VANCOUVER — West Fraser Timber Co Ltd. reported a loss in its second quarter as it saw a substantial reversal compared with a year ago as lower lumber prices and export duties cut into its results.The Vancouver-based company says it lost $58 million or 85 cents per share in the quarter compared with earnings of $346 million or $4.52 per share in the same quarter last year.Sales totalled $1.32 billion, down from $1.83 billion a year ago.On an adjusted basis, it lost $17 million, or 25 cents per share for the quarter ending June 30, compared with earnings $397 million or $5.19 a share last year.The results were well below analyst expectations of adjusted earnings of nine cents per share according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. In the quarter, West Fraser announced the permanent closure of its Chasm, B.C. lumber mill and a shift reduction at its 100 Mile House mill in response to high log costs in the province and lumber prices that are much lower than the record highs of last year.The company cut about 250 million board feet of permanent and temporary lumber production in the first half of the year, while permanent reductions are expected to cut its annual capacity by 614 million board feet. Companies in this story: (TSX:WFT)The Canadian Press
The UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) has confirmed that the videos are authentic.According to the agency, short video clips have also been sent to families of those held captive, threatening that they will be killed if ransoms (ranging between $8,000-$10,000) are not paid.“Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, in a news release.“The cruelty of the human traffickers preying on vulnerable refugees and migrants in Libya does not seem to have a limit,” added Amin Awad, the Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), calling for their immediate release.Those seen in the video are from Somalia and Ethiopia but other nationalities could also be present, noted IOM.It added that migrants and refugees travelling to Libya from the Horn Africa, are particularly vulnerable in the Raybana area on the country’s southern border with Sudan, where many are frequently abducted.Social media and tech firms need to recognize the extreme harm – IOM officialThe agency also drew attention to the increasing trend of abuse of digital and social media platforms by smugglers or criminal gangs and called on such firms to be more vigilant.“This is a global problem where a smuggler or a criminal gang can easily use digital platforms to advertise their services, entice vulnerable people on the move and then exploit them and their families,” said IOM’s Mr. Abdiker.Social media, including Facebook, has a duty to better police content on its channels […] We are not accusing Facebook of complicity [but emphasizing] that these channels are being abused by criminals – Leonard Doyle, chief spokesperson for IOM in Geneva“It is high time that social media and tech companies recognize the extreme harm that is occurring because of their failure to monitor and react to situations of grave human rights abuses […] that are being shared through their channels,” he added.Also today, the head of IOM operations in Libya, Othman Belbeisi, said that the agency is working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants.“[We are] supporting Libyan efforts in the fight against the smuggling networks and we are very concerned about the current situation,” noted Mr. Belbeisi, adding that IOM would continue to use its staff in the region – in coordination with the authorities – to assist in tracing and potentially aiding in the rescue of these victims.Some of the captives in the videos have been missing for up to six years, according to their families in Somalia, noted IOM.The videos, made by a journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang, and posted it on Facebook on 9 June) show hundreds of emaciated and abused male migrants and refugees sitting on the floor in a crowded space.They said that been beaten and tortured.Large concrete block placed on a young, starving man as punishmentSome of them also reported that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken, they have not been fed, and that women and girls have been put in different cells, where these men fear they are being abused both sexually and physically.“I have being here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video. “If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay this world any more. I didn’t eat the last four days but the biggest problem is beating here. They don’t want to release me.”IOM noted that throughout the video there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya.In one instance, he introduces the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.They broke my teeth, they broke my hand… – A captive shown in the video“I was asked for $8,000,” said the young man, when asked by journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have being here 11 months […] This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”“I was here one year,” said another captive on the video (from Ethiopia), pleading with the journalist for help.“We want help. My brother, my brother, we are dead! We are beaten 24 hours a day, brother I am begging you! Brother I beg you, do whatever you can do. I can’t sleep, my chest hurts so much because they beat me with big pieces of steel every hour. They put us out in the sun. They do not give us food for days. Brother, we want you can take us back to our country!”
Iron ore from Swedish producer LKAB is of unusual quality. It is very pure, fostering highly efficient steel production that minimizes greenhouse gas emissions from the mine to the final production of steel, an independent analysis shows.For LKAB, a move toward sustainable steel production is a competitive advantage.“This gives us a head start on others”, says Stefan Savonen, Vice President for Energy and Climate at LKAB.LKAB commissioned a study to track carbon emissions at every step of steel production. An analysis made by Ecofys, found that steel made with iron ore pellets from LKAB leads to 14% less direct carbon dioxide emissions than average European primary steel,. The reason is that LKAB mines magnetite iron ore, an unusually pure variety, which requires far less energy to transform it into steel than does the far less efficient hematite iron ore.“The advantage of the pure magnetite iron we have is that it does not require as great an external energy supply during pellet production as hematite”, Savonen said.In addition to the value chain analysis, LKAB commissioned a carbon footprint study which is verified by SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden. It was commissioned because of LKAB’s interest to chart the total climate impact of its products, particularly important after the Paris agreement on climate change in 2016.Estimating the carbon footprint of various varieties of iron ore products, which are produced in small grape-sized balls known as “pellets”, turned out to be major challenge but was important in order to be transparent. Experts had to trace greenhouse gas emissions at each step of production. The carbon footprint result was positive for LKAB, which is the first major producer of iron ore to examine the entire chain of emissions in steel production.“Energy consumption and emissions of carbon dioxide from the manufacture of our pellets are among the lowest in the iron ore sector. LKAB has one of the world’s most energy efficient pelletising plants in the world and strives to become completely CO2 neutral by 2045”, says Savonen.”
There is absolutely no doubt that this device was intended to murder.Freeburn added that he was sure the wider public would be “just as angry” about the discovery today.“They have every right to be outraged. However what we need now is information about who left the device there in the first place. I would call on anyone who has any information that could assist police with their enquiries to call Detectives in Tennent Street on 0845 600 8000.”Information can also be passed anonymously to the charity Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.The security alert has now ended and evacuated residents have been allowed to return to their homes.More: Two viable explosive devices found in Dublin outhouse> OFFICERS IN NORTHERN Ireland found what they described as a “substantial viable device” in north Belfast today.Army technical officers carried out a clearance operation in the Jamaica Street area and made the bomb safe this afternoon.Condemning those responsible for planting the device, Chief Inspector Andrew Freeburn said, “Once again the community of north Belfast has been disrupted and the lives of residents put at risk by an element intent on causing as much loss of life and disruption as they can.”“The people who carried this out showed a callous disregard for the lives of everyone in our community. This is a residential area and we could have been looking at serious tragedy here.
The Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad – an autonomous Secretariat within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece founded in 1983 – faces an uncertain future as a result of ten of its staff members being placed on a mobility scheme. According to the provisions of the scheme, public servants placed on mobility are to be paid 75 per cent of their wages for a period of up to eight months until they are transferred to another position. If a position cannot be found, they face dismissal. The target of the Greek government is to place 25,000 public servants by the end of the year on the scheme. During its thirty years of existence, the Secretariat invited to Greece tens of thousands of children and students living in the diaspora as part of its educational camping programs, and hundreds of low income pensioners. It has also subsidised numerous Greek community organisations and festivals around the globe, including the Greek Australian Network of Festivals, and it has also poured money into various universities abroad in support of Modern Greek studies. This organisation – which has been downgraded in the past few years since the general secretary was replaced by a general manager – is in this predicament as a result of a government decision to place ten of its fifty-one remaining employees on the scheme. The ten public servants who were transferred to the mobility scheme, were the only infusion of ‘new blood’ in the thirty year history of the organisation, were all former employees of a now defunct public institution, the National Institute of Repatriated Greeks and were employed with indefinite contracts. Earlier in the year, an evaluation report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for the inclusion of the Secretariat in the overall structure of the Ministry. The latest developments at the Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, as a result of the restructure of the public service by the Greek government, brings the ultimate demise of the Secretariat closer, because virtually all of its employees are approaching retirement age within the next three to four years. The union of the employees of the Secretariat, in a press release, has expressed its complete disagreement with this decision. The president of the union, Takis Avramidis, told Neos Kosmos that his organisation “will do whatever it can in order to protect the jobs of its members and the future of the Secretariat” and stressed that “this initiative goes against the expressed need for Greece to strengthen its bonds with the Greek diaspora”. Giorgos Aggelopoulos, President of the Oceania and Far East Asia Region of the World Council for the Hellenes Abroad (SAE), said that “what is needed is the strengthening of the Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad and not its virtual extinction”. “It is disappointing to hear that several public servants from the ranks of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad (GSGA) have been made redundant,” said Costas Markos, secretary of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria. “Taking into consideration the population of the diaspora – which without doubt is increasing due to many Greeks seeking employment security abroad – one would assume that there is an evident need for the Secretariat to be adequately staffed,” Mr Markos added. The office of the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for the Hellenic Diaspora Akis Gerontopoulos has yet to respond to a request made by Neos Kosmos in relation to the future of the Greek Secretariat for Greeks Abroad. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
James Gunn Once Again Directing ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’Dark Phoenix Trailer Released & More Marvel Movie News There may not be any more MCU movies coming out in 2018, but there’s still at least one thing to look forward to this year. Daredevil is getting a third season… sometime later this year. After that exciting tease at the end of Iron Fist Season Two, we’ve been anxiously awaiting more from The Man Without Fear. Sorry, Danny. You got a lot better in Season Two, but you were not who we were most excited to see. We’ll probably see a lot more from Daredevil during the show’s panel at New York Comic Con, but for now, the new season has a poster. That may not sound like much, but it’s a very good poster.via Marvel/NetflixWell, that’s certainly effective. It’s not often an image can give you chills, but the sight of Daredevil’s mask hanging from a large, bare cross all bathed in red certainly does the trick. The religious iconography is more than a cheap attention grab here. As we all know, Daredevil’s Catholicism is a deeply important part of his character. The show’s official Twitter account has also been tweeting Bible verses in anticipation of the new season. Religion will play a major role in the story of Season Three, it seems. Accompanying this poster was Job 30:26. But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.” Which could describe almost any Daredevil story, really.Others include Romans 2:8. “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Which sounds like something Matt Murdock would use to justify putting on a mask and fighting the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen. Later, the account tweeted this. Which other MCU characters would you like to see get their own TV series? https://t.co/RLj1OjcAxB— Variety (@Variety) September 19, 2018The fans are demanding a Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes series starring Sebastian Stan. That probably means Disney should just make it, right? It does make sense. At this point in the MCU, he’s the character we know the least about. We don’t really know everything that happened to him between him appearing to die in World War II and showing up during Hydra’s takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. A series that dives into all that would definitely be interesting. I have a feeling Disney is going to want to keep Stan in the movies, though. With Chris Evans on his way out as Captain America, and Bucky being called White Wolf at the end of Black Panther, Marvel Studios appears to have much bigger plans in mind for the character.Sebastian Stan in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Photo via Marvel)Then again, there’s no reason he can’t be in both. Who could say no to that face?Finally, there’s nothing Avengers 4 directors Joe and Anthony Russo like more than a good tease. They’re masters of it at this point, too. The directors posted what looks like an innocuous set photo on Twitter with an instruction to “look hard.” Deuteronomy 30:15. pic.twitter.com/I79ewdjfQe— Daredevil (@Daredevil) September 20, 2018“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Interesting. Are these verses meant to show us how Matt sees the world, or are they a commentary on his actions? The religious references are especially appropriate this season, which is based on the “Born Again” storyline from the comics. The Frank Miller-penned arc sees The Kingpin learning Daredevil’s secret identity and destroying Matt Murdock’s life. As everything spirals out of control, Matt starts to go insane. That certainly puts all the biblical references to darkness into context. The arc also sees him start to put a new life back together. The season won’t be a direct one-to-one adaptation of the comics, of course. In the MCU, Matt Murdock is still presumed dead after the events of The Defenders. Still, it’s easy to imagine this season showing Murdock coming back, making Wilson Fisk’s life inconvenient and then being found out.And yes, it means that Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin will be the main villain once again. The fact that nobody could follow him is one of the things that dragged down Season Two. I can’t wait to see more of his terrifying performance later this year.A poster and some cryptic Bible quotes are cool and all, but don’t forget that Captain Marvel got a full trailer this week. While we were all busy gushing over how cool she looks and how strange it is to see young Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, Marvel also put out a movie poster that may contain a sneaky Easter egg. Here’s the poster in question.via MarvelAwesome poster, right? But look closely in the bottom left and you’ll find the first appearance of an important Captain Marvel character. io9 Deputy Editor Jill Pantozzi was one of the first to point it out. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Look hard… pic.twitter.com/NxI8RFh4f6— Russo Brothers (@Russo_Brothers) September 19, 2018And that’s exactly what fans have been doing. There’s a very clear A in the ladder there, and som have also pointed out that the equipment case to the right appears to form an E. That could confirm the popular theory that the title of the Avengers 4 will be Avengers: Endgame. But the Russos have said the title won’t be taken from a significant line from Avengers: Infinity War, which would rule out “Endgame” as a possibility. Still, it’s entirely possible that plans have changed since then, or that it’s some other title that begins with E. Avengers: End of Infinity maybe? Or Avengers Eternal?Over on Reddit, some fans are speculating that the word “Thanos” is hidden in the photo, which could be all the Russos are pointing out here. There are certainly a few of those letters scattered around the photo, including an upside-down T just left of center. Not much of a reveal, but a fun picture hunt nonetheless. Hopefully, we’ll figure out what the Russo’s want us to find before Avengers 4, whatever it’s called, arrives May 3, 2019.We’ve got a list of every comic book TV show that’s in production, including all the Marvel Netflix shows. Learn how the Guardians story arc could change Avengers 4. Catch the Captain Marvel updates that will lead into the upcoming film. Stay on top of all things MCU here. Stay on target I’M SORRY I HAD TO COMPLETELY BLOW OUT YOUR POSTER @captainmarvel BUT HELLO KITTTTTTTY! pic.twitter.com/QBoGkBS4Z8— House on Haunted Jill (@JillPantozzi) September 18, 2018That’s a cat! And just like any good cat, it’s introducing itself butt-first while you’re trying to concentrate on something else. In the comics, Carol has a cat named Chewie who accompanies her all on all her space adventures. It appears the movie will be no different in that regard. Chewie also isn’t a normal cat. Carol discovers that her beloved pet is a Flerken, an alien that looks like a cat, but carries a pocket dimension where she stores her eggs and a terrifying tentacled maw for defense purposes.As much as I hope that makes it into the movie, there’s reason to think it may not. Photos from a Captain Marvel event taken in August indicate that the cat’s name has been changed to Goose. Because Carol likes Top Gun, I guess. No judgment here, it’s a good movie. Fun day @Marvel Can we talk about how excited I am for CAPTAIN MARVEL??? Can March be here already??? #captainmarvel pic.twitter.com/2B3j5jezyY— Ashley Eckstein (@HerUniverse) August 8, 2018Still, it makes you wonder if they changed anything besides the cat’s name. We’re all hoping for an alien surprise, but it’s possible that for Captain Marvel’s introductory movie, they’ll want to keep things simple and have her cat remain a cat. An ordinary space-faring cat.We’ll see for sure when Captain Marvel hits theaters March 8, 2019.Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok. (Photo via Marvel Studios)Want more Tom Hiddleston in your life? Of course you do. You’re about to get a whole lot more Loki, thanks to Disney’s upcoming streaming service. In addition to all the Disney movies that are never available for streaming when you want to watch them, Disney’s in-development service will also be home to some original MCU content. While the Netflix shows appear to be staying where they are, Disney is preparing limited series featuring some of the supporting cast of the MCU, Variety reports. What really makes this news exciting is that the studio plans to get the actors from the movies to reprise their roles. Two of these stars are reportedly Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, who will star in Loki and Scarlet Witch series respectively. This dark, dystopian future where we have to subscribe to every studio’s proprietary service has some perks.Variety also posted a poll asking readers which other characters they’d like to see, and the result should make the editor of this website very happy.
Clark County Commissioner David Madore on Wednesday suggested cutting off county funding to the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, citing a “continuous track record of the RTC dismissing the leadership of the county.”In an email to RTC Executive Director Matt Ransom, Madore said he supports a policy to “significantly reduce” the dues that the county pays to the regional planning agency in the coming year. A total of 21 jurisdictions pay membership dues to RTC each year. Clark County pays the largest amount of any agency, slated to be $36,300 in 2015. That’s about 2 percent of RTC’s overall budget of $1.7 million next year.It’s unclear what impact cutting those dues would have on the county’s standing as an RTC member. Ransom could not be reached for comment.Madore didn’t cite specifics in his notification to Ransom, and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. But during last week’s RTC board meeting, Clark County was passed over for both the chair and vice chair positions on the board.
Releasing an MMO that requires players to sign up for a subscription should be seen as a gamble for game developers and publishers alike. You only have to look at the number of existing MMOs that have made the switch to a free-to-play model, to see how much of a struggle it can be. They aren’t little-known games, either. Lord of the Rings, Warhammer Online, Star Trek, Champions Online, and DC Universe–they are all either free-to-play or will be soon.So it should come as some relief to EA and BioWare to discover the launch of their latest MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has been a great success just 8 days after launching. The stats certainly prove that.The Old Republic has already broken one record by becoming the fastest MMO in history to reach 1 million subscribers. But the game’s stats after little over a week on general release read even better.Those 1 million+ players have already managed to log 60 million in-game hours. During that time 260 million quests have been completed, 44 million PvP battles have taken place, and 3 billion NPCs have been killed. BioWare’s game has also managed to create 850,000 Sith Warriors and 810,000 Jedi Knights, suggesting the dark side may be winning.When you consider the game costs $60 to purchase, and then a further $15 a month to play, the revenue soon adds up. Even if we assume only 1 million people are playing, that’s still $60 million is sales, and a further $15 million every month from the subscription charges. Of course, the aim now is to keep those million+ early adopters playing while attracting more Star Wars fans in the coming months. That can only be achieved with regular content updates that stop the game from becoming just another MMO with a level cap as a target.via Business Wire
Kolkata: With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee undertaking a series of development projects for the overall development of the state, Bengal has bagged the highest number of SKOCH awards in 2018.This is the first time when the Bengal government has won the highest number of SKOCH awards by implementing projects that have immensely benefitted the people of the state. Different departments, state owned undertakings and districts have received more than 100 SKOCH Order-of-Merit awards. The 52nd SKOCH summit was held in New Delhi for three days from June 21. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) department has received three SKOCH awards and it includes one Gold and one Silver citation. The project of setting up the MSME Facilitation Centre has bagged Gold citation and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) application, which was implemented as Service With a Smile (SWAS) has received the Silver citation. SWAS is a mobile-based application in both android and IOS as a help desk for entrepreneurs. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedIt may be mentioned that the Chief Minister had directed to take necessary steps so that information related to the services and benefits extended by the government easily reach entrepreneurs and people involved with the MSME sector at the grassroot level. Accordingly, the projects were introduced and implemented properly. It has brought immense success to the state’s MSME sector. The project of developing infrastructure of state-approved industrial park under PPP mode has also bagged the SKOCH award. The state Panchayat and Rural Development department has also received the SKOCH award. The department has successfully implemented the hundred days work scheme to ensure jobs to the rural populace. Bengal government has been awarded for the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Several steps, which were taken by the Chief Minister in the past seven years, has given a fresh lease of life to the Agriculture sector of the state. The state Agriculture department had developed Matir Katha, an interactive platform, through which farmers get guidance of experts through phone calls. The same facility is also available online as the state Agriculture department has launched an app called Matir Katha, through which reply to farmers’ questions are given within minimum time. Many other departments of the Mamata Banerjee government have bagged the SKOCH award for various projects. Departments that also received the awards, include Health and Family Welfare Department, Urban Development and Municipal Affairs department, Agriculture department and the state Transport department. The Chief Minister has introduced the Samabyathi scheme to extend support to bereaved family members from economically poor section of the society to carry out the last rites of the deceased. The state Transport department has received the Gold citation of the SKOCH award for its project Gatidhara, which ensured means of livelihood to thousands of youth by providing financial assistance to buy commercial vehicles. Besides the departments of the state government, district administration of Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Dakshin Dinajpur, Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia, East Burdwan, West Burdwan, Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA) have received SKOCH awards for different projects. It may be mentioned that the Chief Minister keeps reviewing the projects at both the state and district level. It has ensured the timely completion and implementation of the projects.
Kolkata: Alipore Zoological Gardens will be soon sending two giraffes to Nehru Zoological Garden in Hyderabad in exchange for a pair of jaguars, two lions and six mouse deer that were procured in October 2017.Giraffes are very much in demand in zoos across the country and the city zoo boasts of having a collection of as many as 10 giraffes. “We have been able to do successful breeding of giraffes in the zoo, and currently, we have as many as 10 animals. We have procured two lions, two jaguars and six mouse deer against two giraffes which is a clear indication of the demand for these animals,” said Asis Kumar Samanta, director of Alipore Zoo. According to sources in Alipore Zoo, the two giraffes — one male and one female are named Sunny and Bunty. Sunny was born in June 2015, while Bunty in February 2017. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We will be taking all precautionary measures for transportation of the animals by low height trailers which is around 2,500 km by road. Two keepers from our zoo will accompany these animals that are very calm by nature. There will be arrangements for food and anti-stress medicines,” Samanta said. The pair of jaguars, lions and mouse deer were kept in quarantine for a month and were set free in their enclosures sometime in December 2017. The mouse deer is found in parts of Central India and it is after a span of more than three decades that these animals became a part of Alipore Zoo. The last female jaguar had died in Alipore zoo in 2013 after a prolonged illness. The two pure Asiatic lions, which are hybrids of African and Asiatic lion have already emerged as the prime attraction for the visitors. The two lions in the zoo are aged and are hardly put on display.
At some point, the Minnesota Vikings may trade Adrian Peterson.Or they may not.The running back has been the subject of a flurry of rumors lately, with many involving him possibly — or maybe even likely — landing with the Arizona Cardinals.None of that will happen unless the Vikings decide to trade Peterson, though, and Monday ESPN Vikings reporter Ben Goessling said the team really does not want to do that. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Comments Share Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: Larry Fitzgerald Sr.- Minnesota Sports Writer Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo But Tuesday, a new report surfaced.Vikings quietly going about the business of shopping Adrian Peterson.He has requested-I want out! pic.twitter.com/32LFzCSBiE— Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) March 17, 2015 Larry Fitzgerald Sr. is, of course, the father of of Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and a well-known reporter based in Minnesota. He joined Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday to further discuss the situation.“Adrian has just made up his mind that he doesn’t have the kind of support from the ownership group that he wants,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s put his heart and soul into this team from the time they drafted him and he’s in a position to think the way he wants to think, but that’s how he’s thinking.”Vikings brass has reportedly had multiple meetings with Peterson in an effort to smooth things over with their all-time leading rusher. However, it’s very possible they have been unable to do so, and in that case may decide coming up with a trade is the best option for both parties. And if that’s the case, buckle your seatbelt. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
State Rep. Al Pscholka congratulates legislative office interns Kyle O’Meara and Kaue Gobbi on receiving the Daniel Rosenthal Legislative Intern and Vernon Ehlers Intern awards. O’Meara won the Rosenthal award and was closely followed by third runner-up Gobbi, who won the Ehlers award.Daniel Rosenthal was one of Michigan State University’s first Legislative Student Intern Program participants in early 1977. After his untimely passing in June of the same year, his family established the award to pay tribute to Daniel’s life and his experience in Lansing. The award has been administered to university students in Michigan for more than 35 years, and is intended to recognize enthusiasm, intelligence, sincerity and dedication to the applicants’ interning experiences.“It was very fulfilling to work in an office representing my hometown,” said O’Meara. “I was very pleased to have been so welcomed by both Representative Pscholka and his staff to help aid them in their tradition of excellent constituent services.”O’Meara, who hails from St. Joseph, will be graduating from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and a minor in economics from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in May, 2015. Following his graduation, he will be continuing on to Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.Gobbi—an international student from Brazil—will be graduating in December 2016, with a double-major in international relations and economics from Michigan State University. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in international law following graduation next year.“Interning for Rep. Pscholka has been an enlightening experience,” said Gobbi. “It gave me the opportunity to discover what issues affect the people of Michigan, what goes on inside of the Capitol and the general procedures of the American political system.”Rep. Pscholka said it was a great experience for him and his staff to have such knowledgeable, diverse and driven student interns.“It’s been extremely encouraging to have such outstanding students on staff,” said Rep. Pscholka, R-Stevensville. “They’ve done a great job helping the residents of the 79th District and I wish they weren’t leaving us just yet. Both Kyle and Kaue will leave a lasting impression on my staff and I, and I’m excited to see what great things these two young men do in the future.”O’Meara and Gobbi were recognized for their achievements on the House floor on April 30.###State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, is joined on the House floor by guests Kaue Gobbi, left, and Kyle O’Meara, right, on April 30 in recognition for their achievements as legislative interns. O’Meara won the Daniel Rosenthal Legislative Intern Award and Gobbi won the Vernon Ehlers Intern Award. Categories: News 30Apr Rep. Pscholka congratulates interns on awards, office achievements
Categories: Maturen News 22Jun Governor signs bill package to create consistency for veterans Rep. Maturen: State programs now have uniform definition of a veteranGov. Rick Snyder today signed into law a 21-bill package standardizing who qualifies as a veteran under state law.“The state has a number of laws that concern veterans and, until now, each one offered a differing definition for who was considered a veteran,” said Rep. David Maturen, R-Brady Township, who sponsored a piece of the legislation. “These amendments clarify who qualifies, eliminating the confusion veterans and their families faced in the past.”House Bills 5332-5348 and HBs 5548-5551 create a standard definition of the term “veteran” that is also consistent with the federal definition. The updated wording is “an individual who served in the United States armed forces, including the reserve components, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”HB 5333, introduced by Rep. Maturen, who is a U.S Army veteran, amends the Veterans’ Military Pay Act to refer back to the new, clarified definition.The bills are now Public Acts 199-219 of 2016.#####
State Rep. Holly Hughes (left) and Nancee Privacky testified in support of the bill to improve public safety by allowing flashing advisory signs to be installed on newly manufactured school busesState Rep. Holly Hughes testified Tuesday in the Michigan House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of her bill to improve public safety by allowing flashing advisory signs to be installed on newly manufactured school buses.“This bill was brought to my attention because I want to prevent tragedies like the deaths of Bruce Privacky and his sister, Antonia ‘Toni’ Privacky from occurring again. Both were killed in a bus accident in 2011,” said Hughes of Montague. “With the modifications the evidence is pretty clear the new lights on these buses which they are intended to do, is to catch the eyes of the drivers and to prevent accidents from occurring”Hughes said the lights are easy to install and there has been an extensive ten school district study, which has been presented to all school bus drivers in the state of Michigan. Seven other states and two Canadian providences have similar laws. This light modification will help clear up confusion and will cut out illegal passbys and prevent injuries and deaths from vehicle bus crashes.Nancee Privacky and Mac Dashney executive director of the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation joined Rep. Hughes in support of her bill.“Paul and I cannot express our gratitude enough for all Holly Hughes has done to try to get this bill passed. Although it has been a long road, she has never given up. We hope because of this perseverance, that this bill will be finally passed so that no other family has to endure the pain that we have in losing our only son and daughter, Bruce and Antonia. Beyond that, we want to ensure the safety of all children that ride these busses as well as the motoring public,” said Nancee Privacky.“It is important to communicate with motorists in the best way they can understand in actual words. This sign tells them in actual words what to do, when to do it and why, twice a day, every day,” said Mac Dashney.The biggest risk to schoolchildren is not riding in a school bus but as pedestrians walking to, boarding, and walking from their school buses. A 2006 Michigan State Police study found that one in eight car- school bus crashes happened at school bus stops while children were boarding or exiting a school bus. A 2016 survey taken by the National Directors of State Pupil Transportation indicated Michigan motorists illegally passed school buses 1,031 times per day.Under current law, a school bus must be equipped with both red and amber signal lights. Four red lights must be mounted and spaced. These amber and red lights must have a sufficient intensity to be visible from a distance of no less than 500 feet in normal sunlight.House Bill 4054 remains under the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.### Categories: Hughes News 31May Rep. Hughes bill increases safety measures to school buses
Legislator says business is vital to downtown economy Categories: News,VanderWall News State Rep. Curt VanderWall today said downtown Ludington will benefit from state grants awarded to help the House of Flavors expand its dairy operations.VanderWall, of Ludington, said the company, which is the largest private label packaged ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturer in Michigan, received a $240,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant to assist in its expansion, which is expected to create 30 jobs. He said the company has already invested $30 million into its manufacturing facility to keep up with demand, and will contribute another $1.5 million toward an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.In addition, House of Flavors also has been awarded a $100,000 Food and Agriculture Investment Program grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). The money will be used to help House of Flavors make equipment upgrades to expand capacity.“This is a perfect example of how the state can partner with private industry to continue Michigan’s economic growth,” VanderWall said. “We are not only keeping the jobs associated with House of Flavors in Ludington, we are adding jobs to improve the quality of life for more families in the area. Not only is the company creating jobs and contributing to the local economy, it also is investing in the infrastructure of the city so we have more growth opportunity.”The MDARD grant is the first to move through the Food and Agriculture Investment Fund and will aid the House of Flavors in removing a single-serve hardening system and replace it with a spiral operation that can help harden a variety of products at once.“Agriculture is the second largest industry in Michigan, and plays an important role in the Mason County economy,” VanderWall said. “It is encouraging to see one of the nation’s leading producers of ice cream benefit from state grants, because it helps the local agriculture industry grow.”##### 21Nov Rep. VanderWall applauds grants to expand Ludington company
19Apr Children will be protected from child porn under Rep. Iden bill Categories: Iden News,News Measure is part of House plan in response to Larry Nassar scandalState Rep. Brandt Iden this week testified to the House Law and Justice Committee on how children under the age of 12 will get increased protections from child pornography under his legislation.The bill is part of a bipartisan reform plan developed following the House’s inquiry into the recent Larry Nassar scandal.“Child pornography is terrible, especially with what it does to the young children victimized by it,” said Iden, of Oshtemo Township. “What has been almost overlooked after the Nassar scandal was he possessed and tried to get rid of a significant amount of child pornography. This gives us another example of why we must continue to step up the fight against this filth.”Iden’s plan will bring enhanced penalties for producing, distributing or financing child pornography that includes over 100 images, involves sadomasochism or bestiality, or involves a child less than 12 years of age. Individuals who distribute the pornographic material face up to 15 years in prison and a $75,000 fine. Anyone found to produce or finance production of the illegal images may be imprisoned up to 25 years and pay a $125,000 fine.“This disgusting case has shown us what we need to do to better protect our children,” Iden said. “Together, we’re going to do everything we can to prevent another Nassar case from ever happening again here in Michigan.”House Bill 5794 remains under consideration by the committee.
Share24TweetShare8Email32 SharesSeptember 17, 2015; Morning Call (Harrisburg, PA) and Fox 32 (Chicago, IL)Pennsylvania and Illinois still have no budgets and limited authority to disburse funds more than 80 days into a “new” year. While their governors and legislatures spar over who is at fault and how to reach an agreement on a spending plan, local governments and nonprofit organizations continue their struggle to keep schools and social services operating.In Pennsylvania, the Morning Call reported that the state has withheld $1.2 billion in tax money from 500 school districts, with an extra $717 million to be withheld by the end of the month. Bernadette Bianchi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Family and Youth Services, a statewide umbrella organization for 110 nonprofits and private entities that serve at-risk youth and families, including Children’s Home of Easton, KidsPeace National Centers in Schnecksville and Valley Youth House in Allentown, said Tuesday that she is not aware of any cases in which member providers have actually suspended services. But, she added, “That’s only been because of the commitment of the private provider community to continue serving these children.”Attempting to force the state to pay for services as they are provided, the Council sued Governor Tom Wolf and the Department of Human Services in Commonwealth Court. The suit asks the court to compel the administration to declare the groups’ foster care, child welfare, and juvenile justice programs “essential services,” which would allow the release of state and federal tax money due them under contracts. (Under Pennsylvania law, the state, despite the lack of budget, can disburse funds for services it considers “essential.”)According to the Patriot-News,The suit has its genesis in Wolf’s post-budget veto listing of certain services that would continue to receive funding. That has kept all public safety, and most medical assistance and welfare programs funded, as well as all government offices, state parks and other state facilities open.But most aid to other entities like schools and county governments, or funding that is ultimately routed to third-party service providers, like these child welfare services, has been stopped with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st.The state legislature is currently working on a short-term budget bill that would authorize funding through October. Governor Wolf has opposed the effort to provide short-term funding, wishing instead to negotiate a complete budget agreement. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that on Wednesday, the governor expressed frustration that the concessions he offered, which he hoped would facilitate agreement on a state budget, were ignored:“Today, I put on the table historic reforms on pensions and liquor…two things that they say are very important to them. And what do I get in return? Nothing. I got nothing on [natural gas] severance tax. Nothing. I got nothing on education. Nothing. I got nothing on property tax relief. And I got nothing…on how we are actually going to balance this budget.”The situation in Illinois is even bleaker. The budget gap needing to be spanned by new revenues or service cuts is about $4 billion, but Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s legislative leaders seem more interested in holding each other responsible for the harm being done by the impasse then in working toward a solution.While that battle of wills continues, a report recently released by the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children detailed the impact of the lack of a budget is having on the state’s social service infrastructure and those they serve.The harm is widespread—ranging from afterschool programs and autism services to conservation police and support services for seniors. Our state’s most vulnerable people, including children, people with disabilities, and seniors, are especially threatened by this inaction.Many providers of these critical services have been instructed by state agencies to continue to provide services at the level of the last fiscal year (which ended June 30). Others have been issued new contracts with lower service levels. In either case, outside of consent decrees and federal pass-through funds, zero state dollars are being spent on many critical state priorities.Who is left standing at the end of this is completely in the hands of the Governor Rauner and the General Assembly. To prevent further damage to children, families, and communities, lawmakers and the governor need to take responsibility for funding our state’s priorities by restoring the revenue we need to fully fund a year-long budget.According to Reboot Illinois.com, at a recent senate hearing on the impact of the budget crisis, State Senator Daniel Biss, chair of the Senate Human Services Committee, said, “There’s no ambiguity about who’s bearing the brunt of the consequence, and that’s people who have the least voice in the political process and who are the most vulnerable. It’s really a situation that all of us should find deeply, personally unacceptable and that we need to resolve quickly.”The committee also released a copy of a letter from Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger, who informed members that state is carrying a bill backlog of nearly $6 billion. Even with that backlog, and absent a budget, Fox32 in Chicago reported Wednesday that Munger’s office determined that “early intervention services, provided to children up to age three, should have been paid for under a previously issued consent decree that requires some social services be funded.” Meanwhile, hundreds of other social service agencies have still not been paid.Moreover, according to a report by the online version of the Northern Star, Northern Illinois University’s campus newspaper, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services “announced it is no longer able pay for state employee insurance claims without a state budget, a decision that could leave nearly 150,000 people to pay out of pocket for health care costs. […] Under self-insured plans, Illinois subsidizes claims made by members, a responsibility that may now fall on members alone unless their employers or medical providers foot the bill until a budget is determined.”While Illinois has been able to provide funding to local school districts across the State this has not ensured a full school year for the more than 400,000 students served by Chicago Public Schools. The district is currently operating with a budget that is counting on $500 million in new state funding that is yet to be approved and remains one of the issues in the middle of the budget standoff. How the district will manage if a budget agreement does not include these funds is not clear but it is safe to say it will not be good for Chicago’s children.When the smoke clears and budget deals are reached, the full cost of these impasses will become clear—and that cost may be met by the closing of critically needed agencies and schools. And it will be their clients and students who will feel the long-term consequences. One wonders how deeply governors and legislators realize this as they try to win their battles.—Marty LevineShare24TweetShare8Email32 Shares
Share53TweetShareEmail53 SharesBy Felix Engelhardt [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 23, 2017; The ConversationTo paraphrase former Massachusetts governor and presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, now “rivers are people, too.” That’s the conclusion of two nations widely disparate in cultural norms and geographic location, India and New Zealand. Both have endowed select riparian bodies with certain rights of persons.India’s Uttarakhand high court on Monday, March 20, 2017, ruled that the highly polluted Ganga and Yamuna rivers, sacred in the Hindu faith, have the legal rights of humans in an attempt to craft a legal framework to foment their cleaning and preservation. The Whanganui River (Te Awa Tupua) in New Zealand has been endowed with legal personhood by legislation that is the culmination of years of negotiations under the Treaty of Waitangi between local Māori and the New Zealand government, a formal declaration respecting the intimate bond between the Māori and the river.Essentially, these rivers have been granted standing to sue in court, which is not an equivalent to human rights but a subset that’s ideally capable of staving off further ecological harm by letting them protect themselves through legal action. Letting natural bodies seek redress for wrongs has effect only when an actual person is appointed as guardian to represent its interests and where both the guardian and users understand their respective rights and responsibilities. However, perhaps most important (and tenuous) of all, what is needed here are a sure pot of money and independence from government institutions—accessible funds to pay for the expensive costs of lawyers and litigation and the means of protecting itself when, as will often occur, that protection runs afoul of the political interests of government.While the concept of legal rights of personhood for bodies in nature sounds noble and powerful, the meaningfulness of those pronounced rights is demonstrated by the quality of the established legal mechanisms playing out in the real world of competing interests. New Zealand’s system may be more robust and better thought out; it establishes a guardianship of two members—one appointed by the Whanganui Iwi (local Māori people), and the other by the New Zealand government—and funds have been set aside for health maintenance of the river. However, water rights are not covered, which may prove significant, since the Tongariro Power Scheme, a hydroelectric project operated by Genesis Energy NZ, draws substantial volume. In contrast, the Uttarakhand state high court has drawn a protection scheme by ruling that the two treasured rivers, the Ganga and Yamuna, are to be treated as minors by law and will be parented in effect by three entities: the director general of the Namami Gange project, and the Uttarakhand chief secretary and advocate general. As opposed to the eight years spent carefully crafting a hierarchy to support the rights of the river in New Zealand, the Uttarakhand high court has ordered boards charged with cleaning and maintaining the two sacred rivers to be established in eight weeks.This notion of legal personification is not new; it has been brewing among environmental protection advocates for decades. In 1972, legal scholar Christopher Stone’s groundbreaking article “Should Trees Have Standing—Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects” was published, and as far as Western jurisprudence is concerned, Stone innovatively argued that to protect nature, it must not be viewed as a commodity or resources to be mined, bought and sold, but should be empowered with the same legal protections and access to the courts that actual persons ideally enjoy. Kiana Herold, in “The Rights of Nature: Indigenous Philosophies Reframing Law,” discussed Stone’s article’s thesis:Under capitalist economic logic, many externalities that negatively impact the environment are not registered when calculating the cost of an action. Transforming nature legally from mere property to a rights-holding entity would force byproduct environmental effects of production to factor into cost calculations. Under this framework, nature would be better protected.Herold also cited Ecuador’s innovative 2008 Constitution that established the rights of nature such that, “Under Ecuadorian law, people can now sue on the ecosystem’s behalf, without it being connected to a direct human injury.” Herold’s central point was that man and nature are equals and fully integrated according to many indigenous cultures, not requiring law to rescue the environment from degradation and commodification. Herold cites the harmonious “Sumak Kawsay” concept of the Quechua, or Kichwa, people of Ecuador as an example of something that predates codified protection: “The Kichwa notion of ‘Sumak Kawsay,’ or ‘buen vivir’ in Spanish, translates roughly to good living in English. It expresses the idea of harmonious, balanced living among people and nature.”There is no accident that law is catching up to tradition, as perhaps the earth is reaching a tipping point of inhabitability due to the noxious practices of industry and mercantilism, which are normally no friends of nature. Allowing three rivers to hire lawyers won’t change much of the perverse progress of commerce, but it may be a start.—Louis AltmanShare53TweetShareEmail53 Shares
Share29TweetShare3Email32 Shares“Minimum Wage Rally at Atwater’s by Jay Baker at Catonsville, MD.” Maryland GovPics.July 18, 2017; NPREarlier this month, NPQ wrote about the trend among states and cities of passing new workers’ rights laws. Now, we’re seeing some states rolling back city laws that raised the minimum wage. Covering the story for NPR’s All Things Considered, Yuki Noguchi said, “State legislatures and city halls are battling over who gets to set the minimum wage, and increasingly, the states are winning.”The federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 2009. Over the last few years, dozens of city and county governments have passed minimum wage ordinances. So far, 27 states have passed laws requiring cities to abide by statewide wage minimums. The most recent to do so, Missouri, will roll back a $10-an-hour minimum wage to $7.70 an hour, to take effect next month. Iowa just rolled back wage increases in the spring.Brooks Rainwater of the National League of Cities said, “People within cities, where the cost of living oftentimes can be higher, needed a raise, and city leaders have responded to that.” However, he notes that states are undermining city governments on this and other worker issues, including paid sick leave.Business groups argue that “complying with disparate city laws is too complex, and that the additional costs would force them to curtail hiring which, in turn, hurts workers.” But we’ve all heard this argument before. One would think businesses are actually concerned with not hurting workers.Compared to cities, state legislatures tend to reflect the wider conservative interests in a state, and business groups are making their cases there. Pat White, president of the central labor council for the AFL-CIO in St. Louis, calls this hypocritical, “given how [states] chafe against similar efforts at the federal government to control states.”Rainwater said, “There used to be a shared value around this concept of local control, you know, whether a conservative or a liberal, the idea that the representative closest to the people would be able to decide many of these fundamental questions…Why have them even run for office, if they’re not allowed to govern their own area?”Attorneys representing cities are challenging these preemption laws in court, but they face an uphill battle, according to Rainwater, as cities have little legal recourse. “A big challenge here is, cities aren’t enumerated within the constitutional powers, so they are, in effect, creations of the state.”St. Louis janitorial worker Cynthia Sanders, who will face a wage decrease next month when Missouri’s roll back goes into effect, said, “I’m just scared for everybody, because it’s a sad, sad situation, and I don’t understand how it’s legal.” But the issue has galvanized her. She said, “We’re mad enough to really, really fight now.”—Cyndi SuarezShare29TweetShare3Email32 Shares
Orange is to close down its Orange Sport channels at the end of June and will offer Al Jazeera’s Be In Sport 1 and 2 channels to its subscribers in their place after striking a deal with the Qatar-based broadcaster.Orange said it had chosen Al Jazeera as its partner after holding discussions with the broadcaster and alternative providers Canal Plus and Media365. Orange will also distribute a news sports channel from Media365 and is in talks with Canal Plus to pass on some of the sports rights held by Orange. The telco said it had also held talks with Media365 and Canal Plus to secure employment for a number of those who worked for Orange Sport.“By focusing its strategy on its core business, Orange intends to draw on the power of its networks to distribute rich and diversified content and thus to propose the best content on all Orange TV platforms, whether PC, mobile or tablet, in response to new digital uses,” the company said in a statement.Orange Sport has about 400,000 subscribers, who will be offered the option to sign up to Be In Sport 1 and 2 from May 24. Be In Sport 1 is expected to launch at the beginning of June.According to local press, Orange has signed up to distribute Al Jazeera’s channels for four years. Orange’s Orange Sport Info channel will continue to be broadcast until the middle of September, after which it will be replaced by Media365’s channel, which will be offered as part of the telco’s premium sports package alongside Be In Sport.