Eddie Izzard Begins Marathon Challenge For Sport Relief

first_imgEddie Izzard has completed the first of his 27 marathons for Sport Relief.Eddie Izzard Starts Marathon ChallengeThe actor and comedian began his challenge to compete 27 marathons in 27 days from Mbashe Bridge, near the town of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The spot is the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, who inspired Eddie to take on this epic challenge, which will see him run over 700 miles in temperatures of up to 30°C.The new BBC Three will cover Eddie’s journey from his first marathon on 23rd February to his last marathon on 20th March.Eddie has chosen to run 27 marathons to reflect the 27 years that Nelson Mandela spent in prison. Throughout his journey he will explore the history of South Africa and Nelson Mandela as well as visiting organisations and families that have been helped by the work of Comic Relief.Eddie’s mammoth undertaking will culminate in Pretoria on Sunday 20th March, at the same time as the Sport Relief Games will be taking place across the UK.The challenge will be an important one for Eddie as he had to pull out of a similar feat in South Africa in 2012 for health reasons. That attempt followed his fantastic effort for Sport Relief in 2009, when he completed 43 marathons in 51 days across the UK, raising over £1.8m.Speaking about his training regime, Eddie said: “I have been prepared since the day that I stopped back in 2012. Since 2012, I have been prepared to go back. I stay match fit the whole time but I don’t have a complete regime – I am holistic in my approach to things.”The money raised from the Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man challenge will be used to help transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities.BBC Three, which launches on Tuesday 16th February, will document Eddie’s progress every step of the way via its new digital and social channels.last_img read more

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Statistics Canada reports wholesale sales up 07 per cent in November

first_imgOTTAWA – Statistics Canada says wholesale sales rose 0.7 per cent in November to $63.6 billion.The food, beverage and tobacco subsector led the increase, rising 1.9 per cent to $12.2 billion.Another major reason for the increase was the motor vehicle and parts subsector, which climbed 0.7 per cent to $12.0 billion.Sales were up in six of seven subsectors, representing 99 per cent of wholesale sales.In terms of volume, wholesale sales increased 0.5 per cent.Regionally, Ontario led the way as it saw sales climb 1.7 per cent to $32.9 billion in November, while sales in Quebec and British Columbia fell 0.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively.last_img

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6 injured in grenade blast outside mall in Guwahati

first_imgGuwahati: At least six persons were injured in a grenade blast in front of a shopping mall and near a park in the heart of the city on Wednesday evening, police said.Two men came on a motorcycle and threw a grenade in front of the shopping mall at arterial R G Baruah Road just opposite the zoo at around 8 pm, Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar said. “As per the preliminary report, six persons were injured. I am on my way to the spot now,” he said. All the injured have been taken to hospital, police said. Director General of Police Kuladhar Saikia and other senior officials too have rushed to the spot. The location is next to the Shraddhanjali Kanan park, where a large number of people usually gather in the evening.last_img

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Citing rise in illegal Israeli actions UN expert urges protection for Palestinians

An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on the international community to intervene following what he described as a series of illegal acts by Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories.According to UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, these acts include the killing of four Palestinians in the West Bank in the past two weeks by Israel Defence Forces (IDF), as well as the demolition of the historic Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian landmark, to make way for the construction of more Israeli settlements. “Together these events demonstrate a general and unacceptable Israeli disposition to use excessive force against Palestinians, who are already suffering from prolonged occupation,” he stated in a news release issued in Geneva.“It is impossible to separate this pattern of excessive use of force against Palestinians from the indiscriminate use of force against civilians in Israel’s larger occupation policy, as illustrated by the cruel punitive blockade that has been imposed on the people of Gaza for more than three years and by the illegal manner in which Israel carried out attacks for three weeks on the defenseless population of Gaza two years ago,” added Mr. Falk.In the most recent incident, on 9 January, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished a wing of the Shepherd Hotel in East Jerusalem as part of a plan to build new Israeli settlement units. The move was deplored by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said that it “only serves to heighten tensions,” in a statement issued by his spokesperson.Mr. Falk also spoke out against the demolition. “This is part of an accelerating pattern in Jerusalem that consists of shifting the demographic balance to reinforce Israeli claims to control permanently the entire city, making the creation of a viable Palestinian state, with its capital as East Jerusalem, virtually unattainable,” he stated.“It is time for the international community to step in and offer this long vulnerable Palestinian population protection against the violence perpetrated by Israeli authorities,” he stressed.Mr. Falk has been serving since 2008 in an independent and unpaid capacity as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights on Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. He reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. 14 January 2011An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on the international community to intervene following what he described as a series of illegal acts by Israeli authorities in the occupied Palestinian territories. read more

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Canadas Walk of Fame inductees

There will be seven new names added to Canada’s Walk of Fame this year, including philanthropists, athletes, musicians, and actors.Lisa Hepfner has more on who was chosen through tens of thousands of nominations, from 130 different countries.00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

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Supreme Court rejects privacy groups call to look at NSAs collection of

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is refusing to intervene in the controversy surrounding the National Security Agency, rejecting a call from a privacy group to stop NSA from collecting the telephone records of millions of Verizon customers in the United States.While the justices on Monday declined to get involved in this issue, other lawsuits on the topic are making their way through the lower courts around the country.But in the case at hand, the Electronic Privacy Information Center bypassed lower courts and said that only the Supreme Court can overrule a decision by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose order allowing NSA to get the records cannot be reviewed by other federal courts.The case is In Re Electronic Privacy Information Center, 13-58. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Nov 18, 2013 7:44 am MDT Supreme Court rejects privacy group’s call to look at NSA’s collection of telephone records read more

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Mali UN food relief agency warns funding gap may jeopardize school meals

“This is critical. School meals are often the only nutritious meal a child receives a day, relieving families from further financial stress, motivating parents to send their children to school, and, ultimately, serving as a vehicle for education,” said Silvia Caruso, WFP Mali Country Director. “Teachers tell us that if the meals are no longer provided, there is a significant risk that parents will stop sending their children to school; children find it difficult to walk long distances to school or stay in class for a full day on an empty stomach,” she added. Since 2010, Mali has faced successive food security crises, brought on by irregular rainfall and prolonged insecurity in the north of the country. More than a quarter of the population suffers from moderate and severe food insecurity, according to WFP. The agency noted that despite the high levels of insecurity – particularly in northern and central Mali – since 2012, it has been able to provide, along with its partners, school meals to an average of 170,000 children per year. WFP also highlighted that school meals were instrumental in the 2015 back-to-school campaign of the Government of Mali, encouraging families to let their children resume their studies in regions such as Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu, which had been bearing the brunt of the conflict, and where schools were closed between 2012 and 2015. “We urge our supporters not to forget the children of Mali. They have been through a lot these past years. Going to school helps them regain their childhood, and school meals play an important role in keeping them in school,” Ms. Caruso said. WFP said it works closely with the Ministry of Education in Mali to implement the school meals programme. The Government of Mali approved a national school feeding programme in 2009. According to a 2014 national survey, the average prevalence of global acute malnutrition in Malian children under five years old stands at 13 per cent. The World Health Organization (WHO) rates a global acute malnutrition prevalence between 10 and 14 per cent as serious, and above 15 per cent as a critical emergency. read more

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NEW COACH Dragan Djukic leads Montenegro

← Previous Story Third draw for Meshkov Brest in a row Next Story → Celje PL scores 42 against Izvidjac in “run and gun” game Montenegrian men’s national handball team has a new coach – Dragan Djukic. The 54-years old Serbian coach will try to ensure placement at Men’s EHF EURO 2018 after poor start on which Montenegro won only a point in two matches with Sweden and Russia.Djukic will replace Ljubomir Obradovic, who resigned after his training at the start of November EHF week was interupted by player Stevan Vujovic and two more guys, who were dissatisfied with their status in the national team.Djukic was a coach of Great Britain, Macedonia, Israel and Switzerland, but also RK Vardar and PICK Szeged. He is currently at the position of HC Maccabi Tel Aviv coach with whom he qualified for the EHF Cup Group stage. read more

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Geek Daily Deals Avatar Transformers Xbox One S And More

first_imgBetter Than Black Friday – Xbox One S 1TB NBA 2K19 or Forza Horizon 4 Gaming Console Bundles for $199 EachBlack Friday saw the Xbox One S console hit $199, but the game bundles sold for slightly higher at $299. For a limited you can get the Forza Horizon 4 or NBA 2K19 bundles for only $199. That’s with free 2-day shipping that guarantees by-Christmas delivery.Get the Xbox One S 1TB Forza Horizon 4 Bundle at Walmart for $199Get the NBA 2K19 Bundle for $199 Transformers: Vintage G1 Autobot Hot Rod for $12.97Not only is this officially licensed vintage Transformers toys actually in stock, it’s discounted a whopping 57% off. As far as authenticity is concerned, the G1 Transformers reissues were made using “the original production tooling including die-cast parts and classic heat-sensitive stickers.”Get it at Walmart for $12.97 Arcade1Up Deluxe Edition 12-in-1 Arcade System with Riser for $349.99If you’ve been eyeing one of Arcade1Up’s arcade cabinets but you can only have one cabinet in your house and you just can’t pick which games to get, take a look at this. It includes a total of 12 games (Asteroids, Centipede, Major Havoc, Missile Command, Lunar Lander, Crystal Castles, Tempest, Millipede, Gravitar, Liberator, Asteroids Deluxe) and includes a 1-foot riser that changes the cabinet from a sit-down experience to the more traditional standing experience. Today it’s $50 off.Get it at Walmart for $349.99 HP OMEN 15t Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core 15″ 1080p IPS Laptop with GeForce GTX 1070 for $1176Click HereSelect Processor and Graphics – Intel Core i7-8750H + GTX 1070 (+$570)Select Display – 15.6″ FHD 144Hz IPS 1920×1080 (+$70)At cart, apply 20% off code “20GAMERHOL“Final price will be $1176 Shipped Avatar – The Last Airbender: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) for $19.31Look, Avatar: The Last Airbender is not a show to pass up on and the complete collection contains a beautiful and heartfelt 61 episodes. Lowest price since it was released in June.Get it on Amazon for $19.31last_img read more

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Get Up to 90 Off on Awesome Home Goods

first_imgModerndek Backlit Canvas – $59.99See Deal Levimoon: The World’s First Levitating Moon Light – $199.99See Deal We’re all looking for ways to save money. And, while taking the bus and bringing your own lunch to the office can save a few bucks here and there, it’s bigger savings we’re after. Thankfully, there’s the Geek Shop, your one-stop source for deals on the best the web has to offer. This week, we’re rounding up 8 home essentials that can kick your living space up a notch, now up to 90% off.EcoQube C AquariumAquariums, generally speaking, require a lot of time consuming maintenance. But that’s not the case with this one from EcoQube. The C, instead, uses plants to keep the water fresh. That means that you’ll never have to clean it out, mess around with filters, or even change the water.Buy it now for $99.99 and save 41 percent off the MSRP. Shark IF200 Stick Vacuum (Factory Refurbished)Conventional vacuum cleaners are awkward and heavy. The Shark IF200, by contrast, is lightweight and super easy to use. It features a rechargeable battery so you won’t have to mess around the cords, it maneuvers easily under furniture, and it’s powerful too so you’ll pick up more dirt.Save over half and get a quality factory refurbished model today for $169.99. Stay on target Damasukasu 3-Piece Japanese AKUMA Master Chef Blade Set with WhetstoneThis pro-level knife set will impress even the toughest critics. Featuring a 12-degree cutting edge, each knife allows you to prepare even the most delicate of foods to near laser precision. They’re stain- and rust-resistant and come with a genuine Japanese sharpening whetstone.Pick up a set today for $69.99, a savings of 90 percent off the MSRP of $700. InstaSweep Hard Floor Surface Sweeper – $24.99See Deal Levimoon: The World’s First Levitating Moon LightDesigned to look just like a miniaturized version of our own Moon, the Levimoon floats over its base and rotates while illuminating your space. It makes a great mood or night light, you can adjust the brightness, and it’ll operate 24/7 while it wirelessly recharges.Get it for $199.99, a savings of 30 percent off retail. Damasukasu 3-Piece Japanese AKUMA Master Chef Blade Set with Whetstone – $69.99See Deal EcoQube C Aquarium – $99.99See Deal InstaSweep Hard Floor Surface SweeperThe InstaSweep Hard Floor Surface Sweeper beats a traditional broom in every way you can imagine. It works kind of like the way a street cleaner does, by spinning brushes at its edges to collect and get rid of more dirt, dust, and debris in just one pass.Score savings of 30 percent and pick one up today for $24.99. This $500 SEO Tool Is Only $24 TodayThis Easy-to-Fly LED Drone Performs Acrobatic Moves VitaChef Electric Steamer Skillet Cooking SystemThis steamer skillet is set to revolutionize your kitchen. It lets you steam, pan fry, grill, roast, or bake practically any food you could want. In fact, there are ten different ways you could prepare meals with it. It’s dishwashersafe for easy cleaning, lightweight, and energy-efficient too.Buy it today for $99.99 and save 66 percent off its regular $300 price tag. Comfort Linen Ultra Soft 1800 Series Bamboo-Blend Sheets: 4-Piece Set (Black/Queen) – $25.99See Deal Moderndek Backlit CanvasAdd a serious dose of ambiance to your abode with these backlit canvases from Moderndek. Each depicts a breathtaking landscape or space image which is then illuminated by LED’s installed right behind the print. The combination creates a stunning piece of artwork that’s sure to transform any room.Save 50 percent off your purchase and pick one up for $59.99. VitaChef Electric Steamer Skillet Cooking System – $99.99See Deal Shark IF200 Stick Vacuum (Factory Refurbished) – $169.99See Deal Comfort Linen Ultra Soft 1800 Series Bamboo-Blend SheetsEnjoy a restful sleep each and every night. Unlike conventional sheets that are usually made of cotton, these Comfort Linen sheets are made with bamboo fibers. That means they’re super soft — which leads to more comfortable rest — plus they resist wrinkling, so they look great too.Score a savings of 84 percent on a queen size set and pay just $25.99. Like this deal? Check out Vault — you’ll get four premium tools, including NordVPN and Dashlane, to supercharge your online security. Try it free for 14 days now!Prices subject to change.last_img read more

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Disability leave proves lucrative to certain retirees

first_imgA three-part series by The Associated PressSunday: Late pay raises mean jumps in pension benefits under some state-funded plans.Monday: Medical benefits tied to retirement system threaten local government finances.Today: A look at government workers who retire on disability and then return to physically demanding activities.On a good day of golf, Ken Brunette will shoot just a few strokes over par. On a bad outing, Odin Rondestvedt will stray into the 100s. Jack Gilbert typically averages a bogey per hole. While their scores and favorite golf courses may differ, the three men also share a lot in common: They are former Seattle firefighters, deemed disabled by a local board and now drawing tax-free benefits from the state.Brunette, Rondestvedt and Gilbert are just three of more than 3,000 Washington state members of an old pension system who have joined in a procession of disability retirements over the years — often due to back ailments. With lenient definitions of what qualifies as a disability and little effort to monitor the ailments, some have gone on to play sports and take other physically demanding jobs without any impact on their benefits.Nowhere is that trend more apparent than at the Seattle Fire Department, where the extent of the disability plague among that group of firefighters is particularly extreme, especially when compared with neighboring cities, Seattle police officers and even other Seattle Fire retirees who are part of a newer pension system.More than 88 percent of the Seattle Fire retirees in the so-called LEOFF-1 system are on disability retirement, according to an Associated Press analysis of pension records conducted as part of a two-year investigation of the system. That disability rate rises to 95 percent if you remove a small group of Seattle firefighters who served for more than 30 years, which is around the time when it starts becoming more lucrative for a typical retiree to depart on regular retirement.last_img read more

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ChristianMuslim clashes rock Easter attacks town in Sri Lanka

first_imgSri Lanka’s Roman Catholic Church appealed for calm and an alcohol ban Monday after clashes between Christians and Muslims in a town scarred by the Easter suicide attacks.Hundreds of security forces entered Negombo to impose a curfew after dozens of Muslim-owned shops, homes and vehicles were attacked.St. Sebastian’s church in the town 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of capital Colombo was one of three churches and three hotels hit by jihadist suicide bombers on 21 April killing 257 people.”I appeal to all Catholic and Christian brothers and sisters not to hurt even a single Muslim person because they are our brothers, because they are part of our religious culture,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo.”Therefore please avoid hurting them and try to create a better spirit of understanding and good relations between all the communities of Sri Lanka,” he said in a video message to the country.Liquor ban soughtThe cardinal visited Negombo, held talks with clerics at a mosque and appealed to the government to shut bars in the Catholic-dominated town known as “Little Rome”, said his spokesman Father Edmund Tilakaratne.”As a temporary measure, the cardinal asked the government to order the ban on liquor sales in Negombo area,” Tilakaratne told AFP.In another televised appeal, Ranjith appealed to Christians, Buddhists and Muslims to show restraint.Negombo suffered the highest death toll in the Easter Sunday attacks that were claimed by the Islamic State group. The bomb at St. Sebastian’s killed more than 100 worshippers.A top police officer said two arrests were made after the latest clashes and more suspects had been identified through CCTV footage.The officer said all will be prosecuted under emergency laws approved after the Easter attacks.”At least three people were injured in the clashes,” the officer told AFP. “Although we have arrested only two suspects at the moment, many more have been identified and we will go after them.”The officer said an alcohol-fuelled dispute between two groups degenerated into the clashes.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement the government will compensate those who lost property in the night-time clashes.Unverified video circulating on social media showed mobs throwing stones at Muslim businesses, destroyed furniture inside homes, shattered windows and overturned vehicles.AFP was unable to immediately verify the footage.A few hundred extra troops and police were deployed late Sunday as authorities imposed a night-time curfew in the town.The government blocked access to WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms for several hours to prevent what it called the spread of rumours and videos aimed at instigating unrest.The curfew was lifted on Monday morning and social media was working again by noon Monday.Sri Lanka’s main international airport is located in the area, but police said there was no disruption.Muslims make up around 10 percent of Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka’s 21 million population and Christians about 7.6 per cent.Security for schoolsMeanwhile, public schools reopened Monday for the first time since the Easter attacks, with heavily armed police and troops guarding schools.”The attendance was poor today, but we maintain a high level of security,” the top police officer said. “Most parents are adopting a wait-and-see approach and we hope attendance will be back to normal very soon.”The country has been under a state of emergency since the Easter bombings.Security forces and police have been give sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects.The government has blamed the Easter bombings on a local jihadist organisation which had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.last_img read more

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In Final Hours GOP Leaders Scramble For Votes On Bill To Gut

first_img Share J. Scott Applewhite/APHouse Speaker Paul Ryan speaks to reporters after a meeting with President Trump, who came to Capitol Hill to rally GOP lawmakers behind the Republican health care overhaul.Republicans will be tested today on the strength of party unity in the Trump era and their party’s ability to deliver on the promises they’ve made to the voters that sent them here.“This is our chance and this is our moment. It’s a big moment,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters earlier this week. “And I think our members are beginning to appreciate just what kind of a ‘rendezvous with destiny’ we have right here.”The moment is particularly defining for Ryan, the reluctant speaker who is facing the toughest legislative battle of his nearly 20-year congressional career. “One of the reasons I don’t want this bill to fail is I don’t want Paul to fail,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, an ally of the speaker who supports the bill.The speaker has put the full weight of his office behind passing legislation that goes much further to repeal and replace key pillars of Obamacare, to remake Medicaid into a block grant program that caps federal spending. The entitlement program predominantly helps the poor and currently has an open-ended funding stream.It’s the kind of conservative reform that Ryan has jokingly said he’s dreamed about since his keg party days, but it might not be enough — even with Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House.The House Freedom Caucus, a bloc of about 30 hard-line conservatives, maintain going in to today’s scheduled vote that they have enough members on their side to defeat the bill. Their opposition has not softened, despite continued efforts by President Trump, Vice President Pence and their senior White House aides to grant concessions and cajole lawmakers from districts Trump won by big margins last November.“We’re being asked to sign a blank check and hope it works out,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a member of the Freedom Caucus, “And in the past that hasn’t worked out real well for this process, so I think we’re right to be skeptical.”Perry was one of about 25 Freedom Caucus members who huddled with Vice President Mike Pence and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday. It didn’t change his vote. Conservatives like Perry want the bill to go even further to repeal President Obama’s health care law. Specifically, these conservatives want assurances the final bill would ultimately repeal the essential health benefits included in the Affordable Care Act, which cover 10 categories of health services insurance plans must cover, including prescription drugs and prenatal care.“We want free market competition and how can you have free market competition when the government is mandating what’s going to be included?” Perry said. Conservatives argue that eliminating the essential health benefits will allow insurance companies to offer cheaper insurance plans with more tailored coverage. Opponents say it will only increase out-of-pocket costs for consumers.Conservatives also received some political cover from outside conservative activist groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks, which came out in opposition to the bill.The network of political action groups funded by Charles and David Koch, wealthy libertarian-minded donors who have not supported Trump, are putting money behind their opposition to the bill. Two Koch-funded groups, Americans For Prosperity and Freedom Partners, announced last night they would establish a seven-figure fund “to stand by principled lawmakers who keep their promise of fully repealing Obamacare by opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) unless there are significant changes.” It amounts to a promise of protection for members who might fear a primary challenge for breaking with Trump.As the day unfolded yesterday, it became clear that conservatives were not the only weak link in the vote count. With every new “yes” vote announced, a “no” vote would appear. Reps. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania and Steve King of Iowa announced they would support the bill on Wednesday, but their support was offset by fresh opposition from lawmakers including Don Young of Alaska, David Young of Iowa, and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey.The trio of opponents are mainstream Republicans, the kind of rank-and-file members party leaders can usually rely on to pass their agenda. But the policy in the GOP bill, the American Health Care Act, would disproportionately affect older, poorer Americans — the very constituents who make up many GOP lawmakers base of support back home.For instance, LoBiondo said in a statement that his South Jersey district and its retirees would suffer under AHCA. “Three South Jersey counties have more than 30% of their residents receiving Medicaid assistance. Medical professionals–our hospitals, doctors, nurses — are opposed,” he said.The speaker focused on more moderate members of the GOP, working members during House votes on Wednesday and holding one-on-one meetings in his office throughout the day.“If you don’t recognize how much is on the line, you haven’t been paying attention,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. He supports the bill and, like many lawmakers, remained optimistic that the votes would come together to pass it. Cole even suggested they might have to win the vote on the floor. “You never know about these things until you actually get to the vote,” he said.With five vacancies in the 435-member House, Republicans can lose 21 votes and still pass the bill. Every Democrat is expected to vote against it. House Republicans enjoy one of their largest majorities in decades, so the 21-vote cushion is much larger than past GOP-controlled congresses have enjoyed.Cole said most Republicans were aware of the importance of this vote: “It’s a very consequential vote. It really is: ‘Can you govern or can’t you?’ “For their part, Democrats are unified against the bill, which undoes President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Former Vice President Biden returned to Washington to voice his opposition to the bill at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol.“Look, folks, here’s the deal: When you cut to the chase, we’re talking about eliminating close to a $1 trillion in benefits that go to people to be able to meet the commitment we made that health care is a right, and we’re transferring all of that to the wealthy,” Biden said. “That’s what this is all about, it’s about a transfer tax, basically. Eliminating the Affordable Care Act means eliminating an awful lot of things that people need.”If the House approves the bill on Thursday, the thrill of victory will be short-lived. The bill still needs to pass the Senate, and it faces a new round of opposition and legislative hurdles in that chamber. The bill then would need to back to the House again to approve any Senate-passed changes before it could go to Trump’s desk.Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

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One man shot at another stabbed at Rajabazar one arrested

first_imgKolkata: A man was shot at and another person was stabbed by some miscreants in Rajabazar on Thursday night.Locals rushed the duo to NRS Medical College and Hospital. On Friday, one man was arrested in this connection. According to sources, on Thursday night, an argument ensued between a group of youths and two persons identified as Yasir Mustafa and Sagir Ahmed. After a few minutes, Mustafa sensed something suspicious and tried to leave the spot along with Ahmed. All of a sudden, a youth from the group allegedly fired a round at Mustafa and another man stabbed Ahmed on his left hand. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataHearing the firing sound, locals came out of their houses. Sensing danger the miscreants fled the spot. Local residents rescued the injured duo and rushed them to NRS Medical College and Hospital. Mustafa was admitted and Ahmed was treated and discharged. After a while police personnel from Amherst Street police station went to hospital and questioned Mustafa. He alleged that three persons, who were known to him, attacked him over some personal issue. On the basis of Mustafa’s statement an FIR was lodged. Later, on Friday, a youth identified as Md Danish of Narkeldanga was arrested. Search is on to nab other two persons named in the FIR. Sources informed that Danish had several criminal records in the past. Sleuths are also trying to find out if Mustafa and Ahemed have any criminal records. According to hospital sources, Mustafa’s condition is stable. The bullet had pierced his left hand.last_img read more

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Nicaragua sets pace for region under CAFTA

first_imgNo related posts. From the print editionMANAGUA – After six years of record-setting growth in commerce and investment, Nicaragua continues to consolidate its position as the region’s unlikely poster child for the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).Though the Sandinista Front initially attempted to block the trade agreement, claiming it would be a “death certificate” for farmers and small producers, the ruling party has changed its tune once in office. The Sandinista government recognizes CAFTA’s role in attracting foreign investment, boosting exports and generating employment.“CAFTA has been an important tool for development of our country’s trade and exports,” says retired Sandinista Gen. Álvaro Baltodano, head of the government’s National Free-Zone Commission.Baltodano notes that Nicaragua’s exports to the United States have grown 75 percent in the past six years – more than twice the export growth rate of Guatemala, which is in second place in Central America with 32 percent, and more than four times the export growth of Costa Rica, which joined the party late. Nicaragua now boasts more than $1 billion in trade surplus with the U.S., thanks in large part to CAFTA.But are labor conditions improving under CAFTA? Baltodano says yes, thanks to the Sandinista government’s efforts to introduce a “social component” to the trade agreement in the form of Nicaragua’s “tripartite agreement” between labor unions, the government and free-zone factory owners. “CAFTA has made important contributions to Nicaragua, and Nicaragua has made an important contribution to CAFTA, because we gave it social content, something that other Central American countries are now trying to do,” Baltodano says.The tripartite agreement, hatched in 2010, establishes a gradual, annual wage increase averaging 9 percent from 2011-2013, allowing foreign companies to accurately project labor costs without having to renegotiate minimum-wage increases every six months, as required by law. In exchange for wage concessions, labor unions were promised a series of social benefits in areas of health, education, transportation and subsidized food baskets from state food bank Enabas.The tripartite dialogue established labor stability in a normally volatile sector, helping Nicaragua to weather the financial crisis and recover more quickly than other countries.  “Before, there were constant labor conflicts, but with the tripartite agreement we were able to strengthen social dialogue during the crisis and look for solutions,” Baltodano says.Better work ensures compliance The tripartite dialogue also established a beachhead in Nicaragua for the U.S. Better Work program, a global initiative aimed at improving labor conditions in textile and apparel industries. The program, which is funded in Nicaragua by the International Labor Organization, works with major brands in the U.S. including Gap, Levis, Target, Wal-Mart, VF Corporation and J.C. Penny to ensure labor compliance in the supply chain.Better Work Nicaragua is the only program of its kind in Central America and an example of the Sandinista government’s commitment to improving labor conditions under CAFTA, says Elena Arengo, program coordinator for Better Work Nicaragua. “Nicaragua signed this cooperative agreement because they see the labor issue as part of the strategy for the sector. Compliance with labor is important, and the government is on board,” Arengo says.The program only recently began evaluating the first group of seven free-zone companies that volunteered for a baseline evaluation, Arengo says. Although less than 10 percent of free-zone garment companies have signed up to participate in Better Work, Arengo is confident others will join once they understand the commercial benefits of participation.“This is a program that will help factories. It’s going to help them attract brands that are interested in working with suppliers that are compliant with labor laws,” Arengo says. “Good labor conditions are now seen as a factor for competitive business. Brands want to make sure their products are coming from factories that ensure worker protection and workers’ rights.”As a result, slowly but surely, market pressures by educated consumers, initiatives such as Better Work and governments intent on enforcing labor codes are helping to reduce the sweatshop conditions that gave outsourcing a bad name in the last decade.  “I think the situation has definitely improved; we’re not talking about the same conditions that characterized the sector five or 10 years, ago,” Arengo says. “That doesn’t mean challenges don’t exist. It’s a tough industry with lots of challenges, but I don’t think anybody would say the conditions are the same now as they were five or 10 years ago.”Workers, however, claim Nicaragua isn’t quite a proletariat paradise yet. Pedro Ortega, secretary general of the Federation of Textile Unions, says his organization is preparing a formal complaint to accuse free-zone factory owners of noncompliance with their end of the deal under the tripartite agreement. Ortega says only 20 of the 161 free-zone factories supposedly included in the tripartite agreement are complying by providing subsidized food baskets for workers. Other companies, meanwhile, have allegedly denied workers access to health benefits such as free eye surgery from Cuban doctors, because that would mean missing six days of work following surgery. In some of the smaller free zones, Ortega says, factory owners claim they don’t recognize the tripartite agreement at all, insisting it applies only to the larger factories.“The majority of noncompliance is in the smaller free zones that employ fewer than 1,000 people. Those are the companies that are subcontracted by bigger companies, so they don’t take direct orders from the big brand names,” Ortega says.In general, the tripartite agreement is an important advancement, the union boss says. But social aspects must be consolidated if unions are expected to negotiate another agreement after this one expires next year. “This is something we still have to evaluate further,” he says.Tim Rogers is editor of The Nicaragua Dispatch, www.nicaraguadispatch.com. Reporting was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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US denies visiting allegedly missing Iranians

first_imgBAGHDAD (AP) – The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says it has no information on the whereabouts of seven Iranian dissidents allegedly missing following a deadly shooting on their compound north of Baghdad this month.The parent organization of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq dissident group says it has information that an American delegation has met the seven people held by Iraqi forces near Baghdad airport.U.S. Embassy spokesman Rodney Ford told The Associated Press by email Sunday that the claim of an American visit is “categorically untrue.” He says no one from the U.S. government has seen or visited those said to be missing. How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Comments   Share   Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Iraq on Friday denied that it is holding the seven former residents of Camp Ashraf said to be missing. A disputed shooting on the compound Sept. 1 left 52 MEK members dead.(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)last_img read more

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Qantas cull countdown

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: P.T Qantas maintenance facilities Employees of Australian flag carrier are sitting on edge as reports fly that the airline is expected to make an announcement this week regarding the future of its heavy maintenance facilities in Victoria and Queensland. The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) fears up to 1250 jobs may be on the line in the wake of a restructuring overhaul, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The consolidation concerns were voiced earlier this year in February by ALAEA federal secretary, Steve Purvinas. Qantas cited a substantial reduction in labour demand over the next five years as the reasoning behind the possible future job casualties. Three Australian workers and trade unions teamed in March to defend employee’s positions and maintain Australia as Qantas’ base of engineering operations. Savings of $100 million are expected to be the outcome of Qantas’ rationalisation plan. ALAEA has informed the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of safety breaches by the airline in regards to the matter.“They’re making a … safety-based decision around a direction from a board to save [money],” ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas said.last_img read more

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Mortgage Industry Shows Mixed Feelings on House Vote to Cap GSEs CEOs

first_img Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 2036 by voice vote placing a cap on the salaries of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs right at the original amount of $600,000 per year. Many in the mortgage industry expressed both approval and disapproval of the House’s decision when questioned about the vote.S. 2036, also known as the Equity in Government Compensation Act of 2015, is co-sponsored by Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), passed unanimously in the Senate in September.The Vitter-Warren bill was modeled on H.R. 2243, which was introduced by U.S. Congressman Ed Royce (R-California) in May in response to a proposal by Mel Watt, Director of the FHFA (conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that could have raised their pay as high as the 25th percentile of the market, which computes to about $7.26 million per year. Royce’s bill passed in the House Financial Services Committee by a 57-1 vote on July 29.“It’s outrageous and almost unbelievable that a tax-payer-funded entity uses the dollars of hard-working Americans to line the pockets of their top CEO’s–to the tune of millions of dollars a year,” Vitter said Monday after the bill passed. “I am proud to have worked with Congressman Ed Royce on passing this legislation out of Congress so we can provide relief for the American taxpayers from the undue burden of financing the salaries of some of the top-ranking banking officials in the country.”Congressman Royce also commented, “While this is a victory for taxpayers, the real battle of winding down the GSEs and ending the government’s domination of the housing market remains. My ultimate goal is still comprehensive housing finance reform that brings private capital into the system to eliminate the boom-and-bust cycle that wreaked havoc on the American economy. This task takes on all the more urgency as Fannie and Freddie slip into the red and invite new taxpayer bailouts.”Mel Watt, who could now be at odds with the Obama Administration if the Vitter-Warren bill gets signed by the President, said in a statement in July that the purpose of the pay raises was to “promote CEO retention, allow reliable succession planning, and ensure the continuity, efficiency and stability” at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could stand to benefit institutionally from pay raises,” said Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute. “The GSEs carry the weight of the mortgage industry and competitive compensation plans will enable them to be aggressive in terms of retaining intellectual capital.”Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton told Wall Street Journal in an interview  that he did not have a response to the House’s decision to cap his pay, but he “regards this as something that is happening inside the government. I signed up for this job personally as a public service matter so the compensation wasn’t the big attraction to me. I really just don’t regard it as a big issue personally.”But while compensation may not be high on Layton’s list of priorities, it could present problems for his successor in the future.”I have to make it clear that while the CEO compensation symbolically is capped, we are able to pay reasonably to attract talent in the rest of the company so my subordinate usually make more money than I do,” he told the WSJ.Snapdocs CEO Aaron King applauded Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton for “choosing to adopt a positive perspective on the Fannie and Freddie pay cap news. Rather than focusing on the fewer dollars in his own pocket, he affirmed his commitment to serving the good of the American people–a commitment that we hope to see from every public leader.”Brian Koss, EVP of Mortgage Network Inc., stated that he “looks at the return to tax payers. I am happy as long as there is direct alignment.”Tim Rood, Chairman of the Collingwood Group LLC, and a former Executive at Fannie Mae believes that the Fannie and Freddie CEOs “deserve a raise,” as they have “demonstrated their worth, stabilizing the companies and supporting market recovery.””I understand that my perspective on a rational move to raise their salaries to a level more equitable with those of their industry peers is not perceived by others in the same way. The optics are difficult, so it’s no surprise that this bill has bipartisan support,” he added.”The choice doesn’t have to be polarized, as the political positions suggest–allow the GSEs to accumulate capital, sunset their government charter, and spin them off as private companies or pull them into the Federal government entirely,” Rood explained. “But, whatever choice is made, the details around salaries and structure of the GSEs will fall into place. In this bizarre half-human half-horse arrangement, there are no easy answers. However, what is being proposed will not help taxpayers and will not help the housing market–good politics is very often bad policy.” Mortgage Industry Shows Mixed Feelings on House Vote to Cap GSEs’ CEOs Pay Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Salary Cap U.S. House of Representatives 2015-11-19 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img November 19, 2015 616 Views Sharelast_img read more

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January 13 2016On a very cold evening the battle

first_imgJanuary 13, 2016On a very cold evening the battle to save Arcosanti erupted as dueling forces Good and Evil faced off at the Dam.[photo by Rob Jameson, text by Hildemar Cruz]In celebration of one of the Arconauts birthday residents got together to stage an epic battle.[photo by Laura Via Baroncelli]The surprise battle got under way late Saturday afternoon. Teams were divided, lines were rehearsed and [foam] weapons were created. [photo by Laura Via Baroncelli]Once all of the costumes were done the unsuspecting birthday boy [man] was lured into the midst of the crew to first of all listen to a personal epic of what was about to unfold and what was expected of him.[photo by Laura Via Baroncelli]After a grueling battle the leaders of the opposing forces met in a ring of fire.[photo by Rob Jameson]last_img read more

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Parents furious over slur by teachers union

first_imgBy Evie AndreouOrganised parents on Thursday asked secondary education teachers union Oelmek to apologise for calling them ‘errand boys and girls’ for the education minister and to attend the meeting called by the latter for next week.In a harsh tone, the head of the confederation of secondary education schools’ parents’ associations, Kyriacos Nikiforou, returned fire following accusations by the deputy head of Oelmek, Pantelis Nicolaides, earlier in the week that organised parents were ‘errand boys and girls’ for the education minister for not taking sides in the recent dispute between teachers and the government on the new measures that abolish exemptions from teaching for extra-curricular activities.“Those who are safely ensconced and are working as stooges for party mechanisms are not entitled to devalue the role and work of organised parents,” Nikiforou said during a news  conference.He said that these people ought to put their own house in order instead of pointing the finger at parents. “We have never been ‘errand boys and girls’ for anyone, neither ministers, nor government nor parties,” he said.Nikiforou said that they were saddened and concerned to witness the ongoing dispute between the two sides as regards the government decision for the streamlining of state schools.He also called on teaching unions to attend the meeting called by the education minister for next Tuesday to launch a dialogue on their disagreements as regards the streamlining.Organised parents have made attempts to help resolve this dispute, he said, but despite the fact they succeeded in putting all disputed measures on the table, it had not been possible for a dialogue to be launched.He said organised parents would like to see both financial and educational streamlining in state schools.“We demand to be present at the dialogue on the streamlining as one of the three pillars of education,” Nikiforou said.He also said that as teaching unions participate in committees dealing with educational matters, their announcement that they would take measures and abstain from these committees, created serious problems and by extension, it would affect negatively the new school year.Nikiforou also said that any measures teaching unions and the ministry were thinking of taking, “must end immediately, and definitely, before September 1”.“We will not allow anyone to turn our children into a tug-of-war between the ministry and teachers and turn public schools into a battlefield between teachers and the ministry of education,” he said.The unions, which held a protest last week against the state’s streamlining plans said on Tuesday, after a meeting with Education Minister, Costas Hambiaouris, that a new protest would be held, possibly towards the end of August, and that each would hold board meetings next week to evaluate their next steps.https://cyprus-mail.com/2018/07/18/teachers-called-on-to-play-fair-they-threaten-more-measures/You May LikeFoodeliciouzMost Beautiful African Actresses in HollywoodFoodeliciouzUndoMedical Alert | Sponsored ListingsMedical Alert Systems Covered By Medicare Plans Might Surprise YouMedical Alert | Sponsored ListingsUndoThe Moderated MediaAll Sides, All the Time. News, Analysis and Opinion from the Left and Right— The Moderated MediaThe Moderated MediaUndo Verstappen wins crazy German Grand PrixUndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoNew York state decriminalizes pot, stops short of Cuomo’s legalisation callUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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