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Ahmedabad launches air quality index linked to health advisories

first_imgAHMEDABAD The people of Ahmedabad may soon find information on air pollution levels flashing on LED boards on the city roads, along with accompanying messages asking them to take precautions. This is part of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) new health-based initiative to reduce the adverse impact of rising air pollution on the city’s seven million residents.The civic body is launching a comprehensive Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Information and Response (AIR) plan that would include an air pollution alert system and health risk communication based on real-time data.“The initiative, the first of its kind, involves five key factors: health risk communication, inter-agency coordination, capacity-building of the medical staff, targeted activities for vulnerable groups such as school children, senior citizens, and people with asthma or lung disease, and research on mitigation pathways,” said Anjali Jaiswal, a senior official in the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC), which has partnered with AMC to launch the new program.According to the plan, eight air quality monitors in Ahmedabad and two in Gandhinagar will collect data on smog and toxic pollutants and feed it into the system which would generate the AQI. This would then be used to inform residents on when to take precautions so that they can minimise exposure to harm.When the AQI is designated as “very poor” (301-400), it triggers a health alert, which would be disseminated by the civic body through various communication channels, including social media platforms and traditional media, and also displayed in colour-coded messages on a dozen large LED screens installed across the city. The AQI is supported by technical expertise from the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the Indian Meteorological Department’s System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which operate the AQI in Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.“Ahmedabad’s AIR plan is based on global best practices on AQI health risk communication from Beijing, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and New Delhi. With this, we want to prove that you can have clean air and prosperity without compromising on the health of the communities living in the city,” said Ms Jaiswal.last_img read more

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Ind vs Eng 1st Test: India take on England in high-octane clash

first_imgStrong contenders India and England go into a high-voltage cricket Test series at the Lord’s on Thursday with the spotlight on Sachin Tendulkar who aims to achieve an incredible milestone of 100 international centuries in a match which has historic significance.The first Test between number one team India and third ranked England at the hallowed Lord’s can be termed as a statistician’s delight for the sheer milestones in waiting.The series opener happens to be the 100th Test between the two sides and also the 2000th in the history of the game.If that was not enough, the historic venue could also become a witness to Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century in his 22nd year in Test cricket as the champion batsman is just a ton away from achieving the feat. But leaving aside all the historical importance associated with the Test, the four-match series is also touted as a fight between two best teams of the world for Test cricket’s top position.The fickle English weather, however, could play spoilsport as rain is predicted on all the five days of the match which has generated a lot of interest. While India would be desperate to do whatever it takes to hold on to its numero uno Test status, a series win by a two game margin will see England topple Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men from the pinnacle.But against a formidable side like England, who have been unbeaten in the last five series at home, it won’t be easy for the Indians, who did very little to impress in the drawn practice match against Somerset at Taunton.  Barring Suresh Raina, who hit a ton, the stars of India’s famed batting line-up, including Tendulkar, did little justice to their reputations, while the bowling department came a cropper accounting for just five Somerset batsmen in two innings.advertisementBut what would worry Dhoni more would be the failure of his experienced batting line up, which includes the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.Tendulkar would be pivotal to India’s batting in the absence of Virender Sehwag. Together with Dravid and Laxman, the champion batsman has shared over 35,000 runs in Test cricket and India’s fate in the series would largely depend on the trio’s performance against a potent English attack.Since December 6, 2009 when India became number one Test team, Tendulkar has scored 1722 runs from 15 Tests. But the great man’s record at Lord’s is far from rosy with 37 being his highest at the ‘Mecca’ of cricket. And Tendulkar, who did not play a Test since January this year, would have do much better to not only help his but also his side’s cause.But against a fiery English pace attack what India need is a strong star from their openers — inexperienced Abhinav Mukund and Gambhir, who returned to the team after missing the West Indies tour due to a shoulder injury. Dravid, who failed against Somerset but looked in form in the Carribean, is expected to hold on to one end, while Laxman’s is high on confidence after three half centuries against the West Indies.Skipper Dhoni might have come under the weather on the Caribbean tour and would be itching to contribute with the bat against England. Raina, on the other hand, has more or less sealed his place in the playing eleven ahead of Yuvraj Singh by virtue of his consistent performances in the West Indies and fighting century against Somerset.On the bowling front, India has been bolstered by the return of Zaheer Khan, who will spearhead the visitors pace attacks alongside in-form Ishant Sharma, who was the man-of-the-series in the Caribbean with 22 wickets from three Tests at a strike rate of 16.86.Apart from Zaheer and Ishant, the Indian pace attack also has Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar, who can be lethal on their day.The spin attack, meanwhile, will be under Harbhajan Singh’s charge while giving him company would be leg-spinner Amit Mishra.The Indian camp will be a bit worried about Zaheer’s record in England. In his previous two visits in the country, the left-arm seamer managed only nine wickets at a strike rate of 30.22. If nothing, Zaheer at least is expected to extend his hold over England’s left-handed openers Andrew Strauus and Alistair Cook, whom he has dismissed five and three times in Test matches respectively.But claiming 20 wickets in the match would be a difficult task for the Indian bowlers as they are up against a formidable and much-improved English batting line-up. For the home team it would be a relief to see captain Strauss back among runs. He was hardly troubled by the Indian bowlers en route to his 78 and unbeaten 109 run innings for Somerset.advertisementTo add to Indian bowlers’ concerns, ODI captain Alistair Cook and number three Jonathan Trott have been consistently scoring runs for England.The duo, since their unbeaten 329-run stand in the opening Test in Australia last year, have had five century and one double century partnerships in the last seven Tests. Cook has smashed five and Trott three centuries from England’s last eights Tests.Even though, critics have pointed out the failures of Strauss and Kevin Pietersen (85 from three Tests), it has been been magnificently balanced by the trio of Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior who have never failed collectively in recent times. Down the order, Stuart Broad and Swann are also more than handy with the bat.The present English bowling attack is full with variety, which makes it one of the most fearsome ion the world at present.The home team’s pace department will be lead by three over six feet bowlers — James Anderson (6’2), Stuart Broad (6’5) and Chris Tremlett (6’7), who have been instrumental in England’s 11 victories out of their last 16 Tests.Anderson would be India’s biggest threat due to his ability to swing the ball while Tremlett uses his height to extract uncomfortable bounce from any surface. England’s spin attack will be the sole responsibility of Graeme Swann, who is regarded as one of the best in the business.The 32-year-old off-spinner is an attacking bowler, who has scalped 140 wickets from 32 Tests. As expected, the “home of cricket” is sold out for the historic tie and the ICC and by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has also planned a host of activities, including a parade of former Test captains of the two nations on the fourth day of the match, to mark the occasion.But the only wrong note in the proceedings can be the unpredictable English summer weather as frequent showers are expected on all five days, the worst being the third day of the match.Teams (from): England: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alistair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan.India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt and wk), Gautam Gambhir, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, S Sreesanth.Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan).Third umpire: Marais Erasmus (South Africa)Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)The match starts at 3.30 pm IST.last_img read more

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Younis Khan fumes at Pak Cricket Board, claims not invited for Pakistan Super League launch

first_imgFormer captain and veteran batsman Younis Khan, who led Pakistan to its only Twenty20 world title, has lambasted the PCB, claiming that the Board did not invite him for the launch of much-delayed Pakistan Super League T20 event in Lahore.Younis appeared on Geo Super channel while the ceremony was being held in Lahore to claim he was upset at the treatment meted out to him by the Pakistan Cricket Board.”I was not invited for the ceremony. They ignored my accomplishments for Pakistan and my achievements in T20 cricket,” Younis complained.”But in a way it is good because they have sent me a clear message that where I stand as far as the PSL is concerned and if I will be a part of it or not,” he said.Also read: Right time to resume India-Pakistan cricket, says ICC president “It doesn’t matter to me at this stage of my career but it is disappointing not being invited for the PSL launch after having served Pakistan cricket for so long,” he added.The PSL launch ceremony went ahead without greats like Younis, Javed Miandad or even Imran Khan.An official of the PCB, however, claimed that Younis was invited for the ceremony.”Invitation cards were sent out,” he said.But Pakistan’s former captain Rashid Latif said it was an insult to greats like Younis and Miandad that no one from the Board tried to convince them to attend the ceremony nor were any air tickets sent to them.advertisement”Simple invitation cards were sent to former players that is all. Is this the way to hold such a big event by treating your greats at par with other guests,” he said.Also read: Afridi wants Pakistan to stop pushing for India series Younis minced no words in criticising the Board and said he was disappointed at the way he was treated.Younis’ is the only Pakistan captain to have led the national team to its only World T20 title in 2009 in England before he retired from the format.To add to the embarrassment for the PCB even former heads of the Board, based in Lahore, including Ijaz Butt, Khalid Mehmood, Tauqir Zia and Zaka Ashraf were all conspicuous by their absence.Earlier this week Pakistan’s former captain Wasim Akram had advised Younis to focus on Test cricket instead of ODIs.But Younis didn’t take kindly to the advice from Wasim.”I respect him a lot he is a legend of Pakistan cricket.But I think he should not bother or worry about me. Because after 15 years of international cricket I don’t think I need to take anyone’s advice to decide what to do about my career,” Younis said.last_img read more

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F1 Leader Lewis Hamilton No Longer a Follower on Instagram

first_img Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. F1Formual OneInstagramlewis hamilton First Published: September 20, 2019, 7:45 AM IST Singapore: Lewis Hamilton leads the way in Formula One and the Mercedes driver is not a follower on social media platform Instagram either after changing his routine.The Briton told reporters on Thursday that a decision to delete all the accounts he follows had made a significant difference to his life. “I think I just wanted kind of a fresh slate,” he explained at the Singapore Grand Prix.”I just noticed that for me… you wake up and the first thing you do is turn on your Instagram and check what’s happening. You’re always catching up and I just decided to change.”I wake up now and I have a bit of a read, I start my day differently and I’m hardly ever on it and this has made a big difference to my life, personally.”The five-time world champion, whose interests outside of Formula One include music and fashion, has never been shy about sharing his life with his fans.He has 12.8 million followers on Instagram and 5.6 million on microblogging site Twitter, where he still follows almost 850 people.”Sometimes obviously people come up and say: ‘Hey, you’re not following me but you follow that person’,” he said. “So now I don’t follow anybody and no one can complain.”But I still follow everyone closely, I look at everyone’s Instagram particularly within my sport just to see what they’re up to and I still support people.”Hamilton, who is well on the way to his sixth title, said before the sport’s August break that he wanted to read and meditate more.The winner of eight of the season’s 14 races so far is 63 points clear of teammate Valtteri Bottas in the overall standings. last_img read more

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Costa Rica vs Serbia Review

first_imgAdvertisement(photo credits: livescore)A fine free kick from Aleksandar Kolarov in the 56th minute was enough to seal all the 3 points for Serbia in first match of Group E vs Costa Rica.Both teams went into the match with the chance of securing the win. But Costa Rica squandered 2 first half chances and had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline going into the break.Coming back from halftime Costa Rica men could not create much chances as the Serbian defense stood tall. In the 56th minute Calvo fouled Mitrovic which lead to Kolarov scoring a stunning free kick in the top right corner which happened to be the match’s only goal.Even though Serbia would have looked to score more with Mitrovic missing some brillant chances they will take this 1-0 win with both hands.This three points put Serbia on top of Group E with Brazil and Switzerland due to meet later tonight.Here are the highlights of the match.Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2018 : Croatia vs Nigeria Review (Video Highlights) Advertisementlast_img read more

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Chalk Talk: Why OSU’s Third-Down Defense Struggled Versus TCU

first_imgThe Oklahoma State defense struggled against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Cowboys’ 44-31 loss. OSU allowed TCU to convert 58 percent of its third downs, and quarterback Kenny Hill was able to pick apart the defense despite rarely throwing the ball more than 10 yards downfield.The Cowboys struggled for a number of reasons, but poor awareness and alignment played a large factor in the loss. Here are some examples.Here, TCU has a third down with 15 yards to go. The Cowboys are in a Cover 0 blitz, and Gyasi Akem is tasked with covering the slot receiver. Because he’s committed to showing the blitz before the snap, Shaun Nixon was able to beat him to the outside thanks to both a speed and positioning advantage. The other members of the secondary are playing 10 yards off the ball, giving Hill an easy read and a first down.There were other alignment issues as well. On this third down, it’s clear that the Cowboys are in zone coverage. The linebackers overreact to the motion and Chad Whitener fails to cover the flat. Kenny Hill sees this, and he throws to Desmond White for a quick conversion. Another third-down conversion came off a run-pass option, and Ramon Richards was playing so off his receiver it gave Hill an opportunity to abort the handoff and throw for a first down.Poor alignment doesn’t just affect the pass game. On a crucial third down, Jerel Morrow was outside of the box on the weak side of the formation. He was blitzing, but because of where he was aligned, he couldn’t have possibly affected the outcome of the play.With him as a non-factor, the Horned Frogs left Calvin Bundage unblocked on the end of the line of scrimmage, and with the rest of the box defenders accounted for (five on five), TCU earned an easy touchdown against what should have been a stacked box.There were plenty of other reasons why the defense didn’t perform well, such as poor tackling angles or too deep of drops in coverage, and TCU was able to use a fairly conservative game plan to consistently move the ball down the field.The Cowboys have a lot to work on before their potential shootout against Texas Tech, and if this game showed anything, it’s that OSU will have a hard time finding defensive success in conference play if they don’t improve quickly.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

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Martin Skrtel returns to England still thriving as Slovakia’s feared leader

first_imgWhen England face Slovakia at Wembley on Monday aiming to take a major stride towards the World Cup, they will find a familiar, imposing figure in their path. Martin Skrtel was deemed surplus to requirements by Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool a year ago but remains as pivotal as ever for his country in his role as captain and defensive totem.Skrtel is in his second season at Fenerbahce, where he has become a fans’ favourite (and a far more popular player than Robin van Persie, who has failed to live up to expectations). The centre-back plays on the edge and oversteps the mark at times, including with a red card against England a year ago which cleared the way for Sam Allardyce to win his only game as manager, but his leadership will be sorely missed when his international career is over.At 32 Skrtel is an elder statesman in this Slovakia side but from an early age it was plain he had the makings of a national team captain. Jan Kocian was the country’s head coach from 2006-08, when the set-up was more troubled than it is now. He took charge a couple of years after a teenage Skrtel had won his first cap. Facebook Closing divide between England players and fans not easy for Gareth Southgate Read more Twitter Slovakia Read more Martin Skrtel, second from left, takes part in a training session at Wembley. Photograph: John Walton/PA World Cup 2018 Topics Share via Email “His solidity and aggression on the pitch were great, and, moreover, he is a leader,” Kocian says. “He was always prepared for a debate and able to be self-critical. He was not thinking: ‘I play for Liverpool and the others play for small clubs.’ In that time, due to playing in England, his status was very high but he never misused it. I could rely on him. When I visited him in Liverpool, we had a lot of things to discuss as the atmosphere in the team was tense.”Skrtel was prepared to face all challenges head-on. “He never hid somewhere in the corner of the dressing room,” Kocian recalls. “He is a leader and he does not have to prove it by hitting the table or shouting at his team-mates. He builds his reputation in the squad by what he is doing on the pitch.”There was surprise in Slovakia when Skrtel was allowed to leave Liverpool. The broad feeling there was that the player, even if prone to mistakes, had a lot still to offer to Klopp’s defence and was certainly not inferior to Dejan Lovren, Joël Matip or Ragnar Klavan. The national team’s coach, Jan Kozak, criticised Klopp.“In my opinion Skrtel is Liverpool’s best centre-back and I don’t even want to know what is going on there,” Kozak said. “He is an experienced player and I am not worried about his performance in the national team. However, it makes me sad what he has to go through mentally. For me, it is unbelievable he is not playing there.”Skrtel’s unpredictable style and occasional lapses were most likely among Klopp’s reasons. A few months after the move to Turkey came the red card against England. After the match Skrtel’s defensive partner, Jan Durica, criticised the match officials over the sending-off and was fined by Fifa. Most experts agreed Skrtel’s behaviour was daft.Slovakia were drawing 0-0 in their opening qualifying game when Skrtel stamped on Harry Kane’s ankle in the 57th minute. Adam Lallana scored the decisive goal deep in stoppage time and Slovakia may wonder what might have been given they arrive at Wembley two points behind England, holding second place in Group F, after victory at home to Slovenia on Friday. Skrtel missed that game through his second suspension of the campaign.Skrtel’s final years in the Premier League featured regular run-ins with Diego Costa and at international level the pair clashed when Slovakia beat Spain 2-1 in Zilina in October 2014. Skrtel played on the very margins of the rules, rushing into hard tackles, receiving and giving a couple of punches. features World Cup 2018 qualifiers Pinterest England Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp “Martin’s game is always on the edge,” Kocian says. “He did not have any problems in Britain but when he plays in European cups or in the national team, referees usually rate his game in another manner. He goes into every challenge at 100% and sometimes it works against him as he concedes more fouls and there are more set pieces against his team. He is very good against tall players as he can use his strength and height. When he plays against more agile, smaller and faster players, in those situations he is a little bit slower, comes into the tackle a hundredth of second later and then it can lead to his foul.”Kocian can understand Klopp’s decision. “Klopp wanted to find a different type of defender: technical, able to pass the ball, good in the combination,” he says. “Martin’s best abilities are in challenges.“Martin himself would not be satisfied if he was sitting on the bench. Every coach has a different concept. It is not possible to criticise Klopp when he says: ‘Let’s find another club.’ It is a natural thing in football and every coach wants to have his own players in and win.”Liverpool’s loss has been Fenerbahce’s gain. He may have some way to go before he is adored by fans as much as his old team-mate Dirk Kuyt, but supporters have certainly taken to the defender. “Skrtel has sometimes some arguments with referees but that is a normal thing in Turkey,” says Kadir Onur Dincer, a journalist for the Turkish website Miliyet. “Nobody will discuss that unless he gets a red card in an important game. If he does it more often, paradoxically, fans will like him more. Felipe Melo was the biggest idol in Galatasaray – he fought not only for himself but also for his club. And Skrtel seems to be very similar.” France are held 0-0 by Luxembourg while Belgium secure World Cup berth With Slovakia Skrtel has formed a stable centre-back partnership with the 35-year-old Durica. Skrtel is the more aggressive, tougher player and Durica – while lacking nothing in physicality – provides greater technique and elegance. Having played together for more than 10 years, replacing them will not be easy.Milan Skriniar, the most expensive Slovak in history after his summer transfer from Sampdoria to Internazionale for €23m, seems a perfect mix of Skrtel and Durica and is prepared to step up. But whatever the quality of Skrtel’s eventual replacement, Kocian believes the loss will be felt in the dressing room. “Marek Hamsik is already 30 and even if he can continue playing, he is a more communicative guy. Skrtel is the type of player who can get impulsive at times and that might be missing in the team.”Optimism abounds in Slovakia after a successful Euro 2016 and the under-21s’ positive performances at the Euros in June. A generation-change is under way, with a lot of young players, including Skriniar, coming in. But it is difficult to imagine the team without Skrtel.Lukas Vrablik is a Slovakia-based freelance football writer specialising in Eastern European football. You can follow him on Twitter @LukasVrablik Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter World Cup Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more

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Karnataka Congress leader Shivakumar appears before ED again

first_imgNew Delhi: Former Karnataka Minister and senior Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar on Saturday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for questioning for the second consecutive day in a money laundering case. Shivakumar was questioned for over five hours on Friday by the ED as he deposed before the agency in the evening. The Karnataka High Court on Friday rejected Shivakumar’s petition for interim protection from arrest by the financial probe agency. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The ED had issued the summons on Thursday night, asking Shivakumar to appear before it on Friday afternoon over his alleged involvement in ‘hawala’ transactions in violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. According to ED sources, Shivakumar was questioned about an amount of Rs 8.59 crore seized during Income Tax department raids in August 2017. Shivakumar has been on the radar of the I-T department and the ED since demonetisation in 2016. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The alleged money laundering came to light after I-T sleuths raided Shivakumar’s flat in New Delhi on August 2, 2017 which led to the seizure of unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 8.59 crore without any evidence about its source. Cases were filed against him and four of his associates under Sections 277 and 278 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and Sections 120(B), 193 and 199 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Shivakumar has accused Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa of indulging in vindictive politics by targeting him and other opposition leaders. Before appearing for questioning before the ED, Shivakumar said, “I am a law-abiding citizen, and I have legal options which I am exploring.” The Congress leader added that he will face the proceedings “legally, politically and socially”.last_img read more

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Take steps against those visiting pandals in inebriated state

first_imgKolkata: Puja committees across the city have requested Kolkata Police to act tough against those visiting the pandals in an inebriated state. They have also urged the cops to take measures against those who create unnecessary ruckus inside the pandals to click selfies.On Thursday evening, senior Kolkata Police officials including Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma met various representatives of the Puja committees at Rabindra Sadan. During the interactive session, almost all the Puja committees requested the police to keep a strict vigil over people visiting the mandaps, especially at night. It has been observed on earlier instances that people visit the pandals in huge numbers after consuming alcohol and create pandemonium. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaRequests have been made to the police to prevent such people from entering the Puja pandals which would in turn result in running the whole process smoothly. This step will also prevent incidents like molestation or stalking of women. Several Puja committees also felt that steps should be taken to prevent people from taking selfies inside the pandals which can, at times, block the pandal-hoppers and give rise to unnecessary congestion inside the pandal premises. Sharma said: “Police will do everything to maintain the law and order situation and protect the citizens from any untoward incident. Regarding taking selfies, we will request people not to do so which can create problems for other pandal-hoppers. The message will be circulated through social media as well.” The police have also been requested to look into the parking issue and arrange the same near the Puja pandals.last_img read more

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BC film production to top 26B in 2017 setting new record

first_imgIf you’ve spotted one of the many crews set up around Metro Vancouver recently, it’s likely no surprise to you that B.C.’s film industry is booming.According to Creative BC, the independent agency charged with promoting creative industries in the province, that’s not just movie magic: the latest numbers show motion picture productions are set to spend a record amount in the province this year.Boosted by a low Canadian dollar, motion picture expenditures in B.C. are estimated to top $2.6 billion this fiscal year – the highest ever – up 35 per cent from 2015-2016. Advertisement Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement The agency says 338 productions qualified for tax credits this year, up from 297 last year.According to B.C.’s 2017 budget, those credits will cost taxpayers $391 million.READ MORE Twitterlast_img read more

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Alberta carbon tax jumps but NDP says its connected to improving economy

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta’s carbon tax jumped on New Year’s Day, but the province’s NDP government maintains the tax played a vital role in Alberta’s improving economic outlook.Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman told reporters there was a clear link between the approval of several pipelines last year and the tax that Alberta first introduced on carbon on January 1, 2017.Hoffman noted the federal government was clear that its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta to the B.C. coast was due to Alberta putting a price on carbon, as well as other pieces of its climate change policy.Alberta’s carbon levy jumped from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne on Monday, which Hoffman says will mean an extra two-and-a-half cents per litre at the gas pumps.Opposition Leader Jason Kenney of the United Conservative Party posted a video to social media on New Year’s Eve where he gassed up his truck before the hike, similar to a video he posted last year where he did the same thing.Kenney says the tax has already killed thousands of good paying jobs, put entrepreneurs out of business and made life more expensive for families.“The carbon tax is all economic pain with no environmental gain,” Kenney said Monday in a statement.The province says revenue from the levy, which also includes a tax on heating bills, will continue to be invested in green infrastructure, encouraging Albertans to be energy efficient and renewable energy.It says low- and middle-income Albertans will also see an increase in rebates the province provides to offset the carbon tax.Hoffman noted that 2017 continued to be “tough,” but said Alberta has “definitely rounded the corner” and that there were “tens of thousands of new jobs.”The government said a couple with two children earning up to $95,000 per year will receive a rebate of $540.“I don’t think it has been as shocking to Albertans on the cost side as many would want you to believe it would be. It hasn’t necessarily been easy. Any time you’re paying a bit more, it’s a challenge,” Hoffman said.“But we’ve done it in a way that protects ordinary Albertans and gets us that very important environmental leadership profile that we need to ensure we have a strong economy for future generations.”Kenney, however, noted that since the NDP announced its climate change plan, the prime minister vetoed the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, former U.S. president Barack Obama vetoed Keystone XL and the National Energy Board effectively killed Energy East.He added the NDP government in B.C. was also trying to stop Trans Mountain from proceeding.“Not one single government, party or special interest group has gone from ‘no’ to ‘yes’ on pipelines as a result of the NDP’s failed tax on everything,” Kenney said in the statement.Kenney also repeated a point that the Opposition has made since the tax was first announced — that the NDP never mentioned a carbon tax during the 2015 election campaign. But in his video, Kenney’s message was that the NDP told Albertans they wouldn’t introduce a tax.“This is the carbon tax they claimed they had no intention of imposing in the last provincial election,” Kenney said in the video.UCP spokeswoman Annie Dormuth said Monday that both messages are the same.“There is no discrepancy. The NDP implementing a carbon tax they never mentioned during the campaign is a lie by omission,” Dormuth said in an email.Hoffman responded the NDP was clear during the 2015 campaign that it was going to take leadership on the environment and that it was working on details of a plan.“Jason Kenney says a lot of things I find unusual or are contrary to the reality that we’re all living in,” she said. “He’s been cheering for Alberta to fail and he wants to pretend that only he can put the economy on the right track.”last_img read more

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Twitter posts better than expected revenue in 1Q

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter Inc. (TWTR) on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings of $190.8 million.On a per-share basis, the San Francisco-based company said it had net income of 25 cents. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 9 cents per share.The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 15 cents per share.The short messaging service posted revenue of $786.9 million in the period, surpassing Street forecasts. Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $774.9 million.For the current quarter ending in July, Twitter said it expects revenue in the range of $770 million to $830 million. Analysts surveyed by Zacks had expected revenue of $821 million.Twitter shares have increased 20 per cent since the beginning of the year. The stock has risen 9 per cent in the last 12 months._____Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on TWTR at https://www.zacks.com/ap/TWTRThe Associated Press read more

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Lack of communal reconciliation in Kosovo risks social unrest UN envoy warns

17 May 2010The absence of a significant process of reconciliation between the communities in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, together with economic difficulties, continues to present the risk of social unrest, a senior United Nations envoy warned today. But the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continues to devote close attention to issues affecting relations between the majority Albanian and other communities, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Lamberto Zannier told the Security Council. UNMIK administered Kosovo from 1999 when North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops amid bloody ethnic fighting between Serbs and Albanians, but it gave up its administrative role after the independence declaration. The declaration was rejected by Serbia, which still seeks a robust role from the mission as opposed to that envisaged by the authorities in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital. “Relations between UNMIK and the Kosovo authorities are courteous, if at arm’s length, and UNMIK staff continue to maintain a variety of daily, fruitful contacts at the working level with their Kosovo counterparts,” Mr. Zannier said. With UNMIK’s facilitation, the sides continue to have direct dealings on missing persons – according to Red Cross estimates there are still 1,862 people missing across Kosovo – but “regrettably, direct practical cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina has not extended” to other areas generally, he added. The Mission continues “to offer its good offices for the resolution of practical issues between Pristina and Belgrade, in the expectation that more direct channels of dialogue for the resolution of such issues can be activated between the parties.” Mr. Zannier noted that the situation in Kosovo has remained stable, although the potential for volatility and instability, especially in northern Kosovo, remains. “The absence of a significant process of reconciliation between the communities continues to be a challenge and that, coupled with economic difficulties, continues to present the risk of social unrest,” he said. He was presenting to the Council Mr. Ban’s latest report, which highlighted UNMIK’s unique position to facilitate dialogue between the communities and called for ongoing international support for the operation. Mr. Ban today met with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who attended the Council session, and reaffirmed the UN commitment to status-neutral engagement, including facilitating regional cooperation and communal dialogue. He stressed the need for flexibility and pragmatism from both sides. read more

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UNESCO voices alarm at escalating violence against journalists in Philippines

Condemning the second murder of a Philippines reporter in a week – and the 11th this year – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has voiced alarm at the escalating violence against journalists in the southeast Asian country, calling it a direct attack on democracy. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), reported that 23 year-old Stephen Omais, a staff writer of the bimonthly community paper Guru Press, was found dead with torture marks on his body in Tabuk Town, northern Philippines, after the entire paper received death threats in relation to a story about a public works project. “The murderers of Mr. Omais, whose body was found in a garbage bin, appear to be bent on meting out the same treatment to democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “Violence against journalists in the Philippines has recently escalated and is reaching a truly alarming level. To protect democracy and rule of law, adequate measures must be taken to bring the criminals responsible for these barbarous acts of violence to trial,” he added. Professional organizations said Mr. Omais was the 46th journalist to have been assassinated since the establishment of democracy in the Philippines in 1986, and they denounce the fact that not one successful prosecution has been made in connection with these murders. read more

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Application period for 2020 hemp program starts in November

Photo Courtesy: MGN Online FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky officials say growers and processors wanting to participate in the state’s 2020 hemp program can start applying for a license in mid-November.State Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles says an online application is being added to the application process with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.- Advertisement – Quarles says the department will accept grower applications from Nov. 15 to March 15 next year. Processor applications also can be submitted starting Nov. 15. The department says it eventually hopes to move to a year-round processor application.Kentucky has been at the forefront of hemp’s resurgence. Hemp was legalized as a farm commodity as part of the new federal farm bill.Two Kentucky lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. James Comer, played key roles in pushing Congress to legalize the crop. read more

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Brock University at Buffalo launch crossborder economic research project

A research project between universities in neighbouring countries will take a close look at the economy on both sides of the Niagara River.Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory and the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning have teamed up to create a one-year research project that is taking an inventory of the two neighbouring economies.The project aims to lay the groundwork for regional economic growth stemming from the start-up of cross-border partnerships.“The ambition of this project is to begin to leverage Niagara’s assets as a border community, to extend the hand of partnership across the border,” says NCO Director Charles Conteh. “Both sides of the border are in economic transition. Recent reports suggest that cross-border regions are becoming more globally competitive for firms and talent.”Collaborating with the NCO are Brock’s Goodman School of Business and the Niagara Community Foundation. UB’s School of Architecture and Planning is heading up the American research.The bi-national team’s first workshop will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 at University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. It will focus on the life sciences sector.“The binational team is conducting relevant economic, legal and planning research that will shed light on economic opportunities presented by virtue of the fact that we live, work, and play in a cross-border region,” says Conteh.“Collaborating and positioning ourselves as a binational region would strengthen our position in the global marketplace,” says Kathryn Friedman, research associate professor at the UBRI and project co-coordinator.“We would become a very attractive region for investment and economic growth,” she says.The Cross-Border Innovation and Prosperity research project focuses on four key sectors: health/life sciences; advanced manufacturing; cultural/heritage tourism; and natural resources stewardship.Researchers on both sides of the border will collect, map and analyze data on the Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York regions’ economic strengths and weaknesses in these sectors.The research includes holding three workshops that provincial, state, regional and municipal public sector officials, business representatives and officials from the non-profit sector from Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo Niagara.“Although Brock and the University at Buffalo are anchoring this effort, we are truly looking for this to be a cross-sectoral, binational initiative,” says Friedman.UB’s School of Architecture and Planning is hosting the first workshop on Nov. 7, 2016, where Conteh and other researchers will present information collected so far on the life sciences sector “to engage key stakeholders in exploring a cross-border approach to economic growth and prosperity,” says Conteh.He explains that an economically strong and prosperous Niagara will attract and employ young people, which will help to stem the problem of youth outmigration.A host of high-level funders are backing the initiative.Funders include: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)’s Borders in Globalization initiative, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Niagara Community Foundation, the Oishei Foundation, the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, the Peace Bridge Authority, the Regional Municipality of Niagara, and Meridian Credit Union.Studies have shown economic potential in the Niagaras of both countries.According to the 2016 Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide produced by the privately funded economic development organization Invest Buffalo Niagara, “the region’s strategic location on the Canadian border is within 500 miles (800 km) of 40% of the binational population.“Our binational gateway for commerce facilitates $78 billion in annual trade between Canada and the United States,” says the report.The City of Welland’s Economic Development Office notes in a 2015 Community Profile that, “Welland is within… 60 percent of the North American industrial market.”“This market area comprises three-quarters of the purchasing power of Canada and the United States,” says the study. “As well, seven of the top ten U.S. industrial states are within one day’s trucking of Welland. Welland is closer to the bulk of the U.S. market than Florida, Texas and California.” read more

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Preachers son led gaslighting plot to seduce pensioners before killing them court

Prosecutors allege that Field then began secretly slipping sedatives into Mr Farquar’s drinks to make it appear as if he was falling into the grip of “crippling” alcoholism. Friends soon began to notice Mr Farquhar’s decline from a neat, well dressed man into a “dribbling shambles of his former self”, the court heard.Field would also hide Mr Farquhar’s possessions, then pretend to find them, sometimes in the fridge. The older man began to believe that he was “losing his mind”, perhaps due to dementia, and even considered suicide, jurors were told. Former University of Buckingham student and church warden Benjamin Field The pair then became “betrothed” at a formal ceremony, after which Mr Farquhar wrote in his journal: “It is one of the happiest moments of my life. Gone are the fears of dying alone.”A private email written by Ben Field around that time betrayed different intentions, the court heard. In it he described Mr Farquhar as a  “closeted, Christian, homosexual, English teaching pedant, with a seriously problematic attraction to teens”.He went on to admit “seeking to exploit both Peter’s vanity and his desire for companionship”.“This is needlessly cruel, of course,” he is said to have written.Mr Farquhar was besotted, however, and was soon persuaded to alter his will so that his home would pass to Field after his death, rather than his own brother Ian. Martyn Smith pictured performing as a magician Martyn Smith pictured performing as a magician “I first met Peter in my sixth term of university.”Peter usually acts in a fashion that betrays his fearful nature, over cautious and aged.”Example: when making a cup of tea, he will go to throw the bag into the cup, but is then stricken by apprehension, and goes to toss the thing several times before dropping it in from a distance of three or five inches.”It’s small, but summarises his entire demeanour – desiring to appear masterful, he contemplates showmanship; his aversion to failure inhibits; he ends up looking far more insecure and shaky than if he was not trying to present himself to the world.”At the end of term, I called Peter and invited myself over. The reasons for this are manifold, but centre on career-minded avarice – I wanted to work at the university (where he was a guest lecturer), or at Stowe school (where he had been head of English for 21 years), etc.”So I went over and was amusing and cheered the poor man up. He retired early, to be a novelist, and his day to day existence was lonely. It is also alleged that Tom Field, Ben Field’s younger brother defrauded Miss Moore-Martin by pretending to be “mortally ill” in order to deceive her into giving £27,000 for a dialysis machine.Benjamin Field and Smith deny charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and posesssion of an article for use in fraud. Field also denies an alternative charge of attempted murder. But he has admitted four charges of fraud and two of burglary. Smith also denies two counts of fraud and one of burglary.The trial continues.Email extract written by accused about victim Benjamin Field was a prolific writer, documenting his “thoughts and activities” in diaries, notes and also electronically, a court heard.Among them was a document titled, An email about Peter.Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, read extracts of the two page document to the jury.”Peter A Scott Farquhar is a man of many contradictions,” Benjamin Field wrote.”He is a closeted, Christian, homosexual, English teaching pedant, with a seriously problematic attraction to teens, and who continues to privately tutor fourteen and fifteen year old boys in his home.”I do not suspect him of ever acting inappropriately in any way. This is because I know he is a virgin. A cororner concluded however that Mr Farquhar had died from alcohol related causes.Field duly collected his inhertitance, a life interest in Mr Farquhar’s home plus £20,000, while SMith was left £10,000.The pair then allegedly moved onto their next target, Anne Moore-Martin, a deeply religious retired headteacher who lived three doors down the road. The son of a Baptist minister murdered an elderly lecturer as part of an elaborate “gaslighting” plot to seduce pensioners, kill them and keep their homes, a court heard.Ben Field and his alleged accomplice Martyn Smith, a part-time magician, are accused of conspiring to kill Peter Farquhar, 69, and retired head mistress Ann Moore-Martin, 83, in the quiet village of Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire.Field, 28, gradually deceived both into falling in love with him before persuading them to alter their wills in his favour, it is alleged.Using a psychological technique known as “gaslighting”, he convinced the pensioners they were losing their minds while secretly planning their deaths so he could inherit their wealth, jurors were told.Psychoactive drugs were secretly placed into Mr Farquar’s drinks, while messages were written on Mrs Moore-Martin’s mirrors to trick her into believing she was being contacted by God, prosecutors said.Field allegedly devised the elaborate “project” while Smith, 32, was his willing follower. When the pair were arrested, Smith had already moved in with another elderly woman, now aged 101, and had secured a copy of her will, the court heard.Officers then found a long list of other pensioners that the pair planned to target for their money, labelled “clients”. They also found plans for what Field called “exit strategies”; possible murder methods including car crashes, unwitting overdoses and ‘accidental’ heart failure during sex. Peter Farquhar When Mr Farquhar’s body was exhumed, a second autopsy found traces of sedatives in his hair. Mrs Moore-Martin reversed the changes to her will, but died in a care home shortly afterwards, apparently from natural causes.Ben Field and Martyn Smith’s final target was a woman now aged 101, the court heard.Jurors were told that at the time of their arrests, Smith had started lodging with Liz Zettl, then aged 99, at her home in Buckingham.During their investigation, police found a copy of Mrs Zettl’s will on Field’s university server, prosecutors said. Smith had also emailed a copy of the will to himself.This was “presumably with a view to committing some sort of deception on her”, Oliver Saxby QC said.Smith is said to have helped Field after becoming “carried away” in his friend’s “world of plotting and deceit and death”, the court heard. There were other “antics” carried out by Field, such as burgling the homes of elderly people,“The common theme: Death made to look like accident or suicide – an elderly, ailing life coming to a sad but predictable end,” Mr Saxby told jurors.“For Field, this was a project: Befriend a vulnerable individual, get them to change their will and then make sure they died. Indeed, piecing things together, it is clear that his project became his life’s work – a life’s work of which he was proud and for which he admired himself.” Like Mr Farquhar, the 83-year-old was unmarried, childless and lonely. Flattered by the attentions of a man 57 years younger, she soon fell in love and embarked on a full-blown sexual relationship, prosecutors said.Soon, though, Field began to leave Biblical messages written in white marker on her mirrors, suggesting it was the “will of the Lord” that she should leave her house to him. A devout Roman Catholic and regular churchgoer, Mrs Moore-Martin is said to have interpreted these as direct messages from God.She told a friend that Field was giving her “white powder” to help her sleep. He also took a photograph of Mrs Moore-Martin performing a sex act on him without her knowledge, the court heard.“Something to blackmail her with, presumably, if the need arose,” Mr Saxby said.Eventually, Mrs Moore-Martin agreed to alter her will to leave her home to Field. However a solicitor and Mrs Moore’s concerned niece both raised the alarm and the police were called. “Note: Later in our friendship I edited his second novel for him, and suggested that we collaborate on a book. Retired headteacher Ann Moore-Martin was once pictured meeting Nigel Farage on her doorstep Credit:Paul Rogers/Times Newspapers Retired headteacher Ann Moore-Martin was once pictured meeting Nigel Farage on her doorstep  Former University of Buckingham student and church warden Benjamin Field “This is, once again, my own ambition seeking to exploit both Peter’s vanity and his desire for companionship.”Time passed, I saw Peter again and again. He once came to Olney, and I showed him round the various churches and spoke about the history of the Baptist Christian Tradition in Britain, Blah and Blah.”Typically, though, I would visit him during a free hour or two while I was in Buckingham anyway, and he would make us a meal.”I had, and still have, a very clear model of relationship’s reciprocity or mutuality, which is vulgarly commercial: he gives me things, and he gets me for a length of time.”Historical example: he lets me stay in the spare room, makes me dinner and breakfast, and in exchange he wins at chess and feels a little less lonely.”This is needlessly cruel, of course; I do like the man, and appreciate some of the things he’s done for me. However, that’s not really an interesting thing to say.” It was a classic example of so-called “gaslighting”, Mr Saxby QC said.“It is a form of psychological manipulation where the perpetrator sows seeds of doubt in the mind of a victim so the victim ends up doubting their memory, their sanity,” he told the court.The term comes from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gaslight and its later film adaptations, in which a man dims the lights in his home while convincing his wife that she is imagining the change.“Nobody knew they were drugging him, least of all Peter Farquhar,” Mr Saxby added.It was around this time that Tom Field, Ben’s younger brother, raised concerns about the “project” in an email read out to the court.“Has it gone too far? The will thing isn’t OK,” the younger Field is said to have warned his brother.“It’s all good fun but it’s got to stop at some point.”Mr Farquar was eventually taken into a care home, where his condition markedly improved, it was said. Shortly after returning home, however, he was found dead at home  by his cleaner in October 2016, the court heard.“Peter Farquhar did die. Ben Field killed him. Almost certainly by suffocating him,” Mr Saxby told jurors. “If he was to inherit their houses, they had to die. And if he was to enjoy his inheritance, of course, he had to get away with it.”Their first target was Mr Farquhar, a “highly respected” former head of English at Stowe school who had retired to write a series of novels, the court heard.Jurors were told that Field first met Mr Farquhar in 2011, shortly after becoming an English student at Buckingham University, where the retired teacher was a part-time lecturer. Shortly afterward both Field and Smith began lodging at his home.At the time Mr Farquhar was a well-respected figure with a large circle of friends and former Stowe pupils. He was “clever, organised, alert and capable; Christian; and private”, prosecutors said.But he was also “torn” about his homosexuality, which he had kept secret for years, and found it difficult to reconcile with his religious beliefs, the court heard. He had never married, had no children, and struggled with a degree of “emotional repression”.Shortly after meeting Mr Farquhar at university, Field allegedly decided to exploit his loneliness, with Smith’s help. He began a relationship with the older man, told him he was “through with girlfriends” despite still seeing other women, and started sleeping and cuddling in his bed. Mr Farquhar’s writings suggest the relationship became sexual, the court heard. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Peter Farquhar Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said: “The motive was financial gain – laced, as far as Ben Field is concerned, with a profound fascination in controlling and manipulating and humiliating and killing. read more

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Christine Dimer announced as Kazzie of the Year

first_imgIt’s the time of the year when the Kastellorizian Association of Victoria announces the person to receive the organisations’ greatest honour. This time round, it is Christine Dimer, who was announced as Kastellorizian of the Year 2017. President of the Kastellorizian Seniors Citizens Club for the past decade, Christine Dimer is well-known to the Kastollerizian community for her work. “Christine Dimer embodies ‘philotimo’ as evidenced by her many professional and volunteering roles over the years in the wider community,” said the Association’s president, Dr. Nick Lolatgis. “It is reassuring to know that people like Christine are taking an active role in ensuring that the needs of the elderly and vulnerable in our wider community are properly addressed,” he added, describing the 2017 ‘Kazzie of the Year’ as somebody who “embodies the Kastellorizian ethos of ‘faith, hope and love’ both in her selfless commitment to the social welfare of our Kastellorizian seniors, and in her volunteering roles in the wider community”. Born in Melbourne in 1949, Christine Dimer is the daughter of Steve and Ann Paltos, both coming from Kastellorizo (though Ann Mavris was born in Queensland). The youngest of three children, she studied at the Dacomb Business College and worked as a secretary, before getting married and devoting herself to raising her three children (she has now six grandchildren); in the ’80s, she started volunteering in aged care, assisting isolated elderly people which led her to get back to studying, getting an Associate Diploma of Welfare in 1995, followed by a Bachelor of Human Services in 1996, both at Monash University. Christine Dimer went on to get a position with the Association of the Blind, now trading as Vision Australia, were she worked until 2002. At the same time, she has been deeply involved with the Kastellorizian Association, volunteering as a Honorary Welfare worker presiding the Kastellorizian Senior Citizens Club since 2007. At the same time, Christine Dimer started working with the Justice Department’s Office of the Public Advocate, having trained as a Community Visitor volunteering in the southern region, looking after vulnerable residents of Supported Residential Services. “This is my most rewarding role,” she says. “After 11 years in this role, I continue to see the injustices done to our fellow human beings and feel that I can still contribute in a meaningful way to help these residents have a quality of life that is their right. I feel very privileged to have had these opportunities throughout my life. This involvement with my wider community is something I will cherish forever.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Rain likely to persist

first_imgObservers throughout southwest Washington had to do little more than look out the window to see rain, wind or hail, even blue skies, depending on the timing of the glance.Suffice it to say, it’s been weird stretch of weather these past 24 hours.“May is acting more like March,” e-mailed Steve Pierce, an executive board member of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society. Pearson Airport has accumulated more than a half-inch of rain over the 24-hour stretch ending at 1 p.m. today.“If we continue adding to the rain bucket, we have a chance to go above normal for May. That would follow a wetter than normal April,” Pierce wrote. “It has been almost three years since we last experienced back-to-back ‘above normal’ precipitation months at the Portland International Airport.”Pierce expects wet weather to persist through the weekend, although it shouldn’t be as “stormy as it has been over the past 24-48 hours.”Temperatures will remain colder than normal, wrote Pierce, who added that a warm stretch is unlikely anytime soon.Advises Pierce: Keep your umbrellas handy.A day after high winds caused power outages in at least four spots around Clark County, Mick Shutt of Clark Public Utilities said today’s been a different story. No outages have been reported.“It’s been pretty quiet, although it has been pretty weird out there,” Schutt said.Weird, yes, but it could be worse.last_img read more

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Alaska pretrial services might see change

first_imgGeri Fox is in charge of developing Alaska’s new pretrial program, part of which is an assessment tool that will be used to determine if someone awaits trial in prison or in the community. She says “It measures the likelihood of an individual committing a new criminal event between the time they are arrested and their case is disposed of. … The other thing our tool will measure is whether or not you are likely to fail to appear in a future court hearing between arrest and disposition of your case.”It’s basically using statistics in place of human judgment to assess risk. Fox likened it to car insurance: “If you are low risk, we want to help you stay out in the community, and here’s why … most people that are in jail for more than three days end up losing things like a job, an important significant other in their life, their apartment. And as those things begin to unravel, they become more desperate, and so what happens is we actually increase the crime rate.”Joshua Quintal, like many in Juneau and Douglas, is worried about the upcoming releases. Quintal was arrested for multiple property crimes about two years ago. Unable to afford his $75,000 bail, he sat in Lemon Creek Correctional Center for three months. Quiatal said, “It was rough on me, but … it gave me time to find out what was important to me. So I’m not going to say that sitting there in jail wasn’t good for me. I think it probably was.”If it weren’t for his wife, Brianna Heller, who agreed to be his custodian for nine months, he would have been in for much longer. Heller said she’s glad her husband got out, but she knows that many in Juneau do not have the same support they had to make it work.Heller adds, “I think a lot of people are almost relieved to be in jail, believe it or not, because they don’t have to hustle anymore. There is a huge, huge amount of people that are like the “undesirables,” and it really kind of sucks for them that jail is almost a better option because they’ll have a shower, or they’ll be fed…”Quintal has a lengthy criminal history going back to age 14, when he says his drug addiction began.Fox said that criminal history will likely be a factor in the new assessment, “One of the most likely pieces of the tool will be what does your criminal pattern look like? For example, have you committed three crimes in five years or eight crimes in five years? So the density or your involvement in the criminal justice system matter.”In addition to the new assessment tool, pretrial defendants will be monitored through in-person visits and ankle monitors. Minus a few exceptions, this is something that hasn’t been done before, even for those currently out on bail. She also said connecting people to treatment, especially those with addiction, will be crucial to the program’s success. The new tool will be piloted in September. Fox said they’ll do about 8,000 assessments before full implementation in January. Sitka Police Officer Noah Shepard serves coffee to inmates in Sitka’s jail, while supervisor Dave Nelson looks on. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)At any given time over a quarter of the beds in Alaska prisons are occupied by people who haven’t been convicted of a crime. That’s according to the Alaska Judicial Council. That may change in the coming months as a result of one piece of 2016’s Senate Bill 91 that establishes pretrial services.LISTEN NOWlast_img read more

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