial offerings becoming increasingly homogenous? And if so, is this something of concern?On this question, the City Council abdicates responsibility for any major role in the nature of shops and restaurants available in Oxford. John Kulasek, the Acting Assets Manager for commercial rents at the city council, while hesitating to give an exact figure, said that the town council owned at most five percent of the commercial spaces in Oxford. On Cowley Road in particular, the town council has very little control over the commercial spaces available: “I’ve not actually counted them but I imagine there must be a couple of hundred shops on Cowley Road. The City council owns six. So our influence there is very slight.” However, he admits that the council does have a bigger influence in the center of town, where it owns entire streets such as George Street or stretches of Broad Street as well as the Covered Market. For the property that it does own, the council has a policy to try to maximise local opportunities. Everything else being equal, the council would favour a local business over a chain: “In terms of commercial shops and restaurants we would look at all offers received and, wherever possible, try to use a local company.” So how does he explain the Gourmet Burger Kitchen replacing the independently owned lebanese restaurant Tarboush on George Street? In that case, the owner signed over his claim to the property to GBK and the council didn’t actively seek out a chain. More generally though, Mr. Kulasek asserts “Sometimes you can’t hold the tide back” so the council tries to concentrate the chains in one area rather than have them scattered all over the city. In the three and a half years that he’s been in his position he has noted a change “I’ve noticed an acceleration of chains trying to get into the city.”For Ian Pavier, the manager of Hedges, one of the butchers in the Covered Market, the current trend dates much further back. The Covered Market wasn’t always filled with souvenir shops and cafes catering to tourists: “In the last fifteen years the butchers and fishmongers have all dwindled away.” Supermarkets like Sainbury’s and Tesco, with their centrally located “local” or “metro” branches can capture a major share of the grocery business even in a town like Oxford, where the majority of students don’t have cars and can’t drive to the big supermarkets on the outskirts. There has been an outcry in the press and in recent books published on the supermarket industry in the UK on how big supermarkets are even encroaching on small city center shops with their smaller “convenience” shops. Conversely, the “Market Investigation into the Supply of Groceries in the UK” report published by the Competition Commission on 31 October concluded: “Concerns have also been raised regarding Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s expansion in convenience store retailing. We do not find any adverse effect on competition arising from these issues. We consider that those convenience store operators that provide consumers with a strong retail offer will continue to survive and prosper, and the evidence suggests that current developments in convenience store retailing reflect consumer preferences.” This reflects Mr. Pavier’s experience when Sainbury’s first opened in the center of town. While they initially experienced a drop in business, it didn’t last: “People like Sainbury’s and Tesco’s don’t really know what butchery is so people go there once or twice but can’t find what they want so they go back to the butchers.”So is Oxford no worse off for having lost a few independent restaurants and shops in exchange for chain restaurants and the big supermarkets? It depends what you are looking for. Wanting to ensure a uniform, quality experience and avoid any variation that might tarnish the company reputation, head offices make sure that franchises provide a certain level of service, quality of food and maintenance of venue. Aneta Wetlsha, the assistant manager at GBK on George Street explains that people from the central office visit regularly to make sure that the franchise is abiding by company rules. In some cases, customers are quite happy with the result. “I don’t see it as a big loss, given that there are three other similar restaurants left” says Farid Boussaid, a student, of Tarboush being replaced by GBK. “The service [at Tarboush] was not always great and the burgers [at GBK] are excellent!”  Similarly, John and Ann Priest who’ve been living in Oxfordshire since 1988 have noticed that Oxford has become more commercial but didn’t seem too concerned about the trend. In fact, many customers actively seek out chains for the familiarity they offer. Seth Anziska regularly studies in coffee shops and chooses his venue based on the type of work he’s doing: “For uninterrupted writing, I prefer Starbucks on Cornmarket, which has outlets, long hours and no accessible wireless. Sometimes not being able to get online is a must to avoid distraction. The familiar ritual of Starbucks means I could be anywhere, which helps to keep me grounded.”On the other hand, it’s precisely that uniformity that can be off-putting. Independent businesses tend to be a more integral part of the community and make an effort to offer a more personalised service. Jan Rasmussen is the owner of Green’s Cafe on St Giles: “What we try to offer here is to be part of the local community. I’ve been here for two years now and I know pretty much all the regulars. People know me, we have a chat.” Because it’s their own business and it’s usually “one of one”, owners of such independent businesses are often far more actively involved in the daily operations. As Mr. Rasmussen puts it, “Places like Starbuck’s and Costa do very well, but when you go in, you don’t normally meet Mr. Costa.” This doesn’t go unnoticed. Customers such as Aleksandra Gadzala note the difference in the service offerings in independent places likes Green’s: “The independent coffee shops have more character, often friendlier staff and a greater variety in terms of food.” Indeed there is often a certain flexibility in the offerings of independent restaurants that chains can’t accommodate. At Green’s, you can ask for something off the menu and they will be happy to satisfy your special request.This attention to individual and local needs is what distinguishes the independent shops from the chains. Green’s flexibility stands in contrast to Wagamama, where any special request would need to be sent to London for approval: “The customers should experience the same service everywhere they go […]. They [the franchises] can also create their own seasonal specials but all these need approval from the UK Wagamama head office team. We obtain our food from our central depot which supplies all our restaurant so that we can have a standard uniformity throughout the group and achieve high quality and standards in all our restaurants, so that the food consumed in Oxford is of the same quality as the food served in any of our other branch’s.” Similarly, the big supermarkets arrive with their established selection of products that don’t necessarily reflect local tastes, needs or products. At Hedges all the pork and lamb is from the Cotswolds area and they actively try to sell as much local product as possible. The big supermarkets are now starting to offer local products, but these new offerings seem to be a marketing ploy as opposed to an organic way of doing business. This can be seen in Tesco’s official line on the local products it sells: “Tesco is British farming’s biggest customer and our own customers tell us they want us to do even more to find and stock great local products. This year we have opened up seven regional offices all of which are making great progress in this area, and have introduced 600 new lines. It’s something we’re committed to.” (More generally, when trying to find out about service offerings and their relationship to Oxford, managers and owners of independent shops and restaurants were available and happy to talk while I had to go through press offices based in London for chains such as Wagamama and Tesco.Even though both chains and independent stores can offer quality products and services, the concern in Oxford is that independents are being pushed out because they can’t afford increasingly exorbitant rents. Max Mason is the owner of the Big Bang, a restaurant on Walton Street in Jericho that offers gourmet bangers and mash. He expresses serious concerns about the changing nature of the commercial offerings in Oxford: “Oxford is a place of international interest, a place people visit wanting to see oldie Britain. They want to see them cobbles, they want to see the Covered Market, they want to see independent places.” Yet such places are being pushed out because “Oxford is so expensive that only the big chains can afford the rent.” So what does the future hold for the independent shops and restaurants of Oxford?  There is hope, though success depends on a lucky combination of good business sense and hard work. When he opened Green’s two years ago, Mr. Rasmussen was both tactical and pragmatic. He couldn’t open in a more prime location because of the competition and the expensive rents. But he found a promising location on St Giles: “We had to choose our location very carefully. We are lucky, we are in an independent area. St Giles is not the main shopping area and there aren’t many commercial properties here so there can’t be a Starbucks or something next door, which is something we definitely considered.” Mr. Mason also highlights the importance of intelligent appraisal: “You need to really work hard on what you are, what your special slant is on the market, how you are different from your competitors and then work out if it’s financially viable. It’s a tricky balancing act.” Fortunately, there’s a critical mass in Oxford that’s interested in keeping independent places open and that ensures that restaurants like the Big Bang do well: “There’s a massive intelligent, affluent market. There are people who will pay the Covered Market prices. The populace of Oxford is keen to keep the town an interesting place.” There is also the strong possibility that niche business models like the Big Bang, which only serves food and drink produced in a twenty mile radius, may be the only viable business model in the future. As Mr. Mason explains: “In three or four years time, when petrol is ridiculously expensive, all restaurants will have to source everything locally because it’s not going to be viable to source things from nine or eleven hundred miles away.” Until then, you can choose between a bowl of noodles, a burger or bangers and mash next time you go out for dinner.last_img read more

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Speech: UK is committed to ensure everyone is equal, safe and empowered: Speech by Enyonam Azumah

first_imgIt’s an honour to be here today to speak on behalf of DFID – at this important dissemination event of the What Works research and COMBAT intervention.Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) occurs in all parts of the world and in all societies and remains one of the most systematic widespread human rights violations worldwide. 1 in 3 women has suffered violence in her lifetime with abusers generally being members of the family. Women are predominantly victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) at a rate of around 5 times more than males. For children exposed to IPV, the long-term health and social consequences are similar to those of child abuse and neglect.DFID is proud to be a global leader in efforts to eradicate violence against women and girls in all its forms. Eradicating VAWG is a key pillar in our new Strategic Vision on Gender Equality and the FCO’s Special Envoy for Gender Equality has made a commitment to ensure a foreign policy that focuses on 3 themes to achieve gender equality – Equal, Safe and Empowered. Our work typically provides support to women’s rights organisations; tackles the attitudes that normalise violent behaviour; gets comprehensive services to survivors; ensures that national legislation and policies are in place and implemented and ensures that we conduct rigorous research to produce evidence on What Works to prevent VAWG.DFID’s new Strategy on Disability Inclusion Development places a greater focus on mental health and psychosocial support. We recognise that exposure to all forms of conflict, violence and insecurity more broadly can have a major impact on the mental health and psychosocial well-being of all people with high rates of depression among victims being linked with observing IPV and or experiencing violence in childhood.Ladies and gentlemen,The objective of this forum is to share DFID-funded research, evidence and best practices on preventing domestic violence. The ‘What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’ programme is a flagship programme from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which is investing an unprecedented £25 million over five years to the prevention of violence against women and girls supporting primary prevention efforts across Africa and Asia.Component Three of the Economic and Social Costs of Violence against Women and Girls is a 3-year multi-country project that estimates the costs of VAWG, both social and economic, to individuals and households, businesses and communities in Ghana. Today, ISSER will present findings from a survey conducted among businesses in Kumasi and Accra revealing how domestic violence impacts businesses in Ghana. The findings show that domestic violence has ripple effects throughout the community and is not contained within the four walls of the home. No such analysis has previously been carried out in Ghana, or indeed elsewhere in West Africa.The impact of the Ghana study may be significant in breaking new ground in understanding the impact of VAWG eg. on the physical and mental health of individuals, community cohesion, economic stability and development in order to provide further evidence for Government to accelerate efforts to address VAWG.Ladies and gentlemen,Our commitment to ensure everyone is Equal, Safe and Empowered aligns with His Excellency the President’s vision to create a Ghana where all citizens are able to actively participate and contribute towards the socio-economic development of the country to create a self-reliant and prosperous Ghana Beyond Aid. It is crucial that we act together to stop IPV: women, men, youth, teachers, political leaders, government ministries (health, education, gender and finance), traditional and religious leaders, civil society organisations, international, multilateral organisations, academia, grassroots organisations and the media – in a coordinated, multi-actor and multi-sectoral approach if we are to meet the Goal 5 of the SDGs by 2030.In conclusion, failure to eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls constitutes a drag on the national economy and on inclusive human development. There is thus strong incentive for investment by the government and other stakeholders to address VAWG as the cost of inaction may be significant. Finally, I’d like to applaud ISSER for their hard work and expertise in developing the research and intervention. I’d like to thank the Minister of Gender and the Government of Ghana for their leadership and look forward to working together, in partnership, to build a safer, healthier and more prosperous Ghana for all ensuring, above all, that we reduce gender inequality and eliminate violence against women and girls in Ghana.Thank you.last_img read more

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Zeelandia donates bread ‘bibles’ to bakery students

first_imgZeelandia UK has presented 20 students from the National Bakery School, London, with copies of the Craft Bakers Association (CBA) Book of Breadmaking as part of a presentation and Q&A session.The presentation, held at the London Southbank University, gave first-year students the opportunity to hear from industry professionals about the UK baking industry.Presentations from Zeelandia UK were conducted by David Amos, managing director, and Michael Stimpson, marketing manager, on current trends, product ranges and the history of the industry. Daniel Carr, CBA Laser president, joined Amos during his talk and presented each student with the book.Elaine Thompson, course director at the National Bakery School, thanked the Zeelandia team and Daniel Carr for taking time out of their busy schedules.“It’s a real inspiration for the students to know they have the backing and support from the industry,” she added.Amos, who is also a former president of the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST), ended the day by encouraging students and lecturers to become members of the ABST and attend the annual conference in June.last_img read more

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A more inclusive church?

first_imgAlmost from the moment in February that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became head of the Catholic Church as Pope Francis, he began making headlines for his down-to-earth, straightforward style: washing the feet of inmates at an institution for minors during Holy Thursday services; wading into crowds to shake hands; comforting ordinary citizens with papal cold calls. In recent months he has gained even more attention, for comments on gay marriage, contraception, and abortion during an informal press conference on the papal plane and in a wide-ranging interview with the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.Gazette reporter Colleen Walsh spoke with Professor Francis X. Clooney, S.J., of Harvard Divinity School about the context and implications of the pope’s recent remarks.GAZETTE: What are your impressions of the pope’s first six months in office?CLOONEY: I am, like millions of other Catholics in particular but many others too, genuinely surprised and gratified by this man becoming pope. As a Jesuit, I knew of him but I never knew anything much about him. And it is quite remarkable that the cardinals, who were chosen by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, would venture to choose a really different kind of person, pastoral, much more down-to-earth, with a very different style from Benedict and John Paul. And he has been surprisingly adept at small gestures that made a big difference — beginning with choosing the name Francis and washing the feet of a very diverse group on Holy Thursday, just a few weeks after his becoming pope. And then there are all the little stories about his phone calls and letters to people, opting for a simple car, not living in the papal palace, and of course his weekday homilies and his comments in casual contexts, such as what he said on the plane about our gay brothers and sisters. And now we have the interview. He is not deliberately, directly addressing doctrinal issues, not changing anything of that sort — not yet at least — but he is already changing the framework in which doctrines and values are to be thought about. I think all this has made a big difference thus far.GAZETTE: In the interview the pope seemed to say that he looks at the Catholic Church as a top-down as well as a bottom-up institution. Is that a major break from tradition? How will that thinking impact his papacy?CLOONEY: I think if you had had a private conversation with John Paul or Benedict, they would have agreed with this larger sense of church. It’s in the language of Vatican II that the church is fundamentally the people of God, and that the people of God is not just the Vatican or the bishops. They believed this too. But the truth of this wider reality of church really hasn’t, in the decades since the council, been wholeheartedly embraced and implemented as the ordinary practice of the church. Figures at the top have still taken the lead and kept control of so much of what goes on, and caution won out over creativity, again and again. There was no “bottom-up” energy affecting the Vatican, as far as most of us could see. Even at higher levels, consultation seemed more an ideal than a reality. In the interview, Francis points out how Vatican II called for a process of consultation with the various bishops’ conferences from around the world, but the synods that have happened, regularly, seem to have been encumbered by a highly stylized formality in which little that is truly new has been really allowed to be said, as if the outcomes were planned in advance. The fact that Francis is genuinely saying that the church can be the church only if people at all levels and all places have a role is an important step forward — and back to the council. But how that translates into practice will be the key issue. … If he does truly make room for these multiple voices, that’s going to be a big change.GAZETTE: Pope Benedict referred to homosexuality as an “intrinsic moral evil,” but Pope Francis has said the church has become too focused on issues like abortion, homosexuality, and contraception. Is he suggesting a new position for the church? Is this rhetoric going to lead to any kind of significant policy change, or is it simply a change of tone?CLOONEY: Here too, it’s a change in tone, not in doctrine — but a change in tone that can change the church in a deeper way. In some of his statements, Benedict was in part at least following an old schoolbook theology that held that what’s intrinsically “ordered,” according to God’s plan, is heterosexuality, from which it follows that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered, and defective. There is a certain manner of scholastic logic to the language of “intrinsic moral evil” — though I must leave the details of this to ethicists to elaborate! But even when the Vatican was saying, “We don’t condone such practices,” it was also saying, “We welcome everybody into the church.” Thus there was always an ambiguity, because words of welcome and words of judgment accompanied one another, without anyone really explaining how it was supposed to be received by the people affected. What Francis is doing, as in his comment on the plane — “Who am I to judge?” — is quite amazing, coming from the mouth of a pope. He is, I think, putting those scholastic technicalities into the background, and saying that our first instinct has to be to welcome and honor our brothers and sisters who are gay, and to stop speaking so pejoratively about what is ordered and disordered, etc. Still, I don’t think he is going to go so far as to say explicitly that gay relationships and gay marriage are OK. But such might seem to be the implication: You can’t respect gay men and women and take them seriously in God’s eyes if you add, “but only if you are one hundred percent celibate.” In reality, that’s not going to work, and I am sure Francis knows this. It is also the case, I must add, that popes rarely explicitly disagree with their predecessors; Francis might go a very long way in a different direction than Benedict, but he is unlikely ever to say, “I disagree with Benedict.”GAZETTE: It seems that with his recent comments, Pope Francis might be suggesting a greater role for women within the church, and yet this weekend the Associated Press reported he kept in place Archbishop Gerhard Müller, who “directs the Holy See’s crackdown on nuns suspected of undermining Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality.” How do you reconcile his language with his action?CLOONEY: A lot of it has to do with who Francis is, having grown up in what I would guess to have been a fairly traditional background in Argentina. Our personal attitudes and our policies are all mingled together, and what is liberal in one context may seem conservative in another. He is saying the right things about equality, dignity, and so on, but even in the interview he is still confirming his view that there are differences between men and women that will not go away and could make a difference. In any case, I am not the one to know how far he would go in terms of women’s ordination. But he has said on various occasions that you can’t talk about the role of women in the church if you trivialize them and condescend toward them, leaving all authority in the hands of men. Respect requires that there be a real sharing of responsibility in the church, where more women are called to more positions of leadership — over clergy. His recognition that words alone do not suffice could open the door to a new vision — practical, realized, enacted — of women in the church. But short of the more radical step of clearing the way for the ordination of women, there are more likely things he could easily do: [He could put] women in charge of offices in the Vatican, no longer serving under clergy; there can be women cardinals, since you don’t even have to be a priest to be a cardinal; and Francis could revive the deaconate for women, since historians tell us that there is a lot of evidence … that there were women deacons in the early church. Whether he will put his words into practice by doing any of that, I cannot say. But I think his instincts are certainly more forward-looking in this regard than those of John Paul or Benedict, neither of whom seemed, at least from an American perspective, to “get” what women are concerned about. Listening is hard work. As for Archbishop Müller, that Francis has kept him in place does not necessarily tell us anything about what the pope will do regarding greater respect for nuns and their service in the church, and those serving at the will of a pope usually adjust their style and policies to fit the attitudes of a new pope.GAZETTE: What was your response to Pope Francis categorizing himself in the journal interview as first and foremost a sinner?CLOONEY: To be honest with you, I wasn’t too much surprised by it, because this awareness of one’s own sinfulness is familiar Jesuit rhetoric. We are reminded in many of our Jesuit documents of the truth that we are first of all sinners, sinners in God’s eyes, but also sinners who are saved and sent out on mission. We are people in need of conversion ourselves, over and over again, no matter what point in our lives we are at. So while this is an important admission on his part, because it is true, it is not a new way of speaking. … It was more revealing to me that when he talked about his time as provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina, he admitted that he had been unprepared, a bit foolish and too rigid, too young and inexperienced for the job. This was an admission in practice of his sinfulness in the real world, expressed with a certain regret, that things might have been different.GAZETTE: Does this type of long-form interview, which was conducted over three separate meetings in August, represent a break from tradition?CLOONEY: John Paul, to his credit, opened things up and was more accessible than many of his predecessors. Any modern pope, like other leaders, has to be accessible to the media. Benedict sat for interviews, but his exchanges come across more as those of a professor sitting with his students and explaining things to them. Benedict’s interviews were long and technical expositions that became books. But Francis’ interview seems so different, as a candid back and forth, much more humane in tone, down-to-earth. We can hear his living voice even in the edited version of the text. The other thing experts have pointed out is that Francis made use of his Jesuit connections to arrange the interview and to disseminate it. Usually a pope works entirely within the structures of the Vatican and its offices for the public dissemination of papal messages. Everything comes out through the Vatican press office, after being vetted by his secretaries who check his words carefully for their policy implications, etc. Francis may have caught his own Vatican officials by surprise, since the interview occurred in Jesuit circles and was disseminated through Jesuit media outlets. Again, if this is so, it does not prove anything about what Francis wants to say and be as pope, but the circumstances do indicate a fresh, novel approach.But all in all, this hopeful beginning, fresh air flowing into the church, will be tested in practice in the next year or two, as Francis, this surprising leader, tests his abilities to govern and to lead this very large and very structured organization. Even with popes, “it is by their fruits that you shall know them.”last_img read more

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Honeybee Tags

first_img“Save the Honeybee” license plates are now available for Georgia drivers to purchase, thanks to the efforts of the Georgia Beekeepers Association (GBA).“The idea of the honey bee tag had been tossed around for over a decade among members of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, but due to the cost and amount of work it would require, the idea was tabled numerous times,” said Jennifer Berry, an apiculture research professional and lab manager for the University of Georgia Honeybee Program.Finally, a group of enthusiastic members of the GBA decided it was time for Georgia to have a tag dedicated to the “beloved honeybee,” Berry said. That was when the real work began, as getting a new license plate in Georgia requires legislative action, which can take years.A couple of GBA members quickly learned the ins and outs of getting a license tag issued, including learning legal and legislative processes and understanding laws and procedures. Then the GBA board had to commit to cover the $25,000 specialty-tag manufacturing fee, a new state requirement due to dozens of specialty tags not selling well. It was a gamble, but the GBA rolled the dice.The breakeven point for the GBA is selling 1,000 tags and this must be done within two years. Only then will the group be reimbursed the $25,000 ($25/tag). Once 1,000 tags are sold, the GBA receives $22 per tag sold. The tags became available for purchase in June 2019 and to date 820 tags have been sold. Unexpectedly, 71% of the tags sold so far were not purchased by GBA members.“This is amazing and, due to the diligence and hard work of so many folks, social media and the marketing campaign, that is still going on today,” Berry said.“Another cool tidbit is that no one had ever gotten a license tag bill passed through the state legislature as fast as the GBA did,” Berry said. The first meeting with the Georgia Department of Revenue administration was on Nov. 17, 2017. The House approved the request on Feb. 1, 2018, the Senate approved it on March 21, 2018, and the Governor signed it into law on May 3, 2018.According to the new law, funds raised by the sale of this special license plate “shall be dispersed to the GBA and used to increase public awareness of the importance of the conservation of the honey bee. Funds are to be used to support association programs, including but not limited to the training and education of both new and experienced beekeepers, prison beekeeper programs, grants to beekeeping-related nonprofit corporations, beekeeping research facilities in this state and projects that encourage public support for the license plate and the activities it funds.”To purchase a honeybee tag, go to the GBA website at gabeekeeping.com and click the link for the “Save The Honey Bee” license plate.last_img read more

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Vermont’s $10.8 million in additional heating aid blocked by Senate Republicans

first_imgSenators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today said Vermont would be in line for $10.8 million of a $5 billion appropriation for home heating assistance included in a spending bill that Senate Republicans are trying to block.One of the last must-do measures on the agenda before Congress adjourns for the year, the appropriations bill would prevent a 40 percent cut in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Vermont’s $10.8 million share would help keep senior citizens on fixed incomes, families with children and the disabled warm this winter.The critical funding for Vermont is in danger, however, because some Republicans have mounted a filibuster in the Senate and even threatened to require the entire 1,924-page bill to be read aloud on the Senate floor.Sanders said, ‘At a time when heating oil prices are skyrocketing, we have got to pass the omnibus appropriations bill so that no one in Vermont goes cold this winter. Without these additional funds, seniors and low-income Americans in Vermont and throughout the country will find themselves facing very painful choices on how to stretch already stretched budgets.’Leahy said, ‘In Vermont, where our winter temperatures average below freezing and the lows dip into the single digits, our low-income families, Vermonters with disabilities and senior citizens should not be forced to decide between paying their home energy bills or affording basic necessities such as food, rent, or prescription drugs. Heat in winter is a necessity, not an option. At a time when we are trying to help Americans recover from the Great Recession, some in Congress from warmer states like South Carolina and Arizona would rather use the Senate’s limited time to give enormous tax breaks to multi-millionaires rather than help America’s most needy and vulnerable households.’Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said, ‘Now is not the time to play political games with the safety and well-being of low-income Americans. For Vermonters who rely upon heating assistance to make it through a cold winter, this sort of stalling tactic is deplorable. LIHEAP should be fully funded ‘ and it should be fully funded now.’Federal funding for the heating assistance program was nearly doubled in the last two years under a provision sponsored by Sanders. Leahy cosponsored that 2008 legislation and Welch sponsored companion legislation that year in the House.So far this year, Vermont has only received a total of $14.8 million for LIHEAP, compared to the $25.6 million in regular funding it received last year and will receive if the majority in the Senate can overcome a Republican filibuster.This heating season, Vermont estimates that more than 27,000 households will receive benefits, up from 20,350 last year. Because the demand has increased but the amount available so far has decreased and the number of eligible households has expanded, the average benefit is being reduced from about $1,100 last year to about $660 this heating season.Leahy, Sanders and Welch signed letters to the House and Senate Appropriations committees last month urging them to maintain the funding for LIHEAP at the 2010 level of $5.1 billion.After Congress doubled funding for home heating assistance in 2009, a record 8.3 million households nationwide received aid. This winter, as a result of the lingering recession, many more families are expected to need help keeping the heat turned on.Source: Vermont congressional delegation. WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2010last_img read more

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​Costa Rican Authorities Seize Guns Possibly Linked to Drug Gang Killings

first_imgThe operation was connected to recent killings in the southern and western regions of the capital, “where criminal groups have been fighting for territory to secure locations to sell drugs,” Rodríguez said. Forensic investigators are analyzing the firearms to determine if they are linked with the killings as well as a series of attempted homicides in the capital. The OIJ is working with the Public Ministry and the Public Force to solve each of the cases, said Attorney General Jorge Chavarría. In recent months, law enforcement officers have raided 23 homes and conducted 70 intelligence-gathering operations. These conflicts have led to an uptick in killings. There were 411 killings in Costa Rica in 2013 and 471 homicides in 2014. In January and February, authorities recorded 86 killings, compared to 70 during the first two months of 2014. The OIJ is working with the Public Ministry and the Public Force to solve each of the cases, said Attorney General Jorge Chavarría. In recent months, law enforcement officers have raided 23 homes and conducted 70 intelligence-gathering operations. Fighting between criminal gangs is responsible for much of the violence. In 2000, about 20 percent of the violent crimes in Costa Rica were related to organized crime. Currently, about 40 percent of the violence is driven by gangs and organized crime groups which sell drugs, steal cars, and engage in human trafficking. Law enforcement authorities cooperate Police have made considerable progress in investigation of those crimes. Agents from the Homicide and Criminal Investigations Section of the OIJ conducted both raids April 9 in Cañada Sur, San Sebastián, as part of the investigation into several recent killings in the southern part of the capital. The operation was connected to recent killings in the southern and western regions of the capital, “where criminal groups have been fighting for territory to secure locations to sell drugs,” Rodríguez said. Forensic investigators are analyzing the firearms to determine if they are linked with the killings as well as a series of attempted homicides in the capital. “These criminal groups have places to warehouse their weapons. This is another one of the houses that play that role,” Geovanny Rodríguez, Chief of Homicides, said to reporters. That house, raided by OIJ agents, belonged to a 43-year-old woman who was arrested by police; investigators suspect she was in charge of storing the weapons and ammunition. Agents from the Homicide and Criminal Investigations Section of the OIJ conducted both raids April 9 in Cañada Sur, San Sebastián, as part of the investigation into several recent killings in the southern part of the capital. Fighting between criminal gangs is responsible for much of the violence. In 2000, about 20 percent of the violent crimes in Costa Rica were related to organized crime. Currently, about 40 percent of the violence is driven by gangs and organized crime groups which sell drugs, steal cars, and engage in human trafficking. Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department (OIJ) has seized six kilograms of cocaine and multiple firearms that police investigators believe are linked to several recent killings. OIJ agents also confiscated silencers and ammunition during raids on a house and an apartment in the capital city of San José in which agents arrested one suspect. Meanwhile, in the nearby apartment, OIJ agents discovered four kilos of cocaine, two AK-47 assault rifles, two pistols, and two submachine guns – one Uzi and a Scorpion – as well as silencers and ammunition. By Dialogo May 27, 2015 Meanwhile, in the nearby apartment, OIJ agents discovered four kilos of cocaine, two AK-47 assault rifles, two pistols, and two submachine guns – one Uzi and a Scorpion – as well as silencers and ammunition. “The interagency coordination operates very well, because those in charge in the various agencies have worked together and known each other,” said Carlos G. Murillo Zamora, a professor at the University of Costa Rica. Law enforcement authorities cooperate Police have made considerable progress in investigation of those crimes. Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Department (OIJ) has seized six kilograms of cocaine and multiple firearms that police investigators believe are linked to several recent killings. OIJ agents also confiscated silencers and ammunition during raids on a house and an apartment in the capital city of San José in which agents arrested one suspect. “The interagency coordination operates very well, because those in charge in the various agencies have worked together and known each other,” said Carlos G. Murillo Zamora, a professor at the University of Costa Rica. “These criminal groups have places to warehouse their weapons. This is another one of the houses that play that role,” Geovanny Rodríguez, Chief of Homicides, said to reporters. That house, raided by OIJ agents, belonged to a 43-year-old woman who was arrested by police; investigators suspect she was in charge of storing the weapons and ammunition. These conflicts have led to an uptick in killings. There were 411 killings in Costa Rica in 2013 and 471 homicides in 2014. In January and February, authorities recorded 86 killings, compared to 70 during the first two months of 2014.last_img read more

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Nor’easter Leads to Messy Morning Commute on Long Island

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Long Island Rail Road employee cleaning off the platform of one of the railroad’s branches. (Photo credit: MTA)The second half of the nasty nor’easter fizzled overnight and didn’t produce significant snowfall on Long Island, but Friday morning’s commute still brought plenty of headaches, especially for riders on the Long Island Rail Road, which cancelled 14 morning trains.The heavy snow that blanketed LI for most of the day Thursday forced railroad officials to implement a modified weekday schedule Friday morning, which led to cancellations on nearly all of the LIRR’s branches.Six of the 14 cancelled trains were on the Babylon branch, with the rest of the cancelled trains scattered throughout the LIRR system.Commuters traveling by car perhaps fared a little better, but many roads across Long Island were still wet and slushy from Thursday’s prolonged storm.The nor’easter hovered over LI for most of the day. It began by dumping a foot of snow across the region before it converted to an annoying wintry mix of rain and sleet. The storm took a break before a second round of wintry weather arrived overnight, but snowfall was mostly around one inch.“Not significant,” was how Tim Morrin, a National Weather Service meteorologist, put it.Still, the agency released a statement Friday morning warning residents that road conditions remained treacherous, but that was mostly meant for people heading north and west of New York City.More than 400 PSEG Long Island customers woke up to homes in the dark, the utility reported on its website. PSEG LI said crews will continue to work throughout the day to restore “customers safely, efficiently and as soon as possible.”A winter storm warning was cancelled at 6 a.m.The good news was that residents walked out of their homes and were met by a gentile sunny sky, which is expected to help melt the piles of snow that have built up over the course of several storms. Temperatures could hit a high near 41 Friday, forecasters said.But, this is the winter of 2014, so we shouldn’t expect back-to-back days of decent weather.The weather service said snow is likely after 10 a.m. Saturday. Forecasters project snowfall amounts between 1 to 3 inches.There is also a slight chance of snow on Sunday.last_img read more

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The real reason why you can’t save any money

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Americans are notoriously bad savers. We have such of a hard time saving any money, that when the national savings rate manages to increase, it causes economic concerns. We’re the biggest consumer market in the world. We shop like it’s a sport, eat like kings, and leverage our personal balance sheets so we can live in McMansions and drive the latest fancy cars. We’re the Joneses of the world.How much do the Joneses save for the future? Not much. A survey from GoBankingRates.com finds more than half of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, with one in three having nothing saved. Bankrate finds only 37% of Americans have enough money in savings to pay for life’s little surprises, like a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room visit. In fact, 30 million Americans tapped what little retirement savings they do have for a financial emergency last year.Truth be told, spending money is often more fun than saving money. When we spend money we receive instant gratification, compared to saving money that rewards our future self at some unknown checkpoint down the financial road. Sure, we know that saving money can increase happiness, but without a shiny new purchase, it’s hard to keep that in mind on a daily basis. Shopping is supposedly the antidote for everything. continue reading »last_img read more